Quaint Delusions, comprised of Kevin DeHart (drums), Steve Dicks (bass), Roger Hughes (guitar/vocals), David Lane (lap steel/vocals) and Michael Starks (vocals/keyboards), has resurfaced with their latest single, "Lite Bright Sky," following our previous coverage of their album releases.
The band introduces "Lite Bright Sky" as a composition delving into the theme of light pollution, narrated from the perspective of a moth circling a streetlight, unnoticed by the majority of humanity. This unique theme adds an emotional layer to the song's narrative. The track kicks off with a steady drumbeat accompanied by various elements such as guitar, organ and more. Notably, the organ takes center stage, guiding the groove and melody.
The vocals are delivered with a distinctive style, almost as if stretching notes on specific words, adding to the overall sonic texture. The lyrics shine, particularly when aligned with the thematic core. Memorable lines like "This is my last night/ Taking my last bite /Goodbye/ I gotta fly away, You won't be lonely" stand out, showcasing the brilliance in the songwriting.
While embracing an almost bluesy approach, the track exudes an elevated and contemporary feel. The guitar is employed more like a pad, enhanced by a generous amount of hall reverb, contributing to the song's allure. A second lead guitar makes an appearance, introducing a touch of grit to the overall sound.
In "Lite Bright Sky," Quaint Delusions not only maintains their signature style but also elevates it to new heights. This single is undoubtedly a home run, and listeners are strongly encouraged to give it a spin.
Michael Reed Barker is a rock-country-folk artist from Shreveport, Louisiana who’s just released several singles through the ReverbNation website. His six newest tracks are “Solider,” “For The Lonely Ones,” “Get Up Get Down,” “Upside Of Down,” “Life Among The Dead” and “Cool Breeze.”
Though biographical data on Barker is scarce, he’s apparently been playing since 1968 and his newest tracks “herald the history of (my) rock and roll legacy!”
Our first track “Soldier” begins with baroque-style strummed electrics, creating an immediately somber mood. Barker sings in a Dylanesque voice, speaking for all the soldiers “from any country” who are real human beings and somebody’s child. His tag line is chilling: “If not today, maybe tomorrow.” There’s no other instruments and the song really doesn’t need them.
“For The Lonely Ones” changes things up with more of a full band sound adding expansive keyboards and bass, though I believe the drums are digital. The descending chord motif very much recalls Lennon’s “I’m Losing You.” Barker’s guitar configurations are again quite interesting, with a sort of jazz sensibility. His vocals this time have that classic Paul Williams breathy quality. It’s a good track but the resemblance to Lennon’s song is just a bit distracting.
“Get Up Get Down” is a fast rocker and the first track to really cut loose. Barker slams those 7th chords in double time while also wailing away on lead guitar. It’s a classic blues structure with celebratory “group vocal” choruses of “Get up! Get down!” The guitars are the stars here, and there’s yet more evidence of Barker’s interesting style of guitar wrangling.
“Upside Of Down” is a shorter track with a great title. The sound quality compresses a bit here, similar to that weird tunnel-like tone of “Lady Madonna.” This is another rollicking track with rapid-fire Dylanesque vocals and swinging guitars alongside barroom piano. I daresay this could have been a bedroom demo or the very last cassette copy of a lost Master. It’s still one of my favorite tracks here!
“Life Among the Dead” is the first song of Barker’s I’ve heard to feature acoustic guitar and harmonica. Back to the stark quality of “Soldier,” Barker sings matter-of-factly about the dangers we all face simply surviving our time on this earth. It’s like an old-fashioned folk protest song and is quite powerful, though the sound is (purposely?) compressed and phase-y.
The final track “Cool Breeze” is another surprise, featuring banjo, fiddles and lap (or pedal) steel guitars. The sound here is wide and clean and the song itself is totally uplifting. “Taking a ride on the sunnier side” indeed! Barker favors us with happy chords, joyous imagery and an incredible array of instruments for this country-style ballad. This is the winner for me.
Just six songs on this list but there’s many more where these from, any one of which is worth a listen!
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The name OutWest Band pretty much says it all: this is an Americana-country-rock band from Spokane, Washington with three new singles: “Beers Up,” “You” and “Stay My Ass At Home.” The members are Patrick Lagrimanta (vocals/guitar), Woody Curtis Jr. (guitars/vocals), Ray Tozzi (bass) and Matt Fate (drums).
Our first song “Beers Up” literally grows before our eyes from a muted, distant guitar riff into a full-throated chunky electric tune, ably backed by both acoustic and secondary rhythm and lead guitars. This is immediately arresting rock with a country edge, assertive and propulsive. Patrick Lagrimata has that gritty, dude-at-the-bar authenticity perfect for drinking anthems like this. The middle lead solo is wah-wah powerful, but even more interesting as the band actually slows down a bit toward the end. Some unexpected stops and starts conclude the track, beneath final wails both from Lagrimata and the lead guitar.
The next track up is simply titled “You.” Beers aside, you can guess that this is a quieter ballad with strummed electrics and a more sincere, intimate vocal. The opening had traces of a young Van Morrison, while the rock section feels more like John Mellencamp or Tommy Tutone, with a touch of Bruce in the arrangement. With the quieter mix you can more easily hear the ace bass-playing of Ray Tozzi and the solid drums of Matt Fate.
“Stay My Ass Home” has the best title after “Beers Up.” I expected another rollicking ass-kicker but this one starts like more of a big country ballad with phat walls of guitar and emotion-laden lead melodies. The song proper has a tumbling beat with staccato riffing with singer Lagrimanta just barely keeping up with the rollicking melodies. In fact everyone including bass and drums gets a fun, danceable workout with this tune. “I gotta plead the Fifth when you’re in town” is a line for the ages! Some nice vocal harmonies toward the end too.
Three quick songs but a great introduction for a kick butt band. Give an ear!
Become A Fan
Anthony Blue describes himself (maybe too simply) as “a lifelong musician who makes emotive music.” After a self-titled album from 2006 and two singles in 2023, Blue has just released a new track titled ‘’Once A Passion"
which he explains is “an acoustic song revolving around piano, vocals and violin.” Though I can’t find much (or any) biographical info on Blue (and his name is surprisingly common), I checked out some of his popular Spotify tracks. Blue makes a kind of smart, post-alternative rock music with excellent guitar playing, catchy arrangements and hooks a-plenty. He has a voice perfect for folk rock, with that earnest, throaty Bob Dylan quality (he even plays harmonica!)
Though Blue says this track features “vocals and violin” the first sounds I heard were both violin and cello, and the combination is quite evocative, suggested a foggy landscape with perhaps a few lifeless bodies dotting the hills after a nighttime battle (I guess I could have just said it has a “mournful” quality!). Blue’s acoustic guitar joins in at the center mic, and the studio-quality recording is very clean without a lot of reverb until the tempo picks up.
Blue’s vocals are genuine and perhaps a bit tentative at first, but he really nails the choruses: “I don’t need to be near her to feel Maria’s touch… I don’t need to hear her to feel the words of love / Once a dream takes over you, you know it’s not enough.” There’s also a nice harmony vocal that may or may not be Blue overdubbing himself. The strings continue along behind him, which keeps making me feel like this love song takes place during the Civil War. It’s a lovely, heartrending sound that immediately found a spot on my Spotify favorites.
I’m sure the name Anthony Blue is as new to you as he was to me, but I intend to explore his music more fully and strongly recommend giving him a listen!
Sons Of Faust is an ambient/electronic musical project founded in 2020 by George Miadis. Miadis collaborated with Panagiotis Chatzistefanou (Berlin, Germany) who is the owner of Psychonaut Elite Records and the creative director of the project. We first heard from and reviewed the release A Memorable Prophecy in 2021 and they are now back with Vital Delusions.
They mention “Sons of Faust make music inspired by obscure soundtracks, ambient dreamscapes, library oddities, experimental rock and synth pop; their sound is uchronic, not so much timeless as existing in an idealized time, a recurring moment which commemorates the betrayal between memory and history.”
I agree. This is very much a soundscape based album but more along a song type structure. It’s not as formless as say Ambient 1: Music for Airports by Brain Eno but not nearly as conventional as a pop song format.
"Better Days," the album's opening track, sets the stage for a mesmerizing experience spanning almost ten minutes. Beginning with a minimalist arrangement featuring electric piano and vocals, the composition gradually unfolds, incorporating airy synths, reverb-laden guitars and expansive drums. The ‘70s-infused aesthetic adds a nostalgic touch, and the vocals, enhanced with subtle effects, contribute to the overall allure. The song traverses various soundscapes, culminating in an epic and triumphant outro.
"Farewell Aldebaran" takes the listener on a cosmic voyage, conjuring imagery of space exploration. Sci-fi-infused sounds transport us to an alien planet, building in intensity and delivering delightful surprises throughout—a triumph in spirit. The groove-infused "You Came Too Late" employs electronic drums, orchestral elements and synths, accompanied by spoken vocals with a robotic quality reminiscent of Radiohead's "Fitter Happier."
The track "Revolution (In the Summertime)" emerges as a potential single, boasting a catchy vocal melody and an irresistible hook, unexpectedly incorporating elements of post-punk and new wave. "How Insensitive" explores experimental soundscapes, providing a introspective turn before leading into the album's closer, "Pretty Girl." Dark, ominous, mysterious and grand, this track showcases exceptional sound design with an otherworldly quality, reminiscent of the late Scott Walker.
In a year still in its infancy, Sons Of Faust's Vital Delusions stands out as an exceptional release, a testament to their innovative approach within the ambient/electronic/experimental genre. This album has the potential to become one of the most celebrated releases of the year. Highly recommended.
Born and bred in Baltimore, Maryland, Benny Clough's musical progression was shaped by the timeless sounds of bands like Led Zeppelin, Van Morrison and Pink Floyd during the classic era. These influences resonate strongly in Clough's solo career, exemplified by his inaugural full-length album Aria Of Fire.
Armed with a degree in Music Composition and Voice Performance from Goucher College, Towson, Maryland, Clough is driven by a relentless passion to unravel the intricacies of music and make a mark in the industry. With his latest venture, the rock/folk-infused EP titled London Fog he might just do that.
The album kicks off with the title track, "London Fog," a modern-day barn burner that channels the energy of ‘80s and ‘90s rock. Clough's vocals, reminiscent of Jack White, soar effortlessly, complemented by impressive lead guitar work. This high-octane opener sets the stage, leaving listeners eager for what lies ahead.
"Double Groove" follows with an irresistible hook, making it an instant earworm. A straightforward tune with 4/4 timing, major and minor chords, and memorable melodies, it showcases Clough's ability to craft infectious and accessible music.
Taking a stylistic pivot, "Dance Until We're Bones" exudes a rockabilly feel, marked by a rolling snare and a cleaner sonic canvas. The song ventures into a slightly psychedelic territory, maintaining a clear and impactful hook. "Orange Moon" introduces the album's first ballad, featuring a smooth vocal delivery and strummed acoustic guitar. The atmospheric elements create a serene and angelic ambiance, showcasing Clough's versatility. "The Flood" revisits the energetic terrain of the album's initial tracks, while "Broken Arrows" emerges as an epic ballad, enriched with shimmering piano and orchestral elements. "Hall Of Illusion" delivers its moments, and the album concludes with "One Last Candle," a certified closer that grandiosely wraps up the musical journey.
Clough exhibits a commendable ability to diversify his musical palette throughout the album, offering a compelling listening experience. There's much to appreciate here, making it a worthwhile exploration for music enthusiasts.
Michael Cullison, a Hermitage, TN native, sowed the seeds of his songwriting prowess from a tender age, drawing inspiration from the diverse musical inclinations of his rock-loving mother and Americana/country-leaning father. While his roots are grounded in familial influences, Cullison identifies himself primarily as a lyricist, emphasizing the importance of storytelling in his craft. According to him, some songs strike like lightning, but the refinement process continues long after the initial spark. Cullison's latest offering, Two For The Road, reflects this meticulous approach.
The two tracks on this aptly titled release exude purity and authenticity, akin to the comforting familiarity of Grandma's apple pie. Devoid of pretense, the album thrives on compelling narratives and exceptional musicality.
"Comin’ To Me" kicks off with a slick guitar riff, seamlessly joined by a full band. The vocals exude sincerity and authenticity, establishing an immediate connection with the listener. Beyond the commendable vocal work, the music itself is noteworthy, featuring a steady groove from the rhythm section and a smooth veneer provided by the slide guitar.
"When We Lit Together" evokes a melting sensation, with lush, almost tropical sounds. The song, if materialized, would be akin to silk. Enhanced by a subtle energy infusion from the drums, the vocals exude warmth, putting the listener in a delightful mood.
For those ever traversing the musical landscape of Tennessee, catching Michael Cullison live is highly recommended. While the recordings offer a glimpse of his talent, the live experience is speculated to surpass expectations. In essence, Cullison proves to be the kind of musician whose live performance is a must-see, making Two For The Road a solid recommendation.
Become A Fan
Hullore returns with EP2, showcasing a remarkable evolution since their debut with Hello. EP2 is a triumph, boasting a full-bodied track list that brims with energy and infectious hooks. The song hit hard with undeniable rhythm section and exceptional guitar work.
The opening track, "Pie In the Sky," kicks off with a solo guitar, soon enveloped by distortion, drums and bass. Its killer groove, infused with syncopated energy reminiscent of Queens of The Stone Age, sets the tone. The vocals, smooth and almost Beatles-esque, seamlessly intertwine with impeccable drum and guitar work. The snare cuts through like a machine gun, while the warm distortion of the guitars remains inviting, avoiding unnecessary harshness.
"Breathe" accelerates the BPM, delivering incredible drum work and exuding a ‘90s punk energy akin to bands like NOFX. Clocking in at just under three minutes, it's a relentless, adrenaline-pumping experience without a single ounce of excess. It felt like a great song to get the energy even more intense after the opener.
With "Garden of Faith," Black Sabbath echoes emerge, as the ‘70s classic rock riffs create an ascending journey. The vocalist's proclamation, "Give all your love to one who lives above," adds a nasty yet enticing darkness to the track. My favorite of the four, "Sun Meets Earth," is just all around great tune. Channeling classic rock vibes, especially reminiscent of Black Sabbath, it cleverly blends with a contemporary indie flavor.
In an era where sounds are often rigidly quantized, this EP is a breath of fresh air, offering a dynamic and invigorating musical experience. Highly recommended!
The Sidleys operate as a familial collective, a true family band where every member, from parents to children, contributes to the project. The inherent charm of their familial involvement piqued my interest, and I was already a fan before the music even began. Yet, upon immersing myself in their sonic world, I found myself not just impressed but genuinely enthralled, envisioning their music as a live experience worth witnessing.
In the realm of "Break You Fall," a rock core beats with an American flair, laced with an understated funk that brought to mind echoes of Peter Gabriel. The grooves weave a tapestry that feels coincidentally motivational, carrying a sense of optimism at certain junctures. The track unfolds gracefully, reaching a pinnacle around the two-and-a-half-minute mark with a breakdown that segues into a breathtaking crescendo. The ensuing magic sustains the energy until the song's conclusion—an awe-inspiring musical journey.
The opening notes of "I Didn't Know" unveil slick guitar work, accompanied by a comforting warmth akin to the feeling of coming home. In the midst of cold times, the song serves as a sonic campfire, offering solace. The lead vocals, impressive in their delivery, are complemented by harmonies that enhance the enchantment.
A memorable hook, coupled with an original and unique guitar solo, elevates the track. As it progresses, cascading vocals emerge from multiple directions, creating a rich and immersive experience. The song is not just a composition; it's a refuge, assuring that everything will be okay at the end of the day. And that is a message I think most of want to hear these days.
Established as premier performers in the Washington DC scene, the dynamic husband-and-wife songwriting duo, Annie and Steve Sidley, reach new heights with their indie rock and soul project, The Sidleys. Drawing inspiration from a diverse range of artists such as Stevie Wonder and The Beatles, and fueled by Annie's soulful vocals, The Sidleys craft music that is simultaneously memorable, modern and instantly classic. This familial collective often features the musical talents of their sons, Sean, Colin and Ian, both on stage and in the studio.
Having delved into their latest offering, “Green Light”, is the quintessential Saturday night anthem. The funk-infused, soul-soaked track kicks off with a steady rhythm of kick, keys and clean funky guitar, reaching its peak when the bass and additional percussion, reminiscent of bongos, join the mix. The soulful vocals carry emotion, leading to an irresistible hook that introduces an airy ‘70s synth, evoking a nostalgic vibe.
The song's momentum builds as it seamlessly transitions back into the verse, enriched by additional instrumentation. The standout bass line and a well-placed guitar solo add a touch of magic to the composition. Around the three-minute mark, a captivating breakdown sets the stage for the grandest crescendo, ensuring an exhilarating ride.
From start to finish, "Green Light" is a joyous experience, designed to make bodies move. It's a sonic journey that demands to be turned up, urging listeners to surrender to the rhythm and dance. The Sidleys have delivered a musical delight that resonates with infectious energy and undeniable groove.
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