Category Archives: Album Reviews

O.A.R. “King” [NEW MUSIC]

HOLD ON A SECOND!   I can hear you yelling at me for this post already.  Jeeze louise.  I will cautiously start this post by saying I LOVE THIS BAND so take a hike if you’re a hater.  I always have and they have always held a special place in my heart right near where my 17 year old self lives.  OAR is awesome.   Crazy Game of Poker, Night Shift, Hey Mr. Brown (NOTE:  So the title “Hey Mr. Brown is wrong and I got called out on it.  The song is actually titled “ABOUT Mr. Brown!”  Man I was wayyyyyyy off… And for the record yes I do listen to this band.  Also for the record I hate the word “about” so I changed it to “hey” cuz I can do whatever I want.  Just saying),  Ok now we’re back… City on Down and many many more are songs that we all listened to while drinking our first underaged beers or attending our first concerts (Sprite Liquid Mix Tour!  What! What!)  I honestly don’t know if it’s cool or not to love this band anymore and I don’t care.  I can hear you stripping me of the little/ any indie cred I may or may not have had.  I don’t give a shit.  The boys in OAR have just released a new record and I got to say they are sporting somewhat of a new sound with the same old roots rock vibe they’e always worn on their sleeve.  Their new release is called “King”.  Clocking in at 16 tracks take a listen as we go through this.  You might stay in love with these guys or fall in love all over again., no homo.

King – OAR (feat. Russell Simmons and DJ Logic)

WHAT?  Yea, I know, BOOM!  DJ Logic and Russell Simmons in your face, first track!  See, I told you they were sounding different these days.  As the record moves on they have embraced the pop music they are oh so good at creating and have added more production, samples and goodies.  Moving on.

Heaven – OAR

Horns are just killing it all over this record.  OAR tours with Jerry and his signature sax sound, but I think the addition of a larger horn section on the recordings really supports OAR’s cause.  I think lead singer Marc Roberge has a great voice and with the addition of great backing vocals makes him sound even better.  With Benji on bass and Chris on drums they are just building on a great root sound they have perfected over the last 10 years if not more.  The next track I love has a little island flare and once again features big horns and great vocals by Marc.

Are You Low? – OAR

As I moved through this record.  I’m in love.  Big electric sounds, samples and under it all is the OAR we all know and love.  The sound is bigger, heavier.  The guitars rock and blare like I have never heard from this band.  They are firing reggae infused roots rock on all cylinders.

Gotta Live – OAR

I think I am running out of things to say about this band, but I will say this.  Since “In Between Now and Then” I have been a fan.  Years later, I admit, I have fallen out of love with OAR and moved on to other musical tastes, but after stumbling on to these guys again I immediately remember why I was drawn to them in the first place.  Great songs, melodies and rhythms.  They are just a fun band.  If you have ever had the pleasure of seeing them live you will know ten fold what I’m talking about.  I think I saw them upwards of 10 times in high school and college and those were some of the best shows that defined my earlier years as a music lover.

Almost Easy – OAR

The dudes are currently out with Dave Matthews and their traveling caravan.  They are also wrapping up their tour and are making a stop locally in San Diego on October uno.  Road trip anyone?  Here’s the tour page, hopefully they are coming to a city near you and I’m sure they will announce more dates soon.  Here’s the last tune from OAR’s “KING” as well as a sweet bonus track.  You can buy thier record just about anywhere, even on the internet.  Enjoy the new sounds OAR is making.  I know I am.

Back to One – OAR

World Like That – OAR

By: Steve Rippin | Beat-Play Ambassador Los Angeles | @stevewithMWL|Music Without Labels & Beat-Play, LLC

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Talain Rayne – “Attic Lights” Album and Music Video Release for “Dear Brother, your Sister” [NEW MUSIC/VIDEO]

Everything in the music industry starts with a song.  In the case of Talain Rayne, it also starts with a motivation, passion, and enthusiasm that is unmatched by many of today’s upcoming artists.  With an excellent debut album and growing fan base on the east coast, it’s no question that Talain’s passion for music has caused him to give it everything he’s got and empower others to keep him going.  His album “Attic Lights” is filled with songs that drive, rejuvenate, and take you away to a listening bliss.  It all came together when Talain joined forces with engineer Jonathan Castelli and guitarist Jonny Kapps in the fall of 2010 to co-produce the album.  The passion is in the music folks, and Talain has poured everything he has into his music and more.  Hear for yourself and check out the title track “Attic Lights” from his debut album:

Still reading?  Good, I thought you might.  The realization that music was his ultimate passion and goal came when Talain spent a semester at the Contemporary Music Center (CMC) at Martha’s Vineyard, now located in Nashville.  With only a few years experimenting with playing piano and singing, Talain took off writing songs and performing, growing his recently discovered talent.  “His dynamic personality is reflected in the melodramatic, electronic-infused, pop-rock that is bound together by his characteristic voice.”   His songs were drawn from his family and closest relationships.  The love, struggle, and honesty of Talain’s life story is captured in each and every one of his songs.  I encourage you to give them a listen because I can guarantee that there is something for everyone to appreciate here.  From the first to the last song on the album, Talain lays it all out in the tracks.  Honestly, there is not a song that I wouldn’t recommend listening to.  Songs like “Dear Sister, Your Brother,” and “Family Wall” have received radio attention in the Philadelphia area, while electronic-influenced songs like “Owls” and “Lemonbright*” bring the listener to a different place in music entirely.  Check out this video of “Family Wall” which was featured on MTV’s The Seven:

I was a fan of his music before he stepped foot in the studio.  It was after meeting with him and playing some music together when I realized that he is also an amazing photographer and videographer, has a passion for youth, and has great taste in fine wine and cheese.  After all, he is French.  He is also a big fan of Phoenix, the French band that lit up the charts with the song 1901 from the album Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.  His biggest inspiration comes from the bands Sleeping at Last, Coldplay, Sigur Ros, The Rocket Summer, and Shiny Toy Guns.  Check out this song Lemonbright* from his debut album:

With only a $125 budget and some help from his friends at CMC, Talain Rayne just released a new music video today for “Dear Sister, your Brother.”  Check it out!

Last time I saw him live, it was at the Lazerdome in central, PA.  The crowd got rocked by Talain’s energy, his band’s solid groove, and the dialed in tone from the keys and guitars.  This summer, Talain Rayne is playing main stage this year at Purple Door Music Festival in central Pennsylvania.   You can check out his new tour dates at www.talainrayne.com, which has links to his latest media.  Be sure to keep an eye out for his tour coming this fall!

By: Steve Harpine | Nashville Ambassador | @Steve_MWL | Beat-Play & Music Without Labels, LLC

Stroked “Is This It” [ALBUM REVIEW]

One of the best parts about writing this blog is the music.  Learning about new music and constantly listening to new bands and sharing it with you is a major perk.  Thinking you have your finger on the pulse of the Los Angeles music scene is also nice and completely unrealistic in this massive behemoth of a musical metropolis.  LA has so much to offer music wise and the ever changing musical landscape here is mind boggling but there are certain things that are definitive and one hundred percent accurate and one of them is popularity.  Good or bad popularity of a rock and roll act can’t be denied.  This blog is about one of the my favorite bands of all time and a very popular one at that.  They are called The Strokes.  Now your probably ready to punch me in the face for writing about something so mainstream?  Hold your horses cowboy and let me explain.  This year marks the 10th anniversary of The Stroke’s seminal album “Is This It.”  It’s a hit fest from start to finish.  Stereogum has put together a special tribute to “Is This It” with major and non major indie artists doing takes on the songs.  Get excited.

Peter Bjorn and John – Is This It

I don’t know or have heard a lot of the bands on this awesome tribute but I will highlight some of the best.  The opening tracks guitar laden effects slathered and the awesome vocal stylings of Peter Bjorn and John of “Young Folks” fame brings some major indie cred and star power to this record.  “Is This It” is one of the best / my favorite Strokes songs ever.  As a fitting introduction to the band ten years ago it has now become yet again a fitting introduction to “Stroked.”  For those keeping score I’m going to skip “Modern Age” and move into the third track on the record.  This version of “Soma” by Frankie Rose is a completely mellowed out pseudo electronic version of the original.

Soma – Frankie Rose

Pretty awesome version if I do say so myself.  A lot of these artists are new to me so perk up and leave a comment if you know more or can suggest something I should listen to.  This next track is The Strokes most famous and popular song.  It’s called “Last Night” and it’s done by a great band called The Morning Benders.  Recently The Strokes have toured the festival circut and released a new record of great music as well as efforts after “Is This It,” but for whatever reason I can’t get enough of this pop gem.  People (mostly me) go nuts when they play it on a nightly basis and it has defined the band since it was released 10 years ago.

Last Night – The Morning Benders

Awesome cover, awesome song.  Deep breaths, I’m getting all worked up.  The synth in that version kills it (kills it in a good way).  There is just enough of the original, great melody mixed with a quick pop beat, awesome cover.  Ok moving on.  This is where it get’s interesting.  I said earlier this record is a complete and utter hit fest.  Obviously I wouldn’t lie to you.  Many of the concert staples The Strokes play come off this record and from what I’ve read they actually enjoy playing them on a nightly basis.  On of the tunes I love so much is called “Hard To Explain.”  For me it’s the iconic example of how good of a singer Julian Casablancas actually is.  The tribute version keeps that in mind giving it the acoustic treatment, more specifically the string quartet treatment.  It’s a light touch with heavily effected vocals and I think it does the trick while keeping in mind how good the original is.

Hard To Explain – Owen Pallett

Gorgeous composition and great vocals from Owen Pallett that track is a stand out in the second half.  The next song is “New York City Cops.”  Yet another fan favorite and live staple.  The version on this compilation is, in a word, interesting?  It’s a hip hop song.  SAYYYY WHATTTTT?????  But, Steve “NYC Cops” is one of the most rockin’ tracks on the whole record why would they give it the hip hop treatment?  To be honest I have no idea, but its a pretty cool version of the song using a sample of Julian’s vocal as the chorus.  Check it out here.  I won’t judge if you won’t.

New York City Cops – Heems

This brings us to the end of the record.  We’ll skip over “Trying Your Luck” and get right after it with “Take it or Leave It.”  This epic show closer tells you like it is and that’s the way The Stroked have been since day one.  They make their music and quite frankly don’t give an f-bomb what anyone else thinks.  They have made some of my favorite music of all time and this tribute Stereogum put together is a fitting tribute to a great record and a greater band.  Enjoy The Strokes.  Enjoy this entire compilation for FREE HERE, take it or leave it.

Take It Or Leave It – Computer Magic

By: Steve Rippin | Beat-Play Ambassador Los Angeles | @stevewithMWL|Music Without Labels & Beat-Play, LLC

Will Gray – Broke* Documentary – “Introducing Will Gray” [FILM & MUSIC]

Every single aspiring independent artist, band, producer, or musician should pay close attention.  We all know that the music industry has undergone extreme changes, and it continues to change in this current age of transition.  Labels are folding, music is free, and the digital age is upon us.  What do we do?  Can artists still do this, be happy, and support themselves?  All these questions and more are discussed in Will Gray’s Broke* Documentary.  However, Will didn’t just wake up one day and decide to do a documentary about the struggles of emerging artists.  He has been living it for over a decade.  Broke* is about the music industry, and what it takes to thrive as an independent artist or music executive in search of their big break.  The documentary features interviews from industry names like Don Was, John Legend, Isaac Slade from The Fray, Seth Godin, Kelly Clarkson, and many more.  After sifting through 300+ hours of footage and more than 60 interviews, Broke* has been created and directed with perfection.  In fact, the film won the Special Jury Prize at the Nashville Film Festival this spring.  “The film digs beneath the clichés and standard storylines to reveal an industry struggling to find a new identity and an artist who’s simply trying to establish one.”  The question: “Can a new act be “broken”?”

Will Gray is not only a great director for his documentary Broke*, but he is an amazing musician that combines folk and hip-hop to create some truly incredible, fresh, and intelligent music.  His influences range from jazz greats like Miles Davis to pop icons like Michael Jackson.  “Will Gray is an independent Hip-Hop/Americana artist who has shared the stage with acts ranging from Erykah Badu, Twista, and Jurassic 5, to Justin Townes Earle and Los Lonely Boys. His original songs have been licensed by MTV, Ford Motor Co., Warner Bros. Records, Playstation, and Motorola.”  This is music that I feel speaks to everyone musically, and conceptually.  Will Gray released his debut album “Introducing Will Gray” under the production of Grammy Award-winning producer T Bone Burnett.  Check out one of my favorite songs from the album called “Back to the Wall:”

Will Gray may be one of the most influential artists of this generation; not because his music is number one on the charts (although it certainly could be), but because he is grabbing the industry by the horns and showing the world what it takes.  As the industry continues through a transitional period, this film gives an inside look at how music executives, producers, and artists feel about its current and future status.  Will music survive the digital age?  Will true and significant art be able to endure pop culture?  What is the breaking point, if it still exists?  As music continues to thrive upon the feel-good listener, Will Gray’s music explores new musical concepts as well as lyrical concepts untouched by the mainstream.   Please explore what this artist has to offer at willgraymusic.com.  Check out the Broke* Documentary, and buy “Introducing Will Gray.”

By: Steve Harpine | Nashville Ambassador | @Steve_MWL | Beat-Play & Music Without Labels, LLC

The Honeymoon Thrillers – “The Honeymoon Thrillers” [MUSIC]

If you’re interested in the Nashville rock scene, you need to know about The Honeymoon Thrillers.  Formed last year in February 2010, the band came together to create some pretty stellar music with influences from The Beach Boys, Elvis, The Clash, and The Strokes.  The band members include Nathan Barlowe (lead vocals, guitar), Cary Barlowe (guitar, vocals), Chris Boyle (bass), Jared Byers (drums), and Josiah Holland (keyboards).  The Barlowe brothers were previously well known for their other project Luna Halo, which received a lot of local attention.  The other members of the group hail from bands The Lonely Hearts, Bleach, and Mean Tambourines.  While the new surf rock group creates sounds similar to The Killers, Kings of Leon, and Weezer, they have definitely developed a distinct sound.  Their self-titled album released June 18, 2010 is loaded with this new vintage, yet modern sound and vibe that will keep you entertained for it’s entirety.  “Shine,” “Summer Song,” and “Sally Don’t Be So Mad” are just a few of the great songs on this record.  Produced by Chris Granger, the album was certainly able to naturally capture all of the songs in a way that listeners could get a perfect feel for the band.  “We used 3 mics on the drums and one in the hallway all recorded in mono.”  With final help from Grammy award-winning engineer Vance Powell (White Stripes, Raconteurs, Dead Weather), The Honeymoon Thrillers finalized a great mix for a killer debut album.  Take a listen:

Soundcloud:

The idea of The Honeymoon Thrillers started when Nathan Barlowe began writing songs with inspiration from old records that his dad and uncle used to listen to.  The unique style and sound of their music began when Barlowe left a distortion pedal on while recording demos.  “I realized I had never really heard anything like what was happening. It was retro and modern all at once.”  That was the point when he knew that this had to come together, so he brought his brother and friends on board.  Check out this video for one of my favorite songs from The Honeymoon Thrillers called “Summer Song:”

The Honeymoon Thrillers stepped right onto the scene last spring with a debut show at SXSW in Austin, TX and feature performances at Next Big Nashville and CMJ festival in NYC.  With additional attention from magazines like SPIN and various websites, the band became a sure up-and-coming phenomenon that would continue to make significant progress in the Nashville rock scene.  Even Kings of Leon bassist Jared Followill has given attention by laying down bass on their first record.  I am definitely looking forward to hearing more from The Honeymoon Thrillers in years to come.  Listen to and purchase their album here.

By: Steve Harpine | Nashville Ambassador | @Steve_MWL | Beat-Play & Music Without Labels, LLC

Rave On Buddy Holly [ALBUM REVIEW]

You know every song I’m about to post.  I would hope that you know every artist I’m about to post.  It’s also important that you know who a guy named Buddy Holly is.  I think you do.  “Rave On Buddy Holly” is one of the best tribute records I have ever heard.  The artist lineup and the song choices are epic and spot on.  Buddy Holly, in my opinion, embodied the spirit of local music.  Constantly touring until his untimely death.  I think it’s only proper that a site like this one devoted to spreading the word of good music and artist recognition take a breather from the underground hip hop and indie rock and take a look back at one of the original indie rockers and the people he has inspired.

Fiona Apple and Jon Brion – Everyday

See I told you!  Fiona Apple and Jon Brion own the second track and one of Holly’s greatest tunes.  Brion is an LA local and he plays shows every Friday night down at the Largo on La Cienega.  Fiona just has such an amazing voice.  I figured that would be a good tune to start out with to wet your whistle.

Dearest – The Black Keys

The video was a little lame, but it has some cool pictures so I left it.

If it wasn’t for that damn plane crash Buddy Holly may well still be with us and who knows what other great music he would have created.  This record is in honor of the man’s 75th birthday and what an impact he has had.  This tribute features everyone from friggin’ Kid Rock to Lou Reed to Modest Mouse to Patti Smith to She and Him to PAUL MCCARTNEY (he gets all caps cuz he’s a Beatle).  It’s pretty all over the place pulling artists from every possible genre of popular music.  My favorite track however is by the one and only Cee Lo Green.  His voice is just unbelievable.  He has found pop success of epic proportions and is far from an indie artist, but he branches out here an gives us an amazing take on a Buddy Holly classic.

(You’re so square) Baby I don’t care – Cee Lo Green

I really don’t have much to review here.  The music is classic and the artists on this record are really dead on in their interpretations of Holly’s music.  There is just enough of the original song and the best part is the obvious individual touches each artist put on his or her song.  One of the best examples of that is Florence and The Machine doing Holly’s tune ‘Not Fade Away.’

Not Fade Away – Florence and The Machine

I think Buddy Holly is beaming with a huge smile somewhere up in rock and roll heaven.  This is really just a fantastic assembly of talent all playing their asses off in honor of a great man.  I know I already said that, but who cares I’ll say it again.  I’m gonna finish this up with a few more tracks by She and Him and one of my favorite singers of all time, Graham Nash of Crosby, Stills, Nash (duh) and Young fame.  Lastly I’ll leave you with a surprising track.  I’m not going to tell you who’s singing it.  Guess in the comments section below and don’t cheat and look at the track listing.  It’s a very far attachement from what this artist usually does and it’s freakin’ amazing.

She and Him – Oh Boy!

Graham Nash – Raining in My Heart

???????? –  Well…All right

He died at 22 and at that age he had already helped define rock and roll as we know it.  He is arguably the most important figure bridging the gap between rockabilly to rock and roll.  He has obviously been missed, but after listening to this record I know for a fact he is not forgotten.  Rave on Buddy Holly…

Here’s the complete track list to inspire you to buy this record.  I’ll be back tomorrow with some good local music, but I had to get this one out.  It’s too good to ignore.

1. “Dearest” – The Black Keys (2:06)
2. “Every Day” – Fiona Apple & Jon Brion (2:19)
3. “It’s So Easy” – Paul McCartney (4:35)
4. “Not Fade Away – Florence + The Machine” (4:02)
5. “(You’re So Square) Baby, I Don’t Care” – Cee Lo Green (1:31)
6. “Crying, Waiting, Hoping” – Karen Elson (2:25)
7. “Rave On” – Julian Casablancas (1:55)
8. “I’m Gonna Love You Too” – Jenny O. (2:11)
9. “Maybe Baby” – Justin Townes Earle (2:06)
10. “Oh Boy” – She & Him (2:18)
11. “Changing All Those Changes” – Nick Lowe (1:41)
12. “Words Of Love” – Patti Smith (3:20)
13. “True Love Ways” – My Morning Jacket (3:25)
14. “That’ll Be The Day” – Modest Mouse (2:15)
15. “Well…All Right” – Kid Rock (2:09)
16. “Heartbeat” -The Detroit Cobras (2:20)
17. “Peggy Sue” – Lou Reed (3:19)
18. “Peggy Sue Got Married” – John Doe (3:57)
19. “Raining In My Heart” – Graham Nash (3:30)

By: Steve Rippin | Beat-Play Ambassador Los Angeles | @stevewithMWL|Music Without Labels & Beat-Play, LLC

Strand of Oaks Live at The Basement in Nashville, TN [SHOW]

One thing that sets Nashville apart from most cities is that you can take a chance of just showing up at one of the city’s staple venues on almost any night and be completely taken away by the talent on stage.  I had one of those nights last week when I decided to check out The Basement in Nashville to scratch my Saturday night concert itch.  Allow me to describe what it was like to hear Timothy Showalter’s Strand of Oaks perform songs from his album Pope Killdragon.  From my hometown of Philadelphia, PA, Strand of Oaks performs by creating a masterful tone with his guitar and voice.  The combination of pedals and reverb create a beautiful sound that allows you to really enter in to each and every song.  With apocalyptic imagery and the creation of new worlds that seem somewhat familiar, the songs elaborate more than most with quality in writing. Check out this awesome song called “Bonfire:”

Strand of Oaks’ performance was pretty epic for a guy and his guitar.  He enters in to each song, fully emulating the emotion that it deserves.  Following each dramatic song, Timothy emits a lighthearted smile, which is rare in many singer-songwriter performances today.  To the audience member, it seemed to show that this artist was privileged to be able to share his music with me, and I was certainly privileged to hear it.  There was a fun side to this apocalyptic poet, like between songs when he said, “If only I could write a song about flip-flops.”  I, for one, am thankful that his creativity encompasses more than just songs about popular American footwear.

There seems to be more to Strand of Oaks than meets the eye and ear.  Even with what seems like a rough past, Timothy remains persistant and seemingly more inspired than ever.  He is definitely one of the most gracious and humble artists I’ve had the pleasure to talk to yet.  I would love to take a step inside his mind to view some of what inspires his creative genius.  Margan Galen King describes his most recent album, “Pope Killdragon pulls you in magnetically, forcing your attention to its every word in desperation to comprehend both your own surroundings and the threat looming in the distance.”  I encourage everyone to take a listen to this astonishing album because there is certainly nothing else like it out there.

Steve Harpine | Nashville Ambassador | @Steve_MWL | Beat-Play & Music Without Labels, LLC

AraabMuzik – Electronic Dreams [NEW MUSIC]

araab muzik electronic dreams

So I know most of you on here know of The Diplomats. You know, the harlem hiphop group started by rappers Cam’Ron and Jim Jones. Well I heard the new single “Streetz Tonight” as my first AraabMuzik song and was just completely blown away by the killer composition and transitioning between hip-hop and dance with such ease. Turns out that Araab’s been rollin’ under The Diplomats for quite sometime and definitely making his mark as one of the illest producers in the game on an MPC. Having only been in the spotlight for a few years he is really starting to make a name for himself with the recent release of his solo debut album Electronic Dreams. Here’s the first track I heard and one of his top singles so far, “Streetz Tonight”

After hearing that track you sense that heavy hiphop influence throughout the rhythms and drums, while incorporating that ever popular trance synth the modern party scene looks for in a dance hit. This Providence, Rhode Island native has definitely bagged a new sound and something with much room to build on. I’m excited to have heard such an amazing album in Electric Dreams and I encourage you to check it out. This second track builds beautifully off the ecstasy of female vocals dropped into a sick hip-hop breakdown suitable for any listen experience. Here is “Golden Torch”

Written By: Mark G. Valente | Online Marketing Director | @MarkwithMWL | Music Without Labels & Beat-Play, LLC

Sublime with Rome “Yours Truly” [NEW MUSIC]

This weekend is being deemed “Car-Ma-Geddon” in LA.  Kinda like Armageddon, but even shittier than that movie.  They are shutting down one of our main freeways and basically telling the rest of the city to eff off and find another route.  Greaaaaaaaaaaatttttttt.  They expect traffic to be backed up 50 miles north and south.  If you go 45-50 miles south of LA you reach the fine city of Long Beach CA.  Now just pretend your sitting in terrible traffic in Long Beach.  What music comes to mind?  You probably have heard of a little band from Long Beach called Sublime.  “Santeria,” “What I Got,” Date Rape,” “Wrong Way,” just to name a couple are some of the tunes that have defined this section of the country and the reggae rock movement on So Cal not to mention propelled this band to uber success.  I went to a concert one time and “Sublime” was playing over the PA before the Dave Matthew’s Band took the stage. The crowd sang the lyrics so loud when the band took the stage they were so astonished by what they were hearing they sang a long and let the last tune play out, unreal.  The new in carnation of the band is called Sublime with Rome (The new lead singer) and today they have just released “Yours Truly”.  Check it out, then we’ll discuss…

Panic – Sublime with Rome

It sounds similar.  It sounds good.  They look similar because the rythm section of Eric Wilson on bass and Bud Gaugh on drums is still in tact.  The big difference is the lead singer Rome who replaces the deceased Bradley Nowell.  He has an amazingly similar voice to Nowell.

Now before you start thinking I’m going in the direction you think I am I will have you know I’m not.  I have to make the initial comparison, a little background.  This is a new band playing the great style music that made them famous and people like me love them in the first place.  Quite frankly im excited Sublime is back in any state making great So Cal roots rock.  This tune should get you in the mood for some new Sublime music.

Only – Sublime with Rome

Enough of that serious stuff from before.  This band since I have known about them and beyond has been all about fun upbeat music and nothing has changed at all.  In “Yours Truly” we get to hear Sublime’s slightly different take on what the have been doing.  There are your standard Sublime-y songs throughout the record.  Great tunes  like “My World,” “Murdera,” and “Only,” are definitely in the same vein as the good ole days.  The best part about this record however is the new sounding stuff.  Tunes like “PCH” and “Paper Cuts” have the lighter and slightly harder sounds respectively that we haven’t heard recently from Sublime.

PCH – Sublime With Rome

Paper Cuts – Sublime with Rome

I’m not entirely sure I can get behind that tune PCH.  I think it has to much bubbles to it… To much Jason Mraz-y, Jack Johnson-y vibey “hey lets go to the beach”-ness to it.  Did that make sense?  Prolly not, but hey they can’t all be gems?  Am I right?  “Paper Cuts” however is a hard, fast and in your face awesome song.   Any way as you can see this record has a lot of different flavors in it… even a little something for the Jason Mraz fan in you, I know it’s there.

Thats what the band sounds like playing one of my all time favorite Sublime songs.  They sound awesome playing the old stuff and I’m sure the new stuff sounds equally great.  For those who are nostalgic “Yours Truly” hits all the right notes and for those who love Jason Mraz this record hits one very brief note.  Had to…

Sublime is touring with 311 (ummm… awesome?) and although they don’t have a home town show booked as of yet I think the So Cal area is always on their radar.   You can buy their new record literally everywhere.

Here’s the last tune from Sublime with Rome’s “Yours Truly” and a bonus track feat. everyone’s favorite pot head Wiz Khalifa.

Spun – Sublime with Rome

Can You Feel It (Feat. Wiz Khalifa) – Sublime with Rome

By: Steve Rippin | Beat-Play Ambassador Los Angeles | @stevewithMWL|Music Without Labels & Beat-Play, LLC

Trevor Menear “Some Kind Of Sunshine” [NEW MUSIC]

It’s been just over a week since my last blog post.  Sorry.  Had to go visit the lady in North Carolina.  Thought I’d use my trip to discover some cool local bands out there, but instead I found hippie jam band drum circles and people playing homemade instruments (the terrible sounding kind) in the street.  Kinda cool if your deaf, but not really my cup of tea.  There is a time and place for hippie jam band drum circles and a romantic evening with the lady you haven’t seen in a couple months is not the time and in my ear drums wasn’t the place.  Instead I stumbled upon this awesome new artist named Trevor Menear.  I signed up for his mailing list at The Satellite Lounge in LA right before I left and he gave me his CD for free.  I listened to it on the plane ride back to LA and I wish I knew it was this good because honestly would have paid 20 bones.

River Blues – Trevor Menear

Chicago native Menear is a blues man.  His most recent and second full length offering “Some Kid Of Sunshine” he features the blues with a small hint of pop mixed in just for fun.  Two things hit me right off the bat.  His guitar work and the originality and distinctness of Trevor’s voice.  Both are the stars of the show on this record.  His take on the blues is fresh and his acoustic picking is just awesome.  This record has a good mix of heavy and light.  A good example to contrast that first track “River Blues” is the track “Better On The Way”.

Better On The Way – Trevor Menear

It’s pretty awesome when you stumble on an artist with this kind of range.  He keeps the same general tone throughout the record, but each song is very different and the mix between his acoustic picking and the electric guitar is awesome to listen to.  All that acoustic light stuff is nice, but lets be serious this guy can wail so lets hear some more.  Here’s an original off the record and a video of Trevor and band covering “Champagne and Reefer” by the legendary Muddy Waters.

Make Me Howl- Trevor Menear

That’s my favorite song on this record.  Come to think of it maybe “Blues River” is.  Eh, whatever they are both awesome tunes and as the starting two tracks on this record needless to say my attention was grabbed in a big way.  There are other little gems on this record as well.  One tune in particular is the track “Giver Her a Name” It’s kind if buried near the end of the record, but the haunting melodies and the strings are really cool especially after the heavy distortion of the guitar on the previous tracks.

Give Her a Name – Trevor Menear

Now for the good part.  Here’s where I get to tell you that Trevor lives locally in LA and has played and is playing a bunch of local free shows namely the Venice Beach Music Festival on August 13th.  I guess it’s really only good for me and the rest of the Californians, sorry.  His tour page is here and he’s playing The Foundry on Melrose tomorrow night from 8:30 to 11:30 for FREE.  I’ll see you there.

Now for the second good part.  On his website Trevor’s new record “Some Kind Of Sunshine” is available in the “pay what you want” format.  Do yourself a favor and throw him a 5 or a 10, whatever you can afford.  You won’t be disappointed
and you’ll get to hear the rest of the tracks I wasn’t able to fit above.

Here’s the last track as usual.  There are 13 tracks on this record.  Seriously buy it, I honestly think its worth a 20…

November (a long way from here) – Trevor Menear

By: Steve Rippin | Beat-Play Ambassador Los Angeles | @stevewithMWL|Music Without Labels & Beat-Play, LLC