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Saturday, July 31, 2010

Christian D And The Hangovers - Shake It...Or Leave It!

Christian D And The Hangovers - Shake It...Or Leave It!
2009, Christian D And The Hangovers

From the dark underbelly of Toronto, where urban cowboys moonlight in the psychobilly clubs comes Christian D And The Hangovers. Mixing early rock n roll with punk, country and lots of beer, Christian D And The Hangovers do for rockabilly what Big Rude Jake does for big band music. After the well-received Life Gets In The Way EP, released in 2008, Christian D And The Hangovers had to go full length to build on their legacy. Build on it they have with the dynamic Shake It...Or Leave It! This is an album you can't put down.

Shake It...Or Leave It! opens with the demented surf rock of "Vampire Rocker", capitalizing on the current vampire mania inspire by Twilight and fed by shows such as True Blood. Christian D has a post-punk Big Bopper persona that works well in the fast and loose musical arrangements presented here. "Life Gets In The Way" is pure early rock n roll, complete with backbeat and snappy melody line. On "Shimmy Shorts" Christian D is part Elvis, part Jerry Lee Lewis and part Phil Ramone, barreling his way through an entertaining and danceable bit of rock n roll. Christian D And The Hangovers get down to some pure rhythm and blues on "Good Woman", celebrating his woman's best traits even while deriding his own.

"Sleep My Life Away" is a catchy call to get up and go; a rough musical sketch that works in spite of the messy arrangement. On "Child Of The East Coast", Christian D digs into a country/rock sound that's appealing and seems to fit him well as a vocalist. "Baby Jane" is a raucous bit of early rock n roll likely to inspire fits of dancing, and features some of the cleanest guitar work on the album. "Hot Mess" seems like it should be destined to become the theme song of a movie of the same name. Once again, Christian D And The Hangovers manages to craft an incredibly catchy tune from a rough musical sketch that's highly appealing. "Hillbilly Heroin" is dark and catchy, but can't hold a candle to "Cornfed Dames", a tongue-in-cheek tribute to the talents of the fairer sex. Mack Black sits in with Christian D And The Hangovers on the closing number, "Dime A Dozen", a highly entertaining tune that will certainly not be the lead-in for the next NOW conference.

Christian D And The Hangovers aren't into pithy nuance; Shake It...Or Leave It! has the bad-boy feel of early rock n roll updated for today without pushing the envelope too seriously. Rock musical arrangements are the order of the day in support of entertaining, hip-shaking songs that are likely to cross generational boundaries in appeal. This isn't the refined sound of The Stray Cats, but a slightly rougher musical feel that's likely closer to the rough demos you might have heard out of 1960's mainstays such as The Beatles, Chuck Berry or even Dick Dale. If that sort of music is in your wheelhouse, then you're bound to appreciate Christian D And The Hangovers.

Rating: 4 Stars (Out of 5)

Learn more about Christian D And The Hangovers at or It...Or Leave It! is available as a digital-only album through and iTunes.

Jaimz Woodard - Addiction

Jaimz Woodard - Addiction
2010, Jaimz Woodard

Jaimz Woodard is an up-and-coming songwriter, among other things. While in the process of writing material for what will be his debut album, Woodard was called to active duty in Iraq. On the verge of returning home, Woodard has not lost his muse and plans on continuing work on his debut album, Addiction. Woodard was nice enough to send along some of the songs he's working on for Addiction for review.

Woodard's title track, "Addiction", is an angry affair built within a spare arrangement. Woodard's voice isn't exactly what you'd call pretty, but he does bring a presence to the microphone that's undeniable; sort of like Trent Reznor without the histrionic sense of self. "The Cat's In The Cradle (2010 Iraq Deployment version)" is competent, although don't try to follow the melody line too closely, as Woodard has strongly reinterpreted it in post-melodic style or simply doesn't have a strong sense of pitch. "Hometown Blues" features acoustic guitar over the sort of canned electronic beat known to anyone who's ever owned a Casio keyboard; it's an ode to childhood friends and the tendency to lose touch with your roots as the tide of life carries everyone to their own destinations. "Rearranged" has a darker, heavier feel backed up against a programmed beat. The sound quality and composition is reminiscent of some of Steve Lieberman's lighter tunes, although Woodard's attempts at vocals can't match the yelled intensity of The Gangsta Rabbi. Woodard's demo closes with "Standing Here Today", the best songwriting on the album (thus far). Woodard still doesn't have a strong relationship with the melody line, or at least not one you'd expect. This is more of a distraction than anything.

Jaimz Woodard deserves all credit for the sacrifices made to go so far from home and fight for a much maligned cause in difficult times; he and his brothers and sisters and arms deserve all credit and support for standing up each day for an ideal of peace and liberty, regardless of what you might think of the political motivations of those who direct the war in which they fight. As a musician, Woodard is competent on guitar, and does show flashes of songwriting skill. The mixes presented on the early demo for Addiction are quite rough and may not be reflective of the planned full length album; an eventuality that would benefit Woodard greatly. The mixes offered here are FAFO (friends and family only); not really worthy of being put out as a commercial endeavor. That being said, "Addiction" and "Standing Here Today" both show real promise as a songwriter. The disparity in styles can be both positive and negative in a post-modern, post-genre music world, but these songs do suggest Woodard at least has real potential as a songwriter. Vocally, Woodard is closer to Wesley Willis than John Mayer; able to present only ghostLes of the fine melodies I'm certain he hears in his head. Addiction may turn out to be something good, but it's going to take a lot of work.

Rating: 1.5 Stars (Out of 5)

Learn more about Jaimz Woodard at or will not be ready until late 2010 or early 2011, but you can download a handful of Woodard's songs from Amazon and iTunes.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Drive Like Maria - Elmwood

Drive Like Maria - Elmwood
2009, Play It Again Sam

Belgian/Dutch trio Drive Like Maria came together quickly and with great sparks, winning the Dutch finals of the Global Battle Of The Bands only weeks after meeting. The band went on to place in the international finals and have been on the road or in the studio ever since. In 2009, Drive Like Maria released their self-produced debut album, Elmwood, earning rave reviews and appearances at major festivals in Europe. Elmwood features folk singer Janis Ian on two tracks and introduces to the world one of the most promising young female guitarists in rock n roll, Nitzan Hoffmann.

Elmwood opens with "So", a post-punk progressive rocker that's full of catchy pop hooks. It's a great introduction and sets the tone for the rest of the album. "I'm On A Train" is a ridiculously catchy rock track. A bit free-form lyrically, Drive Like Maria uses a delicious heavy-pop chorus and a rhyming scheme to keep things moving. "Talk To Me" is pure, unadulterated pop/rock joy; vibrant rock n roll built around a big chorus and bigger guitar riffs. Folk/rock legend Janis Ian sits in on "Sure Enough", "Here Comes The Night" and "Die A Little More", adding a complementary voice to that of lead vocalist Bjorn Awouters. "Sure Enough" in particular is a treat, as Drive Like Maria strips things down to play a deft acoustic blues/folk style.

Seven songs in and it looks like Drive Like Maria has a breakthrough album on their hands, but things get a bit bland thereafter, spiced up only by the instrumental "Elmwood 6h25/Born On The Fourth Of July". This is one of those occasions where a (7 song) EP might have been a better choice, as there is a distinct fall-off in the quality of songs at the end.

That being said, Drive Like Maria swings into Elmwood showing heavy punch, an ability to rock, and the deftness to pull back and deliver a well-crafted song in gentler surroundings. Elmwood is a great start that should lead to even better things down the line for Drive Like Maria.

Rating: 3.5 Stars (Out of 5)

Learn more about Drive Like Maria at or is available digitally from Amazon or iTunesElmwood is available on CD directly from the band at

The Problems - Powder Blue Bone

The Problems - Powder Blue Bone
2010, The Problems

New York City's The Problems have done a lot of work below the radar since their critically acclaimed self-titled debut in 2001. While accolades piled up, The Problems moved into scoring films and writing for other artists. In 2007 the band decided to pursue the writing and release of a rock record, but it wasn't meant to be. The effort wasn't in vain, however. After meeting Eddy Goldberg (banjo, harmonica, keys, accordion, vox) and Kate Kilbane (bass), founding members Frank Caiafa and Barbara Corless reworked the album and re-imagined their sound. The resulting album, Powder Blue Bone, sets fans expectations on their ears, and is bound to raise the expectations bar the next time around.

Powder Blue Bone opens with "June", a stripped-down singer/songwriter tune with elements of blues and roots guitar work in the seams. It's a nice, low-key arrangement that adds in some interesting synth work to flesh out the sound. "Roses" is catchy and smarmy without trying to be, like Ron Hawkins jamming with Moxy Fruvous in a song about falling love with someone who appreciates the simple things. It's the first of several love songs on Powder Blue Bone, which turns out to be the antithesis of a breakup album. "Last Dance Mine" is a simple request made without inhibition or fear, out of hope and little else. "The Other One" is a love song written from the third party trying to cut in. It's upbeat and charmingly well-written, like the modern version of an old MGM-movie love song of similar ilk.

"Together" finds the narrator viewing a relationship with the future in mind. This upbeat and happy tune isn't quite a marriage proposal in song, but hints at all a proposal might bring. "When We Met" looks back on the roots of love in a sweet duet that's laid back and very much at peace. "Ran" starts out with Mark Knopfler-style guitar work and songwriting but fades a bit into a solid country/rock/roots arrangement. The approach again is low-key, and it works well with this song. The Problems stay on the same trajectory throughout the final four songs, a slow fade that seems them slowly decline into a bland landscape but never entirely losing the rootsy energy that drives Powder Blue Bone.

The Problems trip themselves up a few times on Powder Blue Bone but never lose balance. The songwriting is generally quite solid, although it's clear that the band's energy level fluctuates a bit throughout the album. Powder Blue Bone is a solid entry that tells you enough about the band to make you interested in what they'll do next.

Rating: 3 Stars (Out of 5)

Learn more about The Problems at or Blue Bone is available from as a CD or Download.  The album is also available from iTunes.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Terry Holder - Ticket To The Moment

Terry Holder - Ticket To The Moment
2008, Saffron Blonde Records

Terry Holder found her musical calling late in life. A stay at home mom for many years, Holder's youngest child left for college around the time her own mother died. These radical changes enveloped Holder in an emotional whirlwind from which she escaped through writing songs. What started out as catharsis quickly turned to career. Holder's debut album, 2001's Am I Here Is This Me, garnered critical acclaim and notable sales from an independent folk release. Her second album, Colored Rooms, furthered Holder's reputation as an honest songwriter who built stories out of human events and human emotion. Holder returned with her third album in 2008. Ticket To The Moment represents a step forward for Holder. Several years on the road have seasoned her songwriting abilities and helped her develop a story-teller's touch to go with her honest, emotive folk songs.

Ticket To The Moment opens with "Cross Your Mind", a gentle pop song with a bit of backbeat. Holder has great energy here, mixing tough and vulnerable and a pleasantly earthy voice that's a pleasure to listen to. "In God's Eyes" is a song of existential angst & a call to begin living life as opposed to simply letting it happen. "Wrecking Ball" is a brilliant performance that Holder wears as if it were her own story. On "Satellite", Holder captures the act of falling in love in meticulous and poetic grandeur. It's a tremendous example of deft songwriting as Holder brings you into the moment.

"Turn The Car Around" is a dynamic rocker about finding love when you least expect it and when it's least convenient. It's a wow moment; an amazing bit of songwriting that's destined to be covered by others. "When Will I Be Loved" is a melancholic turn with a great melody that shows off Holder's voice in very positive light. "Don't Forget" is a solid love song with a memorable melody and arrangement; the sort you'll be humming along with the first time you hear it. Holder hits a social justice theme with "Crack In The Sidewalk", a song bemoaning society's failure to care for its weakest members. The song has an almost martial air at times, an interesting mix within the country/rock arrangement Holder has crafted. Holder closes with a pair of low-key tunes, "Let's Go Away" and "Sail Goodbye".

Ticket To The Moment is a solid effort with a couple of bright, shining jewels in the crown. Holder's is the sort of voice that quietly catches your attention and holds it. She's not flashy, but her warm, earthy voice and subtle delivery have a way of sneaking up on you. If nothing else, Terry Holder has written some material here that will be revived again and again by other artists over the years. But if there's justice, there's a hit or two on Ticket To The Moment for Holder herself.

Rating: 4 Stars (Out of 5)

Learn more about Terry Holder at or To The Moment is available as both a CD and Download from The album is also available from iTunes.

Bob Pressner - Honor Among Thieves

Bob Pressner - Honor Among Thieves
2010, Bob Pressner

Bob Pressner returns in 2010 with Honor Among Thieves, a song cycle driven by his double life as a commodities trader and a working musician. While working in New York City in 1993, Pressner was injured in the World Trade Center bombing; an experience that drove him to pursue his musical interests with greater passion. That passion has paid off in rave critical reviews and the opportunity to play with some of the world's top musicians. Honor Among Thieves explores some of the darker aspects of humanity, but looks for the positive points in even some of mankind's darker tendencies.

Honor Among Thieves opens with "Afterglow", a great 1980's-style power ballad with a majestic chorus that resolves in to dark, uncertain verses. It's an intriguing opener that will inspire listeners to dig a bit deeper. Pressner quickly changes gears on "Honor Among Thieves" crafting a Beck-gone-retro blues/rock number that's catchy and danceable. All of this is tied up with a great pop chorus that will rattle around inside your brain for a good while. "Angels In The Wind" sounds like March Cohn and Dan Fogelberg got caught in Jeff Goldblum's teleportation device as they were writing "Walking In Memphis" and "Leader Of The Band", respectively. The sentiment is nice, but the Cohn-ic opening melody line and Fogelberg sentiment run together is a bit unsettling. Pressner goes for an alt/modern rock sound on "Bleeding My Dry", using a wall of sound to overpower what is essentially a non-committal melody line married to a spoken-word verse.

"Breakin' My Fall" is a love song written to a partner after years together, written from the perspective of all they've been through together, and all she's saved him from. It's a sweet song that will be familiar with those who have survived twenty years or so with the same partner. Pressner closes with "Independence Day", a great rock tune with a hook-laden, guitar-filled chorus that's irresistible.

Bob Pressner doesn't sit still on Honor Among Thieves, bouncing from style to style and sound to sound as his whimsy calls for. It's an enjoyable effort, although at times dizzying for the sudden turns Pressner engages in. If you like an artist to have a consistent sound then you may not enjoy Honor Among Thieves. If you're more the adventurous sort, then Pressner is worth checking out.

Rating: 3 Stars (Out of 5)

Learn more about Bob Pressner at or  The tracks from Honor Among Thieves are available on Pressner's website, but no purchase points could be located online.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Maddam Ink - Inklination

Maddam Ink - Inklination
2010, Allure Media

Maddam Ink is an Allentown, Pennsylvania rock quartet that’s been kicking around The Queen City since 2004. With their roots planted firmly in classic hard rock music, Maddam Ink greets the day with an eclectic and satisfying mix of classic and modern alternative rock sounds. This blend comes blasting out of your speakers on their debut album, Inklination.

Inklination falls somewhere between pop/metal and grunge with a mix of sharply written and slickly produced songs. This blend works well at times and falls short at others, but the overall impression left by Maddam Ink is of a competent heavy rock band with decent pop credentials and the ability to fill up a space with sound. "Carry Me Home" is highly enjoyable heavy rock that's a bit reminiscent of Pearl Jam and is the most likely single on the album. "Believe" is perhaps the best songwriting on the disc; he's caught her cheating but he's caught in his need for her. It's an exploration of conflicting emotions and the webs that bind people together sometimes against better judgment. "Touch" is essentially a musical request, nay demand, for felatio, while "Innocence is an angry admonition of a woman who has used her seductive power to rob the story-teller of his naiveté.

"Speak" finds Maddam Ink entering the power ballad market with a disaffected song about love gone sour. The mix of acoustic and electric sounds helps freshen up a genre and sound that can be very stale at times, and Maddam Ink injects some serious vocal harmonies into the mix. "Coletrane" finds Maddam Ink driving back into their heavy rock sound once again with a vengeance in a song about the conflict of wanting someone but knowing you aren't right for them. "Save The World" is a more typical power ballad with a distinct pop sensibility that makes it a candidate for pop radio. Maddam Ink closes with the big sound of "Special", a crunchy guitar-driven tune ruminating on a relationship on the sour. It's a big bang of a close for a dynamic and enjoyable rock album.

Maddam Ink brings the rock n roll on Inklination, a solid and entertaining rock album that features some of the grunge-edge of 1990's Seattle bands but includes some of the big rock glam of the 1980's. Maddam Ink makes a couple of attempts to appease programmer's commercial instincts, but most sticks to what they do best. If your tastes run to the heavier side of rock n roll but no quite into Screamo territory then Maddam Ink will be right up your alley.

Rating: 3.5 Stars (Out of 5)

Learn more about Maddam Ink at or is available as both CD and Download from, and can also be acquired digitally via iTunes.

Sean Waterman - Enough

Sean Waterman - Enough
2010, Sean Waterman

Atlanta’s Sean Waterman fell into music early, catching the guitar bug while in 4th grade. The Brooklyn-born singer/songwriter, now 23, has written a prodigious number of songs in the singer-songwriter tradition, and has even had some of his work performed by South Carolina jazz vocalist Ann Caldwell. These days Waterman is gigging in support of his first formal EP, Locomotive Hearts. The first single from that EP is “Enough”. Written in a full acoustic-guitar sound, “Enough” is certainly pretty, but the dynamics never really change throughout the song. It’s a tune about feeling trapped in a relationship where you can never really make your partner happy. Waterman layers on emotional weight with vocal effects; exploring the depths of sorrow, anger and vulnerability, but Waterman never seems to feel any of these. It’s a very well-written tune, but the delivery feels a bit false. It’s as if Waterman wrote the song as an intellectual exercise, but either never really felt what he wrote or just won’t let himself fall into the song completely.

Rating: 2.5 Stars (Out of 5)

Learn more about Sean Waterman at  "Enough" is available as part of the Locomotive Hearts EP, and may be downloaded both as a single as well as part of the full EP from

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Porcelain Cameo - What You Are

Porcelain Cameo - What You Are
2010, Belardinelli/Hanson

Porcelain Cameo is the nom-de-guerre of 17-year old vocalist Amanda Belardinelli, a vocal phenom fron Brantford, Ontario with a voice you can’t ignore. It’s also the name of her band. After winning multiple awards for her singing in 2009, Belardinelli set out to craft her own sound in 2010 with the help of co-writer/producer Michael Hanson (Glass Tiger). The first documented result of this pairing is Porcelain Cameo’s debut EP, What You Are.

What You Are opens with the title track, a solid does of sharp, edgy alt-rock with the right mix of hooks and relationship-inspired anger to be a hit. The energy and pop sensibility that Porcelain Cameo infuses the song with are impressive and make the song radio ready. "Hazy" is flat out great songwriting; tuneful with a melancholic feel. It's a song about not being able to divine the direction of a relationship and the feelings this can cause. Belardinelli’s voice here is a pristine alto with warm qualities that you could sit and listen to all day. "What About The Time" fights back against being shown the door in a relationship, recalling all of the wonderful memories to the one who just cut her loose and asking, in essence, if he's sure he wants to do this. The note sent with the email indicates that Porcelain Cameo intends to cut this song from the commercial release of the EP and replace it with another song to keep the EP more consistent. Big Mistake. First off, the sound through the EP as constituted isn't consistent even if "What About The Time" is excised, and secondly it's the sort of song that earns an artist name recognition.

"Beautiful Garbage" is another winner, leaning more towards an alt-rock sound. The song is edgy, full of attitude and anger, and has a driven pop sense that will make it very appealing to Alternative and Pop radio. It's another tune you won't be able to get out of your head. What You Are closes with "Push", a song written from the nether lands of relationship limbo where one party leaves the other twisting in the wind. Porcelain Cameo stands strong, unwilling to stand for such treatment in a folk/rock anti-ballad worth giving a listen or three too.

What You Are is the sort of EP that turns a local band into a regional one; a regional band into a national one. While a commercial release isn't expected until the waning months of 2010, this particular version has been available at the band's shows in and around Toronto. If Porcelain Cameo follows through with their intent to cut "What About The Time" then this EP will be the hottest Porcelain Cameo collectable going. There's no doubt that Amanda Belardinelli has the songwriting ability, persona and voice to make it big. The music business is capricious, and you never know which way a given ball will bounce, but What You Are deserves the sort of fawning attention radio usually reserves for major label artists. Porcelain Cameo has something special going on, and What You Are is a Wildy's World Certified Desert Island Disc.

Rating: 5 Stars (Out of 5)

Learn more about Porcelain Cameo at or  The release of What You Are is forthcoming, but you can check out the songs at Porcelain Cameo's MySpace page.

Dorine Levy - Dorine Levy

Dorine Levy - Dorine Levy
2009, Dorine Levy

Tel Aviv, Israel’s Dorine Levy spent much of her formative years living in Montreal before moving back to Israel in her early teens. A rebellious child who didn’t take well to the move, Levy struggled to find herself in the midst of rebellious teen years. The one constant in Levy’s life was music. After the mandatory stint in the IDF, Levy chose music over a parentally-preferred career in law. In 2009, Levy released her debut EP, Dorine Levy, three songs of gentle acoustic pop with just enough pizzazz to go somewhere.

Levy opens with "Sun", a gentle pop ballad about being in love with someone not good for you. The need and vulnerability here is powerful, underscored by Levy's warm alto voice. "Sun" is a perfect introduction, the sort of song that could catch mild attention from commercial radio but would fit really well in a television soundtrack for a teen soap opera. "Falling Star" maintains the pop sensibility in a mid-tempo love song that fits into the same demographic as "Sun". "Fly With Me" completes the trifecta with a light-pop sound that's benevolent and pleasing without challenging the listener all that much.

Levy's sound is affable and non-threatening; just the sort of music that thrives in the current media-based music market. Levy has a voice that's pleasant to listen to but with just a touch of enigma to make it interesting. The songs on her self-titled EP are fairly average for pop songs. There's nothing really outstanding here, but it's the sort of non-threatening emotion-laden pop that gets licensing deals and ends up laced through network television soundtracks.

Rating: 3 Stars (Out of 5)

Learn more about Dorine Levy at or Levy is available as a CD or Download from  The EP is also available via CDBaby and iTunes.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Escape Directors - Ladders

Escape Directors - Ladders
2010, Escape Directors

Wayne, New Jersey quartet Escape Directors walk the fine line between the Indie feel of Death Cab For Cutie and the more polished sound of bands such as The Killers, The Fray and even Radiohead. Taking a less in your face approach than most pop/rock outfits, Escape Directors will sneak up on you with songs that insinuate themselves into your mind and then won’t let you go. This tendency is very much in evidence on Escape Director’s debut album, Ladders.

Ladders opens with "Car Crash" a well-written song of regret that's delivered in a low-key fashion but with a lot of power. The song is incredibly tuneful, and Escape Directors come across sounding like a slightly more muscular version of Toad The Wet Sprocket. "Heart Defeats The Home" is an unglamorous look at adultery. Escape Directors craft strings around the base arrangement to build tension and bring resolution, while Steve Carter's vocals and the band's harmonies tell a story of love, betrayal and regret. "Fall Together" is a solid pop/rock effort with a melody that practically sings itself to you; the sort of song you'll be inclined to hit repeat on many times over.

Bravado rules the day on "When You're Gone", where the narrator tries to convince the one who cut him loose that he'll be alright. As the song progresses you realize that he's actually speaking years after the event when she has very much moved on, and it's clear he never has. "Chicago" is a song of unintended consequences and the beginning of a life on the run. It’s a fun listen with a dark underbelly that will draw you in. The centerpiece of the album, however, may just be "Mrs. Davenport", an incredibly catchy kiss-off song. Written in a compact and subdued arrangement, "Mrs. Davenport" is graced with a melody that screams for your attention. It's a brilliant bit of songwriting with a quiet pop flavor you can't ignore. "Margaret Marion" is a love ballad to someone who has passed on sonically inspired by Radiohead. The theme continues into "Take Me Back Home", where the narrator looks forward to a time when he will be reunited with his love in the afterlife. It's a beautiful sentiment wrapped up in a gorgeous arrangement consisting of acoustic guitar, piano and cello.

Escape Directors might not grab your attention. They're not a flashy bunch, but the songwriting is quietly amazing. Crafting melodies in the irresistible tradition of British rock n roll, Escape Directors have created a first class pop/rock album in Ladders. The comparisons to Toad The Wet Sprocket and Radiohead are spot-on, as Escape Directors build song after song out of distinctive melodies and energetic but understated arrangements that get under your skin and whisper quietly into your mind. Don't miss this one.

Rating: 4 Stars (Out of 5)

Learn more about Escape Directors at or is available as both CD and Download from  The album is also available from iTunes.

Jimmy Gnecco - The Heart

Jimmy Gnecco - The Heart
2010, Bright Antenna/ILG

OURS front man Jimmy Gnecco steps out on his own this month with his solo debut album, The Heart. With a recording career marked by setbacks, trials and unsung successes, Gnecco is an interesting figure whose songwriting is often under-rated. The Heart is a mournful, heart-breaking musical experience. It's also a difficult one. Jimmy Gnecco puts the grieving process on record, quite literally, with song after song that dissects the process from disbelief to recovery with all stops in between. The Heart is not an album to be taken lightly, and it's frankly not for most casual listeners. If you enjoy the sort of music that wallows in sorrow and contemplative disbelief then The Heart is for you. If that sounds like the last thing in the world you're interesting in then skip this album. The Heart is not without its redeeming qualities: Jimmy Gnecco has a voice that absolutely soars (particularly in falsetto), crafting moments of pure beauty over the pool of sorrow he dwells in here. "Rest Your Soul" (the opening track) and "Talk To Me" (the closer) are the best two tracks The Heart has to offer, as one enters into sorrow and the other emerges full of hope and longing but not without the scars the experience provides.

The Heart is not an easy listen, but for what it is it's done quite well. I don't expect Gnecco has a wide demographic to play to here; The Smiths are positively joyful compared to the tortured dirges that populate The Heart, but Gnecco speaks clearly to those who know mourning in a language they will understand. The Heart is an experience not to be taken lightly.

Rating: 3 Stars (Out of 5)

Learn more about Jimmy Gnecco at or Heart is available as a CD or Download from The album is also available via iTunes.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Phil Ayoub - Arrivals And Departures

Phil Ayoub - Arrivals And Departures
2010, Phil Ayoub

Boston-based singer/songwriter Phil Ayoub created a lot of buzz with his last album, Schoolbus Window Paper Heart, earning airplay on over sixty radio stations across the US and playing live shows from coast to coast. With a mild musical manner but an intensely infectious joy in his craft, Ayoub tells unvarnished stories in often mellow but moving musical arrangements that get under your skin. Ayoub's latest album, Arrivals and Departures picks up with he left off. Filled with 14 songs of finely crafted singer/songwriter tunes that run the gamut from Americana to folk to rock n roll, Arrivals And Departures features several songs that could help Ayoub make the jump to the next level of name recognition. Arrivals And Departures was primarily written while traveling, often while waiting in airports for a flight. The album is produced by Tim Bradshaw (John Mayer, David Gray) and features drum work from Kevin Figueiredo (Extreme).

Ayoub kicks things off with "The Bearded Lady", comparing the draw of an unhealthy relationship with that of a circus act; a situation where you can't look but you can't look away. This is delivered in a very catchy Americana arrangement laced with the sort of pop hooks that capture music directors' imaginations. "Get Out (Live A Little, Love A Lot)" is all about living life to the fullest. Ayoub wraps this tune in an irresistible piece of music you can't help but love. It's easy to see how "Get Out" could become a fan/concert favorite; the song is ripe for treatment as a single and has potential licensing opportunities that seem limitless (particularly in the health lifestyle category). "Flowers At Work" shows Ayoub's romantic side; express as a penchant for kitschy little love songs that have a Paul McCartney flair. The song also shows Ayoub's ability to craft gently perfect arrangements that put the listener instantly at ease and draw you into whatever story he's telling.

Ayoub has a bit of fun with "Body Language", a catchy tune about methods of communication that (usually) need no common language. "Bad Habits" is a tongue-in-cheek rocker that engages in a bit of post-adolescent bravado in a message to all of the ladies listening. It's another tune that keeps a mellow mood but simultaneously delivers a catchy melody you can't quite escape. Things get a little darker on "Goodnight Romeo", a song about dealing with the loss of a loved one by sinking into one's darker, self-destructive tendencies. There's a desperate feel to this song that is palpable as Ayoub delivers this vignette on emotional pain in the mild, unflinching tones of the deeply depressed. At the same time it's a pretty melody, and the song is imbued with a lively energy that somehow avoids being at odds with the subject matter.

"Tara's Birthday" is a musical cat scan of sorts, looking at slices of one woman's life as seen through her own eyes on various birthdays. The song is incredibly charming with a sort of detached melancholy as it tells the story of an eternally single woman as she tries to come to terms with who she is. It's incredibly well written and ultimately tuneful. "Walk You Home" is a sweet, uncomplicated love song with a pretty melody and a low-key approach that sets the stage for the album's best track. "32 Memory Lane" might have Paul McCartney's lawyers checking his song list to make sure Ayoub didn't somehow lift this track from the archives. Catchy, quirky and sweet;”32 Memory Lane" is among Ayoub's best songwriting and is guaranteed to be rattling around inside your brain for weeks.

Phil Ayoub keeps impressing people. Whether fronting his former band Riverside Train or as a solo artist, Ayoub doesn't seem like the consummate front man. His easy going style would seem at odds with the dynamics of a rock n roll star, but Ayoub delivers each song with a quiet internal intensity that brings the moments, places and people he tells about to life before your eyes. Add to that a penchant for creating melodies and arrangements that captivate the mind and you have a distinctive recipe for success. Arrivals And Departures perhaps doesn't hit on every song, but the material that hits home is so well crafted and performed you won't want to put the album down. Arrivals And Departures is an essential album from an artist who is only getting better and better with time.

Rating: 4.5 Stars (Out of 5)

Learn more about Phil Ayoub at or And Departures is available as a CD or Download from  The album is also available digitally from iTunes.

Jon Davidson - Perfect Cliché

Jon Davidson - Perfect Cliché
2010, Jon Davidson Music
Portland, Oregon’s Jon Davidson is known to many as the front man for rock band Silversafe, but he’s made a fair amount of noise as a solo artist since the 2008 release of his debut album, Perfect Cliché. 2010 finds Davidson back with a remixed and re-recorded version of the album including five additional tracks. Known for his vibrant live performances, Davidson shows a dynamic musical personality that borders on dissociation.

Jon Davidson cannot decide who he wants to be. Is it glamorous pop star ala Rob Thomas; vital and angry rocker like Live or dance club king? This three-headed hydra shows itself one head at a time on Perfect Cliché, creating more confusion and cognitive dissonance than post-genre cred. Opening with "Beautifully Bittersweet", Davidson displays the disaffected anger of the current generation in an angry arrangement reminiscent of Live while maintaining the pop approach and sensibility of Rob Thomas. The muscular guitar drives this song, a likely player on the commercial stage should he decide to release it as a single. "It Won't Be Long" is a bit harder and full of jangly guitar. The pop sensibility remains, and "It Won't Be Long" is catchy and enjoyable even if it strays a bit heavily into the modern rock/alternative radio formula. "Perfect Cliché" has a great chorus although the vocals are mixed a bit too low. The song is very likeable, although the live version offered as a bonus track sounds much better.

"Sunrise" shows off Davidson's ability to write catchy little choruses with great melodies. The orientation here gets a bit too electro-pop in light of what's come before, but expands Davidson's musical palette in the direction of electronic and dance music for the first time on the album. "Hermit Crab" once again offers a great chorus, and the instrumentation works very well. The vocal line doesn't really stand out here, but the overall mix works well for pop and modern rock radio formats. "What Can I Say?" is the sort of ballad that makes hearts melt and sends teenage girls running giddy in the streets. It's offered in power ballad style but in a primarily acoustic arrangement that opens up the melody quite nicely. Davidson returns to the catchy rockers he's comfortable with on "Never A Metaphor", which manages to be very commercial without trying to be. Try getting this tune out of your head; the chorus will sing itself.

Perfect Cliché suffers a bit of a lull at the end, punctuated by the catchy and crunchy rock/pop of "Finger In The Eye". Driven by a big guitar riff and a solid chorus, "Finger In The Eye" is the class of the last half of the album. Davidson fills things out with four alternate versions of songs on the album.

Jon Davidson wants to be all things to all people on Perfect Cliché; this shizophonic approach to making music is an honorable pursuit, but the pop/dance oriented material just doesn’t work for him. When Davidson is out in front of a crunchy guitar sound and surrounded by big riffs he sounds very much like the big rock star. Unfortunately the dance material sounds like a bad joke by comparison. It’s inclusion turns a solid effort that nonetheless raises questions about his musical direction. Davidson is currently working on a new album with producer Jeff Johnson, engineer Chris Holmes (Korn) and mix-master Randy Staub (Metallica, U2, Our Lady Peace, Nickelback). I suspect some questions will be answered in that process.

Rating: 3 Stars (Out of 5)

Learn more about Jon Davidson at or Perfect Cliché is available as a CD or Download from  The album is also available digitally through iTunes.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Anna Kaelin - Anna Kaelin [EP]

Anna Kaelin - Anna Kaelin [EP]
2010, Anna Kaelin

Salt Lake City, Utah singer and American Idol Season 8 semi-finalist Anna Kaelin's self-titled debut EP is full of radio-ready country/pop that would seem to have her on a can't miss trajectory to Nashville. Kaelin has a solid country radio voice, cover girl looks and some impressive if rough songwriting chops on display on Anna Kaelin. Opening with "Touch", Kaelin shows real commercial potential in an upbeat love-song ready for CMT and the host of stations that follow its play list. "Parading In The Rain" shows a bit more vocal range from Kaelin and features an uplifting message. "Give Me A Reason" has real commercial radio potential, although the acoustic arrangement offered on the EP would need updating. It's a very well-written tune, sung with an authenticity of emotion that's startling. Kaelin gives a bit of pop/country fluff on "Come On, Come On", a highly catchy tune that seems a likely single. Kaelin closes with "When Love Finds You", a classic-sounding pop country ballad. Offered in a stripped-down acoustic arrangement, "When Love Finds You" is the sort of song you could imagine Faith, Shania or Carrie singing. The thing is, Kaelin might just be good enough to make a go of it on her own.

Rating: 4 Stars (Out of 5)

Lean more about about Anna Kaelin at Kaelin is available digitally from or iTunes.

Andy Hawk & The Train Wreck Endings - Another Roadside Attraction

Andy Hawk & The Train Wreck Endings - Another Roadside Attraction
2010, Andy Hawk

Andy Hawks is back with an album of travel songs in Another Roadside Attraction. Building on his rootsy Americana sound, Hawk blends bluegrass, rock, folk, country and Motown into the mix in a highly eclectic but somehow coherent cycle of twelve songs.

Andy Hawk & The Train Wreck Endings return with their latest effort, Another Roadside Attraction. Burnished in his traditional blend of roots-inspired folk rock, Hawk takes listeners on a tour of twelve story-songs that range from personal experience to ruminations on the life and times of Ernest Hemmingway. Hawk's unvarnished voice and raw songwriting contrasts nicely against the tight professional musicianship of his band, serving as an active subject against masterful musical landscapes.

Opening with "Another Roadside Attraction", Hawk gets things in gear with a solid R&B/folk arrangement and a catchy melody that will have you grooving in your seat. Hawk is full of personality, and his gritty voice in this setting inspires thoughts of a post-modern blues movement yet to be born. Moving quickly to the other end of the musical spectrum, Hawk digs into the cheesy love song "You Could Be My Lois Lane". Predictable but cute, the song is entertaining on first blush but quickly pales. Dashed expectations are on tap with "New Orleans", where a city of dreams turns quickly to a nightmare for one sojourner.

"Lipstick & Dynamite" is an entertaining number that pays tribute to female professional wrestlers; an entertaining country romp that's irresistible. Hawk entertains with some impressive Spanish guitar work on "Welcome To Havana, Mr. Hemmingway", but the song essentially fizzles otherwise. You'll catch some impressive piano work on "Everyday It Changes", an affable early-rock number that you can't help but dance to. Hawk closes with the one-two punch of "It's What You Take Away" and the Jimmy Buffet-style "Ghosts Of Summer Sun", two upbeat numbers that will help you forget the sometimes somnolent pacing of the album.

Andy Hawk & The Train Wreck Endings never fail to produce some highly listenable material, and Another Roadside Attraction is no exception. It should be noted however that this album is very much a hot-and-cold affair. The songs either work very well or fail badly, with Hawk excelling (generally) on the more upbeat material and getting lost on the slower, ballad-style songs. The musicianship is first-class from start to finish, and Hawk is as enigmatic and personable as ever on Roadside Attraction. The album itself would make a first class EP. As presented, it's a solid overall offering with some real holes.

Rating: 3 Stars (Out of 5)

Learn more about Andy Hawk at Roadside Attraction is available as a CD or Download from  The album can also be found on iTunes.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Wildy's World Update

Difficult economic times have hit everyone.  Such things effect those with 9-5 jobs, artists, musicians and even bloggers.

I continue to do what I do according to the good graces of the artists, labels and PR folks who continue to send material for review.  I can do it because of the occasional donation or ad that appears on this blog.  These occasional trickles are helpful.  Aside from a nominal fee to defer the cost of electronic submissions, storage and plaback device(s), I charge nothing for the reviews that appear on this site.  That's not something I plan on changing. 

What has become apparent is that short of finding a way to increase the inflow from this site even marginally, I may have to choose, down the road, to step away from Wildy's World to do other things.  So this is something of an appeal to all of you who read this page or benefit from it in some way.  We have long had the capability to receive donations via PayPal.  The option is in the column at right.  We also have long made the purchase of ads available.  Both options have been used in the past, but particularly this year both have pretty much dried up in spite of an increasing volume of readers and of artists submissions. 

If you are an artist, PR company, label, or are associated with a peripheral or unrelated line of business interested in advertising here please get in touch with us at  If you are a reader, artist or other interested party who has benefited from this space over time, please consider making a donation as you are able.  Any amount will serve to help keep Wildy's World up and running in the long term.  Please note: While Wildy's World is a good cause and does accept donations, we are not a tax-exempt organization.  Consequently your donation is not tax deductible. 

Thank you for your time. Now back to the reason we're here...


Orion Walsh - The Hitchhiker's Son

Orion Walsh - The Hitchhiker's Son
2010, Orion Walsh/ASCAP

Orion Walsh returns with his third album, The Hitchhiker's Son in 2010. Drawing from a Dylan-esque well of road songs and counter-culture social commentary, Walsh offers up a collection of tunes hewn from the deep veins of American folk music. Walsh sings each song with a distinctive mid-west sensibility, but occasionally takes on the fire and story-telling braggadocio of the 1960's Greenwich Village scene.

The Hitchhiker's Son opens with "On Down The Road", a traveling song in an upbeat acoustic folk/rock arrangement. The song has one of those melodies that get stuck in your noggin, with rapid-fire lyrics and an affable arrangement. "Wastin' Time" is a fun little run about making the most (and least) of every moment. Fans of the Bonzo Dog madness will get the vibe here. Walsh bemoans money's power to conform human behavior in "Green Paper Black Lines", a song about being yourself in the face of monumental pressure to be like everyone else. "Lonesome Highway Blues" tackles the downfall of American culture from the perspective of someone who is both inside and outside the system, and fits in well with the history of socio-political folk music commentary.

"Leaving Again" is the snappiest tune on the album, ironically enough about the existential angst of finding your purpose ("We're all searching for something / even if we don't know what it is / when the world just keeps on spinnin' / round and round and around again"). The state of news and social media comes under Walsh's scrutiny in "Far From The Truth", a diatribe against the one-trusted institutions meant to keep government honest that now seem to do its bidding. Walsh closes with "Warrant For My Arrest", a prison-based story song drawn in the same vein as classic tunes by Johnny Cash. Walsh is good, but doesn't invest this song with the sort of charisma needed to carry it.

The Hitchhiker's Son works more often than it doesn't, with Walsh providing a charismatic, if low-key, presentation that is both fitting and charming. The songs on The Hitchhiker's Son are generally well written, and Walsh is 100% in the moment on each one. This album will appeal to fans of the 1960's folk/protest movement and like-minded fans of modern folk.

Rating: 3 Stars (Out of 5)

Learn more about Orion Walsh at or Hitchhiker's Son is available from Amazon as a download.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Kaiser Cartel - Secret Transit

Kaiser Cartel - Secret Transit
2010, Daniel Records

Brooklyn duo and Wildy’s World Artist of the month for July 2010 Kaiser Cartel are at it again. Known for creating unusual and strikingly beautiful pop/rock songs, Kaiser Cartel launch forward into 2010 and beyond with Secret Transit. Secret Transit is the follow-up to 2008’s March Forth, a brilliant and ultimately tuneful album that received critical raves. If Secret Transit falls short of the bar Kaiser Cartel set with March Forth, it would be comparable to a world class sprinter missing the Gold by hundredths of a second.

Secret Transit opens with "Riverboat Dream" a darkly beautiful, ethereal musical experience. Courtney Kaisers's voice is haunting, and Benjamin Cartle’s provides a lonely, comforting harmony. This is a song that will stick with you long after the album's stopped playing. "Carroll Street Station" is a uniquely New York City experience that you'll only truly get if you've lived there (or in a similarly large city). "Carroll Street Station" displays the ultimate irony of Kaiser Cartel, their ability to create beautiful and fluid melodies in the midst of garage/folk arrangements. "Brave Enough" holds hints of Sarah McLachlan in a pretty, easy going ballad that shows off Kaiser's voice in fine form. In a musical 180, Kaiser Cartel recalls Liz Phair with "Worn Out Nervous Condition", a gritty acoustic rocker about relationship angst.

"Around You" is a lush pop love song; a sweet and tuneful song of longing that has real impact. This quiet power of Kaiser Cartel to touch listeners doesn't show up in every song, but has reared its head occasionally across their albums. It's safe to say it's never been quite as powerful as it is here. "Ready To Go" is a highly catchy tune, showing off a low-key but active melody that calls to mind a hyped-up version of The Cowboy Junkies. "Memphis" is perhaps the finest songwriting on the album, a low-key folk/rock song that combines stark and sweet while somehow detracting from neither mood. Secret Transit winds down with the dark ballad "The Wait". The slow, low-key song descends into the cognitive noise of dreams at the end, but serves as the perfect vehicle for appreciating Kaisers's heavenly voice.

Kaiser Cartel have developed a sound that's distinctly their own while giving knowing nods to several diverse artists. With Secret Transit this blend of influences has become an alchemy that's impossible to ignore. While low key in approach, there is tangible life in the songs on Secret Transit, and Kaiser Cartel have never sounded so lush and in the moment. Courtney Kaiser may have one of the most listenable voices in Indie Rock, and it seems like the day when Kaiser Cartel are playing to larger and larger artists must be right around the corner.

Rating: 4 Stars (Out of 5)

Learn more about Kaiser Cartel at or Transit is available from Amazon as either a CD or Download.  The album may also be downloaded from iTunes.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Meek And The Marksmen - According To Red [EP]

Meek And The Marksmen - According To Red [EP]
2009, Meek And The Marksmen

New York City’s Meek And The Marksmen banded together behind songwriter/leader Evan Uhlman while at Bard College in New York City. With a flair for quirky songwriting with a pop flair and a tight performance style, Meek And The Marksmen have made a name for themselves from their live gigs and opening spots for acts such as Gym Class Heroes. Meek And The Marksmen’s debut EP, According To Red, was released in 2009.

According To Red opens with "Juliet", a story-song about a girl who is unhappy with her life and runs away to the big city, only to find that she loves the boy she left behind. "Juliet" is an incredibly tuneful and catchy piece of folk/rock; a fantastic bit of songwriting. "According To Red" keeps the same folk/rock sheen but with a funk backbone; it's a highly entertaining song that may get a bit muddled in the story-telling but is nonetheless fun to listen to. "Jesus" keeps a blues/funk base underneath that drives the song in spite of a murky story line. Things pick up a bit with "Wading River"; a mellow-yet-rhythmic tune about someone who spent time institutionalized who is suddenly turned out to the streets. The song is a study in the struggle for identity and meaning and is very well written. According To Red closes with "Tough Broad", a catchy little love song that qualifies as non-traditional. The song is a lot of fun and is delivered in a low-key fashion that's almost humorous.

Meek And The Marksmen display a proclivity for Low-Fi folk/rock on According To Red [EP], an entertaining and accessible recording that should appeal to current acoustic rock fans as well as those of earlier generations looking for new bands with sounds rooted in yesteryear. The Garage/DIY sensibility of According To Red may not sit well with some, but Meek And The Marksmen write, play and sing quite well together. Make sure to check them out.

Rating: 3 Stars (Out of 5)

Learn more about Meek And The Marksmen at To Red is available for download via iTunes, or directly through the band's MySpace page.

Mancie - Mancie EP

Mancie - Mancie EP
2009, Mancie Music

New York City post-punk posters Mancie dropped their debut EP last year after spending half a decade making music. The formerly Boston-based band blends punk attitude and energy with pop hooks but their debut EP lacks the energy you might expect from such a concatenation. Mancie opens with "So Well", an catchy/edgy rock tune that seems ripe for radio or licensing. "Say Say" is a bit more garage in presentation; a simplistic call out on a relationship with no future. "Don't Even Try" fizzles from a lack of drive, while the closing number, "Second Best" finds Mancie recovering a bit with a low-fi sound that has a modicum of pop sensibility. Mononomous vocalist Andrea occasionally sounds a bit like Chrissie Hynde, but struggles with pitch on a regular basis throughout the EP. Mancie doesn't have a gimmick that grabs you. While Andrea may have personality galore on stage, it doesn't translate on the EP, and with less than prime vocals and at-best average songwriting, there's little here to drive sales. If the personality is there live, then Mancie would do best to find a producer for their next product that can bring that out in the studio and on CD.

Rating: 2 Stars (Out of 5)

Learn more about Mancie at or is available as a CD or Download via

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Royal Guard - Showdown

The Royal Guard - Showdown
2009, Todd Davidson/BMI

Fans of Fall Out Boy and 30 Seconds To Mars take heed; there's a new band on the block playing on the same playground. The Royal Guard (Todd Davidson - vocals/guitar; Andy Ascolese - guitar/vocals and Fred Scragg - drums) released their debut CD, Showdown, late in 2009, documenting the sound the band had developed over a couple of years of steady gigging. Blending pop, punk and rock, The Royal Guard creates in a consistently inconsistent realm where sonic trends break upon one another.

Showdown opens with "All Out War", a pop/punk anthem about a war over the minds and souls of the young. The song could have theological implications or may just be a post-modern song of self-actualization. "Happy" is a solid active-rock love song. Built on a strong hook in a radio-ready chorus, The Royal Guard keeps the alt-punk energy intact in a love song without getting gooey. "Yesterday" shows off The Royal Guard's retro proclivities, working in a harmonic guitar solo reminiscent of Brian May.

As if so much patent creativity could tire a band, The Royal Guard fall into a lull of formulaic pop/punk spiked with the occasional impressive guitar work. The tide turns with "Satellite", a dynamic pop/rock tune with a memorable chorus and a driving guitar riff. You could picture "Satellite" being the song that takes off for The Royal Guard. "Beginning Of The End" has the pop sensibility to be a mild radio presence, but seems more likely for the licensing realm.

Showdown is ultimately a 50/50 affair, with about half the album proving to have a creative spark worth catching onto, with the rest sounding a bit too much like too many other things already on the radio. The Royal Guard's debut is a solid commercial and musical effort, but listeners may sense greater potential in what might turn out to be a sleeping giant of a band. While Showdown is worth checking out, The Royal Guard may be a good band to follow longer term. Once they shake off their need to be commercial they might start creative some truly amazing music.

Rating: 3.5 Stars (Out of 5)

Learn more about The Royal Guard at or is available from as either a CD or Download.  The album is also available via iTunes.

Lachi - Lachi

Lachi - Lachi
2010, Fanatic/EMI/Caroline

New York City singer/songwriter Lachi has been making waves locally since 2007. On July 27, 2010, Lachi releases her first album on Fanatic Records/EMI. The album, simply entitled Lachi, is set to introduce the world to a legally blind singer supported by blind musicians. In spite of any challenges life has placed in front of her, Lachi continues to strive to create and perform with the best in the craft.

Lachi opens with "We Can Fly", showing off a voice that makes up for in compelling nature what it lacks in prettiness. Think Alanis Morisette's anachronistic style and you'll have an idea. It's a song of hope and promise about a relationship that's cut with an edge of reality. "Slow Down" is a bit awkward lyrically, but has a beautifully simple piano arrangement accented with jazz rhythms in the percussion that's a pleasure to listen to. On "Ugly Beautiful" Lachi laments people's need to change themselves for the acceptance of others; taking to task in veiled language both society's expectations and the aspects of human weakness that drive us to meet them.

"Emo Children" is rumination on the state of teenage angst as it exists today; navel gaze material for the disaffected and numb. "Funny Girl" goes for the classic juxtaposition of the stand-up comedian: Funny, life-of-the-party on the outside; sad child on the inside. It's a decent effort, but it's been done so many times in various art-forms and is presented here in too straight-forward fashion to really stand out. Lachi here falls into something of a musical lull, pulling out on the penultimate and best song on the album, "Wear Me Out". "Wear Me Out" features a strong chorus that grabs the listener and is Lachi's most clear and concise writing of the cycle. Lachi floats back to earth with "You Never Do", a decent effort but a definite letdown after "Wear Me Out".

Lachi is going to make it or not on the strength of her songwriting. Lachi's sound is off-beat enough to catch your ear, but anachronistic enough to lose you without something else in the mix. Lachi definitely shows moments of songwriting prowess on her self-titled debut with songs such as "Slow Down" and "Wear Me Out", but in general her lyrical style is a bit rough and occasionally awkward. Lachi has a lot to say, she just hasn't figured out how best to marry her thoughts to her music yet. Lachi represents the potential of an artist, with flashes dotting the album like dandelions on a lawn. You know they'll spread, you just don't know where or how fast.

Rating: 2.5 Stars (Out of 5)

Learn more about Lachi at or drops July 27, 2010.  You can pre-order the album on CD or as a Lachi from