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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

New Arrivals Vol. 4 - Artists Against Youth Homelessness

New Arrivals Vol. 4 - Artists Against Youth Homelessness
2011, MPress Records

Singer/songwriter Rachael Sage launched MPress Records a decade ago as a platform for her own albums, but also as a means to help Indie artists get their music heard.  In 2006, Sage launched the New Arrivals charity compilation series.  Each volume benefits a different charity while featuring both established and Indie artists.  New Arrivals Vol. 4 - Artists Against Youth Homelessness, available June 7, 2011, features established artists Rachael Sage, Lucy Woodward and Michelle Malone, as well as coming stars Seth Glier, Caleb Hawley (American Idol), Lindsay Mac and Greta Gertler & The Extroverts.  Proceeds from the album will benefit The National Network For Youth.

The album opens with American Idol 10 semifinalist Caleb Hawley.  His "Other Side Of It All" is a song of hope for a harmonious world.  It's a solid effort, catchy-yet-mellow, even if Hawley sufficiently glosses over the history he references to lose meaning.  Seth Glier is next with "Lauralee", from his album The Next Right Thing.  It's an amazing piece of songwriting from a guy you're likely to hear a lot from over the next decade or two.  Michelle Citrin impresses with a jaunty, live acoustic version of "Coffee".  Her voice is exceedingly pleasant to the ear, and you may find yourself seeking out what else she has done.  Light In August is up next with the dreamy acoustic pop style of "Northern Lights".  If you're familiar with the solo work of Barenaked Ladies keyboardist Kevin Hearn then you'll have an idea of where Light In August are headed here. 

Lindsay Mac's "Stop Thinking" is brilliant folk/pop blending sensuality and pathos, drawn from her album of the same name (See review here).  The Paper Raincoat's Amber Rubarth shows off an impressive voice on the atypical pop sounds of "Sympathetic Vibrations", but Rachel Davis might just steal the show.  Davis doesn't appear to have a powerful voice, but with a soulful and deeply nuanced tone, Davis will make a believer out of you on "Mark Of Cain".  Micah Dalton offers up a solid performance on "We Came Alive Tonight", and Avi Wisnia will grab your attention with his songwriting and unusual phrasing on "New Year".  Josh Schicker's "The Other Side" isn't overly memorable as a song, but his voice will make you forget about the song.

Michelle Malone grabs you by the shirt and shakes for all she's worth on "Miss Miss'ippi", raising the roof and dropping it on unsuspecting listeners in her signature style.  After a bit of a lull, including a less-than-inspiring entry from GRAMMY nominee Dave Eggar, Greta Gertler & The Extroverts  drops "Veselka" out of a clear blue sky.  This wonderfully quirky bit of cabaret-pop memorializes a Ukrainian soul food restaurant on the Lowest East Side of New York City with character, humor and a distinctive sense of melody.  Listeners will be reaching for their handhelds and signing on to Gertler's website before the song is over.  The album wraps with two Indie icons.  Rachael Sage contributes "Big Star", from her album Delancey Street.  It's an entertaining mix of reality and advice for all who would walk the path she's followed in the music business.  As a special bonus, listeners are treated to Lucy Woodward's frenetic performance of "He Got Away".  Done in a call and response style with her band, this song will remind you (or educate you, as the case may be) of just how wonderful Woodward's voice really is.

As with any various artists’ collection, different tracks will appear to different listeners for different reasons.  But of the Indie collections released in the last few years, New Arrivals Vol. 4 - Artists Against Youth Homelessness has to be rated among the best for both songs and selection of artists.  So if you're looking for an opportunity to learn about some wonderful up-and-coming Indie artists and support a good cause in the process, New Arrivals Vol. 4 - Artists Against Youth Homelessness comes highly recommended.

Rating: 3.5 Stars (Out of 5)

Learn more about the New Arrivals Series at  For more information about The National Network For Youth, head over to www.nn4youth.orgNew Arrivals Vol. 4 - Artists Against Youth Homelessness drops on June 7, 2011.  Keep checking your favorite retailer for availability.

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