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12 October 2012 @ 07:21 am

Top 5 songs from 5 years ago that you still love. (Songs from 2008)
11 October 2012 @ 07:16 pm
Amanda Ply - Runaway
Album Review by: Andrea Guy

One listen to Amanda Ply's Runaway and you will be in love. Amanda is like a breath of fresh air after a cold snowy stifling winter. She's the type of vocalist that you take notice of, because her voice isn't altered in production. It doesn't need to be. Amanda's voice is near perfect on its own.

Runaway is a bit of a teaser. It is a mere five songs. It gives you just a hint of what she is capable of as a singer, songwriting and musician. Her songs travel the spectrum, from the poppy "I Secretly" to the funky "Messy Little Piece Of Beautiful" and to the bluesy "A Lovin' That Heals."

Amanda's songs draw you in. The melodies stick with you and the lyrics stick in your head. Yes, Amanda Ply has given us a few more earworms on Runaway, but in her case, her earworms are the kind you don't mind having stuck in your head. One of the EPs strongest earworms is "Let's Just Fall In Love." It is one of those songs that you think another artist wrote, in this case that artist is Mika. It is has that same super catchy chorus that you sing along to, hours after the song has ended.

How can you not fall in love to "Somewhere the sun is gonna shine, and I will make you mine, so let's just fall in love"?

"Like That" is another potential earworm. This song is super sexy with a great beat and an R & B vocal. This is the kind of song that you sing-a-long to and dance to, and it doesn't matter where you are either. One of the faster songs on the EP, this one is bound to make you get up from your chair and move to the beat.

If a girl could sound like Maroon 5, Amanda can on "Messy Little Piece Of Beautiful." This is probably the most danceable track of the five. The vocal is soul and it has funky groove.

The EP's lead single is "I Secretly." This song is pure pop deliciousness. Its gloriously girly and romantic and extremely radio friendly. This is the type of song that could easily make Amanda Ply a household name.

Runaway is generally an EP full of upbeat songs. Even "A Lovin' That Heals" which gives off a melancholy air, is hopeful. This song really puts the spotlight on her piano playing. This is a song that you instantly long to hear performed live.

Amanda has been compared to Colbie Caillat. It is a fair comparison, because both are singer/songwriters that are known for their feel-good lyrics and fun songs. Amanda doesn't need to be compared to other artists, her music stands on its own. She has the vocal ability as well as the songwriting ability to draw crowds.

Runaway will leave you smiling and happy. With songs full of emotion this EP hits the mark. Amanda is just the right mix of girly and sex to appeal to guys and girls. In five songs, she delivers a sampling of all she's capable of, and it is easy to see, Amanda is capable of more than pretty pop songs. She has a big voice that wows all who listen.

In a musical climate that is full of women selling their music by pushing their "assets," Amanda Ply reminds us, that it is the music that matters and not an over the top image.

Runaway may be just a sample of what Amanda Ply brings to the musical table, but it is a sample that you will savor and enjoy many times over.

Genre: Pop, Singer/Songwriter
Sounds Like: Colbie Caillat
Label: Tubby Tunes Music
Buy: Amazon
Released: May 22, 2012
Rating: 10/10
Listen: I Secretly
05 October 2012 @ 06:10 am

Top 5 current songs that are overplayed
04 October 2012 @ 06:25 am
No Rules - Hell Or High Water
Album Review by: Andrea Guy

No Rules is a band consisting of eight friends from Seattle. They have a huge horn section that might make one think that they should change the band's name to Seattle as a nod to Chicago, or rather to the Chicago sound.

The songs on Hell And High Water will take a lot of listeners back to the 60s and 70s. The strong horn presence and the poppy lyrics all seem to point to an influence by artists like The Buckinghams and Chicago.

When you first listen to Hell And High Water, you're instantly taken in by the talent of these guys. Walt Johnson's guitar wails and the horn section is in your face. These guys take all the things that make rock music great and incorporate them into one nine-song album that will restore your faith in music.

There are a lot of classic rock elements to be found here, but at no time will you feel like they are trying to imitate any artist. The No Rules sound is its own, and it explodes with each song.

"Girl" is the album's first track. This one is really reminiscent of that 60s Chicago sound. They stick with that sound on "Lovin' Me Too Much." These songs are what pop/rock music is all about. The music is fun and fast-paced, and it brings to mind the phrase "good time rock n' roll."

"Motel" is pure 70s funk. This song really shows off the band's talent as musicians. The rhythm is strong, the guitars scream and wail, and the organ adds the funk.

If you are looking for a fun rocker, "Drop Dead Gorgeous" is the song for you. The beat is strong and so is the vocal.

The album isn't all rock, though. "My Beloved" is a great acoustic ballad. This is the type of song that screams "romance." Women will want their men to sing it to them, and men will wish they had written it. The best thing about this song is that it is so romantic, but it never crosses the line to sickeningly sappy.

"Down The Road" is one of the longer tracks on the record. At almost five minutes, it is the longest track on Hell And High Water. The sound is very 70s. They seem to be giving a nod to Three Dog Night with this one.

The album closes with the title track. It's the other four minute track and you'll love every funky, soulful minute of it. This song is No Rules saving the best for last. All the songs on the record are good, but this song is perfection. The lyrics really speak to the heart.

No Rules make music fun. Now that so many classic-rock artists aren't making new music, these eight guys captured their essence and made something new. It is almost like a trip in a time machine.

The band paints itself as a group of friends that basically like to make music together, but when you listen to Hell And High Water you know that they are much more than that. Hell And High Water is polished to perfection.

No Rules is a band for people who love classic rock, but are sick of waiting for their favorite bands to record again. Hell And High Water is an album that makes you feel like it's 40 years ago, but the sound is fresh and very current.

There are so few albums out there that have this kind of quality music. Hell And High Water is a rocking album that music lovers won't want to miss. It is one of the best albums you can listen to this year.

Genre: Pop/Rock
Sounds Like: Chicago/The Buckinghams
Buy: CD Baby
Released: 2012
Rating: 10/10
28 September 2012 @ 06:38 am

Top 5 songs you've rediscovered recently
25 September 2012 @ 08:22 pm
The Jellybeans - Look At Us Now
Single Review by: Andrea Guy

Those girls from Jersey are back! The Jellybeans are a group of ten girls from Our Lady Of Mercy Academy in Jersey City, NJ. "Look At Us Now" is the first single from their soon to be released third album.

The Jellybeans are kind of like the girl's school version of Straight No Chaser. This song was written by Tony Coviello, the girls Music Director, and it is a really uplifting song with a retro melody.

It is hard to believe ten young girls can harmonize so well. They sound like a big girl band, which is kind of what they are, but in the case of The Jellybeans, there's no lead vocalist, its all the girls. It is that blending of voices that really sets them apart from any other groups out there. They aren't ten girls looking to upstage one another, they are a team and when they sing, everyone, no matter the age, will want to listen.

"Look At Us Now" is the perfect song for these girls too. They've moved on to high school and the lyrics are perfectly suited for anyone that is moving on in their life, whether its the transition from middle school to high school, or high school to college to college to the real world.

The song is full of determination. The lyrics "Look at us now. You see the smiles on our faces ‘cause we know that we’ve made it and we’re heading places. Give us a chance. We’ll show you what we can do. When opportunity knocks, we’re gonna break right through." are perfect.

This a song that gives you hope and The Jellybeans young voices are a perfect fit for the song's message. Of course, these girls could sing the Jersey City phone book and sound good.

This is the kind of song you want your tweens to listen to. It’s a song with a positive message, sung by girls that can sing without any overdubs. What more can any parent of a music lover ask?

"Look At Us Now," they sing, and the whole world watches and listens to their great song!

Genre: Pop
Sounds Like: A Kid's version of Straight No Chaser
Buy: Amazon
Released: 2012
Rating: 10/10
21 September 2012 @ 08:06 pm

Top 5 albums you can't wait to buy this fall
17 September 2012 @ 05:08 pm
Nelson Wright - Still Burning
Album Review by: Andrea Guy

When you listen to Nelson Wright's latest record, you feel like you're listening to a classic rock album. His style of singing and songwriting is like a mash up of Warren Zevon and Gordon Lightfoot.

His gravely voice may not appeal to every listener, but Zevon, Lightfoot, Waits and Costello don't have traditionally beautiful voices either and that doesn't stop them from having legions of fans.

Wright's music is a blend of rock, folk and Americana. Like most music that comes from the pre-disco era, Nelson's music takes you back to the roots of music, where fancy production doesn't matter, just good songs. There are plenty of good songs on Still Burning to appease most listeners.

The bluesy "Worse Things" opens the album and instantly Zevon comes to mind. The songwriting and vocals come together in such a way, that you may think that this song is one of Zevon's lost recordings.

"Five Feet Under" is more folksy. Nelson's song tells a great story that revolves around a bar that shares the name of song. Nelson's sounds more like Lightfoot in his later days. In fact the song shares a theme with Lightfoot's "I Used To Be A Country Singer." The similarity between his music and Lightfoot's is a bit ironic, since he considers his to be close to harkening back to the roots of American music, and Lightfoot is Canadian. Still, there's no harm in being compared to one of the greatest songwriters in Canada.

It is hard not to draw comparisons between Nelson Wright and Gordon Lightfoot. They share many similarities that you can hear plainly on Still Burning. They both share a similar songwriting style. "It Ends With My Longing For You" could be an answer to Lightfoot's "If You Could Read My Mind."

Another thing they both share is a great storytelling ability. Their songs speak of loves won and lost, but more so then that, they are all wonderful stories set to music.

That's not to say that Nelson doesn't embrace the roots of American music, because there are plenty of songs that go to the heart of Rock N' Roll and Country. "Time To Choose" is a slow rocker with a touch of the blues. "Trouble In Mind" is a great song rooted in country. He even gives a nod to Johnny Cash in the lyrics, "Her mama told her love would be so hard to find, but Nancy never sought it by walking the line."

The strongest ballad is "February Thaw." It is a gentle acoustic track. If Lightfoot heard this one, he might be tempted to borrow it, because it sounds so much like something he'd write. Another great ballad is "No Second Chances." It is a country flavored ballad with great fiddle playing by Michael Connolly.

If you are a fan of the folk music of the 70s and you long for the days when Jim Croce, James Taylor, Warren Zevon and Gordon Lightfoot were in the charts Still Burning is an album that you shouldn't miss. But this isn't just an album for fans of classic rock and folk. Overall, Nelson Wright has put out an album that any music lover would be thrilled to have in their collection. His songs take you back to the days when songwriting, not fancy production were what mattered. There are ten songs on Still Burning and none of them are songs to be passed over. This is a great album from start to finish. If you try one artist this year that's new to you, make it Nelson Wright. Still Burning is an album that absolutely can't disappoint!

Genre: Folk, Americana
Sounds Like: Warren Zevon, Gordon Lightfoot
Buy: Amazon
Released: June 5, 2012
Rating: 10/10
16 September 2012 @ 07:33 am
Hamid Grandi - Corde
Album Review by: Andrea Guy

Hamid Grandi album Corde is a must listen for anyone. The Italian singer/songwriter/guitarist has created an album that will appeal to the masses regardless of whether or not they know a word of Italian. This is an album that transcends any language barrier.

Nine songs make up Corde and there isn't a bad song to be found here. This album is an example what happens when great lyrics and fabulous melodies get together. When you add a voice like Hamid's to the mix, the result has to be perfection, and it is.

The music of Corde speaks for itself. The songs aren't what you'd expect when the label acoustic is attached. Sure the acoustic guitar is the prominent instrument on the album, but there is so much more to this album than just the guitar.

Alessandro Santaniello joins Hamid on the album playing cello. His contribution gives the album that special something that sets it apart from the rest. In some songs like "Lola" the cello adds a little bit of romance and in others like "Il Criceto" it adds a fun gypsy like sound to the song. "Il Criceto," is by far the most spirited song on the album. The cello adds that old world quality.

Alessandro's cello takes center stage on "In Cielo E In Terra." The opening chords are all cello and from there on, the instrument demands your attention. Hamid's vocal, which is superb even takes a backburner at times to Alessandro's playing. Two words, cello solo. That isn't something that should get listeners excited, but in this case it should.

"Casomai" opens the album. The song is very folksy and fun. It is the type of music that gets you moving. As lively as "Casomai" is "Questestate" is slow. This song proves that French isn't the only language of love. Hamid's voice is so smooth, that is hard not to get warm fuzzy feelings when this song is on.

"Insieme Insieme" is a perfect pop song. The melody will remind American listeners of John Mayer. The "La la las" make this one of the songs that English speaking listeners will be able to sing along to, although with the catchy melody, there will probably be plenty of people trying to sing along with Hamid.

"Click" is another fun, pop sounding track. The opening spoken word is a very strange touch. This song has great percussion. Hamid's vocal is fun and at times a little cheeky. When he rolls his r's, there's bound to be some swooning from the female population. The song has the spirit of Donovan's material from the late 60s.

"Quand'è Miracolo" closes out Corde. It brings the album full circle. "Casomai" was lively. This track is slow and haunting. It is quite a contrast coming after "Click."

Corde is a perfect mixture of fast fun tracks and ballads that tug at the heartstrings. No matter what your listening preference there's something to love on this album. The songs have such life to them that those of us without knowledge of Italian, will be wishing to be bilingual.

Corde is a listening experience not to be missed. Hamid Grandi should be a musician/songwriter that the world should know about. The strength of the songs on this album should put his name out there.

Hamid's album is a feast for the ears and a wonderful edition to anyone's music collection. No matter what language you speak, Corde will be memorable listen, because good music speaks its own language. If you want to describe this album in one word, that word would have to be "perfetto."

Genre: Italian Pop
Sounds Like:
Buy: CD Baby
Released: 2012
Rating: 10 out of 10
Watch: Il Criceto (A rather cute video someone made of a running dog to the song. (Not associated with Hamid, but still cute)
14 September 2012 @ 06:18 am

Top 5 songs that come to mind when you see the word "New"