MAXWELL JAMES: Self-titled E.P.

Max is a professional singer originally from Cardiff, South Wales. He now lives and creates in Nashville, TN. His music is a unique blend of alternative, indie rock, blues, and American roots.

With emotive vocals that will grab your ears as well as your heartstrings, especially on the amazing track “When It’s Real,” you will be drawn into the web that he has spun on this five song E.P. What a web it is too, full of great playing, those incredible vocals and the lyrics that are not your typical driving around and noticing America, they actually stand up on their own and will get your attention. The highlight of this five song collection isn’t a track, it’s the whole thing, and the songs are great from the first until the last note on the end of the final song. I usually don’t get into this kind of stuff, sometimes a little too country and I hate country, but this really struck me and I was fascinated all the way through.

If you want something a little different, something that would sound great in a café, a BBQ, or just in the car driving around, this is one to grab. I hope that he puts out music of this quality for a long time, I can’t get enough.

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ASTRAL CLOUD ASHES: Dear Absentee Creator

Astral Cloud Ashes is a one-man band formed in 2016 and based on the island of Jersey in the Channel Islands by Antony Walker. Recently he released his second album titled Dear Absentee Creator. The album was influenced by his fascination with both Japan and cryptocurrency Bitcoin.

The album has the sound and feel of late 80s indie and early to mid-90s alternative bands, mixing the sounds up and adding things into the mix that adds to the intriguing music he’s created. He musicianship is terrific, with everything sounding clear, crisp and the playing is tight. Lots of different effects in the songs that give every one a unique, but cohesive listen on the album. The vocals are a bit on the whiny/snotty pop-punk side that was and is still popular, but they are clear and are perfect for the songs. You get a nice chunk of poppy sounding songs with catchy hooks that will get you singing along to and especially on “Satoshi Nakamoto vs. Unyielding Desire for BAU,” the crunchy guitar playing is outstanding.

This album is an interesting, tuneful and great listen. It has everything that I was hoping for, hooks, fun, songs to sing along to and one that I will play a ton of times.

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SAM LEVIN: First World Problems

Sam Levin just released his new single, “First World Problems” from his upcoming full-length album, I Am. When he was five years old, Levin began playing the guitar, a Fender Mini Strat, and at age 12, he dropped his debut EP, I’m In Here. His music style is a mixture of Indie, acoustic, and a little rock.

Sounding both retro ‘90s and modern at the same time, he infuses a slick sound with fun, relate-able lyrics that make for a track that stands up to repeated listens. The song is super catchy and will get you singing along after the first listen.

If this is any indication of the songs on his upcoming album, then we have a killer set to listen to and play over and over. His talent is well beyond his years and that’s an awesome thing to hear.

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NYDTyson: If You’re So Smart, Why Are You So Sad?

The group from Los Angeles, CA has just released their debut EP containing five songs, and their name stands for Neil Young deGrasse Tyson. The duo takes an irreverent stab at indie and never gets bogged down in anything too heavy-handed.

“Egg” reminds me of stuff that I heard on the radio back in the mid-‘90s when alternative was the big thing and weird and wacky would get attention on the video shows and airwaves. Very quirky and so much going on in it that you have to give it a few listens to drink it all in. “Neanderthal” and “What Did You Say?” are two of the songs that were heavy and more all-out garage rock and I loved them. “Who Cares” has the feel of floating and just drifting into the ether, kind of like a China Crisis song. “I Think We Both Know” is another slow song that continues the light and airy feel of the previous song and gives us a bit of a Pink Floyd sound…very cool.

If you are out to listen to something that doesn’t sound like everything else out there, you hit the jackpot here! A very interesting and delightful EP that will keep you coming back for more and wanting them to hurry up and get more music out.

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COLOR YOU: The Grand Trine

This four-piece from the Los Angeles/San Diego area have released their new eight-song album of a mixture of psychedelic rock, alternative and a touch of late ’80s British indie. The band consists of Ben Ross (vocals/guitar), Brian Han (bass/vocals), Drew Stutz (drums) and Theo Eckhardt (guitar/vocals).

The album starts off with a spoken word intro and kicks off with first real song “In Tune,” which shows off the mix of sounds perfectly. The playing is a bit gritty in places, but then becomes soft and gentle and the soaring vocals are amazing. “Empty” is a fast-paced song with wobbling bass guitar and energy to spare. This thrilling song is one that would get the audience up off of their seats and jumping up and down in a live setting, hell, it pretty much did that to me in my house. Love this song! “Same Old Story” has that great bass in it again, and really sounds like British indie with the effects added and the punkish sound. “Lady In Blue” continues in the same vein and just makes this album even better. “Savior” is a post punk song that has blistering guitar work, that incredible bass, pounding drums and edgy lead vocals mixed with some gang vocals. ending with “Again Again,” a soft and melancholy song makes sense, you need to chill out after the highs of the previous songs and the sing-song feel of this track makes you sort of smile because of the beauty of it.

All that I can really say is WOW! I mean seriously, this had the makings of a perfect album for me, except for the intro, mostly because I’m not an intro kind of guy, I like getting to the meat of the album right away. The production was flawless and the band sure can play, plus the vocals were perfect on every track, nothing over the top, just pure excellence all the way through. This will be on the replay pile for a long time.


The Naveblues are a band from Bergen in Norway that play a mix of indie rock and blues . The band features singer/songwriter Nave Pundik, who takes influences from rock, indie, alternative, funk and blues to create their own style and have been reaching an ever-growing audience.

This time out, they have recorded their take on Led Zeppelin’s “Thank You,” and given the song their own spin. The major difference is the harmonica being used in place of Jimmy Page’s guitar playing. That may be a bit of a shock since everyone is used to that being a major part of the song, but the harmonica is soulful, and gives the song a new texture and feel to it. Don’t think that there isn’t guitar in the song, there is and it’s sinewy and sounds great. The blues sound actually suits this song and gives you a chance to close your eyes and let the sound wash over you. The video is based upon the idea of what going to Mars would be like and staying there by yourself. It goes through the excitement and beauty of being there, to sadness and a realization that she is all alone on Mars.

The playing, the production, and the video are all excellent and show not only terrific chops, but that the idea of being a settler alone on Mars is portrayed perfectly. A great total concept, and one that I will be enjoying again and again.

PATTERN IS MOVEMENT: Self-titled: Download

Pattern Is Movement cover art

Pattern Is Movement have returned with their self-titled fourth album six years since 2008’s All Together. The band is now a duo featuring Andrew Thiboldeaux (everything that is not drums, but specifically, vocals, keys, and bass), and Chris Ward (drums).

The band has mixed things up on this release with a bit of hip-hop beats driving the songs which makes for a very interesting sound. Musically the album is very diverse and has a nice groove to it, not getting too crazy, but not too relaxed either, a nice mix that really works well, sadly the vocals are not that interesting. The sameness of the vocals starts to get monotonous very quickly with the laid back and unexciting delivery, you start to wish that someone would just wail on one of the songs, but that never happens. The album really never grabs a hold of me like I wanted it to, the musicianship is great, so many interesting sounds and effects, giving you the feeling of floating away, like on “Gone My Love,” probably my favorite song on here, but the vocals just lack anything dynamic.

I can’t give this a complete thumbs up or down, kind of halfway between both, but if you are interested in cool music, this is great, just don’t expect much from the vocals. Hopefully they can take some of the great parts of this release and make a stronger release in the future.


This is the Inspiral Carpets‘ legendary 1989 mail-order only cassette DUNG 4 on CD for the very first time ever. Originally issued on the band’s own Cow label, this tape was never issued on vinyl or CD and it contained unique songs as well as versions of tracks which were later re-recorded. It sold 8,000 cassettes and has the contents of their earlier demo EP Cow as bonus tracks.

Their debut single “Garage Full Of Flowers” is here in a totally different version, that’s fast and peppy. Their breakthrough single “Joe” is present with a spoken word intro from drummer Craig Gill that’s missing from the better known later version. There’s a version of ? And The Mysterians’ “96 Tears,” that was recorded before The Stranglers had a hit with it on their album 10. “Inside My Head” and “Seeds Of Doubt” are fast and hard-hitting songs, “Sun Don’t Shine” is a beautiful organ-led ballad that was later re-recorded for the band’s debut album Life. “Theme From Cow” is a short stab of organ-led pop that shows their garage roots. “Butterfly” is taken off the band’s second EP, Trainsurfing. as well as “Causeway.” “26” is a slower song that was written before vocalist Stephen Holt left the band. The four bonus tracks from the band’s previous Cow demo cassette capture a slightly harder Inspiral sound than you’re used to hearing. “Head For The Sun” is fast, and driven by Graham Lambert’s wild guitar playing. “Now You’re Gone” has the feel of ’60s psychedelia. “Whisky” is a fast organ based ode to drinking. The final “Love Can Never Lose Its Own” is another shot of ’60s psychedelia. The booklet has great pictures of posters and other bits of memorabilia from the era, plus comments from each band member. The sound has been improved on and sounds nice and clear, giving you the full experience of their earliest recordings.

Yes, the band became a big thing not long after this and for fans, it shows the roots of a band that just kept getting better. It stands as not a relic, but an insight to a band on the cusp of greatness.

SAVE ENDS: Warm Hearts, Cold Hands: LP

Warm Hearts, Cold Hands cover art

The Boston, MA five-piece band’s debut album has ten songs that will get in your head and grow until there is room for nothing except this album. The shared male and female vocals are such a treat on give the album nuances that are a pleasure to listen to.

This mix of pop punk and indie is a pleasure to hear from when the needle hits the vinyl right up until the last note has faded. The band plays their hearts out, and the vocals just grab you and sweep you off of your feet and take you on an exciting trip away from your troubles. This is the kind of album that when you’re listening to it, you can’t help break into a smile and feel good. This would fit perfectly into the scene of the mid ’90s, but don’t think of this as a retro album, no, it’s an album of energy and power that hits your soul and brings happiness into your day, kind of like a reminder of when things were easier or not so hectic before. The songs shimmer and they just make you want to listen to them over and over again.

This is the kind of band that I would drag everyone that I know to see live, and make them buy merch from them. This band deserves your attention and you need to do what you can to show them love.

PLACES TO HIDE: Almost Nothing: CD

Almost Nothing cover art

This is the debut album from this quartet out of Atlanta, GA that has touches of ’90s indie, but not the bad, pretentious crap that made you want to throw up, instead they conjure up some grooves that SUPERCHUNK would have killed for. The band is made up of Kyle Swick on guitar and vocals,
Deborah Hudson on guitar and vocals, Gavin Caffrey on drums. and Steve Valero on bass and the dual vocals make this a standout.

The male and female vocals give this a very cool sound, especially since they aren’t perfect and it gives it a feeling of being in a live situation listening to them instead of a sterile recording. The songs are all about youth, sex, drugs, and drinking, but not cheesy or contrived, just their experiences and thoughts that are catchy and a lot of fun to listen to. The band is creating a great noise behind the vocals with everything a little sloppy, disjointed and probably one of the better albums that I’ve heard in a long time by a new band. The band scores points for really making me want to go see them live and buy a t-shirt from them, not a lot of bands can pull that one off.

Possibly one of those albums that will get dragged out to all of my friend’s houses to make them hear what a great debut album this is. Their E.P. from last year is good, but this shows them getting even better and growing as a band.