New Music Tuesday: Shane Alexander – A Life Like Ours [Album]

 

 

I’m finally doing it, Folks! I have been pushing the release date of a review for Shane Alexander’s triumphant album A Life Like Ours for far too long. I’ve listened to and enjoyed the album in its entirety for close to 2 months now, but simply haven’t found the chance to tell you all about it and give it the credit it so deserves. From the opening chords of “Everything as One” to the dramatic conclusion of “Evermore”, Shane Alexander has created something absolutely mesmerizing. And now that the album is officially released, it’s about damn time I give it the proper credit.

If you have been a visitor to our site over the years, you can probably guess what exactly it is that I love about Alexander’s work so much. In my own opinion, there is nothing better than a beautiful listening session with a talented singer/songwriter. While I am not opposed to a huge guitar sound or a high tempo punk rock vibe, my heart will always be with the world of classic and modern folk music. When it’s done right, that is. And Folks, I’m here to tell you that Shane Alexander got it EXACTLY right. He is quoted as saying he hopes “that my fans will listen to A Life Like Ours top to bottom to get my full intent.” And I am here to co-sign on this idea and say that while every song has its own proverbial legs to stand on, this album works so great as a whole, and should really be listened to as such.

 

 

If I had to think of one word to describe A Life Like Ours as a whole, as weird as it may seem, I have to say “pretty”. Because it really is. His voice is obviously calming and motivating in a strange way, but between the acoustic pick style he has mastered, and the feeling of the entire earth and existence as we know it colliding in song format to remind us that there may still be some good in the world, I honestly can’t see this amazing album as anything short of pretty. Even if the subject matter turns a bit dark, it’s still just so, so, beautifully done. See incredibly catchy and skillfully down “Taxi Cab” for an example of the latter.

I seriously cannot recommend A Life Like Ours enough to you dear readers. And I think it’s fair to say that Shane will be making an appearance on TWS in the coming months when we begin to wrap up the year in telling what were some our favorite pieces of art to be released in 2019. In fact, I can guarantee it, as this is not only on of the best artistic experiences I have listened to this year, it’s probably the one I’ve heard the most. After so many nights of having Shane serenading my headphones while pounding the keys for other features, I am so happy that I could finally pay tribute to the cat who has helped motivate me through the summer. So, get on it yourselves, Folks! You simply HAVE to hear this incredible album!

 

A Life Like Ours is available now from Buddhaland Records wherever you get music.

 

New Music Tuesday: Honey Gentry – Dreamlover [EP]

 

 

Have you all ever had that experience where you hear something that is so intriguing, you can’t stop hearing it even when it’s not playing? A sound so sweet and captivating that it seems to seep deep into your subconscious and just sort of live there for a while? I’m sure you all have. Even if you don’t know that you have, it’s likely that it has happened, but you just hadn’t really thought about it before. I know that is how I feel sometimes. And I know that is how I felt after just one complete listen to Honey Gentry’s incredible EP entitled Dreamlover. But, to be fair, when an album this great comes around, there is no way that a sound like this can just come into your life and then be gone the next day. It’s just not possible with something this damn intriguing.

Honey Gentry is the type of artist I have personally been dying to hear for quite some time. I have always had an affinity for the power that a female singer/songwriter can bring to the world of music. And there have been so many wonderful artists to create such magic over the years. But, every few years, I am fortunate enough to become privy to some absolutely incredible artists that transcend the idea of “amazing”, and seem to move into a whole new dimension of fantastic and become an artist that I simply cannot imagine having never entered my life. Their sound so serene and perfect that it’s almost as though they are put on this earth just to bring me to tears based on their talents alone. Only a handful of artists of this nature have ever existed in this realm. Of course there is our beloved friend Lotte Kestner. Then there is Maddy Wyatt, Sara Schneiderman, Laura Gibson, etc. And now, Folks, please know that Honey Gentry is amongst the list of truly inspiring and absolutely brilliant singer/songwriters that have completely rocked my world with some truly brilliant talent that is undeniable and deserves to be the center of attention for decades to come.

Dreamlover is a beautiful depiction of incredible talent in Honey Gentry’s ability to write the shit out of a song based around a feeling of despair that still seems hopeful about the possibility of happiness. I love the EP as a whole, but I do have to say that there is without a doubt possibility that “Now I Wait” makes into our top ten singles list this year. Holy shit, it’s just so damn good.

So dive in, Folks. Dreamlover is an absolutely incredible EP that is sure to leave you wanting more. It is an incredible taste to what Honey Gentry has to offer, and let me tell you all, it’s ALOT. If Honey Gentry is not a household name in the upcoming decade, something is absolutely wrong with the world. I will forever stand by this statement.

 

Dreamlover will be available on August 22nd wherever you listen to music. 

 

New Music Tuesday: Crooked Ghost – Colors Bleed [EP]

 

 

Folks, I have been covering music on the wonderful interwebs for a dozen years, and I can honestly say that I have heard it all. I’ve acknowledged thousands of “RIYL” recommendations. Usually they are wrong, but I can see where they are coming from. I used to try to amplify word counts in album reviews by drawing comparisons to likewise artists, often mention in the “RIYL” sections. And sometimes I would try to amplify the review once again by using an exhausting amount of adverbs about how completely original a band was, and couldn’t be compared. But as I grow old and wary in what I put on this site, I am beginning to realize that familiarization isn’t such a bad thing, really. Take a band like Crooked Ghost, for instance. Crooked Ghost is hands down, without a fucking doubt in the world, something fresh and original, yet very familiar in all the right ways.

Colors Bleed is a post-punk (whatever the fuck that really means) band that has a sound that intertwines brilliant vocals that are backed by a bit of grunge-like (this makes more sense to me) guitar and drum work with incredibly strategic vocals that are both fascinating and goddamned intriguing. Colors Bleed is a 4-track collection of songs that are absolutely mind-blowing in their own individual ways, with each track sounding like a stand alone single with its own merit and understanding of what it is giving to the world. “Sinew in Red” could be considered the obvious single, and not just because it is the actual “single”, but it just has that type of catchiness that we as listeners are supposed to be looking for. There is so much to love in this track, it’s hard to imagine Crooked Ghost NOT making it the stand alone track.

 

 

But, being the ever pretentious asshole that I am, I will be calling the 7 minute opus that is “Golden Blue” the best fucking song on the album, and one of the best songs I have heard in quite a while. The range and movement that exists in this highly energetic track is absolutely compelling, and is something that really needs to be appreciated all on its own.

Colors Bleed is a phenomenal release in it’s own right, and it should definitely be enjoyed by all. If I truly needed to make the bullshit comparisons that tend to make the quotes of press releases and the social media renegades, I guess I would say it is a cross between Simple Minds and Soul Asylum. I’m not sure how much I would entirely agree with this, but I love both of these bands. And I now love Crooked Ghost. So I guess that isn’t nothing, right? If that is how you have to learn about new and wonderful music, let’s go with that!

 

 

New Music Tuesday: Fences – Failure Sculptures [Album]

 

Let just kick things off here by saying one statement that should sum up everything I am about to say: Holy Shit! I’ve found a new favorite songwriter in Chris Mansfield, and Fences is incredible! Now I will continue with the fluff, but honestly if you just stop reading this right now, and do your own research on Fences and their incredible album Failure Sculptures, I would not be mad. In fact, I would prefer it. Go away.

Still there? Alright, well, I guess I can say more. Failure Sculpture is basically that small, almost unnoticeable, diamond lying snug amidst the coal. But once noticed, and given further inspection, it may just be one of the most beautiful things you have ever seen. Mansfield actually says a line in the track “Same Blues” that is how I would describe the entire album: “It’s a burn that I like”. That’s what this album is at its core. It’s a collection of sweet yet melancholy tunes that sound as they were meant to be sung in a cigarette smoked filled barroom. Of course, I know that Fences is a Seattle based group, so their probably not doing that. But maybe a smoke filled studio apartment? Anyway, there is just so much singer/songwriter goodness happening throughout this album.

 

Christopher Mansfield. Photo by Christian Sorensen Hansen.

 

As of lately, I have tried to avoid singling out one particular track on an album, as I would like to appreciate the entirety of Failure Sculpture as a whole. And I really do. But, fuck, my hands can’t assault this MacBook fast enough to tell you all how much I love the cut “Paper Route”. I have probably ran through the album a dozen times, but if it were still possible, I would have worn out this track. Seriously Folks, every time Mansfield proclaims “Some people stay face down / they’re lucky that way”, my fucking heart straight up sinks. And while I don’t know the exact specifics of what he is expressing in this song, I know what it means to me, and it is a confrontation within my own soul that is thriving and desperately trying to overtake my body, but through a track as sweet as this one and some self-realization, I will overcome. Now, I know I kind of went of the rails there, but it truly is an amazing track, and I’m certain it will enter my rotation of one of the best songs of all time.

You gotta check out Failure Sculptures, Folks! I’m not kidding when I say it is one of the best albums I have heard in a very long time. We proclaimed in April that we had already found the best album of 2019 with Tom Speight’s masterpiece, Collide, but I have to say I am perplexed now. I guess we will see when the end of year lists start to roll out. Either way, Fences has had a real impact on me, and I won’t soon forget it! Check it out!

 

Failure Sculpture is available everywhere courtesy of GRNDVW. For tour dates and more information, check out the Fence’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

 

 

 

 

New Music Tuesday: Onesie – Umpteenth [Album]

 

First of all, I have to kick this thing off by stating that I have been listening to Onesie’s brilliant second album, Umpteenth, almost on a loop now for weeks. I had every hope to get something up here about it, damn near a month ago. Unfortunately, the time I was spending listening to this absolute gem of an album happened to be in while I was too busy playing on-line class-clown, and struggled to find the time to write about something I actually cared about. But, fuck it, here I am. And if there is something I truly care about, it’s letting you all know just how great Umpteenth is, and why you need to check it out ASAP, as it is now currently available.

As I stated earlier, I have listened to this album so many times that if Ben Haberland walked into my house at this very moment and told me that my cats were disgusting and should be put down….I would eventually be a bit hurt, but I would at first be starstruck. Having insults hurdled at me from the man who has sung the words of “Final Days Of Nineteen” to me for all this time is in my home! And full disclosure, I don’t believe he would actually ever do this.

 

In all seriousness Folks, the genre-bending group that is Onesie is hand’s down one of the those multi-faceted acts we are (or at least should) be looking for when it comes to listening experiences. There are so many different sounds on display throughout Umpteenth, yet it all blends ever so nicely to create a magical sound that is unique to them and them alone and it is a damn good one. With power-pop elements that clash perfectly with a big guitar sound, the entire track list of this album is destined to blow you away. But what I respect the most about Onesie and what they have done here is their obvious lack of “give a shit” in trying to fit into any sort standardized sound. And with that, I firmly believe that Onesie has created one of the best albums of 2019 thus far.

 

Umpteenth is available now from Dadstache Records wherever you get your music. And check out other releases available on the band’s Bandcamp page.

 

 

Beck(er) & Call Music Tuesday: Hepcat – Right On Time [Album]

 

So, there was a time and place in which it was possible that you didn’t really realize that two things that you truly loved were actually co-existing in a place. For me personally, it was a time when the internet indeed existed, but it wasn’t as prevalent as we now know. It was also the time when 3rd wave ska was absolutely devouring the airwaves. Which, would in turn lean towards the world of reggae hitting the main stream, as the two world were absolutely colliding in such a beautiful way. I lived this shit Everyone, it was a really fun time. We could move in between the worlds of Barrington Levy and Reel Big Fish, and often meet the same people. I’m sure it’s still out there, but I don’t see it to be as prevalent these days.

My main point here is actually this: In the late 90’s and early 00’s, I really enjoyed the music of the Hepcats. I was only vaguely familiar with them, as I didn’t have all of the research available as we do today, so I didn’t get to truly fanboy out as much as I should have. I specifically loved Right On Time. It is a brilliant blend of Ska music, mixed with a beautiful Reggae vibe, yet composes itself in an unorthodox fashion between but times of music in an absolutely beautiful way. But, what am I really getting at here? Well, apparently, I had no idea that a member of Hepcats happened to be someone I already truly admire for absolutely different reasons. And that man was the one and only Alex Désert. And for those of you who are new here and only tuning in because we are obsessing over the television show Becker (first of all, Welcome!) you will probably know that Alex is the man who portrayed Jake for 6 wonderful years on this show we love so damn much and have dedicated this week to for our own personal enjoyment and because the show deserves so much love.

But Becker be damned, Hepcats were, and are, an absolutely amazing group that I truly love/loved for their ability to perfectly blend the idea of modern ska music, with the rocksteady and reggae (more so which the later) that is absolutely wonderful to let slowly caress your ear drums. Our beloved Jake from the Newsstand (a.k.a. Alex Désert) wasn’t always with the group during their run, presumably he was a bit busy working on an absolutely incredible television show. But, the music has always been enjoyable and extremely entertaining. And their album, Right On Time, is one that I have always kept on the ready for background music at any part I have ever hosted. Honestly, there haven’t been many, but if there have been any, the Hepcats were involved.

According to Wikipedia, “No Worries” is the modest hit of the album, and that seems fair. But, I do have to say that my favorite track from this album is “Goodbye Street”, and I will stand by that decision until this Earth no longer has a need for me. The entire album is incredible, and is truly meant to be celebrated and listened to as a whole. Which, yes, is a strange concept for this day and age, but if you only listen to two tracks, I would definitely suggest these two in the very least.

So, there you have it Folks, I found a way to combine the New Music Tuesday session of our little site to include a member of the cast of Becker who happens to be an extremely talented musician as well as an obviously brilliant actor. Hell yeah!

 

 

 

New Music Tuesday: Greg Felden – Made of Strings [Album]

 

Hello Folks! I will be damned if we don’t have another brilliant singer/songwriter to share with you all here today. Hailing from our beloved Pacific Northwest, Greg Felden is another performer from our original location that I was so happy to discover. Now a Los Angeles transplant, Felden has been creating beautiful Americana and sort of country based tunes for a number of years and is now bringing his talents to what will be his first full length album entitled Made of Strings. And Folks, it is good. Really good. I know we tend to say this a lot. But, it’s only because it is so true. Felden has a beautiful batch of 10 tracks to share with you all that he has been cultivating for years and has fine tuned them and has called in some additional very talented folks to bring the entire concept of the album together. And again, it’s so damn good!

As per usual, it would be damn near impossible to pick out a stand out cut amongst the damn near perfect selection of tunes that Felden has assembled to become Made of Strings. “When the Change Comes” Is definitely one that jumps out runs the gauntlet on your emotions with its catchy hook and hopeful lyrics. But, the album’s closer “Ghost” is probably the track that has stuck with me the most. Greg’s voice echoes through billowing sadness into a hopeful future in his stellar songwriting. This is one of the best of the year Folks, I truly cannot recommend it enough.

 

Made of Strings will be available wherever you get your music on June 14th, 2019.