Tag Archives: Music Reviews

Dolly Parton: I Believe in You

Source: Short and Sweet NYC » Music

Dolly Parton: I Believe in YouDolly Parton
I Believe in You
(Sony Music Nashville)

Dolly Parton: I Believe in You

A train whistle, into a jaunty accordion begins “I Believe in You,” the title track, and opener to Dolly Parton’s new album. This is the country icon’s first ever music release exclusively for children, with all the proceeds from the album benefiting Dolly’s “Parton’s Imagination Library.”

The country star with the big assets (her voice and talent, what did you think I meant!?) is being slightly obvious here with the lyrics, maybe insipidly so. But Dolly has so much personality. The musicians here are top notch and the backing vocalists, ...

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Gary Numan: Savage (Songs from a Broken World)

Source: Short and Sweet NYC » Music

Gary Numan: Savage (Songs from a Broken World)Gary Numan
Savage (Songs From a Broken World)
(BMG Rights Management UK Ltd)

Gary Numan: Savage (Songs from a Broken World)

Gary Numan’s 21st studio album, Savage (Songs from a Broken World) is a concept album. Here, Numan presents a desert landscape resulting from global warming, and a blending of Western and Eastern cultures in a post-apocalyptic world. This is one of those albums where you wait to hear every bleep and steam-issuing slip. You may think you have tread this kind of sonicscape with the likes of Trent Reznor, but really Numan is the influence on guys of Reznor’s generation and his ilk (which Reznor fully acknowledges) and ...

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Kris Heaton Band: World Gone Mad

Source: Short and Sweet NYC » Music

Kris Heaton Band: World Gone MadKris Heaton Band
World Gone Mad
(Kris Heaton Band)

Kris Heaton Band: World Gone Mad

Kris Heaton Band’s new dozen song album World Gone Mad, opens with the mid-tempo rocker, “Who Let the Bullets Fly.” With a tight snare and power chords pushing, we get a tune with a sing-able hum and introspective lyrics of real substance. The roiling title track follows with a strong key line covering some of the same lyrical ground. There is an expert layering of the instrumentals in both songs that plays well throughout the entire album.

The jangle of “When the Sun Goes Down” informs a solid pop love ...

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The Sidney Green Street Band: Half Live

Source: Short and Sweet NYC » Music

The Sidney Green Street Band: Half LiveThe Sidney Green Street Band
Half Live
(The Sidney Green Street Band)

The Sidney Green Street Band: Half Live

With twangy solid beats, well-placed harmonies, and stellar songwriting The Sidney Green Street Band hit hard with singable tunes on their new album, Half Live. This is a four-piece band made up of talented, seasoned players: songwriter/lead singer/guitarist Lance Doss, singer/guitarist Justin Jordan, bassist Paul Page, and (rock legend drummer Steve Holly. What the foursome present here is an album of tunes recorded in the studio, half live at The Great Notch Inn (a classic historic-tavern in Northern New Jersey).

Half Live opens with a tribute, “Muscle ...

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Tori Amos: Native Invader

Source: Short and Sweet NYC » Music

Tori Amos: Native InvaderTori Amos
Native Invaders
(Decca)

Tori Amos: Native Invader

Tori Amos has always held a special place in my heart. Her voice is so vulnerable, but you can see shards of glass just beyond the veiled horizon of her soft sound. I implore you to play the Little Earthquakes masterpieces “Silent All These Years” or “Winter” at full volume (with just her and a piano) and tell me they are not some of the most powerful pieces of songwriting that you’ve ever heard.

Her cover of Lloyd Cole’s “Rattlesnakes” is better than the original. Tori Amos is where I go when I need a ...

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Living Colour: Shade

Source: Short and Sweet NYC » Music

Living Colour: ShadeLiving Colour
Shade
(Sony Music Canada Inc)

Living Colour: Shade

For the better part of thirty years, Vernon Reid’s funk-punk metal pioneers have been raising social awareness with songs like “Open Letter To A Landlord,” “Information Overload,” and “Which Way To America?” With Shade, they’re raising it even higher, offering a brutally real take on today’s political climate with no holds barred.

The first track on the album is “Freedom Of Expression,” abbreviated as “F.O.X.,” in which vocalist Corey Glover reminds us never to be sorry: “You gotta do what you want/you gotta say what you feel/you gotta be who you are/no ...

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Jhené Aiko: Trip

Source: Short and Sweet NYC » Music

Jhené Aiko: TripJhené Aiko
Trip
(Def Jam Recordings)

Jhené Aiko: Trip

Jhené Aiko’s Trip opens with “LSD,” concisely setting the tone for this extremely personal R&B album tinged with psychedelia. The second track “Jukai,” delves deep with its lyrics, while the instrumentals paint a cinematic backdrop.

“OLLA (Only Lovers Left Alive)” sets us up for a sorrow filled song, but its simple, 80s pop ish beat pulls this song out of the depths and makes it a true stand out.

“Sativa” (featuring Swae Lee) is one of the strongest tracks on the album, with the best feature too. The vocal harmonies flow over a smooth, ...

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Neil Young: Hitchhiker

Source: Short and Sweet NYC » Music

Neil Young: HitchhikerNeil Young
Hitchhiker
(Reprise)

Neil Young: Hitchhiker

Neil Young recorded Hitchhiker with engineer David Briggs back in 1976. Since, most of these tunes have been re-recorded to find homes on Young releases, Rust Never Sleep. Hawks & Doves, Comes A Time, American Stars ‘n Bars and Le Noise. But here we get the tunes just Young’s high warble vocal and percussive acoustic guitar playing.

Opening with paegn to the American Indian, “Pocahontas,” Young sends out his sympathy imagining what it would be like to get close to the great Indian lady and “see how she felt.” The famous “Powderfinger” ...

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Neil Young: Hitchhiker

Source: Short and Sweet NYC » Music

Neil Young: HitchhikerNeil Young
Hitchhiker
(Reprise)

Neil Young: Hitchhiker

Neil Young recorded Hitchhiker with engineer David Briggs back in 1976. Since, most of these tunes have been re-recorded to find homes on Young releases, Rust Never Sleep. Hawks & Doves, Comes A Time, American Stars ‘n Bars and Le Noise. But here we get the tunes just Young’s high warble vocal and percussive acoustic guitar playing.

Opening with paegn to the American Indian, “Pocahontas,” Young sends out his sympathy imagining what it would be like to get close to the great Indian lady and “see how she felt.” The famous “Powderfinger” ...

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Iron & Wine: Beast Epic

Source: Short and Sweet NYC » Music

Iron & Wine: Beast EpicIron & Wine
Beast Epic
(Sub Pop Records)

Iron & Wine: Beast Epic

For the past couple of years, Sam Beam (better known as folk/Americana project Iron & Wine) has mostly been collaborating with other artists, including Band Of Horses, Jesca Hoop, and members of Wilco. Beast Epic, by comparison, is a return to a more stripped-down production style. Yet, there’s also an undeniable sincerity and fullness to the album. The vocals really grab your attention because they’re very central in the mix and the harmonies are rich. The first song, “Claim Your Ghost,” features a subtle yet effective violin and laid back drums ...

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The Yawpers: Boy in a Well

Source: Short and Sweet NYC » Music

The Yawpers: Boy in a WellThe Yawpers
Boy in a Well
(Bloodshot Records)

The Yawpers: Boy in a Well

The Yawpers new album, Boy in a Well is a wonderful conceptual ‘mess.’ On their 3rd album, the Denver trio (consisting of drummer Noah Shomberg, guitarist Jesse Parmet, and guitarist/singer/songwriter Nate Cook) attempt to tell the story of a mother abandoning her son in a well during World War I in France.

Discordant piano strikes, marching snares, wailing guitars, and Cook’s warbling high vocals bring the first tune, “Armistice Day” into scary relief. It flows right into the rockabilly rave shouter, “A Decision is Made.”

“Room with a View” is a ...

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The National: Sleep Well Beast

Source: Short and Sweet NYC » Music

The National: Sleep Well BeastThe National
Sleep Well Beast
(4AD)

The National: Sleep Well Beast

Their first album since 2013s masterful Trouble Will Find Me, The National’s Sleep Well Beast starts off strong and confident with “Nobody Else Will Be There.” This intro track features heavy, simple piano parts, allowing Matt Berninger’s distinct vocals to cut through easily. The lyrics are straightforward and sad, full of regret about sacrifices and efforts made in a romantic relationship to no avail.

Despite its somber title, “Day I Die” (the most recently released single) picks up the pace with quick, upbeat drums and sparse guitars. The lyrics make our narrator sound a ...

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Carly Harpur Hollander: Turn Down Your Mind, Open Your Eyes

Source: Short and Sweet NYC » Music

Carly Harpur Hollander: Turn Down Your Mind, Open Your EyesCarly Harpur Hollander
Turn Down Your Mind, Open Your Eyes
(Carly Harpur Hollander)

Carly Harpur Hollander: Turn Down Your Mind, Open Your Eyes

Los Angeles pop/electropop artist Carly Harpur Hollander’s new EP, Turn Down Your Mind, Open Your Eyes is a tightly woven concoction. Hollander claims her music is meant to “reflect a philosophy of resilience and unbridled positivity” and here with these tunes she just about does exude this ethos.

“Little Less Shy” opens, built around a shunky drum loop with some well-placed and well-played electric rhythms and a big poppy chorus. “Satellite,” with its quieter ‘plinky’ key sounds, follows, providing more welcome space where it is just Hollander’s ...

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Danii Roundtree: Memoirs

Source: Short and Sweet NYC » Music

Danii Roundtree: MemoirsDanii Roundtree
Memoirs
(CarMichael Music Group)

Danii Roundtree: Memoirs

Snapping beat, big horns bleating out the melody as Danii Roundtree trills her voice around them, the New Orleans-like opener “My Man” opens Memoirs. With The Retro Rebels Danii really hits it out of the park here with her soul/jazz/funk mix of high horn push, great keys, upright bass, and warbly vocals.

The slip in and out of the organ on “Pillow Talk,” and how it plumps along on “Magic” reveals some very sly playing and production (on “Magic” there’s some distorted additions to Danii’s voice that are very effective as well). “Blue ...

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Shrek Is Love: Shrek Is Love Volume 1 – This Is My Swamp

Source: Short and Sweet NYC » Music

Shrek Is Love: Shrek Is Love Volume 1 – This Is My SwampShrek is Love
Shrek is Love, Vol 1: This is My Swamp

Shrek Is Love: Shrek Is Love Volume 1 – This Is My Swamp

The love of Shrek (yes, that animated big guy) brings vocalist Michael Mayo, bassist Nick Campbell, keyboardist Jacob Mann and drummer Christian Euman together on Shrek Is Love’s 3-song EP, Shrek Is Love, Volume 1, This Is My Swamp.

“Lord Farquaad” smacks us right into the great bass playing and drumming of this four piece along with some “plinky” keys and Mayo’s Steve Wonder-isms. This muscular track ends quite some time later in great jamming. I love how things don’t just end here, the band tacks it down ...

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Giant Flying Turtles: Waltz To The World

Source: Short and Sweet NYC » Music

Giant Flying Turtles: Waltz To The WorldGiant Flying Turtles
Waltz to the World
(Menagerie)

Giant Flying Turtles: Waltz To The World

High poppy “who who who’s,” heavy guitar riffing, a hard hitting snare, and then floating bass on top with chorus harmonies and a plinky piano, this wonderfully eclectic mix begins the Giant Flying Turtles new album, Waltz To The World.

These Brooklyn indie music makers mine jazz, prog rock, folk and bluegrass, and they seem to be, dare I say, experts in all these genres.

Calvin Bennett’s bass popping under Johnny Young’s piano plunks on the jazzy “Stay Out Late” swings into a controlled chorus. Then we are into the kinetic ...

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Ray J and Chris Brown: Burn My Name

Source: Short and Sweet NYC » Music

Ray J and Chris Brown: Burn My NameRay J and Chris Brown
Burn My Name
(916% Entertainment)

Ray J and Chris Brown: Burn My Name

When I finally get a chance to settle in from life’s daily hustle, especially being from The Big Apple, and read the list of music reviews I’m always torn between choices. Do I explore new territory and pick a new artist, do I go for a legend who may have an independent release that hasn’t been marketed widely or, do I choose something current and relevant?

So when I chose Ray J and Chris Brown’s collaborative project I had mixed feelings. Don’t get me wrong , I Love Ray J ...

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LCD Soundsystem: American Dream

Source: Short and Sweet NYC » Music

LCD Soundsystem: American Dream

LCD Soundsystem
American Dream
(Columbia)

LCD Soundsystem: American Dream

I vividly remember LCD Soundsystem’s “last show.” I was new to the band, but my friend had an extra ticket and promised me it was not to be missed. As monumental as it felt to be included in an experience that was equal parts sad and beautiful to the point of tearing up at the end, I couldn’t help but feel like I had arrived (almost) too late to a band that could’ve been a fixture in my life. But years later they returned to headline Coachella followed by the release of two singles, and ...

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Daniel Caesar: Freudian

Source: Short and Sweet NYC » Music

Daniel Caesar: FreudianDaniel Caesar
Freudian
(Golden Child Recordings)

Daniel Caesar: Freudian

Toronto singer/songwriter Daniel Caesar’s Fruedian starts off with the catchy, but soft single, “Get You” (featuring Kali Uchis). The subtle funk of the bass line sets the mood, and the vocals are utterly beautiful.

“Best Part” (featuring H.E.R.) pours on the romance. The chorus is full of proclamations of love and devotion like “If life is a movie then you’re the best part.” This song will saturate your speakers and headphones with perfectly layered vocals, a steady pace, and gorgeously simple acoustic guitar chords.

“Hold Me Down” is definitely a stand out track with classic ...

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Greg Kihn Band: Rekihndled

Source: Short and Sweet NYC » Music

Greg Kihn Band: RekihndledGreg Kihn Band
Rekihndled
(Riot Records)

Greg Kihn Band: Rekihndled

Greg Kihn pretty much rocked radio and MTV back in the day with “The Breakup Song (They Don’t Write ‘Em Like That Anymore)” and his smash single (and one of the first ‘concept’ videos on MTV), “Jeopardy.”  The Greg Kihn Band’s Rekihndled is their first album of all new material in 21 years.

“The Life I Got,” with its catchy riff, heavy bass, and Kihn’s sandpapery vocals open, then we’re rolling into something sweeter on “Anthem,” a song about measuring the passage of time and what one does with it. “Tell Me Something Good” ...

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MADM: MADM

Source: Short and Sweet NYC » Music

MADM: MADMMADM
MADM
(Independent)

MADM: MADM

MADM is the moniker used by Indian songstress, Sanjana Rajnarayan. The flurry voiced singer from up and coming music magnet Chennai, India uses her breathy, sexy, and siren-like voice to pull you into her landscape.

MADM’s self-titled debut is exotic, but almost Victorian-like in a Sade kind of way. With production from fellow Chennai duo, Sapta, MADM spins a record that is equal parts heartache, equal parts dream. MADM requires your undivided attention and respect luring you into a labyrinth of beats, arpeggios, and blurry sound.

Album opener “Mother and Caroline” begins with an abstract chant that ...

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Sizzla: I’m Yours

Source: Short and Sweet NYC » Music

Sizzla: I’m YoursSizzla
I’m Yours
(FX Music Group)

Sizzla: I’m Yours

Every reggae fan is familiar with the prolific Sizzla. I’m Yours is his third album this year alone (along with Fought for Dis and Welcome to Judgement Yard).

Sizzla’s lyrics span a wide range of topics to go along with a variety of sounds. He talks about love interests, beautiful women, but also about violence and oppression in poor neighborhoods. Throughout the album you’ll hear different types of reggae from roots vibes to bits of modern dancehall on “I’m Yours.”

The title track (featuring JonFX and Mz. Vee) even has pop appeal, ...

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KMFDM: Hell Yeah

Source: Short and Sweet NYC » Music

KMFDM: Hell Yeah

KMFDM
Hell Yeah
(earMUSIC)

KMFDM: Hell Yeah

In addition to its exuberant title, which seems equal parts defiant and optimistic in that charming way that only Sascha & Co can pull off, the first thing that struck me about KMFDM’s new album was its cover art, created by their long-time collaborator Aidan Hughes (aka Brute).

It seems to epitomize what our culture has become, for better or worse. It’s a man standing on what appears to be a bridge or a tower, having just taken a selfie with a smartphone, turning the phone outwards to show the world.

The title track kicks it ...

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Free Willy: Remember the Alamo

Source: Short and Sweet NYC » Music

Free Willy: Remember the Alamo

Free Willy
Remember the Alamo
(Buddha Belly Records)

Free Willy: Remember the Alamo

Kevin Carter’s fiddle and mandolin lead a quick county instrumental backing the solid harmony vocals of “Amazing Gracie,” the opener here. Giving a nod to the classic “Amazing Grace” with a little torn-heart love ditty mixed in, this is a great fun way to begin what ends up being a wonderful bluegrass, and slightly alternative country release from Free Willy.

What sounds like a “plicking” quick banjo runs under “God Has A Name,” a tune about the wonders of colors in our world. Once again Carter slices under W.B. Jones’ lead vocals ...

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Welcome To A 1970s Rock’N’Roll Nightmare

Source: Philthy Mag

Is it just me… or was pop culture allowed to be weirder in the ‘60s and ‘70s? Not necessarily better (although, let’s be honest, it was that, too), but weirder… This Friday, September 9th, Eagle Rock Entertainment is putting out 1975 ABC TV special Alice Cooper: The Nightmare on DVD for the very first time… The special features Alice Cooper performing vignettes of each of the tracks from his recently-released solo debut (Welcome To My Nightmare) in the role of Steven, a perpetually haunted young boy, with Vincent Price playing the role of The Spirit Of The ...

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