Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Digital Music Review: Road Man's 'Light At The Speed Of Life'

Road Man
Light At The Speed Of Life

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Road Man is the name of Jon Petronzio's group, which spreads great grooves and hook-laden melodies in rock, reggae, down-tempo, and electronica formats. The New York-based band-leader creates funky, moving rhythms that rival the electronica leanings of Action Figure Party and a few reggae beats indicative of Bob Marley and Cas Haley. "The Meeting" is a funky, rock-laden tune with a Southern angst and contemporary appeal that incorporates a bluesy and roots feel. "Chosen" is a psychedelic fun-fest with glittering electronics and a funky beat with great vocals. "Dangerous Road" is a syncopated beat delight with reggae leanings and funk melodies that awaken everyone into a dance mood. "Lights Camera Action" brings together more of an urban dance feel with glistening electronica, swishy percussion, and fast vocals. "Run Away With Me" is another reggae beat gem with throbbing B3 organ sounds representing a roots-centric fixture. The diversity in tracks is exceptional and the melodies are well worth repeated listens. You can dance, relax, space out, and move your hips to the music of Road Man without having any guilt or apprehension. 5 Stars (out of 5). ~ Matthew Forss

Thursday, February 19, 2015

CD Review: Visual Music Circus' New Self-Titled Release

Visual Music Circus
Visual Music Circus

Petros Sakelliou, a native of Athens, Greece, is the brainchild behind the new album, Visual Music Circus. The circus theme is found in the carnival-esque melodies and moods represented throughout the eight tracks and several diverse musical instruments, including the piano, accordion, sax, vibraphone, clarinet, flute, piccolo, violin, upright bass, percussion, and drum-set. The multi-layered sounds conjure up images of Brazilian lounge bars, sultry beaches, and smoky nightclubs. There is a mix of jazz, classical, Latin, and nostalgic music akin to the 1960's and 70's era. The result is a playful and well-orchestrated album that is full of serene melodies, writhing rhythms, and unique sounds that bring a fresh perspective to the area of world fusion. ~ Matthew Forss  

CD Review: TreeHouse!'s 'Lifted'


Reggae-beat from South Carolina? You bet. The Southern band brings reggae, jam band, and rock themes to the mix on their third album, Lifted. There are some psychedelic powers going on here, but the reggae backbeat is never too far away. For instance, "Guru" has all the elements of a groove-laden, psychedelic track with extended instrumentals and jam-band vocals with a catchy beat and TreeHouse! does not disappoint. A dozen tracks fill the album with tons of lush melodies, edgy grooves, and world fusion influences that follow a reggae foundation and psychedelic foundation with hints of roots and folk. The fluid bass sounds are especially good on "Take It Away" and "Just Another Day." The album is as colorful as the artwork. There is a good amount of diverse stylings and beats that are never boring or redundant. ~ Matthew Forss

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

CD Review: Nickodemus' 'Wonderworld: 10 Years Of Painting Outside The Lines'

Wonderworld: 10 Years Of Painting Outside The Lines
Wonderwheel Recordings

Nickodemus has been spinning funky, global beats for over a decade and the release of Wonderworld... is a testament to his creative remixes and career highlights. The twenty-four-track release is a friendly romp on the dance, dub, and funk side of the musical spectrum with loads of Latin, Afro, and contemporary beats that are very compelling. Nickodemus incorporates the aid of numerous guest musicians and producers, including Jean Shepherd, Hector Alomar, Carol C., Tarafs de Haidouks, Ismael Kouyate, Afrika Baambaata, Sammy Ayala, and others for a truly global recording. Even though the album is contemporary, it still retains a sense of authenticity and organic roots. The diverse percussion, vocals, and rhythms keeps listeners enthralled throughout. There are no shortage of tracks or beats on this very special recording. Hear it today! ~ Matthew Forss

CD Review: Radius' 'Seven Tales'

Seven Tales

Justine and Harris are the duo, Radius, hailing from New Zealand. Their music of choice revolves around roots, jazz, folk, old-time, experimental, and instrumental with a dash of world fusion. The seven-track release, aptly-titled, Seven Tales, is a relaxing, instrumental effort with rustic dobro, sweeping sax melodies, plucked guitars, and the occasional banjo and ukulele. The soft sax creates a moving and meditative spirit to the music without sounding too jazz-centered or cheesy. The spacious dobro hints at Western connotations that matches the creative ingenuity of the late-Bob Brozman. At any rate, Radius is a small part in the circle of life, but it brings with it great music and memorable melodies. Perfect for contemplation and meditation, but energetic enough to keep one awake. ~ Matthew Forss

CD Review: April Verch's 'The Newpart'

April Verch
The Newpart
Slab Town Records

The petite and undoubtedly-cute, Canadian fiddler, April Verch, dazzles crowds yet again with another endearing folk album that continues in the old-time and bluegrass traditions. April is known for some fancy footwork on stage and her feet are definitely the star on a few songs. The rootsy and old-time folk music is more akin to Americana influences than Canadian, but there are similarities. The bluesy, gospel-tinged tunes are poignant, quaint, and relatively spacious to allow all the instruments to shine on their own. April's delicate voice is angelic and alive, which is a perfect accompaniment to some of the instruments. Some great instruments are included here, including the fiddle, bass, clawhammer banjo, acoustic guitar, and mandolin. Overall, The Newpart is more reflective, reduced, and a bit timid. However, it is still pure April Verch at her finest. ~ Matthew Forss

CD Review: Hot Club Of The Americas' 'Federico Britos Presents...'

Hot Club Of The Americas
Federico Britos Presents Hot Club Of The Americas
3 Knocks Entertainment

As a tribute to the music of The Hot Club of France and led by violin-wielding Federico Britos, the Hot Club Of The Americas, brings us a world-class recording with North American jazz sounds, Latin elements, South American folk, and Cuban percussion for a spectacular result. A native of Uruguay, Federico knows how to liven up any composition with earthy strings, bouncy rhythms, and jazzy interludes that are full of vivacity. A dozen songs feature a host of guest musicians, including Hendrik Meurkens, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Cecile McLorin Salvant, Giovanni Hidalgo, and Antonio Adolfo, in addition to the regular line-up of Federico, Jorge Garcia (guitar), Felix Gomex (piano), Renyel Rivero (bass), Edwin Bonilla (percussion), and Carlomagno Araya (drums). In short, there are plenty of Gypsy and Latin-influenced jazz with a good deal of folk and classical thrown in rather appropriately. The  mostly instrumental album reinvents the jazzy 1960's era with engaging, moving, and lounge-ready songs that sway along in a lazy manner like a sultry, mid-summer afternoon on a quiet, Havana beach. Anyone with a fascination in world jazz and Latin/Gypsy concoctions will love Hot Club Of The Americas. ~ Matthew Forss