THE RAPID JAGS DIVERSIFY MUSICAL PORTFOLIO ON DEBUT LP

Artist: The Rapid Jags

Title: Awakening

Release Year: 2021

Format: LP

Members: Jack Lutz (lead/rhythm guitar, lap steel, vocals on tracks 3, 7, 8), Logan Gallant (bass guitar and lead vocals on tracks 1, 2, 4, 5 and 6), and Aidan Schaffer (drums)

Producer: Jakob Mooney

The future of rock n’ roll is in great hands thanks to Heath, Ohio trio The Rapid Jags as evident on their first ever full-length record Awakening. Members Jack Lutz, Logan Gallant, and Aidan Schaffer founded the genre crossing rock outfit four years ago when all three were in middle school. The album is a follow up to their 2019 EP titled New Day, which the band recorded on a much smaller budget that included an 8-track . In a world full of negativity, here comes three talented lads generating a record of prolific and positive tunes from top to bottom. After just one listen of each track, it can be confirmed these three will be a force in the state’s music scene for a long time.

Evidence of the album’s firepower comes early with the opener titled “Dark Matter”. Bassist Gallant’s vocals are an excellent fit for this bluesy rock banger as it plays off the musical execution provided by each member quite well. It is a strong first impression of a song ready for loads of radio play. The rock goodness continues on the second tune “One More Round”. The guitar play is solid throughout and the drums are played precisely, which along with the vocals makes for another radio ready rager. Guitarist Jack Lutz takes over singing duties on the third track “New Day (An Unexpected Journey)”, which is a different tone from the LP’s first two entries. The emo indie themed tune would be perfect playing during the closing credits of a coming-of-age motion picture. “New Day” possesses standout features such as Lutz’s vocals and guitar work plus Gallant distinct bass play.

“Lock Me Up” is an example of traditional, kick-butt dive bar rock n’ roll that has one hell of a guitar solo from Lutz. It most certainly will be a favorite of patrons when concerts return in the (hopefully) not-too-distant future. “Lady Of The Night” is another throwback track that will be a surefire toe-tapper when the band is able to perform it at concerts. It demonstrates the band’s talent level and high regard they have for the music of yesteryear. “On The Way Back” is another one of those rock radio ready tracks that should bolster The Rapid Jags’ popularity throughout the Buckeye state and beyond. Gallant has a ravishing rock singer voice and it is a terrific compliment the musical backdrop led by Lutz’s raucous guitar play and Schaffer’s dynamite drumming.

Lutz resumes vocalist duties on “Homesick” and the song’s styling and arrangements makes for lively indie rock fare. This bop will be included in many people’s summer playlists as it has that peppy vibe about it. Imagine Vampire Weekend with Jason Mraz singling lead and then you have the genius work of art “Homesick”. Closing out the LP is the ambitious and offbeat “Crashing Waves”. It is the most unique of the bunch as it clocks in at over seven minutes and shifts gears throughout. This is the type of song that classic rock and aficionados would be in awe of as this has a 1970s feel from the first note to the last.

Awakening is a diverse album, to say the least as The Rapid Jags want the world to know that they can perform blues, alternative, and indie rock making them a hot commodity for several bills when live music ramps up again. The trio cites various influences that serve as a who’s who in music, such as The Black Keys, Jimi Hendrix, Arctic Monkeys, Fall Out Boy, among others. Lutz, Gallant, and Schaffer refuse to be pigeonholed and their strong work ethic and sharp musicianship will not be ignored. A great deal of credit goes to Jakob Mooney, who has built a terrific reputation as a Producer and Audio Engineer for Ohio-based acts Chelsea Ravenn, To Kill A Monster, Something Else, to name a few. The Rapid Jags’ debut LP is a cunning collective of songs well-written, precisely performed, and slickly produced. That trifecta makes for critically acclaimed music and these fellas can expect the praise to roll in for years to come.

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FADED ELEMENT KEEPS THROWBACK MODERN ROCK ALIVE ON DEBUT RECORD

Artist: Faded Element

Title: Off the Back Burner

Release Year: 2019

Format: LP

Members: Drew Budd (vocals, acoustic guitar), Dan Beacock (lead/rhythm guitar), Nick Iden (lead/rhythm guitar), Chris Iden (bass), and Mike Holtom (drums).

Off the power of Off the Back Burner, Canadian Alternative rock quintet has a bright future as a recording and touring act. The album contains nine tracks that have garnered the group acclaim over the past year and should continue to serve them well going into the new year. From the opener to the closing song, the professionalism and precision are there for the band to have success in the rock scene for the distant future. Lead vocalist Drew Budd is the straw that stirs this delicious drink and it is difficult to imagine anyone else performing these tracks as the songwriting and execution are tailored to his voice.

“Cold” is the record’s first tune and the most streamed one according to Spotify. After a couple of streams, it is easy to understand why as the track is as Classic Alternative as it gets. It is easy to imagine people in a crowded club bobbing their heads throughout the song and totally rocking out. On “Ripple Effect”, it is more of the same and the band’s passion and enthusiasm is evident. Every member plays their part well, but the bombastic bass play is quite noticeable. For the third track “Tidal Wave”, the marvelous modern rock continues to be impressive. The lads are stellar in their individual roles, resulting in a song that should do well on Rock charts worldwide.

The album’s fourth entry is “Hollow Cry”, in which the polished production shines through with every note on-point making for another radio ready rager. Faded Element slows it down a notch with “Breathe”, which is every bit as good as St. Louis band Greenwheel’s song of the same title. It is admirable for the outfit to show a slightly gentler side and it will pay off in the long run should the song get picked for soundtracks. They kick it up several notches on “Falling To Pieces” which has some twang to it with gritty guitar play and dynamic drum work.

The record’s second ballad is “Why?” and a song like this solidifies Faded Element as terrific performers and songwriters giving them a wider range to their music. “Sore Eyes” picks up where “Why?” leaves off and screams masterpiece from start to finish with the music serving as a perfect background against Budd’s singing. Closing the LP out is “My Own Corner” which brings back the Classic Alternative edge as heard in the album’s first half. This will certainly be a crowd favorite when the band is able to perform it live again.

Off the Back Burner is a throwback to the awesome rock of the 90s and early 2000s and in these times of uncertainty and unrest, the LP serves as escapism to a better time. It is well crafted without being overproduced and given the work the band put into it, they should have record label offers in the near future. Fans of rock staples of yesteryear such as July For Kings, Stir, The Watchmen, and Dishwalla will enjoy what Faded Element have served up. This record with all of its bangers and ballads will be tough to top, so fingers crossed the band can match the musicianship and effort on future releases.

ROCK RUNDOWN FOR 12/21/20

Mery Steel – “Let It Snow!”: Canadian-born singer-songwriter Ryan Stolte-Sawa, who now calls Columbus, Ohio home, recently dropped a trio of Christmas tunes with this bluesy jazz cover being one of them. The series of tunes are a departure from the alt-country fare Mery Steel fans are used to hearing. On this holiday mainstay, Stolte-Sawa’s vocals are solid and sultry showing she put all she had into making the song her own. Her backup on the tune is ex-Sam and The Barbers keyboardist Paul Strawser, drummer Henry Allen, and bassist John Allen. The tunes were recorded at Musicol Recording where they were engineered by Keith Hanlon and produced by Glenn Davis. Everyone involved should be proud of their input on such short notice as each masterpiece sounds solid in every way imaginable. Fans of “Let It Snow!” should check out Mery Steel’s renditions of “The Christmas Song” (made famous by Nat King Cole), and “White Christmas”. After that, listeners should take time to stream what the band is known for: butt kicking Ohio twang pop like the songs released earlier this year “Dreams” and “Apologize Already”.

stop.drop.rewind – “Merry Christmas (It’s Not a Phase)”: Known for the single and video “Space Force” the emo rock trio from Valparaiso returns with a melancholy take on the December 25 holiday. Kris Lohn (bass), DJ Crenson (guitar), and Andy Sutton (drums) are three awesomely creative folks and their unique perspective on Christmas is one to see and hear. It is currently a Facebook exclusive, per the video the band has released (produced by Blushing Rose in association with audio editing by Nicole Garza and special thanks to Kim Ann Mullins, Stephanie Ebsch, Victoria Sutton). The song has some pop culture references, including mentions of emo rock bands AFI, Hawthorne Heights, and A Day To Remember. The tune might be speedy and catchy, but it will make people feel less than festive as it is reflective of the somber times many face due to the domino effect stemming from the pandemic. In brighter news, congrats are in order as the band has been nominated for two Region Media Network Music Awards. One is for Rock Artist of the Year and the other being Original Song of the Year for “Space Force”.

Rooftops – “Queen City”: Central Ohio rocker Bryan Ream is back with the second song under his belt as a solo artist. From the opening riff, the single gives vibes of New York indie wonders The Strokes and Longwave. Ream’s experience as a mechanic in bands prepared him well to go out on his own as his follow-up to “Falling” passes with flying colors. Ream is also known as a Sound Engineer and Producer and it shows on “Queen City” as this track with no label support sounds every bit as polished as a major label release. Everything from the drums to the guitar work to the vocals click making for a superb alternative rock banger. With the two-song minimum under his belt, it is a matter of when Rooftops’ material is played on much beloved local rock show “Frontstage” on CD 92.9 FM, managed and hosted by the heralded Tom Butler.

Captain Kidd – “Somebody Else”: The Ohio pop duo is back with another bombastic single to close out the year. This ballad is well put together from the opening beats to the sincere vocals. The lads pulled out all the stops to craft a most certain Top 40 jam that will give people all sorts of feels. This tune and the pattern of previous success by the group shows that the sky is the limit for them and that in 2021, expect the bops to keep on coming. Per the guys’ Spotify bio, they create ‘music to help you sort your feelings’. With this emotionally charged song, Captain Kidd has accomplished their mission and beyond. Those impressed with their latest effort ought to check out this year’s previous releases “Unforgettable”, “No Good” and “Over It” (f/ La Poré). The talent is there for these fellas to be a force for years to come.

Trey Pearson – “We Don’t Want Your War”: The ex-frontman of highly regarded Columbus rock outfit Everyday Sunday has found a new level of respect and success since performing under his own name. He ends this year with an acoustic social commentary against bureaucracy, bigotry, and apathy. “We Don’t Want Your War” is a guitar, harmonica, and piano laden song with vulnerable, yet genuine vocals oozing with passion. The message is of the utmost importance as it addresses popular topics that have plagued society for ages and listeners will know right away who the intended audience is. The track addresses relevant topics such as immigration, the environment, coming out, mass shootings, and elected officials’ stock responses to said shootings. As a 2017 GLADD Award nominee, Pearson is making music and living live authentically and unapologetically and this new song reflects that. The lad demonstrates he has empathy for his fellow human beings and his attempt to motivate politicians to do the same is admirable. The song may make certain individuals with certain ideologies uncomfortable, but that just might be the way Pearson intended it.

Waiting For Smith – “Lost in Your Light”: This is the pseudonym used by British singer-songwriter Harry Lloyd. The bloke has an interesting background in that due to a severe back injury while serving as a ski instructor in the French Alps, Lloyd pondered his fate and believed if he were to survive his future should be dedicated to creating music. His latest release is inspiring indie folk fun with tremendous vocals, solid guitar play, and appropriate accompanying drums. The lyrics reference the narrator acknowledging and accepting one’s own insecurities and imperfections, but not losing faith. “Lost in Your Light” is a concession that a lot of the cockiness and confidence shown are façades and it is okay to not be okay. Once people begin to show their authentic selves, they start to glow and a genuine aura surrounds them. WFS is on his way to doing some wonderful things in the new year with attention already garnered by outlets like MTV Germany, Rolling Stone India, BBC Radio 1, 2, and 6, to name a handful.

The Trusted – “Criminals”: This Southend-On-Sea quartet recently dropped an 80s inspired indie rock single that will make listeners equally think and feel. The band considers it, “the most emotional song we’ve ever written” as it deals with the fallout from heartbreak and the process of moving forward. Although it is possible when people hear “Criminals” they may think of the Killers, those of a prior generation might hear Cutting Crew and Mr. Mister in this well-crafted emo banger. The band consists of Dave Batchelor, Fin Cunningham, Tom Cunningham, and Dale Holt-Mead and they have known each other since their secondary school days and due to common appreciation for artists ranging from Elvis Costello to The 1975, formed this band on the rise with radio-ready tunes like “Criminals” and other released gems such as “The Innocent” and “Wild Love”. When a band can get a Grammy nominated industry member such as Andy Bradfield on board to mix the track, people are going to take notice. Bradfield’s resume includes work with world renowned acts Elbow, Rufus Wainwright, and David Gray).

D!XON – “Arms Around Me”: This is the latest by Canadian R&B/Pop singer-songwriter born Sheldon Dixon and, in at least one blogger’s perspective, is destined to peak high on the Top 40 Chart. The song empowers and emphasizes acceptance of people’s various identities and orientations. Growing up, D!XON was inspired by world class artists Toni Braxton, Mariah Carey, Janet Jackson, and Michael Jackson making him the prolific performer he is today. The poppy bop is sure to get people dancing when they probably need an escapism the most given the trying times we live in. As a proud member of the 2SLGBTQ+ population, D!XON is non-conforming in every way possible and inspires his community with empowerment and hope that it gets better and love will find a way. There is also a vibrant video for “Arms Around Me” with a solid team of Director Dan Lemoyne, Choreographers Hollywood Jade and Devon Findlay, and stylist Marc Andrew Smith behind it. With a combination like that and on-point audio and visuals, D!XON is set for greatness for a long time.

Bellsavvy – “In My Zone”: Bringing scorching Latin pop to the forefront is England-based artist who turns heads and has the musical chops to back it up. Produced by Sky Adams, who has worked with Doja Cat, Kylie Minogue, HRVY, and Sigala), the song is as inspirational as it is catchy. The beats are bombastic and the vocals are lively, making this a definite mainstream mainstay. Bellsavvy’s background includes being the winner of “Studio Acesso Girls” on MTV Brazil and roles in European films and musicals. The well-crafted tune is about self-comfort and the confidence that stems from that. She has taken her Latin heritage and combined it with her fascination with European culture to develop a style of her own. Listeners who admire her anthem ought to access her debut single “Queen of My Mind”, which is in the same vein of being a song about self-assurance.

GUEST HOUSE’S ZACK BROOKS GOES ON EMOTIONAL JOURNEY WITH SOLO EP

Artist: Zack Brooks

Title: Growth & Reflection

Format: EP

Release Year: 2020

Although it has been a tough year on everyone, for some it wound up being the most productive time of their lives. For Central Ohio-based indie rock band Guest House, 2020 was extra prolific because in addition to releasing tunes as a group, the four original members all debuted solo works. Back in August when the main focuses were surviving the pandemic, economic turmoil, and recognizing and calling out police brutality lead vocalist and guitarist Zack Brooks premiered his EP Growth & Reflection. The title is every bit as relevant in these turbulent times and the accompanying songs are significant and appropriate to match.

The album starts off with “(I’ve Got To) Roll” which is an upbeat and danceable ditty that could easily be perceived as a Guest House song. The song is an excellent opener and has legs to do well on terrestrial and Internet radio stations. The second entry is “That’s What I Should Have Said” and this bluesy tune clocks in at close to seven minutes. The song is atypical of anything released by GH as a collective, reiterating Brooks showcasing what he has to offer on his accord. It is a well-crafted apology that shows magnificent musicianship and Brooks’ vocals come across as heartfelt and sincere.

“Jones” is the third tune and is an up-tempo story of a wayward travelling man that puts Brooks’ spot-on guitar play on display. This tune also has a great chance of gaining traction on radio stations. “Falling Down” is the record’s second ballad, but is more indie acoustic in tone than “That’s What I Should Have Said”. It is another song to a partner that tells the story of feeling imperfect.  The song goes in a unique instrumental direction towards the end. It also is the EP’s longest track at over eight minutes, showing Brooks’ experimental side to write and perform on his terms regardless of corporate commercial appeal. This is evident in that the album was released under Guest House’s own label I Wonder What’s For Breakfast.

“Sweet Gal” is a continuation of Brooks’ softer and gentler side and will make for delightful slow dances between loved ones. The lyrics, however, imply the longing for a second chance in a relationship that ended on bad terms. “Peggy-O” is a sweet as sugar ballad that is textbook Brooks. It is a man, his acoustic guitar, and his voice making for authenticity and the audacity to exhibit deep emotion and thought. The last song is “Camera” and is a call for capturing memories and cherishing those moments with someone special. It is the perfect closer for the album and Brooks’ vocals shine as he belts out the chorus, “Everything changes every day. Even you don’t look the same.”

Growth & Reflection is a deeply personal record and then some that will grow on listeners. Once performing concerts with live crowds is suitable, it would not be surprising if Brooks embarks on some solo shows as there is an audience for his music. He poured his heart and soul into each ounce of the EP, from the lyrics to the subsequent vocals to the audio execution. It had to be a great weight from Brooks’ shoulders to generate songs of various styles, paces, and lengths making this a record unlike anything heard in recent memory. The creativity and production are top-of-the-line and the output makes for approximately 40 minutes of quality music that will make listeners feel a multitude of emotions.   

ROCK RUNDOWN FOR 12/7/20

Pantomime Rebel – “399”: Guest House bassist/vocalist/producer Brian Hodge recently released a solo single under this moniker. In addition to the Central Ohio band’s tunes released this year, “399” marks the fourth individual project from GH’s charter members to drop this year. From beginning to end, this indie rock gem scores with great guitar play and fabulous vocals. Much like his bandmates, Hodge has a mind for laying a solid foundation with experience as a songwriter, musician, and producer. Co-produced and co-recorded by Hodge and new GH drummer Isiah Short, “399” possesses melancholy lyrics against six minutes of catchy folk rock audio goodness. This strong lead-off single is great promotion for the album HONESTY, which is set to drop on Christmas Eve. Fun Fact: On Bandcamp, the song’s somber lyrics are posted along with Hodge’s 2017 debut solo single “Lenore” which is cut from a vastly different cloth.

Letters Of Transit – “Blood on the Road” / “Cults of Personality”: The Central Ohio alternative rock quartet returns with a couple of new tunes as follow-ups to tracks “Don’t Wait” and “Hold Tight”. The band warned that these new tunes were going to be more aggressive than anything from their repertoire and they spoke the absolute truth. 2020 has been rough on a lot of people and it was the band’s mission to take their frustrations out in the studio, resulting in two raucous ragers. On both tunes, lead singer/guitarist Jack Storey’s vivid vocals are high-quality from the first note to the last. The blaring drum work of Aaron Spencer is quite noticeable throughout the songs, further solidifying the intensity. Furthermore, bass and guitar play from Donny Phillips and J.C. Young respectively brings everything together. The lads’ combined efforts make “Blood” and “Cults” a knockout combination that will leave rock listeners’ ears ringing for days.

Photo: Mitchell Multimedia

Jeff Straw – “Smile In Your Pocket”: The highly regarded Columbus, Ohio Master-Of-All-Trades is back with a sensational song under his own name that will blow listeners away. Around town, Straw is known as a respected sound engineer and as a member of admired acts Straw & The Scarecrow, The Devil Doves, and Sussman Can’t Sleep. On his first solo tune in two years, he has delivered an amazing electropop ballad that sounds like a dedication to his beloved, who also happens to be an acclaimed musician in her own right. The beats are bombastic and Straw’s vocals are a mixture of Moby and Canadian musician John O’Regan, known for a time under the moniker Diamond Rings. “Smile In Your Pocket” might last just over a couple of minutes, but after hearing it the listeners’ smiles on their faces will last for a long time.

Demi Michelle – “All I Want This Christmas”: Tis the season for holiday-themed tunes and the upstart singer-songwriter provides an original ballad that means a great deal in our world’s current turmoil. Demi’s terrific take on a practical and thoughtful meaningful Christmas in a pandemic will give even the Grinches and Scrooges of the world all sorts of feels. The Pittsburgh-area multi-instrumentalist is going to take the world by storm and it is only a matter of time. “All I Want This Christmas” displays Demi’s delightful voice and spot-on piano play. Think of her as this generation’s Vanessa Carlton, who herself has had a long and heralded career. For more proof of what Demi has to provide the world, accessing her first single “Into Focus”.

Said Sara – “I Star As You”: This acoustic ditty is courtesy of San Francisco area artist David Benson and is a major departure from his drumming with death metal bands Acephaliz and Depressor. As Said Sara, Benson shows off songwriting chops reminiscent of soloists such as Michael Penn, Angie Aparo, to name a couple. Major kudos to Benson for taking an atypical approach to “I Star As You” from a vocal standpoint. His unique singing voice helps the song stand out from similarly written and performed tunes. The arrangement and flow are superb and they make “I Star As You” one hell of a ballad with the guitar play, drums, and piano interwoven to absolute brilliance. For more from the mind of Benson as Said Sara, it is recommended curious ears stream from the debut EP released earlier in the year featuring three songs written 30 years back.

Shape Of The Sun – “I Was the One”: The sound of alternative rock awesomeness of yesteryear returns thanks to Columbus, Ohio musician Nate Linek. The follow-up to “Where We Go from Here” is a delight that is rarely heard these days. Give the man credit where it is due as he has constructed a masterful song from the ground up. Each musical part along with those Brandon Flowers-esque vocals makes for approximately three minutes of rock n’ roll fun that get the pulses racing, the toes tapping, and the heads bobbing. Once the old normal of live events occurs again, it will be a thing of beauty for SOTS to perform “I Was the One” and his other gems on a big stage in front of what is guaranteed to be a receptive audience.

Valencia James – “All The Waves”: This Australian pop star delivers a very relatable tune to close out the final quarter of 2020. Several weeks ago, it dropped on streaming platforms and was written during the whirlwind that is known as this year. The tune is about overcoming adversity and not letting the circumstances get in one’s way. The on-point vocals and the booming beats make “All The Waves” a prospect to be a Top 40 success story. The song is well-constructed, precisely performed, and is socially relevant. Word is James can be thought of a hybrid of Halsey and Dua Lipa, so those who are fans of at least of one those artists will enjoy what this former New York resident has served up. To get a better grasp of James’ offerings, the masterpieces that are known as “Flames” and “Friend I Can’t Keep” are highly recommended to play until you collapse.

Angela Perley – “All I Want For Christmas is Your Kiss”: The Columbus alt-country singer-songwriter comes up with an original take on the holidays sure to put people in a good mood. Over the years, Perley has been known for fronting The Howling Moons but as of late she has flown solo to much fanfare. Perley has the songwriting knack, guitar playing skills, voice and swagger to keep up with the likes of the iconic Shania Twain. A delightful tune such as her latest offering certainly proves that point. The vocals, drums, and guitars come together in perfect honky tonk harmony making for a sweet Christmas track that gets people longing for love to close out what is seemingly the longest year ever.

M. Byrd – “Mountain”: The day after Thanksgiving, the talented indie rock wonder premiered an aesthetically appealing video for his debut single, which dropped on streaming services a few months prior. The vid features Danish dancer and choreographer Nana Anine effortlessly moving about on the beaches of Normandy. The scenery is breathtaking, the dancing is dynamic, and M. Byrd’s song is the perfect backdrop. He is joined on the remarkable tune by André Albrecht on drums and Doreen Albrecht on background vocals.  He has been described as Kurt Vile meets The War On Drugs, two respected indie rock acts in the States. Given both of those artists’ reputations, M. Byrd may seem to have huge expectations to match. On the other hand, given the vivacious vocals and musicianship as heard on “Mountain”, he shows that he is clearly up for the task. The singer-songwriter already has close to a one-third of a million plays on Spotify of this glorious gem. Not much is known about the 25-year-old wonder, but if he continues to release high quality neo-psych-folk music similar to “Mountain” the industry will know more sooner than later.

MOURNING BREW’S DEBUT EP SERVES UP EXPERIMENTAL INDIE FOLK DELIGHT

Artist: Mourning Brew

Title: Past Tense

Release Year: 2020

Members: Noah Fisher (vocals, guitar, keyboards, samples) with guest musician Brian Hodge (bass).

With concerts in general mostly impossible during this pandemic, musicians have used the idle time to be more creative than ever. One of those talented musicians happens to be Guest House guitarist and keyboardist Noah Fisher. Using the moniker Mourning Brew, the Lancaster, Ohio native recently dropped his ambitious and experimental EP Past Tense and it stands out among the new releases this year. Kudos goes to Fisher for tapping deep into his resources to construct a well-produced record out that jumps out of left field.

As a band, Guest House have been principled to write and perform on their terms and conditions. This also rings true for Fisher as the first track is atypical from what anybody else is distributing. “Midnight Gospel” plays like a horror film’s final song in which those in distress have averted the villain. It clocks in approximately 11 minutes and provides both a haunting and calming vibe. As an instrumental, Midnight Gospel leaves the listener to reflect in their own feelings at that time.

The EP’s second song is “Patchouli” and is about four minutes shorter than the first and here Fisher gives listeners a chance to hear him take the reigns as a lead singer. Much of the song features Fisher on guitar with his vocals compared to those of indie rock performer Dave Buker, who is highly regarded in the Central Ohio music scene with his band The Historians. This song is Fisher’s display to indie music aficionados as a traditional singer-songwriter and he soars with flying colors.

“So Far” is a keyboard-laden tune that sporadically has Fisher providing vocals. It is the EP’s shortest song, but it is not short on quality. Fisher shows his ability to write brooding and eerie ballads that get listeners to focus and think. Mourning Brew takes the music seriously and the process that goes into making music as well. The release was mixed and mastered by Fisher and fellow Guest House member Brian Hodge for their record label, I Wonder What’s For Breakfast. New addition to GH (drummer Isiah Short) helped Fisher and Hodge with the recording and engineering aspects.

Lastly, the record’s title track is the song with the most commercial potential. It would take a radio edit version to make it suited for terrestrial airwaves as the original is over six minutes. “Past Tense” possesses slick indiepop arrangement with keys and samples and Fisher’s ambitious vocals. If performed live, this song is likely to get concertgoers to loosen up and dance for a bit while sipping wine or champagne.

With his solo debut, Noah Fisher has proven himself as quite the master of all trades. He circulated a challenging, ambient indie folk EP demonstrating his chops as a singer, songwriter, musician, and producer. Guest House is far from done as a unit as they recently performed live on Twitch, but the Central Ohio music landscape is happy to have a bevy of new music sounding different from each other. By the time 2020 is done, each charter member of GH (which includes former drummer Andrew Theller, lead vocalist/guitarist Zack Brooks, and bassist Brian Hodge) will have released solo records. Those who like Mourning Brew’s debut might also get joy out of previous solo releases from heralded local musician Jake Summers. Kick back, relax, and get an earful of thought-provoking, spine tingling music that will make one concentrate and look upon the world with gratitude and hope.

ROCK RUNDOWN FOR 11/23/20

Straw & The Scarecrow – “The Boogeyman”: The latest single from Columbus, Ohio duo Jeff Straw and Paige Vandiver was actually written four years ago, but per Jeff Straw is a tune more relevant in these currently divisive times. Straw goes on to state, “The song’s theme is focused on the distrust, discord, and disinformation that has been sown in our society in the last decade.” The tune is definitely a different pace from the band’s prior single “Letting Go” in that it is quite the upbeat toe tapper. A great deal of admiration and respect goes out to Straw and Vandiver for making a song with a seemingly negative theme sound cheery and wholesome. Their vocals really make “The Boogeyman” the terrific indiepop tune it is and required listening. The song’s lyrics are a must read and are published at the band’s Bandcamp site as they will make a person reflect on their behavior and attitude among this whirlwind of a health crisis, political bickering, social injustice and civil unrest.

Left Out – “Stay Away From My House”: The Columbus quartet has certain come up with one of the most appropriate song titles during the pandemic. The band has created such a charming pop single that will get people’s heads bobbing. The soothing bop serves as an edict to an ex that now is not the time to reconvene, something that is relatable to people of all backgrounds. It is a dynamic single and is the perfect preview to their upcoming record titled Learn to Walk. Consisting of Ceci Clark, Quinn Crotty, Louis Novy, and Nick Weber, Left Out should take a bow for creating a catchy throwback single that takes music lovers back to the days Sneaker Pimps and The Cardigans ruled the alternative and pop airwaves. The group shot a flamboyant video for the eclectic gem, which was directed by Max Kaplan. Everyone plays their role to precision and “Stay Away From My House” should blow up over the months to come as it is unlike anything else out there at this time.

Hoger – “Same Mistakes”: The prolific singer-songwriter has delivered a personal and powerful pop ballad showcasing vigorous vocals and relatable subject matter. The new single deals with the fatal attraction to someone with toxicity and eventually escaping said toxicity…only to be doomed to constantly repeat the pattern. Hoger is a breath of fresh air in the pop world as a person of color and has the songwriting skills and voice to back it up. This is not bad for a songwriter who only began his career as a performer last year. Hoger has written material for the likes of Cher Lloyd, Yellow Claw, Naaz, to name a few. The track record of talent is there, so it is just a matter of getting the sizzling song heard by the masses. Hoger is on his way to something great with over half a million streams of his tunes on Spotify. Other tunes worth hearing include “Show Me How to Love” and “Rain” and they should tide pop enthusiasts over until he drops his debut EP, which is sure to impress.

Vic Allen – “Healing”: The British pop country star emerges with her follow-up to this past summer’s release “I Can”. Per Allen, the song is about overcoming a great deal of adversity and is meant to serve as something to console people during their time of need. The ballad is well- structured with fantastic execution with Allen’s vocals and musical backup by the track’s Co-Producers Kaity Rae and Sue McMillan plus guitarist Adrian Hall, who mixed and mastered this gem. The tune is piano-heavy, with Kaity Rae playing it to the hilt. She also provides backing vocals, bass, and guitar work and makes a great team with McMillan and Hall helping bolster this already well-sung masterpiece. “Healing” comes when some people are in darkness and wonder if they will see light at the end of the tunnel. If life has someone down for the count, they are encouraged and empowered to fight back with an uplifting and inspiring song thanks to one of country’s up-and-comers.

Tranquility – “BLUE DREAM”: This Michigan indie rock darling was founded by Brett Kaminski a half-decade ago and has emerged into a quartet also featuring Beau Kaminski, Evan Villarreal, and Drew Yates. Per their Spotify bio, the group’s goal is to provide people with escapism from everyday life’s ills. Based on that ambition alone, the new tune from these blokes could not have come at a better time. “BLUE DREAM” is a non-traditional single in that it clocks in at over nine minutes and starts off with a psychedelic vibe. The first half of the song sounds and feels like a trippy dream meant to soothe the listener. At 4:45, the tune suddenly morphs from grooviness to Tranquility’s signature indie rock sound. The Kaminskis, Villarreal, and Yates play their parts perfectly making the song’s second half a banging wake-up call from the mellowness of the first half. There is no telling what the lads have up their sleeves for future singles, but those who enjoy “BLUE DREAM” should listen to previous releases such as “Promise”, “Tamarack”, “Spinning” among others for a taste of what these guys offer.

Madeline Finn – “Whippoorwill”: The one-time leader of bands Envoi and The Whiskey Hollow returns with a sincere and heartfelt ballad, further solidifying her success as a solo artist. Unlike previously released works, Cleveland native Finn slows it down a tad with the main focus being her vocals, which are absolutely vibrant and brilliant on the new single. The instruments provide a wonderful backdrop to Finn’s voice and it will be evident to the listener that “Whippoorwill” is written and performed beautifully. She pours everything she has into this song that will make one think and feel simultaneously. Although her time on the hit TV series “American Idol” was way more brief that it should have been, the hard work and talent is paying off and current Nashville resident Finn will go on to have a long and fantastic future in the industry.

Goldpark – “Morning Light”: This nearly four-minute single is the rocking debut track from the Nashville-based trio. The spine-tingling tune will give listeners vibes not felt since The Killers arrived on the scene. “Morning Light” has a radiant retro feel that will take listeners back to the delightful decade of the 80s where Genesis and Mr. Mister scored multiple Top 40 hits. Congratulations are in order to these gents who have scored a grand slam with their first ever song, which ought to catch on at terrestrial and Internet alternative stations everywhere. Furthermore, the song has crossover pop appeal to be garner some mainstream love. If future tunes are half as good as “Morning Light”, Goldpark will be a force to be reckoned with in the music scene for many a year. The slickly produced and professionally performed masterpiece shows that these guys are ready to take the industry by storm.

Spice Jar – “Want Me 2”: The Columbus alternative duo of Zack Elswick and Alonso Zavala are back again with a high-quality single picking up where this past summer’s thing of beauty “Nothing” left off. The new tune is indie rock done right with a bit more grit and ruggedness than its predecessor. This is to be expected and justified given the stressful year of 2020. The band deserves credit for making relationship-themed songs on their terms with their unique viewpoint and excellent execution. The aggression has paid off as of their three songs published to Spotify, “Want Me 2” has the most streams thus far. The word is out and this band is going to have a fabulous 2021 and beyond with more releases and perhaps live shows once most of the public is vaccinated.

Thy Witness – “Fortress”: Seth Magnetic and Vincenzo Bernardo return with their fifth ever single and what a banger it is. The song has already generated some terrestrial airplay on RadioU as of late for the Columbus metalcore duo. “Fortress” consists of super strong vocals, guitar and drum work, especially in the chorus. The tune starts off like a lamb with a smooth melody and calming vocals and then turns up the lion-like rage. For those seeking the meaning behind the song, there is a lyric video available in which the viewer can draw their own conclusion. Seth and Vincenzo have another successful tune on their hands and once concerts are greenlit on a grand scale, they will be one heck of a band to watch on stage. For people who are drawn to “Fortress”, it is likely they will fancy Thy Witness’ previously dropped gems “First Blood”, “Pens and Needles”, and more.  

ROCK RUNDOWN FOR 11/9/20

Chelsea Ravenn – “You Make Me Hot”: The Columbus, Ohio singer-songwriter returns with her follow-up to the well-received single “Steady Butterflies”. Although Chelsea dropped the new bop on October 29, she actually penned it two years ago. This a must listen for any pop lovers as it is a major departure from its piano-laden predecessor. Longtime fans will be positively surprised by the track’s tempo and tone and it is sure to attract a brand new audience for Ravenn. The tune was produced by highly regarded multi-instrumentalist Jakob Mooney, who also performed drums and bass on the song, with guitar work conducted by Clay Hughes. “You Make Me Hot” is every bit as good as what the Top 40 stations are playing and with a proper record deal, it would perform quite well on the charts. Those who fancy the likes of BLACKPINK, Selena Gomez, and Billie Eilish should get a kick and more out of Chelsea’s latest gem and be drawn to her next sizzing song.

Rooftops – “Falling”: Central Ohio musician Bryan Ream of Threat Level Midnight, Frankie Soleil, and Jacob Lones fame scores with ease on his solo project debut. Released three days ago, “Falling” will remind alternative rock lovers of respected groups Two Door Cinema Club, Arctic Monkeys, and Vampire Weekend. Ream takes his experience in bands and as an engineer to craft a remarkable first single. If submitted to independently and locally owned rock outlet CD 102.5 and other Internet radio stations, “Falling” will be heavy on the spins and streams. In less than 36 hours, the song has over 1,000 Spotify plays. Folks may not have known what to expect from Ream, but after just one listen it is crystal clear that the sky is the limit for Rooftops and when it comes to the next single or album release, expectations will be justifiably high to match the quality of Ream’s first banger.

Cream Camino – “Riders on the River”: The Ohio rock trio released this ravishing single back on Halloween to much fanfare thanks to their recently live stream concert the night before. “Riders on the River” is as rock n’ roll as it gets and combines vivid vocals, dynamic drum work, and gritty guitar play. Members Jeff Manning (vocals, guitar), Jarrod Pinkerton (bass), and Jon Gunder (drums). The song has a sense of familiarity, but obtains the utmost originality that will leave listeners with extreme curiosity on what else the lads have to offer. At their most recent show, the band premiered an animated video for the song with the animation and editing handled by Pinkerton.  In addition to their outstanding originals such as “Captured” and “In the Caves Again”, Cream Camino is known for cunning covers at their concerts from artists ranging from Adele to Chris Isaak. Any music that these three perform is going to be polished and pristine, which shows their dedication to the craft.

Lisa Gain & The Rusty Silos – “Get That Tree Up (On the Roof)”: The Central Ohio group dropped this Christmas tune eight days ago to get folks in the holiday mood. It is a bluesy tune, but unlike songs of that genre is positive in nature. “Get That Tree Up” is part of that signature folk sound Gain and the gang is known for, as evidenced by their acclaimed self-titled LP from earlier this year. Fans of this song will notice it stands out among the modern Christmas songs from Jon Bon Jovi, Wham! and Mariah Carey, but they should love its spirit all the same The song and the band’s spirit are sure to lighten listeners spirits with high class musicianship and escapism from the year’s ills during the holiday season. Leave it to a dynamic bunch to liven things up and boost morale for everyone in these trying and divided times.

ANSON – “Runaway”: The L.A.-based musical act led by Anson Li has a smashing new song out as of October 23. This pop-punk banger is a terrific teaser for the band’s upcoming album, which is sure to be just as superb as this latest single is. Although there is a mix of Jimmy Eat World and Papa Roach from a musical standpoint, Li’s vocals stand out and gives “Runaway” the power to stand on its own merit. Everyone associated with the song should be proud of a job well done as it does the genre justice. It is a familiar commodity with an appropriate amount of originality to provide a head banding rock tune late in the year.  The song is equally as sizzling as some ANSON’s most popular Spotify songs “Hailey” and “Hot Girl Bummer” and could surpass one or both of those tracks with time. The song is off to a great start, showing that the hybrid of 2000s rock nostalgia with a modern twist is working quite well for them.

First Responder – “Route 23”: The 2:30 ditty was dropped by the Columbus alternative outfit on October 28. Comprised of Sierra “PJ” Mollenkopf (lead vocals, guitar), Cameron Carr (guitar), Zayn Dweik (drums), and Collin Geddis (bass), the band has been building its reputation as indie rock darlings for the past four years. “Route 23” is terrifically performed by the group with every note serving as the perfect backdrop to Mollenkopf’s vocals. The single is a sneak peek to the group’s upcoming album titled Earth Angel that will commence with a performance at CD 102.5’s The Big Room. The band subscribes to the DIY indie rock model as guitarist Carr served as the album’s producer and handled the mixing and mastering to boot. First Responder garners respect from the local music aficionados not only for the magnificent music they put out, but for keeping themselves productive in a year that includes a health crisis, civil unrest, political divisiveness, among other things. If the rest of Earth Angel is on par with the new single, Sierra, Cameron, Zayn, and Collin will have themselves a great deal of momentum going into the new year.

Confusions – “I’ve Seen”: This marks the Columbus outfit’s new single fresh off their announcement of signing to the record label Earth Libraries. Released just one weeks ago, the song’s subject matter is timely coming off the heels of Election Week. The band considers “I’ve Seen” to be a protest song as a call to action for change in the nation’s direction. The tune also has an accompanying powerful music video compiled and edited by Brian Rogers. Principle members of Confusions are Ben Turner and Jake Summers, but they have worked with bassist Alex Cirado and trumpeter Kevin Cardoso in some capacity. The song contains a ton of vigor and spunk which reinforces that Turner and Summers have a bright and long-lasting future as an experimental indie rock duo. The song is brilliantly performed with the vocals a precise match with the music these lads have created. Once concerts are a go again, this is one band not to miss live on stage as their in-person performances are on par with their latest recorded material.

Leila – “Go on Young Soul”: On this track from the album Glass Highways, the Pennsylvania-born singer-songwriter has created her own call for the youth of America to make a difference with this politically inspired single. She states, “There’s no escaping the mania of 2020, but there is desperate hope amongst millennials to improve it by casting our ballots.” Now based in Los Angeles, pianist Leila’s musical background is a mix of jazz and soul with a reputation of memorable vocals and thought-provoking lyrics. Leila does not mess around on this song as it clocks in at over five minutes and the ballad combines simple, yet compelling piano play with her polished and haunting vocals. She stands out as an atypical pop artist with songwriting influences such as Chopin and Debussy providing a classiness that is unheard of in much mainstream music these days. “Go on Young Soul” will grip you from the first note until the last and influences the new generation to make society a better place than it is today. Leila also released a video for the single that is well produced and is the perfect visual for the song. Other tunes from Glass Highways worthy of streaming include “Gone for Long” and “Missing You”.

AIRPORTS – “Loser”: Australian singer-songwriter-producer Aaron Lee has crossed multiple genres over his many years in the business. His latest offering under the moniker AIRPORTS is a well-constructed pop bop that will have music lovers reminiscing about pop outfit Savage Garden. On this new tune, the subject matter and approach are very different from anything that Darren Hayes and Daniel Jones released as a duo decades ago Lee has a unique and ever-changing world view and the new song, though very radio friendly, is reflective of his sarcastic gaze. The tune has gained traction as of late with mentions at outlets Live Nation’s ‘Ones To Watch’ and Flaunt Magazine along with airplay on Triple J and George FM. “Loser” is the polar opposite of its title as the song is well worthy of airplay and accolades. Known for his work with J-Pop act ARASHI, the song is very slickly produced and performed making listeners long for more. Those curious for more of Lee’s talent should look no further than AIRPORTS’ previous 2020 releases “Don’t Sleep Anymore” and “U Feel It 2”.

BLIND ENGINEER’S FIRST EVER LP PROVIDES ROCK WITH SUBSTANCE

Artist: Blind Engineer

Title: Human Capital

Format: LP

Release Year: 2020

Members: Robert Loss (lead vocals, guitar, organ, piano), Jesse Charles (guitar, organ), Eric Nassau (bass, backing vocals), and Bill Heingartner (drums, backing vocals)

Released last month, the Columbus, Ohio band’s 12-track album features polished gems from the group, serving as evidence that several band members’ friendships and veteran musicianship have paid off. Blind Engineer mean business on this powerful and prolific rock record. According to their Bandcamp, Human Capital is a very personal LP with songs ranging from topics relevant to the current state of the nation. The hard work and passion are proven in the prolific musicianship from the record’s beginning to end.

The record’s opener “Radio Face” is a classic rock rager that will take genre enthusiasts back 40 years and is super sharp with Robert Loss’ vocals complimented perfectly by each member’s musical parts. One stream of “Up For Air” will have people thinking Bruce Springsteen is performing lead vocals. Blind Engineer certainly perceives The Boss as a major influence and the lads do him proud on the album. The third track “Midtown” is the type of tune one plays on a midnight drive. Reinforcing the outstanding old school rock tuneage is “Lower Than Low”, whose arrangement and harmonies throughout will make it a crowd favorite once concerts resume on a larger scale.

The band slows it down a tad on their fifth track “Turnstile” and the ballad was a brilliant idea to show Blind Engineer’s range of performing an array of songs. It is the type of track that will make one want to hold their partner tight with one arm and wave their lighter in the other. Their ode the Buckeye State titled “Ohio Kicks” is also a ballad that shows off some pretty good piano playing and would also make Springsteen proud as it is one of the album’s best songs to display Robert Loss’ vocals. The seventh song “Uptight” sees the band speed it up once again and it has so much potential at independent station 102.5 FM, the town’s go-to station for showcasing quality local and independent label acts. The opening guitar on “Ain’t It Sometimes Enough” is a thing of beauty and the same can be said about the tune as it is one of Human Capital’s more rocking tracks. It serves as another contender of radio airplay with dynamic drumming combined with gritty guitar play and Robert’s vivid vocals.

The ninth song “Whiplash” reinforces the signature throwback rock the record is known for. The song comes off as something from the Jakob Dylan or Bruce Cockburn collection. That means, it is amazingly awesome and deserving of raiding the airwaves. The guitars on “Transistor” are excellent throughout and Loss’ voice plus Heingartner’s drum work make for a finely performed banger that will make this song a popular one at future live shows. The same praise can be applied to the eleventh song “Guided By Missiles”, which is another track with potential for radio play based off all four lads coming together succinctly to make another surefire crowd favorite. The final track happens to be the LP’s longest at 5:13, but throughout “There Must Be Something Else” the tune’s quality is top notch which reinforces the overall quality of the album.

Loss, Nassau, Heingartner, and Charles should be super proud of their first ever full-length as it is high class songwriting and execution from start to finish. Since 2013, Blind Engineer has released EPs and singles and those seeking more marvelous material ought to give their classics a stream or two. Human Capital’s production is pristine and the musical execution is magnificent. To rock fans who want a sound that reminds them of great artists from decades prior should look no further than this record with punch, attitude, and emotion.

ROCK RUNDOWN FOR 10/26/20

Hello Luna – “Wait So Long”: The Columbus, Ohio quartet responsible for hits “Sound and Sorrow” and “Sympathize” returns with yet another remarkable tune. Back to a four-piece, members Kenzie Coyne (vocals, guitar), Michael Neumaier (drums), Eric Morgan (guitar), and newest member Mitchell Horn (bass) click on all cylinders to come up with a track that ought to be an Alternative radio staple much like their previous fare. Coyne’s dove-like vocals, her and Morgan’s guitar work, Neumaier’s drumming, and Horn’s bass play are an excellent match making “Wait So Long” reminiscent as “Stitching Holes”, which is the song that started it all for the band. The song strongly reinforces the band’s strong work ethic, brilliant songwriting, and prolific performing. Hello Luna is making tremendous songs on their terms and although they are not chasing a record deal, they are more than deserving of one.

Meagan Hillyer feat. Moistrus – “Never Stop”: The Central Ohio singer-songwriter dropped her first ever Spotify single just three days ago and it is a winner right out of the gate. Hillyer combines pop, funk, and soul to come up with her own unique style to stand out from the pack of other soloists. This collaborative effort with Moistrus on the Tribal Trap label packs power with badass beats combined with Hillyer’s fabulous vocals making it a formidable single on the Pop and Hip-Hop charts. This definitely leads to a curiosity factor of what else Hillyer has up her sleeve. Hillyer is an industry veteran at age 27 and based on the result of this most recent release, it is evident she has a full tank left for ages. When live events can commence on a large scale, it is in quality music lovers’ best interest to see this terrific talent grace the stage as they will not be disappointed.  

The (?!?!) – “WHAT’S UP?”: Released on October 18, the alternative pop artist known as The Punctuation’s new single is a fun and funky ditty that reflects what a lot of people are experiencing this year. With an edited version suitable for mainstream radio, the track has tons of potential at R&B and Top 40 stations with its amazing harmonies, bombastic beats, and on-point vocals. What makes “WHAT’S UP?” so brilliant are the relatable lyrics about overcoming adversity and having nowhere to go but up. “The bottom is a place down a lonesome lane / in Hell, USA but it’s also in your brain / God forbid you find yourself stuck there / On a one-way ticket on a bus from nowhere.” Now calling Arizona home, Ben Brown has himself a head bobbing tune that will make listeners interested in what he has in store going forward. Plans are to release a record next year, but until then those who love this new jam should give previously released gems “Sex, Drugs, & Violence!” and “Panic Pandemic” several spins.

The Wet Darlings – “Radiation”: On this well-written prolific piece, the much beloved Columbus four-piece demonstrates they are ready to make their long-awaited comeback. “Radiation” is the follow-up to the band’s critically acclaimed album Beautiful Things. The new song has received much love over the past few weeks and after just a few seconds, listeners will know why. Jenny Lute (vocals), Aaron Bishara (drums), and brothers Joe and Bill Patterson (bass and guitar, respectively) slow down the pace compared to prior hits “Bicycle” and “Used To Be Better”, but the quality is still top notch. Lute’s haunting vocals are on point with the music serving as the perfect background to provide a ravishing tune. It is the perfect tease to what the local scene hopes is an equally impressive album, which will be their first in half a decade.

Faith In Failure – “Leave Me Behind”: Ten days ago, Columbus-based heavy modern rock quintet dropped a rager that rips from start to finish. It is four and a half minutes of the band going pedal to the metal, or perhaps in this case metal to the pedal. Every member plays their role to the hilt, making for a surefire smash on Rock radio. In fact, “Leave Me Behind” recently made it all the way to fifth place of Cincinnati station 96Rock’s fan voting contest with a spot at the Bunbury Music Festival at stake. Approximately one year ago, the band played one of the biggest shows of their careers at PromoWest owned venue A&R Music Bar with other local heavy hitters A Decade Apart, Noise Auction, The Lost Boys Collective, and deadbeat. Their stage presence along with raucous recorded material means a long and successful future in this business. People who are blown away by this metalcore act’s latest offering ought to check out prior tunes “Sleepless” and “Vampire” to get the full effect of what FIF is capable of.

Summer School – “Feelin’ Myself”: Released October 23, the Love Groove recording artist has himself a very slickly produced and performed poppy bop. The vocals and melody are tremendous, making for a very catchy track for the fall. The song is most definitely worthy of inclusion on Hip-Hop and Pop stations as listeners will not help but to tap their toes and sing along to the chorus. With 2020 being a morale drainer, leave it to Summer School to provide a song with a sense of escapism with flair and passion. It is well worth for listeners to stream songs of yesteryear like “Kim” and “God” (in which the vocals are similar to that of Tears For Fears’ Roland Orzabal).

Northern Remains – “Antipathy (Carry Me Home)”: Two weeks back, the metalcore outfit released this rampaging banger to much praise. The screaming is perfectly placed and the chorus is wonderfully song alongside each member playing their part to precision, making for a can’t miss radio smash. People cannot help but root for the Reynoldsburg, Ohio group to succeed as the band has had to overcome multiple lineup changes and even tragedy to get to where they are now. The new single is not necessarily reflective of where the band has been, but where they are going. What Northern Remains has generated thus far makes them a band on the rise in the local scene and once live shows happen again, expect them to captivate audiences from the first note to the last.

Hollin Kings – “Hold On”: This Cleveland area quartet’s latest offering is good old-fashioned rock n’ roll brilliance and is a breath of fresh air from anything heard in recent memory. The guys combine their love of classic rock and modern rock to come up with something in between that defines their signature sound. The group started as a cover band and continued to do that to earn money and eventually transitioned into creating and recording their own material, which is most definitely up to code as heard on previously released tunes “Echoes of the Past” and “Dead and “Gone. On “Hold On”, the singing is sharp and the drum and guitars are striking throughout the banger. In conjunction with Black Squirrel Radio, the band will be performing as part of a live stream on Wednesday, October 28 at The Kent Stage. Those curious of what these blokes bring to the stage ought to tune in and they should most certainly live up to the praise they have received thus far.

Cassidy – “The Devil”: From Berlin, Germany by way of Calgary, Alberta, this talented singer-songwriter introduced the world to this poppy ballad 13 days ago. The song was written a few years back and details the trials and tribulations of heartache, which should be relatable subject matter for pop aficionados. Her vocals hit the target throughout and gel quite well with the piano and drum work. Cassidy’s soulful voice is distinct that she does not sound like any other pop divas currently ruling the airwaves. The song has enough kick to compete at Top 40 radio and fingers crossed that “The Devil” finds an audience as its performance and performer are heavenly. For more evidence of the Canadian-German crooner’s bright future, singles “Lying” and “Sex and Wine” are recommended streaming.

Song and Album Reviews of Artists on the Rise

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