‘The Pilgrim’ – Luke Spehar 

ijpoccmhnakfhikj_phixrLuke Spehar is a Minnesota born musician. His latest release ‘The Pilgrim’ is an elegant and thoughtful collection of songs about love, life at home and his journey touring. His Folk/Americana style of music is a refreshing new look at these pre-existing and much loved genres.

‘The Pilgrim’ opens with the superb track ‘The Farmer’, documenting the story of a working farmer. The story unravels well showcasing Spehar’s exceptional composition abilities. This is followed by, ‘America and Me’ which is an extremely special song. It opens with the sparsely heard spoons being played followed by Spehars’ travis picking on an acoustic guitar. This style can be heard throughout the song which exhibits how special his guitar playing truly is. It is fast, accurate and foot tapping. ’America and Me’ is catchy in nature and when the banjo enters the song is lifted to a new dimension. Melodically, the song flows freely while allowing the organic nature of the other instruments to be absorbed by the listener. 

There is also gorgeous guitar picking to be heard on, ‘Love Songs and Lullabies’. On this track there is also the alluring addition of an accordion. ‘Time with you’ feels honest and heartfelt. Spehar’s talent feels immeasurable and shines bright on this piece of work. We also adored the title track, ‘The Pilgrim’. It has an accapella opening followed by Spehar’s signature finger picking making it unmistakably him. 

The production on the record is of an extremely high standard. As they should be, the main stars are the vocals and acoustic guitar. Both of which are at the forefront of the mix so the listener can hear and feel the thoughtful and well composed lyrics. Spehar’s guitar is rich and full of bass with the mid and higher tones still shining through. His style of guitar playing reminds us of Bert Jansch and Roy Harper but he puts his own unique reflection into it. Spehar’s voice is substantial and appealing with intoxicating qualities. He is able to draw the listener in and speak directly to them. 

There is sparse backing instrumentation throughout the album. There are accompanying strings, brass, bass, percussion and even (the previously mentioned) spoons to be heard. However, these instruments are very much in the background weaving their way in and out when necessary, always enhancing and never intruding. 

There is also a brilliant and insightful documentary which accompanies ‘The Pilgrim’ this can be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4cqZ5IYzbOo&feature=youtu.be

It really gives you an intimate look into Spehar’s thought processes, background to the album and his life as a special added bonus.

Luke Spehar really is a special artist to discover, so if you do just one thing today make sure you check out this brilliant artist.

Reviewed by FVReviews August 2018

WWW.LUKESPEHAR.COM

https://www.facebook.com/lukespeharmusic

https://twitter.com/LukeSpehar

‘Instincts’ – Josh Christina 

mdbbpmcajpieflgj‘Instincts’ is the latest release from the Baltimore based artist, Josh Christina. Christina’s unique Rockabilly sound is evident throughout this brilliant recording with blues additions and catchy melodies. His sound is truly mesmerising. The piano and vocal are the backbone to all of the songs with a hammond organ, guitars, bass and drums playing in the supporting cast. ’Instincts’ offers hard hitting, dance provoking, soulful music throughout and is a thoroughly enjoyable listen. 

‘Instincts’ begins with the track ‘Friend Zone’. The song opens with a beautifully played piano with a strong sense of the Rockabilly genre which flavours the record throughout. The piano offers boogie woogie elements which would be perfectly suited for Jools Holland’s Hootenanny in December. There is a  strong, inviting country element continuously driving in the background. 

The stand out tracks are hard to pick because the record is so strong as a whole. If we were forced to choose they would be, ‘Counting Sheep’ for it’s honest lyrics, ‘Blasted in the Basement’ for its driving pace and the ‘The Good Book’ which showcases Christina’s piano playing ability. All of these tracks offer different tempos, flavours and colours which are integral to make ‘Instincts’ stand out from the crowd in a busy market. 

Our all time favourite track on this album is, ‘Letters’. It is simply stunning. It’s the 3rd track  in the running order and it is completely different to what we have heard on the first two songs. It beings with a dissonant piano which then begins to flow and gives the feeling it could be a classic standard with its gentle barrage of 7th chords and melodic vocal accompaniment. There is a gorgeous, smooth and inviting guitar solo too. It has a Billy Joel feel about it and if it came onto our radio we would turn up the volume every time. 

We absolutely adored Christina’s vocal performance on this album. His deep, soulful and intoxicating voice is simply sublime. He delivers all of the songs with passion and the maturity of his song writing will appeal to many different people. 

Coming from a musical background, with a drummer father, singer mother and a grandmother who was a big band singer in the ’40’s and ’50’s, Christina’s musical heritage can be heard and felt touching the soul frequently on this album. These founding influences are used to drawn upon his pure natural talent and aptitude.

Christina also has an impressive back catalogue and we are so thrilled to have been introduced to his work. We can not wait to hear what comes next!

 

Reviewed by FVReviews August 2018

http://www.joshchristinamusic.com/

https://twitter.com/JoshChristina57

https://www.facebook.com/JoshChristina57/

https://www.facebook.com/JoshChristina57/

‘Along the Road’ – Dirk Schwenk & The Truth 

dschwenk

Hailing from Annapolis, Dirk Schwenk & The Truth are a phenomenal band specialising in the rock/alt-country/roots genres. Their latest release ‘Along the Road’ was released on 15th June 2018 and we believe it is an instant classic. 

Having a sound which is chilled and hard hitting all at once, this EP is very special indeed. The opening track, ‘Table Set for Two’ begins with two guitars, accompanied by drums, playing different melodies and complimenting each other completely. The lyrics are heartfelt and relatable. This song really introduces the listener to what a magnificent songwriter Schwenk is. He has the great ability to make the listener see everything he sees, to hear what he hears and feel what he feels. This is not a given with songwriters however, Schwenk executes his skill to perfection.

‘The River’ comes next and has a gorgeous slide guitar in the opening. The kick drum is present and constant throughout and provides the heartbeat to the song. There are added additions of a tambourine and harmonies galore. Later, during the instrumental the slide guitar is an absolute masterclass of how to add intensity and emotion to a song with an instrument. World class.

‘I am Graced’ sees the addition of a mandolin in the opening. There is also an piano to be heard for the first time which add a different texture to what we have previously heard. Schwenk’s vocals shine in this song, they are rich, warm and effortless. Always emitting emotion in their delivery, this love song hits the mark on so many different levels. 

Next we hear, ‘Along the Road She Comes’ which showcases Schwenk’s songwriting ability again. There is a major ascending chord progression in the verse which changes to a staccato rhythm with minor chord changes in the chorus. This is great juxtaposition and provides interest and intrigue. 

The final track is called, ‘Flag on the Hill’. It is a strong, patriotic and heavily political song. It is very different to what we have heard previously. The marching snare echoes the military feel and the ‘Stand Up and be Counted’ messaged also reiterates this. The harmonies and slide guitar give the track further substance and fabric.

Appearing on the EP we hear; Dirk – vocals & guitar, Chris – guitar and vocals, Kevin – bass & vocals, Mike – drums and vocals and Joe – guitar. This group of musicians really understand their craft and have produced an all round superb EP.

The EP has something for everyone, it is heartfelt, political and catchy all at once so check it out today!

Reviewed by FVReviews July 2018

https://www.dirkschwenk.com/

https://twitter.com/DirkSchwenk

https://www.facebook.com/dirkandthetruth/

https://soundcloud.com/dirkschwenkmusic

‘She Knows What’ – Ephect

‘She Knows What’ is the brand new single by Ehphet the Indianapolis based Rap/Hiphop musician and producer. The single has been taken from the upcoming album from Ephect entitled “The Nphection” LP which is scheduled for release at the end of July 2018. After listening to this single, the LP release can not come soon enough! 

The track starts with a vocal introduction for Nick J (the singles’ producer), followed by a sound similar to a gunshot and then a percussive instrumental which pans throughout the entire width of the listening scape. We found this all very unusual which peaked our interest immediately within the first 8 seconds! Following this, there is a kick reminiscent of a heartbeat before the drums and synths kick in with a catchy insightful melody.

Ephect’s voice is what makes this single for us. His vocal performance is smooth and deep, rapping with a thick american accent. The track is very sexual and relatable and it is Ephect’s performance which sells this brilliant summer tune. His phrasing is spot on throughout and his complex lyrics are genius, he spits them out with ease and confidence. The sign of an excellent artist. 

We adore the chorus which is again catchy with multiple voices, each showcasing their own characteristics. There is a breathy vocal performance which strikes to the heart of ‘She Knows What’ showing Ephect understands the genre and superbly portrays the essence of the song clear and concisely. At one point we hear a telephone voice which is a brilliant addition to add layers of depth and interest. 

The content of the song reminds us of ‘Butterly’ by Crazy Town released in 1999 but it has been reinvented for 2018. The song lyrically is very sexual and provocative and it will resonate with a large spectrum of people.

‘She Knows What’ has been expertly produced by Nick J. We listened to the single on various monitors and studio headphones and on each we were blown away by the clarity, balance and definition achieved by Nick J. He has taken an already suburb track and elevated to the next level, complimenting Ephect’s talent perfectly. 

There is one thing for sure, ‘She Know What’ is filled with catchy rhythm and grooves. It will entice music lovers from across the globe and have you listening all summer. 

So what are you waiting for? ‘She Knows What’ is now streaming on Spotify, Pandora and all other digital services. 

Reviewed by FVReviews June 2018

Instagram: @Ephect 

Youtube.com/EphectMusic 

Twitter: @Ephect 

Facebook.com/EphectMusic 

www.itsEphect.com

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‘Man of the Meadows’ EP – Vulcan Cicada

‘Man of the Meadows’ is an EP by the talented Vulcan Cicada. Vulcan’s Facebook page describes him as a ‘reclusive recording artist’ and we are pleased to have discovered him and this wonderful EP!

Due for released on 23rd April 2018, ‘Man of the Meadows’ is spine tingling in it’s nature and is a sonic journey in audio enjoyment. It is clear to hear the love, passion and commitment that has gone into the project. 

‘Nacht’ starts with beautiful strings and dolphin sounds before electronic beats kicks in. The reverb on the vocals mixed with the synth strings and piano break 3/4 of the way through make for an atmospheric sounding track which is laid back and captivating.

‘She was here’ is a more upbeat track with a Nick Cave sounding vocal performance and upbeat synths. The title Track, ‘Man of the Meadows’ has a brilliant guitar opening, it is positive, catchy and upbeat in nature. The backing vocals add depth to an already layered and brilliant performance. In the break the guitars and vocals work in unison together mixing nature and instruments perfectly.

‘Angel’ has syncopated drums creating an interesting drum patterns, two voices working together seamlessly carrying the weight equally. It is uplifting in nature and a strong potential for a Single.

‘Pinball’ is a twist and turn in genre, it has a heavier and rockier feel to it. Starting with a funky bass line and a progressive feel, it reminds us of Alice in Chains. A catchy and standout track!

Produced by D. Ni. L, he has done a great job of binding together a cohesive piece of work. A number of genres are covered and D. Ni L has done a stellar job of making them all belong together. 

If you do one thing today, get yourself a copy this wonderful EP here: http://www.musicationlabel.com priced just £5!

“If you yearn and yearn without release you may yearn for your yearning to cease” – Vulcan Cicada

Reviewed by FVreviews April 2018

https://www.facebook.com/Vulcan-Cicada-427816834313324/

http://www.musicationlabel.com 

NOVI – ‘Space Cadet’

NOVI – ‘Space Cadet’

NOVI are a female fronted band with a unique sound and undeniable passion. ‘Space Cadet’ is their latest offering, pop in nature and catchy in presence it is an amalgamation of different genres mixed perfectly to create a great pop tune. Main vocalist Mishell Ivon studied at Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts and her performance is flawless.

The beginning of ‘Space Cadet’ reminds me of Madonna’s ‘Like a Prayer’ heavily adorned with spiritual organs and Ivon’s lush vocals. It then leads to alliteration in the first verse ‘tapping on the table top’ drawing the listener in mesmerised.

‘Space cadet’ has many layers, the chorus has a reggae vibe, the bass is funky, the chorus is catchy, the distorted almost rock guitars in the break are then juxtaposed to the stripped down bridge offering texture and colour. They are all brilliant separate elements and are drawn together seamlessly to create a coherent piece, which is no mean feat.

The overall feel of the track reminds me of The Noisettes, fun yet meaningful. Production of the track is excellent and the artwork is clean, modern and eye catching. NOVI are a ray of sunshine in a world of mundane pop.

We’ll be watching in anticipation to see what this great band do next!

https://www.noviband.com

https://www.facebook.com/officialnovimusic

https://www.instagram.com/novi_band/

Reviewed by FVreviews November 2017

‘Let’s Make This Earth From House To Home’ by Lyrics Of Two

‘Let’s Make This Earth From House To Home’ by Lyrics Of Two

‘Let’s Make This Earth From House To Home’ is a ballad written by Californian based band founder Marie Helen Abramyan.

For us, the track is a cross between Michael Jackson’s ‘Earth Song’ and Mary Chapin Carpenter’s ‘Transcendental Reunion’. It promotes a message of positivity and kindness to all regardless of sex, religion or creed.

The instrumentation is simple in its make up but flatters the track well, leaving space to hear and take in the main star, the vocal. The smooth and warm vocal compliments the tone of the song perfectly. It is easy listening, mixed with pop, culminating in a create and innovative piece, with a positive message underlay. The mix of the song and also the way it has been mastered is suburb. Each instrument shines individually, while seamlessly blending together.

The art work which accompanies the piece is a great match to the music it encapsulates. Simple, in no way flashy but honest and representative.

With a catchy chorus and a feel good message “Let’s Make This Earth From House To Home” is a winner with us!

https://www.facebook.com/lyricsoftwo

http://www.lyricsoftwo.com

https://twitter.com/lyricsoftwo

https://www.instagram.com/lyricsoftwo/

https://play.spotify.com/artist/36UwTvTpV8s4hwgwNlLOHE?play=true&utm_source=open.spotify.com&utm_medium=open&autoplay=true