CD Reviews


Cunning Folk                            

10 tracks

Oh my, this is such an energetic and delightful CD. Amy has a playful, growling voice, that winds its way through these ten wonderfully arranged, jazzy songs that she wrote. “Prodigal Son” asks for her reward, NOW.  “Like A Boss” has a New Orleans-flirtatious-winking-Bessie-Smith-double-entendre kinda message. “He Doesn’t Need to Know” sounds like something Bette Midler might have done on her tours in the ’70s – Amy raises the rafters and the song ends with a raucous, rousing jazz finish. “The Cunning Snake” is a melancholy tune with harmonica and chimes. “Buzzards Bay” uses the Groucho Marx line, “I wouldn’t join a club that would have me as a member,” and sounds a bit like Beirut or the Fishtank Ensemble with a klezmer clarinetist on the roof. “Stranger,” is a ballad, quiet and soulful as Maria Muldaur in her Jim Kweskin Jug Band days, a ukelele strumming over a bass and harmonica, and the great line; “We wrote the book while you ripped out the pages.” She seems to like snakes. They appear in several of the songs. Edgy strings start out “The Snake” – in fact, it has a Tom Waits feel. A wandering clarinet weaves along as she tells the culling tale, Leon Russell’s “Tightrope” could be a subliminal influence here. “The Noncommital Love Song” evokes Annette Henshaw and Betty Boop. “Clocks and Bottles” is catchy, mesmerizing fun.

I love the cover art—the birds escaping from cages, and the fox/  wolf/ coyote (?) hiding behind the trees. Amy writes the songs and draws the art, she writes and sings the songs, she gathered a top-notch group of musicians, plus, she’s cute as a button—what more do you need to know? This is a ferociously adorable creation, buy the CD, see her in person, this is a keeper.    (Kimmy Sophia Brown) 


Live From Studio Dee: The Very Best of On the Town with Mikey Dee  Volume One

35-band compilation              

35 tracks

It’s impossible to cover 35 songs in a limited space so let’s hit the highlights first. Disc one of this monstrous compilation leads off with the brilliant avant avatars Walter Sickert & the Army of Broken Toys and their classic circus echoey tune “No Room.” Given its creepy grandeur, it’s a shrewd choice. The liquescent School Tree contributes an eerie art song ballad, “Let’s Dance.” The Michael Epstein Memorial Library provides a further highlight with their dramatic and colorfully textured standout track “Amylee.” The magnificent electro-pop scrawl of The Milling Gowns’ “Zenith” is followed by Jaggery’s bizarre but oddly compelling recitative “Rare Earth Element.” The sparkling and lively heaven-rock of Here We Just Dream is more than amply represented by their ecstatically joyful “Birds Fly Information.” Side two starts out strong with Sarah Rabdau & the Self-Employed Assassins’ chunkily percussive mysterioso recititive “Say Hello.” The Invisible Rays score with the airy and droning—and weird—synthesizer instrumental “Combinations-Combinations.” The Weisstronauts show up to the party with their excellent instrumental version of “Pleasant Valley Sunday.” Baby Ray perform their cantankerously clanky roundelay “Snipe Hunter.” The Luxury provides us with a Beatlesque psychedelicized pastiche titled “Nothing Comes to Mind.” Other interesting songs include Varsity Drag’s “Animal,” which is competent meat ‘n’ potatoes buzzsaw rock with an elegant hook. This Blue Heaven’s “Slow Dance Slow” is so paradisiacal and evanescent it threatens to float away–at least, until its grandly U2-esque climax. The vaguely Doorsy “Deep Water” by What Time Is It, Mr. Fox? is a throbbingly melodramatic art song. The Pills contribute their jittery new wave/Merseybeat manifesto “Apologize.” For excellently ominous strangeness, you can look to the buzzsaw cello and glam rock stylings of  The Wrong Shapes’ “The Right Man on Your Side.” The Doom Buggies venture forth with a slovenly but hearty rendition of “Think Big,” like a mutant version of the early Rolling Stones. The Lights Out contribute their willfully odd heavy psychedelic growler “Five Seventeen.” Four Point Restraints add their jouncy ska tune “Casualty” to the roster. Naked on Roller Skates deliver the epic-sounding guitar-scrawly “Bad Side,” and the mind-numbing Mission Creep—sounding a bit like the Strawberry Alarm Clock on steroids—let fly with “Weed Wacka” (with a horn section, no less). For downright ookiness, it would be hard to beat Vary Lumar’s subtly spacy synth-backed ballad “Slave.” The Daily Pravda lets loose with a full bore synth-driven goth-tinged recitative “Evelyn.” Reverse brings the hammer down with the chugging freight train HM excess of “Blues in D,” and The Sift end the proceedings with a halting, almost grudging version of “Within You Without You” which judders sporadically into an instrumental raga. As I have perhaps demonstrated, this collection is hard to beat for sheer variety and diversity of styles. Several important bands are represented with several more obscure gems tucked in. An epic assemblage.   (Francis DiMenno)


The New Normal?                   

14 tracks

If you weren’t already familiar with Andy Pratt, Google him and you’ll first learn he’s a brilliant man with a rich and lauded musical history including a discography that expands from the ’70s to the present. But there’s more to Andy Pratt than his interesting history—really what he’s about is whatever music he’s creating in the here and now and this “hear” and now is The New Normal?  With a voice that is absolutely distinct and a most heartfelt and unpretentious essence in his performance, Pratt’s latest consists of 13 new tracks and a 2014 version of his 1973 hit “Avenging Annie”—it’s a nice closer for those who are already fans and followers and for those who are not so familiar, it’s just another great song on The New Normal? as it blends seamlessly with the newer tracks. These piano-oriented blends of jazz, folk, pop, singer/songwriter, and some rock may not fall into the current mainstream but I don’t think that was the intention. It’s music, it’s sincere, and with many tunes about relationships, it’s relatable—so it speaks to us all and I love that it’s in his voice that’s really unlike any other. There’s no one I would want to compare him to as that would be doing this artist a disservice. My favorites: “Tomorrow,” “Object Constancy,” “Songbird,” “Everything is Gone,” and “Avenging Annie 2014.”      (Debbie Catalano)


So Fair Records

Amy Fairchild                           

11 tracks

Amy Fairchild combines a sweet voice with a decided knack for melody and is a talented songwriter to boot. Kudos go to Paul Kolderie for producing a mix which brings out in full the eldritch qualities of Fairchild’s voice and guitar, particularly on her dynamite opening track “Situation,” which is a little bit country and a little bit… punk. The best of the ensuing tracks show a softer, more introspective singer-songwriter side: the choogling “Hold Me Down”: the quietly passionate “Long Way Down,” and the stately piano-driven ballad “I’ve Tried”: “giving up on what I know can make the stars collide” is a nice turn of phrase; one of many. Songs like “Time Bomb” and “Pieces” are more rock-oriented and are enlivened by an almost ecstatic feel to the vocal phrasings. A sing-songy tune like “Get it Right” explores a more sunny pop-oriented direction-—with extremely gratifying results. Recommended.                             (Francis DiMenno)


Los Wunder Twins Del Record Label 

D-Tension’s Secret Project     

11 tracks

It’s always good to hear folks trying something new, and that is certainly the case here, as noted hip-hop producer D-Tension gathers a bunch of friends from the rock world to create a set of synth pop nuggets.  As tends to the be the case with projects like this, not everything works, but the hits far outnumber the misses.  Of particular interest is how some performers sound so different in this environment that you barely recognize them, while others sound exactly like themselves.  Both ways can work wonders, as they do here on the Aaron Perrino-led “Heartbreak of the Century,” which dials down his usual belting in service of a subtle yet infectious hook to the point where I didn’t even realize it was him, and the Kevin Stevenson-featured “She Don’t Like Rock N’ Roll,” which sounds exactly like you would expect The Shods to sound like if they went new wave.  Frank Morey gives the album its strongest number as the roots rock standout comes out of left field with a song that borrows equally from Tom Waits’ Rain Dogs and Nine Inch Nails’ Pretty Hate Machine, with just a touch of hip-hop thrown in.  The very British-sounding Liz Enthusiasm, who makes me think of Elastica and The Long Blondes, and the sexy playfulness of Stephie Coplan also hit the mark.  Consider this experiment a success.  (Kevin Finn)


“When You Follow”/ “Karma Song”   

2 tracks

Richard Lamphear and Linda Viens teamed up to create Kingdom of Love and they’ve got something cool going on. “When You Follow” starts with atmosphere—the kind you hear in a David Lynch film. A clean acoustic guitar strum breaks through as guest Scott Getchell’s trumpet blows a smooth mood. Then the double Dylanesque vocals harmonize in a tale of an airplane going down. The story continues with JD (Jack Daniels?) escaping the glass and flooding the hybrid fields in Indiana while cars pile up on I-65.  As the voices hit the chorus “when you follow you fall” a harsh effect washes over them then quickly rolls off, like a wave hitting the shore.

The upbeat ’60s-feeling “Karma Song” picks up the pace with happy drums, bouncy vocal melody, and easy sing-a-long chorus. Kingdom of Love puts together a fresh, clean modern folk-rock sound with touches of electronics and lyrics that let your mind go for a swim. Find these memorable songs on bandcamp.          (T Max)


Ace of Hearts


4 tracks on vinyl

The Real Kids legend may have been obscured by the much larger shadow cast by the likes of their buddies Jonathan Richman & the Modern Lovers but their 4-track EP, which serves as a teaser for their first release of new music in decades, Shake… Outta Control, is sure to extend The Real Kids own shadow.

Opening track, “She Don’t Take It,” is a vamped-up, angular, garage-rock romp that is reminiscent of their 1978 debut.

“Fly Into The Mystery” revives the 1970s Jonathan Richman classic ode to Boston’s North Shore. The Real Kids take Richman’s already downbeat track and drive it through a heavy dose of cough syrup, leaving behind a slow-burning outlaw country rock track.

“Got It Made” speeds up the tempo slightly, while their cover of the obscure 1968 Kinks b-side, “She’s Got Everything,” show their continuing penchant for first-wave British invasion garage rock.   (George Dow)



12 tracks

With its genre-bending musical diversity, sharp lyrics, and delicate balance of jaunty pop sounds and brood-laden grooves, Kristen Ford’s Dinosaur sets the bar pretty high. There’s something for everyone on this record. If there isn’t, you may be deaf. Or maybe just dumb. Where a lesser musical act showcasing a range of styles and soundscapes like this might come off more like a mish-mashed compilation rather than a record, there’s a quality here that makes each tune and the record as a whole inexplicably… Kristen Ford. The songwriting, sure. The attitude, you betcha. But what really sells it is the voice. It cuts through the post-punk twang, the electro dance-pop, the stripped down acoustic numbers and reggae grooves, acting as a common denominator for the album, something to ground the listener while the music soars.                              (Will Barry)



“Sex Talk”/ “Mama Needz Luv 2”                                                2 tracks

Johnny is legendary in New England for his punk band The Blackjacks and for his parody band The Swinging Erudites: and his new music has none of the anger and bitterness of the former but possesses plenty of the creative humor of the latter. And it’s not the same Garage rock he is known for. “Sex Talk” is jazzy, folksy, a bit Cajun and silly; a musical tribute to cybersex set to a swinging beat. “Lookee here, are you that well endowed? I hear the camera always adds 10 pounds. Don’t you post my selfies up on Flickr. My doucebag friends will all grunt and snicker”. The anger is dropped for irony. And it’s FUNNY. Johnny on vocals, guitars, basses, kazoo and percussion with Sugar Tallerino on vocals, Brock Avery from Boston’s New Man (!!!) on drums and percussion make this nice uptempo song a good one. “Mama Needz Luv 2” is a happy, rocking, poppy, reggae song about one of Johnny’s friends telling him how difficult it is to date when you have kids. Ironically, Johnny’s 11 year old son Xerxes sings at the end of the song too. This is a horny lament set to reggae or “reggae sorta” as Johnny Angel laments to me online. “Mama is going loco now. her estrogen ain’t dropping. She needs to get hopping.” Ha. On this cut, J.A. is on vocals, lead and rhythm guitar, percussion and harmonies. Robbie Rist is on bass, lead guitar and harmonies, Brock Avery is on percussion and drums and Xerxes Carmen is on vocals and percussion. A perfect tune to enjoy with a Red Stripe and a chillum. Great stuff from a great artist.    (A.J. Wachtel)


Field Studies                             

13 tracks

Picture yourself taking a leisurely stroll through woodlands or perhaps reclining nonchalantly on a porch swing, sipping sweet tea whilst listening to the rustle of the evening breeze.  All is well in the present moment and the foreseeable future.  Few musicians have the innate gift of evoking or even perpetuating such a temperament within listeners.  Enter Ben Cosgrove, a Cambridge-based composer, pianist, and multi-instrumentalist exploring time and place solely through the intricacy of sound.  Just as well.  So fully realized are these compositions, that the addition of words would only hinder their impact.  Consider the blissful, piano-driven glide of “Montreal Song” with its potential counterpart, “Palo Alto,” each of which brings forth feelings of lightheartedness.  Continuing on this trend is “We Will Be Fine,” where piano has been supplemented with the delicate finger picking of an acoustic guitar.  While Field Studies is primarily a record of optimism, suspenseful moments do make their appearance through “Sigurd F. Olson,” “We Never See Anything Clearly”—where the addition of a violin adds a whole new level of dimension and drama—and the haunting, barely audible chanting that takes place throughout “Narrow Land/River of Grass.” Music supervisors for television and film—are you reading?     (Julia R. DeStefano)


Let Your Secrets Out                

11 tracks

Like a musical fireworks display on the Fourth, the first full-length from this rock foursome is high-energy and full of explosive highs. There’s an eclectic mix of pop-synth sounds from the ’90s, rock overtures and high-quality vocals, all combined with expert precision. Switching off from pure synthesized electric pop songs to wall-smashing rock tunes, this album shows a band with a diverse set of influences, each finding its home. Lead singer/keyboardist Greg Alexandropoulos’ voice rings like a bell amidst the shifting sound that the band produces, flying above it all and bringing the production to a new level. His keyboard skills are downright surgical, and add a new dimension to what this band can do.

Georgio Broufas lends great skill on the vocals and shreds on the guitar, while bassist Will Hunt is as impressive on the studio as he is on stage. Drummer Mark Ragusa brings the power, and I totally dig his work on each of the songs. Speaking of which, “Rivals” gets my nod as the favorite on this album. It gets you revved right up within the first few seconds, shredding guitar riffs creating a kickass tune that I’ve run through about half a dozen times. The whole album is just as catchy, and bodes well for a young band with a lot of potential.      (Max Bowen)


Turn My Music On                    

9 tracks

This married pair’s winning blend of rockabilly and roots music exudes a charm and authenticity that more than offsets the occasional descent into the formulaic.  There’s a nice variety on the album as hoedown dance numbers find themselves next to moving tearjerkers, and the duo’s close harmonies and traded vocals keep things fresh.  Music from this genre demands a killer guitar player, and Myles more than delivers the goods, particularly on the closing instrumental “Rye on the Rocks.”  The tracklist is a mix of old classics plus originals, and I have to say that as good as the covers are, I’d love to see the band emphasize their own songs more.  The strongest number, “Maryann” sounds like something Chuck Berry would have loved to have composed.                   (Kevin Finn)


Selfmadegod Records

Chainsaw Priest                 

17 tracks

I first started listening to punk and hardcore as a 14-year old. My first exposure to a hardcore show came in 1986 when I took the train into an all-ages, matinee show at T.T. the Bear’s Place in Cambridge. I was there primarily to see Boston hardcore punk legends, The Freeze, but it was Psycho, one of the supporting bands, that always stuck with me. Particularly Charlie Infection who, in addition to his role as drummer, vocalist, and general mastermind of the band, also played what, at least during that era, seemed to be the role of punk rock governor.

During the course of the next few years Psycho was on the bill as the opening band for literally hundreds of hardcore show in the city. I could always count on finding Charlie on the sidewalk after their set holding court with the local punks. To a young wanna-be punk like me this was an amazing experience. To that point in my life hanging out and talking with the band after a show was entirely outside of my experience.

Nearly 40 years later those brief encounters at the punk rock shows still resonate strongly. Charlie wouldn’t know me from a hole in the wall but his friendliness and encouragement left a lasting impression. Thanks, man… Now, on to the music.

After 40 years Psycho are still ambassadors of the thrash-core scene. They may have slowed their album output and show schedule but Chainsaw Priest demonstrates that they haven’t slowed their assault—17 songs crammed into a 24 minute package. Only one song breaks the two-minute mark. Coming in at 2:50, “Hep-C” seems downright long when slammed against the 1:15 tracks. Lyrically it’s not exactly anthemic—chastising heroine users for shooting dirty needles, encouraging them instead to drink beer or smoke pot—two presumedly less dangerous vices.

Lyrics for the rest of the songs are equally inane, which only makes Psycho’s pummeling delivery all the more entertaining. “Mystery Meat” is a 57 second ode to the perennial high school lunchroom legend that maybe—just maybe—Wednesday’s shaved-steak sandwich is actually human meat. “Leave Me Alone” bears a mention for its lyrical nuance. In fact, I can’t help but lay out the lyrics in their entirety here: “Leave me alone/ I hate your face/ You annoy me/ I hope you die./ Get away/ You really suck/ You are dead to me/ You fuckin’ douche bag.”

Chainsaw Priest closes with a cover of the Plasmatics classic, Won’t You, (rebranded by Psycho as Want You) featuring guest vocals from Audrey Hell. Psycho’s co-opting of Wendy O’Williams P-S-Y-C-H-O chant is pure thrash-core genius.    (George Dow)


Age of Blame                              

8 tracks

Picture if you will an amalgam of War and the Grateful Dead with elements of funk jazz and you will likely come up with an approximation, howsoever poor, of the brassy voiced Jen Kearney as she skillfully steers this collection’s opening track “Waiting For It.” Subsequent numbers explore Earth, Wind and Fire style R&B (“Too Far”); soul-stirring electric piano funk (“Overwhelming”); melodic jazzy piano balladry (“Corner of My Eye”); a Latin-flavored dance number (“Better”); and Funkadelic style heaviness also reminiscent of Stevie Wonder (“What If”). She also offers up a calm, gospel-styled piece (“Age of Blame,” and, to top it all off, an ambitiously slow and decidedly trippy slow burner of a number called “Sanctuary in Sabotage.” Those who revere 1970s-era jazz, R&B and funk stylings will find a great deal to like in these original compositions. 

(Francis DiMenno)


Perhaps It Is Time To Go Home  

12 tracks

The sultry horn-heavy sounds of New Orleans aren’t exactly what one would expect coming from a New England-based band, but it’s a pleasant surprise. Sounding like Mardi Gras parades, raunchy blues bars, born-again church services, and good ol’ New Orleans funerals, Soggy Po’ Boys bring the rich sounds of the Big Sleazy up to the East Coast.         (Will Barry)


Deporter Records

Distracted By Adventures In Healthcare                               

8 tracks

Portland, Maine’s Pigboat may have one of metal’s truly regrettable band names but these heavy dudes get my vote for the absolute best album title of this century. Their new LP, Distracted By Adventures In Healthcare marks the band’s tenth anniversary and comes on the heels of singer/guitarist Mark Belanger’s successful battle with lymphoma.

Pigboat trade in super heavy stock. Deep grooves and squawky guitars abound. Stoner riffs pummel continuously while Belanger growls like a deeper-throated Curt Cobain. There’s more than a speck of Helmet buried beneath Pigboat’s sludge.

Tracks “Whatsadrexel?” and “Spaceship 13, You Are Forbidden To Dock” amble along like a wooly mammoth trudging through quicksand, sounding not unlike a combination of Clutch and Karma to Burn. “I Don’t Give A Fuck About Your Couch” slows things down using Nirvana’s patented LoudQuietLoud formula distilling their tectonic  delivery into the one of the hardest metal ballads of recent memory. Every track is earth-shatteringly heavy, requiring liberal use of volume when listening.

Cheers to your tenth anniversary and, to Mark, much respect and positive thoughts—congratulations on taking back your health.         (George Dow)



7 tracks

This is a harmonious and peaceful collection of mostly sanskrit chants that have been arranged against pop, Latin, and Indian musical styles. Irene has a lovely feminine voice, which flows either layered or solo throughout arrangements that feature mainly keyboards, guitar and drums. The album seems designed for meditation, yoga, or for background use during various kinds of healing therapies. Her voice is extremely lovely and conveys an atmosphere of compassionate kindness. If you’re looking for a mellow CD to help you unwind at the end of a stressful day, this may be it. Irene Solea is a chant artist and music therapist who wrote or co-wrote the songs with Danny Solomon.
  (Kimmy Sophia Brown)


Taang! Records

“Mine Caroline” b/w “Tell Me”

2 tracks on 7” vinyl

Released in February of 1986, “Mine Caroline b/w “Tell Me” captures the Oysters at their punky best. “Mine Caroline” uses a revved-up version of the traditional “Hand Jive” backbeat. Without the trebly guitars and snotty vocals you might mistake it for a George Thorogood tune (Thank god for the trebly guitars and snotty vocals).

     “Tell Me” captures a similar sound. Crunchy, jangly guitars and ragged nasally vocals, support a punked-up blues rock melody.

      The Oysters are another sad example of a great Boston punk band that burned brightly for far too short a time and were promptly lost to the annals of time.          (George Dow)


Came To My Senses featuring James Montgomery                             

10 tracks

In most CD reviews, I just talk about what I hear. But in this case, I have to first speak about what I see; the cover photo. The Reverend, in all his glory, is seen grinning and wearing sunglasses. Under a somber robe with clusters of palm trees, he is wearing his cleric white collar and black Reverend shirt. He’s also holding a beautiful old Gibson Firebird with a large metal cross attached to the body on the pick guard; and he has a wedding ring and metal slide on his fourth finger and pinky. It is truly a sight to behold. And now the music: this CD is dedicated “To My Guitar Hero, John Dawson Winter III” and his guitar playing, while not as flashy as his hero’s is clearly influenced by him and is very, very good. Both his lead and his slide. The leads are quick and creative and you hear plenty of two note Chuck Berry riffs also. All of the songs are spiritual tunes but the good guitar work adds feeling to the passionate messages; which makes the whole package work well. James Montgomery plays on a few songs including Keefe originals “Baptism Song” and “Conversion Of Paul”—the best songs on the disc. I also dig the traditional “Jesus on the Mainline” with it’s screaming guitar. It rocks. And “Amazing Grace” with the growling guitar and female vocals. There are a lot of female guest vocalists on this CD and they don’t sound like a choir much and add a lot to the final product. Dylan’s “Gotta Serve Somebody” and Lightning Hopkin’s “Needed Time” are done very spiritually and very different. Music with a message: Jesus you can dance to.    (A.J. Wachtel)


Karisma Music 
The Awakening                        

11 tracks

This sounds like what my white Irish Catholic mother would come up with if she made a record with soul, funk, hip hop and reggae touches.  Well, that is if my mother happened to possess a very nice singing voice rather than the typical Finn family warbling.  Despite Lilla’s proclamations that she’s “kickin’ it real,” the music lacks any edge at all, which makes it come across as supper club music for a Bible Belt bridge club.  That is not to say there isn’t anything of value happening here.  Lilla is indeed a very talented singer with an emotive voice, and she surrounds herself with a solid backing band.  I  just think she might be better off going for straight easy listening, which would allow her to play to her strengths, rather than trying to force in a funkiness that just isn’t convincing.  (Kevin Finn)


Livin’ The Dream
10 tracks
The first thing one notices about these songs is the great vocals. Artie Eaton sure can sing. He’s got the power. He’s got the sound. He’s got the passion. And he has the range. The next thing one hears is the great band and the powerful, all-original songs; Artie on vocals and bass, Brielle Eaton on vocals, Steve Gouette on guitar and vocals, and Steve Carter on drums are red hot. Just listen to the three part harmonies and you will be convinced this CD is special. Artie plays in D.K.’s Full House and his band mates join in on the fun here also. With their contributions, Danny Klein, the four-stringer from The J. Geils Band, Dave Quintiliano on keys, Rosy Rosenblatt on harp, and drummer Jim Taft on vocals put much more power into the punch. I really dig this power pop with loud guitars and great vocals a lot; the power chords are a bit arena/metal and always bring the listener back to the focus of the compositions.. Songs like “I Know,” “She’s Gone,” “Dance,” “She Loves Me,” and the title track “Livin’ the Dream” all showcase the group’s energy and strengths. I really dig “Love Dr.” with its slide guitar and harp and the last song, “Lay It On Me” (unplugged) is just slightly more acoustic and a bit more Americana. Power Pop with very impressive vocals. Great stuff   (A.J. Wachtel)


In the Night, for the Morning
10 tracks
Acoustic guitar-driven, Americana-tinged, adult-contempo tunes aren’t really my cup of tea. Still, I gotta give it to this guy. He had a vision and, like it or not, he brought that vision to fruition and did so on his own terms. Maudlin, heart-on-sleeve, and hokey as his vision may be, it is still overall a tight, well-produced, and eclectically textured record. Just a little heavy on the Hallmark for my taste. (Will Barry)


Zoho Roots Records
Rumblin’ and Slidin’ 
14 tracks
This Connecticut band rocks with a capital R!  Another great guitarist (playing a Gibson Firebird) releasing a solid CD with cool covers and originals. First the covers: Link Wray’s instrumental “Rumble,” classics “It Hurts Me Too” and “Key To The Highway,” and a very interesting “Fly Away” written by Edgar Winter and his White Trash sax player Jerry LeCroix, which is done as a harp song instead, are very good listening. Jay includes a bonus four live tracks recorded in September 2013 at The Newton Arts Festival where they do a killer cover of Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth”— rock ’n’ roll style. Jay Willie on vocals and slide guitar, Bob Callahan on guitar and  vocals, Steve Clarke on bass, and powerful pounder Bobby T Torrello kick ass pure and simple from beginning to end. Bobby T used to be in Johnny Winter’s band and he brings his expertise front and center on this project. His song “Rotten Person” is a great rock ’n’ roll love song: “You’re so cold/ You’re so mean/ You make me want to scream.” Ha. And they do. Other originals like “Dirty 2:30” and “Bad News” are rock solid and Jason Ricci on harp is first rate. On the back cover, I laugh when I see the familiar words I had written in my last review of their first CD in The Noise, from last year, with my name NOT credited. Oh well. Maybe if I keep at this for another 30 years my name will be more recognizable and worth mentioning. PLAY THIS CD LOUD.     (A.J. Wachtel)


Pink Flamingo Hotels 
1 track
Recorded as part of Converse Rubber Tracks, the new single from the rock foursome Sinnet pours out smooth rock tones in a never-ending wave. The theme of the song is the search for fame and the tragic results of those caught up in the quest. Lines like “Gone girls that came just to be starlets/ somehow ending up in the drive ins/ or lying on their backs” point to this with emphasis, and the music rises with intensity as the story progresses. An amazing guitar solo rides the wave, crashing down on the ears and bringing a close to a solid new offering from this exemplary band. (Max Bowen)



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