sara lew, sunday morning

sara lew, sunday morning

As you woke this morning and slowly blinked your eyes, I bet you were wondering just as much as we were. “Is it Sunday morning? Wait, is this the weekend that I’m blessed with or the dreaded Monday morning that my Sunday scaries highlight every week?” And here we are, surviving another solidly difficult and also incredibly wonderful Monday!

But if you truly want to celebrate in style, I’d consider checking out Sara Lew‘s new full-length, Sunday Morning. Comprised of nine tracks that pack a punch, she begins bass-heavy with “Does Anybody Listen” (No, they do not), which segues quite nicely into the deep sounds of the title track. “Same Old People” slows it down, beautiful percussion slowly building on top of the electric guitar chords. “Every Moment” has an almost haunting sound to it, while “Leave the Shed” gives more of a slow burn to its sound, and reminds the listener – as if they could forget – of Lew’s deep vocal range.

“Deep End” feels poetic in its existence, drawing a feeling of melancholy with it, while you get the distinct notion that the instrumentals are trying to lift you out of the melancholy. It’s distractingly beautiful, though the same can be said – perhaps, to a different degree – about the album in its entirety. While “The Balcony” is soft and plays a little more with dissonance than its predecessors, “You Said” picks up the pace and is perhaps the track we can see ourselves dancing most wildly to by an outdoor stage this summer, though each track on Sunday Morning is equally vibe-able. The “Sunday Morning” radio edit rounds it out, and leaves a taste so sweet that we can’t wait for more.

Keep up with Sara Lew here.

luisa lopez, 45

luisa lopez, 45

Today, Houston-bred, Nashville-based artist Luisa Lopez released an incredible 8-track feat titled 45. Her entrancing vocals add a level of poeticism that wouldn’t otherwise be attainable, a fact that simply elevates the appeal of the release. But before we even get to the content of the album, the title itself holds significance in many areas of Lopez’s life. It was both the age at which she began to create the release, as well as the number that represents our current President, a person who fueled some of the work.

Beginning with “Tired”, Lopez plays with dissonance instrumentally and gives us a taste of those far-ranging pipes. “She Had to Go” and “Heaven” bring in a groovy, nineties-inspired feel, while “They Ain’t Gonna See Me Coming: An American Western” picks up the pace, and with “Heart Side”, she ensures you can feel that emotions that went into the song’s production. “China” unfolds into a very specific story and is littered with unique instrumental layering that is absolutely inspired. “Nothing Left” and “Nothing New Under the Sun” slow the pace down quite  a bit, bringing forth a vibe that could easily be played at a casual cookout or in a hotel lobby. However, if you truly examine the lyrics, “Nothing Left” is centered around the lives affected by police brutality, especially in black communities. Her social commentary is sobering, yet so beautifully presented.

Above all Lopez admits, “I want people to feel something. I want them to feel inspired. I want them to put themselves in these sounds and I want them to want to hear from me again. I want them to be curious about what will be next.”

Mission accomplished.

Track list
1. Tired
2. She Had To Go
3. Heaven
4. They Ain’t Gonna See
Me Coming: An American
5. Heart Side
6. China
7. Nothing Left
8. Nothing New Under
The Sun

Keep up with Luisa Lopez here.

thomas kozumplik, child of the earth

thomas kozumplik, child of the earth

Composer and performer Thomas Kozumplik leads a 16-member orchestra in a riveting  performance of instrumental artistry with his latest project, Child of the Earth.
“Mother Nature (la inocencia pérdida)” is quite an attention-grabbing opening — with the cacophony of various bells and drum beats and piano chords that doesn’t quite allow you to figure out where the song is headed —mirroring the beauty and unpredictability of Mother Nature itself. Then it shifts with the use of heavy percussion and ominous vocal work that creates an intense juxtaposition to the first few minutes. As the composition comes to an end, it settles back down, bringing back the playful xylophone, plus some piano chords and vocals that ring with finality.
The next two tracks are the small but sweet filling between the two thick pieces of bread in this orchestral sandwich. “Mysticism (Carillon) resembles a wind chime in its breezy tone. It is the most serene of the tracks, bringing about a certain peace and calm that only chimes can do. “A Journey (baile de los tambores)” goes back to the more chaotic sound of “Mother Nature.” The intense yet catchy drum beats are a mirror opposite to the quiet romance of “Mysticism.”
“Beauty and its Passing (cuando habíamos podido amar)” is quite a triumphant ending to this large-scale orchestra. It is a more subdued work in a way that is more contemplative. For most of the song, the signature heavy percussion is not present, putting piano and marimba at the forefront, as a way of bringing the intensity of the orchestra to a gentle close.
Child of the Earth is an incredible feat. His work and artistry certainly speak for themselves — Kozumplik manages to create something entirely new and interesting, allowing listeners to disappear into a world of magical music.
Be sure to check out the album, and keep up with Kozumplik here.
forever x2, forever x2

forever x2, forever x2

Forever X2‘s new self-titled 6 track EP is thrilling, from the very first, edge-tinged lines of “Keep the Devil Waiting” through the last, soothing notes of far more ethereal sounding “Forever Times Two”. The four tracks between are simply the well-rounded center of the Oreo, AKA all some type of amazing. “Think About It” and “Walk the Ocean” have similar paces, the focal point, so to speak, of each track truly being the artist’s raspy vocals. “Mad For Me” sounds much more influenced by punk music, It’s our favorite, as it feels 80’s other-worldly and we’re more than into that headspace right now. If you take the time to sit and enjoy “God Don’t Want”, you’ll feel so much better about the world around you. And the inclusion of such varying soundscapes might inspire you in a different direction.

Forever X2 is definitely worth a listen. I mean, don’t you want to stay on top of new music?

Keep up with Forever X2 here.

the shootouts, quick draw

the shootouts, quick draw

Ohio-based band The Shootouts’ debut album Quick Draw is the ultimate throwback to the age of honky-tonk in America. Every detail, from the lyrics to the vocals to the instruments to the album cover art, hearkens back to the good old days of classic country music. The band, consisting of Ryan Humbert (lead vocals, acoustic guitar), Brian Poston (electric & acoustic guitar), Ryan McDermott (bass), Dylan Gomez (drums, percussion) and Emily Bates (harmony vocals), create a wholesome album with heart that is sure to make their listeners feel as if they have travelled back to a much simpler time.

With the first track, “Cleaning House” jumps right in with a toe-tapping ditty that’s as fun as it is metaphorical. Other tracks like “Who Needs Rock & Roll” and “Reckless Abandon” have the same carefree, catchy vibe that almost guarantees its ability to get stuck in your head. They’re short, sweet, and incredibly charming. Even a song called “Alimony” is full of charm and humorous lyrics:

Alimony, oh alimony,
I thought I bought steak and it was old bologna.
Me oh my, oh goodness sake,
I’m paying for my mistake.

There’s a fair share of the album’s softer side with songs such as “California to Ohio,” “If We Quit Now, “Lonely Never Lets Me Down,” and “Losing Faith in Being Faithful.” These songs are pretty and emotional, bringing us back to traditional country ballads that are often hard to find in the current age of pop-country.

At first glance, Quick Draw may seem like just another country album, but it is entirely its own entity. The lyrics are sharp and well-written, the instrumentals are skillful, and even if this isn’t your kind of music, it’s quite an enjoyable listening experience.

Be sure to check out Quick Draw, which is out now, and keep up with The Shootouts here.

cricket blue, serotinalia

cricket blue, serotinalia

Indie-folk duo Cricket Blue are storytellers in ever sense of the phrase, and their new album Serotinalia is packed full of them.  With pristine harmonies and scaling acoustic guitars, Cricket Blue is able to cause the listener to drift off into another conscious zone, full of hope, but also darkness.

Members Laura and Taylor are a vocal match made in heaven.  As you listen to each song/story, you feel you are at a concert, with Cricket Blue performing just for you.  This concert is not at a large venue.  It is simply in a small room, with just the sound of Cricket Blues voices and strings enveloping the confined space.  The darkness in every song prompts contemplation of self, allowing the listener to be full immersed in the art.  I cannot stress enough how talented these two musicians are, and how their chemistry creates an album containing the purest form of the indie-folk genre.

Serotinalia is out now, and you can keep up with Cricket Blue at  You should keep up with Cricket Blue.