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 http://cricketbluemusic.com/.  You should keep up with Cricket Blue.

zig zags, they’ll never take us alive

zig zags, they’ll never take us alive

Punk in every sense of the word, the Zig Zags’ new album They’ll Never Take Us Alive rings out loud and proud with electric guitars and metal riffs.  From its lead off track “Punk Fucking Metal”, the Zig Zags let it be known that they are not messing around with their fourth album.

You can physically feel the metal influences in every single note and lyric sung.  This listener appreciates the constant appearance of the galloping electric guitar, accompanied by fast kick pedals.  Like something straight out of a Guitar Hero video game, the ever present guitar solo will have you wanting to do anything requiring physical energy, let’s just say, I don’t know, run head first into a roaring mosh pit.  With all this speed metal talk, it is hard to look pastZig Zag’s ability to also slow it down, in a very punk rock way.  Their track “Fallout” brings the tempo down just a hair, almost reminiscent of Dio’s “Holy Diver”.  But, the consistent theme across the board is the methodical gallop of the electric guitar that will be ringing in your ears for days to come after listening to this album.

Zig Zags have been an ever evolving force in the punk rock landscape for years now, and their fourth album really puts on display their growth, in the most punk way possible.  They’ll Never Take Us Alive is available now, and make sure to keep up with ZigZags here.

allman brown, darling, it’ll be alright

allman brown, darling, it’ll be alright

Acclaimed artist Allman Brown captures intimate love and all its facets in his sophomore album Darling, It’ll Be Alright. Brown has created an album that is so smooth and captivating in both vocals and lyrics that you find yourself easily slipping into a constant loop of his music for hours.

The album opens up with the effortless soft pop of “Home,” a heartfelt track that is as catchy as it is uplifting. The title track, along with “Dust & Heat” and “Bury My Heart” have a similar positivity to them that feels genuine and sounds like summertime. On the flip side, songs like “Crazy Love” and “Shapes in the Sun” delve deeper into the sultrier aspects of Brown’s music. It is reminiscent of fellow British singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran’s many hits in the unique vocal melodies and edgy, sharp guitar riffs.

Brown also delves into more somber ballads with “Hurting,” “Waiting for Something to Believe In,” and “Lonely Hearts, Los Angeles.” In particular, “Lonely Hearts, Los Angeles” stands out as a track that discusses the solitude of being in a big city, but still manages to be romantic in its depiction of something as gloomy as being alone – a difficult feat. Another standout was the final track, “Natasha,” which is a perfect example of Brown’s ability to emphasize the details of a loving relationship as well as highlight the beautiful simplicity of the song itself:

I bought you a Neil Young CD,
You made me try different food,
Showed me that being angry is not the same as being strong,
My darling, my darling one,
This is you love song.

Much like how Brown comes across in his music, Darling, It’ll Be Alright wears its heart on its sleeve. It is deeply romantic, heartbreaking, optimistic, and incredibly honest. To put it simply, this is what passionate music sounds like.

Be sure to check out the album, and keep up with Allman Brown here.

judah and the lion, pep talks

judah and the lion, pep talks

Goosebumps. The immediate sensation one gets when listening to the intro to Judah and the Lion‘s new album Pep Talks.  The aptly named Pep Talks gives the listener a metaphorical punch in the mouth with numerous vocal buildups, booming horns, and a steady building guitar.  This is the band’s third album, and it does not disappoint from start to finish.

Big band feels with heartfelt lyrics is how this listener likes to describe Pep Talks.  17 tracks long, Pep Talks boasts features from Kacey Musgraves and Jon Bellion, but the majority of the focus is on Judah and the Lion’s ability to captivate audiences with their pop-alternative style.  The constant presence of the variety of strings, and the pounding of drums, just make you want to move.  Even as I write this at my desk, my head is consistently bobbing, and my feet are thumping with every single beat.  Emotionally stirring, Pep Talks is raw in every sense of the word, putting on display every single talent that Judah and the Lion possesses.

The release of Pep Talks signals the announcement of a worldwide tour from Judah and the Lion.  With festival stomps throughout, the band will be touring from May until November.  Without a doubt, the songs on this album will be triumphs live, all of them have a live feel even when you are streaming them through a computer.  I for one cannot wait to witness Pep Talks live, and I can only hope that Judah and the Lion incorporate the intro track “Pep Talk” into the performance.  It gets me amped just thinking about it.

You can keep up with Judah and the Lion on their socials and their website judahandthelion.com.

rising appalachia, leylines

rising appalachia, leylines

Atlanta-based foul/soul collective Rising Appalachians – comprised of Leah Song, Chloe Smith, Biko Casini, and David Brown – releases their new twelve track album Leylines today, and we’re overjoyed with the sonic adventure it leads its listeners on. From the first, caressing lines of “I Believe in Being Ready”, the album feels alive. The vocal layers are absolutely exquisite, and we’re blown away to see the ferocity with which said vocals lead the album as a whole. Working with talents such as Ani Difranco (“Speak Out”), Trevor Hall (“Shed Your Grace”), and Maurice Turner (“Indigo Dance”), Rising Appalachians has found a way to bring in distinctive traits from each act and meld it into a sound all its own.

“Make Magic” and “Sassafras” are two of our personal favorites on the release, and their contrasting sounds are the perfect display of how robust the talent found in this four piece truly is. Take the album for a spin below, and let us know what tickles your fancy!

Keep up with Rising Appalachia here.