All posts by brandon adamson

Steven Chera – The Classic Standards


Crooner Steven Chera’s new album, The Classic Standards, features him performing classic songs from the early part of the 20th century. Inspired by Sinatra, Martin and the rest, Chera keeps the spirit of the Rat Pack alive. One can almost wonder if he is being channeled by Old Blue Eyes himself. Both musically and aesthetically he successfully captures the style and ambiance of this era with these songs. He does not merely mimic or emulate these legendary artists though, but rather he incorporates his own personality into the tracks, giving them a bit of personal flair. The result is that the album does not come off as overly derivative. This is a high quality production by an artist who has clearly spent quite a bit of time and effort in mastering this genre.

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J.W. Schuller – Caterpillars


Caterpillars(from the album “No Mud in Joyville“) is a new track from Boulder, CO based indie folk rocker J.W. Schuller. It should be mentioned also that a host of other artists are credited with contributing backing vocals, drums and other instruments. J.W. Schuller’s everything but the kitchen sink approach gives the song a much fuller sound than one would get from an ordinary “guy with an acoustic guitar” project. Somehow he manages to juggle all these sounds to keep the song tight, organized and impressively coherent. Caterpillars is delightful, peppy and brimming with positive energy. I really like the vocals on this track. The singer is originally from Minneapolis, and his vocal style has a similar quality to other notable bands from the Minneapolis indie / punk scene like The Siren Six. Something has to be said for the guitars too, which are terrific both in terms of tone and performance. J.W. Schuller plays volunteer gigs at retirement homes, and I could see people of all ages tapping along to this jam and gaining a bit of vitality in the process.

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Rainy Day Crush – I’m Still Alive EP


Rainy Day Crush, a veteran midwestern band that falls somewhere in between indie, pop, punk and alternative rock has a new EP out titled, I’m Still Alive. It’s an appropriate title, given that the band has appeared, disappeared and reappeared in many incarnations an forms over the years, going back to the 90′s when they were known as “The Other Side.” It’s great to see musicians displaying such tenacity and continuing to come back to what they love and do well.

The band features good clean guitars and a solid vocalist. One of their newest songs, Heartbreak (or How to Get Over It) could almost be described as “adult pop punk” but without whiny vocals. The singer is very good in fact, giving the track a dynamic and full quality which enhances the melody of the song rather than merely going through the motions. The tracks on this EP could very well qualify as potential pop hits, if we were still living slightly in another time when bands like Third Eye Blind were in high demand and before we entered the terrible era of garbage pop music we’re mired in now. I”m Still Alive is essentially indie music that’s produced at radio quality, released at a rather unfortunate time. There is always room somewhere for high quality music made by professionals, though. I’m pleased to say that Rainy Day Crush is operating in that space, filling the void with these catchy and coherent jams. They also have a cool album cover imo.

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Well well well, what a pleasant surprise this is. It’s not every day that I’m fortunate enough get to review something that I personally would listen to, but this is just one of those days. hERON is a collaborative effort between Progeny of Chisme/Ghost Palace (MPC, guitar, records) and Rob Castro of Grayskul/Chisme/Ghost Palace (bass.) It is also long distance musical project between Seattle and San Antonio.

hERON has released a self titled album,(12 songs) and it’s damn good. It has a very authentic 60s-70s psychedelic vibe. The sound and production give it a very retro aesthetic but not in a tryhard way. It’s like if someone recorded an album on an old analog 4-track, but they really knew what they were doing so it came out better than 99% of major label releases.

The opening track is titled “chillmode,” a nice little scratchy instrumental jam that would not seem out of place on practically any 1970s Japanese film soundtrack. I thought for a minute that maybe the whole album would be instrumental only, but some tracks like “Kissed Dreams” include vocals, which have a nice warm “AM radio” tone. My favorite song on the album is probably “Flipout,” which could best be described as elevator muzak you might imagine yourself hearing while wandering through a haunted dead mall, and I like elevator muzak.

Anyway, there’s a lot of good stuff in here, so I recommend you check out hERON if you have good taste. This bad boy is available on cassette and vinyl as well as digitally.

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Audiobreeze – Chapter X


Chapter X is a new release from Audiobreeze, an artist based in Sofia, Bulgaria. The song bills itself a “melancholic piano piece,” but really it is so much more. The tone may be evoke emotions of sadness, yet it comes in the form of a lovely and elaborate musical composition. Chapter X is pure ambiance. The slow piano pacing, deep space sounds and rain (yes, the song actually has rain,) provide the track with a brooding atmosphere. It all has a very “cinematic” feel to it. While I listened to it, I actually pictured sad, contemplative scenes from various films I have seen. Though it’s only one track, this is a very professional release, and hopefully we’ll see more from this artist.

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Voluptas Mors


Barcelona based duo, Voluptas Mors have created an eclectic electronica musical experience with their recent releases, which blend many styles of music to formulate a sound that is both familiar and original. One of their latest releases titled “Imagination” combines 80s synth vibes with contemporary sounding indie vocals. It’s a good combo, creating an energetic and lively brand of indie pop. Their simple yet peppy song “I Love You,” provides the best example of this. This music belongs on a movie soundtrack, (hopefully a movie good enough to deserve it.)

Another one of their jams released earlier this year, “intelligence” is more chill and laid back. The best way for me to describe the song would be as a form of “futuristic lounge music.” Beautiful female vocals with an slow and ambient synth backing.

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Nega Blast X – Dark Matter


“Dark Matter” is the fourth album from Nega Blast X (a trance, techno and industrial music project formed in 2010 by Burbank Music Arranger, Author and Digital Artist Dominic R.) The album gets right down to business with the opening title track, which is high octane dance music, with an edge. It is a solid club jam, the kind of song that makes you feel like you just downed an energy drink and are off to hit the dance floor.

The album stays fairly consistent throughout, with a few nice twists. “Cutter” for example is one of those more uplifting techno songs that’s a little more cerebral, yet just when you think you have it figured out, the track transitions to some NES-like, chiptune music. I can’t explain how or why it works. It just does. “Electric Rain” has a more serious quality to it. It opens like an epic opera would be very good for a late night chase scene in a film. “Fire Bomb” and “The Fifth” are the darkest songs on the album. They’re just plain badass.

What impresses me about this album is the way the artist is able to generate emotion, mood and ambiance without lyrics or vocals to direct you. I mean maybe it helps if you have an imagination, but there’s no denying that these songs make you “feel” something and tap into your central nervous system. There are some powerful forces at work here, dark forces. My favorite song on this album, is probably “Electric Rain,” which is a beautiful musical composition and adds another dimension to this project.

For more info:
Dark Matter on iTunes

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Foolish Ed – Never the Same


Well well well, what do we have here? Boulder based indie hip hop artist “Foolish Ed” doesn’t present his music with a lot of slick packaging and cheesy marketing, but he does deliver in the a e s t h e t i c s department. The video for his new LoFi jam “Never the Same” features some old school anime, through a lens of retro vhs effects. The song is also quite good (though I will admit it is odd to hear someone rapping while watching these visuals.) The backing music is excellent, with the piano giving the song a rather dreary artistic appeal, while Foolish Ed’s witty honesty and melancholy delivery is refreshing and makes him strangely likable. Foolish Ed does not appear so foolish after all, as this release reveals him to be a rather heroic artist. Perhaps it is not an and/or proposition.

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Luna 13 – Devourer of Light EP


Los Angeles based group Luna 13 is an interesting band in that they manage to combine the ambiance of black metal with EDM, incorporating avant garde performance art qualities along the way. Recently, the band was allegedly shut down mid-performance at the Artisan Hotel in Las Vegas after some brief nudity on stage as part of a blood ritual (Vegas sure has become prudish since the days of Showgirls.)


Luna 13′s new EP “Devourer of Light” lives us to the darkness in its name. You get the idea right away with the first track, “Long Pig,” which kicks off with a cute little xylophone style intro before unleashing the gates of hell. “Long Pig” reminds me a lot of 90′s horror movie music, but in this case it is more artistic and creative and doesn’t come off as cheesy. It’s also strangely danceable, despite the unique title. “Tick Twitch Bang” is a little bit more metal, at times almost sounding like a mix between industrial, black metal and maybe even screamo,(although without any of the whiny emo lyrics.) The chorus, “Tick Twitch Bang, lost your brain, all these voices call you insane” actually manages to be kind of catchy. “Decimate” has a hypnotic quality to it. Even with a lot going on musically and some serious loudness, the vocals are somewhat soothing. I almost felt like after listening to this track like I had just been programmed to do something bad and was ready to carry out my orders. Just listen to it, and you’ll understand. The final song on the EP, “Be Your Own Master” has the best intro (and outro,) which consists of creepy circus-like music.


This band would be great to see live, particularly in a venue where a lot of unsuspecting normies would be held hostage to the performance. It would be fun to watch them twitch and squirm and then slowly, begin to enjoy it. At the end of the day, this is pretty good music that the whole family can enjoy.

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