Maine's Stesha Cano has taken the local scene by storm, swarming the hearts and minds of live music fans with her debut album, "Like a Bee." Backed by vocalist Amy Briggs and an eight piece band, this album spans the sounds of jazz, soul, blues and swamp-y swing cabaret music. With honest lyrics that tell story after story of discovering deceit, heartache, heartbreak and personal triumph, the listener is pulled in to real life scenarios, which are handled with grace. Using visual lyrics that create emotions within the audience on the first listens, "Like a Bee" is a walk through nature's garden, complete with scratches from thorns and near miss stings. The band and arrangements wrap sunlight around the words on Stesha's page, streaming in various productions that reflect the mood of each song, projecting its raw beauty.

Press Release:

Lasorda (featuring members of The Get Up Kids, fun., The New Amsterdams, Kevin Devine and The Goddamn Band, and Ghosty) are currently streaming a new song. "Sleep When You Are Dead" is featured on the band's self-titled debut album, available on 12/11 and available now for pre-order through Clifton Motel, iTunes, and Amazon .


This album is different than the acoustic works of Matt Pryor's solo project  we reviewed earlier this year. Lasorda worked hard to distinguish this debut album  from their bands of origin. Dual vocals with Matt Pryor and Suzannah Johannes add depth to the entire record. Matt's warm, naturally broodingly raw voice becomes a foundational counterpart to the ever-airborne Suzannah mystique. The times of The Sundays, The Cranberries or even the second wave of the 10,000 Maniacs, (post Natalie Merchant, with Mary Ramsey) were not far from my mind. This record is not about the past though, and the sounds are very different.

"The Age of Wonder" opens and Suzannah Johannes' vocals are airy, light - echoing into a chamber, that could have been built by Nick Drake or Bon Iver. "Interlaid" sounds unabashedly retro, with radical pop synths that are upbeat and smooth. Jazzy is "Basque On The Borderline," with some catchy lyrics that stay with you, as you move through the rest of the album. "Fivefivefourtwo," which is heavy on the synths and pops, literally pops in the beginning, making it major techno to start. But the guitar that comes in three quarters of the way through the song, glues your brain back together. The vocals "fit" the arrangements, an effort to create some technical interest with smooth harmonies.

Suzannah has a soft version of Edie Brickell going on with "Is There Anymore To Lose." Special effects mid-song reflect the theme. Lasorda gets a lot done in a few short electronic minutes. The transition to "No Intent To Return" is seamless with leading drumbeats that pulsate into another floating idea that turns out to be a storm of a song surge. This piece, quite sublime, was my favorite meditative focus on the album. There was something about it that pulled me into the story, or encouraged me to create my own. This track is streamed exclusively on Absolute Punk.

"From the wise to the absurd" "Of Little Faith" goes from whisper quiet to blaring metal loud, with drum echo effects. The guitar's highlight of the vocals, underlining, reigned the unstructured nature of the song in and made it rock. Driving music comes through with flying beats and great mixes in "Echo In The Night." I liked the phrasing on the lyrics, they are positive and purposeful, instilling hope and confidence. On "Sleep When You Are Dead" Matt Pryor's vocals push it out, but I wish they were a bit louder. I think this would be very intense to watch live. Clever, inviting concepts of how to get the bad news in any way that you can, gives up a punk type of vibe with "Go On, Give Me The Bad News." Suzannah's voice and the high pitched synths create expanse, which is grounded by the entrance of guitar pieces. Bass laden steadies out the whole track as it marches to a close with duos to bring it on home.

Lasorda is being billed around the web as an "indie supergroup." Given the experience of each member, rather than show off, they settle down and write what they want. The vocals show musical interest and creativity, with duo effects adding dramatic contrast.  You can hear the influences of the run-ons from the Goddamn Band or the guitar work of The New Amsterdams, and the introspection of Ghosty. The songs blend together effortlessly, to accompany any activity, such as driving or meditative work.  Overall, this album is forward moving, but I heard some retro forms too. Sometimes the lyrics are hard to hear over some of the heavier productions. This may have been done for effect or was just a product of my listening. Still, there are stories being told or to be told. Lasorda brings you in and gives you a pen.

A radically new venture for the members of this eclectic group, Lasorda effortlessly blends elements of brooding pop and synth-backed melodies, topped off with a duo of smooth vocals. No strangers to the music scene, this veritable powerhouse of electronic indie rock includes Suzannah Johannes, Matt Pryor (The Get Up Kids, The New Amsterdams), Nate Harold (fun., Koufax, The Honorary Title, Waking Ashland), Dustin Kinsey (The New Amsterdams, White Whale, Higher Burning Fire), Mike Strandberg (Kevin Devine and the Goddamn Band, Brian Bonz and the Major Crimes), and Josh Adams (Ghosty).




Rival Sons Head Down

By Stephanie Husseyheaddownfrontcover

Rival Sons:  Head Down

Released: September 17, 2012

Earache Records.

Rival Sons is an LA band, bringing a non-stop, rock-n-roll experience - oozing with slink, grit and attitude. When Rival Sons opened for Evanescence on October 28, 2011, my first reaction was, "...This band ROCKS!" To say I was impressed is an understatement- I had to hear more from them. I put my hands on the CD, Pressure and Time, and found the music steeped in rich soul and swampy blues.  Fusing shades of The Doors, Led Zeppelin, The Beatles and Creedence Clearwater Revival, the CD spun with a vintage sound from the late 60's/early 70's that was filled with unbridled energy.  Rival Sons entrenched their style with a rowdy bold swagger. Pressure and Time is fresh, exhilarating and all attitude.  

So, how is their current CD, Head Down? ... Even better!

Rusted Root


Rusted Root is a six piece band from Pittsburgh, PA, that started in the 1990s. Using multiple instruments, they blend rock with African, Middle Eastern and Latin American percussion pieces. With eight albums and over three million records sold worldwide, they've toured with Santana, Dave Matthews Band, The Allman Brothers Band, Robert Plant and Jimmy Page's reunion tour and countless others.


Released October 30, 2012

Rusted Root Band Members:
Michael Glabicki (vocals, guitar)
Liz Berlin (vocals, percussion)
Patrick Norman (bass, vocals)
Jim Donovan (drums, percussion)
John Buynak (percussion, winds)
Jim DiSpirito (percussion)

Dirk Miller (banjo)

Produced and Engineered by Michael Glabicki.

Track by Track:

1. Monkey Pants
"This album is for the fans." "Monkey Pants" is instantly infectious, disables your editor, and really does make you dance with animal like instincts. It is a celebration of our collective human condition. This lead track is the perfect sample of what the record will bring. Fun, cheerful, connectedness, not only to the music, but to the fans. Singing directly to the audience from the stage, the band extends a global invitation to a world party. Once inside, Rusted Root takes this album back to its earlier works by re-introducing raw tribal arrangements, great use of space shifter techniques, and knock out vocal harmonies.

stormandthedalesStorm and The Dales pulled together a great set of demos that are hidden gems of early classic rock, punk originals. The EP holds great promise for the future of quality music to continue, if only we could get guys like this on the radio.

"It's Not Me, It's You" worked out a Lou Reed/Velvet Underground jump jam. The guitar echos in the background and then takes the center for a brief few seconds, the ache in Dean's vocals are a bit of Paul Westerberg on his solo works. He's got a range of indie punk edges going on, but manages to engage the listeners to keep his own sound.

"Heart and Soul" starts out with the march of drums, and a Squirrel Nut Zippers twisted melody, that could have some New Orleans mischief in store.  And twisted it is, with the lyrics reversing the idiom that one wears their heart on their sleeve to: "My heart and soul, you wear it on your sleeve, my heart and soul, won't you give it back to me."  Fans on the Storm and The Dales site state that this song creates a smokey, tipsy atmosphere, including a Bolero vibe.

"The Boy Who Cried Wolf" is my favorite song of the collection. Even the kitschy, "wolf, wolf, wolf" phrase, I love it, because it brings out your crooked smile. The vocals are a low, confident, casual cool, and that's what we need when talking so seriously about boys who cry wolf. Say it straight, without apology. This is a danceable tune with a loose easy melody. It's very relaxing to hear, because it gives the listener choices. The guitar work on this and all of the songs is good, very understated, and places solid foundations for the songs to build. The bass-line is a solid singer songwriter style, almost a Gerry Rafferty throwback, which is quite a stumble upon to greatness in my book. "Once bitten twice (as) shy ... now known as one who tells lies ... " Ian Hunter and Great White would be jamming along too and these are no tall tales.

"Bad Little Girl" has been compared to something off of The Beatles' "Hard Day's Night," and I'd agree. I could also hear Alex Chilton singing along too, with some Kinks mixed in, because the song is whimsical, dark, rhythmic, catchy, pop and rock, all at the same time. Love the guitar bridge, it is sparse and keeps the focus on the background harmonies and vocals.

"No Love" rains with interest and has more special effects. A darker sound echos old school techno eras, the love songs of that time often embraced the ambiguous. Saigon Shredder is listed in the song credits.

oglamundingnorthmississippichristmasChristmas with the blues never sounded so good with this four track, easy to download EP from New Orleans singer-songwriter, Olga Munding.

In the true style of the North Mississippi music circles, Jim Dickinson, Luther Dickinson, Cody Dickinson, RL Burnside, once you hear this group of musicians, you hope to anticipate what future songs will sound like. Well thought guitar work that is precise and stands alone, unplugged. Vocals that carry grit and wit, yet deliver a message of warmth and hope. Luther's version of Blind Willie Johnson's "Keep Your Lamp Trimmed and Burnin" is an example of this, as is the recent NMA work of The Word.

Olga's North Mississippi Christmas takes the Christmas traditions and makes them her own. She tells new stories through her lyrics and brings inspired images into the set with instrumentals that capture the peaceful calm that we all seek this time of year. "We Wish You A Merry Christmas" has some swamp blues tones going on, better bring out that pudding and a cup of good cheer, cause we won't go until we get some.

O Christmas Tree

We Wish You A Merry Christmas

It Came Upon The Midnight Clear

Deck The Halls

Olga Munding envelopes the North Mississippi tradition in her prior work and offers a powerful gift for us this holiday season. Regardless of your creed, you will find renewed hope in the light of this music.

katwebOld school name dropping can start with Anita Baker, certainly as smooth and calming, but not as broad and deep. Contemporary comparisons could be made with Corinne Bailey Rae, although Kat Webb's voice stays at a higher pitch than these others. These pointed differences are a good thing. Any artist needs their own distinct sound.  The background vocals and instrumentation are classic soul, with some jazz vibes. 

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