• Oct 23 2012

    Album Review: The Avett Brothers ‘The Carpenter’

    By J. Brown

    Building off the success of their first major label debut I and Love and You, the Avett Brothers are back with their special mix of gut-wrenching vocals and banjo-filled “grasspunk” in a new album entitled The Carpenter. Yes, the banjo is back! The longevity and consistency should not be overlooked, as it doesn’t matter how many albums they’ve released, this band from North Carolina manages to exude the same level of free-spiritedness, forceful balladry, and a sense of optimism that infuses their rich and varied sound.

    Oct 8 2012

    Album Review: Mumford And Sons’ Babel

    By J. Brown

    With banjos blazing and foot-stomping galore, the English quartet Mumford & Sons are back with their highly anticipated second album Babel. Their gritty and triumphant take on folk rock has seen unparalleled success around the world in the past few years, which has consequently built high expectations for their follow up to the commercial success of Sigh No More. After all, it’s pretty hard to top a musical journey that has included playing at the Grammys with Bob Dylan and performing for President Barack Obama at the White House.

    Aug 15 2012

    Album Review: Azure Ray’s As Above So Below

    By J. Brown

    When artists Orenda Fink and Maria Taylor harmonize their sounds under the moniker Azure Ray, listeners have come to expect a dreamy essence to the pop duo’s sound but on their forthcoming six-song EP, As Above So Below, Fink and Taylor take Azure Ray into an alternate universe.  The dream-like quality remains, but these songs are almost eerie-sounding, far more electronic, minimalist and sonically rich. The album is inspired by parallel realities that seem cruelly just out of reach when lulled into a state of calm by their honeyed and wispy vocals, as though the words float above you like clouds your hands will never grasp.

    Jul 25 2012

    Inside Father John Misty’s Fear Fun

    By J. Brown

    If the name Josh Tillman sounds familiar to you, it might be because you recognize him as a former member of Fleet Foxes. Or maybe you know him as J. Tillman. Since 2005 he has released seven beautiful solo albums that were somber, acoustic, quiet, and moody in nature. The same cannot be said for his eighth album Fear Fun. And yet it’s Tillman’s best work yet, as he takes listeners on an adventurous spin under his new moniker, Father John Misty.

    Feb 9 2012

    Album Review: Sibylle Baier’s “Colour Green”

    By J. Brown

    Music is often at its best when it feels as though you’ve stumbled across hidden treasure, which is how Robby Baier must have felt when he discovered his mother, Sibylle, had recorded an album in Germany during the early 1970s. Thirty-five years later, Sibylle’s son sent the recordings to Orange Twin Records and they eventually published her first album, Colour Green. As the saying goes, better late than never. Baier began to receive recognition for her work so many years after the fact, much to her surprise, as the talented singer put motherhood and family above a music career and never opted to share her talent with the world.

    Dec 13 2011

    Amy Winehouse ‘Lioness: Hidden Treasures’ Album Review

    By J. Brown

    Amy Winehouse’s life was tragically cut short when she was found dead in July of 2011. The talented singer had one of those distinct and evocative voices that conveys the pain, vulnerability, and sorrow that seems inherent to the best blues/jazz singers. In the capable and loving hands of producers Salaam Remi and Mark Ronson, a posthumous album of Winehouse’s work has now been released entitled Lioness: Hidden Treasures. But it should be noted that there are only two original tracks and the other songs include alternate versions of singles and plenty of notable covers.

    Sep 23 2011

    Free Music Friday – Daughter and Death Songs

    Sep 21 2011

    Gig Review – Laura Marling In Los Angeles

    By J. Brown

    As impressive as ever, British folk singer-songwriter Laura Marling is currently touring the United States to promote her new album A Creature I Don’t Know. Simply put, she was mesmerizing and held the captive audience spellbound at the Masonic Lodge in the Hollywood Forever cemetery. In a chapel-like setting dimly lit by maroon-colored walls and gothic candles, the intimate gathering left us all ready to sit at the feet of this amazingly talented and poetic 21-year-old. The audience barely made a peep throughout the show, as if to ensure that no word, no lyric, no beat was left unheard.

    Sep 6 2011

    Los Angeles Rocks Out at FYF Fest

    Story and Photos By J. Brown

    FYF Fest once again returned to the Los Angeles State Historic Park in downtown Los Angeles over Labor Day weekend, and despite the blistering summer heat, the extensive lineup of bands attracted a huge turnout of around 20,000 music lovers who were ready to celebrate a day of indie, punk, and electronic rock. The event started at noon, so shortly thereafter we parked and followed the trail of concert-goers (and hipsters) as they made their way through the traffic-packed streets of Chinatown. The skyline of downtown Los Angeles served as a perfect backdrop, especially when the nighttime air brought cool relief from the sun, as the city’s bright lights shined in the distance.

    Sep 1 2011

    A Hodgepodge Mix of New and Notable Music

    By J. Brown

    Rather than focus on one particular band or artist, this particular article will highlight some of the latest (or upcoming) releases that have managed to grab my attention recently.

    Aug 26 2011

    Free Music Friday – Kyla La Grange and Sonya Cotton

    Aug 15 2011

    Album Review – Sonya Cotton’s “It Is So”

    By J. Brown

    Remember and do pray for me / who’s lost a precious friend / Your pleasures here can’t always be / your joys must have an end / My dear companions snatched away / and I’m near left alone / In grief and sorrow here I’ll stay /  and like a dove I’ll moan” —excerpt from “Man in a Tree with a Gun.”

    Jul 26 2011

    The Avett Brothers – Live At Pechanga Resort

    Story and Photos by J. Brown

    No longer a cult indie favorite, The Avett Brothers have stepped into the limelight by reaching bigger and bigger audiences over the last few years, thanks to their first major label debut I and Love and You. Starting in 2001, this band worked tirelessly to develop a loyal and strong fan base and the fruits of their labor were evident at the Pechanga Resort & Casino on July 23.

    Jul 19 2011

    Album Review – Gillian Welch ‘The Harrow & The Harvest’

    By J. Brown

    Now that the 4th of July has come and gone, the warmth and stifling effect of lingering summer days feel as though the season is here to stay forever. With the heat comes a slower pace of life and the new album from Gillian Welch, tinged with tales swirling with passivity, befits the stupor that summer months inspire.

    Jun 28 2011

    Thao & Mirah Live At Detroit Bar

    By J. Brown

    Sometimes two is better than one, and that mantra can easily apply to singers Thao & Mirah, who have joined forces for a musical partnership that left the Detroit Bar in Costa Mesa bursting with energy on June 22nd. These ladies and their all-female band mates know how to put on a show in a way that left attendees practically ready to shout “Girl Power!” without irony or shame. These songwriters put their collaborative skills to the test with ease, as they complement one another exceedingly well vocally and manage to balance their very different sounds on their joint album—self-entitled “Thao & Mirah.”

    Jun 24 2011

    Free Music Friday – Fiona Sally Miller

    By J. Brown

    For our latest edition of Free Music Friday, we’d like to introduce you to the young and talented British singer/songwriter Fiona Sally Miller. She has been compared to folk superstar Laura Marling, who is also English; and while Miller has the chops lyrically and vocally to serve as a bright addition to the burgeoning folk and indie community in the UK, it’s hard to live up to comparisons to the genius that is Marling. Fiona Sally Miller is certainly a standout artist in her own right who should have a very bright future. Her music delves a bit more into pop-based folk, which is perfect for her stunningly sweet voice. Communion Records wrote the following of the Brighton-born singer: “Fiona Sally Miller’ brings her effortless and summer-fueled scope to the fold, that’s set to have you swooning and smiling all night long.”

    May 24 2011

    Album Review: Gregory Page “My True Love”

    By J. Brown

    The jazz of the 1930s and 1940s may be far away in time, but it is clearly close to the heart of singer/songwriter Gregory Page. My True Love is Page’s latest release, and he is an ideal artist to focus his newest album on the experience of falling head-over-heels in love. His voice and compositions are sweetly delivered, heartfelt, and entirely original. That being said, his lyrics still have a tinge of the bittersweet, suggesting the fragility and vulnerability that lies beneath the sway of romance and infatuation.

    May 12 2011

    Gig Review: Joe Purdy and the Milk Carton Kids

    By J. Brown

    As a masterful storyteller, it’s no surprise that singer/songwriter Joe Purdy is as prolific as he is talented. In July of 2010, Purdy released 4th of July, which I reviewed at the time for Project Rhythm Seed (read that article here), and a couple of months after his summer release Purdy released another album entitled This American that was available for free during December. By the sounds of it, Purdy shows no signs of stopping with 12 albums under his belt, which is bound to be welcome news for his devoted fans, many of which were at the Troubadour recently to take in his Los Angeles show for the first leg of the This American tour.

    Apr 28 2011

    Album Review: Ezra Furman & The Harpoons “Mysterious Power”

    By J. Brown

    Confessional, blistering, and packing an emotional and fiery punch is one way to describe the honest and heart-wrenching rock music of Ezra Furman & the Harpoons. The band recently released its third and newest album Mysterious Power. This is an album that doesn’t shy away from the toughest parts of universal subjects, often relayed with heartbreaking and deft lyrics that are as raw as they are poignant. If you’re looking for just a solid rock album, you won’t be disappointed by this band’s latest output. The group is comprised of singer Ezra Furman, guitarist Andrew Langer, bassist Job Mukkada and drummer Adam Abrutyn, and they met each other at Boston’s private Tufts University.

    Apr 21 2011

    Communion Records Releases Ben Howard’s EP “Old Pine”

    By J. Brown

    Turning your back on modernity is no easy feat in this day and age, which makes it all the more admirable and noteworthy. It seems British singer/songwriter Ben Howard is one of the few who chooses to eschew social media, TV, cell phones and the plethora of technological objects that take up so much of our time and energy.