Tuesday, March 22, 2016

CD Review: New Music From Pastel Motel, The Foreign Films, Mahoney & The Moment, Hemmingbirds, Wild Iris & Luna Jamboree

From the Northwest comes the the latest album from the progressive rock band Pastel Motel titled "E.A. St." It will become available in May, but I can assure you that this is a strong follow-up to their debut album which came out two years ago. The new six-song release takes a page out of the Pink Floyd song book as they begin their new album with the epic, sixteen-minute sound adventure of "Animalism (Pt. I, II & III)." They continue with the grunge-like influence of "Blanket," before moving on to the complete twenty-minute piece of "E.A. St. (Pt. I-XII)." You get a sense for their love of experimentation on this release as Pastel Motel try their hand at every genre including the jazzy ballad "Exit 84" and the punk-like fury of "Deprivation." The album closes with the chaotic build-up of the nine-minute "Time Traveling" tale. To find out more about Pastel Motel and their latest release "E.A. St.," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/pastelmotel.

Canadian artist Bill Majoros has recently released the final part of his four-sided LP "The Record Collector" under the moniker The Foreign Films. ​ This project started over two years ago with "Side 1," and now "Side 4" concludes this experiment with a six-song release that pays homage to his 60's British pop and 70's soul influences. Beginning with the seventies funk-style of "Aloha Blue Sky," Majoros saved his best for last as he does a masterful job bringing his influences into the 21st century. He does not look to overpower you by keeping his music simple, but effective as in "Time Disappears," while the classic pop of the early sixties is brought back with "Dream Another Dream." The album closes with a nod to the West Coast folk/rock of the seventies with "A Letter (To Our Future Selves)." To find out more about The Foreign Films and his latest release "Side 4," please visit his Facebook page at facebook.com/theforeignfilms.

Folk duo Mahoney & The Moment have recently released their third album titled "Confession Note." It was recorded in East London and features thirteen warm, sweet folk gems that you will no doubt loose yourself in its relaxed tones. Beginning with "Anyway...," Steve Mahoney takes the lead vocal on this acoustic, folk/pop single that has the perfect balance of tempo and structure to give them a hit single. Emily Moment's innocent, angelic voice echoes Joan Baez in "Slipping Away," before the two team up for the harmonies of "I've Carried The Weight." Emily's voice has a timeless quality to it as she tells the tale of "Only Us" and your worries are swept away with "All In A Dream" as Steve and Emily trade verses. The album's first single is the gentle sway of "Annie & I" as you focus on Steve softly delivering the lyrics of song. The album finishes with the up-tempo country/folk appeal of "Kiss My Frowning Face" and the lullaby of "Goodnight Moon." To find out more about Mahoney & The Moment and their latest release "Confession Note," please visit mahoneyandthemoment.com.

From Chicago comes the latest release titled "Half A Second" from modern alternative rockers Hemmingbirds. The new four-song EP begins with the energetic, punk-like guitar intro of the title-song "Half A Second," but once the vocals kick in, it's a power-pop blast of fun that would make Coldplay proud. The first single, "Mess Of Things" has an addictive rhythm that showcases the band's songwriting and musicianship that plays toward both the pop and alternative rock genres. This short new release closes with the emotional piano ballad "Lover, You're Out There." To find out more about the Hemmingbirds and their latest album "Half A Second," please visit hemmingbirds.com.

From Santa Cruz comes the duo of Kate Mullikin and Bryan Shelton known as Wild Iris with their self-titled debut album. Their new thirteen-song release begins with "Mine All Mine" as Bryan's southern country strumming and Kate's country/bluegrass vocals mesh perfectly together. Wild Iris delivery the intense storied lyrics of "Keys" as they look to take the place of fellow country band, The Civil Wars, as Wild Iris could become one of the premier new discoveries on country music. They slow the tempo down for "Getting Home Is Getting Harder Everyday" as Kate's angelic vocals soars, before picking up the tempo for the clap-along rhythm of "I'm Done" and "Lazy Daze." The sweet slide guitar of "Phoenix" gives Bryan the spotlight, before the album closes with blazing harp solo of "Until The Sunrise." To find out more about Wild Iris and their latest self-titled release, please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/WildIrisMusic.

From Missouri comes the latest release from funk rockers Luna Jamboree titled "Phases." It will be released on April 5th and is only the band's  second full-length album since starting out in 2008. The new ten-song release beings with the starting of a car and the tuning of a radio to find the perfectly traveling music, which leads into the smooth groove, funk of "Fool's Gold." The single female member of the band, Kim Painter takes the lead vocals on the soul-induced swing of "Cyclops," before sharing the stage with fellow singer Bryan Copeland on the Americana feel of "Chasing Dreams." The album finishes up with the glow R&B groove of "Breathe" and the rock/funk of the Red Hot Chili Peppers sound-alike "Hardened Heart." To find out more about Luna Jamboree and their latest release "Phases," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/LunaJamboree.

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