The Phil Mitchell Band – Press Release 2-23-15

The Phil Mitchell Band Releases New Record, ‘Crossroads’ – Available Now!

United States – Chicago, IL – February 23, 2015 – The Phil Mitchell Band is currently promoting their new record, ‘Crossroads.’ The album dropped in 2014 and is available on major internet music provider outlets. First, though, some information on the band:

This is the third record Phil Mitchell has put out. The band consists of Phil Mitchell along with Kevin Branigan and Rex Carroll, who are well-established guitarists in Chicago, and Jammie Bosstel, a long-time rock singer. Lauren Anatolia also provides vocals and the man himself, Phil Mitchell, performs piano. The stylistic direction of the band is focused around Mitchell’s unique piano instrumentation.

Phil Mitchell describes the band’s matra in the form of a political endeavor, citing that he wants to achieve similar status to acts who have projected political messages in their music – Green Day, the Doors, and the like. “What does an artist do when his world starts to cave in around him?” Mitchell explains, “He keeps using the gifts he has. That is the answer to our current economic situation.”

“They just keep making quick decisions without considering the consequences. National debt, global warming, bank bailouts, pension abuse, little geothermal energy, expensive health care,” Mitchell lists off as he ponders the problems plaguing his nation. That’s why he’s designing his music to create a positive, impactful conversation about fixing those things:

“One day the government will go broke, the coast will flood… do we just ignore it all? Or are we at a crossroad? I hope more people will start to think a little more about their future and feelings with this album. Maybe they’ll get more involved.”

Mitchell often looks to compelling intellectual quotes from history in his search for answers. “One person said we have been at a crossroads as a nation for more than forty years.” He utilizes these quotes in his pursuits as an author, another creative endeavor he’s very passionate about.

Phil Mitchell also hopes that this album can be a companion to long drives across America, inciting beneficial discussions about the future and the nation. “Imagine if you were going to take a summer vacation with the family,” Mitchell tells us, “First, you would tell the kids about this great nation and the importance of reaching out strong. Concerned about their future… George Washington is needed more now than ever. You would blast ‘White Horse Rider’ over the speakers hoping someone would listen. Because you’re fed up.”

That’s the mission of Phil Mitchell & Band’s ‘Crossroads’ record. They’re fed up with the system. They want to see a change. They also want to remind people to see the light at the end of the struggle as well, though. “Let’s keep moving on. Still believe when most people have given up.”

Again, audiences can find this new intriguing record on iTunes or Amazon. Contact and relevant online networking information is listed below:

Phil Mitchell – morningstar_pm@msn.com

www.facebook.com/PhilMitchellBand

www.soundcloud.com/PhilmitchellBand

www.facebook.com/Crossroadsinamerica

Dreammakerz Entertainment Press Release – 2-18 – GhosMerck’s New Mixtape

For Immediate Release

Press Release – 2-18-15 – Dreammakerz Entertainment

Dreammakerz Entertainment artist GhosMerck To Drop New Mixtape Next Week

February 18, United States – Next week Dreammakerz Entertainment artist GhosMerck is dropping a new mixtape. This release contains are relevant information in regard to debut of the tape. First, though, some information on GhosMerck:

GhosMerck has a very extensive resume in the musical industry. He’s opened and shared the stage with and for the likes of Rakim, Memphis Bleek, Swizz Beats, and many more. He’s also been referred to as Andre 3000’s protege. For a period of time he wrote the majority of content for his group the ILL INDIES until he moved onto the moniker GhosMerck.

His lyrical style is self-described quickness and slickness, boasting a personality that’ll get audiences listening to his music over, over, and over again. GhosMerck has continued to make waves more recently as well, landing himself on the Timbaland Thursdays website and progressing to semi-finalist status on the VH1 competition, ‘Make a Band Famous.’

In addition to his impressive resume, GhosMerck has also been cosigned (endorsed, in a fashion) by Timbaland, Dezperawdos, Trayz Beats and others. The mixtape in question also features a cameo from legendary lyricist Rah Digga. In fact, the song with Rah Digga has become a bit of a controversial number, questioning the smoke and mirrors of the musical industry and the ways in which naive artists are quickly manipulated.

Onto the mixtape. It’s called ‘Distorted Noize.’ It’s quite the package at 19 tracks, all of which will be available to download for free from the websitedatpiff.com. The project itself is incredibly diverse, maneuvering through hip-hop, R&B, club, and street vibes from song to song. It’s a mixtape suitable for Top-40 playlists.

Whatever music you enjoy, there’s going to be something on ‘Distorted Noize’ for nearly everyone. In addition to the hip-hop inspired beats and jams, the album is also a testament to GhosMerck’s exceptional lyricism. From bounce to pop, you’re going to be entertained.

The tape drops Feb. 24 at 11:59.

Below social networking and contact information are listed for GhosMerck and his management.

Twitter: @GhosMerck

Instagram: @GhosMerck23

Facebook: Facebook.com/GhosMerck

Website: GhosMerck.com

For booking inquiries contact: Desiree Williams – dreammakerz757@gmail.com – 757-227-2701

Artist Interview – Kary Sit

Kary Sit is a rising star in the pop community, boasting a intriguing split personality of innocence and… well, not-so-innocent. I had the opportunity to sit down with her music and craft a handful of questions for her to personally answer. They are as follows:

Brett: Your image and style seems to revolve around a mentality of a double act. On one hand, you dress in white, posing as innocent. On the opposite side of the coin, your act is a darker, leatherclad, sex-symbol type image. Which do you prefer, and what was the inspiration to adopt them simultaneously?

Kary: I guess my alter­ego, which the general public refers as the ‘dark side’ of Kary Sit – who is the sex symbol – is always in me. Growing up in this society, I was trying to fit in as much as possible to be a good, proper girl. But then, one day I just realized that I should live my life for my own happiness and not have to think about what other people have to say about me. I just slowly let my guard down and my alter­ego to take over. It took a while, though. Being in the entertainment industry gives me an extra boost to be me. I am glad that I get to reveal my alter­ego through my music and artwork. Most of all, I got my fans’ support. I can’t say which one I prefer to be, as both are me and I am proper and provocative. I am just being honest to myself.

Brett: What do you attribute your Japanese appeal to? Japan is becoming a much more rapid consumer of western popular culture. What about your act is making them listen to you?

Kary: It was never my intention to break into the Japanese market. It was somehow when one of my songs came out, I got a chance to explore Japan through some Japanese connections and they loved what I did and decided to take me on a one month Japan music tour. To be honest, I am still shocked of what I’ve achieved in Japan. It was like a dream and I was just trying to do my best at every single show in Japan. Suddenly, I had some famous Japanese celebrities to come support my shows and then the next thing I knew I was on TV and newspapers, etc. I have to say I was very lucky to get so many people and fans’ support while I was in Japan. It was a big gift Japan gave me which I will never forget.

Brett: You worked as a “ghost producer” for a time when you were studying in school. Can you elaborate on that experience and what you took away from it?

Kary: I’ve learned so much from that experience. I would say that’s where I came from. I never thought of myself as a singer even though it was always in the back of my head. I was content to be a songwriter and a producer for other artists and my goal was to be a successful female producer one day. When I was a ghost writer/producer in a production studio, it was like an experimental stage in my music career. One day I would be working on some children songs for some children’s TV channel, the next day I would be working on some love songs, and the day after, I would be sitting next to my boss learning how to make hip hop beats with a drum machine and playing with the vocoder. I would also learn some recording and mixing techniques. Everyday was very intense and challenging. It was like a boot camp for musician. I was like a sponge that absorbed all the information in a short period of time. But I was so passionate and focused. When I was in a studio seeing all the gears and equipment, I was like a kid in a toy store who wanted to play all the toys and own them. I was the only female among all the male producers and engineers in the studio but I was like a boy who always talked about gear and instruments with them. That experience also taught me how to work in an extremely fast-paced industry.

Brett: Critics are citing you as a mixture of Janet Jackson and a young Madonna. Who are your influences, though? Do you listen to a wide variety of music?

Kary: Growing up as a huge music fan, I have a wide range of favorite bands and singers around the globe. I have always been a huge fan of Top-40 music. From Madonna to Aaliyah, Taylor Swift to Maroon 5, Lady Gaga to Justin Bieber, Jason Mraz to Oasis, the list can go on and on. I have been a big music collector since I was a kid.

Brett: If we were to hit shuffle on your iPod, which five songs may pop up?

Kary: You would be VERY SURPRISED! They would be: “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” by Israel “IZ” Kamakawiwo’ole, “White Sandy Beach” by Israel “IZ” Kamakawiwo’ole, “Thinking Out Loud” by Ed Sheeran, “American Boy” by Estelle, “Merry Go Round” by Kary Sit (Teeheeeeee…..)

Brett: Continually your act is hailed for its “sexiness.” Do you like that label?

Kary: It’s interesting ‘cuz it was never my plan to try to be a “sex symbol” when I first revealed my alter­ego. I was just wearing what I wanted to wear and thought it would look great and artsy because one of my majors was visual art when I was in school. It was more of a self­-expression of my vision in art when I first did my own project. I hope people think that my work is sexy and classy because making great art and music are my only endeavors.

Brett: As a rising female star, what do you see your role being in the influence you have on younger girls and other female fans?

Kary: First of all, thank you. I am flattered that I am being called a rising female star. I hope through my music and my projects, I can give some courages to my fans and younger girls that they can be proud of who they are and don’t have to go through the identity crisis. Eventually, I hope I can bring more awareness to feminism and women empowerment. Like, women can all be sexy, strong, beautiful, and independent.

Brett: Do you prefer to work in the studio or perform live? How do you see either of those evolving throughout 2015?

Kary: I guess one reason that I love being a singer is that I couldn’t stand living in the studio without much of a social life. I’d say being a studio musician is not for everyone. It’s like you are always working in an isolated room and you can’t even see the sun. I am such a people person and I can only feel alive when I perform on stage and communicate with my fans and my audience. I think this year is going to be very exciting as I am already working on some big projects.

Brett: What is your favorite piece of work you’ve put out thus far?

Kary:  It’s hard to say because everytime when I finished a project, I thought it was my best project but then I moved on to a new one in a snap of a finger. I have a very short attention span. I guess a lot of times before I release my new favorite project, I am already working on my next favorite piece. Lol!

Brett: Let’s talk longterm: What is your ambition? Do you want to be a one hit wonder and then fade away? Do you want to be a prominent force in the industry? Perhaps you don’t even care? Please elaborate on your future plans.

Kary: Hmmmm… I am not a very ambitious person but more of a happy­-go-­lucky kinda’ girl. I just want to be happy with what I am doing and take one step at a time. If fates allow me to be a prominent force in the industry, I will be very grateful and use what God gives me wisely to help our world. Let’s say, to bring more awareness to orphans, seniors, homeless, etc. I know a lot of great people are doing that already but I’d still want to add myself on the “saving our world” list. I guess my little extra help should be welcome! If I become a one hit wonder, I am still thankful that I have a great story to tell to my future kids.

If this interview was as compelling to you as it was for me, you’re probably dying by now to get the info on Kary Sit. Fear not! It is below. Go forth!

“Welcome to My Fantasy” EP, 2014 release – http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/karysit9
“Guilty Pleasure” Single, 2015 release – www.cdbaby.com/cd/karysit10

A&L – ‘Onto The Next Heart’

Independent Spotlight is a continuing series on Stewart’s blog. The series revolves around independent artists and bands sending their music to Brett to review. No band is promised a positive review, and all music is reviewed honestly in an effort to better independent music.

In this review I’ll be taking a look at A&L, a power duo that I previously reviewed a few months back. This time, they’re bringing me a new tune for consideration: “Onto The Next Heart.” They describe the song as an “upbeat, pop/rock song with catchy hooks and killer guitar riffs.” They also claim that it’ll get us all singing along, demanding our attention around every corner. Let’s freshen up on our info about A&L first and then we’ll delve into the song:

The power duo A&L consists of Anthony Casuccio and Lana Marie. Casuccio is a Grammy-nominated producer, his work has topped the charts, and he’s a two-decade veteran of the industry. Marie has been a continual driving force in the East Coast music scene, lending her beautiful voice to a number of radio and television projects. The last song I reviewed from A&L was quite excellent. Does ‘Onto The Next Heart’ stack up?

Once you get past the cringeworthy, incredibly cheesy album art, ‘Onto The Next Heart’ is a very appealing experience. As with the last A&L song I reviewed, the production quality of the song is superb. It’s beautifully produced: the electric guitars drive the song in a dramatic, exciting way, the percussion is fierce, and everything is mixed into perfect harmony behind Marie’s vocals.

The best part of the song is the instrumentation. The electric guitar solo is one of the most badass, thrilling guitar solos I’ve ever been sent to review. Marie’s voice is as elegant and wonderful as ever, and the song does hold up to its promise of being infectiously catchy. There’s a very positive Nashville-style rock sound to the song. It isn’t intended to be an overly deep song, but a fun, uplifting song. It performs that role exceedingly well.

A&L is one of the best bands I’ve reviewed, both back when I reviewed them the first time and now. Their production is always top notch, Marie’s vocals are as empowering as ever, and Casuccio’s production is certainly something to write home about. ‘Onto The Next Heart’ is very worthy of being inducted to your rock and roll playlists.

Connect With A&L:

https://soundcloud.com/buzzrecords-1/next-heart

https://www.twitter.com/AandLmusic

https://www.facebook.com/AandLmusic

T. Brown – ‘Move Out’

Independent Spotlight is a continuing series on Stewart’s blog. The series revolves around independent artists and bands sending their music to Brett to review. No band is promised a positive review, and all music is reviewed honestly in an effort to better independent music.

In this Independent Spotlight review I’ll be taking a look at T. Brown, an independent hip-hop and rap artist from Florida. The song in question is his new single, ‘Move Out.’ The song isn’t going to drop until April 5 of this year, but I have the opportunity to take a look at it early for my review. T. Brown is already heavily promoting the upcoming song on his social networks, however, so anticipation is building throughout his small fan base.

‘Move Out’ greets fans with a short little monologue from T. Brown to his listeners. The production of the track is very good, which as I’ve mentioned before, is continuously refreshing when reviewing independent hip-hop acts. The production is relatively simple, though, showcasing some decent beats and effects, though nothing that’s overly creative or different. The vocals are clear and piercing as well; everything in the mix is accented well.

T. Brown’s vocals are quite good; he’s a talented rapper and songsmith as he crafts intriguing melodies and rhymes. The lyrics are pretty good as well; he darts through verse after verse with remarkable tact and ability. He’s one of those rappers that is indeed very quick, so it takes a couple run-throughs of the song to understand a good deal of the lyrics. That’s cool, though, because there’s a line between being an excellent rapper and smashing too many words into a verse to the point where it becomes nonsensical. T. Brown doesn’t cross that line.

‘Move Out’ is a fun jam. It’s well produced, well executed, and provides some surefire entertainment for a fan of hip-hop or rap. With that said, it isn’t too adventurous. It sounds a lot like the rest of the independent rap that I tackle on a regular basis. This stereotypical rap production style feels overdone at this point in the game, which is why I think rap artists with more intrinsic productions are revered more highly nowadays. (For example, take Kanye West’s first few records and compare them to ‘Yeezus’ or ‘My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.’) It’s a song worth checking out, though. T. Brown does have some mad skills.

Connect With T. Brown: https://www.facebook.com/tbrownrecords

Ted Bergqvist – ‘Crucified’

Independent Spotlight is a continuing series on Stewart’s blog. The series revolves around independent artists and bands sending their music to Brett to review. No band is promised a positive review, and all music is reviewed honestly in an effort to better independent music.

In this edition of Independent Spotlight, we’ll be taking a look at a brand new track by Swedish singer songwriter Ted Bergqvist. (I’m American, so goodness know I’ll be butchering that last name in my head throughout the entirety of this article.) The new song, ‘Crucified,’ drops on March 7 as a single version and an instrumental rendition. Let’s dig into Bergqvist first:

Bergqvist has spent most of his life writing music which lead to ‘A Different Shade Of Grey,’ his first EP in 2012. (No, there isn’t any relation to this weekend’s big blockbuster…) His first full-fledged record dropped in 2013, ‘From The Inside And Out.’ ‘Crucified’ is his first new work since that record and the new track is produced by Amir Aly. So how’s the track?

The independent singer songwriter industry tends to gravitate to simplistic acoustic performances on either guitar or piano. Bergqvist feels more complex than that, boasting a hauntingly beautiful orchestral piece on ‘Crucified.’ The production is of the highest quality, and Bergqvist has done a really exceptional job piecing together this beautiful number. His vocal performance is good, though it isn’t exciting or anything to write home about. The vocal style he’s adopted paired with the stereotypical lyrics make the song feel like a production void of individualistic creativity. It feels manufactured and a tad cheesy at points, “My tears are falling again…”

I actually prefer ‘Crucified’ much more as an instrumental. It’s absolutely stunning, and subtracts the cheesy lyrics that caused me to distance myself from enjoying the original take. My suggestion to listeners would be to tackle both in the same sitting and then making a decision about which appeals to you over the other. They’re really identical, minus the vocals, so there isn’t much of a reason to continue to play them both. Listeners will likely just pick whichever one suits them.

Ted Bergqvist is a wonderful composer, and an elegant performer. His vocals feel contrived, as do the lyrics, making ‘Crucified’ dramatically more memorable as a scenic instrumental. Nevertheless, both performances are impactful and worth checking out.

Connect With Bergqvist: 

https://tedbergqvist.wordpress.com/

Ivy Fox – ‘Money On You’

Independent Spotlight is a continuing series on Stewart’s blog. The series revolves around independent artists and bands sending their music to Brett to review. No band is promised a positive review, and all music is reviewed honestly in an effort to better independent music.

In this Independent Spotlight review, I’ll be taking a look at the new track ‘Money On You’ by Australian songwriter and performer Ivy Fox. The song has already scored significant accolades and a slot on a new television series, so let’s delve into some background information first.

Ivy Fox describes her genre is a peculiar way, citing herself as ‘nostalgic pop.’ In that same self-description, Fox also describes herself as ‘vintage 007.’ Do I have much of an idea of what this means? Not really, but I think we can all admit that any music classifying itself as vintage James Bond has got to be pretty sweet.

Fox does lend context to the nostalgic, vintage vibe. She cites inspiration from vintage films and soundtracks, and has worked extensively as a singer songwriter and actress for television networks and major venues. ‘Money On You’ has been chosen as the theme song for a new series on the E! channel, ‘Fashion Bloggers,’ a show which is up for a ‘Logie’ award. So how’s the song?

‘Money On You’ introduces itself with a fierce production: droning atmospheric jamming, tactful electric guitar, and pounding percussion. Her vocals are hauntingly intriguing; she’s got a great presence. The chorus of the song is incredibly catchy and memorable: “Look into my eyes / you can see I got my money on you.’

The style of the song does align itself remarkably well with Ivy Fox’s ‘nostalgic pop’ genre. It’s not generic, mainstream, overly marketable pop music. It’s more intelligent and actually boasts some mean instrumentation and production. The three minute song seems like it would be suited well to a show theme since it’s one of those tracks that can be infectiously catchy in a short period of time.

‘Money On You’ is a great tune. Ivy Fox has beautiful, exciting vocals and her band is top notch and well executed. The inclusion of the minimal, yet very impactful electric guitar riffs make a huge difference on the track, as do the subtle vocal harmonies. There is an element about it that feels nostalgic, but not dated, which is a very fine line. Ivy Fox walks that line better than anyone else I’ve ever reviewed; I’d love to hear a full record of her songs.

Connect With Ivy Fox:

https://www.facebook.com/ivyfoxmusic

http://www.reverbnation.com/ivyfox

Denmantau – ‘Street Pulse’

Independent Spotlight is a continuing series on Stewart’s blog. The series revolves around independent artists and bands sending their music to Brett to review. No band is promised a positive review, and all music is reviewed honestly in an effort to better independent music.

In this Independent Spotlight, we’ll be delving into ‘Street Pulse,’ a new six-track EP by German band Denmantau. The record is their second self-produced EP, though the band has been an incredibly active one over the course of the past ten years.

When describing their sound, Denmantau classifies their genre as “trumpet rock,” a rather peculiar genre that pulls from everything from funk to folk. Their decade-long musical voyage has been intensified by more than 2,500 shows across Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. They’ve turned their eyes towards the United States more recently, striving to make a name for themselves in the world’s largest music industry.

True to their description of themselves, this five-person outfit does indeed boast a unique sound. ‘Crystal Clear’ introduces the band on their second EP with a folky, trumpet-driven number. It feels ethnic and seems to align closely with world music. That makes sense, however, given the geographical prowess of the group. The vocal style is quirky and odd, which makes the style more memorable, though for American audiences, vocalist Paul Weber is difficult to understand at times.

The first track is laden with powerful performances, intriguing vocals, and catchy choruses. This self-produced record sounds exceptional, and the mix superbly represents their style. Too often indie acts have poor self-produced records, but that’s not the case with Denmantau. ‘More Or Less’ has a bit of a Latin-style vibe to it, like it would be at home most in some seaside bungalow.

‘Sail The Ley Line’ is a powerful track with sweet vocal harmonies, driving electric guitar, and remarkably tight percussion. There’s something infectious and wonderful about this track: it’s catchy, well performed, and may be the highlight of the six-song set. When the band harmonizes with Weber, the soundscape is reminiscent of a good alternative rock song akin to some of the lighter Pixies songs. In actuality, the band sounds quite a bit like the Pixies, especially on ‘Sail The Ley Line.’ With the exception of the trumpet, of course, which one could debate is a beneficial factor.

‘One Eye For Many Faces’ feels more experimental, toying with interesting guitar riffs playing off of one another. It’s a softer track, which is welcome after some heavy hitting songs ‘Harvest,’ an acoustic ballad-like jam is another highlight of ‘Street Pulse,’ marking a softer side of the outfit with exceptional orchestration in the mix. The EP departs with ‘Wicked Birds,’ an excellent atmospheric track with some of the most intelligent and fun performances on the album.

‘Street Pulse’ is a magnificently good record. There isn’t a weak point on the EP, though there isn’t anything that exceeds the bar set at the start of the experience. In that sense, the musical sound feels similar on each track, though tracks like ‘Wicked Birds’ take a more experimental turn. Those moments on the album are the best, which is why ‘Wicked Birds’ and ‘Sail The Ley Line’ are the must-listens of the set.

Connect With Denmantau: 

https://www.facebook.com/denmantau

http://www.denmantau.com/music/street-pulse

Boss-1 2/9/15 Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

PRESS RELEASE – 2-9-15

Artist Boss-1 Prepares New Mixtape, “Sleep When I Die: Chapter One – Dead Or Alive”

Boss-1 is the moniker of Larry Dunbar, a 33 year-old hip-hop artist who is dropping ‘Sleep When I Die: Chapter One – Dead Or Alive” on February 17. The mixtape is his first release under the persona of Boss-1, which is actually an acronym for ‘Bred Official Superstar Status.’ To best give context to the new mixtape, however, one must understand Boss-1’s riveting past.

Throughout the course of his life, Dunbar has walked the line that many hip-hop artists come across: the line between the outskirts of society and acceptance, the line between right and wrong. He moved around a whole lot during his life, taking up residence in Louisiana, Texas, and even Alaska at one point. Struggling with the straight and narrow, Dunbar has been in and out of trouble during his life, trouble that at one point, caused him to have to vacate a city and leave the Air Force.

This lifelong journey and persistent struggle with the law has seemingly come to halt in his most recent decade, with Dunbar fathering a baby girl in 2003 and devoting himself to his craft as Boss-1 in 2013. Now, in 2015, he’s ready to put out the long awaited mixtape and it comes with a message:

Boss-1 is going to institute values in his music that are lost from popular music today. On an endeavor to create ‘real music,’ he won’t drop the n-word on this album. He won’t be using profane language, either.

‘Sleep When I Die: Chapter One – Dead Or Alive’ is the first official release from Boss-1, which again, will be available next Tuesday, February 17. Dunbar promises that the music will be the “elevation of hip-hop,” indicating that he is prepared to take the genre to a whole new level. His pursuit of honing in his songwriting craft without the hindrance of profanity is a noble one, one that should indicate to his listeners the seriousness of his devotion to the integrity of his sound.

Connect With Boss-1: https://www.facebook.com/officialboss1hq

Stonebelly – ‘Perspectives & Perceptions’

Independent Spotlight is a continuing series on Stewart’s blog. The series revolves around independent artists and bands sending their music to Brett to review. No band is promised a positive review, and all music is reviewed honestly in an effort to better independent music.

In this Independent Spotlight review, I’ll be taking a deep look at Stonebelly, a power trio from Lincoln, Nebraska, and their new record, ‘Perspectives & Perceptions.’ The band plays a self-described “original blend of rock, blues, reggae, and psychedelic music.” That’s a pretty broad musical palette to lay claim to: does Stonebelly deliver?

Before delving into ‘Perspectives & Perceptions,’ it makes sense to take a look at Stonebelly as an act to give context to the music. The band consists of Mike Hollon on guitar, lead vocals, and songwriting, Kevin Korus on drums and backup vocals, and Scott Dworak on bass. Their record also features Brian Morrow on tenor sax and Tim Aukerman on trombone.

The band describes their effort of combining so many musical genres as one endeavoring to “form a sound that is rootsy, rockin’ and funky.” ‘Perspectives & Perceptions’ isn’t Stonebelly’s first record out of the gate, however, with ‘Free Spirit : Lost Soul’ acting as the precursor, a record that was dropped in 2012. This musical sponge of a band has made it their mission to make a statement with this new record, though, and it’s an intriguing ten song journey.

‘Perspectives & Perceptions’ kicks off with ‘Rising,’ a groovy track with very vibrant instrumentation. It’s got a bit of an island-vibe to it, but it works well. Their production is incredibly sound, which is always refreshing from an independent act. It’s mixed very well, each instrument plays out beautifully in the overall soundscape and nothing is overpowering or overproduced. The musical prowess of the band is also quite impressive; ‘Rising’ hits you with awesome vocals, sweeping guitar riffs, and a superb drum presence.

‘Arrow’ continues the colorful style of music that dances between reggae and psychedelic. The lead guitar on this track is particularly intriguing, as are the soulful lyrics. The sound feels a bit like something of a mix between Santana and Los Lonely Boys. The distorted, suave guitar solos act as vessels of pure rock in these songs, crafting a magnificent sound.

‘Right Back To Where We Start’ boasts a mean banter between the lead guitar, bass, drums, and brass section. The band is a well oiled machine; they’re extremely tight. ‘Right Back’ has a bit of a New Orleans jazzy vibe to it, as if you’d be passing Preservation Hall and it would be emanating from the rafters.

‘Back In Time’ draws listeners in with a beautifully performed acoustic guitar. It’s a softer reprieve from the previous tracks, but that allows the album to flow well. There’s a very classic rock sound to this number; it’s like a top-notch Eagles track. ‘Back In Time’ may be my favorite track of the ten. Making an analogy to the Eagles once again, the song would most be at home side by side with ‘Take it Easy’ on a long roadtrip.

‘Devil’s Mind’ pulls the psychedelic influence into the arena that Stonebelly promised. It’s an epic track, cascading with effect-driven guitars and enough distortion to go around. ‘New Revolution’ is a stark contrast to the previous track, aligning more similarly with ‘Back In Time.’ Lyrically, this song may be the highlight of ‘Perspectives & Perceptions,’ making a bold statement as a protest song focused on the “all-mighty dollar” and its corruption. In the nature of Stonebelly’s genre-sweeping style, ‘No Escape’ completes a trifecta of traversal music with a stellar jazz influence on the tenor sax.

‘DarkHeart’ is home to one of the most compelling electric guitar solo sections on the record. The song itself drones on a bit, and it may be the weaker of the songs in relation to the other nine, but that solo is something soulful and special. ‘This Time?’ is an abundantly tasteful, incredibly appealing jam. It’s infectious and rides the line between wonderful musicianship and pop-friendly, fun hooks.

‘Perspectives & Perceptions’ departs with ‘The Groove,’ a song that true to its name, grooves for nearly seven minutes. It’s basically an instrumental jam session that closes out the record in a similar way that George Harrison finalized ‘All Things Must Pass.’ It’s sweet, though, and a perfect end to an album of overflowing musical creativity.

Wow. Stonebelly surprised me. They made a lot of promises at the beginning of the record that I was banking they wouldn’t keep. How does a band flirt with such a broad influence and get away with it? Stonebelly does, and they do it in spades. This record is remarkably creative, beautifully executed, and has enough musical goodness jammed into it to appease anyone who digs any of the genres they pull from. They’re like a musical time capsule of awesome, and yes, you can quote me on that.

Connect With Stonebelly:

http://stonebelly.bandcamp.com/

http://www.stonebelly.com/

https://www.facebook.com/stonebellyband