Simply Samm – Press Release – August 1, 2015



Simply Samm Releases Debut Single, ‘I Know It’ – Available Now

Samuel Abraham Meheux, a singer songwriter who works under the moniker of Simply Samm, has released his debut single, ‘I Know It.’ Released by his own label, aptly called Simply Samm Records, the new tune is available on YouTube and on the label’s website. First, though, some information on Meheux and his endeavor…

Simply Samm Records opened up shop in the United Kingdom to support up and coming artists. Songwriters, session musicians, vocalists, dancers, fashion designers, and models are under the label’s umbrella as well, creating a full suite of rising talent. The label is accepting portfolios and demos in an outreach effort to connect with talents that have that ‘blessing from up above.’

The latest release from Simply Samm Records is ‘I Know It,’ (Stylized to ‘I Know 8!’) a new soul tune that released with an accompanying music video. Samm’s new song elegantly blends classic R&B and soul elements with contemporary flair and style. The video is beautifully shot, exhibiting the class and charm of the new song in perfect form.

Though the new song is available to stream on YouTube with the video, ‘I Know It’ is also available on Simply Samm Records’ website. Listeners have the opportunity to support the label through the purchase of any of the different renditions of the single. The album version is available along with a radio edit, an acapella, a TV-ready backing track, and an instrumental.

To connect with Simply Samm Records, see the relevant information below. The five different ‘I Know It’ renditions are available on the label’s shop. Simply Samm’s social networking is available below as well, along with a direct link to the YouTube music video of ‘I Know It.’

Sean Anthony Sullivan – ‘Shooting On A Blue Moon’

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 evening’s edition of the Independent Spotlight, we delve deep into the music of Sean Anthony Sullivan, a rising rocker hailing from Bend, Oregon. His new effort, ‘Shouting On A Blue Moon,’ is an ambitious one, clocking in at forty-five minutes and eleven tracks. He cites an incredible range of classic rock as inspiration. From the Beatles, Chicago, and Eric Clapton, to Rod Stewart, Stevie Wonder, and Otis Redding, he’s got an impressive musical palette that immediately piqued my interest. Let’s dive straight into it.

Sullivan’s effort opens up with ‘Can’t Put Out Love,’ a straight-up rock and roller. He’s mentioned previously that he’s a tech junkie, one that takes great pride in his productions. Immediately, a high production quality is evident. The mix is properly mastered and no instrument feels overpowering or out of place. More so, Sullivan’s lead vocals are well-fit for this style of music. With that said, the album truly gets into a groove on the second track, ‘Time In A Bottle.’

No, this second track isn’t a Jim Croce cover, though that may have been interesting. No, ‘Time In A Bottle’ is an original tune, one that employs Sullivan’s crooning a very Rod Stewart-esque manner. In particular, I dig his tight backing group. The eclectic, yet classic mix of the thick percussion matching the mixture of acoustic and electric guitar is perfect for this sound. Lyrically, the song is on point as well.

‘Kick Into Overdrive’ is an interesting rocker, but it may not fulfill its goal like its two predecessors. This was the first track where I noticed some vocal quips. Essentially, Sullivan tends to fall flat on some notes, especially when singing a bit low. Often, an impassioned rock musician falling out of key every so often can be endearing, even beneficial to their sound. (I’m looking at you, Mr. Dylan.) That doesn’t necessarily work in Sullivan’s favor, and I found myself avoiding tracks where it was noticeable. Fortunately, the blunder is recovered nicely with ‘She Renews My Everyday,’ a classy love ditty very much worth checking out.

‘Light A Torch’ is an intriguing number for two reasons. One, it’s infectious, amazing chorus. Two, its utilization of some compelling guitar riffing in the composition. That riffing and electric noodling extends in full to ‘Cellar,’ perhaps one of my favorite tracks on the album. Goodness, the composition of that song is fantastic. Vocally, the delivery is a tad inundated by aforementioned issues, but for the most part, it marks the middle of the album with elegant gusto.

‘Misery’ is also an excellent track, one that may accent Sullivan’s vocals the best of the bunch. This song sounds like something off a John Cougar Mellencamp record, a sound there is certainly plenty of nostalgia for. The reserved nature of ‘Only Human’ is equally complimentary to Sullivan’s sound.

Incoming: some of the most badass instrumentation of ‘Shooting On A Blue Moon.’ That organ intro to ‘Mr. Undercover’? Simply superb. In fact, the entire sonic landscape of this sound is a massive success. ‘Can You Help Us Mister’ showcases Sullivan’s ability to harness the power of an acoustic backdrop. Now, it’s one of his best tunes. The problem, however, is that damn tambourine. It’s far too loud in the mix, so much to the point that I can’t enjoy the song because of it.

Fortunately, ‘Breaking Down And Giving In,’ the finale of the collection, can give you a fix of Sullivan acoustic without that irritating tambourine. It closes out the album nicely, and has one of the better guitar solos, too. Thus, we find ourselves at the end of this eleven track expedition. How does the album stack up against the rest of the indie community?

‘Shooting On A Blue Moon’ has plenty of positive elements to it, especially instrumentally. As far as debut records go, it’s an admirable one worth checking out if you’re into classic rock. There isn’t anything particularly progressive here, and you’ve heard it all before, but that isn’t a bad thing. My only quip throughout was Sullivan’s lead vocals, which are pretty hit or miss, hence why this effort may have been a stronger five or six song EP rather than a full-blown album. It is worth your time, though, and certainly makes a benchmark for Sullivan’s future efforts to be compared to.

Fool Moon – ‘Little Do We Know’

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 evening’s edition of the Independent Spotlight, we delve deep into the band Fool Moon, and their new album, ‘Little Do We Know.’ Their sophomore effort is an ambitious one, with sixteen tracks offering quite a bit of meat to the bone. More isn’t always better, though, and that’s certainly been an issue for previous artists we’ve dug into. How does it work out for Fool Moon? Let’s find out.

Fool Moon doesn’t just have a clever name going for them. They’ve toured extensively, built up a modest following, won some radio contests, performed some sweet gigs, and have spent enough time in the studio to put out two studio records within seven years. Thus, they’re on an upward trajectory and have more going on than your typical group.  Though ‘Little Do We Know’ is sixteen tracks, it’s more like twelve newbies, a cover, and three remastered versions of five year old tracks. So with that said, we’re going to delve into the first thirteen tracks for that reason.

From the get-go, Fool Moon makes two things abundantly clear: they’re hard rocking and their production quality is quite good. For an independent band, the mixes are excellent, and they’ll really begin to shine for you after the opener. ‘At The World’s Edge,’ is a good jam, but man, that title track has more going for it. That bluesy, soulful tune is exceptional. I also appreciate the diversity an acoustic introductory track like ‘Sorrow’ provides.

I spent about two hours with ‘Little Do We Know,’ listening to it from beginning to end and jumping around for awhile. Quickly, I came to a realization. While I dig the band when they really turn up the heat, they’re strongest when they dim the lights instead. By that, I mean softer-edged tracks like ‘’One Step Further’ and the searing ‘Often Thought’ are the defiant highlights of the collection. That isn’t to reduce the importance of the good rockers, though. ‘Honey I Know’ is a killer single.

Lyrically, I found the effort to be pretty diverse. The band jumps between hard, often alternative rock, and soft, ballad-based crooning. Critics have been citing the band’s guitar licks and solos as notable pieces of this enigmatic puzzle, and I’d have to agree. The guitar-play throughout is absolutely excellent. Despite that, I still found myself enamored most with the simplistic, stripped down songs like ‘Follow Me Home.’

Kick into overdrive, however, and Fool Moon has an entertaining arsenal at hand. The lullaby-like nature of ‘Follow Me Home’ is soon kicked in the shins in favor of 80s style shredding on ‘Ain’t Like Us.’ In fact, on my second run-through of the record, ‘Ain’t Like Us’ acclimated me to the band’s rocking jams a bit better, and I found tunes like ‘Wrong Turn’ more enjoyable as I spent a bit more time with them.

Now, the elephant in the room. It’s ballsy to cover Clapton. It’s even ballsier to cover such a classic Clapton tune, one that has such a rich history. Basically, the band adopts Clapton’s style. When he originally grabbed the music from J.J Cale, he rock and rolled it up. Cale’s legacy is that of an easy-going cowboy: he did most of his own production, plodded along and muttered vocals, and his songs were never much like the rock and roll renditions that hit it big. That said, I’m an insanely massive Cale fan, and actually prefer his take of the song. I digress; back to Fool Moon. It’s a well performed, but ultimately forgetful cover. The band would have been better served by taking more creative liberty, because this recording is just a watered down version of Clapton’s.

At the end of the day, ‘Little Do We Know’ is an absolutely stunning album. It actually manages to remain consistently interesting and surprising throughout – a very, very impressive feat when dealing with such a long album. I wouldn’t even say my Clapton remarks are a negative critique: everyone who isn’t Eric Clapton is a watered down Clapton. ‘Cocaine’ is a missed opportunity to get creative, though. This album is one of the best indie rock albums of the year thus far – Check it out below. If you’re a fan of rock and roll with a vintage 70s and 80s flair, this is right up your alley.



Bob Pressner – A Look At ‘Everyman’

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 tonight’s edition of the Independent Spotlight, we’re going to dig into several songs from Bob Pressner’s new release, ‘Everyman.’ He’s a veteran performer with several notable accolades to his name, including the release of a Comcast on-demand concert and a significant online following, both on YouTube and social networking. ‘Everyman’ is his attempt to elevate his craft and he cites it as a ‘captivating mix of classic rock and Americana.’ It the album worth checking out? Let’s find out.

We’ll start at the first logical place, the title track. Immediately, ‘Everyman’ is reminiscent of Americana and earlier country rock. The music is lyrically focused and the instrumentation is rather simplistic. I dig the musical brevity; it allows Pressner to hold the spotlight throughout with his delivery. “My tangled heart needs a brand new start,” Pressner croons with a heartfelt honesty. The somber track is an excellent one, though it doesn’t necessarily set a tone for the rest of Pressner’s album.

The dark atmosphere of the title track is quickly abandoned for a carefree, folksy sound on ‘California.’ This tune may very well be Pressner’s strongest, elegantly combining pop sensibility with cascading acoustic guitars and reverb-soaked vocals. The production is also top notch; Pressner will be an incredibly rewarding listening experience on a good sound system. Sometimes, the bright nature of ‘California’ backfires with stray notes that have too much timbre, but it’s barely noticeable amidst a superb performance.

Pressner attributes his successful endeavors to his conscious decision to ‘be himself.’ As cliche as that may sound, it’s a mentality that has served Pressner admirably. ‘Be Yourself’ seems to be an ode that train of thought, accented nicely with sparse violin instrumentation and a sea of acoustic guitars. I actually dig his abandonment of a traditional set-up; there isn’t a bass or percussion at play here. Pressner seems to float above the massive wave of acoustic guitars – they set the rhythm, and any added instruments would have just bogged down the song.

Finally, let’s take a look at ‘American Dream.’ Insert electric guitar and a cynical, perhaps frighteningly accurate view of the ‘American Dream.’ I’m actually intrigued by the concept of the song; it’s a theme that artists like Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen have been toying with at an ever increasing rate in recent years. Pressner tackles some realistic hesitations about the current state of his country. Surprisingly, even with the induction of electric guitar, I still didn’t find myself missing any form of traditional percussion.

Bob Pressner is a traditional Americana act. He’s down in the dirt, realistic, and relatable. That same relatability makes each of his songs resonate with the listener to varying degrees. That’s exactly what a good Americana artist should do. Thus, I’d wholly recommend checking out the full twelve-track outing based on these four pieces. Connect with Pressner and grab his new record below.

Kingsley Ray – ‘Crushin’

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 evening’s edition of the Independent Spotlight, we delve into the music of Kingsley Ray. After a short hiatus, the Virginia-native is back in force with an upcoming self-titled record. ‘Crushin’ is the first single to drop from that upcoming collection. The eclectic, sharply produced tune was produced and co-arranged by Phillip Rollins, a rising producer and songwriter. Will Kingsley Ray’s eponymous new album be worth checking out? Let’s dig into the single to find out.

Ray specifies that the song began as a poem years ago. It’s adequately titled, because the track deals with having a ‘crush’ on someone else. His lyricism is interesting, essentially remarking that the girl in question is probably better as a crush. You can’t be let down by a relationship or person if you never fully act on your feelings. We’ve all been there. I actually really dig this subject matter; Ray’s delivery doesn’t come off as campy or cliche. It feels honest and witty.

On the production end, Rollins does the song justice. I can’t get enough of those smooth, badass organ pieces. The instrumentation feels reserved, elegantly mashing synthesizers, slick beats, and that fantastic organ together. The song never quite explodes like you may expect, which is surprisingly refreshing. It’s easy-going and incredibly polished.

‘Crushin’ is a killer track that’ll be most welcome on your summer playlist. It’s infectiously catchy, suave as can be, and well-performed. It’s a pop track with R&B influence that really makes it feel unique and worth listening to. Since there are two self-proclaimed songwriters on the project, however, I would like to see the full album include some more meaningful lyricism. The ability to write a pop song and a hook is one that’s often overlooked: that takes serious talent. I have a feeling Ray and Rollins could pump out something with a lot of depth, too. We’ll have to wait and see, but for now, it’s an album worth keeping on your radar this season.

Listen to the track and connect with Kingsley Ray:

Warehouse Eyes – ‘Prisms’

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.

Warehouse Eyes, a rising indie group from Minneapolis, has released their latest effort, ‘Prisms.’ The five piece outfit is the driving vehicle for the creativity of the husband and wife duo, Christopher Williams and Jennie Lawless. (The group was originally conceived as an effort consisting only of the two.) The introduction of a well-versed backing band adds an intriguing layer of intensity to their music on ‘Prisms.’

‘Prisms’ as a title is the reflection of a central theme. That theme is love, and utilizing it to expand into other territory and topics. The single for the EP and opening track of the record, ‘I Think I Can Live With It,’ is a tune that deals with the rebirth of one’s individuality. Lawless’ vocals deal with themes of shedding your former self and rejecting who you have been to start fresh. Instrumentally, the song is eclectic, toying with synthesizers, cascading electronic composition, and vocal harmonies. The song hits you with a Phil Spector-esque wall of sound as it explores pop themes through experimental routes.

Before digging into the other tracks on ‘Prism,’ I’d love to also touch on the music video for ‘I Think I Can Live With It.’ Typically, I don’t care for indie rock band music videos. They’re either campy, poorly produced, or laughable. Warehouse Eyes’ video is actually remarkably good. It’s artsy, well filmed and well edited, and meaningful. Such a good music video is an extreme rarity in this community.

‘The Same Dream’ continues the group’s foray through atmospheric instrumentation and introspective lyricism. “I don’t love you anymore,” Lawless croons over electronic stylings and diverse synths. Her reverb-soaked delivery is haunting and ghostly. She may be one of my favorite indie vocalists of this year; her voice is stunning. It does help that she’s backed by immense musical prowess and creative direction, though. The band has both those in spades.

There’s a very cinematic aura around ‘Emma.’ The song expands and retracts with compelling tact and lyrically is quite a venture. I was a tad worried when the band expressed how each of these tracks would be centered around the theme of love. I was certain that the five tracks would blend into one another and recycle ongoing themes. ‘Emma’ proves at the halfway point of the EP that that’s not the case at all. Warehouse Eyes’ lyrical pursuits are insightful and peculiar.

My favorite track of the five is ‘Drive,’ the eerie and dark rocker that is carried by a superb percussion section. Those beats are right on mark, and the backing band continues to amplify the duo in the best way possible. Lawless remains mesmerizing and elegant, too. The music is beautifully written, but without her, these songs would lack the passion they boast.

Finally, ‘Prism’ closes out with the experimental ‘Smoke.’ Again, the band surprised me with their diverse soundscapes and employment of unique sound effects. For a sound that has so much going on in the backdrop, Warehouse Eyes maintains perfect control over the chaos. A sense of finality makes ‘Smoke’ a suitable and fluid ending.

‘Prism’ is one of those EP’s that you must listen to from beginning to end. Don’t skimp out on any of the five songs. They feel meticulously placed and each is integral to the finished product. It’s not a concept album, but the songs are interwoven in a way that feels deeper and more interconnected than most albums. Thus, the record is a massive success on every front. Since I’m known for being brutally honest, this kind of review is a rarity for me. I love being able to give it, though. Go get ‘Prisms’ right now. It’s worth your time and Warehouse Eyes is an act worth supporting.

Connect with the band:

Nicole De Coteau – ‘Come Close To Me’

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 evening’s edition of the Independent Spotlight, we take a look at the rising performer, Nicole De Coteau. Hailing from the Caribbean, she describes herself as ‘Caribbean spice and everything nice.’ Her style is an eclectic mix that shifts through an array of genres. Thus, she’s a very versatile performer that can stand her own against jazz material, R&B, soul, pop, Soca music, reggae, and so on.

Her new song is ‘Come Close To Me,’ an intense pop and dance number she’s dropped with a free download on Sound Cloud. (You can find that below.) The song is cinematic with dramatic synthesizers, funky bass and guitar riffing, and hints of electronic string sections. Readers of the Spotlight will know my skepticism of this genre. All too often it’s cliche, stereotypical, and cringeworthy. Fortunately for all of us,  De Coteau defies those notions and provides a rather refreshing performance.

‘Come Close To Me’ is exactly what you’d think it would be. It’s a pop love song about desire. In that sense, nothing that De Coteau is singing is particularly new. You’ve heard this kind of lyricism countless times before. She does, however, perform it with such gusto and enthusiasm, that the predictability is entirely forgivable. She’s a stunning lead vocalist, demanding your attention and owning the song around her. Her vocal performances makes the material interesting and fun, and that’s all what this kind of music is about, anyway.

‘Come Close To Me’ is also remarkably well produced. Everything sits nicely in the mix and the synthesizers aren’t overpowering. De Coteau still sits atop the instrumentation and it accents her beautifully. As a fun pop and dance song for your summer playlist or the dance floor, ‘Come Close To Me’ delivers in spades. It’s very much worth checking out; it’s a nice and catchy tune.

The Song:

Rick Shaffer – ‘Jitterbug Shake’

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 tonight’s Independent Spotlight, we delve into a new record from Rick Shaffer, guitarist of The Reds. ‘Jitterbug Shake’ is his sixth solo effort, combining his love of early R&B, rock and roll, and garage blues. Needless to say, Shaffer had me at ‘early R&B.’ The album ‘pushes the needle into the red,’ overdriving each track with the fierce ghost of rock and roll’s past. Influenced by the likes of Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry, and many others, Shaffer is attempting to pay homage to the legends through an extensive collection of original material. How are his ten new songs? Let’s check out the ‘Jitterbug Shake.’

‘Garage rock’ is dicey territory. You don’t want to sound blatantly underproduced and unrealized, but you do want to maintain the quips and authentic feel of the recordings. Fortunately, Shaffer walks this line remarkably well. As expected, ‘Got To Know’ slammed me in the face with a powerhouse rock and roll performance. The production quality isn’t particularly high, and levels regularly peak too high and distort. As aforementioned, though, Shaffer’s music does so with such enthusiasm that it doesn’t detract from the experience at all. It actually gives it a whole lot of character. (Remember the great J.J Cale? He was like that, too. The recordings weren’t conventionally strong, but you couldn’t beat his presence.)

‘Jitterbug Shake’ also seems to take a lot of influence from British Invasion era rock and roll. I’d align a track like ‘Sure Thing’ with the Stones in a heartbeat. Those bluesy themes, distorted slide guitar, and defiant lead vocals are incredibly similar to late 60s Rolling Stones music. ‘Going Strong’ continues this trend, accentuating Shaffer’s retro, yet contemporary style.

The only time the production, or lack thereof, misses its target is the occasional overuse of the tambourine. Every so often on tracks like ‘Just a Little,’ you wish that the tambourine was a bit more buried in the mix. With that said, that same track does also boast one of the meanest, most badass guitar solos of the collection. The trade off is well worth it.

The first six songs on the album feel like they’re in the same vein; they sound similar and rock out with themes that carry on from track to track. The bluesy ‘Confidence Man’ is a bit of a departure from that style, focusing more heavily on the blues. Thus, it may be my favorite track in the collection. As a Chicagoan musician, songs like this are my bread and butter and it fills my musical heart with joy to see Shaffer absolutely nail the formula.

‘Can’t Go Back’ feels a bit void of purpose, meandering its way through the second half of the album. The effort may have been strengthened by eight or nine songs instead of ten. Since Shaffer doesn’t venture too far out of his established comfort zone, the tracks begin to blend together a bit as you close in on the finale. I do however, dig that finale. ‘Last Of Me’ sounds like a track straight off of Bob Dylan’s ‘Bringing it Back Home.’ (Actually, the repeated guitar riff is eerily similar to the one on ‘Subterranean Homesick Blues.’) Again, though, that damn tambourine is twice as loud as Shaffer’s vocals and I couldn’t understand much of his musings.

‘Jitterbug Shake’ is a triumph in its ability to harness retro rock and roll and make it modern and relevant. Shaffer’s performance is top notch and for the most part, the barebones recordings serve him well. I would love to see him recorded with a better set-up, though. That tambourine soiled songs like ‘Last Of Me.’ Thus, the album is a fine effort, but the lack of production did bleed a bit past what I would consider ‘endearing.’ It’s very much worth the time of fans who dig that old time rock and roll, however, and it’ll get you dancing without a doubt.

Asmodelle – Grooveatropolis Vol. 1

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.

If there’s one thing that can be said about this website, it’s that we review a whole lot of music scattered across every realm and genre of the craft. It’s been awhile since we got a full-fledged, extensive dance effort, however, and in this evening’s edition of the Independent Spotlight, we have just that. The artist is Asmodelle and her newest effort is ‘Grooveatropolis.’

‘Grooveatropolis,’ or ‘Groove City,’ is a dance record that toys with house, club, and trance styles. It’s Asmodelle’s fifth studio effort, but her first dance album. She’s an award-winning Australian artist known for her instrumentals, music videos, and prowess behind a multiple keyboard synthesizer. ‘Grooveatropolis’ is one of those records that actually cites an average BPM, (Beats Per Minute) thus allowing DJ’s and club owners to cherry pick its songs based on what they need that evening or in that set.

As aforementioned, ‘Grooveatropolis’ is an extensive effort. It’s ten original songs. The songs aren’t playing around, either. They’re usually at least six minutes long, if not longer. The best way to tackle it is to touch on both the positive and negative sides of the collection. To kick us off, what is excellent about ‘Grooveatropolis’?

Since the album is such an intense effort, DJ’s will enjoy using these songs in their setlists. They’re pretty varied, though they do run into some problems that we’ll get into later. ‘If You Knew’ is a great little introduction to the style of the album, though it’s subdued and the record doesn’t really find its groove (pun intended) until the fourth track, ‘Groove Al Dente.’ Some of the earlier tracks, such as ‘Is This Just A Dream’ are worthwhile, though. That track is tame, but evocative and trance-inducing.

As ‘Groove City’ continues, the highlights of Asmodelle’s effort emerge. Perhaps one of the strongest is the powerhouse dance tune, ‘Your Storybook World.’ All of these songs would feel at home in the club, but the cinematic style of this song in particular feels inviting and eccentric. ‘I’m Fractured’ feels the same way. The spotlight track at the end of the collection is ‘Taking Chances.’ True to name, it does take more chances than the other tracks and feels like a breath of fresh air after eight tracks of shear intensity.

Right; so that is what is hot and exciting about ‘Grooveatropolis.’ What needs work? Mostly the pacing of the collection. As I expected before I even listened to the first track, the album does blend together quite a bit. I had trouble differentiating tracks after listening to it twice through and many songs felt like extensions of their predecessors. When you have an average BPM on your record, it’s hard to avoid this. There’s a reason most successful albums have a diverse range of sound.

With that said, I also don’t consider that as much of an issue as I would with a rock group or the like. This album doesn’t feel like it’s meant to be a collection of interconnected songs. It’s not a woven tapestry, it’s a playlist of similar tracks with their own flairs that DJ’s can pull from. You’ll likely never hear a record like this from start to finish in a club. You’ll hear a track or two. So in that sense, the monotonous nature of a straight listen-through isn’t necessarily a negative thing.

Other than that disconnect between the songs, ‘Grooveatropolis’ is a rather good effort. My only other critique would be the lack of diverse sounds. Many of the tracks use 80% of the same elements. In the future, Asmodelle would do well to employ new sounds and instruments. I know this is difficult in this genre, but it is achievable and it’s definitely something to work toward.

For fans of dance music, club owners, or DJ’s, ‘Grooveatropolis’ will be a rewarding experience. It’ll probably be more rewarding in segments, however, since lines will blur if you take it in from beginning to end as I did. It’s a noble first foray into the genre; I hope Asmodelle continues to explore it. Check out the album and connect with her below.

Twitter: @Asmodelle

The Sweet Lou – ‘Down The Muddy Road’

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 tonight’s Independent Spotlight, we tackle a rising band hailing from Sweden – Sweet Lou. Last year they dropped ‘Walk the Dead,’ their successful and extensive ten song debut effort. The outfit is a duo consisting of guitarist and vocalist Mattias Lampa and guitarist Joakim Rannestam. The track in question today is ‘Down The Muddy Road,’ their latest single. How does the song stack up to the powerhouse record that preceded it?

‘Down The Muddy Road’ is an intense rock track pulling themes from pop rock and other more experimental styles. Sonically, the song slaps you in the face with dramatic vocals, searing electric guitar and percussion, and atmospheric synths. In particular, the guitar pieces are eccentric and intriguing; I really dig them.

Lyrically, the song feels bluesy, even garagey. It may not have the most depth, but it makes up for that with enthusiasm and musical prowess. The production quality is quite good and the mix feels pretty solid. My only critique would be that the percussion seems a bit overpowering at times, often pushing other elements of the mix out of the picture.

‘Down The Muddy Road’ is a fun rock and roll tune. It’s hectic, yet organized and tactful, too. Lampa’s vocals are so well suited for this type of music and the soundscapes the duo is crafting are impressive. It’s ‘wham, bam, thank you ma’am’ rock and roll. (By that, I mean that it doesn’t get bogged down by pretension and it doesn’t overstay its welcome. It hits you hard and quick.)

Based on ‘Down The Muddy Road,’ I’d certainly be inclined to check out ‘Walk The Dead’ and backtrack through the band’s catalogue. Stream the song on Sound Cloud and connect with the band on their respective social networking platforms.