1. The Moth and The Flame – “&”
Hailing from Provo, Utah these Los Angeles transplants create a sound that harkens back to the lo-fi days of the New-Wave movement of the early ‘80’s. The band has found themselves on many Los Angeles critics “Band To Watch In 2014” lists. Their debut EP finds them trying to find their collective voice but still managing to create some worthy attempts at pop songs. The EP is synth and sample heavy relying on the thick slinky bass lines of Scott Wiley to carry it along. It is a decent first outing for the band but not a particularly strong one. It will be interesting to see where 2014 takes these gents.
Track #1: “Sorry”
Track #2: “Winsome”
2. James Hughes and Jimmy Smith Quintet – “From Here On Out”
Hailing from Detroit, Michigan this Jazz quintet is made up of veteran Jazz musicians that have been playing around Detroit for the past 18 years but never together in this setting. Calling their style of Jazz, “Detroit Post-Bop”, these cats deliver 9 original numbers that showcase their skills as well as their influences. James Huges lush saxophone sound and Jimmy Smiths bright trumpet are firmly backed up by the talented rhythm section of Phil Kelly (Piano), Takashi Iio (Bass), and Nate Winn (Drums). This record brings back the sound and feel of a time when all the cool cats and kittens listened to Jazz.
Track #2: “Premonition”
Track #7: “Luna Di Luna”
3. Scott H. Biram – “Nothin’ But Blood”
Based in Austin, Texas Scott H. Biram is a multi-instrumentalist that prides himself on this fact. Dubbing himself “The Dirt Old One Man Band”, Biram has been making his unique blend of Outlaw Country Blues since 2000. Before going solo Biram was apart of Punk Rock bands and a couple of Bluegrass outfits. He self released his first 5 albums before signing with Chicago based Country label Bloodshot Records, in 2005. Since joining the Bloodshot roster Biram has gained an ever-growing fan base and much deserved critical acclaim for his work. His 2014 effort, “Nothin’ But Blood” has some heavier moments but also some very touching points as well. He ends the record with three traditional gospel tunes that give the album a very well rounded feel.
Track #4: “Never Comin’ Home”
Track #6: “Jack of Diamonds”