SONG REVIEW: Blake Brown & The American Dust Choir - "Stop Shakin"

By Wanda Whitley

Blake Brown & The American Dust Choir.

Blake Brown & The American Dust Choir.

Let me begin by addressing the one disappointment I found with Blake Brown & The American Dust Choir’s new single “Stop Shakin."  It is not fair, just not fair!  How can you tell us to stop shakin’ to such a lively beat? 

Let me tell you, I am just loving how this song gets you movin’ and groovin.'  And even though this song has some angst, it is a happy song, a song of hopeful reconciliation – a song of “ok, enough is enough – can’t you see I can’t take it anymore?” 

Blake's wife, Tiffany Brown and and his longtime friends Jason Legler, Adam Blake and Trent Nelson make up The American Dust Choir, creating a blend of indie rock and Americana. Blake’s music is rooted in acoustic sounds, and characterized by his seemingly simple, yet complex melodies and heartfelt lyrics.

This is actually a sweet love song, too. And what is that I hear? An echo of Fleetwood Mac in the music and vocals! "Stop Shakin" is the lead single off the band's debut full length album, Long Way Home. It should shake up the charts, for sure! 

At first, I thought the bass is what I love the best, then – those guitars! And wait a minute, the keyboards, too!  All in all, such a complete package of vocal and instrumental beauty.  Did I mention I love this song?  I cannot wait to hear more from you, Blake Brown!

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EP REVIEW: Xs & ARROWs - From Here

Written by Jessica Klausing

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Xs & ARROWs bring an acoustic charm to an EP filled with the infectious warmth of the desert sun. Courtney Lavender (vocals and guitar), Susan Peterson (bass), and Pam Bluestein (drums) guide listeners through a soul-searching journey, appropriately titled, From Here. The EP features soothing melodies with heart-on-your-sleeve lyrics.

The opener, “Missing,” kicks off the EP with a luscious laid back pop melody ready to lull you into summertime bliss. Vibrant and catchy, it’s a perfect listen for a sunset drive on a scenic route. The song is about the inner struggle of trying to let go of a complicated relationship. Lavender reflects this thought with “I never wanted you to be the only thing I see,” against a wailing electric guitar.

“Fire from Gold” is a tender ballad with lyrics almost suggestive of Native American folklore. Delicate finger-picking and percussion intertwine while the honey smooth vocals evoke comfort and positivity. Lavender sings, “No rush coyote/no rhyme coyote/no fear coyote/We are only blessed/There’s no devil in this hole.” Extremely calming and reassuring, it’s the kind of track that will put a smile on your face and fill your heart with hope.

“Par Ici” follows with a Cranberries-esque vibe that’s filled to the brim with angst. Sharp guitar work rips through the pummeling drums while harsher vocals wail out, “the walls all came down on me/They spit and they shout at me.”

 The closer, “Questions” is a piano centered meditation on relatable frustration and unresolved feelings. Glen Hansard lends his vocals to this heart- wrenching track. The accompaniment is simple which leaves all the attention on Hansard and Lavender’s passionate vocal delivery.

From Here is a self-reflective and passionate collection of tracks that touches on the Irish storytelling spirit. Warm harmonies and mellow guitar glide smoothly throughout the EP. Lavender uses her soft vocals to convey in heartbreak, drama, and emotion into all four songs creating a beautiful listen.

From Here is available on iTunes, CD Baby, Amazon, and Spotify

All sale proceeds go to the Peter McVerry Trust, helping the homeless in Dublin.

Recommended Tracks: “Missing” and “Fire from Gold”

Interview with Courtney Lavender of Xs & ARROWs

Xs & ARROWs photo by Zoran Orlic.

Xs & ARROWs photo by Zoran Orlic.

 Xs & ARROWs are about to take over the Los Angeles music scene. You may remember the band, formerly known as EXIT, joining U2 on stage in 2001 and again in 2005 at the Staples Center for a legendary performance of “Out of Control.”

Check out our interview with lead singer Courtney Lavender HERE.

Xs & ARROWs offer a unique acoustic rock soundscape that seems to marry the California desert to the spirit of Ireland. Their debut EP, From Here will be available in October 2017. The new single, “Questions,” featuring Irish musician Glen Hansard, is currently available to stream on Soundcloud.

Interview with zerrissen era

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Check out my interview with Arctic musician zerrissen era HERE.

zerrissen era is an indie multi-instrumentalist who crafts his eclectic songs in the harsh Arctic environment. During the winter months, he records in an amploo (an igloo lined with amplifiers) and in a Laavo during the summer. These studio spaces create a unique and ethereal sound. 

Check out his music! An album purchase helps fund the Arctic.

www.zerrissenera.com

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