Posted on 02 March 2010 by Robert Ham
For Those Who Wait (Provident Label Group)
Reviewed by Robert Ham
Sometimes the best art is inspired by the worst circumstances. Just as she was gearing up to record a new album, Fireflight’s vocalist Dawn Michele learned that her brother was diagnosed with brain cancer. Michele poured her fears, frustrations and hopes into this new album. And with the rest of the band following suit, Fireflight has put together a collection of songs swimming with emotion, raw energy and an intensity that was only hinted at on previous efforts.
Michele’s internal struggles are placed at the center of some of the album’s most urgent tracks. Buoyed by furious guitar playing on the track “Desperate”, she uses her brassy vocals to echo the concerns of every avowed Christian going through a trying time (“I know you hear me/won’t you give me a sign/I’m standing on a ledge/waving my hands/do you see me?”). By the time we get to “Overcome”, Michele has found strength in adversity, using it to bolster her faith.
What this disc needs is more of that spirit and less of cloying tracks like “Name”, weeping sentiments that bring the momentum that Fireflight has built up to a grinding halt. Some of these quieter moments work better than others (the album closing “Recovery Begins” is a particularly moving paean to “the darkness turn[ing] to light”), but when the band is so good at intense, slick rock, why would you want to hear anything else?
Posted on 20 November 2009 by Josh Gloer
By: Josh Gloer
Say the words “Christmas Album” and you’re likely to invoke less than positive reaction. Lounge style rehashes of the same old tired “Classics,” laid down for the almighty dollar, these albums generally run the gamut from dull to dreadful.
Enter Family Force 5.
In early October, the boys of FF5 dropped a Christmas album of their own. Simply called Christmas Pageant, the album knocks the dust off the cliché and offers some music to truly be merry about.
Old standbys like “T’was the Night before Christmas,” “Little Drummer Boy” and “Do You Hear What I Hear” get run through the grinder and come out mean, dirty and surprisingly fun to listen to. Some tracks grind while others thump, but none of them resemble anything you’ll hear at the shopping mall. Finally… some Christmas music that’s worth adding to the wish list.
The album also boasts the band’s own interpretation of the story of the three wise men. In “The Baby,” the majestic trio hales from the ATL and showers the baby like only kings from the “Dirrrty South” can. Front man Solomon Olds’ own baby makes his vocal debut on the track (his wife appears on another), making it truly a family affair.
Check out the tired Christmas CD’s you’ve got on the shelf. If you want to get into some Christmas crunk, show off a holiday hip hop routine or just keep grandpa up past nine, drop Christmas Pageant into your rotation – its about time.
Posted on 22 August 2009 by Josh Gloer
By: Josh Gloer
With a guy like Sareem Poems, you never know what you’re going to get. Sharlock Poems or The LA Symphony, an emcee or poet, hip-hop or rap… While the man continuously reinvents himself, one thing is redundantly clear – you know you’ll get something worth listening to.
“Enter…” The challenge echoes in track one of the Renaissance musician’s latest endeavor, Black and Read All Over. A repetitive drone, it’s an invitation to experience life through lyrics that pour from the mind of a man who’s been there, lived it and come out the other side with a story to tell.
Black and Read all Over is an aggressively gritty trip back to the artist’s roots, the album like a punch in the face to remind fans that Sareem has yet to go soft. Angry yet thoughtful rhymes cause speakers to ache, humming the tracks as though this album, after a long wait, has fulfilled their purpose. Old school gangster laid over church organs, the vocals are the real star as this no flair, stripped down track list are reminiscent of Biggie and Busta rolled into one.
With Akil of Jurassic 5, Oddisee, Pigeon John and Lmno (to name a few) lending a hand, Sareem has given his fans something to think about. Stand up, be yourself, see the light, see the world through different eyes… in these 14 tracks, Poems proves that good lyrics don’t have to be polluted with negativity to be good. There’s a message here, and it’s positive.
It doesn’t matter what style he chooses or under what name he goes… Sareem Poems delivers.
Posted on 21 July 2009 by Samantha Zavala
|B. Reith: The Forecast EPB. Reith’s album The Forecast has a unique sound that blends hip-hop, pop, and soul. The songs on the album talk about everyday shortcomings and compromises that we face. While there is truth in the lyrics, a small portion of the lyrics are somewhat awkward with the music. However, B. Reith’s vocal abilities are mesmerizing as he transitions from his soulful sound to rhythmic flow. To hear his unique voice and sound, you can go to http://www.myspace.com/breith.
|Group 1 Crew: Ordinary DreamersGroup 1 Crew’s sophomore album Ordinary Dreamers is a phenomenal album. This group has a variety of sound that is incorporated on this album. They each have a unique vocal quality that makes listening pleasurable. And the lyrics exhibit the importance of praise. To hear more from Group 1 Crew, go to their site at http://www.group1crew.com/.
|MIKESCHAIR: Self-titled albumMIKESCHAIR’s self-titled album is a hit. The album identifies that we are only here for a short time and that we need to do what we are called to do. Lyrics are to the point and very effective. The music is exceptional. To hear more from MIKESCHAIR, go to http://www.myspace.com/mikeschair.
|Photoside Café: The Beauty of Innocence RemainsPhotoside Café’s album is an album that is soothing to the ears. The instruments set the tone of the album. A majority of the songs on the album are divine, but a small portion of the lyrics were a bit mundane. All in all, this band has extreme potential with their vocals and sound. They’re a group to look out for. Listen to Photoside Café at http://www.myspace.com/photosidecafe.
|Tal & Acacia: Wake MeTal & Acacia’s Wake Me brings back the era of feel-good music. Their sound is inspiring and very crucial for the time we are living in. The song Merry Go Round could have been written more maturely. But all the other songs on the album bring forth truth and emotion like none other. To be inspired, listen to Tal & Acacia at http://www.myspace.com/talandacacia.