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Tuesday, Mar 17, 2015
The tender, longing "Outta My Head" finds the Nashville-based Liz Longley finding a way to move on from the past -- which, as she sings it, is no small task.

There’s a warmth and vulnerability in the video to Liz Longley’s tune “Outta My Head”, taken from her just released self-titled LP, her fourth full-length. This is due mostly to Longley’s openness and honesty in her lyrical pursuits, a thread that runs throughout all of her music but especially Liz Longley. In singing a song of moving on, of finding a way to shed those parts of the past that try their best to cling on, she invites the listener into a space where it’s safe to channel one’s frustrations with the way life can often feel like it’s going backwards despite our best efforts.


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Tuesday, Mar 17, 2015
The saxophone-led, Pixies-channeling instrumental number "Small Fires" is an ideal song to spin as the sunny rays of spring kick in.

It’s hard not to have one’s spirits lifted by a tune like “Small Fires”, the latest number from the Providence, Rhode Island-based A Troop of Echoes. Taking stylistics from the realm of indie rock but placing saxophone at the forefront (rather than, say, a Thom Yorke-aping lead vocalist), the band crafts tunes that are off-kilter yet affable, accessible yet ever-so-slightly perplexing. Such is the case with “Small Fires”, which utilizes guitar technique that anyone familiar with the indie rock playbook will recognize immediately—that is, until the song veers off in its own unique variations. The effervescent and creative mood of the tune couldn’t have arrived sooner; just as many across the globe are finally venturing outside after the icy winter months, this free-spirited piece is fine aural backing to a newly sunny walk outside.


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Tuesday, Mar 17, 2015
Detroit husband-wife duo release contrasting pair of songs showcasing their aggressive and serene sides.

Detroit’s the Bruised Reed is a band of polarities. A husband and wife duo composed of Kirsten and Josh Wheeler, the former handles vocal duties, the latter the instrumental side of their sonic concoctions. Their tunes reside in the diametrically opposed realms of slowcore/dream pop and incendiary rock. How apropos, then, that latest release Doubles Vol. 1. is a two-song endeavor—the first in a series of double-deckers planned for 2015—putting these dynamics front and center. Think of the release as a sampler platter of all they have to offer.


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Monday, Mar 16, 2015
"More That I Cannot Say" is one of the tunes on George Usher and Lisa Burns' The Last Day of Winter whose energy beckons the listener to shake off the thaw and walk towards the fresh air of spring.

The Last Day of Winter is an album borne out of making the best of a bad situation. A few years ago, New York singer/songwriter George Usher became unable to play any musical instruments following the chemotherapy he underwent as a result of his long battle with cancer. However, disease was no match for Usher’s songwriting spirit, and after composing 12 song lyrics, fellow New York artist Lisa Burns set the tunes to music. The result of this collaboration is The Last Day of Winter, a recording that shows a natural rapport between Usher and Burns, both of who have musical CVs that depict a lifelong commitment to the craft of music.


Below you can stream the intimate black-and-white video to the poetically-titled “More Than That I Cannot Say”, an upbeat bit of folk-rock that evokes the last icy dregs of winter as they fade away, leaving the optimistic throes of spring to fill their void. Although it was not long ago that Usher was unable to play the guitar, it’s a true delight to see him triumph over his struggles with cancer in this song and its performance, even as he expresses the frustration and anger he was experiencing during his chemotherapy.


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Monday, Mar 16, 2015
A colorful hodgepodge of sonic experimentation centered on a firm indie pop, The Mess Remade is a clever and fun outing from Cincinnati's own Bad Veins.

With indie pop and rock being as overcrowded as they are in the present day, it’s becoming increasingly hard to stand out from the throng. Fortunately, the Cincinnati duo Bad Veins—Benjamin Davis on vocals/guitar and Jake Bonta on drums—have crafted an LP that’s sure to get them noticed, the 13-track The Mess Remade. With crisp but not too clean production and a bandolier of catchy choruses, the record benefits from a strong pop core that the duo uses as an anchor through which they can branch out in other directions. From synth-pop (“Dancing on TV”) to twee affectations (“I Turn Around”), to vocal performances that veer into musical theatre territory (“Rainbow Connection”), The Mess Remade is a pop album with an appealingly restless spirit. There are also some killer turns of phrase on the lyrical front as well: “I’ve got this soapbox / But I wish I had a crystal ball”, Davis sings on “Nursery Rhyme”.


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