Category Archives: Discoveries

Discoveries: Horisont (Sweden)

It’s always nice (for some of us) to find a band that reminds us of the glory years gone by. But, it’s quite important to be musically adept at what they do. There are plenty of bands out there that not only fully understand the past, but can replicate it in such a way as to have us believe that if they were around “back then”, they’d have done alright.

Well, I’ve stumbled onto one for you.

Horisont.Horisont Band

Horisont got their start back in 2006, and has produced two albums, both of which have great things going on in them. What their rivivalist sounds boast of are Wishbone Ash twin leads (listen to “Nightrider” off their 2009 debut, Två Sidor Av Horisonten), Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, and a host of Metal/Prog bands from the ’70s.

Två Sidor Av Horisonten was released via Crusher Records. It was followed up in 2012 with a signing with Metal Blade Records, and a new album, Second Assault. Their last album, Time Warriors, was released in later months of 2013 (which makes them due for a new one soon).



Horisont are a Swedish band with a strong tie to the metal music of the late ’70s, and the ’80s. Time Warriors is not unlike Judas Priest in any of its offerings.  The band consists of five talented musicians well-versed in Rock and Roll. They are: Axel Söderberg (vocals), Charles Van Loo (guitars), Kristofer Möller (guitars), Magnus Delborg (bass), and Pontus Jordan (drums).

Horisont has a new vinyl 7″ single available, released in November of 2014. The 7″ is A-sided with “Break the Limit”, B-sided with “Yellow Blues”.


Discoveries: The Lighthouse And The Whaler (Cleveland)

I can’t let this post day slip by without telling you about a band that has been catching my attention as of late. In keeping with a tradition of passing onto you some music that I enjoy in the hopes that you might get some excitement from them as well, I alert you to the oddly named The Lighthouse And the Whaler.

The Lighthouse And The Whalers

The Lighthouse And The Whaler is a band that originated in Cleveland, Ohio. Since the late ’70s, I have enjoyed a flavor of independent Rock/Pop much like The Shoes (who also is a midwest band), and others like them. This band formed in 2008, and have, only recently, become more recognized nationally for their efficient, and quite listenable songs reflected on two studio full length albums, and three gorgeous EPs. The most recent release is a five-track remix set of their hot song, “Venice” (video below for original official version).

Their first album, self-titled, contains ten folk-oriented tracks that should follow your search for their music AFTER their last, This Is An Adventure, released in 2012. This Is An Adventure is a more refined effort, with the memorable “Venice” track. But “Venice” isn’t the only great track on the album. This Is An Adventure has ten stunningly perfect songs.  This band is one to keep an eye on.

This Is An Adventure

Your week is now not complete until you hear this band. At the very least, listen to “Venice”. I’m betting it jump starts a search for more The Lighthouse And the Whaler.

Pay Attention To Emily West And To Her New Album, All For You, Planned For March

Emily WestI’ve not been a fan of ANY TV talent shows beginning way back in the early ’80s with the Ed McMahon-hosted Star Search. This is ESPECIALLY true of the American Idol display. However, I have been amazed at some of the talent that came from America’s Got Talent. My first amazement came from Jackie Evancho. The second one (and I’m coming in AFTER the fact here) is Emily West.

Interestingly, Emily West is billed as a Country singer. I can’t think of a genre that she seems furthest from other than as a belting Rock n Roll singer. Nevertheless, that is what most of the info I’m digging up on her states. But never mind all of that. The fact remains, Emily West is in possession of a voice and the talent to use it in the best way that you can imagine.

In this day and age, where talent flashes past you so fast, you barely have time to register any of it. We work, we engage with families, and when we do get a chance to listen to music, it is often on the fly with a radio station, or just chilling with our favorites. That’s why I continually try to give you things that catch my attention out of all the notes that are crafted these days. That’s why I’m bringing your attention to Emily West.

Emily West All For You

I have listened to her last album, True North, released in 2013. To call it a Country offering is what I would call a mistake. In fact, I would even attach a bit of the Kate Bush mystique to her songs, which sound more folk than anything. “Boom Boom Boom”is no joke. It’s pure Kate Bush. “Kite” is a beautiful guitar composition that also carries a bit of the Kate Bush style to it. Her “Moonbeam” song has a Roberta Flack flavor to it (not unusual given her competition version of “First Time Ever I Saw Your Face”). If I had a complaint, it would be that the songs are not variant enough to make up a completely captivating listen throughout. But each song has its own magic that deserves to be heard.

On March 31, Portrait Records will release her new album, All For You. In the hopes that it doesn’t deviate too much from the stripped down beauty of the songs on True North, there is great promise with the unveiling of her cover of Sia’s “Chandelier”.

Discoveries: Blackberry Smoke (Atlanta, GA)

In the spirit of bringing excellent (or what I would consider excellent) bands to your attention, I do have one that I have been a fan of for a bit. I have mentioned their upcoming release elsewhere but now think that I should shine a brighter light. The band is Blackberry Smoke.

Blackberry Smoke is cut from the same Southern cloth as those Southern bands from the ’70s were. Bands like Lynyrd Skynyrd, .38 Special, The Outlaws, Marshall Tucker, and a host of others, including the Southern California bands like Poco, and The Eagles. Blackberry Smoke originates from Atlanta, Georgia. They possess a fiery blend of Rock and Roll that draws a close correlation to Lynyrd Skynyrd more than most.

Blackberry Smoke - Photo: Ross Halfin

This five man crew has been around honing their craft for over ten years. From a looks perspective, they come at you just like the ’70s. Musically, they are as equal to any of the bands from that era. Don’t believe me? Check it out for yourself. Blackberry Smoke is some kind of band that acts as if the ’70s was just one long stretched out period that isn’t even close to being over. I kinda like that sentimentality.

On February 10, Rounder Records will release the band’s latest album, the twelve-track Holding All The Roses. This new albums follow the excellent 2012 release of The Whippoorill, and a host of other studio and live sets that include Little Piece Of Dixie (2009), Bad Luck Ain’t No Crime (2004), and the energetic 2014 live set, Leave A Scar, Live: North Carolina.

Blackberry Smoke Holding All The Roses

Give a listen to a track from their upcoming album below, and if you want a track for free, you can download “Rock And Roll Again” at this link (on the right side, signing up for the Rounder newsletter).


Discoveries: Public Service Broadcasting (London)

PSBSometimes compelling music just pops out of nowhere. And while the historical surprises are far, far behind us, it falls on the current generation to keep slipping us a few along the way.

One of those surprises are Public Service Broadcasting. This band comes to us by the eccentric but very talented duo that are J. Willgoose, Esq (guitars, keys, programming, banjo), and Wrigglesworth (drums, percussion). Their brand of art is a fascinating blend of spoken word, a WIDE palette of music that finds such integration of banjo, electronica, and other instruments mixing into an evocative stew of sounds, and, for the concert-goer, visuals to expand the presentation. What makes it good is that a CD of their tracks do not need visuals to be enjoyed, although I bet they enhance the music greatly.

Formed in 2010, they have a full-length out called Inform – Educate – Entertain released in 2013. It is chock full of enticing tracks including their brilliant “Theme From PSB” that incorporates a toe-tapping banjo and drum frenzy. They let the guitars run wild on “Signal 30”.  Also in their bag, are several EPs. Some of those feature remixes, while others feature new music. If you remember the brilliance of media enhancer, Laurie Anderson, then you get an inkling on what Public Service Broadcasting brings to the world of music. It doesn’t hurt to remember a similar duo called Brian Eno and David Byrne, who blended exotic sounds and spoken words on a classic set, My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts.

PSB The Race For Space  PSB Inform

On February 24, PSB will release a new album on their  own label, Test Card Records. The album is called The Race For Space, and its nine tracks will be released on CD, LP, and DD formats.

Check out their video of “Spitfire” from their Inform – Educate – Entertain album:


Discovery: Fly Golden Eagle – Nashville, TN

Fly Golden EagleEvery once in a while, as I travel over songs and albums, I run across something that catches my attention more than the usual interest. This time its a band by the name of Fly Golden Eagle, who takes their musical cues from generations past. Of course, there are many that do this, but out of the many, there are a few who really seem to get it right. This four-member band from Nashville, TN (and who sound nothing like anything expected out of Nashville), are a tight unit that play genuine Rock and Roll, produced with the utmost expertise.

The band released their first album, Swagger, back in 2011. Filled with a collection of good Rock and Roll, the album provides an excellent showcase to the classic Rock style adopted by Fly Golden Eagle. Their latest album, Quartz, has been released as an extended edition, a sprawling affair with upwards of 26 tracks on 2CDs. However, the album is pared down to a sharp display of twelve songs with the upcoming release of a cassette (yes…a cassette. Everything old is new again!), as well as the recent mid-October release of the album (which also feature twelve tracks, and is called Quartz Bijou). Should you  find that the band is a good one for you, you won’t go bad with the extended Edition of Quartz.

Fly Golden Eagle Quartz Bijou

You can call the music of Fly Golden Eagle psychedelic funk, fitting right into the current resurgence of the psychedelic Rock movement  Give Fly Golden Eagle a listen and see if they fit into your busy schedule somehow.

This band deserves a shot on SNL. But then, so does Heartless Bastards, The Black Angels

The Paper Kites – Revisited

PaperKitesStatesThis is originally from an October 2013 post. However, with the band being explosively good, I thought it important to bring them back to your ears. And with good reason, With a sound not unlike our early ’70s America, and our late ’60s Simon & Garfunkel, well, the Paper Kites is getting harder and harder for you aficionados to ignore.

If you appreciated the folk-rock of the early ’70s (like America), then I have a band that you might find well to your liking. The Paper Kites are a five-member folk-rock band from Australia with two EPs, and a full-length album to their credits (EPs: Woodland (2011), Young North (2012); CD: States (2013)). Like some before them, they achieved their building acclaim via videos on YouTube, and the viral word of mouth that can sometimes power some to widespread notice.

The five members are Sam Bentley, and Christina Lacey, both high school pals who began writing songs together. Shortly afterwards, they were officially joined by David Powys, Josh Bentley, and Sam Rasmussen to complete the circle.

The band has been busy with music, and touring. They have begun to build a strong fan-base that will have them known across the globe (for whatever that means these days), in a short period. As gifted as the band is, I can only hope that they can manage to stay together for the next decade so that we can watch how such a band as this evolves. I have to say that I’m completely mesmerized by their songs including the incredibly haunting, “Young”, which has a stunning video to accompany it (watch below). After watching “Young”, I recommend “Bloom” (found in their official YouTube page). You can also explore more at their website link. If you peruse Facebook most, then here is the FB link. I hope that I have pointed you toward a band you will like.

What do you think? Me? I think that all you can get from this band is worth every minute of every spin.



Roxanna Debuts New Album, Exotica, In July

Roxanna ExoticaWhile an RN in the nursing field, Roxanna sang to her patients. For her, and for the people she sang to in the hospital, the results of her willingness to sing produced positive results. Soon, encouraged and financially backed by a relative of one of her patients, Roxanna launched into a career that will take her singing talents to a wider audience where it belongs.

On first listen, the striking thing about Roxanna is easily her voice, as well as her effortless ability to capture your attention with it.  DISNEY, TAKE NOTE: My first impression was that her’s is a voice that you always hear in a Disney song. In fact, I have no doubt that one day that will surely be a reality.

Roxanna has already released two pre-album release singles that includes “Close Your Eyes”, and a cover of Lionel Richie’s 1984 hit, “Hello” . Both songs are already a clear dynamic of the grace and power that Roxanna possesses for the Pop market.  As a treat (for me), she covers The Hollies’ 1972 gem, “The Air That I Breathe”, putting her own unique mark on the song.

Roxanna has a debut album arriving on July 8. That album is called Exotica and is produced by Mark Portmann, who has worked with Julio Iglesias, Barbra Streisand, and Christina Aquilera.

With Roxanna’s ready for primetime voice, I believe that she will be heading concert halls all around the world in very short time.

Discoveries: Land Observations To Release New Album, The Grand Tour, In Late July

LO.DD.AW.inddEver listen to something only to have it seep so deep that it resurfaces in your dreams? Yes, this happened to me. In my constant travels looking for music to hear, I came upon a band by the name of Land Observations, and complete listens to all available music has entranced me enough to listen through their releases several times. The music produced contain no vocals. It is all music. Minimal at that. But the ambient flavors were addictive. And so, here I am.

Land Observations is the project of James Brooks, who is an integral part of the UK band, Appliance. To make this a bit of knowledge for you, Appliance is a vocal three piece band signed to one of my favorite labels, Mute Records. They have four excellent, Mute -issued albums that include Are You Earthed? from 2003 (their last). Their structure is minimalism. The albums from Appliance are experimental, certainly not for everyone, although it is safe to say that the audience for Appliance would be wider than Land Observations.

In 2011, Brooks’ latest band, Land Observations, released a three-track exploratory EP, Roman Roads. The three instrumental tracks found on Roman Roads possessed a haunting element to them, uneasy to shake. By the following year, Land Observations followed up the introductory EP with a brilliant eight song album. The album, known as Roman Roads IV-XI (the numbering referring to the number of songs carrying over from the EP’s three songs). is a stunning collection of musical pieces that seem to carry far deeper than the casual listen. There is a feel of Velvet Underground in them, especially in comparison to “Heroin”, with its repetitive but simple heartbeat guitar pluck that begins the popular VU track. It is “Via Flaminia” that wove its way into my subconscious, swimming to the surface within my dream. In fact, it was the most important part of the dream that I focused on as my mind began to reattach to reality.

It is with great pleasure that I find that on July 28 (UK), July 29 (US), Mute Records will release The Grand Tour from Land Observations. What will make The Grand Tour more interesting is its recorded content. Created on a single 6-string guitar, and recorded at the edge of the Bavarian Alps, this album revisits the historic Grand Tour of the 17th through 19th century. The Grand Tour was a rite of passage, a tradition for wealthy University graduates who took the time to explore the arts and cultures of the continent. The songs on The Grand Tour reflect an imaginary passage between Western, Central, and Southern Europe. And if it even has a fraction of the qualities of both Roman Roads issues, it will be a beautiful album.

Discoveries: Wet – Brooklyn (NYC)

I love stumbling across good talent.  The bad thing is that it takes some hours to follow threads, listening to unimaginable junk, all just to look for a track that makes you stop, and start the gears going in your brain. Often, that trail runs cold. But once in a while,…once in a while, there’s one that really catches. You stop. You listen, you look for information and other songs.  This band, or that artist, stands out. Maybe not for everyone, but for some.

Today, that band is Wet. Wet originates from New York City (surprise, surprise), Brooklyn to be exact. Comprised of the VERY vocally talented Kelly Zutrau, whose voice has many things going for it, Joe Valle, and Martin Sulkow, this trio explores electronics, soul, and and other styles to create a Pop stage of music friendly to a lot of people. Even us Rock hardened finicky lovers of music.

The band played at SXSW this 2014 session. NME, the premier UK music magazine has already called Wet‘s eponymous 4-track EP one of the best of 2014.

Wet Band NYC

This band has a four-track self-titled EP out (isn’t that where they all start?) on Neon Gold Records, released on October in 2013. With only four songs to enjoy, you’ll have to move out a bit yourself to discover more from the band.


For me, the last two songs on the EP, “Don’t Wanna Be Your Girl”, and “No Lie” showcase the band’s wider accessibility, while the first two (“Dreams”, “You’re The Best”) seem to head right to a select crowd. And for sure, it’s the first two that are generally favored by the younger crowd.

I am supplying links and embeds of their Bandcamp (above), and Soundcloud (below) pages.

I’m also including a video of the band performing “Weak”, a fascinating unreleased tune from their growing catalog. The promise of “Weak” and its maturing style of music is what has me anxious to hear more Wet. If you like what you hear, and you do the Facebook thing, you can “Like” them here.