Pure Heroine Lorde
Universal Music

Author:
john shelton ivany

sure lorde is 16. and her debut album, "pure heroine" is a serious knockout. she's arrogant and pensive. her combination of blues power and melodic sensitivity sets a new standard for rock and rap. she sings tough and raps soft. a stone cold winner.

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Battle Maximus GWAR
Metal Blade Records

Author:
john shelton ivany

sure, i was the editor-in-chief of the original heavy metal rag from 1980 to 1990. and, sure, we wrote about def leppard and l.a. guns. and sure we wrote about cinderella and poison. but we had to. i didn't want to get fired and drive a cab around nyc all night. but then GWAR showed up. and they're still here with their latest release "battle maximus." their shows still resemble performance art. the group dedicated itself the most disgusting band of all time. and still prove it. and they have the most physically imposing voices. the sound is still huge and scary. let's face it, they invented the genre of white singing louder than hell.

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Crickets Joe Nicols
Red Bow Records

Author:
john shelton ivany

it has been an unbearably long time but joe nichols has finally released "crickets," his first album on his new label. having received four grammy nominations for that rich, traditional voice he has. it must be intimidating to duet with him. it must freeze you. he is incomparable--the voice is velvety, smooth, airy with an unmistakable tone.

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Falling Bough Wisdom Teeth Kiev
Suspended Sunrise

Author:
john shelton ivany

do you want the post-punk, minimalist, afrobeat sound that only kiev can give you. well check out their latest album that made all my hairs stand straight up. they're telling you that's the way the world is these days. a "must buy" record.

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Fuse Keith Urban
Hit Red Records

Author:
john shelton ivany

what is really great is how unforced and fun keith urban's "fuse" is. he's not only a twang ambassador. he drives around town thinking about a hot woman. he comes on to a hot woman. he gets his heart broken by a hot woman. but he does a lot of other things on "fuse." leaving your zone is the best way to find yourself. the sound of his voice represents a whole kind of man, incredible masculine, hard working and sexy.

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Innocents Moby
Little Idiot

Author:
john shelton ivany

the one and the only moby has released the album entitled "innocents." his stream of consciousness, his slurs, grunts and moans was pure vocal anarchy. what a special thrill. moby gives musicians permission to bring a whole new level of strength and intelligence into the world of music. he creates another place for people to explore. words can never do him justice. i tried.

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Wise Up Ghost Elvis Costello + the Roots
Blue Note Records

Author:
john shelton ivany

"wise up ghost" by elvis costello and the roots is a mile better that the roots duet in their previous life. what a great and tragic treat, pain about decaying culture. a slick and real lyricist mixing it up with "the" band that can make anybody sound great. mixing rock's greatest poet with rock's best band is too good for mere mortals. lucky us.

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Park Millsap Park Millsap
Self-Released

Author:
john shelton ivany

park millsap is a new kid on the block, releasing his first self-titled album. singing allows him to express all the mysteries that he's been hiding inside.


Go Humble Travis Sullivan's Bjorkestra
Zoho Records

Author:
john shelton ivany

now travis sullivan's bjorkestra shares his tribute to the uncompromising, visionary and bold art of the one and only bjork. his second recording of her art is entitled "i go humble." i am a fortunate fan who has seen her live. let's call her art "performance art," which, of course, does her no justice. the spotlight loved her, and she earned that love with astonishing force and control, with a voice that simmers in a churchly low register, which is usually a sign that she's about to leap up and howl the roof off. travis sullivan and his amazing band captures the energy and imagination of bjork. and that's saying something.

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It's Not That Far The Matthew Fink Jonathan Ball Project
The Matthew Fink Jonathan Ball Project

Author:
john shelton ivany

"it's not that far" is an inspired collaboration of the matthew finck/jonathan ball project and all the great musicians involved. their sound soothes me, gives me something to aspire to and leaves me feeling courageos.

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It's Just a Road The Boxcars
Mountain Home Music Company

Author:
john shelton ivany

let's face it, we are a lucky bunch of fans to be treated to "it's just a road" by the current international bluegrass music associations instrumental group of the year, the boxcars. now i knew keith garrett could sing, but i didn't know he could sing like this.

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Out of My Mind Cassie Taylor
Yellow Dog Records

Author:
john shelton ivany

with influences ranging from new orleans to west african psychedelic rock cassie taylor has released "out of my mind." her voice is so young and so soulful, she might as well be standing there with a gun while she's singing with an impeccably controlled moan in her throat. as bruce sings, she's "all that heaven will allow."

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Gravity Bobby Chitwood
Mesabluewood Recordings

Author:
john shelton ivany

bobby chitwood has released his debut album "gravity." he's a big man with this big, deep, sexy voice rattling out of his throat. the cat pushes everything over the top.

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Naked Andy Griggs
Little Hannel Records

Author:
john shelton ivany

"naked" is the title of the special album of andy griggs. he has a voice that can sing over huge trucks with the smoothness of barry white and the power of a mountein lion. and what do you hear? just the truth, brothers and sisters.

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Life In This World Will Calhoun
Motema Music

Author:
john shelton ivany

while i was editor-in-chief of hit parader magazine, the first metal rag, i became familiar with drummer will calhoun in the unique hard rock band, living colour. well here he is again, leading his jazz band on their album "life in this world." you can tell that the man has been around when you hear volcanic activity. maybe it's his experiences mixed with some hot sun. but everyone seems to be extraordinarily beautiful, and everyone is able to play and enjoy life.

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Rooms Paper Bird
Paper Bird

Author:
john shelton ivany

paper bird has grown into a band with a unique signature sound with dynamic rhythms and effortless flowing harmonies on their fourth album, "rooms." they have different artists singing lead on their special songs, and it always sounds completely genuine. sometimes they sound operatic and other times genuine folk.

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The World I am Livings In Frances Livings
Frances Livings

Author:
john shelton ivany

"the world i am living in" is the title of frances livings debut full album, and you can hear the electronica sound of the many countries she has visited, which has impacted her style as a writer and performer. she approaches singing with impressive seriousness. and when it comes time to record it feels like someone is singing into her headphones, and then she delivers the songs in her own inimitable style.

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Dragonfly Terra Guitarra
Bruce Hecksel

Author:
john shelton ivany

two acoustic virtuosoes play acoustic guitar on their fourth album, "dragonfly." terra guitarra play original compositions in the popular nuevo-flamenco style. bruce hecksel and julie patchouli put their whole body and energy into their music. when they play, something else seems to enter the room. it's as if they don't put their souls into their art you won't feel the magic they create.

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a Part of Me Madison McKenzie
Madi M Music

Author:
john shelton ivany

madison mckenzie has released, as a gifted singer should, her debut album, entitled "a part of me." she captivates listeners with a sweet, sophisticated sincerity. it feels as if her creation was a very strange process. she must have shut her eyes when she sang. as if she was in another space, and the characters are living in her. and it gently grabs you by the throat. if it doesn't move you when you hear it, then i'm curious as to what does move you.

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Jumbie in the Jukebox Kobo Town
Stonetree Records

Author:
john shelton ivany

drew gonsalves treats us to his personal calypso sound as he leads his band, kobotown. their album is entitled "jumbie in the jukebox." he sings the songs and tells you the story, combining classic elegance with pure soul power.

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Christmas Nneena Freelon & John Brown Big Band
Brown Boulevard

Author:
john shelton ivany

"christmas" is a holiday album by nnenna freelon & the john brown big band that will extend the love of that special day to listeners everywhere. nnenna has become one of the most dramatic instruments in jazz/pop, a deep, pitted carnival barker, a hustler, a crackling furnace. and she can sell a beautiful ballad, too.

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