ALBUM REVIEW: “WIDE AWAKE” by RAYLAND BAXTER

Rayland Baxter is an artist whose music falls under the “alternative country” genre, but his unique sound can’t be put in a box. Stylized “rayLand,” the singer and his mustache are about as funky and fun as his music… and for long-time fans, new album Wide Awake is even more abstract, even more incredible, and…

ALBUM REVIEW: “KINDNESS, A REBEL” by RIVER WHYLESS

With a studious mix of Appalachian chamber pop and lyrical sleight of hand, Asheville group River Whyless has created something special but familiar in their latest release Kindness, A Rebel. While referencing their musical predecessors (see Fleet Foxes and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young), they tread familiar ground and explore interesting territory while never losing a sense of self. With multiple members taking…

ALBUM REVIEW: “NOONDAY DREAM” by BEN HOWARD

When thinking of Ben Howard’s music, eloquence, depth, and raw, unfiltered beauty come to mind. There is something unique and exceptional about his style that tugs at one’s heartstrings and stops you in your tracks. He encompasses anything and everything in his music and blends it with authentic creativity; from resounding piano notes that seem…

ALBUM REVIEW: “CLASSIC” by FREEDOM FRY

French-American couple Bruce Driscoll and Marie Seyrat, otherwise known as Freedom Fry, is an indie-pop duo founded in Los Angeles in 2011 whose authentic but versatile sound has truly changed the game. Their songs, which range from playful blends of instruments and upbeat tunes to vocals with raspy depth and soulful harmonies, tend to illustrate…

ALBUM REVIEW: “HAZE” by THE SHACKS

“I can’t avoid the haze,” sings The Shacks’ Shannon Wise in the opening track of the band’s new record, Haze, as her breathy voice emanates with tender nonchalance. It’s as if she is leaning forward to share a secret—a not-so-well-kept secret, as Wise and bandmate Max Shrager have been setting the scene ablaze since their…

ALBUM REVIEW: “THE UNIVERSE IN YOU” by THE LONELY BISCUITS

The Lonely Biscuits are no stranger to funky guitar riffs, quirky love songs and Napoleon Dynamite vibes. The Universe in You, the indie-rock band’s latest album, is no exception to these characteristics. With its upcoming March 30th release, you’re going to want to crank this one up for the upcoming sunshine and warm weather. The…

ALBUM REVIEW: “LAVENDER” by O SUMMER

When I think of O Summer, I think of passion and the pursuit of dreams, of strength and sophistication, and of brilliance and boldness. I think of an indie-rock crew of fearless pals destined to change the world, and a circle of down-to-earth, funky friends who never miss an opportunity for a snack break at…

ALBUM REVIEW: “STYLO” by TOUBAB KREWE

OG Asheville band Toubab Krewe is breaking their seven-year studio silence with Stylo, their new album set for release on March 2nd.  Again, no words are needed as West African polyrhythmic melodies produced by instruments such as the Kora and Kamele n’goni are partnered with hypnotic beats from a traditional drum set and other African-centric…

ALBUM REVIEW: “YOU ARE HERE” by HIGH UP

Nostalgia in pop culture is at a current all-time high. Social division and unbridled technological advancement runs rampant, and has left many longing for something that feels familiar–for something safe, warm and comforting, something easily agreed upon and easily understood, a shared sense of time and place we can confide in to lift spirits as…

ALBUM REVIEW: “UNCLE, DUKE & THE CHIEF” by BORN RUFFIANS

From beginning to end, there is something familiar—almost comfortingly so—about Uncle, Duke & the Chief, the latest offering from Toronto-based rockers Born Ruffians. The band may be returning to its original trio form for the first time since its 2015 album, Birthmarks, but there is no mistaking the Ruffians’ sound. Bursting with acoustic guitar riffs…