= Review: Ed Sheeran’s Latest Record is Just Shy of Greatness

Out of all the albums that have been announced and released during the pandemic, I have been most excited for this one. It’s been four long years since we’ve had new music from Ed Sheeran — I don’t count No. 6 Collaborations — and the prospect of another album to blast on repeat was an exciting one. The strategic promotion for this record — with the sparing releases of a few singles over the past several months — filled me with a combination of anxious anticipation and excitement. “Bad Habits”

‘Music of The Spheres’ Review: A Predictable Disappointment

If someone asked me what I think Music of the Spheres is about, I would truly have no answer. I can’t find any throughlines, thematic moments, or motifs. I suppose Coldplay is just years past their strongest work. “Viva La Vida” came out in 2008; “Fix You” in 2005, and the much-lauded “Yellow” was released in 2000. Now, more than 20 years since the pop-rockers first jumped onto the scene comes their 9th record, a strange, odd, eclectic genre-mash of electronically-fueled music that just feels l

‘Mercury – Act 1’ Review: Imagine Dragons’ Strongest Album Since ‘Night Visions’

I haven’t loved an Imagine Dragons album in a very long time. Night Visions — the alternative band’s 2012 debut album — is one of my favorite records of all time. It is a beautiful work, not for its radio-ruling hits like “Radioactive” and “Demons,” but for the deep tracks: “Hear Me;” “Bleeding Out;” “Amsterdam,” etc., etc. The albums that have followed that explosive debut just haven’t done it for me. Both Smoke + Mirrors and Evolve have a handful of amazing songs, but as albums, I never reall

Ratinoff Interview: On Songwriting and Upcoming Record ‘Let It Out’

Once a budding Latin pop star, Jay Ratinoff recently underwent a transformation. Receiving a second baptism as an adult, he legally changed his name to Jay Ratinoff and dove headfirst into a brand new musical project, with a brand new fire fueling his approach. Ratinoff released his first album under the same name in October of 2020, and his sophomore record, Let It Out — featuring the singles “Light Me Up” and “Another Day” — is coming up, with a release scheduled for September of 2021. Read o

‘Human’ Review: OneRepublic Comes Home on Latest Record

I was very apprehensive during the lead-up to this album’s release. Marking OneRepublic’s fifth record — and their first record since 2016 — Human, in a lot of ways, represents a bit of homecoming for the band. OneRepublic’s first three records — Dreaming Out Loud; Waking Up; Native — were all solid entries in the early 2000s pop-rock scene. They were cohesive records full of powerful pop anthems that toed the line between fun intensity and poignant emotion. And those three records boasted seve

Album Review: ‘Take The Sadness Out of Saturday Night’

The highest compliment I can pay Bleachers’ third record, Take The Sadness Out Of Saturday Night, is that it is resoundingly worthy of its Bruce Springsteen feature. Those words — ‘feat. Bruce Springsteen’ — don’t appear on too many songs. The Boss is, understandably, selective about which songs he chooses to lend his vocal talents and fiery, soulful passion to; seeing his name on the second track of this record took me aback and automatically raised my expectations before I had even heard the f

‘Pressure Machine’ review: New album is the Killers at their best

The Killers have come a long way from “Mr. Brightside” and Hot Fuss all the way back in 2004. 2020 marked a huge step forward for the Las Vegas alt-rockers with Imploding The Mirage, a record that was starkly different from any of The Killers’ prior work; it was a record that displayed stunning honesty and beautiful anthems in a different format than The Killers’ usual synth-infused rock ‘n’ roll. The band followed that record soon after its release with a wonderful announcement that once Brand

Jimkata Interview: On Songwriting and ‘Bonfires’

Friends since in middle school, Evan Friedell, Aaron Gorsch and Packy Lunn make up the three-piece indie rock band — suffused with synths, electronics and honest lyrics — known as Jimkata. After releasing six studio albums and building a successful grassroots fanbase, the group took a two-and-a-half-year hiatus, and now mark their return to music with their seventh LP: Bonfires. Read on for our interview with Jimkata, where we talk songwriting and break down the new record. What initially drew

Lee DeWyze Interview: On Intention and Purpose in Songwriting and ‘Ghost Stories’

Lee DeWyze’s career as a singer-songwriter skyrocketed in 2010 when he began competing on American Idol’s ninth season. Soon after securing his golden ticket, he emerged as a frontrunner in the competition, going on to perform stunning renditions of “The Boxer,” by Simon & Garfunkel; “Simple Man,” by Lynyrd Skynyrd and “Hallelujah,” by Leonard Cohen. At the end of May 2010, DeWyze was declared the winner of the ninth season of American Idol, released his first record with RCA Records — Live It U

Destroy Boys Interview: Alexia Roditis on songwriting and the upcoming record

Destroy Boys was started by Violet Mayugba and Alexia Roditis when they were 15 years old — inspired by the California punk rock scene, the duo decided to start a band. The group quickly began to gain notoriety, gaining a fan in Billie Joe Armstrong, the frontman of Green Day. Recently signing with Hopeless Records, the group just announced the October release of their upcoming third record: Open Mouth, Open Heart. Read on for our interview with Destroy Boys singer Alexia Roditis, where we talk

Onsen Interview: On songwriting and new album ‘Keeper’

California-based artist Drew Straus has pinballed around in lots of different areas — from working for Google to doing TV production, to journalistic work in Central America, the multi-linguist and instrumentalist has travelled the world wearing a variety of different hats. On July 14, he released his second record under the moniker Onsen — Keeper — a record that explores themes of self-doubt and longing, among others. Read on for our interview with Onsen, where we talk songwriting and the lates

Shinedown Interview: Brent Smith on Songwriting, Smith & Myers, and Upcoming Record

The hard rock band Shinedown was formed in Florida in 2001 and has gone on to release six studio albums and find a high level of mainstream success. The group has the most number-one singles on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Chart out of any other band, with 16 number one tracks. Every single the group has ever released has charted in the top 5 on that same chart. Recently, Billboard ranked Shinedown number 1 on their Greatest of All Time Mainstream Rock Artists chart. In 2020, frontman Brent Smi

Forty Feet Tall Interview: On songwriting and ‘A Good Distraction’

The alt-rock band known as Forty Feet Tall was started 10 years ago by a group of L.A.-based high schoolers. Banding together, they began writing their own music, playing the classic L.A. club circuit, and building a local fan base. Following a move to Oregon, Forty Feet Tall released their self-titled debut album in 2014. And after a slight line-up change a few years ago, the group recently released its sophomore record: A Good Distraction. Read on for our interview with Forty Feet Tall, where

Emily Davis and the Murder Police Interview: On songwriting and ‘Never A Moment Alone’

Getting started more than 10 years ago by simply posting acoustic Bad Religion covers to Youtube, Emily Davis has gone on to release several solo records and tour extensively with both Bad Religion and Bad Religion frontman Greg Graffin. Recently, as part of the band Emily Davis and the Murder Police, they have released the groups’ sophomore record, Never A Moment Alone. Read on for our interview with Emily Davis, where we take a look at her unique musical journey, and talk songwriting and the n

Interview: January Jane on songwriting and their upcoming EP ‘Your Drug’

Alt-pop group January Jane — made up of Pat Via (vocals), Mitch Mitchell (guitar) and Peter Scialla (keyboard) — are gearing up to release their debut EP Your Drug with BMG records. The group came together through the magic and mystique of New York City, and their upcoming EP is an epic, driving ode to that same city. The group, which was supported and produced by music industry legend Matt Pinfield, is gearing up and excited to tour the new record. Read on for our interview with January Jane si

Who? What? When? Why? & Werewolves Interview: On songwriting and the new record

Andrew Fullerton and Matt Orlando, coming out of the Pennsylvania-based rock band, The Tressels, recently formed the new, bluegrass group, Who? What? When? Why? & Werewolves. In an effort to really showcase the lyrical content of their songwriting, the pair have evolved their sound from the rock ‘n’ roll of The Tressels to a lighter, more Americana sound that is the hallmark of Werewolves. Their sophomore record, Hard Feelings will be released on August 13. Read on for our interview with Werewo

Lisa Crawley Interview: On songwriting and the new EP

Lisa Crawley has followed music around the world, from on-stage performances in her native New Zealand to songwriting in Melbourne, London, and the Banff Centre songwriter residency in Canada. Most recently, she made her way to Los Angeles in 2020, just before the pandemic incited global lockdowns. Through a year of songwriting in a virtual environment, Crawley has released her latest EP — Looking For Love (In A Major) — on July 23. Read on for our interview with Lisa Crawley, where we break do

3 Doors Down Interview: Brad Arnold on Songwriting, The Better Life Tour, and New Music

The Mississippi-based post-grunge band 3 Doors Down burst onto the scene in 2000, with the release of the song “Kryptonite,” a slick post-grunge anthem that showcases the texture and range of Arnold’s voice and helped usher in the post-grunge era that ruled the early 2000s. The group has since released a total of 5 albums, with their most recent record, Us and the Night, having been released in 2016. Now, with the pandemic waning enough to allow live shows to return, 3 Doors Down is back on thei

Van Scott Interview: Scott Oakley breaks down his debut album

Scott Oakley got his start in the Hollywood session scene back in 2008, when he sang on the soundtrack for High School Musical 3. Since then, he has gone on to perform with such film composers as Danny Elfman and Michael Giacchino, on such projects as La La Land, Mulan, and Sing. He is also well-known for his unique song mashups on Youtube, which he performed as part of his first duo, Lord & Lady. Now, he is gearing up to release his first solo debut under the name Van Scott, a full-length recor

Heavenly Reyna Interview: On songwriting and ‘Exit’ (Acoustic)

Raised in constant global motion, Heavenly Reyna is a trilingual singer, songwriter and actress who is fluent in Mandarin and Spanish, as well as English. A talented multi-instrumentalist and popular live-streamer on Twitch and Tik Tok alike, she has recently gained notoriety for covering popular songs in both Spanish and Mandarin. Today, she released the stripped-down acoustic version of her single “Exit.” She will be doing a live-streamed release party at 9 p.m. PT for the single here. Read
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