Archive | September, 2014

Nicole Atkins Is The Way To Musical Fulfillment.

28 Sep

Neptune, New Jersey native Nicole Atkins has released three albums and countless E.P’s, but it is “The Way It Is” on her 2007 debut Neptune City that is the defining moment in her talents as a singer songwriter.

A powerful ballad wrapped up in a cloud of lush and haunting vocals, the tune harkens back to statement making, true slow tempo songs made for singers who could belt notes but still emote shades of emotion. Think of Dusty Springfield’s “You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me” with the vocal tone of Mama Cass a la “Dream a Little Dream of Me.”

Atkins has even covered the above mentioned song on an E.P. entitled Nicole Atkins Digs Other People’s Songs. But it is on her own creations that she shines the most.

With a dark and heartbroken slightly sultry drawl, Atkins delivers a strong and heart tugging torch song that could easily be sung by the likes of more popular throwback artists such as Lana Del Rey.Nuanced and commanding at the same time Atkins makes you feel her pain through her vocal performance alone.

While her other songs may be more catchy and experimental, especially as Atkins evolves as an artist, “The Way It Is” serves a domineering reminder of the songstress inside. Not afraid to give it her all, Atkins displays her heart served raw to an audience that may not be familiar with the concept of torch songs.

Made famous in the 1920’s it takes a fully committed artist with superb vocal chops to sing a torch song as well as Atkins. And while that is not predominately what she is known for, “The Way It Is” in all its retro inspired glory is just the track that makes one sit up from an otherwise good album and notice its greatness.

2007: Neptune City
2011: Mondo Amore
2014: Slow Phaser

Official Website:

Tobias Jesso Jr Is a Musical Dream

21 Sep

A guy at a piano, spilling his heart out to the world. We’ve seen and heard it many times. But Tobias Jesso Jr’s “Just a Dream” is a mixture of all the best artists from the past who are still performing, proving that Jesso is here to stay.

With its quiet unassuming presence “Just a Dream,” is just as powerful as Elton John’s “Your Song” with a dash of piano man Billy Joel’s “She’s Always a Woman” melody.

Simplistic in instrumentation but thought provoking and introspective with truthful lyrics such as “Yesterday I had a baby/Now she’s one year old looks just like her old lady” and the passionate chorus “I can’t explain the world to you/Can’t explain the things people choose to do/There’s a thing called and a thing called hate too” the beauty is reminiscent of The Beatles “Julia” and John Lennon’s “Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy).”

Jesso hails from Canada and has yet to release a debut album, here we hear only a demo, and that alone shows the potential that Jesso has within him. Pitchfork has described his other demos as a “rec-room John Lennon vibe” but perhaps Stereogum sums up Jesso’s sound the best citing “It’s as if he sighs his heartrending nostalgia into existence after poring over old love letters and family scrapbooks, encasing each outpouring of sentiment in wobbly lo-fi recordings that render them well-worn keepsakes from the start.”

This is a man who wears his heart on his sleeve, a serious and sentimental singer/songwriter who is destined to conquer the world.

Official Website:

Travel to the 1920’s with Woodenbox. No Lie!

14 Sep

“King’s Liar” by Woodenbox is a full and rich tune that blends Gatsby-esque 1920’s jazz components with modernity. A truly rare retro inspired song to come across.

There is lots of vivid instrumentation here, the horn and keyboard section standing out the most, evoking memories of Irving Berlin’s 1920’s classic “Puttin on The Ritz.” You may be familiar with Frank Sinatra or with Taco’s 1983 version. But no matter which incarnation you know, Woodenbox conjures up images of flapper girls and decadency.

But while the menagerie of instruments bring forth retro elements, the vocals keep the song current, channeling the alternative front men
of Panic at the Disco and Fall Out Boy. But make no mistake, this combination of jazz age alternative is new and imaginative.

“King’s Liar” is the embodiment of Today’s Retro. And that’s the truth.

Discography: Woodenbox With a Fistful of Fivers (2010), End Game (2013)

Official Website:

Take More Than A Glimpse Of Vacationer

7 Sep

“Glimpse” by Vacationer, with it’s laid back chill vibe, comes across as a mix between 60’s hit “Groovin” by The Young Rascals, the almost Caribbean vibe of many Young The Giant songs, and the vocal soul of Mayer Hawthorne.

What starts off as a trance like instrumental filled with strings and the subtle scratch of a record being played on a turntable, turns into a tune that truly makes one feel like they are on the beach sitting underneath a palm tree.

Relaxing, and full of urban soul, lead singer Kenny Vasoli eases listeners into the track, his voice gliding like a sailboat on calm waters. It also lends to the retro vibe of the song, digging into Eddie Brigati territory while bringing his own rendition of afternoon delight.

Perfect for an sweltering Indian summer, get ready to drift away.

Gone (LP) – 2012
Trip Remixes EP – 2012
Good as New Remixes EP – 2013
Ode 2 Summer Mixtape – 2014
Relief – 2014

Official Website: