Dave Specter "Blues From The Inside Out (Delmark)"
Blues From The Inside Out is the most expressive project of Dave Specter’s 35-year career. Featuring his debut as a vocalist, the album is an exciting and timely celebration of blues, soul, jazz, funk and gospel. These are fine times to hear Specter, an evolving artist who embraces growth and discovery. Blues From The Inside Out includes a guest appearance on guitar by Jorma Kaukonen of Jefferson Airplane/Hot Tuna fame, who also co-wrote one of the album’s 12 original tunes. Specter wrote the uplifting soul anthem for change “March Through the Darkness,” he takes a deep dive into Meters-Neville Brothers inspired rhythms with the instrumental “Sanctifunkious” and sings on the blues shuffle title track. Besides Kaukonen, Specter recruited the Chicago-based Liquid Soul horns and Latin-percussion ace Ruben Alvarez, each playing on three tracks.
Check out the aforementioned “Sanctifunkious.”
Dominic Sen "Visitor (Roll Call)"
Dominic Sen is an actual alien. That’s right, a life from outer space. But something about our silly little planet stopped them in their interstellar tracks. They caught some radio transmissions and fell in love with our pop culture from the 80s and 90s. Visitor (Roll Call), their debut album, is like an art-pop Ziggy Stardust. A “hook-laden and dance-inspiring concept album (that) pulls from the sounds of our recent past to tell the story of another visitor to Earth.” Check out the laid back, sexy “Natural History.”
Vancouver Sleep Clinic "Onward To Zion"
If there is such a thing as a middle ground between ambient music and modern and soulful R&B its because of Vancouver Sleep Clinic that that middle ground exists. On Onward To Zion, his second album as VSC, mastermind Tim Bettison combines the aforementioned genres and mixes in some jazz samples, guitar and piano, meditative, contemplative sounds and… well… it’s just about everything you’d want from an artist that goes by a name as fantastic as Vancouver Sleep Clinic. So connect some like diodes to your head and spend the night at the sleep[ clinic! Check out the ethereal, guitar-heavy (and by guitar-heavy, I mean lots of gentle touch acoustic guitars. not like heavy guitars. although I didn’t have a chance to weigh them, sorry… I’m like 2 “joke” premises in here. Let’s reset.) Check out the guitar-heavy “Fever” and see what we mean!
Hovvdy "Heavy Lifter (Double Double Whammy)"
Heavy Lifter is the 3rd full-length LP from Hovvdy, but the first one that I listened to today. I know, that doesn’t mean much to anyone-but you try to come up with a new intro sentence for all these blurbs! It can be hard! Thankfully, coming up with stuff seems to be far easier for Charlie Martin and Will Taylor of Hovvdy. Their ideas congeal so well, its as natural a fit as can be expected for 2 drummers that met at a baseball games. This a warm, nostalgic sounding collection of bedroom-ish singing and songwriting. Confessional, conversational, and introspective. Sonically, its hard to pin down-tunes run the full spectrum to acoustic guitar and vocals to more roundly produced with piano, bass, drums (once a pair of drummers, always a pair of drummers). The easiest thing to do is to call this a (gasp!) indie record and let your mind fill in the gaps. OR! You could check out the reflective “1999” or the almost alt-country swing of “Watergun” and let your ears fill in the gaps instead.