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The Singles Lowdown With Gerald Stansbury

Haleigh Martin - 'Bones’ (Self Released)

Martin returns with another wonderful single that captures so much of what I love about her voice. The handclaps get the beat going as she highlights the bluesy elements of her vocals. Her vocal phrasing really carries the song as the other instruments fade into the background while she is singing. The acoustic guitar picks its spots in the mix, but this is clearly Martin’s show. I hope we see this same kind of instrumentation explored when she does a full album.

Poison Boys - ‘Poppin Eyes and Flashing Feet’ (White Zoo)

In the spirit of the much missed Humpers, Poison Boys deliver high quality Punk 'n' Roll that reminds me of everything great about Rock 'n' Roll. Ironically, the title of the single is not the title of either song here. ‘Bustin Out’ sounds like Chuck Berry and Jerry Lee Lewis jamming after downing a case of Red Bulls with the guitar riffs jumping out of the speaker and the piano teetering on the edge of falling over from the keys being hit so hard. ‘Run And Hide’ has been more of a grower, but it IS a grower. The guitar riff is addictive with the band recalling the likes of the Lazy Cowgirls, the Supersuckers, and the Heartbreakers. Be sure to check out their previous singles too.

Emily Ann Roberts - ‘Stuck On Me + You’ (Starstruck Records)

Here in the States, the television show The Voice has been extremely popular, but it has not seen the winners or contestants ever really make an impact anywhere. Emily Ann Roberts shows that there have been some people who deserve to be reaching a wider audience after the show. This song sounds very refreshing compared to the Bro-Country garbage that radio has been playing. With the fiddle and banjo adding to the mix, this fun song would sound like a breath of fresh air on the radio. Roberts sounds like she is having the time of her life, and it is totally infectious.

Stuart Landon - ‘I Can’t Take it Anymore’ (Halo Music)

Roots Rock that is elevated to a higher level thanks to Landon’s vocals. This is the kind of song that stands out in the smoky bar when different artists have been playing to a largely uninterested crowd of people. This is the one where people stop talking and start watching the artist. The vocal hook is not over the top by design but has a subtle quality, that tells all the people like me that can’t sing, you can sing along to this. He’s not reinventing music or genres but has stepped forward with a single that makes a strong opening statement.

Vigil Of War - ‘Choke’ (Self Released)

Hard rockers Vigil Of War return with new single ‘Choke’ which finds the band delivering a midtempo quality Hard Rock song that would sound right at home on Modern Rock radio. The back half of the song takes it to another level as the tempo increases for the great guitar solo by London Stancy and a driving final chorus. This is a band that I have just started listening to recently, and this feels like a nice extension of their EP.

Jaclyn Kenyon - ‘Tombstone’ (Kenyon Records)

This moving ballad by Kenyon is very moving and completely contrasts with her fun previous single ‘Daddy’s Got a Shotgun.’ This is the kind of vocal performance that touches my spirit as I hear a beautiful vocal performance drenched in pain and hurt. The music is sparse, and I really enjoy how the piano interacts with the acoustic guitar and strings. Kenyon obviously wants to make sure she cannot be pigeon holed early in her career.

RunHideFight - ‘He’s a Jerk’/ ‘Because I Love You’ (Hidden Volume Records)

I love the garage rock nuggets of the past and how bands have continued to mine the sound for great songs. These are two enjoyable songs with great female vocals that I will be adding to my next rock playlist and showcase a great start for these veterans in a fresh new band. These songs should be coming at you for a long time on Little Steven’s Underground Garage, and I look forward to hearing more from this band.

Ryan Hamilton And The Harlequins - ‘Straight Up’ (Wicked Cool Records)

I got on the Ryan Hamilton train with the ‘Hell Of A Day’ album. I loved the way he continued to flesh out his sound with ‘The Devil’s In The Details.’ His year long Traitor Club continued to showcase some fine material with some off the cuff covers thrown in to provide more value for money. Since then, Ryan and crew have signed with a record label, and the Traitors are now Harlequins. Our first taste of new material is a cover of Paula Abdul’s ‘Straight Up’ which sadly does absolutely nothing for me. It was only a few years ago that Me First and the Gimme Gimmes did a passable job on this, but it is at least part of their schtick. When Ryan covered ‘Take It On The Run,’ it shined because it did not feel like it was being done for a lark. Hopefully, the new material will find Ryan returning to the evolution of his sound that I was enjoying. It would be quite sad to me if this became a novelty hit and all he was known for when he has such better original material.

Hands Off Gretel - ‘S.A.S.S.’ (Self Released)

Following up the fun ‘Kiss Me Girl,’ Hands Off Gretel continue to showcase an exciting expansion in their sound for their new album that fits them extremely well. This will fit seamlessly on the dance floor in clubs but also contains plenty of aggression and energy with the guitars ringing out of the speakers. Lauren Tate showcases an ability to provide the song everything it needs vocally with the rhythmic approach recalling the likes of the Beastie Boys.

Kalidia - ‘Frozen Throne’

Progressive Power Metal that is built on intricate riffs might be the easy way to describe the music here. What really elevates Kalidia though is the amazing vocals by Nicoletta Rosellini who sings with a crystal clear smoothness that recalls how the sound of angels singing in heaven are described. Her voice is simply from another world. I love the way the guitar solo is done here and look forward to hearing this whole album when it is released. I would highly recommend this to fans of Helloween, Within Temptation, Nightwish, Avantasia, Hammerfall, etc.

Reviews - Gerald Stansbury

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