Mainly Lanes—Oomami: Opening track “Nails,” is grounded by the cello and drives unexpectedly into a rock rhythm with accompanying guitars. Toni Zaman’s vocals sting throughout the track pacing with a curious anthem. Mainly Lanes produces a sound that doesn’t fit neatly into a genre. Clearly it has a rock core, but utilizing strings throughout the tracks with Zaman’s vocal tenderness mellows the sound and melts the core nicely. Out of Northampton, MA the band incorporates lyrics that are simultaneously kind, but also dark in essence. It’s an album that finds focus in the complexity of its composition and keeps the listener afloat throughout.
Kristen Miller—Walk: Using a 1900 Parisian Cello Miller creates the full sound of a complete band. Accompanying the sounds from the cello is Milller’s voice both spoken and sung. A haunting melodic sound is created in combination and elements of jazz, folk and world music is displayed. The album includes eight original compositions and two covers (including the Eurythmics “Sweet Dreams”). Her interpretations of the covers are refreshingly elegant.
Matt Bunsen and the Burners–Greatest Hits: Although a debut release, Matt Bunsen decided to release the best songs from every album he plans to release, even before the albums are released themselves. Additionally, the band coined a new sound that they call “Americana 2.0.” Years on the road prepared this band to take a tongue-in-cheek approach when creating music. With songs titled, “Beer,” “Life on the Road 2.0” and “Drugs Make Me Happy,” the band pounds the endless road with their twangy, country-rock infused jangles that are light on the lyrics and musically sound.
The Toughcats—Pinata: Old-timey bluegrass crosses paths with a pop sensibility and a folky friend to become the Toughcats’ sound. They have shared the bill with The Mammals, The Avett Brothers, The Red Stick Ramblers, Kathy Mattea and others. They tour regularly promoting the album, which was so well liked as a rough cut that it was mastered by Karmaer (producer and former Butthole Surfer). The sounds are masterful and backed with the classic banjo and guitar. It is pan-genergic music (a compliment), but still respectful of and pays tribute to the greats.