Bandits On The Run, “The Criminal Record”
Whether it’s their three-part harmony, crafty lyrics, soulful-folksiness or overall musicianship there something undeniably charming about Bandits on the Run and “The Criminal Record” showcases that. Cellist Sydney brings a sophistication to the band’s overall sound with each stroke of her bow while Adrian’s guitar-styling and All-American sound brings a folksy flare to the trio as Regina rounds out the sound with her rhythm and blues infused vocals.From start to finish the album grabs a hold of your heart and for eight tracks holds it captive returning it slightly modified; full of love and optimism, yes the album is that good. For those reasons and for many more I fail to articulate Bandits on The Run’s “The Criminal Record” is our pick for Album of The Year.
Giselle, “Not Ready to Grow Up”
Chilling, hauntingly beautiful, Giselle’s operatic vocals will give you goosebumps. “Come, I’ll protect you” Giselle beckons during the eerily powerful “Epigraph” and album opener of her 9-track EP, “Not Ready to Grow Up,” it sets the tone for what becomes an exploration of sound and soul. From tracks like “Child Idols,” “I woke up” and the titular, “Not ready to grow up” Giselle triumphs with an emotional, heartbreakingly beautiful record.
Dolly Parton, “I Believe In You”
Country music legend Dolly Parton released her first children’s record on October 13th. The album, “I Believe In You” features a collection of children’s songs written and performed by Dolly. The 14-track record is full of life lessons and beautiful vocals and includes a re-recording of her classic, “Coat of Many Colors.” It’s an album suitable for children as well as adults.
Liv Lombardi, “Freedom Girl”
Santa Fe singer-songwriter Liv Lombardi delivers in her EP, “Freedom Girl.” The 5-track EP is a joyous listen from start to finish. The titular track, “Freedom Girl” is an anthemic groovy pop tune you never want to end. Then “Heart on Fire” kicks off and you’re transported to a happier place reminiscent of indie 90s retro pop. When she sings, “you smile” in “Heart on Fire” you can’t help but do just that.
Demi Lovato, “Tell Me You Love Me”
Demi Lovato is back with her sixth studio album, “Tell Me You Love Me” an infectious pop album full of up-tempo tracks like, “Sexy Dirty Love,” “Sorry Not Sorry” and “Games.” Then she slows things down with tracks like “You Don’t It For Me Anymore,” “Only Forever” and blows it out the water with her signature powerful vocals. This album compliments her trajectory nicely; she’s clearly in control of her career and flaunts it with each new record.
Alejandro Fernandez, “Rompiendo Fronteras”
International Latin music star Alejandro Fernandez captures audiences’ ears and hearts with his fifteenth studio album, “Rompiendo Fronteras.” The Spanish-language album, which coincided with the 25th anniversary of his career and proves he’s still on top of his game the album is a Latin pop delight from start to finish. The Mexican singer delivers another instant classic with tracks like, “Se Que Te Duele,” “Quiero Que Vuelvas” and “Tienes Que Entender” there’s no denying his staying power.
Released in September of 2017, “January” is a breath of fresh air. Singer-songwriter TRISTN delivers an up-tempo, jubilant, pop rock album that is guaranteed to put a smile on your face. From leadoff single, “Sky Wide Open” to deeper cuts like “Last Goodbye” and “All of You” there’s no denying we now have a new alternative pop rock queen.
Dua Lipa, “Dua Lipa”
Dua Lipa’s self-titled debut album gave all recently broken hearted girls something to aspire to with her breakout single, “New Rules” warning, “if you are under him you ain’t getting over him.” The infectious up-tempo pop beats is sprinkled throughout the album and even features a collaboration with R&B singer Miguel on a song titled, “Lost in Your Light.” Her vocals are beautiful and excites me for what comes next.
Singer-songwriter Demar’s EP, “Rebels” is “fire” her vocals are incredible and her EP has been described as the type of album that can get you through a break up. Five tracks simply aren’t enough when each track is better than the next. The songstress provides a well-crafted, introspective, dark-pop album that everyone should listen to.
P!nk, “Beautiful Trauma”
Undeniably P!nk is one of those prolific artists who marches to the beat of her own drummer and everything she touches turns into delicious pop gold. In “Beautiful Trauma” her seventh studio album P!nk bestows another introspective, well-crafted pop record. Tracks “What about us,” “Revenge” and “Whatever you want” are among the standouts. When it comes to P!nk my motto is, “take all my money!”
Gina Zo, “Free Your Soul”
Gina Zo is one of those rare artists that transform right before your eyes, her sweet speaking voice lowers into a bit of a growl as she sings, its almost guttural and with each note she reveals a piece of her soul. “Free Your Soul” is her full-length album and features some of the most infectious pop tunes in indie music tracks like, “Group Love,” “My Heart” and “Drunk on a Tuesday” are proof of that. Like Gina the album has a cool hip vibe to it you can’t help but dance along to.
From the moment I heard the single, “Praying” the first single off Kesha’s album “Rainbow” I knew she had something special. The album like the single is powerful, moving and sets her apart from other pop acts out these days. The album explores forgiveness of oneself and others and it’s clear she is talking about her personal struggles with her former producer who does not deserve to be named. She shines best when she’s authentically herself and clearly she is that on this record.
Tamar Eisenman, “On My Way”
Tamar Eisenman is an Israeli guitar virtuoso whose folk and blues, guitar-driven “hip rock” is masterfully showcased on her April 21, 2017 release “On My Way.” From the breakout single, “Hit Me” to the equally enjoyable, “Easy Comes Free” there’s an undeniable slickness to Tamar Eisenman’s vocal stylings that shouldn’t be ignored, everyone needs to listen to this record.
Jackie Venson, “Transcends”
Jackie Venson is one of those talents that come once in a lifetime. Her guitar skills are remarkable and vocals are just as great. She showcases her talent well in her EP, “Transcends” a positive, happy, feel good record with a message. There’s something magical about this artist; she can turn any skeptic into a believer, there’s still great blues and rock n roll out there and Jackie Venson is at the forefront of it. Five tracks simply aren’t enough by the end of the EP you are left hungering for more.
K. Flay, “Every Where Is Some Where”
K. Flay set the tone with her 2016 EP release, “Crush Me” and this year her full-length album, “Every Where Is Some Where” is an amendment to her Crush Me EP in which solidifies K. Flay as an indie powerhouse. Her vocals are crisp and cool as she alternates between singing and rapping, the rock elements really adds to the overall sound of the album. “Every Where Is Some Where” is a triumph and should be celebrated as such.