The Way Live Should Be

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Category Archives: CD Reviews

Ill by Instinct’s new album Second Wind; Review # 4 from our list of 5 2012 Albums by Maine Artists You Must Own!

5 2012 Albums by Maine Artists you should own:

Sandbag; Sloppy Jays (read our album review here!)

Line of Force; Symbiotic (read our album review here!)

Running Gags; Yeah, No (read our album review here!)

Ill By Instinct; Second Wind

Restless Groove; Self-Title EP

Here at the Way Live Should Be we have varied tastes in music, but we tend to gravitate to music that challenges us and is often very intellectual. Ill By Instinct‘s new album 2nd Wind is no exception, but it does stand out as some of the deepest and intensively crafted hip-hop we have heard (featuring 100% production by El Shupacabra). For those of us who prefer a solid beat and a sound that is pleasing to the ear, don’t stop reading; 2nd Wind has that too. The beats on this album will stick in your head as the words work their way under your skin.

Buy the album via Bull Moose or listen here!!

The primary theme and most unique aspect of 2nd Wind is its “great American classic novel” qualities; Ill By Instinct, if nothing else, is a fantastic storyteller. This album is filled with literary verse and craftsmanship using  metaphor, drama and theater, climax and resolution. The more I listened to this album, the more every song surpassed my expectations and impressions from the prior listen. The tone of voice, speed, and enlightened lyricism is paired ideally with instrumental beats that really seem to accent the message and style of the rhymes. Additionally, although the beats all tend to be instrumental at their base, many of the songs are layered to create an industrial feel that lends a strong continuity to the album. The combination creates an emotionally powerful sound that is the perfect stage for IBI’s complex and challenging words.

The song concepts vary from outright, intricate storytelling (Room to Breathe, Knowledge of Self) to extensive criticism of Western society and resonating descriptions of the intensity of surviving within that society. My personal favorite was Calm and Collected; which serves to build a crescendo that culminates in the battle in the song Knowledge of Self. Calm and Collected is a great representative of the album as a whole; the beats set a theatric stage for the well versed drama that discusses the complexity of life; ridding oneself of affliction, recognizing our humanity, and “as intimate as it is limitless”. Whether you are a music fan who will hang on IBI’s every word or who will focus primarily on the musical craftsmanship and tight beats you will not be disappointed by 2nd Wind.

Track Listing:

Look Around:

This song is difficult to pinpoint a specific topic for, making it a solid introductory track. Discussing hidden evil, sanity, and struggle; the song introduces a lot of the themes that reappear throughout the album. Additionally it introduces IBI’s heavy style in an almost scatterbrained way; engaging interest and easing the listener in for some more seriously elaborate pieces later in the album.

Room To Breathe:

A story that would border on gossip in “real-life”, this song is a wonderfully told tale of overcoming challenges and oppression, disappointment, tragedy and sadness. There are many themes the listener can identify with, including blazing one’s own trail in the face of opposition and falling hard over obstacles. “His demons tried to get him, but his brain wouldn’t let them.” This is also one of the tracks where the beats are almost industrial sounding and work really well to set the story that is told.


A seemingly inward look into the personal trials of the artist and specifically getting back up after a fall.  “Voluntary solitary, not solving any problems, yet he wanders unapologetically”.

Bring Back the Love ft. Kristina Kentigian:

Such an awesome song… definitely one to “play on blast”; turn this one up LOUD. Another of my favorites for its layered beats and instrumental accents. The rhymes specifically address being passionate about what you do, controlling your perspective and interacting with your surroundings as an artist. “If I wasn’t doing this I would be a doctor or a lawyer instead of sacrificing my life to do what I enjoy”.

Calm and Collected:

My favorite song on this album; Calm and Collected serves as the build up to the crescendo in Knowledge of Self. The dramatic piano based beat, the use of verbal stage setting and characterization of abstract concepts (“deception lurks waiting to stick its head in”), and especially the breathing in this song creates a strong emotionality and fantastic sense of the theater of everyday life.

Knowledge of Self:

This song is an epic battle story complete with virtue and the great conflict between two opposing brothers. The beat builds the climax and power of this track beautifully.

After All:

A heady track that begins the resolution of the album with blatant societal criticism and religion based metaphors; this is another of my favorites. “Keeping it PC and rated G while the world is in a cataclysm, meanwhile just nag at the system and claim to be the victim… Yet he who holds stones should not throw them, instead build a foundation for our people to have a home in… Its our own people who scare us and who have for a long time.”

Hometown Hero:

This track celebrates the individual who works the average 9-5, blending in to their society and yet still spends their passion and energy making others aware of the bullshit we are constantly being fed;

“Somewhere there is a model citizen, bridging gaps to fit in with a system that restricts them to a victim… Subliminal threats they use to fill up your head, do you believe what you’re fed? You’re awake but instead if you obey what they said, then your thoughts are vacant and dead.”

Then lamenting how fucked our society is and avoiding its attempts to diminish our humanity and consciousness via mass distraction;

“When they are only concerned with airing out the dirty laundry from the other side of the dichotomy, how about a bipartisan apology for the invasion of our private property? … Its on the average citizen to arm himself with information for only through education can we change the situation we’re facing.”

Town Crier:

The final track of the album offers some concluding thoughts and advice for listeners and lets us back into our own realities as gently as is possible. “You can’t buy it or steal it, If you have it you can’t give it back, It’s the meaning of life and it’s the way we interact with the people we pass… Can’t leave it to the diplomats to keep the planet intact, we need a plan of attack… This is where it all begins because this is where it ends, now I’ve got my second wind.”

Additionally, Ill by Instinct and El Shupacabra are the duo behind Portland’s Rap Night, Wednesdays at the Big Easy. Check IBI out there or like him on facebook to keep an eye out for his next show!


-edited by Kim Morrison


The Running Gags’ new album Yeah, No; Review # 3 from our list of 5 2012 Albums by Maine Artists You Must Own!

5 2012 Albums by Maine Artists you should own:

Sandbag; Sloppy Jays (read our album review here!)

Line of Force; Symbiotic (read our album review here!)

Running Gags; Yeah, No

Ill By Instinct; Second Wind

Restless Groove; Self-Title EP

There has been a lot written about the Running Gags’ new album Yeah, No already, so we will try to keep our review short and to the point. The album has been called genre-hopping and generally seems to be regarded by reviewers as having musical split personalities. Dispatch writers have gone so far as to say,

“I’m not saying that The Running Gags have to find a box and stay within the boundaries of it, but it would be nice if they knew which box fit them best and in what general vicinity that box was located.”

… but then followed that up with;

“There is overwhelming potential on display but it is clouded by genre hopping and I think, on some level, a lack of nailing down what the band is supposed to be.”

While it is true that each song on the album tends to differ in its influences and style references; it is not to say there is no cohesion to the album. A personal need for a band to figure out what they are “supposed to be” is just that; one individual’s personal, media influenced need (music wasn’t so rigorously placed within specific genres until record companies needed to define a language to make marketing easier). What the Gags are offering is original and unique for its intense musical excellence regardless of what style of music they play. Yeah, No will not appease a music listener who wants a continuous and similar song to song feel. Rather, the music listener who will appreciate and enjoy the Running Gags, and this album specifically, is that individual with a wide array of musical preferences and whose main requirement is technical skill and creativity. The Gags have that aplenty. If you appreciate a musical group that can offer you several different facets of themselves with each facet as honed and fulfilled as the last, then the Yeah, No is the album for you.

With that little rant aside, Yeah, No has clear punk, pop, and rock influences with some ska and reggae references mixed in. I do feel this album was meant to be an introduction for listeners to the full range and potential of the Gags; a sort of declaration of their abilities. I found the album energizing and exciting; the first time I ever heard the Running Gags I thought they had a lot of classier 90’s influences (we first wrote about them in 2010! Check it out here). Over the years they have grown significantly and left some of that 90’s style behind for a more full and heavier overall sound. Yeah, No features this perfectly; on the album the band offers the listener an extremely well crafted snapshot of their current stage in their life as the Running Gags. Yet one can tell they don’t take themselves too seriously; the music communicates a level of fun, creativity, humor, and potential that leaves me without a doubt that they will continue to evolve and always be offering their audience some totally new part of themselves. One of the Gag’s greatest qualities is that there is so much technical skill, difference in musical inspiration, and drive behind each member of the group and yet simultaneously so much cohesion in the band as a single functioning unit. These guys are going to continue to offer excellent and unique material throughout their career; so buy the ticket and take the ride!

Buy the album here!

The Running Gags have shows lined up in Portland, Waterville, Naples, and even Manchester, NH! Check out their schedule here! Make sure to catch them when they open for the Rustic Overtones in September at Titcomb Mountain in Farmington, ME!!

Favorite Songs:

Mr. Invincible; has some of the most rocking bass and guitar lines, also very catchy.

Too Loud; this song is a Rager, has some awesome layering of vocals  and really features the tight skills of the drummer throughout.

OMKAJ; this song, along with Just A Tree, features some excellent saxophone. This song is an a rollercoaster jam session and just overall fantastic.

Neat Fact about the Gags: If you have never seen them before; we have always been impressed by the fact that the “guitarist” and “bassist” switch rolls constantly depending on which song they are playing!

For a more song by song assessment of Yeah, No check out the Maine Campus’ review here.

Also, Dispatch’s review is here.


Line of Force’s new album Symbiotic; Review # 2 from our list of 5 2012 Albums by Maine Artists You Must Own!

5 2012 Albums by Maine Artists you should own:

Sandbag; Sloppy Jays (read our album review here!)

Line of Force; Symbiotic

Running Gags; Yeah, No

Ill By Instinct; Second Wind

Restless Groove; Self-Title EP

Line of Force’s new album Symbiotic is a celebration of life, pure and simple. The main reason you should own this album is for the good feelings it will bring minus the fluff and poppy sounds so typical of the “feel good genre”. Symbiotic really brings a level of positivity, thankfulness, and awareness that left me feeling uplifted. This album is loaded with instrumentality that evokes good feelings and good times. Yet it is not simplistic or overly lighthearted; the music has a definitive mature, serious sound that balances the positivity that is inherent in Line of Force’s style. Although this group is not one that cycles through extended, face melting solos; still I found myself shaking my head at various points throughout the album at the level and quality of musicianship. Placing this group in a genre is difficult; there are jamband, soul, funk, blues and jazz influences spread throughout. One of my favorite aspects is the clear Tom Waits influence to the vocal style; especially noticeable in Track 6; Us Against Them.

It is hard to isolate what separates Line of Force from other bands I have heard. Certain riffs and tracks definitely remind me of your average festival band; the upbeat tempo and light hearted guitar contribute a lot to that association. However, I think the intelligent lyrics,  instrumental skill, elevated horn/sax and the tendency throughout for multiple simultaneous and back up vocalists give the album a spiritual cast that conveys a lot of forethought and craftsmanship. Themes of gratitude, love, and coming together strongly support my initial impressions. Take the song Just Be; the song is simultaneously high energy, uplifted, and rough at the edges (in a good way… its in the lead vocals).

I have to take a second and share the band’s description from their facebook page, it really helps capture what I am trying to share with you:

“We were born of the notion that much of what you hear on the radio is utter crap, distracting you from the notion that you are composed of radiant beams of light and the creators of untold alternate realities. We have come to listen and unfold new and better realities with you…”

This is exactly what Line of Force is; they convey their passion for the true potential in each one of us through their music as clear as if they were yelling it at you. Instead, they turn it into sweet, sweet music and communicate directly to your soul.

The album starts very upbeat, but gradually gets more serious and slightly heavier (in theme) the deeper you get in; peaking with Us Against Them, the most Tom Waits influenced of all the tracks in vocals and tempo. The final four songs are quite a bit slower, yet the decrease in tempo and the prettiness of these songs really works for the album as a well developed composition. My only complaint about Symbiotic is the final song (All My Life); it leaves the listener with a slight sense of discord and lack of balance,  a feeling that seems out of place compared to the rest of the album despite the song’s relative strength as an individual composition. However, Symbiotic is a fantastic album that will really appeal to individuals who normally may not get into that jam-soul style.

Buy Symbiotic from Bull Moose Music here or at your nearest store!! Keep your eye out for our next review of a Maine made album you should own; Yeah, No from the Running Gags!

 Symbiotic Track Listing

Come On: Strong jamband and funk influences, this song is a perfect intro song. Come On is very fun and uplifting.

Troopin’: Similar to Come On in overall feel, but more intricate and featuring some extra elevated musicianship.

Gratitude: One of my favorites; fantastic saxophone and backup vocals really make this song stand out. The theme of thankfulness and inner strength is very compelling.

Just Be: Featuring some higher energy rock and funk influences, this song is very high energy and also polished.

Jefferson’s Blues: As the name implies, this track is a bit bluesy and features some great gruff vocals and fantastic brass.

Us Against Them: My top favorite for its obvious Tom Waits influence, but still keeping in with that unique Line of Force style. Additionally, the subject matter is really interesting (see below)

Ostrich: A really gorgeous song about “pulling my head out of the sand”; strong themes of maturing and overcoming personal struggles.

The Key: A slow tempo, pretty song discussing unity and oneness.

Symbiotic: This song starts off slow, but builds in intensity and is a strong title track. I feel as if this would have made a good final song.

All My Life: A very slow track, not my favorite, but still a strong composition.

Us Against Them lyrics:

I’m not too broken up no more
bout guns or drugs or games
or the man’s tired old and feeble lies
bout from where and from whence they came
I can see right through the blares and glares
of a media long lost in the static in the air
and I don’t want none of the circling cycle
repeating the same verse again
yet I write and I blather and sit on my ass
until the sword is mightier than the pen
i’m more interested in retribution a grand redistribution
of the billions of stolen moments of lovers that have
gone to the angry maw of the machine
I’m more interested in the sanctity of a kiss

I’m not too broken up about all the broken families
who’ve been bloodied for generations
by a perpetually funded and preconceived notion
that it’s a pertinent game of ‘us against them’
and even now I’m on the hunt for the next stolen moment
from the work/tax/kill situation
in a superfluous attempt to escape the onslaught
of information over time and exponential increases in ‘us against them’
i will sit by my window and listen
to the cycle the circle the undivide
the beginning the middle the ride

i’m not too tired to respect
what is given and taken away
or to forgive the man and his lies
for breaking the family and robbing the grave
i’m done with the mediocrity of the mediocracy
that celebrates the divine in the cheap
I’m done with it eating me up from behind
as my protest becomes the method of enslavement
and I’m done bustin my hump just to finance the pump
and bigger and shittier pavement

I’m more interested in gardens and grapes and joy
not yet gone to the angry maw of the machine
I’m more interested in the sanctity of forgiveness
I’m more into devising an inaction uprising
that chooses not to participate in the game
to take down the notion of mindless devotion
to a ’cause’ that is ‘us against them’
right now let us prowl look around you now
and find somebody to love
in a last ditch attempt to forget our bodies exist
and eradicate ‘us against them’


Sandbag’s New Album Sloppy Jays; the first in our list of 5 2012 Albums by Maine Artists You Must Own!

5 2012 Albums by Maine Artists you should own:

Sandbag; Sloppy Jays

Line of Force; Symbiotic

Running Gags; Yeah, No

Ill By Instinct; Second Wind

Restless Groove; Self-Title EP

The first album in our 2012 “Albums from Maine Artists You Should Own” list is Sandbag’s Sloppy Jays. It is named for the two producers that worked on the album; Slop and Jay Caron. Additionally, the album features the vocals of Kristina Kentigian on the track Mundane Lives.

Of the two prior albums I have heard from Sandbag (Rappers Are Emotional and the mix tape, Pay Attention; available for free download here) this album really demonstrates the potential and skill of the group; not just as a Maine hip-hop group, but as eclectic and intellectual musicians. The best bands lead you to discover other talented artists and Sandbag does not fail to offer that key element.

Sloppy Jays, more than their two prior releases, sounds truly complete. It stands on its own as a creation, to some extent, separate from the band. Sloppy Jays is essentially greater than the sum of its parts. If you are a Sandbag veteran, familiar with Rappers Are Emotional and Pay Attention like we are, then perhaps you will at first be taken aback by the raw emotionality that is more evident on this album than in the past.. One could argue that the ratio of emotional and relationship commentary to political, social, and philosophical analysis is higher on this album than on the prior two. Although at first I wasn’t sure how I felt about the increased emotional element, the more I listen to the album the more I love it exactly as it is. I think it is important, as a music fan, to recognize when our passion for a specific aspect of a musical group keeps us from evolving with the artist in question; inhibiting us from recognizing the strengths in their change and growth.

Growth is definitely a key aspect of Sloppy Jays. This likely is in part due to the influence of the two producers. The song to song flow is spot on, and far surpasses that of either of the former albums. Additionally, each individual song sounds perfectly composed down to the artful, instrumental beats, the choruses, the secession and synchronism of the four emcees, and even the vocals seem better matched to the beats themselves. A phenomenal example of this is the song M.Y.O.B.

This is not to argue that each prior album is not absolutely awesome. We are huge Sandbag fans, the intellectual and enlightened lyrics are like old friends; blunt, honest, challenging our preconceptions, and still oddly comforting.  If one only listens, they could easily find several common themes many of us could identify with; struggling with the status quo, struggling to “succeed”, societal oppression, and the role of people power. Specifically though, Sloppy Jays brings the best overall sound experience of any of the Sandbag albums so far.

Sloppy Jays is available at Bull Moose Music and should soon by downloadable via Itunes. Keep your eye on the Sandbag facebook page for more information! Also, keep an eye out for our reviews of the other 4 albums on our list; coming soon!

Track Listing:


Well Laid Plan: “We wrote this so you would take notice” a sort of treatise on the power inherent in the Sandbag crew.

That Was Then: A short history of the individual members, an introduction to their love of hip-hop and the history of the band as a whole.

Book of Verse: One of our favorites; lots of heavy lyrics addressing the questionable integrity of popular music and questioning the potential for more legitimate artists.

Playmate: An interesting perspective into what it may feel like to be in the public eye, primarily about females… or a specific female.

M. Y. O. B. : Mind Your Own Business… one of our favorite tracks for its overall perfection. A track that delves deeper into the idea of constantly being in the public eye and encouraging people to, well, MYOB.

Forgive (Forget): Another more emotional song regarding relationships.

Mudane Lives ft. Kristina Kentigian: We really enjoy Kentigian’s vocals in this song, they make it really full and complete; the song is important to the success of the album as a whole. A definite favorite for its subject matter; themes that most creative or intellectual individuals trying to make their way through human society can identify with.

Downward Spiral: A perfect concluding track discussing judgment, deeper meanings of life, and final reckonings. Where can this crazy human existence be headed?

Flat Trumpets: This song is harder to summarize; some themes include inner strength, insanity of human society, and personal struggles.

Some of our favorite excerpts:

We write rhymes to right wrongs, bygones are bygones, but I’m gone with no retrieval, medieval dark ages, contagious thoughts breaking,  restraints at the round table, sound save you, play for the imaginations make for a new breakthrough, disdainful cause painful regret and false label, Strip the page through for the faithful like sacred songs of angles that we play you.

Got that inner focus so it isn’t hopeless, doing my thing to little or no notice, I’m less concerned with the outcome than the motives.

Small world still so many suffer, earth’s mother
Must we heed these sins, and take back our land?
Stand firm demand answers of the faculties of man?
3 bodies of the government, souless husks
Of a ponzi-scheme heirarchy going bust

Yea I’m in this rat race, I’m praying that I’m at least a tortoise, I’m at my poorest just to live in a house owned by corporate bank investor lobbyists with an American dream portrait, but as I gripe I think of the less fortunate, from the hungry to our soldiers being sent to wars for shit , pretending I know what horror is but I could never understand the mental baggage of shooting some armed foreign kid.

I just brave what I hate and I see what life has to offer.

Isaac Newton I’m assuming, is natural law defined by the guy that proves it?, that cycle stifles movement, we can fly but they got us staring at the sky asking (why) asking.., I work 28 hours a day, 9 days a week, 40 days a month and evade sleep, remain skeptical to western medicine, guess I’m just more Tesla than Edison….. Fascinated by the synchronicities, and the sick twisted histories of those who live in this city, get busy, make amends, sing with me break bread while we face the end.


2011 Rap Radar

We wanted to take a minute to mention some of the albums that have hit our radar throughout 2011. Not all of them came out in 2011…but most of them!

This album is great! The thing I love most about a lot of these songs is Kirby Dominant’s willingness to address both the potential absurdity of interacting with people (“Weed Man”), and the typical insecurities that often preoccupy our minds. Kirby basically introduces himself as a whale in the second track (“Orca”): “I feel like a whale, I look like a whale/I drink like a whale, can’t you fuckin tell?/I’m drownin in the sea of life…” (Watch the video Here). This is an interesting claim…but a little self-deprecation is always amusing, and helps to create some balance in terms of the tone of the album. The next track is “Feeling Inside” and it makes me want to celebrate life for a minute or two. (“This song is beautiful, oh my god!”) They released the video for this track earlier this month.
Check it out:

While some typical aspects of rap and hip hop can be found on this album (testosterone driven wordplay, bangin’ beats, & swagger), they are all filtered through the Paranoid Castle perspective. Which consists of a pleasant balance between honor and mockery.
To thoroughly enjoy this album: Buy It, Appreciate Satire.

  • TrailsTrails &Co. EP – November 2011

Trails consists of rapper Syn The Shaman and producer/DJ theLin. The chemistry is spot on between these two, and it really creates a seamless delivery both on stage and on the Trails & Co. EP. Four local artists are featured throughout the EP: O.D., Ill By Instinct, Kristina Kentigian, and ALT (who is featured on three out of the six tracks) all make this EP extra enjoyable! Get some Trails tunes Here!

Here’s the Trails video for the track “It Goes On” which is not actually on this EP…It’s on their full length album Fits & Starts (2010), but it’s one of the stronger tracks on the album, and really represents the evolved style that is displayed on the Trails&Co. EP.

  • El Shupacabra (The Floppy Disk Jockey) – Shupe’s Back – 2011

El Shupacabra is personally a trusted source within the Portland scene. Shupe is approximately 25% of the local group Sandbag, and holds down the weekly Rap Night at The Big Easy. He seems to be constantly contributing to the local scene, yet manages to stay a bit elusive…which is why I have no links in this section, and I can’t really tell you where to get this album, other than come to Rap Night sometime and see if he has any left.

Hell, we’re lucky there’s video of the performance at Geno‘s the night he released Shupe’s Back:

I’m pretty sure he took some material he had kickin’ around and threw the whole thing together in under a week. And it’s damn good. Ill By Instinct prays on Track 5 (“IBI’s Prayer”), and MC 22 is featured on Track 8, “Eat Your Dinner.” Go find Shupe’s Back. It’s sentimental and progressive. And probably like, 3 bucks.

I saw his Homeless performance back in September when he was on tour with Aceyalone, and I really dug it. I hadn’t listened to any of his recorded stuff yet though, and I think he’s still working on capturing his live energy in his recordings. Homeless has a style of his own, but he’s feelin’ things out still. He makes a lot of direct references in his songs that seem to carry his weight. I wanna know what effect these references have directly on his perspective. It’s interesting to know what influences someone, but it’s more interesting to find out why. I really like the song “Sophia Loren.” It’s personal. First person narrative revealing some truth.

Here’s the video for the song “Dream World”:

MC Homeless is working closely with some great artists…I’m pretty excited to see how his sound evolves. Keepin’ an eye on this cat!

Stay posted about Homeless stuff on Facebook, Check the album out Here

  • Adeem – Made in New Hampshire – Adeem & DJ MF Shalem – 2011

Sooo…I haven’t actually listened to this album yet, but I got to hear this song off of it: “Get It
I dig this track, and I’m into Adeem in general. Plus, he’s representin’ NH, and so am I (for now). You can grab the album Here. (This is also a Note to Self)

  • Lady Essence – Right Now – Aug 2011 – P. Dank. Check out the interview and album review Here

Check out some of this stuff if you haven’t! I made it super easy for you. Links and videos galore.
I’d also like to mention that I’ve seen all of these acts live at Rap Night in Portland at The Big Easy. Wednesday Nights.

Lady Essence: “Right Now” Album Review and Interview

Lady Essence released her first solo album, Right Now, this past August. Essence is channeling the creative aspects of rap, and addressing a lot of relevant social and political issues while delivering strong insight into herself as a person and an artist. Don’t get caught up on the arrangement of her chromosomes or you’ll be missin’ the point.

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Grant Street Orchestra’s Debut Album “Passionately Late” CD Release Party Oct. 14th at The Big Easy!

Grant Street Orchestra, a funk infused hip-hop group straight out of Portland, ME, have their first album “Passionately Late” coming out Friday October 14th! After spending many hours working on this album, Passionately Late shaped up into a great CD with with some great reminiscent style tunes and lots of feel-good funk to dance to.

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Review: Eyenine’s New Album “Afraid to Dream” (Releasing Oct. 7th)

 Afraid to Dream is an album Eyenine has been working on since 2004. Seven years spent working on an album had me skeptical; I was thinking it would sound overdone, irrelevant. After spending a few days listening and assessing, I think he nailed it. That time spent wasn’t necessarily all rooted in obsessive scrutiny…

Photo by Joe Giusti

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Earphunk! New CD “Comin’ Up” is out Friday May 27th!

Earphunk’s first cd, “Comin’ Up” is out TODAY!

This album is 9 tracks of funk-filled grooves oozin’ that unbreakable New Orleans style, and will linger in your mind long after it stops playing. The tracks on “Comin’ Up” vary from the solid, reminiscent New Orleans funk, seductive latin-esque jams (Track 9, Aright Tonight), to some down&dirty funk with soaring crescendos (Track 3, Stuck In A Funk-one of our favorites).

Earphunk is comin’ up straight out of New Orleans. The group consists of 5 members: Christian Galle on keys, Mark Hempe on guitar and vocals, Michael Matthews on drums, Paul Provosty on guitar, and Michael Comeaux on bass. They’ve been playing together for a couple years now, performing throughout the South and Midwest.

Here’s what we had to say about these cats when we first saw them:

Each track on the album displays beatific ensembles and some serious musical cohesion. TMF (Track 8.) and Earuption (ft. Khris Royal!)(Track 6) have some horns added in, and this is something we had been wanting to hear more of! It adds a solid backbone to TMF and displays great local talent on Earuption with Khris Royal on alto sax.

I had a chance to chat with Jim Morrison about the CD, and asked him what he thought. While discussing the excellent musicianship demonstrated throughout each song, he claimed that “Earphunk will put spunk in ya junk.” Interested in seeing what more they’d have to offer live, Jim is yet another fan up in the Northeast eagerly awaiting an Earphunk show!
If you get the chance to see these guys live, go! They always put on a damn good show, and seem to create their own vibe with the audience. We can’t wait for them to come up to New England!

Combining their skills, knowledge, and many hours spent, “Comin’ Up” shaped into a great CD with endless feel good funk and lots to offer. The new CD comes out Friday, May 27th and you can get it on iTunes or their website here:

CD release party is at One Eyed Jacks in Earphunk’s hometown, New Orleans!

Restless Groove: The Forest of Dance

Recently, the members of The Way Live Should Be were allowed to get a sneak preview of Restless Groove’s new album, The Forest of Dance, in its first round of done. While there was some decent feedback offered, the results of all their hard work and valuable time blew expectations clean out of the water. Don’t get me wrong, Restless will always be fantastic live, but one thing I learned the other night was how much the band still has to offer their fans; I get the feeling there is more and more and more to Restless Groove than meets the eye. Fans of RG really have no idea of what is coming their way.

It is evident that the band has put a lot of time into this album and the “tightness” of their playing was evident. Genres touched on include a Michael Jackson influenced sound to 70’s prog rock with some definite references to early Red Hot Chili Peppers. The real highlight of the early mix is use of guitar effects, more then I have seen them use live. Also, the strength and undercurrent of the bass and drums lent serious cohesion to the album. Although the sound overall is structured and well organized many of the songs had an “extended jam” quality. I feel that I, and at least a few other Restless fans, have longed for this in their live scene and I love that we will get it on their new album. And though I use the term “structure” have no fear; even their slightly less jammed out tunes are filled with “face melting” solos that keep it fresh and interesting. The albums features many songs that have already debuted live but includes a new song March of the Kodiaks. I feel this LP has a little bit for everyone and the end result should be even more exciting.

It really struck me that there is a side to Restless Groove on this album that I had never experienced before; I think there is some serious channeling of their past experiences together. I can only tell you that it was an excellent feeling getting a sneak preview of this undercurrent of past, meaning, and sheer chemistry. My most, favoritest part though… was finally really seeing the band getting high off their own sound. The best bands I have ever seen were completely overcome by their own music and just as subject to its compelling nature as you, the listener, are. This confidence and ability to be taken away by their own creation is the most direct way to tap into a crowd’s collective mindset and energy. If they can bring that confidence, that overwhelming quality of their music to the stage then there is no stopping Restless Groove and this new CD.

Review written by Heather Omand