Shannen Moser: Oh, My Heart

No matter where you presently are, everywhere you called home has shaped who you are up until this second. I will forever have a sense of trailer trash within myself that causes me to scoff at the haves acting like the have-nots, and for Shannen Moser the miles of farmland gave way to her appreciation for the rustic folk sound found on her latest, Oh, My Heart.

Back in January Shannen self-released Oh, My Heart and come April it was given the re-mastered treatment and dropped digitally. Now come June 16th it’ll be released physically. So it’s been a long journey for this collection of songs that present the purity of storytelling that lives within Shannen. Straightforward and raw are what comes to mind when playing back songs like “Watershed” and “A Funeral, A Friend, My Sanity.” Other admirable elements included the Appalachian sounds of “I’m Going Home (Sacred Harp)” and the solemn yet calming power of “Yr Undertaker.”

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Gothic Tropic: Fast or Feast

The Uber driver just went on a rant about Arco gas before turning in and slowly making his way to the pump. Not the best way to start the week, but at least I can think back to when I was in the comfort of my apartment some 30 minutes ago listening to Gothic Tropic. Her Fast or Feast presented some well thought out lines sewn across a blanket of dance beats, and at one time a little doo-wop inspired number. Definitely better than sitting on the 405 with an Uber driver talking to you while you’re trying to think.

Thinking back to better times this morning, Fast or Feast was riddled with lyrics I wouldn’t expect from a record so heavily constructed of danceable beats. Lines in both “Stronger” and “How Life Works” really hit the mark, as did the best of the bunch when it came to “Don’t Give Me Up.” That song also had an arrangement that stood out as well, as did the indie movie like ways of “Major.” In the end though my mind wanted to be home and reunited with “Feed You To The Sharks.” The music mixed with the vocal delivery, it was like listening to a song during a slow dance in the ’50s; unexpected, but respected.

Listening to music in your own home is always going to beat out sitting in traffic, especially in LA. However, it was Gothic Tropic today that I yearned to be home with. Maybe because Gothic Tropic’s beats had way more movement than the 405, or because to the lyrics that struck a positive chord, or perhaps both. Nevertheless, if you like well thought out lines, but also like to move about, check out Fast or Feast – out May 19.

Kudu Blue: Shaded

We all make assumptions based on first sight. Those who deny this are lying to themselves to appear uber PC. I ain’t no liar. I can fully admit that when I picked up Kudu Blue’s Shaded, I was fully expecting an indie rock record. Instead, I got something far from that. Unexpected, but a total delight.

Instead of indie rock, in came this sensual R&B sound that made my eyes widen at 8 am on a Sunday. While Clementine brings what Wendy Williams would call “the sex,” her boys Owen, Tom, and Creeda build up this very modern sound that fans of Bieber’s Purpose album would appreciate. Which was just about everyone because that album is perfection musically speaking. That’s actually an artist I’ve drawn comparisons to around here before, but I never thought I’d say someone delivered a very Deborah Cox-like performance. Then in came “Drink Alone.” A more uptempo track than the last, Clementine pulls out all the stops, and later does the same as she controls those vocals wonderfully in “Enemy.”

Surprises are usually something I just can’t with, but today I was happy to hear Shaded wasn’t what I expected it to be. This foursome from Brighton is doing it up. In the right hands, they could own 2017 with Shaded, out now.