ROBERT BRADLEY’S BLACKWATER SURPRISE, Out Of the Wilderness
Channeling latter-era Ray Charles in his gritty, expressive voice, Robert Bradley makes a major statement right off the bat in the album opening title track of his new album, when he moans, "Well, I'm outta the wilderness, out on my own" as a tough, snarling blues band sets into a menacing, rich groove behind him. Then the party begins.
NEKO CASE: THE ANGEL OF ANOMIE By Christopher Hill Will Neko Case be the background soundtrack for better loft parties everywhere, or will she rip the joint up and demand a response from all of us? She's a Voice, alright, but one that's still in search of the right ears.
NEWFOUND ROAD, Same Old Place
Lead vocalist Tim Shelton makes Same Old Place his personal statement with a display of power, nuance and soulfulness in a league with that of the genre's finest young singers. He gets so far into some of these songs emotionally, it's almost scary.
CASEY DRIESSEN, Oog
A fiddler who has found homes in the progressive and traditional worlds both, Casey Driessen (and his distinctive 5 String Fiddle) plants his foot firmly in the former on this, his second solo album.
M SHANGHAI, The Mapmaker's Daughter
The Mapmaker's Daughter, Brooklyn-based M Shanghai's third long player, shows precisely the strengths and weaknesses of the band and underscores how close the assembled multitude is to delivering something transcendent ahead.