Phil Stoodley: No Surprise


Phil Stoodley’s debut solo album No Surprise is a relaxing combination of pop, rock, electronic and disco songs that are perfect for a lazy afternoon or a drive on the open road. Originally from New Zealand, Stoodley got his start at age fifteen when he received his first guitar, and by age seventeen he was playing in rock bands making his way around the lower North Island of New Zealand. By the early 2000’s, Phil began touring with popular New Zealand rock band The Feelers, touring in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Asia.

Note: The rest of this review can be found at

Paramore: Self titled album

paramore self titled album

Paramore have just released their self-titled fourth album. After several years of uncertainty in the band, with two members leaving and not being sure of the group’s path, Paramore is back with an album which fully embraces their new lineup and outlook on the future. The first album without founding members and brothers guitarist and drummer Josh and Zac Farro, Paramore has now whittled down to three members, with Ilan Rubin filling in the for the band on drums. Hayley Williams on vocals, Taylor York on guitar, and Jeremy Davis on bass have experimented with ukulele’s, gospel choirs, glockenspiel’s, and good pop songs to make this album their most positive to date.  The album is an over an hour long, making it the band’s longest release, and due to its timing, the band wants to express their joy and have the audience feel it, and feel it you do.

The album’s opening song “Fast In My Car”, is an in your face tune that speaks of the band going “through the wringer a couple of times”, and embracing the group’s new lineup with hope and positivity that hasn’t been before. As an opening number, the track is the first mid tempo song that has opened a Paramore album, which is a welcome change from the usual fast punk beats that make up Paramore’s catalogue. “Ain’t It Fun” brings in a gospel choir and horns, another first, but it works out perfectly. The tune’s euphoric vibe invites listeners to sing along and enfold all that is good with the bands future. The choir is also a highlight which adds to the songs lively feel.

While the record is full of mid tempo tunes, the band heads back to their roots, by throwing in “Anklebiters” a fast paced song that has distortion, a bright guitar riff, and shouts of “anklebiters” throughout the song, as well as a few laughs from the band once it ends. While it is not nearly as memorable as the other tracks, it breaks up the musical feel of the record and brings in some familiarity.  “Still Into You” is the album’s second single and is a straight forward love song about loving someone in the worst of times. The song is bouncy with a guitar part that carries the song and supports the drums and vocals with great fluidity. While Paramore won’t please the band’s critics, their fans will love it as they finally have a record from a band that is no longer broken, but a band that has emerged from their soap opera intact.


Hi everyone,

I just wanted to give everyone an update. I am now writing album reviews for Ask Miss A which is a women’s lifestyle site where I will be reviewing mainstream artists. My review of OneRepublic’s new album Native is now up on the site under the Entertainment section. I cannot post those reviews on here, so if you would like to read those reviews you can head over to to read them. As for this blog, reviews on Paramore and Cartel will be up this week. I will also start going to live shows and hopefully doing some interviews soon. Thank you all for your support!


Jonas Brothers: Pom Pom’s (single)

jonas brothers pom poms

After a three year hiatus the Jonas Brothers are back with their new single titled “Pom Poms.” After releasing solo albums, performing on Broadway and the West End, and oldest brother Kevin getting married, all three brothers are now in their 20’s and the glitzy pop track demands attention. The song begins with a whistle being blown, telling listeners that it’s time to listen up as change is on the horizon for the group. The song’s sexual meaning has angered longtime fans of the group, who discovered the trio in their Disney Channel days when the brothers wore purity rings and were open about their Christian faith.

Image aside, “Pom Pom’s” is very different from any of the band’s previous work. More suited for a dance club, the song includes strong vocals from middle brother Joe Jonas, and deeper vocals from youngest brother Nick, who has learned to use his voice properly as there is not a squeak to be heard on the song. Another great addition is the choir, which goes nicely with the chorus and adds spice.

While the song is at times repetitive, the risk that the Jonas Brothers have taken is a good one. Wanting to distance themselves from their Disney Channel days, the group has proven that they can write and produce a track that shows another side of them that hasn’t been seen before, by pushing the envelope as they head down the path to playing music as adults, without the ties of a children’s television channel strangling their newfound maturity. The only negative aspect of the track is the break in the song when a group of cheerleaders begin chanting “do you want to see me put my pom pom’s down, then sing it to me”, which sounds like fingernails on a chalkboard, and takes away from the catchy sports arena vibe the song has.

With this latest jump in maturity, their yet to be released fifth album should be an interesting listen as the group has finally made its entrance into the adult world.


The Strokes: Comedown Machine


The Strokes have just released their latest album Comedown Machine, a record full of pop and disco influenced tracks. Based in New York City, the group formed in 2001, and has had continued success throughout their career, while honing their garage rock sound to perfection.  However, Comedown Machine is not your typical garage rock record; it is so much more than that. The opening song One Way Trigger is a catchy opening number that fuses disco and rock together that will grab the listener’s attention with the bouncy drum beat and the clean, bright guitar part that paints a vivid preview for the remaining songs on the record. 80’s Comedown Machine is another crowd pleaser and definite single material, as the group heads more towards their typical indie rock sound. The only complaint about this tune would have to be lead singer Julian Casablancas, who seems to be straining his vocal chords at times in order to give off a more gritty rock and roll edge to the track. With the song sounding like it was recorded in a garage, it will give old fans a familiar taste of previous records.

Subsequently after giving fans a dose of adrenaline, the record slows down a bit with 50/50 which brings in an electronic influence that is different from the rest of the songs. 50/50 sounds very bland and has an odd presence, considering that Comedown Machine is The Strokes best album of the bands career so far. After listening to several colorful tunes, this song could be labeled as filler for an otherwise good album. Partners In Crime is an 80’s sounding tune, going heavy on the synths, but still heading in a positive direction for the band.

For music fans that were not fond of The Strokes before this release, Comedown Machine may convince them of The Strokes undeniable talent for writing catchy songs that have substance and quantity.

Richard Murray: Desert Wind

richard-murray-desert-wind album cover

In 2008, Irish singer-songwriter Richard Murray released Desert Wind, a mixture of acoustic guitars, pop music, and country music that spotlights his gift for writing music. If you didn’t know he was from the UK, you might guess Murray was a contemporary of Central Texas native Steve Earle or the Mississippi-born Steve Forbert. Murray’s storyteller songwriting style draws you in to hear his tales.

“Forgive Me Sera” is a bouncier song, merging a pop sensibility with an Americana vibe. The accompanying female vocal adds a pleasant contrast against Richard’s more raw, gruff voice. The second song on Desert Wind is a ballad, “Enlighten Me.” While the acoustic guitar intro isn’t remarkably in its originality (think Lifehouse’s hit “You and Me”), the song offers a great deal lyrically in its call to be carefree and to wholly enjoy of life.

Something that stands out about Richard’s music is his lyrics, detailed in the imagery he paints for his audience. His words offer a window into his thoughts. It seems that Richard expresses himself best through his lyrics instead of his music, which serves more of a backdrop for the stories he tells. “Thinking of Cristina” picks up the pace and shows the side of Murray that is different and fun, as he shows that he has variety in his music by playing a more straight-forward country song.

Desert Wind is an enjoyable record, and it is nice to hear an artist go deep into songwriting to tell a compelling story with their lyrics. It is clear that Richard Murray only wants to give his fans and new listeners the best experience possible when listening to his albums. You can listen to Desert Wind on Richard’s Youtube channel.