Album Review: Love Needs You by Chantal Chamandy

Album Name: Love Needs You
Artist: Chantal Chamandy
Year/Label: 2006 / Independent

[Buy at Amazon]
[Buy at Amazon UK]

If you’re in the US, it might even be less expensive to purchase from Amazon UK (when figuring in the shipping and exchange rate, but do your research)

Review by Amy Lotsberg Producer of Collected Sounds

First of all, how gorgeous is Chantal Chamandy? Wow. Those eyes. *shiver*

Happily, the music is an intense and beautiful as the artist.

As you might guess, this music has a Middle Eastern/Mediterranean feel to it. The music actually “looks” like the cover art. I don’t know if that makes sense to anyone but me, but sometimes music has color when I hear it. And this one sounds just like the art looks. This is one instance where you can “judge a book by its cover”. If you like the art you’ll probably like the music.

Let’s talk about how talented Chantal Chamandy is. She wrote (or at least co-wrote) all the songs here except “Salma Ya Salama”. She also arranged several of them and produced them all.

She is based in Montreal Canada, and has Egyptian, Lebanese and Greek heritage. She seems so fascinating to me. She speaks five languages (French being her first).

Because this is a Canadian release if you’re in the US and planning on getting this CD it’s considered an import and you’ll pay dearly. But it’s a long CD with 14 songs and if you like what you hear (try samples at Amazon) then I think it’s worth it. (I also looked at Amazon.ca and it’s even more expensive, go figure)

“Crazy” is a really intense song. It’s almost spooky. I imagine a room full of women in veils dancing and waiving their arms around wildly. This one is my favorite.

She thanks 16 musicians in the liner notes. Together they do produce a very lush sound. You can tell a lot of work went into this production. It shows.

Posted on January 12, 2006

Track Listing
1. Zindegi
2. You Want Me
3. More
4. Crazy
5. Feels Like Love (featuring Chico Castillo)
6. Take a Chance
7. Music of the Moon
8. Sometimes
9. Free
10. Nunca Será Igual
11. Peace
12. Amor de Mi Vida
13. Forever
14. Salma Ya Salama

[Chantal Chamandy Official Site]

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Album Review: Trouble From the Start by Lisa Moscatiello

Album Name: Trouble From the Start
Artist: Lisa Moscatiello
Year/Label: 2006 / Independent

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Review by Amy Lotsberg Producer of Collected Sounds

Lisa Moscatiello has a nice deep sultry voice that works equally well in her darker, haunting songs as it does in her jazzier cabaret type tunes.

The title song, “Trouble from the Start” and “Feel the Love” both remind me of the English band Everything But the Girl.

“Come Sinfonia” has lovely guitar work and a romantic feel.

The last song, “Now You’re Back in Love Again” is a great torchy piano piece.

These songs are all really well written and interesting.

Moscatiello has quite a vocal range. At times her voice is very low, alto-like. But then there are times when she hits some pretty high notes seemingly effortlessly.

This is a pretty low-key record, but it’s nice for relaxing and either having as background music or alternately, to pop on headphones and intently listen to the lyrics.

Posted on January 12, 2006

Comments:

Rating: 5 Stars
Comment: Lisa Rocks!!! As with so many artists who “float my boat” part of my reaction to Lisa is : “How can she know so well how I feel” Her voice is absolutely beautiful, the music and lyrics are enchanting and thought provoking.
name: Saul W. Wednesday, February 1, 2006

Rating: 5 Stars
Comment: great album with lovely songs and singing.
name: anna on Friday, January 13, 2006

Track Listing
Listen to track samples
1. Ashtray
2. Trouble from the Start
3. Feel the Love
4. Exile
5. You’re Crying
6. New Year’s
7. Come Sinfonia
8. What Happens After Love?
9. Something New
10. Brand New Me
11. Now You’re Back in Love Again

[Lisa Moscatiello Official Site]

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Album Review: Small White Town by Danielia Cotton

Album Name: Small White Town
Artist: Danielia Cotton
Year/Label: 2005 / Independent

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Review by Amy Lotsberg Producer of Collected Sounds

I don’t usually care for real gutsy power singers. But I’m going to have to make an exception for Danielia Cotton.

This is some amazing music. If it can make me stand up and take notice, you know it’s good. It’s could be classified as rock and roll with a healthy does of blues.

I wasn’t expecting the music to be this rockin’ judging by her cover art. I mean she’s beautiful, and I love the art. I was expecting to like it having seen that first, but even the stiletto boots didn’t prepare me for the wild ride inside.

“4 A Ride” is a great song. It’s got a lot of soul and emotion and is so catchy you’ll be singing it for days.

But my favorite has to be “Today” I can’t stop playing it! It’s grungy, crunchy, tough and well, just amazing. I love it. That’s a great rock song.

This is really a great record for fans of the blues-rock genre.

Posted on January 12, 2006

Comments:

Rating: 5 Stars
Comment: She is amazing and her band the Pistolaros were a blast. I saw her in Chicago last Sunday and she did an AC/DC cover of Back In Black that had the crowd partying and singing along!!!
name: Paul Johnson on Thursday, July 20, 2006

Track Listing
1. Devil In Disguise
2. Fast
3. It’s Only Life
4. 4 A Ride
5. Found Another
6. Take My Heart
7. JC I Try
8. Pride
9. Today
10. Shame
11. Chains

[Danielia Cotton Official Site]

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Album Review: Hiding Underneath by Cassandra Kubinski

Album Name: Hiding Underneath
Artist: Cassandra Kubinski
Year/Label: 2006 / Independent

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Review by Amy Lotsberg Producer of Collected Sounds

The main thing I’ll take away from this record is that this young girl has a lot of potential. I just think she needs to be her own artist. Her similarity to Vanessa Carlton is inescapable and while that shows she’s talented does not show she’s original. We already have one Vanessa Carlton, we don’t need another.

That said, Cassandra Kubinski’s release is a cute pop recording. She has a great voice and she plays piano well. She also wrote these songs and while they have a touch of an immature sound (which is to be expected, given her age) they are pretty good and show a lot of promise.

Now here comes the kicker. I wrote the above two paragraphs before reading anything about her. Just judging by the music and the cover art of the CD I put her at about 15 years old. I just read her bio and turns out she graduated from high school in 2001 which puts her at around 21 as of this writing. So I guess I feel I have to say that the music is quite um…young… at times for someone her age. If she were 15 it would be impressive, but knowing she’s 21 I’m wanting a more grown up sound.

I guess the song that sounds the most kid-like is the title track, “Hiding Underneath” (which by the way, I though she was saying, “look what’s happening to me” not “look what’s hiding underneath” but I’ll take the blame for that).

The others do have a more mature feeling and are very nice. “Cradle the Moon” is probably my favorite. When I thought she was 15 I was super impressed! I still like it though. It’s very nice.

I’m interested to see what Cassandra Kubinski’s future holds. She’s obviously very talented. I just want her to carve out her own unique sound.

Posted on January 12, 2006

Track Listing
Listen to track samples
1. Save You Tonight
2. Hiding Underneath
3. Never Enough
4. Wherever You Wait
5. Cradle The Moon

[Cassandra Kubinski Official Site]

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Album Review: This Life by Jocelyn Scofield

Album Name: This Life
Artist: Jocelyn Scofield
Year/Label: 2005 / Bilsco Music

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Review by Anna Maria Stjärnell

Jocelyn Scofield starts her debut with the song “Drive it Away”. It’s an excellent showcase for her strong vocals and piano playing. Vocally she has the same force as Jewel once had, and some of Fiona Apple’s jazz inflections.

“Vanilla Dreams” is a soft, string-led ballad.

“Better off Alone” is a neat end of the affair type song. Scofield’s singing is close to Allison Crowe’s here. The bluesy timbre is beguiling.

The catchy “David’s Oh” is delightful. Scofield has made a compelling pop song. It might be a hit if it gets the chance.

This is a strong debut.

Posted on January 12, 2006

Track Listing
Listen to track samples
1. Drive it Away
2. Vanilla Dreams
3. Eventually
4. Better off Alone
5. Revenge
6. Sweet David
7. A Man I Once Knew
8. This Life

[Jocelyn Scofield Official Site]

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Album Review: Broken Social Scene by Broken Social Scene

Album Name: Broken Social Scene
Artist: Broken Social Scene
Year/Label: 2006 / City Slang

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Review by David Adair

The experimental tone is set straight away in the groovy instrumental led; ‘Our Faces Split The Coast In Half’ that clatters along on a percussion toed ride to punctuate Lesley Feist’s (also an established solo artist) low key and almost haunting vocals. The vocal variety proffered by this outfit includes the lost and calming style of the aforementioned Leslie and the wispy murmurings of Kevin Drew that give numbers like ‘7/4 (shoreline)’ and ‘Major Label Debut’ a floating feel. A garage beat vibe adds to the spice of this multi-faceted Toronto outfit via the introduction to ‘Windsurfing Nation’ that’s turns into a screechy female vocal led, indie free-for-all.

The longingly provocative vibe given off in ‘Swimmers’ helps to make this fourteen track empirical foray, both thoughtful and alluring. Broken Social Scene’s ability to build up emotion and maintain musical integrity is illuminated by way of the six minute plus finale; ‘It’s All Gonna Break’ that is of the 70s rock ilk early on before slowing down to take on a more contemplative bluesy feel.

As if 14 tracks of varied veracity weren’t enough, the kind Canadians provide their own January sale by throwing in a free seven track E.P. entitled ‘To Be Me And You’ that has a prominent spacey/art feel. The pulsing and grinding ‘Baroque Social’ highlights the liberal nature of this progressive outfit. There is surely something on this two for one offering for everyone.

Posted on January 8, 2006

Track Listing
Disc: 1
1.Our Faces Split the Coast in Half
2. Ibi Dreams of Pavement (A Better Day)
3. 7/4 (Shoreline)
4. Finish Your Collapse and Stay for Breakfast
5. Major Label Debut
6. Fire Eye’d Boy
7. Windsurfing Nation
8. Swimmers
9. Hotel
10. Handjobs for the Holidays
11. Superconnected
12. Bandwitch
13. Tremoloa Debut
14. It’s All Gonna Break

Disc: 2
1. Her Disappearing Theme
2. Canada vs. America
3. Baroque Social
4. No Smiling Darkness/Snake Charmers Association
5. All My Friends
6. Major Label Debut (Fast)
7. Feel Good Lost Reprise

[Broken Social Scene Official Site]

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