Paper Navy – All Grown Up

Paper Navy’s style of indie pop mixed with a slight alt. country accent is impossible to resist. Much of it has to do with the Shawn Anfinson’s boyish vocals but the entire band sounds like it is having fun. The album All Grown Up is a delightful blend of folk rock and innocent sounding pop tunes. For instance, The title tune and “Tongue Tied” reminds me of the 70s anthems by Supertramp and 10CC. But when they visit their Nashville roots on “I Can’t Read The Stars” and “Make Time”, which is my favorite track , they show a country rock style that screams of early Poco. Whatever you hear in this music, it quickly become evident that this music hold up on its own and is all Paper Navy.

Sleep.Shy “Galápagos Inn” – unusual mix of sweetness and cynicism

Sleep.Shy’s Galapagos Inn is one of the more unusual online albums to come out of 2009. It is calm, witty and somewhat perplexing in its mix of sweetness and cynicism. The opening “I nowhere I am” is typical with its switch of upbeat rhythm to classical choir and piano then back. The track “On Why No. 2 Pencils Have Erasers” shows that this band has their hard rock side but when you least expect it…Mood change!

Paolo Pavan “Looking for a Way Out” – CC licensed modern jazz

Pianist Paolo Pavan has been previously reviewed here for his excellent jazz album titled Inside. The title refers to his fondness for mainstream tonal jazz which he continues to explore on Looking For a Way Out. Yet, as the title implies, Pavan becomes a bit more exploratory. Aside from his rather prodigious talent on keyboards, the musician also displays a gift at arranging. There is also some impressive soloing by Daniele Arena on trumpet, Davide Marinacci on tenor sax and Michele Villari on alto and soprano saxophones. If you are at all interested in modern jazz, you should like this.

Dazie Mae “Velvet Dress & Stockings” – jazz & blues the cabaret style

Dazie Mae plays a form of ragtime jazz and blues mixed up in a French cabaret environment. Their full length album titled Velvet Dress and Stockings has a sexy and smoky feel spearheaded by the sultry lead vocalist Jeanne Jattiot. She reminds me of a jazzy version of Marianne Faithfull. The instrumental backing is almost perfect with snappy keyboards by Mathias Daval, guitars by Tom Lameche and bass by Serge Dejazz.

James Edwards “Christmas Bells” – free melodic acoustic guitar album

As I was listening to this free and legal seasonal album by guitarist James Edwards, my wife shouted from the other room, “Is That Julian Bream?” I doubt if I can come up with a higher compliment. While Edwards may not be Bream, he is still an accomplished guitarist. Christmas Bells offers 10 classical guitar renditions of classic Christmas songs. Beautifully played and easy on the ears, this is a highly recommended download for your seasonal music collection.

Keith Morris & The Crooked Numbers “Live Candy”

The neat thing about the net label Clinical Archives is that I never know quite what I am going to hear. After all, who would have thought that mixed in with all the avant-garde, electronica, and experimental music would be this very down-home country EP that reeks of dogwood, cicadas and Hank Williams. Live Candy gives us a very live and very authentic country honky-tonk experience that defines the terms “Alt-country” and “Americana”.

Claire Hamill “Stage Door Johnnes” – plus ten more of her free albums

Claire Hamill is a British singer/songwriter that has been composing and recording since the 70s. She has a slew of albums over the decades and most of them can be downloaded with her blessing from her website. If you have heard of this talented musician, it is probably due to the fact that she wrote “You Take My Breath Away”, a song that became a hit for Eva Cassidy. Hamill has a soft voice in which personal intimacy wins out over power. She has been compared to Joni Mitchell but I hear a tantalizing mix of folk and traditional chanteuses like Judy Collins and Sandy Denny. She is a consummate storyteller in her lyrics. Nine albums are available on her download page and they all have high quality original songs and covers that are worth listening to.

Ray Garrido – “Tropicotrip”

The Breathe compilations have become an anthology series that I look forward to with anticipation. However, the Breathe netlabel is also getting into single artist collections with this luscious album by Mexican multi-instrumentalist Ray Garrido. Tropicotrip is an exotic journey that is part hip-hop, part lounge, and very spacey.

The Leftouts – “Last One Standing”

Lepork Records is a new net label specializing in South American punk artists. The small offering of online albums is interesting but I was especially drawn to The Leftouts and their free album titled Last One Standing. It is a raucous effort incorporating power pop with punk. I especially like the opening track, “19 Days” and the tense title tune. This album, as well as the albums by other bands on this net label deserve a listen for their inexhaustible energy but also to show how global the punk genre has become.