Live Devotion

Live Devotion    
by Ménage a Music
Ménage a Music, 2007


Robin Renee’s Live Devotion is a beautiful, healing prayer of devotion to the Divine Feminine. Kirtan chanting and devotional songs are part of an ancient practice that allows us to let go of the chattering mind and access deeper states of consciousness. Vocalist and musician Renee blends traditional Indian instruments and chanting with modern instruments and arrangements. The result is a gorgeous CD that soothes the spirit, heals the heart, and is the perfect complement to meditation, yoga, and ritual.

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Hidden Power

Hidden Power    
by Robin Brock
A2 Records/The Rock Empire, 2003


Canadian Goddess rocker Robin Brock is getting the best press of anyone you’ve probably never heard of. A powerful voice, a powerful presence, an award-winning songwriter, a spirit-driven, Goddess loving artist, Brock is an up and coming mainstream artist whose latest CD, Hidden Power, is getting enthusiastic press all over Canada and Europe, and airplay on commercial and internet radio.

Toronto’s Seemagazine exults, “Brock’s voice puts other Canadian vocalists to shame” and UK’s Phase 9 Music calls Hidden Power an “impressive powerhouse” of a CD. Described as “dynamic,” “raw and powerful,” and “vital,” and favorably compared to Shania Twain, Ann Wilson of “Heart,” and Pat Benatar, Brock is attracting a lot of attention for her passionate, har- rocking style and powerful lyrics. Her sophomore effort, Hidden Power, showcases a rare musical talent: confident, self-assured, and elegant even in its roughest moments.

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Vitus Dance

Vitus Dance  
by Gaia Consort
Suddenly Naked Arts Collective, 2007


Sometimes, you just have to dance. Despite fear-mongers on each TV screen, Life’s rich and wondrous spell transcends human commotion. This sentiment drives Vitus Dance, and drives it hard. Few albums I’ve heard this year rock as Dance.

I’ve had mixed feelings about the band’s music before now; earlier releases hammered sociopolitical harangues at the expense of artistry.

That flaw disappears on Vitus Dance. Though several cuts ― especially “Dirty Little Secret” and “All We’ve Got” ― contain political themes, those songs transcend their topical limitations. Expansive arrangements allow each song on the album to breathe, and the musicians follow that flow to glory. Although Dance’s production sounds a bit thin in places (particularly the electric guitar, which could be beefier), there’s a rich sophistication and outright joy to the music that makes this album sing.

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The Seasons Unfold

The Seasons Unfold
by Tor Lundvall
Strange Fortune, 2007

A perennial favorite on NPR’s “Echoes” and “Hearts of Space” radio programs, electronic musician Tor Lundvall’s evocative “ghost ambient” has been steadily growing in popularity in the music underground and in the indie press. Lundvall is credited with producing some of the most accessible electronica out there, but with an evocative, mysterious quality that saves it from degenerating into “aimless chill out.” Instead, Lundvall masters each track to create an atmospheric soundscape that is mesmerizing and textural, a cut deeper than most content-free ambient.

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Cheat the Devil

Cheat the Devil
Young Werewolfs
Young Werewolf Records, 2008

Cheat the Devil, the latest from Philadelphia’s Young Werewolves, is Vincent Price in a remake of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. No, scratch that. It’s Vincent Price driving down Skid Row in a stolen car with Boris Karloff riding shotgun and Hunter S. Thompson in the backseat huffing ether with bikini-wearing Siamese triplets. It’s got the campy good fun you’ve come to associate with Psychobilly and Deathrock, combined with a bracing punk edge.

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Shadow of the Raven

Shadow of the Raven
Nox Arcana, 2007

Where would Goths be without Edgar Allen Poe? America’s doomed dark poet surged Old World gloom toward the mind-sick horrors of a dawning modern age. Poe’s ripe terrors have inspired artists, filmmakers, musicians, and absinthe-swilling game designers. It’s no surprise, then, that RPG soundtrack artists Nox Arcana have based this album off his work. And it’s also no surprise that — despite deliciously Goth intentions — they fall far short of Poe.

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