By David Ciminelli
Hope For Agoldensummer
I Bought a Heart Made of Art in the Deep, Deep South
The ethereal, eloquent songs of Hope For Agoldensummer are as promising and wonderful as the band's moniker. Built around majestic melodies and strong storytelling, the songs of these classically trained out musicians make the perfect soundtrack to a golden summer. The hip folk-rock quintet's latest EP was recorded in friends' backyards and basements in and around Athens and Atlanta'and, for better not worse, that's exactly what it sounds like: lush, intoxicating, and heart-rending. And above the excellent musicianship lies one of the most powerful, beautiful voices and seamless harmonies to surface since Indigo Girls. It's not everyday you're invited to share a private moment with a group of jaw-droppingly talented musicians sitting around jamming on a lazy summer afternoon. Surf over to their Web site for a sample and enjoy one of the simple, uncompromising pleasures that come with life in a small town.
Heidi Hensley Band
Right About You
(Heidi Hensley Band Records)
Growing up in a small Southern city in an area deep-rooted in Baptist beliefs, out singer-songwriter Heidi Hensley was often at conflict with her inner emotions and the spiritual beliefs of those around her. She exorcises some of those suppressed emotions in beautiful, emotive, and undeniably contagious pop-rock songs on her first self-distributed full-length release, a supreme collection of original tunes about life and love and earning to own each on your own terms. If music is a tonic for the soul, Right About You and Hensley's angelic voice harbor the strength to right everything that's wrong in the world.
Now It's Overhead
Dark Light Daybreak
(Saddle Creek Records)
Following 2005's national jaunt as Bright Eyes' tour guitarist, multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter Andy LeMaster follows up his group's fantastic 2004 release, Fall Back Open, with his own arena-worthy emo-rock songs on Now It's Overhead's third full-length release, Dark Light Daybreak. Channeling early R.E.M. (but with less murmuring and a stronger pop sensibility), Now It's Overhead put forth what is easily one of the best new releases to hit bins this year. Moody and magnetic, Dark Light Daybreak simply must be heard to be believed. One of the band's true believers is none other than queer alterna-rock god himself, Michael Stipe, who has called Now It's Overhead's 2001 self-titled debut 'hands down one of the most brilliant albums that I've heard in forever.' Dark Light Daybreak lives up to Stipe's hype, combining eloquent, introspective rock songs with guitar hooks that would make Peter Buck proud and pop sensibilities that would inspire Stipe to do that shirtless shimmy thing he does so well.