EP Review: BRAVE YOU – “Six Songs EP”

Let me start off by saying that this review is long overdue, as I’m a huge fan of this talented indie band. I’ve been following Brave You for a while, and am now finally getting around to showcasing them on this blog. Based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Brave You is Alex Meylink (guitar, lead vocals), Noah Snyder (bass, backing vocals) and Erik Burtraw (drums, backing vocals).


The guys play alternative rock that’s highly melodic, but with an honest, post-grunge sensibility that gives them a distinctive style all their own. Outstanding, complex guitar riffs, Burtraw’s commanding drums, and their solid harmonizing vocals are the defining elements of their sound. And their skillful songwriting is clearly evident in their always compelling lyrics about life, love and relationship troubles. They released their terrific debut Six Songs EP earlier this year, and have been playing numerous venues in and around Milwaukee, which has helped build them a growing base of loyal fans.


The first two tracks on the EP, “Cavalier” and “Here, Here,” are great hard-driving songs with dazzling guitar work and strong percussion. Meylink lays down some scorching riffs over Snyder’s buzzing bass lines, while Burtraw’s thunderous drums and crashing cymbals ramp up the already high energy levels.  The opening riff on “Here, Here” is so good it gives me goosebumps with every listen.

The guys’ impressive musical talents are really showcased on the well-crafted track “Tiny Lives.”  The song’s structure and arrangement are first-rate, and the multi-textured guitar work is phenomenal. Meylink fervently sings about how our individual lives are rather insignificant in the overall scheme of things, but we can still make them meaningful in our own little corner of the world: “We can live our tiny lives. If we want to, if it matters to us. We can live out our tiny lives. We can make something.”  

“Suspended” has a bit of a Goo Goo Dolls vibe, as Meylink’s vocals remind me of John Rzeznik on this track. The big difference is the soaring background chorus which the guys excel at. The poignant lyrics address the singer’s admission of his shortcomings, and asking for forgiveness: “These are the most honest words I’ve ever said.  I don’t deserve you, don’t deserve you at all / I always thought I was a better man than all of this.

A standout track on the EP is the melancholy but beautiful “Vincent.” Once again, the guitars are sublime, and Meylink’s heartfelt vocals convey the feelings of despair and hopelessness expressed in the lyrics: “I want the sleep of the innocent. Wanna close my eyes / There ain’t no truth in this world when I don’t know my daughter’s name, when I don’t recognize her face.” Snyder explained to me that the song is about Meylink’s grandpa’s battle with Alzheimer’s.

The final track “North Avenue” offers up more great guitar, with riffs that go from delicately nimble to snarling. Meylink’s beguiling vocals smolder and soar with the changing intensity of the music, and the guys’ intertwining harmonies are marvelous as always.

To sum up, Six Songs EP is an excellent debut from a young band with a lot of promise. The guys are working on more songs and plan to release a full album in 2017, and I can’t wait to hear it. Follow Brave You on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to their YouTube  channel. Follow and stream their music on Soundcloud and Reverbnation, and their EP may be purchased on Bandcamp.

Top 20 Songs for Oct 30-Nov 5, 2016

1. LIFE ITSELF – Glass Animals (2)
2. BANG BANG – Green Day (1)
3. WASTE A MOMENT – Kings of Leon (5)
4. HYMN FOR A WEEKEND – Coldplay & Beyoncé (4)
5. HEATHENS – twenty øne piløts (3)
7. ALL WE EVER KNEW – The Head and the Heart (6)
8. FEEL INVINCIBLE – Skillet (10)
10. STARBOY – The Weeknd, Daft Punk (18)
11. YOU DON’T GET ME HIGH ANYMORE – Phantogram (8)
12. WELCOME TO YOUR LIFE – Grouplove (12)
13. TONIGHT – Matto Rules (14)
14. HARDWIRED – Metallica (9)
15. STARS – Wons Phreely + the Horses (15)
16. WISH I KNEW YOU – The Revivalists (17)
17. CLEOPATRA – The Lumineers (19)
18. RIVER – Bishop Briggs (13)
19. GOOD GRIEF – Bastille (16)
20. SURE AND CERTAIN – Jimmy Eat World (N)

EP Review: DYSLEXIC POSTCARDS – “Spare the Altar”

Miami has one of the hottest music scenes in the U.S. these days, with scores of talented indie bands making some great alternative rock music. I’ve previously written about two other Miami-based bands: SunGhosts  and Above the Skyline, and now turn my attention to a band that all but demands it –  Dyslexic Postcards.  With a great name like that, how can they possibly be ignored?  In their bio, they hilariously claim as their influences the likes of ‘Mohammad Ali, Buster Keaton, the guy who invented the blender, and Joan Crawford’ – for which you’ve just got to love these guys!  They recently dropped their debut EP Spare the Altar, and it’s over the top in a very good way. Brilliant, quite actually.


Dyslexic Postcards is a four-man band led by singer/songwriter/guitarist Joshua Xmas, who’s known in the Miami music scene for his outrageous, colorful stage performances and impressive vocal range. Completing the band line-up are Eddie Gatoe (bass, backing vocals), Joesmooth (drums) and Johann Murrillo (keyboards, backing vocals).  They play an incredibly dynamic and eclectic style of alternative rock that’s hard to classify, due to complex song structures that move across the genres of punk, classic rock, dance, funk and blues, sometimes in the same song. Their music sounds brutal at times, but a decidedly humorous approach keeps it from being too heavy or dark.

The opening track and first single off the EP is the rousing “The Shakes That You Make.” Starting off with an ever-so-brief bit of distorted guitar and a drum beat similar to that of the Ronettes’ classic “Be My Baby,” the track abruptly gains intensity, alternating between periods of relative calm and bombastic layers of distorted guitars and crashing cymbals, set to a punkish dance beat. Joshua’s vocals rise and fall with the music, going from smooth one moment to screeching falsetto the next, and back again.  It all makes for an exhilarating romp from start to finish, guaranteed to keep you moving.

The song’s lyrics address conflicted feelings from a dysfunctional love-hate relationship – whether to stay together or bail. “And all the shakes that you made / And mistakes that were graded equal / From all the mamas to the papas and the drama that’s made you feeble / Although we try, try again / We’re gonna stick through thick and thin / Take a good look around, what happens now? / Oh my dear, you’re far too near / Oh how I wish you weren’t standing here / Be on your way / Cause you cannot stay that’s quite OK.”  The song’s video is one of the most hysterically entertaining I’ve seen in a long while, and it’s obvious they had a blast making it.

The energy level is ramped up even higher on the second track as the band unleashes an all-out sonic attack with “Now They Know.”  They shred their guitars to the breaking point at lightning speed, while Joesmooth literally beats the hell out of his drums. Joshua has no trouble matching the blistering riffs with his fierce vocals, and by song’s end, you’re left feeling like you’ve been hit by an atomic blast of music energy. This firecracker needs to be played loud, so crank up the volume!

“So So Lover” starts off slow and bluesy, then those signature shredded guitars reappear, blasting through the speakers.  Like other Dyslexic Postcards songs, the guitars snarl, gnash and distort all over the place in a psychedelic haze. I love the lyric “Mr Wonderful’s left the building / Got a case of mild dementia.”  The anthemic rock ballad “Put Up Your Make-Up” is almost a symphony in itself, serving up a six-minute-plus auditory feast of gorgeous piano chords, soaring violins, and epic guitar riffs – all set to a retro 80’s rock vibe. This is a standout track and one of my favorites on the EP.

The band pulls out all the stops with the boisterous “Give Me Reason to Die.” The frantic guitar riffs on this track are downright merciless, and the drums blow up the speakers, providing further evidence that these guys know how to KICK ASS!  And damn if I don’t love this song too.

Given their EP title of Spare the Altar, Dyslexic Postcards seem to be thumbing their noses at the conventions of marriage and normalcy. With the whiskey-soaked closing track “Emerald Shot Eyes,” however, they may be concluding that perhaps love and romance aren’t hopeless after all. The swirling guitar riffs are awesome, and Joshua’s raw vocals passionately convey his painful longing: “Cause I need you now, everyday.

Show this amazing band support by following them on Facebook and Twitter. Stream their music on Soundcloud and Spotify, or purchase on iTunes.

Artist Spotlight – audiodeluxe

I head north to Scotland to shine my spotlight on audiodeluxe, an indie music duo making some really wonderful alternative electronic dream pop, with elements of rock, shoegaze and EDM. They are Sammy McHugh on vocals and Dez Bone on all music. Their bio on Soundcloud is so colorful that, rather than try to paraphrase, I’ll just quote it here in its entirety:

“Audiodeluxe are a couple of part time musical geniuses from a small but ever expanding village near Glasgow. They started writing songs together some time in the 90s and no one has forced them to stop yet. They have many influences ranging from the mighty Depeche Mode and Radiohead to Rage Against the Machine and the timeless Monty Python. They have also been brainwashed along the way by their crazy hippy parents and rather bizarre friends. They both exist happily writing tunes and turning out for the occasional gig. It’s a fine life really!”

The couple had early success with their music offerings, including local and international radio airplay, as well as licensing by the Fox sports channel for use in its broadcasts. After a period of hiatus while starting a family, they’ve recently resurrected their creative efforts, with an emphasis on growing their audience by independently releasing their music on Soundcloud and Bandcamp.

Dez Bones employs complex synthesizers to create a rich, ethereal sound, punctuated by gauzy atmospherics, psychedelic vibes or danceable grooves. The superb “Hold Me Back” has a fantastic electro-synth arrangement, while “The Day I Died” channels Depeche Mode, with its gorgeous sweeping synths. In “Treasure,” a simple, rather mournful guitar riff, accompanied by a hypnotic drumbeat, is overlain with sound effects like a train running on a track and what could be a flock of seagulls, resulting in a highly mysterious, otherworldly track.  So too, with the psychedelic-tinged instrumental gem “Stringthing.”

McHugh’s vocal styling extends across a wide emotional range. Her beguiling, slightly off-kilter robotic vocals in “Hold Me Back” call to mind those of St. Vincent, whereas her breathy vocals in “Treasure” accentuate the song’s aura of mystery. In the beautiful black and white video, McHugh sings the song while standing on a beach, storm clouds gathering around her. “I’m going down deep inside, for treasure / Going to a place, you’ll never find it’s pleasure. Can’t wait to go, you’ll never know / Too late now / Go to sleep / Close your eyes.”  Her vocals smolder with just the slightest bit of detachment in “Sunburned and Soaked” and “Too Late.”

One of my favorites is “How Long,” another great song with a strong Depeche Mode vibe. (Being a huge fan of Depeche Mode, it’s no surprise that I like audiodeluxe’s music so well.) The track’s seductive, synth-heavy groove set to a thumping beat, makes for an edgy, incredibly satisfying tune.

If you like audiodeluxe’s music, show them support and follow on Twitter and subscribe to their YouTube channel. Stream their music on Soundcloud and purchase it on Bandcamp.

Top 20 Songs for October 23-29, 2016

1. BANG BANG – Green Day (4th wk #1)
2. LIFE ITSELF – Glass Animals (2)
3. HEATHENS – twenty øne piløts (3)
4. HYMN FOR THE WEEKEND – Coldplay & Beyoncé (5)
5. WASTE A MOMENT – Kings of Leon (8)
6. ALL WE EVER KNEW – The Head and the Heart (4)
8. YOU DON’T GET ME HIGH ANYMORE – Phantogram (6)
9. HARDWIRED – Metallica (9)
10. FEEL INVINCIBLE – Skillet (11)
12. WELCOME TO YOUR LIFE – Grouplove (13)
13. RIVER – Bishop Briggs (10)
14. TONIGHT – Matto Rules (16)
15. STARS – Wons Phreely + the Horses (17)
16. GOOD GRIEF – Bastille (14)
17. WISH I KNEW YOU – The Revivalists (19)
18. STARBOY – The Weeknd & Daft Funk (N)
19. CLEOPATRA – The Lumineers (20)
20. TROUBLE – Cage the Elephant (16)

EP Review: RED LIGHT RUNNER – “What Are You Thinking About?”

My spotlight is still on the UK, where I now review the new EP What Are You Thinking About? from alternative indie post-punk rock band Red Light Runner, which dropped today, October 21st. The 5-track EP is their first release since their successful 2014 double-sided single “Lucky Thirteen/Just Might Find,” which itself arrived nearly seven years after their debut self-titled EP was released in December  2007. Those earlier tracks hold up well but, musically and lyrically, the band really ups their game with this new EP.

Hailing from Kent, Red Light Runner includes Dan Balson (Guitar, Lead Vocals), Russell France (Guitar), Lee Vickery (Bass) and Joe Michael (Drums).  Their fresh, high-energy music sounds like what you’d get if Blink-182 and Jimmy Eat World jointly gave birth to a new band. Catchy hooks, driving beats, assertive drums and lively, multi-textured guitars are the hallmarks of their songs. Although many of the lyrics address problematic relationships, this EP will have you on your feet from start to finish. Whether intentional or not, these are all songs meant to be performed live, and I’m sure these guys put on a great show.


The EP starts off strong with “First Time,” as we’re hit with a barrage of shredded guitars and hammering drums. The track settles into a hard-driving rhythm with heavy melodic riffs, and Balson sings of disillusionment over a relationship turned sour. This is an exhilarating song that kicks ass!

The title track and first single “What Are You Thinking About?” speaks to living your own truth rather than wanting another’s life or living according to the expectations of others: “Someone else’s life is played out inside your head / Now it’s time to live the moments you have instead / Don’t allow yourself to lock you out / Always trust someone to turn you around / When you fall it seems a long way down / What are you thinking about?”  Rapid-paced guitars work in tandem with heavy bass and pummeling drums, resulting in a terrific song. This track, as well as others on the EP, feature backing vocals by songstress Charlie Dorrell.

Gnashing guitars announce the arrival of “Make You Pay,” another hard-driving track about bitterness over a failed relationship: “We’ve seen this road before, and I don’t think you understand / Another time, another place, another time and the moment slips too far away / I seem to find all my life, I’m left behind / I’ll make you pay.”  The powerful guitar riffs on this track are awesome, made even more so by Joe Michael’s thunderous percussion.

One of my favorite tracks is “Right Place Wrong Time.” The song rocks quite nicely, but with a bit more poignancy and, once again, the guitar riffs are superb, soaring to an ear-splitting distorted crescendo at the end. Charlie Dorrell’s sublime vocals are also more apparent on this track. The final track “Be Mine Again” is a rousing number, with more of the band’s signature complex, pummeling riffs and speaker-blowing percussion. The song addresses the singer’s need to survive life’s hardships: “Need to get out, pick myself up, carry on, and this world will be mine again.

I have to admit that it took a few listens for me to fully appreciate the quality and depth of the songs and lyrics, but my conclusion is that this is a very well-crafted EP that gets better with each listen. These guys are really accomplished musicians who coax some awesome sounds from their instruments, and the lyrics are not as obvious as they seem at first glance – or should I say listen?  Support these guys by following them on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to their Youtube channel. Stream their music on Spotify, and purchase their music on BandcampiTunes or other sites offering music for purchase.

EP Review: FLOODHOUNDS – “Look What You’ve Started”

It’s back to the UK to shine my spotlight on the incredibly talented indie-rock band FloodHounds. Hailing from Sheffield, the 3-piece band plays some really exciting guitar-heavy alternative rock infused with ample amounts of blues and funk.  Making this awesome music are Jack Flynn (lead guitar and vocals), Rhys Owens (bass) and Lauren Greaves (drums). Flynn and Owens, who’ve known each other for years, started FloodHounds after the band they were previously in broke up. They needed a drummer, and lucked out when they discovered Greaves, who joined them in late 2014 to complete the current line-up.

In 2015 they released their debut EP Bare Bones, featuring three well-crafted bluesy rock tunes. Now, the band has returned with an ambitious new EP Look What You’ve Started. Let’s dig in to see what it’s all about.


The EP bursts open with the hard-driving “A&E.”  Greaves’ pulse-pounding drums immediately set the pace for this powerful track, with lots of crashing cymbals adding excitement.  The stop and start composition of the track creates dramatic tension, with Flynn’s alternating scratchy and swirling guitars matching the ferocity of Owens’ heavy bass line. The guitars are really quite amazing, and Flynn’s vocals are mesmerizing.  The lyrics speak of someone – a friend or lover, perhaps – who’s going through tough times and in need of support:  “All the people look so tall, when you’re down on your luck and you fall. And though I know you’re on  your way, you need a little push to meet me halfway.

FloodHounds go all bluesy with “State of Mind,” a standout track about escaping a boring, mundane existence. Flynn sings: “Time has passed us slowly from one day to the next / All my friends are 9 to 5 and cashing their checks / And I’m running round in circles again, why do we try? They never said at school that we’d amount to much / You’re barely there it seems like you don’t give a fuck / And you’re wasting all your time outside, why don’t you try?  Makes you wonder if you’re ever gonna make it in this world alive.

The band keeps the bluesy vibe going while adding a bit of funk to the mix with “The Fear” and “Soulmates to Cellmates.” We’re treated to more stellar plucky guitar work, and Greaves’ formidable percussion skills are on full display. “The Fear” speaks to overcoming self-doubt and negativity that are holding the subject back: “Now I can’t help but wonder where you got your point of view / I don’t want to watch it bury you.”  By the time we get to “Soulmates to Cellmates,” it’s clear the EP’s theme is about dealing with inner conflict and the relationship troubles it causes.  In that track, the loved one becomes the oppressor, leaving the partner feeling shackled. “Being yours means I just have to wait / I don’t care how long it will take.

The more rock-oriented “End of the Road” offers up funky bass and shredded guitars, and the EP closer “Greatest Mistake” wraps everything up nicely with a slower, bluesy feel. The guitar riffs in this song call to mind those of the legendary Eric Clapton – at least to my ears. This is another standout track.

To sum up, Look What You’ve Started is a solid EP, with a bit of an Arctic Monkeys vibe – a good thing, as I love that band.  Support Floodhounds by checking out their website and following on Twitter and Facebook. Stream their music on Spotify and Soundcloud, and purchase on BandcampiTunes and other music purchase sites.

Top 20 Songs for October 16-22, 2016

1. BANG BANG – Green Day (1)
2. LIFE ITSELF – Glass Animals (2)
3. HEATHENS – twenty øne piløts (4)
4. ALL WE EVER KNEW – The Head and the Heart (3)
5. HYMN FOR THE WEEKEND – Coldplay & Beyoncé (6)
6. YOU DON’T GET ME HIGH ANYMORE – Phantogram (7)
8. WASTE A MOMENT – Kings of Leon (17)
9. HARDWIRED – Metallica (12)
10. RIVER – Bishop Briggs (9)
11. FEEL INVINCIBLE – Skillet (13)
13. WELCOME TO YOUR LIFE – Grouplove (14)
14. GOOD GRIEF – Bastille (5)
15. TONIGHT – Matto Rules (16)
16. TROUBLE – Cage the Elephant (10)
17. STARS – Wons Phreely + the Horses (18)
18. CHEAP THRILLS – Sia and Sean Paul (11)
19. WISH I KNEW YOU – The Revivalists (20)
20. CLEOPATRA – The Lumineers (N)

EP Review: CURE FOR GRAVITY – “Cure For Gravity”

From the moment I first listened to the opening song “Tonight” on alternative rock band Cure for Gravity’s new self-titled EP, I was bowled over by the sheer magnificence of their sound.  On October 14, the Berkeley, California based group dropped Cure For Gravity, a collection of six exceptional tracks that combine lush atmospheric synths with dazzling guitar work and strong percussion. The EP – and band for that matter – are aptly named, as their music soars straight to the heavens.

The band consists of three highly-skilled musicians – Joe Markert (Vocals, Keyboards, Guitars), Chris Gamper (Drums & Percussion) and Dave Walcott (Guitars, Wall of Sound, Backing Vocals). They released their first EP Fallen Stars in 2012, which featured four solid tracks with a mix of acoustic and harder rock sounds. They’ve taken a more experimental approach with Cure For Gravity, and the results are pretty incredible.


“Tonight” opens with sounds from a rocket launch, then segues into distorted guitar, heavy bass and crashing cymbals before the track settles into a gorgeous sweeping affair with a Pink Floyd vibe. The song seamlessly transitions into the awesome second track “Sunspots,” by which time I was helplessly in love with this band’s music. The blistering guitar riffs in this six-minute long song are a wonder. Markert’s urgent vocals rise and fall perfectly with the music. The two tracks combined run over ten minutes, yet they’re so good they seem over in an instant.

“Just Like Candy” is pure delight, filled with playful guitar riffs that dance across big synthesizers and a buzzing bass line. With equal playfulness, his voice alternating from smoldering to falsetto, Markert sings of a woman who drives men crazy with her teasing indifference: “Violence on the dance floor / She wants less, but he wants more / They move left to right like an underwater knife fight / You’re blowing me down / She’s just like candy / Wearing a hole in me.”  At 3:25 the song erupts with a rapid, hard-driving guitar riff that reminds me a bit like the ending guitar flourish of an Allman Brothers song.

Things turn dark and heavy with the psychedelic-tinged “BlackMetal.” Once again, the band’s nimble guitar work is amazing. And the music and vocals are so gorgeous in the moving rock ballad “Push” that I’m nearly blown away. The superb closing track “Killing For the Queen” offers up more soaring synths and mind-bending guitars that prove without a doubt that these guys are masters of their craft.

To sum up, I love this fantastic EP and am now a huge fan of Cure For Gravity. Learn more about them by checking out their website, and support these guys by following on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to their YouTube channel. Stream their music on  Spotify and Soundcloud, and purchase on iTunes or Bandcamp.

Album Review: A BLUE FLAME – “What We’ve Become is All That Now Remains”

British singer/songwriter Richard Stone – who goes by the artistic name A Blue Flame – doesn’t consider himself a musician, but rather a compulsive writer of songs who also happens to play the guitar. For him, the song lyric is supreme, not the music or sound. On his album, What We’ve Become is All That Now Remains, he tells compelling stories using straightforward lyrics about life, love, faith, loss and heartbreak. And though he’s not as concerned about the music or sound of his songs, I think they’re superb, representing an amazingly eclectic range of styles from doo-wop and old-school pop to easy listening ballads and hard-driving rock.  Plus, his smooth, clear vocals perfectly suit his thoughtful lyrics.

When I asked Stone about his artistic name, he explained that ‘A Blue Flame’ just came to him, but he also liked “the balance in the name between the heat of a flame and the sadness of feeling blue. Blue flames are the hottest of all flames and they are also linked with strange, other worldly experiences like will o’ the wisps. It’s a name of contradictions between the scientific and paranormal, just like my music is a mass of contradictory influences.”  He said his songwriting has been influenced by some of the great songwriters such as Bob Dylan and the Beatles, but essentially any great song from one of any number of artists.

Stone writes all his songs and plays guitar. He arranges them with help from Adam Ellis, who co-produces and also plays guitar.  Other session musicians add their skills to the mix as needed, including Damon Claridge on drums, Andy Robertson on bass and keyboards, and Tony Robinson (who’s also played with the Manic Street Preachers and The Beautiful South, among other bands) on keyboards and horns.


The passage of time and the challenge of keeping the faith – both in God and yourself – are recurring subjects in A Blue Flame’s songs. The album opens with the sublime track “When Time Slowed Down.”  The song features beautiful piano, gentle guitar and snare drum, along with a captivating trumpet solo. With a hint of sadness in his voice, Stone wistfully sings of the fleeting nature of time, and the need to stop and savor the precious moments: “When all is said and done, and we’re just words upon a page inside a book that never opens / How will we be found?  We lucked out, the year we found the days when time slowed down.

Time’s passage is again alluded to on the tracks “Our Memories Fade” and the anthemic “Everyday Yesterday,” where an upbeat melody belies a deeper meaning: “Everyday, yesterday gets further away. I was born for the ninth time, a fool amongst the fools. Running in the nighttime and breaking all the rules. Till I saw I was the dullest stone in a box of golden jewels. It was clear that I knew nothing and my promises were cruel.

Stone plaintively urges self-belief and acceptance in the bittersweet ballad “Be Kind to Yourself” – “You know that your hate is a weakness, you know that you need to be brave. You’re scared of that something inside you that cries in the night to be safe” – and in the edgy, hard-rocking “I Don’t Know,” where Stone’s raw vocals seem to channel an exasperated Billy Joel. In “Feeling the Same,” he expresses empathy for someone feeling lost and alone with their pain and self-doubt.

Faith in God is questioned in the rousing “From God on Down.” Stone defiantly proclaims “I have been here a billion years, and I am so tired. I may, I may not exist. You might believe, you may well laugh. We’re all in the dark, from God on down.”  So too with the catchy pop-rock track “Out There Somewhere.”  Love and loss are the theme of the wonderful but rather mournful doo-wop tune “The Sun Refused to Shine.” The guitar solo in the last third of the song is great.

One of my favorite tracks is “Marlborough Park Avenue,” a poignant tune that calls to mind the incredible storied lyrics and singing style of Harry Chapin. To a gorgeous arrangement with gentle percussion, violin and multi-textured guitars that swirl, twang and chime, Stone fervently sings of a lost loved one “Though you’re not here, you still hold me together. The blossom is swimming around me / I think I’m in heaven.  I wish you were walking beside me, but you’ve gone on ahead.

Another standout is the hard-hitting kiss-off “The Girl Inside of You.” As with some of the other songs on the album, the upbeat, high-energy music – complete with “sha la la la, ooh sha la la las” – contrasts sharply with the fiery lyrics. Stone practically spits the lines “Rain falls down from a cloudless sky / I look up and I wonder why / It seems strange to me / It’s a motherfucking mystery / Farewell from the boy in me, who so fell for the girl inside of you.

What We’ve Become is All That Now Remains is an album that keeps getting better with each listen, as the poetic beauty of the lyrics continues to sink in. Learn more about A Blue Flame by checking out his website. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and stream his music on Spotify and Soundcloud. His music is available for purchase on CD Baby.