Ryan’s Reviews: Feelgood by Winona Forever

Winona ForeverFeelgood – (indie pop)

Montreal-based band Winona Forever‘s 2019 release Feelgood seems to be a romantic summer turned into an album, and with titles like “Keep Kool,” “Happy Days,” and “Back seat,” it’s not hard to see why.

This album is a beautiful mix of lo-fi and “in the pocket” rhythms. The entire album feels like a fluid combination of Mac DeMarco, The Dirty Projectors and Vulfpeck. The guitar tone is clean but soaked in tape wow and flutter, which gives the very modern and clean sound but a throwback to an extremely retro feel. The lead singer’s vocals are close, clean and intimate, which really manage to get the listener’s attention through the occasionally muddy mix of lo-fi guitar and upfront drums.

Continue reading “Ryan’s Reviews: Feelgood by Winona Forever”

Ryan’s Reviews: U.F.O.F. by Big Thief

Big Thief – U.F.O.F. – (indie folk)

U.F.O.F. is the third studio album by American band Big Thief. This album can only be described as dreamy, dark, and ambient. The opening track “Contact” introduces you to this new “alien” world they’ve painted with a dark and sinister sounding intro, which tapers off with blood curdling screams. U.F.O.F. somehow pairs ambient vocals and samples into a perfect blend for the acoustic four-piece band. The album brings you into the setting of each tune and lets you walk around before taking down the walls of ambience and zapping you back to reality.

The second half of the record tones down the initial dark, spacey mood and becomes more unplugged. Lead singer Adrianne Lenker uses her incredibly visual lyrics and sweet, soft vocals to weave you into whatever story she is telling. The band’s arrangements are warm and comforting, almost like an open mic on a summer night, and the extra textures just take the music to another world.

I would recommend U.F.O.F. to anyone looking for some nice soft tunes, for either a melancholy night, or just something to really dive in deep, listen and appreciate the music. So go out and pick up a copy and hear for yourself!

Ryan’s Reviews: Demos II by Hippo Campus

Hippo CampusDemos II – (indie alternative)

Hippo Campus album Demos II is a collection of material that came to life during the sessions around the band’s most recent album Bambi, and includes such fan favorites and live staples as “No Poms,” “Chapstick,” and “Joy.” This album is a window into the creative process that is album making. It allows a glimpse into the different changes that songs take on to eventually become what we know as the finished product. Demos II is an eclectic map of stories and recurring motifs that make this reel of “demos” feel more like a finished album. The album is fun to listen to and will keep you stomping your feet and grooving with it for at least the rest of 2019. While the music from this album would later become Bambi, it is just as great to listen to and it is interesting to compare the two releases.

Here’s what the band had to say about the album: “When we made plans to release Demos II, it felt like this incredibly cathartic purge. So we decided not only to include the songs that would eventually become Bambi, but also include other things we were writing and working on over the summer of 2017 and the winter of 2018. It means you can hear a pretty expansive document of where we were creatively throughout the process.”

This record is fantastic and could not be more highly recommended. Check them both out on any major platform!

Ryan’s Reviews: Omoiyari by Kishi Bashi

Kishi Bashi Omoiyari – (indie pop)

Kishi Bashi’s newest work, Omoiyari, which translates roughly from Japanese to mean “creating compassion towards others,” connects the difficult subject of the internment of the Japanese during WWII and mixes it with summery arrangements of acoustic instruments, modern pop, and indie styling to paint this entire sweet, yet melancholy world around the listener. The album touches on many different aspects of the internment, but in a unique way, to imply that the human spirit will continue through the most trying times. For example, “Summer of ’42” is a soft sweet song about a love growing inside one of these camps.

This album is Kishi Bashi’s most mature work, and was inspired by visiting the remains of many of these internment camps. As a Japanese American, this subject truly resonated with him to create what would be considered, a masterpiece. This is truly a summer album, but in a bittersweet way, considering the message presented, but the music is perfect to lay down at the end of a hot day and relax too. Continue reading “Ryan’s Reviews: Omoiyari by Kishi Bashi”

Video: Brayla plays BIRN Alive!

Brayla and band give a soulful R&B and Latin jazz-inspired serenade, exclusively here at the BIRN studios!


Brayla – Voice
Alec Winter- Keyboard
Fernando Felo Lopez- Percussion

Songs featured in this video: “Alright” and “10 Seconds.”


BIRN Alive is home to great live performances and insightful conversation every Saturday at 4:00 p.m. EDT on BIRN1.

Video: Danielle Ponder plays BIRN Alive!

Danielle Ponder, a vocalist and songwriter whose voice ranks with the best working in the industry today, performed April 20 on BIRN Alive.

In 2016 the soulful powerhouse singer released her debut EP Blow Out The Sun and has since performed around the world. This sensational singer lists powerful influences like Nina Simone, Big Mama Thornton, Shirley Chisholm, Cornel West and Lauryn Hill. Ponder opens her mouth to sing or speak and it’s readily apparent, there’s another name that belongs in that pantheon as well.

For more information on Danielle Ponder visit danielleponder.com. Instagram: @daniellepondermusic

BIRN Alive is home to great live performances and insightful conversation every Saturday at 4:00 p.m. EDT on BIRN1.


Video: Anna Clendening plays BIRN Alive!

Watch America’s Got Talent contestant and internet star Anna Clendening perform a acoustic version of “Bend & Break” on BIRN Alive!

Clendening first came to the public’s attention as a Vine star and later as a contestant on season 9 of America’s Got Talent. She has amassed over 89 million views on her YouTube channel and over 50 million streams on Spotify as of March 2019.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/annaclendening/

Youtube:  https://www.youtube.com/user/annaclendening08

Twitter:  @annclendening

Her official site is here.

BIRN Alive is home to great live performances and insightful conversation every Saturday at 4:00 p.m. EDT on BIRN1.