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Alma Mater – Mercy

     Mercy (seen/heard here) is from Alma Mater, a band made up of Dirk Sullivan and Andrew Paul Woodworth, and their upcoming long-player, The Beginning Of Everything (release date not set). It’s all about showing kindness, empathy, and compassion, to those around us that simply confound us. It is so easy to react with negativity to these sorts of people. We have seen that sort of negativity gather in the winds that have blown hate and division around the world in the…

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Nite Bjuti – Illustrious Negro Dead

     Fitting neatly into the Vodka mold of “music that isn’t the same old thing, mostly…” this cross-genre, spoken word offering from Nite Bjuti’s forthcoming (April 14) LP hits the nail squarely on the head. Says lead singer Candice Hoyes, the song: “reclaims this impassioned plea that dignity and legacy of Black artists not die in ‘conspicuous forgetfulness’ as Black people of all nations continue to face state-sanctioned racial violence and hegemonic occupation in Haiti and throughout the Diaspora,” Let’s face it: This isn’t just a problem…

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Natalie Shay – The Edge

     Hailing from North London, indie-pop artist Natalie Shay may not break a lot of new ground with The Edge (seen/heard here), but she makes up for it by sounding fresh in her delivery. The Edge is about reaching the end of a close friendship. Since the song is based on a real-life experience, it is cathartic for Shay: “This is one of my favourite songs I’ve ever released, and as the feelings are still very raw, I’m hoping to find closure in…

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WESSON – Made Me Happy

     It’s got a little bit of Weezer flavoring, but Wesson’s feel-good rocker, Made Me Happy (seen/heard here) is very much their own song and a whole lot of indie-rock fun!  Wesson is based in Milton Keynes, UK, and is led by singer/songwriter Chris Wesson. The four-piece includes Jimmy (guitar), Callum (bass), and Dale (drums). That’s correct, nowhere in their promotional or online documents do they give up the last names of the remaining bandmates, at least, nowhere that Vodka could find…

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Steve Stoeckel – The Power Of And

     Steeped in historical rock, gently tossed with pop melody goodness, and carefully served with attention to detail, Steve Stoeckel’s debut LP, The Power Of And (February 2023), is a careful look at what rock music can be in the age of overproduction.  From the lead-off track, Laura Lynn, to the finale, Whistling Past Graveyards, each song is crafted with a simple story, a good melody, Stoeckel’s imperfect but infectious vocals, and instrumentation that offers just enough, without being too much. From start to finish, The Power Of…

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