Exclusive Artist Review: Isabel & The Whispers – Self Titled Debut Album

NYC-born and bred artist Isabel Marcheselli (formerly known as Isabel Rivera) formed her band in 2005 under the official name Isabel & The Whispers and quickly began manifesting her love for music into a collection of anthemic songs that would become the band’s self titled debut album. Known for her insatiably dynamic craft in several artistic areas including vocals, songwriting and poetry, Isabel has musically crossed a vast array of genres and her eclectic scope of music continues to evolve and defy easy categorization. While she was classically trained, she can easily create music in mass-appealing genres such as Pop, Dance and Indie – utilizing her craft and artistic merit in ways that would ultimately garner the undivided attention of many listeners across the musical landscape.

And in 2008, after a few years of writing and solidifying their signature sound, Isabel & The Whispers would release their self titled debut album comprised of 8 atmospheric and intellectual tracks that would give Mazzy Star’s Hope Sandoval a run for her money. This amazingly crafty collection of tunes provide that aura of catchiness you’d expect from a vocalist with a Pop sensibility, but ultimately wins you over with a soft Indie implementation with a crisp subtlety that will easily captivate any fan of the genre, respectively. Opening track and anchor single “Josefina” is direct evidence of this and it really kicks off the record with a signature style that touches on textures of ambience and atmosphere. The piano lead parallels diligently with Isabel’s hypnotically visceral vocal melodies, giving the listener a listening experience that is both effective and unforgettable upon first listen. It’s an anthemic song that truly sets the tone for the rest of the album and casts a bright spotlight onto Isabel’s ability to not only write an amazing melody, but express them thoroughly through lyrical content as well. Her poetic and story-telling ability really puts her on a level very few artists tend to reach, and it’s quite a joy to behold when you really pay attention to not only what she sings, but how she sings it.

Another notable track on this record is breakup song “High Horse”, a song about a past love with Isabel’s signature story-telling method that has been made apparent from the very first track. Once again we get a beautiful piano lead, this time in a minor key, a smooth rhythm section and a more high-ranged Isabel with this song’s anthemic chorus. Though she tackles common subject matter in this song, she again brings a simple concept to new heights with a poetic presence that really brings the overall story to form in a way that is intelligent and artistically visceral. It’s a rollercoaster of emotions sung with a sense of subtlety that almost makes it a lullaby, but no matter how you interpret it, Isabel just does it well. She completely makes the concept her own. One more notable track is closing song “Dot To Dot”, a song that combines the previous two songs into one intelligently crafted composition. This anthem really closes in on each element both Isabel and her band have brought to the table throughout the album’s duration in a way that ties it all together, perhaps also with a bow on top like a musical gift. We have Isabel at the peak of her vocal melody execution, delivering her blissful and breathy lyrical outbursts that are again enticing and thought provoking. Her band serves up their amazingly rhythmic measures, diligently paralleling her story-telling approach in a way that is effective and almost surreal. By the time you reach the end, you are almost disappointed it is now over. But the best part is, you can start it all over again, and that’s what makes this album stand out – its staying power. Its ability to stay with you even long after it’s over. Something not heard often among today’s more modern releases. And that’s another thing that makes this album a standout, the fact it could easily please music fans from just about any generation or era. Older fans will find it nostalgic, while newer fans will hear its innovation. But the truth is – it’s both.

This is an album you won’t forget anytime soon. You can get your copy now on Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes and any other digital music streaming platform.


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Exclusive Artist Review: West Of House – “Drown The Wind” Album

We’ve reviewed and featured West Of House before and these guys do not disappoint. With 2021 in full force nearing the end of summer, the alt-rockers have put out a subsequent album release that surprised just about everyone that knows them, and intrigued a plethora of new listeners as well. And that release is their newest album ‘Drown The Wind’, which is easily their best effort to date that really brings their signature sound right to the forefront.

Comprised of 11 anthemic and atmospheric songs, ‘Drown The Wind’ is an alt-rock album that encompasses the band’s artistic merit while combining crucial elements from 90s industry heavyweights like REM, Coldplay and Oasis. Anchor single “Entwined” is an excellent example of this and really delivers the production and performance parallels that set the tone for the rest of the album. The song begins with some dynamically executed time signatures, showcasing the band’s driving rhythm section and dueling guitars that bring out the brilliance of the well-written vocal melodies. It’s a very multi layered mix that shines a light on each band member where you can easily hear each of their individual contributions into one precise unit. Another anchor track on this record is “Fall Down”, featuring a glistening mandolin intro that is anthemic, melodic and insatiably versatile. This melody-driven track really showcases the high-range vocals that once again really encapsulate into melody choices that are very next-level. The song is hauntingly ominous, ambient and really adds a layer of magic to the album that puts the band at the top of their game. This is a song that sustains a standout all on its own and will easily be one that people will be talking about.

One more track that needs mentioning is “Where To Begin”, another atmospheric tune with visceral synth parts that implement alongside the chord progressions and add a layer of detail that is crucial and effective. This one is a little more rhythmic and has climactic measures that really serve up a wholesomeness not heard often with independent artists. This track also embraces melodic structures like the previous song, but also diligently blends more atmospheric guitar swells and smooth bass lines. This will easily be a favorite on the album right alongside the sensibility we heard with “Fall Down”. Overall, West Of House have really set the bar higher for themselves and continue to manifest magically with every release. You can hear the evolution of their own signature sound but still get a dose of nostalgia from great callbacks to the 90s alt-rock sound that we’ve come to know and love over many years. ‘Drown The Wind’ from start to finish is brilliantly crafted, melodically visceral and really explores the depths of combining originality and familiarity. You can get your copy of the album now on Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes and several other digital music streaming platforms.


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Exclusive Artist Interview: Nightbird Casino

Rogue Valley, Oregon-based quintet Nightbird Casino emerged onto the scene as a duo and in the last six months have manifested into the fully functional unit they are today. Known for their ambient and cohesive indie signature sound and inspired by prominent 90s artists like Hum, Interpol, Silverchair and Radiohead, the band formed in 2017 and quickly began hitting the ground running, putting out a handful of prominent releases since their inception into the market and proving that their artistic merit is more than deserving of your undivided attention.

Now in 2021, with their highly anticipated upcoming LP ‘Russian Carpet’ slated to release in two days on September 5th, we got a chance to sit down with the members of Nightbird Casino for a comprehensive interview where we got to discuss the past, present and future of the band.


How long have you guys been active under your artist/band name?

Nightbird Casino has been around in some fashion since mid-2017. The band was started by myself (James Moore, lead vocals/guitar/piano) and Don Shepherd (guitar/piano/backing vocals). We met in a tribute band and branched off to start writing our own original music. It took until 2020 for us to get serious and actually write a full album. It wasn’t until early 2021 that we recruited our other three members (Oliver Orion – drums / Amanda Moore – ondes martenot/keyboards / Patrick Manville – bass) and really took off.

What music scene/city do you currently represent?

Currently we live in Medford, which is in southern Oregon – but there’s not much of a music scene here at all. We’re originally from LA, so ultimately I’d say we have much more of an LA vibe than a rural Oregon vibe.

The pandemic has really thrown a wrench into the live music experience and for artists altogether. How has it affected you and your career (if at all)?

It’s been a mixed bag for us. On the downside, we haven’t been able to tour, which has been frustrating of course. It’s pretty difficult to build an audience without playing any shows. On the plus side, it’s allowed us an enormous amount of time to write and record. I doubt we would’ve finished two full LPs, a live album, an EP, and four singles in just over a year if it weren’t for the pandemic.

What are some of your music influences?

There are five of us in this band and we all draw from different influences. Some of those might include some more indie/alternative rock artists: Interpol, Radiohead, The National, King Krule, Modest Mouse … a lot of early 90s grunge i.e. Nirvana, Bush; The Beach Boys are a big influence, lots of classical music too.

What kind of concepts do you tend to write about as an artist? Shine some light on that.

I don’t have a particular subject matter I plan out when writing lyrics, but I think most of our songs have themes of alienation and anxiety running through them. I tend to use intimate personal stories and dreams as metaphors for more big picture concepts about what’s happening in the world. Frequently I’ll find out what I was writing about after the song is finished… lyrics are usually the last part I finish. I’ll write down words and phrases and stream of consciousness ideas and then I look at it all and think ok, what is this about? What was my subconscious trying to say through these lyrics? There’s also a pretty prominenttheme of psychedelia and the psychedelic experience that comes up again and again.

If you could put together a dream show or tour, what bands/artists would be on the bill?

Oh gosh, that’s a hard question. We’d love to tour with Radiohead or Modest Mouse, I think our style of music would make sense with those bands.

When is your next release coming out?

Our 2nd LP, Russian Carpet, will be released on September 5, 2021. (on all streaming services everywhere, physical copies available to purchase via our website nightbirdcasino.com).

•What’s in store for you in 2021? Give us the goods.

So much. Our second LP Russian Carpet will be released in a few days as I mentioned. We also have a live album / video series that’ll be released in some fashion later this year. Also, with a full band in place and some covid restrictions easing, we’re finally able to start playing shows and touring. We’re currently planning a west coast tour as we speak. Also also, we’re in the beginning stages of LP3 – we’ve just started putting together some ideas for new songs and we’ll be recording that in – hopefully – early 2022 with Matt Talbot of HUM.


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