Sam Phillips and Felsen

Sam Phillips “Push Any Button”
Prolific singer-songwriter Sam Phillips returns with her 10th studio album, Push Any Button. Thankfully she leaves behind the wanderlust of her recent past and brings us melodic pop that comes closest to her masterwork Martinis & Bikinis. Starting with the organic percussive effects on “Pretty Time Bomb” it sets the stage for the compelling melody of “All Over Me,” with neat little horn flourishes and a churning guitar rhythm. The catchiest song is next, “When I’m Alone” with its fast paced beat and Phillips expressive vocals.

The minimalist orchestral base and plucking strings suits Phillips well on tracks like “Going”and “Speaking Of Pictures.” Another gem “You Know I Won’t” is another sing along melody and with barely a wasted noted, its a perfect showcase of an artisan at her best. Highly recommended AOR listening.


Felsen “I Don’t Know How To Talk Anymore”
Oakland band Felsen is a hard working local band made up of guitarist Dylan Brock, singer/guitarist Andrew Griffin, bassist Christian Hernandez, and drummer Art McConnell. Felsen has toured throughout the West and puts together a workman-like effort on this new album.

The songs take a while to reach the hook, but they do get there. The lead track “Rock and Roll’s Not Dead” certainly takes its time, as we don’t get any rock guitars till the four minute mark. Much better are the melodies of the title track, “Better Days,” and the catchy “Tokyo Electric .” Where Felsen falters is in the slow meandering epics (“Gunfighting At Dawn”), but if you’re patient you’ll appreciate both the environmental message and the music.