Mimi Betinis and Steve Ison

Mimi Betinis

Mimi Betinis “Music Sounds”

Mimi Betinis (Pezband) makes a long overdue return since 2010’s All That Glitters and the arrangements are more playful, less structured on Music Sounds. “Pontiac” is the most rock oriented single here, asking some important life questions on a road trip. Mimi’s vocals are soft but clear throughout — he just sounds great.

Next “Summer Love ’68” is a descriptive slice-of-life love story that may or may not be fictional, but the strong “Corinna” is a big highlight with a sweeping guitar hook in the driving chorus. From here the album starts to resemble the McCartney solo era on the sweet “Listen to Me” and the jazz-inspired “This Girl.” The charm of Betinis approach works best on the catchy gems “She Wants You” and “Sound The Alarm,” where the sonic experimentation within each hummable melody works best. Overall a highly recommended album, and keep it coming Mimi!

Music Sounds | Amazon

Steve Ison

Steve Ison “The Stars Are Never Really Distant”

Steve Ison is a bedroom pop artist with a solid talent and knows a catchy hook or two on The Stars Are Never Really Distant.This album is a compilation of songs he’s worked on since 2006. “If I Met You Again” slowly opens with Ison’s warm jangling melody, and a bouncy guitar chorus with a big hook. But my favorite here is the jubilant “Golden Pie,” its catchy blues pop of the highest order with some nice harmonies and a toe-tapping rhythm.

“Lou Reed” echoes the music legend in his best Velvet Underground style, with echoing piano and strings. His main influences are all classic 60’s artists. “The Strangest Feeling” and “Girl On The Train” are folk melodies that recall both early Dylan and Buffalo Springfield. As Ison floats from genre to genre he demonstrates skillful musicianship, as “I Know A Good Thing” is very much like Donovan. You may also like his previous release On The Way Up. 

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