Matt Goss
I Do
(Virgin)
It’s difficult to imagine that Matt Goss used to be in a boy band in the ’80s, because he’s incredibly soulful on this new E.P. Goss is now performing in Las Vegas until this summer. With a song like “Lovely Las Vegas,” it’s no surprise that he’s very much in the style of Sin City — big blues and jazzy. It’s as if he were a lost student of Frank Sinatra and Michael Bublé’s, although Goss’ voice is a bit higher in tone. Frankly, I’m eating it up. If I were going to Vegas anytime soon, I wouldn’t miss the chance to see his show. My favorite track off the four-song E.P. is “Mustang.” It’s a bit more serious than the others on the CD, but it’s probably my favorite song from any artist I’ve heard all year. You definitely should check it out.

Big Bad Gina
Shine Your Light
Big Bad Gina won the Judge’s Choice in the electric category at the HRC Battle of the Bands in Kansas City in January. It’s no shock that they brought down the house. They know how to please a music audience, that’s for sure, but one of my favorite aspects of this band is their range. It doesn’t matter whether it’s blues, rock, country, pop, or rap, they can do it. Even though I’m fully aware that they cover just about every genre that may have ever existed on planet Earth, I’m still surprised and impressed by these far too talented ladies. One of my favorite on this CD is “Venus in Virgo” for its bluesy greatness. Another fun one is “Beetz in my Salad” ― and when I said they could rap, I meant it. Be sure to check out the album at bigbadgina.com/album/89477/shine-your-light-cd?autostart=true
Lea Michele
Louder
(Columbia)
An album was the obvious thing for Lea Michele to do after her success on the TV show Glee. It’s no surprise to any viewer that she has a powerful voice. Though the focus of the album is on her vocals, it’s hard not to think of the late Cory Monteith, her real-life boyfriend and costar, while listening to it. Most of the CD consists of general pop songs about relationships, and it isn’t until “If You Say So” that we know it’s about Monteith. It’s sad knowing that Michele dealt with his death and that the song is about his last words. Even so, though, it’s one of my favorites. Another good one is “Empty Handed,” which includes a male background voice. This may make fans of Glee think it would have been a duet for her and Monteith, who often sang together on the show. But sadness aside, the danceable title song, “Louder,” is the one that stayed in my head well after listening to the CD. Though the lyrics could have been stronger, pop fans will love the album.
Scarlett Rabe
Scarlett
(SLB Records)
Wow, I had never heard of Scarlett Rabe, but now I’m an instant fan. Her songs are beautiful. It’s not just one component ― so many things add up to make these wonderfully written songs from Rabe. The hauntingly gorgeous piano, subtle drums, touch of synthesizer, and her crisp voice mix perfectly. The songs are incredibly addictive, and the album is simply a treat to listen to. Mostly pop, it has a somewhat ’90s feel to it. Scarlett Rabe would fit nicely nestled right between Tori Amos and Fiona Apple, so fans of either will adore her. Some of my favorites are “Hitchhiker Heart,” “Top Down, Baby,” and “Free Fall.” Be sure not to miss this new artist.

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