Kyle Hunt and the King Gypsy
Self-titled EP
One of the area’s most reliable local draws, Kyle Hunt and the King Gypsy’s newest release, a five-song self-titled EP, shows tremendous growth in the band’s songwriting. Half groove and half classic rock throwback, it’s when Hunt and the gang lean toward their fun side that things really come together. The incredibly catchy, feel-good vibe of “Have a Good Time” and the reggae-laced ode to local life in “West Coast Waters” are some of the best songs the Ojai group has ever recorded. Lyrically, Hunt and company aren’t breaking any new ground, but nobody goes to a Gypsy show to marvel at clever world play — everyone’s there to dance, drink and party it up. They sum it up best themselves, proclaiming, “Don’t wanna hear about your heartbreak, it’s summertime in California.”  Amen to that.

— Chris Jay

Available on iTunes and CDBaby.com


Tall Tales and the Silver Lining
Nice to Meet You Again
Of distant shores, impossible adventures, a magic that exists only in the imagination: a state of mind most commonly found in the hearts of 20-somethings looking for a bit more from a post-everything world. Nice to Meet You Again captures that unique melancholy, vaguely reminiscent of Echo and the Bunnymen and their dreamy hopefulness.

“Servants Quarters” echos the heartbeat of a struggling optimist alongside an inspired rhythm straight out of desert summer days; “Dyed in the Wool,” an upbeat counterpart, introduces the hazy vocals of Trevor Beld-Jimenez, transitioning smoothly to “Into the Fray” as it dissolves into a mirror of confusion. Where Nice to Meet You Again succeeds is in its ability to mirror emotions, to call upon listeners to see themselves within the carefully chosen words, evoking memories that may never have existed except in flights of fancy.

— Chris O’Neal

Nice to Meet You Again is available at local record stores.


Self-titled EP
Dec. 31, 1999, we sat imagining what the world would be like post-apocalypse. Despite the fact that most of Asia had reached the new year sans four horsemen, we couldn’t help but wait with bated breath for the clock to doom us all.

That failure to materialize became the boogeyman of a distant past, but like most good monsters, it never truly dies.

Risen once again, the monster that was now is in the form of Larusso and its debut EP. Take a listen to “Jawbreaker” for a casual glimpse of AFI, circa 2003. But similar to that long New Year’s Eve, Larusso’s EP is rather uneventful.

Like a mad prophecy, the band’s potential lurks, waiting for the right moment to reveal itself — perhaps on a later release, when Larusso can meld its individually talented parts into one terrifying monster.

— Chris O’Neal

Tracks are available at reverbnation.com/larussoventura.