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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Music Review: Voices Only 2012 and Forte II

It's a new genre for me, probably inspired partly by Glee and artists like Sam Tsui (who coincidentally just came on my iPod as I type this), but it's a genre that has instantly taken up residence in my heart.  Since then, I've developed an addiction to the semi-recent college a Capella group album from Ben Folds, and to the Yale group The Duke's Men.  Still, I hungered for more and I found a great source.

Voices Only releases the best of college a Capella performances yearly and also with their Forte collection non school a Capella groups.  Let me tell you, you're getting the cream of the crop here.

Available now are Voice Only 2012 Volume One and Two (plus previous years!) and Voices Only Forte II.  Both are great introductions to the genre and feature popular songs in ways you've probably never heard before.

The 2012 Collection features the best in college A Capella groups including The Michigan G-Men, Richmond Octaves, The JMU BluesTones, and many more from all over the country.  Really beautiful, fun, unique interpretations here.  I can't find a complaint in the bunch.  These groups are just incredible.

The set really gives exposure to a lot of these college groups you'd never hear otherwise and in fact if any of them released their own albums I'd be all over them too.

EDIT:  I have been informed that these artists and groups indeed DO have albums out and they're available on iTunes.  My wallet is lighter at the thought.

Work is just beginning on the 2013 collection and I can't even wait.

With Forte II (2), things go in a different direction.  This collection features artists and groups that are not collegiate vocal groups and here things even get international with some non English tracks.  These tracks are a little more varied and almost experimental.  There are some multi-track performances from solo artists and some tracks even have some music involved which I was surprised by but the spirit of the genre remains in those songs.

One of my favorites on Forte II, is Musae performing Pink's Glitter in the Sky, which you can hear on our recent Top 10 Movies of 2012 episode of Pop Culture Beast presents SHOW (available on iTunes).

These two albums are great for fans of the genre and great jumping off points for those just getting into it.  If you were a fan of any of the groups from NBC's The Sing-Off, than these albums are definitely for you.

Voices Only 2012 and Forte II are available now from your favorite digital retailers!

For more information visit

Voices Only 2012...10 out of 10 Glee Clubs!
Forte II...9 out of 10 Glee Clubs!

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