reviews & interviews

music     facebook      discography     music videos     gallery     trivia     reviews

Send in your fan / critic review here:

Posted by Kristi Kates

Rivera has had several albums prior to this release, under the name Tino Ghost; this time around, he’s setting *himself* more in the forefront, which is shown both in the album’s title and in his even more personal songwriting. Now based in Austin, Texas, he infuses this set of tracks with straightforward production, confident drums, and his usual singer-songwriter flair, although with a more serious tone this time; electro-folk-rock tracks like the churning “Before” and the deceptively upbeat “Nevermind My Mind” recall the early work of fellow artists like Sufjan Stevens or M. Ward, but are set apart by Rivera’s own distinctive vocals.

Posted by Jamie Funk
The Equal Ground

Jav Rivera has been writing music since the mid 90’s but his music tends to feel like it is paying homage to some of the artists of the 70’s. This is true not only for the music but the production as well. For instance, the drum kit sounds like a real kit being played live. It doesn't sound overcompressed and it isn't front and center in the mix. Combine his good sense of aesthetics with his songwriting and you are left with Almost Alive.  Two artists come to mind when I listen to this album, Nick Drake and Pink Floyd. The songs at heart here are folk songs that would sound fine even if there were no other instruments or effects. However he does add effects such as slight delays and reverbs, which give the songs a psychedelic quality. The album’s themes focus on death, seclusion, depression, and a general reevaluation of life, goals and dreams but luckily the album does not feel that dark. It has a nice mix of songs in which some are uplifting while others feel they are exploring your darkest thoughts and you don't know the way out, such as “Thoughts I Fight.”

Rivera’s voice is warm and comforting even though I thought it had a bit too much reverb on it at points. The guitar and vocal work is what excels in the album and what is ultimately the best draw to the music. Take “Before” which has lush guitars that create a dreamy type atmosphere that sounds like a folk song dipped in a fair amount of LSD. His vocals are straight which provides a humanistic element and ensures we don't go too far off the grid. One of the upbeat numbers on the album is “Nevermind My Mind.” He repeatedly sings the lyrics “never mind your mind” as if this is an easy thing to do. By the end of the song I thought maybe I shouldn't have spent $2000 on Transcendental Meditation courses and just listened to this song instead which would have given me enough confidence to look past my bad thoughts.

This album has 12 songs but it only runs about 45 minutes. It does not over extend its welcome and has enough variety and quality songwriting to keep me engaged.
Almost Alive was a nice treat and at this point I am going to check out some of his back catalog.

Posted by
Online Music Site

We recently received a great submission from a Nicaraguan artist, Jav Rivera. Take a listen to “Love Tune,” a sweet acoustic track with a raw, unpolished sound. Much of his album, Almost Alive, features gentle ambient tracks with cinematic elements. Many of his songs have refreshingly unconventional structures, a uniqueness we always appreciate at OurDeadRadio. Give this track a try and checkout the rest of his tunes on Bandcamp

Posted by Lauren Galley
President of Girls Above Society

Jav Rivera's "Almost Alive" album is a breathtaking experience. The combination of sound and soul reaches out with an easy feel that truly hypnotizes. I found myself so relaxed, yet truly listening to the words that were thoughtfully written. I hope this isn't your last album Jav, you are truly talented. Thanks for keeping the music "Alive".

Posted by Cassandra Rutherford
Owner & Curator of Peep Hole Art Gallery

I just listened to your CD in its whole entirety and it is so smooth and clean. The transitions are just beautiful from track to track. All I have to say personally is I think this is your best work. I love it.

Posted by Don Likovich
Assistant Film Editor on The Dark Knight Rises, Singer/Songwriter for Spectacular Disaster

Your new record arrived in my mailbox two days ago and I haven’t had it out of my CD player since!  (I have a long commute to my new job, so I’ve been able to listen to it all the way through several times already.)  The sonic landscape that you’ve managed to create is both lush and cinematic (Have you considered licensing your music for film and television?) and your voice has, at least to my ear, developed an expressive maturity that I don’t recall hearing in your earlier recordings.  Very impressive work!  It was well worth the, what was it, 3 years in the making?  And the result I think speaks for itself.   I hope there is another one on the horizon as I think your growth as an artist is an impressive thing to watch, and I’d love to see what you come up within another, oh, say, three or four years!  Perhaps your move to Nicaragua will inspire you to even greater effect!