Saturday, June 28, 2008

Free mp3: Jeff Scott Soto

Exclusive offering from

Jeff Scott Soto: Time To TestifySpecial Feature: Exclusive Interview / Full Length MP3 Download / Track By Track

Artists launch new albums all the time, but at certain points in any artist's career, there comes a time when a particular release marks an important milestone in that career. A statement of intent. A rebirth. A defining new chapter. This is all of the above for artist we have all come to know as is very proud to present an exclusive JSS feature - a brand new interview in which JSS talks in depth for the very first time about his upcoming new solo album Beautiful Mess. And online today - the world premiere of an advance preview track from the album. The song Testify is available for full length download right now.And finally, JSS has also delivered a Track By Track commentary on the songs that Beautiful Mess is comprised of.

Feature Page

MP3 Download

Friday, June 20, 2008

Free mp3 files from BMF!

I am very excited to announce that the response from independent artists to donate a free track for readers of BMF has been AWESOME! You can download the free (and legal) mp3 file for your listening pleasure using the "File Factory" panel on the right. Click on the track you want and choose "Download with FileFactory Basic". Pardon the pop-ups, input the code, and you are ready to rock. These are full-length tracks from releases we have reviewed, not samples and certainly not garbage! Each track has received the BMF stamp of approval and is sure to please fans of rock and power pop.

Songs will not be available forever, so get them while you can and be sure to check back for fresh cuts later.

BIG thanks to all of the fine artists be a sport and promise to go buy their CD if you like what you hear!

These are completely safe and legal to download...we have obtained permission from each artist to post their mp3. If you are an artist and there has been a miscommunication, please let me know and I will remove the track in question immediately. If you are an artist and want us to audition a track for posting, send us an email.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Call for mp3

We're working on an exciting new feature here - making free mp3 files available for our readers. If you have recently been reviewed and have a file you'd like to share, please send us an email giving us permission to post the file - whichever song you choose. We'll "change our tunes" every 2-4 weeks. If you have not been reviewed yet, what are you waiting for? Contact us for an address and get ready to ship your CD!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Review: R.E.M. "Accelerate"

I was in no rush to get my hands on "Accelerate", since R.E.M. appeared to put the brakes on writing quality alternative ROCK. It is no secret that somewhere around the time of "New Adventures in Hi-Fi" and the unfortunate loss of Bill Berry from the band, R.E.M. morphed into a lumbering, sleepy, and unmelodious snorefest.

So like many fans, I agree that "Accelerate" is the long-awaited "return to form" - the R.E.M. record we've been waiting for since "Monster" in the early 90s. I am not going to exaggerate and call this a masterpiece or perfect record, but I can honestly say that I could not be more happy with what R.E.M. has done here. By and large, the record rocks from beginning to end, and the few ballads even have a gritty or dark edge. Stipe's intelligent and poignant lyrics are still omnipresent, but finally backed by music that makes you remember the words, and thus the message.

The record opens with more of a 1-2-3 punch than any other R.E.M. release in recent memory. "Living Well is the Best Revenge" sets the stage for what is to come, and will forever be remembered as the first song ever to rhyme apostles with nostrils. Next up is the best track on the record, "Man-Sized Wreath", which features a brilliant chorus with signature harmony vocals. Most of you have heard the single by now, "Supernatural Superserious", another solid pop rock track. "Hollow Man" is notable for tricking you into thinking R.E.M. is going back to sleep, but then a change of pace with a kicking chorus brings it home and makes the song noteworthy. The CD fizzes a little in the middle, but roars back to end on a very strong note with a pair of garage rock tunes: "Horse To Water" and "I'm Gonna DJ".

Stipe sounds like he warmed up for most of these tracks by screaming for 5 minutes straight before recording, and it suits the tone of this music well. Buck's distorted guitar tones are some of the best and most modern-sounding he's recorded in a long time. "Accelerate" has put R.E.M. back on the fast track to being a band that is still relevant and not just spinning their wheels. The guys sound like they are inspired and having fun once again - finally - and you can't help but want to cheer them on.

iPOD-worthy: 1, 2, 3, 4, 8, 10, 11

R.E.M. on MySpace. Official site.

Check out the video for "Hollow Man":

Review: Richard Snow “Richard Snow” (2002, reissue)

Time for a little Snow in June! Richard Snow, whose SideBMusic label sent me the reissue of his self-titled 2002 CD. SideBMusic, who was also responsible for the awesome “Modulations” by Chewy Marble (reviewed on this blog here) is quickly becoming my one stop shop for great power pop. Now that is a rhyme I should have left behind.

Richard Snow is recommended if you dig Brian Wilson, Elvis Costello, and R.E.M. I can’t fault these comparisons, and would venture to add John Wesley Harding to the list. Or at least what would happen if John Wesley Harding had a passionate love affair with a harpsichord, handclaps, and thick heavenly harmonies. Richard’s comfort zone is in the cool and breezy pop of the late 60s and early 70s, so fans of this genre had better keep an eye out for Snow.

This release is an extra treat when listened through the headphones. You'll pick out even more instruments and vocal parts that testify to how well crafted each song really is. After being primed with the lush, multi-layered harmonies of "The Sweetest", Richard takes us back in time with harpsichord laden "Coming Soon (Going So Fast)" - an excellent tribute to his late 60s influences, yet still so enjoyable to hear today. But he is a man of many talents and musical styles, as evidenced by how easily he hops from the lingering acoustic ballad, "Attention Not Required" to the surf punk blend of "Girls on the Tube" to the jamming funk and fuzz rock of "Hand Me Down My Sunglasses", which incidentally is one of my favorite tracks. Another great one is the upbeat track "Red Song", which dares you to resist snapping and clapping along to the beat.

iPOD-worthy: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 10

Richard Snow on MySpace. Official site.

Check out a music video for the track “Real”, which was featured on the 2004 Brian and Dennis Wilson tribute CD "Two Steps Forward":

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Review: Saints of the Underground "Love the Sin, Hate the Sinner"

Saints of the Underground (a.k.a. S.O.T.U.) is Bobby Blotzer (Drums), Keri Kelli (Lead Guitar), Jani Lane (Vocals), and Robbie Crane (Bass Guitar). You know these guys better from Ratt, Alice Cooper, Warrant, and Vince Neil before Ratt again, respectively. Sounds promising, right?

S.O.T.U. started as a cover band, so it is no surprise that there are a couple remakes here. I'd rather have more originals, because subtracting the two cover tunes leaves us with only 8 new songs (some of which were actually written a long time ago by some of these guys). Their remake of "American Girl" by Tom Petty is nothing to write home about. Any version of that tune that does not make you replay the scene from Fast Times in your head...well, what's the point? The other cover is of the Rolling Stones' "Moonlight Mile" and it does even less for me than the original. I also thought "Jimmy" was a Thin Lizzy cover, but this one is an old Jani Lane tune that Warrant never put on a record.

So how about the originals? Well, the only thing bad about them is that there are only eight! Yes, I was pleasantly surprised...these guys can still write and perform top notch rockers and I am dumbfounded why they are wasting time doing other artist's material. Their own songs have plenty of kick, hooks, and harmonies to go around...and I can only hope the follow up has more originals. These guys have an exciting and dynamic chemistry that truly makes them sound like their own outfit rather than a shaken and stirred blend of their day job bands. My top three include "Dead Man Shoes", "Exit", and "Bruised".

iPOD-worthy: 1, 2, 4, 5, 8

S.O.T.U. on MySpace.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Review: The Simple Carnival “Me and My Arrow EP”

Jeff Boller is the one man band otherwise known as The Simple Carnival. He has just released “Me and My Arrow”, a 4-track EP foreshadowing a full-length release slated for October entitled, “Girls Aliens Food”. “If the Beach Boys and Harry Nilsson collaborated on Sesame Street,” is how Jeff describes the sound of The Simple Carnival…an intriguing yet surprisingly accurate description of the retro pop party that you’ll enjoy on “Me and My Arrow”.

Jeff not only wrote all of these songs, but he also played every single instrument (totaling 30, not counting vocals) on this recording. So obviously the guy is multi-talented, or he spends so much time in his basement that he simply doesn’t have any friends who could play the other instruments! While I find this impressive, most music fans realize that some guy in the basement can play 100 instruments himself, but if the songs suck, they suck. Even worse, the one man band has no one else to blame it on. Jeff has no worries in this regard. He can take all the praise for the four absolutely wonderful songs on “Me and My Arrow”.

Jeff makes it clear upfront: The Simple Carnival doesn’t rock…it pops. But pop it does, and it is some of the most infectious music I’ve heard. The record is recorded in a home studio, but you would never know. Sonically, it sounds better than what some professional recording studios churn out. Vocally, Jeff reminds me of Rupert Holmes (shame on you if you do not know "Escape (The Piña Colada Song)") and a bit of Timothy B. Schmit, and other soothing late 70s singer/songwriters. The upbeat and sunny "Caitlin's on the Beach" is my favorite track, but the other 3 are groovy cool in their own way. Normally I would kind of snicker at the glistening electric piano, xylophone, and flute of the lounge-flavored "Over Coffee and Tea", but it is actually fun and hip in an Austin Powers kind of way. Yeah baby! And you simply can't knock the catchy melody and silky smooth harmonies.

If you are a power pop purist, you MUST check out Jeff Boller's The Simple Carnival. I don't see how any fan of Brian Wilson, Harry Nilsson, or Sesame Street would be disappointed! I await the full-length release with eager anticipation...

iPOD-worthy: 1, 2, 3, 4

The Simple Carnival on MySpace. Official Site.

A note of trivia: Jeff also runs a really cool gearhead blog called Songs and Sonics. A must see if you are a home recording artist.

Check out the video for “Really Really Weird”:

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Rare CD: Rush "Rushian Roulette"

"Rushian Roulette, a rare live CD from Rush. This is the show from the Pinkpop Festival in Geleen, Holland in June 1979, at the very tail end of the Hemispheres tour. CD is an original silver disc in excellent condition with no scratches or scuffing and pressed on the Metal memory label (MM 90018). This recording was actually made for FM broadcast, so the quality is nearly flawless. One of the nicest surprises is a rendition of The Sphere as an intro to Closer to the Heart, which is not listed in the track listing. And this version of Xanadu is, in my opinion, superior to any other recorded version. With the band embracing keyboards and other instruments during this period, some of the older songs are spiced up a little. Very, very cool set clocking in at just under 56 minutes.

A Passage to Bangkok
The Trees
The Sphere/Closer to the Heart
La Villa Strangiato
2112 (starts at Presentation)
In the Mood
Something For Nothing"

Sold for $82.01 on ebay (11 bids).

Rare CD: Tegan and Sara "The Con Demos"

"This CD is THE CON DEMOS by TEGAN and SARA. The CD features the following tracks: i was married, relief next to me, the con, knife going in, are you ten years ago, back in your head, hop a plane, soil soil, burn your life down, nineteen, floorplan, like o like h, dark come soon and call it off. The CD comes in its original cardboard picture sleeve. This copy is not numbered."

Sold for $87.00 on ebay (20 bids).

Rare CD: John Corabi "Uncovered"


Sold for $89.99 on ebay (7 bids).

Rare CD: AFI "The Days of the Phoenix"

"The Days of the Phoenix is a 2000 EP released by AFI. It contains two songs from The Art of Drowning and one previously unreleased track, "A Winter's Tale." Only 500 copies of this EP were released, making "A Winter's Tale" very rare!"

Sold for $102.50 on ebay (21 bids).

Friday, June 13, 2008

Review: Garfields Birthday “Let Them Eat Cake”

Their MySpace tag line is accurate…Garfields Birthday is indeed "Excellent indie pop for lost romantic souls". Fans of Brit pop are going to be mighty pleased with “Let Them Eat Cake,” the latest offering from Garfields Birthday, who hail from Weymouth, United Kingdom. The band would make their musical influences, which include Brian Wilson, Teenage Fanclub, and Big Star, proud.

To my ears, Garfields Birthday sound a lot like The Connells or Aztec Camera, mostly due to the smooth and soothing vocals of the Felton brothers. The songs are quite catchy with harmonies aplenty, particularly the lead off track “Molly’s Eyes” and the shimmering “We Know Your Name”. Other outstanding tracks include “Mystery Boy” and “Sugar Pop”, which is as sweet and tasty as it sounds, driven by a groovy wah wah lead. The brothers venture deep into Beach Boys territory with the energetic and sunny tune, "Take A Ride".

I also appreciate the excellent bass tone and the fact that these guys keep it cranked up in the mix. I think this takes the songs to a new level and makes them more memorable. The mix is expertly done…bass is up enough to standout, but is never overwhelming and distracting.

Garfields Birthday will impress fans of classic Brit pop and other pop rock bands that graced MTV's 120 Minutes during its hey day in the late 80s. If this is your bag, go get your cake and eat it too.

iPOD-worthy: 1, 3, 4, 8, 9

Garfields Birthday on MySpace. Official site.

Check out the video for "Molly's Eyes":
Molly's Eyes (Promo) By Garfields Birthday

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Review: The Campbell Apartment "Insomniac's Almanac"

Crack open a Pabst Blue Ribbon, untangle yourself from the www, and have a seat in Campbell's Apartment for 40 minutes. You are in for a ride on the quirky pop "train" conducted by Ari Vais. "Insomniac's Almanac" is the latest from Vais, who astute powerpoppers may know from bands Humbert or The Pelicans. Now joined by Dan Haag on bass and Dave Harman on drums, Ari has delivered 13 (no, make that 16 counting the bonus tracks) fresh tracks of goofy pop goodness.

If you dig Fountains of Wayne (with whom The Campbell Apartment is touring), the lighter side of Weezer, or Ween, you should make space in your collection for Ari and Co. They are all these with a piece of Cake, too. Vocally, Ari sounds like a cross between Rivers Cuomo and Jason Falkner (The Grays, Jellyfish). The songs are typically short and to the point - like a good butcher, The Campbell Apartment cuts the fat and just gives you the meat of the song. A great gift for your loved one with A.D.D.

The opening track is a nice introduction to the side of the band showing its love for modern pop luminaries like Fountains of Wayne or the (tragically) short-lived Grays. "dna" is our next stop, which features some delightfully quirky lead guitar and refreshing lyrics; there simply aren't enough songs about nucleotides these days, and I hope to balance it all out, the boys release a song about epigenetics on the next CD. The next highlight for me is the best tune on the record, which has Ari pining for Josh Waller Weinberg's "Wife". It is not in the linear notes, but it sounds like Casper the friendly ghost came in to do the backing vocal, and he did a frightfully good job. "Wife" is a fantastic track with a spooky, but ultra catchy backing vocal hook. In "How To Be Alone", Ari does his best Weezer impression as he laments, "So screw it, I knew it, I lost it and blew it." Who can't relate to that? Another favorite of mine was "Addicted to MySpace", yet another witty tune about the www and the shortcomings of a virtual life. Driven by a hip, bouncy piano riff, this tune will be just as addictive as checking your MySpace profile. And don't overlook listening to the acoustic driven "Sunday Night Blues", which is going to be the new way I prepare for Mondays.

The outstanding feature regarding The Campbell Apartment is the lyrics...they are amusing and smart. Add in the catchy riffs and well done harmonies and you have a band that glorifies their influences while carving out their own niche. If you like a little quirkiness in your pop, you can't let this one get away.

iPOD-worthy: 1, 2, 5, 7, 8, 10

The Campbell Apartment on MySpace.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Review: King's X "Black Like Sunday"

Strict fans of melodic rock and pop probably have mixed feelings when it comes to King's X. Make no mistake - these guys are enormously talented and artfully blend a mind-boggling number of genres into their records. Perhaps it is this unorthodox blend that turns some folks off because sometimes the hook and melody take a back seat to the progressive elements of their music.

"Black Like Sunday" is distinct from the extensive King's X discography. Although recorded and released in 2003, the album is full of tunes that were written in the band's early days (early 80s). And maybe that is why I find it more appealing than your average King's X fan, who was not expecting this musical side step. You have to appreciate the lyrics in this context, too...the guys were much younger when these lyrics were written, so of course they are simplified and deal with more juvenile subjects like complaining about work ("Working Man") and parents ("Danger Zone") while praising girlfriends ("You're the Only One"). Wait a minute...maybe they are not so juvenile...I can still relate to these lyrics!

Like most other CDs from this band, you have to do some weeding to find the tracks that would appeal to pop rock fans. That, of course, is my job. The aforementioned tracks are very melodic and feel like a fun blast from the past of a rock era long gone now. Also noteworthy are "Finish", the woe-is-me track "Down", and the fast and bouncy "Won't Turn Back".

iPOD-worthy: 3, 4, 6, 9, 10, 12

King's X on MySpace. Official site.

Free mp3: Jude Cole

Some "new/old" demos being offered from Jude Cole at his MySpace page.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Rare CD: Lobo "Calumet"


Lobo...70s singer/songwriter...c'mon...he did "Me and You and a Dog Named Boo"!

Sold for $137.83 on ebay (18 bids)

Rare CD: Ozzy Osbourne "Chelmsford Complete" (live)

"This is a Rare Japanese SILVER PRESSED CD of one the best Randy concerts Chelmsford Odeon Oct 22, 1980. It has "Revelation Mother Earth" and "Paranoid" which makes it the most complete version of this show. It also has 2 studio outtakes/raw mixes of "No Bone Movies" with a girl orgasming at the end and "Steal Away" with a drum count off. The last track is a real gem - Suicide Solution (Demo/Practice) - An undiscovered practice session from the Blizzard of Ozz rehearsals with a different middle that sounds like Quiet Riot."

Sold for $157.50 on ebay (9 bids)

Rare CD: The Church "Sum of the Parts"

"The Church Sum Of The Parts promo mega-rare on CD. This collectible came out in 1988 to promote The Church's new U.S. label and album on Arista. Only 200 copies were made on compact disc, ASCD-9713. Certainly one of the rarest Church CDs.

Features excellent exclusive, live in the studio, acoustic versions of "Under The Milky Way" "Antenna" and "Spark" as well as a 28:30 candid interview with this great Aussie band."

Sold for $158.05 on ebay (8 bids)

Rare CD: Iron Maiden "Virus" (Holland CD Single)

"Iron Maiden-Virus-Holland CD Single Super Rare
EMI Printed in Holland
Cat nr: 7243 8 83171 2 2
Cardboard slim case"

Sold for $260.00 on ebay (22 bids)

Rare CD: Iron Maiden "The Soundhouse Tapes"

"Hello To All You Iron Maiden Fans Out Here!! Up For Bidding Is The Very Rare Item The Soundhouse Tapes Catalog # CSK 56882 This CD Is So Rare That The Only Way You Could Get One Was To Save And Send In 6 Stickers From The 2002 Iron Maiden Re-Issues. When The Band Re-Issued Its Catalog Back In 2002 They Had A Promotion That They Did By Sending In 6 Stickers And Postage You Could Get Your Bloody Hands On The Official Soundhouse Tapes. This Is The Only Official Release Of These On CD. The CD And Cardboard Sleeve Are In Great Shape The Plastic Is Still On The Sleeve. The Following Songs Are On It. Iron Maiden / Invasion / Prowler So There You Go!! I'm Sure This Item Will Be A Great Addition To Any Maiden Fan's Collection."

Sold for $305.00 on ebay (26 bids).

Monday, June 9, 2008

Review: Tin Machine (1989)

David Bowie's time fronting Tin Machine, a much harder rock-oriented project than his typical solo fare, lasted only a few years and cranked out two albums. This self-titled debut, released in 1989, is supposed to be the better of the two. If that is the case, I would hate to hear "Tin Machine II".

There is virtually nothing on this record that would appeal to pop or AOR enthusiasts, and it probably alienated a lot of long time David Bowie fans. The music is bland, the songs are boring, and the chemistry produces a sour flavor. The record tries to sizzle, but just falls flat.

The only track (being generous) worth multiple spins is "Baby Can Dance", a modestly catchy number that perks you out of the misery that is this CD.

iPOD-worthy: 14

Check out "Heaven In Here"

Friday, June 6, 2008

Rare CD: David Cook w/ Axium "Alive in Tulsa"

"David Cook is the new American Idol for season 7. He is a great musician and a good friend. I have had the privilege of being his friend for over five years, thus I own every CD that he has been involved in. This CD, “Alive in Tulsa”, is Axium’s only live album. This album was recorded at The Venue, at 18th & Boston in Tulsa, OK on Valentine’s Day 2004. I was there at the show working with Axium and MidWest Kings. It was an awesome show—I have seen them play live many times and was so happy that they recorded a CD! Axium is the first big band David was involved with in Kansas City. I hope you enjoy the album as much as I have! This CD does not contain any inserts and comes in a plastic jewel case. This is how I received the CD from David and rest of Axium in 2004.

1. Bastard A** Yellow Light
2. AC
3. Clean Break
4. Feed Your Ego
5. Incarcerate
6. Creep – Radiohead cover
7. Thought You Knew
8. Truth is a Gun"

This sold for $290.00 on ebay (35 bids).

Review: Evan Dando "Baby I'm Bored"

What an unfortunate title for this CD, the 2003 solo effort from the Lemonheads frontman. It is just too easy to use it against him to sum up the listening experience.

Let's start with the good won't take long. "It Looks Like You" is a snappy number, with Evan actually sounding like he wants to be in the studio recording this one. Great harmony vocals strengthen the chorus hook, overlaid atop the kind of nice acoustic guitar work we'd expect from Evan Dando. The track after this one is also pretty interesting, entitled "The Same Thing You Thought Hard About Is The Same Part I Can Live Without". You'd think it was a Smiths song from the length of the title, but it actually sounds good when vocalized by Evan in the chorus of this neat little tune. The only other track worth mention is "All My Life", a slower acoustic-driven track with some of the best, personal, and heartfelt lyrics on the record. "All my life I thought I needed the things I didn't need at all".

The rest...well, unexciting is an understatement. Evan's vocals largely sound deep and muted, soft and uninspired. The production also sounds tired (bored?), but his acoustic numbers are immune to this. This is a solo effort that makes you think Evan really misses playing with his Lemonheads. I'd rather listen to the worst Lemonheads record (plenty to choose from!) than spin this one again in its entirety.

iPOD-worthy: 7, 8, 10

Evan Dando seems to be allergic to the Internet - no links. Here is one to Lemonheads site.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Review: Richard Page "Shelter Me"

Mr. Mister released one of the finest AOR records in the 80s with their 1985 smash, "Welcome to the Real World". Can you really be a true fan of AOR without this classic in your collection? Their subsequent release, "Go On", took a turn down a less commercial road and suffered the monetary consequences, but was a solid record in its own right.

Richard Page, the powerful voice and primary writer for Mr. Mister has released only one solo record (although he writes lots of tunes for other folks). "Shelter Me" surfaced in 1996 and sounds nothing like the glory days of Mr. Mister. With "Shelter Me", Page dives head first into the calmest of adult contemporary waters. In other words, many will find this record intensely boring. This is the kind of sleepy, unmelodious generic AC junk that one-time AOR luminaries Richard Marx and Kenny Loggins developed a penchant for in the late 90s. The disappointment with these guys is beyond words. At least Kenny redeemed himself with a great comeback with "How About Now" last year.

Everything on "Shelter Me" is cookie-cutter, and the studio musicians are just devoid of any sort of passion. There is a world-music flair in some of these tracks, which would be fine if there was a catchy hook to grab on to. There are only two tracks that stick out as being less than yawn inducing: "The Best Thing" and "A Simple Life".

iPOD-worthy: 1, 6

Richard Page - Mr. Mister site.

Review: The Brigadier "The Rise and Fall of Responsibility"

Matt Williams is the multi-talented mastermind behind The Brigadier, and his new 2008 release, "The Rise & Fall of Responsibility" will have fans of 70s pop jumping out of their orange and yellow sofas for joy. This is one of the most genuinely retro-sounding CDs I've heard in a long time; Matt is a man who knows how to pay tribute to his influences, which include everything from Abba to the Zombies.

The Brigadier specializes in buoyant 70s-style pop, with vocals subtle and hushed, but that swell into a brilliant climax during the plentiful harmonies. He is not unlike Elliott Smith or Teenage Fanclub in this regard.

Things get started with the first part of the mini-concept album within these 13 otherwise independent tracks. "Growing Up Is Hard To Do" is divided into two parts, the first part being a straight ahead pop rocker with 70s flair (complete with hand claps and harpsichord). Part two near the end of the CD is more epic in scale. The haunting "Envy" also boasts astute lyrics that stand out over the gentle acoustic strumming.

While these tracks showcase the more thoughtful and introspective side, there is plenty of stuff written purely for fun. Like the best track, "This, Is Why...", a simple love song with one of the catchiest hooks on the record, sounding like a musical ghost of a Captain and Tenile hit written by Elton John. A close second is "The Box in the Back of My Mind", another upbeat highlight with shimmering guitars, hand claps, and optimistic lyrics. "Une Soiree" is an interesting track with a bouncy, carnival-like chorus that would not be out of place in an Abba song. Finally, there are a couple of tracks that sound VERY much like T. Rex, such as "The Language of Love", which dials the fuzzy guitars to 10 when they are not interspersed with some tickling of the ivories. Some tracks are more experimental, like the brief closer "Facade", which reminds me of Mr. Rogers Neighborhood during Halloween.

All things considered, "The Rise & Fall of Responsibility" is a hugely enjoyable effort from a very talented songwriter and musician. If you are a fan of diverse genres swirling around a power pop core, you would be doing yourself a disservice by not checking out The Brigadier.

iPOD-worthy: 1, 3, 5, 9, 11

The Brigadier on MySpace. Official site.