Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Review: Chasing Kings "The Current State of Our Future" [EP]


Attention fans of sophisticated pop: Chasing Kings has a new EP called "The Current State of Our Future" that you need to check out. The young gentlemen making up this outfit include Drew Beck (guitar/vocals), Mike Gold (bass/vocals), Nick Sandler (drums) and Matt Schwartz (vocals/keyboards/guitar). Their talents have attracted the producer Tony Berg, who has worked with Phantom Planet and Mellowdrone. Berg adds a polished sheen to this strong group of songs that catapults them to the next level, giving the EP a very professional sound.

Right out of the gate, "The Current State of Our Future" engages the listener with a haunting build-up that climaxes with the pop charm of "Empathy". The vocals are smokey and soulful, effortlessly singing lyrics that are intriguing and smart. The next song is the title track and it is a blissful, horn-laced gem with its hook in the backing vocals - there's also a terrific acoustic interlude. The third highlight in this six pack is the infectious "Dark Sunglasses", which you can sample below via video.

I highly recommended you give Chasing Kings the royal treatment if you enjoy the likes of Josh Fix, The Fray, or the more energetic side of Coldplay.

iPOD-worthy: 1, 2, 5

Chasing Kings on MySpace.

Check out the video for "Dark Sunglasses" - it will make you 'hungry' for more:

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Review: The Honest Mistakes "Break Up"


"Break Up" is the debut release due January 5, 2010, from a new Baltimore band calling themselves The Honest Mistakes. The band personnel have been around the block, though - founders Joylene Dalia (vocals) and Chris Ehrich (guitar) were formerly in the aptly titled outfit, The Chris and Joylene Show from 2000 to 2004. They've teamed up with Adam Kivisaari on bass and Frank Corl on drums/percussion to create this record for those disenchanted with togetherness.

The Honest Mistakes have aligned with The Beechfields Record Label, who were responsible for bringing us the notable power pop of The Seldon Plan (review here) and the eclectic Gary B and the Notions (review here).

"Break Up" took the band nearly 4 painstaking years to make - a labor of love to be sure. The songwriting largely employs solid pop sensibilities, but the band has a tendency to digress with some different styles. For some this will make for a fun dynamic, but for others it will disrupt the consistency of an otherwise pop rock record. It is no great surprise that this record is about breaking up. This is always a dangerous topic to explore as so many artists have already been there and done that, but The Honest Mistakes deserves credit for making their songs lyrically engaging with plenty of wit and sting. It is unquestionably a good CD to spin if you are going through similar trials and tribulations with your significant other - honestly, The Honest Mistakes unmistakably feel your pain.

"Break Up" gets off to a very promising start with four well-written tracks that showcase the chemistry of this band and bring to light their full potential. Energetic gems like the opening title track will pique your interest, and the melodic goodness is sustained through "Feel Good" and "Roses". "Long Way Around" is another catchy track, with bright guitar and snappy melody that brings 80s sensation Katrina and The Waves to mind. The other songs are just kind of there - not bad, but not great. The exception here is the brilliant "If It Isn't Me", which for me represents this band at its best and proves they can achieve greatness if they go that extra mile.

There are a few things that dampen my enthusiasm for "Break Up". That 'extra mile' I refer to above isn't taken on most of the tracks. Show has a capable voice, but it is often bereft of confidence and swagger. It has a bit of a slacker feel, actually, kind of like early Liz Phair. But then there are songs like "Roses" and "If It Isn't Me" where she takes some chances, inching more towards Sheryl Crow with a hint of Blondie. More harmony vocals and better production would also have given the record that extra punch it needs.

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

The Honest Mistakes on MySpace.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Review: Quiet Company "Everyone You Love Will Be Happy Soon"


Quiet Company is a new sensation out of music hotbed Austin, TX. The band is fronted by Taylor Muse, who is no stranger on the scene, having spent time in many other bands including The Connotations and an early version of Eisley. “Everyone You Love Will Be Happy Soon" is the follow up to their first record, "Shine Honestly". In addition to singing, Muse contributes piano, guitar, organ, banjo, percussion, harmonica, and - yes, the glockenspiel. Quiet Company also boasts Tommy Blank on guitars, electric piano, organs, synthesizers, and - yes, glockenspiel. How many other bands do you know of with two glockenspiel players?! Finally, we have Matt Parmenter on bass and piano and Jeff Weathers at the drums.

Regarding the theme of the new record, the bands states, "Lyrically, the record promises songs that will make you fall in love with life and then just as
quickly challenge everything you know about it". No doubt, as the track listing contains some of the most intriguing song titles you'll ever see on a CD.

Despite their name, the latest from Quiet Company roars into action, steam-rolling ahead with numerous top notch tracks such as the building, "A Nation of Two" and the bouncy philosophical number, "It's Better To Spend Money Like There's No Tomorrow Than Spend Tonight Like There's No Money". Other standouts include "Our Sun Is Always Rising", "Seal My Fate", and "Golden (Like The State)". The record has some trouble sustaining the quality of the first half, but this is more because that first half is so good.

Whether peppy or slow, the band exudes an energy and enthusiasm that makes every track jubilant and a pleasure to hear again and again. I'd recommend Quiet Company for those who dig Semisonic or Wilco, and all sounds in-between.

iPOD-worthy: 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 9

Quiet Company on MySpace. Official site.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Rare CD: Glasshouse "Glasshouse"


"Here's another nearly impossible to find AOR gem for you.
GLASSHOUSE are from Germany and they released this CD (their only one) in 1992 as a private pressing in very very limited quantities. It took me years, to get this copy even here in Germany!
Musically GLASSHOUSE go the same way RESCUE, JOJO and SEASONS IN COLOR already did, that means perfect arranged AOR with a excellent mix of keyboards and guitars, catchy hooklines that make you sing along with and a very good production.
Some songs are real AOR killers, like the opener "Don't Turn Your Back On Me" or the rocking "Keep On Running" that both reminds me of RESCUE meets JOJO and some songs are great mood lifting Westcoast tunes that come along like a mix of TOTO and SEASONS IN COLOR.
Check out for example the mighty "I Want More" that pleases with a huge chorus and great saxofon fills here and there.
I promise you that every single song is a little highlight. There's no boring second to be found!
By the way Singer Stefan Schneider has a fantastic, smoky voice that fits perfect to the cool songs and the musicianship of the other band members is simply excellent. For example guitarist Andreas Pfeil plays some smoking and unbelievable solos.

If you are looking for some MEGA RARE Indie AOR piece, in very good condition and full of killer songs, you must go for this baby!"

Sold for $153.50 on ebay (16 bids)

Rare CD: Price-Sulton "Lights On"


"Price-Sulton-Lights On JAPAN CD rare AOR Original
Year: 1986
Label: CBS/ Sony (Japan)
Catalog Number: 32DP-586

Tracks
1. Shotgun Shy
2. No T.V.No phone
3. Lights On
4. Take Me Away
5. Shana
6. Something's Gonna Happen
7. Stories
8. Reckless And Wild
9. Heaven's Girl
10. Oh No"

Sold for $338 on ebay (33 bids)

Free Holiday mp3 from Colin Healy and the Jetskis


Here is another generous gift for the holiday season, this one given to us from Colin Healy and the Jetskis (you can read our review of their latest EP here). The guys have a brand new Christmas song called “Meet Me Under The Mistletoe" and they are figuratively placing it in your stocking for free. Get it now through the link below.

Colin Healy and the Jetskis on MySpace.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Review: Like Trains and Taxis "Tales From A Revolving Door"


The band's name is Like Trains and Taxis - sounds like they are built to take us somewhere. But in this case, it is not the destination that matters, it is the journey. The musical journey this band will take you on passes through a myriad of genres, from piano pop to jazz, with occasional pitstops in soul.

Like Trains and Taxis is a trio of artists from New Brunswick, NJ - all with sophisticated talents led by vocalist Chris Harris. Harris has a soothing, mellow tone with a mild smokey bar quality that drifts between Jack Johnson and Daryl Hall. In general, the music is not too far from the realm of Jack Johnson either, but with acoustic piano rather than acoustic guitar. The melodies are more artistic than infectious, and the lyrics are also more cerebral than simplistic. My favorite cuts include "Their Eyes Were Watching God", "Crooks", and "Charlie".

If you dig Jack Johnson, John Mayer, or Ryan Adams, you'll probably find something to enjoy on "Tales From A Revolving Door". If you are ready to be taken for a smooth and relaxing ride, Like Trains and Taxis is ready to take you on board. The record is out January, 2010.

iPOD-worthy: 1, 3, 5, 8

Like Trains and Taxis on MySpace. Official site.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Review: Research Turtles "Research Turtles"


Back in August the young Louisiana band Research Turtles released their self-titled debut CD. The band is composed of brothers Jud Norman (vocals and bass) and Joe Norman (guitar and vocals), as well as Logan Fontenot on lead guitar, and Blake Thibodeaux on drums and percussion. A very cool name for a band that I trust is a great conversation starter, but can these inquisitive terrapins rock?

Rock they can, but in a raw and indie garage way, mixing some moments of melodic pop with downright gritty guitar and near slacker production. Kind of like early Fountains of Wayne meets Foo Fighters. Most of the songs are pretty good, but some are nondescript, and one had me reaching for the fast forward button (the plodding "The Riff Song"). The highlight for me was the "wake you up with a slap in the face" opening track, "Let's Get Carried Away". Other standout tracks include the slower "Kiss Her Goodbye", which has a neat Cars-inspired keyboard riff and subtle harmonies, and "Tomorrow", which has a breezy reggae feel sandwiching a catchy power pop chorus. "Into A Hole" has a classic Weezer feel, dressing up a great 50s/60s pop melody with grungy guitar.

The CD is enjoyable and fun most of the time, and my buddy Aaron over at Powerpopaholic was more enthusiastic about them. In my opinion, there is great potential here if the Research Turtles stick out their melodic neck some more and come out of their hard shell.

iPOD-worthy: 1, 4, 7, 8

Research Turtles on MySpace.

Check out a live performance of the hearty rocker, "Cement Floor":

Monday, December 14, 2009

Review: Andy Lehman and The Night Moves "Lowcountry"


Andy Lehman & The Night Moves released their sophomore effort, "Lowcountry" back in September on Ten Star Records. The band formed in 2007 and have been building a loyal following ever since. After hearing "Lowcountry", I wouldn't be surprised at all if they became the latest pop rock sensation.

To be honest, I was a bit taken aback on the first listen. The CD begins with a mellow 6 minute opus that tells a story about a girl named Ally who was going back to Mobile (Alabama). Memories of Bob Dylan's "Stuck Inside of Mobile" kept distracting me from the story of Ally, but I was abruptly shaken out of my Dylan daydream with a gorgeous bridge that flowed into one of the most uplifting and memorable choruses I've heard in some time. Pretty, baby! The other thing that threw me at first was Lehman's vocals...his voice is different...a little light, a little effeminate perhaps, but dammit I like it. His voice is smooth, soothing, and soaring at times - perfect for these laid-back and breezy Southern tunes. He sounds fragile and crystal clear - yes, his voice is like a wine glass - a cross between David Gates (Bread) and Kyle Vincent. Not that he can't rock out, though, as you'll read below.

Following the brilliant opener is another in the vibe of story-telling Harry Chapin called, "You Can Leave The Light On". It is another great track with intelligent lyrics, a catchy chorus, and an insightful mix of electric and acoustic guitars. "An Arrow Flew" is the standout ballad with another winning sing-a-long chorus. So not to put us asleep, Lehman wisely slips quickly into a peppy and sunny tune called "Million To One", whose simple lyrics enchant us almost as much as the 70s bubblegum vibe (complete with handclaps). The rest of the CD struggles to meet the very high bar set by these first four tunes, with "I Smelled You on the Breeze" and "All Along The Roads We Walked" coming closest. While not one of my favorite tracks, "Wolf In Sheep's Clothing" is notable - it rocks more than any other song here, and gives Lehman the opportunity to show us the versatility of his vocals. He not only holds his own against the wall of guitars, but even throws in a Robert Plant inspired falsetto in the chorus!

The production is top-notch and truly remarkable for an unsigned band...this is no doubt attributable to the expertise of Rick Beato, who has previously worked with Shinedown and Jump Little Children. The songwriting is terrific, with beautiful chord progressions and well-placed harmonies that you'll appreciate more with each listen.

I also thought it was cool how the final track, "Back To Where The Roads Are Mud", ends with a subtle reprise of "Ally Went Back", nicely looping you back to the beginning of the CD. Clever little tricks like this indicate that the band is thinking outside of the box, not just worrying about single tracks, but also keeping the entire album experience in mind for their listener. I expect great things from this band and can't wait to hear what they do next. Keep those choruses melodic, keep the chord changes interesting, and keep those harmonies soaring!

Don't miss the chance to check out Andy Lehman & The Night Moves for free - go download three tracks for FREE at the web site now.

iPOD-worthy: 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 9

Andy Lehman & The Night Moves on MySpace. Official site.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Review: Sol Giant "Strangers" [EP]


Just what we need...another band out of L.A., right? Well, I'd like to make a case that the world does indeed need Sol Giant. Melodic rock seems to come naturally to the four members comprising this band.

"Sol Giant is Eric Nicolau, an accomplished young vocalist, songwriter and guitarist who graduated Warped Tour before high school, bassist Alana Chirino, a Miami-raised musician born to two Grammy-winning Latin pop stars, Elliot Schwartzman, a keyboardist adept in funk, Americana and blues; and drummer Rob Humphreys, a rocker whose been hearing drumbeats since the womb."

Despite coming from varied musical backgrounds, the four members of Sol Giant have a chemistry that has distilled all the essentials of great pop rock. The unique background each member brings to the stage is used to their advantage: each song has a fresh sound even if it is adhering to a tried and true pop rock formula. Sol Giant sounds very professional, hip, and poised to conquer L.A. and beyond.

My favorite cuts from the EP "Strangers" include the rousing opening track, "Wide Eyed", and its polar opposite, the stripped down acoustic ballad "Been To The Mountain". These two tracks showcase how well the band performs at both ends of the spectrum. The only pet peeve: Eric Nicolau's voice is so warm and soulful, yet in some songs it is overshadowed with unnecessary processing.

"Strangers" Track Listing:
1. WIDE EYED
2. DON'T YOU LIE TO ME
3. BEEN TO THE MOUNTAIN
4. WHERE I'M SUPPOSED TO BE
5. STRANGERS WE CALL FRIENDS

The EP was released on December 8 - time to go check it out today. Or get the digital release from major online retail outlets such as Amazon, iTunes and Rhapsody.

iPOD-worthy: 1, 3, 4

Sol Giant on MySpace.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Review: Ben Montague "Sampler" [EP]


Ben Montague’s feisty debut single "Can’t Hold Me Down" was recently playlisted on Radio 2 in the UK for an impressive five weeks. It is an infectious song with a delightfully sunny and bouncy groove, reminiscent of late 70s/80s Elton John. He has a new single out now called "Rainy Day" that should continue his momentum in the UK and also get this talented artist some attention in the US as well.

The five track sampler I received included the following: 1. Rainy Day, 2. Weight of Love, 3. Yeah Yeah Yeah, 4. Haunted, and 5. Can't Hold Me Down. Each track is an textbook example of what the perfect melodic pop rock song should be. "Rainy Day" is a standout and superb choice for a single as it has the most cross-over potential, appealing to AOR fans as well as fans of new gen pop rockers like Maroon 5. "Rainy Day" has a great acoustic base covered in layers of driving electric guitar and glistening piano, topped off with an emotive vocal performance from Montague. The other four tracks are also excellent, a great mix of upbeat, feel-good tunes and majestic ballads in the vibe of Gavin DeGraw.

Based on this sampler, Ben Montague is definitely one artist I will keep a keen eye on in 2010. His album will feature contributions from the likes of Simple Minds, Gary Barlow producer Peter-John Vetesse, guitar from Genesis legend Mike Rutherford, the song writing talents behind Kylie, Westlife collaborator Cliff Masterson and Bon Jovi mixer Dave Bascombe.

You can get "Rainy Day" on iTUNES right now - click here.

Ben Montague on MySpace. Official site.

Check out the music video for "Haunted":

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Interview: Starcode


Check out my interview with Dave O'Connor from the pop rock band STARCODE, now posted at Rock and Roll Report.

Click here.

Click here for my review of their record, "A Fine Line".

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Review: Gooding "The Return" [FREE]


You may have heard the thunderous, adventuresome rock from Gooding already if you've seen movies and TV shows such as Walk The Line, The Animatrix, Nip/Tuck, or The Closer. After listening to his latest, "The Return", it isn't hard to figure out why his tunes are becoming ubiquitous in edgy films and TV episodes. Gooding's music starts with a melodic core and then is dressed to the nines with layers upon layers of diverse sounds. You'll hear classic rock with hints of industrial rock and an occasional urban beat, all set to grooves that will make you want to shake your booty (or at least nod along).

The blistering lead off, "Make The Devil Cry" trumpets 'the return' of Gooding. "Make The Devil Cry" is an obvious choice for a single - it rocks to the limit with sophisticated sonic textures that keep the verses interesting until the memorable chorus kicks in. This is quickly followed by the stomping "Go Kid Go", which features some lead guitar that would make Santana smile. "Vagabond" is even more accessible, serving as the best example of Gooding's ability to bleed into the pop rock genre - this track could be huge. Gooding can also slow it down to good effect without sacrificing his trademark sound, as displayed on the hauntingly beautiful "Please". "I'm Not Listening" is another standout, calling to mind U2's "Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses". Another treat is "No One Gets Out Alive" - a song that isn't all that remarkable on the surface, but Gooding jazzes it up with some greasy slide guitar and tasty synth effects that make it irresistible.

If you can imagine what Moby would sound like if he grew a pair, then you can begin to get a sense of what you're in for with Gooding. If you can't imagine that, how about U2 performing songs written by David Bowie, with engineering done by Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails)? Seriously..."The Return" is the type of record that U2 should have released this year.

Gooding's new songs hit the airwaves and iTunes in Jan, 2010, and in March the band will embark on a 50 state tour, featuring showcases in LA, NYC and Austin. But you can get "The Return" for free right now! Click here.

iPOD-worthy: 1, 2, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10

Gooding on MySpace. Official site.

More FREE mp3 for the holidays!


Amazon.com is giving away 29 nice holiday tracks for free, including some from Tori Amos, Relient K, Jars of Clay, and Mindy Smith. My favorite is "Mr. Heatmiser" by Big Bad Voodoo Daddy!

Head over here to check them out.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Rare CD: Oasis "MTV Unliammed"


"Record Live @ MTV Unplugged, Royal Festival Hall, London, UK, 23 Aug 1996…This is the famous “MTV Unplugged” show Oasis done back in 1996 with Noel on Lead vocals as Liam didn’t turn up for the show…"

Sold for $81 on ebay.

Rare CD: Big Bang Babies "Big Bang Babies"


"BIG BANG BABIES S/T 7 tracks. Mint ,totally original copy of the glam classic !!! Containing one of the best,over the top glam anthems "Everybody Needs A Hero"."

Sold for $123.05 on ebay.

Rare CD: The The "Gunsluts"


"THE THE - ULTRA RARE PROMO CD

GUNSLUTS
LAZARUS ONE
This CD was sold on The The's 2000 "World Tour Of Tiny Spaces", as well as through the official The The website. It featured one instrumental track off The The's unreleased 1997 album "Gunsluts".

Track listing:
1. Gunsluts"

Sold for $125.77 on ebay.

Rare CD: Hanson "Boomerang"


"Extemely rare indie Hanson Boomerang CD."

Sold for $255.00 on ebay.

Rare CD: Kidd Wikkid "Kidd Wikkid"


"Collectors item..Very Rare!

Case has been opened, but CD never played. Silver pressed original.

Recorded in 1992

Tracks: Too Dark To See Jesus, All Fall Down, Let It Rain, Feelings In The Bottle, Midnight Drive, Seasons so Lonely, Dreamtime, On The Run, Take Me Home."

Sold for $282.36 on ebay.

Rare CD: All Time Low "The Party Scene"


"All Time Low's debut CD now out of print- from orginal label -Emerald Moon records- released in 2005. very rare disc.

Track listing
"Prelude" – 0:43
"The Party Scene" – 2:58
"Lullabies" – 3:58
"Hometown Heroes; National Nobodies" – 2:53
"Circles" – 3:20
"Interlude" – 1:53
"We Say Summer" – 3:06
"Break Out! Break Out!" – 3:10
"Running from Lions" – 3:06
"Noel" – 4:10
"I Can't Do the One-Two Step" – 4:02
"The Girl's a Straight-Up Hustler" – 6:22
Contains the hidden track "Sticks, Stones, and Techno"

Sold for $293.99 on ebay (40 bids)

Friday, December 4, 2009

Review: Starcode “A Fine Line”


Somewhere between The Rembrandts and The Posies is Starcode, a pop rock band from New York City founded by Dave and Dan O’Connor. Dave writes the songs, plays the bass, and handles the vocals while Dan does all the percussion. Starcode fills a void that exists right now for accessible melodic rock that has excellent cross-over potential.

Dave’s vocals sound a bit like Mark Gable of the Choirboys or Robbie Williams, with a hint of Billy Corgan’s (Smashing Pumpkins) snarl every now and then. Every song on “A Fine Line” is likable, with the CD being particularly strong at the beginning. Their formula is to build from a solid base of acoustic guitars, adding layers of electric guitar and harmony on top. The lyrics are straight-forward and sincere without being silly or cliché, and the arrangements and production are sublime. I can’t seem to get the driving midtempo rocker, “I Found A Way”, out of my head. Other highlights include the pleasant “Close Your Eyes” and “Out There”.

The brothers O’Connor have nailed a formula that has proven to be mega-successful in years past, and it is about time someone has re-discovered it. Starcode is an Adult Contemporary musical dream, but they possess enough zest in the vocals and edge in the guitars to drive younger audiences to dig them too. “A Fine Line” is one of the most tuneful surprises of 2009 and should convince any listener that the O’Connor brothers are on their way to great things.

Be sure to check out my interview with Starcode’s Dave O’Connor on Rock and Roll Report – coming soon!

iPOD-worthy: 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 10

Starcode on MySpace. Official site.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Holiday goodies!


We've already featured a couple goodies for the holiday season (see Andrew Ripp here and The Goldbergs here), and here are a few more for your listening pleasure!

Concord Music Group have launched their Holiday Winter Music Guide website.

Hundreds of Holiday titles, vinyl, boxed sets, shirts and more are now on sale through the holidays. Become a Concord Music Group fan on Facebook or follow on Twitter, and get access to exclusive offers, discounts and more.

Featured titles on sale with the launch of the new site include:

Creedence Clearwater Revival - "The Singles Collection"
(see the BMF review here)

Vince Guaraldi Trio - "A Charlie Brown Christmas"

Frank Sinatra - "Christmas with Sinatra & Friends"

Check out all the titles & offers here

Follow CMG on Twitter: http://twitter.com/concordrecords

Become a CMG fan on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ConcordMusicGroup

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Enjoy a PUNK ROCK CHRISTMAS from MxPx

MxPx released their "Punk Rawk Christmas" (Rock City Recording Company) on December 1, 2009. Track listing is below; the release is available digitally through major online retail outlets (iTunes, Amazon, Rhapsody, etc.).

1. PUNK RAWK CHRISTMAS (previously unreleased) (2009) (new)
2. CHRISTMAS DAY (1998)
3. CHRISTMAS ONLY COMES ONCE A YEAR (1999)
4. COMING HOME FOR CHRISTMAS (2000)
5. YOU'RE THE ONE I MISS (THIS CHRISTMAS) (2001)
6. CHRISTMAS PARTY (2002)
7. CHRISTMAS NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (2003)
8. SO THIS IS CHRISTMAS? (2003)
9. IT'S CHRISTMAS AND I'M SICK (2004)
10. 2005 (2005)
11. LATE GREAT SNOWBALL FIGHT OF 2006 (2006)
12. GIMME CHRISTMAS (2007)
13. ANOTHER SONG ABOUT CHRISTMAS (2008)
14. AULD LANG SYNE (TRADITIONAL) (previously unreleased) (2009) (new)

You can check this out at MxPx on MySpace.

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Swedish powerpoppers The Genuine Fakes have released a nice X-mas cover in the spirit of the holidays and PowerPop!



The song which is now being released is a complete makeover of the classic ”All I Want for Christmas”. The Genuine Fakes' take on it is loosely based on the Mariah Carey version, but with a different beat and plenty more energy and power it brings your thoughts more to The Posies and Foo Fighters. Add to that some killer Queen style vocal harmonies and you've got a truly spectacular combination!

Their version of ”All I Want for Christmas” can be downloaded/streamed from the music section of The Genuine Fakes' website - click here.

The Genuine Fakes: official site

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Review: Bobby Emmett "Learning Love"


Discovering great discs like the new one from Bobby Emmett (formerly of The Sights) helps to remind me why I started this blog in the first place. I am panning for gold when listening to the stacks of CDs piled up on my desk and when I heard the first couple notes off "Learning Love" I knew I hit pay dirt.

Bobby Emmett, a Detroit native who also plays in Shooter Jenning's band, has delivered a treasure trove of power pop goodies on "Learning Love". Not surprisingly, an album with a title such as this is a meditation on the pros and cons of being in love, but it doesn't come off as simplistic or sappy at all. What really stands out are the catchy melodies and memorable riffs - and "Learning Love" has more than its fair share. Highlights include the crunchy opener "Queen of Hearts", the crowd pleasing "Still Wanna Be With You" (complete with some retro surf guitar), and "Moving Ahn", which brilliantly shifts between psychedelic verses and a juicy pop rock chorus.

As an interesting aside, Emmett admits that the record has "a very classic 70's feel and timbre to it" due to the fact that it was recorded with vintage gear from that era (and the bubble gum harmonies add to this retro feel). While I can hear those 70s vibes, "Learning Love" also sounds quite contemporary to my ears and is clearly one of the best power pop records of the year. Don't miss this one - it was the best 30 minutes I've spent in front of the stereo in a long time!

Recommended if you like Eugene Edwards, The Merrymakers, and Greenberry Woods.

iPOD-worthy: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10

Bobby Emmett on MySpace.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Interview: July for Kings


My interview with Joe Hedges and Brian Ives of July for Kings is now posted for you to enjoy at Rock and Roll Report. Click here!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Review: Go Time "Speak"


Go Time! is the brainchild of Chicago-based musician Scott Niekelski (formerly of Prairie Town). For those of you who've never heard him before, Niekelski sounds a bit like Michael Stipe on crack, and now he is backed by a band rooted in no nonsense garage jangle pop. As the name implies, Go Time! is all about high energy and a Go(od) Time!

"Speak" comes at you like the menacing dog on the cover, and should come with a warning that reads "Beware of dog". The album bites. The noticeably lo-fi production and limitations of Niekelski's vocals distract from whatever melody may be under the surface - at first. Forcing myself to listen to "Speak" more than once did allow me to begin to appreciate some of the smart power pop within. There is a certain charm about these guys, as their sincerity and attitude will remind you of that wide eyed kid next door who wants nothing more than to have his garage band hit the big stage.

There are some tunes on "Speak" that warrant attention, such as "Rust To Rust" and "Wait and See", but - being honest - I think Go Time! needs to make an effort to get production and recording quality up to a level that no longer distracts from their songwriting and performances. Future releases would also benefit from some added dynamics so that every song doesn't sound the same. I recommend checking them out if you dug the early indie pop sounds of R.E.M., The Connells, or Hoodoo Gurus.

iPOD-worthy: 2, 7

Go Time! on MySpace.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Review: July for Kings “Monochrome”


Joe Hedges has reassembled his Cincinnati-based modern rock band, July for Kings, to deliver a highly anticipated follow up to 2002’s “Swim” and 2005’s “Nostalgia”. Unlike his darker and sonically intricate solo effort (“Curvature”), “Monochrome” is a welcome return to the melodic hard rock that made “Swim” one of the best (albeit underrated) albums of the decade in that genre.

For the unacquainted, July for Kings is similar to Matchbox 20, but with more punch in the music and more poetry in the lyrics. While “Monochrome” does have its more artful and experimental moments, the vast majority of the record is straight-up rock and roll from the heart. Hedges, who sounds a bit like Brian Vander Ark (Verve Pipe), comes across as earnest as ever, performing some amazing vocal gymnastics, He has also recruited some ace musicians who are on the same page (John McGuire, guitar; Brian Ives, bass; Dan McQuinn, drums). The chemistry of the new ensemble is evident as they effortlessly blend the thunderous guitars and drums with delicately tasty melodies.

A lot of bands have to compromise on production value after going independent from a major label, but that is clearly not the case on “Monochrome”. The sonic quality and engineering is outstanding - whether the song has multiple layers of big guitars, harmonies, and strings, or is just a stripped down tune, the music is always a perfect match for the mood.

Despite its name, “Monochrome” is radiating with diverse musical colors. The record also finds the band in a happier place this time around, full of upbeat songs that generally exude a more optimistic outlook. The band is more seasoned now and this maturity reveals itself in the 11 new tracks. Fans of “Swim” are going to love this one, from the crushing guitars in “Houses Made of Stained Glass” to the uplifting strumming in “Blue”. “Falling (How Do I?)” is a bouncy piano-driven ballad - quite a deviation for the band - but a remarkably enjoyable track. “Like A City”, which compares a girl to a city (and gives a shout out to Cincinnati in the process) is another pop rocker that treads close to Matchbox 20 territory. Other highlights include the driving “Fighting Fire”, the ultra-catchy “Emma”, and the infectiously peppy “Say It Now”. “Monochrome” is easily one of the best modern rock releases of 2009.

Don’t miss my Rock and Roll Report interview with Joe Hedges and Brian Ivesclick here!

iPOD-worthy: 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11

July for Kings on MySpace. Official site.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Free mp3: Andrew Ripp "Blue Sky Christmas Eve"

Happy Holidays from Andrew Ripp (see our review of his latest record here):

In the giving spirit of the holidays Andrew Ripp recorded and is giving away a new song he wrote specifically for this time of year. It's never too early to start in with the Holiday festivities. The malls and retailers throw the decorations up at 12:01 on Halloween so we thought mid-November makes us slightly less than obnoxious! It's really fun and upbeat.......and is not too syrupy sweet which is a refreshing change from most Holiday themed tracks!


Blue Sky Christmas Eve (MP3): http://www.sendspace.com/pro/dl/z7fka6


More Holiday Tunes from Andrew: https://www.noisetrade.com/andrewripp

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Review: The Bloodsugars "I Can’t Go On, I’ll Go On"


The Bloodsugars are composed of frontman and primary songwriter Jason Rabinowitz, keyboardist Matt Katz, bassist Brendan O’Grady, and drummer Kenneth Salters, the same line-up responsible for 2008’s critically-acclaimed BQEP. Founding members Rabinowitz and Katz met in college, where they “bonded over music and emotion,” listening to records in their dorm rooms. They began making music together then and there, but it wasn’t until O’Grady and Salters joined the band that The Bloodsugars really arrived at their sound. According to Katz, “Each member brings something essential to the music,” whether it be knowledge of jazz, soul, Turkish garage, French house or straight-up pop, and it is this sharing of styles and sensibilities that really lends the band their unique sound.

According to frontman Jason Rabinowitz, "I Can’t Go On, I’ll Go On" is “a modern prom playlist.” Of course, prom is not without its awkward, painful moments. Written during a time of personal difficulty for band members, "I Can’t Go On, I’ll Go On" is about remembering that there is always something to celebrate, even in the face of major adversity. With their combination of thoughtful lyricism and kinetic beats, the album's ten new tracks reflect a refreshing optimism and sweetness.

There is a palpable indie vibe that runs through the record, but what really makes this band unique is the incorporation of 80s new wave sounds, blended with an occasional modern house beat. Kind of like Pet Shop Boys meets Death Cab for Cutie. I give them high marks for originality. The Bloodsugars add in plenty of harmonies and strive to write memorable melodies, some sinking in more immediately than others. I was really attracted to the sample single, lead off track "Light at the End of the Tunnel", but I've got mixed feelings regarding the rest of the CD. "Light at the End of the Tunnel" works on every level and has all the markings of a big radio hit. "The Pedestrian Boogie", "Before The Accident", and "Form/Function" were also pretty enjoyable.

The band describes their sound as follows: "Imagine a house designed by Paul Simon, built by Prince, and decorated by The Flaming Lips and you’ll have some idea of where The Bloodsugars live." I'm not sure I'd want to live there, but it is an interesting house to visit from time to time. "I Can’t Go On, I’ll Go On" (Engine Room Recordings) is out November 17.

iPOD-worthy: 1, 2, 6, 10

The Bloodsugars on MySpace. Official site.

News: Robert Tepper - early albums now digital!


ROBERT TEPPER’S FIRST TWO ALBUMS RECEIVE DIGITAL RELEASE

Legacy Recordings/Sony have digitally released the first two albums by Robert Tepper ‘No Easy Way Out’ and ‘Modern Madness’. Released in 1986, His debut album title track ‘No Easy Way Out’ became a smash hit at rock radio and was prominently featured in the Rocky IV Soundtrack. It remains an international rock anthem. The debut album also includes ‘Angel Of The City’ and ‘Don’t Walk’. The follow-up ‘Modern Madness’ was released in 1988 and includes ‘The Unforgiven’. Both digital albums are available at iTunes, Amazon.com, and all major online stores.

Robert Tepper lives in Los Angeles and has been producing, engineering, and re-mixing locally and abroad. Recently, Robert has been writing with Grammy winner Jeff Silbar ('Wind Beneath My Wings') and Mark Goldenberg (Jackson Browne). His official site: www.myspace.com/roberttepperonline

Monday, November 16, 2009

Rare CD: Worrall "Worrall"


"This is the nearly impossible to find self titled release from Canadian melodic rock/AOR group WORRALL - the times that this title appears on EBay are few and far between (I actually doublechecked to make sure that my own copy didn't wind up in my sell boxes by accident!) It is rare! Band was: Steve Worrall (lead vocals, guitars), Rick Worrall (lead vocals, keyboards), Chris Brockway (bass) and a cat called Big Mac on drums. Really - I'd say that all of the elements of great melodic rock are here - strong vocals, catchy songs, more than a few great ripping guitar moments, and enough hard edge to please the hair metal folks - this is KILLER!!!

This one is highly recommended if you liked the melodic rock style of BLVD (Boulevard) and Harem Scarem - backing vocals here from non other than Jimi Jamison!! (Survivor!)

Includes:

1. Best Is Still to Come
2. Shadow of a Life
3. You Know
4. Summertime Radio
5. Catch Me
6. Take a Look Around
7. Heat of the Night
8. I Can't Stop
9. Hard Times
10. Suspicious Heart
11. Ordinary Man"

Sold for $108.50 on ebay.

Rare CD: Klaatu "Strange"


"Genre: HARD ROCK/ US HAIR GLAM ROCK
Year: 1991
Label (Indie): Arston (Poland)
Catalog Number: ACD-006

One of the most sought after US-style HARD ROCK cd's ever.
This CD was pressed in small quantities on a Polish label almost 20 years ago, so it's very rare.
In reviews they were compared to bands like LESSDRESS or SHOTGUN MESSIAH.
Fantastic guitarwork, strong rythm section, nice melodies etc

1. Bad Feeling
2. Come On
3. Be My Girlfriend
4. Do You Feel This
5. America
6. One Chance
7. I Can't Stand Your Jail
8. Lazy Girl
9. Cover Woman
10. Nice Boys
11. Strange
12. Crazy Rock'n'Roll"

Sold for $425.00 on ebay.

Rare CD: David Bowie "All Saints"


"This 2 CD set was manufactured as a gift from Bowie to his friends to be sent out as gifts, Christmas 93. As far as I know it was never officially sent out, so the number of these floating around is very very small. It's a wonderful package, and it is still sealed (the scans are from a previous copy I had). This is absolutely one of the rarest Bowie items."

Sold for $425.00 on ebay.

Rare CD: Elton John "Friends" Soundtrack


"Up for auction is a super rare CD of Elton John's entire soundtrack to the 1971 movie FRIENDS. This is an official PARAMOUNT release. I do not know why it was released or when, my guess is the late 80's because of the source it came from. There is no date or no artwork. However, this is an original CD, NOT A COPY.

I do know that this is an extremely rare CD and the usually the FRIENDS soundtrack is only available on CD with the Elton John Rare Masters box set, and not even in it's entirety.

This CD would almost be impossible to find, most people don't even know this exists !

A stellar edition to any great Elton John collection."

Sold for $610.00 on ebay.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Review: Bon Jovi "The Circle"


The ham and cheese of rock are back with a new record, following their so-called "country"-inspired detour, "Lost Highway". With "The Circle", Bon Jovi is once again claiming that they are going back to the big arena rock sound of their late 80s hey day. "The Circle" is as much "New Jersey" as "Lost Highway" is a "Ropin' The Wind". In other words, big arena rock this is NOT; but that doesn't mean it isn't a decent record from Jon Bon and the Jersey boys. And to their credit, "The Circle" is generally more upbeat and not overwhelmed with the band's proclivity for sappy power ballads.

We have all the elements that set the stage for a reliable Bon Jovi effort: yet another blatant retread of their biggest hit "Livin' On A Prayer", a song referencing Superman, a piano ballad that gives the vestigial David Bryan something to do, and a handful of tracks letting us know that Billy Falcon and Desmond Child are still alive somewhere.

Things get off to a predictable start with the driving single, "We Weren't Born To Follow" but then suddenly get stuck in molasses with the sleep inducing "When We Were Beautiful". They step back up to the plate with a Springsteen-esque track "Work For The Working Man", which is a tune the Boss could have pulled off much better. Then comes "Superman Tonight", which, while lyrically challenged, is a decent midtempo track with an enjoyable chorus. Beginning with "Thorn In My Side", the album really picks up in terms of delivering the catchy AOR we expect from modern Bon Jovi, serving up some of the best tracks the band has done since "Have A Nice Day". Bottom line regarding "The Circle": the record has its moments, but too many lackluster tracks interspersed among the standouts bring down my enthusiasm for it as a whole.

iPOD-worthy: 1, 4, 6, 7, 9, 11

Bon Jovi on MySpace. Official site.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Review: Winterbloom "Traditions Rearranged" [EP]


Winterbloom is a supergroup of sorts that have just released an acoustic-based EP containing 8 tracks inspired by the holidays and the chilly season. While most of the songs have an overt holiday message, or are a traditional favorite, others are original tunes that can be played anytime of year.

Winterbloom strikes me as something the Indigo Girls might have gently dripping out of their speakers while decorating their holiday tree. Put another way, Winterbloom is sort of like the Lilith Fair of holiday EPs...these are not the bright and brassy carols you usually hear this time of year. They are soft, but lyrically sharp, and full of as much melancholy and sarcasm as they are Christmas cheer.

My favorite is their original tune, "Thanks for the Roses (Merry Christmas)". Penned by noted singer/songwriter Antje Duvekot, this ditty has quite a unique spin for a Christmas song, and is useful for those who'd rather push their significant other in front of a sleigh instead of dangling mistletoe. I also love the acoustical interpretations of holiday favorites such as "O Holy Night" and the simple piano and vocal of "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas".

Winterbloom is:
Antje Duvekot - antjeduvekot.com
Anne Heaton - anneheaton.com
Meg Hutchinson - meghutchinson.com
Natalia Zukerman - nataliazukerman.com

"Traditions Rearranged" is a refreshing break from the usual fare we are bombarded with this time of year, and the voices and harmonies are wonderful. Definitely worth putting on your list.

iPOD-worthy: 2, 3, 4, 8

Winterbloom on MySpace.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Review: Train "Save Me, San Francisco"


Honestly, I have been getting pretty weary of Train. A huge fan of their first couple records, I found their subsequent ones to be hit and miss. Their last one, 2006's "For Me, It's You", was a real snoozefest - more fun could be had watching CSPAN. Making matters even worse, in 2007 lead singer Pat Monahan put out a steaming pile with his solo effort, "Last of Seven" (reviewed here). After that, I reached the conclusion that Train was at the caboose of their career.

I was in no rush to hear their fifth album, "Save Me, San Francisco", especially after hearing the rather silly and annoying first single, "Hey Soul Sister". But after a few more tracks in the album really picks up, sending you back in time to their early days. Train has finally stopped taking themselves so seriously and simply recorded a fun roots-rock record - their specialty, and what most fans fell in love with in the beginning. Additionally, Pat Monahan sounds fantastic on this record - he seems re-energized and has written melodies that allow him to showcase how great of a vocal talent he really is.

Train are full steam ahead on this one from the get-go...the record is short and sweet, but most of the songs are bright and playful, free of the over-production that dragged down their last couple of records. Fans of the first two albums are going to appreciate "Save Me, San Francisco" the most. Catchy songs abound, but the highlights include "Parachute", "You Already Know", and "Brick By Brick".

With "Save Me, San Francisco", Train is finally 'back on track': it is easily their best release since their masterpiece, "Drops of Jupiter".

iPOD-worthy: 1, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

Train on MySpace. Official site.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Review: Gary B and the Notions "A New Twist and Shout"


If you can imagine Elvis Costello and the Attractions playing a show one night after getting completely tanked, you can begin to understand what Gary B and the Notions sound like. Hailing from my hometown of Baltimore, Gary B and the Notions are out to wake you up and make you dance to their schizophrenic pop rock jams.

The new record is aptly named - the melodies do twist, and the vocals shout at you. Much like the town of Baltimore, the music of Gary B is a myriad of styles, with some places being safer than others to visit. But whatever musical road Gary B is exploring, there is a certain indie, garage rock charm about this record that makes you looks beyond the low-fi nature of the production and the offbeat lyrics. It leaves you saying, there is something about these guys that I like, but I can't quite put my finger on it.

There are times when Gary B writes vocal checks he just can't cash, but his style makes you cheer him on for trying. He's our everyday hero living out his dream and inviting you to his 30 minute party. So consider yourself warned: this is not high gloss power pop - "A New Twist and Shout" is for those who dig raw indie rock of a quirky nature. Highlights include "Three Horse Carousel", "Give Me One Reason", and "New York Jet Set Garbage".

iPOD-worthy: 2, 7, 11

Gary B and the Notions on MySpace. Official site.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Movies that Rock: "Say Anything" 20th Anniversary Edition


Has it really been 20 years? The image of John Cusack as Lloyd Dobler holding the boom box outside Diane's window while Peter Gabriel belts out his classic "In Your Eyes" is still very fresh in my mind. But here we are, two decades later, and it is time to relive this iconic late 80s film. There is no better way of doing so then getting the 20th Anniversary Edition of "Say Anything".

"Say Anything 20th Anniversary Edition" made its debut on Blu-ray Disc November 3 (DVD version was released on same day). This is one of those movies that you never tire of seeing, full of one-liners that I still find myself using today. The film holds up against time well, as it explores timeless themes of growing up, finding love, and fighting for the one you want. Like most other John Cusack movies, "Say Anything" also spawned one of the best soundtracks of the 80s, featuring the aforementioned hit by Peter Gabriel, but also great cuts from Living Colour (“Cult of Personality”), The Red Hot Chili Peppers (“Taste the Pain”), Cheap Trick ("You Want It"), and The Replacements ("In Your Reach"). While not as well known, AOR fans cannot miss two additional cuts from the soundtrack - the wonderful power ballad "All For Love" by Nancy Wilson (Heart) and a gorgeously melodic track from Germany's Freiheit called "Keeping the Dream Alive". You can sample the soundtrack here.

Say Anything 20th Anniversary Edition - Synopsis
In this charming critically acclaimed tale of first love, Lloyd, an eternal optimist, seeks to capture the heart of Diane, an unattainable high school beauty and straight-A student. He surprises just about everyone – including himself – when she returns the sentiment.

Free mp3! Chris Richards "That Covers That"


Great news for fans of Chris Richards and the Subtractions (see our review of their last record here):

"We've compiled a digital release of cover songs as a free download only via Rapidshare. Hopefully, you'll be able to take advantage of this free download and enjoy our versions of classic songs by The Beatles, The Who, George Harrison, Elvis Costello, and Big Star. It also happens to be a wonderful companion disc to "Sad Sounds of the Summer".

Track list:
You Like Me Too Much - The Beatles
Mary Anne With The Shaky Hand - The Who
Wah Wah - George Harrison
No Action - Elvis Costello and the Attractions
Thirteen - Big Star

Click here to download!

Chris Richards and the Subtractions on MySpace. Official site. Get "Sad Sounds of Summer".

Friday, November 6, 2009

Interview: Lita Ford


I recently interviewed Lita Ford for Rock and Roll Report.

Go check it out here.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Review: Jacob's Ladder "Ours For The Taking" [EP]


It is hard to write a review for the South Florida band called Jacob's Ladder without hearing Huey Lewis sing the famous Bruce Hornsby tune! But Jacob's Ladder - the band - sound nothing like these big cheeses from the 80s. Jacob's Ladder is firmly planted in the soil of modern rock, in the same garden reaped by Fall Out Boy and Panic at the Disco.

Jacob's Ladder is a young trio of talented musicians (Sammy Gonzalez - bass, vocals; Oren Maisner - guitar, vocals; Brian Hernandez - drums) and their new EP was produced by Cyrus Bolooki Of New Found Glory. The band polishes their chops by touring relentlessly (over 400 shows!) and they've racked up some pretty notable achievements so far, including sales of over 4000 records between 2007-2009 and sponsorships from Ernie Ball and Gibson.

For this early in their career, Jacob's Ladder is off to an admirable start; there are good dynamics in the music, considerable harmonies, and a few memorable moments in emphasis tracks such as "Home Alone Tonight", "Not Your Enemy", and "Birds Of A Feather". The band needs to focus a bit more on developing a good strong hook or a lot of people ain't going to bite. The "Ours For The Taking" EP demonstrates some potential for this trio to rise above the crowd, but they still have a few more rungs to climb in order to reach the top.

iPOD-worthy: 2, 5, 6

Jacob's Ladder on MySpace.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Review: Will Hoge "The Wreckage"


Dare I say it, but the past couple of records from Will Hoge have been disappointments for me - yes, they had their moments - but overall I found the albums cumbersome. The songs were still ripe with passion, but lacked the charm and energy - and catchy melodies - that made his first few releases so mesmerizing. Hoge's latest, "The Wreckage" is a solid return to his earlier sound.

"The Wreckage" may have a double meaning. In 2008, Hoge was involved in a traffic accident that nearly robbed the world of this fine talent. As it states in his bio: "As Hoge rode his scooter home from the studio, he was struck by an oncoming van that had veered into his lane. There were no skid marks. Launched off his bike, Hoge ended up bloodied, broken-boned, temporarily blinded, and near death. [The accident] was like stopping a record as it spins,” says Hoge, who had been halfway through recording material for his new record before getting derailed...For ten months, the accident sidelined Hoge. For ten months, it made him do something he hadn’t done in 18 years: stop the music."

But upon listening to "The Wreckage", another meaning seems to emerge. The primary theme that courses through the record is human connectedness. Song after song, Hoge leads us through a very personal and bittersweet exploration of aging human relationships.

While many of the new songs recapture the essence of that made early Hoge records such a joy, "The Wreckage" is not without its missteps. It has a fair share of ballads and only one or two are engaging enough to want to hear more than once (e.g. "Where Do We Go From Down", which finds Hoge searching "for light in a shadow of a doubt"). Hoge's strong suit are his rip-roaring melodic rockers - which he delivers on tracks like "Hard To Love" and "Favorite Waste of Time". Other highlights include his usual life on the road song, "Highway Wings" (isn't there one of these on every Hoge record?) and the inspirational single, "Even If It Breaks Your Heart".

Musically and lyrically, I think the time away from music has recharged Hoge. Track for track, I think the "The Wreckage" is one of his strongest efforts and is second only to "Blackbird On A Lonely Wire" as my favorite Will Hoge album.

When it comes to roots rock, Will Hoge continues to impress with his contagious passion and good natured melodies. He is long overdue for the recognition he deserves and is proving worthy of inheriting the Tom Petty crown.

iPOD-worthy: 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 9, 10

Will Hoge on MySpace. Official site.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Review: Goldbergs "Jingle Jangle Pop" [EP]


An early holiday treat is about to come your way! Andy Goldberg (see our review of the latest Goldbergs record here) is releasing a special Holiday EP appropriately entitled "Jingle Jangle Pop". The EP contains 4 tracks - 2 brand new and 2 from his previous project, The Sun Kings. Individual tracks or the entire album will be available only on iTunes no later than November 9 - mark your calendars as this is one powerpop fans won't want to miss.

My favorite track, the playful "Chanukah Guy", has that trademark Beatles-esque Goldbergs sound that I raved about earlier this year in my review for "Under The Radar". "Chanukah Guy" features Rich Pagano on drums (who is in the Fab Faux) and John Conte on bass. "Christmas Time Again", recorded entirely in Andy's basement, features Andy singing and playing everything himself.

Tracks 3 and 4, "Santa's Calling" and "Have a Very Merry Christmas", are from Andy's old band The Sun Kings (circa 1998). In addition to giving me two more tracks I can't wait to add to my iPOD's holiday playlist, these tracks provide an intriguing glimpse into Andy's evolution as an artist.

I can't wait until the next full-length release from the Goldbergs, but until then these four holiday tunes will be great to 'yule-tide' me over.

iPOD-worthy: 1, 2, 3, 4

The Goldbergs on MySpace.

L'Avventura "Your Star Was Shining" FREE thru Nov!


News from L'Avventura:

"ExploreMusic.com just included "Rocket Sue" in its 5 Songs You Gotta Hear list.

KCRW Los Angeles has put "Swandive" in rotation on its Eclectic24 Internet station. BBC Radio has also been playing tracks from the latest album.

The entire "Your star was shining" album will be available for FREE DOWNLOAD here for the entire month of November."

You can find our review here.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Free GLEN PHILLIPS Sampler!


Go here to get eight free Glen Phillips tracks:

1. Always Have My Love
2. Blood Pressurize
3. Don't Lose Your Voice
4. Return To Me
5. Thankful
6. Crowing
7. Everything But You
8. The Hole

"This is for those of you wondering what I've been up to since Toad. I'd like to give you eight songs in exchange for your email address, so I can tell you about upcoming tours (solo, with Toad and WPA) as well as new recording projects. Sound good? I think so.

Most important new project: WPA - go to wpamusic.com for more information, or wpamusic.bandcamp.com for the record.

Thanks for coming by..." - Glen

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Review: Doctor Squid "Doctor Squid"


Doctor Squid - interesting name, interesting sound. What do they sound like, you ask? Well, you might regret asking that question. Here is the answer in the band's own words: "The sound of how wonderful you'd feel if a giant squid successfully performed life-saving surgery on your organs. And then kissed you on the cheek. With his beak."

I have mixed feelings about Doctor Squid - can't quite put my tentacle on it, but something is amiss. The band is unabashedly independent and there are some clever melodies and intriguing harmonies here and there. But at the end of the day the vocals generally sink the ship for me. They are not awful, but kind of all over the place and on the whiny side to borderline annoying. And that is a shame because there are some songs here that are quite infectious - these guys have a good instinct for writing playful sing-a-long stuff. For example, check out "The Things We've Chased", "Running", and "On My Way".

Doctor Squid is part Fountains of Wayne, part Weezer, and a dash of They Might Be Giants. Musically solid and lyrically fresh, but with vocals that might make you wish Doctor Squid was calamari. As they sing on "The Day It Rained Hot Coffee", they don't sink or swim...they just float.

iPOD-worthy: 1, 2, 5, 8

Doctor Squid on MySpace. Official site. Get it.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

News and free mp3 from DANNY ECHO

This just in from Danny Echo (see review of his latest album here).

"We have some exciting news. First off, we have just finished recording a new "radio version" of our 'Tomorrow Today' (a previous version was included on our last CD). The new, improved version was mixed by the legendary Mike Fraser (AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, Franz Ferdinand, etc), and produced by Jeff Dawson (Daniel Powter, Kelly Rowland, Tal Bachman). You can download the new version for FREE on our website at: http://www.dannyecho.com/echoes.htm

Second item: We have the honour of being selected as one of the Top 20 finalists in the Vancouver-based Peak Performance Project, a seven-year,$5.29 million contest open to all independent musicians in Vancouver (and the rest of British Columbia, Canada). Of these twenty artists, the top three will share $275,000 in cash for career development. First place receives $150,000; second place receives $75,000; and third place receives $50,000. Obviously, the prize money would be a huge boost for our career....Part of the criteria we are being judged on is an online vote. Please vote for DANNY ECHO! Create a wave of support for us: http://www.peakperformanceproject.com/?page_id=1113

We have some additional brand new material that we are preparing for a new release, so we'll keep you posted as soon as it is released!" -DANNY ECHO

Monday, October 26, 2009

Review: Creedence Clearwater Revival "The Singles Collection"


Below is a press release regarding the latest compilation from Creedence Clearwater Revival (a.k.a. CCR). This one is unique in featuring all of the singles from CCR - whether they charted or not. Spread across 2 CDs, this sprawling collection is the perfect way for new fans to get acquainted with CCR. For fans who have all their records already, the collection may still have appeal for you as it features a cool DVD with four music videos not previously available and a slick poster of artwork from the singles. Everything is included in a handsome slip case.

The new collection is a great way to honor and appreciate once again some of the finest work from a legendary American rock and roll band. Most CCR fans already have a comprehensive set of hits with "Chronicles, Vol 1"; if you are one of them, there are only a handful of additional tracks to appreciate on "The Singles Collection". "Revolutions Per Minute (parts 1 and 2)" are conversational pieces and in my opinion not worth going out of your way for...but other tracks like "Porterville", "Call It Pretending", and "Door To Door" are a few gems you'll find here and not on "Chronicles".

"Creedence Clearwater Revival's golden era of hit singles (fall of 1968 through spring of 1972) rivals that of any band in rock 'n' roll history. The Southern-flavored quartet from El Cerrito, Calif., turned out 17 hits in a 44-month stretch, nine of them in the Top 10, five of them in the Top 5.

On November 3, Fantasy Records will release "The Singles Collection", a two-CD, one-DVD box with a slip case, containing all of Creedence Clearwater Revival's U.S. singles -- 30 songs in all. Top 5 smashes like "Bad Moon Rising," "Green River," "Down on the Corner," "Travelin' Band," "Who'll Stop the Rain," "Run Through the Jungle," "Up Around the Bend," "Long As I Can See the Light" and "Lookin' Out My Back Door" are joined by seldom-heard singles that never charted ("Porterville" and "Call It Pretending" on Fantasy's Scorpio subsidiary, and later singles "Tearin' Up the Country" and "45 Revolutions Per Minute [Parts 1 & 2]").

The 30 songs, (which are presented in their original single mixes, many of them in mono --- are making their CD debut), housed on two CDs, will be joined by a DVD containing four never-before-available, long-pre-MTV music videos: "I Heard it Through the Grapevine," "Bootleg," "I Put a Spell on You" and "Lookin' Out My Back Door." Also included in the package are a poster featuring the dozens of international single sleeves, and a 16-page booklet with liner notes by former Rolling Stone editor Ben Fong-Torres, who lived and wrote in the Bay Area during CCR's golden half-decade.

Fantasy will also manufacture a limited edition collectors' version of "The Singles Collection" featuring actual vinyl 45 rpm singles with reproductions of the original Fantasy label design and housed in their rare picture sleeves-- the ultimate holiday gift for Creedence fans. Forty years later, the music sounds as fresh and vital as ever."

Get it.

The Damnwells NEXT RECORD

From The Damnwells:

"First, thanks to all of you who have downloaded and continue to download our record, One Last Century [reviewed here on BMF]. It’s been a great experience for us to be able to connect directly with our fans, as well as make some new ones. Thank you all for your continued support. Consider One Last Century as our gift to you, though really it’s just payback for all the great support you’ve given us over the years.

As we embark on a new recording project, we need to ask for your help. Bands rely on their fans. You’re the people who come to the shows, buy us drinks, sing along, and make us feel pretty. The Damnwells need to take that one step further. Don’t worry; you can keep your clothes on (for now, anyway). What we need is your help in making our next record. We’ve recently partnered up with Pledge Music, an organization that helps independent bands raise the money necessary to make records. What’s so great about Pledge is that not only do they help independent bands get their records made, they also donate 10% of the money tallied to charity.

Here’s how it works. By pledging your donation here (http://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/90), you will not only be able to directly assist in making this new record, you will also have access to EXCLUSIVE Damnwells b-sides, video posts, blogs, photos, not to mention helping fight against AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria. For this project, we’ve decided to offer 10% to The Global Fund, a humanitarian organization committed to providing much-needed resources for the prevention and treatment of these devastating diseases. Oh, and you also get to download the record once it’s done.

But wait! That’s not all! (cue Vanna White.)

Check out the “Exclusives” section on our home page for, well, exclusive opportunities. Get your name in the credits. Come hang out for a rehearsal. Have us come play your house. Go nuts!

For now, head to the site and enjoy a free download, a little taste of what you’ll have access to when you pledge. The song is called “Death Defier,” and I suppose it embodies some of what we’re talking about here. (Click on the “download” button at the bottom of the page to get it.)

Help us continue to make music and maybe, possibly, really change some lives.
Fans, this one’s for you.

Love, as always,

The Damnwells

http://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/90

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Review: Andrew Petersen "The Universe, And Its Sense Of Humour"


Singer/songwriter Andrew Petersen (Brisbane, Australia) has released his first solo album entitled, "The Universe, And Its Sense Of Humour". Petersen, the frontman for soul-rockers Shutterspeed, has been working on this project for 2 years, which he describes as: "It's got definite country flavours but it's not a country record, it's got pop sensibilities but it's not a pop record. It's music with a melodic heart. It's music with humour and passion".

Petersen's solo record distinguishes itself from Shutterspeed with its organic and acoustic feel, yet he has not abandoned his instinct for writing solid melodic hooks. Sprinkled into the mix you'll hear some well-placed harmonica, mandolin, pedal steel, and banjo, but it would be a misnomer to call this country or folk - it's more pop rock with an alt-country flavor. The production is remarkably good - bright, crisp guitars whether strummed or picked.

Petersen's voice sounds somewhere between Bob Seger and Ed Roland (Collective Soul), just perfect for this type of roots rock. Highlights include the upbeat harmonica-enhanced "A River Near Here", the swaying "It Gets That Way", and "I'll Come Running", a veritable tribute to classic Bob Seger. There is also a great cover of "Soul Deep", an all too often forgotten gem by Wayne Carson Thompson made famous by The Box Tops in 1969. Finally, "Hide" is a stripped down and beautifully performed acoustic ballad that quietly closes the record.

If this were basketball, "The Universe, And Its Sense Of Humour" is nothing but net. A fantastic debut that hits all the right buttons. Recommended for fans of Ryan Adams, Will Hoge, and Counting Crows.

iPOD-worthy: 1, 2, 4, 7, 8, 10, 11

Andrew Petersen on MySpace. Official site. Get it.