Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Review: The Silver Liners "Just Like The Rest"

The DC music scene is predominated by indie pop these days, but The Silver Liners (Jay Nemeyer, guitar/vox; John Patton, guitar; Matt Hartenau, drums; Dan Miraldi, keys/vox; Ray Remesch, bass) just want people to get rocked. The boys have just released their seven song EP, "Just Like The Rest", which is available on iTUNES, Napster, and Amazon. The band has been featured on DC101's Local Lix and they've earned a finalist position in the Last Band Standing Contest. Now, they are hoping to reach out to the ears of rockers all across the US.

While you could safely describe the sound of The Silver Liners as modern rock, there are clear hints of 90s alternative rock influence. The combination works well and is going to be pleasing to fans of Foo Fighters to Fall Out Boy. We like them because The Silver Liners strive to craft a melody that stands out and hooks the listener - and generally they nail it. It is also refreshing to hear keyboards once again in rock music - Nemeyer has done a remarkable job incorporating the keys in tasteful fashion. The band's potential is maximized on infectious tracks like "Heard It From A Friend", "Inside Your Head", "Cheer Up Alex", and "Like Clay". Vocals are solid, but to my ears they seem drowned out at times because too much effect was applied.

"Just Like The Rest" is a fairly impressive start for a new band - keep at it, guys. You keep those catchy melodies coming and The Silver Liners will make a CD that can go gold.

iPOD-worthy: 2, 3, 6, 7

The Silver Liners on MySpace.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Review: Oranjuly "Oranjuly"

Oranjuly is: Brian E. King (songs/arrangements/recordings, vocals, guitar, keys), Jordan Weaver (guitar, vox), Chris Erickson (bass), Greg Souza (keys, vox, trumpet), and Lou Paniccia (drums). This powerpop outfit takes its name by merging King's favorite color with the month he was born. Conveniently, their self-titled debut record bows next month.

The first track Oranjuly throws at the listening world is an epic performance called "Her Camera", which combines a retro organ bounce with modern searing guitars. The song, peppered with clever harmonies reminiscent of Queen, is merely a prelude to what this new band can do. "Mrs. G" comes on strong with cheerful piano leading the way to one of the catchiest choruses on the record, augmented with handclaps, soulful backing vocals, and a gleeful synth solo right out the 80s. The smart mid-tempo ditty, "I Could Break Your Heart", keeps the party going strong with a 50s dance beat juxtaposed against contemporary guitar tones. No one else has pulled off such an effective combination since Weezer's early hit, "Buddy Holly". Additional highlights include the sizzling "Personal Ads", the groovy "Hollywood Blues", and "207 Days", which has an intro that reminds me of Christopher Cross.

You can't help but have a good time hearing these ten songs - Oranjuly has delivered once of the most impressive powerpop debuts in recent memory, expertly taking the guilty pleasures of our musical archives and breathing new life into them.

iPOD-worthy: 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 9

Oranjuly on MySpace. Official site.

<a href="">Her Camera by Oranjuly</a>

Monday, June 28, 2010

Review: Laurie Biagini "A Far-Out Place"

Based on her music, I would have guessed that Laurie Biagini was from sunny California. But no, she is cranking out her retro surf pop from Vancouver BC, Canada. Her latest CD, "A Far-Out Place", picks up where her debut record, "Ridin' The Wave" left off, and was inspired, unsurprisingly, by a 2008 adventure in California.

Biagini's songs have been written, composed, performed and recorded by herself - so she is either very talented or the ultimate control freak. Perhaps she is a little of both. Her sound is undeniably influenced by the Beach Boys, and her brand of beach music is some of the most authentically inspired I've ever heard. Her vocals are somewhat androgynous (think Kyle Vincent), but it is her extraordinarily well-crafted harmonies that will truly impress. Biagini could have easily replaced the B-52s girls.

All of the elements of classic powerpop are present and accounted for on "A Far-Out Place" - harpsichord, multi-layered doo-wop harmonies, and be-bop beats. It is hard not to feel like you are at a beach party with feel-good tunes like "A Far-Out Place", "A Beautiful Dream", and, of course, "Another Old Lazy Lyin' On The Beach Afternoon". But not all of her lyrics are as anachronistic as her music - take the Jerry Lee Lewis sounding "Crazy People On The Internet" for example. Other highlights include the catchy rocker "Leave Me Alone" and "Not The Only Pretty Fish In His Sea". And if you are in the mood for something slower, Biagini has "Sweet Dream Symphony" to offer, sounding like something right out of the Brian Wilson songbook. Fans of The Carpenters will want to take note of "Rockin' My World Like You Only Know How".

If you are a fan of the Beach Boys, Mamas and the Papas, Jan and Dean, or even the B-52s, you won't want to have a record collection without some Laurie Biagini. As her closing track, "I'll Be Back Again", implies, she is currently working on her third album, and preparing for her upcoming live performance at the International Pop Overthrow Festival on August 25 in Vancouver, BC.

iPOD-worthy: 2, 4, 5, 7, 11, 13

Laurie Biagini on MySpace.

Check out the video for the title track to "A Far-Out Place":

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Review: Neil Nathan "The Distance Calls"

Neil Nathan's debut record, "The Distance Calls" merges 70s-style jangle pop with modern singer/songwriter smarts. The fusion is best exemplified with his gorgeous take on the E.L.O. classic "Do Ya", which Nathan has stripped down to bare essentials. It is a brilliant interpretation of a jubilant pop song, and nod to Nathan's core musical influences. The CD itself, which looks like a vinyl record, is another nod to the era Nathan embodies.

“This is the first record I’ve done where there’s a balance to my sound. Bobby [Harlow] was able to successfully marry my harder rock side with the singer/songwriter in me,” says Nathan. "The Distance Calls" contains songs that will appeal to a wide audience, including fans of Cat Stevens to Matthew Sweet.

Nathan's vocals could easily be mistaken for Cat Stevens at times - most notably on the aching ballad, "Don't Walk Away". But Nathan does more on this record than pull at the heartstrings with his sincere balladry - he can make you want to get up and dance, like on the bluesy rockers "Get On" and "Never Enough". Additional highlights on "The Distance Calls" include the cheery jangle of "California Run", the catchy mid-tempo anthem, "When The Rain Falls", and the powerpop gem "Too Late". And just when you think Nathan might have run out of steam, he perks you up with another sizzling roots rocker, "Better Be Goin'", which reminds me of Bread when they rocked out.

"The Distance Calls" will be available August 24, 2010.

iPOD-worthy: 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 10, 13

Neil Nathan on MySpace. Official site.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Free mp3: See Green "Think Twice"

Now here is a really cool song by a female-fronted pop rock band called See Green. The track "Think Twice" can be downloaded here for free - it has a great 80s feel to it and just makes for a great summer tune.

See Green on MySpace.

Free album: Jonny Rumble "JR"

Rock Proper is excited to release one monster of an album, Jonny Rumble’s "JR" promises to be the anthem of the summer. You can pre-order the vinyl version here.

Go here to download the entire record for free.

Try as I might, I just can't get into this. The record has a cool sound - a rough and tumble roots rock with some quirky experimentation - but the hooks just aren't strong enough for me. My favorite track was "Handgun Blues".

Jonny Rumble: Official site.

Interview: Kopek

Dublin’s Kopek get honest about the dying industry, working with Grammy winners in studio, and “White Collar Lies” - read my interview with Kopek at Rock and Roll Report.

In case you missed the review of the new CD from this outstanding rock band, check it out here.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Review: Felsen "Accidental Drowning"

"The story of Felsen begins with drummer/producer Andrew Griffin, heard all over San Francisco and beyond for years as co-founder of the famed East Bay Wrecking Crew, a rhythm section for hire that has supported literally hundreds of local bands over the last six years. As a sideman, Andrew has toured and recorded with the likes of CAKE, Vince Welnick, members of Camper Van Beethoven, Jonathan Richman, Viv, The Bloody Lovelies, and many other great acts both signed and indie. A close encounter with a life-threatening illness three years ago left Griffin physically, emotionally, and financially drained, but also gifted him with a flood of songs dealing with powerful themes: surviving catastrophe (Accidental Drowning), ridiculing the ridiculous (Lay Kenneth Lay), and appreciating the power of family and friendship (I’m The One That Loves You), as well as healthy doses of playfulness and fun (Heroin, Two Utensils In One)."

Felsen specializes in pop rock for grown ups - the songs go down easy, most with a groove that will make you want to nod along. Some people are going to find their new record, "Accidental Drowning", a lot like watching soccer - not a lot of action for awhile, but then suddenly - goal! And when Felsen scores it is a big deal, quite a thrill. The lyrics on this CD are truly original and often insightful, fitting comfortably in this brand of artful pop rock. Vocals fall somewhere between Dave Pirner (Soul Asylum) and Moe Berg (Pursuit of Happiness), so they are not the most polished in the world, but seem well-suited to the music of Felsen. Lots of well-placed backing vocals make many of these songs a soothing pleasure to hear.

Standout tracks include the title track, "Heroin", "Karma", "Radios Tweaking", and the George Harrison-esque closer, "In The Middle Of The Night". Felsen takes a couple spins to stick, but you'll soon feel yourself being pulled in by the undertow. For fans of Luce, Dave Pirner, and Michael Penn.

iPOD-worthy: 2, 4, 6, 9, 12

Felsen on MySpace. Official site.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Free mp3: Marcy Playground "MP3"

MP3 is the name of this album, from the band that wrote the huge 1997 hit, "Sex and Candy." To get the album, you just send a blank email to

1. Spoonfed
2. Blood In Alphabet Soup
3. No One's Boy
4. Hotter Than The Sun
5. Rock And Roll Heroes
6. Jesse Went To War
7. Flag And Finger
8. Deadly Handsome Man
9. Punk Rock Superstar
10. Paper Dolls
11. Death Of A Cheerleader
12. Brand New Day
13. Sleepy Eyes
14. Barfly

Original posting here.

News: The return of Bush

No, thankfully not George W. I'm talking about the 90s alt-rockers led by Gavin Rossdale. Preview their new song, "Afterlife" right here.

Pretty decent chorus, but Everything Zen? I don't think so. I'd be biting my nails too if I were you, Gavin. Let's hope the rest of the record due in October is better.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Review: Escape Directors "Ladders"

The Escape Directors have an indie-vibe like Death Cab For Cutie throughout their songwriting, but their sound leans more towards the commercial feel of The Fray. It is a combination that should appeal to a wide audience, pleasing fans of independent and popular music alike. Escape Directors consists of Steve Carter (vocals, guitars, piano), Colin Rieser (drums, vocals), Nick Wilson (piano, keyboards, guitars, vocals), and Andrew Magrini (bass).

The new CD is "Ladders", and it is a short and sweet 9-song affair lasting a little more than a half hour. But within those thirty minutes or so, "Ladders" climbs to great heights and showcases a band of considerable talent that has the ability to produce a very slick record with a contemporary sound. There is a boatload of talent in this band and the songs contain layers of acoustic and electric guitars, piano and keyboards, and stirring strings. The songs were more attractive on the second spin as the hooks started to sink in, but among the more instantly memorable were the driving opener "Car Crash", the powerful, angst-ridden "Honest Man", and the mid-tempo ballad "Fall Together". And while I am glad the CD is not too ballad heavy, the Escape Directors have excellent instincts here, the best example being "When You're Gone", a very moving piece that features one of the most stunning vocal performances on the record.

With "Ladders", these boys from New Jersey calling themselves the Escape Directors prove that they mean business, and make an impressive addition to modern pop rock.

iPOD-worthy: 1, 3, 4, 5

Escape Directors on MySpace. Official site.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Review: The Stone Foxes "Bears and Bulls"

The Stone Foxes are carrying a torch for blues-rock masters such as The Band, Bob Dylan, and Led Zeppelin. Made up of brothers Shannon and Spence Koehler, Aaron Mort, and Avi Vincour, The Stone Foxes are rock purists that breathe new life into classic rock. The Stone Foxes will rattle your speakers with vintage sounding guitar tones, riff-centric songwriting, and perfectly placed harmonica.

If I had to limit myself to just one word to summarize the essence of The Stone Foxes it would be AUTHENTIC. These guys are rock and rollers to the core, with equal parts attitude and talent. The music is more riff-driven than melodic, but for classic rock fans, "Bears and Bulls" is an instant treasure. Opening track "Stomp" is like a prelude to the party, with a steady beat of hand claps, juicy harp, and greasy slide guitar. "Patience" follows, a gripping vintage rocker that sounds like what Jet would shoot for in a song. The band shows their bluesy ballad side with the excellent "I Killed Robert Johnson", one of many tracks that remind me of Black Crowes at their finest (check out "Easy" or "Through The Fire" for more). "Passenger Train" reveals yet another side of the band - a side that dabbles in alt-country not far from the neighborhood of Wilco - and it earns my pick for favorite track on the record. Additional highlights include the rollicking anthem "Young Man" and the slow burning Dylan-esque ballad "Come Again".

The sophomore effort from The Stone Foxes, "Bears & Bulls", is out July 6.

iPOD-worthy: 2, 3, 4, 5, 12

The Stone Foxes on MySpace. Official site.

Check out the video for the first single "I Killed Robert Johnson":

The Stone Foxes "I Killed Robert Johnson" from Sideways Media on Vimeo.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Review: Alan Cohen Experience "Space and Time"

If anyone can turn Stephen Hawking's bestselling book, "A Brief History of Time", into a musical opus, it is Alan Cohen. Undertaking a project as innovative as this could only be pulled off by one of pop's most offbeat artists. Each song on "Space and Time" was inspired by a chapter in Hawking's masterpiece - this even includes quotes from JFK and Hawking himself as an introduction and conclusion, respectively. Highlights include the catchy "Uncertainty Principle", the hauntingly infectious ballad "Black Hole", and the charming lullaby "Dreaming".

Alan Cohen, a genuine one-man band, is by far and away one of the most original artists out there today. And when I say out there, I mean "out there" - otherworldly! Putting on a record by the Alan Cohen Experience is always an adventure and "Space and Time" is no exception. But "Space and Time" does more, reminding us of our Physics 101 with songs revolving around Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle, Einstein's Theory of Relativity, and the complex inner-workings of the atom. You can't help but to walk away from "Space and Time" without a feeling of humility and a deeper appreciation of the vast unknown that lies beyond our naked eye universe.

Alan Cohen Experience has released a remarkably fresh album that dares to be different but strives to remain musically accessible. "Space and Time" should be adored by physicists just as quirky as Alan Cohen, but is it anything more than a space oddity to the rest of us? Only time will tell...

Alan Cohen Experience on MySpace. Official site.

Here are two free mp3s for your listening pleasure:

<a href="">Einstein by Alan Cohen Experience</a>

<a href="">The Universe is Expanding by Alan Cohen Experience</a>

Thursday, June 17, 2010

News: New free mp3 from THE EELS

Download "Looking Up" from the upcoming EELS "TOMORROW MORNING" album (out August 24) for free, right now, right here:

(And if you're already on the EELS mailing list, don't worry, submitting your address for the free download won't result in getting multiple emails.)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Rare CD: Soundtrack "The Wraith"




1. Where's the Fire (Tim Feehan)
2. Those Were the Days (Honeymoon Suite)
3. Hearts Vs. Heads (Stan Bush)
4. Hold on Blue Eyes (Lamarca)
5. Young Love, Hot Love (Jill Michaels)
6. Secret Loser (Ozzy Osbourne)
7. Never Surrender (Lion)
8. Bad Mistake (James House)
9. Wake Up Call (Ian Hunter)
10. Matter of the Heart (Bonnie Tyler)"

Sold for $76.00 on ebay.

Rare CD: The Unknown "Big Dreams"

"THE UNKNOWN - Big Dreams 1988 CD

Mega rare hard rock from 1988...Here's your chance to get an original CD called THE UNKNOWN - Big Dreams. This mega rare 8 track CD was released in 1988 on a small US indie label. This band plays excellent melodic hard rock/glam similar to 80's BON JOVI, DANGER DANGER, FRICTION (Baby Talk), and ATTRACTION. The band went on to change their name to BLACKFISH and were signed to a major label. This cd is where it all started for them and it is "pure 80's hair metal bliss". It is definately regarded as one of the top collector pieces out there. Get it while you can! I HIGHLY RECOMMEND it. The CD and inserts are in mint condition."

Sold for $96.00 on ebay.

Rare CD: Pretty Boy Floyd "Bullets & Lipstik"

"Rare hair metal / glam cd released on Bellaphon in 1989, in great condition, no bootleg.

Tommy Floyd vocals
Pete Parker guitar
Sandy Hazard drums
Steve Bratz bass

1. Welcome to the Show
2. Four for the Road
3. Somewhere (over that rainbow)
4. Proud to be Loud
5. Raggedy Ann
6. Moonshine Daze
7. This Gun's for Hire
8. Another I.O.U
9. Down on the Floor
10. Bullets and Lipstik"

SOld for $100 on ebay.

Rare CD: Jerry Rix "Jerry Rix Sings Diane Warren"

JERRY RIX sings DIANE WARREN – Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now

HYPER RARE and excellent AOR / Hi-Tech AOR

All songs written by Diane Warren

Like Tim Feehan, Richard Marx, Chris Sutton

Style: Amazing AOR songs by DIANE WARREN excellent performed

Year of Release: 1989

Label: White Records

Condition CD / booklet: very good / very good

Here’s the next highlight for you:

The ULTRA RARE CD “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now” from dutch singer JERRY RIX, who performs 10 songs written by the songwriting queen DIANE WARREN.

This CD is so damn RARE, that it is even not listet at DIANE WARREN’s official homepage!

Be prepared for 10 wonderful keyboard driven AOR songs, well written, excellent performed. Some of the songs were released before, but some have never been released before.

“To be Lovers” for example opens the album in the way of RICHARD MARX, with a great hookline. The same goes to “State Of Our Affair”, with its catchy hookline or “The Sound Of A Breaking Heart”.

The sound is keyboard driven but with tasty guitar fills and great solos… some hi-tech influences can be heard on one or another song… Imagine a mix of RICHARD MARX, TIM FEEHAN and CHRIS SUTTON and you know how this CD sounds like!

Produced by JACK WHITE and released at his own small label (only in Germany), this CD is one of the rarest out there nowadays!

Even top collectors are still searching for it!"

Sold for $122.50 on ebay.

Rare CD: Jeffrey Ross "Personal Obsession"

"Here's one of the few mega rarities that deserves the title "AOR masterpiece". JEFFREY ROSS recorded this highlight in 1988 and with these 10 incredible songs he plays easily in the same major league like STAN BUSH, TIM FEEHAN or CLIF MAGNESS.

I'm not kidding, you'll get one killer track after another!

"Just Say How" for example opens the album in a stunning way... What a chorus! This is the definition of pure AOR. "Family Man" comes along like a forgotten TIM FEEHAN song, while the fabulous "God Knows" easily knocks down every STAN BUSH song and leaves you breathless with a killer hookline! "Can't Run Away" sounds like pure CLIF MAGNESS and "Breakdown" is a wonderful typical 80's sounding power ballad.

These were only the first 5 tracks - no bummer here - only killers! And I promise you: it goes on with the same high quality!

Forget other mega rare AOR pieces, that are only praised as must haves because they are rare. This is not only rare, it is KILLER!"

Sold for $123.50 on ebay.

Rare CD: Dark Angel "Darkness Descends"


DARK ANGEL are a legendary, influential speed/thrash metal band from California, U.S.A, formed in the early 1980s. Along with bands like METALLICA, MEGADETH, SLAYER, POSSESSED, HIRAX, etc., they helped form the foundation of the U.S. speed/thrash metal underground scene, and with classic albums like "Darkness Descends" and "Leave Scars", established themselves as one of the fastest and most intense bands of their time. The band split up in the early 1990s, with powerhouse drummer GENE HOGLAN moving on to perform in other classic bands like DEATH, TESTAMENT, STRAPPING YOUNG LAD, and others.

The cd I am selling here is the ORIGINAL 1986 pressing. This cd was first released by COMBAT RECORDS in 1986, and was out of print for a number of years until later re-released by Century Media in the late 1990s.

This cd has been in my possession since I purchased it in the late 1980's, and only played a handful of times."

Sold for $145.50 on ebay.

Monday, June 14, 2010

News: JPT Scare Band "Not My Fault" New Video Takes Aim at BP

JPT Scare Band - "Not My Fault" New Video Takes Aim at BP and Their Denial of Involvement in the Gulf Oil Spill Disaster

Legendary rockers, JPT Scare Band, released some of the most collectible psychedelic/acid rock of all time (review here), and now they're about to release their first ever music video. Banded together during the tumultuous years of the early 70’s, JPT Scare Band fused a sound equally heavy in hard rocking blues as it was tripped out in psychedelia, creating a sound so imposing that it perfectly reflected the emotions of the era. Hailed as one of the "lost pioneers of Heavy Metal” by Classic Rock Magazine, JPT Scare Band has seen a resurgence of interest by fans of 1970’s heavy fuzzed out rock.

Now, on the heels of the release of their new album, "Acid Blues is the White Man's Burden" on Ripple Music, JPT will unveil their first ever music video for the new JPT classic, "Not My Fault," a song written by JPT in the '70's but never recorded until the early 2000's. The video makes direct use of the song's title and biting sarcastic edge as it assails BP for their denial of any blame for the Gulf Oil Spill disaster. The video is thought provoking and inflammatory, in addition to being a good 'ol rock video, with tons of never before seen footage of JPT Scare Band doing what they do best.

Released as a special event, "Not My Fault," will makes it's exclusive debut as a limited world-wide premiere on some of rock's finest websites.

Starting Monday, June 14th and for one week, the new JPT Scare Band video can be found only at these fine sites.

Rock Realms
The Soda Shop
The Obelisk
Bill's Music Forum
The Ripple Effect
Bad Taste Music

If the video touches a nerve with you, including it's poignant ending, please pass it on. Let's create a ruckus in BP's world. The song "Not My Fault," and the album, Acid Blues is the White Man's Burden can be found at Ripple Music.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Review: Little Fish "Baffled and Beat"

Are you longing for those bygone days of female-fronted alternate rock that was so prevalent in the late know, the likes of Hole, Tracy Bonham, Letters to Cleo, and so on? If so, the alt rock duo from the UK, Little Fish, is a good catch. Little Fish consists of Juju (vocals and guitar), who is very reminiscent of Johnette Napolitano (Concrete Blonde), and Nez (drums), who is very reminiscent of, well, a drummer.

Their first album, "Baffled and Beat", is due out on Custard Records/Island in September 2010. They have been performing around the UK and Europe and have recently supported Them Crooked Vultures at The Royal Albert Hall, in a busy last year of touring they have also supported Supergrass, Dave Matthews Band, Doves, Placebo, Alice In Chains, Hole, Juliette Lewis, Eagles of Death Metal and Spinnerette.

For just two people, Juju and Nez can really rock the house. Juju's vocals oscillate between the pop smarts of Chrissie Hynde and the wackiness of PJ Harvey, but wherever she falls within this spectrum, her voice is strong and confident. Like her voice, her guitars are grungy and thump along with a tone full of midrange. "Baffled and Beat" contains a dozen decent alt rock songs with highlights including "Darling Dear", "Heroin Dance", and "Sweat N Shiver". "Luck's Run Out" is also a notable track as it shows a softer side of Juju, who delivers one of her most gentle yet moving performances.

iPOD-worthy: 1, 4, 5, 9, 12

You can get a free mp3 download of the title track here!

Little Fish on MySpace. Official site.

Check out the video for "Am I Crazy":

Friday, June 11, 2010

Review: Kopek "White Collar Lies"

Listening to the upcoming CD "White Collar Lies" by the Irish trio Kopek, I was amazed at how great they sounded for a 'new' band. But turns out they are not such a 'new' band - they've been honing their craft since 2002, relentlessly touring and writing. As a result, their long-awaited debut album, "White Collar Lies", promises to be a breakout record for this outstanding hard rock outfit. And it is not just me who thinks so - the boys in Topek (Daniel Jordan (vocals, guitar), Brad Kinsella (bass), and Shane Cooney (drums)) have managed to attract some serious talent to help usher in this new voice in rock and roll: Multi-Grammy Award winning Tom Lord Alge did the mixing and multi-Grammy Award winning Ted Jensen (Sterling Sound) mastered “White Collar Lies”. They have played all over the world to stadium crowds and won Global Battle of the Bands. With a show that would blow steel off an armored tank, Kopek will be one of the must see bands in 2010.

Kopek plays with a chemistry that is usually only found in bands that have been around a lot longer than these guys. They have the energy of a bristling young group but the songwriting smarts and performance talents of seasoned musical veterans. Yes, they can shred the guitars, thump the bass, and pound the drums like the world is going to end, but they realize that this means nothing without creating a memorable hook in the song. Kopek also takes on the evils of the corporate world and politics in their lyrics, providing an angst filled soundtrack as a backdrop to the theme. Daniel Jordan has a scratchy voice built for modern rock, but he controls the grit in his vocals to achieve a broader appeal amongst potential fans. The first half of "White Collar Lies" is one of the best string of modern hard rock songs I've heard in a long time.

"White Collar Lies" begins with the sizzling "Cocaine Chest Pains" before launching into the moving title track, an indictment of the greed polluting corporate mentality. "Fever" is a sexy rock and roll tune that should be playing in a strip club near you soon. "Love Is Dead", the lead single, is another shout along anthem with some terrific grooves to match. "Floridian" is probably the most radio-friendly tune in the bunch with "Bigger Than Us All" being a close second.

Kopek should take the world by storm - don't miss out. "White Collar Lies" is what modern rock is all about. Check them out if you groove to The Exies, My Chemical Romance, or Tremelo.

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

Kopek on MySpace. Official site.

Check out the video for first single, "Love Is Dead":

Also - get a free download!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Review: Lost Boys "Look Out World"

The Lost Boys is a young pop rock band hailing from Lakeport, California, and their musical career is off to a blazing start: they've won numerous competitions, including the Ukiah Idol Competition, Ukiah Band Slam, and N. California’s Rising Stars Competition, all while defending their California Colgate Showdown title, 2 years running. They are completing a 60 date tour (Look Out World…Tour 2009), headlining theatres and radio shows to capacity crowds, and performing with 3 Doors Down, All-American Rejects, Kelly Clarkson, Journey, Eddie Money, Heart, Tonic, Night Ranger, and more.

"Summertime" is the timely lead single from their brand new upcoming release, "Look Out World". With plenty of pep, a gang chorus, and shimmering guitar, the song should brighten anyone's summer break. "Look Out World" contains a number of other goodies that fans of pop rock will want to sink their teeth into, such as "I'm Not Popular", a sing-along anthem for freaks and geeks everywhere, and the dramatic midtempo power ballad "Why Not Us". "Fall" is another highlight, a piano-driven rocker that packs a good punch and features a powerhouse lead vocal. The rest of the tracks are not necessarily lame, but they don't grab you with the same immediacy as the aforementioned songs. "Cloud 9" and "Think So" are more generic power ballads in the tradition of the Goo Goo Dolls. The band shows more muscle at the end of the record with tracks like "Last Time" and "Hold On", but they do so at the expense of being melodic enough to warrant repeated listens.

"Look Out World" is a respectable effort that is going to attract young rockers like moths to a flame. You could say the Lost Boys have found their niche, and I believe they will get even better with age. 'Look out' for this one later this year.

iPOD-worthy: 1, 2, 5, 6

Lost Boys on MySpace. Official site.

Check out the video for the song "Why Not Us":

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Review: Ben G "Ben G"

With the release of his EP, "Cut You In," singer/songwriter Ben G became the first London, Ontario solo act to win a Jack Richardson Music Award and London Music Award in the same year (2008). He has since taken home three more awards from the LMA’s and JRMA’s he has the honor of winning every award he’s been nominated for to this date thanks to support from his loyal friends and fans in Ontario and Vancouver. Ben G is now poised to release his first full-length record, a collection of music that resonates with feelings of love, angst and the pursuit of an ideal.

The promo CD I received contained 9 tracks - and there is not a bad one in the batch. "Getaway" is a terrific choice for the lead single and embodies everything one could wish for in a smart pop rock song. "Circles" is strong cut that meets the high bar set by "Getaway", showcasing Ben G's instincts for nailing a good chorus hook - this one stuck in my head for days. "Light My Way" shows a darker side to the music of Ben G, displaying his versatility as a songwriter and vocalist. "Addiction" is true to its title: a catchy power pop track with just the right amount of crunch in the guitars. Additional highlights come towards the end of the record, with "South (Where It's Warm)" and "Morning Song". "South" allows Ben G to flex his vocal muscles, showing us how gracefully he can slip up into his falsetto to make a memorable melody. Finally, "Morning Song" is a perfect way to end things, and it contains a chorus that dares you to not sing along.

Ben G's voice is super radio friendly, reminding me of Roland Orzabal (Tears for Fears). Based on this promo, his first full-length release should make a big splash - the G could be for Great.

Ben G's self-titled debut CD is anticipated to be available sometime in August or September. Mark you calendar if you like James Guffee, Collective Soul, or Oasis.

iPOD-worthy: 1, 2, 3, 4, 8, 9

Ben G on MySpace. Official site.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Review: "Hung" [TV Soundtrack]

Desperate times call for desperate measures and Ray Drecker's situation couldn't be much tougher. The former high school sports legend turned middle-aged high school basketball coach is divorced and struggling to provide for his kids when his already run-down house catches fire. Looking to take on a second job, Ray decides to exploit his best asset in a last-ditch attempt to change his fortunes. Created by Dmitry Lipkin (creator of 'The Riches') and Colette Burson, HUNG uses dark humor to tell the story of a man fighting to survive personal setbacks that have been compounded by a troubled economy. Read more about the show here.

The original soundtrack to this HBO show features a diverse list of artists, but the general theme is soulful rock. There are a couple of exceptions thrown in, putting this soundtrack into the familiar trap of being an inconsistent listen. For example, the dated 80s sound of the Psychedelic Furs song, "Love My Way", the quirky cover of Woody Guthrie's "This Land Is Your Land" by L.A.R.P. , and the obnoxious Mickey Avalon rap "My Dick". "Love My Way" is a terrific song, but sounds grossly out of place here. "My Dick" also sticks out like a sore thumb (lol) - it is a serious miscalculation by those who put this compilation together.

The strengths include some awesome gems by the retro sounding Black Keys, country legend Loretta Lynn, and the amazing funk rock of Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings. Grant-Lee Phillips shines as always on "Strangest Thing" and Morcheeba gives an emotive vocal on the sultry "Everybody Loves A Loser". Additional highlights include the haunting beauty of Joseph Arthur's "Walk Away", Craig Wedren's well done cover of Queen's "Play The Game", and the insightful acoustic ballad "You Gotta Suffer A Lot To Be Happy" by Sunny and Sharé Love You. A few missteps, but largely an enjoyable collection of tunes.

Track listing is as follows:
1. I'll Be Your Man- The Black Keys
2. Have Mercy- Loretta Lynn
3. Walk Away- Joseph Arthur
4. How Long Do I Have To Wait For You?- Sharon Jones And The Dap Kings
5. Strangest Thing- Grant-Lee Phillips
6. Play The Game- Craig Wedren
7. My Dick- Mickey Avalon
8. Everybody Loves A Loser- Morcheeba
9. I Feel Just Like A Child- Devendra Banhart
10. Change Is- Ryan Bingham
11. You Gotta Suffer A Lot To Be Happy- Sunny And Sharé Love You
12. Love My Way- Psychedelic Furs
13. This Land Is Your Land- L.A.R.P.

iPOD-worthy: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 11

The "Hung" Soundtrack is out June 22.

Friday, June 4, 2010

News: Malea McGuinness To Join Kenny Loggins On Tour

Malea McGuinness (review here) will join AOR favorite Kenny Loggins on Tour this summer. Here is the press release:

Malea McGuinness is proud to announce that she will be hitting the road with iconic singer Kenny Loggins for 5-day stint on his 2010 US Summer tour. After joining The Crash Test Dummies for a special performance at Brixton South Bay in Redondo Beach, CA, she will kick off her series of dates with Kenny on June 15th in Sylvania, Ohio.

Fresh off the heels of her sophomore release, ‘CLOSE AS AIR’, Malea has increasingly garnered attention for her intimate, Americana-tinged style of contemporary pop-rock that Associated Content referred to as “elegant, restrained, triumphant, redemptive, forward leaning.” Produced by Michael Patterson (Jennifer Lopez, She Wants Revenge), her inspirational lead single, “Spinning” has been steadily building at national radio while receiving heavy rotation from Music Choice.

Later this summer, Malea is set to take the stage at Milwaukee’s annual Summerfest Music Festival, opening for alt-rock mavens, The Counting Crows. On June 5th, she will perform at the Avon Breast Cancer Charity Concert at the Dakota Music Lounge in Santa Monica, CA.

Review: Gaslight Anthem "American Slang"

The latest from The Gaslight Anthem, "American Slang" (SideOneDummy Records), is set for release in the U.S. and Canada on June 15th, and around the world that same week. Produced by Ted Hutt (who produced the band's acclaimed second album, "The '59 Sound", "American Slang" heralds a dramatic leap forward for The Gaslight Anthem.

The Gaslight Anthem is Brian Fallon (vocals/rhythm guitar), Alex Rosamilia (guitar), Ben Horowitz (drums) and Alex Levine (bass). This band from New Brunswick, New Jersey have built a solid fan base already and are poised to breakout worldwide with "American Slang".

"American Slang" wastes no time reaching into your heart and grabbing your attention. The first three tunes, which include the title track, "Stay Lucky", and "Bring It On", are modern rock perfection with big chorus hooks, compelling lyrics, and driving instrumentation. Fallon's voice has just enough scratch and howl to be convincing as a rock and roll purist, but not so much that he would scare pop rock fans away - think Bruce Springsteen if he were a punk rocker. The band's punk influence is clearly evident in the punchy guitars, Fallon's occasional snarl, and the band's emo-styled harmonies, but I would not call them a punk band. "American Slang" is straight-up modern rock for the smart music fan. Additional highlights on the record include the driving anthem "Orphans", the insightful "Old Haunts", and "The Spirit Of Jazz".

Gaslight Anthem has burned the midnight oil on this one - their music is alive and kicking, boisterous yet reflective. The band's contagious energy simply bursts out of their music. The first single off the album, the title track "American Slang," is currently streaming on the band's Facebook and MySpace pages.

iPOD-worthy: 1, 2, 3, 6, 8, 9

Gaslight Anthem on MySpace. Official site.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

News: New Abandoned Pools - free mp3

Tommy Walter began his career in 1995 as a founding member of the critically acclaimed band Eels. They toured the world and released the album "Beautiful Freak" which has sold well over a million copies. In 2001, Tommy released the album "Humanistic" on Extasy/Warner Brothers under the moniker Abandoned Pools and followed that up in 2005 with "Armed to the Teeth" on Universal.

Says Walter, "After a five year hiatus it's great to be back making an Abandoned Pools album. I've had a lot of encouragement from fans over the years and I'm especially grateful for that. They've helped me realize that this is what I should be doing."

Here is the lead single, "Legionnaire" - free for you to download.

Review: Ben Fuller "Aquarian Son" [EP]

Ben Fuller )(Midside Stereo) has released an EP entitled "Aquarian Son" - five songs in the style of what I would call contemporary roots rock.

Here is a little information about Ben Fuller: "As a musician who has been playing guitar and writing original music throughout his life, Ben Fuller finds his musical inspiration through his experiences traveling the world. New adventures have always played an integral role in Ben’s life and he continues to seek out people and places that help him evolve as an artist. Through these encounters, Ben channels creative energy into his songwriting and performing."

"Aquarian Son" begins strong, with an upbeat yet haunting tribute called "Ashes" (video below). One of the first things that will grab your attention when it comes to Fuller is his distinctive voice. It has an early Bob Dylan quality to it, but strangely enough, reminds me a bit of Adam Levine at times (Maroon 5). "Handsome Loser" is a driving song in the Tom Petty tradition, and has become my favorite track on the EP. "Favorite Song" is another highlight, with a stomping chorus recalling "The Apartment Song" by Barenaked Ladies. While I stand by my desire for a moratorium on songs referencing California, I must admit that the closing track is catchy and fun. Fuller is a terrific and genuine talent, writing intelligent songs that you want to sing along to. His frequent use of effective harmony vocals and dynamic instrumentation keep his songs fresh.

I recommend you check out Fuller if you like The Wallflowers, Ryan Adams, or Gomez.

Ben Fuller on MySpace. Official site.

Check out the video for "Ashes":

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Review: December Peals "People Have Demons"

"Are you still yourself? Do you still act on your gut feeling? Who are you? Who leads you?" These are the questions December Peals urge you to ask yourself while experiencing their latest CD, "People Have Demons".

The hard rocking outfit from Germany has no shortage of talent and muscle - the songwriting is riff oriented and the tunes thunder with some stupendously dynamic drumming. December Peals features Andreas Loba on vocals, Ali Auch on guitar, Tobi Richter on bass, and Thomas Schepers on drums. They've played more than 300 shows, sharing the stage with the likes of the Beatsticks, Donots, and The Donnas.

All of the right ingredients are present and accounted for - shredding guitars, gritty vocals, pounding bass, and earnest drumming - it is a shame the songs do not contain very strong hooks that draw you back to listen to these fantastic players. There are some notable exceptions: "Bad Company", "Best of Luck", and "Slow Beat" exemplify the greatness this band is can achieve when it all clicks. Maybe with a few more spins the rest of the songs will start to sink in. I'd recommend you check out December Peals if you like Buckcherry or The Killers.

iPOD-worthy: 1, 4, 12

December Peals on MySpace. Official site.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

News: Jeff Litman - new video and cover tunes

Jeff Litman (review here) put out a video for the song, "Anna". It is directed by Emily Branham, who has also done videos for Jonatha Brooke, Eleni Mandell, and the Muckrakers, among others.

Litman is also releasing a new cover tune every Monday. This week features "I Will" by the Beatles. The first two weeks were "God Only Knows" and "Sunken Treasure" (Wilco). You can see all of them at his blog - click here.

News: The Elms break up

One of my favorite bands is breaking up...

From The Elms web site:
"It is with equal parts gratitude and humility with which I write you today to say that this July, after ten extraordinary years of life lived closely together, the members of The Elms will very amicably part ways and end our tenure as a rock and roll band. There are no salacious discrepancies between band members to report to you, and no dramatic elements to run through the rumor mill! Simply stated, the time has come to move on."

Read more here.

They are offering a new collection of rare recordings and live tracks at this site as well.

A sad day.

Interview: The 88

Check out my interview with Adam Merrin of the modern pop rock band The 88 - now posted at Rock and Roll Report!

Here is our review of the latest EP, "No One Here", from The 88.