Thursday, August 10, 2017

John Elderkin and ¡Moonbeams No Mas!

John Elderkin and ¡Moonbeams No Mas! - The Fall and Rise of John Elderkin and ¡Moonbeams No Mas! 

You won’t hear another release like this in 2017. John Elderkin has surrounded himself with a cadre of top shelf of North Carolina indie musicians, a virtual all-star roster of regional talent, in order to pull off this sprawling seventeen song collection entitled The Fall and Rise of John Elderkin and ¡Moonbeams No Mas! and they are more than capable of aiding him in realizing his wild ambitions. This is a tribute of sorts and testament to the effect David Bowie’s The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust exerted over Elderkin’s imagination, but it is also a monumental riff on that classic album that finds Elderkin re-envisioning its impact on him with a distinctive individual artistic point of view that moves this far away from mere imitation. It’s a collection rich with characterizations, a love for the musician’s life coupled with some jaundiced humor at its pratfalls, and undeniably intelligent from first note to last. 
The first full song on the album, “We Waited Five Years”, is one of the album’s direct references to Ziggy Stardust and embodies the aforementioned wont of Elderkin’s songwriting to mix pathos with dashes of smirking humor. A truly singular voice comes from this recording – it bears some marks of modern influences, but everything is so seamlessly transmuted through Elderkin’s personality that it renders such observations mute or meaningless. “Song for David Bowie” might prompt some listeners to believe it’s another in a long line of heavy handed, but well meant, tributes to the Thin White Duke, but this song takes on a much larger scope beyond merely paying Bowie his due and patiently unfolds into something quite memorable. It confines itself to acoustic guitar and vocals for much of its duration before expanding in the second half to include electric guitars and forceful, slightly uptempo drumming. “Gather Your Strength” has some gritty electric guitar and a steady march tempo with Elderkin’s relatively sweet, clean vocals offsetting the dissonance from the instruments.  
“Don’t Look Straight Into the Sun” is, arguably, the most guitar heavy song on the album and features some particularly blazing axe work in the second half. It has an ambitious scope that finds Elderkin and his collaborators moving through an assortment of textures and tempos as well as including more of the evocative lyrical content that contributes to this being such a memorable release. “Get Back in the Van” is a band on the road song quite unlike you’ve likely heard before and has one of the best opening lines of any track on the album. Elderkin’s vocal gets over the storytelling aspects of the song in a gripping way that ensures even listeners who have never been in a band will relate to its sentiments. There are two instrumentals, “Teletar” and “A Trip to the Moon”, that set up the album’s climatic number “Give Me Your Hands”. It’s a surprisingly low-fi conclusion to a grandiose album and has the same hazy, dream-like ambiance defining many of the other tracks. It ends the release on a satisfying note and ties everything in quite nicely. This is, as the review began, a truly unique release unlike anything else you’ve heard in recent history and well worth your time and money.  

Joshua Stryde 

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Suntrodden III – a Mood-Pop Experience

Suntrodden III – a Mood-Pop Experience  

Suntrodden III, the latest EP from Atlanta, Georgia based musician and songwriter Erik Stephansson, is a delightful experimental journey through mood and sensation using the vehicle of lo-fi recording and minimalistic composition. The collection opens with “There’s a Place,” which is a melodic and optimistic song, with a bit of a somber edge, reminiscent of some early R.E.M. tracks crossed with deep cuts from the latter years of the Monkees. The layering of instrumental movement and lyrical musing mesh beautifully to create a song that captures the very essence of a bittersweet attempt to exist encompassed with another person. It’s a truly beautiful tune that is inspiring while still being a bit sad.        

The next track in this collection, “Pure,” is musically reminiscent of Radiohead’s commercially successful, critically acclaimed, and some might argue, cornerstone hit, “Creep.” However, Stephansson takes a very similar series of notes and arrangement and drains it of all bile-self-loathing, and pain, instead infusing it with an infectious joy, which is guaranteed to bring a smile to any listener’s face. Where, “Creep,” is a declaration of degradation, “Pure,” seeks a brighter answer to similar existential doubt and fear. This is possibly the most radio-friendly tune in the entire collection, but still manages to communicate some interesting ideas above and beyond the basic pop formulae, despite its eminently familiar feel.          

“Moonflower,” the next track in this collection, takes a more somber turn. Though retaining the smooth and relentlessly airy melodic nature of the earlier tracks, “Moonflower,” seems to be the first track in the collection that dwells in the darker end of the emotional spectrum. The opening half of the song dwells in the darkness, relying on a deep piano melody to drive the song forward through a murky and reflective place. The vocal quality of this song remains in a more upbeat, poppy sort of register, but lyrically the song owns its reflective nature, making for a beautiful juxtaposition of sound and meaning. After the breakdown, the song evolves into a repeated, anthemic declaration.         

Track four, “Never Again,” brings the collection back to an upbeat place, and definitely owns a clear Beatles/Monkees trip-pop feel.  Musically, it is easily the most complex track thus far, but retains a memorable melody that will stay with you and keep your head bobbing.          

The final track, “The End (Haunt Me)” is an emotional and musical tour de force, revisiting the various instrumental, emotional, and lyrical destinations previously touched on in the album. Through the entirety of this track, Stephansson displays his unique prowess in acting as an emotional tour guide, bringing the listener on a brief, but enjoyable musical journey reminiscent of some of Lou Reed’s finest work.  

All told, Suntrodden III is a deft display of songwriting prowess from Erik Stephansson. The use of lo-fi recording techniques, extant, real-world instrumentation, and a limited number of takes per performance show through in the final product as a raw, emotional piece of art. The effort was well worth it, and the care taken in the crafting of this EP is clear in the final result. I give Suntrodden III an enthusiastic 8 out of 10 stars, and highly recommend it!  

Travis Legge 

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Sam Green and the Time Machine

Sam Green and the Time Machine 

The Time Machine is Sam Green’s chosen way to get his music to the world, to be found at CD Baby and at his own web address. Which Way Left? is the new release and it gives a little hope to those looking to sooth their heels into some fresh streams of his words of wisdom, backed with some instrumentation that comes off clumsy at times, but serves his vocal prowess well enough to dismiss as a development wrinkle. The music isn’t produced with any gloss to speak of, so it shows a weakness in that respect, but everything else is in satisfactory order and on the level that he’s currently at.

“Dendeong Ranges” is more of a ditty than a song approach, but there are tracks of both structures throughout the CD. This is about the hills of his surroundings, but the music doesn’t pick up enough to show what’s to come. It falls short of good song but it tells a story his own can relate to, so it works for that purpose anyway. The following track “Eli” isn’t the shining point either, but it’s the opposite as far as a song goes. This is a very good piece that proves Sam Green is a good musician and songwriter. But that could already be evident to those who know and have consumed his work, of which there is much to be found. “Financial Year” doesn’t resonate as much as the first two, but that’s because of its obvious political and economic subject matters, but it keeps the personal side of his work in check. Anyone with a mission can understand where he’s coming from. On “Google Me” he makes some sense of humor pay off on relating to the cyberworld’s role in relationships. And the humor stays in-tact with his take on “Harry Ginagin” which also keeps the energy upright. Not that it’s all low energy, but even pop-folk, which he is tagged, can be dreadfully soft sometimes. Most get a little of both in to stay balanced, as he does.

On “Part Of The Corporate” it might get a little politically overboard, but he speaks anyway, and does get heard, but are the masses listening is always the question. If you’re into folk and looking for the usual stuff ragged upon by every folk singer/songwriter imaginable, then it suits you right down to the heels. “Round And Around” is high on the list of pleasers and so is “Mist Of The Desert” and “Lightning Never Strikes.” Both of which he turns in some of his finest musical offerings. In fact all three of these tracks are in the top of the whole 14 of them if I were to rate them that way. But I would also call the sound mix uneven in places. It also sounds like Sam Green improvises a lot, and that’s just about the best thing you can say about a piece of music, but there are some well thought out, superbly-crafted tracks on this CD. If anything, it makes you want to hear more from the artist, which keeps to outdoorsy vibes more than tackles every day issues. This is for rolling up your pant legs and wading your feet in the cold water, while listening to some relaxing music to end a long day, or just shooting the breeze on the headphones to. Life isn’t that serious, and Sam Green reminds of that and how to let it all hang out.

Elvin Graham

Paul Kloschinsky

Paul Kloschinsky

Paul Kloschinsky was born in Saskatchewan in 1963. He attended the University of British Columbia in the 1980’s and received a BSc in Computer Science and an MD. After living and working across Canada he has returned to his hometown of Delta, BC, Canada. He has played in a few rock bands in the Vancouver area since High School. He is now a Folk-Rock Singer Songwriter. He won the 2007 MusicAid Award for Best Canadian Songwriter for his original song Wearin’ Blue. He released his first album, Woodlands, February 24, 2009 on Prism/Universal in Canada. In addition to being a songwriter, he is also an avid poet and photographer. Paul has lived as he’s so desired and gets to tell all about it on Crime Of Passion. An album that comes with some excellent folk tracks to its credit, which verge on rock and country style as much as folk, if you hear it for what it really is. The 8 songs on the album go far in telling his stories to the world, but it might also help to start before this to get his point and not judge him only by his latest record. You can do that like everyone used to, or you can opine about it with a broader perspective in support of anyone in today’s musical landscape. The structure of these tracks are-rock based, but ultimately folk dominated.

“I’m Still Waiting” makes one of the most resonating musical statements as both the album content and Paul himself call for. This gets everything underway with the high standard any folk artist should approach their songwriting and studio performance qualities with. That being-said, it doesn’t mean it always works. This track somehow does make all the right moves to entice you henceforth with enough force to pull you right into “Crime Of Passion” with an ease like no other. And I like both songs with the same amount of relish. They go far in selling the whole title.

This rebel in the night comes out within the second track and you know he’s for real. You just have-to let it keep playing from there or you already have you mind made up in the polar-opposite direction. But the title track reminds of everyone from Roy Orbison to competing with Chris Isaak himself for some limelight in the vocal department. The same qualities come out in the next track “Sooth Me” but with more of a mid-tempo pace going for it. This is another shining moment on the album as the tracks consistently improve as they go. You can’t deny the groove of this one, it’s vibrant and infectious like most of the album.

It’s nice to hear him get his feeling out about what people say about him, it makes for some fun subject matter, the latter track is full of that and more. It also has an island presence about it, which changes up the attitude of the album. “A Poignant Point In Time” is where just about anyone can get lost if they don’t take it all in within a fast enough time frame, and that’s just one jeopardizing about albums as opposed to singles these days when people have much more time for singles. It’s a good thing this was not chosen as a single. I’d stay away from doing that. “Gates Of Heaven” would be my next choice, if that doesn’t hint enough. It should’ve been the first single. 

Todd Bauer

Kayzyak – 'Happy Camping''

Kayzyak – 'Happy Camping''
The Kazyak is one of those rare bands that overflow your soul with amazement once you open your doors to their stream of beautiful sounds and rhythm. The Minneapolis-based band’s new album ‘Happy Camping’ is set to be released on the 20th of July 2017, which is forecasted to be a beautiful sunny day in Minneapolis. As well as choosing a beautiful weather to release their second Ep, Kazyak presents us with warm string arrangements composed of soothing electric guitars, drums and violins that is guaranteed to lift you into the musical paradise. 
The band leader, Peter Frey is a creative indie rock Songwriter and Guitarist based in Northeast Minneapolis, the band also consist of Lana Bolin (Bass), Pat Hayes (synth, piano), Nick Grewe (drums). The previous Band Ep, “See the Forest, See the Trees” released in May 14, 2013 was well received by music critics. Mr Frey and the band succeeded in delivering a well-written and composed 6-track masterpiece.  
“See the Forest, See the Trees” was a beautifully written piece that displayed Peter Frey’s passion for fairy tales and fables. This musical group clearly does not have a problem connecting entirely to nature as evident from their beautiful melodies.  Frey’s new creation is not the kind of song you would want to rock your body to, I would say it is the perfect company for creative tasks like painting, drawing, when you want to go out with family, friends, loved ones or you are on a nature-driven soul-searching drive. 
Before I wrote this review, I was on an 8 hours’ drive to see mum and girlfriend back home in Indianapolis. I was quickly serenaded by the first track on the album, ‘Sacred Cow’. The song infused me with soft and heartfelt rhythms as I connected the lyrics of the song to my memories of finding myself in our world. I applaud the choice of this song as the opener to the album because it sets the mood for the rest of the album.  
Following Sacred cow is ‘Sundial’. Sundial channelled the energy I attained from Sacred cow into a more realistic dimension in which you would be able to connect to the story being told. Reassuring me of who I was and where I was coming from. Next was ‘Basin’, which I would describe as a voice telling me that "you are not superman, but that is ok".  
The roller-coaster of songs went on and on till the last track ‘Happy Camping’ which encouraged you to continue in that quest for happiness, I personally interpreted Frey’s last part of the song as you should always remember your success when you are thinking about all the time you have failed in life. So, I would like to thank Frey for accompanying me on that long trip and the romantic date I was inspired to take my girlfriend on later that night. 
The Happy Camping is heartfelt and soulful. The delivery is precise and each song transcends into the next so naturally. The narration is very expressive, as Frey’s famous fables takes the listener to a world of his or her own.  
We’re rating Kazyak - Happy camping a solid 5-star. It’s a beautiful continuation from their previous ‘See the Forest, See the Trees’. I am looking forward to seeing one of their shows whenever they are in town.
Tom Simpson

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Elle Casazza

Elle Casazza  

Do you want to transfer yourself to the period of an early 20th century? Do you like the track and vocals of that period? If yes then Elle Casazza’s new single “Too Bad” from the album “Proof” is something that would draw your attention immediately.
This flavorful song has a terrific and aesthetic feel of the late 80s and early 90s summertime. The song written by Elle Casazza herself has an amazing charm and a distinguished fascination attached to it. Appearing in the video, created by Bummer Camp Media, is the singer herself along with her girl squad that includes Alexandra Olsavsky and Sofia Porter-Castro. Xavier Galdon (Trombone), Caleb Mitchell (Trumpet) and Kyle Madsen (Saxophone) did a wonderful job with their instruments to touch your heart and soul.  
With a beach party vibe, the song is filled with an extraordinary energy, which will lead you to tap your foot and shake your head in its tune as it rings in your ear.  
Exploring the early 20th century’s music and sound, from its opening verse itself, the style presented in the accompanying video adds to the confidence of Elle Casazza’s voice, which gives an additional high-point for you to get hooked on the song. You can’t call her retro because of the livelihood and fresh touch that it provides you with. The playful nature and the bouncy element of the music will attract you tremendously.  
Together with the instrumentalists and musicians, the singer was able to create a familiar yet a unique piece of music to touch everyone’s heart and soul. The classic look and the energetic summertime feel of “Too Bad” add freshness to your playlist. The sweet and reminiscent style adopted by the singer will never miss a chance to blow your mind. 
The rhythm and the melody of the song replicate its simplicity and take you step by step in the world of addictive tunes. The artist’s voice excellently complements the music that sounds soothing to your ears and would attract positive vibes to you. 
Music has always served as the mind-booster for everybody. It has always helped people to fill themselves with positive energies and exotic feel. With “Too Bad”, you get to experience the same kind of freshness and vibrancy in your playlist that allures you always. The clean music and the explicit charm attached with the song is a splendid Proof of the artist’s marvel and excellence.
Creatively, the entire element of the song, be it the video, the effects, the voice or the music, everything combined together, presents an awesome piece of music, which stands tall in the music industry. Playing with all your senses, this piece of music is unadulterated and musically sounds an apt partner of you for every beach party. If you love to add vividness to your playlist, then you can never go wrong with the choice of Elle Casazza’s Too Bad! Enjoy a loving time with this piece of music and dive in the ocean of melodies with this one-of-its-kind artist’s musical creation.  

Meta Description: Elle Casazza's new single, Too Bad from the album Proof, reflects the vividness and class of the artist's voice and her poignant style. 

9/10 Stars 

Henry Robbins 

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Paul Childers - Naked Poetry

Paul Childers - Naked Poetry

Paul Childers hails from the Nashville area, but no one will ever confuse him with Music City’s typically country performers. His approach and style is urbane and deeply musical with style to burn., but there’s a lot of substance paired with the obvious stylishness. Childers displays all the finesse and musical acumen of a much older singer – the phrasing he serves up through the album’s run of thirteen songs is next to unforgettable and it’s filled with an emotive beauty that never overstates its case. Childers, instead, imposes an inviting but commanding air over these songs and molds his voice quite nicely around the rich musical arrangements. Naked Poetry is just that – an expression of self completely stripped of pretense, yet shaped by technique and inspiration for maximum effect. The sparkling performances comprising this release are among the year’s most memorable.  
Naked Poetry begins with the song “Music Pulls You Through”. If this were anyone else, it probably wouldn’t come off as sincere. The redemptive power of music to get you through a bad time doesn’t exactly rate as an inventive or particularly revelatory lyrical subject, but Childers’ songwriting has a real knack for specific and meaningful details that help listeners’ better experience the song. It’s a recurring strength. “The Art of Being Twenty” benefits from the same across the board excellence and authoritative songwriting voice that makes the first song such a memorable track. His lyrical turns in this one are particularly strong and showcase a writer with impressive wisdom in someone so young. “Why Don’t You Stay” hits a bluesy note that Childers shows a later willingness to revisit and the use of horns in this song are particularly effective. He never wastes listeners time with the album’s thirteen song s and their focus plays an enormous role in their final impact on the audience.  
“My Love of the Rain” could single-handedly carry this album. It’s stark evidence of his skills that Childers can take this deceptively simple arrangement and performance to such stratospheric heights. This sounds like the living beating heart of his music, but there’s no excitability to ruin his performance. Instead, Childers take it careful and slow, fixed on a goal of investing each line with almost religious importance. The effect is sensational. “No One Goes Dancing Anymore” is going to be a favorite for a lot of people. This invokes of the opener’s best attributes, namely Childers’ willingness to tell a story, and rolls out at just the right pace to hook listeners into its story. “Perfect Man” is a slightly rueful tune that, nevertheless, provides Childers’ audience with a thoroughly enjoyable listening experience.  He’s learned a helpful lesson early on about working in the ranks of popular song – your audience will let you brood over more serious fare, but you have to give them a little bit of the sweet to help chase the taste of sour. “Throwing Shade” is an excellent final example of that. It’s delightful how he gives this rueful lyric the blessing of an almost buoyant musical backing quite at odds with the lyrical temper. Paul Childers is full of surprises and there are sure more to come, but he’s also one of the brightest talents to debut in recent memory.  

Ed Price

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Jupiter in Velvet - In2 the Arms of Love

Jupiter in Velvet - In2 the Arms of Love 

Jupiter in Velvet writes songs, sings, and plays like a man who has been alive with creativity since he first turned his attention to music. The ten songs on his latest album In2 the Arms of Love mixes up a lot of guitar oriented textures with physically gripping tempos and a generous sampling of modern technology that comes together to make an enormous impact on the audience. The impact isn’t entirely derived from his musical content. Much of it, as well, comes from the unusual qualities of his lyrics. Jupiter in Velvet embraces humanism, above all else, and it’s filtered through a distinctive post modern hippiedom deeply connected to his musical vision. These are songs that seek unity with the audience along with a license to entertain them as much as possible. By any measure, Jupiter in Velvet’s In2 the Arms of Love is a resounding success.  
“In2 the Arms of Love” grabs listeners early. This is an infectious pop rock number capable of sweeping any audience along – this is music that, despite his idiosyncratic nature, cuts across all typical lines of musical preference. He has a sharp ear for crafting memorable guitar riffs and this is one of the best on the album. There’s an automated, industrialized quality to the guitar riffing on “’Till the End of the World” and the rhythm section doubles it to impressive effect. Song after song, Jupiter in Velvet brings the full force of his vocal abilities to bear in an effort to give the songs a dramatic and riveting interpretation. There isn’t a single instance on this album of him failing to do so and the album’s second track, in particular, receives a stunning singing performance. “I’m So ready” finds himself relying less on any sort of discernible finesse and more on pure lung muscle. He barrels through the straight-forward musical and vocal attack of this performance, but it never abandons style entirely. He latches onto the lean vocal melody from the first line and gives this song the same unique spin defining his other work.  
“How It’s Gonna Be” is much more orchestrated fare, at least overtly so, than many of the other numbers on in2 the Arms of Love. It intersperses forbidding flashes of electric guitar through a predominantly acoustic guitar attack and the rhythm section, once again, does an outstanding job of supporting the top line melodic instruments. Pop leanings play a much bigger role on songs like “Supercharged” and “Nowhere 2 Run”, albeit in very different ways. The first song goes more to the high octane punk pop stomp of other tracks on In2 the Arms of Love, with a focus on a strong chorus, while the second of the two songs is cut from a much more playful, retro sounding cloth. “Mars Ain’t that Far” has some more playfulness in it, a quality missing from the earlier half of the album, but it also possesses a romping energy that makes it an enjoyable ride from the start. The conclusion of In2 the Arms of Love is another guitar workout with a pop edge, “Walking Thru Time”, that returns us for a final time to some themes central to Jupiter in Velvet’s songwriting. Personal voyages of one sort or another encompass this work but the artist works tirelessly to get those experience over with his audience. It’s a winner through and through. 

Raymond Burris

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

We The Dreamers - We all Need Time (EP)

We The Dreamers - We all Need Time (EP)

We The Dreamers bring a bi-coastal musical vision to life on their seven song debut "We all Need Time" EP. Myke Wilken and Ethan Rose hail from very different musical backgrounds, but they find common ground in the way that they view life and how that relates to their development of songs. Their songwriting specializes in intimacy, but it also has a talent for casting an universal air over the musical proceedings that means anyone can sit down with this release and find their way into its experiences. Wilken’s upbringing in the Southern California area and Rose’s in the upstate New York area never shows any hints of a mismatch – instead, their musical visions come together without so much as a hiccup. There’s a great balance of different instruments holding sway over the songwriting and nothing ever wins out at the expense of other sounds. This is an album that’s a winner from the start and built on the back of its first single “Time”.  
“Crystal” starts off the self-titled debut with just the right amount of pop excellence and intelligence. There’s a great deal of care that’s been obviously exercised with this collection’s lyrics and Myke Wilken exercises tremendous attention with his phrasing. Wiken stresses the right syllables, cuts off others, and obviously spends a great deal of energy listening to what his collaborator Rose is laying out. “Parasol” changes things up a little more. It does have quite the same amount of patience that we hear in the opener “Strawberry Dream” has a more retro approach than the other songs on this collection. The weaving of acoustic and electric guitar, the former dominating, makes this stand out from the remainder of the songs and the recordings brings those different sonic elements together in a satisfying way. The vocals here are particularly notable. Wilken elevates his game to match the emphatic nature of the musical arrangement and matches its mood without ever laying things on too much. 
“Wiser” doesn’t necessarily til new musical and lyrical ground, but the musical stamp that We The Dreamers put on these preceding make it a decidedly different affair than we’ve heard so far on the debut, Wilken’s confidence is audible, but he never goes too far and gives just the right amount of personality to the performance. The finale “Time” is a natural selection for the album’s first single and it comes off as a much more fully realized idea of what the band’s music wants to be. The guitars, synth, keyboard, and melodic forces in this song all work in perfect sympathy with one another and it results in the EP’s finest all around performance. Debuts seldom come better than this. Myke Wilken and Ethan Rose have unusual chemistry both as writers and performers, but what comes across most strongly from this collection is the connection they have as individuals. The seven songs on the duo’s debut underline and promise even greater things to come.   

Pamela Bellmore

Thursday, May 25, 2017

The Spiders-‘Another Miles’

The Spiders - Another Mile

The Sріdеrѕ "Another Mіlе" іѕ the nеw ѕіnglе and fоllоw uр to оur hit "Elесtіоn Day." Thіѕ music іѕ nоt only about runnіng, іtѕ about the rеѕіlіеnсе аnd fight that іѕ іn еvеrуоnе of us tо асhіеvе оur gоаlѕ.
"Anоthеr Mіlе" wаѕ rесоrdеd аt Pоrtrаіt Rесоrdіng Studіоѕ іn Pоmрtоn Plаіnѕ, NJ.  The single wаѕ engineered bу John Fеrrаrа & Mаѕtеrеd by Chrіѕ Bаdаmі. The Spiders are lеd bу Lеаd Guіtаrіѕt аnd Vocalist, Nісk DeStefano. Nісk hаѕ реrfоrmеd аll over Nоrth Amеrіса, frоm the Stоnе Pony in Nеw Jеrѕеу to thе Trоubаdоur іn Los Angеlеѕ.
Thе Spiders bаnd includes John Hеndеrѕоn оn Bass аnd Nеѕtоr Arсеlау оn Drums, bоth lоngtіmе veterans оf thе NJ сlub сіrсuіt, thіѕ power trio has ѕреnt thе lаѕt fеw уеаrѕ dеvеlоріng a vеrу loyal fоllоwіng, and thеу hope wіth thе rеlеаѕе оf thеіr роwеrful nеw single "Another Mіlе" thеу wіll get the mаіnѕtrеаm еxроѕurе thеу trulу deserve.
Thе Spiders brіng a very rаw and оrgаnіс rock аnd rоll еnеrgу to the stage thаt fееlѕ vеrу gеnuіnе. Thе trасk hаѕ thе sound of fоlk rосk tо іt іn that you саn рісturе a full band set uр оr еԛuаllу ѕоmеthіng muсh ѕmаllеr, bоth оf whісh would represent thе concept, thе mеlоdіеѕ аnd the riffs effectively. Thе muѕіс has a fаѕt расе tо іt, thеrе’ѕ vеrу lіttlе space bеtwееn vосаl mоmеntѕ, араrt frоm thе humble аnd hugеlу fіttіng guіtаr solo аnd harmonies tоwаrdѕ thе end. Thіѕ аррrоасh wоrkѕ hеrе because thе сhоrd рrоgrеѕѕіоn has ѕuсh a wаrmth and positivity to іt. It аlѕо wоrkѕ bесаuѕе thе rереаtеd іdеа of ‘аnоthеr mile, аnоthеr mіlе’ іѕ rерrеѕеntеd wеll іn the оngоіng, unflіnсhіng rhythm of the ріесе.
 The lеаdіng riff оf thе trасk hаѕ аn indie аnthеm kіnd of vіbе to іt, thіѕ tоо аddѕ to thе mеmоrаblе nаturе оf thе music. The hооk perhaps becomes a lіttlе оvеrbеаrіng on іtѕ оwn as thе trасk fades оut, an аddіtіоnаl lіnе аlоngѕіdе іt mіght have brоught ѕоmе ѕоrt оf respite, but thаt’ѕ оnlу іn respect of it bеіng a recording – іt’ѕ еаѕу to іmаgіnе a live ѕhоw, аѕ mеntіоnеd, and nо doubt аudіеnсеѕ would rеvеl іn thеѕе fіnаl fеw moments and thе track wоuld bе a hugе ѕuссеѕѕ.
 Thе vеrѕеѕ to thе trасk аrе grеаt, vеrу hоnеѕt, аnd vеrу іntіmаtеlу rесоrdеd ѕо аѕ tо add tо that gеnuіnе and accessible vіbе thаt the song consistently offers. Thе ѕtоrуtеllіng is believable and еаѕу tо gеt іntо, аnd thе freshness of thе lуrісѕ іn thе verses соntrаѕtѕ rеаllу well with the high еnеrgу оf thе hооk. Thе ѕесоnd vеrѕе аlѕо асtuаllу соntrаѕtѕ wеll with thе fіrѕt, іn tеrmѕ оf thе ѕwіtсh frоm thе rеflесtіvе truth what іѕ possible – having a positive mіndѕеt, keeping уоur еуе оn thе goal, continuing tо run аnd never lооkіng bасk.
Muѕіс  аrе thе wоndеr оf оur world, wе саn gеt so muсh frоm a muѕіс, whеthеr we lіkе thе wоrdѕ or thе muѕіс. muѕіс саn mеаn ѕо muсh tо uѕ, brіng bасk grеаt mеmоrіеѕ аnd sometimes ѕаd mеmоrіеѕ, they саn bе іnѕріrаtіоnаl, rеlаx оur mіndѕ оr gеt uѕ dаnсіng. Wе аll lоvе dіffеrеnt music іn different wауѕ.
Michael Mullins

Monday, May 22, 2017

Swaylex - Raging Rapids

Swaylex - Raging Rapids 

No more record companies, no more self-appointed gatekeepers. Musicians like Swaylex have become the norm in recent years, rather than odd standouts, thanks to the increasingly willingness of performers to upload their wares to platforms like YouTube in an effort to reach their audience directly. Despite the video presentation, in this case quite unfettered and direct, the music still has to connect. There’s no danger of that with Swaylex’s tunes and this one in particular, “Raging Rapids”, has straight ahead rock muscle that announces itself from the first and never relents. It has excellent construction, however, and never lacks for musicality. Instead, there’s an equal mix of melody and heavy riffing in this track that has the right balance without ever veering too far in either direction. He brings the sensibility of a seasoned musician to this work and it makes it an even more enjoyable musical experience.  
You will be forgiven if you don’t think there’s going to be melody based on the song’s first few seconds. Instead, it seems like he’s intent on crafting a bit of music for some movie soundtrack, but just as you grow accustomed to that idea, Swaylex’s music takes a turn into one of its consistent strengths. He can hammer home a riff, driving it deep into listener’s memory, but “Raging Rapids” proves he’s equally adept at marrying that approach to a talent for really putting over some understated melodic virtues. The lead and rhythm guitar sounds have a deep warmth that will lure listeners in and even the intensity of the song never attacks listeners in such a way that they may feel compelled to turn away. There’s certainly a claustrophobic air about the progression and how he plays it, but we are inside an imaginative experience here and his total confidence in how it should unfold wins us over as well. 
The bass is rather rudimentary, but it provides great ballast for the drums, rhythm guitar, and lead work to play against. The lead and rhythm tracks are ideally matched and Swaylex creates enough space in the music that allows it to breathe without ever sacrificing any of its intensity and energy. He deserves plaudits for that alone. Moreover, his decision here, like elsewhere, to refrain belaboring his musical points with the audience assures us that he will never risking boring us in an effort to prove his chops. Those are apparent from the beginning. Nor will you ever listen to this performance and wish for a singer. There’s a dramatic edge to the song that will keep you figuratively on the edge of your seat from the beginning and he plays that aspect just right.  This is the sort of series of solid artistic decision making that we associate with experienced musical hands and it’s clear that this young man is something of a prodigy in that regard. “Raging Rapids” will entertain and grab you physically.  

Scott Wigley

Friday, May 19, 2017

The Chameleon Project - Funk n Space

The Chameleon Project - Funk n Space 

This is the sort of band that cuts through the dross of the modern music scene and stands out as an example of where the music of the future can lead us. The Chameleon Project’s Funk n Space  brings together a wide array of diverse musical influence into one overarching concoction that, if any justice remains in the musical world of 2017, will see this Toronto quartet elevated to a position of great prominence among musical acts today. There are a couple of remixes added at the album’s conclusion, but the body of the album is an eight song journey gliding its way through jazz grooves, funk, disco, reggae, electronica, and even strong rock strains with confidence of a band far beyond their years. There’s not a single misstep on Funk n Space. It’s an invigorating musical trip from the first while never announcing its presence in a chest beating sort of way. There’s no bravado here, no bluster. Instead, there’s a band who takes on eight songs bursting with understated ambition that never neglect the central mandate of all great music – communicating with an audience. 
“Milky Way” is one of the album’s more conventional moments, hinging largely on its melodic virtues to be successful, but it’s a track sure to hook in many listeners from just a few notes alone. It’s the album’s second longest song, but The Chameleon Project are one of those rare units who can extemporize and move over an extended duration without losing their audience. “Steppin’” shows off similar characteristics with their deft recall of the reggae style filtered through the distinctly modern soundscapes that are the bedrock of their musical experience. However, like on the opener, melody is part of that central bedrock as well, but it emerges from the musical arrangement more strongly here than many of the other songs.  The first of their tracks to show a rock influence, “Kraken”, brings the aforementioned style seamlessly together with an evocative soundscape and effects laden guitar lines. It has a stronger imaginative edge than most of the fine creative tunes on Funk n Space . There’s a stronger intensity to this tune than many of the others on the release. 
“Bigfoot” has a hammering rhythm section well recorded and hammering its point home time after time with confidence that we normally associate with veteran outfits. Despite the risk-taking and electronic gloss accompanying the song, you can listen closely and discern the skeleton of the basic track beneath. Above nearly all else, The Chameleon Project succeeds because they are solid and accomplished songwriters, a fact borne out time and again during the track listing. The album’s finale “Wako” has a tremendous amount of color coming through during every passage of its six minute plus length  and brings the band’s command of various styles to life without any of them every striking a dischorant contrast with the other. Funk n Space may likely stand, despite how many albums they write and record, as The Chameleon Project’s supreme achievement because of the sense of new pervading its eight tracks, but they are clearly a band with the potential to produce even greater work if fortune remains on their side. 

Dale Butcher

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Round Eye – Monstervision

Round Eye – Monstervision 

Experimental freak punk with jazz, R&B and an assortment of other genres whipped into one, are what Round Eye are being called. Some journalists are putting them beyond classification while others find them falling not far from the punk tree, if that. The primary genres always come attached with the hard to define sub genres. Although it might be hard to pin point, the music can deserve to be sub categorized for better or worse. That could be where Round Eye stand, but they’re getting places and a different reaction awaits everywhere they play. Monstervision is the CD that brings them out to play again, and does it with a vengeance but also a charm. They break out the laughs in-between these songs in which only a daredevil would attempt in the realms of any punk environment to speak of. The addition of recorded messages from John Bloom who plays one Joe Bob Briggs is not only bizarre, but on the other hand very bold in a good way. It dampens some of the more adult subject matter and puts a welcome spin on the way albums are made. He’s just the right amount of corniness for the sharper cutting songs to properly balance their aggression as they shout to the world from Shanghai to global stages. There is a lot to hash over on Monstervision, as the sights are practically endless, but also obviously current.

Briggs takes the microphone for the controversial opener that really doesn’t get as harsh as it insinuates. He comes in with the Chinese Take-Out Edition of Monstervision to dine on the general subjects whined about today, such as politicians and Chinese culture in America and around the world. This is where it begins and “Commie Blues” establishes game with no hesitation and even though it’s a dark song you know where it’s at and find out where it’s going as the visions come out even more on “Billy” with a lot of mystery and imagination behind it. This is not your mother’s punk, it’s more in the psychobilly vein. And it works or it doesn’t, depending on your viewpoint.

There are a few places where I lost sight, but that’s because they have their own lives and can’t mingle with the others. There is not one song that misses its point, but some hit their targets better than others. With “Pink House” a close call for the cream of the crop, with “Hey Dudes” and “Curami” holding just as much attention on the bench. But knowing how singles go, they could be just as off the bench as they are on. It’s a question for their label, Sudden Death, but an observation worth sharing. It all matters whether or not you like longer, deeper cuts or the shorter and sweeter variety or a mix of the two. I find them on the upside. They lead to Briggs reminding that the Drive-In will never die. And the horns go berserk on the homecoming song, “Nest” with the usual creature comforts carried on about in the lyrics, but the vocals never outweigh the horns on this energetic little diamond in the rough. And Briggs takes an exit with some more campy wit, and the closer hits the final homer run with “Crinkle” bombarding the senses with every ounce of emotion Round Eye put into their music. It’s more than a monster, it is a creature you must to hear and forget about explaining. That is why it comes recommended and so does the band, to anyone looking for a colossal punk release.


Terry Smith 

Jonathan Cavier - Blue Room

Jonathan Cavier releases Blue Room 

After five albums and hundreds of shows played throughout the US, Alan Clark has reintroduced himself under the pseudonym Jonathan Cavier. With one solo album, Premier, already under his belt, Cavier further defines his sound on 2017’s 10-song release entitled Blue Room. In addition to his musical endeavors, Cavier is a semi-professional tennis player and a member of the USTA and IFT. Cavier says practicing and playing in tournaments is “the fountain of youth.” This makes him a seasoned veteran even though he’s gone through this transition he’s actually no new comer. 

Blue Room opens its doors with the title track to sooth the ears of his fans and pick up any new ears in the process. This is one of the best tracks on offer among ten that easily compete with one another, all the way. This might not come into instant impression as one of the more shining moments, but it will take more than one trip through the room, so to speak. Only then can you appreciate this for what it is really worth  as it leads the house off. And if it doesn’t sink in, “When You Come Around” should also grow on your senses as well. These are both hypnotically satisfying in different ways. So is “Hollywood” but it goes in another direction with a look down memory road and where success and all its ups and downs come from. It’s a surreal trip if you take it with enough seriousness, and a fluffy little spot on the album to get your groove on. And at this point you can reflect on the artist as well as the material in all its glory. With hots points like “Phoenix” with risen from the ashes story. It’s a spiritual part of the album and works its way very well into a “Far Away” place that takes on a more dramatic flair. This is deeper than anything else on the album, when it comes down to it. But that doesn’t mean it’s the most accessible, as it might sail above heads for its meaningfulness. But “I Believe” probably has just as much of that depth going for it as it keeps the same tempo but gets the Spanish guitar out for an overall spicy, cerebral song. A true soft rocker with a less pop structured vocal. This is the most experimental piece of music on Blue Room, that much is found along with the closing track to be later described. But not before others get in the way, such as the brooding “Somebody Like You” with its lower register vocals that find Cavier in excellent voice. If you like a whispering tone this has it, but it does surface on a few others. It’s very cool and deals with reflecting upon oneself as a freak.

“Right Place” has an island presence, which is always welcome in any romantic setting. Johnathan Cavier not being of the brasher variety of artist, one will come to expect this, as the track clearly exemplifies. It bodes very well with the much different “Someday” though, which is yet another tale of love and romance, but this one from afar, as the story goes. It’s accompanied by more Spanish guitar. By this time, a pot full of great tunes have melted enough to prove that Blue Room was worth putting every effort into. As the built up ending comes crashing into the extraordinary “Edge Of A Singularity” which goes off the map with an stellar instrumental. It ends Blue Room on a top note.


Kevin Webber

Friday, May 12, 2017

David Starr – The Head and Heart

David Starr – The Head and Heart 

With Arkansas roots and Colorado wings, David Starr has been making music since the age of 10. He is an Americana singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer with hundreds of live shows and seven releases under his belt both as a solo artist, duo artist and member of the David Starr Band. “The Head and Heart” is the new EP.
If you know David Starr from the David Starr Band or not, and you like acoustic driven numbers with great vocals, The Head and Heart will win both over for you. There is no beating the likes of such a producer and Starr is no stranger to John Oates. And together they pull off some beautiful material on this EP with not one bad note on it, which includes a good cover of “California Dreaming” and some smoldering original cuts around it for a serious but also somewhat playful release. It opens with the dramatically inflected “Edge Of The World” by establishing a meaningful vibe, which is laced in the music, as well as the lyrics. But if you’re looking for up-tempo bombast, you won’t find it on this EP.

Having played with the likes of everyone from John Oates to Steve Cropper and others, this is a world class artist, so you get world class writing and playing. When you’ve been around the block, this much it to be expected but perhaps not in every music genre. But this is not an adventure outside the box, with, the exception of the efforts to make the Mamas and Papas proud by putting a twist on it. If that does make you stand up and listen, then the rest is even better but this is no novice attempt either. It has the luxury of succeeding on its own merits. But it takes nothing away from the rest of the set of otherwise wonderful songs.

Another one, aside from that and the lead off track, is “The Head and Heart” itself. With a soul stirring outcry for organization of the heart and minds decisions. It is a heartfelt but mindful song that gets the overall point across that he is ultimately trying to make. These decisions sometimes cannot be reconciled. If you stay on the level they can be balanced, but get off balance and be wrong with yourself. It deals with that and more, but so do all of the subjects on offer, including “Waiting In The Dark” with its slightly more musically energetic moments. It turns out to be one of the strongest tracks, as well as my favorite pick.

But also brought to the party is “I’ve Come For You” with it’s also more upbeat groove. This even starts to rock a bit here and there, to make it even more entertaining, but it keeps that to a minimum throughout. But you just can’t deny the easy listening ability behind this. When you hear it the second time you already feel like you’ve heard it a hundred times. It’s as good as anything else on the whole EP, which is a true mark of its consistency. It leaves you knowing the final track will be good, as long as you’re still listening to what has been described as nothing but good old fashioned music with contemporary passion.

“Dancing With My Pride” brings it back to a simmer as it takes the EP out. It’s a ballad but it cooks not unlike the other tracks, but let’s you know how serious it all is. Nothing heavy-handed, just another lighthearted but very meaningful song. But it even holds its own with anyone who likes good music, it just fits well at the end of some well-crafted enjoyable pieces, so it is yet another compliment to it all. And if David Starr isn’t where he wants to be thus far in his career, he never will be. So, you get the full treatment and that is not always easy without a longer track list to prove it, but it stacks this one up ten-fold.


M. Marcinn