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Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Sister Speak “The Stand”

Sherri Anne was born in Canada but currently splits her time between The United States and Canada in Los Angeles and British Columbia. The singer-songwriter has a voice and a style to her songs that bring to mind artists like Tori Amos and most obviously, Sarah McLachlin because of the style of both artists’ vocal sound. Given the piano or acoustic guitar nature to her songs, Sherri Anne’s music has a Folk flavor to it with a slight Alternative Rock flavor. Recently, Sherri Anne created a new six-song release under the moniker of Sister Speak. That release is called The Stand. To bring the EP to life, she was joined by Sarven Manguiat (Electric Guitar) and Avli Avliav (keys, moog bass and programming) along with several others who added touches to several tunes on the release.

Sister Speak’s The Stand EP begins with the track “New York Sunrise”. The track begins with the sound of producer Avli Avliav’s piano. The gentle feel of the instrument is soon joined up with the vocals from Sherri Anne and the track builds from there. Eventually, the song features piano, drums, strings and more to create a song that is rather reminiscent of something that would have come from a singer such as Sarah McLachlin. Like McLachlin’s “Adia,” it is the vocals from Sherri Anne and the piano that truly shine in this track. But once the track reaches its full potential, the entire ensemble creates a track that definitely belongs on any Pop-rock radio format.

Once “New York Sunrise” comes to an end, Sherri Anne and the rest of the ensemble slow things down on the song “Fighter”. The slower pace of the song may have meant a slightly less energetic approach to the music; however, that is not the case on this track. The energetic delivery coming on the release is mainly due to the lyrical content about a woman who is not giving up. While the track begins with a slower pace at the beginning of the song, the track builds to a nice crescendo near the end to give the song a strong finish.

One of the most upbeat moments on The Stand EP from Sister Speak belongs to the track “Do You Believe”. With this track, Sherri Anne and producer Avli Avliav take the music of the track in an Electronic musical direction. That Electronic music feel gives the track a much different musical approach than the previous. But just like the earlier songs, “Do You Believe” has a strong commercial appeal to the music.

The first three tracks on The Stand EP do a wonderful job of leading up to the track on the EP that is currently being used to promote the release of the EP in the near future. That single that is helping to promote the release is the title track off the EP.

The major difference that the listener will notice immediately when listening to “The Stand” is that the main instrument on the track is actually the acoustic guitar from Sherri Anne and not producer Avli Avliav’s keyboards. Right from the very start, that gives this track a much different feel than the previous tracks. The gently-delivered vocals from Sherri Anne help to add to the easy feel of the acoustic guitar. The lone guitar and vocals from Sherry Anne lasts for about one minute before the track takes on a more complex feel to the music. The programming that appears on the track gives the track a nice beat before the rest of the instrumentation shows up. By the time the track reaches its peak, Sherri Anne’s acoustic guitar has been joined by keyboards, programming, strings, and other instrumentation. Having been picked as the lead-off single, it is easy to see why “The Stand” got that distinction as it is rather strong.

Officially the last track on The Stand EP, the song “Walls” brings the official tracks to a close with a very energetic Pop-rock delivery. The track begins with the sound of Avli Avliav on the piano. Eventually, the entire band joins in to create one of the fullest sounds on the album, as well as one of the most energetic deliveries. “Walls” is easily one of the standout tracks on the release.

While The Stand EP itself contains five songs, the release contains one more song to bring the release up to an even half dozen. The sixth track on the release is entitled “Catch Me As I Fall” and features the guitar from Sherry Anne and vocals from Tolan Shaw who helps to create a duet with Sherry Anne. The acoustic guitar and piano create a music bed that goes along well with the two singers adding their vocals to help make one of the emotional moments on the release. The light feel of the track makes for a perfect ending to the EP.  
     
Starting from the very beginning track, Sister Speak’s The Stand EP hits the listener with Pop-rock music that is sure to satisfy. The five “album tracks” and the bonus track that completes the release combine to create a pop-rock release that feels so solid that each of the songs contained within should be allowed to find their way onto radio on their own merits. As it is though, the lead-off single of the title track of the release is a great place to begin. Hopefully, more tracks will be featured. Through it all, Sherri Anne and the rest of the musicians who helped to create the release under the Sister Speak moniker combined their efforts to make a solid debut that should be only the beginning of something special.

 

For more information, check out Sister Speak’s PR firm of Whiplash PR & Management by clicking on the logo for the company. 

 

To check out the music of Sister Speak, check out the track “The Stand

To purchase a copy of The Stand from Sister Speak, click on the album cover below:   

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Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Hi Lo Ha “Ain’t Gone Tonight”

Hi Lo Ha is a band that hails from San Francisco. A few years ago, the band’s make-up was slightly different as the group contained a different bass player and a different band member on guitar. That version of the group created two releases as a band. But when the band’s bassist at the time walked away from the group, a little rearranging of their lineup was needed. Today, the current version of the band consists of: Ben Reisdorph (lead vocals, guitar) and Brian Davis (back-up vocals, bass), Willie Rusert (back-up vocals, keyboards, guitar) and James Fisher (drums). With this new formation of Hi Lo Ha in place, the band’s sound contains a strong instrumental approach that makes the listener want to listen to the music alone as much as the completed track that contains the lyrics. Taking this instrumentally strong music, the band just created a new 8-song release. The 2018 release from Hi Lo Ha is called Ain’t Gone Tonight.

The new EP from Hi Lo Ha begins with the track “Cold Weather Clothes”. The music of the track takes the listener back several decades as The Rock and Roll contained within the track seems to bring to mind the sound and feel of music from the duo known as Santo & Johnny. Much of the reason for that feel comes from the guitars that make up much of the musical feel of the track. And like that duo, the music contained within this song has a strong exotic underlying feel to the music. The reverb on the vocals from singer/guitarist Ben Reisdorph as well as the rest of the band gives the song an even stronger exotic feel to the music. The extended playtime on the track truly allows the listener to enjoy the beauty that is contained within the music. Taking the various elements to the song, “Cold Weather Clothes” catches the listener’s attention from the first note and never lets up.

Ain’t Gone Tonight from Hi Lo Ha continues with the track “Come Down”. While the lead guitar on the song still contains the same strong reverb that was present in the previous song, the feel of the music is very different from the last track. The band creates a track in “Come Down” that is much closer to Alternative Rock songs created in the nineties than the older feel of “Cold Weather Clothes”. Just like the track before it, “Come Down” comes with an instrumental sound that makes the listener want to experience the music by itself.

On the track “Guest List,” the band creates a track that feels rather autobiographical while slowing things down at the same time. The lyrics deal with a promise to one of their fans to get them in free the next time the band is in town.  The slower pace and easier feel to the music creates a song that is quite different from the songs up to that point on the EP. Like the earlier track of “Cold Weather Clothes,” “Guest List” features a music approach that once again makes good use of the guitars.

Much like with “Cold Weather Clothes,” the track “Radio” contains a sound that is very retro in its style. The band’s musical blend on this track brings to mind what a song would sound like if you took the sixties-era feel of the band The Byrds and mixed it with some influence from eighties-era Bruce Springsteen. The result is a track that, like the title would suggest, is almost begging to be played on the radio.

For the final original track on the release, Hi Lo Ha brings their EP to an end with the track “Thinking’ ‘Bout a Friend”. Much like other tracks on the release, “Thinking’ ‘Bout a Friend” comes complete with a style that is more than a little retro in its sound. In fact, the straight-out Rock and Roll contained on the track makes the song feel as if it should have come from Bob Seger. Like the track before it, “Thinking’ ‘Bout a Friend” feels readymade to be played on the radio. However, in the case of “Thinking’ ‘Bout a Friend,” the track would feel more at home on a Classic Rock format than a Modern Rock format.

After the initial five tracks for the release come to a close, the band reposts three of the tracks from those songs as instrumental. While that move would seem like a rather easy way to create three extra tracks for any other band, for Hi Lo La, it seems like a very good move. This is extremely true for the song “Cold Weather Clothes,” the track that began the release as well as “Come Down” and “Thinkin’ ‘Bout a Friend”. The instrumental part of these songs truly is the best part of the tracks. So by taking away Ben Reisdorph’s vocals on the track, the instrumental part of the tracks is allowed to shine through.

Ain’t Gone Tonight EP from Hi Lo La is a short, but strong release. And while the EP only contains five initial tracks, the addition of the three instrumental versions gives the listener more time to enjoy the sound of the band that they have captured on this release. And the different musical influences that the band brings with them into the EP blend together to create an EP that should be strong enough to gain a following within the old and young alike.

For more information, check out Hi Lo La’s PR firm of Whiplash PR & Management by clicking on the logo for the company. 

 

 

 

 

To check out the music of Hi Lo Ha, check out the track “Radio“. 

To purchase a copy of Ain’t Gone Tonight from Hi Lo Ha, click on the album cover below:   

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Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: UniversalDice “birth, love, hate, death”

Within the era of Rock and Roll, there have been bands that have taken the idea of the album and made it so much stronger as they created tracks that segue between each other as those tracks combine to create what has been called a Rock Opera. And while the Rock Opera is an idea that has been around for a while, there have only been a relatively few examples of the artform through the era of Rock and Roll when compared to the vast number of releases that have been put out. One band that has taken it upon itself to explore the concept of the Rock Opera is UniversalDice.

A group that calls Long Island, New York home, the band of UniversalDice consists of: Gerry Dantone – vocals, guitars, programming; Bob Barcus – lead guitar; Ed Canova – bass; Walt Sargent – keyboards; Vin Crica – keyboards. These and other musicians who appear on a few of the tracks help to bring the music of UniversalDice to life. Having already releasing four previous albums, the group is celebrating the release of their fifth album, a 2018 album entitled birth, love, hate, death.

UniversalDice’s birth, love, hate, death is a 16-track album that deals with love as it survives even after someone dies. While vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Gerald Dantone had the biggest part in writing the album, the entire band helped in many ways to bring the album to life.

As the birth, love, hate, death album from UniversalDice begins, the track called “Welcome to the World” “welcomes” the listener to the release just as the narrator of the track welcomes the newest addition to the family to the world. The track finds the band creating a song that falls solidly into the Rock and Roll genre. The track features 70s-era Rock and Roll that is reminiscent of bands like Badfinger or The Raspberries. While the track begins the 16-track album, the sound of the music and the lyrics contained within are so universal that you could easily imagine the track as the lead-off single for the release.

The next track of “I Wish I Could Tell You This” slows the pace of the music down while still pushing the storyline forward. The track’s lyrics deal with a mother figure as she looks down on her newborn child and the thoughts that go through her mind. “I Wish I Could Tell You This” is a rather sad tale as the mother reveals her innermost feelings and regrets.

With the very next track on the release, the band produces an answer to the previous song as the child explains to his mother the way he is feeling in the same type of song that reveals the growing worry in his mind. “Your Son” is a letter set to music. Like the previous track, Gerry Dantone and the rest of UniversalDice create a track with a gentle pace to the music that seems to go rather well with the somber tone of the lyrics.

The various tracks that make up the birth, love, hate, death album deal with all different areas of life. With the track “I Like It When They Hate It,” the band deals with how people are perceived as they make choices in their lives. On this track, the band takes their music in the direction of eighties pop-rock. The track has a nearly timeless feel to it as it would have easily fit on Top 40 radio back in the eighties as easily as it would fit on radio today. 

With “Better Man,” UniversalDice creates a song that brings to mind the music of someone like The Allman Brothers as the track features Rock and Roll with a bit of a Southern Rock feel to it. The lyrics deal with a man who looks inside himself and decides he can do better. While the slower pace to the track slows things down a little, the song shows a slightly different side to the music from UniversalDice.

As the listener puts this album on, they experience all sorts of different aspects to life within the lyrics of the songs that make up the album. Separately, the various songs create a strong release of well-written tracks that make use of the band’s various musical influences. The creation of songs using different sounds from the Classic Rock era of Rock and Roll means that lovers of that style of Rock will find something to enjoy throughout the entire length of the album. And with the lyrics creating a storyline that tie each song together, the album does something that few very albums today can do: entertain the listener while keeping them wanting to listener all the way through the release. For those who enjoy finding albums that entertain while also tell a story, the Rock Opera of UniversalDice’s birth, love, hate, death is one album to add to your music collection.

To check out the music from UniversalDice’s birth, love, hate, death release, check out the first track of the album, “Welcome to the World“. To check out the entire album on spotify

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more information, check out UniversalDice’s PR firm of Whiplash PR & Management by clicking on the logo for the company. 

Categories
Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: D.L. Byron “Satori”

While there are many artists who break into the music industry and then leave it after just a few years for one reason or another, there are others who decide to make music a part of their lives for their entire life. One such person who has spent decades in the pursuit of the perfect song is D.L. Byron.

It was back in 1979 that D.L. Byron had a taste of fame as he had been signed by Clive Davis to Arista Records. During his time as part of the musical roster of that label, Byron gave himself and Arista Records a big boost when his song called “Listen to the Heartbeat” became a Top 40 hit. But after that, the label decided that his sound was too similar to other artists and they went on to promote artists that they thought were closer to what they were looking for.

Despite not having a major label behind him, D.L. Byron has gone on to create an entire library of original releases with the label Zen Archer Records. With the label, Byron continues to thrive to this day. In fact, he just released a new four-song EP. That EP is entitled Satori.

Satori from D.L. Byron begins with the track “No. 1 God”. With this track, Byron creates a song that features a timeless, straight-out feel to the music. To go along with a sound that would have been right at home in the days before Alternative Rock, the track contains a strong driving force in the music that keeps the pace of the track moving quickly. The track also finds D.L. Byron using just a small amount of humor in the lyrics as he sings about losing his dyslexia and worshiping “Dog”. The energetic track begins the four-song release on a strong note and makes the listener want for more.

D.L. Byron’s Satori EP continues with the track “Rehearsing for the Future”. Like the track that came before it, “Rehearsing for the Future” features a timeless, straight-out feel to the Rock and Roll that makes up the track. And just like the previous track, this song has a strong, driving feel to the pace. The resulting music on the track would have easily fit on any Power Rock radio formats when that format was popular. Even on today’s Modern Rock stations, “Rehearsing for the Future” would be a very popular among today’s music listeners.

The third track on D.L. Byron’s Satori EP is the song “All Fall Down”. While the previous tracks feature a rather timeless feel to the Rock and Roll, “All Fall Down” seems to find Byron creating a track with more of an Alternative Rock feel to the music. Moreover, the style of the music at the beginning of the track is rather reminiscent of that created by the Gin Blossoms back in the nineties. As the track progresses, that influence stays true while also it incorporates other Alternative influences into the track that feel very commercial by today’s standards. “All Fall Down” is perhaps the most commercial of the songs that are included in the Satori EP.

Satori from D.L Byron is brought to a close with the fourth and final track on the release entitled “Everywhere I Go”. The track begins with an intro of a pulsating feeling creating by a keyboard. That pulsating sound starts the track off with a New Wave feel before the track truly begins and features a Hard Rock approach. Once the music truly begins, the resulting track brings to mind music that would have been found back in the eighties and would have been included on Hard Rock radio formats during the eighties. The strong electric guitar presence on the track helps to add to the feel of the track and the mention of a time machine in the track’s lyrics feels very apropos as the song does feel as if it would have come from an earlier time period. Altogether, the various elements combine together to form a track that is reminiscent of something from rocker Billy Squire.

Although D.L. Byron’s rather short time on a major label may not have resulted in instant success and years of Top Ten hits, that did not stop him from continuing to create his own music on his own terms. And the newest release from Byron shows that he still has the desire to create good, old-fashioned Rock and Roll even though the rest of the music industry wants to travel in a more Pop music-inspired direction. But as it stands, Satori from D.L. Byron is a release that fans of real Rock and Roll should be proud to own.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more information, check out Whiplash PR & Management by clicking on the logo for the company. 

 

 

 

 

To check out the newest material from D.L. Byron, check out the track “No. 1 God“.  

 

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Features

PIGSHIT: IF YOU CAN FIND IT, BUY IT.

It was two score (that’s forty years) (I think) and several tens of thousand dollars ago (of that I’m sure) that I decided to get into the Record Business. For real. (Sort of.) I mean, Frank Zappa, Frank Sinatra, even those Beatles had their own labels. Why not me ??!

So armed with nothing but a basement full of innocence and ambition, not to mention several unwitting pals with pockets much deeper than mine, I spun my proto- (fan)zine The Pig Paper off into – you guessed it – Pig Records, and one momentous afternoon in June of 1978 several dozen fresh-from-an-unsuspecting-Capitol-Records-of-Canada-pressing-plant-during-the-graveyard-shift boxes of 45’s landed on my doorstep. Last time I checked, original copies of these discs, “with picture sleeve and rare two-sided printed insert,” go for several dozen dollars – U.S.! – over there on eBay. Yet I actually have three or four M+ copies left (without the insert though) stashed in a closet upstairs. Get in touch and I’ll make yez a deal, ok?

In the meantime, with the more than able assist of Treat Me Like Dirt: An Oral History of Punk in Toronto and Beyond author Liz Worth, let’s properly commemorate the 40th Anniversary of those seven little inches that could, shall we?   

Our Cast of Characters:

Edgar Breau – Vocalist and guitarist for Simply Saucer

Kevin Christoff – Bassist for Simply Saucer

Chris Houston – Bassist for the Forgotten Rebels, and so much more!

John Balogh – Hamilton promoter, comedian. The two not necessarily being mutually exclusive

Stephen “Sparky” Park – Guitarist for Teenage Head, Simply Saucer and the Loved Ones

Tom Williams – Co-founder of Attic Records

 

not to mention yours quite truly GPG – Founder of The Pig Paper, then Pig Records.

Plus I was also one of the Loved Ones’ other guitarists it seems.

 

Edgar Breau: Sometimes I felt like if you were loud – if your songs were short, fast, loud, and ugly – it was a pretty good fit for what was going on. It wasn’t as wide open in terms of what genres bands could play within their own set. Now I think it’s really opened up. Back then, it was just a little bit more narrow.

Kevin Christoff: We didn’t sit down and consciously try to write punk stuff. And a lot of songs that came out of that period, if anybody heard them, probably went right through them if it wasn’t their style, or if it wasn’t the kind of thing they were wanting to hear.

GPG: This would have been late 1977, into ’78. We decided we were gonna record Simply Saucer. You see, I’d been carrying around for years in the back of my mind the first discussion I ever had with Steven Davey of The Dishes: One momentous night he hands me an advance copy of their first EP Fashion Plates to review. I open up the sleeve, pull out the record… but for some reason I don’t see Columbia or Warner Bros. or anything at all like that on the label. Well, it turns out The Dishes had put this record out THEMSELVES. “You mean, you can do that? In Toronto??” Steven said “Sure! All you need is a tape, tell them what you want on the label, then you take everything out to this place called World Records in Oshawa,” I think it was, “and they’ll do the rest.” That definitely put the bug in my ear to start Pig Records someday, someway.

Kevin Christoff: When it came down to choosing the single, “She’s A Dog” was a conscious decision. The song was popular in shows. It’s memorable in a very simple way. Whenever we’d play a lot of people would call out for it, so it seemed to be a logical choice. 

I think it’s more pop than punk, personally.

GPG: We held a charity corn roast up on Hamilton Mountain to raise money to make the single. We were going to go into Grant Avenue Studio, Daniel Lanois’ soon-to-be stomping grounds, but we couldn’t afford it. I guess we didn’t sell enough corndogs. So the only other recording studio available in Hamilton was in this guy’s basement.

Edgar Breau: I think the guy’s name was John Boyd. It was not a great studio at all. It was a mistake to record there.

GPG: The second we start, John’s saying “IT’S TOO LOUD!!!” And I said, “Then you just pull the faders down. You’ve got to capture this. You don’t want to turn them down. They’re not the Eagles; they’re something else.” Long battle short, he just barged upstairs at one point and said “You mix the damn record.”

Kevin Christoff: It was kind of funny. I guess the guy got supremely disinterested in what we were doing because he ended up leaving us pretty well in charge. He went up to watch the hockey game or something like that, ha ha ha, which suited us fine.

GPG: Next I remember taking the tape into Toronto for mastering, and the guy had no idea. He said, “This is distorted.” I said, “I know.” And he reached for some knob – “I’ll fix that.” And I go “Well, no, you can’t; it’s supposed to be distorted.” He goes, “But you actually have distortion on tape!” I said “I know. And it took a long time to figure out how to get that, by the way.”

There was a day when they wouldn’t have cared so much. Those first Who and Kinks and even Stones records still sound amazing, even though to many people they’re such quote unquote terrible recordings.

Chris Houston: It was so hard then because these people would go into a studio, and they wouldn’t connect with the studio. So you’d have these horrible records of these great bands, and you wanted to love the band…

GPG: It was hard in those days to put out your own record. It took a lot of effort and money to press a thousand 45’s. Then mailing them out to all the fanzines and record reviewers and college radio stations, and anyone else you’d tracked down who you thought might be interested.

To help get the word out a bit more I decided to plaster as much of Toronto as I could with flyers announcing The Very First Simply Saucer Pig Record! But I thought I’d be smart and use wallpaper paste instead of staples; that way, our handiwork couldn’t get so easily ripped down off all the telephone poles. So I brought along my friend Martin E-Chord, who handled the paste bucket as well as played lookout, and by the time of the first train home in the morning we had the downtown core pretty well covered. Or should I say plastered.

I wasn’t all that smart though: by the time we got home the Metro Toronto Police had already called my house. “You have to come tear all your flyers down.” Seems the cops were already pretty familiar with anything “Pig.” They knew where I was. 

John Balogh: A lot of those bands, at the onset, didn’t realize they were in the School of Hard on You. We all felt like we were the underdogs, and we were typically the underdogs. We were the bands that radio didn’t play, television didn’t show, and we were the unspoken at the dinner table.

GPG: But I did it because it was fun, and because I thought Edgar and the band deserved it.

And you know what? I can remain extremely proud to this day that I was the only person who managed to get Simply Saucer onto vinyl at the time. Since then, many, many others thought that maybe they could’ve done a better job of it, and believe me I would’ve been right there to help in any way I could if that had happened. But no one else at all stepped up to bat. No one.

Kevin Christoff: But, we got some good reviews over the single. We got some positive press on that. Some people maybe didn’t like it, but you get that, right?

Stephen Park: There was something in Record Mirror that compared us with the Who and we just were floored. We couldn’t believe it! But that was somewhere in England, and it just seemed so inaccessible. We didn’t seem to be able to capitalize on some of the interest that the single was generating.

GPG: Cub Koda – remember “Smokin’ In The Boy’s Room” by Brownsville Station? – he loved Saucer. He gave “She’s a Dog” an amazing review in Goldmine, about how all the “dog, dog, dog”s in the chorus were driving his wife crazy. But how to make best of all this press that was coming in from literally all over the world? I was just one guy, with a bunch of Sharpie pens and cardboard mailers, working out of the basement.

Tom Williams: But most people were like one- and two-men operations. They didn’t have the distribution, they didn’t have the know-how, there was no support system in terms of national radio, national television; newspapers tended to ignore the local acts, there were no consumer music magazines that meant anything – a couple of trade publications that didn’t mean a lot. It was kind of a baby industry, really. I mean, it really was a bunch of people playing Let’s Make Records! I think we were pretty naïve and we said “We can do this,” and if we’d actually known what the stumbling blocks were we probably wouldn’t have.

But we did, and I think that’s always the way. Because when you’re young, you can do anything. In theory.


www.GaryPigGold.com

(EDITOR: To find out just what has been going on with Simply Saucer since that time period, check out the website for the band. And to check out the music from this particular piece of Canadian music history, check out the video below of “She’s A Dog” from Simply Saucer.)

Categories
Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Mark Rogers “Qualifiers”

Virginia/DC-based singer-songwriter Mark Rogers had, at one time, taken some time off from music in order to focus on his family. But when the right time came around, Rogers found the desire to create music and resumed his songwriting. Since returning to songwriting, Rogers has created a few releases of original music that has incorporated Folk, Folk-Rock, and even a little Bluegrass influence. The most solo recent release from Mark Rogers is a six-song EP entitled Qualifiers.

For his newest release, Mark Rogers seems to have drawn from a certain section of his influences. While the previous release entitled Rearranged found the singer-songwriter drawing from many of his influences, the EP of Qualifiers features Rogers as he creates music with a style that recalls a lot of the music that had been around during the seventies and into the eighties.

The latest EP entitled Qualifiers from Mark Rogers begins with the track “No Bigger Fool”. With this track, Rogers has created a song in the same way that songwriters were creating Rock and Roll back in the fifties, sixties and even a little bit of the seventies: combining several different musical influences together in order to create the music. The result is a track in “No Bigger Fool” that seems to have all but bled the various Rock and Roll influences that were found in the music back in the seventies. And luckily for the listener, Mark Rogers and the rest of the band who helped to create the Qualifiers release chose the more upbeat styles of music from the era to use as influences. While the track contains an upbeat approach to its energy, the listener can easily hear the Folk-Rock influences that run through the track, which add to the seventies feel to the music.

Mark Rogers and band continue their latest EP with the title track of the EP. The song “Qualifiers” finds Rogers and band staying in a rather mellow mood with the musical direction on the track. However, instead of staying with the seventies influences, Rogers and the rest of the band move the feel of the track up a little to give the track more of an eighties approach. Like the track before it, “Qualifiers” takes the listener back in time. With the track “Qualifiers,” not only do Mark Rogers and the rest of the group create a sound that feels retro in style, the lyrics to the track also have a rather retro feel to them, setting the entire feel of the track somewhere within the seventies/eighties era of music. The track easily has a sound that would have fit on radio at that time and would be perfect for anyone looking for music that seems to be from that era.

The Qualifiers album continues with the song “Imagining”. With this track, Mark Rogers creates music that feels very familiar in its musical direction. The track features Country-flavored music that would easily have been right at home on AM radio back in the seventies. The music and lyrics bring to mind the sound and style of one of the more popular bands from the seventies, The Eagles. The song’s guitar work brings to mind the kind that would have appeared on songs from The Eagles such as “Your Lying Eyes”.  And while “Imagining” does draw comparisons to songs from The Eagles, the song itself is still “fresh” enough for today’s radio formats.

While “Imagining” from Mark Rogers contains a relaxed feel to the music, it is the next track on the singer-songwriter’s new EP that comes with perhaps the easiest pace to the music. The song “The Blues Are Passing By” has a feel to the music that will have the listener questioning the title. The track itself sounds and feels very much like a song with a Lounge Jazz approach. This track sets itself apart from the rest of the album simply because of the easy feel and approach of the easy feel to the music.  The piano and easy playing of the organ help add to the Lounge Jazz feel of the music. Add in the easy approach of Rogers’ vocals and you have a track in “The Blues Are Passing By” that would fit more in a Jazz format than a radio format with Pop music.

For a different feel, the track “You Can Lead Me On” finds Mark Rogers and band creating another unique track on the EP. With this song, Rogers and company combine equal parts Rock and Roll and Folk music to create a track with a definite Americana feel to the music. The slide pedal steel guitar and the mandolin on the track combine to give the track its unique feel.  Together, “You Can Lead Me On” is easily one of the most commercial tracks on the six-song release. 

The new release of Qualifiers from Mark Rogers comes to a close with the track “The World Changed Forever”. For this last track, Rogers creates a folk-like feel to the music with just his vocals and an acoustic guitar. The result is a track that features a simple folk singer feel. The track features lyrics dealing with the aftermath that occurred after the death of former Beatle John Lennon.  “The World Changed Forever (When John Lennon Died),” as it should be called, brings to mind the best folk singers as the track comes complete with a strong message, the way the best Folk songs of the past always did.

Qualifiers from Mark Rogers is the second release for the Virginia/DC-based singer-songwriter. When comparing Qualifiers to the previous release of Rearranged, Rogers seems to have stepped up his game, musically speaking. Having made a stronger release in Qualifiers, it seems like it is only a matter of time before a full-length album is created.  

For more information, check out Whiplash PR & Management by clicking on the logo for the company. 

 

 

 

 

The new release of Qualifiers from Mark Rogers has yet to be released. However, the EP’s release party is in the very near future. Check out the singer-songwriter’s Facebook page to stay updated about upcoming date for the release of the EP. 

For music from Mark Rogers, check out his BANDCAMP profile. 

Categories
Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: The Refusers “Disobey”

In today’s world, there are many things out there that make most of us hide our heads in the sand as a way of avoiding the truth. Sometimes, there are things that take place in the world that we should be paying attention to more than we do. And sometimes, there are those who try to make it their mission in life to try to get people to pay attention even if the ones listening don’t really want to. One such band that is currently making very powerful music that is written in a way to grab your attention is the group The Refusers

The Refusers are a trio of musicians from Washington State. The band is made up of singer-songwriter (and former Wall Street insider) Michael Belkin (guitar, vocals), Steve Newton (bass, vocals) and Joe Doria (Hammond organ, piano). Together, Belkin and his bandmates create songs that may not get the people to pay attention, but at least it’s a good start.

The band known as The Refusers already created and released one album called Wake Up America. But with all that has taken place since the band put out that album, they created yet another album of songs. The new 2018 release from The Refusers is called Disobey.

Disobey from The Refusers begins with the track “Playing with Fire”. The track begins with a solid Rock and Roll feel to the music that will bring to mind the Rock and Roll feel of power trios such as Cream. The Classic Rock feel of the track seems to bring to mind the songs from the sixties when a lot of bands and individuals were creating songs that made people sit up and pay attention. “Playing with Fire’s” lyrical content has to do with the dangerous things that people do that have negative consequences for everyone involved. The track’s overall musical approach feels just right for today’s straight-out Rock and Roll radio formats.

While the first track feels rather timeless as far as the Rock and Roll approach in the music, the next track on the release called “Why Do They Lie” takes the trio’s music in a more current sound and direction. Lying somewhere between the Rock and Roll found during the nineties and the Alternative Rock from that same time period, “Why Do They Lie” deals with people in government who say one thing and then say another at another time. The track’s lyrical content has to do with the subject matter of the drug industry trying to cover up the bad things that happen with the drugs being pushed on the public as part of the medical industry is concerned. Like many of the songs written by The Refusers, “Why Do They Lie” is a track that truly will make you think.

The new release from The Refusers continues with the title track of the album. “Disobey” again finds the band creating a track with a strong Classic Rock feel. This time, the band seems to be channeling the sound and style of the band called AC/DC. Just like that band from Australia, The Refusers create a track that features a Hard Rock delivery. The lyrics of this song deal with not agreeing with things you know are wrong. And with that, you “disobey” when they tell you to do something. Just like with “Playing with Fire” before it, “Disobey” would feel right at home on the radio.

“Eruption” is a song that takes the band’s music and gives more of a groove than the previous tracks. The groove that goes through the song helps give the music of the track a lot of power. That powerful musical delivery goes right along with the powerful lyrics about the fact that eventually, people are going to get tired of the same old things that politicians in office do while ignoring the real reasons they were elected in the first place.

When listening to the new album of Disobey from The Refusers, the band has chosen to create many of the songs on the release with a certain feel and style. Even though they do incorporate different influences in each of the tracks, many of the songs on the release contain a delivery that makes the songs feel as if they belong together as an album. With the track of “My Baby Loves Rock and Roll,” however, the band changes musical directions. With this track, the band takes their music in the same direction that Bob Seger took for his song “Old Time Rock and Roll”. The piano-driven track brings to mind much the same feeling from Seger’s track from years before. The different feel to this track gives the listener another perspective on the music from The Refusers.

The next track of the album is entitled “Fake News”. This is one of the more political tracks on the newest release from The Refusers. It also proves that a good deal of the songs created by the band it rather topical. While there are several ways to write a song entitled “Fake News,” Michael Belkin and the rest of the band took a perspective on this song that many may not have. The lyrics to the song have to do with the fact that there are thousands and thousands of media outlets out there today but only a few ownerships to those radio stations, television stations, newspapers, publications and online sources. And with as many media outlets out there, it’s hard to ensure what is being broadcast, printed or published online is actually factual. “Fake News” is easily one of the more political songs on the release.

Throughout the nine songs that make up Disobey from The Refusers, the band makes its way through many different styles of music and many different topics to sing about. While the band has created more than one album, this release seems to be a little more low-key as far as the political flavor that runs through it than on the previous material released by the group. Even with the tracks that are definitely politically charged, the band seems to have decided to go in a direction that feels a lot more listener-friendly than previous material. With the more listener-friendly delivery on their music for this release, Disobey from The Refusers has created a release that allows for the band’s message to get out without sounding very preachy.

To check out the music of The Refusers, click on the link for the song “Playing with Fire“. 

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more information, check out Whiplash PR & Management by clicking on the logo for the company.