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Drastic Plastic

Drastic Plastic Program on CKUT 90.3 FM Playlist for June 8, 2020

A new episode of the Rock and Roll Report edition of the Drastic Plastic Program on CKUT 90.3 FM aired Monday night at 10:00 PM EST on June 8, 2020. This was the second episode recorded in the brand new Crabby Road Studios as the CKUT studios are currently closed.

The playlist is organized in the following manner: Band/Musician/Album/Song in order of broadcast.

As always you can listen to the show live on CKUT.ca or listen to it after the affect on the Drastic Plastic archive page. And remember to support these musicians if you enjoyed their music by buying their music. Click on the links to find out how.

  1. The DML Conspiracy, An Act of Defiance, Perfect Storm (Houston, Texas) 
  2. Wyldlife, Year of the Snake, Kiss and Tell (New York, New York) 
  3. Dizeaze, Straight Shot, Out of Control (Nordfjordeid Norway) 
  4. Elsie Binx, single, Mean Girls (Detroit Michigan) 
  5. Mudbelly, single, Crooked Magic (Christchurch, New Zealand)
  6. Happy Curmudgeons, Meant 2 Be, Burn Sugar Burn (Grand Blanc, Michigan) 
  7. Elephant Stone, The Glass Box, Strangers (Montreal, Quebec) 
  8. Maddy Reign, Single, Against My Will (Nashville)
  9. Betyljoos, Back in Time, Back in Time (Staten Island) 
  10. Planet of Rhythm, Damaged Goods, Your Possession (Pacific Palisades, Cali) 
  11. David Earl Lewis, Stage 3, Sweet Thang (Santo, Texas) 
  12. Stonesilk, single, Hold Me Up (Stockholm, Sweden) 

 

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Drastic Plastic

Drastic Plastic Program on CKUT 90.3 FM Playlist for May 11, 2020

A new episode of the Rock and Roll Report edition of the Drastic Plastic Program on CKUT 90.3 FM aired Monday night at 10:00 PM EST on May 11, 2020. This was the second episode recorded in the brand new Crabby Road Studios as the CKUT studios are currently closed.

The playlist is organized in the following manner: Band/Musician/Album/Song in order of broadcast.

As always you can listen to the show live on CKUT.ca or listen to it after the affect on the Drastic Plastic archive page.

  1. The Thigh Scrapers, Single, On The Radio
  2. Hangtime, Invasion, See You Soon
  3. The Carolyn, This Will Begin To Make Things Right, Heartsunk 
  4. Playhouse, The Rock n Roll Circus, I Don’t Need You 
  5. Beams, Single, I Wanted to Tell Her 
  6. The Real Doug Lane, Water From the Stone, A Little Farther Down the Road 
  7. Greye, Single, Lucky 
  8. The Foxfires, Reawakening, Reawakening 
  9. The Roband, Single, Bextasy 
  10. The Incurables, I Don’t Feel So Well, Eloise 
  11. The Damn Truth, Dear in the Headlights, Montreal 
  12. Beretta76, Blue Sky, Tire Fire 
  13. Lucid Hoops, Single, Get Me Out of Here 
  14. The Black Fever, Unarticulated Wants, Marketing 

If you enjoyed what you heard please do not forget to buy some music and merch from the bands that you enjoyed. It is the best way for you to encourage them to keep going.

Turn it up!

Mark

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Drastic Plastic

Drastic Plastic Program on CKUT 90.3 FM Playlist for April 13, 2020

The first episode of the Rock and Roll Report edition of the Drastic Plastic Program on CKUT 90.3 FM aired Monday night at 10:00 PM EST on April 13, 2020. This was the first episode recorded in the brand new Crabby Road Studios as the CKUT studios are currently closed.

The playlist is organized in the following manner: Band/Musician/Album/Song in order of broadcast.

As always you can listen to the show live on CKUT.ca or listen to it after the affect on the Drastic Plastic archive page.

    1. Wild Planes, Singin ‘N’ Slingin, Money
    2. Golden Gods, The Thorny Crown of Rock n Roll, I Feel the Earth Move 
    3. Paperback Freud, All in a Day’s Work, Boogie Up 
    4. Taddy Porter, Single, Shake Me 
    5. Vinyl Hero, Single, Vultures 
    6. Sex Slaves, Call of the Wild, Cool Ride 
    7. The Maxwells, Heart Attack, Give Your Love Away 
    8. Jonathan Bright, Radio Free Tennessee, Shine 
    9. The Dollyrots, S/T, FU Famous 
    10. Rosa Cory Perry & The Truth Untold, Other Side of the Story, For What It’s Worth 
    11. The Brown Hornets, S/T, Rooftop Sniper  
    12. Atomic Swindlers, Coming Out Electric, Sexx66 
    13. Slender, Revival, Forgive Me 
    14. The Sun Harmonic, Sign on the Road, It’s All Ok (Thanks to You) 
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Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Stolen Apple “Wagon Songs”

Italian band Stolen Apple came together back in 2008 after one band called Nest came to an end. The previous band would release two albums during its existence before calling it quits: Drifting in 2001 and Isn’t it? in 2007. And when the band’s time was over, Riccardo Dugini (vocals, guitar) and Luca Petrarchi (guitar) would search out musicians for their next project which would be Stolen Apple. The resulting band would include Dugini and Petrarchi, as well as Massimiliano Zatini on percussion and Alessandro Pagani on bass.

For nearly a dozen years, Stolen Apple has been creating their own brand of music. Together, the quartet draws inspiration from numerous forms of music: “From psychedelic rock to post punk; from folk to indie rock; from cosmic & post atomic rock to new wave; from country to italo disco.” This ever-changing blend of music can be found on Stolen Apple’s albums entitled When We Rise (2015) and Trenches (2016). Just recently, the band added one more album to that discography. The 2020 release from Stolen Apple is entitled Wagon Songs.

Wagon Songs from Stolen Apple begins with the track “Suicide”. With this track, the Italian band seems to be influenced by the likes of Iggy Pop and the Stooges. The track contains the same kind of musical approach as the Detroit group’s proto-punk sound back around 1969.  In fact, this track easily brings to mind the music of that band’s song “I Wanna Be Your Dog”. “Suicide” is a strong track that will easily appeal to those Rock and Roll fans looking for the “Real Deal,” and this is a straight-out Rock and Roll track for those looking for that.

Stolen Apple continues their album with one of the track “Renegade Sun (Brexit)”. The band takes their music into a much more current time. The music of this track comes with a style that blends together influences from the Queens of the Stone Age and those of The Black Keys. Those influences are used to create a track that is hard hitting and ready for today’s Modern Rock radio formats. Much like the previous song, the modern feel of the music on “Renegade Sun (Brexit)” will definitely appeal to the fans of hard hitting Rock and Roll music.

With the next track called “Masturbation,” Stolen Apple brings a little bit of the Italian side of the band into the music as they seem to flavor the song with just a little bit of the music found in a Spaghetti Western soundtrack. That Spaghetti Western flavoring added to a slightly New Wave Feel to the music ends up creating a track that is rather reminiscent of the eighties New Wave/Post-Punk band Wall of Voodoo, excepting maybe a little harder in its delivery. To go along with the slight Spaghetti Western flavoring in the music, the addition of a rather strong Italian accent in the lyrical delivery brings out more of that Italian base to the band’s music.

On the next track called “Out of Fashion,” Stolen Apple creates a track taking several different approaches at once. As the track begins, the slightly off-tone vocals mixed with the strong but gentle pace to the music created by the guitar, bass and drums create an easy approach to the song. Soon enough, however, the band picks up the energy level to the music. What occurs is a track with a strong Alternative Rock feel that blends together influences from the likes of Sonic Youth and Nirvana. The resulting track of “Out of Fashion” would easily fall directly into the Alternative Rock scene from the middle of nineties.

The Wagon Songs release from Stolen Apple continues with the track “Kid”. With this track, the band slows things down quite a bit as they explores a more Progressive Rock sound. The track finds the band drawing inspiration from Classic Rockers Pink Floyd. In fact, the Pink Floyd influence seems to be there is several ways. Among those ways is the fact that the track itself seems to have a strong musical resemblance to Pink Floyd’s “Comfortably Numb” track. The basic slow pace to the music of the track recalls Floyd’s style on that song. And then the accompanying strings add even more of a resemblance to Floyd’s song. Not to mention the extended length of the track which adds to the Progressive feel of the track. 

Before Alternative Rock became a radio genre, it was simply known as College Rock, music that would never have gotten played on Commercial Radio formats in the late seventies, early eighties. It’s within this concept that the track “Up Your Mind” from Stolen Apple falls. Bringing some of the influence from the early days of The Motels, Gang of Four, Wall of Voodoo and others from that era, the style of Rock and Roll featured on “Up Your Mind” is the type of music that would have felt right at home on College Radio in the early eighties. While not really commercial for the eighties, this would have been the type of song that would have gone on to influence the artists included in the early days of Alternative Rock. 

The latest release from Italy’s Stolen Apple comes to a close with the track “Easier”. During the first ninety seconds or so of the track, the band creates yet another track much like with “Up Your Mind” before it inasmuch as the song “Easier” features music that feels like it would have been right at home between the end of the seventies and the beginning of the eighties. With the instrumental feel of the music, the track draws some of its influence from New Wave music and some influence from Punk Rock of that era.  Adding the vocals in, the track ultimately feels like something from the Art Punk band Pere Ubu. 

Wagon Songs from Stolen Apple finds the Italian band creating very strong Rock and Roll through the album’s nine tracks. And with the various influences, styles and musical elements that the band draws from and includes in their music, this album is for anyone who enjoys Rock and Roll from any era from the seventies through today. 

To hear just a little bit from the Wagon Songs album from Stolen Apple , check out one of the very first tracks released to promote the release,  “Renegade Sun (Brexit)”.

To check out the Wagon Songs release from Stolen Apple on spotify, click on the album cover below: 

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Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: White Collar Crime “30 Years in the NY Rain”

What do you do when you spend part of your life in a court of law and other parts of your life performing music? If you’re like members of New York City- based White Collar Crime, you create a band with like-minded individuals and play music when you’re not in front of a bench. Since forming, White Collar Crime has performed countless amounts of concerts that feature the band’s original songs.

In the time that has passed since the beginning of the band White Collar Crime some thirty years ago, many musicians have come and gone through the New York City-based group. In fact, only guitarist/vocalist Matt King and drummer Alan Sanders are original to the band. Today, King and Sanders are joined today by other musicians, the majority of which have a considerable amount of time in the band themselves. David Gelman joined on keys in 1995, bassist Kevin Mackall and vocalist Andrea Urban came aboard in 2011, and guitarist Jon Bendis joined the rest of the group in 2016.

As a band, White Collar Crime has put out several albums of original material. The band’s most recent album, entitled Floor Aisle Room, was released back in 2012. Time has passed since the release of that album, but White Collar Crime recently released their first album in seven years. The reason for the time between the previous album and the one currently being promoted is simple: With some of the band members of White Collar Crime being busy in and out of the courtroom, it’s difficult to find the time to create new music as a band. But the band is now currently celebrating a new album of material called 30 Years in the NY Rain.

White Collar Crime’s 30 Years in the NY Rain begins with the track entitled “To Be Real”. The first few seconds of this track is based around the sound of the piano. Pianist David Gelman lays down fifteen seconds of quiet piano with a laidback feel to it. But after those fifteen seconds, the rest of the band joins in and picks up the pace and the energy level of the music. The piano which had been so prominent at the beginning of the song ends up falling into the background and blends with the rest of the instrumentation. The music of the track feels as if it came from the eighties and it brings to mind the writing style of singer-songwriter Don Henley. The lead vocals of the track are handled by Matt King with vocalist Andrea Urban adding texture to the background of the track as those lyrics find King looking for something in the relationship to reinforce his feelings towards the one he loves. The track’s lyrical content as well as the musical approach would fit well alongside Henley’s music, as well as other songs from the eighties.

The band continues their latest release with the track “Reason”. Where the previous track features music that would fit well into the eighties, this track’s musical approach is a lot more timeless, basically fitting into any musical period from the last thirty years to today. The previous song of “To Be Real” featured lyrics about looking for the positive in the relationship. But with this song, the outlook looks a little bleaker as King sings of not having cause to stick around. While the lyrics may not be all that positive, this song is far from being depressing as the music is just as upbeat as the track before it.

Yet another track from White Collar Crime’s 30 Years in the NY Rain release is the song “Dream the Dream”. The guitar-driven song features a strong Rock and Roll vibe that could be described as timeless. The music of the track would fall somewhere within the late seventies and early eighties, creating what many would consider the very sound of Rock and Roll music. The track brings to mind music from the likes of Dire Straits and/or Bruce Springsteen. “Dream the Dream” features lyrics about a relationship that could be a lot more passionate in nature than it is. While containing a strong Rock and Roll vibe in the music, “Dream the Dream” is basically a duet as guitarist/vocalist Matt King and vocalist Andrea Urban take turns singing about their roles in the relationship. While the track contains a light, upbeat musical delivery, the lyrics contain some sadness as the two voices don’t quite see the relationship the same way.

With the next track called “Letter to You,” the band changes directions slightly as the track features not only Matt King on vocals, but also features Andrea Urban as the two vocalists share the spotlight on this track. The running theme of relationships returns once again on this track as both King and Urban sing about writing down how they feel about the other person. Much like each of the songs that have come before on this release, “Letter to You” contains a strong, driving Rock and Roll feel to the music instead of a more laidback, romantic feel that one would associate with the lyrical content found within this song. That being said, this song still finds the band in fine form.

The first four songs on the 30 Years in the NY Rain release from White Collar Crime find the band creating tracks that feature straight-out Rock and Roll approaches with fully electric sounds. But with the track “Just a Song,” the band changes things up. This sound features an acoustic guitar as the main musical focal point, creating a slightly softer feel to the band’s sound. What results is a track that contains a musical delivery that is somewhat reminiscent of The Eagles. That approach sets the track more into the seventies time frame rather than the eighties era like the earlier tracks.

While many of the songs contained within the 30 Years in the NY Rain album from White Collar Crime contain a throwback feel to their musical deliveries, the “title track” for the release puts the band’s music squarely into a much more modern timeframe. “New York Rain” contains a Pop-Rock feel to the music. The song contains guitars and keyboards that create a style in the music that would fit right in with bands like The Goo Goo Dolls, or The Gin Blossoms. What results is a track that would be right at home on any modern-day Top 40 radio format. “New York Rain” is easily one of the most commercial tracks of the entire 12-song album.

Another song on the newest release from White Collar Crime that is rather commercial in nature is the song “Just Like Me”. Where the previous song recalls bands such as The Goo Goo Dolls or The Gin Blossoms, this song finds the band drawing inspiration from the likes of Kid Rock. The reason for that comparison comes from the laidback feel of the guitars on the track and the Country-tinged Pop-Rock music that results.

While several the band members of this group have a very serious side that shows up in each of their court appearances, the 30 Years in the NY Rain album from White Collar Crime shows off the various other talents of each of the band members of the group. It also shows off the various musical elements that act as influences to the band’s music. When combined, the resulting music on this album indicates that there is always more to a person than the one side people usually see on a daily basis.

For a taste of the 30 Years in the NY Rain album from White Collar Crime, check out the “title track” from the release, “New York Rain”.

To check out the 30 Years in the NY Rain album from White Collar Crime, click on the album cover below: 

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Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Angela Perley “4:30”

Singer-songwriter Angela Perley grew up in Central Ohio near Columbus. In the city of Hilliard, Perley started playing guitar while in her teens and was in her first band while still in high school. As she moved from one level of education to the next, music was always part of Perley’s life as she joined and created bands. Perley started truly making a name for herself when she was part of the band Angela Perley and the Howlin’ Moons. After putting out several EP’s of music, Angela Perley and the Howlin’ Moons released their first album Hey Kid in 2014. That band would release one more album (2016’s Homemade Visions) before Perley would decide to go on her own as a solo artist.

As a solo artist, Angela Perley draws upon the same type of musical blend that she had created while a part of the band Angela Perley and the Howlin’ Moons: Country, Indie, Rock, and Folk. This blend creates one form of Americana, shifting through the various musical influences from one song to the next. That shifting of genres is a large apart of the music contained within the debut solo release from Angela Perley called 4:30.

The album called 4:30 from Angela Perley begins with the title track of the release. “4:30” finds Perley creating a song about being home for a change and not being able to sleep. The track begins with a rather laidback Folk-inspired feel that brings to mind something from the Sixties music scene. When the track continues, that Folk feel is added to with some easy Rock and Roll influence. The track quickly morphs into an Indie Rock feel which continues until the track ends. With the track “4:30,” Angela Perley draws the listener in right from the start.

Angela Perley’s new release continues with the track “Let Go”. This track leaves the easy feel of the last track far behind. Instead of an easy Folk-Rock blend, this song finds Perley unleashing her inner rock star. While the first track was largely inspired by the likes of Joan Baez or Carole King, “Let Go” draws its inspiration from the likes of Suzi Quatro or Pat Benetar, putting the track somewhere between the Hard Rock of the Eighties and the early days of Alternative Rock. Anyone looking for a good Hard Rockin’ Rock and Roll song, “Let Go” with its strong electric guitars and driving pace to the music will easily satisfy that desire.

Perley continues her 4:30 album with the track “Back in Town”. As the musician had just finished a track with a strong Rock and Roll vibe to it, she continued that direction with another such track in “Back in Town”. Where the previous track falls somewhere between Alternative Rock and Hard Rock of the Eighties, this song takes Perley’s music into a stronger Seventies/Eighties Rock and Roll direction. Falling somewhere between Joan Jett and Lita Fold, “Back in Town” easily would have been right at home on the radio in the Eighties on Power Rock radio formats.

The feel of the music changes again with the next track called “He Rides High”. With this track, Angela Perley creates a more relaxed song with a style and pace of Classic Rock from the late Sixties/early Seventies. This track blends together Rock and Roll, Jazz and some Folk influence. Together, the musical influences of the track seem to recall some of the style of the band The Doors in their less psychedelic stages. On this track, Angela Perley’s voice also contains a similar vocal quality to that of Grace Slick of Jefferson Airplane or Christine McVie of Fleetwood Mac. While this is a new song, the track definitely contains a classic feel to it.

Staying in a rather laidback mood, the next track of “Don’t Look Back Mary” slows the pace of the music down. While “He Rides High” already contains a relaxed feel, with “Don’t Look Back Mary,” the slow pace of the music intensifies. Folk Rock and a hint of Country influence combine to create a track that appears to have a little pain in the lyrical content as the title character of Mary seems to have a hard time letting go of the past and moving on. The slow pace to the song and that lyrical content combine to create one of the most emotional tracks on the release.

After several slow-paced tracks, Angela Perley brings some of the energy back to her music on the track “Dangerous Love”. This track has a strong Pop-Rock feel to the music, creating a rather timeless feel to the music. The song brings to mind female Rock stars from the Eighties, such as Eighties-era Madonna or even The Bangles. In fact, you could imagine this track being played right after a track such as “If She Knew What She Wants” from Susanna Hoffs and the rest of the band. “Dangerous Love” is one of the most commercial tracks on the 4:30 album from Angela Perley.

“Walk With Me,” the final track of Angela Perley’s solo debut finds Perley bringing back a little of the Sixties flavor that had been found on the song “He Rides High”. Again, with this track, Perley seems to be drawing influence from Grace Slick and Jefferson Airplane. The wah-wah pedal near the end of the track adds a nice retro feel to the song. The retro feel to the Rock and Roll on this track adds a nice amount of energy to the end of the release, and brings the album called 4:30 to a close on an energetic note.

4:30 from Angela Perley is an album with many different angles as the singer-songwriter and musician draws inspiration from many different artists and eras. That ever-changing direction creates a release that may very well find a rather diverse audience.  

 

To experience some of the music from Angela Perley, check out the song “Let Go”. 

To hear the entire 4:30 release from Angela Perley, click on the album cover below: 

 

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Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: When In Rome II S/T

Back in the eighties, many British bands made their way into American households by way of the radio for a second time, with the first time having been referred to as the British Invasion. Bands that were part of that “New Wave” included A Flock of Seagulls, Depeche Mode, Duran Duran, Joy Division, and on and on. And while the aforementioned bands were some of the best known, there were plenty of others that were part of the ‘wave” that never gained the same popularity. One such band that had not reached that same popularity here in the United States was the group known as When in Rome.

The original version of When in Rome came together in the late eighties. In 1987, Michael Floreale and Andy O’Connell were recruited by Clive Farrington after Farrington had dissolved the band he had previously been a part of. Together, the trio created a synthesizer-heavy Pop sound that fell into the Synth Pop category, and When in Rome was born. That band would record one album that would produce the band’s only real hit entitled “The Promise,” a song that would reach #11 on the Charts and #1 on the Dance charts here in the U.S. Before too long, this band too would have a falling out, resulting in Michael Floreale being fired by the remaining band members O’Connell and Farrington. Floreale would move to the United States while the other two stayed in Great Britain, and two bands would now use the band name. However, Michael Floreale’s version of the band here in the United States is called When in Rome II.

Under the moniker of When in Rome II, Michael Floreale brought together a new group of musicians. The lineup for When in Rome II would include: new singer/songwriter Johnny Ceravolo as well as Chris Willet (drums) and Michael Floreale (piano and keyboards). This lineup created the band’s 2015 self-titled release. And while this new band still has a sound that revolves around the keyboard, this ensemble’s music draws from Alternative Rock as much as it draws from New Wave. Imagine the synth sound of Depeche Mode from the eighties combining with the darker feel of Depeche Mode from the nineties with some Pop-Rock influences and you get somewhat of an idea of what When in Rome II’s music sounds like. This musical blend appears on the band’s 2015 self-titled release.

The 2015 self-titled release from When in Rome II begins with the track “Last Train”. The track begins with the sound of the synthesizer from Michael Floreale creating a slightly dark atmospheric approach. Soon, that synthesizer is joined by Johnny Ceravolo on guitar helping to complete the Alternative Rock feel to the track. What results is a sound that blends together some Depeche Mode with some Nine Inch Nails. The track has a strong, driving feel to the music that places the song somewhere in the middle of the nineties, musically speaking. The song contains rather grave lyrics as the words were inspired by someone attempted to end his life in front of a train, hence the title of the track. The overall feel of the song sort of brings to mind the song “Blasphemous Rumours” from Depeche Mode as both songs come from rather grim places.  

When In Rome II continues their album with the song “Come On”. With this track, the music takes on a lighter feel as a lot of the dark musical undertones of the last track are replaced by more Pop-like notes, bringing the band’s sound closer to what When in Rome had been in the eighties. In fact, “Come On” feels like a combination of eighties New Wave and early U2. This musical blend creates a track with a very commercial feel to it. Lyrically, the band seems to create a track that answers the dark, grave message in “Last Train” with a lighter, more upbeat message that life actually is worth living.

The feel of the music changes on the next track called “Let it Go”. Where the first two track are very synth-heavy, “Let it Go” showcases the guitar playing of Johnny Ceravolo as the acoustic guitar helps to create the musical base to the track. That acoustic guitar creates a much lighter pace to the music, creating a sound that is almost Pop-like. That Pop-Rock blends together acoustically-driven music that is flavored by the addition of the electric guitar to create a track that would easily fit onto a Top 40 radio format. And with the upbeat lyrics of the track that encourage the listener to see the bright side of things, this track would fit rather well on those Top 40 radio stations.

It is with the next track called “Eventide” that When in Rome II creates one of the most listener-friendly tracks on the album. The track begins with the swirling sound of a synthesizer creating a loop that brings to mind something from the eighties. That synthesizer loop is then layered with piano, guitar, bass and drums to create sound that feels rather timeless. What results is a track that would have fit anywhere in the late eighties into the nineties. This track brings to mind a newer version of the sound found in “The Promise,” the track that once made a name for When in Rome. Like earlier tracks on the self-titled release from When in Rome II, “Eventide” is a rather commercial track that would fit well on Top 40 radio alongside U2, INXS, or even the more commercial tracks from Duran Duran.

On the track “Giving Up,” When in Rome II brings back a Pop-Rock feel to the music as the track features the sound the piano as the main instrument creating a track with a soft, easy feel to the music, much like songs from the Lite Rock days of the eighties. The easy feel of the music, the sound of the piano and the light guitar in the back of the song all blend together and create a sound that is rather reminiscent of someone like Little River Band or Air Supply who were known for their overly laidback musical approach. For fans of that style of music, “Giving Up” is a nice reminder of that era.

While 2015 release from When in Rome II features mainly new material, this band brings their album to a close with the very song that made a name for the band- “The Promise”. And while the Michael Floreale-led band does revisit this track, they do not recreate what had come before. After all, this is not the same band and they do not have the same feel as the original trio. The 2015 version of the song, called “The Promise 2.0” finds the band creating a rather different version of the classic track. Where the original song had the New Wave feel to the Rock and Roll, the new version finds the band slowing things down and creating a track with a slower pace to it. The track also has a more prominent piano presence than the original version. And with Johnny Ceravolo’s deeper register when compared with Clive Farrington’s vocals, the deeper voice and slower pace create a track that feels more like a ballad than the original track. After a minute or so, the band returns a bit of the energy back to song. The track lives up to the original versions and while “The Promise 2.0” is not that original track, the listener will find this new version grows on them rather quickly.  

The original band called When in Rome only lasted three years before it imploded. When in Rome II has already bypassed that mark and is still going. In fact, Michael Floreale’s When in Rome II (with new vocalist Tony Fennell) is currently making the rounds as part of the Siriusxm Presents Totally 80’s Live tour with The Motels and Bow Wow Wow. Check out the 2015 self-titled release from When in Rome II, then check the internet to see if and when the tour is coming to your town.

 

To check out the music of When in Rome II, check out the track “The Promise 2.0”.

To check out the self-titled album from When in Rome II, click on the album cover below: 

 

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Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: The Amplifier Heads “Loudah”

The Amplifier Heads is a Boston-based band consisting mainly of Sal Baglio. Sal Baglio is a singer-songwriter and guitarist who has spent over thirty years in the music industry creating straight-out Rock and Roll music. Most of that time has been spent with one band- The Stompers, a band that came together in the East Boston, Massachusetts area back in 1977. That band, strangely enough, is still out there performing the music that made them so popular all those years ago.

However, as far as The Stompers are concerned, the band mainly exists today as a tribute to the very music that they created way back when. What that means is that every so often, the band will get together to perform their music live onstage in a concert setting. But as far as new material is concerned, The Stompers have not created anything new, musically speaking, since their last release, 2009’s Stompilation, which combines music from every era of the band and puts it all in one place as a 21-track Best Of album.

While The Stompers have not produced any new music for an extended amount of time, the same, happily, cannot be said for singer-songwriter Sal Baglio. Even though The Stompers aren’t creating anything new, Baglio has created several solo albums of his own over the years. And then, there’s the new musical venture for Baglio; a band that takes Baglio’s style of songwriting and puts it out there in the form of a new project. That new project being called The Amplifier Heads.

The Amplifier Heads is a band consisting mainly of Sal Baglio as he provides vocals, guitar and bass to the tracks that make up the debut release called Loudah. Along with Baglio, producer Ducky Carlisle provides the drums for the project, and Jeff Keithline appears on bass for three of the tracks. For the rest of the instrumentation on the album, the music comes from several other musicians who add their talents to one or two tracks on the release each. Together as a whole, Sal Baglio and Company create an album under the moniker of The Amplifier Heads that makes use of different forms of Rock and Roll, staying solidly within a Classic Rock format.

The debut release of Loudah from The Amplifier Heads begins with the track “The Boy with the Amplifier Head”. In a time where we are trying to steer the youth of today away from bullying, “The Boy with the Amplifier Head” tells the tale of a kid who was picked on by everyone in his age group for being different. The track features a Rock and Roll sound that blends together some seventies-era music with just a little British Invasion influence thrown in. What results is a song that would fit right alongside music from the likes of Badfinger or maybe The Raspberries.

With the next track called “Beat Club,” Sal Baglio and Ducky Carlisle are joined on bass by Jeff Keithline. Together, the trio creates a Rock and Roll sound that sets the music in the middle of the seventies. The track feels like something that would have existed at the same time as Glam Rock. In fact, the main musical influence that seems to come through on the track is the influence of Marc Bolan and his band T. Rex. You could easily imagine “Beat Club” from The Amplifier Heads alongside a track like “20th Century Boy” from that band.

While the previous song of “Beat Club” brings to mind music from the likes of Marc Bolan and T. Rex, the next track called “Jaw Teaser” screams The Rolling Stones. One reason in particular for that is because Sal Baglio sings the words “Jaw Teaser” with the exact same delivery Mick Jagger uses when singing the words “Brown Sugar”. The track also seems to have a similar feel to the music that “Brown Sugar” has. Musically, there is some musical influence from the Stones as well, but that’s just because the track features a sound that keeps it squarely within the Rock and Roll music of the seventies. That Rolling Stones feel to the music even continues on the next track called “Starleen”. The song contains a straight-forward Rock and Roll feel to the music, with a bit of The Stones influence thrown in.

The Amplifier Heads featuring Sal Baglio is not just a band with a Classic Rock feel to the music. The band also seems to have a slight sense of humor when it comes to writing the lyrics to the songs; at least, that’s the way it seems with the track “Two-Headed Girl”. Because of the Glam Rock feel to the music once again, the track falls into the same basic musical time period as “Beat Club”. It is with the slightly humorous lyrics to the song that the listener finds Baglio describing a date with a woman with two heads (maybe a way of saying “split personality” without actually coming out and saying it?). The track once again would be perfectly fine being included within music from the seventies. And with the addition of a slight sense of humor, the track of “Two-Headed Girl” stands out from the rest of the album.

Loudah from The Amplifier Heads continues with the track “Big Wax Lips”. Just as “Two-Headed Girl” comes to an end, Sal Baglio and Duck Carlisle create yet another track with a sense of humor. Where the lyrics to “Two-Headed Girl” may suggest a split personality, the lyrics to “Big Wax Lips” contain many plays on words. While many may think the track is about different forms of candy, Baglio is not referring to that. Much of the Loudah release from The Amplifier Heads finds the music to be rather reminiscent of styles and bands from days gone by, mostly from around the time of the seventies. This places the music in the retro category. “Big Wax Lips” is also retro in feel; but for this track, Baglio and Carlisle create music reminiscent of the Akron, Ohio band The Black Keys.

Where most of the album features the playing and singing of Sal Baglio, the final track of the release called “Rock Candy” features the playing of drummer Paul Armstrong of the Syracuse band The Flashcubes, a band much like Baglio’s group The Stompers as they date back to the seventies like The Stompers do. In fact, the track “Rock Candy” is mainly Paul Armstrong hammering away rather impressively on the drumkit with musical accompaniment from Baglio. And much like the previous track, the song contains much than a slight reference to bands like The Black Keys. “Rock Candy” is very energetic as it brings the albums to a close and leaves the listener who is looking for real Rock and Roll rather satisfied.

In a musical world where much of the current bands and musicians today are creating music based within the Pop-Rock style of music heavy on the “pop,” it’s always refreshing to find a musician like Sal Baglio who takes his band The Amplifier Heads and creates real, honest Rock and Roll. Loudah from Boston’s The Amplifier Heads may just be the debut release for this outfit, but it’s a rather impressive debut. And with each track on the release being mainly below the three-minute mark, the album is very listener-friendly, as well as radio-friendly. For those looking for straight-out Rock and Roll with plenty of energy, look no further than Loudah from The Amplifier Heads.  

 

For a taste of the Rock and Roll music from Sal Baglio and his band called The Amplifier Heads, check out the first track from the Loudah release called “The Boy With the Amplifier Head”.

https://theamplifierheads.bandcamp.com/track/the-boy-with-the-amplifier-head

To check out the entire release of Loudah from The Amplifier Heads, click on the album cover below:  

Categories
Concert Preview

Composer Jeremy Schonfeld Brings 2011’s Iron and Coal to the Stage as Part of the 2019-2020 Prototype Festival Season

It was back in 2011 that singer-songwriter Jeremy Schonfeld would create a rather personal release called Iron & Coal. Just recently, Schonfeld made the album current and relative once again as the release was given new life as a staged production. You might recognize Jeremy Schonfeld from his role as “Daniel” from the 2009 film Clear Blue Tuesday, the film revolving around several people who just had their lives ripped apart because of 9/11. And along with adding his acting talents, Schonfeld contributed “The Fuck-Up Song” to the soundtrack of the movie as well as the big group number entitled “The Ritual”. After taking on such a powerful role as the one he played in that powerful movie, it was natural for Schonfeld to want to explore his own family and where he came from. This is where his 2011 album of Iron & Coal came from.

A lot of people refer to making an album as a “project”. For Jeremy Schonfeld, that is just what Iron & Coal is. The singer/piano player created this album that centers on his feelings for those relatives who survived the holocaust in World War II. Each of the songs on the release helps promote his own thoughts about the experiences of his family members. This album feels very personal as you listen to the 13 tracks that help create the release.

2011’s Iron and Coal from Jeremy Schonfeld

The Iron & Coal release begins with “Mourner’s Kaddish”. The track brings a little of the feeling of sorrow and remembrance to the release. The piano-based track is very powerful and beautiful. Part of the reason for that comes from the beginning of the track that acts much like a prayer as Schonfeld is joined by a choir as singer and chorus create a moment together. About halfway through the track, the feel of the song changes dramatically. The track takes on a Pop-Rock feel reminiscent of something from someone like Bruce Hornsby as the resulting music and lyrical content from Schonfeld about remembering his father and the times they shared create this particular track. This split song is a very powerful lead-in for the rest of the album that is a very personal recording, as the song is a message from a son to his father.

“Dead Beat Heart” picks up the pace and adds more energy to the new release from Jeremy Schonfeld. Where the previous track was piano-based with a Pop-Rock approach, “Dead Beat Heart” comes with a stronger Rock and Roll feel. That increase in energy comes from the electric guitar at the beginning of the track. Soon, Schonfeld’s piano returns to the music. What is created is a piano-based track with some guitar included in the mix that feels like a stronger version of music created by the likes of, say, Ben Folds Five. The upbeat tempo of the song helps downplay the slightly pessimistic lyrics that go along with the memories of days gone by. Compared to the track it follows, “Dead Beat Heart” feels like it could be released as a single off of the album.

On “Good Stuff,” Schonfeld creates the first real moment on the release where you really get to experience the power in his voice. The song is also the first moment where the listener gets to enjoy some real strong rock and roll. The track features a straight-out Power Rock feel to the music with some of the strongest guitar on the entire release. The guitar-led Rock and Roll music feels like it would have been right at home on radio formats such as 80’s Power Rock. With the playing of the musicians, the power of the music and the positive message of the lyrics about looking for only the good in life, “Good Stuff” is easily the best and most commercial track on the 2011 Iron & Coal release from Jeremy Schonfeld.

The song “Save Me” is another track that contains a very strong rock approach in the music. This time, the music blends together some strong Rock and Roll influences with an equal amount of Funk. That energetic feeling in the music is a good match for the lyrics as the words of the song are interesting to listen to. The lyrics to “Save Me” have two different interpretations at once: One, the singer wants to be saved from the actual people that were running after him. And two, the singer wants to be saved from the nightmares that were left over from those actions years later after the situation was over. The strong feel of the music really reinforces the feeling one gets from a nightmare.

“Yedid Nefesh/Good Man” changes the feel of the release. The track brings back the piano-based approach found on the track “Mourner’s Kaddish”. The song about doubting one’s self because of someone else’s actions goes from a classical feel with a chorus and strings to a song with a slightly jazzy feel as the song changes directions and languages. And much like that initial track of the album, “Yedid Nefesh/Good Man” features a split feel to the music with the same easy feeling at the beginning and stronger musical approach for the second half of the song. The second half of the song features an almost Latin flavor to the music as Schonfeld sings about the self-doubt that his family members must have felt as they experienced the pain they suffered through during World War 2.

Jeremy Schonfeld pairs the classical and Latin approaches from the track “Yedid Nefesh/Good Man” with the stronger feel of the “Bad Man,” the next track of the album. With this track, Schonfeld combines a Funk approach to the music with a strong Gospel feel to the music, in much the same way Marc Cohn had created his track “Walking in Memphis,” except that “Bad Man” from Jeremy Schonfeld is a lot closer to Rock and Roll than Gospel. The lyrical content of the song “Bad Man” continues the same kind of self-doubt that was present on the previous track but kicks up the energy level with more of a rock and roll feel to the music of this track.

One of the most emotional tracks on Iron & Coal from Jeremy Schonfeld is the song “If Ever”. The music features not only Schonfeld’s piano but also a very powerful orchestration that helps add a lot of beauty to a release that already contains a lot of pain and suffering. The track begins with a musical approach that immediately brings to mind the musical portion of the song “Orinoco Flow (Sail Away)” from Enya. The reason is because the strings on both songs contain the same New Age feel to them. Before long, that New Age feel turns into a Pop-Rock sound as Schonfeld and Company add a generous amount of Rock and Roll sound to the track, as well as plenty of strings due to the aforementioned addition of the strings. With this track, Schonfeld creates lyrics about a man singing to his love interest about what might happen if and/or when the two become separated. While there is still a hint of pain in the lyrics, the beauty in the music and words for “If Ever” is a nice change from the outright pain that Schonfeld had been expressing in the tracks that had come before.

The title track from Jeremy Schonfeld’s new album, “Iron and Coal/I Gotta Song,” is one of the best tracks on the release. The quiet prayer for a better life from someone in a very difficult situation begins with only Schonfeld and his piano. Eventually, the track builds to a climax that includes the sound of strings features Schonfeld letting loose while stretching his vocal cords and showing the strength of his voice. When the track transitions from the “Iron and Coal” half to the “I Gotta Song” half, Jeremy Schonfeld declares that he must let the joy in his heart out in the form of a song. The inclusion of the bells and strings at the end of the track bring a little more beauty to this release.

Jeremy Schonfeld’s 2011 album, Iron and Coal, comes to an end with the song entitled “Epilogue: The Story of Love”. The final track of the release comes complete with a musical feel that feels like the ending song of a Hollywood movie. Of course, as the album had been created in a way that felt as if Jeremy Schonfeld was telling a story that makes perfect sense. And much like the earlier track of “Save Me” that featured lyrics that could be interpreted in two ways from two different angles, this track has lyrics very much like that. On the track, the lyrics Schonfeld sings feel like a man singing a love song to his lady. Of course, as the entire release is a tribute to the struggles his family went through, the actual interpretation of the lyrics is a lot more personal than that as the track is a love song to his relatives.

Iron and Coal from Jeremy Schonfeld was a project that was based around the experiences of his father. Unfortunately, Mr. Schonfeld never got to experience what his son Jeremy had achieved in this album as he passed away the day Iron and Coal was sent away to be mastered.

From the lyrics based around the family history of Jeremy Schonfeld to his very own talent as a singer, piano player and songwriter, there are many different aspects to this release. And then, there is the layout that comes in the booklet included in the Iron & Coal release that adds to the overall experience that the listener will take with them after the music comes to an end. Whatever it is that attracts you to this solid release from Jeremy Schonfeld, there is much to see, hear and overall experience that will keep your attention and keep you entertained.

Promotional Picture for Iron & Coal from Jeremy Schonfeld

What you have just read was a rewriting of the review for Iron and Coal from Jeremy Schonfeld, a review that I had originally created back in 2011. The original review was only around 700 words total. And while Iron and Coal from Jeremy Schonfeld was first released back in 2011, the album has becomes very relevant in today’s world as the album has been given new life. That new life comes in the form of a staged performance of the album. Jeremy Schonfeld and Company are currently finishing up preparations for the stage show that will be taking place in New York City. As soon as Jeremy informed me about these upcoming performances, I knew I needed to help promote the show. And so, I revisited the album, expanded the review, and am now publishing the expanded review here as a way of helping to get the word out for the show.

Very late in 2019, Jeremy Schonfeld reached out to inform me about the upcoming dates for the performances. In his own words, here is what Schonfeld says about the Iron & Coal show:

“Cut to January 10-11! Iron & Coal will be produced in New York as part of the prestigious Prototype Festival. Conducted by David Bloom, Iron & Coal features the Contemporaneous Ensemble, Brooklyn Youth Choir, and Mastervoices. All told, about 175 performers this time! Additionally, joining me on stage will be Rinde Eckert (playing the older version of my father), and Daniel Rowan (playing the younger version of my father). I am very excited to bring this to NYC! Beth Morrison, our producer, is one of the festival’s founders, and her enthusiastic and supportive team continues to lead the charge for I&C. Ideally, this is just the next chapter in a journey that began many years ago.

The big concert events are on January 10-11. If those two showcases at the Prototype Festival were the last big event performances I played of the show as a whole, I would truly be satisfied that I have achieved all I needed to on a personal level. Obviously, my hope is to be able to roll this machine out to the world, but honestly, I’m already incredibly proud of the work I/we have done!”

As I just stated, the staged production of Iron and Coal from Jeremy Schonfeld is currently wrapping up preparations for the dates of January 10th and 11th of 2020. For complete information about Iron & Coal taking place at the Prototype Festival and featuring the Contemporaneous Ensemble, Brooklyn Youth Choir, and Mastervoices, visit the website for the event HERE. (Photo of Jeremy Schonfeld taken from http://www.jeremyschonfeld.com/)

 

For a just a taste of the music from the staged production of Iron and Coal, check out the song “If Ever” from the show.

For more information, check out the promo for the Prototype Festival staged production of Iron and Coal from Jeremy Schonfeld. 

Categories
Featured Review Reviews and Suggestions

Matheson Kamin’s Best of List for 2019

The year of 2019 is coming to a close. That means it’s time for everyone who reviews music to put together their Best Of lists. This one is mine. And like with many of the Best Of lists I have done through the years, this one comes in several parts.

The first part of the list consists of ten albums of original music that I had reviewed in 2019. The ten releases in the main section of the article are those releases that need to be mentioned one last time before the year comes to an end. Most of the reviews come from this site for the Rock and Roll Report. However, two of the reviews were originally posted in my own WordPress site called Matheson’s Entertainment Blog

The second part of the list consists of only two releases, but they still have great meaning to me. And coincidentally, both albums are from singer-songwriters that have the same first name.
The first album in this section,
Emily Mure’s Sad Songs and Waltzes, is a release that features Mure re-imaging some very good songs from days gone by. As it is a release of only cover tracks, I did not want to include it in the main portion of the list. Instead, I am placing it in the second portion of the article.
And with Emily Strand’s
Delay in the Connection, I had found a review from a long time ago that had never been published for one reason or another. I had given the singer-songwriter and this release some coverage around the time that it was out but had never actually created a full review that would appear online. Finishing and publishing what should have been the 2005 review of this strong release in early March of this year, I wanted to include it in the list for 2019, even if it is not from the same decade much less the same year. So I placed the 2004 release in this section. 

The third and final section of my Best of List for 2019 features some of the best songs that have remained with me throughout the entire year. These songs deserve to be promoted one last time before the year comes to an end.

With all of that in mind, may I present Matheson Kamin’s Best of 2019 List:

 

1 Benny Bassett “Words For Yesterday”

It was back in 2014 that the band Vintage Blue released their EP called No Going Back. That release would prove to be the band’s last release. Shortly afterward, lead singer Benny Bassett would take the next step and go on his own as a solo artist. And as such, Bassett has created releases that have stayed in a relatively close musical frame of mind as what had been created by his former band. To date, Bassett has released one album and one EP of original music of his own since the members of the band went their separate ways. Having just recently put out the acoustic EP called Rosemont Sessions – Volume One which finds Bassett segueing from older material to the newer songs, he has just released his newest EP called Words for Yesterday. Words for Yesterday from Benny Bassett finds the singer-songwriter in fine form. The new EP is perfect for any fan of Adult Contemporary music. The release gives the listener a good cross section of what Bassett can do. The EP comes with a lot of the same kind of Adult Contemporary flavor that was present in his music with his former band of Vintage Blue while it also shows off his ability to stretch as an artist. 

Read the entire article HERE

 

2 The Good Morning Nags “Hard Hope” 

Six-piece NYC based ensemble The Good Morning Nags dates back almost a decade as they formed back in 2010. Today’s version of the band consists of Tim Hassler (fiddle, vocals), Ben Quinn (mandolin, guitar, harmonium, and vocals), Titus Tompkins (percussion, mandolin, vocals) and Britt Reagan (guitar, dulcimer, vocals) as well as Mark Spitznagel (banjo, vocals) and Pete O’Neill (bass, vocals). This ensemble of musicians takes their various musical influences and creates a style that revolves around a Folk-Rock/Country-Rock style of music. Having already released seven-song self-titled EP back in 2017, the band recently returned with a new album of music. That 2019 album is entitled Hard Hope. The Hard Hope release from The Good Morning Nags finds the band building upon that earlier release. While most of this release falls into the Americana category, this is a solid album of music that actually outshines the earlier release, which indicates that the band is growing as a unit. 

Read the entire article HERE

 

3 Bird Streets S/T

John Brodeur is a New York-based singer-songwriter who has spent the last twenty years as basically a one-man band, creating several albums of Indie Rock. The last release to come from Brodeur came out in 2013 and that album was called Little Hopes. Cut to five years later and a new album from Brodeur was created. But this particular release was slightly different from what had come before. Right around the time he was wrapping up production on the Little Hopes album, John Brodeur found himself looking to create something new. This time, however, he decided not to go it alone. Brodeur got in contact with multi-faceted artist Jason Faulkner and talked Faulkner into helping him produce the music for a new venture. The result is a musical project known as Bird Streets, a moniker that came from a section of the area known as the Hollywood Hills. Brodeur spent time in both 2014 and 2016 working alongside Faulkner during which time they created the debut album for Bird Streets. The self-titled debut release from Bird Streets was released in 2018. As you make your way through the various tracks that make up the self-titled debut release from Bird Streets, there is plenty on the album to keep fans of John Brodeur happy. Plus, the inclusion of Jason Faulkner helps add new dimensions to his music that weren’t there before. Together, John Brodeur and Jason Faulkner create an album that fans of the eighties, nineties and today will truly enjoy as influences from all of those decades help to shape the music of this release.

Read the entire article HERE

4 Falling Stars “Let it All Go”

Falling Stars is a Cleveland, Ohio-based Rock and Roll band. The main backbone of the band, Chris Allen and Tim Parnin have been creating music within the Greater Cleveland area for around fifty years of combined experience. While Chris Allen and Tim Parnin have been kicking around the area for years, it was only when the two artists decided to collaborate that they actually played together. They called upon Dave Padrutt and Gary Porter for their new band. In 2017, Falling Stars put out their initial release called Stranded in the Future, an album that found the band drawing from several different styles and time periods of Rock and Roll in order to bring their song to life. What resulted was a release that was the perfect addition to any Rock and Roll lover’s music collection. Two years have passed. Chris Allen, Tim Parnin and the rest released the band released as their second release, an EP called Let It All Go. Let It All Go is rather short with only four tracks. And those four tracks contain only about eleven minutes of music as each of the four songs lasts for just over two-and-a-half minutes a piece. But no matter how short the EP happens to be, each track shows off the various musical influences that help to shape the sound of the band. Whether it is the genres of music that the band draws from, or the person behind the production board who helps to shape the sound of the tracks, the four songs contained within Let It All Go from Falling Stars combine to create an EP that shows off the progression of the four band mates of Chris Allen, Tim Parnin, Dave Padrutt and Gerry Porter as a group.

Read the entire article HERE

 

5 Griffin House “Rising Star”

Griffin House is a musician and singer-songwriter who went in the direction of music when he could have taken a much different path in life. He was offered a golf scholarship to Ohio University but chose Miami University in Oxford, Ohio instead. While there, he focused his free time on learning to play guitar and write songs. Griffin House has released a number of albums and other releases that contain his version of Americana music, which contains a strong, underlying Rock and Roll flavor to the music as well as other musical influences. The most current album from the singer-songwriter, released earlier this year, is entitled Rising Star. Like other albums in Griffin House’s discography, the ever-changing feel of the music within the Rising Star album keeps the album interesting. Much of the new release from Griffin House blends together, creating a loose storyline throughout the tracks. But since the album was created at the same time a documentary film starring House was being created, that’s understandable. And with the loose storyline running through the tracks, this ends up being one of the more interesting albums produced by the singer-songwriter.   

Read the entire article HERE

 

6 Erica Blinn “Better Than Gold”

Currently calling the city of Nashville, Tennessee home, Erica Blinn is a singer-songwriter from Columbus, Ohio. Performing for the musician started rather young as she was only a teenager when she started playing the harmonica which would lead to her exploration of other instruments which includes the guitar, the instrument that she plays on stage when in concert. As a songwriter, Erica Blinn has released three albums: 2011’s self-titled EP, 2014’s Lovers in the Dust, and her most current album, 2018’s Better than Gold. It is that last album on which Blinn is currently touring. The Better than Gold album Erica Blinn finds her creating songs that contain many different styles of music. From straight-out Rock and Roll to Pop-Rock with some funkiness to it, the various tracks on the album help give the album depth. And with those various musical elements, Erica Blinn’s abilities as a singer-songwriter comes through rather well. The album ends up being strong from beginning to end.

Read the entire article HERE

 

7 The Motels “The Last Few Beautiful Days”

The band known as The Motels has been creating music for almost fifty years. While the band has had a few hit singles over the years (which included “Only The Lonely,” “Suddenly Last Summer” and a few others), the band has been rather low-key. Between 1971 and today, the band has gone through several different versions, used several different names and has even gone through periods where there wasn’t a version of the band at all when lead singer Martha Davis was recording and touring under her own music. After an extended period where The Motels were not a thing, Martha Davis and others formed a version of the band. This band created the album Clean Modern and Reasonable in September 2007, the first album from The Motels in 22 years. The current version of The Motels consists of: Martha Davis, Clint Walsh Guitar, Nic Johns Bass, Marty Jourard Keyboards and Sax and Eric Gardner Drums. This version of The Motels have created the newest album under the moniker of The Motels, 2018’s The Last Few Beautiful Days. For those who have enjoyed songs like “Suddenly Last Summer,” “Remember the Nights,” and “Only The Lonely” from The Motels over the last forty years, then the band’s newest release of The Last Few Beautiful Days should be an album you will enjoy. The reason for that is because the new release from The Motels feels like much of the band’s previous albums as the music of this album find Martha Davis and band drawing inspiration from the past.   

Read the entire article HERE

 

8 The Persian Leaps “Electrical Living”

Drew Forsberg is the driving force behind the St. Paul, Minnesota-based band called The Persian Leaps. Having been created by Forsberg back in the early days of this decade, the band was mainly a musical outlet for Forsberg who used the moniker of The Persian Leaps to release his solo music. Eventually, however, it became necessary to create a real band to perform the music. And through the lifetime of The Persian Leaps, the musical outfit has gone through several stages, from the solo project to a full band, changing sizes depending on how many people were in the band at the time. Throughout the time that The Persian Leaps have existed, the musical outfit has released a generous amount of 5-song EPs. Then the band released its first full-length album, Pop That Goes Crunch, last year. And having already released one album of music, The Persian Leaps returns in 2019 with yet another one. This time, the new release from the band is entitled Electrical Living. Throughout the release entitled Electrical Living, The Persian Leaps create an album that alternates between Power Pop and Alternative Rock. When combined together, the eleven songs on the release create one solid album that features many radio-friendly tracks for those who like the music of the late eighties/early nineties. And while this particular album is a break from the norm for The Persian Leaps founder Drew Forsberg, the choice to go in a different direction resulted in a strong release that is absolutely worth checking out.

Read the entire article HERE

 

9 Gretchen Pleuss “Daughter of the Broader Skies”

Gretchen Pleuss is an Ohio-bred singer-songwriter who makes her home in Akron and performs regularly around the Northeastern Ohio region. Not only does she perform her own music in venues around the area, she also hosts an Open-mic night at the Uncorked Wine Bar. As a singer-songwriter, Pleuss creates music that is strongly based in Folk-Rock. And it is that style of music that can be found on Pleuss’ albums Out of Dreams (2013) and From Birth, To Breath, To Bone (2016). Pleuss recently added to that discography with her latest album, 2019’s Daughter of the Broader Skies. As a musician, Gretchen Pleuss is a guitarist that has developed a rather jazzy style to her playing. That jazzy playing style from Pleuss helps to shape the feel of her Folk-Rock music, which is very evident in her latest album of Daughter of the Broader Skies.  Pleuss’ new release contains many songs that have a light, bouncy feel to them. But the songs on the album that come with a message keep the release from getting too light and easy. The dozen tracks on the release show off the talent of Gretchen Pleuss as a singer-songwriter as well as musician.   
 
Read the entire article HERE

 

10 Hadley Kennary “Habits”

Chicago, Illinois native Hadley Kennary is a singer-songwriter who, like many trying to make it in the music industry, has moved to Nashville to be part of the vibrant music scene in that town. And being in Nashville, Kennary is starting to get noticed. That has to do with her strong vocals and her writing ability. Both of those qualities have led to many accolades such as winning second place in the Telluride Bluegrass Festival Troubadour Songwriting Competition, as well as being included in several other contests. To date, Hadley Kennary released a self-titled release in 2011, the In Fall album in 2013 and the Momentum EP in 2016. Just recently, Kennary released her newest EP of music. The 2019 release from the singer-songwriter is titled Habits. Habits from Hadley Kennary is a strong five–song release. And with the Pop-Rock, Alternative Rock, even Top 40 influences in the songs, the album gives the listener a short, but accurate indication of the talents of Kennary. Whether you are a fan of Pop-Rock, Alternative Rock, even Top 40 music, there’s something here for any lover of Rock and Roll music.  

Read the entire article HERE

 

Extra #1: Emily Mure “Sad Songs and Waltzes”

Having been classically-trained as an oboist, New York City’s singer-songwriter Emily Mure would later move to the guitar with which she would find her true calling as a Folk musician. Emily Mure has released three albums of original Contemporary Folk music. But now, the most current release from the singer-songwriter finds her exploring a much different idea. Mure’s newest release, entitled Sad Songs & Waltzes, is a short five-track release where Mure reinvents some of the songs that helped influence her, even if those songs don’t actually fall into the same musical category that she is classified under. The Sad Songs & Waltzes release from Emily Mure is a well-named release as all of the tracks (“Gone for Good” from the band The Shins, the album’s title track of “Sad Songs and Waltzes” written by Willie Nelson, The Cranberries’ song “When You’re Gone,” Wilco’s “The Lonely 1,” “No Surprises,” by Radiohead, and “Yellow” from Coldplay) contain rather sad lyrics to them. Together with the Folk-inspired arrangements, the six resulting cover tracks create a solid release that is familiar and intriguing at the same time. And although each track falls into the Folk category because of the arrangements of the songs, the release also belongs within the Rock and Roll music category because of the songs and the artists who created them originally being of the Rock and Roll style.

Read the entire article HERE

Extra #2: Emily Strand “Delay in the Connection”

Dayton-based Emily Strand is a musician who is currently creating music that is largely based in the Folk music genre. Her style of music blends together a large amount of Folk influence with an equal amount of Rock and Roll. That Folk/Rock blend created by Strand is matched up with her vocal talent to create a sound that is easily reminiscent of earlier female Folk artists like Joni Mitchell or Carly Simon. And while Strand does have a sound that is very similar to the likes of Joni Mitchell, her sound is slightly more commercial. Taking all of that into consideration it is not surprising that Strand’s music is as catchy as it is. Emily Strand has already released her own music. The singer-songwriter (and guitarist) released her debut release entitled Evansville. Strand added to her music collection with her latest release entitled Delay in the Connection. Delay in the Connection from Emily Strand is a solid release throughout the ten tracks that are included on it. The base of Folk music threads its way through the album, but the release has plenty of moments that contain a lot of energy.  And several of the tracks on the album contain plenty of promise as they feel like hit singles yet to be released. If you are a fan of artists like Ani Difranco, Joni Mitchell, Sheryl Crow or even Alanis Morissette, Emily Strand is one artist you need to add to your music collection. And you should start off with this album of Delay in the Connection. 

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Top 5 Songs from 2019 (in no real order):

1 Bird Streets “Betting on the Sun”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RJGftkNgaik

2 Hadley Kennary “Casual”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=63&v=-fZaqMRNrqE&feature=emb_logo

3 The Good Morning Nags “Birmingham”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4fCTfClEy-4

4 The Motels “Punchline”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=x5ycH5rtMA4&feature=emb_logo

5 Falling Stars “Let it All Go”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r4WL5h5wrWo&feature=emb_logo