Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Mutts “Stick Together”

Singer-songwriter and piano player Mike Maimone and founding member of the band Mutts found his voice as a musician while living in his home state of Ohio. While he was in the Buckeye State, Maimone honed his craft as musician and writer releasing one album under his own name. In late 2008, Maimone put out his only solo album entitled Open Mic Nights, Empty Bottle Mornings.

Within one year after the release of that album, however, Mike Maimone found himself making a new home for himself in the city of Chicago. In that city, Maimone would befriend other Chicagoans and together, they would form the three-piece band called Mutts, a band that has been described as “if Tom Waits fronted a garage band”. Since the inception of that band, Mutts has created and released several albums and EPs. Mutts, a band that consists of Mike Maimone on vocals, piano, organ; Bob Buckstaff on guitar and Chris Pagnani on drums is currently celebrating the release of their newest EP. That five-song release is entitled Stick Together.

Stick Together, the newest release from Mutts, begins with the track “I’ll Be Around”. A song that says it doesn’t matter who you are or who you love, “I’ll Be Around” is a track that blends a romantic message with a rather strong musical approach. Where most romantic tracks would be soft and pretty, “I’ll Be Around” has a powerful backbone to go along with the reassuring lyrics about being who you are. The track has an infectious melody that is very listener-friendly but is still strong enough to be a solid radio-friendly single.

The new release from Mutts continues with the track “Neighbor”. In much the same way as the previous track, “Neighbor” is a track that features a strong message. Where “I’ll Be Around” says love is stronger than hate, “Neighbor” is a track that makes it clear that if you accept me for who I am, we will get by. And while the two tracks have very similar lyrical content, “Neighbor” steps it up a notch as the track has a much stronger and harder feel to the Rock and Roll music that accompanies the track’s powerful lyrics. To add just a bit of softness to the track, Mutts are joined by fellow musician and Chicagoan Jennifer Hall as she some harmony to the lyrics of the track.

One of the strongest and most commercial tracks on the five-song release entitled Stick Together is the song “Let’s Go”. While most of the music created by Mutts is piano-oriented and features Mike Maimone’s piano playing, “Let’s Go” shows off a slightly different side to the band. “Let’s Go” is a track that features the guitar playing of Bob Buckstaff as the main instrument. The guitar creates a different sound and feel to the band’s music…at least for one track. The song also features a strong groove and a call-and-response feel to the background vocals on the track. “Let’s Go” would easily translate well to a live setting.

To go along with the guitar-driven feel of “Let’s Go,” Mutts includes the track “Tin Foil Hat,” another track that features the playing of guitarist Bob Buckstaff. The track shows off the less serious side of the band as the track’s lyrics deal with conspiracy theories. The track’s lyrics suggest getting a “tin foil hat” in order to keep people from listening in on your thoughts. While the lyrics are rather fun, so is the music to the track. The band creates a track that has a strong beat that dares you to get up and dance. “Tin Foil Hat” seems to be fun on many different levels.

The newest release from Mike Maimone and the rest of the boys comes to an end with the song “Don’t Touch It”. On this song, the band creates a track that has a sound that brings back the feel of straight-out Rock and Roll songs from the eighties. The timeless feel of the track comes with lyrics that suggest that you keep your hands to yourself. “Don’t Touch It” is a strong track with a fun feel to the music that helps bring the short release to an end on a strong note.

The newest release from Chicago-based band Mutts called Stick Together shows off the group’s ability to create fun songs that ultimately have a meaning to them. The result is a Rock and Roll release that starts strong, ends strong, and could be a lot longer.


To help promote the album, Mutts has released the track “I’ll Be Around” as a single and video. Click HERE to check out the video. 


To check out “Stick Together” from Mutts, click on the album cover below:

Mutts CD Cover

Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Voice of Addiction “The Lost Art of Empathy”

There are many different musicians and artists that make a statement in their art. One such musician who has been using his music as a way to make a statement about the way the world is Ian Tomele.

Ian Tomele grew up in the city of Cleveland, Ohio where many find living in the Rust Belt to be rather tough. But living in the Blue Collar town helped to form Tomele’s view of the world and that view of the world would later help to influence the Punk Rock music of Voice of Addiction, a Chicago, Illinois-based band that released its debut self-titled release in 2004.

Years have passed, but Tomele is still being influenced by the ways of the world. And his band of Voice of Addiction is still making a statement through their music. And while the band has seen a continuous line of musicians come and go, it was with the lineup of Dennis Tynan on drums, Jake Smith on guitars/backing vocals, Luke Ostojic on backing vocals that the band’s newest album was created. The newest album from Voice of Addiction is entitled The Lost Art of Empathy.

The Lost Art of Empathy from Voice of Addiction begins with the track “Rustbelt”. Having grown up in the city of Cleveland, “Rustbelt” is Ian Tomele’s ode to the town that helped make him who he is today. The track features a quick pace to the music which seems to add energy to the lyrics about living in a town where you have to be tough to survive. The energetic nature of “Rustbelt” helps kick off the album in a strong way.

Voice of Addiction’s latest release continues with the track “Dead by Dawn”. The band picks up the intensity of the music and brings a lot more energy to the track than the previous song had. In fact, Ian Tomele, Dennis Tynan and Jake Smith combine their talents to create music that inches closer to Hardcore than Punk Rock on the track. The heaviness of the guitars on the track, as well as the intensity of the lyrics saying that we need to stick together in order to survive shows off just how intense the musicians in Voice of Addiction can be.

To show they are a pure Punk Rock band, Voice of Addiction included a definite punk track on their newest release of The Lost Art of Empathy. “Unity” is a track that finds the band showing off their defiant side as they tell those who want to oppress us that they will not be held down. The track’s quick and energetic pace adds to the punk nature of the track. “Unity” is definitely a pure Punk Rock lover’s dream track.

As a way of showing off his vocal abilities, the beginning of the track “Corporate Pariah” features just the voice of Ian Tomele and Jake Smith’s guitar. The track soon finds the rest of the band joining in. On the track, the band shifts from a straight-out Rock and Roll beginning to a Reggae delivery for a few measures before they take up the Punk Rock style once again. The shifting from one style to the next shows off the abilities of the members of the band. “Corporate Pariah” is easily the most creative track on the new twelve-song release from Voice of Addiction.

With the band Voice of Addiction, Ian Tomele writes and records straight Punk Rock. However, with the track “Lockwood,” Tomele changes directions a bit by creating a track that features a more Pop Punk-like musical delivery. The lighter, bouncier feel of the track makes for a strong and listener-friendly track. The track features lyrics dedicated to the memory of a fan and promotor of Punk Rock in the city of Chicago. While “Lockwood” is about one particular person, the track is a fitting tribute to anyone who helps to keep the style of Punk Rock alive.

On the track “Everything Must Go,” Voice of Addiction goes from one extreme to another. While “Lockwood” features a “pop” feel to the music, on “Everything Must Go,” the band creates a song that brings to mind the sound and style of some of the earlier Punk bands. In the song, you can hear elements of The Sex Pistols and/or The Ramones in the music. With the two tracks together, you get a good indication of just how strong the band’s influences are.

The newest release from Voice of Addiction comes to a close with the track “Are We Even Human Anymore”. This is the only track where the listener gets to experience the talent of Ian Tomele totally as the resulting track features only Tomele and his acoustic guitar. The simple feel of the song sets the track apart from the rest of the album.

The Lost Art of Empathy from Voice of Addiction is a strong Punk Rock album. And while most of the release finds the band making use of their Punk Rock influences, the inclusion of Pop, Hardcore and other musical elements helps to give the album plenty of depth. As the band has been around for over a decade, the newest release from Voice of Addiction proves that the band still has plenty to say and the talent to continue making music that lets their voice be heard.

To hear the music of Voice of Addiction, check out the song “Rustbelt“.

For more information, check out the band’s PR firm, RMG Artist Development.

To purchase The Lost Art of Empathy from Voice of Addiction, click on the album cover below:

The Lost Art of Empathy


Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Vaudevileins “Magician”

The Chicago-based band called Vaudevileins is a musical outfit that seems to switch its sound from one track to the next. Bandmates Bill Aldridge on bass, Brennan Chouinard on drums and vocals, and vocalist/guitarist Jeff Julian recently added guitarist Evan Mohler into the mix. That newly-solidified version of the band seems to be rather open to creating tracks that contain any number of influences and musical elements that keep the band’s music from becoming stale.

On one track, Vaudevileins’ (pronounced vaude-villains) sound feels like a trio with one dominant guitar, while other tracks feature a definite double guitar sound. One track may feel as if it was influenced by modern-day Rock and Roll while others have a more timeless feel to their musical styles.

The current version of the band Vaudevileins with new guitarist Evan Mohler just recorded and released their second full-length album of music. That new release is entitled Magician.

Magician from Vaudevileins begins with the track “Sea Anemone”. The song begins with the double guitar attack of Jeff Julian and Evan Mohler as they create a double-layered guitar riff that adds to the Alternative Rock sound from the entire band. That riff helps lay the foundation for the sound of the track. As the band proceeds in making the track, Julian and Mohler start adding more depth to the music with two-part guitar riffs. The music of the track “Sea Anemone” contains a sound that belongs on Alternative Rock radio formats. The lyrics about trying to survive as a fish in a sea undergoing change because of Man’s influence on the sea and its environment gives the listener something to think about.

The second track of the release is the album’s title track. “Magician” finds the band changing changing musical directions. In fact, the Prog-rock contained within the track feels as if the band Rush were the ones creating the song’s music. As you listen to the track, you can easily imagine Alex Lifeson, Neil Peart and Geddy Lee playing the music. And even though “Magician” does contain a large amount of Progressive Rock influence, Vaudevileins adds a generous amount of Commercial Rock influence to the song. While the music is very progressive in nature, you could easily imagine “Magician” being played on the radio.

With the track of “Sticky,” Vaudevileins create a song that would fit onto Alternative Rock radio formats back in the nineties. The strong guitar presence as well as the driving bass from Bill Aldridge gives the track a definite Alternative Rock influence.

It is with the very next track that Vaudevileins create a track with a timeless Rock and Roll approach. “Chasing Time” hits the listener with a very strong guitar riff before the rest of the band joins in to make music that would have been right at home during the Glam era of music or the Power Rock time period or even amongst today’s bands like The 1975, another band that exists to make music with a strong Rock and Roll backbone.”Chasing Time” contains enough of a commercial Rock and Roll sound that the track could easily find its way onto today’s radio formats.

The very next track finds the band changing the feel of the album. The track “Hell Jazz” begins with a lighter sound than anything else that had come before on the Magician release. A very gentle guitar plays for a few bars before the bass and drums join in to make up the slow-paced, laidback melody of the track. The inclusion of strings helps to produce a track that ultimately sounds like something that could have been produced by either Pink Floyd or Queensryche . The reason for that feel is that Bill Aldridge created an orchestration for the track that has a definite Michael Kamen vibe to it. “Hell Jazz” may stick out as far as the track on Magician is concerned, but the song gives the listener a much different perspective on Vaudevillians’ music.

With the song of “Fake Cigarette,” the band seems to cross musical eras and influences to create a track that has a timeless sound. The song begins with a beat created by Bill Aldridge’s bass and Brennan Chouinard’s drums. The drum/bass intro brings to mind something from the Glam Rock era of Rock and Roll. The criss-crossing of the guitar through the left and right channels also seems to give the song a definite retro feel. And then, when the entire band begins playing, the track takes on a more modern-day approach to its sound. “Fake Cigarette” ultimately feels right at home on today’s radio stations that feature Modern Rock formats.

The Magician release from Vaudevileins comes to a close with the track “Devils”. The song begins with an instrumental passage that contains an electrified Rock and Roll feel before the band changes directions and brings in an acoustic feel that is reminiscent of something from the band T-Rex. The electric introduction leading into the acoustic approach makes for an interesting shift in sound and direction. The dual approaches at once create one track that shows off the talent and versatility of the musicians that make up the band Vaudevileins.

Magician from Vaudevileins is a solid Rock and Roll release. The band makes use of many different styles, influences and sounds to make a very strong album. The ten tracks on the album are so varied that they keep the listener wanting to hear more.

Click on the album cover below to check out the Magician album from Vaudevileins:








For more information, Check out the band’s PR Firm, Novo Management and Publicity.

Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: The Bishop’s Daredevil Stunt Club “Veva, Hold On!”

The Bishop’s Daredevil Stunt Club is a band that makes their home in Chicago, Illinois. Made up of: Billy Giricz – vocals, guitar, keyboards; Paulette Bertrand – vocals, keyboards, guitar; Dan Passarelli – bass, vocals; Luke Smith – drums and Darin Gregg – guitar, trumpet, the band creates music that is equal parts rock and roll and pop-rock. That combination helps to create a sound that is very infectious and very radio-friendly at the same time. The style of the band’s songs alternates between modern-day rock and roll and rock and roll from years gone by. The band calls upon influences such as The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Norah Jones and Wilco and those influences creates a nice mixture of styles to draw from, making the band’s music very different from one track to the next. Having already adding to their musical library by releasing an 11-song self-titled release in August 2014, the band returned the very next month with another EP, the 7-track release entitled Veva, Hold On!

Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Martin Van Ruin “Every Man a King”

martin van ruinMartin Van Ruin is a Chicago-based Rock band that came together from different bands from that area to create something new and different. Consisting of Pete Falknor: drums; Sarah Jane Goldstein: vocals, percussion, melodica; Derek Nelson: vocals, guitars; Brian Sharpe: lead guitars, piano; Cathy Starr: violin; Philip Vickers: lap steel, guitars, trumpet; Alex Winter: bass, the various members of the band add several different musical influences into the band’s sound. Within the band’s sound you’ll find Rock, Folk, Country and other sounds that all blends together to make a style that is as much about Rock and Roll as it is about Folk and Country music. That style can be found on Martin Van Ruin’s current release called Every Man a King.

Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Jackpot Donnie “Mayday!”

Like a rising amount of bands and artists out there today, Chicago’s Jackpot Donnie is a band that creates its sound by combining several genres of music together. It’s the combination of Reggae, Funk even Blues that helps give the band’s music its quality and sound. And because the band draws from these unique and varying styles at different times, the Rock and Roll produced by Jackpot Donnie changes from one tune to the next.

To help create their sound, the five members of Jackpot Donnie call upon their various musical influences. The five members of Jackpot Donnie are: Adam Campbell on drums, Dave Langley on bass, Matt Love on guitar and vocals, Peter Spero on keys and Brian Wise on guitar. The band is currently promoting their third release, 2013’s Mayday!

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CD Review: Safe Haven “Sermon for No One”

Safe HavenChicago-based Safe Haven started when lead guitarist Patrick Lyons got together with drummer Tony Tabor. And while the two musicians created yet another drum and guitar duo to add to the number of musical duos that have formed since the success of The Black Keys, Safe Haven is so much more as they draw upon the talents of other musicians to help flesh out their sound. When other two-member bands have a hollow sound to their music because of the lack of other musicians, Safe Haven is a musical outfit that has plenty of body to their music.