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Reviews & Suggestions

CD Review: David Alpha “Chameleon Wheelhouse” The Extended Version

A lot of solo artists don’t actually start off as a solo act. They start off playing with a band and go their own way after that band falls apart for whatever reason. That is just the case for Tampa-based recording artist David Alpha who had spent time with the band The Fons (pronounced “Phones”) before that band fell apart. And once that band disintegrated, Alpha decided to give it a try on his own. Currently, he is in the middle of creating a new solo release. But until that album comes out, he is promoting a few of the tracks from the release as a new EP. The new EP from David Alpha is entitled Chameleon Wheelhouse. And when creating this particular release, there are two versions to choose from- the original two-track release, or the Expanded version that contains four tracks. What follows is a description of the four-song Expanded Version of the EP.  

The new Chameleon Wheelhouse EP from David Alpha begins with the double-song track “Light the Rockets/Hungry Ghosts”. “Light the Rockets” finds Alpha creating a track that features a strong Rock and Roll feel to the music. The musical blend combines several different styles from the likes of seventies-era David Bowie and/or Marc Bolan of T-Rex. Needless-to-say, the style of music of the first half of the track would fit right into the music genre known as Glam Rock. When the first half of the track comes to an end, “Light the Rockets,” the second half, begins. With this half of the track, Alpha changes the style completely as he moves the music to an acoustic setting. In fact, “Light the Rockets” would have been right at home on radio back in the nineties amidst the “unplugged” craze at that time. While the track’s six-minute timing is slightly long, that time is split between the two different styles of music which is like Alpha having recorded two three-minute songs.

With the next track, David Alpha releases a song that contains a strong Rock and Roll feel to the music. The track “Universalon” finds Alpha singing about his disdain about the whole state of Christianity in America. The lyrics of the song sing about how the religion is less about the values on which it was created and more about the material side of life that seems to have crept into the religion here over the years. The straight-out Rock and Roll music that is contained within the track would easily have been right at home on radio formats back in the eighties. The strong feel of the electric guitars help to create that Rock and Roll feel to the track. While the lyrical content of the track may be slightly controversial, the Rock and Roll approach helps to balance the track out.

The Chameleon Wheelhouse release continues with the track “Wake Up Gloria”. For the first several seconds of the track, David Alpha recites a poem in a manner that brings to mind the style of the beatniks from back in the fifties and sixties. Eventually, the track turns musical. When the music does appear, it is simply one guitar and Alpha’s vocals. The first few seconds of the music to “Wake Up Gloria” from David Alpha take on a musical approach that is reminiscent of the song “G-L-O-R-I-A” from the band THEM. Soon, though, the acoustic music of the track takes its own direction. But that direction finds Alpha seemingly drawing once again from the influence of the music from Marc Bolan/T-Rex. Moreover, because of the single guitar and vocals that make up the majority of the track, the feel of the song actually brings to mind the duo version of the band that was formed under the moniker of Tyrannosaurus Rex before the band’s moniker was shortened. While the majority of the track features only a single guitar, a second one is brought in late in the track to help add texture to the music.

David Alpha’s current EP called Chameleon Wheelhouse concludes with the song “Me or Him”. With this track, Alpha creates a track that feels like a vignette taken right out of movie. And with the lyrics of “He looks down like a punk in a wasteland,” you can almost envision a scene out of Mad Max or another post-apocalyptic movie. “Me or Him” contains a certain amount of darkness to the lyrics but that only adds to the power of the music. To go along with the visual of the story, the music creates one of the strongest Rock and Roll songs of the four tracks that make up the EP. The Rock and Roll on the track revolves around a strong guitar and a driving beat. There are also other guitars that seem to swirl around the listener. The added guitar effects help to add depth to the track. With all of the various elements in the song, the track brings to mind something that could have been created by Ian Astbury, Billy Duffy and the rest of the band called The Cult. This song is easily the best song on the EP.

The new Chameleon Wheelhouse Extended EP from David Alpha is a short release. But the four tracks that are contained within it have a nice variety to them. With the various elements, influences and musical directions that are present, the artist certainly does a good job of whetting our whistle for when the entire album is finished and available.

David Alpha is still in the midst of creating the upcoming release. Because of that, very little is available online as far as videos are concerned. To experience some of the music from the Chameleon Wheelhouse Extended EP from David Alpha, check out the track “Me or Him” from the bandcamp site for the release. 

To find the Chameleon Wheelhouse Extended EP from David Alpha, click on the album cover below: 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more information, check out David Alpha’s PR Firm, Whiplash PR. Click on the logo below to visit their site. 

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Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Jason Andrew Brown S/T

Jason Andrew Brown is a singer-songwriter who has spent the last twenty years performing in and around the Indianapolis area in several bands. With those bands, Brown was able to develop his skills as a guitarist as well as a singer-songwriter. However, it wasn’t until the recent past that Jason Andrew Brown decided to allow his inner singer-songwriter shine a little bit more.

Not that long ago, Jason Andrew Brown decided to take the solo route and start playing on stage by himself. Not only did he start performing on his own, he started writing on his own as well. The result of that solo composing is a new 5-song self-titled release.

The self-titled EP from Jason Andrew Brown begins with the track “Shine Sun Shine”. The track has a musical approach that contains a slightly familiar feeling to it as the song has some influence from Jack Johnson. The track features a sound that combines Rock and Roll and a little Jazz feeling. Before long, the track’s musical blend takes on a much harder feel. The resulting track of “Shine Sun Shine” would easily fit on today’s Top 40 radio.

For the second track of the EP, Jason Andrew Brown takes his music in a slightly retro direction as the song “Stranger” contains a style that would have been right at home back in the late eighties/early nineties. On the song “Stranger,” Brown’s musical approach as well as lyrical style combine to produce a track that sounds and feels like something that would have easily appeared on Toy Matinee’s self-titled album from back in 1990. The Rock and Roll style that makes up “Stranger” from Jason Andrew Brown reflects the very similar style and sound of the music produced by Kevin Gilbert and the rest of Toy Matinee. The track feels as if it were a lost track off of Toy Matinee’s only release as “Stranger” from Jason Andrew Brown would fit right beside tracks like “Last Plane Out” and/or “Things She Said”.

Jason Andrew Brown takes a softer approach on the next track. “Emptiness is Forever” finds Brown accompanied by only an acoustic guitar. With only the acoustic guitar to accompany him, Brown’s voice stands out more on this track than on any other song on Brown’s self-titled release. With the rather sparse production value of only the guitar and vocal on the track, the rather sad lyrics about a life taken too soon come through with clarity. With this track, “Emptiness is Forever” shows off Jason Andrew Brown’s songwriting ability.

With the track “Make Time,” the new release from Jason Andrew Brown becomes a lot more energetic. While Brown had given the listener a glimpse of what he could do with a Rock and Roll track on “Stranger,” he truly added a lot more energy to the music for “Make Time”. This track features real electric guitars and a strong beat. With a sound that finds Brown combining influences from Love and Rockets and David Bowie, “Make Time” contains a sound that fits in somewhere between Glam Rock and Alternative Rock. “Make Time” Is easily the most rockin’ track on Jason Andrew Brown’s new EP.

The new self-titled release from Jason Andrew Brown comes to an end with the track “Icarus (for the Falling Man)”. The track features both an acoustic guitar as well as a piano. The two instruments combine to create music that is soft and yet strong at the same time. The slow pace of the music seems to only give strength to Brown’s lyrics as he sings about his choices leading up to his final moments. The finality contained within the lyrics of the track adds to the feeling of the EP coming to an end. While it does not have a very upbeat message, “Icarus (for the Falling Man)” does show off Jason Andrew Brown’s strong ability as a songwriter/storyteller.

Throughout the five tracks that make up Jason Andrew Brown’s self-titled EP, the singer-songwriter writes songs that stand on their own as easily as they blend together to create a solid debut release. And with the five songs each having a different approach as far at their styles are concerned, the self-titled release helps to show off Brown’s ability as a writer. The five songs that make up the EP for Jason Andrew Brown only hint at what is to come for this talented writer.

To hear some of the music of Jason Andrew Brown, click the link for the song “Shine Sun Shine“.

For more information, check out Jason Andrew Brown’s PR firm of RMG Media Group.

The self-titled EP from Jason Andrew Brown is about to be released. The singer-songwriter will be celebrating the EP’s release on April 29, 2017. Click
HERE for more information.

Click on the album cover below for more information on Jason Andrew Brown’s self-titled release.

Jason Andrew Brown Cover

 

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Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Razorhouse “Codex Du”

Mark Panick is a mainstay in the Chicago music scene. For years, Panick has been running around with several bands that made an impact on that musical scene. Not that long ago, he reassembled one of his bands called Razorhouse. With that reassembled band, he released the 2013 release called Codex Jun. With the success of that release, the band kept the momentum going and then released the band’s newest EP, 2015’s Codex Du.

Codex Du from Razorhouse begins with the track “Distance Wheel”. The track’s guitar-based rock music combines elements from bands like Love and Rockets and T-Rex with a little David Bowie thrown in for good measure. The track takes influences from Glam Rock, New Wave and Alternative Rock and throws them all together. This creates a track that could have existed anywhere from the late 60s, early 70s even mid-to-late 90s. With all of the various sounds flowing through the track’s nearly four-minutes of playing time, “Distance Wheel” is one of the most accessible Rock and Roll tracks to be produced by anyone in the years following the cross into the New Millenium.

The new release from Razorhouse continues with the track “Neu Sensation”. Just like the previous track, this song also feels very timeless. However, this song is much more grounded in a straightforward Rock style. “Neu Sensation” contains a generous amount of Alternative Rock feel. Because of that, the song would easily fit within the late eighties, early nineties. The track contains a strong electric guitar approach but also allows the acoustic guitar to shine through. While “Neu Sensation” is slightly less energetic than “Distance Wheel,” the track is still strong and would make any lover of Alternative Rock happy.

Mark Panick and the rest of the band change things up with the track “Girl Like a Hand Grenade”. The track begins with a slightly jazz-like approach to the Rock and Roll music. That musical approach goes well with the spoken word free verse from Panick. The result is a Beat Poet-like track. Soon, however, the band changes things and the song takes on a musical approach that once again, feels like something from the band T-Rex. In fact, Panick’s vocal quality is very reminiscent of Marc Bolan from T-Rex. The alternating between the two styles makes for an interesting track.

The pace of the music slows way down for the track “Regan’s Song”. The slow, steady pace to the gentle music is much different from the tracks that came before. In fact, the slower song takes on a style that is very reminiscent of a song like “Wicked Game” from Chris Isaak. This song continues the lyrical style set by the previous track of “Girl Like a Hand Grenade”. The lyrics of “Regan’s Song” seem to tell a story of a girl that only comes around once a year. The slower, gentler track adds a nice balance to the harder tracks of the Codex Du EP from Razorhouse.

Razorhouse picks the pace of the music back up on the song “If You find Heaven”. With this track, the band creates a very solid Rock and Roll feel that would probably fit best into the decade of the seventies. The song features a strong acoustic guitar part that makes up the majority of the track. The electric guitars that also appear do a lot to add a lot of energy to the track. The music is a nice balance between the electric and acoustic energies. The electric/acoustic approach of the song may fit well with songs written by David Bowie.

Codex Du from the band Razorhouse comes to a close with the track “St. Teresa”. After five tracks of hard-hitting Rock and Roll, the band brings their new album to a close on a gentle note. The song brings to mind the gentle feel of a song like “Teardrop Collector” from Love and Rockets. The easy feel of the song makes for a great way to bring the new release of Codex Du from Razorhouse to a close.

Razorhouse makes use of many different influences and musical elements to create an EP of music that will make fans of Rock and Roll very happy. The band’s newest release of Codex Du blends several decades’ worth of musical influences to create a timeless sound. Put the Codex Du EP from Razorhouse on and just indulge in the music.

To hear the music of Razorhouse, check out the song “Girl Like a Hand Grenade“.

For more information, check out the band’s PR firm, NOVO Management and Publicity.

Click on the album cover below to purchase the release.

razorhouse-pic

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Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Black Vincent “Teardrop Deluxe”

There was a time in the music industry when a person would walk into a recording studio with nothing more than a few lyrics to songs he had written and that was all he had. It was after he walked into the studio that he would meet the men who would help put together all of the musical parts to the songs that would become an album. This situation hardly happens today so when it does, the resulting album is something unique. This unique situation surrounds the new release from singer-songwriter Coley Kennedy, a man who recently created a release under the moniker of Black Vincent.

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Artists and Bands Features More Cool Stuff Reviews and Suggestions

After All The Wishing – Jim Johnston

If 2012’s Voyage of Oblivion from Bristol, England-based Jim Johnston mapped out a strange, detached and unsettling musical landscape, even that didn’t quite suggest the twisted grandeur and off kilter meanderings that the follow up album delivers. Generic labels are largely useless here as all contemporary styles are put to new uses but the ever-shifting nature of the album means that it doesn’t sit in any one genre for too long. Yes, alt-rock, psychedelia and post-punk may provide the more visible backdrop but the sound of Bristol’s recent musical past (and indeed Johnston’s own with Monk and Canatella) are also on show.

Tribal dance beats and trippy electronica flavours blends with the straighter rock drives and angular indie influences, there is even an often-schizophrenic saxophone wandering through like a crazed jazz pied piper. If Voyage… was the sound of blues and psychedelia meeting in a cold, clinical embrace in a disused dockside somewhere along the Severn Estuary, this is the sound of David Bowie scoring the bleak worlds of Bret Easton Ellis’ novels and Damien Moran’s hypnotic narrative that threads it’s way between, around and through the songs immediately puts you in mind of Diamond Dogs spoken opening salvo. I’m not saying that I fully understand the overall concept of the narrative, I’m sure it is an album that reveals its secrets through multiple re-visits, but it is not easy to ignore the fleeting references to backstreet horrors, gratuitous violence and the brooding undercurrents that pour from this open wound of an album. After All The Wishing really sees Jim Johnston up his game and even after the strange beauty of his previous solo outing he has again delivered something both weird and intoxicating, dangerously attractive and unlike anything you have heard before. In the right light it would be easy to convince yourself that this is actually a long lost album from Bowie’s Berlin years and there are not many albums that you can say that about.

Find Jim Johnston’s release of After All The Wishing on Bandcamp.

You can find Jim Johnston on Facebook.

This article was kindly written by Dave Franklin.

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Artists and Bands Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Dansewolf “Smoke-n-Mirrors”

Take a little amount of Foo Fighters, Bowie, Madonna, T-Rex and No Doubt and you have a musical mixture sure to please pop fans and rock fans alike. Take a beautiful, talented singer and place her in front of a band that can handle the aforementioned musical mixture and you end up with Dansewolf.

Dansewolf is the stage name of Juls D, a blonde bombshell who created a CD with musicians that include: guitarist Andy Lagomarsino, guitarist Grant Webb, bassist Brandon Puda, Eric Schackne on keyboards and Elmo Lovano who added his talents as drummer to the mixture. The resulting music from this musical outfit blends New Wave, pop, Rock and Indie into one sound that is sure to please.

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Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: John Brodeur “Tiger Pop Ten”

John Brodeur released his album Tiger Pop back in 2001. As hard as it may seem for some, it has been ten years since that album was released. With Brodeur knowing that the album was out of print, and with the ten-year anniversary of the release quickly approaching, Brodeur decided that he needed to release a ten-year anniversary edition of the album for those who had been asking about buying copies. With the ten-year mark having arrived, John Brodeur proudly presents Tiger Pop Ten, the special edition of the Tiger Pop album.

In order to give his album of Tiger Pop the treatment many people think it rightfully deserves, John Brodeur decided to create a package for the release that would give his followers, old and new alike, the chance to experience the album in a whole new way: For the 2011 release of Tiger Pop Ten, the listener gets two chances to check out these songs written by Brodeur that make up this special album- the 2001 original recordings of the songs and the new recordings made ten years later. The major difference between the versions is that John Brodeur and his band The Suggestions recorded the new versions of the songs, while Brodeur did the 2001 recordings on his own.

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Artists and Bands

The Edification of Lick And A Promise

You may have recently read my review of Come Together In The Morning by Lick And A Promise. Well, I have just had a chat with them regarding their formation, influences and instrument choice. They also talked a little about their recent US mini tour and their hopes for a similar tour in the UK.

Q: Can you give us a little more info on how Lick And A Promise came together in 2005?

A: Jochen and Manuel have been playing together in different bands like, forever and recorded their first real album in 2006. A year after they’ve founded Lick And A Promise. The record, which they had to produce on their own after some falling out with the original producer (but he’s a homefuck anyway), was alright, but things just didn’t really work out with the other band members. So the band kinda drifted apart without ever having played a single gig together.

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Rock History

Cover Story Interview – David Bowie’s “Reality”, with artwork by Rex Ray

reality-cover.jpg

Copyright ©2003 and 2008 by Rex Ray – All rights reserved.

Subject: Reality – released September 2003 on ISO/Columbia/Sony records, with cover artwork & design by Rex Ray

One of the most-interesting (and ironic) songs found on Mr. Bowie’s 2003 release titled Reality is a track called “Never Get Old”. As someone who’s been a long-time fan, it takes on a double-meaning as it may be taken that not only does David not want to admit to aging, but neither do we as fans. I personally take it to mean that, while I may be getting old, I don’t have to either live (and relive) the past but, instead, I can use the experiences learned over time to live smarter, do better work, and improve on things as time moves forward.

I remember at one point when Bowie announced that he’d never play any of his old tunes again in public. Ziggy S. had told us once before that he’d played the last concert he’d ever play, so while I wasn’t totally convinced that he’d keep to his word, he did have me worried a bit (“what, I’ll never hear ‘Heroes’ or ‘Space Oddity’ live ever again? How can this be?”). Instead, it became clear that he simply wanted to try out new things, gain some more experiences and influences, and then come back with something that fans would find new, exciting and yet, somewhat familiar.