CD Review: Micah Olsan and the Many “All Around”

Micah Olsan is a Milwaukee-based singer-songwriter who creates music that has many different musical influences to it. And while that may be the case, those influences help to create a sound that is very solid and very listener-friendly. To bring his music to life, Micah Olsan is joined by four other musicians that seem to have the same creative drive to their playing ability. The resulting band creates a sound that is equal parts Folk, Blues, Soul and Rock. The band of Micah Olsan and the Many consists of: Micah Olsan- Vocals, Guitar; Cody Calderon- Drums; Adam Dosemagen- Bass; Dan Alexander- Keyboard; Eric Lemieux- Guitar. Together, this band has created a five-song EP called All Around.

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CD Review: Crowsaw “Karma”

In early 2014 the wonderful Firebrand Rock Radio and its crew took me under their wing to work as a ‘rookie’ radio host. This is why I have had a slight hiatus from the rock and roll report. Firebrand Rock Radio has recently closed, leaving Firebrand Magazine to operate as usual and giving myself a little time to try and catch up here on the rock and roll report. I have got many reccomendations to bring to your attention along with the ever expanding contents of my inbox. In no particular order I need to tell you a little about Crowsaw from the UK.

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Upside Down World by Doris Brendel and Lee Dunham

 Life is a funny old thing, when at its best it usually throws some stunning surprises at you. I have been awaiting news of the next release by Doris Brendel and Lee Dunham for some time now. This incredibly creative pair has already made a strong mark in the music world. Once again, Doris is collaborating with producer and multi-instrumentalist Lee Dunham, guitarist of rock/metal band Primary Slave, this time using an array of musicians to contribute to the progressive sound. Doris is the daughter of famed classical pianist Alfred Brendel, her distinctive vocals were the driving force behind 1990s alt-rockers The Violet Hour, who were signed to Sony when they released their now revered, classic album ‘The Fire Sermon’ in 1991. Combine all of this with the delightfully driven husky vocals delivered with true inimitable style and then you may get an inkling of what to expect. Do not be fooled and expect the unexpected as Upside Down World will take you on a sumptuous journey through a musical kaleidoscope lasting about 48 minutes. This album both explores and showcases a plethora of musical facets, Upside Down World is a thrilling ride.

 

Upside Down World Cover Art

 

From the start of this album, beginning with the outstanding cover art by surrealist Igor Morski, this album nails you down and spins you around. Upside Down World kicks off with a deliciously raunchy track, The Devil Closed The Door On Me which pushes Doz’s incredible vocals to a variety of limits and is a hard hitting dynamically delightful tongue in cheek rock track. Every time that I hit the play button this album stops me in my tracks, it is beyond belief and utterly irresistible. The Devil Closed The Door On Me is a magnificent introduction to Upside Down World. Release date April 20th.

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

Martin 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.

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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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A Glimpse into the world of CalatrilloZ

Do you like rock/metal with a classical, theatrical, operatic twist to it? If so then you really should go and take a look at London based band CalatrilloZ and have a listen. CalatrilloZ seem to have been dormant for the past  year but are now back, with a bigger appetite and desire to make an impression within the music world. With their own operatic blend of symphonic metal and progressive rock CalatrilloZ can hardly fail to be noticed. They have a sound which is as rich and diverse as a rainforest would be if it were set upon a theatrical rock stage.
 
 
 
CalatrilloZ have just released two singles, ‘Lords of Misery’ and ‘A Glimpse at a Fools Destiny’. I have some demos from this incredible for some while now and have always found that once any CalatrilloZ music is set playing, I am then instantly drawn into their oceanic soundscape. This musical circus otherwise known as CalatrilloZ really do need to be heard to be believed. 
 
I had a brief chat with Z from CalatrilloZ and asked him a few questions about the band -
 
 
Nick - How did CalatrilloZ originally form and what inspired your style?
 
Z - Thats a big question. The band had many formations, and it was through a drummer I started playing with that the whole thing started unveiling, going through almost four formations. The style comes from not exactly Opera, but the storytelling side of it. The idea that a story, like a tale, full of metaphors, can be told through music. Call it the Bard Syndrome.
 

 

 

Nick – Could you tell us a little about the musical background of the various CalatrilloZ band members?
 
Z -  I've been in music for as long as 14 years, studying singing, guitar and bass  playing and taking part in rock covers band for as long as I remember. Five years ago I took up Classical Singing and Composition, and since then the art has bloomed. My mates have different background and ages. Mobius was never educated in music, but can really move the bass. Count Viktor, guitars, our british ambassador, studied ad Guitar Tech, and Mattias, the drummer, like me, has been in music for ages, studying and developing. He has his own drum samples. Now that's something, hey?
 
Nick - What can people expect from CalatrilloZ and how much more can people expect to see and hear in a CalatrilloZ live show?
 
Z -  Intensity, Nick, and depth. We dont go on stage and ask how everybody's doing. We won't make speeches. We will give you an experience akin to a night at the Opera: characters and drama with make-up and costumes, under a heavy metal format. We may be a cross genre band, but we fit different styles within a metal frame, so be ready to be taken to places. We will keep the intensity and storytelling going, deep songs, complex in the heart but heavy and beautiful in appearance.
 
Nick – Could you tell us a little about any planned future releases?
 
Z - Yes I can and yes I wll. We aim to reach a stage where we can start playing Europe and USA. Our plan is a periodic release of singles, which will culminate in a concept album figuring the singles in a full storytelling album, with intros, outros, interludes and gran finales. A one hour fully connected non-stop recorded performance. And of course, if you've seen our videos, expect a way more deep insight into the tale that inspire our songs.

 

 

Nick – What is the best way for people to check your music?

 

 

Z - I will say: go to our website. Not only you can check the songs, you can also check each song individually with additional content, and follow our storytelling videos. If pictures is what you are after, again, that;s the place. And, of course, you will be helping us move forward, as every play adds to the magic numbers promoters and labels look after.
 
Nick – What are your hopes and dreams for the future?
 
Z -  Nick, I guess that's the same for all of us. On one side, we want to be playing big stages and festivals. On another side, very ambitious one, I want the story to grow to a book, to a film, to a 18+ animation series. I wanna be playing in a theatre, with extras, special effects, actors and singers and full blown orchestra.

 

 

And yes, I want to make a life out of the thing I love the most: yup, Music.
 

 

 

 

 

CD Review: Wells the Traveler “One for the Dreamers”

Multi-talented musician Danny McGaw came to the United States after being raised in Manchester, England. When he came to the United States, he brought with him a love for the Northern England form of Rock and Roll. It is that style of Rock and Roll that he combined with the American Folk music. With that musical combination, McGaw started creating music with the band Wells the Traveler. The rest of the band consists of guitarist/singer Chad Brothers, percussionist Jason Jones, bassist Dan Hines, and producer Mike West who helps complete the band’s sound. Together, the members of Wells the Traveler are currently promoting their new debut release entitled One for the Dreamers.

The new album from Wells the Traveler is a very strong Rock release. One thing that separates this album from many of the albums that are released each year is that Wells the Traveler created the album live in the studio. On this album, the band brings a bit of closeness to their music as the listener gets to experience what the band would most likely sound like live. It is that feel that makes the album that much more special.

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CD Review: Valley Lodge “Use Your Weapons”

Dave Hill, a man who has made a name for himself as a comedian and writer, has returned to his rock and roll roots that he cultivated in Cleveland as part of several bands including Sons of Elvis and Uptown Sinclair, among others. Lately, Hill has been creating music with a New York-based rock outfit by the name of Valley Lodge. Along with Dave Hill on vocals and guitar, the rest of Valley Lodge consists of John Kimbrough on guitar, Phil Costello on bass and Rob Pfeiffer on drums.

One of the things that you will notice when listening to the music of Valley Lodge is that the band has a wide amount of influences that help shape the sound of their music. Because of that, the music of Valley Lodge moves from current rock to a more retro feel to the music. Valley Lodge has recently created a new album entitled Use Your Weapons.

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CD Review: The Nadas “Lovejoy Revival”

Sometimes a band can exist under the radar for years without people outside of their area knowing about them. One such band that has put in their time but have yet to break out to national praise is the Iowa folk-rock band The Nadas. The four musicians who make up today's version of the band are singers/guitarists Mike Butterworth and Jason Walsmith, bassist Brian Duffey, and drummer Brandon Stone. The Des Moines-based band has been around long enough to create eight full-length releases with the last album, Alamanac, having been released in 2010. After a three-year break, the band has just released a new album called Lovejoy Revival.

Lovejoy Revival starts with the track "Star Crossed". The a’cappella vocals at the very beginning of the track lead themselves into a track that features music that is part rock music and part folk. The combination creates a song that has a very catchy, commercial sound while still having a bit of an alternative rock feel.

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CD Review: Alert New London “Youth”

Columbus, Ohio’s Alert New London is a modern-day rock outfit. The quintet is made up of guitarist/vocalist Cory Nicol, guitarist/vocalist Dave Woodrow, bassist Sawyer Shepard, keyboardist Gavin McKenzie and drummer Jim Fowler. While the band’s music is heavily guitar-influenced, the additions of keyboards to the music helps give the band’s sound a feel and direction that is a lot richer and more creative than much of the music put out by many of the bands that are currently signed to record labels.

Alert New London’s current release, Youth, was released at the end of 2011. The album begins with the track “Alice,” a more-than-evident nod to the main character in Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland book. Along with lyrics that have to do with certain references to the book, the song contains a Melodic Rock sound and the resulting track allows the guitars to create a harmonic approach that builds while including all five band members in the shaping of the song’s direction. When Cory Nicol and Dave Woodrow come together to harmonize on the lyrics late in the track, the two vocal parts blending together help make the track one of the most interesting songs on the 2011 release.

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