Categories
Artists and Bands

A Year in Review – RRR Staff Weigh In On Their Top Picks of ’09 – Part 1

grammyThe end of the year usually means three things: resolutions, new challenges and opportunities and, of course, lists! Flipping through a music magazine (whether online or in print) at this time of year and not finding a list of the Top 5 This and Top 10 That is pretty much impossible.

So, we here at RRR decided to jump on the bandwagon (after all, we like to give the people what they want!) and bring you the best of the best from the music of ’09, with a twist. Rather than asking staff to fight it out and put together one sole comprehensive list, we decided we’d let everyone sift through the gems (as well as all those painful albums that made you cringe and think “What in the world were they on?”) and put together their own individual Tops.

But before we begin I’d like to wish everyone a Happy New Year (even though I’m a bit late) and thank you all for making RRR a regular part of your musical intake. (Please don’t leave us in 2010, we love you!)

In Part 1 you’ll find:
1) Top 10 Albums – Stefany Mohebban
2) Top 10 Albums – Bill Sullivan
3) Top 10 Albums (Rock & Metal) – Jon Asher
4) Top 20 Albums (Power Pop) – Aaron Kupferberg

Categories
Features

NYC’s ‘Starcode’ on Everything from Playing the Former Czech Republic to the Difficulties of Choosing Between a Tom Waits and Better Than Ezra T-shirt!

starcodeNew York City’s newest modern rock offering comes in the form of Starcode; a band founded by brothers Dave (Vocals and Bass) and Dan O’Connor (Drums), and joined by Greg Nicotra and Steve Bernstein (Guitars), whose style of “high-energy, dark pop rock” separates them from the herd.

Working with famed producer Dale Penner (Nickelback, Mathew Good) Starcode put together their stellar, brand new record, A Fine Line, which delivers no-nonsense melodic rock that is built on a strong acoustic base and decorated with plenty of tasty electric guitars and harmony vocals.

Recently, Dave was kind enough to take the time to answer some of our burning questions.

Q: Hi Dave – thanks for taking to time to chat. To start, tell us a bit about how Starcode began.

 

A: Starcode began with a few friends and family – Dan, the drummer, is my brother – getting together to share their love for creating and performing music.

Q: Do you have a favorite track off the new release? If so, what makes it stand out for you?

A: This is something that evolves with my moods. So, my favorite track today may not be my favorite track tomorrow. Even tonight as I doze off it may change. So, right this second? I’d have to say I Found A Way.  It stands out for me at this time because we’ve just shot the video for it and done some shows where it really seems to have moved the crowd. There are few things better than seeing a roomful of people singing along to a song that you’ve sweated and tortured yourself to create.

Q: Working closely with a relative can be a double-edged sword. How has it been for you and Dan?

A: Dan and I have been playing together for years. Our first band, Amethyst, had their first gig when I was nine [at the Shriners Hospital in Springfield, Mass] [but] we have most definitely had some moments of rivalry. There were many things and tantrums thrown over the years. I must say however, that when things got serious for the band and we started going on the road it sort of morphed into an “us against them” sort of thing. We tend to unite along with the other guys instead of getting at it amongst ourselves. So I guess our secret for not killing each other is finding a common enemy. They’re out there and we’ve conveniently found a great way to come together against them.

Categories
Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Starcode “A Fine Line”

starcode1Somewhere between The Rembrandts and The Posies is Starcode, a pop rock band from New York City founded by Dave and Dan O’Connor. Dave writes the songs, plays the bass, and handles the vocals while Dan does all the percussion. Starcode fills a void that exists right now for accessible melodic rock that has excellent cross-over potential.

Dave’s vocals sound a bit like Mark Gable of the Choirboys or Robbie Williams, with a hint of Billy Corgan’s (Smashing Pumpkins) snarl every now and then. Every song on “A Fine Line” is likable, with the CD being particularly strong at the beginning. Their formula is to build from a solid base of acoustic guitars, adding layers of electric guitar and harmony on top. The lyrics are straight-forward and sincere without being silly or cliché, and the arrangements and production are sublime. I can’t seem to get the driving midtempo rocker, “I Found A Way”, out of my head. Other highlights include the pleasant “Close Your Eyes” and “Out There”.