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: 

Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Spade Mcquade “An Ocean Between Us”

It was nearly thirty years ago that Irish rock band Energy Orchard released their self-titled album. Energy Orchard may never have had a very large following here in the United States, but they did end up releasing their self-titled album on MCA. That band and their self-titled album featured a sound that blended a style reminiscent of U2 with a stronger Irish vibe than the more well-known band ever had. And from that album, the band released one of their strongest singles, a song called “Sailor Town“. That resulting style was featured in several albums before the band would go their separate ways. And for the band’s rhythm guitarist, Spade Mcquade, that meant making his way over to the United States.  

Spade Mcquade now makes his home in the United States. And because of that, his musical style has taken on a definite American flare to it. So much so, that Mcquade refers to his style as Irish Americana. And it is that style that can be found on his latest release entitled An Ocean Between Us

An Ocean Between Us from Spade Mcquade finds the singer-songwriter creating an album in a Live In The Studio setting. What ends up being created is an album that sounds as if the tracks have the same warmth that they would have if the listener was experiencing the tracks in a concert setting.

Spade Mcquade’s An Ocean Between Us album begins with the track “Humble”. The track takes some influence from the early days of Hootie and the Blowfish and combines it with elements of Deep Blue Something’s song “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”. What results is a track that feels as if it would have been right at home on the radio back in the early to mid-nineties. The track finds Mcquade declaring that he has always been and will always be the same person.

It is on the track “London Again” that the listener gets to understand just what is meant by the term Irish Americana.  The track features a strong Country/Rock blend to the base of the music. But it also includes a little Celtic influence from the inclusion of the tin whistle on the track. What results is a sound that is rather reminiscent of the type of music that the band The Pogues would have created, minus the Punk influence to track.

With the next track, Irish musician Spade Mcquade takes the listener back in time a bit on the song “Stupid”. The musical direction on the track finds Mcquade creating a track that seems to contain a strong Folk vibe. But the feel to the music of the song is not just any Folk vibe. The song contains a vibe that was very much present in American music during the sixties. As a matter-of-fact, what comes across is a song that was largely influenced by the likes of Bob Dylan back at the time period of the sixties.

One of the strongest tracks on the An Ocean Between Us album from Spade Mcquade is the song “Human After All”. The track features a sound that feels like a combination between a Michael Nesmith & the First National Band song and a more Countrified song from The Eagles. The combination that is produced creates a track that feels as if it would have been right at home on AM radio back during the seventies. In fact, the song would have been right at home on the Top 40 charts back then.

It is with the next track on the release that the listener gets to experience a bit of Spade Mcquade’s humor. It is with the song “Gaybar” that Mcquade adds a few chuckles to the album, although the track is more light-hearted than humorous. The track finds Spade and some friends leaving a bar as they were looking for something fun. When other places failed to live up to their expectations, they tried a gay bar and found some fun. The track proves that keeping an open mind is very important or else you might miss out on something you might regret later. As far as the music to the track is concerned, Mcquade creates a track that, like with the song “London Again” from earlier on in the release, features a style rather reminiscent of The Pogues. The fun, bouncy feel of the music adds to the overall lightheartedness of the track.

As Spade Mcquade is living in the United States having been born over in Ireland, it should come as no surprise that he would write a song about that very topic. The song called “Bangor Town” finds Mcquade feeling nostalgic as he sings about thinking back to his time back in Ireland and how, no matter where you may go in your life, your hometown will always be where you come from. To go along with the gentle feeling of reminiscing that is found in the lyrics, the music of the track also contains a gentleness that lends itself to the feeling of reminiscing about the past. Together, the music and the lyrics on the release combine to create a moment that most of us can relate to in some way.  

The final track of the An Ocean Between Us album from Spade Mcquade is more of a story than anything else. The song “Just a Cat” contains a light, easy pace to the music as the song features a Folk approach to both the music and lyrical content. “Just a Cat” is the tale of a man who is relaxing in his backyard when a strange cat makes its way over to him. However, there is something different about the animal: He is the reincarnated soul of a friend who is now pondering what to do. The track is a cautionary tale of what might happen if you don’t treat people (or in this case, animals) the way you would to be treated.

While many of the track that are contained in Spade Mcquade’s new album have a Rock and Roll base to them,  An Ocean Between Us album is a release that features different styles of music to nearly every song. The Americana (or Irish Americana, as Spade himself describes it) music contained within the release creates moments on the album that are unique from one track to the next. This ensures that the album is rather varied throughout the ten or so tracks that make up the album.  

To discover the music of Spade Mcquade, check out the song “Pucker Up“. 

You can find An Ocean Between Us album from Spade Mcquade on Spotify HERE

To check out the An Ocean Between Us album from Spade Mcquade, click on the album cover below:  

Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Mark Rogers “Qualifiers”

Virginia/DC-based singer-songwriter Mark Rogers had, at one time, taken some time off from music in order to focus on his family. But when the right time came around, Rogers found the desire to create music and resumed his songwriting. Since returning to songwriting, Rogers has created a few releases of original music that has incorporated Folk, Folk-Rock, and even a little Bluegrass influence. The most solo recent release from Mark Rogers is a six-song EP entitled Qualifiers.

For his newest release, Mark Rogers seems to have drawn from a certain section of his influences. While the previous release entitled Rearranged found the singer-songwriter drawing from many of his influences, the EP of Qualifiers features Rogers as he creates music with a style that recalls a lot of the music that had been around during the seventies and into the eighties.

The latest EP entitled Qualifiers from Mark Rogers begins with the track “No Bigger Fool”. With this track, Rogers has created a song in the same way that songwriters were creating Rock and Roll back in the fifties, sixties and even a little bit of the seventies: combining several different musical influences together in order to create the music. The result is a track in “No Bigger Fool” that seems to have all but bled the various Rock and Roll influences that were found in the music back in the seventies. And luckily for the listener, Mark Rogers and the rest of the band who helped to create the Qualifiers release chose the more upbeat styles of music from the era to use as influences. While the track contains an upbeat approach to its energy, the listener can easily hear the Folk-Rock influences that run through the track, which add to the seventies feel to the music.

Mark Rogers and band continue their latest EP with the title track of the EP. The song “Qualifiers” finds Rogers and band staying in a rather mellow mood with the musical direction on the track. However, instead of staying with the seventies influences, Rogers and the rest of the band move the feel of the track up a little to give the track more of an eighties approach. Like the track before it, “Qualifiers” takes the listener back in time. With the track “Qualifiers,” not only do Mark Rogers and the rest of the group create a sound that feels retro in style, the lyrics to the track also have a rather retro feel to them, setting the entire feel of the track somewhere within the seventies/eighties era of music. The track easily has a sound that would have fit on radio at that time and would be perfect for anyone looking for music that seems to be from that era.

The Qualifiers album continues with the song “Imagining”. With this track, Mark Rogers creates music that feels very familiar in its musical direction. The track features Country-flavored music that would easily have been right at home on AM radio back in the seventies. The music and lyrics bring to mind the sound and style of one of the more popular bands from the seventies, The Eagles. The song’s guitar work brings to mind the kind that would have appeared on songs from The Eagles such as “Your Lying Eyes”.  And while “Imagining” does draw comparisons to songs from The Eagles, the song itself is still “fresh” enough for today’s radio formats.

While “Imagining” from Mark Rogers contains a relaxed feel to the music, it is the next track on the singer-songwriter’s new EP that comes with perhaps the easiest pace to the music. The song “The Blues Are Passing By” has a feel to the music that will have the listener questioning the title. The track itself sounds and feels very much like a song with a Lounge Jazz approach. This track sets itself apart from the rest of the album simply because of the easy feel and approach of the easy feel to the music.  The piano and easy playing of the organ help add to the Lounge Jazz feel of the music. Add in the easy approach of Rogers’ vocals and you have a track in “The Blues Are Passing By” that would fit more in a Jazz format than a radio format with Pop music.

For a different feel, the track “You Can Lead Me On” finds Mark Rogers and band creating another unique track on the EP. With this song, Rogers and company combine equal parts Rock and Roll and Folk music to create a track with a definite Americana feel to the music. The slide pedal steel guitar and the mandolin on the track combine to give the track its unique feel.  Together, “You Can Lead Me On” is easily one of the most commercial tracks on the six-song release. 

The new release of Qualifiers from Mark Rogers comes to a close with the track “The World Changed Forever”. For this last track, Rogers creates a folk-like feel to the music with just his vocals and an acoustic guitar. The result is a track that features a simple folk singer feel. The track features lyrics dealing with the aftermath that occurred after the death of former Beatle John Lennon.  “The World Changed Forever (When John Lennon Died),” as it should be called, brings to mind the best folk singers as the track comes complete with a strong message, the way the best Folk songs of the past always did.

Qualifiers from Mark Rogers is the second release for the Virginia/DC-based singer-songwriter. When comparing Qualifiers to the previous release of Rearranged, Rogers seems to have stepped up his game, musically speaking. Having made a stronger release in Qualifiers, it seems like it is only a matter of time before a full-length album is created.  

For more information, check out Whiplash PR & Management by clicking on the logo for the company. 





The new release of Qualifiers from Mark Rogers has yet to be released. However, the EP’s release party is in the very near future. Check out the singer-songwriter’s Facebook page to stay updated about upcoming date for the release of the EP. 

For music from Mark Rogers, check out his BANDCAMP profile. 

Reviews and Suggestions

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.

Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Red Wanting Blue “From the Vanishing Point”

Columbus, OH band Red Wanting Blue is finally realizing their dream of becoming a household name outside of the state of Ohio after more than a decade of existence. That success is thanks, in part, to the band’s last album, These Magnificent Miles. It was that album that captured the attention of New York-based record label, Fanatic Records. Fanatic Records re-released These Magnificent Miles and they have helped Red Wanting Blue gain a larger audience on a more national level.