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Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: The Sandboys “Glitches, Imperfections and Glorious Quirks”

If you take the sound of the ukulele and add it to the sound of the cello, you’d end up with a style that could be called cellele music. And in reality, that is just what the music of British duo The Sandboys (a pairing consisting of Mark Miller and Ben Harrison) calls their sound- cellele music. The combination of the two instruments created a style that could be interpreted as being influenced by Topical Island sounds, or as having a very retro quality to it. Add in instruments used for making more Pop-Rock-like music and you have a rather unique blend. That unique sound can be found on the new 6-song EP entitled Glitches, Imperfections and Glorious Quirks.

Glitches, Imperfections and Glorious Quirks from The Sandboys begins with the album’s first track. “Wish for the Best” begins with a simple trumpet and ukulele as the band creates a track that feels rather retro in nature. And while it is very retro, the simplistic feel of the first part of the track allows for the base instruments to shine through. With the inclusion of the cello, piano and light percussion a bit later, the fuller sound of the music still has a throwback approach but now feels as fresh as Israel Kamakawiwo’ole’s version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”.

The release continues with the track “Drive You On”. While “Wish for the Best” could have been a track from the era of Vaudeville, “Drive You On” also contains a rather retro feel to it. But in this case, the resulting track would easily fit into the Skiffle category (a rather old style made famous by the likes of British musician Lonnie Donegan and others like him) as the song incorporates Jazz, Blues and a little Folk music influence. The fast-paced, bouncy feel on “Drive You On” makes for a track that would be perfect for fans of the Americana genre. Ultimately, the track would be perfect for fans of a band such as Commander Cody and his Lost Planet Airmen. 

Going in a much different direction from the previous two tracks, the song “Count Me In” finds the duo creating track that features a strong Two-Tone feel. The Ska-influenced track takes the listener back a few decades when the British Two-Tone style was big over in Great Britain. The resulting track of “Count Me In” actually brings to mind the sound and feel of an earlier song from that era in the sixties; a song that had become a standard of sorts within the Ska genre during that time , “Rudy (A Message To You)”. This Ska track of “Count Me In” lives up to the style of Two-Tone and is just the thing for fans of the style.

For the track “Like I Used to Be,” The Sandboys create a track that contains probably the most current sound on the release. The track features a sound that could either be described as Indie Rock or Folk Rock. The gentle pace to the track adds to the Folk influence. The strong harmony to the vocals on the track brings to mind songs from the late fifties, early sixties as they are reminiscent of vocal groups from the era. Together, the vocal delivery and the Indie Rock feel to the music create a track that has plenty of depth to it. While The Sandboys hail from Of all the tracks on the newest EP from The Sandboys, “Like I Used to Be” would probably the most welcome on commercial radio formats. 

The track “Path Of Least Resistance” continues the band’s unique blending of styles. The track begins with a style features a strong Pop feel. The track’s music begins with a gentle feel to the electric guitar while an accordion is added to give the track a bit of exotic flavor. The Pop feel mixed with the accordion creates a style that is reminiscent of Dean Martin’s music. The gentle feel of the song continues for half the track before finally picking up a little energy. The song and its musical blend ends up being one of the more unusual moments on the Glitches, Imperfections and Glorious Quirks release from The Sandboys.

The Glitches, Imperfections and Glorious Quirks release from The Sandboys comes to an end with the track “More Than Enough”. The track begins simply enough with just vocals the ukulele. As it goes along, the track builds and builds until the song contains ukulele, cello, finger snaps and organ. The musical combination creates a track that contains a bouncy feel to the beat, just like with “Drive You On” earlier in the EP. That bouncy feel along with the rest of the elements creates one of the more memorable moments on the EP and brings the release to a close on a strong note.

For only six tracks, Glitches, Imperfections and Glorious Quirks from The Sandboys contains a lot of different elements all working together to make an EP that draws from many different genres and eras of music. Blended together, those various elements make for a release that seems to have something for almost everyone.  

The Glitches, Imperfections and Glorious Quirks release from The Sandboys is still rather new. Because of that, the only YouTube video featuring new music from this release is “Wish For the Best“. However, this is a “ukulele only” version. You can find the entire EP on the band’s Soundcloud profile. 

For more information, check out the band’s PR firm, Whiplash PR

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Record Labels

So You Wanna Be a Rockstar? Rock and Roll Report interviews Whiplash PR

For musicians and band, there are many questions you need to ask yourself when it comes to the direction you want to go in when it comes to the best way to succeed in the music industry. You can go in on your own and hope you get somewhere; you can luck out and get signed to a record label who will do what they see as the best direction for you and your music; or you can use a Public Relations firm who will bridge the gap between the label route and the Do-It-Yourself route. For two decades, The RMG Management Group, just one of the independent PR firms out there, has been working with many different artists to help them gain a stronger foothold in the music industry. Throughout the company’s history, they have helped over 2,500 individuals and bands. Recently, however, the company decided to change a few things around. That realigning was big enough that it was decided that a new name was in order. So after 20 years, The RMG Management Group has rebranded itself. The company is now known as Whiplash PR. 

This is where I come in. For more than five years, I have been associated with the company as a reviewer who as written reviews for bands who have taken advantage of the company’s various PR plans. When I learned of the rebranding that had taken place within the company, I reached out to the company now known as Whiplash PR to ask about the changes that were made. What follows is the interview that took place:

 

Rock and Roll Report:  I want to Congratulate you on making it 20 years in this crazy biz! It’s not every day a company in any business makes it that long.

Whiplash PR: Thank you! It’s been quite the roller coaster ride and very unexpected.

 

Rock and Roll Report: Throughout your time in the business, you must have seen a lot of things change. What has changed the most for you as a publicist working mainly unsigned artists and indie labels?

Whiplash PR: Well, I have branched out a lot, I now work with many bands outside of America. The music in Canada is great and what’s coming out of Australia these days is amazing. There are pockets in Europe producing some pretty cool stuff from The UK, Spain. I go where the music is. It’s pretty funny that I started working with a Boston based band last month called PALE MONSTERS and it was the first band from Boston (where I am based) in 12 years or more.

 

Rock and Roll Report: You recently went thru changes with your company as well? Tell me about that?

Whiplash PR: I literally fell into working as a PR agent in 1997 when an up and coming band, Guster, asked me to help them out. I never had the time to really come up with a creative name. It was always Rhonda, The Publicist. I had boiled it all down to RMG Management Group. It was so, so boring! I took a break last July and said, I can’t stand my name, my logo, I just think it all needs to be refreshed. And that is how Whiplash PR was born. But, it’s such a work in progress because I have been working on diversifying my rates and adding other services such as Music Publishing etc. Just have not had the time.

 

Rock and Roll Report:   I know you adopted a baby boy awhile back and are now married. I am sure that makes you very time sensitive as well as choosy when picking the bands/artists you want to work with?

Whiplash PR: My objectives have always been to keep it simple as I am a minimalist by nature. I have ALWAYS posted my rates on my website and have always kept my rates reasonably priced. I wanted my campaigns to be cost effective, get proven results without all the meetings, conference calls and special reports that so many other companies do. It’s a waste of time and money. They actually charge you for all of those hours. Either you are getting quality reviews, interviews, adds on internet radio and blogs or you are not.

 

In answer to your question, I look for a variety of things when deciding to work with a band. And they are not what you would think they are. I have found that if I work with 100 new bands per year, a good % will come back for second and third and 4th campaigns. About 95% of them are very happy with the results. It is the 5% that I worry about the most. I have found that when I talk to those bands that are not impressed with what we did for them it is usually in the end about unrealistic expectations or money. Many bands just don’t have the money but they know they have to do something so they sell a guitar or borrow it. This is never a good situation. So, I am doing my best these days in my pre -qualifications to find out if they are going to experience any financial distress because that paid us.

 

Rock and Roll Report:   You mentioned things you look for in a band. What are some of the biggest and most important things that make a band right for your particular agency?

Whiplash PR: Obviously the music has to be something we all like and feel that we can be successful with. I can’t market music to my editors and reviewers that is sub-par. They quickly will not return my calls. I am also looking for bands that have done some work themselves. That helps a great deal. I will not partner up with an artist or a band until we have had at least one long conversation. I want them to have realistic expectations and I really don’t want this to be a financial hardship for them. It is also important that we get along. As YOU know, I can be quite tactless sometimes and a little bit impatient. But, I always have a sense of humor about it all. I want my clients to share that quality as well.

 

Rock and Roll Report: For those artists and bands out there that are currently looking at taking the publicist direction for their music and career instead of trying for a label, what would be your advice to those who are just starting that search?

Whiplash PR: Bands hire us to go out and get validation for them in the form of press. Most labels, bookers, music publishers like to see that they have a bunch of reviews before becoming interested. They want to see that others like them as well. I would advise against trying for a record label at this time, however.

 

Rock and Roll Report: So to wrap up, what would be the best way to get the ball rolling for artists who are interested in your services?

Whiplash PR: Go to the website and send me an e-mail and from there we can set up a time to have a chat.

 

In a music industry where you never know what you’re going to get, there do exist companies who deliver what they promise. On my end of things as a reviewer, I can honestly say that Whiplash PR is one of the most professional PR firms I deal with on a regular basis. They do what they say when they say that they will get you coverage. 
For more information on Whiplash PR, check out the company’s website
You can also find them online on Twitter, as well. 

 

 

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Reviews & Suggestions

CD Review: Pale Monsters “Are You Feeling Alive?”

Pale Monsters is the name of a Boston area band that consists of: Singer/guitarist Chris Mulvey, Bassist/singer/producer Kevin McGrath, Keys/guitarist Mike Ward and Drummer Travis Richter. Together, the band creates their music by taking several different styles of music and blending them together. The band’s sound has elements of New Wave, Alternative Rock as well as Indie Rock and a little Art Rock thrown in. This blend helps to create a sound that alternates between being rather commercial at one point and being commercially underground at other times. 

Since 2016, the band has been shaping their sound. And with that has come one five-song EP called Take What You Can Take. However, the band has been rather busy as they have been writing more music to add to that EP. Just recently, the band has finished creating their new ten-song album release. That 2018 album is called Are You Feeling Alive?

The Are You Feeling Alive? album from Pale Monsters begins with the first single off the release called “All This Time We Wait”. The track features a strong Rock and Roll feel to the music that shaped by the guitar but is also strongly flavored by a keyboard that is either laidback or rather prominent, depending on the point in the song. “All This Time We Wait” is a song that could be New Wave or Indie Pop, depending on how you interpret the tune. The feel of the song and the vocal delivery from Chris Mulvey create a track that could have been popular on college radio back in the eighties. However, with the throwback feel of much of today’s music, “All the Time We Wait” could be just as popular on today’s radio formats.

Pale Monsters’s new album continues with the track that led to the band’s moniker. The title of the track “Pale Monsters” is a statement made in reference to the literary character Moby Dick. People liked the title and the title became the band’s moniker. The song itself finds the band creating a New Wave track that could easily have been written back in the late seventies/early eighties. In fact, the track features an off-kilter feel to the music that could easily remind some listeners of the style created by the band Devo. “Pale Monsters” mainly features a strong guitar presence but also comes with a synthesizer feel that matches the energy of the guitar almost one hundred percent.

The track “Everybody (Take What You Can Take)” is the title track to the band’s previous EP release. The track takes the feel of the music from Pale Monsters back to the Glam Rock era. “Everybody (Take What You Can Take)” is a track that features a musical approach that seems to fall between several different style of music. The music of the track brings to mind pre-New Wave bands like Pere Ubu or T. Rex who were adding more creativity into the music during their times.

With the track “Until the End,” Pale Monsters creates one of the hardest rocking tracks of the Are You Feeling Alive? album. The track features guitars that help give the track a full-out Rock and Roll approach. In fact, “Until the End” could easily fit nicely into any Modern Rock radio formats. Any music lover interested in Modern Rock will truly enjoy the sound of “Until the End”.

Are You Feeling Alive? continues with the track “Bombs Away”. The track features a strong Indie Rock feel to the instrumental music that makes up the rather short track. Of course, the song segues into the next track of “Buzzed Out,” so the rather short playtime is understandable.

The next track of “Buzzed Out” is one track on the Are You Feeling Alive? album from Pale Monsters that truly allows the band’s Art Rock influences to shine through. Just like with a band like Pere Ubu, this track features a strained vocal delivery from singer/guitarist Chris Mulvey that adds a slightly Punk-Pop feel to the music itself.

Are You Feeling Alive? from Pale Monsters comes to an end with the song “Gone”. The track slows the pace of the music down quite a bit. But as this happens to be the final track, that is acceptable as it makes the release feel as if it is coming to an end. Like the rest of the album, the song of “Gone” contains a New Wave/early Alternative Rock feel. But more than that, the track takes on a musical approach that seems to have been influenced by British New Wave/ Alternative Rock band Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark (better known as OMD). In fact, the entire musical approach on the “Gone” track brings to mind OMD’s early nineties era during which they had released their Sugar Tax album. “Gone” and its musical approach feel as if it would have felt right at home within that album.

The Are You Feeling Alive? album from Pale Monsters finds the Boston-based band creating a release that makes use of many different influences. That musical blend creates an album that ends up being very strong from beginning to end.

 

The Are You Feeling Alive? album from Pale Monsters will be released in March 2018. Until then, check out the video to the song “Everybody (Take What You Can Take)”. 

For more information, check out the band’s PR Firm, WHIPLASH PR

 

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Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Mayve “Motion”

Long Island-based Indie-Pop band Mayve originally began as a three-person trio with the group consisting of frontman and lyricist Nick Micheline, lead guitarist Mike Gusman and drummer Joe Rene. They would later add Kyle Murphy as rhythm guitarist & keyboardist and bassist Matt Emma to complete the band’s current line-up. The resulting band creates a sound that consists largely of New Wave and Alternative influences. What resulted was a band that is heavily based in a keyboard sound that alternates between a slightly retro feel and a more current style to their sound. The band had already released one EP entitled Animals, the band is back with a new EP just released in early 2017 called Motion.

Motion from Mayve begins with the track “You”. Right from the start, the track sounds like it belongs on the radio as the track brings to mind commercially accessible artists like Simple Minds. In fact, the track feels like one of the more laidback tracks like “Alive and Kicking” that could have been produced by the band. The sound of “You” by Mayve seems to float between the feel of the eighties and today’s pop music which makes it perfect for those looking for either style of music.

Mayve’s new EP of Motion continues with the track “45d (enter)”. The track is simply a very ambient piece of music that makes the listener feel as if they are floating in the air. The track would be perfect background music for when you want to relax. The track of “45d (enter)” acts like a segue between “You” and the next track on the EP.

The third track on the EP is entitled “1924”. When the song “You” floats between the eighties and today, “1924” is firmly grounded in the eighties. That being said, the style of the track brings to mind the American artists like The Raspberries who were creating their sound after being influenced by the likes of the British bands like A Flock of Seagulls. The style of “1924” from Mayve falls somewhere between commercial and Indie. That’s not a bad thing; it’s just that the track has a unique feel to it.

On the track “Cruel Intentions,” Mayve fully embraces a New Wave feel to their music. The keyboards and guitars together create a sound that brings to mind either A Flock of Seagulls or the band Haircut 100, a band that was famous for their New Wave hit single “Love Plus One”. The New Wave direction found in “Cruel Intentions” feels as genuine as anything that had been created back in the late seventies/early eighties.

With “Young Blood,” the next track on the EP, Mayve changes their style drastically. Gone is the New Wave feel. Instead, the Indie Rock track created by the band contains such a strong Jazz influence that it would easily fit on any Smooth Jazz radio format. Along with the jazz-like style of the music, the vocal delivery from frontman/vocalist Nick Micheline adds to that Jazz feel of the track. A track like “Young Blood” is what really shows the listener the versatility of a band as the song takes the listener in a completely different direction from the rest of the album.

Once again, Mayve creates a segue effect with the next track called “45d (exit)”. Much like the earlier track of “45d (enter),” this track also features a gentle, ambient feel to the music and a slow pace to the track.

The Motion release from Mayve comes to an end with the title track “A Motion”. The previous track of “45d (exit)” actually works well as a segue as “A Motion” contains a very laidback feel to the music that is even more laidback than the Jazz-like feel of “Young Blood”. The slow pace of “A Motion” works well to bring the seven-song release to a close.

Motion from Mayve is the perfect Indie-Pop release as it features many different styles blending together to create a release that feels very commercial one minute and then a little less commercial the next. The various styles that make up the EP give the listener a strong indication of just what the band can do. With the seven tracks that make up the release, Motion from Mayve is nicely varied. You can just imagine how strong an entire album would be.

To check out the music of Mayve, listen to the band’s song “You“.

For more information, check out the band’s PR firm Whiplash PR.

To check out the Motion EP from Mayve, click on the album cover below:

Motion