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Neil Nathan talks about his debut record, ongoing influences from his youth and what if Cat Stevens were Bono…

Neil Nathan’s debut record, The Distance Calls, merges ’70s style jangle pop with modern singer-songwriter smarts. He is equal parts Cat Stevens and Matthew Sweet, and he recently took a few moments to entertain some of our questions…

Q: Neil – thank you very much for taking the time to chat. Let’s go back to the beginning; we’d like to hear about the time it first dawned on you that music was your calling…

A: I was five [years old] and one of my first 45’s was Cheap Trick’s “I Want You To Want Me.” That about sums up my mentality then and now.

Q: Your new record, The Distance Calls, is amazing – such a versatile blend of styles – what is the main thing you want listeners to take away from hearing it?

A: Thanks for the compliment, Bill! So glad you’re digging it. I’m hoping folks walk away feeling some of the emotions I felt when I wrote the songs. Sorrow, hope, anger, joy, love – all or any of the above would do.

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Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: The Walkmen “Lisbon”

“Country air is good for me / no matter whose side I’m on,” sings Hamilton Leithauser of The Walkmen. A farmer in his field fixes a broken down fence. A policeman drives by in an old Volkswagen. A woman cleans out a stall, huge wads of dirty straw stick out between the tongs of her pitch fork, while another counts money in a bank. But then, at night, everything changes. Taxpayer, tallyman, farmer, doctor, whoever – everyone gets together to dance, feast and drink. Sure, there’s work, but there’s love, music and life. The Walkmen’s fifth album, Lisbon, was released September 14 and has captured this same passion and soul through rock.

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Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Lower Dens “Twin-Hand Movement”

Given the glut of bands who employ noise as an instrument in and of itself, it’s crucial that its role be played with purpose. Baltimore quartet Lower Dens isn’t quite up to this task on its debut full-length: Twin-Hand Movement. The album is a tale of two cities and one band ultimately caught wavering in between.

Displaying ample traces of fuzz-pop and krautrock, freak-folk chanteuse Jana Hunter’s new project has its toes dipped in terrific pools of inspiration. “Blue And Silver” and “A Dog’s Dick” wear their sprightly clangor proudly, not hiding within it, but attempting to show it up via big, radiant harmonies. Meanwhile, strong throwback vibes emerge on the delicately eddying “I Get Nervous” and fluttery motorik-riddled closer “Two Cocks Waving Wildly At Each Other Across A Vast Open Space, A Dark Icy Tundra.” A two-minute ditty, “Holy Water” is especially winsome in its Neu! reverence; twinkly, straight-shooting, and tons of fun.

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Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Pistol Whip “Terminal”

In the late seventies, Erie, Pennsylvania was home to one of the earliest punk bands in the Northeastern part of the United States- Pistol Whip. In fact, this band was responsible for helping to create the “f—k you” attitude that many later punk bands would replicate. And Pistol Whip also was one of the first bands that became known for trashing dressing rooms and rock clubs alike.

But aside from the stage antics and attitude exuded by the members of the group, it was the music that made Pistol Whip PISTOL WHIP. And about twenty years after the initial breakup of the band, Smog Veil Records unearthed the music of this talented band whose music was somewhere between the later form of Glam Rock and early Punk.

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Features

Deep Manalishi and Manalishi Purple were considered, but Black Manalishi was born

Black Manalishi are emanating, illuminating and blasting out of the Northwest corner of the U.K. They have a classic/heavy rock style shaped by many great influences such as Black Sabbath, Cream, Crosby, Deep Purple, Free, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Lynyrd Skynrd, Nash & Young, Pink Floyd and a great many more.

I recommend you check out their tunes, as these guys have got everything that a true classic rock fan is looking for, in triplicate. The band members are Nathan Moore on guitar, Adam Ward on vocals, Lee Gallagher on drums and Sean Gallagher on bass. Yes, you may have guessed the fact that Sean and Lee are brothers, which must add so much to the bands synergised, taught sound. Black Manalishi stimulate your mind, body and soul with an amazing wall of guitar sound and vocals backed up so well with that brotherly rhythm section. I recently threw a few questions at Nathan…

Q: How did Black Manalishi come to form initially and what inspired the choice of name?

A: I met Adam Ward through a mutual friend when forming a cover band for fun. I decided to form a new band and continue writing and performing original material, something I had done since first learning to play. Being a great vocalist, with a style reminiscent of some of my favourite rock singers, Adam was the perfect choice for vocals. The other members have always been auditioned to find the best musicians when needed.

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Artists and Bands

Electric guitar master Joe Satriani talks about his 14th studio album, shares thoughts on fellow guitar legends and reveals Chickenfoot’s future

Electric guitar legend Joe Satriani is releasing his 14th studio album, Black Swans and Wormhole Wizards, on October 5. With over 10 million album sales and 15 Grammy nominations to him name, Satriani’s upcoming release is certainly an anticipated one. R&RR’s very own Aaron Kupferberg recently had the chance to talk to Satriani about the new record, everything to do with guitars and Chickenfoot – Satriani’s band with Sammy Hagar and Michael Anthony of Van Halen and Chad Smith of Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Q: I wanted to ask, since we both grew up on Long Island, you went to Carle Place High School, right?

A: Yeah, Carle Place High School.

Q: Do you remember the name of your very first band in high school?

A: Yes, the very first band was called “Mephistopheles”  and it was quickly followed by a band called “Tarsus.”

Q: What type of music did you play?

A: We were doing Black Sabbath, Stones, Zeppelin, The Doors and Spirit. I attended St. Bridget’s Catholic School till they threw me out, [then] I attended Carle Place High School.

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Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Labeling Deloris “Throwing Punches”

You don’t often find a rock band that is fronted by a woman who is equally beautiful and talented, but Jennifer Reiff and the rest of the band Labeling Deloris has been creating music as a band for several years now. And with every passing year, the band nad their music gets stronger and better. Along with Reiff, the rest of Labeling Deloris is composed of Jason Rigney on guitar, Brad Rigney on bass and Andrew Boudouris on drums. With the beautiful voice of Reiff combined with the style of rock created by Rigney, Rigney and Boudouris, their music could easily be added to most Top 40/Adult Contemporary radio formats. The band is currently promoting their newest release of Throwing Punches.

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Reviews and Suggestions

Country upstart Leyla Fences Shows Good Country Has No Bounds

Leyla Fences – Liars, Cheats and Fools
self-released

It’s not hard to see country music is currently at a crossroads. The Nashville music machine is now led by a new young group of stars more famous from their American Idol and Nashville Star televison appearances than the sort of roadhouse and bar tours their predecessors had to endure. The old guard is starting to retreat and this group of young’uns are the focal point of where country music is headed. Needless to say, there are plenty of hardcore country fans who are not happy. Calling the music of the up and comers ‘too slick’ for pure country, they parrot a longstanding gripe as fans of hardcore country music have been calling popular country music ‘slick’ for the past 50 years or so. Ever since Patsy Cline and her peers became the purveyors of what many wags called “countrypolitan” in the late ’50’s, people have been sounding the death knell of pure country, fretting for their fiddles and steel guitars and wondering why the drummer was ever allowed onstage at the Opry. Never mind one of the inventors of the sound was guitarist/producer/A&R man Chet Atkins, a name synonymous with country music and one of its’ most honored and well-known instrumentalists. When Buck Owens brought his Bakersfield sound to country back in the early ’60’s, everything calmed down for awhile. At least, until Waylon Jennings, Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson started the outlaw country movement. Country purists hated that.

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Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Land of Talk “Cloak and Cipher”

I cannot solve ciphers. At least not yet, anyway. Released on August 24, Land of Talk’s sophomore album, Cloak and Cipher, is just that to me – a cipher I cannot solve.  The album is an incredibly ambitious juxtaposition of tantalizing poetry and concrete rock, but leaves me wanting. Why?

Elizabeth Powell (singer, songwriter and guitarist), Eion O Laoghaire (bassist) and Andrew Barr (drummer), with the help of a few talented friends (members of Stars, Wintersleep, Besnard Lakes, Arcade Fire, Esmerine and Patrick Watson) have begun to unlock a treasure chest of music. Swirling, sweeping, rough, delicate, cold, hot and dark lyrics lament over lost love, love lacking, longing for lasting light, and letting go for liberation.

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Artists and Bands

Billy Gibbons, Jeff Beck and Jimmie Vaughan perform at Goodwood Festival of Speed 2010

Jeff, Billy, JimmieReport and photographs by Dawn Irwin/Video by Eddie Eustace

The Festival of Speed at Goodwood is renowned as the world’s largest celebration of motoring culture. With its idyllic setting in the immaculate grounds of Goodwood House, deep within the Sussex countryside, its exclusive Members Club, picnic hampers and champagne, it is also the most quintessentially British event on the motorsport calendar. For 2010, the theme was Viva Veloce! – The Passion for Speed, with two significant motor sport and automotive anniversaries also being commemorated. Namely, Alfa Romeo’s centenary and Formula 1’s 60th birthday with a momentous gathering of cars and drivers that have shaped the history of motor sport’s most glamorous series. Reigning World Champion Jenson Button, 2008 Champion Lewis Hamilton, and title contender and epitome of “Aussie Grit” Mark Webber demonstrated their skills and thrilled the crowd on the challenging white-knuckle 1.16 mile Hill Climb.