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Featured Review Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Doris Brendel & Lee Dunham “Electrica”

I have not written any form of review or feature for quite some time. However much to my delight the wonderfully talented Doris Brendel recently offered me the opportunity to review her forthcoming new album which is very aptly titled Eclectica. After a few apprehensive moments my initial reluctance transformed into eager excitement as I am very proud to have been reviewing Doris’s album releases since 2010. Please pardon my initial apprehension; it was all down to having enough time to write a review which truthfully reflects the sheer musical quality of Doris’s creations. I am almost rendered speechless every time that I am privileged to hearing new work from Doris. The new album Eclectica has taken this to a new emotive level. Every time that I play Eclectica, I hear the album in a new light.

 

Eclectica lives up to its name in so many ways, the delivery and content of superbly crafted lyrics combine with the musical prowess of Doris and her band. I am completely besotted by this new milestone album. It follows on beautifully from the previous album, Upside Down World which Doris Brendel created and released in 2015. So much so, in fact, that the first track on Eclectica was originally written for Upside Down World. It is in fact also the track which was used to gain much audience participation whilst closing the live set which I saw when I was fortunate enough to see when Doris and her band played support to Wishbone Ash at The Cheese And Grain Hall on Frome last November. This thrill factor created by this performance was equivalent to a much longer or even a full set even though it limited to about 20/25 minutes in length.

 

This is the Eclectica tracklist:

The One

Love App

I Rather Wear Black

Crying Shame

Retribution

Animal

Losing It

Death And Taxes

Balloon

One World

 

Anybody who was fortunate enough to see Doris supporting Wishbone Ash during the past couple of years will already have heard some of the amazing new material which is soon to be unleashed with the release of Eclectica. Six out of the ten tracks on the forthcoming album were recorded while the previous album Upside Down World was being created. The four tracks which Doris has written after the birth of Upside Down World are ‘Love App’, ‘Losing It’, Death & Taxes’ and ‘I Rather Wear Black’.

 

Eclectica is a truly exceptional diversity of first class, top drawer tracks which will animate your emotions while exciting your senses. As the cover art suggests it is very much like a set of sliding drawers each filled with an individual musical treat. The album is progressively biased whilst also incorporating some luscious touches of pop, funk, folk and even a hint of medieval plainsong within this delicious selection of tracks. It is virtually impossible to generically categorise Doris Brendel as her music is just so diversely creative. Over the years since her departure from The Violet Hour Doris has created her very own musically creative niche. Alternative Rock would be the easiest tag to use if you needed to categorise Doris Brendel.

 

I have been immersing my senses with Eclectica for some time now and it hits a 10/10 rating with ease. I would almost go as far as to state that this is my album of the decade, the constraint in this statement is due to the fact that I am sure Doris will be releasing another album before 2020!

 

To hear the music of Doris Brendel, check out this live performance of the song “Crying Shame” from the soon-to-be released album of Electrica.

 

The launch gig for Eclectica is being held at The Borderline venue in London on Sunday May 14th. Full details about this gig along with all that you may need to know about Doris Brendel can be found at http://www.dorisbrendel.com.

 

 

 

Doris Blendel ElectricaAlbum credits
Lyrics written by: Doris Brendel (tracks 1, 2, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9) Lee Dunham (track 5), Lee Dunham and Doris Brendel (track 10), and Peter Lockyer (track 3).
Music composed by Doris Brendel and Lee Dunham, with contributions from Lincoln Spalding (track 7)
Produced, recorded & engineered by Lee Dunham
Mastering – Mike Marsh @ The Exchange Mike Marsh Mastering, Devon
Published by Sky-Rocket Recordings


Instrumentation:
Piano –Ed Jones, Doris Brendel and Rich Clark (track 4)
Guitars – Lee Dunham and Andy Powell (solo, track 2)
Drums – Steve Clark (tracks 1, 5, 6, 9, 10) and Sam White (tracks 2, 3, 7, 8)
Bass – Lincoln Spalding (tracks 2, 3, 7, 8), Sparkie Dalton (tracks 5 & 6), Huggy Harewood (track 10), Lee Dunham (track 9)
Vocals – Doris Brendel & Lee Dunham.
Flageolet – Doris Brendel
Harmonica – Terry Dunham
Cello – Emma Dunham
Violins – Emma Robinson & Millie Robinson
Percussion – Lee Dunham
Visual and art concepts by Doris Brendel & Lee Dunham
Album Cover artwork – Igor Morski
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Featured Review Features

Gary Pig Gold’s TEN YOU MAY HAVE MISSED In 2016

Bob Dylan duly dumped about another thirty-seven (at last count) albums in our laps last year, while on much the other hand the vast majority of my aural Good Times! during oh-16 came courtesy of Micky, Peter, Michael and Davy. Nevertheless, there still remained room on the trusty Pig Player for the following splendid, purely alphabetically-listed items as well …which you should all be playing too if you aren’t already:

 

8x83 8X8 Inflorescence  (8X8 Records)
Once again virtually producing their sonic bridge between Queens, NY and Kiev, UKR, Lane Steinberg and Alexander Khodchenko return with forty three minutes which never fail to fully mystify as much as melodize. To begin, “Stop The Madman” takes its fanciful funereal march clear off our collective cliff, then “My Summertime High” trips Todd Rundgren straight over Colin Moulding before signing off with a most significant SMiLE indeed. But… is it Sunshine Pop?? Soon however, unlike on their previous offering, Alex and Lane start stretching out magnificent, purely instrumental passages: “Aftermath” sports a dense Mellotronic concluding quarter while “The Essence” tags on nearly two whole minutes which would sound completely at home beneath the very next Tom Cruise green-screen action caper; in fact two songs, “Head, Heart, & Tail” and “Between The Double Curtain” are almost totally instrumental. Yet wherever and whenever words do enter into it, the utterly Blonde on John “Bubbles” in particular, the lyrics weave a near Sir Ray Davies level of storytelling detail (“No More Second Chance”). Which reminds me: Lane Steinberg’s vocals – I single out “Some Surreal Idea” above all – are perhaps the best he has ever done. Which is saying quite a bit over a career which already spans decades. And counting.

Mike BadgerMIKE BADGER and the Shady Trio Honky Tonk Angels On Motorbikes (Generator)
Delightfully direct from the J. Strummer School of roots ‘n’ roll, Mike Badger’s northern UK ancestry (The Onset and, yes, The La’s to cite only two) plays as sure and smooth as his hollow body Gretsch upon this disarming little disc. “Miss Jones,” for starters, slyly sways in a Nesmith National Band way, while “27 Miles to Memphis” should without doubt be railroaded in Dave Edmunds’ direction asap. And while we’re at it, John Fogerty sure could use a tune or two just like “Mean And Nasty Devil” right about now. Elsewhere, “Adios Amigo” wouldn’t sound a single inch out of place on your favorite Rank and File album while “John Got Shot” fires 21st Century skiffle, I kid you not, complete with crackling Crickets-y guitar breaks here and then there. But it’s whenever his expertly Shady Trio channel those Tennessee Three – on “You Can’t Keep a Good Man Down” and “Maybe” mainly – that Mike’s way with a word and a chord shine brightest; and “The County’s First Psychedelic Cowboy” spins tall tales which could make Shel Silverstein roll over …while telling Mick Farren the news. P.S.: Mike’s exemplary The Rhythm & The Tide should be considered Required Reading as well, one and all.

Pet SoundsBeach Boys, Pet Sounds  (Eagle Rock Entertainment)
The Little Album That Could celebrated its 50th (!) Anniversary in 2016, and naturally Brian Wilson + Band fearlessly toured this whole world (“one last time”?) performing it to rapt audiences young, old, and definitely in between. To help with said commemoration on film, the venerable Classic Albums series gathers together the usual interview subjects (various Beach Boys, past and present, living and otherwise), some fascinating, seldom-heard-from figures (veteran Capitol Rec.s exec Karl Engemann), plus several downright dubious speakers (British teen singing starlet Helen Shapiro who, well, opened for the Boys back in ’67) to relate the oft-told yet still somehow captivating saga of one of our favorite-ever thirty-six minutes of vinyl. We get to view many an original Pet Sounds session reel box – one with Jan Berry’s phone number still visible – and hear snippets of raw recording chatter (thrill to M. Love Not War attempting “I Know There’s An Answer” Jimmy Durante-style), while engineer Bruce Botnick, listening to a playback of “Good Vibrations,” demonstrates how to correctly identify – within mere notes! – each studio used to record each suite section. Most interesting as well to hear Tony Asher recall how a brief hallway meeting between he and B. Wilson lead to his being asked, out of the proverbial blue, to write most of Pet Sounds’ lyrics, while Hal “Drummer Man” Blaine deciphers how the “Sloop John B” percussion was arranged to depict in sound the tiny ship’s increasingly choppy ocean voyage. “It’s all visual!” as Hal exclaims, and you’ll soon see too this is without doubt one Classic Album that more than deserves vivid A/V treatment.

MillersTalesBIG BOY PETE Miller’s Tales (•22 Records)
As the man/the legend himself has admitted, “This is what happens when you give Big Boy Pete a movie camera for Christmas.” And what happens all over this 90-minute (again, as BBP sez) “album of EyeTunes” is precisely the sort of seat-o-the-pants decorum-be-gawddamned DIY-ness which has infused Peter Miller’s career ever since he built his first Warblerama guitar in late-50’s Britain before going on to create some of the farthest-out sounds this side of Syd Barrett in Joe Meek’s parlor. And now, for the first time he’s bringing his all to the small – even laptop screen on this DVD: Be it chicken-pickin’ his way up and down the local record emporium’s vinyl aisles (“Once Upon a Tune”), sliding the kind of solos which would make even Zoot Horn Rollo recant (“Upside Down”), or plopping Sinatra in the middle of the nearest Nirvana video (“Baby I Got Screwed by You”). The accompaniment’s always top top notch of course (e.g.: Just when one thought there couldn’t be any more wah-wah Wonderwall Music comes “No Limeys Left in London”), but the visuals also wholly live up to their tasks (“The Flicker” imagines Casino directed by D. Lynch as opposed to M. Scorsese, while “My Loyal Shadow” displays genuine Bernard Shakey sensibilities, if you’d catch my drift). So! Call me Crazy Boy, but I for one hope we all live long enough to hear – and see – the Big Boy’s “Winnie” blanket-broadcast every 24th of January ’cross the length and breadth of that once United Kingdom in honour of Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill.

chilton ALEX CHILTON Ocean Club ’77 (Norton Records)
They say cool things come to those who wait, and I had to wait about a year til this gem safely arrived here at the ol’ sty. Then again, we all had to wait 38 times as long as that to finally have those now sounds of Alex, Chris Stamey, and Lloyd Fonoroff blow their Live in New York proto-punk directly cross our paths. Kinda hot off his Singer Not The Song EP, Alex and those sometimes-called Cossacks, taking a night or two off from demo’ing up a storm for Elektra Records (who, I suppose not surprisingly, never bit) hit the Ocean stage with the following words: “Can I have a Coke and, uh, Canadian Whiskey on the rocks?” How else to follow that up than with a blast into “September Gurls” (how very odd though to hear Alex introduce this number to near silence; the Chilton revival/renaissance still, we must recall, a few years off) followed by a detour home to Chuck B’s “Memphis” as only a Box Top can, “In The Street” – yes, that 70’s theme – and then “Back Of A Car” (“There’s a screw loose in this speaker!” it sounds like Stamey saying by way of, um, introduction). Add a nice Seeds nugget, a “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” in – wait for it – Beach Boys Love You (!) fashion, a too-wily-for-words “Walk Don’t Run” and a de rigueur “Letter” (no, not “Please Mister Postman” as Alex teases) and we honestly have a fifty-minute trip back to a simpler time when Big Star albums could only be found in Woolworths’ 99-cent bin and “power pop” was strictly a phrase uttered in crinkly old Pete Townshend interviews.

FeltonSIMON FELTON Return to Easton Square (Pink Hedgehog Records)
One of my favorite singing songwriting types from the far-flung Isle of Portland – that’s in Dorset, England btw – takes good time off from his Garfields Birthday band to bring us a dozen, and I quote the Press insert, “essentially demos. The intention would be to one day record them ‘properly’ in a studio, but the reality is that this is as good as they’re ever likely to sound.” But! With material as finely tuned as Simon’s, there’s nothing whatsoever amiss in keeping said recordings raw, ripe and ready. “Will You Be There” for example rests with a low rumbling cello pulse; a most effectively spacious arrangement which features often throughout this collection. “Alibi” employs a perfectly playful rhyming scheme, lyrically speaking, while “Good Morning Britain” really makes me wonder how often Simon stays home to watch Gavin & Stacey reruns. Everything herein’s sung with a soft C. Blunstone approach; which reminds me: “I Would (If I Wanted To)” should be sent the Zombies’ way without delay! And, so far as my ears are concerned, “Goodbye (Again)” represents just about the absolute best two-and-a-half minutes they’ve had all year. “Demos”? Well, these ones prove, yet again, that less can honestly amount to more. MUCH more.

Fleshtones THE FLESHTONES …The Band Drinks for Free (Yep Roc Records)
Joyously celebrating, as their sticker sez, “40 Years Of Rocking Harder Than Anyone In The World,” those ever-touchy-feely Fleshtones defiantly continue to put the Rage in the back of Garage …and then some. To wit, this latest and very possibly greatest release of theirs turns the guitars up and screws the snare taut for the kind of witful wallop we’ve long come to expect from these masters. More specifically, “Love Like A Man,” not to mention “Rick Wakeman’s Cape” (Title of the Year, btw) deftly add the Sir to the Douglas, “Suburban Roulette” should be considered for immediate cover on the very next Teenage Head platter, and “Respect Our Love” sounds as if those Dead Boys actually aren’t. I personally cherish that little Ox outro, bass-ically Who speaking that is, on “Living Today,” and Bonus Points aplenty for shutting completely down Usher/Christian’s golden vintage “Gasser” to boot. Then, signing strategically off “Before I Go” with said fuzz’n’Farfisa-crusted capper and this is, without debate, one band who can live up to its album title. Any time. On me.

JanisJANIS JOPLIN Janis: Little Girl Blue (MVD Entertainment Group) The mark of good filmmaking, especially of the docu genre, is the ability to capture and hold the viewer’s undivided attention even if the subject matter is unfamiliar or of little if any interest. I’ll admit to falling into the latter category insofar as Janis Joplin is concerned, for while I have always admired her talents and drive, I never really appreciated the range and depth of both until Little Girl Blue laid it plainly to see …and hear. Not only is the wealth of historical footage, both performance and otherwise well chosen, but so is the inevitable swell of talking heads – notably her Holding Company, her younger sister Laura, and intriguingly her “former boyfriend” David Niehaus – and thankfully all the young, Century 21 celebrity testimonials are saved til the end credits, lest they divide and distract from Those Who Were Actually There And Know (John Lennon’s final words on the subject, from a 1971 Dick Cavett Show, remain most chillingly profound). BEWARE, however, the “Big Brother Acapella” on the Special Features menu …you’ve been warned. All from our heroes at MVD, who have also just brought us magnificent audio compilations from John Coltrane (!) and John Lee Hooker (!!), not to mention – speaking of fine documentaries and even finer record stores – All Things Must Pass.

 

Legal Matters THE LEGAL MATTERS CONRAD (Omnivore Recordings)
Meanwhile, from the fine folk over at Omnivore who, on the most recent Record Store Day alone brought us lotsa Bangles, Beach Boys and Big Star present (to kinda quote the sticker right there on the CD cover) the highly anticipated second hook-filled and harmony-drenched release from Michigan’s Keith Klingensmith, Chris Richards and Andy Reed. And while absolutely no time whatsoever is wasted as “Anything” lulls ‘n’ floats most gently in on a lush Badfinger-by-way-of-Crowded House bed of ooooh’s, ahhhh’s and six strings, these Legal Matters, baby, are never content to toil merely within the boundaries of any musical pigeonhole: there’s “More Birds Less Bees” which goes one further plus deeper into vintage – guess who? – Bachman/Cummings territory while the sweet chilling “Pull My String” adds a slight scoop of Townshend, but with the ’tude toned properly down. May I add “The Cool Kid” should henceforth be piped through the PA at the conclusion of each and every International Pop Overthrow festival clear round the globe? Andy’s Reed Recording Company right there in Bay City, MI checks that all sounds shimmer, yet pack punch when need be, ensuring and reassuring any out there who may often fret over who killed all the rock and roll stars – yes, the ones that used to make us wanna learn our guitars in the first place.

MonkeesOh ! and Did I mention… THE MONKEES Good Times! (Rhino Entertainment)

 

 

 

 

PigPicture

 

 

 

 

Gary Pig Gold

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Featured Review Reviews and Suggestions

Matheson Kamin’s Best Releases for 2016

2016 has come to an end. That means, for many, the time has come to put together our “Best Of” lists for the year. Like every year, I have put together a list of the releases that have peaked my interest the most throughout the year of 2016. In no particular order, here is my List for Best Releases for 2016,  the albums that need one more mentioning.

1. 9 from Mark Nomad

9Massachusetts-based musician and songwriter Mark Nomad has had a long musical career creating Blues-Rock music. Starting out with the band Little Village, Nomad’s career has included being part of a very popular band before going out on his own as a solo artist. Within the time period in which Nomad has created his own music, he has amassed a total of nine releases. This includes his latest album of new material. The new release from Mark Nomad is entitled 9. While the newest release from Mark Nomad is his ninth album, the release also consists of nine musical tracks. So the number “nine” is very much present on Nomad’s new release. Just like the other albums that have made up Mark Nomad’s discography, 9 consists of tracks that are largely influenced by the music of the Blues. Like other releases in his discography, 9 from Mark Nomad once again show off the musician’s talent as both a songwriter and as a player. The tracks on the new release contain many different styles and sounds that keep the release nice and varied. With it being the ninth album in his discography, 9 from Mark Nomad shows that he is not slowly down.

Click HERE for the entire review for the album.

2. Counterpoint from Circuline

circuline_counterpoint_fc_300dpi-resized-v1-560x503The form of Rock and Roll called Progressive Rock (or Prog-rock for short) had its heyday back in the late 60s/early 70s. However, there have always been bands or solo artists out there that continue to create new Prog-rock. These bands draw influence from earlier bands like Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Gentle Giant, or even Peter Gabriel-era Genesis to create their own songs in order to keep the vision of the originators of the style alive. The newer songs being created are continuing to push the envelope of that style of Rock and Roll music in order to keep the music fresh. One such band around today that is doing their best to push the envelope of Rock and Roll by creating Progressive Rock is Circuline. Earlier in 2016, Circuline released their second album called Counterpoint. The album showcases the band’s Progressive Rock sound. Counterpoint from Circuline is a solid Progressive Rock release. Throughout the album, the band shows off its ability to create some of the most entertaining Prog-rock out there today. For fans of the style, this is a great album to add to your collection. And for those unfamiliar with the style, this is a great place to start.

Click HERE for the entire review for the album.

3. Unnecessary Commentary from Matt Hurray

matthurray2Back in 2012, California-based guitarist Matt Hurray released his debut solo release entitled Egyptian Surfer. That album found Murray creating songs that featured a strong Surf Rock sound. But the album also contained many other influences that gave the release a very wide array of sounds. The ever-changing style of music made Egyptian Surfer a strong release. Now, Matt Hurray has returned with a new release of original music. And while the focus of the music is once again on Surf Rock, Hurray’s new release is just as varied as his debut release. Hurray’s new album is entitled Unnecessary Commentary. The new release from Matt Hurray entitled Unnecessary Commentary is an album that is overflowing with eighteen tracks. Each and every one of them is a track that is sure to catch your interest. While Hurray’s influences from the likes of The Ventures or Dick Dale do come through in Matt Hurray’s playing, each song is definitely his own. And with the inclusion of other styles mixed in with the dominant Surf Rock influence, Unnecessary Commentary from Matt Hurray is a well-rounded release with something for nearly every taste.

Click HERE for the entire review for the album.

4. Trampling Out the Vintage from Tom Guerra

tomguerra12Connecticut-based guitarist and singer Tom Guerra has spent many years playing in a rock band called Mambo Sons. The band last released an album back in 2009 which was a double CD release called Heavy Days. Since then, however, the trio has been silent. But that changed recently when guitarist and singer Tom Guerra went out on his own. While Mambo Sons created music that was heavily blues-based, Guerra decided to incorporate more influences into his sound. For his new release of Trampling Out the Vintage, Tom Guerra does a great job of using the various influences he has picked up throughout the years. The resulting album’s 10 tracks are widely varied from one track to the next while they still contain a solid Rock and Roll base. Guerra has put out yet another album in Trampling Out the Vintage that would be very welcome in any Rock and Roll listener’s music collection.

Click HERE for the entire review for the album.

5. Badass Generation from The Paul Nelson Band

BA GenerationYears ago, Paul Nelson was the man who helped shape the sound of Winter’s music by playing guitar in the Johnny Winter Band. And now, years after the passing of Johnny Winter, Paul Nelson is finally making a name for himself by stepping out of the shadow of Winter. Currently, Nelson is creating his own music with his own band of musicians. In fact, the Paul Nelson Band has just recently released their debut album of Badass Generation. It is this album that allows the listener to experience the talent of Paul Nelson and his band. There are plenty of moments to enjoy on Badass Generation from The Paul Nelson Band. Along with the unmistakable influences from Johnny Winter, the band makes use of other influences that help to give shape to their music. Ultimately, the band’s music will appeal to fans of Winter and other Classic Rock artists alike. And with Paul Nelson having backed up Winter for as long as he did, the influences that rubbed off on him have made Nelson a musician to watch in the future. But for now, check out the Badass Generation release from The Paul Nelson Band and you won’t be sorry.

Click HERE for the entire review for the album.

6. Self-titled release from Fire Merchants

FM CoverPennsylvania-born musician John Goodsall has made a name for himself working inside the music industry. Near the end of the 1980s, Goodsall helped to create the Progressive Rock/Jazz Fusion band called Fire Merchants. While John Goodsall’s former band of Brand X had been rather progressive in its style of music, John Goodsall and Fire Merchants created a sound that exceeded the progressive nature of even Brand X’s style. It was with the help of bassist Doug Lunn and drummer Chester Thompson that Fire Merchants came into being. Together, Goodsall, Lunn and Thompson created the debut self-titled album from Fire Merchants. Having been released back in 1989, the self-titled release from Fire Merchants ended up being one of the most overlooked albums from that year. However, as a way of celebrating the 25th anniversary of the album, Europe-based Gonzo Multimedia gave the album a proper re-release in 2014. Along with the original 11 cassette-release tracks from back in 1989, the 2014 re-release comes complete with two additional tracks of “Healing Dream” and “Nuclear Burn”. The newly-extended self-titled release from Fire Merchants is now even better at over one hour long and is begging to be heard.

Click HERE for the entire review for the album.

7. X Waters from The Whiskey Hollow

thewhiskeyhollowMy introduction to singer-songwriter Madeline Finn and her music came with a pre-arranged open-mic called Brent Kirby’s 10×3 where Finn performed three songs. At the end of those three songs, I found myself thinking that that time on stage for Madeline Finn simply wasn’t long enough as I wanted to hear more from the singer. And with a voice that reminds me of Norah Jones, Finn has a quality that begs you to listen. When I finally was able to hear X Waters, the new release from Madeline Finn and the rest of her band called The Whiskey Hollow, I was not surprised as I had already experienced Finn’s sound and style. I was also not disappointed as the music contained within the seven-song release was everything I had enjoyed live plus even more as the release from The Whiskey Hollow took the acoustic sound from Madeline Finn and expanded upon it. X Waters from The Whiskey Hollow is strong from the very first song and never lets up. And with the different genres and styles of music used to bring Madeline Finn’s words to life, the listener has plenty of things to keep them entertained.

Click HERE for the entire review for the album.

8. The Bad Guy from Man Called Noon

the-bad-guyBack around 2010, I had been introduced to the Chicago-based band Man Called Noon. At that time, I became familiar with the band because of their album Broke and Beaten Down. Several years after reviewing 2009’s Broke and Beaten Down, and after having released another album in the meantime entitled Edge of the Night, Man Called Noon returns with their newest album entitled The Bad Guy. With this album, the band creates a slightly different style of music than what had come before. This new lineup for Man Called Noon incorporates some of the old sound and feel of the band while also taking the band’s sound in a new and more interesting direction. While I was already familiar with Man Called Noon, the band’s new album was a nice surprise. The new release from Man Called Noon finds the band creating a much stronger vibe than what had appeared on the band’s 2010 album of Broke and Beaten Down. The Bad Guy contains better musicianship, stronger songs and an all-around better sound. If unfamiliar with Man Called Noon, The Bad Guy is the perfect place to discover the band for yourself.

Click HERE for the entire review for the album.

9. Everybody’s a Good Dog from Diane Coffee

Diane CoffeeShaun Fleming has spent time in the entertainment world. In fact, Fleming’s acting credentials are quite impressive. And with those acting credentials come Fleming’s musical credentials, as well. You might know his name as part of the band Foxygen where he played drums. Now, Shaun Fleming has taken his musical experience and put it to good use as part of a relatively new project called Diane Coffee. The music of Diane Coffee has been described as “Psychedelic Motown”. That seems to be a relatively good description as that is very close to what the band sounds like on some of their songs. However, that is just the beginning of what the band sounds like. With elements of Funk, Blues, Melodic Rock and other sounds, Diane Coffee has a lot more substance to their music than much of today’s Top 10 musical acts. And that musical blend has made its way onto a couple CDs from the band- 2013’s My Friend Fish and 2015’s Everybody’s a Good Dog. Everybody’s a Good Dog from Diane Coffee is one of the more unique releases of the last year. It brings lots of different influences to life at one time and those influences combine to create a style that seems to incorporate nearly something from every different era within the age of Rock and Roll. That combination of styles makes for a solid album that’s worth checking out.

Click HERE for the entire review for the album.

(The following two releases are from the same artist of Michael McDermott. McDermott created two albums, one under his own name and one under the band moniker of The Westies. As the two albums came from the same artist and feature the same writing style, it was difficult to choose which of the two was the better release. Therefore, I included both of the albums on the list.)

10A. Six on the Out from The Westies

515NZWZxw3L__SS280What happens when you have a rather interesting and checkered past? Well, you write songs based around it. That is precisely what singer-songwriter Michael McDermott has done with the help of his wife Heather Horton. Together, McDermott and Horton got together to create songs that have a rather dark side to them, as the songs deal with the not-so-pretty side of life; the side of life that McDermott knows all too well. Together, Michael McDermott and Heather Horton make up the core of the band The Westies. With The Westies, Michael McDermott and Heather Horton have created songs that deal with the grimy underground that exists within society. Having already created one album in 2015 entitled West Side Stories, the musical outfit has returned after only one year from the release of that album with what amounts to being “part two” of the concept. That newly-released second album is called Six On the Out. The Six On the Out release from The Westies has many moments worth hearing. While there is a lot of darkness within the lyrics of the songs on the album, it is the musicianship of the players on the album and the writing of the songs themselves that add up to create a very strong album. Bottom line, this album is as good as anything available on a major label.

Click HERE for the entire review for the album.

10B. Willow Springs from Michael McDermott

willow-springsRight around the same time that Michael McDermott was recording music for the Six on the Out release, he was also recording other songs that were to be used for his newest solo release. And since the same group of musicians were used for both the Six on the Out album and the new Willow Springs release from Michael McDermott, the two albums have the same basic musical approach in their songs, but the tracks used for each album had their own feel to them. With Six on the Out, the tracks stuck to a more rockin’ feel to the music while the tracks for this album of Willow Springs stick more to a singer-songwriter approach. Willow Springs, the newest solo album from Michael McDermott, shows a slightly different side to McDermott than his previous album of Six on the Out, the album released under the moniker of The Westies. The singer-songwriter side of McDermott shines through on Willow Springs and the album contains many moments that the listener will enjoy.

Click HERE for the entire review for the album.

 

Part Two of the list for Matheson Kamin’s Best Releases for 2016 is a short list of some of the best tracks that were released during 2016.

1 Circuline “Forbidden Planet

2 The Whiskey Hollow “Hudson Hill

3 Diane Coffee “Soon To Be Wont To Be

4 Man Called Noon “The Bad Guy

5 The Westies “If I Had a Gun

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Artists & Bands Featured Review Reviews and Suggestions

Pigshit with Gary Pig Gold: TEN YOU MAY HAVE MISSED In 2015

Just on the off chance you’ve already made it through all 18 discs, 20 hours, and/or 379 tracks of Bob Dylan’s Cutting Edge Collector’s Edition, then may I suggest you now turn both ears immediately towards…
driftingsand21 DRIFTING SAND Summer Splash (Piña Colada Records) To fill that sonic gap in a year which saw exactly zero new Beach Boys or even Laurie Biagini albums, Rick Escobar and all his fellow Surfer Spuds from the far left coast produce thirty-four-minutes-thirty-four of sounds, sights and even aromas which conjure those Modern Lovers of yore hijacked by Keith “Beachcomber” Moon. Bravely mixing a clutch of entirely too-cool-for-words instrumentals – Dan Burdick’s lonely trumpet being particularly effective – with Muscle Beach Party-pedigree songs to evoke your fave rave Surfaris B-side, Drifting Sand can, will, and do rhyme “splash” with “such a gas,” “July and August” with “Robert August” (!) and, on “Beach Tour USA” alone toss an M.Love-ly sax solo over carnival barking unheard since our last visit to “Amusement Parks USA.” Top with an ultra-vibra-spaghetti-slappin’ cover of Hazlewood/Sinatra’s “Sand” and the end result may well be the sophomore Fantastic Baggys LP we never thought would ever reach shore. P.S.: and guys? When you’re ready to do your next album, lemme know. Coz have I got a song for You!!

wheel of talent2 THE FLESHTONES  Wheel Of Talent (Yep Roc Records) Technically speaking, this 2014 beaut didn’t arrive in the sty, courtesy of our pals over at Rock Beat International, til just a few months ago. But no problem! ’Cause any year’s an ideal time for those Fabulous F-tones. And as ever and always, these veteran garage czars’ unfailing, unflinching embrace of all things rock and naturally roll are intact from the very get-go herein: “Available” blasts direct into the backyard on wings of brazen brash ‘n’ trash …yet with some incongruously appropriate cellos and violas to boot. Likewise, a good half of this talented Wheel – notably “The Right Girl,” “Tear For Tear” and “For A Smile,” the latter featuring the Southern Culture Skid-vocals of Miss Mary Huff – somehow bring a Shadowy Meek sheen of pure pre-Beatle UK pin-up pop to the proceedings (attention! John Waters) without sacrificing one iota of the oomph. Elsewhere, “Roofarama” speeds Jimi’s “Crosstown Traffic” all the way downtown, “Hipster Heaven” sounds tailor-made for the nearest USB latte turntable, and “It Is As It Was” manages to spin the entire Fleshtone fable in a Schoolhouse Rock! as opposed to School of Rock manner; Ghetto Recorder Jim Diamond professorially sees to THAT. And, for anyone left out there who all these years later still doesn’t get the message? Right there on Track 4, “Remember the Ramones.” Got it!

You Are Here3 GARFIELDS BIRTHDAY  You are Here (Pink Hedgehog Records) Another holdover from ’014, “recorded mostly at home with files winging their way from Dorest to Yorkshire via Bristol then back again” in the words of the handy enclosed press sheet. In other words? The fourth, and positively most welcome to date collection of smart, stylish poppin’ rock from the British brothers Felton, Simon and Shane, this time with none other than Lucky Bishops/Schnauser man Alan Strawbridge on drums. And that’s an important factor indeed, lest the Feltons’ files end a tad too GarageBanded as they travel the virtual UK. To wit, as soon as their “Magic Bike” gets rolling we are finely assaulted with a great big meaty and beaty bounty – yes, this being Century 21 the Magic Bus has been downscaled somewhat, but the drive is every bit as present and potent. “Carpet Ride” similarly soars Armenia City’s skies with, and I quote, “one eye on the future and one foot in the past.” Witness as well how “It’s Your Lucky Day” somehow Cyrkles clear ’round those Basement Tapes while “Lunar Eclipse” happily weds Kurt Cobain verses to killer-kilter XTC choruses. Shane Felton’s fearlessly inspired lead guitars are a vital part of the equation throughout, but particular notice must also be paid to the other Felton, Simon’s, magnificent vocals …on “Oxford” (most importantly); a masterful performance, and song, whose files deserve to be shared this very instant with Art Garfunkel for starters. Which reminds me: visit the Pink Hedgehog for a copy of Simon Felton’s recent Emotional Feedback as well. You will be doubly glad you did.

The Grip Weeds4 THE GRIP WEEDS How I Won The War (Jem Recordings) With their latest release, the Grip Weeds have gone and done, by my count, two outstanding things: (1) claimed full lineage at long last to their Richard Lester-ized namesake, and even more importantly (2) made the best album of their career. Here’s how: As no less an authority as Phil Spector once explained, some artists sing ideas, and that the Grip Weeds always have. And it helps immensely, to say the least, that they most fortunately number within their ranks a member who is equally talented on the other side of the microphones too. That would be Kurt Reil, who once again has twiddled knobs brilliantly inside the band’s own House Of Vibes studio to create textures that are lush but not cluttered; bright but never brittle. Overall, the sounds this time out contain much more bite and snarl – in Kurt’s vocals, pointedly – which suits to a “t” the confusion, conflict and, yes, warfare which always seems to boil below the surface. Several short, mainly instrumental segue pieces play a key role as well in making this disc an end-to-end singular experience. Ah! The long-lost art of the Album as a totality. What a concept! But then about two-thirds in, beginning with the completely Zombie-able “Heaven and Earth,” comes a trio of more nuanced numbers which relax things to a whole loftier level. In fact one of these, “Over and Over,” not only serves as a much-needed truce during this great War, but thanks in big part to the lead vocal of Kristin Pinell – always the Grip Weeds’ not-so-secret-anymore weapon – may honestly be the highlight of it all. Which reminds me, Kurt and brother Rick: Where’s HER album already?!!

Pop Spaceman5 RICK HARPER  Pop Spaceman (HiVariety Recordings) Hey, have you noticed everyone and their roommate lately is not only a singer/songwriter/player, but a bonafide home recordist in addition it seems? Well, listen: Rick Harper, in case you hadn’t noticed – and you certainly should have by now – has been toiling at all that and so much more since ’way back in the primordial pre-laptop daze, I kid you not. Which is why he’s so damn good at it, dammit, as Pop Spaceman, the latest in his Demo Teasers series, surely demonstrates. Along with Erich Overhultz’s occasional keyboard, Rick sing/write/plays up a one-man storm of not only undeniable Songs for our far-out Times (“Pax: Kiss of Peace,” “Wind Idiot,” and “Ca$h Poor,” you bet) but offers as well an unusually good selection of classic Rickenharper-clever chord and monumental chorus compositions (“Not About Us” and my favorite “Pretty Fool”). Each note is not only expertly played, but oh-so-properly placed as well: a supreme proficiency at the fine art of orchestration which is even more apparent during the 14-minute “Music From the Film, Cue 1,” a score of truly cinematic proportions which, for best results, requires secure headphones, a recline position, and lights right off. Interesting how this Pop Spaceman appeared on the ol’ Pig Player right alongside Eddie Cochran just the other night …and fit in just fine.

Lemon Clocks6 THE LEMON CLOCKS  Time To Fly (Jam Records) Rather than attempt myself to adequately describe the tight ‘n’ tart dayglo delights of this disc, let us turn instead to the wise words of the three Clocks themselves, Stefan Johansson, Todd Borsch, and Jeremy Morris: In the land of ELECTRIC TOMATOES we can always find the TIME TO FLY. When the FUTURE IS THE PAST we can bend the clock and make time last. We hear the RAINBOW ECHO all around. Our ring is a promise that is growing underground. We will WALK UPON THE WATER because you just CAN’T KEEP A GOOD MAN DOWN. It all happened JUST IN TYME during an UNDERWATER DREAM. AND I FOLLOW in TIME until we’ve FINALLY FOUND OUR HOME. Our lemon clock life is like a GROOVY MOVIE with a very happy ending. It’s full of peace and love coming down from above. So LET THE SUNSHINE IN and let it in your heart. You’ll be really glad you did! It’s THE BEGINNING OF THE END and it’s also THE END OF THE BEGINNING…

Mariam7 MIRIAM  Down Today (Norton Records) As if co-launching Brooklyn’s greatest-ever fanzine (Kicks) then coolest go-to music stop (Norton), as well as providing big beats behind the Cramps, Zantees and A-Bones wasn’t more than enough already the one, the only Miriam Linna again steps from behind her Pearl’s to deliver what must be 2015’s rock-candy ear necessity #1! Alongside producer/multi-musician Sam Elwitt, a dozen sweet Sixties slices of strictly 7-inch caliber are fully reheated and served anew… but with nostalgia thankfully taking a distant back seat to respect and utmost finesse in both arrangement (Gregor Kitzis’ occasional strings, for example, always augment; never swamp) and performance (Miriam has added a definite Bazooka Joe as opposed to Bubblicious snap to her Lisa-Jenio-meets-Mary-Weiss pipes). To wit, the Dave Clark Five’s “Don’t Be Taken In” now sounds more like one of December’s Children, while “One More Rainy Day” – the flip of my favorite Deep Purple (!) 45, by the way – quickly turns, somehow, into a full-on Joey Ramone-opus. But after reveling in a half hour of such Evie Sands, Terry Reid, Neil Diamond et al chestnuts, it’s actually one of Mr. Elwitt’s two own compositions, the wholly ’67 Gibb-worthy title track, that just might steal the show. Yes, in yet another year when words like “power” and “pop” continue to be thrown around far too liberally, Miriam shows not only how it’s done, but precisely how it should be SUNG. Hear, here, for yourself.

Andy reed8 ANDY REED  Relay Vol. 1 (Futureman Records) This little seventeen-minute EP demonstrates the absolute best case imaginable for the wealth of miracles found lurking, quite regrettably, in the nether regions of that musical so-called subculture. Relay 1 happens to be Bay City, Michigan one-man audio factory Andy’s first solo release since 2008 (in the meantime, he is also a member of the Legal Matters who I raved of as one of 2014’s Missed); it, and Vol. 2 are apparently due together soon on an up-coming Futureman vinyl release. Til then, this digital trailer recalls, on say “Dreaming Of The West Coast,” Bruce Johnston by way of Eric Carmen… BUT, luckily, with only the most attractive vocal characteristics of both. “I Love A Long Goodbye” features an octave-leaping melody of Jimmy Webb proportions – and that’s one comparison I rarely get to make anymore! – while “Darlin, You Don’t Know” is a drop-down wonder; an around-the-wide-world trip of sound in three and a half minutes flat. In all, Andy’s work is smart and detailed, sometimes stark, sometimes dense. Someone get this man a gig scoring indie films, quick! Meanwhile, as we await that Relay vinyl, you should seek and love his Oddities And Entities collection as well, which holds over thirteen years’ more rare and precious gems.

thewind39 THE WIND  Re-Wind (Cheft Records) Though it seems more like 300, it’s actually “only” been around thirty years since the original Queens-by-way-of-Miami, Lane Steinberg/Steve Katz/Stephen Burdick-model Wind last made us an album. And it HAS been worth the wait, for the trio’s deftly under-troubled skinny white approach serves as even more urgently-needed fresh air against our current century’s assaults upon ear canals. F’rinstance? “Fight Like A Girl” needs less than three whole minutes to perfectly encapsulate, then broaden wildly upon its Buddy ‘n’ Beatles For Sale history of every little AM radio thing. Spin the dial further and “Think On Your Feet” crouches in some recessed corner of an Emitt Rhodes session, “Which Part Of Goodbye?” really could be The Great Lost Wings B-side we’re still queuing for, “Baby, I Can Take A Punch” finds Todd Rundgren pillow-fighting Squeeze while “There’s A Clamoring” and even more so “Let Me Show You How It’s Done” point Badfingers in thoroughly the right direction. Still, Messrs. Katz and Steinberg roll their tan sleeves all the way up to mix “ambivalence” and “after-dinner mints” with some lo-gummed “Sugar Sugar” keyboard for “Yes And No” …and isn’t “Weak Spot” the theme from Craig Ferguson’s late late, extremely great talk show?! Whatever the cases may be, David Grahame’s co-production keeps all sounds – vocals first! – ice-clean, clear, and to-the-heart at all times; it does take a brave man, not to mention fabulous material, to mix this way. But that’s always been, and apparently continues to be, The Wind. Hopefully it won’t be another thirty years before another album blows our way.

Frank Zappa Roxy10 FRANK ZAPPA  Roxy: The Movie (Eagle Rock Entertainment) Delayed even longer than the mighty Wind is this nifty, sometimes tough, and often quite bitchin audio/video record of Frank and his Mothers’ three-night stint at the Roxy Theatre in Hollywood during December of ’73. Why it’s taken sooo long to reach us is – Surprise! – NOT the usual legal morass ‘n’ molasses which coats most things Zappa. No, this time it was a simple [sic!] case of technology sufficient to sync the Roxy audio with the Roxy video not being at hand until just a couple’a years ago. Meaning we can all finally not only hear, but see FZ sucking down endless Winstons, seated on-stage in chair having make-up touched up as George Duke pulls a “Big Swifty,” watching Ralph Humphrey drum duel Chester Thompson with a lot of “Cheepnis,” then even manning an extra set of traps himself to help beat off the “Uncle Meat” variations. Later Bruce Fowler and Napoleon Murphy Brock go trombo-a-saxo too all over their “Be-Bop Tango” before Carl and Rick and Jane (then Lana, Brenda et al) are coerced on stage to, um, dance to it …a sight even more unsettling than I’d imagined all those years ago under headphones spinning Side 4 of Roxy & Elsewhere when I should have been doing my homework. Caveat Emptor however: as Gail Zappa (RIP) of the esteemed Zappa Family Trust says (admits?) in the accompanying liner notes, Frank indeed “shows up here at his geekiest,” as many of the fiercely wrought arrangements, not to mention between-song “announcements” attest. Of course, a mere five years pre-Roxy such a disclaimer would NEVER have been necessary regarding the original Mothers of Invention and those things they did, but…

Gary Pig Gold

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Matheson Kamin’s 2015 Top 10 (+2)

The final weeks of 2015 are winding down. And that means end of the year Best Of lists for music, movies, even books. As a reviewer for the Rock And Roll Report, I found that many of the albums that I reviewed over the year refused to stay quiet, even when time slipped away. These albums deserve to be heard and therefore, have now found their way onto my list for top albums of the year. For this year’s list, I took my favorite Top 10 albums that I reviewed on the site and compiled them. And since I also write album reviews for more than just the Rock And Roll Report, I included 2 additional albums from my blog that also deserve one more mention.

Along with the 12 albums, I also included 10 songs that, like the albums I have included, kept my interest throughout the year of 2015. Most of these tracks can be found within albums included on the list, while 1 (Antigone Rising’s “My Town”) appears on an album that did not make the list. The reason for 10 songs instead of just my usual 5 is that this year happened to contain a lot of tracks that were very strong.

Together, these 10 songs and 12 albums helped to shape the year of 2015 for me as far as music is concerned. Take a look through the list and you may find something you missed out on.

1 The Bellfuries Workingman’s Bellfuries One band out there today making what can only be called good, old-fashioned Rock and Roll is The Bellfuries. Throughout the eleven tracks that make up Workingman’s Bellfuries from The Bellfuries, the band maintains a strong connection to a style of music that was created many years ago. While the music on their album may seem out of place with today’s styles of music, it is certainly refreshing to find someone who, not only enjoys the music of long ago, but longs to keep it going. For all those looking for timeless Rock And Roll, The Bellfuries do a wonderful job at making the old new again with their new album of Workingman’s Bellfuries. Find the entire review HERE.

Micah Olsan2 Micah Olsan & the Many All Around Micah Olsan is a Milwaukee-based singer-songwriter who creates music that has many different musical influences to it. Micah Olsan is joined by four other musicians that seem to have the same creative drive to their playing ability. Together, this band has created a five-song EP called All Around. Micah Olsan and the Many have created a release in All Around that draws from many different styles and that helps make the EP enjoyable from the very first note until the very last one. The five songs and twenty minutes seem to be over way to quickly but that only makes the listener want for more. Find the entire review HERE.

Hawkdope3 Black Rainbows Hawkdope Black Rainbows is a Fuzz Rock band that makes its home in Rome, Italy. Together, the trio creates some of the most psychedelic, hardest-hitting and coolest music out there today. If you are a fan of bands like Black Sabbath, Monster Magnet or even Hawkwind, Black Rainbows is a band you need to check out. After releasing several strong albums, Black Rainbows returns with their latest album, 2015’s release entitled Hawkdope. Black Rainbows is a strong release from the very first note. For those looking for bands that make Rock and Roll that is meant to be heard through headphones, Black Rainbows is one band that fits that description. And with the band already having a nice library of releases, Hawkdope is a nice place to start before digging into the rest of the band’s output. Find the entire review HERE.

brent-kirby4 Brent Kirby and His Luck Patience Worth Whether on his own or as part of the many different bands he is a part of, Cleveland, Ohio’s Brent Kirby is constantly performing on stage in many of the music venues in town. As a singer-songwriter, Kirby is also constantly writing new material to freshen up his musical performances. Currently, Brent Kirby is promoting his newest release which was recorded under the name of Brent Kirby and His Luck. Patience Worth, the new album from Brent Kirby and His Luck, moves along from one track to the next and shows off many different sides to the band. The new album gives the listener something new with each track. The release features many strong tracks with little down time. Find the entire review HERE.

NMK5 No More Kings III No More Kings is a Los Angeles-based rock outfit. The duo consists of Pete Mitchell on vocals and Neil DeGraide on almost everything else with a little help from some friends to help solidify the band’s sound. The duo formed while they were still in high school and they started writing songs around certain themes. When listening to an album from No More Kings, the band will cover concepts like zombies, karate and other ideas that will bring about a certain amount of nostalgia for the listener. III, the newest release from No More Kings, finds the band drawing many different musical influences from the past. And while that is the case, the band’s music is as fresh as anything on today’s radio dial. Find the entire review HERE.

Tim Kirker6 Tim Kirker Shallow End of a Deep River It was in the city of Cleveland, Ohio that Tim Kirker got his start as a musician. Among other things, Kirker shared the stage with lead Nine Inch Nails member Trent Reznor. Reznor and Kirker were part of the same group called Slam Bamboo who had a Top 40 hit song in the Cleveland area called “House on Fire”. After releasing his first solo album of Like Distant Sounds in 2003, Kirker would take some time off. Having returned last year with Worms for Early Birds, his newest album in over a decade, Kirker returned once again in 2015 with yet another new release entitled Shallow End of a Deep River. While it’s been quite a while since Tim Kirker’s Like Distant Sounds release from 2003, the strength of the songs in the new album make up for the time between releases. Shallow End of a Deep River, the new release from Tim Kirker, is one of those rare finds where you simply put the album on and let it play out without skipping a single track. Find the entire review HERE.

Burnside7 Burnside & Hooker All The Way to the Devil Burnside & Hooker is a band that epitomizes the term “Americana”. First, take a large amount of the style of the Squirrel Nut Zippers for a strong beginning reference. Then, add a generous amount of Folk Rock, some Blues, some Rhythm & Blues and a little Country and Jazz and you have a good idea of the sound of the band Burnside & Hooker. That sound can be found on the band’s new release entitled All The Way to the Devil. Throughout the fourteen tracks that make up All The Way to the Devil from Burnside & Hooker, the band changes musical directions from one track to the next. The ever-changing feel of the music keeps the listener guessing where the band will go next. While the album is rather lengthy, the fourteen tracks never feel boring. Find the entire review HERE.

Lindsay Mac8 Lindsay Mac Animal Again Lindsay Mac is a classically-trained cellist. After her training on that instrument, she took that ability and started creating her own music. And while it would have logical to imagine Mac creating albums based in classical music, she went in a different direction. The music Lindsay Mac created was folk-rock based. That was back in 2008. Today, Lindsay Mac has been incorporating a new style into her sound. That sound falls into the category of Electronic Dance Music. While the new sound from Lindsay Mac is miles away from the cello-based folk-rock that she had been previously known for, the new EDM-based pop music she is currently creating is very strong. The songs on Animal Again are just as well-written as anything from Mac’s previous releases and the production value on the 2015 EP is solid. Animal Again is a solid first release in this musical vein for Lindsay Mac and more of the same is definitely welcomed. Find the entire review HERE.

rocket319 Rocket 3 Burn Portland-based band Rocket 3 is a three-piece rock outfit that features the playing of Guitarist, singer, and songwriter Ramune Nagisetty; Drummer Drew Anymouse and bassist Tony Guzman. Each of the three musicians found their way to Portland from different parts of the country only to discover each other in Portland and from there they put together a band that combines different genres of rock and roll to create their sound. Rocket 3 is currently promoting their current album entitled Burn. Burn from Rocket 3 is a strong release from the very beginning. The album contains many strong tracks and each track shows off the talents of each member of the band. Find the entire review HERE.

The Armory10 The Armory Rediscover Many of today’s rock bands that are out there selling out music venues are filling up those venues and radio airwaves with a pop-inspired style of rock and roll. The Armory is a pop-based rock is mainly to ensure music sales. Along the way, that pop-based sound replaced the real rock and roll that was being created only fifteen years ago; but every once in a while, you will find a band that still brings the energy that many seem to have lost. One such band that still has that strong rock edge to their music is The Armory. Throughout their current release of Rediscover, The Armory changes musical directions from one style of rock and roll to another and that mix makes a great release with many strong moments throughout the album’s nine tracks. The ever-changing sound and style of the band’s music on the release keeps the album strong. Find the entire review HERE.

sjtucker1211 S.J. Tucker Stolen Season S.J. Tucker is a multi-talented Perry, Arkansas-based artist who lends her creativity to many different media. Sometimes poet, sometimes musician, Tucker has won praise for her work as a poet and songwriter. And that is only part of her personality. Over the years, S.J. Tucker has created many different songs and has put those songs out on many different releases, including contributing to the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack to the movie Ember Days. The latest release of original compositions from S.J. Tucker is called Stolen Season. With the inclusion of the fairy tales and other references in her writing, S.J. Tucker’s songs are unique in their style. Stolen Season from S.J. Tucker is a wonderful find as the release has many different influences in it and that makes the album fun. Find the entire review HERE.

Get Ahead12 The Get Ahead Volcano Portland, Oregon seems to have no shortage of good bands that are producing some really good stuff to listen to. One of those bands that are currently creating some joyful noise in that city’s music scene is The Get Ahead. The Get Ahead creates music that combine the best of artists like Sam & Dave and James Brown & the Famous Flames with a few other styles of rock and roll to create a fresh take on the music. There are other artists out there today that create R&B music, but very few can create songs that feel like the stuff that was created by artists like Sam & Dave or even James Brown. The Get Ahead is one group that seems to have figured out the right way to create the music while giving it their own spin. If you are a fan of R&B and/or Soul music, give The Get Ahead and their album of Volcano a listen. Find the entire review HERE.

 

Top 6 Songs from 2015

1 Lindsay Mac “Back to Right”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BOS4TU5o0iQ

2 The Bellfuries “Why Do You Haunt Me”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e3wC9o9eupY

3 Antigone Rising “My Town”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qltaPG8yPJ4

4 New England “I Know there’s Something Here”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=huxllhm72fk

5 Brent Kirby & His Kind “Sunsets are Golder”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MVZkn17S4xQ

6 S.J. Tucker “Stolen Season”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xjSvD47gbqc 

7 Tim Kirker “Don’t Give Up on Me”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pFM7-sckq00

8 No More Kings “Zombie Me” 

http://nomorekings.bandcamp.com/track/zombie-me-apoca-mix-2

9 Rocket 3 “Good Enough”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=__sKIPaUpmA

10 Black Rainbows “Hawkdope” 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MEjYKx7tWE4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Shakedown is coming from The Dynamite Pussy Club

Back in the summer of 2012 a band with a magnificently memorable name released their debut album Church Of Yeah. Since then this infectious three piece ensemble from Bath in the UK called The Dynamite Pussy Club have not stopped performing and doing what they know and enjoy best. Which is expending and spreading the sounds of their groovy assed, self styled garage rock as much as is possible. The Dynamite Pussy Club are now set to release their second album Shakedown on November 20th 2015. Yeah, Church Of Yeah is a mighty fine album but Shakedown takes The Dynamite Pussy Club into a whole new level.

DPC at The Griffin, Frome

  The DPC have expanded themselves significantly with this new release. Luckily they have not lost one ounce of their original style, groovy assed funked up garage rock with a healthy spattering of original rock’n’roll punk attitude. ‘Power’ is the first track which grips and propels you into this album with some sweet hints of psychedelic rock thrown into the DPC mixture.

 

 

Shakedown is a brilliant album which really does ‘get it on’ so damn well. It comprises of thirteen tracks which will rapidly turn any curiosity into an obsession. This is the tracklisting –

Power

Midnight Hour

Griddle

Dig On This

On The Floor

Jolene

Well Well Well

Cold Beer/Hot Nights

Deep Fried

White Sugar

Shake It

Gone

Mercy

Shakedown is available to pre order now in many formats and will be available as from the 27th November 2015 through Wiener Records  or Bandcamp

The album launch gig is at St. James Wine Vaults in Bath, UK on Friday 27th November. The magnificent Magic Tractor will be playing support.

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Featured Review Reviews and Suggestions

Gentle Giant celebrates release of new 2015 version of “Octopus”

It was back in the late 60s and early 70s that bands and musicians started to push the limits to what was being called Rock And Roll. By adding many new sounds, styles and even different genres into the music, Progressive Rock (also known as “Prog Rock”) was born. Throughout its existence, some of the better known bands that have brought the music genre to life have been Peter Gabriel-era Genesis; Yes; Jethro Tull; Emerson, Lake & Palmer; even Pink Floyd fits into the mix. One band that sadly does not get as much recognition as the aforementioned bands is the British Prog Rock band Gentle Giant. Though many  of the albums that the band has put out that have become classic releases (at least among its fans), one seems to find its way into the hearts of Gentle Giant fans more than any other. That album is Octopus.

Released back in 1972, Octopus features the band creating eight well-crafted tracks that feature many different styles of music blended together to create the Progressive Rock sound that Gentle Giant is known for. While not as well-known as Pink Floyd’s The Wall or Aqualung from Jethro Tull, Octopus from Gentle Giant ranks up there as just as solid and has always had its faithful audience that loves the release. And with great tracks such as “The Boys in the Band,” “A Cry for Everyone” and “River,” it’s easy to see why the album has the following it has gained over the decades since its release.

Throughout its history, Octopus has been re-released several times since its initial release. Every time a new technological breakthrough has changed the way music is distributed, Octopus gets new life in the form of a yet another re-release. Such is the case in 2015 as Gentle Giant has recently put out a newly remastered and remixed version of the Octopus album.

Of course, the entire eight tracks from the original album are included in the new edition. So if you already are familiar with the album, you know what to expect from the release. What is new to the album is the sound quality.

Music producer Steven Wilson has spent many hours remixing classic rock albums over the years and that included several from Gentle Giant. It is with the help of Stephen Wilson that the Octopus album now contains 5.1 Surround DTS Master Audio. The album’s music is now more intense and clearer. While Octopus has always been an album to listen to with headphones, now more than ever, the listener needs put on a pair of headphones to experience all of the subtleties that were there before but had been covered over by the rest of the instrumentation. A 43-year old classic Prog Rock album feels brand new with this new musical mixing from Stephen Wilson.

To add value to an already worthy album, the 2015 rerelease of Gentle Giant’s Octopus comes complete with a live recording of the band in 1976 as they performed excerpts from the entire album. The band and the audience that was there that night have wonderful chemistry together as they seem to feed off of each other’s energy. What an interesting experience to hear the sound of a spinning coin get applause from the audience as the band begins the “Excerpts from Octopus” with music from “A Dog’s Life,” indicating that some in the audience knew exactly what was coming. Of course, music is not the only draw for experiencing the new 2015 version of Octopus from Gentle Giant. The liner notes included in the packaging effortlessly bring the listener back to the time of the original release. The story of the creation of the album, as well as what was going on with the band itself, is included in those liner notes. For those interested in rock music history, especially for Gentle Giant itself, the notes are a great addition to the album. And of course, there’s also the inclusion of the artwork (both British artwork from Roger Dean and the American artwork) from the album.

The band is currently selling the CD and Blu-ray versions of the new version of the album. The CD comes complete with everything that has already been described while the Blu-ray contains even more value that includes: Instrumental versions of the songs from the album, and the original mixes from the original release of the album to go along with Steven Wilson’s 5.1 Surround DTS Master Audio. For those who want the vinyl experience, a vinyl version of the Octopus album from Gentle Giant is forthcoming.

(Editor’s note: Aside from the band’s website, the only other place to purchase the Blu-ray version of the release is through Amazon.com. However, there has been a problem with Amazon.com with trying to get the Blu-ray version. Unfortunately, because of that, I will not be providing a link to that item. Click on the album cover below to purchase the 2015 CD version of the album. If you are truly interested in the Blu-ray edition, check out the band’s website for purchasing details.)

Octopus

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CD Review: Heartless Bastards “Restless Ones”

The music business is like a party and there is nothing better than the thrill of being at a party that you weren’t invited to, the knowledge that you could get found out anytime soon. That must be how Heartless Bastards feel about their place in the scheme of things, waiting to get found out and making the most of the situation in the meantime. From the point of view of the other partygoers they are the strange bunch in the corner who seem to be having more fun than anyone else and who, if truth be told, have actually livened things up to the chagrin of the more straight-laced hosts.

Since being signed a decade ago thanks to a chance meeting with Black Keys drummer, Patrick Carney, Heartless Bastards have sought to refresh the sound of rock and roll, take the same building blocks available to everyone else, blues, indie and a sort of underground college rock vibe, but use them to build interesting new shapes, shapes that are both pleasing and surprisingly unique, shapes that have other bands wondering why they didn’t see those same possibilities in their own blueprints.

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The Payroll Union – Paris In America

When talking about their current single, “The Mission Field,” I compared the musical stance from The Payroll Union to that of The Band’s breaking with the expectations and fashion of the day and mining a wholly different seam. Whereas the latter were happy to inhabit that older world, the former are more interested in describing it, the difference between historical re-enactors and academics, I guess. I say this because although they may look the part, their musical tools seem rooted in the present even if their subject is the riotous times of early 19th Century Philadelphia and it’s reactionaries, brawlers, preachers and rabble-rousers.

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Introducing Dead Shed Jokers

It may be just part of my inquisitive nature but I have always found myself drawn towards bands with interesting names or albums and releases with striking cover art. Some while ago I was trawling through Bandcamp and stumbled upon a superb alternative rock band called Dead Shed Jokers who are based in South Wales, UK. Yes their name caught my attention along with the cover art of their Peculiar Pastimes EP which is still available on Bandcamp as a pay what you want download.

Peculiar Pastimes is the title of the album which gripped me from just a few seconds after hitting the play button, ‘Peculiar Pastimes’ is the first of six tracks as well as being the only studio track. The other five tracks are superb live recordings from the BRFM vaults. They are from a live session recorded in late May 2013.