Categories
Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: The Amplifier Heads “Loudah”

The Amplifier Heads is a Boston-based band consisting mainly of Sal Baglio. Sal Baglio is a singer-songwriter and guitarist who has spent over thirty years in the music industry creating straight-out Rock and Roll music. Most of that time has been spent with one band- The Stompers, a band that came together in the East Boston, Massachusetts area back in 1977. That band, strangely enough, is still out there performing the music that made them so popular all those years ago.

However, as far as The Stompers are concerned, the band mainly exists today as a tribute to the very music that they created way back when. What that means is that every so often, the band will get together to perform their music live onstage in a concert setting. But as far as new material is concerned, The Stompers have not created anything new, musically speaking, since their last release, 2009’s Stompilation, which combines music from every era of the band and puts it all in one place as a 21-track Best Of album.

While The Stompers have not produced any new music for an extended amount of time, the same, happily, cannot be said for singer-songwriter Sal Baglio. Even though The Stompers aren’t creating anything new, Baglio has created several solo albums of his own over the years. And then, there’s the new musical venture for Baglio; a band that takes Baglio’s style of songwriting and puts it out there in the form of a new project. That new project being called The Amplifier Heads.

The Amplifier Heads is a band consisting mainly of Sal Baglio as he provides vocals, guitar and bass to the tracks that make up the debut release called Loudah. Along with Baglio, producer Ducky Carlisle provides the drums for the project, and Jeff Keithline appears on bass for three of the tracks. For the rest of the instrumentation on the album, the music comes from several other musicians who add their talents to one or two tracks on the release each. Together as a whole, Sal Baglio and Company create an album under the moniker of The Amplifier Heads that makes use of different forms of Rock and Roll, staying solidly within a Classic Rock format.

The debut release of Loudah from The Amplifier Heads begins with the track “The Boy with the Amplifier Head”. In a time where we are trying to steer the youth of today away from bullying, “The Boy with the Amplifier Head” tells the tale of a kid who was picked on by everyone in his age group for being different. The track features a Rock and Roll sound that blends together some seventies-era music with just a little British Invasion influence thrown in. What results is a song that would fit right alongside music from the likes of Badfinger or maybe The Raspberries.

With the next track called “Beat Club,” Sal Baglio and Ducky Carlisle are joined on bass by Jeff Keithline. Together, the trio creates a Rock and Roll sound that sets the music in the middle of the seventies. The track feels like something that would have existed at the same time as Glam Rock. In fact, the main musical influence that seems to come through on the track is the influence of Marc Bolan and his band T. Rex. You could easily imagine “Beat Club” from The Amplifier Heads alongside a track like “20th Century Boy” from that band.

While the previous song of “Beat Club” brings to mind music from the likes of Marc Bolan and T. Rex, the next track called “Jaw Teaser” screams The Rolling Stones. One reason in particular for that is because Sal Baglio sings the words “Jaw Teaser” with the exact same delivery Mick Jagger uses when singing the words “Brown Sugar”. The track also seems to have a similar feel to the music that “Brown Sugar” has. Musically, there is some musical influence from the Stones as well, but that’s just because the track features a sound that keeps it squarely within the Rock and Roll music of the seventies. That Rolling Stones feel to the music even continues on the next track called “Starleen”. The song contains a straight-forward Rock and Roll feel to the music, with a bit of The Stones influence thrown in.

The Amplifier Heads featuring Sal Baglio is not just a band with a Classic Rock feel to the music. The band also seems to have a slight sense of humor when it comes to writing the lyrics to the songs; at least, that’s the way it seems with the track “Two-Headed Girl”. Because of the Glam Rock feel to the music once again, the track falls into the same basic musical time period as “Beat Club”. It is with the slightly humorous lyrics to the song that the listener finds Baglio describing a date with a woman with two heads (maybe a way of saying “split personality” without actually coming out and saying it?). The track once again would be perfectly fine being included within music from the seventies. And with the addition of a slight sense of humor, the track of “Two-Headed Girl” stands out from the rest of the album.

Loudah from The Amplifier Heads continues with the track “Big Wax Lips”. Just as “Two-Headed Girl” comes to an end, Sal Baglio and Duck Carlisle create yet another track with a sense of humor. Where the lyrics to “Two-Headed Girl” may suggest a split personality, the lyrics to “Big Wax Lips” contain many plays on words. While many may think the track is about different forms of candy, Baglio is not referring to that. Much of the Loudah release from The Amplifier Heads finds the music to be rather reminiscent of styles and bands from days gone by, mostly from around the time of the seventies. This places the music in the retro category. “Big Wax Lips” is also retro in feel; but for this track, Baglio and Carlisle create music reminiscent of the Akron, Ohio band The Black Keys.

Where most of the album features the playing and singing of Sal Baglio, the final track of the release called “Rock Candy” features the playing of drummer Paul Armstrong of the Syracuse band The Flashcubes, a band much like Baglio’s group The Stompers as they date back to the seventies like The Stompers do. In fact, the track “Rock Candy” is mainly Paul Armstrong hammering away rather impressively on the drumkit with musical accompaniment from Baglio. And much like the previous track, the song contains much than a slight reference to bands like The Black Keys. “Rock Candy” is very energetic as it brings the albums to a close and leaves the listener who is looking for real Rock and Roll rather satisfied.

In a musical world where much of the current bands and musicians today are creating music based within the Pop-Rock style of music heavy on the “pop,” it’s always refreshing to find a musician like Sal Baglio who takes his band The Amplifier Heads and creates real, honest Rock and Roll. Loudah from Boston’s The Amplifier Heads may just be the debut release for this outfit, but it’s a rather impressive debut. And with each track on the release being mainly below the three-minute mark, the album is very listener-friendly, as well as radio-friendly. For those looking for straight-out Rock and Roll with plenty of energy, look no further than Loudah from The Amplifier Heads.  

 

For a taste of the Rock and Roll music from Sal Baglio and his band called The Amplifier Heads, check out the first track from the Loudah release called “The Boy With the Amplifier Head”.

https://theamplifierheads.bandcamp.com/track/the-boy-with-the-amplifier-head

To check out the entire release of Loudah from The Amplifier Heads, click on the album cover below:  

Categories
Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: UniversalDice “birth, love, hate, death”

Within the era of Rock and Roll, there have been bands that have taken the idea of the album and made it so much stronger as they created tracks that segue between each other as those tracks combine to create what has been called a Rock Opera. And while the Rock Opera is an idea that has been around for a while, there have only been a relatively few examples of the artform through the era of Rock and Roll when compared to the vast number of releases that have been put out. One band that has taken it upon itself to explore the concept of the Rock Opera is UniversalDice.

A group that calls Long Island, New York home, the band of UniversalDice consists of: Gerry Dantone – vocals, guitars, programming; Bob Barcus – lead guitar; Ed Canova – bass; Walt Sargent – keyboards; Vin Crica – keyboards. These and other musicians who appear on a few of the tracks help to bring the music of UniversalDice to life. Having already releasing four previous albums, the group is celebrating the release of their fifth album, a 2018 album entitled birth, love, hate, death.

UniversalDice’s birth, love, hate, death is a 16-track album that deals with love as it survives even after someone dies. While vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Gerald Dantone had the biggest part in writing the album, the entire band helped in many ways to bring the album to life.

As the birth, love, hate, death album from UniversalDice begins, the track called “Welcome to the World” “welcomes” the listener to the release just as the narrator of the track welcomes the newest addition to the family to the world. The track finds the band creating a song that falls solidly into the Rock and Roll genre. The track features 70s-era Rock and Roll that is reminiscent of bands like Badfinger or The Raspberries. While the track begins the 16-track album, the sound of the music and the lyrics contained within are so universal that you could easily imagine the track as the lead-off single for the release.

The next track of “I Wish I Could Tell You This” slows the pace of the music down while still pushing the storyline forward. The track’s lyrics deal with a mother figure as she looks down on her newborn child and the thoughts that go through her mind. “I Wish I Could Tell You This” is a rather sad tale as the mother reveals her innermost feelings and regrets.

With the very next track on the release, the band produces an answer to the previous song as the child explains to his mother the way he is feeling in the same type of song that reveals the growing worry in his mind. “Your Son” is a letter set to music. Like the previous track, Gerry Dantone and the rest of UniversalDice create a track with a gentle pace to the music that seems to go rather well with the somber tone of the lyrics.

The various tracks that make up the birth, love, hate, death album deal with all different areas of life. With the track “I Like It When They Hate It,” the band deals with how people are perceived as they make choices in their lives. On this track, the band takes their music in the direction of eighties pop-rock. The track has a nearly timeless feel to it as it would have easily fit on Top 40 radio back in the eighties as easily as it would fit on radio today. 

With “Better Man,” UniversalDice creates a song that brings to mind the music of someone like The Allman Brothers as the track features Rock and Roll with a bit of a Southern Rock feel to it. The lyrics deal with a man who looks inside himself and decides he can do better. While the slower pace to the track slows things down a little, the song shows a slightly different side to the music from UniversalDice.

As the listener puts this album on, they experience all sorts of different aspects to life within the lyrics of the songs that make up the album. Separately, the various songs create a strong release of well-written tracks that make use of the band’s various musical influences. The creation of songs using different sounds from the Classic Rock era of Rock and Roll means that lovers of that style of Rock will find something to enjoy throughout the entire length of the album. And with the lyrics creating a storyline that tie each song together, the album does something that few very albums today can do: entertain the listener while keeping them wanting to listener all the way through the release. For those who enjoy finding albums that entertain while also tell a story, the Rock Opera of UniversalDice’s birth, love, hate, death is one album to add to your music collection.

To check out the music from UniversalDice’s birth, love, hate, death release, check out the first track of the album, “Welcome to the World“. To check out the entire album on spotify

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more information, check out UniversalDice’s PR firm of Whiplash PR & Management by clicking on the logo for the company. 

Categories
Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: The Kavanaghs “Pop Power”

Through its history, Rock And Roll has had a long and wild path that has made its way into many different cultures. While England and America are the most widely accepted locations for where new music comes from, countries such as Germany and Canada have also added their share of history to the music genre. And with more and more people becoming familiar with the sound of the music, Rock and Roll has found its way into almost every country on the planet, including down in Argentina. It’s in Argentina where you find the band The Kavanaghs, a band of four musicians (Tiago Galíndez on Vocals/Bass/Piano, Seba Cairo on Vocals/Guitars, Diego Vázquez on Guitars/Backing Vocals, Franco Barbieri on Drums) who have been making their own brand of Rock and Roll music for years.

Over the years, The Kavanaghs have created their own music that has been largely influenced by the sound of the British Invasion and then the American response that followed it. For their influences, The Kavanaghs have mentioned bands like The Beatles, Badfinger and The Raspberries (among others) as those bands that have inspired them the most. And when listening to the music of The Kavanaghs, you can most definitely hear each of these influences coming through.

Categories
Live Rock and Roll

In Concert: The Kavanaghs begin tour in Cleveland

KavanaghsThe country of Argentina is home to The Kavanaghs, a rock band whose style was largely influenced by roots rock artists as well as 60s British Invasion bands like The Kinks and The Beatles. In fact, The Beatles have been one of the biggest influences on the band.
Of course, some of the bands that came after the British Invasion have also been big influences on the members of The Kavanaghs. One of the post-British Invasion bands that influenced The Kavanaghs was The Raspberries from Cleveland, Ohio.
Categories
Features

You may know him from Rooney, but now Taylor Locke reveals his alter ego that rocks out with The Roughs

You may know him as the guitarist and vocalist from power pop / rock band Rooney, but Taylor Locke has also just released “Grain and Grape”; a solo project featuring his own backing band, The Roughs.  The Rock and Roll Report recently had the opportunity to ask Taylor a few questions:

Q:  Most people have their hands full being in just one band, but you manage to succeed being in two! What is it like to live this “double-life” as a musician?

A: It’s quite fun and interesting to live this double-life, as you say.  My roles in each band are quite different from one another. Also, one group has lots of history and a loyal following, while the other is just beginning on a grass roots level. As far as making time, I just look at the calendar and fill in the holes.

Categories
Reviews and Suggestions

You want great Rock and Roll? Just say SHAZAM!!

Meteor by The Shazam

Shazam – Meteor
Not Lame

Not only does this new album from rockers The Shazam mark the long-awaited return of one of the best power pop groups of the past twenty years or so but it also marks the return of THE best power pop label ever, Not Lame, if only temporarily. Two great treats in one! Seems the great folks behind Not Lame have decided to partner with The Shazam on this new CD but have no plans to revive the label outside of this release. Boo! Then again, if there was ever a reason to bother to start (or revive, as in Not Lame’s case) a label it is for a band as deserving and overlooked as The Shazam. For over a decade now, this powerpop juggernaut led by guitarist/songwriter/singer Hans Rotenberry have been at the forefront of the New Power Pop which sprung up in the mid-’90’s thanks to pioneering bands such as Jellyfish, The Posies and The Smithereens – bands who took the combination of melody and guitar bombast The Beatles, Badfinger, Big Star, and early Who represented and decided to bring it forward while giving it a much-needed kick in the ass with some modern technology and post-punk attitude. That the band hasn’t become more of a household name is very unfortunate as their distinctive blend of arena rock with razor-sharp pop hooks should have been the perfect bridge betwen the kind of FM hard rock fodder listeners have suffered through for over thirty years and the alternative rock of the mid-90’s and beyond. In fact, if Fountains of Wayne, Weezer and Foo Fighters were combined, it would sound like The Shazam.

Categories
Reviews and Suggestions

Some Like It Hot!!! The Flame Gets Reissued

the flameThe Flame – self titled
Fallout Records

Those who love the late, lamented, oft-troubled band known as Badfinger are hereby put on notice to check out Fallout Record’s 2006 reissue of the eponymously titled Stateside debut album of South African pop-rock band The Flame. Originally released by the band in 1970, the album has been a much-sought-after collector’s item for those into power pop and classic rock. Produced by Carl Wilson of the Beach Boys but not sounding at all like that band, the album is sure to turn the heads of many music fans who hate the suckery of today’s modern rock and wish it sounded like it used to when it used to…um….rock.