Categories
Album Preview

CD Review: The Persian Leaps “Electrical Living”

Drew Forsberg is the driving force behind the St. Paul, Minnesota-based band called The Persian Leaps. Having been created by Forsberg back in the early days of this decade, the band was mainly a musical outlet for Forsberg who used the moniker of The Persian Leaps to release his solo music. Eventually, however, it became necessary to create a real band to perform the music. And through the lifetime of The Persian Leaps, the musical outfit has gone through several stages, from the solo project to a full band, changing sizes depending on how many people were in the band at the time.

Throughout the time that The Persian Leaps have existed, the musical outfit has released a generous amount of 5-song EPs. Then the band released its first full-length album, Pop That Goes Crunch, last year. And having already released one album of music, The Persian Leaps returns in 2019 with yet another one. This time, the new release from the band is entitled Electrical Living. The line-up that helped create the music on this album consists of Forsberg on guitar, keyboards and drum programming, with Jon Hunt on bass, background vocals and some piano.   

Electrical Living from The Persian Leaps begins with the track called “The Art Form”. Together, Drew Forsberg and Jon Hunt create a song with a strong Rock and Roll approach in the music. With the strong guitar presence in the track, the song feels as if it could have been created right around the time that the eighties were turning into the nineties, the type of Rock and Roll that was in existence before the advent of Alternative Rock radio formats. With the strength of the music in the track, the minute-long song of “The Art Form” kicks off the release with a lot of energy.

The new release from The Persian Leaps continues with the song “Catnip for Cupid”. With this song, Forsberg and Hunt create music with a Power Pop feel. The combination of the guitars and a rather bouncy feel to the music is what makes the track fall into the Power Pop genre. And much like the previous track, “Catnip for Cupid” comes with a rather short playtime. But at two minutes, it’s twice the length of the lead-off song of “The Art Form”.

Electrical Living continues with the song “Expert Witness”. Much like with “Catnip for Cupid,” the duo of Drew Forsberg and Jon Hunt put together another track with a bouncy feel to the music. This time, however, the bass in the song is a little more prominent than it had been with the earlier tracks. The song also contains a slightly stronger Alternative Rock feel to the music, which would place the song squarely in the mid-nineties. But with the bouncy feel to the music and the stronger bassline, you could easily imagine this track on either today’s Pop-Rock radio formats or Alternative Rock stations. And with the track being almost three minutes in length, it’s the perfect length for commercial airplay.

Drew Forsberg and Jon Hunt take their sound back into the nineties with the track “Sweet Nothings”. As a matter of fact, the duo seems to have drawn upon the sound of the band Weezer for the feel of this track. And for the first time, the duo adds the sound of Jon Hunt’s keyboards into the background of the track, giving the track a Pop-Rock/Alternative feel. With that combination, the track would fall within the music of bands from the nineties.

For the next track called “About Your Record,” Drew Forsberg and Jon Hunt create a song that features the influence of Brit-Pop music. In fact, the track brings to mind the little-known British band The Family Cat, as the track would have fit in rather nicely in that band’s final album entitled Magic Happens. The vocals from Drew Forsberg even recall The Family Cat frontman Paul Frederick while the Power Pop on this track recalls that band’s musical style, placing the song from The Persian Leaps alongside tracks such as “Amazing Hangover”.

With the song “The Problem Is…,” The Persian Leaps take their music solidly into the direction of Pop-Rock. The track begins with the solo sound of the electric guitar of Drew Forsberg. The gentle feel of the guitar transitions into a full-band sound that takes the gentle feel of that guitar and creates a Pop-Rock track with an easy pace. On this track, the duo draws inspiration from the British band The Smiths. Containing the same musical feel as music from The Smiths, “The Problem Is…,” from The Persian Leaps would fit right in with any of the tracks from The Smiths’ discography.

The Persian Leaps bring their musical style back to the Rock and Roll sound of the late eighties/early nineties on the song “Take Me to The Mountain”. On this track, Drew Forsberg sings about the need to get away from it all. With this track, Forsberg, together with Jon Hunt, creates a track that brings to mind the Scottish band Teenage Fanclub and the band’s songs like “Star Sign” from their album Bandwagonesque from 1991. The track has a strong commercial feel that would be right at home among Alternative Rock songs from the nineties.  

“Chalk Line Behemoth,” the next track on Electrical Living, keeps the sound of The Persian Leaps’ music within the feel of the late nineties/early 2000s. This track brings to mind some of the sound of the band Smash Mouth. “Chalk Line Behemoth” recalls Smash Mouth’s Reggae-influenced track of “Road Man;” especially since the two songs share a few bars of music as well as overall feel of the music, even if Smash Mouth’s song is Reggae-influenced while “Chalk Line Behemoth” from The Persian Leaps contains a straight-out Rock and Roll feel to the music.  

The Persian Leaps bring their latest release to a close with the song called “Dominoes”. The song contains a strong Alternative Rock feel to the music, recalling bands like Weezer or Better than Ezra. In fact, “Dominoes” from The Persian Leaps even feels similar to Better Than Ezra’s 1993 song entitled “Good” from that band’s 1993 release entitled Deluxe.

Throughout the release entitled Electrical Living, The Persian Leaps create an album that alternates between Power Pop and Alternative Rock. When combined together, the eleven songs on the release create one solid album that features many radio-friendly tracks for those who like the music of the late eighties/early nineties. And while this particular album is a break from the norm for The Persian Leaps founder Drew Forsberg, the choice to go in a different direction resulted in a strong release that is absolutely worth checking out.

 

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

 

 

 

 

For a taste of the music from The Persian Leaps, check out their song “Catnip for Cupid”.

To check out the release entitled Electrical Living from The Persian Leaps, click on the album cover below: 

Categories
Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Bird Streets S/T

Bird Streets is the latest project for John Brodeur. John Brodeur of the band Bird Streets is a New York-based singer-songwriter who has spent the last twenty years as basically a one-man band, creating several albums of Indie Rock. However, it’s been quite a while since Brodeur released an album of music. The last release to come from Brodeur came out in 2013 and that album was called Little Hopes. That album of music showed off Brodeur’s ability to write different styles of music and ended up being one of his strongest solo albums.

Cut to five years later and a new album from Brodeur was created. But this particular release was slightly different from what had come before.

Right around the time he was wrapping up production on the Little Hopes album, John Brodeur found himself looking to create something new. This time, however, he decided not to go it alone. Brodeur got in contact with multi-faceted artist Jason Faulkner and talked Faulkner into helping him produce the music for a new venture. The result is a musical project known as Bird Streets, a moniker that came from a section of the area known as the Hollywood Hills. Brodeur spent time in both 2014 and 2016 working alongside Faulkner during which time they created the debut album for Bird Streets. The self-titled debut release from Bird Streets was released in 2018.

Touring version of Bird Streets

The self-titled debut release from Bird Streets begins with the track “Carry Me”. The lead-off track finds John Brodeur in more of a Rock and Roll frame of mind than the usual Pop-Rock one would usually find on his solo albums.  With this track, the musical ensemble creates a moment that feels as if it would have been right at home on Alternative Rock radio back in the nineties. “Carry Me” contains strong guitar riffs and a strong bassline to create a sound that creates a sound that takes the listener back in time. You could easily imagine this track playing alongside tracks from Weezer or even Better Than Ezra.

The track called “Betting on the Sun” continues the new release. This track brings back some of the Pop-Rock feel that usually accompany Brodeur’s music. The slightly lighter approach of the track feels like a mix of nineties Alternative Rock and the Lite Rock from the seventies. The combination on the track creates one of the most commercial songs on the self-titled debut release from Bird Streets.

The self-titled release from Bird Streets continues with the track off the release that is the current single. The song “Direction” combines elements of Nineties’ Alternative Rock and today’s musical feel. “Direction” feels like something that could have actually come from the band Weezer with some of John Brodeur’s influence thrown into the mix. The track easily ends up being one of the most commercial tracks on the new release from Bird Streets.

The first thirty seconds of the song “Spaceship” features only the sound of John Brodeur and his acoustic guitar creating a quiet moment that brings to mind the feel of sixties Folk music. But after that initial thirty seconds the song, other instruments are incorporated to create a slow-paced track with a rather mellow musical direction. As Bird Streets IS a band that takes Brodeur’s music and gives it a slightly different feel than if Brodeur had created the music on his own, it should come as no surprise that some of the tracks on the self-titled album from Bird Streets would feel as if they Brodeur’s songs. In fact, you could almost imagine “Spaceship” having been created for Brodeur’s last release called Little Hopes.   

Speaking of creating a track with John Brodeur’s style to it, “Stop to Breathe” is yet another track from Bird Streets that feels as if it had been a solo piece. Like the piece before it, “Stop to Breathe” feels as if you could have encountered it on an earlier album from Brodeur.  In fact, the track would have felt right at home among the songs that had made up Brodeur’s 2009 release called Get Through. The slow pace to the Alternative Rock track gives the song an overly relaxed feel, but the electric guitars on the six-minute track keep it from feeling boring.

John Brodeur once again calls upon the influence of the music of the nineties for the track “Thanks for Calling”. The Alternative feel of the track would place the track firmly alongside Weezer, Better Than Ezra and other bands like them.  “Thanks for Calling” brings so much Alternative Rock feel of the nineties that you can hear the influence from a song like “Buddy Holly” from Weezer in the music of the track. For those who miss the nineties, this track does a good job of recalling the music of that time period.

For fans of the music of John Brodeur, there are several spots on the self-titled debut release from Bird Streets where Brodeur’s style shines through loud and clear, much like on earlier tracks like “Stop to Breathe”. Another moment on this album where the unmistakable feel of John Brodeur’s writing comes through clearly is on the song “Heal”. The main reason for that is because of the lyrical content of the track. Lines like “How Am I Supposed to Heal when this Medication isn’t Real?” make it absolutely clear that this is a John Brodeur song.

Currently, Bird Streets is promoting their latest single entitled “Pretty Bones”.  The track features a light touch to the music as the track begins with an acoustic guitar and John Brodeur’s vocals. While continuing to contains a rather laidback feel to the music, the track builds over the length of the track and eventually, the track’s musical approach brings to mind a combination of Folk-Rock influences and Indie Rock influences. The track’s low-key feel still contains a very listener-friendly sound.

As you make your way through the various tracks that make up the self-titled debut release from Bird Streets, there is plenty on the album to keep fans of John Brodeur happy. Plus, the inclusion of Jason Faulkner helps add new dimensions to his music that weren’t there before. Together, John Brodeur and Jason Faulkner create an album that fans of the eighties, nineties and today will truly enjoy as influences from all of those decades help to shape the music of this release. 

 

For more information, check out Bird Streets’ label, Omnivore Recordings

For a taste of the self-titled debut release from Bird Streets, check out the single “Pretty Bones”. 

For the self-titled album from Bird Streets, click on the album cover below: 

 

 

Categories
Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Ingram Hill “Look Your Best”

Ingram Hill, a pop rock trio based in Memphis, TN, is back with its third album, Look Your Best. For this record, the boys have found a new label and reunited with producer Rick Beato (Billionaire, Michelle Malone, Flickerstick, Shinedown), who worked on the band’s acclaimed 2004 full-length debut, June’s Picture Show. It is great to hear the distinctive voice of lead vocalist and guitarist Justin Moore once again – his mild Southern draw and gentle rasp provide a texture not like anything else out there today. Moore is backed by Phil Bogard on guitar and Zach Kirk on bass (in case you’re wondering who does the drumming, the guys call on various friends to supply the beat).

Categories
Features

NYC’s ‘Starcode’ on Everything from Playing the Former Czech Republic to the Difficulties of Choosing Between a Tom Waits and Better Than Ezra T-shirt!

starcodeNew York City’s newest modern rock offering comes in the form of Starcode; a band founded by brothers Dave (Vocals and Bass) and Dan O’Connor (Drums), and joined by Greg Nicotra and Steve Bernstein (Guitars), whose style of “high-energy, dark pop rock” separates them from the herd.

Working with famed producer Dale Penner (Nickelback, Mathew Good) Starcode put together their stellar, brand new record, A Fine Line, which delivers no-nonsense melodic rock that is built on a strong acoustic base and decorated with plenty of tasty electric guitars and harmony vocals.

Recently, Dave was kind enough to take the time to answer some of our burning questions.

Q: Hi Dave – thanks for taking to time to chat. To start, tell us a bit about how Starcode began.

 

A: Starcode began with a few friends and family – Dan, the drummer, is my brother – getting together to share their love for creating and performing music.

Q: Do you have a favorite track off the new release? If so, what makes it stand out for you?

A: This is something that evolves with my moods. So, my favorite track today may not be my favorite track tomorrow. Even tonight as I doze off it may change. So, right this second? I’d have to say I Found A Way.  It stands out for me at this time because we’ve just shot the video for it and done some shows where it really seems to have moved the crowd. There are few things better than seeing a roomful of people singing along to a song that you’ve sweated and tortured yourself to create.

Q: Working closely with a relative can be a double-edged sword. How has it been for you and Dan?

A: Dan and I have been playing together for years. Our first band, Amethyst, had their first gig when I was nine [at the Shriners Hospital in Springfield, Mass] [but] we have most definitely had some moments of rivalry. There were many things and tantrums thrown over the years. I must say however, that when things got serious for the band and we started going on the road it sort of morphed into an “us against them” sort of thing. We tend to unite along with the other guys instead of getting at it amongst ourselves. So I guess our secret for not killing each other is finding a common enemy. They’re out there and we’ve conveniently found a great way to come together against them.