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CD Review: The Motels “The Last Few Beautiful Days”

The band known as The Motels has been creating music for almost fifty years. While the band has had a few hit singles over the years (which included “Only The Lonely,” “Suddenly Last Summer” and a few others), the band has been rather low-key. Between 1971 and today, the band has gone through several different versions, used several different names and has even gone through periods where there wasn’t a version of the band at all when lead singer Martha Davis was recording and touring under her own music.

After an extended period where The Motels were not a thing, Martha Davis and others formed a version of the band. This band created the album Clean Modern and Reasonable in September 2007, the first album from The Motels in 22 years. The current version of The Motels consists of: Martha Davis, Clint Walsh Guitar, Nic Johns Bass, Marty Jourard Keyboards and Sax and Eric Gardner Drums. This version of The Motels have created the newest album under the moniker of The Motels, 2018’s The Last Few Beautiful Days.

The Last Few Beautiful Days from The Motels begins with the song “Punchline”. The band has chosen the song as the first single off of the release. Although the band has been around for nearly forty years, it seems that Martha Davis has kept the feel of the band relatively close to what it had been all those years ago when they began. The feel of the track “Punchline” is very reminiscent to music that was played back in the early eighties. The Pop/Rock feel of this track actually brings to mind someone other than The Motels. In fact. “Punchline’s” musical direction seems rather similar to songs recorded by the likes of The Eurythmics as the track feels like something that duo would have done.

As the song called “Lucky Stars” begins, the listener is almost instantaneously transported back in time. Imagine going back to 1983 and putting on the radio. It was then that The Motels had their hit single “Suddenly Last Summer,” a track that peaked at #9 on the Hot 100. With the track of “Lucky Stars,” The Motels seem to have recaptured that very same magic that was present in that #9 single. While the two tracks don’t sound exactly the same (and they shouldn’t), they do feature much of the same magic in the music as if the two tracks were recorded during the same recording session and not thirty-six years apart. Needless-to-say, “Lucky Stars” could have been a smash hit back in ’83 and could be a smash today.

With the track “Look at Me,” the band changes the feel of the music. Where the previous songs contained a strong Pop/Rock feel to the music, “Look at Me” finds the band exploring a much stronger “Pop” feel as it is the keyboards that provide the music for the track. What ends up being created is a track with a soft, gentle delivery that blends some musical influence from the likes of English singer-songwriter and record producer Kate Bush. The lyrics to the track deal with going beyond the visual and seeing the real person inside. With the subject matter of the song being what it is, “Look at Me” feels very relevant in today’s turbulent times when people are trying to turn away from the concept of bullying.

Just as the song “Look at Me” with its message of “See me, I am an individual” comes to a close, The Motels follow that up with “Machine,” a track about the exact opposite. The lyrics of “Machine” deal with losing your identity as you blend in with everything and everyone around you until only One exists. The music of “Machine” contains strong keyboard sounds. It is the sound of the keyboards that mimic the feel of machinery. The track brings out the New Wave feel of The Motels’ music. As The Motels trace their roots back into the New Wave era, it is great to hear some of that New Wave feel in the band’s current sound.

Most of the songs on The Last Few Beautiful Days from The Motels feature an ensemble feel to the music, showing off the talents of each of the members of the band. However, with the track “Light Me Up,” the song is more like a solo track for Martha Davis. But as the track is one of four tracks on the release that was written solely by Davis, that’s not much of a surprise. The track features a slow pace and a light touch to the music, in a very Pop-like musical approach. The result is a track that feels and sounds like something that would either have come from a Broadway musical or from the soundtrack of a movie. Needless-to-say, this track has a very commercial feel to it.

Much like with the track “Lucky Stars” earlier in the album, the track “Tipping Point” takes the listener back in time to the days of New Wave. The keyboards on the track bring to mind a lot of the keyboard sound from that time period, giving the track a somewhat dated feel. You could imagine bands like OMD, Depeche Mode, Unltravox when listening to this track. In fact, the track feels most like something from OMD from around 1990. The track features original band member Marty Jourard as he adds some saxophone to the background of the track.

The Motels bring their latest album of The Last Few Beautiful Days to a close with the title track. Much like with the earlier track of “Light Me Up,” this song features a musical direction that puts Martha Davis front and center. And just like with “Light Me Up,” the reason is because “The Last Few Beautiful Days” is another of the songs written solely by Davis. Aside from the voice of Davis, the track also contains the piano, keyboards and strings to create one of the softer moments on the album. The lyrics about letting time slip away and the orchestral feel of the music combine to create a song that brings the release to a close on a rather emotional track.

For those who have enjoyed songs like “Suddenly Last Summer,” “Remember the Nights,” and “Only The Lonely” from The Motels over the last forty years, then the band’s newest release of The Last Few Beautiful Days should be an album you will enjoy. The reason for that is because the new release from The Motels feels like much of the band’s previous albums as the music of this album find Martha Davis and band drawing inspiration from the past.   

For a taste of the newest release of The Last Few Beautiful Days from The Motels, check out the band’s single called “Punchline”:

To check out The Motels’ latest album of The Last Few Beautiful Days, click on the album cover below: 

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Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: gloryBots “Dark Alien Pop”

Start with an artist named Jalal Andre who is mostly an enigma as nothing exists to tell you who exactly he is. Then, add him in with gloryBots, the Seattle-based band that is just as mysterious as he seems to be and you have a combo that is as unusual and unique as the music the band creates. With the combination of alternative, ambient, composer, dubstep, electronic dance music, industrial and a lot more influences blending together with references to Extraterrestrial life, the entire concept of the band’s music fits into what they call Dark Alien Pop. Not only is that a good description of the ensemble’s sound, it also happens to be the title for the band’s first album of music.

Dark Alien Pop from gloryBots beings with the track “Entanglement”. The track begins with the light feel of Ambient music with some EDM thrown in for the beat. The inclusion of some Industrial music also adds body to the music. When every musical influence comes together, what is produced is a track that brings to mind New Wave influences and Industrial music blended together. Think about the sound of Bauhaus and a light version of Depeche Mode and you get the idea of what “Entanglement” sounds like.

The next track on the album is “Dream About Nothing,” the first track off of the album to be featured as a single. This track is the first of many songs on the release that feels completely different from the initial track of “Entanglement”. Where “Entanglement” had a slightly dark Industrial feel to it, the song “Dream About Nothing” has more of a lighter musical approach to it. The track features a driving beat that is matched up with a sound that brings out the New Wave feel of the music. In fact, you may even say that the track falls into the category of Dark Wave, a slightly darker style of New Wave music. And while there is that dark tone to the music, the bouncy “pop” feel to the music. The track comes across as a mix of Duran Duran and Depeche Mode, with more emphasis on Duran Duran. The track would have felt right at home during the eighties and the New Wave era of music.

For the track “Syzygy,” Jalal Andre and the rest of gloryBots create a track that would probably be best described as Indie Rock. The track once again features some Industrial feel, some Pop-Rock and other influences that combine together to create a track with an easy pace and light musical delivery. The beginning of the track starts with a lot of industrial noise which lasts for almost a minute before it eventually segues into a more cohesive sound. The title seems rather appropriate as the use of Pop-Rock and Industrial blend their vastly different musical feels into one sound that would easily belong on an Alternative Music radio format.

Having heard the previous tracks that blend together several musical approaches to create one sound, the listener is then exposed to the track “Immolation”. What sets “Immolation” apart from the previous tracks on the release is that this song finds the band creating a sound that borrows mainly from one musical genre- Alternative Rock. In fact, what “Immolation” ultimately brings to mind is the style of a band like U2 or INXS during their times in the nineties. This track from gloryBots stands out because of the straight-forward Alternative approach the band took on it.

Although many of the tracks on the Dark Alien Pop album find gloryBots drawing from many different artists to bring their music to life, with the track “Fire In the Sun,” gloryBots seems to draw from one specific band. With “Fire In the Sun,” the music of the track seems to scream “Depeche Mode”. The Alternative Rock music on the track features the same keyboard/guitar blend that makes Depeche Mode’s music so unique. The drums on “Fire In the Sun” even contain the same organic/synthetic blend that appears in a lot of Depeche Mode’s songs. If you happened to be a fan of Depeche Mode, “Fire In the Sun” will leave you happy.

The track “Le Monde” begins with sounds that would suggest that the band was about to create a track with a large amount of Industrial influence. But just as fast as the noise grabs the listener’s attention, it disappears. What replaces the industrial sounds once the track segues out of the noise is a track of mainly one solo guitar and vocals. The gentle playing of the electric guitar makes the instrument feel almost acoustic in nature as there is a gentle quality to it. The track is split in two parts as the guitar part stops and fades into the distance about ninety seconds in only to begin again with the same gentle, relaxed approach. The second part of the track also features a keyboard that has joined up with the guitar. While the keyboard adds depth to the music, the addition of the instrument does not end up raising the energy level much at all.

The track “Forces” is one of the busier songs on the release. The track begins with a little Industrial feel that segues into a Pop-Rock sound that is very relaxed and laidback. That laidback approach picks up energy and the result is yet another moment that makes the music come across as Indie Rock. The track later returns to the same laidback approach that began the track to help bring the song to an end.

As the listener makes their way through the dozen track that make up the Dark Alien Pop album from gloryBots, they will encounter a lot of different musical approaches throughout the songs. Some of the album contains a great deal of energy, while a lot of it comes with a much more laidback feel. And the various musical elements blend together to create an album that constantly changes. While the members of gloryBots may be rather mysterious, they come together to create an album that proves that the members are all accomplished musicians who know how to perform.

 

The Dark Alien Pop album from gloryBots is still in the middle of being released. The actual release date for the album is still about a week away from the publishing of this review. Stay tuned to the band’s FACEBOOK account to stay updated on the progress of the release. In the meantime, click the link to hear the lead-off single from the Dark Alien Pop album from gloryBots entitled “Dream About Nothing“. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more information, check out the band’s PR Firm, Whiplash PR. Click on the logo below to visit their site. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: The Alarm “Equals”

Every so often there comes a band that should be a lot larger popularity-wise than they are. This is a band that has been around a long time but has not gained the popularity they truly deserve. One particular band out there right now that could be described this is the Welsh Rock and Roll band called The Alarm.

It was back in 1981 that Mike Peters and the rest of the band formed the band called The Alarm. That band came to be after the previous group called The Toilets came to an end. With The Toilets, the music was more Punk-based. That sound and style changed with the founding of the band called The Alarm.

As a band, The Alarm combined some New Wave elements and Rock and Roll elements to form the basis of the band’s sound. What resulted is a sound that is rather similar in some ways to the styles of bands like INXS or U2. During the time the band was together, they enjoyed a certain amount of popularity, although that popularity never quite hit here in the states. However, for those who know the band, The Alarm is known for such songs as “Rain in the Summertime,” “Spirit of ’76,” “Rescue Me,” and the song that made the most noise for the band, “Sixty Eight Guns“. 

Throughout the history of the band, The Alarm had three separate time periods, taking a few years off here and there. The last time the band had been together was back in 2010. The band took some time off until lead singer Mike Peters regained the desire to perform with his band mates after spending some time as the frontman of the Scottish band Big Country where Peters filled in for deceased guitarist and lead singer Stuart Adamson who took his own life back in 2001. As the fill-in for Adamson, Mike Peters gained a desire to put his own band back together again and the band of The Alarm reunited and have since released several new albums of music.

In total, The Alarm has released in excess of fifteen albums. They have also released several versions of a Greatest Hits collection from the band that adds to the number of releases in the band’s discography. In fact, the band just recently added yet another album to their impressive discography of music. The newest album from The Alarm is entitled Equals.

Equals from The Alarm begins with the song “Two Rivers”. With this track, the band finds itself going back to the early days of its existence as the music in this song is a combination of both New Wave and Alternative. The track begins with a sound that would have been right at home on radio back in the eighties during the original phase of New Wave music. The keyboards on the track bring to mind the early days of bands like OMD or Depeche Mode. The New Wave feel is soon joined up by an musical influence that brings to mind the early days of Alternative Rock. The two styles combine in this track to create a track that truly feels more commercial than either of the styles on their own. The lyrics to “Two Rivers” deal with two people who have gone their separate ways because of a disagreement. Mike Peters sings of hoping that the two people will get back together where the “two rivers meet” so that they can work things out. The track “Two Rivers” feels very welcome in a time of strong uncertainty in the world.

It is with the first single off of the release that the Equals album from The Alarm continues. That song is entitled “Beautiful”. While much of the band’s earlier music contained a New Wave flavor to it, this track seems to find the band firmly embracing the feel of Alternative Rock. As a matter of fact, the song not only contains and Alternative feel, the track’s sound brings to mind some of the heavier work from the band U2. And while there is a certain amount of U2 influence to the music of the track, “Beautiful” contains a driving feel to the music that gives the song more of a Rock and Roll feel to the music than Pop-rock feel that is usually found on that other band’s music. “Beautiful” has a strong musical approach that would fit right in on any Top 40 radio format.

With the next track, Mike Peters and company create a track with the help of British musician and lead guitarist of the band The Cult, Billy Duffy. The track “Coming Backwards” takes the band’s music in a slightly retro feel. The resulting track features a sound that brings to mind the Power Rock music from the eighties. In fact, “Coming Backwards” would easily have fit on radio back in the eighties. For today’s music scene, the track has enough of a current feel to it that the track comes across as timeless. The lyrics to “Coming Backwards” deal with doing the same thing over and over again. The track ends up being one of the stronger tracks on the release.

The song “Transatlantic” features a sound that makes use of musical influences found back in the nineties. The track’s Rock and Roll approach combines the feel of the band U2 with that of earlier music from The Alarm. The musical blend on the track would fit right in with musical from either band. The track deals with someone in a long distance relationship. The lyrics deal with the singer missing someone on the other side of the world. This track is perfect for anyone who is currently missing someone who is far away from them.

Taking the music in a slightly different direction, the song “Thirteen Dead Reindeer” features an Alternative Rock feel with plenty of electronica influence thrown in. The result is a song that that has a strong beat to it as well as a driving feel to the pace of the music. The track’s sound falls somewhere between modern and slightly retro. The lyrics to the track deal with the senseless killing of animals and the fallout that happens afterward.

For two tracks on the band’s newest album, The Alarm create songs that deal with conflict. With the song “Neutral,” Mike Peters sings about not wanting to get involved with other people’s problems. At the same time, the track “Cenotaph” (a word that describes an empty tomb) deals with getting ready for the war that is about to start. With the way the world is right now, the two tracks seem to be speaking volumes about the current political atmosphere.

One of the more unusual tracks (for both the album and the band itself), “Hell Fire” is a track that truly separates itself from the rest of the album. The track contains a style of Rock and Roll and a lyrical content that combine to create track that Trent Reznor from Nine Inch Nails would be proud of. In fact, the track’s Nine Inch Nails sound only helps to point out that Mike Peters’ writing has been shaped by many different influences.

Mike Peters has really picked up a lot of different musical influences over the years. Those influences have helped to shape Equals from The Alarm. The ever-changing sound and feel of each of the tracks as well as the talents from the rest of the band have combined to create a release that features a musical sound that never really stays in one place. That ever-changing style on the album is sure to please any lover of Rock and Roll music.

The Alarm is currently promoting their new album called Equals. To help promote the new album, the band has released the song “Beautiful”. Click HERE to check out the video to “Beautiful”.

To check out the newest album from The Alarm called Equals, click on the album cover below: 

 

 

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Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Barbott “Curves”

The Barcelona, Spain-based band Barbott got their start as a band and has been creating music ever since 2012. Although the band has changed a few members over the years, the current lineup of the group consists of: Singer/Guitarist Guillem Sala, Bassist Marc Bertran, Guitarist Martí Rosselló, Drummer Josep Méndez and Keyboard player Albert Iribarne. Since coming together, this quintet had previously created two EPs of music: 2013’s Margarita as well as the 2014 Games for Two. Recently, the band Barbott created their first full-length album. That release is entitled Curves.

Curves from Barbott begins with the track “Paramont”. On this track, the quartet creates a track that features a musical direction that feels very familiar to those who were fans of keyboard-based pop-rock back in the eighties. In fact, the track’s keyboard sound is extremely reminiscent of that from bands like Depeche Mode, Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark (OMD) and other bands that were grouped into the New Wave movement during that time. But because “Paramont” contains both keyboards and guitar, the track is closest to the sound of early Depeche Mode. The slightly dark nature of the music in the track also leans the song more in Depeche Mode’s direction.

With the track “My Morning Every Window,” the band creates another track that seems to be influenced by the music of the eighties. In fact, the song of “My Morning Every Window” contains a very commercial feel to both the music and the lyrical delivery from Guillem Sala. The track would have been right at home on the radio in the eighties. The listener can even imagine the track being played during the early days of MTV when that network was just getting started and was the place to see music videos.

The band changes their musical direction from one track to the next. This creates an album with a lot of variety to the tracks. Nowhere is this more evident than with the track “Spaceship”. While previous tracks featured elements of the music from the eighties, “Spaceship” finds the band creating a style that is a lot closer to today’s Indie Rock. The keyboards and guitars on the track as well as the vocals all have a sound that would fit just outside of Commercial Rock formats. The song would be right at home on Alternative Radio stations or played on College Radio.

From this release, Barbott recently released the track “Cream” as a single. The song begins with both the keyboard and the guitar creating strong musical riffs that are both rather infectious. Together, the two riffs blend together to form the basis of the song. The combination of the two musical mindsets help to create a definite Indie Rock feel to the band’s sound. This creates an almost pop-like feel to the song. On this track, the vocals from singer/guitarist Guillem Sala contain a rather gentle quality to them. That gentle quality in the vocals mixes well with the instrumentation on the track. Together, the song’s pop approach and the heavy bass line from bassist Marc Bertran combine to create the band’s Indie Rock sound. “Cream” is a strong track that contains pop, rock and even some psychedelic elements to the music.

The track “Sun” changes the pace of the album. While the earlier tracks have a lot of energy, the band slows things down a lot on this one. The much more relaxed song “Sun” features the guitars in the band. The acoustic guitar sound of the track is reminiscent of music that would have been from the sixties as bands at that time were creating folk-rock songs. This track’s music and vocals bring to mind bands like Crosby, Still and Nash. The complete change of pace in this track gives the listener a different perspective on the music from the band.

After taking their music in a folk-rock direction for one song, the band of Barbott returns to a more Indie-Rock sound for the track “If Only”. And while the song is more energetic than “Sun” was, the track still has a slow, gentle pace to the music. The track features the keyboards from Albert Iribarne more than it features the guitars. While the track does contain a slow, easy pace to the music, the band adds plenty of energy to their playing to create a song that has an infectious feel. “If Only” is one track that stands out Barbott’s 2016 release of Curves.

The album of Curves comes to a close with the track “Lust”. The track starts off rather low-key with a simple keyboard playing softly. Soon thereafter, the band picks up the pace to create a track that once again makes the music of Barbott feel influenced by the eighties. The track of “Lust” sounds as if it had been influenced by the sound of Duran Duran once that band went in their more commercial direction in the mid-eighties. “Lust” is a strong track that helps bring the band’s album to a close on a strong note.

Throughout their 2016 release of Curves, Barbott changes directions several times in their musical style. But no matter which direction they go in, the band seems to have been very heavily influenced by the music from the eighties. And with many people being fans of music from that era, Curves from Barbott seems like the perfect album for someone in love with that decade of music.

For more about the band, check out their video to the track “Cream“.

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

To check out the Curves album from Barbott, click on the album cover below:

barbott cd

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Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: The Winter Sounds “Runner”

The Winter SoundsSongwriter Patrick Keenan has been through a lot over the last few years, starting with living through Hurricane Katrina. Once the hurricane wiped out New Orleans, Keenan had the option to stay put and rebuild or moving out of the area and starting over. Keenan chose option number two and relocated to Atlanta.

Patrick Keenan was part of the band called The Zydepunks while he lived in the New Orleans area. That band came to an end for Keenan when he moved out of the city and once he moved from the New Orleans area to Atlanta, Keenan created a whole new band called The Winter Sounds.

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Features

A sit-down with the always on the move Dre of (for right now) Mount Rushmore Safari

Most or even all you reading this will know that one of the great things about getting to follow a band or musician online is that you are able to follow their progress closely while also getting to know them a little. This applies more to independent and unsigned bands as they generally run their own pages online and working as a journo/reviewer/interviewer for various online sites has given me the opportunity to capitalize on this, which has created some excellent friendships.

Some while ago now I organized a charity event in the UK to raise funds for Cancer Research UK. This proved to be a brilliant experience, although mostly due to my enthusiasm and naivety it only managed to raise about £70 after costs. I have no regrets though, I am glad to have learned from this and have every intention of running a similar event some time in the future once I get the chance to do so. The point which I am getting to is that one of the bands whom I staged was Le Cul from Denmark. I got to know Andreas (Dre) from Le Cul in my early networking days and we soon built up a good rapport. Not long after becoming hooked on the style, ethos and attitude of Le Cul, I found that this band was just a rock ’n’ roll outlet for the band’s two founding members, Dre and Maxim.

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Features

Nothing Says ‘Love’ Like a Band Reunion

Nothing makes you wish you could win the lottery, or unexpectedly come into money some other way, like one of your favourite bands reuniting for a show. One of the ones you thought you’d perhaps never get to see live, or never again if you’d already seen them.

There is certainly a benefit of a band reuniting without putting out a new (often disappointing) release. No questioning whether or not to go to the show, worried you’ll have to endure a bunch of shitty new songs in order to hear a few of your old favourites. In addition, there are the likes of Billy Corgan  – expecting fans to be so devoted they won’t ask for the old songs that changed their lives, and reprimanding them when they do. It doesn’t seem like a fair approach somehow, even if the artist cringes at the angsty, earlier chapter of their career.

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Artists and Bands

Sweden’s “Hearts of Black Science” know how to please you: Rockin’ interview, free mp3 download & an autographed CD giveaway!

Hailing from Stenungsund, Sweden (just outside of Gothenburg) Daniel Änghede (Vocals/Guitars/Bass) and Tomas Almgren (Synths/Production/Mixing) are the extraordinarily talented duo behind Hearts of Black Science. The electronic rockers recently released their second full-length album, The Star In the Lake, and were kind enough to celebrate the release with us. Not only did Tomas offer to chat with me, but HoBS were more than happy to bring you (yes, you!) a free mp3 download of their latest single, Gold & Dust, as well as a contest to give away an autographed copy of the latest album. Enjoy the interview below and good luck!

Q: How did Hearts of Black Science start?

A: I moved back home (to Stenungsund) after having struggled as a horror movie director in London and Berlin. Daniel’s band, Astroqueen, had just split up and we were both eager to start a band ourselves. We had made music together before, when we were younger, in various mini-projects, but nothing serious like HoBS.