Categories
Reviews & Suggestions

CD Review: Greg Roensch “What’s in the Meaning of That Cloud in the Sky”

Greg Roensch is a multi-talented individual who splits his time between the written word, the spoken word and the recorded song. As a writer, you can find Greg Roensch’s written words in his 2017 collection called Breakfast with the Alien and Other Short, Short Stories. His words have also been used to write about subjects such as video games, consumer electronics, winemaking and others, as well as for non-profit organizations. As a singer-songwriter, Roensch has created what he called The Spiral Notebook Project, a project which included 10 songs created by Roensch and other talented individuals at Tiny Telephone Recording in San Francisco (including producer John Vanderslice who has been responsible for plenty of releases over the years from talented individuals). Years after the release of The Spiral Notebook Project, Greg Roensch returns with his latest album, a release once again created with the help of producer John Vanderslice. Greg Roensch’s latest musical release is called What’s in the Meaning of That Cloud in the Sky.  

To begin the What’s in the Meaning of That Cloud in the Sky album, Greg Roensch kicks off his release with the track “Come On Over”. This track brings forth the talents of keyboard player Robert Shelton as it is the organ that is the instrument that is focused on in this song. The organ and the rest of the instrumentation give the song a rather retro feel as the song sounds as if it would have come out of the seventies. Not only is there a seventies feel to the music, but the song itself brings to mind the musical stylings of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers as the tune has a sound with an undeniable resemblance to Petty’s song “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around”.

The new release from Greg Roensch continues with the track “One More Shot”. This track features a Funk/Lite Rock blend to the music. The resulting blend creates a song with a laidback approach while also creating a strong groove that comes courtesy of the aforementioned organs and the bass. The synthesizers on the track add a strong groove of their own while also adding a slightly psychedelic vibe to the music. While the music of the track is rather upbeat, the lyrics are hopeful than anything else. The lyrics describe trying to reignite a relationship that seems to have come to an abrupt end at one point with Roensch cautiously dealing with the situation so things don’t get worse.

If one is familiar with some of the music that came out of the era of the eighties, you should be at least familiar with the title to the song “If I Had a Rocket Launcher,” the very political track from Bruce Cockburn from back in 1984 about his visit to Guatemalan refugee camps in Mexico following the counterinsurgency campaign of dictator Efraín Ríos Montt. On his new album, Greg Roensch takes a little influence from Cockburn as he created a track with a title that is just as striking and memorable. “Don’t Forget Your Hand Grenades” is a track from Roensch that, like Cockburn’s earlier track, was influenced by reality: a sign hanging in an airport in Europe that simply said- “No Hand Grenades”. Forming the music around the lyrics, the song contains a jazzy/funky feel to the laidback music. And with the sing-song feel to Roensch’s vocals, the song comes across as a Spoken Word/Beat Poetry track. But with the lyrical content of the words, that works rather well for the song “Don’t Forget Your Hand Grenades”.

What’s in the Meaning of That Cloud in the Sky album from Greg Roensch continues with the song “Grasshopper”. With this track, Roensch and the rest of the band slow things down quite a bit to create the slow-paced track. Singer Carly Bond joins Roensch as the two create a duet of sorts. While most duets feature lyrics of a mainly romantic nature, Bond and Roensch sing about taking it slow and easy. The track features simplicity at its best as the lyrics deal with the simple act of sitting and watching a grasshopper hopping along while the music contains a slow, steady and laidback pace.

The track “Celluloid Dream” changes the direction of the music. With this track the main focus is on the acoustic guitar of Greg Roensch as he creates a track that feels much like something from singer-songwriters in the mid-to-late sixties or earlier seventies. The slow-paced song features a storyteller approach to the lyrics, in much the same manner that Jimmy Buffett wrote the song “They Don’t Dance Like Carmen No More,” Buffet’s tribute to the multi-talented actress and singer Carmen Miranda. In this instance, Roensch writes about any one of the numerous actresses that graced the silver screen during the early Black & White days of cinema. And while the track easily contains the influence of Jimmy Buffett in the lyrics, the musical part of the track will remind fans of The Princess Bride of that movie’s Main Theme Song, “Storybook Love” from Willie DeVille and Mark Knopfler. Part of the reason for that comes from the inclusion of the cello on the track that is courtesy of Crystal Pascucci, which adds a touch of orchestration to the song.  

Like with the earlier track of “Don’t Forget Your Hand Grenades,” Greg Roensch takes the listener back to the sixties with “Remember the War to End All Wars,” a track that brings to mind songs like “Find the Cost of Freedom” from Crosby, Stills and Nash, or “Stop Children What’s That Sound” from Buffalo Springfield. “Remember the War to End All Wars” contains the same type of lyrical mindset as the aforementioned songs. The track is formed around the cello from Crystal Pascucci who creates a beautiful and touching intro to the track before the song changes to something that could have come from Buffalo Springfield, as the song falls into a style of Folk-Rock reminiscent of that band’s music. “Remember the War to End All Wars” is a powerful reminder to never forget the conflicts that came before as they can still teach us things.

Greg Roensch continues his new release with another poignant track as he stays in the same frame of mind of the previous track. But this time, instead of Folk-Rock, Roensch changes directions and creates a song with a much different feel to the music. It is with the song “Trigger, Trigger (Get Your Gun Out of My Face)” that Roensch explores a much more experimental feel to his music. In fact, the musical direction chosen by the singer-songwriter on this track brings to mind the more experimental side of the band Pere Ubu. The music being what it is and the Spoken Word feel to the words on the track create one of the most different tracks of the entire album.

Singer Carly Band returns as she and Greg Roensch once again join together on the “title track” of the release “Tell It Like It Is”. Just like the first time that Band made an appearance on this release, the song “Tell It Like It Is” contains a duet between Band and Roensch. And like the first track that featured both artists, this song is slow-paced and laidback as the song contains a light touch to the music which goes along with the lyrics about how things are going in the relationship that the song revolves around.  

As the listener goes through the thirteen tracks that make up the What’s in the Meaning of That Cloud in the Sky album from Greg Roensch, you get many different styles and flavors of music. Folk-Rock, Art Punk, Psychedelic Rock and much more make up the various tracks on the album. Strong writing, strong musicianship and nicely varied music combine to create a release that offers something for everyone.   

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

 

 

 

 

For a taste of the music from Greg Roensch, check out the song “Come on Over”. 

To hear the entire What’s in the Meaning of That Cloud in the Sky album from Greg Roensch, click on the album cover below: 

 

Categories
Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Jeff McMullen “Pain Management”

Having performed in several bands over the years, Texas-based singer-songwriter Jeff McMullen is now writing his own music. In fact, a new EP has just been completed by the singer-songwriter that makes use of all of Jeff McMullen’s various influences. The release also finds him switching from his two main instruments- the keyboards and the guitar. The new EP from Jeff McMullen is entitled Pain Management.

Jeff McMullen begins his Pain Management EP with the track “Shyne On”. The first few seconds of the track feature harmonic a’cappella vocals created by McMullen. Those vocals feature a feel that reminds the listener of R&B music. And while those initial vocals have a strong R&B vibe to them, that’s somewhat of a fooler as what follows is nothing like what one would expect. The R&B flavored vocals segue into guitar-driven Hard Rock. That approach comes with Hip-Hop influenced drumbeats as well as some Funk flavor. The entire combination creates a beginning to the track that encapsulates the entire music industry at one time, and all within forty seconds or so.  As the track finally starts, what goes forward is a track that includes a strong reference to Michael Jackson as you can almost definitely hear elements of “Thriller” in the music of “Shyne On”. Combined together, all of the various elements create a song that would have fit solidly in radio formats back in the eighties.

Pain Management continues with “The Unmailed Letter”. Where “Shyne On” was guitar-driven, this track features McMullen on the keyboards. Those keyboards create a soft, gentle feel to the music. Add some strings to those keys and the track contains an emotional feel even before McMullen starts to sing.  As McMullen’s vocals join the keyboards, there is a slight indication of Bruce Springsteen in his voice. The lyrics of the song find McMullen singing a ballad about a relationship that came to an end a long time ago. The song’s lyrics also hint at the regrets that have been left behind as he questions what could have been. As McMullen sings, it becomes clear this letter will never be sent as he knows not where to even start looking in order to reach his love interest from so long ago. The simple piano and occasional strings mixed with the lyrics of lost love create a track with a strong emotional pull to it.

The track “Evidence” continues the Pain Management EP from Jeff McMullen. Once again, McMullen calls upon the guitar to help create the music for the song. This time, however, it is the acoustic guitar that is the focus. With the acoustic guitar, Jeff McMullen creates a Folk-Rock track that combines elements of Soft Rock, Folk and some Jazz flavor together. This musical mix and McMullen’s vocals create a track that fits somewhere within the mid-to-late eighties and the early nineties. Altogether, the track brings to mind the Pop-Rock stylings of someone like Bruce Hornsby & the Range and/or Steve Winwood. This comparison is evident because of the relaxed nature of the track. Like the previous songs, “Evidence” is a song that contains a very commercial feel to the music. This song could easily find its way onto Adult Contemporary radio formats because of its somewhat timeless musical approach.

The Pain Management EP continues with yet another piano-based track from Jeff McMullen. And like with the song that comes before it, this track called “Someday” has a laidback feel to the music. This time, McMullen seems to be calling upon the influence from the one and only Phil Collins as the piano-based track of “Someday” contains another Pop-Rock/Lite Rock approach to the music. In fact, you can hear the same type of musical approach in McMullen’s track as you can hear in, say, “Take a Look at Me Now” from Collins. Much like the track of “The Unmailed Letter” which came earlier in the EP, McMullen writes a song about a chance to find love once again. With only the sound of the piano, it makes the track seem a little sparse. But that simplistic feel gives the listener a chance to experience McMullen up close.

Jeff McMullen brings his Pain Management EP to a close with the track “It’s Only Rain”. After the couple of songs that feature very minimalistic musical approaches, McMullen finishes off the release with a song with a full musical feel to the music. Along with his vocals, the track features a full band with guitar, drums, bass and keys. The result is a song with Lite Rock qualities to it. And like songs that came before it, influences from artists like Bruce Hornsby, Steve Winwood or others from the eighties and/or nineties come through in the music. Like with most of the other tracks, this song has a strong commercial feel to it and would fit rather well on Adult Contemporary radio formats. After the previous songs “Evidence” and “Someday,” the stronger, fuller “It’s Only Rain” feels almost perfect as the final track of the release.

The short Pain Management EP from Jeff McMullen finds the singer-songwriter creating music that falls squarely in the era of the seventies and eighties. With the numerous influences that appear on the release, this EP transitions between Soft Rock, Adult Contemporary and Pop-Rock. The music that the listener experiences comes with a strong timeless feel to it. While it doesn’t really push the boundaries of music, this release is solid.    

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

 

 

 

 

For a taste of the Pain Management EP from Jeff McMullen, check out the song “Shyne On”.

To check out the entire Pain Management EP from Jeff McMullen, click on the album cover below: 

Categories
Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Jann Klose “In Tandem”

Jann Klose is an internationally known singer-songwriter. The German-born artist discovered the world at a young age when he came to the United States as a young child as part of a foreign exchange program. It was in the city of Cleveland, Ohio that he discovered what another part of the world was like. And while in Cleveland, he also discovered and nurtured the musical side of his personality. But after a while, that musical side needed more than what Cleveland could offered and he made his way to New York City where he resides today.

During his time as a musician as well as singer-songwriter, Jann Klose has created and released several EPs and albums of music that feature his musical blend that incorporates jazz, pop, and other musical styles. That blended style creates a sound that has helped him gain an audience not only in Cleveland, New York and Germany as a whole, but also in other parts of the world. Because of that, his music is and has always been well-rounded as far as its sound and appeal. You can find that well-rounded sound on Jann Klose’s aforementioned releases, which includes his latest album. The newest album from Jann Klose is entitled In Tandem.

In Tandem from Jann Klose begins with the track “Love High”. Like a lot of Jann Klose’s earlier material, “Love High” is a track that feels readymade for radio airplay. With this song, Klose finds himself in a very strong “Pop” frame of mind as the track would fit right alongside other artists who fit in the Adult Contemporary radio format. The Pop influence sits nicely beside the Jazz influence that also inhibits Klose’s music. The pop-rock/jazz blend of the music guarantees that the track would fit on Adult Contemporary radio stations, but has enough Jazz feel that it would not feel out of place on Jazz formats that incorporate the lighter styles of Pop music into their playlists.

Jann Klose’s newest album continues with the track “Dear Mel”. With this track, Klose and the rest of the musicians that helped him create the In Tandem album take the sound of the music in a purely “Pop” direction. The easy feel of the track puts the song squarely in the Adult Contemporary genre. And one of the main features of the track that makes it Adult Contemporary is the strong hook contained within the refrain of the track. While the music has that commercial feel to it, the track’s lyrical content revolves around Klose reflecting on someone in his past that is thinking about. The emotional feel of the lyrics as well as the Pop-like feel of the music on “Dear Mel” makes for the perfect song for anyone who is a fan of Commercial Pop radio.

Bringing the feel of the music back to a jazzier feel, Jann Klose welcomes English singer Annie Haslam as she joins Klose in a duet. Together, Klose and Haslam bring the track “Don’t Give Up” to life. The laidback feel of the music and the light delivery from Haslam adds a certain amount of beauty to the track. Part of the emotional feel to the track comes from the lyrics that deal with the vocalists singing about holding on and pushing forward, reaching for the goal, no matter how far in front it is. The track of “Don’t Give Up” is a song that most of us should take to heart.

As Jann Klose himself is a person who originally came from somewhere outside of the United States (Germany, to be exact), it should not surprise anyone that the various vocalists that join him on this release are also all from different countries. Along with England’s Annie Haslam, Belgium’s Tamara Dey joins Jann Klose on the track “You and I (Cosmic Love)” while South Africa’s Karen Zoid joins Klose on “Pour the Champaign” and another South African, RJ Benjamin and his RJ Benjamin Voices, join Klose on the track “Win This Fight”. The truly international group of musicians that joins Klose helps to add a lot of dimension to the music on the In Tandem album.

To bring a little more of the international flavor to the release himself, Jann Klose creates one track on the album in German. The song “Hochzeitsleid” is a song whose title translates to “wedding song”. The track about walking down the aisle to get married is sung in German by Jann Klose and the music to the track has a Classical Music feel to it. So no one feels left out, an English version of the song called “Wedding Song” is also included in the album. The resulting track would be ideal for anyone’s wedding day, whether using the German version or the English version.

The feeling of the album changes with the newest single on the release entitled “Take Me To Forever”. This track changes the feel of the music as the track contains a good amount of Funk influence to the music. While much of the album contained a jazzy feel, the Funk influence feels very different. In addition, the beat of the drums and the guitar on the track add a nice groove that sets itself apart from the rest of the album. Like several of the tracks that came before it, “Take Me To Forever” has a strong commercial feel to it, making it perfect to be one of the tracks to promote the release.

The In Tandem album from Jann Klose is a strong release with many moments in its thirteen tracks that fans of pop-rock will find very enticing. If you are one who enjoys Rock and Roll with a strong Pop influence as well as and international flair to the songs, Jann Klose’s In Tandem is the album for you.

For a taste of the music from Jann Klose, Klose is currently promoting the song “Take Me to Forever”.

To check out the album in Tandem from Jann Klose, click on the album cover below:

 

Categories
Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: The Celebration Army S/T

The Celebration Army is a Toronto-based Rock and Roll quartet who is “taking back the night and breathing new life into the roots of the most inspiring genre of our generation”. Comprised of Oliver Pigott on vocals, Nelson Sobral on guitar & backup vocals, Leandro Motta on bass & backup vocals and Troy Larabie on drums, the band has created a style of the genre that takes the group’s sound back to the Classic Rock era of the music. Combining Rock, Soul, and Blues, The Celebration Army’s Rock and Roll style helps to bring back a little strength to the music that has been losing a lot of energy over the last few years. To help bring back that energy to the style of Rock and Roll, The Celebration Army has put out a few releases. Along with two EPs, the band has just recently put out a new self-titled album.

The Celebration Army went into the studio and spent two days recording tracks that would become their self-titled debut album. That “live in the studio” feel can definitely be felt within the twelve tracks that make up the band’s self-titled release.

The 2017 self-titled album from The Celebration Army begins with the track “When Your Love is on the Loose”. A straight-out Rock and Roll track, the sound of the track brings to mind underground bands from the eighties like Junk Monkeys who created straight-out Rock and Roll. The track also seems to suggest a little influence from the band The Del Lords. The song “When Your Love is on the Loose” brings the listener back to the days of the late eighties/early nineties in a good way. While the track feels very reminiscent of that time period, the underground feel of the track would have easily fit on college radio at the time.

With the next track of “Hang it Up,” The Celebration Army slows the pace of the music down a little. And even with that slower pace, the band doesn’t give any less energy to their music. While “When Your Love is on the Loose” feels like straight-out Rock and Roll, the band adds a little Soul influence into the music of the track. The resulting song brings to mind something from Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. And unlike the previous track, “Hang it Up” would have fit well on commercial radio in the eighties.

An unmistakable Funk groove hits the listener in the first seconds of the track “In the Henhouse”. That groove created by Nelson Sobral on guitar, Leandro Motta on bass and Troy Larabie on drums help to create one of the most powerful moments on the entire release. And with the vocals from Oliver Pigott that add some Soul to the track, “In the Henhouse” is the most listener-friendly track up to that point.

On the next track, The Celebration Army adds a lot of Alternative Rock influence to their new album. The slightly orchestral nature of the music on the track and the operatic vocals from Oliver Pigott on “Don’t Hold Me Now” combine to create one track that stands out when compared to the rest of the music.

“Motorbike” is one track that shows off The Celebration Army’s Blues influence. With this track, the band adds that Blues influence with slightly stronger guitars, harmonica and stronger basslines to create a track that all but screams “Canned Heat”. “Motorbike” is another track that stands out as the band creates a moment unlike anything else up to that point.

Like the track “In the Henhouse” a little earlier in the album, the song “Risky Business” contains a strong groove to the music. The strong bassline adds that Funky feel to the song while the guitar helps to add the melody to the track. The lyrics to the refrain of the track are very easy and seem to just flow, creating very easy lines that feel very infectious that lend themselves to singalongs. “Risky Business” was released by the band previous to the actual album coming out. That helped to promote the album with a very strong track that deserves multiple listenings.

On the track “Dust My Dirt,” The Celebration Army creates a song that feels as if it should have come out of the seventies. The band calls upon their influences from groups from that era as they create a slow-paced jam that brings to Eric Clapton. The track contains that feel before the band picks up the energy for a few seconds. The softer/rockier approaches alternate throughout the track until the final few seconds when the band sends the track off with a very strong guitar solo that contains a Jimi Hendrix-like sound.

The 2017 self-titled album from The Celebration Army focuses on musical styles that fit into the Classic Rock genre. The twelve tracks on the release make good use of the band’s influences. Whether using straight-out Rock and Roll sounds or more underground influences, each track from The Celebration Army is very strong and the twelve tracks combined together make for one solid album.

To check out the music from The Celebration Army, click HERE for the band’s song “Risky Business”.

To check out the self-titled release from The Celebration Army, click on the album cover below:
Celebration Army CD

Categories
Artists and Bands Featured Review Features Reviews and Suggestions Rock News

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.

Categories
Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Jackpot Donnie “Mayday!”

Like a rising amount of bands and artists out there today, Chicago’s Jackpot Donnie is a band that creates its sound by combining several genres of music together. It’s the combination of Reggae, Funk even Blues that helps give the band’s music its quality and sound. And because the band draws from these unique and varying styles at different times, the Rock and Roll produced by Jackpot Donnie changes from one tune to the next.

To help create their sound, the five members of Jackpot Donnie call upon their various musical influences. The five members of Jackpot Donnie are: Adam Campbell on drums, Dave Langley on bass, Matt Love on guitar and vocals, Peter Spero on keys and Brian Wise on guitar. The band is currently promoting their third release, 2013’s Mayday!

Categories
Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Eleven Dollar Life “Shatter the Silence”

Chicago, Illinois is the home for one of the most eclectic rock bands in the United States, Eleven Dollar Life. Eleven Dollar Life is a five-piece rock group that has taken many different influences and genres of music and blended them together to create the band’s unique rock sound. This sound was developed by the members of the group who are: Bryan Pray on vocals, Chad Wynes on guitar, Marc Gee on keyboards and vocals, Eli Namay on bass and Kyle Voivodas on drums. Taking styles like grunge, jazz, blues, hard rock and much more, these five musicians help create the music that is unique to Eleven Dollar Life.