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Reviews & Suggestions

CD Review: Pale Hollow “Pilots”

Singer-songwriter Michael Allen of the band Pale Hollow has spent a lot of time floating around the Greater Cleveland music scene helping to make the city a lot more musical. Starting out with the Rock and Roll band Jericho Turnpike, Allen and that group would exist within a rather strong music scene that featured other notable groups such as The Waynes, Jehova Waitresses, Java Bean, The Simpletons and many other groups that were just as strong. But soon, Michael Allen would branch out on his own to record his own songs.

When Michael Allen took his music, he looked for musicians who wanted to form a new band. What resulted was a musical outfit by the name of Black Amps, which would exist for a while before changing their name to Pale Hollow and in 2007; a self-titled album was released under the Pale Hollow moniker. That self-titled release from Pale Hollow saw the band create a sound that combined elements of The Kinks, The Verve and many other British influences as well as American bands such as The Byrds, The Verve Pipe, even The Raspberries into one sound. Because of the various different elements, what resulted was a sound that was very retro in nature. But that retro feel to the band’s Americana music ended up allowing the band to gain a rather large following within the Greater Cleveland area.

Years would pass after the band’s first release. The band would change members during that time. And the band would change the feel of its music just a little because of the shifting of the band members. The current version of Pale Hollow includes: Michael Allen – Vocals/Rhythm Guitar, Kirk “Nemo” Nemerovsky – Drums, Jeff Ritchie – Bass, and Scott Steinbrick – Lead Guitar. It is this lineup that is featured on the newly-released second album from Pale Hollow. That second release is entitled Pilots. And for a little help with that album, the band’s new record was produced by Al Sutton (Greta Van Fleet) of Rust Belt Studios. It was because of Sutton that the band’s album is so strong from beginning to end. 

The album Pilots from Pale Hollow begins with the track “Can You Hear the Highway?” The track contains a soft, gentle feel to the Folk-Rock music in much the same style as music that would have been found on AM radio back in the seventies. The track brings to mind the lighter sound of a band like The Eagles. And in fact, the lyrical content has a simplicity that also seems rather reminiscent of songs from that time period.

Michael Allen and Pale Hollow pick up the pace with the song “Good Thing”. While there is still a slight lightness to the music, the stronger touch to the music takes the song out of the seventies and sets it more into the early nineties before Alternative Rock would have come into being. The commercial feel of the song and the track’s refrain would place the track within Top 40 radio back at that time. The track would also feel right at home being played right alongside a current band like Coldplay.

With the next track called “Won’t Let You Down,” the band takes their music solidly into the nineties. In fact, the track seems to bring back a little of the flavor of the music that had been created back in the nineties by the aforementioned band of Jericho Turnpike. The nineties flavor of the track takes the listener back to the time right before the advent of the music genre called Alternative Rock. In fact, the sound of the music on this track would have been right at home with the very first artists that would have been played on radio stations such as Cleveland, Ohio’s 107.9 The End.

The album continues with the track “Empire”. The track contains a simplicity that features only the sound of the acoustic guitar and voice of Michael Allen. The slow pace of the song and the simple musical approach create a musical background for what sounds like an apology disguised as a poetic composition set to music. While the song is mainly just a guitar and Allen’s vocals, the inclusion of a light keyboard in the background helps to add some depth to the track.

Pilots from Pale Hollow continues with the title track of the release. “Pilots” is easily one the most commercial sounding tracks on the release. If given the chance, this track could be as large as anything on Hot Adult Contemporary radio formats today. With this track, the British influence in the band’s music comes to the forefront a bit stronger than on the earlier tracks. The music on the track contains a strong Pop influence that will remind the listener of something from the likes of Coldplay or Snow Patrol or other bands that fall into the same musical feel. And while the track’s rather long playtime of nearly five minutes may be too long for most commercial radio stations, the musical sound of “Pilots” more than makes up for that.  

Pale Hollow seems to wear their influences on their sleeves. The track “Flame On” not only screams British musical influence, the song’s musical direction truly suggests that the band was more than just a little bit influenced by the band Oasis. In fact, “Flame On” from Pale Hollow would fit nicely right next to tracks like “Live Forever” “Champagne Supernova” or other tracks that can be found on Oasis’ (What’s The Story) Morning Glory? release.

For those who enjoy a more relaxed feel to their Rock and Roll while also enjoy having some orchestral flavor to that music, the sound of Cleveland, Ohio’s Pale Hollow may just be what you are looking for. The band’s 2018 release of Pilots is one of the most commercial albums that are not available from a major label. It’s also one of the strongest albums of 2018. If you happen to be a fan over rather commercial Rock and Roll but are tired of the same bands on commercial radio, Pale Hollow and the band’s 2018 release of Pilots may just be what you are looking for.  

 

To hear the music from Pale Hollow, check out the band’s video to the title track to the album Pilots

You can find the Pilots album from Pale Hollow on Spotify

To check out the Pilots album from Pale Hollow, click on the album cover below:

 

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Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: The Kavanaghs “Need a Pity Day EP”

Argentinean band The Kavanaghs has come a long way from their humble beginnings as an Argentinean Beatles cover band. Ever since they started out playing the music of The Fab Four and other groups from that time period, The Kavanaghs have continually shaped their sound to include more and more bands and styles of today so that their current style sounds more like Badfinger and British bands from the late ‘90s into today such as Coldplay, Oasis and U2. Their current sound can be found on their 2011 release Love Conquers Pain. The band is currently promoting that album and has since released several songs from that album as singles; the latest of which is “Need a Pity Day”.

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Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Cotton Mather “Kontiki Deluxe Edition”

Prior to my becoming a music journalist and reviewer, I was still paying attention to the more unusual and unknown bands and artists; the ones that were being promoted by the record stores and not really being promoted by the mainstream radio. The self-titled release from the band Naked, the album Notwithstanding from Chalk Farm and the mostly ignored band The Family Cat and their Magic Happens release are three such albums that were better than the coverage they received. Each of these three releases was well done, enjoyable to listen to and were impossible to understand why they didn’t receive the attention and respect they deserved. Another band around during that time period that was all but ignored in the U.S. music industry (so much so, I never even heard of them at that time) was Austin, Texas-based Cotton Mather. It was in 1997 that they released a classic pop/rock album entitled Kontiki. At the time, this album was almost completely ignored here in the U.S.

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Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Noel Gallagher “Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds”

When my Oasis expert brother-in-law called Noel Gallagher’s new album “old man music,” I was a little wary about listening to it. But I have to say, if Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds is “old man music,” then those are some pretty hip old men.

Although he’s freed himself from Oasis and the music style is reasonably different on High Flying Birds, the album is still very Noel Gallagher. His versions of Oasis songs have always been distinct and almost like a separate entity; that has been a unique aspect of the band that makes them disparate from many of their contemporaries.

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Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Moonlight Towers “Day is the New Night”

Day Is The New Night is the third album by Moonlight Towers, a band from Austin that takes its name from the city’s tall vintage streetlights. The guys in Moonlight Towers cherish the three minute pop rock song and hope this third release is the charm. In their own words, they enjoy “writing, recording and playing real rock’n’roll with a hearty pop kick, and being a genuine band. It’s really that simple.”

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Artists and Bands

The Edification of Lick And A Promise

You may have recently read my review of Come Together In The Morning by Lick And A Promise. Well, I have just had a chat with them regarding their formation, influences and instrument choice. They also talked a little about their recent US mini tour and their hopes for a similar tour in the UK.

Q: Can you give us a little more info on how Lick And A Promise came together in 2005?

A: Jochen and Manuel have been playing together in different bands like, forever and recorded their first real album in 2006. A year after they’ve founded Lick And A Promise. The record, which they had to produce on their own after some falling out with the original producer (but he’s a homefuck anyway), was alright, but things just didn’t really work out with the other band members. So the band kinda drifted apart without ever having played a single gig together.

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Live Rock and Roll Rock News

Ronnie Wood, Mick Taylor and Stephen Dale Petit are joining forces to save The 100 Club

Ronnie Wood, Mick Taylor and Stephen Dale Petit are joining forces to save The 100 Club.

Rolling Stones guitarists Ronnie Wood and Mick Taylor are rumoured to be amongst an increasing list of renowned musicians who will join New Blues guitar pioneer Stephen Dale Petit live onstage on December 1st at London’s famous, under threat, 100 Club.

The 100 Club has the an incredibly unique history and heritage, hosting history-changing appearances from stars like Glenn Miller and Louis Armstrong in the 40’s, Howlin’ Wolf and BB King in the 50’s, The Stones, The Who & The Kinks in the 60’s, The Clash & The Sex Pistols in the 70’s and Oasis and Travis in the 90s. More recently The White Stripes and The Kings Of Leon have used it as their venue of choice for intimate London gigs.

As widely reported here and in recent broadsheet and tabloid press, the 100 Club is threatened with closure. Guitarist Petit, who has strong connections with many of the Guitar World’s greats, is mounting the benefit gig to raise awareness and support for the club.

California-born Petit, who has headlined the prestigious club nearly a dozen times, says ‘The first gig I went to in the UK was Alexis Korner at The 100 Club. There is no other venue like it on earth ‘ when you walk downstairs it’s like entering a magic portal. I always feel honoured to perform there, and this show is going to be extra special’.

Organizers will not be drawn on an increasing list of stellar rock names, rumored to be making an appearance on the night, currently flooding the internet. They will only comment that more guests will be confirmed at www.stephendalepetit.com in the coming days.

Meanwhile Facebook page membership has rocketed from nothing to over 15,000 in a matter of days and a website www.savethe100club.co.uk features thousands of fans comments.

Tickets are £35 advance, £38 on the door.

Online at www.wegottickets.com/event/96517

All profits go to the Save The 100 Club campaign.

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Features

Clayton Road’s Michael Purvis talks about his music, his hometown, label changes and more

If you’re interested in new indie rock that is reminiscent of the alt rock of the late ’80s – ’90s, particularly the British variety, Clayton Road is worth checking out. These guys, hailing from Newcastle Upon Tyne, England, remind me of early britpop, before it got a whole lot poppier. The clean, pared down sound will please fans of The Stone Roses, The Happy Mondays and anyone who hasn’t heard those bands, but appreciates melodic rock.

The band released a Double A-side single, Wrapped Around/Mercury, this summer. The simplistic nature of the guitar on “Wrapped Around” is rather Smiths-esque, a definite compliment coming from a big Smiths fan like myself. “Mercury” is more upbeat and danceable. The vocals remind me of  the Richard Butler of The Psychedelic Furs, and the music reminds me of Butler’s ’90s project, Love Spit Love. The slightly psychedelic spin on the chorus is reminiscent of Blur’s first album, Leisure, another compliment coming from a Blur fan. Hopefully this description won’t offend frontman Michael, who compares his music to Oasis, and we all know about the war between these two bands and their fans. Here’s Michael’s take on Clayton Road.

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Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Exit Calm “Exit Calm”

Reading the reviews for Exit Calm’s eponymous debut, it seems that the scene that celebrates itself is at it again. Phrases like “best since,” “of the decade,” and “of the century so far” are being hurled about with reckless abandon. I, for one, am not buying it. Granted I did have to listen to some of the songs on this album a few times to fully appreciate them, but that is only because I fell asleep twice trying to listen to it.

It isn’t that it’s bad. You’ve Got It All Wrong and Hearts and Minds are both exceedingly well-crafted tracks that stay with you long after the record has stopped spinning, with craftsmanship being the key word. The technical talent of these four Yorkshire lads (Nicky Smith, Rob Marshall, Simon Lindley, and Scott Pemberton, augmented here by mix-master Ulrich Schnauss) is unquestionable—it just isn’t quite enough. In moments of social-critical engagement, like the two songs mentioned above, Exit Calm is at its best. When the subject matter turns inward however, the band’s eyes drift back down to the stage and the lyrics fade into the background. This isn’t to say that the other tracks are clichéd, merely that they are lyrically undistinguished.

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Features

Stuart Epps Toured America with Elton John, Produced and Engineered Records for Led Zeppelin and Paul Rodgers and is Now Focusing on the Next Generation – Part 2 of 2

staurt… Continued from Thursday, November 5th

Q: Over the years has there been one artist that’s particularly stood out as the best or most interesting to work with?

A: Definitely the main one is Elton: the most amazing songwriter and singer and all around artist and performer that I’ve ever met. But I’ve been very lucky; I’ve worked with lots of great bands. Jimmy Page was another one I learnt a lot from and Paul Rodgers is probably the best singer I’ve ever worked with […] he made an album with Kenney Jones, the drummer from The Who, and they had a band called The Law and he’s definitely one of the best artists I’ve ever worked with. Not the easiest [but] usually the best artists aren’t the easiest to work with. Chris Rea who I worked with and sang with, I sang on backing vocals on his album […] I’ve been very lucky. I have worked with Oasis, and I worked with Robbie Williams and, you know, I worked with some pretty big artists and it’s always, even if you’re not into their music, it’s always interesting to see what makes them the way they are.

My big hope now is to be able to […] come across an artist for myself who’s in the early stages of their career that I can then use all my experience to help fulfill and hopefully make into a similarly big recording artist, which is what we’re trying to do with Kendal Sant at the moment. […] You know I still love making music with people, still love making records, still good fun. Which is a bit surprising really because you think it’s something you might grow out of, but it’s still good fun.