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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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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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CD Review: Pale Monsters “Are You Feeling Alive?”

Pale Monsters is the name of a Boston area band that consists of: Singer/guitarist Chris Mulvey, Bassist/singer/producer Kevin McGrath, Keys/guitarist Mike Ward and Drummer Travis Richter. Together, the band creates their music by taking several different styles of music and blending them together. The band’s sound has elements of New Wave, Alternative Rock as well as Indie Rock and a little Art Rock thrown in. This blend helps to create a sound that alternates between being rather commercial at one point and being commercially underground at other times. 

Since 2016, the band has been shaping their sound. And with that has come one five-song EP called Take What You Can Take. However, the band has been rather busy as they have been writing more music to add to that EP. Just recently, the band has finished creating their new ten-song album release. That 2018 album is called Are You Feeling Alive?

The Are You Feeling Alive? album from Pale Monsters begins with the first single off the release called “All This Time We Wait”. The track features a strong Rock and Roll feel to the music that shaped by the guitar but is also strongly flavored by a keyboard that is either laidback or rather prominent, depending on the point in the song. “All This Time We Wait” is a song that could be New Wave or Indie Pop, depending on how you interpret the tune. The feel of the song and the vocal delivery from Chris Mulvey create a track that could have been popular on college radio back in the eighties. However, with the throwback feel of much of today’s music, “All the Time We Wait” could be just as popular on today’s radio formats.

Pale Monsters’s new album continues with the track that led to the band’s moniker. The title of the track “Pale Monsters” is a statement made in reference to the literary character Moby Dick. People liked the title and the title became the band’s moniker. The song itself finds the band creating a New Wave track that could easily have been written back in the late seventies/early eighties. In fact, the track features an off-kilter feel to the music that could easily remind some listeners of the style created by the band Devo. “Pale Monsters” mainly features a strong guitar presence but also comes with a synthesizer feel that matches the energy of the guitar almost one hundred percent.

The track “Everybody (Take What You Can Take)” is the title track to the band’s previous EP release. The track takes the feel of the music from Pale Monsters back to the Glam Rock era. “Everybody (Take What You Can Take)” is a track that features a musical approach that seems to fall between several different style of music. The music of the track brings to mind pre-New Wave bands like Pere Ubu or T. Rex who were adding more creativity into the music during their times.

With the track “Until the End,” Pale Monsters creates one of the hardest rocking tracks of the Are You Feeling Alive? album. The track features guitars that help give the track a full-out Rock and Roll approach. In fact, “Until the End” could easily fit nicely into any Modern Rock radio formats. Any music lover interested in Modern Rock will truly enjoy the sound of “Until the End”.

Are You Feeling Alive? continues with the track “Bombs Away”. The track features a strong Indie Rock feel to the instrumental music that makes up the rather short track. Of course, the song segues into the next track of “Buzzed Out,” so the rather short playtime is understandable.

The next track of “Buzzed Out” is one track on the Are You Feeling Alive? album from Pale Monsters that truly allows the band’s Art Rock influences to shine through. Just like with a band like Pere Ubu, this track features a strained vocal delivery from singer/guitarist Chris Mulvey that adds a slightly Punk-Pop feel to the music itself.

Are You Feeling Alive? from Pale Monsters comes to an end with the song “Gone”. The track slows the pace of the music down quite a bit. But as this happens to be the final track, that is acceptable as it makes the release feel as if it is coming to an end. Like the rest of the album, the song of “Gone” contains a New Wave/early Alternative Rock feel. But more than that, the track takes on a musical approach that seems to have been influenced by British New Wave/ Alternative Rock band Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark (better known as OMD). In fact, the entire musical approach on the “Gone” track brings to mind OMD’s early nineties era during which they had released their Sugar Tax album. “Gone” and its musical approach feel as if it would have felt right at home within that album.

The Are You Feeling Alive? album from Pale Monsters finds the Boston-based band creating a release that makes use of many different influences. That musical blend creates an album that ends up being very strong from beginning to end.

 

The Are You Feeling Alive? album from Pale Monsters will be released in March 2018. Until then, check out the video to the song “Everybody (Take What You Can Take)”. 

For more information, check out the band’s PR Firm, WHIPLASH PR

 

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Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Chapell “Soul Man”

Singer-songwriter Alan Chapell started out learning how to become a musician by spending some time in New York. And then he took off for international lands. While in place like Mumbai and India, Chapell allowed many different things to influence his writing. While overseas, Chapell started writing commercials and jingles as a way of making money. And while that wasn’t the same as making his own music, that did help Chapell stretch as a writer.

Eventually, Alan Chapell moved back to the United States. Soon, Alan Chapell was creating his own music and recording his own music. The resulting singer-songwriter’s music combines elements of Rock and Roll with some elements of Pop music. Eventually, Chapell would create his first release entitled The Redhead’s Allegations. That eleven-song album has been followed up by Chapell’s newest release, a four-song EP called Soul Man.

Alan Chapell (who simply goes by his last name of Chapell) begins his Soul Man release with the titled track of the EP. “Soul Man” begins with slow pace to the music and a rather laidback delivery in the track. The song features a combination of both the keyboard and guitar blending together to create a track that contains a definite Pop feel to the music of the track. The easy pace of the tempo adds to the Pop quality of the track. Along with the easy feel of the tempo, the lyrics to the track about a man who decides to live from one moment to the next instead of trying to live up to a woman’s expectations. The lyrics to the track are delivered with a certain amount of gentleness that goes along with the gentle pace of the music.

The release of Soul Man continues with the song “My Baby Loves Me Now”. Where the previous track contained a Pop feel to the music, “My Baby Loves Me Now” takes the feel of the music back into the eighties. The inclusion of the keyboards on the track give the song a musical approach that would have fit in well with the likes of Spandau Ballet, Simply Red and maybe even early OMD. The track contains a certain amount of Pop quality to the music with some New Wave elements, as well. The track begins with a low-key delivery and slowly builds over the course of the four minute-playtime. By the end of the track, the song is filled up with a full orchestration and a choir that helps to add fullness to the chorus of the song. The track has a definite commercial radio potential to it and could easily be single off the release.

Soul Man from Chapell continues with the track “Watercolors”. With this track, the singer-songwriter steps it up a notch and adds a lot more energy to the music. The first two tracks of the release contained a Pop quality with a gentleness to it. With “Watercolors,” the feel of the music takes on a much stronger pace and sound. While still containing a definite Pop-like quality in the music, the track now contains a sound that feels like a combination between Elton John and Phil Collins’ solo material. Where the previous songs contained an eighties feel to the music, “Watercolors” would easily have fit in on Adult Contemporary radio formats in the nineties. And just like “My Baby Loves Me Now” before it, “Watercolors” has a definite “single” potential.

Chapell’s Soul Man release comes to a close with the track “She’s On Fire”. With this track, the music is pumped up a little bit more. The track contains a strong Pop sound with an equally strong Soul influence to it that comes from the inclusion of things like horns. The Pop/Soul combination in the music ends up creating a track that feels both retro and fresh at the same time. “She’s On Fire” is yet another track within the short four-song EP from Chapell that could find its way onto the radio.

Sometimes it doesn’t matter how many tracks a release has or how short the release’s playtime. What is important is the strength of the music that is included on that release. Throughout the four songs by Chapell on his Soul Man release, there is at least two, maybe even three tracks that should be played on the radio. There is most definitely a commercial potential for this EP. With this four-song EP being as solid as it is, the listener definitely gets their money’s worth.

Soul Man from Alan Chapell is not yet available. The EP will officially be released sometime early in 2018. As such, very little is available to promote the EP. However, there is a live version of the song “The Soul Man,” the title track of the upcoming release. For more information and to keep up to date with the release of the EP, check out Chapell’s Facebook profile

For more information, check out Chapell’s PR Firm, Whiplash PR.

 

 

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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.