Categories
Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Stolen Apple “Wagon Songs”

Italian band Stolen Apple came together back in 2008 after one band called Nest came to an end. The previous band would release two albums during its existence before calling it quits: Drifting in 2001 and Isn’t it? in 2007. And when the band’s time was over, Riccardo Dugini (vocals, guitar) and Luca Petrarchi (guitar) would search out musicians for their next project which would be Stolen Apple. The resulting band would include Dugini and Petrarchi, as well as Massimiliano Zatini on percussion and Alessandro Pagani on bass.

For nearly a dozen years, Stolen Apple has been creating their own brand of music. Together, the quartet draws inspiration from numerous forms of music: “From psychedelic rock to post punk; from folk to indie rock; from cosmic & post atomic rock to new wave; from country to italo disco.” This ever-changing blend of music can be found on Stolen Apple’s albums entitled When We Rise (2015) and Trenches (2016). Just recently, the band added one more album to that discography. The 2020 release from Stolen Apple is entitled Wagon Songs.

Wagon Songs from Stolen Apple begins with the track “Suicide”. With this track, the Italian band seems to be influenced by the likes of Iggy Pop and the Stooges. The track contains the same kind of musical approach as the Detroit group’s proto-punk sound back around 1969.  In fact, this track easily brings to mind the music of that band’s song “I Wanna Be Your Dog”. “Suicide” is a strong track that will easily appeal to those Rock and Roll fans looking for the “Real Deal,” and this is a straight-out Rock and Roll track for those looking for that.

Stolen Apple continues their album with one of the track “Renegade Sun (Brexit)”. The band takes their music into a much more current time. The music of this track comes with a style that blends together influences from the Queens of the Stone Age and those of The Black Keys. Those influences are used to create a track that is hard hitting and ready for today’s Modern Rock radio formats. Much like the previous song, the modern feel of the music on “Renegade Sun (Brexit)” will definitely appeal to the fans of hard hitting Rock and Roll music.

With the next track called “Masturbation,” Stolen Apple brings a little bit of the Italian side of the band into the music as they seem to flavor the song with just a little bit of the music found in a Spaghetti Western soundtrack. That Spaghetti Western flavoring added to a slightly New Wave Feel to the music ends up creating a track that is rather reminiscent of the eighties New Wave/Post-Punk band Wall of Voodoo, excepting maybe a little harder in its delivery. To go along with the slight Spaghetti Western flavoring in the music, the addition of a rather strong Italian accent in the lyrical delivery brings out more of that Italian base to the band’s music.

On the next track called “Out of Fashion,” Stolen Apple creates a track taking several different approaches at once. As the track begins, the slightly off-tone vocals mixed with the strong but gentle pace to the music created by the guitar, bass and drums create an easy approach to the song. Soon enough, however, the band picks up the energy level to the music. What occurs is a track with a strong Alternative Rock feel that blends together influences from the likes of Sonic Youth and Nirvana. The resulting track of “Out of Fashion” would easily fall directly into the Alternative Rock scene from the middle of nineties.

The Wagon Songs release from Stolen Apple continues with the track “Kid”. With this track, the band slows things down quite a bit as they explores a more Progressive Rock sound. The track finds the band drawing inspiration from Classic Rockers Pink Floyd. In fact, the Pink Floyd influence seems to be there is several ways. Among those ways is the fact that the track itself seems to have a strong musical resemblance to Pink Floyd’s “Comfortably Numb” track. The basic slow pace to the music of the track recalls Floyd’s style on that song. And then the accompanying strings add even more of a resemblance to Floyd’s song. Not to mention the extended length of the track which adds to the Progressive feel of the track. 

Before Alternative Rock became a radio genre, it was simply known as College Rock, music that would never have gotten played on Commercial Radio formats in the late seventies, early eighties. It’s within this concept that the track “Up Your Mind” from Stolen Apple falls. Bringing some of the influence from the early days of The Motels, Gang of Four, Wall of Voodoo and others from that era, the style of Rock and Roll featured on “Up Your Mind” is the type of music that would have felt right at home on College Radio in the early eighties. While not really commercial for the eighties, this would have been the type of song that would have gone on to influence the artists included in the early days of Alternative Rock. 

The latest release from Italy’s Stolen Apple comes to a close with the track “Easier”. During the first ninety seconds or so of the track, the band creates yet another track much like with “Up Your Mind” before it inasmuch as the song “Easier” features music that feels like it would have been right at home between the end of the seventies and the beginning of the eighties. With the instrumental feel of the music, the track draws some of its influence from New Wave music and some influence from Punk Rock of that era.  Adding the vocals in, the track ultimately feels like something from the Art Punk band Pere Ubu. 

Wagon Songs from Stolen Apple finds the Italian band creating very strong Rock and Roll through the album’s nine tracks. And with the various influences, styles and musical elements that the band draws from and includes in their music, this album is for anyone who enjoys Rock and Roll from any era from the seventies through today. 

To hear just a little bit from the Wagon Songs album from Stolen Apple , check out one of the very first tracks released to promote the release,  “Renegade Sun (Brexit)”.

To check out the Wagon Songs release from Stolen Apple on spotify, click on the album cover below: 

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 & Suggestions

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

 

Categories
Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Pere Ubu “20 Years In a Montana Missile Silo”

In the more than forty years that the band Pere Ubu has been a musical project, the only real constant to the band’s musical direction is founding member David Thomas. And while Thomas has spent a lot of the four decades also focusing on other projects, Pere Ubu and its music has always been a large part of Thomas’ musical life.

Throughout the existence of Pere Ubu as a band, the group’s sound has fluctuated from one musical direction being quite non-commercial like the band’s homage to the play from which the band took its name, Alfred Jarry’s Ubu Roi (the band’s homage being called Long Live Pere Ubu) to other directions where the sound is a lot more listener-friendly such as perhaps the most commercial of their releases, Cloudland.

Long-time fans of the band have come to expect this from the group. And this is still the case for the band. In fact, the band has taken on a different feel to their sound once again as they changed the way they created their newest album from the way the last two albums were created. But no matter what way of creating their music the band uses, you can always be guaranteed of something fresh and different from the majority of the releases being created in the music industry today.

Pere Ubu is currently celebrating their newest album of music. Together with bandmates Keith Moliné (2005-present) guitar; Gary Siperko (2016-present) guitar; Kristof Hahn (2017) steel guitar; Darryl Boon (2012-present) clarinet and more; Robert Wheeler (1994-present) analog synths, theremin; Gagarin (2007-present) digital synths; Michele Temple (1993-present) bass and Steve Mehlman (1995-present) drums and more, David Thomas has created another Pere Ubu album that continues to prove that the band refuses to stay in the same musical groove. The new release from Pere Ubu is called 20 Years In a Montana Missile Silo.

20 Years In a Montana Missile Silo from Pere Ubu begins with the track “Monkey Bizness”. The track features a strong Punk feel to the music with the ever-present background noise that is the band’s signature. The bouncy feel to the music will have the listener grooving around with the track. The light, humorous lyrics of the song add to the upbeat nature of the track. “Monkey Bizness” is a fun track to start the newest Pere Ubu album off with.

When creating this new release, the members of Pere Ubu drew inspiration from different influences. That would explain the track “Funk 49”. When listening to the song, you can hear underlying elements to the music that will remind you of songs from the band The James Gang. Like Pere Ubu, The James Gang had their beginnings in Cleveland, Ohio. Because of that, it doesn’t see that strange that Pere Ubu would find inspiration from that band. The music from the track contains a solid Rock and Roll feel that is undeniable. The straight-out Rock sound of the track takes the song back to the seventies where artists like Bob Seger, Steve Miller Band and even The James Gang were creating music. So it comes as no surprise that the band would use the title of one of The James Gang’s songs for their own song that will remind the listener of the music from that band.

Taking their music in a more unusual direction, David Thomas and Pere Ubu seem to be channeling the band The B-52s on the song “Prison of the Senses”. Like much of the music from The B-52s, the track contains a definite Outer Space feel to the music. And with the omnipresent background noise in the form of the theremin from Robert Wheeler that makes the music of Pere Ubu so recognizable, the song would fit right into the musical library of that New Wave band. “Prison of the Senses” is one track that feels like classic Pere Ubu.

One of the tracks on the newest release from Pere Ubu that stands out the most is the song “The Healer”. With the rest of the album having such a powerful driving feel to it, “The Healer” features a slower pace and easier feel to the music. With the inclusion of background noise that sounds a lot like wind, the track comes across as a song that could have been included on a soundtrack for a science fiction/western hybrid movie.

Another track that has a rather unusual feel to it is the song “Plan from Frag 9”. The band creates music with a strong avant-garde feel to it. That avant-garde music makes the perfect musical bed for the beat poetry that would be perfect for Thomas’ alter ego, Crocus Behemoth, a name Thomas has used as a writer since before forming the band Pere Ubu. “Plan from Frag 9” is easily one of the weirder tracks on the release.

Bringing back a little influence from The B-52s for the song “Red Eye Blues,” David Thomas and the rest of Pere Ubu create a track that finds the band creating a track with a straight-out Rock and Roll feel to it. If it wasn’t for the inclusion of the theremin in the background of the song, the track of “Red Eye Blues” could be considered one of the more straight-out Rock and Roll tracks created by the band in the entire history of the group. With the theremin, however, the track makes good use of the band’s various influences and helps to create one of the strongest moments on the band’s new album of 20 Years In a Montana Missile Silo.

20 Years In a Montana Missile Silo from Pere Ubu finds the band in fine form. The twelve tracks that make up the release are nicely varied and help to make an album that long-time fans of the band will be proud to own.

To hear the music from Pere Ubu, check out the video for the song “Monkey Bizness“.

For more information, check out Pere Ubu’s website for all of the releases from the band as well as releases from David Thomas and Rockets from the Tombs. Also, check out the PR firm for the band Howlin’ Wuelf Media.

To check out the album 20 Years In a Montana Missile Silo from Pere Ubu, click on the album cover below:

20y

 

Categories
Reviews and Suggestions

Review: Rocket From The Tombs “I Sell Soul” b/w “Romeo & Juliet”

Although English groups were first to create punk music, it really took off in a big way when American bands started to add their own influences into the style. One band that was very influential was the Cleveland band known as Rocket From The Tombs (not to be confused with the much later band with the very similar moniker of Rocket From The Crypt).

Rocket From The Tombs came together in the mid-seventies to create a new sound, a new feel to the music. And while the original version of the band was short-lived, the musical collective gave birth to two better-known, more popular bands by the names of Pere Ubu and The Dead Boys, bands whose influences on punk are unmistakable. Pere Ubu’s The Modern Dance and The Dead Boys’ Young, Loud and Snotty are still classic albums in punk.

Categories
Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Pere Ubu “Long Live Pere Ubu”

llpuIn 1896, French writer Alfred Jarry debuted his play of Ubu Roi to less-than-welcoming audiences. For both the dress rehearsal and the premier night of the production, rotten fruit pelted the cast as the audiences let the cast know what they thought of the play. After that experience, Jarry spent the rest of his short life trying to improve the story, even going as far as to turn the play into a marionette concept.

Since that time, that infamous play of Ubu Roi has been staged several times, each time in a different style, sending the concept in many different directions. For those who who have yet to discover Ubu Roi, here is a short description of the play:
Pere (Pa) Ubu has yet to do anything of real consequence, although he DOES work as the right hand man to King Wenceslas. Mere (Ma) Ubu is tired of her nobody husband and concocts a plan to make Pere Ubu important. So Pere Ubu wipes out the royal family and he becomes the ruler of Poland. However, his reign as “Ubu Roi” (King Ubu) is quite short. It is during the time when he takes the Polish army into war that Pere Ubu is defeated and driven out of the country. Mere Ubu is also chased from the kingdom by an angry hoard. They find each other hiding out inside of the same cave, where they are once again threatened with death. Reluctantly together, they run.