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CD Review: The Persian Leaps “Electrical Living”

Drew Forsberg is the driving force behind the St. Paul, Minnesota-based band called The Persian Leaps. Having been created by Forsberg back in the early days of this decade, the band was mainly a musical outlet for Forsberg who used the moniker of The Persian Leaps to release his solo music. Eventually, however, it became necessary to create a real band to perform the music. And through the lifetime of The Persian Leaps, the musical outfit has gone through several stages, from the solo project to a full band, changing sizes depending on how many people were in the band at the time.

Throughout the time that The Persian Leaps have existed, the musical outfit has released a generous amount of 5-song EPs. Then the band released its first full-length album, Pop That Goes Crunch, last year. And having already released one album of music, The Persian Leaps returns in 2019 with yet another one. This time, the new release from the band is entitled Electrical Living. The line-up that helped create the music on this album consists of Forsberg on guitar, keyboards and drum programming, with Jon Hunt on bass, background vocals and some piano.   

Electrical Living from The Persian Leaps begins with the track called “The Art Form”. Together, Drew Forsberg and Jon Hunt create a song with a strong Rock and Roll approach in the music. With the strong guitar presence in the track, the song feels as if it could have been created right around the time that the eighties were turning into the nineties, the type of Rock and Roll that was in existence before the advent of Alternative Rock radio formats. With the strength of the music in the track, the minute-long song of “The Art Form” kicks off the release with a lot of energy.

The new release from The Persian Leaps continues with the song “Catnip for Cupid”. With this song, Forsberg and Hunt create music with a Power Pop feel. The combination of the guitars and a rather bouncy feel to the music is what makes the track fall into the Power Pop genre. And much like the previous track, “Catnip for Cupid” comes with a rather short playtime. But at two minutes, it’s twice the length of the lead-off song of “The Art Form”.

Electrical Living continues with the song “Expert Witness”. Much like with “Catnip for Cupid,” the duo of Drew Forsberg and Jon Hunt put together another track with a bouncy feel to the music. This time, however, the bass in the song is a little more prominent than it had been with the earlier tracks. The song also contains a slightly stronger Alternative Rock feel to the music, which would place the song squarely in the mid-nineties. But with the bouncy feel to the music and the stronger bassline, you could easily imagine this track on either today’s Pop-Rock radio formats or Alternative Rock stations. And with the track being almost three minutes in length, it’s the perfect length for commercial airplay.

Drew Forsberg and Jon Hunt take their sound back into the nineties with the track “Sweet Nothings”. As a matter of fact, the duo seems to have drawn upon the sound of the band Weezer for the feel of this track. And for the first time, the duo adds the sound of Jon Hunt’s keyboards into the background of the track, giving the track a Pop-Rock/Alternative feel. With that combination, the track would fall within the music of bands from the nineties.

For the next track called “About Your Record,” Drew Forsberg and Jon Hunt create a song that features the influence of Brit-Pop music. In fact, the track brings to mind the little-known British band The Family Cat, as the track would have fit in rather nicely in that band’s final album entitled Magic Happens. The vocals from Drew Forsberg even recall The Family Cat frontman Paul Frederick while the Power Pop on this track recalls that band’s musical style, placing the song from The Persian Leaps alongside tracks such as “Amazing Hangover”.

With the song “The Problem Is…,” The Persian Leaps take their music solidly into the direction of Pop-Rock. The track begins with the solo sound of the electric guitar of Drew Forsberg. The gentle feel of the guitar transitions into a full-band sound that takes the gentle feel of that guitar and creates a Pop-Rock track with an easy pace. On this track, the duo draws inspiration from the British band The Smiths. Containing the same musical feel as music from The Smiths, “The Problem Is…,” from The Persian Leaps would fit right in with any of the tracks from The Smiths’ discography.

The Persian Leaps bring their musical style back to the Rock and Roll sound of the late eighties/early nineties on the song “Take Me to The Mountain”. On this track, Drew Forsberg sings about the need to get away from it all. With this track, Forsberg, together with Jon Hunt, creates a track that brings to mind the Scottish band Teenage Fanclub and the band’s songs like “Star Sign” from their album Bandwagonesque from 1991. The track has a strong commercial feel that would be right at home among Alternative Rock songs from the nineties.  

“Chalk Line Behemoth,” the next track on Electrical Living, keeps the sound of The Persian Leaps’ music within the feel of the late nineties/early 2000s. This track brings to mind some of the sound of the band Smash Mouth. “Chalk Line Behemoth” recalls Smash Mouth’s Reggae-influenced track of “Road Man;” especially since the two songs share a few bars of music as well as overall feel of the music, even if Smash Mouth’s song is Reggae-influenced while “Chalk Line Behemoth” from The Persian Leaps contains a straight-out Rock and Roll feel to the music.  

The Persian Leaps bring their latest release to a close with the song called “Dominoes”. The song contains a strong Alternative Rock feel to the music, recalling bands like Weezer or Better than Ezra. In fact, “Dominoes” from The Persian Leaps even feels similar to Better Than Ezra’s 1993 song entitled “Good” from that band’s 1993 release entitled Deluxe.

Throughout the release entitled Electrical Living, The Persian Leaps create an album that alternates between Power Pop and Alternative Rock. When combined together, the eleven songs on the release create one solid album that features many radio-friendly tracks for those who like the music of the late eighties/early nineties. And while this particular album is a break from the norm for The Persian Leaps founder Drew Forsberg, the choice to go in a different direction resulted in a strong release that is absolutely worth checking out.

 

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

 

 

 

 

For a taste of the music from The Persian Leaps, check out their song “Catnip for Cupid”.

To check out the release entitled Electrical Living from The Persian Leaps, click on the album cover below: 

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Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Falling Stars “Let it All Go”

Falling Stars is a Cleveland, Ohio-based Rock and Roll band. The main backbone of the band, Chris Allen and Tim Parnin have been creating music within the Greater Cleveland area for around fifty years of combined experience. That experience came from time that both musicians spent in other bands that had existed in the Cleveland area music scene.

While Chris Allen and Tim Parnin have been kicking around the area for years, it was only when the two artists decided to collaborate that they actually played together. And once Chris Allen and Tim Parnin decided to create music together, they called upon Dave Padrutt and Gary Porter for their new band. And in 2017, the band put out their initial release called Stranded in the Future, an album that found the band drawing from several different styles and time periods of Rock and Roll in order to bring their songs to life. What resulted was a release that was the perfect addition to any Rock and Roll lover’s music collection.

Two years have passed since Chris Allen, Tim Parnin and the rest released the band’s first album. In that time, they have written more music and have since created four new songs that are about to be released as the band’s second release, an EP called Let It All Go. And just like with the band’s previous release, Let It All Go features the talents of Christopher Allen and Tim Parnin on guitars, Dave Padrutt on bass, backing vocals, percussion & keys and Gerry Porter on percussion.

Let It All Go from Falling Stars begins with the track called “We Are the Future”. While much of the music that Falling Stars has created contains a sound or feel that draws from current musical trends, this track features a slight throwback feel to the music. The track contains a strong guitar-driven feel that takes the listener back to the solid Rock and Roll music that was around during the seventies and early eighties. The musical direction on “We Are the Future” brings to mind bands like T-Rex and others who were around during the New Wave/Glam Rock era.

Falling Stars continues their newest release with the track “Neptune Baby”. The track features a strong Power Pop sound. Taking that Power Pop base, the track’s sound seems to borrow a lot from the likes of the band The White Stripes. The track’s rather bouncy musical feel features a strong drumbeat and guitar sound that brings to mind the playing of Jack and Meg White’s musical approach. While there is a slight sparseness to the music at the beginning of the track, the sound fills out as the track proceeds. “Neptune Baby” is the type of track that would be very popular on Alternative Rock radio formats.

The newest release from Falling Stars continues with the title track of the EP. The song “Let It All Go”. While the track “Neptune Baby” features a sound that is reminiscent of The White Stripes, “Let It All Go” contains a musical approach that features a strong, driving pace that is helped along with some Pop-Rock influence on the music. This song is one track on the release that easily contains musical influences from previous bands that Chris Allen and Tim Parnin have been a part of over the years. “Let It All Go” contains a Pop-Rock sound that brings to mind the same type of music that had been produced by Parnin’s band from the early 2000’s called Uptown Sinclair. While this track has its own style, the influence from Uptown Sinclair seems to have snuck in somehow. “Let It All Go” is easily the strongest track on the release.

The first three tracks of the Let It All Go release from Falling Stars have a certain sound to them thanks to Gary Rhamy. However, that production quality is replaced with a much different feel on the final track of the Let It All Go EP. The reason for that is because this final song was produced with the help of Don Dixon, a musician and music producer who works and performs alongside Chris Allen in the Christmas-themed band called The Ohio City Singers. With Dixon at the helm for the song “Downstream,” the track contains a slightly acoustic feel to the music with the addition of some acoustic guitar. It’s that acoustic guitar feel that changes the musical direction. A slightly lighter approach on the music puts more of a Pop-Rock feel on the track. While it feels very different from the rest of the tracks, “Downstream” allows the listener to get a much different view of the talent of the band members in Falling Stars.

Let It All Go, the newest release from Falling Stars, is rather short with only four tracks. And those four tracks contain only about eleven minutes of music as each of the four songs lasts for just over two-and-a-half minutes a piece. But no matter how short the EP happens to be, each track shows off the various musical influences that help to shape the sound of the band. Whether it is the genres of music that the band draws from, or the person behind the production board who helps to shape the sound of the tracks, the four songs contained within Let It All Go from Falling Stars combine to create an EP that shows off the progression of the four band mates of Chris Allen, Tim Parnin, Dave Padrutt and Gerry Porter as a group.

To check out the music of Falling Stars, check out the video to the song “Let It All Go”.

To check out the Let It All Go EP from Falling Stars, click on the album cover below:

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: The Kavanaghs “Pop Power”

Through its history, Rock And Roll has had a long and wild path that has made its way into many different cultures. While England and America are the most widely accepted locations for where new music comes from, countries such as Germany and Canada have also added their share of history to the music genre. And with more and more people becoming familiar with the sound of the music, Rock and Roll has found its way into almost every country on the planet, including down in Argentina. It’s in Argentina where you find the band The Kavanaghs, a band of four musicians (Tiago Galíndez on Vocals/Bass/Piano, Seba Cairo on Vocals/Guitars, Diego Vázquez on Guitars/Backing Vocals, Franco Barbieri on Drums) who have been making their own brand of Rock and Roll music for years.

Over the years, The Kavanaghs have created their own music that has been largely influenced by the sound of the British Invasion and then the American response that followed it. For their influences, The Kavanaghs have mentioned bands like The Beatles, Badfinger and The Raspberries (among others) as those bands that have inspired them the most. And when listening to the music of The Kavanaghs, you can most definitely hear each of these influences coming through.

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Features Podcast

Rock and Roll Report Podcast #65 – Get It On!

get it onAnother week, another healthy dose of rock and roll fun! This week I play some bands that I have previously played on other podcasts as well as some new stuff that is currently making my ears happy. And just a reminder, if you enjoy the podcast then please chick out the rest of the Rock and Roll Report as there is bound to be something to scratch your rock and roll itch. And don’t forget to check out the brand new Rock and Roll Report TV!

As usual you have a wide range of styles from a wider range of bands and artists who are either unsigned or are signed to independent record labels. If you like what you hear please consider supporting these bands in a tangible way by buying their music, going to their shows and buying their merch.

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Features Podcast Rock History

Rock and Roll Report Podcast #63: More Loud Rock Fun and a Tribute to Greg Shaw

PigshitOctober16This week on the Rock and Roll Report Podcast I again play music from bands that have yet to be played on the show. I don’t know why I make a big deal of this all the time as there are so many amazing bands that I should never technically repeat but let this be a lesson to you all that rock and roll is far from dead but living and breathing under your very own collective noses!

On this week’s show I also play some tracks from Bomp Records’ excellent tribute to the late great Greg Shaw CD He Put the Bomp in Bomp: Greg Shaw as I wax nostalgic a bit on the passing of the legendary founding of Mojo Navigator Rock and Roll News, Bomp! magazine, Bomp! Records and too numerous articles, liner notes and production credits to his name. Greg Shaw inspired directly or indirectly every one of us who started a fanzine or website or blog or podcast dedicated to rock and roll and it was fun playing some of these songs in tribute to the man who I consider an important influence on my rock and roll upbringing.

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Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Curtains For You – “What A Lovely Surprise To Wake Up Here”

This Seattle based, five-piece retro-pop outfit Curtains For You have the delicious melodies and intricate three- and four-part harmonies that make the hair on the back of your neck stand up. The band consists of Matthew Gervais (guitar/lead vocal), Mikey Gervais (guitar/ sax/ vocals), Nick Holman (bass/euphonium/vocals), Peter Fedofsky (piano/vocals), and Dave Lawrence (drums). Leaning on a big pile of 60’s classic pop influences and structures, they put it in the blender and whip up into a fresh but totally familiar sound.

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Features Podcast

Rock and Roll Report Podcast #62 – So Glad You Dig Me

cute girl smilingFor those expecting a podcast last week I apologize but as I did Rock and Roll Report Radio on October 12th I just couldn’t get a podcast together in time for release on Wednesday.

On this week’s podcast I turn things on their head a bit and feature what I consider 3 very distinct styles of music in 3 very distinct sets. And I went against my initial impulse to start of the show with the harder stuff to keep things interesting!

I have just finished reading “Rick Rubin: In the Studio” and it is a pretty fascinating book as Rubin’s taste in music know no boundaries. From hip hop to hard rock, metal to Pop, Red Hot Chili Peppers to Johnny Cash, the guy understands that music is about the song and the emotion it conveys. A highly recommended read and a good rule of thumb to go by. Don’t get caught up in genres in niches, focus on the song and let the rest take care of itself which is kind of what I did this week. I love all this songs and at first listen you might find them to be quite different from each other but to me that doesn’t matter. Each song caught my ear and I like each one regardless of whatever genre YOU think they belong in!

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Features

Musical Overdose: Ken Stringfellow Talks About His Numerous Projects, Sounds and Onstage Personas

KSKen Stringfellow is best know for his work with The Posies, but is also a key player in the re-formed Big Star, as well as a respected solo artist. Over the years he has also been a part of many other influential bands such as R.E.M., The Minus 5, and The Orange Humble Band, to name a few.  Currently living in Paris and working on his newest project, The Disciplines, Stringfellow granted The Rock and Roll Report a rare interview.

Q: I know you’ve lived in France for about 5 years now, do you feel like a native at this point?

KS: No, I don’t feel like a native. You have to be one – especially in France. I don’t have an absolutely perfect command of the language by any means. French culture is very particular. When you are in France, even if you speak the language very well, people always can tell. There’s always a “Hmm, you’re not from around here” kind of thing. I enjoy living here and I’ve gotten used to the fact that I’m kind of always a fish out of water in one way, but I have a great life here. It’s not a bad situation to be in.

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Features

American Legend Matthew Sweet Discusses Insecurities, His Love of Power Pop and the Making of “Under the Covers Vol.2”

927451112_lMatthew Sweet is one of the world’s best known Power Pop artists, with classic albums like “Girlfriend”, “Altered Beast” and “100% Fun”. In 2002 Sweet teamed up with Pete Droge and Shawn Mullins to form the Alt. Country group The Thorns, and in 2005 he teamed up with Susanna Hoffs of The Bangles for “Under The Covers Vol.1:” a series of their favorite ‘60s covers. Now, after last year’s “Sunshine Lies,” his 11th album, Sweet has released a sequel with Hoffs, “Under The Covers Vol.2,” which mines the pop and rock hits of the 1970’s. I was honored to speak with him during his tour in support of the new release.

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Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Vinyl Candy “Land”

vinyl candyI just ate up the debut CD from retro popsters Vinyl Candy. Now they have returned with the sophomore effort, “Land”. Like its predecessor, “Land” is drenched in Southern California sunshine, radiating with lush harmonies and sparkling melodies. There are all sorts of sweets in the Vinyl Candy bowl, flavors of bubblegum pop, psychedelic rock, pop rock, and more.

The musicianship, production, and vocals are amazing, dressing up songs that Roger Joseph Manning, Jr. himself probably wishes he’d written. Each song goes the extra mile to create a unique listening experience, but still play cohesively from track 1 to track 13. No matter what they do, Vinyl Candy has a distinct retro sound that classic pop fans will love to sink their teeth into.

In addition to the slick pop, “Land” also showcases more of a hard rock side to Vinyl Candy, as evidenced on tracks like “Fan Club History” and “Star Struck” that bring a little 70s-era Kiss to mind. The lead off track “I’ll Be Fine” is my favorite, but you’d be remiss to miss the excellent “All Along the Way”, “Gasoline and Tangerines”, and “Learn How To Fly”. I also liked the more laid back and stripped down (for Vinyl Candy, at least) ballad, “Want It So Bad”.

“Land” is a concept album about a rock star’s rise and fall, yet it is just impossible to listen to these grand and sunny songs without feeling better…and they are so catchy that the tunes and your good mood will last long after the last note is heard. Check out Vinyl Candy if you like Queen, Jellyfish, or ELO.

iPOD-worthy: 1, 2, 3, 6, 9, 11

Vinyl Candy on MySpace. Official site.