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Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Caddy “Electric Hero”

From out of Norway comes Tomas Dahl, the one-man “band” dubbed Caddy. Having played in powerpop bands including The Yum Yums and Wonderfools, Dahl describes the music of Caddy as “Paul Stanley and Bryan Adams writing songs together…in Brian Wilson’s house”. Caddy boasts “brilliant pop sense, beautiful harmonies, and choruses as catchy as Chlamydia”. So I slipped on a condom and started listening.

Dahl takes the label “one man band” quite literally – he wrote all the songs, played all the instruments, produced the album, and even did all of the harmonies himself. So either he’s an overachieving control freak or simply has no friends – whatever the case may be, it doesn’t alter the fact that Caddy’s debut contains some of the best powerpop and rock I’ve heard of late. These fourteen tracks radiate pop rock goodness and were written as if each one were going to be a single, and Dahl gets to take all of the credit.

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Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Four O’Clock Balloon “Four O’Clock Balloon”

The smart folks at Killer Music Group have “dusted off the cob-webs and spit to a shine the newly remastered Four O’Clock Balloon first release of the same title”. I’ve not heard of Four O’Clock Balloon before, but was pleasantly surprised with this debut. The record originally surfaced back in 1997 and the band quickly gained a loyal underground fan base. I feel very lucky to have now become acquainted with this band through this reissue.

Four O’Clock Balloon features Santana band member Tommy Anthony, who seems to have repackaged all of the elements that made the classic pop of the 60s so great into a fresh new gift. Vocally he does a solid job, although he appears to struggle a bit when in his uppermost registry. No big deal, though, as he is in his comfort zone most of the time and is always supported by airy harmonies.

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Features

‘IKE’ frontman John Faye on musical failures, successes, new band members, and the Philly rock scene

You may know John Faye as the former frontman of The Caulfields: the Power Pop band who had a major label deal with A&M in the ‘90s and scored a minor hit with Devil’s Diary (how can anyone forget lines like “I’m bigger than Jesus now” and “It’s never good to be understood by a girl in acid wash”?)

Or, you may know him from his first solo effort in 1999: The John Faye Power Trip. Or, from the band he currently calls home, IKE, who have just released their fourth record; Tie The Knot With All That You Got.

If none of this rings a bell, it’s time we change all that. Get to know John Faye of IKE by reading our interview. (But just before you do, seeing as IKE is not a one-person band, let me introduce you to the remaining members: Brett Talley (guitar), Susan Steen (bass) and Tom Kristich (drums).)

Q: Looking at the latest release, Tie The Knot With All That You Got, my first thought was that this record was going to be an advertisement for getting married, but what is the real story behind the title?

A: [Laughs] Well, I think that after listening to the record you’ll probably sense just a tiny bit of irony in the title where marriage is concerned. The way that line is used in the song of the same name is more related to lacing your shoes up tight because you’re in for a crazy ride: “An epic adventure in the forces of nature.” The title itself comes from my friend Brittany Rotondo, who co-wrote the song Last Act with me. It was a random line in one of her poems and I asked her if I could use it as the title for a new song [and] she generously obliged.

Categories
Artists and Bands

Rock and Roll Report Blitz: The Armed Forces

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The thing I love about rock and roll is the wide sonic pallet that it encompasses. That is why I never get bogged down in genres, but sometimes I do feel myself listening a bit too much to one style or other so it’s nice to have a band come along and kind of smack me upside the head and change my sense of direction.

The Armed Forces are from Nashville, Tennessee and at first listen of their CD Modern Gospel For Modern Men & Modern Women I knew there was something there that I liked, I just wasn’t sure what it was. But as with all of my favourite CDs, multiple listening revealed to me a great band that had a definite, modern twist to their powerpop hook. The song that got to me first was The Runaways. The finger clicking and female back up vocals clinched it for me and made me hungry for more. In The Free World was next and everything else on this 5 song CD followed quickly thereafter. I won’t insult you by comparing them to somebody since you will probably email me to tell me that I am out of my tree because they sound more like THIS band but I will toss out moder, hooky, angry at times and volume knob worthy.

Check them out at their MySpace page at http://www.myspace.com/thearmedforce and listen to them on an upcoming edition of the Rock and Roll Report Podcast and Rock and Roll Report Radio. Good stuff!

Later.

Mark