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Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Troy Baker & Window to the Abbey “Moving Around Bias”

Troy Baker is a multi-layered individual. Many people know Baker from his acting roles as he adds his voice to many different projects of both cartoons and Japanese Anime. Known best for his role as The Joker from various Batman projects as well as many other characters from other animated projects, Baker’s ability as a voice actor keeps him busy with plenty of work. Adding to that already busy schedule, Troy Baker also helps in the production of video games where his voice is used to bring those video game worlds to life.  

You can also find the ever-busy Troy Baker spending time with actor Nolan North as the two men create a video-based blog on YouTube called Retro Replay where the two actors and friends spend time discussing many different topics.  

When not adding his voice to the various projects that take up much of his time, Troy Baker can be found strapping on a guitar. In fact, it was back in 2014 that Baker produced his first album of Alternative Rock. That 2014 album was entitled Sitting in the Fire.

Along with Troy Baker, the rest of the musicians who took part in the project were: Wayne Miller, Jon Titterington, Christopher Wray, AJ Novak, and James Bowen. Consequently, these musicians also helped Baker bring his last release called Sitting in the Fire to life. Together this group of friends creates the project known as Window to the Abbey.  It is this project that helped to produce the newest album from Baker known as Moving Around Bias.

Moving Around Bias from Window to the Abbey begins with the track called “Heads Out”. The keyboard-based track is simply a keyboard intro into the rest of the release. The twenty-four seconds of music lead the listener from the beginning of the album into the second track called “Water Into Wine”.

The second track of “Water Into Wine” begins with the sound of the organ creating a steady pulsing rhythm, When the rest of the instrumentation joins in, the track takes on a musical feel that contains an Alternative/Pop-Rock hybrid feel. As Troy Baker’s vocals show up, the track feels like a blend of Bruno Mars and Prince. The music itself also contains a little Mars flavor because of the R&B influence to go along with the Pop-rock feel. The easy-going feel of the song helps to create a track that would feel right at home on Pop-Rock/Top 40 radio.

After a few tracks of rather laidback musical approaches, Troy Baker and the rest of the musicians pick up the pace and the energy level with the tune “Breakup Song”. The track finds Baker delivering lyrics about where to go after a relationship comes to an end with both energy and conviction. As he sings, the pace of the music picks up as does the energy of the track. To go along with a slightly energetic musical approach, the track also features a section near the end of the track where an entire group of voices form a solid vocals chorus. The resulting Pop-Rock track would easily fit right in on any Top 40 radio format.

The energy level of the music gets a large rise in intensity on the track “Common Ground”. This track seems like the next logical step after the previous track of “Breakup Song” as Baker sings of finding something to build on. With the serious nature of the lyrics on the track, the music also comes with a stronger musical foundation. “Common Ground” contains one of the strongest Rock and Roll approaches of the release. That approach comes from the infectious drumbeat that stretches from the beginning of the track to the end. The guitars in the song are also a lot stronger on this track. In short, “Common Ground” is a strong track that comes with a positive message about finding things you agree on.

Troy Baker and the rest Window to the Abbey keep the energy level up on the next track of “Part Time” while bringing a little Pop-Rock influences back into the music. The track features a musical feel that features a balance of guitar and organ while the lyrics continue the theme of “relationships” which has already appeared on several tracks before this song. With this song, Baker sings about trying to make a relationship work when the couple is only together some of the time. While the subject matter is somewhat of a downer, the track is still one of the best songs on the release.

Much like the lead-off track of “Heads Out” that began the Moving Around Bias release, the song “Unknown Caller” is a strictly instrumental track. The piano-based song contains a light, jazzy feel. Before you know it though, the track is over. The piano helps to separate the song from the previous songs on the release.  

With the song “Something New Under the Sun,” the music returns to a combination of both piano and guitar as the track takes on a sound that brings to mind a lighter version of something that singer-songwriter Bruce Hornsby might have created. “Something New Under the Sun” is a track featuring a slow, easy feel to the music. The lyrics find Troy Baker singing about a man who finds the perfect woman to fill the void in his life and then turns to many years down the road as he looks back at what had been as he remembers what they had before she passed away. The track is perhaps the most beautiful, and easily the most heartbreaking track of the album.

While Moving Around Bias from Window to the Abbey is not a concept album, it’s hard to ignore the theme of relationships that run through many of the songs that make up the fourteen tracks on the release. And through the tracks on the album, you get a wide array of emotions as the songs focus on different aspects of life. Moving Around Bias from Troy Baker and the rest of Window to the Abbey is a release that is solid from the first moment until the last note.

 

For a taste of the music of Troy Baker and the band of Window to the Abbey, check out their song “Breakup Song“. 

To hear the Moving Around Bias release, check out the SPOTIFY account for the album. 

Click on the album cover below to purchase a digital copy of the album: 

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Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Xavier Toscano “Feels So Good”

Several years ago, Guadalajara native Xavier Toscano made his debut with the single “Tonight, Tonight”. With the success of that single, Toscano went about creating a full-length release. And now, Xavier Toscano is in the middle of releasing his debut album. The new album from Toscano blends together Electronic Dance Music (EDM) with other musical influences to create an album that contains a lot of energy. The new album from Xavier Toscano is entitled Feels So Good.

Even before Feels So Good from Xavier Toscano had been released and the public had been able to experience it, a few of the album’s various songs were making noise of their own. The songs “Never Wanna Leave,” “Apologies Wasted,” “The Remedy (Feel Alright)” and “Runaway” found their way onto the MTV program of “Keeping up with the Kardashians” while other tracks have been used for other programs. But now, the album as a whole is available.

Feels So Good, the new album from Xavier Toscano, begins with “Feels So Good (Intro)”. The beginning track to the release lasts not even fifty seconds as it features a strong EDM feel to the music while the lyrics featured contain only a few words about feeling good before they repeat through the length of the short track. To help bring the lyrics of the track to life, Toscano called upon the singer Raquela to provide the vocals, which she does with style. The short length to the track truly leaves the listener wanting for more. 

Xavier Toscano continues his release with the track “Never Wanna Leave”. The track finds Toscano staying in the EDM frame of mind which works perfectly coming out of the intro track of “Feels So Good”. “Never Wanna Leave” has a strong danceable quality to the music and brings to mind other EDM artists like Diplo and Paul Oakenfold. The track produced by Toscano ensures that he can absolutely hang with the aforementioned artists and others that make up the EDM genre.

Speaking of EDM, the next track of the Feels So Good release brings to mind yet another name that falls into the EDM genre. With the track “The Remedy (Feel Alright),” Xavier Toscano seems to channel the feel of the French duo known as Daft Punk as Toscano brings a deeper feel to the music. The song also features a mechanical feel to the vocals that begin the track and those mechanical vocals and the hard beat that flows through “The Remedy (Feel Alright)” brings to mind something like Daft Punk’s “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger,”. The rap breakdown late in the track also shows off Toscano’s Hip Hop influence.

With the track “Runaway,” Xavier Toscano adds a little more danceable feel to the music. The keyboards in the song give the track more of a commercial feel to the music. While the track of “Never Wanna Leave” brought to mind someone like Diplo, the track of “Runaway” brings to mind the lighter, easier, more commercial feel of someone like DJ Sammy or even Robbie Rivera. In fact, the song of “Runaway” contains such a danceable and commercial feel to it that the track not only brings to mind Robbie Rivera, it would feel right at home on one of Rivera’s albums, right alongside something like Rivera’s “Float Away”.   

After several dance tracks, Xavier Toscano changes things up in a major way on the track called “Castles in the Sky”. While the previous tracks all contained the sound of the synthesizer, the sound of “Castles in the Sky” revolves around the sound of the piano. In fact, it is the piano and only the piano that makes up the music of the track. Gone away is the danceable feel of the earlier music as this track sounds more like something from Elton John than it does something from Diplo. And while the use of a solo piano sometimes brings to mind a rather romantic feel to a song, “Castles in the Sky” is simply a song with a piano as the solo instrument. The sparse instrumentation allows for the vocals to come though clearly. The easy feel of the track gives the listener a bit of a breather before the energy level rises back up.

And speaking of a stronger delivery, the next track changes the feel of the music once again. However, instead of taking the music into an EDM frame of mind, Toscano goes in a completely different direction on the very next track. In fact, with the R&B base to the music of the song entitled “Nas-T-Nize,” Toscano seems to channel Prince. And it’s not just the music that brings to mind the style of “the purple one”; the vocals on the track also suggest that it is Prince that was Toscano’s influence for the track. While it is nothing like anything that had come before on the release, “Nas-T-Nize” helps to show off the various influences that Xavier Toscano draws from. Plus, the track shows off his willingness to create something that is completely different from the rest of the release.

For the rest of his new release of Feels So Good, Xavier Toscano brings back the feel of EDM. In fact, it is that musical style that flows through the final track of the album.

For the song “Made It Look Easy,” Toscano creates the music of the song with plenty of EDM style. Plus, he adds a generous amount of Hip Hop into the music. Altogether, “Made It Look Easy” combines two different forms of dance energy into one track. The result is a track that would be welcome in any dance club.

Throughout the eleven tracks that make up the Feels So Good release, Xavier Toscano creates tracks that a guaranteed to get the listener moving their body. And while most of the album consists of strong EDM influences, it’s the tracks that don’t contain that influence which give the album variety. Feels So Good from Xavier Toscano is one album that today’s music lovers will enjoy; especially if they are looking for music that will get them out of their seats.

To get a taste of the music from Xavier Toscano, check out the video to his song “Runaway”: 

To purchase a copy of Xavier Toscano’s Feels So Good, click on the album cover below:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more information, check out Whiplash PR & Management by clicking on the logo for the company. 

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CD Review: Roadcase Royale “First Things First”

Nancy Wilson & Liv WarfieldOne member of the late, great Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member Prince’s band the New Power Generation, Liv Warfield has joined up with former Heart founder (and Rock Hall member herself) Nancy Wilson to create the base for a new musical project. The new project the two women are part of is called Roadcase Royale. What happens when you take singers from two of the most popular Rock and Roll bands from the past and create a band around them? You end up with nothing less than a powerhouse band that will give today’s musicians a run for their money.

Along with Warfield and Wilson, various members of both the New Power Generation and Heart help to bring this new Supergroup of Roadcase Royale to life. The complete list of musicians that make up Roadcase Royale includes: Ryan Waters (lead guitarist) along with Heart members Chris Joyner (keys), Dan Rothchild (bass), and Ben Smith (drums). With both of the former bands being as strong as they had been, it should come as no surprise that this new ensemble truly ROCKS!

Roadcase Royale is currently promoting their new album released on September 22, 2017. The new album from Roadcase Royale is entitled First Things First.

First Things First from Roadcase Royale begins with one of the strongest tracks, “Get Loud”. The track begins with a very strong guitar riff from Ryan Waters that leads into a Rock and Roll track that contains a Soul influence. Liv Warfield adds her vocals to the track and gives the song even more of a Soul feel. The track’s lyrics take the listener back in time as they contain a definite message about standing up and making your voice heard. The track has a driving feel to the music that is both retro with a seventies feel and modern at the same time. That strong musical combination will have the listener bopping along to the song. “Get Loud” is nothing less than an anthem waiting to be heard.

With today’s political scene being what it is and with the way many people are unhappy about the situation in the country, it should come as no surprise that the band Roadcase Royale included one song on their release that is more than just a little politically charged. On the track “Not Giving Up,” Liv Warfield, Nancy Wilson and the rest of the band create a song about the current sitting president and having to deal with decisions made by him and his regime. The Blues-influenced track once again finds the band creating a song with an unrelenting feel to the music. The strength in the driving music created by the band adds plenty of energy to the lyrics of the song.

Even though much of the album contains its own sound, the track “Hold On To My Hand” brings back the feel of the music from the band Heart. In fact, the Heart-inspired track feels as if it would have been right at home with any of the tracks that had made up the discography of the group. Of course, that would have a lot to do with the fact that most of Roadcase Royale is made up of members of that band. “Hold On To My Hand” begins with a keyboard sound that brings to mind something that could have come from the band Steppenwolf. Before long, the band launches into the Rock and Roll track that contains a gentle pace to the music but with a strong, rockin’ delivery. Like “Get Loud” earlier on, “Hold On To My Hand” is one track on First Things First that needs to be heard.

Most of the songs on First Things First have a modern feel to their music, the track of “The Dragon” sort of stands out when compared to the rest of the songs. The music on the track seems slightly dated as the song’s music contains a slightly psychedelic feel to the music. In fact, that psychedelic feel brings to mind the music of the band Jefferson Airplane; especially music of Jefferson Airplane from back in the seventies. Although there is that psychedelic flavor, the track would still feel right at home on today’s radio stations.

The new album from Roadcase Royale contains mainly original material. However, the band did include one cover on the album: “These Dreams”. But since most of the musicians in Roadcase Royale came from Heart and “These Dreams” was and still is a song from Heart, maybe it’s more of a reimagining than a cover. And while it is a reimagining of the song, one thing that does remain the same is that Nancy Wilson handles the vocals. And with this track, the listener can tell that she has not lost any magic in her vocal abilities. The track’s new arrangement stays true to the original recording, yet still feels very fresh. These Dreams is yet another track on the new First Things First release that will immediately catch your attention.

In every genre of music, you will end up losing talented musicians or bands or both. The thing is to find other talented individuals to fill that void. And while both Prince and the band known as Heart are no longer around, the void left behind from the loss of those entities has been filled rather nicely by the very same people who had a hand in creating the songs made famous by those artists. Nancy Wilson, Liv Warfield and their bandmates have created a new band in Roadcase Royale that is easily as solid as what the two musicians had come out of. Having already made musical history once, Wilson and Warfield are doing it again with Roadcase Royale and their new release entitled First Things First.

Check out the powerhouse band Roadcase Royale and their single “Get Loud” by clicking on the link.

For more information, check out band’s record label, Loud and Proud Records and their PR firm, 37-Media. A “Shout Out” also goes to Dreamscape Records who also suggested this particular release for review.

To purchase a copy of First Things First from Roadcase Royale, click on the album cover below:

RoadCase-Royale_cover-900pixels-300dpi-220x220

 

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CD Review: Hollywood Tramp “Lies About The Truth”

Hollywood Tramp is a pop/rock band with a funky twist based in London, England. They’ve just released a new four-song EP entitled, “Lies About The Truth,” with infectious tunes that wiggle themselves into your ears and head straight for the patches of neurons that govern your mobility. No lie, it is hard to resist the will to move to the beat and glide to the grooves set down by Hollywood Tramp.

Don’t let the name fool you – yeah, Hollywood Tramp sounds like a late ’80s glam band, but these four lads won’t impress you with fret board gymnastics or mile-high hair. But their music does possess a seductive lure, intertwining slinky melodies and sexy rhythms. In a phrase, Hollywood Tramp aims to get your body moving with irresistible pop rock hooks.

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Artists and Bands

Billy Gibbons, Jeff Beck and Jimmie Vaughan perform at Goodwood Festival of Speed 2010

Jeff, Billy, JimmieReport and photographs by Dawn Irwin/Video by Eddie Eustace

The Festival of Speed at Goodwood is renowned as the world’s largest celebration of motoring culture. With its idyllic setting in the immaculate grounds of Goodwood House, deep within the Sussex countryside, its exclusive Members Club, picnic hampers and champagne, it is also the most quintessentially British event on the motorsport calendar. For 2010, the theme was Viva Veloce! – The Passion for Speed, with two significant motor sport and automotive anniversaries also being commemorated. Namely, Alfa Romeo’s centenary and Formula 1’s 60th birthday with a momentous gathering of cars and drivers that have shaped the history of motor sport’s most glamorous series. Reigning World Champion Jenson Button, 2008 Champion Lewis Hamilton, and title contender and epitome of “Aussie Grit” Mark Webber demonstrated their skills and thrilled the crowd on the challenging white-knuckle 1.16 mile Hill Climb.

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Artists and Bands

The Americans’ Charlie Klarsfeld on working with Sean Lennon, The White EP, and the coming year

On November 16, modern pop band The Americans will release their sophomore effort, The White EP. The Americans have recruited none other than Sean Lennon to lend a hand with the new EP, which contains six genre-defying songs. It could even be argued that no one since Prince has blended rock, pop, and soul so masterfully as The Americans. Recently, lead singer Charlie Klarsfeld took a few moments to answer some questions about the EP, The Beatles, and the coming year.

Q: Thanks for taking the time for this interview! So, tell us how The Americans came together…

A: I started the band about two and a half years ago. The cast of characters has changed over time, as I’ve been on a quest to find the perfect Americans, and we reached the band’s permanent form this summer with the addition of James Peanutbutter Preston on the bass.

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Reviews and Suggestions

Review: The Americans “The White EP”

With a little help from a friend, namely Sean Lennon, The Americans have released this nice six pack of an EP entitled, “The White EP.” It is their sophomore effort, which follows a self-titled debut, and will be released on November 16, 2010.

Another friend who lends a hand is Daniel Merriweather, contributing to the jovial opening track, “Try (Nobody Wants To).” This soaring pop tune is perfectly crafted and the band’s soulful R&B influence is evident with their nod to Jackie Wilson’s “Your Love Is Lifting Me Higher” in the coda.

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Reviews and Suggestions

Wonderful-Lee Done!

Michael Lee – Face Forward
Self-released

Rarely do artists come along with fully-formed personalities, having boundless talent, their own sound and a complete vision of who they are, what they want to do, and how to present their talent to whoever they think is their target audience. An artist like Prince comes to mind in this respect, and though there has to be others, his is the obvious name one would recall as embodying this type of artist. While Lee does not have the hard funk sound Prince has long since settled into, Lee does compare to Prince in many ways. For one, Lee seems to have a vision for his sound. Mixing jazz, prog, and rock the same way Prince mixes soul and rock, Lee has fashioned a hybrid that no one could call totally original, but one Lee is able to use and manipulate to fashion his own sound. As Prince is able to take the R&B of James Brown and the guitar stylings of Jimi Hendrix and add a little of his own personality and come up with something new yet familiar, Lee is able to take his influences, throw a little of his own sensibilities in there and come up with something unique yet still recognizable. While not groundbreaking, Lee’s talents are quite formidable and his mastery of stringed instruments of all types and well as keyboards and percussion show Lee to be a musical prodigy capable of doing anything he wants in the music world. Also like Prince, Lee has found his own sound. Most likely due to Lee being a self-taught musician (also like Prince) Lee has his own idiosyncrasies and his own way of achieving his sound which makes it his own. He is also able to own it, not in the same way Prince flamboyantly owns his persona, but one can sense Lee’s comfort within himself as his confidence permeates the CD but doesn’t engulf it. This is a musician who labored over this album until everything was right, and once you listen, you’ll know that Lee knew it.

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Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Prince – LotusFlow3r – MPLSound – Brian Valente – Elixir

prince200Another year, another CD from Prince, though in this case there are three CDs included in this latest package from our Purple Hero. As of this writing, the three-CD set is only available at Target stores due to Prince’s hatred of dealing with the major labels since his major-league dust-up at Warners. Although I hate the fact the indie record stores won’t be getting this release for awhile (if at all) I respect Prince’s stance against the majors and he has at least made sure the price is right ($11.99 for the three CD set) so there is not much to balk about as far as pricing and availability as there are Target stores every-freaking-where. Next time, though, I hope he manages to reconcile his hatred of the major label system with the realization that indie stores have always stood by him and his music despite Warner Brothers treating him like crap so he can maybe give the indie stores a special release or work with them or something. Commercial over – as I said, the price is right.

The music, though, may be another matter.