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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: 

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Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Black Clouds “Better Days”

black clouds coverAre the 1992 Doc Martens and flannel shirts that are stuffed in the back of your closet whispering sweet nothings to you whenever you open the door? If so, the Black Clouds are a necessity in your life. The New Jersey band has been kicking around since 2004, taking DIY to a whole new level by recording, producing, releasing, and touring for their albums on their own. What’s more, the Black Clouds have managed to do what literally hundreds of bands attempt to do but fail at miserably – revive grunge from its heroin-induced coma.

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Features

The good, the bad, and the unfortunate: A look at Osheaga 2010

July 31 and August 1 saw the fifth annual Osheaga music festival in Montreal. Usually a pretty modest affair, most of what Osheaga does, it does right. Beer, for instance. Osheaga does beer really well: the lines are short and the price isn’t too steep. And they’ve done away with beer tents, allowing Canadians the freedom to roam with their brew – just as God intended. There isn’t an overwhelming sense of corporate sponsorship, and the free metro ride home is very much appreciated. Oh, and the music is pretty good too.

In past years, Osheaga hadn’t attracted as many big performers as Coachella, Lollapalooza, or Bonnaroo, but this year it joined the ranks of the heavy hitters. Weezer and Snoop Dogg were some of the high profile names, but the band that made Osheaga truly transcendent was Montreal’s own Arcade Fire.

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Artists and Bands

A Year in Review – RRR Staff Weigh In On Their Top Picks of ’09 – Part 1

grammyThe end of the year usually means three things: resolutions, new challenges and opportunities and, of course, lists! Flipping through a music magazine (whether online or in print) at this time of year and not finding a list of the Top 5 This and Top 10 That is pretty much impossible.

So, we here at RRR decided to jump on the bandwagon (after all, we like to give the people what they want!) and bring you the best of the best from the music of ’09, with a twist. Rather than asking staff to fight it out and put together one sole comprehensive list, we decided we’d let everyone sift through the gems (as well as all those painful albums that made you cringe and think “What in the world were they on?”) and put together their own individual Tops.

But before we begin I’d like to wish everyone a Happy New Year (even though I’m a bit late) and thank you all for making RRR a regular part of your musical intake. (Please don’t leave us in 2010, we love you!)

In Part 1 you’ll find:
1) Top 10 Albums – Stefany Mohebban
2) Top 10 Albums – Bill Sullivan
3) Top 10 Albums (Rock & Metal) – Jon Asher
4) Top 20 Albums (Power Pop) – Aaron Kupferberg