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CD Review: The Borstal Boys S/T

It is said that many local music scenes, no matter where you live, are made up of about twenty-five musicians or so who make up about seventy-five percent of the music scene. Meaning, if you go out to see a cover band, you are most likely going to run into one of these omnipresent musicians. Even some of the Original Music bands contained within a scene will contain some of these musicians. This is very much the case for the band called The Borstal Boys.

The Borstal Boys is an Original Rock and Roll band that has roots within the Pittsburgh area. Each of the musicians that help to make up the group has a long history within the Pittsburgh music scene. Consisting of: Rocky Lamonde (Bass), Patrick Norman (Electric and Acoustic Guitar), Joe Pelesky (Organ and Vocal), Darryl Thumm (Guitar), Scott Wilson (Drums), Vinny Q (Guitar) and Mark Ponsonby (Lead Vocal), The Borstal Boys have stood on stages with the likes of Bill Toms and Hard Rain, Rusted Root and many other bands. Together, the musicians take the years of experience to create a new band that draws from that long history.

Taking all of their various musical influences such as The Beatles, Bruce Springsteen, The Rolling Stones, The Faces and more The Borstal Boys created their first album. The band’s self-titled album was released in 2018.

The first track on the self-titled release from The Borstal Boys is the track “My Everything”. With this track, the band breaks into some good, old-fashioned Rock and Roll. In fact, what the sound will most likely remind the listener of is something from Bruce Springsteen. Moreover, the song has more than a little bit of influence from The Boss’ music from around the time of the Born to Run era. “My Everything” from The Borstal Boys has more than just a little influence from Springsteen’s song called “Tenth Avenue Freeze Out”.  The track also has some Bob Seger influence to it, as well.

For the next track, the band seems to add some newer influences to the mixture. The track “Marlene Jane” features Rock and Roll that feels as if it came from the eighties. While there is still a good amount of Classic Rock influence to the track, the song also features a little New Wave and/or Alternative influence to the track. The majority of the track seems to contain some influence from John Mellencamp as the guitar-driven track is reminiscent of Mellencamp’s stuff from the eighties. The keyboards in the background of the song, however, seem to contain a much more modern influence to them. Because of the combination of the two directions at one time, “Marlene Jane” is a track that would easily fit well next to songs from the like of the Goo Goo Dolls or Gin Blossoms. The track would be right at home on any Modern Rock or Hot A/C radio format.

With the track “Head Full of Ghosts,” The Borstal Boys take their music back in time once again. The track is firmly placed in the middle of Classic Rock. As you listen to the track, you can easily imagine Power Trios like Cream adding some influence to the music of the band. But there also feels as if there is some Frank Zappa and the Mother of Invention influence present in the music, especially in the guitar playing on the track. For fans of straight-out Rock and Roll looking for that style today, you can’t do better than “Head Full of Ghosts” from The Borstal Boys.

Bringing their music back to a more modern sound, The Borstal Boys create the track “Green Light”. The slower-paced track features a strong guitar feel to the music. The music on the track brings to mind the feel of the music that came from The Black Crowes back in the nineties. This track by The Borstal Boys would feel right at home being played right after a track like “She Talks to Angels”. And with a playtime that exceeds the four-minute mark, “Green Light” ends up being one of the longer tracks on the album, although you really wouldn’t notice as the track flows rather smoothly during that playtime.

And speaking of angels, the very next track on the seven-song release is actually called “Fallen Angel”. And just like with “Green Light,” “Fallen Angel” has a slower pace to the music. While the previous tracks on the self-titled release from The Borstal Boys do not contain any religious meanings, the song “Fallen Angel” is full of heavenly imagery in the lyrics. Plus, the inclusion of the organ on the track also adds a bit of flavor to the track as well.

The Borstal Boys bring their 2018 self-titled release to a close with the track “G-Spot Blues”. The final track on the release finds the band creating an all-instrumental track. And with the fact that the song contains the title it does and the music is quite Progressive in its style of Rock and Roll, the Frank Zappa references are sort of difficult to miss. The completely instrumental feel to the music on this track gives the listener a clear glimpse at the talent of each of the members of the band.

Where many bands and recording artists pay attention to only the newest rends in music, it is great to find those bands that still incorporate real Rock and Roll feeling into their sound. The Borstal Boys have created a strong seven-song release that stays fresh throughout as they create songs that make use of that Classic Rock style.  

 

For more information, check out the band’s record label The Vault Records

To hear the music of The Borstal Boys, check out their song “Head Full of Ghosts” 

To hear the entire self-titled album from The Borstal Boys, find the band on Spotify

To purchase a copy of the self-titled album of the The Borstal Boys, click on the album cover below: 

 

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CD Review: Greg Jacquin “Hudson River”

New York State-based singer-songwriter Greg Jacquin can trace his roots back to the Hudson Valley. His early childhood helped shape his taste in music as he grew up spending a lot of time with his Cuban grandparents while also being influenced by music from the likes of the Beatles and Cat Stevens. The three different influences meant a wide variety of sounds to choose from. Taking those influences, Greg Jacquin has just recently created a new album of music. That album is appropriately entitled Hudson River.

Hudson River from Greg Jacquin begins with the track “The Station”. The track features a solid Folk-Rock base to the music created by a light guitar and a strong piano part. That base comes alive with the addition of a strong string arrangement that adds plenty of orchestration to the track. The resulting combination takes the underlying Folk-Rock feel of the track and makes it seem more like an Indie Rock track than Folk-Rock. The track’s lyrics find Jacquin looking for a reconnection from his past. Altogether, the track of “The Station” comes complete with a sound that feels ready-made for the radio.

The pace of the music slows down on the track “Floating”. On a track that feels as if it would have fit rather nicely with much of the music from the seventies, “Floating” features a much more relaxed feel than that of the previous track. The acoustic guitar is much more prominent on this track, which adds to the Folk flavor of the song. That Folk feel adds a lot to the emotional feel of the lyrics about reliving the past by driving through the area today. The addition of the strings on the track takes the reminiscent feel of the lyrics and turns it into more of a dream-like state.

Greg Jacquin’s new release continues with the track “On the Moorings”. With this track, Jacquin brings the energy level up a few notches. While the first two tracks, the songs are created with the guitar as the main instrument. On this track, it is the piano that takes center stage and the piano gives the track more energy than the previous songs. The resulting sound brings to mind a song that could have come from someone like Billy Joel. 

The Hudson River release from Greg Jacquin changes directions nicely on the track “Scratches & Bridges”. While the earlier tracks contain a mainly laidback approach, the feel of this track sets itself apart from the rest of the release. The track finds a more energetic feel to the music as well as a horn section that replaces the string section that was so prevalent in the earlier songs. With the inclusion of the horns on the track as well as a stronger drive to the music itself, the “Scratches & Bridges” track feels like something that could have come from the band Chicago.

After one track of more upbeat music, Greg Jacquin brings the music back to a laidback approach with the next song on the release. With a rather appropriate title, “Yesterdaze” finds Greg Jacquin thinking back to earlier times, much like he did with the first track of “The Station”. But this time, the journey back in time is more of a personal one as he recollects things that happened in his life. 

The initial tracks on the release come to an end with the song “Hopeless Entrance”. This track has more of an edgy feel to the music when compared to the rest of the release.  The acoustic feel of the track is matched up with lyrics that have a rather familiar feel to them. As you listen to the lyrics and Jacquin’s delivery, you can almost imagine the song being done by Billy Corgan of Smashing Pumpkins fame as the track has the progressive sound of the tracks contained within the Hudson River release. 

While the Hudson River release comes complete with six original tunes, it also features two additional tracks that takes two of the songs and gives them extra time on the release. The stronger of the two additional tracks is the song that began the album, “The Station”. Like the original track, the second version, entitled “The Station (String Mix),” takes the feel of the original version and strips away everything except Jacquin’s vocals, guitar and the strings in the background. The result is a track where the strings which used to be part of the background have now been moved more to the forefront. This allows the beauty of the strings to shine while giving the track an even more relaxed feel to it.

The Hudson River album from Greg Jacquin is a solid release that anyone who enjoys Folk-Rock and /or Indie Rock will thoroughly enjoy. The combination of the eight tracks create a release that is very easy to listen to and is the type of release that begs the listener to simply put the album on and just let it play out. And that is easy to do when there isn’t a weak track on the release.

 

To check out the music of Greg Jacquin, enjoy the video to the song “The Station”. 

 

 

For more information, check out Greg Jacquin’s PR firm, Whiplash PR

To purchase a copy of Hudson River album from Greg Jacquin, click on the album cover below:

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CD Review: The Kavanaghs “Love Conquers Pain (Live)”

The heavily British-influenced band The Kavanaghs are a pop/rock band that makes their home in Rosario, Argentina. Together, the four-piece band has evolved while during their time together as a group. Having begun as a band inspired by the likes of The Rolling Stones, The Beatles and other British Invasion bands, as well as Post-British Invasion bands such as The Raspberries and Badfinger, the band would later merge that style with more current sounds from the likes of Coldplay. That love of the British style of Rock and Roll music would lead the band to create two albums of original music: 2009’s self-titled release and 2011’s Love Conquers Pain.

Although the band has been quiet of late, they have since returned with a new release. The new album features the band as they performed live in concert. The resulting album, 2017’s Love Conquers Pain (Live). The release features many of the tracks found on the original Love Conquers Pain with a few tracks from the band’s self-titled release thrown in for good measure. For the live album, the band consisted of Tiago Galindez: Bass – Vocals – Piano, Ale Pin: Guitars – Vocals, Diego Vázquez: Guitars and Seba Cairo: Drums – Vocals (shown in the concert photo above) with special guest musicians: Juan Manuel Garassino: Piano – Vocals – Acoustic guitar, Mariano Barabani: Piano – Hammond.

As soon as the listener puts the Love Conquers Pain (Live) album on, they can hear the talent that exists within the four members of the band. From the very first note, the listener gets a good idea of how tight The Kavanaghs are as a live ensemble.

Love Conquers Pain (Live) begins with the track “Tonight”. The song ends up being one of the more original takes on any of the band’s material as the arrangement of the song for the live setting starts off with an extended introduction that adds a new element to the song. That new introduction makes the song feel very fresh as the band begins the set with one of their best and strongest tracks.

Just like the first track of “Tonight,” the track “Come On (Before the Wind)” finds The Kavanaghs revisiting their song with a fresh approach. The original track had a very timeless feel to the music. With this version, the band takes the track in a more New Wave direction, especially with the inclusion of the additional keyboards on the track. Just like the track before it, the new version of “Come On (Before the Wind)” takes the music from the band and makes it seem tighter and stronger.

One of the tracks that feels very much like the studio version from the Love Conquers Pain album is the track “Those Days”. On the track, the band performs the song almost as if they had just recorded the song. One standout element in the live track is the three-part harmony from the musicians as they sing the chorus to the song.

The vast majority of Love Conquers Pain (Live) has been taken, rather obviously, from the band’s 2011 studio release entitled Love Conquers Pain. And because of that, the live release is a rather good indication of what the band’s sound is like. The few tracks that come from The Kavanaghs’ 2009 self-titled album is where the listener who is familiar with the band’s musical output would notice the difference.

On the songs “Hyde Park,” “All the Time” “English Town, English People” and “Cat in Town,” The Kavanaghs had recorded their self-titled release when they were still rather largely influenced by the early days of The Kinks, The Beatles and other British Invasion bands. On this new live album, these four songs are the tracks that truly show the band’s progression as a group coming into their own style and sound. Perhaps the track with the biggest difference in sound is the song “Hyde Park”.

Taken from The Kavanaghs’ 2009 self-titled release, “Hyde Park” was a mostly-acoustic track that featured a very strong Beatles-like influence. On the live release, the band transferred the song from the acoustic realm into the electric realm, adding electric guitars to the song’s musical mix. The choice to go electric on the song means that the song now has a much later Beatles influence to the music. It also makes the song seem a little more timeless, as far as Rock and Roll is concerned.

When comparing the live versions of the tracks chosen for the Love Conquers Pain (Live) release to the original ones, the newer live tracks on this release breathe new life into the music of The Kavanaghs. And with the band having had two different styles, one being very influenced by the British Invasion era and one being influenced by the later styles of British Rock and Roll, this live album of music from the Argentina-based band The Kavanaghs helps to unify the band’s two sounds into one style. The result is a release that proves that Rock and Roll is truly international.

To hear just a little of the music from The Kavanaghs live release, check out the song “Tonight” from Love Conquers Pain (Live).

For more information, check out the band’s record label Eternal Sunday. Also check out the label’s Facebook account.

To check out the latest release from the band The Kavanaghs, click on the album cover below:

Kavahaghs Live

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CD Review: The Bellfuries “Workingman’s Bellfuries”

We are six decades removed from the advent of Rock and Roll. And while that may be true, there are still plenty of people out there in the music industry that use the old style of rock and roll as inspiration for their music. There are even people out there today who create the same style of music that had been created at the beginning of the musical genre by some of the genres’ founding fathers. One band out there today making what can only be called good, old-fashioned Rock and Roll is The Bellfuries.

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CD Review: The Luxury “Bones & Beaten Heart”

The Luxury is a Rock and Roll band from Boston, Massachusetts. The band that currently consists of:  Jason Dunn – vocals, guitar Matt Diekmann – bass, vocals Mark McGettrick – drums, vocals Rob Sistare – guitar, vocals Taylor Kirkwood – keys. Together, the band creates a sound that combines strong keyboard influence with equal influence from guitar. The keyboard/guitar sound from the band creates a style that feels very much like a combination of New Wave Rock and Roll and Indie Rock. The band’s unique sound can be found on their four releases of three albums and one EP. The latest of the albums from The Luxury is 2015’s Bones and Beaten Heart.

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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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CD Review: Royal Holland “Volume Two: Flamingo”

Cincinnati, Ohio singer-songwriter Royal Holland is relatively new to the scene having only started writing and playing his own songs. Even with that being said, there is plenty of good things to be said about Holland and his songs. Holland is currently in the middle of creating a 3-CD collection of music one CD at a time that will later be compiled into one collection to be released on record. Having already released the first of the CDs called Volume One- The Maze, Holland is currently getting ready to release the second collection called Volume Two- Flamingo.

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CD Review: The Bishop’s Daredevil Stunt Club “Veva, Hold On!”

The Bishop’s Daredevil Stunt Club is a band that makes their home in Chicago, Illinois. Made up of: Billy Giricz – vocals, guitar, keyboards; Paulette Bertrand – vocals, keyboards, guitar; Dan Passarelli – bass, vocals; Luke Smith – drums and Darin Gregg – guitar, trumpet, the band creates music that is equal parts rock and roll and pop-rock. That combination helps to create a sound that is very infectious and very radio-friendly at the same time. The style of the band’s songs alternates between modern-day rock and roll and rock and roll from years gone by. The band calls upon influences such as The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Norah Jones and Wilco and those influences creates a nice mixture of styles to draw from, making the band’s music very different from one track to the next. Having already adding to their musical library by releasing an 11-song self-titled release in August 2014, the band returned the very next month with another EP, the 7-track release entitled Veva, Hold On!

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CD Review: Sputnik “rising”

Cleveland-based rock band Sputnik can easily be called a “supergroup” as the trio that makes up the band has made names for themselves on their own and as part of other bands for many years now. Lead singer and guitarist Alan Grandy had been performing in Cleveland as both a guitarist and a bassist for several bands including The Terrible Parade and Jehova Waitresses and also created music on his own. Jay Bentoff has also been a major part of the Cleveland music scene as he performed with his band The Kind Revolution while also recording music from Cleveland artists at his Dark Tree Studio. And the third part of the band, Chris Solt, has been part of several projects in Cleveland including Susan Weber’s band Monet’s Orbit before he hung up his guitar and sat behind the drumkit to fill out the current lineup of Sputnik.

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CD Review: The Kavanaghs “Need a Pity Day EP”

Argentinean band The Kavanaghs has come a long way from their humble beginnings as an Argentinean Beatles cover band. Ever since they started out playing the music of The Fab Four and other groups from that time period, The Kavanaghs have continually shaped their sound to include more and more bands and styles of today so that their current style sounds more like Badfinger and British bands from the late ‘90s into today such as Coldplay, Oasis and U2. Their current sound can be found on their 2011 release Love Conquers Pain. The band is currently promoting that album and has since released several songs from that album as singles; the latest of which is “Need a Pity Day”.