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CD Review: Automatic “Signal”

Los Angeles-based band Automatic came together when they met within the music scene of that city. Izzy Glaudini (synths, vocals), Lola Dompé (drums, vocals) and Halle Saxon (bass, vocals) are the three women who make up the band. It was back in 2017 when Izzy had been invited by Halle to plug her guitar into the bass amp. Since then, however, the band’s makeup changed from guitar-based to keyboard-based music when Izzy Glaudini decided to set the guitar aside and started jamming on the keyboards. With this version of the lineup, the three musicians draw their musical inspiration (as well as the name) from the band called The Go-Gos as well as others. Other influences to Automatic’s music come from the likes of punk bands like Bauhaus and others.

While Automatic draws some inspiration from Punk (due to several factors including the fact that Lola Dompé’s father is none other than Daniel Ash of Bauhaus), the band’s sound is much more closely related to Indie Rock with some New Wave flavor thrown in. You can call the band’s sound “electronic post-punk”. That sound can be found on the band’s debut album entitled Signal.

Signal from Automatic begins with the track “Too Much Money”. It’s the sound of Halle Saxon’s bass that starts the track off, with Izzy Glaudini’s keyboards adding a bit of Industrial Distortion to the background of the track. When Lola Dompé’s drums are added into the mix, the resulting track takes the listener back in time to the early days of New Wave when the bands like Ultravox and Kraftwerk were influencing the direction of Rock and Roll over in England. The unmistakable New Wave feel of the music is joined by lead vocals from drummer Lola Dompé and background vocals from keyboard player Izzy Glaudini that, together, recall bands like Bananarama and/or the aforementioned Go-Gos. While the track has a slightly dark feel, the quick pace of the music adds some lightness into the mix. “Too Much Money” is a fun listen, in a throwback kind of way.

Automatic continues their album with the track “Calling It”. Like with the previous track, the song begins with the pounding bass from Halle Saxon with a light drumbeat from Lola Dompé. The two musicians create a rhythmic pattern that is added to by atmospheric noise from Izzy Glaudini’s keyboards. That rhythmic pattern and atmospheric noise create a track of minimalistic simplicity as the vocals from Izzy Glaudini on the track are delivered in a sing-song, monotone manner. The lyrics about bringing a relationship to a close just adds to the darkness of the track. The song ends up being the type of tracks that would fit in with either New Wave artists and/or Alternative Rock artists.

With the track “Suicide in Texas,” the band creates another song with a rather simplistic feel to the music. Like with the previous track, “Suicide in Texas” contains a light delivery on the drums as well as atmospheric noise in the background. Along with the light percussion, the song features a strong bassline and swirling keyboards that constantly seem to loop upon themselves. This creates a track that has a definite Pop-like pace to the music and a beat that is rather infectious. That being said, however, the song is hardly the type of song that you would find on a Top 40 radio format. As a result, “Suicide in Texas” contains a sound that is both underground and listener-friendly at the same time, creating one of the more interesting songs on the album.

The next track, called “I Love You, Fine,” begins with a heartbeat-like pulse from Halle Saxon’s bass and a keyboard sound that comes with a slightly dark feel to it. The bass/keyboard sound is then joined by sonar-like pulse, which, combined together creates dark, foreboding music. It is with the inclusion of Lola Dompé’s drums that the song actually gains a little lightness to the music. When the band finally picks up the pace on the song, the track takes on a Post-Punk musical approach, making the track feel like it came from the late seventies/early eighties.

As much of the music contained on the Signal release from Automatic contains some influence from New Wave music from the eighties, it should come as no surprise that the band added a slightly robotic feel to their music on the title track of the release. The addition of the sound effects in the music on the song “Signal” also gives the song a mechanical feel to it. With the robotic feel to the drums and bass on the song, as well as the use of sound effect, the track “Signal” feels very much like it was influenced by the band Devo. The band even continues the mechanical feel of the music with the next track of “Humanoid”.

With the bass riff at the beginning of the track “Electrocution,” the band Automatic feels as if they are calling upon the influence of the group A Flock of Seagulls. The quick drumbeat even adds to that reference. But with the light keyboards at the beginning of the song, the track also feels like it was influenced by the likes of The Cure. The Call-and-Return feel of the lead vocals and background vocals in the refrain of the track adds a nice amount of depth to the track. You could imagine this track being played on College Radio back in the late eighties/early nineties.

The Signal album from Automatic comes to a close with the song “Strange Conversation”. The track’s heavy bassline and strong keyboards mix with keyboard player Izzy Glaudini’s vocals to create a track that feels like it would have come from the mid-eighties. In fact, the track would have felt right at home being played alongside either “I Could Be Happy” or “Happy Birthday” from the Scottish New Wave band Altered Images.

Signal from Automatic is a strong album, with the various influences from Alternative Rock and/or New Wave, and from bands like Kraftwerk, A Flock of Seagulls, The Cure among others. But with the music on the release alternating between Post-Punk, Industrial, and New Wave, the album is more suited towards those looking for Indie Rock than those looking for Top 40/Adult Contemporary music. If you’re a fan of slightly darker takes on music, this may well be the album for you.

For a taste of the music from Automatic, check out the music video to the band’s song called “Too Much Money”.

To check out the Signal album from Automatic on spotify, click on the album cover below:

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CD Review: Fanny Walks the Earth

It was back in the seventies that four young women came together to form a band that would help to create a style of Rock and Roll now known by the phrase Chick Rock. The band in question was known as Fanny. The band consisted of Jean Millington (today known as Jean Millington Adamian) – bass / vocals, June Millington – guitar / vocals, Alice de Buhr: drums, vocals (later to be replaced by Brie Darling – drums/vocals), and Nickey Barclay on keyboards. What resulted was a band unlike anything ever conceived by anyone before- a band where every note was written and performed by women. A band that would go on to influence plenty of bands like Bananarama, The Go-Gos, The Bangles and others.

As a group, Fanny would leave their mark on the music industry by initially releasing five albums including: Fanny (1970)Charity Ball (1971)[43]Fanny Hill (1972)[45] (No. 135)[44,] Mother’s Pride (1973)[6] and Rock and Roll Survivors (1974)[46]. Several decades later, the band would release a few albums that would include a live release as well as a box set of their music.

Fanny, now a trio consisting of Jean Millington Adamian) – bass / vocals, June Millington – guitar / vocals, Brie Darling – drums/vocals), has recently returned with a brand new album of music. With the smaller lineup, however, comes a new moniker. The band now calls itself Fanny Walks the Earth. And it is under this moniker that band has released their latest album. The band put out their self-titled album in mid-2018.

The self-titled album from Fanny Walks the Earth begins with the leadoff single of the album, “Lured Away”. The track features a strong Classic Rock vibe that, of course, comes from being in the industry long enough to see the style of the band move from the Modern Rock genre to Classic Rock simply because of the passage of time. To give the listener some point of reference, the music for “Lured Away” seems to feel influenced by the likes of seventies-era Aerosmith with some modern influence as well. The vocals on the track bring to mind the style of Kim Carnes. “Lured Away” is the type of track that would feel as much at home on Modern Rock radio as it would on Classic Rock stations.

Fanny Walks the Earth’s new album continues with the song “When We Need Her”. The track sings of women who answer the call when things need to be done in order to keep the momentum going in the fight for equality. “When We Need Her” is an anthem of sorts that brings to mind the early days of Fanny’s existence when the band was grouped in with the feminist movement mainly because of the fact that the band was strictly female. While the first track of the album feels rather retro in its Classic Rock musical delivery, this track feels more like something from the nineties as the track recalls artists like Sheryl Crow and/or Michelle Branch. In fact, “When We Need Her” sort of recalls Carlos Santana’s “Game of Love” with Branch.

With the next track on the release, the band of Fanny Walks the Earth creates a theme song of sorts. The lyrics to “Walk the Earth” seem to suggest the various accomplishments of the band and the women in it. Truth be told, maybe the song is simply about the feminist movement. Either way, the lyrics of the track tell of what has been done as women have walked the Earth, making waves as they went. The music of the track recall the style of band such as Redbone (of “Come and Get Your Love” fame) as the song has a slight Native influence to the music. The track also seems to recall “Witchy Woman” from The Eagles.

Staying in the same sort of vein as the previous track, “Girls on the Road” is yet another track that deals with the history and past of the band that had been known as Fanny. This track finds the ladies reminiscing about the early days of the band and how the band had come to be. The lyrics also recall everything that was going on around them in the era of the Vietnam War and the anti-war movement.

As the original band of Fanny had its origins within the sixties, it should come as no surprise that the current version of Fanny Walks the Earth would keep with many of the same ideals that the original version of the band had. With the track “One,” the band creates a track that features lyrics about unity for all. The track brings the spirit of the sixties into modern times. One of the most interesting parts of the track is the “One Heart, One Mind, One Love, One is the Number” chant that happens in the song.

One of the more unusual moments of the self-titled release from Fanny Walks the Earth is the track “Not My Monkey”. Taken from the Polish proverb “Not My Circus, Not My Monkeys,” the band comments on the sad state of human nature today as there are a lot of people who don’t seem to know what they’re doing. While the band creates a stinging statement with this track, it also creates one of the more entertaining moments on the release.

Things change directions on the very next track. The song “Cool Girl” features a Soft Rock approach to the music that would have been right at home on AM radio back in the seventies. The vocals on the track bring to mind vocalists such as Helen Reddy or Carly Simon. For those who miss the easy sounds of the seventies, “Cool Girl” is just what you’re looking for.

Fanny Walks the Earth’s self-titled album contains eleven tracks that ultimately feel like a throwback to yesterday. While some of the songs on the release have a more modern feel to them, most of the songs contain a strong retro vibe to them. But that retro vibe is not necessarily a bad thing as the vibe the music contains comes from an era where the music had creativity to it. Having been around since the late sixties, the ladies in Fanny Walks the Earth prove they still have it on this new release.  

 

For more information, check out the band’s record label, Blue Elan Records.

To purchase a copy of Fanny Walks the Earth’s self-titled album, click on the album cover below:

Fanny Walked The Earth

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Released in 2018, the self-titled album Fanny Walks the Earth has already been making a lot of noise in the music industry. Since it’s release, the band has released two singles. The first single from the release was “Lured Away”. The band’s current single is “When We Need Her”.