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Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: The Amplifier Heads “Loudah”

The Amplifier Heads is a Boston-based band consisting mainly of Sal Baglio. Sal Baglio is a singer-songwriter and guitarist who has spent over thirty years in the music industry creating straight-out Rock and Roll music. Most of that time has been spent with one band- The Stompers, a band that came together in the East Boston, Massachusetts area back in 1977. That band, strangely enough, is still out there performing the music that made them so popular all those years ago.

However, as far as The Stompers are concerned, the band mainly exists today as a tribute to the very music that they created way back when. What that means is that every so often, the band will get together to perform their music live onstage in a concert setting. But as far as new material is concerned, The Stompers have not created anything new, musically speaking, since their last release, 2009’s Stompilation, which combines music from every era of the band and puts it all in one place as a 21-track Best Of album.

While The Stompers have not produced any new music for an extended amount of time, the same, happily, cannot be said for singer-songwriter Sal Baglio. Even though The Stompers aren’t creating anything new, Baglio has created several solo albums of his own over the years. And then, there’s the new musical venture for Baglio; a band that takes Baglio’s style of songwriting and puts it out there in the form of a new project. That new project being called The Amplifier Heads.

The Amplifier Heads is a band consisting mainly of Sal Baglio as he provides vocals, guitar and bass to the tracks that make up the debut release called Loudah. Along with Baglio, producer Ducky Carlisle provides the drums for the project, and Jeff Keithline appears on bass for three of the tracks. For the rest of the instrumentation on the album, the music comes from several other musicians who add their talents to one or two tracks on the release each. Together as a whole, Sal Baglio and Company create an album under the moniker of The Amplifier Heads that makes use of different forms of Rock and Roll, staying solidly within a Classic Rock format.

The debut release of Loudah from The Amplifier Heads begins with the track “The Boy with the Amplifier Head”. In a time where we are trying to steer the youth of today away from bullying, “The Boy with the Amplifier Head” tells the tale of a kid who was picked on by everyone in his age group for being different. The track features a Rock and Roll sound that blends together some seventies-era music with just a little British Invasion influence thrown in. What results is a song that would fit right alongside music from the likes of Badfinger or maybe The Raspberries.

With the next track called “Beat Club,” Sal Baglio and Ducky Carlisle are joined on bass by Jeff Keithline. Together, the trio creates a Rock and Roll sound that sets the music in the middle of the seventies. The track feels like something that would have existed at the same time as Glam Rock. In fact, the main musical influence that seems to come through on the track is the influence of Marc Bolan and his band T. Rex. You could easily imagine “Beat Club” from The Amplifier Heads alongside a track like “20th Century Boy” from that band.

While the previous song of “Beat Club” brings to mind music from the likes of Marc Bolan and T. Rex, the next track called “Jaw Teaser” screams The Rolling Stones. One reason in particular for that is because Sal Baglio sings the words “Jaw Teaser” with the exact same delivery Mick Jagger uses when singing the words “Brown Sugar”. The track also seems to have a similar feel to the music that “Brown Sugar” has. Musically, there is some musical influence from the Stones as well, but that’s just because the track features a sound that keeps it squarely within the Rock and Roll music of the seventies. That Rolling Stones feel to the music even continues on the next track called “Starleen”. The song contains a straight-forward Rock and Roll feel to the music, with a bit of The Stones influence thrown in.

The Amplifier Heads featuring Sal Baglio is not just a band with a Classic Rock feel to the music. The band also seems to have a slight sense of humor when it comes to writing the lyrics to the songs; at least, that’s the way it seems with the track “Two-Headed Girl”. Because of the Glam Rock feel to the music once again, the track falls into the same basic musical time period as “Beat Club”. It is with the slightly humorous lyrics to the song that the listener finds Baglio describing a date with a woman with two heads (maybe a way of saying “split personality” without actually coming out and saying it?). The track once again would be perfectly fine being included within music from the seventies. And with the addition of a slight sense of humor, the track of “Two-Headed Girl” stands out from the rest of the album.

Loudah from The Amplifier Heads continues with the track “Big Wax Lips”. Just as “Two-Headed Girl” comes to an end, Sal Baglio and Duck Carlisle create yet another track with a sense of humor. Where the lyrics to “Two-Headed Girl” may suggest a split personality, the lyrics to “Big Wax Lips” contain many plays on words. While many may think the track is about different forms of candy, Baglio is not referring to that. Much of the Loudah release from The Amplifier Heads finds the music to be rather reminiscent of styles and bands from days gone by, mostly from around the time of the seventies. This places the music in the retro category. “Big Wax Lips” is also retro in feel; but for this track, Baglio and Carlisle create music reminiscent of the Akron, Ohio band The Black Keys.

Where most of the album features the playing and singing of Sal Baglio, the final track of the release called “Rock Candy” features the playing of drummer Paul Armstrong of the Syracuse band The Flashcubes, a band much like Baglio’s group The Stompers as they date back to the seventies like The Stompers do. In fact, the track “Rock Candy” is mainly Paul Armstrong hammering away rather impressively on the drumkit with musical accompaniment from Baglio. And much like the previous track, the song contains much than a slight reference to bands like The Black Keys. “Rock Candy” is very energetic as it brings the albums to a close and leaves the listener who is looking for real Rock and Roll rather satisfied.

In a musical world where much of the current bands and musicians today are creating music based within the Pop-Rock style of music heavy on the “pop,” it’s always refreshing to find a musician like Sal Baglio who takes his band The Amplifier Heads and creates real, honest Rock and Roll. Loudah from Boston’s The Amplifier Heads may just be the debut release for this outfit, but it’s a rather impressive debut. And with each track on the release being mainly below the three-minute mark, the album is very listener-friendly, as well as radio-friendly. For those looking for straight-out Rock and Roll with plenty of energy, look no further than Loudah from The Amplifier Heads.  

 

For a taste of the Rock and Roll music from Sal Baglio and his band called The Amplifier Heads, check out the first track from the Loudah release called “The Boy With the Amplifier Head”.

https://theamplifierheads.bandcamp.com/track/the-boy-with-the-amplifier-head

To check out the entire release of Loudah from The Amplifier Heads, click on the album cover below:  

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Reviews & Suggestions

CD Review: Pale Hollow “Pilots”

Singer-songwriter Michael Allen of the band Pale Hollow has spent a lot of time floating around the Greater Cleveland music scene helping to make the city a lot more musical. Starting out with the Rock and Roll band Jericho Turnpike, Allen and that group would exist within a rather strong music scene that featured other notable groups such as The Waynes, Jehova Waitresses, Java Bean, The Simpletons and many other groups that were just as strong. But soon, Michael Allen would branch out on his own to record his own songs.

When Michael Allen took his music, he looked for musicians who wanted to form a new band. What resulted was a musical outfit by the name of Black Amps, which would exist for a while before changing their name to Pale Hollow and in 2007; a self-titled album was released under the Pale Hollow moniker. That self-titled release from Pale Hollow saw the band create a sound that combined elements of The Kinks, The Verve and many other British influences as well as American bands such as The Byrds, The Verve Pipe, even The Raspberries into one sound. Because of the various different elements, what resulted was a sound that was very retro in nature. But that retro feel to the band’s Americana music ended up allowing the band to gain a rather large following within the Greater Cleveland area.

Years would pass after the band’s first release. The band would change members during that time. And the band would change the feel of its music just a little because of the shifting of the band members. The current version of Pale Hollow includes: Michael Allen – Vocals/Rhythm Guitar, Kirk “Nemo” Nemerovsky – Drums, Jeff Ritchie – Bass, and Scott Steinbrick – Lead Guitar. It is this lineup that is featured on the newly-released second album from Pale Hollow. That second release is entitled Pilots. And for a little help with that album, the band’s new record was produced by Al Sutton (Greta Van Fleet) of Rust Belt Studios. It was because of Sutton that the band’s album is so strong from beginning to end. 

The album Pilots from Pale Hollow begins with the track “Can You Hear the Highway?” The track contains a soft, gentle feel to the Folk-Rock music in much the same style as music that would have been found on AM radio back in the seventies. The track brings to mind the lighter sound of a band like The Eagles. And in fact, the lyrical content has a simplicity that also seems rather reminiscent of songs from that time period.

Michael Allen and Pale Hollow pick up the pace with the song “Good Thing”. While there is still a slight lightness to the music, the stronger touch to the music takes the song out of the seventies and sets it more into the early nineties before Alternative Rock would have come into being. The commercial feel of the song and the track’s refrain would place the track within Top 40 radio back at that time. The track would also feel right at home being played right alongside a current band like Coldplay.

With the next track called “Won’t Let You Down,” the band takes their music solidly into the nineties. In fact, the track seems to bring back a little of the flavor of the music that had been created back in the nineties by the aforementioned band of Jericho Turnpike. The nineties flavor of the track takes the listener back to the time right before the advent of the music genre called Alternative Rock. In fact, the sound of the music on this track would have been right at home with the very first artists that would have been played on radio stations such as Cleveland, Ohio’s 107.9 The End.

The album continues with the track “Empire”. The track contains a simplicity that features only the sound of the acoustic guitar and voice of Michael Allen. The slow pace of the song and the simple musical approach create a musical background for what sounds like an apology disguised as a poetic composition set to music. While the song is mainly just a guitar and Allen’s vocals, the inclusion of a light keyboard in the background helps to add some depth to the track.

Pilots from Pale Hollow continues with the title track of the release. “Pilots” is easily one the most commercial sounding tracks on the release. If given the chance, this track could be as large as anything on Hot Adult Contemporary radio formats today. With this track, the British influence in the band’s music comes to the forefront a bit stronger than on the earlier tracks. The music on the track contains a strong Pop influence that will remind the listener of something from the likes of Coldplay or Snow Patrol or other bands that fall into the same musical feel. And while the track’s rather long playtime of nearly five minutes may be too long for most commercial radio stations, the musical sound of “Pilots” more than makes up for that.  

Pale Hollow seems to wear their influences on their sleeves. The track “Flame On” not only screams British musical influence, the song’s musical direction truly suggests that the band was more than just a little bit influenced by the band Oasis. In fact, “Flame On” from Pale Hollow would fit nicely right next to tracks like “Live Forever” “Champagne Supernova” or other tracks that can be found on Oasis’ (What’s The Story) Morning Glory? release.

For those who enjoy a more relaxed feel to their Rock and Roll while also enjoy having some orchestral flavor to that music, the sound of Cleveland, Ohio’s Pale Hollow may just be what you are looking for. The band’s 2018 release of Pilots is one of the most commercial albums that are not available from a major label. It’s also one of the strongest albums of 2018. If you happen to be a fan over rather commercial Rock and Roll but are tired of the same bands on commercial radio, Pale Hollow and the band’s 2018 release of Pilots may just be what you are looking for.  

 

To hear the music from Pale Hollow, check out the band’s video to the title track to the album Pilots

You can find the Pilots album from Pale Hollow on Spotify

To check out the Pilots album from Pale Hollow, click on the album cover below:

 

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Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: UniversalDice “birth, love, hate, death”

Within the era of Rock and Roll, there have been bands that have taken the idea of the album and made it so much stronger as they created tracks that segue between each other as those tracks combine to create what has been called a Rock Opera. And while the Rock Opera is an idea that has been around for a while, there have only been a relatively few examples of the artform through the era of Rock and Roll when compared to the vast number of releases that have been put out. One band that has taken it upon itself to explore the concept of the Rock Opera is UniversalDice.

A group that calls Long Island, New York home, the band of UniversalDice consists of: Gerry Dantone – vocals, guitars, programming; Bob Barcus – lead guitar; Ed Canova – bass; Walt Sargent – keyboards; Vin Crica – keyboards. These and other musicians who appear on a few of the tracks help to bring the music of UniversalDice to life. Having already releasing four previous albums, the group is celebrating the release of their fifth album, a 2018 album entitled birth, love, hate, death.

UniversalDice’s birth, love, hate, death is a 16-track album that deals with love as it survives even after someone dies. While vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Gerald Dantone had the biggest part in writing the album, the entire band helped in many ways to bring the album to life.

As the birth, love, hate, death album from UniversalDice begins, the track called “Welcome to the World” “welcomes” the listener to the release just as the narrator of the track welcomes the newest addition to the family to the world. The track finds the band creating a song that falls solidly into the Rock and Roll genre. The track features 70s-era Rock and Roll that is reminiscent of bands like Badfinger or The Raspberries. While the track begins the 16-track album, the sound of the music and the lyrics contained within are so universal that you could easily imagine the track as the lead-off single for the release.

The next track of “I Wish I Could Tell You This” slows the pace of the music down while still pushing the storyline forward. The track’s lyrics deal with a mother figure as she looks down on her newborn child and the thoughts that go through her mind. “I Wish I Could Tell You This” is a rather sad tale as the mother reveals her innermost feelings and regrets.

With the very next track on the release, the band produces an answer to the previous song as the child explains to his mother the way he is feeling in the same type of song that reveals the growing worry in his mind. “Your Son” is a letter set to music. Like the previous track, Gerry Dantone and the rest of UniversalDice create a track with a gentle pace to the music that seems to go rather well with the somber tone of the lyrics.

The various tracks that make up the birth, love, hate, death album deal with all different areas of life. With the track “I Like It When They Hate It,” the band deals with how people are perceived as they make choices in their lives. On this track, the band takes their music in the direction of eighties pop-rock. The track has a nearly timeless feel to it as it would have easily fit on Top 40 radio back in the eighties as easily as it would fit on radio today. 

With “Better Man,” UniversalDice creates a song that brings to mind the music of someone like The Allman Brothers as the track features Rock and Roll with a bit of a Southern Rock feel to it. The lyrics deal with a man who looks inside himself and decides he can do better. While the slower pace to the track slows things down a little, the song shows a slightly different side to the music from UniversalDice.

As the listener puts this album on, they experience all sorts of different aspects to life within the lyrics of the songs that make up the album. Separately, the various songs create a strong release of well-written tracks that make use of the band’s various musical influences. The creation of songs using different sounds from the Classic Rock era of Rock and Roll means that lovers of that style of Rock will find something to enjoy throughout the entire length of the album. And with the lyrics creating a storyline that tie each song together, the album does something that few very albums today can do: entertain the listener while keeping them wanting to listener all the way through the release. For those who enjoy finding albums that entertain while also tell a story, the Rock Opera of UniversalDice’s birth, love, hate, death is one album to add to your music collection.

To check out the music from UniversalDice’s birth, love, hate, death release, check out the first track of the album, “Welcome to the World“. To check out the entire album on spotify

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more information, check out UniversalDice’s PR firm of Whiplash PR & Management by clicking on the logo for the company. 

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Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Tom Guerra “Trampling Out the Vintage”

Connecticut-based guitarist and singer Tom Guerra has spent many years playing in a rock band called Mambo Sons. Together, the trio that also includes vocalist/bassist Scott Lawson, and drummer Joe “the Cat” Lemieux has released several albums. Those releases featured music that combine rock and roll with a large amount of blues influence. The band last released an album back in 2009 which was a double CD release called Heavy Days. Since then, however, the trio has been silent.

But that changed recently when guitarist and singer Tom Guerra went out on his own and released a solo project. Back in 2014, Guerra celebrated the release of the album All of the Above. While Mambo Sons created music that was heavily blues-based, Guerra decided to incorporate more influences into his sound. The more influences, the better-rounded the style of Guerra’s sound. And while Guerra does include more influences, he has also decided to take his music in a much more Classic Rock type of direction.

Two years have passed since the release of that album. Now, Guerra is back with yet another solo album. For the new release, Tom Guerra turned to Kenny Aaronson on bass guitar; Morgan Fisher on piano; Mike “Doubledog” Kosacek on drums and percussion; and Matt Zeiner on piano and Hammond Organ. Together, they make Guerra’s new album come alive. The new release from Tom Guerra is entitled Trampling Out the Vintage.

Trampling Out the Vintage begins with the track “All Purpose Song”. The track finds Guerra creating a song that would have existed back in the seventies alongside people like Bob Seger. The track features a very strong, driving feel to the music that revolves mainly around the guitar from Tom Guerra. However, the track also features a strong piano part that is as essential to the track as the guitar is. In fact, it truly is the piano that is the standout instrument on the track. “All Purpose Song” is a great song for those looking for the sound of the seventies. The track, however, is not the “all-purpose song” that the track itself actually describes. So just keep looking.

The new release from Tom Guerra continues with the song “Dr. Nick and Elvis”. The track is another that features a strong, driving pace to the music. The style of the guitar playing on the track and the feel of the lyrical delivery as well as the production quality on the guitar solo all add up to track that seems to scream Marc Bolan and his British Glam Rock band T-Rex. The song would easily stand up next to that band’s hit single of “Bang a Gong”.

The style of the music changes dramatically on the next track. For the song “Tell the World,” Tom Guerra finds himself being influenced by the likes of bands like The Raspberries.  That band shaped the sound of their music around the sound of the music being brought into the United States from England during the British Invasion. On “Tell the World,” Guerra’s song features the jangly feel of the guitars that were present within The Raspberries’ songs like “I Wanna Be with You” or “Go All the Way”. With the track’s commercial feel, “Tell the World” would have fit well with other songs on AM radio back in the seventies.

With the track of “BYOB,” Tom Guerra creates a track that takes his style back just a little bit from the style of “Tell the World”. “BYOB” feels and sounds as if the track would have been perfect for the time of the “Summer of Love”. In fact, the mindset of the lyrics comes across as being close to “free Love” as “BYOB” stands for “bring your own buzz”. As far as the music, the song sounds as if it had been influenced by the 60s era Rolling Stones.

One of the strongest tracks on Trampling Out the Vintage is the song “Pay in Blood”. The track is also one of the most unusual as the song alternates between one style and another. At one point, the music on the track feels like it would fit inside of the musical style of 70s Classic Rock. And when the track enters the refrain section, Guerra creates a musical and lyrical style that is undoubtedly very Zappa-esque in nature. The refrain feels as if it was influenced by songs from Frank Zappa such as “The Torture Never Stops,” one of Zappa’s darker songs.

For the track of “Supermoon,” Tom Guerra seems to invoke the style of Tom Petty. In fact, the song contains the style of Petty while he was part of the Supergroup The Traveling Wilburys. The track’s refrain even sounds as if Petty could have been joined by the rest of that band as they sang the lyrics of that refrain. The guitar solo even feels like something from Petty.

For his new release of Trampling Out the Vintage, Tom Guerra does a great job of using the various influences he has picked up throughout the years. The resulting album’s 10 tracks are widely varied from one track to the next while they still contain a solid Rock and Roll base. Guerra has put out yet another album that would be very welcome in any Rock and Roll listener’s music collection.

To check out the music from Tom Guerra, check out the song “Pay in Blood“.

To purchase a copy of Trampling Out the Vintage from Tom Guerra, click on the album cover below.

tomguerra12

 

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Reviews and Suggestions

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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Reviews and Suggestions

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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Reviews and Suggestions

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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Live Rock and Roll

In Concert: The Kavanaghs begin tour in Cleveland

KavanaghsThe country of Argentina is home to The Kavanaghs, a rock band whose style was largely influenced by roots rock artists as well as 60s British Invasion bands like The Kinks and The Beatles. In fact, The Beatles have been one of the biggest influences on the band.
Of course, some of the bands that came after the British Invasion have also been big influences on the members of The Kavanaghs. One of the post-British Invasion bands that influenced The Kavanaghs was The Raspberries from Cleveland, Ohio.
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Features

You may know him from Rooney, but now Taylor Locke reveals his alter ego that rocks out with The Roughs

You may know him as the guitarist and vocalist from power pop / rock band Rooney, but Taylor Locke has also just released “Grain and Grape”; a solo project featuring his own backing band, The Roughs.  The Rock and Roll Report recently had the opportunity to ask Taylor a few questions:

Q:  Most people have their hands full being in just one band, but you manage to succeed being in two! What is it like to live this “double-life” as a musician?

A: It’s quite fun and interesting to live this double-life, as you say.  My roles in each band are quite different from one another. Also, one group has lots of history and a loyal following, while the other is just beginning on a grass roots level. As far as making time, I just look at the calendar and fill in the holes.