Archive for January, 2014

REDAMBERGREEN-No City

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 19, 2014 by TheManicBlogger

rag2Following the release of their 2012 EP, Through All The Days, the London, Ontario band, Redambergreen seems to have reinvented themselves. With the addition of new vocalist Sara Preston, the 2013 No City EP sees the band move to a heavier, gutsier sound.

ragThe opening track, “Storms And Rain demonstrates heavier rock influences with a great riff, a wonderful instrumental bridge and a dynamite vocal track.”Poison delivers nice harmonies, wonderful transitions, within a full sound and a slower tempo. The title track has a great intro, an exciting guitar riff, terrific transitions, and a way cool tempo change. The drumming highlights “The Night We Won The War, which offers great hooks and riffs, a beautifully subtle guitar solo, great harmonies and amazing changes and transitions. “Good Intentions, my favorite track, delivers a wonderful melody and great harmonies in a power pop-rock song. The changes are wonderful, the effects dynamite.

I had written about Through All The Days, and remarked that I had expected more. Well, here it is. There are definite elements of heavier rock, which the band embraces. The riffs are driving, yet subtle. The drumming is powerful.   The songs are well written and masterfully played. There is a fullness to the sound that I like. The production is dead on. Redambergreen nails it with this effort, providing a blend of power-pop, alternative rock, and hard rock. No City is a wonderful album from talented musicians, who found their sound. and it’s incredibly good.

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BONGO BOY RECORDS-The Singles

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 11, 2014 by TheManicBlogger

There seems to be a whack of incredibly cool music coming out of New Jersey, and Bongo Boy Records seem to have their hand on most of it. Aside from the 2013  Mark Lindsay release, Life Out Loud, and the Gar Francis EP, Shine On, this Indie label out of Belvidere, New Jersey has a truck load of singles that they are about to release on a “Singles” album. Being quite fond of Bongo Boy Monique and Garage Guru Gar-the coolest musician to come out of Jersey since Frank Sinatra– I agreed to listen and wax poetic about this soon to be released compilation.

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Jana Peri, the New York City rocker with power pop and punk influences, delivers a knock out tune with “Ballerina Of The Bowery“. Written by Gar Francis, the song has a great surf-pop groove, great harmonies and a wonderful bridge and chorus. The choppy guitar  rocks and the riff, subtly great. Terrific opening track on any album.

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I didn’t know who The Easy Outs were, but  the New Jersey rock-punk-garage band’s “Come On, Come On” is up there on my list of coolest songs I have heard lately. The track has a great 1960s feel, delivered through wonderful keys and an amazing melody. There are great horns, beautiful transitions, and a dynamite bass line. I can hear Gar Francis all over this song. The riff, clean and crisp, and the solo, as always, class, not flash. Consider this a hit.

 

gr2The wonderfully multi talented Genya Ravan contributes a Gar Francis song, “I Won’t Cry Anymore” with a powerful voice and a delivery that made me shiver.  This rock-blues tune reminds me of something that should be on Janis Joplin album, and hands out great choral harmonies in the bridge and a wonderfully R & B harmonized “whoo hoo hoo”. This woman can sing.  Powerful and pleasurable.

 

 

rk3I don’t know where he finds the time, but Rockids is another Gar Francis project. Originally formed in 1973 by Gar and Wayne Olivieri, this garage band recorded Eddie Cochran‘s “C’mon Everybody” in 2012. I love this song. I dig Rockids cover of it. The guitar layered underneath, the amazing Jerry Lee Lewis piano, and the great hook, deliver an incredible track. Might as well stand when you listen, ’cause it will get you dancing.

kcBorn Dainty“, a country-rock song, was written and produced by, you guessed it, Gar Francis. Recorded by New Jersey’s Kelly Caruso, daughter of The Doughboys bass player, Mike Caruso, this track offers some amazing banjo, cool drumming, and a great chorus. The transitions are wonderful and the guitar riff, great. Kelly delivers a wonderful vocal track. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear this song covered by Kelly Clarkson.

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The Swinging Iggies,  with one of the coolest band names around, offer up “Lady Gaga“. This New Jersey garage-rock band is another one of Gar Francis’ projects. The song,  humorous and up tempo, has a dynamite power start. There are great transitions and I dig the guitar riff. Great song. Still, what a wonderful name for a band.

gfrocketOne of the most meaningful songs I have ever heard, Gar Francis’ “Rocket” touches me. This heartfelt tribute to American soldiers, raises powerful emotions as an acoustic number. The vocals are something out of Bowie’s Hunky Dory, and this is not the first time I have made a Bowie reference about Gar. The beautifully played strings set the tone and mood amid the haunting melody. Wonderful lyric like, “rest my faith against my gun”, drive home the message. I like Gar Francis unplugged.

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New Jersey singer, songwriter Gigi, contributes one way cool tune. “Put Your Freakin’ Hands Up” a  pop-dance track, in the Carly Rae JepsenCall Me Maybe” style,  has a great guitar intro and some amazing double tracked vocals. The melody, pure pop and the guitar riff in the bridge/chorus, wonderfully cool. The minimized instrumentation during the verses highlights the vocals that come with some great effects. Wonderful song with an incredible hook.

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Plainfield Slim, Gar Francis’ alter ego, offers 2 blues tunes. “Dirty Girl” has wonderful southern blues-rock guitar and sweet, double time drumming. The slide guitar rocks within a cool vocal track and nice harmonies. I swear I hear a train in there. “Let Go My Hand“, delivers a wonderful blues riff and a great rock beat. I love the guitar solo and the muted effect to the entire track. Jersey blues are way cool.

mark-lindsay_life-out-loudMy choice for coolest song of the year, “Merry Go Round (Christian’s Song)” by Mark Lindsay is a definite bonus. What can I say about this song that I haven’t said in my review of the Life Out Loud album? Way cool 60s organ, great harmonies, exciting guitar, wonderful changes, and I really dig the “less is more” drumming style. The vocals rock, the melody, dynamite and well, this is my favorite Mark Lindsay song since “Kicks“. Coolest song of the year for sure.

Well, there you have it. The Bongo Boy Records singles compilation. The genres are varied, with something to please everyone.  11 tracks destined to amaze and entertain. This album will rock you, and  it will surprise you. An amazingly eclectic collection of songs by incredibly talented artists. I would liked to have seen Gar Francis’ “Back In 1985”  included on this record.  Check it out for yourself and see what’s really going on in New Jersey. Its not just Snooki and The Sopranos. A must have for every collection.

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Check out all of Bongo Boy Records artists:  http://www.bongoboyrecords.com

BETRAYERS-Let The Good Times Die

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 7, 2014 by TheManicBlogger

betrayers2betrayers3I seem to be drawn to the weird. The different.The unique and original. Its okay. I like it. Particularly when it comes to music. It’s the excitement of finding something that defies genre; something new; something truly entertaining. And, as luck would have it, hiding deep in the underground of Edmonton, Alberta, I found the weirdly wonderful Betrayers, a fuzzed up, punk out, psych, 60’s garage band.

Their earlier EPs,  December 2012’s, Treat Me Mean, and the February 2013, The Betrayers, foreshadowed the sound of things to come.  Fair warning for December 2013’s full album, Let The Good Times Die.

betrayers4The album is filled with great guitar riffs, that often lie just below the bass and drums.I hear tambourine and a way cool organ. It doesn’t get more 1960s than that. There are choppy piano riffs and a drone that permeates the band’s sound making me think of Love And Rockets and the 1980s. I particularly enjoyed “Do You Smoke?”, with its dark, eerie mood and fuzz guitar solo, and “Little Girl (You’ve Got Some Growing Up To Do)“, a Ramone’s punk song with pop influence, cool harmonies and great drumming. My favorite track, “Song For Sue“, has an almost surf-pop melody that is counter balanced by the instrumentation. It has great changes and a cool bridge.

betrayers1Musical influences are varied. There are hints of The Clash, Be Bop Deluxe, and the opening of “”Born To Cry” had me thinking of The Four Seasons.  “Call Me When You’re Blue“, off of the Treat Me Mean EP, has that 60s, girl group feel. There are shades of The Beach Boys. But this is a fuzzed up, psyched-out rock band. I checked in with Travis Sargent, the band’s slightly eccentric front man, who confirmed that the band has 2 drummers. Yes, there are 2 drum kits! In the studio, and live. This is way cool.

betrayers5The songs are short, yet poignant. The sound is full. The music seem to want to  go somewhere, but the vocals and the melody take it somewhere else. There is tremelo everywhere. This is not music for the masses. Betrayers create a unique world with their music, perhaps a world on a yet to be discovered planet. Let The Good Times Die is not for the focused. I refer to this as the ADHD sound: Its all over the place. Yet, it makes sense. And it works. It is different. It is weird. It is amazingly cool. A great album. A great listen. A wonderful experience.  Can’t wait for thee guys to make it to Toronto.

You can listen here:  http://thebetrayers.bandcamp.com/

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MARK LINDSAY-Life Out Loud

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 1, 2014 by TheManicBlogger

I am a huge Mark Lindsay fan. Have been since the mid 1960s.  Really liked Paul Revere and The Raiders. What was not to like? Songs like “Kicks“,  “Him or me-What’s it gonna be?“, “Hungry” and “Cinderella Sunshine” kept me heading down to Toronto’s Sam The Record Man to purchase Raider albums.

ml2I knew Mark Lindsay could sing. I knew he could write. I knew that he also produced several Raider albums around 1968, including Something’s Happening. Hard ‘N; Heavy, and Alias Pink Puzz.-I read liner notes. There was a solo career and then the nostalgia tours. And then, well, I thought that was the end of Mark Lindsay. I was pleasantly surprised, no, I was excited as hell to hear that Mark had been working on a new album with Gar FrancisWhen the good people at Bongo Boy Records, the Indie label smart enough to take on this project, sent me a copy of Life Out Loud, I found out what happens when a 1960’s pop-rock icon meets the guru of  New Jersey garage.

ml5Nothing short of amazing, this album kicks ass. Like a trip down memory lane to places you only thought that you had been, it offers familiar themes and styles in very different ways. Way cool! From the opening track, “Baby Come Back“, with its 60’s guitar riff, to the rockabilly feel of “Ghost Of A Girl“, and  the bluesy rhythm of “Rush On You“, Life Out Loud is a journey I was glad to have taken. The harmonica on “Easy Street” is beautifully placed. The throwback organ used in several of the tracks floats wonderfully in the background. The melodies rock and the harmonies are pure 1960’s.

ml6I particularly liked “Everything About You“, with its psych-pop melody, great organ, and cool guitar riff. Tongue in cheek lyrics-“I love the supermodel walk, I love the trashy way you talk”, don’t hurt one bit. “New Thing“, with driving power chords, has a wonderful chorus, and great vocals that tell us “since paradise can’t happen twice,here comes your new thing”. The subtle organ is reminiscent of 60’s pop as it lays under the guitar and vocal tracks. My favorite track, “Merry Go Round (Christian’s Song)“, delivers a beautiful melody in a great pop-rock song. The keyboards, subtle guitar, and amazing bridge lay the framework for the great vocal track.

mark-lindsay_life-out-loudLife Out Loud is exciting and provocative. It is basic rock, with that Jersey edge. The album is magical, the songs incredible, the production, dynamite.. I have listened to it several times, and always seem to find something new going on with each listen.  I can’t help feeling how much fun this album was to make. I hope they do it again. It is safe to say that Mark Lindsay is back. And I am glad. I only wish that I could get a copy of the CD autographed by Mark and Gar. Now that would be way cool.   

You can hear and then purchase Life Out Loud here: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/marklindsay4

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