Archive for August, 2014

SOUTH OF BLOOR- The Street

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 28, 2014 by TheManicBlogger

sob4Taking their name from one of the trendiest, and diverse streets in this city, Toronto, Canada’s South Of Bloor, released their debut EP in January 2014. Simply entitled, ‘The Street‘,  the 5 track album has me wondering where the hell have these guys been hiding?

Take Me In“, is a wonderfully upbeat song. It has a great melody and hook, and some cool changes.I sob5particularly like the bridge. A way cool pop song, and a great way to open the album. The more alternative-rock track “Woman” offers great vocals, cool guitar, and a dynamite ending. I also enjoyed the wonderfully placed hand-claps. “Versus” has a terrific melody, a great vocal track, and an incredibly powerful bridge/chorus, while “40 Lands” gives up some great drumming and a sweet riff. My favorite track on the album, “The Street“, is insanely good. There are amazing vocals, with wonderfully subtle harmonies. Written and performed with dynamic simplicity, this could be a track on any Tom Petty album. Dynamite song.

 

 

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South Of Bloor have re-generated my lust for pop. The songs are exquisite 2-3 minute masterpieces. Their ability to write wonderful bridges and changes has me almost awe struck. The vocals are spectacular. The melodies, wonderful. This album delivers 5 terrific pop songs with alternative rock influences. And it works. A wonderful album. A fun time.

Check out and purchase South Of Bloor here: http://southofbloor.bandcamp.com/

 

 

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BONGO BOY TV-Indie Music From Around The World Episode 1032

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 26, 2014 by TheManicBlogger

Another month, and another whack of way cool music videos in yet another episode of Bongo Boy TV Indie Music From Around The World.

 

 

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The winner of The Bongo Boy Indie Music Video Contest, Texas band Life Is Hard, gives us “Ten Miles ’till Empty“, a cool country song with nice harmonies, and a great slide guitar. The video gives us a pick up truck, a hitchhiker, a gas station,and heartbreak, Pretty slick production. https://www.facebook.com/lifeishardmusic  Funkmaster Milo Z, from New York City, brings us “Do Ya Thang“,a rap/hip hop tune with a twist. This danceable song has some cool guitar and great horns, while the video switches between live band performance and street scenes. Nice. https://www.facebook.com/milozfunk2012  Another Texan, J-Hen delivers a way cool classic hip hop/pop song with “Baby Come On“. There are nice effects, and electronics. The video is filled with quick edits, and some way cool production values. By the way, this guy can sing. Dynamite vocals! https://www.facebook.com/therealjhen  Russia’s Mumiy Troll shows us what electro-pop is all about. in “Swimming With Sharks” . The visuals are great, with amazing production values, bright colors, and quick edits. The effects, while simplistic, are dynamite. This song is cool to listen to, and the video,well, just plain damn fun. https://www.facebook.com/mumiytroll  Gar Francis, the New Jersey garage guru, does a great job with effects in the lyric video for “Man On The Moon“. Wonderful art creating great visuals. The song has a beautiful melody and some way cool Gar guitar. https://www.facebook.com/garfrancis  Bruce Lev, out of Arizona, does a nice job on his song “Catwoman“, although the video is titled “Catwoman Returns!“. The song is filled with great guitar riffs and licks, and a way cool solo played over a great bass line. There are sweet changes, with nice harmonies and a cool melody. The video edits back and forth between the band playing on a river bank, and other images. Nicely done. I like this. https://www.facebook.com/BruceLevMusic  Natalie Jean, also from the United States, provides us with the electro/pop dance track, “Mission“. The vocals have great effects, while the video uses time lapse techniques. Very cool stuff. https://www.facebook.com/NatalieJeanObsession

 

And there is a way cool teaser for The Satisfactors‘ “Gimme My Rock ‘n’ Roll“. The album is coming soon from Bongo Boy Records. Get a copy. Can’t wait for mine.

Anyway, this is stuff you really need to check out. Bongo Boy Tv-Indie Music From Around The World..

 

 

 

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http://www.bongoboytv.com/

http://www.bongoboyrecords.com/

 

 

 

 

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GAR FRANCIS-The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same

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

I am not sure if there is anything Gar Francis cannot do. The Guru Of Garage has swung his guitar into The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same. Released in 2010 to the European market only, the 12 track album of Americana has finally hit North American shores and has been released by New Jersey’s Bongo Boy Records.

gf3The opening track, “Midnight In Rome“, delivers a great melody, with wonderful changes. The guitar picking is cool as hell, while the keys smolder under a hot vocal track. “How Its Supposed To Be” has an insanely powerful chorus but it takes nothing away from the licks and riff, and the dynamite organ. The Latin feel of “Palaces”  is wonderfully created by bongos, acoustic guitar, strings and organ. The effects on the harmonies are brilliant, and I dig the ‘Mexicali” themed guitar solo! “Down At The Ocean Gate” offers a great acoustic guitar solo, and way cool harmonies amid multi-tracked guitars. I like the mandolin and bongos on “Bank Of The River“, the way cool reverb of the almost rockabilly “Ole Tom’s River“, and the wonderfully Dylanesque feel to “Another Cowboy Rides” , with its great organ, guitar solo, cool riffs, and a dynamite vocal track.

 

 

The jug band vibe of “She’s Still Blue” proves once and for all that Gar Francis can write and play anything! The washboard and concertina are amazing, and the melody, so sweet. Gar’s vocals are spectacular on “Raise A Hand“, and the song’s socio-political gf4message resonates, at least,with me. The melody and harmonies highlight some way cool changes and incredibly melodic instrumentation. “The Sun Will Never Go Down” offers cool changes, a great chorus, a wonderful bass run, and beautiful choral style harmonies. I like this track. The acoustic guitar solo in “Adeline” shines amid the mandolin and bongos. The song is beautifully simple yet manages a great bridge, a dynamite chorus, and a wonderful ending. And, that leaves “Oh Annie“, my favorite track on the album. The wonderful chorus, dynamite guitar, including a way cool riff, an amazing melody, and some great organ, make this the standout track. A wonderful song with a way cool blues-rock-folk-country thing going on, that is reminiscent of Levon Helm and The Band. “Oh Annie, someone’s got to settle you down“. Indeed.

gf54This album demonstrates just how talented Gar Francis is. As a song writer; as a producer; as a musician, and a performer. I hear rockabilly, jug band, Latin, roots, blues, folk, and rock. I listened to bongos, banjo, mandolin, and organ. I heard a washboard, a concertina, and I think an upright bass. There are vocal and guitar effects. But most importantly, there are 12 incredible tracks that will hold you from beginning to end. I have been a Gar Francis fan for years, and this album has me wondering, why isn’t everybody? Get it as soon as you can. Then, put on your cowboy boots, grab your honey and have a blast. The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same is a must have album. Get yours here:  http://www.bongoboyrecords.com/Albums.html.  You can stream some of Gar’s other music here:  

 

 

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PETER MURRAY-On Druckfarben, And More

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 14, 2014 by TheManicBlogger

pm4I set out to do an interview on the progressive-rock band, Druckfarben. As I sat down with Peter Murray, bassist, I instead found myself immersed in his story. Not a bad afternoon at all.

We began by comparing notes about progressive-rock bands, from Yes, King Crimson, and Flash, to Rush and Kansas. We taked about Gentle Giant. We talked about music. We discussed the lack of airplay progressive-rock received in the 1980s and 1990s and how it could be considered underground. We talked.

Peter is an easy interview. Ask a question and he will talk. He has stories to tell. Stories from his days with Surrender Dorothy and the major label deal; stories of his singer/songwriter solo album; stories of his pm3learning the bass line to Yes’ Close To The Edge, for the first Druckfarben gig . He is animated, and energetic. He has strong opinions on music, and the music industry. He is a musician, but foremost, he is a music fan. His interests cross all genres. If it is good, Peter appreciates and enjoys it.

We discussed The Beatles influence on progressive-rock, and queried whether Sgt. Pepper could have been the 1st progressive-rock album. As Peter sees it, progressive-rock is not so much a genre of music, pm5but an attitude. An attitude that encourages experimentation. An attitude to do something that is not usually done. An attitude that impacts not only the song writing, but the instrumentation and arrangements as well.

We delved into bass players, and I asked about his favorite. In true Peter Murray style, he couldn’t or wouldn’t identify one. Instead, names started swirling around the table: Chris Squire, Geddy Lee, Mark King, Robbie Shakespeare, Stanley Clarke, to name a few. Paul McCartney came up, and it was agreed that he is perhaps the most under rated bassist around. It was here that I saw the true passion for music in this man. He told a story of how, as a writer for Bass Player magazine, he traveled to England to interview Colin Moulding and Mark King. With his face ‘lit up’, he spoke of spending an afternoon at Moulding’s farm house, drinking tea, and listening to the as yet unreleased ‘Apple Venus’.  Very cool.

pm6We talked about Druckfarben, which grew out of  Classic Album’s Live. All of the band members have a love for progressive-rock. They enjoy playing and performing. Peter looks like a man who is having the time of his life. Bassist, song writer, teacher, author,  producer. This is an accomplished man, a Renaissance man, who shows no signs of slowing down.  Despite his impressive resume, there was no name dropping. An incredibly talented guy, who is kind, humble, and grateful.  Peter Murray is simply, a nice guy. A nice guy who just loves music. Hard not to like him.

 

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WHISKER KISS

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

wk1Somewhere in Western Canada, between Edmonton and Vancouver, there lives Whisker Kiss. In my travels through the internet, I stumbled upon their 2010 self titled EP. I could find nothing more recent. After listening, I was quite disappointed that I could find nothing else from this band.

The album is filled with wonderfully written songs, fueled by beautiful melodies, and harmonies. There are great changes, and a simplicity that draws you in. There are chimes, or xylophone, and concertina, or it is all synthetic.  Either way it really doesn’t matter. It sounds great. I heard way cool guitar riffs, and amazing vocals.I heard acoustic guitar, and some great arrangements. I particularly liked “House“, with its amazing bridge, and wonderful transitions, that transforms this acoustic folk track into a powerful pop song.

 

 

The album rises above instrumentation, and puts the focus on the songs. With a style that is reminiscent of Paul Simon, the themes focus on man’s relationship with his environment. Talented and topical! This is one of those albums that could be overlooked, and possibly forgotten. A musical masterpiece lost amid the noise. Check it out for yourself. Head to Bandcamp and buy at least 1 for yourself. I suggest you get another 1 for someone you care about. It is that good.

Check it out here:   http://whiskerkiss.bandcamp.com/

 

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FRACTAL REVERB-How To Overcome The Ego Mind

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 6, 2014 by TheManicBlogger

fractalreverb2Fractal Reverb, from Lodi, Italy released their EP ‘How To Overcome The Ego Mind‘ in May, 2014. It includes 4 studio tracks, 3 demos, 1 live rehearsal track, and 1 unplugged song. I have no idea where the band got its name from, but its cool as anything. So is the music.

The 1st track on the album, “Spleen“, has a great base line, cool changes, nice harmonies, and some dynamite drumming. “Dystonic Wave”  has amazing vocals that appear to be double tracked, a fraxtalreverb3wonderful melody, and a way cool bass solo. The changes in tempo and musical theme make “20th January 2013”  an exceptional track. The bass line rocks, and the guitar, wonderfully melodic. The guitar riff and solo carry the melody, until vocals begin almost 4 minutes in. “Natural Sounds” has a great melody, with a wonderful riff, and a powerful rhythm section highlighted by a great bass run. There are several movements that seem to blend effortlessly, and the ending is dynamite. The melody and great vocals of “Blindfolded“, the acoustic track, are superb.  “Hidden Place“, the live rehearsal track, has great off beat drumming and great effects. There are changes in tempo and time signature that remind me of early Yes. Very cool.

 

 

 

Fractal Reverb delivers an exceptional collection of music. The songs range from 6-8 minutes long, and incorporate several musical themes. There is a Rush feel going on here, but there are elements of Yes, and King Crimson as well. This band has the ability to fractal reverb1incorporate several movements into 1 song with flawless transitions, and bring it back every time. As if playing with our emotions, they take us on a long, strange journey, and then bring us back home again. The lyrics touch on issues of ethics and humanity, and the instrumentation, while simple, is surprisingly full and complete. It is progressive-rock with an edge. Sort of progressive-grunge. Check it out. Listen, and then listen again. A wonderfully exciting album.

You can listen and download here: http://fractalreverb.bandcamp.com/album/how-to-overcome-the-ego-mind-ep

 

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LUCKY WIDMORE-Howling At The Moon

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 4, 2014 by TheManicBlogger

DSC_9210-1As follow up to their 2012 EP, Long Time Coming, the London, Ontario band, Lucky Widmore, recently released Howling At The Moon. The 6 track album embraces several genres and themes, but remains true to the band’s pop/reggae origins.

Entertainment” has a cool guitar riff and effects, with nice drum rolls, a rockier chorus, and smooth changes. The bass line of “Alex” supports the melody perfectly. The wonderful harmonies in the chorus serve as a counterbalance for the reggae bridge, and the dynamite ending. “You And Me Tonight” offers funk guitar around a way cool pop melody. The harmonies illustrate the pop sentiments floating through some unique instrumentation, and the guitar lw4solo, well, perfectly simple. I particularly like the way the song ends. Pure pop. I hear an island flavor in “Good Day To Die“, highlighted by nice vocal tracks, good changes and a sweet melody. “Give It Up“, plays as a reggae song with rock guitar. The solo rocks, and there are these wonderful riffs throughout the chorus, laying just under the vocal track. Very cool. The Title track, “Howling At The Moon” is the most interesting song on the album. Infused with terrific psych-rock effects and reverb guitar, this song gives up a great chorus, and some nice changes. I particularly enjoyed the ending.

lw2Lucky Widmore continues to write good songs. They have developed a knack for writing amazingly good choruses. The songs continue to show a reggae influence, but the pop sentiments are becoming more and more evident. They write 3 minute tunes with pop melodies, cool arrangements, and wonderfully simple instrumentation. As a result, I was able to listen to more of the song as a whole, and less of any particular element. A good album, and a cool listen. Lucky Widmore is definitely on the right track.

Check it out. Listen and download: http://www.reverbnation.com/luckywidmore/album/75010-howling-at-the-moon

 

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