Archive for 1970s

2014 INDIE ALBUM OF THE YEAR

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 15, 2014 by TheManicBlogger

With a significant number of quality Indie releases this year, narrowing a list down to 10 albums, worthy of I Can’t Believe My Earz‘  2014 Indie Album Of The Year, was no easy task. There are some honorable mentions: Neverfriend-‘Evolve‘, The Everywheres-‘Habitualism‘, Harbour-‘Grade School Summer‘ & Social Strife-‘With Friends Like These…’.  We listened to them all, and here is our pick for the top 10 Indie Albums of 2014.

 

#10     DRUCKFARBEN————–‘Second Sound’

druck I am not certain why Druckfarben has been a mystery. These Toronto based musicians are insanely talented. It is an impressive work.   ‘Second Sound offers wonderful musical themes in an array of movements that are woven together in layers to create an incredible musical journey. This is way cool arena rock, out of the 1970s, with a 21st century bite. If you like Progressive-Rock, Druckfarben is the real deal.

 

 

#9     THE RED RAILS———-A Living Fiction

theredrailsno2The Red Rails offer ‘A Living Fiction‘, a classic rock sound immersed in blues.  The Ottawa band has a sound that reminds me of Cream meets The Black Crowes. With a 21st century edge. I like it! This is not background music. This is an album you play in its entirety. In your car. While taking a 40 minute drive down a highway. Make sure it is a highway. You cannot drive slow while listening.

 

 

 

#8     THE SATISFACTORS——–‘The Satisfactors’

the satisThe Satisfactors self titled debut album. It rocks from beginning to end with a wonderful garage groove. The songs are amazing. They are wonderfully crafted, and played with a beat that just doesn’t stop. Bruce’s vocals are great. Cool to hear from  Jersey’s Fantastic 4! The bass lines, and  guitar riffs are insanely good, and I like the less is more approach to the drumming.  This is rock ‘n’ roll the way it is meant to be played! This is Rock Til You Drop! This is The Satisfactors!

 

 

#7     SOUTH OF BLOOR——‘The Street’

south of bloorThis Toronto band has re-generated my lust for pop with the release of ‘The Street‘. 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.

 

 

 

#6     TOXIC MELONS———‘Bus Therapy’

tm ‘Bus Therapy‘ is my kind of therapy. This album by Northern England’s Toxic Melons is inspiring, soul touching, and mind altering. The album plays like a journey through a toxic mind, but that’s ok. The songs are pop heaven, with shades of folk, blues, electronic, and some western influences. This Paul Fairbairn can write songs. The melodies are out of this world, and the harmonies, well, remind me of The Beach Boys. The music is wonderfully eccentric.The album is insanely addictive. It has me singing along and I haven’t figured out all of the lyrics yet!  An amazing compilation of great songs that has been placed on my must have list. Very cool.

 

 

#5     THE MINNOWS———‘Live At The Belfast Barge’

the minnowsAside from Yessongs, Waiting For Columbus and The Last Waltz, I have never been a big fan of live albums, but I have to add this Irish band’s ‘Live At The Belfast Barge to the list of great live albums. The songs are as wonderful as I remember them, and they stand up to the passage of time. The band is insanely cohesive, and the musicianship, extraordinary. I have spent the better part of the year immersed in The Minnows and I can tell you that swimming with the fishes is not a bad thing. This is a must for your collection.

 

 

#4     THE CORSETS———–‘Are You Lonely, Are You Scared’

the corsets

Are You Lonely, Are You Scared is a wonderful adventure. Toronto’s The Corsets manage to harness their individual talents into a harmonic whole that is indeed the sum of its parts. Each is easily identifiable, yet needs the other parts to be heard. The energy level is wonderfully exciting, and the songs well, incredibly creative. Add this to your collection. It is that good.

 

 

 

#3     XPRIME——–‘The Album’

xprimeXprime should be big. Hailing from Niagara Falls, Ontario, they write incredibly melodic songs with amazing harmonies and unforgettable hooks. These are talented musicians who seem to be having fun with every note played. ‘The Album‘ is a must have album. Give it 4 or 5 listens. At least. Pay particular attention to “To See You Here“, a 70′s pop-folk tune that reminds me of Poco, “Feels Like I’m The Only One“, a way cool song with R & B overtones, and “Early To The Sun“.

 

 

#2     THE AFTER HOURS——-‘Shaken, Not Stirred’

the after hoursI really like Los Angeles’ The After Hours. I am a fan! They cite among their many influences The Beatles, The Beach Boys, The Kinks, The Byrds, The Zombies, The Hollies and The Turtles. Is it any wonder their music has wonderful 1960′s melodies, harmonies and riffs?  The vocals and the guitar work stand out. ‘Shaken, Not Stirred captures the essence of 60′s music. The songs are wonderfully written, and demonstrate a remarkable ability to integrate all of their influences into one cohesive and coherent sound. This is a must have album.

 

And, finally, the I Can’t Believe My Earz Indie Album Of The Year for 2014…

 

#1     THE HOT SPROCKETS——‘Brother Nature’

hsBrother Nature‘ by Ireland’s The Hot Sprockets. 13 tracks, and not a bad one to be found. I have listened to this album over and over, and it just keeps getting better. The songs are insanely good. The production, wonderful. These guys can write. These guys can play. The album has a ‘live off the floor’ feel to it. I haven’t heard this much energy in an album in a long time. The Hot Sprockets refer to their music as ‘country dirt”. I prefer to call it Irish Soul! Brother Nature is one of the most powerful albums I have heard in 2014, filled with the unusual, and the unexpected.

 

And there you have it. 10 exceptional albums. The I Can’t Believe My Earz picks for 2014. Give them a listen. Purchase them. Support Indie Music, and Indie bands.

 

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THE DISGUISES

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

One of the coolest bands I have had the pleasure of listening to, The Disguises, have kept me waiting for a new album long enough. I am determined to write about this Kitchener, Ontario band even if it means going back to a debut album from 2009. The self titled release contains 13 tracks of pop perversion.

disguises1Hot Air Balloon” has a wonderfully, playful jazz theme overlayed with a pop melody. The vocals, keyboard, and changes are great. The cool pop harmonies highlight “The Brush Off“, and “Gossipy Chicks” is filled with amazing organ and some way cool psych-rock elements. “Blues On A Rainy Day” has a dynamite piano and guitar that can, at times, get lost in the amazing melody and harmonies, and I am certain I hear mandolin in the acoustic,almost jug band sound of “Jacob Eldermyer’s Bleeding Heart“. The showtune/jazz sensibilities of “Pick ‘N’ Reed” are fun, while “Four disguises2Letters For You” , offer Beach Boys like harmonies in a Spanish theme. I would really like to hear this with Spanish vocals! “Slow Down” offers a reggae song with a cool country-rock guitar solo dropped inside of it, and “In A Bind” has a wonderful pop melody, with interesting harmonies and great guitar. “The Dip” is an interesting, almost experimental track, with way cool instrumentation that moves into and out of rock ‘n’ roll with guitar effects and a great solo. Yes, “Funky Disco Cat‘ sounds like it should be a 1970’s disco song. It has a pop feel to it, with cool harmonies, a wonderful change in tempo, and power chords to remind us that this is a rock band. By the way, the synthesizer is perfect. “Animals“, a way cool trip to some psych-rock place, has great effects. My favorite track on the album,  “I Get Sick Without You” has a rock beat with a pop vocal melody line. The guitar is brilliant, with wonderful solos and riffs. A way cool track, that could have been on any Spirit album.

 

 

 

 

ggtwThe songs, written by George Guitierrez and Tyson Webb follow no format I know. Each is a well crafted work of art. Ecclectic, esoteric, and engaging. They incorporate several genres in their music, and make the complex seem simple. The album is filled with twists and turns, that surprise and excite. The album is fun. You can listen at Soundcloud, and even download it for free! A wonderful journey to places you have probably never been before.

 

 

 

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THE RED RAILS-A Living Fiction

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 23, 2014 by TheManicBlogger

Something is happening in Ottawa, besides the usual graft and deceit propagated by politicians and bureaucrats. The local music scene in Canada‘s capital just keep delivering music from some wonderfully talented bands.

theredrailsno3A Living Fiction“, the new album by Ottawa’s The Red Rails, is scheduled for release on Wolf Stomp Records in July, 2014. I have previewed the 10 track album, and was not disappointed. The album rocks from start to finish, beginning and ending with way cool reverb on “Prisoner” and “Fill My Hands“. I found wonderful ‘fuzz’  in “On The Line“, and a 1970’s melodic rock feel while listening to “In A Whisper“. There are great effects, and a western style guitar/tex-mex sentiment to “One In The Attack“, and beautiful acoustic guitar in “The Ocean“. “Lions” offers a way cool mini drum solo, and I dig the  funk bass line, and way cool guitar found in “Beast“. I heard great changes and transitions throughout, but I particularly enjoyed the changes in tempo and time signature evident in “Save Her Soul“.

 

 

theredrailsno2The Red Rails offer a classic rock sound immersed in blues.  A sort of Cream meets The Black Crowes. With a 21st century edge. I like it! This is not background music. This is an album you play in its entirety. In your car. While taking a 40 minute drive down a highway. Make sure it is a highway. You cannot drive slow while listening. A serious contender for Canadian Indie Album Of The Year.

Check out the 1st single off ‘A Living Fiction’:  https://soundcloud.com/theredrails/on-the-line

 

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MUST HAVE CANADIAN INDIE ALBUMS-April 2014

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 27, 2014 by TheManicBlogger

DruckfarbenSecond Sound

druckfarben3

I am not certain why this Toronto band has been a mystery. These musicians are insanely talented. It is an impressive work. Standing out is Phil Naro‘s vocals.The style, the sound, the inflection, had me thinking Jon Anderson. Second Sound offers wonderful musical themes in an array of movements that are woven together in layers to create an incredible musical journey. This is way cool arena rock, out of the 1970s, with a 21st century bite. Druckfarben is the real deal.

 

StupidityMove

stupidity2Not Canadian, but the Swedish band, Stupidity have mastered the marriage of punk, rock, and pop. This album serves up incredible songs with interesting instrumentation. and a few very cool surprises. This is definitely not Ikea. This album is boundless energy. This is one for the collection. And the car.  Catch them live, whenever you can. As often as you can. Incredible band

 

Peculiar Disco MovesThe Domino Effect

pdm1From North-Eastern U.K., Peculiar Disco Moves have pulled me out of a cold and bleak Canadian Winter. Just in time for spring, this album has rejuvenated and reinvigorated my musical being. They are completely and utterly original, following none of the standard formulas. The music is clearly their own. Their originality borders on strangeness, but I am very cool with that. Both the music and the lyric contain that prototypical British irreverent humor found in other bands such as XTC, and Toxic Melons. The songs are incredibly well crafted, stylistic while free flowing, as if born out of themselves. The melodies are pure pop. The harmonies are straight out of the 1960’s, somewhere between The Beach Boys and The Rascals. One of my go to bands. I am impressed. I am a fan.

 

The After HoursShaken, Not Stirred

afterhours3I really like Los Angeles‘ The After Hours. I am a fan! They cite among their many influences The Beatles, The Beach Boys, The Kinks, The Byrds, The Zombies, The Hollies and The Turtles. Is it any wonder their music has wonderful 1960’s melodies, harmonies and riffs?  The vocals and the guitar work stand out. Shaken, Not Stirred” captures the essence of 60’s music. The songs are wonderfully written, and demonstrate a remarkable ability to integrate all of their influences into one cohesive and coherent sound. This is a must have album. I will be getting 2, as I am certain I will be playing 1 of them into oblivion.

 

 

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DRUCKFARBEN-Second Sound

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druckfarben3I recently received a copy of the new album Second Sound, by Toronto band Druckfarben, and I have spent the last 3 days repeating the same 2 words: Freakin’ amazing!!

The 8 track album is filled with cool keyboards, great drum shots, and wonderful harmonies. The guitar is dynamite, offering wonderfully subtle riffs, and blistering solos. The melodies are insanely good, fused with beautiful harmonies. The bass lines are intricate and subdued.  The instrumentation, rich and varied. Piano, organ and synthesizer appear throughout. I heard banjo, and mandolin. The arrangements are spectacularly full, and layered with texture.

 

druckfarben1Two tracks merit special mention. “Long Walk Down“, a sweet, melancholy ballad with a Klaatu-esque feel, delivers a wonderful melody with a spectacular vocal track. “Second Sound“, without a doubt, the best progressive rock track I have heard in 40 years, is reminescent of Yes: Somewhere between “Siberian Khatru” and “The Gates Of Delerium“, with shades of Tales From Topographic Oceans. This suite offers incredible keyboards including some interesting piano and organ, and way cool violin, that wanders from classical to rock to western themes. The instrumentation in this track is wonderful. There are cool changes and transitions, and a kick ass guitar solo. There are sweet melodies and terrific harmonies. The song ends with  beautifully arranged acoustic guitar.

 

I am not certain why this band has been a mystery. These musicians are insanely talented. It is an impressive work. Standing out is Phil Naro’s vocals.The style, the sound, the inflection, had me thinking Jon Anderson. Second Sound offers wonderful musical themes in an array of movements that are woven together in layers to create an incredible musical journey. This is way cool arena rock, out of the 1970s, with a 21st century bite. Druckfarben is the real deal.

Check out Second Sound  here:  https://www.facebook.com/druckfarben/app_204974879526524

 

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ALYEUS-Forty Days At Sea

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 16, 2014 by TheManicBlogger

alyeus3I have always been a fan of progressive rock. Most of my 20s were spent listening to Yes, King Crimson, Pink Floyd, and Flash. My interest in the resurgence of progressive rock bands currently releasing material in Canada, is piqued every time I discover a new one. Alyeus (pronounced Ah-lie-us), another London, On band, released their 12 track debut album, Forty Days At Sea, in September, 2013. As part of a 3 album project, the first release is actually the middle piece of the opus. Only a prog-rock band could make sense in that. Citing Pink Floyd, Dream Theatre, and Black Sabbath among their influences, these guys have a unique take on the genre.

The ambient, atmospheric rock that filled arenas in the 1970s, wafts through this album on waves of hard rock. Forty Days At Sea is filled with wonderful changes and transitions. There are beautiful harmonies, particularly the operatic sounds on “VII“. The guitars are amazing, playing hard alyeus2rock riffs over progressive instrumentation. The riff in “Triton’s Horn” is reminiscent of Steve Howe, while the power chords convey the energy of this band. There are cool effects, and some amazing bass on “The Chambers” and “The Keeper“. The vocals are cool, laying somewhere between Geddy Lee and Jon Anderson, and the drumming is spectacular throughout.  The music is incredibly melodic, with wonderful themes woven in. There are way cool tempo and time signature changes.The use of instrumentals throughout the album, serves to set the mood for the next theme. Pay particular attention to “Dreaming In Waves“, and “Elysium“, which evokes shades of Yes’ Tales From Topographic Oceans. The coolest song on the album, “Forty Days At Sea“, is a great song in any genre.

alyeus1Alyeus delivers an exceptional concept album with themes that are dark and disturbing, and music that is hauntingly melodic. This is an album that should be listened to in its entirety, from beginning to end at one sitting. If you like progressive rock, and musical themes, you owe it to yourself to check these guys out. Finally, a band that brings back the way cool concept album. You can listen to and purchase Forty Days At Sea here.

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JON MULLANE-Shine

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What do you get when a Canadian boy from Halifax, Nova Scotia walks into New Jersey garage? Jon Mullane. His most recent album, Shine, caught the attention of Indie label, and keeper of the Jersey sound, Bongo Boy Records. They were so impressed, they signed him. jm3The ballad, “The One That Got Away“,  has a hauntingly beautiful melody. There are great changes, sweet harmonies, and I like the piano. The 1960’s pop song “Take Me Away“,  offers amazing changes, a cool guitar riff, a great musical hook, and hand clapping that has this track destined to become a classic. “So Into You“, with its wonderfully subtle guitar, demonstrates once again that less, is indeed more. The background vocals are terrific. The up tempo “Shine On Tonight“, has a nice groove. The chorus and bridge rock and the  synth gives this track a 1970’s-1980’s feel. “In Your Life” opens with vocals and guitar only, and adds some great keyboards. There are nice effects and harmonies.  “Born Beautiful” gives up some great changes and transitions. The guitar riff and vocals are great, and the drumming rocks. The synth sounds of “Body Rock” give it a fullness that supports the great guitar riff, powerful vocals and wonderful hook. Add to this the sound of horns, and you’ve got an amazing song. “Any Other Way” has a beautiful melody and some cool jm1acoustic guitar. There is a great bridge, but this track is all about the melody and the vocals. “Way Up” and “Way Up (Radio Mix)” are similar versions of 21st Century pop. The overlapping vocal tracks, cool guitar riff and solo, and driving beat, make for a cool tune, a surprisingly great dance tune! My favorite track, “My New American Girlfriend”  had me thinking garage pop-rock at first listen. On the second listen I heard a wonderful summer on the beach feeling. This Beach-Rock song delivers a great melody, and some great power chords in the chorus. The vocals are wonderful and the lyric contain soon to be classic lines-“she’s original, not so typical, a little naughty, but nice”, and “photogenically, schizophrenically, she’s broken all of the rules”. Amazing. The solid hook, dead on vocals, and wonderful background vocal arrangements, make this one way cool track. A wonderful song, that rocks all of the way through. Seems this Canadian boy has struck gold with his new American girl. jm2Shine rocks. It rocks Halifax and Jersey. Jon Mullane writes amazing songs with exceptional melodies. He has that cool, gravelly voice, and subtle approach to instrumentation. His passion for 1960’s pop and 1970’s garage create a near perfect hybrid  of garage-pop. And he looks the part. White t shirt, jeans, and a bit of a snarl that reminds me of early Springsteen. But Mullane is his own force to be reckoned with. With three singles already lifted from the album-My New American Girl, Body Rock, and Any Other Way, and several more to chose from, Great things are happening for Jon, and I anticipate many more. With Bongo Boy Records behind him, I am certain they will come. A great writer, a great musician, a great album. One of the coolest albums I have had the good fortune to have listened to. Congratulations, Jon. Well done. Definitely one for your collection and your car. You can listen to Jon Mullane: https://myspace.com/jonmullane bb Check out Jon and other great artists at:  http://www.bongoboyrecords.com         newlogo https://icantbelievemyearz.wordpress.com/2013/05/28/review-archives/ Follow us on twitter:

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