Archive for acoustic guitar

Bruce Tunkel

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 22, 2017 by TheManicBlogger

 

I started off with the intention of writing a review of Bruce Tunkel‘s latest release. Another New Jersey musician, I thought. I was sent several cds, and after listening to them, over and over again, I have discovered that Bruce Tunkel is not just another New Jersey musician.

The most recent release, 2017’s ‘Bittersweet‘, is a poignant look into the artist, filled with songs that deal with emotional upheaval, love, hope, and depression. There are wonderful melodies, accompanied by beautiful piano and powerfully soulful vocal tracks. The simplicity of using only piano and vocals, adds to the mood of the album, and touches the listener. The songs are well written, and to be honest, I really didn’t miss any additional instrumentation. The exception, “So Many Ways“, uses acoustic guitar and mandolin to exact the same emotions I felt in the other tracks. A brilliant release, one which you should get your hands on. You can check it out here.

We’ll Make It Up As We Go‘, a double cd released in 2015, is insanely good. A very different sound than that on ‘Bittersweet’, this album is filled with melodic Jersey rock songs, with influences as diverse as power-pop, country and blues infused throughout. I heard very cool guitar, organ, strings, and powerful vocals. The arrangements are dynamite, and I was unable to find a track I didn’t like. At times there is a familiarity to the album, and I can hear bits of Bon Jovi drifting in, only to become part of something bigger in the track. Wonderfully done. I only wish I had been aware of this album in 2015. Favorite tracks: ‘Losing Kind‘, ‘Drive Me Sane‘, ‘Dream Big‘,  and ‘Birthday Girl‘.Check it out here.

There was 1 project I was able to listen to, the 2017 release of The Susan Rumors debut album. A pop-rock-blues album that would be a dynamite addition to any collection. You can check out The Susan Rumors here: https://thesusanrumors.bandcamp.com/.

After my weekend spinning Bruce Tunkel cds, I have realized just what a talented artist he is. Multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, producer, songwriter, and arranger, able to pull several genres and fuse them into one cohesive album. Wonderful stuff.

NADINE SHAH- Fast Food

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 3, 2015 by TheManicBlogger

I wish that I had discovered Nadine Shah sooner. The London, England singer/songwriter released her 10 track album, Fast Food, in April 2015, and it is simply amazing!

ns2The songs contain wonderful melodies, great changes & transitions, and a wonderfully heavy rhythm section. I heard the sound of horns, acoustic guitar, organ, and piano. There are cool effects, great harmonies, and some way cool guitar throughout. There is a great Parisian Cabaret vibe to ‘Fast Food‘, and a wonderful mid-east sensibility to ‘Matador‘. The album offers changes & transitions that seem effortless. The vocals are insanely good, darkly emotional, smoky & sultry. The instrumentation is wonderfully simple within a song that is complex, and the production is exceptional. Favorite tracks include ‘Divided‘, a beautiful song with a dynamite melody sung over acoustic guitar and tom; ‘Big Hands‘, with way cool keys, and a melody that delivers Nadine Shah’s devastatingly wonderful voice; and ‘Stealing Cars‘, with its unforgettable riff, is as addictive as any song I have heard!

 

 

ns1Nadine Shah has a style all of her own. Unforgettable and unmistakable! Beautiful & sublime. The songs are wonderfully written, and have been driving some to move uncontrollably. I dig this album. It is wonderfully eclectic. It is alternative. Alternative cool. Alternative wonderful. You can pick it up for the ‘name your price’ fee on Bandcamp. Pay what you can. Get it today!

 

 

 

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ALYEUS-And From The Sky We Fall

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 13, 2015 by TheManicBlogger

alyeus5In 2013 Alyeus set out on a bold journey by releasing the Forty Days At Sea, the 1st in the trilogy of concept albums chronicling a story of war, and a struggle for existence. In October 2015, this London, Ontario band released And From The Sky We Fall, the 2nd part of the story.The concept is cool-events in the mythical kingdom of Eleria, forever shape the lives of celestial beings, and the worlds they protect. It is the music however, that is the real story here!

The album opens with ‘The Architect‘, a short instrumental that sets the stage, and bridges into ‘The Archetype‘. an incredibly melodic track, that offers cool changes & transitions, and some alyeus4great double guitar. ‘Aphorisms‘ is wonderfully mood evoking, and delivers a solid bass line, kick ass drumming, and nice harmonies. ‘Rise Of Dissent‘, is another beautiful, instrumental bridge, that takes you into ‘Celestial Descent‘, filled with dynamite guitar, wonderful vocals & harmonies, and some way cool chanting. The piano on ‘Wish You Well (Eleria’s Rift)‘, is perfect, and the harmonies superbly executed.  The synthesizer and guitar on the instrumental ‘Casimir‘ makes the perfect backdrop for the dynamite effects. ‘And From The Sky We Fall‘, my favorite track on the album, delivers great vocals and harmonies within a wonderfully sweet melody, backed by acoustic guitar, and cool synthesizer. At times, this track reminds me of Styx.

alyeus2And From The Sky We Fall is a wonderful ride. Filled with cool effects, eclectic lyrics, acoustic guitar, and I am almost certain there is an electric drill in use here!! The guitar and synthesizer collaboration is exceptional, and I thoroughly enjoyed the underlying spoken word dubbed in. The album is wonderfully written. Wonderfully executed. Wonderfully produced. This is one cool concept album. Do yourself a favour, and check it out, Listen to it in its entirety in one sitting. It is well worth it. http://alyeus.bandcamp.com/

 

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THE SOLE PURSUIT

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 9, 2015 by TheManicBlogger

solepursuit2It seems that there are times when you just can’t catch everything. A great band often slips by whilst searching for great Indie Music. The Sole Pursuit, from right here in Toronto, are a band that I missed. It was my good fortune to have links to their albums forwarded to me, and so, I can breathe easy. Better late than never.

I started by listening to 4 track EP, ‘Ocean Floor’, released in May, 2014. “The Approaching Wavesolepursuit1offered great riffs, cool changes, and a dynamite bridge. I enjoyed the guitar solo, and the double guitar sound. and adored the harmonies. The sweet melody of “Ocean Floor” is accentuated by some way cool guitar effects, and a wonderful vocal track. The acoustic “Light Overhead” delivers incredible harmonies throughout a beautiful melody. A powerful song. The last track, a way cool cover of Springsteen‘s “Dancing In The Dark“, blew me away. They nailed it! The kick ass harmonies help make this a wonderfully original cover. These guys punched it up, and delivered a driving, heavier version, that is the best best cover of this song you will ever hear!

 

 

Moving on, I listened to the 7 track ‘Opposing Force’, released in 2013.  The opening track, “Unabashedly Unafraid”  begins with a wonderful military drum roll. The vocals and harmonies are great, and the melody is catchy as hell. And check out those piercing guitars! “Sedan” offers some cool solepursuit3effects, a great melody, and dynamite changes. The drumming rocks, the acoustic intro is sweet, and I really like the simple guitar solo. There is an almost Zydeco feel to “Tunnel Metaphysics“, and it works. The acoustic guitar & mandolin serve as a wonderful backdrop to an amazing melody, and I know I heard piano. “The Second Renaissance” has some amazing effects, which demonstrates the band’s willingness to play with sounds. This is so cool! The melody, and changes are amazing, and I really enjoyed the sound of strings. The funkified “It Waves” delivers amazing keys, and a dynamite bass line, wrapped up with sweet vocals, great changes, nice harmonies, and tambourine. There are 2 stand out tracks. “I Devised A Plan” has a wonderfully sweet melody, carried by acoustic guitar and mandolin. Paired with electronics and strings, the sound is simply beautiful. An Amazing track! My favorite track on the album is “A Post Modern Blue“. Cool drumming, a wonderful guitar solo, and great effects highlight this track. The harmonies are sweet, and the double guitar sound, rocks. An incredibly beautiful composition and arrangement.

 

 

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The Sole Pursuit deliver the goods with a wonderfully original and creative take on power-pop. There are shades of progressive rock, noticeable in the intricate changes that  fuse several musical themes together. The result is incredibly melodic and moving music. The songs are musical journeys, taking me places I did not expect to go, and then bringing me back to where I started. Like being on a road trip. They are well crafted, filled with honesty and depth. Listen carefully to the lyrics. Very clever. Very cool! I am a fan, patiently waiting for a 2015 release.

You can check out The Sole Pursuit here: http://thesolepursuit.bandcamp.com/album/ocean-floor

https://www.facebook.com/thesolepursuit

 

 

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DRUCKFARBEN-Second Sound

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 9, 2014 by TheManicBlogger

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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THE MINNOWS-Live At The Belfast Barge

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

minnows1There are Irish bands I like, and Irish bands I really like. I like U2, The Pogues, and The Cranberries. I really like Them, Thin Lizzy,  The Boomtown Rats, and The Minnows. Originally called Tiberius Minnows, which I like to believe is in homage to the captain of the USS Enterprise, James Tiberius Kirk, this band released several singles and EPs from the late 80s and into 2007. In 2008, now called The Minnows, they released their full length album, Leonard Cohen’s Happy Compared To Me.. It was a great surprise and thrill to find Live At The Belfast Barge. This 10 track album contains songs both old and new.

The album opens with “Roonkin“, filled with great guitar, a wonderful bass line and cool vocals. The effects add another dimension to this pop-rock song, with stellar vocals that be-cry “Oh no, I forgot my guitar. I don’t know how I got this far“. The melody and harmonies are dynamite and the changes rock. One of those songs I wish was 3 minutes longer. The previously unreleased “What Was I Supposed To Do” contains incredible horns and strings sounds and opens with bongo playing. An amazing melody, powerful vocals and a way cool guitar riff, make this one of my favorite ballads of all time.”The Steepest Hill” has great harmonies, and nice electronic effects. The transitions and changes add to the melancholy feel that underlies this track. With cello and bells, “Baby Blue” displays unique instrumentation within a great melody. The way cool guitar solo doesn’t hurt. minnows2September 25” opens with acoustic guitar, and demonstrates amazing song construction. The melody and changes are great, and there is another very cool guitar solo. The Leonard Cohen vocal style of “Why Don’t You Phone Me Anymore“, adds to the great strings effect and wonderful bridge. The melody rocks, and the reference to Sinatra‘s  “My Way“, perfectly suits the male chorus ending. The pop song with an 80’s feel, “Another Rainy Day“, offers a sweet melody, nice harmonies, and wonderful changes and transitions. The harmonized vocals are exceptional.  “Free Man Freeman“, a folky song, has a great melody. The harmonies again, dynamite and the guitar riff, sweet. The synthesizer and great “chain gang” vocalization as the song ends, kill. “Sailing On” has cool synthesizer effects, a sweet melody, and great changes and transitions. The vocals and harmonies are wonderful, and the guitar riff rocks. Add an outstanding chorus and  wonderful strings at the end, and you have a great rock song. Not often does a 20 year old song still kick ass, unless you’re The Beatles. However, “Time Flies” is still an incredible pop song with a rock edge. The amazing melody drifts over great synthesizer. The wonderful harmonies, great bridge, and dynamite hook, nail it. This should  have been an anthem for that generation of disenfranchised youth, or at least, an Irish Football fight song.

photoAside from Yessongs, Waiting For Columbus and The Last Waltz, I have never been a big fan of live albums but I have to add 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 past week 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.

Check out The Minnows:  http://https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Minnows/131768390195614, and get this album. You have until March 15/2014 to go to the band’s facebook page, click LIKE and download the album for FREE.

 

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TOXIC MELONS-Bus Therapy

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

tm12So, the story goes that Paul Fairbairn, Pablo Melons himself, was taking a lengthy bus trip and became so inspired, that he  the he got the idea for the entire album right there and then. Why not? George Harrison was said to have written “Blue Jay Way” on a plane!

I first encountered Toxic Melons in May, 2013, and my love affair with their quirky U.K. sound continues with the new release, Bus Therapy, which I was fortunate to get pre-release.

The album opens with “More Or Less“, showcasing way cool  piano and organ, a great melody and super harmonies. The song could be on any XTC album. “Journey“, an instrumental, has a dynamite musical melody that sits under  electronic effects to create a Close Encounters feel. The acoustic guitar of “Let Me Sleep” is reminiscent of early Bowie, and fits perfectly among the weird keys that create a circus tm13atmosphere.  Interesting melody, sweet harmonies and a precise and tight guitar solo. “Disco Balls“, an amazing satire of the genre, nails it, with a great disco beat, cool changes and transitions, and  great electronic effects. The cowboy sentiments of “Just One Beer“, captured by the saloon style piano, hide just below a sweet melody, nice harmonies and cool guitar riffs and runs. “Getting Old“, with its melancholic melody, delivers dynamite strings and horns, great transitions, and a cool bridge. I can’t help liking the vocal track. “Take Me Back” is beautifully melodic, with harmonized vocals that rival The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds. That good! The track kills, with amazing flute and acoustic guitar, and wonderful arrangements. I am particularly fond of the vocals being the primary instrument here. Surprisingly, I have 2 favorite tracks. The wonderfully fabulous melody and sweet harmonies, combined with some way cool piano,  and lyric- “was a need to change the world before her lifetime expired; no complicated reason, just the way she was wired”- had me asking why “Change The World” hasn’t been on a Nilsson album. “Not In Love” has a great pop melody and  lush harmonies. The guitar and piano are dynamite, and I really dig the guitar runs. The bridge is perfect. Great pop song!

tm11Bus Therapy is my kind of therapy. Truly 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.

Check out Toxic Melons and help this band:https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/11591364/toxic-melons-bus-therapy-kick-starter-campaign

 

 

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