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CRASHDOLLZ-‘Punks In Amerika’

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 25, 2016 by TheManicBlogger

crashdollzI had a chance to listen to the new CrashDollz cd, ‘Punks In Amerika‘, several times. The Detroit rockers deliver 11 tracks of hardcore, High Octane Punk, that incorporates elements of both metal, and garage. The songs are filled with captivating melodies,  dynamite riffs, and a way cool rhythm section. There are wonderful changes, some cool effects, rocking vocals, and blisteringly sweet guitar licks and solos.  The album is a powerful, guitarcentric trip through anarchy, and anti-establishment sentiments, delivered with wonderfully angst riddled vocals. CrashDollz offer some insanely exciting, in your face, power punk. Its good to know that there are Punks In Amerika! Favorite tracks: “Murder A Go-Go“, and “Activate“. You really need to check this out here, and buy a couple of cds. And, if you are ever see them playing in your home town, go and see them live. Really.

 

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SOCIAL STRIFE-With Friends Like These…

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 10, 2014 by TheManicBlogger

ss2Well, it is no secret that I like  Social Strife. Not just the music, but the band members as well. In the time I have known them, I have had the honor of calling Sean Farro and Terry Doucette, The Bedlam Brothers, friends. This Toronto quartet released “With Friends Like These…” in September 2014. And now, after a long, hard look, and listen of the album, I am ready to provide a review.

If you like kick in the face rock, this album delivers. Fueled by power chords, driving guitar solos, and ss1heavy drums, ‘With Friends Like These…’  jumps out, bites you in the ass, and doesn’t let go. I still have the teeth marks! This band incorporates several influences in its music. There are pop , punk, and reggae themes, and of course hard rock. Through it all, there are incredibly sweet melody lines, and harmonies, that are never overpowered by the instrumentation. The album pounds away at your social consciousness, opening up your mind for the message that Social Strife  delivers. If  not clear to you,  don’t sweat it; the band thoughtfully included lyrics with the hard copy CD.

There are a few standout tracks.The reggae influence of “MDMA”, merged with the power rock strife65transitions create a unique sound for this band. The cool melody and tempo changes enhance the angst in the vocals. “Aliens And Freaks“, one of the more melodic songs on the album allows Farro’s voice to stand out. The song incorporates strings and I swear I heard pizzicato violins! Steady drums, quieter guitar and great changes, make this a wonderful thing. The album opens with “Denied“, a raucous tune that kick starts the STRIFE with great guitar riffs, a sweet solo, cool changes, and dynamite harmonies and vocal effects. “Wish I Could Be” is melodic as hell. A sweet track with a way cool melody, nice effects, and great harmonies and changes. The riffs and licks are wonderful, giving way to a dynamite solo. The strife27classic punk vibe of “You Were Nothing“, gives the album another dimension. With amazing guitar, a dynamite melody, and a chorus that kills, this song rocks! There is another track on ‘With Friends Like These…”, a hidden song, if you will. Track 12. “Chasing” is found only on the hard copy CD.  My favorite track on the album, this song has it all. A great melody, solid drumming, some amazing guitar, and a dynamite hook. The bridge kicks ass, and the effects are brilliant. I hear elements of Van Halen, but Social Strife make it their own. “I’ve got my own demons, and I don’t need yours along for the ride” epitomizes the STRIFE message. Insanely good song. Do I hear a hit single?

ss‘With Friends Like These…’ is one hell of a ride. Social Strife have made good on their attempt to  bring the strife back to rock and roll. The songs. written by Farro-Doucette, are disturbingly insightful. Executed to perfection. the message reminds me of what rock ‘n’ roll is all about: if you dont like the way things are, do something about it…because you can. A solid debut album and well worth a listen or two.  The time has come for you to get Striffed! You’re going to want this.  You’re going to need this.  Get it now at: http://www.socialstriferock.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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ALEX PULEC-Out Of The Nursery

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 11, 2013 by TheManicBlogger

ap2I have always been fascinated by, and appreciative of weird. After listening to The Nursery‘s Carnival Nature, I knew that the driving force behind the band, Alex Pulec was weird. It was in his music, like hot sauce in gumbo.I had to meet this guy. I got in touch with Alex, and we arranged to meet to talk about music.

We met at the coolest coffee spot in all of Toronto, Jet Fuel. The connection was immediate. His knowledge of music is impressive. He likes John Lennon and Robert Smith. He likes Sparks-the somewhat eccentric and eclectic Mael brothers-and he knows who Echo And The Bunnymen are. We talked about The Beatles. He told me how he met Pete Best at a gig at The Drake Hotel. Pretty cool.

ap4Alex has been writing and playing since his teens.  He was already performing original song at gigs in his first band, The Ruby Spirit, by the time he was 18, This band had the opportunity to open for  Jesus & Mary Chain 2 years ago. His face lit up when he told me this story. His passion is in creating music, writing songs that he wants to write. He views his music as art, and has no interest in creating what already exists or walking anything but the road less traveled. He is aware that he cannot create within a vacuum and has been able to surround himself with people who he believes understand his vision, which can at times be difficult to understand. He spoke about his producer, Tony Malone with the utmost respect and admiration. Tony gets him. And his music.

Alex’s vision is, simply, to create exceptional music. He writes what he feels and sees. It is in him. His songs unfold, taking shape on their own. He has no formula. He has no preconceived notion of where he wants it to go. It just goes.  Recording, for Alex, is the captured moment in time, the legacy of his work. Performing is the high.

ap1He is not just the leader of The Nursery. Alex performs as an acoustic solo artist as well and enjoys the opportunity to perform his songs in a different format. Alex unplugged. Plugged in or not, this guy has his head on straight.  He aspires to create great music, not to achieve greatness. He is modest and shy, and at times uncomfortable speaking about himself. He is genuine and appreciative. He is insanely talented and a bit quirky. Marches not just to a different drummer, but to a completely different band.  But, this is Alex. Very cool.

The Nursery will be performing at The Rivoli in Toronto, on November 9th, 2013.

You can hear The Nursery here: http://thenursery.bandcamp.com/album/carnival-nature

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TOUR WITH THE TONIKS-Toronto 2013

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 13, 2013 by TheManicBlogger

After months of anticipation and a few days of school girl giddiness, the time had come to hang out with The Toniks. All week, my wife had been informing our friends that “He thinks he’s going to hang out with The Beatles”. What can I say? Was I excited?  Like a pre-pubescent school girl with a new puppy! For 10 days all I drank were Gin & Toniks.

htI take pleasure in knowing that I had some part in bringing The Toniks’ music to Canadian ears. Actually I am proud as hell!  I had found them on the internet and contacted them. I wrote a few articles about their music and over time we became friends. When I learned that the English band were coming to play the legendary Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto to promote their new album, Rise & Shine, I arranged to meet  up with them, get an interview and catch the show.

In doing my research, I discovered that this is the 2nd incarnation of The Toniks. The 1st line-up, included Ollie Smith on drums and Jim O’Neil on keyboards. A 4 track EP was released in 2009 and 2 of the songs, ” Wonderful Then” and “Simple Things” appear on the Rise & Shine album . For the past 9 months, the current 5 members have been touring in England and recording.

We met out front of the bar and decided to conduct the interview over dinner. Jez presented me with a Rise & Shine CD and a t shirt they had made for me.  How cool is that? What a great bunch of guys. And a girl!

Colin Marshall

Colin Marshall

Finding a place to eat was challenging. In the midst of Chinatown, Mark announced he does not like Chinese food. Colin was adamant that he needed grilled chicken and veggies. So we headed out  across Queen St W until Colin found us a restaurant. We settled in, and ordered (yep, Colin got his grilled chicken and veggies). I had prepared 10 questions that I wanted to ask, however after the 1st, the interview took on a life of its own. Incredibly cool. It just naturally flowed. This band was open and honest, appreciative and humble.

Mark Taylor

Mark Taylor

The band informed me that the music industry in England has been decimated by the influence of X-Factor and Simon Cowell. It has become increasingly difficult to even get gigs if you are not an X-Factorite. Canada, they claim, is far more receptive to new bands and music than England. And while they see no changes occurring in the English industry in the foreseeable future, they have no intention of leaving. Not yet anyway. While Colin helped the server clear tables (the guy is so ADHD) Mark and Jez informed me that they are the song writers, and described their relationship with producer/manager Graham Dominy as very positive. “Graham allows us to make our music. He just helps show us how to get it to sound the way we want it to sound.” There is no plan or conscious effort in their song writing. “We don’t sit down and say, well let’s write about this topic or that topic. We just start playing and it just sort of happens”. They do believe that they write positive songs because they are positive people. “I don’t like being down”, Mark says, “so I don’t want to bring others down”. Really cool attitude. One of the most endearing qualities of  this band is that they try to view everything in a positive light.

Jess English

Jess English

It’s a tough haul being a Tonik, though. They have no major iqnrecord deal, and have to cover all expenses out of pocket. They hold down full time jobs and devote as much time as they can to their music. The 5 of them share 1 hotel room. Not so bad since they view the band as family.  “I miss not being with them”, Colin said, “but I miss not being away from them”.  But this is one smart band. They have their own publishing company, and their own record label.  They have learnt all they could about royalties, mechanical rights and return on investment. They get that this is not just music. Its business.

Jez Parish

Jez Parish

I invited my buddy, Todd Miller of Radio That Doesn’t Suck to come down and see the band. I had given him a copy of  the new album and he seemed impressed. We hung out with the band in The Horseshoe for a while, talking about the artists who had played there and our own musical experiences. We sat through 2 opening acts and listened to the band talk about how cool it was that people in Canada move up to the stage. “In London, they move way to the back. That’s just what they do”, Mark told me. It was interesting for me to see Colin’s pre-gig ritual. Drummers tend to be incredibly ritualistic. Colin reads a very special book written by and given to him by a dear friend, Danielle. He sits alone and reads his book. This was the only time I saw him sit still for any length of time.

Tom Yates

Tom Yates

When The Toniks hit the stage, Todd and I were front and centre, taking pictures and shooting video.  I watched the crowd as Scapegoat began, and  everyone was tapping their feet, or dancing, or moving in one way or another. What a great opening song! They morphed into “Wonderful Then” and when it was done, the crowd erupted in applause. I knew it!! The band relaxed, smiled and got down to having fun. Each song they played drew the audience deeper into their world. The band was tight, with spot on harmonies. The vocals rang true, cradled in an almost perfect rendition of each track. You could feel the band’s energy, and you just knew that they were having the time of their lives. I am certain they are like this every time they play.  The Toniks are as much fun to watch as they are to listen to. Not just a studio band, these guys love to entertain, to work an audience.  They closed the set with “Figure It Out“. The audience erupted in chants of  “1 more song! 1 more song!”.  “You And I” was the encore. Killer song.   Killer show!

128I can’t helping really liking this band. Not just the music, or the performance, but the people in the band. Jess, the lone girl, is gentle, quiet and oh, so English. Mark is cerebral and tends to worry and wonder, and reminds me of Ian Hunter.  Jez is animated and quite sardonic in his humor, and very much the musical director of the band. Tom is quiet in his cool. He plays in the Gilmore style of less is more:  No shredding.  Just clean, crisp solos. And Colin, well, Colin has enough energy for his band mates and then some. He is an amazingly gifted drummer who plays with the exuberance of Keith Moon’s  “beat the crap out of my kit” school, but with that same less is more style. I just refer to him as Ringo. And yet these very different personalities have come together in an insanely talented and creative band.  It seems a perfect fit. These guys belong together. They are The Toniks. Their camaraderie, well, let’s call it festive. They like playing together. They like each other. They anticipate each others moves and, at times, finish each others sentences.

148This was their first visit to Canada. They said the Canadian response to their music has been great. “Can you believe people were buying our CDs and asking us to autograph them?” They opened for The Sheepdogs last weekend and played The Horseshoe. Not bad for a first Canadian tour.  Todd Miller was so impressed that he informed them that he was putting their music into regular rotation on Radio That Doesn’t Suck. I am determined to have them return for a longer tour, playing around Southern Ontario. They loved the Horseshoe. They loved Canada. And from what I saw, Canada loved them. Awesome music. Awesome band. Awesome people.  I am proud and thrilled to call them friends.

toniks19The Toniks are:  Mark Taylor–Bass, lead vocals; Jez Parish–Guitar, background vocals; Tom Yates–Guitar; Jess English–Keyboards, background vocals; Colin Marshall–Drums.

You can purchase Rise & Shine on The Toniks website:    http://www.thetoniks.com/riseandshine.php

Very Cool The Toniks Videos:

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A music scene in Buffalo?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 13, 2013 by TheManicBlogger

From out of Buffalo,New York, the home of The Goo Goo Dolls and Rick James, comes something old and new.  Two bands, with vastly different sounds have come to our attention and we believe they are worthy of a few listens.

simplexitySimplexity, a Progressive-Rock/Fusion band, formed in 1980. They play instrumental music that creates wonderful images. The songs are long and contain several different movements in one piece. With great off beat drumming, incredible guitar riffs and a fullness created by keyboards, the sound is reminiscent of King Crimson and Yes. The changes in tempo and time signature are so intriguing, that I didn’t mind that there were no vocals. The tracks that I listened to were from their Event Horizon CD, nearly 10 years old.  Currently working on a new project, Black And White, these guys are amazingly talented musicians.  A great listen and inspiring music.

To listen to Simplexity:http://www.reverbnation.com/blinky

crc&haumsCRC & Haums, a new Buffalo band play what they refer to as Rock/Alternative Americana music. I listened to 3 tracks off a demo and was surprisingly glad I did. The instrumentation is simple, with only Haums’ guitar and electronic drums, keys, steel drums and horns. CRC (C.R. Couche) has a great voice. Intense yet sublime, falling somewhere between Johnny Cash and Jerry Garcia. There are great guitar riffs and solos and interesting melodies. These guys  make the kind of music they are interested in making. Original and very cool. Great songs and fun to listen to.

To listen to CRC & Haums:  https://soundcloud.com/#crc-haums

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