Archive for country

MARINOL NATION-hell’s ditch

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 23, 2017 by TheManicBlogger

 

The latest album from Sarnia’s Marinol Nation, is about to be released. I had the opportunity for a pre-release listen, and I am impressed. ‘Hell’s Ditch’ flows with rock, blues, country, and punk vibes, across themes of life after death, and heaven and hell, told as only Eli Martin could tell it. There are wonderful melodies, highlighted by sweet harmonies, wonderful guitar, as well as mandolin, saxophone, and lap steel guitar. The changes and transitions are exceptional, (check out the transition from “Hell’s Ditch part 2 ” to “Hell’s Ditch part 3“), and the arrangements give the album a theatrical rock musical feel. The album is edgy and raw, with insanely good riffs and solos, and some dynamite bass lines. There is no pretense here, just the band doing their thing. And it is exceptionally good. Favorite tracks include “Serenade“, a wonderfully melodic track, with a full sound, and some dynamite steel guitar; “Song 4 Amy“, a terrific rock track, filled with cool riffs and solos; and “Jesus In A Jar“, a rock and roll tune, that incorporates a punk edge, some cool harmonies, and hand clapping. An all around great time. The album is set for release this summer, on the band’s own Musicwhore Records label, so keep checking the release date on the bands page, and grab yourself a few copies. Share them with your friends. Have a party. Turn up the volume to number 11.

 

 

 

 

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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.

Jenny & The Felines-‘Don’t Judge Me’

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 19, 2017 by TheManicBlogger

 

As a follow up to their 2013 album ‘Don’t Look Back‘, New Jersey’s Jenny & The Felines released the 9 track ‘Don’t Judge Me’ in March, 2017. 4 years in the making, and well worth the wait. Backed by a new clowder of cats, the disc is filled with catchy pop melodies, and is significantly more guitar focused. The songs are wonderfully written, encompassing influences from early 1960’s rock, country-blues, power pop, and rockabilly. There are memorable hooks, sweet harmonies, great changes, and way cool riffs.  The lyrics are brilliantly written, with no subject off limits, and I heard some incredible, yet subtle effects. Dynamite cat-pop! Get yourself invited to this feline fiesta, and pick up a copy. Favorite tracks: ‘Mrs. Pratt‘; ‘Jail Bird Johnny‘.

Check it out here:

 

JAPANESE TONGUE SISTERS-Peacock

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 23, 2015 by TheManicBlogger

jts33Japanese Tongue Sisters, based in Melbourne, Australia,released ‘Peacock‘, a 5 track ep in September 2015. The songs are wonderfully written, filled with amazing changes, great melodies, and wonderfully touching lyrics.

All I Can Regret‘ is excitingly acoustic, with a dynamite string sound, and terrific vocals. The keys on ‘Lose My Head‘ are wonderful, while ‘Perfect Stain‘ delivers a way cool 1980’s electro-pop vibe. ‘Heartbreak Tango‘ has some amazing piano, and I dig the echo. My favorite track, ‘Ma’s New House‘, offers a sweet acoustic track under what sounds like slide guitar, some wonderful harmonies, and a cool country feel.

The album has an ethereal feel, yet delivers a full sound. There are tasteful effects blended into an eclectic ‘Roo Pop‘ sound. A wonderful album with so much going on, it will require several listens to catch it all. Check it out for yourself, and then buy a few copies-share it with your family and friends. Christmas is coming, right?

 

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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 HOT SPROCKETS-Brother Nature

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 29, 2014 by TheManicBlogger

hs6I have been following The Hot Sprockets since their 2011 release of ‘Honey Skippin. I was fortunate enough to catch this Dublin, Ireland band at Canada Indie Week, part of a North American Tour to promote the June, 2014 release of their latest album, ‘Brother Nature‘.

The album opens with “Quarter Roam“, with its powerful vocals, great changes, and choral harmonies. The combination of acoustic and electric guitars is wonderfully melodic, and I think I heard some slide guitar in this track. The melody rocks, the effects are cool, and I dig the drumming. The early rock and roll influences on “Boogie Woogie“, are almost Rockabilly. This song delivers a high energy tempo, with dynamite and unexpected changes, some dynamite harmonica, and a great vocal track. “Shake Me Off” brings great harmonies, cool changes, and wonderful hs3instrumentation. The country-blues sound of “Comin’ On‘ offers some sweet guitar picking, a dynamite bass line, and a great melody. A wonderfully lively track. “Lay Me Down“, a beautifully sweet song, with acoustic guitar, nice harmonies, wonderful vocals, and, as an added bonus, some way cool banjo. The western style of “El Torro“, an instrumental, comes across like a cowboy tune, a great song to listen to on a cattle drive! It brings wonderful guitar, and great harmonica. The powerfully “Show Me The Weight” gives up dynamite guitar and great harmonies.  “Women & Chile”  delivers some R & B vibes, incorporating great guitar effects, wonderful drumming, a cool melody, and perfectly placed harmonica. One great track! The melody of “Someday” joins the acoustic guitar picking to create a simply serene track. “Soul Brother” just plain rocks. A wonderful tempo brings this blues-rock track to life. There are great guitar riffs and a way cool solo, wonderful harmonies, dynamite changes and insanely good vocal effects. The bluesy, acid hs2rock sentiment of “Heavy On My Mind“,  reminds me of Steppenwolf. With a cool guitar riff that drives the great melody, and incredible drumming, what else could I ask for? Well, The Hot Sprockets thought that flute would be a good idea. They were right. Amazing! The incredibly wonderful “Homeslice” offers a great melody, coupled with sweet harmonies, over what sounds like strings and a mandolin. My favorite track on the album, “The Worried Kind“, brings a great melody delivered by a wicked vocal track. The changes and harmonies are wonderful, and I hear strings! The song has a John Lennon thing going on, both in melody and vocals, and I like it. A beautifully written and performed song!

 

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Well, there you have it. Brother Nature. 13 tracks, and not a bad one to be found. I have listened to this album for the 4th time, 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.  A definite must have for your collection, and a definite contender for I Can’t Believe My Earz’  Album Of The Year. Don’t just take my word for it, listen here: http://thehotsprockets.bandcamp.com/album/brother-nature

 

 

 

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THEY’RE NOT CANADIAN, ARE THEY?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 29, 2014 by TheManicBlogger

Frank Gutch Jr. continues to entertain and educate, in a way that only he can. This time he writes about Petunia & The Vipers. Don’t ask. Read the review.

 

P&VWell, he evidently is, he being a guy named Petunia (a name, I believe, last attributed to a pig) and whose band, Petunia & The Vipers, are ready for the onslaught.  That onslaught, gathering steam for the past few years, is going to vault the band not only onto many stages but into many music fans’ consciousness not only because they can play but because of what they play. And what is that?  I’ve been trying to figure that out.

It is country.  Some of it.  It is jazz.  Some of it.  It is gypsy.  Kind of.  It is twenties, thirties, and forties.  Here and there.  It is even rock, as if the majority of rock bands can be as creative.  In the end, it is entertaining as hell and music seemingly made for video.

 

 

What say you to that, music fans?  Most of you are too young to have caught the boogie woogie and rag days of bands like Pee Wee King and Jimmy Bryant & Speedy West and a plethora of others.  Hear that beat reminiscent of Bill Haley & The Comets?  Would it surprise you to find that Haley was, before that, Country & Western?  He had a couple of bands, fronting both The Four Aces of Western Swing and Bill Haley & The Drifters (under which name he recorded two 45s), and even gained a reputation as a yodeler, wearing the soubriquet “Silver Yodeling Bill Haley” for a time.  Ol’ Petunia has more Haley in him than most folks realize.  See, before they rocked, they boogied.

 

 

Petunia, it seems, is following old paths taken by such Canadian greats as Hank Snow and Montana Slim, spreading the joy through the music.  While radio P&V!does not have the power it once had nor Nashville the mystique, the live shows could well put him/them over the top.  The tracks on the latest album, Inside of You, grabs the music and runs with it,  certain tracks such as They Almost Had Me Believing and Runaway Freight Train Heart making it hard to believe that they have not been buried in the archives some 60 or 70 years before miraculously reappearing.  This is roots music, sports fans, done better than you have heard it done before.

If you get a chance, catch these guys live.  People tell me they blow the roofs off on an off-night (though the jury is still out regarding whether they ever have off-nights).  Imagine what they could do when the cylinders are clicking.

 

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Frank Gutch, Jr. is an international man of mystery, searching high and low for Indie music most of us would otherwise never hear. Check out more of Frank’s writing at rockandreprise

 

 

 

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