Archive for energy

KISS MY ACID-Individuality

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 8, 2015 by TheManicBlogger

kmaAnother kick ass Dublin, Ireland band, Kiss My Acid, released their debut ep, Individuality, in September, 2015.  The 5 tracks are wonderfully powerful, with cool melodies, and dynamite changes. Exciting bass lines, and dynamite vocals enhance the blistering power chords. There are some cool vocal effects, and the drumming never lets up. There are no frills here. No bells and no whistles. Just cool songs filled with angst & anger. Hard driving, this is pure raw energy. Pure power punk! Favorite track: ‘Revolution’, with its cool vocals, nice changes & transitions, and an in your face vibe, could be a new punk anthem! Check it out here, and then buy yourself a copy. You won’t be sorry!

 

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SIX TO EIGHT MATHEMATICS-Mental Melodies

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 1, 2015 by TheManicBlogger

628Lying somewhere between The Sex Pistols and The Ramones, New Jersey’s Six To Eight Mathematics have reminded me what punk music is really about. Pure. Raw. Simple. Unadulterated. The 7 track ‘Mental Melodies‘ was released 2 years ago, but is just as fresh and relevant today. Pounding drums and driving guitars push the vocals. Loaded with energy.6282 Very cool album. Very cool band. Favorite tracks are “Beggar“, and “No“. Not for the faint of heart. A must for all punk aficionados! Six to Eight Mathematic$ also released a cover of the Christmas classic, “Silent Night” sometime in 2009. Probably the best cover of this song I have heard. Now, to really be happy, I need another album from this band!! You can check their music out by going here: http://sixtoeightmathematics.bandcamp.com/album/mental-melodies

 

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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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STUPIDITY-Move

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 30, 2014 by TheManicBlogger

stupidity3Sometime in the mid to late 1970s, I spent 2 or 3 months in Sweden. All I knew about this vastly blonde country: Abba, Volvo, and Ikea. My image of Sweden changed with my discovery of Stupidity. This garage rock band from Stockholm, formed in 2005 out of the ashes of  Eager Beaver, and The Cool Jerks.  Taking their name from the classic Solomon Burke song, they released their latest album, Move in 2011. Where the hell was I when this came out?

The fact is, I have found it, and this is an amazing album. A sort of neo-punk/garage sound going on here. The album contains great melodies, wonderful changes and transitions, and some very cool harmonies. The vocals are perfectly suited, the bass lines are dynamite, and the guitar riffs and solos, well, just plain rock. The inclusion of harmonica and organ put this album over the top.

stupidity1There are 3 standout tracks. “Linda’s Eyes“, with a great solo, cool drumming and spectacular chorus, is a must listen to. Over and over again. The changes are nice and the hook still plays in my head. The great guitar effects of “Reflections” are insanely cool. The song has a great pop melody, and I hear horns and choppy strings. The vocal track and the heavy drums give this a Lou Reed feel. Amazing track. The guitar into to “You“, the organ, the way cool riff and effects, help provide a 1960’s feel to the music and melody. Another stellar song.

stupidity2Stupidity have mastered the marriage of punk, rock, and pop. This album serves up incredible songs with interesting instumentation. 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.

To check out Move:  http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/stupidity3

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TRACER FLARE-Black Box

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 8, 2013 by TheManicBlogger

tracerflare3As a follow up to the release of their March 2012 EP, Among Us, Montreal’s Tracer Flare released the 5 song Black Box in November 2012,  displaying maturity as song writers and growth as musicians.

Food Chain“, has great transitions, an interesting vocal track and cool harmonies. The soft guitar riff that runs throughout  underlies the distinct progressive rock flavor of the song. The sweet, melancholy and lamenting melody of “Time Bomb” is a wonderful foil for the more upbeat “Madrid“, with great cymbal crashes from Frank Roberts, and great changes. This song demonstrates the vocal range of Marc Morin and the patient guitar of Dan Stein. Add in a change in tempo and some very cool vocal effects, and you have a killer song. “Resuscitate” an up tempo track with a musically punky feel, has tremendous energy that emits  a sense of urgency. I particularly like the vocal effects and experimentation.  And the edgy rock bite. The consistent bass work of Phil Duranlo drives “Somewhere“, with its keyboard heavy sound. There are nice drum shots and rolls which emphasize the story being told here. The emotionality is evident and the elements of Progressive Rock exquisite.

tracerflare2I enjoyed this album. The new wave meets alternative rock with progressive overtones works for Tracer Flare. They demonstrate an intricate use of the instruments with none overbearing. The songs are their strength, and they deliver them with socio-political lyrical content.  The sound is eclectic, a kind of retro-pop-rock with a pair. Definitely worth several listens.

You can listen to Tracer Flare here:     http://www.tracerflare.com/#!music/c61v

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FUR EEL-Perhaps Another Time

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 30, 2013 by TheManicBlogger

fureel1There are bands that I know I  like and there are bands that I know I do not like. Once in a while I hear a band,  and I just can’t decide. Fur Eel, the Regina, Saskatchewan band, released their 10 track album, Perhaps Another Time in 2012, and it has me swimming in uncertainty.

The album opens with “The Blues“, a rock/blues/funk mix with nice harmonies, a cool guitar riff, and nice, easy guitar solo. “Elephant Summer” offers a funky bass line, horns and sweet guitar work. The blues/rock of “Ain’t Got The Time” is countered by the funkified guitar amid a great melody. “The Dance” emulates the Philadelphia blue eyed soul sound of    Hall & Oates, while “Sangria” is interestingly weird.  The funky “Smooth City” has nice guitar work and horns, “All Over Me” is reminiscent of a funk/soul tune by Prince. “The Rhythm” is a funky-rock song with a great melody, stand out vocals and some very cool guitar. While I was not impressed by “Zoo“, the highlight was “Black Mountain“, with great guitar, great drumming, and wonderful changes in tempo and mood. It has a stand out melody and tremendous energy. A song I did not want to end.

fureel2And so the dilemma. Justin Sheppard and Thomas St. Onge write good songs. The sound is unique and interesting. It encompasses rock, blues, funk and soul. James Belle provides steady drumming and with Travis Reshaur, create a wonderful rhythm section. And yet, I find that parts of the album are repetitive. The project needs production work. This band has great potential and they can write songs. I am still tossing it over. Worth a listen.

You can hear Fur Eel here:   http://www.fureelmusic.com/free_album

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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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