Archive for harmonica

KEITH MORRIS & THE CROOKED NUMBERS-The Dirty Gospel

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 18, 2016 by TheManicBlogger

km2If the heavens opened and rained music down upon us, I am certain it would sound exactly like Keith Morris & The Crooked Numbers’ new album, The Dirty Gospel. The Charlottesville, Virginia band released 10 tracks of gritty, southern soul, dusted with gospel, southern rock, and blues.

The album incorporates some way cool harmonica, dynamite organ, and some beautifully played slide guitar. And let’s not overlook the divine choir that swoops down to touch your soul.

km1The songs are wonderfully melodic and moving, poignantly personal, yet they resonate across the universe. There is a prophetic sentiment throughout, and at times, I felt like shouting Hallelujah, grabbing a beer, and asking for forgiveness, as Keith Morris exposes parts of humanity we often wish we could forget about. Favorite tracks: ‘Psychopaths & Synchophants‘; ‘Pale Moon‘; ‘Are You Free Now?’. Incredible album! Without a doubt, one of the best albums I have heard in a long time. Check it out here, and then buy 2 or 3 copies. Play it often. Play it Loud. Let the heavens hear it.

 

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THE MINNOWS-The Sound Of Things To Come

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 3, 2016 by TheManicBlogger

I have always been a fan of The Minnows. It began when they were still Tiberius Minnows. I have, however never been more excited by an upcoming release as I am with the current project of these Belfast rockers.

minnows55I recently had the pleasure, and the honor, of advance streaming of several tracks destined for the as yet untitled new album, set for release sometime in 2016. My comments on the material. as I reported back to the band, were simply “brilliant”, and ” devastatingly beautiful”. I am pretty certain that I also referred to one of the tracks as “I wish I had written that one”.

The Minnows have embarked on a journey into sounds that differ significantly from their previous releases. They have embraced ‘Americana‘, and have taken to it like, well, a fish to water. The tracks are filled with exceptionally beautiful melodies, enhanced by 1960’s California harmonies. There are  “twangy” guitars, and some of the most beautifully, bittersweet harmonica I have heard.  This is real heart & soul music. Wonderfully written, and executed. Brilliant indeed! It is insanely wonderful. I am not sure why The Minnows are not world famous, but this just may be the album that gives them the notoriety they deserve.

 

 

As good as the songs are, the accompanying videos for ‘Oh Man‘, and ‘What was I Supposed To Do?‘, have left me breathless, and reduced me to tears. You really need to see these. And when the album is finally released, get yourself a bunch. Play it often. Impress your friends and neighbors. Treat yourself. Feed your heart, and your soul.

 

 

To keep up with all that’s going on with the Minnows, head over to Facebook, and LIKE their page.

 

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OLIVIA & THE CREEPY CRAWLIES-Tongue Tied

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 5, 2015 by TheManicBlogger

occ1One year after the debut of their 2014 EP, ‘Charley‘, London, Ontario’s Olivia & The Creepy Crawlies have released the 5 track ‘Tongue Tied‘. While remaining true to the band’s Canadiana/folk sound, this latest album contains more pop sensibilities than I had anticipated. The melodies are wonderfully cool, with harmonies that seem to come out of nowhere, and vocal tracks that generally blew me away. Olivia Borkosky can sing!  The songs contain nice changes, and arrangements that include violin, electric mandolin, glockenspiel, autoharp, harmonica, and of course, ukulele. There is even hand clapping on “Supervillain“. The resulting sound is magical! There is so much going on here, you need to listen several times to get it all.

 

 

occ‘Tongue Tied’ is filled with wonderfully original songs, that demonstrate a unique approach to creating music as evident in the resulting sound. It is entertaining and uplifting, with wonderfully simple, yet cleverly meaningful lyrics. A wonderful album, that will make you smile. Buy it! Listen to it! Love it!

http://oliviaandthecreepycrawlies.bandcamp.com/album/tongue-tied

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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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STAN SIMON AND THE HOTEL BIBLE/JJ AND THE PILLARS-Toronto Roots Music

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 24, 2014 by TheManicBlogger

So, I have discovered two  Toronto area bands who play an interesting blend of folk, pop, rock, and western. I suppose it is as close to Toronto folk/roots music as one could get. Both of these bands were on my “must see” list at Canada Indie Week, however  I was unable to catch either due to scheduling issues.Pretty excited by the sound, though.

sshbHailing from Toronto, Stan Simon and The Hotel Bible released an album in July 2013. ‘Escaping The Madhouse‘ shines with 10 wonderfully written songs with wonderful melodies. There are some cool guitar riffs, wonderful harmonica, clarinet, and violin thrown in with incredibly satisfying results. The vocals are soothing, coupled with sweet harmonies. The album comes off with a singer/songwriter focus, which Stan Simon clearly is. A very cool album, with great songs and creative instrumentation. A sort of alternative folk-pop-rock with a western bite. Check out the way cool guitar on “Into Nowhere“, and the clarinet on “My Drunk Heart“. Definitely one for the collection. You can have a listen here: http://stansimon.bandcamp.com/album/escaping-the-madhouse

 

 

jj1Another Toronto based band,  JJ & The Pillars are originally from Peterborough, Ontario. Winners of The Edge’s Next Big Thing competition, the band released their 7 track album, ‘Wolves“, in August 2014.  Each song is filled with wonderfully soothing acoustic guitar, exciting melodies, and exceptional harmonies. There are dynamic changes, some great drumming, and cool harmonica. The vocals are insanely good as they deliver poignant lyrics.   The songs are hypnotic, offering great melodies, wonderful harmonies, and way cool changes and transitions. Pay particular attention to “Ship Away“, “Gone With Me“, and “I’m On Fire“. A wonderful folk-pop sound, highlighted by amazing harmonies. A must have for your collection. Beautiful. Check it out here: http://jjandthepillars.bandcamp.com/album/wolves-2

 

 

 

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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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THE AFTER HOURS-Shaken, Not Stirred

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 24, 2014 by TheManicBlogger

afterhours2I was beginning to think that the only way I was going to find any decent pop music to listen to, was to focus on bands from the U.K. Until now. The After Hours, hailing from Los Angeles, have released a dynamite album, “Shaken, Not Stirred“, that has restored my faith in the resurgence of classic pop on this side of the Atlantic.

There is an amazing 1960’s surf music feel to “Here To Stay“, with its cool guitar riff and solo that involves a whammy bar! The melody & harmonies are pure California pop, and the unforgettable hook is surpassed only by the “big finish” and by the different guitar sounds within this track. “Going To The Go Go“, with its 1950’s rock & roll/garage style, has a dynamite bass line, and way cool harmonica. The changes and bridge are nice, the riff amazing, and the harmonies have me wondering which part I should sing. A wonderful pop song, “Keep Her Satisfied“, has amazing harmonies, a great melody and a sweet 1960’s feel. The guitar is after hours1particularly amazing. “The Lonely Boys“, with its power-pop/rock ‘n’ roll style offers a great vocal track, a cool melody with great harmonies, and dynamite changes. The guitar kills, and I dig the hand clapping. My favorite track on the album, “Kaliedoscopic“, is pure 1960’s psych rock/pop, sort of The Monkees going psychedelic. The harmonies which are utilized as an additional instrument, and vocals are dynamite. The changes and effects, perfect. The drumming rocks and the mysical bridge that incorporates organ is wonderful. The way cool riff makes this song. Check it out!

afterhours3I really like this band, 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.

Check out and purchase “Shaken, Not Stirred”: http://theafterhrs.bandcamp.com/album/shaken-not-stirred

 

 

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