Archive for horns

The Counteracts-‘The Curse Of The Counteracts’

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 10, 2018 by TheManicBlogger

 

The Counteracts, the Kent, England duo of Simon Biscoe & Doug Smith, recently released ‘The Curse of The Counteracts‘. With 14 tracks of quirky, pop songs that deal with themes of love and love lost, the album is an incredibly fun listen. Coupled with solid melodies and cool changes, the album serves up a musically minimalist approach that is still able to deliver a surprisingly full and complete sound. The arrangements are wonderfully clever, adding the sound of strings and horns to a 1960s folk/pop vibe. There are elements of various musical styles, from the Calypso feel of  “If You Only Knew” to the singing cowboy theme running through “Here In My Arms“. I heard hand clapping, bells, trombone, some way cool organ, and great percussion. There are obvious Beatle references, evidenced by the ending of “I’ve Got A Crush On You”, the chord that lasts forever on “You Never Listen“, and the Let It Be piano intro of “And I Lost It All“.  The Counteracts have delivered their music their way, and the result is an insanely amount of fun. Favorite tracks: “The Post Bus“, with its circus/calliope feel; “And I Lost It All“, with the Let It Be piano intro, wonderful string sound, and the melodic, harmonized whistling; and “When You Were Mine“, which offers a carnival vibe, great percussion, and a trombone. A great album to take on any road trip. You can check it out and order yourself a copy on Bandcamp.

https://thecounteracts.bandcamp.com/album/the-curse-of-the-counteracts

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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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MUTANT BIRD-Sugar Voodoo

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 10, 2015 by TheManicBlogger

mutant bird2Multi instrumentalist, singer, and songwriter, Johnny Rock, an American now hanging out in London, recently released an EP as Mutant Bird. The 5 track ‘Sugar Voodoo‘ incorporates several genres, merging them into a sound thatcan only be called Psychedelic Rock Hop.

The album opens with ‘Muzzle Dust‘, a wonderfully rhythmic track with amazing guitar, some way cool effects, and a dynamite vocal track. ‘Shoot Up“, offers beautiful acoustic guitar, sweet keyboards, and interesting changes. I am almost certain I heard a cello on this track!! The cool riff on ‘Sugar Voodoo‘ acts as the perfect counterbalance to the primitive beat, and I dig the backing vocals. The horn sounds and hand clapping enhance the wonderful Middle Eastern vibe of ‘The Return‘, and ‘Space Junk‘ rocks with its way cool effects and great rhythm tracks.  Favorite track: ‘Shoot Up’.

 

 

mutant birdSugar Voodoo delivers a powerfully full sound, which embraces and infects my senses. The effects are tasteful, never overpowering the myriad of insanely incredible things going on in each track. The music is exciting, with an original sound that reminds me of what creativity is about. A wonderful time. You can check the EP out here, and then I suggest you purchase it, and show your friends something amazing that you have uncovered.

 

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B & NOT B-Popular Pastimes

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 30, 2015 by TheManicBlogger

bandnotbSan Francisco‘s B And Not B recently released an album that is both Pop, And Not Pop. Popular Pastimes contains 8 tracks filled with wonderful pop melodies, infused with psychedelic effects, soul, horns, and dynamite harmonies. There are great riffs, nice changes, and a wonderful rhythm section. The vocals have a way cool Brit pop feel. The emphasis is on the songs, simply constructed and arranged, with saxophone and trombone thrown in as a bonus. And the reverb on the title b and not b2track is dynamite. An all around fun 1960’s pop event. Not a bad song on the album. Favorite track, ‘Think I’m Falling‘, has to be listened to over and over again! This is one of those albums that you play at home to impress the hell out of your friends when they come over. It is available to download at a “name your price” purchase. Be sure to pay whatever you can afford. It is worth it!  A wonderful pop party in your home album. I just wish that there were more than 8 tracks! Listen & purchase your copy here: http://music.bandnotb.com/ , and like them on facebook:  http://facebook.com/bandnotb

 

 

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JEROME & THE PSYCHICS-Money Is Violence

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 16, 2015 by TheManicBlogger

J&TPFrom Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the soul, rock, R & B, band, Jerome & The Psychics released their second full length album, ‘Money is Violence‘ in December 2014. Now living in Bloominton, Indiana, their influences include The Byrds, The Yardbirds, Pretty Things, Small Faces, and Otis Redding. With great melodies, horns, and organ, Jerome & The Psychics have delivered a wonderful collection of songs that can best be described as Brazilian garage rock. Worth several listens.

http://jeromeandthepsychics.bandcamp.com/album/money-is-violence

 

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THE DISGUISES

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

One of the coolest bands I have had the pleasure of listening to, The Disguises, have kept me waiting for a new album long enough. I am determined to write about this Kitchener, Ontario band even if it means going back to a debut album from 2009. The self titled release contains 13 tracks of pop perversion.

disguises1Hot Air Balloon” has a wonderfully, playful jazz theme overlayed with a pop melody. The vocals, keyboard, and changes are great. The cool pop harmonies highlight “The Brush Off“, and “Gossipy Chicks” is filled with amazing organ and some way cool psych-rock elements. “Blues On A Rainy Day” has a dynamite piano and guitar that can, at times, get lost in the amazing melody and harmonies, and I am certain I hear mandolin in the acoustic,almost jug band sound of “Jacob Eldermyer’s Bleeding Heart“. The showtune/jazz sensibilities of “Pick ‘N’ Reed” are fun, while “Four disguises2Letters For You” , offer Beach Boys like harmonies in a Spanish theme. I would really like to hear this with Spanish vocals! “Slow Down” offers a reggae song with a cool country-rock guitar solo dropped inside of it, and “In A Bind” has a wonderful pop melody, with interesting harmonies and great guitar. “The Dip” is an interesting, almost experimental track, with way cool instrumentation that moves into and out of rock ‘n’ roll with guitar effects and a great solo. Yes, “Funky Disco Cat‘ sounds like it should be a 1970’s disco song. It has a pop feel to it, with cool harmonies, a wonderful change in tempo, and power chords to remind us that this is a rock band. By the way, the synthesizer is perfect. “Animals“, a way cool trip to some psych-rock place, has great effects. My favorite track on the album,  “I Get Sick Without You” has a rock beat with a pop vocal melody line. The guitar is brilliant, with wonderful solos and riffs. A way cool track, that could have been on any Spirit album.

 

 

 

 

ggtwThe songs, written by George Guitierrez and Tyson Webb follow no format I know. Each is a well crafted work of art. Ecclectic, esoteric, and engaging. They incorporate several genres in their music, and make the complex seem simple. The album is filled with twists and turns, that surprise and excite. The album is fun. You can listen at Soundcloud, and even download it for free! A wonderful journey to places you have probably never been before.

 

 

 

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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 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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BONGO BOY RECORDS-The Singles

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 11, 2014 by TheManicBlogger

There seems to be a whack of incredibly cool music coming out of New Jersey, and Bongo Boy Records seem to have their hand on most of it. Aside from the 2013  Mark Lindsay release, Life Out Loud, and the Gar Francis EP, Shine On, this Indie label out of Belvidere, New Jersey has a truck load of singles that they are about to release on a “Singles” album. Being quite fond of Bongo Boy Monique and Garage Guru Gar-the coolest musician to come out of Jersey since Frank Sinatra– I agreed to listen and wax poetic about this soon to be released compilation.

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Jana Peri, the New York City rocker with power pop and punk influences, delivers a knock out tune with “Ballerina Of The Bowery“. Written by Gar Francis, the song has a great surf-pop groove, great harmonies and a wonderful bridge and chorus. The choppy guitar  rocks and the riff, subtly great. Terrific opening track on any album.

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I didn’t know who The Easy Outs were, but  the New Jersey rock-punk-garage band’s “Come On, Come On” is up there on my list of coolest songs I have heard lately. The track has a great 1960s feel, delivered through wonderful keys and an amazing melody. There are great horns, beautiful transitions, and a dynamite bass line. I can hear Gar Francis all over this song. The riff, clean and crisp, and the solo, as always, class, not flash. Consider this a hit.

 

gr2The wonderfully multi talented Genya Ravan contributes a Gar Francis song, “I Won’t Cry Anymore” with a powerful voice and a delivery that made me shiver.  This rock-blues tune reminds me of something that should be on Janis Joplin album, and hands out great choral harmonies in the bridge and a wonderfully R & B harmonized “whoo hoo hoo”. This woman can sing.  Powerful and pleasurable.

 

 

rk3I don’t know where he finds the time, but Rockids is another Gar Francis project. Originally formed in 1973 by Gar and Wayne Olivieri, this garage band recorded Eddie Cochran‘s “C’mon Everybody” in 2012. I love this song. I dig Rockids cover of it. The guitar layered underneath, the amazing Jerry Lee Lewis piano, and the great hook, deliver an incredible track. Might as well stand when you listen, ’cause it will get you dancing.

kcBorn Dainty“, a country-rock song, was written and produced by, you guessed it, Gar Francis. Recorded by New Jersey’s Kelly Caruso, daughter of The Doughboys bass player, Mike Caruso, this track offers some amazing banjo, cool drumming, and a great chorus. The transitions are wonderful and the guitar riff, great. Kelly delivers a wonderful vocal track. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear this song covered by Kelly Clarkson.

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The Swinging Iggies,  with one of the coolest band names around, offer up “Lady Gaga“. This New Jersey garage-rock band is another one of Gar Francis’ projects. The song,  humorous and up tempo, has a dynamite power start. There are great transitions and I dig the guitar riff. Great song. Still, what a wonderful name for a band.

gfrocketOne of the most meaningful songs I have ever heard, Gar Francis’ “Rocket” touches me. This heartfelt tribute to American soldiers, raises powerful emotions as an acoustic number. The vocals are something out of Bowie’s Hunky Dory, and this is not the first time I have made a Bowie reference about Gar. The beautifully played strings set the tone and mood amid the haunting melody. Wonderful lyric like, “rest my faith against my gun”, drive home the message. I like Gar Francis unplugged.

gigi

New Jersey singer, songwriter Gigi, contributes one way cool tune. “Put Your Freakin’ Hands Up” a  pop-dance track, in the Carly Rae JepsenCall Me Maybe” style,  has a great guitar intro and some amazing double tracked vocals. The melody, pure pop and the guitar riff in the bridge/chorus, wonderfully cool. The minimized instrumentation during the verses highlights the vocals that come with some great effects. Wonderful song with an incredible hook.

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Plainfield Slim, Gar Francis’ alter ego, offers 2 blues tunes. “Dirty Girl” has wonderful southern blues-rock guitar and sweet, double time drumming. The slide guitar rocks within a cool vocal track and nice harmonies. I swear I hear a train in there. “Let Go My Hand“, delivers a wonderful blues riff and a great rock beat. I love the guitar solo and the muted effect to the entire track. Jersey blues are way cool.

mark-lindsay_life-out-loudMy choice for coolest song of the year, “Merry Go Round (Christian’s Song)” by Mark Lindsay is a definite bonus. What can I say about this song that I haven’t said in my review of the Life Out Loud album? Way cool 60s organ, great harmonies, exciting guitar, wonderful changes, and I really dig the “less is more” drumming style. The vocals rock, the melody, dynamite and well, this is my favorite Mark Lindsay song since “Kicks“. Coolest song of the year for sure.

Well, there you have it. The Bongo Boy Records singles compilation. The genres are varied, with something to please everyone.  11 tracks destined to amaze and entertain. This album will rock you, and  it will surprise you. An amazingly eclectic collection of songs by incredibly talented artists. I would liked to have seen Gar Francis’ “Back In 1985”  included on this record.  Check it out for yourself and see what’s really going on in New Jersey. Its not just Snooki and The Sopranos. A must have for every collection.

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Check out all of Bongo Boy Records artists:  http://www.bongoboyrecords.com