Archive for keyboards

THE NURSERY-Digital Ashes

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

the nurseryOne of my favorite Toronto Indie Bands, The Nursery, recently released a 6 track EP, entitled Digital Ashes. I have been a fan  since the 2013 release of Carnival Nature, and they continue to amaze me with wonderful melodies, and socially relevant lyric. These new tracks, at times, seem more electronic, but, these guys make it work. “She Speaks The Wave” delivers a way cool riff, nice keyboards, and a wonderful 1980’s New Wave vibe. “Digital Ashes“, a wonderful electro-pop track showcases the band’s ability to write great melody lines. I dig the cool harmonies of “Ocean’s Of You“, and the dynamite effects on the  instrumental, “Xyloto’s Dream“, are like a trip down weirdly, wonderful lane. “Crystal Beach“, offers cool guitar, nice vocal effects, a dynamite melody, and some sweet keyboards, all with a wonderfully Brit Pop feel. Our Favorite track, “Hexes + Ohs“, has great guitar, and a great feel, with wonderful changes, and a dynamite vocal track, all of which remind me of something XTC. Killer track, and perhaps, a hit single!

An exceptionally fun time created by The Nursery. Wonderful songs, that seem nursery33to have grown darker over the years, but with a blend of pop, wave, and synth pop, that they have made a sound distinctively their own. Still eclectic, and eccentric, Alex Pulic‘s angst ridden vocals pull you in, and hold you there. With a flair for the musically dramatic, this album takes you on an emotional roller coaster. Yes, The Nursery continue to march to the beat of their own drummer, and let’s hope that never changes. Check it out for yourselves. Visit them on facebook. Buy the album. Go see them live.

 

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THE SLEEPOVERS

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

the sleepoversI’m not certain why it took me so long to discover The Sleepovers, but the recent release of this Toronto band’s final installment of their 3 color ep series, caught my attention. So much so that I went back and listened to the other 2.

The songs are insanely good, filled with wonderful pop melodies and harmonies. There are way cool keys, some slick guitar, and a solid rhythm section. The vocals are dynamite, and there are added bonuses of hand clapping, and cool effects.The changes are great, and the bridges, exceptional. There are influences of 1980’s New Wave, Punk, and Power Pop. There are hints of funk, R & B, and electro-pop. It all works here. The elements of several genres incredibly fused with pop. It is complex simplicity. And they seem to be having a whack of fun doing it! After listening several times, I am a fan. .  Our favorite tracks across the 3 EPs: pink-“Friends Without Benefits“; blue-“Bomb“;  yellow-“Death By Misadventure“.  You need to check this band out for yourself. Really!! You can listen to the entire trilogy-2014’s pink EP, the blue EP of 2015, and the January 2016 yellow EP, and purchase them all, on Bandcamp.

 

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SHAGWAGON-The Backbone Of The Night

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 5, 2014 by TheManicBlogger

shagwagon2Orillia, Ontario’s Jack Finlayson & Jacob Thompson are Shagwagon. The band’s debut album, a 6 track EP entitled ‘The Backbone Of The Night‘ was released in July, 2014.

The album opens with “Some Nites“, with way cool production effects, and some dynamite reverb, reminiscent of 1960’s psychedelic rock. The electronic strings are nice, and coupled with the sweet vocals, make this one serene track. ‘The Way That You Move” has a way cool bass line, and what I hear as an electric piano solo, The track has a great chorus with a solid hook, and a wonderful bridge. The cool 1960s vibe is enhanced by some unexpected hand clapping. The nice effects, and slick changes & transitions, make “Morphine” a great track. “Napoleon” offers a wonderfully cool melody, some cool guitar and bass over synthesized effects that slides into a burst of guitar and vocals. The vocal effects are very cool. There are 2 highlight tracks for me. “You’re So Sexy“, delivers cool piano, great shagwagon3vocals, and wonderful changes. The moody, melancholy melody morphs into a dynamite bridge, and then out again. Great effect.The transition into the guitar solo is wonderful, and the incorporation of several different movements into one song is damn cool. Great song. And then, “Thinking About You“, with its great keyboards, cool changes and transitions, and cool vocals, make this my favorite track on the album.The song has an electronic feel, and includes a wonderful solo, and very cool The Beach Boys harmonies. A great mood inducing track that ends with those brilliant harmonies. Killer track.

shagwagon1Shagwagon delivers a terrific album, blending elements of psych-rock, pop, and electro-pop, to deliver an exceptionally unique sound. The songs are well written, with themes that are simple, and innocent. Songs about peace, and love. There are great melodies, and the ability to create mood, and atmosphere is dynamite. The simplicity of it is wonderfully complex. Eccentric, esoteric, and edgy. I am liking this. You need to have at least 1 of these.

http://shagwagon.bandcamp.com/album/the-backbone-of-the-night

 

 

 

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PECULIAR DISCO MOVES-The Domino Effect (And More)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 22, 2014 by TheManicBlogger

pdm3There’s something going on in Newcastle Upon Tyne, England. Something wonderfully strange and unusual. Its in the music. Peculiar Disco Moves, with the release of their 2013 Ep. The Domino Effect. confirms this for me.

The 3 track recording opens with “Chris“. with a great melody, and wonderful harmonies. The changes and transitions are exceptional, and the “cheeky” synthesizer adds just a hint of psych rock. I enjoy the underlying guitar, the great vocals, which have a sort of Ray Davies thing going on, and the awesome carnival theme at the song’s end. “Automatic Choice” delivers amazing piano, some way cool vocals, great harmonies, and amazing changes and transitions. There are great tempo changes, a sweet riff, pdm2and a killer bridge, all within an exceptionally unique track that owns a perfect melody. The final song, “What Did You Do Today“, offers a great bass line, within an upbeat melody. The piano and guitar are exceptional, the harmonies, beautifully sung, and the chorus is dangerously catchy.

I also listened to 2 singles. 2013’s “Joining Fee“, delivers the same wonderful harmonies, piano and changes, but surprises with some perfectly placed effects. “Lost For Words“, the most recent release, grabbed me with its off beat drumming. The way cool melody, guitar and synthesizer are dynamite, while the piano, and harmonies simply rock.

 

 

pdm1Peculiar Disco Moves have pulled me out of a cold and bleak Canadian Winter. Just in time for spring, this album has rejuvenated and reinvigorated my musical being. They are completely and utterly original, following none of the standard formulas. The music is clearly their own. Their originality borders on strangeness, but I am very cool with that. Both the music and the lyric contain that prototypical British irreverent humor found in other bands such as XTC, and Toxic Melons. The songs are incredibly well crafted, stylistic while free flowing, as if born out of themselves. The melodies are pure pop. The harmonies are straight out of the 1960’s, somewhere between The Beach Boys and The Rascals. One of my go to bands. I am impressed. I am a fan.

You can check out and purchase their music:   http://peculiardiscomoves.bandcamp.com/

 

 

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DRUCKFARBEN-Second Sound

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 9, 2014 by TheManicBlogger

druckfarben3I recently received a copy of the new album Second Sound, by Toronto band Druckfarben, and I have spent the last 3 days repeating the same 2 words: Freakin’ amazing!!

The 8 track album is filled with cool keyboards, great drum shots, and wonderful harmonies. The guitar is dynamite, offering wonderfully subtle riffs, and blistering solos. The melodies are insanely good, fused with beautiful harmonies. The bass lines are intricate and subdued.  The instrumentation, rich and varied. Piano, organ and synthesizer appear throughout. I heard banjo, and mandolin. The arrangements are spectacularly full, and layered with texture.

 

druckfarben1Two tracks merit special mention. “Long Walk Down“, a sweet, melancholy ballad with a Klaatu-esque feel, delivers a wonderful melody with a spectacular vocal track. “Second Sound“, without a doubt, the best progressive rock track I have heard in 40 years, is reminescent of Yes: Somewhere between “Siberian Khatru” and “The Gates Of Delerium“, with shades of Tales From Topographic Oceans. This suite offers incredible keyboards including some interesting piano and organ, and way cool violin, that wanders from classical to rock to western themes. The instrumentation in this track is wonderful. There are cool changes and transitions, and a kick ass guitar solo. There are sweet melodies and terrific harmonies. The song ends with  beautifully arranged acoustic guitar.

 

I am not certain why this band has been a mystery. These musicians are insanely talented. It is an impressive work. Standing out is Phil Naro’s vocals.The style, the sound, the inflection, had me thinking Jon Anderson. 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. Druckfarben is the real deal.

Check out Second Sound  here:  https://www.facebook.com/druckfarben/app_204974879526524

 

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MUST HAVE CANADIAN INDIE ALBUMS-March 2014

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 27, 2014 by TheManicBlogger

Spring brings rebirth, and 3 incredible albums that are must haves. Check them out, and jump start the season..

photoTHE MINNOWSLive At The Belfast Barge

Another non-Canadian entry, but just too good not to include here. Aside 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. This Irish band is insanely cohesive, and the musicianship, extraordinary. I keep listening, immersing myself 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.

xprime3XPRIME-The Album

Xprime should be big. 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. This 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“. Check out Xprime’s music, videos, upcoming gigs and where to get this album:  http://http://www.xprime.ca/

alyeus1ALYEUSForty Days At Sea

Alyeus, a London, Ontario band delivers an exceptional concept album with themes that are dark and disturbing, and music that is hauntingly melodic. This is an album that should be listened to in its entirety, from beginning to end at one sitting. If you like progressive rock, and musical themes, you owe it to yourself to check these guys out. Finally, a band that brings back the way cool concept album. You can listen to and purchase Forty Days At Sea here.

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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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