Archive for new wave

YOUNG BENJAMINS-Losing Our Shadows

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 30, 2016 by TheManicBlogger

YB56It has been 3 years since the release of Young Benjamins‘ “Less Argue” ( read the review here), and the Saskatoon band seems to have found a more sophisticated, and more conceptual sound on their new release. “Losing Our Shadows” available in June 2016, delivers a much fuller sound, highlighted by the melodic interplay of vocals and guitar, and an exciting experimental vibe.

YB55There are great riffs, some very cool fuzz bass, strings, and wonderful piano and organ.  The songs are exceptionally good, with wonderful changes, and memorable melodies. There are elements from various styles, including 1980’s New Wave, Psychedelia, Rock, and Electronic. And it all works. And through it all, Young Benjamins manage to keep their folk roots evident. I suspect that if Paul Simon did alternative rock, it would sound a bit like Losing Our Shadows. There is an incredible array of things going on in here, and it will take multiple listens to catch them all. It will be well worth it. So, listen closely with ears and mind wide open! Favorite tracks: ‘Pawn’, ‘No Love’, ‘All Gone Home’.

 

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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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MEAN CREEK-Best of Mean Creek

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 9, 2015 by TheManicBlogger

meancreekIf what I read is in fact true, I am very sad to hear that Mean Creek has disbanded. The Boston rockers have released a wonderful compilation album recapping an incredibly prolific career that spanned 10 years. A sort of Mean Creek swan song! Released in June 2015, Best of Mean Creek contains 15 tracks, 2 which have never been released, and the rest taken from albums I have been listening to for years. If you haven’t heard Mean Creek before, this is a must have album for your collection. Wonderfully rock, with a 1980s New Wave vibe, mean creeklike Springsteen meets Talking Heads! Insanely good songs, with wonderful riffs, catchy melodies, clever lyrics, and beautifully orchestrated harmonies. I heard organ, fuzz bass, mandolin, tremolo, and some incredible changes. Favorite tracks include ‘Anxiety Girl‘, ‘Young & Wild‘, ‘My Madeline‘, and ‘Do You Know?‘. Do yourself a favor and at least stream the album. You can purchase it at a “name your price” offer, with all proceeds being donated to the Mother Emanuel Hope Fund for the families & victims. A great band. A dynamite album. A wonderful cause. No way you can go wrong. Despite being a compilation, may just be on the short list of the I Can’t Believe My Earz Album of The Year for 2015.

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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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WHEN THE MUSIC’S OVER…

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 13, 2013 by TheManicBlogger

As shocking as it seems and as much as I love music, there comes a time when musicians should just pack it in and call it a career. I am a strong believer that artists must continue to create if they are indeed creating. The Stones continue to release new product, as does McCartney. But what about the other aging rockers who continue to tour, playing the “B” circuit when they haven’t created any new material in 20 or 3o years?

The Eagles

The Eagles

The Eagles are currently on tour. I have seen these guys during the Hotel California tour, and they were great. Always liked their sound and admired the songwriting. I was particularly happy when Joe Walsh sobered up enough to join. I was a huge James Gang fan-Funk #49, Walk Away, Meadows-great music.  I saw the Hell Freezes Over tour. And now, for $700 I can get a floor seat to see these guys play the same songs I have seen them play before.  They have nothing new to offer other than grayer and shorter hair. Not sure, but I don’t think I’ll be going.  The selling feature, if the stories are indeed true, is that Bernie Leadon (one of The Flying Burrito Brothers) will be joining the band for this tour. Wow! Hasn’t been there since 1975. Didn’t really miss him. And it only took Glen Frey 38 years to forgive him for pouring beer over his head. HA! The Eagles have landed guys. It’s time to disembark.

Grand Funk

Grand Funk

There is a Music Festival  in London, Ontario at the end of July. Rock The Park, is sort of a Canadian, hillbilly Woodstock. All of the big names in Rock ‘n’ Roll will be there; Whitesnake, Journey, Grand Funk Railroad and Styx. No way! Yes! A veritable heaping,helping of has beens. And in Whitesnake’s case, never weres. I saw Grand Funk in the early 70s, and they were amazing. I’m Your Captain” is on the My Favorite Song list, “We’re An American Band” loses a lot of its lustre 40 years later!  The line  “we come into your town, we’ll help you party down…”  just doesn’t have the same effect when sung by the  over the hill gang. Its hard to believe there is anything grand left in their funk.

Bad Company

Bad Company

And, wait a minute! The rock supergroup, Bad Company is on the road again, or still, as well. Founded in 1973, this band, made up of former members of Free ( Paul Rodgers and Simon Kirke), Mott The Hoople (Mick Ralphs) and King Crimson (Boz Burrell), were insanely great! I have every album, and believe that Paul Rodgers has one of the best rock voices around.  I have recently learned  that the band that I saw play Maple Leaf Gardens in 1976, will now be taking the stage at Central Ontario’s musical mecca, Casino Rama. It’s been 40 years guys! I love you dearly, but I can’t bear to see or hear it. Contrary to the song,  it seems that I can get enough.

The Spoons

The Spoons

The record companies have certainly done their part to help create this messy turn of events. Canadian new wave darlings, The Spoons have been playing club dates, fueled by a host of re-release parties for product that is 30 years old.  I really do not need another copy of Stick Figure Neighborhood  or Arias & Symphonies. I’m not certain anyone does.

And so, after much trepidation and consideration, I decided that if I were to put my old band back together, I would have to change the name. Rebel  just doesn’t seem to fit anymore. In honor of one of my favorite musicians, the band will be called The Jeriatric Garcias.  But there will not be a reuinion!  There will be no re-release parties, no club dates and no tours.I have nothing new to play! And, as Jim Morrison so eloquently put it, “when the music’s over, turn out the lights”.

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MY WORLD GOES POP

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 10, 2013 by TheManicBlogger

My venture into popular music began with an uncle, 10 years my senior, who was entrenched in the girl groups of the early 1960s. The first songs I remember listening to were the delightfully unsophisticated  “My Boyfriend’s Back” by The Angels, ” He’s A Rebel” by The Crystals and The Chiffons’He’s So Fine“.   I spent numerous hours ingesting  the harmonies and the melody lines of these and other pop classics.

The Ronettes

The Ronettes

And just when I thought I had heard all there was to hear, I discovered The Ronettes. They were amazing. Insanely different. Veronica Bennett, her sister Estelle and her cousin Nedra Talley created a sound so different than anything I had heard before. It was Ronnie’s (Veronica) voice that drew me in. It was Phil Spector‘s production and the now infamous Wall Of Sound that kept me there. ‘Baby I Love You” and “Be My Baby”  kept me listening over and over again. I got my own 45 of “Be My Baby”. I played it and played it. I drummed along with it on pots and pans. I knew every nuance of the song. musically and vocally. I adored Ronnie’s voice and her vocal inflections. I  still do. The power of her voice  blows me away. And so began my epic adventure with rock and roll.

I heard The Beatles many times on the radio before I saw them on The Ed Sullivan Show. It was then that I knew I wanted to be, no, needed to be a musician. I wanted to make music. I wanted to be a Beatle.  A plot was hatched to dispose of Ringo. Why not? I was quite proficient on the pots and pans, and how much different could the drums be? I wanted to be a drummer. I asked for drums for my birthday, and I got a guitar. What the hell. I learned to play and began writing songs.

I dove in to the British Invasion, headfirst. I spent years harboring vinyl from across the ocean. Listening to The Dave Clark 5, The Hollies, whose harmonies were some of the most complex I had heard, and The Kinks, who wrote incredible pop songs and played them like a rock band,  allowed me to intercept the North American bands who were now emulating the British sound. And so, Tommy James and The Shondells, The Grass Roots,  and The Lovin’ Spoonful were added to my ever growing list of must have vinyl. The Beach Boys were added when I heard Pet Sounds. “God Only Knows” is a remarkable song . The harmonies are deep and full. Changes in tempo and time signature reflect Brian Wilson‘s genius. I was set. I was in pop paradise. In 1966-67, as The Beatles experimented with psychedelica, I did as well,  finding  gems in  Blues Image, Spirit, and a host of other insanely talented bands.

The Pretenders

The Pretenders

On my 13th birthday, I received my own drum kit. I had fallen ass backwards into Progressive Rock and was living and breathing Yes; amazing musicians, with the ability to incorporate so many different melodies, time signatures and themes into one perfectly crafted work. Yes led me to King Crimson, Flash and inevitably to Pink Floyd, who made the complex seem simple and the simple sound complete. . How cool was that?  I started a band, but I just couldn’t shake my passion for pop. My fondness for Pagliaro, 5 Man Electrical Band, and Badfinger, created the sound and direction of my musical psyche. New Wave delivered Nick Lowe, Elvis Costello, and The Pretenders. One of my all time favorite bands,The Pretenders were pure pop. Unforgettable melody lines, great hooks, amazingly simple yet catchy riffs permeated each song. And Chrissy Hynde looked so cool holding a guitar.

Gotta Have Pop

Gotta Have Pop

To satisfy my passion, I have always looked for new artists playing pop. Over the years I have found The Pursuit Of Happiness, The Bob Segarini Band, and Sloan. Segarini is pop genius. His ability to hear the music long before it is ever played sets him out as one of the truly great pop song writers. Once referred to as the Canadian Nick Lowe, Segarini’s Gotta Have Pop  is a classic . I have, more recently found some amazing talent out there in bands named The Creekside Strays, The Micronite Filters, The Research Turtles,  Toxic Melons and The Toniks. There are so many more that I have yet to discover. I can hardly wait! Recently a friend of mine who travels The Oregon Trail looking for new music introduced me to No Small Children. I have just started my auditory stalking of this band so any verdict at this time would be premature. He rarely steers me wrong. I will go on record as saying that they have something, and I suspect it is highly contagious as I can’t seem to stop listening. My fondness for all music lies in  melodies and harmonies. It began with the girl vocal groups and is as strong today as it ever was.

https://icantbelievemyearz.wordpress.com/2013/05/28/review-archives/

REDAMBERGREEN-Through All The Days

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 23, 2013 by TheManicBlogger

I am not sure what is going on in London, Ontario, but the proliferation of talented,  young bands springing up in this city is staggering. Redambergreen another party-town band with a penchant for pop-rock music, released their EP, “Through All The Days” in 2012.

rag1The title track has slick guitar work and some very cool drum rolls and shots. With running guitar riffs and tempo changes, this up beat tune has a great melody with an alternative rock edge. “With You”  has a new wave flavor with its choppy guitar, and the opening blast of power chords is surprisingly fitting. The dual guitars on “Lost“,  coupled with a continuous riff,  give this song an almost ethereal feel. “Puppy Wars” is a harder hitting tune that captures the 1980s New Wave sound with exciting guitar work playing over wonderfully precise drumming. Although a rockier song, “Reach” continues to deliver a similar sound. The highlight, the acoustic version of “With You“, has clean and crisp vocals, a beautifully constructed melody and incredible, light harmonies. The simplicity of the arrangement makes this a great pop ballad.  By far the best track on the album.

Prior to listening to this EP, I heard the band’s song “Cobwebs And Cardigans“, released in 2013. This rock song opens with a flurry of power chords and drum rolls, and captures the listener with a vocal melody that lags just slightly behind the music. The vocals are true to the mood and the music. There is an instrumental bridge with an amazing tempo and time change at about 3 minutes, that has a great guitar riff with heavy drums and then, shifts back to the chorus. This song caught my attention.

rag2Through All The Days” is a collection of pop/rock songs that will have you dancing to the catchy melodies. The style is reminiscent of  the  pop-wave band Modern English. I was, however a little disappointed with it.  It sounds under produced.  A good first effort, but I expected more from these five seasoned players. These guys have talent and they have great potential. They write good songs and are exciting to see live.  I anticipate good things from this band moving forward, and I will be listening.

To hear Redambergreen, follow the link below:

http://www.redambergreenband.bandcamp.com/

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