Archive for piano

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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Bruce Tunkel

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 22, 2017 by TheManicBlogger

 

I started off with the intention of writing a review of Bruce Tunkel‘s latest release. Another New Jersey musician, I thought. I was sent several cds, and after listening to them, over and over again, I have discovered that Bruce Tunkel is not just another New Jersey musician.

The most recent release, 2017’s ‘Bittersweet‘, is a poignant look into the artist, filled with songs that deal with emotional upheaval, love, hope, and depression. There are wonderful melodies, accompanied by beautiful piano and powerfully soulful vocal tracks. The simplicity of using only piano and vocals, adds to the mood of the album, and touches the listener. The songs are well written, and to be honest, I really didn’t miss any additional instrumentation. The exception, “So Many Ways“, uses acoustic guitar and mandolin to exact the same emotions I felt in the other tracks. A brilliant release, one which you should get your hands on. You can check it out here.

We’ll Make It Up As We Go‘, a double cd released in 2015, is insanely good. A very different sound than that on ‘Bittersweet’, this album is filled with melodic Jersey rock songs, with influences as diverse as power-pop, country and blues infused throughout. I heard very cool guitar, organ, strings, and powerful vocals. The arrangements are dynamite, and I was unable to find a track I didn’t like. At times there is a familiarity to the album, and I can hear bits of Bon Jovi drifting in, only to become part of something bigger in the track. Wonderfully done. I only wish I had been aware of this album in 2015. Favorite tracks: ‘Losing Kind‘, ‘Drive Me Sane‘, ‘Dream Big‘,  and ‘Birthday Girl‘.Check it out here.

There was 1 project I was able to listen to, the 2017 release of The Susan Rumors debut album. A pop-rock-blues album that would be a dynamite addition to any collection. You can check out The Susan Rumors here: https://thesusanrumors.bandcamp.com/.

After my weekend spinning Bruce Tunkel cds, I have realized just what a talented artist he is. Multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, producer, songwriter, and arranger, able to pull several genres and fuse them into one cohesive album. Wonderful stuff.

THE COUNTERFACTUALS

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 17, 2016 by TheManicBlogger

counterfactuals2What do you get when 4 College Professors from Northfield, Minnesota decide to start a band? You get The Counterfactuals, whose recent, 9 track, self titled release is cause for celebration!

The album is filled with cool riffs, and wonderful vocal tracks. There is saxophone, clarinet, piano, organ, synthesizer, and some very aggressive drums and bass. The effects are exquisitely subtle, and I dig the delay. The songs are wonderful, offering memorable melodies, nice changes, and way cool arrangements, as they speak of being human, delving into issues of ageing, love, and regret. The sound is full, and has the wonderful ‘live off the floor’ feel. Favorite tracks: “Fading From Bright“; “Might As Well Join In“; “Every Turn You Take Is Right

counterfactuals1The Counterfactuals have the knack of defying genre. There is so much going on in here, every listen reveals something new and wonderful.  You should listen often, and listen loud. It’s a party for your ears, and a party for your spirit. Call it Alternative, or perhaps Experiential Rock. You can stream the entire album on the band’s Bandcamp page, and then go buy a few copies. It’s that good!! Join the celebration.

 

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HAZEN SAGE -Thrive

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 7, 2016 by TheManicBlogger

hazen2I have been listening to Hazen Sage‘s new release for over 1 week. The Vancouver Island singer/songwriter released Thrive in March, 2016, and I am digging this 11 track album. The songs deliver wonderful melodies, with inspired lyrics. There are way cool surprises, tremelo, organ, and piano, and influences of rock, reggae, aboriginal, western, and psych rock are evident throughout. There are cool riffs, and infectious hooks, accompanied by great changes, and dynamite vocals. Favorite tracks: ‘Dead ‘n Gone‘( with shades of Buffalo Springfield), ‘Undying‘, and ‘Tea For Two‘.

Thrive is quite addictive, really, filled with thought provoking, mind bending hazeninsanely good songs, written and performed with passion and devotion. The arrangements & production are spot on, and I like the “fullness’ of the sound. There are wonderful things going on in here. There is never a dull moment! Give Thrive a listen, or perhaps several, and then buy a bunch of copies. A wonderfully exciting album, you should play for the whole neighborhood. Destined to be on the short list for I Can’t Believe My Earz‘s Album Of The Year for 2016.

 

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THE COUNTERACTS-Meet The Counteracts

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

the counteracts3In 1964, I was listening to Meet The Beatles. 52 years later, I have been listening to The Counteracts ep, “Meet The Counteracts“. Coincidence? I don’t think so. The tribute to The Beatles is evident not only in the release’s title, but the cover design, as well. The duo from Kent, UK, have their heart and soul in Brit pop. A cursory listen to the album will confirm this, however I recommend paying close attention, and give it several listens.There are wonderful pop melodies, cool hooks, nice harmonies, and some dynamite keyboards. I am particularly fond of the piano. The vocal arrangements are sweet, and I dig the hand clapping on ‘The Postbus‘. There is a way cool dreamy vibe and Lennonesque feel (particularly in the bridge)  to ‘You Never Listen‘, and ‘Everyone Gets The Chance (To Love)’, has a wonderful The Kinks thing going on. And, as if the album cover was not enough, the homage to The Beatles version of Twist & Shout at the end of ‘I’ve Got A Crush On You‘, is inspired. I like this band. I like this album. A wonderfully uplifting and fun time, filled with quirky Brit. pop. Check it out for yourself on their bandcamp page, and pay what you can for your very own download….

 

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JINXBOX-Unmuttered

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 13, 2016 by TheManicBlogger

jinxboxAnother Middlebury, Vermont band has released an album. “Unmuttered“, by Jinxbox, was released in December 2015, and contains 10 tracks of incredible alternative electro-rock. The songs are well written and arranged, and filled with some great guitar, cool bass lines, and I swear I heard cello and ukulele! The changes and transitions are exceptional, and deliver a progressive rock element. The melodies are beautifully seductive, enhanced by wonderful vocals, and musical themes that vary from something almost medieval, to a raucous vibe in the style of Depeche Mode or OMD. The synthesizers are well balanced, but the piano is what stands out. A wonderful album, that can be played for hours and hours. Check this out! Favorite tracks: ‘In A Jar‘, ‘Me Time‘, ‘Hidden‘. You can listen & purchase Jinxbox here.

 

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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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MEASURED IN HEADS-Revelations From The Gifted

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 17, 2015 by TheManicBlogger

MIHI had the opportunity to preview Measured In Heads about to be released album, Revelations From The Gifted. A wonderfully take on Electro-pop, this Middlebury, Vermont duo, delivers a sound that is best described as avant garde electro-soul. Original & unique, the album is filled with thought provoking lyric, and wonderfully touching music. I heard some great organ, way cool effects, and sweet piano. The vocals and harmonies are dynamite, and the guitar is brilliantly understated. There are cool changes & transitions, which help to create mood and atmosphere. This is music for the heart & the mind! This is one of those albums that you just let play. It is mind blowing! There are an incredible MIH2amount of things going on amid the wonderful melody lines, delivered by an exceptional voice. Measured in Heads delivers the goods while doing the unexpected, and the unconventional.  Listening to this album, I can;t help but feel that I am hearing existence as expressed in song. You have to get this! An album people will hear and ask you “Who is that?”! Favorite tracks ‘Artio‘ and ‘Vignette‘. Check them out on their facebook page, and look for the album on December 1, 2015.

 

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THE 286

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 29, 2015 by TheManicBlogger

the2861Another U.K. band, introduced to me by former The Toniks drummer Colin Marshall, The 286 released a self-titled EP in April, 2014. I confess. I missed it then. The 4 tracks resound with shades of ELO, and George Harrison. “Miracle On 286th Street“, an instrumental track, offers cool piano and bass, with some wonderful tremolo guitar. “Little Louisa” delivers a nice vocal track within a 1950’s Rock ‘N’ Roll vibe. There are 2 versions of “Let The Rain Fall Down“, a shorter radio edit, and the extended play. The track is amazingly infectious. The bittersweet melody fuels the wonderful vocals. There are incredible changes, a cool bridge, and a great hook. An incredibly beautiful song.

the2863This ep delivers. A wonderful fusion of classical themes and pop melodies. The arrangements are exciting. Orchestral-pop is back. The 286 are simply a lot of fun. I am looking forward to the next release. Check them out for yourselves at https://the286.bandcamp.com/ and LIKE them on facebook…https://www.facebook.com/the286?fref=ts

 

 

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THE SOLE PURSUIT

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

solepursuit2It seems that there are times when you just can’t catch everything. A great band often slips by whilst searching for great Indie Music. The Sole Pursuit, from right here in Toronto, are a band that I missed. It was my good fortune to have links to their albums forwarded to me, and so, I can breathe easy. Better late than never.

I started by listening to 4 track EP, ‘Ocean Floor’, released in May, 2014. “The Approaching Wavesolepursuit1offered great riffs, cool changes, and a dynamite bridge. I enjoyed the guitar solo, and the double guitar sound. and adored the harmonies. The sweet melody of “Ocean Floor” is accentuated by some way cool guitar effects, and a wonderful vocal track. The acoustic “Light Overhead” delivers incredible harmonies throughout a beautiful melody. A powerful song. The last track, a way cool cover of Springsteen‘s “Dancing In The Dark“, blew me away. They nailed it! The kick ass harmonies help make this a wonderfully original cover. These guys punched it up, and delivered a driving, heavier version, that is the best best cover of this song you will ever hear!

 

 

Moving on, I listened to the 7 track ‘Opposing Force’, released in 2013.  The opening track, “Unabashedly Unafraid”  begins with a wonderful military drum roll. The vocals and harmonies are great, and the melody is catchy as hell. And check out those piercing guitars! “Sedan” offers some cool solepursuit3effects, a great melody, and dynamite changes. The drumming rocks, the acoustic intro is sweet, and I really like the simple guitar solo. There is an almost Zydeco feel to “Tunnel Metaphysics“, and it works. The acoustic guitar & mandolin serve as a wonderful backdrop to an amazing melody, and I know I heard piano. “The Second Renaissance” has some amazing effects, which demonstrates the band’s willingness to play with sounds. This is so cool! The melody, and changes are amazing, and I really enjoyed the sound of strings. The funkified “It Waves” delivers amazing keys, and a dynamite bass line, wrapped up with sweet vocals, great changes, nice harmonies, and tambourine. There are 2 stand out tracks. “I Devised A Plan” has a wonderfully sweet melody, carried by acoustic guitar and mandolin. Paired with electronics and strings, the sound is simply beautiful. An Amazing track! My favorite track on the album is “A Post Modern Blue“. Cool drumming, a wonderful guitar solo, and great effects highlight this track. The harmonies are sweet, and the double guitar sound, rocks. An incredibly beautiful composition and arrangement.

 

 

solepursuit5

The Sole Pursuit deliver the goods with a wonderfully original and creative take on power-pop. There are shades of progressive rock, noticeable in the intricate changes that  fuse several musical themes together. The result is incredibly melodic and moving music. The songs are musical journeys, taking me places I did not expect to go, and then bringing me back to where I started. Like being on a road trip. They are well crafted, filled with honesty and depth. Listen carefully to the lyrics. Very clever. Very cool! I am a fan, patiently waiting for a 2015 release.

You can check out The Sole Pursuit here: http://thesolepursuit.bandcamp.com/album/ocean-floor

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