Archive for pop rock

THE QUIET THINGS-The Fall

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

thequietthings2Toronto pop-rocksters, The Quiet Things released ‘The Fall‘ in March 2015. An amazing album, filled with incredible power pop songs from one of my new favorite bands. The tracks contain wonderful melodies, great changes, and dynamite arrangements. The vocals and harmonies rock, and I was impressed with the acoustic/electric mix throughout. Highlights include ‘Charmer“, with great changes, way cool guitar effects, and sweet harmonies; the energy of ‘Kiss On The Mouth‘; ‘One‘, with its brilliant acoustic-electric blend; and my favorite track, ‘The Fall ll‘, offers wonderful tempo changes, dynamite vocals, and a guitar solo, that will make you get your lighters out! And don’t forget to check out the riff on the extended version of ‘Secrets‘.

the quiet things1I am liking this album. The vocals are wonderful, and the songs are exceptional. Incredibly original music, with the ability to create mood. The songs are wonderfully original, unique, and way cool. From beginning to end, it will have you tapping your feet, and trying to sing along. It gets inside you, and you just can’t get it out! Not a bad thing though, since The Fall is insanely good!  Definitely a must have album, and certainly in contention for the I Can’t Believe My Earz Indie Album of The Year for 2015. Check out and like The Quiet Things on facebook,  and listen to and order 3 or 4 copies of The Fall.  http://thequietthingsmusic.bandcamp.com/album/the-fall Give a few to your friends. They will appreciate it!!!

 

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AUKLAND-Rookie

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 20, 2015 by TheManicBlogger

aukland2So, now there are 2 things from Mississauga, On that impress me: Hazel McCallion, and pop-rockers Aukland, who recently released their album, Rookie.With 10 exceptional songs, filled with wonderfully exciting melodies, cool riffs, a dynamic rhythm section, and great changes, I haven’t wanted to stop listening. The fullness of the sound pulls the album together, and the incredible energy level keeps aukjland1me wanting more. The arrangements are great, and I am particularly fond of the 2 guitar sound. Notable tracks include ‘Doing It Right‘, with its cool backing vocals; ‘Worry Some‘, which delivers a dynamite melody, and way cool guitar; and ‘Open Fire‘, which has a nice 1980’s Wave vibe. Pay particular attention to ‘Curtains & Lights’.  offering a great vocal track, and a beautiful riff. A wonderful song with an exceptional melody, this is a great closing track, for an album and a live performance. The longest track on the album, this could be Aukland’s ‘Free Bird’.

 

 

 

The album rocks. An incredibly fun time, filled with way cool music. The kind of music you crank up on a drive down the highway. Something you should definitely add to your collection. Check it out for yourself.  http://aukland.bandcamp.com/album/rookie and to keep up with events and news, follow them on facebook  https://www.facebook.com/thatstreetnamed?fref=ts

 

 

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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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MARK LINDSAY-Life Out Loud

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 1, 2014 by TheManicBlogger

I am a huge Mark Lindsay fan. Have been since the mid 1960s.  Really liked Paul Revere and The Raiders. What was not to like? Songs like “Kicks“,  “Him or me-What’s it gonna be?“, “Hungry” and “Cinderella Sunshine” kept me heading down to Toronto’s Sam The Record Man to purchase Raider albums.

ml2I knew Mark Lindsay could sing. I knew he could write. I knew that he also produced several Raider albums around 1968, including Something’s Happening. Hard ‘N; Heavy, and Alias Pink Puzz.-I read liner notes. There was a solo career and then the nostalgia tours. And then, well, I thought that was the end of Mark Lindsay. I was pleasantly surprised, no, I was excited as hell to hear that Mark had been working on a new album with Gar FrancisWhen the good people at Bongo Boy Records, the Indie label smart enough to take on this project, sent me a copy of Life Out Loud, I found out what happens when a 1960’s pop-rock icon meets the guru of  New Jersey garage.

ml5Nothing short of amazing, this album kicks ass. Like a trip down memory lane to places you only thought that you had been, it offers familiar themes and styles in very different ways. Way cool! From the opening track, “Baby Come Back“, with its 60’s guitar riff, to the rockabilly feel of “Ghost Of A Girl“, and  the bluesy rhythm of “Rush On You“, Life Out Loud is a journey I was glad to have taken. The harmonica on “Easy Street” is beautifully placed. The throwback organ used in several of the tracks floats wonderfully in the background. The melodies rock and the harmonies are pure 1960’s.

ml6I particularly liked “Everything About You“, with its psych-pop melody, great organ, and cool guitar riff. Tongue in cheek lyrics-“I love the supermodel walk, I love the trashy way you talk”, don’t hurt one bit. “New Thing“, with driving power chords, has a wonderful chorus, and great vocals that tell us “since paradise can’t happen twice,here comes your new thing”. The subtle organ is reminiscent of 60’s pop as it lays under the guitar and vocal tracks. My favorite track, “Merry Go Round (Christian’s Song)“, delivers a beautiful melody in a great pop-rock song. The keyboards, subtle guitar, and amazing bridge lay the framework for the great vocal track.

mark-lindsay_life-out-loudLife Out Loud is exciting and provocative. It is basic rock, with that Jersey edge. The album is magical, the songs incredible, the production, dynamite.. I have listened to it several times, and always seem to find something new going on with each listen.  I can’t help feeling how much fun this album was to make. I hope they do it again. It is safe to say that Mark Lindsay is back. And I am glad. I only wish that I could get a copy of the CD autographed by Mark and Gar. Now that would be way cool.   

You can hear and then purchase Life Out Loud here: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/marklindsay4

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JON MULLANE-Shine

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 25, 2013 by TheManicBlogger

What do you get when a Canadian boy from Halifax, Nova Scotia walks into New Jersey garage? Jon Mullane. His most recent album, Shine, caught the attention of Indie label, and keeper of the Jersey sound, Bongo Boy Records. They were so impressed, they signed him. jm3The ballad, “The One That Got Away“,  has a hauntingly beautiful melody. There are great changes, sweet harmonies, and I like the piano. The 1960’s pop song “Take Me Away“,  offers amazing changes, a cool guitar riff, a great musical hook, and hand clapping that has this track destined to become a classic. “So Into You“, with its wonderfully subtle guitar, demonstrates once again that less, is indeed more. The background vocals are terrific. The up tempo “Shine On Tonight“, has a nice groove. The chorus and bridge rock and the  synth gives this track a 1970’s-1980’s feel. “In Your Life” opens with vocals and guitar only, and adds some great keyboards. There are nice effects and harmonies.  “Born Beautiful” gives up some great changes and transitions. The guitar riff and vocals are great, and the drumming rocks. The synth sounds of “Body Rock” give it a fullness that supports the great guitar riff, powerful vocals and wonderful hook. Add to this the sound of horns, and you’ve got an amazing song. “Any Other Way” has a beautiful melody and some cool jm1acoustic guitar. There is a great bridge, but this track is all about the melody and the vocals. “Way Up” and “Way Up (Radio Mix)” are similar versions of 21st Century pop. The overlapping vocal tracks, cool guitar riff and solo, and driving beat, make for a cool tune, a surprisingly great dance tune! My favorite track, “My New American Girlfriend”  had me thinking garage pop-rock at first listen. On the second listen I heard a wonderful summer on the beach feeling. This Beach-Rock song delivers a great melody, and some great power chords in the chorus. The vocals are wonderful and the lyric contain soon to be classic lines-“she’s original, not so typical, a little naughty, but nice”, and “photogenically, schizophrenically, she’s broken all of the rules”. Amazing. The solid hook, dead on vocals, and wonderful background vocal arrangements, make this one way cool track. A wonderful song, that rocks all of the way through. Seems this Canadian boy has struck gold with his new American girl. jm2Shine rocks. It rocks Halifax and Jersey. Jon Mullane writes amazing songs with exceptional melodies. He has that cool, gravelly voice, and subtle approach to instrumentation. His passion for 1960’s pop and 1970’s garage create a near perfect hybrid  of garage-pop. And he looks the part. White t shirt, jeans, and a bit of a snarl that reminds me of early Springsteen. But Mullane is his own force to be reckoned with. With three singles already lifted from the album-My New American Girl, Body Rock, and Any Other Way, and several more to chose from, Great things are happening for Jon, and I anticipate many more. With Bongo Boy Records behind him, I am certain they will come. A great writer, a great musician, a great album. One of the coolest albums I have had the good fortune to have listened to. Congratulations, Jon. Well done. Definitely one for your collection and your car. You can listen to Jon Mullane: https://myspace.com/jonmullane bb Check out Jon and other great artists at:  http://www.bongoboyrecords.com         newlogo https://icantbelievemyearz.wordpress.com/2013/05/28/review-archives/ Follow us on twitter:

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JENNY AND THE FELINES-Don’t Look Back

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 27, 2013 by TheManicBlogger

J&F2New Jersey has long since been the home of some incredible popular music. Sinatra, Springsteen, Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes, Gar Francis, The Smithereens and The Grip Weeds. We can now add to this list. From Raritan, New Jersey-I don’t know where it is either,-come Jenny And The Felines, a way cool, alternative pop band who cite The Beatles, The Beach Boys, and Buddy Holly as influences. Singer, song writer. guitarist, Jenny Cat-ok, getting a little weird-leads us on a journey through her mind, and it is not such a bad trip.

j&f1Their July 2013 release, Don’t Look Back, an ironic title for a band that draws so heavily from 1960’s pop/rock music, nails it. The title track  opens the album with wonderfully 1960’s harmonies, great transitions, and a cool hook. “The Worst Kind” has a great chorus,  a bridge  that incorporates a change in tempo, and keys that simulate horns, all within a sweet melody. “I Hope She Knows” offers a nice bass line and cool drum shots. “Boston” has a countryfied feel, a wonderful early Eagles groove, with its laid back pop sentiment, a nice and easy flow and multi-track guitars. The layered vocals of “Mommy” add to the super cool, 1970’s John Cafferty feel. Great guitar picking highlights “Alive“, with its ongoing drum rolls and shots, and a beautifully tender melody line. “Bleed For You“, a pop/rock tune has a completely different sensibility, reminiscent of The Go-Gos. The up tempo “Tangerine“, blends power pop with psych rock. There are changes in tempo and time signature with great transitions that make me wish it was 2 minutes longer. Way cool tune. “Wanna Be Yours“, has wonderful structure, with a key change, ongoing riff,  some great drum rolls leading into the chorus, and a 60’s girl band feel. The album closes with “Watched You Go“, delivering wonderfully subtle harmonies, a beautiful chorus and a warm, understated organ that fades out amid some very cool drum shots. 

j&f4This band rocks. This band rolls. Jenny And The Felines does it all. Don’t Look Back is a wondrous compilation of memorable tunes with catchy hooks and melodies. They have created a unique blend of 1960’s and 1970’s music with an alternative edge. The songs all fall within the 2-3 minute range, and contain simple, straightforward yet meaningful lyrics. Jenny Cat writes amazing tunes, with insanely good choruses. The guitar solos and riffs are short, precise and intense. This woman can write songs. This woman can sing. This woman can play guitar. Simple music. Great songs. Nothing forced and nothing overwhelming. Don’t Look Back is a way cool 60’s feel good journey. Listen and then listen again. Once is definitely not enough. One of the most exciting albums I have heard in a long, long time. Destined to be on the short list for I Can’t Believe My Earz Album Of The Year.

You can listen to Jenny And The Felines here:  http://jennyandthefelines7.bandcamp.com/

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THE BEACHES

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 4, 2013 by TheManicBlogger

“They are pretty good for an all girl band”,  he said to me.   If I hadn’t been there on business,  I would’ve knocked him on his ass and asked him if I hit pretty good for an all girl writer.

thebeaches3Pretty good is an understatement at best, and the condescending tag for an all girl band was unnecessary.  THEY WERE GREAT, and if they had been cockerspaniels that might have been somewhat noteworthy.  Female musicians have long since paid their dues and have gone lick-for-lick with the boys for decades, and the girls from THE BEACHES….  could give any one of them a run for their money.   The fact that they are all teenagers, and the band is still in it’s infancy, is more astounding than their gender.   The quality and professionalism belies their youth and their experience.   If I had closed my eyes and just listened,  I never would have believed, if you told me, that they were in high school and had only been together, in this line up, for a short time.

When I caught them during INDIE WEEK at The Rivoli,  I had no idea who they were when I saw their set.  I was drawn in completely by the sound and the energy.   This was my game plan.   To have no plan.    I just wanted to go from bar to bar and stay and listen if I liked what I heard, or move on if I didn’t.   I really wanted to be drawn in by the performances.  No previous homework or bias.  I didn’t want to be persuaded by a really cool website or by a well written bio.  And more than that, I didn’t want to chase down a band I liked on SoundCloud or BandCamp, just to find out the live performance was lacking.    I wanted the moment to speak for itself.

And this moment spoke volumes.

thebeaches2Yes, they are beautiful young ladies,  but they are not a T’n’A act selling sex instead of music.  They are very skilled musicians.  Technically, the performance was flawless, engaging and energetic.   Their style has clear influences but it was fresh and distinct alternative/pop/rock that was not trying to replicate something that already existed.

The obvious comparison to The Runaways will probably be made many times,  but more for reasons of age, gender, and look, than the actual style of their music.  Although,  the raw energy and attitude of the performance is definitely reminiscent of the ladies who hard rocked that path clear for Jordan Miller (Lead Vocals/Bass), Kylie Miller (Lead Guitar), Eliza Enman McDaniel (Drums) and Leandra Earl (Keyboard/Guitar).

Audience engagement is a huge deal for me at a live performance.   I can stay home and listen to good music, and I have already paid to hear it, as often as I like.  There is a mystical, spiritual thing that happens when you are captured by a really great live performance.   This is exactly what happened while I watched these young girls doing their thing.   They have that charisma and dare I say it… magic…that gets the crowd involved.    This, I am sure, was a contributing factor to their being named “Breakout Band of 2013” by Toronto’s NXNE Festival.

The_Beaches_EPThe other contributing factor is that they have clearly invested time honing their skills in both playing and songwriting.   Once I walked away from the live show,  I had a listen to just the recordings.   Did the music hold it’s own once I was away from the passion of the moment?   Yes,  it most certainly did.    “Loner” (http://youtu.be/MW3qKk5bqL8),  and “Absolutely Nothing” (http://youtu.be/UMAB286tTYA),  the two stand out singles from the 6 song debut self titled E.P. (available on iTunes) are both edgy, catchy, commercially viable songs with sing along lyrics.  An easy transition out of the alternative/indie circuit into the mainstream.

These Toronto girls have a bright future around the bend and a full performance schedule straight ahead,  including a Hamilton show on November 13th  at This Ain’t Hollywood where they share a bill with Cherie Currie.

That is a torch passing moment not to miss.

To connect with The Beaches:    www.thebeachesband.com  and www.facebook.com/thebeachesband

r1Rocinante’s Aurgasms.

Rocinante is an Innovator, Creator and Passionate Expressionist.

Music is not an interest, it is a lifestyle choice. You do not choose the song….the song chooses you.

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