Archive for singer

CLARA ENGEL-Visitors Are Allowed One Kiss

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 15, 2016 by TheManicBlogger

The 5 track album, Visitors Are Allowed One Kiss, released by Clara Engel in April 2016, has captivated and fascinated me. The Toronto cesinger/songwriter/musician has delivered an exciting, and yes, eccentric, collection of songs that I have not been able to stop listening to. There are hauntingly beautiful melodies, enhanced by a minimalist approach, that is  both soothing and exciting, and serene, yet intoxicating. The simplistic complexity of the avant-garde folk-blues, creates powerful emotions and images. There are wonderfully cool instruments being played; bowed baritone guitar, auto harp, vibes, theremin, as well as  violin, saxophone, and xylophone. The vocals tracks are exceptional, while the sound is uniquely original, fusing Delta Blues, Folk, and Alternative. There is so much going on in here, that it requires numerous listens to integrate the essence of what has been created. I could listen to this all day. Could very well contend for I Can’t Believe My Earz Indie Album Of The Year for 2016. Highly recommended that you check out this, and all of Clara Engel’s other releases out on her bandcamp page.

 

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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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STAN SIMON AND THE HOTEL BIBLE/JJ AND THE PILLARS-Toronto Roots Music

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 24, 2014 by TheManicBlogger

So, I have discovered two  Toronto area bands who play an interesting blend of folk, pop, rock, and western. I suppose it is as close to Toronto folk/roots music as one could get. Both of these bands were on my “must see” list at Canada Indie Week, however  I was unable to catch either due to scheduling issues.Pretty excited by the sound, though.

sshbHailing from Toronto, Stan Simon and The Hotel Bible released an album in July 2013. ‘Escaping The Madhouse‘ shines with 10 wonderfully written songs with wonderful melodies. There are some cool guitar riffs, wonderful harmonica, clarinet, and violin thrown in with incredibly satisfying results. The vocals are soothing, coupled with sweet harmonies. The album comes off with a singer/songwriter focus, which Stan Simon clearly is. A very cool album, with great songs and creative instrumentation. A sort of alternative folk-pop-rock with a western bite. Check out the way cool guitar on “Into Nowhere“, and the clarinet on “My Drunk Heart“. Definitely one for the collection. You can have a listen here: http://stansimon.bandcamp.com/album/escaping-the-madhouse

 

 

jj1Another Toronto based band,  JJ & The Pillars are originally from Peterborough, Ontario. Winners of The Edge’s Next Big Thing competition, the band released their 7 track album, ‘Wolves“, in August 2014.  Each song is filled with wonderfully soothing acoustic guitar, exciting melodies, and exceptional harmonies. There are dynamic changes, some great drumming, and cool harmonica. The vocals are insanely good as they deliver poignant lyrics.   The songs are hypnotic, offering great melodies, wonderful harmonies, and way cool changes and transitions. Pay particular attention to “Ship Away“, “Gone With Me“, and “I’m On Fire“. A wonderful folk-pop sound, highlighted by amazing harmonies. A must have for your collection. Beautiful. Check it out here: http://jjandthepillars.bandcamp.com/album/wolves-2

 

 

 

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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.

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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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WATERSHED HOUR: Bang With The Van Gogh

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 26, 2013 by TheManicBlogger

wh2Watershed Hour is an incredibly unique band. I recently listened to their 2013 EP, Bang with The Van Gogh, and found that 4 of the 6 tracks used bass, drums, and vocals exclusively! This duo, hailing from Whitby, On , have discovered a sound that really requires nothing more than bass and drums.

The first track, “That’s My Bass Solo?!“, has great opening effects, thundering drums,and an incredible bass line, and I love the vocal. “Knock, Knock. Who’s There? Doctor. Doctor Who?“, brings a powerful rhythm section accompanied by great guitar riffs as an added bonus. The definitive bass line of “Morgan Freeman“. The 60’s fuzz bass sound of “Can’t Be Bothered To Come Up With A Title“, The insanely wonderful vocals of “I Married A Narcissist. Myself“. My favorite track, “Pre-Verse“, includes Laura Klinduch‘s killer drums, some cool effects, and solid guitar riffs, played by singer and bassist Natalie Stardust.

whThis is garage rock. Alternative-punk with a twist. There are elements of metal. It is the kick in your face music that reeks of anti-establishment and social angst. It is powerful. It is honest.  It is simplistically wonderful. It is fun.There were times, when listening to the album, that I didn’t notice the absence of guitar. When I heard those riffs, they were well placed and added texture to the music. These girls have talent and they have a plan: To make music the way they want to make it. I give them a great deal of credit for stepping out of the herd and choosing a different path. The EP delivers a unique sound, from a somewhat off centre band who know exactly what they are doing. No guitars? Not a problem, Just Bang With The Van Gogh. Definitely worth a listen.

Listen to Watershed Hour here: http://watershedhour.bandcamp.com/

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Radio That Doesn’t Suck. All The Time.

MESSES AND MIRACLES-The Captain Surely Drowns

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 21, 2013 by TheManicBlogger

M&M1On the heels of their 2012 debut Ep, A Place To Hang Our Heads, London, Ontario band Messes & Miracles released the 5 track EP The Captain Surely Drowns in August of this year.

This Folk-Rock band has matured since the release of their debut EP. Their acoustic rock sound, influenced by folk music is evident in the melody of “All We Are“,which features choral harmonies, and great transitions. The simple yet melodic guitar riff, makes this song. The title track, with its great changes and strong harmonies, serves as a wonderful lead in to the rockier “Dead Eyes” which uses power chords within a softer, acoustic theme. The vocals, coming in short bursts, are interesting and unique. “Daggers has the signature harmonies, a nice riff, and a fun melody. I like the piano used here and the changes in tempo are an added bonus. My favorite track on the album, “Angry World”, is an incredibly well crafted song. The ballad has a beautiful melody, framed by lush harmonies and a soft and easy guitar riff, making this song warm and infectious.

M&MMesses And Miracles are  a remarkable band.  They have a unique sound, and write songs that tell stories.  The album is filled with light songs that have heavy themes. It is beautifully  simple, subtle with complex textures. There is not much missing here, except perhaps another 5 or 6 tracks to listen to. This EP has been put into my regular listening rotation.

To listen to Messes And Miracles, click here:  http://messesmiracles.bandcamp.com/

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