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2014 INDIE ALBUM OF THE YEAR

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 15, 2014 by TheManicBlogger

With a significant number of quality Indie releases this year, narrowing a list down to 10 albums, worthy of I Can’t Believe My Earz‘  2014 Indie Album Of The Year, was no easy task. There are some honorable mentions: Neverfriend-‘Evolve‘, The Everywheres-‘Habitualism‘, Harbour-‘Grade School Summer‘ & Social Strife-‘With Friends Like These…’.  We listened to them all, and here is our pick for the top 10 Indie Albums of 2014.

 

#10     DRUCKFARBEN————–‘Second Sound’

druck I am not certain why Druckfarben has been a mystery. These Toronto based musicians are insanely talented. It is an impressive work.   ‘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. If you like Progressive-Rock, Druckfarben is the real deal.

 

 

#9     THE RED RAILS———-A Living Fiction

theredrailsno2The Red Rails offer ‘A Living Fiction‘, a classic rock sound immersed in blues.  The Ottawa band has a sound that reminds me of Cream meets The Black Crowes. With a 21st century edge. I like it! This is not background music. This is an album you play in its entirety. In your car. While taking a 40 minute drive down a highway. Make sure it is a highway. You cannot drive slow while listening.

 

 

 

#8     THE SATISFACTORS——–‘The Satisfactors’

the satisThe Satisfactors self titled debut album. It rocks from beginning to end with a wonderful garage groove. The songs are amazing. They are wonderfully crafted, and played with a beat that just doesn’t stop. Bruce’s vocals are great. Cool to hear from  Jersey’s Fantastic 4! The bass lines, and  guitar riffs are insanely good, and I like the less is more approach to the drumming.  This is rock ‘n’ roll the way it is meant to be played! This is Rock Til You Drop! This is The Satisfactors!

 

 

#7     SOUTH OF BLOOR——‘The Street’

south of bloorThis Toronto band has re-generated my lust for pop with the release of ‘The Street‘. The songs are exquisite 2-3 minute masterpieces. Their ability to write wonderful bridges and changes has me almost awe struck. The vocals are spectacular. The melodies, wonderful. This album delivers 5 terrific pop songs with alternative rock influences. And it works. A wonderful album. A fun time.

 

 

 

#6     TOXIC MELONS———‘Bus Therapy’

tm ‘Bus Therapy‘ is my kind of therapy. This album by Northern England’s Toxic Melons is inspiring, soul touching, and mind altering. The album plays like a journey through a toxic mind, but that’s ok. The songs are pop heaven, with shades of folk, blues, electronic, and some western influences. This Paul Fairbairn can write songs. The melodies are out of this world, and the harmonies, well, remind me of The Beach Boys. The music is wonderfully eccentric.The album is insanely addictive. It has me singing along and I haven’t figured out all of the lyrics yet!  An amazing compilation of great songs that has been placed on my must have list. Very cool.

 

 

#5     THE MINNOWS———‘Live At The Belfast Barge’

the minnowsAside from Yessongs, Waiting For Columbus and The Last Waltz, I have never been a big fan of live albums, but I have to add this Irish band’s ‘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 better part of the year 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.

 

 

#4     THE CORSETS———–‘Are You Lonely, Are You Scared’

the corsets

Are You Lonely, Are You Scared is a wonderful adventure. Toronto’s The Corsets manage to harness their individual talents into a harmonic whole that is indeed the sum of its parts. Each is easily identifiable, yet needs the other parts to be heard. The energy level is wonderfully exciting, and the songs well, incredibly creative. Add this to your collection. It is that good.

 

 

 

#3     XPRIME——–‘The Album’

xprimeXprime should be big. Hailing from Niagara Falls, Ontario, 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. ‘The Album‘ 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“.

 

 

#2     THE AFTER HOURS——-‘Shaken, Not Stirred’

the after hoursI really like Los Angeles’ The After Hours. I am a fan! They cite among their many influences The Beatles, The Beach Boys, The Kinks, The Byrds, The Zombies, The Hollies and The Turtles. Is it any wonder their music has wonderful 1960′s melodies, harmonies and riffs?  The vocals and the guitar work stand out. ‘Shaken, Not Stirred captures the essence of 60′s music. The songs are wonderfully written, and demonstrate a remarkable ability to integrate all of their influences into one cohesive and coherent sound. This is a must have album.

 

And, finally, the I Can’t Believe My Earz Indie Album Of The Year for 2014…

 

#1     THE HOT SPROCKETS——‘Brother Nature’

hsBrother Nature‘ by Ireland’s The Hot Sprockets. 13 tracks, and not a bad one to be found. I have listened to this album over and over, and it just keeps getting better. The songs are insanely good. The production, wonderful. These guys can write. These guys can play. The album has a ‘live off the floor’ feel to it. I haven’t heard this much energy in an album in a long time. The Hot Sprockets refer to their music as ‘country dirt”. I prefer to call it Irish Soul! Brother Nature is one of the most powerful albums I have heard in 2014, filled with the unusual, and the unexpected.

 

And there you have it. 10 exceptional albums. The I Can’t Believe My Earz picks for 2014. Give them a listen. Purchase them. Support Indie Music, and Indie bands.

 

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THE SATISFACTORS-The Satisfactors

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 12, 2014 by TheManicBlogger

Well, its finally here. Referred to as New Jersey‘s 1st SUPERGROUP, Bongo Boy Records recording artist, The Satifactors released their long awaited debut album on October 9, 2014. John Lennon’s birthday. Not a coincidence. The rock heritage of this New Jersey band staggers the mind. You can check out Bruce Ferguson, Kurt Reil, Gar Francis, & Kenny Aaronson here while I finish the review.

satis01The 12 track, self titled album opens with “She Got Charm“, a great punk/garage song with a dynamite melody, wonderful harmonies, and a way cool hook. The acapella harmonies as the song ends are simply impeccable. “I Love Girls” delivers a wonderful bass line, and a way cool riff. The solo and the chorus standout. The up tempo “You’re So Crazy“, has great changes, cool guitar and sweet harmonies. The track exudes energy and emotion. The organ in “Hey Mama” is a dynamite bonus amid the great guitar, and a cool vocal track. A wonderful song with a blues edge. “Sweet Sunshine” rocks with power chords, and wonderful harmonies. I dig the chorus, and the piano rings with old school rock ‘n’ roll. The ultimate punk tune, “Johnny Commando“, grabs you right from the outset. There are so many things to be said about this track, it is easier just to listen to it. Then, listen again. Hey Ho, Johnny Commando!  The rhythm section shines in “Hit Me, Hit Me, Hit Me” , a straight ahead rock ‘n’ roll track with satis05a way cool 1950’s vibe. I dig the intro to “Gimme My Rock ‘n’ Roll“, and the wonderful way it morphs into a 1980’s New York City rock song. The harmonies and guitar are wonderful. “Girl Just Wants To Dance” offers a dynamite bass line, and a great vocal track. The changes, and harmonies are wonderful, and the guitar effects give this song a sweet 1960’s feel. The organ is almost magical, highlighted by killer guitar, “My Baby Got It” delivers perfect harmonies, and great changes. There is wonderful acoustic guitar, and some way cool psych effects thrown in for good measure. “Had It With You” is pure, high octane rock ‘n’ roll. A wonderful song. My favorite track on the album, “Take Your Troubles Away“, still plays in my head, and occupies a prominent position on all of my playlists. A spectacular garage-pop-surf song. Sort of Beach Boy punk! The drumming is perfectly wonderful, The guitar solo kills, and the keyboards, sweet. The instrumentation, in its subtlety, allows the melody, harmonies, and dynamite vocal track to be the focus. It works! A beautifully seductive song.

satis

 

So, there you have it. The Satisfactors debut album. It rocks from beginning to end with a wonderful garage groove. The songs are amazing.Written by Bruce Ferguson & Gar Francis, they are wonderfully crafted, and played with a beat that just doesn’t stop. satis02Bruce’s vocals are great. Cool to see him fronting Jersey’s Fantastic 4! Kenny’s bass lines, and Gar’s guitar riffs are insanely good, and I like the less is more approach to Kurt’s drumming. The album, produced by Kurt Reil & Gar Francis. leaves me feeling that each song is an adventure in musical improvisation, filled with something wonderfully unexpected. This is rock ‘n’ roll the way it is meant to be played! This is Rock Til You Drop! This is The Satisfactors!

 

 

 

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Listen & purchase The Satisfactors:  http://www.bongoboyrecords.com/

 

 

 

 

 

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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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