Archive for synthesizer

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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ALYEUS-And From The Sky We Fall

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 13, 2015 by TheManicBlogger

alyeus5In 2013 Alyeus set out on a bold journey by releasing the Forty Days At Sea, the 1st in the trilogy of concept albums chronicling a story of war, and a struggle for existence. In October 2015, this London, Ontario band released And From The Sky We Fall, the 2nd part of the story.The concept is cool-events in the mythical kingdom of Eleria, forever shape the lives of celestial beings, and the worlds they protect. It is the music however, that is the real story here!

The album opens with ‘The Architect‘, a short instrumental that sets the stage, and bridges into ‘The Archetype‘. an incredibly melodic track, that offers cool changes & transitions, and some alyeus4great double guitar. ‘Aphorisms‘ is wonderfully mood evoking, and delivers a solid bass line, kick ass drumming, and nice harmonies. ‘Rise Of Dissent‘, is another beautiful, instrumental bridge, that takes you into ‘Celestial Descent‘, filled with dynamite guitar, wonderful vocals & harmonies, and some way cool chanting. The piano on ‘Wish You Well (Eleria’s Rift)‘, is perfect, and the harmonies superbly executed.  The synthesizer and guitar on the instrumental ‘Casimir‘ makes the perfect backdrop for the dynamite effects. ‘And From The Sky We Fall‘, my favorite track on the album, delivers great vocals and harmonies within a wonderfully sweet melody, backed by acoustic guitar, and cool synthesizer. At times, this track reminds me of Styx.

alyeus2And From The Sky We Fall is a wonderful ride. Filled with cool effects, eclectic lyrics, acoustic guitar, and I am almost certain there is an electric drill in use here!! The guitar and synthesizer collaboration is exceptional, and I thoroughly enjoyed the underlying spoken word dubbed in. The album is wonderfully written. Wonderfully executed. Wonderfully produced. This is one cool concept album. Do yourself a favour, and check it out, Listen to it in its entirety in one sitting. It is well worth it. http://alyeus.bandcamp.com/

 

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SHAGWAGON-Island

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 16, 2015 by TheManicBlogger

So, the boys from Orillia, Ontario spent 6 months, in 2 countries, writing and recording their new album, ‘Island‘. Released January 1, 2015, the 8 tracks are excitingly unique.

sw3Shagwagon continues to delve into electro-psych-pop with reckless abandon. “Dope” has an esoteric Pink Floyd thing going on, with wonderful voice overs. The melancholy “Chronic” has cool effects, and a haunting melody. “Psychedelic Jungle” offers electric piano, and some wonderfully synthesizer produced strings. The effects are way cool, giving the track an experimental feel. The wonderful pop melody of “No Beauty” is accentuated by a cool vocal track, and sweet harmonies. There are some great effects in “Cosmic Ocean“. I swear I heard sea birds. The changes rock, and the guitar is wonderful. “Islandsw2has a 1980s electro-pop flavor, with great synthesizer, and cool changes. The different musical themes are layered, giving the track incredible texture. Check out the ending! “The End Of Us” offers a beautiful melody, with wonderful harmonies. The acoustic guitar, augmented by background synthesizer and some way cool guitar licks, is surprisingly perfect. My favorite track, “Help Me Out” has a wonderous psych feel. More up tempo than the other tracks, the riff is great, and it comes complete with a way cool 60’s psych rock guitar solo. Incredible track.

sw5The songs are wonderfully written. Eclectic in nature, the music evokes emotion and defines moods. The band refers to this project as a product of isolation, and separation. In the melancholy, I feel the angst. Jack Finlayson and Jacob Thompson have stepped out there and have created something different, something original, and something that is their own. I am impressed with their desire to create what they love, and what they feel. This is refreshingly cool! Check it out, and get yourself a copy. A wonderful album that just never quits.

https://www.facebook.com/ShagwagonMusic/

http://shagwagon.bandcamp.com/

 

 

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SHAGWAGON-The Backbone Of The Night

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 5, 2014 by TheManicBlogger

shagwagon2Orillia, Ontario’s Jack Finlayson & Jacob Thompson are Shagwagon. The band’s debut album, a 6 track EP entitled ‘The Backbone Of The Night‘ was released in July, 2014.

The album opens with “Some Nites“, with way cool production effects, and some dynamite reverb, reminiscent of 1960’s psychedelic rock. The electronic strings are nice, and coupled with the sweet vocals, make this one serene track. ‘The Way That You Move” has a way cool bass line, and what I hear as an electric piano solo, The track has a great chorus with a solid hook, and a wonderful bridge. The cool 1960s vibe is enhanced by some unexpected hand clapping. The nice effects, and slick changes & transitions, make “Morphine” a great track. “Napoleon” offers a wonderfully cool melody, some cool guitar and bass over synthesized effects that slides into a burst of guitar and vocals. The vocal effects are very cool. There are 2 highlight tracks for me. “You’re So Sexy“, delivers cool piano, great shagwagon3vocals, and wonderful changes. The moody, melancholy melody morphs into a dynamite bridge, and then out again. Great effect.The transition into the guitar solo is wonderful, and the incorporation of several different movements into one song is damn cool. Great song. And then, “Thinking About You“, with its great keyboards, cool changes and transitions, and cool vocals, make this my favorite track on the album.The song has an electronic feel, and includes a wonderful solo, and very cool The Beach Boys harmonies. A great mood inducing track that ends with those brilliant harmonies. Killer track.

shagwagon1Shagwagon delivers a terrific album, blending elements of psych-rock, pop, and electro-pop, to deliver an exceptionally unique sound. The songs are well written, with themes that are simple, and innocent. Songs about peace, and love. There are great melodies, and the ability to create mood, and atmosphere is dynamite. The simplicity of it is wonderfully complex. Eccentric, esoteric, and edgy. I am liking this. You need to have at least 1 of these.

http://shagwagon.bandcamp.com/album/the-backbone-of-the-night

 

 

 

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THE DISGUISES

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 26, 2014 by TheManicBlogger

One of the coolest bands I have had the pleasure of listening to, The Disguises, have kept me waiting for a new album long enough. I am determined to write about this Kitchener, Ontario band even if it means going back to a debut album from 2009. The self titled release contains 13 tracks of pop perversion.

disguises1Hot Air Balloon” has a wonderfully, playful jazz theme overlayed with a pop melody. The vocals, keyboard, and changes are great. The cool pop harmonies highlight “The Brush Off“, and “Gossipy Chicks” is filled with amazing organ and some way cool psych-rock elements. “Blues On A Rainy Day” has a dynamite piano and guitar that can, at times, get lost in the amazing melody and harmonies, and I am certain I hear mandolin in the acoustic,almost jug band sound of “Jacob Eldermyer’s Bleeding Heart“. The showtune/jazz sensibilities of “Pick ‘N’ Reed” are fun, while “Four disguises2Letters For You” , offer Beach Boys like harmonies in a Spanish theme. I would really like to hear this with Spanish vocals! “Slow Down” offers a reggae song with a cool country-rock guitar solo dropped inside of it, and “In A Bind” has a wonderful pop melody, with interesting harmonies and great guitar. “The Dip” is an interesting, almost experimental track, with way cool instrumentation that moves into and out of rock ‘n’ roll with guitar effects and a great solo. Yes, “Funky Disco Cat‘ sounds like it should be a 1970’s disco song. It has a pop feel to it, with cool harmonies, a wonderful change in tempo, and power chords to remind us that this is a rock band. By the way, the synthesizer is perfect. “Animals“, a way cool trip to some psych-rock place, has great effects. My favorite track on the album,  “I Get Sick Without You” has a rock beat with a pop vocal melody line. The guitar is brilliant, with wonderful solos and riffs. A way cool track, that could have been on any Spirit album.

 

 

 

 

ggtwThe songs, written by George Guitierrez and Tyson Webb follow no format I know. Each is a well crafted work of art. Ecclectic, esoteric, and engaging. They incorporate several genres in their music, and make the complex seem simple. The album is filled with twists and turns, that surprise and excite. The album is fun. You can listen at Soundcloud, and even download it for free! A wonderful journey to places you have probably never been before.

 

 

 

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DRUCKFARBEN-Second Sound

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 9, 2014 by TheManicBlogger

druckfarben3I recently received a copy of the new album Second Sound, by Toronto band Druckfarben, and I have spent the last 3 days repeating the same 2 words: Freakin’ amazing!!

The 8 track album is filled with cool keyboards, great drum shots, and wonderful harmonies. The guitar is dynamite, offering wonderfully subtle riffs, and blistering solos. The melodies are insanely good, fused with beautiful harmonies. The bass lines are intricate and subdued.  The instrumentation, rich and varied. Piano, organ and synthesizer appear throughout. I heard banjo, and mandolin. The arrangements are spectacularly full, and layered with texture.

 

druckfarben1Two tracks merit special mention. “Long Walk Down“, a sweet, melancholy ballad with a Klaatu-esque feel, delivers a wonderful melody with a spectacular vocal track. “Second Sound“, without a doubt, the best progressive rock track I have heard in 40 years, is reminescent of Yes: Somewhere between “Siberian Khatru” and “The Gates Of Delerium“, with shades of Tales From Topographic Oceans. This suite offers incredible keyboards including some interesting piano and organ, and way cool violin, that wanders from classical to rock to western themes. The instrumentation in this track is wonderful. There are cool changes and transitions, and a kick ass guitar solo. There are sweet melodies and terrific harmonies. The song ends with  beautifully arranged acoustic guitar.

 

I am not certain why this band has been a mystery. These musicians are insanely talented. It is an impressive work. Standing out is Phil Naro’s vocals.The style, the sound, the inflection, had me thinking Jon Anderson. 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. Druckfarben is the real deal.

Check out Second Sound  here:  https://www.facebook.com/druckfarben/app_204974879526524

 

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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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