Archive for the kinks

THE COUNTERACTS-Under Cover

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 8, 2016 by TheManicBlogger

counteracts32There are covers, and then there are The Counteracts doing covers. The latest ep from the Kent, U.K., band contains 4 cover versions of songs by Wings, Radiohead, The Kinks, and The Everly Brothers. After a couple of listens, I realized that the band was not merely covering the songs, but were, in fact, paying homage to them, and the artists who created them. All of the tracks are wonderfully done, staying true to the original, while making them completely Counteractual. The addition of ‘strings’ on The Everly’s “All I Have To Do Is Dream” is a wonderful enhancement. Never a Radiohead fan, the cover of ‘Creep‘ recorded here, is far preferable to the original, and this version of ‘Waterloo Sunset‘ (The Kinks), is exceptional. Well done! Fun for the whole family, and I suspect, the whole neighborhood. You can download the ep for free here. What are you waiting for?

 

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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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THE CONTACTS

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 5, 2015 by TheManicBlogger

While there isn’t a recent album out there, The Contacts have some way cool music floating around cyberspace.

the contacts32003’s Black & White Days is an insanely good body of work. Despite being recorded in a small home studio, the album rocks. At times I hear shades of Pink Floyd, The Kinks, and Zappa. There are jazz, pop, punk, and rock vibes throughout. The songs are melodious pokes at life, uniquely written and arranged, incorporating wonderfully played organ, some way cool bass lines, and interesting vocal tracks. The harmonies, borrowed from 1960s Brit Pop, are as perfect as one can get in a basement. The changes are great, the hooks standout, and the vocals are wonderfully raw, as they deliver some bizarre thoughts. Pop-Rock, kissed by Punk. A wonderful sound. A wonderful time. Notable tracks include ‘Rain, Rain, Rain‘, ‘Road Rage‘, and ‘Have A Biscuit‘.

 

 

 

the contactsThe band’s Soundcloud page has a truckload of other tracks as well. There is the 1980’s electro pop style ‘No Way Out‘, that reminds me of Love & Rockets. ‘If You Only Knew‘, offers a dynamite melody, electric piano, and way cool organ. You need to check this out. Head over to Soundcloud, and check them out on facebook. I have heard through the British grapevine, that there are thoughts of heading into a studio and working on another album. Could we really be that lucky? I hope so. The Contacts are unique, and interesting. The music is simply a good time!

 

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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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CHRIS POPE-Dedicated Follower Of Fashion

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 21, 2014 by TheManicBlogger

I have always been a fan of Chris Pope.  From his days in The Chords, and Agent Orange, to Gatecrash Heaven and Pope. I was excited to learn that he was releasing a new album. Even more excited to hear that he had released a debut single on Bongo Boy Records, a cover of The Kinks “‘Dedicated Follower Of Fashion“, as selected by Gar Francis himself.

chris popePope’s version is wonderfully raunchy, with exciting guitar licks, and heavy drums. The vocal track is amazing, creating an ideal surface on which to layer dynamic harmonies. There are great changes and transitions, and insanely clever flourishes throughout the track. After several listens, I can’t help but wonder what the rest of the album sounds like.

The Kinks seemed like a tough act to cover, but Pope nails it here, adding a British mod-punk spin to a 50 year old song that lends itself to this interpretation perfectly.The arrangement is exciting and upbeat, with an in your face attitude. Sort of  punked out The Kinks. Very cool.. Keep your eyes and ears open for the release of the new album, ‘Peace Of Mind‘,  on Bongo Boy Records,and for upcoming North American tour dates.

 

You can check out/purchase “Dedicated Follower Of Fashion” from Bongo Boy Records.

 

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MUST HAVE CANADIAN INDIE ALBUMS-April 2014

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 27, 2014 by TheManicBlogger

DruckfarbenSecond Sound

druckfarben3

I am not certain why this Toronto 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.

 

StupidityMove

stupidity2Not Canadian, but the Swedish band, Stupidity have mastered the marriage of punk, rock, and pop. This album serves up incredible songs with interesting instrumentation. and a few very cool surprises. This is definitely not Ikea. This album is boundless energy. This is one for the collection. And the car.  Catch them live, whenever you can. As often as you can. Incredible band

 

Peculiar Disco MovesThe Domino Effect

pdm1From North-Eastern U.K., Peculiar Disco Moves have pulled me out of a cold and bleak Canadian Winter. Just in time for spring, this album has rejuvenated and reinvigorated my musical being. They are completely and utterly original, following none of the standard formulas. The music is clearly their own. Their originality borders on strangeness, but I am very cool with that. Both the music and the lyric contain that prototypical British irreverent humor found in other bands such as XTC, and Toxic Melons. The songs are incredibly well crafted, stylistic while free flowing, as if born out of themselves. The melodies are pure pop. The harmonies are straight out of the 1960’s, somewhere between The Beach Boys and The Rascals. One of my go to bands. I am impressed. I am a fan.

 

The After HoursShaken, Not Stirred

afterhours3I 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. I will be getting 2, as I am certain I will be playing 1 of them into oblivion.

 

 

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THE AFTER HOURS-Shaken, Not Stirred

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

afterhours2I was beginning to think that the only way I was going to find any decent pop music to listen to, was to focus on bands from the U.K. Until now. The After Hours, hailing from Los Angeles, have released a dynamite album, “Shaken, Not Stirred“, that has restored my faith in the resurgence of classic pop on this side of the Atlantic.

There is an amazing 1960’s surf music feel to “Here To Stay“, with its cool guitar riff and solo that involves a whammy bar! The melody & harmonies are pure California pop, and the unforgettable hook is surpassed only by the “big finish” and by the different guitar sounds within this track. “Going To The Go Go“, with its 1950’s rock & roll/garage style, has a dynamite bass line, and way cool harmonica. The changes and bridge are nice, the riff amazing, and the harmonies have me wondering which part I should sing. A wonderful pop song, “Keep Her Satisfied“, has amazing harmonies, a great melody and a sweet 1960’s feel. The guitar is after hours1particularly amazing. “The Lonely Boys“, with its power-pop/rock ‘n’ roll style offers a great vocal track, a cool melody with great harmonies, and dynamite changes. The guitar kills, and I dig the hand clapping. My favorite track on the album, “Kaliedoscopic“, is pure 1960’s psych rock/pop, sort of The Monkees going psychedelic. The harmonies which are utilized as an additional instrument, and vocals are dynamite. The changes and effects, perfect. The drumming rocks and the mysical bridge that incorporates organ is wonderful. The way cool riff makes this song. Check it out!

afterhours3I really like this band, 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. I will be getting 2, as I am certain I will be playing 1 of them into oblivion.

Check out and purchase “Shaken, Not Stirred”: http://theafterhrs.bandcamp.com/album/shaken-not-stirred

 

 

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