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GAR FRANCIS-The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 19, 2014 by TheManicBlogger

I am not sure if there is anything Gar Francis cannot do. The Guru Of Garage has swung his guitar into The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same. Released in 2010 to the European market only, the 12 track album of Americana has finally hit North American shores and has been released by New Jersey’s Bongo Boy Records.

gf3The opening track, “Midnight In Rome“, delivers a great melody, with wonderful changes. The guitar picking is cool as hell, while the keys smolder under a hot vocal track. “How Its Supposed To Be” has an insanely powerful chorus but it takes nothing away from the licks and riff, and the dynamite organ. The Latin feel of “Palaces”  is wonderfully created by bongos, acoustic guitar, strings and organ. The effects on the harmonies are brilliant, and I dig the ‘Mexicali” themed guitar solo! “Down At The Ocean Gate” offers a great acoustic guitar solo, and way cool harmonies amid multi-tracked guitars. I like the mandolin and bongos on “Bank Of The River“, the way cool reverb of the almost rockabilly “Ole Tom’s River“, and the wonderfully Dylanesque feel to “Another Cowboy Rides” , with its great organ, guitar solo, cool riffs, and a dynamite vocal track.

 

 

The jug band vibe of “She’s Still Blue” proves once and for all that Gar Francis can write and play anything! The washboard and concertina are amazing, and the melody, so sweet. Gar’s vocals are spectacular on “Raise A Hand“, and the song’s socio-political gf4message resonates, at least,with me. The melody and harmonies highlight some way cool changes and incredibly melodic instrumentation. “The Sun Will Never Go Down” offers cool changes, a great chorus, a wonderful bass run, and beautiful choral style harmonies. I like this track. The acoustic guitar solo in “Adeline” shines amid the mandolin and bongos. The song is beautifully simple yet manages a great bridge, a dynamite chorus, and a wonderful ending. And, that leaves “Oh Annie“, my favorite track on the album. The wonderful chorus, dynamite guitar, including a way cool riff, an amazing melody, and some great organ, make this the standout track. A wonderful song with a way cool blues-rock-folk-country thing going on, that is reminiscent of Levon Helm and The Band. “Oh Annie, someone’s got to settle you down“. Indeed.

gf54This album demonstrates just how talented Gar Francis is. As a song writer; as a producer; as a musician, and a performer. I hear rockabilly, jug band, Latin, roots, blues, folk, and rock. I listened to bongos, banjo, mandolin, and organ. I heard a washboard, a concertina, and I think an upright bass. There are vocal and guitar effects. But most importantly, there are 12 incredible tracks that will hold you from beginning to end. I have been a Gar Francis fan for years, and this album has me wondering, why isn’t everybody? Get it as soon as you can. Then, put on your cowboy boots, grab your honey and have a blast. The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same is a must have album. Get yours here:  http://www.bongoboyrecords.com/Albums.html.  You can stream some of Gar’s other music here:  

 

 

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THE SUPERLATIVE-Chester

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 13, 2014 by TheManicBlogger

tsup2The Superlative released their 6 track debut album, Chester, in March 2013. I was pretty upset that I didn’t find out about it until December, 2013. Influenced by the likes of The Who, The Flaming Lips, Pink Floyd, King Crimson, The Allman Brothers, and I Mother Earth, among others, had me interested. This 5 piece band from Ottawa, On., delivers a sound I can best describe as rockgae.

tsup1Inner Muse” has great fuzz guitar over a reggae beat. There are great changes and a wonderful guitar solo that lies just under the power rock vocal track. In “Anthem Of A Degenerate” we are treated to nice transitions from reggae to rock and back again, a great melody and very cool guitar riffs and solo. The wonderfully creative vocals at the end of “Dancing In My Mind“, take nothing away from the great guitar solo, nice change in tempo and a way cool blues riff. I really like  “Hot Summer Dub“, with its sweet melody,  and cool changes. There are some interesting psych rock guitar effects here that make me think of Tommy James & The Shondells. tsup3 “Dark Nights (Don’t Look So Pretty)” nails it. A great pop melody and harmonies, with  wonderful  guitar work underneath, amazing transitions, and a kick ass ending. Yep. Nails it! There is a way cool bass line in” The Beast Within“, as well as, a great vocal track and a dynamite riff.

These guys are definitely talented. They rock, and they rock hard. The songs contain a reggae beat, layered with a pop melody, rock guitar, and hints of blues and psych rock. The album is dynamite, providing a guitar driven sound with a wonderful rhythm section. And if that is not enough, the album artwork is very cool. Definitely 1 for the collection and a band to keep your eyes on.

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THE PYGMIES-Inside Your Mind

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 22, 2013 by TheManicBlogger

pig5Out of the frozen Canadian Prairies come The Pygmies, reinventing Western Canadian music. This Calgary, Alberta garage-pop/punk band with roots in the 60s and 70s, have released 3 albums in the past 2 years, and thankfully, I have listened to them all.

pig3The January 2012 EP  The Pygmies, contains 2 tracks, “Because You’re Mine” and “Can’t Get You Outta My Head“. The songs are amazingly well crafted, with wonderful melodies. Reminiscent of early Kinks, they contain great riffs and solos, with an edge. Sort of The Kinks meet The Ramones.

pig2Pygmy Parumpapumpum, one of my favorite album titles of all time,  contains 4 tracks, and was released in November 2012 with, as you guessed, an Xmas theme. Songs like “Santa Claus“, “Father Christmas“, and “Pygmy Xmas” offer a Punk/Pop perspective of the holiday season by delivering great harmonies, amazing riffs and transitions, and some very cool drumming. The title track, an instrumental  take on the classic Christmas tune, intertwines itself with a verse or 2 of Silent Night, played with way cool psych guitar effects, and amazing 60’s organ. A way cool Xmas album.

pig1The 10 track Inside Your Mind, released in November 2013, has made the short list of our Canadian Indie Album Of The Year. Refreshingly simple, yet intense, this album has blown me away. “Hold Tight” has great effects and nice harmonies, while “Death March” gives us a great 60’s pop song with a wonderful melody and great harmony placement and shades of The Ramones. “I Can’t Get Out” , a perfectly executed garage-pop tune foreshadows the surf guitar riff, solo and Beatle ending of “Last Night“. The keyboard solo of “Inside Out“, with its early The Pretenders feel, and the obvious The Kinks influence of “End Of Time” make these prototypical  pop songs. The vocals on “No Connection” are tremendous and I really dig the 60’s ending. The pounding drums and ethereal harmonies of “Cannibal” are a perfect counterbalance to the much slower tempo. The heavy garage sound with a 1960’s vocal melody and organ of the title track remind me of something in a 1960’s teen beach movie. And I really like it. My favorite track, “Chain Reaction“, opens the album with incredible keys, a great melody, and way cool riffs and guitar effects. Sort of Smash Mouth with a 60’s twist. This song plays over and over in my head.

pig4The Pygmies have nailed it. The sound is captivating and the songs are brilliantly written. I enjoy the 2 1/2 minute tunes, which are written in a pop style-short and simple, and give me the sense that these were recorded live in one take. These guys are adept at dropping garage melodies into 1960’s pop, and 60’s pop melodies into garage music. They have a distinct knack for vocal melodies and harmonies, and a great sense of humor. I only wish that this was a double album. The Pygmies have developed a style that gives me The Zombies and The Kinks with a kiss of The Flaming Lips, and they have made it work. Definitely a must have album.

You can listen to The Pygmies here:   http://thepygmies.bandcamp.com/

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