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:




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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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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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Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 25, 2013 by TheManicBlogger

What do you get when a Canadian boy from Halifax, Nova Scotia walks into New Jersey garage? Jon Mullane. His most recent album, Shine, caught the attention of Indie label, and keeper of the Jersey sound, Bongo Boy Records. They were so impressed, they signed him. jm3The ballad, “The One That Got Away“,  has a hauntingly beautiful melody. There are great changes, sweet harmonies, and I like the piano. The 1960’s pop song “Take Me Away“,  offers amazing changes, a cool guitar riff, a great musical hook, and hand clapping that has this track destined to become a classic. “So Into You“, with its wonderfully subtle guitar, demonstrates once again that less, is indeed more. The background vocals are terrific. The up tempo “Shine On Tonight“, has a nice groove. The chorus and bridge rock and the  synth gives this track a 1970’s-1980’s feel. “In Your Life” opens with vocals and guitar only, and adds some great keyboards. There are nice effects and harmonies.  “Born Beautiful” gives up some great changes and transitions. The guitar riff and vocals are great, and the drumming rocks. The synth sounds of “Body Rock” give it a fullness that supports the great guitar riff, powerful vocals and wonderful hook. Add to this the sound of horns, and you’ve got an amazing song. “Any Other Way” has a beautiful melody and some cool jm1acoustic guitar. There is a great bridge, but this track is all about the melody and the vocals. “Way Up” and “Way Up (Radio Mix)” are similar versions of 21st Century pop. The overlapping vocal tracks, cool guitar riff and solo, and driving beat, make for a cool tune, a surprisingly great dance tune! My favorite track, “My New American Girlfriend”  had me thinking garage pop-rock at first listen. On the second listen I heard a wonderful summer on the beach feeling. This Beach-Rock song delivers a great melody, and some great power chords in the chorus. The vocals are wonderful and the lyric contain soon to be classic lines-“she’s original, not so typical, a little naughty, but nice”, and “photogenically, schizophrenically, she’s broken all of the rules”. Amazing. The solid hook, dead on vocals, and wonderful background vocal arrangements, make this one way cool track. A wonderful song, that rocks all of the way through. Seems this Canadian boy has struck gold with his new American girl. jm2Shine rocks. It rocks Halifax and Jersey. Jon Mullane writes amazing songs with exceptional melodies. He has that cool, gravelly voice, and subtle approach to instrumentation. His passion for 1960’s pop and 1970’s garage create a near perfect hybrid  of garage-pop. And he looks the part. White t shirt, jeans, and a bit of a snarl that reminds me of early Springsteen. But Mullane is his own force to be reckoned with. With three singles already lifted from the album-My New American Girl, Body Rock, and Any Other Way, and several more to chose from, Great things are happening for Jon, and I anticipate many more. With Bongo Boy Records behind him, I am certain they will come. A great writer, a great musician, a great album. One of the coolest albums I have had the good fortune to have listened to. Congratulations, Jon. Well done. Definitely one for your collection and your car. You can listen to Jon Mullane: bb Check out Jon and other great artists at:         newlogo Follow us on twitter:




Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 27, 2013 by TheManicBlogger

J&F2New Jersey has long since been the home of some incredible popular music. Sinatra, Springsteen, Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes, Gar Francis, The Smithereens and The Grip Weeds. We can now add to this list. From Raritan, New Jersey-I don’t know where it is either,-come Jenny And The Felines, a way cool, alternative pop band who cite The Beatles, The Beach Boys, and Buddy Holly as influences. Singer, song writer. guitarist, Jenny Cat-ok, getting a little weird-leads us on a journey through her mind, and it is not such a bad trip.

j&f1Their July 2013 release, Don’t Look Back, an ironic title for a band that draws so heavily from 1960’s pop/rock music, nails it. The title track  opens the album with wonderfully 1960’s harmonies, great transitions, and a cool hook. “The Worst Kind” has a great chorus,  a bridge  that incorporates a change in tempo, and keys that simulate horns, all within a sweet melody. “I Hope She Knows” offers a nice bass line and cool drum shots. “Boston” has a countryfied feel, a wonderful early Eagles groove, with its laid back pop sentiment, a nice and easy flow and multi-track guitars. The layered vocals of “Mommy” add to the super cool, 1970’s John Cafferty feel. Great guitar picking highlights “Alive“, with its ongoing drum rolls and shots, and a beautifully tender melody line. “Bleed For You“, a pop/rock tune has a completely different sensibility, reminiscent of The Go-Gos. The up tempo “Tangerine“, blends power pop with psych rock. There are changes in tempo and time signature with great transitions that make me wish it was 2 minutes longer. Way cool tune. “Wanna Be Yours“, has wonderful structure, with a key change, ongoing riff,  some great drum rolls leading into the chorus, and a 60’s girl band feel. The album closes with “Watched You Go“, delivering wonderfully subtle harmonies, a beautiful chorus and a warm, understated organ that fades out amid some very cool drum shots. 

j&f4This band rocks. This band rolls. Jenny And The Felines does it all. Don’t Look Back is a wondrous compilation of memorable tunes with catchy hooks and melodies. They have created a unique blend of 1960’s and 1970’s music with an alternative edge. The songs all fall within the 2-3 minute range, and contain simple, straightforward yet meaningful lyrics. Jenny Cat writes amazing tunes, with insanely good choruses. The guitar solos and riffs are short, precise and intense. This woman can write songs. This woman can sing. This woman can play guitar. Simple music. Great songs. Nothing forced and nothing overwhelming. Don’t Look Back is a way cool 60’s feel good journey. Listen and then listen again. Once is definitely not enough. One of the most exciting albums I have heard in a long, long time. Destined to be on the short list for I Can’t Believe My Earz Album Of The Year.

You can listen to Jenny And The Felines here:



Radio That Doesn’t Suck. All The Time.



Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 6, 2013 by TheManicBlogger

YR2I truly enjoy receiving unsolicited music. Usually the best music I will be hearing in any given week. This turned out to be true again, when a friend of Toronto band, Young Running sent me the band’s new EP release, Coming Home.

The title track, opens with acoustic guitar and vocals and sets the tone for the rest of the album. There is a great melody, and wonderful transitions. Great song! “Oh My“, a roots/folk song, gives us some very cool guitar picking, brushes on the drums, and a nice bridge.  “Quiver Of Smoke“, with its more upbeat tempo, has an early Blue YR1Rodeo feel, a sort of cowboy-country-pop thing going on. There are great harmonies, wonderful transitions, and a very catchy musical hook. The vocals are remarkable. I am not sure, but I think I heard a washboard. The harmonies of “Rise Up“, give it an almost dirge feeling. The melody is amazing as it rides across some very solid drumming. There is a very nice tempo change and isolated vocals and drums in the final verse.  “Waiting For You” is a roots song, with banjo and, really, is that a washboard? The bass line is great and the drums, well, you need to listen for yourself. This is Canadiana, with lyrical reference to Winnipeg and Thunder Bay. Yes Thunder Bay!

yr3Young Running are a Canadian folk-alt country-roots band. Their music is simplistic yet the songs are wonderfully crafted. Their sound is unique and original, something like Blue Rodeo meets Murray McLaughlin meets Ian Tyson. It is pure Canadian roots music. There are no electric guitars here, and they are not missed. The vocals are amazingly soothing and Liam Kearny‘s songs are masterful. Not surprising as The Beatles and The Beach Boys are cited as influences. The strength of this band is in the songs, in their ability to tell a story. This is an album you should listen to, more than once. It is fun and wonderfully executed. Look out for these guys.

You can hear Young Running at this link:


Radio That Doesn’t Suck. All The Time.



Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 8, 2013 by TheManicBlogger

tracerflare3As a follow up to the release of their March 2012 EP, Among Us, Montreal’s Tracer Flare released the 5 song Black Box in November 2012,  displaying maturity as song writers and growth as musicians.

Food Chain“, has great transitions, an interesting vocal track and cool harmonies. The soft guitar riff that runs throughout  underlies the distinct progressive rock flavor of the song. The sweet, melancholy and lamenting melody of “Time Bomb” is a wonderful foil for the more upbeat “Madrid“, with great cymbal crashes from Frank Roberts, and great changes. This song demonstrates the vocal range of Marc Morin and the patient guitar of Dan Stein. Add in a change in tempo and some very cool vocal effects, and you have a killer song. “Resuscitate” an up tempo track with a musically punky feel, has tremendous energy that emits  a sense of urgency. I particularly like the vocal effects and experimentation.  And the edgy rock bite. The consistent bass work of Phil Duranlo drives “Somewhere“, with its keyboard heavy sound. There are nice drum shots and rolls which emphasize the story being told here. The emotionality is evident and the elements of Progressive Rock exquisite.

tracerflare2I enjoyed this album. The new wave meets alternative rock with progressive overtones works for Tracer Flare. They demonstrate an intricate use of the instruments with none overbearing. The songs are their strength, and they deliver them with socio-political lyrical content.  The sound is eclectic, a kind of retro-pop-rock with a pair. Definitely worth several listens.

You can listen to Tracer Flare here:!music/c61v