Archive for U.K.

2016-WE’RE SO EXCITED!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 17, 2016 by TheManicBlogger

Here are a few good reasons that we are excited by 2016. There are new releases due from some of our favorite Indie bands, this year.

 

minnows55Stalwarts of the Belfast scene, The Minnows are set to release a long awaited, and long overdue album. If the track, ‘Oh Man‘,  is any indication of the road the band is on, this will be EPIC!

 

youngbenjamins55Saskatoon, Canada’s, Young Benjamins, last released an album in 2013. 3 years later, and we can’t wait to get our hands on this.

http://youngbenjamins.com/album/340928/beware-of-me?autostart=true

 

lostboys55The darlings of Southhampton, U.K., The Lost Boys are set for a 2016 release. Check out ‘China In The Sink‘, and you’ll be as excited as we are for this one.

 

 

 

thecorsets55We have heard, that Toronto, Canada’s, The Corsets are working on a release. The new track, ‘Drivin’ Away‘, has us sitting here with our fingers crossed.

 

 

 

 

jp55Toronto‘s Cameron House regulars, Jane’s Party, have an album set for release in the spring.  Its been about 3 years since their last release, and after hearing ‘Coming On Strong‘, well, we hope its an early spring.

 

 

 

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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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NADINE SHAH- Fast Food

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 3, 2015 by TheManicBlogger

I wish that I had discovered Nadine Shah sooner. The London, England singer/songwriter released her 10 track album, Fast Food, in April 2015, and it is simply amazing!

ns2The songs contain wonderful melodies, great changes & transitions, and a wonderfully heavy rhythm section. I heard the sound of horns, acoustic guitar, organ, and piano. There are cool effects, great harmonies, and some way cool guitar throughout. There is a great Parisian Cabaret vibe to ‘Fast Food‘, and a wonderful mid-east sensibility to ‘Matador‘. The album offers changes & transitions that seem effortless. The vocals are insanely good, darkly emotional, smoky & sultry. The instrumentation is wonderfully simple within a song that is complex, and the production is exceptional. Favorite tracks include ‘Divided‘, a beautiful song with a dynamite melody sung over acoustic guitar and tom; ‘Big Hands‘, with way cool keys, and a melody that delivers Nadine Shah’s devastatingly wonderful voice; and ‘Stealing Cars‘, with its unforgettable riff, is as addictive as any song I have heard!

 

 

ns1Nadine Shah has a style all of her own. Unforgettable and unmistakable! Beautiful & sublime. The songs are wonderfully written, and have been driving some to move uncontrollably. I dig this album. It is wonderfully eclectic. It is alternative. Alternative cool. Alternative wonderful. You can pick it up for the ‘name your price’ fee on Bandcamp. Pay what you can. Get it today!

 

 

 

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PINK LIZARDS

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 31, 2014 by TheManicBlogger

pl2I came across Pink Lizards out of Brighton, England, quite accidentally while venturing out into uncharted areas of various music streaming sites. The name caught my attention. I could not find a lot of material, 3 songs to stream and a few live performance videos. I listened and I watched. The heavy psych-rock sound totally captivated me.

I did some research on the band: Martyn Nash on drums, Ben Buckley on bass, and, guitar and vocals pl3by Daisy Coburn. Daisy Coburn? If any of you remember Daisy Dares You, well, this is her. A deal with Jive Records (Sony) and a top 20 U.K. single. Pretty impressive. But this is not the same Daisy.

El Torro“, an acoustic track, breathes psychadelica. The guitar effects are incredibly surreal, and the pl1mood, ethereal. The Spanish flavor  fits wonderfully, and the vocal track, superb. The powerful bass and drums of “Sold Your Soul” emphasize the vocals that are placed somewhere in the distance. The great changes, and way cool fuzz sound make this track an interesting journey into psych-melancholia. “Here I Sear“, continues with the great bass lines evident in all of the tracks. There are great effects, and a dynamite vocal track. There are some sweet guitar licks going on amid all of the goings on, and the guitar solo rocks. Listen for the cool changes, and the Floyd like laughter.

 

 

 

While there is no album to stream or purchase, keep an ear on Pink Lizards. I anticipate great things from this trio. In the meantime, check out their music on Soundcloud, and visit their facebook page.

 

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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 LOST BOYS-Answers On A Postcard

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 17, 2014 by TheManicBlogger

lostboys1The second album from Southampton, England’s The Lost Boys , has thrilled me with yet more U.K. pop. Answers On A Postcard, the follow up to 2011’s Not Arf It’s…The Lost Boys, delivers 5 incredible pop songs.

The album opens with “Broken Story 1“, an interesting ballad, with a wonderful melody and great harmonies. The vocals are dropped behind the instrumentation that includes acoustic guitar. The changes and transitions are nice, and the vocal track stands out. “I Fall For Everyone” has a way cool surf music hook, an amazing bridge, and a dynamite guitar solo. The wonderful drumming, the sweet riff, and the exceptional chorus, make this a terrific power pop song. The cool melody, and great hook of “Moving Pictures“, pull the incredible bridge, amazing changes and transitions, and the wonderful instrumentation together. A dynamite 60’s pop song with modern elements. “The Karaoke Age“, returns us to power pop, and offers some incredible screaming guitars, a wonderful melody, with exceptional harmonies, great changes, and some very cool riffs and mini solos. My favorite track, “From Love To Hate“, lostboys2has several different songs within it. It plays like a concept song, with distinct musical movements. The changes and transitions are effortless and perfect. The harmonies and melody are indescribably good. I hear acoustic guitar, bells, cool lead riffs and great keyboards, and an unbelievable bridge. Brilliant!!

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The album is dynamite. Fueled by the song writing of Daniel Ash (not to be confused with the Daniel Ash of Bauhaus and Love And Rockets fame), The Lost Boys have created an Indie-Mod-Pop sound that is eccentric, eclectic and esoteric. The guitar is subtle, yet always evident. The effects are cool. Daniel Ash’s vocals, which drive the songs, are reminiscent of Ray Davies, with distinct, working class English sensibilities. There is an Andy lostboys3Partridge influence to the transitions, with different musical themes  incorporated into 1 song. This guy is not afraid to put any element he wants into his music. The melodies are infectious and the hooks, unforgettable. On opening for Paul Weller (The Jam, The Style Council), Weller called Daniel Ash “a great little song writer”. I don’t know how big or tall Daniel Ash is, but he is, indeed, a great song writer Like something out of Bowie‘s Absolute Beginners, this mod-popster could very well be the pop genius of a new generation.

Check out The Lost Boys for yourself: https://soundcloud.com/thelostboys-1

 

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TOXIC MELONS-Bus Therapy

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

tm12So, the story goes that Paul Fairbairn, Pablo Melons himself, was taking a lengthy bus trip and became so inspired, that he  the he got the idea for the entire album right there and then. Why not? George Harrison was said to have written “Blue Jay Way” on a plane!

I first encountered Toxic Melons in May, 2013, and my love affair with their quirky U.K. sound continues with the new release, Bus Therapy, which I was fortunate to get pre-release.

The album opens with “More Or Less“, showcasing way cool  piano and organ, a great melody and super harmonies. The song could be on any XTC album. “Journey“, an instrumental, has a dynamite musical melody that sits under  electronic effects to create a Close Encounters feel. The acoustic guitar of “Let Me Sleep” is reminiscent of early Bowie, and fits perfectly among the weird keys that create a circus tm13atmosphere.  Interesting melody, sweet harmonies and a precise and tight guitar solo. “Disco Balls“, an amazing satire of the genre, nails it, with a great disco beat, cool changes and transitions, and  great electronic effects. The cowboy sentiments of “Just One Beer“, captured by the saloon style piano, hide just below a sweet melody, nice harmonies and cool guitar riffs and runs. “Getting Old“, with its melancholic melody, delivers dynamite strings and horns, great transitions, and a cool bridge. I can’t help liking the vocal track. “Take Me Back” is beautifully melodic, with harmonized vocals that rival The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds. That good! The track kills, with amazing flute and acoustic guitar, and wonderful arrangements. I am particularly fond of the vocals being the primary instrument here. Surprisingly, I have 2 favorite tracks. The wonderfully fabulous melody and sweet harmonies, combined with some way cool piano,  and lyric- “was a need to change the world before her lifetime expired; no complicated reason, just the way she was wired”- had me asking why “Change The World” hasn’t been on a Nilsson album. “Not In Love” has a great pop melody and  lush harmonies. The guitar and piano are dynamite, and I really dig the guitar runs. The bridge is perfect. Great pop song!

tm11Bus Therapy is my kind of therapy. Truly 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.

Check out Toxic Melons and help this band:https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/11591364/toxic-melons-bus-therapy-kick-starter-campaign

 

 

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