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Lost Lakes, Self Titled, 2016

Lost-LakesAlas I cannot remember for the life of me how I got this. And unfortunately I did not receive any info with it either. So with the help of internet I have found Lost Lakes to be a four piece band. Central is the collaboration between Corey Mathew Hart and Paul Mitch, who met at a songwriting competition and just clicked. The style is described as pop infused folk rock, which I believe to be pretty accurate.

So in general this is a lot more mellow as most of the stuff I have been listening to off late. But that takes nothing away from it feeling authentic and heartfelt. The 12 songs all clock around 3 minutes and sometimes even have a hint of Country, or Americana if you will. All arranged with the song in mind, so no room for musical indulgence. Lots of vocals and melodies that want your attention.
So while this isn’t something I would usually pick up, I must confess that it is no punishment to listen to the album. At all! No, it is very well done and sounds honest and pure. In a time where fake music seems the standard, this is something to applaud.

All songs are of the same calibre so if you have a listen and still like it after Digital Tears and slight personal favourite Can’t It Wait, just buy it. Very enjoyable.

Website

The Sighs Of Monsters, Lie, 2017

the sighs of monsters - lieOh yeah, I cannot help but like a band who clearly state they love albums and respect the album as an art form. That’s the spirit boys! So hailing from London UK we have this quartet and their second album (after 2014’s Ground).  On it you will find 12 songs with a total running time of 46 minutes. In a way one could consider this as an art-rock or prog band. But actually that would be selling them short as the songs vary too much to put into one category. On the other hand, that might just be a very progressive thing…

Listening to the album I was hooked from the first bars of I Hear Drums. Call it infectious, call it catchy, call it what you like, it is a damn clever way to start. From a bit of distance it is quite remarkable how 4 guys can deliver music so diverse and still sound spot on in every second of it. Whether it is a more elaborate track like Superman In The Silence, the almost Johnny Cash sounding Fight or the almost New Wave sounding song like Hello. And if you now think this is a patchy work, forget it. Don’t know how they do it,  but nothing seems out of place here.

So there you go, the album as an art form and The Sighs Of Monsters as the advocate, I love it.

Website

Terry Draper, Window On The World, 2016

terry draper - window on the worldRemember Klaatu? No? Shame, anyone into progressive pop / rock should own their back catalogue, especially the album Hope. But anyway, one of the core member of Klaatu was Terry Draper, who continued to release music after the demise of the band in the early eighties. Recently we got in touch and he was so kind as to make this available to me.

I guess the “the lost 80’s tapes” sub title really tells you a lot. But what it does not say is that this is really a release on USB. It includes not only the 10 tracks from the album, but also videos, an extensive booklet and info sheet and no less than 12 bonus songs. Terry calls 2 of them an attempt at Euro-pop, 5 are songs about loved ones with female lead vocals, and 5 are demos in various states of completion.
Now, if you are familiar with the Endangered Species album from Klaatu, then I think the 10 songs will sound familiar as I think they come closest to that period in the Klaatu history. At that time there was more focus on straight songs it seems. And there is really nothing wrong with that as they’ve always shown a keen ear for melodies. That “The undercover Beatles” rumour from back in the day had to have a little root… Standout tracks for me are opener I Have A Dream, You Don’t See Me Laughing and closer and title track Window On The World. But I am sure that any song would have fitted well on any album.

So this makes me a happy man, and not only for the insights in the more obscure tracks!

Website

The Foxholes, Un Mal Menor, 2016

the foxholes - un mal menorOkay, this is great idea: a pseudo compilation album! From a band I had yet never heard of before either. So on to some info: The Foxholes are a trio, consisting of Jonah A. Luke on guitar and vocals, Vincenc Molina on drums and vocals and Carmelo Gomez on bass. As far as I can tell they are from Spain and this is not their first album (duh).

Named after the only as yet unreleased opening track, this trio delivers 9 songs and almost 39 minutes of a very pleasant brand of somewhat psychedelic rock. What struck me most was the almost constant duo harmony singing, giving them an unique voicing I think. Three of the songs are sung in Spanish, the other six in English, but this language change did not bother me at all. From the art I deducted that they have released albums in 2009, 2010 and 2011, but that might be incomplete.

In the end, what counts are the songs, and those are easy on the ears. Good melodies, and enough spice in the arrangements to enjoy them on repeat. So yes, I liked it!

Website

Mark Bogert, Painting The World, 2016

mark bogert - painting the worldYes, sometimes one can discuss the quality of artwork. Personally, I do not like the cover chosen for this release. On the other hand, when it comes to music, and more specific playing the guitar, things turn around very quickly. As with the previous release from Bogert, from the get go it is obvious this guy is one heck of a player. And when you get help from Knight Area mates Pieter van Hoorn on drums and Peter Vink on bass, you know you will have all the foundation you will ever need.

What I like most about Mark’s playing is his use of melody. In that aspect he comes from the Satriani way of doing things. Opener Earning The Best is a great introduction to that. Very nice piano playing and then the guitar hits us with melodies. And okay, several flashy bits, but I never once thought he was pushing it too hard. And the same applies to most of the songs on the album. Nature Of Stone is another song that mister Satriani would be proud of. Great melodies and moods. Other songs show the influence of Vai, which of course is no bad reference either. And in songs like Friends On Holiday and especially Missing The Loved Ones, I cannot escape the absolute haunting delivery. Achingly beautiful!

So all lovers of great playing, this is a record you have to check!

Website

Dolcetti, Arriver, 2016

dolcetti - arriverIn all honesty, I am not too keen on EP’s. But, as they say, no rule without exception. And to prove the point here we have the Arriver album by Dolcetti. Who are a self described crazy duo consisting of Gianni Rojatti on guitar and everything besides drums, as those are played by Erik Tulissio. And believe it or not, this duo plays live on a regular bases and despite the use of loops and stuff, manage to throw in improvisations in between their already virtuoso playing.

There are a lot of things to like about this album. For instance there are 8 tracks and 7 of them last 3:34. The last one, track 5 lasts 0:34. And if you pull a stunt like that off without sounding far fetched, you rank high upon my genius scale. And genius this is. It is very clear why mister Vai took them on board to support his tour. Or why they have played with the likes of The Aristocrats, Paul Gilbert or Tosin Abasi.

Yes, some out of this world playing and wizardry here, especially from Rojatti. And if you think this is all about technical display, you are wrong! No, they keep their eyes strongly on the delivery of songs and melodies. With exciting arrangements and flashy solos, but that is needless to say.

So there you go, a must have for people into the names mentioned. Brilliant!

Website

Tribe Royal, Colours Of The Sun, 2016

tribe royal - colours of the sunFrom Canada come Tribe Royal. After their formation in 2014, they have been ploughing towards earning a reputation as a professional, hard working and ambitious group. Their style is described as a modern and stylistically pleasing blend of Americana, 60’s British Rock and 90’s Alternative Rock. Colours Of The Sun is already their second album.

The pleasing part of that can largely be contributed to the 3 singing voices and the 3 part harmonies with some imaginative counterpoints. And listening to the album, it quickly becomes clear that anyone interested in the days of The Beatles and Crosby Stills Nash & Young, with added rock elements, will have a ball with this.
The 13 songs and over 43 minutes fly by. Okay, not so sure this is as unique as the press sheet claims, but it sure is very enjoyable. Whether it is in the pop structures of Wasting Time or I’m Not Gonna Wait, or the slightly more rocking My Kinda Girl, the songs have heads and tails and there is no denying that the vocals impress. Partake In A Dream is more introspective and nostalgic. Another plus is that the arrangements are here and there spiced up with other instruments and or some effective soloing that fit the mood of the song.

So definitely not a one trick pony, but an entertaining album that will please anyone into this type of material.

Website

Eldorado, Riding The Sun, 2016

eldorado - riding the sunAlas I missed previous album Babylonia Haze, but the albums before that, 2012 Antigravity Sound Machine and 2010 Golden, received a warm welcome here at YMB HQ. This time the band decided to record the album live, capturing the essence of the vibe and magic of their 60-70s inspired music in Brazil Studios, known for their incredible sound recording in tape.  It hardly gets more honest than that.

And honesty and authenticity are words that fit the style of the band to the tee. So the 12 songs on offer (totalling over 48 minutes) rock and groove indeed. Because of the live sound, it is never all too polished either, instead it is raw and in your face. Which is a tailor made suit for the band, as they seem to flourish and deliver with passion and intensity.

Overall the level is high, so it is hard to find songs that outshine the others. The title track opens the album and immediately sets the scene with its mild Eastern flavour and powerful beat. Gossip Crow is another groove monster. Forever On The Run lets the acoustic guitar shine, and the vocal melodies hit home as well. Plastic Flowers reminds me a bit of The Black Crowes, although it may be a bit heavier in the chorus. The Last Goodbye is a beautiful slower song, where a female choir adds a gospel like charm to the mix. As is the (farfisa?) organ, that is also present in some other songs.

Conclusion, the band deliver another set of quality seventies rock that is varied and convincing. Safe buy!

Website

Fas IV, Rat Trap, 2016

FAS IV - rat trapNow here is something interesting! Never heard of the band, but that turned out normal, since this is the first offering of this San Francisco based band. Named after singer and guitarist Frank Abreau Salazar IV, the trio is completed with producer and bassist Miles Delaco and drummer Tim Aristil. There is a little punk going on here and there, but overall I think that lovers of music from Led Zeppelin to Queen or The Doors, will find this to their liking.

The opening tune Witchcraft alas put me a bit off track at first, mainly because of the effect on the lead vocal. I thought the song was okay, but the vocals, not sure. But from then on it is onwards and upwards. Double Life ought to be a global hit such is its attraction. But this is not the only stand out track. Police and Voices are killer, Dead In My Tracks surprises with a mellow verse and a kick ass chorus.
And that is not all. Over time I also got used a bit more to the first song. But for a debut this is a quality effort that packs a punch and deserved to find a home with all those claiming to love power, groove and melody. And the organ that sometimes pops up, only enhances the music and adds to the charm.

Yes I like this very much, excellent stuff guys and hurrah once more for Bad Reputation!

Website

Brandon White, Crow Black Smoke, 2016

brandon-white-crow-black-smokeThis must be one of the fastest posts ever. Released today and already my thoughts are going online 🙂
Well, some of you might recall an earlier post about Brandon. And since I absolutely love his voice and his songwriting, I just could not pass up on the opportunity to give it a few spins and start typing.

Going completely independent, this EP should find a good home with everybody into the music from Bruce Springsteen, Ryan Adams, or maybe even U2. The songs are fresh and that voice pulls you inside in seconds. All 5 tracks are testament of a great talent that deserves so much more.

And here is your chance to make a little of that happen. The EP is available for free, but you are encouraged to leave him some money. And if you can, be generous! But whatever you do, give it a listen and tell all your friends. And for Brandon: I want it on CD…!

Website

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