The career of Todd Rundgren spans generations and genres, so this iconic songwriter, artist, producer and innovator probably has a rolodex with a lot of names… And he used quite a few of these on this, his newest album. To drop a few: Trent Reznor, Donald Fagen, Joe Walsh, Daryl Hall, Joe Satriani and Robyn are among the guest on White Knight. And those names also give a clue as to how diverse this album is.
Now diversity is often a good thing, at least in my book, and in this case I am bound to listen to styles I would normally not take the time for. Knowing Rundgren’s work, it is not always instant, so I try to keep and open mind and listen without prejudice. Even to raps and stuff like that. And this album requires a lot of willingness to listen properly. After all, you get to hear hip-hopped funk, synth rock, ballads and power pop. All in one go.
It is probably unavoidable that this will turn some people off. But I don’t think Rundgren for one second will reconsider his choices. This is the what he wants to say and he will say it no matter what. Something I admire, but that won’t come as a surprise either.
So, after a couple of spins, what did I think? To me this is a Rundgren record, period. Clever songs, diverse arrangements, and all done in a focused and mature matter. Of course some songs speak more easy to me than others. But I am also certain that over time, all will sink in and share an equal love.
Not sure this will gain him new fans, but those into his amazing body of work do not need to hesitate. And before I forget; I already love his stab at the current political climate with Tin Foil Hat 😉
Alas 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.
Oh 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.
Mhm, not sure how this ended up on my desk. But anyway, I got it, so I listened to it. This is clearly very much in the pop genre, with a dash of dance influenced beats added. Not something I would usually listen to.
But to be honest, Songsbury, which is in essence Mat Teofilo handling everything except for guitars in last track Last Goodbye, knows a thing or two about writing songs. Opener Till The Day I Die is carried by his vocals, and they are good. Next track Common is also very enjoyable. I Think I’m In Love did not do that much for me, but Beautiful is just that. Very nice vocals again, and the piano playing here fits the mood to the tee. In this genre I will prove even worse in referencing other artists, but to me She Made Me Do It sounds a bit like one Bruno Mars. Which also means it is a track that does not work for me. Last Goodbye ends the EP and yeah, a little guitars added here indeed. Immediately gave it a bit of extra sizzle with for instance a great solo. And again Mat proves to be able to write commercial songs that can appeal to many.
So this one is a bit out of my zone, but some songs proved quite good.
Sir Rana are a new band from Sweden and Expectation is their first EP release. You will find 6 songs on it, totalling almost 20 minutes of music. Which of course means the songs are fairly short.
Well quality for quantity I guess, because the band deliver a batch of songs that will lighten up any mood. Tagged as indie, whatever that means, as for me this is joyful pop music that is done very well. Clever arrangements, beautiful vocals and harmonies, you name it. This is the perfect soundtrack for a sunny barbecue with friends, or maybe even a romantic evening with the love of your life.
So the last 3 years spent in the studio writing and recording has not lead to a dead beat lifeless yet pristine sounding first offering. No, this serves as the perfect introduction to a fresh band that will turn some heads.
So fresh, you can only find them on Facebook. But there are worse ways to start life as a band. Check this!
Update: the band let me know that so far only the title track is available. Follow this link to hear it.
From 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.
This 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…!
Oh, all ye people with a never ending love for the music of the sixties… your wishes have been fulfilled! Yes, here are Glasgow 5 piece The Fast Camels and they will use their musical time machine to bring you back to the days of flower power, make love not war, and those sticky melodies with songs you keep humming for days.
In fact they do this so good, I had to check a few times if this was not a lost album from that decade. But no, this is recorded in our time, by 5 guys with an obvious love for psychedelic power pop. And they have it nailed down to a tee. Okay, sometimes the guitars may sound a little bit more like “now”, but the overall projection is just very convincing. Even the album length with 10 songs in just under 40 minutes hits the mark. And the best thing about it all is, I never ever once thought, this sounds like this or that. No this is all originals, but man, they have you fooled.
So fans of The Beatles, The Move, The Byrds and such, this third album from the band will be right up your alley. Make sure you have a listen.
Seems not so long ago I wrote about Jeff Young, but that was in fact an international release of an album out a few years before. And here is his fresh new album. Reading through the press info, one cannot help but be impressed with all the name dropping there; side man to Jackson Browne, Donald Fagen, Curtis Stigers, Bonnie Raitt and Sting. Guest like Kirk Fletcher and Michael (oh wow) Landau! A crew used to work for names like Tori Amos, John Mayer or Gov’t Mule… We must be in for a treat!
And you would be right with that guess. Young is a scene veteran and it shows in every aspect of his songwriting, the sound, and his performance as a keyboard player and a (very soulful) vocalist. Whether it is the East- meets West coast of The Beauty Of A Woman (based on words from Audrey Hepburn), the reggae cover of James Brown’s Cold Sweat, The Steely Dan typed blues in The Art Of Conversation, or what ever song out of the ten on offer here, this is class.
And where perfect produced music sometimes leads to clinical, heartless music, here that is not the case at all. This is warm and personal and invites you to play it repeatedly.
So another job well done, and another album that will be revisited from time to time. Comes recommended!
Sometimes it is hard to fathom how the music business works. Take for example this independent album from singer, bass player (and yes, that is a 5 string!) and even piano player Holly Montgomery. Compare this to for instance one Sheryl Crow and tell me there is justice in the world… Anyway, Holly probably is more concerned about getting the music out there and make a living playing live, then chase A&R guys in suit and tie. So let’s take a look at the album itself.
Moods between the songs range from pop rock in songs like Drunk On The Power and Waterworks, to psychedelic groovy in Go Mellow, a bit of balladry in Beyond The Veil (beautiful moody song!), and a tad of Country in Don’t Want To Fall. Still the best songs are not even mentioned yet! Because for me that are Jump The Gun, the stunning title track and the funny tongue in cheek of Morning Glory.
Listening to this it becomes clear that Holly likes lyrics with substance and overall her performance is very authentic, pure and honest. This is someone who lives and breathes her music.
And don’t be afraid of all the genres mentioned, the band and Holly keep it all together and the whole of the album flows from start to finish and leaves you wanting more. Excellent stuff, get it!