A couple of years have past since the previous album from B.D. Gottfried (vocals, drums, keyboards) landed on my desk. And that was quite an enjoyable affair. And now Through The Dog’s Eyes has been released. Even when you might not be familiar with the name, Gottfried is a seasoned pro who has been around. His writing style is probably best described as pop / rock combined with often witty lyrics. In fact, I guess production wise this album rocks a tad more than before. But that extra bite only adds to the charm.
And charm this has in spades. Every song owns the ability to nest itself in your brain for you to hum along to. And while that might make you think that the songs are predictable and simple, they are not. Every track has an edge to it. A break, a non standard bridge, you name it. But the combination of all the used elements is just working. At least for me they are. From the opening track Something You Weren’t, to the should be a hit Blame It On The Money, to the suspense of Frequencies. Any of the 10 tracks on offer brings something to the table.
So it is safe to say that this is another album that the world should hear. Fingers crossed it is listening…
With a family tree heavily present in politics (senators, governors and even a president), becoming a guitar player is probably not the most obvious career choice. Yet Taft chose that path and never looked back. So after playing and touring with Trey Anastasio (Phish), Sweet Water and Second Coming, he is now releasing his fifth album under his own name. With influences ranging from ZZ-Top to The Cult to Jimi Hendrix.
And while I must confess I had never heard of the guy (sorry man), I must confess that if this album is anything to go by, we have been missing something here in Europe. Or at least I have. Because, even when it speaks of being dedicated to the blues, I have found this to be a pretty bad ass rocking album. And in my book that is a good thing!
So expect the songs to rock and rock with power. Yes, extended solos all over the place, but nothing of what I would consider typical blues. Even if that could be contributed to me never listening to pure blues albums. 🙂 This is 11 songs and over 52 minutes and authentic music, delivered with passion. Very melodic, varied and energetic. No dull slow 12 bar blues that lasts way too long in sight! (Not that there is anything wrong with that if you like it, it’s just not my cup of tea)
A very convincing and pleasant acquaintance, let it rain!
Anyone remember the Crash Test Dummies? Or maybe Dutch band The Pilgrims? Well, yes or no does not really matter, for now we have Our Ceasing Voice to deliver low dark raspy vocals! And with that also comes a slight change of direction for the Austrian trio. From ambient post rock, to more focused and catchy rock with pop sensibilities.
And the result surely is something to be proud of. From opening track The Arsonist to closer Countings, I find myself getting enchanted. Not only with the vocal delivery of Dominik Dörfler mind you. Also the guitars and synths from Sebastian Obermeir and the drumming from Markus Rappold contribute to an intense and atmospheric album.
Okay, the rock part may be subtle, but it is there. Yet in a way I think the band just wants to create dramatic and pure music, regardless of genre tags. And for me they have delivered in spades. Their vocals will always be a focal point, as there are very few singers who deliver them this way. But even such rather unique vocals need a canvas to shine on.
Hats off to the guys, this is a very good album that keeps you interested play after play. In a time where music seems to become bland and predictable, bands like this are needed to keep the flame burning!
Ever since the first release X in 1996, we have been following the band Ten. I say we, because in this case even my better half is quite fond of the band! And despite numerous changes of personnel over the years, the band has always been about the songs, storytelling and dark voice of Gary Hughes. And of course Gothica is no exception. Anyone familiar with the band will recognise the identity in an instant.
And no, in this case that is not a bad thing! Because the sound may have a certain ring to it, it is the voice of Hughes that takes care of the familiarity. And his knack for writing pompous songs with enough twists and turns to surprise even the most avid fan, but always with a great chorus and enough hooks to catch your attention.
Being a prog lover myself, I love the fact that Ten boldly play 8 minute songs if need be. And manage to do it with panache and energy. The storytelling of Hughes has always been great and this time we get to hear about Jekyll and Hyde, La Luna Dra-Cu-La, The Grail, time Travellers, and so on. The 7 man band all shine. They can rock, they can play fiery solos, and they can bring it all down and get you on the tip of your toes with a piece of piano and vocal.
Even when not all albums of the past are of the same calibre throughout, Ten rarely disappoint, and this one is very consistent and just amongst the best of them.
Sometimes it is hard to fathom why some releases are independent. Except when it is by choice of course. Anyway, after some 15 years away from music, the entity that is Ghostly Beard (the handle one man band Patrick Talbot chose to release his music under) is treating us with this EP, called Infinity.
I have been listening to this quite a lot over the past week or so and I must say I am totally impressed with what is on offer. The 5 songs in almost 25 minutes of music span a wide array of rock, but every song has multiple reasons to fall in love with them. Opener Close Your Eyes will surely appeal to people who are very fond of Pink Floyd. Including a blistering guitar solo. But also because the feel and mood of the song is just very enchanting. Frozen In Time is carried by some stunning bass playing (sounds fretless) as well as more exquisite and moody guitar work. Let alone the synths and flageolet like sounds throughout it. And good melodies of course. No Return is another moody piece that grabs you and refuses to let go. No need to discuss the last 2 songs, they are equal to the others.
Ghostly Beard proves that there are no limits when it comes to quality in music. Every song hits home, and hits home hard. Essential stuff if you ask me!
Moma are an Italian band and A Permanent State Of Transition is their second release. And despite their singer making them sound a bit like Belgium rock / prog band Machiavel (which was an Italian of course 🙂 ) their music is probably best described as (classic) rock. And while the songs are sung in English, the booklet is mainly in Italian so was hard for me to understand.
So let’s talk music! Operating as a drums, bass, guitar and vocal unit, focus is on songs and melody. I really like the guitar playing from Maurizio Marsiani by the way. Often deceivingly simple, but the little bits here and there tell you the guy knows what he is doing. Another smart move is that here and there they added additional parts. Mostly from guitar, but also piano. That created extras that work really well in the overall sound of the album. Singer Marcello Valenti has a bit of an accent, but it did not disturb me much. To round off, bass and keyboards are by Alessandro Bozza and Andrea Rossi plays the drums.
All in all it will not be considered a groundbreaking album. But what they do they do well and the album is easy to enjoy and just done with taste and class. So give it a try!
Something life moves in mysterious ways. Like when Mia Katherine Boyle set out to record her third solo album and it ended up becoming this new band, MKB Ultra. With the name a combination of her initials and the government mind-control experiments. The sessions resulted in this debut, with 10 songs and a playing time exceeding 43 minutes.
The result is a diverse album, firmly rooted in rock with a sometimes psychedelic nature and founded on groove and melody. On the first runs through the CD, the longer songs Black Ship, Strange Attractors and especially Forever Now impressed me the most. Somehow these songs grabbed me immediately. But repeated play saw the others slowly reveal their beauty too.
For the most part I reckon the difference is caused by the singing. The double female vocals seem to need a bit of listening adjustment. Yet after some time I really connected to the songs and loved them. I am always bad at referencing, but Jefferson Airplane might be a fit. So it is part rock, part blues, part psychedelica. But the most important thing is that it is a grower. And as you know all good albums are.
So if you are in for that sound of the Seventies and don’t mind a few turns left or right, you know what to do!
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 😉
Regular followers of the blog will surely be familiar with the name of Doris Brendel. This unique rock singer with the husky voice is going from strength to strength it seems. And as usual, again with the help of Lee Dunham, the songs on offer reflect her multi faceted personality and styles to the tee.
So far I have loved every album she has released (I even made sure to get a copy of her 1990 debut with The Violet Hour) and after a couple of spins of Ecleptica, I am starting to wonder if this is maybe her strongest effort yet. Yes, with every spin I am loving this album more and more. And while there are many moods and influences throughout this 10 track album, one thing is for sure, this might also well be her rockiest effort ever. And the rocker in me just cannot resist that.
Whether it is the tribal drums in opener The One, the rocky Love App, or the progressive 8+ minute epic (1 of 2, the other one clocking in at almost 10 minutes) I Rather Wear Black, I am really addicted. For me, all 10 songs hit home, and hit home hard. The choruses pick you up, the inventive arrangements keep you interested and the melodies make you want to hear it again.
So if this is your first encounter, or if you already own all her output, this comes heavily and heartily recommended. Outstanding album!
So now on to something new. Well, not quite perhaps. Turns out this band has been around since 1990. In various line-ups they have been gigging. And stopping. And starting again. And now, since early 2015 they are back and stronger than ever! First prove of this re-found energy is these 2 EP’s Part 1 from 2016 and a fresh part 2. The plan is to record 4 in total, each with 5 songs. Smart idea from this ehhh 5 piece 🙂
Part 1 starts very strong with the song Enemy. Raw power and energy, served with catchy hooks and good melodies. Melodies are memorable throughout the songs, and it sure helps they use more vocalists. It really enhances their mix of punk rock, classic rock and a dash of psychedelica. Another smart thing is additional arrangements, be it sound clips, or keyboards. Take for instance track 4 S.O.S. The overall sound creates a haunting atmosphere in the verses but when the guitars kick in on the chorus, you are back on earth in seconds. Oh, and closing track Ramones can only be a tribute to…. right!
EP 2 starts with another belter, the aptly titled Rock City. Lyrics go a little crazy with Pornosluts and Puke & Boogie without losing momentum. And the other 2 songs Long Distance Lovesong and Mayhem’s Trash (some Black Sabbath anyone?) are further testament to the talent in the band.
Energetic, powerful and experienced. You cannot go wrong with this music to start a party!