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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

EIEIO - That Love Thang

Name: EIEIO
Album: That Love Thang
Year: 1988
Style: Pub Rock, Pop, Alt-Country
Similar Bands: Squeeze, Fabulous Thunderbirds, Meat Puppets, BoDeans, REM, Bluebells, Talk Talk, Aztec Camera, Monkees
"One Word" Review: Honky Tonk Bar Pop
Based Out Of: Wisconsin
Label: Frontier
 That Love Thang - Cover & Record
That Love Thang - Back & Record
That Love Thang (1988)
  1. Hey Cecilie 3:36
  2. Words Falling Down 3:25
  3. Crack Crack Crack 3:27
  4. Ya Ya Love 4:01
  5. Andy Warhol's Dead But I'm Not 3:37 /
  6. That Love Thang 3:10
  7. Saw of Light 3:38
  8. Where You Go 3:35
  9. Gonna Get Gone 1:50
  10. Across The Tracks 3:38
  11. Brother Michael 3:52
Album Rating (1-10): 8.5

Members & Other Bands:
Scott Gorsuch - Drums, Vox, Percussion (David Stocker, Insanity, The You, War on the Saints)
Rob Harding - Guitar & Vox (Off Broadway)
Steve Summers - Vox, Rhythm & Acoustic Guitar (Pretty Boy Floyd, Tomas Ramirez, Sprung Monkey, Shameless) 
Richard Szeluga - Bass, Vox, Guitar, Poetry
Phil Bonnano - Producer, Engineer, Mixing
Mark Volfe - 2nd Engineer
Todd Culross - 2nd Engineer
Dave Kent - 2nd Engineer
Bob Ludwig - Mastering
John Libowski - Cover Art
Mark Palmer - Back Cover Photos
Bill Olson - Guitar, Guitars, Cigar Selection
Brad Wood - Tenor Sax (Liz Phair, Shrimp Boat, Tortoise, Sea & Cake, King Kong, Hub Moore, Stereolab, Ben Lee, Royal Trux, Whale, Smashing Pumpkins, Diane Izzo, Verbow, Pete Yorn, Ben Lee, Edison Glass, Dar Williams, Margaret Cho, Lisa Loeb)
Julie Wood - Baritone Sax (Victor De Lorenzo, Paul Cebar, Steve Gold, Mrs. Fun, Jennifer Day, The Webb Brotheres, Lesser Birds of Paradise, Michelle Wright, Bob Stroger, 
Brian Wis - Trumpet
J.P.R. - Trombone & Horn Arrangement (Commander Tom, WA St Original Artists, Robinson Boyz, Do or Die, Al Kapone, Da Braddah, Play N Skillz, UGQ, Don Wuan Esq) 
Bruce Breckenfeld - Hammond Organ (Gambler, KMFDN, EnuffZ'Nuff, Satya Graha, Deluxury, Agent Zero, 

Unknown-ness: I've never heard of this band, but right off the bat, they will most likely be a silly band, taking the nursery rhyme inspired name, and their song Andy Warhol's Dead, But I'm Not cannot be all that serious. The artwork makes me think of British-pop-Dance music, like Soup Dragons or Jesus Jones, even if this is just a little bit older, so we'll see if it is moody college radio (from the photos on the back) or fun dancey beats.

Album Review: This band was right behind the BoDeans as Alt-Country bands coming out of Wisconsin, but received less praise. Their style on the second album was more spanning of different genres, but still maintains Jayhawks, Meat Puppets and other American Alt-Rock band comparisons. They put out a third album in 2007, and from the looks of their FB page, they’re still active.

“Hey Cecilie” begins with a flurry of guitar, before settling into a jazzy, horns fueled pub rock song. The lead vocals are a little nasally, and the rest of the band backs up with more hey-hey’s. It is a little twangy, alt-countryish, but it is a rocking fun song. The secondary chorus acts like a tolerable line dance, in its reprise and new melody.
“Words Falling Down” begins jangely, with a secondary upbeat melody. The vocals are not as adventurous, and are actually a bit monotone, reminding me of REM, especially in how the vocals are layered to give an echoing, slightly-psych tone.
“Crack Crack Crack” has a down and dirty guitar intro, and the vocals start out bold and a bit like Glenn Tilbrook of Squeeze and are companied by accenting horns. This again takes the label of Countryish Pub Rock.
“Ya Ya Love” is a slower, side to side country beat shuffle. But the Talk Talk / Aztec Camera Vocals still persist.
“Andy Warhol's Dead But I'm Not” gets right into the groove with power-pop guitar chorus to create a solid late-period Squeeze feel. Even the smooth chorus, with a group effort in support crafts a simple and punchy track. This fully fleshed out song continues the bass and rhythm guitar melody throughout the whole song, save the chorus, but even supports the formulaic guitar solo. I just wish the chorus, the catchiest part of the song would continue a little longer in its melody. Still, a solid song.

“That Love Thang” embraces the rockabilly swagger with some wah-wah guitar hooks and washing brass sections. This again has a sort of line dance feel, but in a natural, fun way, and enough guitar edge to not need a cowboy hat and flannel to enjoy.
“Sea of Light” enters with a drum beat, and a nice mellow vocal melody. It is a bit soulful, and a bit oldies-pop. Once it hits the chorus, you can clearly hear the old garage bands of the 60’s influence. The verse chorus progression is simple, catchy and cleanly done. It is a good example of what jangle pop owes to garage rock. It adds the prerequisite guitar solo after 2 run throughs of verse-chorus.
“Where You Go” starts with an off note sounding guitar loop. It is a slow stomp, and a bit psychedelic (with echoing melody and minor chords) when it hits the chorus. This song also pays homage to the pop sound of the 60’s, with a little updated production of the late 80’s.
“Gonna Get Gone” brings back the country guitar, and is a fast driving (thanks to the drum beat) song, reminding me a little of the Monkee’s “Goin’ Down,” which makes sense alliteration-wise.
“Across The Tracks” changes the pace completely, starting itself off with a dreamy, windswept intro. The jangely guitar and drum beat push the song forward, but it has a plains, rolling hillside feel. The song is a little out of place, with its grand presentation, lacking the pub, oldie, and country feels.
“Brother Michael” feels gloomy at the front, with some deep strings. It lightens up, as a memory to the brother, and the strings grow uplifting and the vocals are sentimental, and solemn. This orchestral song also does not fit on the album, but rather than Across the Tracks, this adds to their character as a band, showcasing their highpoints such as melody building and vocal clarity in a new setting that does not sound dated or obsolete. It is pretty and shows just what they are capable of. It is a shame the band did not gain the popularity they could have had coming their way. I would have been interested to see their career had they gained some better breaks. This album had all the makings of a treasure hunt, where their gifts were buried just below the surface, and would have become enhanced with subsequent albums or projects.

Stand Out Track: Sea of Light

Links:
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Cock Robin - s/t

Name: Cock Robin
Album: s/t
Year: 1985
Style: Jangle Pop, New Wave, Arena Rock
Similar Bands: Big Country, Bryan Adams, Rick Astley, Bongos, Bram Tchaikovsky, Pat Benatar
One Word Review: Overproduced, Pastel Pegged Jeans Rock.
Based Out Of: San Francisco, CA
Label: Columbia, CBS Inc
 Cock Robin - Cover & Lyrics
 Cock Robin - Back, Record, Liner Notes
 Cock Robin - Headshot, Label Promotion
Cock Robin - Label Promotion
Cock Robin (1985)
  1. Thought You Were On My Side 4:17
  2. When Your Heart is Weak 4:39
  3. Just When You're Having Fun 3:42
  4. The Promise You Made 3:54
  5. Because It Keeps On Working 4:40 /
  6. Born With Teeth 4:13
  7. Once We Might Have Known 5:10
  8. More Than Willing 4:29
  9. A Little Innocence 5:37
Album Rating (1-10): 5.0

Members & Other Bands:
Peter Kingsbury - Vox, Keys, Bass, Synth Programming (Brenda Lee, Smokey Robinson, Stephanie Mills, Tuner, 
Anna Lacazio - Vox, Keys, Cover (Corey Hart, Purple Mountain Matinee, Ra Sol, Harold Budd)
Louis Molino III - Drums, Percussion, Vox (Trevor Rabin, Yoso, Julian Lennon, Kenny Loggins, Kim Mitchell)
Clive Wright - Guitars, Keys (Harold Budd, Kim Carnes, Human Drama, Skull Valley, Spiral Ascension)
Palinho da Costa - Percussion (Baby'O, The Bridge, Dizzy Gillespie, Fuse One, Sergio Mendes & Brasil '77)
Pat Mastalato - Percussion (BPM&M, Crimson Projekct, King Crimson, Ktu, Mastica, Mr. Mister, Naked Truth, Projekct Fout, Projekct Three, Projekct X, Stick Men, Tuner)
Arno Lucas - Percussion (Crackin', Steve Goodman, Rhythm Heritage, Ricky Lee Jones, Lauren Wood, Chris Montan, Robby Dupree, Leslee Smith, Randy Newman, LA Carnival)
Steve Hillage - Rhythm Guitar, Producer, Mixing, Recording (Uriel, Gong, Khan, System 7, The Orb, Clearlight)
Donald Lane - Art Direction
Kelly Ray - Cover
Dan Marnien - Engineer Assistant to mixing
Chris Desmond - Assistant Engineer recording
Jeff DeMorris - Assistant Engineer recording
Paul Wertheimer - Assistant Engineer recording
Jay Landers - Management
Doug Sax - Masteing
Ron Lewter- Mastering Asst
Val Garay - Mixing, Supervisor
John Aruba Arias - Additional Mixing
Richard Bosworth - Mixing Asst.
Gwen It's Sagona Rain - Clothes
Wendy Osmondson - Makeup
Dennis Keeley - Photography
Miquette Giraudy - Production Asst
Paul Fox - Programming Synth
Gabe Veltri - Recording

Unknown-ness: I've never heard of Cock Robin, but I picked this up for purely juvenile reasoning. It looks like a horrific, bland album that will blend new age music with jangely roots rock. And the year does not hold any hope for me, as '85 is a pretty smooth, overproduced era.

Album Review: Although they are from San Fran, they never reach critical acclaim here as they did across Europe. This, their first of a 6 album career (so far) has seen ups and downs, disbanding and reforming, with the now-standard reformation later in the career to trot out the successful stuff in reissuing and revisiting. The album was a sign for the times-production wise in 1985, and has not aged well at all.

“Thought You Were On My Side” was a huge single in Belgium, reaching #4. It begins with a twinkling synth, and a bass-guitar power combo, creating a roots arena rock sound. The female vocals begin with equal power. They share the stage in turn with male vocals, and they create a light rock feel. It has all the production of Billy Ocean and Rick Astley, with a “Living On A Prayer” chugging guitar mixed well down in the background.
“When Your Heart is Weak” was a single, and the only ne released in the US, reaching #35.It creeks up with a rising organ, and the sterile new wave melody begins. The male vocals waver and seem frail. The sound places them right at home in late 80’s overproduced rock. The vocals at times are like a less trembley Chris Isaak.
“Just When You're Having Fun” begins with tinny drums and a playful synth hook. The electric sound and personality-removed production give it an adult island-themed cruise feel, where the fun is forced and piped in through the vents. It sounds a little like later-period English Beat, but in a bad way. I can see the Hawaiian print baggy, shoulder padded dress, and pastel dress shirts with khakis cut right above the ankle for the guys. The song sounds like it should be a lot more fun than it is.
“The Promise You Made” was a huge single in Belgium, reaching #1. It has a gentle, driving bass line, and chugging guitar with jangley guitars ringing out over top. The male vocals begin above a mumbling whisper, and they grow as the song wakes up. The chorus combines the male and female vocals. After one run through the song picks up the tempo, and offers a second rendition of the melody with a more energetic beat.
“Because It Keeps On Working” enters with a bold organ and choir chant. That is quickly abandoned for a rushed synth hook, and a driving melody, which is almost fun. The fluttering male vocals take their turn amongst another strong male voice and the female vocals. Overall, the best comparison would be to Bram Tchaikovsky.

“Born With Teeth” keeps up the pace of the last song, with a rollicking fun synth melody. The female vocals have a Pat Benatar life force. The sprawling chorus fails to live up to the catchiness in the instrumental hook or the delivery that the verse builds up. But otherwise, it is a pretty passionate song, which makes up for the downfalls.
“Once We Might Have Known” starts out with a woman crooning that almost sounds like a harmonica. The music begins with a windswept feel. The chorus builds with a cast of multiple vocals, but the song drives to nowhere over its time. The breakdown matches up nervous vocals with too-smooth synth effects and other flourishes that don’t add to the bottom line of the song. The guitar solos sound pretty boring, especially, I imagine, live.
“More Than Willing” has a short show-tuney intro, and once the song begins, it is driven by a synth bass line. The song has a little R&B element to it, but the song is slow and calculated on the whole: very forgettable.
“A Little Innocence” features a muted bass line to introduce itself. Crashing synth  notes accent the non-existent melody. The male vocals are back to the wavering croon, and they are soon joined by the female lead, matching the shy energy. The song wanders on and on, employing gusty top-of-the mountain guitar solos, and an echoing open-air drum sound. 

Stand Out Track: Born With Teeth

Links:
Wiki

Friday, February 27, 2015

Junta - Junta EP

Name: Junta
Album: Junta EP
Year: 1984
Style: Alternative, Post-Modern, Art Rock, Experimental, Post-Punk
Similar Bands: Violent Femmes, XTC, Talking Heads, Wire, Gang of Four, Jonathan Richman, Residents
One Word Review: Organic, Ritualistic Beatnik Spasms
Based Out Of: West Chester, Ohio
Label: Day One Records
 Junta - Cover & 45 Side
Junta - Back & 33 Side
Junta (1984)

  1. Zaire 4:57
  2. Another Horse Story 4:58 /
  3. Waldo 3:59
  4. Roman Blood 5:38
  5. Tar & Soil (live) 4:32

Album Rating (1-10): 8.0

Members & Other Bands:
Jay McCubbin - Bass (Wolverton Brothers)
Bill Stuart - Guitars (Wolverton Brothers)
Paul Stewart - Bass, Lap Steel, (Jesus Boy vox at 10 y/o) (Redmath)
Jerry Hunter - Percussion (Steve Eaves)
Gary Shell - Producer, Engineer
Wayne Hartman - Engineer
Skip Williams - Added Percussion Live Track
Luther Wright - Added Percussion Live Track
K. Alvin Combs - Cover Art
Ken Allan - Photos
Tracey Kameru - Photos
Hathaway - Photos
Burkhart - Photos

Unknown-ness: I've never heard of this band. And I admit, I was not so inclined to pick up the record based on the artwork or  design. It looks like the work of a trying-too-hard weird experimental band with lots of sounds, but not much melody. But I was persuaded to buy it for a dollar when I saw that each side was at a different speed. I liked that eccentricity, so for 5 songs, I figured it would not be too bad.

Album Review: Not much is out there about this Ohio band. The name describes a power/group taking control of a government by force. They have been called a new wave band, an experimental art band, and a global dance rock band. Two of the guys in the band adopted the stage-last-name of Wolverton, and are in the more popular Wolverton Brothers, still an active band. While all of the elements together would make me think this is an awesome band, the finished product falls flat for an undefined reason. Lots of potential, but it is just needs a little more direction.

“Zaire” fades in with a chugging, organic wood block and guitar lick. Dark bass supports, creating a topsy-turvy atmosphere. Jangle, Violent Femmes style guitar begins, and a Gang of Four, monotone droning vocal mechanically over the calculated backing track. There are a lot of time changes in the song, making it similar to some of the complexities in XTC or the percussiveness of the Talking Heads. The vocals take on some chants and spastic spitting yowls, like Andy Partridge was famous for early on. The song continues to drive the entire time. It is an odd blend of earthy and cold production intermixing and existing at the same time.
“Another Horse Story” features some haunting, synthetic coyote howls. A disjointed bouncy bass line parallels some rattling, jangely guitars. The dark, monotone vocals pick up a down ward melody in short segments that reminds of Jonathan Richman. It is beatniky, and sparse, and features some extra synth effects and overall, boils down some Talking Heads elements into basics and just repeats them to where they feel like there is no jittery end in sight, and it ends abruptly.

“Waldo” has a shaky, skatty drum that is all over the place, but carries a distinct urgency. A vibrating bass line adds to the mystery, as well as gentle synth hum. Off key organ notes drop out of the keyboard, and the up and down bass line moves the song along. Layered dark, chanting vocals sprawl over the music, which has intensified with an individual note plucked guitar hook. The chanting of Waldo feels like they are doing a ritual sacrifice to some ram headed god.
“Roman Blood” is introduced with a child’s voice. Probably a sample, singing “Jesus don’t forget me.” The conga drum is alive in the background, and a smoky jazzy trumpet creates an improv, interactive poetry slam vibe. The horn echos, offering a weird and off-putting-on-purpose vibe. The pace picks up, and the disorienting atmosphere they have created kicks the listener off spinning. The vocals turn to a call and response tactic, very theatrical, which brings back a manageable melody. But this too has skittering cockroach percussion in the background, creating a very nervous and tense feeling. The song ends with an intense repetitive shout chanting, which turns from mostly unintelligible to muttering sounds. And with a heavy breath, the whole song just gives out.
“Tar & Soil (live)” illustrates what their live show must have been like. It starts out sounding like the Residents with the weird effect in the background, and a little Mr. Bungle with the rapidly played guitar. The vocals are chanty, but have a softer edge. The guitar calms down a little and it takes on a Talking Heads style, but I imagine the live performance was a multi-media experience. The bass is mixed down, and is not as huge of a force as the rest of the album.

Stand Out Track: Zaire

Links:
Discogs
Spin Mag 9/85
City Beat Wolverton Bros Article
Sonic Bids Wolverton Bros
Terminal Boredom short description

Thursday, February 26, 2015

(the) Buggs - The Beetle Beat

Name: The Buggs
Album: The Beetle Beat
Year: 1964
Style: Beatles Rip-Off, Vocal Pop Group
Similar Bands: Beatles, Kingston Trio, Liverpool Beats,
"One-Word" Review: An American's British  Bandwagon Ride
Based Out Of: Bergen County, NY
Label: Coronet
 The Beetle Beat - Cover & Record
The Beetle Beat - Back & Record
The Beetle Beat (1964)

  1. I Want to Hold Your Hand 2:11
  2. Mersey Mercy (You've Got Me Bugged) 2:47
  3. Soho Man (Just One Look) 2:06
  4. East End (Since You Broke My Heart) 2:27
  5. London Town Swing (Why Can't You Love the Boy Who Loves You) 2:04 /
  6. She Loves You 2:23
  7. Liverpool Drag (Why Won't You Leave That Man?) 2:13
  8. Swingin' Thames (That's For Sure) 2:09
  9. Big Ben Hop (Sassy Sue) 2:20
  10. Teddy Boy Stomp (I'll Never Leave You) 2:37
Album Rating (1-10): 8.5

Members & Other Bands:
Goldie Goldman - Producer
Bill Omolski - Bass
Gary Wright - Organ, Vox
Frank Zillitto - Guitar
Steve Bogue - Drums
Eddie Brick - Vox
Jimmy Carol - Vox
Trade Martin - various instruments

Unknown-ness: I've never heard this Beatles rip-off band, but I can only assume it is a poor man's version of the Beatles, created to trying to coax unsuspecting mothers out to buy their snotty, complaining kid a Beatles album. There is not much room to dispute that his will be a shameless parody of the Beatles. 

Album Review: So there is a big, shady side to the 60’s music industry represented here with this album, which makes for a more exciting story than the album (which is a surprisingly solid set of songs). Apparently, this band was called the Coachmen 5, and after recording these songs with a hired hand songwriter, the NJ group (definitely not recorded in England) was under the impression that it would be their album. They had no idea the label would rename the group, rename the songs to sound more British, and use British looking models for the cover. The real band saw no royalties and the Coachmen 5 suffered from the travesty. Many mothers bought this album for their kids, not knowing it wasn’t a Beatles album. Mark Mothersbaugh of Devo was one such disappointed owner of the album, which helped him pen the song “U Got Me Bugged” in tribute. 


But the whole thing gets weirder. In 1966, when the music scene shifted ever so slightly, and Go-Go music began to take off, the record label repackaged the unsold records in their inventory with a new cover and title: “Boots a Go-Go.” They left off all the track listings to make people think it was a new Buggs album. At least Gary Wright escaped the whole ordeal mentally intact, since he was able to have a secondary career as a solo artist, having written “Dream Weaver.” Perhaps all of these experienced learned him as to what NOT to go in the music industry.

“I Want to Hold Your Hand” is a cover of the Beatles song. You know the song. They can’t hit all the notes, but musically it is a solid cover. Well, the guitar might not sound as punchy, but they do a good enough job, without sounding as silly as the Liverpool Beats rip off.
“Mersey Mercy (You've Got Me Bugged)” follows with a similar sounding guitar, and is definitely a Beatles inspired song. It has a little more of an island sound to it, like the Beatles mid-tempo Hard Days Night songs and the harmonies are layered well.
“Soho Man (Just One Look)” is a cover of the Doris Troy 1963 hit song, which the Hollies covered and also helped make famous. His version drops off the romantic longing, and goes for a punchy rushed pop tempo. So they make it their own rather than doing a soulful version. It is done well, like how the Beatles might have interpreted the song.
“East End (Since You Broke My Heart)” is a slow dance song, more in line with the male harmonic vocal groups of the time, and less like the Beatles. There are sweeping harmonies over the chorus, but this trys to hang on to the style of music like the Bachelors, with a crooning at the school dance vibe. Like a less catchy Earth Angel.
“London Town Swing (Why Can't You Love the Boy Who Loves You)” starts out with a big, heavy guitar sound, and a snare drum waltz tempo. At its base, it has a “Little Drummer Boy” feel all the way through.

“She Loves You” is a cover of the Beatles song. It is a pretty faithful cover, utilizing the backing harmonic vocals, and powerful punches when the title is sung, along with whooooo’s and hand clap percussion.
“Liverpool Drag (Why Won't You Leave That Man?)” continues the spirit of many of the songs of the era…questioning and/or embracing love on a high school level. This song twists the I Want to Hold Your Hand melody around a little to create this variation.
“Swingin' Thames (That's For Sure)” has a side to side, slightly proto-psychedelic bass line that is prevalent to the song. Even the organ comes in bring a psych element. It feels like it was meant to be a country-ish song. It fades out once the tempo and melody changes to something repetitive.
“Big Ben Hop (Sassy Sue)” begins very delicate for 10 seconds, but then it transitions into a  Buddy Holly style song played by the Beatles. It features “Yeah yeah Yeah” flourishes as well. Sure, the vocals don’t always have a commanding grasp on the extended and raised notes that make take the tooo-OOO or meee-EEEE up an octave. But the pace and tone of the song is fun and dance-y.
“Teddy Boy Stomp (I'll Never Leave You)” has a jittery guitar at the beginning with Dat-a-dums sung overtop and a “whoop” used to end a few lyric lines. The lyrics mention floating on clouds above, and the song feels like it is rolling along a rollercoaster up in the clouds. 


Stand Out Track: Big Ben Hop (Sassy Sue) 

Links:
Wiki

Brooklyn Dreams - Won't Let Up

Name: Brooklyn Dreams
Album: Won't Let Go
Year: 1980
Style: Pub Rock, Power Pop, Blue Eye Soul, R&B
Similar Bands: The A's, Toto, Hall & Oates, Journey, Supertramp
One Word Review: Smoothly Produced Radio Soul
Label: Casablanca Records and Film Works Inc
Based Out Of: LA, CA
 Won't Let Go - Cover & Record
Won't Let Go - Back & Record
Won't Let Go (1980)
  1. Lover in the Night 3:58
  2. Heartbreaker-Breakaway 3:49
  3. Spinnin' 3:32
  4. Beautiful Dreamer 3:38 /
  5. Back on the Streets 4:19
  6. I Won't Let Go 4:12
  7. Fallin' In Love 4:20
  8. A Moment in Time 5:00
Album Rating (1-10): 6.0

Members & Other Bands:
'Snuffy Walden - Rhythm Arrangement, Guitar Solos (Rox, Stray Dog, Various Sndtrks)
'Dave Garland - Strings & Horn Arrangement
'Phyllis Chotin - Art Direction
'Kevin McCormick - Bass (John Mayall, Rox, Nils Lofgren, David Lindley, Jackson Browne, Melissa Ethridge, Steve Perry, Don Henley)
'Les Hurdle - Bass (Bullet, Graham Walker Sound, The Mohawks, The Rhythm Section, Spaghetti Head, Troll)
'Art Hotel Inc - Design
'Mac James - Design
'Keith Forsey - Drums (Harold Faltermeyer, Giorgio Moroder, 18 Karat Gold, Amon Duul II, Hallelujah, The Heat, Me & You, Motherhood, Niagra, Ralf Nowy Group, Roland Kovac New Set, The Spectrum, Sugar Bus, Trax, Udo Lindenberg Und Das Panikorchester)
'Mark Bensi - Drums (Jerry Knight, Robin Williamson, Jennifer Robin)
'Tony Braunagel - Drums (Back Street Crawler, City Boy, Bloontz, Crawler, Eric Burdon Band)
'Bob Inky Incorvaia - Cheif Engineer, Production Assistant
'Steve Smith - Asst Engineer
'Willie Harlan - Asst Engineer
'Bobby Womack - Guitar (Artists United Against Apartheid, Valentinos)
''Bruce Sudano - Keys, Guitar (Silent Souls, Alive N' Kickin, Michael Jackson, Dolly Parton, Reba McEntire, Donna Summer, Joe Bruce & 2nd Ave)
''Joe Esposito - Keys, Guitar (Giorgio Moroder, Brenda Russel, Laura Branigan, The Jam Squad, Joe, Bruce & 2nd Ave)
'Dave Aston - Keys (Tonio K, Henry Turtle)
'Nicky Hopkins - Keys (Cliff Bennett & Rebel Rousers, Climax Blues Band, Cyril Davies & his Rhythm & Blues All Stars, Jeff Beck Group, Jerry Garcia Band, Lord Sutch & Heavy Friends, NIck Hopkins Caravan, Night, Quicksilver Messenger Service, The Sessions, Sweet Thursday)
'Rick Kelly - Keys (Street Players, Foxy, Afterbach, Emotions, Peabo Bryson, Jets)
'Ted Jensen - Mastering
'Ollie Cotton - Mixing Asst Co-Producer
'Jim Boyer - Mixing Co-Producer
'Bob Conti - Percussion
'Eddie Hokenson - Percussion (Brenda Russell, Donna Summer)
'Norman Seeff - Photography
'Gary Herbig - Sax (Afterglow, Don Menza & his 80's Big Band, toshiko Akiyoshi-Lew Tabackin Big Band)
'Don E. Branker Org. - Managment

Unknown-ness: I've never heard of them, but the cover looks familiar, like it was a generic template for other bands of this era with the grid style background. The logo and signature title look quite generic, and the photo looks like session musicians without much chemistry together. I imagine this to be light, or adult contemporary rock. There are a couple of candid shots on the back, but they look a little forced, and the end result is a generic look. But hey, Casablanca in 1980 might be fun, so why not?

Album Review: This is the band’s third album, and least popular due to the decline of Disco. They played on American Bandstand and the film American Hot Wax. As this is at the end of Disco’s popularity, it is the least disco like of their albums. Their popularity came from their association (and working with) Donna Summer, whom keyboard & guitar player Bruce Sudano married. He also found success through a song he wrote for Dolly Parton (Starting Over Again) which was given a second life in 1997 via Reba McEntire. He also started the record label Purple Heart Recording Company. Esponito also went on to have a somewhat successful career via Lauren Branigan & various soundtracks like Flashdance, Karate Kid and Coming to America. And his son, Mike, was a MLB pitcher

“Lover in the Night” starts out with pure power pop chords, piano, and new wave vocals that I’ve lately been comparing to Richard Bush of the A’s. Again, this sounds pretty spot on. The song has all the great new wave pop characteristics. A great build, strong chord progression, and a final bridge/build into the harmonized chorus. Even the breakdown slows things down with a simple clunky music box guitar, and in the end, female vocals are brought in to soar and intermix with the lead.
“Heartbreaker-Breakaway” is a little more of a slinky smooth groove. You can see how if this was recorded a few months prior, it could have much more orchestral and disco production, as it does sound like a bee gees song in the chorus. Stings are brought in a little, and the song kinda feels like Journey as it winds down.
“Spinnin'” is a bouncy, smooth sounding song, like Supertramp with vocals like Randy Newman. There is a bit of a show-tuney feel to the song, and an aww-shucks groovy carnival melody.
“Beautiful Dreamer” finishes out side one with a slow dance. Synth melody, piano and vocals yearn for attention. Drums and rhythm guitars are added in after about a minute. But the song stays dedicated to candlelight reflection.

“Back on the Streets” follows the first side recipe, by starting out with a fun driving melody that reminded me at first of Genesis, but that quickly fell away. It is just a sneaky, windswept detective/cop-tv theme song, futuristic new wave synth included in the chorus; as to be expected. It has a bit of a disco hustle tempo with the chorus that is produced to a non-disco format/
“I Won't Let Go” starts out sounding like Jackson Browne’s “Somebody’s Baby” from Fast Times at Ridgemont High. But it gets much more soulful once the vocals begin. A chorus of vocals comes in toward the end to echo the lead vocals, which are split up and multilayered over top of each other.
“Fallin' In Love” is slow and confident, with synth trickles in the background. This is the power-R&B jam played on parents’ car stereos to set the mood just right.  The song features a reprise, which bunps the melody into a steady trot, one level up. But it is short lived, and although the vocals croon stronger, the melody slips back to the original installment. The end almost reaches gospel heights, with a full chorus joining in a side to side, hand clapping harmonic display before the song fades out in an instrumental.
“A Moment in Time” starts out as a slow, reflective R&B piano ballad. Intensity picks up a bit, but the tempo never does. Strings soar in the background, but are muted to a barely recognizable volume. The sax solo is put on display, and the song limps along. The song gets a little jazzier, taking liberties within the melody structure to mix it up ever so slightly, but staying true to the feel and tempo until it fades out.

Stand Out Track: Lover in the Night

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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Jett Brando - The Movement Toward You

Name: Jett Brando
Album: The Movement Toward You
Year: 2000
Style: Dream Pop, Lo-Fi
Similar Bands: Jeff Buckley, Radiohead, Velvet Underground, Later XTC
One Word Review: Moody Medicated Happiness
Based Out Of: Brooklyn NY / New Jersey
Label: Gern Blandsten
 The Movement Toward You - Cover, Sleeve, Record A
The Movement Toward You - Back, Lyrics, Record B
The Movement Toward You (2000)
  1. The Center of Gravity (Sink Right Down) 5:07
  2. Waiting 3:44
  3. Well, Well 3:00
  4. Athuna 2:31
  5. Love You Blues 1:22
  6. Won't You Treat It Like A Storm 1:56 /
  7. All Your Tongues 4:21
  8. More than Becoming 1:55
  9. Nobody Wants to Know 3:12
  10. In the Dead Hot Sun 4:07
  11. Who is to Decide 6:10
Album Rating (1-10): 8.5

Members & Other Bands:
Jett Brando /Jeremy Winter - Vox, Guitar, Bass, Keys, Percussion, Producing, Sleeve Design (All Natural Lemon and Lime Flavors, Chase Pagan)
Pete Murphy - Bass, Keys, Percussion, Producer, Cover Art, Photography (Jack Rubinacci, All Natural Lemon and Lime Flavor)
Steve Doherty - Drums (Hymn Makers, Delerious?, Kingsway Kids)
Alap Momin - Engineer, Mixing, Recording
Alan Douches - Final Mastering
Sonny Ristorante - Handclap & Scream Assistance
Dan Marino - Pre-Mastering
Jennifer Holland - Original Art on Cover

Unknown-ness: I've never heard of this band, and from the moody, shadoy artwork, I imagine it is either moody art-rock or emo pop. It was in a dollar bin, and I am a fan of the bands that come from Gern Blandsten, so I wanted to pick it up. That said, the GB artists have a bit of an edge to them, so perhaps this is much punchier than I've given its artwork credit for. But maybe not.

Album Review: At the center of this band is Jeremy Winter, a multi-instrumentalist whose work was previously in a band called All Natural Lemon and Lime flavors, similar in vein to My Bloody Valentine. This is a beautiful album that I really enjoyed, but at the same time, would never pull it out to just put it on.

“The Center of Gravity (Sink Right Down)” fades up with a ringing string note. This cuts out, and dreary acoustic guitar strums support a very Radiohead – “The Bends” style of drawn out vocals. The strings come back in, followed by drums and a full production. The song finds its repetitive droning groove and pounds it into the listener without much diversion or alteration. The one dimensional song falls into its own pattern, and there is no telling when it would ever end. So when it does so, quite abruptly, the listener is shaken awake from a hypnotic trance.
“Waiting” feels more like a Jeff Buckley song with the guitar and jazzy drums. The vocals are echoing, and remind me of Ben Folds Five’s solemn songs from Reinhold Messner ("Hospital Song"). But the chorus has a very Buckley emotional delivery, without quite as much range. Overall, it is a very moody, pretty song.
“Well, Well” feels like it is going to be an oldie-pop song. But the vocals take it in a much more relaxed direction. After a couple delicate run throughs of verse-chorus, the heavier lo-fi guitars are brought out to distort what was kind of a straightforward pop song.
“Athuna” as more moody, romantic sounding acoustic guitars and the echoes on the vocals again make the whole project very Buckley-ish. The haunting high notes in the chorus have a bit if a British feel to them too (Radiohead’s “High and Dry”). As the guitar continues to play, the song ends in a fade out.
“Love You Blues” employs a looping, solemn vocal hook over some 60’s inspired dance pop. The mesh oddly well. The end result is a medicated happiness.
“Won’t You Treat It Like A Storm” straddles the thing Yorke-Buckley voice similarity, with some held notes that rattle away and a dark, Doors-like mood (minus the famous organ sound). The song ends in a looping psychedelic bass-guitar fade out.

“All Your Tongues” starts with strong daylight, waking up vocals, and a warbling acoustic guitar line. There is a bit of an alt-country feel to this song, but it is peaceful and organic. The interlude breakdown features an alarm-sounding guitar cadence mixed in with the bass line. The song resets itself, and wobbles though a few minor notes and slightly off pitches. The song feels as if it was produced in a soft, small, intimate room.
“More than Becoming” is a bouncy pop song, tweaked out with a buzzy electric guitar (like Of Montreal). But the song is a lot of fun, with its marching melody, reminds me a little of Euros Childs (Of Gorky’z Zygotic Mynci).
“Nobody Wants to Know” steps back from the fast dance song with a waltz. This reminds me of something you might hear on a demo recording from XTC’s “Mummer.”
“In the Dead Hot Sun” features the most straightforward vocals, reminding me a little of the Kinks. The melody reminds me of something a friend of mine would write (Jon Rosenberg). The music is a rollicking 60’s inspired slightly psychedelic pop song, and it even ends with a fade out of LaLaLaLa’s. This is followed up with a quiet fade up, one note at a time guitar with a hiccupping percussion in support. After a minute, this fades back out, and actually threw me because I figured it was the next track.
“Who is to Decide” quietly comes into existence with a record skipping “whoop” sound and warbling surf/steel guitar notes. Uneasy and tired, the song lolli-gags around, oscillating from foot to foot, as the ballad-like vocals rise and fall, matching the music, like a rowboat adrift on a gentle sea. The song bobs up and down as the tide draws the boat out further on a warm, moonlit night. As if this was a dream, a static buzz begins to grow, as if the sleeper is being awoken by a skipping record with a weedwacker running outside. A harsh jolt back to reality finally ends the record.

Stand Out Track: More Than Becoming

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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Bandera - Knights

Name: Bandera
Album: Knights
Year: 1981
Style: Southern Rock, Pub Rock
Similar Bands: Ted Nugent, ZZ Top, Fabulous Thunderbirds, T Rex
"One-Word" Review: Neighborhood Honky Tonk Pub
Based Out Of: Bandera, TX
Label: MCA Records
 Knights - Cover & Record
Knights - Back & Record
Knights (1981)
  1. Billy the Kid 3:31
  2. Loaded Gun 4:53
  3. Crazy You, Crazy Me 4:44
  4. High Ridin' Mama 2:15
  5. Memories of Home 4:32 /
  6. Hello Texas 3:55
  7. Illegal 4:11
  8. Now That It's Over 3:22
  9. Old Rhymes & Photographs 3:51
  10. Blame it on the Full Moon 5:05
Album Rating (1-10): 6.5

Members & Other Bands:
Paul Uhrig - Bass, Vox (Captain Beefheart & The Magic Band, Linda Hargrove, Jim Rooney, Earl Scruggs,Conway Twitty, Loretta Lynn, Mac Gayden,  Ricky Van Shelton, Dolly Parton)
Tom Jones - Drums, Percussion (John McCutcheon)
Harry Robinson - Guitars (Ian Matthews, Jim Rooney, Joe Sun)
Leon Tsilis - Producer, Album Concept
Pat Higdon - Producer
Dale Jackson - Vox (Peggy Lacey)
Eric Butler - Vox, Guitars (Rainravens, Boilers, II D Extreme, Wintley Phipps, Groove Theory, Spur of the Moment, The Layaways)
Lore Orion - Vox, Rhythm Guitar, Album Concept, Art Design
Gary Laney - Engineered
Glenn Meadows - Mastering
George Osaki - Art Direction
Kelly Delaney - Personal Managment
Jeff Moseley - Personal Managment

Unknow-ness: I've never heard of the band, and with the Imagery of cacti bursting up through a city street, I imagine this is going to be a country spin on run of the mill rock music.Plus the double meaning in the name Knights, since cowboys are like Knights, and the city night-life is the backdrop on the cover, the double entendre supports the guess more. It is bright and colorful, so I don't expect the music to be low key or dull.

Album Review: Bandera only had the one album, and in its time, it did not receive that much popularity, but since then, a bunch of the Lore’s songs have been covered to gain more popularity by Tim McGraw (Illegal). Lore unfortunately passed away in 2013, and was perhaps more famous for his role as founder and president for life for the public interest group Citizens For a Wilder West. Many of the songs, they take the instrumental that usually bridges the second and final choruses and move it to end the song.

“Billy the Kid” begins with a speedy boot stomping bass dance beat. Like a sped up Johnny B Goode. The catchy chorus rings out with a harmony of vocals. The instrumental lets the country music side sine with slide guitar and tinny notes. Just as you think the song is going to end; it reboots itself for a final run through of the chorus. And the song presents a final fake-out before it stops hard.
“Loaded Gun” is slower and methodical. A slow head band of mystical prog fogginess; a little Led Zeppelin-like. After 3 minutes of changeless music, a computer like guitar lick changes the pace of the instrumental, and then an electric guitar whines out in support of the melody.
“Crazy You, Crazy Me” enters with a cymbal and steady drum beat. A T-Rex “Bang a Gong” guitar echoes in the background, and the pub room country theme takes shape. After the bones of the song play out, the jam band portion of the song takes over, as each instrument offers its uncalled for version of the melody.
“High Ridin' Mama” is a short little song with pub rock harmonic melodies and gritty guitar play. But it still has both feet imbedded in the country arena.
“Memories of Home” hits a more sentimental, drifting vibe musically. It floats side to side over guitar chords the ring out alongside a slow drum pace. Again, the first half of the song is a tight packed by the numbers rocking ballad, but the last minute is guitar showboating after interest in the song has been lost.

“Hello Texas” is a fun bouncy, upbeat choreographed western dance song you could see people dancing in time to at a small neighborhood pub. The song could have ended right at the 3 minute mark, but they decided to show off more guitar licks to end the track, rather than bridge the catchy chorus one final time.
“Illegal” was covered by Tim McGraw on his 2002 album. It brings a bit of a funky beat in the guitar timing. But when the vocals begin, it slinks back to a deep reminiscing verse. The chorus is layered with some nice harmonies, and is supported by prog-rock guitars. And after a crescendo of vocals and instruments, not to mention a quickened pace, the song should end, but instead, they wail out a minute and a half dueling guitar instrumental that gently fades out.
“Now That It's Over” begins with a heartbeat bass line, and a metal guitar hook fits neatly in the frames. The vocals start with a crying energy, set back from the front, and reminds me of a lot of 70’s middle America classic rock like what you’d find in Dazed and Confused. One guitar focuses on the main riff, and the second guitar takes the instrumental high ground.
“Old Rhymes & Photographs” enters like a lullaby, and continues like a bold middle school dance power ballad in the chorus.
“Blame it on the Full Moon” bleeds right in after some seamless point from the song before. It has a much more energetic tempo than the previous song, but it follows the same melody. There is much more glam rock teetering on country rock line walking here, sounding like T Rex’s more honky tonk songs, at least in the guitar. Again, just as the song should be over, and interest is lost on the basic melody, the instrumental stretches it out further...this time, bringing it back into a rushed version of the chorus. Which fades out before it hyperventilates. 

Standout Track: Billy the Kid

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