Passenger- Wide Eyes Blind Love

Posted by admin on November 3rd, 2010

  • Band / Artist : PassengermySpace
  • Genre : Indie / Rock
  • Sample Track Download : N/A
  • Buy CD :N/A
  • Buy Digital Download : iTunes
  • Rating : 9 out of 10

I purchased this album, during my hiatus away from reviewing music and to some degree, it re-energised me, urging me to spread the word. To anyone familiar with Indie Launchpad, you will probably remember my more than enthusiastic review of the bands previous album, “Wicked Man’s Rest”. To some degree, this album is more of the same, but with a more acoustic, striped back feel.

The album opens with “Last Unicorn”, a song that upon hearing for the first time, I knew instinctively this was going to be an amazing album. There is incredible expression and emotion in Mike Rosenberg’s vocals, that draw you in, like an expert story teller, recalling the story of their life. The minimalist accompaniment works very well, and runs like a deep vein throughout the album. “What Will Become of Us”, has some wonderful lyrics, as well as some quite beautiful, but very subtle vocal accompaniment. It is one of several songs on the album, that I find myself strongly drawn to. As one song finishes and the next begins, there is a great continuity. Much of this is probably due to the basic production, but it also has a lot to do with the songs themselves. The transition between, “Is See Love” and “Rainbows” is effortless. “Caravan” is another of the songs that really struck a chord with me. In particular the beautiful lyrics. There is also a whistling respite in the song, that you just can’t help trying to replicate, like Otis Reading’s, “Sitting on the Dock of the Bay”. “Wide Eye” is in effect the title track, albeit one side of it, as the album title is a combination of two tracks that appear on the album.

“Underwater Bride” has a very fragile feel. The vocals are fractured, with a hint of desolation and despair. As I find a lot of the time, one mans despair is another man’s beauty. There’s something I can’t help but find beautiful in someone elses misery. “Strarlings” has an altogether different feel, reminding me to some degree of acoustic artists of the 70’s. While this was a very interesting and fertile time, this track can’t help but feel to me, a little out of place. It’s also a tad over one minute thirty, so has little time to redeem itself. “Blind Love” is the second half of the album title along with “Wide Eyes” and the old magic has returned. The album closes with “Snowflakes”, which for some reason has a very North American Indian feel to it. Yes I’m probably as far left of centre as I can be, but I can’t help how my mind works.

Conclusion : A truly wonderful album, that is certainly worth purchasing along with the bands other album, “Wicked Man’ Rest”. It’s certainly a more reflective album, but it just works so well. Outstanding.

Posted in Acoustic, Alternative, Folk | No Comments »

The Mieka Canon – From the Mouth of Paris

Posted by admin on November 2nd, 2010

  • Band / Artist : The Mieka CanonmySpace
  • Genre : Alternative / Rock
  • Sample Track Download : N/A
  • Buy CD : N//A
  • Buy Digital Download : Band Store
  • Rating : 7.5 out of 10

While The Mieka Canon may not be familiar to many, Meika Pauley, who forms one fith of the band, was reviewed as a solo artist back in 2006. Her vocals on this 4 track EP are unmistakable, but there is a much fuller sound, in comparison to her solo EP. Opening with “Faster”, there’s a great sense of cock assuredness, with Mieka’s vocals, who really comes across as very self assured and not afraid to push herself. “We’re All Gonna Die”, has a much rockier sound, but that underpinning of Mieka’s volcas is still there, which lifts an otherwise uninspring song. This EP seems to be dipping it’s toe in many different musical pools. “Colossal”, while again a nice track, kind of fails to ignite, but thanks to Mieka’s vocals, is able to lift itself from humdrum.

The EP closes with “That Golden Room” a much calmer song and my favourite on the EP. You can’t help but be impressed with Mieka’s full, rich sound, which reminds me a little of Elkie Brooks, who was in Vinegar Joe, with Robert Palmer and also a popoular solo artist in the 70’s.

Conclusion : An enjoyable EP, that is not afraid to experiment a little. While it doesn’t jump out at you, it’s still an enjoyable listen.

Posted in Alternative, Rock | No Comments »

Album – Loneliest Generation – Harper Blynn

Posted by admin on October 20th, 2010

I’m sure the band will not mind the comparison, but when I first heard the opening track, “25 Years” I couldn’t help but hear a strong vocal resemblance to Paul McCartney, very reminiscent of his early solo years, it’s the strong, belt it out style of vocal. For the top 40 of yesteryear, this would have been a certain hit record, fast paced and eminently memorable.

“Steal Your Love”, while shorter, actually feels like a longer track, but still very much in the upbeat style. “The Doubt” sees the album back pedal and relax a bit. It’s hard not to be seduced by the basic, but very clean vocals in this very simple, but elegant song. “Loneliest Generation” again swings back to the more upbeat, but I can’t help but feel “25 Years” would have been a better title track.

On “Love Struck Kitty”, the first thing that hits you with track, is the bass drum, a very pleasant assault on the ears. The second thing is the almost rhythmic lyrics. At first I was on the fence, but after hearing this track a few times, I really began to enjoy it. “Centrifugal Motion” continues with a driving beat and it was then that I realised, as an album it had me hooked.

Listening on head phones as I do the majority of time when reviewing, I loved ” All That Noise” with it’s wonderful acoustic guitar and piano accompaniment. The vocals also are very complimentary. Finishing off the album is “It May Be Late”, which has that wonderful, bringing an album to a conclusion feel. It reminds me a lot of listening to old vinyl albums, and hearing the last track and wanting to flip the album over and play it again.

Conclusion : The whole album in fact has a very balanced feel, not too dissimilar to Macca’s later works, especially Flaming Pie. There’s the up beat, stereotypical singles, the down beat, self reflective songs and that little hint of quirkiness. A very enjoyable album.

Posted in Pop, Rock | No Comments »

Parlotones – Stardust Galaxies

Posted by admin on October 18th, 2010

  • Band / Artist : ParlotonesmySpace
  • Genre : Rock / Pop
  • Sample Track Download : N/A
  • Buy CD : Amazon
  • Buy Digital Download : iTunes
  • Rating : 9.5 out of 10

Many albums come my way that I really enjoy. There’s a few that really capture my imagination. There’s a few however that totally blow me away. Needless to say, the Parolotones latest release Stardust Galaxies is firmly in the latter category. I kind of came across the band by accident. I found their past release in my in pile. but reviews had kind of ground to a halt. The podcast was still going stong, so I decided to feature a song from this album on the podcast. The song I chose was “Play On” which was never a single, but unbenowst to me was recently featured on the US TV show, Ghost Whisperer. Raphael from the band’s label, thanked me for including them on the podcast, and sent me a link to their new album, the very same one I’m reviewing here.

I really wanted to review this album the instant I heard it, but unfortunately I got it in February and the release date, if I remember correctly was in June. I put off reviewing it and, well anyway I’ve finally got around to reviewing it now.

The album opens with the amazingly strong “Push Me to the Floor” which is just one of those killer opening tracks.The vocals are very reminiscent, well to me anyway of the Killers. It’s one of those songs that cries to be aired on radio stations near and far. What excites me more, is the sheer creative genius that unfolds with each track. This is not an album driven by a couple of killer tracks, this is an album, where the band has grown, and forged forward. While their previous release “A World Next Door to Yours” was a pleasant album, it didn’t have that killer punch. I’m reminded of a couple of albums, of the recent past, like Oasis, “What’s the Story Morning Glory” and Blur’s, Parklife. The instant I heard them, I knew they were going to be considered classic and I very much had that feeling with “Stardust Galaxies”.

“Stars Fall Down”, slowly unfolds and kind of hits you in the gut with melancholy. It’s a hard thing to explain, but there’s a real beauty in the sadness. “Fight Back”, again slowly unfolds, and has that anthem quality, akin to Oasis’ “Don’t Look Back in Anger”. I can just imagine a packed to the brim stadium audience singing along. “We Call This Dancing”, at first felt a little like the odd track out, but it slowly works into it’s groove and then, that Parlotones hallmark slaps you in the face.

“Life’s Design” is a song, that again took a little while to get into it’s stride, but as soon as the chorus unfolded, bam it becomes an integral part of this albums makeup. In making this album, there are themes and idisyncracies that are used throughtout, “Fly to the Moon” being a case in point. It’s slow burner, but I can’t help but feel genuine emotion. This could very well be me reading too much into things, but this album feels like it was a labour of love.

“Remember When” sets it’s scene very quickly and as the song unfolds, a picture is painted very vividly in your head. “Welcome to the Weekend” features again the sound of kids voices and feels very much like a logical extension of the previous track. When ever I review an album, while zeroing on the best tracks, I can’t help but make a mental list of what I consider the worst tracks. “Brighter Side of Hell” kind of went straight into that list, but as the song builds momentum, I didn;t have the heart to relegate it to a list that so far was empty. Suffice to say though, I don’t consider this one of the stronger tracks, but by no means bad.

Entering the last quarter, I make no apologies for reviewing each of the 12 tracks, as I don’t feel anything less would do justice to the album. “Science” certainly slows things down a bit, and you kind of realise that the preceeding tracks have ripped by. “Fireworks and Waterfalls” has an interesting intro. When “Reaching your Destination” is mentioned, it’s profetic that it leads into the final and indeed title track “Stardust Galaxies”. For me this is a perculiar title track. It’s very downbeat and kind of out of kilter with the rest of the album. The female vocals make a welcome appearance, but I’m glad that they’re just on this one track, as for me, it’s the distinctive vocals and excellent songwriting that make this album.

Conclusion : When I hear an album this good, I want to tell as many people as I can. It sounds silly, but it kind of hurts to think of an album this good, not reaching the widest audience possible. I hope with this review, I further that reach just a little more.

Posted in Pop, Rock | No Comments »

Christmas Comes Early

Posted by admin on December 16th, 2009

Went to my mailbox yesterday and there was a small package sitting there from the UK. I hadn’t ordered anything, so assumed it was some kind of promo stuff. Well slap me with a wet fish, it was actually a present from one of my listeners/readers. Not only had they designed a really cool mug, with the Indie Launchpad logo, but they’d also included the album covers of albums they’ve bought, because of Indie Launchpad. This makes me so happy, not just because I received an amazing gift, but also because it shows that Indie Launchpad is working. I have tons of great feedback from people buying tons of music because of Indie Launchpad. Lets hope 2010 is going to be a banner year.

Thank you to Ian, Amy, Adam and Christine, for the amazing gift and for believing in Indie Launchpad. It means a lot to me.


Posted in Indie Launchpad News | No Comments »

Album – The Apneist – A Life of Science

Posted by admin on November 9th, 2009

Of the many albums that I’m asked to consider for review, it’s often not much more than a few songs that capture my imagination. This was pretty much how it was, for The Apneist. One song in particular caught my attention, “Barnacles of Time”, and was used in a recent podcast. It wasn’t until I had a chance to really sit down with the album and to pur over the sleeve notes, that I was able to fully experience the story that unfolded before me.

Set in a distant future, the hopes of mankind have fallen on the shoulders of “John”, whose whole life has been engineered by his parents for the greater good. Born on the same day as “Sarah”, his kindred spirit, when they become too close, the powers that be, see fit to separate them, and so begins “John’s”, isolation and his goal, to create a robot that will end all war, at the same time, never forgetting his true love.

The style of the album, sways a little between electronica, pop and rock, with an element or two of screamo. Yes you heard me right, I said screamo, but don’t let that put you off the album. While there are a few songs, that feature this, they are very much in context with the gloom and desperation that underlines the whole album, and are used to good effect. While I feel theres not many songs that could be potentially used as singles, that’s really not what this album offers. This is an album, of a kind that’s not often attempted, let along successfully. To me one of the best examples is Jeff Wayne’s, War of the Worlds, a sheer classic adaptation of H.G. Well’s book of the same name, or The Who’s, Tommy.

Opening with the whimsical title track, it’s easy to be fooled into thinking this is going to be some light weight, electronic, ballad album. However as “Barnacles of Time” begins, a darker side begins to emerge. This for me is the highlight of the album, with soft emotive vocals, backed by a wonderful electronic score.

The beginning of the album has an air of desperation, but it’s soon replaced by frustration, bordering on hate, which is very evident in “Carving a Canyon”. The point of this review however isn’t to pick apart the album, but to review it as a whole. As I mentioned earlier, you get a much better sense of immersion by reading the liner notes, included with the download, as a PDF file. For those wanting even more background, there is also a full comic available for purchase, which I have to say is wonderfully illustrated and gives even more background information, making the album really come alive.

Conclusion : An absolutely wonderful find. Whether you consider it a rock, electronic or concept album, there is much within to delight and enjoy. Certainly one of my top finds of 2009.

Posted in Electro, Rock | No Comments »

Album – Accidental Experimental – Inara George

Posted by admin on November 9th, 2009

  • Band / Artist : Inara GeorgemySpace
  • Genre : Alternative / Folk Rock / Pop
  • Sample Track Download : N/A
  • Buy CD : N/A
  • Buy Digital Download : iTunes
  • Rating : 8.5 out of 10

I like to think I have a pretty eclectic and open mind when it comes to music. However, every now and again, I find my self discounting an artist or band at the slightest of challenges. Case in point, Inara George. For whatever reason, subconsciously kept thinking this was going to be some kind of Aboriginal or Maori music and just passed on by. Let me clearly state, I don’t have anything against Aboriginal or Maori music, but it’s not usual fayre of Indie Launchpad, and with so many artists and bands to investigate, one or two do manage to slip through, that shouldn’t. Anyway, yes slap me silly with a wet fish, imagine how stupid I felt, when I actually took the time to delve a little deeper and found what I can only describe as an absolutely amazing artist.

The album opens with, coincidentally enough, the first track of Inara’s I ever heard, “Surprises” and to say my socks were blown off is and understatement. I immediately replied to the email from Inara’s record label and upon receiving the album, voraciously ingested the album with relish. With a wonderful voice, that reminds me a lot of the early Suzanne Vega, with a hint of the musical stylings of another indie artist, Ingird Michaelson, the album, is exceedingly easy on the ear. Many of the songs like “Surprises”, “Accidental” and “Can’t Say No” feel somewhat upbeat, even though they are laid back tracks, there are a few tracks like “Bomb”, “Where to Go” and “Captured” that have a more darker tone, however this is shrouded with amazing vocals, and works out well, giving the album some nice contrast.

For me the stand out tracks on the album, would have to be “Surprises” which I have absolutely played to death and still love, “Bomb” which was recently KCRW’s top tune, “Bottlecaps” and “Captured”.

Conclusion : For anyone with a penchant for wonderful female vocalists, like me, this album is a total no brainer. For anyone that is looking for great vocals, with that little quirk of wonderful, do yourself a favour and head straight to your favorite digital download service.

Posted in Alternative, Folk Rock, Pop | No Comments »

EP – Bathing in the New Economy – Emmet Swimming

Posted by admin on October 17th, 2009

Emmet Swimming is a band that while they’ve been on my radar, I somehow hadn’t manage to pin them down for a listen. Until now. After receiving an email from one of the many PR companies, I have a wonderful relationship with, I figured now was the best time to at least have a quick listen, to see what they were all about. And in a word, or maybe two in this case, “Hoochie Momma”. This is a band that are no strangers to the rock scene, having been around since 1991. Indeed they have had 3 albums with Epic Records, but in 2000 took an extended break. After listening to the first track on this EP, I gather things maybe went a bit sour. This EP was originally released in 2003, but I’m hoping that it will be a bigger hit second time around, as I definitely want to hear some new stuff from this, my new awesome find.

The EP is available in 2 versions. Digitally from iTunes, it comes with 4 tracks and 1 bonus track. From Amazon, also digitally, it comes with an additional bonus track.

The EP opens with “The Dance” which is a fantastic slow burner. Straight out of the gate, it’s the vocals that hit you. They remind me a lot of Brad Roberts, without the quirkiness, but they’re deep and wonderfully powerful. On this track there appears to be something of a backhanded comment, regarding Epic, which I find interesting. I’m guessing the label figured they’d run their course and didn’t want to do another record. Well this EP is well and truly a one figured salute (two figured in the UK) to Epic.

“Don’t Call” is again a slow burner, featuring a different, not so dark sounding vocalist. There’s no denying though that it’s a wonderful track. In fact this is the track that really got me hooked on Emmet Swimming, but I now find I much prefer “The Dance”. “Heart Like an Eskimo” again features “The Dance” vocalist (I need to learn my vocalists), but the song is much lighter, reminding me at times of a happy Nick Cave.

“Joanna at the Door”, is an interesting song, which wouldn’t sound out of place in the Pulp Fiction movie, but I’m afraid it does nothing for me. It has that latin rock sound, and indeed the lyrics are all in Spanish, but it feels most definitely like the odd song out. There is however an interesting guitar solo, about 2 third of the way in, that goes on for the remainder of the track, which goes some way to lightening up how I feel about it.

We’re now into bonus time. The 1 extra bonus track from iTunes is “Door 2″. Flagged as explicit, it’s not quite the racy track, that the term explicit always has me expecting. It’s a very grunge sounding track, and relatively short at just over two and a half minutes. The second extra bonus track on Amazon, is “Waving at Cars”, a very upbeat track, which rounds off the EP nicely.

Conclusion : I’m hoping I haven’t come to Emmet Swimming too late. Yes this maybe a 2003 re-release, but if you don’t have it, I’d say it’s a definite purchase for your collection. Here’s hoping for a new release, sooner, rather than later.

Posted in Alternative, Rock | No Comments »

EP – Like Wolves – David Condos

Posted by admin on September 21st, 2009

  • Band / Artist : David CondosmySpace
  • Genre : Acoustic / Folk / Country
  • Sample Track Download : N/A
  • Buy CD : N/A
  • Buy Digital Download : iTunes
  • Rating : 7.5 out of 10

It’s funny, I can’t remember how I found out about David Condos, but discover him I did and even managed to download this EP at no change from his website, though not sure this is still possible. I make many comparisons, for the artists and bands I review. Most of these comparisons are usually of household names, but every now and then an indie artists will slap me about about, when I hear something and that was the case here, where I very much reminded of the Jacob Jeffries Band. The music style is fairly different, but the vocal styles have a very similar feel.

The EP starts with the title track, opening with some wonderful cello. Immediately I was enamoured. I hadn’t heard of David Condos before, but on investigation, found he released a full album in 2006, called “Smoking City”. There’s a strong maturity in the overall sound. At times there are many layers, intertwined to form a kind of cacophony, but it’s a noise that draws you in. “Don’t Look at Me Like That”, has a lighter sound and while the name Marc Bolan kept brimming to the surface, I kept trying to suppress it, unsuccessfully I might add. That cello also returns and it almost acts like another vocal accompaniment. The third and final track, “Finding Yourself There Now”, has a much lighter feel, with it’s almost spring time, meadowy feel.

Conclusion: While it’s hard to build up a complete picture of David Condos from this 3 track EP, there is enough here to enjoy and indeed make me want to hear a full length album.

Posted in Alternative, Folk | No Comments »

EP – Tribute To – Yim Yames

Posted by admin on September 21st, 2009

This is an EP that immediately jumped out at me from the email in my inbox. George Harrison is probably the most underrated of the Beatles, though lately his popularity seems to be on the rise. This EP is a tribute to the Beatle most overshadowed by the pairing of Lennon and McCartney, however this didn’t put him off perfecting his craft. It was only when the Beatles disbanded, that a veritable torrent of songs poured forth, resulting in 1970’s All Things Must Pass, triple album.

Opening with “Long, Long, Long”, which while not my favorite Harrison song by any means, sets the scene for the EP, with it’s haunting reverb and stripped back production. “Behind That Locked Door”, originally had a kind of blue grass flavour, but here that is mearly hinted at, with a more sripped back acoustic sound. “Love You To” is one of my favourite Harrison, Beatle’s era songs, as it has the most wonderful harmonies. Whilst those are not present here, Yames’ interpretation is in keeping with the rest of the EP. There’s also a really dark overtone, that brings Jeff Buckley’s name to mind, especially the angst ridden screams.

The song that proved both a blessing and a curse to Harrison, was “My Sweet Lord”. Whilst it’s Hare Krishna infused chants, proved moving, even to the most devote non believers, it’s the protracted lawsuit that ended up overshadowing the song. The cover here, whilst much shorter, has a wonderfully personal feel. Gone are all but the merest hints of the chants, but it still manages to be a moving song, and one for which Harrison will always be fondly remembered. “Ballad of Frankie Crisp (Let it Roll)” was always one of my favourite tracks on the All Things Must Pass album. Here’s it’s ably covered, but theres just something about the piano accompaniment that feels a little off. I’ve listened to this EP a few times, and it’s always the thing that jars me, albeit the only thing.

Rounding off with the title track, of the 1970 album, you really begin to feel that this was a kind of memorial in music. The ethereal sound is present throughout, which pretty much means this will end up as late night, kick back and veg out kind of EP, which is fine by me as I sit here listening on headphones at nearly 2 in the morning.

Conclusion: This is an EP that while clearly shows Yames’ love and respect for Harrison’s songs, some might find hard to access. Perseverance will leave you with a wonderful EP and a great homage, to a wonderful musician.

Posted in Acoustic | No Comments »