Archive for November, 2005

Album – Six Through Ten – Chance

Posted by admin on 30th November 2005

“This is a band that is going to go a long way. I think we’ll be hearing a lot of them in the future”….. OK, so it’s not that much further into the future, but I’m on a roll with Chance at the moment, so please humor me. So this being the second CD from Chance, we have more of the same in the usual format of 5 original tracks and two remixes done by fans of Chance and one of them is an absolute classis, but more of that later.

So what does $5 buy you nowadays. Mmmmm, a couple of beers (if you’re lucky), A couple of Big Macs, or couple of frozen meals for one. Well forget about drinking and eating a while and order this CD. For a mere $5 you can get yourself a nice CD with the following tracks on:

  • Hip Hop High
  • Taste of the Good Life
  • Forgive+Forget
  • Woke Up to Everything
  • Closer’s Not Good Enough
  • Bonus – Remix of Taste of the Good Life (Shortwave Dahlia)
  • Bonus – Remix Closer’s Not Good Enough (Sebastian Ciceri)

Now I hope Chance doesn’t mind me saying, but the Remix of Closer’s Not Good Enough by Sebastian Ciceri, is an absolute work of art. I love this track to death and have lost count of the amount of times I’ve pressed the rewind button on all of the CD players I’ve played this on. I’d love to see some more remixes done by Sebastian, but let’s not forget it was Chance that wrote it, so he did have excellent materials to work with 🙂

OK so I’ve waxed lyrical about that one track, but the rest of the CD isn’t too shabby either. Hip Hop High gives us more of the Richard Ashcroft flavor and Taste of the Good Life gives us more cracking drum fuelled rhythm. Woke Up to Everything is probably my next favorite track, with it’s melodic, almost melancholic feel, cracking stuff.

I think the only sad thing with this CD is that sooner or later a major label will listen to it and give Chance an offer he can’t refuse, and he’ll have to wave goodbye to the Indie scene. For purely selfish reasons, let’s hope this doesn’t happen for a while.

Conclusion : Yet another excellent CD from Chance. Head over to the website and buy, buy, buy. This is a classic band in the making.

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Album – Before They Were Famous Volume I – 3 Blind Mice

Posted by admin on 29th November 2005

I heard 3 Blind Mice the first time a few weeks ago on the Digital Flotsam podcast. Since then I think I’ve heard them on a further 3 or 4 podcasts, including right now as I listen to the latest BitJobs for the Masses podcast. Their style of music is very mellow, sort of folk with a hint of pop/rock. I’ve heard them compared to early Genesis and until I heard that, I had a real problem trying to think of anyone they actually sound like. Even now, I think the only other band I can think of is Steely Dan. That’s’ not a bad thing in my mind, as I think it’s a very powerful to have your own distinct sound, as long it’s something people will enjoy.

Before They Were Famous Volume 1, is the first in a two part set and contains 8 original songs :

  1. Hellbound Eyes
  2. Let Me In
  3. The Bear Lies Down
  4. Doing The Best I Can
  5. The Sun Still Shines
  6. Piggy In The Middle
  7. Jack & Billy
  8. Welcome to the Water

of which tracks 3 and 7 are downloadable from the bands website. I’ve played the album numerous times as I normally do and have left the CD in the car a few times. Consequently my wife has had a good chance to listen to the album a few times and she also loves it. This is one of those great albums to play on a Sunday afternoon, whilst getting comfy next to the fireplace, with a nice mug of hot chocolate. It just has that feel good vibe to it.

I think the only real criticism I have is the album length. At just over 30 or so minutes, it’s a little on the short side, which seems to be a popular occurrence lately with albums, but still this is one fabulous sounding album. “Let Me In” is my favorite track on the album, however “Piggy in the Middle” isn’t far behind and has one of those hooks that keeps you humming it long after it’s finished.

Conclusion : If you like to relax and listen to something a bit laid back, this is a great album. I’m looking forward to hearing more from them in the future.

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Album – The First Five – Chance

Posted by admin on 27th November 2005

I first came across this band via a podcast simulcast, where 30 plus podcasts, published a live concert of Chance simultaneously. I have to say, that after listening to the 40 minute podcast, I was totally blown away. By the way, you can listen to this simulcast by Googling “chance simulcast”, it shouldn’t be too hard to find.

I can’t believe, as I so often do with the bands I find, that I haven’t come across this band before. Saying that however, the first track, Say What You Will, does sound very familiar and I’m not talking about the fact that the band does sound very similar to James, the Verve or the later solo Richard Ashcroft. I can just imagine hearing this single on the radio. They have a great rock sound, with the occasional mellow melodic phase. Absolutely cracking stuff.

So what does this album have in store. Well firstly let me say, that this is more of an EP than a full size album. In Chance’s own words “I release singles about once a month. After 5, I release a CD compilation. On each CD I add two extra tracks that could be just about anything.”. So on this CD we find 5 original songs, one remix and an excellent cover of Radiohead’s, Creep. The actual track listing is :

  • Say What You Will
  • My Oh My
  • Percy’s Song
  • Won’t Be a Next Time
  • Radio Free
  • Bonus – Say What You Will (hispanical version)
  • Bonus – Creep by Radiohead

So for just $5 plus minimal shipping, you can get yourself a nice shiny new CD in the mail. An unusual concept offered, but one I think is very neat, is the multipack. You can basically buy the album in quantities of 5, 10 or 25 for fantastically reduced rates. For example you can get 25 copies of the album for $50, that’s just $2 per CD. An excellent way to spread the word and support the band.

Conclusion : This is a band that is going to go a long way. I think we’ll be hearing a lot of them in the future.

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Album – What’s It All About? – Rinaldi Sings

Posted by admin on 24th November 2005

  • Band / Artist : Rinaldi Sings
  • Genre : Pop / Rock
  • Sample Track Download : Happy
  • Buy CD : Buy
  • Buy Digital Download : N/A
  • Rating : 9 out of 10

“My name is…..Al”, OK, OK, it’s not Alfie, but it does set the stage for what is about to come. Rinaldi Sings, “What’s It All About?” is an album that very much has it’s roots set in the 60s. From the opening track to the cover of Tony Christie’s “Avenues and Alleyways”, this album could very well have come from the archives, were it not for the hint of modern production. The band refer the genre they fall under as Norther Soul, but there’s a definite southern twang there.

I’ve see various reviews of this album that refer to it as kitsch. There’s something about that word, that to my mind pays this album a disservice. To me, Liberace, Danny La Rue and Elton John on a bad day are kitsch. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, there’s an audience for every kind of music. Rinalid Sings though, has an unmistakable sound that has many influences including Small Faces, Divine Comedy and the likes of Tony Christie and Tony Bennett.

The opening track pretty much gives you an idea of what is to come. I just wish I’d have found this album during the summer as I can just imagine having this in the CD player with the roof down. Well, that is if I had a convertible.

For me the standout track have to be Lucky Day and Come Fly With Me. The majority of artists seem to lose their accents when they sing. For Steve Rinaldi this is not the case, but that only adds to the charm of this record. A Matter of Life and Death has such a classic sound, it’s hard to believe it’s less than a year old. For me the only track that sticks out like a sore thumb is the final track, Heaven Knows. Not that there’s anything wrong with it. It just doesn’t fit with the rest of the album, but that’s only a slight distraction.

Conclusion : It’s very easy to dismiss this album upon first playing, but once you’re a few tracks in, it seems to put it’s hooks into you and it doesn’t let go. In fact I started this review a few days ago and the album originally got an 8. Upon finishing the review it’s now a sure footed 9 and deservedly so.

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Album – For Relaxation – Satori

Posted by admin on 23rd November 2005

  • Band / Artist : Satori
  • Genre : New Age / Ambient
  • Sample Track Download : N/A
  • Buy CD :
  • Buy Digital Download :
  • Rating : 8 out of 10

Sometimes I just like to relax and not have to concern on anything around me. Ambient music goes some way towards achieving this goal, but it still stimulates the mind. This CD is great for anyone want to go to that next step. It’s especially good for meditation where you want to drift off to a higher plain. That’s not to say that this is just ordinary mindless music. It isn’t. It’s a wonderful fusing of natural sounds and soothing harmonies.

The following is a list of track available on the album and pretty much gives you an idea of what to expect:

  1. Rain Surround
  2. River Surround
  3. Sea Surround
  4. Forest Surround
  5. Night Surround

The opening track is my favorite as I just love to curl up in bed, listening to the rain outside. The rest of the tracks pretty much deliver what you’d expect. Sea, also is a particular favorite of mine. There’s something about the sounds of nature, that really allows you to take your mind off the hum-drum of life and pause for a moment.

Conclusion : Every collection needs an album like this. When everyday life is getting you down and you just want to escape for a while. Hit the play button and relax.

Posted in Ambient, New Age | No Comments »

Album – Revive – Steadman

Posted by admin on 18th November 2005

  • Band / Artist : Steadman
  • Genre : Pop / Rock
  • Sample Track Download : Come Alive
  • Buy CD : Buy
  • Buy Digital Download : Buy
  • Rating : 8 out of 10

It’s always great when you get a great testimonial like this: “The band Steadman have the songs, the musicianship, the energy and the enthusiasm to blow the top off any club, or arena, and, if given a listen, have that rare quality — the ability to deliver! I like this band!!”. When the someone giving the testimonial is Sir Paul McCartney, you know you’re doing something right. However right though, the band Steadman do seem to be a bit on the unlucky side, having won major record deal and then lost them again. However, once again podcasts are doing their magic and after appearing on the TWiT podcast, I finally managed to find out about them.

Steadman is 5 guys from the UK, now living in US. The band has something like 130 songs available on their website, including 3 albums and it is the most recent album “Revive” that I’m covering here. Before I go further though, let me please emphasise again, that although all 130+ songs are free to download, a band does have to eat and play XBox, so please consider making a contribution. At present all contributors will receive in return some nice goodies.

So on with the album. At the risk of hurting the bands feelings, I need to get this out of the way. I hate the first song, The Bitter End. I don’t know what it is, but on the burned copy I made, which has been playing in the car for the past few days, I skip track 1 every single time. However from that point on, everything is bleedin’ triffic. There’s a real indie vibe to the band and I don’t think I would be far wrong in saying that the majority of the album sounds very much like the LA’s or Cast. There’s also some other influences there, including a Marc Bolanesque sound, but the album as a whole (apart from track 1) fuses very well.

For me the standout track has to be the mellow, acoustic, track 7. I’ve played this song numerous times and am thankful that I drive to work alone, as any passengers would surely want to strangle me as I’ve sometimes played this song back to back 3 or 4 times.

Conclusion : This is another one of those win, win situations. You get to download a cracking good album, free of charge and enjoy it at leisure. I can’t help thinking this is maybe too much of a good thing, but who am I to complain. Go grab yourself a copy and hear for yourself.

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Album – Beggarstown – Hollow Horse

Posted by admin on 15th November 2005

This is the second album from the independent Scottish Goliath of a band, Hollow Horse. In the past few weeks, I’ve heard their music quite a few times on other podcasts and well deserved the recognition is too. This is well crafted songwriting at it’s finest. The opening track Forget the Girl is one that will drive you crazy with it’s catchy hook.

The whole album has a great balance and there isn’t a duff track amongst them. Particular standout tracks for me are the previously mentioned Forget the Girl, Wait, Love One Another and the title track Beggarstown, which is a reference to the bands home town of Glasgow in Scotland.

Whilst this is a great album, I have to admit I prefer the first one, but I can’t quite pin down why. One thing I do feel is the first album is slightly more raw, where Beggars Town is more produced. Don’t get me wrong, it’s such a minimal difference and each album has it’s own charm. In fact I think I’m somewhat in the minority, as the general consensus is that the second album is better, so what do I know 🙂

Conclusion : I’m seriously running short of superlatives to use for this band. At a time when well crafted songs, seem few a far between, it’s refreshing to have a band who’s complete albums stand up against the best of Squeeze, Crowded House and similar styled bands. If you want a CD that will stand the test of time in your car CD player or home stereo, go grab yourself a copy of this excellent album, not forgetting to also grab the bands first album ‘Five Year Diary’.

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Album – Little by Little – Harvey Danger

Posted by admin on 13th November 2005

Wow, this band has balls. An absolute abundance of balls. Some would call them crazy, some would call them insane, I just thank my lucky stars that I’ve at last found them. Now why am I waxing lyrical about this band. Well apart from the fact that they are giving this album away for free (please see later), this is quite simply a stunning album. I am so fortunate to be around when the music scene is exploding and bands are at last finding a viable alternative to radio for reaching out to the music masses.

OK, so what about the music. This is pure infectious pop. The album opens with Wine, Woman and Song and has great driving piano. By track 2, Cream and Bastards Rise, everything is turned on it’s head, but the infectious pop is still the same. In fact this track is also available as a single. It’s has a very modern sound, that is not too dissimilar to The Killers.

This album is just track after track of scorching sounds. It’s not all hard driving pop though, there are a few tracks more on the melancholy side, but that just goes to balance the album up nicely. If I had to pick a favorite track though, it would have to be track 4, Little Round Mirrors. I’m a sucker for a bit of melancholia and this track is just so good. I have to say this track reminds me very much of Bad Finger, that classic band from the late 60s early 70s. But that’s just one track in 10. There are many different songs on this album, but they fuse perfectly to make a very well rounded album.

So free music, what’s it all about then. I think the band say it best and have reproduced part of the statement on their site here:

“Given our unusual history, and a long-held sense that the practice now being demonized by the music biz as ‘

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Album – Bach The Concerto Album – Lara St. John

Posted by admin on 10th November 2005

  • Band / Artist : Lara St. John
  • Genre : Classical/Baroque
  • Sample Track Download : N/A
  • Buy CD :
  • Buy Digital Download :
  • Rating : 9 out of 10

Sensuous, provocative, smoldering and that’s just the CD, Lara St. John isn’t bad either. OK, bad jokes aside, classical music isn’t something that’s usually associated with independent music. Usually people think rock or pop and that’s sad, as there is a huge amount of excellent classical music out there. I have to admit, after reading Lara’s bio, I felt somewhat guilty having never heard of her, but I’m sure classical music buffs are bound to have come across the Canadian born artists name before.

It’s great that there’s a lot more younger artists appearing, as classical music is usually the domain of gray haired older people, who wouldn’t know their Blur and Oasis from their Kaiser Cheifs and Killers. In fact the listening audience is usually the same, but, bit by bit a younger audience is being found and that’s certainly a good thing. The younger audience are bound to be intrigued to see a very attractive young woman playing the violin and boy can she play that violin.

I’m in no way an expert on classical music, but I know what I like. I also know when something isn’t very good and I can tell you I’ve heard some awful renditions of popular classics. This however is in a class of it’s own. The production is crisp and clear and the actual performances are flawless. In fact it’s hard to believe that someone so young can give such a mature performance. This CD contains 4 concertos, with a total of 13 movements. The CD runs at just under an hour and the flow is seamless.

This CD provides an excellent introduction to some of the lesser known (to me anyway) works of Bach and I’m looking forward to listening to some more of Lara St. John’s work.

Conclusion : This is definitely a CD I will be playing again and again. It will certainly be given several blasts on my stereo this weekend. That is, if I remember to take it out of my car stereo.

Posted in Baroque, Classical | No Comments »

Artist – Finniston

Posted by admin on 7th November 2005

  • Band / Artist : Finniston
  • Genre : Pop / Rock
  • Sample Track Download : Peace of Mind
  • Buy CD : Buy
  • Buy Digital Download : N/A
  • Rating : 9 out of 10

Finniston are the creation of brother and sister, Steven Finnie and Jolene Crawford. Hailing from Glasgow, Scotland, they produce a fabulous acoustic sound that’s very easy on the ear and soothing to the soul. I first found out about this band from the Tartan Podcast, which covers indie music from Scotland. There are two songs downloadable from the website:

Another Love Song
This is a real up tempo acoustic song with a great driving beat. The harmonies are nicely done and the song has that feelgood factor.

Peace of Mind
This is my favorite track and one I’ve played over and over again. The laid back acoustic guitar is really beautiful. I’m a sucker for songs like this. It’s very reminiscent of a Beatles song, think Blackbird or Julia.

I must say I’ve listened to the 2 downloadable tracks numerous times and will definitely pick up the EP ‘popular music that will live forever’ which comprises of 6 tracks, including the 2 downloadable from the web, once I have got some spare change to rub together (4 children are expensive). At just 5 quid ($8 US), it’s certainly value for money, but with a limited run of just 100, you’d better be quick as this is sure to sell out pretty quickly. My only criticism is that the EP isn’t available electronically, as this is the way I prefer to purchase most of my music nowadays, but that’s all small potatoes.

Conclusion : I’ve only heard the above two tracks and a few tracks via the Tartan Podcast and I’ve loved everything I’ve heard. This is surely a band with a bright future and one I will be tracking closely.

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