Archive for January, 2006

Podcast : Indie Launchpad #3

Posted by admin on 28th January 2006

Just a quick note to say the Indie Launchpad Podcast #3 has been released. Direct Link here.

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Album – Things You Never Thought I’d Say – Freddy

Posted by admin on 27th January 2006

  • Band / Artist : Freddy
  • Genre : Pop / Rock
  • Sample Track Download : Fade Away
  • Buy CD : Buy
  • Buy Digital Download : Buy
  • Rating : 9 out of 10

Although not yet 20, Freddy Litwiniuk already has an unbelievably hot album under his belt and an extremely promising career ahead. I’ve listened to this album many times, yet it still astounds me that such an accomplished sound can come from someone so young.

The 11 track album was originally released in the later part of 2004 and seems to have simmered though the majority of 2005. It now seems the Freddy pot boileth over and about time too. This is songwriting at it’s most potent and it’s amazing to me that a wider audience has not yet been achieved. I can imagine many youngsters snapping this album up if they had more exposure to it. But it’s not only youngsters, I’m not exactly ready to settle down to a life of dentures and cocoa as I’m sure many other Generation Xers.

There’s many influences, or homages to other bands, fused into the mix, including a heavy mix of Britpop. I read from Freddy’s site that he spent spent a while in the UK, during the Britpop explosion, so this would exlain that. I myself was still in the UK when the likes of Blur, Oasis, Suede and Pulp were at their most potent. In fact 1996 stands out as a particularly hazy, intense period, when England were competing in Euro ’96 and I was watching Madness, Skunk Anansie and the Sex Pistols at Finsbury Park. This album brings it all back, but also reminds me of the musical hollowness that has been prevalant in the last few years. Anyway I digress, what of the album itself?

The album comes out of the gate, with two absolutely corking tracks, A Moment Away and Fade Away, with it’s Beatle overtones. There’s not a weak track on the album, and it frustrates me, that this isn’t an absolute monster of an album. I could bore you to death with my abundance of love for this album, but I won’t. I just want to say, support this artist, because I can’t wait to hear waht he can do for his next album.

Conclusion : This is an album that if it were Robbie Williams, or Blur, it would be a smash hit and rightly so. So go out and pick yourself up a copy, either via CD Baby or for download at mp3Tunes. If you aren’t hooked after the first two tracks I’d be most surprised. Also visit Freddy’s site and let him know there’s many of us out here, who can’t wait for future offereings.

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Album – Hopewell – The Birds of Appetite

Posted by admin on 26th January 2006

Be careful no more Eugene, for that axe can now safely fall, a new pretender to Pink Floyd is born. I haven’t heard psychedelic rock like this since Pink Floyd in their Ummagumma and Atom Heart Mother days. I was just a boy when those albums were released and indeed didn’t get into Floyd until my late teens, but I can remember so well, listening to ever second of each Floyd album I discovered. The same is true of Hopewell with their Birds of Appetite album, it’s such an amazing album, with some incredible sounds. I can also sense some early Stones influence, around the Sympathy for the Devil days, but that’s probably just me.

Through 12 unbelievable tracks, the CD never fails to engage and delight. It’s probably not too hard to tell, I’m in love with this album. Nothing the wife should be concerned about, but I’ve fallen hook line and sinker. Whilst researching the band, I discovered that they’d been featured by the late, great John Peel and it’s no surprise, cos that man knew his music.

It’s not just the music, the lyrics are also suitable trippy, with lines like “you hate what you become…because you become what you hate. you got a trumpet for a lung. and gold pianos for teeth.” and “and the synthetic symphony…swirls around yr knees…through yr bloodstream. and the saltwater symphony…guides its laser beam…down yr throat. and past yr lungs. to glow steadily…patiently…passionately…on your tongue.” Now that’s what I call lyrics.

Conclusion : OK what can I say that I haven’t said already? Buy this album and buy it (in the words of Bob Geldof) NOW!

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Album – No Straight Lines – Private Eleanor

Posted by admin on 24th January 2006

  • Band / Artist : Private Eleanor
  • Genre : Folk / Rock / Pop
  • Download : Seventeen
  • Buy CD : Buy
  • Buy Digital Download : N/A
  • Rating : 8 out of 10

On the lighter side of melancholy, on the road to sunny days, is where you’ll find Private Eleanor. For anyone who likes a mainly acoustic sound, with infectious melodies, this is the CD for you. It’s almost like sitting inside, in front of your window, watching the rain and knowing the sun will soon be out. Yes I know how pretentious that all sounds, but I just can’t get that image out of my head.

The album starts with the short We Know better, which is probably my least favorite song on the album, but as it’s brief, the cracking song Seventeen gets to us all the quicker. This is probably my favorite track on the CD. From the excellent guitar accompaniment to the wonderful, understated piano. Other notable songs on the CD are Richmond, Estimated Distance and Forever’s Not a Word I Use.

I can’t help but compare most of the artists/bands I review with other artists/bands. This gives people a pretty quick idea of what to expect, but sometimes, what or who I think an artist/band sounds like, isn’t what everyone else thinks. Mind you some times a bit of controversy is good, to get people riled up. If I had to compare Private Eleanor to another band, it would have to be someone like Deacon Blue or maybe even Beautiful South. There’s even a slight hint of Simon and Garfunkel, which is always welcome.

This is a such a mellow album, that for me would have been so much better if the vocals were a bit stronger. I’m not sure if it’s the original recording or the mix of the album, but the vocals seem very muffled. This does detract slightly from an otherwise great album.

Conclusion : Even with my reservations, this is an excellent album, from a band I haven’t yet come across on the podcast scene, but hopefully I can change that.

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Podcast – Indie Launchpad #2

Posted by admin on 21st January 2006

Just a quick note to say the Indie Launchpad Podcast #2 has been released. Direct Link here.

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Album – Secrets – Allison Crowe

Posted by admin on 20th January 2006

If a voice could be a precious metal, then Vancouver Island, BC native, Allison Crowe’s would be 24 caret gold, no doubt about it. There’s a haunting purity that almost hypnotises with it’s beauty. Even as I write this, I’m listening to the album, trying to fight the desire to put down the pen, close my eyes and be taken away to the heavens. Am I waxing lyrical? Yes I am, but for good reason.

When an artist has such an amazing voice, it’s easy to forget the accompaniment, but credit where credit’s due, for this too is exceptional.

Any album that features a track from Leonard Cohen is certainly heading in the right direction. But when it is covered so beautifully, it makes you realise what an amazing lyricist Leonard Cohen is. Joan of Arc is the Cohen song covered on this album and it’s certainly in my top 10 of Cohen covers. It’s also my favorite track on the album along with the Beatles classic, In My Life.

Conclusion : I’m hoping to hear a lot more of Allison in the coming year. A truly excellent album, that again can be downloaded for free, but please remember to do the right thing and support this fantastic artist by purchasing either a CD or downloaded version.

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Album – Mr Pain – Francis Jocky

Posted by admin on 19th January 2006

  • Band / Artist : Francis Jocky
  • Genre : Pop / Soul / Mellow
  • Download : Higher Love
  • Buy CD : Buy
  • Buy Digital Download : N/A
  • Rating : 9 out of 10

It’s funny how an artist is virtually anonymous and then suddenly you hear them everywhere. Within a day of hearing Francis Jocky for the first time, I heard him on various other podcasts and so the snowball begins. I’ve heard Francis compared with Seal, he of Kiss from a Rose fame, but I just don’t hear it, Francis has a much earthier sound, rather than that of high production pop. If I had to pick a singer to compare Francis with, it would be more Issac Hayes. However I do still hear an incredible artist with an incredible album.

The album opens with the title track, Mr Pain and the album just builds from there. A special mention has to be made of the absolutely fabulous music, which really is no surprise, when you read up on his musical pedigree. After his studies at the Universities Paris V and La Sorbonne, where he achieved his doctorate, he decided to devote himself entirely to his music, later forming a partnership with Jon Anderson, lead singer of YES and releasing an album as Know. He’s also performed with Stevie Wonder and U2, that’s quite a feat.

At first hearing Francis sing, it’s a shock to the system, as the music is preparing you for something quite different, but who cares, it works and very well indeed. With 12 tracks on the album, you can hear an incredibly diverse range of music. Every song is well crafted, with some very lush music. Standout tracks for me are Mr Pain, Higher Love and We Are.

Conclusion : This is such an amazing album, that if it was reviewed last year, would cerainly have been in my top 5 for the year. 2006 is going to be a good year for music if this album is anything to go by.

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Podcast – Indie Launchpad #1

Posted by admin on 19th January 2006

Just a quick note to say the first edition of the Indie Launchpad Podcast has been released and is available at I look forward to your comments.

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Album – Supercreep – Supercreep

Posted by admin on 19th January 2006

  • Band / Artist : Supercreep
  • Genre : Rock
  • Sample Track Download : N/A
  • Buy CD : Buy
  • Buy Digital Download : Buy iTunes
  • Rating : 8 out of 10

From the get go, it’s more than obvious that the first track, Mushroom Cloud bears an uncanny resemblance to the works of Beck. However once that burst of Beckness fades, a more Radiohead sound emerges, so instead of an album that batters the senses, I found an album that had a whole lot of depth.

For an album that was recorded in the artists (Jody Delli Santi) parents basement, this is a very polished offering. However it’s not until the second half of the album that the album really begins to come into it’s own. Both Evolution and Polite have that infectious sound that might have been better, opening the album. However it’s Fire Escapes, that for me is the real standout track, with it’s chirpy acoustic guitar and quirky strained voice. This could easily be a chart song. The album rounds off with In the Dust, and before you know it, the album has finished and you feel that you want to play it all over again.

I’m amazed that I haven’t heard any buzz around SuperCreep. I first heard them on the A Brit Abroad podcast and since then nothing. This is a shame as this is a great album and deserves a wider audience. I’m hoping 2006 will hopefully rectify this.

Conclusion : For me this was an album that I found it hard to get into, as it’s mostly a different sound to Fire Escapes, which introduced me to the band. However after listening to the album a few times, it really has grown on me.

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Album – Gutter Pastoral – Kevin House

Posted by admin on 18th January 2006

It seems you don’t have to be a Canadian to be a miserable git, but it helps. Actually that’s not quite what I mean, but when you hear Kevin House’s album, you cannot fail to hear the likeness to that other fine Canadian song master Leonard Cohen, who’s renowned for his gruff melancholic melodies.

This isn’t the kind of album you whack out at parties to get the masses moving, unless it’s to the exit. This is the kind of album you play when relaxing and just wanting to find a space to call your own. When I was younger, around the age of 15-18 I used to love to wallow in melancholia. Leonard Cohen, Pink Floyd, John Mayalls Blues Breakers, The Smiths and Julian Cope were my main staple. Even now I love all things Morrissey, but enough of this distraction, what of Kevin House.

The whole album is underpinned by very simple musical accompaniment, usually just an acoustic guitar and some drums, but it’s the lyrics and the way that they’re sung that captivates. I’m a great fan of the melancholic side of music. I attribute the Smiths with getting me through my teenage years sane.

Gutter Pastoral opens with the amazing Stories Without Words, which has a unique vocal arrangement, something akin to someone talking over a telephone, whilst being accompanied by someone playing a saw. Don’t get me wrong though, I love this track. It was also the song that brought Kevin House to my attention and remains my firm favorite.

The other standout tracks for me are Twilight in the Wilderness which is very Cohenesque and Disappearing Girl, which for some reason reminds me a lot of Suzanne Vega. I think it must be the guitar arrangement.

Conclusion : This is a beautiful album, both in it’s simplicity and it’s haunting sound.

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