Archive for March, 2006

Album – Our Fall – Great Aunt Ida

Posted by admin on 31st March 2006

I think the first thing that hits you about this band is the name. No disrespect and yes I understand that Ida Nilsen is the woman behind the band, but Great Aunt Ida to me, builds a mental picture of a rather rotund old lady, wearing a big cardigan, with wrinkled tights and fluffy slippers. Not exactly the best of visual images for anyone browsing an online music store.

Anyway enough of that, what of the music. This is mellow, laid back, bittersweet pop, with a folksy twist. It’s amazing how many Canadian artists (Great Aunt Ida are from Vancouver) seem to draw a lot of influence from Leonard Cohen, a Canadian Idol to the melancholic. The CD contains 11 tracks that will soothe even the most enraged soul. Ida has a wonderfully comforting voice and with the perfect musical accompaniment has managed to produce an album, that is great to just lie back and listen too.

My favorites tracks on the album are “Corners” and “This Wind” with it’s beautifully haunting piano and it’s this track that rounds the album off nicely. In fact it usually rounds the album off 2 or 3 times for me, as one play is never enough.

Conclusion : Whilst it won’t set your musical world on fire, it does have a certain unique charm. This is an album that’s great for that melancholic mood, when you just want to soothe your soul and reflect on obstacles of life.

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Album – Blues and Reds – Kelly Goodlad

Posted by admin on 30th March 2006

I’m a sucker for female singer, songwriters. However that doesn’t mean that all it takes is a guitar and some fluttering eyelashes, the music has to be good too. I think good is an understatement for this debut from Toronto artist, Kelly Goodlad. With a whispery, velvet voice and some wonderful music, this album is oh so short at just 7 songs. However those 7 songs do manage to pack quite an aural punch.

This bittersweet, almost melancholic album opens with the amazing “January”, a song that reminds me a lot of a young Sam Brown. This is a smoldering, sultry song with a wonderful string arrangement. I would love to see this released as a single. “It’s My Life Too”, a song of epic proportion at over 5 minutes and strange hypnotic properties. I swear I only ever hear the beginning and end as for some reason I just seem to stare off into space and daydream. “A Funeral for a Era” livens things up a bit, despite the title. “Late Bloomer” is another long song at just over 6 minutes and for me is probably the weakest song on the album. I think the song just goes on just a little too long. “Solo Road” is another fairly upbeat track. The last 2 tracks are “Passion Junkie” and “Love Song” and round the album off nicely.

Although relatively short, this is still one amazing album. With it’s melding of jazz, blues and pop it creates something quite incredible.

Conclusion : My musical heart bleeds a little more inside, when I hear wonderful music like this, as I know it’s probably not going to get the global, mass appreciation it so rightly deserves. This should definitely be an album to treat your CD player and yourself too.

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Album – Ever Since – Lesley Gore

Posted by admin on 30th March 2006

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

Fame can be a fickle thing. Many people receive their “15 minutes” and then fade abruptly into the dim and distant past. Some ease into obscurity gracefully, never to be heard of again. More infrequently some fade, only to resurface a year or two later. It takes a very special kind of artist to stay out of the limelight for 30 years, only to resurface with something so extraordinary that you wonder why they stayed away for so long. This is the case with Lesley Gore. For anyone who doesn’t remember the 60s first hand the name Lesley Gore may not mean a lot. Forward to the 80s and a song called “It’s My Party” by Dave Stewart and Barbara Gaskin, remember that one, or indeed the 60s original, that was Lesley.

For anyone expecting upbeat pop, you aren’t going to find it here. What you are going to find is something to put you the mood for reflection and a voice that has mellowed and aged like a fine wine. Lesley’s voice reminds me a lot of Joni Mitchell’s 2000 offering Both Sides Now and indeed that title track. Yes the voice isn’t as sharp and perky, but it’s lush, complete and as sexy as hell.

This whole album is an incredible collection of songs. The title track in particular just blew me away the first time I heard it. It was this, that sewed the seed of desire to get the album in post haste for review. Consisting of 10 tracks, which includes re-recordings of two of Lesley’s earlier tracks, namely “You Don’t Own Me” and “Out Here on my Own”. The other 8 tracks are all written by or in conjunction with Lesley herself, Mike Errico and Blake Morgan, who also provide musical accompaniment. For me though, the reworked tracks are just fillers for the rest of the album. It’s the new material that allows Lesley to radiate a warmth, lacking from so much music. As I’ve said numerous times, I’m a big fan of the title track. Other standout tracks for me are “Cool Web” with it’s jazzy texture and “We Went So High”, with it’s simplistic piano accompaniment, absolutely beautiful.

I’ll leave you with this snippet from Lesley’s own website, I think it sums things up nicely:

“Ever Since is a Lesley Gore postcard, sent from the journey she’d always said she was going to take. Fans who have traveled with her will have a new reason to love her, and the people who haven’t checked in with her in a while will fall in love all over again.”

Conclusion : This has been one of the albums I was very eager to get in for review. Once I heard the title track I was smitten. This is a lush, sensual, gorgeous, wonderful album. I just hope I don’t have to wait another 30 years for the next one.

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EPA – A Wave Form – New London Fire

Posted by admin on 29th March 2006

  • Band / Artist : New London Fire
  • Genre : Pop / Electronic / Rock
  • Sample Track Download : Different
  • Buy CD : N/A
  • Free Digital Download : Download
  • Rating : 9 out of 10

When a band releases a complete body of work, be it a single, EP or album, they deserve at least to be listened to. When the work in question is this offering from New London Fire, it just has to be listened to, as this is an incredible first outing from the New Jersey band. I stumbled upon this band via one of the many podcasts I listen to. I was won over immediately. Imagine my surprise when I visited the bands website, to find out the EP was completely free. Needless to say, It soon made the transition from web, to my hard disk and very happy it’s been there too.

The EP features 2 songs from the forthcoming album “I Sing the Body Holographic”, they are “Different” which is an amazing opening to an EP and “We Don’t Bleed”. Also featured are “This is What Became”, “I Believe in Ghosts” and a remix of “I Believe in Ghosts”, which for me is probably the weakest track. I have to say my favorite track is “This is What Became” which has an amazing production, with an almost Phil Spector layer of sounds, where things just build and build and then almost explode back to basics at the end.

If I were to compare the bands sound to anything else, I would say there are definite Pink Floyd elements, especially the music and production, along with a sort of ColdPlay / Green Day lyrical style. This probably sounds a funny kind of mish mash and no doubt you will probably have your own comparisons to make, but it all fuses very well and forms one helluva CD.

Conclusion : A Wave Form is just amazing, with some incredible songs and some incredible production. I highly recommend you go pick this up and give your ears a treat. I can’t wait to hear the album, to see if they can keep up this high level across a whole CD.

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Podcast : Indie Launchpad #11

Posted by admin on 24th March 2006

Just a quick note to say the Indie Launchpad Podcast #11 has been released. Direct Link here.

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Album – Small Man Syndrome – Mybe

Posted by admin on 24th March 2006

If you want to kick back and relax, this probably isn’t the album for you, unless you like to relax to a high octane mix of pop and punk. Your ears are certainly going to get a workout with this, make no mistake. Also the thing I find with this album, is that it just flies by. It’s not that the songs are unusually short, although there is one that’s just under the 2 minute mark and another one at the end that hits the 20 minute mark, but this is one of the all too common album ending ramble tracks, that you find on many CDs. This album is a classic example of what I call “Ikea Syndrome”. If you’ve ever been to Ikea, you’ll understand what I mean. You walk through the main entrance and before you know it, you’re at the exit. Anyway I digress.

With a very edgy, modern sound, I can just imagine listening to this band at an outdoor gig with a few beers. As a collective work, this album is outstanding. Fueled by a strong drum and guitar sound, the vocals are rough, ready and unapologetic. Sure there’s a few colourful words here and there, but if you don’t like it, make like an olive and get stuffed…. Ooops, sorry got caught in the moment, that’s a lie, but what the hell, it makes this paragraph a little longer.

With 12 tracks, it’s hard to know where to start. I could begin at the beginning and in a way I am, but I’m feeling a little unconventional, so will start with my favorite track “From Monkey’s to Morons”, what a great title for a song and I think the title gives you enough of a gist as to what the song is about. Other notable tracks are “Never Pass Go”, “Absynthe Makes the Heart Grow Fonder” and “Can Buy Me Love” with it’s ska influences, quite a departure from the rest of the tracks on the album.

The bands sound, runs throughout and I have no doubt that with the right kind of luck, this band will go far. It’s time for record execs to pull their heads out of thei… the sand and realise just how many great unsigned bands there are.

Conclusion : Whether you want to recreate your own mosh pit at home, drive your parents mad, or just enjoy some great, loud music, this is the album for you. The band also have a few free songs recorded after the album available on their site, so get downloading and don’t forget to pick up a copy of the album in the process.

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Album – Golden – Ledman

Posted by admin on 24th March 2006

  • Band / Artist : Ledman
  • Genre : Blues / Rock
  • Sample Track Download : Golden
  • Buy CD : Buy
  • Buy Digital Download : iTunes
  • Rating : 8 out of 10

I think the first thing that struck me when I first put this CD in the player was “Lone Rider” by War, I think it was, both in the funky music and the even funkier vocals. I quickly realised that this was going to be something a little different.

With 16 tracks, this would almost certainly have been a double album in the old days of vinyl. I’ve been very into vinyl of late and there’s something very retro sounding to this album. It’s almost like the 70s Stones and Tom Waits got together and had a baby. I’d throw a bit of Iggy and Bowie in there as well, but then that picture just starts to get a bit too messy, so let me shake my head like an etch-a-sketch and proceed.

This is a very interesting album to listen to, as it’s so distictly different from nearly everything I’ve heard so far this year. The production and music on this album are top notch, but it’s the gravelly, Gaulloises induced vocals that really set this album apart.

Standout tracks for me are the opening track “Was it Hard”, “My American Scream” and also “18 Hours”, which has a vague resemblence to the classic Doors song “The End”.

Conclusion : This is one of those great albums, to turn up loud while you are busy at home, or would be if you didn’t have children that complain about loud music, I always thought that was meant to be the other way around.

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Album – Tough Guy Cliches – Bronx Cheerleader

Posted by admin on 22nd March 2006

I don’t know what it is, but some bands are just so instantly recognisable as Canadian. I know that they have a lot of different cultural influences, but then so does the US, so that isn’t it. Whatever it is, it’s a welcome relief to a lot of music out there.

It’s funny when you first see the album cover, you sort of feel a bit misdirected. With a very 1920s gangster style of artwork, the music isn’t quite what you would expect. Certainly that should be no surprise, as even the bands name is sort of confusing, I didn’t see a cheerleader once.

The CD opens with a Gaelic sounding “Crapshooter’s Blues in A”, but I think that’s just the mandolin, don’t let that put you off though. The whole album has a laid back, relaxed acoustic feel to it. I think the only real downside I have to this album, is that there’s nothing really on it that grabs me. I don’t mean because it’s all laid back, it’s just that none of the songs really clicked with me, even though they are all very pleasant. That being said, this is still a very enjoyable album to while away some time with.

Conclusion : You can take any song off of this album and if you like it, you’ll like the album. My only reservation is that there’s just something missing that I cant quite put my finger on.

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Album – See The Sun – Black Lab

Posted by admin on 18th March 2006

Sometimes it can take you a while to get into an album. It’s a big undertaking acquainting yourself with 10+ songs. It can be a very hit and miss thing. You can hear a single song and think “Hey that’s great”, but when you hear all the tracks offered up, you realise you’ve heard the best song on the album. The feel of deflation soon sets in. Fortunately this is not the case with Black Lab.

Within seconds of the first track, I had an amazing sense of deja-vu. Not because I’d heard the track already, but something in my head kept telling me I’d heard this band before. There’s nothing I can quite put my finger on, but it’s something akin to meeting a school friend you haven’t seen in a lifetime. You know them, but you don’t really KNOW them. I’m rectifying that now and with each play, the deja-vu is being replaced with the reassuring feel of a cool beer on a warm day and man what a beer it is.

Black Lab have a very contemporary sound, something akin to U2 and Coldplay, but they’re not a knock off and could easy share the bill with any of the heavyweights on the commercial scene.

Opening with the title track, “See the Sun” is a shining (no pun intended) example of what makes a great song. The music, lyrics and just about everything with this track are spot on. And so it continues, over and over and over again. I could just go on and on, about each track on this CD, but I don’t want to come across as a scratched record. Ah records, do you remember those. If you were to twist my arm, though I’d probably say that “See The Sun”, “Remember” and “Without You” are my personal favorites.

Conclusion : I’m constantly reminded of why I love the independent music scene at the moment. With albums like this, it’s hard not to.

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Podcast : Indie Launchpad #10

Posted by admin on 18th March 2006

Just a quick note to say the Indie Launchpad Podcast #10 has been released. Direct Link here.

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