Archive for April, 2006

Podcast : Indie Launchpad #16

Posted by admin on 29th April 2006

Just a quick note to say the Indie Launchpad Podcast #16 was released on Friday. Direct Link here.

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Album – The Coast is Clear – In Flight Safety

Posted by admin on 28th April 2006

There’s a few sounds around at the moment, that seem to define the 2000s and like it or not, ColdPlay would have to be one of them. However they’ve become a band that many people criticise as bland and boring, but there is the occasional spark of creativity and ingenuity in both their music and lyrics. OK so you know down what road I am about to tread, but all is not as it seems. Yes In-Flight Safety do share many similarities to ColdPlay, but there isn’t the odd spark of creativity, the album is flaming ball of creativity.

I’ve covered many Canadian bands in the past few months, but there’s something different about In-Flight Safety, that I can’t quite put my finger on. I think to a certain degree, it’s that they don’t actually sound like a Canadian band. Don’t take that the wrong way, it’s just that this is an album that has that global feel.

This is another one of those albums that’s hard to pick a track that stands above any other on the album, that’s because they are all such well crafted songs. The album does open very strongly with “Coast is Clear”, which defines the bands sound very well. “Turn Me Around” is also an interesting track, with it’s almost Pink Floyd guitar opening. The album closes with “Lost (The March Song)”, a beautiful song, that meanders to find it’s high point and then gracefully seeks a place to land (and is probably my favorite, but don’t tell anyone).

Conclusion : An almost textbook example of what makes a good Rock / Pop album. With their combination of excellent music and the right kind of luck, this band could be huge. Keep your ears peeled.

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Album – So Last Century – 99 Men

Posted by admin on 26th April 2006

I never cease to be amazed at the plethora of amazing music out there, that’s been around for a while, but somehow managed to slip under the radar. 99 Men is a classic example. The album So Last Century was originally released in 2004, yet only recently has the band surfaced in the Indie Launchpad pool.

An amazing mesh of driven music and catchy lyrics, every track on the album is just sheer class. I have to admit, I’m absolutely hooked on the track “Big Party” and as is often the way, that is the track that brought the band to my attention. Taking a little longer at 30 seconds (I’m usually a 10 second guy, just in hit detection, honest!) for me to realise this is an amazing track, that’s still not too bad… is it?

So yes, one amazing standout track, but what of the rest of the album. Well at 10 tracks, there’s certainly enough to choose from and they are all extremely good. The album opens very strongly with “No Fun” and pretty much sets the tone for the rest of the album with it’s infectious, catchy melody. My other favorites would have to be “A Rich Man” and “Equator Sun” and…. hold on, that’s the first 4 tracks covered, so I think you get the drift.

99 Men, have to be the hidden gem so far of 2006. I’m crossing fingers, toes and anything else I can cross, hoping that a new album surfaces soon.

Conclusion : No one can ever accuse me of taking my music lightly, so when I say this is an album that should be found a home in your collection, I hope you do just that, cos you won’t be sorry.

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EP – Bible Bombastik – Salme Dahlstrom

Posted by admin on 26th April 2006

At 5′ 11″, Salme is a smorgasbord of good looks, great singing and catchy tunes, what more can you ask for. Well a few hundred thousand and a Porsche 911 would be good, but who am I kidding. Hailing originally from Sweden, Salme has made the US her home and Bible Bombastik marks her second release.

One thing that can ease the pain of poor songs, is a voice that oozes sexual chemistry. However when you combine that sexual chemistry with great songs, that are both upbeat and oh so catchy, you have a winner on your hands, or rather Salme does. The more I listen to this EP, the more it feels like the sounds of Summer. Not wishing to put these songs in the same class as those awful songs that become popular in European holiday destinations during the summer, but they are every bit as catchy as the Macarena and the Birdy song, but so much more accomplished (I can’t believe I just compared Salme to the Birdy song.. errr sorry Salme).

I have to say my favorite song on this EP is predictably “Hello California”, it’s just so damn catchy. What is surprising about this track, is that Salme wrote it for consideration as the theme tune for the popular TV show, Joey. They chose not to use it, but their loss is our gain. A couple of other tracks I particularly love are “Thinking About It… Baby” with it’s almost Elvis like jangly guitar intro and “Take It Off Baby”, cracking stuff.

Conclusion : Spring has arrived and this EP brings a reminder of what the summer brings. With this pumping out of your car stereo, the summer can come a few months early.

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EP – Broken – I Am Jen

Posted by admin on 24th April 2006

This is a wonderful EP, that combines delicate, almost haunting female vocals with a subdued electronic soundtrack. Take 2 parts Suzanne Vega, 2 parts Massive Attack and 1 part Tangerine Dream and this is probably what you’d end up with.

“I am Jen” is Jen Scaturro, an New York native, who put the whole EP together herself in her apartment, including the vocals, synth and all other instruments. This is such an accomplished first outing, that thoroughly deserves to do well. Originally released in 2004, but more recently getting a second airing with the help of numerous podcasts.

Opening with “Broken in all the Right Places”, this is a track with almost thematic aspirations and a good introduction to the sound of the overall EP. It is however “At the Same Time” that stands out for me. Everything about this track is just so right, from the opening drums and the light electronic underpinnings, to the beautiful vocals, that subdue the senses and gives you that warm fuzzy glow. “Something” to me is where the Tangerine Dream dream influence comes in, with an electronic sound that is just so reminiscent of the songs on the soundrack of the Tom Cruise film, Risky Business. “What It Means” rounds things off nicely, the only downside is highlighted when the EP finishes, but that can soon be rectified by hitting the play button once again.

Conclusion : “I am Jen” is definitely a name to watch for in the future. I’m hoping the very near future, as I would dearly love to see what Jen could do with a full album.

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Podcast : Indie Launchpad #15

Posted by admin on 21st April 2006

Just a quick note to say the Indie Launchpad Podcast #15 was released on Friday. Direct Link here.

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Album – Sun House Fury (Part 1) – Robert Farrell Band

Posted by admin on 20th April 2006

I have to admit I have a love hate relationship with artists like Robert Farrell. I love the music and passion they bring to their music, but hate the fact that they can do so much more with a guitar than my feeble attempts, with my lowly acoustic, even though I’ve had it for 20 years. C, A, G, Am and that’s about my limit. My cousin Dennis on a visit from Singapore picked up my guitar once and performed a wonderful rendition of the Beatles Blackbird, so I know its not the instrument. Anyway I’m getting way off topic here.

Robert Farrell is from Ottawa, in Canada, which is where I am currently residing, but it took someone from Birmingham, UK to put me onto Robert, so a big thanks to Paul Nicholls, AKA PodcastPaul. Ah the wonders of podcasting. So here I am scouring the globe for great music, when there’s some on my own doorstep.

It’s been a while since my last Blues / Rock review, but sometimes you just have to sit on your hands and wait for the good stuff and man this is good stuff indeed. I imagine Robert can really let loose with some of the Blues standards, but this release focuses on all original material and it’s absolutely stunning.

It was the track “Woolly Mammoth” that first brought the band to my attention and indeed it’s one of the strongest tracks on the CD, even though the subject matter is a bit on the unusual side. For me though, it’s the instrumental tracks that really bring this album alive. That’s not to say however that there’s anything wrong with Robert’s voice, to the contrary it’s a very distinctive and flavorful voice, but for me it’s all about the music. My favorite tracks on the album would have to be “Slidewinder”a truly great vehicle for someone with Robert’s talents and “Wah” which has a very Jimi Hendrix feel.

Conclusion : Whether you are a blues fan or not, there’s no denying that this is a wonderfully energetic and well crafted release. I definitely must check out Robert when he next performs in Ottawa.

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EP – Weightless – Stillman

Posted by admin on 20th April 2006

With comparisons to Elliot Smith abounding, this promised to be something special and I wasn’t disappointed. With a relaxed, ethereal feel, this is quite frankly a beautiful first offering from the London based Stillman. I tried hard to think of the voice this EP reminded me of. I thought it was Jon Anderson of Yes fame, but more subtle, now I’m not so sure. There is actually a lot vocally that reminds me of another indie artist we featured a while ago called Steadman, but this is a much more laidback offering.

I read a review somewhere, that captured the essence of this EP, when they mentioned the ebb and flow and indeed that theme almost runs throughout. A calming, almost hypnotic tide of sound.

Like a good book, “Foreword” and “Afterword” set up and close this amazing piece of work. The title track “Weightless” is an amazing, but “The Worst is Over” is probably my favorite. However I have to say, I don’t think I’d play any track in isolation, preferring to just put on the whole EP.

Conclusion : Absolutely brilliant stuff. With an album already in the works, I can’t wait to hear the result.

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Album – Supraluxe – Supraluxe

Posted by admin on 20th April 2006

Minneapolis trio Supraluxe brings us an extremely well produced first album, that was actually recorded at their home studio, although you would be hard pushed to actually know this from the highly polished production. Bringing a swirling mix of melancholy and upbeat harmonies, this album has an interesting feel. It reminds me vocally of Marc Bolan, with that subtle vocal hint, but with a updated 70’s pop feel. Musically I can hear a lot that reminds me of ELO, probably because the melodies are so damn catchy. But the comparisons do not do this album justice, as I can also hear conrnucopia of other influences.

There’s 11 tracks on the album, that mesh together very well. Usually I have trouble naming my favorites as there are usually only 1 or 2 stand out tracks, but here, the whole album is first class. Most of the album is fast paced catchy pop, but there are a few slower tracks to give you some light relief.

I suppose you would like to nail me down to a few standout tracks? OK, as you asked, there were a few that I can’t get out of my head. “Sugar Chalet” opens the album up very well and gives you a good taste of what to expect, with it’s distorted voice and driving guitar. “Tokyo” reminds me very much of the Kinks, especially in the way it opens. My favorite track on the album would have to be “Blue Sky”, a great song, that I would love to see receive some extensive summer air play on the radio, but yeah, like the radio stations know what good music is.

Conclusion : This is just the album to get you in the summer feel. Not too up beat and in your face, but enough melancholy to remind you winter wasn’t long ago.

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Podcast : Indie Launchpad #14

Posted by admin on 15th April 2006

Better late than never. Just a quick note to say the Indie Launchpad Podcast #14 was released on Friday. Direct Link here.

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