Archive for May, 2006

Album – Burning Daylight – Blake Morgan

Posted by admin on 30th May 2006

I’m a big fan of Lesley Gore, who records on the Engine Company label. Also on the same label and the label president is Blake Morgan, who also helped write and produce Lesley’s album. So it was interesting to also find myself with Blake’s album before me to review.

The album opens very strongly with “Only Anesthesia” which sounds extremely familiar. I could swear I’ve heard it somewhere before. This is a pretty good introduction to the CD, with loud guitars and that harder rock sound, accompanied by Blake’s, raw edged voice. This theme follows pretty much throughout the album. The next track is the very Nirvana sounding “Danger to Wake You”. In fact there’s a lot of rock influences throughout the album and they all nestle in very well.

It’s funny that my favorite track on the album, is also the track that seems oddly out of place. That track is “Better Angels” which was also covered by Lesley Gore on her Ever Since album and it’s when I got to this track that it suddenly hit me. The album tracks are in the wrong order. As I said before, they’re all really good songs in their own right, but something just didn’t gel with me and I think it’s because the tracks are (in my humble opinion) in the wrong order, which for me results in a sort of musical jarring when some of the songs transition from one to another.

Musically the production, results in an almost live sounding album with some minimal overdub on the vocals. This is my preferred kind of rock, because I can just imagine it sounding almost identical when played before a live audience and I love that.

Conclusion : Blake has a great rock voice, but also handles the softer songs really well. This is an album that’s a prime candidate to purchase as MP3’s, as it’s then so easy to rearrange the songs to suit. I’ve no doubt that what would be my perfect order, isn’t going to be everyone’s, but I think this is a small point. This is a great album, with some really great tracks.

Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

Album – Fourth Person – Sarah Sharp

Posted by admin on 30th May 2006

Prepare yourself everyone, here’s Indie Launchpad reviewing a female vocalist…OK, I’m not going to go down my usual review route for this one, as it’s something quite different to anything I’ve reviewed so far. Yes the voice is soft and pleasant, but there’s and incredibly quirky feel to it to and it’s not just the vocals. The music has an amazing freshness and individuality to it. I have to say I haven’t heard anything like this in a long, long while.

From the opening of the first song “Run”, I was smacked between the eyes with an unbelievable sense of amazement and excitement. I’ve written and rewritten the rest of this paragraph over and over again, but keep it keeps coming across as some awestruck kid. This is like Alanis Morissette in a field full of Britney Spears. Cydi Lauper in a school full of Jessica Simpson’s. I’m sure that comes across as bizarrely as it does to me writing it, but I think you can get my general drift. “Coffee Shop” is the second track and continues with an amazing freshness and liveliness to it. My favorite tracks are the aforementioned and also the tracks “Can’t We Just Love” and “Blame it on the Night”.

I think what lifts this album so much is the incredible inventive musical production. There’s more twists and twangs than you can shake a stick at, but it all fuses so well. Paired with Sarah’s voice, this is an amazing body of work.

Conclusion : It’s not often I make a stern recommendation, but just go out and pick yourself up a copy of Fourth Person, you won’t have heard anything quite like it in a while, and I mean that in a most positive way imaginable.

Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

Album – Now That You’re Fed – Chris Brown

Posted by admin on 27th May 2006

“All My Rivals” was the first track I’d ever heard from Chris Brown. I’d hoped his album would live up to my expectations, as that track is so quirky, upbeat and oh so catchy. I need not have worried, this is all I’d hoped for and a whole lot more.

I think the thing that stands out most for me, is the wonderful vocals. There’s a great layering of the vocals, with some amazing harmonies. In fact there’s a lot that reminds me of the Beach Boys, that wonderful lushness of production. There’s also a hint of the Beatlesque, in some of the musical and string arrangements, with a slight McCartneyesque tone in some of the lyrics, especially they way they bounce along. Not forgetting the overall sound with it’s very subtle XTC overtones

There’s a great selection of styles, including some fairly strange ones, “In the Kitchen” being a prime example of this. This is a song that I can imagine being used in modern video game. There’s a lot to like about this album. I has a great optimism, that just can’t help but put you in a good mood. It’s happy without being sickly so. My favorite tracks would have to be “All My Rivals” which is just the perfect pop song, the title track “Now That You’re Fed” and “Things She Laughed About”, fantastic.

Conclusion : Just the perfect pop album. No dark overtones, no melancholia, no thoughtful reflections, just pure power pop.

Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

Album – Only Whispering – Josh Woodward

Posted by admin on 27th May 2006

Josh Woodward is an old favorite of Indie Launchpad’s. A a master storyteller, he also has the drive an determination to have his music heard by as many people as he can. I’ve covered before artists who make their music freely available, alongside more conventional CD releases, but it takes a firm belief, as well as a certain insanity. Hopefully this belief is well placed, as this is a great CD that deserves a lot of recognition.

I haven’t come across any songs on Josh’s albums, that I’ve felt unbalance an album and it’s no surprise that the same is the case here. I love Josh’s simplicity in story telling and the wonderfully understated music, that accompanies the vocals and don’t overpower.

“Only Whispering” a wonderful title track, opens the album. At times this track bares a striking resemblance to Jon Anderson, he of Yes fame, yet more relaxed. I’ve mentioned time and time again, the wonderful way Josh manages to set the scene and bring the story on at a pace that is just so effortless, “Adventures of the Deaf Dreamer” is a prime example of this. This is a hard album to review, because every song is just so damn good.

I’m not even going to pick out my usual standout tracks, as I’d just be listing every song on the album. Suffice to say if you are a fan of acoustic music, this is a definite one to pick up. It’s a very similar production to Crawford Street, Josh’s previous album, which is fine by me.

Conclusion : This is Josh’s third album, in as many years and a cracking release it is too.

Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

Podcast : Indie Launchpad #20

Posted by admin on 26th May 2006

Just a quick note to say the Indie Launchpad Podcast #20 was just released. Direct Link here.

Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

Album – Public Symphony – Public Symphony

Posted by admin on 26th May 2006

Whenever Pink Floyd is mentioned as a bands influence, my ears prick up and I find myself eager to hear what the band has to offer. This came about when I heard a track of the bands, on a podcast and the sound piqued my interest. Only a matter of days after hearing the band, I saw them featured in an article in the Unsigned Music Magazine. I knew instinctively I’d stumbled on something pretty special.

It’s funny, upon hearing the album, I hear a slight Pink Floyd influence, specifically their latter stuff without Roger Waters, but this is no Pink Floyd knock off. Actually the influence is only passing, as are the other influences that surface like Tangerine Dream and even dare I say it, Vangelis. Admittedly, vocally I’d say the lead singer Dobs, does have a voice with a passing resemblance to David Gilmour, but a much younger version.

The album opens with the ethereal “Wings” and gives a taster of the sound yet to come. The second track and in fact the first single release, “Stronger” is a much more radio friendly tune, with a great tune and effortless lyrics. I have to say, my favorite tracks on the album would have to be “Stronger”, “Breakthrough” and “Children of the Heatwave” with it’s funky groove, which is a pretty radical departure from the rest of the album, but it nestles in there nicely.

The production throughout the album is first class, with a wonderful layer of sounds. The vocals are very distinctive, without being overpowering and work really well. This is a definite album, to listen to through headphones, so you get the full effect.

Conclusion : Such a great first offering from Public Symphony and hopefully not their last. I’d love to see what they could do with a concept album, in the same vein of Dark Side of the Moon, but maybe that’s just me showing my age.

Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

Album – Back to BASIC – Children of the CPU

Posted by admin on 25th May 2006

“2035. The last of the human defenses were vanquished. The computers had won. Mankind had no option but to slink into the shadows. To prepare for the day of reckoning. The day when they would make one last stand. To the victor the spoils. To the loser, oblivion….”

The opening track has that feel to it, like a soundtrack to one of the classic 80’s sci-fi films, like Escape from New York. Then there’s the introduction of 80’s retro. Remember those classic computer games you used to play on the computer, that you used to plug into the television. This is all that and more. I suppose if I were to pigeon hole it, it would be 80’s electronica.

This isn’t to my usual taste, but there’s something very familiar and almost comforting about the album. It’s certainly a workout for the ears and another album, that really benefits from listening to using headphones.

There’s a few of tracks that really stand out for me. “Firefly” is one of them. In fact that track has a very familiar sound, especially the vocals. If anyone has watched the vidcast, “The Scene”, this track sounds very familiar to the open titles. My other favorite tracks are “Laurentien” and “Logic is for Loners”. The only track on the album I had a problem with is “Weeping Willow”. If you are a fan of drum ‘n’ bass you’ll love this. For me though, the drum machine drove me nuts.

Conclusion : Certainly something different, but such a great diversion from the everyday rock sound, that’s prevalent today.

Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

Album – The Aggrolites – The Aggrolites

Posted by admin on 23rd May 2006

  • Band / Artist : The Aggrolites
  • Genre : Ska / Reggae / Rock
  • Sample Track Download : N/A
  • Buy CD : Amazon
  • Buy Digital Download : iTunes
  • Rating : 9 out of 10

Every now and again, I’ll hear something that nudges my childhood memories. The Aggrolites did just that with their ska and reggae infused style of music. When I was younger, much younger, I have found memories of listening to Madness, the Specials, Bad Manners and a whole host of lesser know bands, that also had that ska groove. Some of those bands moved away from ska. Madness is a case in point, but they still managed to keep their loyal following, due to a quirky, crazy musical style. Anyway, every time I hear ska, those memories come flooding back.

I have to say, I’ve been waiting for something different for a while, so when I heard this, it was like a breath of fresh air, not to mention a walk down memory lane. There’s so much music out there and indeed a lot of excellent stuff, but sometimes you just need something different, to act as a sort of musical mouthwash, so to speak.

The ska sound is very distinct and has that infectious beat that you can’t help moving too. In my young daughters case, she was bopping up and down like a good ‘un. I’ve played this album numerous times and each time, I can’t help but smile.

With 19 tracks on the album, you’re certainly getting your value for money, but only if the songs are any good. Fear not, this is a cracking album, that certainly holds it’s head up there with the other classic ska bands. I’d love to see this band live, as I can just imagine the energy expelled during a performance. There’s an incredible sense of spontaneity and passion throughout the album. The love of the music shown by the band is so obvious and totally infectious.

Conclusion : This is an amazing album, that I just can’t stop playing at the moment. It’s like walking down memory lane, with a whole new soundtrack.

Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

Podcast : Indie Launchpad #19

Posted by admin on 19th May 2006

Just a quick note to say the Indie Launchpad Podcast #19 was just released. Direct Link here.

Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

Album – Shorthand for Love – Cardboard Cowboy

Posted by admin on 18th May 2006

I’ve seen a lot written about this band. Many seem to classify them as some form of country music. To me they are as close to country as the Pogues are. Yes there’s a tinge, but that’s about it. This ain’t no Dolly Parton, although I’m sure there are some greatits on here. In fact there’s an interesting hint of Blur and Madness about the band, as well as a few other influences thrown in for good measure.

There’s one consistent theme that runs throughout the album and that’s very much the sound of a band having fun. There’s a looseness that just permeates through the whole album and certainly gives me the impression that this was recorded fairly spontaneously. I’m not saying that to be critical, far from it, but this is a fairly lo-fi production and it works very well.

The album starts off with “Lady Brown”, which is very much in the laid back groove. It’s probably the second track “I’m Not Sleeping” where many people get the country vibe from, but as I said before, this is more Pogues than Parton. Following that is “Kid Koala”, which has an almost Beatlesque feel to it. And so the album goes on, for the next 9 tracks. This is an interesting album, in that even though there’s an eclectic mix of sounds and influences, it gels together very nicely as an album.

I can see Cardboard Cowboy as part of the new Brit Pop scene to come. Things have been pretty quiet since the mid 1990, as Blur, Oasis, Pulp seem very much the old guard, when compare to the excellent bands rising up through the ranks.

I’d also like to give a big pat on the back with regards to the website. Flash is great, but it should only enhance a site and not take it over. The Cardboard Cowboy’s site is a great example of band site done right. Good stuff.

Conclusion : An interesting mix of an album. With a lo-fi, Badly Drawn Boy style of production and a laid back groove, this is a highly enjoyable album.

Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »