Archive for September, 2006

Album – Polaradio – Polaradio

Posted by admin on 29th September 2006

  • Band / Artist : Polaradio
  • Genre : Rock/Pop
  • Sample Track Download : Everything
  • Buy CD : Band Store
  • Buy Digital Download : N/A
  • Rating : 8.5 out of 10

Whilst Polaradio isn’t a name you’re probably familiar with, the man behind it, Dusty Hughes should certainly be no stranger, as this is the third album Indie Launchpad has reviewed, from this creative artist and certainly a slight direction change from the last Dusty Hughes solo album, So Familiar.

Whilst this has all the familiar hallmarks, it’s on the whole a much softer rock album. One thing I love about Dusty is his very distinctive voice, which is such a great match for the music he plays, whether it’s an out and out rock song, or something more gentle.

There are 13 tracks on the album and they all knit together very well. Whilst I love Dusty’s harder edge, I do love the light relief that comes with tracks like “Float” and “Don’t Look Back” and in fact the second half of the album seems to take the more mellow approach, which is fine with me. My favorite track on the album would have to be “Better Day”, but both the previously mentioned two track and “Hymn” are also right up there.

Conclusion : Whilst I enjoyed Dusty’s previous album, this certainly feels like a much more polished offering. Really great stuff.

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Album – Jon Crosse – Kind of Pink and Blue

Posted by admin on 28th September 2006

I love Indie Launchpad. Not only do I get to feature some of the best rock and pop out there, I also get to uncover some absolute gems, that would otherwise have passed me by. This is one such gem. A cross between Jazz and children’s nursery rhymes and lullabies, I thought this was only going to be of interest to my twin 2 year old girls, but after playing it a couple of times, I’m hard pressed to tell you who enjoyed it more.

There’s 17 tracks on this album, that provide some nice relief from Singing Elmo and the Singing Chimpmunks. For anyone who has small children, you will know what I mean. However it isn’t just a nice diversion. This is something that both adults and children can enjoy and not just a lame jazz cover of nursery rhymes. These songs have been thoughtfully arranged and a great deal of care has gone into each and every one, which is all too apparent.

It’s funny trying to identify my favorite tracks, because there’s very little chance of you not knowing them. Yes you won’t have an idea until you listen to the album, what they sound like, but once you listen to them, you can’t help singing along either out loud or in your head. I absolutely love “Hickory, Dickory, Dock” and “London Bridge”, but then I would, wouldn’t I, coming from London, England. “Brahms Lullaby” is also beautiful and would have been the track I’d have rounded the album off with.

Conclusion : A definite CD to pick up if you have small children, believe me you will appreciate it. It’s also a nice album to listen to if you have no kids at all. There’s something very soothing and reassuring about listening to these arrangements of nursery rhymes and lullabies.

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Album – Milk – Milk

Posted by admin on 27th September 2006

  • Band / Artist : MilkmySpace
  • Genre : Alternative / Psychedelic / Rock
  • Sample Track Download : None
  • Buy CD : None
  • Buy Digital Download : iTunes
  • Rating : 8 out of 10

This has a very 70’s rock flavor. With some fast paced great guitar licks and a cracking driving beats, offset by some tracks of almost power ballad proportions. It’s has some very interesting influences, from Tangerine Dream to Bowie, as well as numerous other nods to some of the great rock bands of the last 20-30 years. Whilst the music has some great production, I couldn’t help but feel the vocals were a bit flat. I don’t mean out of key, just lacking that little pop. Fortunately this doesn’t detract too much from the album as a whole.

There’s 9 tracks on the album, weighing in at around 5 minutes each on average. Opening with “Fly” this is probably my least favorite of the tracks here. It’s like a pastiche to Oasis or Verve and just doesn’t sit well with me for some reason. The next track “Love U to Death” more than makes up for it. I must say it has a tune that’s very familiar. Actually familiar isn’t the right word, but it does have those deja vu senses a tingling.

“Monochrome” is certainly a power ballad in the making. I can just imagine seeing the band live and hearing the audience sing along. I have to give a special mention to “Down The Machine”, which is definitely a MFH track, or made for headphones for the uninitiated. It also has a bit of a Nirvana vibe, which is fine by me.

The album rounds off with the truly beautiful “Give Me Some”, with it’s almost ethnic feel. It’s one of those tracks that just meanders, in no particular hurry and then has that little burst of frenetic energy. A cracking track to round things off with.

Conclusion : A great first outing from Milk and definitely a band to keep an eye on.

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Album – Almost Half Undressed – The Eisenhowers

Posted by admin on 20th September 2006

I receive a huge number of CD’s in the mail, the majority of which are requested, after I’ve heard the band or artists on a podcast, mySpace page or website. It’s only while reviewing this album, that I suddenly realized that I receive a large proportion of CD’s from Scottish bands, which given the comparative size of Scotland is pretty amazing. I don’t know what’s stimulating this creative juice, but I don’t care, stimulate away.

Whilst you may not have heard of the Eisenhowers, Raymond Weir’s other band, Gum may be more familiar. This offering has an altogether different flavor, but you can almost detect the common thread between the two bands when you listen to this album. One of the main differences however is that here, the band is fronted by a male vocal, which does give a distinctly different sound to Gum, with it’s female vocalist Leigh Myles.

Between Gum and the Eisenhowers, it’s amazing that Raymond has time to do anything else. If all his other ventures are as well put together as this one, then the future does indeed look interesting.

This 12 track CD opens with “Useless Love”, which is wonderfully laid back, with an almost jazz flavor. The next track “Novelty Act” has an altogether more contemporary feel and is more representative of the rest of the album. 25 o’Clock reminds me a lot of Nik Kershaw’s later works. It’s that great balance of upbeat music, great lyrics and excellent delivery. Anyway I think you get my drift. If I had to pick a favorite track it would be a toss up between “If Satellites Should Fall” and the track that rounds of the album, “Plastic Jesus”.

Conclusion : A great album with a real upbeat sound. Great melodies and vocals.

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EP – Golden Hour of Strict Tempo Dancing – Finniston

Posted by admin on 20th September 2006

One of the things that gives me the biggest thrill with Indie Launchpad, is receiving new material from artists previously reviewed. In fact, not only were Finniston previously reviewed, they were among the first artists on Indie Launchpad.

The previous review of Finniston was primarily of them and their sound. I touched on two tracks “Peach of Mind” and “Another Love Song” from their EP at the time, Popular Music That Will Last Forever, which were soft, lilting, mainly acoustic songs that provided a wonderful show case for both Steven Finnie and Jolene Crawford’s voices. That soft Scottish lilt, is just a sheer joy to listen to.

Their latest EP, Golden Hour of Strict Tempo Dancing, has a bigger sound, but those unmistakable vocals are still present and as wonderful as ever. This was originally funded by Polydor, who decided to pass on the finished product. Surely they never sat down and listened to it, cos if they had, they would’ve surely put some serious marketing behind it, as this EP deserves to be a winner.

Opening with “It Angers Me So”, this track has a very Gaelic kind of feel, with some interesting string and accordion accompaniment. “We’re Waiting” returns to the Finniston I’m more familiar with. I just love the Finniston sound. It’s soft and mellow, but very self assured. “Musings of a Middle-Class Boy” continues this mellowness. “Another Love Song” speeds things up a bit, but retains all of the Finniston sensibilities, being in fact a re-recording of the track that appears on the Popular Music That Will Last Forever EP. This is actually my favorite track and makes the EP worth buying just for this alone. Rounding off with “Bellona Shuffle”, this is probably the track that sticks out most, not because it’s bad, but just because it has a distinctly different sound.

Conclusion : Absolutely wonderful stuff again from Finniston. I’m eager to hear a full album release and I’m hoping it will come sooner, rather than later.

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Album – Messy’s Place – General Fuzz

Posted by admin on 18th September 2006

I spend many an hour ferreting out new music and artists to review. Consequently I have an extensive in pile of CD’s to listen to. I also end up with music that I’ve just downloaded on a whim or recommendation and in the in-box it sits until I feel like dipping in for something different. Today was quite different. I found this album nestled innocently on my hard drive, yet have no idea of how it got there. I’m not for a moment going to blame aliens, but find it strange nonetheless.

At first glance this looks like any common or garden album. 9 tracks, with fairly different names from the norm, but nothing too unusual. However once I got a track by track listing, I found that the majority of tracks were over 6 minutes. The longest is a touch over 9 minutes. I immediately thought this was going to be an album to struggle through. I was wrong, oh so very wrong.

The album opens with the suitable weight, nigh on 7 and a half minute track “Smiling Perspective”. It starts with some fairly ordinary drums and bass, but then slowly, the soft soothing synths come in and the whole track just comes alive. I could listen to this track over and over again for hours. Throughout the album there’s a sci-fi, soundtrack sort of theme, but with a kind of dance underpinning. Again with music of this genre, it’s an absolute joy to listen to through headphones. My favorite track on the album would have to be “Sliding Forward”, with that delicious, almost hypnotic repetitiveness. Which when used intelligently like this, is simply fantastic. “Liquid Jazz” is, as the name indicates a mellow, electronic jazz fusion, which while sounding great, does feel kind of disjointed from the rest of the album. The last track on the album “Bars of Parmar”, again has a distinctly different sound to the rest of the album, this time an almost ethnic feel, but it just flows beautifully.

Conclusion : An absolutely wonderful album and an amazing find. All the more amazing is that this album is freely available at no cost. Yes I said “NO COST”.

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EP – Jordan Zevon – Jordan Zevon

Posted by admin on 15th September 2006

It’s funny how music sometimes comes at you for the most unusual of avenues. I was recently watching a TV programme on children with famous parents and saw a piece on Jordan Zevon. It’s funny, some of the people on the list had names that somehow shrouded who their parents were. Jordan’s was not one of these, having a surname that’s instantly recognizable. Ok so the late Warren Zevon is the famous parent, but I think what piqued my interest was that Jordan was also a musician. So in inimitable Indie Launchpad fashion I investigated Jordan’s’ website and I suppose was surprised to find that this wasn’t some weak, riding on the coat tails music, this was great music in it’s own right.

There’s no denying that Jordan inherited a lot of the same wry, humor from his Dad, but this is no weak pastiche. The 5 song EP opens with “The Joke’s On Me”, which has some cleverly constructed lyrics and a killer, catchy hook, the kind that forces you to tap your feet, even if they are nailed to the floor. The lyrics are also great and bounce along as if the little ball is bouncing on them in my head. It’s also one of those tunes that you find yourself humming or whistling when you least expect it. The next track “This Girl”, takes the EP off in a slightly different, more mellow direction, but the formula is the same. This is excellent song writing in the greatest Crowded House or Squeeze tradition, with pure melodies combined with great lyrics and a relaxed, welcoming vocal style.

The remaining 3 tracks are more of the same. The fourth track “Tomorrow” is very interesting. There is a sound bite singing the word “Tomorrow” which if I’m not mistaken is taken from the film Bugsy Malone. The EP rounds off with the very poignant “Too Late to Be Saved”, bringing the EP to melancholic, but strangley uplifting end. Mmm, now explain that one. The EP was originally released in 2005, so I’m really hoping that an album is in the works.

Conclusion : As I’ve said many times, it’s all about the music. It don’t matter who you are, if it’s crap, it’s crap. Fortunately none of that is an issue here. This is another to add to my favorites so far of this year. A MUST BUY!

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Album – Dreams – Dan Vine

Posted by admin on 15th September 2006

It certainly can’t be said that Indie Launchpad doesn’t cover a diverse spectrum of music. From classical to folk and from pop to punk. I can’t say that I’ve yet reviewed a techno / dance album, until now. Now let me first say, I’m no aficionado of dance music. The only way I’d ever win a dance contest is if I had a rabid ferret down my trousers, causing me somehow to break some wicked dance moves. That certainly ain’t happening in the foreseeable future, but like Sean Connery, I can never say never.

Anyway enough of my glib frippery. Like a few genres of music, this isn’t one to be put on for general ambient listening, at least not for many people. This is fairly intense listening, especially on headphones, but I find that it is great for having on when you have a lot to do, as it’s like a hard task master, with the thumping beats underpinning, the melodies.

The 12 songs on the album, whilst all of the same genre, have a varied sound. They take me back to holidays in Ibiza and Benidorm. There’s a few that seem slightly out of place, in particular “What You Want” which seems a little weak compared to the rest of the tracks and “70s in Da House”, which by it’s name is intentionally a throwback to the 70s. The real power house track on the album for me would have to be “Tech By”, with it’s ambient and spacey feel and is a blast to listen to on headphones.

Conclusion : Whilst not being a trance / techno /club expert, I can recognize something well constructed and well produced and this has all those hallmarks.

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Album – Ramblin’ Boy – The John Evans Band

Posted by admin on 15th September 2006

“Somewhere beneath a neon sign…” is probably where you’ll find many people one day gazing up at John Evans on top billing at their local venue. The John Evans Band has such a great sound, but I have to say I haven’t come across anyone in a while with such a schizophrenic sound. Within the first 5 tracks, you can hear influences from the likes of Morrissey and T-Rex to Billy Idol, but it’s all on a track by track basis, rather than an amalgamation. It’s also not just the first 5 tracks, it’s the whole album. Normally this would lead to a very disjointed album, but here it works and surprisingly well.

There are a few tracks that have that Morrissey feel, including “Love conquers All” which doesn’t have the usual Morrissey vibe, but just has something that brings him to mind. With “Long Way Home” however, it could be a Morrissey cover with different vocals. Now I’m a big Morrissey fan, so this already weighs in great favor of the album. Actually now I come to think of it, the few pictures I’ve seen of John Evans are an interesting combination of the bespectacled Morrissey of old and the current, stylish besuited Morrissey.

OK enough of the Morrissey references, it’s only a few tracks that have that flavor and this is defiantly more Neapolitan ice-cream than plain vanilla. Other artist references aside, this is an album that has a great feel to it. It’s a bit of rock, a bit of pop ad even a bit of 70’s punk without the pent up anger and aggression. Oh yeah, did I mention reggae/ska? No? Well yes it’s also there too.

With a weighty 14 tracks on the album, you certainly get your monies worth and I mean that most sincerely. If I was to single out a few favorites, they would have to be the previously mentioned “Long Way Home” and “Five Seconds at a Time”, but that’s really trying to nail it down to a few. Every track has something that either lulls, captivates or just plain slaps you upside the head. I think the only oddity on the album would have to be “So Long”, with it’s interesting accapella intro, but even that isn’t a bad track, just very prominent from the rest of the album.

Conclusion : Yes it seems the John Evans band, doesn’t know who they are, or maybe it really is a multiple personality thing, but they just keep doing what they’re doing, as this is fantastic stuff.

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Album – Detour – Kelda

Posted by admin on 15th September 2006

  • Band / Artist : KeldamySpace
  • Genre : Pop / Alternative / Acoustic
  • Sample Track Download : Special
  • Buy CD : CD Baby
  • Buy Digital Download : iTunes
  • Rating : 8.5 out of 10

I don’t know why I have a soft spot for female vocalists, but no matter the reason, they still have to have that special something. Well Kelda has that something special in abundance, and what makes this album special is that it’s very much her. The production on the album, allows Kelda’s voice to soar. There’s a lot on this album that reminds me of one of my favorite UK singer, songwriters Sam Brown. A lot of it is the minimal production, but a lot of it is Kelda’s voice, which has a wonderful emotion to it.

The album opens with “Special” which has some great string accompaniment, but like the vocals, very simple and effective. “Carried Away” has a very Sam Brown feel to it and if Kelda or her producer has never heard Sam Brown, I think they’d find some amazing similarities, especially in Sam’s latter works. “Let It Go” also has that emotionally charged style of vocals, which at first can seem strained, but it’s soon apparent that Kelda has fantastic control of her own voice. The album rounds things off with “Bring Me To My Knees”, that is if you don’t include the untitled track that follows.

Listening to this album is like be part of an intimate concert, performed just for you. The sound is pure and very minimally produced, which seems to be the trend of late. This however is the perfect vehicle for Kelda’s voice and makes for an unbelievable listening experience, especially when listening to the album on headphones.

There’s no one real stand out track on this album, but in hindsight I wouldn’t expect there to be, as all the tracks are of such a high standard.

Conclusion : I love the basic, almost raw production on this album. Some artists don’t need much to help their voice soar and Kelda’s is definitely one of those voices.

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