Archive for April, 2007

Album – Our One Mistake – The Old Ceremony

Posted by admin on 23rd April 2007

I’ve had this album a while and have to say their PR company has been hassling me for a while to find out if I would be reviewing it. OK maybe hassling isn’t the right word, it was more like enthusiastic vigor. I have some amazing relationships with the PR companies, labels and artists who submit to Indie Launchpad, but suffice to say, there was never any doubt that this album would be featured in Indie Launchpad as it really is an incredible album.

To pigeon hole this band is pretty difficult, as there are so many influence and sometimes not from the most likely of places. They have a style that sometimes borders on the theatrical, but it’s so wonderfully done, reminding me at times of the Kinks. Another band they remind me of, is another previously reviewed band on Indie Launchpad, Harvey Danger, fusing great rock, with that touch of humor and showmanship.

Opening this 12 track album is “Talk Straight”, which has a wonderful lilt, reminding me of a 70’s singer songwriter, Peter Skellern. The piano also greatly adds to the feel of this song. “Poison Pen” begins with a glockenspiel I think, which certainly isn’t an instrument you would usually find on a rock album. Add to that the violins and you end up with a song, that has a very Celtic feel to it. “Papers in Order” again shows a different side to the band, and it’s here that I begin to hear the Kinks influence. “Our One Mistake” follows a similar theme and puts to mind the bizarre movie, Percy, for which the Kinks provided the soundtrack. Talking of bizarre, I was certainly taken aback when I heard the track “Bao Qian”, not because it was a bizarre track, but because it appears to be mostly sung in either Mandarin or Cantonese. The album rounds off with the wonderful track “Baby, What is Going On”, with more than a hint of the circus in it, with the waltz time and the organ in the background. Great stuff.

This is certainly an album out of the ordinary, but very welcome. I love to see bands push previously undeveloped areas of pop and rock and this certainly does that to the nth degree. It was very difficult trying to pick put favorite tracks as they are all great in their own ways, but I have to say I do have a soft spot for both “Talk Straight” and “Radio Religion”.

Conclusion : An awesome album, from an amazing band that I’ll be sure to keep tabs on.

Posted in Pop, Rock | No Comments »

Album – Make Some Time for Wasting – The Katie Todd Band

Posted by admin on 22nd April 2007

  • Band / Artist : Katie ToddmySpace
  • Genre : Pop / Powerpop
  • Sample Track Download : N/A
  • Buy CD : CD Baby
  • Buy Digital Download : iTunes
  • Rating : 9 out of 10

Overlooked. Falling through cracks. You’ve heard it all before. I never said I was perfect, but hopefully some of the gems I manage to uncover, make up for my occasional tardiness. The Katie Todd Band has been languishing in the Indie Launchpad pile for a while. I have to admit, I actually thought I’d already reviewed it. I was playing the album on my Pocket PC, confident that this was one of the great album I’d covered, when I had that thunderbolt of uncertainty. Sure enough, when I got back to my computer, I found that I hadn’t in fact got around to putting fingers to keys.

This 11 track CD has a very tight feel to it. The music is flawless, but again I was captivated upon Katie uttering the first word. Admittedly whilst I find Katie’s voice amazing, it wouldn’t be half as effective were it not for the music itself and the musicians who provide her great backup.

“Face Down” starts with a very 70’s guitar feel to it and some great understated piano. Katie’s voice has a wonderful, sexy, very sensual feel to it I don’t have her bio in front of me, by I can detect the merest hint of a Scottish accent. I’m probably totally wrong, but I’d be surprised if she didn;t have some Scottish/Celtic in her family. “Leave” is one of my firm favorites on the album. It has a great jaunty, rock feel to it, that is almost infectious. However it’s when you get to the chorus that Katie’s voice soars. “Figure it Out” is one of the tracks that gives me deja vu. It’s a much darker track, but again, the vocals manage to stop it drowning in despair. “In and Around” draws you in with it’s infectious music and just goes to reinforce the album as a whole.”Kweller” is a bit of an odd one for me, with it’s jangly, almost folk sound. A nice track, but just not in keeping with the rest of the album.

The second half of the album begins with “Wonder Woman”. I absolutely love this track. It reminds me greatly of one of my favorite female vocalists, Sam Brown. It’s again a darker track, but still manages to flow with the rest of the CD. “Player” makes a fast about turn and while it’s a nice track, it feels very much like a filler song. “You Hide it Well” again has that Sam Brown feel to it, with husky, smoky vocals. It’s a track that eases towards the end of the album very nicely. “Oz” again feels like a bit of an odd one, nice track, but nothing to really pull out as exceptional. “Jake’s Song” again showcases Katie’s voice and leads into the final track nicely. “This Time” finishes the album off with a relaxed track, featuring some great whimsical piano.

Conclusion : A wonderful voice, wonderful music and stellar cast of supporting musicians. I’m really hoping to hear much more of Katie and herb and over the coming year and will be doing some active digging to find out when to expect some new material.

Posted in Pop, Powerpop | No Comments »

Album – Passion Leaves a Trace – Black Lab

Posted by admin on 22nd April 2007

As far as bands that have made a huge impact on the podcasting scene, there aren’t many bands that have the recognition of Paul Durham’s, Black Lab. With the recent BumRush the Charts experiment, where they tried to earn a place as the number 1 selling band on iTunes, where once they were popular, they are now pretty much a podcasting household name.

Popularity isn’t just about gaining awareness, it’s also about being able to write and execute great songs, something Black Lab have been able to do consistently. Their previous album See the Sun was awarded 9 out of 10 on Indie Launchpad, with it’s mix of great lyrics, music and the great voice of Paul Durham. Passion Leaves a Trace, builds further on this and delivers an amazing album, with some cracking songs.

This 14 track CD opens with the song “Mine Again” which was used in the BumRush experiment. In my opinion they couldn’t have selected a better track and it’s probably the reason they went from iTunes obscurity, to something like 92nd position. So whilst it’s still a way off number one, it’s still an incredible achievement, considering the sheer number of tracks it was competing against. “Mine Again” is probably one of the best examples of the Black Lab sound and it’s certainly a distinctive sound, that you’d be hard pressed not to pick out, if it were played on the radio. “Ghost in Your Mind” is more a ballad, with Paul delivering more labored, emotive vocals. The music however is still pure Black Lab.

I can’t praise this album enough. I was going to pretty much do a track, by track review, but I can feel myself going into sycophant mode, so I’m heading myself off at the path. Suffice to say, if you like intelligent, well crafted rock, with a tinge of emotion and heart, do yourself a favor and go purchase this album immediately.

Conclusion : It’s when you come across bands like this, that you realise how jaded and at times idiotic major record companies can be. This is the kind of music that people want to listen to, but instead the major labels want to sink their promotional budgets on the latest teen sensation, who they will use, abuse and finally cast aside, as soon as they’ve juiced every ounce of marketability from them. I want to be into the artists I love for the long haul. Black Lab have their destiny in their hands and my support all the way.

Posted in Alternative, Pop, Rock | No Comments »

Album – Return to the Sea – Islands

Posted by admin on 22nd April 2007

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

This is certainly one of those bands that has that very Canadian sound. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but it’s a very distinctive sound, both musically and vocally. The Islands however expand on that, and are also able to include a variety of influences from 70’s rock to the laddish sound of 90’s Britpop.

This 11 song CD has a great feel to it. It’s a very eclectic mix, but there’s a real feel of experimentation and most of all fun about it. From the opening track “Swans (Life after Death)” you know you are in for a interesting time and it’s one of the things that make reviewing music so much fun . Every time I listen to “Humans”, I can’t help but be reminded of that great BritPop band Blur. “Don’t Call me Whitney, Bobby” certainly has a title that evokes a whole host of expectations, and it delivers, but not in the damming way you’d expect.

“Rough Gem” opens with some wonderful strings, something that I’m always happy to encourage, especially when incorporated in the right way. This track however develops pretty quickly into something totally unexpected. It almost sounds like the level on some warped video game, but it works and very well indeed. With “Tsuxiit” however it’s the total opposite. It’s a real indulgent track that just doesn’t go anywhere. At around the minute mark I though it was going to break into something great, but it just didn’t materialize.

“Joggin Gorgeous Summer” had my ears pricked up as it was a kind of mix between Cat Stevens and Donovan. The album closes with “Renaud” which is a really interesting track.

Conclusion : The Islands sure have sound all of their own and some wonderfully interesting and diverse tracks on this album. Canadian at it’s finest.

Posted in Rock | No Comments »