Archive for July, 2007

Album – Vanity – Brown Shoe

Posted by admin on 12th July 2007

As soon as this album began to play on my CD player, with the track “The Ship” it reminded me of Pink Floyd’s, Division Bell. That familiarity soon subsides and is replace by a more 80’s/90’s indie rock sound, similar to one of my favorite 90’s bands, the Inspiral Carpets. Although great care has obviously gone into the bands sound and production, you still get that real sense of lo-fi, making the 13 tracks seem almost like live takes. This is sometimes an unwanted distraction, but here it really adds to the flavor of the band and also gives me a good idea of how the band would sound live. I’m sure live gigs are quite an aural feast.

On the bands mySpace page, they pretty much describe their style as indie/ambient. I didn’t quite get the ambient feel from this album. I’m not sure if it’s just this album, but in my minds ear, I can just imagine some cracking ambient mixes of these tracks, easily allowing them to be stretched over a much greater length. Whilst I wouldn’t really consider them ambient, it’s still a very laid back album, which certainly puts you in the right frame of mind to relax.

One of my favorite tracks would have to be “Goodnight Old Man”, not surprising when you hear the Pink Floyd influence surface again. It’s also a very deceptive track, which seems to go on forever, but lasts just a tad under three minutes. “CBC” is the track that rounds off the album and at just over 7 minutes is one of two mammoth tracks. It has that perfect blend of simple melody and an almost rolling wave of repetition, which if you’ve been reading Indie Launchpad for a while, is something I absolutely love, when done right and this is done to perfection.

Conclusion : A great band, bringing a sense of familiarity, but also firmly rooted with a more contemporary vibe.

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Album – Arena Ready – Bob Kemmis

Posted by admin on 12th July 2007

This album was originally released in 2005, and no I haven’t been sitting on it since then. A relatively recent find for me, this is just one of those albums, that has your feet tapping in the first few seconds. The first track is “Late Night Advice”, which has that perfect pop mix, reminding me of all the things that were right about Crowded House and Squeeze. That perfect balance, that runs like an artery throughout the whole album, which makes for great listening.

“Freak Luck” is one of those songs that has all the hallmarks of a great 60’s bubblegum pop record, with hints of organ and brass. The melody is delightfully simple with a hook that has you singing the song in your head, long after it’s finished. “Letter to Gotham” has a darker feel to it and words that are kind of out there. There’s hints of Simon and Garfunkel and even, dare I say it, The Beatles, but it’s pure magic all the way.

“Figured Out” has a very 70’s British Rock feel to it, reminding me a lot of Elvis Costello, with a tinge of Squeeze, which is fine by me, as they are two cracking artists in themselves. The Elvis Costello sound continues over into “Tell Me It’s Not True”, but where Elvis has that wonderfully softened, hard edge, Bob’s voice is a lot more melodic and easier on less forgiving ears.

“The End of This Song” is for me the weakest track on the album., never quite finding it’s groove. I love the concept of the next song, “My Green Shirt”, which is about, well I’m sure you can guess. It’s a wonderful track of melodic, lyrical whimsy.

All of the songs here, have that incredible musical touch, resulting in an album that’s easy on the ear, interesting to listen to and just simple, downright fun.

Conclusion : Canadian pop at it’s best. What more do I need to say.

Posted in Pop, Rock | No Comments »

EP – Cut the Chord – Theo Ross

Posted by admin on 3rd July 2007

  • Band / Artist : Theo RossmySpace
  • Genre : Jazz / Nu-Jazz
  • Sample Track Download : N/A
  • Buy CD : CD Baby
  • Buy Digital Download : iTunes
  • Rating : 8 out of 10

I have to admit I’m not the greatest jazz enthusiast. I like what I like, with few exceptions. However I’ve always had a soft spot for the flute, remembering with great fondness James Galway’s rendition, of John Denver’s, Annie’s Song, when I was growing up. OK so maybe not the best example of a jazz flautist, but a flautist nonetheless. So upon seeing the cover of this CD, Theo Ross, with flute in hand, I had to throw it on the CD player to see what I would find.

“Lovestruck” is the track the opens this EP. It has a wonderful sound and there’s no denying Theo’s mastery of his instrument. There’s just something very soothing about the flutes tone and it’s all the more soothing in the hands of someone as good as Theo. “Nightfalls” reminded me a bit of the classic TV show, Moonlighting’s theme, but this is more down to the Al Jarreau vocals, rather than the actual tune itself, which I have to admit, didn’t do much for me, but the track was redeemed somewhat when the flute finally kicks in towards the end of the song.

“Without You” has a more contemporary sound, with a stronger R&B sound. Vocals are again featured, and while they are very good, I found myself wanting to hear the music more. The CD rounds of with “Could Be” and has a radically different sound, or at least that’s what it seems like at the beginning, with a very spacey feel. The flute prevails however and you get the feeling it’s very much a lullaby, putting the rest of the EP to bed.

Conclusion : Whether you like jazz or not, this is a wonderful CD and maybe one that would provide one of several steps, to an introduction to jazz. Definitely a CD I’ll be playing a lot more of and an artist I’ll be keeping tabs on in the future.

Posted in Jazz, Nu-Jazz | No Comments »

EP – The Ground Floor EP – Flinders

Posted by admin on 3rd July 2007

Discovered via mySpace, this artist really made me sit up and take stock, as it was something a little different and that is always a good thing, in a music scene that can sometimes feel a little stale. The opening track on this four track EP, “Boxes Burning” opens with a wonderful layered, vocal canon, providing the sound bed for most of the track. In fact it has the feel of an acapella track, with just the merest foray into a more traditional rock sound. This style continues into the next track “Running Start” and it’s here that you can hear the vaguest hint of a lilting Irish accent, of the brains behind Flinders, Philip Flynn.

“Kicking an Open Door” takes a more acoustic turn, at the beginning at least and provides an interesting alternate face to the Flinders sound. I love the guitar and vocal mix, which starts very light and mellow, but builds into a much darker, more forceful sound, with the light guitar sound, continuing underneath.

The final track “Mean Man (Three Words)”, is probably my least favorite track on the EP. Again another side of Flinders shows itself, but here, there’s an almost Led Zepplin feel to the vocals, which was a bit of a turn off for me, but that’s music for you. It’s all horses for courses.

Conclusion : Something a little different, but very memorable. I’m really looking forward to hearing a Flinders album in the future, especially if the earlier musical styles are prevalent. Great stuff.

Posted in A'cappella, Death Metal, French Pop | No Comments »

EP – Lord I’ve Been on Fire – B.C. Camplight

Posted by admin on 3rd July 2007

I received this CD, unsolicited in the mail and must say, I wasn’t too enthused. This was mostly due to the rather uninspiring cover picture. However upon putting the EP in my stereo and hitting the play button, I was immediately blown away. The first and indeed title track, is just amazing. It seems to effortlessly encapsulate that summer, airy, carefree feeling. There are heavy Beach Boy undertones, with very familiar harmonies, A perfect fusions of infections melody, with great, clear upbeat vocals. But man, it’s the hook that snags, and boy does it snag big time. It’s been burrowing in my brain for a while and shows no sign of leaving anytime soon.

The second track “The Hip and Homeless” continues the Beach Boy sound. Whilst not as infections as the former track, it’s still an amazing track. In fact both of the initial two tracks, could be covers from the classic Pet Sounds album. I’m sure Brian Wilson would be very flattered.

The final track “Soy Tonto!” takes the mood down a tad, with a fairly laid back feel. The harmonies and lead vocals are there, but this track doesn’t have that vibrant energy that bristles through the previous 2 tracks.

Conclusion : A very appropriate release date for this EP, has ensured that it’s captures the summer, feel good factor. An absolute gem of a CD, which will have you humming the title song for months to come. Definitely a band I will be keeping tabs on in the future and I’m hoping to get my hands on the album, Blink Of A Nihilist very soon for a full review.

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Album – Pass It On – Dorothy Scott

Posted by admin on 1st July 2007

This review is actually based on the original 6 track EP, that was not, as far as I know released , but which subsequently morphed into a full album. So while I haven’t heard the final 11 track album in it’s entirety, I have no qualms recommending it, based on the 6 tracks listened to.

This album has an especially significant meaning to me, as it was the first thing I listened to after my son was born. I can remember driving back from the hospital and popping this CD into the car stereo and just being swept away by Dorothy’s amazing voice. “Alma’s Song” was the first track to greet me and is probably my favorite on the album. It still reminds me of that car journey home. It has all the hallmarks of a timeless classic. The melody is simple, the words are heartfelt. The words and music are just magical. There’s a very ethereal quality to the track, which just adds to the whole experience.

“Peace Within” is more in keeping with the rest of the album, with an interesting mix of influences, from folk and blues, to Soul with a hint of reggae. It was when I got to “Waterboy”, that I was suddenly reminded of an artist, I hadn’t thought about in many years, Jennifer Warnes. The similarity isn’t striking, more subtle. This track is also somewhat of the odd one out, as it’s the only one not to break the 5 minute mark, managing to last a paltry, ha, three minutes, 14 seconds.

“Pass It On” the title track provides a wonderful stage for Dorothy’s voice and indeed further shows the accompaniment to be absolutely first class. “Heartbeat”, musically reminds me a bit of the Scottish band Finniston, with it’s primarily acoustic guitar sound. It’s a rambling , slow paced track that leads nicely into the final track “Ride These Waves”, a beautiful track to end an amazing album.

Conclusion : An incredible album, from a lady who I’m absolutely delighted to have found. Female vocalists have a special place in my musical psyche, with Dorothy Scott filling one of the very top positions.

Posted in Acoustic, Alternative, Pop | No Comments »