Archive for October, 2007

Welcome to the New Indie Launchpad

Posted by admin on 25th October 2007

Welcome everyone to the new look and indeed functionally new Indie Launchpad. This site is no where finished, but I just couldn’t keep both the new and old sites updated in parallel.

The new site will now let you search all of the artists covered. The music genres are handled by categories, but I have only updated a few of the early releases, so not much shows up when you select a category. I’m hoping to have this completed in the next few weeks. In the meantime you can just enter the genre as a search and you should get back what you are after. There is a lot still to do and the overall look may change, but hopefully this new site is much more usable.

I’ll hopefully try to find a way to move over the old comments, when I get a chance.

As always your feedback is most welcome. Drop me an email at

Posted in Indie Launchpad News | No Comments »

Album – Montpelier – Jane Taylor

Posted by admin on 17th October 2007

  • Band / Artist : Jane TaylormySpace
  • Genre : Acoustic/Jazz
  • Sample Track Download : N/A
  • Buy CD : Amazon
  • Buy Digital Download : iTunes
  • Rating : 9 out of 10

There’s many different styles of female vocalists that appeal to me. I do have to admit however I do have a soft spot for ones that have that air of vulnerability. Jane Taylor is one such artist, possessing such a delicate voice, that I feel an almost compelling need to scoop her up and tell her things really are going to be OK.

“Fall on Me” is a delicate song that really emphasis Jane’s diminutive vocals. It’s almost a contradiction, but with this particular track, she reminds me of Cyndi Lauper. Quite the contradiction, but that vocal similarity is evident. “My Street” is a wonderful track, that really paints an aural picture in fine and atmospheric detail. There’s a lot here that reminds me of Suzanne Vega’s first album, which is high praise indeed, as her debut is probably one of my top albums of all time, both for content and the memories it evokes.

“Hit the Ground” again brings to mind another artists that evokes fond memories for me, Eddie Reeder, formerly of Fairground Attraction. OK comparisons abound in this review, but that’s not to say this is weak, also ran album because of it. Three songs, and three comparisons to artists who are simply amazing is no mean feat. What would not surprise me, is if in the near future, I’m not making comparisons to Jane Taylor, because here is an artist that quite frankly blows my socks off, in the best possible way.

“Landslide” has a delightful guitar intro and then the piano starts and I’m in heaven as soon as Jane opens her mouth. Just the right ingredients to make a wonderful song. I’ve been particularly aware of the production quality of albums of late and here again, everything is perfectly balanced, allowing everything to fuse into a perfect blend.

“Getting to Me” is the track that brings the journey to an end and I have to pray that this is just one journey of many.

Conclusion : It’s albums like this that really remind me how spoiled I am. Reviewing this album was a sheer delight. I can feel the greed gurgling already, wanting more albums, but impatiently wanting them now.

Posted in Acoustic, Jazz | No Comments »

Album – Tiny Increments – Scott Cooper

Posted by admin on 17th October 2007

I think one of the biggest compliments I get, is when an artists I’ve already reviewed, tells a musician friend of theirs about Indie Launchpad. This was the case when Rob Szabo, mentioned Indie Launchpad to Scott Cooper, who sent me an email to ask if I would be interested in reviewing his new CD, Tiny Increments. I only needed to hear a single track to know getting this album in would be a total no brainer.

Scott assisted Rob in the production of his wonderful album, Like a Metaphor. Here Rob returns the favor, also playing bass on most of the songs. You can also hear a strong Rob influence every now and then, and it’s easy to see that there is a strong bond between the two.

“Tilt-A-Whirl” is the track that opens the CD. It’s a very relaxed, melodic sound, with Scott’s vocals, perfectly complimented by some gorgeous female harmonies provided by [Caroline Brooks]. “Don’t Turn Around” continues in a similar vein, with words the flow effortlessly. The versus are easy going and laid back, but the hooks really sink in once it gets to the chorus.

“Insomnia Song” is the track that just totally blew me away on so many levels. It’s funny the guitar intro, reminds me of Israel Kamakawiwo’ole’s version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”. I heard this song once and knew it was the track I had to end the with last week, even before reviewing the album. Now this gives me a great excuse to feature the track yet again, not that I need an excuse. As you can probably guess the song is about someones inability to get to sleep. Counting down the night from 2am onwards. It’s such a beautifully simple song, but makes it’s mark nonetheless.

This is another one of those albums, I have to prevent myself from going through track by track, for fear of coming across as a sycophantic fan. All 11 tracks are such a sheer joy and delight to listen to. However I do get to delight in the magic gems that shine out from this veritable box, crammed full jewels. I’ve already mentioned “Insomnia Song”, but will again just say that even if the rest of the songs were pure drivel, this one track would make the album purchase worthwhile. Fortunately this isn’t the case. Special mentions must also go to “Don’t Turn Around”, “Amen”, and “Goodbye City”. A goodbye indeed as this is the track the brings this fantastic album to a close.

Conclusion : Absolute magic, pure and simple. Few albums make their mark so quickly and so indelibly. Absolutely and thoroughly a recommended addition to your collection.

Posted in Acoustic, Folk Rock | No Comments »

EP – Love and Anxiety – Sleeper Car

Posted by admin on 17th October 2007

I didn’t quite know what to make of this CD when I first put it into the CD player. It has a very Celtic, almost country feel to it. Yet again, I see the term Americana used by a band and it was then that the Byrds came to mind, specifically the later part of the Byrds catalog, which I have to admit, if I’m honest, wasn’t my favorite era of theirs, but they still managed to shine the odd spark of brilliance. So there was no one more surprised than me, when I found myself really getting into the first track “Lay It Down”. This is a track that conjured images of the wild west and dusty saloons and I found myself almost shooting a video in my head.

“I Won’t Break Down” is a softer sounding track, with a great chorus and some really nice guitar work. Throughout the verses I found myself almost mesmerized by the acoustic guitar that sits so subtly underneath. I put aside the puns I had for “Anti Climatic Girl”, which has a real relaxed sound, almost akin to a drawl. “Caliber Eyes” continues the relaxed sound and I almost forget that I’m not listening to some classic album of yesteryear.

“Hold Me Now” has a slightly more contemporary sound, but still underpinned, by the great work preceding it on this 6 track EP. It was with this track that I realized the production is spot on. Not once do you feel overpowered by either the vocals nor music, it’s just perfectly balanced. The final track “Follow”, is is probably my favorite track on the EP, it has an ever so slightly disjointed feel to it, but it really works in the tracks favor, giving it some real body to bite into.

Conclusion : I have to admit, had I see this album on the shelves of a record store, I would probably discounted it in an instant. It’s so satisfying then to be able to delight in finding another gem, from a genre that I’m suddenly becoming quite a fan of.

Posted in Americana, Folk | No Comments »

EP – Last Night on Earth – Arrica Rose and the …’s

Posted by admin on 17th October 2007

It took me a while to warm to this 5 track EP. I kept getting severe deja vu and couldn’t get past the fact that Arrica’s voice reminded me of someone, who’s name I couldn’t quite put my finger on. This meant I kept playing the EP, but just couldn’t put fingers to keyboard. I think I’m finally over it now, as you can plainly see.

Opening with “Turn” this was the track that was the hump I just couldn’t get over. It’s has a very 80’s feel, with Arrica providing vocals, that have an earthy, almost hungry feel to them. “Occasionally the World’s an Unhappy Place”, is where things really gets into their stride, feeling much more relaxed. From rock, we shift to a decidedly uncomfortable, almost country feel with the track “Rid of You”. I say country, but it soon shifts to a more bluesy sound. Whilst showing Arrica’s eclectic spectrum of tastes, the EP really feels somewhat unbalanced.

For me the final two tracks are where Arrica should concentrate her talents. “Wreck Me”, is where this instant, I just realised that Arrica reminds me a lot of Elkie Brooks a name I haven’t thought about for many years. “Silence (is all we need)” is the pure magic. It’s worth buying the EP for that track alone, albeit at just under 3 minutes, it’s could be a bit longer. I love the simplicity of the song and the minimalistic music, allowing Arrica’s voice to really shine.

Conclusion : A great EP, with some flashes of brilliance, in particular the final track, with it’s wonderful harmonies.

Posted in Rock | No Comments »

Album – Beethoven – Opferlied and Symphony Number 9 – Philharmonia Baroque

Posted by admin on 13th October 2007

I have to make a sort of apology, before I even begin this review, as I’m skipping “Opferlied” altogether. Opera is really not my thing, and it wasn’t the real reason I got this CD in for review. The real reason is the version here of Beethoven’s masterpiece “9th Symphony” a piece of classical music that has been with me, in one form or another since I was about 10 years old. I say in one form or another, because I discovered this music quite by accident. That’s not to say I wouldn’t have discovered it eventually, but my first introduction was via a hand held computer game called Merlin, on which one of the activities was a free form music keyboard. What was really challenging, was the keyboard only hand 11 keys. One of the songs, printed in the manual was, yes Beethoven’s 9th, albeit on the highly recognizable bit. This is still something I bash out on a piano or electronic keyboard every time I pass one in a store.

Now let me state, I’m not a classical music snob by any means. Many of the classical pieces I love, I’d be hard pressed to name. Certainly the names of contemporary musicians performing them, mean very little, if anything to me, apart from the everyday household named artists. Suffice to say however, the majority of the performances I’ve heard have on the whole been quite wonderful, apart from a truly awful version of Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons”, by someone who shall remain nameless.

Beethoven’s 9th Symphony is broken down into 4 movements, the most popular being the 4th movement, sometimes referred to as “Ode to Joy” as it features a poem of the same name, sung by a soloist and accompanied by a full chorus. This is the movement that always manages to give me goosebumps and is one that is probably one of the most powerful pieces of classical music I can think of. It builds and builds into an almost, pardon the expression, orgasmic climax. This is not a phrase I use lightly, but one I feel really captures the whole mood. Some people may be put off by the male soloist and chorus, especially those that are not necessarily into classical music, but I really beg that you give it a chance, as it really adds to the immense power of the performance. At 23 minutes, it really is weighty movement but by far my favorite, the other three coming in at between 13 and 14 minutes. What really surprised me, and something I didn’t expect, was that this performance is live, something I must have missed on the sleeve notes and something that I didn’t realize until hearing the applause at the end.

I’m sure some people will be a bit confused as to why a classical album is featured on Indie Launchpad. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long while and indeed did start to do when Indie Launchpad was begin. Hopefully I manage to introduce some new ears to the delights of classical music. After all, it’s all around, especially in pop music and many people don’t even realize.

Conclusion : One of the most moving and powerful pieces of classical music, performed by a stunning ensemble of musicians. Sensational stuff and without doubt my favorite performance of this amazing work. Try to give this a spin at high volume to really swept up in the whole performance.

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Album – Walking Backwards Thru The City – Daniel Bon and the Future Ghosts

Posted by admin on 13th October 2007

I suppose I could be considered a bit of an old fart when it comes to the kind of music I like. It’s not that I consciously prefer slower paced, more easy going songs, it’s just that I really love a good melody and appreciate well crafted lyrics, this is something that seems to be amiss from many rock bands. This is not something that was a concern with this album from Daniel Bon and the FUTURE ghosts.

This eleven track album has a very contemporary sound, very much akin to Fall Out Boy and the plethora of other emo bands. It’s the music however that differentiates this from the whole emo scene, being a much more well rounded sound. Again, something that seems to be happening a lot lately, the album opens with a very strong track, in this case “In the Meantime”, which really gets you up to speed with what to expect. “You Don’t have to Stay” was a really interesting song, and it wasn’t until this track and actually while writing this album, that I finally thought of who the lead singer occasionally reminds me off. That would be Ali Champbell from UB40, not an artist I’ve heard in a long while.

“When You Go Away”, is a real upbeat and driven song, that I can just imagine blasting out the car stereo, while burning up the motorway. “In the Middle of the World” has a wonderful production quality to it and is just amazing to listen to while wearing headphones, especially that ethereal guitar sound that floats in and out throughout the track.

The second half of the album begins with “Last Goodbye”, yet another great example of a well written pop/rock song and indeed apart from the first track, I really feel that the second half of the album, is where it really shines, where it’s just track, after track of great pop songs. The end of the album, comes far too soon, but to accompany us to the end is “Boston Tonight”, a track where you can just sense everything winding down and it’s almost sad to hear the last note and know this cracking album is over. Thankfully it’s painless to hit the play button all over again.

Conclusion : Certainly a more contemporary sound, than the usual bands reviewed on Indie Launchpad, but it’s nice to be given a good kick up the backside. Good music, is good music, no matter what the genre.

Posted in Pop, Rock | No Comments »

Album – The City Destroyed Me – Nathan Wiley

Posted by admin on 13th October 2007

I’d heard a few of Nathan’s songs on various podcasts and think I actually approached him once to do a review. A few months passed and I was looking for a little something for the podcast and saw Nathan’s name on the Podsafe Music Network. I listened to a few tracks and settled on “Back to Bed”. This relit my fire and prompted me to find out a bit more about Nathan. When I heard the track “One of the Worst Ones” I was blown away. With a mix of great music and distinct vocals, it’s very reminiscent of that 70’s AM sound, with some very George Harrison style guitar.

I finally got the album in for review a few weeks ago, and have to admit I was disappointed. The album begins with “One of the Worst Ones” and like the previously reviewed Voyce’s album, the killer track is the one that opens and from there on in, everything seems to be measured against it. I played the album a couple of times, over the course of a week, without consciously trying to review it, listening in the car or at work and then when I came back to the album to listen with the aim of reviewing, everything seemed to fall into place.

The title track takes a more sombre direction and it’s probably the track that set me back a bit, after the relatively bouncy opener. It’s when you really sit down and listen to this album, that it really begins to unfold before you, like a kind of narrative. “Seven Reasons” has an interesting feel to it and it’s here that I feel those creative juices begin to flow. “Needle in the Groove”, has an almost reggae feel to it and I can’t help but get excited about all the diverse influences channeled into what has turned out to be a quite masterful album.

“Back to Bed” is the track I played on the podcast and it almost plays like a lullaby. It’s a relatively short, but beautiful track. I’ve spoken before about artists using less than conventional instruments and it’s nice to hear on “One Bad Woman” what sounds like a glockenspiel. “Graveyard” could almost be a homage to George Harrison, with those very distinctive guitars, a a very similar lyrical flow.

“Get Away” is I suppose you could say the official last track of the album and again has yet another unconventional instrument, this time a kazoo. The song itself has that lazy sunny day feel and would have been a great way to round off the album. It is however “Fistful of Throttle” that seems to have been added to the album, as it’s not part of the 1-12, official track list, just appearing as “Also Including…”. It’s an interesting track, with a hint of the 70’s, again it could be the guitar that gives this feel. It’s not a closing song though, as I almost felt like there should have been another track after it.

Conclusion : An absolutely stunning and interesting album, which will certainly be played to death and then some.

Posted in Rock | No Comments »

Album – No More Beautiful World – Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers

Posted by admin on 11th October 2007

Comparing a band to Neil Diamond, can either be taken as a huge compliment, or a slap in the face, depending on your perspective. Here it’s meant very much as the former. It’s almost like Neil Diamond for the 21st century, with Neil Diamond’s very melodic vocals, backed by a terrific band and some killer songs. OK, so comparisons to an aging, 60s and 70s superstar are not something every band will appreciate, but the end result here is something quite special.

The album opens with “Hello New Day” and you can’t help but be swept up with the positive vibe of the album. This really is one of those albums, you need when you’re a grumpy git in need of some spirit elevation. In fact I had it on my portable player, while waiting for the bus, as my wife told me she wouldn’t be able to pick me up from work. I don’t take the dreaded bus often, so my mood was decidedly jaded.

When I hit play button, after selecting this album, it was almost like one of those moments, when you are standing in a torrential downpour and then the rain stop and the sun fights it’s way through. That’s exactly how I felt when “Hello New Day” started. This was the first time I’d actually really listened to this album, and thinking that this was one trick pony, “Bottom of the Bay” came on and I was immediately blown away, by the apparent consistency of this album. There’s 14 tracks on this album and I have to say I’m very hard pressed to pick a single song that failed to live up to the expectations that had been heightened by the first two tracks. I know this is going to be a difficult album indeed to select a single song for the podcast, so I just may have to do a “Good Luck Joe” and feature two… that is if Roger lets me.

Something I always find strange, is this album is classified as Americana, which is a classification that has always baffled me. To me this is classic pop/rock and fantastic pop/rock at that.

Conclusion : A terrific album, that has been on constant rotation in my CD player for a good few weeks, and will no doubt be played for a long while to come.

Posted in Americana, Country, Rock | No Comments »

EP – Former Trans Future Vol.1 – The Wannabe Hasbeens

Posted by admin on 11th October 2007

This 6 track EP, really blends a 70’s era feel, with a more contemporary sound and it works very well. Opening with “Call Your Bluff”, I was at once reminded of the 70’s glam band Sweet, but this has a slightly harder edge. It certainly has that real fresh, driving sound that propels the song from 0-60 in a matter of seconds. “Gimme Substance” continues the theme, and I keep detecting a hint of something more 90’s.

I have to admit I’d pretty much zoned out when “Hey, George Bailey” came on, not because it was a boring song, but I was just sort of daydreaming. However when the end of the song came and I heard the line “Every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings”, my ears pricked up and I looked at the CD for the name of the song. As soon as I saw the name, I couldn’t help but smile and play the song again. “It’s a Wonderful Life” has to be one of my favorite movies of all time, and essentially family watching in our household at Christmas, and it’s that film, the songs draws it’s theme from, George Bailey being the lead character.

“Clean” slows things down a bit, and takes the EP into the last half very nicely. Again I get that 90’s hair band kind of vibe, but there’s that little something more. “One More Night” takes a totally different direction and again livens the EP up. “Anthem for a Late Bloomer” rounds the EP off nicely, with some wonderful guitar work, lazy and laid back, wonderful stuff. In fact I have to say it’s probably one of my favorite tracks on the album, along with “Hey, George Bailey”.

Conclusion : A real blast of fresh air and a very interesting first release. Although other influences bubble to the surface, this is a band that still manages to have it’s own identity and one that is going to be very interesting with new releases to come.

Posted in Pop, Rock | No Comments »