Archive for April, 2008

Album – youngbored&broke – The Heys

Posted by admin on 29th April 2008

In all the years I’ve been heavily into music, there have been a few defining moments, that I can look back on and say, that was a good time in music history. For instance when Guns and Roses released the album Appetite for Destruction, or Nirvana released the album Nevermind. In the 90’s the Brit pop wars saw great albums from Blur, Oasis, Dodgy and the Verve. Whilst there’s been many albums since, there hasn’t been anything that really evoked that same kind of feeling. Until now.

I first came across The Hey’s via MySpace. The usual too and fro occurred and a week or so later, I popped the disk into my CD player and was soon blown away. There’s a rawness that is all too easy to compare to Oasis, and a sense of pop that is easily to lay at Blur’s feet, but there is also something else there, something that quite frankly I wasn’t expecting. To put this into context, I play many, many albums, but it’s not often I feel both exhausted and elated at listening to one in it’s entirety. Straight out of the gate with “Fridaynight”, it’s hard not to want to move, stamp feet, or bash the steering wheel on the car, as if you’re a virtual drummer in the band. For me though, one of the real defining tunes is “Elbowculture”, with that hint of laddish youth, that brings back memories of my own youth, going out on the pull, drinking quantities of alcohol, that now quite frankly would have me talking to the great white telephone for an age, and playing the latest Sega Genesis and SNES games. Yes I know, I have dated myself terribly, but hey, some of that reckless youth, still lurks somewhere deep within.

The relentless pace continues with “Pressure” which rolls over you like a wave of electricity, jolting ever neuron in you brain. After such a strong start, it’s nice that the album balances up and takes a breather with “Brightenupmyday”. To move between two extremes is something of a gamble, that doesn’t always work out, here though there’s a common thread that weaves between all the tracks, fast or slow. At the beginning of title track “youngbored&broke”, it kept threatening to break out into “Since You’ve Been Gone” by Rainbow. OK maybe that’s just my jaded view, but I just love how just a few bars can evoke those kinds of flashbacks.

With 14 tracks, it’s a really difficult album not to go through track by track and disseminate, but there’s really no need. This really is an album that comes along once in a blue moon. I’d love it if this marked the resurgence of British dominance, but this time in the indie scene. I’ve nothing but good words to say about every one of the tracks on this album. I left this album with a sense of sheer excitement and just cannot wait to see where the bands goes next.

On a final note, I would love to go to a gig where the band was playing, as I have no doubt that sheer electricity of the album would be amplified greatly seeing them perform live. The dogs bollocks, make no mistake.

Conclusion : I’ve made no secret in the podcast, that this is one absolutely phenomenal album. If this isn’t a band destined for great things, then there’s no justice in the world. Regardless of who you’re a fan of, if you like good rock and pop, this is a must have in your collection…. yes I’m talking to you. Pick up a copy NOW!

Posted in Alternative, Rock | No Comments »

EP – The Good Life – Tim Myers

Posted by admin on 24th April 2008

  • Band / Artist : Tim MyersmySpace
  • Genre : Pop / Rock
  • Sample Track Download : N/A
  • Buy CD : CD Baby
  • Buy Digital Download : iTunes
  • Rating : 9 out of 10

More and more music from indie artists is being used as incidental music in TV shows and more frequently it seems TV commercials. Off the top of my head I can think of the indie artists Ingrid Michaelson and Brett Dennen, and now Tim Myer’s who’s track “Beautiful World” is heard on the TV commercial for the department store, Target. This is the track that opens the 5 track EP and it’s such a great sound, pop mixed with a hint of melancholia. It seems that’s I’ve been wallowing in a little musical melancholia for a while, but it’s nothing new, remember I was raised on The Smiths and Leonard Cohen, small wonder that I am still here. This is a great opener, as it draws you in, and then packs the punch with the following track and indeed title track, “The Good Life”, which really reminds me of ELO’s Mr Blue Sky, a song that seems to be influencing a lot of pop at the moment, not that it’s a bad thing, as ELO came up with some amazing pop tracks.

“Remember When (California)” has a more ethereal (man I love that word) sound and a more mellow tone. This is very much an EP that seems to be following waves, up and down, up and down, but it’s the mood and pace I’m referring to, rather than the quality, which is consistently excellent. This track also features some great female vocals, which work very well with Tim’s. Down and up, down and again up, with “On Your Side”, a great work of pop, but the vocals have a very different flavour, again reminding me of Ron Sexsmith, which doesn’t raise any complaints with me.

The final track “Magic”, has a different feel to the rest of the tracks, with a great brass track playing underneath the whole track, bubbling up at points throughout. On the whole a great EP, with some wonderful examples of catchy pop.

Conclusion : This is one of those early indications that summer is coming. Soon it will be time to put this CD on in the car, make sure all the windows are down and pump it out at full blast. There’s a nice mix of moods and pace on this EP and I’m really looking forward to getting my hands on an album from Tim in the near future.

Posted in Pop, Rock | No Comments »

Album – Mr Love and Justice – Billy Bragg

Posted by admin on 23rd April 2008

  • Band / Artist : Billy BraggmySpace
  • Genre : Folk Rock / Punk
  • Sample Track Download : N/A
  • Buy CD : Amazon
  • Buy Digital Download : iTunes
  • Rating : 9.5 out of 10

Billy Bragg is one of those artists who makes no secret of his political affiliations. Even on his website, he describes himself as a political activist. Growing up, I had many friends whose political leanings were influenced more by music, than the actual issues surrounding the various parties, this left me a little jaded and I have to admit, barring a few of Billy’s big hits, I kept a pretty wide berth.

Forward wind a good few years, when eMusic was a newbie service, I was fortunate enough to be on at the ground floor, when my $15 got me unlimited downloads. Ah those were the days, loading up on anything that took even my slightest whim. I downloaded Warren Zevon, Joe Strummer and lo and behold, there were several albums by Billy Bragg. What did I have to lose, so I downloaded Don’t Try This at Home and William Bloke. These were the first albums I’d ever listened to of Billy’s and imagine my surprise when I found they were actually quite good. It seems as the years have rolled by, Billy’s angst and cynicism had eased and what is now bubbling through, is great singer songwriting. That’s not to say Billy hasn’t done anything in the preceding years, New England is a particular favourite and I’m sure there are many other tracks that have gone under my radar, but I think his accessibility is now less of a barrier to entry.

So several more years have passed since those purchases and a few weeks ago, I found a copy of Billy’s new album, Mr Love and Justice in my mailbox. I was looking forward to giving this CD a spin, but was still a little apprehensive. I was really hoping this was going to be a further development of those more recent albums and I was not disappointed. From the first song “I Keep Faith” , that unmistakable voice is fused with some wonderful lyrics and musical accompaniment that blends effortlessly into a magical combination. Admittedly Billy’s voice is not the sweet sound of todays boy bands, but it’s also no Leonard Cohen. This is an album more of narrative and emotion, than some airhead, pretty boy vocalist. “I Almost Killed You” has just a wonderful opening, with clapping hands, acoustic guitar and harmonica, evoking a strong atmosphere and resulting in a great song.

“You Make Me Brave” is a more mellow and reflective song, which is just a joy to listen to, even though the air of melancholia is heavy, it’s an air that smells sweet and fresh. “Something Happened” continues the downbeat mood, but now instead of mellow acoustic guitar, we have distorted electric guitars and blues harmonica. “Mr Love and Justice”, the title track, may not be the killer track, that I usually expect from a title track, but it’s hard to really have anything to say against it.

“If You Ever Leave” has a slightly different feel to the rest of the tracks, but it certainly doesn’t feel out of place. “The Johnny Carcinogenic Show” certainly stands out not just for it’s distinct name, but also it’s theme against smoking. I suppose Billy Bragg, wouldn’t be Billy Bragg, if it he didn’t at least have one in your face message track, but when the tracks sound this good, who cares. Rounding off with “Farm Boy” this is probably my least favourite track on the album, but it’s still an interesting track, if a little lacklustre.

Conclusion : If like me, you’ve ever steered clear of Billy’s works, now may be the time to get yourself acquainted. As the years have rolled by, so have the in your face political statements, although I’m sure there’s some there, waiting to be uncovered, you can take from this album what you want. I thoroughly enjoyed this album from the first time I put it on and the opening song begun. Wonderful, wonderful stuff.

Posted in Folk Rock, Punk | No Comments »

EP – Mantra – Sheri Miller

Posted by admin on 21st April 2008

I’ve heard a few of Sheri’s songs on various podcasts, and while I really loved her voice, I can’t say I ever really listened and paid full attention. That being said I did add her to my list of artists to investigate further. Several weeks passed and lo and behold what do I find on my MySpace, but a friend request from Sheri herself. As many Indie Launchpad readers will know, I only add bands and artists that I’ve reviewed to MySpace. Anyway I took this as an omen and decided to hop over to her page, to have a quick listen. It’s amazing the difference in something when you are actually paying attention. I fired off a quick email to Sheri and a week or so later, with CD in hand, I sat down for a proper listen.

“Waste My Breath” begins with some great drumming and then the acoustic guitar kicks in, along with Sheri’s vocals. This is an unusual song, in that it feels sort of folk, rock and pop and rolled into a rather pleasant little bundle. It’s a song for me that starts the EP well, but I sort of sense I’ve heard it all before and I don’t mean on some other podcast. The vocals are very nice, but I only really sense Sheri losing herself in it on the odd occasion. This certainly cannot be said for the following and indeed title track, “Mantra (I’m in Love)”, with it’s wonderful use of the piano, but good though it is, it pales into insignificance when Sheri’s vocals burst through. This isn’t an exhibition in vocal gymnastics, this is raw and tender emotion. Although certainly sounding nothing like Ertha Kitt, I really am reminded of her phrasing and indeed there’s just the odd, flash of her personality that bursts through. I love this track pure and simple. It’s not overly complex, or highly produced, it’s just tight and very well executed.

Though criticism doesn’t come easy, it’s hard for me to mention anything I really like about “Devil in White”. It’s very much like a single that comes from an American Idol winner, like Katherine MacFee, I think her name is. It’s a fairly fast paced track, but just doesn’t have to much life in it. Music and vocals are pleasant enough, but the song has no real heart. “All He Has To Do” however ticks all the right boxes. One huge thing it has in it’s favour is an uncanny resemblance to something Ron Sexsmith would do. Not surprising then when I look at Sheri’s MySpace page and see that she lists Ron Sexsmith as one of her influences. This is just such a wonderful track and I knew it was indeed special when I found my self reach the previous button to play it again.

“Right Here Right Now” also has that Ron Sexsmith vibe to it, but this doesn’t feel as strong. When listening to music, I can often here other people singing the same song in my head and it helps me to make comparisons. Many times, I’m not comparing vocals or music, I’m comparing the poetry if you like, how a song flows and how lines are phrased. The final song on this 6 track EP is “The Blade” which has the ebb and flow feel, indeed the whole EP has that great flow to it, tide coming on with “Waste My Breath” and then going out with “The Blade”.

Conclusion : A great collection of songs, from an enormous talent. I love Sheri’s voice, when it is more laid back and raw, but the more upbeat tracks, provide a nice contrast and result in a very well rounded EP. Great stuff. I’m certainly looking forward to her next release.

Posted in Folk, Pop | No Comments »

Album – Escaping from a Submarine – Hollow Horse

Posted by admin on 20th April 2008

  • Band / Artist : Hollow HorsemySpace
  • Genre : Pop / Rock / Acoustic
  • Sample Track Download : N/A
  • Buy CD : CD Baby
  • Buy Digital Download : iTunes
  • Rating : 9.5 out of 10

Music for me is a real passion, but it’s a passion I was never really able to direct, as I can’t play any instruments very well, and though I’m told I have a great singing voice, can’t sing in public unless I’m suitable mellowed out with a good few drinks inside me. Then I discovered podcasting, as did many bands and artists, who sensed this new media was going to change the face of independent music forever and I finally had a way to indulge my music passion, but at the same time give something back to the music community.

I make no secret of the fact that Hollow Horse are undoubtedly one of my favourite Indie artists. They are among the few artists I’m fortunate to have built a great rapport with over the years. This, their third album, is a great example of a band, that knows who they are and chooses to refine their sound, rather than constantly try to reinvent it. What is interesting, is that as the band has evolved, so have my musical preference. Whilst I preferred their first album, “Five Year Diary”, over their second “Beggarstown”, and said as much in the review, 2 years later, I find it’s “Beggarstown” that is now my favoured Hollow Horse album. The time has come however for “Beggarstown” to move over and make way for “Escaping from a Submarine”.

Opening with “Run” the 60’s Byrds influenced guitar sound is there, as is the unmistakable vocals of Kenny Little, with just a hint of a Scottish accent making a welcomed appearance. This is carefully crafted pop, in the very best Beatle tradition. This is music that will certainly stand the test of time, as does all truly great music. “Ours for the Taking” again has that Beatles feel to it, especially the keyboards. I also love the acoustic guitar that opens the track. “Loving You” is a wonderful track, that opens very simply and builds nicely.

“Bluebell Wood (Angela’s Song)” was a track that quite literally mesmerized me. I don’t know what it was, but this song, managed to grab me in an instant, and all of a sudden, I was seeing the words of the song, played out in my imagination. I think it was about half way in, that I suddenly realised that I had been daydreaming, no mean feat when you’re standing at the bus stop waiting for a bus. Paul Rose, another artist previously reviewed on Indie Launchpad, provides guitar accompaniment on this track and this really helps to bring this track to life. There’s even a small guitar piece that’s very reminiscent of Jeff Lynne. “Making Bricks Without Straw” is another pint size classic, as is “Beg”. “Beg” along with “Run”, were the two tracks that Kenny released to podcasters before the album was released and while it gave a great flavour of what we could expect, my expectations were truly exceeded on a rather large scale.

“I Think I Made You Up Inside My Head”, is a real slow burner, not that I have anything against it, but I really love Hollow Horse when they have their powerpop hats on. “Blindsided by Love” speeds things up a bit, and really has the feel of a Squeeze song, and then comes “Under a Burning Star”. This is a bit of an oddity, especially for an album released in the Spring, as it most definitely has a Christmas flavour to it. It’s also a relatively short track, at just a tad under a minute.

“Escaping from a Submarine”, being the title track on the album, has a lot to live up to and while I initially thought that it was a bit of a slow one for a title track, it helps greatly that it isn’t also the opening track and as such, works nicely. I also love the little James Bond trumpet reference, very nice. “Sometimes Things Get Worse Before They Can Get Better”, must surely be right up there as a song title to get indigestion on, but man is it a good track, also benefiting from a little Paul Rose solo near the middle of the track. I also love the keyboard that swirls almost anonymously underneath the track in places.

The album closes with “Music from the Film, ‘Bullet Proof Sky’ – Suzy’s Theme”, another mouthful and also another track just under the minute mark. It’s a very whimsical track that feels very out of place, and feels almost like a bit of indulgence, but who care, it’s a wonderful piece and finishes things off nicely.

Conclusion : It’s hard to define what makes a song great. It’s even harder to try to pinpoint what it is makes a truly classic album. Suffice to say, this is an album that has great company, being in my mind one of the best albums, so far of the noughties (That’s the 2000 decade, for anyone wondering). Without doubt one of the finest indie bands around. Their music is finely honed and a sheer joy to listen to. Dare you not buy it?

Posted in Acoustic, Pop, Rock | No Comments »

Album – …like Super Man on Krypton – Jeff Scott

Posted by admin on 16th April 2008

It’s not often that I request a band’s or artist’s album, after listening to a few of their tracks on MySpace or some other music service and then not like it. This was the case when I got the latest album in from Jeff Scott. I’m fortunate to be able to listen to music while working. Late one afternoon I put on this album, and after a few tracks, I started to feel a bit jittery. I couldn’t quite put my finger on what it was, but suffice to say, a change of music was required. And so the album sat in the pile for a while, before I pulled it out again for a quick listen. This time, I think my frame of mind was better and I was able to listen to the album with no distractions.

The first thing that struck me, was the vocal similarity to Christopher Cross, better know as the man behind the theme to the movie Arthur, and not to mention the brief sound bite, of his song “Sail Away” in the fantastic animated movie, “Flushed Away”. This is a very relaxed and prominently acoustic album. There’s a nice balance of music and vocals, which blend together very nicely.

There’s some great songs amongst the 11 tracks that are featured. I particularly loved the track that opens the album, “Catch the Train”, the wonderfully titled “Angels Do Drink Beer”, “Company” with it’s melancholic, reflective mood and the similarly mellow “Her Only Bad Habit is Me”. My favorite tracks though would have to be “You’re in My Heart” and “Sometimes Hope” which draws the album to a fitting conclusion.

If I were to point my finger at anything, it’s that sometimes I feel Jeff’s vocals are tad samey. Criticism is a hard thing for me to wave around and I don’t do it lightly, it’s just that by the time the albums finished it’s almost like my head is eager to hear something different. I think this is almost like the musical equivalent to Alan Whicker’s monosyllabic voice. I’m in no way saying the vocals are bad, boring or anything so damning, just that they don’t seem to vary too much.

Conclusion : This is a really pleasant album, which I’ll probably put on when I’m in the mood to chill and just let the music wash over me. I think with a few tracks to shake things up a bit, this would have been a truly great album.

Posted in Acoustic, Folk Rock, Pop | No Comments »

Album – Honeysuckle Weeks – The Submarines

Posted by admin on 16th April 2008

  • Band / Artist : The SubmarinesmySpace
  • Genre : Folk / Electronica
  • Sample Track Download : N/A
  • Buy CD : Amazon
  • Buy Digital Download : iTunes
  • Rating : 9 out of 10

I reviewed the previous album by The Submarines, back in June 2006 and while I really enjoyed it, it did take me a while to really get into it. When I first heard them, I have to admit. I thought of them as a pale imitation of the Weepies, who also share the same record label, but the more I listened, the more I began to appreciate them for themselves.

Again this new album from the collaboration of Blake Hazard and John Dragonetti features 10 tracks. Where the previous album had that darker tinge, here it’s a much more relaxed and happy affair. The album starts perfectly with “Sub Symphonika”, with it’s very light and upbeat music, fused some very phased and delicate vocals. This track also sounds very familiar. It’s almost like I’ve heard it on a TV commercial. “Thorny Thicket” continues the great mood of the album, and further highlights the great fusion of sounds and vocals. Musically this is a very well produced album, which has a lot going on, but never feels like it’s lost it’s way. I did feel at time though, that the vocals were somewhat overshadowed.

“You Me and the Bourgeoisie” has a very interesting sound, which is at first very reminiscent of The Tutles, “So Happy Together”. Talking of reminiscent, “1940” also has a similar vibe to some of Massive Attack’s work. And that’s one of the things I really love about this album, it’s ability to morph and change and yet still feel tightly woven together. I won’t even mention the Lightening Seeds when talking about “The Wake Up Song” as I’m sure you can see where I’m going with this one, but don’t let that detract you from what is a great collection of songs.

“Swimming Pool” is the track that snuck up on me, while I was listening to the album on the bus. I got off the bus about half way through the song and was just about to reach work, when “Bam” it hit me. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I played this track over and over again and just couldn’t help but smile like an idiot. “Maybe” is another track that just really gelled with me. Unfortunately the same can’t be said for “Xavia” and the oddly named “Fern Beard”, which while both started promisingly enough, just seem to slowly unravel. Sometimes it’s hard to quantify what you like or dislike about songs. These are two examples of that.

And so we come to the final track, “Brightest Hour” which could at first be mistaken for a Christmas track, as it has a very Wintery feel to it, with what almost sound like sleigh bells in the background. It’s a wonderfully soothing track though, and a great way to end an album, that descended on me from out of the blue.

Conclusion : I found this follow up to Declare a New State, much more accessible and brighter. While I really liked the former, I absolutely love this one, save for a couple of tracks that just weren’t to my taste. I’m hoping that this brighter sound is here to stay, as it really makes for a more pleasurable listening experience.

Posted in Electronica, Folk | No Comments »

Album – Mad Dog Howl – The Coggs

Posted by admin on 10th April 2008

Every now and again I get an artist, band or management asking if I’d be interested in reviewing their material. Sometimes although listening to a few tracks on MySpace can give me a flavour of what to expect, there’s nothing like listening to an album in full, to really make my mind up. So was the case with this album from the Coggs. I received an email from their manager, asking if I would be interesting in reviewing the bands latest album. While I like what I heard on MySpace, I wasn’t really chomping at the bit, to get the album in. I did however sense there was something about the bands sound that was going to be interesting, so I asked for a copy of the album, which duly arrived about a week later. On a side note, the band are also from Ottawa, so that was another incentive to really give the band a listen, as I really want to get out more this year and listen to some live music.

The first track, “Elevator” didn’t really appeal to me, with it’s rock and blues, infused with an interesting bluegrass inspired electric guitar. It didn’t turn me off, but by the same measure didn’t turn me on either. “A’int it Nice” is a more familiar sounding blues rock and it’s here that the album really starts to come alive. “Hideout” with it’s lengthy intro, seems to draw from many classic 70s/80s rock tunes, but it’s more gentle inspiration rather than blatant rip off.

This album, really has it’s twist and turns and there seem to be surprises everywhere. “Raised by Wolves” is full on, rock and this is where the band really seem to be at their most comfortable. The vocals are a little akin to an angry slur, but it really adds to the raw feel. The title track “Mean Dog Howl”, draws much from the classic blues rock guitarists like Clapton, in his John Mayall / Yardbirds days. It’s an incessant driving force that is hard to stay immobile to.

I love the vibe on “Pissin’ in My Ear” and it is in fact probably my favourite track on the album. It has a much lighter sound and reminds me of the great 90s band, Ocean Colour Scene. This for me, is where I feel most comfortable. While the hard rock tracks are great, I find it hard to relax and listen to them. This is much more melodic side of the band, and I understand that to concentrate on this style would probably drive a wedge down the middle of the band, but it’s just so much less demanding to listen to. “In Your Eyes” again is a more laid back track which further strikes home the point I made earlier.

“Eleven” is another of the tracks that really have that Clapton feel, but here it’s more in his Cream phase, which is certainly a compliment to the bands playing skills. “You Don’t Lie Well” rounds off this 13 track offering and it rounds it off with a bark rather than a whimper.

Conclusion : This is a band that I’d really be interested in seeing perform live. They have that aura of a band that would be quite stellar. I suppose there’s going to be little excuse not to, seeing as they’re virtually on my doorstep. While the heavier tracks would be amazing to listen to live, I feel the calmer, more melodic tracks are more suitable to an album. Again personal taste, but still this is a very well crafted and accomplished album, that showcases the band nicely.

Posted in Blues, Rock | No Comments »

Album – Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!! – Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds

Posted by admin on 9th April 2008

Nick Cave was one of those characters that quite frankly scared the bejesus out of me. Rational, maybe not, but sometimes you just get that air of something not quite right. I’m sure underneath it all he’s quite a likeable chap. However musically, it’s his mix of the dark and sardonic, that has held me at arms length. There have been brief forays, though. Actually in all honesty, I’ve only ever felt the need to purchase one of his albums and that was the 1994 release, Let Love In. I bought that for one specific track, “Do You Love Me”, which managed to really get under my skin during a mellowing out session with a friend, watching MTV all night. To give you an idea of the kind of night that was, besides the Nick Cave song, the other track that became almost an obsession was “Little Star” by Stina Nordenstaum. When you compare the two tracks, you’ll see what an extraordinary night it was. Any way I digress.

Apart from the one album, the only other real thing that caught my eye, was the track he released with fellow antipodean, Kylie Minogue, “Where the Wild Roses Grow”. An interesting diversion, but not really my cup of tea. And so we come to today. My friends over at Anti, previously sent me the album by Grinderman, another Nick Cave offshoot. While the voice of Nick is unmistakable, for me it was just too raw and sprawling to enjoy. When this latest release hit my inbox, again from Anti, it was with a certain amount of trepidation that I put it into the CD player.

The title track “Dig, Lazurus, Dig” greets you first and it won me over immediately with it’s mix of dark, emotionally charged vocals, with a hint of Jim Morrison and a driving beat. Nicks vocals are unmistakable, but there is an eloquence in them that I haven seen in a while, or maybe it’s just listening to them with friendly ears. So far all the chemistry is right, great opening track, which indeed is the title track and something I love, a title track that really shapes your expectations from the offing. “Today’s Lesson” has a much looser and melodic sound, but there’s still that quirk that lies underneath like a foundation on which all the tracks seem to resolutely adhere to.

“Night of the Locus Eaters” is an interesting track. Whilst I’m a huge fan of repetition, this one takes it to a whole new level. My brain kept yelling at me that this was a boring, monotonous track, but my heart fell in love with it. If you ask me why, I’d be buggered if I can tell you, but there’s that mesmerizing, hypnotic quality that just sucks you in. “Jesus of the Moon”, is a mellower track and indeed one of the shorter on the album. It has a very similar makeup to a few of the tracks on the album, but here with a twist of something more melodic.

“Midnight Man”, takes a slightly different turn, with it’s almost 60’s psychedelic sound. Thrown in the pot with Nicks vocals, and the result is something quite interesting, and fairly distinct from the rest of the album. “More News from Nowhere”, wraps up this 11 track album, with nearly eight minutes of classic Cave.

I’m so thankful sometimes that I work with some amazing labels and PR companies, that seems to know my tastes sometimes better than I do. While I’ve never professed to be a big fan of Nicks music, there is enough here to turn me into a real convert. It’s certainly given me the impetus to go out and discover some of the albums I’ve missed.

Conclusion : A wonderful album with which to reconnect with Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. 14 years since my last dalliance, bur I’m certain it’s not going to be that long next time. A good solid and well constructed album, that contains a somewhat black heart with a scorching burning ember.

Posted in Alternative, Rock | No Comments »

Album – Thank God We Got Good Friends – Tom Geiger

Posted by admin on 6th April 2008

  • Band / Artist : Tom GeigermySpace
  • Genre : Electronica / Pop
  • Sample Track Download : N/A
  • Buy CD : TBA
  • Buy Digital Download : iTunes
  • Rating : 9.5 out of 10

In starting Indie Launchpad, I’ve not only gained access to an unbelievable vein of music, but I’ve also had the opportunity to work with some amazing artists. There are a few artists however, that go that extra step and let me know when they have news. Tom Geiger, is one of those artists. I first discovered him on MySpace, I think it was, at the end of 2005 or early 2006. The song that struck me like a bolt of lightening, was the appropriately named, “Thank God We Got Good Friends”. Over the years, there’s been a track here and there, but just before Christmas Tom sent me, his proposed new album. Originally 8 tracks, but now 9, I can’t convey the excitement I felt in putting on the album for the first time. Before continuing, I do need to clear up something that may be a little confusing. Although the album is called “Thank God We Got Good Friends”, on iTunes, it still appears as “Vicious Times”, in it’s original 8 track incarnation. This is because of a few factors, including the big digital distribution wheels turn slowly, so Tom left it on iTunes as is. It is also available on SnoCap, by it’s intended title and also the full 9 tracks. Also the final intended running order various slightly, with the addition of the extra track, so I’ve gone through the album in the order Tom intended the final album to be.

The album opens with “Empty Girl”, with that wonderful sound that has become a hallmark of all Tom’s tracks. It’s a very ethereal, electonica sound, fused with Tom’s great laid back vocals. In the past I’ve compared Toms vocals to sandpaper, the highest grade mind you. Tom’s voice has that real life quality to it, rather than some faux manufactured pop sound and it’s one that really contrasts his music nicely. There’s just something that really gets under my skin with Tom’s music, and I mean that in the most sincerest of ways. “Can One Day Change Your Life”, has a more upbeat, contemporary sound, but there’s no mistaking those vocals. “Vicious Times” is one of the tracks previously featured on the EP of the same name. It’s funny, I hadn’t listened to this track in a while, but it still managed to come across as fresh and new.

OK, so we get to a track that many listeners of the Indie Launchpad podcast are no strangers to, being the one track that has probably featured more than any other song, and also the title track of the album, “Thank God We Got Good Friends”. This to me, is probably one of my favorite tracks of all time and I mean indie or otherwise. There’s just that perfect blend of pop, delicately balanced with melancholy. I’ve heard numerous version of this track and loved them all.

“Queen of C-Bus” is a slight odditiy on this album, in that it’s more pop than electronica. The very thought of that would have probably jaded my thoughts, if I’d have know that before hand, but it’s hard not to be won over, by such a great and fun track. “Wrong Way” is the third track, along with “Thank God We Got Good Friends” that featured on the Vicious times EP. I remember sitting on the fence with this track, which maybe was valid on a 3 track EP, here however it slots in nicely and really feels like a part of the album, rather than an odd cousin. “Peace & Love” is a track that reminds me of another electronica artist, I Am Jen. It has that really similar vibe to it, but both artists manage to take there music in two distinctly different directions.

“Some Days are Better Than Others” is a track that only appears at present on SnoCap, but Tom does intend on it being present on the final physical disc pressing. It’s another of those great fusions of electronica and upbeat pop. It’s hard not to come across as a fanboy, but when I like something I like it full tilt and Tom has never so far given me a cause for concern. The album closes with an extended mix of “Can One Day Change Your Life” by John Creamer & Stephan K, which is one of those tracks I would have bought on 12 inch vinyl back in the day. It’s just over 8 and a half minutes and terrific stuff.

Conclusion : An absolutely wonderful collection of great music, from an artist who appears to not want to compromise. It’s true, that over the course of 2 plus years, music has trickled slowly down the chain, but what has appeared has always been stellar. It would be remiss of me not to mention Lance Jordan, with whom Tom has collaborated extensively, with writing, production and at times instrumentally. With the first album hump over with, I’m looking forward to what the future may bring. One of Tom’s tracks has already been featured on the ABC TV show, Eli Stone and I’m sure there will be many more to come.

Posted in Electronica, Pop | No Comments »