“No Way Out”/I Can See Through You” - With the modulating swirling sounds The Contacts take off and roll over everything in their path. “No Way Out” sounds a bit like Pop Rock, however the overall mix and master of the track is very brash and lends itself to a Punk Rock esthetic. Drums pound with reckless abandon in your face propelling this song along. Bass guitar notes have a lifting feel which add a bit of a groove. Backing vocals have swinging feel and contribute to the otherworldly vibe here. Lead vocals have been recorded very hot. Adding to the overdriven nature of the recording this cut has a lot of attitude. I do think though that it would shine much brighter if everything wasn’t recorded at top volume. The opening chords to “I Can See Through You” have a chiming feel that sound as if they are using a heavy chorus or the guitar out of tune. That in combination with the vocal treatment makes you feel like you are stuck in a dream where anything goes. Drum work is nontraditional joining to the otherworldly esthetic. Bass guitar notes have a playfulness to them that seem to bounce around this crazy room of characters. Backing vocals leave a picture in your mind that this is a group of guys hanging out just having fun. Keyboard work adds some interesting elements that make you feel like you are walking through a funhouse atmosphere. I would recommend this to those that like Avant-garde music. These tracks are definitely one of a kind and will take you on a ride.
The Teaser - This is one of those records you could see the Beatles making if they were still together and making album. The songs have a genuine artistic quality to them. Unlike some music that now seems to be cranked out like stamped pieces of plastic, Long Nights sound as if they are a group of artists hanging out creating music with true passion. As the songs unfold you almost feel like you are a fly on the wall as they create these intimate moments right in front of you. The collection has a true down to earth quality. Vocals seem to slide out effortlessly in time and in key. Guitar work feels like an old pair shoes that fit you perfectly and feel like home. Keyboard stylings add a swing and swagger that comes from the confidence of just knowing your craft. Drums are played in a beautiful artistic manner. Each beat is created specifically for each song. Bass guitar duties lay down a powerful groove for each track. As lines slink out of the speakers you almost feel as if you are being called by a whispering voice to dig deeper into the world of each cut. Vocals act as if they are an instrument in and of themselves creating textures for each song that help each track conquer a bit of your heart. My personal favorite was the song, "Died at Five" the music has a carefree feel backed by passionate lyrics and a beautiful vocal approach. Long Nights have a real crossover quality. Straight up they are a good Rock band, but those who are fans of Americana, Folk, Pop and Alternative will find pleasure here as well. The Late Nights would be wonderful to fall asleep to, but they excel at crafting sunshine for any day as well.
The Silver Lining - As I close my eyes I see myself walking in a cold black desert. Barefoot I examine the horizon. There is nothing but low hanging grey clouds and dead vegetation. I feel the ground beneath my feet begin to vibrate. As the feeling intensifies I see the ground rip in front of me. Out of the earth whip wide bands of fire. I’m afraid, but I watch like a small child at a fireworks display. As the bands of fire roll in the sky I see something emerge. A bird fire takes shape and morphs into a Phoenix. Raising my hands the mighty bird sees me and swoops in my direction. Grabbing hold to its strong claws we fly towards the horizon in search of better days. Here on this release Roses Unread pushes the boundaries and soars to new heights. The drum work hits you like a sharp slap in the face early in the morning. Grabbing your attention the hits are full of precise power and build a foundation for a mighty palace that reaches to the sky. Bass guitar notes are as thick and solid like a concrete wall on which beautiful treasure are held protected. Guitars bring passion that rages like a mighty fire. Rhythm guitar tones stand like a behemoth taking the muscle in each song to highest possible limits. Lead guitar work aid each of these epic numbers to blossom in your imagination and wash away your daily toils. Keyboard embellishments take Roses Unread to a new level and help frame the back story of each number. Backing male vocals bring a rage and character to this release as if some creature from the dark has been uncovered and is to now be reckoned with. The cornerstone of R.U. is the beautiful, melodic and seductive vocals from Allison. At the helm she leads you through a series of treatments that will evoke the power, passion and ability that you have inside yourself. This is one of those albums that just rocks track after track. I would recommend this to those who like hard rock and heavy metal genres. Roses Unread have created a pinochle piece of art here. You need to get this now.
Rachel and the Ruckus - Sauntering full of sizzle Rachel and her band slides into your feet, and you wont be standing still for long. With a bass guitar that walks and slides while drums hop through a set of blues rock you will find your heart falling in love with the voice of an angel. Sax work on display in “Bounce” adds the right amount of take-no-attitude character. Piano notes delicately slide across your ears in “Could Be Tonight” till the guitars get you juiced up for a night of hot passion. With the opening bass guitar pulses you can almost imagine a woman putting on some sexy black leather boots and heading out on the town. Rachel has no problem rocking the stage or hanging back and delivering tender moments. This release is thoroughly well balanced. Rachel has the rock swagger needed to give any band a run for their money and her partners can kick up enough Ruckus to make any crowd shake. I really like the mix on this set. Everything is in its place and well heard. The bass isn’t buried, the guitar has room to breath and the sax can swing without stepping on anyones toes while the drums work the beat hard without overpowering. Piano and Acoustic guitar elements that lead the opening of “Leave Your Light On” stand strong on their own, but as the track blossoms and the rest of the instruments come in the song soars to amazing heights. Sass and swagger are on full display with “Melt Away”. You’ll probably want to avoid eating ice-cream unless you can eat it really fast. Stinging guitars round out the set on “Romeo” and you can almost smell them starting fire. Rachel has heft and hooks to snare your heart and enflame your emotions. I would recommend this band to those that like Rock, Blues, Pop and Soul genres. Anyone complaining that music today is just a bunch of Ruckus hasn’t heard of Rachel and her crew. This is one to turn up and share with all.
Hearticulate - With the opening acoustic guitars I feel like I am hanging out on my old worn couch in my favorite comfortable Saturday afternoon rags. A warm voice and music that speaks to the compassionate heart J.P. will make you feel at home no matter where you are. Vocals are focused and have traction like a great pair of boots on a worn wooded trail. Electric guitar work on “Stargazing” will make you feel like you are dancing with the stars on a clear summer night. With sweet electronic elements dusting the backdrop you almost feel like you can reach out and grab that passing shooting star and taste its sweetness. Backing vocals will make you feel like you can float anywhere you want to go whether it be to the girl next door or across the ocean. Mr. Edwards has a way with words. These songs communicate understanding while his heart on display. In “Ties” you will almost see yourself standing in the doorway as this song unfolds in your ears. Percussion work not only lends itself to keep the beat, but to also provide a solid strong heartbeat for these songs that enrich the emotional ride. With beautiful finger picked notes from the heavens the guitars on “Destinations” skate across the sky like clouds on a spring day. Dancing with emotions the shuffled phrasing almost makes you feel like you are in the arms of the perfect partner. With authenticity J.P. Edwards delivers songs that will win you over again and again. I would recommend this to those that like Americana, Folk, Pop and Alternative genres. With such Hearticulate abilities this surely won’t be the last we see of Mr. Edwards.
“One Eye Open” - With Latin percussion and swelling strings you almost forget what Roses Unread do and who they are. Though once the guitars drop in your ears you feel like you have the ability to punch through concrete walls. With thundering drums in toe this track is one that will make the lovers of Hard Rock/Heavy Metal bang those heads full of sweaty hair. Vocals stream through the air like a wafting ribbon of smoke between notes of utter bliss creating a melody that breaks the heart and empowers the soul. Grinding male vocals add and additional layer of aggression to this track, you can almost smell the fire and brimstone raining from the sky. A breakdown section that quickly morphs into a blues and soulful guitar solo makes you feel like you are atop a snow capped mountain ready to swoop back down to civilization and lay claim to all that should be yours and bring hell to those that need be paid. Roses Unread once again deliver a powerful track like only they can. I would recommend this to those that like Hard Rock/Heavy Metal. Roses Unread may only have “One Eye Open” but they continue to deliver cuts that hit the bulls eye like a deadly sniper.
As Waters - As I close my eyes I see myself walking out the front door of my home where I see farmlands to the end of forever. Shutting the door behind me I raise my coffee mug to my lips and take a quick sip. Down the steps of my front porch I cross to the drive and my truck where I hop in, put my mug down and start the engine. Pulling out of the drive I survey the farm and I feel total happiness and freedom. I don’t know what the day will bring but I know my place in the world. Sometimes music, even if you have never heard it before, just sounds like home. With the opening chords on this release you will feel like you have been here before. Not that Tristan creates boring, all-to-familiar songs, but he sings to your heart and welcomes you into his. The song, “As Waters Engulf Us We Reach For A Star” unfolds like a spring blossom that becomes more beautiful with each passing second. These are pro cuts here with art that has been lived for long hard hours. Acoustic guitars sound as sweet as putting on your most comfortable pair of shoes. Keyboard work soars like birds in pure glee on a warm spring day. Notes roll out of bass guitar like a stream rolling over smooth rocks giving life to the land. As the page turns to the song “Hollywood Ending” you will find yourself wanting to slide across the room. The percussion work feels as if it is smooth as glass. Guitar playing has a nice hop to it as if it is jumping from bubble to bubble floating in the air. Strings swell and so will your heart even if you are not a sucker for a love song, sour or not. It will be hard to keep from dancing on your tiptoes with this number. Tristan has a vocal delivery that holds solid over a variety of styles. Effortlessly he can hold a melody that will make any ladies man jealous because somethings just can’t be faked. With a bit of sting off an electric guitar the song “Priceless” is just that. Organ tones add an honesty and down-to-earth quality to this song. In toe with falsetto notes sung the song cracks like a grand slam as it unleashes wide open choruses that great tracks are made of. Here you have a true artist on display, willing to search the depths to make each song sing and unique. As Waters can be rocky or smooth, all is held strong with Tristan’s command of mic and guitar. The only question is, why aren’t you listening yet?
Blind and Blues Bound - Opening with slowly grinding notes Dr. Izzy and her band sway through your ears like autumn leaves that have fallen on cool crisp night. Guitars jangle in the foreground while the bass guitar and the drums provide an intimate dance of notes. Lead guitar work spins a string of notes that tell a story in and of themself. Vocal tones on this release have a down-to-earth-quality. Full of passion Dr. Izzy’s voice will sneak into your heart and warm your soul. The rattling of the fiddle in the intro of, "Soul Dance" builds anticipation. As the song unfolds the energy gets taken up a notch. For an acoustic number this cut has a lot of fire in its belly. You will almost feel as if you are starring death in the face yourself. This is the type of album that you sit back and just soak in. With the acoustic saunter of "Been a Long Time Coming" you will want to sit down with a nice bottle of wine, take a deep breath and mull past trials are over. "Old Crow" sidesteps a bit with some bluegrass textures and you can almost imagine yourself out on the front porch watching a storm roll in. Stripping it down even further the guitar is joined by just a fiddle during "Mamma Said”. Vocals help this track pop a bit when backed by the male vocal. Cranking it back up with a bass laying a funky groove, "Hang Tough" features overdriven guitars that play as if they refuse to take anything from anyone. As the notes roll out of the guitar amp on the beginning of "Dirt Bed" you almost expect to see your breath in front of your face. With such cold hard stories it takes someone with a fire inside to reveal such truth. The guitar takes center stage on "It's Been Real where it belongs on a blues record. With sass and swagger it cuts through the mix like a knife. Rounding out this release is the track "Your Redeemer". With the acoustic guitar dropping jewels of notes like stars from the heavens the vocal duo has the ability to soar into the heavens itself. I would recommend this album to those that like Blues, Rock, Americana and even Country. While life may try and blindside you from time to time, with music like this your are bound to survive.
“Suicide”/“ABC Abuse” - As the opening samples melt away a tick beat drops and the maze unfolds. As I close my eyes I see what appears to be a maze with perfectly white walls in a perfectly white indoor warehouse. As I proceed to walk and decide which way to go new reports start to flash on the walls. Its as if I am walking inside someone consciousness and things past remembered. Here on “Suicide” Fearless spins a series of tales of lost young souls trying to find their way in this world. With strong hooks and a solid chorus an eerie tale is told and while you may find the subject uncomfortable it is honest and from the heart. Sometimes we need to look into the eye of the storm. With poetry such as this it helps the tale of others truly hit home. Flipping a switch he switches to a more light-hearted subject. Running through the Alphabet Fearless raps around a tight beat like Muhammad Ali in his prime. While “Suicide” has an underground gritty production feel, Fearless ups the ante’ on “ABC Abuse” where he drops a cut that is pro-level. I would recommend this single to those that like Rap/Hip Hop, Pop and Alternative Genres. On display here you will find and up and coming artist that is quick with his wit as well as the mic.
NOWHERE MAN - Have you ever had a pot of ultra thick black coffee mainlined into your brain? Neither have I, but imagine it is similar to the feeling that I get off the open track on this release from Archi Deep. From the staccato swiped electric guitar strings I am woken up and this title track makes me want go all night. This is definitely a guitar rock record. If you are too easily offended or only listen to cute little electro-records that fit into the nice clean box the music industry sells, then turn around and run away from this release. You won’t be able to handle it. The guitar oozes awesome tones of blissful anarchy the way rebellious Rock n’ Roll should. Drum work is hit with power and reckless abandon yet will pull back to accentuate some of the funk infused grooves like found on, “I’m on the Run”. I know some would call this band “Punk” or “Alternative” but this is just a straight up a great Rock ’n Roll release. The songs constructed here are fun and full of rage with great hooks. Room is allowed in each number so that the songs can breath. Notes are as if hand-picked for your listening pleasure with plenty of extra “ear candy” in the background. You’re going to want to listen over and over again. On the track, “High Minds” Archi Deep prove that even an acoustic guitar can rock. The added texture with the backing vocals make you feel like you have snuck backstage with the guys in some sort of voyeuristic moment. AD build things back up with the track “I Can See”. Opening with just vocals and a grinding electric guitar you may feel like its going to be another stark number. Never fear Archi Deep kick in the bass and guitar and let this number swagger into your ears. Fighting that temptation to grab the cute girl in the miniskirt and sweat the night out dancing will be very hard. The vocals are great, the guitars grind and sound as if someone plugged their emotions straight into an overdriven guitar amp. Bass guitar tones have a full round tone like a beautiful woman who has found the tightest jean in the world to wear. Notes and lines slink and bounce around each track that help this album have not just the low-end power but also an interesting character. Now please note that this release isn’t just going to rock your face off with one spicy acoustic number. The vibe on this release is well balanced and will duck and weave like a seasoned boxer. Beautiful tender moments like that found in, “Real” counter balance the power that Archi Deep unleash so well. Making this possible is everyone in the band playing excellently to the song. On the final cut, “If Only It Was Sunny” Archi Deep take you on one final ride of peaks and valleys. With excellent Rock n’ Roll dynamics on show you will want to shout along. You’ll finding yourself wishing that there were more tracks to come. You’re only recourse is to press play again or go see them live. I would recommend this album those that like Rock, Alternative, Punk, Hard Rock and Pop Rock. With bands like Archi Deep cranking out music Rock will never die as long as you find yourself NOWHERE MAN.
Still Rolling With The Times, As I close my eyes I find myself in bed. It’s late morning and turning my head I see the nightstand with overflowing astray and an alarm clock telling me to get up. I sit up an light a half-gone cigarette from the night before. Smoke rolls out of my mouth and nose. As the morning sun weaves in-between the rays of smoke I begin to see pictures take shape. The smoke bends and takes form of a road. My consciousness leaves my body and follows the road. Transported into some sort of alternate universe I find myself riding a motorcycle down that road of smoke. Colors slowly transform into some sort of ultra-technicolor dream scape. With the wind in my hair I look upon the horizon and see evergreen trees trying to touch the sky. Below my feet the road screams by. Following the road I find myself winding in between the hills, over peaks and within the valleys. With no road signs I have no idea where I am or where I am going. I find peace though on this road. I am willing to take in whatever comes around the corner. Chris has the ability to write songs that take you on a laid back journey through your mind. On his opening track, “Let it Go” you will find a rich soundscape that lures you out of mind-numbing world that surrounds. He doesn’t scream in your face or try to rip your face off with a flurry of notes, he merely creates a track that grooves and warmly invites you in. He plays from the heart and isn’t afraid to lay it all on the line. “Without You” has man pouring his heart out for the world to see. With the keyboard work exemplifying his beating compassionate heart he shows the world what it is like to love. Electric guitar work on, To Find Peace in This Place” swirl around ears and fly off into the distance. An earthy chorus of vocal work take off in pursuit in hopes for a better day. Strong vocal hooks on this cut take this album to a special place. As the journey continues the low-end groove from the bass guitar is absolutely infectious on “What Comes Around Comes Around”. With tasteful percussion work in toe this track cuts so hard that you will want to move. Wether you find yourself sliding across the floor or spinning into the ground, the flow of the verses and the soaring choruses will put a shining sun on any horizon. As the music swells on “I Owe This All To You” you will feel like you are cresting a hilltop to look down and see a beautiful valley city where peace and happiness rein. Guitar work overall on this record is rather tasteful. Chris doesn’t over do with a million tracks of dribble. He allows each of his songs to sing on their own. With just the right amount of flair and character the guitar weaves into each story and sings like a bird. The track “Life Carries On”, makes you realize that events are like people on a crowed sidewalk. Sometimes it can be hard to navigate through them all. Occasionally you may even find you’re doing the 2-step with someone for a bit, but for better for worse life goes on. This track slides through your mind like a someone with a strong faith does in life. It finds the sweetness and learns from the rest. Chris is wonderful at creating song that exemplify what life is really like, and that obtain a lyrical message that won’t pull you down. Cranking it up a notch the cut, “Running Out of Time” has a bounce in its step and stands out in this set. Its as if you are at the end of a diving board and you have to decide if you are going to go, or walk back. Letting the Acoustic guitar shine on, “Got to Let Her Go” Chris Cole sings with a voice that reassures. Everything is going to be alright, and if you think not this song will sooth and heal. As you pick yourself up and dust yourself off the song “Feel It In My Bones” drives to that little place in your heart and soul that refuses to give up. With a focused beat and grooving bass you will find yourself wanting to put on your boots and head out the door. Chris’s vocal approach is that of late great classic rock artists. He merely gets behind the mic and sings. Nothing fancy, nothing auto-tuned, just a man behind the mic with his voice singing from his wisdom, so much so that you can “Feel It In His Bones”. Life is about navigating negative and not letting it pull you down. With music like this from Chris Cole you are often reminded that this is all temporary and that you got preserve through as exemplified with, “Rolling with the times”. I would recommend this release to those that like Rock, Pop, Alternative and Classic Rock genres.
Version 5 - As I close my eyes I find myself atop a large skyscraper. Squinting off in to the distance I see a comet falling to the earth. Looking straight up I see that it is not a lone object but rather the sky is filling with them. As they speed to earth I find nothing else to do but to dive to the ground. With the ground quickly approaching I pierce the pavement as if it is water. I swim into depths I have not ever known. As I look around I see an underwater cavern as I swim to, and then up into it I find an underwater lair. Coming out of the water air fills my lungs. Scanning the cave I see a rocky corridor lined with blue flamed torches which I begin to walk down. Walking along I hear chanting and with each step it keeps getting louder. The corridor opens to a hall full of other-worldly beings. Immediately I am surrounded, bound and put on trial for the misdeeds of my past. As my prosecutor froths at the mouth I look to the judge and see her shaking her head in disgust. I am then paraded back out to the masses. Full of hate they start to cuss and spit at me. Pulling from the passion and power deep inside I crouch and launch to the air. With the ceiling of the cave approaching I raise my fists and pierce through. Back above the surface of the earth I look around and see the remains from the meteor shower, but to the horizon I look and the sun rises. In this new day I feel I cannot be defeated. Version 5 have released a set of songs that are epic in nature and sure to inspire. With a style that hybrids Pop, Rock, Industrial and Alternative Version 5 has created something beautiful and unique. Electronic embellishments do well to create a backdrop over which Version 5 build beautiful narratives over. Guitars embody a wall-of-sound character that feel like they weigh 20 tons. Percussion elements drop hard and hold the spine of each number tight. These are the type of songs that have enough groove to them that you could easily dance as a posed to throwing your neck out from headbanging. The vocal approach from this group is aggressive, but they dispense with the over processed or the impossible to understand typical hard rock style. Embodying plenty melody V5 stand strong with vocal hooks straight from their souls. There is a real crossover possibility here. I would recommend this set to this that like Hard Rock, Industrial, Alternative and even Pop. With Version 5 being so strong, one is to wonder what they will come up with next.
Blues Thunder - Sometimes music speaks to you, other times music speaks for you. On this release Brad Wilson has music that does both. On his opening track, “Is it any Wonder" Brad's guitars sing like a mans heart on fire. You can almost feel his desire as he bends the notes into the stratosphere. On "Change It Up" the guitar dons a tone with a bit more sting and has the kind of swagger that personifies how I like to navigate downtown traffic. The guitar sits backseat for a bit on, “Blue Shadows" where the piano inspires flashbacks of passions, and love long gone rises to the surface. Brad has assembled a group of players that tend to each song like sharp eyed gatekeepers. Drum work unleashed on this set can lay back in the pocket and hold things together, or add the right amount of heat. Key work, wether from the piano or organ, contribute the jangle to make you get up and move, or inspire the soul to fly off the bar stool where life is really at. With the opening whines from the harmonica on “Step by Step” you will be moving closer to pure blues bliss with every note played. Bass guitar lines will have you looking for your baby no matter where you are at. Once found you will grab them by the hands and want to dance the rest of the day away. The textures present on this release range from the slick, clean and soulful to the smokey, dirty nitty gritty. With so much music auto-tuned and gimmicked within a hair of insincerity, Brad Wilson delivers an authentic musical experience played and preformed by humans with soul. For those that like a little more Rock in their Blues, “Blues Thunder” comes out of nowhere and sucks you in with a tornado of high gain guitar work. The rhythm section has a hey day and creates a real track that bounces with, “Let’s Go Barefootin’ It”. It will really put a hop in your dance steps, and in toe with the harmonica work you will spice it up for the day. Now you can shred guitar all day long and practice your scales but to be a real blues man you gotta be able to write songs. Brad delivers track after track, with a one spin of “My Faith Has Been Broken” you will hear and feel the true soul of an artist. Baring all Mr. Wilson has a variety of guitar tones and phrasings just as a soul has feelings traveling through life. Throwing out a variety of techniques to express the back drop of, “Cool Runnin” you might just want to keep you drink back from the speakers for it might just freeze over. As the set continues the warming track of “Home” rolls into your ears. With the intricate acoustic picking Brad creates an earthy track that will make you want to sit back in your seat. Taking deep breath you will be able to close your eyes and envision fond memories of yesteryear and envision what might be next. One of things that really strikes me about release is that it truly takes you on a journey. The fact is, you could spin this record in a room full of different people and just about everyone would find a track that they could latch on to. I really liked the throwback 50’s boogie vibe injected into the cut, “Black Coffee At Sunrise”. Closing my eyes I can see beautiful women in ponytails and poodle skirts spinning the night away into the late hours in a diner. Without a doubt though the main character on this epic release is the guitar. With bends and trills, blistering runs and ghost notes the guitar is upfront and in your face. Talking all throughout this album the six strings have a voice of their own expressing true human passion and sorrows. It’s amazing what the guitar can to in the hands of a man that has lived life and can project that through his instrument. In “Sugar Sweet” it can sit back and jam or light up the heavens. Rounding out the album is “Never Again”, with high gain guitars that sing to the heavens. Wether you are heartbroken or a heartbreaker this track will speak to you. I would recommend this album to those that like Rock, Blues, Pop and Country. There is a little bit here for just about anyone, so give it a spin and these “Blues” will take away any storms or “Thunder” and turn them into sunny days.
Man.Goes Human - As this collection spins I close my eyes and I find myself on a bus traveling to an unknown destination. My head leans against the cold glass and I wonder how I got here. Man Goes Human has a wonderful knack for writing heartfelt songs that make you ponder life and the curves in it. Their song, “No See” has a modern The Doors feel to it. It has a loose feel and you aren’t quite sure where the song is going to go. It has a free-flow Jazz type feel to it while held in a rock structure. On "Together for Eternity", you have a lone man and his guitar. It takes a real talent for a singer/songwriter to record something so stark and have it feel so warm and full. I don't think I have heard such a beautiful acoustic guitar tone in such a long time. Gears switch a bit on, "Fading" the acoustic work is accompanied by a stinging electric and soulful female vocals. Things really spice up at the 3:21 mark where a full rhythm section comes and brings the emotions to a musical peak. If you are the type of person that likes cookie-cutter la-de-da Pop songs MGH is not for you. They challenge the typical notion of a beautiful song. They will take you on a ride of not just the senses but also the mind. With a sharp left turn Man.Goes Human throws in a dash of Electronica flare on "Ba Ba Black Sheep". At the 2:01 mark they break down and throw in a Dance beat that proves quite infectious. I look around yeah, people are staring at me dance, listener be warned. “Leave Me or Love Me" rocks things up a notch over a twisted love affair. With guitar work that sounds crinkled in just the best way you are far from feeling sorry for the victim as the drum and bass work wind you up. Man.Goes Human crank out a nice tension/release rocker on "I'd" that explains just about what any man goes through when they are truly in love with a muse that takes them too far. Rounding out the set is the noodling track “EEEEE”. The notes off the electric guitar will spin around your ears like blues rock bliss. Soulful vocals soar to the sky while the bass guitars begs you to dance, and the drums suggest you grab your love. I would highly recommend this collection to those that like Rock, Alternative, Progressive and Indie. Man.Goes Human are a unique act that deliver top shelf goods. Don’t ask, just go and listen. You will not regret it.
Gringo Mariachi - With the opening lines I close my eyes and find myself in an open field. Picturesque clouds are scattered across the sky. Bare foot I run through the fresh early summer grass and extend my arms out as if I could fly. Chill Magnet has created a set of songs that make your heart feel free. Acoustic guitars seem strummed as if there wasn't a care in the world. The drums keep everything anchored to the ground but make you want to bounce and jump to the sky. Electric guitar work spins around each track and adds just the right amount spice so that they can melt in your mouth. Electronic elements help to keep the set fresh and mix things up a bit allowing each song to have their own character. Bass guitar work brings the low-end and aids with the dance factor Chill Magnet serves up. Vocals slide out of mouth and into your ears like an arrival of a long lost friend. While some of the lyrical content may seem dour C.M. do well to put a sunny spin on any cloudy day. My personal favorite was the cut, "In Mexico". With its playful nature talking about a life that is on the edge it seeps into my mind and I smile knowing everything is going to be alright. I would recommend this to those that like Emo, Alternative, Indie, Rock or Pop. With dedication and hard work Chill Magnet is only going to get better from here. The question is, are you coming along for the ride?
"City in the Dark" - With the opening bass notes sounding rather brooding EIA transform this track quickly with overlaying some beautiful guitar textures. The drum work pairs with the bass and creates a strong backbone for this song. With awesome cracks off the snare, delicate driving ride work in the verses and massive kick presence throughout. The drums do well to help create a wall of sound that seems like it cannot be moved. In contrast the vocals drop a beautiful melody like a perfect string of pearls. In tandem with the guitars the vocals create an angelic atmosphere that compliments the rhythm section. There is a push/pull dynamic between the verses and choruses that makes this a great Alt Rock song. The guitar solo takes this track over the top. While it remains clean in texture it sounds as if it is shakingly walking a tightrope trying not to fall as it navigates the obstacles in the narrative. A beautiful wonderful story is being told here. I would recommend this track to those that like Rock, Alt Rock and Pop.
“Electric Thumb” - As clean electric guitar chords bounce around inside my ears I can feel a true hop in my step and then EIA unleash the rock. They kick in the gain and crank up the drum power and push past wonderful Pop textures. I really liked the ascending guitar chords that helped take the track up a notch. Drum work matches mellow sections as well as when things get cranked up. The bass guitar sits well in the mix and lends the cut some punch while playing against the rest of the band to create some wonderful ear candy. Vocals come across loud and clear and soar when cranking out the choruses. Even in Arcadia are awesome at creating classic tension and release dynamics here. While this song has some beautiful moments it can also rage like a lion. EIA are definitely a force to be reckoned with. I would recommend this track to those that like Rock, Alt Rock, Hard Rock and Pop.
Violent Lies - clean guitars chime in as the song opens building tension till the distorted guitars take over. These are the type of songs that are always interesting to listen to. One guy alone in a room covering all the bases. It can be tricky business playing all the instruments. It can be challenging to change “characters” and approach each instrument as a separate entity. As songs go it is constructed rather well. At the about the 1:53 mark Mike opts for something of a break down section and cuts the time on the drums allowing the song dynamics flourish and have character. The guitars for the most part grind and have a wall-of-sound character with overdriven fuzz characteristics. The bass guitar is rather buried however there is a low-end present that helps the track have power. Drums do well to help this track shine and definitely accentuate the dynamics. Vocals sit in the mix well and serve the Hard Rock/Alt Rock dynamic that is present here. It will be interesting to see how Mike Lowery grows as he progresses and evolves. I would recommend this track to those that like Hard Rock, Indie ,Alternative and Underground genres.
The View - As the opening chords play I feel like I am about to open my eyes and see something awesome like the Grand Canyon. On the opening track you get a great dose Pop/Rock has a snap in its step and a tempo that will make you get up and “do”. You can’t help but feel a bit inspired and want to commit acts of positivity. Transitioning into the track, “Photo in Your Mind” Carl relies on a traditional Pop/Rock/Folk approach with Acoustic guitars that sway with chords that seem as light and effortless like the wind blowing. Bass notes push the song with low end power that give the song a concrete foundation. Percussion work is tight and right on beat countering the vocals and accentuating points that peak or valley as the story is told. Keyboard work lays in the background like beautiful flowers on a picturesque summer day. As a singer Carl is not going to shatter the glass in your windows nor is he going to tickle your ears with Autotune tricks of wizardry. He is merely a man that sings honestly from his heart. He welcomes you into his world and shares his life. He is straight up, honest, a true artist and his voice rings with soulful authenticity. There are really cool little nuggets of sonic bliss found on this EP. On the cut, “The View” the organ work that swells weaves through the track as if it is another voice singing in tandem with Carl. As the Rock aspect of Carl’s abilities come to the fore in “Reason and Rhyme” your ears receive a track that mirrors how life can feel manic sometimes. This is the type of music that I would want to put on those days I am just hanging around the house before I goto work. Life does all it can to drag you through the muck. Sometimes you just need to hear something that is inspiring before you head out. As you proceed on this journey though Carl’s mind you come across “You’re All That I Want” where his voice soars in desire to the point that you feel his passion in your gut. Rounding out this collection is the track, “Bright” which invites you to come out and enjoy life and all it can be. While life can throw you a curve or dip from time to time all you have to do is play this release and you will see a wonderful view.
“On a Rainy Day” - Grenouer have the ability to write great songs that hit the heart hard. Here they deliver a video to unite with their song, “On a Rainy Day”. I love the song on it’s own. The bass guitar plows through your mind and when the guitars drop they cut so hard that you feel that you have been personally affected. Drum work pummels hard as the emotion the band launches into this song. Vocals sung from the gut sound as if they are born out of an aching heart. As dour words drift across your screen you see beautiful thoughts remembered. Shot as if it was pulled from someones broken memories a life lost is on display. Cold stark nature scenes seem evocative of a life once soft and beautiful now cold and lost. I would highly recommend checking out this video if you are a fan of Hard Rock/Heavy Metal genres or if you are a fan of independent film in the Noir genre. Quite simply Grenouer has done it again.
Music From the Underground - From the opening notes off guitar this album takes flight and refuses to come down. With a little bit of Rock n’ Roll, a dash of Punk and a twist of Alternative Respublica Mars crank out a killer album that delivers. Mass hooks will pull you in and when the band pauses a second it is only for your sake. Guitars on this record set the new standard in classic tone. Whether it is clean guitar work that sparkles the air around you to the down and dirty grinding rhythm chops you will be hard pressed to stay still. There is a true groove factor that has been missing in Rock for quite some time and Republic Mars is here to fill the void. Lead work sounds as if it is effortlessly flying out of fingers on fire. Bass guitar work hits like a 12 ton concrete hammer. Ballsy and full of power each song is given a strong dose of girth that will have the ladies swinging and thrusting all night long. Backed up against the wall of guitars the bass has plenty of room to breathe and both elements are clearly heard. The interplay is a beautiful sonic dance that help the songs come to full fruition. Backing it all up is the drum work that cracks like a cocking shotgun, and explodes on each track as if the trigger gets pulled as fast as possible. The whole band works together like a well oiled machine and delivers quality Rock on every single song. Up front and in your face are the vocals that with out a doubt hold nothing back. With the right amount of harmony and melody mixed with strutting snarl the vocals will inspire you to get off your seat and sing along. From the opening track of “Hudozhnik” you will be propelled into sheer Rock n’ Roll bliss. As things twist a bit on “Willis” you will find yourself on the edge of your seat. “Epoch” will have you rising and wondering what is next and when the other shoe will drop. Soothing Bass lines only fool you till the guitar hammer hits you over the head. A molten metal version of the Blues is dancing on “Crazy”. Mellowing acoustic guitars of “Osen” will let you grab your girl and sway her into ecstasy. Rounding out the set is “Coda” that will have you pumping your fists and wanting more. Unfortunately your only recourse it to go back to track one till the next release, but fear not there is plenty of rock to tide your over for quite some time.
"In the Dark" - As the oscillating synths swirl around my head I close my eyes and see myself driving through a post-apocalyptic city in a convertible with the top down. The wind in my hair makes me feel alive but as my eyes glance across the horizon I realize everything is oh so wrong. Stark cold electronic landscapes rise and fall with the peaks and valleys in this song. With textures familiar with yesteryear Shadows and Mirrors take you through a journey in the dark with a modern twist. With a sampled kick and snare pulsing in your ears you will find yourself looking over your shoulder to see if the footsteps you hear are really there. From traditional grinding tones to angelic notes that float overhead the key work build an aura of anticipation and tension. Vocal interplay with all the elements at hand are done in a spoken word fashion in a matter-of-fact type of delivery. There is nothing hidden here and you are left to face your own demons. The song is crafted rather well and if you are a fan of Darkwave, Industrial, Electronica, EDM or Alternative genres I would check this track out. While many are scared of the dark, this is not a track to fear but rather embrace and wait for the cannibal headhunters to arrive.
"To Burn: Breathe" - There are many ways to get someone's attention, for this instance Ultrafunctional decide to hit you over the head with a large heavy object. I don't think I have ever heard such a heavy song from a group fronted by an acoustic guitar. This is the type of song that I could envision Pink Floyd writing if they were still relevant today. Lead vocals snake into my mind as if they were slyly sung by a sinister ringmaster. On display here you have a wonderful interplay of instruments in a slightly unorthodox fashion. The acoustic guitar clearly sits up front and swaggers chords from its sound hole like a seductive mistress up to no good. Bass guitar lines groove through the track with just the right amount of bounce. Drum work holds the beat and serves the song well. What's interesting is that the metal work is kept extremely low in the mix allowing the bass to breath and the kick and snare to pound creating the heavy atmosphere. Electric guitar passages are rather subdued as well except for when the lead work is allowed to poke through and add the correct amount of flame. I would highly recommend this track to those that like Folk, Alternative and Americana, but there is such a boutique factor at play I think that those who usually favor Pop music might like his track as well. One thing is for sure, this is a track that you will want to burn to your player so that you can breath all that Ultrafunctional has to offer.