All posts filed under: Music

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POPDOSE VIDEO PREMIERE: THE MONKEES, “You Bring The Summer”

And as quickly as we premiered “She Makes Me Laugh”, here now is another brand new track from The Monkees’ forthcoming album, “You Bring The Summer” – this one written by Andy Partridge of XTC.  A stunningly perfect/apt track for the oncoming warm weather and an exercise of pop magnificence, it’s classic Partridge executed by a classic Monkees performance.  Small wonder – Partridge has always been a fan of The Monkees. It makes you wonder “can this album get any better”?  You bet. Good Times will be released on Friday, May 27th, 2016. http://www.monkees.com/

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THINKING INSIDE THE BOX SET: Cherry Red Producers Tell All

  Long before Prince’s death, fans were wildly discussing if and when the vast contents of his audio library – the legendary vault – would be officially released. While former labels, associates, band members and distant relatives jockey for position as the estate ambles through probate, one can only hope they archive, release and celebrate his work as well as London’s Cherry Red Records has been doing for years in a wide variety of musical arenas. Box Sets are nothing new; from the bloated “scrape the archives” cash-ins that just about every major artist puts under the Christmas tree to focused niche sets like Nuggets and Children of Nuggets. Cherry Red has been digging gold out of the 1970s and 1980s alternative underground they way Nuggets celebrated psychedelia. A few years ago, they released the stunning 5CD set, Scared to Get Happy: A Story of Indie Pop 1980-1989. The set brilliantly restored more than 100 tracks that in many cases were never issued on CD or digital platforms, or if they were, they weren’t prominent …

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ALBUM REVIEW: BLUE ORCHIDS, “The Once And Future Thing”

Once upon a band called The Fall, Martin Bramah was the original guitarist in this most important and seminal Manchester group.  But the overwhelming directing fist of Mark E. Smith dictated otherwise and Bramah left along with original keyboard player, Una Baines, to form The Blue Orchids.  While The Blue Orchids have had their stops and starts over the last 37 or so years, Bramah has seen fit to reform the band with a new line-up, a series of re-issues and a brand new album, The Once And Future Thing.  And for someone who’s been around for as long as Bramah has, he still has a lot of the youthful energy that makes this a fun and interesting listen. Opening with the very mid-’60’s/garage-y “Good Day To Live”, things are off on a very high level; catchy and driving, with the right dash of snarling punk-y vibes for good measure.  “Jam Today” has a late-period Kinks feel and is equally catchy and “Motorway” definitely harkens back to Bramah’s days with The Fall (think “Bingo Master’s …

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SINGLE/VIDEO PREMIERE: THE MONKEES, “She Makes Me Laugh”

How can you not love this?  It’s The Monkees – it’s brand new and it’s as “classic Monkees” and catchy as the day is long.  Penned by Weezer’s Rivers Cuomo and from the forthcoming new album Good Times, this pop-masterpiece has all the right elements – riffs and hooks, melody, great vocals from Micky Dolenz and an overall wonderful vibe. Unlike the comebacks of the ’80’s and the ’90’s that The Monkees made, this new track is exactly what you want to hear from these masters of pop.  And knowing that Micky, Mike and Peter are still here to deliver makes me very glad to still be a fan after 50 years. Good Times will be released on Friday, May 27th http://www.monkees.com/

How FLAUNT Came Together Over Social Media and Crafted a ‘Radio-Ready’ Sound

In this day and age, there are lots of ways to form a band. Friends become bandmates, networking leads to collaboration, and so on. But one of the most interesting and, indeed, modern ways is via social media. Such is the case for FLAUNT, an indie rock/pop duo based both in Colorado and Maine (thanks, interwebz). What brought Justin Jennings and Joe Vitterito, two seemingly disparate musicians, together across such a long divide? The goal of creating song cycles in the era of the single — the devotion to creating art within music. In that same vein, the pair has released an unheard-of 13 music videos over the past four months, along with their latest album, RAVE NOIR, released last month. With the accolades mounting (they received an Independent Music Award in 2014 and three nominations from New Music Weekly‘s New Music Awards), and a curious teaser like, “We wanted to make an album that was reminiscent to some extent of what radio used to sound like,” the duo’s throwback vibe is heartening — at least for …

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VIDEO PREMIERE: Those Pretty Wrongs, “Never Goodbye”

When Burger Records released the “Lucky Guy”/”Fool Of Myself” single last year, I was thrilled to share it with you here.  Now, the first official video from the upcoming self-titled debut album is here as well. If you don’t know, Those Pretty Wrongs is a collaboration between Jody Stephens of Big Star, etc. and Luther Russell of The Freewheelers and they make some incredibly great music together – as warm and soulful as one could hope for.  If your appetite hadn’t been whetted last year, perhaps it will be now with this, a wonderful track called “Never Goodbye”.  Watch and listen.  Mainly listen.  And then go buy the debut album.  Then we can talk about it later… Enjoy! Those Pretty Wrongs will be available as of Friday, May 13th 2016 http://www.thoseprettywrongs.com/

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ALBUM REVIEW: BOB HILLMAN, “Lost Soul”

Popdose first (re)introduced you to Bob Hillman a few months ago with the video for “Big Sur”.  Now, the first full, new album from Bob Hillman in a decade – and produced by legendary singer/songwriter Peter Case – Lost Soul, is out and available and it’s a scorcher.  No frills, no soft soap, no funny business – this is all meat-and-potatoes, straight from the gut and done with skill. Going right for the kill, the album opens with the pointed “I Think I’ve Taken Enough Shit From You This Year” and it’s one of the best fuck-you songs I’ve heard in a long time.  Sometimes, you have to say what needs to be said with no room for misinterpretation and this song says it all; “Overnight Failure” looks at why a relationship goes south and “Big Sur”, as I’ve said before is sweet, wistful and filled with a perspective and maturity.  The very wryly tongue-in-cheek “I’ll Replace You With Machines” is another great swipe – presumably this time, about former bandmates who push you over …

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Video Premiere: Trapper Schoepp – Ogallala

I’ve always been obsessed with songs that mention my hometown of Omaha and it seems songwriters are obsessed with mentioning Omaha in their songs. Waylon Jennings, Tom Waits, Gary Louris, Bob Seger, Moby Grape, John Prine, Counting Crows, They Might Be Giants and numerous other artists have all name dropped Omaha. It’s time to add Wisconsin native Trapper Schoepp to the list, with his song about another city in Nebraska, “Ogallala” from his new LP, Rangers & Valentines.  Ogallala, Nebraska: Population 4,737. Where is Ogallala? If driving on I-80 West to Colorado or East to Omaha, you can’t miss Ogallala, or maybe you can – if you blink. When exiting the interstate at Ogallala, you’ll notice roads named Stagecoach Trail, Pony Express Lane, Chuckwagon Road and Prospector Drive. Within minutes, you quickly get a view of the town’s history. What do you do if you’re a touring band and Mother Nature forces you to exit in Ogallala? Well, you write a song about it. From Trapper himself: ‘Twas the week before Christmas and I-80 was coated in black ice. We were in the middle …

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ALBUM REVIEW: UP THE CHAIN, “The Prison Break”

What had begun as a vehicle for singer-songwriter Reed Kendall’s solo project has now developed into a full band – a rollicking trio from Philadelphia featuring Noah Skaroff on a mean-walking bass and Kirby Sybert on skins.  Up The Chain have a new album, The Prison Break, and this sounds like what a good old-fashioned rock & roll trio should sound like. Kicking off with “Kelly Green”, which is a neat neo-psychedelic opening montage of drone, feedback, some radio snippets and segueing into “Crumbling The Stone”, for some reason, I felt/heard touches of Buffalo Springfield, especially in the harmonies and some of the riffs (nice use of 7th as well); “Sidecar” is a down-home slice of boogie and as catchy as any of those early rock records you listened to when you were a kid in the ’70’s and “Departed Trains” has a cool Chris Isaak-like feel with its heavy reverb and minor chord structures – it’s also a great “cinematic” track as it has atmosphere and visual lyrics.  “Globe”‘s church organ with echo/delay guitar …

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BOOK REVIEW: GARY SHAIL, “I Think I’m On The Guest List”

I’m not someone who would ever think to buy and read an autobiography by an actor; it’s usually not in my crosshairs of interest for reading when it comes to non-fiction.  Even reading autobiogs by rock musicians is a difficult and daunting task – I think I only ever liked one.  But every now and then, you stumble across something that just looks and sounds interesting and intriguing, so you move out of your comfort zone. Such is the case with I Think I’m On The Guest List, written by British actor Gary Shail.  I’ve known about Mr. Shail as he is one of the stars of (conceivably) my all-time favorite movie, Quadrophenia.  Because I hold that film so personally and by happenstance, finding out that he’d written his own story, I thought “this could be interesting.”  I bought a copy and I have to say, with no other criteria to go on, I’m glad I did. More often than not, celebrity autobiographies are filled with the kind of bluster that makes me inevitably hate …

Psychedelic Hip-Hop? Wordsmith and Rapper WiseProof Explains

Although I’m a fan and sometimes-student of music, I’m quick to leap at the chance to explore genres I’m not familiar with. When I heard about hip-hop artist WiseProof, I was so intrigued by his mix of tribal rhythm, R&B, trap, and more, I just had to know more. The best thing about WiseProof is his creative use of lyrics, creating tongue-twisters and sprinkling in a little bit of humor into his work. (If, like me, you’re a bit put off by hip-hop artists who take themselves too seriously, you’ll like this, I promise.) WiseProof has rapidly been carving out a place for himself in this competitive scene, opening for massive artists like Kanye West and Massive Attack. He recently released his newest music video for “More More More More” (see below) and is plotting the release of his new EP later this year. With someone whose sound has been profiled as “trapadelic” (best. word. ever.), we had to know where his inspiration came from. Here are five artists that influenced his musical stylings. 1. …

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POPDOSE VIDEO PREMIERE: BOB MOULD, “Hold On”

There are very few “current” artists around who can actively make me want to watch their latest videos.  Bob Mould is, indeed, one of them.  And this latest video from Patch The Sky, “Hold On” is one of the catchiest tracks from this fine LP – as well, the theme of his spirits leaving his body are a carry-forward, conceptually, from the last video, “Voices In My Head”. Listen and enjoy – it’s a great track and an equally entertaining video. Patch The Sky is available now. Bob Mould is currently on tour.

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MOVIE REVIEW: “THE DAMNED – Don’t You Wish That We Were Dead”

When I first heard that a documentary had been made about The Damned, I was absolutely chomping at the bit to see it.  My love and respect for this band is well known to all and sundry; listening to, reading about and hearing The Damned has always been a constant joy for me.  And thinking that someone had finally taken the time and care to make a film was both a moment of celebration and the thought of “this is long overdue”.  I’ve always felt that The Damned were deserving of so much more of the spotlight, the accolades, the financial rewards that the other bands from that first punk rock wave/class of ’76 seem to have been reaping in the last few years.  Every time I turn around, I hear in commercials and soundtracks the Pistols or Clash or Buzzcocks, etc.  – and I begrudge none of them for gaining their well-deserved place in our culture.  But The Damned, who had an endless amount of talent and a catalog of splendid music, never seem …

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ALBUM REVIEW: Chris Bolger, “No Promises”

Chris Bolger is another of those amazing musicians whose name you’ve heard but can’t understand why he’s not in the stratosphere of stardom.  Well, no worries – his newest album, No Promises is filled with prime cuts of meaty power pop – of the glorious riff-laden, Rickenbacker twang and rich harmonies – and you will have your appetite filled nicely with this sonic blast of damned fine rock and roll.  To sweeten the pot, amongst the players who grace this fine release include (once again) super-drummer Dennis Diken, bass master Graham Maby and the everywhere guitar hero, James Mastro. Opening with the ridiculously catchy and instantly classic “Easier”, my first thoughts were that it was a great, lost Van Duren track (on the order of the Are You Serious? period); that familiar, delicious sound of a Rickenbacker carries this track along with the singalong harmonies; “Souls Turn Blue” feels like one of those great AM radio-friendly singles from around 1971 (!) and the title track, “No Promises” is a tender and melancholic acoustic piece, driven …

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ALBUM REVIEW: BUTCH YOUNG, “Mercury Man”

Butch Young has been one of those names on the scene for a long time – you know you’ve heard of him – you know you’ve heard his music and yet…  But now, with Mercury Man, you should be able to say with solidity and clarity, “yes, I do know Butch Young – isn’t “One Foot In” amazing?” and the like.  A native son of Wayne, New Jersey who once played in the splendid-pop band In Color (where his bandmate was the always-wonderful Nick Celeste and producer was the other-always-wonderful Richard Barone), Mr. Young relocated to California and has been doing his thing out there since. Mercury Man is one of the most solid, cohesive pieces to come into my consciousness and it’s an instant guide for how to write a bold, brilliant pop song.  Except he delivers twelve of them.  Saying they’re Beatlesque may sound overplayed but just with the two opening stunners, “Mercury Man” and “Persephone”, these are glorious post-’68 pieces of orchestrated brilliance – a little Lennon and a little Harrison.  He …

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ALBUM REVIEW: KAREN HAGLOF, “Perserverance And Grace”

2014′ s Western Holiday was a stunning solo debut from guitarist-turned-oncologist-turned guitarist again, Karen Haglof.  Recorded in Brooklyn’s Cowboy Technical Services Recording Rig – run by guitar legend Eric “Roscoe” Ambel and produced by another legend, Steve Almaas, the songs were just an out-and-out rock & roll marvel.  So it come to be that now, Ms. Haglof’s second album, the deftly-titled Perseverance And Grace is about to be unleashed to the public and I would say has surpassed its predecessor (!).  Part of it may be due to working in different atmospheres – Cowboy Rig, Mitch Easter’s Fidelitorium in Kernersville, North Carolina and Old Colony Mastering in Boston – and add the continuing of working together with the same core players (Ms. Haglof on guitar, Mr. Almaas on bass and guitar and Mr. C.P. Roth on drums and keyboards) to give it that even-more seasoned sound (plus, special guest vocalist Liza Colby does not hurt at all…). Take one listen to the title track and you can easily understand why – it’s a thumper of …

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POPDOSE VIDEO PREMIERE: KEVIN SEKHANI, “Carol Ann”

Popdose is pleased to present Kevin Sekhani’s video for “Carol Ann”, from his 2015 knockout album, Day Is Done.  A warm, catchy and sweet tune – as pure American as you could want – Sekhani’s performance is dynamic and embracing.  Once you hear the song (let alone watch the video), it should propel you into wanting to listen to the entire album. Enjoy! Day Ain’t Done is available now http://www.kevinsekhani.com/

POPDOSE PREMIERE, Charlie Haley, “Today”

It’s every rock band’s worst nightmare. No, not talking about the power cutting out just before doing a show in front of a room full of A&R reps. An accident — a tour van accident, to be precise. The kind that would shake even the most brazen lead singer into a complete tailspin. Last year, singer-songwriter Charlie Haley and his bandmates were driving down the highway when their van’s cruise control shaft got stuck and the breaks just plain cut out. If that doesn’t strike enough terror into your heart, they were also in a construction zone going about 90 MPH. Thankfully, Haley’s quick thinking saved their lives –he shifted the van into neutral and pulled out the key, ending the dramatic saga. That near-death experience led Haley to pen “Today,” a rock ‘n’ roll-infused jam that perhaps sardonically begins, “Life is moving way too fast” and continues through all of the proverbial eye-opening resolutions one might have after such a traumatic experience, promising that “it starts today.” Equal parts touching and inspiring, it’s a …