All posts filed under: Music

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ALBUM REVIEW: JOSH FARROW, “Trouble Walks With Me”

This fine debut album from East Nashville singer/songwriter Josh Farrow mixes Southern soul, shades of The Band and Leon Russell and is one of the most wonderfully fluid things I’ve listened to as of late.  The playing is tight; the arrangements are stellar and the production suits the album in the right fashion. From the opening notes of “I’ll Be Your Fool” with its Hammond B3 punches and the instant groove, you know your in for some meaty sounds; “Wash Me In The Well” goes for a deeper blues vibe; his vocals punctuate the melody in an on-the-one manner naturally – he’s one singer who doesn’t over-reach his range and it works on this syrupy grind.  “Before You Leave” is slow, sweet, stark and sad – the use of echo on the vocals works to great effect (and there are some chill-inducing harmonies which makes it even better); “Time (Ain’t No Friend Of Mine)” is another soul-groover with a hypnotic riff and a bass line that carries it all together like a river and “Who’s …

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POPDOSE SONG PREMIERE: SIMONE • DAYDREAMS

After last night’s presidential debate, I think all of our collective brains could use a cleansing. This morning, Simone, a rising talent on the Los Angeles pop scene, dropped her second single, ‘Daydreams’. It’s exactly that, a wistful song of the summer, better late than never as the trees start to turn red, gold and brown — well, everywhere except LA. Deep in the mix, co-produced with Troy Tyrer, you can hear a babbling EDM undercurrent, but Simone’s dreamy, multi-tracked vox are front and center (imagine Enya with Gaga ambitions). The song came about after Simone moved to the City of Angels and was soaking up the indescribable energy around her; she felt both inspired and scared at the same time and wanted to capture that feeling in sound. For lovers of bright and shimmery pop, the track will take the edge off until Lady Gaga and Little Mix set off the big pop music fireworks later this fall. With more music on the way, be sure to connect with Simone via her official website or facebook. Download ‘Daydreams’ on Amazon MP3 or …

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POPDOSE VIDEO PREMIERE: ALLYSON SECONDS, “Little World”

As quickly as we had the review up for Allyson Seconds’ new album, the splendid Little World, we now have the 1st video, the album’s title track.  Catchy, bouncy, joyful, it captures the spirit of this album beautifully.  With instruments by producer and co-songwriter Anton Barbeau and guest bass by XTC legend, Colin Moulding, this is one song that will stick in your head for a long while after listening. Check out the glorious “Little World” from Allyson Seconds.  And then check out the album of the same name. Little World will be available on Friday, October 21st, 2016

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ALBUM REVIEW: LISA SAID, “No Turn Left Behind”

No Turn Left Behind is the debut album from singer/songwriter Lisa Said.  This singer/songwriter/guitarist was born in Cairo (!) and was transplanted first to Memphis (Tennessee, not Egypt!) and then to Chattanooga.  Moving to New York to finish her studies and then to Asheville, North Carolina, her travels took her to D.C. to record the album at the legendary Inner Ear Studios and to have the album co-produced by equally-legendary Inner Ear owner Don Zientara.  This maiden collection of eleven tracks are a wonderful mix of roots-rock, pop and some off-kilter time; her voice is soothing and warm and it’s a perfect balance. Starting with the almost-Zydeco gallup of “Hard To Brake” (nice play on words), this album is off and running, filled with instant likeability; a very capable team of musicians backing her, you get a feeling from Ms. Said that she doesn’t lack confidence in her songs even though this is her first release.  “In Retrospect” has an airiness that has flavors of country/honky tonk and pure pop that works and is a …

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ALBUM REVIEW: JAYMAY, “To Tell The Truth”

Jamie Seerman is the mind and voice of Jaymay; she’s a visual artist and singer/songwriter/performer.  And now, this New York native has just unleashed her 12th overall release (and only 2nd full length album), To Tell The Truth.  A tuneful baker’s dozen of songs that fit the warmth of summer; a quiet evening with your partner – numerous scenarios can be painted as these songs are simply sweet and well-constructed.  Certainly, the playing on this record is full and rich and Ms. Seerman clearly has the goods as a singer and songwriter. “Baby Maybe One Day” is as sweet and embracing as one could ask for in a three minute song; upbeat and charming, it sets the table quickly for the hopeful “I Was Only Lovin’ You”; “I Just Got Over You” is soft, acoustic and shows the skill of the musicians behind this track as they play in a restrained manner, letting the double-tracked vocals be the center of the song and “I Stand Up For Me” is something that harkens back to the …

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Hailey Knox It Outta The Park With New EP, Homage to a Legend

When she was 17, it was a very good year. That is, if you’re Hailey Knox in 2016. The singer/songwriter from Carmel, NY has already been featured in the New York Times, appeared on the Today Show and is setting out on a national tour opening for Charlie Puth. All this to promote A Little Awkward, her enchanting new EP on S-Curve Records. While rage against the parental machine might seem like a dark and odd choice for a debut pop single to anyone over 21, the lyrics certainly stir memories of meddling parents that were intrusive enough when I was trying to hide Prince albums in my bedroom, long before there was social media to be spied upon. Awkward will surely appeal to a generation raised on Disney Channel fare where all parents are bumbling idiots and all kids are wise, sassy, rebellious and usually spies or pop stars. Don’t even get me started on that dog with the freaking blog. Back to Ms. Knox, as stunning as she is, beautiful girls with guitars are a dime a million in …

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POPDOSE VIDEO PREMIERE: PATRICK KRIEF, “All Is Lost”

Popdose is very pleased to present this new single and video from Dears guitarist/singer/songwriter, Patrick Krief.  With this new track,  “All Is Lost,” it’s apparent that recent death and heartache have left an indelible mark on the mindset and music of Mr. Krief. However, with lyrics such as “When all is lost, all is found,” it is also clear that the resilient Mr. Krief is intent on moving forward in life and in love. Following a devastating string of deaths in his life and the end of a romance, Krief poured all the heartbreak, grief, and despair into the twenty songs that make up Automanic Red and Automanic Blue, his unconventional and heart-wrenching diary of a double album, which will be released on September 30th. According to Krief, the lyrics to “All Is Lost” discuss “being held back by the past and the struggle and importance of moving forward.” Poetic and universal lyrics like those in “All Is Lost” blend with dreamy soundscapes and carefully crafted balladry to give Krief his distinct sound. We hope …

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Popdose World Premiere: Stung is a twisted, 3-minute RomCon

In a perfect world, Duckie would have won Andie’s heart in Pretty in Pink; Xander would have wound up with Buffy, or at least Cordelia; and, well if you haven’t yet seen Stranger Things, I’m not going to spoil things for you. Love is a complicated game. Obsession is something else entirely — well, besides that ew de 80s parfum by Calvin Klein. Obsession sets the stage for ‘Stung’ by singer/songwriter/producer Ivan Rubenstein-Gillis. The video, shot by director Larry Ziegelman, plays out like a three minute multiplex RomCom, make that RomCon job, and for the ending, let’s just say, justice prevails… POPDOSE caught up with Rubenstein-Gillis and Ziegelman to find out how they brought Hollywood production values to a Chicago-set video for a New Yorker’s new song. POPDOSE: Who came up with the concept for the video? LARRY ZIEGELMAN (director): I came up with the concept and brainstormed the script with my twin brother Terry. When I listened to the song, it felt like a guy singing about a girlfriend and their less then perfect relationship. I didn’t want to create your typical star-crossed …

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ALBUM REVIEW: ALLYSON SECONDS, “Little World”

It should be an immediate moment of sitting up and taking notice of Allyson Seconds’ latest offering, Little World, just by virtue of the names that appear as players on this 11-track offering.  Is it enough to begin with the likes of Colin Moulding, the legendary bass player/singer/songwriter of XTC or the late Scott Miller, the writer/visionary/driver of Game Theory and The Loud Family?  Probably that’s more than enough, but the only reason you should pay attention is because this is simply an excellent album. A second collaboration between Ms. Seconds and producer/multi-instrumentalist Anton Barbeau has delivered these upbeat, thoughtful, catchy, joyful songs and quite frankly, at this particular moment in time, songs like these are sorely needed.  That energy and positivism is immediately felt on the title track, which opens the album; fast, melodic, simple and captivating – and I love her self-harmonies; “Sun Don’t Shine” has a great, heavy duty “garage” riff with some equally heavy guitar punctuations and a damn get-down, dirty sounding solo.  “Dust Beneath My Wings” is a fairly-known song …

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ALBUM REVIEW: THE MONKEES, “Monkees 50”

Time and time again, compilations of certain artists are released that never seem to do that artist complete justice.  I can think of a handful – if that many – that worked and worked right, but they are few and far between.  Until now, the aptly-titled Monkees 50.  This 3-CD set comprises all The Monkees’ hit singles, non-hit singles and a host of beloved album tracks spanning their 50-year career and this one is about as near perfect as one could get or hope for.  Sure, there are a few songs I personally would have loved to see on there, but as a lifelong fan, the fact that “Love Is Only Sleeping”, “Tapioca Tundra” and “Tear Drop City” are on there is enough for my money.  Again – that’s a personal perspective (along with my typical grousing of “why didn’t they include “The Door Into Summer” or Nesmith’s vocal version of “I Don’t Think You Know Me”” – no tracks from any of the wonderful Missing Links series are here BUT they DID include “You …

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E.P. REVIEW: MACKENZIE SHIVERS, “Living In My Head”

This Tampa native turned New York resident offers up her sophomore effort, this five song E.P., Living In My Head.  Sultry voiced, sonically powerful and interesting with its wide spectrum, this isn’t some quickly thrown together release as a tide over – this effort took thought and planning to execute. The opening track, “This River”, is an exercise of vocal skill and percussion – nothing more.  You get the full weight of Ms. Shivers’ voice immediately and the way the song is arranged, it works.  “Lily-Rose” is a piano-driven pop powerhouse with a dynamic quiet-loud-quiet progression – this is catchy, radio friendly and could easily be a hit.  “Disco’s Dead” is a melding of U2, R.E.M. and a traditional Irish folk feel/vibe; “Names” may be the standout of the collection as it builds slowly and dramatically with a drum-envelope effect, then adding layers of guitar, violin over the basic piano and vocal.  “Tell Me To Run” reminds me a bit of Tori Amos, except with less complexity and a much wider universal appeal. In a …

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ALBUM REVIEW: THE CONNELLS, “Stone Cold Yesterday – The Best Of The Connells”

I can remember those days – the tail end of college and my first job right after graduation – overseeing Roadrunner Records’ “alternative” label.  The radio was always tuned to 106.3 from Eatontown, New Jersey and The Connells were a staple of the rotation between ’90 and ’91.  I even had the chance to see and meet them when one of my label’s bands opened up for them at The Fast Lane in Asbury Park – very nice, kind people all.  Plus, the album Ring was instrumental in helping me get through a very rough break up period in early ’94.  So The Connells’ music, indeed, holds a very special place in my heart and mind. Happy to say that although TVT Records is long-defunct, the suddenly-rising-to-the-fore Concord Bicycle Musical Group has now gained the band’s back catalog and the old albums (including the classics Boylan Heights, One Simple Word and Ring) are now available again in the digital format.  And the band, after a break, is back and on the road, which – and …

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ALBUM REVIEW: LOVELAND DUREN, “Next”

When I introduced you to Loveland Duren and Bloody Cupid in 2013, I’d heard a debut album so strong, so sophisticated and yet soulful that I felt that as a debut, it was as good as gold.  I’m happy to report that Vicki Loveland and Van Duren, the two Memphis legends, are back with their sophomore effort, the aptly titled Next.  I love the whole presentation – the simple, stark cover, the photo inside and the stripped down technical credits.  Where Bloody Cupid was, as I said, sophisticated, colorful and detailed, Next is more stripped down, bare bones or “all meat – no fat”.  The playing is tighter than tight;  the vibes are strong and the performances are even more confident with gutsy, gritty arrangements.  In short, an even greater triumph than before. “Not Allowed In The House Anymore” kicks things off with a socio-political lyrical observation, a hearty, punchy vocal from Vicki Loveland (easily one of my favorite voices around), some beefy horns and clean, crisp guitars.  First track out of the gate sets …

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ALBUM REVIEW: ERIC AMBEL, “Lakeside”

Ten tracks, gifted songwriters and killer performances – what more can be said about Lakeside, the first new album from guitar legend Eric “Roscoe” Ambel in eleven years?  A lot actually.  I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and speaking with Mr. Ambel – one of the nicest human beings you’ll ever meet, a studio whiz, an incredible guitarist and an all around great guy.  And he has quite a fine gathering assisting him on this no-frills, top notch collection of songs.  And, as I would have expected, it sounds amazing, having been recorded at Roscoe’s own Cowboy Technical Services Recording Rig in Brooklyn (anything recorded there has an amazing vibe/feel). Starting with “Here Comes My Love”, written by Scott Kempner, the equally legendary guitarist of The Dictators and Roscoe’s bandmate in The (almighty) Del Lords, this song just flat-out kicks. as Mr. Ambel is aided and abetted by Jimbo Mathus on guitar (who also produced the album), Keith Christopher on bass and Phil Cimino on drums – a damned good start.  Which takes you right …

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ALBUM REVIEW: SETH SWIRSKY, “Circles And Squares”

Sometimes you don’t need hyperbole or over-analysis to sum up an album.  This new album from Seth Swirsky, a 30-plus year veteran of MANY elements in the music industry, Circles And Squares can be summed up in one word: exquisite.  It’s that simple – considering the music is so detailed, intricate and complex.  Imagine all the best elements of what you love in pop:  Brian Wilson during that period from Pet Sounds to Sunflower; The Beatles from Rubber Soul and Revolver and most of Todd Rundgren from Something/Anything to Hermit Of Mink Hollow, plus everything by Emmit Rhodes for good measure.  I know that’s one hell of a build-up and you’re probably thinking “no way, no how”.  Well, it fucking is. Just from the first piano bars of “Shine”, with the most perfect sound and arrangement – you know where it’s going and it’s only going to be more glorious; the title track is this wonderful, slightly quirky meld of Beatles and Beach Boys and the playing through the different movements of the song is …

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The Popdose Mixtape: Labor Day 2016 Edition

Welcome once again to the Popdose Labor Day Mixtape, our annual curated playlist of music and songs about work, economics, and the dubious joys to be found in the Hobbesian nightmare of the American jobscape. As I write this, I’ve got late-stage capitalism on my mind. That’s a hell of a phrase, isn’t it? “Late-stage capitalism.” It sounds like a terminal disease. Maybe it is; that’s an argument for another day. In any case, as we continue to rapidly approach the arsehole end of this phenomenon, what I find striking is how late-stage capitalism seems to have lost interest in keeping up appearances. Our captains of industry once mouthed pieties about freedom and standards of living; but the current buzzword for innovation — disruption — lays bare the violence at the heart of the business model. The mask is slipping. Two developments from the New Economy, in particular, bring this point home. The first is the news — predictable, but appalling still — that Uber, having already decimated taxi companies and car services by undercutting …

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POPDOSE EXCLUSIVE VIDEO PREMIERE: LIZ LONGLEY, “Swing”

When we first introduced you to Liz Longley, the incredibly talented singer-songwriter, we said that we could expect to hear great things.  And with her newest album, Weightless, that promise has been kept.  A bright, yet powerful collection of brand new songs that shows how much Ms. Longley has to offer.  To prove it, Popdose has for you the exclusive premiere of “Swing”, the leadoff track from the album. Says Liz about “Swing”, “it’s a song about not wanting to be held down or held back, which is a theme throughout my new record, Weightless. I enjoyed working with the director Sean Hagwell and his team who really took the time to listen to the song and come to the table with a cool concept for the video. I hope you enjoy the music video we made!” We did.  Now you see what you think.  Listen and dig it. Weightless is available now http://www.lizlongley.com/

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ALBUM REVIEW: CAMILLE BLOOM, “Pieces Of Me”

The first word that comes to mind when listening to Camille Bloom and her new album Pieces Of Me is “warmth”.  The sweetness of her voice; the understated manner of the instrumental arrangements and the calm, stillwater manner in which the songs are performed are powerful and easy to embrace. Starting with “Lift Me Up”, with its soft guitar patterns, emotionally potent strings and harmonies, you can’t help but close your eyes and drift; the title track, “Pieces Of Me” is something of a romp, but yet controlled, with its tight harmonies, galloping bass and zesty mandolin; “Hit The Road” is a country kicker with a propulsive rhythm section and spot-on guitar lines and “Turn Back To You” is another quiet, stripped down piece with guitar, a very restrained drum shuffle pattern, bass, mandolin and delightful harmonies.  “Everywhere But Here” is possibly the most dramatic track on the album with piano, strings and an overall mournful feel; “Novocaine” is powerful yet calm (the recurring theme of these performances) and “In Another Life” is minimalism at …

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ALBUM REVIEW: NICK PIUNTI, “Trust Your Instincts”

You want “immediate classic”?  Well, that’s what you get with this new album from Detroit-area power-pop legend (the classification suits him to a “T”) Nick Piunti on his latest album, Trust Your Instincts.  Take all the best elements of what your interpretation of power-pop is and he mixes it all into one very fine stew that ROCKS.  You can hear the influences all in one place – Cheap Trick, Badfinger, The Buzzcocks, The Beatles, The Raspberries and so on.  The sound/production is wide and crisp; the playing is with an endless amount of firepower and the harmonies are completely (not surprisingly) on-the-one. Starting with the title track, this album goes from 0 to 100 m.p.h. in the blink of an eye; catchy, upbeat, POP with a capital “P” and the perfect (really, only) way to start the collection; “One Hit Wonder” has that Posies/Teenage Fanclub flavor (and a somewhat tongue in cheek message); “Dumb It Down” takes on a Dwight Twilley/Phil Seymour/Shoes vibe with the sweetest harmonies (they’re everywhere on this album) and “Fade Out” …

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THE POPDOSE INTERVIEW: PETER HORVATH of The Anderson Council

Established in 1999, The Anderson Council is the brainchild of singer and songwriter Peter Horvath, whose love affair with late 60’s pop informs and inspires both the band’s sound and direction. The quartet of Horvath, guitarist Dave Whitehead, drummer Chris Ryan and bassist Christopher Rousseau enthralls listeners with irresistible hooks and captivates them with intelligent layers of sound.  This New Jersey quartet are easily one of the best things going – and it’s high time more people got to know about them, hear them and see them. I had the chance for a sit-down with Mr. Horvath, a very astute and funny man who has some damned fine taste in music – anyone who worships Syd Barrett and Andy Partridge is more than alright with me and here’s the fruits of that conversation.  Special thanks to Marty Scott of Jem Records for the connection: The Anderson Council has been around for what – 17 years? For those who aren’t aware, please give us a genesis of the band and how you came together and developed this …

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ALBUM REVIEW: HUNGER, “For Love”

This Vienna, Austria-based trio firmly have their roots in the synth pop of the early-to-mid ’80’s,  but that doesn’t necessarily make them revivalists or that it’s a bad thing.  On For Love, their debut release, while most of the make-up is, indeed, synth-pop, there’s also a certain amount of “current” sounds – enough to keep the listener’s attention.  The key to this album is simply this – synthesized or not, these songs have melody and structure. Yes, the opening track, “Amused” instantly takes you back to 1982 (and for me, the halcyon days of WLIR radio, here in New York).  Close your eyes and you can hear it wedged between The Teardrop Explodes and China Crisis; it’s something that certainly tugs at my nostalgic side and the fact that it has a catchy chorus only sweetens the listening.  “Gold” sounds like a bit more now, with a strong dance groove and some nice harmonies – it should be noted that vocalist Lucas Fendrich is a very good singer; strong and confident sounding.  “Evermore” has a …