All posts filed under: Music



“Light Shines Through” is an original holiday song performed by Deena & Jon Fried (from The Cucumbers) with the Hoboken Holiday All-Star Band featuring Julio Fernandez (from Spyro Gyra) (lead guitar), Ed Fogarty (guitar), Gary Frazier (bass), Dave Stengel (drums), Tom Vincent (mandolin), Annalee Van Kleeck & Abbe Rivers (background vocals). The song has become part of the fabulous annual Hoboken Holiday Banding Concert for several years. Most importantly, the song is available on iTunes, spotify and cdbaby with all proceeds going to benefit the Community Foodbank of New Jersey. I can’t think of a better reason to stop, listen, think and then buy a download of this track.  Not only is it a great and warm piece of music, but it’s for one of the most necessary reasons I know of.  So please enjoy “Light Shines Through” and let it become part of your holiday tradition.


A music major confesses: I love rock and roll

Majoring in music was never the most practical choice, but I did it anyway. I double-majored in philosophy and called myself “pre-law” for any concerned parents who thought I was wasting my education, then found my career path by spending all my time at the Duke newspaper office. The funny thing was the music itself, which bore little resemblance to the music that fueled my life and does so to this day. I spent four semesters studying music history, the first one and a half covering the era before Bach. The last ended with some comical avant-garde stuff that had the more delicate ears in the class racing to leave the room. Stockhausen might not be a “trigger warning” requiring a safe zone, but it’s safe to say we didn’t all run out and buy CDs of whatever he was composing. Outside class, I was still listening to the music that was my lifeline as a nerdy high schooler back in the days when “nerd” and “geek” were not good things to be. I had …


ALBUM REVIEW: JARED RABIN, “Something Left To Say”

Call it what you will – “alt country”, “americana” and any amount of hyperbole, but Jared Rabin’s debut solo album, Something Left To Say, is wonderful.  This Chicago singer-songwriter, who previously played in Falldown, has issued one very fine and complete piece of work. The melodic structures are just right, while the arrangements and vibe of each song fits perfectly, along with a top notch production.  From the moment the album begins with the title track, there is a warmth and deep feeling that immediately draws you into listening.  Slide runs and soulful organ undertones paint this song as a perfect start, leading into the more rocking “Eight Trips Around The Sun”, which has an upbeat vibe with sweet harmonies on the chorus and “A Memory Forever” reminds me in some ways of a Neil Young-flavored piece. “Not Heart Broken” is another standout; 12-string strokes help color this with some tasteful solo punctures in between the verses; “Nothing I Can Do” is pure down-home country with a slightly Celtic edge and nice fiddle fills and …

coney hatch

EhOR: Coney Hatch walked the fine line between metal and AOR

Editor’s note: In this ongoing series of posts about Canadian AOR acts of yore, Jay Kumar looks back at Toronto hard rockers Coney Hatch. The hard rock and metal scene in the early 1980s was jam-packed. In the U.S., Van Halen led the way, providing inspiration for a slew of homegrown bands featuring flamboyant frontmen and virtuoso guitar gods. In Europe, mainstays like Black Sabbath and Judas Priest competed with upstarts like Iron Maiden, Motorhead, Scorpions and many others. And in Canada, Rush, Triumph and April Wine were the pacesetters. It was from that last scene that Coney Hatch emerged, quickly gaining notice in their homeland but never progressing beyond footnote status south of the border. Coney Hatch was a four-piece out of Toronto named after the London mental asylum Colney Hatch. Formed in 1980 by bassist-singer Andy Curran and drummer Dave Ketchum, the band didn’t really pick up steam until singer-guitarist Carl Dixon and lead guitarist Steve Shelski joined a year later. The band caught the eye of Pye Dubois, who made his name …

ALBUM REVIEW: Gideon King & City Blog, ‘City Blog’

Though Gideon King’s band sounds more like a digital music publication than a collaborative group of musicians, “City Blog” is actually an amalgamation of who’s who when it comes to jazz, rock, pop, and fusion. Don’t believe me? I don’t often simply list the members of a band, but when you have players like this, how can you not? Joining guitarist, composer, and producer King are: Bassists James Genus and Matt Penman. Genus serves as bassist for both Herbie Hancock and Daft Punk (begging the question of how versatile can one person possibly be?), as well as sitting in with the Saturday Night Live band, while Penman is a noted upright bassist in the New York City jazz scene. Both noted for their eclectic skills, Willard Dyson and Donald Edwards contribute drums, while Kevin Hays, who’s toured with John Scofield and recorded with Brad Mehldau, is master of the keys. Donny Mccaslin, one of the hottest names in New York jazz, sits in on tenor sax and flute on two tracks as well. On vocals are Marc Broussard, who’s well known for his …


Welcome To Pittsburgh #7: The Turbosonics – Tres Gatos Suave

Inconsistencies, dagnammit! I want to really, really like, to love, to adore The Turbosonics‘ new CD, Tres Gatos Suave, a meaty slab of surf from one of Pittsburgh’s mightiest purveyors of the form. But, for every track like opener “Ricochet,” a real classic 60s rocker, there’s a dud like the trying-too-hard-to-be-Floydian “Meat Slicer From Outer Space.” For every surprise like the Motorheadish “Black Spoon Fuzz,” these guys take some cringe-worthy, culturally inexcusable missteps. (Really? Sampling Pulp Fiction in “Dune Burger?” What is this? Sloppy homage a la 1994? I can tell just by listening to your songs that your surf cred runs deeper than THIS!) ((Grumble.)) Oh yeah, right, WELCOME TO PITTSBURGH!!! Where was I? Broke my consternation. O yeah. Now, I like The Burghersturbosonic. The trio’s first disc was sadly overlooked and, though ’twas a little rough in spots, it showed tremendous promise. Live, these guys can be mean. And don’t mess with bassist Keith Caldwell. Man will spout some social justice your way! All in all, the new disc is a step in the right direction. Closer “Marcellus Waltz” (With …

The Glorious A Shot b&w


This is the new, second single from Australia’s The Glorious; their new album, Falcon, will be released in the U.S. on January 8th, 2016, but in the meantime, Popdose is pleased to present to you this taster of things to come. Just to give you a little background: the band was founded in Melbourne in 2004 by Mather and longtime friend and collaborator Dan Gard’ner, The Glorious began as a vehicle for Mather’s songwriting before evolving into a full band. The band’s lineup solidified with the addition of Joel Loukes (bass) and Danny Stain (guitar). The release of a self-titled EP in 2005 immediately announced the band’s trademarks: expertly crafted songs, rich melodies, and atmospheric soundscapes.  And now, they’re here to give you more…


ALBUM REVIEW: McAlmont & Butler – The Sound Of…McAlmont & Butler (1995, reissued 2015)

Even the best laid plans never quite work out as expected. When David McAlmont first met Bernard Butler in London’s Jazz Café in 1994, both were still reeling following acrimonious splits—McAlmont’s dream pop duo Thieves had just broken up and Butler had left Suede during the recording of the band’s sophomore LP, Dog Man Star—and  neither wished to enter a new musical marriage: the initial plan was only to record a pair of songs for a single and create what Butler described as a “perfect moment in pop”. That their collaboration immediately resulted in the majestic, transcendent “Yes”—inspired by Dusty Springfield’s “I Only Want to Be With You”—and the sprawling, soaring “You Do” threw bit of a spanner in the works: why stop at a single? Why not record a full album? With a bit of prodding from industry types, the pair returned to the studio to complete nine more songs and assemble enough material for an album that was never meant to be in the first place. By The Sound Of…McAlmont & Butler‘s release, ten of its eleven songs (“The Right Thing” was the lone …


ALBUM REVIEW: SKY PONY, “Beautiful Monster”

This seven-piece (!) Brooklyn-based outfit comes with a Broadway/theatre pedigree, as it’s driven by Kyle Jarrow, an Obie-award winning writer and his wife, lead singer, Lauren Worsham, who’s a Tony award nominee.  Usually, I’m a bit put off by “theatre rock”; it’s usually too pompous for its own good; too bombastic and same sounding – all technique and no heart – but this – this is GREAT. Opening with an angular, choppy guitar that just grabs you on “The Watcher”, the track has an early ’80’s pop feel, with its synth lines and overall structure but is an immediate favorite.  The vocals are strong; the harmonies on the chorus are tight and damn, this is already really good.  I can easily imagine this fitting into the playlists of the wonderful, late-lamented WLIR radio.  “Regret It In The Morning” carries the same driving thrust; a propulsive bass line, melodic and catchy; “Doctor” motors along in a manner reminiscent of Howard Devoto’s “The Rainy Season” – a sculpted, dramatic and powerful piece and “Vampire” has neatly off-kilter …


E.P. REVIEW: JENN VIX (Featuring John Ashton), “Strange Buildings”

Over this last year, Rhode Island’s Jenn Vix has offered up two very fine single tracks that Popdose has had the pleasure of introducing you to.  Now the Rhode Island native serves up a terrific five-song e.p.; this time, she’s aided and abetted by legendary guitarist John Ashton of Satellite Paradiso and formerly of The Psychedelic Furs.  The combination of crunchy guitars, strong melodies and some highly danceable beats add up to a great offering of songs. The first track, accompanied by a video, is the highly tuneful “The Woman With No Fear” – powerful, interesting lyric and a sultry vocal that carries the song perfectly, especially on the chorus; “Don’t Let Go” has a pure early-’80’s kind of electro-dance feel with some sharp guitar stabs that fill the track and “Let Me In” carries me right back to the club days of my youth – I can imagine hearing this on the late, great WLIR.  Ms. Vix’s voice is a wonderful instrument on its own; warm and embracing, yet cooly sexy and it’s evident …



It’s become something of a rarity in these last two decades or so to hear the story or motivation as to the writing of songs; it’s a lost art, and in many ways, has become trivialized in the go-go-go/no attention span era that we’re living in now. I’m not one who passes by an opportunity to hear the backstory of a song.  And it’s been a long time since I heard one as gripping as the writing and recording of Loveland Duren’s recent single, “Johnny Boy”.  If you read my previous review of the single, you have an idea.  However, in this very special video, filmed beautifully by Elder drummer Ian Duren, you get the full scope of the how and why.  Vicki Loveland and Van Duren tell the story with love, reminiscence and a great deal of heart. If you haven’t heard the song before, here’s your opportunity to fall in love with it and let it become a part of you – but first, take five minutes to understand the making of “Johnny …



These five songs are a good introduction to Patrick Breen, a New York City-based singer-songwriter who’s been making the rounds for a few years.  More Than Magic is his recorded debut and his sound is a mix of smooth and laid-back; tuneful and embracing. “Easy Feeling” gives you a good indication of how refined his sound and his voice is; some very tasteful guitar and a fine production brings the listener into the vibe; “Winds Of Change” has a soulful feel with its horn punches, Hammond organ and backing vocals and “Too Late” is acoustic driven – both by piano and guitar. All in all, a very satisfying listening experience.  Relaxing, skilled and some very refined songwriting.  Looking forward to hear what Patrick Breen does next. More Than Magic is available now


BOXSET REVIEW: THE WHO, “The Track Singles, 1967 – 1973”

So now we’re on boxset number three – the period that truly defined The Who, as they transitioned from “pop” band to “rock legends”.  After their one year stint with Robert Stigwood’s Reaction Records, managers Kit Lambert and Chris Stamp went to Polydor Records and were granted their own label – not just as a showcase for The Who, but to sign and nurture new talent.  In the big picture, they were a remarkable success, gracing the world with The Jimi Hendrix Experience (who actually did have the first Track single release), Thunderclap Newman and The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown.  Still, the label’s focus was on The Who and their run got off to a rousing start with the forever gorgeous and chill-inducing “Pictures Of Lily” backed with John Entwistle’s dive-bomber bass-driven “Doctor, Doctor”. In this box, you get 15 (yes, that’s right – fifteen) 45’s, all re-cut/remastered and sounding as explosive and as powerful as they did upon first release.  And you have a veritable “Who’s Greatest Hits” package:  “I Can See For …



This year’s welcome return of England’s post punk provocateurs The Pop Group saw their first album in over 30 years, the critically-acclaimed Citizen Zombie – and now, they have released a video of their track “S.O.P.H.I.A.”, taken from the aforementioned. The video comes as a round-up from a year of extensive worldwide touring, which included the Glastonbury Festival, and more recently, a guerrilla gig at Banksy’s Dismaland and finishing the year with a three date tour in Japan. Beloved bands such as The Minutemen have cited The Pop Group over the years as one of their greatest influences and upon listening to any of their catalog, you can see why. So after a lengthy absence, here is…  THE POP GROUP:


BREAKING NEWS: R&B legend Allen Toussaint dies at 77

New Orleans musical cornerstone Allen Toussaint has died at the age of 77 in Madrid, Spain.  The award-winning artist was known for songs like “Working In The Coalmine”, “Southern Nights” and “Fortune Teller”. He suffered a heart attack shortly after coming off stage at Madrid’s Teatro Lara on Monday night;he was found in his hotel and resuscitated – but suffered a second heart attack en route to hospital.



How I missed this on its release in early 2014 is beyond my comprehension, but after seeing them a few nights ago on PBS’ “Music City Roots:  Live From The Factory” and having been given a copy of this album, I sat down and had a fine time working my way through the eleven stellar tracks.  This Texas-based duo of Anthony Trube (vocals/keyboards) and Anthony Farrell (vocals/guitars) share the songwriting duties and have been a force since they first met up in the late ’90’s. Having put out three albums between 2004 and 2011, they wound up signing to the reactivated Ardent Music for a 3 album deal in 2013; this disc, Accumulator, is the first fruit of that union.  Kicking off with the first single and video, “What’s On Your Mind”, it’s fitting that this track sound so reminiscent of the Hi Records sound, circa the Al Green/Willie Mitchell era of successes; “Soul Navigator” gets right to the Memphis heart of the matter with Steve Cropper-styled guitar runs and a tight rhythm that immediately …


EhOR: Welcome to the Great White North

There’s a lot to love about our neighbors to the north: Wayne Gretzky, SCTV, Michael J. Fox. Even though it’s only got a tenth of the population of the U.S., Canada has contributed much to American pop culture both good and bad, but one of its major contributions has come in the form of AOR: Album-oriented radio. As discerning Popdose readers no doubt already know, AOR was an FM radio format that took hold in the 1970s focusing on album rock. In its heyday in the ’70s and ’80s, AOR allowed DJs to dig deeper into albums to highlight songs that weren’t necessarily considered single-worthy. Eventually, the format became a lot more tightly controlled and there was much less freedom to play so-called deep tracks. In the late ’80s and early ’90s, AOR started to fade as other formats emerged: modern (or alternative) rock, adult alternative and active rock, which focused on harder-edged music. The AOR sound was born from progressive rock, the freeform format that came out of the 1960s in which a DJ …


Review: Frog Eyes – Pickpocket’s Locket

You’ve got to hand it to Canadien Carey Mercer, the principal performer-songwriter behind the baroque pop outfit Frog Eyes, whose Pickpocket’s Locket LP is licking ears these days around these parts: he is nothing is not diverse. Owner of a truly elastic set of vocal chords he uses to over-enunciate phrases to the point of the dramatique, Mercer also has knack for almost consciously anti-band multi-track recording. This was evidenced on previous recordings, where he buried the listener in layers of sound. As the project Blackout Beach (find it), where he obsessed over the lost love of the mystical “Donna” in majestic song cycles, Mercer was more than a half-step removed and isolated, sometimes to the point of iciness. The electric guitars were occasionally alien-estranged and stripped bare. It is with a state of shock, then, that I report that Pickpocket’s Locket is a kind of antithesis to Blackout Beach’s Skin of Evil LP – a warm, inviting record filled with plaintive strings, organ, pedal steel and vibraphone and, more importantly, one that is impossible to …



With all the recent talk and writing about the return of the original Zombies, touring and performing their 1968 masterpiece Odessey & Oracle, I thought it might be nice to break down the album that would have appeared afterwards, had it been released. Everyone knows that The Zombies had already called it a day before Columbia Records even released Odessey & Oracle; how Al Kooper championed it and cajoled the heads of Columbia to issue it (finally) and how “Time Of The Season” became a massive – but fluke – hit in 1969.  Once this happened, The Zombies were in demand again but Colin Blunstone, Hugh Grundy and (the now sadly deceased) Paul Atkinson were tending to other matters.  Rod Argent and Chris White took the reins and headed into the studio to record a “follow up” single for “Time Of The Season” – Chris White at the producer’s helm; Rod Argent handling keyboards and lead vocals.  Joining them in the studio were Bob Henrit on drums, Jim Rodford on bass and Russ Ballard on …

The Bluebonnets Band


This terrific video – and fantastic song – hit the net a few days ago.  Now Popdose is proud to share with you the newest video and latest track from Austin, Texas’ own BlueBonnets.  Just in case you didn’t already know, this sprirted, hard rocking and dynamic sounding foursome is driven by guitarist/singer Kathy Valentine, once of The Textones and The Go-Go’s and bassist/singer Dominique Davalos. An entertaining video (how often do you get to say THAT anymore), it features an appearance from Jimmie Vaughan, a 1940 Mercury and a Flying V being wielded the right way (where have I seen that young lady with the yo-yo?).  And once this video has whetted your appetites, be on the look out for the next BlueBonnets album – you’re not going to want to miss it. So sit back and enjoy:



This is rock and roll, the right way – the way we first experienced it as kids – songs about women, life, aggravation – at a breakneck pace and full-on throttle.  Such is the new album from Denver-based trio, The Yawpers.  Filled with energy, drive, sonic assaults and some great howling vocals, courtesy of singer Nate Cook. Starting with the opening track, “Doing It Right”, a classic rave-up with some monster slide guitar runs and what sounds like an acoustic guitar gone electric and haywire – leaves you breathless!  “Deacon Brody” is another speed-of-light pounder, thumping along and grinding the strings in desperate riffage; “Beale Street” is an elegant, mandolin and fiddle driven hyperdrive fest that makes you pound your foot along but then turns clever little grooves on the end of the verses and “Tied” is, although more subdued, dark and menacing with those twanging acoustic guitars unleashed. “Kiss It” is a whirlwind of fast pace, swirling melody, classic boogie and explosive moments; “3 A.M.” has a minute’s worth of a hypnotic, dense opening …