All posts filed under: Popdose

13508934_1113294272087501_5023690862974210341_n

SINGLE REVIEW/POPDOSE EXCLUSIVE: THE CYNZ, “Endgame”

It’s been a while now since New Jersey stalwarts, The Cynz, have issued something new – which is no surprise, being that they’re constantly playing out live.  And like its predecessor (“Right To Your Grave”), it’s a major leap forward.  Tight and taut, highly catchy and melodic – I expect to hear this on “Underground Garage” as one of the top songs of the summer.  Everything about this is right – it has motor, beefy rhythm and a fantastic production. So buckle up and sit back for the newest offering from The Cynz – and catch them live if you haven’t yet.  You’ll be in for a thrill ride. “Endgame” is available now https://www.facebook.com/The-Cynz-102647236485548/      

The Anderson Council group photo April 2016

ALBUM REVIEW: THE ANDERSON COUNCIL, “Assorted Colours”

As I’d said previously, when this album and signing was announced, if it wasn’t obvious that The Anderson Council has been one of New Jersey’s best kept secrets, well now, it won’t be… This band, who has been around since 1999 with their deliciously crisp modern take on classic mid-’60’s psychedelic pop and late ’70’s Mod has now signed to Marty Scott’s legendary Jem Records label and Assorted Colours is the first fruit of this new partnership. It’s a “primer” of several previously released tracks from their first three albums plus some new tracks for good measure.  The new tracks have been produced by another New Jersey neo-beat-legend, Kurt Reil of The Grip Weeds and together, they’ve fashioned this (incredibly) fine collection of songs. Meaty and bouncy, a song like “Sitting On A Cloud” is ripe with 12-string Rickenbackers, harmonies, perfect pop structure and sends you into an immediate nostalgia trip of how/when bands knew how to craft songs – and thankfully, that’s what The Anderson Council are here to do. “Girl On The Northern …

ROADTRIP

Popdose Rides Eternal: The Ultimate Roadtrip Mixtape, Reloaded

Roads can take you anywhere, but they have a funny way of bringing you around to the same spots now and then. You pass through these hubs and junctions on your way someplace new — but as you pass, you take a look around and see what’s changed. The Ultimate Roadtrip Mixtape is like that for us here at Popdose. The idea was always to provide a curated soundtrack for your long car ride, with the aim of elevating that everyday experience into the realm of the mythic — to make your ride as cool as the movies — and we seem to keep coming back to it. We’ve gotten periodic reader requests to repost these longform mp3 mixes, and as we have occasionally done so, we have also expanded the scope of the project. That’s the nature of a roadtrip, after all. Constant motion. Constant change. It’s not enough to simply revisit your points of reference. The journey is always getting longer; the scenery grows ever more wild and strange. And the trip has …

Sweet-Crude-2

E.P. REVIEW: SWEET CRUDE, “Critters”

4 highly enjoyable songs from this New Orleans collective; Critters is their 5th overall release and a highly polished collection of songs.  Big, lush, dramatic and thunderous wouldn’t be off the mark and the use of French makes it a nice and clever touch. “Laissez les Lazy” is catchy – a synth riff drives the track with big, echo-ey vocals that use call-and-response; it’s upbeat and joyful (really, all four songs are but this one in particular) and has a danceability about it.  “Isle Dans la Mer” is an almost-classically arranged piece with its strings; it could be part of a theatrical production (there’s a lot going on in this track!); two vocals overlap and then heavy rhythm on the chorus which veers into French; “La Cheminee” rolls along at a near zydeco pace and is light and fun – subsequently, “Mon Espirit” is the most restrained of the 4 songs.  Heavy on rhythm and opening in a stripped-down fashion with just vocals. An interesting sound; an interesting approach.  This E.P. is serving as the …

greg_humphreys_electric_trio

ALBUM REVIEW: GREG HUMPHREYS ELECTRIC TRIO, “Lucky Guy”

The warmth of this album can’t be understated.  North Carolina native turned Brooklyn transplantee Greg Humphreys (late of the glorious Dillon Fence) has now formed a new band, Greg Humphreys Electric Trio, and released a very fine album of eight new songs that stand out upon first listen. The title cut is more than enough to sink your teeth into with its intricate guitar flutters and upbeat shuffle; certainly, the rhumba-like feel and mandolin brings a liveliness to the track but the silky vocals and tight harmonies makes this shine immediately.  “Sayin’ What You Mean” is dreamy; ethereal, soulful and at flashes, jazzy.  Sadly gentle and yet meaty with its arrangements.  “Golden Bone”, on the other hand, has that swampy kind of balls out riffage that I love – the kind you could expect from The Black Crowes or more recently, Luther Dickinson but even then, at the song’s mid-point (this is an instrumental), a pastoral break comes and the song goes from minor to major – like clouds parting after rain – and then …

Lovespeake by Olav Stubberud

ALBUM PREMIERE: LOVESPEAKE, “DNA”

We’re going to do something a little different – rather than a straight review, we’re going to premiere for you the debut album from Norway’s Lovespeake.  And if giving you all ten songs isn’t enough, we’re also including their video for “DNA”. Very ’80’s in their groove and production, the overall feel is warm and breezy – really, a perfect album for the start of the summer season.  Tracks like “DNA”, “Sundive”, “U” and “Can You Feel The Love?” are all ripe to be the soundtrack at the beach. If you like (or love) the ’80’s, you’ll be glad a band like Lovespeake are around.  They’ve done their homework and studied well.  Elements of Scritti Politti, China Crisis, Heaven 17 and The Style Council (!) color this collection of songs just right. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED DNA is available now https://www.facebook.com/lovespeake/?fref=ts  

static1.squarespace.com

ALBUM REVIEW: RYAN CASSATA, “Shine”

Crisp, crunchy pop would be an accurate description of Ryan Cassata’s newest release, Shine.  This 22-year old Long Island native has already issued four full-length albums since 2011 and now, he’s breaking new creative ground with this 10 track collection that runs the gamut of pop styles. Starting with the slightly wry “We’re The Cool Kids” (“…we’re changing things and we’re leading this movement; we’re gonna prove it that we’re the cool kids…”), which sounds like a mix of Green Day and The Pixies, you’re immediately drawn into the sheer catchiness of the song; “Check Engine” feels like a spoof of modern pop with electro-drum track and rap/sung and the subject matter (to me) seems like a gripe about the struggles of a middle-class suburban teen (which is quite funny) as “Sunrise Highway” is just impossibly great with its tight and galloping rhythm and slaughter/buzzsaw guitars, punctuated by horn charts in classic pop-rock style.  “Man In The Mirror”,  the old Michael Jackson composition, gets a gentle, sympathetic acoustic treatment which gives a genuine poignancy to …

0003821495_10

POPDOSE EXCLUSIVE VIDEO PREMIERE: DAVID NYRO, “Happiness”

Popdose is pleased to bring you the exclusive premiere of up and coming Seattle-based singer songwriter David Nyro’s video for “Happiness”—one of several songs he’ll be debuting in the coming months. The song, mastered by Tom Coyne (Adele, Beyonce), with its immaculate production and soulful, unabashedly emotional tone, hearkens back to the classic song craft of the 60’s and 70’s but still retains a modern edge.  The video has a dark elegance evocative of the song’s reflective themes.  It’s a fully realized, thoughtful and melodic piece that bodes well of what’s to come from David Nyro. Please enjoy “Happiness” http://davidnyro.com/home

23ad1c_be59f15ca4674681a4e1066558f74dce

ALBUM REVIEW: FREDDY & FRANCINE, “Gung Ho”

Sometimes a romantic relationship can lead to great art…  and sometimes the end of that relationship can lead to even greater art.  But when a fractured professional couple get back together, at least to make music, it can be amazing.  And that’s the case with Gung Ho, the newest release from Freddy & Francine (who are really Lee Ferris and Bianca Caruso).  Having parted and spending considerable time apart, this new offering is quite a staggering collection of songs. Acoustic guitars abound; stellar production – warmth and depth is the first thing you pick up on at first listen.  The opening track, “If You Want Me” is a seamless blending of the voices of Ferris and Caruso, with clean guitar figures and a deep, resonant rhythm section – a masterful building of tension and melody combined; “Tryin’ Hard To Love You” has delicious guitar slides in the intro while Caruso’s vocal is both cool and impassioned in this country-fied track and “Father’s Daughter” will send shivers down your spine as you listen to the harmonies, …

index

ALBUM REVIEW: CIARAN LAVERY, “Let Bad In”

This sophomore effort from Irish singer-songwriter Ciaran Lavery has an aura about it twinged with a sweet melancholia – and that is its strength; its secret weapon.  And it’s not not your standard singer-songwriter fare, either.  What you may project or expect isn’t what you get and that makes it even more interesting and worth the exploration. As Let Bad In begins with “Sonoma”, a brooding piano piece, you’re immediately jolted out of its hypnotic and gentle spell as it’s only two minutes long and then goes into “Okkervil River” with its electrobeats and samples, which is a neat and cleaver offset to the somewhat cryptic lyrics.  “The Show” is no less dark, but yet has an upbeat-ness about it and is catchy with an (you guessed it) Americana feel – slightly countrified with a sweeping, yearning melody; “Return To Form” is radio-friendly and walks the very fine line between danceable pop and Americana with its acoustic body but heavy beats and “Tell Them All” is a stripped down confessional with acoustic guitar that yields …

0005727834_10

E.P. REVIEW: HEMMINGBIRDS, “Half A Second”

  From the glorious musical garden known as Chicago comes this new 4-song E.P. from Hemmingbirds.  This trio has been around for a while – 4 overall releases (2 albums; this is their second E.P.) and they waste no time in going for the jugular. From the first throttle of the guitars on the opening track (which is also the title cut) you get upbeat tempos, melodic lines, a deep rhythm section with heavy pounding drums (which I love) and catchiness all around.  “Mess Of Things” is a wash of guitars and textures along with effects (like the sound of scratching vinyl) and showcases the “quiet/loud/quiet” blueprint very well.  “Stay” is a riff-driven piece that has groove (listen to that bass line) and a very Edge-oriented guitar along with stop-on-a-dime breaks that few bands pull off with such clean precision while “Lover, You’re Out There” is the surprise – a slow, very dramatic piano-based piece that musically reminds me of The Beatles’ “Free As A Bird” in some places – the use of a cathedral …

Still aus dem Video: Billie Ray Martin_ On Borrowed Time

ALBUM REVIEW: BILLIE RAY MARTIN, “The Soul Tapes”

For someone who’s made her name in the dance world, Billie Ray Martin has A LOT of soul and it’s evident on this new album, The Soul Tapes.  A true labor of love, it took a decade for this album to be realized.  The sound is remarkable – produced by the one and only Jon Tiven, this sounds like it, indeed, came out of Willie Mitchell’s Royal Studios for Hi Records in Memphis – small wonder, since that was, in fact, Ms. Martin’s intention/vision.  And frankly, it’s an amazing vocal transformation for this German-born chanteuse to sound as American and soulful as she does. Just the opening track, “Your Ghost Is Right Behind Me” puts any questions of doubt to rest – it’s a powerhouse achievement, both sultry and heartbreaking – her voice conveys pain but at the same time, makes you ache in the best way you can.  Everything works; the gospel-like nature of the track’s feel, the backing vocals and that deadly guitar solo at the end makes you automatically feel like this …

IMG_0360

ALBUM PREMIERE/REVIEW: MARTIN BRAMAH, “The Battle Of Twisted Heel”

While Popdose recently reviewed the new, long-overdue release from Blue Orchids, the band led and fronted by guitarist/frontman Martin Bramah (original guitarist of The Fall), we also take great pleasure in presenting and premiering for you in full, Mr. Bramah’s newly-reissued solo album, The Battle Of Twisted Heel.  Originally released as a mail-order only item very briefly in 2008, this compiles the tracks from that CD plus a few items from an equally cult-based release from Blue Orchids, 2005’s Slum-Cavern-Jest!, giving this an 11-track fullness. While one might expect an upbeat, slightly angular pop sound as has been his trademark, you’ll find a very different affair here.  Acoustic based; a much more tradtional/folk feel and subdued – this is a low-voltage performance but highly powerful and seemingly personal.  Case and point, the emotions cast in “Stone Tumbling Stream”, with its flute figures for really coloring in the feel, is a standout track.  “The Fall Of Great Britain” (which, I admit is a very clever play on certain bands’ names…) is neo-Celtic and very Pogues-like.  “Lucybel” …

danberrys

ALBUM REVIEW: THE DANBERRYS, “Give & Receive”

Something to sink my teeth into, rich with acoustic guitars, mandolins, violins and shiver-inducing harmonies.  Although The Danberrys, who hail from East Nashville, are a band, the two main drivers are Ben Deberry on guitar and vocals and Dorothy Daniel on vocals.  The two have one of the sweetest blendings of voices and these songs are ripe with melody, emotion and pure, American soul.  This album, their fourth release, is one fine slice of Americana. Starting with “Receive”, the slow, mournful nature of the song actually turns into one of hope and uplift; the use of fiddle and subtle mandolin gives a greater dramatic feel along with the simply gorgeous harmony; “Lady Belle” is an acoustic tour-de-force with Ms. Daniel’s vocals gripping and fluid and “Long Song” is a deep country piece, raging with banjo, fiddle, mandolin and a galloping rhythm that walks straight out of the Bill Monroe school of bluegrass.  “Let Me Go” is stripped down to just two guitars and Dorothy Daniel’s echo-y and mesmerizing vocals; “Get Back Home” is possibly the …

20150427040627-Band-Photo-FB-banner-pic

ALBUM REVIEW: IDENTICAL SUNS, s/t

This long-planned debut album from Identical Suns is one of those happy results of a strong Indiegogo campaign; combining the talents of Rene Rodriguez and Todd Stanton, this California and Ohio based aggregate makes a very pleasing power pop sound that has shades of The Beatles, The Raspberries and all the best elements of how to write hooky/catchy songs. Starting with “Baby I’m Down”, it’s uptempo feel makes you pay attention from the first beats; the economical guitar solo hits the mark and the harmonies and handclaps on the chorus makes it instantly classic, so you know you’re in for a good listen.  “Nothing I Can Do” is awash in acoustic guitars and a highly melodic and prominent bass line and is an early high mark; “Show Me A Sign” opens with a classic Fender Rhodes piano figure and sounds like it would have fit in on the AM radio of my youth in the ’70’s and “Emily” is a surprise in that it just comes in kicking hard, with a grinding guitar and riff, …

Anderson Council_2

POPDOSE NEWS: JEM RECORDS SIGNS THE ANDERSON COUNCIL

If it wasn’t obvious that The Anderson Council has been one of New Jersey’s best kept secrets, well now, it won’t be… Because this band, who has been around since 1999 with their deliciously crisp modern take on classic mid-’60’s psychedelic pop and late ’70’s Mod has signed to Marty Scott’s legendary Jem Records label and will be releasing Assorted Colours, a “primer” of several previously released tracks from their first three albums plus some new tracks for good measure.  Meaty and bouncy, songs like “Sitting On A Cloud”, “Girl On The Northern Line” and ‘Pinkerton’s Assorted Colours” immediately bring back warm memories of The Creation, The Who and The Jam (!).  The Council, who have been heard innumerable times on “Little Steven’s Underground Garage” channel on XM/Sirius got together with another New Jersey neo-beat-legend, Kurt Reil of The Grip Weeds to fashion this (incredibly) fine collection of songs, which will be available as of July 15th, 2016.  Be on the lookout for a live meeting with The Anderson Council in your area soon… Review …

previewSMD

The Popdose Interview: D.X. Ferris, Creator of Suburban Metal Dad

We at Popdose talk a lot about those off the ranch but seldom about out longtime farmhands. I’m not sure how I wound up on this path but go with it. D.X. Ferris has been providing Popdose readers with his comic strip Suburban Metal Dad for several years now, and has recently collected a large part of the run into a book, Suburban Metal Dad: Compendium One: Raging Bullsh*t (Years III and IV) (Volume 1), which you are cheerfully encouraged to check out. A lot of the hows and whys about the strip are covered in the forward to Ferris’ book, so it was a bit of work to not cause him to duplicate himself. Why buy the cow if you’re getting the milk — okay, enough of that. Ferris runs an independent book publishing company and had a great deal of success with his book on the band Slayer. We found this aspect intriguing and, since we already knew Suburban Metal Dad was funny and irreverent to nearly everything, the line of questioning drifted …

10415598_1013166035406346_7788320757815175856_n

E.P. REVIEW: KARYN KUHL BAND, “The Stars Will Bring You Home”

This six-song e.p. is simply delicious.  Karyn Kuhl’s been part of the New Jersey scene for quite a while (I used to see her when she was in a great Hoboken band called Gutbank – track down their Coyote Records release from ’86!); these days, she’s doing her own thing with The Karyn Kuhl Band.  This tight 4-piece includes James Mastro, guitarist extraordinaire (and owner of the incredible Guitar Bars in Hoboken – when in the area, check them out); Mr. Mastro is also the producer who gives this E.P. a clean, sparse sound that resonates with every instrument and makes Ms. Kuhl’s voice just reach right into you.  Alternating from soft to warm to sultry, this is absolutely, devastatingly good. “Sad Eyes” has a dark quality about it, yet in its semi-bleakness, the guitar figures weaved in gives the song an emotional uplift; a sweeping solo in a country vein counters the swampiness of the underlying keyboard; the deep/heavy rhythm section which is easily recognizable as tight from the first beats is stellar.  And …

charliefayesm

ALBUM REVIEW: CHARLIE FAYE & THE FAYETTES, s/t

The first thing that immediately strikes you when you listen to this first album from Austin-based Charlie Faye & The Fayettes is the vintage AM-radio production; a very warm ’60’s feel that works perfectly in the poppy-soulfulness of the Motown vibe.  Or if, you’re like me,  you can imagine some of these songs being lost Northern Soul classics.   But be assured, these three ladies are of and in the here and now and it’s a joyful sound coming out of my speakers that makes me enjoy this album to no end. Think about this – amongst the players on this album include Pete Thomas (yes, him) on drums, Tony Gilkyson on guitar, Roger Manning on keyboards – and so on.  The three Fayettes:  Charlie Faye on lead vocals, Betty Soo and Akina Adderley on some remarkably silky harmonies have a pretty strong pedigree on their own and this is one of those happy combinations of performers that strike the right balance. Now as for the music itself, which are all original compositions – beginning with …

the-monkees-the-monkees-33682534-800-600

POPDOSE VIDEO PREMIERE: THE MONKEES, “Me & Magdalena”

And here it is – the third new song from the forthcoming Monkees album, Good Times.  Unlike the uptempo poppiness of the prior two tracks, “Me & Magdalena” is a beautiful, somewhat mournful contemporary piece written by Ben Gibbard of Death Cab For Cutie.  The most powerful element of this song, melody and structure aside, is the beauty of the harmonies supplied by Michael Nesmith and Micky Dolenz – this track is a perfect reminder why The Monkees were such skilled vocalists and 50 years later, it hasn’t changed a bit. Enjoy… Good Times will be released on Friday, May 27th, 2016 http://www.monkees.com/  

parquet-courts-2016-new-album

ALBUM REVIEW: PARQUET COURTS, “Human Performance”

There is a sudden buzz about Parquet Courts, especially with this new release, their 5th, Human Performance.  I usually stay blissfully unaware when it comes to New York bands (because of my disdain for The Strokes, etc. – those that never represented New York as far as this native is concerned) thanks to the deluge of nauseating hipsterdom and mediocre pseudo “new wave revivalists” or whatever bullshit they call themselves this week.  Nonetheless, the word of mouth from friends who I trust and respect led me to seek this one out and give it a try.  And being that they’ve been at this now for six years, there must be a ripening. Having said that, the first track, “Dust” caught me by surprise – quite pleasantly.  I was struck by the Wire-like manner of the song – a singular riff with taut rhythm and short verses repeated; hypnotic and interesting.  The title track, “Human Performance” has shades of Lou Reed (around Loaded) but vocally, I hear Warren Zevon’s delivery.  Musically, it has again, Wire’s structure …

Those-Pretty-Wrongs-640x457

ALBUM REVIEW: THOSE PRETTY WRONGS, s/t

You may be tired of me saying “I’m not going to pretend to be objective”, but what’s the point of a review if you’re not being honest?  We’ve already been treated to no less than four songs (one of which, “Fool Of Myself”, the flipside to the debut single, “Lucky Guy” is NOT included on this album, surprisingly), so now we get to enjoy the other seven tracks that make up this debut, self-titled album. And “enjoy” is the key word.  The music Those Pretty Wrongs makes is enjoyable, warm, heart-filling, soulful pop with acoustic flavors and harmonies – and I can ask for nothing better.  I don’t need to give you the background on Those Pretty Wrongs – you know it’s Jody Stephens and Luther Russell and you know their histories.  So let’s focus on the here and now. “Ordinary” – well, there’s no way around it.  It’s going to be familiar, because there is a unquestionably a Chris Bell-like presence.  And it’s beautiful – listen to those harmonies and the guitar arrangement, with …

hqdefault

POPDOSE VIDEO PREMIERE: BOBBY HART, “Hurt So Bad”

A legend such as Bobby Hart really doesn’t need an introduction; as a songwriter for The Monkees, Jay & The Americans, Little Anthony & The Imperials and so on.  For several decades, he (along with late partner Tommy Boyce) created some of the most memorable songs that have stood the test of time and trends and are just as wonderful to listen to today. This video for “Hurt So Bad” is from the originally-released-in-1980 The First Bobby Hart Solo Album, which was released in only a few foreign territories and then disappeared.  7a Records has now reissued this fine album, along with the video for Bobby’s own version of his smash hit for Little Anthony in 1965.  A different take, it has a groove that fits with the here and now. So sit back and enjoy! The First Bobby Hart Solo Album is available now http://www.7arecords.com/micky-dolenz-daybreak/item/56-the-first-bobby-hart-solo-album-worldwide-cd-debut

maxresdefault

E.P. REVIEW: DAN HENIG, “Paper Planes & Hurricanes”

This five-song E.P. from Ann Arbor native Dan Henig is a crisp, soulful and completely pleasant listening experience; it fits the time of season as it’s warm and has different elements – groove, danceability and some very mellow moments. Starting with “Hostage”, which has definitely radio-friendly polish and beats, you feel its familiarity and think this is going to be all dance-oriented, but “Crash and Burn” takes it into a smooth acoustic direction and Henig’s vocals are particularly powerful on this track.  “Habit” is another acoustic piece that’s equally mellow and yet has a cool groove about it; “Tell Me” goes right into that electro-pop feel and “Paper Plane” is softer, yet atmospheric at the beginning and building up into modern radio pop. An interesting, well-crafted mix of songs and styles.  Dan Henig is definitely a name to watch as I’m fairly certain he’ll be making an entry onto the national charts sooner than later. RECOMMENDED Paper Planes & Hurricanes is available now   http://www.danhenig.com/

Cullman_Brianweb

POPDOSE VIDEO PREMIERE EXCLUSIVE: BRIAN CULLMAN, “Times Are Tight”

Having very much enjoyed Brian Cullman’s recent album, The Opposite Of Time, it’s nice to be able to bring to you the latest video from the collection.  “Times Are Tight” was one of THE standout songs (in an album full of standouts) and this very clever animated video seems to fit the vibe. If you haven’t done so already, after watching and listening to this video, you seriously need to go and check out Brian Cullman’s work.  He’s that good… The Opposite Of Time is available now. http://www.briancullman.com/#brian And in the meantime, here’s “Times Are Tight”:

dwc photography-0556

ALBUM REVIEW: DAVE NACHMANOFF, “Spinoza’s Dream”

It isn’t often a concept album based around the theme of classic philosophers comes along.  However, that’s the case with this new release from Al Stewart’s guitarist, Dave Nachmanoff, Spinoza’s Dream.  Nachmanoff has a Ph.D in philosophy and here he has melded his two worlds and passions to create this interesting song cycle. “That Guy” is an upbeat opening track; poppy and with groove while “Temptation” has some definite Reinardt-esque guitar textures and “One Black Swan” has a very easy ’70’s soulful feel.  The title cut, “Spinoza’s Dream” is gentle, acoustic-bodied and airy; “No Matter How Close” does, indeed, remind me of Al Stewart’s style but has a crispness all its own and to me, “Bruise On My Soul” is possibly the album’s standout with great arrangement, harmonies and powerful (yet simple) chorus.  “The Painter” is another standout with its hooky melody; “Time Of War” has a clever structure of major to minor chords on the verses and some meaty Hammond and “All Good” closes out the collection in an upbeat, hopeful way (listen for …