Sunday, June 10, 2018

Gregg Alexander & New Radicals

You may know this intro:


Sure You do. The song ("You Get What You Give") is by a band called New Radicals. They had one hit album - Maybe You've Been Brainwashed Too. So why bother about a one hit wonder?

Mainly because of the man behind all: Gregg Alexander - an American singer-songwriter.
His first album (Michigan Rain) was recorded in 1989 when he was 18, followed by a second record (Intoxifornication) in 1992. Both records were quite overlooked. Most artists would stop their career after that - for Gregg Alexander something different happened...


... Six years later he created the New Radicals. The band had no permanent member other than himself and Danielle Brisebois.
The album (Maybe You've Been Brainwashed Too) and the single (You Get What You Give) where both international smash hits.
But soon he became tired of the musical fame: "Traveling and getting three hours sleep in a different hotel every night to do boring 'hanging and schmoozing' with radio and retail people is definitely not for me", he said - and stopped the project in a moment by emergency braking.

In the following years he had international success by writing plenty of worldwide hit songs for people like

- Santana ("Game Of Love")
- Boyzone
- Ronan Keating ("Life Is a Rollercoaster")
- Sophie-Ellis Bextor ("Murder on the Dancefloor")
- Rod Stewart ("I Can't Deny It")
- Texas ("Inner Smile")
- INXS
- Hanson
- Enrique Iglesias
- Geri Halliwell
- Melanie C
- ex-New Radical Danielle Brisebois

Most of the sons became international hits. The Game Of Love even won a Grammy.

A handful of demos appeared online in the recent years. Some of them are either outtakes from Maybe You've Been Brainwashed Too or from the never happened second New Radicals album. Others may be demos for other artists. All of them are sung by Gregg Alexander.

Here's a list of the songs:

- A Love Like That (Outtake from Maybe You've Been Brainwashed Too)
- Come Be My Baby
- My Heart Can't Change
- Blown Away
- Speaking My Language
- My One Thing Is Real
- You're Beautiful
- Inner Child (released by Texas)
- The Game Of Love (released by Santana


You can listen to all of them on Youtube (or just post a comment with your Email down below).
It's still not clear how they did surface.

After this successful time as a producer Gregg Alexander fell of the face of the earth again and then reappeared in 2014. John Carney (writer, director and musician who is known for the Oscar winning movie Once) called him because he wanted him for the soundtrack of his new movie - Begin Again.
Everything just came together and as a result the soundtrack was mainly written by him. Artists like Keira Knightley, Adam Levine and CeeLo Green performed his songs. On the soundtrack you'll also find a group called Cessyl Orchestra - which is no other than Gregg himself (on vocals). I highly recommend the movie and soundtrack (listen to Lost Stars!).

In October 2014 he gave his first interview in 15 years (!) to Scott Feinberg - read it at hollywoodreporter.com.

A live video - and even a studio version of "Lost Stars" appeared on youtube:

 



In 2017 "Maybe You've Been Brainwashed Too" finally got a vinyl release.

After that Gregg Alexander disappeared again - but I'm sure it was not the last time we will hear from him.

Friday, May 11, 2018

The Boys With The Perpetual Nervousness - Nervous Man

The Boys With The Perpetual Nervousness is a new band, and Nervous Man is the first song of them. It's so good - and I have absolutely no information about it except the soundcloud link!

Listen:
 

Astral Drive - Astral Drive

Astral Drive, the debut record of Phil Thornalley is an unbeknown classic. The style of the 1970 is written all over it.


You haven't heard about this classic record yet? That's probably because it's from 2018!

Thornalley's vision of a long lost album from the 1970s that only existed in his own mind, this labour of love is very much the statement of a lifelong music fan living in the modern world.

The result is a homogenous, in a positive way old-fashioned and warm record. Fortunately there is also a dash of The New Radicals / Gregg Alexander in some of the songs. Just listen to the first single - Summer of '76!

Phil Thornalley  may not be a household name but many of the records he’s made with artists as diverse as The Cure, Psychedelic Furs, The Jam, Duran Duran, Paul McCartney, and Natalie Imbruglia (he produced and co-wrote her worldwide smash "Torn") certainly hold a special place in the hearts and ears of millions.

While just home after nearly two years touring the world as Bryan Adams’ bass player, Phil’s musical journey truly began before he had even reached his sixth birthday, when his cool Aunt Judi had introduced him to The Beatles’ Twist And Shout EP.

"Life seemed suddenly very colourful with the elixir of their positive energetic free spirit released into my blood as I listened to 'Twist And Shout' and 'Do You Want To Know A Secret,' and after we saw Help! at the cinema, my brother and I play-acted that we were John and Paul or George, but never Ringo for some reason!"



After teaching himself to play the guitar and finding his way on the family piano, he was off and running. His fascination with the studio continued apace and in 1978 he landed a dream job at RAK studios in London, working as a recording engineer under the tutelage of legendary producer Mickie Most, and working sessions for Hot Chocolate, Racey and Kim Wilde. He assisted on The Jam’s All Mod Cons, and engineered for Paul McCartney and Wings, and learned to be a producer while engineering demos for various songwriters of the day. He also assisted another celebrated producer, Steve Lillywhite, who became (along with Most and producer Alex Sadkin) one of his three biggest production mentors, hooking him up with The Cure, for whom he co-produced the seminal 1982 album Pornography, hit single 'The Love Cats', and toured with for 18 months as bassist. In his spare time at RAK, he would fiddle about with the gear, trying to find the magical sounds he had loved since that summer of ’76.


However, Astral Drive is more than just a trip down memory lane, and Phil’s lyrics express many of the hard won truths acquired during his decades inside (and outside) the studio, to form an honest statement of where he’s at today. Five years ago Thornalley had health crisis and the episode became a wake up call from his inner child, reminding him to get back to creating the sounds of his dreams.

"The basic message of this whole album could be ‘don’t let your dreams go, no matter how ridiculous they seem," says Thornalley. "My depression forced me to see a way back to the art I wanted to make."

The eleven tracks on Astral Drive were lovingly crafted by Thornalley himself, aiming for almighty feel over technical accuracy, and using mostly second or third takes, with occasional augmentations by his Bryan Adams band mates, drummer Mickey Curry, keyboardist Gary Breit, and guitarist Keith Scott. He even found a way to include some key backing vocals from Utopia’s Kasim Sulton, with whom he has frequently written in the past.

"My goal was to emulate that musical élan that I’d experienced listening to that old analog sound from those old Beatles and Todd records I’d enjoyed as a teenager. 
That shot of Todd, messiah-like, in the mess of this home studio, was all so fascinating and inspiring, so I took the Astral Drive idea as a tongue in cheek title for this project. The drive to the stars! I wanted to tap back into that inspiration that made me dream of pop music as a kid; the star gazing, naive optimism." As Thornalley sings in the album’s title song, "It’s been a long, long way, on a cold dark road, long dark night, long dark night, of the soul," but now that Astral Drive is done, the reaction has been amazing, especially from his friend, Bryan. "I played the rough mixes for a few friends like Bryan Adams and he loved the music from the start," says Thornalley, beaming with pride. "He even offered to do all the photography, which is incredible, when you think he could be shooting high fashion photographs for the likes of Vogue magazine instead."


Astral Drive will be released on July 6, 2018 at Lojinx (digital and CD).

Thursday, May 10, 2018

David Myhr - Lucky Day

Six years after his solo debut, the Swedish singer/songwriter David Myhr is back with his new full-length album Lucky Day.
The former Merrymakers frontman created not just a ten track album, it's more a portfolio of his work as part of a doctorate. 


The origin of the songs go back even before the release of Soundshine.  
Jealous Sun was a result of recording sessions in the Abbey Road Studios in London. 
Another part of the project was a trip in 2015 to the United States. Myhr states: "I wanted to meet with people I look up to musically, write songs with them, and document the process on audio and video".
Artists include Bleu (Jealous Sun), Linus of Hollywood (Lovebug), Young Hines (My Negative Friend), Bill DeMain (Room To Grow) and Steve Schiltz (Everyday It Rains).



The result of these journey and experiences is excellent. I highly recommend the record (start with Jealous Sun and Room To Grow).


Lucky Day is out now at Lojinx digital, on CD and LP. 
Especially the CD is quite interesting - it includes four bonus tracks!

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Bent Van Looy

Bent Van Looy is an outstanding Belgian musician, singer and songwriter.


He was frontman of Das Pop and drummer of Soulwax.

In 2013, Bent Van Looy released his first solo album Round the Bend, produced in Los Angeles by Jason Falkner, who played most of the instruments.
The second album - Pyjama Days - followed in 2016 (Jason Falkner produced it and played the instruments again, he also co-wrote some of the songs).



I highly recommend these two records, start with the second (Pyjama Days).


Friday, April 6, 2018

Ron Sexsmith - biography & discography

I found Ron Sexsmith by a German newspaper (SPIEGEL-ONLINE). There was an article (beware: it's in German!) about him. They stated that Sexsmith is a songwriter and performer, respected by critics, many famous artists like Paul McCartney or Chris Martin (the latter recorded a duet version of Sexsmiths song Gold In Them Hills) and music lovers, but unknown to the majority. That made me curious and I started to listen to his songs...


Ron Sexsmith is from Canada, he started to write songs after the birth of his first child. His songs are mellow and marvellous. They are pure bliss. To date he recorded fifteen (!) albums since his first one in 1991.

Discography:

1991: Grand Opera Lane
1995: Ron Sexsmith
1997: Other Songs
1999: Whereabouts
2001: Blue Boy
2002: Cobblestone Runway
2003: Rarities
2004: Retriever (listen to: Imaginary Friends, From Now On, Whatever It Takes, Happiness)
2005: Destination Unknown
2006: Time Being (listen to: Hands Of Time, All In Good Time)
2008: Exit Strategy of the Soul (listen to: This Is How I Know, Brandy Alexander, Brighter Still)
2011: Long Player Late Bloomer
2013: Forever Endeavour
2015: Carousel One
2017: The Last Rider

I recommend to start with Retriever and Exit Strategy of the Soul.



Nik Kershaw - biography & discography

What do you know about Nik Kershaw?
Let's see... Wouldn't It Be Good, The Riddle, The 80s, One-Hit-Wonder. Anything else? No?

Let me help you: Nik Kershaw had huge success with his records The Riddle and Human Racing in the early 1980s, after that his album sales went down. After his less successful album Radio Musicola in 1986 and The Works in 1989 he disappeared as musician, but not as a songwriter. Chesney Hawkes' hit The One And Only, which he wrote and co-produced, went straight to number one in the UK in 1991.
In 1999 he decided to release music again under his own name. The records 15 Minutes, To Be Frank, You've Got To Laugh and the acoustic album No Frills is something I can recommend warmly.



Discography:

  • 1983 Human Racing
  • 1984 The Riddle
  • 1986 Radio Musicola
  • 1989 The Works
  • 1999 15 Minutes (listen to: Somebody Loves You, Your Brave Face, What Do You Think Of It So Far, 15 Minutes)
  • 2001 To Be Frank
  • 2005 Then And Now (Best Of)
  • 2006 You've Got to Laugh (listen to: Oh You Beautiful Thing, Loud Confident & Wrong)
  • 2010 No Frills
  • 2012 Ei8ht




OK Go!

Today's thesis: music video clips are NOT dead. You need a proof? OK Go!
(I highly recommend to watch it in full screen!)








Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Hotel Lights - biography and discography

Have you ever heard of Darren Jessee? No? Maybe you heard of Ben Folds Five!
Darren was/is the drummer of Ben Folds Five. Already through Phil Collins we know that drummers can be successful as solo artists. And no, Darren does NOT sound like Phil at all. He also does not sound like Ben Folds Five.


After the split of Ben Folds Five not only Folds continued as solo artist, also Darren. His first self-titled album Hotel Lights was released in 2004. The even better Goodnightgoodmorning EP and his standout albums Firecracker People, Girl Graffiti and Get Your Hand in My Hand followed.
To describe his music: it's melancholic, intense and may be a good soundtrack for cold, windy autumn days.

Discography:
  • Hotel Lights (2004)
  • Goodnightgoodmorning EP (2006)
  • Firecracker People (2008)
  • Girl Graffiti (2011) 
  • Get Your Hand in My Hand (2016)

David Mead biography & discography

The singer-songwriter David Mead delivers crafted pop songs since 1999 with now six solo records and a fabulous EP.


His fifth album - Almost and Always - is an intense, fascinating collection of gems, the Wherever You Are EP and the latest record ("Dudes") are a perfect way to start.

David Mead surely deserves to be played in the radio and to have a permanent place in the charts  - but as you guess - he's not.

Discography:
  • The Luxury of Time (1999)
  • Mine and Yours (2001)
  • Indiana (2004)
  • Wherever You Are EP (2005)
  • Tangerine (2006)
  • Almost and Always (2008)
  • Dudes (2011)