Thursday, December 13, 2018

PowerPopSquare Xmas sampler 2018

PowerPopSquare Top 10 - 2018

The year draws to a close, and musically it was a stunning year again. So - here is the Top 10 of PowerPopSquare for 2018:

1. Marc Martel - Thunderbolt & Lightning


Marc Martel - former member of the band Downhere - became well-known because of his incredible voice and the similarities to the late great Freddie Mercury.


In 2011 he put a video on Youtube singing "Somebody To Love" - and it blew my mind (and about 15 million other viewers). Since then he released a marvelous debut solo album (Impersonator), as well as a covers EP (My Way - Volume 1) and three Christmas EPs.
And now there is Thunderbolt & Lightning: it consists of eight Queen songs.



Marc Martel hasn't just put out a record of Queen songs, he altered them and put them to a whole new level.
Buy the CD and digital download directly at the official website: www.marcmartelmusic.com

Listen to: Somebody To Love, You Take My Breath Away

2. Bird Streets (John Brodeur, Jason Falkner)


Bird Streets is the musical endeavor of songwriter John Brodeur, who released his first solo recordings nearly two decades ago.  The record is a collaboration between Brodeur and power-pop legend Jason Falkner, and features guest appearances from Miranda Lee Richards and Luther Russell.


Bird Streets became a mélange of John Brodeur's solo work and Jason Falkner's influences.

If you are desperately looking for a new record by Dan Wilson / Semisonic ("Carry Me Home", "Last Resort"), PowerPop highlights ("Betting On The Sun", "Until The Crown"), Bleu ("Stop To Breathe") or Jellyfish - this is your record.


Listen to: Stop To Breathe, Betting On The Sun, Carry Me

3. Mike Viola - The American Egypt


A new release by the one and only Mike Viola is always quite special to me. While Lurch or Hang on Mike are PowerPop records in perfection, there were also Just Before Dark or Acousto de Perfecto showing his insanely awesome singer-songwriter skills.
So, there is "The American Egypt". And it's different, quite different.


The American Egypt is multi layered, rich of complex harmonies and lyrics and you will need some time until it unfolds completely. But it's absolutely worth it. Just listen to the album from start to finish with good over-ear headphones!

Collins is pure Rock 'n' Roll, Sunset America will brings you to tears with its lyrics and harmonies, Snow Face a 9 minute long (!) masterpiece and Dr. Frankenstein is musically from another world.

You can stream it on Youtube and Apple Music or buy it at Amazon.com (digital) or grandphony.com (LP, t-shirts - and two exclusive EPs).

Listen to: King Kong Hand, Dr. Frankenstein, Collins, Sunset America

4. Bent Van Looy - Yours Truly


Yours Truly, produced by Jason Falkner in Los Angeles is the third record of Bent Van Looy.


Listen to: The Open Road, Never Look Back, Wrong Before

5. 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.


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

Listen to:  Jealous Sun, Room To Grow

6. Chris Price - Dalmatian


After his critically acclaimed second record Stop Talking nearly 50 songs were left off from the record because they simply didn't fit in its concept. With the arrival of Dalmatian, Price’s brand new third album and second release in only 10 months, that music finds new life.
The 13 tracks found on Dalmatian are all written, produced, engineered, arranged and mixed by Price himself (with occasional help from co-writers Taylor Locke, Fernando Perdomo, and Alex Jules).


Price says, “This is a collection of fragments, outcasts and ideas from the sessions that produced Stop Talking. A lot of material that I love was left off of that album for one reason or another. Whether it was because the songs didn’t fit tonally or thematically, or the sonics didn’t match up, I found myself sitting on a pile of stuff that couldn’t find a home. I’m not sure if this is my new album or a companion piece to the last one (Disc 2, if you will). Maybe it’s both. I’ll let everyone else decide. All I know is I’m very proud of this work and I’m so happy to have it out there in the world instead of buried on a hard drive somewhere.

So, as it is equally good as his last record (Stop Talking) - which was stellar - you MIGHT have a look at this release! Order the record (CD and digital) at Omnivore and Bandcamp!

Listen to: Fever Dream, Roller Coaster

7. Jeremy Messersmith - Late Stage Capitalism

Jeremy Messersmith is back with his latest album having the excellent and reflecting the current state of the world title Late Stage Capitalism.



Order Late Stage Capitalism at: www.jeremymessersmith.com

Listen to: Purple Hearts, Monday, No Superheroes, Fireflower

8. Paul Steel - Carousel Kites

In 2018 the long wait was finally over. The new record of Paul Steel - named Carousel Kites - is out.



Listen to: I See Sadness, Island in the Sky

9. Darren Jessee - The Jane, Room 217

Darren Jessee, widely known as the drummer of Ben Folds Five continuously released records under the name Hotel Lights, now he is back with new album "The Jane Room 217".


If you like mellow, acoustic music you should definitely give it a chance.

Listen to: Anything You Need, All But A Dream

10. Darwin Deez - 10 Songs That Happened When You Left Me With My Stupid Heart

Darwin Deez may be a quite special kind of artist, but he has a very fine taste for catchy songs. His latest album with the phenomenal title 10 Songs That Happened When You Left Me With My Stupid Heart is highly recommended.


Listen to: The World's Best Kisser, Queen Of Spades

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Marc Martel - Thunderbolt & Lightning (Queen EP)

Marc Martel - former member of the band Downhere - became well-known because of his incredible voice and the similarities to the late great Freddie Mercury.


In 2011 he put a video on Youtube singing "Somebody To Love" - and it blew my mind (and about 15 million other viewers).


Since then he released a marvelous debut solo album (Impersonator), as well as a covers EP (My Way - Volume 1) and two Christmas EPs.

Now - in 2018 - a new record is out: Thunderbolt & Lighting. It consists of eight Queen songs. These songs are not just covers, they are new interpretations of the original songs. And they are amazing.


If you need any proof, just listen to his interpretation of Somebody To Love and You Take My Breath Away.


Incidentally he also did a live version of Bohemian Rhapsody (mind blown again):


Marc Martel hasn't just put out a record of Queen songs, he altered them and put them to a whole new level. I really hope for new original material from him - as well as take advantage of his gift of a voice for Mercury's songs.

Buy the CD and digital download directly at the official webite: www.marcmartelmusic.com

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

David Mead - Wherever You Are EP

    In 2002 David Mead created the later Wherever You Are EP aiming for a full album. Short after the recording David was dropped by RCA. The record was cut to a six songs EP and finally released by Eleven Thirty Records in 2005.

    The Wherever You Are EP is simply a perfect record. It became one of my top ten records ever. All six songs are extremely strong pieces of work.


    Track list:
    1. Wherever You Are
    2. Hold On
    3. Only a Dream
    4. Astronaut
    5. Make It Right
    6. How Much
    There are eleven (!) songs that were left off from the EP. David offered some of these unreleased tracks at his site mineandyours.com as a Christmas gift (site site is down by now). The tracks give you a hint how the full album would have sounded like. In short: it would have been awesome.

    These tracks are:
    • Wherever (a beautiful intro to the original album)
    • Attitude
    • Beauty (rerecorded for the Indiana album)
    • Growin’ Up
    • Subway
    • Little Sister
    • Patience
    • Oneplusone (rerecorded for the Indiana album)
    • All Is Forgiven  (unreleased)
    • How Will The Kids Get High (unreleased)
    • NYC Girl (unreleased)

    Does anyone of you, my fellow readers, know anything about the three unreleased tracks and the original track order?

    By the way, if you're interested in these eight outtakes, just post a comment or write an email: powerpopsquare@gmail.com .

    Monday, October 15, 2018

    Parthenon Huxley - This Is The One

    As pop music morphs and see-saws through different styles every few years, Parthenon Huxley continues to do his thing, his way.


    Over a span of nine albums it's now abundantly clear that catchy songs built on sing-along melodies, guitar hooks galore and real life-inspired lyrics are what Huxley was born to write.
    His latest album, This Is The One, may be his best yet.

    "I occasionally get the itch to follow the latest computer-based trend," says Huxley, "but it never lasts. I came up when making records was an exotic business run by professionals. I'll always record with live musicians in real studios on the best equipment. I'm rarely fashionable, but my catalogue is pretty consistent."

    Start with: Song For James, Off We Go, This Is The One, Running Home To You


    More info at: parthenonhuxley.com

    Friday, October 12, 2018

    David Mead - Cobra Pumps

    David Mead is back... well almost.
    In January 2019 his latest record - Cobra Pumps - will be out.


    Listen to a first song called "Head On Straight" (unplugged - or as he calls it truncated version) HERE. In the end you get a glimpse of the final song.

    There is no further info yet regarding CD/vinyl or digital release, crowd funding or an exact date, so watch this space!


    Mike Viola - Bitten and Cursed

    Just three months after the (digital) release of The American Egypt there's already a new record by Mike Viola.


    Bitten and Cursed is kind of a Halloween 2-track release. The title track includes a B-Side called It Does A Number On My Brain.

    Both are incredible songs. Bitten and Cursed is quite different to the American Egypt release, it's more of a straight rock record. And it will blow you away.

    Buy it digital at Amazon, iTunes, stream it on Spotify or just buy the vinyl record at Grandphony.com (there are a lot of sets with good stuff like pins, shirts, patches and stickers) 


    This is a live version of It Does A Number On My Brain:

    Sunday, September 16, 2018

    Mick Terry - Days Go By

    "Days Go By" is the follow up to 2010's debut "The Grown Ups" from UK based Mick Terry.


    Mick's long awaited, "difficult 2nd" album is a mix of Power Pop, '70's AOR, Motown and Americana combined with the melodic storytelling that Mick is known for.

    The lead single "Emily Come Back" is a fine example of his work. The record is filled with songs of IndiePop prettiness. "Ignorance Is Bliss" is my personal favourite - there are some awesome harmonies!

    Produced by Jim Boggia, the album features musicians like Tracy Bonham, Richard Causon (Ryan Adams, Jayhawks, Ray Davies), Dana Myzer (Cotton Mather, Farrah), Henrik Irgens (Natalie Imbruglia, Jamie Lawson). Rosalie Deighton also guests providing the sublime harmony vocals on the beautiful duet, "Riverbend".
    Recorded in London, Philadelphia and New York, these 10 new songs written by Mick and expertly arranged and curated by Jim Boggia are the sound of a truly magical collaboration between the artist and his producer.

    Start with: Ignorance Is Bliss, Emily Come Back, Everybody's Talking


    "Days Go By" will have its vinyl release date on 30th October 2018. Buy it here: https://mickterry.co.uk

    Tuesday, September 11, 2018

    Bird Streets (John Brodeur, Jason Falkner) (Review)

    Bird Streets is the musical endeavor of songwriter John Brodeur, who released his first solo recordings nearly two decades ago.  The record is a collaboration between Brodeur and power-pop legend Jason Falkner, and features guest appearances from Miranda Lee Richards and Luther Russell.


    Bird Streets became a mélange of John Brodeur's solo work and Jason Falkner's influences.

    If you are desperately looking for a new record by Dan Wilson / Semisonic ("Carry Me Home", "Last Resort"), PowerPop highlights ("Betting On The Sun", "Until The Crown"), Bleu ("Stop To Breathe") or Jellyfish - this is your record.
    And it may be nothing less than my personal record of the year.

    Listen to: Stop To Breathe, Betting On The Sun, Carry Me


    Mike Viola - The American Egypt (Review)

    The new album of Mike Viola - The American Egypt - is out NOW! The release was scheduled for late 2018, but Mike decided not to wait and got it out digitally (Vinyl and CD will follow in winter 2018).


    A new release by the one and only Mike Viola is always quite special to me. While Lurch or Hang on Mike are PowerPop records in perfection, there were also Just Before Dark or Acousto de Perfecto showing his insanely awesome singer-songwriter skills.
    So, there is "The American Egypt". And it's different, quite different.

    The American Egypt is multi layered, rich of complex harmonies and lyrics and you will need some time until it unfolds completely. But it's absolutely worth it.
    Just listen to the album from start to finish with good over-ear headphones!

    Collins is pure Rock 'n' Roll, Sunset America will brings you to tears with its lyrics and harmonies, Snow Face a 9 minute long (!) masterpiece and Dr. Frankenstein is musically from another world.

    Listen first to: King Kong Hand, Dr. Frankenstein, Collins, Sunset America

    You can stream it on Youtube and Apple Music or buy it at Amazon.com.

    New Music - September 2018

    Chris Price - Dalmatian (Vinyl)

    Chris Price will give the "Dalmatian" album the treatment it deserves: the Vinyl release will be around November 2018!


    Mike Viola - The American Egypt (CD/Vinyl)

    Mike Viola released his latest record "The American Egypt" surprisingly early in July 2018. The physical release (CD and Vinyl) is scheduled for winter 2018.
    Mike also talked about two EPs (?) and a single release of "Teenage Mutant Ninja" along with an exclusive B-Side.


    Marc Martel - My Way 2 - Queen EP 

    Marc Martel continues his EP series with number 2: The EP will be themed around Queen, which means it can only be marvelous (out October 19, 2018)!

    Thursday, September 6, 2018

    Bent Van Looy - Yours Truly

    Bent Van Looy is back with his 3rd record: "Yours Truly", produced (again) by Jason Falkner in Los Angeles.
    The first two albums ("Round The Bend", "Pyjama Days") are both a stunning piece of art.  I highly recommend to listen to them.


    "The Open Road" is the first single. Listen to it below.  "Yours Truly" will be released on the 5th of October 2018.

    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)


    Monday, April 2, 2018

    Jason Falkner - Biography & Discography

    There is this kind of musician who is writing, releasing records and performing his own music for more than two decades - but misses the aim that is chart success? The one who creates stunning music and don't get any recognition by public, but by his loyal fans? One of them is Jason Falkner.

    To sum it up: he may be one of the most underrated musicians of the last two decades. What a pity!


    Falkner started his musical career with a band called The Three O'Clock but soon he joined a new band of his former bandmate (Roger Joseph Manning Jr.) - Jellyfish. After the success of the first record (Bellybutton) he left the band and said he'll be never again a band member again (where he was clearly wrong).

    His solo career started in 1996 with Presents Author Unknown, followed with the fabulous Can You Still Feel?. I recommend to listen to Can You Still Feel? from start to finish - there's no filler song, no low point.


    2001 was a good year for loyal fans: two collection of rare songs and demos were released: Necessity: The 4-Track Years and Everyone Says It's On. Falkner also put a collection of Beatles songs, performed as lullabies, the title says it all: Bedtime With The Beatles (the follow up was released in 2008).


    In 2002 a full album of unreleased material surfaced in the internet - it was called Eloquence, in 2004 he had the phenomenal Bliss Descending EP out.
    His latest two records (I'm OK... You're OK and All Quiet On the Noise Floor) had only a release in Japan. Three years (THREE YEARS!) later I'm OK ... You're OK was finally out in the US and Europe. All Quiet On The Noise Floor didn't have this fortune.



    Jason Falkner solo - discography:
    •  Presents Author Unknown (1996)
    •  Can You Still Feel? (1999)
    •  Necessity: The 4-Track Years (2001)
    •  Everyone Says It's On (2001)
    •  Bedtime With The Beatles (2001)
    •  Eloquence (2002) - never officially released!
    •  Bliss Descending (EP) (2004)
    •  I'm OK... You're OK (2007)
    •  Bedtime With The Beatles 2 (2008)
    •  All Quiet On the Noise Floor (2009)

    Since 2009 Jason Falkner stopped his solo career and became producer, session musician and performed with several bands:

    • Jellyfish – Bellybutton (1990) 
    • The Greys - Ro Sham Bo (1994 - with Jon Brion- vocals, guitar)
    • Susanna Hoffs - Susanna Hoffs (1996 - bass, keyboards, guitar, percussion, organ, drums )
    • Brendan Benson - One Mississippi (1996 - co-writer) and Lapalco (2002 - co-produced, backing vocals)
    • Eric Matthews - The Lateness of the Hour (1997 - electric guitar, bass, piano, drums, co-producer
    • Chris Cornell - Euphoria Morning (1999 - bass)
    • Roger Joseph Manning Jr. and Brian Reitzell - Logan's Sanctuary (2000 - guitar, lead vocals, bass)
    • Air - 10 000 Hz Legend (2001 - bass, he also toured with the band), Talkie Walkie (2004 - bass)
    • TV Eyes (Roger Joseph Manning Jr. and Brian Reitzell) (2001)
    • Aimee Mann - Lost In Space (2002 - bass)
    • The Blondes - The Blondes (2002 - producer)
    • Travis - The Invisible Band (2001 - keyboards, backing vocals on the B-Side "Killer Queen")
    • Pugwash - Almanac (2002 - vox continental, vocals, guitar)
    • Lisa Loeb - The Way It Really Is (2004 - electric guitar, Wurlitzer piano, background vocals)
    • Magnet - Tourniquet (2005 - producer)
    • Ben Lee - Awake is the New Alseep (2005 - backing vocals)
    • Paul McCartney - Chaos and Creation in the Backyard (2005 - electric guitar, acoustic guitar)
    • The Nines - Calling Distance Stations (2006 - mixing, backing vocals)
    • Beck - Sea Change (2002 - guitar), The Information (2006 - acoustic and electric guitar, bass, drums, percussion, African drums, Moog bass, background vocals) and Modern Guilt (2008)
    • Anne Soldaat - In Another Life (2009) - producer, instruments, co-writer
    • Daniel Johnston - Is and Always Was (2009 - producer, engineer, mixing, guitar, bass, keyboards, vocals)
    • The Informers – Soundtrack (2009) 
    • Glen Campbell - Ghost on the Canvas (2011 - bass, guitar)
    • Charlotte Gainsbourg - IRM (2011 - guitar)
    • R. Stevie Moore - Make It Be (2017)
    • Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds - Who Built The Moon? (2017)
    • Pugwash - Silverlake (2017 - producer)

    Here is the famous, never seen the light of the release day album Eloquence in all his glory:

    Friday, March 30, 2018

    Jeff Litman - Crowded Hour EP

    Singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and producer Jeff Litman latest release, Crowded Hour is out now! 



    Litman was born in Minneapolis at the end of the 70s, playing piano by age six and guitar by ten. Listening to grunge and metal throughout the 90s, he eventually became hooked on the melody-driven classic rock of the Beatles and Beach Boys as well as the gritty melodic rock of Minneapolis bands like The Replacements, Soul Asylum, and the Jayhawks. After being tuned into Miles Davis by a guitar teacher, he dropped into the deep end of jazz, eventually earning a degree from Indiana University’s prestigious jazz program in 2002. After college, he followed his growing love of classical music to New York City, where he enrolled at the Manhattan School of Music, earning his masters degree in classical guitar in 2006.


    Listen to the Crowded Hour EP here - and buy it (digital or CD):


    Elise Trouw - Line Of Sight

    Elise Trouw is a singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist from the US.

    To tell her story with her own words: "I was born in Southern California to a South African father and a mother from New York in the very last year of the millennium. Raised on The Carpenters, Green Day, and 80s New Wave, I always looked forward to rides in my mom’s car where she played her “mixtapes", whether it was on a compilation CD or an ancient iPod. Inspiration struck when my six-year-old self first heard the haunting piano melody in “My Immortal” by Evanescence. I distinctly remember a five hour plane ride that consisted of that one song blasting repeatedly into my ears. So I begged my parents for piano lessons, and after they finally relented, they were then begging me to not practice at five in the morning every day. I did it anyway, and my love for piano just grew stronger. Life changed when my family bought the game Rockband for Xbox. After mastering the drums to "Dani California” on Expert Mode, I thought I was ready to rock (thank you, Chad Smith). It took a lot more to convince my parents I needed drum lessons, but I managed to wear them down with my obsessive talk and relentless requests. Luckily, at that time we were living on a 2-acre former chicken farm in the middle of nowhere, so the decibel change from piano to drums was irrelevant."


    She adds: "A few months after finding my way around an actual drum kit, my parents realized that I was serious about drumming, so they supported my cause and enrolled me in School of Rock, where I learned how to play and perform with other young musicians. Being one of the youngest only pushed me harder to keep up with the older kids. From Mitch Mitchell's jazz-rock waltz on Jimi Hendrix’s “Manic Depression" to the syncopated groove of Richard Bailey on Jeff Beck’s “Blow by Blow" to the funky feel of Tower of Power’s David Garibaldi, I wanted to learn it all. During my high school years, I started reading charts in band, and jazz became another component of my musicality. At the same time, I began writing both on piano and guitar, spending hours before, after, and even during school to fulfill my creative desires. Because of my dedication to music and growing following on social media, I graduated early to commit fully to music and the creation of my first album."

    "People ask me "What genre is your music?” With songs in 5/4 and 7/4, chords that you'd normally find in The Real Book next to "Take Five,”and influences like Radiohead, The Police, and Steely Dan, I'm really not sure what box I fit into- I’ll leave that up to you."

    Her new single "Line of Sight" is out now. It has become an astonishing good, fresh, uncommon song. And it will get stuck in your head for a long time:

     

    Elise did also a beautiful cover of the Getz & Gilberto classic "Girl from Ipanema":


    Listen also to her stunning first record "Unraveling" here:

    Monday, March 19, 2018

    Roger Joseph Manning Jr - Glamping EP & Reissues

    Most of you may know Roger Joseph Manning Jr from Jellyfish, but the man had also 2 fabulous solo records: Land Of Pure Imagination (it had a slightly different release in Japan with 3 different tracks and was called Solid State Warrior) in 2006 and Catnip Dynamite in 2008.

    Since then it was very quiet regarding new records - until now!


    The is a new campaign on Pledgemusic for his complete musical work:
    A new four track EP called Glamping (digital and CD release in May 2018, vinyl later), reissues of his first two records (CD & colored vinyl), signed stuff, lyric sheets, art books, clothing, Skype interviews, writing birthday songs and much more.

    Saturday, March 3, 2018

    Chris Price - Dalmatian

    The new record of Chris Price is out now! After his critically acclaimed second record Stop Talking nearly 50 songs were left off from the record because they simply didn't fit in its concept.
    With the arrival of Dalmatian, Price’s brand new third album and second release in only 10 months, that music finds new life.
    The 13 tracks found on Dalmatian are all written, produced, engineered, arranged and mixed by Price himself (with occasional help from co-writers Taylor Locke, Fernando Perdomo, and Alex Jules).


    Price says, “This is a collection of fragments, outcasts and ideas from the sessions that produced Stop Talking. A lot of material that I love was left off of that album for one reason or another. Whether it was because the songs didn’t fit tonally or thematically, or the sonics didn’t match up, I found myself sitting on a pile of stuff that couldn’t find a home. I’m not sure if this is my new album or a companion piece to the last one (Disc 2, if you will). Maybe it’s both. I’ll let everyone else decide. All I know is I’m very proud of this work and I’m so happy to have it out there in the world instead of buried on a hard drive somewhere.

    Track List:
    1. Prelude
    2. Sick Boy
    3. Fever Dream
    4. Roller Coaster
    5. Breakfast Cruise
    6. The Dream Is Over (But We’re Just Waking Up)
    7. Dalmatian (Interlude)
    8. Discount Love
    9. I Won’t Be Loved
    10. Peculiar Lake Superior
    11. Uncle John
    12. I’ll Follow Her Anywhere
    13. The Angels Of Buena Vista
    So, according to his last record (Stop Talking) which was stellar, you MIGHT have a look at this release! Order the record (CD and digital) at Omnivore and Bandcamp!

    Teitur - Sara

    'Sara' is the first single taken from the upcoming Teitur album 'I Want To Be Kind'.


    Buy or stream the song here: TeiturMusic.lnk.to/SaraSt
    If you're old-fashioned - just wait for the new record!
     

    Friday, February 23, 2018

    David Mead - 25 Days To "Dudes"

    Preparing for his latest record "Dudes", David Mead created a 25 song collection named "25 Days To Dudes" in 2011 for free. It contains some of David’s best hits, album cuts and previously unreleased outtakes from the last 12 years, plus two new songs from Dudes.
     To say it's a fine collection is underestimated by far. It is superb. Listen to it!


    Listen to the collection and get it here: noisetrade.com/davidmead/25-days-to-dudes

    Jeremy Messersmith - Late Stage Capitalism

    Jeremy Messersmith is back with his latest album having the excellent and reflecting the current state of the world title Late Stage Capitalism


    The lead single is called Purple Hearts (listen below). The album is out due March 9, 2018.


    Pre-order the upcoming album Late Stage Capitalism now: www.jeremymessersmith.com

    Polls! (Bands and Artists)






    Sunday, February 11, 2018

    Mike Viola - Acousto De Perfecto (Mike Viola Q&A)

    In July 2012 Mike Viola released his latest full length record Acousto de Perfecto. You can order it directly at Lojinx (vinyl, CD, digital).


    Along with the record release Mike Viola was so kind to give me an interview:

    How Acousto De Perfecto did came about?

    After recording Electro De Perfecto and playing a few shows with my rock trio around Los Angeles I headed out on tour solo, alone with my guitar where I landed on this idea to make Acousto De Perfecto. Stripped down versions of Electro De Perfecto. I have this tendency to compartmentalize my material.


    "This is my rock record" - "this is my live acoustic record with all new songs" - "this is my guy trapped in his basement far reaching swinging for the fences POP record" - this whole idea of Acousto De Perfecto kind of flies in the face of compartmentalization.
    Confuses things.  Muddles the story.  But it's ultimately really satisfying to hear the Acousto De Perfecto immediately after the last track of Electro De Perfecto "When The Stars Are Against Me". It opens up the lifespan of the songs for me. For the idea the creator has for his creation. Not only Frankenstein, but the Son, the Bride, meets the Wolfman - maybe the new way of doing songs isn't some eternal flame "ultimate version" like any Beatles or Stones record.  But rather, an interpretation. I sound pedantic. Foolish.  See, if you think about these things too much you begin to put them in a compartment. Stupid humans. Off to the show!

    Acousto de Perfecto cover

    Acousto De Perfecto spawned out of being on tour alone playing the songs from Electro De Perfecto. I didn't want to simply make a parallel record of all the songs on Electro De Perfecto done acoustic so I included some new material that I was gathering for whatever record of mine was coming next. 
    Secret Radio was written onstage live at a show in Charlotte NC. This guy, a fan of pop music was putting on a "pop fest". He paid all his favorite pop artists to come to NC, put them (us) up in hotels and rented out this hall. Maybe a gym at a college? Can't remember. Anyway. About 13 people showed up on a rainy Friday night. It was an utter failure. It spoke volumes about the distorted self-perception that fans of pop music have about their pop brethren. That's another story. An ugly long story. The story of Secret Radio is me singing to those 13 people. Explaining something in song. that they are the reason I try and try again. And always will. No matter how pathetic the numbers. I sing to the  people who lean forward and sometimes way too far back to hear the right melody, lyric, emotion wrapped up in a sexual midst that lies or lays somewhere between the girls in the train car in Hard Day's Night and the tattooed love boys. They mine their record collections for just one more surprise. A fix. Anyway... that song was a direct delivery from that haggard muse hanging in the stale air of that empty auditorium in Charlotte NC one cloudy summer night.  

    Why do you think vinyl LPs have this huge comeback particularly in the recent years?

    Cause vinyl is better and people know that. CDs were an invention by manufacturers. SONY invented the CD player and the CD format. Then they bought Columbia records and forced vinyl out of existence. At least I think that's what happened. Anyway, the internet has come along and along with it main street America is coming back and so is vinyl.  It's always the corporations that fuck shit up for us little guys. CDs... never liked them. Walmart... don't shop there. I'd rather pay twice the amount for my chunk of cheese elsewhere. 

    How did you meet Bleu? Your cooperation with him and Ducky Carlisle (L.E.O., The Major Labels) were great efforts – is there a chance of anything more in the future?

    I was doing these shows in Boston called "Mike Viola's mix tape". My friend Andrea Kremer introduced me to William James and told me we'd fall in love. She was right.  L.E.O. was all his idea. TML was the first and last band I've ever been in. It's highly unlikely we'll do another record. I died at the end of that one anyway.   

    TML - Aquavia cover

    Who was the last singer/band that took you by surprise?

    Probably Rufus Wainwright. When he did Want One. I didn’t really get him before that record. Just didn't hear it. But that one knocked me out and then I went back and fell in love with his earlier stuff too.  

    Is the internet in summation good or bad for musicians/bands - in terms of file sharing, crowd funding, blogs and social networks?

    It's great for me. Can't speak for everyone else. I love it cause if I hear about something that's supposed to be good I can immediately check it out, or buy it, or not. And for me as an artist I can reach my fans directly, they know where to find me. 

    You did movie soundtracks in the past (The Dewey Cox Story, Get Him to The Greek, That Thing You Do etc.). It’s surely fun to write lyrics like Furry Walls or African Child, is it? I loved the performance of Furry Walls at the end of the movie (the beginning is incredibly funny)!
    As much as I love all the records of Aldous Snow (except the one before his creative hiatus – that was crap… ;-): Is there a chance we will ever listen to these songs with Mike Viola on vocals?

    Hem. I just did a tour with Adam Schlesinger where we played a bunch of songs from the movies we've worked on. There are demo recordings of me singing every song from the movies I've worked on and also songs that didn’t make it. For Greek I think Dan Bern and I wrote close to 30 songs. 


    What do you think about your early songs nowadays (MV & the Bottom Line, MV & Snap, Kenmore Square…)? Is there a song you like in particular?

    Oh that stuff is terrible. BUT, there are some earlier songs and recordings of mine that are really inspired naive and punk rock. I'm going to release some of that hopefully this year on 7". 
    But SNAP was horrible and the records we made are even worse than what we sounded like live. One thing we could do was harmonize really good though. I miss that.  We drank tons of beer, harmonized and played darts. Okay there's a few songs I like. I think there's so much memory wrapped up in those songs so it's hard to tell if I really hate them or I just hated who I was when I was making them. But I'm pretty sure I hate them.