From Guildford, England comes the voice of Annabel Allum. A small framed casually put together woman who you wouldn’t expect to have such an elegant tonal quality. “Rascal” is the 2nd single released this year following up her 2017 release “All that for what?”
“Rascal” is a very honest approach that gets more inwardly intimate than most. Revealing truths most bury, ignore, or deny. The slow tempo swaying verse begins with “I’m just a rascal woman, I take home people I meet in bars, I tell them I can see their soul, I can count their scars.” Pretty straightforward.
I always research each artist I review to get a little insight into their personality and how its applied to their approach to music. Annabel is quoted saying, “Rascal’ is about me accepting what people think of me, and trying to get on with it anyway. No one’s perfect and I’m certainly not.” The sincerity in that is very respectable. After hearing “Rascal” Annabel projects her truth exactly as it is. The chorus comes in like the morning twilight transitioning into a breathtaking sunrise. You know something is coming, your anticipation rises, the volume increases and like an orchestra director you raise your hands at the same moment the cymbals crash and the full spectral sound comes flooding in.
It is difficult to categorize Annabel as to me she is a woman with a guitar playing her heart, which is something that cannot be duplicated.
If you took Delores from The Cranberries(RIP), Liz Phair and Peri Gilpin(she played Roz on Fraider) ripped out their vocal chords and blended them like your morning smoothie, that combination would closely then resemble Annabel. While the music isn’t pop or rock it is very listener friendly.
“Rascal” is as powerful musically as it is lyrically. It’s raw yet mature. For those who aren’t afraid to admit they can be a “Rascal” at times, it’s a great song to relate to and reassuring that you aren’t terrible alone. We all have our moments. Accepting it is easy to do when there is a song to sing along to.
To purchase the single and albums prior visit her website, and don’t forget to follow her on facebook.
Let me begin with why the anagram title. Led by Christopher Porterfield is the band Field Report (Porterfield/Field Report) A-ha, get it?.) Released today, Summertime Songs is the band’s third album, and the first being released through Verve Forecast which is part of the Verve Label Group. Lyrical content seems to be a polished focal point as metaphors are commonly used and his style falls in line with classic folk singers who told stories rather than followed the Dr. Seuss rhyming scheme. There is something heartfelt as you make your way through summertime songs, and as I understand all songs were written while Christopher and his wife were expecting their first child.
Based out of Wisconsin, Field Report is rounded out by drummer Shane Leonard, guitarist Thomas Wincek, and bassist Barry Clark who’s contributions complement each other in creating solid transitions and strong build-ups. A perfect example of this can be heard on “Never look back”. Boasting soft toned clean guitar leads and lightly brushed with an epic cinematic climax “Never look back” as I interpreted it, seems to be about that train wreck style of attraction. Addicted to the things we hate, or maybe that we loved at one point, sticking with it until it comes down to yourself and what you need to do for you. summertime songs is the kind of album you can leave on from start to finish.
There is a mood that goes alongside it that is easy to swallow, cruising along with no bumps in the road, meaning there isn’t a ballad followed by a loud obnoxious track, followed by a rap song followed by a country song. “Blind Spot” has some brilliant and beautiful background vocals that lay out the as if weightless and surrounded by light soft clouds flowing in succession to the backbeat.
The highlight on the album is “If I Knew”. Subtle lyrical genius in the line, “If I knew, what I know, so far yet to go”. Along similar lines of Bruce Springsteen, Counting Crows, and John Cougar Mellencamp. Maybe even fans of The Fray will appreciate Field Reports consistency and their “just right” approach that isn’t over nor underdone. Kinda like when Goldie Locks finds her perfect temperature bowl of porridge.
Tuesday, March 27: Chicago, IL – Schubas
Wednesday, March 28: Indianapolis, IN – HI-FI
Thursday, March 29: Ann Arbor, MI – The Ark
Friday, March 30: Toronto, ON – The Drake
Saturday, March 31: Montreal, QC – L’Escogriffe
Tuesday, April 3: New York, NY – Mercury Lounge
Thursday, April 5: Philadelphia, PA – Milkboy
Friday, April 6: Washington, DC – Songbyrd
Saturday, April 7: Pittsburgh, PA – Club Cafe
Sunday, April 8: Columbus, OH – Rumba Cafe
Friday, May 25 – Sunday, May 27: Boston, MA – Boston Calling
You can get a copy of Summertime Songs here. They are touring in support and you can check the dates on their website or by following them on Facebook.
Datarock‘s latest album, Face the Brutality, dropped March 9th through YAP records. DATAROCK is an 80’s recreating synth-rock band hailing from Norway, a place known more for its black metal. The band says the album’s title comes from a phrase they had heard prior and that, “coming from a city of black metal, and with a background in punk and trash metal, we found the title so utterly wrong for DATAROCK.”
Face the Brutality‘s first track, “BMX”, kicks off in good ol 80’s drum machine style. Joined in by an arpeggiated synth line that takes you back in time. I dropped a line to the band and asked,” why re-create that period of time?” Fredrik responded, “Probably just the fact that I grew up back then and have fond memories connected to those kinds sounds.” Seems, he isn’t alone. It’s becoming a trend and everyone is jumping on the bandwagon with aqua net and 80’s fever. There are contemporary sounds in this 80’s mix alongside some spunky lead guitar riffs, old school wah-wah, and some great group back up singers. Fredrik’s voice can range in the stylings of Beck, Sting, and even Sisters of Mercy as you get into the albums 4th track “Laugh in the Face of Darkness”, with its seductive sound. DATAROCK is a surefire for 80’s party like entertainment, not only through audio alone. Their stage show is top notch and made famous by wearing red tracksuits, in which you can purchase through their website. More than just a synth-driven pop band with punk influence the lyrics throughout have a poetic depth that can be thought pondering. When asked what track he was most stoked about Fredrik stated, “Today my favorite is the one named after a soap opera featured in Twin Peaks’s first season – Invitation to Love; a track that reinvents the ballad as a dance floor genre … and puts the reverb back on Kjetil Møster’s saxophone.” The track begins with drum and bass that is smoother than a baby’s butt. Mysterious like a hitman, and as sleek as a leatherette in an 80’s Porsche. The album ends on a punk-ish note with “Darkness at the Edge of the Pit.”
Overall the album hosts a series of hidden gems when it comes to musical diversity. DATAROCK have revamped the 80’s genre and polished it to perfection. When asked about the international reception Fredrik comments,”Over the years it’s been great! Like how we been able to play a thousand clubs and festivals in 36 counties on 5 continents – and how we ended up as 36 on NME’s list of albums of the year, or how Rolling Stone Magazine made Computer Vamp Love 88th beat of the yeast, etc. So far the best international response on the new album has been 5/5 in Music News and 4/5 in Classic Pop.”
In closing, what have we learned, Norway, more than just black metal, they’ve got DATAROCK. Go purchase your copy of Face the Brutality (or a tracksuit) from the bands’ website.
the lampshades, a trio from Pittsburgh, are getting ready to release their album Astrology on March the 23rd of 2018 through Mint 400 Records. As a teaser, the guys, that have been playing together since they were teenagers, have released a video to accompany their teaser single release, “Civilization and its Discontents” via YouTube.
A traveling video with plenty of the cities views with some cool effects added to the sequences. Wait for the 0:38 mark as the guys are squished together singing in unison looking just as the song says, discontent. It’s a little humorous. I definitely got the vibe of a mundane, in and out, everyday, routine where they city just becomes so blah.
Behold, as comes the ending and images of nature in flight. Maybe it represents the ability to be free and fly away, or maybe its a look at the everyday beauty of things we often take for granted as we shrug off passing the same skyscraper every day.
Either way, this indie-alternative-grunge sounding band has something to offer both visual and auditory. The Lampshades will be playing some local shows in support of the album release. HEY PITTSBURGH, get out and support your homegrown boys. For the rest of the world keep up with the lampshades by visiting their website.
Remember the day Beavis and Butthead immortalized the band “Ween” and the song “Push th’ little Daisies?” Half of the group’s mastermind dean ween, aka the deaner, rounded out by Mike Dillon, Bill Fowler (Sound of Urchin), Adam Weiner (Low Cut Connie), Michael Hampton (Parliament-Funkadelic) make up the dean ween group. Their second album, rock2, will hit the drums of your ears March 16th, 2018.
“Showstopper”, the first track off of rock2, is a garage rock classic, a first-hand account of a small space and loud amps. The second track,”Fingerbangin”, is a semi- surf riff driven track with some superb drumming. I’m sure a crowd favorite at concerts.I was about 3 songs deep when I realized Dean Wean, all suggestive humor aside has become a very seriously seasoned musician. The total 180 spawns a sound you’d find on an old Eagles album. Returning to form with “Theme from skinheads kicking your ass” is saturated with horns in the back, anamorphic bass guitar and it’s easy to sing along to because the only word is “Oi.” Pulling more twists and turns to the albums sound is Rock2’s shining moment, “Yellow Pontiac.”
“You are what you eat, and you are what you drive”
This gritty, grungy, roll around in the swamp mud, tear into a solo cup with your teeth, gulp the beverage inside, and spit out what you chewed off, kinda rock song is seriously humorous.
The album ends with one more turn that isn’t as drastic. A dive bar, blues-rock jam “Sunset over Belmar.” Overall there is plenty of Dean Ween’s style of humor as well as a split personality type of musical diversity.
“How can I believe” is the first track from Steve Barton‘s latest album Tall Tales and Alibis. “How can I believe in God when you’re the one who’s divine?”, that line is absolutely brilliant. Part 1 of this 3 album release is filled with predominantly acoustic, folk-ish style music with a lot of great vocal harmonies. “Shadow of the Bride”, even with it being acoustic has a hint of some old punk influences as the song speeds up and states, “I don’t know what to do, I don’t know what to do, about you.” There are some elements of surf rock, old punk, and David Bowie. Steve’s vocal range produces a low, soothing, yet haunting tonal quality similar to Johnny Cash.
His diversity comes as no surprise when you start turning the pages of his resume. Having a publishing deal at the age of 14, touring in a Beatles cover band, and in 1979 forming the band Translator. Some would go as far to say Steve and Translator were the first actual “alternative” band.
Part 2 of the album is more melancholic. It’s as simple as a man and his guitar. A more serious and emotive feel that opens the door to explore his depth a little further. “Haunt me tonight” being the most upbeat track on part 2, shows no shortage of Steve’s amazing way with words that really paint a picture you can see and feel.
“Promises and miracles pour like honey down the street.” Grim yes, but man, why didn’t I think of that. He is truly the master of analogies.
“Wake up in roses” begins Part 3 and does it full on. Horns, full band, rawk, and roll. It’s astounding this is the same guy. Like a change of season, this 37 song triple album release covers every spectrum you could ever desire. For me, the true shining moment on Tall tales and Alibis is “She is the girl.” Returning with a blues style that is complemented by an organ creating a nicely dusted and subtle psychedelic aftertaste. The beat is straightforward, simple, and that perfect repetition that makes you just zone out into the song. So I was little disappointed when the song ended, that so could have kept going.
Seriously, if you have never heard of Steve Barton, let “She is the Girl” be the track that opens the door. He has captured the fantasy and reality of “that girl” far better than Sting did with “Roxanne.” The entire album is loaded with actual storytelling style songs that do not skimp on originality or brilliance.
Don’t be put off by the 37 tracks, you can purchase each song for only $0.99 from Steve’s Website or get the entire 3 part album for only $14.95.
“Shiver” wastes no time getting to the point, and is the debut single from Whitelight, a duo from Birmingham. Impressive that this track is made by only 2 people. “Shiver” begins with a dusty gritty distortion then turns the corner into a verse that commands the spotlight with the singers’ wonderful accent. For fans of Royal Blood, Blue Oyster Cult, and Radiohead, Whitelight is best defined as true Indie Rock N Roll. The middle section of the song does have a neat echoing bluesy guitar solo, which pulls the distortion off the bass guitar giving a loungy feel. In its simplicity “Shiver” is a really catchy tune. No explosions or an intense build up its a straightforward track that is easy to swallow.
As I walked away from it, I found the chorus line still reverberating in my head so much so I had to give it another listen. Whitelight is proof that you really don’t need to over produce a song to make it great, you just need to write it well. When searching there isn’t too much information about WhiteLight. The alluring mystery and the availability of only 1 song has me definitely wanting more and I will be waiting to see what these guys are all about. Can’t wait to hear a full release and hear all that they have to offer.
Well, maybe. “Donnie wants you dead” is a teaser single from Seattle based Powerbleeder from their new album GUSH that is slated for release on April 10th.
My first impression was “sounds like Seattle”, the standard grunge sound that has become a symbol representing an overcast sky and sloshing around in rain puddles. Then a bit of a change in weather as the verse begins and enters an alternate sky that is as sunny as the summer days in California. “You can fill the crossword without really even trying” grabbed my immediate focus dead center. Each verse is followed by a repeat in a camp-fire group style, and the overall sound becomes a little Beatle-esque. As much as this track makes you want to join hands, pick up a tambourine, and sing along, listen closely because it isn’t all Mento’s smiles. The actuality of the lyrics and the way Powerbleeder has a fun way of saying some things almost makes you miss the sarcasm of a bleak message. With the line,”You sent a bud bug to the White House overnight”, it sounds so upbeat, like it was a good thing, when in all honesty if that line was spoken normally my response would be, “What a dick, those things are hard to get rid of.” I can see the actions of someone wanting somebody dead becoming very clear.
The music at times becomes powerful and the guitar line is evocative of scales used in jazz. The transitions build up smoothly and reveal theoretic capacity in instrumentation and song structure making it hard to say, yeah they are a pop-ish rock band. Pop is so simple, and while “Donnie wants you dead” retains catchy pop hooks, what lays beneath the playful memorable song standard is anything but standard. If you’ve ever felt impure of mind or had some choice words you want to throw at someone, do it in style. Powerbleeder leads the way and makes it fun. You’ll see, once you check out “Donnie wants you dead” and you later find yourself walking with a spring in your step, singing it happily aloud while snapping your fingers with a smile across your face.
And if that is not enough joy in your life you can Pre-Order your copy of GUSH from the band’s Bandcamp page for only $4.
“Show me the magic” is the single release of an E.P. soon coming from AjaWarren. The epic theatrical intro sets the scene with a soft synth and graciously applied strings. As the mountain conquering intro leads the way into bass strings and strong vocals the goosebumps begin to swell and that hair on the back of my neck started to stick upright all I can say is, Wow.
“Show me the magic” slides from this soft power into a really driving impactful chorus in full symphonic surround sound. While the vocals could be the leader in this instance, it’s appealing that it’s perfectly mixed and that there is no leader, it’s all or nothing. “Show me the magic” instills that feeling right before you give up and ask one more time, give me what you got if there is really something there. It’s sad but with hope. Soft and powerful.
Aja has a voice. A really compelling voice that delivers emotion on a scale that reaches into your chest. I’m gonna say if you cant feel it, you likely have no soul. This is Tori Amos talent minus the obscure lyrics. “Show me the magic” has delivered a high that you actually have to come down from. It’s just so chilling how expressive Aja projects her voice.
This music belongs in a theater of the utmost elegance and backed by a gracious symphony. If listening at home, I recommend a calm candlelit environment, some flashy satin sheets, red and black would be ideal, and that perfect bottle of wine.