Beyond Your Radio Article that showcases new albums, reviews them as to their genre, nature, and delivery, as well as who’s ears might enjoy them.

Album Review Saturdays 2024 Episode 20

It’s hard to believe that Album Review Saturdays 2024 is finishing up May with this our Episode 20.  While we can count on time marching on, we can equally count on the releases continuing to reach the digital and local shelves at a near daunting pace.  I wish I was retired or wealthy enough to do this full time, allowing the music to utterly consume me night and day, but the realities of the situation are probably equal to that of yours (wouldn’t we all love to just do what we love all day and night long).  This Album Review Saturdays 2024 Episode 20 we have English singer-songwriter that was a huge part of the electronic merge of alternative technically coming out with her first true solo album.  The second is a long standing swamp-rock, southern bluesing band that got its beginnings in 1969 because Frank Zappa fired a Mothers of Invention member who was just too talented to not have his own band.  There’s a push, right!  And then, we take on a young woman who might be approaching a one-of-a-kind vocal delivery status, and a master-type-musician in her brother, as they deviate — yet use impressive musical allegories to the beautiful, past — to accentuate their distance from the usual music industry chords and common tracks.  Yes, it’s another big album on Album Review Saturdays from Beyond Your Radio that we were anxious to get our ears into!  And, now, let’s give you what we thought!

 

LINK TO OUR YOUTUBE VERSION
[Mark Kuligowski & Panelist, The Grateful Dude, discuss these (3) albums + adds three (3) more reviews!]

 

 

Beth GibbonsLives Outgrown

Portishead is definitely one of the most important electronica meshed alternative bands of the 90s.  The trip-hop meets experimental aspects of rock with loop, real orchestra and electronic blending was ear-y, melodic, avant-garde, and classic.  The elements within are dynamic, but all held together by a unique, English woman, who had the specialized, whispy and angular delivery to not only pull it off, but to send it soaring.  That voice was Bristol’s Beth Gibbons, and she was nowhere near the household name of her awesomely named band.  I still remember the first time I heard the debut, Dummy, and the shivers it send through my body.  And now, nearly thirty years after the Mercury Prize winning, Dummy, Ms. Beth Gibbons emerges from a Polish classical album from 2019, Henryk Górecki: Symphony No. 3, where she brings to the music multiverse what is technically considered her solo debut, Lives Outgrown.

There is no question that she is under the heavy influence of orchestration, percussion, and the arrangements and how they create a wave of emotions and settings for song-writing.  The layers of responsibility that are on this recording are an audio astonishment to some, but to those that know of Portishead, and that magical night at the Roseland Ballroom in New York City know full on how orchestration changes everything, and the power of the music.  Beth Gibbons is truly one who understands, appreciates, and loves to push that environment into smaller places in sound, which is what makes her and her past a unique signature.  This is where Lives Outgrown lives, breathes, and navigates for over forty-five minutes filled with variety of sparseness of orchestral arranging, electronic-ambient enhancements, and the beautiful, emotive, storytelling vocals of Gibbons.

When we reach ‘Rewind’ we begin to hear the addition of international flavors into the mix, which I truly love, because she didn’t engage us right away, leaving the perfect movements and moments (including the strings) to showcase a change in the album.  It’s almost as if this is the bridge of the album, instead of that of a particular song.  Her vocal has even changed to some degree, leaving an edgier drift on it while she allows it to hang majestically in front of the out-of-control — gone to far soundscape that comes.  It’s probably the darkest of the tracks, but it is brilliant even in the addition of loops of children and seagulls (I believe).  It’s remarkable detail.

If you’re a Portishead fan, this might take a few listens to find your place in this.  A faster process if you had listened to her 2019 album mentioned above, as you already have a point of reference to the utilization of orchestra over the electronica of the past.  The richness of this record extends to every minor and major part, from her vocal to the variety of live orchestral percussion, to the strings, and eventuality of horn entry.  This is massive, yet subdued to the overall pursuit.  There were a few times I felt like a soundtrack entry might be in her future, like that of James Bond perhaps?  The arrangements, while reaching bleak arenas, are the best thing to grace 2024 so far in this scope of alternative music, and something that I encourage all our music multiverse travelers to partake of with determination, as this is what exploring music is supposed to be.  At the hands of a courageous, untrained, and slightly unusual combinational artist, Lives Outgrown, is rich despite the bleakness, and deserved of sincere attention for the first alternative-classical album ever made (I’m sure there was an orchestra right, considering I don’t see a list of musicians — fingers crossed).

The Band

  • Beth Gibbons – vocals, production, mixing (all tracks); engineering (tracks 1, 3–10), arrangement (3, 8, 9)
  • James Ford – production, mixing, engineering (all tracks); arrangement (tracks 3, 8)
  • Lee Harris – additional engineering, additional production
  • Bridget Samuels – arrangement (tracks 1, 3)

Lives Outgrown Tracklisting

  1. Tell Me Who You Are Today
  2. Floating On A Moment
  3. Burden Of Life
  4. Lost Changes
  5. Rewind
  6. Reaching Out
  7. Oceans
  8. For Sale
  9. Beyond The Sun
  10. Whispering Love

 

 

Little FeatSam’s Place

Now I don’t know exactly where Sam’s Place is, but I’m sure I’ve passed by it a few times in my lifetime. Whether it’s in New Orleans or not, it certainly seems Creole in nature by the southern blues or swamp rock that they’ve always seemed to be categorized as, even if they’re from California. Now what I do know, is that the Sam’s Place, is that comfort food, that comfortable place, a place you can count on to bring you back or ground you. You get me musical drift or my musical plate? This is a grounded recording that harkens to a place, a time signature of sorts, and a music that at its basic principal is there to simply move – get you motivated by hearing familiarity, easy comparisons, and the tribulations and triumphs that life will offer.

This album is a well done, southernly executed bluesy and raspy little record to remind you of the simple way music can be catchy, presented, and darn right easily entertaining.  Amidst all the crazy albums I’ve listened to this year, and the compositionally sound and unsound, Little Feat has managed to take me back to the root of the equation and solve for “c.” And, “c” stands for comfort, because it certainly doesn’t stand for complicated.  You are going to hear the common chord structure of the blues, maybe even think they’re going to do a cover or two, and that’s as it’s intended.  Even the vocabulary of the lyrics is meant to strip it all down, and even ‘Mellow Down Easy,’ as the second to last song suggests in the harmonic blasting blues riffed song that’s been dug up and respun a dozen times by greats, bar bands, and people by a campfire.

You know what isn’t going to be comfortable for some, is Sam Clayton doing all of the vocals for every track, because this is the first album to ever feature him as the vocalist. But, I think it’s the right, solid, and perfect choice to carry the record.  He’s got it, and he’s even got a little Joe Cocker to his vocal, too.  It moves right into the harmonics of the entire album, and it does have a that genuine feel of what is being carried out around the audio of Sam’s Place.  So does it sound like Little Feat?   Well, if you’re referring to the 1970s version, I can tell you that it sort of does NOT, but I don’t think that’s what most will be expecting after the thirty years of changes, and life’s departures.  It is played though with the same feel for song structure allowing guitars, pianos, organs, and vocals to find their place within the southern melody, and that’s truly groove and jam of Little Feat from the 1971 debut self-titled album to 1988’s pop-driven Let It Roll.

Come on in to Sam’s Place, but bring your easy appetite. Don’t expect some fancy Eggs Benedict, Fois Gras, or Beef Wellington. Expect a heaping portion of Alligator bites, meat loaf, and smoked potato-salad with a nice cup of shine or hooch. The music is just as heaving as the portions with extra butter and slide sizzle on the side.  Will this start a new opening of chain restaurants?  Probably not, but it’s a great little roadside distraction in a complicated music environment and world.

The Band

  • Sam Clayton – percussions, lead vocalist
  • Scott Sharrard – lead guitar, vocals
  • Tony Leone – drums, vocals
  • Bill Payne – keyboards/piano, vocals
  • Fred Tackett – guitar, vocals
  • Kenny Gradney – bass

Sam’s Place Tracklisting

  1. Milkman
  2. You’ll Be Mine
  3. Long Distance Call (feat. Bonnie Raitt)
  4. Don’t Go No Further
  5. Can’t Be Satisfied
  6. Last Night
  7. Why People Like That
  8. Mellow Down Easy
  9. Got My Mojo Working (Live)

 

 

 

 

Billie Eilish – Hit Me Hard and Soft

It is very hard in the modern music world to find yourself as completely unique. There always seems to be some sort of comparison one can make to some other band or artist from the past or even the current music multiverse that share a sound, a type of singing style, or the creative ruses. The truth is, a person’s influences usually lead to them being compared slightly to them, and especially if there is a mesh variety in the artist’s passion for the art. Rare to have a signature to your material, delivery and albums. I can think of Sting, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Tool, Frank Zappa, and Bessie Smith just off the cuff. Distinct from start to finish. This is starting to be the catch of Billie Eilish, and she make more strides to closing her circle of song-writing, fortifying her position, as her brother steps carefully and masterfully into classical touches, music memorials, and a slick sense that the minutest amount of quality can go a very long and deep.

Oddly enough (after that great paragraph intro), Hit Me Hard and Soft is exactly the album one would be expecting from Billie Eilish.  She can’t escape her vocal, and she would be extremely foolish to try to parade into a pop or indie environment without a hazmat suit.  She lives and breathes this album in all her tones, under-the-breath statements, and intoxicating pronunciation queues.  The album is desperate while it’s hopeful.  It is a search for identities as much as it is about the expression of them.  It is the first Eilish record that I believe is free from trying to make something to bring to the masses, rather than trying to put the music into a carefully selected genre.  She is the very opposite of Taylor Swift in choosing her position.  The position is chosen based on the whim of the duo and their passion toward the music, and where the songs lead them (as much as it is to where it leads us the listener, too).

The shackles of the industry are completely off, and I don’t feel they need or feel the need to play by any such rules.  There is also a clever, calculated way of letting go, allowing a lot more sound in (even if they are brief or understated).  They are wonderfully placed and produced (the groove of the record sneaks up on you in a lot of places), and this is something of the effect of Finneas on what is Billie Eilish.  There’s fun in the movement of the record, and there’s sincerity, too.  Whether acoustic or hip-hoping oriented, there was not a moment of the record that I thought was there for filler purposes.  Delicate?  Yes, there’s plenty of it within the song-writing, the melodies, and in the intentful and mindfully produced details.  While it has the delicate it does stiffen to engage, to make an emphasis, and to help the ear contemplate the worth of the hard and the soft.

This is her best full record, and it appears to my ear that the duo is going to continue to trend upward, considering the sounds and the attention to detail I am still hearing in this record.  Her vocal has miles to go before it could even think of sleeping, while the creative genius of musician and songbird-writer moves into what sounds to be seamless sympatico.  Think of these two like you do Atticus Ross and Nine Inch Nails, and you will get an understanding of the status of music creation they are in.  Now, they just have to work on those album covers (you know what I mean).

The Band

  • Billie Eilish – vocals, keyboards, synthesizers, vocal editing, engineering
  • Finneas – bass, drums, glockenspiel, guitar, keyboards, percussion, programming, synthesizer, vocals, production, engineering, vocal engineering (all tracks);
    string arrangement (tracks 1, 6, 10)
  • Andrew Marshall – drums, percussion
  • Andrew Yee – cello (tracks 1, 6, 10)
  • Andrew Marshall – drums, percussion (tracks 1, 6, 10)
  • Nathan Schram – viola (tracks 1, 6, 10)
  • Amy Schroeder – violin (tracks 1, 6, 10)
  • Domenic Salerni – violin (tracks 1, 6, 10)

Hit Me Hard and Soft Tracklisting

  1. Skinny
  2. Lunch
  3. Chihiro
  4. Birds of a Feather
  5. Wildflower
  6. The Greatest”
  7. L’Amour de Ma Vie
  8. The Diner
  9. Bittersuite
  10. Blue

Album Review Saturdays 2024 Episode 19

This weekend’s Album Review Saturdays 2024 Episode 19 has stretches of diversification to their representative genres that make your ear stand up and take notice in a variety of ways.  An independent thinking saxophonist and composer uses his fearlessness and global reach to put together one of the year’s most encompassing jazz recordings.  Then we step into rock-jazz-fusion with a multi-talented vocalist, drummer and producer at the helm that loves to assemble supergroups to bring new expressions of sound to the music multiverse, and this one’s as deep as the list of players.  Then we take an absolute risk on an album that has that kind of album cover, name, and album title that you kind of have a feeling you’re in for a very different industrial music and soundscape experience, and it certainly lives up to all the mystique that made us pick it.  It’s time to traverse these three albums on Album Review Saturdays 2024 Episode 19.

 

LINK TO OUR YOUTUBE VERSION
[Mark Kuligowski & Panelist The Grateful Dude discuss these (3) albums + adds two (2) more reviews!]

 

 

Kamasi WashingtonFearless Movement

Kamasi Washington has stepped full on into a Robert Glasper-ian jazz making experience on Fearless Movement.  The award winning, extremely talented, saxophonist and under-appreciated composer, has crafted a wonderful mesh and diversified jazz recording that truly masters flow but also reaches a truthful, unforced combination of intersection genres without destroying a single fabric of listening.  What the hell am I talking about here?  Simply put, whether his saxophone is at the helm or completely missing from some of the compositions, the scales of musicianship that entrances, beguiles and fearlessly exorcise the blending of hip/hop, be-bop, soul-jazz, classic jazz, funk, and electronic age varietals and a whole lot more is truly ear-stounding!  Not to mention the attention to the lyrical expressions that, while it is the largest stretch for a jazz ear, does have a true connection even though purest will probably cringe.  Don’t give in.  Listen to the genius of it.  The way the instruments keep it framed like ‘Get Lit’ and that lovely flute that pierces as fine as the rap flow and lyrics.

Don’t worry, Fearless Movement does not dwell or rest upon one area or arena of music.  ‘Dream State,’ a modern masterpiece of jazz saxophone meets electronic-ambient that features Andre 3000 is probably the moment on the record of truest realization of the accomplishment at hand.  This is one of the most thrilling movements of fearlessness, and probably one in which these two artists should attempt to expand upon like that of Daniel Lanois and Brian Eno, as it is elegant, electronic and ambiently blended to truly offer something that only few in the music multiverse have attempted.  The album does orchestrate more jazz fusion moments with funk and progressive rock elements as the rest unfurls, including a band-like approach in ‘Interstellar Peace’ which feels like a background of Radiohead in the Ok Computer realm.  All of this consistently allows the saxophone to become all kinds of tempos and emotions (whether played by Kamasi Washington or not) while the artists surrounding it tap dance, free flow, and jam in-and-out of moments and movements.

This album clearly illustrates that reach, scope and accompaniment power of jazz in the hands of those with fearless expressionism.  Every instrument and style is as important as the genre blending that’s being improvised and appreciated.  The music is all-together moving in audio and in soulfulness.  This is not a solitary listen to grasp this, unless you are a jazz musician, and even then there are going to be standards that need to be withdrawn and allowed to move through your ear so that you can truly appreciate every inch of this lovely accomplishment.  This is definitely a jazz album contender for best albums of this year, and one that I hope more people will continue to explore and move toward in the future of elevating jazz in all culture and genres.

The Band

  • Kamasi Washington – tenor saxophone (all tracks), alto saxophone (track 6)
  • Brandon Coleman – keyboards, organ (all tracks); key bass (tracks 3, 6, 10), vocoder (5)
  • Cameron Graves – piano (tracks 1–3, 5, 7–12)
  • Dontae Winslow – trumpet (tracks 1, 2, 4, 5, 7–12)
  • Ronald Bruner Jr. – drums (tracks 1, 2, 4, 7–12)
  • Ryan Porter – trombone (tracks 1, 2, 4, 5, 7–12)
  • Tony Austin – drums (tracks 1, 2, 5–12)
  • Allakoi Peete – percussion (tracks 1, 2, 5, 7–12)
  • Kahlil Cummings – percussion (tracks 1, 2, 5, 7–12)
  • Miles Mosley – double bass (tracks 1, 5, 8, 9, 11, 12)
  • Patrice Quinn – vocals (tracks 1, 2, 5, 8, 11)
  • Woody Aplanalp – guitar (tracks 1, 5, 9)
  • Carlos Niño – percussion (track 1)
  • Banchamlak Abegase – vocals (track 1)
  • Henok Elias – vocals (track 1)
  • Stephen “Thundercat” Bruner – electric bass (tracks 2, 4)
  • DJ Battlecat – turntables (track 2), talk box (5)
  • Taj Austin – vocals (track 2)
  • Ras Austin – vocals (track 2)
  • Terrace Martin – alto saxophone (track 3)
  • Rickey Washington – flute (tracks 4, 8, 11)
  • George Clinton – vocals (track 4)
  • D Smoke – vocals (track 4)
  • Joel Whitley – guitar (track 4)
  • Robert Miller – drums (track 5)
  • André 3000 – flutes (track 6)
  • Mono/Poly – synthesizer (track 6)
  • Ben Williams – upright bass (track 7)
  • Dwight Trible – vocals (tracks 8, 11)
  • BJ the Chicago Kid – vocals (track 10)

Fearless Movement Tracklisting

  1. Lesanu
  2. Asha The First (feat. Thundercat, Taj Austin & Ras Austin)
  3. Computer Love (feat. Patrice Quinn, DJ Battlecat & Brandon Coleman)
  4. The Visionary (feat. Terrace Martin)
  5. Get Lit (feat. George Clinton & D Smoke)
  6. Dream State (feat. Andre 3000)
  7. Together (feat. BJ the Chicago Kid)
  8. The Garden Path
  9. Road to Self (KO)
  10. Interstellar Peace (The Last Stance)
  11. Lines in the Sand
  12. Prologue

 

Mandoki Soulmates – A Memory of Our Future

I was not familiar with this supergroup or László “Leslie” Mándoki (German-Hungarian percussionist, vocalist, producer and composer of supergroups), but that’s why I do this Beyond Your Radio thing.  Another music media outlet was giving a brief discussion of the type of music this was, and a little bit of history, and of course (for fear of missing out) I was intrigued.  Now, I could have listened to this and just put it out there as #album4today that I post, but I decided I’d put it out on Album Review Saturdays this weekend, giving my panelists an opportunity to listen and report on.  So, before I get into the album, let’s just give you a bit on Mr. Mandoki and his reason for being able to pull the likes of Al Di Meola, Ian Anderson, and Bill Evans when he asks.  While studying percussion and music in Budapest, Leslie was smitten with Cream and Jethro Tull (yeah, I get that immediately).  He enters Eurovision 1979 in a six person band, Dschinghis Khan, as the German entry.  Fourth place ain’t bad, and he took further, discovering progressive rock and jazz, until it became production love, helping with the likes of Lionel Richie, Engelbert Humperdinck, and Phil Collins.  He also made music compositions for companies like Disney and Audi as well, so his musical scope and attention to audio detail is probably what leads him to the respectability of what would become making the band, Mandoki Soulmates.

Who is the original collective here?  Well Mandoki of course, but let’s bring in that Jethro Tull dude Ian AndersonRobin GibbJack BruceSteve LukatherBobby KimballMidge UreNik KershawAl Di MeolaMichael and Randy BreckerTill Brönner and Eric Burdon  just to have a little band (right)?  Can you imagine the sounds and scope of genre inclusion in this progressive jazz, rock fusion ensemble!?  It’s like the Avengers for Christ’s sake!  And, on A Memory of Our Future, the amazement of how the artists assemble and move in and out of the jamming, improvisation, and orchestrated sessions is something to truly enjoy.  On this outing, we have the three usual suspects that you automatically can hear (Ian, Al and Leslie), but we also have Bill Evans, Mike Stern, with the return of Till Brönner and Randy Becker as well.  As well as more in the cast (you can read below).  The music ranges from a Dave Matthews like jam session in ‘The Big Quit’ to the progressive fluting rocker eighties-like ‘Devil’s Encyclopedia’ to the Mahavishnu like ‘Age of Thought.’  There is something for every instrument lover, and a complete absorption into each other’s leads, sounds, and emotive playing.  It’s truly a remarkably made record, and there are even such subtle tendencies in the layers that you just don’t pick up on the very first listen (okay, there are those of you that will hear it immediately and just love that they didn’t just go to the bridge easily).  The album can be tender, lyrical, and bombastic, which is not something you experience too often in the music multiverse.

I am very glad that a mere mention of the band and a hint of what it sounds like from Sea of Tranquility’s “Professor’s Picks” lead me to this album, and its appearance here on Album Review Saturdays 2024 Episode 19.  There’s a lot of music on this one hour and eighteen minute progressive jazz-rock fusion album, exploring all kinds of connective genres and soloing from rock guitar to flamenco guitar, from piano to bouncy keyboards, to a fistful of flute (wonder who that was), and even vocal deliveries that go a bit Floydian to pop.  Give this one a big long spin, and I am sure you’ll find a lot to love (especially if you love Mahavishnu, Chicago, and Jethro Tull).  The memory of all our futures in jazz and all it touches is in very good, capable present and future hands and minds.  They bang it out in all analog, too (should have mentioned that I guess)!  Stay loud my friends and enjoy!

The Band

  • Leslie Mandoki – Vocals, percussion(s)
  • Ian Anderson (Jethro Tull) – Vocals, Flute
  • Mike Stern – Guitar(s)
  • Al di Meola – Guitar(s)
  • Randy Brecker – Trumpet
  • Till Brönner – Trumpet, Fugelhorn
  • Bill Evans – Piano
  • John Helliwell (Supertramp) – Saxophone, Keyboard
  • Cory Henry – Organs, Keyboard
  • Richard Bona – Bass
  • Steve Bailey – Bass
  • Simon Phillips (Toto) – Drums
  • Tony Carey (Rainbow) – Keyboards, Guitar, Bass, Vocals
  • Nick van Eede (Cutting Crew) – Vocals (song-writing I assume, too)
  • Jesse Siebenberg (Supertramp) –  Keyboards, Guitar, Percussion, Vocals
  • Mark Hart (Supertramp) – Vocals, Guitar, Keyboards, Bass

A Memory of Our Future Tracklisting

  1. Blood in the Water
  2. Enigma of Reason
  3. The Wanderer
  4. The Big Quit
  5. Devil’s Encyclopedia
  6. A Memory of My Future
  7. I Am Because You Are
  8. My Share of Your Life
  9. Age of Thought
  10. Matchbox Racing
  11. We Stay Loud
  12. Melting Pot

 

 

Bossk – .4

Okay, so here we go.  Deathwish Records (check).  I’m assuming the band is named after one of the most feared bounty hunters in the galaxy?  Yes, Star Wars lovers start squealing, Bossk and getting out your Wookie-pedia.  That was not checkmark I was expecting.  Apparently, I didn’t pay that close attention to the bounty hunters past Boba Fett, which the spell check knew (which is whole level of disturbance in the force, if you catch my telepathic drift).  What we have here is a merky album cover that could actually be a swamp on Dagoba (good they didn’t spell check that one -oh my Lord Vader-they did), it’s actually Dagobah.  And, finally a sparse title of only a mere decimal point shy of half — half of something or half of nothing, we embark into the unknown of this album.

First off, you understand that we’re in the midst of throwdown of industrial meets cinema soundscapes and complex orchestration at the helm of a well, post-metal band maybe?  Yes, in fact that’s somewhat a starting point to catch their cool, dark industrial metal drift.  The Ashford England boys are hitting you with some viciously cool riffs and soundtrack industrial instrumentals that have a generous amount of crescendo-like modes and flow like the ‘The Reverie II x Crown Lands’ and its progressive eight minute plus epic progressive, industrial romp.  Not to mention the addition of metalcore grind-vocal moments to spice things up another notch or two in the album.  You’ve definitely entered a darker melodic realm, but not one that sacrifices the sound quality for over-effect.  This is very well composed and accented music from start to finish that is gripping and edgy.  It deserves more attention and ears beyond that of cool bounty hunter name.  I believe in their structure, the future of their progressive nature, and the way in which the weaved the entire record, calling on some cool, unique outside influences to join in on the melay of murky metal and dark audio terror-like feelings that bubbled up from the troubled sound surface.

I look forward to moving back into their catalog and exploring where they came to this from.  Maybe I’ll find…‘Truth’… part one (or is that just Truth)?  I have a feeling there’s an entire saga there and to come from Bossk.

The Band

  • Tom Begley – bass
  • Nick Corney – drums
  • Simon Wright – vocals
  • Alex Hamilton – guitar
  • Rob Vaughan – guitar, vocals

.4 Tracklisting

  1. Kobe x Pijn
  2. Truth II
  3. Albert
  4. Events Occur In Real Time
  5. White Stork x Endon
  6. I (Reuben Gotto 2006 Remix)
  7. The Reverie x Maybeshewill
  8. The Reverie II x Crown Lands (feat. Crown Lands)
  9. 181 To Beulah 0

Album Review Saturdays 2024 Episode 18

When we’re on these musical trips, we never truly know where they’re going to lead.  On Album Review Saturdays 2024, we do not pre-listen.  It is strictly a choice.  Sometimes completely deaf (you know what we mean – unheard, uncertain), and sometimes we know of the band.  This Album Review Saturdays 2024 Episode 18, we definitely knew of our first band, but it’s been a while since their pop, rock and adult alternative music has been put to an album.  The next band up is nowhere near a household name in our region, but has been steadily meshing together some interesting indie rock from groove and hipper music spaces.  But, they took a sixteen year hiatus?!  Finally, we lend some exposure to an interesting progressive instrumental, noise-rock, garage band (I know that seems very odd) from Detroit, Michigan that we had never heard of.  So, we never know exactly what we’re going to hear, how it’s going to go down, and often how it’s going to relate to the Beyond Your Radio music multiverse listeners, but that’s how we roll!  Roll with it, baby!  To quote the great Steve Winwood.

 

LINK TO OUR YOUTUBE VERSION
[Mark Kuligowski & Panelist DAHM discuss these (3) albums + adds three (3) more reviews!]

 

 

Better Than EzraSuper Magick

It’s been ten years since the adult alternative band from Baton Rouge had put out an album.  I don’t think anyone in the 90s will have forgotten, ‘Good’ from there major label debut, Deluxe, but it is very interesting that a band that has gotten ripping reviews like “low impact cheesy pop” has manager to maintain a career longer and somewhat stronger than those have had millions of copies sold, major tours, and consideration for some of the best albums of all time (insert all kinds of bands here).  What got me hooked on the band more was the single from The X-Files Soundtrack, ‘One More Murder’ that caught my ear, and made me ear-alize that they have a breath of delivery that sets them apart.  With, Super Magick, the trio remains tied to that breath, and they use it extremely well, which should continue to rejuvenate the fan base and potential reach a Coldplay and Keane.

When that rather crass reviewer stated “low impact” it is not fairly stated.  I believe the statement to actually be somewhat true, especially when you consider the ballads and delivery of Kevin Griffin, and it is there with songs like ‘This Time’ (well written and timely, and probably pretty decent radio ear candy for those soft-hearted listeners).  However, the low impact does sort of continue into places where you could hear or feel coming — something bigger, louder in harmony or production (a la Mutt Lang chorus raising)‘Grateful’ has this potential, like it was building to an Imagine Dragon kind of sound, but it holds in the lesser impact.  And, the groovier, ‘Sensation’ also could have been served by a more INXS chorus.  That lesser impact (hang on) — is really the unique edge that Better Than Ezra truly holds, if you really listen and appreciate.  It works for the harmonies, it works for the band, the overall flow of the record, and it exposes the lyrics more.  But, I will admit, I wonder what would happen if they played up one song and pushed it.

Let’s talk though about the creative song to song sounds on the this album.  We got the ballad, here and a little there, but then we’ve got a rock-twanger, a groovy pop-rocker, as well as my favorite on the album, the bluesy-Beck ‘Bad Communication’ which rides in on percussive tempo and bass line, and a lovely change of vocal pace!  Oh, and then they drop in the saxophone to push that slap that impact bitch around some!  Cool!  Yeah, that’s why they’re past their 35th year together and still enjoying the making and performing of their sound.  They have enough magic on Super Magick to make the right impact to anyone’s musical ear!  Better Than Ezra is ‘Killing It’ here 34 years from their actual debut, and 32 years since Deluxe, so I can’t even imagine them stopping now.

The Band

  • Tom Drummond – bass
  • Kevin Griffin – lead vocals (all tracks), acoustic and electric guitars, background vocals
  • James Arthur Payne Jr. – keyboards, synthesizer, piano and electric guitar
  • Michael Jerome – drums

Super Magick  Tracklisting

  1. Mystified
  2. Live A Little
  3. Show Em Up
  4. Super Magick
  5. This Time
  6. Contact High
  7. Grateful
  8. Sensation
  9. Bad Communication
  10. Fuzzy
  11. Omens
  12. Killing It

 

 

The ZutonsThe Big Decider

The band from Liverpool certainly had that combination of club-pop, clap and groove from the moment their debut hit the streets.  It got here in the States, and thanks to my usual used bin prowling I got my hands on it relatively cheap.  I assume that’s because the reach of music like this from across the pond usually has a much harder time landing in the overall scope of radio play.  It’s unfortunate because it shares some similarities to sounds like a modern day indie Earth Wind & Fire and Sly and the Family Stone.  There’s also a lot of quality music playing coming in and out of the songs, as well as the instruments being utilized throughout.  The Big Decider cover doesn’t really give this a fair representation visually, but if the maze means anything about the maze of variety and inter-crossing sounds, then I’ll let it slide it.

Now, let me tell you that I was diggin’ the record to start.  Not exactly blown away, but you have to realize it’s been several years since I put on that debut, Who Killed the Zutons?!  So, got it get back into it, as the taste has to be acquired a hint (I believe).  But, by the time I get to ‘Disappear’ I’m definitely remembering and grooving.  The way that track flows fast and then back into a different groove is definitely the signature style that defines them for me, anyway.  Let that sax soar, and then drop the bass line, nail down some production and then…oh yeah, get that smooth talk with the big, big universal question…

Why?  Why should you listen to The Zutons?  The flow, function of the instruments, and the subtle to wavy grooves lend to well to the softer and funkier.  They are refreshing against the polarized structures hindering some music formats today, and they use the saxophone in a variety of tones and deliveries that it’s almost as if it’s vocalizing.  The Big Decider, whoever that is according to the band or the record (I’m assuming it’s the very same person who knows the answer to the question ‘Why?’), has made some very good decisions on pressing an interesting sound into the indie-rock environment, again.  It’s is nice to know that The Zutons have been saved from extinction, the sum of their parts (themselves), which is a groove-unison formula that gets the best — out of them — for us!

The Band

  • Dave McCabe – lead vocals and guitar
  • Abi Harding – saxophone and vocals
  • Sean Payne – drums and vocals

The Big Decider Tracklisting

  1. Creeping on the Dancefloor
  2. Pauline
  3. Water
  4. In Your Arms
  5. Disappear
  6. Company
  7. The Big Decider
  8. Rise
  9. Best of Me

 

The Infinite River – Tabula Rasa

Let’s go to Motor City of Detroit, and check in on an interesting instrumental garage rock band progressing their way into noise-tempered proggy soundscape that could catch you on and off guard.  Tabula Rasa begins with a guitar lovers dream scenario, all kinds of levels of guitar playing, flinching feedback, and progressive tendencies that sell the sizzle and no the steak — yet!  Congratulations, The Infinite River, for one of the more unique, interesting, and beguiling beginnings for albums in 2024 (so far).  I wasn’t sure what would be coming next, as there was even levels of Middle Eastern twang in there, too!

Where did we go from there?  To an edgy, beautiful, subtle and moody progressive ‘Stars Above.’  And from there, we get taken up a notch to different guitar pitch, a completely different drum pattern against a definitive progressive environment and sound that reminds you of slightly early Genesis and maybe even Hawkwind (although I have more experience in the Genesis).  The trio has no problem expressing their cohesiveness while it appears to us, the listeners, that they are challenging themselves.  Hell, when we transferred from ‘Astro Cat 9’ to ‘Be the Cyclone That I Need,’ the punk-action guitar and then the soloing got Gretchen and Joey all caught up.  A great part of the record there for sure!

While we’re all familiar, maybe way to familiar with ‘My Favorite Things,’ I do feel this was a slightly off-putting placement, breaking the originality and clever sound waring that was going on.  It’s a good instrumental interpretation, but within the scope and flow of the record it seems enough out of place to be distracting.  I might have placed that at the end of the record, or maybe even had it deeper within the last song as a hidden track, especially since the lead into it song was the moodiest of them all.  And, I was surprised again, when there was actually a little harmonized singing on the track after it, ‘Space Signal,’ amidst the noise-rock feedback guitaring going on.  That worked, and we’re back into the next track which reminds us again of the moodiness with a little Radiohead like feel, and that signature guitar sound that has been beautifully flowing through certain tracks that is carefully delivered and placed throughout, including the ending track.  But, it is very good and cool that the band does appreciate a good off-the-rails progressive improv moment that rests in between the ending tracks called ‘Buzzer’ that leads off as march of some kind, but then slips off into noise rock and progressive, intentful improvisation.

At times you feel there’s a late seventies movie vibe.  Like maybe that song might have been from a Charles Bronson movie.  Okay, so that’s the old Detroit kind of thing, right? (Come on work with me, here).  Then you are transported into a noisy progressive rock garage appreciating the sonic tapestry and improv-confusion swirling around, and then you’re at pace and peace with a contemporary guitar.  There’s nothing born empty about this band or their sound, and they are definitely worthy of instrumentalist appreciators to be given a listen to, as well as those that like a little something different in their prog.  The Infinite River has a lot of great things going for them, and the sky’s the limit!

The Band

  • Joey Mazzola – guitar, bass, acoustic guitar
  • Gretchen Gonzales – guitar, vocals
  • Warren Defever – bass synthesizer, Mellotron

Special Guests

  • Steve Nistor – drums, percussion
  • Jordan Schug – double bass (Breathless, Blue Photons)
  • Salem Daly – vocals (Space Signal)

Tabula Rasa Tracklisting

  1. Sky Diamonds Raga
  2. Stars Above
  3. Astro Cat #9
  4. Be The Cyclone That I Need
  5. Machine
  6. My Favorite Things
  7. Space Signal
  8. Blessed Unrest
  9. Buzzer
  10. Blue Photons
  11. Breathless

Album Review Saturdays 2024 Episode 17

Who’s afraid of little old me?  Something we small people in the grand scheme of things can always feel, right?  I mean, Beyond Your Radio, it’s not like the giants of the music information arena need to be fearful of what we do and say.  We’re doing this out of pure love and addiction to music!  Our chances of taking over the world of music information and the ears of the masses from little old, four time Super Bowl losing, two Stanley Cup losses (13 straight season without a playoff experience), taxed and worked to death Upstate New York are probably up there with having our first album’s music multiverse queen wanting to show up for an interview on our YouTube Channel!  It’s Album Review Saturdays 2024 Episode 17, and we’re taking on the new album from the chosen one.  And since it seems song-writing and delivery are the landscape of this weekend, we’re going to also go with a legendary producer, guitarist song-writer with a real gritty solemn performance, as well as one that we think really should harbor deeper attention and listening from a backing vocalist who deserves a real, true center stage!  Welcome to Album Review Saturdays 2024 Episode 17!  Let’s get into these three singer-song writer albums from completely different places in the music multiverse!

 

LINK TO OUR YOUTUBE VERSION
[Mark Kuligowski & Panelists The Grateful Dude & DAHM discuss these (3) albums + adds three (3) more reviews!]

 

Taylor Swift – The Tortured Poets Department [The Anthology]

Let’s get this out of the way.  She is probably one of the greatest forces, solo artist to grace the music world in a very very long time.  Not only is she a force in the singles and radio play, as well as fan base craziness, but she’s shaping, changing and helping the industry in all facets.  She is also increasing record sales and exposure to what seemed to be an untouchable demographic.  She’s got people buying records, albums, and not just singles, and not just downloads.  So, she is, truly an artist, a performer, and a mogul that seems to hold to a certain principle (but make no mistake, that can change, so time will continue to tell).  What is telling, is this years colossal The Tortured Poets Department, whether you go for the standard version or the Anthology (although to be honest with you — why wouldn’t you have it all)?

That force to be reckoned with comes on slowly on this new album, in my opinion.  What does maintain is Ms. Swift’s lyrical dominance in story, metaphor, intelligent rhyming schemes, and vocal wavery.  Yes, the songs are dominated by attachments love and hate mostly, but they are utterly engaging for the most part, especially as the album builds.  ‘Who’s Afraid of Little Old Me?’ kind of starts that heavier climb from the near Drake-ian drab musical background, giving Taylor Swift more of musical accompanied platform to ascend to the mountain top of The Tortured Poets Department, getting beyond the lyrical cleverness into the overall connection of lyric and musicianship.

What is also amazing is that she does not forsaken any root that was once hers.  There is a tint of country and pop, and she is masterfully manipulating current music trends to be her own, which is a formula that hear ear (in the studio) must be one her greatest assets.  She can flow in lyric like Alanis, or she can make a Shania-like pop melody. or she can hook a refrain that rests forever on your ears or someone else’s, which is what gives her the honest popularity that she deserves.  Need an example?  “I’m so depressed I act like it’s my birthday – everyday.”  Or wait, maybe another, where she let’s the refrain’s end hang?  “You told me I’m the love of your life, the love of your  life – you said I’m the love of your life — about a million times.”  Oh, hook. Ouch.  There’s very little lyrical throw aways here, or times where you don’t feel included (to be honest I thought there was going to be a lot of that, considering the situation she’s in versus the rest of us).  It only happens when she’s name dropping discretely.

The only problem I have, would to be a friend of hers — or worse and enemy?  Could I even do a scathing review of this album?  Would she let me get away with, or suddenly put me in with ‘The Smallest Man Who Ever Lived’!?  Oh man those poor sons-a-bitches!  Yikes.  Yes, it’s a lot of love and mood, but it does have tempo, reason and connection.  She is definitely attached at the hip to her heart and song connections to it.  She uses her mind, intellect to deliver that, and it’s a formula that bloody works like that of Phil Collins in the 1980s.  And, in that same vane (Phil Collins), it always seemed odd when he dropped an F-bomb, and I’m still not there with it for her either.  Seems forced to me.

I could go on and on about this album.  I’m still digesting it outside my wheelhouse and in the overall landscape of 2024.  What I do know is, if you don’t like this, it’s a personal preference, and has nothing to do with style, delivery and production, because this album has a fantastic mix of it all despite the avoidance of over-the-top crescendos.  Yes, I’m sure there’s autotuning and studio engaged mechanics, but it’s a very very good listening experience that encompasses a solo artists that continues to mesmerize and weave a spell over the listener without selling out to some idea of what people want.  She is an artist all her own, tortured or not.  A poet for the future?  More than likely, as I see no reason for her to fall away from taking life and making it into hear-felt music for the masses.  And, if you’re reading this Ms. Swift, I wanted to use a type-writer for this, but it would have taken me a ‘Fortnight’ to find one of the strips for auto-correction.  Make your next song, Long Live Word Press.

The Band

  • Taylor Swift – vocals, piano, background vocals
  • Jack Antonoff – synthesizers, programming, guitars, cello, percussion, organ, Mellotron, Rhodes, bass, background vocals
  • Sean Hutchinson – drums, percussion

Guest appearances

  • Emma Stone – oddities (on track 8)
  • Post Malone – vocals
  • Florence Welch (Florence + the Machine) – vocals, drums, percussion, piano
  • Aaron Dessner (The National) – piano, synthesizer, drum programming, acoustic guitar, mandolin, synth bass, bass, banjo, drums
  • Bryce Dessner (The National) – piano, synthesizer, drum programming

The Tortured Poets Department Tracklisting

  1. Fortnight (feat Post Malone)
  2. The Tortured Poets Department
  3. My Boy Only Breaks His Favorite Toys
  4. Down Bad
  5. So Long, London
  6. But Daddy, I Love Him
  7. Fresh Out the Slammer
  8. Florida!!! (feat Florence Welch)
  9. Guilty As Sin
  10. Who’s Afraid of Little Old Me?
  11. I Can Fix Him (Really I Can)
  12. Loml
  13. I Can Do It With A Broken Heart
  14. The Smallest Man Who Ever Lived
  15. The Alchemy
  16. Clara Bow

The Anthology Edition [Additional Tracks]

  1. The Black Dog
  2. Imgonnagetyouback
  3. The Albatross
  4. Chloe or Sam or Sophia or Marcus
  5. How Did It End?
  6. So High School
  7. I Hate It Here
  8. Thank You Aimee
  9. I Look In People’s Windows
  10. The Prophecy
  11. Cassandra
  12. Peter
  13. The Bolter
  14. Robin
  15. The Manuscript

 

T-Bone BurnettThe Other Side

T-Bone Burnett takes full center stage on The Other Side with his acoustic guitar in hand and skillful song-writer’s aging mentality that suits both him and the deep, simple melodic structures that enrapture the ears.  It is relevant like that of Johnny Cash’s final records, and that reason is because of the musical partnership and mutual understanding of this kind of sound by him and Colin Linden (Canadian folk legend guitarist and singer-songwriter).  While folk is at the true center on The Other Side, the heart of this album lies in Burnett’s sincerity and complete, inviting honest writing and pure delivery.

The roots of everything that T-Bone Burnett can thank and base his career on is beautifully pressed and picked.  The country blues and folk entanglements are as majestic as he has produced for others.  And he’s done some magnificent albums; Raising Sand (Plant & Krauss), O’ Brother Where Art Thou?, The Story (Brandi Carlisle), Low Country Blues (Gregg Allman), The Diving Board (Elton John).  Not to mention Grammy Awards for his soundtrack compilation work on Walk the Line, Cold Mountain, and Crazy Heart.  And, he also worked with Jim James, Elvis Costello, Marcus Mumford Taylor Goldsmith, Rhiannon Giddens, and Johnny Depp on The New Basement Tapes that was put together to write songs based on the new uncovered written documents from Bob Dylan and the Band Basement Tapes.  So you get an idea of the man’s overall encompassing talent.

It’s all on display.  The songwriting, the adaptiveness to recreating other’s works, and allowing collaboration.  The connection to the Cash family is present with Roseanne Cash, as she joins him marvelously on ‘(I’m Gonna Get Over This) Some Day.’  It’s playful and it’s haunting, which is another feather in the sound-cap of this album.  I love the wonderment of ‘The Town That Time Forgot’ and the pause and tempo of the intentional delivery.  So genuine, and that’s the truth and connection to this record, and how the sound fits so well.

If anyone is going to take us to The Other Side, sincerely and purely, I can think of no better than Mr. T-Bone Burnett.  The Other Side is the best album in his solo works, and should be something that new folk fans appreciate, as well as those that follow T-Bone across the music multiverse in all he does from production to accompaniment to soundtracks.  ‘The Race Is Won’ here by the turtle, so to speak.  Steady and eloquent wins the race!

The Band

Guest Appearances

The Other Side Tracklisting

  1. He Came Down
  2. Come Back (When You Go Away)
  3. (I’m Gonna Get Over This) Some Day [Feat. Roseanne Cash]
  4. Waiting for You [Feat. Lucius]
  5. The Pain of Love [Feat. Lucius]
  6. The Race Is Won [Feat. Lucius]
  7. Sometime I Wonder
  8. Hawaiian Blues Song
  9. The First Light of Day
  10. Everything and Nothing
  11. The Town That Time Forgot [Feat. Lucius]
  12. Little Darling [Feat. Lucius]

 

Judith HillLetters From A Black Widow

When you hear her soulful vocal, the reach and range, you are probably wondering (if you’re hearing her for the first time) how someone like this kind of slipped through a crack in the music multiverse.  Right?  Judith Hill, backing vocalist for Prince, Michael Jackson, as well as Josh Groban, and part of the critically acclaimed documentary 20 Feet From Stardom (which I believe was nominated for Academy Award, as well as garnished her a Grammy win for her performance in the film).  She also toured with Groban and John Legend.  And, in case you watch The Voice, she was a Top 8 finalist in 2013, too.  Her elimination from that competition was considered one of the most shocking moments in the show’s history.  And then, her debut album, co-produced by Prince, was given the purple-royal treatment!  And, here we are today, with her fourth record, Letters From A Black Widow.

Darkness to light.  Been there, done that kind of record before, but not quite like this.  Ms. Hill is an astounding vocalist against the rock and roll groove format of most of this record.  She’s ‘One of the Bad Ones’ for sure!  Bad meaning good, my music multiverse traveling friends.  She is fearless here, starting off with a ready-for-prime-time ballad worthy of Whitney or Adele.  Bad to the vocal bone, and a great way to quickly engage your listener, making them aware of the power and command of her voice.  The arrangement is classy and a warning shot to James Bond theme-ists everywhere.  There’s very little on this album that takes a backseat to her delivery, but the music that surrounds her carefully, bombastically, and cinematically (in places) is very worthy of attention.  In fact, this is a ginormous recording against all that she has done!  So damnit, take ‘Black Widow’ and put it up against the palette of today (that Prince-like guitar solo after her empowering speak-sing atonement), it’s absorption at it’s finest soul-clenching moment.

I don’t want to overshadow her piano playing, or her overall ear to putting this recording together.  They are the strongest I have heard in recent years (against that young woman mentioned at the top of this Album Review Saturdays 2024 Episode 17).  She even plays a lot of the instruments on the recording, and she has a very deep connection to the formulas surrounding the recordings from Jazz to Funk to Soul to R&B to her section of rock and roll.  The energy and artistry and attention to details that might get lost in album production and timing to get the recording out are NOT present here.  She is a dedicated craftswoman, and Letters From A Black Widow is an absolute pleasure to listen to, groove to, and behold when it calls.  Hopefully, the music multiverse opens a bit more to Judith Hill as the dark and light of Black Widows everywhere looking to hear an absolute voice in the fight and love of this thing call life.  This is beautiful, sustainable power to the ear and heart.

The Band

  • Judith Hill – vocals, piano, guitar
  • Michiko Hill – piano
  • Robert Lee “Pee Wee” – Bass
  • John Staten – drums, percussion
  • Daniel Chase – strings
  • A group of her friends apparently provided backing vocals

Letters From A Black Widow Tracklisting

  1. One of the Bad Ones
  2. Flame
  3. My Whole Life Is In the Wrong Key
  4. We Are the Power
  5. Black Widow
  6. Touch
  7. Dame de la Lumiere
  8. Let Me Be Your Mother
  9. You Got It Kid
  10. Runaway Train
  11. Downtown Boogie
  12. More Than Love

Album Review Saturdays Episode 2024 Episode 16

The new albums are coming in fast and furious from all kinds of areas of the world, all kinds of genres!  From artists and bands known and unknown, and we decided this week we’d shake it all up with a very mixed bag of music.  We start off with the latest from one of the most familiar, long lasting grungers in the music multiverse.  Then we step off into musical virtuoso soloist that’s been building a four-banger album over the last six years, and the final installment drives home what a sensational ear for nearly all things he has!  Then we drop down into an hour plus of funkified jazzy spasticity from a Dallas based band that is having as much fun as that album cover exudes!  Let’s explore the musical matter we’ve selected this week on Album Review Saturdays 2024 Episode 16!

 

LINK TO OUR YOUTUBE VERSION
[Mark Kuligowski & Panelists The Grateful Dude discuss these (3) albums + adds three (3) more reviews!]

 

Pearl JamDark Matter

To say that they are the most notable grunge era band survivors is a complete understatement.  Not to go to far into Seattle’s most coveted possession in music over the last 34 years, but they have been delivering consistent album after album, as well as some of the longest, entertaining and encompassing live shows of any act coming from that era and genre.  They are a band in legendary status, and on this their twelfth album, the don’t spend much but a moment lingering in that legendary status.  Dark Matter is a full tilt continuation of their usual music pursuits, album production, and usual vocal-lyrical attention getting mojo of lead man, Eddie Vedder.  For Pearl Jam fans this album falls right on the heels of the prior record, Gigaton, which was really no slouch of a recording either.

What the problem then?  The same problem we had last week with The Black Keys, where do you put this against that which has come before!?  Iconic, memorable, and timeless classics that came from that fountain of Seattle angst-youth were just truly amazing.  They will be there for another thirty plus years for new music lovers to appreciate, for sure.  So, let’s stack Dark Matter against the past, because in all honesty, they have again managed to make several timeless pieces again!  The title track is driving, catchy, groove-riff, and has the guitar pungent solo you need, all with the Vedder driving you off the cliff with his voice that you would have thought couldn’t go there again as he screams ‘everyone pays for everyone else’s mistake!’  This is very reminiscent of Pearl Jam’s early presence in the 90s!  And, ‘Waiting for Stevie’ lyrics are heavy with reality truth and potential perseverance (the song title does not seem to represent anything other than the time in which it was written by they way, as from what I’ve read/heard it was written while Eddie Vedder was waiting for Stevie Wonder to arrive to record).

You can be loved by everyone
And still not feel, not feel love
You can relate, but still can’t stop
Or conquer the fear you are what you’re not
Would have to take an act of faith
To find relief and escape the blame

This is rare return to form that does not usually happen in the music multiverse.  I’ve been around and down the isles, and in and out of the ears of hundreds of albums of bands that have gone the distance of time.  Pearl Jam has crafted a recording here that seems to be them, returned, and nearly as fresh and new as there early days.  If you don’t think so, you have not listened intently and you are buried in your connection to a song.  I implore you to digress from that (it’s not easy), and you will suddenly hear the emotion, connection, and the wonderful production that give Dark Matter life in the top five albums the band has ever made (easily).  Whether you believe me or not, I’m going to lay down one more proof of this.  Ready?  Did you love that Rolling Stones record that came out recently?  Of course you did.  It just sounded better, it felt better, it had sound of them, but them — now, sparking relevancy and reconnection.  That’s not a fluke.  That’s the work of Andrew Wotman (I think they call him Andrew Watt in the industry)!  Don’t know him do you?  That’s okay, the band California Breed (which was ridiculously awesome and featured him with Jason Bohnam, Joey Castillo, and Glenn Hughes — damnit that should have been on our Panelists Favorites Show – One Album Wonders!) came and went quickly, but his knack for rock-relevance production has become astounding!  He’s recently batting 1000, with Ozzy’s Patient Number 9, Iggy Pop’s Every Loser, and The Rolling Stones’ Hackney Diamonds!

So put your headphones back on, check your nostalgia at the door, and get back into Dark MatterPearl Jam didn’t do this to make money.  It sound to me, like this did this because their wicked spirit returned, and they were compelled by Watt-age to do so for us all!

The Band

  • Eddie Vedder – lead and backing vocals, guitar, piano
  • Mike McCready – guitar, piano
  • Stone Gossard – guitar
  • Jeff Ament – bass guitar, guitar, baritone guitar
  • Matt Cameron – drums, percussion

Additional musician of note

Dark Matter Tracklisting

  1. Scared of Fear
  2. React, Respond
  3. Wreckage
  4. Dark Matter
  5. Won’t Tell
  6. Upper Hand
  7. Waiting For Stevie
  8. Running
  9. Something Special
  10. Got To Give
  11. Setting Sun

 

 

Jacob CollierDjesse Volume 4

Jacob Moriarty, current age is twenty-nine, and at this young age he is a music virtuoso, producer and a harmonious expert in blending his jazz concept into just about any and every music genre in the music multiverse!  Don’t believe me (I wouldn’t exactly say I gave him a fair shake either)!?  Let me start off by saying that I am not a virgin to Jacob’s music.  I do have and listen to the debut album, In My Room, which I find somewhat soothing in jazz-pop realm, and Jacob’s vocals immediately attached me to the idea of him as a new-world crooner.  So, that’s where I kept him — until listening to Djesse Vol 4.  I know, shame on me for not realizing the potential in that debut album.  Shame on me, for not getting past the mid-to-low range temp jazz pop.  I think I was right still on the vocal, but against this bombastic record, it certainly gives it more creedence and vivality.

The Djesse albums are the work he immediately started on after In My Room, attempting to conceptualize four albums for the times of the day (morning, afternoon, evening, and night).  While I am no study in the concept record, I do feel that the use of space and genre throughout this particular album of the four (being the last – I assume) captures that restless spirit of wanting to enjoy that which is beyond the midnight hour and wanting to dream through sleep in ostentatious ways.  Djesse Vol 4 is completely awe encompassing in nature and genres that it elevates and moderates either with his vocal or with the bridging of instruments within.  This happens beautifully again and again throughout the record, but the one that will stand out because of the international flavor through it is ‘A Rock Somewhere,’ as it bridges the sitar and the pop-crooner’s Dean Marin-like vocal drops and sways.

The technical expertise at hand here to the ear is sometimes subtle and other times definitive.  This is what was missing from In My Room.  This is bigger, broader, and the music and the producer (which is Jacob Collier) knows it, embraces it, and isn’t afraid to raise the roof or the orchestration.  Your ears are going to be struck by a lot in this recording.  From the orchestral to the metalcore (don’t worry it’s there to effectively drag you horrifically for a moment) to the Spanish-beat manifesto-ism with pop and hip/hop elementals, along with the ever-present vocals of Collier making the necessary runs, connections, and lyrical melodies that tie it all together.  The experience truly falls under a new category in free-harmony (like free jazz).  Jacob Collier is using Djesse Vol 4 to showcase the power, reach, and limitless use of harmonies.  It’s the backbone of each song, and in fairness to the composer, it does hold all of it together — even if the flow of it appears, in audio, to be outrageously all-over-the-musical-map.

Guest appearances do a lovely point to this as well, which is one of the staples of the volumes.  And, these are different harmonies melding within Jacob’s creation(s).  It’s all part of grande listening experience that leaves nearly no music stone unturned while holding fast to the harmonies and structure of jazz-pop and tight (all hands and ears on deck production).  Djesse Vol 4 and the previous three volumes share another strong common thread that is attached to Jacob, and that is the utmost respect for the past of music, the importance it has in creativity and inspiration, and the men, women and bands that have crafted such timeless, important pieces.  That’s so present in where I leave this article’s last sentence, ‘Like a bridge over troubled waterI will ease your mind.  I will ease your mind.’  Sail on with Jacob Collier and his catalog because you should and you will, just like the ending of the album.

The Band

  • Jacob Collier – vocals, instruments, arrangements, engineering, production, and mixing

Additional Musicians (are you ready – it’s really long?)

  • Moulay Abdekrim Alaalaoui – background vocals and krakebs (track 15)
  • Lydia Acquah – handclaps (track 14), gang vocals (track 15)
  • The Aeolians of Oakwood University 2018 – choir (tracks 3, 15, 16)
    Alaysia Bookal, Aleigha Durand, Allayna O’Quinn, Andre Smith, Asriel Davis, Asya Bookal, Briana Marshall, Carl Reed, Celine Sylvester, Chad Lupoe, Charles Wallington, Chesroleeysia Bobb, Cleavon Davis, Cole Henry, Dominique DeAbreu, Haley Flemons, Hector Jordan, Holland Sampson, JoPaul Scavella, Jonathan Mills, Jourdan Bardo, Kashea Whyte, Keviez Wilson, Kobe Brown, Kristin Hall, Leonard Brown, Lincoln Liburd, Louis Cleare, Maia Foster, Malia Ewen, Malik George, Malik Mchayle, Marc Simons, Marissa Wright, Matthew Cordner, Mykel Robinson-Collins, Naomi Parchment, Natrickie Louissant, Patricia Williams, Roddley Point Du Jour, Samara Bowden, Samella Carryl, Terell Francis-Clarke, Zarren Bennett
  • Maia Agnes – Filipino/Tagalog spoken word (track 15)
  • Arch Echo – guitar, keyboards, bass, and drums (track 1)
  • Adam Bentley, Adam Rafowitz, Joe Calderone, Joey Izzo, Richie Martinez
  • Aespa (Winter, Karina, Giselle, and Ning Ning) – vocals (track 13)
  • Audience Choirs from The Djesse World Tour 2022 – choir (tracks 1–3, 7, 8, 10, 13–15)
    Sydney, Paris, Vienna, Cologne, Amsterdam, Munich, Utrecht, Auckland, Santiago de Compostela, Barcelona, Madrid, Stockholm, Bristol, Berlin, Oslo, Luxembourg
  • Regina Averion – gang vocals (tracks 13, 14)
  • Awich – spoken word (track 1)
  • Prerana Balcham – Tamil spoken word (track 15)
  • Felipe Baldauf – handclaps (track 14), gang vocals (track 15)
  • Erin Bentlage – gang vocals (tracks 13, 14)
  • Charlotte Blaudeck – German spoken word (track 15)
  • Ben Bloomberg – handclaps (track 5), gang vocals (tracks 13, 14)
  • Wahid Boudjeltia – background vocals and krakebs (track 15)
  • Abdelhak Bounhar – background vocals and krakebs (track 15)
  • Camilo – lead and background vocals, frog guiro, mouth harp, tiple, and whistling (track 9)
  • Brandi Carlile – vocals (track 3)
  • Stian Carstensen – pedal steel (track 3)
  • Tereza Catarov – handclaps (track 14), gang vocals (track 15)
  • Li-Chin Chang (張立勤) – Traditional Chinese spoken word (track 15)
  • Tom Chichester-Clark – handclaps (track 14), gang vocals (track 15)
  • Jordan Cohen – tenor saxophone (tracks 6, 15), background vocals (track 13)
  • Sophie Collier – background vocals (track 2)
  • Suzie Collier – orchestra conductor (tracks 1, 5, 7, 14, 15)
  • Madison Cunningham – lead vocals (track 7)
  • Mario Daisson – handclaps (track 14), gang vocals (track 15)
  • Dapul – Filipino/Tagalog spoken word (track 15)
  • Pat Davey – handclaps (track 14), gang vocals (track 15)
  • Dhol Academy – Dhol drumming ensemble (tracks 1, 8, 14, 15)  Harjodh Singh Assi, Jasdeep Singh Bamrah, Taran Singh Bedi
  • The Diner – additional horn arrangements (track 6)
  • Shay Dyer-Harris – handclaps (track 14), gang vocals (track 15)
  • Emily Elbert – gang vocals (tracks 13, 14)
  • Adam Fell – gang vocals (tracks 13, 14)
  • Jason Max Ferdinand – choir conductor and piano (tracks 3, 15, 16)
  • Kirk Franklin – choir direction and additional vocal arrangements (track 10)  & Kirk Franklin Singers – background vocals (tracks 1, 10, 13, 14)
    Ariel Campbell, Billy Mitchell, Carla Williams, Connie Johnson, Demarcus Williams, Drea Randle, Eboni Ellerson-Williams, Emerald Campbell, Ja’Quoi Griffin, Josiah Martin, Minon Bolton, Rachel Clifton, Sanesia Tillman, Stephanie Archer, Trent Shelby, Zebulon Ellis
  • Sara Gazarek – gang vocals (tracks 13, 14)
  • Nathan Greer – Turkish spoken word (track 15)
  • Alex Guitierrez – gang vocals (tracks 13, 14)
  • Francesca Haincourt – background vocals and gang vocals (tracks 13, 14)
  • Ondrej Hanák – Czech spoken word (track 15)
  • Neda Imamverdi – Farsi spoken word (track 15)
  • Ben Jones – electric guitar (track 2)
  • Juliette Jouan – French spoken word (track 15)
  • JNY – spoken word (track 1)
  • Hamid El Kasri – guembri (track 15)
  • Katrin – spoken word (track 1)
  • Jay Kavanagh – Spanish spoken word (track 15)
  • Tori Kelly – lead vocals (track 12)
  • Jonny Koh – guitar (track 6)
  • Kont – spoken word (track 1)
  • Kpoobari Saana Kpoobari-Ereba – Gokana spoken word (track 15)
  • John Lampley – trumpet (tracks 6, 15)
  • Clyde Lawrence – lead vocals (track 6), background vocals (tracks 6, 13)
  • Gracie Lawrence – lead and background vocals (track 6)
  • Jim Le Mesurier – percussion (tracks 1, 15)
  • Yuri Lee – Korean spoken word (track 15)
  • John Legend – lead vocals (track 12)
  • Ryan Lerman – gang vocals (tracks 13, 14)
  • Jang Li (站起來) – Taiwanese spoken word (track 15)
  • Lindsey Lomis – lead and background vocals (track 5)
  • David Longstreth – gang vocals (tracks 13, 14)
  • Stevie Mackey – gang vocals (tracks 13, 14)
  • Francesco Marcheselli – Italian spoken word (track 15)
  • Feu Marinho – handclaps (track 14), gang vocals (track 15)
  • Chris Martin – lead and background vocals (track 13)
  • Kanyi Mavi – spoken word (track 1)
  • John Mayer – electric guitar solo (track 11)
  • Lizzy McAlpine – lead and background vocals (track 11)
  • Michael McDonald – lead and background vocals (track 6)
  • Magnus Mehta – percussion (tracks 1, 15)
  • Shawn Mendes – lead and background vocals (track 10)
  • Metropole Orkest – orchestra (tracks 1, 5, 7, 14, 15)
    David Peijnenborgh, Denis Koenders, Ewa Zbyszynska, Jasper van Rosmalen, Kilian van Rooij, Leonid Nikishin, Merel Jonker, Pauline Terlouw, Ruben Margarita, Sarah Koch, Thomas Gould, Vera Laporeva, Willem Kok, Xaquín Carro Cribeiro – violin, Alex Welch, Isabella Petersen, Julia Jowett, Mieke Honingh, Wouter Huizinga – viola, Annie Tangberg, Geneviève Verhage, Jascha Albracht, Joel Siepmann, Susanne Rosmolen – cello, Arend Liefkes, Erik Winkelmann – double bass, Janine Abbas, Mariël van den Bos – flute, piccolo, Maxime le Minter – oboe, David Kweksilber – clarinet, Leo Janssen, Marc Scholten, Paul van der Feen, Sjoerd Dijkhuizen – saxophone, Diechje Minne, Pieter Hunfeld – French horn
    Nico Schepers, Ray Bruinsma, Rik Mol – trumpet, Jan Bastiani, Maarten Combrink, Marc Godfroid – trombone, David Kutz, Ries Schellekens – tuba, Joke Schonewille – harp
  • Martina Mihulkova – handclaps (track 14), gang vocals (track 15)
  • Mopiano – spoken word (track 1)
  • Abderrazak Moustaqim – background vocals and krakebs (track 15)
  • Robin Mullarkey – electric bass (track 1)
  • Naezy – spoken word (track 1)
  • Barbara Obremska – Polish spoken word (track 15)
  • Adam Osmianski – handclaps (track 14), gang vocals (track 15)
  • Ivan Ormond – percussion (tracks 1, 15)
  • Chris Ott – trombone (tracks 6, 15)
  • David Pattman – percussion (tracks 1, 15)
  • Akrivi Pavlidou – Greek spoken word (track 15)
  • Robin Pecknold – gang vocals (tracks 13, 14)
  • Michael Peha – gang vocals (tracks 13, 14)
  • DáSa Pokorny – Slovak spoken word (track 15)
  • Na La Takadia Praminta Putri – Indonesian spoken word (track 15)
  • Emma Quaedvlieg – Serbian spoken word (track 15)
  • Jessie Reyez – spoken word (track 1), Spanish spoken word (track 15)
  • Jakub Rokosz – handclaps (track 14), gang vocals (track 15)
  • Jordan Rose – drums (track 3)
  • Daniel Rotem – gang vocals (tracks 13, 14)
  • John Ryan – drums (track 6)
  • Patricia S-Thomas – Swahili spoken word (track 15)
  • Oumou Sangaré – background vocals (track 15)
  • Barak Schmool – percussion (tracks 1, 15), handclaps (track 14), gang vocals (track 15)
  • Konstantin Selyansky – Russian spoken word (track 15)
  • Seema Seraj – gang vocals (tracks 13, 14)
  • Anoushka Shankar – sitar (track 8)
  • Noah Simon – gang vocals (tracks 13, 14)
  • Willow Smith – scream vocals (track 1)
  • Lennon Stella – background vocals (track 3)
  • Stormzy – lead vocals and spoken word (track 10)
  • Chris Thile – mandolin (track 7)
  • Utako Toyama – Japanese spoken word (track 15)
  • Steve Vai – electric guitar (tracks 1, 2, 15)
  • Valas – spoken word (track 1)
  • Sus Vasquez – electric guitar (track 1)
  • Varijashree Venugopal – featured vocals (track 8), background vocals (track 14)
  • Voces8 – choir (track 15)
  • Noah Wang – Mandarin spoken word (track 15)
  • Sam Wilkes – gang vocals (tracks 13, 14)
  • Remi Wolf – background vocals (track 4)
  • Yebba – vocals (track 12)
  • Zakwe – spoken word (track 1)
  • Kasia Zielinska – handclaps (track 14), gang vocals (track 15)

Djesse Vol 4 Tracklisting

  1. 100,000 Voices
  2. She Put Sunshine
  3. Little Blue (feat. Brandi Carlile)
  4. WELLL
  5. Cinnamon Crush (feat. Lindsey Lomis)
  6. Wherever I Go (feat. Lawrence & Michael McDonald)
  7. Summer Rain (feat. Madison Cunningham & Chris Thile)
  8. A Rock Somewhere (feat. Anoushka Shankar & Varijashree Venugopal)
  9. Mi Corazón (feat. Camilo)
  10. Witness Me (feat. Shawn Mendes, Stormzy, & Kirk Franklin)
  11. Never Gonna Be Alone (feat. John Mayer & Lizzy McAlpine)
  12. Bridge Over Troubled Water (feat. John Legend & Tori Kelly)
  13. Over You (feat. aespa & Chris Martin of Coldplay)
  14. Box of Stars Pt. 1 (feat. Kirk Franklin, CHIKA, D Smoke, Sho Madjozi, Yelle, & Kanyi Mavi)
  15. Box of Stars Pt. 2 (feat. Metropole Orkest, Suzie Collier, Steve Vai, & VOCES8)
  16. World O World (feat. The Aeolians of 2018, Jason Max Ferdinand)

 

Ghost-Note Mustard n’Onions

This would be my first Ghost-Note experience that I’m aware of, although I am completely in-tune to the brilliance of Snarky Puppy.  In fact, it was the mention of drummer, Searight and percussionist, Werth, that made me move my attention and this Album Review Saturdays to Ghost-Note‘s Mustard n’Onions.  So, I know I’m in an avant-garde like jazz setting for sure, as I assume the two were not suddenly going to sway into mainstream contemporary.  Mustard n’Onions might have a slight foundation in contemporary, but when the soul catches them just right, the funk, jazz and rhythm escape like a wild ghost in a musical china-shop.  However, they never lose the tightness and respect for where the song started and the composition of it.

All right, let’s address the cover.  Come on!  It’s a great attention getter, and it is remarkably fashionable to the compositions that astound this funkified, soul-filled one-hour and nineteen minute infectious groove.  While you probably shouldn’t judge it exactly, because it appears as some anime Buckethead album (oh wait a minute — that might be how I look at it), its depiction kind of prepares you for the funk ride of your life.  It’s the title that doesn’t truly connect for me.  Once that first song hits, ‘JB’s Out’ (eluding to the James Brown I assume) I’m expecting a clone James Brown to suddenly materialize (like that wild ghost I talked about in last paragraph), and I realize that Mustard n’Onion has it goin’ on like that of buffets served up by Galactic!  The church of soulful rhythm and blues has me shaking like Jake and Ellwood!  Y’know from The Blues Brothers (you saw the movie right — heaven help you if you have not).  But, this is not sweet home Chicago – this is Dallas Texas meets Steely Dan, Prince, and touches of old schoolin’ (Sly and the Family Stone/Earth Wind & Fire).  They take funk-jazz to an entirely unique place, not only with the guests on the album, but with tempo and attention shifts to jazz and blues within.  ‘Yellow Dan’ (featuring Marcus Miller) is an example of fusion expression featuring bass virtuosity within a familiar jazz-rock backing.  There’s a lot of this “unexpected” yet “nurtured” audio.  Thanks mostly to the accompaniment of keyboards, saxophone(s) and that specialized percussion.

Snarky Puppy fans will miss a bit of the edge of avant-garde and technical aspects in this, as it is definitively more playful, soulful.  However, when it comes right down to the condiments mentioned it is a damn saucy performance that will no doubt be festival groove/jam favorites, I’m sure.  Which is perfect, because the crowd will certainly lose track of time swaying and trippin’ out with Ghost-Note‘s set, where I did find some tracks were a little too long even in the nature of the album.  The great thing was, they seemed to know it, as the next track would always signal you back to attention!  They’re playing near us in Rochester, May 21st at the Lilac Festival, so we will probably head on over to see one of those shows, as it should be phat (Phatbacc)!

The Band

  • Robert Sput Searight – Drummer, Keyboards
  • Nate Worth – Percussions
  • MonoNeon (Prince) – Bass
  • Dominique Xavier Taplin – Keyboards (Toto) 
  • Sylvester Onyejiaka – Saxaphone and arranger
  • Jonathan Mones – saxophone, flute
  • Mike Jelani Brooks – saxophone, flute
  • Peter Knudsen – guitar
  • Mike Clowes – guitar
  • Daniel Wytannis – trombone

Special Guests

  • Bernard Wright
  • Eric Gales
  • Marcus Miller

Mustard n’Onions Tracklisting

  1. JB’s Out! (Do It Babay) [feat. MacKenzie]
  2. Move With a Purpose (feat. Karl Denson)
  3. Where’s Danny?
  4. Origins (feat. Keith Anderson)
  5. PoundCake (feat. Casey Benjamin)
  6. Phatbacc
  7. Grandma’s Curtains (feat. Eric Gales)
  8. Revival Island (feat. Travis Toy and Mark Lettieri)
  9. Yellow Dan (feat. Marcus Miller)
  10. Bad Knees
  11. Synesthesia
  12. Slim Goodie
  13. Mustard n’Onions (feat. Jay Jennings)
  14. Origins Reprise
  15. Nard’s Right (feat. Bernard Wright)

Album Review Saturdays 2024 Episode 15

Welcome to Album Review Saturdays 2024 Episode 15!  We find an artist that has a broad soundscape of folk-electronica meets low-sonic pop, and manages to swirl it around herself majestically!  Then, we go into a cleverly titled album from a Los Angeles garage blues band from 1965 that peaked so long ago it’s crazy to even think they have a 2024, new album!  But they freakin’ do, so we just had to give their final (Finyl) one a really good spin and review!  Then it’s on to an underscored guitar legend, who always serves up intriguing classic solo rock albums with a signature sound and artistic vocal delivery that entices the ear.   Time to get “deep” into these three Album Review Saturdays 2024 albums!

 

LINK TO OUR YOUTUBE VERSION
[Mark Kuligowski & Panelists DAHM and The Grateful Dude discuss these (3) albums + adds three (3) more reviews!]

 

Jane Weaver – Love In Constant Spectacle

When you first hear Weaver’s sound, you have this feeling that you’re into some young-ish low-fi indie personae.  Then, if you’re an investigator in the music multiverse, you find out that woman at the helm of this interesting folk-electronica, tempered pop album is a creator from 1993.  Do you remember, Kill Laura?  Probably not, as it was an obscure British grunge-pop band headed by Weaver.  And then, there was also Misty Dawn, which you probably didn’t hear either because her bandmate disappeared without a trace, and Iced To Mode (2003) never really saw the light of day either.  But, Jane Weaver, persevered into a solo career that’s been steady and underground (per se) since 2006’s Seven Day Smile.  So, this is a veteran in scope of the industry, and she actually is in charge of her own label, Bird Records, which is predominantly geared to folk female artists, like herself.  So, there you go!  A new rabbit hole to go down, as with her leading the way, there’s some great opportunity for true discovery, and that’s where Love In Constant Spectacle leads the way (today anyway).

Love In Constant Spectacle is an album immersed in subtle electronica that can come in contemporary format, like Hooverphonic, or it can have a subtle progressive natures like Portishead.  But, that is not the front of her albums.  Folk, in the alternative, pop or low-fi realm is truly the ingenious lead here, and in the past records that I got to prior to writing this.  The album is so very pleasant to the ear, that the first listen you don’t truly have the experience that the author and producer probably intended.  In the first listen, you’re trying to decipher where this lies in the music landscape, rather than embracing the sound, the pull and ebb within vocal and music accompaniments, and then of course — the electronica dimensions creeping, wisping and angling into the score and song-writing.  That’s the real spectacle of the recording, and Jane Weaver delivers it wonderfully within range and production.  It falls more into contemporary, but the places where it does escape to jazz and alternative folk-rock are welcomed earfuls that don’t mess hard with the flow and musicianship.  It also doesn’t hurt that John Parish (of PJ Harvey fame) is on the record!

If you do not know the multi-instrumentalist singer-songwriter, this is a great starting off point.  In fact, it might be the most broad-range of albums that she has done (although please realize I didn’t get to all of them).  And no, she’s not Perisian or young.  She’s my age.  So nowhere near uncreative and/or incapable.  In fact, more capable than mos that have gloriously shitty sound careers that are being gobbled up by ear-challenged drones that seem to plague the record buying population (and I’m not talking about Taylor Swift).  Hey, Taylor Swift, might even list Jane Weaver as an influence, so you might want to check it out!  Albums like Evermore and blah blah blah under Ocean Boulevard don’t happen without folking independent road pavers!

The band

  • Jane Weaver – lead vocals, synthesizer, guitar, keyboards, handclaps, piano, drum machine
  • Joel Nicholson – guitar, shakers, twelve-string guitar, synthesizer, handclaps
  • Andrew Cheetham – drums, percussion
  • Matt Grayson – bass guitar
  • John Parish – tambourine, piano, handclaps
  • James Trevascus – drum programming

Love In Constant Spectacle Tracklisting

  1. Perfect Storm
  2. Emotional Components
  3. Love In Constant Spectacle
  4. Motif
  5. The Axis And The Seed
  6. Is Metal
  7. Happiness In Proximity
  8. Romantic Worlds
  9. Univers
  10. Family Of The Sun

 

 

Canned HeatFinyl Vinyl

Color me intrigued.  The band from 1965 with one surviving member (the drummer, Adolfo “Fito” de la Parra) gets a new album release after nearly 60 years in the business, and not truly having released a new album (not that Christmas thing) since maybe Friends in the Can (although I would prefer to drink by Coca-Cola here and not in the bathroom).  This blues lovin’ band, that deliberately draws attention to historic blues, covering them sincerely for the masses to appreciate, has made a lifelong musical career to be revered.  It’s perplexing, but when you get right down to it, it’s the blues baby, and that is the solid foundation of all kinds of genres!  They play it well, and the deliver it with a soulful intention that is ever-so-evident.  And, that hasn’t changed in fifty-eight years, so Finyl Vinyl will probably be no different!

This album, not only has the great Joe Bonamassa, but it has Dave Alvin and Jimmy Vivino writing on this album and delivering.  Jimmy, you might know from Conan O’Brien late night.  There is not going to be song that blows your blues mind.  But, what you do get, is signature, newer and well produced blues and boogie that is as close to mainstream ear-candy that you can get these days!  You can’t pitch this kind of material to a record label without a heavy scoff.  It’s hard to sell this vintage a sound in any market with the monotonous, displeasurable and often disgusting display of supposed musicianship or audiology of today’s trending streaming(s).  It’s true.  But, whomever it was that had the courage to make Finyl Vinyl a reality – kudos!  It’s a fun bluesy boogie filled recording that puts sound and past into context, and serves up a deservedly good farewell album.  And, this one, considering the title, should probably be purchased on vinyl, right?

The Band

  • Adolfo de la Parra – Drummer
  • Jimmy Vivino – Vocals, guitar, keyboard
  • Dave Alvin – Vocals, guitar
  • Dave Spalding – Vocals, Harp
  • Richard Reed – Bass

Finyl Vinyl Tracklisting

  1. One Last Boogie
  2. Blind Owl
  3. Goin’ To Heaven (In A Pontiac)
  4. So Sad (The World’s In A Tangle)
  5. East/West Boogie (Instrumental)
  6. Tease Me
  7. A Hot Ole Time
  8. You’re The One
  9. When You’re 69
  10. Independence Day
  11. There Goes That Train

 

 

Mark Knopfler – One Deep River

Ten albums, and a lifetime of signature guitar marksmanship, makes Mark Knopfler worthy of exploration.  The title, One Deep River, just harkens to the flow and delivery of one of the world’s most underappreciated classic rock guitarists still around today.  Think Jeff Beck in originality and you have a very good idea of the talent, creativity and complete uniqueness that streams from his fingers to the strings.  Not only that, it seems to have a deep connection to his vocal delivery and the song-writing that subtly bubbles storytelling to a greater surface.  Yes, this is the man from Dire Straits, but he has become so much beyond that wonderful rock band moment, and One Deep River is a continuation of the guitar man’s storytelling legacy.

The album is steeped in his childhood and memory of places and times.  He is, afterall, a journeyman of sorts, and the sounds and lyrics here echo that position against the marvelous riffs that encapsulate the record.  Knopfler describes, licks and embellishes with the greatest of ease.  Why?  Well, because he’s the daring man, storyteller flowing like the breeze (I tried).  Whether it’s a guitar strung to banjo, or a rock riff with production flares, he swings the delivery where it needs to be to enrich the characters or imagery within.  And, while it may not be your native experience, you find a place within it to identify, appreciate and connect with.  Whether it’s in the seediness of gambling, boxing, or, like in song ‘Janine,’ the roughnecks and truck drivers, pipeliners and engineers, the shifting musical choices are sculpted to bring each to life throughout the album.

Another triumph in the consistent catalog of Mark Knopfler, especially those that truly understand his greatness, and one for new followers to pick up on.  One Deep River showcases how a guitar can be used in rock to different degrees in skill and exquisite delivery.  With a hint of Celtic and soft jazz compliments within the smoothie whipped guitar and vocal, it’s not hard to fall deep and hard for this record against the barrage of heavier and tonal recordings buzzing throughout the years.

The Band

  • Mark Knopfler – lead vocals, electric guitar
  • Ian Thomas – drums
  • Danny Cummings – percussion
  • Guy Fletcher – synthesizer (tracks 1–4, 6, 7, 9–12), Mellotron (5), harmonium (6)
  • Richard Bennett – electric guitar (tracks 1, 2, 11), acoustic guitar (3–10, 12), bouzouki (9)
  • Glenn Worf – bass guitar (tracks 1, 3–9, 11, 12), upright bass (2, 10)
  • Greg Leisz – lap steel guitar (tracks 1, 4), acoustic guitar (2, 3), pedal steel (3, 5–12)
  • Jim Cox – digital piano (track 1), piano (2, 3, 5, 7–11), organ (4), Wurlitzer electric piano (6), Hammond organ (12)
  • Emma Topolski – background vocals (tracks 3, 5–8, 10–12)
  • Tamsin Topolski – background vocals (tracks 3, 5–8, 10–12)
  • John McCusker – fiddle (track 11)
  • Mike McGoldrick – uilleann pipes, whistle (track 11)

One Deep River Tracklisting

  1. Two Pairs Of Hands
  2. Ahead Of The Game
  3. Smart Money
  4. Scavengers Yard
  5. Black Tie Jobs
  6. Tunnel 13
  7. Janine
  8. Watch Me Gone
  9. Sweeter Than The Rain
  10. Before My Train Comes
  11. This One’s Not Going To End Well
  12. One Deep River

 

Album Review Saturdays 2024 Episode 14

Here we are again!  Another Album Review Saturdays 2024 and on Episode 14 we’re taking on the biggest band in Ohio as they continue their rock duo conquest.  Then we travel to some remote desert location for a very convincing psychedelic seance that is equally entrancing as it is semi-beguiling.  Then we move over to Small Stone Records for a fuzz education with a band that somehow cultivated these songs to this 2024 release over a conceptual coma-like status that seems like two decades (because it is, I think).  Intrigued?  Of course you are!  So let’s drop in on the rock, some psychedelia, and a twenty year conceptual stoner record!

 

LINK TO OUR YOUTUBE VERSION
[Mark Kuligowski & Panelist DAHM discuss these (3) albums + adds three (3) more reviews!]

 

 

The Black KeysOhio Players

You know the band.  If you don’t, you’ve somehow managed to steer your listening ships into an extremely narrow waterway over the last 20 years, which isn’t easy to do considering the reach and scope of the band’s connection to genres of rock, but also production and assistance with all kinds of other artists in the music multiverse.  On Ohio Players, the band seems to have returned home in their song-writing connection and the groove-rock that seems to be native to their musical tongue(s).  Considering the absorption of their big records over the past ten years, and the amount of heavy radio play some of those tracks have and deserve, it is unfortunately (sometimes) hard to get right into the albums without thinking, “would I want to hear these songs live over the prior albums.”  I think that’s the mystique of great bands.  You really love the past, that was the hook, and now you’re just lovin’ the recent stuff (maybe to the point where you’re diggin’ it more).  Now here comes another album with familiarity, which sometimes isn’t that gripping to start.  There’s also oddities (like rap), and that’s not exactly what you had expected, so it sets you in an uncomfortable band-lovin’ position.

This is Ohio Players start to finish.  Another ride directed comfortably and uncomfortably — purposely — to push the sound, give you the groove and delivery your ears have been somewhat accustomed to, but to also challenge and surprise them in all the right places.  And, The Black Keys have done this again, and remarkably in another short amount of time, wasting no note and time signature in pushing out this polished, refurbished rock-n-roll record.  If you were looking for indie swagger, it is there, but it has been cleverly meshed and mashed in engrossing rhythms from bass, to drum, to guitars, to claps, to keyboard.  Not a solitary instrument escapes it, and your feet and mind have no choice but to follow them into this main street, untouched, bowling alley where everyone’s dressed to the nines in their times, and rolling that fucking ball like they mean it!

Strike.  Strike.  Strike.  Turkey!  How can you not be having a good time here?  We’ve got Beck like nature in ‘Paper Crown,’ as if the crowd suddenly shifted on the entrance of a cultured faction from across the curb.  No, fight.  No stand-off.  Just everyone turning their heads, taking it in, and the joining in with only a moment’s hesitation.  Then everyone’s back rockin’ with a fine lead in that comes from Neil Young meets Beck.  You think I’m crazy…but ‘Live Till I Die’ fees off the prior Beck-ian style and let’s a certain “cinnamon girl” permeate the background!

So, and album that starts out making a statement of how ‘This Is Nowhere’ must be coming from someone sitting on the outside driving by.  You can’t live and know if you’re just driving by.  Get out of your car, and step inside Ohio Players, and the wicked fun that’s going on in this bowling alley of apparently perfect asses (scientist use that woman’s ass to fine tune their instruments with it’s so spherical).  And of course, ‘Every Time You Leave’ (because you have to sleep) you’ll come back for more either tomorrow or the next day.

The Band

  • Dan Auerbach – lead vocals, bass, electric guitar, Moog, claps, drum machine, Mellotron, shaker, Hammond organ, vocoder
  • Patrick Carney – claps, drum machine, drums, electric guitar, tambourine, Moog, Mellotron, shaker, cowbell, synthesizer

Additional musicians

  • Andy Gabbard – backing vocals (tracks 1–6, 8, 10, 13), electric guitar (13)
  • Beck – backing vocals (tracks 1–3, 11, 13), celeste keyboards (3), organ (10, 12), electric guitar (10), synthesizer (12), acoustic guitar (13)
  • Sam Bacco – shaker (tracks 1–3, 7, 9–11, 13), tambourine (1, 2, 5–7, 9, 10, 13), cowbell (1, 2, 8, 11, 13), cymbals (1, 7, 8), congas (2, 3, 5, 7, 8, 11), additional percussion (2, 9), bongo drums (3, 9), bells (3), woodblock (5), chimes (6), wind chimes (7, 13), gongs (13)
  • Tom Bukovac – electric guitar (tracks 1–6, 8, 9, 11, 14), acoustic guitar (2)
  • Ray Jacildo – piano (tracks 1–3, 5, 11), Hammond organ (1, 2); glockenspiel, Moog, organ, vibraphone, Wurlitzer organ (2); Wurlitzer piano (3), harpsichord (6)
  • Mike Rojas – piano (tracks 1, 3–5, 7, 9, 11); Mellotron, Moog (1); strings (2); vibraphone, Wurlitzer (9)
  • Jake Botts – baritone saxophone, tenor saxophone (tracks 2, 3)
  • Ray Mason – trombone (tracks 2, 3), trumpet (2)
  • Ashley Wilcoxson – backing vocals (tracks 3–5, 10, 11, 13, 14)
  • Leisa Hans – backing vocals (tracks 3–5, 10, 11, 13, 14)
  • Zach Gabbard – backing vocals (tracks 3, 8, 12), claps (3)
  • Chris St. Hilaire – claps (track 3), backing vocals (8, 12)
  • Dan the Automator – samples (track 3)
  • Noel Gallagher – backing vocals (tracks 4, 5, 9), electric guitar (4)
  • Leon Michels – electric guitar (tracks 4, 5, 9), organ (4, 5, 12); baritone saxophone, tenor saxophone (5, 9, 12); glockenspiel, Mellotron (5); Hammond organ, marimba, piano (9)
  • Trey Keller – backing vocals (track 5)
  • Angelo Petraglia – electric guitar (track 6)
  • Kelly Finnegan – backing vocals, Hammond organ (track 7)
  • Tommy Brenneck – baritone guitar, electric guitar (track 7)
  • Matt Combs – strings (track 7)
  • Aaron Frazer – backing vocals (track 10)
  • Greg Kurstin – backing vocals, electric guitar, keyboards, percussion, synthesizer (track 14)

Ohio Players Tracklisting

  1. This Is Nowhere
  2. Don’t Let Me Go
  3. Beautiful People (Stay High)
  4. On the Game
  5. Only Love Matters
  6. Candy and Her Friends (feat. Lil Noid)
  7. I Forgot to Be Your Lover
  8. Please Me (Till I’m Satisfied)
  9. You’ll Pay
  10. Paper Crown (feat. Beck & Juicy J)
  11. Live Till I Die
  12. Read Em and Weep
  13. Fever Tree
  14. Every Time You Leave

 

 

Mario Lalli & The Rubber Snake Charmers – Folklore From Other Desert Cities

Life in Mojave courtesy of a desert super-band featuring the Godfather of Desert Rock bassist, Mario Lalli, the ultra guitar talents of Brant Bjork (Kyuss, Fu Manchu, Vista, Chino, Brant Bjork and the Bros, Brant Bjork and the Low Desert Punk Band, Ché, Mondo Generator, The Desert Sessions), the most well-known underground lead vocal you’ve never heard of (goddamn shame and then some), Sean Wheeler and stoner rock drummer, Ryan Güt!  This is a debut for the ages my music multiverse travelers!  Don’t go gently into this listen.  It is impossible.  This is an all entrancing, beguiling stroll, groove, and paranoid trip into the heart of the Southern California desert via the ears and eyes and vocals of a band completely enveloped in the desert rock psyche underground.

It’s epic psychedelic improvisation flow that’s heavy, explorative (like the desert), that before you realize it has completely engulfed your senses.  Even Sean Wheeler’s vocals have found their way from the spoken-punkish to a streaming storytelling blend of Rage Against the Machine and psychedelically enhanced Jon Waite.  All of which is predicated on the wollopping bass riff and lines of Mario Malli, even though the most well-known person in the band is Brant Bjork.  But, it’s Bjork’s continuing guitar intuitions in this Mojave methodology that sensitizes and entrances in an odd jazz construct followed tightly and heavily by the percussion of Ryan Güt who knows exactly how to work with Bjork.

Sean Wheeler’s poetic nature is captivating, and this is a testament to the entirely true concept that your vocal range has no bearing on how effective you can be.  You can sing like a songbird, and it will not matter if it sounds like your don’t connect.  He is waiting for the devil and you believe him.  You believe he is the desert preacher meeting you at the hazy, sleazy Los Angeles airport where he is beckoning you away from the fuckery, and apologizing for the journey all at the same time.  He sounds so pure.  The band unadulterated by studio, raw and completely at the command of sound and timing.  This is desert, heavy psychedelic rock in a live performance worthy of a debut release.

Let Folklore From Other Desert Cities rise into your stream of hearing consciousness.  Do not listen-away this experience, as it is one of those that comes around rarely, like an oasis in the desert.  There is not an inch wasted in bass line, guitar expressionism, and enrapturing poetic vocal storytelling.  The shamen of the Mojave have spoken, and they’ve awakened the spirits for everyone to take heed and possession of.  Get baptized in the sinister sounding sand and walk…into the burning unknown.  You might like it!

The Band

  • Mario Lalli – bass and vocal
  • Sean Wheeler- vocals and poetry
  • Brant Bjork- Guitar
  • Ryan Güt – Drums
  • Mathias Schneeberger- keyboards

Folklore From Other Desert Cities Tracklisting

  1. Creosote Breeze
  2. Swamp Cooler Reality
  3. Other Desert Cities
  4. The Devil Waits For Me

 

 

 

Iota – Pentasomnia

Well this one is easy on the title, so let’s go there first.  Five dreams in a state of something or other, right?  Cool.  I’m in!  Considering they are on the Small Stone Records label, we already know there’s going to be quality and stoner rock feel in there somewhere, so the mystery remains to the sum of all the parts.  And, considering how this is kind-of a concept record, it has an extra depth of intrigue now to it.  Oh, and let’s also add that they’ve been stewing on these five dreams longer than Sunny von Bülow was brain-dead in coma (don’t worry there’s no signs of Jeremy Irons roaming the studio at Small Stone Records).  Now let’s hear what this bluesy stoner rock group is serving up in these five songs of dreams, as they so put it.

First of all, you have 32 minutes to digest this doom, stoner behemoth, so be prepared to be taken on this doomy, space-blues rock dream-mission at an rapid-eye-movement climactic time frame.  Sorry – not sorry, says the band.  Awesome (I say to the band, you do you).  Awesome (says me, to Small Stone Records, for allowing them to sling this the way they wanted, and for being really fucking patient).  Now, you all remember that first time you heard Alice In Chains’ Facelift, and you took some notice.  You noticed the pace, lingering, yet still heavy and driving.  You noticed the dark harmonies, and you kind of well — you didn’t give enough credit to the blues that was really going on.  Well, Iota’s Pentasomnia is one of these kind of records!  Not only does the harmony sneak up on you, but the bluesy vocals here are elevating the listening experience in the same capacity as the riffing and driving passion of the music.

I will say, in defense of the prior album in 2008, that the production here seems to be drowned out for the effect of the dream, and I’m not sure if the overall passion and performance of the musicianship might have been served up better under the prior directive.  There was also a bit more added instrumentation and heavy force of blues rock over alternative grunge in this record.  The way the guitars hang in the prior album, Tales, are much more noticeable and lively.  They are two different records, I realize, but I wanted to point out this driven difference just so listeners understand should they wish to explore this band further, as well as understand the context of 16 years prior (and what it can do to sound and the time and outside influences).  That prior album also makes for a great listen as starter or rabbit hole, if you choose.

I would love to hear what comes next from Iota, but I’m afraid if their path to creation continues, I might have been put out to pasture, or forced into easy listening aides way too sensitive for next level stoner-doom in 2040.  There’s a mathematical projection you don’t get in music articles these days.  I oughta (you’re following me right with that wording there) know better than to get behind a band that apparently likes to give birth, nature and mature before sending an album on it’s way.  Oh, who am I kidding.  If I can wait for Boston, to put out the same record now every 8 years or so, or the slow pace of Cynic and Tool deliveries, I can certainly be ‘The Time Keeper’ here, waiting on the next Iota record.  In the meantime, Pentasomnia‘s five dreams are very worthy of several stoner rock years of listening until our ears meet again.

The Band

  • Joey Toscano: guitars, synths, vocals
  • Oz: bass
  • Andy Patterson: drums

Pentasomnia Tracklisting

  1. The Intruder
  2. The Witness
  3. The Returner
  4. The Timekeeper
  5. The Great Dissolver

Album Review Saturdays 2024 Episode 13

This Album Review Saturdays 2024 Episode 13 we are going to stay completely in the United Kingdom for all three bands and albums!  You truly can’t go wrong when doing so, and it’s not that we intentionally did so, it’s just how the albums came to us, and the feeling of their importance in the music multiverse at this very moment.  We had a completely unique jazz-rock fusion band that are not going to be on radio, and only certain (smart enough) record stores are going to be carrying this album and/or cd.  The second band is probably one of the most well known bands in the United Kingdom, and arguably one of the truest English alternative, rock bands to their native tongue and country-people that’s been able to maintain a fairly attentive national audience.  For our final talented blokes, we go to Warrington to see how a post-Brit-pop band is handling their second resurrection from the greatness and fame from 2000.  There’s no question that the United Kingdom continues to be a nurturing, explosive melting pot of interesting and tasteful musicians, but they are also dedicated to the cause and effect of music as well as its history in instrumentation, approach, and obviously valuing it in their own music.  Would love to spend a month, a week, even a weekender soaking it all in over there, but for now — let’s settle in on lovely Saturday for some great album reviews with a spot of tea and our headphones fully engaged.

 

LINK TO OUR YOUTUBE VERSION
[Mark Kuligowski & Panelist DAHM discuss these (3) albums + adds three (3) more reviews!]

 

 

Nataraja – Spirit At Play

Oh dear God!  When I was told to seek this band and album out, I did not know a few things about it and the personnel.  So, let’s not go there right away.  Instead, let me just prepare you for the jazz-rock Middle-Eastern fusion sound that’s going to take progressive possession of your mind, body, and soul.  The album, Spirit At Play, is not only a wonderful title for the spirit of the types of instrumental works at play, but it is deeply rooted within the spirit of Indian Classical (which leans heavily on sitar and probably other instruments that surpass my worldly instrument knowledge).  I am also not a scholar of the Ragas.  So let’s just go to the simplest definition we can find;  A melodic framework for improvisation in Indian classical music akin to a melodic mode.[3] Rāga is central to classical Indian music and a unique feature of the tradition: no equivalent concept exists in Western classical music.   There you go!  Right there!  This is the hit to your audio senses ladies and gentlemen of the music multiverse.  When these instrumental musicians derived this album, Spirit At Play, this is the intention and the non-confinement — yet somehow playing within (some sort of elevated construct like the Matrix for Christ’s sake) they have brought out one of the early favorites for album of the year!  Oh, fuck off!  We haven’t even scratched the surface of this album yet!

Each rāga consists of an array of melodic structures with musical motifs (yeah yeah yeah, you are all really smart and calculating, but yet you’re going to improve this bitch aren’t you?); and, from the perspective of the Indian tradition, the resulting music has the ability to “colour you mind” as it engages the emotions of the audience.  Oh, yeah.  I got colours all right!  Some I didn’t even know existed, and I’m pretty damn sure — some of you in this band are coloring outside the lines!  Let’s start with the master at the helm of neck and body of the guitar, Jack Jennings.  Who?  How is it this common place simpleton is the ring leader?  Is that not some Jimi Hendrix legionary, or a child of John McLaughlin?  No, just a well educated, guitar lovin’, British bloke with an engaging passionate musical affection for any type of stringed guitar-like instrument. A disciple of sitar virtuoso’s Roopa Panesar and Shakir Parvez Khan (no relation to Genghis or any Wrath thereof).  He has worked with the legendary Pandit Sanju Sahai, Omar Peunte, Manish Pingle and Gurdain Rayatt and many others. His previous band Ashowka fused Indian Music with Rock/Jazz and was signed to Geoff Barrow’s (of Portishead) label in Bristol.  Wait until you hear the sounds this man is creating, respecting, and improvising!

The drummer, well well well, if it isn’t Mr. Andy Edwards!  The hardest working man in the music and YouTube business maybe?  I mean, how does he have time to make albums, do provocative, education YouTubing, and decide to sit in on this unbelievable project?  It’s absolutely crazy!  No wonder he hasn’t gotten back to us on an appearance on our show!!  Fiddlesticks!  We are always enthralled with his unrelenting attention to music, as well as his quick absorption and overall kindness we’ve been first hand to.  But the real gift here, is his playing.  I’m not professional musician or producer, but I do understand that something of this nature is not for just any drummer!  Incredible.  We didn’t forget about that bass!  John Jowitt, 17 times, best British Classic Rock Society’s bass player! Progressively with IQ and Frost, which we assume is where he and Andy conspired to take over the universe.  He also recorded and played live with Arena, Ark and Jadis, as well as playing bass live for John Wetton, Uriah Heep, Peter Banks (of Yes), Tim Bowness and John Young, to just name a few of note (apparently David Gilmour was busy–kidding he probably played with him, too).  Not to mention, the progressive keyboard/synthesizing going on, added wonderfully by Richard Charles Boxley (Wave Tenet), who takes inspiration from artists like Brian Eno and Aphex Twin. On the bandcamp page he definitely brings out some “Beautiful haunting sounds…” and has great ways of bringing about “Pure tonal and textural beauty.”

Now, are you ready for the shocker of all this!?  Did you listen to it yet?!  No.  No.  You go and listen to the entire album.  Download it or buy it.  Then, you come back for this next and final sentence that will allow the microphone to be dropped as to why this is an early favorite for album of the year.  You couldn’t have listened to it that fast!  There are two songs that are over 15 minute each themselves.

Okay, you’re finally ready!  This album was recorded live in one take.  [that sound you here is the microphone dropping, echoing as these marvelous musicians leave the stage].
This is a legendary fusion album that will probably not sell millions of copies, although, it should probably be in every music teacher’s, music offiando’s, and collector’s possession — not to mention at every respectable record store in the world.  Absolutely, incredible!

The Band

  • Jack Jennings – Electric Guitar
  • Andy Edwards – Drums
  • John Jowitt – Bass Guitar
  • Richard Charles Boxley – Analog Modular Synthesis

Spirit At Play Tracklisting

  1. Raag Sarang – Soul Shard
  2. Raag Jog – Ganges Delta
  3. Spirit At Play
  4. Raag Malkauns – Dark Sacred Night
  5. Raag Hansadhwani – Vinayaka

 

 

 

ElbowAudio Vertigo

There is just something very English authentic about Elbow and the creative process and song writing of Guy Garvey.  Despite the exclusivity of the lyrics to his native side of the world (most of the time), I still love the story telling, and the fact that I have to work at it like downloading a Thesaurus when reading Koontz.  There are always lovely anecdotes and pub-in-the-wall descriptive moments that make you, not only want to be there, but make you want to be British (like Gillian Anderson and Madonna — no offense, I get it).  This is higher education in the hands of laymen and his magical band of merry English alternative instrumental magicians.  The can bend a chord, flip a loop, or as is stated in there latest,  Audio Vertigo, “Give it fat wide wheels!”  Boom!  And then the song, ‘Balu’ is off and running!  This is Elbow, and this is another music-stopped in their catalog (one that very rarely ever disappoints).

We are now ten studio albums deep, and Elbow continues to come out of the studio still creating all kinds of audio textures, clever and cunning lyricism that is staggeringly catchy, groovy, and no doubt — all their own (even when it’s completely out of left field).  While ‘Lover’s Leap,’ a definite Elbow track has that signature of distortion, it’s the horn line that bleeds their signature, followed by the tale of lovers as only can be spun by Garvey.  There albums are always smart to worldly turmoil but even more intelligent to package it with slight-of-humor and mucho gusto in melody and vocal power-wit (which I reserve only for him as a song-writer-one-of-a-kind).  This is evident on the blistering ‘Knife Fight,’ which is pretty much the signature of this vocalist’s ability to capture a moment and make it everlasting, impactful and alternatively classy in a flabbergast of alliteration.

Audio Vertigo is near perfect.  A near perfect 10 on their 10th album!  Another feather in the musical cap of the United Kingdom this year, and an album for which the lyrical awareness and little Easter eggs will still be coming all year-long.  This is another prime contender as 2024 moves on.

The Band

  • Guy Garvey – vocals, horn arrangements
  • Craig Potter – keyboards, producer, mixing
  • Mark Potter – guitars
  • Pete Turner – bass
  • Alex Reeves – drums

Additional Musicians

  • Additional personnel
  • Sarah Field – trumpet, saxophones
  • Carol Jarvis – trombones
  • Victoria Rule – trumpet
  • Ella Hohnen-Ford, Kianja, Eliza Oakes – additional backing vocals
  • Jack Heyworth, Elvin Reeves, Otto Simpson, Jack Stirling Garvey, Martha Turner, Ted Turner – kids choir

Beyond Your Radio Album Review Saturdays 2024 - Elbow Audio VertigoAudio Vertigo Tracklisting

  1. Things I’ve Been Telling Myself for Years
  2. Lovers’ Leap
  3. (Where Is It?)
  4. Balu
  5. Very Heaven
  6. Her to the Earth
  7. The Picture
  8. Poker Face
  9. Knife Fight
  10. Embers of Day
  11. Good Blood Mexico City
  12. From the River

 

 

StarsailorWhere the Wild Things Grow

This post-British Pop band from 2000 really had a hold on me, with their debut, Love Is Here (2001), and their two follow-up albums, Silence Is Easy and On the Outside.  It was that kind of time in the music multiverse for me where the dynamic ballad and minimalistic pop-chord structure was king to my ears.  The vocal and song writing of James Walsh just made…silence easy.  The voice was distinctive, and beautifully woven into the musicianship, as well as being in the wheelhouse of the music scene which featured the likes of the very early Coldplay, Snow Patrol, and Keane.  So, it’s great music and lyrical company.  Where are we today, though, as the band moves in from a long hiatus in 2015, and now eight years later a new album, called Where the Wild Things Grow?

Well, when you’re a listener like me, that first track on an album better bring me back to that place I was and then some.  Well, “here come the laughing Hyenas,” and I know that this is not a contractual agreement fulfilling construct.  No, they are going for it, and ‘Into the Wild’ certainly showcases that, especially the incoming knock-out harmonica and background vocals and heavier blues guitar ending!  Kudos, boys!  This is what we love about long-standing bands in the music multiverse that come back from the depths of obscurity, having maybe a minimal audience overall, but the tenacity and musical guise to realise that you are almost, nearly starting over again!  So, Where the Wild Things Grow, is doing exactly that…putting their roots in the ground and letting it grow — organically and wildly (this time)!

I think the growth might have been a bit too much on my first listen!  I’m not kidding.  It’s like Walsh was sort of lost, but that second listen and a louder third listen just opened up the audio file on Starsailor 2024!  While I don’t think they’ve left the post-British Pop arena, I do think they added on to their house of musical experience, reaching into a heavier pop and even an alternative punch here and there.  The production is just as it has always been, very definitive to every inch, and put together track by track from start to finish with not a moment of quick cut or fall off.  There’s even some clever alt-country swagger in ‘After the Rain’ which again I took note of Walsh’s different vocal range.  But, ‘Where the Wild Things Grow’ brought me back to that familiarity just enough again and again for me to truly enjoy the record for the future Starsailor that it is.  This could be a catalyst record that will invite new listeners to the live venue, and  from there they can find the 2000 catalog, and enjoy the rabbit hole, like most of us have done discovering bands in the same fashion that go through times like these.

The Band

  • James Walsh – guitar and lead vocals
  • James Stelfox – bass
  • Barry Westhead – keyboards
  • Ben Byrne – drums

Where the Wild Things Grow Tracklisting

  1. Into The Wild
  2. Heavyweight
  3. After The Rain
  4. Where The Wild Things Grow
  5. Flowers
  6. Better Times
  7. Dead On The Money
  8. Enough
  9. Hard Love
  10. Last Shot
  11. Hanging In The Balance

Album Review Saturdays 2024 Episode 12

There are places in this music multiverse where it would almost seem impossible to be heard as a musician.  Take Bermuda as an example.  Growing up in the Bermuda Triangle, perhaps, or war torn desert region of Africa, or maybe one of the largest urban cities in Italy.  The beautiful voice that survived the mysterious water triangle, of course, was Heather Nova.  That war torn region brought us the unique blues of Tinariwen, and the final one is one of two Italian bands on the list.  One totes a surf-punk sound with high energy (maybe they’re on steroids), and the other delves into murkier aggressive progressive instrumentalism.  Our third album for Album Review Saturdays 2024 Episode 12 comes in the form of a Mister.  A mister from the western sea of Italy as well.  Wait a minute!  All these fuckers are from Italy!?  What gives?!  Is Italy changing it’s top 10 exports?  Could they be taking the music multiverse by storm in all genres now, rather than the progressive rock and progressive metal they’ve been cultivating like the super-Tuscan soil surrounding the greatest red producing vineyards in the world?  Let’s explore some current sounds in Italy, and while I’m at — here’s the list of Top 10 Exports of Italy just to kind of shock you — that it ain’t wine.

Top 10 Exports of Italy [Yes, there’s no wine on this list]
  • Machinery including computers: US$106.2 billion (16.2% of total exports)
  • Pharmaceuticals: $47.4 billion (7.2%)
  • Vehicles: $45.5 billion (6.9%)
  • Electrical machinery, equipment: $40.8 billion (6.2%)
  • Mineral fuels including oil: $33.7 billion (5.1%)
  • Plastics, plastic articles: $27.1 billion (4.1%)
  • Articles of iron or steel: $22.9 billion (3.5%)
  • Iron, steel: $21.2 billion (3.2%)
  • Gems, precious metals: $20.4 billion (3.1%)
  • Furniture, bedding, lighting, signs, prefabricated buildings: $16.1 billion (2.5%)

Stop “wine-ing” — ok.  But, perhaps after 2025, it could be musicians!  Wouldn’t that be – Stupendo!

 

LINK TO OUR YOUTUBE VERSION
[Mark Kuligowski discuss these (3) albums + adds 1 more Italian Import and (2) more reviews!]

 

 

Couchgagzzz – Gosports!!!

Bari, Italy yielded a man by the name of Ivan Iusco, a composer a record producer whose record label (running out of Los Angeles) has been connected with artists like Brian Eno and Depeche Mode.  He has an affinity for avant-garde and dark ambient, which he fixated to a band called Nightmare Lodge (there’s a place that’s probably not on the Bari landscape).  So, in this large urban, maze-like, coastal city, we’ve got this fifty-four year old, who in his formative years was engaged in the dark arts of rock, industrial as well as classical compositions (film scores), now in Los Angeles rubbing music elbows and making enthralling musical compositions and influencing a generation on either side of the world.  Now, did he influence this surf-punk band from the same city?  I’m going to think – not. But, what it does prove — is that out of anywhere, music love, appreciation and reach can and will happen.  Enter, Couchgagzzz.

You know me, I’ll say it — not even close to a smart name for a band (even if you had famous members).  If there’s an inside joke, no one is going to get it past your already known audience.  In fact, looking you up, they’re going to misspell or misassociate.  Can you overcome it?  That will remain unanswered at the time of this article, but I can assure you that my man,  Marco Gargiulo of
Metaversus PR is certainly spreading the sound word throughout the music-multiverse.  So enough of me living still in my show That’s Your Band Name?!  Let’s talk about this amped up sonic punk band from Bari, Italy that seems to have an affliction for a signature sound in the works.

The album is like a sports reel on a sonic punk tempo, complete with augmented vocal that kind of reminds you of a little bit of The B 52’s, right?!  Cool, infectious, riots, up-tempo guitar and tint-bashing symbols.  The rhythm guitar and mash up of sound and then back to an instrumental refrain all works so throw-back-like well.  I was completely drawn into the music and pace of it that I kind of left the lyrics on the cutting room floor, paying close attention to the changes in the guitar work and fun, simple riffs.  They throw it down, slap it all over the room, and then are clever enough to leave a little space to seemingly catch their strumming and solo breaths.  So evident on ‘Fap Challenge,’ which is a song that does not have vocal accompaniment, but it in that song I found the aching deficiency of the band.  How come I can’t completely follow or hear the vocal?  In the third listen, I’m starting to pick out pieces, but is it the foreign language?  No, I don’t think so, because the Italians are pretty amazing at speaking English.  Is it the sound wall and production?  It might be to some degree, but what I’m laying my ear on, is the commitment to it.  What am I saying, you ask?  You know the minute you put this record on that the tempo (the steroid induced pump-a-tude) is the signature.  I can hear and imagine the Italian club jumpin’ and slammin’ to their wall of sound and infusion of shifting rhythm and riff.  But, I think the vocal is left on the killing floor, enjoying the ride provided by the musicianship surrounding him, as the lower boot moshes on.  No one in the band is committed to it, as you’ll see below it’s three of the four.  Perhaps, when the ‘roids’ wear-off and the sophomore record comes to creation, they’ll find that voice, construct it and produce it to rise within or above.  That is what I’m anxious for, as this debut (in their own unique punk environment) has a lot going for it, and they’ve got the energy to fight for a really nice spot in the music multiverse!

The Band

  • JJ –  Drums, vocals
  • BB – Bass, vocals
  • Garko – Guitar, vocals
  • Snafu – Synth, guitar

Gosports!!! Tracklisting

  1. United
  2. Fap Challenge
  3. Gosports!!!
  4. Digimon
  5. The Wheel At The Finish Line
  6. Burak Won
  7. Bad Holes
  8. Astrazeneka

 

 

 

Modern Stars – Termination

It’s a fine line the progressive industrial rock environment and psychedelic progressive rock (for me anyway).  That line of ambient-drone, the music that speaks to intro, but sometimes never gets far enough to lead you somewhere.  There are bands that take it to the level like, Tool, and there are bands that linger in the myre of moodiness and nurturing as if it is Bonsai tree.  I like both, but I love the journey of going somewhere, so Modern Stars, from Rome Italy, is a tougher sell for me.  Wait!  Don’t you give up on Termination, their latest album, just because I said that.  I just want to provide a hint of context before diving into the vast moodiness of this album, also sent to me by Marco Gargiulo of Mettaversus PR.

‘If/Then’ is one hell of a start up song for this album.  I love the building moody underscored guitar and psyche, and the growing drum beat.  But, it doesn’t go anywhere, but into the next song.  Ok, I will play along, as there’s nothing wrong with an intro into another song (considering the prog-environment it could be lending itself to). It does allow for entry of a male melancholy moaning vocal along with an electronic pitchy, ominous slide-whistle (you remember those right — look it up).  Okay, while it didn’t go exactly anywhere, it was (like the Bonsai tree) sculpted to have a uniqueness and signature that was developed enough to appreciate.  This is where Modern Stars hangs their musical sculpting hat.  While you starve for the vocal to reach a better Depeche Mode tone and delivery, you enjoy the clever molding, patterns, and final product of the band’s musicianship.  Again, were in that same issue vocal, lyrical commitment issue.  The band is delivering, and even though it’s not reaching a tremendous crescendo, it is doing some fantastic and bold bass and psychedelic fused and rhythm centric progressive rock.

This was my first listen to the band, and I see that they have a catalog that is another three albums deep.  While I am not sold on the vocal delivery and lyric of Termination, I am still curious and excited to hear where their sound has been sculpted from and to, considering how well produced and instrumentally clever Termination is.  I plan to roam (almost spelled that wrong) in their sound for some time here, and I think you should to, especially if you like this kind of dark-ambient heavy on psychedelic sculpting of progressive mood rock.  Perhaps Modern Stars is the modern answer to moody bridge needed to elevate this murky mood driven genre?  If there’s any title that intrigues me to this notion, it is their Psychindustrial album for 2021.  And, away I — go.  Will you join me in this?  This is a miniature band in the grand scheme (something we always enjoy here at Beyond Your Radio), but their sound is larger than their stature and shaped carefully to reach even the most discerning ears.  I have a feeling the Bonsai terminology here will keep them in their wheelhouse, comfortable in the small shallow container, but believe me the sound is much bigger than that and should be allowed to expand.

The Band

  • Andrea Merolle – Electronics, guitars, vocals
  • Barbara Margani – vocals
  • Andrea Sperduti – drums
  • Mario Bruni – bass

Termination Tracklisting

  1. If/Then
  2. Nowhere
  3. Confession
  4. Bartleby
  5. Organization
  6. Be Pure
  7. Coming Down

 

 

 

Mr. Bison – Echoes From Across the Universe

That’s a big album title.  That’s a grand scope of an album cover.  So, what will you bring?  Mr. Bison decides to not wait a solitary second to give you what you should and thought would be coming out of an album and title like this!  Good for them!  The progressive psychedelic rock band from Tuscany, Italy really lays down some very impressive technical compositions here on Echoes From Across the Universe.  You saw the ‘echoes’ in printed form but also in the design of the album cover, and the band makes sure that you feel those in the subdued electronic keyboard, and the fuzz of their Yes-ian-psychedelic rock.  Yes, I said Yes.  Think Big Generator in the context of the sound, after all, this is Heavy Psych Sounds Records label, so you better bring the alternative stoner intensity, but they also manage to give you that vocal harmony that makes you make the comparison.  What also thrills me, and this is selfish, it’s the Yes I prefer, where the keyboards don’t go — way too far.

The riff and flow of this album from start to finish is careful to be progressive enough, but hold tight to the psychedelic nature and hard rock instrumental positions.  ‘Dead In the Eye’ which doesn’t feel seven minutes, encompasses the passion of every single member’s commitment to the project.  The bass holding, the guitars shimmering and riffing, the drumming courting the chaos, and of course the vocals reaching and seering with melodic intensity.  It seems that most of the band can play bass, so it’s not surprising how the fabric of breath in the album holds to that instrument and the meshing of the prog-instruments of Mellotron, synthesizer, and Hammond organ.  The harmonies within Sciocchetto’s vocals really make the album stand out, too!  It’s actually a fantastic second listen, where I was picking up on all of the intricacies of the instrumentation, progressive moments, and the mission of this concept record.  It took me some time to get there, but the musical experience and the bombastic vocals did rise to this occasion, and did echo across the album and its universe!  This is a fabulous listen of 70s fused with today’s progressive hard rock environment, a complete audio emersion of past, present and maybe future of how music can escape predetermination!  Escape is at hand.  Take Mr. Bison’s hand…by your headphones!  You’ve made the right choice!

The Concept, as told by Bandcamp page

The “Concept Album” is based on the Norse Norns myth, who weave the threads of universal destiny on a tapestry, in which all existence, in a continuous mix of past, present and future, intersect and influence each other, thereby generating a kaleidoscopic vortex of infinite and unpredictable possibilities. For this reason, we have used them as a symbol of freedom of choice, which never excludes but indeed implies, the element of chance.

The Band

  • Matteo Barsacchi – Guitars, bass, synth
  • Matteo Sciocchetto – Guitars, bass, vocals
  • Lorenzo Salvadori – Drums
  • Davide Salvadori – Acoustic guitars, synth, Hammond, Mellotron, bass

Echoes From Across the Universe Tracklisting

  1. The Child Of The Night Sky
  2. Collision
  3. Dead In The Eye
  4. Fragments
  5. The Promise
  6. The Veil
  7. Staring At The Sun  (Please don’t do this April 8th, 2024)

Album Review Saturdays 2024 Episode 11

Welcome to Beyond You Radio’s Album Review Saturdays 2024 Episode 11.  This weekend we are definitely all in for the rock genres.  The first is a super group made from the likes of progressive rock and progressive metal rock bands that you may know, but the name and the throwdown here definitely leaves their prior works at the door.  The next band up is not very well known, but has the alternative rock chops and 90s sound to certainly percolate the attention of a very wide rock crowd, and their name is attention grabbing, too!  Finally, we take the second trip down solo lane with one of the most unique and cause-worthy vocalists in the rock to see what he’s cooked up this time away from one of Australia’s worldwide known bands.  We love to do this each and every weekend, and this is no exception!  Don’t forget that Album Review Saturdays are always done on our YouTube channel, featuring an extended review and addition reviews!  This weekend especially, don’t miss another superstar rock band frontman that sold more albums in the 90s than any other band!  See you over at YouTube after you devour these reviews!

 

LINK TO OUR YOUTUBE VERSION
[Mark Kuligowski & Panelist DAHM discuss these (3) albums + adds three (3) more reviews!]

 

 

Whom Gods DestroysInsanium

Ok, the name of the band is an over-indulgent name, right?  I immediately think that there is no way they are going to live up to the name, even if the band consists of keyboardist Derek Sherinian (Dream Theater, Planet X), guitarist Ron ‘Bumblefoot’ Thal (Sons of the Apollo, Guns n’ Roses), and vocalist Dino Jelusick (Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Whitesnake).  Wait, they also add a rhythm section of bassist Yas Nomura and drummer Bruno Valverde (Angra), so maybe there’s a chance.  Ears crossed, headphone engaged (thought about duct taping them on for safety) and mind set to possibly being left insane in the music membrane.

And, it starts with a rather cheesy horror keyboard/piano entry beneath Sherinian scope?!  Don’t fear…well maybe you were supposed to fear, but it doesn’t take long before we’re hoisted into the progressive metal blender and hard rock splendor that is to become the first album of Whom Gods Destroy.  Everything familiar becomes evident and when Jelusick’s voice comes in and commands your Sammy Hagar meets David Coverdale attention in an all-in dark, blues rock tone the seal is complete.  We know exactly where we are musically, and probably where we are going, and if the first track ‘In the Name of War’ is any indication we’re going to be neck deep in it for a good fifty minutes.

Now while I don’t feel that the album was building toward something, I do feel that we were working up to the title track.  After all, it is placed at the end, and it is the demonstratively longest song on the list at over eight minutes.  The guitar work, progressive keyboard entries, and the bass had their places in and out of the songs to showcase one or the other, or in some cases even multiple instruments showing off, making it a gripping recording, but not completely hitting that progressive length in nature and scope.  ‘Crucifier’ in just past or at the middle did showcase the hardest rock and pace, and kind of really elevated the pace from where it was, which was excellent placement.  Which lead me to wondering, with all this musicianship power, when were we going to hear something that was strictly instrumental?  I did have that feeling that there was going to be, even if the song list was shorter than expected.  Sure enough, ‘Hypernova 158’ brought it out, giving us a little spacy groove while knocking our ears off with virtuosity from the supergroup as expected!

Finally we reach the end, ‘Insanium.’  And what we believe would be fitting, is actually the most progressive of the songs, reaching two bridges within, changing and exfoliating like an alternative chemical bomb, spreading out over the track in a variety of ways, while still maintaining the pace, hard rock delivery, and metal qualities that had been soloing in and out of the record, defining the guitar god from the keyboard demigod.  The shifting momentum of guitar work, modulating vocal, and return of the progressive nature from the beginning is all the ‘Insanium’ required to put a lid on Whom Gods Destroy for the time being.  However, you take your super groups, you will have to give this one heavy rotation and respect, especially for their ability to truly encompass each of the contributors, as well as make it all work very cohesively within the confines of the rock, metal and progressive structure they laid out.  Now, back to that name of the band.  Did they pull off being as demonstrative as Whom Gods Destroy?  I’ll leave that up to you for now, but I do know they’ve put together an album that will be remembered this year for sure, when it comes to lists in their progressive metal rock genre (for sure).

The Band

  • Derek Sherinian – Keyboards/Piano/Synthasizer
  • Ron ‘Bumblefoot’ Thal – Guitars
  • Dino Jelusick – Vocals
  • Yas Numora – Bass
  • Bruno Valverde – Drums

Insanium Tracklisting

  1. In the Name of War
  2. Over Again
  3. The Decision
  4. Crawl
  5. Find My Way Back
  6. Crucifier
  7. Keeper of the Gates
  8. Hypernova 158
  9. Insanium

 

 

 

Kitsa – Dead By Dawn

Port Orchard, Washington, just 13 miles from Seattle, and a lovely, kind of quiet town (if you will) nestled in a four season environment with lake front drives, properties and a seemingly beautiful personae, if an area can have one (especially that near the rainy bustling city of Seattle).  This is the town that gave us radio personality, Delilah, Karolyn Grimes the sweet loving ‘Mary’ from It’s A Wonderful Life, and the contemporary rock vocal of Jason Wade of Lifehouse.  So there!  Yeah, so how the hell did this area grow Kitsa, a grunge, stoner hard rock, angsted band?  Is there some dark element wrestling for control over this quaint town?  Is, Dead By Dawn, the reminders, anxiety, and underbelly lurking in the modest shadows and back-lake of this supposed pleasing geographical location in the Western United States?  Well, if this good, let’s hope it is (did I just say that?).

When this first hits your ears you certainly are reminded of the heavier scene of the 90s grunge-metal era.  The angst and blue-hot-under the collar youth of Alice In Chains, Screaming Trees, and maybe Elder with a sliver of Silverchair.  The lyrics are definitive in their nature of being struggle of common place youth and trying to determine your path, reaching out, reaching past, and surviving enough to rise above it all, and in this case that’s rising — apparently — above the possibility of being, well, dead.  It is obvious that the band, or the lead singer, know what they are, or at least how they are perceived in the context of the lyrics, especially that of the title track (second track in)“I’m a liar, I’m a cheater.  The sun won’t shine on me.”  Dark words spoken in the wake of bodies piled up, which I’m hoping are not on the particular shores of Port Orchard (bad for business probably, unless you’re filming the next Quiet Place).

The music.  It’s riff-tastic, and falls right in line with the vocal delivery of Skot Davis.  There’s a hint of southern in some of the guitar workings here and there that gives it a different feel from the standard Seattle heavy grunge, which is the slightly refreshing part.  As for a debut, at least our first foray into the band, they knew exactly how to deliver their sound in groove and flow along with the grunge riffs, and they melded an excellent thirty plus minutes to capture our attention.  In fact, multiple listens, as we worked our way through the lyrical quality, we found a real rock style lying quietly at the surface, which came out in ‘Koi’ (the only instrumental on the album, which if you’re listening without paying attention is moreso a lead into the song, Hate).

Kitsa has our attention now!  So does Port Orchard for that matter, as we’re going to keep a close eye out there (just in case).  You should keep an ear out for this grunge alt-rock straight ahead stoner banger!  If this is their first album, we are very interested (if they’re not dead by next dawn, or the dawn after that…) to see what comes next.  After all, the journey of a thousand miles begins with just a single — listen!  Look out Delilah!

The Band

  • Skot Davis – Lead Vocals
  • Chris Pound – Guitar, Vocals
  • Randy Fort – Drums
  • Jeremy Deede – Bass

Dead By Dawn Tracklisting

  1. Seed of Famine
  2. Dead By Dawn
  3. Downhill
  4. Wasteland
  5. Koi
  6. Hate
  7. Journeyman
  8. She

 

 

 

 

Peter GarrettThe True North

If you’ve never heard of Midnight Oil, you need stop now.  That’s right!  Do not read any further.  This is not your jump off point.  Trust me.  This man’s vocals, statements, and pride in his craft begins with the great Australian band, Midnight Oil, that found its way to every shore, every concert venue in the world between the years of 1987-1996 (this is not the timeline of the band, as they started back in 1977 and just released an album in 2022).  So, come back to us, when you’ve listened to Diesel and Dust, Blue Sky Mining, and Redneck Wonderland.  For those of you that know, let’s take a dive into Peter Garrett (iconic, unique, lead vocalist of Midnight Oil) second solo record, The True North.

They say no one is Island.  For sure, and Peter Garrett is the embodiment of the selfless, aware, singer-songwriter with a propensity for seeking harmony.  Not only in his lyrics and music, but also in his daily life and the life of the world in which he engages in.  It’s been this way ever since the start of Midnight Oil.  Now, I can’t testify to whether it is only genuine in the creative process, but let’s face it, with the world being the way it is, we would have known he was a fake by now.  So, let’s move to the genuine vocal and pursuit that is, The True North.  ‘Human Playground’ is that perfect statement of song that resides within him.  “Push yourself so hard it hurts. Put the damage in reverse.”  What a beautiful path he states, and this is the kind of hope and delivery that governs Peter Garrett’s second solo album, and he pushes himself to — overdrive.

While this recording has one of the members of Midnight Oil in the band, it holds mostly away from the harder deliveries and rock statements.  However, there’s still that blazen harmonica, and that one-of-a-kind vocal that can never be unheard from the lines of ‘Beds Are Burning.’  In fact, you might even hear it ‘Meltdown.’  Mr. Garrett’s vocals and lyrics here showcase his connection to the art of songwriting, and the ability for his words to be melded within a variety of musical landscapes that allow for variety of piano affection, the beauty of the harp and simple rhythm patterns from bass and cello, as well as in the heart-pulling moments, like that of ‘Everybody,’ that timbre off to allow his tone the spotlight and striking storytelling (whether he choses a whisper or belting scream).  This album is a peaceful resolution to the masses that want more Midnight Oil, and to the music multiverse that just wants to hear his uniqueness in his chosen context.  And, for those that went through this without doing as I instructed!  It’s never too late, as Garrett states in ‘Innocence Part 1 & 2’ — so go back and do as I suggested and check out those albums!  You can curse or thank me later, depending on your foreknowledge of consequence (yeah what Peter said).

The Band

  • Peter Garrett – Vocals, harp
  • Grace Garrett – Background vocals
  • May Garrett – Background vocals
  • Rowan Lane – Bass
  • Freya Schack-Arnott – Cello
  • Evan Mannell – Drums
  • Martin Rotsey – Guitar
  • Heather Shannon – Keyboards, piano
  • Ollie Thorpe – Pedal steel guitar
  • Tony Buchen – Synthesizer

The True North Tracklisting

  1. The True North
  2. Paddo
  3. Innocence Part 1 & 2
  4. Hey Archetype
  5. Permaglow
  6. Human Playground
  7. Currowan
  8. Meltdown
  9. Everybody