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Brainsqueezed: I Am Not a Robot

Brainsqueezed: I Am Not a Robot

I Am Not a Robot ends with the big “Black Summer 2019-2020,” pretty much an all-instrumental comment on the terrible Australia fires that hit before the pandemic. A big hard prog tune, with a true Deep Purple vibe, Hugo Lee’s layering sax, the various movements, organ, and piano featured throughout, certainly set a perfect end to the proceedings, if not exactly keeping to the lyrical concept.

Blake Red: The Cradle

Blake Red: The Cradle

I love releases like The Cradle, where you get the unmistakable hand of someone sure and set at the helm of the proceedings. I’d very much be interested in hearing a full length from Black Red in the future.

Paul Feder: Nightwalk

Paul Feder: Nightwalk

Opening with a danceable snapping beat and some bleeping keys “Lose My Mind,” makes it evident that Brooklyn-based Paul Feder knows how to layer key sounds into some commercial pop synth confections. He even throws in a breathy end to the tune, changing up the full dance nature of the song just a smidgen.

Serious Sam Barrett: The Seeds Of Love

Serious Sam Barrett: The Seeds Of Love

“Blow Away The Morning Dew” is pretty much country-fed guitar picking, on this upbeat little ditty to nearly end The Seeds Of Love. “Was On An April Morning” is the song that does indeed end these twelve, presenting another moment where Barrett sings unaccompanied. As he does through this record, but definitely on this last song, he certainly has the pipes to pull off singing songs without instrumentation.

Scotty Karate: Always Honey

Scotty Karate: Always Honey

Karate was born in Oklahoma, a local legend in Michigan, raised in Michigan, and toured extensively with his 90’s band, the Plumbobs. In 2004 he moved to NYC to start another band and be in others and has made his way since presenting a particular sensibility that is at one part country, another punk, but all wonderful rock and roll, as heard on Always Honey,

Dopus Opus: The Lake Sessions

Dopus Opus: The Lake Sessions

“To Be Free” is where Waterman and McKenzie really get their psychedelic alt. rocks off. I love this last tune. It moves along at a solid pace; the electric bends in the chorus sets off what would have been a usual straight-ahead little rock ditty into a whole other place. It’s great stuff, as much as all the other great stuff on The Lake Sessions, an alt./rock/AOR collection, obviously rendered by a duo who can play and write.

Disaster Relief: Back Into It

Disaster Relief: Back Into It

 Slow horns and plinky keys inform the ending tune here, “What Day Is It?” Bending bluesy notes from James, Moog touches, and the horns set in the background more than they ever are sets this one above all the rest for me and marks my favorite on Back Into It.

Sonic Fuel

Sonic Fuel

“Wild and Free” features Akers’ simple echo bass under the vocal on the slippy-dippy verses, with a straight-ahead overdriven chorus that sticks in your head.  A studied dynamic sets “I Believe” in motion. With Will McFarlane guesting here on lead and slide (he has played with Bonnie Raitt and Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section), the tune rises to quite an inspiring top, again with Hale kicking the chorus out of the park.

The Furious Seasons: Home All Day, Home All Night

The Furious Seasons: Home All Day, Home All Night

I dig the halting acoustic, nearly spoken-word version of Bowie’s “Changes,” the boys manage; an excellent 360 turn of this classic song.
And lastly, we get another great lament in “7420,” with some fantastic guitar embellishes, as we are reminded of what the world has gone through lately and what The Furious Seasons have to say about it.

Paula Standing: The More I Give

Paula Standing: The More I Give

Along with McCormack and Jeff Taylor and Leftwhich, Standing uses the talents to Jeff McCormack on bass, and Pat Crowley to craft a truly sweet gem of an album in The More I Give.

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