Wednesday, August 30, 2006

The Wirehead - Elevation

Hear The Track Here

Last one out of the bag this month is a new name to me, and a genre I have had difficulty with many, many times before. Electronica is the general doom I face, and trance being my own special cup of hemlock. Having said that, as many of you already know, I have been surprised before so best not prejudge eh? Thewirehead (to give his proper name) is 23 year old called Mark from the US and judging by the look of his website he hasn't been on Soundclick long, so a newbie all round. However, he says he has been making music for about seven years so that kinda scotches the whole idea of being kind to him.

Muuahahahaha. Who said reviewing couldn't be much fun?

Despite my dislike of the style, thewirehead didn't make it in any way difficult not to like what had been put before me. The first time around you will certainly be impressed with the dash of the track, and it's production and mix in particular. In fact, I guess if you were at a trance club this would go down well, and that's I guess where this musician is aiming for. In which case, he has succeeded well because Elevation is a meaty track full of chunky sounds and widescreen for ears to boot!

However, after continued listening confirms that not all is well, and I didn't start to notice it until I had been round the block with a track a few times. As good as the overall sound is (and it is) there's something amiss between the bottom end and some of the fiercest (in terms of EQ) hihats I have ever heard. This tends to blot out certain parts of the mix and leads to immense volume differences in the quieter parts of the track as shown clearly around 1:25 and again once the hihats kick in at the end of that section. It does mar what is otherwise a very decent trance track and one I didn't feel like ripping to shreds from the get go - but that mix does have to be fixed.

Gloria J - Edge Of Darkness

Hear The Track Here

Most probably the first thing that will strike you about this track is that Gloria has a distinctly un-Gloria like voice. Matter of fact, in tone and delivery she sounds remarkably like one of my favourite folk singers: Dave Swarbrick, a folk icon from the early 1970's culminating in his involvement with the legendary Fairport Convention. So, judging by that, it is fair to say that Gloria J operates in the folk genre although there is a distinct tinge of 'old school' folk about as practiced by the Fairports, Stealers Wheel, The Strawbs and other luminaries of the Golden Age of folk rock.

Gloria J is, in fact, a cross gender artist who I first came across when I reviewed Wheels Within Wheels (March 2006). Very nice track as it happens, of course it would help if you actually liked folk, especially the earlier sounds associated with the genre. As I commented about that earlier track, one voice one guitar is NOT the folk I am referring to; this is a much subtler, expansive style more commonly known as English Traditional music as opposed to the folk espoused by - say - Woody Guthrie. As such, again, Gloria pins the format to a T, authentic and proud of it.

Oh we are not perfect, she wails, but on my books this is as close as it gets...

One of the highlights of Wheels Within Wheels was the crystal clear production; the bouncy bass and the layering of guitars that gives these tracks their lightness of being. Over the space of two tracks Gloria J has shown me two things about her music: 1) a thoroughoing professionalism that infuses her work and 2) her ability to crank out some absolutely wonderful songs. Wheels Within Wheels already sits on my hard drive since the review and this one is sure to join it. Class English tradecraft encased in a mix that is just so light you could eat it between meals. So, Gloria, what are the chances of seeing some lyrics to this? It's obviously a very personal song, and it might be more understandable if the 'incident' were a little more obvious (although I can take a few educated guesses). Still, it's your song and your story, say it how you will, so long as you keep pumping out beauties like this.

Highly Recommended

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Mule - The Reliable Man

Hear The Track Here

I have a pretty good memory as far as bands and band names go, so when I saw Mule in this months review list, I knew that I had reviewed them before. However, when I looked at the review for A Simple Life (December 2005) I was gobsmacked to see that I had given it a Must Have rating. What? For a new band (to me) and a new track? Almost unheard of, guv. In common with all my Must Have tracks, it's something I'd want to keep so I went back and listened to the file that has sat on my hard disk since that review. Just to check that my ears are working properly and I can't say honestly I have heard it overly much since that review. Too much else going on, but I did put it in my 2006 folder so it is up for contention in this years Stevies - as indeed are Mule themselves, and that's on the strength of one track. Now having heard A Simple Life once or twice around this new track I would STILL give it a must have, a killer track and no mistake.

I was never much into Britpop when it was around and even then Blur kinda did the trick for me because - for me anyway - Oasis was merely a rock throwback and have proved to be consistent in that approach. Blur, however, were always into different musical forms and that appealed to me more. Which is why tracks like A Simple Life and now The Reliable Man also appealed to me. Both these tracks rely on a lyrical subtlety allied with a fine pop sensibilty that was first pioneered by band such as original Britpoppers The Beatles. Speaking of which, in terms of arrangement and style, The Reliable Man owes much to their legacy because they specialise in that mid-success sound the Fab Four come up with on Rubber Soul and Revolver.

It's that relaxed, yet very complex approach that Mule take that I find most satisfying as a listener. In common with A Simple Life, this track abounds in clever arrangement twists, some lovely chord progessions and a fine performance all round. I personally would have liked the backing vocals slightly higher in the mix and a bit less of the cymbal crashes in the outro, but that's nothing, merely a preference. The track works perfectly - on all levels. Your obvious starting point would be Blur (because of the vocals) but anyone who likes REAL english guitar pop will just love this bad boy to death. With two Mule tracks now under my belt it is obvious that they know exactly what they are about, technically and professionally, and I would have no hesitation whatsoever in recommending either one. One small quibble though; lyrics? Where they is, maaaannn??? Want the words, want the words...

MUST HAVE Classic English rock, be it the first verson OR the Britpop one.

Rolland Harrison - Dogtown Blues

Hear The Track Here

A brand new Soundclick name for me but hey, anyone who has a picture of Uncle Frank (Zappa) sitting on the crapper on his front page is OK by me. Rolland is, by his own admission, a jazz playin' guitar slinger which again is not something likely to put me off my dinner because I do like jazz (in some ways) and I do like to hear a nice gee-tar a-wailing on my stereo. By way of reference, Rolland obviously loves anything and everything from jazz guitarist wizard Talmage Hot Farlow (1921-1998) and cites him numerous times as a main influence. More popularly known as Tal Farlow, this man played with the greats of the jazz scene including Charlie Mingus in the Red Norvo group, a stint with Artie Shaw and of course his own Gibson branded guitars and his superlative Blue Note and Verve recordings from the mid 1950's to the late 1960's.

Swing and Bebop were the areas Tal specialised in, and although Rolland does have an enviable jazz tone going down here, there is an electric-ness (Ed: is that even a word?) about the playing that - for me anyway - kinda ruins the feel and, therefore, its authenticity. As far as playing goes, I have no concerns whatsoever, this is a man with more fingers than any human has a right to, and in some ways his playing reminded me of another great jazz guitarist Alvin Lee. Although he his more well known for his rock work with Ten Years After, I have seen Alvin playing in small jazz groups and know that he much prefers this style.

So even after the glorious wallowing I've had in a genre I don't spend anything like as much time in as I need, I still came away from Dog Town Blues abuzz with fresh longings for some more and even hauled out a couple of older Mingus track I had to keep the jaaz buzz flowing. I can't think of anyone else on Soundclick who is playing music like this, and definitely nobody who does it this well, so if you do like a bit of jazz guitar playing par excellence, Rolland Harrison would by the name to check out. While it's true that jazz has always had its small band of afficenados, and therefore this track won't be to everyone's taste, if you would like a dip in the very roots of jazz (and by definition rock too), Rolland again will get you started, he's a slick, fluid guitarist who has mastered his instrument and style with fine detail.

Well worth a listen for it's style and splendid performance.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Cam's Even Song - Face the Music (The Ballad of 4 Lepers)

Hear The Track Here

Cameron Bastedo (AKA Cam/Cams Even Song/and even Captain for reviews) has long been a pillar of the soundclick community - well what community there is anyway. Ooops, sorry, note of bitterness crept in there. Seriously, to my mind, Cam (in whatever guise) is an artist who deserves to be noted on a much wider level than at present. First of all he has spent years perfecting what he does and when you hear a track of his, it's instantly recognisable - couldn't be anyone else. As well as being an adept musician/producer, he is also unafraid to tackle subjects in his lyrics that other people would run a mile from. A song with a message, they would shudder, what would we do with such a thing?

Face The Music is a song based on a Biblical story, hence the Four lepers and the track finds Cam in his best Bob Dylan circa Blood On The Tracks mode, an area I like very much when Cam stands up to it. I first caught an inkling of this side to Cam's work when I heard his Dylan flavoured Just The Truth On Christmas at the end of last year. He's always been - in my eyes - a talented and prolific songwriter but when he marries a style like this with a truly great lyric, it's nothing short of breathtaking. I make a lot of noise about the Dylan influence because I just bet that it'll be the first thing that will pop into your mind first. I don't, for one second, think that Cam is conciously trying for the resemblence, it's just the way his own style has developed.

Speaking of development, Face The Music, is a masterclass in how to construct a meaningful, pointed peice of music that speaks to head and heart in equal manner. While it is true to say that I have become a big Cam fan over the last couple of years, I'm still realistic enough to know whether my friendship is colouring my thoughts about what he's doing right, or wrong. Fact of the matter is, I couldn't find anything whatsoever in this track that I would want to change or have done in any other way. This is a pleasure, in every way, to hear and savour and shows that Cam continues to make huge strides in his production methods because there is nothing of the home recorded syndrome about this highly polished, extremely professional track. Now, if YOU think my friendship with Cam is colouring my judgement, I'd ask that you give this track a listen and then come and argue the point with me, I'd be glad to number the ways...

MUST HAVE (song, content, performance, all outstanding)

Mosquito Death Squadron - Knock On Wood

Hear The Track Here

Slap me in a dress and call me Sally but I do like Mosquito Death Squadron. Even after I have murdered thousands upon thousands (Ah hates mozzies!) of their compatriots, I still find the music they make quite remarkable to hear. Must be something to do with having endless pairs of legs I suppose. The band describe themselves as 'a runaway train of genre-bending mayhem' and I think I would be inclined to agree with them. Not something you would want to be putting yourself in front of if you have a mild disposition, or are a little nervous about loud noises - or even if you like music to be straightforward. The one thing I have never been able to say about MSD is that they are in any shape or form straightforward.

Bent as a 10 cent watch is the straight truth.

That has a lot to do with the members of the band, who also double as freak shows in their own right. I speak of course of Mandible and Pilesar (reviewer shudders). I really liked Baby Teeth Live (March 2006) moreso because it showed live musicians thrashing the crap out of their instruments, all caught in a nice live environment. It was that treatment that made it work for me, because it showed the musicians in the best possible light - making the performance work the trick. Knock On Wood sounds as if it were done the same way, and again it shows a great of tight musicians just blowing away without much of a thought about what others may think. For me, it is also the thing that makes this track work for me.

There's no doubt in my mind that over the last couple of tracks Mosquito Death Squadron have shown that they are a group of exceedingly competent and adventurous musicians. Although they have Knock On Wood down as Jazz fusion, and it does have a nice jazz slant in arrangement, the main feeling I got from the track was rock. That may have to do with the lineup (bass, drums, guitars) and the intricate, tight-as-a-ducks-ass licks the band spill out in all directions. To see this live must be awesome, because to hear it on MP3 is exciting enough to make me poop me pants. Despite it being a demo, this track is virtuso stuff and because of that it gets one of my highest ratings, although I will stress that not everyone will 'get' this but I do. Here is a track where the most potent element is the obvious fun the musicians are having playing this intricate, finely detailed music. Excellent track, troops.

Highly Recommended (or a must listen anyway, especially if you like class playing)

Saturday, August 26, 2006

The Antennaheadz - Genii

Hear The Track Here

Best not to go looking for this track on Soundclick because - for some reason - it's not available on here. You can, however, grab yourself a copy by clicking on the download link here, the main link above just leads to the bands Soundclick page. No doubt Thomas J (he of millions of bands) will shed some light on this matter in due course. As I can tell by the knowing glances, you know what's coming from me about what Thomas and his assorted collaborators come up with. Sometimes it's highly palatable and sometimes it makes me heave.

Joking, but only slightly so...

The first thing that struck me about Genii was the drum pattern. Now correct me if I'm wrong but it sounds to me like one of those Godawful keyboard presets guys in keyboard showrooms use to show people what great musicians. You know the kind, the beats keeps going no matter what tempo the top are being played at. Even worse, I have a suspicion that The Antennaheadz actually WORKED to get this sound, how sick is that? Either that or they are right lazy gits and this is really one of those patterns with some keyboard type wizardry superimposed on top of it. So, it's a choice here; Lazy?, crazy? or just plain mad keen to put out e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g they have ever done.

Seriously, I do question exactly why this track is here in front of my ears. Anyone with a keyboard and the smallest knowledge of chord structure would put something similar together and - as I say - if TZ worked at getting this particular sound then I have to ask why. As a technical (nerdy even) thing to do, it works because the cheesiness of the whole thing stinks up the room every time I play it. I know that Thomas as a liking for the ol' musical gorganzola, and a distinct love of bleepy analog (read retro) sounds and that's no bad thing in the right context. This though, as much as I might admire the skill (?) and dedication (?) of putting it together didn't touch me at all, except to shout 'turn it off' at regular intervals.

Oh well, on to the next.

Prash - What Has Happened To Peace On Earth

Hear The Track Here

Prashant Vadhyar, more commonly known to us Soundclickers as Prash, has long been a favourite flavour in the Gilmore household. His mix of western and eastern musical tradition is very special although it has to be said that I am a fellow traveller in this genre (world) - therefore biased as hell. I'm not alone either because in the couple of years he's been hanging around on Soundclick he's made some very influential friends. Mumbai, India, where Prash comes from, has always been a fairly musical city - it being home also to Bollywood. Arguably the largest and most productive movie centre Bollywood is also mainly responsible for the upsurge in Indian musical talent with the endless movie soundtracks the studios pump out. Remember that Bollywood films are noted for their song and dance routines and at three hours a strech, you can fit a lot of musical action in there AND leave enough room for a completely unreal plotline.

Aaaah, such is the stuff of life...

As you can tell, I am also a big fan of Bollywood musicals, so it was a bit surprising to me when first encountering Prash that his music was western with an eastern undertone. Whereas my music is exactly reversed - eastern with a western undertone. Rock does seem to be Prash's favourite playground and if you think I'm joking grab a slice of My Baby Is A Fine Wine, Weep Over the Demise of Rock and other such Prash classics. What Has Happened To Peace On Earth is another collaborative effort with Chris Bishop (AKA Project Overseer another one of my favourite artists. Reading between the lines, this is meant as a pretty serious track so do get a squint at the lyrics while listening, and you'll see what I mean. Nice to see that Chris's original gathering idea paying such dividends. Just goes to show what you can have if you put your mind to it and - as Chris knows full well - have to some pretty deep pockets to fund a fast growing website.

In the hands of such accomplished and seasoned musicians, there isn't really a lot that could go wrong. It's going to be an even bet that you will hear a crisp, sharp, clear much with punch and drive where needed, in other words a fully professional job with the knob fiddling. As always though, it's the class songwriting and musical skills that make this track the beauty it is. Not sure who is doing the vocal honours here but it is well tasty and really kicks the song into overdrive. I'm not much struck by the moral tone of the track, all a bit too hippie-ish for this crusty old cynic, but that is just me being bitter and twisted. Probably because underneath it all I just wish I could have written and performed this track and I'll never, ever get close. Those swine !! :D Seriously, Prash does it again in grand style, aided and abetted by the man himself. Excellent, no matter what genre it lives in.


Friday, August 25, 2006

Rude Corps - Cosmetics Part Two

Hear The Track Here

Anyone who states 'To hell with the music industry - those pigs are tomorrow's bacon...' and who once used the legendary OctaMED to make music is gonna be quids in with me without me hearing one note. Having said that I have in fact crossed path with Rude Corps a couple of times, and even with forum alter-ego dolly (of mixture fame). When asking for this review I was told 'this one is quite old now' so it's nice to know I've been relegated to reviewing someones old tat instead of the squeaky new stuff I am used to. Mind you, considering that there are 152 tracks on this artists page, some of those have to going back to the Stone Age...


I'm not a big fame of the whole breakbeats thing, although there have been a few tracks from the genre that impressed me and that was usually because of production tricks rather than musical talent. I really liked Omnisine's (or CJ Freq X as he was then) remix of Lockdown (March 2006) and went and listened to the original and liked that too. That's the fekkin promlem with genres innit? The words say one thing but the music speaks a thousand different tongues, many of them forked. Call it breakbeats or call it pedigree chum, for my money there are shades of almost everything in this slick, slightly off centre track. The same is true of Cosmetics which brings me to the conclusion that a good few of that 152 tracks would be worth a listen.

OOoooh, get her :D

Seriously, Cosmetics is a prime slice of the dark underbelly of electronica and an opportunity not to be sneezed at. It's boasts a seriously funky backline (slammin' drums, bass goes walkies in sub space) that propels the track along so fast you will feel the breeze playing with your hair. The best part, for me anyway, is the low, semi-spoken vocal that gives the track its dry undertone. It is, apparently, a polemic about conditions in the artists native city of Sunderland; an area plagued by bad planning, economics of the madhouse and a political system being held to ransom. Hey wait a minute, I live in a place just like that... Hey, wait a minute, YOU live in a place like that!! Mmmmm. Cosmetics is a classy peice of electronica with a deft sense of rhythm that would look right good snuggled up on your player of choice. If I had a complaint (Ed: here he goes, right when I thought we'd get away with it this time), it would merely be to point out that the vocals could do with being clearer and more upfront in the mix.

(Ed sighs with relief)

Burp - Signia Iceglass (Burp Remix)

Hear The Track Here

Despite being the proud owner of one of the strangest bandnames on Soundclick, Burp has never had any trouble attracting fans and listeners. This is despite him being somewhat experimental (Ed: He means you should have a strong constitution and not liable to faint at sudden, strange noises) Burp's contributions to Soundclick have always been challenging, innovative, intensely rhythmic and as off-the-wall as you could wish for. As always, trying to describe exactly what it is that makes Burp special is impossible. If anybody could accurately describe what it is that Burp does but no-one else seems to come close to, it would be me because I've heard everything this artist has ever done. He's either mad or a genius and either way works for me.

As it would. ;)

Having given it the big build up, Signia whatsname is even an actual Burp tune, it's a remix which - given Burp's propensity to mate with the whole world and his brother - always bodes well. The original track is by an artist called PureH although its not much use clicking on that link because it just leads to a blank Soundclick page - more on that presently I guess. Subsequently, I have no fekkin idea what the original sounded like so a comparison to see what Burp bought to this particular party is not likely. However, I am pretty much steeped in old time Burpdom so I can certainly recognise his touch, and its on this track too but more in production/enhancement rather than as part of the musical structure.

Taking the basic tracks arrangement (a kind of illbient chillout) and tone as a reference I probably would have commented on some of the sounds used (nice stuff btw) and the way the vocal snippets are played/introduced. However, it was definitely not as wide open (stereo-wise) or as randomly chaotic as this remix turned out to be. Whatever else you say about Burp's work, the man is tireless; a true sonic assassin. Here he lurks in the shadows, firing rapid bursts of dissonance and other electronic fuckry into your skull with each successive wave of sound. Not having heard the original puts me at a tremendous disadvantage but that's just me wanting to know the ins and outs of a ducks ass. Normal, even.

This isn't. At all. Normal.

(It is really good though, and I do Recommend it)

JC's Revenge - Action

Hear The Track Here

So far I've liked both the JC's Revenge tracks I have heard and reviewed, more to do with my own personal preference for this kind of alternative rock. That's the American kind mind, not the whiny, 'oooh look at me my life is soooo tragic' English strain. All of which is exceeding strange when you consider that this is a UK band. From Cheltenham, more to the point, noted more for its Girls School than anything that lads may be up to. There again, it may just be the term 'schoolgirl' playing havoc with me thinking bits. Best get back to the music before this starts getting all messy. It's been almost a year since I last heard from them so either they have been avoiding me (not unknown, I might add) or they have been busy on the live circuit.

Mike Green, Sam Christie, Richard Morgan and Tim Dutton are wot makes up this band, and I would imagine they are a pretty good live act. Certainly as far as the music I have heard from them so far and Action backs up that promise admirably. Where I have been my usual caustic self concerning the work of these guys has been (as usual) the final sound that is presented to you and me - the listener. Now me, I've got tin ears from a lifetime of listening to music in all weathers and conditions, and I'm used to sifting out extraneous noise, but most people don't have that benefit. Consequently, the 'liveness', raw, edgy sound that Action comes packaged in is not much more than a live mix in sound and fury.

While that shows the band and the song in good stead (Action means action, ya'd better believe!), it doesn't convey the full power of this band's sound. That's obviously down to the way this gets recorded and put into binary form but nonetheless this is a very LOUD track and outside of the guitars there isn't a whole lot of meaningful instrument definition. Definitely a wooly kind of mix, and that is BEFORE the vocals kick in. Once the verbals start, you might as well stuff a couple of sheep in your ears because thats how wooly things really get. There is no doubt in my mind that here is a track in sore need of rescuing. See, the track buried underneath all this is a beaut. A rock classic that would blow your damn fool head off at a thousand yards - in a perfect world. P-U-H-leeze, sort this mix out and this - I absolutely guarantee - would be a red meat. fire breathing bad mofo.

Recommended Alternative Rock (provided you can get by a noisy, muffled mix)

Thursday, August 24, 2006

melv - Black & White

Hear The Track Here

It's always nice to get a new melv track, even though sometimes its a bit of a struggle to get past sound problems. No matter though because - as melv has proved time and again - there's always a really intriguing song at the heart of it. Melv is, in fact, that rarest of artists; a songwriter who writes with his own voice - along the way paying some awesome respect to his musical predecessors and heroes. During the two years that I've known this artist he has delivered some absolute beauties, winning over a sizeable proportion of the people who took the time to listen to him. A songwriter in the old style; dramatic, complex music, exceptionally crafted vocals and a sound to fill any stadium worthy of the name.

Black & White is not so much a departure from what melv does best, but a reaffirmation of it. Black & White is, above everything, a superb song, the kind that melv delivers so well. Although it's billed as Electronica: Acid (?!?eh?!?) there's still enough of melv's style in this track to completely dispel any misgivings. Again though, I should caution you that is an extremely noisy track and very much in your face so watch your levels. Still, that's a pretty minor gripe compared to what you get for taking the trouble to get used to this track.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, why isn't this guy signed already?? For me, he's had a bit of a ho hum run of late, but Black & White is a welcome return to his usual class style and one I knew I was going to keep with a half a play. As noisy as the mix is, and the lack of definition on some instruments, what comes across still is the power and confidence of melvs performance and songwriting ability. Think of all your favourite artists stretching back over - say - thirty years: Bowie, Queen, Clash, U2, Radiohead and ALL of them resonate in the work of this very unique talent.

MUST HAVE (I am a melv fan!)

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Bigwheel - Little Son

Hear The Track Here

The track I have has an artist by the name of Davos in the ID tag, and although I know of a place in Switzerland by that name that's about it. Confused? Mmmmm. So, anyway, I reviewed Far Away (July 2006) from this Preston, UK based electronica artist and quite liked its chilled atmosphere and clever arrangement. It also helped that the technical side of it was up to scratch to, and some of the sounds employed were just spot on. So, looking forward was I, to a bit more of that big-wheelie stuff and Little Son didn't disappoint.

It features a fragment of a vocal snippet I know and it's driving me crazy trying to remember where it came from. I've used the damn thing myself (along with a couple of its breddren) so I was bound to be attracted to a tune that used it as a main motif. Mind you, there's lots more things to gawp and goggle out so lets be about it. As the track starts I am reminded of early '80's synth music but that crashes out of the picture once the main instrumental section kicks in. While it's true that the tune retains more than a touch of OMD about it, it's still amazing efficent at reaching your pleasure centres.

While I'm not normally drawn to music to navel gaze by, Little Son, is exactly the kind of track I would put on as I am winding down at the end of the day. Or even a lazy Sunday afternoon providing the *trouble kept the dustbins out of me way for a change. Fact is, this is a wonderfully poignant little track that reeks of hard work both technically and musically, and cooked just enough to permeate the whole sound picture. The kind of track I very much am glad electronica was invented for. You can keep all your four-to-the-floor, bleep, buzz, chink, whirr matey, hive me intelligent, compelling electronica any day.

Highly Recommended electronica.

One Kids Lunch - Self-Esteem Song (If Not In You)

Hear The Track Here

There's a couple of guys in Texas who obviously know how to keep this reviewer bright eyed and bushy tailed. Known collectively as One Kids Lunch, they burst onto me radar with the delightfully off the wall There's More (May 2006). There definitely was more too because Fly Me (June 2006) and the must have track so far Prayer For The Clueless (July 2006) showed that there is more to this than a bunch of loaves and fishes. Prayer is one of those tracks I can garantee you will never get tired of hearing. With it's very strong Beatle influence and caustic lyrical wit, it was always a shoo in for a Must Have rating and time has only made it more so.

But you are only as good as your last trick right? ;)

The reason these three tracks attracted my attention beyond the music and the musical references was the bright, clean production and mix that imbued each of them. The reason I am bringing this up is because Self Esteem Song is - to my ears - somewhat duller than the three I have already reviewed. You will this track further down the band's page too. All of which would suggest that this is an older track, and if that is the case seems kinda pointless to witter on about technical bollock-malarky. After all, can't be doing with that kind of thing, can we?

Musically, SE Song is slightly less powerful in both tone and character than any of the tracks I have reviewed. Maybe it would benefit from a re-working but I doubt it, it does sound like a peice that was very much of the moment. Nonetheless, that fine pop sensibility that is this bands prime asset informs all of it's three minutes plus ça change. I admit that at this stage I am a confirmed One Kids Lunch fan (that's f-a-n btw, not van as in lunchvan) and I dare say quite a few of you are too. In which case, this is like looking back at what they did before except less sharp, less knowing and - yes - less effective. No matter, it won't stop me recommending it because when OKL rock out, they do it so, so well.

Recommended Pop from a pop machine...

Black Circles - Afterchain

Hear The Track Here

Sean Boyle (aka Black Circles) has spent years and years pursuing me down dark alleys and frightening me to death with the work of his band, the illustrious and justly famed Dead Company. However, if I were being totally honest, I have to say I have a soft spot for the old geezer. As crazy and bizarre as his work with the Dead Company is, his solo work as Black Circles is the template for a lot of what he does with the band. I first met Sean about three or four years ago and he surprised the bejeebers out of my with his unusual vocal style.

Not a crooner, more a drawler...

He isn't, as he would rightly admit, the most accessible artist in the world, in fact he specialises in musical obtusity, in addition to a lyrical profundity that is astounding. It's that combination of lyrics and a freewheeling experimental style that has always been the hallmark of this musicians work. Which generally means you are either going to like his music or definitely, categorically not. Having said that, even I haven't liked everything he's put out but he's hit more often than he's missed. Afterchain, if this is a new name to you, is absolutely typical of the man. Music to grind your teeth to, and may well induce you to commit hari-kiri in front of your startled neighbours and loved ones.

The urge to self-destruct is again a hallmark of this artists very dark, sepulchural vison of the world, the usual doom and gloom pretty boys have nothing on this guy. The words came out with the sibilance of snakes, complete with beady little black eyes that heighten an already absurd sense of danger. If you are getting the impression that I don't like this track, you'd be wrong. As I've stated a million times, I personally think Black Circles is one of the most innovative and unique musicians around. Like him or loathe him, you can't deny that you haven't heard anything like this before: it's not everyone can manage the Voice From The Grave, let me tell ya. Black Circles is not always an easy listen (in fact never) but often and interesting and rewarding one - if you can stand the adrenaline rush that is...

Not for the meek and mild.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

DCiP - There (First verse and chorus)

Hear The Track Here

Hang around on here and the whole world will pass you by, sometimes more than once. Take DCiP for example. I first met this Malaysian singer/musician when I reviewed Delusional World way back in November 2003. Since then she has popped up every now and again through the next couple of years and not always with things I have been kind about. Problem is that Sharmin is dogged by lack of production materials and although she can write and sing (a lovely voice), the overall sound quality has always let her work down.

It's been almost two years since I last heard from her, so maybe things have taken a turn for the better. As you can tell by this tracks subtitle, it's gonna be a bit on the short side; about one minute and forty seven seconds to be exact. That's probably all to the good really because - I kid you not - the sound is truly, truly awful on this track and it will take a hardy listener indeed to want to plow through it, despite it's shortness. All a great shame though because - again - it shows that Sharmin retains the quality in her voice and songwriting that I first liked. However, do be prepared to work for it.

There is an incredible hum on the track as well as some extremely highend squeals, and it ends right after the chorus (as promised, even) so it leaves the listener with only the merest glimpse of something that may - or may not - be worthwhile. Believe me, trying to spot the track in amongst all this aural clutter is akin to trying to see through fog. Nonetheless, I hear some decent background vocals on here and that's something Sharmin is doing that is new. Oh but oh how I wish that someone would pick up on this girl and help her to sound as good as she should because she certainly has potential.

I sigh dispiritedly and move on...

Policy Overkill - Wonder

Hear The Track Here

I know I am going to be damned forever for saying this, but every time I come to write this artists name, I keep writing it as Project Overkill. I have heard about people having (makes quote sign) 'projects' but I didn't think it was catching. However, I'll try and restrain that urge, keep my sanity and soldier on. Electronica has a hard time from me, and nowhere more so than in it's Ambient subgenre stylee which has been known to infuriate me. Usually because people assume that a bunch of foot long spheres all strung together for Gawd knows how many minutes constitutes good music.

Bah fekkin' humbug, I snarl.

There is a lot of the experimental in the two tracks I have heard from this artist and it's that - I think - that keeps his butt out of the Gilmore Grinder. I found The Stomp Dance (June 2006) very listenable - for the genre. There was a skating on the edge of chaos feel to it that really appealed to the brute in me and all in all, it was an interesting slant on this much abused genre. Wonder adds more to that particular story and is - if anything - much stronger meat than Stomp Dance and will therefore take a bit of assimilation and work on the listeners part. I had to listen to it a good few times before I felt I had a good enough grip of the slippery little bast... thing...

'Weird ambient stuff heavily reliant on chorus effects' the artist chortles in the song comments and adds 'and weird buzzing in the background' all of which perfectly sums up this track. It also misses out in describing some of the neat sounds Policy Overkill has gathered together to make a wonder out of Wonder. To be sure the base of this track relies on ambient standards: loads of spheres, long sweeps and buzzes and general noise. Above it though hangs some very, very effective sounds, a recognisable piano track that drifts in an out of your ears like a summer breeze and - to top it all - it only runs to a grand total of almost four minutes. Wonder is an excellent track, especially for the genre it lives in and one I am going to be tempted to keep.

Recommended Electronic Ambient (and I don't write THAT very often!)

Greenie - This Is My Thing

Hear The Track Here

I first met rapper Matthew Greenberg (AKA Greenie) when I reviewed Positive Influence (May 2006) and found it very...well...positive really. So much so that I gave that track a Highly Recommended tag and there aren't that many decent hiphop tracks I'd do that for. That's partly to do with the very professional sound that Greenie tends to lay down, partly to do with his vocal delivery and wholly to do with the kind of hip hop this MP3 Unsigned artist pumps out. Let's face it, there are wide swathes of the hiphop scene that I'd go blocks to avoid, but not Greenie's kind.

The first group that made me see that something other than rap was surfacing in the urban music scene of the late 1980's, early 1990's was the emergence of De La Soul. One of my all time favourite bands, the took the basic beats to new heights, mixing all kinds of sounds into their music. This is the same area of hip hop that Greenie goes for and why I rate him so highly. So, it's obvious I am going to be biased, but nonetheless I can spot something that doesn't work and I'm damned if I could find very much wrong with this track, technically or otherwise.

Hiphop, in my opinion, gets a lot of bad press mostly to do with the machismo associated with it (or dumbo thought depending on where you stand on the issue), but there are artists and music that make a substantial impact in - or out - of the genre. It has to be said that Greenie is fond of the fornicating word so rest assured that this track carries the usual Parental Advisory, but there again it IS an adult track made for adult listening. Greenie isn't one of the battlers, shuckers and jivers that normally inhabit the scene, he's a solid, thinking artist who writes what he sees and turns it into some damn fine hiphop and long may he do so. So, remembering my bias...

Highly Recommended Hiphop.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Parasol - Still A Bit of Everything Here

Hear The Track Here

Parasol is, in his own words, 'some kid strumming the guitar not really caring if anyone listens or not'. Probably the best attitude to adopt when faced with the online music scene. I think a great many of us musicians would put their hands up and say that we think the same. However. But. Late at night, in our private places, it IS wonderful to get a bit of recognition in the form of a play, a download, or in that rarest of payoffs: reviews and/or comments. I don't know about other musicians but to get a comment or email from someone who has heard and liked my music keeps me buzzing for days - and I think the same is true for most of us.

Parasol, being the kid in question is Canadian and that's yer lot for biographical information. He's also, I suspect, new to Soundclick and new to me so what does he bring to the table that would catch our vulture-like gaze? OK, let me 'fess up. I've heard this track innumerable times and I'm still trying to decide what I actually feel about it. The genre doesn't help any (acoustic folk) and it's not always a genre that finds favour with many people. There are a couple of things that are extremely enjoyable about this track - at least for me and that is what ultimately saves it.

Musically, it's very sparse, a mere strum every once in a while and thats pretty much it, so obviously it falls to the voice and/or lyric to fully support a track that last four minutes and change. Hyperventilating yet? You betcha. So what is it about this essentially one man, home recorded track sit so well with me? Well both the vocal style (a laconic, incredibly tired Bob Dylan) and the lyrical style suit this performance and although its definitely going to be an acquired taste, it is - suprise, surprise - a decent song worthy of a listen. One man, one guitar and voice.

Listen, or not, you decide.

Smalllife - Need To Buy A Woman

Hear The Track Here

Although I'd encountered Jaymz Lee Shaw before, the first time I came across his Smalllife band was with All The Things You Said (July 2006) and - being the rock animal I am - I lapped it up. In that review I likened them to an early Aerosmith, and that is a compliment indeed. Almost everything in that track screamed rock - if looked at another way - mosh pit mayhem!!. The same is true of Need To Buy A Woman showing that Smalllife have a marked penchant for the genre. Smalllife call it melodic rock but to my ears it has all the hallmarks of classic rock, red in tooth and claw. One of the standouts of All The Things You Said was the lead vocal, and the same power and versatility of that voice is brought to bear on Need to Buy A Woman.

Which, btw, is top of my fantasy shopping list :D

It's the vocal that is the most outstanding feature of this track too, dominating the proceedings with an authority and power that provides a great many fekk me (as in fuuuuuccckkkk meeeee) moments for aspiring rock vocalists. The very best rock needs a focal point and all the best bands have that, as indeed does Smalllife. Think of any great rock vocalist and you will find a bit of that magic in either of the band's tracks I have heard so far. Commercial? Absolutely, and I defy you to take a quick listen and not agree with me. In rock music, only one thing counts; the ability to make jaws drop. This track, as a consequence, will flip your head right off your shoulders...

leaving your ears conveniently in place so you can marvel and gawp.

All of the above makes light, of course, of the engine powering this fantastical beast, the music and the production thereof. It took me forever to get past the voice enough so I could suss out what was actually going on musically, and again the only reference I can can find is classic rock: big drums, walking basslines and crunchy, chordy guitars. No matter how hard I tried to find some fault in this track, I couldn't find anything at all I would want done in any other way. I gave their last track a Must Have rating and I just know I'm going to get me arm bent again because of the subject matter this track deals with but hey, I'm here for the music. Impressed? Not many, Bennny.

Vocal of the year, unquestionably, and a blistering MUST HAVE track.

Monkeyswirl - Late In The Evening

Hear The Track Here

I almost PML when I saw the comment for this track. 'Two parts insomnia and one part acoustic' it proudly proclaims and I'd say the description is probably true of all sorts of music. Forget the drug abuse, it's all about the sleep deprivation! Monkeyswirl is a new name to me and, I suspect, Soundclick too judging by his message board. Kevin Legault (aka Monkeyswirl) is another in a long, long line of rock influenced Canadian musicians of which there seem to be hundreds of thousands. When someone comes to write an early history of the MP3 scene what will come as a surprise is the way Canadian musicians have carved their own particular niche in it. Just on Soundclick alone there's Cam, Cameron Pierce, Soul Dust to mention just a few of the 19,000+ Canadians that live on this site.

Please note that I did not use the words 'plague' or 'infestation' anywhere. :D

I have found a great many decent (and some great) acoustic musicians, especially the kind that add vocals and harmonies to their tracks, and Monkeyswirl is a welcome addition to that growing crowd. Although the production on Late In The Evening has a very boomy reverb sound, everything still comes through clear enough, especially the lead vocals and the acoustic guitar which has just the right amount of EQ to really cut. In addition, the drums IMHO were too wooly and undefined so they tended to get lost in the track.

Musically, however, this track is mighty fine, as no Canadian worth their salt might say. I do admit to a huge bias towards this genre having long been a fan of Starting Over, Cameron Peirce et al, not to mention their more commercial forebearers of acoustic vocal rock. There is definite space in this track, a wide open feel in musical feel if not quite in sound, and that never fails to please someone like me. There is a time when you need a punchy production and times when you need to lay back, and this is one laid back moment right here. Certainly makes me want to go and listen to some more, and that can't be a bad thing.

Class acoustic rock.

Friday, August 18, 2006

John & Lucie Collins - Sometimes

Hear The Track Here

I think John and Lucie's description of their music is most apt, that they make 'adult contemporary, emotionally complex ballads'. All of which is undeniably true. Music of sophistication and much charm even for a hard hearted swine like yours truly, as you well know I have a terrible time with ballads, the weepier the worser (Ed: eh?). Like most perfectionists, and John Collins is definitely that, there are a couple of versions of this floating about, the original and a version featuring Jim Miller (of Jim-n-Lisa) on sax and anything that musical slu... er genius gets into is alright by me. However, the version I give you a link for above is the original because I felt that the working version still had rough edges that will no doubt be worked out in due course. Besides that, the music is merely backdrop to the parts of John and Lucie's work that really interest me: Lucie's lucious vocals and their ability to turn in a cracking song every time.

From the very first showtune tinged A Voice In The Night, I have been a fan of this duo's work and I am absolutely repulsed by most music in this field. It's what John and Lucie bring to this genre that makes their work interesting and good to listen to. There's a solid professionalism in their music and production that fits the often dramatic scale of their work. Again, the reason I pick the original version to talk about is because it's a terrific SONG (verse, verse, chorus, vers, chorus) that tweaks and teases at your emotions beautifully. I am the first to admit that I am a philistine in these matters, hating both ballads AND showtunes, but tracks like Sometimes manage to get through the hardest of hearts. Musically, the kind of track you may well hear played quietly in a piano bar, it gets a tremendous kick up the butt once Lucie's vocal cuts in, her power to command attention electric.

For my money, there are a couple of places in this difficult track (to perform vocally) that Lucie just doesn't pull it off with the confidence or reach the music/song deserves and maybe that will also be fixed in a final mix. This is most noticeable on the words 'dream it away' but it does occur elsewhere too. These are minor niggles though because - as usual - it's the emotion and power of the song itself that will score over production bits and bobs and in that department, Sometimes fairly crackles with tension. A big, sad power ballad that truly deserves the term. As I said back there somewhere (probably a million times) this isn't normally music that I would like, but Sometimes has won me over big time because it carries the one thing I most crave from a listening experience - the power to touch and move me. As I listened to Lucie's performance I was reminded time and again of the late and much missed Mary Gottschalk, who also specialised in material of this kind and I mean that as a sincere compliment to both vocalists. Although I'll wait for the final mix of this track, I WILL be keeping some version of this and that's for sure.

Highly Recommended, three hankie power ballad.

Yunus Diskaya - Ho Ho Þývano

Hear The Track Here

'Do you review Turkish music' Yunus asked in the signup thread, to which I can only reply that music has no nationality to me. Music transcends all those boundaries, and being a dedicated (nay crazed) believer in the whole World music ethos, I'd be more than happy to review music coming from just about anywhere. Although I come from a fairly straightforward rock background, over the past 12 years I have moved steadily into the world music field and feel comfortable in it. I'd rather be listening to ethnic/multi-ethnic music anyday than any amount of rock, electronica or other western music field. I have no idea what 'Ho Ho Þývano' means but I'm pretty certain its got nothing to do with that other well known ho-ho'er Santa Claus. With that garish image shimmering before your eyes, let's hear what Yunus has to offer...

No matter what sort of musical image the title or the subject matter (turkish music) may conjure up, even the most cursory listen will show that this track is more rock than anything else. What will also become apparent is that this is almost a live recording, with all it's attendant sound problems (washy reverb, a distinct lack of clarity on the vocals), but it packs a punch for all that. It's rhythmically that I see the influence of Yunus' country and his own musical roots, and of course the violin sound which I can't remember the name of and I'm hoping Yunus will enlighten me. Despite it's western leanings, I did enjoy the freshness and in-your-face production of this track, particulary the ho ho choruses and overall found myself nodding agreeably after just a couple of plays.

Again, though, Soundclick is a big, big place with lots of musicians clamouring for attention, a great many delivering material that is light years away from the 'demo' sound this track suffers from. Don't get me wrong here, the production IS decent and everything is clear enough but with the reverb wash and volume levels of instruments there is a tendency for the track to sound boomy. What's on it musically I have no problem with whatsoever, and the more I played it, the more it confirmed that initial reaction. Admittedly you would need to appreciate the rhythmic subtleties that informs the Turkish musical tradition because otherwise it will seem like a pale imitation of western music, which it has borrowed from. Indeed, the vocal delivery and style is eminently Turkish in style and tone, displaying the scatalogical talent I most admire from the region. I'd definitely be interested in hearing more from this artist on the strength of the music alone.

Interesting certainly, and worthy of a listen or two.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Lord Skye - Spring: Sunny Meadow

Hear The Track Here

Know what gives me nightmares? Yes, I know the list might stretch out into days but lets talk about the musical variety, cos there's only really one of them. Games Soundtrack is a garanteed cert to both raise my blood pressure and cause me to babble incessantly as you are now witnessing. Therefore, it should follow that Lord Skye belongs in that category. Having spent the last three years wrestling with tracks from this genre, the terror of facing another one never really abates. So why is this? Usually I'd have to say it was the tendency of the genre towards the overblown and pretentious and/or the sound of amateur musicians pretending that they have a 1,000th of the skills of John Williams, Danny Elfman and all... As if.

Meaning there is probably an Everest of predjudice for Lord Skye to climb.

Not only does the guy have to make the music, now he has to fekkin please people with it too. Imagine, he writes in this tracks comments, 'you're in a meadow, sun is shining, a gentle breeze ruffles your hair' and I tried that method but an acoustic guitar and a full band with piano kept interfering with that vision so I decided to listen to the music instead. And very nice it is too, in a sound track kind of way, and if that sounds like being damned with faint praise, it isn't meant to be. I actually enjoyed the musical content of this track a lot, Lord Skye has a few tricks up his sleeves that will raise some eyebrows.

And highbrows come to that...

Spring Sunny Meadow borders on the classical in arrangement and style and this is probably where the track scores most with me because - to be honest - I found some of the sounds used a bit cringeworthy. I think that a lot of this antipathy has to do with the 'factory' sound of them which is particularly evident with the brass samples. More XG that Xtc if you see what I mean. Still, despite that small(ish) downside, Spring Sunny Meadow is a tidy enough - and in some ways - clever enough production to be worthy of a listen or two. Especially if classical arrangements interest you. It's certainly an interesting introduction to this artist because - had the sounds been more precise - I may have enjoyed this more than I actually did.

Carol Sue Kirkpatrick - Save Myself

Hear The Track Here

Note to self: I must not get confused between Kirkpatrick (which is a fine old Scots/Irish name) and Fitzpatrick which is Norman, and as we Brits know they were not nice. Not nice at all, especially if you happened to be a king and were fond of your eyes. Now, if that little lot hasn't served to sow an inordinate amount of confusion in your mind, I am not the mind f*** I once was. I made this simple mistake when I reviewed Carol's excellent, sexy voiced I Am Invisible (July 2006) wherein I found myself loving her honeyed vocals but not so sure about the music underlying it. There was nothing wrong musically, just a bit pedestrian in my exceedingly tiny opinion.

I said at the time that I would have to hear a wider scope of work than this before I could get me teeth into her (that's figuratively, not biblically). Like most of us, Wichita KS based Carol Sue uses a Tascam 4 track and pretty much plays everything else as well so on that basis alone, I think she deserves a listen. While it is true that using this setup will give you an undeniable 'demo' sound, Carol manages to get past that, but only just. However, once you soak in her vocals, all that will disappear as if by magic. She has one of those voices you just KNOW would scrub up beautifully in a more professional production environment...

Aahh, in a perfect world eh?

The same quality that appealed to me in I Am Invisible are also part of Save Myself except, IMHO, this is by far the better song. Some guitar and drums were added by another Soundclick artist, 2Rain and although that work is a little low in the mix, the addition is worthwhile. Obviously I could write reams about what COULD be done with this track, given the right production but that seems pointless. Instead lets talk about what a very good song it is, and how Carol Sue's voice is still definitely the high point (at least for this reviewer) although this time the song came up to scratch too. On this outing she sounds a lot like a lighter Maria Daines, and as you know, that just can't be a bad thing.

Nice mellow pop rock. Recommended with your bedtime cocoa.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

The Bob Lazar Story - ThreeFourFaster

Hear The Track Here

When I saw the Progessive Rock tag attached to this New Zealand artist I almost pooped me pants, and as you know this is not a wise thing to do outside of extreme infancy. As many of you also know, much to your eyeballs cost, I don't really like prog rock either as a musical form or as a fashion statement. I mean, heavy military greatcoats and big mullets, where is that at? Not to mention the genre's dance; a frantic skittering of air-guitar-keys-whatever all conducted with a serious po face that just screams 'kick my head in'. As good as some of the premier prog rock bands were, I saw it all the first time round. It's like chocolate, if I have any more of that I'm going to vomit.

OK, so that's all the toilet issues over then.... (Ed: we can but hope)

I needn't have worried in this case because Double Turn Double Safe (July 2006) proved to be a truly worthwhile listening experience. A sort of prog rock with a country twist if you can believe that. So, I had great hopes for this second effort from Matt Deacon (AKA The Bob Lazar Story). ThreeFourFaster really does deserve the prog rock tag though and I would have probably hated it on sight except that again this artist musical style keep me going. Although I may not like the genre, I can certainly appreciate a decent musician, especially one who can see the need for a nice snatch of theremin. Theremin snatches? Uh oh, mybe I should rephrase that...

Nahhh, fekk it.

Even if, like me, you are a confirmed prog rock free zone there will be enough in ThreeFourFaster to keep you amused for it's two plus minutes of life. I also hazard a guess and say that gen-u-wine prog rock fans would only bitch and moan about the length of it, not the performance. After all, most prog rock tracks last for days innit? Maybe, in his wilder moments, Matt knows this and has the other eighteen parts of this stashed away for further delectation. Fair enough (or furry muff, depending on your accent) because even a prog rock philistine like me can enjoy the musicianship if not the overall effect. What the genre always lacked for me was emotion and surprisingly enough, The Bob Lazar Story DO manage that trick.

Prog rock that even appeals to me (and THAT is rare, rare, rare).

Eric Congdon - Starfall

Hear The Track Here

This is my third time round with Eric Congdon, a country artist I met over at MP3 Unsigned at the end of last year. Both of those tracks (Crawling Back and Good Ol' Days) got a Highly Recommended from me and not just because I am partial to a bit of country. Nope it's also about professionalism in all aspects of your work and Eric Congdon delivers on them goods too. Although I have had problems with final mixes before (notably on Crawling Back) what comes out the speakers is fine by almost anyone's standards.

Eric has a neat habit of picking good songs too, as my ratings also confirmed, because it was the songs wot done it. As good as a musician is, and as good as the production is it means nothing unless it underpins a good (nay great) song. It would probably help if you had an interest in country in general or acoustic guitar music in particilar, but a good song - I find - can often cross genre prejudice. Out of the three tracks I think I prefer Starfall because it gives me the things I particularly like about this style. Tremendous vocals, lots of jangly guitars and if that weren't enough, a nice dollop of slide to top it all off.

I've spent a good bit of time with this track now and I really appreciate it the more I hear it. It's certainly a lot more of a commercial sound than anything I have heard from this artist as yet, and that can never be a bad thing. Again there are slight issues I could take about about post-production but that really is splitting musical hairs, so I'll desist. Ultimately, holds its head up proudly and well it should because it's certainly given me a few nice moments so far and I'll be hanging on to it. Musically, it's a little Maggie May (Rod's version) but vocally it's v-e-r-y West Coast and a wonderful singalong harmony - all the things that make life extra sweet. Yummy, and a shoo-in for me old mate Mike Kohlgraf's SNR show and SC Stations methinks.

Highly Recommended (don't be put off by the country tag!)

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Rooney Tunes - Sally

Hear The Track Here

a-ba a-ba a-ba that's all folks!!! Ooops, sorry, wrong name ;) Not, as you might imagine, the Japanese versions of Bugs, Daffy, Yosemite Sam and all their mates, just a guy called Rooney who happens to make tunes. See? Easy when you know how. A completely new Soundclick name to me from the US whose music is - so I am told - 'a delicious and refreshing fusion of Jazz, Rock and Pop'. So, a little bit of everything eh? As you know I am partial to musical smorgasbords, so Michael Rooney (AKA Rooney Tunes) may well become one of my favourite cartoo... er.... musicians.

Hey, stranger things have happened.

It also helps that RT's genre is Jazz, in all its flavours and if gathering such fans as Rey Varela, Jim Miller and Mike Kohlgraf within that short space of time should give you a clue to what this is all about. Call it class, or call it old fart music, or call it the smoothest thing this side of velvet there is absolutely no denying that Mickey Rooney is a top class multi-instrumentalist, a terrifically talented songwriter and a professional down to his fingertips. Although it's for certain that Sally will not appeal to a large section of the Soundclick audience (especially those whose lives revolve around riches and bitches) there is no denying that you don't get that many tracks on here that sound this good.

The very first thing that struck me about Sally was the production, which is absolutely top notch. As Michael mentions on his webpage that either he plays all the instruments or he has session players on it. Speaking of which, that sax (one of the highlights of the track) sounds awfully familiar and if I didn't know any better I could swear I know the sax concerned. Either that or it's the drugs kicking in. On top of everything else Sally is just a great song, delivered in impeccable fashion that will please anyone who likes their music with a certain level of sophistication. A class act, that's for sure.

Most Highly Recommended.

Pagoda - Dance

Hear The Track Here

Pagoda is a South African artist I met a few years ago when he and I hung out on a Legoland (Ed: I think he means Ejay) website. He's always been a bit of a dance merchant, so here's a track just to prove that point. Now, as you are all painfully aware, I'm not overfond of this particular genre. Too much four to the floor for my liking, although I have heard and liked a great many tracks that have dance as a starting point. In my world, almost anyone can cobble a reasonable sounding dance track. As an example, I've just taught my two boys how to use a program that does exactly that (and it isn't Ejay). Pagoda reappeared lately over at MP3 Unsigned and I reviewed his Ripple Effect (February 2006) in which I wasn't at all complimentary about the track.

So far, so normal...

Even though I don't particularly like the genre, I do know what makes it work, and IMHO it isn't a kick drum pounding the same old tired bollocks into your face. The best kind of dance music is the kind that challenges your heart and mind, as well as your feet. That's usually accomplished by nifty arrangements, performance idiosyncracies and - the secret ingredient - subtlety. Establishing a rhythm is the name of the game and it isn't one that starts boom boom boom boom, at least not the kind of rhythm that would interest me - or my feet for that matter. The reason I am banging on so mercilessly about this is because this track is replete with the genre's worst traits, and I'm quite willing to admit that may have to do with me being a crusty old fart, but the music for this track has a definite 'been there, done that' feel about it.

Shame really because it's not a bad song. A few years ago on Usenet, I got involved in a remix project for an artist who had passed away before finishing the tracks. The genre was gabba, another genre whose insistence on a four to the floor doesn't do it any favours. This track has many of the qualities that endeared me to the gabba remix, a good, straightforward dance lyric and a more than decent electronica backtrack. Where it falls down is in the department that matters most. There is a drum track here but it mostly overshadowed by a kick that doesn't so much propel as automate. Again, I say honestly, I may well be wrong about this and afficiandos of the genre will love this to bits, but I won't be holding my breath about that. Sort the drum track out, get some of that African rhythm in there and you may well be talking.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Mike-K/Michael Silvestri - Long Time Waiting

Hear The Track Here

Here's a guy who is a regular visitor to these reviews, although not usually FOR a review. It's a fact that I spend a lot of time with the guy and his musical taste, so it's a given that I will mention him from time to time. For a few years now, Mike and I have pursued a parallel course in the way we promote (and hopefully) motivate other musicians around us, and I'm absolutely certain neither of us could envisage the effect such altruistic behaviour would have one the reason we both came here in the first place: our music. At this stage of the game I think it is safe to assume that I am probably better known as a reviewer these days than a practising musician. It's also safe to assume that when most people think of Mike it's usually in connection with SC's forums, his top ranked Flavour Of The Genres station and - of course - his LIVE radio shows over at Songplanet.

Completely missing the point. He's a musician damnit!! And here's his music!!!

I reviewed the original Long Time Waiting in March 2004, and found it definitely worth a listen especially if acoustic guitar instrumentals were your type of thing. I commented at the time mostly on the music and not on the reasoning behind it, so let's put that right now. Essentially Mike wrote the track when he met his father again after many years, and it shows in the musical style and emotion of the peice. A slow, jazzy peice, a little too easy listening for my particular taste, but it didn't stop my enjoyment of it. This new version, in collaboration with classical guitarist Michael Silvestri puts the track in a brand new light.

One of the joys of the original was in its production values and this version betters that. Moreoevr it takes a slow, jazzy track and turns it into a bright, breezy, acoustic guitar drenched world music number. A track, I might add, that is right up my particular street. If you know my music you will know that have dabbled more than once or twice in the instruments and musical structures of the Iberian peninsula (or Spain if you want to be particular), and in that respect my hat is off to both of them. This is a lovely peice that has some really tasty guitar playing of a very high standard, backed by a more than adequate arrangement and a knockout mix with just the right amount of punch. An excellent track by any standards.

MUST HAVE (remembering, of course, my genre bias)

AndyF/Ditheramb - Darkest Hour Gone Classical

Hear The Track Here

Currently number one in MP3 Unsigned's Official chart, DHGC is a collaboration from two artists I have come to know very well, one for a very long time and one I've met within the last year. I first met AndyF a million years ago on another site when I reviewed his first track Di Da Mix (October 2003) and liked it. That hasn't always been the case, not because Andy isn't a good musician, more like the genres he chooses to work in which are not really my speed. Andy tends more to to middle of the road as far as music goes preferring semi-classical, easy listening or film soundtracks as his main base of operations. Like everybody else, my eyes must have bugged right out when I first saw this effort being touted around.

Ditheramb and AndyF? Doesn't seem possible, does it?

I reviewed the original Darkest Hour (July 2006), and despite it's length (8:10) liked it immensely and Andy has basically taken the first section as his starting point. Don't be expecting the usual Ditheramb sturm and drang with the AndyF version because it wouldn't suit. Where Ditheramb's version is dark, edgy and dense, AndyF's classical version is full of air, light and a well developed sense of impending doom. Pretty much what you would expect given the genre workover and classical instrumentation, but some of the sharpness and fullness of sounds seemed to be missing, and I felt that lessened the tracks impact.

For my money, this isn't so much a reworking of the original so much as an expansion of the original idea into an entirely different field . It is, in fact, more an AndyF track than Ditheramb. It doesn't cut much off the originals time either, on this version you get a full seven minutes that covers all the bases of the original but in a very fresh, lighter than air way that I found invigorating. I have to say that - as Andy well knows - I am not very well versed in this area and I found the Ditheramb connection difficult to maintain. Nonetheless, it's an original and fresh take and one that is gonna surprise more than a few people.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Fluidity - 22/07/06 - The Night That Changed Nothing

Hear The Track Here

A comment I have heard more than once or twice is that Songplanet is rock biased, and to be honest I do see some truth in that statement, which is why I recommended that John Paul Carroll (AKA Fluidity) get his butt over there as well as Soundclick. Seems like its paid off because I see that the plays are beginning to mount up for him, and rightly so. I have often spoken about my taste for a particular strain of rock, that emanating from Australia, New Zealand and most other upside down places. Antipodean rock has a highly distinctive sound and one I can recognise immediately. There's less extreme about it, I guess. It's a bit more crunchier than other forms AND - more tellingly - it delivers some amazing rock songs.

If there is one thing that can be said about Fluidity's output is that the man does know how to write a good choon. Hence the string of recommendeds that have been sent out in his direction from this reviewer. I like my rock to be pointed and have a point, if you catch my drift and this artist has managed that trick better than most. Along the way, making a fairly big impression as seen by the activity over on Songplanet and of course right here on Soundclick. However, in my world as you well know, you are only as good as your last track so let's see whats new...

Although I think this track delivers its message extremely well musically - as always with this artist, it seems - I do admit to a certain apathy to it. Along with that I suppose goes a slight sense of disappointment but that is only because I have so many really killer tracks from this artist. Shot himself in the foot, as it were. So, what we are talking about here is the difference between outstanding tracks and what I like to refer to as album filler. There is absolutely nothing whatsoever wrong with this track, and a great deal that is right. It just doesn't strike me with the same impact as Lucid, Prediction=Presumption and This Time, and that's only because they were such wicked tracks. If you are just coming fresh to all this, this track will knock your socks off (if you like rock).

Recommended rock

V Dogg - Preliminary Attack

Hear The Track Here

OK hands up how many of you have done this, and I'll bet I see a veritable forest of hands. Internet lesson #3654 coming up folks... Sooner or later, ALL of us think 'wtf am I doing this for?' and in some extreme cases decide to take appropriate action. Some people leave the sites that have been at home in, some folks give up music altogether and some (like me) throw their toys out of the pram in despair and anger and soldier on regardless. I went to the school of Fugem Hall (motto: if you can't take a joke, don't be one) and learnt that one one thing works here. The depth of your love of music. See I often see people do what V Dogg has just done (a 2 month retirement) and I have a smile to myself. I know damn well the man will be back again in a couple of shakes because this ain't really as simple as it appears. Music is something you MUST do, and that's the end of it. So might as well acknowledge that fact and move with it my brother, make the music you now know you must.

Speaking of which, I haven't always seen eye to eye with the Dogg on his musical style, and that isn't because I don't like the hip hop/rap genre - I do. Mind you, I got to give the guy credit for trying and even, over the last few tracks, delivering some nice stuff. I gave his Furry Crew's Ride With The... (June 2006) a Highly Recommended mostly on the strength of the Dogg's woofin' n' wailin'. I think the same could be said of this new track too, even though I've only heard it a few times as yet.

There's an increasing maturity in V Dogg's delivery and his vocal confidence has come on like gangbusters so quite why he felt moved to retire completely escapes me. Just when you are beginning to hit a creative peak is definitely not the moment to give it up. Good job then that my first thought about his retirement ('he'll be back') proved correct because Preliminary Attack is a hearty slice of Dogg food that shows the new, improved recipe he is following. Damn, why am I beginning to write this as if it were an advert for Pedigree Chum? Back to the music. Although I ain't exactly convinced about some of the instrumentation on this track, the way it is used is right on the money. As indeed, is the man himself.

Excellent rap, catchy hip hop. What more could you want? Recommended.

Friday, August 11, 2006

K-Gi - Fans Against Doping

Hear The Track Here

S'funny, most fans I know just LOVE getting off their tits on some kind of dope. Doping, in fact, is a necessity of life. Still, this doping is of an entirely different calibre altogether. Written as a song about the use of banned drugs in sport (not exactly a flavour of the month lately) it was apparently genrated by an online discussion, then the formation of a website ( which led to this collaborative song from Anja Hoffmann and K-Gi. K-Gi is a new (and highly effective) name to me from Soundclick and he works in the same genre as me, and that immediately perked me ears up, although the Pop label on this song soon stopped that hanky panky.

As if.

I've come across some highly original vocal slants in my time studying the online music scene. One of my all time favourites (although there are those who would argue with me) is one Slippy T to whom K-Gi bears a remarkable resemblence vocally. The chief argument about this vocal style (at least that I've heard) is that it's too high pitched and whiny - not my words btw. I do see some merit in this accusation but not much, especially when you lay that against a profound sense of musical placement and an ability to draw you into a textually complex, dense track. Not an easy trick, and my first response to this track was that I was hearing something that 10cc would have been happy to have written.

As good as the productions values are (as in stunning, knock-your-ears off sound and crystalline mix), for me it was slightly too toppy for my liking. Still that very small change indeed and something easily remedied with a fiddle with your own sound systems EQ. Personally, sports means nothing much to me, but music is my drug of choice and K-Gi has just assumed a place of importance in it. I'm always on the lookout for the sounds of excellence the online scene seems to specialise in, and there is no doubt in my mind that K-Gi is going to become a lot more well known. Professionalism, a sound to die for, a very catchy vocal arrangement and a blindingly good performance makes this one of the best introduction tracks I've heard this year....and you know what that means.

Highly Recommended pop with an edge of 10cc

Nuff X - Open Your Eyes and See Me Screaming

Hear The Track Here

After a bit of a rocky start, I've begun to appreciate this Soundclick electronica artist more and more. Mind you, that rocky start was down to the software Nuff X used at the time and since then he's moved on to much bigger things. Like a lot of the better (read interesting) electronica artists around right now, Nuff X likes to incorporate all kinds of oddd sounds over an electronic bed that has Chemical and Prodigy all over it. Not that I am saying this artists sound like CB or those other weird ones ;) , Nuff has been around long enough now to know that aping something is not good enough, if it isn't your own voice coming out of there, what is the point of all this?

Other than a swift mindwank of course. Eh?

When I see a track advertised as 'Glitch Hop, very dark and a little twisted' my first would be yummy, because I am getting fonder and fonder of a nice disjoint. Open Your Eyes lives up to its hype in that department, the vocals in particular are awesome and worked extremely well into the track. It's pretty much standard electronica sounds happening underneath this vocal confetti, but you won't have heard it ever done quite like this. Top marks to to Nuff for not only sticking with it, but also carving out what is becoming highly evident as an individual style in his music. Believe me when I say that there aren't many electronica artists doing that.

Almost everything in the garden would be lovely except, unfortunately, the overall sound leaves a lot to be desired. There is so much going on in this track that the final mix and production really do need to be razor sharp for the tracks myriad of subtleties to get through. This, in fact, is a track that screams out for Chemical Brothers production values; a wide open, fire-breathing and attention grabbing. Given that, this track would snap heads all over town. As it is - as you'll see by my rating - this is still a perfectly good track and some would definitely say excellent, and on performance and arrangement I think I would tend to agree with them. The final sound though, for me, does have it's problems (a bit wooly, a bit of extraneous hiss and a bit flat). Nonetheless, it's still a very handy slice of IDM cut up stylee...

Excellent, original (ay caramaba, now there's a fekkin thing!) electronica and Highly Recommended.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Jim-n-Lisa - Missing Douglas

Hear The Track Here

Despite my devil-may-care demeanour, I'm quite a serious guy, especially about my reviews. So it should be fairly obvious that at the years end, when I start totting up and compiling what have become known as the Stevies, my decision on - say - Artist Of The Year would be thought about long and hard. In the three years I have been doling out these dubious rewards, I have had three AOTY: Nad Sylvan, Jim-n-Lisa and Maria Daines and Paul Killington in that order. All three of them have become extremely well known, and stupidly popular, which I must admit is extremely heartening. None more so than 2004's winner, Jim and Lisa Miller AKA Jim-n-Lisa.

Running alongside their excellent Pond Surfers collaboration with Alderman, Jim-n-Lisa have definitely kept the pot boiling with some terrific tracks in their own right. Lovely Walkers (June 2006), Jihad (April 2006) this year and God knows how many good tracks last year. So what do they bring that is so special? Dense weaves of sound, rock solid production and an often dark edge to their music that has almost become their trademark. Multi-instrumentalist Jim should be singled out here because the music is chiefly down to him, and shows a skill and maturity of vision few others achieve. Missing Douglas is an eulogy for the late, lamented Douglas Adams, author of the Hitchhikers Guide to the Universe, so you'd expect it to be a bit off the wall, wouldn't you?

If you don't know, the answer to that is 42.

'He must be, floating in the air, exactly the same way bricks don't..' Jim intones in the first few bars, and things get weirder from there on in. There's a difference between weird for weirdness sake and weird to make a point, and J-n-L use the latter method. Musically too, this is gonna be a little difficult for people used to treading a straightforward path. Even I was concerned that the track may well disappear up its own butt before it reached the end, especially when 'The tempo of this song is 42, it had to be for you Douglas' is the theme. I've known Jim personally for some time, and this is the first time I've known him to be fluent in alien poetry no matter how excerable it is. As it 'appens, it isn't bad poetry, because it certainly had me PML - as indeed did the whole tenor and tone of this remarkable peice of music. A truly, truly touching love note from - I guess - one madman to another.

Different. Funny. Touching. Completely tonto (Ed: I think he means insane) and a MUST HAVE.

(but you knew that already)

2Charlie - Survive At All Costs

Hear The Track Here

2Charlie (mic, mic :D ) are a new name to me and, presumably, MP3 Unsigned too. Nonetheless, anyone who is billed as hard rock/metal are going to get a nice reception from me, especially since I've started this months reviews in such rock style. As I've explained recently, I love rock, even though I don't play it much myself these days. It was my first musical love and I guess it will probably last me until the day I meet Jimi in that guitarists heaven I dream of often. Coming from the Queens/Long Island area of NYC doesn't hinder their cause mehc either, because having worked extensively in that area, I know for a fact it has damn fine rock tradition.

With a build up like that, you'd think the band would be hard pressed to disappoint me right?

It has to be said that for international listeners, this will sound very American in sound and arrangement, more Manson than Priest if you get my drift. OK if you like the style, a bit bombastic if you don't. As I've already stated I do like this strain, although not - I admit - as much as yer classic rock stylee. Technically, this is a very passable effort, even though it is a distinctly un-edgy mix. I would have preferred for the sound to cut a little more (ie a tad more high end) and for the drums to be more defined. In particular, the snare on this sounds distinctly flabby, with more than a hint of the biscuit tin about it. I'm not talking about what's actually happening with the snare, the playing and performance definitely rocks. Just the sound itself. Once the track really gets going (it truly deserves the term 'heavy') that same snare disappears into the undergrowth.

I would have loved to have had the lyrics around while reviewing this, I think it would have made for a better experience but I think after the n dozen plays I gave it I've pretty much got the gist of it. Overall, despite my little niggles above, Survive At All Costs is a worthy introduction to this band and would surely please any HM headbanger worthy of the name. The bass runs are particularly effective, pumping the track like a thing demented. Phil Kinkel (vocals/bass guitar), Dennis Rohrer (rhythm guitars), Joe (Axeshredder) Cippola (lead guitars) and Richie Spicer (drums) AKA 2Charlie are well worthy of your attention ESPECIALLY if you like having your head kicked in on a regular basis by a decent heavy rock outfit. Me, I certainly be looking into this band a lot more...

Recommended, pumping heavy rock.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Fear 2 Stop - Slay Ride

Hear The Track Here

One of THE major surprises this year has been the string of Fear 2 Stop tracks that have found favour with me. Considering that almost every month over the past couple of years I have wrestled with the 800lb gorilla that is their music, and usually lost badly. To get the kind of result over the last three or so tracks has been one of my personal highpoints of this year and something that came right out of left field - in more ways than one. Being extremely experimental, of course, was one of the major drawbacks for me in previous material but these later tracks are even - dare I say it - almost commercial.

Aye. Good grief indeed.

Although a new track, hence the meatiness of the sounds, Slay Ride (billed as 'Santa on Ecstasy') is very much a return to the chaotic, convoluted pastures they have made their own. Featuring the vaguest snatches of Christmas carols amongst the out and out electronica that makes up the bulk of this track. Again it displays the surprising maturity this band (Dana Castillo - bass/percussion/drums/snoring, Raymond Proseus - synth/bass/vocals/drum machine and Billy Castillo - synth/bass/vocals/drums machine) has displayed of late which means that despite it's dense, disjointed nature there is still plenty that strikes the right chord.

It goes without saying that you will need a strong musical stomach to like Fear 2 Stop, although they are making it a whole lot easier than it has been heretofore (great word eh?). Nonetheless if you want your electronica to dance on the edge of madness then Fear 2 Stop provide a very decent example of it in every way. You can gawp at the sounds, admire the vortex that is the arrangement, and generally just groove off to another planet on the strength of this ride. Moreover, I HATE (as in grrrr grrrr) Christmas carols with a vengence but when ya dice and slice 'em the way Fear 2 Stop have served up here you may very well find them as tasty as I did.

Recommended for the innovative use of the Xmas theme.

Mark Holley - Wonder Why

Hear The Track Here

I ended my last review of MP3 Unsigned's Mark Holley by calling myself a opinionated, perfectionist knobhead - which as most readers will know is a fairly accurate description. The reason I covered myself in such glory was that although I liked what Mark was doing from a professional attitude (good performances, good production values), as a listener I was left wanting. It wasn't that Blink Of Any Eye (June 2006) wasn't good, it was. It did, however, lack that most vital of sparks: excitement. If it doesn't connect with the listener, it not much more than a musical intellectual exercise, at least in the world I live in.

The world of the knobhead perfectionist, obviously.

Nonetheless, here we go for another bite of the Holley apple. I'm not sure if he is assisted in Wonder Why by Mark Alexander, who played bass and sang on Blink Of An Eye, but judging by the sound, I'd say not. Again, I have to state that I don't like this shade of rock (think Billy Joel, Elton John), and that fact alone probably colours my judgement. So let's tackle it first technically. Again, Mark shows that he has all the requisite skills to come up with some mighty goods indeed. He's a good lyricist, writes a catchy tune and I find no fault whatsoever in what he dishes up sonically, especially considering he is coming from a home recording evironment. As someone who has worked from 4 tracks to 64, I pretty much understand what it takes to deliver a professional texture to the music, and on all counts Mark Holley knows his onions.

The main reason I mentioned my antipathy towards the genre earlier is because in this case I do think any criticism of what is here would be gratuitous (or for the literallly challenged, unnecessary or unwarranted). For my money, whether you like Wonder Why will pretty much depend on your own musical taste. If you happen to like what I have described above then you will love this track to death because it shows everything that is good about a terrific song, well performed. On a more reflective note, whenever I hear a track of this quality, it's a given that - sooner or later - something WILL come up that I can feel right about raving about.

Excellent pop rock. Highly Recommended.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Christopher Martin Hansen - The Road To Dublin

Hear The Track Here

Exactly a year ago I did an Artist Spotlight on Christopher Martin Hansen so I thought it was about time I brought this very gifted acoustic guitarist to your attention once again. Listen, if you don't get me the first time, I'm just going to keep on pestering you OK? Here you are, wandering around this vast arena of music, wondering where are all the REAL goodies at? I told you then and I'll tell you again now, you will NOT find a better acoustic guitarist in the manner of (for example ya understand) Leo Kottke anywhere else. This man's ability to pick (in every way) a winner makes other guitarists jaw drop and their hopes of excellence to shrivel and die. I jest of course, but not by much.

If you think all of those claims are highly exaggerated, then listen to the first 16 bars of this track and come back and tell me I am wrong. Ever since I first heard this artist I have been a confirmed fan, and when he delves into the classical side of the matter CMH Classical ooh la la and brrrrr. The Road From Dublin though is fairly recognisably based in the acoustic folk end of the genre but is Chris's hands it undergoes a subtle, but very beautiful change. The reason I brought up Leo Kottke earlier is because - in his modern material - Chris's work is dependent on much the same level of instrumental expertise and knowledgeable, intricate arrangements.

I've seen Leo Kottke live more than a few times and been amazed at the man's skill and talent. What amazes me about Kottke is the same thing that makes me like CMH so much. It is sooooo hard to make an acoustic guitar track that is exciting enough to maintain interest for a couple of minutes, let alone the well over five minutes The Road To Dublin takes up. I have seen Leo Kottke keep a couple of thousand people as quiet as a mouse with his music, and Christopher Martin Hansen has the same potential, and certainly much of the same talent. I know that acoustic music is bedevilled by the 'folk music' tag but this track transcends every genre I could name - except beautiful...

A work of art. MUST HAVE.

Avalanche - Excessive

Hear The Track Here

Although my own musical sphere is usually more esoteric than most musicians, my abiding and eternal fascination has been for the Devils Own Music - rock. I cut my musical teeth on this genre over thirty years ago and I still look forward to a good head banging session wiv me mates over at Mike K's Saturday Night Rocks show on Songplanet. Like me, Mike K is also a consummate rock animal, mixing the roughest of blues with Texas hardcore, and out and out heavy metal as if they were designed to be slammed together in the roughest of fashions. Both of the tracks I am starting off this month came from my exposure to them on this most listenable of internet radio shows and both feature artists I have review before: Christopher Martin Hansen and Avalanche.

I don't know for the life of me why Avalanche are not on Soundclick, but either of the two sites I mention above should get you to their output. Excessive is a brand new, hot off the press recording and it blew me away when Mike played it on SNR, and I automatically singled it out for a review on the strength of that one listen. See not only have I been schooled in this genre since it first came to light, I've also been a record producer/engineer working solely with this type of material so it covered two of my favourite passions - high octane rock performance and classic rock production techniques. Both of which are on on display in this excellent track, giving us the smallest glimpse of just how electric this band could be live.

A further bonus has to be the quality of frontman Mike Foster's leads, his class vocals and - more than anything else - his songwriting ability. There's a sense of the classic about this track in a great many ways and I am (stupidly enough) reminded in both performance AND sound of the wildman himself, Mr Ted Nugent. I was lucky/unlucky enough (depending on one's level of deafness) to work on a couple of tours with the ol' hunter himself and there is a lot about this track that reminds me of his work. It's powerful, energetic and classy enough to stand out in any rock crowd - particularly lyrically. The lyrics were written way back in 1985 but you wouldn't think that on first hearing them, they are as relevant now (more so maybe) as they no doubt were then. Since their incredible debut as live performers on Mike's SNR, Avalanche have supplied me with lots of great rock experiences, but none that will better this.