Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Ocean Tango

I want to recommend that everyone listens to The Ocean Tango's album at http://oceantango.bandcamp.com/album/the-ocean-tango. It's another pop album that I don't think anyone should miss out on.

More updates coming very soon!

- E

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Emmett and Mary - S/T

Emmett and Mary is a very large band from Johnstown, Pennsylvania that plays indie folk music. They have been working on their debut album, S/T, for quite some time and I have been listening to an advance copy for a while and thought I needed to review it.

The band is relatively new and is led by Brandon Locher and Christopher S. Bell along with members of dozens of other bands from their label, My Idea Of Fun. Just for fun, I'll show the list of people who performed on the album and what they did:

Brandon Locher (Emmett Karson): Story, Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Drums, Hammond B-3, Omnichord, Micro Korg Synthesizer, Harmonica, Percussion, Piano, Field-Recordings, Sequencing and Sampling, Digital Editing and Audio Manipulation
Christopher S. Bell (Linus Mansfield): Story, Vocals, Sequencing and Sampling
Rod Fisher (Lee Fisher): Vocals
Amanda Ross (Josephine March): Vocals
PK Harmon (Ken Lugar): Vocals
Laura McAllister (Mary Lugar): Vocals
Mike Miller (The Ghost of Henry Vaghn): Accordion, Vocals
Matt Miller (Zeke Morgan): Bass Guitar, Electric Guitar, Mandolin, Percussion, Banjo, Screams
Dane Adelman (Peter Watts): Vocals, Timpani, Upright Bass
Cory Savit (Andrew Strayer): Vocals, Vibraphone, Suzuki Melodion M-36, Timpani, Upright Bass, and Banjo
Olivia Locher (Annette Karson): Vocals
Kathleen Boyle (Casey Whipkey): Vocals
Sean Jackson (Mitchell Graft): Vocals
Chris Kupchella (Greg Hood): Sitar, Electric Guitar, Ebow, Glockenspiel, Vocals
Casey Hawk (The Ghost of Joan Foster): Vocals
Ryan Brisini (Leonard Kenny): Gang Vocals
Renee Saylor (Leila Bennett): Vocals
Kate Davis (Paige Hughes): Clarinet, Vocals
Joe Messina (Jack Vargas):: Boss. Dr. Groove DR-202 Drum Machine.
John Livingston (Chas Weller): Piano
John Thorell (DJ Gordon): Cello and Viola
Dave DeStifano (Dalton Applebee): Congas and Bongos
Huckleberry Sawyer (Doyle Finely): Spaghetti Western Guitar, Drums, and Synthesizers
Eli Gantos (Kevin Mansfield): Congas
Bud Jackson (Lucas Mills): Congas and Bongos
Matt Wagner (Benji Tate): Trumpet
Annie Rummel (Leann Kenny): Flute
Ben Sackmar (Jim Fisher): Drums
Berry Bonds (Clay): Doo-Wop Vocals, Trumpet
Rachel Adams (Tara Mansfield): Glockenspiel
Cody Wallat (Charlie Nolan): Drums

I'm curious how long it took to record this album, because I am certain that all of those people didn't fit in Brandon Locher's bedroom at once.

As for the album itself, it is definitely not for everyone. It is a Lo-fi production, which means you will hear some static in the recording and sometimes won't be able to tell what the singers are saying. But that style of music is something I really enjoy.

In fact, S/T is a lot like the Bicycles album, Oh No, It's Love, in that its song writers' vision was completed without the help of any label or producer. There's a respect that is deserved when you complete something without anyone's help and that is exactly what is going on with this release. The originality of the album and love trump any complaints one could have about its lo-fi sound.

Tragically, Emmett and Mary may never be huge stars or receive any radio play, but they have still created an folk album as good as Bob Dylan's Subterranean Homesick Blues. You can listen to the whole album below on their last.fm before it becomes available in September or visit their website for more information.

Listen to Emmett and Mary's S/T on Last.fm
Album information and website

Monday, June 21, 2010

Mister Fusty Releases Connect EP for Charity

Connect EP by Mister Fusty

Today one of my favorite pop artists Mister Fusty (the pseudonym of musician Rob Gibson from Whitley Bay, England) is releasing their latest 5 track EP. I got to have a listen to the album ahead of time and I've been anxiously waiting until today to release this review. Not only are the songs great, but the EP can be purchased for $5 from his Soundcloud page (which can be found at the bottom of this article) and all sales of the EP will go to two charities, Cancer Research UK and The World Society for the Protection of Animals.

Rob explains, "My wife ran the Race For Life last year, and hopes to do it again this year and I thought it would be a nice idea to get people who listen to Mister Fusty to sponsor her by way of this EP. For non-UK Fusty listeners I decided to give the other half of the money to an international charity as well, the World Society for the Protection of Animals. My musical exploits are a hobby and labour of love really, so any money from sales that come my way I'm happy to pass them on to a good cause."

Mister Fusty considers Brian Wilson, Burt Bacharach and The Beatles as influences for his sound and this is evident in his compositions and production techniques, but he also uses the computer to achieve some of the effects used by newer artists like Stereolab, The High Llamas and Air. In other words, it's a mixing pot of every great artist of the last century.

With such a great list of influences its no wonder that Mister Fusty's 5th release oozes such class. Each song on the EP reveals Rob Gibson's mastery in his home studio. Each song sounds fantastic and is mixed perfectly. I know that Mister Fusty's last album, Over The Rocky Mountains, was mastered by Jimmy Ether, but there is no indication that anyone other than Rob Gibson worked on this album and it sounds fantastic!

Each track relies heavily on electronic and synthetic instruments for the backing tracks, (with the exception of Peacock Teardrop, which features some great guitar playing) and has Rob himnself singing lead on every track (except Uptown Connection), often doubling his voice to make great vocal harmonies like on Your Stupid Plan. He also applied a considerable amount of reverb, which is completely in fashion right now, but it certainly isn't overdone, in fact, the reverb on this album sounds really great and helps the synth instruments to sound more life-like.

Mister Fusty's Connect EP is another instant classic; the best album I've heard since EXPO's She Sells Seashells. But come to find out, Mister Fusty and EXPO are colleagues! I recommend that any fan of pop music go buy Mister Fusty's Connect EP now and help fight cancer, animal abuse and bad music. It's really a win, win, win!

Listen/Buy on Bandcamp.com

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Man From Another Place's First Video

Hello everyone,

The greatest thing that I listened to last year was The Loneliest Cowboy EP, the debut release from The Man From Another Place; brain-child of Scottish composer Daniel Hirst. I really love The Loneliest Cowboy EP so much that I listen to it for inspiration when it comes time for me to start recording my own music. It really is like every band that I love combined into one simple package. It has the compositional skill of a Heavy Blinkers song with the catchiness of a Beach Boys tune, without any vocals, which, in my opinion leaves room for you to ponder on the meaning of the songs with just your own imagination as reference.

The video stars Ron Smith and Abbra Smallwood and is directed by Justin Hannah, a director from Lexington, KY. The description of the video reads "Alone in the darkness, a man is haunted by a memory, warm, shimmering and beautiful". I couldn't agree more, so I am happy to share his first of what I know will be several, music videos. =]

myspace | website

Thursday, May 13, 2010

EXPO - She Sells Seashells

For the past week I have been binge listening to a record that brings some long-awaited new life into a genre of music that is probably too difficult for most musicians to ever want to take on. I'm referring to the genre called "Orchestral Pop". EXPO has made an album worthy of comparison to some of the greatest pop albums of the last decade (or maybe 4 decades). I'm telling you, this album compares to some of the best albums by Sean O'Hagan of the High Llamas or Jason MacIsaac and The Heavy Blinkers.

There is a certain beauty and skill needed to create a perfect pop song, and EXPO's chief song writer John Lane proves that he has the chops time and time again to create incredible songs throughout the 13 tracks on the album. And what great songs they are! I was so happy to hear the huge variety of instruments used on this album and the great percussion sounds too. It's so impressive to hear the difficult rhythm patterns in Good Good News and Out of The Millions.

Maybe the only real weakness to the album is the lack of any one clear lead singer or set of singers. Almost every track has a different singer or group of singers who collaborated with John Lane for the album which makes me think either John has no confidence in his own voice, or maybe he really is just good enough to know that his voice doesn't fit. Luckily though, he chose some of the best singers he could to feature on the album - my favorite being Christian Lipski who sang on the song Katy Why (the album's first single track and a fantastic pop song).

Despite the varied singing on the album it is clear that each song belongs together and each track flows together nicely as well. The production value of the album is also top notch. When making an orchestral pop album so many things can go wrong, but She Sells Seashells not only does everything right, it does everything perfectly. For an instant classic, feel free to check out She Sells Seashells right here:


And visit their myspace here: