Blue Room

Jonathan Cavier

Blue Room

Peach Candle Flame

Release Date: April 21, 2017

www.CavierMusic.com

Pop Singer-Songwriter Jonathan Cavier returns with his sophomore release, Blue Room. Cavier showed some promising chops on his debut, Premier, and Blue Room refines his sound a little more, just as I had hoped. Fans may also remember him as one half of Pop duo EyeTalk, whom he toured and recorded with for years. What I like about Cavier’s music is how it transports me back to the songwriting of bands like Mr. Mister, Talk Talk, Go West, with maybe a little Glass Tiger in there as well. Cavier refines that sound a lot here, but he also strips it back, in essence making it much more his own.

“Somebody Like You” is one of my favorite examples.  The gentle sway is a deceiving vehicle for the song, as it travels through intimate lyrical territory that is part love song and part soul-search. The up-tempo “Phoenix” is another highlight. It’s a bit of an odd tune because it features breathy, understated vocals but also has a big anthemic musical feel that sticks with you long after the album has moved on. “Edge of a Singularity” is another moment that certainly stands out to me, partly because it fully embraces everything great about the 80’s Pop scene (keyboards, catchy as hell, and horns!) and partly because it’s instrumental. You just don’t hear many instrumentals on Pop albums and this tune will make you wonder why. Cavier also fully embraces this influence on “Hollywood.”

Of course, the lead single “When You Come Around” is a highlight as well. Cavier lets his voice soar a little more here and it fills out the acoustic base of the song nicely. The song has a beautiful sound that sort of blossoms throughout the journey. It’s hopeful sounding and is another tune that could easily fit into the love song category of any Top 40 station.

Overall, this is a big step from 2016’s Premier. I think the music still sounds a little thin overall, like it’s not sure if it really wants to be Singer-Songwriter or if it wants to go on full on Pop. Either way though, there are some really good songs here that are similar to the aforementioned bands, or maybe a stripped-down version of St. Lucia. If you enjoy any of that, then you should give Blue Room some time.

Reviewed by mark1340

 

 #JonathanCavier #BlueRoom #mark1340 #CavierMusic

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Live & Louder

The Dead Daisies

Live & Louder

SPV/Spitfire Music

Release Date:  May 9, 2017

www.TheDeadDaisies.com

While The Dead Daisies may have begun as David Lowy’s revolving door collective, the past couple of years have turned it into a finely tuned Rock and Roll beast. Live & Louder is taken from the band’s 2016 European tour and features John Corabi, Brian Tichy, Marco Mendoza, and Doug Aldrich in addition to Lowy. I could list the numerous bands that all of these guys have been in, but, realistically, if you don’t recognize those names then this probably isn’t the album for you.

Live & Louder is a mix of old and new Dead Daisies tunes with a few covers thrown in for good measure. It’s high energy Rock and Roll from start to finish. If you are looking for a modern twist on the tunes live, then look elsewhere because, if anything, they sound even more “classic rock” here. There are a few moments that get a little bar room cheesy (I’m looking at you “Make Some Noise”) but, for the most part, this is a just a straightforward trip from some veteran players.

While there isn’t a dull moment on this album, some performances certainly stand out to me more than others. “Song and a Prayer” is my favorite, with it’s great lead guitar work and catchy-as-hell melody. It boggles my mind as to why this hasn’t been a huge hit. The band’s cover of “Fortunate Son” follows it up brilliantly. I’m not a fan of CCR at all, so the fact that Dead Daises make me love this song says a lot about how well they do it! “Last Time I Saw the Sun” is another of my favorite tracks here with its slightly dissonant sound and slide-guitar bits. The western style lyrics will surely bring a smile to ZZ Top fans’ faces as well.

The album also includes a DVD that has a “Behind-The-Scenes” feature. It’s pretty much a compilation of cool moments from the tour intermixed with interview footage of the band members.  It’s cool to watch it but it isn’t something you’ll come back to often unless you are a super fan.

I have always heard that these guys are a helluva live band and this album goes a long way to proving that point. I wasn’t super in love with their last studio album but there’s a lot more energy here. As a matter of fact, I love Corabi’s voice anyway but he is outstanding here. He’s a much bluesier singer live and it brings a lot of heart to many of the tunes here.  He and Aldrich are certainly a force to be reckoned with.

 

Reviewed by mark1340

#TheDeadDaisies #SPV #SpitfireMusic #mark1340

 

 

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Cold Blooded Cover

Strange Karma

Cold Blooded (Vinyl)

Independent

Release Date: March 7, 2017

www.StrangeKarma.net

Australian rockers, Strange Karma are on fire with their debut Cold Blooded. The power trio combine Classic Rock elements with the more aggressive side of eighties Hard Rock and add in a few twists that give it a modern edge. Every song here sounds like it’s straight from the concert stage and the Side A/Side B classic structure is a great trip down memory lane.

The album opens with the gritty rockers “Freedom” and “Devil From the Moon” (the albums lead single). Both lean more towards the Classic Rock sound and get your energy up right from the get go. It’s “Crying For Your Love” that really caught my ear though. It’s piano-driven, with intermittent explosive guitar soloing, and vocalist Martin Strange really shows what a powerhouse vocalist he is on this song. It’s like Queen meets Dog Eat Dog era Warrant. The ballad “I Believe (London Town)” is another highpoint from Side A, with the piano, again, giving it an edge that really catches your ear.

Side B kicks off with the emotional, acoustically driven, “Heartbeat.” It reminds me so much of the bands that came out right at the end of the eighties/beginning of the nineties that were making such interesting and powerful music that was completely ignored due to the coming of Grunge. It’s a little dark and completely fascinating musically, while also holding on to that anthemic quality that I loved about the music I grew up on.  “Hey Man” is another highlight from Side B. This one goes full on Classic Rock, intertwining the electric and acoustic guitars. It’s a straightforward sing-along anthem that makes you want to roll down the windows on a sunny day and scream along (think Sweet or Supertramp).

Overall, this is an excellent Rock N’ Roll record. It doesn’t pretend to be anything other than that. Even though it’s a great album just to jam out to, repeated listens reveal new things each time, showing that these guys have some serious chops. Some would argue that there really isn’t a Hard Rock market anymore, but if you, like me, still seek out new stuff then you should check out Strange Karma.

 

Reviewed by mark1340

#StrangeKarma #RockNRoll #mark1340 #AustraliaRocks

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The Water

San Cisco

The Water

Island City Records

Release Date: May 5, 2017

www.SanCisco.com

San Cisco (originally known as King George) formed in Fremantle, Western Australia in 2009. The four-piece Indie Pop band embrace pretty much everything that is fun about the current Pop scene and then lend it some street cred by embracing off-kilter hooks and quirky production bits. Indie Pop can go wrong for so many reasons, but San Cisco avoid the pitfalls by letting the melody shine through each song on The Water.

While I enjoy this album, it’s the synth pop bits that really get my motor runnin’. The title track is by far my favorite track here. It’s darker than a lot of the other tracks and reminds me of a cross between Client and Gary Numan. “Waiting for the Weekend” has a similar vibe. They are both dark, creative, and poppy as heck. “Make Me Electrify” has a Duran Duran vibe that I really dig, from the electronic drum fills to the haunting and melodic choruses. The head boppin’ “Hey Did I Do You Wrong” is another excellent moment here that is laid back and breezy, but still has a catchy hook.  

Overall I really dig most of this album. I’m not as crazy about the more guitar-driven parts of the album, but those that really dig early Arcade Fire, MGMT, and Foster the People will likely find that those are their favorite parts. No matter how you slice it though, The Water is a pretty fun listen that will definitely appeal to Indie Pop aficionados and Synth lovers (or fans of any of the aforementioned bands).

 

Reviewed by mark1340

#SanCisco #Australia #mark1340

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A Perfect Disarray

Leav/E/arth

A Perfect Disarray

InVogue Records

Release Date: April 7, 2017

www.LeavEarth.net

I love Cleveland, OH and Leav/E/arth (formed in 2011 as Visionaries) is a great example of the diversity this town has to offer. It is a hot bed for all kinds of Rock music, even radio-friendly stuff. This album is full of big, emotional, rockers that continue in the vein that Evanscence, and to some degree Paramore, began exploring years ago.

A Perfect Disarray kicks off with “Memory,” a song that establishes right off the bat that these guys (and girl) can rock. The verses are emotional and dynamic while the chorus comes in and just pounds away at your brain. The rhythm section’s work on this song is particularly hard to get out of your head.  “The Other Side” (which also has a moving piano-led version that ends the album on a somber note) and “Coming Back” utilize a lot of the same elements but the band sound so damn good that they avoid sounding like a one-trick pony.  “Too Far Gone” is the highlight here for me when all is said and done. It’s ambient, slow build is gorgeous and as the song evolves it sort of wraps itself around you. The guitars seamlessly transition from ethereal to aggressive throughout, while the vocals soar above it all.  

Leav/E/arth do an excellent job here of staying focused. They know what they do well and they really embrace it. There aren’t any random attempts at a Metal tune or a straight up Pop tune, which keeps the album flowing and cohesive throughout. I can imagine that this band will evolve a lot but they have certainly introduced themselves by putting their best foot forward. A Perfect Disarray is definitely an album worth your attention.

 

Reviewed by mark1340

#LeavEarth #InVogueRecords #ClevelandRocks #mark1340

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