Tuesday Goodies: Cliff Hillis, Lee Ketch and Steve Rosenbaum

As this is a holiday week, I’d love to start giving out the musical goodies in advance of Thanksgiving. I am so thankful for all these artists, so pass the gravy and a few free downloads:

Cliff Hillis

Philly singer, songwriter, guitarist and producer Cliff Hillis has released a new song, “Love Not War,” from a forthcoming EP out in February. Love And War is Hillis’s followup to the power popster’s 2014 release, Song Machine. Download “Love Not War” from iTunes. Visit itunes.apple.com/us/album/love-no…gle/id1055385972

Contorno and The Obleeks – Chicago guitarist Lee Ketch (Mooner) has few musical projects here. His brother Andy plays drums and does vocals too. Check it out – its all a FREE download!

Steve Rosenbaum was a pleasant surprise in the new IPO Vol. 18 compilation. He’s got an three song EP out there “Making A Mess Of Fun” and its a got earnest melodies and plenty of great jangling guitar. It’s not a free download, but it’s easily worth the 3 bucks. Hopefully we’ll see more from Steve in 2016!

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EP reviews: The Persian Leaps, Goodman, Yes You Are

The Persian Leaps “High and Vibrate”

This Minnesota band brings us a wall of heavy fuzz guitar riffs on “The Infection” and the big standout here “Dottie. Queen of The West.” The tempo and approach remind me of Echo & The Bunnymen or The Smiths. A faster pace and steady beat on “Frozen” is another solid song with ringing guitar chords and harmonies thanks to Adam Brunner(bass guitar), Drew Fosberg (lead guitar) and Michael McCloskey (drums). “Anthem” keeps the pace and makes this a highly enjoyable EP – check it out!


Goodman “Goodman”

These four tracks were originally cut from Michael Goodman’s upcoming release, not because of quality, mind you, but because a 16-song album seemed excessive. “Lessons Learned In Love” has a bedroom pop vaudevillian style, with a cool coda full of Beach Boys styled harmonies and old piano echo. “Telegram Girl” has a mod hook and its a real gem about breaking up, as he intones “Why should I waste my life on you?”  The shuffling beat of “Movies” is another fun song with hand-claps and echoing vocal brimming with cool confidence. I really look forward to the full length after hearing this!

Yes You Are

Ex-Tilly and the Wall lead singer Kianna Alarid is part of a new band that plays an intense pop style with sing along hooks in the chorus and snyth-covered rhythms. A bit too close to mainstream pop in “Echo,” but “World Without End” is a little Annie Lenox mixed with U2. Listen for free at http://weareyesyouare.com/sound/

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EP Reviews: Andy Reed, Chris Richards, Pelicans and Their Allies

Andy Reed “Relay Vol.1”

This is Andy’s first solo release since 2008. This is part one in a series of EPs to be released. Relay Vol.1 is a best of breed EP starting with the slow building theme “Waves” and the California easy melody “Dreaming Of The West Coast” being a big highlight, with its strings and crisp harmonies. The echoing influences of The Beach Boys and Fleetwood Mac are evident in the rich tapestry of “Darlin, You Don’t Know.” It finishes with the finely crafted melody of “I Love A Long Goodbye” and it leaves you begging fore more. This easily is in the running for top ten EP this year. Bandcamp only.

Chris Richards and The Subtractions “3peat”

Chris Richards delivers some covers from their favorite artists. A faithful version of Elvis Costello’s “No Action” is a great start, and continues with songs by Sloan, The Kinks, Cheap Trick, The Rolling Stones and George Harrison. Best of all this is a FREE download, so get it while its hot!

Pelicans and Their Allies

This new duo of Robert Higgs (lead vocal and guitarist) and Dayana Yochim (vocal and multi-instrumentalist) make smart, quirky indie pop with an assortment of instruments from guitars to glockenspiels. Fans of Field Music and Decemberists will enjoy this, especially the bouncy pop hooks in “Just Like July” and the sunny “I Guess You Already Knew That.”


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Singles: The Jangle Band, Hidden Pictures and Angelo Celli

Some of my favorite free music downloads!

The Jangle Band – a new project by Joe Algeri, songwriter and producer from Perth, Western Australia. He is also a member of Jack & the Beanstalk, The Britannicas  and one listen explains the band name here. Joe teamed up with Jeff Baker and Ian Freeman at the 2015 In The Pines Music Festival to create the band. Heavily reminiscent of the member’s key B-band influences – Byrds, Beatles and Badfinger – the single is a chime and harmony festival typical of the group’s sound. A perfect start to your week its a FREE download, we can’t wait for a full album guys!

Hidden Pictures – one of our favorite bands from Oakland, CA have quietly released several great albums for a name your price download. 2012’s Rainbow Records made our top 10 list that year. These guys are just amazing, with clean crisp melodies — so just get this!

Angelo Celli – the lead singer from last years acclaimed band Bracket. Here it’s just a simple ukelele, I love the approach and writing here. If you liked his bands last album, then download the follow up single, “A Choke of Grief (Heart Hardened)” as it sounds like a bonus track from Hold Your Applause.

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The New Trocaderos and Ryan Allen & His Extra Arms

The New Trocaderos

The New Trocaderos “Frenzy in The Hips” EP

Formed last year, The New Trocaderos are a mini supergroup consisting of Geoffrey Palmer and Brad Marino of The Connection, and Kurt Baker. They released a few singles and an EP (or two) late in 2014. Well if you missed any of these hook-filled songs I’ve got some good news. Kook Kat Musik is distributing a compilation of these singles under the 6 song EP “Frenzy In The Hips.” The music is hard charging pop that’s rooted in the British Invasion and garage rock style. Each single is compelling, but my favorites are “Dream Girl, ” “The Kids” and “Luckiest Man in the World” which is only available on CD on this release! Fire this CD up for an instant rock and roll party. Highly Recommended.
power pop

Kool Kat Musik Exclusive

Ryan Allen & His Extra Arms

Ryan Allen & His Extra Arms “Heart String Soul”

It’s great to hear Ryan again, his last album was nearly three years ago. After many listens, its clear that Ryan Allen bleeds rock & roll dreams. His energy and melodies are the very stuff power pop fans yearn for. “Should Be Me” is the first song, about his lack of radio play and the hopeful refrain of “one more day” to figure out how to “make it.” It’s a little like a mix of The Ramones and Richard X. Heyman. “Looking Forward to Looking Back” has Raspberries-like riffs and a catchy chorus making it an infectious rocker, “We are all born broken” starts the chorus that hits every note perfectly.

“Become a Disaster” is an anthem for disaffected young adults, building with massive harmonies and riffs like Weezer and a Fountains of Wayne styled narrative. Everything here rings true from the timeline affair of “Angela ’97” to the Big Star influenced “Not Hanging Out” to the quiet heartbreak of “Bonded By Blood,” about the difficulties of fatherhood. Ryan has blown me away here, and this easily makes my top ten album list for 2015.
power pop

Bandcamp | CD Baby

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