Freebie Friday: The Tomboys, J Eastman, Wazonek, Scott Brookman

The Tomboys are back with Session Two, another blast from the past. The Florida band has released more music from its ’80s vault. Best of all this is a FREE download, check out the video “You’re The One.”

Minneapolis, MN band  J Eastman and The Drunk Uncles are heavily influenced by The Replacements, Wilco and REM. With a solid guitar lead and Eastman’s distinctive vocal, check out “On Your Dime” a pretty anachronistic expression. They have a full-length LP too called No Capo Required from 2016 that’s just awesome. “Drink To Myself” is the lost hit Southern Culture On the Skids never had. Oh yeah, it’s all FREE downloads.

Vancouver multi-instrumentalist and producer Adam Wazonek delivers an easy going gem here. Like America, The Eagles or other ’70s styled bands, it has clean melodies and simple arrangements that are just a delight. Check out “Christine” and the very Steely Dan-ish “Easy Love.” The wah-wah strings on “I’d Like To Know” is just pure Seals & Crofts. Actually, it’s tough to find a note of filler here. Highly Recommended and a FREE download.

Scott Brookman returns with a sequel to his successful LP SmellicopterAnother master of melody with subtle and sparse instrumentation, “Consideration” is influenced by Something/Anything era Todd Rundgren and the fun “Three Doors Down” has a very 10cc-like composition. This EP isn’t free, but for a mere $5.00 it’s worth getting.

FYI: INTERNATIONAL POP OVERTHROW NYC IS HERE!

Dave Bash welcomes an assortment of wonderful artists out to Bar Matchless in Brooklyn. It started Thursday and goes on all weekend. We will be reviewing the new IPO compilation next week!

The Nines and Dave Keegan

The Nines

The Nines “Colour Radio (American Transistor)”

Steve Eggers (aka The Nines) is back in pop music mode. Joining Steve again is Bill Majoros (the Foreign Films) on guitar as they deliver a diverse selection of styles. Eggers style has always been influenced by ELO, and on “Crazy Little Girl” he almost copies the intro to “Do Ya” but goes in a heavier direction with a rougher vocal. It still has the catchy multi-tracked chorus, but sounds closer to The Move with Majoros fuzzy flourishes. Much more familiar is “Maybe If You Stayed”  with its sweet melody line and Steve sounding wistful as ever, even as he climbs into falsetto. And the lovely “For a Lifetime” is a piano lullaby reminiscent of Gershwin.

It’s everything Nines fans love, but Steve goes in different directions to keep things fresh. “On and On She Gets By” is a fun musical number about a girl, done with a barroom styled piano, harmonica, and a strutting synth line following a Randy Newmanesque lyric. Steve also goes funky with a Stevie Wonder-styled Moog Clavier and goes all in on “You Can Get More Than This” and  “Don’t Be Losing Your Game.” Not everything sticks, and there are amounts of so-so filler to keep the “radio” theme (like we never heard The Who’s “Sell Out”?) However there is more than enough to make this album highly recommended. Includes the holiday single “Believe In Christmas.”

CD Baby

Dave Keegan

Dave Keegan “Dave Keegan”

Englishman Dave Keegan is a former Elvis impersonator, almost became a Cambridge University teacher, and somehow dived into making this album at his home studio. But this doesn’t sound like a casual DIY setup. “Hello” is fuzz and reverb-drenched gem with Keegan’s crisp vocals, very much in the mould of The Posies.

Like many creative souls, he is simply compelled to make music, and sing about it on the very auto-biographical “Under Your Skin,” about “just a fan” knowing The Beatles “by heart / every note / every bar / every glorious part of their golden reign.” Next comes “Fizzbomb” leading with an infectious guitar riff, and the folksy English “Harbour City Blues.” Keegan’s vocal style is like Glenn Tilbrook (Squeeze) or Nick Lowe in spots. Another highlight is the bouncy “Get Me A Girl” with its optimistic breezy melody. The acoustic compositions dominate on the album’s second half, with the impressive “Out of Tune” as a great mood piece, but some of the slower tunes feel more like sketches here. Overall a fine debut from a talent I hope we hear more from in the future.

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Wesley Fuller and The Successful Failures

Wesley Fuller

Wesley Fuller “Inner City Dream”

Wesley Fuller is an Australian singer/songwriter multi-instrumentalist and producer, who quickly received national attention with the release of his debut EP, Melvista. With a sound rooted in the late 70s and early 80s pop, this full-length debut is everything promised and more. Fuller reveals a growing maturity both technically and melodically, as you’ll hear influences from The Talking Heads, The Cars, The Bay City Rollers and Electric Light Orchestra.

The opening title track “Inner City Dream” is a glorious combo of T-Rex and Jeff Lynne. “Someone To Walk Around With” is another catchy gem lead by guitar riffs and tambourines, that reminds me of the hit that Jet scored with “Are You Gonna Be My Girl.” The 70’s cowbell and fuzz bass are joined by heavy synths in the equally amazing “Skyways,” but its honestly impossible to find any filler throughout the album. Another highlight is the infectious “#1 Song” about pop star dreams and “the chance of a lifetime.” Each song boasts a modern production sheen, with a finely crafted sense of pop songwriting – making the results pretty damn incredible. Overall the music varies in tone enough, with mid-tempo love songs reaching the album’s second half on “Wish You Would” and “Miranda Says” contrasting with the heavy anthemic and danceable first half. Makes my year-end top ten for 2017. Don’t miss it!

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 The Successful Failures

The Successful Failures “Ichor of Nettle”

The Successful Failures’ sixth LP, “Ichor of Nettle,” adds more roots rock influence to its power pop core. Fans of Tom Petty, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Gram Parsons, and Cheap Trick will appreciate the band’s sound. Opening with “The Ballad of Julio Cuellar,” a real-life tale of illegal immigration with a sympathetic Julio “left to die” by his smuggler.

The hard-charging riffs of “Misguiding Light” are more of what we expect from Mick Chorba’s band, and its a great tune. My favourite on this album is the folk hero story “Sam Houston,” who was a “…Southern Democrat who followed his own rules.” It’s a great combination of melody, grit and Americana. The bluegrass acoustic “Tennessee Boy” is a romantic gem with a standout mandolin solo and great blue-collar anthems “PA Fight Song” and “The Shit That Drags You Down” are also highlights. A few missteps, like the plodding “The Devil Took A Liking To Me” and “All Rise” but at best these songs just aren’t as compelling as the earlier songs on this album. Highly Recommended.

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Shake Some Action and Richard Turgeon

Shake Some Action

Shake Some Action “Crash Through Or Crash”

Shake Some Action (aka James Hall) returned this past summer with his shimmering Byrdsian jangle guitar pop, and its the perfect antidote for the fall chill. We strum our way through 14 tracks, starting with “Waiting For The Sun,” a soothing and fast-paced single. “The Only Way is Up” and “Secrets and Lies” boast simple, put powerful lyrics with Jagger-like vocal swagger. The customary leading power pop riff is the basis for the melody in “Bang Bang” and the style of composition varies enough so we get both consistency and unpredictability.

Some tracks are just the typical Shake Some Action sound, like “Starting Again” and others have a more melodic wrinkle, like the excellent “Paraphernalia.” Slowing things down we get the psychedelic “Under the Sun and the Moon” and the Kinkisan rockers “I Don’t Think So” and “It Goes Like This.” Overall, a successful and memorable LP that is highly recommended.

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Richard Turgeon

Richard Turgeon “In Between the Spaces”

San Francisco musical Richard Turgeon released this surprisingly entertaining album earlier this year. The highlight is the first track; the rocking “Bigfoot’s An Alien” with a big fat hook in the chorus. Turgeon’s heavy fuzz guitar style is similar to Jeff Shelton (The Well Wishers) in approach with a touch of REM styled jangle.

The dense production on “Bad Seed” also highlights some nice harmonies and lyrics as he asks “What am I lacking to seduce you?” Another highlight here is “I’m 30” a confession of appreciation to parents from a prodigal son. A veiled political message is a part of “The Candidate” with the dangers of following a “Superman with no soul.” Not everything works, but enough does to make this album an enjoyable listen. Plus as a bonus, Richard has been busy delivering four FREE downloadable singles since the LP’s initial release.

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FREEBIES FROM RICHARD!

Liam Gallagher and The Brixton Riot

Liam Gallagher

Liam Gallagher “As You Were”

Those in need of an Oasis fix certainly need look no further. Where Noel got high flying, Liam has stayed grounded and put the mantle of Oasis on his shoulders with all the John Lennon influences intact, albeit less retro than his previous work on Beady Eye. This is in fact the best post-Oasis work of either Gallagher. Ad: Great discounts and offers are now available from CouponsMonk.

“Wall of Glass” delivers the upbeat echo and solid beat, Liam’s vocal stands out on each song here. One of the early gems “Greedy Soul” is very catchy and is a great tune to work out to. Other highlights include “Paper Clown”, “For What It’s Worth”, “Universal Gleam,” “Chinatown” and “I’ve All I Need.” Overall there are no filler tunes, with a good balance of rockers and ballads and most every track had my full attention. As Liam states “sometimes we lose our way,” so I’m glad he’s back and free from Noel’s shadow. With so few “mainstream” power pop artists left in the public eye, it is nice to have that brief spotlight. Highly Recommended.

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The Brixton Riot

The Brixton Riot “Close Counts”

Veteran New Jersey power-pop band The Brixton Riot deliver “Close Counts,” their sophomore LP release, a bit older, wiser and definitely louder. The band’s influences are a diverse group from The Jam, The Replacements, Elvis Costello and Nirvana. The openers “Can’t Stop Now” and “Slow Evolution” boast driving percussion and steady guitar melodies. The more subtle “Hector Quasar” is a bit like The Lemonheads, and the fuzzy jangle of “The Ballad of Pete Best” is a fun tribute to the ex-Beatle drummer “who should’ve learned to play the guitar.”

The faster, grungier guitars of “Maybe Tomorrow” are contrasted by the optimistic vocals as there is no drop off in the quality of musicianship on the album’s second half.  “Little Spark” about the love of music on vinyl and boomboxes, and “Talk About Nothing” are resonant rockers about being “so bored.” But you will not be bored because this is damn good power pop. Overall, the lack of consistent hooks brings this album down a notch, but as the title states, close counts and this music definitely deserves to be heard.

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