Richie Parsons and The Psycho Sisters

Richie Parsons “Honey and Tears”

Veteran musician Richie Parsons has been a part of the Boston area music scene for years, and now he’s finally put together a debut album produced by Ken Stringfellow (Posies). The clear, rich melody of “When Fall Begins,” reminds me at times of the last Sunrise Highway album. “LOve Letter” is another gem with fantastic layered jangle. Next comes the “wall of sound” Phil Spector approach on the echoing ballad “Evelyn.” The instrumentation here is excellent, and you’ll hear influences of The Beach Boys, and even modern country music with the strong twangs of “Summer.”

Richie’s style also reminds me of Roy Orbison in spots, especially on a cover of Glen Campbell’s “Hey Little One” with his wailing vocal treatment. “Mix Tape” is a pure power pop delight, and after a few listens it really sticks in your head. Lots of highlights here and overall Highly Recommended.

CD Baby | Amazon | Kool Kat Musik

The Psycho Sisters “Up On The Chair Beatrice”

Despite the horror-themed name, The Psycho Sisters are not “psycho,” nor are they sisters. They’re sisters-in-law, Susan Cowsill (The Cowsills) and Vicki Peterson (The Bangles). And both have been in family-based bands since childhood. Once Vicki married John Cowsill, the two became related and it took a long time, but the duo finally recorded an album together.

Starting out with the sweet harmonies of “Heather Says” its a story of an evil 4th grade girl who makes life difficult. “Never Never Boys” (co-written by Peterson and Bob Cowsill)  is a great country pop single that’s full of hope and catchy hooks. The rock guitar and fiddle makes “Numb” a unique approach to a rocker that brings to mind the Wilson sisters band Heart. “Fun To Lie” is a jangling gem that recalls The Bangles and “What Do You Want From Me” is a strong response to an ex-boyfriend who doesn’t know when to quit. A poignant coda here is “Cuddly Toy,” written by Harry Nillson that was a big hit for the Monkees. It was done to honor the passing of Susan’s reported favorite Monkee, lead singer Davey Jones. Highly Recommended.

Amazon

Roger Hodgson Returns!

Roger Hodgson, legendary vocalist and singer-songwriter from Supertramp, is heading back to North America for a series of fall dates. Following extensive tours of Europe and South America, Hodgson kicks off his North American tour on Nov. 4th in Wabash, Indiana. See concert dates here.

Hodgson co-founded the progressive rock band Supertramp in 1969 and was with them for 14 years. He helped define a generation of progressive rock and wrote and sang Supertramp’s globally successful and enduring anthems such as “Breakfast in America,” “Give a Little Bit,” “Take the Long Way Home,” “The Logical Song,” “Dreamer,” “It’s Raining Again,” “School,” and “Fool’s Overture” – songs that helped the band sell well over 60 million albums.

I reviewed Roger’s last tour here. It’ll be nice to see him again!

Help Support these bands!

Two more projects, I wanted to bring to your attention:

Yorktown Lads are a power-pop band ready to release their first album, but they need your help to release it on vinyl! Endorsed by my buddy John Borack (noted author and drummer for Honeychain) so you know it’ll be worth it.

parks

Somerville-based band Parks is the next logical step for Brian E. King (Oranjuly) its richer in sound and is one of those albums I can’t wait to hear. The samples are sure tempting. http://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/parks.

Steve Caraway and Dave Caruso

Steve Caraway “Upon This Rock”

Steve Caraway is a veteran adult contemporary singer from Boston, think a cross between Bryan Adams and Steve Perry. I expected “Upon This Rock” to be a modern Christian rock album based on the title, and although it has its share of inspiring tunes, is clearly secular.

The simple strum of “This Foolish Heart” is a good opener about learning to love again. “Big Star” is a tribute to the late Alex Chilton and the band without sounding at all like the subject, more a wistful reminiscence. “Supernova” heads into power ballad territory and comparisons to Perry are appropriate here, that mentioned its a catchy tune with layered horns and guitars. The purest power pop here is “Candy” with its strong guitar line and minor chords, but there is plenty here to recommend including the epic title track which feels like a great Elton John ballad and the rocking love-song “Justine.” Well done and highly recommended.

CD Baby  | Amazon


Dave Caruso “Cardboard Vegas Roundabout”

We reviewed David Caruso before, so the laid back guitar on “Mystery & Sweetness” is an expected pleasure, but he really has the vocal technique honed on his Beach Boys tribute “Champion.” With some wonderful “Ba ba ba” harmonies, it lyrically states the truth “how do you keep it light while peeling back the layers of bittersweet insight?” Fans of adult contemporary pop will just love “Rockabye (A Rockturnal Lullabye)” with its descending chord structure and perfectly timed guitar solo.

Caruso’s guitar pop hits a winner with “Fake Friends,” a jangle-tastic single about ignoring those Facebook nobodies. David’s clear pop production reminds me a lot of Lewis Taylor on the soulful “I’ve Tried To Write You.”  Another big highlight is the Elvis Costello like ballad “The Art of Erica,” and it proves this to be another highly recommended album.

CD Baby | Amazon | Kool Kat Musik

Guardians of The Galaxy and Free Music Mondays

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Can you believe it? The hottest movie of the summer, Guardians of The Galaxy features tracks of classic ’70s power pop. Most notably The Raspberries “Go All The Way” and 10cc’s “I’m Not in Love” added to the official soundtrack. Rock on!

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Here are some new EPs that are absolutely FREE. Great music that doesn’t even touch your wallet. All are bandcamp downloads. Enjoy!

Ballard is back! The UK based singer continues to refine his polished guitar pop with “Crossing Every Line/What If We Went Back? EP” Keep’em coming Ballard!

Dragmatic is a 4 piece indie rock outfit out of Raleigh, North Carolina. The band opened for The Posies recently. “You’re All Mine” and “Hot Mess” have plenty of energy. Give’em a listen.

Declan Snowden is a Dublin-based singer/songwriter hailing from Galway. The EP – recorded at the famous Westland Studios in Dublin – is a combination combines Declan’s soulful songwriting with an appreciation for pop music, old and new.