Taylor Locke and Pseudonym

“Taylor

Taylor Locke “Time Stands Still”

This year we find Taylor Locke (Rooney) going in a slightly different direction with his solo album, as opposed to his work with The Roughs. We hear a more of a singer-songwriter vibe than the colorful rocker of the past. And Locke still has that amazing talent for melody, plus his guitar prowess just keeps getting better. With that, “Burbank Woman” is an understated opening with an early ‘70s acoustic flavor and it follows the albums theme about a crumbling relationship with a distant partner.

“The Game” follows that musical template, so fans of America, The Eagles and Firefall will definitely enjoy this. The big single here is “Running Away From Love” and it showcases Taylor’s tight composition and brilliant songwriting. The swirling guitar riffs that lead “So Long,” recalls his previous work with The Roughs. “Call Me Kuchu” has a bluesy pop riff, reminding me of Ian Lloyd a little and the sweet storytelling on “The Art of Moving On’ goes into what it takes to get over a fresh break-up. Then the gentle ballad “No Dice” dovetails right into this picture. This is a quality album that stands as more a personal statement from Taylor, and I enjoyed it thoroughly.

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pseudonym

Pseudonym “Revolving Door”

Pseudonym is a band consisting of Paul Desjarlais, and his imaginary bandmates (Cliff, Gil and Waylan). He’s got an interesting bio on the Bandcamp page of Revolving Door. The album features a variety of musical styles from new wave to indie rock. “Art School Lady” is very much in the 80’s style of Game Theory with its strong bass under a jangling rhythm. Paul’s light vocal works well on the harmonious “Long Goodbyes,” and “Better” really sounds like a lost early 80’s chart hits.

A few tracks feel more like demos, but they’re good demos. Another highlight “Caught On Fire” has those sweet backing harmonies and lyrics of a long lost relationship. The last few songs feature more of a rock sound, as heavy guitar fuzz and echo features on “There Can Be No Doubt” and “Overrun.” A very solid cover of Paul Simon’s “The Only Living Boy in New York” rounds things out, and this is one Pseudonym who should make a name for himself.

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Cameron Lew and Andrew Gold

Cameron Lew “Welp.”

Cameron Lew is the bassist from The Yorktown Lads. He puts forth his first DIY solo effort Welp as singer-songwriter and producer. It starts out strong with the breezy “Adieu,” followed by the power pop gem “White Wall,” chock full of thick chords and multi-tracked verses like early Posies. “Season Four” has very catchy chorus about binge watching TV, then the simple ballad “Change” changes the tone from happy to melancholy.

Next, the fast-paced “Picture Show” recalls The Orange Peels sunny but anxious attitude, then the quirky “Goodnight” boasts some inventive mixing and lyrics about the awkwardness of a breakup. Overall, a playful indie pop snack with some fun songs worth your attention. Give it a try.

CD Baby | Amazon


Andew Gold

Andrew Gold “The Late Show – Live 1978 Live”

When I tell you Omnivore Records has pulled out Gold from the vaults, I ain’t kidding here. Andrew Gold was an amazing performer and songwriter. The Last Show was recorded in the Roxy Theatre, West Hollywood at end of his 1978 tour, with his big hit “Lonely Boy” in the music charts top ten. This concert recording is Gold’s first official posthumous release.

The sound quality is excellent for an archival performance and showcases Gold’s biggest hits, as well as classic album tracks. Tracks like “Thank You for Being A Friend,” “Oh Urania (Take Me Away)” and “How Can This Be Love.” His Beatles influence shines on a version of their “Doctor Robert” and he ends the concert with a cover of “Roll Over Beethoven.” A great time for Gold fans and anyone who loves classic rock and pop.

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Movie Review: “Love & Mercy”

There have been several biographic films about Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys over the years, and all of them up to this point have been mediocre at best. It all seemed to start with material taken from The Beach Boys and the California Myth or other books that show Brian as the tragic artist always trying to get the approval of his father, or the musical savant of a surf music group that never could “defeat” The Beatles. The movie Love & Mercy, doesn’t really concentrate on the band, but does bring Brian’s struggles to life.

The film bounces between the 1960s (Brian played by Paul Dano) and 1980s (Brian played by John Cusack.) The 1960s period is dead on accurate as Dano captures the catatonic states and music playing in Brian’s head, as he composes much of Pet Sounds. The studio scenes are very familiar sounding to Beach Boys fans who listened to the bonus tracks and rehearsals of the The Pet Sounds Sessions. The other band members are pretty nondescript, with the exception of Mike Love (Jake Abel) being the annoying critic who still wants more surf music. And Brian’s father, Murray Wilson is like a specter that looms over his decent into commercial failure and despair. Dano does a great job here and actually looks the part.

The 1980’s period has most of the movie’s conflict with Cuscak’s Wilson being frequently over-medicated by his psychiatrist Dr. Eugene Landy (brilliantly played by Paul Giamatti.) When the beautiful Melinda Ledbetter (Elizabeth Banks) finds him car shopping in her Cadillac dealership, the story shifts to saving Brian from his manipulative doctor. Both parts of the movie work seamlessly together, but the latter period has most of the best acting in the movie. Its got Cusack capturing the subtle nuances of the adult Wilson perfectly, to the point where the lack of physical resemblance with the real Wilson almost isn’t an issue. In addition, both Banks and Giamattis performances keep the film from losing momentum.

The excellent sound editing here is also a huge part of this movie, as it brings the cacophony of voices in Brian’s head to life as well as the genesis of “God Only Knows.” If you want to nitpick, they gloss over Marilyn Rovell (Brian’s first wife) and the other Wilson brothers. They also ignore the 1970’s where Brian ballooned in weight, grew a beard and how Dr. Landy initially saved his life (before he turned into the villain.) Overall, an excellent film that is a must-see for Beach Boys fans and even the non-fans will enjoy this.

For more real life vs. movie comparisons Slate has a good article on this.

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Caddy “The Better End”

Caddy

Caddy “The Better End”
It’s been a long time since the last Caddy album, but Swedish one-man-band Tomas Dahl makes the wait worth it. On his third Caddy album Tomas moves away from the aggressive sound to something gentle and sun soaked. The first song “Here it Comes Again” states the intentions “searching for perfect harmonies,” and the denser “Something About Carina” is very much like Teenage Fanclub or Rick Gallego’s Cloud Eleven.

You’ll also hear influence of Tom Petty on “Into The Sun” with its steady bass drumbeat and jangling rhythm. The dreamy California summer is the main theme of the Beach Boys influenced “Fangblenny” and “The Better End” with its sleigh bells and echoing harmonies. The songs get better as we move forward, highlights include: “Bring It Back, “Chasing Clouds,” and the multi-layered harmonies in the chorus of “Saint Cyr-Sur-Mer.” While there really isn’t any filler on this album, the songs tend to sound more homogeneous toward album’s last half. But, overall this is a perfect album for those long summer nights. Highly Recommended.

Amazon | Kool Kat Musik | vinyl on Sugarbush Records

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The Honest Mistakes and Susan James

The Honest Mistakes “Get It Right”

Baltimore band continues to push out great music, lead by Joylene Dalia and guitarist Chris Ehrich.  The strong chords and catchy beat dominate the opener “This Is Where I Gave Up” and Joylene hits it out of the park with an emotional chorus. Her vocal inflections on “Get It Right” are distinctive, alternating soft and powerful here. “Don’t Leave Me Alone Too Long” is a lyrical treat about dealing with relationship problems before they get worse.

The songs settle into a comfortable groove with long jangling guitar rhythms on “Sun Tea” and “Free,” but they pick up the tempo on “We Used To Be Friends” and then “It’s Hard,” with it’s simple message “it’s hard to know what we do this for…” Another terrific song is “Anybody’s Girl.” While the harmonies are kept to a minimum, and the arrangements are pretty simple throughout, its anchored by Joylene’s powerful voice. Definitely worth repeat listens. If you would like to see The Honest Mistakes LIVE, they will be playing Power Popaholic Fest this September!

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Susan James “Sea Glass”

Susan James musical influences are from a variety of strong singer-songwriters from Joni Mitchell to Tori Amos. Her delicate ethereal vocal and angelic harmony is what stands out in “Posiedon’s Daughter,” a folk pop tune about a mermaid’s plight, as this message is all about saving our seas from pollution (“Is there nothing you can do for her?”).

“Awful Lot” is another bittersweet story, but the magic really starts with “Hey Julianne” using a Brian Wilson styled composition, full of beautiful orchestration courtesy of Sean O’Hagan (High Llamas). The Spanish “Ay Manzanita” is another highlight about female empowerment, and “Tell Me Cosmo” is a wonderful psychedelic tribute to the hippie era with its shimmering chords and echoing chorus. Overall a highly recommended folk pop album that impresses with each listen.

Bandcamp | Amazon | Itunes

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