Nick Piunti “Beyond The Static”

Nick Piunti

At last years Power Popaholic Fest, Nick Piunti was promoting his debut “13 in my Head” and played alongside the brilliant Chris Richards & The Subtractions. He hinted to me then that a sophomore release was in the works, and I waited with anticipation. Nick has upped the ante with this release, as “Beyond The Static” delivers the goods. Nick also had the studio filled with notable musicians: Chris Richards, Andy Reed (Legal Matters), Donny Brown, and Ryan Allen.

The power chords of “It’s A Trap” ring out a cautionary tale about that little voice in your head trying to prevent disaster, “Just as soon as you’re certain, there’s a lie behind the curtain” he sings out. Vocally Nick still reminds me of Paul Westerberg, but now with a bit of Mike Viola. That dark mood sung with those catchy hooks is personified on “Heart Stops Beating.” And another signature gem “Time Machine” warns about hanging onto the past, “Been there done that too many times” he tells us.  “Six Bands” is a memorable melody about rejection in the music business where “just because, doesn’t mean you should.” Each track shines, without a hint of filler. And at the album’s end, the love song “Quicksand” is another great composition that just won’t leave your head. Easily makes my top ten list for 2015. Don’t miss this one!

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Freebie Saturdays: Emerging Artists

This is a little like speed speed dating for the musician and the listener. I get a TON of e-mails from bands, many not suitable for review or even consideration. Then I get the stuff that almost makes it. Maybe I only liked one or two songs, but these artists deserve an outlet once in a while. These artists offer their music as an Bandcamp download for FREE, and who knows you may like a lot of them more than I did.

Quarterbacks
New Paltz kids playing smelly old basement DIY punk pop backed by guitar and a single snare drum. It’s got some charm to it, and songs are under 2 minutes each!


Andy Ketch
Rough as hell Chicago guitarist with a melodic gift, plays both folk and rock.


Daveit Ferris
Irish Musician with a heavy alternative style of power pop offers up a pretty good EP. RIYL: Weezer, Green Day


Slow Buildings
Slow Buildings is the outlet for the songwriting skills of New Jersey singer Jason Legacy. Pretty cool melodic rock – a little like old school Joe Jackson in spots. Just listen to it.

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Freebie Friday: Moving To Ashbury, Grant Lindberg, Ben Lee

It’s been a while, but I have lined up some great FREE bandcamp music for you all. And more for you Saturday. Enjoy!

Moving to Ashbury – Swedish power pop along the lines of Green Day or NOFX. “Time to Let Go,” is a catchy guitar melody, the fast paced punk pop of “What Happened to Rock n’ Roll” has plenty of great energy in the guitar licks.

Grant Lindberg – Minneapolis popster Lindberg (Astropop) has been making good music for a few years now. Influenced by Superdrag, Brendan Benson, Cheap Trick, Jason Falkner, Nirvana and Ash. Well he’s consistently improved his songwriting each year. Super Mega has some real winners on it: “Sonic Blues,” “You Alone,” and “Blacked Heart”

And if you really get into Grant’s world – he’s got a collection of outtakes (a whole album’s worth) that’s also available.

Ben Lee – Musician Ben Lee is offering a mix tape for almost free ($1) and you get a pile of impressive guest stars like Zooey Deschanel, Angie Hart, Nina Persson, Sean Lennon and Neil Finn (to name drop a few). Lee wrote these songs specifically for each performer – so check it out.

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Rediscover: Roger Taylor

Roger_Taylor_red_550x543 Roger Taylor was not only a founding member of Queen (Rock and Roll HOF Class 2001) and a revered drummer, he’s also been responsible for many of the band’s hits in their later years.

Even though Freddie and Brian May were the face of Queen, Roger was a damn good songwriter, as he penned “Radio Ga-Ga” and “A Kind Of Magic.” He also co-wrote the classics “Under Pressure,” and “One Vision” among others. Roger’s vocals were also unmistakable, as you listen to “Sheer Heart Attack,” or “Fight From The Inside.” A top 10 list of his Queen hits are posted here.

Omnivore Recordings has released Taylor’s first two solo releases Fun In Space (1981) and Strange Frontier (1984) along with a best-of anthology simply titled Best. The re-issues are filled with bonus tracks and the early albums offer the Queen fan some tracks that wouldn’t sound out of place on The Works. These albums have been out of print till now.

Roger_Taylor_red_550x543 On the debut it’s easy to spot songs that could have fit on a Queen album, like “No Violins” and “Future Management.” The boogie style that surfaces the following year on The Game, is introduced on “Let’s Get Crazy,” with some fine drumming. Roger’s very first single “I Wanna Testify” is added as a bonus track here.
Strange Frontier
Several years later on Strange Frontiers, Roger has more reliance on on drum machines and synthesizers as he sounds like a cross between Springsteen and Roger Waters on the title track. But Taylor’s songwriting ability is in peak form here with “Beautiful Dreams,” “Man On Fire” and “Young Love.”


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Dylan Gardner and Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds

Kyle Vincent

Dylan Gardner “Adventures In Real Time”

Dylan Gardner is a rare find in that he’s a young singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist with a keen love of classic pop and the raw skill to produce a debut that’s both infectious and distinct. He’s been playing on stage since he was four, Dylan is a self-described “music nerd” who collects classic ’60s rock albums (The Beatles, The Beach Boys, Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, and The Doors are particular favorites). And like other young proteges Luke Potter or Drake Bell, he’s absorbed those influences quite well. Hell, anyone who can do Abbey Road in 15 seconds gets my respect.

Even the first line of “Let’s Get Started” gives away his enthusiasm as he sings “I’ll be John and you be Yoko…” to a marching rock beat. And he doesn’t sound particularly retro either, as “I’m Nothing Without You” builds from a simple strum to a richly produced chorus. “Too Afraid To Love You” highlights Dylan’s sharp arrangements, with layered harmonies throughout. He does a good job with a slow ballad (“The Actor”) and even though not every song sticks with you, keep in mind that Dylan has just started here. Fans of Coldplay and Maroon Five will like the concert pleasing tempo of “Feeling Of Love” or the upbeat fun of “With A Kiss.” Overall a highly recommended debut.
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Amazon

Kyle Vincent

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds “Chasing Yesterday”

On the second album from Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, the former Oasis lead writer starts off Chasing Yesterday, but ends up accepting that he’s one of the only artists from the Brit-pop era left standing that still caters to the old fan base (Nevermind these guys.) . And unlike brother Liam’s band, Beady Eye – he’s not stuck in the late sixites garage. Plenty of brooding too, but there is more than enough here to make me play highlights and recommend it to fans of great rock and roll.

Read my review on Blogcritics.org

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