Jordan Andrew Jefferson and Bertling Noise Laboratories

Jordan Andrew Jefferson

Jordan Andrew Jefferson “The Only Way Out Is In”

This artist was pretty high on David Bash’s 2015 list and I had missed it. Jordan is a singer-songwriter multi-instrumentalist from West Virginia. A variety of influences can be heard, most from the mid 70’s and Jordan has great ear for melody and a killer falsetto when he needs it. Mostly this is heart-breaking love songs that stick in your head. Starting with “Ghost By The Water” it has a gentle keyboard, rising, melody and inspiring lyrics similar to Gerry Beckley (America) or Jeff Larson.

The harmonies are the big highlight on “White Light,” and “Beyond Words” sounds like it fell off America’s Homecoming LP with its echoing strums and multi-tracked chorus. “One Step At A Time” is a unique song with some nice jazzy guitar lines, and “It Is What It Is” has that Surf’s Up styled Beach Boys balladry that soars. Each song is a wonderful mix of melancholy and relief, even the 5 minute plus “The Party’s Over” is compelling. Highly Reccomended.

Amazon | CD Baby

Static In Verona

Bertling Noise Laboratories “The Flehmen Response”

Chicago musician Nick Bertling’s solo project Bertling Noise Laboratories has an album called The Flehmen Response named after the behavior of animals who grimace and bear their teeth. It starts with the dramatic piano melody “my opening remarks” which is similar to Ben Folds in style, but then we get “Radio,” a catchy single with a neat hook in the chorus.

The next several songs are mid tempo rockers that plough along, bringing to mind Toad The Wet Sprocket in spots. Some interesting chord shifts on “You Won’t Know Me” keep it interesting, and the rhythmic work of “I Don’t Want to Rock” is a Rundgren-like repudiation of a Led Zeppplin trope. “For Roy, Jefferey, and I” is a wonderful Move tribute full of lyrical and melodic references. Not everything works, but enough keepers here to rate this as a recommended pick-up.

Amazon | CD Baby

Read More

Tuesday Freebies: Hector and The Leaves, Matt Duncan, Vista Blue

Hector and The Leaves – Some nice mellow tunes from Tom Hector, and he really does wonders with Matt Williams (The Brigadier) production help. Check out the sweet harmonies on “Loved By You” and “Good Times.” Classic influences here from The Beach Boys to The Beatles. Highly Reccomended!

Matt Duncan came out with this last September and I finally got around to checking it out. If you like 70’s styled pop along the lines of Bread or Hamilton, Joe Frank & Reynolds you should give it chance. Gotta love that soft rock vibe on “Tell You What I Know” and “Waking Up.”

Unlike a forgotten fruitcake, you’re sometimes happily surprised to find a holiday gift you didn’t unwrap in December. Vista Blue is a band that combines 60s surf strums, guitar fuzz chords and singalong melodies that recall the Beach Boys, Ramones, and Weezer. They’ve got four Baseball themed EPs and each one is a FREE download. Check it out!

Read More

Concert Review: Holy Holy

Fresh from the passing of David Bowie, I saw Holy Holy, the only authorized tribute to him at The Paramount in Huntington, NY. Holy Holy is a super group playing the early songs of David Bowie (1969 to 1973) led by two men who knew David very well. One was drummer Woody Woodmansey, formerly of Bowie’s backing band The Spiders from Mars and Tony Visconti, Bowie’s long time producer and occasional bass player. Joined by the commanding lead singer Glenn Gregory (formerly Heaven 17) and the dual guitars of James Stevenson and Paul Cuddeford they played the entire album of The Man Who Sold The World. Then they played several tracks from Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders from Mars and some additional hits. Including “All The Young Dudes,” “Changes” and ending off with “Suffragette City.” Without a doubt the spirit of Bowie seemed to fill the room and the energy from the sizable crowd was electric. If this band ever comes to your town I highly recommend you see this show.


Read More

Rocket Bureau and Co-Pilgrim

Rocket Bureau

Rocket Bureau “Phantoms Ringing 67-73”

Is it possible to be so good at recreating an era’s sound you fool even veteran audiophiles?  Contrary to what the title of the album suggest – that these are not tracks from the late 60’s/early 70’s, but a new release by musician Kyle Urban on his 8-track reel-to-reel.

The energetic guitars start with “Silhouette” and it brings to mind bands of the past (20/20, The Plimsouls, Rubinoos) along with touch of the modern (The Well Wishers.) The song “Go Away Girl” has such classic beats and chord changes you’d swear it was a undiscovered hit single.  “Night Time” has a 50’s vibe similar to Sam Cooke, and “She Dreams In Colors” is a trip “Rain” styled jam. “Choozy Suzy” is another potential sure-fire hit and “Along Comes Sam” has a roots rock vibe with its layered guitars. Other songs have a similar Allman Bros. vibe like “Tuscaloosa Woman.” This is a “greatest hits” of sorts for Rocket Bureau and its diversity of style just proves Kyle is versatile as hell here. Not a single note of filler, and proof that DIY analog artists can rock it old school. Super Highly Reccomended.

Kool Kat Musik | Amazon


Co-Pilgrim “Slows To Go”

I missed this one late last year: Oxford band Co-Pilgrim has a distinct folk Americana influence, with California styled harmonies and slow tempo melodies. Fans of The Byrds, CSNY, and Teenage Fanclub are sure to enjoy this. “Slows To Go” swells into dreamy pop land right from the title track.

Lead vocalist Mike Gale glides through each track, “You Come Over, You Go” is a great example of crisp singing and the harmonies are especially good on “Flood Of Tears.” Some songs have a county feel, “Its A Blue Moon” makes use of lap guitar and gentle acoustic strumming. The style here is very consistent and lack of variety may seem frustrating to some listeners, but the vocal arrangements are so lush they are worth revisiting. Highly recommended.


Read More