Ho Ho Holiday Singles: Seth Timbs, Steve Eggers, and Michael Carpenter

Each year a number of artists release Christmas singles. We already featured one set last week. I will continue to showcase new holiday tunes this week in between my final reviews for 2016. A best of the year list will ready shortly into the new year.

Seth Timbs enjoys a “Bellyful”

Steve Eggers (The Nines) has been so busy (and we love it) but still found time to drop off this Christmas song released on the Japanese label This Time Recordings.

One of my favorite artists down under, Michael Carpenter has just “One More Christmas” to sing about.

Free Singles and more: Duerte Sanchez, Preoccupied Pipers, Powder Blue Tux and those darn Aussie guitars!

Duerte Sanchez is the alias of Californian songwriter Jared Lekites (Lunar Laugh) and here is a sweet little ballad that is a FREE download for you all.

Preoccupied Pipers do a nice cover of Guided By Voices “Now To War.” The band is a collective of California musicians like Ned Sykes, KC Bowman, and others. The band also has a slowed down version of Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy.” Both are FREE downloads. Check it out.

Powder Blue Tux is Barney Hurley from Samuel Purdey‘s new project. And if you love Steely Dan — you’ll flip for this. Jazz-pop that rides the coolness wave with ease. Great single here.


Popboomerang’s latest sampler “The Melbourne Divide” is chockful of great music for a mere $5. Guitar pop band Oscarlima, power pop genius Michael Carpenter, Bryan Estepa and The Wellingtons are featured. All will be featured in a show on July 9 at the Yarra Hotel. Not a bad track here, it’s a highly recommended peak at the music down under.

Automat and Michael Carpenter

Automat

Automat “Turn The Music Up”
The under-rated David Doll and Mat Taylor collaboration return after a long absence, and they deliver some greatness here. Automat continues to be a shining example of power pop, starting with “It’s The Beginning Of The End” its top-notch, hook-filled, guitar-pop taking its influences from The Beatles, The Monkees and Squeeze. “What There Could Have Been” is a McCartney & Wings-styled mid-tempo gem and the gentle acoustic strums of “Fly” recall Jellyfish in its optimistic chorus.

The sound varies at times, but always keeps a compelling melodic line, as “I Need, I Know, I Do”  and “If I’m Talking” are straight from the Glenn Tilbrook playbook. The quality of the music is consistent without note of filler, although the Beatlesque ending “A Minor Miracle” drags out over six minutes. Overall, a spectacular album that deserves your attention and gets added to my now crowded top ten list.

Bandcamp only

Michael Carpenter and The Cuban Heels

Michael Carpenter and The Cuban Heels “Ain’t Nothing Left To Say”
How do you follow up retirement? Well Aussie music legend Mr. Carpenter gets his band The Cuban Heels together and delivers what he does best. Like other Cuban Heels albums, the blues and country influences are more pronounced than his solo works – but he throws a few power pop tracks in here.

The title track is a great start, with its steady rhythm, melody line and guitar accents. “I Should Have Told You” and “Wasted Years, Wasted Time” have that familiar steel pedal, and twang. Other highlights include “Photo” and “You’re Givin’ Love A Good Name.” At the end Carpenter gives a shout out to his wife on”Thank You” making for a satisfying finale. Highly Recommended.

Bandcamp only

Michael Carpenter and The Speak

Michael Carpenter

Michael Carpenter “The Big Radio”

You’d have to go back almost six years for Michael Carpenter’s last big solo release. Few artists are as reliable as the Australian singer-songwriter, producer, and engineer. You’re just guaranteed to get excellent power pop and he doesn’t disappoint here.  The opener “Don’t Open That Door” is another classic melodic gem, with layered guitars and harmonies underneath a catchy hook. The pounding drum starts “She’s In Love With Herself,” a fast paced put down that breaks into guitar nirvana between each chorus. And the gems continue with “Blind,” the powerful “I’ve Been Lovin’ You” and each tune that follows (not a note of filler here). He gives a shout out to a major influence “Chrissie Hynde” and even a deep bluesy rocker with “Too Late.” Right now its a download only, but CDs are coming in January.

There is a rumor that this may be Michael’s last album, and I can only hope that he doesn’t permanently hang up his recording hat (I’ll wait another six years or more if he keeps giving me music like this). Even though Michael is often dubbed “a one man dynamo” who runs his own label, works as a recording engineer, writes for an Australian recording magazine, etc. I selfishly want more of his great songwriting and performing. Like his last solo album, this easily gets a spot somewhere in my ever crowded top ten list for 2015.

Bandcamp


The Speak

The Speak “Beautiful People” EP

The Speak are from Brighton UK, led by singer-songwriter Nick Conroy who “takes up where the sixties left off.” While clearly starting with those classic influences (The Beatles, The Who) The Speak are not some slavish retro band, but a modern pop group that concentrates on melody, synth and solid guitar craft.

“I’ll Be Fine” starts with a rousing Lenny Kravitz-like riff, and gets you moving with a catchy chorus (try to spot all those sixties references). “Beautiful People” and “Sorry” have their moments of slickly produced psyche-rock. “Invisible” reminds me of of Trevor Rabin-era Yes in spots, and “Life” is another highlight with plenty of arena rock grandeur. The band self produced and distribute this one, so pick up a physical copy on their website.

CD Baby

Michael Carpenter, The Pengwins and Jack Skuller

While I rarely highlight singles, a lot of them have reached my inbox lately.  I wanted to share and even though I didn’t “rate” them, they are most worthy of your attention:

Martin Carr

Michael Carpenter “Too Late/I’ve Been Lovin’ You”

A long-time favorite of this blog, Michael Carpenter has returned to the studio, and he’s taken a break from the covers and delivered some original compositions. “Too Late” is blues-rocker that has a strong pop melody and “I’ve Been Lovin’ You” is a dense guitar chorus that makes most Carpenter songs a joy to listen to.

Bandcamp

The Pengwins

The Pengwins “Vol.2”

The legacy of The Pengwins continues to drip out in exclusive box-set singles like last years “Vol.1: Naive/Life After High School”.  This year we have Vol.2 “If U Want 2/Look Around” and its a wonderful new combo. “If U Want 2” was newly recorded and is the real gem here, with echoes of The Shoes and The Beatles it was even recorded in Abbey Road studios.

Lannie Flowers sounds great as always, the second side “Look Around” was originally recorded in the late ’70s and has more of a Cheap Trick vibe. If you order direct from SpyderPop Records, you get a special cardboard box, 7″ single with a bonus CD of the songs, plus guitar picks, photos, and other goodies.

CD Baby

Jack Skuller

Jack Skuller “Can You See Me | Hard To Want”

Jack Skuller is a young modern musician called by some “the anti-Bieber,” or “a mini Jack White.” Skuller cites his influences as Little Walter, Buddy Holly and Elvis Costello. This year he was the recipient of the Holly Prize, an award made possible by the Songwriters Hall of Fame and Songmasters as a tribute to the legacy of Buddy Holly, a Hall of Fame inductee. One listen to the single, and I was impressed. Check it out.

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