Lite Rock Preview and Interviews

It’s coming up in the Spring of 2013, the ‘Monsters Of Lite Rock’ Tribute album. And one of the artists featured is Michael Carpenter, doing a great job on the Cliff Richard classic “We Don’t Talk Anymore.” To find our more about this awesome tribute go to the Monsters of Lite Rock Facebook Page.


It’s been a few months since I interviewed some artists so I’m trying to make up for some lost time here. First I reached Roy “Holmes” Shakked. He is still promoting his 4th album ‘Complication Simplified’ and I got to talk with him here. Then the very next day I contacted my old friend Vinnie Zummo who just finished three albums in the last six months! I recently reviewed the last volume of his trilogy called ‘Swinging Guitar Sounds of Young America’ – our conversation is here. Of course you can navigate to our interviews section and find them there too.

Vinnie Zummo and Nine Times Blue

Vinnie Zummo “Swinging Guitar Sounds of Young America Vol 3”
Once again Vinnie Zummo gives us a collection of stylistic homages in several different genres. The melody of “I Wanna Love You” features bright Breach Boys styled harmonies, and Vinnie’s compelling lead.  The slide guitar and jangley melody of “Play Paul McCartney” sure to warm the hearts of power pop fans everywhere. He uses retro Beatles song structure on “Can’t You See,” and a vintage Stevie Wonder harmonica for the soul pop of “Funky Games.” He even does Steely Dan on “Howd This Happen,” the man is the definition of versatility.

His wife Janice really stands out as the vocalist for the country tune “Pocket Full of Soul.” You’ve got a massive twenty of tracks of music and I have to say that Vinnie’s songwriting and production have continued to improve. Recommended tracks are “Heartless,” “Just For You,” “Living On The Sun,” and with “George Harrison” he’s got a song for each Beatle! Update: Just finished an interview with Mr. Zummo. Read it here.

This tune is from Vinnie’s second album “Swinging Guitar Sounds of Young America Vol.2” and its for sale here!

Nine Times Blue “Falling Slowly”
The band is named after a Michael Nesmith song and is based in the Washington DC area. Lead by Kirk Waldrop (vocals and guitar) and joined by Greg King (guitar), Jeff Nelson (bass) and Jason Brewer (drums) opens with the title track, and I could sworn it was the Goo Goo Dolls or The Gin Blossoms. It’s rock with a high jangle content and familiarity. In addition, a cadre of power pop stars have minor roles (Joe Giddings, John Faye, David Myhr) on the LP.

The strongest material is early on, the most impressive being “Crazy To Think” and the title track. The instrumentation is exceptional, as evidenced on “Grace” and “Silent Words.” Other than a few heartfelt melodies like “Fun and Games” and some guitar acrobatics on “So Much Time,” it just didn’t move me like the first three songs here. But, if you like contemporary rock with a emphasis on strong guitar playing, this is for you.

The Seasongs, Vinnie Zummo and Sounds Like Digging

The Seasongs “Out Of The City”
This Madrid-based band gives us a heavy power pop sound similar to The Who and The Posies. Lead guitarist and vocalist Óscar Granero’s riffs on “New Love” are brilliant, but vocally he does struggle to stay on key in spots. On the title track, he does a much better job and if you can get past the European accent, you’ll hear echoes of The Kinks and The Byrds on “Lonely Room”. “She’s Gone” starts quietly, then breaks into a garage styled riff similar to The Cynics. Fans of the 1960’s Nuggets style will enjoy this album, as all the compositions are well done, if a bit overlong in spots. Others may be put off by the vocals, but I enjoyed the native Spanish “Si tú quieres” and the defiant “A guy from New York.”

NOTE: Yes, these are singles below and I don’t review singles. But I made an exception here, as I personally know these people and think that you will love these songs.

Vinnie Zummo “Didn’t Get The Memo”
This is a sweet catchy tune from Zummo & Elizabeth Racz, I first heard it on Radio New York International and it takes Zummo to his Beatles meets ELO place. A relaxed strum and straight forward lyric lead to a key change in the chorus that sits in your head and encourages repeat plays. A nice change of pace after listening to his non-power pop, jazz album. Get this song on CD Baby.

Sounds Like Digging “Do or Say”
Another surprise from The Boogieman’s radio show, Tom Parisi and his cousin Paul Costanza met up with each other on Facebook and decided to join forces because they became fans of each others’ music. Paul is featured as lead vocalist and synthesizer/pianist. Tom is featured as lead guitarist and back-up harmonies. Like The Shoes, or The Modulators you get clean guitar riffs over a memorable chorus in a superb DIY production. Get this song on CD Baby.