Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Brett Saxon

A veteran of the Brooklyn scene, folk-rocker Brett Saxon's background blends the concrete streets of his adopted home with the wild terrain of his Minnesota raised youth. Through his electric worldview lens, Saxon's modern approach to acoustic led narratives evokes the sensibilities of influences like Elliot Smith, Bob Dylan and Wilco.

His latest release, Review of the End, extends the lengths of his musical storytelling by highlighting drama in relationships, or exposing holes in social politics. In the appropriate spirit, the LP was recorded with a number of journeymen session musicians, with Saxon leading the band and contributing the mood.

In the live arena, Saxon has been a fixture in and out of New York opening for acts like Bob Nanna, Della Mae and Laura Stevenson. Review of the End out NOW.


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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Bishop's Daredevil Stunt Club

The Bishop's Daredevil Stunt Club was firmed in 2009 (originally simply "The Bishop"). This tight-knit "band family" connects strongly with their loyal, supportive fan base. The band's lineup is as talented as it is inspired. Made up of 5 members and hailing from Frankfort, IL. TBDSC have just dropped their fifth release, Veva, Hold On! TBDSC are a mix of alternative rock that is piquantly melodic and subtly electric. This versatile and talent group delivers a magnetic performance, showcasing exceptional songwriting-songs with introspective lyrics with intelligence, subtlety and a sense of humor. The musical backdrop is uniquely their own, while there remains a true connection to archetypal musical roots and influences.

Billy Giricz's vocal character and range give his songs texture that enchants in both live performances and on the band's recordings. His guitar leads are killer. And his song structure and arrangements make for interesting, creative music guaranteed to please even the toughest critic.

Paulette Bertrand's vocals and songwriting balance out the boys contributions (though she can rock right along side of them too!) She is multi-instrumental and does it all well. Paulette is truly a "Jill" of all trades and master of them all.


Luke Smith drives the music with drums that are both technically spot on and very artistically inspirational. Luke doesn't just take the back seat as drummer. His musical prowess shine in his songwriting and stage performance alike.

Dan Passarelli contributes the low end with bass lines that are sometimes melodic, sometimes driving and are always ear catching. Dan adds some pop-sensibility in the band's artful, Indie sound.

Darin "Cappy" Gregg serves up energy, creativity and stage presence that puts the whipped cream and cherry on top of this decadent musical sundae. Cappy fortifies the band's compositions with originative musical intuition. Plus, he plays a mean trumpet and moves like a gazelle.

Don't miss any chance you get to see TBDSC and grab a copy of Veva, Hold On! available on iTunes.


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Monday, October 20, 2014

Bill Madden

New Religion by Bill Madden: bold music and urgent message, perfectly timed for today.
Review: I put on my earphones and listened to Bill Madden’s latest album, New Religion, several times maybe five or six, I lost count. Some of the time, I was stilleyes closed, mind quiet, just listening as his songs created an environment that was irresistible at a music level. Other times my mind was anything but quietit was thinking, dissecting, unearthing meaning. And a few times, I was movinghiking with my dog, just enjoying the blend of the Madden’s world with my view of the Pacific Ocean from a trail along the coast. Regardless of my mental or physical state, Bill Madden altered it and in a very good way.


Madden stands at the intersection of politics and music, like a Tom Morello or Ani DeFranco or the up and coming Eleanor Goldfield.  His songs are explicit descriptions or beautiful metaphors of the hypocrisy and torment in the world, told through stories of people with no voice, or people with strong voices who struggle for change. These stories are born aloft in New Religion by nontraditional instrumentation and unencumbered but subtly complex arrangements that create a landscape that his lyrics trek through. The effect can be ethereal, hypnotic, and seductive. It departs from, and moves beyond, the folk rock of Samsara’s Grip or the alt rock of Gone into a new world, while it retains the poetry and social commentary that are his brand and his internal engine.

A spiritualist and activist who co-manages a progressive news and information blog, he uses music as one of several tools to impact the world. His influences range from Buddhism, Dylan, and the Beatles to Violeta Parra, Silvio Rodríguez, Pablo Neruda and Jiddu Krishnamurti. New Religion reflects all of these and more.  With these influences, he has created a work that is listenable, accessible and relevant.

New Religion opens with “What is Ours”, soothing us with a childlike “La, la, la, la, la…” over a soft rhythm evocative of an Indian drum, backgrounded by a resonate string linelike a sitar but not quiteand soft, temple-bell keyboard notes. It makes you sway while you absorb the lines A righteous uprising / For justice, not power / Brings us together / To claim what is ours” The combination of the instrumentation and the message gives it a feeling of inevitability: there is no doubt that we are strong and patient and right and that we will claim the justice that is ours.

He shifts both musical and lyrical viewpoints in “Francesca” a haunting, painful earworm about a woman lost to suicide three decades past. A muted kick drum, syncopated with tabla-like counter beats carry a distant organ line to create a stage for the story. The music swirls around the lines A naked limb / An arm, a leg / A breast, and yet her / Face not in the frame. We are forced to look at her with our mind’s eye, like drivers crawling past a freeway accident. And what we see is a not-there woman who tells us her life is like Old coffee-cup sediment … All she left / Are negatives / And silver gelatin. “What will we leave?” is Madden’s unspoken question.

“O Ye Of Little Faith” changes viewpoints again with a steady, subdued but rising beat accented with ethereal sound effects while Madden uses a higher pitched voice to confront us for giving up too early.  Nothing’s ever / Very easy … Futile kiddie panicky / Emotion gets you nowhere he admonishes. As an activist, he knows of what he speaks when he says  So when criticized a little bit / You quit right in the middle … You try so hard / To add the facts, but / In your chemical depression / You can only subtract. In the watering holes of the nation’s capital this is especially relevant and probably ignored.

The title song, “New Religion” springs from the past 35 years since the so-called Reagan Revolution moved the country toward a corporatist plutocracy of haves and have-nots. The debunked, but still alive, "trickle-down” economics used to justify the massive theft of homes and jobs by Wall Street lurks in the background. Madden describes the bloodless corporate minions who take the homes and lives of ordinary defenseless people.  He said, it’s just a job / Nothing personal … Money, more money, more money, more / God is greed, meet the new religion.Carried by an ominous kick drum, guitar strum and distant triangle notes, Madden tells the story with increasing anger in his voice as the music rises. Judgment is coming: Sooner than late, when / The masses discover the lies / For who is at fault, there will be / No quarter, nowhere to hide. As New religion…new religionnew religion…. fades into echo, we hit repeat to hear the message and feel the sound again.

New Religion expands to cover more ground in the environmental warning of “Mother”, the uplifting but cautionary “Easy”, and the starkly painful “I See Them”, which, like Gina Chavez’s classic “Like An Animal” will never let us walk by a homeless family on the street again without offering at least a smile of recognition if not the price of a meal: I see them / Curled up in fetal positions … Don’t be afraid / To look into their eyes / They’re not invisible / We are all our brother’s keeper. As we listen, we know that we are.

The album moves to its conclusion with a positive, upbeat call for conviction, “Belief In Something” tells us we need a principled reason to look the homeless in the eye, to not quit in the middle, to tend earth’s garden. Framed with simple subdued percussion, piano and a keyboard line that all come together to create an ambient musical landscape, the music delivers the lyrical message perfectly. But Madden doesn’t leave in peacethe album ends with an ethereal warning as the final song, “Deluge”, takes us through Hurricane Sandy and its aftermath, both in the music and in its accompanying Kasia Haldas video. The ominous percussion, the subtle skyward sounds and Madden’s piercing voice emphasized in the chorus with echo all pull us into the maelstrom. We feel it coming as he sings Waiting / As Sandy teases / Taunts of rain drops / Swirl in the wind, and we see its aftermath in the lines, It’s over / Changed forever / Lives and memories / Swept away. The message is unspoken but clearthis is our fate unless we believe in something and act on it. New Religion is a departure for Bill Madden, and a good one as he has evolved and taken a risk.The risk paid offhe has produced a stunning combination of bold music and urgent message, perfectly timed for today.


New Religion, Bill Madden available on itunes. BandCamp. Amazon

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LA. Correspondent
Patrick O'Heffernan



Sunday, October 19, 2014

Angela Perley & The Howlin' Moons

Americana rockers Angela Perley & The Howlin' Moons announce the release of their new single "Ghost" off their recently released debut LP HEY KID, out now. This Columbus, Ohio based foursome blends their unique alternative country sound with shades of old-school rock comparable to artists like the Black Keys, Jessica lea Mayfield and Old 97's. Hey Kid is a fusion of dreamy melodies against gritty guitars, led by the crisp vocals of lead singer Angela Perley.

The band was formed in 2009 when Chris Connor (lead guitar, vox) and Billy Zenhal (bass) were introduced to Perley by was of Vital Music USA, the Columbus-based label to which the they are now signed. later, Jeff martin (drums) joined the group, completing the band's current lineup. They released their three EP's locally, breaking into the national arena with their fourth EP, 2012's Nowhere Is Now Here. Hey Kid is the band's first full -length release and has earned international praise throughout the US and UK markets.


Hey kid was named one of the Top 50 albums of 2014 by The Alternate Root. The band has earned accolades from Knox Road, Americana U.K. and American Songwriter. So stayed tuned for more from Angela Perley & The Howlin' Moons.

Hey Kid is out now and available on iTunes 


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Militia Vox

Progressive, hard rock/metal vocalist Militia Vox releases the first single, "Rid of Me," from her upcoming cover EP BAIT, out Halloween 2014, BAIT is the tempting lead-in to the upcoming original release THE VILLAINESS, out in 2015. THE VILLAINESS is a two-album concept project. The first album is BAIT (because every Villain needs good bait to reel in their victims) and showcases Militia Vox as a response to and antithesis of the current pop star, a leader of strong women in music, and a representative of of underworld and its clan of rebels, outlaws and outsiders.

Influenced by the darkness of Type O Negative, Tool and Nine Inch Nails, the multi-talented solo artists Militia Vox (vocals, songwriter, arranger, keys/synth, rhythm guitar) has been a classically trained pianist since the age of 7 and a central figure in bands including Judas Priestess (the world's only all-girl tribute to the metal gods, Judas Priest), Swear On Your Life, and Disciples of Astaroth before heading out solo in 2013.

"A femme fatale with a lust for heavy music, and is on her way to becoming the queen of heavy metal with BAIT and the debut the debut single "Rid of Me." Militia Vox will perform a residency during the Halloween season at NYC's premier haunted attraction, Times Scare, on October 20, 27 and November 2, and unleash an accompanying video for "Rid of Me" this month.

BAIT  is due out October 31st and Rid of Me is out now and available HERE


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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

OLDE WORDLE

Japanese artist Olde Worlde has released a new lyric video from his North American debut THE BLUE MUSK-OXEN, produced by noted musician Brad Wood. "Thinking of You" is a folksy tale with beautiful acoustic guitar, a beat heavy backing track and Olde Worlde's youthful, English language vocals. Not quite Little Jimmy Scott but not too far off either.

The Blue-Music Oxen, Olde Worlde was produced by Brad Wood (Smashing Pumpkins, Pete Yorn, Ben Lee, Sunny Day Real Estate, Tortoise, Liz Phair) who recorded and mixed the album in Los Angeles. Wood provided the multi-instrumentalist Olde Worlde with a rich template of hooks and grooves reminiscent of classic pop songs and dreamy soundscapes to arguments the uniquely voice of Numata. The album, sung entirely in English, evokes an almost otherworldly, dreamy soundscape.


Born in Machida, Tokyo. In November 2009, Olde Wolde's first release, Time and Velocity EP, was quickly followed by his first full-length album Anemone- Whirlwind in 2010. Propelled by his incredibly unique voice (often compared to that of a young chid) garnered Olde Worlde a great deal of attention in Japan and much critical acclaim. That summer, Olde Worlde played at one of Japan's most known festivals - Summer Sonic.

The Blue Musk-Oxen is out now and available HERE


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Kat McDowell

Kat McDowell's USA debut Rise Above is a winner from the first note.
Review: The thing about Kat McDowell is that she is just plain fun to listen to. And remarkably, she is fun to listen to in two languages, English and Japanese.  And that’s not an easy thing to accomplish, given the difference between the two languages. But Kat McDowell does it so well that in any language her music can make you sit up and take notice, or just let you happily tap your feet. Either way, she is a musical force on a fast track.
Born in Japan, raised mostly in New Zealand, with many parts of both cultures inside her, she combines pop, J-Pop, calypso, rock and a positive musical attitude in a mixture that is like sunshine to listen to. She built a successful career in Japan and now is in the USA, Los Angeles to be geographically exact, enjoying its surf (she is avid surfer), its plethora of recording assets and a world class population of collaborating artists. The first fruits of that relocation, the album Rise Above, is due out in two weeks  and it is a winner from the first note.

Rise Above is a substantial work; 10 songs, one in Japanese and English, the others in English, each one  distinctive, but still well within the upbeat universe that Kat constructs even from the most somber of contests. The album’s breakout single, “Human” is  her musical follow up to a very nasty argument that moves from Just one of those days when I don’t want to get out of bed to  Surely we can be human. Framed with a ukulele, light guitar  strum and drum brushes, it makes you smile and tap your feet as you think about – why can’t we all just get along and be human. You know you are in Kat’s World and you love it.


“Still Learning How To Start” picks up the pace with heavier guitars and a  solid pop beat, but it is still Kat McDowell Sunshine,  even as she sings of  promises made  under the stars at night.. The chorus Here we are, you still have my heart” and here we are and we’re still learning how to start  is a first class earworm hook, tailor-made for top  40 radio and a crush of fans singing and  waving their arms and cellphones at a concert (I’ll be there).

“Lovely Day” is exactly what you want to wake up to…bright shiny pop notes and lyrics that tell you no matter how bad you feel, it is  a beautiful day.  There’s always some kind of crises, she reminds us and tells us to put a smile back on our face and be the change we want in our life. And she says she will help you carry on – and she does. Not profound, but it works and is especially welcome in a rock universe with so much music that makes you want to stay in bed.

My favorite song on the Album is “Goodbye”, which introduces a more Caribbean feel, and is little  more serious, although Kat’s trademark cheery voice and the upbeat arrangement is well within sunshine land. You’ve had to say goodbye so many times, You can’t remember why you even bother sings the woman who played at 1000 gigs on three continents and is now living in her third country. This is not about her, but it is very intriguing…makes you wonder while you tap your feet.


The remaining 6 songs on the album are all musically addictive and emotionally thoughtful as they venture into shadows as well as sunshine. Standouts include “Walkaway”, a quiet poetic story performed with a guitar and no happy ending as she walks away from a relationship, “Dianna”moved along with an EDM-style beat and syncopated keyboards and electric guitar in a classically–assembled pop arrangement with a twist, and the pop ballad  “Final Win”  with a 80’s rock feel in which she reminds you that you have never heard my roar (we will). And finally, the Japanese version of  “Still Learning How to Start” which shows how she elevates her voice to a higher key and enunciates the Japanese lyrics a little faster than the English.

This is an album you can put on in the background as you go about your day, or on your earbuds with your eyes closed while you lie on the beach and think about life, hers and yours. It is a perfect introduction for Kat McDowell into the US market and should carve out a space for  her that she can build on, and she certainly will. Above all, Rise Above  is pure musical sunshine.  

Rise Above is coming out on October 28th and is available HERE


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LA. Correspondent
Patrick O'Heffernan