Sunday, 15 April 2012

Swanee River - Smokin' Jacket (2012)

Genre - Hard Rock / Classic Rock / Bluesy Rock
Label - Rocksector Records

Track Listing -

01. Young Blood
02. Gypsy Promise
03. Bouncy Castles
04. Blue Moon Rising
05. Flowers Powers
06. The Dose
07. Dont Follow Me
08. Rollin
09. Smokin Jacket
10. Long One Tonight

Swanee River play melodic, bluesy, soulful, dirty rock n roll just as it should be played and will no doubt appeal to fans of  bands such as the Black Crowes, AC/DC, The Answer, Led Zepplin, early Whitesnake and Bad Company.

Formed in 2005 in Ireland, Swanee River have self-released 3 EPs & 1 full album "Smoking Jacket" in 2011. They've played in UK, Europe, not to mention a headline festival appearance in India. They've supported The Answer on an 8 date tour, UFO & Taste, also appearing on both BBC Radio & TV. The band additionally wrote the soundtrack for the Irish Film Board film "The Birth Of Rock".

In early 2012 Swanee River signed to Rocksector Records with the labels Mark Appleton saying, "We're very happy indeed to be working with Swanee River. They've done some great things by themselves, self-releasing their music & playing some excellent supports, plus the amazing trip to India. However, it's an ambitious band & I'm delighted the guys approached us to help them develop further & if you listen to the debut album it wets the appetite incredibly for the fantastic prospects of the forthcoming follow-up. The timing of this couldn't be better both in terms of the band's current standing & the general resurgence of interest in the blues rock genre"

Musically the band provide the perfect blend of Hard Classic Rock and Blues, and delivery it in such away that they sound as vibrant and relavent to todays music scene as the Free and Bad Company did in their day. I have totally enjoyed listening to the album over and over again since I first pressed that play button, the songs are so addictive it unbelievable. Any fan of classic or hard rock with a bluesy edge will love these guys!

I cant really pick out any stand out tracks, as all ten are killers (definetly no fillers on this album!), but at the moment my personal favorites are Young Blood, Blue Moon rising, Bouncy Castles and Dont Follow Me, although these are changing with each listen!

These guys are really worth checking out, and I cant wait to hear this albums follow up!

Rating 10/10

Templeton Pek - Slow Down For Nothing EP (2012)

Genre - Punk / Rock / Alternative
Label - People You like Records

Track listing -

01 - Signs
02 - What Are You Waiting For
03 - Clarity
04 - Call To Disarm
05 - Conflict In Memory

"Since this industrious unit's inception back in early 2008, TEMPLETON PEK have certainly made a name for themselves as a seasoned touring outfit, racking up impressive supports with the likes of Mindless Self Indulgence, Pennywise, Bad Religion, Rise Against, Funeral For A Friend, Killswitch Engage, Taking Back Sunday, No Use For A Name, All Time Low, Zebrahead, Millencolin and Story Of The Year. In a little over two years, they've bagged arena shows on Taste Of Chaos and Give It A Name Tours and relentlessly headlined shows throughout the UK and Europe. Last year they also toured with Epitaph's Welsh crew The Blackout, spanning the depths of Luxembourg, France, Germany, Austria, Czech Rep, Switzerland and Belgium."

Slow Down For Nothing is the new Ep, recorded in (Late?) 2011 at modern World Studios with producer Greg Haver (Manic Street Preachers/Lostprophets/Bullet For My Valentine), delivering up probaly their best material to date. the production is just polished enough to make the songs really shine, yet raw enough to truly capture their energy and essence. This is the best that I have heard these guys sound to date.

This Ep features 5 great songs, Signs (which is scheduled to be the title track of the bands forthcoming 3rd album!), Call To Disarm (scheduled to be the bands next single), and What are You Waiting For being my favorite of the tracks offered here, although I can honestly say that all five are pretty damn awesome.
I am honestly now truly looking forward to the new album!

Rating - 10/10

Die Pretty - Beyond Fate (2012)

Genre - Punk / Pop / Rock
Label - Independant

Track listing -

01 - Medicated Nation
02 - Voices
03 - Let me Out
04 - Two Hearts
05 - Girls and Boys
06 - Grin and Bear It
07 - 7th Ave
08 - My Own Mind
09 - Microphone
10 - Will We Make It?
11 - Out of This Mess
12 - Hey Girl
13 - Angels
14 - Stupid Boy
15 - Can You Hear Me?
16 - Paint it Red
17 - Soaked in Sin
18 - Knife Bullet Noose
19 - Goodbye

May last year I had the pleasure of reviewing a great little 3 track Ep, Battle Over Brooklyn, (link here) by a pop / punk outfit from the USA, Die Pretty. I remember being quite impressed by what I heard and was eager to get the opertunity to review their full length album when it was released. Skip forward almost 12 months and the wait is over, here is that debut album, Beyond Fate.

The album features 19 three minute punk workouts, (all be it with a healthy pop edge to them!), during which the band really do showcase their song writing talents.
Whats amazing is that despite having 19 tracks the album maintains a fresh feel to it throughout, Sarahs vocals sitting comfortably on top of the great musical muscle of the band. The songs are all solid, with a few sure fire hits (should they get the airplay and backing that they deserve!), with a mixture of themes, tempos and atmospheres.

This is a solid debut album, and whilst not really breaking any new ground, Die Pretty do what they do really, really well.
Stand out tracks include ,
Medicated Nation,
My Own Mind,
Out Of this Mess,
Let Me Out and Boys and Girls.

These guys have the songs and talent to go a long way, maybe even break into the mainstream and be the next Green Day or Blink 182. A great album well worth checking out when its released on May 6th!

Rating 9/10

Monday, 9 April 2012

Ginger Wildheart - 555% (The Pledge Album) 2012

Genre - Rock / Pop / Industrial Pop / Electronic / Punk / You Name It Its In Here!
Label - Pledge Music / Independant.

CD1 Track Listing

01) Forget About It
02) I-N-T-E-R-N-A-L R-adio
03) Lie When You Tell Me The Truth
04) Incidental Noises
05) It Appears That The Party Is Over
06) Deep In The Arms Of Morpheus
07) Baby Skies
08) Silence
09) Powder Keg
10) Time

CD2 Track Listing

01) Another Spinning Fucking Rainbow
02) Westward Ho! (A New Reputation)
03) Do The Lonely Suffer More, Or Less, Or Just The Same At The Point Of Death?
04) The Other Side
05) Strange New Year
06) Lover, It’ll all Work Out
07) Illuminating Times
08) Begin From Within
09) Return of The Northern Cardinal
10) Taste Aversion

CD3 Track Listing

01) You’re The One, You’re The One, Yeah I Know You’re The One, You’re The One (Yeah I Know You’re The One)
02) Beautifully, Blissfully Unsettled
03) Confusion
04) Sleeping in The Light
05) In Vino Veritas (instrumental)
06) Very, Very Slow
07) Just Another Song About Someone
08) There Is Something Wrong With My Mind
09) We’ve Been Expecting You
10) The End

I have been a Ginger fan for as long as I can remember, ever since I first heard Mondo Akimbo back in the early 1990’s, and I have witness Ginger, via the many forms of The Wildhearts, SilverGinger5, Supershit 666, Clam Abuse and his solo work, produce countless classic songs, (as well as one or two that I just could never get my head around!

Ginger has a habit of taking on the record industry, throughout his career with the Wildhearts, he was constantly battling record label bosses, and then in 2003 he decided to release a single every month for a year, only for the idea to fail due to the ineptitude and incompetence of the label involved. Then in 2011, it looks like the industry has finally won, with Ginger considering retiring from music and getting a “proper job”. Luckily someone talked him out of it and talked him into trying the pledge music system, where artist ask there fans to purchase the CD’s (or other product) in advance and therefore provide the funds for them to produce the CD / product. Ginger reached his projected target of pledgers within 6 hours of the pledge going live and in the end made it more than 555% of the target. The result was this triple album, an ambitious project, 30 brand new songs, never to be released in this form commercially anywhere else ever! The top 12 songs as voted for by the pledgers will make it onto a commercial release (100%) leaving 18 exclusive tracks to this release.

Ginger roped in the talents of Willie Dowling (Honeycrack / Jackdaw4), Chris Catalyst (Eureka Machines), Random Jon Poole (God Damn Whores / The Wildhearts / The Cardiacs), Rich Batersby (The Wildhearts / Grand Theft Audio), CJ (the Wildhearts / Honeycrack / The Jellys / CJ & The Satellites), Fyfe Ewing (Therapy?), Denzil (Ginger solo band), and Victoria (?), to record this project and well the result is a three disc, thirty song collection of music, recorded in three seperate sessions, which incorperates pretty much any music style and genre that you could possibly imagine. The production across all three cd’s is amazing thanks to the talents and skills of both Willie Dowling and Jacob Hanson whom handled the production duties.

I can honestly say that as a whole, this 30 song set does include some of the best songs that Ginger has ever produced, Deep In The Arms Of Morpheus, Silence, Taste Aversion, Do The Lonely Suffer More...., Begin From Within, Beautifully Blissfully Unsettle to name but a few, and there are a few hear that just wont sit well with many long term fans. Some because they are too light weight (although Ginger has warned all along throughout this project for fans not to expect 30 Wildheart sounding tracks!) and some because they are too experimental.

This collection of songs really see’s Ginger flexing his songwriting muscle, pushing himself into new areas, possibly even creating new sub genres of music (Industrial pop), some combining male and female lead vocals, and its because of this that I believe that this collection of songs works. Some songs are instant, others take a few listens to grow on you, and its this variety that makes this release so special.

Below I have tried to provide a brief track by track guide to 555%

Track By Track

Forget About It,
A melodic rock track, with Ginger delivering what at first appears to be a rather strained vocal track, yet it is a real grower and has become a quick favorite, and it is great to hear Ginger trying a different vocal approach!

An instant classic. A great commercial song with see’s Ginger being rather autobiographical with the lyrics about his song writing. This song is screaming out for radio airplay and must surely be considered for release as a single.

Lie When You tell Me The Truth,
A mid tempo melodic rocker, featuring joint male and female vocals from Ginger and Victoria, This song would have fitted well on to pretty much any of Gingers previous solo releases.

Incidental Noises,
A truly great song. Another melodic number that once again features Victoria’s vocals pretty high in the mix. This song has many twists and turns throughout its 3 minute 19 second duration.

It Appears That The Party Is Over,
More of an up tempo rocker, heavier guitars, but still filled with twists and turns, a real feel good song, destined to become a fan favorite I believe.

Deep In the Arms of Morpheus,
This is probably the oldest song in this collection, as it originally dates from a very early incarnation of t The Wildhearts, only previously available in acoustic form on a live bootleg form 2001. This song is in my honest opinion probably one of the best songs that Ginger has ever written. A melodic epic song, that really builds into something special, truly one of the best songs that Ginger has ever written!

Baby Skies,
A great up tempo melodic pop rock track, with many, many references both musically and lyrically to the Wildhearts epic Sky Babies, even if the songs theme is a little different. Cj + Ginger vocal always good to hear. Obviously the most 'Wildhearts' song on this first bunch, with the ending similar to the end of Chutzpah!

This song opens with some great riffing, before dropping into a great atmospheric melodic verse, then building again to a great chorus. One of my favorite songs on the first cd.

Opening with a guitar line that could belong to a track on The Wildhearts Must be Destroyed, before developing into a great melodic little number. A Great song

Opening with a guitar line that sounds so contemporary it could belong to a Coldplay or Radiohead song, before building into a great song about the passing of time and growing old.....A great song and another with a real epic feel to it, again another of my favorite songs from the first CD, and the discs closing track.

Another Spinning Fucking Rainbow,
Hmmm how do you describe this song? Brilliant that’s how, a little quirky but proof positive that Ginger has lost none of his song writing genius. One of my favorites from the second disc.

Westward Ho! (A New Reputation),
A great melodic song, once again with Victoria sharing lead vocal duties with Ginger to great effect, and already proving to be a fan favorite.

Do The Lonely Suffer More, Or Less, Or Just The Same At The Point Of Death?
This song is awesome, it’s as simple as that! This track has such a diverse mix of musical influences and styles, it’s unbelievable. A really great song. One of my favorites from the second Cd. The lyrics have a very personal and dark feel to them that draws me in even more.

The Other Side,
A great melodic, poppy song, again with Victoria sharing lead vocals with Ginger, a beautiful song. A worthy single, with some great lyrics.

Strange New Year,
A nice up tempo rocker with a great feel good factor to it. A nice song, destined to be a live favorite i do believe.

Lover, It’ll All Work Out,
A great mix of musical styles and ideas, builds into a great melodic rocker, whilst tempo changes bring in some great moody melodic pop segments. Another of my favorites tracks from disc two.

Illuminating Times,
An epically melodic song that is heavy on keyboards, a grand sounding song. A powerful song that deserves respect and attention

Begin from Within,
Has Ginger created a new musical genre here? Industrial Pop? A great song, with a great message! Another instant classic!

Return Of The Northern Cardinal,
A song that would have fitted nicely onto Gingers third solo album, Market Harbor, and song that was been played live a couple of years back. The song has a kind of country feel to it in places. Another fine example of Gingers songwriting genius

Taste Aversion,
Amazing, that is that needs to said about this song. This song is quite possibly my joint favorite (along with Deep In The Arms Of Morpheus) song out of the entire 30!
Building from a quiet a mellow beginning of just vocals and piano before building into a great melodic rock / pop workout. A truly great song with some great lyrics.

You’re The One, You’re The One, Yeah I Know You’re The One, You’re The One (Yeah I Know You’re The One),
This song first saw the light of day back in February, when it was made available as an exclusive download to those whom had pledged towards this 30 song project. The song is a great up tempo melodic rock track with some great lyrics, I absolutely love it and I am so glad that it made the final 30 track selection!

Beautifully, Blissfully Unsettled,
Melodic track that builds into a real rocker, features Gingers fellow Wildheart, CJ on joint lead vocal. One of the best songs of the entire 30 song set, and possibly my favorite from disc 3. Again, this song could be a great choice for a single!

Melodic, almost industrial pop in places, a great song, great fun

Sleeping In The Light,
Melodic guitar riffs give way to a chilled out joint lead vocal from Ginger and Victoria, that really builds into something special. A beautiful and epic song.

In Vino Vertias,
The only instrumental song amongst the 30. Hard to describe, almost like Metallica meets the shadows, a beautiful and amazing musical journey.

Very, Very Slow,
The heaviest song on the entire 30 song set, and also the shortest! I really do love this song, and its lyrical theme is really fitting for me considering my erm, day job lol.

Just Another Song About Someone,
A fairly laid back rock track, nice change of style, with a more stripped down feel to it than many of the other tracks.

There Is Something Wrong With My Mind,
Black Windows little brother, with underkill references? A great song, once again mixing up the musical styles.

We’ve Been Expecting You,
After and interesting intro we get an acoustic based track, a wonderful little track, thoroughly enjoyable.

The End,
Another melodic track that builds into something big and epic, a great song.

This 30 song set is set to become a classic and legendary release, Ginger took on the record industry, and with the help of his huge and loyal fan base, won!

If you didnt pledge then you have missed out, scour ebay for a rare copy, but make sure you get the commercially released 100% when it finally hits the stores!

Rating 10/10