Fitzsimon and Brogan “Big Blue World”

MuzicNotez The Magazine Submission Published 7/25/2018

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Fitzsimon and Brogan “Big Blue World”

The righteous feel good vibe emanating from every beat on the latest Fitzsimon and Brogan release, “Big Blue World” is downright contagious foot tapping, head bobbing, power pop paradise for the soul. The one-two punch of Neil Fitzsimon and Bee Brogan, former bandmates with Pretty Blue Gun, melds perfectly into a sweet, melodious concoction that pours smoothly with just enough bite to feel angsty. Pat Collier produced “Big Blue World” and his timelessly renowned crisp production shines brilliantly throughout this masterpiece with each track being a well-polished, mixed down gem.  “Big Blue World” launches right into the fray with a self-titled opener that showcases the melody and vocal range of lead vocalist Bee Brogan’s powerful pipes. Reminiscent of an early Juliana Hatfield, track four, “God Given Right” comes scorching in on a blazing guitar driven riff and burns “super nova” for the full three-minute run time. “Big Blue World” is all substance and no filler, making each track on the album time well spent.

“Big Blue World”, the latest Fitzsimon and Brogan independent release, can be found at fitzsimonandbrogan.com. This review was written by DB Dale. Follow him on Twitter @TommyTutone5 or his blog at elliottchoices.wordpress.com.

Fitzsimon and Brogan “Big Blue World”

 

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“Breaking The Silence” with J Angel

MuzicNotez The Magazine Submission Published 6/19/2018

“Breaking The Silence” with J Angel

The first single from J Angel’s forthcoming EP “Rompiendo el Silencio” is aptly titled “Rompiendo el Silencio” and not only is the instrumental emotionally jarring, the guitar driven track is a testament to the technical abilities of J Angel himself. Translated from Spanish to English, “Rompiendo el Silencio” means breaking the silence and the 6:00 minute run of heavy guitar highs and lows definitely shatters any sound barrier that stands in it’s way. At the :22 second mark in the song, the hammer drops, and a lofty virtuoso ensues that blazes brightly almost entirely throughout the song taking a few rests occasionally. Without accompanying vocals, this heavy hitter might sound like a garage band demo but the fingering and emotional feels overcompensate the lack of a front man almost immediately. Imagine a J Mascis soundcheck before a Dinosaur Jr. performance at CBGB’s and then you will understand the raw instrumentation that “Rompiendo el Silencio” conveys

J Angel and the track “Rompiendo el Silencio” can be heard on www.youtube.com/user/AngelAlaeOfficial and accompanying artist information can be found via social media outlets at https://twitter.com/J_Angel_Alae and https://www.instagram.com/j.angel.alae/ .

This review was written by DB Dale. Follow him on Twitter @TommyTutone5 or his blog at elliottchoices.wordpress.com.

 

Gary Douglas Band “River Road” Review by DB Dale

MuzicNotez The Magazine Submission Published 4/23/2018

Gary Douglas Band

“River Road” Review by DB Dale

The chorus and bridge on “River Road” by the Gary Douglas Band sounds eerily like a lost outtake of “Thunder Road” by Springsteen, replete with themes of hope, cars and factories, exposing Gary Douglas’s rock roots in all their sonic grandeur. Walking the fine line between optimism and despair, “River Road” punches hard from the opening chord making a tale of hopelessness ironically uplifting by the time the listener reaches the howling chorus of “Give me hope, give me strength”. “River Road” is paradoxical in nature, tears with a smile and somber deliberation while dancing. “River Road” is just plain good stuff.

Trial lawyer by day and troubadour by night, Gary Douglas delivers each line of River Road with sincere passion and an unmistakable honesty. Backed by a rhythm section that drives home the impassioned warbling like an exclamation point on an interjection, wow! “River Road” might not fit the format of modern rock or country stations, which is a shame, but that is all the more reason to take this track for a test drive.

This review was written by DB Dale. Follow him on Twitter @TommyTutone5 or his blog at elliottchoices.wordpress.com.

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds “Skeleton Tree”

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Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds “Skeleton Tree”

Label: Bad Seed Ltd.

Release date: September 9, 2016

DB Dale

The opening lines to Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds latest release, “Skeleton Tree”, are poignantly penned in the irony of despair given the untimely death of Cave’s 15-year-old son Arthur who accidentally fell to his death from a cliff near the family’s home in Brighton, England in 2015. The fateful lines, “You fell from the sky/ Crash landed in a field/ Near the river Adur”, seemingly parallel the heartbreaking loss yet, Cave himself claims the song “Jesus Alone” and the majority of songs on “Skeleton Tree” were written prior to the unfortunate incident. “Skeleton Tree” is somber in timbre and chilling in temperament. The music is the purgatory between first and second gear when acceleration from the gas pedal and the droning of the engine are not entirely in synch. The penetrating depth of Nick Cave’s half spoken word and half baritone growl strike deep into the listener’s consciousness while lyrically juggling some of the heaviest emotional content that any front man should endure. “Skeleton Tree” is the feeling that you get when leaving the theaters after the matinee screening of Schindler’s List, it is the loss of the beloved family pet and most of all…it is brilliant.

Proceeding the release of “Skeleton Tree”, Andrew Dominik filmed live performances of songs from the new album strung together with interviews and live footage. The film is equally as brilliant as “Skeleton Tree” and a great travel companion for an album that is void of singles but rich in content. Opening with “Jesus Alone”, a barrage of spoken word virtuosity sets the mood with a mind bending ethereal imagery. “Rings of Saturn” very well could have been written for Patti Smith and could have easily fit on the R.E.M. “E-Bow The Letter” album. The pay-off comes at the very end with the blustery closer “Skeleton Key” where the melancholy ambience raises its head and nods to the notion that there is always hope in a string of “and it’s alright now” chants. “Skeleton Tree” is available through the bands website, itunes or amazon music. Until next time true believers…

Wilco – Schmilco

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Release Date: September 9, 2016

Producer: Jeff Tweedy

Label: Dbpm Records

DB Dale

In the summer of ’95, myself and a fellow travel companion packed up and headed north in hopes of scoring tickets to a duel show from the Jayhawks and Wilco at the famed 40 Watt Club. “Tomorrow the Green Grass” and “A.M.” had received steadfast rotation in our vehicle since their release just mere months prior to the show so the anticipation was at a fever pitch. Upon acquiring tickets, the lights dimmed and the next two hours were nothing shy of a musical religious experience. Twenty-one years later, the ineffaceable memory of the phenomenal showmanship of the bands sends me scrambling to a local record store every time a new release date is mentioned for either band. “Schmilco”, the latest offering from the modest Chicago sextet Wilco, was no exception. Only a year since the free online release of their sketchily titled “Star Wars” effort, “Schmilco” finds the boys of Wilco burdened with the tyranny of status quo and producing a bashfully reserved sleeper of an album which even at its worst is still enjoyable. “Schmilco” finds vocalist Jeff Tweedy choosing his words with fastidious care and delivering with earnest sincerity that does not come off as clichéd or pretentious but sounding a bit formulaic. If “Schmilco” were a breakfast cereal, the album is the disappointment of less marshmallows and more toasted oat pieces in your Lucky Charms.

Maybe my expectations were a little too high for a band whose members are former delegates of the fractured ground-breaking band “Uncle Tupelo”. Birthed from the dismantling of Uncle Tupeo, Wilco has paid their dues and proven they are a sound to be contended with. After ten studio albums, a live double album, and four collaborations, three with Billy Bragg and one with The Minus 5, Wilco is an accomplished music producing machine that seemingly has run out of steam on their latest effort “Schmilco”. The viability and impact of Wilco in modern music is an undeniable fact and as essential as peanut butter to jelly but one can only consume so many PB&J’s without becoming a little indignant at stomaching another one. The band sounds tired and road-worn. “Schmilco” highlights include the whistle worthy album opener, “Normal American Kids” which inevitably becomes lodged in the short term memory of the listener for hours after listening has ceased. “Nope” is a great toe tapper that is reminiscent of great up-tempo Wilco jams of the past. “Common Sense” is an off-tempo and unlistenable track that recalls the low-points of Tweedy’s side project “Loose Fur”. “Schmilco” is not business attire music but rather, “Casual Friday” rock dressed down for the blue jeans loving fan base. “Schmilco” is available through the bands website, itunes or amazon music. Until next time true believers…

 

The Descendents “Hypercaffium Spazzinate”

 

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The Descendents “Hypercaffium Spazzinate”

Label: Epitaph

Release date: July 29, 2016

“Hypercaffium Spazzinate” by the Descendents is a jolt of pure uncut Adderall for the soul. At a little over thirty-minutes run-time, the new album by the early punk pioneers of the Los Angeles hardcore scene, “Hypercaffium Spazzinate” rekindles the liberating sensation of teen angst that age and responsibility extinguished eons ago. The irony of the youthful listening experience is that the heartbeat of the Descendants rapid-fire delivery is a 53-year-old man/child spitfire by the name of Milo Aukerman. The former biochemist, Milo molds and shapes memorable hooks with an intelligent and socially conscious lyrical sensibility that is hard to find in the current music landscape. The banality of the hooks may wear thin at times and the varying target topics sometimes leave little room for a broad audience interpretation but for the most part, “Hypercaffium Spazzinate” is superb sensory overload for the ear canal.

“Hypercaffium Spazzinate” commences with the blowtorch track “Feel This”; an unforgivably striking scramble of percussion, guitar and vocal lattice framework that delivers and ends in only a minute and scant seconds. Definitely the definitive track on the album and the rest of the composition tries to keep pace. “On Paper” fails to deliver based on a very weak premise of inflated resume writing lyrics and the weary chorus on “No Fat Burger” are the only scrawny links in this solid effort. Milo and crew are timeless elder statesmen of punk and deliver brazen youthful tunes, all the while, trapped in the aging vessel of middle age men. The Descendants are the never-aging Peter Pans of punk and hopefully will remain pillars in the hardcore scene well into their diaper changing years. “Hypercaffium Spazzinate” is an Epitaph Records release and available through the Descendents website, itunes or Amazon music. Until next time true believers…DB Dale.

Britney Spears “Glory”

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Britney Spears “Glory”

Release Date: August 26, 2016

Label: RCA Records

“Glory”, the ninth album from pop princess Britany Spears, is the proverbial “phoenix rising from the ashes” for the highly talented and extremely self-destructive bubble-gum pop superstar. On the heels of the lackluster 2013 effort “Britney Jean”, which had a shelf life that expired quicker than the wedding vows exchanged with Kevin Federline, Britany’s career was at a crossroads where many artists have tread and few have returned. “Glory” is the yellow brick road back to stardom for Brittany. At times a public relations nightmare, Britany’s hiatus from headlines and tabloids between albums has created a buzz and a curiosity amongst her loyal fandom. The withdrawal from the public eye coupled with brilliant marketing, which has systematically staggered four leaked songs and a music video into the impatiently awaiting hands of Britany aficionados, has generated quite a buzz for one of 2016’s most eagerly anticipated albums. Though not a pop masterpiece, Ms. Spears delivers big-time on “Glory”.

Britany claims “Glory” to be her most urban album to date but after a thorough listening, the album is an amalgam of Britany through the years and a solid listen for everyone. The opener “Invitation” rhythmically lulls the listener into a sweaty fever with Britany quietly whispering seductive verses reminiscent of her debut album. The track “Do You Wanna Come Over” oozes with infectious grooves and enough back-slapping bump to provide the club scene with an anthem for months to come. “Clumsy” swells with up-tempo handclaps and choruses that almost set the pace for the rest of the song. “Glory” harkens back the qualities that made us fall in love with Britany in the first place. The album is a solid buy and for that reason I say Britany (hold for the cliché) … Oops!… You Did It Again”. “Glory” can be found on Amazon or a multitude of other music peddling websites. Until next time true believers…

Chris Robinson Brotherhood “Any Way You Love, We Know How You Feel”

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Chris Robinson Brotherhood “Any Way You Love, We Know How You Feel”

Label: Silver Arrow Records

Release date: July 29, 2016

DB Dale

Never a fan of broad sweeping classifications of music, especially the term grunge, the expression southern rock, in my mind, conjures the sights and sounds of Duane Allman, slow guitar licks that build into gratuitously lengthy guitar solos and the Black Crowes. The brothers Robinson have been a mainstay on my playlist since “Shake Your Moneymaker” hit airwaves in 1990 and to me are the epitome of rock that is geographically located in the North American southern extremities. The two brothers were as volatile as baking soda and vinegar when mixed but the ensuing music was nothing less than resplendent. The highly publicized sibling squabbles eventually tore the musical duo apart and subsequently launched mediocre solo careers and ambitious new projects that never quite shined as bright as the super nova known as the Black Crowes. The latest from the Chris Robinson project titled “The Chris Robinson Brotherhood” is a prime example of the lackluster post Crowes efforts. The fourth studio release from the band titled “Any Way You Love, We Know How You Feel” is a 60-watt lightbulb shining on a sunny day. It doesn’t detract from the day and you barely notice it is there much like the elevator music playing on this effort. Disappointment runs deep on this release. The frustration is similar to the irritation of reaching for that half full 2 liter of Coke in the fridge only to realize that the fizz has left this once refreshing thirst-quencher. For now, Chris Robinson has gone flat it seems.

“Any Way You Love, We Know How You Feel” is full of southern harmony and gospel-like vocalizations that really do sound first-rate but something is lost in translation lyrically and also in the lengthy delivery. The album gently eases the listener in like a toe testing of bathwater with the slow building opener “Narcissus Soaking Wet”. Mr. Robinson is vocally on point but lyrically he is as profound as Theodor Seuss Geisel reciting “Fox in Socks”. The track “Forever as the Moon” helps pick up the tempo of the album but unfortunately the intro sounded like a blatant rip-off of The Rolling Stones “Heartbreaker”. A very poor one at that. “Any Way You Love, We Know How You Feel” is an instance of my desire to have another classic Crowes album but the result was crushingly disheartening. If you have purchased one of the three prior Chris Robinson Brotherhood albums, then you already own this album. “Any Way You Love, We Know How You Feel” is available at chrisrobinsonbrotherhood.com or any other reputable site where music is available online. Until next time true believers…

 

Rolling Stones – “Totally Stripped”

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Rolling Stones – “Totally Stripped”

Label: Eagle Rock Entertainment

Release date: June 3, 2016

 At the collective age of 145 years old, rock and roll icons Keith Richards and Mick Jagger are successfully almost as old as the eldest living Galapagos Island Giant Tortoise specimen in recorded history. The fast living pair, Keith at 72 years old and Mick at 73 years old, have seemingly found the famed Ponce de León fountain of youth at the bottom of Jack Daniels bottles and European brothels. The pair represent the rambunctious core of the Rolling Stones and arguably the paramount songwriting duo this side of Lennon and McCartney. Regarded as the greatest rock album in music history, the Stones “Exile on Main St” catapulted the band into icons and legends in their own time. In 1995, the band released a film and accompanying soundtrack titled “Stripped” which followed the Stones performing stripped down versions of their classic songs in Amsterdam, Paris and London. The year 2016 recaptures the boys from London showcasing these legendary credentials on live sets from 1995, with alternate takes and songs, simply entitled “Totally Stripped”. “Totally Stripped” is so well mixed and the band sounds so crisp that the only thing lacking while listening to the show are filthy port-o-johns, clear plastic beer cups and Bic lighters. The set-list consists of rock staples that are so deeply seared into our subconscious that the varied subtle vocal inflections and altered guitar solos stand out like atheists at Sunday School. The tempo changes and focused intensity are a welcome variation that breathes life back into these classic songs. Nothing new or groundbreaking on this live disc, just a musical photograph of one of the greatest bands of all time doing what they do best…touring.

“Totally Stripped” opens with a foot-stomping, harmonica-driven rendition of Buddy Holly’s “Not Fade Away” recorded in Amsterdam followed by a Paris recording of “Honkey Tonk Woman” that may be the finest recording of the song available. “Totally Stripped” is misleadingly titled because the stripping down of the songs seems to only intensify the energy and instrumentation of the music itself. The sleeper track on the album is “Miss You” from the London show. “Miss You” churns with progressing rhythm sections and horns slowly building to a massive body of sound that are strung together by only clattering keyboards and Mr. Jagger’s swagger. The track tauntingly dares the listener not to sway to the rhythm. Jagger and Richards may be notorious for their supposed immortality but most importantly, they represent some of the greatest music ever recorded. My advice is to first complete your studio collection of the Stones before turning to the live albums because only then can you appreciate the scope of their massive body of work. “Totally Stripped” is available on Eagle Rock Entertainment in DVD/CD collections or individually through all online services. Until next time true believers…

 

 

Dinosaur Jr. “Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not”

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Dinosaur Jr. “Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not”

Label: Jagjaguwar

Release date: August 5, 2016

Calling back some years, I remember my first introduction to Dinosaur Jr. via WVGS, the college radio station where I moonlighted as a morning radio personality. The year was 1993; Clinton captured the heart of America, David Koresh scared the heck out of America and J Mascis of Dinosaur Jr. rocked the youth of America. Blistering guitars fused with atonal nasal warbling collectively changed the landscape of college radio with a segmented sound that drew a line in the sand amongst listeners. They either absolutely loved the sound or unquestionably loathed the droning noise. There was no grey area. The year 2016 finds Dinosaur Jr. in the same predicament; “Give A Glimpse Of What Yer Not”, the latest offering from Dinosaur Jr., is a skillfully crafted sludge romp through some of the most superbly dense guitar playing and dissonant vocals since Husker Du stretched the preconceived borders of punk rock. The album is brilliant and a gem of a listen but, there is not a single radio friendly track on this masterpiece. If predictable sounds and tones are essential to your listening enjoyment, then I suggest skipping this one.

Guitar amp feedback ushers in the loosely knit album opener “Goin Down”, setting a blazing tone through the first half of the album with each ensuing track trying to out-do the prior. “Tiny” cohesively follows and spreads it’s wing mid-song to melt the listener’s ears with a mind-blowing solo of epic proportions. Vocals are traded on the tracks “Love Is…” and album closer “Left/Right” with founding member Lou Barlow of Sebadoh fame, adding an unforeseen variation that pleasantly complements the collection. Dinosaur Jr., an appropriate name for a band that seemingly has a catalog that dates back to the Jurassic period of alternative rock, finds itself holding steadfast to their roots and still rocking the youth of America. Sometimes rebellion is not sweeping change but rather standing resolute in the face of change. With that sentiment, Dinosaur Jr. are the poster children for non-conformity and every music loving individual should thank these Massachusetts boys for keeping the rebellion in rock alive and well. “Give A Glimpse Of What Yer Not” is available through the bands website, itunes or amazon music. Until next time true believers…