Saturday, November 1, 2014

The Honeydogs

If you'd ask me who is responsible for the biggest surprise or musical impact on me in the recent months it would surely be The Honeydogs.
A lot of people highly recommended them over the last few years - but until a few weeks ago I didn't really look into their musical works. It was such a revelation when I finally did!


The Honeydogs is a band from Minnesota led by singer-songwriter Adam Levy (vocals, guitars, piano, keyboards) along with Trent Norton (bass, vocals), Brian Halverson (guitars, vocals), Peter J. Sands (piano, keyboards, organ), Peter Anderson (drums, vocals, percussion) and producer John Fields.

If you don't know where to start just listen to both of the records below (10.000 Years and Amygdala), or just to the following songs: Damascus Way,  Too Close to the Sun, Test Tube Kid, Ms. Ketchup and the Arsonist, 23rd Chromosome, Blues For Castro, Devil's Advocate, Last War Lullaby

To describe the music or genre of The Honeydogs is just an impossible task: From Indie-Pop to Jazz, from Swing to The Beatles influence, from Elivs Costello to Ben Folds. There is absolutely no way to class The Honeydogs in any musical genre!
Maybe a review from Paste Magazine (for 10.000 Years) may help here:
"A brave, important, utterly unprecedented album...as seductive musically as it is conceptually radical."
You'll find musicians at the top of their game with musically and lyrically the best songwriting far and wide.

Discography:

1995 The Honeydogs
1996 Everything, I Bet You
1997 Seen a Ghost
2000 Here's Luck
2001 Island of Misfits
2003 10.000 Years
2006 Amygdala
2008 Can't Feel the Beating
2009 Sunshine Committee
2010 Chasing the Sun: The Best of The Honeydogs 
2012 What Comes After



Buy all the music directly from the band (digital, CD) at bandcamp HERE.

Gregg Alexander // New Radicals // Cessyl Orchestra (Begin Again OST)

Do you know this intro?


Sure You do. The song ("You Get What You Give") is by a band called New Radicals. They had one hit album - Maybe You've Been Brainwashed Too. So why bother about a one hit wonder?

Mainly because of the man behind all: Gregg Alexander - an American singer-songwriter.
His first album (Michigan Rain) was recorded in 1989 when he was 18, followed by a second record (Intoxifornication) in 1992. Both records were quite unsuccessful. Most artists would stop their career after that - for Gregg Alexander something different happened...


... Six years later he created the New Radicals. The band had no permanent member other than himself and Danielle Brisebois.
The album (Maybe You've Been Brainwashed Too) and the single (You Get What You Give) where both international smash hits.

 
But soon he became tired of the musical fame: "Traveling and getting three hours sleep in a different hotel every night to do boring 'hanging and schmoozing' with radio and retail people is definitely not for me", he said - and stopped the project in a moment by emergency braking.

In the following years he had international success by writing plenty of worldwide hit songs for Santana ("Game Of Love"), Boyzone, Ronan Keating ("Life Is a Rollercoaster"), Sophie-Ellis Bextor ("Murder on the Dancefloor"), Rod Stewart ("I Can't Deny It"), Texas ("Inner Smile"), INXS, Hanson, Enrique Iglesias, Geri Halliwell, Melanie C, and ex-New Radical Danielle Brisebois.
The Game Of Love even won a Grammy.

A handful of demos appeared in the recent years in the World Wide Web. Some of them are either outtakes from Maybe You've Been Brainwashed Too or from the never happened second New Radicals album. Others may be demos for other artists. All of them are sung by Gregg Alexander.

Here's a list of the songs:

- A Love Like That (Outtake from Maybe You've Been Brainwashed Too)
- Come Be My Baby
- My Heart Can't Change
- Blown Away
- Speaking My Language
- My One Thing Is Real
- You're Beautiful
- Inner Child (released by Texas)
- The Game Of Love (released by Santana



You can listen to all of them on Youtube (or just post a comment with your Email down below). It's still not clear how they did surface.

Gregg Alexander fell of the face of the earth again and then reappeared in 2014.
John Carney (writer, director and musician who is known for the Oscar winning movie Once) called him because he wanted him for the soundtrack of his new movie - Begin Again.
Everything just came together and as a result the OST was mainly written by him. Artists like Keira Knightley, Adam Levine and CeeLo Green performed his songs. On the soundtrack you'll also find a group called Cessyl Orchestra - which is no other than Gregg himself (on vocals). I highly recommend the movie and soundtrack (listen to Lost Stars!).

In October 2014 he gave his first interview in 15 years (!) to Scott Feinberg - read it at hollywoodreporter.com.

After that Gregg Alexander disappeared again - but I'm sure it was not the last time we will hear from him.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

PowerPop - Blogs and Websites

I think it's time to give you an overview of all the great other blogs and websites out there about PowerPop.

TooPoppy

TooPoppy is the most important blog for news and musical discovery for me. I'm following TooPoppy for many many years now. And that's mainly because of the well written and straight to the point articles and the fine selection of artists. 

Starting from news of everything related to The Beatles, onwards to IndiePop (Nada Surf, Del Amitri, Guster) and a whole lot of PowerPop (Mike Viola, Jellyfish, Bleu).

Well, that's exactly my taste of good music! Way to go!

PopFair

PopFair is THE number one source for live recordings and compilations of rare or unreleased stuff from the best PowerPop artists out there (e.g. Jim Boggia, Adam Levy, Mike Viola, David Myhr, Pugwash). 
And then there is also a damn fine year-end top 25 list every year.

Hooks and Harmony

Another favorite of mine is Hooks and Harmony - the site is filled with fascinating album and concert reviews, various interviews and plenty of news.
Another entertaining part of the site are articles about the status quo of the music industry - funny and sad at once.

Powerpopaholic

Aaron Kupferberg fills the superb blog frequently with news, interviews, reviews. It's always a good place to discover some new tunes and bands!

Lojinx

Lojinx is not a blog, but the best IndiePop label (from London) since NotLame, I might say it's probably even better! I'd guess that at least a half of the artists I write about can be found at Lojinx!

PowerPop Overdose

PowerPop Overdose is always another good source for news and music discoveries. Good stuff!

Absolute PowerPop

Steve Ferra - the writer of Absolute PowerPop - fills the blog constantly with well-written reviews and news!

CD Baby
www.cdbaby.com

If you're looking for the best independent or pop music store on the web - look out for CD Baby
It's not only the shop with the widest choice of artists - CD Baby can be credited to be the shop with the most enthusiastic shipping confirmation E-Mail EVER!

An excerpt:
(...) our world-renowned packing specialist lit a local artisan candle and a hush fell over the crowd as he put your CD into the finest gold-lined box that money can buy. We all had a wonderful celebration afterwards and the whole party marched down the street to the post office where the entire town of Portland waved "Bon Voyage!" (...)

Well... and that's only a small part of the E-Mail...

Friday, October 3, 2014

Sunday Sun - We Let Go

The new record of Sunday Sun - and after three EPs their first full album - is called 'We Let Go'. It will be available on CD and Vinyl from the 17th of November, 2014.


The first single will be I Call You Honey:


Pre-order on iTunes: http://bit.ly/SundayiTunes

Sunday, September 28, 2014

+ + + New Records - September 2014 + + +

Weezer - Everything Will Be Alright In the End 

I was never a big Weezer fan (shame on me) - but the new record "Everything Will Be Alright In the End" sounds very promising. Cleopatra is the first single - listen here:


The record will be out October 3, 2014.

Minnie Driver - Ask Me To Dance 

The third album of Minnie Driver - which is well-known as an actress, but not as much as musician is a collection of cover songs. The lead single is Waltz #2 from Elliott Smith, which is (depending on your point of view) either courageous or very risky. Well, I like the result.


Ask Me To Dance will be out October 7, 2014.

Andrew McMahon In The Wilderness

I mentioned Andrew McMahon In The Wilderness before - it's definitely a record to look forward to.


Street date: October 10, 2014.

Queen - Queen Forever

Again, I wrote about the record before:

Queen Forever is just a compilation - but a compilation with three new Queen songs.
The first full new Queen song with Freddie Mercury on vocals since Made in Heaven from 1995 (!) called "Let Me In Your Heart Again" is from The Works era (which was circa 1984).


Street date: October 11, 2014

Herbert Grönemeyer - Dauernd jetzt

A German artist in here? And he sings in German?
Well, maybe you should give Herbert Grönemeyer a chance - since he recorded Mensch, the best-selling German album of all time (about 4 million copies). In the past 30 years every record of him was number one in Germany.

His 14th (!) record Dauernd Jetzt will be out October 21, 2014

Two of his most famous songs are here:




Taylor Locke - Time Stands Still

Taylor Locke, known from Rooney and Taylor Locke & The Roughs is working on his first straight solo record. It will be called Time Stands Still


Songs that were already streamed at soundcloud for a limited time are Time Stands Still, No Dice, Running Away From Love and Call Me Kuchu.



Release: 2014

She & Him - Classics 

The fifth album of Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward will consist of “carefully-selected, timeless standards”.
Most of the arrangements on Classics are handled by a full 20-piece orchestra.  

Deschanel explains: “We are incredibly excited to release a record of our favorite songs. It was a dream of ours to record these songs in a way that highlighted the brilliance of the songwriting and the beauty of their melodies. We had a wonderful time making the record and we hope people have a wonderful time listening to it.


Release: Autumn 2014

Guster  - TBA

Another crowd funding campaign is on: the new record of Guster. Read all about it HERE!
The first song is called "Long Night":



Release: January 2015 
 
Ron Sexsmith  - TBA


There's still no real info - just a release date: February 2015 

Cliff Hillis - Song Machine EP

Cliff Hillis has become one of the most interesting artists in indie-pop in the recent years.
Following his stunning record "Dream Good" from 2012 his new EP "Song Machine" is out now (on vinyl, CD and digital).


The EP is and extremely strong collection of songs:
Song Machines opens with Dashboard, whose increasing intensity impresses.
Just One More and Hang On To The Moment are a more laid back tracks with a haunting melody.
Tonight is my personal highlight (if you can choose one song from the record - which is really hard).
Could You Be The Enemy is pure classic Power-Pop - perfect from start to end.
The final track (Goodnight Sunlight) could have been a good Fab Four single - sounds like flattery but fits quite well.

Listen to all 7 songs here:



I also clearly recommend his fabulous cover songs on the records Drink Toast to Innocence: Tribute Lite Rock (Shake It) and Here Comes The Reign Again (Wouldn't It Be Good). 


The Uncle Devil Show

The Uncle Devil Show are a Scottish band by Langton Herring, Jason Barr and Terrence.

Strangely these three guys were mixed up with the famous Justin Currie (from Del Amitri), Kevin McDermott (from the Kevin McDermott Orchestra) and Jim McDermott (brother of Kevin McDermott and also from the Kevin McDermott Orchestra).


Justin Currie clarified: 
"It has recently come to my attention that some bunch of tossers calling themselves The Uncle Devil Show are being claimed by some to be something to do with Del Amitri. Let me state once and for all that nobody in Del Amitri has any involvement whatsoever with these pricks and having heard some of their woeful attempts at indie-pop ... has no desire to be. Anyone claiming that members of Del Amitri are associated with the above group may well find themselves talking to our lawyers. Where this absurd rumour came from I don't know but I'll hazard a guess that these desperate self-promoting talentless limpnecked whimsy-peddaling bedwetters are something to do with it, though I'm sure they'd deny it. I hope this clears up any confusion."

Kevin McDermott added another denial:
"I know nothing about Uncle Dennis or his Shoes."


The crux is: They lied.
So, Justin Curry and the two McDermott brothers released the record "A Terrible Beauty" in 2004. Sadly it was a single record project.
The songs are somewhere between The Beatles, Del Amitri and classic Power-Pop - and definitely worth to listen. It's one of the records I never got rid of.

Track list (have a listen to the highlighted tracks):

1. "Leonardo's Bicycle" 
2. "Gilbert O'Sullivan"
3. "Tambourine"
4. "Bimbo in the Limo"
5. "Plus Ca Change"
6. "Angie Baby"
7. "She Cuts Her Own Fringe" 
8. "Strange Umbrella" 
9.  "Dandelion"
10. "Sidelong Glances of a Pigeon Kicker"
11. "When Raymond Comes Around"
12. "I Had a Drink About You Last Night"
 

Friday, September 19, 2014

"Queen Forever" & new Queen track "Let Me In Your Heart Again"

Twenty-Three (!) years after Freddie Mercury sadly passed away Queen are back with a new record - Queen Forever. Well, it's rather a compilation than a proper record, but you'll find some new gems on it.



First of there is a completely new track called "Let Me In Your Heart Again". And it's just amazing!


A second new track called "There Must Be More To Life Than This" is a duet - with Michael Jackson. Yes that's right, Queen & Michael Jackson.


Finally there is a new edit of the Freddie Mercury solo song "Love Kills".


Track List:

Disc One
1. Let Me In Your Heart Again
2. Love Kills
3. There Must Be More to Life Than This (duet with Michael Jackson)
4. Play the Game
5. Dear Friends
6. You're My Best Friend
7. Love of My Life
8. Drowse
9. You Take My Breath Away
10. Spread Your Wings
11. Long Away
12. Lily of the Valley
13. Don't Try So Hard
14. Bijou
15. These Are the Days of Our Lives
16. Nevermore
17. Las Palabras de Amor (The Words of Love)
18. Who Wants to Live Forever

Disc Two
19. I Was Born To Love You
20. Somebody to Love 
21. Crazy Little Thing Called Love
 22. Friends Will Be Friends
23. Jealousy
24. One Year of Love
25. A Winter's Tale
26. '39
27. Mother Love
28. It's a Hard Life
29. Save Me
30. Made in Heaven
31. Too Much Love Will Kill You
32. Sail Away Sweet Sister
33. The Miracle
34. Is This the World We Created...?
35. In the Lap of the Gods... Revisited
36. Forever

Queen Forever will be out November 10, 2014.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness

Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness is the debut record of Andrew McMahon's same titled band.

Andrew McMahon is a singer-songwriter and pianist known from bands like  Something Corporate and Jack's Mannequin. In 2013 he released his first solo EP - The Pop Underground.

Every single song I heard from him so far is just stunning. Do yourself a favor and listen to his music NOW!


The album was partially produced and co-written by Mike Viola and is to be released on October 14, 2014.
Listen to the first and second single "Cecilia and the Satellite" and "High Dive" here:



Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Jim Boggia ... is creating Ukulele Videos And Songs

Jim Boggia has a new project - and it's all about his passion for a very special instrument: the ukulele!
It's a kind of crowdfunding, but quite different than you may know it. Jim explains it like this: 

"The easiest way to think of it is that it’s like Kickstarter, except in the ways that it’s not. What? That’s not easy enough? 
Okay, Patreon is like Kickstarter in that it allows creators of things (that’s me) to find folks to support the making of those things (that’s you, potentially, I mean, I don’t want to make any assumptions, but you seem nice). It’s different from Kickstarter in that instead of trying to get large amounts of support for one big project, Patreon looks to get smaller, recurring contributions for a number of smaller, recurring creations. Another difference is that instead of paying money up front and waiting months for an album to “drop” (I heard a young person say that once), you give AFTER I make these small, yet in their own way still amazing, things. Some people have described it as a “tip jar.” Pffft, some people!"


Rewards you can get are:
  • Skype house concerts for you and your friends
  • personal one hour Google Hangout or Skype Chat
  • a video of a cover song of YOUR CHOICE
  • He will write you a personal postcard, lick a stamp and send it to you 4 times a year
  • Your name in the credits at the end of each video
  • Exclusive live videos and instructional videos
  • An mp3 file of the music from the videos/songs
  • patron only stream which will include BONUS videos and audio files you’ll only get here