Thursday, March 29, 2012

Beyond Veronica - Hard Time for Dreamers

Beyond Veronica has found a meaningful, inspired niche in the rock ‘n roll world, citing a diversity of influences ranging from ‘60s girl groups and ‘70s punk, to contemporary indie rock.
Performing throughout the west coast in various venues and festivals, Beyond Veronica helped pave the way for the resurrection of female-fronted  power pop.

What a great album!  I could harp on about female fronted bands, but see no point in drawing a comparisons to others that have walked the path of Power Pop before.
Bonnie Veronica must have stood before the creator and said, "Yeah, everything is fine, now give me the best voice for Power Pop!" and clearly, she got it!
The rest of the band compliment Bonnie and keep the whole thing powering along at a 100mph (160kmh for our European friends).....just the way it should be.
It is not often that I am bowled over by an album, I don't give albums marks out of 10 but I am certainly turning this up to 11!

What they’re saying...
“Beyond Veronica are one of the best bands I ́ve heard this year.” --Punk Globe Magazine/ (UK)

“Really solid and consistently enjoyable straight ahead rock `n roll. Front-woman Bonnie Veronica has a vocal command that sweetens and straightjackets the melodies in the songs and sweet, but assertive rock `n pop melodies hold it all together with aplomb. Very highly recommended!”--

“Hard Times For Dreamers” is available on limited edition vinyl (with download card) nationwide from CD and download from CD Baby,,, and many others.

Contact info:

SPENCER DAVIS GROUP - THEIR FIRST LP (FONTANA 1965) Japan Edition with 9 bonus tracks

His ferocious soul-drenched vocals belying his tender teenage years, Stevie Winwood powered the Spencer Davis Group's three biggest U.S. hits during their brief life span as one of the British Invasion's most convincing R&B-based combos.

Guitarist Davis formed the band with Winwood on organ, his brother Muff Winwood on bass, and drummer Peter York. Signing on with producer Chris Blackwell, the quartet got their first hit (the blistering "Keep on Running") from another of Blackwell's acts, West Indian performer Jackie Edwards. After topping the British charts in 1965, the song struggled on the lower reaches of the US Hot 100.

The group's two hottest sellers were self-penned projects. "Gimme Some Lovin'" and "I'm a Man" were searing showcases for the adolescent Winwood's gritty vocals and blazing keyboards and the band's pounding rhythms. Although they burned up the charts even on the other side of the ocean in 1967, the quartet never capitalized on their fame with an American tour. At the height of their power, Winwood left to form Traffic, leaving Davis without his dynamic frontman. The bandleader focused on producing other acts, including a Canadian ensemble called the Downchild Blues Band during the early '80s.

The group's first album is basically a reflection of their early repertoire and very heavy on the R&B/soul standards. Dominated by covers of Ike & Tina Turner, the Coasters, John Lee Hooker, Little Walter, Brenda Holloway, and others, only three of the tunes are original. Two of these are written by Stevie Winwood, the other by Spencer Davis; Winwood's mid-tempo soul number "It Hurts Me So" is easily the best of them. Winwood is in fine voice and the group is energetic, but this is neither as good as their best work nor nearly as good as the best British R&B albums of the era by competitors like Them and the Rolling Stones. Includes their first two British singles, "Dimples" and "I Can't Stand It."  
Listen: HERE

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Grimm Generation - The Last Record Party

From the flaming wreckage of the 'Record Industry' arise The Grimm Generation. Carmen Champagne and Jason P. Krug met for one date, thought better of it, so instead co-authored a book, 'Say Anything: Dispatches on Love, Lust and Longing from The Grimm Generation'. One night, Jason dropped by with acoustic in hand and convinced Carmen to sing. And the 'Post-Apocalyptic Pop Stars', The Grimm Generation was born. The GG design is simple: one guitar and two singers. The hook comes in the 'confessions', the loud and public sharing of their perception of modern 'love', told over tunes based on blues+country+glam+show music (= Rock And Roll) featuring emotionally wrung out vocals leaving no doubt that these are real moments, captured, reshaped, and harmonized with. The Grimm Generation hail from the suburbs of the Northeast, USA and have been compared to Lou Reed, X and The Doors.
The Grimm Generations "The Last Record Party" is an album full of thought provoking songs with a Velvets feel delivered by Carmen Champagne with her unique, sometimes haunting, voice.  Subsequent listens to this album have unearthed more depth and beauty that was not so apparent on first listening but have ensured it to become a mainstay in the collection.


Listen to more:

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Animals - The Animals 1964

One of the most important bands originating from England's R&B scene during the early '60s, the Animals were second only to the Rolling Stones in influence among R&B-based bands in the first wave of the British Invasion. The Animals had their origins in a Newcastle-based group called the Kansas City Five, whose membership included pianist Alan Price, drummer John Steel, and vocalist Eric Burdon. Price exited to join the Kontours in 1962, while Burdon went off to London. The Kontours, whose membership included Bryan "Chas" Chandler, eventually were transmuted into the Alan Price R&B Combo, with John Steel joining on drums. Burdon's return to Newcastle in early 1963 heralded his return to the lineup. The final member of the combo, guitarist Hilton Valentine, joined just in time for the recording of a self-produced EP under the band's new name, the Animals. That record alerted Graham Bond to the Animals; he was likely responsible for pointing impresario Giorgio Gomelsky to the group.

Gomelsky booked the band into his Crawdaddy Club in London, and they were subsequently signed by Mickie Most, an independent producer who secured a contract with EMI's Columbia imprint. A studio session in February 1964 yielded their Columbia debut single, "Baby Let Me Take You Home" (adapted from "Baby Let Me Follow You Down"), which rose to number 21 on the British charts. For years, it was rumored incorrectly that the Animals got their next single, "House of the Rising Sun," from Bob Dylan's first album, but it has been revealed that, like "Baby Let Me Take You Home," the song came to them courtesy of Josh White. In any event, the song -- given a new guitar riff by Valentine and a soulful organ accompaniment devised by Price -- shot to the top of the U.K. and U.S. charts early that summer. This success led to a follow-up session that summer, yielding their first long-playing record, The Animals. Their third single, "I'm Crying," rose to number eight on the British charts. The group compiled an enviable record of Top Ten successes, including "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" and "We've Gotta Get Out of This Place," along with a second album, Animal Tracks.

In May of 1965, immediately after recording "We've Gotta Get Out of This Place," Alan Price left the band, citing fear of flying as the reason; subsequent biographies of the band have indicated that the reasons were less psychological. When "House of the Rising Sun" was recorded, using what was essentially a group arrangement, the management persuaded the band to put one person's name down as arranger. Price came up the lucky one, supposedly with the intention that the money from the arranger credit would be divided later on. The money was never divided, however, and as soon as it began rolling in, Price suddenly developed his fear of flying and exited the band. Others cite the increasing contentiousness between Burdon and Price over leadership of the group as the latter's reason for leaving. In any case, a replacement was recruited in the person of Dave Rowberry.

In the meantime, the group was growing increasingly unhappy with the material they were being given to record by manager Mickie Most. Not only were the majority of these songs much too commercial for their taste, but they represented a false image of the band, even if many were successful. "It's My Life," a number seven British hit and a similar smash in America, caused the Animals to terminate their association with Most and with EMI Records. They moved over to Decca/London Records and came up with a more forceful, powerful sound on their first album for the new label, Animalisms. The lineup shifts continued, however: Steel exited in 1966, after recording Animalisms, and was replaced by Barry Jenkins, formerly of the Nashville Teens. Chandler left in mid-1966 after recording "Don't Bring Me Down" and Valentine remained until the end of 1966, but essentially "Don't Bring Me Down" marked the end of the original Animals.  By Bruce Eder

Listen: HERE

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Counters - This Doesn't Mean We're Friends

When I received this album with text mentioning Power Pop and Country, I have to admit I was somewhat dubious but as always, when anyone takes the time to send me anything, I listened to it and yes, it is country and yes it is power pop, not mixed but on seperate tracks!
Album opener, "When You Come round" is as perfect power pop as you could wish for as an opening track, this is followed hot on the heels by  "Please don't say" which is undeniably country but they sit next to each other in harmony and when you start to breakdown Power Pop, it has the roots of many music styles wrapped in melody and jangly guitars, so why not embrace the two on one album.  This works. ICM.

 This Doesn’t Mean We’re Friends is the debut album from The Counters, a London, Ontario group made up of local singer-songwriter Rupert Heath and 9 guest musicians. Half the album draws on the inspiration of classic powerpop-inflected bands like the Beatles, the Byrds and Big Star. The other half is under the spell of classic country, folk and singer-songwriters like Hank Williams, Willie Nelson, Nick Drake and Richard Thompson. But The Counters are their own beast. This Doesn’t Mean We’re Friends is a long-player which takes sharp turns, uncovers a few new leaves, and bears little resemblance to anything else coming out of London (or anywhere else) this year. The album was recorded and mixed by London legend Andy Magoffin at the House of Miracles studio, and features some of the city’s best musicians including members of local live aces The Mongrels, ex B-Girl drummer Marcy Saddy and fiddle wizard Martin Horak (the latter mostly recently to be heard on London artist Graham Nicholas’s solo debut Bury Me Under The Dancefloor). Harris Newman mastered.

 Listen to and purchase the album with a name your price price tag at Bandcamp 

Follow and LIKE The Counters Facebook

Friday, March 23, 2012

Phenomenal Cat - UPDATE

Phenomenal Cat have informed me that the allotted 200 free downloads of "postcards From The British Empire" are nearly all out on their bandcamp page.
These songs are really great and if you haven't already downloaded them, go and get them now whilst there are still some free downloads left and remember to go to the facebook page and click on the "LIKE" button to keep up with the new release every month for the whole of the year, these will also be limited to 200 free downloads!!!!!!


The District Attorneys . Waiting on the Calm Down: The Basement Sessions. FREE DOWNLOAD

I don't know an awful lot about The District Attorneys other than what is on their bandcamp page, but I do know they make good music with some lovely vocal harmonies and they are giving two EP's away for free!!

Download both EP's here: BANDCAMP

Catch them live this Spring!
 Contact, like and follow on FACEBOOK