Kick Ass Rock n’ Roll – Reserved For Rondee – Back In Velvet
I always dig through all submissions to find the gems. Reserved For Rondee contact me a long time ago asking that I review Back in Velvet. While it took me way too long to get to it, excellent music is timeless. Rock n’ Roll, kick ass and awesome were my first thoughts on the LP. In my opinion, this ten track LP belongs in the library of anyone who likes superb rock music.
I will share my thoughts on the album in one moment, first let us hear what the band has to say about themselves:
“A melting pot of the NYC indy rock scene, Reserved For Rondee draws inspiration from classic artists like Led Zeppelin, the Beatles, U2 and contemporaries like the White Stripes, the Black Keys and Arcade Fire, blending imagination and style into a mystic rock journey. On the strength of their live performances and their debut EP RFR, released in February, 2012, the band launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise the funds necessary for the recording of their debut album Back In Velvet. Receiving support from an international audience, the band quickly met and exceeded its targeted goal. Recorded in Brooklyn, NY and released in August 2013, Back In Velvet captures the vibrant sound of a band reflecting the energy that can only be found in New York, the greatest city in the world.”
The Band Members are:
- Trevor Vaughn – vocals
- Billy Magnussen – guitar
- Nick Fokas – guitars
- Tom Degnan – bass
- Warren Hemmenway – drums
Bronx Cheerleader – Psychedelic Rock from Saint Catharine’s, Ontario
If you like creative jammin’ psychedelic rock and roll, safe bet you are going to love Bronx Cheerleader. From Saint Catharine’s, Ontario, this band has a great psychedelic sound. These Canadians use dreamy vocals, great effect guitar, some steel pedal guitar, and lots of simply great music. While they heavily use guitars and vocals, they do eclecticism well mixing in other musical events in a pleasingly unexpected way.
In my opinion, one of the hurdles an artist can be confronted with is sticking largely with one genre. It is too easy for the music to start sounding “all the same”. In order to leap the obstacle, the musician must do the genre superbly well. Bronx Cheerleader is as good an example of perfectly making such a jump.
They have a good number of releases, both singles and LPs, dating back to 2005, many great tunes. They are also hip enough to offer Real Punks Don’t Sing About Girls on 12″ vinyl. They offer Tough Guy Cliches as a free download.
Victory Kicks – The Young Flood and More!
A long time ago, in an inbox overstuffed, I was contacted by Victory Kicks. Originally, I was asked to review two tracks which were released back in February. While I enjoyed Smoke and Last Night, it merely served as an enticement to listen to more of their excellent alternative music.
First let us hear what the band says about themselves:
Victory Kicks are an alternative rock band from the Isle of Wight and now based in London. Formed originally as a home recording project by singer/songwriter John Sibley, the band continues to produce and release all its records independently on its own label, Unmanned Aerial Vinyl.
This band has been around for a while and, hopefully, they stay around even longer. Originally a solo project, their Facebook bio states they are now a quartet. A really, really good quartet. Once I listened to the two tracks they requested me to review, I was simply thirsty for more and spent hours doubling back and listening to everything they have released. I don’t often binge listen to a band but this talent is a worthy exception. It was time well spent and I am certain I will be looking for more from them in the future. They now have 7 releases. They also offer their entire discography at 50% off at bandcamp.
The Black Satellites – Don’t Forget My Name
If you like driving get-jam-on rock and roll, you will love the four track release, Don’t Forget My Name, from the New York City-based group, Black Satellite. It is driving, hard-hitting, fantastically energetic, and leaves one wanting more.
As I almost always do, let me have the band speak for themselves. According to their bio:
“Delivering a fusion of hearty blues, hard rock with a pop undercurrent that doesn’t undermine its complexity and originality. Melodic, fragile, authentic, built with emotion and groove before giving way to powerhouse vocals and screaming guitars. In a nutshell a sound with every song to make your heart beat a little bit harder”
Warning – The material reviewed below has explicit language and subject material most would consider not safe for work. If this type of material offends you please respect the artist’s right to freedom of expression and exercise your right to freedom of choice and read another review at Indie Nation.
As usual, I have far more material in my inbox than time to review it all. However, I shall get to it all, in order, as rapidly as possible. I shall keep my pledge to “listen to the bad music so you don’t have to”. If you are a musician awaiting a response either I didn’t like your material or I just haven’t gotten to you yet. Be patient, sooner or later you will know.
I shall also continue to write positive-only reviews for the material that I happen on and like. Today, I would like to thank Undefined 901 or “U901” for giving me something to rave about. I don’t know much about the band other than they are from Memphis Tennesee.
Louise Aubrie Late44
This artist splits her time between London and New York. Louise Aubrie pumps out powerful pop with a healthy dose of rock and punk. Her latest release, Late 44 is an excellent ten-track release. Every song entertains from start to finish. Produced at Abbey Road Studio, the producers and the musicians totally clicked to create an amazing sounding work… Superbly done! I honestly can find nothing bad to say about this release. I love it!
The music is packed with powerful guitar and vocals. While all the musicians performed awesome on this album, moving perfectly as one, I was drawn to the guitar work and vocals. They are superb. Check out how well she uses her dynamic and powerful voice, like an extra instrument at times, on Next to Nothing. The punkish guitar riffs on Winter Dolour. The nice crunchy guitar on Tearjerker. Seriously folks, every track on this release is a treat.
Bitter’s Kiss – A Young and Rising Talent
Bitter’s Kiss is an indie pop artist from Weehawken, New Jersey. It is the work of Chloe Baker. She has a pleasing voice, writes great lyrics, uses her voice to deliver them beautifully, backs it with music with a nice touch of variety and is something worth listening to.
I will elaborate further on why I like this young talent soon but, for now, let us hear what she has to say about her work, from the artist’s About Page:
bitter’s kiss, current project of New Jersey-based singer/songwriter Chloe Baker, invites the listener into a world of joy, pain, sorrow and redemption that reflects the humanity in all of us. With a voice that is melodic, delicate and at times haunting, Chloe explores a range of styles as she describes her own observations and experience through music and words.”
Love in the Dark
Disclaimer – some might consider material by this band not safe for work, if explicit lyrics offend you, please exercise you freedom of choice and navigate to another post as we exercise our freedom of speech.
I don’t know much about these artists. Love in the Dark, a 6 piece band from Chicago, according to their email, records their own material in the drummer’s basement. Looking at some of the photos on their Facebook Page, I would best describe the seating sardine style. The band’s members occupying every possible square inch of space with the keyboardist, at times on the floor. However, they blast a lot of sound out of the small space. A lot of very awesome sound.
Steve Benjamins – Sightlines
Steve Benjamins is a musician from Toronto. His latest release Sightlines is an ear pleasing collection of downtempo and indie pop. While his music does have the sound of these genres, this work is eclectic, unique and fresh. His voice is both powerful and soothing. His compositions leave the listener wishing to hear more. In my opinion, this six track EP, his third release, is his best… I mean that, on discovery of Steve, I listened to everything I could find by him on the web.
Steve’s combination of vocal and musical styles keep it mellow while maintaining steady movement and energy. He keeps it interesting, you won’t want to stop listening.
There are tracks that flow very much like a Philip Glass work with simple almost monophonic repetitive melodies, others layered for an orchestral feel, at times reminiscent of Mike and the Mechanics, even very unique tracks with a discordant battle going on between the instruments and, best of all, doing it all by creating distinct sound of his own.
The Bad Years – Common Mistake
What follows is a video of Common Mistake from the band, The Bad Years. Quoting their introduction email:
“The Bad Years members are Sami Akbari (aka Sami The Great) and Aaron Mort (formerly The Stone Foxes) and are based in the Thai Town neighborhood of Los Angeles, CA. The Video was directed by Jacob Arden McClure.
Sami Akbari on the meaning of ‘Common Mistake’:
‘For us it’s about being hopelessly in love but going through a period of frustration and doubt. You crave change but you’re just not feeling satisfied with the time it’s taking to get there, feelings of anxiousness, fear, and love combining…the eternal relationship struggle.'”
I am always leery of presenting only one track by an artist. It can fall short of showing exactly who the artist is. That said, in the unlikely chance you don’t like this track, please continue to read on after the video…
Elessar Thiessen – A Rainy Week in Paradise
Elessar Thiessen is a Winnipeg singer/songwriter. His “day job” is a producer. However, he is certainly not a musician who “shouldn’t give up his day job”. He has more than enough talent to give up producing and just play. According to his bio, he got his first guitar at age 8 and has played ever since. It also said that the Canadian weather kept the young musician indoors. One thing for sure, whether due to weather or just talent, his latest work shows off not only his production skills but also his talent for composing and playing.
While he does get some help from other artists on some tracks, he is basically the musician on this album. (And, naturally, the producer.) His latest work is a showcase of how many things he can do well, very well or exceptionally well. His voice is excellent. He uses it well, capitalizing on rhythm, tone, and amplitude to powerfully and emotionally deliver the song. The lyrics and their delivery add more, he knows when to simply repeat lines for emphasis, pump it out with more soul, slide it off his tongue in smooth jazzy style and,use expression and words to paint a picture in the listener’s mind’s eye.