Steve Adamyk Band- Paradise (2019)

Posted by KB on 4/30/2019 to Reviews In Brief
Big guitar power-pop-punk sound- a la Green Day with a smattering of Ramones- from Canada. Their songs don't linger on as the longest one clocks in at 3:20 and the whole 12 song release is 29 minutes, but that adds to their charm. Catchy, mosh pit worthy with a full sound that whacks you on the forehead. True to summer party rock with banged out power chords, rat-a-tat drums and layered vocals. The songs are constructed so well that it doesn't really matter that there have been countless bands prior to SAB creating basically the same type of music.

Favorite Songs: Paradise, When I Was Gone, No Help, The Letter


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Steve Adamyk Band- Paradise

Adia Victoria- Silences (2019)

Posted by KB on 4/29/2019 to Reviews In Brief
Adia is not a singer/songwriter easily classified. Parts chanteuse, pop, avant-garde, burlesque and rock with dashes of R&B. On "Silences" she pings from ambient electro-pop to big beat arena songs and everything in between singing about internal devils and self justification. Her songs are dramatic and don't end the way they start. They build, add reeds or horns, change the beat or vocal delivery- not drastically, but enough to keep you invested. Songs that would work in any size venue. Adia Victoria is the female artist we need on the radio, but sadly she is too smart and creative for the masses, like St. Vincent. Condescending comment, absolutely but tell me I'm wrong.

Favorite Songs: Pacolet Road, Different Kind of Love, Heathen, Nice Folks, Get Lonely


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Spiral Stairs- We Wanna Be Hypnotized (2019)

Posted by KB on 4/24/2019 to Reviews In Brief
Two years ago Spiral Stairs released the excellent "Doris and the Dagger" and they follow that up with an equally great album "We Wanna Be Hypnotized". The strength of a Spiral Stairs is in the variety of the writing. Nary a song sounds like the one previous. They go from 4/4 guitar rock to pop to borderline Americana then they'll throw in some horn punch. And each song is an enjoyable trip with its' own identity. You're always left curious as to what is coming next. Scott Kannberg (who is listed as Spiral Stairs) is the perpetrator of the creativeness and he adds relevant, smart, non-preachy social commentary. Give this two listens and you will be adding this to your regular play list. Guaranteed.

Favorite Songs: Not a weak one on album


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Ex Hex- It's Real (2019)

Posted by KB on 4/24/2019 to Reviews In Brief
Straight ahead, driving, riot grrl, power pop with a toe in punk. In Ex Hex the Bangles, Go-Gos, L7 and even Bananarama are syphoned from with songs that could find a home on any one of their albums. They may rock a little more that those bands (maybe not L7) but they don't reach the horny punkiness of the Donnas. You won't pop this one on for it's lyrical genius and it loses some steam mid way through, but it's a good summer bar background when you're ending a day of basking in the sun. "It's Real" won't offend and will provide nominal head bobbing while adding a dash of feeling a bit hip.

Favorite Songs: Tough Enough, Good Times, Diamond Drive, Radiate


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Ex Hex- It's Real

Fanclub and Angie McMahon EPs (2019)

Posted by KB on 4/17/2019 to Reviews In Brief
Fanclub- All the Same (EP) (2019)

Nice poppy 80's synth pop with wistful vocals backed by easy loping strummed guitar. It's not earth shattering as there is little variation between songs, but it is a sunny day, sit around the pool listen.

Favorite Songs: Stranger

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Angie McMahon- A Couple of Songs (EP) (2019)

It's damn frustrating that there are only two songs available, because these two songs are so good. Immediate comparisons to fellow Aussie Courtney Barnett with a voice a blend of Fiona Apple and Chrissie Hynde. These songs rock and they are earnest, which isn't easy to do. Let's hope there is a lot more to come.

Favorite Songs: Pasta, Keeping Time

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Angie McMahon- A Couple of Songs (EP)

The Coathangers- The Devil You Know (2019)

Posted by KB on 4/17/2019 to Reviews In Brief
The Coathangers would have felt comfortable snuggled into the mid-80's alternative, post-punk, alt-rock scene. Their songs don't truly fit into any specific genre or style and neither does their temperament- they can be angry or thoughtful. There is minimalist riffing, Cure-ish pop, Breeders meet Sonic Youth embellishments sometimes all within one song. They also know when they have taken an idea far enough keeping the songs succinct. It makes for a pretty interesting listen- though not for everyone. Those wishing for tight perfectionism will probably run for the hills. Those who can see the beauty in the imperfection will embrace The Devil You Know. Topically The Coathangers address not being your 'one', greed, social fears and they don't straddle fences- they are straightforward. TDYK is a true, honest, current alternative album and one that deserves you give it a chance.

Favorite Songs: F the NRA, Bimbo, 5 Farms, Crimson Telephone, Hey Buddy


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The Coathangers- The Devil You Know

Convoy- Black Licorice (2001)

Posted by KB on 4/4/2019 to Reviews In Brief
Convoy's "Black Licorice" is an album, that I would go out on a limb to say, has not been heard by many. But those who have would most likely agree that it's one damn fine album. I dusted this off recently and it feels just how I remember it. Rolling Stones meets Matthew Sweet with a dash of James Gang and Jayhawks. Hard strummed chords with excellently blended harmonies. A blend of bluesy Americana but not solely. There are tinges of the heavy rhythmic band the core of Convoy became; Louis XIV (Caught Up In You, Eleventeen). Though Convoy wasn't as sexually explicit as Louis XIV was to be (Convoy weren't nuns either in their songs).

"Black Licorice" was almost destined to not be heard because at the time of it's release, more experimental and edgy rock in vogue (Radiohead, White Stripes, Gorillaz) and the next wave of overplayed, dance R&B was controlling the airwaves, which pushed straightforward guitar driven pop-rock bands off radio. Sound familiar? Anyway, this band and this album deserved better, and it still sounds fresh, ringing and energetic. If you are lucky enough to have a copy, do as I did and find it and play it.


Favorite Songs: Gone So Quick Tomorrow, Alice, Loosen It Up, Anytime She Wants It, California Girls


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Convoy- Black Licorice

I Was A King- Slow Century (2019)

Posted by KB on 4/3/2019 to Reviews In Brief
It's pretty hard to dislike "Slow Century". It's a simple, light, poppy and jangly group of songs that sound as optimistic as they are meant to be. Not surprising to learn that IWAK are Norwegian since Norway recently was noted as the happiest country in world (let's just push aside the black metal scene for now) because their songs exude that vibe. Even when the go slightly gritty it's with cheer. Their songs are concise and once you are totally invested in it, it ends, which makes you want more or wish they gave you more. That is a small grievance when the songs are constructed so artfully. Does Slow Century break barriers? No. It's just a nice album to remind us that not everything is dour.

Favorite Songs: Hatchet, Clouds, No Way Out, Egersound


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I Was A King- Slow Century
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