Review: 1-2-3-4-5 (ep) by The Real Numbers

Can it really be 2010 since I last heard an album from San Francisco’s The Real Numbers? Yes, yes it can. See the (short) review here.

I loved the happy, sunny pop of their debut and their follow-up EP “1-2-3-4-5″ could very well be songs from the same album (not that I expected them to move over to a heady mix of grunge and metalcore). I’m happy to say they’re as joyful and buoyant as ever.

Songs about the mile-long, zig-zagging bicycle route from Market Street to Golden Gate Park, Internet Fame and pouring your heart out to a now gone Daphne.

Listen to recommendations; Look there’s just the five tracks. Listen to them all.

Find them at;

Web –
Listen – http://realnumbers.bandcamp.com/

Featured Album – The Duckworth Lewis Method – Sticky Wickets

The Duckworth Lewis Method – Sticky Wickets

4 Stars

4 Stars

The Duckworth Lewis Method - Sticky Wickets

The Duckworth Lewis Method – Sticky Wickets

Having enjoyed the first outing by this band featuring the Divine Comedy’s Neil Hannon and Pugwash’s Thomas Walsh, I was excited for the new album. Even so, I was pleasantly surprised by it. The first one had more of a psychedelic fantasy approach which was interesting, but soon wore thin. This album seems to take a more forward stance coming at you full on with the opener “Sticky Wickets”. This prepares you for a more straightforward rock approach to the game of Cricket.

Yet if you are looking for the more whimsical approach, look no further than the epic “It’s Just Not Cricket” which blows the lid off of the cricket industry, yearning for some good old days, complete with an orchestra and gang vocals! Other highlights include “Out In The Middle” and “Line and Length”. The key ingredient to all of these songs is the little twist that makes the song less about the intricacies of the sport, and more about life itself. I may not know a thing about cricket, but I get a heck of a lot out of this album.

Definitely worth picking up if you liked the last one, but I feel this one could be accessible to many more music fans and for those sports fans with a sense of humor. Cheers to all!

Album Review: Introducing Ruby Free by Ruby Free

Ruby Free - Introducing Ruby FreeI’ve built myself a time machine and you can too. Tuck yourself under your bed sheets and put on the debut from Rick Hromadka (Double Naught Spies, Maple Mars) and Lisa Cavaliere. The dappled light now leaking through the covers is no longer from your normal surroundings but from Laurel Canyon in its sixties heyday.

Laid back, melodic tunes to while away your time to. With Ruby Free every day is a warm, sunny, carefree Saturday.

Plug in. Switch on. Chill out.

Links;

https://www.facebook.com/rubyfreeband

Band — The Penelopes

I got a handmade compilation CD of songs by The Penelopes from Japan (not to be confused with the Paris based dance rock band of the same name). Having never heard of The Penelopes I tried to do some digging to find out more but there appears to be precious little information. From the All Music Guide; “The Japanese twee-pop outfit the Penelopes was essentially the work of singer/songwriter Tatsuhiko Watanabe; the group debuted in 1992 with the album In a Big Golden Cage, followed a year later by Touch the Ground. Although by this time the band was primarily a Watanabe solo project, he maintained the Penelopes’ name for 1997’s Kiss of Life; A Place in the Sun, issued that same year, was the first LP issued on Watanabe’s own Vaudeville Park label.” [1] which is pretty much what the bio on the send press-release says.

Facebook tells me I have twenty mutual friends of the Tatsuhiko Watanabe so my ignorance of his music is down to me, rather than them.

Twee pop certainly describes some of the bands output which puts it firmly into the Belle & Sebastian category (great purveyors of said genre that they are). Twee Pop is a sensibility rather than being as dismissive as it may sound.

Splitting their output between 60′s and 80′d influences over their substantial output there’s a lot to work through. Often synth based with a love of what I would presume is a glockenspiel there’s often an understated feel to the songs. Melodic, calming and some are almost anthemic if the anthem was designed to get you to sit down and drink a nice cup of tea.

Site details;

You can hear some samples over at http://www.newusb.co.uk

You can pick up three of their albums on iTunes

Reference: [1] Jason Ankeny, All Music Guide

Review: The Kimballs by The Kimballs

Album Cover2013 brings us The Kimballs third album. I confess to not having heard their first two, though having thoroughly enjoyed their eponymous third i’ll be seeking them out.

Citing influences such as Lou Reed, Warren Zevon, Nick Lowe and Television when listening to tracks such as ‘Agnes’ you should add some Elvis Costello and Joe Jackson.

On a hot day as the asphalt cracks beneath your feet a band is crashing away in their garage and the upbeat strains waft pleasingly down the street. Upbeat, melodic songs wend their guitar sounds earwards. A fun, Summer record. Crack open the beer, light the barbecue and put on some Kimballs.

Tracks to try; “Fact or Fiction”, “Agnes”.

More information:

http://www.thekimballsrock.net
http://thekimballs.bandcamp.com
http://cdbaby.com/all/thekimballs
http://www.twitter.com/thekimballsrock

Album Review: To Hell with you by Bleu

Bleu - To Hell with youA PledgeMusic funded album. A nice way to support an artist but then you do end up paying $25 for an album. Better than the album not getting made of course.

An overture is a musical contract between the artist and the listener saying; “This is what you’re going to get.” The wonderfully orchestral opening promised much.

The following track, the titular ‘To Hell with you’ was therefore unexpected. Hints of Jean-Michelle Jarre, or perhaps more Vangelis it’s quite a departure from Bleu’s earlier work. It did worry me – as I’m always wary of change. I know that Bleu’s dabbled in Electronica before, but it’s not what I expected on this record (i’d made sure i’d not listened to any samples before the CD arrived).

Track three, “All downhill from here” – ironically – brought back a more traditional Bleu.

Tracks nine through eleven feature rapping which I find dreary and whilst who am I to tell anyone what direction they can explore musically, just don’t fit on a Bleu record for me.

The final melancholic, wonderfully melodic closer (bonus track aside) of ‘Won’t Make It Out Alive’ almost make me able to to forget the rapping.

It’s still undoubtedly Bleu, and his knack for a good melody remains undiminished. I do hanker for the tunes of the older records though. *

Tracks to listen to; “All Downhill From Here.”, “Won’t Make It Out Alive”.

* Or, i’d settle for a new Major Labels record.

Featured Album – The Electric Soft Parade – IDIOTS

The Electric Soft Parade – IDIOTS

4 Stars

4 Stars

The Electric Soft Parade - IDIOTS

The Electric Soft Parade – IDIOTS

Great to hear from these guys again, in an album that really sets itself apart from their previous records. What makes this group so good is the sheer amount of hooks and melodies packed into each song. The songs glide along brilliantly and keep you engaged no matter what. You will be singing parts of these songs over and over again.

What makes this album unique is that it seems somewhat more introspective than the previous records. It seems to be a trend with some of these bands I got into in the early 2000′s. They are growing up, and so is their music. It brought to mind the new album I reviewed earlier this year by Bob Evans.

Despite the usual batch of instant classics like Summertime in My Heart, I think that this may not be as poppy as some earlier albums, but that is fine with me, because it is a thought provoking and interesting album. I think this will grow with me a lot and may turn out to be my favorite by them. Definitely worth checking out. Start your summer off with a blast!

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