Tag Archives: Music Street Journal

US Review: Unknown Hero “In My Head”

3 Apr

Screen Shot 2017-11-29 at 4.41.17 PM

unknown hereo in my head

Unknown Hero

In My Head

Review by Gary Hill

It would be pretty easy to lump this in with a lot of modern pop music and electronic dance music. Clearly this shares a lot of territory with that kind of sound. However, this album is much more creative than the bulk of those genre. There is almost a progressive music vibe here, and the science fiction angle to the concepts bears that out in definite ways. I like this set quite a bit. Yes, the vocals are processed. I’m not a big fan of that in general. For the most part here, it really works, though. This isn’t necessarily my kind of music, but there is plenty here to pull me in despite that. I would imagine that people who are really into this kind of stuff would really love it.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2018  Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Be Alright (ft. Kate Wild)
An intricate acoustic guitar section opens this. The vocals enter after a bit, and we’re in more of a processed kind of electronic pop song. This is a bit on the odd side, but in a good way. That makes it a bit unpredictable. There are powerful moments, jazzy elements and more here. There are symphonic elements at play, too.
Monsters in My Head
I dig the trippy electronic music vibe on this. The vocals are a bit over-processed for my tastes, though. While the music built around a modern pop element, there are symphonic sides to it, hard rocking ones and more. This is definitely away from the norms.
Her Name
The modern pop sounds are still present on this, but this comes across more like an electronic space music type of piece. This could almost qualify as progressive music.
A Minor 2125
There are some particularly pretty elements at play here. This feels like a modern classical piece in a lot of ways. I think that’s the point, given the title. There are some non-lyrical vocals on this, but otherwise it’s an instrumental.
Hero Beware
I really dig the electronic groove on this piece. The extremely processed voice at the onset is designed to sound artificial or alien and does so in style. This has some cool melodies and energy. There are some computer type vocals later in the track, and overall this is very trippy and space-oriented.
One More Day
With both male and female vocal loops at the start, this is a trippy kind of modern jam. This is more of a hip hop kind of piece as the main vocals (still processed) enter. This is creative and dramatic.
Make It Happen
The modern pop music groove on this works quite well. I dig the texture and vibe on this number.
Dance
As you might guess from the title, this is electronic dance music. It has a cool groove and is rather unusual as the genre goes. It has some cool atmosphere.
Keep Moving Me
I love the funky guitar sound that opens this number. It eventually shifts out to another cool electronic groove. There is definitely a healthy helping of fusion the mix, though.
Going for a Ride
Another classy electronic pop song, the rhythmic groove and keyboard textures on this are both great. This number has a few vocals, but is mostly instrumental.
Ask Me
There is a lot more of a hip hop groove to this piece. It is cool, but not a highlight. I do like the vocals on the piece quite a bit.
Hero’s Groove
Somehow there is a bit of a James Brown vibe to this. There is a lot of old school soul music sound merged with more modern elements on this piece. Like a lot of the music here, there are a few vocals, but it’s mostly instrumental. I suppose this one does qualify as electronic dance music more than it does anything else.
Close My Door
There are a lot more vocals on this piece. The number is very electronic, but also quite soulful. It has a cool groove and vibe to it.
Be Alright (Instrumental)
Some cool acoustic guitar work opens this. The electronic music enters as that continues, bringing drama and more layers of sound. There are some vocal loops on the track, despite the parenthetical. I suppose they are used more as instrumentation, though. I like this version of the cut much better than the one that opened the disc. I just wasn’t all that crazy about Kate Wild’s vocals.
Monsters (Instrumental)
Here we get another instrumental take of one of the cuts from the earlier in the set, but this time the title gets shortened, too. Again there are some vocal bits as loops on this take. I like this version quite a bit, but I think I prefer the original version.

 

For more information about UNKNOWN HERO and the IN MY HEAD release, please visit the Unknown Hero website and social media pages via www.unknownheromusic.com.

 

To order IN MY HEAD from iTunes please visit https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/in-my-head/id1274692222 or http://smarturl.it/unknownhero

 

To order IN MY HEAD from Bandcamp please visit https://unknownhero.bandcamp.com/

 

unknown hereo in my head

Advertisements

US Review: Lindsay Bellows “Wake to Dream”

5 Feb

Screen Shot 2017-11-29 at 4.41.17 PM

http://www.musicstreetjournal.com/index_cdreviews_display.cfm?id=106178

51odSHf0Q3L._SS500

Lindsay Bellows

Wake to Dream

Review by Gary Hill
The vocals are the real driving element to this set. Each song features multiple layers of singing that showcases so much talent and style. Musically the sound has a pop meets R&B and jazz kind of vibe. The instrumental elements in general take a back seat to the vocals, though. This is quite an entertaining set. I’d love to hear more from this talented artist.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2018  Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Slow Steady
Piano is a big part of the arrangement here. The vocals really sell it, though. There are multiple layers at times. I like the soulful kind of vibe to this. It’s very much a pop styled tune, but there is jazz and more in the mix.
Wake Up
The acapella motif at the start of this cut is quite soulful. It also holds the tune for a decent amount of time. The sounds that join are understated and quite jazzy. The multiple layers of vocals are definitely the standout element on this piece.
Part Life
Again the vocals are the real magic here. This is musically a bit playful. It’s a catchy pop music based kind of thing.
Wild And Free
I love the jazz vibe to this cut. It’s so cool. I think this is my favorite tune here. The vocal performance is every bit as strong as on the other tunes. It’s just that the musical arrangement comes up to meet it. The bass work here really shines, too. As a bassist, I know that grabs my attention, too.
Simple Gifts
There are some percussive elements (and a bit of other instrumentation) here, but overall this is an acapella number that’s very cool. It’s another highlight of the set with more of those great multiple layers of vocals.

On stage

US Review: Acting Natural “Acting Natural”

2 Feb

Screen Shot 2017-11-29 at 4.41.17 PM

Acting-Natural-Cover

Acting Natural

Acting Natural

Review by Gary Hill
If you take one look at the cover to this EP you will have a good idea of what the music is like. This group’s sound is based on the pop rock of the 1960s. Think “Beatles,” but it goes beyond that, too. These songs are catchy and really feel classic in nature. This is a talented bunch of musicians who really do a great job of creating strong pop rock music. I heartily recommend this to anyone who thinks that the 1960s sound is long gone. You will feel right at home with this one.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2018  Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
The One
This is a classy tune. It’s part Beatles, part The Knack and all cool. I love the little bass led break and the psychedelic vocal bit that follows. An organ adds some retro texture to the segment that comes after that.
Nicole
A breezy balladic cut, this still has a lot of that classic rock texture. It feels a bit more contemporary, though. This is timeless and classic in sound. The vocal arrangement is great, as is the whole smooth groove of the piece.
Pairadice
A bit more rocking, this has a lot of that early Beatles vibe at its heart. This has just a bit of a funky element in some ways, too. This is fun.
Bloom
A balladic tune, this is another great bit of classic pop rock.
Early Morning
This cut really feels like something John Lennon would have done post-Beatles. It’s a melodic piece that skirts the ground between rocker and ballad.
Missed the Train
More of a rocker, this is catchy and classic in tone. I really dig the instrumental section on this. The guitar solo is one of the tastiest here.

 

Acting-Natural-Twitter-Banner9.22

US Review: Jennier Saran “Soulful Christmas”

12 Dec

Screen Shot 2017-11-29 at 4.41.17 PM

fb_bannerJS Soulfullxmas

Jennifer Saran

Soulful Christmas

Review by Gary Hill
When it comes to jazzy, adult contemporary type music, Jennifer Saran’s vocals are just about the best around these days. She seems to have an affinity for Christmas music because I previously reviewed another holiday set from her (in addition to other music of hers I’ve reviewed). This is her brand new set of holiday music, and it is so strong. This will likely be part of my holiday festivities for years to come. The Temptations are featured on the opening song, Narada Michael Walden is a big part of this production, too.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2017  Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Christmas Lover (featuring The Temptations)
This has a cool, slow soulful groove. It’s all class.
Sleigh Ride
I love the classy jazz arrangement on this tune. The holiday classic gets a great telling here, really.
Long Road Home for Christmas
This balladic number is interesting. It makes me think of some of the pop rock that was so popular in the 1960s. The harmonica adds a lot to the piece.
Swingin’ at Christmas Time
A bouncy and fun piece, this is another winner. It’s more modern in texture than a lot of the rest here.
Some Children See Him
Harp starts this cut. It works out with a slow moving and rather symphonic texture. The beautiful vocals are the real selling factor of this piece. There are mellow jazz elements at play.
Coventry Carol
Even more symphonic than the previous number, this is so pretty. It is a short instrumental.
Soulful Christmas
An old-styled soulful vibe really does shine brightly on this piece. This has a timeless, classic quality to it. It’s very effective. The horn soloing on this lends some magic to the number. It was a great move to make this the title track. It’s one of the strongest pieces here.
Soul Cake
This is so cool. It has a great Celtic folk vibe to it. Yet, it also has plenty of jazz in the mix. There are bits of traditional Christmas music added to the arrangement. This is another highlight of the set.
Where Are You Christmas
A particularly pretty song, this is another standout. It’s slow and a bit jazzy. It’s mellow and quite effective.
I Have My Own Reindeer
Jazz and adult contemporary music seem to merge on this. It’s a pretty cut that is entertaining. It’s just not on the same level of the last few.
Hark the Herald Angels Sing
Only a minute and a half long, this is an instrumental on classical strings. It’s a pretty interlude.
Come Home for Christmas
A piano based ballad at the start, this is another pretty song. It’s a slow moving number with a lot of jazz in mix.
Merry Christmas to You
Jazz, pop and more merge on this cut. It has a bit of an electronic edge to it, but not enough to take the more organic vibe from it. This is a fun cut with a lot of energy. It’s one of the standouts here, really.
One More Christmas Together
A pretty, jazzy piece, this is another winner. It has such a great classic vibe to it. It’s packed with emotion, too.
Christmas Delight
A bouncy and fun number, this has a great soulful vibe to it. It’s not one of my favorites, but it’s still very strong. There is a short rap mid-track on this.
You Are My Christmas Star
A bit more modern in texture, this has a real soaring kind of vibe to it.
Frosty the Snow Man
There is a cool haunting vibe to this short version of the holiday classic. Saran’s voice is accompanied by only the sounds of winter and some chiming bells. It is incredibly effective.

51l0sQdqkqL._SX425_

Music Street Journal Track-by-Track Review: E-Life 7 “Miked Up”

17 Oct

e-life-7-coverimage-hd-copy

“Let’s make this clear at the onset: this is not progressive rock. It is, however, fusion, and we usually land fusion under prog. A simple review for this album would be “the bass playing is amazing.” I play bass myself, so I really appreciate how good Michael Pennick is. He manages to really shine on every song. The thing is, that might be an accurate review, but it’s not a complete one. Everybody on this set plays really well, and these are complete musical arrangements that work very well. While this is mostly instrumental, two songs (well, technically three because there is a remix of one of the songs included here) do have singing.

Track by Track Review

Sunday Night: The horn section kicks this off in style. Then it drops down to some killer funky bass playing. This fusion number really rocks with the bass and guitar stealing a lot of the spotlight.

Chaos: Perhaps a bit less low-key, this is no less interesting. The bass is a big deal on this one, too, lending some killer funk to the sound.

Second Level: Speaking of funky bass shining, that’s what starts this cut off in solo fashion. It holds it for a while before the rest of the musicians join for another smoking hot fusion jam.

Smooth Ride: This seems to come in mid-jam. It has a more rock based element for a while before it shifts out to more of a mainstream fusion sound. This is a bit mellower than some of the rest. It’s no less magical, though. I love the bass work out on the closing section of the piece.

Inner Beauty: A melodic fusion jam, this has a great groove and some smoking hot bass work. There is some tasty piano work on this number, too.  There is funk is clearly alive on this thing.

That Girl: This cut has a bit more rock built into it. The funk is delivered in style from the bass. The horns sing their souls out. All of it adds up to some killer rocking fusion. There is some scorching guitar soloing delivered on this piece of music.

Tony Rome: I dig the slow, soulful groove on this piece. This thing delivers some awesome musical moments. There is some smoking, expressive guitar soloing. This has some pretty crazy moments later, too.

Sunrise: The groove on this is both classic and classy. It’s a killer fusion number with some great horn work.

Feelin You: I love the energy and the vibe of this piece. It has some great changes and really weaves some powerful musical tapestries. This cut has some great soul vocal performances.

Before the Storm: I really dig the slower fusion grind that makes up this number. The piano soloing really shines, too.

Miked Up: There are some vocals on this cut. This thing has a chorus that feels a bit like Parliament to me. The cut is energized, catchy and very meaty. The guitar soloing on this wanders toward heavy metal.

Beautiful Day: This number has a lot more of a rock element to it. It’s still definitely jazz rock, but it lands closer to the rock heading than anything else here does. The keyboard soloing on this one really sells it. There is some soaring, scorching hot guitar soloing, too.

Tony Rome (radio edit): Here we get the first of two radio edits on the disc. This does a great job of capturing the magic of the piece and not really losing anything in the process. Of course, it’s only about half a minute shorter than the full version.

Feelin You (radio edit): This is a couple minutes shorter than the full-length version of the song. The cut works well in this configuration.”

www.musicstreetjournal.com

Miked Up was released on March 24, 2017 through Three 2 Go Music.

For more information about E-Life 7 please visit:  www.e-life7.net

For Booking information please email info@Three2GoMusic.com

For Press inquiries contact Billy James at Glass Onyon PR: (828) 350-8158 or glassonyonpr@gmail.com

For Digital Marketing contact Jerome Forney at Independent Distribution Collective: jerome@independentdistro.com

Music Street Journal Track-by-Track Review: Cornell CC Carter “Vindicated Soul”

11 Oct

814519022985

“If you find yourself longing for the classic soul music of the 1970s, you will probably feel at home here. It’s obvious that Cornell CC Carter shares that feeling to a large degree. You can tell it in the dedications on the disc, but even more so you can feel it, and hear it, in the music. This is very much in keeping with the classic soul music era. If you dig that kind of stuff, you will like this. It’s both classic and classy.

Track by Track Review

Intro: This short (less than a minute and a half) piece is built on some definite old school soul sounds. Of course, it’s dedicated to a number of the legends of that musical style, and they are called out by name here. This is classic sounding stuff.

All the Way Around: More killer old school soul is on the menu here. The cut feels like something that could have been released in the 1970s.

Watching You: Perhaps the keyboard sounds on this bring into a bit more modern place. That said, this is still something that feels like it would have fit into the 1970s. There is a funk, almost disco, sound to this number. I love the funk breakdown on this piece.

I Choose You: I dig this one a lot, too. It’s another classic soul sounding tune. It loses that disco/funk element that we heard on the last one. This doesn’t lose that 1970s vibe, though.

Next to You: There is a healthy helping of electronic fusion built into this one. It’s a classy cut that brings back some of that funky thing. Still, it’s a retro slab of cool. This might have the best vocal arrangement of the whole disc.

Where Do We Go (Boogie Back Remix): Now, this cool cut makes me think of Marvin Gaye quite a bit. It has some definite funk and more modern elements built into it, too. This is one of my favorites on the whole disc, really. It’s just so classy.

Brother’s Gonna Work It Out: With a lot of funk, this has a much more modern sound. This feels closely tied to modern soul music. That said, it clearly has ties to the retro elements, too. While this is a fun cut, it’s not up to the same level as the previous pieces.

Look What You’ve Done for Me: This is an energized soul number with both modern and classic sounds at its heart.”

www.musicstreetjournal.com

To order VINDICATED SOUL on iTunes, please visit: https://tinyurl.com/vinsoul

For more information about VINDICATED SOUL or upcoming tour dates, please visit CC’s website and social media pages via http://www.cc2000music.com

To order VINDICATED SOUL on Bandcamp, please visit:
https://cc2000music.bandcamp.com/

For Press and Interview inquiries, please contact Billy James at Glass Onyon PR:
(828) 350-8158 or glassonyonpr@gmail.com

For Digital Marketing, please contact Jerome Forney at Independent Distribution Collective: jerome@independentdistro.com

Music Street Journal Track-by-Track Review: Jennifer Saran “Wake Up”

9 Oct

Jennifer Saran Cover.2.1

“Jennifer Saran’s new album includes guests like Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Carlos Santana and Narada Michael Walden. I previously reviewed her Christmas album. Her style of music isn’t really my kind of thing, more of an adult contemporary sound mixed with pop. Still, she manages to surpass that and make it work. If you really dig that kind of stuff, you will probably be crazy about this. I will say that there is quite a range of music on this set.

Track by Track Review:

Wake Up – featuring Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Carlos Santana and Narada Michael Walden There is a tribal, almost reggae, vibe to this song in a lot of ways. It’s energized, catchy and classy.

Jesus to a Child (Tribute to George Michael) This ballad has a lot of jazzy sound in the mix. It’s a pretty cut that works really well. I suppose that it’s a little similar to some of George Michael’s music in some ways. That said, this was a song by George Michael. I prefer this version to that one.

Really Now, I’m not really a big fan of this. It’s too heavily based on modern pop music. It feels far too over-produced, too. It’s fast paced and catchy, but not enough to overcome the other problems. I’d consider this to be a “skip” tune.

Me & Mr. Jones (Tribute to Billy Paul) Now, this is very much a mellower jazz take. It works really well. In fact, this might be my favorite tune here. Of course, I loved the Counting Crows version of this tune. The Billy Paul to whom this is dedicated, though, is the person who actually wrote and originally did the song. Mind you, both that version and Billy Paul’s were titled “Me & Mrs. Jones.”

You Are My Star featuring Ladysmith Black Mambazo We move back into tribal territory with this piece. I like the duet vocal approach on this song. It’s a nice change and effective number.

Too Young to Know More of an adult contemporary pop music piece, this is a fun number that works really well.

Better Than Me (for Anjali’) A pretty balladic number, this is classy stuff. It’s very much cut from the adult contemporary school of sound.

Look at Me Fly Another built on a bouncy pop styled arrangement, this is catchy and effective. It has a duet built into it. That is a nice touch and brings a soulful element to the table.

Old Cape Cod (Tribute to Patti Page) Given the dedication, you would probably expect a retro styled number. That’s exactly what we’ve got here. This is a ballad that feels like it could have been released in the 1920s or 1930s.The funny thing is, Page’s version was released in the 1950s and feels more contemporary than this one does.

Try to Forgive (But I Cannot Forget) This is another energetic pop tune. I like this quite a bit. It creates some nice contrast to the previous one because it’s a modern sounding piece.

Lean on Me (Tribute to Bill Withers) featuring Ladysmith Black Mambazo This has a real tribal vibe here. While I prefer the original, I like the vibe of this one. It’s sort of a different side to the musical ideas.

Grace Is the Champion Another that has a modern pop vibe, this doesn’t suffer from over-production. I’d say that this lands more on the end of rock music than it does pure pop, too. It’s definitely a good tune. In fact, this is one of my favorites here.

I Will Always Be Your Home With a lot of strings in the mix, this blends a rock ballad with an adult contemporary one. I’m not crazy about the mellower parts of this, but I like it quite a bit when it’s more powered up.

My Love and Devotion (Tribute to Doris Day) This is precisely what you’d expect of a cover of Doris Day. It’s delivered in the style she operated within and sounds a lot like her. It’s definitely a slice of a long-gone time.

Aad Guray There is a good chunk of world music on this balladic number. I love the multiple layers of voices on this piece. While I don’t think this is the strongest number here, it has a sort of grounding quality that makes it work well as the final tune on the album.”

www.musicstreetjournal.com

Order or preview the album now on iTunes http://smarturl.it/wakeuplp

 
More information about JENNIFER SARAN or WAKE UP can be found at:
%d bloggers like this: