Tag Archives: New Music

US Review: Acting Natural “Acting Natural”

2 Feb

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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.
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.
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.
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.




Belgium Review: Acting Natural “Acting Natural”

21 Dec

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ACTING NATURAL – Acting Natural (EP)


Three 22-year-old men meet one day in Tampa, Florida. James David Maney (bass) is around the corner, Jesse Leonard (drums) was born in New York and Eric Carnevale (guitar and vocals) was born in Hartford, Connecticut. The circumstances of their meeting were not exposed to us but one thing is certain  : the day these guys decided to make music together under the banner of their group Acting Natural , the music made a good deal.

I speak here of music in general and not of a kind of rock in particular because this trio of Acting Natural is simply federating between the styles and the generations of music lovers, with its rock one could not more natural and sincere. If they called themselves Acting Natural, it was because these three fellows knew what they were doing and what they were.

Including in their look, which we see on the cover of their first EP  :dark suits, black ties, neat haircuts although a bit long. Well, that does not remind us of the Beatles? Exactly, it will be question here of the four of Liverpool, which exerted a huge influence on the young people of Acting Natural. It’s not for nothing that bassist JD Maney holds a Hofner in his hands on the inside sleeve of the record, while Eric Carnevale has a Rickenbacker guitar in the paws, just like George Harrison’s.

The first song of the EP slips into the boots of the Fab Four and reaches a level of quality close to perfection, in the vein of the composer genius of the Beatles. From the first measurements of “The one”, we already have the chorus in mind, we are carried away by this rock slightly garagiste finesse and clarity, literally impeccable. This title has all the finery of a huge hit, although it was the song “Pairadice” that got the favor of the American public in the digital charts, with more dancing intonations to the Red Hot Chili Peppers, late era.

After a first song of this caliber, the people of Acting Natural are expected at the turn, ready to be worn at the top of the maximum score if their EP remains entirely on this line. However, it will deplore a small loss of initial flamboyance on the following songs, the group simply remaining very good and endearing on the beautiful ballad “Nicole”, from a luminescence all McCartneyenne on “Early morning” , captivating on “Bloom”and remarkably psychedelico-garage to the Charlatans (those of the Sixties, not the English of the Nineties) or to the Buffalo Springfield on the last piece “Missed the train “ , second best title of this half-dozen.

It is therefore a first bluffing business card that these ephebes slip us under the door. A little more maturation and a gradual detachment of the shadow of the Beatles in favor of the acquisition of a more personal style will undoubtedly Acting Natural a leading group in the new generation of rockers of the future.

François Becquart

Via Nocturna Interview: Acting Natural

20 Dec



Interview: Acting Natural

December 06, 2017


Two of the three members of the Acting Natural – Eric Carnevale and Jess Leonard – gathered to talk to Nocturnal about this new project from New York and about the first work – a homonym EP – that has caused so much furore on the other side of the Atlantic.

Live, how are you? Can you present the Natural Acting to the Portuguese rockers ?

We are a rock ‘n’ roll band with three elements, coming from New York. We are formed by Eric on guitar, Jesse on drums and JD on bass. Our music comes from the past while incorporating elements of the present and we could not be happier to be able to present our music to rock fans in Portugal.


What is your musical background ?

We started playing together when we were 12 or 13 years old. At first, we learned our favorite songs, focusing on the music of the 60s and 70s. From there, we started writing and recording our own material, as well as playing live, which is what we prefer to do.

When and why did you decide to move forward with this project?

We started playing just for fun, but we soon realized the potential to take the band one step further and move forward. We all knew that we wanted to live a life in music and the band became the perfect platform to do so. Being a longtime group of friends makes it easy to play and work together.

What names and / or movements do you cite as your main influences?

We love the sound and the production of rock and motown groups of the 60s, like The Beatles, Led Zeppelin and Stevie Wonder. The rhythms and harmonies of that time are a great influence for us. However, we draw inspiration from almost every decade of music to the present. Arctic Monkeys, Tame Impala and Coldplay are some of our most recent favorite names.

Your debut EP is finally out. What is the feeling in the band?

We are thrilled to have this EP in the world and finally have our own music out there. And the response was great – there’s nothing like showing fans the music you’ve worked hard on. We are definitely looking forward to sharing our live energy with everyone, following this release.

The first single , Pairadice , reached # 1 in the Top 5 Most Added . Was it a big surprise for you?

Yes! At least a pleasant surprise. This is a high energy song, so we chose it as the main single from our EP. Seeing our names on the tables, alongside some of the artists we hear regularly, was unreal!

The writing and recording processes took place in the same sessions, right? How was this experience?

Yes, some of the songs were written and recorded in the studio, sometimes even on the same day. There is electricity in the air when you are recording something so new. We were all on fire during these sessions, and definitely this can be heard in the recordings.

What will follow for the Natural Acting?

We will end the year with the iHeartRadio Jingle Ball Tour , performing in some of the largest venues in the USA. In the new year, there will be more tours and live performances as well as lots of new music. We’re all excited about what’s on the horizon for us as a band.

Thank you. Do you want to add anything else?

We want to thank everyone at Nightlife for your time and also to thank all those who have supported us in Portugal so far! We look forward to the day when we will play there and go out with you.



Canadian Review: E-Life 7 “Miked Up”

19 Dec

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US Review: Jennifer Saran “Wake Up”

11 Dec


Saran, Jennifer: Wake Up

Jennifer Saran is a Hong Kong based singer songwriter with a new album titled Wake Up, the follow up to her holiday album Merry Christmas, You Are Loved released in 2015. First things first. If you are solely into progressive rock you might as well stop reading this immediately as this is adult contemporary pop music with the occasional nod to jazz and soul. To prove my point the first time I put this in the player my wife replied, “this is nice.” She is not the biggest prog rock fan if you get my drift although she does like the occasional helping of Floyd and Rush. The album recording is top notch with the instruments and vocals very clear. On the plus side Saran does have a beautiful voice and she also gets help from the African vocal group Ladysmith Black Mambazo on three tracks including the lead off title tune which also includes lead guitar from Carlos Santana. Here is playing is reserved and mostly set back in the mix although it is always a treat to hear the man play. The rest of the songs are mostly slow to mid-tempo balladic fair with ear candy choruses and lush strings.

My favourite song is the Billy Paul tribute “Me and Mr. Jones”, a nicely crafted soulful ballad and a real throwback to a bygone era. The synth solo in the infectious “Look At Me Fly” is also quite nice. The heartwarming “Old Cape Cod” is another nod to old time pop music.Being that I mostly listen to much heavier music I probably won’t play this much but over the holiday season this just might hit the spot when wanting something light and airy. And hey, my better half will likely appreciate it.Track Listing:
1. Wake Up (4:36)
2. Jesus To A Child Tribute to George Michael (5:11)
3. Really (4:10)
4. Me and Mr. Jones – Tribute to Billy Paul (4:50)
5. You Are My Star (4:25)
6. Too Young To Know (4:16)
7. Better Than Me – ‘for anjali’ (3:23)
8. Look At Me Fly (4:02)
9. Old Cape Cod – Tribute to Patti Page (3:30)
10. Try To Forgive (But I Cannot Forget) (4:24)
11. Lean On Me – Tribute to Bill Withers (4:42)
12. Grace Is The Champion (3:32)
13. I Will Always Be Your Home (4:16)
14. My Love and Devotion – Tribute to Doris Day (4:18)
15. Aad Guray (5:42)

Added: November 27th 2017
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Artist’s Official Site
Hits: 28
Language: english

Belgium Review: Acting Natural “Acting Natural”

6 Dec

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1967 was the highlight of The Beatles. Exactly half a century later, from New York sounds the same sound over the ocean. What inspires a young trio from Tampa Florida to conquer the world from the big Apple with a nostalgic retrospective? Love for quality music of course.
Three Americans, dressed up with badgers, undeniably fan of the British super band and the London Led Zeppelin, released their first EP last month. Acting Natural shines on this with six authentic pop songs. (For the Americans, of course pure rock & roll.). Literally you should not take the group name ‘Natural Acting’ either. Even the haircut reminds us of John or George.
As you might suspect, Acting Natural catapults itself in the 60′-70 ‘past.
Opener ‘The One’ can be confused with a Beatles song for my part. In ‘Nicole’ they can not hide their American roots. Singing together, elongated end notes and a catchy melody à la Todd Rundgren point to their natural musical behavior. Also in ‘Missed The Train’ is that Liverpool ghost popping up. The later full album will show whether British DNA is ‘acting’.
Acting Natural delivers beautiful work that will delight both young and old. The trio leaves no opportunity to spread their sweet revival message. From hip-hop clubs to hardcore metal venues, positive reactions followed everywhere. Also mine!
Line up:
Eric Carnevale (Lead Vocals, Guitar, Piano, Organ)
James David Maney (Bass, Vocals)
Jesse Leonard (Drummer, Vocals)



US Track-by-Track Review: Indubious “From Zero”

4 Dec

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From Zero

Review by Gary Hill
If you like reggae but feel rather adventurous, this might be for you. On the one hand this is well rooted in traditional reggae music. The thing is, they bring in electronic and modern pop sounds to round things out and update that sound. Everything here works quite well, and there are some real shining stars on this set, 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
He Who Has Ears
The opening section of this is dominated by the vocals. The reggae meets modern pop music vibe on this is solid. This is clearly more along the lines of the pure reggae end of the spectrum, though.
Keyboards are prominent on the introduction section to this. The cut shifts out to more of a well-rounded arrangement. This cut is more pure reggae than the opener was. It still has some modern elements at play, though. I love the fast paced section. It’s so cool and has some great vocals.
Golden Ones (feat. Sizzla Kalonji)
With a bit of hip hop and some electronic music built into it, this cut is just so cool. It has a great vibe and sound. It’s catchy and feels very empowering.
Free Up
The opening here feels a bit jazzy, but the cut turns more toward pure reggae from there. This is a catchy tune that reminds of the most accessible Bob Marley stuff.
Don’t Lose Sleep (feat. Vaughn Benjamin)
There some parts in the middle of this that have a non-lyrical vocal approach that almost makes me think of throat singing. Still, this cut overall is another effective and credible reggae tune. You really can’t beat it.
See Sharp
The keyboard textures that bring this into being align it with electronic music. The cut shifts toward the reggae direction but has a definite modern pop music element at play. I don’t like this as much I do the rest.
If You Follow
There is some bouncy piano built into the opening of this. The cut works out from there to an electronic pop driven reggae sound to carry onward. This is fun, and not as pop oriented as the previous number was.
Sheep of Conformity
We’re back into more pure reggae territory here. I love this song. It’s one of my favorites of the album.
I love the vibe and groove of this piece. It’s a pretty tune with a great classic reggae sound. Yet there is still a modern electronic edge to it.
Another classy reggae tune, this isn’t all that different. That said, it’s quite effective.
School Again
This might be the best tune here. It has this meaty, powerhouse electronic music vibe delivered in the midst of a classic reggae tune. It’s a killer.
Root Down (feat. Zahira)
I like the rap in the middle of this cut quite a bit. The whole tune is a classy mid-tempo number. There are some bits of funky soulful guitar at points. This is just so classy. There are some great female vocals later in the track. They bring a real R&B element to the tune.
We Got Vibes
A run reggae tune, this is strong. It is quite percussive in nature. I love the piano and organ work on this number, too. Those bring an old school rock and roll thing to it.
Sky High
Reggae and electronic music merge nicely on this energetic, bouncy little tune. It seems like a remix kind of thing. While it’s not my favorite thing here, it represents some definite variety. It’s also fun and entertaining.


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