Beck Shows His True Colors On New Album

 

Colors

Beck is known for creating musical collages of wide genre styles. Today, he musically encompasses folk, funk, soul, hip hop, electronic, alternative rock, country, and psychedelia

Beck is a versatile artist, one who enjoys experimenting with different musical styles one song is unlike the next. Beck is a chameleon, he is a singer, songwriter, record producer, and multi-instrumentalist. Known for his musical composition, as well as a palette of genres, and became known for creating musical collages of wide genre styles. Today, he musically encompasses folk, funk, soul, hip hop, electronic, alternative rock, country, and psychedelia. I recommend this album to anyone who is open minded anyone who has any preconceived notions on who Beck is as an artist, or expects the nostalgia of his “Loser” success will be disappointed. It is a more matured, and well-crafted and thought out piece of work and is a cornucopia of music with a little bit of something for everyone. One thread that doesn’t seem to change throughout the record is its tempo and mood it’s an upbeat symphony of happiness. Colors, definitely has more of a dance, pop feel but it also has a unique twist that makes the songs stand out. There a few awesome songs on the album that you will find yourself singing throughout the day like “Dreams” “Dear Life” “I’m So Free” and “Up All Night”.

“Dreams”, features Beck’s high-pitched, Raspy voice, a country riff, lots of drums and wonderful pumping bass line and is reminiscent of the music of the 60’s and 70’s. The album version of “Dreams” differs from the single released because it is the censored version of the song. The song gives you a good excuse to get up out of your seat and dance. IN contrast, “Dear Life” slows things down a bit and is a bit more subdued and has more of a contemplative, reflective, tone to it. It’s heavier in nature, a tender ballad, featuring an opening piano intro and enough of a groove to keep it firmly anchored in the album’s sound.  Beck, not only plays with various musical genres and styles on this album, but various musical eras as well. With “I’m So Free” Beck goes back to the seventies.

“I’m So Free” is an up-tempo, disco inspired tune where the drums and bass guitar are rich and plentiful. The song comes complete with a rocking choruses and poppy verses. The song is entertaining but also all over the place at times but Beck is not afraid to take risks with his music. Continuing with the 70’s disco-inspired theme is “Up All Night”.

“Up All Night” is one of the most refreshing songs on the album, with many layers. From Prince to MGMT, there’s plenty of old and new ingredients on full display here entwined with the sounds on the drums, keyboard and guitar.

Colors is an upbeat record that shows the ability of Beck to change the musical styles so easily between albums. In typical fashion, he’s released his most upbeat and funky album to date.  Colors includes a variety of styles making the album hard to categorize. The album definitely has more dance energy, his other recent albums. The songs are strong, the songwriting is melodically challenging, the only criticism of this album is stylistically it could be a little bit more diverse and in general it does suffer from the tendency to be over-produced and generic in it’s sound.

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Paper Route Gets Real With Real Emotion

 

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Paper Route gets real with Real Emotion. Real Emotion marks the band third full-length album and with this album Paper Route certainly delivers.  The album much like the band itself grew organically and from the beginning the band’s creativeness, ingenuity, chemistry and charged enemy made for a winning combination.  Paper Route emerged onto the music scene in 2004 with JT Daly taking on dual roles of lyricist, and front man, Chad Howat, bass, piano and programming and Nick Aranda, guitar.  The was born as remedy for Daly’s insomnia and what was what created was melody-driven alt rock.

 

The band’s creative vision doesn’t end with this music with they’re also skilled artists as well, Frontman JT Daly also a lifelong artist created visual inspiration in the form of a room installation with all the surrounding walls and floor draped in individual pieces each inspired by a track off Real Emotion and from the themes emerging within the new music.  The album explores just that the thoughts and mentality of how we think and why how to maintain being real, being you and balancing that struggle with everyday life and each track on the album portrays those emotions in some way.  The album begins slowly with a building crescendo from the first track to the next. It begins with the aptly titled “Intro”.

 

“ Intro” has an angelic, ethereal quality but builds into some sort of anthem and reminiscent of Madonna’s “ Like a Prayer”.  It’s a foundation for what’s to come leaving their emotion from their sleeves and putting in front for all to see with the “ Writing on the Wall”.

The “ Writing on the Wall” builds momentum in the album, right out of the gate.  Catchy pop rock at its best, this rock ballad will become one you will play over and over again.  Like real emotions the tracks on the album take on a rollercoaster with “Pretend”.

“ Pretend” has an 80’s rock sound and is a well-crafted rock song, it’s the time of song you want to just sit down and listen to after a long day.  The band switches gears and speeds things up with their first single off the album “Chariots”.

“Chariots” has an electro-pop sound that’s amplified by heavy drums and percussion the track holds its own on the album with its ability to add more elements to the song without overpowering its melody and intention and creates an anthem you’ll want to listen to over and over again.  The album is also full of surprises that reveal themselves in tracks like “ Untitled”, “Blue -Collar Day Dream” and “ Second Place”.

“ Untitled” is a slow, sexy and deeply poignant ballad, subdued and understated in a good way and is an interlude and offers balance in such a high-energy rock record.  “ Blue Collar Day Dream” evokes blissful euphoria with an instrumental, ethereal and peaceful quality about perfect for contemplation or reflection.  “ Second Place” is probably the most aptly titled song on the album because it blends in with the rest of the tracks, it’s the underdog and ironically one of the best tracks on the album. It has the perfect balance of guitar, bass and drums and with great lyrics this subdued ballad is a moment of perfection everything just comes together in this song.

 

Paper Route has succeeded with this their third album to balance Real Emotion with great musicality and heart.  

Can’t Make Me Right

a3431031736_16Monochrome Coast is a young up and coming band getting their feet wet, in an industry that is ever changing.  Like the story goes this quartet, paid their dues, while following their passions, music, creating jobs around something they loved. Living their lives based around music the group began with three friends and a dream.

The group began with three close friends, Casey Scheiner (bass), Christian Martinez (Guitar) and Tyler Andreula (Drums, Percussion, Guitar).  The group’s momentum progressed quickly as their weekend jam sessions morphed into other ventures that included various bands and projects. Those projects would ultimately define their unique sound.  Tyler, who honed his skills as drummer and percussionist brought a folk-based New England flavor to the group, Casey added an alternative rock vibe to the band and Guitarist Christian Martinez showed off his skills with his ax, while also adding his vocals to the mix, but the band still felt something was missing.  It turns out the missing piece of the puzzle was lead singer Matt Rosario, brought in by Tyler, Matt brought a new dimension to the group’s music and their EP Can’t Make Me Right was born. Can’t Make Me Right is an eclectic blend of blues, jazz and pop/rock. The first track off the album “Breathing You In” is a fitting intro to ease you in to the band’s sound. It’s a mostly instrumental track though beautifully played with a new age, ethereal sound featuring, drums, bongos and chanting. On the flip side, “We Never Say” is quite the opposite.

“We Never Say” is deep, dark and dissonant, this melancholy tune and Rosario’s raspy voice blend perfectly together and reminiscent of that is the next tune “Serious Me” which is just that serious, dark and dissonant and reminiscent of Harriet Street.  This album seems to be divided in the emotion it evokes, happy or sad it displays the two equally especially in that of the last two tracks on the album “Can’t Make Me Right” and “The Ropes”. “Can’t Make Me Right”, is the title track on the album is a mix of pop/rock and blues with a jazzy almost tropical island sound and Rosario’s raspy voice blends nicely. Much like Can’t Make Me Right, the last track on the album echoes “The Ropes” echoes its sentiments.

 “The Ropes” is filled with country undertones, heavy bass and Rosario’s raspy voice although this is the strongest vocal track on the album it has potential just like this band. This is a solid effort for a band as their debut release and see a bright future ahead for them.

The Cost Of Everything And The Value Of Nothing

 

The Cost Of Everything And The Value Of Nothing is the latest and fifth full studio album from Omaha musician Matt Cox. Cox is an old soul whose roots and music are steeped in the sounds bluegrass and Americana music.Cox has established himself as an emerging artist in the Omaha singer/songwriter scene and a growing fan base. Cox’s musical talents and abilities are highlighted on this album, from his abilities as a slide guitarist, which are highlighted on songs like “Jumping River Blues, Little Lucy and Nighttime Drifter”.  These songs also showcase Cox’s signature harmonica style, however the most meaningful songs can be the simplest and those sentiments are echoed on “Drama Queen” and “ The Charcoal Grill Song”, which offer a glimpse into the singer’s personal life and the love and value of family.  There is a cohesiveness in the way Cox’s guitar, voice and harmonica blend together. It’s the latter two songs that really showcase Cox’s honesty and genuineness as a artist, the mood is both heartfelt and somber. Each song depicts Cox’s definition of love one for his daughter and one for mother both a thing beauty. Cox’s depiction of life through his musical landscape is not done alone, he is supported by his band and longtime friends, Colin Duckworth pedal steel, guitars and mandolin, Vern Fergesen  accordion and piano, and Josh Dunwoody upright bass.  Strong instrumental intros combined with Cox’s raspy, country drawl is real Americana as it’s best, personal, honest, real it seems for Cox his life is a depiction of his art from start to finish.

 

 

Junkyard Gems Rock The Red Buddha Lounge

Eclectic, unassuming, relaxed and comfortable are everything I would use to describe the Red Buddha Lounge.  The lounge which is nestled in suburban town of Lyndhurst nj is one of the best hidden gems in North New Jersey.  Invited by a friend, I decided to check out the place and the band performing their that night and was pleasantly surprised by both. Growing up and living in Lyndhurst, I had always drove past the place and wondered what the vibe was inside.  First impressions aren’t everything.

At first glance, it doesn’t look like much but you can’t judge a book by its cover. On the outside, it resembles you average “dive” bar, where people go to drink and it doesn’t much matter what’s playing in the background but once you step inside, that’s not the case it’s just the opposite. The decor is understated and subdued, it has a sophisticated comfy vibe, dimly lit it is accented by candles, couches and an ample dance floor this place houses music from acoustic rock to DJ’s rocking the dance floor. For this night’s performance classic rock ruled the night thanks to the Junkyard Gems.

The Junkyard Gems is the fresh faced cover band who’s roster is influenced  by the blues and classic rock driven sounds of influences like The Doors, Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones and The Beatles as well as the hard rock sounds of bands like Alice in Chains, Guns and Roses and Buck Cherry.  The band like their set list is unique, prior to the band forming nobody knew each other, reminiscent of the ABC series ” Making the Band” the boys of Junkyard Gems, found each other through an ad on Craigslist, after an informal jam session the rest was history.  Their sound is soulful with bluesy jazz element and instrumental pieces and interludes throughout the beginning and end of the songs.  Some of the highlights of the night included “Roadhouse Blues” The Doors, Oasis’s ” Champagne Supernova”, ” Don’t Let Me Down” The Beatles and Guns and Roses ” Sweet Child of Mine”.   All in all both the band and the bar where an interesting discovery and I will be back to both. You can check out the band this summer at Desmonds Tavern or Jimmy D’s blues saloon or follow them on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JunkyardGemsMusic/

 

 

There And Back Again On the Road with Vertical Horizon

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It’s been 13 years but being able to see my favorite band in concert never gets old. It’s like being a kid in a candy store but this eye candy is fat free LOL! In the 13 years I’ve followed Vertical Horizon a lot has changed, I’ve got older, wiser and most recently noticably thinner at least if you ask the band members. However, there is one thing that hasn’t changed my appreciation and fondness for a band that changed the course of my life because if it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be where I am today, They have inspired and motivated me with their music, kind words, advice, best hugs ever and just the fact that they are real, genuine people who love what they do, they just happen to be rockstars but they certainly don’t act like them. They are the most humble, talented, funny and sweetest bunch of guys I’ve ever met. If you asked me 13 years ago if I ever thought I would be working for them, I would say no. I never saw them coming but I have been given the privilige and advantage to have some truly unforgetable experiences. 

My latest tour incarnation started in Falmouth, MA at the Barnstable County Fair. It always seems the road to concert glory is filled with some adventures and this time was no exception. A Jersey girl, I make a a deal with myself every year that whenever VH is on the East Coast I will make it as many shows as possible as North as New Hampshire and as down South as Virginia and I have done both in the past. This time it wasn’t as far.

 

Falmouth Ma, is beautiful though the language they use and direction leave a lot to be desired, they a rotary is what we call a circle in jersey or a roundabout is what we consider a jug handle. They also like to name roads that are really highways so you’re looking for a road that no longer exists.  With traffic and some bad weather to contend with it took almost 6 hours to get to our hotel and just had enough time to drop off our stuff and make it to the venue with little time to spare. We got to the venue and it was definately a county fair, complete with Pony rides, candy apples and fried confections. After settling in at the merch table, and running into Vertical Horizon’s guitarist Donovan White for some comedic banter and hellos it was time to try to find something edible that wouldn’t pack on the pounds. I settled on a grilled chicken gyro and a small salad.  After talking to some fans new and old, it was time for the show to start.  In the years since I started selling merch for the band, I’ve always had an interesting view and a rear view is not neccessarily a bad one. You get to be in on all the action. Having a lot of family and friends in the area lead singer and Vertical Horizon founder Matt Scannell played songs new and old and some with deep significance and meaning.  From their singles, “Everything You Want” and ” You’re A God” to the their latest single ” Broken Over You” off their latest release  Echoes From The Underground they rocked the crowd with energy, charisma and killer guitar solos from Matt Scannell and Donovan White. There were some poignant moments like when lead singer Matt Scannell dedicated a song he wrote for a soldier and the troops called ” A Song For Someone”  , the funny thing about it was though was the security guard turned to me and a friend and asked if I was the soldier he was talking about. I guess I hustle for the muscle and it’s finally paying off. I told him no it wasn’t me but was flattered.  Another nice tribute was lead singer Matt Scannell’s tribute to his dad when he sang a song he wrote for him, it has a great line in the chorus that goes ” All I want is for you to have a life, you love and live, take from me all I have to give because you are in my heart.” I love that line and it’s exactly how I feel about this band. The set list was rounded out with some other great tracks from the new album including “Lovestruck” a romantic, sultry sound with elements and reminsces of Peter Gabriel.  It was a great show.

The next stop on the tour was Mohegan Sun where the band plays a show every year in the “Wolf Den.”  Mohegan Sun is like an adult Disneyland, filled with beautiful sights,sounds and shops. It’s serene and tranquil and feels like you’re stepping into another world. The rooms are amazing and it smells incredible, the staff is the nicest bunch of people you could ever meet and some of them very attractive as well.

It took about 3 1/2 hours to get to Mohegan from NJ but when we did the staff was kind and welcoming and attentive and made sure our every need was attended to or addressed.  When I had to pick up the merch to bring it to the wolf den, a cute bellhop flirted with me the entire way, and when he was worried he might get in trouble because he’s not supposed to be on the casino floor he said ” They won’t be looking at me, but the pretty lady to my right”. I might have blushed just a little but it felt good and I felt beautiful in my dress.  Of course he had to be bald, I attract them like flies to honey. They kept popping up all weekend.  I decided Mohegan would be my cheat meal day since I try to keep my diet clean otherwise. I decided my “cheat” meal would be fried clams and fries and it was so yummy in all of it’s fried deliciousness. Thank goodness we had a lot of walking to do. After a yummy dinner. we headed to the slots and played a for awhile and won some then lost some but it was just in time for us to head to the “Wolf Den” to set up. We heard the band soundcheck, and talked to some friends. After letting people, in the wolf den fans new and old came up to the table to check out and buy merch and they all remembered me from years past. It was a nice feeling to know that what your doing means something and the reactions and actions of both the fans and the band confirmed that.  The energy in the “Wolf Den” is electric, and the band loves to play there and has a strong New England following so they are truly loved there. The band sounded amazing and it was a great night. However, the goal to exercise or use the pool never transpired somehow time and exhaustion just get the best of you. When you go on tour, you need to allow for detours and most of the time you don’t get to eat right, sleep right or exercise right, if you get to do it at all. However, it was amazing night and I felt sexy and beautiful for the first time in a long time and was treated with kindness and respect from not only the band and crew but the wonderful staff at Mohegan Sun. We didn’t have much time to revel in the excitement however, because the next day we were headed home to Jersey where Vertical Horizon was going to rock the Golden Nugget casino.

 

The next day after a leisurely breakfast we headed home to make the three hour trek to Jersey for the show. On the way there, we hit some traffic and bad weather and a few wrong turns later, it took us five hours. Once we found the hotel, we checked into our room which was very nice.  Then it was time to head to soundcheck, I was meeting some friends who were going with me and was pysched for a great night and that’s just what it was. I couldn’t have asked for anything better.

I met up with my trainer and friend Danny who also brought a friend along to the concert. I wanted him to come because we have the same taste in music, and wanted him to see why I love those boys so much and he has helped shape and get me where I am now. So this was a little thank you.  Once we met up,we heard the guys soundcheck, got our tickets and backstage passes. After soundtrack, the guys came and met with Danny and his friend and took pics and chatted with all of us. Apparently, I might be too skinny for some of them because joked with Matt Scannell twice and said he didn’t even see me when I walked past him twice and guitarist Donovan told me at some point you just have to stop. I am finally happy with where I am at but want to be a powerhouse of muscle. I do appreciate all their compliments and concern because I know it’s coming from a genuine place and they care. They are the sweetest bunch of guys. After soundcheck we went our seperate ways and had dinner and played some more. Lady luck was not on our side and we didn’t win anything but it was a great night for music.

From the first song, the energy was electric and the crowd loved VH and it was nice to be a spectator and fan again for awhile. The acoustics were great and the band sounded amazing,  Some of the highlights of the night for me, were the intro to “You’re A God” it’s one of my favorites. Donovan White’s solo during ” Broken Over You” and ” The Lucky One” because in the end that’s what I am.

Although it wasn’t originally scheduled, the band decided to do a meet and greet because the fans loved them. They were so sweet, taking pics, signing and talking to each fan. After my merch duties were over, I said my goodbyes to the guys and got hugs and thank yous from all the band and crew.

After leaving the venue and my friends, I met with some other friends to try to win some money back in the casino when I ran into guitarist Donovan White, drummer Ron Lavella and sound tech Jay. We got to chatting about the concert and what a great show it was and then Jay brought up that they wanted to see Kiss and Def Leopard that would be a great show. That’s when the hilarity ensued and I had to break the news to them that Kiss was playing the same night at Boardwalk Hall and alas they had missed it. The looks on their faces of shock and disappointment was hilariousluy heartbreaking, Donovan hit the floor in disgust, It was one of the funniest spectacles I’ve seen in a long time. This is one of the best tours I’ve been on and it can only get better from here. I wouldn’t trade anything for the experiences I’ve had and am so greatful to have people like them in my life. To the Vertical Horizon band and crew, thank you for your kindness,generousity and caring. They will forever have a place in my heart.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Faith Hope And Kevin-Cooper Review

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Music can be many things it can be technical, methodical constructed within all the confines of precision and theory or it can be fun and played with reckless abandon. The debut album from the band that calls themselves Cooper is a mixture of both.  When music is good it evokes emotion, happy, sad excited but more importantly it makes you feel.  It’s the feeling behind the melodies that create the best music because of the blood, sweat and tears behind it, for seasoned and veteran musicians Ed Toth and Tim Bradshaw Cooper was just that. The duo is a labor of love; the New Englander and the Englishman combined their love of England combining their styles of rock, pop and alternative to create an album that encompasses a smorgasbord of musical styles.  The music is covered with melodic tunes with catchy hooks and an optimistic positive vibe.   The band’s name is enigma much like the bands in Toth’s history Vertical Horizon and the Doobie Brothers.  From being named after boxer Henry Cooper to the classic car’s namesake, when it comes down to it, it’s ultimately the Duo of classically trained musicians who wanted to experiment have fun and create a style of music they loved.  Ed Toth is a classically trained musician whose career led him to some interesting places.  From his first original band Jennifer Culture, to drummer for multi-platinum selling band Vertical Horizon to nabbing a permanent seat as drummer for one of his favorite bands the Doobie Brothers and with a schedule like that he has also made time for his other passions such as Lawn boys and now Cooper.   Ed’s partner-in-crime Tim Bradshaw has an impressive resume as well.  Bradshaw is a veteran musician, producer and arranger and programmer who has worked with acts such as David Gray, Liz Phair and Josh Ritter to name a few.  The music of Cooper combines a little bit of them all.  The album is strong but there are some standouts such as “ Halloween Again”, “ Coming Round Here”  “ Best Friend” and “ Jackhammer Serenade”.

 

“ Halloween Again” is upbeat and you can certainly here Bradshaw’s British influence in the tune. The sound is bright and the mix of guitar, bass and drum mesh well together, making for a catchy song you’ll want to sing along and won’t be able to get out of your head.  The song’s country pop vibe is in contrast with that of “Coming Round Here”.

 

“Coming Round Here” has a ‘70’s vibe and showcases Bradshaw’s accent and high-pitched raspy voice similar to that of Davy Jones.  It’s happy, upbeat and relaxed music you can just sit back and enjoy.  If “Coming Round Here” highlight’s Bradshaw’s voice and talent then “ Best Friend” showcases Toth’s.

 

“ Best Friend” is another high energy tune with a heavy rock riff drums and percussion highlight the track and showcase Toth’s talents and complex arrangements on the skins while still showing the subtleties of Bradshaw’s vocals.  Finally, there’s “ Jackhammer Serenade”.  It might sound like a crazed 80’s horror flick but it’s actually one of the best songs on the album.

 

“ Jackhammer Serenade” is a catchy upbeat ditty that sounds like a song you would hear at the end of your favorite romantic comedy when the guy actually does get the girl.  It has great commercial and radio appeal for all ages and mixtures the genres of pop and rock effortlessly.

 

So have a little faith, hope, you might find out who Kevin is but you’ll never know unless you listen to Cooper.