Friday, 26 January 2018

CLASSIC ALBUM REVIEW - KATE BUSH - "HOUNDS OF LOVE"

THESE ALBUM REVIEWS ARE FAVOURITES FROM MY OWN VAST AND VARIED ECLECTIC COLLECTION! I AM A FAN OF THESE ARTISTS SO MY OPINIONS MAY NOT BE ON A PAR WITH YOUR OWN BUT PLEASE ENJOY AND MAYBE THERE ARE SOME ALBUMS YOU MAY LIKE TO SAMPLE FOR YOURSELF OUT OF CURIOSITY :)

KATE BUSH

"HOUNDS OF LOVE"
  

I remember my dad used to love Kate Bush in the late 70s and I remembered her vaguely as a young boy for the hits "Babooshka" and "Wuthering Heights" and also the strange "Army Dreamers".  It wasn't until I bought this album that I explored the back catalogue of this unusual, experimental and reclusive star.  I was beginning to find my own identity of music artists in my teens in the 80s so was buying such a variety of sounds and genres to listen to.  A friend at work was a massive Kate fan so I borrowed all her work from him and subsequent albums were recorded for my own listening pleasure.  Although some of her work passed me by a little I could see the similarities between her and Prince, one of my idols.  Both at times were very private but both geniuses in their own right, where music was above sales and all the pandemonium surrounding the press.  I was enthralled by the track "Why Should I Love You?" (from Kate's later album "The Red Shoes") and "My Computer" (from Prince's "Emancipation" album) that they both worked together.  They are alike in which they may release lower quality stuff but also release works of genius.  I love experiments in music and they both had this way of thinking.

To this album, "Hounds Of Love" reached Number 1 in the UK, apparently after poor sales of the previous album "The Dreaming" there was a worry about this, hence the 3 years it took to make the set.  There were four singles released from the album, the first, "Running Up That Hill" reached Number 3.  The album version has the added (A Deal With God) to the title but that was omitted from the single release amidst possible religious backlash! The song has a repetitive electronic backing but Kate uses all her vocal techniques to life the song into a classic soft, mysterious ballad.  "Cloudbusting", written about Wilheim Reich and his young son, Peter and their "cloudbuster", a rainmaking machine just reached 20 in the chart.  The memorable video where Kate plays Peter and his father was played by Donald Sutherland.  Great video which raised the awareness of the song.  A cinematic string backing compliments Kate's storytelling beautifully.  "Hounds Of Love" was the third single, reaching number 18.  The title track was apparently inspired by Alfred Hitchcock's film "The 39 Steps".  Hitchcock made tiny cameos in all of his movies so Kate added him in the video too! Giving the feeling of running from the hounds, and supposedly about being frightened to fall in love, the song's "de dum de dum" drumbeat likens the sound of running and backing vocals of dog barks make this is a classic Kate Bush experimental song that works.  Love this song.  Another favourite of mine, "The Big Sky" was released as the fourth single, but only reached 37 in the UK chart, most probably because everybody already had the album! It give the perspective of a child seeing things for the first time, like "ooh look at the big sky" reminds us how that first wonderment of a moment is the only time you get that feeling of "wow".  It was more uptempo than the previous singles and got more frantic as it went on, verging on Pop Rock.  Great stuff.




"Mother Stands For Comfort" is a strange song, the first half is almost in the Soul genre but the second half is an Ambient/Electro hybrid.  Such is the need for Kate to experiment here!

"And Dream Of Sheep" is the first song in the Ninth Wave suite, second half of the album.  A lovely piano driven ballad with vocals similar to her late 70s fame.

"Under Ice" seems to be one of those short, minimal angry songs that Tori Amos (one of my favourite artists) must have taken influence by.  It is dark and mystical and the vocals are very eerie sounding.

"Waking The Witch" is another spooky track, lots of weird noises, tiny snippets of New Order electronic sounds and gruff, devilish beast-like vocals make this a very unnerving track indeed!

"Watching You Without Me" is an quiet electronic track with minimal soft and echoed vocals.  Very experimental and not enough for me to really review it as a song.  Not a top song by Kate.

"Jig Of Life" is like an Irish Folk song, the male vocals towards the end make the sound more Medieval for a banquet or feast of a king.

"Hello Earth" is a 6 minute epic but half of it is on and off chanting.  Another strange one, some will love it some will not.  I liked the first 4 minutes but then it got a little boring.

"The Morning Fog" is a beautiful song, a nice end to the album.  It contains snippets of the style of the previous songs, like a compilation of the previous tracks but subtle in composition.


CHECK NEW MUSIC EAR FOR MORE COLLECTION FAVOURITES!

Saturday, 20 January 2018

CLASSIC ALBUM REVIEW - BANGLES - "DIFFERENT LIGHT"

THESE ALBUM REVIEWS ARE FAVOURITES FROM MY OWN VAST AND VARIED ECLECTIC COLLECTION! I AM A FAN OF THESE ARTISTS SO MY OPINIONS MAY NOT BE ON A PAR WITH YOUR OWN BUT PLEASE ENJOY AND MAYBE THERE ARE SOME ALBUMS YOU MAY LIKE TO SAMPLE FOR YOURSELF OUT OF CURIOSITY :)

BANGLES


"DIFFERENT LIGHT"


Bangles or sometimes referred to as The Bangles were a different class of band than I was used to.  Bands were either all guy musicians or maybe had a female singer but this band was four great female musicans.  Susanna Hoffs, the Peterson girls Debby and Vicki and Michael Steele were not the bubblegum girl band that you see so many of today, they could play and wrote their own songs.  Sometimes I think they were a little underrated and everyone just knows of "Walk Like An Egyptian" and place this song (as it was fun and quirky) in the typical female Pop stars genre that were to come.  Yes like most guys I had a big crush on Susanna (still do!) but I heard a couple of singles before the aforementioned song and bought this album and the previous debut following albums.  Great band.

Now to this album.   It was a breakthrough album for the girls reaching number 3 on the UK chart and also a massice hit in the USA.  Five singles were released from the album, the first "Manic Monday" was the band's first big hit and made number 2 in the UK..  The song was written by one of my idols Prince, amid rumours of some kind of romance between Susanna and the star.  It was perfect for the girls and was similar to Prince's other projects at the time, 60s style hippy-esque akin to "Paisley Park" and "Raspberry Beret" with subtle harmonies.  The second single "If She Knew What She Wants" just missed out on a top 30 slot at 31 and had a hint of Motown Soul feel like the singing groups of the time with a little more guitars.  Then came the song I mentioned earlier in this piece, the one most people remember as it was so catchy! "Walk Like An Egyptian" took the girls back up to top 5 as it reaached up to number 3.  The fast tempo chug-a-chug backing and guitar solos plus an incredibly catchy chorus, sing-a-long "way-oh way-oh" chants, Susanna's sexy breathy vocal snippet and whistling.  Add this to a funny video and a "dance craze" it was destined to be a massive hit.  "Walking Down Your Street" reached number 16 and took the band back to their debut album, 60s inspired Beat Pop combo style.  "Following" was released as the fifth single and only reach 55 and maybe a fifth was one too many singles as most people had the album already.  The song is an Acoustic ballad sung by Michael Steele in an almost Johnny Cash style, it actually reminds me of Procol Harum's "Whiter Shade Of Pale".


"In A Different Light" is a great Pop song, taking you back to the late 60s and early 70s which sums up all the elements within this album.  The catchy chorus, the beautiful harmonies, the Rock guitars are all here backing up Vicki's great vocal.

"Standing In The Hallway" surely has influences by Prince, The Cars and Talking Heads.  With its alternate guitar solo snippets of twangy Country and then funky slap bass style it is unmistakeably 80s Pop Rock.  Debby takes lead vocals for this track. 

"Return Post" sees Vicki singing over an unusual Blues/Country hybrid amid little guitar solos and electronic keyboards.  Not my favourite track but then this album has high standards.

"Let It Go" sees all the girls on vocal duties in an almost Psychedelic track which reminds me of the likes of The Searchers, The Hollies and Mnafred Mann.  Nice little track.

"September Gurls" is a song originally made by the Rock band Big Star.  Michael takes centre stage on vocals in AOR Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers sound-a-like.

"Angels Don't Fall In Love" is a Country Rock style track sung by Vicki and also has a Latin feel at the end, for half the track it reminded me of Fleetwood Mac then Santana towards the end!

"Not Like You" sung by Debby, takes me back to the Mamas and Papas or The Carpenters.  A lovely, gentle song that is a nice end to a great album.


CHECK NEW MUSIC EAR FOR MORE COLLECTION FAVOURITES!

Friday, 19 January 2018

NEW MUSIC PROFILE - FOLK DREAM POP BAND "ROSEMARY & GARLIC"

Rosemary & Garlic are Dutch duo are vocalist Anne van den Hoogan and Dolf Smolenaers on keyboards.  Their sound is like a Folk style Dream Pop and have just released their self-titled album after a couple of groundbreaking singles and their brilliant debut E.P. entitled "The Kingfisher" released in 2015.


The band became the best selling Folk act on Bandcamp during the E.P.'s release after the pair initially met at a singer songwriter competition and created Rosemary & Garlic with Dolf concentrating on the musical side while Anne's voice was at the forefront.  The song "Old Now" has been streamed on Spotify over 7 million times and the "I'm Here" made it into the list of The Most Beautiful Songs In The World" on the platform.


After hearing the songs "The Kingfisher" and "I'm Here" I hear hints of Bjork, Tori Amos, Kate Bush and Enya as well as Andrea Corr when The Corrs play pure Irish folk.   Its the gentle soothing vocals that give a mysterious and haunting feel at times.  In headphones the songs sound superb, they just pull you in to immerse in the nature-like sounds.  The album take you on a ride through the four seasons.  A" natural earth background opus" for want of a better phrase.


I am a big fan of Tori Amos and I really love the sounds of the keyboards and electronics, not too over produced but just enough to sink into the vocals' lyrics and varying emotions.  Rosemary & Garlic gave ne that kind of feeling which can only be a good thing.  There is sometimes too much over production nowadays in music and vocals and lyrics take second place to booming sounds.  The album is pure and quite fabulous, my favourite tracks being the slightly upbeat "Fireflies" and the sweet "Dreamer".






Monday, 15 January 2018

NEW MUSIC PROFILE - COUNTRY ARTIST "LEXI LAUREN"

Lexi Lauren is a young Country Pop star who was obviously born to make music.  When I first heard her debut single, "Don't Text" she reminded me of Taylor Swift and Carly Rae Jepson.  I assumed this lady was in her mid-twenties as she had such an accomplished voice.


Lexi was born in California in June 2002, so in 2018 she will reach 16 years of age, which threw me completely as her voice is so mature.  There are two songs available to hear already and after hearing "Don't Text" I wondered if there was an album so looked around on the web.  "Don't Text" is the perfect Country/Pop crossover and apart from the previous Taylor and Carly Rae likenesses I also see a little Leann Rimes in this budding singer/songwriter.


Lexi moved to Nashville at the age of 14, no doubt to thrive in the home of Country.  Maybe she could continue the success of Country crossover into the mainstream just like Shania Twain pioneered for the likes of today's stars who followed in her footsteps.  


Finding fame on the app musical.ly her music accont notched up more than 240,000 fans. Surely big success is looming for the teenager and with a talent like hers she will be a force to be reckoned with.  The other song I found, a cover of Dolly Parton's "Hard Candy Christmas" is in similar vein to "Don't Text" , powerful vocals and a catchy big hitting chorus.  Let's hope she prospers and an album is coming soon, a new Country superstar may just be rising.




Sunday, 14 January 2018

NEW MUSIC ALBUM REVIEW - 510JAZZ - "JANUARY 16"

MUSIC ARTISTS? WANT YOUR NEW ALBUM OR SINGLE(S) REVIEWED TRACK BY TRACK PLUS FREE PROMOTION ON NEW MUSIC EAR AND SHARED TO TWITTER, LINKEDIN, INSTAGRAM AND FACEBOOK? IF YOU LIKE THIS REVIEW, PLEASE CONTACT ME :)

510JAZZ


"JANUARY 16"


By Andrew Goodwin for NEW MUSIC EAR www.newmusicear.com.

ALBUM SUMMARY - "January 16" is the second album by the band, it is a mix of modern, contemporary Jazz and Bossa elements interspersed with aspects of Hip Hop, R n' B, Soul and musical cabaret styles.  The 24 musicians featured each bring a unique facet to this unusual set, overseen by John and David Vargas.  For me to include references to Michael Jackson, Morcheeba, Gloria Estefan, the Rat Pack crooners and more in this review of a Jazz and Bossa album proves how amazingly diverse these tracks are! An uplifting, positive album brimming with confidence boosts and filling your mind with images of good feeling.

01 RIGHT NEXT TO ME (Featuring Matt Blaque/D-Varg) -  The album opens with a medium paced Samba crossover with a big summery vibe.  It is a fun, bright and breezy number with hints of Michael Jackson ("Off The Wall" era) and Gloria Estefan's Miami Sound Machine.  D-Varg's rapping gives it an updated appeal to younger listeners who may not have heard music like this before.

02 HE MADE IT ALL FOR YOU (Featuring Ricki Wegner) - A kind of Pop/Jazz feel to this track.  Its an easy going song and Ricki's vocals have that beautiful pure live sound of Norah Jones and also reminds me of the 80s band Matt Bianco in its style.  The minimal backing showcases the vocals brilliantly and make for a soothing chilled gem.

03 PLAY SOMETHING BLUE (Featurung Maya Victoria/D-Varg) - This is reminiscent for me of the Trip Hop downtempo fusion of 90s band Morcheeba.  Maya's breathy vocals imitating the band's lead singer Skye are perfect for this track and with D-Varg sounding like LL Cool J its a great track.  A chillout session to refresh the soul!

04 THE MOON AND YOU (Featuring John Vargas) - A serenading romantic ballad with all the attention on that special someone.  The faint Bossa backing with strings and horns more in control it reminds me of the Rat Pack guys like Sinatra, Martin and Davis Jr where its the lyrics and vocals that take centre stage.  If you dream of just you and your partner in an empty bar and the band serenades the words you want to say, this is the song for you!

05 DON'T TAKE YOUR LOVE AWAY ( Featuring Kristen Nicole/Nick Neira) - This tells the story of a long distance love affair and would be a great piece for a romantic musical where the two leads share their feelings towards each other alternately.  Simple composition but it is a lovely song, with Kristen and Nick singing it beautifully with great emotion.

06 FLY AWAY ( Featurung Nikki Rey) -  Another Pop/Jazz track, and again it fills the listener with a cool, relaxed summer sensation.  This time there is a Hawaiian element in the sound and you feel your head nodding to that Bossa beat and see yourself under a parasol drinking cocktails.  A really lovely song.

07 STORMY WEATHER (Feauring Ricki Wegner/D-Varg) - A slow tempo R n' B/Soul crossover with the Hip Hop vibe once again ably given by D-Varg.  It reminds me of a couple of songs by Beyonce and her husband, Jay-Z.  A positive message that all will be ok however bad it sometimes feels.  The positive rap reminds me of Old School rap by originals Grandmaster Flash and Melle Mel not the angry rap that is more often heard today.

08 YOU'RE EVERYTHING TO ME (Featuring Maya Victoria) - Maya sings like a chanteuse in a local smoky bar here, with some lovely harmonies and doubled up vocals it sails along smoothly like a relaxing boat ride.  Silky Saxophone and sweet strings make this another soft ballad to relax to.

09 THE LONG WAY HOME (Featuring Mr Mego/Kristen Nicole) - An exploration driving trip on a relaxing Saturday is the backdrop to this track.  Again this would be another brilliant idea for a musical piece.  The lady and gentleman in question decide on taking "the long way home" as we all sometimes want to do, just to enjoy the scenery, drive at a leisurely pace and ignore the honking of the roadhogs in a rush! Beautifully sung once again and the backing music has a faint chug-a-chug feel of a moving car.  Very nice.

10 SAN JUAN ISLAND SUNSET (Featuring Oshra Sedan) - A real Latin influenced Jazz track.  Brings up images of sitting on a beach with not a care in the world, not only just brought up by the title of the track.  The horns and strings make this a happy little track that gives you a good feeling of wellbeing.

11 VIEWS FROM MY WINDOW (Featuring Matt Blaque/D-Varg) - A mass fusion of styles incorporating Hip Hop, Jazz and a little R n' B but still keeping that minimal Bossa drumbeat.  Experimental and in some ways reminds of me of some of Prince's mid 80s phase with orchestration, electronics and Jazz mixes.

12 THE ROCK OF LIGHT (Featuring Mr Mego) - A look into what it might have been like in Malaga when King Ferdinand attacked in 1487, a major battle in the reconquest of Spain from the Moorish Invaders.   With dark overtones such as this the song is obviously downtempo and with minimal flamenco-esque backing it reminds me of a Stevie Wonder positivity track.

13 SERENDIPITY (Featuring Oshra Sedan/Mr Mego) - A laid back track about leaving the everyday struggles behind and travelling the world.  Just like "Don't Take Your Love Away" and "The Long Way Home" this is a perfect song for a musical piece.  I wonder if the band would consider turning this album into a musical, with the right people it could be great!

14 LIFT IT UP TO GOD (Featuring Nik Nak/Ricki Wegner) - An upbeat Latin Jazz track that gives a positive message that no matter what is happening you are not alone.  The song has a great Soul and R n' B vibe that reminds me of classic late 60s/early 70s laid back Pop artists.

15 HORTENSIA (Featuring Nick Neira) - Minimal musical style track with some aspects of it being of a mystical style, with the flower in question (the official flower of Faial Island in the Azores) having a mysterious, soothing effect on the singer.  Experimental vocals including doubled up echoes and faint chants.  Unusual track!

16 JANUARY 16 (Featuring Ricki Wegner/Matt Blaque) - The album ends with the title track, which is quite unusual from the albums I have reviewed thus far.  A tribute to a beloved mother and grandmother, Jesusa Estrada Cerezo.  Ironically the only track where the Bossa beat is almost hidden, this is the most Pop sounding and modern track on the album.  Could be easily placed within the 70s and 80s R n' B and Pop Soul of these eras' superstars.  Lovely end to an intriguing album.