Tuesday, 25 August 2015

JACK SAVORETTI - Italian/English singer

Jack Savoretti was brought up in London and Lugano in Switzerland, the Italian roots come from his grandparents.   Jack is a very talented singer and can also play guitar, piano and harmonica, the soulful husky voice matches his Folk/Pop/Acoustic style perfectly.  After being asked to appear on Corinne Bailey Rae's European tour in 2006 he has been a well known artist in the USA after songs appeared on several TV shows.

He was playing the guitar at 16 and always had a notebook handy to write lyrics.  Apparently, he was amazed how many people listened when he was singing the words as opposed to reading a poem.  He was hooked from this moment on writing songs and be able to converse his thoughts through them.

Jack has just released his 4th studio album, "Written In Scars".  This almost didn't happen as he gave up the music business a few years ago. After a promising debut album, the second album almost wasn't released at all, apparently only released as a download in the USA!.  Thankfully, after business disputes, loss of savings, legal problems with a former manager and the shocking messed up release of the second album, Jack is, as they say, back!


I have only just picked up on Jack's music, and after hearing the brilliant single "Written In Scars".  the title track from the new album.  After recently writing a blog about James Bay, also a talented Acoustic singer, Jack really got my attention.  Superb guitar playing and the throaty voice works perfectly and its such a great upbeat song, I dare you not to tap your feet a little!

Jack's debut album "Between The Minds" was released in 2007.  The title track and "Dr Frankenstein" are gorgeous ballads which remind me a little of Billy Joel.  I read somewhere that Jack was the new Dylan, I don't really see that.  I see a little of Joel, Neil Diamond (especially on "Dreamers") and the melodies of Simon and Garfunkel on the brilliant "Soldier's Eyes".  "Killing Man" is a favourite of mine giving a Sixties Psychedelic vibe. 


The album that followed in 2009, "Harder Than Easy" nearly broke Jack, the music was still great, but the releasing of the material was a nightmare.  First it was postponed then allegedly only available as a download in the USA.  This should have been the album that really put Jack on the map.  Ironically, the first track is "Map Of The World"!  This is a brilliant piano-led track that is a little Elton John/Billy Joel/young Elvis, up-tempo and cool.  Although most of the songs are ballads, "Patriot" is a Skiffle/Country up-tempo number that ends the album in positive mood.  The lilting ballad "Northern Sky" and the almost Country style "Lost America" (Johnny Cash/Chris Isaak hybrid?) are standout tracks.  My favourite has to be "Songs From Different Times", a sad love song with the brilliant lyric "Don't let the music die, we're playing songs from different times". 

After this album, Jack almost gave up, until his third album "Before The Storm" appeared to widespread acclaim almost 3 years later.  He was newly married with a baby on the way, he couldn't stop writing, but this time it was out of anger.


Jack's long awaited third album, "Before The Storm" appeared in 2012.  The maturity in this album is obvious.  Sometimes, hardship and a step back brings out your best work.  This is such an accomplished album.  I'm amazed this guy isn't more well known already.  More of a variety of styles appears here, a little Rod Stewart on the gorgeous ballad "Breaking The Rules" to 70s and 80s Country on "The Proposal".  There is the bluesy "Last Call" and sassy jazzy number "Knock Knock" which is a fitting end to the album, as he's sure knocking at worldwide stardom's door!  My favourite tracks are "Vagabond" (a kind of Phil Lynott/Van Morrison hybrid) and "Lifetime", reminding me of maybe, The Monkees or some other 60s/70s Pop/Rock combo.

The latest album, "Written In Scars" contains the previously mentioned brilliant title track.  Currently riding high in the UK charts, it also contains the new single, the Folk/Rock sing along "Tie Me Down" and the more Pop style of ""Don't Mind Me".  "Broken Glass" is the Simon and Garfunkel melodies returning, a simply beautiful song.  "Nobody 'Cept You" focuses on Jack's vocals, just him and a guitar, sparse but brilliant.  Let's hope Jack gets the fame he deserves and has earned.  A star indeed.





 Check out some of these tracks from this bright new star Jack Savoretti -

"Between The Minds", "Dr Frankenstein", "Dreamers", "Soldier's Eyes", "Killing Man".
(From the album "Between The Minds").
"Map Of The World", "Patriot", "Songs From Different Times", "Lost America", "Northern Sky".
(From the album "Harder Than Easy").
"Breaking The Rules", "The Proposal", "Last Call", "Knock Knock", "Vagabond".
(From the album "Before The Storm").
"Written In Scars", "Tie Me Down", "Don't Mind Me", "Broken Glass", "Nobody 'Cept You".
(From the album "Written In Scars").



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Monday, 24 August 2015

80s ALBUM FILLERS OR POTENTIAL SINGLES: PART 5: ADAM & THE ANTS/ADAM ANT

This is a new series, I will listen to all the 80s albums released by the decade's artists and judge the songs that were not singles (in the UK) from an album.  I will give my opinion whether the remaining songs were just fillers or could have been singles.  How many singles I can find will determine the final rating of how good the album is as a whole.  Below 49% = Poor/50-64% = Average/65-79% = Very Good/80-100% = Excellent.  There will be a different artist each blog.  I am a big fan of all the artists I review in this series, so I have to think hard if the song would wow the chart public, even if they are my favourite songs!

PART 5: ADAM & THE ANTS/ADAM ANT

Members - Adam Ant (Lead Vocals/Guitar) /Marco Pirroni (Guitars) /Terry Lee Miall (Drums) /Kevin Mooney (Bass) /Chris 'Merrick' Hughes (Drums).

Other Members - Previous - Andy Warren (Bass) / Dave Barbarossa (Drums) /Mark Ryan (Guitar) /Paul Flannagan (Drums) /Lester Square (Guitar) /Johnny Bivouac (Guitar) /Matthew Ashman (Guitar) /Leigh Gorman (Bass).

Later - Gary Tibbs (Bass).

KINGS OF THE WILD FRONTIER (#1) (1980) -

Tracks -
Dog Eat Dog/Antmusic/Feed Me To The Lions/Los Rancheros/Ants Invasion/Killer In The Home/Kings Of The Wild Frontier/The Magnificent Five/Don't Be Square (Be There)/Jolly Roger/Making History/The Human Beings.

Singles -
Kings Of The Wild Frontier (#2)/Dog Eat Dog (#4)/Antmusic (#2).

Potential Singles -
Feed Me To The Lions - Catchy chorus and warrior chants, searing guitar riffs, definite hit.

Ants Invasion - One of the best tracks, eerie guitars and almost a horror film backing.  With Adam's video knowledge this could have been an awesome video!

Killer On The Home - Classic tribal ants, in the mode of Dog Eat Dog, warrior drums and chants, again, would make a great video!

Don't Be Square (Be There) - The Ants anthem "Antmusic for Sexpeople, Sexmusic for Antpeople", including the first album title "Dirk Wears White Sox" as a bridge, hit!

Jolly Roger - Pirate goings-on including catchy sing along chorus, Sailor's whistling a tune and buccaneer's ha-ha's! Ant classic.

Fillers -
Los Rancheros (One of my favourites but I don't think the chart people would have got this, the Ants in cowboy mode for the first time)/The Magnificent Five (More Cowboy Ants and not really one of my favourite Ant tracks)/Making History (Not a great Ant song, never really understood this one in all my years of being an Antfan!)/The Human Beings (Love the feel of this, a real Indian tribe anthem, but I don't think the charts would get it!)


FINAL ALBUM RATING -
Very good album! 8 singles from 12 tracks.  66.6/100.



PRINCE CHARMING (#2) (1981) -

Tracks -
Scorpios/Picasso Visita El Planeta De Los Simios/Prince Charming/Five Guns West/That Voodoo!/Stand And Deliver/Mile High Club/Ant Rap/Mowhok/S.E.X.

Singles - Stand And Deliver (#1)/Prince Charming (#1)/Ant Rap (#3).

Potential Singles -
Scorpios - Less Burundi drums and more brass, but still unmistakably Ants, I think this would have made a hit, a new direction for the band.

5 Guns West - Another Wild West themed track, complete with cowboy chants, and Country style vocals, another video that MTV would have loved!

Mowhok - The tribal spirit is back, this could have appeared on the "Kings" album, chanting and drums in abundance, this is classic Ants.

S.E.X - A controversial track, but it's actually a very laid back, great Acoustic number.  The title and theme may have got it banned, but still a great Ant track!

Fillers -
Picasso Visita El Planeta De Los Simios (Frenetic, a favourite of mine but a bit too intellectual for some chart listeners I think!)/That Voodoo! (Another fan favourite but even the Classic Rock chorus wouldn't make this a hit)/Mile High Club (Not a favourite of mine, I think the subject matter may just scrap this as a hit anyway).


FINAL ALBUM RATING -
Very good album! 7 singles from 10 tracks.  70/100.



FRIEND OR FOE (#5) (1982) (AS ADAM ANT) -

Tracks -
Friend Or Foe/Something Girls/Place In The Country/Desperate But Not Serious/Here Comes The Grump/Hello, I Love You/Goody Two Shoes/Crackpot History And The Right To Lie/Made Of Money/Cajun Twisters/Try This For Sighs/Man Called Marco.

Singles -
Goody Two Shoes (#1)/Friend Or Foe (#9)/Desperate But Not Serious (#33).

Potential Singles -
Something Girls - Love this song, kind of Jazz Swing feel to it, easy to sing along to, I think the record buying public would love it!

Place In The Country - Loads of brass, fast paced vocals, tap your feet and sing along, sure fire hit.

Here Comes The Grump - Typical 80s track, great vocals and backing, soft Rock guitars, would match any band's hit in 82!

Hello, I Love You - Cover of The Doors hit, I've not heard a better one, Adam Ant rocks out.

Made Of Money - In the style of Goody Two Shoes, great bridge and chorus and mix of brass and guitars and even has some "doo doo" vocals for good measure.  A fun hit!

Try This For Sighs - A rockier Friend Or Foe with yet another catchy chorus, which is Ant's brilliant trademark song writing.

Fillers -
Crackpot History And The Right To Lie (Very inferior track, not a favourite, the title says it all, it is a little crackpot!)/Cajun Twisters (Not sure what this was meant to be)/Man Called Marco (Really nice Instrumental track by Marco and his guitars but I don't think the charts would appreciate it).

FINAL ALBUM RATING -
Very good album! 9 singles from 12 tracks.  75/100.


STRIP (#20) (1983) (AS ADAM ANT) -

Tracks -
Strip/Baby, Let Me Scream At You/Libertine/Spanish Games/Vanity/Puss 'N Boots/Playboy/Montreal/Navel To Neck/Amazon.

Singles -
Strip (#41)/Puss 'N Boots (#5).

Potential Singles -
Baby, Let Me Scream At You - Maturity in Adam's vocal style, and also in this album's song writing.  This song should have been a hit, would have propelled him more as a solo artist who had grown with the times, sadly the music press didn't get it!

Vanity - A rare Ant ballad, this is as good as or better than anything Phil Collins or Billy Ocean brought out in this year.

Playboy - Another underrated brilliantly written track, humorous and filled with innuendo but the whole song construction is awesome.

Navel To Neck - One I'd like to see a video for! Tribal drums and chants return briefly and a return to the punk vocals, and this reminds me of the "Dirk" tracks, only stronger production.  Class.

Fillers -
Libertine (Great lyrics, I don't think the charts would like the seductive brass and vocals, although I think its a great track!)/Spanish Games (Not one of my favourites, not sue I understand it)/Montreal (Like "Libertine", love this track, but I can't see the record buying public getting it!)/Amazon (Love all of this song except the chorus, I think it could have been a bit stronger).


FINAL ALBUM RATING -
Average album! 6 singles from 10 tracks.  60/100.



VIVE LE ROCK (#42) (1985) (AS ADAM ANT) -

Tracks -
Vive Le Rock/Miss Thing/Razor Keen/Rip Down/Scorpio Rising/Apollo 9/Hell's Eight Acres/Mohair Locker Room Pin-Up Boys/No Zap/P.O.E/Apollo 9 (Reprise).

Singles -
Vive Le Rock (#50)/Apollo 9 (#13).
 
Potential Singles -
Miss Thing - Punk Rock returns in the Ant catalogue.  If people didn't click this was Adam, this new Rock sound would have been accepted.  Hit in my opinion.

Razor Keen - A real rocker, ahead of its time, I think this would have been a massive hit in the 90s.

Rip Down - This reminded me a little of Billy Idol, who I also love, a hint of tribal drums in the background, with also a cowboy country rocker feel.  Brilliant.

Hell's Eight Acres - A Rockabilly rocker, but also reminded me a little of Talking Heads, not sure why.  I think this is a great track.

No Zap - Rock and Roll/80s Rock hybrid, crazy enough to be a hit, loads going on!

Fillers -
Scorpio Rising (I really like this song, American Rock, a lot going on for the average chart listener)/Mohair Locker Room Pin-Up Boys (My third least favourite track on the album, disappointing)/P.O.E (The worst track for me, a demo at best)/Apollo 9 (Reprise) (Well, its a 1 and a half minute outro).

FINAL ALBUM RATING -
Average album! 7 singles from 11 tracks.  63.6/100.



My favourite 80s Adam & The Ants/Adam Ant tracks?


Top 20 in no particular order -

1    Dog Eat Dog
2    Antmusic
3    Kings Of The Wild Frontier
4    Prince Charming
5    Jolly Roger
6    Don't Be Square (Be There)
7    Puss 'N Boots
8    Ants Invasion
9    Vive Le Rock
10  Razor Keen
11  Rip Down
12  Feed Me To The Lions
13  Killer In The Home
14  Friend Or Foe
15  Try This For Sighs
16  Goody Two Shoes
17  Desperate But Not Serious
18  Navel To Neck
19  S.E.X
20  Vanity


Check back for another 80's artist review :)


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Friday, 21 August 2015

4 2 WATCH - Sneak peek at 4 up and coming artists! - Gina Zavalis/Puppet Rebellion/Jazz Mino/Andy Suzuki And The Method


GINA ZAVALIS -

Gina is a singer-songwriter from Brooklyn, USA and her multi-faceted voice is making big waves on the music scene.  The radio and international press are buzzing about this new star as she has been named as an artist to watch in several media outlets.


I heard the lady on ReverbNation singing the gorgeous song "I Am Here", it reminded me a little of Classical singer Katherine Jenkins, a big, very emotive, powerful voice.  She also has some Barbra Streisand/Olivia Newton-John vibes going on.  Praise indeed to be compared to the aforementioned great singers but this lady is one of a kind.


A mix of Country/Pop/Classical styles has given her the strength in depth that not many singers possess.  Gina also has acting background appearing in roles as diverse as Eva Peron in "Evita", Rosali in "West Side Story" in regional and national productions.  A very talented lady she has also embraced social media, working extremely hard promoting herself on Twitter and Facebook.  The looks, brains and talent to go far, global fame must sure be coming!


Gina has collaborated with Nashville producer Doug Beiden on her self-titled debut E.P.  The lead single "In Your Eyes" has been number 1 on the ReverbNation Nashville local pop chart.  Currently working on her second E.P. Gina is going places, I think she may be kept a little more busy soon!




Check out these links to find more performances and songs from Gina Zavalis! -


PUPPET REBELLION -

Puppet Rebellion are a five piece Indie band from Manchester, England.  Comprising of Oliver Davis (vocals), Danny Moss (drums), Paul Trochowski (guitar), James Halliwell (bass) and Craig Gibson (guitar), the band are currently releasing their 3rd E.P. in August 2015 entitled "Life Is In Your Hands".


Following the first two E.P.'s "Chemical Friends" and "No Means Yes" the band have been amassing a fan base and media attention, primarily with their live performances supporting the likes of Reverend And The Makers and Catfish And The Bottlemen around the Northwest and other UK venues.


For me, I think the band are a mix of Razorlight and The Jam, although that's just my opinion.  There are elements of Classic Rock guitar riffs and some great melodies, like a really rocky version of Inspiral Carpets.  There is obviously a Manchester sound but the band are breaking the stereotypes of the likes of Oasis, for reasons beyond me, the new bands want to be likened to.  This is a new band with a new sound, and they can play! Favourite tracks of mine are "Claim To Fame" and "Cupboards Painted Red".


Both Manchester football clubs have embraced the Puppet Rebellion sound using tracks for Goal Of The Month (City) and half-time music Champions League music (United).  It's time we hear more of this great band on the radio's around the country and beyond.  An Indie Rock band with a difference, the Puppet Rebellion starts here!

*WARNING FOR NEXT VIDEO - THE VIDEO BELOW FEATURES REPEATED FLASHING IMAGES AND MAY WELL TRIGGER SEIZURE OR OTHER ADVERSE REACTION IN PEOPLE WHO MAY HAVE EPILEPSY*

 






Check out these links to find more performances and songs from Puppet Rebellion! -


JAZZ MINO -

Based in London, but originally from Manchester, Jazz Mino is a Pop Jazz busker/singer who regularly can be found busking with her ukulele around Piccadilly Circus!  With her catchy songs, infectious charm and unique dress style she has been enchanting audiences around the capital's music scene,


The music press started taking notice of this talented lady after her debut single "The Dorkiness in You" was released.  She has a growing fan base and won the KISS FM Music Cube Competition in 2014.   Jazz followed up this single with "Blue Eyes" and is intending to release her next in late 2015.
Jazz has the music style of Imelda May with a little cute craziness of Miss Li.  A powerful soulful voice matches the quirkiness of her incredibly catchy songs.  The lady has not only captured the British hearts, she has promoted the art of busking as part of the "Sofia Welcomes The Streets Of London" project.  This meant TV time on Bulgarian media!





The lady played a private gig for the Mayor of London, reached the final of GIGS Big Busk in 2014 and played at renowned venues such as Proud Camden and Ronnie Scott's.  Jazz Mino is set for bigger things,  I will look forward to the debut album!


Check out these links to find more performances and songs from Jazz Mino! -


ANDY SUZUKI AND THE METHOD -

This New York based band are a multi-cultural set of musicians, mainly fronted by half-Japanese, half-Jewish Andy Suzuki and Kozza Babumba, grandson of Grammy award winning Nigerian percussionist, Babatunde Olatunji.  These diverse backgrounds serve up a mix of styles, mainly but not tied to Folk, Blues and Rock!


The band formed at University when Andy met Kozza in 2005, in 2008 they enlisted violinist Jason Gorelick.  They released their first E.P. "300 Pianos" a year later and in 2012 released their second, "The Ghost Stories E.P.".  In 2011 they were selected as Manhattan's winner for WNYC's annual Battle of the Boroughs and also in 2012 they toured Brunei, sponsored by KFC and UBD FM.  The Brunei fans called themselves Methodons or Methodonnas!


The band have been touring their shows around the US, building a solid fan club and have released their debut album, "Born Out Of Mischief", which was hotly anticipated by the music press and media.  The first single "Keep Me Running" premiered on Billboard.com a week before the album's release.  The Urban Daily has named the band as one of the "25 Artists That Need To Be Heard".  So what are you waiting for?


The band remind me of a few bands I've already covered in these pages, sometimes INXS, sometimes Kane, sometimes Support Lesbiens.  It's a very melodic rock style, the ballads especially are a more laid back Jon Bon Jovi.  This band have a bundle of superb lyrical, melodious numbers, my favourites being "Virginia", "Belly Of The Beast" and "Dirty Floors".  Check them out!

 





Check out these links to find more performances and songs from Andy Suzuki And The Method! -


Check my blog soon for more 4 2 WATCH!


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Wednesday, 5 August 2015

STONEFIELD - Australian band

Once upon a time in Victoria, there were 4 sisters who started playing in the family shed...

No, this isn't the start of a whimsical little children's story, it is actually the start of the Findlay sisters' journey into being a superb all-girl Rock band, blazing a trail through their native Australia and beyond.

With the sounds of Frank Zappa, Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin the staple listening pleasure of the girls' parents, it was inevitable that if the girls were to embark on a music career it would be Rock based.  Hannah, the eldest Findlay daughter, then 15, took up drum lessons after being attracted to the kit they were given as a family present.  Soon, sisters Hannah (13) took up guitar and Sarah (12) took to the keyboards.  A band was forming.  Holly, then just 7 years old, maybe saw something was missing and asked her parents for a bass guitar!



On returning from the studio one day, Amy had the band's first song "Foreign Lover".  The obviously musically astute Mrs Findlay suggested the girls enter this song into Australia's Triple J Unearthed contest in 2010.  The girls, with Amy now on lead vocals as well as drums, thinking they probably wouldn't do very well, entered.  They won easily.  They were then asked to perform in Perth at the One Movement Festival and were spotted by renowned band book Martin Elbourne, who subsequently got them booked for Glastonbury in 2011 on the John Peel stage!

The band write their own material with the occasional cover.  I saw this band researching a number of all-girl bands, but they caught my eye with the brilliant "Through The Clover".  I was hooked, great energy, superb vocals and great old style Rock riffs.  They are certainly going places, and to think, it all started in a shed!



Their first E.P. entitled "Through The Clover" was released in 2010 after their success at the Triple J contest.  Containing five tracks, including the first written song "Foreign Lover".  This song gives you all the influences in one song.  Psychedelic Rock mixed with Progressive Rock and Glam, minimal lyrics and some Hendrix guitar heroics in the middle.  "Walk My Way" is less energetic but a really laid back track with Heart-like vocals and 60s rock keyboards.  "Chase The Sun" is right out of Led Zeppelin's copybook with a hint of other 70s Rock classics.

"Bad Reality", the second E.P. came in 2012.  The title track is reminiscent of Pat Benatar and  for me, real Rock that could have come from the 70s or even 80s.  "Ruby Skies" is definitely like early 60s Heart while the chorus is similar to very early Blondie.  "Who Are You?" is feminine Ozzy and Black Sabbath while "Black Water Rising" would make Plant and Page smile as the Led Zeppelin influence is plain to see, the chorus is also akin to Guns 'N Roses' Axl Rose, vocal wise.  This is real Rock from a very talented family!



The girls' debut album, "Stonefield" was released in late 2013 and contains a plethora of Rock influences, catchy choruses, searing guitar riffs, Psychedelic keyboards, thumping drumbeats, and powerful vocals.  A fine start to the sisters' album catalogue, of which I am sure can run and run.  The album kicks of with the two brilliant kick-ass stomping singles "Love You Deserve" and "Put Your Curse On Me", preceded by the introduction of the Hendrix-style/60s Flower power rocker "C'mon".  "Diggin' My Way Out" and ""House Of The Lonely" stick out as possible singles to me.  The final track of the album, "Keep On Rollin'" has some lovely harmonies, although short on lyrical content, it is an epic track to finish the album as it started, leaving you wanting more.


Stonefield spent almost all of 2014 gigging at many festivals around Australia and are currently recording material for their second album.  For Amy, Hannah, Sarah and Holly Findlay, surely the world must take notice of this new Rock phenomenon.


Check out some of these tracks from this bright new rock band Stonefield -

"Through The Clover", "Foreign Lover", "Drowning", "Chase The Sun", "Walk My Way".
(From "Through The Clover" E.P.).
"Bad Reality", "Move Out Of My Shadow", "Who Are You", "Ruby Skies", "Black Water Rising".
(From "Bad Reality" E.P.).
"C'mon", "Put Your Curse On Me", "Love You Deserve", "House Of The Lonely", "Diggin' My Way Out".
(From "Stonefield").





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