Tag Archives: Rock

Wrapped With Realness, Matt Epp’s Album Shadowlands Delivers Stand-Out Sound

9 Jul

With Matt Epp’s latest album Shadowlands, one can sense the tone of Americana and nostalgia all wrapped into one sound. Epp cited this collection of tracks as something very personal and different from his nine other albums that he’s released. When listening to the lyrics of this album, you can definitely sense the theme of being on a journey, self reflecting, and the inner challenges along the way. The unique and humbling aspect of the track Runaway is the rawness and realness that it has attached to it. Epp explains that it was written with his wife and in her perspective on witnessing the ups and downs that he has gone through. Having that unique approach, point of view, and twist on writing makes his music standout even more and allows listeners to connect even more to something that is so personal. Connecting on themes, important messages, and significant experiences, Epp effortlessly wins over audiences through the stories of his life.

For more listening:

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Marty Thompson Brings Island Sound Within Romantic Stories

12 May

Marty Thompson combines feel good music with the modern sounds of classic rock and country in his album, Romantic Stories. Combining the real lyrics and the grunge feel of the guitar sounds and full sound, Thompson brings an island like sound to his overall tone. To add even more coolness and authenticity to the album, the entirety of it was composed while hiking in the Bavarian Alps while backpacking with his family. Set to release at the end of May, the track list highlights the places he visited and memories he created, adding a sentimental travel diary vibe to the album as well. While listening to the album, if your mind begins to wonder about all the variety of sounds, you’ll hear everything from Martin Acoustic Guitars to the Gretsch Mandolin, Congos, Bongos, and even the triangle! Having an extensive amount of experience within the music industry and as a creative, Thompson brings to the table a well thought out and intentional album with a rich sound, sentimental meaning, and inspiration for rockers everywhere.

For more listening (track below is from his first album, If You Could See Me Now)

In the Light Of Led Zeppelin Pays Homage To The Great Musician With Reinvented Sound

12 May

With the album Pompeii Sessions In The Light Of Led Zeppelin pays homage to Led Zeppelin’s sound and overall vibe within their music, listeners will get immediately entranced by their sound. With heavy bass and drum rhythms going throughout their music, one can sense the underlying passion that lies within these music creators. The band prides itself on playing different version of Zeppelin’s music, versions of cuts that you could never imagine entices concert goers to experience Zeppelin’s sound in a new light. All of the members of the band are musicians from childhood, with paths diverting to professional careers and zipping on back to that of professional music players. Although there seems to numerous amounts of tribute bands, the album Pompeii Sessions revamps a dedication sound and transforms it into their own. A lover of Zeppelin or not, one can find the unique musical qualities within their work to come back for more.

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Off to the Races Wins Triple Crown – Jukebox the Ghost

5 Apr

I’ve written about Jukebox the Ghost before back in 2012, and since then the band has matured their unique brand of anthemic pop and have built a sound that can only be called the “Jukebox” sound. The D.C.-spawned trio of Ben Thornewill (vocals & piano), Tommy Siegel (vocals & guitar) and Jesse Kristin (drums) are now on their fifth studio album, and, despite my overplaying of the infectious earworm Everything Under the Sun (2010)Off to the Races, which was just released in late March, may be the band’s best release yet.

The album brings Jukebox back to its creative roots, calling back to the first two releases (my two favorites) and creating more tracks aligned with this theatrical pop/rock sentiment. The band’s last few releases had a few tracks that worked under this lens, but Off to the Races fits it more as a complete piece. The album also features one of the band’s most ambitious pieces, “Jumpstarted,” which introduces the album and certainly sets the tone. The piece begins with a Queen-like layered vocal harmony and rapidly tickled ivories and transforms into a percussion-fueled, toe-tapping carnival of sounds – the song is a cavalcade of music (fit with creative vocals, call-backs, guitar solos, and electronic interludes) that even progresses into some a cappella. It is an immediate party and a bit risky – thankfully, the song delivers and sets the tone for the rest of the album.

“Fred Astaire” is classic Jukebox. It is a drenched guitar riff mixed with a strong vocal and consequent percussion. The song fits together like a Jukebox puzzle – it is catchy pop but done to absolute perfection. It goes down smooth.

“Everybody’s Lonely,” while different in tone, also demonstrates Jukebox’s grasp over pop tunes. The song starts as a call-back to something I can only term 1950’s diner piano and then progresses into a more traditional pop piece with crashing percussion and a swooning vocal. Thornewill’s piano diversifies this pop; he often demonstrates classical chops and this adds to the song’s success.

Another successful release for Jukebox The Ghost – perhaps their best album in years. Maybe this time I will actually see them when they come to NY; I tried several years ago but the concern was snowed out and I could not go to the make-up date. I need to see this band in concert!

Riding a Moon Taxi Two High

14 Jan
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Photo Credit: Harper Smith From L to R: Tyler Ritter, Tommy Putnam, Wes Bailey, Trevor Terndrup, and Spencer Thomson

In the category of bands that finally got their due in 2017 is Moon Taxi, a band that existed prior to the original iPhone but has just now signed on with RCA Records. On the heels of the band’s fifth album (and first on RCA) which will be dropped in less than a week, I figure now, albeit a bit late, is the best time to introduce this five-piece Alt/Indie outfit to a growing world of listeners.

Moon Taxi follows a classic band tale, a piecemeal collection of bandmates through high school, college, and the local music scene. Stationed in music hotbed Nashville, Moon Taxi originally played a variety of music closer to jam rock, and this is where they cut their teeth with their first few releases – hence their casting as opening acts for bands like Gov’t Mule and Umphrey’s McGee. The band transformed with the times, taking on a style emulating the trend in alt/rock, a sound most similar to infectious riffs and creative instrumentation. This is where Moon Taxi found a true comfort zone, and this is reflective of the tracks that one will hear when listening to the new album – Let The Record Play. Already festival darlings, Moon Taxi is soaring to the, well, moon, and perhaps the greatest indication of this meteoric rise is “Two High,” a track that reaches the stars with its optimistic lyric and uplifting sound (count the space references in the previous sentence).

First released back in May, “Two High” has amassed more than 70 million streams on Spotify, which is most certainly in the not too shabby category. It’s success is for good reason also. The song begins with a saturated guitar riff – think brighter X Ambassadors. The vocal features that twangy southern charm that one expects from a Nashville band. The song has a couple of stand-out components that have helped propel it to popularity – one the horn fill in the chorus because everyone likes horns in Alt/Rock music (I’m surprised they are not used more) and second the slowed bridge with drowned percussion. Towards the end there is even some subtle Spanish guitar. It’s a strong track from what will most likely be a strong album.

Moon Taxi is a band you want to keep an eye on in 2018 – it’s time for them to touch the sky.

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