Monday, December 17, 2012

Dream Pop meets Garage Rock and Scores!

When you have a new album full of dreamy-crashing guitars, driving basslines, reverb, feedback and a true commitment to melodic pop, you're listening to the soon to be released Sell Your Memories by Fonda.

Sell Your Memories starts off with the cinematic sounding anthems, Seeing Stars and You've Got A Life Of Your Own - two songs that easily could find airplay on stations that also (over)played Silversun Pickups - Panic Swich or The Black Keys - Lonely Boy.  She Is Real, a downtempo gem practically begging for an appearance in a romantic comedy sees both David Klotz and Emily Cook taking turns on lead vocals, rounds out my Top 3 on this album.

Fonda's upcoming album Sell Your Memories puts you in a cauldron of dream pop melancholy and absorbs you to the point where you can't recover from the euphoria.
My Album Top 3
1.  You've Got A Life Of Your Own
2.  Seeing Stars
3.  She is Real

Quick hits
- A Million Dreams from Here haunts me as its sound seems to touch on a riff reminiscent of a song by The Mighty Lemon Drops...former Fonda guitarist Dave Newton's band. It's from the album World Without End or Laughter.  I just cant pull it out of my brain yet....but I will, and I'll update this posting!
- Emily Cook's vocals on Moving Forward  reminds of Blondie's Debbie Harry
- You Make My Life So Extraordinary - reminds me of East River Pipe
- The chorus of She is Real sends me back to the 80s and The Alan Parsons Project song Time.
-  Put Fonda on the bill with The Ocean Blue and The Orchids (Glasgow band) with special guests The Pains of Being Pure At Heart and you'll have the making of Dream Pop Heaven.

Review:  HELL YEH!
Information about Sell Your Memories by Fonda
Album Purchase Information:
Record Label: US Minty Fresh
Fonda is:  David Klotz and Emily Cook

Monday, April 25, 2011


Review: HELL YEH!

Songs that seem riddled with doubts about his relationship with his music that can double for metaphors for relationships with people or life, Ari Hest has written some powerful and visually evocative songs that openly question the musician’s life he’s chosen. Was it the right choice? Is Swan Song a foreshadowing tale of what is to be the future for Ari Hest?

Ari's March, 2011 release - Sunset Over Hope Street is packed with really great songs in tune with pop sensibilities that highlight his vocals...all while keeping the listener engaged by the great music, sounds, and string arrangements in each song.

Stand Out Tracks For Me:

If I knew You’d Say Yes – a song that starts with Ari’s great vocal and ends on it causes me to keep going back to hear this great song. The Drum-work on this song is SPOT-ON. I have no qualms turning my back on a song that puts out something that doesn't fit, but right at 2:07, the way the song was going and kicking in the percussion right there was perfect! Anywhere else and, I'd have probably turned my back on this great song.

Until Next Time – sounds like a song about Ari’s songwriting…unsure if he’ll continue…unsure of the words or stories if they’ll come out anymore…only having “a moment” of his life…and I love how this song starts with sleigh bells and piano and then Ari’s vocals…and some other interesting sounds (probably synth driven).
How Would I Know – Everything about this song is perfect and we even get a big open glimpse into Ari’s questions about songwriting. how does he know for sure that this is THE song? I LOVE the part of the song where the lyric picks up with Caught a show, down at the Rockwood last night

One Track Mind – this song starts off with an organ and reminds me of U2’s Where the Streets Have No Name….and a drum beat that reminds me of a rather military beat.
A Good Look Around….is Ari’s music what compels him to stop and see what’s going on? This track includes a great backing vocal by
ambeR Rubarth.
Now (available on iTunes album download and the Deluxe Double Disc edition) is a song co-written with
Alex Wong (Solo, Paper Raincoat, Vienna Teng and many others) that is a standout track that I'm glad I went with the Deluxe CD to hear it.


Ari Hest is currently on tour in support of Sunset Over Hope Street...touring with percussionist Doug Yowell (Suzanne Vega, Duncan Sheik, Sophie B Hawkins, to name a few folks he's played with :) These two guys work great together and, if you're able to take a moment of your eye-time off of Ari to watch what Doug is doing, it's pretty amazing the sounds the two of them generate (I've seen 2 shows of their's and walked away, amazed and more amazed).

Monday, April 18, 2011

East River Pipe - We Live In Rented Rooms

Review: HELL YEH!
Stream the album in its entirety at

F.M Cornog - East River Pipe - doesn’t tour.
He doesn’t play live for an audience.
He works hard to make sure his albums are worth your time…because it’s not just recording the songs…it’s mixing in all the tracks…or removing tracks from what will make up the final track list for the cd.

Barbara [FM Cornog’s wife] and I whittle it down to our favorite 15 or 20 songs, then we drive around for months listening to various configurations of those songs, until something clicks. Then, when I'm utterly sick of those songs, I know the album is done.” - East River Pipe Facebook Page

Music is personal.
It’s personal for the songwriter and it’s personal for the listener.
The songwriter is putting thoughts together based on what life has tossed at him/her or a pre-determined story line with characters…who most likely are from their real life.

The listener inserts himself/herself into the song or tries to play the $2 Psychiatrist…deciphering what the songwriter has written and chosen as the music backdrop for the song.

Or, the songwriter has hit really close to him…closer than ever thought possible by the listener.

The Flames are Coming Back is a great song and right now, my favorite on East River Pipe’s – We Live In Rented Rooms.
i built a little home here for my girls
beneath the ancient trees
i got a little job tried to change my life
i got down on my knees
but listen
the devil always cons you to play
the devil always likes it that way
the flames are coming back
baby cant you see
the flames are coming back

These lines resonate within me because, as a father, who tries to live life simply, there’s heartache here….trying to bring a good, simple, and normal life for his family…and yet, the past is always there…ready to suck you back in. - At least, that’s my take on it – and my inner narcissist - because, hey, music is personal for each person.

When asked about detailing/providing background on his songs, Cornog says - "Rather than sit on the shrink's couch and explain what these things mean to me, I'd rather let you and other people come to your own conclusions. I truly believe that whatever a person feels is valid, and doesn't need my input. Sometimes I'll think one of my songs is about a certain thing or things, and then Barbara will give her slant on it, and I'll say, "Ya know...You're right." Sometimes the meaning of a thing is a mystery even to it's creator. And sometimes...there is no meaning. Sometimes a thing just "is"...and there's no more to it than that." East River Pipe Facebook Page

Other stand out tracks here are:

Backroom Deals – I’ve come up with a pretty decent music video idea for this one…which proves how great a song is…giving images and video ideas
Cold Ground – great music and sound and then the lyrics bring you back to the stark reality of some lives.
I Don’t Care About Your Blue Wings - for some reason brought me back to the early 80s and my walks down the street to the local pizzeria to play arcade games or when our family would drive into Queens to visit family.
When You Were Doing Cocaine - this song and I’m instantly reminded of Adam Levy’s “I shot her down” or Johnny Cash’s “I shot a man in Reno…just to watch him die.” Not because of the sound or music but because of the bluntness of the entry into the song.
Three Ships - closes this 10 song run with hope in the music…hope in the lyrics…until the final verse….feeling as if I’m left with nothing.
Conman – there’s a great article written about this song here:
In My Personal Song Purgatory (I still don’t have an opinion on it yet): Payback Time

Some Songs I’m not keen on right now
(and, I reserve the right to let these songs grow organically within me over time):
Summer Boy – seems to move too slow for me at this time in my life
Tommy Made a Movie – Too synth driven for my tastes

Other Articles on East River Pipe you may
enjoy reading:

Friday, March 25, 2011

OH LIBIA - Interview with Victor and JT of OH LIBIA!

Below is an interview with JT and Victor of OH LIBIA.

IU: Ken Stringfellow wound up producing and mixing your album OH LIBIA!. How did that come about?

  • JT: We were contacted by someone at ‘le pop-in’ in Paris and asked to come up for a gig. At the time, we only had a few demos done and…we’re a little crazy you know, so, of course we agreed! And, two months later, we got in a car and went to Paris.
  • Victor: We met Ken on February 12, 2009 at ‘le pop-in’ in Paris. He introduced himself and the next day when we met up, he asked us about producing our first record.

* IU NOTE: This drive they talk about here is over 1600 Kilometers and at least 10 hours driving time.

IU: How do you go about writing your music?

  • JT: The inspiration for songs comes and goes. I may try to write something for months and nothing comes…and then I suddenly have a great period of writing a lot of great songs (having one of these times right now).
  • Victor: I write the music and some lyrics and JT sorts it out and we put it together. I find that these songs I write…don’t have a meaning I know of at the beginning. It’s only when they are flushed out in my collaboration with JT and the song is done that I see the personal meaning to me and my life.

IU: What was it like recording your 1st Album – especially with a pro’s-pro like Ken?

  • Victor: Once we and Ken decided to record, it was clear from the very beginning Ken knew exactly what he wanted to do and how to focus us to create how the album should sound.
    So, in June, 2009, Ken came to Alicante to record our songs and stayed with us for five days. Each day was amazing. We spent mornings on the beach and then the other time recording. Ken really helped us to focus on the songs and helped us find our true sound - and that’s what you hear on the album.

IU: There’s a video of you guys playing a gig and I saw only 7 of you but there’s 8 in the band right now. How do you make that work?

  • Victor: It’s difficult but we came to an agreement on how we rehearse. We have people from 3 different cities - Castell√≥n, Valencia, Alicante- and we’ve chosen Alicante as the place where we rehearse because 5 members live there. JohnJoe– who plays keys – he lives in Castell√≥n which is 2 hours away! He’s our road warrior!

IU: What are your hopes for OH LIBIA the band and your album OH LIBIA!?

  • JT: I don’t have those ambitions or dreams of being the big rock star. I want to be able to make and record songs….something to be remembered by. I like that OH LIBIA is an Indie “underground band.”
  • Victor: It’s great playing and continuing to evolve our live sound. And, as my good friend JT has said, there aren’t the ambitions of being the big rock star…it’s for love of the music and working together. I also want to say, it’s really great to hear from strangers we don’t know how much they love our songs.

IU: Introduce the members of your band for us JT….

Oscar (synth) is our noisemaker, so into John Cage and Brian Eno
JohnJoe (piano) is a great musician. A pro! He’s great constructing melodies and arrangements
Elena is from Russia and she plays xylophone, tambourine, theremin…all those uncommon instruments... she is also a graphic artist, in fact she's the one who designed the cover of the album
Tristram plays lead guitar, cool guitar-guy, so into stoner rock
John (bass) is a great bass player, so into stoner and classic rock as well
Paul (drums) is the heartbeat of the band, he's aces` and actually he is the one that calms everybody when victor and I try to kill each other :P – ahahahahaha.


OH LIBIA is a band from Spain whose first album titled OH LIBIA! was produced by Ken Stringfellow (The Disciplines, The Posies, Big Star, REM, The Minus 5, and many more) and released near the end of 2010.

To stream their album click HERE.

OH LIBIA on Facebook

OH LIBIA Album Cover by Elena

OH LIBIA Debut Review on Independents Uncovered

Of Note:
English is not JT’s and Victor’s first language and while their English is excellent - and the interview was done in English, in fairness to them and agreed upon with doing this interview, I changed some of the words to fit typcial American English-speak while still maintaining the same meaning/inferences with what they said...and reviewed with them before publication of this interview. Also, I'm not guaranteeing my English writing skills are perfect either!

Monday, March 21, 2011


Review: HELL YEH!

OH LIBIA is a band from Spain whose recent album release OH LIBIA! (this link takes you to their page to stream the whole album) has really found a home in my mind and ears.

The first song on the album is Open Graves (link takes you directly to the song) and within 1 second of this song….I WAS HOOKED!…the album…this band. I love it when an album kicks off with a song that reminds me of how Lethal Weapon 2 began – with Mel Gibson running. That was a great movie and this is a great album.

Words I would use to describe OH LIBIA’s debut:
- Dreamy
- Psychedelic
- Mysterious
- Garage
- Rock

Other stand-out songs for me, right now, are All Lost Out, Half Words, Last Friday Girl and Seventeen.

J.T. Prewitt and Victor Ramirez formed OH LIBIA in 2008 and, after recording about 40 demos, they hit the road and found themselves in a club in Paris where Ken Stringfellow (The Posies, The Disciplines, Big Star, The Minus 5, REM) was hanging out. Ken has been producing for a long time, so, while I’m only guessing (pontificating if you must know), he stayed out of the way of the music and enhanced it with all of his experience recording and by joining in on the songs on various instruments and backing vocals.

All I can ask for from an album is to keep me interested for the whole thing. And this album does that...bouncing between tempos mid-song and from song to song. Song vary in length and never seem too long - and occasionally, too short. But, when a song is "too short" it's because I want more, so, it's easy to click on 'replay' and that solves that dilemma - HA!

I’ve circulated OH LIBIA among a few folks I know and have heard phrases like: “sonically dense” or "really enjoyed it" to describe their sound to “I didn’t really like the vocals.”

Lia Pam – has a few harmonies that remind me of a Queen song – killer queen
Daniel Biscuits – A little Bob Dylan sound to it
Anxiety Sickness – newly presented OOhhs and AAAhhs reminding me of The Moody Blues
Half Words starts off with a "trippy" Merry Go Round sound and then jumps head first into a great rock song.

"Can't Get Enough (like me) of OH LIBIA" you say? Check Out The below Links:
About the band OH LIBIA
Bandcamp Site to Stream the Album - OH LIBIA!

Facebook Group Page

Videos posted on YOUTUBE:
Of Note - Victor and J.T. make these videos and it's interesting how they work with the songs. It's a gift of love for their music and understanding that music really is visual and open to interpretation...even from the band. They hope you enjoy them.
Daniel Biscuit
Lia Pam
GR New Cross

I'll have some interview question and answer with Victor and J.T. in the coming week! WOOT!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Grip Weeds - Strange Change Machine

We've officially reached the point (if we hadnt already) where we need to stop comparing The Grip Weeds with who they may or may not sound like and how their take on their brand of rock and THEIR take.

If any of their previous records didnt do it, Strange Change Machine does it.

I'm actually tired of looking for the right words to describe the sound that The Grip Weeds have. When I listen to them, I'm transported back to the 1970s when I was a kid and when I was a college student heavily into music from the 60s and 70s like: The WHO, The BYRDS, The Beatles, The Doors, etc... And those are just a few of the influences of The Grip Weeds and more.

Those are all bands I dig and there's obviously more bands, I just hit on a few of them.

So let's STOP trying to compare The Grip Weeds with these great bands from the past and focus on the present and what The Grip Weeds provide us, the listener.


All you have to do to get 8 free tracks from their latest record - Strange Change Machine - is to sign up for and be on their email list. I know!!!! But, jeeeez, joining a mailing list for a great rock and roll band and you get 8 free songs? COME ON! Suck it up! Go to their website at:

Strange Change Machine Review: HELL YEH!

Check out this video of their song 'Speed of Life"

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Swell Season - Baltimore

Last night I went to see the swell season. WOW.
Now Adam Levy has said, "GO OUT AND LISTEN TO MUSIC" as a way to become a better musician. And, for me, he doesnt need to say THAT twice. :)

Glen Hansard was en fuego. The whole band was actually.
At one point, Hansard mentioned how Ramshead Live looks like a jail and then, within a couple of seconds he was grabbing the chords in his head for Jailhouse Rock and then he's goin nuts on stage singin jailhouse rock for 2 minutes along with band. And, one thing I did notice was that when he launched into this raucously fun time, Pianist, Marketa Irglova sat back, "letting the boys have their fun" and then they picked up where they left off with their set.
Being about Hansard's age, I caught the jailhouse rock and he also added a couple of other gems (references) during the music interludes of their songs with - CALL ME (Blondie) and LOVE REIGN O'ER ME (The WHO) which had everyone laughing. (Is it me or does this foto kinda make you feel like you need the movie 28 days later to come out with a 3rd installment :)
The kinda things that bring down an experience of a live show are "the talkers" - they ramble on during the opening act and he just ran thru his set list. I mean literally. It was sad - he didnt stop between songs unless he needed to change guitars and each song just melted into the other without distinction...just chuggin through like an express train...sure the stops are there...and the people look at the train going thru....and they wonder why isnt it stopping. Is this how opening acts are in large venues (~500-600 folks)
So, the opener plays for about an hour and then we waited for the swell season to come onstage for about 35 the venue time to get people to buy more fluids....and then, when they arrive, they rush onto the stage and go right into a song to get things started.

Being around great live music is important to my soul and the $35 ticket + $10 for fees and other crap (like the ability to print my own ticket on my own printer- SHEEEESH!) was worth the price of admission...especially when you figure that other shows for this band, the tickets are twice as much or more.

The critic in me says that Mar may be a little stiff on stage and quiet personality wise on stage, but the poignant, emotionally driven songs between she and Hansard would seriously lack what drives them without her. And, kudos for having her front and center for a few songs as well as during the encore.
And here's a token full band shot...sorry for the 2 backs, but that was my vantage point for the show.