Friday, November 20, 2009

Julie Peel - Review of Jammin Java on 11.19.2009

Admitting you're nervous to yourself is one thing.

But admitting it to a sold out crowd of about 200 people you don’t know is just one hint of what endears Julie Peel to us in the audience.

She's honest and sincere.

Supporting her Debut CD - Near The Sun, last night, Julie opened her heart for us all to see and join her…..and with this one statement, she endeared herself to us all….reminding me of the verse from The Byrds song 5th Dimension "I opened my heart to the whole universe and I found, it was loving."

Julie ran through her roughly 40 minute opening set list mixing in her harmonica and tossing in the kazoo in one song. I love the kazoo. You cant help but smile when you see the kazoo and her playing it with one of her songs. I have a 6 year old daughter and she loves the kazoo. And hearing it reminds me of being young and having fun.....and the innocence that goes with that.

The final song in her set - Once More With Feeling - she forgot the words at the very beginning of the song. She smiled, was a little embarassed, yet, beautiful. And, Ben (big shout out to you Ben!!!!) went into the monitor speakers and voiced a few lyrics for her and she was fine again. But let's be fair - I've heard John Mellencamp inform a Radio Studio Audience he didnt remember the words to Pink Houses. So, in my book, the musician ALWAYS gets kudos for remembering all that they do.

You see, Julie had already opened her heart to us and we were there….the fact that she forgot the lyrics didn’t matter….we were there to protect her heart and protect her because she had already brought us in.

She could do no wrong in our eyes.

And, after a quick reminder of the first line….Julie was on her way to closing out her set and forever keep us with her......and she, with us.

If you'd like to order her record, Near The Sun, stop by her website at:

Julie also is appearing on a special compilation of songs via her label American Laundromat Records that is for "The Valerie Fund" - a 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable organization that provides support for the comprehensive health care of children with cancer and blood disorders. Julie has a personal experience with this with one of her family members.

Julie previously appeared on Independents Uncovered on May 18, 2009.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Go On A Trip Without Taking LSD

Four or five years ago, I went to The State Theatre in Falls Church, Virginia - USA- to see THE SMITHEREENS.

One of the great things about The Smithereens is….you know them all by name. Even "THE THRILLA"! He's a Smithereen having taken the place of Mike Mesaros on a regular basis. And, although located in the back, Dennis Diken is NOT a background member of The Smithereens. His drumming and backing vocals keep him in the foreground….you always know he's there.

At this particular show, Smithereens Front-Man Pat Dinizio broke a string on his Fender Strat and, seemingly unable to replace the string and get it in tune, he walks over to Jimmy Babjak for some help.

At that point, THRILLA and Diken kinda started slowly and then launched into a cover by The Doors - Break On Through - with Diken leading the way with powerful drumming and equally powerful vocals.

Just a bass guitar….Diken's Drumming and Diken's vocals.

"THIS CAT CAN SING!" I thought to myself. And yes - I did use those exact words. I even thought - Why doesn’t this guy do his own record….what's stopping him?

Flash forward to 2007-2009 and The Smithereens are releasing some discs with Diken and Babjak singing lead on some songs - celebrating The Beatles, Christmas and The Who - just so we can sniff a little more of the great voice that Diken has.

Now, here comes September of 2009 and Dennis Diken has released his first effort as the front man in the incarnation: Dennis Diken With Bell Sound with the disc titled "Late Music." This disc is a love's labor for all those involved - started in the early 1990s and finally hatched for us all here in 2009.

The highlights for me on Late Music are:
The Vocals - Hands down, for me, this carries the record. This recording has beautiful vocals - both lead and backing - and haunting harmonies It's obvious the vocals were given great care and offer listeners a sound of innocence like on Fall Into Your Arms and some psychedelia like on Temptation Cake.

The Guitars - I love a great record with great guitar work that doesn’t run all over the vocals…and doesn’t 'shred' just for the sake of 'shredding.' Talk about capturing a sound of the 60s and 70s…..these guys did it and it sounds great. There's no "tinny" or "tin-like" sound about the guitars….they're full, sometimes loud, other times soft.

Percussion - Dennis is Dennis. He knows how to feel a song and express himself through the drums. Do you know other drummers who can feel out a song like Dennis? The good news here is that we also get to experience his vocal perfornance, Front and Center.

Use of Non Traditional Instruments - The Glockenspiel….. I know what you're thinking. THE GLOCKENSPIEL?????? This instrument is only on 2 songs. But, on Track 5, I've Been Away, it takes a really really good song and makes it an INCREDIBLE SONG! Not everyone will understand this line, but a music lover will.

Variety - A song can start up at the chorus and go into verse….A song can have a biting guitar riff or swing over to a horn section or have a Wurlitzer or Hammond Organ or the vocals just jump in to haunt you. Or, you can get a jazz-like number.

The Tracks
My favorite track on the disc - "I've Been Away." This song does something for me because:
- The backing vocals are so damn hauntingly beautiful
- Dennis starts right into the Chorus and I get the visual of him in the US Version of the TV Series "Life On Mars," (Canceled Spring, 2009) walking out of the Police Squad room wearing a light brown leather coat with the long collar cut to a stage where he sees himself playing drums…..both Dennis's give a nod to eachother and Dennis stands in front of the microphone and belts out the rest of his song - of course we'd add in some beautifully haunting backup singers to cut to from time to time while playing with the band
- This song, upon my first 20 times hearing it, I could not do anything else. Time stopped for me and I had to listen to this song. I had to hear every possible nuance I could hear in the song
- The Glockenspiel. YES THE GLOCKESPIEL. It just adds to the haunting mystery that is I've Been Away
- The Guitar solo - not too long….no shredding….backing vocals fading in and out during the solo….Excellent!
- The ending…..continues the mystery and spell cast upon me when the song got started
- This song is a reinvention of a tune written by Pete DiBella - Pete's original song was "Wanna Touch Someone Tonight" and it was reconfigured with a new melody, new bridge and new lyrics to make this masterpiece

Track by Track
The Sun's gonna Shine In The Morning - Reminds me of The Who with the first strike of the guitar…..and then goes into a sound found in I'm not your steppin stone by The Monkees

Standing In That Line - Pete DiBella takes the lead vocals on this tune that stands out on this record. I cant believe this was recorded on a 4-Track CASSETTE! Recorder. It's also cool to note that this song was one of the songs put on a compilation that Brian Wilson (yes the same one you're thinking of right now) would listen to prior to performing live

Long Lonely Ride - Paul Revere and the Raiders would be very proud of their young padawahns Dennis, Pete and Dave

No One's Listening - The beginning reminds me a little of Lovely Rita, Metermaid

I've Been Away - You already read what I had to say about this tune :)

So Hard To Say Goodbye - Instantly caught me with the start of the song and Dennis's change in voice inflection on …Waiting for time to….What a way to make sure that we, the listeners, are still there - like when a teacher calls out "Mister Diken" and there's an instant of I'm paying COMPLETE ATTENTION now

Fall Into Your Arms - If ever there were a song that blatantly goes after a beach boys sound….THIS IS IT. And, IT'S GREAT!

Lost Bird - A quick jazz-like number…..Someone needs to contact the producers of the James Bond Films (Or Austin Powers) and get this song into a scene where the suave Bond is in a Tux and putting the moves on yet another leading lady

Let Your Loved One Sleep - Think Dave Clark 5, The Turtles, and The Lovin Spoonful

The Bad Merry-Go-Round - The title speaks for itself and brings back another song to my mind that included a carousel sound - broken arrow Neil Young/Buffalo Springfield

Don't Let Me Sleep Too Long - Open up the Garage Door and leave nothing behind approach to this song.

Temptation Cake - WHOA - psychedelia and odd and wicked cool, all at the same time and another great song sung by Pete DiBella

Tell All The Fools - A great tune that works great to close out this record….Thanks go to The Honeys for joining in to sing on this song

Folks - we all have our filters that say, this kinda reminds me of……OR…..this sounds like…..So, here's my list that's easily added to or subtracted from by you….so.....don’t let my list restrict you - go make your own list and post it on your blog.
Brian Wilson
Beach Boys
The Association
Paul Revere and the Raiders
The Stone Roses/The Tubes/The Wedding Present on I've Been Away
Dave Clark 5
The Lovin Spoonful
The Shocking Blue
The Monkees

Oh yeh - I almost forgot….The Beatles

What Independent Record is made without acknowledgements. Dennis is quick to mention that although this release is listed as Dennis Diken with Bell Sound, it wouldn’t have been a possibility without the collaborations of Pete DiBella and Dave Amels - not-to-mention everyone else who played and sang on, supported in one way or another the release of this record.

Support Your Independent Musician
Please take a moment and buy Dennis's collaborative release - LATE MUSIC by Dennis Diken with Bell Sound - and support the work of Independent Musicians. Dennis and his music mates don’t get paid for sick days or days they don't work. They get paid to play or if they sell their music to folks like us. Kindly consider supporting this endeavor and we can hope that Dennis, Pete and Dave will work together with their collaborators to get more songs together for a 2nd album. If so, they have a LOT to live up to. And, I'm excited to hear what they come up with. Until then, I'm going to sit back, relax and keep enjoying their efforts on Late Music.

Independents Uncovered

Dennis provided an incredible interview on our show on Monday September 21, 2009. To hear it in its "cut" version, find your way to:

It will be posted there on Friday, Oct 2, 2009 until the podcast version is posted on the WGMU website and iTUNES.

Additional Links
For an ordering link to AMAZON and more details, go to (NOTE: Please support Cryptovision and Dennis Diken With Bell Sound by coming to this link first and then clicking on the Amazon link to purchase the record):

Check out the reviews for LATE MUSIC:

For a terrific in-depth interview with Dennis by Gary Pig Gold:

For the original LATE MUSIC press release:

For Dennis Diken With Bell Sound on MySpace:

For photos from the making of LATE MUSIC:

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Julie Peel and her new album Near The Sun

*Near The Sun officially releases on Sept 22, 2009*

In November/December of 2008 - YES 2008! - I interviewed Julie Peel. And again in May, 2009, when she came on our show.
What I can tell you from a personal standpoint is that she is fun....funny....down-to-earth....and, while I don't know if it's because she's European (born and raised in France), she's direct and will tell you exactly how she's feeling about something. And, she may have a relationship....some might even say "an obsession" with Buffy the Vampire Slayer that borders on....well, I'll let Julie discuss that with you directly if you ask her. :)

So, because I've just put this off too long already, I'll share some pieces of that interview with you over the course of a few blog postings:
IU: So Julie - How did you get started with music?

JP: When I was 13-14, some punk guy was selling his drum kit. I had 2 friends who wanted to start a band. Kurt Cobain had just died and suddenly, everyone wanted to start having a band.

We were rehearsing in my house’s basement. I wasn’t a good drummer. I didn’t want to take drumming lessons - that’s a thing with me, I don’t like to be taught, I wanna learn by myself, that’s probably why I didn’t go to university after graduation.

One day, the guitarist had left his guitar in the basement, and I gave it a go.

It became suddenly clear to me, I thought “with this, I can make music, I can create” - with drums it’s a little bit harder, unless you’re a good drummer, which wasn’t the case.

We split up, and I borrowed a guitar from my best friend. The first songs I learned were “let it be” by the beatles, “the happening” by the pixies and “Needle and the damage done” by Neil Young.

My friend had shown me the chords, but I wasn’t good enough. So I started watching MTV Unplugged all day, trying to figure out the chords. That’s how I learned to play the guitar.

I could basically say that Kurt Cobain and Neil Young were my guitar teachers.

I didn’t know the name of the chords ‘till like, 4 years later. I had to know the names of the chords I was playing 'cause I had been asked to play the guitar in an Irish band signed on mercury records. They sent me tapes and chords sheets. (though I preferred to learn the songs by ear, I knew it would come in handy to know the chord’s names, if someone in the band would say “it’s D,E..” whatever..)

IU: Tell me about your evolution with music and some bands you've been with

JP: After graduation I moved to Ireland, that’s where I bought my second electric guitar, a fender tele.....if you’ve seen the movie “Once” there’s this incredible scene in a music shop where they jam and do a song together, that scene gives me the gooseflesh! Anyway, that shop “Waltons” is where I bought it....Then I joined a band.

IU: How did you meet and join the band?

JP: They’ve got a music paper called "hot press" there, it's the equivalent of the NME for Ireland. I looked at the ads…..I didn't wanted to be in a rock band anymore. I wanted something Interesting, Challenging. And the ad said ‘looking for a guitarist, for electro-rock project.' I don't remember the influences they quoted, but it was definitely electro and the mix of music was really nice…The band was called ‘Petrol.’ The guy who formed the band was kinda famous there, so it was nice. We never actually played a gig - only did studio work and rehearsed.”…though the band never made it. And then I headed back to France.
IU: And then what happened?

JP: I was contacted by a manager for Mercury Records to join another band - The Fixed Stars.....they paid for the flights, the hotels and everything. It was great. I just had to learn songs and play the guitar. It was awesome. We toured throughout Ireland. But, the label wanted me to stop playing guitar - so the singer could play it - and play the piano - which i was not made for. So, that part of my life was short, but one of the best ever. Being paid to play the guitar. That’s the good life!

IU: What happened then?

JP: I moved back to France....Paris....and kept writing songs. You know, in France, Paris is where everything happens. i had made a demo cd, where i played all the instruments, drums, bass guitar, guitar etc.
Moving ahead to Near The Sun

Each musician has their own style of how they write and record their songs. So, what comes first? The music, the lyrics?
JP: “It's always the music first, and then the lyrics. Unfold was really spontaneous. It's a bit like Innocence. They both came naturally, I almost sang the final lyrics on the demos when I was composing them……they both happened in 15 minutes. I can compose really, really fast, like 4 songs in an hour. But then, if the lyrics aren't good enough, the song dies. You wouldn't imagine how many songs I have on my computer!!”

Random Questions:

IU: Need to ask a question about Buffy and how everything goes back to Buffy the Vampire Slayer. And, how Buffy is mentioned at least once per day.
JP: Ahhhh… the way they use the English language is amazing, really inspiring, and besides that, it talks about how it feels to become an adult, the monsters they fight are just a metaphor to tell how it’s like to grow up and struggle through life, with all the responsibilities and the decisions you have to take to make things right.. I re watch episodes constantly..some great bands have performed at the Bronze (the club buffy and her friends hang out at) Aimee Mann, The Breeders..

Joss Whedon continued the show through comic books and it’s amazing!
IU: ASIDE from Right Said Fred - because I know he's number 1 - what other great bands are in France?

JP: Ahhaha! Well, I have to say I never really listened to french bands except old artists like Edith Piaf. But i like Phoenix a lot. And Air and Daft punk are nice too. And French singing bands…..Noir Desir definitely is the only one i like. They write great lyrics and their music is really good as well.
More of the Julie Peel Interview to come.........
Julie appeared on Independents Uncovered on May 18, 2009.

Info on Julie Peel at:

American Laundromat Records (Julie's Label):
You Can Still PRE-ORDER Julie's CD through American Laundromat Records at the below URL:

Sunday, May 17, 2009

E. Joseph And The Phantom Heart

If you want to get back to your 80s Alternative Roots, 90s (non-grunge) Rock with a current sound, your search is over with E. Joseph And The Phantom Heart.

Their latest release is "All The Medicine In The World..." on The Beechfields label and was released in September, 2008.

I went to see these guys last night in Baltimore and it was a great show and the songs on the record and live are quite similar so, if you're a fundamentalist (ie: psycho) about the live needing to sound exactly like the record, then you're in luck. They sound great.

Rounding out The Phantom Heart are Mia Regalado on Bass and Backing Vox, Nick Porcaro-Drums and Snuttock on keys.

Listening to the songs and the vocals I'm reminded of The Triffids, The Mighty Lemon Drops, Echo and the Bunnymen, Psychedlic Furs, The Church, The Smiths, The Cure - and, these bands all had their 'hey-day' in the 80s/early 90s. HOWEVER, E. Joseph's songs have a timeless Rock/Pop sound that is enjoyable.

I'm sitting here at home going thru the disc and the whole disc you really can let run all the way through without saying - OH NOOOO, not THAT song!

Right now - after giving it 1 listen, standout tracks for me are:

Changing Trains
Pulling Me Under
The Red Line

Before "the haters" find their way to me for selecting just these 4 or not selecting others, it's ok - you should go out and buy this record.

EJ's voice and the backing vocals by Mia are a great match and, this girl can play a Wicked Bass Guitar. She's not just playing with this band for show and tell.

So - the promo:

1. Go to and check them out. And see if you want to let their music become a part of your 'inner-circle' of music.

2. Indie bands - LOVE - feedback....good or's like when we hurt or bleed....we're reminded that we're alive. Let E Joseph and The Phantom Heart know you've listened.

3. If you like their music, buy a cd or go to iTUNES and get the record.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Band To Watch


The Strike Nineteens

Able to Rock-Out with songs like You Don't Love Me and Drop Down Dead, slow it down and able to get you to hold your breath with each lyrical line of Minor Things, The Strike Nineteens music will race inside your ears and kick your musical tail before you know what hit you while you start rocking with their brand of powerful rock-pop.

Check out their songs at

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Dreams So Real - REUNITING

On March 30, 2009, Barry Marler announced the reunion of the band Dreams So Real and their return to the stage will be at ATHFEST on Sunday, June 28, 2009.

While I'm not yet sure of the impetus of what's getting the band together, I WILL FIND OUT! haahahahah.

For now - take a moment or two and do the following:

1. is the band's official myspace page for the reunion

Become their friend

2. If you're free and want to head to Athens, GA - June 28 is a Sunday and they're going on about 6 PM EST.

3. Look for their music on iTUNES - put up there this past Fall/Winter of 2008 or check out the usual online or used record stores for the physical CDs if CDs are a MUST HAVE for you