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Music

Bad News – The Gala

“Part garage-punk, part glam, part pitch-black rock’n’roll ferocity, The Gala is the party you’ve never been invited to but always dreamt of; a swirling kaleidoscope of debauchery and decadence that you probably wouldn’t survive.  But you can handle a song, at least.” – Sleazegrinder / Classic Rock Magazine

That was my introduction to The Gala following an introductory message from band member Chris Kenneally (guitar).  A little bit about The Gala – they’re a 5-piece garage punk group from Boston, MA, signed to record label Dead Beat Records..  Their latest release is Bad News, which has been out since March.  I’ve listened to the album, and as the quote describing them suggests they are a bit of everything to be sure – punk, glam, and rock.

Bad News by The Gala (US)

The lead female vocals from Emily Doran are super powerful and are fantastic.  I really liked the subtle touches throughout the album – like when the organ cuts through just a little bit to create a fuller sound.  This group really takes me back to some of the indie music we used to play on our college radio station almost 15 years ago. 

Another cool thing going for the band – they’ve released ‘Bad News’ on cassette!  I’m not sure why that’s a thing bands do these days, but that’s how I used to consume my albums growing up, so it’s awfully tempting to buy some more.  I wonder if tape players are becoming popular again – they’re definitely not in cars anymore.

I can’t say enough good things about this group – I’ll definitely play one or two of their tracks on an upcoming podcast episode.  In the meantime – you should check them out live!  Chris told me about a May 10th show at O’Brien’s Pub in Allston, MA.  Details at their website, or direct link here:
https://www.bandsintown.com/e/100831617?app_id=WIX&came_from=267&utm_medium=api&utm_source=public_api&utm_campaign=event

Categories
Podcasts

Episode 26: That’s Lobstertainment!

Mike and Steve talk about That’s Lobstertainment! They also (neglect to) do a lot of research leading up to the recording of this show.
Some interesting videos related to the episode:
Harold Lloyd – Safety Last
Buster Keaton goes to Ottawa
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Music

#113 – Dime and Sea Lillies

Welcome back to another full length episode!  This time around there are two listener submissions, plus many cool tracks recently featured on Jamendo.com.  Full playlist is below!

  1. The Halt – Kind of Right
  2. Pure Mids – Don’t Quit
  3. Banana Cream – We’ll Shine
  4. DIME – White T-Shirt (Bandcamp)
  5. Kinematic – Let’s Go Out Tonight
  6. Plants – Misery Business
  7. Sadme – Mourning Day
  8. Final Round – Angel of Darkness
  9. Sea Lillies – Materials (Bandcamp)
  10. Above Envy – Steady as the Rain
  11. The Spin Wires – Girls Like You
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Music

61st Grammy Awards Ceremony – Best New Artist

I don’t normally think about the Grammy awards, but an email flipped my way earlier this week caught my eye.  It was about the Best New Artist category – something I feel is relevant to the blog / podcast, even though we’re talking about major record labels. 

Here’s the list of nominees for the category (courtesy of www.grammy.com):

  1. Chloe X Halle
  2. Luke Combs
  3. Greta Van Fleet
  4. H.E.R.
  5. Dua Lipa
  6. Margo Price
  7. Bebe Rexha
  8. Jorja Smith
Some of these artists I’m familiar with, but others I hadn’t, so I listened to all of the singles provided on the Grammy’s nomination page.  If I had a vote, I would go with Margo Price.  But it’s not up to me and I don’t think I have the best pulse on public opinion.  
That job falls on research and marketing companies – such as SEMrush, an online marketing company.  They studied Canadian google searches to figure out the most popular new artists in Canada – here’s what they came up with.
Graph courtesy SEMrush  – Full-size: https://imgur.com/a/BAQBu1n
It turns out the most popular artist – in Canada – was Dua Lipa, followed by Greta Van Fleet.  You can see the search numbers in the handy graph.  Interesting to note the huge drop-off from third place – you can assume that pop & rock music are really popular among Canadians, and while country is pretty hot, it drops off pretty significantly.  
If I had to guess at the actual winner – I think it probably will be Dua Lipa.  I like Greta Van Fleet, but I think her genre is not the hottest nor is it too original (The Sheepdogs previously filled this space in the genre, but then again – they didn’t break through to the Grammy’s).
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Music

Now Available on Spotify!

Just wanted to quickly share with you the podcast is available on Spotify! 

https://open.spotify.com/show/733yjkoogMhSrtE7SVFw9s

Enjoy!

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Music

The Weekly Airwave is coming back!

A while back I used to do a weekly series of individual tracks called the Weekly Airwave – and now, for a 12 week series, it’s back!  Starting today I’ll have one track every Friday for you to listen & enjoy.

Listen to the short teaser:

Categories
Podcasts

Episode 25 – The Deep South

Mike & Steve are back covering the 25th episode of Futurama for the 25th episode of Futurama Pedia! The Deep South makes its way into the ‘Pedia for a fun show talking about mermaids and Atlantis, and of course, Atlanta!

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Music

The Ultimate Queen Celebration – August 9, 2018

Last night I was treated to a performance by The Ultimate Queen Celebration, a Queen tribute band fronted by Marc Martel.  The show was at the Théâtre du Casino at Casino de Lac Leamy in Gatineau, Quebec. 

Going into the show, I had zero expectations – I don’t recall ever going out specifically to see a tribute band, so assumed that it was going to be a band dressing up like Queen and playing their music.  That’s not quite what TUQC delivers.  I’ll get to that, but first, some group background details.

The Band

The band is fronted by Marc Martel, who is apparently quite famous on his own.  Based in Nashville but originally from Montreal, Martel gained fame via YouTube when he shared his rendition of Somebody to Love.  From what I gather he was hand-picked by Queen drummer Roger Taylor as the winner of a contest put on by Queen bandmembers (I’m fuzzy on the details as to what the contest was for, but I think it was basically to pick a front man for this particular tribute band).    All of the rave reviews of Martel essentially boil down to “Close your eyes, and he sounds like Freddie.” 

The rest of the band is made up of Tristan Avakian (lead guitar, some vocals); Brandon Ethridge (keyboard, vocals); Jason Gianni (drums, vocals);  and Mike Cohen (bass, vocals).  They all have various claims to fame of some sort but I was most impressed by Avakian, who did an amazing job last night playing lead guitar.  I learned today that he was a former lead guitarist for the Trans-Siberian Orchestra – not a surprise given the talent he put on display.  There are other rotating members of the band, who play depending on venue and availability. 

The Show

Getting back to the show itself, it was definitely a high-energy affair.  Everyone on stage were having a good time and putting every effort into the songs, and the crowd was definitely engaged.  Actually, despite playing a number of the higher-energy hits (including Bohemian Rhapsody) in the first half of the show, the audience didn’t break out into singing and dancing until “I Want to Break Free”, sung after an impressive opera performance by Martel coming out of the intermission. 

The band didn’t dress up like Queen, which was pointed out by Martel.  I didn’t find this distracting at all, and actually preferred it.  But they played it straight, and by that I mean they didn’t take too many liberties with the source material.  They played it as if they were the real band, playing through the set list, trading on and off the stage for effect.  I did think that Martel tries a little bit to emulate Mercury in more than just singing style, but he made it his own thing.  I think also the band was limited a little by the size of the stage, so didn’t have too many crazy theatrics. 

All in all, anyone could take Queen’s music and make a playlist out of it.  What The Ultimate Queen Celebration does is put an element of performance into it and deliver an engaging, fun show.  It ends up being a little more than just playing the music.  Great show, I recommend it if it’s in a town near you!

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Music

Review: Jordan Max Only One Is King

Artist: Jordan Max
Album: Only One Is King
Year: 2016

“Only One Is King”, an EP by Jordan Max released 2 years ago, is an artist/album that has shot up my personal charts. 

Some background on Max – he’s a British artist and recently signed to Danger Mouse for publishing.  He’s got a new single out (“War” – check out the video here), but Only One Is King was released independently. 

Actually, the story behind the album is kind of cool.  From a press release for his single “War”:

Jordan Max made his debut in 2016 with his EP Only One Is King, written and recorded in the bedroom of his childhood home. Lead single “Hell” showcased his unique sound and earned him a spot on Complex’s “10 British R&B/Soul Artists To Watch in 2017,” in addition to praise from Consequence of Sound, i-D, Pigeons & Planes, Fader and more. 

His sound reminds me a lot of Alt-J, but a bit more on the bluesier side than rock.  There’s quite a bit of darkness in his music as well, which at times seem to follow what I see as a bit of a trend in the alt-rock scene.  Still, blues & soul permeate through the tracks to make a unique sound. 

Keep your ears open for more from Jordan Max, it’s worth a listen.  I give this EP 4/5.

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Music

Review: Dallas Wayne – Songs the Jukebox Taught Me: Volume II

I was recently given the opportunity for an advance listen & review of singer/songwriter/DJ Dallas Wayne’s 2016 album, Songs the Jukebox Taught Me, ahead of the release of Songs the Jukebox Taught Me: Volume II.  Volume II is set to release next Friday, June 22nd.

The songs on “Jukebox” are pure, classic country.  They’re all very well-produced, and are almost bare bones: you’ve got Wayne singing (and his own voice has that classic twang to it), steel guitar, and some light percussion behind most songs.  Sprinkle in some violin, bass guitar, and acoustic, and that’s pretty much the album right there.

There are also some appearances by country vets in there, including Willie Nelson on the first track (“Your Time’s Comin'”).  The lyrical content is a mixed bag – there are songs about heartache, love, and just plain having a good time.  That to me is pretty much what I expect from most classic country songs.  I’m listening to the album over again as I write this, and “A Dime At A Time” is playing – love it when the piano comes in to add a little personality to the song.

Then you also have songs like “Devil in the Bottle” which sounds like a pretty personal song.  In fact I believe that Wayne put a lot of himself (whether it be through personal lyrics, or just his interpretations of ‘traditional country themes’) into this album.  This seems like it sounds exactly the way that he wanted it to sound. 

Here’s some brief info about Dallas Wayne, in case you were curious (I was):

Dallas Wayne

  • Singer, songwriter, radio DJ, voice-over artist, actor and music producer
  • Recipient of multiple honors, including CMA of Texas Choice award, DJ of the Year and the Disc Jockey Hall of Fame
  • Staff songwriter for Warner/Chappell Music for six years
  • On-air personality for SIRIUSXM Satellite Radio’s Willie’s Roadhouse (Channel 59) and Outlaw Country (Channel 60)
  • Released 11 of his own albums, as well as being featured on five collaborative recordings, including the honky-tonk supergroups Heybale! and the TwangBangers, and a Grammy-nominated bluegrass album with Special Consensus
  • Graced some of the most hallowed stages in country music, from the Grand Ole Opry and the Kennedy Center, to the Ernest Tubb Midnite Jamboree and Willie Nelson’s Fourth of July Picnic
  • Opened shows for many of the biggest names in country music, including Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Jeannie Seely, Charlie Pride, Bobby Bare, Jerry Lee Lewis and Mickey Gilley, to name a few
  • Featured artist on “Larry’s Country Diner”
  • Numerous acting credits including the original Broadway cast of “Pump Boys and Dinettes”
  • Commercial voice overs for radio and TV including United Airlines, Chevrolet, McDonald’s, MTV and Avis, among others

My in-laws like to listen to Willie’s Roadhouse a lot, so I thought it was cool to find out he’s one of the on-air personalities there.

Anyway – if you’re looking for some country music that isn’t a cross between pop or rock, and closer to the classics, you should check out Songs The Jukebox Taught Me.  3/5.

In the meantime – here is the press release for the upcoming Volume II:

Country music artist and SiriusXM Willie’s Roadhouse and Outlaw Country host, Dallas Wayne will release his latest album, Songs The Jukebox Taught Me: Volume 2, on June 22.

“My latest album represents a continuing journey back to the songs that made me fall in love with classic country music. Together with the previous Songs The Jukebox Taught Me project, this collection of 25 songs is a tribute to the songwriters who crafted them, and the artists who sang them — the heroes and teachers who taught me this music,” Wayne said.

Artists such as Willie Nelson have already given positive reviews of the album: “I’m really enjoying listening to this new CD, Songs The Jukebox Taught Me Vol. 2, by Dallas Wayne. Great job on an old song of mine called ‘Blame It On The Times.’ Thanks for bringing this one back! Also, I love the Vern Gosdin cover, ‘Is It Raining At Your House.’ Remember our motto: If It Ain’t Broke, Break It.”

Songs The Jukebox Taught Me: Volume 2 comes as a sequel to Songs The Jukebox Taught Me: Volume 1, which was released in 2016. In addition to releasing a new album, Dallas will be performing throughout the year, with multiple shows in his home state of Texas. Keep up with all of Dallas’ tour dates on www.dallaswayne.com.

Dallas Wayne Tour Dates
June 27 – Tyler, Texas* – Liberty Hall (w/Connie Smith)
June 28 – Arlington, Texas* – Arlington Music Hall (w/Connie Smith)
June 29 – Waco, Texas* – Waco Hippodrome Theatre (w/Connie Smith)
June 30 – Weatherford, Texas* – Texas Opry Theater (w/Connie Smith)
July 7 – New York City, N.Y. – Lincoln Center Heybale Band
July 8 – Buffalo, N.Y. – Sportsmens Tavern Heybale Band
July 11 – Kansas City, Mo. – Carl Butler’s Gospel LoungeKnuckleheads
July 12 – Kansas City, Mo. – Knuckleheads
July 13 -15 – Branson, Mo. – Hit Songwriters in the Round (Americana Theater)
July 28 – New Braunfels, Texas – Gruene Hall -Flat Top Jones (Gruene Hall)
Aug. 10-11 – Carthage, Texas – TX Country Music Hall of Fame Show
Aug. 16 – Waco, Texas* – Waco Hippodrome Theatre (w/Bellamy Brothers)
Aug. 25 – New Brunfels, Texas – Gruene Hall – Flat Top Jones Band
Oct. 27 – New Braunfels, Texas – Gruene Hall – Flat Top Jones Band
Nov. 1 – Waco, Texas – Waco Hippodrome Theatre (w/John Conlee)
Nov. 3 – Carthage, Texas* – Carthage High School (w/John Conlee)
Nov. 24 – New Braunfels, Texas – Gruene Hall -Flat Top Jones Band
*Dallas emcees/opens the show

About Dallas Wayne
“My latest album represents a continuing journey back to the songs that made me fall in love with classic country music. Together with the previous Songs The Jukebox Taught Me project, this collection of 25 songs is a tribute to the songwriters who crafted them, and the artists who sang them — the heroes and teachers who taught me this music,” Wayne said.
Artists such as Willie Nelson have already given positive reviews of the album: “I’m really enjoying listening to this new CD, Songs The Jukebox Taught Me Vol. 2, by Dallas Wayne. Great job on an old song of mine called ‘Blame It On The Times.’ Thanks for bringing this one back! Also, I love the Vern Gosdin cover, ‘Is It Raining At Your House.’ Remember our motto: If It Ain’t Broke, Break It.”
Songs The Jukebox Taught Me: Volume 2 comes as a sequel to Songs The Jukebox Taught Me: Volume 1, which was released in 2016. In addition to releasing a new album, Dallas will be performing throughout the year, with multiple shows in his home state of Texas. Keep up with all of Dallas’ tour dates on www.dallaswayne.com.