#113 – Dime and Sea Lillies

Originally posted on Alternative Airwaves

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

Weekly Airwave – Don’t Wait by The Halt

Originally posted on Alternative Airwaves



Script

Hi and welcome to Alternative Airwaves - I'm your host Steve, bringing you the best in Creative Commons music. This is the Weekly Airwave: one track with some information about the song or the artist.

This week's track: Don't Wait by The Halt. What do you know - another track out of the US. This time, The Halt: a rock group that formed in 2017 featuring Neil Matharoo (from the band Soundstatues) and Andrew Schwartz, both from Brooklyn. They don't have any albums on Jamendo, but they do have four singles at the time of recording. Don't Wait is a good mix of alternative and grunge, leaning more on the alt rock spectrum. You can buy their music at the halt dot band camp dot com.


Be sure to check out alternative airwaves dot com for more podcasts and music reviews. See you next time.

2017 In Review (Jamendo)

Originally posted on Alternative Airwaves

Something that caught my eye earlier this week was a link I hadn't caught before on Jamendo: 2017 In Review.  I wanted to make sure to highlight it on the blog, because I'm going to try to move forward with covering new music in an upcoming podcast (though there might be some 2017 tracks sneaking through).

It's split into two parts: Best Albums, and Best Newcomers.  Here's the write-up for each section:

Best Albums//
Whether it was Russian rock band Sadme' psychedelic riffs or the nostalgic feeling in the honeyed voice of Barefoot McCoy, whether it was Nordgroove' thoughtful atmospheric mix of electronic music and jazz or the smooth soul-pop vibes of Seth Power, all the albums on the list below contributed to make 2017 an unforgettable year for our ears!

Best Newcomers//
Introducing a promising wave of diverse acts from the four corners of the world, here's the list of the new entrants who already got our attention in 2017 - and to keep an eye on in 2018!
Colaars - Underheart

I listened to some of the artists featured throughout this year, and I think in general they are spot on with their choices.  One that completely skipped by me was Robin Grey's album From the Ground Up.  I originally featured Robin Grey on a few podcasts back in the day, so I'm surprised that I missed his 2017 release.  It's quite good if you're into folk. 

Colaars' album Underheart was an album that I did catch up with over the last year, and I really enjoyed their brand of synth-pop.

The 2017 In Review page has a wide range of genres to choose from and artists from all over the world, as per the norm on Jamendo.  You should definitely check it out.  Let me know which is your favourite album or artist from the list!  I am looking forward to what the Jamendo people put together for the 2018 year in review.

Maks – 3 Ft No Diving (Review)

Originally posted on Alternative Airwaves

A while back musician Maks, from The Netherlands, sent me a message via the Alternative Airwaves Facebook page.  He was letting me know of a new release, 3FT NO DIVING, a solo effort after years acting as drummer in another band. 

He writes,

I have been playing as a drummer in rock bands for a big part of my life.

After the splitting up of my most recent band in 2012, I went on a small tour through the USA as a stand-in drummer in a blues-rock band. During this trip I decided I was going to write my own material and see where this could lead to...

The learning curve was pretty steep, I must say. Besides learning how to play a bit of decent guitar and keyboards, I also had to cope with my vocals. Perhaps my greatest challenge was to find my singing voice.

He passed the album my way (which you can pick up over at http://www.maksagency.com), and I listened to it a few times.  I'll start off with saying that I liked it!  Maks' voice reminds me a lot of a less rough Peter Dreimanis (July Talk).  I didn't find anything especially unique on my first pass through, but I found that I enjoyed the different elements Maks added to differentiate his sound. 

He uses many different instruments on his tracks, and some of the tracks make use of sound effects to create mood and atmosphere.  Technically speaking the album sounds very good, and I can tell that Maks is a very capable guitar & keyboard player.  If I'm reading his messages correctly he recorded and mixed everything on his own, without a backing band, so that is quite impressive. 

One especially prominent through-line I heard for the entire album was a lot of classic rock influences.  I reached out to Maks to ask him about this, and he let me know that I wasn't wrong:

My biggest influences are a band called Magazine, Japan, Ultravox, David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Alice Cooper and of course a bunch of bands from the late 1970s punk era  

I sort of combined all of them and gave it a swirl in my head and this CD was the result. Mind you, this swirling process took years...!  

I'm listening back to 3FT No Diving as I type up this review, and now that I think of it, I can sort of hear a Bowie-like quality in his voice.  And at the last minute I'm adding perhaps a little bit of Pearl Jam sneaking in there.  Despite all the influences, it doesn't sound to me like he's merely copying styles, but has created his own sound. 

For kicks, I decided to listen to a few songs from Maks' influences, starting with Magazine.  Fun to hear where his blended sound came from!

Once again you can check out the album at www.maksagency.com.  Enjoy!

The Ultimate Queen Celebration – August 9, 2018

Originally posted on Alternative Airwaves

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!

Kalie Shorr – Awake (Review)

Originally posted on Alternative Airwaves

Kalie Shorr - Awake
Another one of those "off my radar" music submission reviews!  This time, it's Kalie Shorr's Awake EP, which was released January 26th of this year.  Here's a bit of the press release:
Country rockstress Kalie Shorr released Awake last night to an at-capacity crowd of fans, music industry and friends in Nashville. The highly-anticipated new project features seven songs that bring a rock-infused sound to country, showcasing Shorr’s authenticity, passion and energy which she injects into her music. Awake is available now on iTunesApple MusicGoogle PlayAmazon Music and Spotify.
So let's unpack this EP a little bit.  The album is most definitely a country-rock album, reminding me a lot of Miranda Lambert (thinking her Kerosene days as I haven't heard much of her recent music).  If I were to describe the EP as a radio station, it would be the local Country station that drops in songs that straddle the tip of the country-rock-pop triangle.   I felt that the EP started off on the softer side, and built up to a rougher, rock-infused ending.  I appreciated the build-up.  I haven't checked the country charts to see how Kalie's doing, but I imagine that "Who What When Where Why" would be a song that will do well.  I like that one, and "Cool Kids" quite a bit.  "Two Hands" is also not too bad, being a bit of a love ballad.   OK scratch that, I did do some research, I'm not THAT lazy.  Turns out that "Two Hands" was released as a single and quickly added to rotation on Sirius XM, featured on The Highway, as well as added to Radio Disney Country (there were some promotional exclusives involved with Disney and a few other properties) and TuneIn.  Unfortunately I don't see her name anywhere on the Billboard charts but it sounds like she's still getting airplay out there.   Definitely recommend this one if you're into rock-infused country.  3.5/5.