The NBTMusicRadio Review 143

Review 1 april 2014

 

At long bloody last, the writer part of the NBTMusicRadio brains-trust slides slowly back into action, here with some thoughts on some of the latest releases currently gracing our 24 hour stream. Here be Fragments, Random Joy and unrestrained excitement, here will be attempts to listen between the chords, read between the lines, to discover the stories and dance with the ghosts in the music.

Right let’s get down to it

Older Reviews (1 – 123) can be found here

Reviews 124 till now right on this very blog.

I am writing about SONGS here although most of these tracks come from fine albums which you can discover by simply following the links like the good curious reader you should be.

The Frown – This Is How The World Ends (I AM NOIZE & DESTRUKTO Mysterio Mix)

I have to admit, I like my club music to be slightly menacing and moody, yet still able to deliver the release needed for the dance floor fanatic to lose themselves under the mirrorball darts. This is all factory throb and sly tension yet never succumbs to the dreary tank crawl that some industrial tracks mistake for ‘passion’

https://soundcloud.com/destruktorobots

Stoney Spring  – That’s Not An Ice Cream Truck , That’s God

Coffee House piano battles a creeping otherworldly synth, then weirdly morphs into something Hudson and Manuel would get down into on a good night with the Band. You can almost hear Dr John thinking about singing over this as he passes on his way to his spaceship in this alternate universe.

http://www.stoneyspring.com/

Galleons – Rise

This is slow burning, slow building, song circle intimate harmonies, the dreaming, the soft desire for the dreaming, then release perhaps even surrender.  Most bands would leave it at that, but the Galleons push forward, ever higher till it’s not just a bird, it’s a sleek air jet of a song, modern and shiny.

http://thegalleons.com/

Andrew Kay – Bernoldus

Like all four tracks here, this is a shape shifter of sorts. It flirts with loss, but is more about legacy, the most fragile call to arms we have yet to hear from a singer who balances the gleeful with the late night heaviness. Deceptive in its simplicity, like all good music, it catches you unaware and all of a sudden you are making plans to change the world.

http://www.reverbnation.com/andrewkay7

You can catch all these songs and oh so much more on the NBTMusicRadio’s 24 hour stream

http://nbtmusicradio.playtheradio.com/
TuneIn (for Windows Phone, Blackberry and Android):NBTMusicRadio

iTunes: Click on  ‘Open Stream’

and paste: http://listen.radionomy.com/nbtmusicradio.m3u

stream thru WinAmp, VLC or other media players: http://listen.radionomy.com/nbtmusicradio.m3u

 

 

 

 

 

 

The NBTMusic Review 142

review 143

The Random Playlist Experiment

Older Reviews (1 – 123) can be found here

So I thought I would try something different, Take three very talented, very different artists, throw all their new songs into a folder and let my player spit out the music at will, and I will attempt to convey my emotional, my sensual, my heart’s response to what hits me, and for three tracks from each artist I shall discover what private movies are created, what memories are triggered. I shall leave the technical dissection for other worthy critics; they have my permission, to conduct strenuous autopsies upon the verse and chorus of each song.

The three albums I will listen to are:

Monsters by Dudley Saunders (Strange Troubadours)

Tokyo’s Fifth – Tokyo Rosenthal (Rock and Sock Records)

Long Way Home – Max Carmichael (Independent Release)

So as a famous pair of lips once said in a cult film one dark rainy night, ‘’let’s get to it boppers’’

The first track up is Rosenthal’s ‘’What Did I Used To be’’ a reflective dark start to the proceedings.  3AM fragile where sunrise seems a lifetime away, and the hope that kept the younger man going seems in short supply. What surprises is how gentle this is, perhaps this is how depression hits us not with blunt force, but cloaked in sweet melody.

Saunder’s ‘’ What Rats Are We’’ stays in that temperamental time zone,  part of the night where time slows to a crawl, but this is  jazz romantic, neon sign reflected in puddle moody, kinda hip as the ghosts of Marlon Brando and Miles Davis are evoked. These too are lost men, but watch for the proud tilt of the head, the small wicked smile.

And so we leave the street and enter a packed club, An impossibly cool band whose members all look like Max Carmichael are playing on a tiny cramped stage, the song is, ‘’ Yellow Mud’’, we think of the Beatles, but not in Hamburg, rather in CBGBs, Jonathan Richman looks on and takes notes, a yuppie in the corner is loudly demanding a coloured drink, perhaps because his girlfriend is paying too much attention to the band.

Speaking of the Beatles, Tokyo takes back control of their ‘’Helter Skelter’’ but with none of the affectation of U2. This is country fiddle joyful, recalling a glorious time in the mid 70s when the American charts were full of country rock boogie, sing along anthems devoid of guile, you know, like when the Doobie Brothers were NOT slick, NOT polished, and there wasn’t a genre called adult contemporary.

Carmichael’s ‘’Plateau’’ comes skipping in, keeping the party vibe going, Everly Brothers overdosed on Paul Simon sanctioned subliminal afro rhythms, the singer enjoying the insecurity of sunshine through clouds,  we feel we are on a roundabout ,things become a pleasant blur, tension and giggles in equal measure.

Dudley Saunders brings back the fear, but oh how tactile, stirring seductive he makes it, in ’’ The Man In The Game’’ we cuddle up nervous next to one of his curiously broken characters, find an understanding for the approaching horror, glory in the detachment, this is how nightmares should be written, not with screeches and bombast, but rather with a slightly dangerous empathy.

Rosenthal’s ‘’Waste Of A Heart’’ with its traditional Oprey feel, and shy lilting harmonies from Andrea Connolly, makes us wish that Leonard Cohen, had written more Country songs. Regret and acceptance he moves out towards the dawn at last

In ‘’Zero Out (In These Boxes) ‘’ by Dudley Saunders,  we discover how memories can trap the soul, how powerful inanimate objects can be, as if they are magic, that just by looking at them, taking them out of that box in the attic or the top of the cupboard, they bestow the not  completely welcome gift of time travel. This for me is the most personal track on this album and all the more beautiful for it.

And finally we head down into Max Carmichael’s ‘’Rifted Valley.’’ What amazes me here is suddenly we are no longer in the artist’s beloved New York post Punk Loft dreamscape, but somewhere deep in that intellectual alt Americana that folks like Andrew Bird inhabit. It is fitting that this is the last song of this random journey, because the music is epic, growing, dense and like all that we have heard today, full of ideas, but never disregarding the raw emotion of it all.

Find out more from these artists right here:

http://www.tokyorosenthal.com/tokyo_rosenthal/home.html

http://www.dudleysaunders.com/index.php

http://www.maxcarmichael.com/

And you can hear LOADS of tracks from these three albums on the NBTMusicRadio 24 hour stream

http://nbtmusicradio.playtheradio.com/
TuneIn (for Windows Phone, Blackberry and Android):NBTMusicRadio

iTunes: Click on ‘Advanced’ then ‘Open Stream’

and paste: http://listen.radionomy.com/nbtmusicradio.m3u

or search Under ‘radios’ /’eclectic’

stream thru your Media Player: http://listen.radionomy.com/nbtmusicradio.m3u

The NBTMusicReview 139

Older Reviews (1 – 123) can be found here

Tracks from Asleep In Transit’s EP can also be heard on the NBTMusicRadio during the 6 PM (Berlin Time) slot

Wide-awake in a starry sky: Asleep in Transit – Jackie Horner Pub, Helen Joseph Road, Glenwood, Durban. 08 September 2012

review: Helge Janssen

This five member band, formed as a duo almost two years ago, presented the Jackie Horner pub with an acoustic set as a threesome: singer/percussion Irena Buzdugan, acoustic guitarist Allister Christie, and bassist Joshua Woolf. Vlad Buzdugan (synthesizer) and Chris McNabb (drums) were otherwise engaged.

Like the proverbial live-wire, Irina Buzdugan’s beautiful voice weaves its way around the acoustic and bass guitars, slithers through the notes sparking their intention, explores range and depth, tempo and space, stretches, evolves – holds time itself -with an ease of expression that belies its depth of persuasion. As such, Irina locates  the melody outside of and between the driving rhythms with intuitive jazzy-verve. This creates space for melodic invention that is the casting point of strength of this band. With charisma to match, her exotic beauty is alluring and mesmerising, while the two guitarists wouldn’t be out of place in a vogue photographic shoot either! Allister has a natural alto voice that entwines Irina’s in an harmonic, shamanic echo-chorus – and at other times he leads – that is as pleasing as it is surprising. With his acoustic guitar, at times banjo-like, sometimes upbeat in a blue-grass kind of way, Allister forms and informs the essential fulcrum through which the performers anchor their focus while allowing space for each musician to explore their potential unhindered.

Joshua is reinventing the bass guitar: at times driving the songs rhythm, at others leading with an electric guitar-like riff, or happy to simply accentuate and prolong the dramatic use of a deep and warm bass reverb in sudden contrast to the dancing higher notes, he is always inventive. And yet, these bass guitar melodies do exactly what a bass guitar is meant to do: heighten the countering rhythm, and add depth to instrument structure.

Of particular note too is the arrangement of the songs. These have well thought out deceptively simple layers of melodies that dance around the primary rhythms sustaining aural intrigue progressively adding depth and range to the dramatic context. These performers are not afraid to play with time, have an equable performance style which belies the poignancy in their message. The songs are thought provoking, memorable and accessible. I had a strong sense of lateral thinking infusing their creative processes. This allows for maximum individual input within an infrastructure of mutual respect. Listen to “Brother, Sister” or “What a mess we must appear” which are both melancholic AND upbeat and will have you smiling!

What a Mess We Must Appear:

“Why’d you burn all the buildings?

I just don’t get it.

Why can’t you tell your smoke from fire?

I heard I’m dying tonight
and I think I just found out why..”

This rich tapestry with its counter-point surprises forms the essential drive and interest that becomes the expansive whole of ‘Asleep in Transit’. As such they have produced a unique alternative Durban sound. From this showing this band could neatly slot into the international circuit and they definitely have what it takes to rise to the top.

They might be ‘asleep in transit’ but they are very much wide-awake in transmission!

WHAT a boon! You can download their debut album FREE here: http://soundcloud.com/asleep-in-transit/sets/asleep-in-transit-ep

web site: http://www.asleepintransit.com

Durban is exploding with musical talent!

The NBT Review 133

Kara McGraw – Kara McGraw (independent release)
Older reviews (1 – 123) can be found here
The story song is a difficult creature to tame; the writer has just a few minutes to show a lifetime, just a few verses to illuminate adventures and journeys. In many ways it is a skill that comic book writers share, they must distil the story down to its essential essence, move it along with graceful speed even while taking care to keep important details intact and hinting at others.

The story song is a beautiful thing because it allows the listener, (just as well crafted comic books do) to explore the spaces and add their own imaginative constructions, while still reaching the destination the creator wishes. So it is fitting that this collection opens with a song called ‘’ Comic Books and Flashlights’’ A track that has shape shifting magic designed into its DNA.

This set is a complicated undertaking, in which the artist strives to marry the multilayered strands of the show tune to the sensually skinny format of the folk pop missive. (As a side note, I have been listening to Tori Amos’s album ‘Night Of Hunters’ in which she attempts to achieve many of the things McGraw does here, and while finding many delightful parallels, I think Kara gets it right more often!)

The incredibly rich arrangements and orchestration never overwhelm the melodic drive, never move us too far from the girl and her piano, so we sit and listen and are not afraid to get emotionally involved, never feel that this is just music for Broadway aficionados, or Stephen Merritt fans.

McGraw has fashioned a pop album that feels timeless, it could have been dreamed up when ‘Singing In The Rain’ was huge, or selections from this could drive the latest episode of Glee with ease.

You can hear trax from this album spread all over the 24 hour stream that is the NBTMusicRadio, but specially during the hours of  9 PM New York Time and for the European Listeners 3 PM (Berlin Time) which is 9 AM New York Time.
http://nbtmusicradio.playtheradio.com/
iTunes/TuneIn (for blackberry and android):NBTMusicRadio
Stream thru yr media player: http://listen.radionomy.com/nbtmusicradio.m3u
Find out more here:
http://www.karamcgraw.com/

The NBT Review 124

welcome to the new home for album reviews of Artists featured on NBT

older reviews (1 – 123) can be found here

 In The Lonesome Hours – Oh My Darling (independent release)

 Four souls collide, the voices the music drifts out from this luscious explosion, soothes but also, with cheeky attitude exhilarates those dancing muscles, the old time waltz part of your brain, that is seldom ignited. In seconds you take for granted that these are virtuosos, modern musicians covered in history, who take the old and fashion a new way of looking at it. They create songs that stand alone in any genre, are careful and thoughtful with lyric creation, with mood and texture, Four souls collide for sure, but this is no accident. They were, are, driving straight for your heart.

 In ‘Caught You looking’ they do something rather clever, the split time into two channels, there is the fast frantic giggle time of the barn dance swirl, and then there is the slow smile of a couple, two strangers, attracted, wondering, if the connection will be made that night.

 This affection for the characters that inhabit the tunes, adds colour and a deep warmth to creations that already, even on first listen, feel like old wise pals.

 Even when touching on subjects like the death of a loved one, its more about the freedom, the release than the burden, they dare to concoct something uplifting, but tempered with insight, knowledge and calm, even in their most giddy girl moments.

 This is an album that finds joy within the drama, and some of these tales are as dramatic as old man’s late night tales, or snatched pages from battered westerns. They mix the ‘big’ themes, like war crime and money with the internal, intimate encounters of the analytical spirit.

 And oh how they have fun doing this.

 Highly recommended.

 Find out more here

http://www.ohmydarling.ca

 You Can hear tracks from this album on the NBTMusicRadio

http://nbtmusicradio.playtheradio.com/

iTunes: NBTMusicRadio

 and also Featured on the NBT Flagship Podcast going out this Sunday.