Thursday, January 22, 2015

Carina and The Six String Preacher - Liquid Think CD Review

First off I must tell a bit of a back story about the copy of Liquid Think that I received from The Six String Preacher (Vince). Vince invited me to the Sportmen's Tavern CD release party for Liquid Think (Thank You Vince!) awhile back and I couldn't attend. I had to visit Vince in person and ask him for a copy to review and Vince was gracious enough to forward me a copy of the CD (once again, Thank You Vince).

I have reviewed music that Vince has composed before and Vince was excited to read my review of Liquid Think. I still have many CD's to review so trying to get ahead of the game I forwarded my copy of Liquid Think to a friend of mine. My friend agreed to review the CD but unbeknownst to me my friend decided to forward the copy I gave him to a friend of his. So my attempt to get ahead brought me two steps back instead. I did not copy Liquid Think to my computer so I had to pay Vince for a new copy. I was happy to pay Vince but at the same time I was annoyed that I didn't copy the CD before I gave away my copy to my friend.

Now on with the review, Liquid Think is at first listen a jazz based CD with torch light singer vocals. But Liquid Think goes way beyond torch light jazz in it's musical scope. Carina & The Six String Preacher (C.S.S.P.) feature a couple of acoustic duo songs, a rockabilly song and a couple of melodic rock songs on Liquid Think.

Here's a little background on torch light singers, they're usually female and Billie Holiday immediately comes to mind when I think of torch light singing. She was singing along with jazz musicians in the 1930's, 40's, and 50's. Carina sings in a similar style to Billie Holiday and current jazz and rockabilly singer Imelda May. Les Paul and Mary Ford come to mind and C.S.S.P. can be compared to the very successful pop/jazz guitar duo from the 50's. C.S.S.P. combine retro, jazz styles, some pop sensibility and smooth as silk vocals to create a unique sound all their own. (new genre...Nu-Lounge?...jazz-noir.)

Liquid Think starts off with Champagne, Smoke, and a Light. The jazzy, guitar chord progression reminded me of the song, Stray Cat Strut when I first heard it. Carina's vocals are sweet and sultry and she even takes a scatting vocal solo during the opening track. The vocal sound is unique, maybe they were sung through a Shure 55 microphone? (see Lee Hoffman's recent photo below)

(Photo of Carina courtesy of Lee Hoffman)

The second track, Honey, highlights Carina's suggestive vocals. Carina shows off her great, jazz style, singing chops. Honey is a way groovy song and it reminds me of something I may have heard on the soundtrack of an old black and white movie. Some Like It Hot starring Marilyn Monroe comes to mind. The keyboard fills sound like a flute, and they add some sweet, melodic color to the song. The S.S.P. takes a guitar solo on Honey. The sound of the guitar and the solo chops are pure jazz.

The title track, Liquid Think, is a really funky, uptempo jazz track with some great keyboard and guitar playing. The chorus is very melodic and catchy, overall the song has a unique and fresh, pop, jazzy sound...(new genre...pop jazz?) The sweet vocals are full of innuendo and sass. The guitar riff right after the chorus vocal highlights the lyric and lifts up the melody perfectly. Great song!

One Way Lust is a melodic, uptempo, rock song. Carina's great vocal track is backed up by a sweet sounding backing track. The drums, keys, guitar and bass sound excellent. The overall sound on One Way Lust leans more toward alternative rock than jazz. Carina's vocals are just the cat's meow on One Way Lust.

My Baby's Got A Cadi is a rocker. The drum track performed by John Brady is absolutely hopping! The sound on this song is full out, 50's, rockabilly romp. The hand claps and vocal scatting on the outro sound great. The S.S.P. shows off his rockabilly chops on the guitar track, this guy can play it all!

Snowflake is different than all the rest of the songs on Liquid Think and this is my fave on the CD so far. The innovative guitar playing of the S.S.P. instantly creates a dreamy, ethereal mood with the opening guitar figure and the djembe playing by Carina creates the perfect rhythm to accompany the guitar. The vocals work well with the guitar to complete the spacey feel of the song. The chimes add a great musical touch to the song.
I can imagine and hear the opening guitar line turned full-up with distortion in my head, creating a heavy, hard rock song.

(Photo of The Six String Preacher courtesy of Julie Ann Schumacher Photography)

Destiny starts off with a sweet guitar intro, the feeling is rock and the guitar sound reminds the sound Doug Pettibone frequently uses. Destiny has a pop rock feel and sound, it could be compared to Sheryl Crow at times but Carina's vocal accents and inflections bring a unique sound to the song.

4:39 sounds like a rock/jazz love song. Carina's vocal talents really shine through on this song. The music/backing track that support the chorus sounds really cool and unique, the vocal dubs come together to create a very listenable and melodic sound. The verses' sound like Kiss Me by Sixpence None the Richer. Great alternative rock/pop song!

Jack Ash is another bebop, nu-lounge, jazz jam that features some great singing by Carina.

Lullaby For Jonny is an acoustic duo song that is different from the rest of the songs. Carina's oohs, aah's and scats create a dreamy feel while the S.S.P. accompanies on acoustic guitar. This song reminded me of the Beatles classic Blackbird at certain points.

The last song, One Way Lust, is a acoustic duo version of the 4th track. The tempo is a little slower which allows to Carina to stretch out the vocals and sing a bit more than the 1st version.

I highly recommend Liquid Think to any jazz music fans out there in blog land.
I also would recommend Liquid Think to any local music fan seeking something new and different to listen to.

"Jazz Noir" Carina and The Six String Preacher Facebook link
Carina and The Six String Preacher SoundCloud link

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Stellar Lane - Tel-Aviv, Israel

Stellar Lane brings back the sound and spirit of 90's Rock, Alice in chains and Soundgarden meets Procol Harum.
The Brothers Fogelzang unique dual vocals define the band's sound along with their energetic drums, bass, keyboards and guitars.
Stellar Lane are currently in the studio recording their debut album.
The band recently released a new single called "Fairy Tale" produced by TIM PALMER
(Pearl Jam - Ten).
Listen to Stellar Lane online! goto

Thank you Stellar Lane!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Ansley Court

Thank You Mike! Now I have Bakers Dozen to listen to...
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Ansley Court was a cool, rockin' alternative band from Buffalo that was gigging and recording in the 90's. I had the pleasure of seeing them play live a couple of times and also had the pleasure of working w/Joe (JOFO 70) while he recorded his solo album in the Sidway building. Last I heard Joe moved to NYC. Ansley Court was an extremely talented bunch of original songwriters, their sound could be called alternative rock but it is a unique, eclectic blend of many genres. The overall sound of "jade heart bleeder" is very cool. Lots of interesting sounds going on to entertain the ears. I think A.S. was way ahead of the curve and not your average, ordinary band by any means.

After all this time I still enjoy listening to "jade heart bleeder".

Monday, January 12, 2015

Hondo's Revenge

Hondo's Revenge CD review...

Hondo's Revenge is an independent release by 4 talented, Buffalo NY, rock music veterans. Each member of the band plays out on the Buffalo music scene in one form or another and I will be highlighting the other bands the members are involved in as I do the review.
I must Thank Nick Notaro for expressing his interest in my blog and submitting Hondo's Revenge for reviewing purposes. Thank you Nick and Hondo's Revenge!

The CD kicks off with "Conviction", the guitar intro is metallic and heavy.
A wah-wah pedal lead guitar solo brings the lead vocals in. I am immediately reminded of Jive Injection when Jody Velletta starts singing. The last time I heard Jody's voice was in the early 90's.

(Jive Injection CD art pictured below)

...I am initially distracted away from the music for a moment and I drift back into some musical memories but the music draws me back in.
The guitar driven music is punchy and tight, the guitar could been brought up a bit more in the mix.

"Captain Obvious" is an interesting song title, the title comments on the lyrical content of the song.
The opening guitar is played in an 80's hard rock style. I am reminded of Van Halen, Poison and KISS.
The lyrics are straight ahead and simple, the message is clear and the vocals are delivered in an 80's style. Andrew W.K. would say...She really is Beautiful!

The third track is the best yet. "The Wild Mouse" reminds me of the old Crystal Beach roller coaster.

(Below is a photo of the old Crystal Beach Wild Mouse roller coaster with The Comet in the background)

This instrumental track is great and all of the solo performances are high energy and played with 80's flash, flair and urgency. This is my favorite track on the CD so far. The tempo is quick and the rhythm is solid, just right for a ripping guitar solo. Tim Unger absolutely tears it up on his guitar solos with quick pull offs, high note bends and fret-board taps.

The spotlight then turns to drummer Nick Notaro who bangs out a great, quick solo on the drums.

Joe Barush then takes a quick and sweet solo on the bass...which is barely audible in the mix, turn the bass up!

"Shoot The Label" once again features Jody Veletta on vocals. Jody's latest musical project is the original band DoDriver.

The lyrics are for anti-music labeling or categorizing, which I agree with 100%. Music labels or categories are really just put on bands as a selling point by the music industry. Bands just don't play music, they play "Heavy Metal", "New Country" or "Classic Rock". The lyrics advocate listening to music you prefer to listen to, no matter what category or box the band has been placed in by someone else. Once again Nick and Joe take turns on a solo flight, but the bass is inaudible. I love a bass solo but it needs to be heard to be fully appreciated.

"Equinox" is a guitar-driven, rock instrumental that features Tim Unger on guitar.
Tim has been gigging frequently with the band eXit! for the last few years.

The guitar intro sets a slow, steady tempo. Ever so slowly, melodic and quick guitar solos slowly bring the tempo of instrumental up into a full-out rock jam. The punchy and solid bass punches through the mix on this song with some excellent fills and runs. The tempo rises up and falls a couple of times throughout on this rock jam. "Equinox" is my second favorite track on "Hondo's Revenge." Great jams!

"23 years" is a mid-tempo rocker with an easy flowing feel and classic rock sound.

Next up is a cool up-tempo guitar-rock instrumental called "Freakin' A". The song begins with a cool drum intro played by Nick Notaro. Nick's current musical project is called Blind Date.

"Freakin' A" features Tim Unger on lead guitar solos for this rocker. The sound of the rhythm guitar and many of the solos reminded me of Molly Hatchet.

"Too Many Talkin' Heads" is the best song with Jody on vocals.

I don't rate any CDs I review on a point or star system but I would recommend Hondo's Revenge to any 80's or classic rock fan and once again, I'd like to thank Nick and the band for submitting the Hondo's Revenge CD for review. Thank You!
I must also mention that the CD mailer included a special bottle of chicken wing sauce. Now I don't know if Nick's Spider Venom Chicken Wing Sauce is a new business venture for Nick but 1 thing I do know is that it tastes great and it adds a nice kick to anything that I would put hot sauce on.