Disc Reviews

by Max Ink Staff Writers


Robert Forster - Songs To Play

Robert Forster - Songs To Play

Robert Forster

Album title: Songs To Play
By John Noyd
Posted: Aug 2015
Label: Tapete Records
(1994) Page Views

Seven years since Forster’s last album but a short nine month since the release of his iconic band’s comprehensive box set, “G Stands For Go-Betweens: Volume 1, 1978-1984,” the Aussie singer-songwriter’s unfathomable talent elevates everyday fate into stoic blows infused with cool rebukes. Quietly rumbling in choice words, acidic attitude and a rich, but understated sound, “Songs,” casts guitar-propelled spells colored in organ, trumpet and violin to evoke gentle, sensible pathos from smoldering doldrums hiding inflamed disdain while delicate disclosure imposes restless longing onto poetic pondering, drawing playful statements inside punctual jangle and dreamy preening beneath fleeting indie-pop. Brandishing literate skittishness wound around a wealth of prickly wit and soft-spoken coping, Forster continues to stand tall, navigating pedestrian quests with matador grace and impeccable taste.

Read More...


Will It Burn - In Other Circumstances

Will It Burn - In Other Circumstances

Will It Burn

Album title: In Other Circumstances
By Geert Driver
Posted: Aug 2015
Label: Self Released
(2347) Page Views

Milwaukee has never strayed from the musical map. The city has always given birth to talent. But it has always been a working-class talent. The flashiness of Hollywood has rarely caught up with Brew City. Every ounce of talent has been earned in Milwaukee—and with good cause. This is the case with Milwaukee duo Will It Burn.

Despite seeing a very limited digital release, the duo’s 2011 EP Low Dial Almanac possessed a number of high notes (both literal and figurative). And also despite more or less shelving the EP, the duo—comprised of lyricist songstress EmAliyah and beatmaker, producer and DJ extraordinaire EightZero—got right to work on what would be its first full-length record, In Other Circumstances, seeing light on digital and physical formats.

In Other Circumstances is complex though. It might as well be two halves making a whole. By design, EightZero’s beats are strung together to make an opus similar to instrumentation. But the surprise comes when it’s learned that there isn’t even a single instrument played throughout. Pulling from the obscure and forgotten, EightZero weaves in and out of mainstream and lends on the power of hip-hop to create something original. Complemented by haunting vocals and lyrics that run the gamut of love, social commentary and even politics, EmAliyah sews intricate stories around EightZero’s woven “rhythm section.”

The result is a cohesive record of otherworldly vocal stylings set to throwback production, creating intellectual music begging listeners to dig deeper and skip the aforementioned flashiness of Hollywood and finally get back to the music at hand.

Read More...


Christopher Paul Stelling - Labor Against Waste

Christopher Paul Stelling - Labor Against Waste

Christopher Paul Stelling

Album title: Labor Against Waste
By John Noyd
Posted: Jul 2015
Label: ANTI-
(2410) Page Views

Rootin’ tootin’ finger pickin’ trickery tickles trickling trills and jaw-dropping fills as six-string slinger Stelling stuns in thundering mumbly-peg educations. Teaching and preaching hard-boiled allegories describing Pentecostal possibilities with zealous melodies, the swift, gifted vagabond laureate’s rambling preambles storm and warn in breathless progressions stirring tidal-wave revivals cast upon rocky shores lined in foot-stomping promises and redemptive runaway sentences. Nitty-gritty kinship circles blazing chamber-folk soliloquies while, “Labor,” works patchwork parables from boxcar pulpits into down-home honky-tonk gospel where dirt-floor metaphors restore feverish meaning to soul-stirring pleadings reaping backwoods wisdom inside tight-wrapped bluegrass rhapsodies. Arranging sage claims through free-wheeling auctioneers offering heaven-sent repentance from hard-won reverence, the profound earth-bound evangelist plays Madison’s High Noon Saloon August 21st along with Christopher Plowman and the Josh Harty Band.

Read More...


Kat Reinhert - Spark

Kat Reinhert - Spark

Kat Reinhert

Album title: Spark
By John Noyd
Posted: Jul 2015
Label: Exergue Music
(1752) Page Views

Exceptionally elegant ambrosia brimming in limber melodies, the fluid musings from New York City’s Kat Reinhert flow like smoke over skyline twilights as champagne sunsets chase velvet shadows through sophisticated plays swooping and swooning in rich thoughtful jazz. Delicate sentiments topped in cosmopolitan solace, lyrical poise and an upbeat demeanor, “Spark,” smolders in incandescent enchantments; shedding fears and sharing joys alongside cool, smooth grooves laced with embraceable improvisation. Originally from Milton, WI, the Lawrence University alumni’s lively dives and arching larks float in sharp, cultivated confidence, balancing the album’s casual dazzle against helplessly svelte abandon. A team effort featuring vivacious solos from her ace back-up, Reinhert’s potent emotions pour the jazz singer’s original compositions into voluptuous cups of finely tuned moods sparkling in glamorous banter.

Read More...


Dawes - All Your Favorite Bands

Dawes - All Your Favorite Bands

Dawes

Album title: All Your Favorite Bands
By John Noyd
Posted: May 2015
Label: HUB Records
(3340) Page Views

With an inexhaustible capacity to turn youthful flaws into battle-scarred badges where accidental detours become fateful escapes, Dawes’ armor-plated aches strengthen in contented repentance weathered in desperate acceptance and rendered with sincerity. Roots-rock novelists integrating folk-pop’s unconditional surrender; the L.A. quartet converts struggle into muscle and hard-earned hindsight into casually melodic insight, balancing hope and drama inside metaphors and rhyme while tenderness and faith emerge from scorching solos and forlorn harmony. Sweet, deep and rumbling in complications, “Favorite,” paves universal feelings with candle-lit sympathies, patient salvation and tender melancholy, a tuneful communion fastened by compulsive compassion. Despair never sounded so eloquent or forceful and triumph never so satisfying. Feel the love when Dawes along with alt-country rabble-rouser Langhorne Slim play Madison’s Capitol Theater June 20th.

Read More...


Beauty Pill - Beauty Pill Describes Things As They Are

Beauty Pill - Beauty Pill Describes Things As They Are

Beauty Pill

Album title: Beauty Pill Describes Things As They Are
By John Noyd
Posted: May 2015
Label: Butterscotch Records
(2438) Page Views

Eleven years and several medical crises later, Beauty Pill’s multi-instrumentalist Chad Clark reunites the band including long-time musical associate Jean Cook to release a beautifully moody stew of socio-political pop-theater pitting wily survivor’s vengeance against cosmic lotteries clogged in pre-ordained change. A fractured masterpiece featuring chunky electro-dunked funk rifling through addled battle-ballads to Escher-blessed treasures, “Describe,” allies devious gizmo-rock heaving seizures of sublime genius between cock-eyed creeps seeping into ironic conga-lines and feral synth-pop sambas squirming in twisted riffs. Employing discarded collage representing fractured pasts, B.P.‘s steam-punk burlesque hurtles curious turns into woozy gloom birthing patchwork firsts while screwball overhauls square off in distorted orchestras and oblique peeks into strange games. Beauty Pill lands in Madison’s The Frequency June 21st along with Milwaukee spitfires Tigernite.

Read More...


The Helio Sequence - The Helio Sequence

The Helio Sequence - The Helio Sequence

The Helio Sequence

Album title: The Helio Sequence
By John Noyd
Posted: May 2015
Label: Sub Pop
(2581) Page Views

Taking hold and pulling you under, the Oregon duo’s sixth album finds them washed in a swath of flickering wiggling and shimmering patterns; a cool nuanced confluence pursuing wiry spiraling guitar, scuttling percussion and strong, wandering voices. Wind-tossed synthesis brewed in tightly-wrapped packages saturated in straight-talk pop-rock, “The Helio Sequence,” subtly seethes in dreamy upheaval whose interwoven motions ooze through bobbing chops from aquatic clatter and smooth grooves stirred in sturdy gurgling. The result of a marathon song-writing and recording assignment, THS’s latest percolating circus works soft hypnotic propositions into a unrestrained meringue whose creamy soul rattles in intricate symmetry, propelling this self-titled recital into cozy explosions frosted in glossy blossoms. In their only Wisconsin appearance, The Helio Sequence visits Madison’s The Frequency June 26th.

Read More...


Courtney Barnett - Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit

Courtney Barnett - Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit

Courtney Barnett

Album title: Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit
By Sal Serio
Posted: May 2015
Label: Mom + Pop Music
(3188) Page Views

She’s young, she’s Aussie, and suddenly she’s top of the pops in college rock. You didn’t notice the flash in the pan? Right. ‘Cause in this instance I think she’s here to stay. Courtney Barnett, that is.

A solid reason why is the bountiful abundance of attention-grabbers housed on this disc. Media darling? Yeah… for the time being. One hit wonder? No fucking way. More like, FINALLY a new artist with an overflowing bag of tricks, and intellect enhanced by copious amounts of pure FUN.

Much of the fun comes in the form of memorable lyrics: “Her heels are high and her bag is snakeskin / hair pulled so tight you can see her skeleton”, “She looks him up and down with a botox frown / he’s well used to that look by now”, “Give me all your money and I’ll make some origami, honey”, “I was getting dizzy / my hair was wet and frizzy”.

Maybe not overly deep, but rock ‘n roll isn’t rocket science, you know. It’s more about the immediate connection the words and music have with the listener. Who can’t relate to: “I wanna go out but I wanna stay home” (the song title rams the point home further, “Nobody Really Cares If You Don’t Go To The Party”)?

Courtney Barnett performs at Milwaukee’s Pabst Theater, Friday, June 19, with Belle And Sebastian.

Read More...


The People Brothers Band - Middle Of The In Between

The People Brothers Band - Middle Of The In Between

The People Brothers Band

Album title: Middle Of The In Between
By Sal Serio
Posted: May 2015
Label: The People Brothers Band, LLC
(2707) Page Views

What’s good? What’s not wrong? This new People Brothers Band CD, for one thing. When life’s wicked curve balls get you frazzled to the end of your wits, here’s your tonic. The feel-good, put a skip-in-your-step, happy groove in your shoes cure for all that ails ya. Stay away from the edge and move back toward the middle of the in between.

Seriously, I think I love this CD. Besides the thoroughly uplifting emotions it coaxes, it’s just a really well put together musical project. It’s a “total product” instead of just a few standout tracks surrounded by filler, and is obviously the result of a band that has paid it’s dues and honed it’s craft before rushing out it’s initial studio offering. The pristine recording and mix by Landon Arkens of Madison’s Blast House Studios complements these 15 songs well.

Included are many varied styles, from New Orleans style funk/soul/blues (“Lay Me Down”), shades of early rock & roll (“Letters”), upbeat modern rock with jazz/blues overtones (“Ride”), and a Cab Calloway call-and-response shout-out incorporated into the Louis Armstrong classic “St. James Infirmary”. “Bitter Rain” and “Excalibur” are tastefully augmented by Kenny Leiser’s violin. I can’t recommend this music enough, people! People Brothers, that is.

Read More...


Kelakos - Uncorked: Rare Tracks From A Vintage 70s Band

Kelakos - Uncorked: Rare Tracks From A Vintage 70s Band

Kelakos

Album title: Uncorked: Rare Tracks From A Vintage 70s Band
By Sal Serio
Posted: May 2015
Label: Self Released
(1673) Page Views

Not too long ago, someone I know remarked, “There’s a reason we call Classic Rock CLASSIC”… and that’s the best intro to review the Kelakos CD. An East Coast based rock quartet who formed in the late 70s, did a little recording and a lot of gigging, and now are seeing their well-crafted songs released for a whole new audience.

15 songs, as a matter of fact, hearkening back to the days when AM radio was segueing into AOR FM radio, and cruising the main drag in your Mustang with cassettes or 8-tracks blaring was the norm. At times there’s a bit of the early Doobie Brothers/Firefall laid-back southern jammy vibe, but one can’t really sum it up that way. For instance, the opening track, “Boogie Bad Express” sounds like it could be Johnny Winter singing. “Rachel” could be a blended frosty with Sweet, Badfinger, and Raspberries flavors. Then, when you relax in to the grooves, a track like “Frostbite Fantasy” jumps out of the speakers with a more progressive arrangement, and a razorblade sharp guitar solo by singer George Haberstroh.

Even though these tracks were recorded between 1975-1979, the sound engineering is pristine and contemporary. These guys should know something about the studio. Drummer Carl Canedy produced many 80s-era metal groups, such as Anthrax, Overkill, Exciter, and Possessed.

Read More...


Randy Bachman - Randy Bachman - Heavy Blues - Interview by Bruce Alexander

Randy Bachman - Randy Bachman - Heavy Blues - Interview by Bruce Alexander

Randy Bachman

Album title: Randy Bachman - Heavy Blues - Interview by Bruce Alexander
By Bruce Alexander
Posted: Apr 2015
Label: True North Records
(1757) Page Views

Bruce Alexander: Tell me about your new album, “Heavy Blues.”
Randy Bachman:
Out of the blue, I got offered a new record deal from Geoff Kulawick from True North Records, a long established record label out of Toronto. That’s rare these days, because there are hardly any of those labels left. When I got the deal, he urged me to try something new and different; several other musical vets I talked to about it agreed. “Reinvent yourself,” they said. “Don’t do the same old shit.” So I wind up with two great female players, and it’s not just a gimmick. They attack the lead, bass, vocals and percussion with the passion and precision of Pete Townsend, Jack Bruce and Keith Moon. So the album was done in five days.

BA: Talk about your hero Hank Marvin of the Shadows, and how you got to work with him late in your career.
RB:
He was the biggest influence of my life. I began my career on violin, which is essentially a lead instrument. That gave me the ability to play lead guitar on the Shadows song “FBI”, which got me the lead guitarist gig in the Guess Who. In fact, I knew the Shadows songs so well, if Hank broke his arm, I could have gone up and played the whole show. I got Hank Marvin’s amp, I bought a big wood plaque off the internet that contains the Shadows’ fifty greatest hits, all signed - I have a Hank Marvin shrine in my home. When a Shadows tribute album was made, they asked me to contribute the last song. Together, Neil Young and I decided to play Bruce Welsh’s song, “Spring is Nearly Here,” which we had first heard on the radio back in 1966. Since we couldn’t locate a copy of the song, we recreated the lead and rhythm parts from memory, then manufactured an intro. Then one day after we recorded it, I came home to hear a Shadows fan playing the actual song on my answering machine; it was identical to what we had recorded.

BA: How did you wind up with your radio show, “Randy’s Vinyl Tap”, which also became a book?
RB:
I got the radio show as an accident. I was a summer replacement for Canadian DJ Danny Finkleman’s radio show, “Finklemans’ 45’s”. Since I played records for fun, I didn’t consider it a job, but it became much more: Obscure songs with themes that ranged from motorcycles to beach tunes, plus wild renegade news with opinion and humor. By the end of the summer, I was told that I had led the prime time ratings on CBC radio, and was offered a permanent slot. After forty years, I had a real job. My father would have been proud. It might go on Sirius satellite as well. Later, we transcribed the stories from my radio show into book form. Otherwise, you can’t download those stories; you can only listen to them. We had a book deal for over 30,000 books.

BA: How did the Guess Who form, and how did you get the idea for the name?
RB:
We played Johnny Kidd and the Pirates song, ”Shakin’ All Over.” We sent it to the record label. We couldn’t use the name “Reflections” because a band from Baltimore that had the name already had a hit called “Romeo and Juliet.” We needed a name so the record label gave it to us. We had no say in it.

BA: Any closing remarks?
RB:
“Heavy Blues” is the greatest (and worst) thing I’ve ever done. Also, we have a gig this Saturday night with a phenomenal girl band from Regina, Saskatchewan at the New York Ethical Cultural Center at West 64th Street and Central Park West.

Read More...


Kopecky - Drug for the Modern Age

Kopecky - Drug for the Modern Age

Kopecky

Album title: Drug for the Modern Age
By John Noyd
Posted: Apr 2015
Label: ATO Records
(1561) Page Views

Pumped in prompt romps from hip-swiveling singers and gallant ballads ushered in subtle percussion, Kopecky’s jump-started hearts immersed in cocktail pop feathers its nest in restlessly electric quests. Motoring through romantic stand-offs, flirty curtain calls and edgy pledges, bristling riffs woven inside harmonic gifts lift “Drug,” from love’s tender surrender to passion’s vigorous rhythms as the versatile Nashville six-piece treats tired ears to vital dance-friendly geysers and frothy Jacuzzi exuberance to blow away any thoughts of sophomore slumps. Bright, sweeping grievances flushed in abrupt poly-rock sequences keep things dynamic as the band funnels their live performance energies into coy, poised recordings whose catchy clichés and refreshing messages infect both head and feet with spring-loaded odes to dynamic abandon and slinky submissions dressed in fetching confessions.

Read More...

View More

Viewing Page 9 - of 34

‹ First  < 7 8 9 10 11 >  Last ›