Friday, August 17, 2018

AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: JEFF LORBER FUSION/IMPACT



JEFF LORBER FUSION
IMPACT

8.17.18


According to Wikipedia, Jazz Fusion is “a musical genre that developed in the late 1960s when musicians combined jazz harmony and improvisation with Rock music, Funk, and Rhythm & Blues.” During the ‘70s, Fusion was often looked upon as music for ‘sophisticated’ listeners. Artists like Miles Davis, Weather Report, and Return To Forever sold plenty of records but seldom would you hear their music played in restaurants or department stores. However, by the end of the ‘70s, a change was a-comin’. Fusion was always a fluid genre so when certain artists began to take it in new directions, new ‘genres’ were born. Jazz Rock, Jazz Funk and Smooth Jazz were three of the most popular subgenres that emerged from Fusion’s womb. And this is where The Jeff Lorber Fusion (JLF) comes in…

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

SPAZ reviews WILKERSON! Is it a POP masterpiece?


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WILKERSON
WILKERSON
(Spyderpop Records)

Available NOW!




SPOILER ALERT: In Avengers: Infinity War, big baddie Thanos gathers all the infinity stones, snaps his fingers, and half of your favorite heroes turn to dust. No matter how good those heroes were, they couldn’t avoid being whisked away by the wind. All you could do was sit there, helpless, and witness it all happen before your very eyes…

Well, folks, prepare to be amazed again because WILKERSON, the debut solo album by Texas singer/songwriter Danny Wilkerson (The Pengwins), leaves his competition in the dust. There have been a lot of great albums released in 2018 so far but none as magnificent as this POP opus (Popus?). 

But is it Power Pop? Yes and no. You see, WILKERSON is an album that defies AND embraces many genres. Some of the tracks contain elements of Badfinger and Paul McCartney but then there are also huge chunks of ELO, some later period Squeeze, a pinch of 10cc, a dibble-dabble of Supertramp, and a Beatles-esque glaze that holds it all together.


Oh, and there’s a little Jellyfish in there, too. Well, to be more precise, there’s literally a Jellyfish member on WILKERSONRoger Joseph Manning, Jr. appears on much of the album playing a variety of instruments! Another Pop legend, The Flashcubes’ drummer Ducky Carlisle, beats the skins on a few album tracks as well. The whole enchilada was produced and co-written by the uber-talented Bleu, whose influence is strong but not domineering. However, all this extra musical muscle would mean nothing if it wasn’t for the heart and soul of Danny Wilkerson, who steers this ship with confidence, joy, and an obvious passion for creating music. Some would call WILKERSON a labor of love for Danny but in all actuality, it feels more like a gift to those who still believe in the power and magic of music!

The album’s first single, “Let It Go Tonight,” is an emotionally uplifting track with a wall of acoustic guitars and soaring vocals. Album opener “Everybody Loves To Love” tosses 10cc, The Beach Boys and ELO into a blender and offers up a soul-stirring slice of audio bliss. “Enough For Somebody” could be a massive radio hit… if radio mattered these days. Same with “How She Lost My Heart” – a Pop masterpiece that deserves to finger-snap most of the Top 40 into dust! “You Still Owe Me A Kiss” mixes McCartney solo with some late period Beatles and some Jeff Lynne-like production. And then…. Oh, heck. I could go on and on about how each song is great but YOU really need to stop reading this and order this slice of magic now.


If you are one of those that thinks that they ‘don’t make albums like they used to,’ think again. This is an album that reaches across generations and genres. Remember 'back in the day' when you heard a new record that totally blew your mind - it was that good? Well, this is the next album that is going to do that for you. This is all the fun of a fair and a whole lot more!

WILKERSON is life-affirming music that will lift you up and shine light to even the darkest chambers of your heart.  It is time to believe in music again.


Keep on truckin',
Stephen SPAZ Schnee



WHITE DENIM: An EXCLUSIVE Q&A with Steve Terebecki




PERFORMANCE:
An EXCLUSIVE Q&A with White Denim’s Steve Terebecki

STEPHEN SPAZ SCHNEE: Your album, PERFORMANCE, is just about to be released. How are you feeling about how the album turned out and the reaction to it so far?
STEVE TEREBECKI: We are really excited about how the album turned out. This is the first album we’ve fully produced since LAST DAY OF SUMMER. I’ve enjoyed working with producers in the past, but being able to run with our own ideas feels the best. So far, people seem excited. “Magazine” was a different kind of style song for us, so it was cool to see it get picked up by so much radio.

Friday, August 10, 2018

AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: ROBBIE FULKS & LINDA GAIL LEWIS/WILD! WILD! WILD!


ROBBIE FULKS & LINDA GAIL LEWIS
WILD! WILD! WILD!

Available NOW!

Why on earth didn’t anyone think of this sooner? While a collaboration between Robbie Fulks and Linda Gail Lewis may now make perfect sense, it took a hell of a long time for someone to figure it out. And the timing couldn’t be more perfect – the world has been waiting for a new dynamic duo and they’ve finally arrived. Like a musical time capsule that reaches all the way back to the mid-‘50s, Robbie and Linda’s 2018 album WILD! WILD! WILD! is everything the title of the album suggests… and a whole lot more. From Country & Western to Rockabilly, this is an album created by and artist who was influenced by it (Fulks) and an artist that lived through it (Lewis).

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

MUNGO JERRY - THE ALBUMS 1976-81 reviewed!


MUNGO JERRY
THE ALBUMS 1976-81

Available NOW!

In the U.S., Mungo Jerry only scored one hit song – “In The Summertime” – and most Americans are under the impression that there wasn’t much else by the Mungos beyond that one single. My review of the Cherry Red Records five CD boxset MUNGO JERRY: THE DAWN ALBUMS COLLECTION may have surprised people unaware of those releases (you can read that review HERE). But guess what?  I’ve got an even bigger surprise – Cherry Red has released a second Mungo Jerry boxset containing five more full length albums from the British act! Entitled THE ALBUMS 1976-81, this set veers into Blues/Rock/Glam genres and generally avoids the jug band Folk of their earlier releases.

Friday, August 3, 2018

AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: TROPHY EYES/THE AMERICAN DREAM


TROPHY EYES
THE AMERICAN DREAM
8.3.18


Australia has always been a country that takes influences from the U.S. and UK, blending them together and creating something new and interesting.  This phenomenon has been happening for decades – most successfully in the ‘80s – and definitely sets bands Down Under apart from their American and British counterparts. Newcastle’s Trophy Eyes is no exception. Signed to Hopeless Records, the Punk-fueled Aussies fuse Punk-Pop, Emo, and Hard Rock together, sprinkling their musical confections with just the right amount of catchy hooks. The melodies soar, the powerhouse rhythm section pounds and the guitars slash and burn. While this might not be your grandad’s Punk Rock, it certainly checks all the boxes that inspired your older brother.