Song Review: THE OCCASIONAL ANGELS – “Fool For Love”

occasional-angels

I’ve said it before, but must repeat once again that I love Twitter because every single day it introduces me to all kinds of artists making all kinds of music. One of my recent surprise finds is the Ottawa, Canada-based trio who call themselves The Occasional Angels. Formed only recently in July 2016, they’re a new collective of three talented and highly-accomplished musicians with extensive backgrounds in the industry. Their music style is decidedly eclectic, drawing upon influences ranging from rock’n’roll, folk, country, pop, blues and jazz. Making the music are songwriter and rhythm guitarist David Hart, producer-arranger and multi-instrumentalist Scott Paterson, and soulful vocalist Cris Ruggiero.

The trio recorded their excellent debut album Renascimento during the summer and early fall of 2016, releasing it on CD and later on Vinyl through Hart’s independent record label Occasional Angels Records. They released two singles from that album – “Heaven in Denim” and “Winner Takes All” – which received critical acclaim and radio play in Canada, London, Los Angeles and Miami. Further building on that momentum, on February 10 the busy trio dropped an exciting first single of what will be their follow-up album, tentatively scheduled for a summer 2017 release. That new single is “Fool For Love” and it’s pretty incredible.

The track has a soulful rock vibe that’s retro, yet totally fresh, instantly hooking you in with an infectious guitar riff and gorgeous, soaring horns. Throw in Ruggiero’s saucy, bluesy vocals and the result is a deliciously sexy song. Man, can she sing! In her smoky voice that at times reminds me of Amy Winehouse, she croons “And if I love you baby, will you be true to life? I’m just a fool baby, a fool for love.” The guitar solo at the end is scorching hot, and if this song doesn’t have you dancing I just don’t know what to tell you.

The video is every bit as fun as the song. Ruggiero works her way around a record store thumbing through the vinyl collection as she sings the song, and I get the impression she’s thinking about her love interest. Hart is also in the video, as another shopper in the background. The video was filmed at The Record Centre in Ottawa.

I love this song, and look forward to hearing more of this band’s music. Learn more about The Occasional Angels by checking out their website. Follow them on Twitter and Facebook. “Fool For Love” and Renascimento may be purchased at https://theoccasionalangels.bandzoogle.com/music.

EP Review: “MAXIMUM HIGH”

One of the things I love about Twitter is discovering great new music and the artists who make it. I continue to be amazed at how much talent there is out there, and a good deal of it is coming from throughout Europe, where rock of all types is alive and well. A new band I recently had the pleasure of discovering when their lead singer contacted me is Maximum High from Athens, Greece. They play an infectiously upbeat style of rock, infused with healthy amounts of soul, funk, punk and blues that give their sound a classic old-school vibe.

maximum-high-band-members

The band consists of Irene Dimopoulou (vocals), Thanos Amorginos (lead guitar and producer), Dimitri Koutsiouris (bass), and Nick Zografos (drums), all seasoned musicians who’ve been a part of the Athens music scene for some time. They recently dropped their debut self-titled EP containing four solid tracks that really showcase their rich sound. The exuberant first track “Long Ago” immediately sets the tone for the EP, with assertive guitar riffs and a strong driving beat. Irene’s smooth, sultry vocals weave through the plucky guitars and vibrating synths, Nick’s cymbals crashing nicely in the background.

The band turns a little bluesy with the standout track “Don’t Let Me Down.” The song starts out with a fine hard rock guitar solo, then settles into an alternating tempo, Irene’s seductive vocals smoldering and soaring along with the intensity of the music. Thanos’ shredded guitar riffs and Dimitri’s bluesy bass provide just the right amount of heft to the song. The guys’ expert musicianship are again strongly evident in the high-energy “Control My Love,” as the guitars are really first-rate and, as always, Irene’s sultry vocals are outstanding. Maximum High gets funky with the delightful “Stay.” The relentlessly catchy dance grooves had me gyrating in my chair as I wrote this!

https://soundcloud.com/maximumhigh

As the band states on their Soundcloud bio, “Maximum High is better listened to on maximum high levels!” I wholeheartedly agree. To learn more about them, check out their website, and show support by following on Twitter and Facebook. Their EP may be purchased on Bandcamp.