CHIO – EP Review: “Unlearned Lessons”

Chio EP

Chio is the artistic name of singer/songwriter Anthony Chiofalo, and this is his debut EP Unlearned Lessons, which dropped in August. The New York City-based artist plays rock music influenced by a whole assortment of alternative, grunge and garage bands, but with a style all his own. He recently had this to say regarding his sound: “People continue to ask specifically what artists my music sounds like. Fair enough, but I’m usually at a loss with that question. I had come up with some answers, but nothing that felt accurate. I also didn’t like to try to fit what I did into some other artist’s slot. That’s missing the whole point of writing original music. I have influences. Tons of them. But I never want to imitate, replicate or steer too close towards someone else’s creations. Otherwise I might as well just play their songs.

Well, to these old ears of mine, I hear bits of the Gin Blossoms, Counting Crows (specifically the vocals of Adam Duritz), and Tom Petty – all great bands I really like, so it would follow I’d like Chio’s music. He wrote all the lyrics and music, arranged all the songs, and played guitar, keyboards and sang on Unlearned Lessons. Jerome Giancola played bass and Justin Hofmann played drums, and both guys produced, recorded and engineered the songs.

About the EP’s title Unlearned Lessons, Chio explains that it comes from a lyric in one of the tracks called “Into the Waves“: “We all still feel it, subtle heat. Unlearned lessons, always repeat.” It’s the final track on the EP, but I’ll discuss it first. He goes on to state: “The song… is about growing up and feeling the pressure of so many different aspects of life, and getting fed up to where you just want to get away from it all. In the chorus, I use surfing as a metaphor for escape, singing ‘I just want to jump into the waves.’  Surfing’s my metaphor, but the line itself represents anything that helps you get away from the seemingly endless challenges we all have to deal with. It seems that until we figure out how to remove ourselves from whatever cycle we’re playing out, and find a way to move past the continuous and familiar problems we face time and time again, there is only temporary escape in whatever you do to get through it. Until you understand why you’re going through the same patterns and what’s at the root of it, your ‘unlearned lessons’ will always repeat.

Using layers of fuzzy and jangly electric guitars, Chio creates a palpable sense of tension, made even stronger with the addition of his own eerie electronically altered backing vocals.

The opening track “The Rebel Inside” touches on his self-image as a badass, at least while he was coming of age, but also that he has a vulnerable side, and his loved one’s hurtful actions may turn him away: “So maybe I’m not as hard as I thought I was at age 15 when I caught my first real buzz. But that don’t mean my mind won’t break when you put my pride at stake. But you seem to see right through me. You’re all that I’ve got and it’s gonna consume me. But I know it’s good to be choosy. Watch out maybe you’re about to lose me.” The track starts off with a gritty, reverb-heavy guitar riff and Chio’s earnest vocals setting a rather dark mood, then the music breaks open with gnarly guitars, humming bass and heavy drums and loads of crashing cymbals. It’s a great rock song.

Out of My Head” is a hard-driving kiss-off song, and Chio’s terrific guitar work is on full display. With bitter resignation, he tells is ex he’s done with her: “I think I’ll take it easy on myself and keep you out of my head. We threw so many words upon each other. Petty things better left unsaid. Now I only feel peace in myself. This moment’s my only future, and there’s no time left for you.” And speaking of kiss-off, he really goes for the jugular on “Haunted“: “There’s a special place in hell for people like you. The ones that take my heart, but don’t see it through. And I’m just vulnerable if you look too close. A sheet in a dark room, but you think that I’m a ghost. Now I’m haunted. I’m haunted by your ghost.” It’s an interesting track, beginning with a funereal organ synth that seems to represent the feelings of being haunted by the death of the relationship. The song then blasts wide open with shredded guitars and heavy drums, intensifying the emotions expressed in the lyrics. I especially like the catchy little guitar riff Chio plays in the choruses.

Chio tackles obsessive, unrequited love on “Long Distance,” where he addresses someone who’s obsessed with a guy she’s never even met: “You know you love him, but you won’t say a word. And if you love him well, why hasn’t he heard. Know the reason why you keep your feelings inside. When you see him, you run and you hide.” I love the Tom Petty-like guitar work on this track.

Unlearned Lessons is a great little EP and an impressive debut effort from Chio that should make him proud. His honest, thoughtful lyrics are written from the heart, and his ability to set them to dynamic melodies and bring them to life with his skillful guitar playing make for some very solid rock songs.

To learn more about Chio, check out his Website/Blog

Connect with him on Twitter / Instagram
Stream his music on Spotify / Apple Music / Soundcloud
Purchase on Bandcamp / iTunes / Amazon

9fm – EP Review: “Little House”

9fm - Jarrod Pedone

I recently learned about an outstanding musician who goes by the artistic name 9fm – short for Ninth Floor Mannequin – after he posted his music on my friend Roy’s music sharing website Chatsong. 9fm is the moniker for the solo music project of New Jersey-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Jarrod Pedone, and I was instantly moved by his arresting sound the moment I heard it. He melds folk with alternative rock, injecting bits of synth pop here and there to create incredibly pleasing music that seems to draw influences from such artists as Fleet Foxes, Paul Simon and Sufjan Stevens. And not only is his music brilliant and captivating, his poetic lyrics are so deeply compelling and filled with meaning that they seem almost Shakespearean. He’s just released a five-track EP Little House, and it’s marvelous.

Before getting into the EP, a bit of background about Jarrod to provide some context for his music, in his own words:

Before 9/2/12, I was a full-time musician, recording engineer and composer. On that evening while out for a run, I was struck by an intoxicated driver. I suffered a laundry list of injuries, the most concerning of which was the traumatic brain injury. When I eventually woke up, I learned that outpatient physical and mental therapy understandably left something to be desired in regard to musician’s skills recovery. I naturally resumed my career path. Little did I know that creating music was now going to be by far the most significant source of therapy that I’d experience.”

9fm2

9fm writes, performs, records, mixes and masters all this own original music, and to my ears, I’d say he’s recovered from his injuries quite admirably. He released his debut album Green & Blue for Blackness in 2016, and followed in late 2017 with the EP 5 Characters (In Search of an Exit), both of which are superb. Little House dropped on September 3.

The title track “Little House” kicks off the EP with layers of shimmering synths and fuzzy guitars set to a galloping drumbeat, gently transporting us into to a dreamy soundscape. Jarrod’s warm vocals are lovely, and even more so when backed by his own soaring harmonies as he plaintively sings of letting down his guard and being honest with his true feelings – that he wants to settle down and be married to the one he’s loved for a long while: “To say it all aloud. The things that I had thought for years. I wouldn’t want a change. I wouldn’t change. I want a little house & rings.”

Tin God” sees him coming to the realization that his lifelong quest to be the best, to be on top, to win, has come at a price, and in the end, did not bring the happiness he’d expected: “The goal was clear from day one. Perfect the game, sharing first place with no one./ Sleep in the hall. No time at all for love now. A legend or a tin god. I risked my life for just one try to dethrone. Well in the end, I did win best of all time. Not worth my time, you keep it, you can keep it.” The track has a progressive rock feel, with reverb-heavy chiming guitars, industrial sounding synths, assertive percussion and echoed vocals. I love the rather haunting melody that weaves throughout the song.

And speaking of melodies, “Allow Me” has one that’s absolutely captivating, in stark contrast to the song’s dark theme. The track opens with glittery, pulsating synths, then expands into a gorgeous soundscape of delicate guitar chords and sparkling keyboards, led by a gentle, driving beat. Jarrod’s layered harmonic vocals are beautiful, bringing chills as they soar. The biting lyrics speak to the facades people create to mask their fears, phoniness and uglier sides, and that doing so only diminishes them: “Lies & smiles are all we are. I think that I can’t keep up. Allow me to let loose, to scream it all. It feels so good to yell out all the truth & the hate that we hold.

Good People Bad” was inspired by a Twilight Zone episode called “The Shelter.” In a nutshell, a group of neighbors are at a dinner party at the home of the only family to have installed a bomb shelter (nuclear war hysteria was rampant in the late 50s-early 60s). After hearing a news bulletin warning of an impending nuclear attack, the neighbors panic and turn against the family that installed the shelter and, eventually, each other. (Quite frankly, this episode should be required viewing for everyone right now.)  Once again, the song’s hauntingly beautiful melody and music contrast with the dark lyrics. “The radio sent us all a noose. We pass it around ’til it’s right. The power of numbers can drive good people bad. Left no choice but to fight.”

The meaning of the final track “Absences V2.0” was a bit ambiguous to me, with my best guess being that it’s about how we identify ourselves and others through the prism of all the factors that comprise our belief systems and biases. But 9fm told me it relates to his accident, specifically about getting blood transfusions and how he lost some of his senses that were damaged: “We exaggerate the loves we lost on the way. Missing less each day, the pain, smell, touch & taste. The times that we had seems like they were fine. The saying isn’t true. Absences & hearts go fine.” Musically, the song is the most experimental of the five tracks, with mesmerizing chord progressions, otherworldly synths, and interesting guitar work.

To sum up, I can’t gush enough over this beautiful little EP. I love everything about 9fm’s songs; his lyrics, melodies, instrumentals, vocals, track arrangements and overall production values are all exceptional. I am a dedicated fan!

Connect with 9fm:  Facebook / Twitter / Instagram
Stream his music:  SpotifySoundcloud / iTunes
Purchase on Bandcamp / iTunes

DVR – EP Review: “Down”

DVR pic

DVR is a studio project by singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Olav Christensen. Originally from Denmark, Olav is now based in Brooklyn, NY, and writes, records, produces and masters all his music. He’s been recording music for a number of years, and began releasing singles in 2015, and dropped his first full-length album California in 2016. That work was inspired by memories collected by Olav when he lived in Santa Monica, and was a collaborative effort with bassist/synth musician Ancelmo James.

In late July, he released a new EP Down, which he describes as “five depressing songs for the kids, guaranteed to make you feel better.” While the songs’ themes do address the down sides of love and relationships, his wonderful music is generally upbeat, having the effect of softening the raw emotions expressed in his dark, poetic lyrics.

The first track “Precious Little Time” is a lovely pop-rock ballad that seems to be about regret over past transgressions that resulted in the loss of a loving relationship. The instrumentals are a pleasing mix of acoustic, electric and slide guitars, accompanied by gentle percussion, that perfectly complement the wistful lyrics:

Precious little time makes me lose my head
It’s not that you did wrong, I’m just hanging by a thread
Running out of time and I keep slowing down
Beat and broken down, knees to the ground
I’ll send you love from the great beyond
To take the edge off breaking my bond

Low” has an edgier rock sound, with fuzzy and psychedelic guitars, heavy bass and industrial synths set to a driving beat. DVR’s electronically distorted vocals give the track a bit of a Peter Gabriel vibe. It’s a brilliant song, and probably my favorite on the EP. “Another Year” is a soulful pop-rock track with some fine, intricate electric guitar and a strong thumping drumbeat.  His smooth vocals are really nice, as are his own backing harmonies, which he very effectively uses on other tracks as well. He sings about his shortcomings and how he always fails to live up to his best intentions: “I won’t make no resolutions. There really is no point. Cause when it comes to execution I just disappoint.”

He speeds things up on “Your Shoes,” a peppy, upbeat-sounding rock song with great guitar work and decidedly dark lyrics. Spoken from the point of view of someone who’s completely cynical and emotionally dead, his words offer a bit of empathy to another who’s suffering, though from what we’re not told. His earnest, emotionally-charged vocals almost reach a falsetto level at times.

It’s a bitter pill to swallow 
But I’ve been dead for a while 
My spirit’s dull and hollow 
My soul is dark and vile
But here 
Close to the ground 
Flat on my back 
Nothing to lose 
Here 
I realize what it’s like 
To be in your shoes

On “Undetected,” DVR employs a wide assortment of rich guitar textures, and layers them over a thumping bass line and strutting drumbeat to create an uptempo backdrop for his heartfelt vocals. With a sense of sad resignation, he laments about how the object of his desire doesn’t seem to care about him:

I’d like to be on your radar
It’s my favorite place to be
But all the while, here you are
Not looking for me
I’m always undetected
As I drift across your scope
I’ll always be neglected
Here at the end of my rope

Down is a great little EP that left me wanting more from this versatile artist. Though he refers to himself as a “shitty” guitarist in his Twitter bio, I’d say he’s a pretty good one! And given his rather prolific output over the past few years, I’m sure we’ll be hearing new music from DVR soon.

Connect with DVR:  Facebook / Twitter / Instagram
Stream on Spotify
Purchase Down on Bandcamp

Album Review – no mad: “Motions in Black”

no mad album

no mad is a rather unique alternative funk-rock band. It was formed in 2017 by five nomadic professional musicians with the purpose of recording songs that would eventually become the album Motions in Black, which dropped in late May. They’re all pretty talented artists, as evidenced by their superb melodic, guitar-driven rock sound. Though based in London, UK, they refer to themselves as “nomads in a nomadic world.” The band’s songwriter provided some background information about no mad and how Motions in Black came to be.

“The band really started with the songwriter unearthing old songs from cardboard boxes in 2016. Some of these songs had been written 20-30 years ago but never recorded. He met a few friends, friends of friends, etc., and in 2017 the band was formed to record a first 10-song album (the repertoire has a total of 40-50 songs, so plenty for more albums to come!). The songs that were chosen for the debut album Motions in Black were some of the older songs and also some of the darker ones, perhaps with some 1990s nostalgia. 

The five members of the band that recorded the album included the singer, guitarist, bassist, drummer, and the songwriter who did back-vocals and other bits. As modern nomads and London musicians, we came from very different backgrounds as well as music genres. The “D” in no mad is the “The Doctor.” He’s an incredible drummer and has been involved in lots of rock and metal projects, toured in Europe etc. In 2017 he became a father. His family settled in Lisbon and he had to leave London, so sadly, the band was down one. 

The band members are not really trying to stay anonymous, but they like their privacy, and being all professional musicians, they are also busy on other musical projects of their own. Fans can probably figure out who they are by following the tags in some tweets or Instagram pictures. It’s just that no mad believe in the power of the songs, the melodies and lyrics. It’s not about who we are or how we look, it’s about the music and message. Having said that, we’re not hiding either. “The NO” came to England when he was 13. He’s a brilliant guitarist who lives for his music. “The M” is an amazing bassist who’s been involved in lots of rock and metal bands, is a reference on his instrument, and has also settled in London after coming over from Europe. Singer-drummer “The A” is a bit of a different case ’cause he thinks he’s an alien, and actually calls himself “Alien”. He won’t say which planet he’s from though…. your guess is as good as ours on that one!”

The album kicks off nicely with the funky and upbeat “Car Jam.” A delightfully funky bass line, snappy drums and jazzy organ form a solid foundation for layers of intricate guitar work and lively vocals. The lyrics are an admonition to a rigid, uptight person to just loosen up, quit being so judgmental and have a good time – get down with the funk and do the car jam baby! no mad takes a more serious turn on “Just Another Love Story,” a song about trying to convince yourself a relationship is over, but you can’t get over her and keep imagining you see her everywhere you go. “But each time I’m feeling blue. I fall into some freaking view. Over you.” The guitar work is awesome, continuously surprising us with new textures that go from chiming to funky to bluesy, and everything in between. The percussion is fantastic too, with flourishes of military-style drumbeats that seem to drive home the bitterness expresses in the lyrics. It’s a great track; guitar-driven rock doesn’t get much better than this.

The beautifully-filmed video shows “The M” walking around Camden, where he thinks he repeatedly spots his old girlfriend.

Another standout track, and one of my favorites, is the dark “To the Other Side.” The gorgeous haunting melody hits you right between the ears, and as always, the guitar work is splendid. The impassioned vocals of “The A” have a seductive, yet slightly dangerous quality as he sings the lyrics that could mean he’s about to die or is suffering from a mental breakdown. “You know I love you Donna. Don’t want to leave you now. You know I love you don’ya. I’ll never let you down.” I really like the play on the words “Donna” and “don’ya.” The backing female vocals are beguiling, and add to the song’s haunting vibe.

As the album progresses, I’m blown away by the band’s ability to write such beautiful and memorable melodies. “Anna” has a fantastic hook, along with plenty of rock grooves that make for a really nice track. The song’s about a women who seems lost in her own world, with the singer trying to break through to her. “Anna, Pretty Anna what do you see? When you’re waiting for a message but there’s nothing on the screen. How d’you feel?” Clocking in at nearly six minutes, “Sweet Loneliness” has an almost epic quality, with extensive lyrics that read like a long, deep poem: “Why did you have to go so soon. It’s like you left an empty room. You filled my life with your absence.  Pronounced an unfinished sentence. Sweet loneliness, my old friend I’ve come to be with you again. You are my peace, my consolation. And I’ll be with you till the end.” The bluesy riffs and haunting melody are positively mesmerizing, and I can safely state that I’m head over heels in love with this album, even though I’m only halfway through it!

Next up is the gorgeous title track “Motions in Black.” The track starts off with “The A” singing “Da da da da da da da” to a jangly acoustic guitar, then the track opens up into an achingly beautiful melodic riff of jangly and bluesy guitars. The song was written in 1985, and speaks to a love that used to be: “If you wanta be anything to me. I’ll take no other feeling than your sentiment of love. And if you want a chat. Why don’t we talk it over. Motions in black.” It’s absolutely sublime, and another of my favorite tracks on the album.

The guys return to a funky mood with “Get Along,” essentially an anti-war song that urges us to stop fighting and learn to love and accept one another and get along: “We’re all sons of the World. On this I’ll give you my word. We’ve been waiting too long. Why can’t we all get along?” The bouncy and funky “Downtown” tells the saga of Betty, who went to the big city to try and make it on her looks and charm, but ended up in trouble and on the streets. “She’s not a bitch or a witch I realized. She’s just another human being. / I hear an angel crying. Down Town.”

Mental Revolution” is an interesting track, with two completely different melodies. The song opens with a soaring anthemic chorus, then abruptly transitions to an uptempo funk-infused rock reminiscent of the kind the Average White Band played back in the 70s. The anthemic chorus is repeated halfway through, then the melody shifts back to the funky rock tempo. Album closer “Tonight” is an upbeat rock song of love and devotion: “Tonight, I want you to know. Wherever you go I’ll be there for you.” The track features some fine guitar and keyboards.

To sum up, Motions in Black is a fantastic album and stellar debut for no mad. It really showcases their skill for writing poetic lyrics and gorgeous, guitar-driven melodies, and bringing them to magnificent life. I eagerly look forward to them recording more of those already-written songs.

Connect with no mad:  Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram
Stream their music on  Spotify / Apple Music
Purchase on  Bandcamp / iTunes

BLACK BEAR KISS – Single Review: “Secret Side”

Black Bear Kiss 2

Black Bear Kiss is an alternative indie rock band from the West Midlands/Shropshire, UK, and are made up of the very talented Chris Leech on lead vocals, Colin Haden on lead guitar, Rob Jones on guitar, Rich Sach on bass, and Chris Bagnall on drums. Hot on the heels of their awesome debut single “Hooks,” which dropped in April (and I reviewed), they now return with a great follow-up single “Secret Side.

The track opens with Sach’s funky little bass lick, then layered guitars and Bagnall’s snappy drums kick in with a catchy toe-tapping beat. Haden and Jones lay down some tasty melodic riffs in the break that continue through to the end of the song. Leech has a fine singing voice, and his earnest vocals nicely convey equal parts mischief and emotion as he sings of the blurred lines between reality and fantasy: “There’s something strange with how I feel. Like choosing right from wrong but what is real, yeah. My compass points to what I know. But now I’m lost and I just don’t know where to go.”

The song essentially speaks to some of the fantasies many of us harbor at one time or another – our ‘secret side’ if you will. The opening lyrics are directed toward a woman “dressed head to toe with curves and all in black” who’s the object of his desire. Eventually, they speak of wanting to escape the drudgery of a frustrating job and have fun hanging out with friends. The clever and highly entertaining video shows the guys performing the song at their workplace and later, outdoors, interspersed with scenes of their abusive boss tormenting them at work, and them ultimately exacting revenge by chasing him with a tank! And who of us hasn’t fantasized about coming to the rescue or punishing the bad guys while riding into town in a tank?! It’s a funny and satisfying accompaniment to a terrific song.

Catch Black Bear Kiss at one of these upcoming shows. Click the event names for the event pages.

August 17   7:00 pm   Dana Prison Shrewsbury
August 25   3:00 pm  Bridgnorth Music Festival
August 25   7:00 pm  Telfest

Connect with Black Bear Kiss:  Facebook / Twitter / Instagram
Stream their songs on  Spotify / Apple Music
Purchase on  iTunes / cdbaby

DYING HABIT – Single Review: “Unrealities”

I keep featuring bands and artists from the UK on this blog, but there are just so damn many good ones! Another promising band I’ve been following for a while is a four-piece from the town of Bangor in northwestern Wales who call themselves Dying Habit. They play a highly melodic style of alternative rock influenced by such bands as Dead Letter Circus, Katatonia, Biffy Clyro, Therapy?, The Wildhearts and Karnivool. The band is comprised of Nathan Jones (vocals), Alan Hart (guitar), Aled Hughes (bass) and Mark Jones (drums).

Dying Habit

Since forming in 2011, Dying Habit has been fine tuning their music style and songwriting, and performing in venues throughout Wales and northwest England. More recently, they’ve been recording songs for their forthcoming debut album Unrealities, and just released the fantastic lead single, also titled “Unrealities.” The band explained their inspiration for the song and it’s meaning: “We all have some kind of goal we aim for, be it a job, a passion or a style of life we really want. Hopes and dreams is what keeps us all going. Many of us do the shitty jobs we do to get us closer to whatever we want to achieve, whilst [others] are content with our jobs and feel content with who we are. Whatever the case, our ambitions are unrealities …an illusion in societies eyes. Our single “Unrealities” is about never giving up on your dreams, as unreal as they may seem. Unreal means failure and failure leads to success. Be true to yourself and never stray from the path your heart puts you on.”

Musically, the song is magnificent. It starts off with Hart’s haunting guitar note that expands into a somber riff, accompanied by Hughes’ humming bass and Mark Jones’ crisp percussion. At around the minute mark, the music explodes into a fusillade of wailing guitars and thunderous drums, before settling back down to the somber melodic riff that’s so arresting it bores right into your brain. Wow, it’s gorgeous and covers my body with chills! Nathan’s vocals, while not necessarily powerful, have a vulnerable, emotive quality that are perfectly suited to the music and lyrics. They’re especially moving and beautiful when they soar in the choruses. I love this song, and am so looking forward to their album.

The gripping, beautifully-filmed video shows a young woman struggling with her inner demons – her “unrealities.”

Connect with Dying Habit:  Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

“Unrealities” will be available for purchase on all music platforms on August 15

LUNA ROSA Release Fundraiser Single & Video “Fear, Filth, Dirt & Death”

Luna Rosa Single Art

Luna Rosa is an outstanding Alternative/Psych/Indie rock four-piece formed in 2015, and hailing from Corby, Northamptonshire, UK. Making the music are Rory McDade (guitar, lead vocals), Aidan Furey (guitar, moves), Jack Connolly (drums, howls) and Charlie Thorneycroft (bass, noises). They released a superb self-titled EP Luna Rosa that same year, and followed up in 2017 with a fantastic double single “Mercurial Man/Vessels.” They now return with a powerful new single “Fear, Filth, Dirt & Death.

The song is a scathing attack on the negative aspects of Capitalism that helped make the fire at Grenfell Tower all the more deadly. (The cheap – and highly flammable –  insulating cladding used for the building renovation in 2017, just prior to the fire, is now believed to have caused the fire to spread much more rapidly.)

Musically, the track starts off with a galloping drumbeat and a scratchy guitar note, then explodes into a furious barrage of roiling guitar riffs and thunderous drums that seem to channel The Clash. The hard-driving music perfectly fits the harsh lyrics:

Fear Filth Dirt & Death
There’s fucking nothing left
The rest is left for the one percent at best
Look out for yourself
Prisoners of the State

Fear Filth Dirt & Death
You take away our NHS
It’s cause we matter less and less I know
It’s in your best interest

Heroes are buried in paupers graves
The money worth the morals you trade?
How come the ivory towers ain’t burning?
Grenfell fell for your earning
Prisoners of the State

The band explained their intent behind the song: “All money generated from the single as well as merchandise sales will be going to the victims of the Grenfell Tower disaster. We are under no illusion that we can give these people what they need or deserve, but we feel the need to make the gesture and let them know that we stand with them.  Although dubious on whether to release this, as we didn’t want to cause anymore hurt, we thought there’s no better way to bring people together and show support than music.”

If you can donate £1 via our justgiving page, leaving your name and email we will get the song over to you:  https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/luna-rosa-single

Or you can buy it through our Bandcamp page and we will make sure everything goes over:  https://lunarosa.bandcamp.com/track/fear-filth-dirt-death

If you cant spare the £1 then please share!

Further Merchandise sales will be going to Firefighters & NHS Nurses. Thank you to Jordan Cameron for creating and donating the artwork to the cause.

Catch Luna Rosa at one of these upcoming shows:

Saturday, July 21  –  Percy’s Cafe Bar, Whitechurch, England w/Porcelain Hill

Saturday, July 28  –  Wrexfest 2018, Wrexham, Wales

Thursday, August 2  –  Kaleidoscope, Birmingham, England 

Friday, August 17  –  Shout About It, Liverpool, England

Saturday, August 18  –  Voodoo Lounge, Stamford, England w/Failsafe, Ten Years Dead

Friday, August 31  –  The Cookie, Leicester, England w/Oddity Road

Saturday, September 8  –  Rocked Up Hootenanny 2018, Rockingham Motor Speedway, Corby, England

Connect with Luna Rosa: Facebook / Twitter / Instagram
Stream their music: Spotify / Soundcloud / Apple Music
Purchase on Bandcamp / iTunes

THE MILLION REASONS – Single Review: “Dizzy”

The Million Reasons2

I think everyone who loves music will agree that one of life’s supreme pleasures is hearing a song for the first time and having it move us in some powerful way – which could be to bring chills, tears, joy, laughter or make us want to dance with abandon. Chills were what I felt when I first listened to the new single “Dizzy” from Chicago rock band The Million Reasons, which dropped July 13. Wow, what a powerful and gorgeous song it is, and I was so moved that I had to feature it on this blog.

The Million Reasons is comprised of Scott Nadeau (vocals and guitar), Ken Ugel (guitar), Mike Nichols (guitar) and Colin Dill (drums). Their dynamic sound – which they refer to as “rock and roll for summer nights and long rides” – draws influence from such legendary bands as Led Zeppelin, Queen, Thin Lizzy, Aerosmith, The Beatles, The Who, The Rolling Stones, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Foreigner and Rush. The guys released their debut EP The Runaround in 2017, featuring six outstanding hard-hitting tracks that I highly recommend my readers check out. But with “Dizzy,” they’ve really struck sonic gold.

The track opens with an enthralling guitar riff that immediately pulls us in with the promise that something really beautiful is about to unfold. As the song progresses and the music expands with added layers of intricate guitars and percussion into a soaring anthem, we’re not disappointed. The guitar work is simply amazing, and by the time the chorus arrives with jaw-dropping riffs of screaming guitars and thunderous drums, we’re left gasping for breath.

With his raw, earnest vocals, Nadeau passionately sings about a relationship in which both are blinded by an obsessive desire for one another:

If you’ve got something to say
I wanna hear you speak
Because girl
You’re gonna be the death of me

And you make me dizzy
You confuse me
And I make you dizzy
Because you don’t know what to do with me

“Dizzy” is a magnificent song from start to finish, and even at 5:41 minutes in length, it seems over far too quickly. I love it, and I love this band! I also love the beautiful video that was directed and edited by Stephanie Battista. I usually prefer videos that show the band or artist performing the song, instead of an acted-out story that sometimes has little to do with the actual song.

Catch The Million Reasons at one of these upcoming shows:

Saturday, July 28 – House of Blues, Chicago w/Young Pioneer + 2 others
Wednesday, August 22 – Emporium, Chicago w/Shiver + 1 other

Connect with The Million Reasons:  Facebook / Twitter / Instagram
Stream their music:  Spotify / Apple Music / Soundcloud / YouTube
Purchase:  Bandcamp / iTunes / Amazon

ALL TAKEN – Single Review: “Smells Like Mistakes”

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All Taken is an alternative rock band based in Los Angeles. Formed in 2015 as a duo by long-time friends Daniel Daghlarian and Avo Karapetyan, All Taken melds electronic and hard rock, along with a bit of 90s grunge, to create their dynamic alt-rock sound. Daniel plays guitar and sings lead vocals, and Avo pounds the drums and sings backup.

They released a strong debut single “Burning Red” in 2016, and followed up in March 2017 with their EP Accept This, which I reviewed. They’ve just dropped a hard-driving new single “Smells Like Mistakes,” and they sound better than ever. (They also recently hired a new bass player after the song was recorded, but he will play on all future tracks.)

All Taken Single Art

The track opens strong with an explosion of gnarly, stabbing guitar riffs that rip through the airwaves, aided and abetted by heavy crushing bass and pounding drums. At the chorus, Daniel lets loose with a blistering guitar solo while Avo hammers out a powerful military beat on his drums and furiously crashes the cymbals. You give me chills guys!

Daniel’s vocals sound great as he passionately wails the lyrics about a man dissipated from a self-destructive life lived hard: “It wasn’t what he said. It was those tired eyes. Cigarettes dangling from lips dried up from whiskey sips. The twists and turns that life may take. You’re just a man who smells like mistakes.

Although a short track, clocking in at only 2:39 minutes, it’s a real head-banger, so crank up the volume and rock the hell out! And what about that awesome artwork!

Connect with All Taken:  Facebook / Twitter / Instagram
Stream their music:  Spotify / Apple Music
Purchase on iTunes

BLACK BEAR KISS – Single Review: “Hooks”

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Black Bear Kiss are an Indie/Alternative Rock band from the West Midlands & Shropshire, UK. Formed in 2016, the band includes Chris Leech on lead vocals, Colin Haden on lead guitar, Rob Jones on guitar, Rich Sach on bass, and Chris Bagnall on drums. In the creation of their dynamic rock sound, the band draws influence from legendary blues rock bands The Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin, 90s Grunge, and more modern alt-rock acts such as The Black Keys, Jack White, Kasabian and The Red Hot Chili Peppers. In April, they released their debut single “Hooks” – aptly named because that’s exactly what the song does to us the moment we hear it.

The infectious track starts off with a simple riff set to a catchy drumbeat and thumping bass line, then Leech’s smooth vocals enter the proceedings. Everything ramps up in the rousing chorus, with Leech’s vocals growing more impassioned as he nearly wails the lyrics, accompanied by an explosion of more aggressive guitars and heavier percussion. The backing vocals in the chorus are especially good, and everyone in the band are in perfect sync on their respective instruments. It’s a great track, and an impressive debut for a Black Bear Kiss, who seem to have all the ingredients in their line up for playing some awesome rock’n’roll the way it’s meant to be played.

Connect with Black Bear Kiss:  Facebook / Twitter / Instagram
Stream “Hooks” on  Spotify / Apple Music
Purchase on  iTunes