Category Archives: The Wright Stuff



lsoersand1. LOSERS & KINGS By: The Downtown Fiction.
They know how to keep everything upbeat and fun. The songs are simple to learn the lyrics easily and are so relative to your youth at many different emotional levels. The best song is Santa Cruz which is about escaping and riding a skateboard.

andrewm2. IN THE WILDERNESS By: Andrew McMahon
Andrew McMahon has finally put his name on a solo album. We have known him as lead vocalist of Something Corporate and the lead vocalist of Jack’s Mannequin. This time Andrew has taken all of those experiences and wrote songs around growing though those and has written a couple of personal songs as well. Andrew has mixed in a more upbeat to these tunes. Andrew added electronic keyboards and less guitars were used. There is more of a bounce feel as well. The songs are more pop and catchy.

flamev3. THE VIOLET FLAME By: Erasure
Coming off of recording one of the greatest Christmas albums to date (2013 release SNOW GLOBE), Erasure kept the same producer to make the Violet Flame. It’s another great dance album. It feels like the style of a vinyl album with an A side and a B side put together in this one cd. You feels that 1980’s throw back electronic drum pop dance beats throughout he album. It makes you feel that fun times are still here.

johnnyma4. PLAYLAND By: Johnny Marr
Johnny Marr has found a voice and has made an upbeat record. It has strong sensitivity and catchy melodies. The guitars show great melody and have fun hooks to them with small riffs. Johnny shows great abilities to write great pop songs.

arricar15. WAVEFUNCTION By: Arrica Rose
These days Arrica writes melody pop songs from a traveled heart torn back and forth through California. Her love of her life is in San Francisco but family needs are in the Southern California basin. This album shows truthfulness to both sides of her dedicated life equally.

potterso6. SO SUGAR By: Luke Potter
Crossing over the waves from Europe this young artist has a brilliant punk pop twist to what sugar coated is. Those yummy treats he gives us, music and lyric wise, this time around should start making the record industry start paying attention and so should radio.

betterbad7. THE BAD & THE BETTER By: The Ready Set
Dance radio friendly tunes are here to where you can’t stop moving around. This is what The Ready Set want you to be doing with this new record bounce bounce bounce around all over the place. Happy quirky but catchy melodies are found here with likeable lyrics that tickles the inner ear with a joyful feeling. The dance clubs would dig a lot of this and so would radio as well too.

dylangard8. ADVENTURES IN REAL TIME By: Dylan Gardner
Sensitive catchy pop tunes by this solo Los Angeles local artist who is just 17 are amazing. With his debut release he has already gotten the attention of Warner Brothers Records and is currently working with them. A young John Lennon you might say he is. The melodies are simple and the lyrics are pure. This is one bright star to catch early if you can.

jamesper9. LA PETITE MORT By: James
Women are figures that have strengthened Tim Booth’s lyric this time around. The band still has that charm of London and Irish backing guitar lush pop sound with tints of a horn now and then. The songs are up tempo and humming along, you will find, is easy to the new tunes.

songsonin110. SONGS OF INNOCENCE By: U2
Simplistic non harsh approach to this lively more pop than solid alternative rock albums to date from the bands past. It’s like a new spring awakening for the band. It’s a new reference of freshness being discovered by a new baby yet with a since of maturity of appreciation to it. This a great new direction the band is heading into.

Here are the Top Pics EP CD’s of 2014

61+tadFz52L._SS2801. GOLD By: Metro Station
They are ready to head out again after a long hiatus with this dance CD EP. The song Forever Young features The Ready Set on it. With the catchy She Likes Girls might get the LGBT community behind them easily as well too.

popund12. THE POP UNDEGROUND By: Andrew McMahon
Local artist from Dana Point has figured out how to make a catchy upbeat fun capture of the suns energy and has found a clever way of expressing it through his own new songs. Yup Andrew has come out with some solo material and is testing the waters with the more electronic bounce up tempo beat songs. Nice outing from these 4 songs. More to come I’m sure.

51xhfH0rK-L._SS2803. CELEBRITY EP By: The Ready Set
This EP CD is so caught up with fun excitement and energy you can’t help but to move and dance around to it.

51Vc+v6qQKL._SS2804. FOREVER HALLOWEEN EP (Deluxe) By: The Maine
This CD EP might have been left over songs from between albums but they sound fresh to stand on their own. The Phoenix Arizona band has learned to be positive and move forward with their infectious groove guitars and bouncy base lines with a steady back beat drums filling all the holes behind the band. Catchy melodies help lift the lyrics to a friendly voice of approval in strength in the writing of them. This Ep could be renamed and stand out all on it’s own.

orig-216211715. ACOUSTIC DREAMS By: Echosmith
Listening to these 5 songs, that their debut album could be released, at some point, as a deluxe addition. But here you find out that this band does write all of their songs from scratch acoustic wise first. This is a nice addition to grab for any ones collection. So if you like pop alternative or folk pop you should pick this item gem up quickly.

10294422_813430592034634_2549857235223141845_n6. ACOUSTIC SPLIT EP By; Lights In The Sky / Help Me Sleep
Usually known for playing alternative loud in bars and clubs around Los Angeles, this local band has released a four song EP CD. Find here acoustic versions of some of their best known songs as Let Go, Wonderlost, Everybody’s Something and Like Lovers.  Also featured is Help Me Sleep – up and coming band from Tucson.

somuch7. SUMMONER By: So Much Light
Electronic emotional melodies, in a modern tense, is what this four song EP CD sounds like. Innovative pushing the electric keyboards and computers to the test sound wise with a small arrangements of lush guitars thrown in as a light added bonus touch. Very interesting.

61aRqedkffL._SS2808. ADOLESCENTS By: WASI
This Los Angeles band I found at San Diego Vans Warped Tour 2014. Enthusiastic bouncy fun danceable energy songs they have. They are all recorded and well produced and this EP should be released as a CD single. Adolescents is a song about just that from a youthful female point of view. Electronic mostly in sound but great backing drum beats that keeps the pulsing going. Dance clubs should play this song as well. There has been one remix done by one dj for this song already.

51wwNcdt81L._SS2809. ROB LYRCH By: Rob Lyrch
I found this artist at San Diego Vans Warped Tour in the Acoustic Basement Tent. Rob comes from across the pond to us via London with a tad Irish accent at times. He is a simple writer who plays an acoustic guitar as if it is his only friend and lover. He expresses himself well with this instrument. The vibration from the strings plucking reminds you of his heart beating the same sensitive strumming as in unison. Souls and his other song Sleeping are inviting to partake in but step back and let them in easily before jumping right in with Rob. It’s kind of cool the way he makes you think with his songs and also feel such depth with them as well.

51XlaiwheiL._SS28010. HERE NOW By: Mike Naran
Mike is the guitarist for The Ready Set. Mike has made himself an independent pop writer for himself with this release. The four songs are radio friendly and should do good on the college market. There is a lot of usage of the guitar as the main instrument backing up mike’s vocals. A dash of alternative as strong rhythms guitar and little bit of keyboards riffs make up the rest of his sound. Catchy beats and compelling lyrics are a great way of showing off all of the rest of Mike’s strong songs. There is also an acoustic song on here, that’s a duet, that is really touching as well. This cd ep shows that Mike Naran is a talented rounded musician artist.

(List by Jonathan D. Wright)



Here are some treats now on CD. Because fall is here, we still want to hold onto summer for a bit longer. So, you might want to check some of these out for yourself.

Counting Crows
Capital Records
Somewhere Under Wonderland is this bands seventh studio release for this California alternative rock band. The CD shows off the Crows at their loosest and most vibrant. Check out some of the lyrics too they are easy to understand and to picture the setting that they are giving you. It’s interesting to hear a record fully all the way through and enjoy it just waiting for some filler song but not on this one. Some of the better tracks that stand out are: Scarecrow, Earthquake Driver and Palisades Park. If you can find it there is a version of the CD available with bonus cuts which are demos of two of the songs. Way to go.

The Church
Here are 20 songs done live from this band with the help of a full orchestra at The Opera House in Sydney Australia. This lifts the psychedelic of the music to a higher level of appreciation. The pros lyrics of Steve Kilbey are taken a bit more seriously in this kind of a format. This format allows you the listener to completely see the picture. It lets you journey through them and float along as some boat on a river with twist and bands that you never see coming. By doing this the songs done here get even deeper thought put into them. At times you think you’re listening to a movie soundtrack behind the band. I hope this was recoded to a DVD and gets released. Outstanding to say the least but you get so much more from it.

Tooth & Nail Records
The choice of using God and Heaven in some of the lyrics lets you know that even though this is their last album, that they stayed to their roots in what they believed in. It was interesting, after being on Universal Records, to see that thy even went back to their roots of their first label Tooth & Nail to release their last album as well. Strong aggressive opening track with occasional drifter tracks are scattered in tracks 3, 5 and 8. So most of the record is very straight forward to it’s listeners. It’s definitely a rock adventure through different textures in the alternative sound for this release. Keyboards are used in some of the songs this time around as well. Lowborn features 10 final tracks from Florida’s finest music export. Instead of recording Lowdown together, the band members did their parts with separate producers they each selected. This would explain the great mixing, production and producing that went into the last record. This could be the breakthrough release that gets good notice but might be too late because the band is calling it quits after this release. Hmm can someone say Grammy nominee? Just because this might be a Christian band of sorts, that doesn’t mean they can’t rock it out in the alternative music market. With this, the bands 7th album, it could be summed up in one song on this CD if you listen closely. On their acoustic driven song Atonement, it reflects on the band’s music career, not quite coming to grips with completely saying goodbye. But this is the last world tour and the band is breaking up and going in separate ways that is a definite given, I wish them all the best into the future. I would like to see them one more time but I did see them on tour during the Vans Warped Tour twice, during the 2014 run of that production.

lsoersandLOSERS & KINGS
The Downtown Fiction
Fearless Records
Losers & Kings is a pop-punk album. With the release of Losers & Kings, it marks for Downtown Fiction their sophomore album. The Downtown Fiction might be based out of Virginia, but they have proven that their catchy lyrics and feel good tunes are here to stay and be heard all over the place. Losers & Kings will be a hit with their current fans along with pop-punk lovers looking for an upbeat album. Don’t Count Me Out is the first track with a fun guitar riff and a catchy drum beat. These two things will set up the entire album. Some of the lyrics get a little edgy at times but still catchy enough to keep you interested. The single from this album is the song Cool Kids. Cool Kids begins with an distorted guitar riff that is perfect for radio play that makes the band look modern but fun too. One other great stand out song is So Called Life. If you like The Motion City Soundtrack or All Time Low, you’ll dig The Downtown Fiction for sure. Give this fun a try.

Cooking Vinyl Records
Here with La Petite Mort, now being around for 30 years, this band has still vitality and continue to grow psychologically and musically. With having a good talented number of musicians and with Tim Booth’s lyrics of emotions, this band can still grow with ease. The songs though this time around seem to come from Tim’s past of things dear to him that have been people and things he has lost, it seems. But, sometimes these can leave a forever changing and growth effects on you. Those after effect Is what this record definitely shows. James don’t care for being popular. Instead, James makes songs that are relevant, catchy and fun. Great lyrics again from Tim Booth in these songs: Curse Curse and Moving On, Frozen Britain (which would make a cool video) and Interrogation. James delivers yet again time after time. Hope hey last for another good twenty years. Hope they make it here to the USA for an American tour for this release. The CD art work would make for a great tee shirt im just saying

Atlantic/ Parlophone Records
Coldplay return with their sixth studio album. Coldplay have darker elements to build up their music with this time. It also has incorporated ambient techniques to expand the bands full total sound on here as well. Ghost Stories comes across as an interesting album experience. It seems that this was an attempt on Coldplay’s part to branch out, style wise, and produce something new and interesting. They achieved just that something interesting. They take you in an experience and leave you floating there while everything else happens, while you’re feeling as if hovering and coming across things on your way to take a brief look. Cold Play starts you off as if thinking in your head its happening. It leaps you forward to thinking is everything just made up of Magic? Then they set you a drift to explore True Love. Other interesting songs are Oceans and A Sky Full Of Stars (which would make for a great video). They did a concert featuring these songs on NBC right before this CD’s release. If you’re looking to take a journey of wonder then this is the CD for you.

Echo And The Bunnymen
429 Records
The album has its eyes pointed upward at a deity that may or may not be there. Exploring if there is a God is a returning theme that lead vocalist Ian McCulloch gets into this subject matter a lot. For the last 5 albums now it’s been just Ian and guitarist Will Sergeant. The most effective and powerful song this time around is Market Town. Market Town pounds harder than anything else on the album, and you can feel the energy with it. This time around the CD feels more mysterious and murky. The haunting stilled vocals enhance this feeling so that you are to figure things out for yourself. You are left to think of what you may think is out there or up there that make all of this and beyond that we know of or don’t know of. Some of the other great songs on here are Holy Moses, Grapes Upon The Vine and Is This A Breakdown. Truly interesting for sure.

Harvest Records
Morrissey has released his 10th solo album. The opening track on World Peace Is None of Your Business is an ironic take on the value of democracy. This is also the title of the album which is a deceptive start because it’s the most political song on here. This song shows of Morrissey’s style from long ago when he was the lead vocalist of The Smiths. In the song Staircase at the University, it pokes at academic expectations that we are supposed to have learned while in school. Also in the song I’m Not a Man, it talks about popular notions of masculinity. These three songs alone tell you that is definitely a Morrissey album and it’s not going to let up or disappoint. Congrads on another great record. I know there are rumors of Morrissey having cancer, but I hope he makes more records. They are so relatable every time a new CD of his comes out.

More releases for the Fall Season coming at ya next week!

(All reviews by: Jonathan D. Wright)


The Wright Stuff Goes To Warped Tour


Vans Warped Tour
San Diego, CA
Sleep Train Amphitheatre
June 25, 2014

My day started out by getting up just after 5AM and on the freeway juggling McDonalds breakfast while driving on the freeway at 7AM and making it to San Diego by 10AM. Already exhausted but took a shot of an energy drink and started my day. Checked in for press info and then I was off to see bands.

Scarlett Avenue

scarlettavenue11:15AM First band I saw was Scarlett Avenue. I couldn’t find an ep or a cd of theirs anywhere. So it was good to see a local band first. They didn’t disappoint either. They drew a good 50 people or so early goers to see them perform. They are a five piece band. They play hard alternative with slight progressive hooks thrown in for good measure. One of their best songs of this set of tunes was a song called Piece Sign. Other great songs they did where Repetition, Silver Linings, Creekside, In The Open, Knots and Through Your Eyes. They are currently going to be recording an album soon.  It was great to see them on The Ernie Ball Stage.

Four Year Strong

fouryearstrongjl112:05(Noon) Next up was Four Years Strong. They had drummer problems due to his getting to the venue late. So other member’s filled in on the drums for the first couple of songs. The band could work as a three piece really well too. As they say the show must go on and they pulled it off. Well their drummer finally showed up at the bands third song. Despite drummer issues they play fun rock pop alternative yet punk style songs that got the crowd onto their feet with ease. They are currently on tour in support of their album Rise Or Die Trying. One of the best live songs they did was Heroes Get Remembered, Legends Never Die. They were a fun group to watch and to listen too. They got a slam pit running around as well during their set.


Buttons2_1200x90012:40PM In the Acoustic Basement tent I saw a local band called Buttons perform. They really went into great details in talking about drug problems and getting Music Cares to help them get into rehab while performing last year on The Warped Tour. Now they are active with Natural High and no longer having drug issues. They are writing songs about girl problems including a great selection they did called Prom Queen. Other great songs in their set were To Who It May Concern, Little Black Heart, Daggers and Brand New Habit to name a few. They sounded like The Lemon Heads when playing acoustic. They have a few ep’s out. For more info check them out on

Brian Marquis

BrianMarquis3_1200x9001:05PM Starting to get warm out in the sun so I stayed at The Acoustic Basement tent and saw next Brian Marquis. Brian actually runs The Acoustic Basement and lets bands play in there that are on the Vans Warped Tour that usually play electric on the bigger stages. So he lets he bands break it all down for a half hour set and jam out some acoustic songs. Brian Marquis is also touring for his current release Blood & Spirits on Equal Vision Records. He started off the set with They Call It The Blues from his solo ep release Snow Damage CD. He also did a great version of his current Video and first single from the record Drink You Up. He played a great live rendition of his home town song called From Boston which the audience really liked. He shows variations in his abilities as a great acoustic guitar player and vocalist too. He ended with the beautiful song called Breathing In Ghosts from his current debut full CD.

The Maine

TheMaine2640x4801:45PM While everyone else was getting lunch in those long lines and high prices for food, I decided to go see The Maine perform. They have a couple of albums under their belts so I knew I was in for a great alternative music treat. They are currently playing songs from their deluxe version of Forever Halloween.  The best songs they did was a new song called Cave In which is off of the new ep. They play fun slightly aggressive punk pop. This is the style of music The Maine do really well. Their catchy hooks and nice melodies are refreshing. You can easily sing along to the bands songs. So this engages the band to be with the audience and feeling a bit closer with them. A very positive experience is had with The Maine. With the loud applause that lasted way over 2 minutes after their set really showed what a good impression they made.


Anberlin 8_900x12002:45PM I went to go see Anberlin perform. They are currently on their last tour so they are a band to definitely not miss on The Vans Warped Tour this year. I was surprised that they weren’t on one of the larger stages. They still drew a hefty crowd to come see them perform in the heat of the sun. They played their hearts out for the crowd. Paperthin Hymn and Feel Good Drag were getting the crowd into a frenzy of excitement. Stephen Christian thanked the crowd by also doing a version of Don’t Take Friendship Personal. They will be playing songs from their last album which is due out in a couple of weeks while on this Vans Warped Tour. I know I will definitely miss this band. They have been playing now for 12 years together.

Rob Lynch

Rob Lynch 1_1200x9003:30PM Just after a very quick lunch, I went to go see Rob Lynch who is currently on tour from England for his EP and soon due out first full length this coming fall. He described his music to the small but appreciataive crowd that dropped by to check him out of his each and every song. Some of the best heartfelt songs were Hawking and Plans. For moe info go to

Bandhappy Live

thNow it was time to get cooled off and go looking at the merch and the special agencies that had booths. One of the most interesting to check out if you’re a musician is Bandhappy Live. They provide a chance to actually get up close with your favorite music artist on the Vans Warped Tour that are available to learn an instrument from. It gives you a chance to see how they do some of their playing. You get to ask questions, take a class and get great help while becoming a better artist yourself. For more info go to

By the time I actually got to sleep it was 1:00AM. So it made for a 20 hour long day experience including 6 hours of it was driving. I only do this for the music. This time it was definitely worth it. The Vans Warped Tour still have over 30 shows l available to go find and see. So go see one near where you live. The Vans Warped Tour this year will end in early August in Denver, Colorado.

(Review and Photos by Jonathan Wright – Four Year Strong Photo by Jack Lue – Opening Crowd Shot and Scarlett Avenue Photo by Ken Morton)



Summer is here. So some of these releases might warm you up.

kilbeysongsSongs from the Real World
Steve Kilbey & Martin Kennedy
(Commissioned Songs)

Steve Kilbey and Martin Kennedy already have three albums that they have made together. This time around the songs were made from scratch music wise and the lyrics were other people’s idea of songs or words that these two artist should put to music and sing about. Well stepping outside of themselves and wrapping the thoughts that were thrown at them for this project, fifteen new songs have emerged and done well too. Here are songs about all kinds of things. There are songs about boyfriends and girlfriends and children and places and even abstract concepts. These two collectively work off of each others passions which are art, music and story telling with a great voice added. Maybe Steve’s band The Church should add in some keyboards or string section that Martin Kenndy could do from his keyboard and invite Marin Kennedy to tour with The Church. Or second thought now that Steve Kilbey and Martin Kennedy have four albums, maybe it’s time for the two of them to travel and to perform these songs live. A definite top pic of the year for this great CD for sure. For more info go check out

Relapse Records

Out of Philadelphia comes something that is hard to pigeon hole into a genre. There are so many directions this goes in that it’s difficult to give a category to it. It’s mellow, it’s also heavy in places and then awesome in other ways. The song Hymn To The Pillory starts off with mellow guitar strokes. It is then followed in the mid-way section pounding that sets you up for the entire album to come. Next song Dig is a lot heavier though accompanied by some great beats. The synthesized guitar in this song is in the background. It ramps up a little with the rhythm guitar as well. Up next Bent Nail is a short pop punk heavy rhythm that revs you up. ‘The song Endlessly makes you want to reminisce in your past. The soft lead vocals works well on this song. It’s also a very mellow track on the record. Somersault is a song that make you feel like your free falling. Not to be left in a downer at this point the next song Get Well is an up tempo song sounding closely like The Smashing Pumpkins from the late 1990’s sound to it. The song makes you think about lost relationships. Right up next is the song Beat Around The Bush. It is a darker in texture kind of a song. The guitar and smashing cymbols pound in that darkness on his tune. B&E FUCK YEAH B&E. Well this is the next song but I’m not sure what it means. I get the feeling it was written while watching The Goonies but you might get your own take from some other fun movie for this song for yourself. You’ll just have to figure out this one on your own. By the time you get to the mid – point of this song you have been hit by a waterfall of sounds with even simple guitar licks thrown into the mix too. Finally onto the title track Guilty Of Everything. They saved this one for the last song for the album. This one starts off like how the album first started slow with a nice build up to it by its end of the song. So if your into The Smashing Pumpkins or like The Foo Fighters this is right up your alley to dive head first right into it. Kind of an art piece that will be hard to match or follow.

Breathe Carolina
Fearless Records

Just in time for summer to start comes the album Savages. This has an electronic vibe to it, which fun to have around to lighten things up with. This is then the album to get for just that upbeat reason. Collide and Please Don’t Say are great stand out tracks to get you pumped up and moving along to. They provide a solid beat with catchy vocals in them. There is a few hints of the scream style of song on here for those old fans of the band that will for sure like the song Sellouts for that purpose. On Sellouts Danny Worsnop (Asking Alexanderia) is a great lending voice to this track as well. This CD will grow on you quickly and might even get the band some good radio play out of it as well.

Old Friends Records

Hellogoodbye might have taken a while to write this pop gem but the writing is more mature now and it shows in the production as well. Everything Is Debatable has a great quality of fun style to it. Instead of being a teeny-bopper band, the maturity now leads to strong vocals, swift writing and catchier melodies through folk and pop mixture that the band has given us from the past releases but now with a strong fresh flair to the material. Check out such cool songs as Hear You’re In Love, A Near Death Experience, An External Force and And Everything Becomes A Blur.

Picture Perfect
Mutant League Records

This marks, for the band, it’s second full release CD. This has guitar melodies and personal reflective lyrics on it this time around. The emotions get both heavier and sometimes soft in parts which showcases the truth wholeness of the bands and it’s abilities. One of the stand out tracks comes in on the 5th song called Voodoo. Voodoo is a simple rhyming song that is really catchy. Also the next track that follows this is another good one called You’re The Stranger. You’re The Stranger addresses heartbreak. Though this is a young band the emotion of heartbreak is something lyric wise that is very relatable. A surprise on here though is the acoustic song Stone. From start to finish, Stone even perks with it’s usage of instrumentals. I can see where Rose can be a soft thing and a heavy thing to ones ears and in ones hands at least you can get pricked by playing the cd except in a good piercing music way to your hearts emotions. A really nice record.

thebadbetter1THE BAD & THE BETTER
The Ready Set
Razor & Tie Records

This is a fun, up tempo pop CD with rhythmic beats that has added heart felt ballads mixed into it. So far the album has two singles Give Me Your Hand and Higher. Some of the other tracks to listen to are Carry Me Home, Luxury, and More Than This. This CD uses a lot of synths and bass beats to get you moving along. The synths are really heard in the new songs Are We Happy Now and in the song Terrible Things. Each of these tunes have heavier lyrics to them. This shows that there is range within the lyrics throughout the entire CD. Range in the album has a couple of ballads ont his cd as well. The two ballads are Don’t You Need Me and Castaway (featuring Jake Miller). Jordan Witzigreuter does let us feel his soft falsetto vocals on the songs: Bitter & Sweetness, Bleeding and on Freaking Me Out. So go catch The Ready Set on tour this summer including on the entire Vans Warped Tour coming to you real soon. You’ll find yourself charmed if not dancing along to some of his great beats of pop music. Radio here comes The Ready Set. Kiss FM pay attention to this artist.

gethereminorGET THERE
Minor Alps
Barsun Records

This is Mathew Caws of Nada Surf and Juliana Hatfield record first full length CD.  The voices blend so easily. If you like R.E.M early works with a twist to it you’ll like the vocal collaboration that these two have together. The songs I Don’t Know What To Do With My Hands and Far From The Roses mixes lite grunge and REM. If I Wanted Trouble could of been an outtake from REM’s Reckoning sessions easily. In the song Buried Plans evokes a loners projects that are never realized. Radio Static celebrates finding beauty everywhere. So if you like Neil Young, Nada Surf and REM all mixed together pick up this independent gem debut release.

sevendialsframe1SEVEN DIALS
Roddy Frame
Love Da Records

Roddy Frame’s fourth solo record now since leaving the band Aztec Camera and going completely solo. It’s been nearly eight years waiting for this one. With the opening moments of the album the melody, the acoustic arrangement and Roddy Frame’s rich still boyish voice on White Pony are all distinctly a noticeable that this is a heart felt album to come forth. With major piano chords and a warm guitar solo this classic singer songwriter muscles on the good times of his past works with ease. The song to take notice of is Postcard. Postcard music wise, at least, is something that Fleetwood Mac should do a cover of. The lyrics are about being in California and corresponding with Roddy Frame’s old record label. This song makes for an interesting lyrical piece for a song that’s for sure. Rear View Mirror might be looking back into self or into something or looking back into someone and is a more quiet piece which shows off Roddy Frames vocal abilities as a crooner of sorts. This may have taken a long time to come in to being. But with such few words Roddy Frame paints landscapes with murals of deep feeling and wisdom of years in the making.

Drag City Inc. Records

The three brothers from Detroit are back with yet another set of modern punk songs. The initial R & B and some blues of the Detroit music scene mixes in well with the fast punk style on here sound wise. Some of the stick out tracks this time around include: North Street that is a straight forward ditty, Restlessness is a great tune that shows some aggression in it and with Free shows the whole mixture of one that’s consitant throughout the album which shows were the band is heading. Yes He Is Coming swirls into a more gospel thing sound wise but that shows the band has depth to them. Where another song music wise Open Road, the song dribbles into a more fast waltz dance craze to it. Death shows to be very coherent to the dance craze and tempo beats that are going around yet try and style their own thing as well too. This a great third release.

gillard1PARADE ON
Doug Gillard
Nine Mile Records

This is Doug Gillard’s third solo full-length coming out on Nine Mile Records. This one was also produced by Doug Gillard as well too. The one favorite on this album is the Smith’s Nick Lowe sounding song of Your Eyes. Other charming songs on here include: Overseas which has a punkish style to it and Oh My Little Girl is a real cool power pop song. With his work with Guided By Voices and Nada Surf, Doug has definitely separated himself with this showing that he is a great solo artist. This time around, there are radio friendly songs on it that will make your listening ear appreciative too.

jimmerwould1THE WOULD-BE PLANS
Maybe not a Rave–Ups record, but might as well of been released that way. Going solo this will easily get lost unless you know who the singer is. With his slow punk, pop and folk Jimmer has come up with a great record. There is a commercial feel in the production side but yet with simple lyrics and heart felt pop style to catch your attention for a stomping along foot. Oh but you’ll hum along to some of the songs on here as well too. 23 years has gone by since we last head from Jimmer Podrasky. This CD is a definite return to fun and upbeat that’s been plainly missing that hits you with very easiness approach. The Would-Be Plans keeps your attention, with it’s catchy fun and melodic. You’ll find yourself wanting to take this CD for a ride in the car with the windows down that’s for sure. Some of the catchy tracks are: Empty, She Has Good Records and Satellite. This marks for a great come back release. Maybe Jimmer will play out some shows for this release sometime soon maybe?

More Summer reviews to come in the coming months so watch for them. You never know I might be reviewing your CD or reviewing release from outside of the USA too. Make sure to listen to my radio station at

(Written by: Jonathan Wright)



wrightjUsually this time of year I look forward to Record Store Day. This year was a low. Nothing to buy because of the fact it was mostly vinyl. Very weird that there were no CD released stuff for this event as all. This was a total bummer. So here are some gems that I found that I wanted to share and tell you about that are on CD.

bloodandspBLOOD & SPIRITS
Brian Marquis
Equal Vision Records

This is Brian’s second album and his first album to get onto a respectable record label. It is a 10 song cd and is about 45 minutes running total time. With the disbanding of Therefore I Am, Marquis is on his own musical path. The path now isn’t in your face as harsh as it was before but now it’s a bit softer. This allows for Brian’s soulful side of his to be in the front of things. It works well on this cd with it offering introspective, poetic lyrics with catchy melodies on here that allows his voice to take you on a journey through experiences of true life. One of the more upbeat songs is Paralysis By Analysis. The other great enlightening song is From Boston. Actually the opener track Drink You Up is a simple feel good song with truth and honesty. Even on some of the darker felt songs, that passionate honesty comes out, especially on I’m Still Chasing You and Hem And Haw. The new album was recorded in Los Angeles, CA with producer Doug Grean (Tim McGraw, Sheryl Crow, Stone Temple Pilots).

A positive spirit is at the core of Marquis’ Blood & Spirits. Maybe getting hit by lightning and surviving it might be the right trigger to find how strong emotional-filled this record is. But by itself on its own merits, it’s a remarkable record for sure.

Stomp Records
Montreal’s Boids very early on use old-school hardcore thrasher style guitars, melodic punk with pop-punk hooks for an incredibly addictive debut. Each song is an individual song no sounding like any other song on the record. With hooking strong guitar songs like Gamma Rays, Off We Go and Back In My Arms, these three stands out songs on this album should produce three good singles from this album. We Stalk Each Other Like Animals has so much potential and appeal for a more broad audience so watch out Bad Religion and Anti-Flag here comes Boids.

Dance Hall Pimps
Growling Moon Records
With strong guitars, horns, organ and powerful vocals, the Dance Hall Pimps from Los Angeles are a cult favorite. Beast for Love was their first record. The Dead Don’t Walk is the bands second release. This might be considered blues but it sure rocks ya to move. The Dance Hall Pimps mix around with genres but make them to sound more original with flair. It’s nearly impossible to define their sound as a whole. On the title track and the first single The Dead Don’t Walk the horns pipe through a surf-rock rhythm, as the song’s vocal harmonies with a Hammond organ and guitar sound. This is basic to what the band delivers which makes the band’s signature structure of sound. The subject matter explores a wide through range of emotions. In the track Safe Place to Land there is true love being talked about. On Can’t Play That Game and The Dead Don’t Walk they explore the opposite side of love which is pure heartache. Here are a couple anthem songs that can get radio play which are Ain’t Dyin’ In My Sleep and No Survivors. There is a really cool cover of David Bowie’s song Sorrow done on here as well. For The Dead Don’t Walk, The Dance Hall Pimps got help from Jimmie Wood who lends his unmistakable pipes to the song Voodoo Bar and he also plays the harp on three other tracks. Terry Ilous of Great White and XYZ and James-Paul Luna of Holy Grail add metallic tenor to Can’t Play That Game and No Survivors. So this is one of those hidden treat records that should grab your attention from start to finish.

The Used
Gas Union Records
Imaginary Enemy is a softer sequel to Vulnerable. The Used have gone with a political theme. It’s an interesting side to the band, which allows for The Used to tackle sensitive territory as a whole about government and all of our political problems. Imaginary Enemy opens strong. The first song is Revolution. Revolution packs a punch and gets things rolling. The first catchy song that has a great chorus in is Cry. Cry should get the band some commercial radio play. But it is in A Song To Stifle Imperial Progression (A Work In Progress) that sets the real mark of chaotic thoroughly addictiveness that the band shines with that really stands out. At one point Imaginary Enemy slows down a bit. The remaining tracks are sweet melodies with steady rhythms such as the songs Kenna Song and Generation Throwaway. The tackling of this record tends to show different sides of the band. So it’s not so aggressive but that’s shows us that the band have an artistic point to them as well. This album shows the band has class and can tributes to what’s happening both to them and to what’s happen around and to us. Though really does the government really care about art and how it’s presented in it really? The Used have shown us a different twist in how we see music representing government action in a cool in lighted way on this release. Congratulations fellas you have earned respect and are truly adult musicians that care and who understand art as entertainment. Grammy awards anyone for this?

boygeorge1THIS IS WHAT I DO
Boy George
Cometmarket Limited
It came as a surprise that Boy George has released a new album of original material. It is produced by long time Boy George collaborator and Soul II Soul singer Richie Stephens This Is What I Do is somewhere between reggae and pop rock. This formula was part of the success of Culture Club. However the first new single King Of Everything is not what you would expect from Boy George. King Of Everything is full of chiming guitars, a string section and a choir. The other thing you will notice is how Boy George’s voice is more of a baritone this days and not so air filled and tenor as before. It is the sort of song you could imagine being produced by Guy Chambers or Bernard Butler. This being said show a more mature change is in his voice which has gained rasp to it. It really is a strong vocal performance throughout the record indeed. It has great polished production values. The second half of the album is mostly reggae with appearances from Dreadzone’s MC Spree and rapper Unknown MC. With this added touch of singers helping out it is possible that Boy George has gotten his sparkle back again. The God reference is explored a lot in the content of the record which I found indifferent of hearing from especially Boy George. But maybe he is searching to better himself these days and so God was possibly an answer. Maybe in an interview that could be an aspect to discuss about this God thing with him if he let me conduct it. Welcome back Boy George it’s been way to long. How soon till new record years again?

Well summer is almost here. Concerts galore to see and fun music to keep me going. See ya in the crowd. Hmm maybe there is still more interesting music to come during the summer months. We will have to wait to see. Happy record hunting.

(Written By: Jonathan D. Wright)


The Wright Stuff presents Interesting New Music

Spring ahead with these new found gems!  They are music treats and you don’t even have to search the eggs or the candy!  Exclusively from The Wright Stuff!

guiltyofeverything_15005f616fGUILTY OF EVERYTHING
Relapse Records

They call this style of music Shoegaze. Yet in it is an atmosphere dreamy to explore through the music itself and though the songwriting. The brilliant easy breath floating vocals are mixed with harsh throbbing bass and pounding drums throughout the record in most of the songs. There are few that are slightly upbeat but most have tough vocals and yet again then the soft spots go into a caressing mood almost into a stillness state. Setting a grid to follow music is pretty hard here, because the members play full out their instruments with a little restraint which make the music the heaviest part of this project. Those who like Catherine Wheel and Slowdive should like this a lot. This marks or a great debut. When I first heard this CD I thought the band Ride had gotten back together again and was I surprised

The Feeling
BMG Records
This marks for the band’s fourth album to date. This band from England uses passionate rock and melodic melodies to bring you into listening to them. This album finds the band combining uplifting pop with a depth of emotion. The single is called Rescue. The personnel has changed just a little you’ll notice he change that there is a new vocalist. Here is the current lineup: Kevin Jeremiah, Dan Sells (vocals, guitar); Ciaran Jeremiah (vocals, keyboards); Richard Jones (vocals); Paul Stewart (drums). Ciaran Jeremiah’s piano playing is sensational to say the least it’s almost in awe form.

Broken Gold
End Sound Records
With already a debut album released under their belts in 2011 Recovery Journal, this Austin, Texas band has a new Ep out. Broken Gold consists of Ian MacDougall on vocals who also plays guitar. Joining him on the EP is Patrick Lillard on bass who were also both together in The Riverboat Gamblers band. Also on here is Ben Lance on guitar along with Rich Cali on drums. Rich Cali is also the artist who created the cover for the new EP. Sonically influences veer more towards British punk and shoegaze than American Garage Rock that was the sound of The Riverboat Gamblers. The music at times gets a little more dreamy and reflective. For those who like The replacements and The Cure mixed together will enjoy this art shoegaze sound.

Clan Of Xymox
Metropolis Records
It is very consistent album and flows the whole way through. It is a melancholic that tears at your inner heart, with songs of love and loss. The Baritone vocal style of Ronny Moorings signature crooning is ever so present and at the for front of this new CD. The album opens with a brilliant instrumental track that flows into track number 2, She’s Falling in Love. This opening is one of the albums strengths. This stands out from the album and sets up a great setting the tone for the record. The album is melodic, romantic, atmospheric, airy, at times intense and but yet beautiful. The lyrical honest emotional goodness is on here too. The instrumentation is a perfect balance of electronic and natural sounding instruments of different sorts. Very interesting is that the last track on the new album is also an instrumental. This is a very well made and good production in style of what a whole album should be.

Frontiers Records

ASIA, the legendary British band, moves into its extraordinary career with “Gravitas”, a brave new album that explores different landscapes while embracing familiar musical past. Produced and written by band members John Wetton and Geoff Downes. Scheduled for release on Frontiers Records on March 21 (Europe); and March 25 (North America), the album will be available in two configurations: a standard CD and a Deluxe Edition, that will include two bonus tracks and a DVD containing the “Valkyrie” music video, a promotional film, and footage of classic live ASIA tracks such as “Heat Of The Moment”, recorded with the Plovdiv Philharmonic Orchestra in Bulgaria. Gravitas chronicles a man’s struggle in the battlefield of life, to the powerfully compelling tale of unrequited love in the song The Closer I Get To You. Gravitas conveys the spectrum of emotion and color from real-life agonies to all the to fantasies of escapism. A great fantastic collaborative effort that only Asia can do weather in is prog mood or in their soft melancholy turns they know how to take you on their journey on this CD.

Tomas Barfod
Secretly Canadian Records
All ready with an album done this is a new Ep. Techo dance pop is something that is done remarkably by this artist. Catchy but not so bouncy and loud without demanding thumping throughout it. Simple plain straight forward sound from the keyboards this time around. The opening track is Pulsing a good pop tune really but danceable too. The second track is called Tea Cup an is more the style of a movie theme background moody instrumentation sounding song. The third song is called Happy that has a more dreamier undertone to it and with some female vocals arranged on it. This single EP should get Tomas some good floor dance time and maybe some radio play as well too.

(All reviews by Jonathan D,. Wright)


Counting Down 2013 with The Wright Stuff

ultramarineocean1TOP 10 ALBUMS 2013

By: Jonathan D. Wright
Associate Editor
Highwire Daze Magazine

The Wright Stuff
The Ocean Blue
With The Ocean Blue releasing Ultramarine, this is their first full-length studio recording since 1999. This record measures up to their better work of the 1980’s till early 1990 wise ease. Longtime fans will recognize the airy guitars with accented synths. David Schelzel’s soft mature vocals are intact to keep your ears dreaming. The Ocean Blue’s melodic pop sound is a perfect fit to keep them retro yet with that slight indie vibe of alternative sound of what is available today. This is an outstanding release in both production and in the artwork. This is a whole package release. A thought out project from start to finish.

10,000 Maniacs
Legends already in the pop folk rock genres, 10,000 Maniacs lost their lead vocalist and had to find a new one. Natalie Merchant shoes weren’t easy to fill. But if you were the backup vocalist you had a shoe in for a try out. Sure enough now background vocalist was a front singer. Could Mary Ramsey write songs and lyrics as well or as good as Natalie Merchant could? Not only does she writes great lyrics, and sings but plays a great violin as well. The band decided to make this a whole recording process live all together. They did this by performing on a stage in the round. The CD was also funded by using which let the bands audience participate and feel involved in the making of this record. Also Jeffrey Erickson and member Dennis Drew also wrote some of the new songs as well.

Steve Kilbey & Martin Kennedy
Steve Kilbey & Martin Kennedy have put out another installment of dreamy mood swings with lush backgrounds. This in return lets you float across and yet still feel that You Are Everything. In the eyes of the lyricist here and with the musician’s music it’s so easy to let yourself go for a ride. The adventure isn’t rough or fast but a brilliant wave of sounds and lush chords that lift you around by Steve Kilbey’s bass and baritone vocals compliment it.

Gary Numan
Gary Numan has injected and infected darkness to this CD with some love that totally overpowers messages that lurks you to listen wanting to understand more. The Love here has the power to move you physically, emotionally and even internally. Heavier deep lyrics and ever deeper dark sound elements are well produce here. This is giving us convincing electronic rock that still shows it has a dark drive still left in it to explore no matter what character or story that is added to it. Gary Numan truly envelopes you with shattering Splinters of thought which provokes us into taking what we have learned and let those splinters of infection (knowledge or feeling) move us into a dark space in our minds and the one that gets into our hearts. This is a well thought out deeply intellectual album.

David Bowie
ISO/Columbia Records
Letting go of the past and going forward marks the theme for David Bowie’s newest release The Next Day makes David Bowie’s 24th album. After adapting to fashions and trends of all kinds, David Bowie has put out something that pushes him forward and not listening to anyone but himself.

House Of Love
Chery Red Records
She Paints Words In Red is the band’s first new work in eight years. Softer the band sounds now these days. There is a small hint of a dark anguish in hurt and suffering in Chadwick’s lyrics in the new songs. However don’t worry the lush strong guitars are plentiful. You feel as if bright pastel pretty colors are painted through the band’s sound on other songs as well. For being eight years this was worth the waiting for. Now to get them to tour will be the next question.

Alison Moyet
Modest Music Records
This is Alison Moyet first solo album since 2007. Guy Sigsworth has lead Alison into an electronic programming album. He helped in both co-writing with Alison and also produced it for her. This isn’t a Jazz record that Alison sings well but it’s something in between experimentation and pop. So in the electronic field Alison has fond an Interesting place just for her own expertise in the more art pop side of electronic with this CD. We see Alison Moyet more in control to where her emotionally raw and powerful vocals deliver greatly on here as well too.

UMG Recordings
Placebo has constructed another entry to their spanning catalogue. This is the band’s seventh album. Front man Brian Molko, bassist Stephan Osdal and drummer Steve Forrest give its fans a modern take on their sound. You’ll find it edgy at times but personal felt lyrics fill your listening ears. Placebo still strive in their alternative in sound yet with a strong punch to it in most of this project. This time they have are also trying to explore a more experimental groove in their overall tone. Loud Like Love draws you nearer to them and puts you right into the scenes of the pictures where the band is at in every song with detail.

Hopeless Records
Ocean Avenue reaches out and connects with our memories from our youth. With this CD you are able to recall memories of teenage years. Thoughts, feelings, and even certain people you know are brought back to the surface of your mind. Yellowcard are best known for writing catchy and light hearted pop punk. They use a violinist to push certain content of distinguished sound throughout the band’s music and here it become more personal done acoustic. Thanks for taking us back to letting us feel our youth in more details. Now that we are mature it doesn’t mean we have to completely forget about the past.

New Order
Warner Music
It’s really bad when a band like New Order who have been around for many years break apart. With Bernard Sumner and Peter Hook such break ups are pretty deep. Still though Bernard got to keep New Order’s name. But this CD Lost Sires comes to release with songs that were let over when the band was still together. In sound in a Live setting since Peter Hook left I found the band was more loose and playful. But in the case of these eight songs left over, the deep pulsation of the band is very intact. So these eight songs were recorded during 2005’s ‘Waiting for the Siren’s sessions which was to be release as a follow up CD. That never happened till this release now.

lukepotteroneday1BEST EP’S 2013
Luke Potter
He might be from the United Kingdom but his music has a universal appeal. His singing voice is expressive and textured. The sound of his is pop that will either make you hum to or dance to. Luke Potter keeps it very simple and clean to which you might want to even play it for your mother. This is definitely catchy, melodic and heartfelt pop songs. This youngster is ready for bigger places and nicer things to come.

The Royal
They do dancing pop punk at times fast and yet not too hard for one’s finer ear. An interesting thumping beat they bring out that keeps up with your pulsing heart. They are already a radio friendly sounding commercial band.

Former vocalist for Breathe Electric decided to change their name and are now going by Goldhouse. It is still up beat pop dance with a slight alternative edge. This is a 6 song Ep so I’m sure that a full CD is on its way. Some of the dance clubs should take a listen to Goldhouse and give it a few spins for the audience to dance too.

For The Foxes
Watch out this is carefree pop. The songs are infectious and contagious. For The Foxes play the most fun music that I haven’t heard in a while. This is very refreshing to listen to.

5. XI
Rebel Revive
Here we have a solo song writer that will glaze you over with his pop melodies and textured vocals. He also plays all of the instruments himself.

The Blues And Greys
This is alternative pop with dream soft female vocals. Strong writing lyrics and heart felt honesty is truly given here. If you were to take U2’s album Joshua Tree and inserted a female vocalist this might be something close to that.

My Genuine Find
No too hard and not too harsh but a great sounding alternative band. My Genuine Find pushes limits slightly but keeps you tuned in. The guitars grab your attention but the vocals caress your inner thoughts. What a great combination of strength and stability.

Keep It Cute
This is todays dance fast pop where punchy and bouncy hook up. You’ll find that the lyrics do get personal. You’ll appreciate his fun pop blend of catchy tunes that is for sure.

Arrica Rose
Arrica uses lushly romantic gentleness mixing it into laid back radio commercial sound that you might get from an adult contemporary station. With the usage of arty canvases, Arrica leads you into making it your own space color wise to fill in with her songs kind of looking through a kaleidoscope.

Bleach Blonde
Here is fun enthusiastic pop with alternative hooks thrown in. Here you will find catchy songs and up beat tempo’s that seem to be endless like a long lost fun summer.

Go listen to these band’s songs on now. There is a Top 10 Pics show on the station as well to give you some depth to the top 10 pics as well by host JD the DJ.


The Wright Stuff: Best Concert 2012

THE MOTELS, The Malibu Inn, December 21, 2012

The best live performance is going to The Motels at The Malibu Inn in Malibu on December 21st 2012. Had to wait all year for a great show to come along and stand out to be this years best live show. The venues stage is pretty small but such a huge successful band as Martha Davis And The Motels are, they filled in all the space of the 16 by 16 stage area that included a Christmas tree in one corner of it. The Motels have been in the USA touring a lot and even did a great performance at The Hollywood Bowl that stood out too over some other 1980’s Icons that were performing September 29th. The Malibu Inn had maybe 70 people for this intimate Friday night performance. Mostly adult and a few 21 and over college clubber’s where in attendance drinking and dancing around including doing the Conga during one of the songs in tonight’s show. They played a lively 2 hour full show. They even did a brand new Christmas song called Shiny Balls which was really good and should be recorded for a Christmas album.

The Motels started off with rockers of Mission Of Mercy, People Places And Things and Closets And Bullets. Tonight’s show was missing the keyboard player due to having his van broken into while on tour recently in San Francisco. So in tonight’s show they played Little Robbers and dedicated it to him.

Some of the main songs that everyone loved were also done like Cry Baby, So LA, Take The L, Suddenly Last Summer, Celia, Last Of The Bohemians and Apocalypso. My favorite song they did early in the set Total Control. Total control is one thing this band has over it’s audience.

The show ended with the great version of Only The Lonely which got the crowd standing and singing and dancing along. What a great night in a small intimate bar club on the beach. Way to go out for 2012. Thanks to the Motels for such a grand evening. Martha Davis and the band stuck around to sign autographs and to take picture with you as well. This was a class act and well worth the drive to go see in concert.

It was a cold 30’s degrees outside the venue and a hot time was had by all inside. Hope it’s not a long time before The Motels come back around again and perform. Maybe Martha Davis will come back and play songs from her solo materiel next time or include some during the show.

(Article by Jonathan D. Wright – Dodgy but Artistic Cell Phone Pic by Kenneth Morton)



And here they are…

1. XXX by ASIA on Frontier Records
Asia is a super group formed in 1981 with members of Yes, King Crimson, Emerson Lake and Palmer and Uriah Heep. The current members are Geoff Downes, John Wetton, Steve Howe and Carl Palmer, but the membership has seen many changes over the years. XXX, The title acknowledges the bands thirtieth anniversary, and is this lineups third album of original material since they reformed in 2006. Fans of Asia have come to expect catchy songs, but this collection really exceeds all expectations. The opening songs, like “Tomorrow the World,” and “Faithful,” are great, but the album’s set is constructed that each song keeps getting better until the closing song, “Ghost of a Chance,” which is the best song.

2. GO by Motion City Soundtrack on Epitaph Records
Gone appear to be the frequent catchy guitar riffs replaced with much more melodic verses and stanzas. One of the things I absolutely LOVE about MCS is the catchy riffs and punk-poppish music. Go, Motion City Soundtrack’s return to Epitaph Records, fits right in with that lineage of strong efforts record. Go is the Minneapolis-based quartet’s most poppy album, full of vocalist Justin Pierre hitting some very high notes over synth-and-guitar-driven melodies. Motion City Soundtrack has forever stood in some sort of corner when it comes to genre, perfectly pureeing elements of pop, punk and indie into its own nerdy mix. The delectable result is fully identifiable – you know a Motion City Soundtrack song when you hear one, and opener “Circuits and Wires” is a testament to that. It plays as a perfect continuation of the Mark Hoppus-produced My Dinosaur Life, with Pierre delivering his usual self-deprecating lyricism. This band has grown and evolved in a way that has been fascinating to watch and even more fun to witness in live performances.

Here we find the title of the album (“The stars are indifferent to astronomy”) in a declaration of the ultimate expression of individuality. This comes from the opening song Clear Eye Clouded Mind. This album is a gateway into the Nada Surf sound for friends who haven’t been around for the band duration thus far. Some of the other catchy tunes on here are Waiting For Something, When I Was Young, Jules And Jim and The Moon Is Calling. This is one of those pop treat gems that’s nice to play in your car while driving around on a beautiful day.

4. LIFE SOMEWHERE ELSE by Isidore on Communicating Vessels records.
Jeffery Cain (Remy Zero) and Steve Kilbey (The Church) credited Isidore. Much to Cain’s surprise, what was once an instrumental came requited by words and melody sung in Kilbey’s distinctive baritone to make for a great collaboration. Life Somewhere Else is a sprawling epic. Haunting and beautiful, Life Somewhere Else has a power beyond itself. This album is quite literally breathtaking! It leads you through colors, landscapes, and images of oceans, skies, dolphins, seals, death, birth and children playing. The first song, The best song is Privateer which conjures up visions of islands, oceans, sea serpents, and maps of the stars. This CD is a Masterpiece.

5. LOVE IN THE AGE OF WAR by Men Without Hats in Cobra Side Records
This is a brand new studio recordings from Canadian Ivan Doroschuk and Men Without Hats. Love In The Age of War leads you back to the bouncy synth-pop fun of Men Without Hats of the ’80s. The biggest difference between now and then is the lyrics are more introspective and mature. The strongest song is Live And Learn. It perfectly merges the ’80’s with the present. He new song Everybody Knows sounds like it could have come off of Rhythm of Youth. Actually several songs on this album are much in the style of the tracks on Rhythm of Youth which makes it that much more of a fun album.

6. THE VIEW FROM THE BOTTOM by Lit on Megaforce Records.
It’s been nearly 8 years since their last CD. Lit’s latest release is THE VIEW FROM THE BOTTOM is a great surprise. After the death of drummer Allen Shellenberger, the band found itself in a place of transition. THE VIEW FROM THE BOTTOM feels it has rejuvenated the band and you can feel it on this album. THE VIEW FROM THE BOTTOM is a straightforward rock album; it may be their heaviest to date. Many of the lyrics deal with dead-end relationships, but there’s a hint of optimism in the songs as well. This is a great forward record strong and punchy. There are a few hooks in it as well that you can get caught up into if you want to as well too.

7. INVISIBLE STARS by Everclear on Eone Music.
It’s been awhile since Art Alexakis came out with new material, but Art in is classic form creating stories from his life that anyone can relate too. It’s a simple CD, melodic, hooky, and filled with tracks that anyone can fall in love with. It’s been 6 years since Everclear’s WELCOME TO THE DRAMA CLUB. It doesn’t feel like the band has aged though. Saw them at Warped Tour and they were having a ball with the younger kids remembering their old familiar songs and were singing alone to them. INVISIBLE STARS is energetic, reinvigorated, and lively. For fans looking for a bit more, this record is a throwback to the band’s original traditional sound. Music wise it’s conventional guitar/bass/drum rock with verse-chorus structure. This makes it just a pop fun alternative rock record. So go enjoy it on a nice sunny day drive.

8. THE DOLLYROTS by The Dollyrots on Store Front Recordings.
Drummer Chris Black is not on the new self titled self released record this time around. The Dollyrots this CD makes it their fourth album to date. This CD is a mix of super-slick modern pop, classic three-chord punk rock. Every song on the album is solid and catchy, and the way they incorporate elements makes the whole thing really feel like a cohesive whole without skipping a beat. After 2012, Satellite and I Wanna Go are my favorites. if you enjoy Tsunami Bomb or The Muffs you should listening to this. By the way it might make you want to drive fast in your car, so play it loud.

9. DON’T PANIC by All Time Low on Hopeless Records.
There are few bands who consistently deliver power pop/emo like All time Low does who do it the best. The only band who left me with a great impression at this years Vans Warped our was All Time Low. With Don’t Panic this CD finds the band with the ability again to deliver pop hooks while at the same time rocking out and not abandoning the identity they established early in their career. With big guitar and massive vocal choruses, Alex Gaskarth and company embrace once again independent label status and crank out their most consistent album to date. My favorite track is For Baltimore. Give it a listen and see why these young men will crawl right into your loving ears with enthusiasm that will give the shakes of joy with ease like it did for me.

10. DEDICATED by Wilson Phillips on Master Works Records
The movie Bridesmaids got Wilson Phillips back into the spot light. So Dedicated gound it’s fans through the big screen you might say. Inspired by parents and proud musical lineage, DEDICATED is the album fans have been waited. WILSON PHILLIPS’ album DEDICATED pays homage to their shared musical heritage. Featuring faithful renditions of The Beach Boys and Mamas & The Papas songs in their unique harmony-rich sound, DEDICATED includes classic songs such as California Dreamin, Wouldn’t It Be Nice, Dedicated to the One I Love and God Only Knows. The rich harmonies is something one’s ears will cherish on this album. This is one of those have a lemon aid sipping to or play loud sing along cleaning house CD.

BEST EP 2012: There is one Ep this year that really stands out on its own. Currently between making albums and not currently tour so heavily, Placebo is back with B3. B3 is a 5 song EP. With over three years passing for new material, it might seem a let down to have 5 tracks to show for it, this means the few tracks we get to hear are something pretty special. Actually only four of them are Placebo songs. I Know You Want To Stop is a Minxus cover. the four remaining tracks actually stand up very well. The four songs portray four very different sounds. B3 is uplifting. The Extra is melancholy. The song that stands out almost by itself is IKWYL. His song is dark and sinister. Time is Money is a very slow building up track and feels more relaxed. This variety is equal by quality, even managing to put in a 7 minute album closer that doesn’t drag which Time Is Money doesn’t drag at all and would be great visual if done right live. The songs feel tight and well-formed, never outliving their welcomes.

(List compiled by Jonathan D. Wright)



Lit at The Greek Theater

The Acoustic Basement is a brand new stage on this year’s Vans Warped Tour 2012. The setting was a large tent/stage designed felt like an intimate basement show. This allowed the audience to get up close and personal with the artist in a tight setting. The Acoustic Basement was presented by Full Sail University. It’s the first time that Full Sail has been a major sponsor at the popular festival. This year the festival turned the legal age of 18 years old. Some of the performers include Brian Marquis, Vinnie Caruana (I Am the Avalanche), and several others. Brian Marquis was the ideas host and presenter of this Acoustic Basement for the entire Vans Warped Tour from June 16 in Salt Lake City, Utah, and ending August 5 in Portland, Oregon. Brian Marquis played songs from his solo debut cd Snow Damage to the crowd likings. One interesting set was done from Skinny Lister who came all the way from Europe. They performed Irish songs and played several songs from their debut release. A Loss For Words came up and played songs from Webster Lake, The Kids Can’t Lose plus played some newer songs from their sophomore release No Sanctuary. A Loss for Words also invited a guest artist all the way from Japan to play during their set as well whose band was called After Tonight. Lead vocalist Vinnie Carina from I am The Avalanche performed older songs from his band when they were signed to Tooth & Nail records plus he played songs from their newest release CD Avalanche United. Other bands that played acoustic were Anti Flag, Chuck Ragan (Hot Water Music), Anthony Raneri (Bayside), Mike Herrera (MxPx), Taking Back Sunday plus sets from various others throughout the entire Vans Warped Tour of 2012. I was able to see this acoustic stare come alive three times this summer. I am sure by how popular this was, I hope it comes back for next year’s Van Warped Tour #19 in 2013. Watch for it.

SUMMERLAND TOUR 2012 from June 28th in San Diego through August 11th in Laughlin Nevada with Marcy Playground, Lit, The Gin Blossoms, Sugar Ray and Everclear. These are a great mix of bands from the 90’s. I got the chance to see this show while on this tour package at The Greek Theater. Both Everclear and Lit are currently out touring for their newest CD’s. Everclear has out a current single Be Careful What You Ask For and were featured on Jimmy Kimmel and played songs on the show including this new single and songs from their latest CD Invisible Stars. Marcy Playground performed first. They play a 25 minute set of bubble gum smack popping fun gems including St Joe, Deadly Handsome Man, Secret Squirrel and their rocker Sex And Candy. Lit was second and played their hits from the past like My Own Worst Enemy, Zip-Loc, Down, Over My Head and they played songs from the current release The View From The Bottom. The Gin Blossoms were up third with radio friendly pop hits like Til I Hear It From You, Hey Jealousy, Follow You Down, Allison Road and Until I Fall Away and a few others as well. They were very calming after the rockin’ set of Lit. Fourth came Sugar Ray. Matt McGrath talked a lot of banter so it was nice when he actually sang. They played such favorites as Fly, Every Morning and Someday. For these songs the crowd was singing every lyric. Closing out the show was Everclear. The crowd was in great spirits by the time the band finally played. They enjoyed such favorites as AM Radio, Santa Monica, Heroin Girl and really rocked out with the band when they played their newest single Be Careful What You Ask For. All in all it was five hours of music that had influenced us from the 1990’s. It was a fun party night.

On August 4th in downtown Los Angeles at Pershing Square had a free concert series. On this particular evening The Bangles played. The bad thing about this show is that there is nowhere for the disabled to sit anywhere close to the see the stage if the wanted to see the show. In order for the disabled to view the show they are put all the way to the back of the crowd. Personally I would feel like I was being thrown to the back of a bus and discriminated upon if I was in a wheel chair or scooter. There were several rows of vacant VIP seats not being used that the disabled should be able to us but the security said no to them. Persian Square is a city park location and I suggest that they change their views upon who can sit in the VIP seats and where the disabled are put. The Bangles played many songs of their career including In Your Room, Manic Monday, Eternal Flame and Walk Like An Egyptian. The joyful bunch of the crowd really liked when they performed these and other of their more classic material. They played a lot of songs from off of their current cd Sweetheart Of The Sun. They played some groove new tunes such as Anna Lee and Under A Cloud, Ball ‘n’ Chain. Probably would of like the set more but how I saw the security handle the placement and treatment of the disabled left a very bad taste and sore feelings with me. Maybe because I was one of those disabled that got treated so badly as well too.

(Presented by Jonathan D. Wright)