THE WRIGHT STUFF TOP 10 PICKS OF 2017
SONGS OF EXPERIENCE by U2 (ISLAND RECORDS)
This time around U2 has taken life’s experiences to a more personal level. Using a pop background to explore ones personal feelings of everyday to the front of exploration of what is meant to be what life simplicities mean. They don’t mean the same thing to each of us but we can take them into the concept that all of our own individual experiences make up the solidness of what this life has to offer here for what we all call home or in simple terms Earth and how we are on it as individuals amongst all the inhabitants.
HOW DID I FIND MYSELF HERE? by The Dream Syndicate (Anti Records)
With 8 songs you would think this is an EP. Nope it’s length is the normal clocking it at the appropriate length of about 40 minutes to clarify as an album. The title ask you the question and the answer is simple. The Dream Syndicate took a rest period and now has found themselves back in the music business to charm us yet again with their interpretation of what Garage and Psychedelic and what was The Paisley Movement has become. What else you find here is that with all of their differences now behind them with many years to figure things out, the band is back to let loose with their heavy guitars blared and foot free lyrics so that the alternative music can speak in equal to its lead vocals of legendary Steve Wynn’s talents. With maturity this band also offers up some catchy tunes that could give them some well deserved radio play. Already the new song Glide has found other bands covering it. I’m sure in no time radio with connect and catch up with The Dream Syndicate. At least college radio, but maybe some pop stations might give them a spin too.
MAN WOMAN LIFE DEATH INFINITY by The Church (Mgm Records)
Psychedelic with Pink Floyd would best describe the atmospheric sound that is supporting the canvases that are lyrically painted for us by Steve Kilbey’s infamous lyrics or poetics. One of the most interesting titles and stimulating is A Face In A Film. Description of how someone effects to draw us into their own conclusions through thoughts and expressions in a lyrical presentation. This represents true art seeing and feeling art through some one else’s expressions. Even though the subject get really deep on this record, they all seem to have that touch of feeling to them that we are experience through out our presence here and what we might feel after we leave here is explored on this new CD. Contemplation can be an amazing thing to experience but Steve Kilbey makes the decision to let us explore this and yet feel it all at the same time. Other great songs to take notice of are Another Century and For King Knife. You’ll discover a trip or sorts from this CD so that you can see things now how they effect you and how they have shaped you to make you how you are in your own end. It’s up to you how you see things and it’s again how you see things to the end. It’s you that can change this all or just enjoy your ride. Just choose either way. This is the real feeling that is left in your gut and in your mind from this record. Amazing insight for sure.
BE MYSELF by Sheryl Crow (Warner Brothers Records)
Still exploring her past experiences to use them to move forward is where Sheryl Crow is these days. She has allowed her two kids to sing on the new album as well too. Some great commercial songs are on here including Roller Skate, Long Way Home, Halfway There and Alone In The Dark to name a few. But the one song Be Myself helps others that deal with Bullying. Sheryl Crow finds herself right in the brightest of timings with these release. Professionally Sheryl still writes from her true experiences to fun pop music with a little Nashville flair in in there as a good jester too. Sheryl makes you feel good and this new album does just that.
RAISE YOUR EXPECTATIONS by Animotion (Invisible Hands Music)
It was a long time in the making. This known 1980’s band have come back to get us dancing happily around again with a new electronic alternative dance album. Catchy lyrics and groovy base lines help move you along splendidly. A definite feel good record. One of their older classic hits Let Him Go finds a newer updated version of it as the finale track on the album. Raise is the first studio full length in 26 years. Some of the notable tracks are Bad Review and Raise Your Expectations. Energetic energy motives you easily with this release.
LINDSEY BUCKINGHAM/CHRISTINE McVIE (Atlantic Records)
This is a self titled release. A pop record. Mick Fleetwood is on this playing the drums. So does this make it a Fleetwood Mac Album? Well no it’s their own style of softer melody pop sound. Great harmonies as Fleetwood Mac has and great simple writings as Fleetwood Mac has and other similarities mixed in as well. But the melodies are catchy and fun and express care and talk about the simple things of love and attraction in it’s early stages.
HEAL THYSELF PT. 1: INSTINCT by Steven Page (Factor Records/Warner Music Group Canada)
After leaving Barenaked Ladies this CD marks yet for another release from this single self-artist. If you liked Page One, Steven’s first solo album, you will love this one. It is better consistent with his music. Steven has with an amazing backing band and producers for this release. Steven’s song writing is as clever as evidenced in the new song I Can See My House From Here. There is another great song called There’s a Melody that has references to other songs on the album woven throughout. The Vanity Project was written with help of Stephen Duffy but this album definitely shows how strong of a writer of poetics and lyrics story telling that Steven Page can be. This CD sounds kind of like a Barenaked Ladies release but better produced.
OKAY. by As It Is (Fearless Records)
Punk Pop Fun is a definite given from this band. The American singer lead vocalist Patty and his band mates from England have collaborated very well for their sophomore release. Catchy quick beat makes you want to bounce around and get overly excited with ease from this cd. This CD puts you into a conceptual world that puts listeners in the band’s shoes and conveys a common realization that it’s ‘okay’ to not be ‘okay. As It Is use this CD to trek through intimate experiences surrounding their personal lives and everyday battles. As It Is hope this CD will resonate with fans in a unique way, leaving them with lasting encouragement and inspiration. This CD is a true gift of Love and Care to come from such a young band. Wow
ADORMENT by Grayscale (Fearless Records)
Grayscale has honed their talents constructing strong hooks, relatable lyrics with catchy riffs, while coming into their own sound. With their unbarred emotion and blending of alternative rock and punk, Adornment, further illuminates their skills of creating narrated stories paired with emotion that urges listeners to dive in and create their own narratives. For only being the bands sophomore release it’s a strong release of true expression that lets others create for themselves through it or from it. Awesome CD
SAVAGE (Songs From a Broken World) by Gary Numan (BMG Records)
Savage (Songs From a Broken World) is made up of 10 tracks totaling 56 minutes in length. The import CD has one more song and the vinyl release has two more songs on it. The album opens with Ghost Nation which could be taken for a dark goth Depeche Mode tune. It is followed by my favorite Bed of Thorns. Bed Of Thorns is the 1st single which was included on the soundtrack of Ghost In a Shell. My Name Is Ruin is definitely next with a hard is a hard charging song, with crunching percussions. These songs alone draw you in to the heart of this massive strong beast within all of us The Savage instinct of survival in all circumstances and being brave in all survival methods.
DIVIDED HEAVEN – Pacific Avenue
This makes the bands 4th release thus far. Pacific Avenue entire CD could be played on the radio for Divided Heaven. It’s so pop friendly that it should get looked at by Fearless and Hopeless Records. I am sure it will even impress David Bash so much I wouldn’t be surprised to see this band playing The International Pop Overthrow Festival. A definite treat this CD is. The band is starting to peak and show its strengths for sure. This is a Los Angeles based band. They are willing to tour. They have all ready played a few days in Europe as well too. So go check them out. They are recording their next full length now and should be available sometime in late summer of 2018 so look out for it. In the mean time if you see them out playing go catch a fun set with them. You wont be disappointed. In their live set they do a cool version of the Beatle’s Elinor Rigby which should be recorded.
LESS THAN JAKE – Sound The Alarm
Ska is this bands forte usually but this time they have added a bit more to the grove feel and entered some pop to this EP. This is a well thought out great produced record. The charm on this CD is to get you excited and bouncy. The lyrics are catchy so it grows on you quickly. Less Than Jake have ben round for such a long time. It is goof to see them still pour out fun out of themselves. An amazing good time is had from this CD. It’s also fun to drive round with it as well too.
HANG TIGHT – Grind (Standby Records)
Evolving from the pop-punk past former Picture Perfect, Hang Tight have a tighter sound. This EP is an infectious explosion of anthems and catchy lyrics. The very first song is The Rants. During The Rents the whole band screams with punchy drums and harmonious vocals that reflect on what tough times are these days that we all can relate to. Next up is the song Forget About It with a great sing along chores. Up next is Grind which is yet another upbeat song. On a more indie side of this project, the next song is a more atmospheric vocal sounding track called Pretty In True Blue. The band show lots of range and has a catchy pump you up fun attitude that will definitely take this band soaring into the future. Hopeless records and fearless records should check this band out and snatch them up quickly. 5 songs is something but more would be real nice.
THE COLOR WILD – Clean (Artery Recordings)
The Color Wild hails from out of Sacramento California. They will be on tour stating in January 2018. They sound like Maroon 5 meets The Maine. Poppy and danceable too. Well produced sound you’ll find here too. Catchy lyrics. Not sure why the band is not signed to at least a medium sized record label with their catchy hooks and dance style sound. This is great fun pop. Maybe when they play at Chain Reaction in Orange County that Fearless Records or Hopeless records will send out recruits to check this energetic band out.
SAVE FERRIS – Checkered Past
After lawsuits, breakups, and 10 year hiatus, Save Ferris is come back. Lead singer Monique Powell with this new release has let go of the bands past and has moved on to brighter fun again between ska and punk. Checkered Past is fan funded through a Pledge Music campaign, a heavy call back to the band’s roots is definitely apparent here for those die-hard fans that really wanted this to come out. With this release it got the band onto The Vans Warped Tour 2017 and got them playing shows again. A female lead vocalist in the punk ska genre is a great asset to have back for sure.
THE ATARIS – Silver Turns To Rust
Tracks 1 – 4 are from The Ataris new upcoming release “The Graveyard Of The Atlantic.” Tracks 5 -10 are from “October In The Railroad Earth” Ep and tracks 11 – 12 are two new demos of unreleased songs. The interesting thing is that this was Recorded at Flying Blanket Recording, Mesa, Arizona. It was tracked on a 1978 Nove 8078 Console. Using only vintage amps, guitars and microphones. All the songs were recorded and mixed to Analog tape. This is plain good solid rock n roll indie alternative songs. Straight forward which allows for simple fun drive along tempos with a good time had by all feel. It was released in June of 2017. Catch lyrics and with grove along tempos and guiding bass line with occasional roaring guitar riffs thrown in for good measure.
WASI – Coup
This marks for the band second release so far from this Los Angles based band. Jessie and Marilou again have produced music that gives voice to those who are trying to be understood while developing through their tender years leaving childhood to adulthood. This Ep is full of energy, and music that gives great encouragement for those finding their place of being within societies hurdles. Dance and pop are found here with a dash of indie punk vibe. It is back lined by a groovy bass line and electronics to fill ones platter of exciting once body to get up and dance. Yet you also will find that this CD EP gives you a being at peace of ones true self at this place and time as well.
DAVID BOWIE – No Plan (Iso Records/Columbia Records)
This marks for the final studio records from David Bowie. The song Killing A Little Time has a more edge sound to it. You could say the song is a rough kind of a song. I find the song No Plan to be the best song here with similarities to sounding like the Beatles in style. These songs were recorded during the making of the Blackstar album. This is a recording to look back on while contemplating God & Death and the time waiting to see either. Very interesting in deed.
COLDPLAY – Kaleidoscope (Polygram Records)
This new EP CD is 5 tracks; 25 minutes. It opens with a new song called “All I Can Think About Is You”, a mid-tempo tune that sets you on a drifting floating remembering of someone in your life that you really want to remember closely. IN the next song Coldplay mixes in a rap in the middle of their song which sounds like something that Maroon 5 would do but it does work well in this song “Miracles (Someone Special)” which features Big Sean. This sounds very commercial. But yet a super-positive and catchy tune. Aliens is a Brian Eno style song. Well you might think this because Brian Eno collaborated with Coldplay on this very tune. Something Just Like This is a live recording for the band when they were in Tokyo tour. The end of the Ep is a dream style song called “Hypnotised”. This Ep is a must have for Coldplay enthusiast. There is something for everyone on this release. A real nice treat this truly is. This does not disappoint your ears at all either.
THE BLACK WATCH – The Gospel According To John (Eskimo Records)
For those of you who enjoy early 80’s Echo And The Bunnymen and House Of Love, this Los Angles band is something for you to check out. However, they have a new line up but the band has been going now for the past 3 decades. John Andrew Fredrick and band have returned with one of the best recordings. The lyrics intensive style assertive vocals are featured over intense guitars. This is an American band trying to repeat what Liverpool gave us with a tinge of Manchester bar bands from the early 80’s lingering around trying to find their own sound of the time period. One of the most interesting songs is Way Strange World. Way Strange World explores of how are world in general is getting mad at us and doing so with Global Warming, fighting, pollution, screaming and yelling all around us to show us that the world might be actually getting even madder at us. Why has it taken a new band to make lead vocalist John vocals really stand out. This English professor is no stranger to writing poetics in descriptive style but the story telling if up front and more aggressive In this CD Ep . This a great leap and outstanding musicianship with terrific lyrics as well. This is the prize of what great lyrics can be mixed with the right elements of artist music as a back drop.
(List Compiled by Jonathan D. Wright)