THE ARCHIES: Sugar, Sugar – The Complete Albums Collection

Finally, all five of The Archies albums are released on CD for the first time which will make fans quite happy. I was, and still am a fan of the comic books and I owned two of these albums on vinyl way back in the old days. The sad thing about this collection, which I have only as a download, so I can’t comment on the booklet, is that they are sourced from vinyl, not remastered. You would think that such an undertaking would have them doing that one step to take this over the top.

Well, onto the music, which is a delight, a complete joy to listen to and will put a smile on your face and get your toes tapping and you will sing along, yes you will. Of course you get the huge hit “Sugar, Sugar,” but there is so much more on her besides that. “Jingle, Jangle” is every bit as good and I love that damn song. The songs are of course bubblegum, and I have no problem with that, but they also went a bit weirder and got into social statements as the albums progressed, so take that people who dismiss this band. Other standout songs are “Archie’s Theme (Everything’s Archie),”  “Feelin’ So Good (S.K.O.O.B.Y.-D.O.O.),” “She’s Putting Me Through Changes,” “Get on the Line,” and “This Is Love.” The male vocals for the group were provided by Ron Dante, who started his career as a member of the Detergents who did “Leader Of The Laundromat,” and was also the voice of  The Cuff Links. The albums truly are a delight to hear again, and not just have a greatest hits collection that just gives you a few songs, this gives you all of them and you can hear the band progressing and changing. Maybe they never rose to the heights of “Sugar, Sugar” again, but this is definitely not throwaway music, this is a bit of history that will never be repeated, a time of crazy pop music aimed at kids that grew up and still sounded great.

While maybe not the perfect box set, this is a pure delight that will give you smiles and if you were there, memories that will come back to you and make your heart happy. In these strange times, isn’t something that makes you happy worth owning? I think so.

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COLOR YOU: The Grand Trine

This four-piece from the Los Angeles/San Diego area have released their new eight-song album of a mixture of psychedelic rock, alternative and a touch of late ’80s British indie. The band consists of Ben Ross (vocals/guitar), Brian Han (bass/vocals), Drew Stutz (drums) and Theo Eckhardt (guitar/vocals).

The album starts off with a spoken word intro and kicks off with first real song “In Tune,” which shows off the mix of sounds perfectly. The playing is a bit gritty in places, but then becomes soft and gentle and the soaring vocals are amazing. “Empty” is a fast-paced song with wobbling bass guitar and energy to spare. This thrilling song is one that would get the audience up off of their seats and jumping up and down in a live setting, hell, it pretty much did that to me in my house. Love this song! “Same Old Story” has that great bass in it again, and really sounds like British indie with the effects added and the punkish sound. “Lady In Blue” continues in the same vein and just makes this album even better. “Savior” is a post punk song that has blistering guitar work, that incredible bass, pounding drums and edgy lead vocals mixed with some gang vocals. ending with “Again Again,” a soft and melancholy song makes sense, you need to chill out after the highs of the previous songs and the sing-song feel of this track makes you sort of smile because of the beauty of it.

All that I can really say is WOW! I mean seriously, this had the makings of a perfect album for me, except for the intro, mostly because I’m not an intro kind of guy, I like getting to the meat of the album right away. The production was flawless and the band sure can play, plus the vocals were perfect on every track, nothing over the top, just pure excellence all the way through. This will be on the replay pile for a long time.

https://www.facebook.com/coloryouband

https://coloryou.bandcamp.com/

http://coloryoumusic.com/

SAINT BLASPHEMER: Simon Templar

This four-piece from Santa Ana, California plays a mix of hard rock and alternative and consists of Thomas Monroe (vocals), John Castellon (guitar), Steve Shell (bass), and Steve Ybarra (drums). This is the debut five-song EP of this band that has been playing together since February 2016.

First song “Nullify” is a hard rock song talking about the effects of drug addiction and dying…subtle way to start off? Hell no! This is the raw sound of a band giving you their heart on their sleeve about something that may be difficult to hear, but needs to be heard. “Simon Templar” is a slower song with a ton of angst and an almost Ozzy feel to it about someone surviving the lost of someone from drugs. What a one-two punch on this EP so far. “Scarecrow” has intense guitar riffs and lyrics that go into more of the effects of drug addiction. The song just bludgeons your senses and is so tight and heavy that it will rip your ears off. “A Perfect Rose” has a melancholy feel about it and one of the best vocal performances on the album. The song has peaks and valleys that bring the intensity up and down and keeps you on a rollercoaster ride that you don’t want to stop. “Breaking Just To Bend” ends the album on a high note, with the most straight forward hard rock song that will get you head banging and your heart racing. The song has a great beat and the bass shines through

This is one hell of a debut EP, with lyrics about the effects of drugs and how bad it is for those left behind and what they have to deal with. This is something that most bands don’t and can’t handle well, but this was a masterpiece of lyrics and thoughts…plus the playing is pretty damn good too.

https://www.facebook.com/saintblasphemer/

https://saintblasphemer.bandcamp.com/releases

http://www.saintblasphemer.com/

RAHM: Between The Lines

Rahm is the creation of Israeli prog rock composer and multi-instrumentalist Rahm, and this is his five-song debut EP. He plays a mix of progressive rock the brings to mind Pink FLoyd and old Genesis, more of a mellow and flowing sound than the bombastic sounds of these bands.

Pink Floyd is the starting point, but then everything just goes into its own areas, taking them as just a jumping off point. The EP begins with “You Are Not Alone,” which has acoustic guitar, soaring melodies and vocals and vocal harmonies that you will want to play over and over again. “Between The Lines” is a beautiful song with male and female vocals that flow together, and you get a whistle solo too.”Always On The Run” is a ballad that keeps the mood of the previous song going and makes you drift along. “Coming Home” starts of with birds chirping and is a gentle and softly rolling song that has male and female vocals that are sweet and the guitar slides in and in so sinewy and slick that you just swoon. “Fool For You” is the last song and the birds are back, and this is the most peppy of the songs on the EP, but still not rocking out too hard. The female vocals are perfect in this song, adding so much texture and feeling to the song. The whole thing has a strong David Gilmour guitar sound, but that’s ok since he is an amazing player, but so is the playing on here, with the sound being so precisely laid out that you can hear everything going on, as the way that the vocals are perfectly suited for the songs.

If someone would say that this was an older prog rock album, I would believe them, but that’s not an insult, it’s praise. This sounds familiar, which will make it easier to get people to listen, but the talent and the beauty of this EP will get them to stay.

https://www.facebook.com/rahm.music

https://rahm.bandcamp.com/

http://www.rahm-official.com/

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5lup2iKX4yCqLNAvEGztPw

DIGITAL ORDER:On Our Way

This band from Perth, Australia say that they are similar to Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin, but they remind me more of Jane’s Addiction with the vocals and the overall sound. There is a touch of late ’60s, early ’70s hard rock mixed in, but mostly it could have been part of the alternative rock sound of the early ’90s…not a bad thing at all.

This song has heavy guitars, electronics, soulful vocals and soft touches that mesh together to create a sound that makes them seem familiar, but still fresh at the same time. The band comprises of Shane Ariti (Vocals), Will Cruz (Keys/ Guitar), Henry Gunson (Drums) and Andy Beerli (Guitar), and they have put out a song that while being super short, under three minutes, they fill it with a lot of textures and sounds that will keep you enthralled. The sound goes between soft and acoustic to becoming a bombastic anthem that will thrill you.

If this is what they are capable of doing, and with such a short song, all I can say is……WOW! This is a band that will grab you attention, hold it and make you want to hear more from them.

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https://digitalorder.bandcamp.com/

http://digitalordermusic.com/

THE NAVEBLUES: Thank You

The Naveblues are a band from Bergen in Norway that play a mix of indie rock and blues . The band features singer/songwriter Nave Pundik, who takes influences from rock, indie, alternative, funk and blues to create their own style and have been reaching an ever-growing audience.

This time out, they have recorded their take on Led Zeppelin’s “Thank You,” and given the song their own spin. The major difference is the harmonica being used in place of Jimmy Page’s guitar playing. That may be a bit of a shock since everyone is used to that being a major part of the song, but the harmonica is soulful, and gives the song a new texture and feel to it. Don’t think that there isn’t guitar in the song, there is and it’s sinewy and sounds great. The blues sound actually suits this song and gives you a chance to close your eyes and let the sound wash over you. The video is based upon the idea of what going to Mars would be like and staying there by yourself. It goes through the excitement and beauty of being there, to sadness and a realization that she is all alone on Mars.

The playing, the production, and the video are all excellent and show not only terrific chops, but that the idea of being a settler alone on Mars is portrayed perfectly. A great total concept, and one that I will be enjoying again and again.

https://www.facebook.com/TheNaveBlues/

http://thenaveblues.com/

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/the-naveblues/id1121677410

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B01GIY0MGS/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1634&creative=6738&creativeASIN=B01GIY0MGS&linkCode=as2&tag=frmydeuk-21

TED NUGENT: Free For All

Free For All is the second solo album from Ted Nugent and it was a different beast in a lot of ways from his first album. As the recording of the album commenced, rhythm guitarist and lead vocalist Derek St. Holmes left the band, citing growing personal and creative conflicts with Nugent. Two solid years of living together on the road had taken its toll on the relationship.as well, St. Holmes was unhappy with Tom Werman’s production, saying that the producer was watering down the band’s sound. A full year before Bat Out Of Hell brought him international success, vocalist Meat Loaf was brought in by producer Werman to sing on the album. Meat Loaf was paid the sum of $1000 for his contributions to the album, which included crafting all of the vocal arrangements and two days of recording sessions. St. Holmes returned to the group after the album’s release, performing on the subsequent tour. Band management asked him to return at the request of Epic Records.

Kicking things off with the title track, the band gets started on rocking out and the song has Nugent playing some great guitar and the band sounding tighter than the first album. The next song, “Dog Eat Dog” was a single and was a great choice with the blazing guitar work, the smooth vocals from St, Holmes and the menacing sound that the band manages to put forth. With all of this, plus a great chorus, this makes for one of the best songs on the record. With “Writing On The Wall,” we get to hear Mr Loaf doing vocals and he actually fits in really well with the band, nothing like the over the top performance on his own work, instead you get a great performance from him that will blow you away. The album is actually more varied and works really well, with three different vocalists, you would think that it would sound disjointed, but the vocalists all do a great job on their songs. “Street Rats” is another song that is crunchy hard rock that should have been a single and is an ear worm for sure. “Together” is a slower song that is on the cusp of being exactly what you think of when you hear the name Meat Loaf, overblown and pompous, the only thing that saves the song is the amazing playing from the band. Thankfully, the last three songs are all rockers that take the bad taste from “Together” and coat your ears with the right medicine, hard rock deliciousness. Again, this album has been remastered and sounds amazing, so clear and clean, plus you get that cool green vinyl too.

Album number two from uncle Ted and you are still in the midst of the golden years, a band that is on top of their game and getting tighter and hungrier for the charts. Luckily, the band never went and tried to suck up to the pop charts, they just played what they loved…..hard rock, no frills and with heart and soul.

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http://www.tednugent.com/

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