NEGATIVEHATE: Solipsis

Negativehate began in 1995 and have had a lot of ups and downs and especially lineup changes, but the one thing that remained after all of this was the guarantee of music that is challenging and full of emotion and talent. Based in Monroe, NY the band is comprised of Mike Stewart (keys, vocals), Eric Stewart (bass), Chuck Scandura (guitar, vocals), Sergio Sanchez (drums), and Freedom Scheyd (guitar, backing vocals).

The music is a mix of many styles; ambient, prog rock, alternative, and post-metal, but it all seems to work in their favor creating a sound that will astound and confound in places. The songs are mostly long and do have meandering parts like “The Expansion of the Universe (via magnification of the infinitesimal)” does, but you find yourself just going along and floating during those moments and then when it gets heavy and the growled, almost death metal vocals come in, it fits perfectly. The songs on the album are conceptualized after a story of the same name also written by the band, so it has a definite meaning to it and actually makes for a great listen. This is not an album to throw on and party along to, unless you have really weird parties….and I want to party with you! This is one of those listen to it in one shot to get the full effect of the music, even though you will find tracks that stand out more for you like I did with “The Expansion of the Universe (via magnification of the infinitesimal)”. The songs do flow from one to the next without a lot of difference between them, but that’s not a complaint, it just makes the whole thing work in ways that most just can’t seem to do.

Give your ears a treat and freak them out a bit with the time changes, vocal variations and other non-traditional sounds on here and let them grow and evolve into something better than just holes where sound goes in, but turn them into something special and lovely, but demented at the same time. A great listen and one that just seems to get better the more I listen to it.

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TURN UP THE STROBE: THE KLF, THE JAMS, THE TIMELORDS – A HISTORY IAN SHIRLEY

The story of two guys who with talent and lots of luck, destroyed people’s expectations, did ridiculous stunts, pissed off people, and created songs that still resonate with listeners and will be played for decades. The one and only flaw is that both Bill Drummond and Jim Cauty both declined to be interviewed for the book, which might have added a bit more to the story.

Starting off with the lesser-known beginnings of the duo, their younger years and meeting each other, the book gives an insight into where they came from and the earliest projects. It gives a lot of background with Big In Japan, Drummond managing Echo and the Bunnymen and Teardrop Explodes while running Zoo Records alongside David Balfe.  Cauty and Drummond don’t actually get together and collaborate on their first project, The Justified Ancients of Mu Mu track “All You Need Is Love,” until almost halfway through the book, but you really need to read about their beginnings to get an idea of where they took ideas to form their later music. I remember hearing about them when they were getting in trouble for including ABBA on their album 1987 (What the Fuck Is Going On?) and being upset that I couldn’t hear what the commotion was all about, of course now you can just do a search on the interweb and there it is. When I heard “Doctorin’ The Tardis,” I was fascinated, for one, I can’t stand Dr. Who and this was the first and only bit I ever liked and how much I loved the damn thing. I was hooked and had to get more, so I went out and got the Chill Out album and starting buying the singles that I could find from them. When the White Room album came out, I was working in a record store and made a sign with the band’s logo advertising it and sold tons of them. Of course, the sheep blood and burning the money all are in the book as well, but regardless of the stunts, the guys just were talented and make for a fascinating read.

Author Ian Shirley gives the reader a well written and interesting book that will keep you reading and being intrigued by the career of a couple of guys who grabbed the world’s attention and still retain my interest now. With all of the tales in this book about their lives and music, there still is a lot more to them then their past and I’m looking forward to their future.

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SOUL MESSENGERS: Vision & Faith

Soul revivalists, Soul Messengers, are back in 2017 with a new album Vision & Faith. Both of their studio albums, 2013’s I’m Alive, and 2015’s Dirty Soul garnered great reviews and nationwide radio play, with Dirty Soul reaching #12 on the Australian Blues and Roots chart and featuring as Sydney Jazz and Blues radio station Eastside Radio’s album of the week. Soul Messengers are Rich Aljinovic (vocals, guitar), Simon Morel (guitar), Hadi Ansell (bass) and Dave Kirby (drums).

One thing that you really don’t hear much anymore is R&B/Funk tinged music ala the 70s, but you sure can on this release and it sounds amazing. The grooves are sexy and sinewy and get you up and shaking your ass and you can’t stop, not that you would want to. I remember listening to this music when I was a kid in the early 70s and it progressed into horrible music later on…remember disco kids? This shit is the real deal and I loved every second of it. This sounds like a forgotten classic that your older siblings or mom and dad might have listened to back then and you just found it in their record collection. The vocals are rich and full of emotion, the guitar playing has the sound of the Stones in parts, especially on the opening of “Don’t Let Them Tell You,” an amazing song that grabs your heart and rips it out with the raw feelings and beautiful sound of the song. “Let’s Go To Bed” has a funky soul groove with terrific guitar playing with a throbbing bass-line. A fantastic start to the album, and one of many great songs on here. As you go through the album, you find more and more amazing sounds and grooves that make you want to buy some stack heels and flares and get down and get funky. “Whiplash” is another song that just grabs you and sounds like something that you heard before and love with the horns, the funky groove, and the beautiful vocals.

I just can’t believe that I have never heard these guys before…wow, that’s really all I can say about this. This is one of the best albums that I have heard this year and will be forcing everyone I know to listen to this…you go and do the same with your friends and family…and strangers too.

Also posted on: http://ripplemusic.blogspot.com/2017/11/soul-messengers-vision-faith.html

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AURGANIC: Distant Echoes & Close Encounters

Aurganic is an experimental electronic/alternative studio project of two long-time friends Michael Kossov and Leo Pisaq. Originally high school classmates, they were members in a number of local punk rock bands until life and distance separated them for a number of years. They reconnected musically in 2010 finding a lot of common ground. This time it was electronica, art rock, and jazz that dominated the ideas. The reunited duo recorded instrumental sessions in New York and worked on their completion via internet resulting in a self-titled EP. Rooted in friendship, the project proved its longevity with four independent releases to date. Hailing from the Toronto/New York area, Aurganic’s sound revolves around experimental electronic elements blended with rock, post-rock, progressive rock and indie rock ingredients.

“Signs” has multi-layered vocal harmonies, intelligently placed electronics, and some crunchy guitar drives and starts off the album on a definite high. “Empires” has a Muse feel to it, but without sounding like a copycat with the electronics and guitars creating a great mix that makes the track stand out. “Invincible (In The Shadows)” has strong harmonies and continues the high quality of the previous songs. “Levitate” is a fantastic electro-pop song and is one of the best tracks on the album filled with great tracks. “Distant Echoes” has a slow melodic vibe that gives a nice change to the album, and also has great guitar playing. “Shaman” is a ballad with vocals electronically treated, acoustic guitar and very able drumming. The closer “Close Encounters” is an all-instrumental track that shows off the progressive leanings of the band and makes for a great ending to a fun album.

With various styles and textures, this album really gives the listener something to sink their teeth into and an exciting listen that makes you want to hit the play button again. Go out and give your ears a treat and pick this one up.

Also posted at: http://ripplemusic.blogspot.com/2017/10/aurganic-distant-echoes-close-encounters.html

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PATRICK GRANT: A Sequence Of Waves (Twelve Stories And A Dream)

Patrick Grant is originally from Detroit, now living in New York City, he studied at the world-famous Juilliard School and worked with Billy Joel and Quincy Jones on an international project for the Millennium, and in his work with Robert Fripp (King Crimson, Brian Eno, and David Bowie) & The Orchestra of Crafty Guitarists. The musicians on the album include Patrick Grant on guitar, bass, viola, piano, keyboards and percussion; John Ferrari on drums, mallet instruments and percussion; Nick Didkovsky on guitar; Dan Cooper on 7-string electric bass; Lynn Bechtold on violin; and Dan Barrett on cello.

A thirteen track, all instrumental album that has many moods and feels, like a soundtrack to an exciting movie that you want to keep listening to. With some rock, classical and progressive, you have a mixed bag with more choices than going out to a buffet. “Lucid Intervals” opens the album with strings, chimes and hand drums and sets you off on a great start. “Driving Patterns” has great electric guitar playing, piano, peppy percussion, and a fun drum beat. “Seven Years At Sea” has a field recording of echoed and looped vocals from the Hoffpauir sisters (Elita, Mary, and Ella), which was recorded in Louisiana in 1934. I have only touched on a few tracks here, but really, you can’t go wrong when you hit play, just pick a track and it will thrill you and take you away on an exciting trip.

Grab a copy and visit somewhere else, a place you may not have any idea where or when it is, but you will definitely enjoy the trip. A collection of songs that will keep you coming back for more and listen to over and over again, and keep a smile on your face at the same time.

Also posted at: http://ripplemusic.blogspot.com/2017/10/patrick-grant-sequence-of-waves-twelve.html

http://www.peppergreenmedia.com

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ALIEN SEX FIEND: Fiendology – 1982-2017

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Since their emergence in the early ’80s, Alien Sex Fiend have remained one of the most loved and longstanding pioneers of the Goth movement. Fusing themes of horror, humour, inner turmoil and outer space with an industrial and electronic sound years ahead of its time, the band scored countless indie chart hits, found success across Europe, America and Japan and won a dedicated, adoring fan base which exists to this day. The collection is composed of 3 CDs spanning their 35 year history, including five previously unreleased recordings, previously unreleased mixes of “Now I’m Feeling Zombified,” and “I Walk The Line.” There are two brand new tracks from their forthcoming album Possessed, plus artwork by Nik Fiend in the booklet telling the band’s story in pictures, as well as sleevenotes by Kris Needs and Youth.

With the big songs mixed in with album tracks and remixes, this collection gives fans and those curious a look at the band that is without comparison. The band has been in and out of fashion and still marches on to the sound of their own drum machine. Electric and bizarre, they continue to thrill and get people dancing to the mix of strange lyrics and the dance beats that they have been putting out with regularity. The new songs sound right at home, maybe a bit more modern, but fit in perfectly with the sound that they have molded over the years. The booklet has great stories and gives a terrific overview of the band and how they have moved through the years, giving the fans amazing music.

With all of the collections of the band out there, this has to be the one to get, great sound, a collection of obvious and less obvious tracks, and with some rarities added to the two new songs, you just can’t go wrong. Now go out and “Walk The Line” and get Zombified.

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NEVERENDING STORY: Soundtrack

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Re-issued on CD for the first time in the UK, this is the soundtrack album to accompany the 1984 film The NeverEnding Story. An atmospheric electronic soundtrack with tracks composed by leading German jazz composer Klaus Doldinger and electronic disco maestro Giorgio Moroder. This release also includes all the officially released remixes of the title track as sung by Limahl (ex-Kajagoogoo) and the extended version of Giorgio Moroder’s “Ivory Tower” that originally appeared as the b-side on Limahl’s “The NeverEnding Story” single. This single was, itself, an international smash hit reaching No.4 in the UK and Irish Charts, No.2 in Germany, Austria and Italy and No.1 in Sweden and Norway. This limited edition black vinyl effect CD release is packaged in a miniature cardboard LP style sleeve with an exclusive six page colour insert.

I will be honest here…I have never seen this film, mostly because as a teenage boy, this really wasn’t geared to me, but I do love the title song. I remember seeing the video for the title song on one of the video shows that came on after school and being excited that there was a new song out by Limahl. I had no idea what the movie was about and didn’t care…….new Limahl! I went out and got the 12″ single and played the hell out of it, and the b-side of “Ivory Tower” by Giorgio Moroder. I took a job as a DJ at this club and the bartender that was my friend hated the title song, so I had to play it every once in a while on my retro ’80s night . I even went out and found the French version of the song to drive him even more crazy. Well, at long last I now own the soundtrack and of course I love the many versions of title done by Limahl, but the other instrumental songs by both Moroder and Doldinger are really good as well. Full of emotion and highs and lows, the soundtrack takes you on a grand journey that almost makes me want to see the film…almost. The different sounds of the two composers actually work together fairly well, with Moroder being electronic and Doldinger doing more of an orchestral mix. The songs all sound crisp and bright, giving the listener a chance to dig into the richness of the soundtrack and the moods.

With a great booklet, the replica album and the fantastic remastering, this is a soundtrack that I will actually listen to over and over again. I will be putting on the Limahl title song and reminisce about my friend and laugh at the insults he used to hurl at me for playing it. I wish I could play all of the mixes for him, his head would explode.

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