MAX NAVARRO – Hard Time www.maxnavarro.com
Max Navarro has been releasing music since 2002 and this is his third album, although according to the PR blurb he is already working on his next album
It is a mix of catchy uptempo hard rock and pop rock songs, of which ‘End Of Universe’ deserves some serious airplay as it is so damn catchy despite the slightly doomy subject material. On songs like the breezy pop rocker ‘Out Of Bounds’ and ‘Nothing’s Guaranteed’ Max Navarro recalls Rick Springfield and Glenn Burtnick. Guitarist John Paul Bellucci needs a special mention as his riffs and solos bring the songs a hard edge.
A short but sweet album – only three songs clock in over the four minute mark – and his next album will certainly be worth looking out for based on this enjoyable album.
FLIPRON – Firework Shoes (Tiny Dog Records) www.tinydog.co.uk
Flipron cover more musical bases in one album than many bands cover in their whole career. They do music hall, pop, punk, ska, blues – anything really bar say dubstep although I am sure they will fit that in a future album!
Rat Scabies of the Damned fame produces the album as well as adding percussion on a few numbers plus the other notable guest is Neville Staple (The Specials/Fun Boy Three/The Beat) on the ska scat of ‘The Comet Returns’.
There are a couple of blissful pop rockers on here. First up the punk paced pop bliss of ‘Round & Round The Sun’ and ‘Big Flat Blackberries’, a song that conjures up Roy Wood in his prime.
Listening to this album is like having a revue show on your stereo/IPod and great fun.
JOHN WHEELER – Un-American Gothic (Cooking Vinyl) Released January 2013
John Wheeler may not be a name you instantly recognise but the name but he is a member of Hayseed Dixie, the bluegrass rock band. This solo album is not Hayseed Dixie as it allows John Wheeler to record songs that don’t fit the Hayseed Dixie template, although the fiddle driven ‘Domosday Dance’ is the nearest he gets to Hayseed Dixie and a mighty fine tune it is too.
One band sums up the sound of this album for me the mighty Hooters and that is high praise indeed in my book. ‘Deeper In Debt’ with its hard lyrical theme wrapped in a stonking tune is very much like the Hooters in their prime. Nice bit of blues guitar playing on ‘Street Sweeper Lullaby’ whilst the cover of the Jam’s ‘Eton Rifles’ is different with the song sung in a spoken word style. The other cover on here is the Bob Dylan penned ‘Master Of War’.
John Wheeler plays most of the instruments himself and it is a very strong set of songs, featuring a lot of thought provoking songs far removed from the mainly good time vibe of Hayseed Dixie.
PIG IRON – IV (Cherry Red)
Fourth album from metal band Pig Iron featuring Hugh Gilmour on bass, and with new guitarist Dan Edwards, this is a rootsy bluesy affair with some solid guitar and bass work. From the outset it’s chunky with lots of good riffs. The bass is the driving force and the guitar adds a nice dimension that occasionally nods in a funky direction. There’s a def 70s feel, with nods to Sabbath, Zeppelin et al, and some acoustic-ish moments. Horseshoes And Hand Grenades adds some harmonica – it’s a rough rocking bluesy number.
The songs are good and so are the riffs, (a decent solo or two too) but the production and the drum sound are a little trebly but the songs really do grab you. Well worth checking out.
ARGONAUT – S/T www.argonaut.info
Debut album from this alternative five piece with atmospheric sexy female vocal.
The opening track is almost progressive trippy indie, very reminiscent of the Stone Roses, which is the perfect way to put me off of an album.
The album continues with a mix of spaced feel and rough fuzzy alternative guitar.
The tracks range from simple and drifting to rough heavy and chunky. Apparent influences are Hole, Sonic Youth and Garbage.
There are some good melodies and the vocals often sound good, but there is an overriding disjointed feel.
I’m sure alternative fans will appreciate this, but really really not for me.
THE BURNING OF ROME – With Us (Released 25th Feb)
The musical creation of Adam Traub who has made an amazing recovery from a rare muscular disorder. During this time he came up with musical ideas and the idea of the band’s music is not to follow any musical trends.
Listening to the album there are some divine musical moments like the T-Rex meets the Beatles on ‘The Ballad of an Onion Sprout’. There is a little more T.Rex, glam rock stomp and a whiff of punk rock on ‘Norman Bates’, based on the main character from the famous Alfred Hitchcock movie ‘Psycho’. The album is not all good though as ‘The Universe Is Made of Nonsense’ is a wall of weird noise and a couple of songs have too many musical ideas crammed into them.
An interesting musical journey but its breadth in musical scope could well prove to limit its appeal.
In his show broadcast on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio on 24 May David Randall played a further selection of artists and albums included in the new Features series, “2020 Vision”.
Listen in to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio…
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Featured Albums w/c 25 May (Mon-Fri)
09:00-12:00 FM Synchronized (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 THE ROCKET DOLLS The Art Of Disconnect (indie)
14:00-16:00 BEN KUNDER Searching For The Stranger (indie)
Power Plays w/c 11 May (Mon-Fri)
THE MERCY KILLS Alone (Golden Robot Records)
DEAD REYNOLDS By Your Side (indie)
THE JAILBIRDS Watery Grave (Golden Robot Records)
ALI MASS & MICKY MOODY These Times (Last Man Music)
MASSIVE WAGONS Bangin In Your Stereo (Earache)
UDO We Are One (AFM Records)
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