Sunday, November 2, 2014

It Came from ReverbNation - The Ripple-Reverb Playlist Part 2

Welcome waveriders.  Once again the good folks at ReverbNation asked us to participate in a promotion for their millions of bands and artists.  Who ever was interested had 30 days to submit one song to us.  I then promised that I'd go through each submission and write a quick line about the 25 that caught my ear.

1052 artists submitted from all genres.  Originally, I only wanted to review heavy rock stuff, you know, Ripple Music record label kinda stuff, but wouldn't you know it, I simply fell in love with some of the voices, songs, craft and melodies of some very surprising (to me) submissions. I don't really like country, yet a country singer named Maggie Baugh grabbed my ears and refused to let go. I've been bored with too many emo-ish singer songwriters and intended to skip the whole scene, but a 17 year old phenom named Charlie Leavy was way, way too talented to ignore.  Not looking for any indie, folk or alternative yet you'll find amazing songwriters/performers like Van Wild, Flora Cash, and Sirsy on the list.   And despite the fact that ReverbNation ranks submissions by how many fans, facebook/followers they have, etc, I intentionally ignored those rankings and often started at the bottom of the list where heartfelt soul like Rodney Hubbard were just waiting to be found.

In fact, I found so many surprises that I had to petition to increase the acceptance from 25 to 29. Simply couldn't let any of these go.

Its a very mixed, eclectic playlist for all kinds of moods.  In other words, it's what the Ripple Effect is all about.

My apologies to all the others who submitted.  Some of these cuts were brutal for me.  Once I got the list down to about 100 the process trudged to a snail's pace.   I wanted to keep them all, but simply couldn't.

Last week, I published part 1 of this playlist.  Whereas that playlist kinda rocked and kinda grooved, todays is bit more late at night.   A bit of fun and a touch of rock, but mostly we're into the later hours and need a new mood.  So, without further ado, the Ripple Music ReverbNation Playlist Part 2.

Insect Surfers - Bay of Bengal

I'm a big geek, I know that, and I believe in karma and kismet and all that stuff.   Just a couple of months ago, I was browsing through a local record store and stumbled upon a 10" by one of my long-lost favorites from back in my DJ days at KSPC radio in Los Angeles.  The Insect Surfers fused an uber-cool vibe of guitar-mad instrumental surf rock with a punk attitude.   Not like, Agent Orange punk, but still, think the Ventures on speed, The Surfaris with an attitude.  In fact, the Insect Surfers woulda been great on a bill with Agent Orange, and back in the day, they probably were more than once.  I had no idea what had happened to the band since the mid-80's when I left KSPC, so I was pretty thrilled to find their 10".  Imagine my surprise then when the Insect Surfers popped up in my review queue for the ReverbNation playlist.   Of course, I was going to spin them and I was pretty stoked to hear that not too much had changed in the years.  The boys still churn out guitar-addled, melodic, yet muscular instrumental surf rock with an attitude and a vengeance.  So come on in.  The water's fine.

Soldier - Forever

Another blast from the past and another, "oh wow!" moment when I saw the submission.  Those who know me know I'm a huge NWOBHM fan.  Over the years, I've been lucky enough to communicate with some of the bands I worshipped as a high schooler.  But never Soldier.  Now that's all changed when I found Forever in my submission list.  Employing the same beautifully melodic, twin guitar sound that they rocked back in the day, Soldier carry on as if the NWOBHM war never ended.  And that's a good thing.  The NWOBHM was known for it's characteristic guitar riffing, rawness and DIY ethic.  All that's still here.  Soldier have kept the torch lit much the same as contemporaries Praying Mantis and there's a nice similarity in their sound.  Ringing guitars, chugging riffs, throaty vocals and a driving beat.  All of that sums up the best of Soldier and its all here.  Continuing to fight the good fight.

Big Mess - Demons

Another band I was familar with before this promo, Big Mess are a bunch of veteran musicians who like nothing more than to get together and let the music rage.  And that's all evident here, because if there is one thing you can definitely say about this slice of cowpunk is that it's fun.  A killer harmonica wails over the galloping cowpunk beat with lyrics of desert demons and canyons and death and all the other fun stuff we love.   Some serious guitar licks punctuate the cowboy stomp as the band heads out onto the road to nowhere.  A fun place to be.

32headshots - My Life

Coming right on the heels of Big Mess comes the power riffing metal of 32headshots.   Roaring to life with a song about defiance, independence and rebellion.  The riff that steams this beast is about as addictive as they come, chugging along and charging forward with a mean-spirited fury.  Vocals are smooth yet muscular and fit perfectly with the "Fuck off" attitude the band spits into your face.  "Fuck Off" with melody that is, because My Life is infinitely singable, perhaps danceable, and definitely rocking.

AlexisRose Music - Priority Girl

I told you there would be some surprises here.  There were last playlist, and I suspect the inclusion of AlexisRose Music might be the biggest surprise you could ever get from me.  But here's the thing.  I actually got nothing against dance music, got a soft spot for good pop, and love me some soul.  AlexisRose Music brings all that together into one danceable, catchy, candy delictable treat of pop sweetness.  I love the "This is what if feels like" vocal hook and the male "Hey" behind just gives it a boost of power.  I dig the slow sway of the beat; it's fresh, danceable but chill enough to hold space in the after hours after a night of raging.  And AlexisRose has a pop savy voice that I'd love to hear on the airwaves.  This is the kind of dance pop that I wish people like Beyonce and Lady Gaga were putting out there.

Grace Johnson - Light It Up

Ok, since I already have you surprised, let's keep it going.  But more importantly, since I hit you with a little chill beat, let's take that another step and jump into Grace Johnson and her downtempo pop epic, Light It Up.  I dig the coquettish squeal of Grace's voice and the way it lilts over the acoustics and electronic beat.   Her voice reminds me of  Edie Brickell, with an innocent quality draped over a world-weary exasperation.  The music lends mood and tone rather than capture the ear, but it doesn't have to.  It's all about the voice and the downtempo vibe that makes this one work.

Naked Presidents - Taste of Blood

Enough of the chill?   Ready for some rock?  A little garagey punk?   A little power pop muscle?  A little chunk and spittle with a punk heart?   Naked Presidents bring on all that and more with their ballsy riffs and hook-laden grabber.   Like The Thieves, this is the perfect blend of punk and pop and rock and garage.  And attitude and fun. Of course they come from Sweden, home of the Hellacopters and Backyard Babies.  No one does garage punk like those Swedes.   Just like The Vines and the Datsuns had hits with pop/garage punk years back, the Naked Presidents should be next in line to get the kids in the mosh pits and the masses jumping at the festivals.  Good fun.

Urian Sin'X Sin'cere - Love of my Life

When it comes to rap, my all time favorite favorite group is Digable Planets.  Just loved their laid-back blend of jazz, urban cool, beat poetry and rap.  Never got tired of them and was damn pissed when they bowed out after only two albums.  But now I got Urian Sin'X Sin'cere which mine that same underground jazz club vibe of moonshine, clove cigarettes, cool hats, laid back delivery, and beautiful folks.  Intelligent and damn chill, Urian Sin'X Sin'cere uncorked just about the coolest rap I've heard in ages.  A great jazz sample makes it all tick, along with some dynamite female vocal snippets.  Snap your fingers and bob your head to the rebirth of this cool.

Dirk Slow Solution - You Almost Had Me

This may sound strange, but every time I hear this perfect gem of near-bubble gum garage pop from Dirk Slow Solution I think of the Monkees.  In the best sense of the word.  Say what you want, but The Monkees churned out some damn fine 60's bubblegum pop with great harmonies and melodies.  And that's what Dirk Slow Solution churn out here. Powerpop confectionary of sweet harmonies, delicious melodies, and tasty riffs.   Enough testosterone in the vocals and guitars to keep it from ever becoming passe, yet sweet enough that I can see the whole intro sequence for their new (in my mind) television show. Happy and fun even when what their saying isn't necessarily so.  It doesn't matter This is simply perfectly crafted pop rock.

Zombie Garden Club - 1 Step, 2 Steps, 3 Steps Gone

Back to the garage.  Back to the surf.  Wurlitzer fueled surf garage perfection from the strangely named Zombie Garden Club.  Bring on that organ baby.  Hit me with that groovy beat, that swinging chorus.  Slap with that chorus and big wail.  Toss in some fuzzed surf guitar as a spirited solo and I'm in my own little sand dune of garage surf heaven.  Damn, is this song nothing but fun.  Rocking with spirit but not harsh and won't ruin our mood tonight.  Boys, get me this on a 7" vinyl please!  I need it for my garage/surf collection.

Danny Love of Random Test Reggae Band - Jus Love

Lots of reggae was submitted but none hit that authentic, roots vibe of Danny Love.  I can almost here Sly and Robbie laying it down beneath his vocals which are nicely Dennis Brown/Michael Rose in tone and phrasing.  The bass undulates, the highhat ticks, the song grooves and throbs as all the best reggae should.  And the lyrics spout a positive message about rasta, jah and love.  What else could you want?

Rodney Hubbard - Love Desire

Following the smooth groove of Danny Love, Rodney Hubbard is the perfect choice.  With a smooth as silk tenor in the vein of my all time favorite, Bill Withers, Rodney is true old school soul in all the best senses of the word.  A great horn section follows him along as he croons his tale of love and romance.  The vibe is wonderful and chill and groovy, and when the man drops in some guitar it's tasteful and delicate.  This could easily be a lost gem of soul from the 70's but it's not.  It's today and it's fresh and beautiful and damn near perfect.

Conceptualized - Passathetic

I knew I was gonna love this one from the opening tone of guitar and definitely confirmed that when the guitar changes to the quick step along with bass.  This is post-punk in the best sense of The Sound, Blue Nile and Joy Division.  Quirky and angular at times, Conceptualized never lose the path here, keeping it driving straight through the melody and hook of post-punk angst.  I got this sense of just loving a song the first time I heard the moody, evocative tones of The Robbers, and I feel it again here.  Dark and mysterious, throbbing and elevating.  My kinda post punk.

Dr!ve London - Diamond in the Rough

Whew.  It's been quite a day.  Playlist #1 rocked us, while playlist #2 swayed us.  So let's cap off the fun with the perfect night cap.  Actually, I think this charmer from Dr!ve London would be just about the perfect nightcap to any evening.  Sultry and sexy.  Chill and throbbing.   Bring in some smooth as heck vocals, a sung-spoke-rap breakthrough, some soul, some funk and some downbeat.  Mix it all up in a martini glass and kiss me goodnight.  Well, not to sleep.  With a song this sultry, the evening still has lots in store, but you won't be invited.  Lights are out now.  Please, do not disturb.

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