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Tim Chaisson hits The Other Side

Tim Chaisson
Tim Chaisson

Tim Chaisson: The Other Side

He is known as “Canada’s best kept secret” and I think the music lovers of the United States are in for a treat when they get to hear Tim Chaisson’s passionate lyrics and majestic voice. Chaisson, a Canadian musician and talented vocalist releases his debut album The Other Side on February 19th 2013. It’s his first release in the United States.

The gifted young artist provides all of the vocals for his music, writes the lyrics as well as plays the guitar, fiddle, and mandolin. He’s only 26 but has already been playing the Prince Edward Music scene for a dozen years, gaining a slew of notoriety along the way.

Listening to The Other Side, I would compare the music and vocal talent to successful newcomer Ed Sheeran, and the renowned Tracy Chapman. While listening to this intimate album I was reminded of both these musical genius’s. That’s a good start if I may say so myself.

The album offers a wide range of music from vibrant, poppy hits to tender serenades.  “Beat this Heart” is an upbeat and fun start to the album and a guaranteed hit in waiting. It’s my favorite song on the album featuring a catchy groove and  lyrics that are extremely relate-able. The song is a terrific choice to start off the album with the addictive and fresh sound. It features Serena Ryder and superb vocal harmonies. “The Healing” is probably the most raw and acoustic song on the album, just Chaisson and his guitar drive this stripped-down heartfelt song that spotlights the breadth of his vocals and musical talent.

A few other standout tracks on The Other Side are the title track, “Come Clean,” “Bail You Out” and “Blast Your Way Out.” My favorite aspect of “Come Clean” are the lyrics. Everyone can relate to a song such as this and the way he shares the lyrics and delivers his message  is very creative. “The Other Side” is also a good representation of his vocal talent, this time  in a more upbeat, “foot tapping” way; it’s hard not to get into this song.  It is clear why Canadians have embraced him so much and I only expect for music fans in the United States to take on an even greater appreciation for his talent.

I’ve had the pleasure of previewing this album for the past few weeks. It is absolutely brilliant and a wonderfully romantic and beautifully written album. I appreciate an artist who writes and sings all parts of his album and that’s become too rare in this day and age.  I enjoyed this entire album and wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone who wants to sit back and enjoy a relaxing entertaining musical experience.  Pick up the album and give Tim Chaisson a listen.

Rock On!
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Mother Mother: The Sticks Album Review

The Sticks Mother Mother Album Review
The Sticks Mother Mother Album Review

Mother Mother: The Sticks

From the stark opening notes of the ethereal “The Omen,” this album grabs your attention and locks you in for a forty-eight minute journey through genre-defining rock ‘n roll. “Something about the world today makes a boy feel a bit insane, From daffodils to acid rain to Antichrist on a tidal wave… With a couple of sticks and a couple of stones, I’ll dig a pit and lay my bones.” Dark, cheerful, skeptical, and sometimes fun, it’s a roller coaster, and a great ride. Truthfully, not much more you can ask for in a rock album.

Truth be told, I’m quickly becoming an avid Mother Mother fan. The band. fronted by brother/sister combo, Ryan and Molly Guldemond, offers a refreshing and creative approach to rock music. It’s edgy, passionate rock, and oh so welcome in today’s increasingly stale cookie cutter environment.  Their sound is unique and totally their own, but if pressed for a comparison, I’d offer Cage The Elephant merged with Grouplove.  And, that’s damn good company.

Their 2011 offering, Eureka was one of RARA’s Farm’s Top 10 albums of the year, a year where he had Cage The Elephant and Grouplove at the top of the list (see the Best of 2011 here).

On The Sticks, we see the quintet out of Vancouver, B.C. continue to evolve.  The album is generally contemplative about the “God awful shitty feeling of dread in my heart” feeling that permeates our world today. The magic to those lyrics is the juxtaposition of Ryan’s saccharine sweet vocals  delivering the depressingly dramatic lines.  The lyrics throughout the album are priceless, and the music pure cutting-edge mastery.  It’s a trait of the album; a rare combination of stellar music and fantastic lyrics throughout, a true aural masterpiece.

The fourteen tracks on the album weave together masterfully. The Sticks is an album, not a collection of loosely associated tracks.  The songs were written on the road over a fairly brief period of time and mesh together expertly.  Many of the offerings feature nicely layered boy/girl vocals, with Ryan taking the male leads while Molly and keyboardist Jasmine Parkin trade-off the female leads.

“Let’s Fall In Love,” the first single off of the album is an absolute addiction. The song is driven by Jeremy Page’s bass and Ali Siadat’ drumming, and also features a great guitar riff from Ryan Guldemond. The music is damn near perfect, and the vocals even better.  Ryan’s vocals stand out and offer a truly fresh feel.  His guitar work is also excellent throughout the album, and I’d recommend taking a spin through the tracks just focusing on the guitar work – again, creative, original stuff that just works fantastically.

The album weaves nicely between poppy, melancholy and aggressive rocking cuts, as illustrated in the excellent run of songs beginning with “Infinitesimal,” “Happy” and “Bit By Bit.”  It’s a small slice indicative of the breadth and depth of this diverse album destined to be one of those rare offerings that defines a year.

I’ll leave you with a few lyrics from my favorite track on the album, the provocative, energetic “Bit By Bit.” “I’m getting on a mountain, away from the people on the ground and Some cop sticking up my wagon. Chop chop we gonna build a cabin, up top on a pretty little mountain, Fuck off all you people on the ground, ya!” Just make sure you grab a copy of the year’s first can’t miss album to keep you good company during your journey through the sticks…

(Check out the album below, and buy it now on iTunes – trust us on this one)

Rock On!

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What We Could Be – Solid Rock from The Amends


The Amends – What We Could Be Album Review

The Amends
The Amends

The second full-length release from this talented band out of the Denver/Boulder area delivers big.  It’s a strong album offering a nice meshing of modern Indie Rock with a tasteful mixture of 70’s classic rock.  These guys pull it off nicely in a diverse offering with a little bit of everything. If they weren’t already on your new music radar, they damn well should be. The Amends unabashedly claim they “just want to be your 11th Favorite Band.” With this release, they just might be on track.

The quartet first caught my attention a few years ago with the addictive “Dance” off of their eponymous debut album.  In What We Could Be, we see the band offering similar songs, as well as displaying a more robust sound. At times, I found myself thinking of 60’s Souk, classic 70’s British Rock, 80’s Southern Rock and 80’s Alt-Rock – a bit schizophrenic for sure, but it works.

This is not subtle dinner music, but rather hard driving rock best served over cranking headphones or blasting speakers. It’s true guitar rock with every song offering up a different twist on the band’s powerful creative guitar playing.

I found that the best tracks had a more modern Indie rock feel to them. “A Certain Speed” is a rollicking ride powered by hard driving drums and energetic guitars that evokes memories of The Black Keys.  It’s a blast to listen to and a great driving song. The introspective “More To Give” was my favorite track.  It’s guided by a sweet piano hook and tender vocals from Drew Weikart.  The song is a potential hit with great hopeful lyrics guaranteed to hook you in.

“Second Take” is a soulful rocker with gritty vocals.  It’s one of many songs with superb guitar and nice solos.  On this one, the guitars ebb and flow nicely before screaming home with a breakneck closing.  Tyler Taylor and Weikart are masterful on this one, and throughout the entire album. “Make It So,” is cool garage stomp where a stand out bass line dominates the song coupled nicely with interesting and addictive lyrics.

“It’d Be Nice” offers a nice Southern rock vibe with a killer groove and excellent vocals. This one reminds me of another strong 2013 offering, The Delta Saints’ Death Letter Jubilee. It also conjures up memories of old school Doors and Aerosmith. Another catchy offering is “Dreamer,” a show case for Weikart and an excellent song with a smooth summertime vibe and a fun surf rock feel to it.

The album offers a few slower songs and a couple of jams and they work with mixed results. The best of the slower songs is the tender “When She’s Gone,” a piano driven ballad with nice harmonies.  “Desperate Times” is another choice offering that has a swanky  slowed down beat and addictive vocals. It’s one of those tunes that seems likely not to be a smash hit on the radio, but one that will become a timeless classic for fans of the band.

There are a few uninspiring songs on the album, but the great majority are strong offerings well worth a listen.  Check out the album below and remember to crank it to 11, I think you’ll like what you hear. You can pick it up on the band’s official site for a ridiculously cheap $5.00!

Mike G 


Twistification Album Review – The Last Royals Are Back


The Last Royals – Twistification  9 out of 10

For those familiar with this talented NYC Indie-Rock duo, it has been a long wait for this album to be released. (Check out our interview with front man Eric James from late 2010 where he discussed the forthcoming release.)

After my first few listens of Twistification, it seems well worth the wait.  Eric James and Mason Ingram have been working on this release for almost two years, following up the success of their self-titled debut EP and its cornerstone offering, the catchy hit “Crystal Vases.” The new album builds on the previous success and is a fantastic way to start off the 2013 rock music year.

On Twistification, we get another glimpse of the band’s original hit, as well as a few re-imagined versions of songs off of the debut EP.  We also get eight new tracks just screaming for airplay.  James and Ingram simply just churn out fun, catchy rock tunes, and there have to be at least a half-dozen potential hits on the album.  It’s an absolute blast to listen to, and one that will be an early favorite for Alt-Rock fans everywhere. It’s not all rollicking upbeat rock nuggets; as the band also shows the depth and breadth of their abilities with a few deeper, slower tracks. The Ooh La La Records release also features some interesting production effects, which generally work well to weave the album together.

The album kicks off and closes with complementary songs, “Winter Waltz” and “Barefoot Winter Waltz,” a pair of tender, sensitive, introspective tracks that expertly ebb and flow as the protagonist wrestles with the complexities of a broken relationship. It’s a great way to bracket the album and pull everything together. James vocals are absolutely fantastic on the latter.

James has a distinctive voice and a clear talent for lyric writing.  On Twistification, he takes his unique peeks at life in the big city and shares the experiences in a way that is relate-able and memorable.  The songs between the “waltzes” are generally hard-driving rollicking fun rock ‘n roll.  Many of the tunes have a cool summertime, cruising vibe to them.  “Only the Brave” was the first single released and it’s a great representation of what we’ll find throughout the album.  It’s a roaring anthem that will resonate with fans of all ages.

On “Friday Night” we get a great glimpse of James’ penchant for featuring old 80’s era analog keyboards.  It’s a cool touch that gives the songs an old school feel while at the same time driving through new boundaries.  It’s another track that’s impossible not to enjoy.  “Good Day Radio” is cut from the same cloth, just a bit more over the top.  I find myself feeling guilty about enjoying it so much, but, like the rest of the album, it’s just addictive enjoyable music.

My two favorite songs cover two ends of the spectrum.  “All Over Again,” is a poignant love song and an absolute sure fire hit for the band.  It’s got a fantastic hook, “Let’s fall in love all over again; If it’s love that you want just tell me the where and the when.” It’s beautiful, memorable, and incredibly likeable. The other personal favorite is the dark melancholy “I Hate California;” a stark stripped down ode to an unhappy place that many listeners will be able to relate to. Both of them have the makings of classics we’ll be hearing on soundtracks for years to come.

“Crystal Vases” was the 2010 surprise hit on Sirius XM’s Alt-Nation and sounds much the same on this release.  “Come Take My Hand” from the EP receives a makeover and has a richer sound with more tender vocals that work great.  “Always To Belong” is the other track carried forth from the EP.  Although it is creatively re-imaged, I enjoyed the original more.  But, despite my preference for the original, I’m impressed by the band’s continuous attempts to push their own boundaries and break new creative ground.

It’s still incredibly early in the year, but this dynamic masterpiece is destined to be one of the releases that becomes the soundtrack for the year.  It’s hip, cool, addictive rock that you’ll find impossible to put down. Grab your copy now at this link: Twistification – The Last Royals

Rock On!

Delta Saints Death Letter Jubilee Album Review

From the opening notes of the searing rocker “Liar,” you’ll be captivated by this bluesy rock quintet out of Nashville.  They call themselves The Delta Saints – the “Delta” component is apparent throughout the album, but listening to the lyrics you’ll quickly realize they’re not quite “Saints.”  They refer to their fans as Sinners and Saints; that definitely seems more appropriate.

These guys offer up a unique blend best described as Southern Rock on this, their debut full-length offering.  It’s a diverse album, parts Bayou Blues, Chicago Soul and New Orleans Funk. It’s a nice mix and well worth a listen.  The band has captured the essence of Mississippi roots rock in its many different forms throughout the thirteen tracks of Death Letter Jubilee. It’s a creative, fresh rock album that just oozes cool rock swagger.

The talented group evokes memories of numerous Southern Rockers, but the comparison I am drawn the most to is a more modern Little Feat.  If you were a fan of Jeff Beck’s 80’s super-group Box of Frogs, and their distinctive guitar work, you’ll definitely enjoy these guys, too.

Songs like “Sing To Me,” and “Death Letter Jubilee” are swampy rockers that would feel just perfect listening to them while kicking back on the porch of a bayou shack sipping your favorite beverage from a mason jar. Ben Ringel’s vocals are gritty and passionate and the band offers plenty of dobro and harmonica giving them a unique down home feel. “Devil’s Creek” is of the same vein and is a rocking Cajun jam.

My favorite track is the slinky “From the Dirt” which is just a cool groove, and also features dynamic vocals. The aforementioned “Liar” which kicks off the album is driven by a fantastic bass line and is another very strong offering.

It’s a diverse album, but it’s all good old fashioned rock.  You’ll get the soulful feel of “Chicago” and then travel South to New Orleans for “Nola” and the easy New Orleans swagger of “Boogie.”

It’s a good album and a nice way to start the year for rock music fans.

The album goes on sale today, Tuesday, January 15th. Check it out below on iTunes.

Rock On!

Blaine the Mono on the Tracks towards success

Central Florida rockers Blaine The Mono have just released their first full-length album Vices in Verses.  It’s not just an incredibly catchy title, but also an album worth listening to.  The local quartet offers a nice blend of Alternative, Grunge and Metal that provides a nice glimpse of their potential on a well crafted album.

(You can click on the title of each selection to sample it on iTunes)

Fronted by dynamic female vocalist Randi Stickles, this foursome immediately grabs your attention from the first note of her stark evocative vocals kicking off the album’s first track “Missing.”   It’s one of the best tracks on the diverse seven song debut.  Eric Joseph’s guitar is the perfect accompaniment on the  opening cut, where we get to sample Stickles’ broad range throughout the song, including our first peak at her dramatic  screamed lyrics, which work perfectly, reminiscent of some of Hole’s better offerings.

Blaine the Mono Band
Blaine the Mono Band

“Raise the Glass” is a potential hit where Stickles voice is nicely highlighted, but her showcase song is “Circles,” where her voice still retains its razor-edged toughness, but also offers up a refreshing peek at her tender side.  Clinton Garner’s drums in this one are fantastic, as well.  My favorite track is “Svine Munich,” which features some innovative guitar from Joseph and is carried by his guitar and Chris Culverwell’s bass.  It’s a catchy song with an excellent groove, where the band’s musical talent comes to the forefront.

It’s not a perfect album, but Vices in Verses is a nice debut from a group that’s only been together for a year. There are a few over-the-top moments, where the screamed vocals seem a bit forced and unnecessary.  But, I expect that as they mature as a band, we’ll see that mix improved, and I’m looking forward to witnessing that progression.

You can check out the album on iTunes via the link below.

Mike G.

Luther Let’s Get You Somewhere Else

Recalling comfortable images of Sum 41 and Jimmy Eat World, this talented young quartet out of Philly is on the fast track to rock success.  Their debut album, Let’s Get You Somewhere Else , is jammed with aggressive, bouncy rock that proves hard to put down.  They’ve been together a scant two years, but have already developed a nice reputation in their local rock scene and a growing ardent following.


From the opening notes of the hard-charging “The Concrete Sound,” these guys  grab your attention.  The guitar riffs are hypnotic, Phil Warner’s vocals captivating and the tune fresh, yet also absolutely comfortable.  Yeah, I know comfortable might not feel right for a band with a hard rocking punkish vibe, but that’s what I got.  They’re like an old friend back on the scene with a kick ass new album.

“Heavy Money” is a an absolute blast to listen to and one of the first cuts to firmly lodge in my memory.  It, and songs like “A Quiet Stretch of Weather” remind a bit of a faster-paced Gaslight Anthem. They’re catchy rock tunes through and through that drive uncontrollable foot stomping, head nodding, bouncing and spinning.

My favorite track is the guitar driven “Sunset, Sugar.” The lyrics are interesting and worth a listen and the perfect accompaniment to another addictive track.

The album really never lets down, It’s thirty-plus minutes of straight-forward rock and roll with a bit of a punk edge. It’s both raw and polished at the same time, and truly, it’s just pretty damn hard not to like.

Let’s Get You Somewhere Else is an excellent refreshing offering at a time where we could all use it.  The music is pure rock. It’s consistent, fast-paced power rock; good stuff and something that any fan of fast-paced rock will appreciate.

Check out their album below on iTunes, guaranteed that you’ll find ten or eleven cuts that you really like.

Unfortunately, I picked up this album too late to realize they were just cruising through Florida, but rest assured, we won’t be missing these guys next time through, although it may be in a larger venue.

Rock On!


Hunter Valentine Album Review

Riding a surge of momentum fresh off of their recent appearances on the Showtime TV series, The Real L Word, Hunter Valentine has exploded onto the rock scene with their latest power-packed release Collide and Conquer. These three Canadian women continue to grow musically on this, their third release.

Make no mistake, this is not your typical chick rock. The threesome tears through eleven cuts that grab you by the ears and force you to take notice.  It’s good, tough rock that demands airplay. Hunter Valentine has a unique sound that sometimes reminds of a more muscular No Doubt and occasionally conjures up comparisons to Nancy Wilson and Courtney Love, but these women and their talented singer Kiyomi McCloskey truly have their own sound.

From the opening notes of the power rocker “Liar Liar” we’re captured by creative guitar, hard driving drums and aggressive bass.  It’s a tried and true recipe for power rock music success and a bit refreshing in today’s synth-dominated landscape. It’s even more refreshing to have this sound paired with an intriguing female threesome. “Liar Liar,” the first song is a gritty rock track with addictive guitar riffs and edgy vocals.  Good stuff and a great way to kick off the album.

Talented Canadian producer  Greig Nori, of Iggy Pop and  Sum 41 fame, does a superb job weaving between McCloskey’s hard-edged vocals and the band’s layered melodies, all interspersed with a gritty musical backdrop.  It’s a diverse mix that for the most part works extremely well. There are a few tracks that are uninspiring, but they are far outweighed by creative, hard-driving rockers.

I enjoyed the edgier tracks, but suspect the majority of listeners will gravitate to the more mainstream tracks, such as the hit-waiting-to-happen “The Bull Rides Tonight.” It’s reminiscent of so many great arena rockers from the late eighties, and could be a hit in any generation, including today. “Nowhere to Run” is another cut along the same vein, a little too saccharine for my liking, but a cut that will probably appeal to the masses.

“Little Curse (Shit Happens)” is an excellent tune.  It has a great power rock sound, fantastic drums from Laura Petracca and some of McCloskey edgiest vocals.  I also found myself drawn to the upbeat bouncy sounds of “Priscilla,” a fun listen and a bit different from anything else on the album.

All told, Collide and Conquer is a refreshing, gritty release certainly worthy of a listen. Check it out below, and grab a copy on iTunes.

Rock On!