Tag Archives: Sheppard

Bombs Away – Sheppard Takes On America


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Sheppard – Bombs Away Album Review

While this talented Australian sextet managed to break through the American music scene with their energetic hit “Geronimo,” they were making a smashing impact on the music scene back home in Australia with the album that just hit the streets on our shores.

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When I reviewed their EP last year, I closed with “Bombs away,” a nod to their fantastic hit “Geronimo;” apparently, the six talented musicians in Sheppard were thinking similarly. The new album, titled Bombs Away, features the aforementioned hit, as well as a diverse selection of tracks that lean a bit more to pop than they do to rock. In either case, it’s good stuff, and is destined to become a summer staple here in the States.

The album closes with “Flying Away,” another track also included on the EP. It’s a well-produced journey that’s an absolute blast to listen to. Boy/Girl vocals, pristine harmonies and a plethora of masterfully interspersed musical parts – it’s good stuff, and a nice glimpse into the music that fills the remainder of the album bookended by these two hits.

Throughout the twelve offerings, we hear pop-infused indie rock that’s absolutely pleasing to the ears. “Let Me Down Easy” and Something Missing” are foot-tapping ditties laced with masterful harmonies and “A Grade Playa” is an interesting mix of distortion and tropical beats, while on the other end of the spectrum there’s “Halfway To Hell.” It’s unlike anything else on the album, but captivating and entertaining in it’s own, gritty, Cajun Rock way.

In general, I find the songs on the album that feature male vocals a bit more to my rock-oriented liking, but assume the female vocals on about half the tracks will appeal to folks more predisposed for pop. In any event, there are plenty of offerings for any fans of pop rock.

Check it out on iTunes above, and let me know your thoughts. This one will be filling the US airwaves this summer, just as did Down Under last summer.

Rock On!
Cretin

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Top Rock Songs of 2014


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2014’s Best Rock Songs

It was one of those years where I found an increasing number of pop songs that truly appealed to me.  You’ll still find a few harder tracks in here, but to me, the best songs from 2014, were often the ones that found their way onto radio.

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Maybe, I’m getting a little softer in my old age, or perhaps my kids are broadening my horizon a bit, but in any event, these are 25 excellent rock songs, all clearly deserving of the accolades I am about to bestow 🙂

Feel free to check out our Top Rock songs from our prior year-end reviews, too:
2013 Top Rock Songs  |  2012 Top Rock Songs  |  2011 Top Rock Songs

(You can click on the song title to snag the song on iTunes)

25. Dangerous (feat. Joywave) – Big Data – Typically I don’t love electro/ drum machine tracks, but I love, love, love the bass in this song. It’s a space age alt-rocker that also boasts nice vocals, sweet harmonies and some cool sound effects.

24. I Bet My Life – Imagine Dragons – The first post-NightVisions single and a chance for us to see these talented Las Vegas rockers continue to evolve their sound. It’s a well-produced track with a big sound, and another song with great harmonies.

23. Centuries – Fall Out Boy – Pop-rock that sounds great loud, featuring typically excellent vocal prowess from Patrick Stump. The song has catchy hooks and predictably (and deservedly) has already become a staple on sports broadcasts and games everywhere.

22. Parachute – James Durbin – The American Idol star returned to the scene with his first album of self-penned songs.  This track still features his fantastic voice, catchy guitar riffs, and if anything, more of a pop rock feel than we had heard previously.

21. Fever – The Black Keys – This song is just catchy as hell as we hear The Black Keys throw in an extra serving of keyboards to this previous uber-successful recipe. Do you think Alt-Rock radio played this one enough in 2014? Still, a song worthy of another listen or twelve.

20. Got to My Head – Waters – Addictive gang vocals, and dreamy hooks, this is what Grouplove should still sound like. Fortunately, Waters worked with Ryan Rabin to deliver one of the years catchiest, foot-tapping rockers.

19. This Is the Time (Ballast) – Nothing More – Great, hard rocker with a fresh sound from one of this year’s breakout metal acts. As much as I like this song, it doesn’t do justice to their fantastic live performances.

18. Black River – Wolf Gang – This release was a long-time coming, but worth the wait. As always, Max McElligott’s vocals are compelling, but on this track, we really hear the full five-piece band shine. A sweeping, vibrant rocker.

17. Freak Machine – Fit for Rivals – Our first of two “freak” songs. this is a local band destined for big things. Renee Phoenix’s vocals are gritty and urgent, and the song is a hard-driving introspective blast.

16. Freaks – The Hawk InParis – I just love this cool, slinky, Twin Peaks-esque rocker and its hip vibe. Dan Haseltine’s (Jars Of Clay) vocals and lyrics are compelling but the unique, diverse music is just oh so cool.

15. Everywhere I Go (Kings and Queens) – New Politics – Another band that’s even better live, but this Danish trio has mastered the upbeat, aggressive Alt-Rock niche. It’s raucous surf/hip-hop/dance/hard rock, and just a damn good party to listen to.

14. I Am Machine – Three Days Grace – When Adam Gontier split after 20 years, the future looked shaky for these Canadian vets, but Matt Walst has stepped in nicely, and his vocals dominate this hard-driving track, which shows a rejuvenated band moving forward with powerful rock.

13. My Sweet Summer – Dirty Heads – This Huntington Beach group evolves constantly, and every incarnation sounds just a bit better than the last. This one is probably their most mainstream offering, but they still retain their cool indie California ska vibe.

12. Cecilia and the Satellite – Andrew McMahon In the Wilderness – Mcmahon is a creative guy, and this wonderfully produced track shows how far his career has progressed. It’s a fantastic ode to his newborn daughter, in a song punctuated by great piano and beautiful vocals.

11. Beware the Dog – The Griswolds – Pure addiction, featuring tribal beats and cool guitar riffs, this debut from these high energy Aussie’s is an absolute blast to listen to. It’s a fun rocker that is guaranteed to get you moving, and just the tip of the iceberg from their Be Impressive album.

10. Deadbolt – Skaters – A talented NYC-based trio who remind me of the best parts of the eighties: The Clash, Jesus Mary Chain, etc…, but with a sound all of their own. This fast-paced rocker features clever guitar riffs, freight train drums and great vocals.

9. Cut To the Chase – Fort Lean – Chances are you haven’t heard this one yet. Do it soon, you’ll be glad you did. It’s more mellow than the typical Cretin favorite, but it’s a tremendously well-arranged song. Keyboard driven, but plenty of slinky guitar, and fantastic vocals, and a chorus that is catchy as hell.

8. High – Young Rising Sons – OK, this one is a bit of a guilty pleasure. A foot tapping, head nodding with wonderful vocals. It’s an optimistic rocker that is guaranteed to bounce around your brain for hours.

7. I Don’t Want To Be Here Anymore – Rise Against – I actually heard one of my peers call this the band’s worst song ever. That’s asinine. The socially conscious punk rockers are growing, and this is a perfect example. Still a hearty dose of angry punk, combined with soaring guitar rock, and it works damn well.

6. Gotta Get Away – The Black Keys – If nothing else, this finally gave Alt-Rock radio a chance to take “Fever” out of their uber-tight rotation. But the song is special for so many other reasons, and they become abundantly clear within 15 seconds, a great guitar hook, clever keyboards from Danger Mouse, topped with the drums and vocals that make Auerbach and Kearney so special. This one is a breakneck rocker that’s a blast to listen to.

5. I Wanna Get Better – Bleachers – Jack Antonoff is an ingenious music talent and proves in this song that Fun. was a lot more than a Nate Reuss project. This one is an optimistic declaration from an introspective guy, wrapped in a delicious, lush keyboard-driven rocker that will bring back pleasant big-eighties memories.

4. Same Damn Life – Seether – It’s a more melodic Seether, and that’s just fine with me. Shaun Morgan’s lyrics are deeply personal, and his vocals better than ever. Their guitars are more clean than previous efforts, but it works wonderfully. I think it’s the band’s best track ever, and that’s saying quite a lot.

3. Geronimo – Sheppard – My favorite new artist of 2014, and this track epitomizes why. Excellent boy/girl vocals and elegant harmonies, perched atop a diverse creative musical backdrop. Listen to this one on headphones, and it gets better with every listen. The music is flawless and absolutely addictive.

2. Noises – Mike Mains & The Branches – My favorite punk rock track of the year, and it’s from a band that is clearly not punk rock. Mains and his crew are fantastically talented, and boast a diverse sampling of music on their excellent Calm Down Everything Is Fine release. This one finds the band pushing their limits and it’s a lightning-paced rocker that’s a fitting showcase for Mains’ vocal prowess. If this stuff is the future of rock ‘n roll, everything is fine.

1. Figure It Out – Royal Blood – Two guys! Drums and a bass – that’s it, and the song delivers an amazingly complete and powerful musical experience. These guys have been together exactly one year, and they’ve provided a much needed jolt of optimism to rock fans worldwide. This track features two musicians already considered near the top of their craft. Drummer Ben Thatcher, is technically polished, adeptly switching from freight train drums to more tender interludes, and the things that Mike Kerr does with his bass are impossible. Oh, and the vocals, they don’t suck either. It’s just a great song, and a perfect choice for song of the year.

Thanks for checking out the list, and if you have a few extra minutes take a quick peek at our Top 25 Rock albums of the year – you’ll see a lot of familiar artists over there, too.

Rock On!
Cretin

Okay, well if you made it this far in the article, you are obviously a rock music fanatic like the Rock And Roll Animals at RARAsFarm. Do us a big favor and like our Facebook page (upper left) for future updates, rock news and photos. Thanks and please spread the word to other intelligent, creative, beautiful music fans like you 🙂

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Sheppard EP Review

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Sheppard – Geronimo EP Review

Riding a huge wave of success fresh on the heels of their smashing breakthrough hit single, “Geronimo” I was intrigued by this fresh six-piece Brisbane, Australia band.

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As the catchy lyrics bounced around in my head, I had an instant thirst to hear more. Were they a one-hit wonder, or rather an artist that truly deserved a spot on our new music radar?

It didn’t take long to get my answer. This band has “it” and we are going to be listening as their sumptuous pop rock dominates the alternative rock airwaves for years to come. If you’re not nodding your head, tapping your feet and smiling incessantly when listening to this band, you just don’t have a pulse, because the Geronimo EP is absolutely filled with poppy, cheerful indie-pop rock that’s a blast to listen to.  And, let me be clear, this is not toss-away bubble-gum rock, this band has plenty of artistic talent.

In Australia, they are dominating the charts, but in the US, most of us have only heard “Geronimo,” the title track from this EP. It’s an addictive rocker that is all over the radio. Tribal beats, soaring synths, clever guitar riffs, powerful vocals and dreamy boy/girl harmonies. It’s probably the best effort on the EP, but all of the other tracks are compelling in their own way, as well.

“Flying Away” is a fun rocker, with the best vocals on the EP. Powered by great keys and hard-driving drums, it’s got a bit of a harder edge at times, but at its essence is another catchy pop rock hit-in-the-waiting. Next, we hear a more tender offering, “Smile,” a bouncy pop tune with purely Australian female vocals. I absolutely guarantee that this intoxicating tune finds it’s way onto American commercials in short time.

The EP closes with a more diverse offering. “Something Missing” is performed at a lower key, but is just as captivating. Acoustic guitars dominate, and the song features a slick surf guitar feel. It brought back pleasant memories of RARA’s Farm favorite’s The Mowgli’s and Cayucas. Good, good stuff!

It’s excellent pop-rock, if you’re one of our fans more into heavy rock, you probably won’t love the EP, but fans of Indie rock and Alt rock need to get Sheppard on their radar. After sampling the music, I’m anxiously awaiting a full-length from this band, and am quite curious to see how this fun invigorating music translates live on stage. In the meantime, I’ll be wearing these four tracks out, and suggest you grab them below, and do the same.

Bombs away…

Rock On!
Cretin

Okay, well if you made it this far in the article, you are obviously a rock music fanatic like the Rock And Roll Animals at RARAsFarm. Do us a big favor and like our Facebook page for future updates, rock news and photos. Thanks and please spread the word to other intelligent, creative, beautiful music fans like you 🙂