Showing posts with label MuzikMan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label MuzikMan. Show all posts


Indie Rock Review: Muzz - Muzz

Release Date: June 5, 2020
Label: Matador Records

Newly-formed Indie-Rock supergroup, Muzz swings a velvet hammer on their self-titled debut album. Interpol frontman Paul Banks is joined by old friends Matt Barrick (The Walkmen) on drums and Josh Kaufman (Bonny Light Horsemen) on everything else.

There is a familiar soft acoustic 70's classic rock vibe that feels like a synthesis of Mike Nesmith, America, The Allman Brothers, and Marshall Crenshaw. Yet with all these strains crying out for recognition, the end result is inspiring and unique.

"Bad Feeling" sets the tone, fuzing in a subtle lo-fi hum, like crickets on a summer night. The lyrics are deep and profound and the meaning isn't often clear upon the first listen. "We're pretty ancient, that's what all the silence means. Speed runs the whole generation, the torment of ease." The velvet hammer hits hard on the infectious gem "Evergreen" which speaks of love, addiction, and dependency, "One medication, one thing to bring you over. ... Don't ever really need it, somehow it's taking over."

The single, "Red Western Sky" is a hauntingly perilous expression of low self-worth which feels a lot The National's dramatic hurtling. "Everything Like it Used to Be" is Byrd's-sounding track with layered rhythms and harmonies and one of the stronger cuts on the album. It's not all mellow gold, however. "Knuckleduster," and "How Many Days," pack a punch and Josh Kaufman's skilled guitar work comes front and center.

All in all, Muzz has dropped a promising debut from three friends whose talents blend well. Paul Bank's seductive and polished vocals ride nicely over Barrick and Kaufman's smart sonic textures. It's a laid-back summer sound which will go down nicely by the pool, along the beach or on the open road with the windows rolled down.

- Tom Endyke | Guitar & Pen


Post-Punk Album Review: Wire - Mind Hive

Release Date: January 24, 2020
Label: Pink Flag
Label Wire, Negate Wire. Since their groundbreaking 1977 punk release, Pink Flag, this has been the band’s core belief. Like a handful of sand transforming into liquid and escaping your grasp, once you have a grip on them, they morph into something else. Cited by bands like U2, The Cure, R.E.M., Minor Threat, and Black Flag as heavy influences, Wire supercharged the entire scene, expanding the boundaries of punk creating sub and spinoff genres of art-punk, post-punk, and apocalyptic-punk.

In their latest offering, Wire harnesses a hive of minds. The sound of cerebella pulsates synaptically over wavy synths. At the same time, alien outcries warn of souls being crushed by machines, and the surrendering of one’s will equates unequivocally to the surrendering of one’s life. Yes, Mind Hive takes you there.

Music, on its own, is a form of escapism, but adding aliens or robots to the mix only intensifies the experience and takes one entirely out of reality. This otherworldliness is eminent on Mind Hive, which brings forth strains of “Q: Are we not men? A: We are Devo” and brings to mind David Bowie’s lyrical mastery on the topic. Add in the nervy horror of Joy Division’s “She’s Lost Control,” and the result is a distinctive if not foreboding sonic experience. 

Let’s get real, if aliens are to take over our planet, they won’t do so by sudden invasion. It will be a slow infiltration and infestation. Upon closer inspection of the lady in front of you at the grocery line checkout, you’ll see that the wig she is wearing is not covering a bald spot, but a grouping of pulsating nodules recording the world around her and reporting back to the mothership. What if one of these aliens defected and took it upon itself to warn earthlings of what might cause their ultimate undoing? This is the vibe Mind Hive brings forth.   

The album begins with the rogue alien’s warning, “Be Like Them.” Doing so will surely crush your soul and contribute to the spread of authoritarianism and the downfall of humanity. “It’s history, rabid dogs. Tearing skeletons into piles of bones.” Then comes acceptance. “Nothing new about that...”. The song buzzes forth, taking hold of your spine, gripping it in reverberation for three minutes and fifty-two seconds. “Cactus” bursts forth with flashes from the late ‘70s and ‘80s. A rhythmic dirge with hooks, it sticks to you and stays with you.  

The essential track hits us three songs in with “Primed and Ready,” where stomping rhythm lifts fuzzy power chords to new heights while “Off The Beach” sees the beach boardwalk through a pop lens smudged with hopelessness. “Unrepentant” and “Shadows” are slower moody tracks giving voice to the aforementioned rogue alien. “Whistle dark because you can. Not to be an also-ran”, and “The men are lined up. Then shot into graves. The children are murdered. The women enslaved. Shadow of the future. Shadow of the past”. The eight-minute long “Hung” sounds like a funeral march.  It evokes the death of the future in harmony with the death of the past. Mind Hive closes cinematically with “Humming,” a lamentation of the past and how we ended up where we are. “I can’t quite remember when it went wrong. Someone was humming a popular song.”

All in all, Wire’s Mind Hive is an accomplishment, poetic lyrics for our time and the underlying mood to match. As a band, Wire continues to embody the punk spirit by playing and saying whatever the fuck they want. Riding the critical success of 2017’s Silver/Lead, Colin Newman (vocals and guitar), Graham Lewis (bass and vocals), Bruce Gilbert (guitar), and Robert Gotobed (drums) remind you to heed the warning of the rogue alien or suffer the consequences. Wire have genuinely outdone themselves on Mind Hive, easily my favorite record of 2020 (so far).

Tom Endyke | Guitar & Pen | Staff

February 6, 2020

Alt-Country Rock Review: Drive-By Truckers - The Unraveling

Release Date: January 31, 2020
Label:  ATO Records
It's been said that giving a voice to your sorrows and fears helps to make them go away. Drive-By Truckers 12th studio release, The Unraveling is a confession and a testimony, a somber cry in the night, a prayer for the dawn to set the course for a brighter day.  

If you are turning to Drive-by Truckers to escape the harsh realities of the current political climate, turn elsewhere.  The Unraveling tackles gun violence, immigration, white nationalism, equal pay, and Armageddon with a velvet hammer.

The music is a blend of slow-churning alt-county grooves with cry-in-the-night guitar wailing riding on the heavy rails of melancholy keyboard dirges. The slow builds on songs such as "Grievance Merchants" erupt into fury at the end. Like a conversation that turns to confrontation, Drive-By Truckers add an underlying drama to these songs, intensifying the listening experience. "Awaiting Resurrection" puts one in the mind of Neil Young's On the Beach period.

Make no mistake, The Unraveling is a dark and heavy offering. If you're not in that mindset already, these songs will put you there. There are a few rockers such as "Armageddon's Back in Town" and "Slow Ride Argument," which provide the necessary anger for the lyrics. When the tempo slows, and brooding air fills the space between the notes, the anger turns to anguish.

Skillfully crafted lyrics and arrangements move songs like "21st Century USA" and "Thoughts and Prayers," one a step away from cliche. The latter, along with "Awaiting Resurrection," make up the strongest songs on the album. 

In essence, The Unraveling has the vibe of hanging out with a friend in a bar. Each song is a topic of conversation about the state of the community, country, and planet. Not all conversation is comfortable, but that's the way things go after a few beers. In the end, you'll have caught up, commiserated, gained some perspective, and grown closer to your fellow man.

Tom Endyke | Guitar & Pen | Staff

February 2, 2020

1. Rosemary with a Bible and a Gun
2. Armageddon's Back in Town
3. Slow Ride Argument
4. Thoughts and Prayers
5. 21st Century USA
6. Heroin Again
7. Babies in Cages
8. Grievance Merchants
9. Awaiting Resurrection


Blues/Soul Review: Billy Price-Dog Eat Dog

Release Date: August 2, 2019

Label:  Gulf Coast Records

Living Soul Blues legend, Billy Price and the Billy Price Band are back with their second album in as many years. Put Billy Price on your list of seasoned musicians who save their best work for last and refuse to go gentle into that good night. After looking at the album cover featuring Mr. Price strutting down the street with a lean, mean Doberman on a leash and a first listen to these twelve tracks, you’ll realize this man has found artistic liberty born from nothing left to prove and nothing left to lose. 

Collaborating with producer Kid Andersen and longtime guitarist Mike Zito, Billy Price’s Dog Eat Dog is destined to follow the path of 2018’s Reckoning and end up on many yearly “best-of” lists. 

With Anderson’s signature sharp and choppy blues guitar licks, The Billy Price Band has the blues covered. Add a blend of measured horns and a deep bass groove to the mix, and the vibe takes a turn to jazz and funk. Price’s soulful voice guides the listener to another place altogether. The end result is a sound that will feel familiar, yet not derived, well-crafted, and comfortable, yet not cliché’. 

In several of the finer moments on Dog Eat Dog, the guitar pierces a note which fills the air like a car slamming on its brakes. Then, he allows the listener to catch their breath, before pulling forward with a soulful riff and slow-riding through the city streets.   

On songs such as “Lose My Number” and “My Love Will Never Die,” Billy Price resists the urge to step in front of the groove. Instead, he knows he’s in the thick of it and rides it to its natural conclusion. “Same Old Heartaches” combines the soul, blues, and jazz elements with smoothest of smooth harmonies reminiscent of the Temptations or Spinners. 

Like many excellent records, it is difficult to put a label on it. Dog Eat Dog is no exception. Call it Blues, call it soul, call it R&B. I prefer to call it a damn good record.  

Tom Endyke | Guitar & Pen | Staff

January 28, 2019



01. Working on Your Chain Gang
02. Lose My Number
03. We’re in Love
04. Dog Eat Dog
05. My Love Will Never Die
06. All Night Long Cafe
07. Walk Back In
08. Toxicity
09. Remnants
10. Same Old Heartaches
11. More than I Needed
12. You Gotta Leave


Metal Review: Judas Priest-Turbo 30

Release Date: February 3, 2017
Label: Sony

This month the metal gods, Judas Priest, returned with a reminder of where the band was in 1986.  Turbo 30 is celebrated on their 30th anniversary with a 3 CD set. The set includes a trifold cardboard fold out case containing the original album remastered and two live discs recorded in Kansas City on The Fuel of Life Tour.

I must admit this is not one of favorite JP albums but it does not lack for classic heavy metal tracks that have become staples of their live set. I have seen them 3 times now, first during the comeback tour with Halford back in 2005 promoting Angel of Retribution, then in 2010 to celebrate the great British Steel album and finally in 2014 to promote their surprisingly different and excellent Redeemer of Souls album. So, I got a taste of several different decades in live setting and have had a good dose of this band over the years and completely enjoyed it.

The title track is killer, what a grand opening for an album. Another heavy track followed it titled “Locked In.”  “Out in the Cold” was another stand out giving their rabid fans a taste of the heavy metal priest they came to know and love. “Parental Guidance” sounded more like a Twisted Sister or Quiet Riot anthem than anything from their catalog even although there were some good guitar licks.

One thing that may have got lost in translation was the fact that it was 1986, and this was a band trying to create a sound to fit the times. The problem with a heavy metal band with the reputation of JP is that they would only set their audience up for some disappointments with Turbo.  With the addition of synthesized guitars (which they would master brilliantly on the Nostradamus album many years later) and that techno sound it would water down the mix and take away some of their normal oomph and power.

This is not to say that this album was not worthy of special anniversary issue. People listen differently with the passing of time and we cannot take for granted what a great band of talented musicians this band had at its disposal. And their lead singer Rob Halford did not look like the badass that he does now. Ever since his return to the group, with lightning bolt tattoos on his shaved head and that menacing goatee - well let’s just say it has been quite a ride. They all look metal that is for sure. 

If you have a thing for this kind of release you are in luck plus you get a ton of prime JP music live which is always a good thing if you are a fan and have seen them live you will appreciate it even more. They get an A for effort on this back in 1986 and overall C+ with the addition of the live cuts. They should have stood their ground and stayed with the time-tested formula of heavy metal without all the glitter and things around the fringes. This is great for the collector and completest but for the die hard metal freaks, it’s a maybe or total pass.

3.5/5 Stars

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
February 13, 2017
Founder of:

Review Provided By Write A Music Review Review
Track List:

Disc One — Turbo: Remastered:
01. Turbo Lover
02. Locked In
03. Private Property
04. Parental Guidance
05. Rock You All Around The World
06. Out In The Cold
07. Wild Nights, Hot & Crazy Days
08. Hot For Love
09. Reckless

Disc Two — Live At The Kemper Arena, Kansas City:

01. Out In the Cold
02. Locked In
03. Heading Out To The Highway
04. Metal Gods
05. Breaking The Law
06. Love Bites
07. Some Heads Are Gonna Roll
08. The Sentinel
09. Private Property
10. Desert Plains
11. Rock You All Around The World

Disc Three — Live At The Kemper Arena, Kansas City:12. The Hellion
13. Electric Eye
14. Turbo Lover
15. Freewheel Burning
16. Victim Of Changes
17. The Green Manalishi (With The Two -Pronged Crown)
18. Living After Midnight
19. You’ve Got Another Thing Coming
20. Hell Bent For Leather

Band Members:
Rob Halford – lead vocals
Glenn Tipton – lead and synthesized guitars

K.K. Downing – lead and synthesized guitars
Ian Hill – bass
Dave Holland – drums


Acoustic World Fusion Review: Perpetual Motion-Rear View

Release Date: January 30, 2017
Label: Independent

Josie Quick (violin) and Tom Carleno (guitar) are Perpetual Motion. That is their band name however they are literally in perpetual motion from start to finish on their upcoming release Rear View.

The combination of Josie’s progressive melodic violin playing and the gentle, rhythmic and Latin influenced guitar provided by partner Tom Carleno makes for sweet music.  The broad strokes of sound painted on their musical canvas is the perfect marriage of sound, color, and vibrations. This all blends to become soothing and mind and mood altering sounds. This is all natural with no additives, it is acoustic world fusion with jazz added for spice and snap. So, sit down and enjoy a homemade recipe of music straight from the magical fingers of two very talented souls. 

Every track covers an eclectic mix of sounds with jazzy overtones placed in all the right spots. “Blind Man’s Bossa” is a good example of intermingling of genres reaching a full boil then flowing over the sides but oh does it taste so good. This is full of jazz tones and with addition of the violin it sounds progressively familiar channeling some of the greats such as Ponty and Ragsdale. 

“Northern Lights” was another track that touched my senses and gave me a shot of energy that was gladly accepted. The music made my heart and soul smile with the distinct pleasure that only great music can provoke from within, I knew that I was home again.

Perpetual Motion has a lot of albums to their credit and this recording certainly has engaged me enough to explore their catalog further. Don’t be fooled by the fact that this is a duo, there is a lot going on in their music and plenty of production and instruments tied into the two main tools used to provide a listener with such blissful moments.
Have a look out your Rear View and see what Perpetual Motion can offer you through their music. It is sound and vision combined to form an artistic canvas that will surely be appreciated by world, new age, jazz and mainly instrumental music fans that require a refreshingly creative sound. 

It is like a gypsy dance and celebration that comes alive before your ears and mind’s eye. This is real music for real people so give it a good listen then tell me if you weren’t tapping your feet or dancing?

4/5 Stars

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
January 18, 2017
Founder of:

Review Provided By Write A Music Review

01. Nova
02. Race of the Dolphin
03. Oasis
04. Jungle Spirits
05. Northern Lights
06. The Monarch’s Journey
07. Blind Man’s Bossa
08. Dreamcatcher
09. Passion De La Luna
10. Jakeob’s Pond
11. Harvest Moon
12. Zero Gravity
13. Something Else


Holiday Music Review: The Classic Big Band Christmas Album-Various Artists

Release Date: November 4, 2016
Label: Sony Legacy

The Classic Big Band Christmas Album is a special edition release from the massive archives under the direction of Sony/Legacy. The recordings were originally released in 1941. This is in the LP format to make it something more collectable and enjoyable, if you appreciate the warm sounds of vinyl coming through the speakers.

Some of the big band icons are part of the collection such as Glen Miller, Harry James and Benny Goodman and their orchestras.

What I think is special for folks like me is that I remember listening to this kind of music when I was a little boy. My parents had the old 78s and I thought “The Flight of the Bumblebee” was just the coolest thing.

This a holiday collection just in time to get you in the spirit and perhaps remember something special that you experienced during your life.  For some of us there is both happiness and sadness if you are old enough to have parents that have passed. This music will help relieve some of the hustle and bustle and overall stress related to getting ready for the big day.

If you are a fan of big band music and holiday music this is the recipe you want cooking in your kitchen this year along with the Holiday meal and goodies.
I appreciated the many aspects of this collection I previously mentioned along with the fact that there are some 78 transfers included with all the crackling sounds that Mom and Dad’s records had. People like originality, something that has all the qualities and imperfections that goes along with something well worn. As they say on American Pickers, it has some good patina (I am using it as a frame of reference we all know rust doesn’t form on LPs!). 

There is a lot to like here, well everything. This music will transport you back to a time long ago before computers, cell phones, the internet, political correctness and social media. It certainly was a less complicated world when this music was recorded. You can hear it all resonating from start to finish.

Give The Classic Big Band Christmas Album a spin and enter a world forgotten but one that can come to life by just listening. Thanks for bringing back all the memories Sony. Merry Christmas to all and happy listening!

4/5 Stars
Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
December 23, 2016
Founder of:

Review Provided By Write A Music Review


Instrumental New Age Reviews:Raphael Groten-Journey Home

Release Date: July, 17, 2015
Label: Silent Wing Records

Raphael Groten takes the six string acoustic guitar and turns it into a magic wand on his recent release Journey Home. 

The first track I had the pleasure hearing from this talented man was “Sweetness,” which is included here and it was also a featured track on our Rate The Tracks site.

This album gets in touch with our natural surroundings and with the most important element, the giver of life and water. “Black River,” “Waves” and “Ebb and Flow” (the ebb and flow of life?) are three that will push you in the right direction or downstream if you will. Music, water, all-encompassing nature, this is life and everything in existence.
Groten has complete command of his instrument. As he becomes one with nature so he does with his guitar. This music soothes the soul and calms the frazzled nerves. It is so simplistic and straightforward that it becomes easy to assimilate and picture each title in your mind’s eye. One has to be quiet internally to meditate and center and this music serves the same purpose if you let it.

Also the four sequential “Journey” tracks serve a higher purpose. As you take in nature and all its beauty it is a journey with facets and twists and turns like the imaginary river you are walking along or just sitting peacefully by. The first is “Journey Home: Awakening” followed by Breath, Echoes and then Arrival to the destination you seek.
It all makes perfect sense and is pieced together with logic and purpose. If you really listen to the singularity of Groten’s guitar it will all come together for you. It certainly did for me and when I listened and looked at all the track titles and how they progressed it was like putting on a perfect set of new shoes. 

I really enjoyed every track on this recording, however I listed the key tracks for their significance in title, besides the fact that they were all stellar compositions of beauty and grace.

Raphael Groten chose the right people to work with that would understand his music. Will Ackerman is a fine guitar player and producer himself so it is not hard to imagine why this project turned out so well.

Journey Home can hold different meanings for everyone but I know one thing for certain, if you like solo acoustic guitar music you will love this album! It is perfect just the way it is.

5/5 Stars

Key Tracks: Sweetness, Journey Home: Awakening, Ebb & Flow

01. Sweetness
02. Black River
03. Waves
04. Journey Home: Awakening
05. Journey Home: Breath
06. Journey Home: Echoes
07. Journey Home: Arrival
08. Ebb & Flow
09. Grandpa's Hands
10. Rest
12. Truth
13. Be
14. Sweetness Reprise

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck- New Age Music Reviews Founder
January 14, 2016
Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews



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