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


Psychedelic Rock Review: The Flaming Lips - American Head

Release Date: September 11, 2020
Label: Bella Union

After a decade of dabbling in the wayward experimental, prodigal psycho-proggers, The Flaming Lips have returned home with the modern-day jewel, American Head.  After the garage-acid college radio days of the '80s and '90, the band created the triumphant triumvirate, The Soft Bulletin, Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, and At War with the Mystics -  three of the finest albums any band has ever recorded in succession. They closed out the 2000s with the brilliant Embryonic, a supercharged experimental onslaught which would carve an even stranger path into the 2010s. 
Chalk it up to creative differences, ill-advised flights of fancy or indifference, but the 2010s were a decade that tried even the most ardent Flaming Lips fans. The terror of The Terror, the lethargy of Oczy Mlody, and the inanity of King's Mouth made most fans drift toward disinterest. The savvy stylings of the early 2020 collaboration with Deap Vally gave fans a sign that a return to form was imminent.  Now, with the real American Dream in complete chaos, the Lips provide their own, a sonic roadmap through the sadness, steering listeners across the landscape of loss with profundity and hope. 
Elegant and layered, the opening track "Will You Return/When You Come Down" is a piano and acoustic guitar-ladened masterwork.  The initial refrain carries the doleful tune into an acoustic chord shift that drives the mood deeper. "Now, all your friends are dead. And their ghosts. Floating around your bed. Hear it said. Now all your friends are dead." In remembrance of all the death that fell before him over the years, Wayne Coyne laments the fact that he will not reunite with his fallen brethren in heaven or Valhalla.  They are gone forever, and the weight of this realization crashes upon him in the song's crescendo. Underneath it all lies a cutting rhythm and gentleness reminiscent of Yoshimi and the Pink Robots.
Thus lies the central theme of American Dream.  It is a protocol on how to live one's life years after misspending one's youth. Do not fret, because a hopeful theme undercuts these songs.  The pain of these remembrances is less sharp and even hopeful with those you love by your side. In an ocean of death, "You and me Selling Weed" and "My Religion is You" offer the illusion of salvation. On "Dinosaurs on the Mountain," Coyne brings to light the memory of traveling in his family's station wagon as a kid. Pretending the trees on the mountain are dinosaurs, he laments a time when one could simply imagine and create things in one's mind without repercussions of reality, which creeps in as adults. 
"Assassins of Youth" is as brilliant a Flaming Lips song that's been created in the last twenty years. A galloping pop jaunt through the tenets of rock and rhythm, there's a touch of Zeppelin and, to Coyne's admission, a touch of ABBA as well. "Mother, please Don't Be Sad" is another - a Bohemian Rhapsody-esque gem polished with soulful lyrics and other-worldly interludes.  
In American Head, the Flaming Lips have not quite come full circle as no journey of enlightenment ever truly ends at its source. Their journey is more like a spiral, and they've swooped by and tipped their caps to their former selves as they glide inward with a touching collection of songs ranking right up there with the best albums of 2020.  

- Tom Endyke | Guitar & Pen


Folk Review: Jack Tempchin-This Guitar and Tonight

Release Date: August 23rd, 2019
Label: Mailboat Records

Jack Tempchin is a folk artist famous for providing the world with what is now recognized as the California Sound. He entered the music world as a member of the Funky Kings in the 1970s and then proceeded to cowrite multiple radio hits in the 80s. He worked closely with Glenn Frey, co-writing songs such as ̈True Love,” ̈The one you Love, ̈ ̈Sexy Girl, ̈ and ̈"Party Town.” Originally from Encinitas, the city of San Diego proudly congratulated him on his success in 2012, when the mayor announced a “Peaceful Easy Feeling Day” to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Tempchin’s song released as a single. Tempchin’s newest album One More Time With Feeling is filled to the brim with emotion, amazing instrumentals, and lyrics sufficient to inspire his audience. 

Tempchin cleverly titled his newest album, since every single one of these songs has plenty of feeling to reveal. This album tells the story of a man going through a rollercoaster of emotions, all closely linked to love. The first song on this album, “True Love,” maintains a smooth melody, giving off a serene and calm atmosphere that suggests introspection and reflection on Tempchin’s part. It shows Tempchin first reflecting over whichever romantic battle he continues to describe in the rest of the album. “True Love” is a consistent theme throughout the album, repeatedly singing “True Loves got a lifetime guarantee” in “Never had the chance to say Goodbye.” “Love’s First Lesson” takes a much more solemn and reflective tone, claiming that loves first lesson is a broken heart. Tempchin demonstrates to his audience a glimpse of his love life and includes the highs and the lows, the good times and the bad times. 

Tempchin especially demonstrates his capability of writing a multitude of songs corresponding to multiple different genres in One More Time With Feeling. Although he does stick with his home genre of folk, Tempchin bounces from songs that are upbeat and fun to songs that are sad and tear-jerking. The title track, “One More Time With Feeling” is a song you can get up and dance to, its energetic. However, “Always Magic When the Sun Goes Do” is smooth, calming, and reflective. Whereas the instrumentals in “One More Time With Feeling” feel like they’re urging you to get up and dance, the instrumentals too “Always Magic When The Sun Goes Do” feel like they’re comforting you after a breakup. Tempchin’s One More Time With Feeling provides its audience with a whirlwind of emotions. From adrenaline to introspection, Tempchin demonstrates his amazing talent in each one of his songs. 

Key Tracks Include “Never Had The Chance to Say Goodbye”, “One More Time With Feeling”, “Love’s First Lesson”, “Peaceful Easy Feeling”

Ana Staff
October 21, 2019

Rate The Tracks

01. One of the Good Old Days
02. Peaceful Easy Feeling
03. True Love
04. One More Time With Feeling
05. Never Had The Chance To Say Goodbye
06. Back To The Old Me
07. Loves First Lesson
08. Out in The Desert
09. Always Magic When The Sun Goes Do
10. Big Lincoln



Rock Review: Honey West-Bad Old World

Release Date: September 3, 2019
Label: Readout Records

If you are looking for that sound that gets you in the mood for the Fall season, Bad Old World brings the transition to life. It is a great piece to listen to on a cool, rainy day where you just sit back and relax through the day. Maybe you’re reminiscing about years gone by, or planning for rest of the year ahead but, whatever the case may be; the vibe is nothing short of a good time.

The first couple of notes off the record, make the first track sound like “Wake Me Up When September Ends” by Green Day. It sets the tone for the rest of the album puts you in that Fall setting but, replacing punk-rock with a Classic-Rock taste. Ian McDonald and Ted Zurkowski send us on a bit of time travel, back to when looking up at the stars on the girl next door’s rooftop, or the days of just cruising around in your dad’s fixed-up pick-up truck, were the only social norms of that time, rather than staring at a phone the whole time.

In flowing through the tracklist, Bad Old World stays consistent and on a feel-good vibe. “Dementia”, the last track of the album seems to be the only song where the band misses the mark. From “The September Issue” to “Terry & Julie”, each song feels not only sequential, which is necessary for all large bodies of work, but, positive to a degree and as though I am listening to the artists tell of their new journey 20 years later. 

Throughout the whole record, the duo emphasizes the importance of keeping their Classic-Rock image with a modern tone. Unfortunately, if you did not grow up around bands like Foreigner or The Allman Brothers, or your parent did not flood your ears with 80s Rock, this concept may be lost to you. This is a great album for anyone who is looking to see that real music and artistry has not gone by the wayside. So much today, has been replaced with machines and auto-tune control, when people, in reality, want raw and real talent. Who could be better to bring talent to a head than original Rock artists like McDonald and Zurkowski?

Key Tracks Include: “The September Issue”, “Sylvia Strange”, “California”, and “Terry & Julie”

Gregg Keniston-Contributor
September 13, 2019

1. The September Issue
2. Brand New Car
3. Bad Old World
4. She’s Not Your Life
5. Sylvia Strange
6. Generations Man
7. California
8. Sailing
9. A Girl Called Life

Reviews Provided By:


New Age Contemporary Instrumental Review: Acoustic Ocean-Blue Moon Rising

Release Date: September 9, 2018
Label: Natural Health Source Publishing, Natural Health Source, Inc

Acoustic Ocean is the collaboration of two veteran musicians and recording artists, Peggy Morgan and Bette Phelan. The music of Acoustic Ocean reflects the musical and healing arts backgrounds of the artists as well as the beauty of the Hawaiian Islands, which helped to inspire the music. After a successful touring career that spanned 20-years, Morgan and Phelan relocated to Hawaii to pursue careers in the healing arts. (Past Tense Excerpt from Artist Website). 

Blue Moon Rising is the most recent release and the first since the passing of Peggy. The album is dedicated to the memory of Peggy Morgan, Bette’s music partner of 40 years, and to Nancy Phelan, her mother.

Bette is joined on Blue Moon Rising by Kay Aldrich, on cello. Additional instruments, played by Bette, augment all the arrangements. The music is very earthy and pure. The acoustic instruments are wonderful and used with just the right instances within each track. The use of the ocean hitting the shore adds to the natural sounds that are presented.

The acoustic guitar is the primary instrument. It is played flawlessly and with the addition of the cello, you get a new age world classical sound that will please anyone’s musical palette. If you are into relaxing meditative music you will love Blue Moon Rising. The layers of guitar work are exquisite.

One look at the cover of this recording sets you at ease and gives you the thought of inner light, spirituality and the connection we have with mother earth. The ocean is the most prolific thing to human life because that is where all of life came from. And purposely the name Acoustic Ocean falls in line with that thought process not mention that is exactly what you will hear on Blue Moon Rising. There is an ocean of acoustic sounds all melded together to create a musical nirvana for the soul. The eleven tracks offered the listener, flow together seamlessly and hit you gently like an ocean wave on a warm summer day.

What is there not to like about any of this? I appreciate what has been presented here and the meaning of the music along with the heartfelt dedication from the artist. It all goes hand in hand.

Here is a passage from the artist website that ends this review in a thoughtful and spiritual way:

The moon is associated with women’s mysteries, intuition, and the divine aspects of the sacred feminine. Some modern magical traditions associate the Blue Moon with the growth of knowledge and wisdom within the phases of a woman’s life.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
October 11, 2018

Founder of:

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

01. A Hui Hou (Until We Meet Again)
02. Blue Moon Rising
03. Recalling Beauty
04. Deep Grace / Scarborough Fair
05. Spirit Awakening
06. Lotus Petals Falling on the Pacific
07. Love Is a Force Field
08. The Silent Storm
09. Sweet Mana from Heaven
10. Shadow Dancers
11. All Things Made New


Metal Review: Saxon Remasters-Saxon, Wheels of Steel, Crusader, Denim and Leather, Strong Arm of the Law, Power & The Glory

Release Date: May 25, 2018
Label: BMG

I thought it fitting to show the cover of the first Saxon album since I am starting at the beginning with these remasters. I have been listening and getting to know the band much better.

Each disc comes in a hardbound book style case with pictures and lyrics. Each one is a collector's piece in its own right. Keep in mind these are the “Deluxe” reissues, not the set that came out in 2012, there is a difference.
I never got into Saxon as much as bands like Judas Priest but thanks to these great remasters my thoughts and listening habits have changed. I do have to say that I still feel Sacrifice is their best album. It’s a personal favorite and I actually got the vinyl picture disc for that release.

I read a review recently that said Saxon has been carrying the torch for New Wave Of British Heavy Metal much stronger than Judas Priest. That is a view I do not share wholeheartedly but I will say they are both still very strong bands and each has their own stamp on the genre. Saxon is not as heavy as JP although I heard a steady progression of their music from their first self-titled release to the Power & The Glory. That is what can make a listener so much more appreciative of a band’s legacy than before. If you start right at the beginning and listen to how a band matures with each album it does make a difference on your opinion going forward listening to the band. Also, the formative process you can hear through alternate versions of a track or a demo. This really lets you dig in and understand a cradle to grave if you will process before we as listeners have the chance to hear it. This is an opportunity that opens a door a listener can open more often with remastered sets, which have become more commonplace than ever.

The hardcover booklets, pictures, and information provided make it all a real history lesson in metal music and how Saxon was a major influence on the development of the genre. These are all high-quality remastered releases that the long-time fan will appreciate, and those that want to explore one of the progenitors of NWOBHM. I must say I will feel incomplete if I do not hear the next batch the comes out. All of the albums are out on limited edition swirl colored vinyl now as well. I would also recommend the four-album set on vinyl The Decade of the Eagle (1979-1989) which is excellent.

So, it certainly seems there is still a good market for a band that kicked things off in 1977. This is further proof of the Saxon imprint on heavy metal. They are still going strong and touring so make sure you check these special releases out if you are a fan. I am sure they will be found in many collector’s vaults soon enough and I would expect their value to rise with the passing of time. I know one thing, after making my way through all six releases I certainly see why they are so popular, they are now more popular in my listening rotation!

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
September 7, 2018

Founder of:

Review Provided By Muzikman’s Reviews & News


New Age/Celtic/Pop Review: Cecilie-Fearless

Release Date: April 27, 2018
Label: Utmark

There is a very good reason why Cecilie titled her debut album Fearless. This young lady has a strong belief that addresses fear and holding back. She believes the following “It’s about releasing, letting go of whatever is holding you back, being present and alive, and listening to the world around you until you find your own personal direction.”

Once you hear her voice you will believe what she believes. Her tasteful folk, pop, new age and Celtic styles are uplifting and carry a message. If you are looking for it or not, the message will be heard and received due her inviting angelic vocals. Her style and timbre reminded me fondly of Candice Night.

This is the kind of music I could imagine in a soundtrack for a movie or one of those great Disney films that deliver a positive message to an audience. This perception came as no surprise after reading about her love for plays like Cats etc. The elements of all the flavors that make this delightful ear candy are the keys to the kingdom on Fearless. This is a time and place created by the artist. The invitation to join her on the journey is inside her then translated through each song. What this woman has to share becomes transparent to anyone within listening range. It is a thing of beauty and a true work of art.

I think what impressed me the most was how each track was different musically and every time it was spot on to match her incredibly gorgeous vocals. Although the subject matter is about life, love and the trials we go through, you will hear sadness but at the time there are the silver linings inside those dark clouds. The clouds turn into a blossoming flower when Cecilie sings and expresses herself in each track.

Fearless is bound to stir your emotions and bring up things from your past and present but it is all good. Her music is healing from my point of view. I hope each and every listener can discover this incredible talent and have the opportunity to get past their own fears and feel the music.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
August 8, 2018

Founder of:

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews


Concert Review: Roomful of Blues

Roomful of Blues Turns the Infinity Hall in Norfolk, Connecticut Into A Cathedral of Sound
June 30, 2018
It was a hot summer night in Norfolk, CT on the last day of June but it was about to reach a boil at the Infinity Hall with the arrival of Roomful of Blues.

I knew of this band and the name certainly was familiar however I never took a deep dive into their music. Just knowing they had been around since 1977 and had a horn section told me something. Any blues band with a horn section can play quite a variety of blues and jazz. At least in my experience, it always turned out that way. You may think I was taking a chance of not being familiar with their music however with the knowledge I did have I went forward feeling this would be a stellar performance.

As it turned out, everything about the evening was great. The drive in on the back roads of New England is always such a pleasure. As I drove by all the houses and admired the old stone walls, I felt at home. And once we went into the Infinity Hall Bistro, I felt very welcomed. The service and folks working there are incredibly helpful and courteous. The menu at the Bistro is quite diverse as well.  This is what I call the ”complete” concert experience.

Prior to the show, I decided to get the T-Shirt commemorating their 50-year anniversary and a release from 2011 titled Hook Line & Sinker on the Alligator Records label. I was attracted to the cover art, which reminded me of the World War II Rosie the Riveter image. I am sure besides the artwork, it will be a terrific listen.

50 years is a mighty long time keep it together. There have been lineup changes over the years, which is expected for such a long stretch of time, however, their main groove and mojo is still intact and ready to roll while on tour.

What also impressed me is a staff member minds the swag booth for the band.  I was also informed that they have a green room for visiting artists. The room is totally furnished and they make sure nobody goes on the stage with an empty stomach. 

So, after being so impressed and quite comfortable I made my way upstairs to the concert hall. I call it “The Cathedral of Sound.” Sounds kind of catchy doesn’t it?

There was no opening act so I had nothing but a Roomful of Blues to enjoy. Little did I know that was in a literal sense.

This band is a well-oiled machine that presents a wide variety of blues and jazz within each number. I really appreciated the interludes of jamming in between vocals. The musicianship is outstanding and the combination of horns, standup bass, keyboards, percussion and amazing vocals make it all one remarkable show. You are going to hear flat out rockin’ blues peppered with jazz, some honkytonk piano tucked in between it all and more. Every member of the band gets their time in the spotlight on their stage. Everyone also got acknowledged separately and as a whole by the admiring audience.

This is not just the “blues” people, this is progressive blues and all the trimmings. This amazing band proved that fact all night long. Seeing a band play live and stretch out and flex their musical muscles is the best way to know who they really are. I found out who Roomful of Blues is, one serious group of musicians that are full of the soul of the blues, the tastefulness of jazz and the oomph to rock. That is one deadly combination.

Catch them live as soon as you can! If you are looking to visit a quaint New England town and enjoy a great meal and an evening of fantastic entertainment, stop by the Infinity Hall in Norfolk CT and catch a show.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck

July 2, 2018

Set List:

01. Introduction

02. It All Went Down The Drain

03. Alright, Okay, You Win

04. I Would Be a Sinner

05. I'd Rather Be Blind, Crippled and Crazy

06. Easy Baby

07. Boogie Woogie Country Girl

08. Two For The Price Of Ten

09. Too Much Boogie

10. Your Love Was Never There

11. Baby I'm Gone

12. Just Keep On Rockin'

13. My Baby Quit Me

14. Showcase

15. Body and Fender Man


   16. New Orleans

   17. One More Mile