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The page for "Bon Ton Key Club" is backgrounded with black & white pictures of Richard Dixon, the sole musician in the act. There are varoius pictures of Rich in various poses, all of which are not aggressive, nor obtuse. Rich claims in his bio that he's "working on staying outside the box", and trying "different styles of arranging, mixtures of sounds and genres…" This seems to be the case with Bon Ton Key Club, as his own description is right on the money. Rich has spent much of his life involved in music, both being a band teacher and a performer. His influences range from country & blues to rock, jazz, and even disco.
The opening song for Bon Ton Key Club is called "Give and Take". It opens with a seductive edge, percussion & synth, easily gripping the listener and walking you through a trance-like realm of melodic sound. The truly moving piece in my opinion is called, "Polish the Dull Side/Solitaire". This piece especially depicts Rich's ability to transpose the music in his head, to the music on his keyboards, or synthesizers. The piano solo in this piece is significantly moving, and leaves the listener in a state of positive wonder. By the third song, "Nightwalk", I was able to suspect that software might be used in production. Modern synthesizers are able to produce most instruments, so I was a little surprised that Rich could be using software. However, it blends very nicely, so I'm not taken aback or dismayed. The song "Freedom on the Fly" has one of the best guitar solos I've heard in a disco-tech song, andI felt a little thieved when Reverbnation cut the song short. The true disco influence of Rich's music appears in the song, "Down at the House". Along with what can only be a software version of a clavinet, the song takes a firm ride across the scales.
Bon Ton Key Club has listed "other/ electronica/ electro-lounge" as it's genre. In my opinion, "Other" has always meant experimental. If Rich has been experimenting, his results are superior. As far as electronica, Rich has that edge. "Electro-lounge" is the best description, because none of the songs I listened to had the typical dance/stomp-beat. All of the percussion was authentic, perhaps software, but certainly his own. The piano & key solos prove Rich's abilities & talent, and define Rich as an artist. All of Rich's tunes would certainly be heard or mixed in the "lounge" atmosphere. (…and the type of lounge that sells martinis, no beer) Rich's music is that of a time since past, now returned with a modern edge and a talent that certainly has more to give. I find the electro-lounge genre consistent with Bon Ton Key Club, or vice-versa.
At the time of this blog, there are 15 songs, and zero videos. In this case, videos are not needed. I get plenty of imagery in my head. It appears this act appears on various podcasts and internet radio shows, and occasionally live.
If you like electronica composed entirely by hand, this is your act. The only thing I might add to this music is vocals, but that might take away from the power & edge of these tunes, and may have been what Rich decided in the first place. The song, "Checkin' Round" has vocals. As I suspected, the vocals DO take away from the amazing composing that Rich is capable of. This is not to say it's a bad song. Not one of these Rich's songs stay in one place, which is certainly something I approve. The textures and movements get you moving, the blends have feeling, and the variety keeps you interested. Bon Ton Key Club is rich in atmosphere, rich in variety, rich in textures, and totally…Rich.
Tapped Out Beats is an act I've collaborated with in the past. In this review, I'll try & be as objective as possible, and do my best to refrain from any biased opinion. Although I've never met Wayne in person, we've held several conversations on the telephone & online, and as before mentioned, collaborated musically. Tapped Out Beats has also a label on Reverbnation, which is home to a wide variety of artists, much like Free World Radio Telecasting. The label is called "TOB Music Productions." The page for Tapped Out Beats is backgrounded with an image of a snowy road, leading into the darkness. This image is "unpredictable" as noted in the image itself. Wayne also conducts an indie podcast, which can be found here:
The act itself is unpredictable, as noted previously. This is not to be taken negatively, as the music is done with a steady, unwavering hand. Generated mostly by software & keyboards, Wayne's compositions are competitive with many of the electronic acts on Reverbnation. The playlist opens with a collaboration with another Reverbnation artist, "MasterMataz". The song is called, "Power of Illusion." Parts of this song are recognizable loops, either from purchased loop packs, or from the Apple loop software. I myself use Apple, and their loops. I do my best to alter or change them, to make them my own. I believe both Tapped Out Beat and MasterMataz are well beyond this, and I find it unnecessary. Moving from this, the songs improve with each passing tune.
Tapped Out Beats lists his genre as, "Electronica / Experimental / Multi-genres / Beats". This listing is exact for electronica, experimental, multi-genre, & beats. Wayne uses many world vocal loops, moving from hip-hop to foreign, sampling to sound byte. The experimental side can be certainly be witnessed in the song, "Dance Blizzard". Here, Wayne uses a typical house beat, hip-hop vocal loops, and trance synth, and noise core sound effects. This song is likely one of Wayne's strongest electro songs, and could likely be heard in any typical dance club. Another of Wayne's stronger songs is called, "Provoked". This song gives a strong sensation of danger, and a sinister appeal. Although not a normal match for the collection on the playlist, it fits the genres listed, and therefore not inconsistent.
Wayne of Tapped Out Beats is a dedicated musician & composer, dedicated not only to himself, but to the scene as a whole. Wayne has cross promoted many artists including myself. He is multi-faceted in the Reverbnation family, and should not be overlooked. Helpful and kind, Wayne makes a great ally, and personable friend. Dropping in for an earful of these electronically experimental tunes will be helpful to any electronic artist looking for inspiration.
The page for "Jammin' Squirrel Productions" is a simple one, and the logo is of a squirrel holding a saxophone. The pictures uploaded on this page are track pics, meaning, there's a picture to represent each track. Otherwise, the page is not much different from any other regular Reverbnation page. I dig the picture of the squirrel holding the saxophone, it suits the name well. The artist compares his music to that of Brian Eno & Revolution Void.
The artist claims to be a classical musician, and also claims to have been in various jazz acts. Using computers & software, this artist apparently has moved out on his own, to produce & write his own tracks. The classical musicianship is obvious, it's power is observed in much of the work. The movements drift together with ease, with a world music edge. The tempo is slow & easy. Sampling is heard throughout the songs, sound bytes enter briefly, and simply. In no way is this music edgy, or course. It's a smooth blend of classical synth, techno drum beats, and dreamy jazz tones. I cannot discern if the horn in the song, "Bossa Das Pedras" is authentic, or software. Also, the guitar in this song seems played by a real musician, elegantly and profoundly. A singer also is heard. I will assume he sings in Portuguese, since the act resides in Portugal. In my opinion, the vocals may not have been needed here. The song would've been an excellent instrumental. However, in the song, "3 Feet and 1/2", the vocals are a nice touch. A male & female vocalist are heard, singing in unison. The vocals in this song are in English. The solo guitar in this song is a soft treat, with a significant Spanish influence.
The act is listed as " Alternative / Chill-out / Ambient / Electronic / Downtempo". I agree with all these listings. The term "alternative" in regards to music has always eluded me. Alternative to what? The act is definitive with the genres, "ambient, electronic / downtempo". I might also have added, "World" music, The Spanish guitars, the djembes, congas, & horns make this an added feature. Also the vocalists using both Portuguese and English continue to define this act more as "World/ electronic / downtempo". All that said, the music is consistent with the genres listed, and is in conformity with the standards "Jammin Squirrel Productions" has put forth.
The act is a refreshing taste of the growing realm of electronic music. The blends of real musical instruments mixed with software are unique in this act. Both the guitars and horns stand out significantly, and the synth is more background & atmosphere. The vocals & sampling are in the forefront, and cannot be missed.
It does not appear that this act does any live shows, and there are 5 songs and 3 videos. I found this act unusual to the electronic music I'm used to hearing, & certainly the world music feeling it provided gave it a different edge. I didn't expect the vocals for some reason I can't explain. The classical touch is, in my opinion, is the best feature of this music, followed by the guitar & horn solos. It would be an unusual treat to see this act perform live. I think it could be done, and should be done. I suspect the music would translate even better to a live audience.
The Reverb page & imagery for "Beer, Guts & Glory" somewhat resembles a Budweiser beer can, which I find humorous. American metal is not without a sense of humor. Their claim to bring back "Good ol' fashioned kick-ass rock-n-roll" certainly has its merits. The band is from Tamarac, Florida. South Florida is known for it's love of metal, and is likely the #1 spot in the nation for it's consistent churning out of top-rated death metal, black metal, & metal-industrial acts. Beer, Guts & Glory is no exception.
Right off the bat, this band is spilling out the influences of Pantera & Black Sabbath. The guitars are down-tuned properly, for that excellent thrash sound. It's not speedy, nor grind-core. It's a classic twist of old metal, with a modern post-apocalyptic twinge. The vocalist switches from clean to rough, growls, but no screams. Even for metal, screaming can be a bit too much. This act blends the vocals correctly, for that perfect southern metal sound. They sound as if they'd be a perfect opener for "Black Label Society".
Beer, Guts & Glory list themselves as "Rock/Metal/Legit". Rock, yes. Metal, yes. To me, the song "Whiskey" is a perfect definition of what true southern metal should be. A little on the redneck side, but not too much to alienate your American metal fans. At the time of this blog, there are 3 songs, and 4 videos. It appears that on occasion they appear live in their local areas. The only thing I would say for improving the tunes is to add a bit more guitar soloing, even though the afore mentioned song "Whiskey" has a classic keystroke solo. "No Failure" has a solo as well, but doesn't carry very far, and leaves me wanting more. In addition, southern metal isn't known for extreme solos, so it's not out of synch or inconsistent with the genre. The song, "Crucified" is another example of definitive southern metal. Although they've not listed themselves as southern metal, I'd say this category is more to their sound.
I recommend to any American metal fan to drop in for an earful and a chug of "Beer, Guts & Glory". This act is likely to move forward into the Florida metal scene, and will not be alone in it's endeavors. A band like this is likely to discover a large cross-section of fans waiting for their arrival. I personally hope to see this act live, and on various tours. It would not surprise me to see this band opening for larger metal acts.
The page imagery is simple, not too simple, but certainly not flashy. Dj Alimba professes to be influenced by a wide range of music, including rock, hip-hop, & disco. Dj Alimba, according to his Reverb page, has been producing tracks since he was 15, and has been doing so ever since. At the time of this blog, there are 11 videos and 18 songs. He is self produced, and occasionally appears live in various places in Greece.
The nightclub scene in the U.S. is a fickle scene. DJ's come and go like a flash in the pan. I'm not sure how DJ's are treated in Europe, but it's a tough sell here in the U.S. Many folks in the U.S. don't consider a DJ worth any talent, meaning, they're not really musicians. I happen to disagree. A DJ must keep timing, rhythm, key, and harmonics in check. A DJ must also know what to blend, and when to blend. Alimba's opening tune, "Sculptor" is a "calm before the storm" approach, an opening breeze of synthetic bells and synthesizer, with little percussion. Often with electronic music, this kind of intro can bore the listener before the album has even begun, but Alimba seems to time it well. A beat breaks in at about 4:29, a casual dance groove, & maintains the synth/bell combination.
The following tune, "Blue Sky-Nadix" has an immediate drop down in beat, an unexpected nuance. It's quickly recharged, an apparent switch-out by Alimba. It appears DJ Alimba attempts to catch you off-guard with the change-ups, some work well, others do not. The timing stays consistent, the song's integrity is never compromised. It is a melodic journey of synth pads & key strokes. I'm unable to tell whether he's spinning or using straight software, midi controllers, or a combination of all three. In my opinion, that's good. "Steps of Life" has a few unique features, as Alimba adjusts the tremolo swiftly, and maintains the tempo, dances on some piano work, and keeps the synth in time. Around the 10:30 mark, a bass synth outré appeals to the ears.
DJ Alimba lists himself as "Electronica/Trance/Ambient". For the most part, this is defining for DJ Alimba. The music obviously is electronica, and ambient is certainly what DJ Alimba has in store. To call this music "trance" could be a bit much, as the trance aspect of the music is not totally consistent. There is certainly enough "soundscape" movements that may fall into the trance category, but the BPM is a little fast to pigeon-hole this music into trance. The music scores for the most part are danceable, the movements are melodic and peaceful, and the arrangements seem to be organized with the utmost professionalism.
Anyone who likes electronica may find this artist appealing. DJ Alimba takes his time with his scores, and does not "rush it". It's not aggressive, nor abusive with beats or bass lines. The piano seems authentic, original, not dubbed or software. I would certainly recommend DJ Alimba for those who dig the "chill" side of electronic music.
According to Joe Gande's page, it appears that Joe writes & produces his own music. The imagery is only of himself, although in his videos there appears to be either a backup band, or a group of musicians that plays for him. Nevertheless, it's Joe that's in the spotlight, and certainly the focus is on him. The pictures are straight-forward, with little special effects. This seems to work, simple and effective. No punches pulled. Joe is the centerpiece of a wild and wide range of sound.
Joe Gande is listed under the "Rock/Hard Rock/Blues" category. I was immediately wowed by the vocal composition in the song, "25 Hours". His voice is reminiscent of a young Joe Cocker, yet maintains the blended poetic breeze of Trey Anastasio of Phish. His voice is moving, heart felt, and full of soul. Commanded from the start, the content of the vocals certainly matches the aura he presents. He is in complete control of tone & key, a true singer is every way.
The band is in total synch with Joe. Whether they or he writes the music, their performance is nothing but stellar. If the band is a studio hire, he's obviously spared no expense finding the top quality of musicianship. The movements in the songs rise & fall with the utmost quality. I find it hard to believe this guy isn't signed to a real label. Between the piano, horns, guitars and vocals, it's a total rainbow of music. Joe Gande is the modern representation of "Rock/Blues", and certainly could very well be the standard to hold others to.
To say anything negative about this act would be blasphemy. However, to place Joe Gande in the Hard Rock category may be an overstatement. Hard Rock is usually reserved for a bit heavier tunes, but in no way does this affect the true compositions of Joe Gande. The tune "Shelter Me" has a harder edge, but this feel is not consistent throughout the rest of his compositions, therefore placing him in the Hard Rock category may not be sufficient.
I find Joe Gande to be a top-rated musician, performer, and audio magician. To miss out on these tunes would surely be a loss. I was amazed at the overall sounds blasting from my Reverbnation tune player. If you haven't had an opportunity to listen, I'd say go to it right now. On his Reverb page, it states, "Music is supposed to make you feel." Joe has done that, and very much more.
I like the imagery of this act, first off. It's dark and post goth, with black & white photography. This gives a cold appearance, stone-like. I personally have always appreciated black & white photos, and with the modern styles in the pictures, it seems to come together well.
There are only 3 songs at the time of this blog, all of which are listed as demos. The production of these demos is fairly decent compared to other productions at their same level. I'm unable to determine whether these recordings are studio produced or a home production, either way, that's a good thing.
The listed genre is "Rock/Alternative/Soul Rock". This seems a good explanation for the types of sounds I'm hearing. All three songs are acoustic guitar and vocals, and the third song has drums. The vocalist has a clean voice, stays on key and in tune. I appreciate that, many professionals are forced to use a computer to modify nuances. By the sound of these recordings, George Galvan is authentically staying in time. His voice is certainly radio ready, and would surely keep up with what's being played on the rock stations today.
The guitars are well played. Unfortunately to say, there isn't much soloing or apparent freedom of the guitarist. This is likely because the vocalist is more the soloist, and the guitars are more for decoration or atmosphere. This not a bad thing either. My experience with rock & metal always gives room for a flashy guitar, and a little room to move or freely jam. Since these are demo songs, I can only hope that there will be room for a little more guitar work in the future. I am aware that current radio songs of this genre rarely have solos, and if so, aren't flashy by any means. If this is the intent of Lucifers Cry, then it's spot on, and consistent with the genre they've placed themselves in.
All in all, against the genre itself and the work they've produced, I give this band a thumbs up. The imagery and sound is consistent, the singer is confident and true. I'd like to see this act live, as I'm sure they'd put on an excellent performance. I anticipate hearing more from Lucifers Cry, and also what they will do to improve their demos. (A demo is usually a work in progress, and subject to change) I expect this act will likely become a local hit, and may even get some play on the radio airwaves. I think this act will give any professional act in the "Rock/Alternative/Soul Rock" genre a definite run for their money.