Saturday, 28 November 2015

80s ALBUM FILLERS OR POTENTIAL SINGLES PART 7: EUROPE

This is a new series, I will listen to all the 80s albums released by the decade's artists and judge the songs that were not singles (in the UK) from an album.  I will give my opinion whether the remaining songs were just fillers or could have been singles.  How many singles I can find will determine the final rating of how good the album is as a whole.  Below 49% = Poor/50-64% = Average/65-79% = Very Good/80-100% = Excellent.  There will be a different artist each blog.  I am a big fan of all the artists I review in this series, so I have to think hard if the song would wow the chart public, even if they are my favourite songs!
PART 7 : EUROPE 


Members - Joey Tempest (Lead Vocals/Rhythm Guitar/Keyboards)/ John Norum (Lead & Rhythm Guitars/Backing Vocals)/ John Leven (Bass/Backing Vocals)/ Mic Michaeli (Keyboards/Piano/Backing Vocals/Occasional Rhythm Guitar)/ Ian Haugland (Drums/Percussion/Backing Vocals).

Other Members - Previous - Tony Reno (Drums/Percussion)/ Peter Olsson (Bass)/ Marcel Jacob (Bass).

Later - Kee Marcello (Lead Guitar/Backing Vocals).

EUROPE (#0) (1983) -

Tracks -
In The Future To Come/Farewell/Seven Doors Hotel/The King Will Return/Boyazont/Children Of This Time/Words of Wisdom/Paradize Bay/Memories.
 
Singles -
None.

Potential Singles -
Farewell - Very Foreigner-like, would have been a big hit.

Seven Doors Hotel - Catchy chorus would have just given this enough.

Paradize Bay - Classic Rock at its best. 
 
Fillers -
In The Future To Come (70s/Iron Maiden cliches abound)/The King Will Return (Unremarkable and overlong)/Boyazont (Searing guitarists dream instrumental, not mine or a hit)/Children Of This Time (Basic Rock, no catchy chorus or hooks to grab you)/Memories (Very average album finish).


FINAL ALBUM RATING -
Poor album! 3 singles from 9 tracks.  33.3/100.

WINGS OF TOMORROW (#0) (1984) -

Tracks -
Stormwind/Screams Of Anger/Open Your Heart/Treated Bad Again/Aphasia/Wings Of Tomorrow/Wasted Time/Lyin' Eyes.

Singles -
None.

Potential Singles -
Stormwind - Catchy enough to be a hit, hints of 1986 classic Europe.

Open Your Heart - The original version of the "Out Of This World" hit, still great without the later production.

Lyin' Eyes - Uptempo catchy song with an AC/DC influence.

Fillers -
Screams Of Anger (Fast paced Iron Maiden influence but doesn't really work)/Treated Bad Again (Screeching guitars and 60s psychedelic middle of the song, should have been better)/Aphasia (Another filler instrumental)/Wings Of Tomorrow (Poor title track, could and should have been much more)/Wasted Time (All the Rock cliches, unfortunately another weak song).

FINAL ALBUM RATING  -
Poor album! 3 singles from 8 tracks.  37.5/100.


THE FINAL COUNTDOWN (#9) (1986) -

Tracks -
The Final Countdown/Rock The Night/Carrie/Danger On The Track/Ninja/Cherokee/Time Has Come/Heart Of Stone/On The Loose/Love Chaser.
 
Singles -
The Final Countdown (#1)/Rock The Night (#12)/Carrie (#22).

Potential Singles -
Danger On The Track -  A great Pop/Rock crossover with keyboard solo.

Cherokee - Reminds me of The Cult in their prime, definite hit!

Time Has Come - Anthemic ballad.

Heart Of Stone - Classic 80s Rock.

On The Loose - Similar to Heart, light stadium  Pop Rock .

Love Chaser - Fleetwood Mac influenced mid-tempo track with catchy chorus and guitar solos.
 
Fillers -
Ninja (Average Rock filler).

FINAL ALBUM RATING  -
Excellent album! 9 singles from 10 tracks. 90/100.


OUT OF THIS WORLD (#12) (1988) -

Tracks -
Superstitious/Let The Good Times Rock/Open Your Heart/More Than Meets The Eye/Coast To Coast/Ready Or Not/Sign Of The Times/Just The Beginning/Never Say Die/Lights And Shadows/Tower's Callin'/Tomorrow.

Singles -
Superstitious (#34)/Open Your Heart (#4)/Let The Good Times Rock (#85).
 
Potential Singles -
More Than Meets The Eye - All the classic Europe hit combinations.

Coast To Coast - Really nice song, a Rock ballad to wave your lighters to!

Ready Or Not - Iron Maiden/Foreigner hybrid.

Sign Of The Times - One of my favourites, top Europe song!

Just The Beginning - Almost a Supertramp chorus with Heart/Bon Jovi backdrop.

Tomorrow - Gorgeous ballad, light and powerful, emotional vocals.

Fillers -
Never Say Die (Not remarkable, lets down a solid album)/Lights And Shadows (Back to early Europe, needs a kick to get it going)/Tower's Callin' (Just average).

FINAL ALBUM RATING -
Very good album! 9 singles from 12 tracks.  75/100.


My favourite 80s Europe tracks?


Top 20 in not particular order -


1   Sign Of The Times
2   Superstitious
3   Cherokee
4   The Final Countdown
5   Carrie
6   Rock The Night
7   Coast To Coast
8   Danger On The Track
9   On The Loose
10 Seven Doors Hotel
11 Farewell
12 Stormwind
13 Paradize Bay
14 Open Your Heart
15 Lyin'Eyes
16 Time Has Come
17 Tomorrow
18 More Than Meets The Eye
19 Ready Or Not
20 Just The Beginning

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Tuesday, 17 November 2015

4 2 WATCH - Sneak peek at 4 up and coming artists! - Sinnober/Sabrina Carpenter/Forever Still/Season Of Ghosts

SINNOBER -

Sinnober are a Danish/British band who create gorgeous melodies and harmonies in an Alternative Blues/Country/Pop sound.  The band consists of Sebastian Brice on vocals and guitar, Natalie Brice on vocals, bass and keys and Mike Griffiths on vocals, drums and percussion.


The band's debut CD "Sinnober" was released in January 2015 and are currently working on their second album.  I first saw the video to "Fool (To Be Your Lover)" and was instantly taken in by not only the brilliant performance but the vocals of Natalie and Sebastian compliment each other beautifully. There are several live performance videos of songs on YouTube and you can see what a tight trio of musicians they are.


The album is a collection of songs of such variety that everyone who listens can pick up something new.  "Lucky 13" is an uptempo 70s fast Rock Blues track while the sweet "Never Is A Long Time" is reminiscent of The Everly Brothers.  The songs are well constructed and brilliantly executed showing the band's depth.  There are elements of the 60s and 70s, with Pop, Folk, Rock, Blues, Americana, Country and Indie all covered.  Big things are coming for this band currently based in South West England.  The album was majorly recorded in their home studio.


Currently touring, playing festivals and getting noticed by radio and critics alike, I would like to see more of this band as they are a very special trio indeed.

                                                                                                                                                                                      
Check out these links to find more performances and songs from brilliant trio Sinnober!-


SABRINA CARPENTER

Sabrina is a 16 year old actress and singer from Pennsylvania, USA and has appeared in Disney Channel's Girl Meets World.   The Disney corporation has unearthed major Pop stars Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera and most recently, Miley Cyrus.  Ironically, Sabrina came third in The Next Miley Cyrus Project, a singing contest run by Miss Cyrus. 


Sabrina cites her influences as being the aforementioned Christina and also Adele.  Her voice is powerful and also emotive, continuing her singing career would surely make her a big star in music.  There's a little Taylor Swift and Demi Lovato lurking underneath the wholesome image, a little bite and determination comes through in her vocals.


"Can't Blame A Girl For Trying", the debut E.P. was released in 2014 and the lead track (which Meghan Trainor had a hand in writing) was voted "Best Crush" song at the Radio Disney Awards.  The album "Eyes Wide Open" followed in 2015 and reached #29 on the Billboard 200.  


From the straight sing along candy pop of "The Middle Of Starting Over" to the obvious influence of Christina and Adele ("Two Hearts") and Taylor ("Your Love's Like").  There is something for all tastes on the album and I think there is more to come from this young lady to be more than just a teen singing sensation but to a global music star.  Let's hope so.
                                                                                       
Check out these links to find more performances and songs from talented Sabrina Carpenter! -

  
FOREVER STILL -

Forever Still are a rock band from Copenhagen, Denmark who play an atmospheric, harmonic Rock similar to Evanescence and Within Temptation.  They are the ultimate D.I.Y group, delivering all of their 3 E.P.s to date on a "pay what you want" basis, which has brought them an ever growing fan base along with their high energy, full blown in your face gigs.  Its how it should be, its all about the music for this band.


Consisting of Mikkel Haastrup on bass, guitar, keyboards and drums, Dennis Post on guitar and the powerhouse vocals of Maja Schonning.  The 3 E.P's released so far have brought critical acclaim and have built a massive online presence which will surely bode well for the release of the debut album coming soon.


The songs, although similar in basics to the aforementioned bands have a unique feel.  "The Key" (from the debut E.P. "Breaking Free") for instance has elements of late 70s Heart before ending with heavy metal piercing screams!  The following E.P.'s "Scars" and "Save Me" are part of a trilogy of E,P's which will form a concept debut album "Tied Down".  The theme is about an individual overcoming anxiety, stress, depression and all that comes with it but becoming well in the end.


This is a band going places with a unique drive to succeed but keeping their music in their blood and gaining fans in a really positive and inspiring way.  Forever Still are ones to watch!

                                                                                      
Check out these links to find more performances and songs from Rock band Forever Still! -


SEASON OF GHOSTS -

Season Of Ghosts are the unique brainchild of Greek singer/songwriter/producer Sophie  Aslanidou.  Sophie is in charge of everything on the debut album, "The Human Paradox".  Season Of Ghosts provide a backdrop of imaginative Science Fiction/Horror soundtracks with Rock riffs and eerie electronic sounds with intertwined storytelling singing.  Sound unusual? It is, but highly compelling listening!

 

In 2010 the inventive and talented Sophie moved to Japan and was singer of Trance Rock band Blood Stain Child.  After a successful stint in the band led to critical acclaim in Japan she also performed in various collaboration projects before looking at her next venture.


In 2014 she founded Invictus Media ( a company specialising in soundtrack and album production) with guitarist Zombie Sam (who, along with bassist Paul Brown and drummer Max Buell form backing band Ghost Legion).  Sophie is not only talented but also very intelligent and versatile.  She speaks six languages including her native Greek and English.  She has been a pioneer for the J-culture community outside of Japan and has been involved in band management, event organising
 and even VJ!.  


The album "The Human Paradox" was released in December 2014 and contains a variety of tracks including the rather lovely lilting "Beautiful Eternal Things" and romantic sounding "The Road To Acheron".  "Time Travellers" is like an Electronic Rock version of Evanescence and there are so many genres hidden in this unique set of tracks.  There are searing guitars, operatic vocals and orchestral hints.  I hope there is another album in the pipeline from this unusual lady and her legion!


                                                                                     
Check out these links to find more performances and songs from the inventive Forever Still! -



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Wednesday, 11 November 2015

RADIO DRIVE - American band

Emerging from the capital of St.Paul in Minnesota, Kevin Gullickson launched a solo career after appearing in various bands and kept one of the names, that of Radio Drive.  He has travelled through Europe to fine tune the music style which is positive, uplifting and motivational.  Rock how it should be.  The band have been described as Pop and Indie, but I'm not sure a label can be put there as there is such a variety in the music.  Everyone can find something different that means something to them.

Currently Kevin's band consists of himself, Patrick Spott, Wesley Henderson and Joe Maffei.  Radio pay has been steadily building and with social media the band are becoming bigger.  Kevin's song "One Life To Give" from the debut album "Dream the Impossible" represented the humanitarian effort Sudan Hope in 2009.  As a performer h has played numerous club gigs in the "Twin Cities" of St.Paul and Minneapolis and played at renowned First Avenue.

I first heard the band on the video "Never" which reminded me a little of Roy Orbison with the brilliant "twang" guitar backing, it had something that made me want to hear more.  When I dug a little deeper I found there was more to this band than middle of the road easy listening, they could rock out when the time comes!  Kevin's lyrics are emotive and make you listen and feel good no matter how you're feeling.

The first album "Dream The Impossible" was released in 2009.  The opener "One Tin Man" reminded me a little of Crowded House, light, sunny and calming.  The title track and "The Winning Edge" could have been lifted from a Rush album, Electronic Rock at its best.  The previously mentioned "One Life To Give" is a beautifully crafted ballad with the lines "one heart, one life to give, what I have is yours" was perfect for the Sudan Hope cause.  The variety continues with the Folk Rock style of "Man Inside Of Me" and the INXS style of "Break Of Day".

In 2010 came the second album, "Life Today".  Another eclectic mix of styles are encapsulated in this set of tracks.  There are a couple of nods to the 80s with "Give It Away" (Gary Numan), "When Hearts Grow Cold" (Depeche Mode/Human league) and "Who You Are" (Pet Shop Boys with real guitars!).  "My Song" could be Tom Petty at his peak and "Life Today" has a great 60s feel and is reminiscent of theat era's  Merseybeat bands.  Just to add to the generations covered there's a 70s style Classic Rock element in "Heart Of Kings"!

"I Can See The World From Here" is the third album by Radio Drive and came in 2011.  There is a more harder rockier feel to this album than the previous two offerings.  There are still the lovely calm songs of positivity in 60s style like the Everly Brothers sound of "Footsteps" and the Psychedelic preaching good message of "Humanity".  "Run" is a late 60s/early 70s Progresive Rock track while "Drowning In Your Love" could be late Depeche Mode in their Gothic Rock phase.  Other stand out tracks are "Northern Heights" (which contains the words to the album title, searing guitar solos and a catchy little chorus) and "Created" which is an anthemic, atmospheric, Alternative Rock number.

"This Is Our Time" was released as album number four in 2012, which contained the aforementioned "Never".  There is another similar track in the Roy Orbison vein with "I Believe In You" which is a really lovely ballad.  There are influences all over this album from Foreigner ("Hardwired"), Supertramp ("Two Simple Words") and again Crowded House ("Borders").  The title track is an 80s Electronic Rock track while "Money You Don't Own Me" and "Light" remind me of Classic Rock and early 70s psychedelia respectively.  Its easy to see why you can't pin a genre on these guys, they have a unique blend of everything that appeals to all tastes.

Radio Drive have just released their compilation album, "Restored" in 2015 and a single, the re-worked previously mentioned "Humanity".  A single, the brilliant Midge Ure/Ultravox sounding "A Taste Of Heaven" was released on a "A Taste Of Heaven" E.P.  released in 2014.   This also contained remixes of previous tracks "Borders" and "Footsteps".  Kevin is holding off playing clubs for a while as he prefers to stay out of the harsh Minnesota cold winter writing and recording, a sort of "hibernation" he says.  Still with Artista Group he is listening to offers from labels and production groups hopefully to bring more music to Radio Drive fans and beyond!

 

Check out some of these tracks from this great band Radio Drive -

"One Tin Man", "The Winning Edge", "One Life To Give", "Man Inside Of Me", "Break Of Day".
(From "Dream The Impossible").
"Heart Of Kings", "Life Today", "Give It Away", "When Hearts Grow Cold", "My Song").
(From "Life Today").
"Footsteps", "Run", "Drowning In Your Love", "Northern Heights", "Created".
(From "I Can See The World From Here").
"Hardwired", "Money You Don't Own Me", "Light", "Never", "Two Simple Words".
(From "This Is Our Time").


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Thursday, 5 November 2015

4 2 WATCH - Sneak peek at 4 up and coming artists! - Becky G/Betty Who/Fire Tiger/Nothing But Thieves

BECKY G - 

Rebecca Marie Gomez is a typical Los Angeles teenager apart from having what you may call an old head on young shoulders.  At the age of 9 she had a moment where she wondered what direction her life was taking, something every adult goes through in later years!  She grew up listening to Soul legends like James Brown and Etta James while helping her mother clean and making Mexican food with her grandmother.  Also, her idols were the likes of Christina Aguilera and Jennifer Lopez while also taking in the Latin sounds of her father's Mexican ranchera songs.


Becky G taught herself guitar at age 13 and two years earlier she wrote and recorded her own songs on Garageband on the Internet.  She has done voice overs and commercials to help her parents with money and in 2011 a lucky break came her way.  Putting videos of herself on YouTube singing and rapping her own lyrics over famous songs caught the eye of producer Dr Luke, who signed her up for his Kemosabe record label! Luke had previously worked with such high profile stars as Katy Perry, Kelly Clarkson and Britney Spears.


After a few collaborations on singles with Cody Simpson, Cher Lloyd and Kesha, Becky has released several singles including her biggest hit so far in 2014 "Shower" which hit the Billboard chart's highest placing of #16.  She also appeared on "Excuse My Rude" on Jessie J's second album "Alive".


Becky G is a potential superstar, she certainly has an intelligence and savvy beyond her years.  She says of her songs, "all I'm doing is putting my life on paper".  Her Rap-Pop-Latin style is certainly growing on the American public and the world will soon take notice.  Becky's debut album will soon be following in the footsteps of her initial E.P. "Play It Again" and she has already previewed 4 tracks as singles.


 
Check out these links to find more performances and songs from Becky G! -


BETTY WHO -

 Australian singer-songwriter Jessica Anne Newham says she just wants "to make people dance".  She trained as a cellist from he age of four and taught herself piano and guitar at 14.  She started performing at 16 and has released two E.P.'s "The Movement" and "Slow Dancing" and an album entitled "Take Me When You Go".  


Catchy tracks such as "Heartbreak Dream" and debut single "Somebody Loves You" have enabled Betty Who to be opening act on tours by Katy Perry and Kylie Minogue.   The music is bright, poppy and as she wanted, will make you want to dance.  


The debut E.P. "The Movement" , although an independent release, caught massive attention form record executives which was sealed with a contract with RCA Records in 2013.  The second E.P. "Slow Dancing" made it to number one on the iTunes Pop chart.  Still only 24, her brand of Synth-Pop and Pop Dance can certainly put her among equals with stars such as Perry and Minogue.


Betty Who is now based in New York and her live performances are just like her songs, bubbly and energetic and its clear she was born to perform.  She is under the big time radar at the moment but with the debut album released there is definitely more to come from this talented lady. 



Check out these links to find more performances and songs from Betty Who! -

BETTY WHO ON FACEBOOK
BETTY WHO OFFICIAL WEBSITE
BETTY WHO ON iTUNES
BETTY WHO ON YOUTUBE

FIRE TIGER -

Los Angeles rock band Fire Tiger bring back the 80s Glam/Classic Rock.  Reminding me initially of Heart, with a little Starship (80s version) the songs evoke  memories of that glorious decade, the guitar solos and the anthemic power ballads that we associate with that time.



The band consists of James Ramsey, Chris Cuomo, Cahuenga Mango and fronted by big voiced  Tiffany Alkouri.  Check out the videos on YouTube for the gorgeous ballad "He Has Changed" and the foot stomping title track from their first album "Energy".  I will be keeping my eye on this band, they are surely going from strength to strength and the 80s music so much back in vogue at the moment.


The band have been receiving rave reviews on YouTube and in countries across the globe for their debut album.  The "Energy" video was a taster for the album and got thousands of likes and positive comments.  The album contains brilliant tracks that also incorporate some late 70s style arrangements which only adds to the enjoyment.


"Green Light" and "Count Dracula" are my personal favourite from the album, but check the band out for yourselves.  If you are an 80s lover like me this band will indulge your thirst for the days before boybands and DJ music!  A second album is in the pipeline, the band tweeted a couple of months ago.



Check out these links to find more performances and songs from Fire Tiger! -

FIRE TIGER OFFICIAL WEBSITE
FIRE TIGER ON YOUTUBE
FIRE TIGER ON FACEBOOK
FIRE TIGER ON REVERBNATION
FIRE TIGER ON iTUNES

NOTHING BUT THIEVES -

Nothing But Thieves hail from Southend in England and the five piece Alternative Rock band consists of Conor Mason, Joe Langridge-Brown, Dominic Craik, James Price and Philip Blake.  Their brand of guitar based atmospheric music reminds me a lot of Smashing Pumpkins.  They too were one of those bands that didn't grab you instantly but the more you heard the songs the more you were drawn in, NBT are in a similar vein.


I first saw the "Itch" video and thought it brilliant until I heard "Trip Switch" which has now become my favourite track.  For a band so relatively young and new their lyrics and music are well beyond their years and have been attracting major attention from all media from all over the world sonce their formation in 2012.


Signing to RCA Records in 2014 they have released several singles and 3 E.P.'s entitled "If You Don't Believe It, It Can't Hurt You", "Graveyard Whistling" and "Ban All The Music".  The album "Nothing But Thieves" was released in October 2015 and their own "Ban All The Music" Tour was sold out and began in the same month.

The album peaked at #7 on the UK charts, #3 on iTunes and #1 in the vinyl charts. The band have an energetic live show and have supported Arcade Fire, George Ezra and later Muse at Rock in Roma as well as Leeds and Isle of Wight festivals.  A band on the up indeed!


NOTHING BUT THIEVES OFFICIAL WEBSITE
NOTHING BUT THIEVES ON YOUTUBE
NOTHING BUT THIEVES ON SOUNDCLOUD
NOTHING BUT THIEVES ON iTUNES
NOTHING BUT THIEVES ON FACEBOOK


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