Archive for the ‘CD Reviews’ Category

New Release Rack: Annie & the Hedonists’ “Tonal Indulgence” (Take Two)

Tuesday, November 24th, 2015


Review by Jeff Nania

Annie & the Hedonists
Tonal Indulgence, 2015

Tonal Indulgence is Annie & the Hedonists’ first commercial release in more than three years, and it expands upon the group’s repertoire of early blues, jazz, swing, Americana and tunes by the likes of Leonard Cohen and the late great Hazel Dickens. The band celebrates with a two-night CD release party at Caffe Lena in Saratoga Springs on Friday & Saturday (November 27 & 28).

Vocalist Annie Rosen leads the group with her clover honey vocals, and the remaining hedonists (her husband Jonny Rosen, and fellow bandmates Peter Davis and Don Young) fill out the sound with acoustic and electric guitars, upright bass, clarinet and delicious vocal harmonies like on the tracks “Tweedlee Dee” and “Choo’n Gum,” which both use that sparse and sweet electric lead guitar with the stacked voices for thickness.

The group places an emphasis on covering the music of great female artists throughout the ages, and the liner notes make special little annotations about each tune like the very first track, “My Daddy Rocks Me” by Trixie Smith, who was the first to use the words “rock and roll” in a song or Hazel Dickens’ “My Hearts Own Love,” which says it was “her first positive love song” written about “being survivors in the male dominated world of bluegrass.”



Chandler Travis Three-O & David Greenberger Team Up for “Bocce & Bourbon” CD Release Party @ Caffe Lena on Saturday

Friday, November 20th, 2015

Bocce & Bourbon

Review by Greg Haymes

Various artists
Bocce & Bourbon: The Comfortable Songs of Chandler Travis & David Greenberger
Iddy Biddy, 2015

OK, maybe “various artists” is something of a misleading credit for this compilation album considering that Chandler Travis performs on every song. But the tireless, irrepressible Travis helms quite a variety of different bands, and a half dozen of them – the Incredible Casuals, Chandler Travis (solo), the Chandler Travis Philharmonic, the Catbirds, the Chandler Travis Three-O and Chandler Travis with Rabbit Rabbit – are represented on this disc. Quite well represented, I might add…

As you can readily deduce from the album title, Travis isn’t the only thread that sews these songs together. The other key element is Greenwich’s own 21st century Renaissance man David Greenberger – visual artist, spoken word performer, conceptualist, Mayor of Duplex Planet and Travis’ sometime co-songwriter for more than 30 years.

“I hate to admit it, and I’m only going to say it once, but all of my best songs were written by David Greenberger, who is also younger than me,” says Travis, adding, “He’s been a constant annoyance for decades.”

Veering from highly contagious new wave-like power pop to rollicking post-modern big band jazz while touching on everything inbetween, the wildly eclectic 19 songs included here indeed span two decades and are culled from eight different albums – from the Incredible Casuals’ 1995 platter It Is Balloon to the Chandler Travis Three-O’s 2012 disc This Is What Bears Look Like Underwater. And they’re all gems.

But what’s most exciting about Bocce & Bourbon is that half of the songs included here are previously unreleased. And from the garage-rockin’ “I Bit the Hand That Fed Myself” to the languid jazz ballad “All in a Day” to the Crash Test Dummies-like “I’ll Wait” to the waltz-time “When Roses Shine in Picardy,” they’re every bit as good, as witty, as honest and as charmingly eccentric as the gems that longtime Chandlerheads know and love. In fact, the bouncy, pop lead-off track “Air, Running Backwards” is simply one of the best Travis recordings – period.

The Chandler Travis Three-O ambles into Caffe Lena in Saratoga Springs at 8pm on Saturday (November 21) for their only CD release party that also features David Greenberger. Greenberger will perform between-song patter, while the Three-O will offer between-patter songs. Tickets are $20 in advance; $22 at the door.

New Release Rack: Annie & the Hedonists’ “Tonal Indulgence”

Tuesday, November 17th, 2015


Review by Glenn Weiser

Tonal Indulgence
Annie & the Hedonists, 2015

With their fourth CD, Tonal Indulgence, local favorites Annie & the Hedonists have shown us again that they are the ultimate acoustic music cover band. The quartet, consisting of Annie Rosen on lead vocals, husband John Rosen on guitar, Peter Davis on piano, clarinet, banjo, and tenor guitar, and Don Young on upright bass and guitar, eschews writing originals in favor of well-chosen songs in a mix of genres. And with all their combined talents, you can see why they don’t stick to any one style.

The Hedonists’ new release contains 17 songs encompassing swing, string band music, hokum blues, contemporary folk and gospel. The kick-off track, blues chanteuse Trixie Smith’s 1922 “My Daddy Rocks Me,” was the first song to use the phrase “rock and roll.” It opens with Davis’ clarinet playing slinky melodic lines over a slow, sensual shuffle groove before Annie enters with her sultry alto to tout her man’s staying power. Hazel Dickens’ “My Heart’s Own Love,” evokes the Appalachians with Davis’ five-string banjo and guest artist Jay Ungar’s fiddling. The traditional ballad “The Water Is Wide” receives a languid swing treatment as Annie and daughter Hannah Rosen harmonize over a jazzy chord line, vaulting the old folk classic forward into the 1940s.


Record Release Party: “ScumFest 3” @ the Low Beat on Saturday

Friday, November 13th, 2015


On Saturday night (November 14), the Low Beat in Albany is hosting the ScumFest 3 Album Release/Listening Party. You can listen to (and purchase) the album. And playing live on the no pepper stage will be Lumpen Proles, Chloroform Party and the Phantom Signals. Doors at 7pm, bands at 8pm.

What is ScumFest, you ask? Well, some of you longtime Local 518 music fans may recall the original ScumFest, a Local 518 punk festival that took place back in 1982.


CD Release Party: Bob Warren @ Caffe Lena on Saturday

Friday, November 6th, 2015
Bob Warren

Bob Warren

Review by Greg Haymes

All the Days of the World
KBW Music, 2015

Greenwich-based tunesmith Bob Warren is certainly one of the North Country’s most prolific singer-songwriters, and his new 10-song album stands with the very best of his work.

The follow-up to last year’s You Taught Me Something New Today (a duet album with Joy MacKenzie), All the Days of the World opens up with “It’s for You,” a poignant, straight-up song of unconditional love, followed by “A Boy, a Glove, a Ball and Bat,” a wistfully nostalgic ballad that isn’t really about baseball at all, but rather the power of memory.


CD: Lost Radio Rounders’ “Hard Trials”

Thursday, October 15th, 2015

Lost Radio Rounders
Hard Trials
(Lost Radio Rounders, 2015)

Review by Greg Haymes

The original name of the vintage Americana duo of Tom Lindsay and Michael Eck was Gospel Train, and this album finds Lost Radio Rounders once again leaning more toward the gospel end of the musical spectrum.

“In late 2014, my mother was seriously ill,” Lindsay explains. “Lost Radio Rounders decided to stop gigging for a while. When I had time, Michael and I began tracking songs for our first full length studio album. The songs I chose for the project reflected what my mom, her friends, and the whole Lindsay family had on our minds during that period. After my mother passed in January of 2015, the partially completed album lay dormant for months. Finally, Michael reminded me that it was time we finished the job.”

Featuring such songs as “Death Don’t Have No Mercy,” “In My Time of Dying,” “I Wouldn’t Mind Dying” and “What Are They Doing in Heaven Today?,” the resulting album delves in the themes of mortality and loss, hard times and tribulations that face us all. But far from being maudlin, the album is surprisingly comforting and uplifting.


CD Reviews: The Kennedys’ “West” and More…

Thursday, September 3rd, 2015


(The Kennedys, 2015)

Heart of Gotham
(The Kennedys, 2015)

Villanelle: The Songs Of Maura Kennedy And B.D. Love
(Varese Sarabande, 2015)

When a band celebrates its 20th anniversary, they usually celebrate by looking back over their musical history together by:

a) releasing a greatest hits album
b) re-releasing one of their iconic albums
c) releasing a big over-packed box set

Fortunately, the Kennedys – who play at Caffe Lena in Saratoga Springs on Friday (September 4) – aren’t that predictable. And they aren’t all that interested in looking backwards, either.

In honor of their two decades together, instead of some sort of nostalgic retrospective, they released a new album, West. And Pete Kennedy released a new five-years-in-the-making solo album, Heart of Gotham. And Maura Kennedy released a stunning new solo album, Villanelle: The Songs of Maura Kennedy and B.D. Love.

That’s right, three albums of new material…


The Capital Land Crate Digger: Radiator Hospital’s “Torch Song” (2014)

Monday, June 8th, 2015

Review and photograph by Ross Marvin

The Capital Land Crate Digger brings you reviews of vinyl obscurities found for $10 or under at Capital District record stores, thrift shops, garage sales and junk emporiums. The vinyl archeologist behind this column is Ross Marvin, an English teacher and music enthusiast who lives in Saratoga County. Ross has over 1,000 pieces of vinyl, is running out of shelf room, and can be found getting his fingers dirty in a box of records near you.

Radiator Hospital: Torch SongALBUM: Torch Song
ARTIST: Radiator Hospital
LABEL: Salinas Records
YEAR: 2014
PURCHASED: Rocket Number 9 Records, Kingston
PAID: $10
DATE: April, 2015

Try to remember a perfect, exuberant night.

Stumbling over a pile of beer cans that clutter your porch, you tumble out the back door of a nearly dead house — the type of dilapidated place you know you will never live five years from now. Behind you are your best friends. Guys and girls — none coupled, but all in love. You amble down the street to the bar with the best trivia and the cheap pitchers. A good jukebox means more Clash and less country. Someone at the table has an idea for a magazine. The person next to you is starting a punk band. The art student wants to paint the bass drum. Films, books and music all get discussed — the things that High Fidelity’s Rob Gordon taught all of you to appreciate.

And then you enter back into the night, taking the shortcut home across the college campus in town. Careless, you stop to roll in the giant leaf piles left behind by someone with more responsibilities than you. You wrestle with the girl you love, laughing joyously. Victorious in stealing a kiss, you take in the smell of her fresh, powdered cheeks while warming your cold nose with her human heat.


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