SINGLE REVIEW: Which Way To Go by Troy Remedy

Attachment_1560183054.jpeg

troyremedy.net

Troy Remedy is a hip hop artist and producer from Dallas, Texas. The latter part of his moniker was inspired by the healing effect of music itself and there is a strong spiritual vibe as well as the influence of soul in his hip hop. So far, he has performed in cities like Dallas/Fort Worth, San Antonio, Austin and Houston. He has previously released the singles Underdog, City Lights and Steal My Soul (which I reviewed very favourably, read here) from his upcoming debut album My Own Worst Enemy.

This track, Which Way To Go, starts out with an evocative intro consisting of spaced out guitar and synths then Troy interjects with an assured and direct rapping style. Bolstered by a laid back but punchy hip hop beat, his honest and soul searching lyrics take centre stage with this track depicting his struggle to find his path in life: “Gotta ask myself, what it is I’m pursuing….”.

The first verses are a marvel of rapid fire delivery and eloquent lyrical flow that describe the various problems he’s faced with, summed up succinctly by the title hook: “Even though I’m still not knowing…not knowing which way to go.”

After the first chorus we hear an unexpected but very refreshing bluesy guitar solo, and these guitar licks recur through the second verse.  The lyrics here are even more visceral: “Seen a massacre in broad day, watching as the crowd scatters through life’s maze…..most would say they have nothing to live for, no inner peace, nothing to strive for”. This sense of desperation is reiterated by the final refrains of the title hook.

Overall, this is another compelling and unrelentingly honest hip hop track from Troy. He has found his own artistic niche blending hard hitting lyrics with underlying spiritual themes of redemption and hope, which gives his music a real emotional depth and power.  Musically, this track effectively blends hip hop with a melancholy blues-rock guitar sound to great effect. For people looking for hip hop that is 100% “real” and from the heart, look no further than Troy Remedy.

 

VERDICT = 8.8 out of 10

Alex Faulkner

 

Listen here:

Listen here

Advertisements

SINGLE REVIEW: Time For Some Ink by Rob Georg

timeforsomeink_cover_final.png

Rob Georg is a country singer and songwriter originally hailing from Tuebingen in Germany. He became interested in music as a child, taking up the piano and then switching to guitar. He bought his first guitar at just 14 and this led to writing his own material. In 2018, he released his first official song Push That Horn and in December of that year came his first full band release, This Ain’t My First Rodeo. That song made it into the US National Radio Hits AC Charts Top Ten and since then he has released Ghost, which I reviewed highly favourably (read here).

This track, Time For Some Ink, is a distinct contrast to the emotionally troubled epic balladry of Ghost and shows a whole other side to his musical persona. It’s a very upbeat, tongue in cheek ode to the joys of getting a tattoo, a subject which so many will relate to but not one I’ve encountered in a rock song before.

The song starts out as laid back as you can get, with low-end guitar melding with a slow roll on the snare drum. From the opening lines you know that this is going to be a fun, light hearted song: “I need to catch a buzz from a tattoo pen, got to get some pictures on my skin”. The bridge is short but effective (“Tell me I’m addicted, I don’t care what you think”) before exploding into the anthemic title hook that you can imagine the crowd singing along to with ‘devil horns’ aloft.

The second verse gives a little more lyrical depth as it describes how tattoos tell the story of his life on his body. After the second chorus the rock ‘n roll factor is turned up to eleven with a Slash-style, wah-drenched guitar solo. Indeed, the whole song wouldn’t have sounded out of place on Guns ‘n Roses classic album Appetite For Destruction.

Overall, this is a highly enjoyable, hugely entertaining track which shows the rockier side to Rob Georg. He shows his voice is just as adept at rock as at country ballads and, again, his gift for writing epic, singalong choruses. This song is guaranteed to be popular with his current fan base and should win over plenty more, especially the fellow tattoo lovers out there!

 

VERDICT= 8.7 out of 10 

Alex Faulkner

 

Listen here:

E.P. REVIEW: Human Nature by Halogyns

Halogyns.png

http://www.facebook.com/halogyns

Halogyns are an all-female, guitar based alternative rock/pop group hailing from St. George in Utah. The group formed only last year and consists of Kamry Thelin, Dana Fontaine and Mari Ericksen who are aged between 17-19. Despite their relative youth and newness as a group they sound as if they’ve been playing for years and have emerged with a fully fledged, distinctive sound and artistic persona on this EP. Musically, they are comparable to Haim, at times recalling the 90’s alternative group The Cardigans and even further back, Blondie.

This EP, Human Nature, consists of six tracks and from the first seconds of opening song, Take Me Under, you feel you’re listening to a group with something a bit special. Built around a hypnotic lead guitar riff and breaking into a Heart of Glass-style alt. disco beat, the next thing that captivates you is Kamry Thelin’s voice and emotive vocal style. Their music is a very modern blend of pop, alternative/indie and a distinct but understated dance influence.

Lyrically, it fits the slight melancholy feel of the music, encapsulating the beginning of a romantic relationship before feelings have been confessed. This is summed up succinctly in the chorus: “I wanna love you but I keep quiet, you radiate the waves so take me under. A beautiful, poignant song you can dance to, and a fine start to the EP.

Even better is Love Drug, a slightly moodier but equally infectious alternative pop track with a swinging feel. After an understated verse and brooding bridge underpinned with a pulsing bass line it builds to a fantastic chorus built on a hi-hat heavy dance groove (the drumming throughout the EP is excellent).

The chorus hook is superb and lyrically depicts the opposite of the previous song, expressing conflicted feelings about a difficult relationship: “We got history but you see that don’t mean anything at all…. you poison dreams with your love drug”….”. With its Nile Rodgers-esque funk guitars and addictive hook, this would make a perfect single.

Next is the title track which shows the band’s gentler side. Based on a picked acoustic and light electric guitar chord progression, Kamry delivers a moving vocal performance that brought to mind Stevie Nicks. Once again, the lyrics dwell on relationship issues with poignancy and insight: “Don’t know how to function when your love burns my skin, get it all together…why do I let you in?”. It’s a sophisticated and mature take on the difficulties of love, all the more impressive considering their age.

Control is a return to their alt. disco signature sound, this one propelled by a Stayin’ Alive type low-end guitar riff and an interlocking bass and drum groove. As with their other songs, this one is enriched with Haim-style backing harmonies, especially on the chorus. This song is about dealing with a domineering partner, something that will resonate with a lot of women (“I feel your control….it’s all I know…”). Another great track that is a possible contender as a single.

Break is another classy piece of songwriting, this one a mid-paced pop track full of gorgeous lilting melodies and rich vocal harmonies. They truly sound like the musical successors of Fleetwood Mac and Haim on this one in particular, and the delay drenched guitar riff is also highly effective, reminiscent of the guitar style used by U2’s The Edge.

The EP ends with the lead single What You Want. It features the group’s now familiar strengths, starting out with a strident four-to-the-floor beat on the punchy first verse. It’s underpinned by yet more propulsive guitar work and intricate, restlessly inventive drumming, serving as the backdrop for another heart-rending vocal performance from Kamry. Lyrically, it’s another conflicted tale which captures the torment of torn feelings and feeling alone in a relationship, yet finding strength in the process: “I found my own way….you’re no longer my weakness”.

Overall, this is a consistently brilliant EP from a young female group who have already mastered their musical style and sound. Showing a lyrical maturity beyond their years, they write affecting yet accessible alternative pop songs that will connect with many, given the chance. I get to review a lot of talented up and coming artists, but if I had to put my money on one act becoming the ‘next big thing’ it would be Halogyns.

 

VERDICT = 9.3 out of 10

Alex Faulkner

 

Listen here:

E.P. REVIEW: Born In The Wild by 308 Ghost Train

308gtborn.jpg

https://www.308ghosttrain.com/

308 Ghost Train are a rock band with a difference. Although their music harks back to the classic rock of the 70’s and 80’s, they have a spiritual message behind their songs and a lyrical approach that is decidedly modern. The band is the musical brainchild of singer and songwriter POSI Award-winning songwriter and vocalist Anthony “Train” Caruso.

The band name refers to a Bible passage, the Gospel of John 3:8, which compares the Holy Spirit to the wind. That explains the ‘Ghost’ part and Train is Anthony’s nickname – referring to his stoicism and determination which comes across in his music. As a vocalist he has been compared to Bruce Springsteen, John Fogerty (Credence Clearwater Revival) and John Mellancamp, amongst others.

This EP, Born In The Wild, consists of five tracks and starts with the lead single 21 Guns and A Million Tears. It’s a powerful and highly emotive stadium rock anthem that brings to mind the uplifting anthems of Bon Jovi with the blue collar lyrical seriousness of Bruce Springsteen. Featuring a passionate and authentic vocal performance from Caruso, the song is about how veterans are treated after military service and the ones who lose their lives serving their country.

This is a subject dear to Caruso’s heart as he has served in the military himself and this shows in the conviction with which he delivers the words. The title refers to the 21 gun salute given at military funerals for those who lost their life in battle and the song poignantly begins with the sound of bagpipes. This breaks into punchy classic rock with a solid, meaty drum sound and a rich wall of electric guitar chords. Caruso has the strong and distinctive voice necessary to soar above the music, particularly on the fist pumping, instantly memorable chorus.

The lyrics pull no punches with the second verse beginning with these powerful lines: “There’s an oath every defender takes, dedication for freedom’s sake, they’d rather die in an unmarked grave so we can live in the home of the free and brave”. As with Springsteen’s Born In The USA, Caruso delivers a searingly critical message under the guise of a singalong anthem. it’s one of the best rock tracks I’ve heard for some time and an obvious choice for a single.

The next track Worn shows a gentler, more personal side to his songwriting. It’s an epic rock ballad that begins with picked acoustic guitar. The lyrics depict an emotionally troubled state but his underlying faith shines through: “I know I’m in the palm of someone’s hand…”. The song builds to another cathartic chorus with Caruso delivering at the top of his range. The final chorus is particularly emotive and you can imagine thousands singing along, relating to the words of spiritual struggle with empathy.

The title track Born In The Wild is the most light hearted song on the EP, an uptight rock song with a healthy dose of country, driven by rich organ. Once again, he displays his gift for writing killer choruses, which is one aspect that separates great songwriters from merely good ones, in my opinion. The chorus lyrics are as American as mom’s apple pie with the great tag line: “In the back of a Chevy, I was born in the wild….”.

I’ll Unbreak Your Heart is the band’s ‘lighters in the air’ ballad in a style comparable to Bon Jovi’s Always or Aerosmith’s classic I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing. As with all with his other songs the lyrics dig emotionally deeper than most, with lines like “feels like you’ve tumbled off a cliff in the dark… but I’ll catch you girl and unbreak your heart…”. The emotional power of the song is enhanced by the swelling strings and this would be another good choice for a single.

The final song on the EP is another one with a serious and important social message, This Is My Home. On the surface it sounds like a vintage piece of classic rock with an AC/DC style strutting chord progression. But under the hood is a moving and empowering song about a child fighting cancer. Cleverly starting from a perspective of meeting the girl, it flips to her perspective and she expresses her defiance in fighting the disease in the towering chorus: “You’re not welcome here, cos this is my home…..you’re the invader, I’m  the crusader, I’ll fight you off on my own…”.

As cancer has become such a blight on so many lives this is a hugely inspiring and uplifting song, especially to those battling against it or those with loved ones in this predicament. It’s particularly aimed at child sufferers, however, and the band will be filming the video for this song at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. A great way to finish.

Overall, this is a hugely enjoyable EP that resurrects classic rock n’ roll into the 21st century with a socially aware and spiritual lyrical approach. With the lead single, 21 Guns and a Million Tears, they have a modern classic on their hands but this EP is solid gold right the way through. Aside from Caruso’s singing and songwriting, credit should also go to the excellent musicianship from the rest of the band which functions as a tight unit. Hopefully 308 Ghost Train will reach the people in the numbers they deserve.

VERDICT = 9 out of 10

Alex Faulkner

Listen here:

SINGLE REVIEW: Boomerang by Saba Brothers

Boomerang Album Cover.jpg

https://www.s3sababrothers.com/

https://www.facebook.com/s3sababrothers/

Saba Brothers are a three piece pop/rock group consisting of three brothers, Raymond, Steven and Nathan who are based in Sydney, Australia. They formed in 2010 as youngsters and eventually began writing original material to go along with their popular cover versions, which they performed at numerous venues in their region. They released their first single Walk Away in 2018 which was a success, going on to release several singles from their Life EP and then another single, Smile.

This track, Boomerang, is their latest single and shows them beefing up their signature sound and giving it a rockier edge. From its opening bars, the crunchy guitars and lead guitar lines grab your attention but Saba Brothers still retain their accessible pop side.

Breaking down to acoustic guitar for the first verse, the electric guitars return for the ultra catchy chorus which is augmented by vocal harmonies. Rather like other groups such as the Beach Boys and Bee Gees, these brothers have a natural vocal blend that gives them a rich, distinctive sound.

The three members are all excellent musicians and work well as a tight musical unit. Lyrically, the song has quite a profound spiritual message for a three minute song that can be summed up as “you reap what you sow” and what you give out to the world you will eventually receive in return. After the second chorus, they let rip with a very well constructed guitar solo performed by Raymond, something you don’t hear enough of in the mainstream anymore.

Overall, this is an infectious rock track from a talented trio of brothers who are completely in sync with each other musically. The years of playing together have paid off and they’ve developed their songwriting and sound to a level where they stand poised to take their success to the next level. With wide ranging appeal to both rock and pop fans, the sky is truly the limit for the Saba Brothers.

 

VERDICT = 8.6 out of 10

 

Alex Faulkner

 

SINGLE REVIEW: Wasting Time by Ray Ryder

t_2cJtRQ.jpeg

https://www.rayryder.com.au

Ray Ryder is a singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist hailing from Australia and his music is in the country rock/pop category. Having studied music from a young age he eventually founded the group One Step Ahead who played with Sting, Chris Isaak and Bryan Ferry, amongst others. In 2016, he released his eponymous debut album which he wrote, performed and produced himself. This led to developing a large fan base. In 2017, he played the world’s biggest remote festival, the Birdsville Big Bash and has since visited Nashville to perform a series of showcases.

This song, Wasting Time, is his latest single and it’s an infectious and upbeat country rock track. Starting with a meaty drum beat and subtle but catchy guitar riff, Ray’s authentic and earthy lead vocals then become the focal point. After a succinct first verse it breaks out into a memorable chorus with reflective lyrics about learning lessons and finding the right path in life: “I’m a long way from where I’ve been, I’m not sure what’s wrong or right….if the point of living is not to fall on the way then I’ve been wasting time….”.

After the second chorus the song leads into a half-time section that provides nice rhythmic variety and features some rich organ. After breaking down for the third chorus it builds up to a concise and effective guitar solo that gives an extra musical lift to the track before driving home the last choruses to complete a perfectly arranged three minute song.

Overall, this is an impressive new release from Ray Ryder that has the authenticity and deep lyrics of country rock but with a modern pop production style that extends its commercial appeal even further. This song will be a sure fire hit with his present fan base but his potential to reach a massive worldwide audience is certainly very  strong. Hopefully, Wasting Time will be another important step towards that goal.

 

 

VERDICT = 8.7 out of 10

 

Alex Faulkner

 

SINGLE REVIEW: Ghost by Rob Georg

ghost_cover_ver7-1.jpg

Rob Georg is a country singer and songwriter originally hailing from Tuebingen in Germany. He became interested in music as a child, taking up the piano and then switching to guitar. He bought his first guitar at just 14 and this led to writing his own material. In 2018, he released his first official song Push That Horn and in December of that year came his first full band release, This Ain’t My First Rodeo. That song made it into the US National Radio Hits AC Charts Top Ten.

This track, Ghost, is a mid paced country rock ballad that showcases his very fine abilities as both a singer and songwriter. It’s a haunting song about not being able to move on from a relationship, something nearly everyone will be able to relate to. It begins with a strident beat and subtle strains of steel guitar before Rob’s powerful and distinctive voice enters.

He gives a compelling lead vocal performance full of emotion and nuance, yet still perfectly controlled. The first verse finds him reflecting on his lost relationship after a sleepless night, his sorrow captured in lines like, “I tried to bury the bones of all the memories you left behind.

It builds to a memorable chorus augmented by subtle but effective harmonies and the songs theme is captured succinctly by the last line: “Guess I’ll spend the rest of my life being haunted by your ghost”. After the second chorus we hear a finely crafted and understated guitar solo which leads to the poignant and moving final breakdown chorus as he resigns himself to his fate.

Overall, this is a very well written and performed country rock ballad that packs an emotional punch. Rob Georg captures the turmoil of heartbreak and regret in his poetic lyrics, conveyed with depth by his emotive vocal style. Even more importantly, the song’s main melody is highly memorable. With pristine production and a radio friendly sound, Ghost has the makings of a huge hit and should make him many new fans.

 

VERDICT= 9 out of 10 

Alex Faulkner

Listen here: