Review: Gary Reynolds “Volume One”
By: Phil Lisotti
It’s never too late to try and get back out there. After a five year hiatus, Gary Reynolds has returned to the music scene with the release of his first album in as many years, and shows that he has certainly not forgotten how to write a song. Also produced and engineered by the man himself, Gary comes swinging with strong heartfelt lyrics over a number of tracks with obvious strong inspiration from past masters in the music business, such as late 60’s Beatles-esque pop with early 70’s soft rock. Even a feint glimpse of 90’s alternative era influence can be heard, specifically in lieu of a band like Oasis.
The albums first track, Wall Eyed Girl, starts off with a soothing electric piano, giving a Beatles “Help” era feel. It doesn’t take long for the song to pick up with more instruments, giving the song a much more full feeling. Gary also shows some more strong ability to write on a piano, on songs such as Instant Happiness, Honeymoon, Who Do You Love (all three having a somewhat gloomy, heartbroken feel to them) and All Because of You, which is among the more happy sounding tracks off the album, a very inspiring story about a loved one with Gary having a bit of fun in the recording studio on the bridge (perhaps too much).
Guitars do play a big part in this album. Life on my Own has a John Fogerty sounding opening guitar riff that continues throughout the song, giving it a bit of a hard yet subtle feel. The song has one of the better choruses on the album, all thanks to the guitar playing. She’s the One has a harder guitar tone, very early 70’s-like tone. Along with its harmonized vocals make this track among the harder tunes, unfortunately it is not a very long track, but it will undoubtedly have its listener singing along. Want is the most 90’s sounding track off the album, with its hard guitar tone, and strong usage of intermittent guitar playing during verses, making way for the drums and bass to have a bit of spotlight (listen to Nirvana, you’ll notice they do this quite a bit). Getting Over is the last of the strong guitar driven tracks on the album. It combines the previously mentioned electric piano in the background, but rest assured it is a guitar player’s song, featuring one of few guitar solos on the album. And it’s a dandy bluesy guitar solo too.
Elijah is a very well written track, starting off acoustically, and feeling like a Neil Young song until the rest of the instruments come in. One of the softer tracks on the album, it is also probably the most full track, filled with piano, tambourine, drums and a string section, perfect for the listener who just wants to relax, not play anything hard, but at the same time doesn’t want to play a corny ballad…not that there is anything wrong with a corny ballad.
Songs like Lay It down on Me and Paula My Dear aren’t defined by the instruments played on them. They are more or less the singer’s songs on the album. Gary may not be the most talented singer, but he has a voice that can certainly be listened to. Waiting for Godot is probably the albums weakest track. Gary concentrates more on the song’s lyrics rather than the delivery of the lyrics, giving it a bit of an uneven feeling. And the albums finally track, I Will Remain, ends the album off on a very Beatles sounding note. It features multi-tracked vocals to make Gary’s voice sound stronger and mixes acoustic guitars with electric guitars, and its lyrics, as the title suggests, assure the listener that even though it is the last song, it is not the last we’ll hear of Gary.
All in all, this album is pretty good! It lacks some originality, but in this day in age so does almost everyone. What matters is that there is a strong sense of music knowledge and song writing skills displayed throughout the album. Great for the avid listener of soft rock or softer classic rock artists such as Billy Joel or John Mellencamp
“Instant Happiness” – The best written song on the album. On a music’s standpoint, it goes from a staccato piano beat with Gary’s soft sung lyrics over top that sounds like he’s creeping up getting ready to jump up and scare you, and he almost does. The verse leads to a slightly harder chorus, with the full band playing and Gary singing his heart out. The track is another to feature a guitar solo, and just like Getting Over, it is a guitar player’s solo. Not a complex one but a bluesy one with a lot of feeling to it.
7 (Out of 10)
Phil Lisotti writes for Phil’s Rock Reviews which is a site for avid rock fans – http://rockreviewphil.blogspot.ca – Also check out his facebook page.
Review: Transient Songs, “Foreign Rooms”
By: G. Chad Wolfe
Sophomore albums can be tricky for a band. Either they get swallowed by the success of a debut and go out with a low roar into oblivion, or they stray from the confines of what brought the band notice in the first place. The second album by any outfit is a treacherous position if sought after with too much gusto, ego, et al the demons. Transient Songs’ Foreign Rooms calls to mind the stand tall, yet dirty and imperfect chords of “Caryatid Easy” off Son Volt’s mighty sophomore record, Straightaways. Not only through its unapologetic gruffness, but by the way the album didn’t seem to hit with a bang—a quiet recording waiting to be discovered by those ready to hear.
It’s in that spirit that Transient Song’s second LP Foreign Rooms sets up shop with real instruments—real music for real people as the saying might go. The kind of music where the band actually plugs into an amplifier and cuts fingers on strings. The ethos on Foreign Rooms is as legit as a high school football coach delivering with blood and guts the clarity of an angel raising half-time speech.
A lush roll of sound and heartbreaking lyrics and vocals make this album a loser’s anthem. The album catches stride and rolls into one when guitar merges with drums on the track Haywood, sounding like what Marquee Moon might’ve if Peter Buck contributed to Tom Verlaine’s seminal album back in 1977. Foreign Rooms feels like the line cook’s soundtrack at the end of the night if one were to walk through the kitchen of Las Manitas in Austin, TX, on a whimsical Friday. And all of this is begging the question “where the hell has Transient Songs been my whole life?” But the answer is in the songs, and the spirit of Television, Alejandro Escovedo, and early Whiskeytown hum through the wires while John Frum declares to whoever is listening: “How is the view from the bottom of the well? / Do you feel the ache in your bones when the winter swells? /We are the last of the dying breed/We’re just what’s left of the demon seed.
Chad Wolfe lives and works in Southern Iowa where he’s grown a tremendous appreciation for open spaces, red vs. green tractor polemics, porches, and corn on the cob. When not writing about music, sports, and pop culture for the internet, he tries to avoid thinking too much about the future or the past.
As an independent record label the growth of vinyl is an encouraging sign to the overall music industry. In 2011, 3.9 million records were sold compared to approx. 800,000 in 2005. There was also a great demand for turntables as reported in Nov of 2012.
We’d love for our current artists to release first on vinyl like the old days. Without a strong fan base the cost of manufacturing vinyl is high in this digital media era. We continue to look for new options to get music on vinyl.
Consuming digital is much easier for the average fan and simply getting music on their iPods works. Even Neil Young is trying to raise the digital standard with his Pono music player. The debate goes on…
flameproofmusic offers our artistes and their fans a little old school era meets the modern era with its Limited Edition Digital Vinyl CD releases. These CDs resemble miniature LPs with realistic album grooves! They also come in sleek 250gsm card that make the whole package resemble a retro 45 experience. The discs play in all standard CD players. The cool factor is priceless.
For these limited edition releases it also gives the artists a chance to add extra tracks, bonus material or alternative versions of their regular album release.
flameproofmusic wants to make it easy and affordable for the fans to get the format they want at a reasonable price. Our pricing and packaging is standard for all releases:
Digital Download Only – $6
Digital Download plus Physical CD – $10
Digital Download plus Physical CD, plus Limited Edition Digital Vinyl CD – $14
(check individual artist details for what is included in their digital vinyl release)
Check back soon for our first Digital Vinyl CD release.