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L.A. Beat

CD Reviews

Harpoonist & the Axe Murderer expand their sound

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Vancouver blues duo Harpoonist & the Axe Murderer are back with a fine new album “ A Real Fine Mess.”
They have spread their wings a little as they explore the sounds of the ’60s  touching on ’60s pop to R and B music and take a few beautiful detours along the way.Click here to Hear Harpoonist and the Axe Murderer
 I’ve been looking forward to this for a long time.
They are more their own band than your typical Black Keys style blues influenced duo.
The CD features plenty of fine harp playing from “Harpoonist” harp player /vocalist some time bassist Shawn Hall.
They wind down the CD with a kind of gospel influenced rave up featuring the unstoppable drums of “Axe Murderer” / guitarist/drummer keyboardist Matthew Rogers who sounds like he must have three or four extra hands considering all of the instruments he plays simultaneously.
 The duo add a more ’70s funk/ R and B sound which comes to the fore on  “Closer to Death” and the first track “ Back and Blue.”

 Tom Heuckendorff also plays keyboards and organ on the CD. There are a lot of highlights on the CD.
 “Do Whatcha” is a mid tempo groover that is most reminiscent of their previous work and has a catchy, sing along chorus.
 Another hot one is the spooky “They Just Don't Make them Like They Used To.”
There are several tracks that have a ’60sish soulful vibe like the sexy “Feel Me Now.” They have also added a few other musicians on the CD including tenor saxophonists Chris Startup and Brock Miller and baritone sax player Chad Makela, who play on the background of this track.
“In and Out of Love” has a Bo Diddley old school blues boogie feel thanks to the harp and the groove. “In the End ” also has a vintage blues / ’60s sound.
  “Mama's in the Backseat,” is a highlight as it is one of Harpoonist & the Axe Murderer’s beloved blues rock scorchers with a fantastic harp solo and the drums and guitar locked in with each other.
 “ My Paradise” has a similarly toe tapping groove and background vocals which add to the ’60s sound of the CD.
The CD ends on a slower, groovy note with “A Real Fine Noise“ which features and interesting warbling harp solo which reminded me of Carlos Del Junco.

 — By Richard Amery,  L.A.  Beat Editor
 CD: A Real Fine Mess
Band: Harpoonist & the Axe Murderer
Genre: Blues

New music from Paul Kype and Texas Flood is a long time comin’

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The long awaited CD from Paul Kype and Texas Flood  is truly a “long time comin’.”
 After a tasteful intro which only gives a taste of Kype’s talent on guitar, the cd starts with a roots rock cover of AC DC's “Bad Boy Boogie” — one of several  cool covers including blues standard “ Walking By Myself” and “ You Don’t Love Me.”Click here to hear Paul Kype and texas Flood

Though there are several subtle guitar solos, the CD is not really about the guitar solo as I would have expected from Kype who is a pretty phenomenal guitar picker, but about the songs.

There are many upbeat, catchy originals which show off Kype’s vocals and steady rhythm.
 He has a talented band backing him on CD — the same band who play with him live.Greg Gomola adds extra guitar throughout.

 Earl McAuly‘s keyboards are a highlight throughout the CD especially on  the honky  the barrelhouse boogie “ Hair All Tangled,” which also features some nice slide guitar. The keyboards are usually pretty subtle , though come to the fore on tracks like their cover of “Hair All Tangled”  but help drive the songs. The tender, slower blues “I Can Only Love You” is a highlight.

Kype is at his finest when he picks up the tempo on tracks like “Baby You Ain’t The One, Heed the Call” and Rattle My Chains, to name a few.
He  explores his county side on slower songs like “ Cowgirl,” which feature Ryan “Skinny ” Dyck on steel guitar.
 Craig Erdman and Tyson Maiko both share bass duties a while Jerry Adolph and Brady Valgardson share drum duties.
 there are a lot of highlights including “Heed the Call” and “Rattle My Chains,” which has a catchy , bluesy groove.
They end with a rollicking version of blues classic “Walking By Myself.”

— By Richard Amery, L.A. beat Editor
CD: Long Time Comin’
Band: Paul Kype and Texas Flood
Genre: blues/rock

Dirti Speshuls release huge debut CD “Long Time Coming”

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 Lethbridge rock band the Dirti Speshuls have released their huge new debut CD,“ Long Time Coming.”

It is huge sounding in every way from the first chord of the first song “Gotta Go.”

They sound like ’90s rockers Treble Charger jamming with Queens of the Stone Age in an ’80s studio run by Bob Rock. They sound like they stepped right out of the late ’90s while sidestepping the whole grunge craze.Click Here to hear the Dirtis Speshuls

Everything about it is  big— it has a a huge sound, big guitars, big choruses, big everything except the length as it is only eight songs long.

 They are all good though. ‘Gotta Go” Crazy Rocky” and “Come on Kid” all stand out.
they slow down slightly in the middle of the CD but pick up the tempo again onOut on your own, which has more of a modern rock feel.

The three guitarists Rob Cooper, John Brooks and Jon Vornbrock each have their own distinct sounds yet still provide a  big wall of sound. Drummer Dean Wilson and bassist Rick Beres play in the pocket in an unstoppable rhythm and Todd Carter, a veteran of the Lethbridge music scene, has a distinctive voice. The other band members  also harmonize nicely.
 They end on  a high note “Never the Same,” which shows off the guitars and the vocal harmonies.
“Long Time Coming” is a rock solid listen for those who want to move, groove and maybe even dance.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor

CD: Long Time Coming
Band: the Dirti Speshuls

genre: rock/ alternative rock


MonkeyJunk play more than just the blues on All Frequencies

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Ottawa blues trio MonkeyJunk branch out a little on their Juno nominated  CD “All Frequencies.” The bassless trio play a variety of different  forms of blues which is all good, but they add a little more this time.Click here to hear MonkeyJunk
 While there is still a lot of catchy blues, powered by Steve Marriner’s fabulous harp and baritone guitar, plus many smoking solos from guitarist Tony D,  they have a lot more soul and even some quirky pop/ reggae sounds along the lines of Sublime on tracks like “Je Nah Say Kwah.”

 The  CD begins on a high note with “ You Make A Mess,” and they keep the energy up from beginning to end.

 That baritone guitar just sticks in your gut and it is always a pleasure to hear Marriner’s mind blowing harp. He also has an appealing voice which sounds like a mix of Kenny Loggins and Richard Marx.

 “Once Had Wings is a slower, more tender, but dark Delta blues style number.

 They shine when they turn things up on the ultimately catchy “ Say What,” with the huge sing along chorus “ All Night Long” and a sizzling guitar solo.
I also love the groove of “Sirens in the Night.”
 The last track “Swank,” is a beautiful organ powered jam that borrows a few bars of the Sanford and Sons TV theme, then allows everyone to play tasteful solos.

— by Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
CD: All Frequencies
Band: MonkeyJunk
Genre: Blues
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