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Sunday, 31 August 2014



Maps and Legends.

Marooned with musical mediocrity by album five. That was the threat to Adam Levine's band of Kara's Flower brothers in todays pop culture. 'This Love' or 'She Will Be Loved', those decade and change old classic 'Songs About Jane' could only take the boys so radio rotating rapidly far. Especially after their five year hiatus later 'It Won't Be Soon Before Long' sophomore slumping, but still sweet sounding follow up album hit the skids. Album number three, 'Hands All Over' pulled them back, especially when it was restocked with their biggest to date, monster, annoyingly catchy single 'Moves Like Jagger'. Then their last album, the tongue-in-cheek titled 'Overexposed' dialled up some more hits for the band routing for change with the Wiz Khalifa call and rap response collect, 'Payphone'. Still there still felt like there was something missing for a Police/Prince hybrid band that looked to change the face and ears of a watered down pop industry before they became a little diluted themselves, invoking a feeling of drinking cordial after mouthwash. It seemed like one day these guys where winning Grammy's and writing stellar songs for Spider-Man soundtracks (the wonderful 'Woman') and the next they where replaced like Tobey Maguire for something more 'amazing' in this app, reboot demand age. Still throughout all this and a dirty laundry list of b-sides and soundtrack spots, Adam and his apples have not lost their bite to give up, still striving and surviving like these September Summer serenades. Now Maroon V go for their fifth Roman numeral album (sixth if you count their original named Kara's Flowers 'Fourth World' album...and so you should). That's the relevant title. You didn't think Levine was displaying his V-card did you? This guy makes Mayer look like a monk.

The opening journey of 'Maps' leads this band to their latest chart destination of billboard top spots with repeated, radio airplay. Although on the face of it so radio friendly its meekly sedate, this new big hit gets better over time with its audience sinker hook and bottom line. Add this as another melodic, pop magic sleeper that finds its home on playlists and mixtapes from dorms to office cubicles for an audience that's grown with this band. The new blonde bomber Levine's ability to write a classic chorus and even save a meandering one with a few key changes in the harmony of a few magic moments make him a songwriting game changer. He knows how to write as many hits as his Voice co-judge Pharrell Williams of 'Happy', every other song on the radio after fame. As a matter of fact there's probably a good half dozen picks here that contestants will use as their face-song audition for more than just the curried favour of obligation. There's the pop predator 'Animals' and the sure fire pop pouting punch of 'Unkiss Me' and its "if you respect me/dont protect me" lyrics. Six songs none the richer there's also the soundtrack score scorching of the electropop effervescent 'It Was Always You' and the sweet 'Sugar' that is a saccarine charm of catchiness. Still it's the standout 'Leaving California' that shows this band is best coast, Los Angeles, summertime pure more than their neon, desert, Killer artwork. As Levine laments "Even if the sun crashes up to us/I won't let go, I won't let go/And I can be your light/stay with me tonight" he lays down their best in years. This is as California as white tee's and Levis. This is a song that will be the soundtrack accompaniment to graduating kids hitting the road out of the sunshine state everywhere. With more oohs to ahh at this is a song in the classic album track 'Beautiful Goodbye', 'Just A Feeling' vain this will be set to repeat as much as other tracks are set to skip. This writer himself knowing the bittersweet memory of lamenting a lost love to the playing of 'Goodnight, Goodnight' back in the 2007, 'It Wont Be Soon Before Long' time.

Still this album like the three that preceded it and followed Jane suffers from starting strong before dragging out all too long. This is something that will one day translate into the perfect playlist for a greatest hits shuffle, but as of right now is an issue that is crucial in addressing like out of town invoices as they map their own legacy. Especially if these guys in this modern day, cherry picking digital age want to make the distinguishable difference between a download or purchase. Its not that the latter portion of this project is bad. As a matter of fact for all their tracks and criticisms I couldn't name you a 'bad' M5 record. It's just that its simply filler in comparison to the formidable opening. 'In Your Pocket' could be a spiritual sequel to 'Payphone' but they have a better song in their back one. 'New Love' gets the idea and 'Coming Back For You' is coloured in a trademark shade of off-red so much so that you could find it on any of the 5 Maroon albums. Although almost like a parody name of one of this bands songs 'Feelings' offers more sensation, before the closer 'My Heart Is Open' leaves no room for doubt thanks to a welcome hollaback from pops number one girl Gwen Stefani for a duet that matches the Christina collaboration diva for better. A V times two of top ten tracks seems just as right as the third bowl of porridge but some deluxe offerings will be a cosy bed for the die-hards but a too much weight, broken chair to the more casual observers and listeners. Still 'Shoot Love' has more heart from the hip, whilst Adam Levine's 'Lost Stars' is as welcome as the return of old friend and Maroon lifer Jesse Carmichael to the band. Still it's the 'Sex and Candy' of a swansong that matches the promising pedal start of this album. If the band can buff the fluff they'll be dusting off classic records to come that will make them more than just mature pop saviours of a Savage Garden of true, mad depth in a diluted, drowning industry of downloads but a band that will be as remembered as much as Jane in years time. Time to add a compass to the map. TIM DAVID HARVEY

Sunday, 17 August 2014



Everything Is Awesome.

Forget out of this world. 'Guardians Of The Galaxy' is almost out this Marvel universe. The classic movie in arguably the comic book, formidable franchises greatest year (see the perfect playlist of 'Captain America-The Winter Soldier', 'The Amazing Spider-Man 2' and 'X-Men: Days Of Future Past') is the best and must fun film of a monster 'Godzilla' and 'Planet Of The Apes' 2014. Now every hero deserves a soundtrack...otherwise what else is Starlord going to strut too? How about the "ooga-chaka's" of Blue Swede with this films signature song that has had us 'Hooked On A Feeling' all year since the teaser trailer? Way before Captain America was taken off ice for 'The Winter Soldier' and even before Chris Pratt built the blocks of his superstar showdown in 'The LEGO Movie'. The movie is magic in its own in Marvel's age of Avengers but it does owe something to this song. Just like this song and the rest of the soundtracks nostalgic homage owes something to these Galaxy Guardians in bringing their classic hallmark musical legend to the modern mainstream, who needs something between all that Bieber and bull####! Everyone's new favourite team of avenging superheroes, Peter Quill, Gamora, Drax The Destroyer, Rocket the racoon and Groot the talking the tree that sounds a lot like Vin Diesel have something special for their spaceships stereo and those long road trips between planets.

It all comes from the foam and plastic of Starlord's old Walkman and 90's headphones that has another moral music message in the fact that even in this mp3, digital age of iTune and Spotify playlists that there is something pure in the simple but classic form of what constitutes an "actual" mixtape. So like an old rap D.J. of yester-decades gone would say, 'get your tape decks ready'. Ready with your hand on your ghetto blasters, too tempting to not touch, big, red button to record these radio hits before the pesky D.J. talks all over the end of your favourite song and ruins it (I see you Tim Westwood, literally drop the bombs). Forget streaming, an auxillary line-out, forget even C.D's because it's time to throw it back to the black cassettes with their white label that where only annoying the moment their reels got caught in your stereos heads and you had to work with more screwdrivers than a bartender. This is more than a soundtrack. We have an 'Awesome Mix, Vol 1' courtesy of Mrs. Quill, Starlords mum, a classic soundscape of pop music history, so much so that it has topped the billboard 200 charts, the first time a soundtrack of non-original material has done so. Now what did we tell you about what the mainstream needed? Sounds like dedicated justice to the speakers from peoples living rooms to their car me you're going to want a lift. This is the compilation album that because of the film has its own originality to its greatest hits nature. Even in the downloading depression of music this is one playlist that will be rocking and rolling to the 'Age Of Ultron'.

Even Norman Greenbaum's 'Spirit In The Sky' that has been used in every other movie you've seen with its iconic and inspired "when I die and they lay me to rest/gonna go to the place that's the best/when they lay me down to die/going up to the spirit in the sky" lyrics is here! This magic hour song may not have been in the film like it should, but it gave new life to the second trailer and in an internet age hungry for more trailers of goosebump gratifying, evoking excitement despite the spoilers. This makes for one of cinemas best commercials. We have the rocking and blowing Raspeberries who 'Go All The Way' and one of the galaxies Ziggy Stardust, David Bowie's boldest and best ('Moonage Daydream') in a labrynth of legendary legacy. Then there's a timeless love song classic in Elvin Bishop's 'Fooled Around and Fell In Love' which there is no doubt everyone can find rooting through their parents vinyl collection just like the opposite, atmospheric side of that heart and soul classic coin in 'I'm Not In Love' by 10cc that hasn't sounded this good today since Huey Morgan of the Fun Lovin' Criminals covered it with playful blues brooding. Who says big boys don't cry? Also what's a rock and roll soundtrack without the Jackson 5? The classic 'I Want You Back' has a new legendary legacy in the films funniest scene. Mike would have loved to see this. From the strut your stuff opening of Redbone's rocking 'Come and Get Your Love' to the coolest explosion of head nodding guitar on The Runaways classic 'Cherry Bomb', hello daddy, hello mum we sure do love the music you used to listen to. So much so that we don't want this press play and then repeat roll-call of rock of ages to stop. Hoping there's another classic that will make our faces fix in an instant recognition of pure joy every time every track kicks in. Especially "if you like Pina Colada's and getting caught in the rain" like Rupert Holmes' 'Escape' or the epic dance off that The Five Stairsteps 'O-O-H Child' can set off. Things feel easier listening to this epic mix that ends poignantly on the ultimate collaborators Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell's 'Aint No Mountain High Enough'. Listen baby sure we cant wait for the sequel of 'Guardians Of The Galaxy' but its the 'Awesome Mix, Vol 2' that we are really listening out for. Preach! Like Rocket would say..."oooh yeah"! TIM DAVID HARVEY



New Jersey Devils.

Hurting for some new music? Then its time to get some more anthems ignited by Gaslight. The Springsteen sons of New Jersey will never leave their town for the bright lights, big city of New York like the Brooklyn Nets. Leading man and iconic singer of a new, influential generation Brian Fallon is to late night N.J. bars what Jimmy Fallon is to late night, N.Y.C. T.V. Now it's time for some thank you notes. Following their cult 'B-Sides' greatest hits we have the return of that ''59 Sound'. The Jersey boys who reinvented 'American Slang' and then engraved it in their 'Handwritten' John Hancock that John Lee Hooker would be proud of are back with their fifth season. Forget 'got milk', it's time to 'Get Hurt' with their new upside down heart artwork, red and white with soulful blue album. This is one straight shot of whiskey that will have you begging for a chaser. As Brian inks new songwriting engravings like the artwork on his sleeves he may as well have a packet of smokes up those short shirt shoulders. This is the album where the boys come into their own. With the bosses blessing and high hopes in their classic car they muscle the steering wheel to a new direction and its pure American beauty in all its raw and real like that girl sitting atop of the new Springsteen vinyl.

Still that's enough Bruce. Right now its all about Brian and his boys. You can hear that from the classic drum roll and rip roaring guitar opening of 'Stay Vicious' that is the hallmark harder edge of this band but dialled up to 11. As Fallon sings "I feel just like a murderer", he goes all Sid Vicious in a punk explosion that shoots like a Sex Pistol as he sings "and I still love rock and roll/and I'll still call somebody baby", it's clear its still Brian even with some dynamic distortion on his distinctive drawl. It's just a new era for this band of today that show they're no longer the new generation but what's happening right now. Inspired by the 'No Code' of legendary, cult rockers Pearl Jam and recorded partly in the country of America's musical home in Nashville, this groundbreaking record for the band is a mix of rock and rolls greatest genres. Still even the darker and more grunge it gets the boys still keep it on the headlights illumination of the road of America's heartland. You can hear that undeniably on the impossible to resist hook of the single sure '1,000 Years' or the hidden atmospheric beauty and depth of the title track that is then followed by the beautifully wrote and beat 'Stray Paper' and the 'Helter Skeleton' which is the Beatles bones of a new fab four...or even a fantastic one in this Marvel comic-book age. The boys stretch their sound further 'Underneath The Ground' as Fallon sings "That's enough, my man, it's time to clap our hands/Call the papers up tomorrow, say we did the best we can/Cause our doctor's in the hospital, the poet just laid down/There's one good man I know, and he can't talk right now."

"Should I take your red, blues and cocaine" the singer continues and asks on the lead, lead strong single 'Rollin and Tumblin'' that's bound to strike a chord with Laurence Fishburne's Morpheus from 'The Matrix'. After the rocking 'Red Violins' play things get real classic on 'Selected Poems' where the seriously underrated and sensational songwriter waxes poetry on vinyl while lamenting with introspection that "nothing stays the same". 'Aint That A Shame' indeed that continues this creative collections new direction before the soul-wrenchingly beautiful 'Break Your Heart' that isn't just among this band or the state of New Jerseys best, but one of modern day rocks most inspired and deep in a modern day industry desperately in need of both characteristics in the charts. As the man who recently went through some personal powerful problems sings "if you knew how I loved you/if I showed you my scars/if I played you my favourite song/lying here in the dark" you can almost here the tears. This is a real man and a real band exposing his soul in a day and age where most young men would feel ashamed to do so. Those in need of some catharsis from the old healer of music may find solace in this,even if it takes us to slower 'Dark Places' before waking and lifting us up with some upbeat rocking hooks. There is 'Sweet Morphine' over sweet sounds that any legendary rockers would be proud of from these young legacy makers. From Springsteen to Dylan you can bet the greats will be tuning this into the airwaves of their radios as they hit the highways. From the 'Nebraska' and Dylan harmonica of 'Mama's Boys' all the way to the haunting 'Halloween'. This fall has got its uprising album earlier than Christmas to alleviate any seasonal change or Del Ray summertime sadness. The record may have changed but the band stay the same and continues their last two album tradition of finishing strong on a slow but amazingly atmospheric cut that shows the last is the deepest. 'Have Mercy' follows 'Slang's' 'We Did It When We Where Young' and 'Handwritten's' 'National Anthem' of Gaslight calling for "the holy ghost" and all the soulful spirit of four young boys from Jersey who made it as men. Amen! TIM DAVID HARVEY

Sunday, 10 August 2014



The Return Of The King.

Rolling R&B superstar Tank has been been seemingly bench pressing amazing albums over the last half decade. He can't stop. It seems like Tank feels he owes it to his passion and talent to release as much quality music as humanly possible. This is his time. This 'One Man', 'Force Of Nature' changed the strike-force of his career with the Grammy nominated 'Sex, Love & Pain' and its battalion of hit singles like 'Please Don't Go'. Not only did this album lead to it's formidable follow up 'Now Or Never' (originally titled 'Sex & Pain II' and we can't wait for the real sequel) and then the 'This Is How I Feel' last solo soldiering, not a year and change after. But the superstar remix of 'Please Don't Go' also led to a collaboration with fellow R&B leading men Tyrese and Ginuwine. Following this remix and a little bit of label pain, Atlantic changed the landscape of these 'Three Kings' legend and legacy as the supergroup released an album last year under their TGT group. Now in the wake of a worldwide tour, fame and a following that is fond for a follow up the guys are going solo again. 'The Bachelor' Ginuwine is working on some new music, whilst megastar Tyrese is looking to add a 'Black Rose' book to what he says will be his last album all inbetween filming the seventh installment of the off the road 'Fast & Furious', Diesel ignited franchise. As for Tank arguably the hardest working and best man in rhythm and blues, this week he gets even 'Stronger' with his seventh seal of success.

The man that has penned hits for everyone from Mrs. Carter, Beyonce to Hollywood star Jamie Foxx has just wrote a top ten list of new classics for himself for what may be his most inspired and original album...and we felt his last one almost took away the 'Sex, Love & Pain', but we hadn't heard anything until we streamed this. The same man who has been giving fans a day by day Instagram workout regime is giving us a step by step routine of how to exercise a classic album. From a refreshed style to a throwback production of a beat change at the break, serving as an inspired interlude to each song, that feels like separate songs in their own great right, just like Gin used to mix with. From the beautiful black and white artwork of women from tomorrow to today, to the super soulful song itself Tank's 'You're My Star' opening single and track show not just women of the world but the man himself that they and he truly shines. Forget a 'Blurred Line' this magic is so Motown Marvin Gaye has got to give it up. As Durrell Babbs hooks "Yeah, girl of my dreams/Fell from the sky now she's hang with me/Can't believe my eyes sayin what they see/Got the brightest star in the galaxy", he writes with a Wonder that guys like Stevie and Sam would have sang about. This throwback sound fast forwards into the seventies of decades after that are also gone but a hallmark of todays yearn for nostalgia. All the way until the 'Nobody Better' follow up track that keeps this party going for the soul soldier and king of broken hearts that seems to be taking some shore leave into the nightspot of a new tide and time. Stepping into a real relationship and the name of love like the R. in R&B Kelly. Turning the ignition of R&B club-jams with smooth soul even further, Tank two-steps again on the third track 'Dance With Me', that is the best rhythm on the dance floor since another R&B supergroup 112 released a track of the same name. With so many jams the only thing missing is some 'Shots Fired' with Chris Brown in this mans sequel, single smash to their big and bold 'Lonely' collaboration. The man that was the songwriting and producing heart of his own supergroup trifecta TGT shows that when it comes to this big three, he's king LeBron James and reaching for his genres throne itself it all continues on 'I Gotta Have It' that shows this man like Cam'Ron once said is on a "rocking recital" and "won't stop until he's on top with the title".

The belt should definitly go to this knockout, boxer built, R&B star who after the first half of the party, switches to the slow jams of heartbreak hotel numbers that are the bread and butter of his meat and potatoes career. 'Missing You' another song as classic as the 112 song of the same level evens this all out. The simple but straight-forward lyrics of waiting by the phone and being engaged with heartache show how honest and heartfelt this genuine guys talent can get. As he laments "Miss the way we danced to our song/Miss the way we love all night long/Miss the way we make future plans/Miss you when I just don't understand" this is as real and raw as it gets for a man that rejects a modern R&B thug culture and shows like Ne*Yo that its all about the year of the gentleman. Nothing in music means more than showing who you really are and with his cards on the table and a heart anything but up his sleeve this man shows he truly is stronger than the thug life of wannabe rappers singing the same hook. With his own original songs he proves for him this won't be the 'Same Way', channeling Andre 3000 "for ever, ever" before unveiling his latest big ballad and hot hit record in 'I Hope This Makes You Love Me'. With lyrics like, "Look at me I'm such a mess/and I normaly would keep this off to myself/all my heart is filled with pain/and I normaly wouldn't cry but ima' let it rain" it really will on a track that may even soar past 'You're My Star' as the latest and greatest hit of this singer. The title track speaks for itself before the last two tracks show that this man has a couple more tricks up that same sleeve he wears his heart on. 'Thanking You' with lines like "All out of pieces, all out of parts/All out of moves, all out of cards/All out of reason, all out of hope/All out of seasons, all out of growth/All out of joy, all out of sun/All out of laughter, all out of fun", just when you thought it was all over, he puts different ways of writing and producing songs on his broad shoulders. With no more burdens to bear, he takes the pain of the past and writes stellar songs in the name of music, but his deepest devotions are dedicated to all he'll do for what matters in his heart and you can hear that 'If That's What It Takes' for the closing jam. As he vows "This conversation is pure desperation/I'll dig for you diamond/Brick by brick I'll build you a home/If that's what it'll take /I'll be your soldier" it's clear nothing is getting in the way of this Tank on his path to soul salvation. From the words wrote down on paper to all he's handing to an industry in need of inspiration, it's clear R&B is in safe strong hand with this soul soldier. Hoo-Rah! TIM DAVID HARVEY.