Monday, September 30, 2013

Late September Features: Mark Crozer & The Rels, TAUK, Lucy Rose

Watching the last days of September morph into the “pumpkin month,” three significant musical releases are now focused on here.

Longtime friend of this blog Mark Crozer has a new collection of music by way of his recently released EP Backburner. For those not previously familiar, Mark is a talented singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who makes no secret about his passion for classic pop music.

 Opener “Tell Me You Want Me” is paced by an uptempo double-time snare drum pattern and aggressively slashed, brightly toned guitar chords on the intro and chorus. Much has previously been mentioned about Mark’s Beatles influences, and certainly it can be heard here in guitar tone. However the song structure and accents on this instead bring to mind the early 1990’s work of Dinosaur Jr., and in particular the album “Where You Been.” The lyrical subject matter deals with a couple at the crossroads of their relationship. “All the hesitation – trepidation – that you just can’t hide” - and “I thought I was everything to you.” With the ultimate plea - “I want you to say you want me too.”

“All You Gotta Do” bursts out of the gate with melodic guitar riff riding front and center over a full band production. The time-honored lyrical tale of being the one to cure a potential lovers loneliness is presented with a playful yet ultimately serious clarity. Lines like “last desire in the holy name of the one true fire” speak perhaps to higher powers than simple human desires. The punctuating lyric “all you gotta do is come around – and we’ll burn it down,” shows the songwriting to be more than disjointed poetic lines.
Bass guitar provides the driving center on “Back To Yesterday,” allowing guitars and synths to dance around the edges as it’s lyrical story unfolds. The mood is Peter Gunn detective story vibe with a dash of The Hollies “Long Cool Woman In A Black Dress” and perhaps a bit of Talk Talk’s “It’s My Life” rolled in as well. “We were so young and cool, we were never gonna change,” Mark sings on a chorus embellished by enveloping power chords. “We made up our own rules” he continues, “but that was yesterday” comes the ultimate how-it-is-seen-now vantage point.
A brightly piercing lead guitar line introduces the clever word play embedded in the lyrical content of “Dig That Funky Meat.” On the surface, subject matter about “barbeques and burgers in the sun,” and “chewing up the great outdoors” may appear odd for a driving rock song. And drive it does as a pulsing bassline and cracking snare drum create a careening forward throttle. As the song progresses a psychedelic raveup ensues, with layers of guitars cascading over each other for maximum effect.
In addition to the pop songwriting Mark does here with his band The Rels, he is also a touring member of the legendary Scottish dreampop band The Jesus and Mary Chain.  Furthermore, Mark wrote a song that was purchased by the WWE Wrestling organization and now serves as the theme music for one of their wrestlers - Bray Wyatt.

You can hear the song being played multiple times during this clip from one of Wyatt's matches:

Bray Wyatt of WWE with Mark's song as his theme music

Find out more about Mark Crozer here
You can also read a complete review of Mark's previous full length album release with The Rels Here

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Releasing their full-length album “Homunculus” under the guidance of Grammy-winning producer Robert Carrranza (Mars Volta, Jack Johnson) earlier this year, New York City’s TAUK prepares for a series of showcases in the coming days.

Opening track “Dead Signal” evolves from mellotron wind whooshes to dominant guitar riffing over a rock solid bass and drums backbeat. Guitar phrasing and chord progressions echo the great fusion and jamband artists like Allan Holdsworth and The Allman Brothers Band. While keyboard textures throughout the album bring to mind the classic work of Brian Auger with his Oblivion Express.

Returning to their home city after an extensive tour through the midwest and southern states (after earlier select opening dates supporting Robert Randolph and the Family Band this summer), the band played Music Hall of Williamsburg in Brooklyn recently. They now head back out onto the road.

A free EP from the band can be downloaded Here

A version of this feature written by Dave Cromwell can also be found on on The Deli Magazine here

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Celebrating the US release of her debut album “Like I Used To,” UK chanteuse Lucy Rose played an intimate showcase for her fans at Cameo Gallery on Thursday, September 19th. Having already established a presence in her home country, Lucy now sets her sights on bringing her musical message to the USA. She presently finds herself in the midst of a 31-city North American tour supporting established act City and Colour, however her show at Cameo was a shining moment headline appearance for her already growing New York fan base.

Dressed in a loose-fitting t-shirt, simple skin-tight jeans and Converse sneakers, the diminutive strawberry blonde musician commanded center stage as a rapt audience hung on to her every move and utterance. She exhibited an easy, relaxed rapport with her fellow live band mates that reflected a gig experience one might not expect from someone so young. Her songs often start out with an understated gentleness that ultimately builds into emotionally-charged full band productions.

Tempo changes, instrumental interludes and adventurous percussion are frequently present within what one might initially perceive as a “folk” song. An immediate example of this is the album opener “Red Face,” which combines her soft delicate vocal delivery with interesting rhythmic accents. There is an instantly appealing quality to the straight-forward honest sincerity and vulnerability of her lyrics. On one of her (as of yet) biggest numbers “Middle Of The Bed,” the spirit and occasional vocal inflection of role model Joni Mitchell runs throughout. Lucy sings about how “I’m over it, over you,” even though “all over town they say I love you.”

Listen to the lovely "Middle Of The Bed"

A gentle samba rhythm undercurrent had the live keyboardist providing punctuating handclaps. Her voice retains the same qualities live as they appear on the recorded tracks. Other popular and recognizable songs such as “Lines,” “Scar” “Night Bus” and “Shiver” were all met with an enthusiastic crowd response.

An amiable stage presence and easy interaction with the audience contributes significantly to her overall appeal. Despite the elements of sadness within her songs, the feeling you are ultimately left with is decidedly uplifting. Leaving the stage after the final song, the audience enthusiastically brought her back for an encore, which served as a fitting conclusion to this unique concert experience.

You can download a free MP3 of "Middle Of The Bed" Here

And find out more about Lucy Here

A version of this feature written by Dave Cromwell can also be found on the My Social List site Here

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Misty said...

some really great music here! I love the pop music that Mark Crozer makes. you’re right in that it is classic and timeless. TAUK on the other hand seems very jazzy. that is some complex music. while Lucy Rose really gets that whole Joni Mitchell thing down. I adored her when she first burst on the scene.

DaveCromwell said...

I couldn’t agree more, Misty - about ALL you say here. People are really starting to take notice of Mark Crozer's music now. It's definitely been helped by wrestler Bray Wyatt using his (originally titled) "Broken Out In Love" as his entrance music. Re-titled as 'Live In Fear' by the WWE that track is available under that title from itunes and other digital outlets.

TAUK is very much "prog rock" - and it's a genre of music I've loved for years. So, I was pleased to be able to review them.

Lucy Rose has made no secret of her admiration for Joni Mitchell. You can really hear it in her heartfelt, original songs.

Anonymous said...

Nice review, I quite like Lucy Rose :)

DaveCromwell said...

Lucy's music is wonderful. In addition to her obvious folk-style charms - I love the placement of ambient passages in her recorded music.

The Midnite Rambler said...

As usual, a very nice blog. Thank you Dave. I'm not really big into folky stuff except for the occasional M Ward / Simon & Garfunkle but I enjoyed the rest.

DaveCromwell said...

That's perfectly fine, Rambler. I realize that this is an eclectic collection - three very distinct styles of music. We all have our own unique taste, and on what grabs our attention.

Mirror said...

Steve wrote: "Now THAT's what I'm TAUKing about! I am digging that funky meat! Especially the keyboard bass on that track. And Lucy has a familiar but pleasant sound. It's all coming up Roses!"

DaveCromwell said...

As a keyboard bass dabbler myself (and you even moreso) - It sounds like Mark had fun with that part. Lucy Rose is a little doll - but she's so sad - what up with that? Oh, right - LIFE is (frequently) sad.

Ivanka said...

Сool review Dave!!! Well done!!!

Patricia Mena said...

Great work Dave. I like "Back to yesterday" and "Dig That Funky Meat" sooo nice songs. "Dead Signal" Fabulous, and would say my fave! Love it! The rhythm, everything. Lucy Rose... wow what a beautiful voice, i quite like her style, really cool. :D

DaveCromwell said...

Wonderful feedback, people. I'm sure the artists will be pleased to know their songs are so well received.

Mirror said...

Steve responds to the "LIFE is (frequently sad)" comment: "Perhaps she is a creature of infinite melancholy."

Mr Smork said...

nice feature!

i got to admit one of i most enjoyed recently.

and artist all 3 got my interest.

awesome, man!

DaveCromwell said...

Steve - And possibly a member of the 'mellon collie and the infinite sadness' society

Good to know all three of these (admittedly disparate) acts resonated in a positive way with you, Mr. Smork.