Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Features: Tall Juan, Sketchy, Joseph Sant, Lost In Society, RANN, Public Memory, Syvia, Britanys, The Teen Age, gods, Writer

A number of Dave Cromwell written features have appeared on The Deli Magazine since the beginning of this year.  In an effort to shine additional light on these artists and their music (along with the descriptive insights written about them), they now are re-featured here.

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Far Rockaway, Queens resident Tall Juan wears his Ramones influences well on the most recent EP “Why Not.” Moving from his home in Buenos Aires, Argentina to NYC and the borough that gave birth to the original punk rockers shows an admirable level of devotion.

Though Joey Ramone may be the obvious initial point of reference, there are elements of Richard Hell’s vocal inflections sprinkled throughout the songs. In keeping with that era’s initial punk ethos, all songs are approximately a minute and a half in length. Opening track “Why Not” may reflect Johnny’s quick chord change progressions, but are delivered instead on an acoustic guitar. “It’s True” (streaming below) channels the buoyant rhythm of “Sheena Is A Punk Rocker” with lyrical content closer to “The KKK Took My Baby Away.” Third track “I Don’t Know What To Do” clocks in at barely over a minutes and leans a bit closer to Hell’s Voidoids than the boys from Queens. Final track is a cover of the Dee Dee penned “Chinese Rock” that playfully interprets its lyrics.

Original Tall Juan Feature on The Deli Magazine by Dave Cromwell can be found here.

Two solo sets are scheduled in Brooklyn before flying to Europe for more shows there.  He is appearing May 26th @ Sunnyvale and May 27th @ C'mon Everybody.

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Punk rock isn’t the first genre that comes to mind when you think of deeper lyrical content. That particular sound is usually about reaction and feel, most often rage or at the very least, discontent. A quick perusal of Brooklyn based Sketchy’s song titles, however show clever minds at work.

Opening track “The Thinkiest Guy In Thinktown,” off of their debut full length album “I Wanted This To Go Different,” hits like prime era Replacements only with growly emo vocals. Classic dual guitars pair Johnny Ramone hyper-speed strummed chords and hook heavy single note riffs. “Whiskey Nostalgia” thunders along like a college frat theme song where all the pledges have been given amped up electric guitars after listening to hours of The Clash. “I Wrote A Suicide Note” is a quick minute and a half burst, sharing kinship with LA punk pioneers Social Distortion’s seminal debut album “Mommy’s Little Monster.” The cleverly titled “Someone Else’s Hook” succinctly references rock music’s overall recycled nature, wrapping it in a sound style reminiscent of early Weezer.

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The ever expanding universe that is Brooklyn’s dreampop scene seemingly knows no bounds. While numerous bands explore that style’s noisier side, the recently released debut EP “Sea White Salt” from Joseph Sant takes a more introspective approach. Although a prominent drum track initially propels featured single cut “Nor’easter” along, the emergence of soft surf-rock guitar lines and whisper-sung vocals establish an unmistakable ambient mindset.

Textured guitar melodies appear within the tracks instrumental second minute, creating the sonic equivalent of swelling wind and ocean. A denser, layered crescendo explodes just after the 2:00 minute mark, and you get the sense that the storm has now peaked. The feeling is poetic without actually being able to pinpoint any clearly defined storyline. In fact, only at the very end when the instruments go quiet can you make out the lyric “all that I hated and struck at – lost its hold over me.”

While readily acknowledging Beach Fossils and Wild Nothing as initial developers of this sound, emerging bands like Lazyeyes and now Joseph Sant continue its forward progression.

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While New York City stands as punk rock’s authentic birthplace, neighboring New Jersey has also contributed to that genre’s gritty sound. The Garden State may be known for established acts like Springsteen and Bon Jovi, but power-punkers Lost In Society find muse in early era punk and 90’s grunge.

Single “I Want To Know” successfully touches those two bases in a concise two plus minutes. While the intro’s mid-tempo drum rolls and emphatic guitar chords suggest a classic power trio, subsequent tempo shift to a much quicker pace establishes truer intentions. Verses come fast and hard and tell the story of working class people barely getting by “check by check” and “sinking down to a hopeless debt.” With the chorus initially (and conveniently) namechecking the song title, the next lines echo the best of Nirvana in cadence tandem with lyrics “when you take what you get and you don’t look back, do you feel no regret, do you really keep check?” Their full length record "Modern Illusions" (produced by Pete Steinkopf, guitarist of The Bouncing Souls) was released earlier this year, and is well worth a listen.

The band is currently on a sizable west coast tour, so catch them at one of those shows if you can.

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Dueling left and right stereo channel guitar bursts introduce RANN’s live-in-studio video recording of “Falling,” the latest track off their debut album “Yellogun.” The polyrhythmic structure is soon filled out with precisely placed synth, sharp drums and driving bass figures that allow for dramatic spaces between those notes.

“How does it feel?” introduces the essential vocal hook, with the songs title embedded in the answer line “right before you start falling.” When the arena sized chorus ultimately emerges, a catchy rising melody hook punctuates each passage through. The overall feel is reminiscent of ELO’s psych-pop Beatles influenced hits. Directed, edited, and shot by Ryan Ela of Midnight Treehouse Productions, the video makes use of high quality black and white imagery in showcasing the bands impressive live performance.

The band blitzed through a winter-through-spring tour including featured performances at SXSW in Austin, Texas before hitting significant shows in Los Angeles and New York.

Having previously admired Robert Toher’s work in the dark synth-percussive band ERAAS, his latest project Public Memory recently released a new album and live shows in support. “Wuthering Drum” was released March 18 on Felte Records with significant tour dates surrounding its arrival.

Standout track “Zig Zag” projects an ominous buzzing undercurrent with fluidly pulsing percussion that although mechanical and electronic, gives off the sense outdoor tribal communication. Vocals further enhance this mysterious sensibility, with alien landscape processing and frequent tandem synth lines. Its overall feel is hypnotic, possibly ritualistic, leading to an ultimate unsettling vibe. The soundtrack to a film sequence where the protagonist puts on a fright mask, douses his victim with psilocybin and proceeds to blow their mind. Initial lead single, "Lunar," and the follow-up, "Ringleader" can also be heard at the links attached to each.

Upcoming Performances - Spring / Summer 2016 - 05.27 Brooklyn, NY @ Rough Trade East - 06.09 Brooklyn, NY @ Trans Pecos - 06.11 Brooklyn, NY @ Palisades (Northside Festival) - 07.23 Philadelphia, PA @ MOCA - 07.30 Brooklyn, NY @ St. Vitus

From the opening double-stick flam pattern drum figure, heroic guitar notes and vintage sine wave synth pads, Brooklyn’s Syvia lay claim to a classic alterna-pop sound on “Anxious Animal,” the lead track off their recently released 5 song EP “Silent Violence.”

A repeated vocal hook “you will never be enough, you will not amount to much,” suggests singer Ruth Mirky may be speaking of more internal doubts than anything outwardly accusatory. Though some have stated Yeah Yeah Yeahs as a stylistic equivalent (and overall vocal tone and recording techniques do bear this out) the song structure leans closer to early 1980’s “new wave” monster hit “I Melt With You” by one-hit-wonders Modern English.

However the pacing of this track is more deliberate and laden with harsher guitar layers pointing towards early aughts Swedish indie rock band The Sounds, pioneer new wave acts Blondie and Missing Persons as sonic counterparts. In addition to the EP release, the band played dates in Norway, Sweden and Finland as part of The Brooklyn Sound Tour.

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Hip two guitar rock with underground panache is always welcome in NYC. Bushwick-based rockers The Britanys present a quirky mix of those attributes via current single “Basketholder” Securing producer Gordon Raphael for this track, a similar sonic clarity can be traced to his work with The Strokes nearly 16 years ago.

Defined riffs morph from tandem structured second guitar chord progressions to chugging counter polyrhythms. Vocals are delivered in feel that appear to echo Lou Reed’s street lingo sensibility with Julian Casablancas’ early sonic effects. While lyrics lack cohesive storytelling and are seemingly unrelated ideas strung together, perhaps that’s the intended point. “Well I’ll be your basketholder – if you’ll be my girl” speaks to something more universally relatable than a simple literal statement. Incorporated within the three minute length are a number of catchy hooks that establish urgency through staccato drum patterns and double-time emphasis. The lyric “but I can’t take it much longer, this running around the city all day” leads up to the tracks ultimate structural peak, where music and words come together with emotional force.

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With the release of their latest EP “Bad Seed” on PaperCup Music earlier this year, Brooklyn’s The Teen Age celebrated that momentous occasion with two consecutive shows at premier Williamsburg venue Rough Trade.

Although the band explains that the 4 song EP was written as an “ode to growing older,” the single “Backwards” feels emotionally rooted in the now. Under the capable production eye of Jason Finkel at Converse Rubber Tracks studios, the band makes the most out of select intro feedback, immediately catchy guitar riffs and a joyously propulsive rhythm.

While the verses may bring to mind early days of The Strokes, the chorus serves to elevate the track into an instant classic. Pairing a guitar line melody in tandem with the vocal hook “I don’t want to live without you – I just keep on falling backwards” feels closer to the heart-tugging surf of Beach Fossils.

Two noteworthy live shows during The Northside Festival are scheduled, with the first at Muchmore's on Friday June 10th.  While the event is an early afternoon through rest-of-the-night affair, The Teen Age are set to play at 10 pm.

On Saturday, June 11 they'll be playing the PaperCup Music and Indie Shuffle Official Northside Showcase at Our Wicked Lady.

Looking further down the road, the band will take part in the Out In The Streets Festival, with a show on Sunday July 17.

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Asbury Park’s fertile music scene has had a long history of influence on the NY metro area and beyond. A recent offshoot of The Parlor Mob – a band I initially wrote about for the Deli here emerges as gods with their latest EP “Endless Stunner.” Leadoff track “New Future” builds off a forward driving snare and bass drum beat with tambourine-jingle enhancements, as guitar chord structures playfully invert The Beatles “Ticket To Ride.” Vocals begin as the drums drop out, creating a harmony-induced dreamlike sequence before the beat kicks back in. Lyrics “I have been waiting it seems until eternity brings me the light” underscores an accent punctuated chorus and riff heavy guitars.

“Creatures” rises out of an electronic bass pulse center, allowing space and sonic textures to float around it. With individual percussive elements emphasized through heightened studio effects, an overall sinister feel in rhythm emerges. One could imagine this as film score music behind a pivotal travel-to scene. The pure pop single “Puttin’ Me On” seems as if molded from prime era “Electric Warrior” T-Rex combined with joyous groove of 70’s psych-pop bands like Mungo Jerry. Bolan-esque vibrato infused verses are followed by the handclap punctuated hook “B-B-Baby, don’t you know you drive me crazy, you do!” As catchy a pop rocker you’re likely to hear, the best elements lock together bass, lead and rhythm guitars.

Clocking in under two-minutes, “dream, dream, dream” moves things further back in time with its mid-60’s British blues feel. The vibe is early Yardbirds, Eric Burden’s Animals and the Van Morrison fronted Them. Title track “Endless Stunner” serves as the EP’s big time rave up grand finale. Epic guitar hooks share sonic space with raucous vocal screams, abruptly staggered drums and dreamlike plateaus, bringing together the best of hard rock and prog.

All of the tracks from this record can be heard here on their Soundcloud Page

The band is featured in The Deli Magazine Artist Of The Month Poll, where you can cast a vote for them.

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Former Deli Album Of the Month and CMJ Indie Stage alum WRITER recently returned with their follow up full length album “Principle Web.” Out on Small Plates Records, the ten track long player can be acquired in either digital or the once again popular vinyl format.

The single “Neighborly” presents a hypnotic drum beat straight outta Creedence Clearwater Revivals 1968 hit “Suzie Q,” as buzzy, distorted guitar and bass hover on a singular note before moving into a three chord progression. Chanted vocals come delivered with a mantra-like “I love – all of you.” A full minute in and the vocal cadence quickens, delivering simple observations like “there’s a shortage of clean laundry, and a mound of plastic bags” with the following verse declaring “there’s a party” as well as “a new tree that was planted.” People living in close proximity of each other would be inclined to share this kind of information.

In place of where one might traditionally expect a guitar solo is a falsetto vocal melody, moving it all closer to David Lynch film soundtrack weirdness. Harder power rock guitar chords lead the charge towards an ending that conjures the sound of a car wreck explosion. The accompanying video directed by Brooklyn-based visual artist Paul Remund portrays moving images in stark black and white, distorted by a form of digital cubism.

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William said...

Tall Juan is a bit "Sketchy" but Josheph S(h)ant be "Lost In Society", if he "RANN" from "Public memory" then Syvia and Britanys songs will seem like music from the teen age gods as a writer #makecaptainamericagay

SO MUCH to take in - especially under such pressure ;) but I really like some of it - obviously as a Parlor Mob fan its cool to hear what some of them are doing with gods now and some really interesting stuff I'm looking forward to checking out more!

DaveCromwell said...

Ha, ha! That clever first sentence there is right out of the ViewFromSpookysDoghouse methodology. As for that hashtag, I can only blame myself for goading you into that. :-)

For sure what Paul, Sam and Nick originally did (and occasionally still do) with Parlor Mob has evolved quite nicely with current band 'gods.'

Quality musicians always find a way.

ViewFromSpookysDoghouse said...

The gods are mighty, but the croms is mightier! I can't keep up.

DaveCromwell said...

We all do what we can to "keep up", ViewFromSpookysDoghouse.

If many features in one appear too daunting, pick out one you think you might like and give that one a go. Hey - it's how people take in everything coming at them on the internet these days.

(Though I do appreciate the designation of being "mighty")

Mirror said...

Tall Juan Retweeted and Liked:

New Blog! New Shows! Featuring (among others) @Talljuan at @sunnyvalebk #davecromwellwrites #sunnyvalebk #talljuan

Retweeted by Tall Juan @Talljuan
To 774 followers

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Misty Holl (@MistyNYC) Retweeted and Liked:

New Blog! New Shows! Featuring (among others) @Talljuan at @sunnyvalebk #davecromwellwrites #sunnyvalebk #talljuan

Retweeted by Misty Holl @MistyNYC
To 464 followers.

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DaveCromwell said...

Using The Ramones as "muse" and start off point for your own style is admirable in it's own gratifying way.

It's always cool to see how those four guys from Queens had such a powerful influence on the entire world. Tall Juan from Buenos Aires, Argentina being merely just the latest example here.

Though I do point out in my piece above there (and in my readings no one else seemed to pick up on) that in addition to Joey Ramone as "the obvious initial point of reference," "there are elements of Richard Hell’s vocal inflections sprinkled throughout the songs" as well. It should be noted!

"Johnny’s quick chord change progressions" must always be referenced if you are going to pay homage to the continuing influence of this band. Johnny was the engine that made them go. Dee may have been the completely extroverted creative (and as a result, their most prolific songwriter) - Tommy was the cerebral one - Joey the frontman who put the most emotion in things. But Johnny was the glue. The member-business-manager. The one who didn't "get wasted" and was always trying to figure out how to push the band forward.

I like that Tall Juan seems to blend the best of these elements in his music, with a bit of Hell's Voidoids mixed in as well.

Mirror said...

Joseph Sant Music (@JSantMusic) Retweeted and Liked:


@JSantMusic review revisited (and others) here: catch him @donpedrobar on 6/1

Retweeted by Joseph Sant Music @JSantMusic
To 1192 followers.

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Joseph Sant Music ‏@JSantMusic
Retweeted and Liked: Dave Cromwell

Grazie, Dave!

Joseph Sant Music added,

Dave Cromwell @DaveCromwell
Now a review of "Nor'easter" from your EP “Sea White Salt” on @TheDeliMagazine by @DaveCromwell #davecromwellwrites …

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Joseph Sant Music ‏@JSantMusic Tweeted:

Hand me the phone so I can call mama. I'm in the same sentence as 2 of my fav bands @WildNothing @Beachfossils

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DaveCromwell said...

I hope you were able to make that call, Joseph – because the comparisons are well deserved.

It’s good to see artists pursuing the more introspective, ambient side of dreampop. With Brian Wilson making a resurgence this summer doing the classic “Pet Sounds” album at a number of festivals this summer – and the aforementioned Beach Fossils doing Summerstage in Central Park this July – there appears to be a renewed interest in this dreamy sound.

Mirror said...

On Facebook

Sketchy wrote:

"Thanks bud!"


John Shields "Liked" and approved!

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Lost In Society's PR Retweeted and Liked:

Big Picture Media (@bigpicturenyc) Retweeted and liked one of your Tweets!

Big Picture Media (via Twitter)

New #davecromwellwrites #blog featuring @LostInSociety #review + #tourdates @bigpicturenyc

Tweeted and Liked by

Big Picture Media @bigpicturenyc
Big Picture Media is a full service entertainment public relations agency based in NYC. Est. 2007 #bpmtakeove

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DaveCromwell said...

A thinking man’s punk rock band is always a welcome surprise, Sketchy. One would have to look closer at the writings of Henry Rollins (rather than the quick one-off impressions of Dee Dee Ramone) for a comparable mindset.

If all there is really left to do in today’s current music but to recycle the best ideas from the 1950’s through the 2000’s – well then you might as do it creatively and do it well.

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Similarly, while Lost In Society find their particular muse in early era punk and 90’s grunge – the topic of financial struggle for the working class may ring truer today than any other time since this country’s “Great Depression” of the 1930’s;

the 1970s recession that put an end to the general post-World War II economic boom where high unemployment coincided with high inflation;

and the late 2000’s recession, beginning in December 2007 and ended in June 2009, lasting over 19 months. The economy has not really rebounded all that much since.

Misty said...

this is a really solid collection of artist written about here. what period of time does this cover? about a six month of work? well done for sure. i can read that these musicians appreciate the time taken to analyze and present the creative (and hard) work they put into their art.

although i like pretty much all of the music presented here, my favorites are gods and the teen age.

after those, it would be britanys, rann, syvia and writer.

but really, they are all quite excellent!

DaveCromwell said...

Hey, nice to hear this, Misty.

Yes, this feature basically covers all the The Del Mag blogs I had published on that website from January through mid-April. Of course, I've done quite a few since then now, as I've been averaging one a week!

Combine that with a number of Print Issue assignments, and the picture becomes much clearer as to how I spend a lot of my time.

Mirror said...

gods @listentogods posted:

Thanks everyone that voted for us in the Deli Magazine Artists of the Month Poll. We won! Thank you @DaveCromwell @wassuppup

You, James Wells and 39 others Like this:

Frank Tomaino wrote:

Go gods go!

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Lui Born wrote:

Gods crushing like clash of the Titans.

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Paolo Chioni wrote:


Posted on Instagram:

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New #davecromwellwrites #music #review #compilation featuring (among others) @listentogods here @listentogods

DaveCromwell said...

Couldn't be happier that gods won that Deli Mag Artists of the Month Poll. They were clearly the best band in that selection, and it's good to see their fans voted them to the top spot.

They did it in dramatic style too. Mired in second place for most of the month while another band ran out to an early big lead, gods pulled it out like Champions in the final weekend of voting!

Nicely done and well deserved, as they music they make is great.

Mirror said...

Rich(ie) Moyle (via Twitter) posted:

New from @DaveCromwell + The Deli… via @@TheDeliMagazine about @syviamusic EP #anxiousanimal #davecromwellwrites
by Rich(ie) Moyle @superichie
Drummer (@syviamusic @detonatornyc), Bartender, South Florida Sports Fan, Nerd

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Misty Holl @MistyNYC posted:

The latest from The Deli… via @@TheDeliMagazine @DaveCromwell @syviamusic #davecromwellwrites #syviamusic #review
08:16 PM - 15 Mar 16
Liked by
Rich(ie) Moyle Rich(ie) Moyle @superichie
Drummer (@syviamusic @detonatornyc), Bartender, South Florida Sports Fan, Nerd

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Latest #davecromwellwrites #blog featuring (among others) @TheBritanys #newmusic #review
Radio personality on Heat 100 Radio. Event host & promoter. Name is pronounced MAN-NAH-REE-NO (Italian problems). Contact:!

Philadelphia & New York 60.6 Thousand Followers

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The BRITANY’S posted:

Latest #davecromwellwrites #blog featuring (among others) @TheBritanys #newmusic #review
03:07 PM - 04 Jun 16
Retweeted by The Britanys @TheBritanys
To 3355 followers.

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Harsimran Singh posted:

Dave Cromwell ‏@DaveCromwell
Latest #davecromwellwrites #blog featuring (among others) @TheBritanys #newmusic #review

LIKES: 588

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DaveCromwell said...

Very cool to see a Brooklyn band like Syvia representing our corner of the globe in Scandinavian locales. With stops in Norway, Sweden and Finland – one wonders why they didn’t add Denmark and/or Holland to that itinerary as well. Ah well – I suppose you only have so much time allotted. I’ve always been fond of that female fronted Blondie/Missing Persons/The Sounds “new wave” style.

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Similarly, what The Britanys bring to the table is also a modern take on what is now considered a “classic” sound. Even if the early aughts of 2000 positions them two decades forward, each new generation brings their own unique twist on a previously successful sound.

That it’s a ramshackle New York City rock and roll approach gives me hope that all future music doesn’t necessarily have to be preprogrammed and auto-tuned.

Mirror said...

The Teen Age posted on Twitter:

New blog for @northsidefest featuring (+ more) @TheTeenAgeBK #nside #davecromwellwrites #now
The Teen Age

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Northside Festival posted on Twitter:

New blog for @NorthsideFest featuring (+ more) @TheTeenAgeBK #nside #davecromwellwrites #now
Northside Festival @NorthsideFest
For Brooklyn, by Brooklyn. MUSIC | INNOVATION | CONTENT #nside

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Daniel 7 (@Daniel7music) posted on Twitter:
Went! Totally fun show. Some Crom-words about The Teen Age can be read here: #writerslife…
Daniel 7 @Daniel7music
supernatrual electro-rock; little brother to the Universe

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DaveCromwell said...

I've gone on record more than a few times both here on this blog and on The Deli Magazine about how good The Teen Age are.

The have a knack for hitting that sweet spot between catchy, well crafted pop and a teetering-on-the-edge good timey live show.

Watch out they don't steal the limelight during Out In The Streets Festival, with their show there on Sunday July 17.

Mirror said...

Andre Vasconcelos of RANN writes:

Thanks for the write up on my band!

Great article!

Thanks big man.

This means a lot to us.

DaveCromwell said...

You're welcome, Andre.

You and your band Rann certainly deserve the attention!

Looking forward to all of your new music in the coming days.