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05 May 2011

"Incandescent!" - FAME reviews Shore Leave by The Town Pants

Bad Haggis, Tempest, Sliotar, The Pogues, even The Immaculate Fools, and others. The Town Pants fall very nicely in that category and remind strongly of all the aforegoing blent with Horslips, String Driven Thing, and perhaps another ensemble or two.

They meld an Elizabethan Anglo folk feeling into their Irish wont, then infuse a generous rock element for a result that makes you want to dance, shout, drink, laugh, love, and think...but mostly raise a grinning ruckus.

The lads know their instruments well, and Kyle Taylor is a demon on the fiddle, but when everyone kicks into overdrive, which they do many times, the melee turns incandescent. Ah, but here's a kick an' a half fer ya: they cover speed metal gods Iron Maiden'sRun for the Hills in a cloverfield rendition!! Yee-haw, but that there's my kinda eclecticism, Seamus!

Bawdy, ribald, maverick, and as talented as any three other such bands, the Pants have worked through four previous CDs to arrive at this festive, arse shakin', effervescent collection of serially inspiring earthy songs fraught with passion, cynicism, iconoclasm, and, well, you know the Irish: we loves us our liquor we does and thus never forgets the raising of the wrist, y'all.

Trains not Taken has the hip ring of Sniff 'N The Tears as well, polished and urban-hip but underscored with a timeless knowingness that chooses to remain mortal and in the blood of life…but dancing through it all despite. And if you've ever had a night where you woke up and drank 'a hot mug of butter / And spread some coffee on [your] toast', then you know precisely where these lads hail from and have sufficient cause to sing along with them that Death Feels Like Me Today. I've certainly been there and wish I'd'a had this disc for the morning after pick-me-up; I would've been dancing a jig instead of swearing for the 9,458th time that I'd never do that again…just before returning to the scene of the crime and ordering another pint, hoping that The Town Pants would be in again in the evening to heat up the pub on a chill night.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker

"A Highly Impressive Debut" - FAME reviews Alchemist by Project

In a highly impressive debut EP, Project immediately establishes itself as a progfusion outfit that needn't ask for entry into that hermetic world, its street cred 100% in order, its talent glaringly evident, and its consummate taste nearly unaccompanied in the current milieu.

A gorgeously orchestral blend of many tastes from everywhere, the 10-person mini-symphonia has created a sound that fuses Romanticism with Glassian meta-serialism and an atmosphere wherein the Berlin pulse shakes hands with Ibizan tropicality.

Anchored by composer and terrenely muscular drummer Mike St-Jean, whom I will predict is going to find himself soon in the forefront of percussionistic regard, Project has woven a glitteringly sensuous fabric of sound that grabs the listener by cerebellum and torso to provoke intellectual hypnosis and somatic seduction. You might, reading that, momentarily think "Oh yeah...Enigma!", but their sound goes well beyond that and into territory earlier marked out by many outfits, now collapsed down into a neoclassicism that embraces its antecedents with affection. True prog has ever been thus.

Think Minimum Vital, think Ozric Tentacles, think Gong, Sebastian Hardy, Alan Parsons, and myriad other outfits, and then project outwards, but also look upon Alchemist as something a very hip contemporary Neville Mariner might have joined, no longer content to just conduct and influence but eager to participate, drawing rich multi-tiered arrangements into the heady mix. The three-person string section contributes mightily to that lavish ingredient amid an already complicated but coherent swirling atmosphere. One might even venture that Project is somewhat the flipside of Univers Zero, as captivating and futuristic minus the storm and thunder, more the glowing aftermath now that the storm has passed on, the revivification of nature momentarily hushed, now re-emerging in all its subtler glories, rich and rhythmic.

Penguin Cafe Orchestra makes its way into the evolving landscape, especially in By Southwest, a delectable cut in which guitarist Alvaro Rojas surprises the listener in the comprehension that Project isn't much devoted to soloing, so collectivistic is its backbone. The six-stringer's appearance is brief, a sharp upspike of individual presence in the morphic field, but surprising and only redoubles the audient's growing engrossment with the entire affair. Evan Arntzen repeats the singularity on sax in the closing track for a sightly more emphatic but just as truncated appearance. The two-time illustration in purposeful tantalization makes the device all the more interesting.

Thus, dear FAME gaggle, don't pillory me when this sweeping tableau ends after only 25 enchanting minutes: I warned ya it was a EP right from the outset. T'ain't my fault, y'see, but I'll be more than happy to spearhead a fanbase effort to force these musicians back into the studio to further their artistry for our ravening ears—not that I'm advocating for my personal hedonism, you understand, certainly not that, never, not at all, oh my goodness perish the thought! I'm quite concerned with group evolution, naturally, it goes without saying, and a, oh I don't know, kinda martial Marxistic perversion of harmonic propinquity-adhered reflex urges me to strive towards that end, but…waddaya think…a 10-CD suite perhaps? Yep, sounds good to me, too. Surfeit can be a very nice estate.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker

03 May 2011

Randy Quaid's "Star Whackers" & "Will We Be Together Then Available Today"!

Mixed and mastered by award winning and producer/engineer, Mike Rogerson (Sheryl Crowe, Shelby Lynne & Green Day) the new 45 features the infamous “Star Whackers”, a hard hitting roots-rock styled number featuring smart and clever lyrics directed at those who feed the public’s appetite for propaganda and drive the cult of personality and the beautifully penned Americana Johnny Cash influenced lovers lament “Will We Be Together Then”, an open and honest love song written by Evi and Randy while traveling through troubling times.

Available today wherever you by your music online.

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