Saturday, 26 November 2011

Plugged In, Switched On: Alejandra O'Leary Band Drops Raw Rock & Roll

They say it's always better live.

Perhaps I have no idea who 'they' are and when exactly they were quoted on this, but I'm willing to bet that, even if you don't worship at the altar of live music, you have plenty of mates that swear by it. Especially if it's pure, rollicking rock and roll. 

And especially, one more time, if it's from the home of raucous garage rock that is Detroit, Michigan.

Following on from the rather splendid 'Broken Mirror Baby', released earlier this year (to the shameful neglect of these pages in not yet providing a full review), Ann Arbor rocker Alejandra O'Leary has gathered her band and marched up to Motor City to record a new live EP.

Fan-funded and in collaboration with a slick new recording model from GBS Studios, this 5 tracker boasts a couple of new cuts from the aforementioned new album, one from debut 'Nothing Out Loud' (which I dug into back here), and a couple of previously unreleased slices to boot. Of those, my favourite is very much the punchy 'Mine That Groove', which kicks off the EP in fine style and translates the atmosphere of the one room-one take recording to your own abode particularly well.

'When Will They Learn' - video above - shows a lighter side that slides back some of the raw energy but still maintains a rich depth that elevates the song. 

You can listen to the whole shebang on Bandcamp right now and pick it up as a high quality download for the wallet-friendly price of five Yankee dollars. Well recommended, if you dig a melodic mix of rock, roll, and raw emotion for your listening pleasure.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Lost Gems: Takota - The Ivory Tower

Here's a bizarre one; a fairly recent album that I've simply been unable to locate, even as a legal download (or, hello 2011, a Spotify stream). 

Following a series of roundly positive reviews, quite a feat considering some of them referenced 80's soft rock balladeers Toto, Takota seemed to disappear from the face of the planet, along with any last copies of debut LP 'The Ivory Tower'.

Irregardless (I know that's not a word. If you didn't, do take note), I've still had the joyful crescendos of 'City Drugs' pop up every time I spin my 'Anthems of 2006' playlist on my battered but beloved 4th gen iPod.

TAKOTA - 'CITY DRUGS' [Cheers, random YouTube bloke]

This song (and, I assume, the full album) has one of those vocals that forces your pulmonary system to push that little bit harder. As it soars to the heights of the song's chorus, it barely matters of what the singer speaks, as the delivery is just that powerful. 

Aside from that worrying thought that he must have his nackers in a clamp to hit those high notes, it's a perfectly joyous listening experience.


And, somewhere, there's most likely a full album of such belters that I'll potentially never hear...

...ah well, back to those 2006 anthems, I suppose. Thank goodness for obsessive music nerd list-itis.