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Posts Tagged ‘debut’

TAG – FOREWARD
November 16, 2010

Over the years, John Taglieri released album after album as a solo artist. His work didn’t remain unnoticed as he shared stage with big names in the popular music scene and was nominated for many prestigious awards, winning several of those. Apart from being a successful independent musician and songwriter, Taglieri is also known for his diversity and creativity. Unlike many bands and musicians he has never been afraid to take a leap of faith and try something new. Musically he knows his strengths and musically he has a strong basis to work from. But the way he has approached his musical projects over the years has varied from time to time. From full-length albums to EP projects to combining his music with graphics and literature, you name it, John Taglieri did it.

His most recent project was a collaboration with Gil Gonzalez, a project called “LiVES” which combined short music albums with short stories/novels. Many of the songs from those EPs ended up on the new TAG album “FOREWARD”. But even if you’ve heard the LiVES EPs, you should not be disappointed, because even though the songs were written and recorded before, they sound a whole lot different on this new album.

“FOREWARD” can, and should, be judged as a debut album. While John Taglieri played with Brad Whitley & Tom Darby before, this is now really a new project, a real band project and it sounds as such. With the addition of bassist Dave Willard and with Rob Jackson on drums and percussion there’s a more complete and even more energetic sound that is both honest and exciting. While these songs were quite convincing on the “LiVES” albums these new versions are better layered, better balanced and frankly, they literally just rock more.

The added energy and musicality makes these songs stand out more. The infectious Breathe and the pointy Make A Mistake With Me are excellent candidates for radio singles and the uptempo Ghost makes for an energetic rock piece that can do wonders on stage to energize the crowd. And include splendid rock anthems like The Lives of Splattered Flies and With You I Want To Be and you have a fairly complete debut album. The songs belong with one another, the original theme tying them together, while there’s new fire, new life to the music. And it’s not just the songs that fit together, also the band members show they have a great feel for each other’s talents and work together like a well-oiled machine.

“FOREWARD” is a more than solid debut for this newly formed band. The individual band members may be experienced but for playing together this is a new venture. If they do this as well as their first album together, there is no need to worry. Musically it’s tight, it’s energetic and most importantly it’s interesting. You want to keep listening to this. The album is capped off with a nice cover of Incubus’ Drive, which fits perfectly thematically. Also, musically it doesn’t stray too far from what TAG shows on the album. I’m not usually a fan of covers and this version is by no means the original, but thankfully it’s not just a copy of the original song, TAG tried to make the song their own and if you didn’t know it was a cover, they might just have fooled you there.

All in all, good debut, solid performance, strong songs, a few exceptional songs. TAG is off to a good start and with this enthusiasm, energy and power, there is bound to be a lot more in store for these guys. If you enjoy honest and catchy rock & roll then I can recommend “FOREWARD”.

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The Boy Who Trapped The Sun – Fireplace
July 12. 2010

I recently stumbled upon some early recordings by a young man from Scotland. Colin McLeod, better known under his artist moniker ‘The Boy Who Trapped The Sun’, is a promising singer/songwriter who creates music with a subtle, sometimes sentimental undertone without losing sight of the songs’ pop sensibility.

With his first official full-length release, “Fireplace”, he is likely to gain recognition and critical acclaim from many places. Especially for a debut album, it is well balanced and features several excellent songs.

The mellow, laidback feel of the album fits McLeod’s soothing vocals and his lyrics are accessible and relatable. With folky pop songs like Golden and the beautiful Walking In The Dark you hear the basis of this singer/songwriter whose style is similar to artists like Ben Howard, Ed Harcourt, Patrick Park and Joseph Arthur. I wouldn’t immediately compare The Boy.. to them, but just for a point of reference those fall into a similar musical category.

There’s a good balance between the more breezy tracks like Golden, Fireplace, I See You & Copper Down for example and more upbeat pop songs that are quite attractive to mainstream radio like Katy & Dreaming Like A Fool. While sometimes the songs are a little simple, that doesn’t make the album any less. McLeod puts the principle of less is more in practice on some tracks and I would argue it makes these tracks stronger instead of weaker. By keeping it simple on key moments he keeps the songs accessible and catchy. The best example of that may be lead single Katy.

The world is overcrowded with singer/songwriters trying to make a name for themselves. And while there is a lot of talent out there, even a lot of those talented musicians don’t stand out enough to break through. This may be a shame, but on the other hand, it wouldn’t be good for the music scene if only the same and similar would make it to the big stage. The Boy Who Trapped The Sun however does have something going for him. I won’t say that his music is totally new or there has never been anyone like him, but there is a sense of originality and freshness in his music and attitude that shines through on “Fireplace”. With key tracks like Golden, Katy, I See You, Thorn In Your Side & Copper Down, there is a lot of talented songwriting displayed on this album and McLeod knows how to deliver his songs with feeling and conviction. And to be honest, that is where it starts for a singer/songwriter.

“Fireplace” is a promise of talent, maybe even a promise of big things to come for McLeod, but he will have to keep at it and work hard to deliver on that promise. But for now I say chapeau for a job well done and some well-deserved attention for “Fireplace” as it is a more than solid debut that completely validates for The Boy Who Trapped The Sun to get a shot at breaking through to a bigger podium.

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