Chris Eves and The New Normal are a Syracuse, New York based Rock-Jam act. I recently reviewed their debut album ‘Find Your Way.’ I was immediately impressed with this unique blend of Alternative-Rock, Jam and Pop and wanted to share with my readers. While most of Chris Eves and The New Normal fans are from the northeast, they are looking to broaden their audience. If you haven't heard of Chris Eves and The New Normal yet, check them out on spotify or #1 on the Reverbnation International Jam Charts. https://open.spotify.com/artist/5cJA9GZa8d5yduDZ0dCxtu?autoplay=true&v=A

From the opening song “Remember To Forget,” I was intrigued at the depth and quality of this album and the band that recorded it. “Remember To Forget” has powerful vocal qualities from Chris Eves and a hard progressive riff that takes this song into Jam territory. I will say that this song is my favorite out of the entire album and makes for a great first track. This song captivates its listeners and draws them, inviting further exploration.

“Walking On Wire” keeps the great vocal qualities going; something that can be severely lacking, specifically in the Jam world. This songs approach is more alternative-rock based but is fun and catchy with lyrics like, "maybe you and me are always walking on a wire, and with every step it seems we are only getting higher.” This sentiment is heartfelt and a great example of the writing techniques used on this album. I could see this song being used in a larger capacity and it also has some viable commercial value.

Another song that caught my attention was the title track of this album ‘Find Your Way” that begins with a clear and precise guitar intro from Jay Lock, solo guitarist for The New Normal.  This song would be a great live track and could allow for some extreme improvisation on stage; in the interview below we discuss walking the line between improv and structure. "You got to be just a little bit crazy to make it through another normal day," are some of the most poignant lyrics within this album and shows the open-minded feeling that this band represents.

 Again, Chris Eves and The New Normal take a different approach to their sonic sound with “The Chains You Wear” and go more alt-country with a heavy slide riff laid over the track. The lyrical qualities remain remarkable, compared to today’s pop country landscape and make this song original and different than a lot of the Southern Rock-Country bands but still very reminiscent of the Black Crowes or even, The Zac Brown Band. 

“Fall” is another song that gets stuck in my head and the driving guitar makes me want to hear an exploratory and long solo, the only thing I think is missing from this recording. Drummer Sean Benz, highlights this track with impressive musicianship and keyboardist Mike D’Ambrosia plays a pivotal role in not only this song but the entire album adding rousing piano licks wherever he can. “Fall” uses Classic Rock chord structures and melodies to make the sound relatable but still remains original and imaginative. 

“The New Normal” and “Flown Away” accentuate the final tracks on this album and stay steady and slow throughout. They are both good choices and well recorded, something that stands out when listening to this album in my headphones. Mike Spardaro holds it down on bass throughout the entire length of this recording but can really be felt in the backbeat at the end of this album. 

While the album ‘Find Your Way’ doesn't necessarily break any rules, it does find new and interesting ways to combine song structures and heartfelt lyrical connections. This album is very relatable to many musical listeners and Chris Eves and The New Normal seamlessly integrate many genres of music from Jam to Alt-Rock. I believe ‘Find Your Way’ is a great platform for this band to build upon and grow exponentially. Below is a short interview with Chris Eves himself where we discuss this latest album and the future evolution of The New Normal.

 

 

 

Interview with Chris Eves From Chris Eves and The New Normal:

RA-Can you describe your sound, or what genres have influenced you as you wrote and recorded ‘Find Your Way’?

CE-Our sound is the sum total of the influences and personal style each member brings to the table. We all have very diverse influences and approach the music from unique vantage points. Everything from: Grateful Dead, Nine Inch Nails to Jazz greats like, John Coltrane and Miles Davis, have shaped our collective sound.  One unifying band we all grew up listening to and seeing live is Phish. They were definitely the catalyst for us wanting to play improvised music. I think the five of us though, strive to go beyond our influences and are always trying to cultivate our own unique voice individually and collectively. Jay, for example, is a very different guitarist than I am and certainly has a very unique voice that’s all his own. A lot of times he’ll play something that inspires me to do something completely different than I would have otherwise. Especially in improvised music, each band member’s voice really comes through and steers the direction of the sound. 

RA-The transitions and song structures in songs like, “Remember To Forget” sounds very jammy, much like moe. or some of the other progressive Jam bands from the North East. Has this musical landscape shaped your musical evolution?

CE-Absolutely. I grew up in Central New York where moe. is from and we listened to them a lot. Chuck from moe.’s sister was our high school Spanish teacher.  I’ve always been a fan of progressive music that has written out sections and jam sections, and that’s able to weave it all together into a story. The Dead tunes like, Terrapin or Help/Slipknot/Franklins, were always my favorite. moe. also inspired me to write in that direction for sure. It’s pretty cool to now be in the band Floodwood with Vinnie from moe. after listening to them for so many years.

RA-What does the New Normal mean to you?

CE- I think it’s just a mantra to be yourself. It’s for anyone who’s ever felt like they don’t fit in or been a little left of center.  Normal is just a point of view and just because you might be weird according to someone else, that shouldn’t stop you from being authentic and living the life that makes you happy. Weirdos are always welcome with us!

RA-What have been some of your greatest musical accomplishments to date? 

CE-I’ve been lucky to have a lot of musical accomplishments in my career. Some of the personal highlights are sitting in with the Zac Brown Band at SPAC and jamming with Jon Fishman live.

RA-Any plans for summer festivals or tours? 

CE-We are working on both right now and are looking forward to announcing some soon

RA-While it is hard to add layers of improvisation to studio albums, does your band stick to the song structures or improvise live?

CE-We try to strike a balance between playing the song and jamming. In the studio, for this record, I was happy that we were able to capture a lot of our jams. “Remember to Forget”, “Find your Way”, and “Fall” were all one take. When we’re live every night is different and we’re still evolving in the way we improvise. Some nights we want to play “Green and Blue” completely structured as a stand-alone song, and some nights it turns into a 20 minute funk jam. I think we’ve just started scratching the surface of where our jams can go and that’s exciting.

RA-Can you explain your lyrical process? Who writes the songs or is it a collective environment?

CE-For this record, I wrote all the Lyrics and it’s the toughest part for me. I just try to write down thoughts on a particular subject independently of the music so I’m not locked into a specific structure at first. When I’ve got a good amount of material, I start trying to play music that fits the ideas and hopefully get the puzzle pieces to fit. I try to be open to lyric ideas all the time so, I keep a bunch of notes in my phone just in case I think of something while I’m out for a run or grocery shopping or, whatever.

RA-Many bands that relate themselves with Jam music walk the line between different genres. How do you see yourselves adding a unique aspect to the Jam world. 

CE- I hope that even though we extend our songs live, that they are still relatable to everyone.  The song always comes first for us and it should stand alone as catchy and meaningful. We also try to put a lot of attention into the vocals and harmonies. I think that emphasis on songwriting and vocals gives us a unique aspect.

RA-What are your future goals and how do you think you will evolve to get there? 

CE-Our short-term goals are to keep writing, recording, and evolving our live show. Playing for more people and extending our touring are also a priority. I think it just takes a lot of hard work and a high level of commitment. We live music 24/7 so it’s more a journey than a single goal we set for ourselves that’s off in the distance.

RA-Any crazy band/road stories you would like to share with us? (Anything goes)

CE-Honestly we’re pretty chill and not too crazy. Our drummer Sean usually finds a casino after the show and we hear about how much money he won the next day. We never hear about how much money he loses though…

Thanks Again to Chris Eves and The New Normal,

RA Fadley

Published in USA Section

When seeing live music, it comes down to the improvisational Jams for me. When offered a free ticket to the Sold Out Glass Animals at the 9:30, I perused their catalog on Spotify and thought it would be a change of pace and something different to write about for my ever-growing portfolio. With that in mind, I'll just jump right in.


 
I was unimpressed with this group, which has gained immense popularity over the past few years and it makes me feel as though I am disconnected with the younger generation in today's society, especially musically but I suppose that's what growing up is all about. There were people at this show who seemed like they had their life changed, people singing every word, jumping up and down, woman swooning. I haven’t seen anything like it in the Jam world, where musical prowess exceeds catchy lyrics and electronic “drops.” 

  

                                                                                                                                          Credits: Amanda Lynn


Glass Animals needs to find their funky side, get in touch with the roots of the music they are playing, instead of accentuating the pop bullshit. There were some moments within their performance that were well done, thought out and original but these seemed to be overshadowed by the musical/performance process itself.

While high in energy, Glass Animals could only keep my interest for a short time before ultimately, I kept wondering, "When will I hear a freakin’ guitar solo?" The musical capabilities of this band seems highly limited and very pop-keyboard centric, which with all due respect, takes a certain skill set of its own but it's not really in the same class of musicianship that I am used to seeing; it's more learning to synthesize and arrange computer sounds. The lyrics to their songs were catchy and again, pop oriented but I could see something there beyond the surface level. I would suggest that Glass Animals searches these depths to find the true nature of their lyrical qualities and musical abilities. Perhaps visiting the Talking Heads catalog and learning how to incorporate true musicianship and lyrical competency into what they are trying to achieve.

 

Published in USA Section
Wednesday, 14 February 2018 00:00

Flashpoint Quick Review

Flashpoint are an Alternative Rock band formed in In 2010 by former front man and guitarist for Los Angeles based band Nimbus, Tim Deschaine. He moved to Augusta, Kansas to start a family. Tim returned from a short break to form the band after discovering the Wichita Music scene . Deschaine soon decided to form a new band ,so called on close friend and guitarist, Josh Gilbert, to join him alongside Flashpoint's first drummer and bassist Joshua Naval. The original drummer soon decided to leave and was replaced by current drummer Ammon Ohlson. Hence Flashpoint was born!
The band have been performing at local clubs in Kansas over the past few years and released several singles . They recently decided to record a full length album called “ Through Blue Eyes”, which came out last May.
Flashpoint are an emerging talent of a variety of differing sounds that can certainly appeal to anyone’s taste. The influence of several genres can be heard in the music they create, which incorporate blues, soul, funk, jazz - fusion with fuzzy guitars , provocative lyrics and huge choruses.

     

  

These can be sampled with a few selections from the band’s back catalogue. We begin with Wake Up . An infectious song that is rich in pop hooks and , with its In Bloom- esque riff , offers a platform for Deschaine’s delicate vocals that stretch over each verse and introspective lyrics.

The Longing is different in tone with the swirling effects of a wah wah pedal adding a dark texture to Deschaine’s melancholy. The song’s distorted solos are a psychedelic journey through isolation and loneliness.

Get Down is replete with jazz fusion and upbeat chords that are a throwback to the tantalising wizardry of Santana. Deschaine’s vocals are as smooth as crystal and inventive with each constructed riff the band provides.
Here his vocals bounce with every percussion beat and Naval’s bass thunders in unison Gilbert’s hypnotic guitar effects.

and finally, Everyday Blessings is an electric acoustic track that mesmerises with the melodic vocals and tight rhythm section that resonates with each chord struck.

Any fans may be more interested to know the group have a multitude of sites they can be contacted on.

Firstly, the band’s website http://flashpointignitesyou.com/ is accessible and fan friendly. Fans can find a short bio on the band, latest tracks on a music player plus photos and tour dates on one page. All you need to do is scroll down.

Facebook Page is similar to the homepage, in which fans can gain easy access to the band’s back catalogue, latest events, videos and music. The animated logo of the band attracts the reader because it shows the band’s personality, plus you can read what other fans think, which conveys the band are approachable.

Instagram This site offers some nice colourful pictures of the group on tour and the group’s cover art. I feel this shows the band’s personality and willingness to share with the fans.

Published in Europe Section
Friday, 29 September 2017 01:34

Our Stage Is Getting More Crowded Update #4

 

Paul Pedana

He quickly rose to the top of The “ Reverb Nation” UK hit-list thanks to a fantastic Debut at the O2 Academy and his two hit music videos “Free” and “I’m not afraid”.
Riding the wave of success and new found confidence Paul Pedana did his first round the world tour in 2016 collecting great success from the U.S. to the Eastern Europe.


Dee Brown

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She´s Excited!

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Insites

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Below 7

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Iron Mike Norton

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Ryan Matter Band

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Jason Damico

This rockin’, contemporary blues, multi-instrumentalist, singer/songwriter and actor at 15 years of age became the youngest member of the Duke University Jazz Ensemble under the direction of John V. Brown ...

Boukou Groove

With the lively international release of their debut LP “A lil’ Boukou in Your Cup” and the ability to maintain a dynamic tour schedule, Boukou Groove provides audiences with a genre-bending collective, touching on elements of New Orleans style Funk, R&B, Soul and Blues.

Arden Park Roots

In 2016, Arden Park Roots broke the all-time attendance record at Sacramento's 25-year-old Concerts in the Park series with a crowd of over 7900. The year also saw the band headlining several NorCal festivals ...

Wednesday, 27 September 2017 06:01

The Afro Nick Album Review

The Afro Nick Song And Album Review

Having opened up to experiencing new albums, new music and doing diverse musical reviews, The Afro Nick album came to me and while it's not right up my alley musically, I wanted to give it a go and try something new. The Afro Nick is heavily influenced by the deities of Rock and Roll like: Hendrix, Zeppelin Bob Marley, and Santana. The Afro Nick came to New York City from Greece, and has been playing various gigs in the US and abroad.



The Afro Nick’s most recent single "Get There Before Noon" is raw and emotional. (Available online goo.gl/ZYQJYm) This was my first time listening to The Afro Nick and I wasn't sure what to expect. It turned out to be my favorite. It is emotional and poignant and well performed and recorded, the lyrics inspiring to those who wish to listen. It takes you into high-energy ride down the highway, a sense of nothing to loose but the road and life left behind. It is a great introduction into what The Afro Nick has to showcase and it reminded me of The Black Angels or something in that realm of musical delivery.

The self titled album, (Available on Amazon dld.bz/d7wmc) The Afro Nick starts off with hard rock, driving guitar riff that make you immediately think of classic rock staples from the 1960s-70s. The Afro Nick’s vocals stand out and are original and stylistically unique, adding character to each song. This is a well-produced salbum with great musical structures and backing vocals. "Like Movie Stars" takes a hard turn into more Lou Reed inspired accents but stays fairly hard and keeps its rustic feel. The chorus reminds me of many classic 60s songs including that authentic tambourine shaking in the background. This song offers chanting lyrics that seem to get stuck in your head. Singer Britanny Foushee makes a haunting vocal appearance giving it a smooth and soulful character. 

"You and Me" delves deeper into the soul and psyche of The Afro Nick, with lyrics that are very revenant and thought provoking. There is almost a Socio-political message with Afro Nicks lyrics but they are more informative than that, they are spiritual, while still remaining earthly. The influence from Classic Rock artists from the 1960s-70s is clear and defined within this song and its musical structures. Good instrumental solos on guitar with clear and precise intent. "Sunny" is exactly as the name suggests, happy, fun and warm, reminiscent of the musician’s Greek background; a cheering anthem to the uninhibited and stress free life. 

"Ta Too Ta" starts off strong with distorted guitar chords and reverberated vocals. This song certainly has a clear message and you have to really listen to get the meaning. “Ta Too Ta” juxtaposes the lyrical theme of money and it's hardships. Nice vocal break down at the end. "Dream Big" again has a social message, which reminds me of Bob Marley and his lyrical choices in the past. The Afro Nick takes the listener on a soul-searching journey through question after question. "Make It" is the medical remedy for those hard rock fans. With its anti-establishment and anarchist tones, the beats are fast paced and extremely edgy with inspirational undertones. 

"It's You" is Classic Rock driven but the breakdown are more grunge-punk style. This song blasted through my speakers and is one of the best-mixed songs on the entire album. Great guitar work and rock structures. "Free Like Me" was the next song on the album and again we see the same thematic approach to lyrics and meaning. This song is liberating for those who seek it. "Don't Waste My Time" closes out the lyrical portion of this album and I think it's a great closing choice. The vocal arrangement is much like David Bowie in the vocal strength and ability. “Here, Just For Tonight" is an apt ending to close out the album leading the listeners into instrumental plays.

All around, The Afro Nick is original and creative and the lyrics resonate with the audience. This album would sell very well internationally and with today's economic, social and political activism playing a huge role in societal formatting, The Afro Nick’s message would give strength to those who wish to make changes not only within themselves but in the world around them. You can check out more of The Afro Nick here and catch a live performance if you can! Also, if you are a musician or a band consider hiring him to produce your Album! The Afro Nick LLC recently produced Didi DLicious that you can check here: https://open.spotify.com/artist/3y5roGwm8Z3PNuiBAhOYNe

Published in USA Section
Friday, 16 February 2018 00:00

Mama’s Madness Quick Review

Mama’s Madness are a Three- Piece Rock n Soul band from Pittsbugh, Pennsylvania that are known for their high energy performances. The group consists of Brad Gelphart ( Vocals, Harmonica, Guitar) Kevin Brennflek (Bass) and Joey Maglicco ( drums) . They are said to be influenced by James Brown, AC/DC and Creedence Clearwater Revival, which is apparent from the beginnings of the band’s self- titled debut . A Seven-track LP that produces a half hour combustion of classic rock, soul, country and blues topped with the band’s own trademark energy.
Mama’s Madness is an enjoyable celebration of impassioned vocals, muscular riffs and humorous lyrics that is easy to feel an instant liking for this band. This LP is a good start to take in the journey to discover what makes the band tick.

Opener WooHoo, begins with the pulsating howls of Gephart over a slick groove sets the mood that culminates in a catchy chorus that’ll leave listeners humming.

Next is the countrified Long Time , which is two minutes of knee slapping fun with its upbeat rhythm.

Lonely one is a more melodic track that focuses on heartbreak. The opening one minute acoustic intro sets the tone for a more pop -laden flavour enriched with angst and bitterness. 
https://open.spotify.com/track/2KeENQy6tHmitYS0ydFfMt?si=O8Q8FmSRTFGvARtN27fcaw
Superstar is a two minute explosive acoustic track. Gephart’s lung- busting screams are accompanied by the up-tempo rhythm he matches with aplomb on guitar. The singer’s song- writing grows with each track he writes on with a keen eye for observation and humour. This song is an example with its satirical tales of being a superstar.

Giddy up is the standout track clocking in at over 5 mins. It swaggers along to an with an aggressive blues rhythm that slithers along like a snake waiting for its pray. Gephar’’s vocals are sly and clear like a certain Bon Scott in his heyday. This combination works to effect on this track about being an outlaw.


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Almost Free is another track drenched in all the sleaze and attitude as the previous track. Another enjoyable tune which highlight Gephart’s vocal range between full -throttle howls and a snarl that purrs over every insatiable word complete with a dirty bass sound that crawls along to every emollient syllable expressed.

And finally, the album wraps up with the rockabilly Loco, a song about been driven crazy by a woman. A flamenco- enhanced tune with beats that embody personality and guile. This is a band that have an arsenal of talent that can certainly appeal to a more global ranging audience with a rumbling Rhythm section and fun songs written for enjoyment.


Facebook This is the more accessible fashion to discover more music, photos , events and photos of the band.

Reverbnation This is another useful site to gain information , as well as latest tracks and info on the members.

The band will be next performing on Febraury 23rd at Howlers bar in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Published in Europe Section