Some Tracks

"On The Airwaves"
The Shazam

Sometimes something just sounds right.

I was turning from Pico to the freeway and this song came over Little Steven’s Underground Garage channel on Sirius.  I didn’t want to like it, I wanted it to be shitty, because if it was good, then I’d have to spend more time listening to Steven’s channel.

But this song killed.  When it exploded into the sweet vocals, I was hooked.  It’s the kind of song you sing along to in the car, even if you’ve only heard it once.

Unfortunately, you can only hear thirty seconds on the band’s Website, and that won’t give you the full idea, but give it a shot:

Go to: The Shazam
Click on: "Sounds" (on the left-hand side)
Click on "On The Airwaves", from the second album listed, "Rev 9"

Based on the lack of recent releases, and recent live dates, this band is dormant.  But go to their MySpace page and listen a bit.  There is DEFINITELY something there.

MySpace – The Shazam

"Phantom Limb"
The Shins

This didn’t sound quite as good as the Shazam, but its sweet feeling got to me, in the car.  At home, it lays kind of flat.  It’s ear-pleasing, but without the multiple layers of Fountains Of Wayne.  Hell, if the Shins can be on SNL, why not Fountains Of Wayne?  "Peace And Love" eclipses this just in the INTRO!

Don’t think of FOW as that "Stacy’s Mom" band.  That’s what happens when a band is too hip for the room, like 10cc.  They finally break through with a tongue-in-cheek number, and then the unwashed masses think that’s who they really are.

If you’re a rocker, the kind of white person who likes the Shins, check out "No Better Place".

If you’re the kind of kid who lived for summer camp but doesn’t want to admit it.  If you’re the kind of kid who grows his hair out to look hip but are really the one who swims at the JCC.  If you’re the kind of kid who lies on his bed dreaming what if, "Hackensack" is for you.  Hell, if you’re the kind of person whose dreams exceed reality you’ll love "Hackensack".

And if you’re into pretty, if you like to lie in the backyard staring up at the clouds crossing the sky, check out "All Kinds Of Time".

Maybe the members of FOW were too old.  Maybe they were burdened with being on a major label.  But check out "Welcome Interstate Managers", live with it for a while, not only will it touch you, it FEELS like you.

Oh, this Shins song is pretty good.  It’s just not GREAT!

"Voyager"
Gamma

They were doing a voyager theme show on XM’s Deep Tracks.  Hearing the "Voyager" intro to the Alan Parsons Project’s "Eye In The Sky" brought me back, took me away.  God, remember when sound quality MATTERED?

But it was this Ronnie Montrose track that blew my socks off.

Guitars don’t swing anymore.  They’re chunka-chunka, they’re in your face.  Maybe the guitar died when it became associated with aggressive speed metal, when suddenly guitars meant Slipknot, and not Jeff Beck.

It’s hard to delineate the appeal of "Voyager", it’s something you’ve got to hear.

Maybe you’re swaying from side to side in a group, or just in your seat.  These are rockers, but they’re not married to an edgy, posing sound.  Then again, you might consider it too mellow.  Then again, my buddy Steve Lukather might say Ronnie Montrose can PLAY!

Do you know the Robin Trower album "In City Dreams"?  This has got some of the dark feel of that.  With a similar vocal style.  But it’s all different people, as far as I know.

It’s the underlying groove.  A link from British Invasion to Journey.

There’s a spacy intro.  And then just a quiet guitar figure, with quiet EXPLOSIVE lead notes.  And then the rest of the band comes in, the drums lay down the beat.  There’s a swagger akin to a Van Halen track, but just a bit more soul.  And the dark vocal makes you feel like you’re the only listener in the universe.

And they’re working out.  Going from quiet to loud and back to quiet again.  And then Ronnie Montrose starts to step out a bit in the second verse, ever so slightly!

And then after they complete the chorus for the second time, Montrose takes us on a JOURNEY!  IT FEELS SO GOOD!  IT LIGHTS UP YOUR BODY!  YOU WANT TO HEAR THE TRACK AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN!

Maybe they played this track on your AOR, but I don’t remember it being on KMET and KLOS.  Thank god for XM bringing it BACK!

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