Archive | December, 2013

Get To Know The Strange Boys

29 Dec

A rollicking electric guitar and rolling percussion get The Strange Boys “A Man You’ve Never Known” off to a 60’s retro start.

While lead singer Ryan Sambol’s voice comes straight off as a garage rock Bob Dylan, the track itself is more aptly comparable to The Rolling Stones “Under My Thumb.”

There is pure throwback authenticity here as the tune sheds much modernity for 90 percent retro rock. It is rare when songs like this, songs that could pass off as being legitimately from the 60’s, comes off with such ease but The Strange Boys pull it off.

While the lyrics are mostly unintelligible, save for the chorus, it just adds to the raw and realness of a band that is committed to delivering a genuine unique song that sounds like a bona fide hit from the British Invasion era.

Discography: The Strange Boys and Girls Club (2009), Be Brave (2010), Live Music (2011)

Official Website:

A Far Cry From A Nightmare

22 Dec

“Sarah Beth” by The Nightmare & The Cat is the perfect fusion between retro rock and modern rock.

While the melody, sometimes fast paced with crashing percussion, often delves into the rock scene of today, lead singer Django Stewart elevates the tune to a separate retro level. His voice at times soft, soothing and smooth brings forth memories of Roy Orbison, particularly his song “(Say) You’re My Girl”.

The bouncy, foot tap worthy, “Sarah Beth” straddles the line between up tempo and slightly sad. This is reflected not just in the vocals and instrumentation but in the poetic lyrics as well.

“I built you this house in the hollow of my heart/You’re burning out and soon it will be dark/My fuel is in your doubt/My fear is in your spark.”

The lushness of the harmonies sung throughout the song are swapped out for pep and vitality in the chorus. Though it may feel as if one is listening to two different songs put together, Nightmare & The Cat effortlessly string “Sarah Beth” together for an enjoyable, slightly retro listen.

Discography:Nightmare and the Cat EP (2011), Simple EP (2013)

Official Website:

Jens Hoffman Makes Sweet Music

15 Dec

A reader of this blog left this artist/song/video in the comment section and I knew from the first few notes I had to review it.

With a few strums of the guitar and a light percussion rattle Jens Hoffman sets up the tone of his song “Sweet Honey Bee (Shine On). This little kernel of indie treasure, with the aid of sound effects such as people laughing, birds chirping, and water flowing delivers both smiles and a dab of sadness.

“Shine, Shine On/ The world keeps spinning round/Your heartbeat makes my world go round,” Hoffman croons in a John Lennon upper register sending a message that it is evocative of Lennon’s “Hold On” which instills part of the retro vibe of the song. If Lennon was still alive today, I wouldn’t be surprised if his music would sound a lot like
Hoffman’s (or actually vice versa)

The mellowness of the tune shines, not just in Hoffman’s voice but in the delicate and simple instrumental and lyrics. Intricate guitar work is displayed ramping up the song but is immediately followed by a soft and introspective portion, striking a well balanced chord.

If you need a pick me up on a cold winter night, just shut your eyes and put on this tune for 5:23 of pure bliss.

Discography: Sweet Honey Bee (Shine On) *single* (2013)

On Fire!

8 Dec

“Lori” by the Fire Apes starts with an explosion of drums and electric guitar, a giant burst of energy that is kept up the entire length of the song. The quickened pace ,raw garage band feel is contrasted by power pop vocals of the man behind the Fire Apes moniker John Seymour.

His 60’s influences are clear and strong here, harmonies pitch perfect and fresh. The unstoppable beat and liveliness of “Lori” is reminiscent of The Five Americans “Western Union,” with just a bit more pep.

The crisp and sharp retro feel is modernized by the forceful, almost punk like ending which the entire track leads up to. It’s an unexpected move with unbridled oomph.

With a manic musical vigor to the finish line, listeners will be instantly perked up and in the mood to get up, start the song again and dance like never before.

Discography: Central Park Carousel (2005), A Life in Letters (2011).

Official Website:

Me And Your Ghost And Sarah Borges

1 Dec

Sarah Borges may not be a household name, but she should be.

Back in 2009 her band Sarah Borges and the Broken Singles, released the fiesty, empowering anthem “Me and Your Ghost.”

*Listen to the record version here*

With its memorable guitar driven jangle, and midtempo groove, it has all the makings of a track that could have rolled out of the 1960’s,recalling The Beatles “Things We Said Today.” But Borges punches up the track with fierceness. She shows independence as she croons,

“I think I’m gonna put on one of my party dresses/ The one with the bow in the back/ The one that used to get me into messes.”

It’s the kind of sassy attitude type of song that harkens back to The Angels “My Boyfriend’s Back,” again with an update. It’s clear Borges doesn’t need any man to solve her problems.

Her swirl of twangy, country, and straight up rock voice help bring out different sides of the song and her emotions, producing much more depth.

There’s a playfulness here, vocally, lyrically, and instrumentally that helps make “Me and your Ghost” a new anthem for females everywhere.

Discography: Silver City (2004), Diamonds in the Dark (2007), The Stars are Out (2009)

Official Website: