Corin Ashley – The Abbey Road Session (2010)

Corin Ashley - The Abbey Road Sessions - Cover
Corin Ashley & The Chocolate Olivers
The Abbey Road Session (“Badfinger Bridge” b/w “Second Hand Halo”)

What happens when you send one of Boston’s best pop songwriters across the pond to record at Abbey Road? Magic. Corin made the most of his time at the legendary studio and cut two of his finest songs to date.

The A side of this single is “Badfinger Bridge”. It’s a mid-tempo number that makes good use of Corin’s upper register and channels the energy of the surroundings. Echos of The Beatles and, yes, Badfinger are all over this thing. The song breathes. It is beautifully written and lovingly performed.

Corin cuts loose on the B side. “Second Hand Halo” takes the “Taxman” riff, pairs it up with a healthy dose of Squeeze songcraft and tops it off with a Wings era McCartney vocal. The bit at the end of the bridge that sounds like Queen blows my mind every time I hear it. And the cough! This is how you write a pop song, folks. Amazing.

Corin Ashley - The Abbey Road Sessions - Close Up

Corin kept a journal about the experience of recording at Abbey Road. It’s a great read. You can check it out on his website. The vinyl is a 45 RPM, vibrant blue, small hole 7″. These songs are also available as a digital download. Get it!

Where to get it:

Corin Ashley - The Abbey Road Sessions - Vinyl

Mike Gent – “Victoria” b/w “Big Sky” (2010)

Mike Gent - Victoria - Cover
Mike Gent
“Victoria” b/w “Big Sky”

Back in 2009, Mike Gent went into The Moontower with Scott Janovitz to cut a couple of Kinks covers. The songs were for “Do It Again”, a documentary about Geoff Edgers trying to reunite the band. What they came out with are faithful, passionate and inspired versions of “Victoria” and “Big Sky”.

Mike Gent plays everything here, save for some backing vocals on “Big Sky” by Scott Janovitz. The performances are spot on. The sounds are authentic. You can tell Mr. Gent has a deep rooted love for this music. It would be hard to overstate how cool this record is. It’s a must have for fans of Mike Gent or The Kinks. I suspect there’s a fairly large overlap with those two groups. I would imagine those folks are on their second or third copies by now.

Mike Gent - Victoria - Headless Guitar Guy

As for the physical product, it’s a black vinyl, 45 RPM, big hole 7″ record with a cool fold out cover by David Plunkert.

Where to get it:

If you’re looking for a copy of this 7″, your best bet would be to contact Geoff Edgers, producer and star of “Do It Again”…

Mike Gent - Victoria - Heart

Mike Gent - Victoria - Poster

John Powhida International Airport – “Daddy’s The Man” b/w “Surrender To The Disco Knightz” (2010)

John Powhida International Airport - "Daddy's The Man" b/w "Surrender To The Disco Knightz" - Cover
John Powhida International Airport
“Daddy’s The Man” b/w “Surrender To The Disco Knightz”

There’s something wrong with John Powhida. Songs about junkie dads and disco decadence should not be this fun. In fact, those things don’t sound fun at all. Here’s the thing; junkie dads and disco decadence are fun. I just didn’t realize this until J Po and gang pressed these tunes on cool blue vinyl.

You’ll still be thinking “that’s just not right” if you listen a little too closely. Luckily, like most good music that is meant to make you move, you’ll probably be too caught up in the party to worry about the clean up. If you do happen to find yourself contemplating the stark contrast between what J Po is saying and how he’s playing it, then you’ll come to the same realization I did.

There’s something right with John Powhida.

Where to get it:

John Powhida International Airport - "Daddy's The Man" b/w "Surrender To The Disco Knightz" - Light

John Powhida International Airport - "Daddy's The Man" b/w "Surrender To The Disco Knightz" - Vinyl

Windmills By The Ocean – II (2011)

Windmills By The Ocean - II - Cover
Windmills By The Ocean

Windmills By The Ocean is heavy, dense and atmospheric. There is weight and heft to these songs. There is air and space.

The opening track, “Pagan Sun”, is a raging storm. Waves of distorted guitar wash over you. You are storm battered and weary. The clouds break momentarily as “Azure” opens. You can hear the siren’s song in the distance. Can you resist? Not likely. You wash up on shore. “The Circul” is the sound of your drained body collapsing in the sand. You’re dazed. You can feel it in your bones.

Side 2 opens with a parting of the skies. “Star” offers a glimmer of hope that you may weather this storm. No such luck. Despair returns. “Occul” finds the waves slowly swallowing you back into the turbulent sea. You smile as you give in and sink beneath the surface.*

Windmills By The Ocean - II - Spinning

The 45 RPM, 12″ vinyl version of II comes in standard black as well as two limited edition variations: “Pagan Sun”, a black and red sunburst effect, and “Windmill”, the two tone gray version you see here. This is one of the coolest looking pieces of vinyl in my collection. A digital download version is also available.

Where to get it:

Windmills By The Ocean - II - Label

Windmills By The Ocean - II - Vinyl

*Yes, I know this is all a bit goofy, but that’s what Windmills By The Ocean does to me. Listen to II and you’ll understand.

MMOSS – i (2011)


With i, MMOSS have managed to create an album that sounds like it came straight out of the late sixties. Like much of the music from that time, there are elements of folk and psychedelia in this retro-rock stew. The songwriting, instrumentation and production are spot on. Let your ears feast on the eclectic mix of guitars (electric, acoustic and bass alike), flute, organ, assorted percussion and who knows what else. “Grow Down”, “Woolgathering”, “Molly Molasses”, “Come What May” and “Kitty Sorrow” are a few of my favorites, but this album is best experienced as a whole. Put on some headphones, let the needle hit the record and just go with it.

This record is one of 125 pressed in cool brown vinyl. There is also a black vinyl version. i is also available in cassette and digital download formats.

Where to get it:

Hands And Knees – Wholesome (2011)

Hands and Knees

The music of Hands and Knees has as much in common with the early years of this thing we call rock and roll as it does with the music of their modern day peers. Songs like album opener, “Throw Me From The Bridge Of Flowers”, make you want to stomp and clap along. These songs have got some swing and swagger to them. “Dancing On Your Tears” is infectious. “99” rips, with shades of Link Wray on electric guitar.

Listening to Wholesome, you just know the people making the music are living the music. The production suits the music well. The instruments sound like real instruments, with a nice vintage sounding reverb holding things together. No over-production here. “The Moonlight Is Wicked” is a perfect example. It sounds as if it were recorded with the band playing live in a living room somewhere. I’m right there with them enjoying every minute.

The vinyl version of this fine LP comes in two varieties. There’s a regular version and a limited edition run with screen printed artwork by Mike Swiatlowski. That’s the one you see in the photos. You can also download a digital version.

Where to get it:

Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling – Questions Are A Burden To Others (2011)

Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling
Questions Are A Burden To Others

Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling is a duo made up of Sophia Cacciola on drums and vocals (usually) and Michael J. Epstein on bass (usually). Their songs are based on the ’60s British sci-fi spy series The Prisoner. Weird, right? It kind of is, but it’s also rather intriguing.

First of all, the bass rarely sounds like a bass. It’s so processed and distorted that it sounds like some kind of weird guitar/organ/bass hybrid from the retro future. The complex nature of the bass sound helps minimize the novelty of their unusual instrumentation. As for minimizing the novelty of lyrics based on The Prisoner, well, uhhh… how much do you really know about The Prisoner, anyway? If you don’t know much about the Patrick McGoohan drama (thanks Wikipedia), then it won’t seem like a gimmick. I would imagine if you knew a lot about The Prisoner it would be just plain awesome.

As for the music, it is guttural. Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling are desperate. They are dark. Tick tick tick tick-tock. The tension builds. The juxtaposition of sparse instrumentation and dense sound is powerful. Their urgency is alarming. Tick tick tick tick-stop.

I think I need to check out The Prisoner.

Where to get it:

Ad Frank And The Fast Easy Women @ T.T. The Bear’s Place 6.3.2011

And now we say goodbye to Ad Frank And The Fast Easy Women. Their farewell set will forever stay in the memories of all the jilted lovers and hopeless romantics that packed the room. It truly was a thing of beauty.

BrownBoot – Here’s The Thing: (2011)

Here’s The Thing:

BrownBoot reminds me of Humble Pie. I don’t think I’ve ever said that about a local band before. I guess there’s a first time for everything. It’s not that BrownBoot sounds exactly like Steve Marriott and gang. The common traits are found in songs like “Shame” and “Iron & Ledson”: a love of soul, big guitars and powerful vocals. In BrownBoot’s case the vocals come in male and female varieties courtesy of Rodrigo Van Stoli and Jordan Valentine. I can think of other bands that BrownBoot calls to mind. They are all from the early ’70s. You get the picture.

“I Can’t Wait (To Get Away)” is insanely catchy. Much like Carly Simon’s “You’re So Vain”, it’s the kind of song you’re glad someone wrote about somebody, but you hope never gets written about you. The big difference is that BrownBoot’s song is a scorcher lyrically and musically. “Mae Stay” pulls in the reigns a bit to good effect.

BrownBoot closes things out with “Spacepipe”. It has a killer groove, a nice heavy organ riff and Jordan Valentine stealing the show with her wailing vocals.

Where to get it:

Count Zero @ T.T. The Bear’s Place 6.3.2011

Count Zero are quirky, eccentric and a little bit zany. In honor of Ad Frank And The Fast Easy Women’s final show, they even did a cover of “The Cuddle” with Fast Easy Woman Sarah Rabdau. Nice touch.