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Surprise.

September 4, 2007

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Surprise. is group full of surprises (no pun intended). Hailing from the shores of Australia back in the 80’s started a group called “Surprise Surprise” and later shortened their name to “Surprise.”. The band consisted of Alexander Mcdonald, David Welch, Allan Dowthwaite, Malcolm Kiely and Lisa Parson. Locally managed by David Smallbone who is the father of the CCM renowned artist Rebecca St. James who narrates a line or two in a track in one of the albums.

Releasing a custom made demo called “Good Guys Don’t Always Wear White” which was only released locally. The group progressed with two other releases which were made both under Refuge records during the 90’s. The sophomore album “Fish” mixed the influences of New Wave, Heavy Metal, Country and folk and created a sound that is hard to explain. Alex Mcdonald vocally resembles Moe Berg from The Pursuit of Happiness fame does a pretty good job in delivering the songs.

A clever play of lyrics makes The last album called “Reformation” worth a listen with lyrics like “No condemnation in the Him of Hymns, when life ends is when it all begins.” Alex Mcdonald may be likened to Terry Taylor when he does spiritually thought provoking lyrics like in a song called “The Sixty Six”:

I know 66 reasons for these feelings inside my Head.
I’ve seen 39 old ones full of bold ones and what you said.
Be still and Know I am God.
I know that 27 speak of heaven and how you bled.

The group Surprise. may have not reach mainstream appreciation but it sure did with me and I believe that others might have as well. Don’t miss out on these rare gems and I am sure that if Surprise won’t surprise you at all (no pun intended again). God will surely will!

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Audio Sample : 90 seconds

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Ric Alba

September 4, 2007

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The Former bassist for The Altar Boys surprised the Christian music market when he produced a cathartic album of songs only vaguely reminiscent of his work with that seminal punk Christian punk band. The Material itself was distinctive , featuring songs that Alba had written after checking himself into a hospital for an extended period of pyschological help. The opening lyric, “Scream ’til the monsters go away,” sets the tone for the entire piece, in which Alba reflects on life as an adult through the eyes of a child. “Don’t make me sleep in the dark,” he sings in “Laughter”; “Don’t say you know how I feel / Then leave me there to cry alone,” he pleads in “Hold My Hand.” Rich in metaphor (the title is a poetic description of stars), the album won acclaim from such notable critics as CCM’s Brian Quincy Newcomb, while reamining predicatably unsuccesful commercially.

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Audio Sample : 90 seconds

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Robin Lane & The Chartbusters

August 7, 2007

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All Fall Down

I hear you live with a ball and chain
A bottle of whisky as your only friend
Was it the love you couldn’t hold on to
That’s made you wander the empty streets
With the dregs of humanity

And they all fell down in the rain
And they all fell down when he came
To break off the ball and chain

They say Moses, had something to prove
For forty days he walked through the wilderness
He took so long the people of Israel grew tired
Waiting for their God to make up his mind

And they all fell down in the rain
And they all fell down when he came
To break off the ball and chain

Someone will come
But not as before
To open up your heart

And they all fell down in the rain
And they all fell down when he came
To break off the ball and chain

Similar Artist :

www.randomrogue.com/robinlane

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Morella’s Forest

August 7, 2007

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“We’re a mix of beautiful female noise pop and male testosterone rock ‘n roll,” laughs MF’s guitarist Shawn Johnson. Sydney Rentz, the vocalist and female aspect of the previous equation, puts it more simply by calling their sound “edgy pop.” The emphasis is on writing solid songs characterized by simple, sweet melodies that are rounded out by equal parts noisy guitar lines, candy pop, and new wave quirkiness. In truth, no categorization could adequately describe the MoFo’s unique blend of noisy hooks and pop melodies. Alternative Press said, “Imagine them as Velocity Girl, had that band been into a-Ha instead of Echo and the Bunnymen.”

Morella’s Forest began in 1992 when Johnson returned home to Dayton, OH after leaving both Seattle, WA and his signed yet albumless band Righteous Anger. Once back in Dayton, Johnson set out to start a new band and gathered together people with a similar musical vision. The band is comprised of Sydney (vocals, lyrics), Shawn (guitars/keyboards), Joel Votaw (bass), and Jessie Sprinkle (drums). While the boys make the sounds, Sydney is a killer vocalist who can deliver hushed playful melodies, and get gutsy on the chorus. Morella’s Forest is never satisfied with where they have been, but rather look to continually develop their songwriting. Johnson says, “Morella’s Forest has always been from the beginning about never doing the same album twice, and always changing and bringing a new element into the band every record.”

Their acclaimed debut release “Super Deluxe” (Tooth and Nail) was recorded with Steve Hindalong (Choir) and Chris Colbert (Fluffy) at Netherlands Studios in Nashville, TN. The result is a beautiful album influenced by bands like the Cocteau Twins, Medicine and Jawbox. Furthermore, MF’s stylistic beauty is complemented by very classy song lyrics. Written by Sydney, the songs give spiritual perspectives relationships, life and human connection. Rather than being another angry band, MF sings more about life’s beauty, nature and ideals.

On 1996’s “Ultraphonic Hiss”, (produced by Keith Cleversey; Hum, Low, Spiritualized, Flaming Lips, and also on Tooth & Nail) the songs were pure pop drenched in syrupy melodies and tasty hooks. “From Dayton With Love” (1998), also produced by Cleversey (with additional production help from John Schmersal; Brainiac/Enon), found them dabbling in herky-jerky new wave mixed with their trademark noisy indie rock.

The latest release “Tiny Lights of Heaven” finds the band venturing forward yet again, this time straight into the world of pop, creating some of the strongest songs and most moving ballads of their career. Flourishes of Stereolab, flashes of The Cardigans, and flecks of Ivy have been injected into the band’s guitar-driven songs, redefining the Morella’s Forest aesthetic.

Morella’s Forest isn’t looking back, as they prepare to bring to the pop world more of their trademark infectious melodies delivered with sensuous vocals, textured guitars, creative arrangements and balanced rhythm section. “I think the indie pop world has a lacking in female singing bands (good ones at least),” explains Johnson. “I think we breathe a breath of freshness into the music that ’s out there. We are just trying to right catchy, positive songs and I think that is really missing in music today.” Today Morella’s Forest continues to record and play out, bringing their own special collection of catchy, positive songs to clubs and venues everywhere that need a little more beauty. From Dayton with love, of course.

Similar Artist :

www.myspace.com/morellasforest321

Audio Sample : 90 seconds

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Zwerg

August 7, 2007

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The intriguing and eclectic body of work from Canadian one-man-band ZWERG is described as a lyrical journey into the spirit realm, and a musically genre-transcending, psychedelic hybrid of melodic electronica, ethereal dream-pop, emotive alt-rock, whimsical acid jazz, shoe-gazer twee-pop, and contemporized folk. Sounds diverse indeed, but for some curious and unknown reason, it is cohesive. The ‘otherworldliness’ of it all seems to provide an impenetrable thread of continuity throughout. This undoubtedly has much to do with the credo of individualism this inarguably atypical Canadian artist champions with a vengeance…

The word “zwerg” is German and translates as “dwarf”. ZWERG mastermind Eldon Thiele chose this musical moniker because a significant amount of ancestral Germanic blood circulates through those Atlantic Canadian veins of his, and because numerous legends depict dwarves as tenacious warriors of superior pluck! However, according to Thiele, dwarves are all too often dismissed as feeble misfits… Therefore, ZWERG has totally committed himself to defending the misunderstood, the underdog. For there will come a day, Thiele says, when “the last will be first, when the rejected will be restored unto their Inceptor, The Oneness.”

ZWERG is a unique incarnation in that it is stylistically unrestricted, visually avant-garde, and immaterially, spiritually renewing. Though not conservatively religious in any respect, ZWERG’s lyrics are often based on such concepts as the mortality of humanity and the immortality of the soul; the physical versus the metaphysical, as it were. ZWERG is inapprehensive of exploring controversial issues such as hypocrisy in religion, and the realities of the supernatural. His music leads people through a sonic door, to a place where they can sample the surrealistic aesthetic of the Sublime, while still subsisting in the often mundane and depressing natural realm.

ZWERG’s 2005 DVD single tO STaNd, KnEeL stars Gordon Lightfoot’s grandson, Johnny Hoermann, as a Halfling in the single’s accompanying video. Lightfoot was considerably impressed with this release, having bestowed gushing accolades upon Thiele and his skills as a writer and producer. Interestingly enough, and quite appropriate to the fantasy life lived by Thiele through ZWERG, it is indeed the stuff of myth and legend that Thiele and Hoermann ended up meeting, collaborating, and befriending one another. For Thiele’s parents actually met during a 1971 Gordon Lightfoot concert at Gordon College outside of Boston, Massachusetts. And though Thiele grew up in Moncton, New Brunswick, and Hoermann (14 years Thiele’s junior) in rural-suburban Ontario, their paths intersected in 2002 as if in some divine twist of fate. Stranger still is the fact that the boys were completely unaware of each other’s familial identities until a year after their introduction.

The spring of 2007 brings considerable excitement to the ZWERG camp with the highly anticipated release of ZWERG’s 3rd full-length album iNTo tHe 4tH diMeNsiOn, no doubt his most comprehensive and compelling work to date. Though still decidedly distinctive and uncompromising in its execution, 4tH diMeNsiOn is surprisingly radio-friendly with its catchy hooks and accessible chorus melodies that seem to grow on the listener with repeated listens. This album was preceded by Played Wits (2000), and the Rick White (frontman of Erics’ Trip /Elevator) produced To Myopic Mutts (1998) and Sepsis EP (1997).

Jorgen Bremenger

Similar Artist :

www.myspace.com/zwergband

Audio Sample : 90 seconds

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Tim McAllister

August 7, 2007

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Tim McAllister first appeared in the eighties as the songwriter, singer and guitarist of Flock 14 and World Theatre.

Flock 14’s frantic stage shows gained them a large following in their hometown, leading to three record offers. They signed with Blue Collar (Undercover, Adam Again, 441) but the record company folded before recording the album. Tim met executives from Graceland records while playing at the Cornerstone festival in Chicago, and the Brave New World? record was released with success scoring a Top 10 hit on the CCM rock charts with Your Eyes.

Tim started a new project he dubbed World Theatre. It was a bigger sound, moody and introspective. He invited his friends Linford Detweiler of Over the Rhine and Gary Egger of Human Condition to work on the album which included appearances by Jimmy Abegg (Vector, Charlie Peacock) and was mixed by Gene Eugene (Adam Again).

During the final stages of the World Theatre album, Tim’s sister was killed by a great white shark, and a hemophiliac friend died from AIDs. These events prompted him to take time from the public limelight. While not performing live, he continued to record for himself and others. Most notably, Tim recorded and co-produced the first two Over the Rhine records

Similar Artist :


http://timmcallister.com

Audio Sample : 90 seconds

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Sinéad O’Connor

June 17, 2007

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THE LAMB’S BOOK OF LIFE

Out of Ireland I have come
Great hatred and little room
Maimed us at the start
And now home just breaks my heart
To America I have come
I hope to bring your preacherman
Home to show my people how they can
Get their names back in the book of the life of the lamb
I know that I have done many things
To give you reason not to listen to me
Especially as I have been so angry
But if you know me maybe you would understand me
Words can’t express how sorry I am
If I ever caused pain to anybody
I just hope that you can show compassion
And love enough to just please listen
Out of Ireland I did run
Great hatred and little room
Aimed to break my heart
Wreck me up and me all apart
To America I have come
I hope to find a good preacherman
Who can show me how I can
Get my name back in the book of the life of the lamb
I bring these blessings with me
A strong heart full of hope and a feeling
That everything in this world would be okay
If people just believed enough in God to pray
But the world thinks that sounds crazy
And that’s the thing that makes me sing sadly
To think that we would leave God so lonely
To think that we would mess up our destiny
Out of history we have come
With great hatred and little room
It aims to break our hearts
Wreck us up and tear us all apart
But if we listen to the Rasta man
He can show us how it can be done
To live in peach and live as one
Get our names back in the book of the life of the lamb

Similar Artist :

www.sinead-oconnor.com

Audio Sample : 90 seconds