Nick Piunti and The Complicated Men continue their 2020 hot streak with Christmas Morning, a nifty bit of rocking yule, equal parts Paul Westerberg and Bryan Adams. A gritty comment on Christmas commerciality that is definitely this year’s Christmas ear worm.
Combining spooky surf guitar runs with a sweet melody, Will You Turn Up (For Christmas) is quickly becoming a favorite to accompany holiday decorating at my house. This one wouldn’t sound out of place on the great Phil Spector Lp that is so beloved. Nicely done!
Lisa Mychols and Paul Ryan (SUPER 8) give us Red Bird, a dreamy winter pop tune full of twinkling bells and floaty, ethereal vocals. Cheerful in all the right ways, it’s a welcome addition to the seasonal songbook. Pretty.
It’s always exciting when a collaboration between talented musicians occurs, and the teaming of Lisa Mychols and Paul “Trip” Ryan (who operate under the moniker Lisa Mychols & Super 8) is no exception. Lisa’s bright and lively vocals stand as the ideal companion to Trip’s intrepid instrumental and structural techniques, while the songwriting is flush with melodic allure.
Trimmed with a twinkly psychedelic border, Trip & Ellie’s Music Factory frolics to a giddy gait, features a groovy break and contains a sheaf of mouth-watering bubblegummish lyrics. Governed by swagger and sass, Time Bomb rocks and with style and intent, where Flying Close To The Sun flourishes in form with vibrant hues and heart-stopping harmonies.
Clothed in string arrangements and mining a bit of good old fashioned vaudeville virtues, The Monkee Song offers a dosage of goofy fun, and the majestic The Arms Of Water imparts images of the rolling waves of an ocean, complete with the sound of singing seagulls.
The duo’s flair for acoustic-based roots rock arrives on an inspired interpretation of Kenny Rankin’s Peaceful, in which Trip handles lead vocals in mighty fine fettle. Another cover appearing on the album is the moody chant-infested Witchi Tai To, that was a minor hit in 1969 for a band called Everything is Everything.
Branded with a becoming blend of musical values, Lisa Mychols & Super 8 adds up to a thoroughly pleasurable listening experience. Lisa and Trip work well together, so here’s hoping their partnership produces further choice creations.
A funny band name is always guaranteed to spark interest, but often overshadows its music. However, that is not the case with Librarians With Hickeys, whose cleverly-chiseled songs are as attention-grabbing as their moniker.
Consisting of Ray Carmen on vocals, guitar, ukulele and keyboards, Mike Crooker on guitar, keyboards and backing vocals, Andrew Wilco on bass and Rob Crossley on drums and piano, the Akron, Ohio-based quartet gathered a universal following with a pair of singles they issued last year. Encouraged by the positive response, the band began working on a complete album, Long Overdue, which will be released August 14th by Big Stir Records.
The band’s debut album wisely contains the two singles that put them on the map. Radiating to a repertoire rigged with glistening guitars, yearning harmonies and the heart-stopping hum of a harpsichord, Until There Was You is a poptastic prize of the highest order. The subsequent single, Black Velvet Dress is directed by a hypnotizing beat layered with shimmering textures.
Punctured with a trippy psychedelic air prompted by the plucking of a backwards guitar, Obsession punches in as another A-grade track heard on Long Overdue, not to neglect the pure pop pleasantries of That Time Is Now featuring acclaimed vocalist Lisa Mychols.
Amplified by driving instrumentation grooving and swinging with a go-go sixties flavor, Looking For Home also receives a big round of applause, while the whimsical Be My Plus One is embedded with the sweet strum of a ukulele. Ray’s daughter Grace lends her vibrant vocal power to the grand and gorgeous Silent Stars, where the hooky and neatly-groomed Next Time yields a brace of cool saxophone fills.
By mating old-school pop properties with frequent art rock flirtations, Librarians With Hickeys have produced an album that is both comfortably familiar and novel. The band’s bright and breezy vocal expressions, compounded by melodic strength, are sure to satisfy fans of artists such as Shoes, The Beach Boys and The Smithereens. Assessing Long Overdue, Librarians With Hickeys have gotten off to a mighty good start. No matter what the current trend is, we all love catchy pop songs, and here’s a band whose contributions are most welcome.