Mean Motor Scooter “Hindu Flying Machine” Review

Mean Motor Scooter’s Hindu Flying Machine is more of a journey than an album, but it’s a particularly pleasant ride nonetheless. Over the course of ten tracks, peculiarities are to be expected. For the most part, they work. A track-by-track review begins below.

We’re Not Alone – Right after the first few riffs, the song plunges the listener into a feast of powerful bass lines. The double time is a surprisingly effective push, and the lo-fi vocals strike an interesting aural imagery of a long-forgotten time.

“Wavespotting” – Sporadic drums guide us through the jungle of a 60s comic scene. The power chords partnered with the bass fuel the ride even further like a vintage mustang sailing in the air above the Mississippi River. It’s a short ride, but it gives enough kick to keep the listener (and possibly a crowd) hyped.

“Sea Serpent” – This one set off with a nearly clean guitar riff, dropping in some serious punches with the full blown band. The vocals are over-driven, reminiscent of Franz Ferdinand.

“Cosmonaut” – Reverb and distortion are king here. What makes this track a standout is its similarity to “Welcome to the Black Parade” by MCR, rendering rendering a satisfying listen between each section. The interlude in particular was a nice touch, and its overall quality is a nice surprise.

“Lizard Man” – Things begin to pick up with “Lizard Man.” While not much of a standout as its predecessors, it features a pretty nice, although short, guitar solo.

“Shape Shifter” – It begins to feel a little routine by this point. The keyboard adds a nice touch, while the bassline is jumpy as always. The female vocals once again pour plenty of life into the track.

“Sam, the Homosapein” – The opening’s immediately sounds very AC/DC, yet with a clean and playful rhythm. The lyrics bring tangible imagery to the mind, and one can clearly visualize the footsteps of the Homosapein.

“Come and Get It” ­– The overall vintage feel is revitalized here. Still in a bit of a routine sonic-wise, but this time it works in the album’s favor.

“Dr.Benway” – This track is more like a succession to the previous track than a song on its own. The keyboard is much more pronounced than in previous tracks.

“Brainhole” – We finally reach the closing track of the album as well as the frenetic journey it took us on. While “Brainhole” could have been better suited for a “middle track,” it still works here. We get a nice summary of the musical themes and motifs.

Verdict: There are indeed some surprises here and there, and the song Cosmonaut is one to keep an eye on. Even though a main criticism its “routine” nature, that’s actually where the album shines the most. It’s familiar. There’s plenty to digest here, and overall Hindu Flying Machine is worth more than one listen.

Sabrina Claudio “About Time” Album Review

Sabrina Claudio is already being hailed as the “the future of R&B.” So, naturally, the pressure to deliver is on, whether she likes it or not. Thankfully, About Time manages to give us a beautiful yet slow showcase of her talent. The subject matter may not amaze you, but Sabrina’s vocals and production will certainly surprise you.

Even when just speaking normally in “About Time (Intro)” Sabrina Claudio pulls the listener in with her breathy, silky voice.

“Will I have accepted the things I cannot change, and will I have changed the things I cannot accept?”

We may have heard such a statement in some old self-help book we threw away ages ago, but it’s her delivery that makes it become pleasantly thought-provoking. “Natural” summarizes About Time with its lyrics of “quickly falling in love” and it feeling, well, “natural.” Sabrina opens the track demonstrating some superlative self-harmonizing, and it’s quickly apparent why someone would boast about her potential talent.

 

“Belong To You” drifts down like morning fog, engulfing us with a need to be snuggled up with our imaginary boyfriends. Lyrics like “Grab hold of me, Gentle love but touch passionately” do nothing to dismiss these fantasies. They only serve to allow the following material to build upon the established theme. The low rumbling vocals in the chorus are also a nice touch. We can feel the singer’s need for companionship.

Of course, things quickly dial up with “Unravel Me,” another single from the album.

“Something in the sun or the air, Is making me wanna run away from here”

Here the production truly gets a chance to shine as “Unravel” is melodically the best track on the album and most likely a fan-favorite.

Our trip through those clouds begins to slow down upon our descent into “Stand Still.” Production-wise, this is the album’s most polished song. Nearly every vocal effect, drum click, and synth riff cluster together in perfect harmony. Sabrina Claudio is at her best vocally when she has room to maneuver, and the mostly sparse production offers plenty of that here. The lyrics “Time is being wasted screaming, Not listen I promise you’ll heal me better” will make you question exactly what you expect out of a relationship.

And just before you touch the ground, the bouncy “Used To” brings the journey to a close. Claudio finds time to be introspective even during an uptempo song, and it works for the most part. In fact, I dare say this could become a trademark of hers. Lord knows we need more uptempos in today’s depressing musical landscape. Here’s to hoping.

So, while About Time doesn’t break the ground it needs to, it more than succeeds in showing off Sabrina’s rich potential as both a songwriter and a vocalist. As “the future of R&B,” she has a lot to prove. Luckily, she has the talent to become something greater.

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David Tribble Interview: Talks Faith, Voice Auditions, and More!

Unapologetic. That’s a word that comes to mind when it comes to David Tribble’s unrelenting devotion to his faith. The common denominator behind his many talents, it’s no surprise that it’s shaped nearly every stage of his life, figuratively and literally.

From auditioning to be on The Voice to becoming a worship leader in Euless, TX, Tribble has plenty of interesting chunks of life to sing about. In case you missed it, you can read my recent review of his album, Thrownhere.

Curious to know more? Get into my conversation with him below!

Let’s talk about faith. How does your faith shape your music (How you write songs, your themes, the stories in your music, etc)?

Well first of all I’m not ashamed of my faith and I’m actually gonna quote some verses this time for reference because what I learn from the bible is very important to my music and for me as a person to continue my relationship with my creator, Lord and Savior Jesus Christ as he “works out what he is working in”  Phil 2:13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.
And to be real honest I don’t want my music to be labeled as Christian music and haven’t ever sat down trying to write a Christian song.  I do however have trust in my actions as long as they are paired with my faith and that is the theme and story behind my music.  You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. James 2:22

When did you fall in love with making music?

I was in high school, a senior I think.  My step father had an old Toyota Acoustic guitar laying around the house and so I picked it up one day and found an old booklet “How to play guitar”, I taught myself a few chords that day and soon after wrote my first song, something about a heart smiling or something cheesy like that.  I wrote it on a piece of ruled notebook paper with a blue pen, with plenty of scratch marks all through it.  I think that was they time when I fell in love with rhyming and phrasing and the guitar bridged the gap between my voice and the pen.

When was the definitive moment you knew you wanted to sing? Did your faith play a role in this?

I know when I was a kid in church choir, that was not it!   I did get to go to New York and sing so that was cool, but I didn’t really get it back then.  However when I was in college and first getting into writing and playing, sometimes even between classes on my bottom bunk, it happened when I entered a talent contest at a local coffee shop there and played one song that I remember called the “The Senorita Song”  I wrote it in college and yes it was also cheesy, literally comparing women to tacos, needless to say I was a real charmer.   And even though I was very nervous I still sang and played the song, and cherished the moment and, though I didn’t know it at the time, I’m a moment guy (Mr. Moment as I call it) and that is what is so inviting about singing and melodies and finding harmonies that are all driven by the emotion and the moment which is ever changing within your time on stage.

Was there ever a moment when you doubted yourself? Have you ever felt lost while pursuing your dreams?

We all doubt and that is what makes us human.  You just have to get used to overcoming that doubt because it will creep in unannounced.  I never stopped pursuing my dreams and playing music and writing songs.

Was there ever a point in your life, creatively, where you were challenged to push past your limits? What was that moment?

I auditioned for The Voice tv show, you know the one.  It was back in 2013 season 6.  I made audition in Austin and was chosen to go to LA for the next one.  Yes is was totally different, unlike Austin it was me and the guitar and that was comfortable but in LA they chose the song for you and luckily I got to sing “One Headlight” by the Wallflowers.  No guitar just vocals and remembering the lyrics, which is not my thing, my wife, who doesn’t sing is great at it, but I did remember and sing the song well and made it to the blind auditions.

How do you stay rooted and calm?

Breathe, I haven’t done much of it, but as a slow learner I’m finding that allows good things to your body as a whole.  Praying also is something I need to do more of and would like to say I do it well and often but I struggle separating from “the moment” for a simple and calm prayer here and there.  When I do remember these two things before I perform songs for people it always helps calm me down and give my best.

Do you meditate?

I take naps.

Do you perform for a church? If so, where?

I am the worship leader at Life Connection Church in Euless Tx.  often called Useless so I’ve recently found out.

What was your most exciting performance? Most challenging?

I still haven’t opened for Citizen Cope or David Ramirez yet but when I do…but seriously I don’t recall exciting performances but ones that I will remember the most:  Playing for my wife for our wedding was one of them, but most challenging and exciting would have to be the Voice Audition in LA in front of the producers.

What were some of your “creative roadblocks” if any? How did you overcome them?

I’ve never ran into many songwriting road blocks but mine would have to be more design and marketing aspects like cover art and logos for instance.  I overcome them buy making choices that I don’t love in the end but its temporary and it’s a process of brand and development in the independent artist world.

Favorite song you’ve ever written?

I would have to say it’s a toss up between “Bittersweet” and “Wife and Daughter.”  They both were recorded and produced so differently.

How do you inspire people?

Through my music and the way I treat people.  It is a huge honor to have chance to inspire.  As a former school teacher, I was around middle school kids to inspire and that was a bit challenging for sure.  Music inspires all of us so I want to make good music that hits the mark to inspire and encourage.  The world is a tough place and we all take it head on.  Good or bad we need to do our part.

What’s something people don’t know about you that’s hiding in plain sight?

I taught and coached middle school for 14 years.

How big a role has having a family played in your creative process?

Very big and significant role yes, even more now than at the start.

Explain the concept of “Thrown.” It’s the title of one of the songs from the album of the same name. As a whole, what does this album represent to you? What should it represent to others?

Ok, I’m about to get churchy on you…The word Thrown is paired with the idea of a true Throne, considering the picture of an old beat up chair on the cover.  There are 3 pillars to it:  Being thrown is a sense of disarray, sin and chaos, which in faith is made right and overcome by Gods mercy, love and peace.  God has chosen us to join him to sit on the throne of Righteousness with him and If not for His grace and Jesus on the cross, our lives and throne to sit upon would be old and tattered like the one on the cover, really it would be worse than that.

You’re forced to give up a cartoon from your childhood. Which one do you pick and why?

I would have to say GI Joe!!  I had the action figures and cool vehicles and me and my friends would make up our own GI Joe battles in the living room or outside.  Even watched the show with my boy scout troop!

You’re forced to give up one of your senses? Which one do you pick and why? How would losing that sense influence the way you experience music?

Smell: I do love to smell but I don’t figure it would affect music for me.  Not really food either, but would be a lot of gross taste testing.   Plus I have horrible eye sight so If I want to be blind I can just take out my contacts.

What’s your next move? Performing anywhere soon? Another project on the way?

I’m performing at some new places around the area, getting to know more booking agents and work through the circle of artists which has grown a lot even in the last couple of months.  I am playing in Austin Tx. in November for the first time at Lonesome Dove so that will be a fun Tues night!

Also, I have a song called “Fine Wine” written about being saved and the process it takes and the journey of getting to a place of beauty and value.  This song has represented me and wife’s recent struggle with growing our family and decision to adopt a baby, and a few of the lyrics ‘soul been saved” have been used for our fundraising shirts and events as we continue through the process in the coming months.  So I’m happy to say it will be my next single, co produced by Matt Mcgaugh (my brother in law) and Tanner Landry from Fort Worth Sound in Fort Worth Tx. and it will be available soon.

David Tribble “Thrown” Review

Sometimes, we have to find the royalty within ourselves, a task David Tribble knows can elude us. Luckily, Thrown won’t just try to inspire you to find it. Its mission is to reveal you in the process.

The title Thrown is filled with double-meaning. It’s meant to invoke the feeling of being “thrown” into disarray while doubling as a word play on “throne,” represented in the title image. As an artist who balances his faith with his music, the musical content strives to find the perfect equilibrium between the two. For the most part, it’s charming.

Production-wise, Thrown isn’t a challenging record to take in. Most tracks feature only an acoustic guitar with Tribble’s non-threatening vocals to lead the way. “Feathers,” the first track on the album, gently seeps into our spirit with its Sunday devotional-style lyrics “I won’t grow weary. I won’t grow thin, and I fly like the eagle flies.” Right away, you’re aware of what you’re in for. What follows is more of the same.

“Wife and Daughter” dives a bit more into the storytelling angle as Tribble slowly takes his time to allow the scenes of the song to play out. “Headed down to Texas, west on the interstate, ended up on my front door knocking with his head. He was holding a picture of my wife and daughter, carried the cross of my Lord and savior.”

Soon, we’re lead to the title track, “Thrown.” Fittingly, it encapsulates the true meaning of the album as a whole.

“I’m down here on this basement floor. All I wanted was a glance and nothing more. But now I’m crawling in the dark looking for a light to bring me home. Cuz everything else’s been thrown.”

“Ready to Go Then” puts an echo-y acoustic spin on a very familiar subject: heartbreak. One of the standout tracks, “Ready to Go Then” captures the lingering, free-falling feeling of watching someone you love walk out of your life.  “I don’t want to let to you go, but I know that you are ready to go then.”

“Bible on Tap” eventually brings everything full circle with a more obvious approach to merging Tribble’s religious background into the forefront.

“What if the Bible was on tap, and we all started drinking, drinking it down, catching a buzz on what it teaches about love and hope and forgiving our enemies?”

Where Thrown succeeds is its ability to appeal to the casual listener as well as the religiously disciplined. There are songs dedicated to the Christian faith, but there are also tunes that are appropriate for any occasion. Tribble’s latest work has a catchy duality factor to it, both welcoming and heartbreaking. Strangely enough, it fits together competently.

Check out more from David Tribble here!

Mary J. Blige “Strength of a Woman” Review

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Mary J. Blige’s Strength of a Woman postured itself as a post-divorce battle cry. For an album this anticipated, the stakes were as high as Kendu Isaac’s delusions. Unfortunately, the end result left much to be desired, though this wasn’t the case at first glance. Strength of a Woman starts out with promise, but its potential all but evaporates by the end of its first half.

Post-Breakthrough Mary has often been hit or miss when it comes to her albums as a whole. Sure, she still gives us a gem or two, something remarkable given the painful, emotional journey she’s chonicled over the last 12 albums she’s released. Like her most recent projects, Strength of a Woman often tries to recapture the magic of personal masterpieces like My Life and The Breakthrough, but the end result seems to run away from her before we get the fully-realized, heart-wrenching gut punch Auntie Mary has been known for.

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