Buffalo NY pop-punk singer/songwriter @LexxiRaine delivers with 7 song EP “Fun While It Lasted”

LEXXI RAINE, Fun While It Lasted (EP)

Lexxi Raine is a talented new singer/songwriter from Buffalo, New York who arrives with her 7 song EP Fun While It Lasted.  While all of the songs aren’t entirely successful, with too sparse production sometimes a culprit, the EP focuses on showcasing her razor sharp songwriting skills, and to me, her songs are easily transferable to be promoted to and recorded by other artists as well.  She has a great way with words and telling a story like so many other songwriters cannot do.  She calls her style “pop-punk” but it’s really cut from the same cloth that made The Go-Go’s, The Bangles, The Waitresses, and other women artists all the rage in the 80’s, which also influenced male bands like Green Day and Blink-182.  The songs are often acoustic, with vocals not always on key (but someone tell that to team Billie Eilish 😉 ), but the best ones rock out with full band effect.  So I’ll draw your attention to the gritty “He Says, She Says” and the cutting “Dear Kellie”, both below.  But don’t get me wrong, Lexxi Raine is on a very contemporary path with the telling and provocative video for “What The Lonely People Do” (above), where the protagonist wants a relationship to be all about her and not about others.  Lexxi Raine has just completed a small tour of the UK where she is obviously establishing a fan base.  She’s someone to check out at this ground-level stage and has the potential to go far with the right songs and production.

“I Thought You Were My Friend” by @weareFightNight where punk influences and EDM make a happy medium

FIGHT NIGHT, “I Thought You Were My Friend”

The Washington, DC duo Fight Night, consisting of singer Andy Gruhin and producer Josh Grant, follow up their EP Underground with “I Thought You Were My Friend”, a decidedly different, rock-flavoured EDM track that can easily turn heads.  Picture if you will the approach and attitude of say All-American Rejects, Simple Plan, or blink-182 (timely this considering the latter’s comeback!), and pair it up with slick but not too busy electronica, which allows the rock guitars to be prominent throughout.  Add to that a common lyric for our teens and 20s generation and you have “I Thought You Were My Friend”.  I like it when performers and producers step outside the often narrow confines of pop music and can realize a song with true potential.  Find out why and download Fight Night’s “I Thought You Were My Friend” using the link above.

Powerful Stuff: Hard Rockers @The88sband Self-Titled EP

The 88’s, self-titled EP

Hard rock is not usually a genre I write about.  I did go through a brief phase in my music life where I wanted loud hairband music more frequently than usual about 25 years ago 😛  In any event, The 88’s is a solid, talented trio who are passionate about their music.  It comes across in the care of the arrangements of the songs written by guitarist Luis.  All three members come from different parts of the world – Luis (Portugal), drummer Joe (NYC), and vocalist Pheel (France) – and they apparently are based out of Shanghai.  It’s no fluke that they are gathering fans from all over the world when their songs are so good.

“For You, I’ll Sing My Song” has the potential to be a hit at mainstream rock radio with a great message and melody.  “Get Me Through” features traditional Portuguese guitar and backing vocals from a soulful singer named Lola.  Other songs are sung partially in French too! But most of the time the band’s key influences from Metallica to System Of A Down shine through, and incorporating all of this results in a unique sound within a sometimes pretty static music genre.  

Lovers of hard, angry rock with a difference will be completely sold.  If you like pop/rock/metal in general, then I guarantee that The 88’s will make you sit up at attention.  Listen to their EP and more at their official website right here.  Watch the video of “Velvet Rock” at the top of this post.

Published in: on February 1, 2014 at 2:23 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Is It Time For Punk Mach 2? Meet Toronto’s Swindled

Once upon a time in Pickering, Ontario, there were four teens who formed a punk band at the hey day of some of Toronto’s best such as Teenage Head, The Diodes, and Battered Wives.  Swindled lasted from 1979 to 1982, replacing their original drummer along the way, and put out a 7″ vinyl single before imploding.  Sounds like it could be any local garage band, right?

Except who’d have thought that they’d be back almost 30 years later.  At a January tribute to my friend and fellow music history buff and author, veteran guitarist and solo artist in his own right Jaimie Vernon, Swindled performed for the first time in years, with singer Ivan Judd and bassist Tim James, but minus either of the original drummers, so consummate local session musician Cleave Anderson (Blue Rodeo among others) stepped behind the drums.  The group easily performed a dozen songs in a half hour (since a three minute song to them is long!) and was so well received by the audience that this was not to be a one-time-only gig.  So the band performed a live session on University of Toronto radio station CIUT-FM, which turned out so promising that it led to the release of their debut album It’s only peace that you want…It’s only war that you get!

Now having been predisposed to some of these songs over the years through numerous other bands featuring Jaimie and/or Ivan, I’m pleased that all of this has been preserved on disc, and that the band is performing additional shows this summer.  On July 22 they performed at Toronto club Bovine Sex Club… with two other similar bands, which made for an energetic and fast-paced evening.  The Swindled members lived through the original punk scene, and over the years have since become terrific performers and musicians, but it’s not exactly as if The Ramones or Teenage Head have received the spit and polished treatment – there are fortunately still many spit stains!  Their songs are all original, many (if not all) written in the late 70’s or early 80’s, and they still sound fresh even though time has placed some of the lyrical content way back when, particularly in songs like “Nazi Dog” (a reference to a Toronto punk singer of the late 70’s) and “Aunti-Thatcher”.

The band re-recorded their first single “Who Wants Guns”, along with its better and more timeless B-side “Hymn #84”, for inclusion along with their originals, which still sound surprisingly gritty and survived the transfer to disc.  I also enjoy the swagger and sneer of “Meantime”, “Possession”, and “Apathy Rules”.  Three original demos are also included in the package for historical and curiosity value.

Bigger, better, older, wiser?  Perhaps but the only way to judge is to check out the album which is available on iTunes, Amazon, or through Bullseye Canada – or, check out an upcoming show (if you’re in the Toronto area, a show is happening sometime in August in Oshawa, about a half hour east).  Find out more about Swindled through their Facebook pages.  You can watch a video of their performance of “Who Wants Guns” below at their reunion show earlier this year.

Published in: on July 23, 2011 at 8:19 pm  Leave a Comment  
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