Music Industry News Network [01-02-2018]

Bongo Boy Records’ Above The Sun Has An Infectious Groove That Ideally Straddles Both Worlds, Pop And Punk. Coming 1.12.18


Worldwide Release 1.12.18 Above The Sun - Make Music Not Money (EP)
UPC 708744975263 | USPXQ1811201
Producer: Duke Jackson | Songwriter: Matthew Paul Barouch
Mgmt: – Ron Berman
Record Label: Bongo Boy Records

EP Review by The Grouch

Hej America!
Today I received a New Year’s gift from my friends at Bongo Boy Records. What did they give me you ask? Well, in a nut shell, nothing less than a blisteringly cool EP by a Pop/Punk group I have really come to enjoy. I am talking about a group that goes by the name Above The Sun who are out of New York. Honestly folks, I have not enjoyed an album this much since I heard Green Day back when they were still playing shows in the Bay Area. If I had to make another comparison it would be to the Punk band Roxylocks (they happened to open for Green Day back in the day) who had a knack for some blistering riffs underneath sugary sweet yet intensely cutting vocals. Above The Sun has an infectious groove that ideally straddles both worlds, Pop and Punk. The hooks are catchy and definite earworm material while there is still more than a trace of good old Punk Rock attitude. You really need to check these guys out; I wish I could go to their EP release party!

Track 1 – Make Music Not Money - What a heavy post-hippy jam! OK, he does quote Paul Simon and the chorus is “make music not money,” so there are hippy overtones, but he makes a valid point when he says remember when being on the cover of Rolling Stone used to mean something? Now, all you have to do is plant a bomb at the end of the Boston marathon. I don’t think I could have said it better myself. I would be remiss if I did not mention the fact that the man playing lead guitar absolutely smokes!! What really gets me though, aside from the killer licks, are the lyrics. He nails it when he sings about the old hippies all chasing paper. Am I the only one who finds it ironic that, so many flower children have embraced capitalism? I guess Government cheese really does suck.

Track 2 – Dumb – I really like the lyrics. They just remind me so much of conversations I had with my ex-wife. “Speak up, I can’t hear what you are saying. Shut up, I can’t stand what you are saying.” Now, in all fairness my ex-wife is far from dumb, she is simply very annoying. It sounds as if the singer in this band knows that feeling all to well. Musically, I dig what they are doing; the pulsing bass and quasi-swing percussion really grab my attention. Then the massive tsunami of sound rolls the listener upside down. I find it so fitting that the ending of the song, like so many relationships, just kind of fizzles out. It almost seems like they just sort of realize it is over.

Track 3 – Always Be – This sounds like the singer either made up with the girl from track 2 or found a new girl. In any case, the lyrics are sweet and heartfelt as he pledges his undying love to someone. Musically, I really like the bass intro which leads into a reggae inspired jam. This song is slow and grinding, just the kind that can be extended live. This is a good thing because the man playing guitar in this band can make it scream when he chooses to do so. He uses some really cool effects on his guitar in the solo of this song and that makes me smile. Effects, when used properly, are very cool, but only if you know how to make the thing talk without effects. I mean, really, who didn’t think Peter Frampton was cool the FIRST time you heard him ask “Do you feel like I do?” (Granted hearing that song over and over on FM radio I came to hate it.) I have the feeling that I could listen to Always Be many times over and not become tired of it. Yes, folks I just said I dig Above The Sun more than I dig Peter Frampton…

Track 4 – Pale Blue Dot – Well, this IS interesting. Are those horns I hear? I dig the groove which a basic swing jam. The guitar jams in a George Benson sort of way. (That is a complement; if you have not heard George play you are really missing out.) Then the Punk rock influence comes back in as I swear the chorus is simply “Nah Nah Na Nah” I dig it! Tell me the singer wasn’t thinking “Oh forget it, the song is good enough. I don’t need to try and be profound.” Well done guys.

Track 5 – The Weight Is There – Now I know why he was content with the Nah Nah Na chorus of the last song. He had this song waiting in the wings. These are some intense lyrics that are ominous, as he is preaching at someone. “When the time has come to make a change and you find yourself without a home…” Does it get any more intense than homelessness by choice? Now let me make a very odd comparison. The intensity of this song reminds me of the song Black Sabbath. No, no, Above The Sun does not sound anything at all like Sabbath, but this song has the same gloom and intensity of the song with the same name as the band. What I mean is that I am drawn into the lyrics and the singer’s voice to such a degree that the music becomes almost secondary. Make no mistake, it is because of the music and how well it is played that I can concentrate so much on the vocals. If the music were not executed well, there is a great chance the song would suck, that however, is not the case. This may be the best song on the EP.

So, what is the bottom line? Simple: If you like good music, buy this EP. If you are within driving distance of their release party, get there! I know I wish I could attend.

The Grouch | in the Rockies USA
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