“What the world needs now…..”

I’m a bit concerned about something. As I have written previously, music unites people, communicates, heals, etc. I have been hoping that my blog, along with others out there would encourage people to listen to music more and more often as they are able and ultimately, as we see with the resurgence in vinyl records, to have another resurgence of folks getting together to enjoy listening to music with each other.
Sadly, I feel that is still not happening. With all the turmoil going on in the U.S. and around the world, we need music and activities of togetherness with it more than ever. I believe that without music, the world will destroy itself as we humans will destroy ourselves and each other. There is an old saying that says, “Music calms the savage beast”. I’m not saying that we are all savage beasts by nature of course, but that saying really refers to our thoughts and feelings. It is a fact that music affects us in our emotions, moods and thoughts as those things are intimately linked, in other words music also speaks to our souls. For example, put on a sad song and you will start to feel sad and think sad thoughts, put on an angry song and you will start to feel angry and have angry thoughts, put on a happy song and you will start to feel lighter and have pleasant or happy thoughts and so on.

Are you as tired of all that is happening in the U.S. (not to mention the world as well) as I am? I would think you should be by now, if not, check your pulse. The U.S. is on the brink of destroying itself, everyone is far too individualistic and the in-fighting has reached beyond epidemic and systemic proportions. Too many people in the U.S. seem to be finding ways to argue and fight. Discussions are no longer being had, just fights for superiority or something. There is almost no sense of community anymore and we are all afraid of each other and this spills over into the rest of the world. What I am saying is that I believe this is what a lack of music and listening creates. Of course, this does not apply to those who are trying to keep the ship upright as it were, but those of us who are doing that, seem to be losing ground I feel. There are no listening parties anymore, no candid discussions about music, etc. Its all superiority contests and arguing over unimportant things on forums, in person, etc.
We really are one people and one world when you stop and think. We need to work together to overcome and solve problems, but also making and having good company in an activity such as listening to music does wonders for all of us.

Listening requires learning and learning requires listening. Life is a learning process. Learning is a choice as well. Learning does not stop unless we choose to stop learning by closing our minds, being overly intolerant and too self-centered. Every country and everybody has problems, but there is a Russian saying that states: Many hands make light work. Literal meaning: Take hold of it together, it won’t feel heavy. In other words, we can easily overcome some problems that are small and perhaps help each other with the bigger ones, but only if we are willing to come together and listen.

Back in U.S, history for example, in the late fifties through early seventies in particular, people used to gather just to listen to music with each other, be it live concerts, in homes with stereo systems, gathered around a radio for a favorite or popular program, etc. What naturally came of this activity was people listening to and learning from each other, formation of communities, helping each other with problems and even changing society and governance for the better. I’m not talking about living in communes and eating berries and staring at flowers. (You can do that if you want). I’m talking about just average, everyday life then. The problem is that as music became more automated and more of a commodity rather than a form of communication and the art form that it is, we eventually lost our way, our sense of togetherness and even our sense of humanity. That said though, we can turn that around and bring things back the way they should be, if we are willing. One person alone cannot do that task, it requires “taking hold of it together”. (Continue next page)

Courtney Hadwin–ever hear of her? You will!

The story of Courtney Hadwin begins with the question: Is reincarnation real? Well, I don’t know about that, but Courtney, now 14 years of age is currently a contestant on America’s Got Talent. She is a singer, but not your average type. She is 14, but not from this era. When she performs she is Janis Joplin and Mick Jagger rolled into one. Here’s the thing, she is not purposely trying to copy them (you can tell she is not), but it is just how she is. She has her own way of doing things and it goes improv fast. She has a connection to music that is rare and it is obvious. She gets herself completely absorbed into it. She started singing at age 9. Her dad says she spends much of her time in her room listening to vinyl records! That is what started it all!
It is amazing what comes out of this small little shy girl. Of course her voice is a bit squeaky now and again, but she is a delight to watch.

In case you have heard, never mind all the trumped up controversy from those of the sour-grapes community, they are just jealous, no laws or rules are being broken, she is no different from many other contestants on America’s Got Talent as all have been in other competitions before landing on AGT as well.
The story is that it is all because of vinyl records and her deep connection to music!
Here are the videos:



Remark – they are an alternative rock band from Moscow, Russia

Remark is an alternative rock band from Moscow, Russia. They are a 5 piece band with Yanas on vocals, Den on lead guitar, Ivan on bass Den Darky on rhythm guitar and Timi on drums.

Coming from Moscow, the alternative rock five-piece Remark has launched the first of in-studio performance videos for the song “Purple Haze,” which is a part of their recently launched EP Keep Running. The video is streaming via group’s YouTube channel; watch it here.https://youtu.be/nZp6MLM1by0

The four-track EP, called “Keep Running” is comprised of two author songs and two covers, including the group’s renditions of “Shout,” originally performed by Tears for Fears, and “Too Close” by Alex Clare.

Speaking about their vision that propelled the EP, guitarist Denis Novikov commented: “We tried to make something new, but also we understood that it must be within our genre. To be honest, we think that the musical industry is in stagnation and it has provoked us to create our personal sound which includes the classic rock elements and ideas. I will say, ‘Keep Running’ sounds like I want. I hear the echoes of my musical tastes in it, and I think the rest of the band will agree with me.”

The main idea behind the artwork, which was designed by Denis Rekun, is “moving on and searching yourself in music and life.”

About the two covers on the EP, Novikov says: “Songs ‘Too Close’ and ‘Shout’ are well known, so we decided to arrange them by our vision and sound. I hope that our covers will receive some feedbacks from listeners!”

Remark’s overall sound is close to bands like Soundgarden. Another thing I noticed is that they are Remarkably tight. (See what I did there)? Pun aside though, it is true.

The first song on this EP, titled “Comeback” is interesting in that it sounds like it ends in a bridge with time changes in the last minute and a half. It also happens to be my favorite song on the EP.

The second song is titled “Purple Haze” and if you think it is a cover of the Jimi Hendrix tune, you would be mistaken. This is a song the band wrote themselves and just happened to call it “Purple Haze”. Whether the Hendrix tune had any influence in that, I don’t know, but it also doesn’t matter. To me this song sounds like an extra hard sounding Segment. (Segment is a Czech/Russian alternative rock band I saw on a talent show and they are now pretty successful too. I need to get their stuff in for review). The bass line on this tune is strong, but not overpowering in the mix.

The third song is one of two covers mentioned above, “Shout” by Tears For Fears. This could be called the analog version as there are no electronics save some effects unlike the original, which is all electronics, synth and computer. The song here starts out slow and then goes to hard rock for the last minute and a half. In my opinion, while interesting, this song just doesn’t translate well here.

The last song is the second cover, which is “Too Close” by Alex Clare. I compared the original with this cover and I actually like this cover a bit better. The sound the band gives it seems to fit more snuggly. That said though, I feel they should not have used the distortion effect on the vocals. It would have been better and more impactful without that.

In summary, if you like bands like Soundgarden, Alice In Chains, etc. you will find Remark very familiar. In my opinion, while they don’t stand out in the US market as anything unique (other than being from Russia, which is a good thing folks, let’s show some love), I think they could get some airplay on US radio if marketed well towards that goal.