Album Review: The Empty Hearts

The_Empty_Hearts_New_LP_out_August_5__2014_-_YouTubeA rock band is a machine. It’s a totally unoriginal analogy, but powerful all the same. There’s a bunch of moving parts and when things are running well, a band can feel like it could go into perpetual motion. This is particularly the case where you have each member coming into the project with a decade or four of experience under their belt and a willingness to leave egos locked in the bathroom, if not at the door.
This appears to have occurred with The Empty Hearts. Consisting of industry veterans Wally Palmar (The Romantics), Elliot Easton (The Cars), Andy Babiuk (Chesterfield Kings) and Clem Burke (Blondie), their debut album is as polished as you’d expect, but there’s more to it than that. The agreed approach within the band was to recreate a time where playing music was plain fun, and to use the vintage gear at their disposal to achieve it. Which I’d argue they’ve done in spades.

The self-titled album contains twelve tracks and it’s driving rock from start to finish except for the Petty-esque I Found You Again, but even then the tempo doesn’t drop that far. Picking highlights is always fraught with danger, but the opener and Soul Deep stood out for me. I know it’s somewhat of an anachronism, but picking favourites is a little trite here, as this is an all-too-rare album experience. I’d actually make a plea to The Empty Hearts: get this album out on vinyl. Now.

For the older listeners amongst us, there’s going to be occasions of hearing The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix and The Rolling Stones to name three, but the songs are well and truly strong enough to make it a pleasurable comparison on style rather than any concerns on being derivative. They’ve set out to recreate a period in time and have done it in stunning measure. The keyboard work of Ian McLagan (The Faces) also deserves a shout-out for the too infrequent times it appears on the album.

This is an album that any fan of rock is going to enjoy. I tend to judge a rock album on its ability to put out the feeling of that well oiled rock machine working for all the right reasons, and that’s exactly what The Empty Hearts have done. You’d hope they’re planning on touring in support of this release, as they could play the twelve songs in album order and bring the house down, let alone anything else in their repertoire.

Have a taste of some of the songs:

Music apps for the iPhone and iPad: new resource

Pro Music Apps is a new site devoted solely to iPhone / iPad applications that are music-related. One of its co-owners is a good friend of mine who has a quarter of a century as a musician and music producer under his belt, so there’ll be no shortage of in-depth knowledge and valid skepticism of dodgy apps.

The site has only recently launched but there’s already plenty of content on there. With the iPad now a reality, music applications will continue their explosive growth. Sites like this will play a role in sorting the wheat from the chaff – so why not give them a try?

Who remembers Chipmunk Punk?

I sure do:

Internet Radio, retro style

Tun3r is one of those concepts that just works. If you like internet radio, go have a play. 


adv1.jpgYou can find some really cool retro furniture, such as an extra large love sack or a tie dyed foof chair. Our bean bag chairs are made with high quality materials, and some of our bean bags have removeable covers so they stay looking great.

In the Sweet Bye and Bye by Johnny Cash

There’s a land that is fairer than day,
And by faith we can see it afar;
For the Father waits over the way
To prepare us a dwelling place there.

In the sweet by and by,
We shall meet on that beautiful shore;
In the sweet by and by,
We shall meet on that beautiful shore.

We shall sing on that beautiful shore
The melodious songs of the blessed;
And our spirits shall sorrow no more,
Not a sigh for the blessing of rest.

In the sweet by and by,
We shall meet on that beautiful shore;
In the sweet by and by,
We shall meet on that beautiful shore.

To our bountiful Father above,
We will offer our tribute of praise
For the glorious gift of His love
And the blessings that hallow our days.

In the sweet by and by,
We shall meet on that beautiful shore;
In the sweet by and by,
We shall meet on that beautiful shore.

Cross-cultural music pollination at its very best

Howard Jones Podcast

I had the pleasure of interviewing electronic music legend Howard Jones last week for Australian Macworld Magazine. I created a podcast of the interview which can be found here.

Wireless music at home for beginners

A concise article on some wireless music options for beginners can be found here.

If you have a Mac or PC with an enormous music collection on it, the wireless option is well worth thinking about if your current hi-fi system is on its last legs…..

Mondo Rock rock!

I was a true 80’s tragic last night and went to the Countdown Spectacular. And even after removing all the sentimental appeal of the show, it still is more than worth seeing. The quality was very high, with highlights being:

1. Mondo Rock – they still have it, they really do.

2. Leo Sayer – an entertainer with voice intact.

3. Brian Canham – the house keyboard player murdered his sound selection for Funkytown, but Canham again proved himself as one of the most underrated guitar players in the country.

4. Renee Geyer – impressive.

There were more than 20 acts and all had something to offer. If you add in the sentimentality factor than you might have one of the best nights out in a long, long time.

Neil Young, Iraq and the Journalistic Process

If you haven’t heard already, Neil Young recorded an album in a week called Living with War. It’s an anti-war in Iraq album and you can listen to it all from the website’s front page.

If you’ve ever wondered how an interview with someone like Neil can be cut to ribbons in the editing process, check out the transcript of the original Q&A session Rolling Stone did with Neil versus the finished product

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