Archive for January 31 2012

Album Review: Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad, Country

Posted in Music Reviews, Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on Wednesday, February 8, 2012 by Eric Gilardi

Wow, from the start of the new album Country by Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad I am amazed and I am astonished. I first heard of this band while attending a G-Love and the Special Sauce show at First Avenue in Minneapolis. Their live show was an unreal jam session filled with plenty of energy that got the crowd dancing. Country may get your foot tapping a bit while you are sipping a whiskey down at your local saloon.

Country is an album with an acoustic, slowed down blue grass sound with folk and reggae roots. They describe their music as folk and that the fans should know that there is just good music and there is just bad music. The band said they hear so many people when asked, “what kind of music they like?” reply with the answer, “everything but country.” GPGDS wanted to break the mold that all country music is not typical country and that folk is in all forms of music. It is funny because I am one who has said, “I am into everything but country.” I am also on the record saying that, “I like Johnny Cash but do not consider him to be country but more of a folk artist.” This means I understand fully what Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad is talking about.

Now, saying all that I can appreciate this album even though at times I am not sure that I am listening to GPGDS. At other times I am reminded of the elements that made me fall in love with this band. In the track “Kids in the Square” they pick up the tempo a bit and make for a blue grass jam that could get you dancing. Next, the song “Healing” which has a reggae feel in a blue grass song reminds you of GPGDS of past. “New Speedway Boogie” has the softest sound with the loudest vocals on the album and again reminds you of classic Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad. This little section of their new album is my favorite especially after the slow start with the first four songs.

I suggest you head over to the website and give the new album a listen before forming an opinion. It will help you decide if you want to support this new project for the group from Rochester, NY or if you want to take a break so the music is more refreshing when the next album comes out. I know I am going to support GPGDS and can appreciate the new sound off of Country.

Album Release Date: January 31, 2012

Album Review: SOJA Strength to Survive

Posted in Music Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on Friday, January 27, 2012 by Eric Gilardi

Strength to Survive is the new album by the DC-based band SOJA. This album is produced by John Alagia who has worked with the likes of Dave Mathews, John Mayer and O.A.R. to name a few. By the time you are a couple of tracks into the new album you can tell that the 7-piece band has progressed their sound beyond the spectrum of reggae. They definitely are perfecting a blend of reggae sound with meaningful melodic lyrics and a rhythm that puts a smile on your face as you reflect on your own life.

Strength to Survive is balanced so well from the start with the more funky in-your-face track “Mentality” to their powerful ballad “Don’t Worry.” If you listen to the lyrics in “Don’t Worry” it has such a positive message in such a somber sounding song. Truly a gift to anyone who is a having a bad day. Almost everyone in the world will be able to relate to this song that does not have the authentic reggae sound but has the positive message associated with the genre.

Strength to Survive is an album you will find yourself singing along to in no time, trust me. It will make you reflect a lot on one’s life, as well. The track “Gone Today” makes you think of how precious your life really is, “Let You Go” brings you back to question past relationships, and “Everything Changes” makes you think we are blind to changes that need to be made because of how good we have it. In my mind, this song also represents what the band wants its music to represent; a calling to the world to make a difference, help one another and live in peace.

Strength to Survive kept on surprising when my favorite track “Not Done Yet” hit my ears. The electronic feel following the chorus is what really made me perk up. Again, this song made you reflect on your life. Then it speaks to you in such a way that it puts you in a direction to live out your dreams and bless the world with your presence. This message is a very consistent one throughout the albums entirety.

Strength to Survive is one book you can judge by the cover because it will give you exactly what it says; strength to survive. You get more meaning and direction from this album at a much better price than going to see a therapist. If getting their message out to their fans was their goal with this new album then mission accomplished.

You can check out my review with Jacob Hemphill here.

Album Release Date: January 31, 2012