Robin Gibb – Saved by the Bell

Attack of the Killer Track! is a series that explores tracks from artists from a variety of genres. Some of the tracks were singles, some of them were obscure b-sides or long forgotten album tracks. One thing is certain – all of them are killer tracks.

Think of the Bee Gees in 2019 and the 1st thing that comes to mind for most people is their late 70’s / early 80’s disco hits. To focus on that era is to ignore a fascinating, artistically resonant era from a decade earlier. In 1969 the 1st incarnation of the Bee Gees had split – after several records in Australia, and 4 increasingly complex, masterful psychedelic albums released worldwide. Robin was – briefly – a solo artist. So productive were these sessions, that 2 albums worth of songs were recorded (all eventually released on Saved by the Bell: The Collected Works of Robin Gibb 1968-1970). I “discovered” the earlier Bee Gees records through my bookworm nature of consuming anything and everything relating to the 60’s scene. I do love those albums – but Robin’s solo work is another level. Robin’s Reign and Sing Slowly Sisters were both recorded in 1970, though the latter was not officially released until 2015 (I’d like to thank New Hope, PA for providing me with so many bootlegs of obscurities 20 years ago). The songs feel beamed in from another planet – hell, another universe. World weary at 19, Robin sings with a sense of melancholy that feels lived in. Saved by the Bell was the hit single from Robin’s Reign, preceding the album’s release by several months. The song is deceptively simple, Robin singing out his heart over orchestra & piano (courtesy of Maurice Gibb). A heartbreaking tale of a broken heart, it is an essential listen.

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Ric Zweig – Box

I really like Ric Zweig’s story – he had a lengthy career as a Prosecutor, Criminal Defense Attorney, and Circuit Court Judge in the Miami, Florida region. Once he retired from his career, he returned to music. Over the last decade or so, he has released 5 albums that are imbued with a sense of the South Florida life. Breezy, catchy tunes abound. Box is a song that was written 15 years ago by Oski Gonzalez and one that Ric had always wanted to cut. The song revels in a laid-back atmosphere, perfectly suited to Ric’s strengths as a performer. Lyrically, it rejects the notion of today’s technology trappings – celebrating the simple life. There’s a twist in those words, if you pay attention closely. Love the emotive guitar solo in this recording as well. A welcome return.

You can follow Ric here. Check out his latest song and video, you won’t regret it.

Verdict: Breezy

For Fans of: Eagles, America, Jimmy Buffett, James Taylor

Healthy Junkies – Delirious Dream

England’s Healthy Junkies play an intoxicating mix of punk, garage rock, with a healthy dose of theatrics. The band has been on the scene for a few years, centered around vocalist Nina Courson and guitarist Phil Honey-Jones. The current line up is rounded out with Dave Whitmore on bass and Adam Lewis on drums. Their back story reads like a novel: Nina ran away at 14 to Paris, fell in with hoodlums and eventually ran away to London where she connected with Phil. The rest, as they say, is history. Delirious Dream is the band’s 4th long-player and is their finest yet.

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Dot Dash – Proto Retro

Washington D.C.’s Dot Dash have been churning out strong records at a steady clip for close to a decade now. The members of the band have been a part of some pretty well-known bands in the past – Julie Ocean, Youth Brigade, and Swervedriver, for a start – but Dot Dash is its own entity. A strong one, at that. A classic power pop trio that sounds both retro and modern in the present day, they are a gem in the indie music community. Comprised of Terry Banks on guitar & vocals, Hunter Bennet on bass, and Danny Ingram on drums, their latest long player Proto Retro is their 6th album and their finest yet.

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Madonna – Frozen

Attack of the Killer Track! is a series that explores tracks from artists from a variety of genres. Some of the tracks were singles, some of them were obscure b-sides or long forgotten album tracks. One thing is certain – all of them are killer tracks.

I’ve had this song on my mind over the last week or so – the Puget Sound region has experienced Winter conditions that are very unusual for the region – snow, ice, and well…more snow and ice. It certainly has led to many nights by the fire trying to warm up. Frozen was released as a single in February, 1998 by Madonna – hard to believe, but this single is old enough to drink. It represented a change in direction for Madonna – spiritual yearning, electronica beats, and an overall more mature presentation to the world (one that sadly would not last). The song was lifted from the Ray of Light album with a peak chart position of #2 in the US and #1 in the UK. It also was accused of plagiarism in Belgium, with similarities noted to Ma vie fout le camp by Salvatore Acquaviva – in fact, sales of the single were banned for an eight year period in Belgium, as the case went through the courts (no plagiarism was found). I have fond memories of playing this single (and to a lesser extent, it’s parent album) and noting the strange new direction Madonna’s muse had taken her. Vocally it is vulnerable while lyrically conveying strength as the orchestrations swell at the emotional apex. Perfection.

The Lost Patrol – Redemption

It’s been about 4 years since we’ve last heard from New York City’s The Lost Patrol. A lot has happened in that time, including the resurgence of Twin Peaks. Mention of David Lynch’s masterpiece is apt, as I’ve always thought The Lost Patrol’s music would be right at home in that fictional world (Note: I live about 30 minutes from where the series was filmed). Atmospheric, emotionally resonant – The Lost Patrol have always operated in their own world. And it is a world that I love being in. Redemption serves as a reintroduction to the band, an EP of 4 originals with 2 remixes. You know, in the 70’s they’d call that an album. Anyway – all the elements that I love about The Lost Patrol are here – hypnotic vocals by Mollie Heckerling, dream like musical backing by Stephen Masucci, and assorted help from familiar names & friends. So how does it stack up to past efforts?

Redemption has been on constant repeat since I received the album – an embarrassingly long time ago (this review is long overdue). Opener Some Other Time is all eerie synths, mysterious vocals, and tugging at the emotional heartstrings. Perfection, in other words. But the 2nd song Your Own Medicine might be my favorite song by The Lost Patrol ever. 60’s girl group vibes, heartbreak, heartache, and an epic sound for the broken. “I’m gonna make you feel / Like you have no other choice / I wish I could make you hear / Nothing but my voice”. Lyrics that cut like a knife. Don’t Cry 
is not a Guns ‘N Roses cover, but nevertheless it is a great song. It continues the girl group heartbreak vibe in stunning fashion. It’s Time continues the vibes, with an atmospheric guitar lick coursing through the song. The EP is rounded out with two remixes, which enhance the vibes quite a bit.

Verdict: Short But Sweet

For Fans of: Lush, David Lynch, Lan Del Rey, Cocteau Twins, Chris Isaak

Later Fortune – s/t

Later Fortune is the brainchild of Philadelphia’s Chet Delcampo and Heyward Howkins – two indie artists who have made their mark with solo records that stood apart from the crowd by using intelligent lyrics married to ridiculously strong melodies. Chet Delcampo (real name Chris Madl) took his name from Steve Buscemi’s character in the Coen Brothers’ classic, Barton Fink. He’s released a few solo records and singles along with two records under the Hong Kong Stingray moniker. Indie rock at its finest. Heyward Howkins might be familiar to some of my readers as I’ve reviewed both of his solo albums. I really have always loved his folk / pop sensibility as filtered through historical anecdotes by way of his Philadelphia roots. A band formed around these two huge talents is a major force to be reckoned with.

The band started out as a way for friends to get together and record spontaneous collaborations. The idea of recording a song a month was thrown around, with the result being an album released at the end of 12 months. Sometimes the best ideas start out with the best intentions but lead to a different result. And here’s what we have – the brand new, debut single from Later Fortune. As an introduction to a new band, it is perfect. It makes an impact and leaves the listener wanting more. A 12 Year Audition is a low-key gem, hushed vocals and resonant, joyful melody that builds as the song progresses. Birds of Papau is an instrumental b-side, evocative in the atmosphere it builds over the course of 3 minutes or so.

You can pick up the record here. I’m really looking forward to what comes next from Later Fortune , this is an impressive debut.

Verdict: Stunning Debut

For Fans of: Mojave 3, Neil Young, Honeychurch, Simon & Garfunkel