Posts Tagged ‘Chicago’

Artist: Bill Sunkel
Single Review: “Frankenstein Walk”
Reviewer: Matheson Kamin
Bill Sunkel has created music with several bands over the last few years. Currently, Sunkel is creating his own music with his own sound that incorporates many different musical elements that includes rock, soul, jazz and other musical genres. For his new song of “Frankenstein Walk,” Bill Sunkel and his band create a track that brings to mind the magic that was contained within the music of the band Chicago. The unusual nature of the lyrics helps to add a bit of personality to the track. While some may think the track is about something that has to do with the horror genre, Sunkel explains that it has to do with those people who seem to sleepwalk through life, more or less in a trance. But however you look at the song, “Frankenstein Walk” is still a fun track with a lot of personality. The band behind Bill Sunkel is known as Desperate Measures, a group that both he and his brother Rob Sunkel are part of. Together, the entire ensemble helps to bring the track to life. While Bill Sunkel and his brother Rob add a lot of elements to the song, other musicians help shape the music of the track. “Frankenstein Walk” contains plenty of energy as the song begins with a quick guitar riff before segueing into a sound that would easily fit with any song that has been released by Chicago as the horns and the rest of the band create a vibe that is as funky as it is groovy. “Frankenstein Walk” is one of the most recent songs that Bill Sunkel has created and it’s a good indicator of his past work as well as the new material that is currently being written. And with the lighthearted feeling of the song, it’s a good song to use as an introduction to this talented songwriter/musician.

For the video of Bill Sunkel and Desperate Measures performing “Frankenstein Walk,” click on the link.  
Reviewer: Matheson Kamin
Rating: **** (four stars)

Painted on Water is a new rock outfit made up of composer/guitarist/producer Demir Demirkan and vocalist Sertab Erener, both of Turkish descent. Based in Chicago, the two musicians bring together many different musical influences to create a sound that is very eclectic. The band’s sound incorporates rock, electronica, funk and several other styles to make something unique and fresh. While having already put out a few releases, the duo has just recently created a new release entitled Chicago Issue.

The band’s EP begins with the track “I Need You Most”. The beginning track incorporates a lot of rock feel, some blues and a lot of electronic sound into one musical package.  “I Need You Most” comes to life with the inclusion of a strong guitar part that helps to drive the music of the track. The use of the Talk Box on the track by Painted on Water’s Demir Demirkan helps to add some really interesting rock feel to the song, as well. The various different genres of music come together in the track to help create a song that features many different facets and has plenty of energy. The strong track gives the listener a strong reason to continue on and see what else the duo has to offer.

After “I Need You Most,” Chicago Issue from Painted on Water continues with the track “A New Me”. While the song “I Need You Most” features a strong blues-based feel to the music, “A New Me” has a very strong funk vibe to it. It’s that Funk vibe that truly takes over the feel of the duo’s music on this song. The funk of the song mixes well with the rock feel of the duo’s music. That combination creates a track that is as funky as it is catchy. If it wasn’t for the energy the music gives off, you would almost classify the song under “pop”. But calling the sound of “A New Me” as “pop” is definitely not the right description for the song; especially since the song has as much rock feel to it as it has the funk feel to it. Together, the rock, funk and pop influences ultimately come together to create the EP’s strongest track.

While “A New Me” is probably the strongest track on Chicago Issue from Painted on Water, the song “Hating You Loving You” is the track with the most emotion to its lyrics. The lyrics deal with a woman caught in a relationship that may not be the best for her but she doesn’t want to give it up. The music of the song has a slightly slower pace to it than the first two tracks. However, that slower pace does not take any of the energy away from the music of the song. The energetic music and the emotional lyrics create a song that can only be described as a “power ballad”. The resulting track’s music and the powerful lyrics create a track that is very catchy and memorable; you’ll easily find yourself singing along with the lyrics before the end of the track.

On the next track on the release, “Why Do You Love Me,” the duo of Demir Demirkan and Sertab Erener remove the ballad part of the “Power Ballad” and create a song that finds the singer once again questioning her relationship. While “Hating You Loving Me” contains some beauty in the music of the track, the song “Why Do You Love Me” is a straight-out rocker. The track starts off with Sertab Erener singing about the use of words instead of using actions to show the love for someone. The energy in the music helps add power to the words of the singer who demands proof of her lover’s affection. What ends up being created is one of the least affectionate tracks but the track is still one of the strongest songs on the release.

Chicago Issue from Painted on Water comes to an end with the song “Despite Ourselves”. The vocals from Sertab Erener are matched with a quiet, easy keyboard sound that helps the track begin with an easy pace. Soon, however, the song takes on a sound and style that will immediately remind the listener of something that would have come from the band Evanescence. The Alternative Rock song proves that composer/guitarist/producer Demir Demirkan and vocalist Sertab Erener are very versatile as the final track of Chicago Issue sounds nothing like the rest of the release.

Chicago Issue from Painted on Water is a very strong five-song EP from two musicians of Turkish descent who now make their homes in Chicago. The EP changes sounds and styles throughout the five tracks and keeps the listener wanting more. If this is just a hint of what the duo can do, here’s to more.


Reviewer: Matheson Kamin
Rating: **** (four stars)

Click HERE for the music of Painted on Water.

There is a movement in the music industry to create fresh sounds by combining elements from different music genres. Illinois-based Midwest Hype is one particular band that has created a new style by taking rock and roll and mixing it with several other genres. The resulting style from the band takes music in a whole different direction while keeping lovers of rock and roll happy.

Midwest Hype contains seven musicians who all come together to create the band’s style. The band consists of George Matthew Prellwitz on lead vocals and guitar, Max Kepler on drums, Nathan Miller on bass, Kevin Krizmanich on keyboards, Ben Morrisey on sax and Scott Whitford on trumpet and Justin “Ideal” Diehl as the vocalist/emcee. Along with the rock base, the band’s sound also incorporates jazz, R&B and hip-hop together to make a style that everyone can get behind. The band took several of their songs and entered the studio, where they worked with producer Steven Gillis who took their music and created a very strong release entitled Dayglow. Dayglow from Midwest Hype is a six-song release. And while the release is rather short, the powerful music created by Midwest Hype will keep the listener hanging on to each note played by the talented seven-piece band.

Dayglow begins with the song “Behind Our Eyes”. Right from the very first note of this track, you get a very good indication of what the band is all about. The track contains a solid reggae base to the music. Along with the reggae, you hear plenty of jazz influence through the playing Ben Morrisey on sax and Scott Whitford on trumpet. And while the words from Justin “Ideal” Diehl are done in a hip hop rhythm, his words fit well with the rest of the track, without adding any unneeded attitude you usually get from hip hop emcees.

Diehl is the first member of Midwest Hype that takes the spotlight on “Elastic Booty Shorts,” the second track of Dayglow. He takes the lead on the vocals while the band really takes amount of jazz on the approach to the music of the track. The hip hop/jazz fusion on this rock hybrid song creates a strong and commercial radio-friendly song that many will find very entertaining.

While the song “All is Water” still contains the same mixture of jazz, rock, reggae that is found on the rest of the release, the smooth approach to the song is a little softer than the previous tracks, which makes it perfect to be played on today’s smooth jazz radio stations.

The beginning of the track “Runaway” brings back just enough of the memory of Bob Marley to give fans of straight reggae music a reason to smile with a sound that seems to be reminiscent of Marley’s “No Woman, No Cry”. George Matthew Prellwitz’s voice creates a strong focal point to draw the listener in. And when the band brings back the rest of their hybrid sound later in the track, they keep the energy up with Morrisey’s sax playing and Justin “Ideal” Diehl’s rapping.

The track “Do or Die” is probably the closest thing to a rock and roll feeling you’ll find on the release, as the band takes the song into a ska direction: The electric guitar from Prellwitz combined with the horns of Ben Morrisey and Scott Whitford make a strong rock/jazz combination that any ska lover will enjoy.

The Dayglow release from Midwest Hype comes to an end with the track “People of America”. Like a lot of the songs in reggae music, “People of America” has a strong message within the lyrics. The lyrics speak of enjoying the peace of our time.

Dayglow from Midwest Hype is a strong six-song release that incorporates many musical genres into one style that will make jazz fans, rock fans, and even hip hop fans happy. The songs created by Midwest Hype give the listener a clear view of the talent that each member of the band possesses, and the talent of the band as a whole. The only thing that may be a problem is the length of the CD: With only six songs, the release is over way too soon.

Click HERE to see the video to the band’s song “Do Or Die“.

If you are a fan of rock and roll and you really don’t have a specific preference to the style that you listen to, Vintage Blue is the band for you. Vintage Blue is a band made up of vocalist and lead guitarist Ben Bassett, rhythm guitarist and vocalist Ryan Tibbs, bassist and vocalist Cesar Corral, keyboard and saxophone player Matt Zimmerman and Will Crowden. The Chicago-area band takes a lot of different sounds and styles of rock and roll and combines them into their music. It’s this combination that can be found on the band’s new release called Strike the Mics.
The Strike the Mics album begins with the track “Set you free”. The song has a strong beat to it, and with the inclusion of Matt Zimmerman’s sax, the song has a great ska quality to it. It’s nice to come across people who want to keep their music from sounding like everyone else’s, and with the ska flavor to this track, Zimmerman and the rest of Vintage Blue give you something different right at the beginning of their new release.
Vintage Blue follows up the ska-influenced “Set You Free” with the song “Unchained”. With this track, the band lets loose a lot of energy on this solid rocker. The guitar playing on the track help add a lot of power to this release. The contrast between the ska feeling on “Set You Free” and the straight-out rock feeling of “Unchained” allows the listener to hear a major difference in the sound of Vintage Blue right at the beginning of the album.
One of the best tracks of the album is probably “California Road”. With the combination of guitars, the keyboards and saxophone from the members in the band, the resulting track has a feel that should give any lover of classic rock a reason to smile.  
Matt Zimmerman once again is featured on another track off of Strike the Mics, the new release from Vintage Blue. While Zimmerman was feature on the saxophone on “Set You Free,” this time the musician is behind the keyboards on the song “Speak”. It is Zimmerman’s playing on the keyboards that really make the song, at least for me.
Probably the most commercial of the songs on Strike the Mics from Vintage Blue is “Just Breathe“. The modern rock music on the song has a feel that might remind people of other modern rock bands like Vertical Horizon.
On the song “What Lies,” the band changes directions once again with their sound. The track features a song that has a more acoustic feel, as the acoustic guitar has a large part in the shaping of the music on this song. The electric guitar on the track helps keep the song from getting too soft. It’s a good balance.

With the song “Great Divide,” Vintage Blue takes a lighter approach. The love song features a great duet, while the music also features a string section to add an orchestral feel. With the beauty in the lyrics and in the music, this is one of the best love songs I’ve heard in a long time.
To finish off Strike the Mics, Vintage Blue includes the song “True”. This is yet another side to the band’s side, as they seem to transport their listener back in time to an era closer to the beginning of rock and roll. The sound of the rock music takes a simpler feel to it, while the saxophone really adds a vintage sound quality to the song that really brings the listener back to that earlier era of rock music.
Having created a sound that features so many different styles of rock music, Chicago band Vintage Blue gives their listeners music that never gets stale and their new release called Strike the Mics reflects that fact. You will definitely find something that catches your ear; however, if you’re like me, the entire release will leave you smiling. There really should be more bands like this out there in today’s music industry.
***** (Out of 5)