Archive for September 2019

My impressions of the 2019 Wizard Rock sampler

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PUSSYCAT DOLORES: Ministry Has Fallen – This one has excellent vocals, thoroughly produced, augmented by sublime synths. The music reminds me of FROU FROU. Of course, I have no idea of current pop music. The drum computer ruins the whole thing a bit. It could have been more moody without the hyperactive hihat, I guess.

SONORUS: Arthur Weasley – The ska party starts now. The chorus reminds me of “We’re Not Gonna Take It”. Could be worse. Somehow I associate the wizard’s world with drama and struggle. This is a good reminder that there has to be good times, as well.

PERCY AND THE PREFECTS: I’m Sorry Harry Potter – This indie rock song is a bit too occupied with its harmony vocals and rhymes. It could be catchier. The lyrics work well, not just a few words and slogans but fitting throughout the song.

HOW AIRPLANES FLY: Poetry in Motion – Melancholic, yet upbeat folky man with guitar music – yes. Thank you. This is my favourite song, so far.

THE DOLLY SHAKES: I Wish Luna Lovegood Was My Friend – A rather good wizard rock song from the 60s. The lyrics are great, the music is good, the 60s are now, right?

SHANNON SWEENEY: Chocolate Frogs Radio Spot – If you know me, you know I like short songs. I like chocolate. Hence, I like this tune.

LOSING LARA: Owl Post Mishaps – “Wizards through the eyes of Muggles” is a perspective I strongly appreciate. The music is a tad harmless, but so is the topic.

THE SWEDISH SHORTSNOUTS: Scream Like a Mandrake – One can always rely on Swedish hard rock. This one has a nice shuffle groove and a cool organ. The overall production might be a bit too controlled, too much on the safe side. There is also an ALICE COOPER/”School’s Out” vibe going on. What’s the magic spell to make the band open for DEEP PURPLE?

PAIGE 394: Hagrid’s Keys – Why does this song remind of a new DREAM THEATER ballad? Is it the chord changes? The elegy? The music has its own flair, but it’s not really my cup of tea.

TOTALLY KNUTS: Goodbye – There a moments where I’m in the story with the emotion. And then there are moments where I see the singer in a YouTube home video eyeing the lyric sheet.

HOMO QUI VIXIT: Halloween – This is probably the most lo-fi contribution. The spoken interludes are great. Is there a touch of BRIGHT EYES in there? Do I even know more than one BRIGHT EYES song?

THE LOVEGOODS: Invincible – THE LOVEGOODS sound a bit like THE CRANBERRIES going to Hogwarts. It’s certainly a treat for fans of the 90s.

SLYTHERPUFF: Rock the House – I really like the band name and I like the song name. But where are the guitars? This could be a radio hit.

POTTĂ–RHEAD: Jesus Has a Horcrux – Our contribution is a mix of pop/punk and potentially offensive lyrics. The production is too polished, if you ask me. Then again, it’s probably just my voice that bugs me. We only had a couple of song ready, even though we’re currently writing for our next album.

THE ARKADIAN: Aragog – Guitars! Drums! This could become SPINAL TAP. Or is it FOREIGNER with some drive? The cheesy chorus is a bit to light for the topic, I guess. Still, the vocals are awesome. The composition certainly does Aragog justice. Very cool. Well done. One of my favourite tracks on this year’s compilation and one of my favourite wizard rock songs.

THE 8TH HORCRUX: The Sorting Hat (Demo) – The return of the pop hihat. I’m tempted to return to “Aragog”. Weirdly enough, there is a vibe that reminds me of BON JOVI’s “Wanted Dead or Alive”.

HAWTHORNE & HOLLY: Occlumency – The stereo mix makes this one a bit creepy under headphones. The could have been more dynamics, I guess, to give this one more than one dimension.

SOLITARY SNAPE: Brain Room – This is only the second or third ukulele track. The chorus is great. It’s a very relaxed song. I like it.

GRACE KENDALL: Make It Better – Enchanting vocals, more ukulele. The song’s a bit softer than the previous “Brain Room”. It’s probably more difficult to convey positivity, so thumbs up for the uplifting mood and the dreamy atmosphere.

DOTS AND LINES: Pretty Good at Quidditch – Is this an a single-voice cappella song? It is. It somehow works, even though I imagine all sorts of arrangements while listening. I like how it starts somewhat slow and then gets a bit more dense without disturbing the mood. I like song like this because it’s surprising and good and it has its own style.

AUGUAMENTI: Sapphic Magic – This pop/rap/something song has a hard time after the cool DOTS AND LINES track. I guess the rap parts are good, but I struggle with the more melodic parts. Sorry.

THEY MIGHT BE HALF-GIANTS: Slytherin – Oh my, this is fun. I don’t think I’ll listen to this one for pleasure. The ending is just too far out. The whole thing is fun, though, and stands out. It certainly made me smile.

MUGGLE SNUGGLE: Winky’s Hangover – Cheers! I raise my glass to you.

SELF-DEFENSIVE SPELLWORK: Graveyard of Buried Hopes – What a gloomy, moody song; the vocals sound a bit too whispered, in my opinion. Good music, anyway. I do need some sunshine now.

SARA IDANI: Expecto Patronum – Glockenspiel for the win. Then it takes a turn for 80s pop synth/drum music. I already see the single with three different dance mixes in front of me. The vocals are good and really suit the song. The lyrics give the pop music a different feel, I really like this! Now if only Mike Oldfield could add a some guitars…

All in all, my favourites are SARA IDANI, DOTS AND LINES, THE ARKADIAN along with SOLITARY SNAPE, HOW AIRPLANES FLY and PUSSYCAT DOLORES. Hooray for everyone on the compilation and tons of thanks to Grace Kendall for bringing it all together.