DC’s “Pop Art” album tops Mark Daly’s half-year charts!

So yeah, I do know Mark – we met a few times when he used to live in Melbourne and we keep in touch occasionally. He’s a good guy! He makes it clear that I’m a friend in his review. But I was incredibly chuffed to read the nice things he’s said about my latest music. He writes beautifully and I feel like he “gets” my music in the way I would like it to be “got” (if you know what I mean!) He’s given me kind permission to quote him in full so here it is…


 

Marky Awards: Album no. 1

I just couldn’t wait until tomorrow to announce the number one album for 2015 (so far) in the ‘Marky Awards’. I don’t know if the suspense was killing you, but it was certainly killing me!.. Now, part of me thinks I need to justify my selection. That’s because the gong goes to an independent release by a friend from Melbourne. It’s not unheard of for me to fawn over minor releases, look at Ka and Josef Gordon as examples. Look at Shane Howard down at number 10 on this list following a crowd-funded release. Look at every other act you’ve never heard of but which has appeared on my lists since 2012. Now look at DC Cardwell as he knocks it out of the park with his fantastic sophomore album, “Pop Art”.

DC's new album, Pop Art

DC’s new album, Pop Art

I was lucky enough to get my copy of this album last November before it officially went on sale at the beginning of this year and, I kid you not, it has not been out of the CD player in my car since I got it, it also gets played on Spotify at home or when I’m out and about. DC Cardwell makes no secret of his love for The Beatles and their contemporaries, but rather than engaging in inane, jangly guitar homages like many fans tend to do, or effectively re-recording the actual releases with a few minor variations (as The Rutles did so well, though with tongue firmly planted in cheek), he has found the essence of what made The Beatles’ songs so special and distilled it into a completely original album. Even the cover (not a Beatle song) is recorded such that it’s immediately familiar, yet completely new. It’s a hard gig but DC Cardwell, with help from a few family members, has pulled it off with aplomb.

Something which isn’t immediately apparent until you get to know the songs intimately is the astounding ‘honesty’ in the recordings. Whereas the Brian Wilson album (which took the number 2 slot) is well polished, it feels a little cold. It’s all very precise and clean. You know there’s a plethora of computers and electronics standing between the artist’s performance and what’s coming out of your speakers. The thing that’s missing on many of the albums released in 2015 is a soul, something that reminds you that the instruments are being played by an actual person. In The Beatles recordings the reminder might have been a squeak from a shoe or piano stool (depending on which text you read) followed by a sharp shushing by Paul McCartney, it might have been Lennon coming in too early for his vocals or Harrison too early for his guitar solo… or Ringo at all – here, it’s the occasional clunk as, presumably, DC’s guitar connects with the microphone stand in his home studio in suburban Melbourne.

So what of the songs themselves? Well, you know what you’re in for when “In The Cloud” kicks off the album. You get the immediately familiar ‘oompah, oompah, stick it up your jumpah’ beat from the “Magical Mystery Tour period” which inspired Jeff Lynne’s production style and which all came together again on “Free As A Bird” exactly 20 years ago. No sooner has the song settled into a groove then it swirls away into a crescendo of Harrison-esque lead guitar and McCartney-style ivory-tinkling. The song, which has just reminded you that the physical things we used to hold dear are now nothing more than a collection of ones and zeros stored in a gigantic supercomputer on the other side of the world, then settles back into a comfortable ‘calm after the storm’ ending after just over four minutes – the average length of most tracks on “Pop Art”. Perhaps the next track “Don’t Know Why” is a tribute to the white album. Is it “Martha My Dear” or is it “I Will” that we’re supposed to be thinking of here? Or is it neither one and we’re just supposed to be thinking of the world as it was when that album was made (if you were around then of course)? Next we have what sounds to me more like DC’s own voice and own writing coming to the fore, “The Sun, The Moon, The Stars” is possibly the most original song on the album, it’s certainly one of my favourites and in analysing it I find myself wanting to talk about some kind of fusion between The Byrds and The Velvet Underground… even though I can’t say it sounds like either of them – perhaps it’s DC’s voice that sounds a bit like Roger McGuinn’s while the guitar does a very good job of sounding like a 12-string Rickenbacker. “Have I Got News For You” feels a bit like a throw away tune, one that DC’s put together because he knew he was a song short or, more likely, the creative muse to flesh it out found a home on other tracks. It feels a bit like “Dig A Pony” from “Let It Be” but, at the same time altogether different… though similarly, slightly unfinished. Next we have “Magic For Everybody”, a fantastic cover of the Sam Philips song, re-imagined as what ELO might have done had Jeff Lynne gotten his mitts on it back in the 70s when he was recording “Evil Woman”. That takes the listener to the half-way point of DC Cardwell’s stunningly good album – I suggest you experience the rest of it for yourself! – I’d also recommend his previous album “Some Hope” which itself has some fantastic material on it (even if I do like “Pop Art” better!)… I’ll add a comment with links about how to buy it or congratulate DC Cardwell on a job well done for the album, and being the winner of the ‘Marky’ award for best album of 2015 (so far!).

j.mp/markys-album-2015A


 

Marky Awards: Song no. 1

DC Cardwell “Magic For Everybody” – I covered the ‘why’ yesterday for why DC’s “Pop Art” nailed the top spot for albums released in 2015 so far. It’s usually pretty consistent on these lists that the top 1 or 2 albums spawn the top 1 or 2 songs. It’s not a fait accompli that the number 1 album holds the number 1 song, though, in fact this is the first time it’s happened. Now for the ‘what’…

Of the 10 tracks on the standard “Pop Art” album it was a difficult ask to work out which one really stood out as a cut above the rest. As with “The Avener” (album 6, which was admittedly all covers) the stand out track on “Pop Art” was a cover, this time of “Magic For Everybody” by Sam Phillips from her 2010 album of the same name. Like every great cover, though, DC’s treatment of the song works with the source material and makes it better – there’s no point doing it if not. He’s picked up what is, to my mind, a nice but ultimately uninspiring song and made it his own – made it his own by re-imagining it as a rediscovered Electric Light Orchestra track. I mentioned in my review of the full album that this song sparks comparisons to “Evil Woman”, however on reflection I’d say it would have fitted in nicely on 1977’s “Out Of The Blue” (maybe straight after “Sweet Talkin’ Woman” and replacing “Across The Border” as track 4). I think “Magic For Everybody” just beats out “The Sun, The Moon, The Stars” as the best track on “Pop Art”, I think it’s the familiarity we all have with the in your face jauntiness that so many ELO tracks start with that grabs your attention. If you’re not familiar with ELO then you might need to choose a favourite from the other 9 tracks (but I’d suggest “The Sun, The Moon, The Stars” is a good place to start…)

j.mp/markys-song-2015A

Review of Marjorie’s album in Strutterzine

“Ireland-born, Australia-based singer Marjorie Cardwell’s In Another World was inspired by the diagnosis of a brain tumour in 2012 so, as you might expect, there are some pretty personal songs included. Fortunately, Marjorie’s sense of irony is firmly in place on an album of retro pop with a generally upbeat feel that’s life-affirming. Cardwell’s voice is the perfect vehicle for these classic 60s-influenced songs and is particularly effective on the bittersweet ‘Not On Your Own’.”

Strutterzine magazine, Jan 2013

 

Strutterzine-Marjorie Cardwell-In Another World-review 2013

Full page

Strutterzine-Marjorie Cardwell-In Another World-review 2013

Marjorie’s review

 

 

 

Nice review of my “In Another World” album in Germany’s Folker Magazine

Positive Review of Marjorie Cardwell's  "In Another World" album, in Germany's Folker Magazine, January 2013

Review of In Another World in Germany’s Folker Magazine

Brief but glowing review in Folker magazine

There’s a nice review of my album in Folker magazine out of Germany this month! It translates, roughly, as follows:

“A Northern Irish woman, now living in in Australia, Marjorie has a great voice, and starts this cathartic album with the soul-stirring, un-self-pitying “Hole in My Head”, in which she addresses her  brain tumor that was diagnosed in early 2012, before embarking on a thoroughly positive album full of energetic folk, pop and rock oriented songs. Wonderful.”

Don’t forget the album is available directly from us  as a CD or download through Bandcamp at www.marjoriecardwell.com – however I’ll let you in on a secret: my CD is currently (Jan 2013) on sale at CD Baby so for a limited time you can get it for a really good price there… http://bit.ly/mccdbaby

Of course, if you prefer, it’s also on iTunes, Amazon and a lot of other download sites as well.

Many thanks to Peter Holmstedt of Hemifrån for passing my album along to Folker magazine!

~ Marjorie x

PS: The original review in German is: 

“Die Nordirin in Australien mit toller Stimme startet dieses kathartische Album mit dem anrührenden, keineswegs wehklagenden ‘Hole in My Head’, in dem sie ihren Anfang 2012 diagnostizierten Gehirntumor thematisiert, ehe sie dann ein durch und durch positives Album voller energiegeladener, musikalisch an Folkpop und -rock orientierten Songs startet. Bewundernswert.”

If you speak German and can help us with a smoother English translation we’d appreciate it!

 

 

Review of DC Cardwell’s “Some Hope” at Powerpopaholic

Many thanks to Aaron at Powerpopaholic for reviewing my album “Some Hope” – here are some choice extracts…

  • DC Cardwell creates a heart felt acoustic gem here, full of wonderful melodic hooks and a Ray Davies styled vocal. The gentle minor chords and harmonies that open “I Am Still The Same” are both brilliant and poignant.
  • “Birthday Present” is another example of solid composition and a revelatory Harrison styled guitar break.
  • Some of the  mid-tempo ballads (“The Quiet Ages”) are like magical combinations of both Paul Simon and McCartney.

Read the full review (and lots more great stuff) at http://www.powerpopaholic.com

DC is the A&R crew’s pick of the week at Protectomatic!

 

[imported from MySpace]

Hi there,

There’s a complimentary review about my music at myspace.com/protectomatic where I have been selected as “The A&R crew’s pick of the week”

Here’s what they said:

“This guy is a blast, simple hooks with a powerpop touch that embeds humor catchy turnarounds and a sense of the 60’s with a bit of the 80’s. This is a fun guy you should check out.” ~ Loren Weisman

Have a look at the Protectomatic site, and if you’re a muso yourself you will probably find it quite interesting for all kinds of reasons.

Cheers – DC

 

DC Cardwell’s version of I Wanna Stay Home “a bit weak”

[imported from Myspace]

Current mood:cheerful

Someone on the Jellyfish Mailing List wrote, regarding “Sensory Lullabies: The Ultimate Tribute To Jellyfish”:

“Excellent stuff. Though I do find DC Cardwell’s version of I Wanna Stay Home to be a bit weak. (Sorry).
Samples of the EP on NotLame sounded great so I’ve order a copy of that already.”

He may be right about my contribution (see the video on my profile and make up your own mind), but the good news is, he still liked the tracks on the EP! And I’m telling you – all the other tracks that I’ve heard from the main double-CD are absolutely top-class!

So… buy the EP now and when you get the full album my track comes in pretty early so you can go and make yourself a cuppa while it’s playing and then sit back to enjoy the remaining 30 tracks!

Cheers – DC

PS: Here are some details about the EP from Alan Heaton, the man behind the project:


[NOTE: OBSOLETE – THE EP WAS A LIMITED EDITION IN 2007]

The 5-track Preview EP titled “Hello! A Tribute to Jellyfish” is finally available at: http://store.prostores.com/burningskyrecords

The EP is available for purchase RIGHT NOW, so order your copy now while supplies last! The is the first-ever release from Burning Sky Records, and it is destined to be a Collector’s Item. Get your copy before Warner Brothers or someone buys us out! 🙂

The EP features The Sonic Executive Sessions’ incredible cover of the unreleased Jellyfish song “Hello,” which I have posted on our MySpace jukebox. Here is the complete track listing:

Jellyfish Tribute EP (Hello)

1. Hello – The Sonic Executive Sessions
2. Bedspring Kiss* – Tommi Zender
3. Joining a Fan Club – threads
4. Calling Sarah – Ken Morrison
5. Glutton of Sympathy* – Edison Gower

*EP-only tracks

The cost of the EP is $6.99, which I hope you’ll think is a fair price for 5 way cool covers of Jellyfish songs. Again, the EP is meant to serve as a preview of “Sensory Lullabies: The Ultimate Tribute to Jellyfish,” which will be a 35-track, 2-CD release that is scheduled to come out sometime this Summer. It will likely be a few months before “Sensory Lullabies” is ready to be released, so we wanted to have something great to tide you over until then – all five of these tracks rock!

This is a huge day for all of us on the Burning Sky Records Jellyfish Tribute Album Team. Many of you have been with us since the very beginning last fall, and you know how much work it’s taken to finally get to this point. We are honored to be releasing the first proper tribute to Jellyfish, and we hope that you enjoy it.

Cheers,
Alan and the Burning Sky Records Jellyfish Tribute Album Team