lisa mychols & super 8

ALBUM: lisa mychols & super 8
BAND: lisa mychols & super 8

YEAR: 7/22/2020
 

reviewed by NADJA DEE

LISA MYCHOLS & SUPER 8

Released 7/22/2020

THE BEAUTIFUL MUSIC

 

Musicians:       Lisa Ellie Mychols (Words/Vocals/Melodies/Harmonies/Ideas/Monkey Noises)

                         Paul 'Trip' Ryan (Words/Vocals/Melodies/Harmonies/Ideas)

Music written, arranged, performed, recorded & produced by Paul Ryan AKA Trip (© "Trippy Toons!')

Track 08 written by Kenny Rankin ©1968

Track 09 written by Jim Pepper ©1969

Mastered by: John Girgus
Artwork & claymations: Gillian Maud Ryan
Formatting & layout: Jamie Nordstrand

Everything about this album screams fun and cute. From the cover to the song titles, to the lyrics and the messages. But, that's just Lisa Mychols. She's fun, cute, silly and positive. It's like they cloned Doris Day brought her to the current times and put her in the music scene.

Lisa Mychols needs no introduction to most of you, if you didn't already follow her for years as a founding member of The Masticators, her cherished solo albums, then you should have heard her singing on any number of Power Pop band's songs from Emperor Penguin, Kai Danzberg or the recently released Librarians With Hickeys album.

But with all that wholesome goodness I just laid out, you'd be surprised to find that Lisa Mychols & Super 8 isn't all that sugary sweet. No. It's best illustrated by sharing a story where I learned how foods can be divided into two distinct categories: sweet or savory.

Is it Power Pop? Not totally, in fact it's been tagged as:

basically, every tag except Power Pop. 

I was going around Seattle with my friend Kerb, trying to drum up donations for the camp we dedicated a large portion of our year to when we entered a small coffee shop in Freemont. The front contained a counter of delicious treats that was clearly divided into two distinct selections of sweet or savory. I had never thought of food, especially appetizers in such delineated districts, it was like the division between North or South, Hot or Cold, Black or White and now, Sweet or Savory.

This opened up a new clarity for me, so many foods can be placed as either a sweet item or a savory item. For example, honey is sweet but nuts are savory. I never realized it before and as I looked over the confections spread before us, I realized that I've always preferred the taste of savory over sweet. 

Of course, the first thing someone is sure to point out is that desserts can be a combination of both tastes, a honey nuts or bacon wrapped figs are both sweet AND savory. In fact, there are a total of five basic tastes: sweetness, sourness, bitterness, saltiness and umami.  Most things aren't distinctly in just one taste profile, much like music. It's rare to find a song, especially a Power Pop song that is all sweet as bubblegum. Or a song that's all bitter and salty. Which brings me to the new Lisa Mychols & Super 8 album, it's not all sweet.

Lisa Mychols & Super 8 starts off the track What Will Be?

LISA MYCHOLS & SUPER 8

Released 7/22/2020

THE BEAUTIFUL MUSIC

 

Musicians:       Lisa Ellie Mychols (Words/Vocals/Melodies/Harmonies/Ideas/Monkey Noises)

                         Paul 'Trip' Ryan (Words/Vocals/Melodies/Harmonies/Ideas)

Music written, arranged, performed, recorded & produced by Paul Ryan AKA Trip (© "Trippy Toons!')

Track 08 written by Kenny Rankin ©1968

Track 09 written by Jim Pepper ©1969

Mastered by: John Girgus
Artwork & claymations: Gillian Maud Ryan
Formatting & layout: Jamie Nordstrand

Everything about this album screams fun and cute. From the cover to the song titles, to the lyrics and the messages. But, that's just Lisa Mychols. She's fun, cute, silly and positive. It's like they cloned Doris Day brought her to the current times and put her in the music scene.

Lisa Mychols needs no introduction to most of you, if you didn't already follow her for years as a founding member of The Masticators, her cherished solo albums, then you should have heard her singing on any number of Power Pop band's songs from Emperor Penguin, Kai Danzberg or the recently released Librarians With Hickeys album.

But with all that wholesome goodness I just laid out, you'd be surprised to find that Lisa Mychols & Super 8 isn't all that sugary sweet. No. It's best illustrated by sharing a story where I learned how foods can be divided into two distinct categories: sweet or savory.

Is it Power Pop? Not totally, in fact it's been tagged as:

basically, every tag except Power Pop. 

I was going around Seattle with my friend Kerb, trying to drum up donations for the camp we dedicated a large portion of our year to when we entered a small coffee shop in Freemont. The front contained a counter of delicious treats that was clearly divided into two distinct selections of sweet or savory. I had never thought of food, especially appetizers in such delineated districts, it was like the division between North or South, Hot or Cold, Black or White and now, Sweet or Savory.

This opened up a new clarity for me, so many foods can be placed as either a sweet item or a savory item. For example, honey is sweet but nuts are savory. I never realized it before and as I looked over the confections spread before us, I realized that I've always preferred the taste of savory over sweet. 

Of course, the first thing someone is sure to point out is that desserts can be a combination of both tastes, a honey nuts or bacon wrapped figs are both sweet AND savory. In fact, there are a total of five basic tastes: sweetness, sourness, bitterness, saltiness and umami.  Most things aren't distinctly in just one taste profile, much like music. It's rare to find a song, especially a Power Pop song that is all sweet as bubblegum. Or a song that's all bitter and salty. Which brings me to the new Lisa Mychols & Super 8 album, it's not all sweet.

Lisa Mychols & Super 8 starts off the track What Will Be?

 

Track #1 What Will Be?

01 What Will Be_

What Will Be, is not a cover of the Doris Day classic, "Que Sera Sera," as in "What will be, will be," instead it's a funky, 70's tune than a Power Pop or Bubblegum Pop song, so that's a lot more savory than sweet. But, it let's you know that this is a themed album, about recipes and music factories. 

In fact, Track #1 flows into Track #2 perfectly and you'll have a hard time figuring out where Track #1 ends and Track #2, Trip & Ellie's Music Factory begins. That's because, like all good albums, it's obvious that Lisa Mychols puts a lot of thought into an album's track order. (An art that seems all but lost in these days of streaming and single track listens). 

There's a cute bit where Lisa and Trip speak, which took me right back to Simon & Garfunkel's Faking It.

Good Morning Mister Leach

Have you had a busy day?

The Trip & Ellie's Music Factory track made me feel like I was walking through Willy Wonka's candy factory, if it turned out music instead of candy. A major chord here, a dash of percussion there...out pops a sweet song. (Talking bit starts at 1:50)

Track #2 Trip & Ellie's Music Factory

Fakin' It (Dialogue)
02 Trip & Ellie's Music Factory

Track #3 Timebomb, the first track Trip & Ellie wrote together, is a mix of funky groove in a total pop vein. It's a song that really moves, both lyrically and musically. This debut single has a very heavy R&B feel and if you needed further proof, it even goes into a little bit of The Rolling Stones' riffing at the end. It's accompanied by a fun, if silly, video that features a biker gang and gives you the feel that it easily could've been used in Easy Rider, had the track existed back in 1969. (From the sound of the track, it could have!)

Track #3 Timebomb

In fact, the nod to the Rolling Stones is spelled out in the Timebomb lyric:

I'll leave you with the Beatles

I'm taking back my Rolling Stones

As a well known scene from every couple's breakup, give me MY RECORDS! Thus spelling out that this album is more savory than sweet.

The next track, You & Me, Me & You, is the first single from Lisa Mychols & Super 8, has it's own video. Looks like it was filmed in Las Vegas, with Lisa, while Trip's portion was filmed in front of a green screen in the UK. 

The location is idyllic for this album, seeing Lisa frolic behind gigantic lollipops and candy canes, only drives home the Willy Wonka nature of this album.

Track #4 You & Me, Me & You

You & Me, Me & You is an infectious track that won't leave your ears long after you've listened to it. But you'll welcome it, it's light, boppy and fun. It also has a very Spinners' Games People Play feel to it. It captures that 1970's feel good groove. 

05 The Monkee Song

The Monkee Song (Yes, it's spelled Monkee like the band, not the animal), is a song that should appeal to everyone's literal kid, if not your kid at heart.  In fact, the credits state that "Any monkey noises you might hear credited to Just Ellie!" Is this girl fun or what?

 

Track #5 The Monkee Song

It's too bad that Lisa Mychols doesn't live in Seattle. The store where I work, my day job, would be the perfect place to shoot a video for The Monkee Song. This store, Archie McPhee sells slide whistles, kazoos, monkey masks, googly eyes and all kinds of other fun stuff.  But you'd be out of luck because we don't sell "Jungle Stew!"

IMG_20200902_163838
IMG_20200902_163823
IMG_20200902_163721
IMG_20200902_163823 (2)
IMG_20200902_163717

After the Sesame Street nature of The Monkee Song, Lisa Mychols & Super 8 intelligently follows it with Flying Close To The Sun. Like having a digestif after dessert. It's an adult song that references Icarus and has a nice use of a mellotron sounding instrument, that would make even Jon Brion proud. 

Track #6 Flying Close To The Sun

06 Flying Close To The Sun

Flying Close To The Sun is a song that could've closed the album. It has that final song personality that would end the album, but perhaps on a down note. Well, that's just not really Lisa Mychols & Super 8.

You know what did fly too close to the sun? Super 8 film. But, that's another story folks. 

Lisa Mychols & Super 8 picks back up with Honey Bee, a song that hits very close to my heart. Not many folks know that although I go by Nadja Dee, my married name is Witherbee.  I love bees, I love what they do, how hard they work and the importance of bees in the ecosystem. Whether you believe Albert Einstein's bee quote or not, it doesn't take a genius to realize that bees play an important part in our world. 

When it was time for me as a camp volunteer to pick my camp name, I decided to go with a bee name, originally choosing "Bumblebee," but when I was about to send my choice in to the camp director, as I was typing it, I realized that if you change the "b" to an "h" you could make the word "humblebee." Thus, I became "humblebee" for the remainder of my camp life. I love bees and I love the song Honey Bee. It also happens to be Track 7 which is my lucky number as I was born on September 7th and weighed 7 lbs 7 ounces. 

Track #7 Honey Bee

Track #8 Peaceful is a song that has Trip taking lead vocals on. It has a great acoustic guitar, singer-songwriter tone to it, like something you would hear by Dan Fogelberg, James Taylor or Seals & Crofts. It's a nice tune that for lack of a better descriptive, can only be described as "peaceful." 

Track #8 Peaceful

08 Peaceful

Track #9, Witchi Tai To, could be an entire genre onto itself. It's an old song from 1969 written by Jim Pepper. While Lisa Mychols & Super 8 shot their own video to the song on the beaches of Laguna Beach and in Scotland, it's the YouTube version by Musical Joy & Memories that sheds extra light on the culturally significant song, turning it into a song mix of sorts. 

According to Musical Joy & Memories: "“Witchi Tai To” is a song that was written by Jim Pepper in the 1960s. The lyrics are Native American and English. The song has been covered a few times, most notability by Brewer and Shipley in 1971 on their album Weeds. The duo is most known for their major U.S. hits “One Toke Over the Line” and “Tarkio Road.” The song is beautifully covered here by Lisa Mychols and Super 8. It has a gentle beauty to it, and very reminiscent of a song called “Shenandoah” that has a history of almost 200 years (although the writer is unknown – another story another day…)"

Watch both versions and see which one you like. 

The next two tracks are songs that feel like they could be lost 1960's songs from any number of the female singer-songwriter's repertoires.  Track #10 Laguna Nights To Remember and Track #11 Your Summer Theme, both could be songs included in any one of those rom-coms films from the late 50's and 60's. 

 

Watching those films today feels like both a more innocent time and a time of accepted toxic masculinity. I can especially see, Your Summer Theme as the title song for A Summer Place. 

10 Laguna Nights To Remember

Track #10 Laguna Nights To Remember

Track #11 Your Summer Theme

Track #12, The Arms Of Water, basically the last song track on the album, if you don't count the 20 seconds of silence, or the Secret Backwards Track (Basically 3 mins of backwards music, with overdubs of Witchi Tai To and other track bits, which if you listen to the Secret Backwards Track...well BACKWARDS, like I did using Audacity, it pretty much sounds the same. Sure there's parts that are backwards even when played backwards, but it's really just mostly bits of Witchi Tai To. A track that sounds fantastic forwards. Maybe, they were inspired by Giles Martin's work on The Beatles LOVE album for Cirque Du Soleil?), ends the album. 

The Arms Of Water, starts off like a Shirley Temple musical, with a children's nursery rhyme song, "The Big Ship Sails On The Ally-Ally-Oh," which according to SONGFACTS:

 

This well-known children's song appears to have started life as a nursery rhyme, although as with many folk songs its precise origin is unknown. There has been some suggestion that it was inspired by the Manchester Ship Canal or even by the Panama Canal, though unlike many nursery rhymes which have sinister origins, it is probably a simple and amusing playground ditty.

The Arms Of Water, and also uses some backwards masking in the beginning after the nursery rhyme. It's got a nice, gentle keyboard sound and the lyrics cruise along, in a way I couldn't place, until the song laid down the lyric:

                                           "Cellophane embers awaken the fire"

And I realized it had that Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds vibe, if written by a mid-sixties group, heavily influenced by MoTown R&B grooves. It's a track that should have been used as the title track of Johnathan Livingston Seagull, instead of the Neil Diamond song, Be.

Lisa Mychols has ALWAYS put out great music, dating back to her days with The Masticators. For proof try to get your hands on an old Masticators disc, they sell for a pretty penny these days. So, I'm thrilled to have a copy of Lisa Mychol's latest album in my hands. It's guaranteed to fetch top dollars in the future years to come. While I already loved the music that Lisa Mychols put out on Sugar, Sweet Sinsations or even Lost Winter's Dream, I love the collaboration from Super 8. If this is the music that Trip & Ellie's Music Factory puts out, I'll be placing more orders from them in the future. 

All in all, Lisa Mychols & Super 8 is a fantastic album, is it the album of the summer? Absolutely! Considering that 2020 is a summer that well, quite frankly, sucked for everyone, WE NEED THIS ALBUM TO CHEER US UP!! 

In the words of Willy Wonka, "So shines a good deed, in a weary world."

AS ALWAYS, PLEASE SUPPORT INDEPENDENT MUSIC!

 

 

 

 

 

 

BUY IT HERE! 

https://trip8.bandcamp.com/album/lisa-mychols-super-8-album

 

LINKS

https://www.mycholsfabulousplayground.com/

 

https://www.facebook.com/SUPER8UK/

 

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCa3JAEXJkdB2cgFu1z0Xw0Q

DISCLAIMER: HOP ON POWER POP doesn't give stars, a grade or any sort of quantifiable rating. What HOP ON POWER POP does is let you know what H.O.P.P. thought of the music by the band at this particular time. If an album isn't to our liking or fitting into the Power Pop genre enough, we simply won't review it.

                  Go to HOP ON POWER POP ALBUM REVIEW GUIDELINES for more information:

                  https://www.hoponpowerpop.com/albumreviewguidelines

 

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NICK PIUNTI

DOWNTIME

Released 5/22/2020

JEM RECORDS

 

Musicians:         Nick Piunti (Guitar, Vocals)
                           Jeff Hupp (Bass, Vocals)
                           Ron Vensko (Drums)
                           Kevin Darnall (Keyboards)

Special guests:  Ryan Allen (Guitar, Harmony Vocals, Percussion)
                            Chris Plum (Harmony Vocals, Percussion, Synthesizer)

Recording & Mixing: Geoff Michael

Producers: Geoff Michael & NP & TCM

Mastering: Jim Kissling

Studio: Big Sky Recording (Ann Arbor, MI)

It's not easy to review an album during this once-in-a-lifetime, or at least a once-in-MY-lifetime, event. It feels like every song, somehow, relates to the quarantine and losing good people like Adam Schlesinger or Matthew Seligman from this virus. Because I listen to a lot of music on an electronic device, it often shuffles the order of songs. On this particular day, it started playing ALL OVER AGAIN. 

Track #5 All Over Again

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