Twilight 22 - (Self-titled) - (12" LP)
If you like funky electro music you'll find a gem from the 1980s here. Computer and synthesizer wizard Gordon Bahary and singer Joseph Saulter were Twilight 22, and this self-titled album was their one and only release, a little perplexing since it spawned the hit single "Electric Kingdom" which reached the Top 10 on the R&B charts. Never mind that at this point though; this super fun album is available once again for all to enjoy right now. The Beastie Boys, Rick James, Prince, the Ohio Players and the earthy side of the Commodores (think "Brick House") all come to mind on this delightful mélange of rock, hip-hop, electro and funk, with vocals that range from suave and sincere (the love song "Mysterious") to freaky and tongue-in-cheek ("Rubber Band Clown," where the synths recall Gary Numan.) The guys make generous use of effects on many cuts, but they never go completely over the top, and they really tone things down to close out the record with the pop R&B of "In the Night," which sounds Stevie Wonder inspired, no surprise since Bahary had previously worked with Stevie.
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Lunden Reign - Confessions - (12" LP, colored vinyl)
Nikki Lunden is the singer for this band and her vocals recall many of the great pop rockers who preceded her; opening cut "Stardust Daze" finds Lunden sounding like Belinda Carlisle, "Confessions" has a New Wave-y feel to it and recalls Missing Persons, and "Red Wagon (Can't Return to Yesterday)" rocks out like Pat Benatar. Full of catchy cuts from beginning to end, Confessions is buoyed with a huge guitar sound courtesy of Laura Espinoza-Lunden and Luis Maldonado (of Train) and they know when to pour it on ("Dead Man Walking") and when to lay back a bit like when Nikki's vocals are a bit more delicate, as they are on "Thunder or the Rain." Fans who loved Lunden Reign's 2015 debut album will be over the moon here and Confessions, with lots of potential hit singles, places the band on the edge of something big. Los Angeles area fans can catch Lunden Reign Aug. 5 at Warner Center Park in Woodland Hills.
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