Tag Archives: featured

Queen Caveat – Mr. California

Queen Caveat is a perfect example of an in-your-face alternative rock band you just can’t help but love from the first time you witness them. Lauren Little, a gymnastic and graceful ball of hard-rocking energy, Ben Epand with his solid riffing and beautiful-sounding gravelly guitar, Will Weissman holding down the 5-string bass runs like a master, and rock-star skinsman Jesse Magnuson. Together, they bring you their new single, Mr. California.

Queen Caveat

I first came across Queen Caveat while channel surfing; on a weekday evening, suddenly there was an amazing sounding (and looking) band featured on ABC’s 20/20 special, Sunset Boulevard. My roots are very much in the rock scene, and I loved what I heard. Their music was punchy yet intelligent, well-written, and beautifully performed. Little wonder that they are highly acclaimed to continue to expand on their success into 2013 and beyond.

“Mr. California” is the lead out single from their upcoming 2013 album. Right from the guitar intro, you can tell something a bit special is coming; and after four bars, there it is: with a bang, everyone is all-in, committed to the song, and the pace is set for a driving and energy-fuelled 3 minutes and 19 seconds ahead.

Lauren’s voice is showcased so well in the verses (as is her amazing onstage performance in the video version, variously described as “maniacal” and “ferocious”; I’d maybe differ by describing her as “lively”, “unique”, and “honest”), with Ben’s beautifully-toned guitar ringing on, and Jesse’s drums pushing the vocal along, she spits the lyric;

“You said Miss Oklahoma, really love to know ya,
But only for tonight;
You’ve got my attention, and did I mention,
I am full of fight”

And she means it, too.

All this pushes us forward on the crest of a guitar-powered adrenaline wave toward an epic chorus, which in some ways takes me back to the heady days of Faith No More and “We Care A Lot”. Perhaps it’s the mood, the anger, and the massive open chords in the chorus that take me right back to the early days of couldn’t-care-less power funk-rock.

“I won’t listen to you,
I won’t listen to you,
nothing but blame, nothing but pain
in your heart”

Consistently they return to that intro, catchy as ever and providing a perfect tagline to introduce every  verse.

It’s angry as hell, and they perform it like they’re just not going to take it anymore. With every verse and chorus succession, the tide builds; I can close my eyes and see a stadium full of people jumping along to it’s pace. The bridge is nicely designed to temporarily slow the song down, with huge vocal effect and well-used feedback from the guitar. Musically, it’s brilliantly constructed – I counted 16 beats over and over but it’s not in 4/4 time anymore – 32 half-beats of same-pace carefully planned emotional mayhem, with some memorable drum-riffing from Jesse, before slamming into a pre-last-chorus instrumental.  By the last chorus, if you’re not either singing it with arms outstretched, air guitar-ing while posing like Slash, slapping an imaginary bass, or drumming along on the nearest available surface; frankly, what the bloody hell is wrong with you?

Much kudos to the quality bass-work, by the Berklee-educated Will Weissman, which underpins and drives the entire song as any self-respecting rock number should be. The bass in general is easy to overlook, generally because a really good bass player blends perfectly with the song; in this case listen out for it. His skill and musicianship is obvious, and frankly the song wouldn’t be the same without it.  On top of that he absolutely rocks it, flinging that bass around like a madman.

Mr. California is a huge song. These guys have worked and continue to work hard at their craft, are musically well-educated, and it shows; the whole band is a joy to witness. Lauren of course pushes the bar even higher, by providing a magnificently unique take on dress-code and performance, which makes their music and their message the more believable because of its raw honesty.

A great band, really nice people, and with material like this, born winners. The king is dead. Long live Queen Caveat.

You can hear Mr California on their profile page here.

You can view the video for Mr California here or just watch it below.

By David Mark Smith, Global Musicians Fish Pond

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Natania – Hope and Heartbreak

With her new EP, ‘Hope & Heartbreak’, Natania Lalwani has succeeded in bringing together a combination of solid songwriting and creative musical arrangement.


Bringing experience from her roots in Mumbai, India, and her graduation from the Musicians Institute in Hollywood, she gives us a wide range of musicality and creative lyricism. Showing a very real part of her heart, Hope and Heartbreak takes us to a personal place in her life as she shares the many trials and triumphs of love.

Starting off the album with her debut single Cherry Love she instantly draws a smile with her whimsical lyrics, “you taste like sorbet on a sunny day.”

The playful mood she shows at the start of the song holds true for the full duration of the track, with the sweet accent of chimes throughout; hand-clapping filling the song after the bridge, you can tell that careful thought was given to every detail. While the catchy chorus “my cherry love, cherry love, cherry love” mimics the title, making it easily remembered, it also sums up the flirtatious lyric. Finishing the song with a “distant” round of the chorus, the song leaves you feeling joyful and ready to repeat; and ready to smile along with it all over again.

In the second number, ‘The Other End Of The Line’, Natania demonstrates the sensitive side of her voice. The first song on the album to talk about heartbreak, she does an excellent job of creating a rise and fall through the song. Instead of the lyrics being depressing (as some heartbreak songs inevitably are) Natania uses the soft texture of her voice to urge you to sympathize and understand her emotion, while her lyrics paint a compelling story in your mind. The soft steady rhythm slowly builds, with a sudden drop off into the bridge accompanied only by the piano;

“I thought I could understand it,
I thought I could see the in between bits of you and me.”

She then shifts gear into a powerfully high and beautiful “we tried like crazy, we tried like crazy” showing off the wide range of her vocal ability.

Once again she shows the vulnerability she has shared within the album on ‘Still Can’t Let You Go’. Bringing in male vocals from Ricky England, the duo feed off each other wonderfully to produce a beautiful harmony. The simple collaboration of guitar, vocals and piano for the first half of the song is simple, catchy, and beautiful. When the snare does come in, it’s not over complicated, but just enough to fill the song and make it complete.

Finishing off the album with a catchy track Baby You’re Beautiful. It starts off with some head-bobbing guitar work. The song lyrically presents questions to Natania herself, followed by answers from the purest feelings of love. Again she shows her wide range vocally as she effortlessly transitions into her falsetto, adding emphasis to key words in the song.

With a total of six songs on the album; including the bonus track, Natania gives a good balance of love versus loss. Throughout the album there is an impressive dynamic, including beautiful acoustic guitar finger-picking for the bonus track, ‘Carelessly Captivated’. Creating a warm and cozy feeling, this would be a perfect song to listen to on a cold winter night, while you’re curled up with that special someone.

Each track on the album has it’s own unique sound, leaving a distinct mark, and no two tracks leave the impression of being ‘samey’. Again, you can see the how much thought for detail was invested in each track, the production, and for the album as a whole.

The album is more than worthy, and overall a very pleasant listen. You can read more about Natania, and listen to a few of her tracks from ‘Hope and Heartbreak’ here.

by Pranam Bai Richter, Head of Global Publicity

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Mighty Bones – What Life May Bring

So how do you describe Mighty Bones? One word…passion (and perhaps, looking at their new publicity shot, “onesies”, if such a word exists). Out of Switzerland and just bursting with fresh new musical talent comes a group of four dynamic and in-your-face pop-punk lads. In this production, you can see their dedication to their craft and their desire to constantly surprise you with their wit and creative ideas.

Mighty Bones 2

From the first time I saw the “teaser” for their new official music video for “What life may bring” – here – I knew these guys were the real deal.

With their fun-filled attitude and pop-punk musical style with some lovely alternative rock thrown in, they’ll have you groovin’ along from the first measure.

From the intro of edgy guitar and drums, the song hits you with energy and power, which lasts through the entire 3 minutes and 6 seconds of the track.

With such a feel-good vibe to it, the song is contagious; it’s impossible not to sing from the first hook:

“We all don’t know what life will show”
“We all don’t know what life will show”
“We all don’t know what life will show”

And we may not know; but musicians with heart and soul like this sure show us that they are more than in control of what life will bring to Mighty Bones.

You can hear the genuine fun these guys have with each other, the impressive and well-rehearsed way they interact with their vocals and instruments to bring you a great combination of electric guitar riffs and skilled beat-keeping, all the way to the well-planned wrap-up with an almost a capella round of the catchy chorus.

Without a doubt this is just the start of a long career for these guys, and I look forward to being a witness to their growth and what’s in store. Mighty Bones, you are a well-appreciated part of this global family.

You can read more about Mighty Bones on their profile page, here.

by Pranam Bai Richter, Head of Global Publicity, The Fish Pond

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What the Family Means to Me

I’ve always been lucky enough to have a lot (I mean a lot) of family surrounding me, to help me up when I’m down, to make my light shine a little brighter because they’re in my life, to bring a smile, a tear, and a touch to my heart and move me in a way only family can.

Pranam 3

When I first joined the fish pond and David said “welcome to the family” I was touched, but I’ll admit, I didn’t think I was part of a “family”. My world has changed. In a short few weeks, I’ve not only realized that, yes, this is in fact a family; it is that and so much more.

How many times can you say you’ve met someone who cares just because they can? Loves just because they know others need love?

That is what I’ve seen, and it is at the heart of every musician in the Fish Pond. We welcome any musician and music lover with open arms, and if you’re anything like me, you’ll find that almost anything you “expect” when you join is far from what you can actually achieve when you “dive in”.

I’m a musician, with love at the heart of everything I do. I can’t describe how joyfully overwhelmed I am every day I see family members post new music, collaborate, comment, and share their love and support; and it’s just because everyone has the same intention at heart. LOVE for music and for their fellow musicians. It is not an option in this family, but a necessity, and the only way to truly breathe is through the notes of our shared song.

What is most unique about what David has shared with us all, is that there is no pressure or constraint on what you can share, there is no right or wrong; only love, family, music and support. And it’s amazing to me that I’ve been lucky enough to stumble into such a wonderful place.

by Pranam Bai Richter, Head of Global Publicity, The Fish Pond

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10th Avenue – Don’t Know

Before reading the rest of this review, I should warn you; I am a huge fan of the pop/punk genre. 10th Avenue, a three piece out of Saskatchewan, Canada, delivers everything I love about the style in this effort from their album, ‘Weiners’.

10th Avenue

From the first riff, I’m right back into my own influences of Green Day’s ‘1039/Smoothed Out Slappy Hour’, which I was listening to back in 1991 when I was out playing the same style live. I ate it up at the time, and I love this track. It’s under-produced, as a song like this really needs to be.

The verse is simply, riffy, and it’s impossible – at least for me – to stop myself air guitar-ing along to it. The guitar is well executed, and the chord progression is catchy. Sorry, but I’m right back in the moment, pogo-ing on stage and right there with these boys.

But wait – what’s that in the chorus – they’ve introduced some Little Richard-style piano into the mix. And you know what, driving and deliberately discordant, it really works in this case. It fills out the second half of the chorus just enough.

“Is this the end or just the start?
Did I break of fix your heart?”

The essential solo is once again just as it should be. These lads have studied the genre, and they’re really natural at it.

“I don’t know what I’ve done
I don’t know where I’m from
I don’t hear anything you say”

There’s no doubt this is a feel-good track, albeit nihilistic, but very well put together. I’m sure we’ll be hearing a lot more from 10th Avenue down the stretch.

Visit 10th Avenue’s profile and listen to ‘I Don’t Know’ here.

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Haikaa – Everything I Know About Love

The best way to describe Haikaa is as a true artist; an accomplished author, and an amazing singer/songwriter, we’re so glad to count her as part of our global family. Like so many others in the Fish Pond, Haikaa has truly global roots to draw from, and a worldview which is peaceful, all encapsulating, and respectful.


It feels somehow right to be writing this review, and listening to really solid international music from our family while cruising at 38,000 feet above Hudson Bay on the way to Europe. The wonderful thing about a family of musicians like the Fish Pond, is that there are so many references from others to discover new family members. I thank Mr. Joel Heslop, DJ with Museboat Radio, and musician from Swansea-based band Mr. Spoon, for ‘liking’ Haikaa on Facebook. And there it was. A connection, a positive conversation, and happily a very accomplished new family member we can all learn from.

‘Everything I Know About Love’ starts in a really interesting way, prefacing the main riff with a lovely plain percussive intro and whispered vocal, a shadow of the lyric from the first verse; as a guitarist myself, I loved hearing that beautiful palm-muted acoustic guitar fading in and introducing the melody. What sounds like a Fender Strat, metallic, fulsome, and reverby, plays over it; and so to Haikaa’s vocal.

“You’ve read on books, you’ve seen it
on movies
And things;
About a beautiful kingdom
A princess
A prince;
I can tell our story’s not the same,
Can we say our destiny is to blame”

It’s a build from verse to verse, very “expensive” sounding instrumentals, perfectly performed and captured. The underlying guitar picking and chords are intuitive and quite a joy in themselves.

Then the unbelievable happens. A couple of lines leading out of the verse, then it happens; the hook quite unexpectedly washes over you like a huge warm wave. Goodness me, that chorus is…well, it’s just…unreal. Absolutely beautiful:

“Everything I know about love
I’m sure we’re really meant to be;
Everything I know about love
I’m sure this is it, if you let it be”

For me, this is an almost perfect popular song. Evocative and punchy – the lyrical theme is simple and lovely – it has a great guitar sound throughout, acoustic and electric, and Haikaa’s vocal is naturally fitting; it soars. The way the production has been put together is polished, as it deserves. It’s simply a Work of Art, as is the title of her 2011 album.

We’re very honored to welcome Haikaa to our family in 2013, and we look forward to much more of her music to come.

Visit Haikaa’s profile and listen to ‘Everything I Know About Love’ here.

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Natania – Cherry Love

Natania Lalwani is a great ambassador for the Musicians Institute in Hollywood, which she graduated in September. 20 years young, and with roots in Mumbai, India, Natania joined the Pond in October 2012, in line with her birthday and the release of her brand new single, ‘Cherry Love’. If I were to use one word to sum this effort up, it would be “strong”.
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