And to think, its almost Christmas…

a0024741739_16So we’re getting ever closer to wrapping up 2017, but first we welcome in the night where the guy with the red suit and all the reindeer has the world’s children in baited breath waiting for the 25th to come.

Of course, once you get to be an adult you realize there’s a lot more to it than that, but I think the best thing we can hope for is that when the meals are made and the people are together that it was worth the trip. And if I can pass along any advice when it comes to wandering through that minefield of decisions, its this: always make the days this time of year as worthwhile as you can. We only get so many, and with it being a very uncertain time in the world these days I think its all the more critical to appreciate everything that’s important to you.

Because you deserve it. Yes, you reading this. Just be sure to pay it forward where you can too, cause that… that feels pretty nice.

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But anyway, because this is a music site lets get back on topic and wrap up a few quick notes as we start to think about a new year.

  • Coming up next week, I’m very much looking forward to posting a music-themed collaboration from my day job on the radio that ties perfectly into something I like doing to close up a year in music. There’ll be five installments starting the day after Christmas, and I’ll explain more when it launches!
  • I’ve got a couple of really special reviews coming up soon as we transition to 2018. Both are still just a work in progress right now but there’s gonna be a lot of great elements as well as another audio interview in the mix. Everything is certainly subject to change, but I hope to get those out as I envision in my mind.
  • And as ever, I’m hoping to post here as much as I can and get out content every chance possible as we get into 2018, but I still don’t see a point coming where I can be consistent right now. Just a lot of busy going on everywhere, but regardless its going to be a lot of fun to chime in as much as I can!

Now lastly, while I could close this post by recommending Christmas-themed music choices ranging from Bruce Springsteen doing “Merry Christmas Baby” to John Lennon singing “Merry Xmas (War Is Over)”, I’m going to go with something a bit more recent. New York City product Megan Talay won a lot of praise from me this year for the snarling Joan Jett girl-rock sound of her latest EP, and with that formula in mind she went in the studio and recorded an original Christmas song that fits the mold just as well.

Now this is a song with a few curse words, so I will preface it with the NSFW label. But otherwise, get ready to dig in here.

And happy holidays everyone!

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Now introducing… The Interview Series!

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So as you may have noticed, my presence here on this website has been minimal at best for a bit now. And while I hope to slowly change that over time, a big reason for this has been a greater launch of my life into the world of radio as a news reporter and broadcaster.

Its led to a lot of great opportunities to both hone and enhance my skills (which I hope to start utilizing here soon enough). What it has also done is allow me to have a greater realm of access to recording equipment and new things I can bring to On The Back Edge of the Beat.

So lets start with this new segment, which I’m calling The Interview Series! Much like the pieces I’ve done here in the past, the focus will still be on the music of underground and indie musicians. In this case though, we’ll be personally discussing their craft, new music, background, and most other notable stuff under the musical sun.

For this first volume I had the privilege of interviewing the lovely Talay. Her recent self-titled EP has been a big hit in my earbuds and car radio, so when the chance came to snag her for a phone interview I was understandably pretty excited. Having already reviewed her EP (which you can read here), I was glad we could dish out more on the new music, Talay’s writing process, what’s on deck for her next EP and a whole hell of a lot more.

Enjoy and stay tuned for more of these in the future!

Pop rock roars with life on smashing “Talay”

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Break out your headphones or roll down your windows, because one of the most anthem-filled EPs of 2017 has arrived.

And its made its way to the world in the form of Megan Talay’s 2nd album, simply entitled Talay. If that (self-titled) album title is meant to indicate a greater ownership of the sound of these songs, it leaves one hell of an impression burning in its embers.

While Talay’s debut Piece By Piece was certainly a strong beginning start, it was more of a creamy Ani DeFranco center surrounded by an acoustic coating. Talay instead rips up that formula and replaces it with spastic electric guitars, brilliantly cutting, lip curled like a punk rock heroine lyrics, and a sense of constant crowd-surfing spirit thats more than worth a few stage dives.

Talay is essentially the all night party living next door to a rave. Even the initially-drifting “I Hope Your Band Goes Nowhere” groundswells into a belting riff-roaring growl of taunting defiance against a douchebag ex-boyfriend (maybe the same charming percussionist from prior romper “Drummer of the Band”). The album fluently demonstrates Talay’s proficiency for early to well into the-2000’s pop rock, embodying the guitars of Prince’s final all female band 3rdeyegirl and the vocal twistings of a revival straight out of Josie & The Pussycats or The Runaways.

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Talay manages to channel the heart and earworm choruses of those girl power outlets into one of the best rock EPs of the last several years. And not because it requires the technical proficiency of a Fleet Foxes album being reviewed by Pitchfork. Music is not a complex animal that requires a thesis statement.

Sometimes, the best music is all about feel. And Talay has it all the way to her “Parent’s House” and back again.

Grade: A

Songs To Download: “Parent’s House”, “I Hope Your Band Goes Nowhere”, “City”

Listen Here: http://www.talay.bandcamp.com

Talay brings alt-punk jamfest to “Parents’ House”

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I was first introduced to Megan Talay’s music over a year ago when her Piece By Piece EP landed directly in my lap courtesy of Megan herself. The New York City-area singer-songwriter immediately had all the earmarks of well-honed acoustic pop with a hearty dosage of capable songwriting to back it up.

And while I was a big fan of Piece by Piece at the time, there was a part of me that was looking to see more from Megan. Like that wasn’t the entire picture fully formed just yet. And eventually I began to see more the more I followed her work, though what eventually riveted me the most was anytime Talay touched an electric guitar. Whether it was jamming out to Prince or punk, the girl had some serious shred skills that didn’t quite manifest themselves on the quieter songs. I began to listen for more Joan Jett instead of Ani DeFranco.

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Then along comes Parents’ House, Talay’s latest single and what feels like a wish granted. Inside are plenty of well-muscled electric guitar workouts bumping and grinding off one another in what feels like a bounce house battle between Weezer, Green Day and prime Avril Lavigne with just a dash of No Doubt-era Gwen Stefani. From a lyrical perspective Parents’ House feels straight out of the River Cuomos section of tongue-in-cheek with its nod to the struggle of the average millennial still living at home with their parents. I know I had to nod along with more than a few of the comparisons, and even though living at home is quite common these days I felt like it was a genius topic for a song that’s SO easily relatable.

Parents’ House is not only an addictive party banger of a song, it has hooks for miles in a Buddy Holly-esque runtime of righteous girl power that will feel over before it even begins. In a time of so much serious, this is pure unadulterated happy and we need that not only for rock n roll’s sake, but for the sake of our sanity as well.

Go pick this one up. You will NOT regret it.

Grade: A

Listen to the new track below!

https://myspace.com/article/2017/3/7/talay-parents-house-premiere

Talay Shows Folk-Pop “Underside” On Brilliant “Piece By Piece” Debut

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It’s now the first week or two of autumn as I write this, and the changing of the seasons always manages to put me into a contemplative frame of mind. The leaves haven’t quite started to fall completely yet, but the nights are colder, the sunlight doesn’t last as long, and the world here gradually starts to burrow itself away piece by piece in preparation for what’s to come.

As I find myself starting to burrow with it, I think it’s appropriate that Megan Talay’s EP Piece By Piece should land in my lap as the soundtrack to accompany the changes. Talay is another New York City-area songwriter, but unlike the country/folk blending of my prior NYC subjects Ivy, Beck and Neill, she takes that folk and puts it through a blender of sweetly blissful pop, delicately intricate acoustic guitar, and a hook-laden feast of songwriting craftsmanship.

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Piece By Piece is an often laid back slice of an EP, yet still doesn’t waste a moment snagging attention starting with lead single “Underside” and it’s driving foot-tap of a rhythm. Talay is a versatile mix of Ani DeFranco and Brandi Carlile on the track, nimbly thumbing through a list of concealed emotional turmoils before raising a fist and letting a wave of catharsis wash over as a tide of frustration made fury. It’s an immediately relatable moment to anyone who’s ever been an expert at the art of bottling up the world, and Talay’s voice rings true in your ear as someone saying it’s okay…. I’ve been there too.

It’s in that role of relatable narrator and lyricist that Talay finds her greatest footing on this record, whether it’s in the role of a person overcoming the uncertainties of love and life on “Light The Way” and the cinematically-tinged title track, or holding up lighthearted like flowers toward the sunshine on optimistic closing song “Just Fine”. Piece by Piece is an EP that’s like looking through the contents of someone’s cracked and peeling moving boxes shoved behind the boiler in a basement. A few of those memories may be buried back there for a reason, but the years have finally said it’s time for them to breathe and be set free.

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Those years seem to fly by in the span of these mere minutes, and close with a brightly harmonious beauty for having shared them. Piece by Piece makes yet another case for records that speak as complete stories instead of just in fragmented singles that can be bought for $0.99 on iTunes. You may appreciate the radio-friendly lift of the chorus on “Light The Way” or the infectious six string melody of “Forever In My Hand”, but when albums or EP’s speak like this, I feel as though they speak closest to their heart… when they speak together.

Don’t just listen to one part of what Megan Talay has to offer. Go “piece by piece, inch by inch”. Let her mixture of folk/pop and lovely lyricisms get under your skin.

I promise that it’s worth the journey.

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As you can see, Megan’s EP is coming out this week! You can go pick it up on her Bandcamp, and go check out her Facebook page Talay for much information about shows as well as this release!