Monday, July 08 2013 10:00

Review: Joanie Leeds and the Nightlights - BANDWAGON

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Joanie Leeds - BANDWAGONNew York-based JOANIE LEEDS has been busy. In the past thirty days, the singer/songwriter and her band, THE NIGHTLIGHTS, have released a new album, and fourteen music videos to support it. That album, BANDWAGON, has been in regular rotation here at Rock Father HQ for a bit now, a fun, fifteen-song collection of tunes perfect for summer - or a summer road trip with the kids. And I have used it on the road.

The lead cut, "Are We There Yet" is more than just the title to an ICE CUBE movie/show (though, today was a good day), but a garage rock jam that pays tribute to a line that I often thought was a fabrication only seen on television until my oldest started saying it from the back seat of my Rock Father Urban Assault Vehicle™: "Daddy, are we there yet?"

Produced by DOG ON FLEAS' prolific Dean Jones - "the 90s Puff Daddy of Kindie Rock" (all up on everyone's album and/or track) - at his No Parking Studios, the album sounds great and features Jones guesting on a few tracks, as do Rachel Loshak (GUSTAFER YELLOWGOLD) and Justin Lansing (of recent Grammy Winners, THE OKEE DOKEE BROTHERS), all of whom make the title cut one of BANDWAGON's memorable moments.

The major misstep of the album lies in the much-touted reworking of STEVIE WONDER's "Superstition" (mistakenly credited as "Superstitious" in the liner notes) as "Nutritious." The well-intended ode to eating well and digging those fruits and veggies just feels forced and sticks out among the album's other fine tracks.

With an almost-four-year-old in my house right now, "Use Your Words" and "Bed" carry special meaning (both for Father and Child), while "UFO" makes for prime listening for stargazing and sky-viewing families.

What's particularly interesting about BANDWAGON is the contrast between the Kindie-rocking Joanie Leeds and the Nightlights and the jangly, singer/songwriter Joanie Leeds, who emerges on tracks like "Family Tree" (on which Jonatha Brooke guests), "Falling" (which I previously-featured as a Free Download), and "Let's Go." I sorta like the latter better, and could see Leeds expanding her audience greatly in years to come.

BANDWAGON is available now on iTunes.


The Rock Father Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

FTC Disclosure: A copy of this album was provided to The Rock Father for the purpose of review consideration. Pretty-much common sense, since that's how music reviews have worked for the past 50+ years or so, but the Government now requires that reviewers point out the obvious. All opinions are that of James Zahn, with input from his children. He doesn't accept cash for reviews because that's just shady.

James Zahn

James Zahn is best-known as The Rock Father™, a media personality, commentator, adventurer and raconteur. He is the Owner, Publisher, and Editor-in-Chief of THE ROCK FATHER™ Magazine. In January, 2019, after nearly a decade of publishing The Rock Father™ Magazine, he joined Adventure Media and Events as Senior Editor of The Toy Book—the leading trade publication for the toy industry since 1984, as well as The Pop Insider — a destination for all things pop culture, and The Toy Insider — the leading consumer guide for toys and games. He is also editor of The Toy Report, a weekly newsletter published by The Toy Book each Thursday. Zahn has over 27 years of experience in the entertainment, retail and publishing industries.

He regularly serves as a Brand Ambassador and spokesperson for several Globally-recognized pop culture and lifestyle brands in addition to consulting for a number of toy manufacturers. 

Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for bands such as FEAR FACTORY, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands. He currently serves as an artist manager and video director for PRODUCT OF HATE, whose debut album was released by Napalm Records in 2016, distributed by ADA/Warner Music in the U.S. with Universal Music handling global. A new album has been completed and is set for release this year.

Zahn and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, NBC, ABC, WGN, CBS, GCTN, G4, The Chicago Tribune, Forbes, MarketWatch, Reuters, BusinessWire, Fangoria, Starlog and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360 alongside Anderson Cooper, and has been interviewed by Larry King. In the past he served as a writer for the Netflix Stream Team,  Fandango Family and PBS KIDS, penned articles for Sprout and PopSugar, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent.

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