Queen City Sounds and Art reviews "Your Opinion" 

The Denver-based music and culture blog Queen City Sounds and Art has weighed in with their review of “Your Opinion”.  Referring to the song's combination of wry humor with songcraft, the review compares “Your Opinion” to Camper Van Beethoven, a comparison that I like very much, as CVB was one of my favorite bands of the 1980s. After recounting the parade of right-wing miscreants skewered by my lyrics, the review concludes Maybe this sort of no bones about it ridicule will help but even if not, Unca John has delivered a solid slice of pop goodness with some rhetorical grit.”   Read the full review here:

Album Reviews on Buffablog and Edgar Allan Poets 

The first two reviews of my debut album Midlife Crisis Vanity Project are now available on line.  The first comes from Nick Sessanna of Buffalo-based culture blog Buffablog.   He notes that the album is “full of classic rock, jangly pop, and retro song structures that have a wholesome exterior disguising a darker depth within. Expect lots of sardonic wordplay and dark humor from Unca John as he navigates a confusing time in his life through disarming song and dance.”  Well, I don't know about dance…in any event here is the full review:

The second review comes from Chris Mariotti of the band Edgar Allan Poets, who has shown a lot of understanding of my project in his previous reviews of my singles.  His review focuses especially on the lyrics, conjuring a dystopian scenario that could have been taken from the album itself:

“Fifty years from now, when some poor soul unearths this album, they’ll undoubtedly be struck by its uncanny accuracy in portraying a world overrun by AI and robots, a population ensnared by absurd beliefs, and politicians embroiled in a never-ending circus of deceit.” 

As for the music, Chris notes that “Each track is a masterful blend of vintage vibes and contemporary chaos, creating a sonic landscape that is as captivating as it is disconcerting.” 

Here is the full review:

It's Album Release Day! 

My complete debut album Midlife Crisis Vanity Project is now out!  Ten tracks, 43 minutes of music, all original songs.  I feel like this is the most worthwhile thing I have ever created, music or otherwise.  If you know me, you know that I don't do things half-assed, and I think you'll hear that in my songs.  You can play the songs on this site; you can stream them on Spotify, Youtube, Soundcloud, iTunes and other streaming services; and you can download the tracks on Amazon or Bandcamp.  

This album is just the beginning Unca John.  I have lead sheets ready for a bunch of new songs that I will start recording this fall, with another album most likely in 2025.  But till then, enjoy Midlife Crisis Vanity Project!  

Earmilk reviews "Replaced By Robots" 

Natalie Patrick of the major music blog Earmilk has weighed in with her review of “Replaced By Robots”.   The key takeaway: This spirited indie-rock track is infused with contagious retro power-pop vibes, driven by irresistible rhythm and lead guitar hooks, and accentuated by pitch-perfect three-part harmonies, creating an electrifying rollercoaster ride that delves into the perils of automation and the absurdity of modern life.”

Read the full review here:

Reviews from Plastic Magazine and Artisti Online 

The reviews of “Replaced By Robots” keep rolling in.  The British blog Plastic Magazine has a thoughtful review that considers both the lyrics and music in detail.  They describe the former as “a delightful mix of humour and social commentary, poking fun at the idea of robots never needing breaks, vacations, or drug tests, while humans scramble to adapt to this technological takeover.”  They describe the song's music as “a playful indie rock composition, exuding a classic power pop charm wrapped in a retro aesthetic. Energetic and lively, the music is driven by fuzzy guitar tones and a dynamic drumbeat peppered with a cowbell.”   Here is the full review:

Meanwhile, the Italian blog Artisti Online sharply observes the song's underlying tension:  “The melodic line is lively and when we get to the chorus we are joined by a surreal atmosphere with Beach Boys-like choruses that disguise the seriousness of the subject matter. In fact, behind this apparent radiance lies a very precise criticism of the excessive application of technology.”   Here is the full review:

The Other Side Reviews on "Replaced By Robots" 

Nicole Mendes of The Other Side Reviews has again written a thoughtful commentary on my music with her review of my new single “Replaced By Robots”.   Here is her take on the track's music:

  • “I’ll be honest, US-based Unca John is no Mick Jagger, but he has the economics professor swag and highly relatable songs that Jagger doesn’t. With a high-spirited blend of power-pop and folk in a pool of indie-rock, Unca John sets the stage with a catchy bounce. The melody is smooth and soothing, but a bite breaks through the gentleness giving it a grittier edge. From pounding drums to dynamic guitars and slivers of keys cutting in around the chorus, ‘Replaced By Robots’ has the classic indie-rock tone with a contemporary vibe.”

And her take on the lyrics:

  • “One aspect I find intriguing about Unca John is the laidback but brutally honest lyricism. ‘Replaced By Robots’ confronts the impact of technology on the workplace sharing how robots “never need a vacation/ never need a break” which is fantastic if you’re the employer but not so fantastic if you’re the employee. Yet, the poignancy of this topic is lightened with the deadpan humour evoking giggles with “I need another doughnut/ I need another tax cut”."  

Read the full review here:

August 24: four new reviews of "Replaced By Robots" 

Chris Mariotti of the noir-rock band Edgar Allan Poets has another intelligent review of my music on his band's website.  Of my new single, “Replaced By Robots”, he writes: The track’s infectious melody and upbeat tempo create an intriguing contrast with the underlying theme, allowing listeners to groove to the music even as they contemplate its message.”   Here is the full review:

FV Music Blog has a quick review of “Replaced By Robots” as part of its “Hot Picks” list for August 23, calling itan indie-rock release complete with driving melodies, addictive vocal performances and punchy production.”

Finally, two reviews from overseas, one from the Brazillian site Os Garotos De Liverpool and the other from the French Iggy Magazine:

"Replaced By Robots" reviewed in Thoughts Words Action 

Thoughts Words Action is a music blog specializing in edgy rock, ranging from hardcore punk to alternative and indie rock.  Somehow they made room for the retro power pop of my latest single “Replaced By Robots” and have offered a very nice review.   Surprisingly (for me at least!) they are very impressed with my vocals:  

At the heart of this track is Unca John’s exceptional vocal performance. His versatility shines as he effortlessly navigates between low, mid, and high notes, captivating listeners with his mesmerizing delivery. Through his singing, he creates an atmosphere of luxury and allure, drawing the audience in with his catchy themes, leads, melodies, chord progressions, and riffs.”  

I feel like my songs work in spite of my vocals, not because of them, but maybe they sound good compared to the average modern grunge tune.  In any event, they go on to dissect different elements of the instrumental track and the writing--overall a very thorough review that suggests intelligent listening.  I recommend that you read it all!