3.19.12 – Review from Leicester Bangs
For “Blues Skies Black”, Grosshandler has upped the ante. Written and recorded over a three year period, “Blues Skies Black” is an ambitious collection of post-grunge, alt. rock, singer-songwriter fare. I know that’s a bit of a mouthful, but that’s what it is. Grosshandler possesses a fine, adaptable voice that somehow brings to mind both Roger McGuinn and Bill Janovitz, and there’s no shortage of great tracks. In particular the title piece, where an epic riff collides with a big tune, the sort of thing that lodges in the frontal lobe and refuses to leave quietly. Add to that a song that you’ll find yourself mouthing the words to at inopportune moments, and someone will probably end up suing him for embarrassment caused. Of course, it’s by no means the only outstanding track, and it would be utterly callous to sign off this review without mentioning the sub-aqua joys of “Fish in the Sea”, the unruffled guitars of “Everything’s Fine” or the astute, gentle poptones of “Drops”.
3.5.09 – Mike Grosshandler was again selected by Metroland readers as Best Local Solo Musician in the 2009 Readers’ Picks survey.
10.1.07 – Review from Aaron Haines (CDBaby.com)
5 Stars – “Awesome”
I got this cd, as well as his other solo disc, “Scales,” about a year ago. I still play both of them all the time. Beautiful singer-songwriter stuff. It reminds me of early Elliott Smith or maybe even some stripped down Cat Stevens. Very pretty and delicate stuff, yet still upbeat and fun. Really great songwriting and just a nice, clean sound that always works when I’m looking for something a little more mellow to listen to.
3.8.07 - Mike Grosshandler was yet again selected by Metroland readers as a Best Local Celebrity With Whom You’d Like to Have a One-Night Stand, as well as Best Local Producer and Best Local Solo Musician in their 2006 Readers’ Picks.
3.9.06 - Mike Grosshandler was once again selected by Metroland readers as a Best Local Celebrity With Whom You’d Like to Have a One-Night Stand, in their 2007 Readers’ Picks.
2005 – Download.com Editor’s Review
The propulsive acoustic pop of John Mayer and Everlast becomes transformed by able hands. Rich CSN-inspired vocals and precise multi-tracked acoustic guitars prove Grosshandler is on a mission to reinvent the folk rock movement of the ’70s. Dust off the corduroys and embrace this talented tunesmith.
8.4.05 - Mike Grosshandler was selected by Metroland readers as a Best Local Celebrity With Whom You’d Like to Have a One-Night Stand, in their 2005 Readers’ Poll!
5.11.05 – Wrote Myself review by Joshua Heinrich from GraveConcerns E-zine
With a smattering of acoustic demos culled from material written over the span of a decade and recorded in his living room, Mike Grosshandler’s Wrote Myself is a competent 13 track outing complete with liner notes very briefly detailing the writing of each song. Well-written and perhaps more layered and better produced than one might expect from the “demo” moniker, it’s a solid 41-minute slice of intimate acoustic rock a la the type you’re likely to find at a coffee shop, small club, or, perhaps, the student union building of a college campus.
From arpeggio-based numbers like “Now for a Then” to material built around an acoustic rhythm guitar background, which includes much of the rest of the album, the disc is highlighted by layered lead guitar accents and very nicely layered and arranged vocals. The intricacy and strong songwriting and performances of the disc’s instrumentals, “Couchside” and “Benchy”, show off Grosshandler’s musical chops, while the beautifully melancholy “Flying”, dating all the way back to 1993, is a definite standout thanks to spectacular production and excellent use of backing vocals. Other standouts include “Digestion”, with its noteworthy instrumental bridge riff, the lovely, moody “Emily’s Song (Forever With Me)”, and the disc’s title track, also featuring a spectacular instrumental intro/bridge and a nice guitar breakdown. The set is also, notably, rounded out by a rather good, albeit straightforward, acoustic cover of Type O Negative’s “Die With Me”.
Despite the Type O Negative cover and influence, the album’s somewhat more mainstream collection of 3-minute acoustic rock/pop numbers may not exactly appeal to goth rock or metal listeners. However, fans of mellow acoustic rock should certainly give Mike Grosshandler’s fairly impressive second demo compilation a listen.
2.18.05 – Wrote Myself review by Molli from Fearless Radio
Lead Vox/Guitar of The Velmas, Mike Grosshandler, hits the airwaves with 2 solo efforts under his belt. Recorded at home on his computer, he’s totally mastered the artwork of….art…music….and play-dough creations…As if this guy isn’t busy enough, he also created all the artwork on both The Velmas’ and his own CD’s. Mike’s solo work is an extended venture of his already developing greatness as an asset to the music world. Rawk to Mike and then rawk to The Velmas…or vice versa…or both at the same time….
1.05.05 – Rkstar.com readers voted Wrote Myself as one of the Top 20 Albums of 2004.
12.01.04 – Wrote Myself review in Paragon Magazine
If you’ve been a Paragon reader for a long time now, you may remember our interview with Mike Grosshandler in issue #5. He got me hooked onto his crooning and acoustic guitar with his first album, Scales, and now he’s got a brand new album out entitled Wrote Myself. It’s got some familiar elements from his first album, that cute duck on the cover (just a little more obscure this time), and an added bonus: a cover of Type O Negative’s “Die With Me.” Rob thinks Mike’s version is better than TON’s, but (sorry Mike) although I love the cover, no one can top the original. My personal favorite is the title track, but some other notable songs include the dynamic “Now For A Then”, and “Florida.” The lyrics for “Step Outside” are also excellently poetic, and I especially enjoy Mike’s guitar playing in the somewhat somber “Flying”, Benchy” which is an instrumental track, “Digestion,” and of course “Wrote Myself.” All in all this album does not disappoint and if you’re into acoustic rock, it’s definitely worth checking out. Visit him online at www.mikegrosshandler.com.
11.22.04 – Wrote Myself review in Acoustic Magazine
Mike Grosshandler has been making something of a name for himself in the US as singer/guitarist for rock band The Velmas and is set to ‘break’ here in the UK. Whilst the band has been his main musical project for the past few years, Grosshandler has also written and recorded a solo acoustic album. The original intent was simply to have a demo for himself of each song he’d written. The recording involved the use of a single mic and his home PC. After receiving some positive critique from those who heard the demos, Grosshandler embarked upon a ‘proper’ album whilst retaining the purity and simplicity of his original demos.
Wrote Myself is an uplifting collection of well constructed acoustic songs sure to revitalise not only the mind but also the inner desire to write such material oneself.
11.04.04 – Based on customer purchases at Amazon.com, Wrote Myself was ranked #87 in the Early Adopter Product in indie music.
10.26.04 – Pulse Radio, a web radio station out of the UK, adds more music from Mike Grosshandler’s newest release, Wrote Myself, to their station.
9.14.04 – Live Review by Jason Bonafide, The Chronicle (College of Saint Rose)
Performers Add New Twists to Acoustic Music
ALBANY- The first acoustic concert of the school year took place at Valentine’s Music Hall on Sunday, September 5th. Performers Michael Campion, Any December, Greg Wood and Mike Grosshandler filled the downstairs hall with sounds that ranged the wide spectrum of modern acoustic music.
Mike Grosshandler stepped up to close out the evening. Grosshandler, while better known for his work with popular local act the Velmas, was recently voted “Best Local Solo Musician” by the Metroland. Grosshandler’s performance showed why he is worthy of such acclaim.
Grosshandler’s well-structured, catchy, sometimes vaguely dark songs were equally influenced by 1960s singer-songwriters as 1990s grunge. Grosshandler acknowledged that he grew up listening to a lot of classical music and the Beatles, until he discovered Nirvana in ninth grade. He also listed a few surprises among the artists that have inspired his craft, including goth/metal outfit Type O Negative.
“I’m not quite Goth, but I like the big sound [and] the melodic heaviness,” Grosshandler said.
Grosshandler’s solo songs were very strong, but his takes on Velmas’ tunes were the real gems in his short set. “Sun” took on a new life as an acoustic ballad, and the show-closing “I’ve Been Thinking” stood out as a near-perfect three-minute pop song.
7.22.04 – Mike Grosshandler was selected by Metroland readers as #1 Best Local Solo Musician and Best Local Celebrity With Whom You’d Like to Have a One-Night Stand, in their 2004 Readers’ Poll!
6.15.04 – Scales Review by thebrandonshow.com
Along with The Velmas album, I received Mike Grosshandler’s solo release Scales. Scales was recorded in his living room on his computer and I feel the album shows you just how much power an artist and bands have in this day and age. The album itself was excellent and reminded me of bands like The Turtles, The Beatles, and Simon and Garfunkel. There is some quality acoustic music on here and meaningful lyrics. I actually think I enjoyed this album more than The Velmas release which is saying a lot because I liked the Velmas album. Funny enough, this album contained some Velmas songs on here recorded acoustically. I’m hoping Mike will have another release like this in the near future.
5.28.04 – Pulse Radio, a web radio station out of the UK, adds to their station music from Mike Grosshandler and his band, The Velmas. The Mike Grosshandler tracks will be played on their indie show called ‘Anyone Can Play Guitar’, and The Velmas tracks will be played on their rock show called ‘It’s Only Rock n Roll’.
2.2.04 – Mike G.’s song “Sun” was chosen by CRUMBS Radio as #9 in the Top 10 Best Tracks of 2003!
12.3.03 – Scales Review by Shawn FitzGerald
Scales features skilled guitar playing and good songwriting. Grosshandler has a knack for writing catchy, melodic pieces nicely framing his gentle tenor. What really shines on Scales is the production. The self harmonizing is delicate and balanced with rich guitar textures reminiscent of pre-Dreamworks Elliott Smith or Lazarus. Nothing seems too forward or out of place. It is ‘produced’ without being over-produced. The professional sound is a nice break from the current deluge of lo-fi unproduced and over-compressed releases from independent artists.
A fine recording from a remarkable talent.
7.15.03 – Mike G. was selected by Metroland readers as #2 Best Local Solo Musician in their 2003 Readers’ Poll!
4.10.03 – Scales Review by Michael J. Salamone (Chautauqua Region Word)
Albany based musician Mike G used to summer at Chautauqua Institution, and his album, Scales, is full of Chautauquan influence. Also known as Mike Grosshandler, Mike G was, up until a year ago, a Chautauqua fountain person. (Fountain person is a label affectionately given to kids who hang out on the Institution’s Bestor Plaza fountain, often playing guitars, percussion, and other instruments.)
I’ve been told that the phenomenon of youth trapped inside the fences of Chautauqua, gathering and randomly jamming, has occurred in Bestor Plaza since the 1960s. I myself am a fountain alumnus from the summers of 1988 through 1992. So, I was happy when Scales landed in the WORD’s mailbox last week, and the liner notes explained the Chautauqua influence to me.
Chautauqua Porches have inspired songs from George Gershwin to Natalie Merchant. Mike G’s Institution-inspired porch song, “Sun” probably won’t get the attention “Rhapsody in F” and “Verdi Cries” did, but it does serve as a fine example for what G is capable of on Scales. G’s acoustic-based album features gorgeous layered vocal harmonies beautifully backed against articulate acoustic guitars while sweetly portraying an albums worth of teenage angst. “Sun” stands out as a glowing example of the top quality production that makes Mike G’s Scales a great listen.
I’d never heard of Mike Grosshandler until last week, but all of last summer, the newest generation of fountain kids kept telling me about a song called “Corey’s Blanket,” a song Mike G wrote, and is featured on Scales. “Corey’s Blanket” wasn’t what I expected, but it was better than I expected. Mike G paints a lovely scene, even for those of us who don’t understand the meaning of the song.
Based on the fact I’d heard so much about this one song almost a year before I would hear of the artist yet alone his album, it seems to me as if the kid has a pretty good following already. I’m certain we’ll hear more from young Mike G.
It’s nice to see a fountain kid make good. And good is exactly what Mike G’s Scales is. Considering this is an independently released CD, the production is top quality. A major record label couldn’t have made this CD sound any better.
My only complaint is that the songs all sound very much alike. The guitars are all mellow and acoustic, but well executed and precise. G’s tempo is perfect and never sacrificed, as is often the case in the singer/songwriter genre. His vocals reminded me of the 90s band Jellyfish. The harmonies are exactly the same in every song, but beautiful just the same.
I look forward to seeing what is next from the young Mike G. Viva La Fountain!