Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Don't Miss These Hot Summer Shows

"Party your summer down to classic cold cuts, fresh breezy jams and deep sweatin' heat. It doesn't matter if it was made yesterday or thirty years ago as long as it keeps that party vibe."

Cosmic Dropout - July 31

On July 31st, Partners on Crown Street in New Haven, CT will play host to the Cosmic Dropout. The Cosmic Dropout is a 21 and over summer jam featuring DJs - Rick Re:action, Tim Daltry, Darklord and DJ Jazzy Jess. They'll be spinning tunes all evening. There will also be drink specials all night and the "Jam" goes 'til 2am.

Cursive - August 4

Indie rock band, Cursive will be playing Daniel Street in Milford, CT on August 4. They are currently touring behind their new album "Mama, I'm Swollen" released on the Saddle Creek label. The album is available for purchase online through the band's website cursivearmy.com. Cursive just released the video for their second single from their new album "I Couldn't Love You". It can be found on YouTube (www.youtube.com/watch?v=hlPDUlreibE). The band also made their network television debut performing on the Late Show with David Letterman. Tickets for this show are available through the band's website or at etix.com.

Bad Veins - August 4

Bad Veins, from Cincinnati, will performing at The Heirloom Arts Theatre in Danbury, CT on August 4. The duo of Benjamin Davis (vocals, guitar, keys) and Sebastien Schultz (drums) are touring in support of their self-titled debut LP that was released on Dangerbird Records. The band has received numerous awards since first performing three years ago. The lead-off single from their new album has been receiving strong radio play and has reached #1 on some specialty charts. This innovative band has performed along side Silversun Pickups, The Hold Steady, Cursive, Apples In Stereo and more. The band's album is available on itunes and at Amazon. For tour dates, videos and downloads, visit dangerbirdrecords.com/artists/bad-veins and myspace.com/badveins.

Monday, July 27, 2009

CD Review: Adrina Thorpe Shines Through The Shadows

Adrina Thorpe is a singer/songwriter from Orange County, CA. Her debut album had featured songs on Lifetime and the CW network as well as many independent films. Her sophomore effort, “Halflight & Shadows” was released in June 2009 and continues on the success of her debut album “Elusive”.

Her voice on the opening track “Impossible Dream” is a cross between Tori Amos and Sarah McLachlan, but the music has a harder rock vibe. “Midnight” has a more manufactured sound which places the focus of the song on Adrina vocals and lyrics. Her passion shows through on “Everything Changes” which displays perfectly how she combines her classical piano with a pop beat. Her delicate voice on “Domino” gives the song its power as she pleads with the listener through the chorus. The gentle flow of “Driving” is nice example of how talented Adrina Thorpe really is. “Coming Home” is easily the best song on the album; it has all the right parts to make it a hit. The subtle hints of music on “Moment To End” give the song a gentleness that the album yearns for. Adrina tries to “Heal” you with her voice, before picking up the tempo with the pop styling of “Kiss The Day”. “Give You My Love” is another song in which Adrina gives her all to the wonderful lyrics. “Seed” flows through the same vein as much of the album with the main focus on her voice and piano.

Adrina seems to play it safe on her sophomore effort. Her gentle voice and lyrics will encompass the listener’s heart while displaying her passion for the music. Visit adrinathorpe.com for music samples and to purchase her new album.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

CD Review: Tantric Continues Success With Mind Control

Alternative rockers, Tantric return August 4 with an album of brand new material. The formula that brought them success with last year's "The End Begins" continues with their newest release "Mind Control". The album's title track is already in steady rotation on rock radio.

Begining with the band's first single from the album, "Mind Control" is a hook-filled song with blazing guitars and pounding drums. The lead-off track sets up the listener for what to expect throughout the album. Lead singer, Hugo Ferreira showcases his different vocal stylings as in the gritty rocker "Coming Undone" and then the gently balladry of "The Past Is Dead". The rhythm section of bassist Erik Leonhardt and drummer Richie Monica are a tight unit as showcased in the songs "Fall To The Ground" and "Run Out". Guitarist Joe Pessia grabs the reins in "Kick Back" with ripping guitar solo. The stand-out guitar riff and vocals make "Walk Away" a sure-fire hit. Violinist Marcus Ratzenboeck outperforms on "What Are You Waiting For" by filling in the overall sound of the band. Tantric come roaring back in your face on the albums final two songs, "Let's Start" and the closer "Guiding Me", reminding the listener how hard they can rock.

Tantric will be performing in Connecticut just days before the release of their new album. They will be at the Webster's Underground Theatre in Hartford, CT on Sunday, August 2. Supporting them will be Aranda and Vayden. Go to the band's website (myspace.com/tantric) for tour information, photos, videos and more.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Concert Review: Sting Brings The Hits To The MGM Grand Theatre

With no new album to promote and no full-fledge tour schedule, Sting performed a greatest hits filled set of his solo material as well as classics from The Police. Sunday night’s show at the MGM Grand Theatre at Foxwoods was only his fifth show of the year and only his third in the U.S.

Sting’s latest touring band is a stripped down 4-piece band that gave new energy to many of his old well-known hits. Drummer Josh Freese played like a younger, more energetic Steward Copeland giving songs like “Synchronicity II” and “Driven To Tears” a punk-style edge to their sound. Guitarist Dominic Miller’s acoustic intros to “Fields of Gold” and “Shape of My Heart” drew big applauses from the audience.

Sting controlled the evening masterfully. Dressed all in white, he demanded the well-deserved spotlight as he conducted the audience through hand-clapping and sing-a-longs. His voice was in top form as he traded verses with crowd on The Police classics “Every Little Things She Does Is Magic” and “Wrapped Around Your Finger”. Dominic Miller showcased why he is Sting’s favorite guitarist with blazing solos throughout the night including an extended guitar solo for “If You Love Somebody Set Them Free”. With an overabundance of hits at Sting’s disposal, he combined songs to please fans. ‘Walking On The Moon” flowed perfectly in “Tea In The Sahara” and the reggae beat of “Bring On The Night” was kicked up a notch to the high-powered “When The World Is Running Down”. The latter song featured an ivory slapping piano solo by keyboardist David Sancious. The climax of the set would come with the ever crowd-pleasing “Roxanne”. Sting himself joked about how many times he has sung this song in his career. The middle break of “Roxanne” featured a funk jam highlighted by scat-style singing by Sting, before finishing with an astonishing end to the song.

Sting would begin the encore with one of his newer hits the 2000 single “Desert Rose” from the “Brand New Day” album. The pulsating beat allowed Sting to dance and shake his hips for the front row. The evening concluded with two of The Police’s biggest hits, “King of Pain” and “Every Breath You Take” and the gentle ballad "Fragile". This left the audience with a performance to remember.

Coming in August to the MGM Grand Theatre is American Idol winner David Cook (Aug. 1), rock legends Steely Dan (Aug. 7) and R&B superstar John Legend (Aug. 8). For ticket information to these shows and more visit (mgmgrandatfoxwoods.com).

Setlist:
If I Ever Lose My Faith In You
Message In A Bottle
Englishman In New York
Synchronicity II
Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic
If You Love Somebody Set Them Free
Fields Of Gold
Driven To Tears
Seven Days
Walking On The Moon/Tea In The Sahara
Shape Of My Heart
Wrapped Around Your Finger
Bring On The Night/When The World Is Running Down
Roxanne
Encore:
Desert Rose
King Of Pain
Every Breath You Take
Fragile

Monday, July 13, 2009

Michael Jackson: The Forgotten King

Before his death over two weeks ago, the world had forgotten about Michael Jackson, the so-called "King of Pop". Whether it was because of his unusual lifestyle, his cases in court, or because he has not released a new album in eight years, we tried to pretend that he was a fallen star and that his music didn't fit in today's world.

But, a brief glance of hope came with the announcement of a 50-show event at the O2 arena in London. This was to be the start of a his comeback. The shows sold out in less than 3 hours. But, with rehearsals for the show slowing down production and Michael Jackson unable to find perfection, dates were starting to be cancelled. People were wondering whether or not these shows would go on as scheduled. Once again controversy found its way to Michael Jackson. Would this end up being his triumphant return to greatness or just another disappointment for fans.

While London was feeling Michael Jackson fever, here in the US, things were quiet. It was on a rare occasion that one of Michael Jackson's songs was heard on the radio. His albums were selling at a dismal rate of a few hundred a week. The only time his name was mentioned was in tabloids. Michael Jackson had become a forgotten pop star.

All that changed on June 25. With word of his passing, Michael Jackson memorabilia became a hot commodity. Sales of Michael Jackson records skyrocketed, selling over 100,000 copies just days later. For the past two weeks, his albums have captured the #1 and #2 spots on the Billboard albums chart. Also, radio stations have been playing Michael Jackson songs over 1000% more since before his death. A whole new generation has rediscovered the genius of Michael Jackson. Unfortunately it came at the ultimate price.

While his comeback shows may have been cancelled, his comeback has not. He once again took control of the country when the public stopped for a moment to witness his memorial service. Putting the controversy of his death aside and the battle for custody of his children, Michael Jackson, who was a forgotten star, is once again the biggest musical artist on earth.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Music Festival Coming To Connecticut

Milford, CT will become the home of a summer music festival that will feature "a boat load" of local bands. The CT Music Festival is in production and scheduled to take place in July 2010, but this July has couple of shows to help raise funds for this music festival. The Support The Sound: CT Music Scene Festival Fundraiser will feature two shows full of some of the best local bands in Connecticut and the northeast.

The first show will take place at The Space in Hamden, CT. This is an "All Ages" show on Monday, July 13, 2009. It will feature performances by:

Dean Purificato - Former member of the band Palaris of Wallingford, CT
Nicole Freschette - Up-and-coming Country Music singer
Craig D'Andrea - Acoustic/Folk artist from Riverside, CT
Life On Hold - Female fronted rock band from Massachusetts
Twenty to Twelve - Electronica/Techno/Rock band from Milford, CT

The second show will take place at the Daniel Street Club. This one is a 21+ only show on Thursday, July 23, 2009. It will feature performances by:

Daniel Rose - Up-and-coming singer/songwriter from New Jersey
Dean Purificato - Former member of the band Palaris of Wallingford, CT
The Shells - Acoustic/Folk rock group with melodic harmonies
Daria Musk - Singer/Songwriter from Newton, CT
Dynasty Electric - Electro/Rock band from New York City

Tickets for these shows are only $10 and are available to purchase at the door. The money raised will go towards the 2010 CT Music Festival. Also available at the shows is a Support The Sound compilation CD which features many of the performers from these shows. For more information on these shows, the performers and the progress of the 2010 CT Music Festival, please visit the Support The Sound CT Music website (sites.google.com/site/supportthesoundctmusic/Home). Come out and support local music.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

The Halfway Point

With 182 days behind us, this year has already seen some great new albums released by some of the biggest names in music. Well, I'm here to tell you which ones you should already have in your music collection and which albums are coming out soon.

So far, one of my favorites of 2009 is Bob Dylan's "Together Through Life". His singing has gotten noticeable worse, but the musicianship on this album is nothing short of fabulous. Another big album is U2's "No Line On The Horizon". A great album with some of the band's best song writing to date, definitely one to own. Bruce Springsteen's "Working On A Dream" was released way back in January, but should not be forgotten. Springsteen continues to impress. And, of course you need to check out the Dave Matthews Band's "Big Whiskey And The Groogrux King". This is the band's best album since "Before These Crowded Streets".

While those are albums that everyone has heard about, here are some that may have slipped by you. Jam band Umphrey's McGee released "Mantis" back in January. While their live shows are nothing short of spectacular, their studio albums are also worth a listen. Wilco returns with "Wilco (the album)" and this time they brought their guitars. The mellowness of their 2007 album "Sky Blue Sky" has been left behind to make way for this more rock oriented release. One album that I know is not on too many radars is the new release from The Dear Hunter entitled "Act III: Love and Death". This album brings back the sound of grand albums like Queen's "A Night At The Opera" and Pink Floyd's "The Wall". This is the band's third storied release and the best so far.

Some other big releases this year have come from Green Day (21 Century Breakdown), Eminem (Relapse), and most recently, The Black Eyed Peas (The E.N.D.), but how about the rest of 2009. Well, it seems that things keep getting better, first with the release of Phish's new studio album "Joy". It is the band's first release in five years. Also returning after a five year hiatus are the Beastie Boys with "Hot Sauce Committee Pt. 1". We will also see the release of new albums by hip-hop giants Jay-Z and Dr. Dre.

But, probably the pinnacle of this year's releases are the remastered versions of The Beatles catalog. The music of The Beatles will finally be heard in all it's pristine glory. Every studio album from "Please Please Me" to "Let It Be" will be released on September 9.

Keep the music going by checking out some of these releases as well so many other great releases. Also, don't forget my end of the year "Top 10 Albums" to see if any of these albums will make the grade.