Thursday, December 30, 2010

What’s New For 2011

The beginning of a new year is the perfect time to see what some of the rumors are for new albums to be released in 2011. Here is a list of some of the most anticipated albums of 2011:

U2Song of Ascent” (Produced by Danger Mouse) is rumored to contain songs that were left-over from the 2009 album “No Line On The Horizon.”

R.E.M.Collapse Into The Now” features guest appearances from Eddie Vedder, Patti Smith, Lenny Kaye and more.

Foo Fightersuntitled album” (Produced by Butch Vig) is supposed to be one of the heaviest Foo Fighters’ album yet. Album includes guest appearances from Krist Novoselic and Bob Mould.

Crosby, Stills & Nashuntitled covers album” (Produced by Rick Rubin) this album is two years in the making and will hopefully see the light of day in 2011.

Beastie BoysHot Sauce Committee Pt. 2” was supposed to be released early in 2010, but was put on hold because of Adam Yauch’s throat cancer. The album has been reworked and remixed for a 2011 release.

Lady GagaBorn This Way” is anticipated to be a bigger selling album than her last couple releases.

Paul SimonSo Beautiful Or So What” is to be Simon’s return to storytelling through his songs. Instead of starting his songs with a beat, he used more melody to create the music for this album.

Van Halenuntitled album” will be the first to feature lead singer David Lee Roth in over 26 years. Who knows what to expect for this album.

Social DistortionHard Times and Nursery Rhymes” returns one of the biggest names in punk music back to the mainstream.

Red Hot Chili Peppersuntitled album” (Produced by Rick Rubin) will be the group’s tenth studio album and the first to feature new guitarist Josh Klinghoffer.

These are only ten of the many albums that will be making their way to your CD players, ipods, and computers in 2011. Do yourself a favor and rediscover some new music, you may just like what you hear.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Favorite Albums of 2010

1. Ray LaMontagne and the Pariah Dogs – God Willin’ & The Creek Don’t Rise

Ray LaMontagne has hit the high mark with his fourth album “God Willin’ & The Creek Don’t Rise.” His bluesy, folk voice and Americana music style is blended perfectly on this album. His band, The Pariah Dogs, perform the perfect backdrop on the songs “Repo Man” and “Like Rock & Roll Radio.” Do yourself a favor, pick up this album and you too will fall in love with his voice and musical style.



2. Dead Weather – Sea of Cowards

With "Sea of Cowards," Jack White and company released the type of album that you look forward to listening to again and again. Multiple plays reveal something new that may have been missed upon early listens. This album reminds me of what is like to listen to a complete album, just waiting to hear what was coming next. “Sea of Cowards” is one of Jack White’s best collaborations so far.



3. Kings Of Leon – Come Around Sundown

What else can be said about the King of Leon? I’ve bragged about them since their second album and finally, the musical world is realizing how talented this Followill clan is. While “Come Around Sundown” isn’t the best album this band has made, it still has great sing-along choruses and a southern rock groove.




4. Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers – Mojo

After an eight-year hiatus, Tom Petty rejoined with the Heartbreakers to create a blues-rock masterpiece. This album was the band’s highest music chart debut since “Damn The Torpedoes.” Guitarist Mike Campbell lets loose on his guitar during “I Should Have Known It” and “Good Enough” and the rest of the songs just follow suit. Hopefully the band won’t wait another eight years to release their next album.



5. Johnny Cash – American VI: Ain’t No Grave

“American VI: Ain’t No Grave” was the last volume in the American legacy. Produced by Rick Rubin, this album brings Johnny Cash back from the grave to perform some of his most fragile, heartfelt songs. While these songs were considered left-overs from the #1 selling “American V” album, they end up carrying a different tone and purpose on this album.




6. Jakob Dylan – Women + Country

Even though this is only Jakob Dylan’s second solo release, his songwriting has grown tremendously. Producer T-Bone Burnett brings out the Americana flavor to Dylan’s country-folk songs. After a couple of listens, you’ll begin comparing this album to some of his father’s classic albums.




7. Carolina Chocolate Drops – Genuine Negro Jig

The Carolina Chocolate Drops is one group that needs to be noticed for their unique style of African-American Bluegrass sound. Their use of simple string instruments gives them a sound that is different from anything else out there. The band’s fifth album “Genuine Negro Jig” brings together traditional blues songs with a few original compositions and seems them together perfectly.



8. Neil Young – Le Noise

Neil Young loves to experiment on his albums and go against the grain of popular music. His latest release “Le Noise” features the 65-year old godfather of grunge alone with a guitar. Don’t make the mistake and think that this is an acoustic album, because then you’d miss all that is going on when Young decides to plug-in and takes songs like “Love And War” to another level of enjoyment.



9. Zac Brown Band – You Get What You Give

Country jamband rockers the Zac Brown Band hit it big with their debut album “The Foundation.” Trying to follow-up a platinum selling album is no small task, but the album “You Get What You Give” is just what the doctor ordered. They don’t leave the country roots behind, in fact they enhance it with a couple guests (Jimmy Buffet, Alan Jackson) along with some jams that Dave Matthews only wished he thought of. This album has fun songs (Whiskey’s Gone) heartfelt ballads (Martin) and great music that just keeps going (Who Knows).

10. Elton John & Leon Russell – The Union

The combination of Elton John and Leon Russell would make one wonder if this collaboration of great pianist would actually work. Not only did it work, it gave both legends a new life. Don’t overlook this album, even though it was released late in the year, give it time and the album will grow on you the more time you listen to it.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Book Review: Whole Lotta Led Zeppelin

“Whole Lotta Led Zeppelin: The Illustrated History of the Heaviest Band of All Time” is a book that every classic rock fan should own. It contains 288 pages of full color tour posters, ticket stubs and many unseen photos of the band live in concert.

The book follows the journey of Led Zeppelin from their beginnings as The New Yardbirds up until their disbanding after the death of drummer John Bonham. It contains stories and write-ups by some of the biggest names in music including Peter Frampton, Ann & Nancy Wilson from Heart and David Fricke senior editor of Rolling Stone magazine. What is also great about this book is the complete tour schedule from 1968 to 1980. Each album gets an in-depth write-up on the recording and thought process that went into each classic album.

This book will be in order for multiple reads and will be a great gift for any Led Zeppelin fan. The book was published back in September and comes in hardcover ($35 retail) and paperback ($19.99 retail). For more information on this book and many other excellent music books, please visit voyageurpress.com.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Book Review: 101 Guitars The Rocked The World

If you’re looking for a last minute gift to get your music fan, I have just the thing. The hardcover book entitled "Star Guitars: 101 Guitars That Rocked The World" is a must have. First off, the book contains 288 pages of information about the most influential guitarist and their instruments and includes 700 pictures of album covers, concert posters, ticket stubs and more.

Author Dave Hunter has put together a masterpiece for not only guitar aficionados, but also a book for the casual music fan. The book is set up alphabetically by the guitarist last name, so it is easy to find a specific artist and their favorite axe.

Not only do you get to read about some of the most famous guitars by Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton, B.B. King and more, but there are many artists who are not as well known for making such influential music. Some of the lesser known guitars in this book feature Mother Maybell Carter’s 1928 Gibson L-5, Cliff Gallup’s 1955 Gretsch Duo Jet and Son House’s National Duolian and Style O. It also includes a Forward by ZZ Top guitarist Billy Gibbons.

With all these great pictures and valuable, easy-to-read information, this book has to be in every music fan’s library. This book was published back in October of this year and retails for $35. For more information, please visit voyageurpress.com.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

CD Review: Halestorm Rocks "Live In Philly"

Hard-rockers Halestorm have recently released their first live album entitled simply “Live In Philly 2010.” The Pennsylvania band headlined their first tour this past year and wanted to capture the show in front of their home-state fans. The band is known for its excessive touring, performing over 200 shows a year. Plus, Halestorm’s debut album cracked the Top 40 last year upon its release.

The new live album definitely rocks hard with most of the songs being sped up slightly because of the live setting. The drumming of Arejay Hale especially on the songs “Love/Hate Heartbreak” and the solo “Boom City” really motors this band’s energy. Lead singer Lzzy Hale works with the crowd on the chorus of the ballad “I’m Not An Angel.” The songs “Dirty Work” and the Top 20 single “I Get Off” find the band as a complete unit, capable of conquering any crowd.

The CD also comes with an accompanying DVD of the show. The DVD includes an extra live track from the show (What Were You Expecting) as well as 4 music videos from the band. Halestorm are currently on tour, including at stop at Mohegan Sun in Connecticut on December 30. For a complete list of tour dates and up-to-date information visit the band’s website halestormrocks.com.

Friday, December 17, 2010

CD Review: This One's "For Colored Girls"

The soundtrack “For Colored Girls” contains some of the biggest names of women performers in the music business. The soundtrack places songs performed by legends (Gladys Knight & Nina Simone) along with songs performed by some of today’s hot artists (Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings & Estelle).

Beginning with the “Main Title” a piano interlude plays in the background as the actresses in the movie recite lines from the movie. Then the music lifts-off with the funk of Sharon Jones with “Longer & Stronger” and the R&B flavor of Estelle’s “All Day Long (Blue Skies).” Laura Izibor brings a ‘70s vibe with “What More Can They Do”, while Zaki Ibrahim gives an updated dance beat to the song “Ansomnia.” The operatic “La Donna In Viola” seems a bit out of place on this soundtrack, but the album gets back into the groove with Macy’s Gray’s “Stand Up.” The album reaches a creative peak with “Four Women” that includes vocals by Nina Simone, Simone, Laura Izibor and Ledisi before finishing with the angelic voice of Leona Lewis in “I Know Who I Am.”

The soundtrack was released on Atlantic Records at the beginning of November and the movie is still in select theaters.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

CD Review: The Volcano Diary Release Electroacoustic Debut

The debut album from indie artists The Volcano Diary was released this past fall and was produced by acclaimed producer Steve Fisk (Nirvana, The Posies, Low). The Volcano Diary is the brainchild of singer/songwriter Alicia Dara. She released a solo album 2 years ago, but was looking for something different in her musical venture.

Her voice captures you right from the beginning with the song "Revival." You get swept up as she sings softly against an acoustic guitar and tapping beat. The music departs briefly from the gentle flow during "Freezerburn" but slows back down for the ballad "Cloud Cover." Alicia's voice goes a bit country during "Lightning Seed" but it is always the centerpiece the songs. The album closes with the 6-minute soft heart-tugging vocals and acoustics of "Volcano."

The Volcano Diary hail from the Seattle, WA area and perform there regularly. Check the band's website (thevolcanodiary.com) for show dates and album information.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

CD Review: Barlow Girls Are On A "Journey"

Christian rockers Barlow Girl have released their first greatest hits CD entitled “Our Journey So Far.” The album pulls together tracks from each of the four albums released by this group of sisters. It even includes the Christmas song “Hallelujah (Light Has Come)” and a remix of “I Need You To Love Me.”

The album plays out chronologically beginning with their break-through songs “She Walked Away” and “Mirror.” Both songs were both Top 40 singles on the U.S. Christian charts. The album does a great job mixing the rockers like “Let Go” with the ballads like “Surrender.” The album does include one of the group’s biggest hits “I Need You To Love Me,” but leaves off the group’s highest charting single “Enough.” The sisters definitely know how to rock in “Million Voices,” but it’s their harmonizing that captures your attention.

The Barlow Girls have a handful of scattered dates over the next few months. Check out their website, barlowgirl.com for a complete list of tour dates and song samples from the new album.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

CD Rerview: The Sleep-Ins Sing "Songs About Girls & Outer Space"

New band, The Sleep-Ins released their debut album this past fall entitled "Songs About Girls & Outer Space." The album has cracked the CMJ Top 200 earlier this month and is moving up the chart. Their hard rocking alternative sound has been compared to fellow rockers The Shins and the Pixies. The Sleep-Ins managed to capture the different sounds of the different locations and studios they used to create this album.

The music on the album ranges from the very tight sounding, well performed songs (Angelina, Desertsong) to the experimental, roughness of "Chrome Skull Cap & Matching Codpiece." The grunge sound that the band tries to capture shines through on "Running Out Here." But just when the band hit their stride with the short "Astro-not" and up-tempo "Bug On My Face", the album ends. With left-over songs from the sessions for this album, look for another release sooner than later.

The Sleep-Ins have a handful of live dates at the beginning of the year in some the southern United States. For a complete list of tour dates and album information, please visit sleep-ins.ingotrock.com.

Monday, December 13, 2010

CD Review: Seafarer Show You Their "Hiding Places"

Seafarer is a new trio out of Chicago that is finally spreading their music to the masses. The hard working band produced a self-released EP this year entitled "Hiding Places" that has received praise from critics on their raw, almost punk style.

The up-tempo music from the opener "Translation" matches the output singer Patrick Grzelewski gives to his vocals. The bands seems to "trip out" on a soundscape of feedback during "Sound It Makes" before returning to the song's pop lyrics. The band mixes tempos on "Watch It Flooood" to go with it's story-telling lyrics. The moody sounding "Functional" captures the true essence of the band's words and music. The album closer "Noise Fllor" stretches toward the 6-minute mark showing the instrumental talents of the band.

Seafarer has two shows in the Chicago area on their schedule. For more information, please visit their myspace page (www.myspace.com/seafarerchicago).

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Concert Review: Cyndi Lauper Brings The Blues To The MGM Grand Theater

What did she wear? What color was her hair? Did she sing “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”? These are some of the questions that arise when people hear that you are attending a Cyndi Lauper performance. Everybody remembers Cyndi Lauper as the pop ‘80s icon that had wild hair, an outrageous wardrobe and unforgettable pop lyrics, but when she visited the MGM Grand Theatre Saturday night, she brought nothing but the blues.

Her new album “Memphis Blues” was the primary focus of her set. She was in full enjoyment performing songs that she fell in love with almost a decade ago. Beginning with “Just Your Fool,” Cyndi Lauper gave the spotlight over to her guest harmonica player Charlie Musselwhite, whose solos really brought out the blues. Cyndi told stories of when she met B.B. King and how she fell in love with one of the first female rock stars from the ‘50s, Big Mama Thorton. Her performances of “Shattered Dreams” and “Romance In The Dark” gave Cyndi the opportunity to visit with the audience, standing on chairs singing. Cyndi played her dulcimer only briefly during “Rollin’ and Tumblin’” before finishing her hour-long set with the powerful “Don’t Cry No More.”

Her encore started much the same way her regular set went with a slavery blues number called “Here Is My Hand.” Then, the Cyndi Lauper that the audience knew for so many years shined through. Beginning with the song “Change of Heart,” Cyndi got the audience on their feet continuing with “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” and “She Bop.” A messy version of “Merry Christmas Baby,” in which Cyndi had to read the words, lead to two other Christmas songs “I Saw Three Ships” and an acapella version of “Silent Night.”

After Cyndi’s last blues song “Mother Earth,” her band left the stage leaving her alone with her dulcimer. She explained how easy it is to make a difference in someone else’s life if you just stand-up and lend a hand, which lead to a meaningful version of “True Colors.” Her voice was strong throughout the performance, but it was her message of equality that won the hearts of the audience.

Setlist:
Just Your Fool
Shattered Dreams
Early In The Mornin’
Hound Dog
Romance In The Dark
Down Don’t Bother Me
Down So Low
Crossroads
Rollin’ And Tumblin’
Don’t Cry No More
Encore:
Here Is My Hand
Change Of Heart
Girls Just Wanna Have Fun
She Bop
Merry Christmas Baby
I Saw Three Ships
Time After Time
Silent Night
Mother Earth
True Colors

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Concert Review: The English Beat Party In Connecticut

Connecticut got a taste of British ska music as The English Beat visited The Fairfield Theater Friday night. They performed the first of their two sold out shows at the small, but quant venue. Dave Wakeling, lead singer, guitarist and the only remaining original member of The English Beat, had some huge hits in the ‘80s with their signature combination of rock and reggae music. Up and coming bands like R.E.M. opened for The English Beat during the height of the group’s popularity. The English Beat also has a new album in the works for a 2011 release to help spark their comeback.

The conclusion of a brief spoken introduction brought The English Beat to the stage as the audience waited in anticipation to get up dance. The reggae grooves of the openers “Whine and Grine” and “Stand Down Margaret” brought some people to their feet. A cover of The Staple Singers’ song “I’ll Take You There” turned the theater in one big dance floor as everyone surrendered their moves to the music. The Beat stretched out songs “I Confess” and “Hand’s Off … She’s Mine” before finishing the first set with a new song “The Love You Give Last Forever.” Wakeling also informed the audience that an acoustic version of the song was available on iTunes to benefit Autism.

A 50-minute intermission concluded with The Beat returning to the stage with “Rough Rider” and a Smokey Robinson cover “Tears Of A Clown.” A fan invited herself on stage to dance finding the seated area too crowded to move during “Save It For Later.” She returned to the seats after only a few minutes, finding no room on stage to dance either. Wakeling even included the General Public song “Never You Done That,” to which Wakeling wrote and sang as also a member of that late ‘80s band. The Beat finished their hour-long second set picking up the tempo with “Rankin’ Full Stop” and their biggest hit “Mirror In The Bathroom.”

The Beat returned for the encore performing the appropriately titled “End Of The Party” before finishing the evening’s music with “Jackpot.” The band wished everyone a good night as they shook hands and hoped to see everyone again when they return to the Fairfield Theater in January.

Set 1: Whine And Grine>Stand Down Margaret, I'll Take You There, I Confess, Hand's Off...She's Mine, Best Friend, Twist & Crawl, Can't Get Used To Losing You, The Love You Give Lasts Forever

Set 2: Rough Rider, Tears Of A Clown, How Can You Stand There, Doors Of You Heart, Save It For Later, Never |You Done That, Tenderness, Two Tone Music, Rankin Full Stop>Mirror In The Bathroom

Encore: End Of The Party, Jackpot

Thursday, December 9, 2010

New Sounds From Down Under

Australian imports Montpelier and Abbie May have both released new singles that have made their way over the ocean to our airwaves. Both performers are also releasing new albums in 2011.

Montpelier's single "Last Boat" is the first song from their forthcoming EP that will be release in April 2011. The song contains the perfect blend of lyrics, harmonies and melodies that are hard to resist. Their sound carries a mellow alternative rock sound with a dash of 80's modern rock to give it a very accessible pop feeling. Montpelier also has a video for the single. More information can be found on this new Australian band at their website, montpeliermusic.net.

Abbie May's new single "Mammalian Locomotion" shows us a dark rock sound that is different from the modern rock on today's radio. Her subtle singing makes you focus more on her voice as the music's beat puts you in a trance. More information on her new single and upcoming appearances can be found on her myspace page www.myspace.com/abbemay.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

CD Review: Colorado's Ironwood Rain Return With "Ships"

The members of Colorado band Ironwood Rain are not new to the music scene. After years of disappointing musical ventures, the group finally came together to fill the void that each other was looking for. They released their debut album entitled “Trio” in 2008 and they just released their sophomore album “Burn The Ships” this past year. Ironwood Rain have took giants steps forward in perfecting their sound and have finally began to get noticed in the Colorado music scene.

The new album begins with the acoustic guitar strumming country rocker “Ages”. The cleverness of the lyrics with the highlights of violin gives you a feeling of real, true “down to earth” music. The harmonizing of “Fly To You” compares Ironwood Rain to their influences Crosby, Stills & Nash. The title song “Burn The Ships” tells of life lessons with a chorus that just wraps you up until your singing along. The power of Scotte Burns’ songwriting is felt in the soulful ballad “Where A Man Would Stand.” The band does their best Jethro Tull impersonation on the album closer “The Attic” with its combination of mystical lyrics and simple, but meaningful music.

The band will be performing this weekend at the D-Note in Arvada, CO on Saturday and at Buffalo Rose in Golden, CO on Sunday. Check out Ironwood Rain’s website (ironwoodrain.com) for upcoming shows and more information on their latest release.

Monday, December 6, 2010

New Sounds Of The Season

Well, the Christmas season is upon us once again and that means it's time for some of the biggest names in entertainment to release some new holiday music for fans to buy.

This Christmas season has been dominated by the ladies. New releases by Mariah Carey (Merry Christmas II You), Annie Lennox (A Christmas Cornucopia), Jessica Simpson (Happy Christmas), Wilson Phillips (Christmas Harmony), Indigo Girls (Holly Happy Days), Katherine McPhee (Christmas Is A Time To Say I Love You) and Shelby Lynne (Merry Christmas) have been near the top of the holiday album charts since their releases.

One of this year's most anticipated releases for this holiday could only be found at one store. Target received the exclusive rights to the Christmas album by country superstars, Lady Antebellum. After a hugely successful new studio album earlier this year, Lady Antebellum thought it would be the perfect time to release their Christmas CD entitled "A Merry Little Christmas". The 6-song EP debuted in the Top 20 upon its release.

But, it seems that the must own albums of the season are by a former talent show finalist and a television high-school quire group. Singing sensation Susan Boyle released her new holiday album "The Gift" back in November. It debuted at #1 on the Billboard album charts and has sold over one million copies in only one month. Her voice on this album seems to capture the hearts of people during this joyful season.

One of the biggest surprise acts of the past year is the tuneful singers of the hit television show Glee. Their Christmas album entitled "Glee: The Music, The Christmas Album" put the voices of the cast to a dozen Christmas classics as they add their own little spin to the songs. So, make this season bright with some shiny new discs in your CD player.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

CD Review: Pearl Jam's Live Album Has "Ten" Legs This Time

Pearl Jam is celebrating their 20th Anniversary with the release of “Live On Ten Legs” on January 18. The live album is the sequel to their platinum-selling 1998 live album “Live On Two Legs.” The album covers songs performed on tour during 2003-2010. All of the songs were recorded by John Burton and have been remixed and remastered by long-time Pearl Jam engineer Brett Eliason.

The album begins with a great energetic cover of Joe Strummer’s “Arms Aloft.” The slow build of Mike McCready’s guitar strumming and Eddie Vedder’s vocals gets pushed along by the rest of the band’s urge to rock. They keep the energy going with “World Wide Suicide” and “Animal” which features some audience participation. The album does feature four new songs from the band’s last studio album (Got Some, Unthought Known, The Fixer, and Just Breathe). The songs are set up like the ideal set list to a Pearl Jam show. The album carries a jamming version “Rearview Mirror” while the band sounds tight on “Nothing As It Seems”, but they seem to have more fun performing the cover song “Public Image” than some of their latter hits. 18 live tracks from Pearl Jam are definitely worth the purchase of this disc.

“Live On Ten Legs” will be released as a standard CD version, digital download and a deluxe version that included the CD, double-vinyl package, four mini-poster reprints, five live photos and a tour laminate. The album is available now for pre-order from Pearl Jam’s website pearljam.com. It will only be available for purchase through Pearl Jam’s Ten Club and select digital and independent music retailers.

“Live on Ten Legs” Tracklisting:
1. Arms Aloft
2. World Wide Suicide
3. Animal
4. Got Some
5. State of Love And Trust
6. I Am Mine
7. Unthought Known
8. Rearview Mirror
9. The Fixer
10. Nothing As It Seems
11. In Hiding
12. Just Breathe
13. Jeremy
14. Public Image
15. Spin The Black Circle
16. Porch
17. Alive
18. Yellow Ledbetter