Monday, February 28, 2011

CD Review: Dan Cioper Brings Out His Inner "Warrior"

The smooth, country-rock sound of the opening track, "Billionaire Mother Theresas" is a nice introduction to singer/songwriter Dan Cioper. His new album entitled "Warrior Utopian" is set to be released on March 1. The album contains many of Dan's passions including country, folk, reggae and good, old-fashion rock.

Dan seems to have the most fun on the reggae flavored "Satan On The Street" and "My Salvation", expanding upon his song-writing talents. He kicks his heels up for the up-tempo country rocker "Warrior Utopians", but the gentleness of his voice work better along the acoustic strumming of "Man In Rags". His voice reflects a younger Paul Simon in the album closer "Drug Dealer" as he also gives us his best electric guitar chords.

Dan has an album release show on March 1 at Jovita's in Austin, TX as well as a few others dates in the Austin area. Visit danciopermusic.com for more information on his new release.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

CD Review: Ari Hest Has "Hope" For New Release

Singer/songwriter Ari Hest is releasing his newest album "Sunset Over Hope Street." It is the artists' first studio album in almost four years. In 2008, Ari launched a successful attempt to write a song a week for the entire year. 2009 saw the release of "Twelve Mondays" which took the 12 best songs from that project and released them. The new album will be released on March 1 through Mercer Street, Downtown Records' imprint label.

Ari Hest wastes no time making you a fan of his music with the opening track "Until Next Time." His voice is strong and his song-writing is even stronger. The song just grows in sound from a simple piano into a rock orchestra. Ari channels Peter Gabriel in the epic sounding "A Way Back Home" before returning to the gentle sounds of "Business Of America." The song "One Track Mind" sounds like it came from Bruce Springsteen's solo album "Devils And Dust" as Ari's vocals carry the song's message of abandonment. The songs "Sunset Over Hope Street" and "Give It Time" display Ari's talents of producing songs of grand orchestration as well as simple acoustics.

Ari Hest will begin his 2011 spring tour with a warm-up show in Hamden, CT before heading out on his cross country tour. He will return to the area in May, before finishing his tour on June 2 at the Mountain Jam Festival in New York. Please visit arihest.com for a complete list of tour dates and information on his new release.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

CD Review: New EP From The Silver Liners

The Silver Liners are returning with another 5-song EP. Songs from this latest release have already been featured in recent live shows as well as radio stations in the Washington DC area.

The rock guitar strumming that leads off the album draws you into the band's alternative/pop sound. The Silver Liner's know how to write great guitar riffs as well as an unforgettable chorus as shown in "Hot Mess." They have also realized the less is more as they play the basics in "Better Than Your Boyfriend," but the song is one of the strongest on this new release. The EP finishes with two of the band's most complete songs "Without A Face" and "Just Like The Rest." Now with two great EPs under their belt, I'm eagerly waiting for a full-length album next.

The band has some shows booked in the next couple months in the DC area, visit their website (thesilverliners.com) for dates and locations. Also check out their website to hear samples of their new self-titled EP.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

CD Review: The Morning Code Want You To "Tell Someone"

Alternative rockers The Morning Code are releasing their latest EP on March 1. The title of the new album is "Tell Someone" and that's exactly what they what you to do. The Morning Code want you to give them a try and "tell someone" about your new discovery. Just visit the band's website, http://www.themorningcode.com/ to download the new album.

The new album begins with the modern rocker "Silver" which comes from the band's 2007 album "Superhero Complex". The EP goes between newly recorded songs like "Primal" and "New City" which carry a darker, edgier sound then those recorded at an earlier time. Songs like "Keep On" and "Who Owns The Truth" show a more radio-friendly approach to their song-writing.

The Morning Code only have one show scheduled at the moment, but check back to their website for up-to-date information.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

CD Review: The Damngivers Bring Back Classic Country Rock

From Long Beach, CA comes The Damngivers with a self-titled debut EP available through CDBaby.com. The Damngivers is country-rock at its purest, including pedal steel guitars, feel-good lyrics and topped with Gerry Gomez's aged vocals.

The EP begins with the fun, up-tempo "Your Mouth Doesn't Know What Your Mind Oughta" with Gerry belting out his playful words. The heartfelt lyrics of "Lift Me Up" plays-out like a campfire sing-along. The radio-friendly "Plan On Me" contains the perfect combination of instrumentation and a memorable chorus that keeps you returning to this song.

The album was produced by Gerry Gomez and Anthony Arvizu (Ryan Bingham), who also engineered and mixed the album. Visit damngivers.com for more information on one of country-rock's newest bands.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Cassette Review: Ghost Animal Show Us Their "Youth"

LA band Ghost Animal recently released a new limited edition cassette tape entitled "Youth" through Kill/Hurt Records. The album is a combination of unreleased singles and b-sides. The band's sound on the new release ranges from early British Invasion, mixed with raw American alternative rock with dashes of psychedelic Pink Floyd.

The recording of the new album is very raw, with slight distortion on the vocals. At times, its hard to understand the lyrics as in "Young & In Love". The band brings out their experimentation on the instrumental songs "Quitting Guilt" and "Milk of A Million Mothers". A better mix of the songs "Stay The Same" and "Appear To Me" would help the band's appeal. The right ingredients are in place, but the final production is not giving the music the sound it deserves.

Please visit noghostanimal.blogspot.com for more information on this release as well as others by this new band.

Friday, February 18, 2011

CD Review: Pandit Releases "Eternity Spin" Debut

Texas singer/songwriter Pandit is releasing his debut album on February 22 entitled "Eternity Spin". Pandit is the musical name of singer/songwriter/producer Lance Smith. After receiving rave reviews on his self-titled EP last year, Smith decided to expand his sound into a full-length release. The album will be released through Waaga Records.

Pandit's voice flows in, out and through the gentle sounds of the album's opening track "Pack Your Bags". The strong pulsating beats of "Artichoke" almost overpower the voice of Pandit as the vocals become more of an instrument without understanding the words being sung. This formula is followed through the songs "Skivvies" and "Kathryn, My Love". The experimentation of the "The Midi Orchestration" demands your attention to focus on the differences in tones of music. Pandit returns to the electronic drum beats and flowing sounds in "Scotch" and "Augustus". The acoustic guitar blends well with Pandit's gentle vocals in "Kodiak" before finishing with the epic instrumental "European Dance Theme" which also features Foxes in Fiction.

Pandit currently has no shows scheduled, but is looking to hit the road later this year. Please visit http://www.waagarecords.com/ for more information on this new release as well as song samples.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

CD Review: New Industrial/Electronic Rock From Twitch The Ripper

Connecticut band Twitch The Ripper released their full-length debut album at the beginning of February entitled "Bodiless." The duo of Jon Dobyns and Lonn Bologna throw all their influences together on this album. Right from the opening track, "Disconnected," you hear strong similarities to Depeche Mode in their well-crafted industrial/electronic rock songs. The album also channels the sounds of Kraftwerk and New Order in the songs "Bright Is Impossible" and "Keep Me Cold." The duo mix the sound slightly with the all-out electronic pulsating beats of "Never Got You Anywhere" and swirling keyboards of "Body Blue." The album closes with the 7-minute, slow build-up of "A Place For Polaris."

The new album was mixed by Grammy-winner Phil Magnotti and mastered by Emily Lazar (Vampire Weekend, Depeche Mode). "Bodiless" is available now through iTunes. For more information on this young band, please visit their website (twitchtheripper.com).

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

CD Review: He Is We Bringing "Forever" To Connecticut

The angelic sounds of Rachel Taylor's harmonizing and Trevor Kelly's chord strumming introduces you to He Is We. The duo are currently on tour promoting their debut album, "My Forever." They will be performing in Connecticut on February 23rd at The Space in Hamden.

The duo's pop vocals and sing-along chorus are what make He Is We a band that will stick around with radio hits like "Happily Ever After." The music is simple which allows the listener to focus on the lyrics. Young adults all over will be singing these songs through their high school halls. Songs like "Everything You Do" and "Prove You Wrong" could make the perfect soundtrack for any number of today's television dramas. The way Rachel's vocals play with Trevor's music in "Love Life" is just too perfect to resist in today's pop music.

"My Forever" debuted at #3 on the iTunes music chart upon it's release last year and has shot up to #6 on Billboard's Heatseekers music chart. For tour dates and album information, please visit the band's myspace page (www.myspace.com/heiswe).

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

CD Review: "Death" Explained By Afterlife Parade

Nashville band, Afterlife Parade, have released their second EP entitled "Death". The new EP is part one of a two-part release (part two entitled "Rebirth" will be released in April). The band has expanded their song-writing with the complex theme of celebrating life through death.

After a short introduction, the album begins with the song "Death" as the lyrics dive right into dealing with aging and dying. The song carries a very strong alternative rock beat with a passionate vocal delivery by Quinn Erwin. The dark tones of the EP are felt in the songs "Nothing But Love Can Stay" and "Simple." Quinn's vocals do reflect those of U2's Bono during the dark atmospheric sounds of "Arrows Fly". The band pick-up the tempo with the album closer "Afterlife Parade" as the music reflects the celebration of new life through death.

The new EP was produced by Jeremy McCoy (The Fray) and is available now. The band does have some live dates scheduled in the southern United States in March. Visit Afterlife Parade's myspace page (www.myspace.com/afterlifeparade) for more information.

Monday, February 14, 2011

CD Review: The Frustrators Return With "The Griller"

After a 9-year absence, punk-rockers The Frustrators are releasing a new EP entitled "The Griller". East coast rockers Jason Chandler (vocals), Terry Linehan (guitar) and Art Tedeschi (drums) finally found time to get into the studio with Green Day bassist Mike Dirnt and record their follow-up to 2002's "Achtung Jackass". The new 4-song EP will be released on February 15 through Adeline Records.

The energy and chemistry between band-mates is still present in the opening song "Stigma". "West of Texas (Part 2)" is a continuation of a story that was recorded for the band's debut album back in 2000. Lead-singer Jason Chandler sometimes reflects the same vocals as Green Day front-man Billie Joe Armstrong while Terry Linehan plays some surf guitar when the occasion calls for it. The band has fun attempting their cover of The Neighborhoods' teen anthem "The Prettiest Girl" and keep the good times going with "We Need To Talk (It's Not You, It Us)" The song finishes with the lyrics "that's it, we're through, just remember we broke up with you." Could that signal the end of The Frustrators, we'll just have to wait and see.

The band has a short February tour through California. Go to Adeline Records' website (http://www.store.adelinerecords.net/) to order this newest release from The Frustrators.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Biggest Night In Music

The 53rd Annual Grammy Awards take place this Sunday, February 13th. It is considered the biggest night in music, at least for some. It could decide if an album will go on to sell a million copies or be left aside and forgotten. They say it's an honor just to be nominated, but it's also more of an honor to win.

The televised event only shows about a dozen of the winners out of the 109 categories. Here are a few of the category races that you may not see on TV. In the field of Rock, the Best Solo Rock Vocal Performance category contains four Hall of Famers (Eric Clapton, Paul McCartney, Robert Plant & Neil Young) and the "new kid on the block", John Mayer. The winner of this category is any body's guess as they are all deserving of the honor. Two other rock categories that I'm very interested in are the Best Hard Rock Performance and Best Metal Performance. The elder statesman in the Hard Rock category is Ozzy Osbourne, but I can see either Alice In Chains or Them Crooked Vultures winning the Grammy. I would also like to see Iron Maiden win for Best Metal Performance, but that might be a long shot with Slayer, Megadeth and Korn in the mix.

You can expect live performances by many of the nominees including Eminem, Lady Antebellum, Katy Perry, Bruno Mars and more. There is also rumors of The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan and Dr. Dre performing. It is fun to watch as each performer tries to out do each other for the greatest performance of the evening. It should be a night full of good music.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Daria Musk Performing In Fairfield

Connecticut singer/songwriter Daria Musk is performing a very special, inimate show on February 19 at StageOne in Fairfield, CT. The show is to celebrate the pre-release of her new album, "Fierce Joy" which will be released this spring. She is being considered one of the brightest young talents of 2011 and her songs have received praise from some of the top producers in the business.

Daria has performed live numerous times at the South By Southwest Music Festival (SXSW) as well as Connecticut's own Gathering of the Vibes music festival. Seating for this show is very limited, tickets are available by visiting http://www.fairfieldtheatre.org/. For more information on this rising star, please visit her website http://www.dariamusk.com/.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

CD Review: Owen Pye Tells Us "The Truth About Man"

Independent recording artist Owen Pye is releasing his latest album entitled "The Truth About Man." The album will be released on February 22 on Blackroom Records. He also has a 15-date tour scheduled for the next two months.

The album begins with Owen trying his hand at alternative rock with "Keep On Sinning." We hear his talent for writing memorable lyrics in the song's chorus. His passion lies in his acoustic storytelling songs as in "Barriers" and "The Part." The album finds it's groove with "This Morning" and "Freewill," as we hear Owen's voice mesh with the other instruments and musicians. A cover of Johnny Cash's "If I Give My Soul" is a nice surprise as he pays homage to the man in black. The album closer "Aches and Pains" sounds like a jam that was recorded to capture the moment.

Please visit Owen Pye's website (http://www.owenpye.com/) for more information on his new album, as well as tour dates, videos, free music and more.

Monday, February 7, 2011

CD Review: Frank Sinatra Gives Us The "Best Of Vegas"

The name Frank Sinatra has become synonymous with Las Vegas. From his first performance in 1951 until his last in 1994, Frank Sinatra was the biggest act that Las Vegas has ever seen. In 2006, Reprise Records released a box set (4 CD/ 1 DVD) of four of Frank Sinatra’s best performances. On February 15, Concord Records is releasing a 16-track CD entitled “Sinatra – The Best of Vegas.”

The CD flows in chronological order with the first three songs coming from his appearance at The Sands in 1961. The performance picks up with his improvisational singing of “The Lady Is A Tramp.” In the words of Frank Sinatra, the best is yet to come as the next 5 songs come from his appearance at The Sands in 1966. Not only do you get some of Frank Sinatra’s greatest hits performed live by The Chairman Of The Board in his prime, but you also the legendary Quincy Jones conducting Count Basie & His Orchestra. The 8-minute monologue almost transports you back in time when the entertainer was king. The last 8 songs are from two of Sinatra’s performances in the eighties at Caesars Palace and The Golden Nugget. The power of the voice is still present as in “All Or Nothing At All”, but the playfulness is substituted by maturity.

The sound on this disc is almost better than being there and hearing is live, but the feeling of these performances shine through in Frank Sinatra’s wonderful vocals. If you missed out on the box set or thought it was too expensive, then this is your chance to own some of these great performances. Please visit Sinatra.com for more information on this release as well as many of Frank Sinatra’s albums.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Super Bowl XLV Halftime Show Starring The Black Eyed Peas

This year's Super Bowl halftime show will be different from the last few years. Instead of having an established classic rock artist (i.e. Paul McCartney, Tom Petty Bruce Springsteen) this year will feature one of the biggest groups in music today, the Black Eyed Peas.

After last year's much flawed halftime performance by rock legends The Who, it was time for a change. The Black Eyed Peas bring a load of hit singles and will be more adaptive to a medley of their songs. It will also bring a younger viewing audience to watch the performance as they can relate to the songs being performed, somewhat live. I'm sure that the Black Eyed Peas can pull off a great halftime performance, but it probably wouldn't hurt either to have a special guest (Slash, Usher) join them on stage for one of their songs.

The Super Bowl halftime performance is also the perfect introduction to get people hyped-up for your upcoming tour in which the Black Eyed Peas have lined up. The group is planning a massive stadium tour this year, so don't be surprised if they announce tour dates in the next few weeks following the Super Bowl.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

CD Review: Fools For Rowan Got "Twisted. Tied Up. Tangled."

The female fronted, Fools For Rowan are gathering fans the old-fashion way, with simple rock riffs and constant touring. The band released their debut album in 2009 and have been touring the US ever since.

The album's lead-off single "Burnt Around The Edges" is a great introduction to the band's sound. Lead singer Erin Mullins gets to flex her vocals over the song's chorus while the rest of the band just builds up the song's energy. The song reached the Top 40 on college and modern rock radio, along with a video for the song playing in rotation on Fuse TV. The band's second single "Dead" shows us their softer sound as the powerful lyrics carry the song with another strong, memorable chorus. Fools For Rowan return to their energetic rock sound in the song "Tangled," but quickly change gears again with the ballads "No" and "I Don't Have The Strength." The album finishes with the quick drumming of "Living Dangerously" which gives the song an uplifting sound.

The album "Twisted. Tied Up. Tangled." was released in November 2009 and is available on iTunes and on Amazon. The band is once again on tour with dates scattered in February and March. Visit foolsforrowan.com for a complete list of tour dates as well and song samples and album info.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

CD Review: Automatic Loveletter Guitarist Tommy Simms Goes Solo

Lead guitarist for the alternative band Automatic Loveletter, Tommy Simms has recently released his debut solo album entitled "The the Archers Bowed And Broke Their Bows." The album carries a great alternative rock sound that shows off Tommy's song-writing talents.

The album leads off with "32 Seconds," an intellectual rocker that recalls the early days of the Syd Barrett led Pink Floyd. The album just takes you on a journey of great compositions including "How It Feels" and "Millions of A's." Each song comes across like a grand production. Songs like the playful "Here In the Horse's Heart" and the bluesy acoustic rock of "Tin Lizzy" show off the diversity in Tommy's sound.

His new album is available now on iTunes and at Amazon.com. Visit Tommy Simms' myspace page (www.myspace.com/winwinwinter) for more information on his latest release.