Thursday, March 31, 2011

CD Review: Bears On Fire Tell Us "The War Will Be Here Soon"

Alternative rockers Bears On Fire have just released their second album in as many years. The band has taken a giant leap forward on this new release in terms of song-writing, production and all-around sound. The self-released album entitled "The War Will Be Here Soon" is available on iTunes.

The album's intro carries a guitar riff that comes right out of the Kings of Leon songbook. The 90 second instrumental is a nice way to get the listeners attention for what's to come. The band has a great sound that alternative radio can't ignore. The choruses of "So Sure" and "Paper Hearts" are too hard to resist. The only cure is listening to the album over and over again. The album's first single "Like It's Hot" has an ingenious idea of a hip-hop chorus sung to an attractive performance of sound. The welcome addition of keyboards helps the landscapes of the songs "Girls Aren't Robots" and "For The Signs". The band does show their punk tendencies in "Foxy", but "Fireworks" is a six-minute pop journey that Bears On Fire bring the listener on. The album closes with the dance hall beats of "Dude Love" which shows off the band's more experimental side.

Bears on Fire are currently scheduling shows for their upcoming tour. Check out the band's website (bearsonfiremusic.com) for more information on this band that's about to explode onto the music scene.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

CD Review: Ivan Julian's Latest Solo Release "The Naked Flame"

Musician Ivan Julian is releasing his first collection of new songs in over 20 years. The new album entitled "The Naked Flame" will be out on March 29 on 00:02:59 Records. Julian was a founding member of Richard Hell & the Voidoids and has also worked with Matthew Sweet and The Clash. The sound on his new album is very energetic with an almost mature punk feel to the songs.

The album proudly displays Julian's love for performing. You can hear the passion in his voice as he strains to express the lyrics of "The Waves". "A Young Man's Money" sounds like Iggy Pop meets the Sex Pistols with its raw electrical charge. Ivan Julian shows his maturity on "Hardwired" sticking to a more mainstream attempt that keeps you wanting more. "That Look" carries a funky beat that gives the song a 70's vibe. Julian experiments with his sound on "The Beat" and pulls off his Mick Jagger sound-alike in "Sticky", but has the most fun with "You Is Dead".

Ivan Julian just wrapped up a performance at the SXSW festival and will be hosting a record release party on April 4th and the Bowery Electric in New York City. Please visit ivanjulian.com for more information on the latest release from Ivan Julian.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

CD Review: Thomas Dolby Returns With "Oceanea"

Thomas Dolby, the 1980's breakthrough artist, is returning to music after a 20-year hiatus. Thomas Dolby hit it big in 1982 with the single "Blinded Me With Science". He went on to work with such acts as Def Leppard, George Clinton, Jerry Garcia and David Bowie. He quit the music industry in the early '90's and became an inventor. In 2006 he returned to music appearing at O2 in Hyde Park and London's Scala. After making only a handful of other live appearances, he decided to dive into his first album of new material since 1992.

Thomas Dolby is releasing a new EP entitled "Oceanea" on March 28. The EP is an introduction to his new album "A Map of the Floating City" which will be released this summer. Recorded on his solar powered lifeboat, the songs carry a very gentle, smooth flowing sound. The barely heard synthesizer floats in the background of the vocals supplies by Dolby and guest Eddi Reader on the EP's title track. It gives you the feeling of being alone on the sea. "Simone" is a more structured song featuring a sax solo from Joe Cohen. The acoustic strumming of "To The Lifeboats" is the perfect background for Dolby's voice. The song builds-up to a more modern pop feel with the chorus but quickly returns the soft sounds of acoustic guitars.

Thomas Dolby is not only busy finishing his new album, but he has also created a social-based network game entitled "The Floating City". This puzzle-solving adventure will allow fans to discover new songs as well as win tickets to a private show this summer. For more information, please visit thomasdolby.com.

Monday, March 28, 2011

CD Review: Yeallow Bring "2891 Seconds" To California

French band Yeallow is touring California behind the release of their new album "2891 Seconds". The album was released in April of last year through Try & Dye Records andcarries a sound similar to classic alternative rockers Depeche Mode.

The album begins slowly with the piano and voice interchange of "After Tomorrow" before the rest of the band joins in to give the song more substance. The bass driven "If Only" and the 80's pop dance beat of "What Will You Do?" show different sides to what this band has to offer. Yeallow quicken the beat for "Strange Days" and "Oversized" which appeals more to Fred C's deep lead vocals.

The band is also offering a free download of their newest single "The Bright Side II", a keyboard driven modern rocker. For a complete list of tour dates and information on this rising European band, please visit yeallow.net.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

CD Review: Lykke Li Creates "Wounded Rhymes"

Already hailed as one of Rolling Stone magazine's Hot Performers of 2011, Swedish singer Lykke Li released her sophomore album "Wounded Rhymes" in February. The album hit the Billboard music charts at #36 and the Alternative Album charts at #7.

The album begins with pop/dance beats surrounding her vocals in "Youth Knows No Pain" and continues along those lines with the album's second single, "I Follow Rivers." Lykke Li uses minimal instrumentation in "Unrequited Love" in order to stress the importance of the lyrics as the song carries a doo-wop flavored sound. The album's first single "Get Some" has a sinister beat of drums to reflect the dark lyrics of prostitution. "Sadness Is A Blessing" sounds like it came right from Phil Spector's "Wall of Sound" production. Lykke Li slows down the tempo with the 6-minute ballad "I Know Places" before returning with the grand sounding "Jerome". The album closes with the storytelling lyrics of "Silent My Song."

Lykke Li is currently performing overseas, but will be returning to the U.S. in May. For a complete list of tour dates and information on this hot new artist, please visit lykkeli.com.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Concert Review: Bret Michaels Flies Solo At MGM Grand

Poison’s front-man, Bret Michaels, took a break from his tour in Texas to make a special trip to the Northeast. The MGM Grand Theater at Foxwoods was the destination Friday night on his latest solo tour entitled “Get Your Rocks Off”.

The lights went out as Guns ‘N’ Roses’ “Welcome To The Jungle” blared out from the speakers. At the conclusion of the song, Bret Michaels’ solo band took over with the intro guitar riff to one of Poison’s biggest hits “Talk Dirty To Me”. Michaels’ high energy entrance brought the entire theater to their feet. Bret proceeded to scan the front stage audience, slapping hands to the delight of the female fans that had rushed to the forefront. The evening was full of Poison’s greatest hits including “Look What The Cat Dragged In”, “Your Momma Don’t Dance” and “Unskinny Bop”. Michaels’ also threw in some covers including Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama” and Sublime’s “What I Got”. His persona was very personable with the audience as he preached about his new solo album being released this summer and his 25th anniversary tour with Poison. A heartfelt version of the Poison classic “Something To Believe In” was dedicated to the men and women fighting in the United States armed forces as the audience waved their arms in unison to show support. His extremely short set ended with his #1 ballad “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” and an energetic version of “Fallen Angel”. As if on cue, Michael’s exited the stage as exactly one hour had passed.

He returned for a one song encore performing the party anthem “Nothin’ But A Good Time”. No sooner that he exited the stage that the curtain was drawn on a crowd hoping for more. But for good reason, the set was cut short to auction off Bret’s shirts and hats worn that very evening to benefit the American Diabetes Association. Fans need not worry because Michaels will be returning this summer to Connecticut along side his Poison band mates.

Setlist:
Talk Dirty To Me
Look What The Cat Dragged In
Sweet Home Alabama (Lynyrd Skynyrd)
Your Momma Don’t Dance (Loggins & Messina)
Something To Believe In
Unskinny Bop
What I Got (Sublime)
Every Rose Has Its Thorn
Fallen Angel
Encore:
Nothin’ But A Good Time

Friday, March 25, 2011

CD Review: Connecticut's Rivergods Give Us "Signs"

Connecticut's own, The Rivergods are releasing their new album "Signs" on Good Sponge Records. Their CD release party is Saturday, March 26 at the Eugene O'Neil Theater in Waterford, CT.

The new album is led by the husband and wife team of Ben and Nancy Parent. The lead vocals flip back and forth between Ben's pop rock sound and Nancy's powerful folk-sounding vocals. The title song "Signs" is an up-tempo country rocker featuring Mike Finnigan (Jimi Hendrix, CSN, Etta James) on B-3 hammond organ and Vivian Sessoms (Joe Cocker, Stevie Wonder. Pink) on backing vocals to flesh out the chorus. "Roadrunner Blues" has a nice raw, rock sound with just the right touch of acoustic and electric guitars. The folk-style ballad "I Don't Think About You Much Anymore" highlights Nancy's vocals perfectly, while the album closer "Shallow End" is Ben's new height in song-writing.

The new album was produced by Eddie Shea along with Ben Parent and recorded and mixed at The Underground in Ledyard, CT. The album was mastered by Michael Arafeh in Middletown, CT. The Rivergods have a few dates lined up in the New England area. Please visit their website, therivergods.wordpress.com for more information on this Connecticut band.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

CD Review: J. Ralph Creates Folk Masterpiece With "Wretches & Jabberers"

Singer/songwriter/musician J. Ralph has received numerous praise for composing orchestra pieces as well as writing folk songs. After becoming the proclaimed "next big thing" in 1999, J. Ralph retreated to a self-imposed exile. He would return in 2004 with his orchestra piece "The Illusionary Movements of Garaldine & Nazu". Since then, he has written numerous scores for commercials, movies and major sporting events. Now, J. Ralph returns with a cast of all-star musicians for the soundtrack to the motion picture "Wretches & Jabberers."

The soundtrack begins simple with J. Ralph's warm voice dancing around an acoustic guitar on "The Reasons Why". The album then gets taken over by guest musicians including Norah Jones's sultry piano and singing on "Change Is Gonna Come" and legend Carly Simon's fragile voice on "The Letter." Ben Harper adds the gentle touch of his voice in the powerfully moving song "More Like You." Vashti Bunyan's angelic touch enwraps "Flower & The Lion" while Bob Weir gives us "Breaking The Hold" which sounds like it was plucked from the Grateful Dead's acoustic American Beauty/Workingman's Dead era. Ralph's vocals return with help from Devendra Banhart in the tribal beats of "Lying Down Statues." The album also includes songs from musical legends Judy Collins and Stephen Stills. Actress, singer Scarlett Johansson gives a smokey nightclub feel to the song "One Whole Hour" while Bonnie Bramlett's soft whisper-like vocals barely appear in the quiet "Breakers & The Wind". One of the major highlights of the album is the return of Nic Jones after a 30-year absent to perform the vocals on "Pretty Words Lie". All of the twenty songs of this soundtrack have a moving message of Autism for all to hear.

The album will be released on April 5 exclusively through Barnes & Noble Bookstores. The film has screenings planned through July of 2011. Visit the movie's website (wretchesandjabbers.org) for a complete list of screening dates and soundtrack information.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

CD Review: Midnight Hike Come A "Long Way From Yesterday"

From Washington, DC, Midnight Hike have self-released their new album last month entitled "Long Way From Yesterday." The album was produced by Frank Marchand (Cracker, Bob Mould) and Warren Boes (All Mighty Senators). Their sound has all the elements that make a good rock album, including a strong lead-off track (Kinda Girl), a fun pop song (Tell Me You Love Me) and heart-wrenching lyrics (Broken).

The songs "Lost", "Bucket of Lies", and "All Days" carry a grittier, edgier vocal and guitar delivery which work well together, but sound a bit different from the other songs on the album. Midnight Hike also expand upon their song-writing with the funk rock sounding "Long Way From Yesterday". The band seem the most comfortable with the pop rock sounds as displayed in "The Only Place".

Midnight Hike has a few dates scheduled over the next couple months in the Northeast. The album is available now on iTunes. For more information, please visit midnighthikemusic.com.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

CD Review: Memnoir Rolls Out "Canto Vol. 1"

The dark, alternative music of Memnoir will be hitting online stores (Amazon, iTunes and others) this spring. Memnoir is the brainchild of singer/songwirter/musician Tyger, who hails from Corpus Christi. The EP entitled "Canto Vol. 1" carries a very modern/industrial rock sound with some deep, powerful lyrics.

The sound of the album's lead song, "The One" carries strong similarities to alternative rockers Evanescence. "Demons & Friends" has a heavier sound with a simpler, stronger lyric progression. Memnoir slows the tempo down a bit for the dark, but memorable "Confession" with its repetitive chorus, while the complex sounding "Soundtrack For A Nightmare" expands upon his song-writing talents. The album closes with the heartfelt ballad "Empty Strings."

Check out memnoir.com for song samples and information about this new artist.

Monday, March 21, 2011

CD Review: DevilDriver Bring Out The "Beast"

California metal band DevilDriver have just released their fifth album entitled "Beast". The new album "attacks from start to finish" according to lead singer Dez Fafara, "It's an all-out release of pain." The band has had huge success on tour the last few years and is looking to keep the momentum going.

The speed of the drums kicks in to high gear on the album's lead-off single "Dead To Rights". Dez's vocals are strong, powerful and demand your attention. The band motors through "Hardened" which features a rare guitar solo, but keeps the energy up in "Talons Out (Teeth Sharpened)." DeviDriver let their feelings known in "You Make Me Sick" and "Blur" about how people overreact. The album's second single "Coldblooded" is a straight-to-the-point, adrenaline rocker about staying true to yourself. Included is a cover of 16 Horsepower's "Black Soul Choir" as a way of paying homage to the Gothic Americana style of music. The speed and energy just keeps flowing in the closers "Crowns of Creation" and "Lend Myself To The Night."

The album was released in February as a standard 12-track edition and a special 15-track edition that also includes a DVD of the history of the band as well as 5 music videos. DevilDriver have tour dates beginning at the end of April as the band make their way across the U.S. Check out devildriver.com for a complete list of tour dates and album information.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

CD Review: D.R.U.G.S. Debut Album Hits #1 On Hard Rock Charts

One band's loss is another band's gain as ex-Chiodos front-man, Craig Owens puts together a new group of musicians named Destroy Rebuild Until God Shows (D.R.U.G.S.). Their debut album was released on February 22 and entered the Billboard Music Charts at #29 and #1 on the Billboard Hard Rock Charts.

The band comes roaring out of the gate with the intense energetic "If You Think This Song Is About You, It Probably Is." Lead singer Craig Owens and his bandmates are making a statement with their hard rocking debut single. The right combination of blazing guitars, screaming vocals, a harmonizing chorus is a good way to describe most of the songs on the album. The album's second single "Mr. Owl Ate My Metal Worm" is powered by the drumming of Aaron Stern. The third single, "Sex Life" has a more alternative rock sound supplied by the duel guitars of Matt Good and Nick Martin. D.R.U.G.S. keep the speed up with "Stop Reading, Start Doing Pushups" before giving in to the more pop-oriented "I'm Here To Take The Sky." The album finishes with the aggressive fourth single "My Swagger Has A First Name."

D.R.UG.S. will be joining the 2011 Vans Warped Tour in July, but have two months of tour dates to wrap up first. They'll be making their way across the country hitting the Northeast in mid-April. For a complete list of tour dates and album information, check out thisisdrugs.com.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

CD Review: Hard Rockers Emery Tell Us "We Do What We Want"

The hardcore band Emery are preparing the release of their fifth album "We Do What We Want" on the Tooth & Nails Records label. While the band is not necessarily labeled as a Christian rock band, their past albums have charted high on the Christian music charts as well as the Rock music charts. Their lyrics have been known to take on a religious themes from time to time, but their music is an all-out assault on the ears.

Emery come roaring out of the gate with the album's lead-off single "The Cheval Glass". The lead, screaming vocals of Toby Morrell and Josh Head makes you stand-up and take notice. The energy this band puts into their performances is felt in "Scissors". The music and song-writing put into this new album has become more complex. "The Curse of Perfect Days" finds Emery taking a more mainstream approach to their hard rock sound as the song will definitely draw in new fans. The band does bring the volume down for a moment in "Daddy's Little Peach", before returning to the keyboard intro, guitar driven "Addicted To Bad Decisions". The acoustics of "I Never Got To See The West Coast" shows another side to Emery's song-writing displaying that great lyrics can carry a song no matter the volume of music behind it.

Emery is currently headlining a tour that will last through March before heading overseas in April. The new album will be available March 29th. For more information, please visit emerymusic.com.

Friday, March 18, 2011

CD Review: Nick Flora's Sophomore "Stranger"

Nashville's own Nick Flora released his second solo effort entitled "Hello Stranger". The new album brings his influences into his song-writing as evidence of Elvis Costello and Randy Newman can be heard all over this release.

The harmonizing intro of "Hello Stranger" gives way to the up-tempo pop strength of "Presence of Greatness". The light sounds of his song "Temp Job" gets carried by the right combination of piano and horns which highlights Nick's vocals. The heartfelt acoustics show another side to his wonderful song-writing. The ballads "Downhearted", "Different World" and "Together" are some of Nick's strongest most complete songs on the album. Nick invites Stacy Lantz to add vocals to the playful duet of "Tired of Me", while the harmonizing on "Long Way Home" gives the song added strength to his already strong lyrics.

Visit NickFlora.com for more information on this new release.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

CD Review: "We'll See" What Comes From Jonathan Tiersten

Singer, songwriter, actor, producer Jonathan Tiersten is returning to his musical passion with the release of his new EP, "We'll See". You may recognize his name as he played Ricky Thomas in the cult classic movies "Sleepaway Camp" and the "Return To Sleepaway Camp". Tiersten tried his had at music with a number of different bands, but none of them made him feel as comfortable as performing on his own.

On the new EP, Tiersten sounds like the second coming of David Bowie. He mimics the rock idols vocals in the opener "In The Air" as his band the Ten Tiers motors on. The pop, mellowness of "Vertigo" shows a softer side to Tiersten's song-writing. His voice becomes his own in the radio-friendly "Black Rain" before experimenting on the album closer "Sancta Caecelia".

Jonathan Tiersten just finished a mini-east coast tour, but look for more dates to be announced soon. For more information on Jonathan Tiersten and his new album visit tentiers.com.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

CD Review: Anil Macwan Debuts "Still" EP

Singer/songwriter Anil Macwan has released his debut EP entitled "As We Stood Still". After performing live and working as a DJ around the Berlin, Germany club for a number of years, he decided to take a different approach to his song-writing. His new release shows us his experiences and maturity in the music he creates.

From the first notes of the opener "You And A Little Bit Of Magic", Anil Macwan's music sounds like the Violent Femmes meets the British Invasion. His voice sounds smooth against the backdrop of a piano on "Bye Bye Beauty". His warming voice along with simple instrumentation captures the stories and feelings he trying to convey as in the acoustic ballads "Last Night" and "We're Not In Love".

The new EP is available on Amazon and on iTunes. Please visit Anil's website (anilmacwan.com) for more information on this emerging artist.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

CD Review: Erin Dickins Returns To Jazz With "Nice Girls"

After a ten year absence, Jazz vocalist Erin Dickins is returning with an new album entitled "Nice Girls". As a founding member of the group Manhattan Transfer, Erin has put in her time in the music industry and is ready to put those experiences to use in her new release.

Her voice shines on the album's opening track "I Just Found Out About Love". The smooth Jazz sounds just float in the background of the songs "Je Cherche Un Homme" and "Nice Girls Don't Stay For Breakfast" as Erin's vocals become the spotlight of all these songs. She picks up the tempo with "Tain't Whatcha Do" and "Walking With Your Barefeet On", but quickly returns to the sultry sounds of "Long Ago And Far Away". Erin tries her hand at a duet with a Louis Armstrong sound-alike in "Can't We Be Friends" and also some scat singing in "Loads of Love", but her strength is in her gentle, but powerful vocal deliveries.

Erin Dickens has some live dates scattered between April and June and her new album is available now at CDBaby, Amazon and on iTunes. Visit Erin's website (ErinDickins.com) for more information.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Connecticut's Gathering of the Vibes Announces Line-Up

Connecticut's premier summer music festival, Gathering of the Vibes, have just released their line-up for the 2011 summer event. One of the best line-ups yet, begins with two original members of the Grateful Dead in their latest musical form, as Bob Weir and Phil Lesh bring Furthur back to the state. Also on the bill is first timers Jane's Addiction, who may be touring behind a new album. Also coming is newly elected Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Dr. John with his band the Lower 911. Musical legends Elvis Costello and Levon Helm are also in tow with their individual bands and are sure to please concert goers both young and old.

Let's not forget the enormous list of jambands that help make this festival what it is, including moe, John Butler Trio, The Rhythm Devils with Keller Williams, Dark Star Orchestra, and Assembly of Dust just to name a few. The event also features some of Connecticut's own homegrown music with appearances by The McLovins and Deep Banana Blackout.

The event have been moved up from its usual August dates in past years to July 21-24. The location is the same, Seaside Park in Bridgeport and single day, camping and VIP tickets are available now. Visit gatheringofthevibes.com for more information about this wonderful yearly event.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

2011 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is inducting the 2011 class of musicians on Monday, March 14. But, the ceremony will not be televised live. It will be shown on Sunday, March 20 on the FUSE music channel at 9pm. So set your DVRs and catch all the great music, as well as the memorable speeches.

The 2011 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees and their presenters are:
  • Alice Cooper will be inducted by Rob Zombie (White Zombie)
  • Neil Diamond will be inducted by Paul Simon
  • Dr. John will be inducted by John Legend
  • Darlene Love will be inducted by Bette Midler
  • Tom Waits will be inducted by Neil Young
  • Jac Holzman will be inducted by John Densmore (The Doors)
  • Art Rupe will be inducted by Lloyd Price
  • Leon Russell will be inducted by Elton John

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Concert Review: Elton John Brings The Hits, And An Old Friend Too

Gone are the theatrics, outlandish clothes, and crazy stage antics. What remains is an artist with over 40 years of touring experience and that’s exactly what Elton John displayed Friday night at the Mohegan Sun Arena.

As the synthesizers began his introduction song “Funeral For A Friend/Love Lies Bleeding”, Elton John took the stage. Dressed in a black suit with tails and minimal sequence accompanying a purple silk shirt, Elton was ready to get down to business. The crowd hopped to their feet for “Saturday Night’s Alright (For Fighting)”. Elton impressed early with extended versions of his “Madman Across The Water” trilogy (Levon, Madman Across The Water, and Tiny Dancer). The hits just kept coming with ”Philadelphia Freedom”, “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” and an epic version of ”Rocket Man” that included a gritty piano solo that Jerry Lee Lewis would be proud of.

Next was the big surprise of the evening. Elton proceeded to introduce his piano mentor as Leon Russell took the stage at his own piano situated across from Elton’s piano. The two music icons ran through songs from their 2010 album entitled “The Union”. The mini setlist included the Leon Russell written “If It Wasn’t For Bad”, the up-tempo “Monkey Suit”, and the heartfelt ballad “When Love Is Dying”. After “A Dream Come True”, Leon Russell left the stage to a standing ovation. Elton was ready once again to bring the crowd to their feet and he did not disappoint. The audience swayed to “Sad Songs (Say So Much)” and sang along to “Candle In The Wind” before Elton brought out the big hits of “Bennie and the Jets” and “The Bitch Is Back”. Elton closed his 2 ½ hour set with "Crocodile Rock” as the audience attempt to hit the high notes singing along.

Elton John returned for the encore, circling the stage, slapping hands and signing autographs. He would sit at his piano for once last song of the evening. As he thanked the sold-out audience, he finished with one of his earliest singles from 1970, “Your Song”. A night full of music is all fans could have asked for and Elton John was more than accommodating.

Setlist:
Funeral For A Friend/Love Lies Bleeding
Saturday Night’s Alright (For Fighting)
Levon
Madman Across The Water
Tiny Dancer
Philadelphia Freedom
Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues
Rocket Man
If It Wasn’t For Bad - with Leon Russell
Hey Ahab - with Leon Russell
The Best Part Of The Day - with Leon Russell
Gone To Shiloh - with Leon Russell
Monkey Suit - with Leon Russell
When Love Is Dying - with Leon Russell
Never Too Old (To Hold Somebody) - with Leon Russell
Dream Come True - with Leon Russell
Sand Songs (Say So Much)
Take Me To The Pilot
Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me
Candle In The Wind
Burn Down The Mission
Bennie And The Jets
The Bitch Is Back
Crocodile Rock
Encore:
Your Song

Thursday, March 10, 2011

CD Review: Original Jazz Classics Remasters "Ella And Oscar"

March 15 will see the next wave of releases in the Original Jazz Classics Remasters Series. There will be four albums receiving the remastered treatment. This album features two of the all-time Jazz greats, Ella Fitzgerald and Oscar Peterson. The album entitled "Ella And Oscar" shows that sometimes less is more.

Listening to this album, you feel like you stepped back in time and found Ella and Oscar performing together at some Las Vegas lounge. Ella voice is perfect, her scat singing on "When Your Lover Is Gone" is priceless. Oscar Peterson gives Ella the spotlight, but takes his piano solos whenever the moment calls for it. Ray Brown adds his bass to a handful of songs, but only to flesh out the sound little more. The duo pick up the pace on "I Hear Music", but the album closer "April In Paris" is reason alone to get this album.

The new release also contains previously unreleased bonus tracks. The bonus tracks contains alternate takes to four of the songs already present on the album, but it shows another side to the song's progress.

The newly remastered CD will be released by the Concord Music Group. For more information on these newly released Jazz albums please visit concordmusicgroup.com.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

CD Review: Original Jazz Classics Remasters Art Blakey's "Ugetsu"

March 15 will see the next wave of releases in the Original Jazz Classics Remasters Series. There will be four albums receiving the remastered treatment. One of the most deserving albums in this series is Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers at Birdland "Ugetsu". This album features a live performance from one of the best jazz bands of the 1960's.

The energy that this version of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers puts out for this performance is felt right in the opening song "One By One". The 11-minute "Ugetsu" just carries you away, and the sound is so good you forget it was performed live.

The new release of this album also features 4 bonus songs that were recorded that same evening, but did not fit on the original vinyl release. While Blakey himself never had a drum solo on the original album, he gives us a taste of his talents on "Conception". The highlight of the bonus tracks is an up-tempo number called "The High Priest" written by trombonist Curtis Fuller. The only complaint I have is that the tracks are not in order of how they were performed, but this is in order to keep the original album in-tack.

The newly remastered CD will be released by the Concord Music Group. For more information on these newly released Jazz albums please visit concordmusicgroup.com.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

CD Review: Original Jazz Classics Remasters Cal Tjader With Stan Getz

March 15 will see the next wave of releases in the Original Jazz Classics Remasters Series. There will be four albums receiving the remastered treatment. One of these albums is the meeting of xylophonist Cal Tjader and tenor saxophonist Stan Getz. The two met to record an album of standards with a few originals thrown-in. Included in the backing band was pianist Vince Guaraldi who later became know for his own trio performing the Charlie Brown classic "Linus and Lucy".

Recorded in 1958 at the Marines Memorial Auditorium in San Francisco, this recording shows how professional a group of performers, who never played together before, can produce a timeless album. The 11-minute, up-tempo "Ginza Samba" is a great way to start off an album. Cal Tjader's vibes-work is just spectacular. The clarity of this 50+ year old recording is still outstand. The originals, "Crow's Nest", "Liz Anne" and "Big Bear" spotlight Cal Tjader, but also allow Stan Getz and Vince Guaraldi to explore the compositions.

Their are no known out-takes to exist for this recording, so what you get is over 40 minutes of great Jazz done on only one- or two-takes. The newly remastered CD will be released by the Concord Music Group. for more information on these newly released Jazz albums please visit concordmusicgroup.com.

Monday, March 7, 2011

CD Review: Original Jazz Classics Remasters "Monk's Music"

March 15 will see the next wave of releases in the Original Jazz Classics Remasters Series. There will be four albums receiving the remastered treatment. One of these albums is Thelonious Monk's "Monk's Music". This album has been heralded as one of the best album's of his career. It boasts a line-up that included Art Blakey on drums with John Coltrane and Coleman Hawkins on tenor saxophone. How can this album not be a classic and what else could be done to make this album even better?

The first thing that strikes you his how great a job was done remastering this album. Recorded back in 1957, it sounds like you were in the studio with these musicians performing just for you. The wonderfully performed "Well, You Needn't" gives each performer the opportunity to strut their stuff with their own solos. Monk also gives the full-band try to "Off Minor" which was originally written for a trio, before expanding once again with a 10-minute version of "Epistrophy".

The new album also carries three bonus tracks recorded during the same sessions. Different takes of the songs "Off Minor" and "Crepuscule With Nellie" give the listener another view to the song's structure before Monk settled on the final piece of music. Also included as a bonus track is the song "Blues For Tomorrow" in which Monk himself does not appear on, but performed by his band the day prior to recording the album.

"Monk's Music" should not only be considered one of Thelonious Monk's best albums, but one of the greatest Jazz albums ever recorded. The newly remastered CD will be released by the Concord Music Group. for more information on these newly released Jazz albums please visit concordmusicgroup.com.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

CD Review: The Band of Heathens Are Wearing Their "Top Hat"

The Band of Heathens return in 2011, with a new album entitled "Top Hat Crown & the Clapmaster's Son." 2010 was a big year for the band with over 200 shows including appearances at Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits. Their 2009 album "One Foot In The Ether" became the #1 album on the Americana music chart. The new album features producer George Reiff (Chris Robinson, Courtyard Hounds) and will be released on March 29.

The album begins with "Medicine Man," the song carries country-blues groove strait out of New Orleans. It's the perfect formula to expand on at live shows. The band's Americana sound shines bright on the songs "Should Have Known" and "The Other Broadway." The blues gets brought out in "Enough" which just adds another dimension to their sound. The band picks up the tempo and energy in "I Ain't Running," replacing their acoustic guitars with the sound of electric, giving the song a '70's rock vibe. The album closes with some more great Americana music, especially the acoustic, campfire song "Gris Gris Satchel." These great songs are sure to give this band their third #1 album on the Americana charts.

The Band of Heathens have tour dates booked from now until mid-April. Be sure to check their website (bandofheathens.com) for a complete list of tour dates as well as information on the band's new release.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

CD Review: LOVETT Debuts His "Highway Collection"

Georgia musician LOVETT is self-releasing his debut album "Highway Collection" on March 15. The album boasts contributions from The Avett Brothers, Mars Volta, Cursive, Spiritualized and The Sonos Quartet. The diversity is heard throughout this release, but LOVETT does a great job making the different musical genres work together.

The album leads-off with the country/folk sounding song "The Fear". While the guitar and lyrics are straight-forward, there is a lot going on in the background that leads to the song's big finish. The album's single "Heartattack" shows us another side to LOVETT's sound with electronic drum beats and a more grand alternative rock sound. LOVETT switches gears again with a simple pop song "Same Old Song" almost daring you to hear all that is going on within the music. The gentle acoustics of "Like A Moving Train" and "Two Lovers" puts the emphasis on the lyrics which take you on a storytelling journey.

LOVETT has a tour beginning March 9 in the Carolina's. He will also be making an appearance at the SXSW festival in mid-March. For more information about LOVETT and his new album, as well as videos, please visit lovettmusic.com.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

CD Review: Those Dancing Days Grow-Up On Their New Release

Swedish alternative rockers Those Dancing Days return with the release of their sophomore album "Daydreams and Nightmares". The all-female band had come a long way since their 2008 debut. Their song-writing has grown as well as their ability to catch your attention.

The album's first single "I'll Be Yours" is pure power pop. At times, the band draws strong similarities to veteran alternative rockers No Doubt. The mainstream sound of "Can't Find Entrance" really puts lead singer Linnea Jonsson's vocals on display. Those Dancing Days bring out their energy on the punk sounding single "Fuckarias". The surf/punk drumming of Cissi Efraimsson is the motor that drives these songs into your minds.

The new album “Daydreams & Nightmares” was released on March 1 on Wichita Recordings. The band is currently overseas, but will be visiting the US in mid-March performing at the SXSW Festival. For more information on Those Dancing Days and their new release, please visit thosedancingdays.com.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

CD Review: Pearl Jam, King's X & The Fastbacks Create Tres Mts.

The band, Tres Mts. is set to release their debut album entitled "Three Mountains" on March 8th. The members of Tres Mts. are Jeff Ament (Pearl Jam) on bass, Dug Pinnick (King's X) on guitar and vocals, Richard Stuverud (The Fastbacks) on drums along with guitar help from Pearl Jam's Mike McCready. The idea of this album has been in the works for almost two decades. The writing sessions began in early 2001 and again in 2004 before the band members finally met together last year to finish writing and recording about 13 songs. The groups different musical backgrounds are heard throughout this new release.

The album begins with the album's first single "My Baby" which is an "in your face" hard rocker. The band's love of punk music shines through on this opening track. The energy still flows in "Oh, Lord" before the band slows the tempo down for "God Told Me." The song "Holes In The Road" draws upon Dug Pinnick's hard rock roots with McCready lending a hand on the solo. You can almost pinpoint the years when some of the songs were written, as "In The Middle" sounds like a reflection of a Pearl Jam song written in the past decade. Tres Mts. show off their bluesy side on "She's My New Song", but don't stray too far from their formula, returning strong in the ballad "Break" and the up-tempo beats of "Mystery."

The band has booked a mini-five date tour in the northeast starting in March, which also includes an appearance on Live with Jimmy Kimmel. The album is currently available for pre-order from Pearl Jam's website (pearljam.com). The album will be released through Monkeywrench Records. For more information, please visit tresmts.com.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Pearl Jam Revists Their Past With Some New Releases

One of the biggest bands in the world of music today are celebrating their 20th anniversary in grand fashion. Pearl Jam were one of the leaders of the 90's grunge movement along with Nirvana, Soundgarden and Alice In Chains. The band has since gone on to achieve superstardom with record setting album sales and one of the best live shows around. This year, being the 20th year of the band's existance, Pearl Jam are re-releasing two of their biggest selling albums in deluxe form, presenting a Cameron Crowe directed documentary movie about the band and putting on a weekend music festival.

Last year saw the re-release of the band's debut album, "Ten" which was remastered, remixed and repackaged along with many extras. This year on March 29th, Pearl Jam will re-release their second and third albums (Vs. and Vitalogy). Both albums will be remastered and released with extra tracks in 4 different versions, see the details below.

Details on the new Reissue Formats of Vs. and Vitalogy are as follows:
1. Expanded Editions (CD and Digital) The expanded editions of Vs. and Vitalogy -- including the original studio albums, newly remastered, along with album-era bonus tracks -- will each be available on CD and digital formats:

The Expanded Edition of Vs. includes three bonus tracks recorded by Brendan O'Brien at The Site studio during the Vs. sessions:
- a previously unreleased acoustic version of "Hold On";
- "Cready Stomp" - a previously unreleased studio outtake;
- and the band's cover of Victoria Williams' "Crazy Mary" featuring Williams on backing vocals and guitar.

The Expanded Edition of Vitalogy includes three bonus tracks:
- the previously unreleased guitar/organ-only mix of "Betterman";
- a previously unreleased alternate take of "Corduroy" from the Vitalogy session (recorded by Brendan O'Brien);
- a previously unreleased demo version of "Nothingman," taken from the original DAT (recorded at John and Stu's in Seattle on October 14, 1993, featuring Richard Stuverud on drums).

2. Deluxe Editions (3 CDs or Digital Download Bundle at Various Digital Service Providers)

Deluxe Edition CD version - Vs. and Vitalogy will be available together in a CD deluxe edition which includes:
- the Expanded Edition of each album;
- a copy of Live at the Orpheum Theater, Boston, April 12, 1994. A special performance recorded at the tail end of the mythic Vs. tour, Live at the Orpheum Theater showcases a dream setlist created especially by the Pearl Jam crew and has for years been one of the most sought-after recordings among serious aficionados.

3. Limited Edition Collector's Box Set (5 LPs, 4 CDs, 1 Cassette, Digital Download, Composition Notebook, Memorabilia-filled Envelope)

Vs. and Vitalogy will be available together in a limited edition collector's box set that includes 59 unique Pearl Jam performances on four CDs, five LPs and one cassette in addition to a number of guest artist performances. The Limited Edition Box set is only available for sale at pearljam.com.

Contents include:
- Expanded Editions of Vs. and Vitalogy remastered with bonus tracks on CD;
- Remastered Vinyl Editions of Vs. (single LP) and Vitalogy (double LP);
- Double vinyl LP and CD of Live at the Orpheum Theater, Boston, April 12, 1994 plus an exclusive digital download of the concert.
- Exclusive collector's cassette featuring live tribute and studio performances from a number of Pearl Jam's fellow artist friends. Broadcast on January 8, 1995, this recording is part of the legendary Monkeywrench/Self-Pollution Radio series produced by the band;
- 80-page composition book filled with photos, drawings and artwork by Eddie Vedder and Jeff Ament;
- A glassine envelope containing a collection of Vs. and Vitalogy- era memorabilia including beautiful lithographs of each band member, postcards, posters and much more.

4. Record Store Day Vinyl Editions (Remastered) - Available April 12th

Vs. (single LP) and Vitalogy (double LP) - both remastered, will be available at independent record retailers in new commemorative Vinyl Editions on April 12th in time for Record Store Day 2011 (April 16th).

The next release to look forward to is the Cameron Crowe documentary entitled "Pearl Jam Twenty". The video documentary will also be accompanied with a book about the band and a soundtrack to the documentary. While little information is currently available about this release, guitarist Mike McCready said the Crowe would have access to "all our footage, with all of our existing footage that we have". Look for this to be released later this year.

There are also rumors of Pearl Jam putting on a weekend music festival. They will invite friends, fellow colleges and some of their idols to perform and Pearl Jam will close out each night of the festival. This is still in the planning stages, so as far as a date or location, the band has mentioned about having it somewhere in the middle of the country and possibly this summer. We'll just have to keep our ears open as new info pours out of the Pearl Jam camp.

All this exciting news is bringing me back to when I first saw their videos on MTV and heard them on the radio and thought that one day this band would be huge. Here's to another 20 years of Pearl Jam music.