Friday, September 30, 2011

Cromwell Record Riot Returns October 2nd

This Sunday, October 2nd, features the return of the Cromwell Record Riot. After taking the summer off, now is the perfect time to stock up on new music before the weather starts getting cold and you’re stuck inside with nothing new to listen to. So, head out to the Crowne Plaza in Cromwell, CT (exit 21 from I-91) for a room filled with CDs, Vinyl, DVDs, T-shirts and more. Admission is still only $3 and it starts at 9:30 AM. If you need to be one of the first ones in the door, there is an early admission of $10 that will allow you to get in at 8 AM and be one of the first to view all the wonderful goodies.

Now if you can’t make it to this Cromwell Record Riot, there will be one more before the end of the year on December 11th. Also, on Saturday, November 19th, there will be the last New Haven Record Riot of 2011. So here are your three chances to stock up on new music before the snow piles so high that it blocks your front door this winter.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

CD Review: Buck Owens Goes Back To The Beginning On "Bakersfield"

Country legend Buck Owens released his first record in 1961 through Capitol Records. He hit the heights of country music in the mid-sixties and continued through the better half of the 1970s. Now, RockBeat Records is releasing "Bound for Bakersfield: The Complete pre-Capitol Collection, 1953-1956." This release will present the earliest known recordings from Buck Owens on Pep Records.

The set begins with the very appropriate rehearsal of "Blue Love," which later-turns into "Down On the Corner Of Love." The first half of this disc does test your nerves at you sit and listen to multiple takes of the same songs back to back. But, on the flip-side, you get to hear how different the songs could have sounded by just changing the tempo as in "It Don't Show On Me" and "Hot Dog." Owens shows his versatility by changing his tone from reckless rock-abilly of "Rhythm And Booze" to honky-tonk country of "There Goes My Love." This collection also gathers his singles from Chesterfield Records and La Brea. The album finishes with the piano driven "I'm Gonna Blow" which sounds like Owens' attempt at a Sun Records sounding single. Then, Buck Owens will have his first hit record in 1959 with "Second Fiddle" and from that point on his career just takes off and as they say, the rest is history.

This new release from the Buck Owens catalog will be available on September 27. For more information on this album, please visit www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=247894465241000.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

CD Review: Jack's Mannequin Introduces Us To "People And Things"

One of this season’s most anticipated new albums comes from Jack’s Mannequin with their October 4th release of “People And Things.” Jack’s Mannequin began as just a side project for singer/songwriter Andrew McMahon. Their first album “Everything In Transit” broke through the Top 40 Billboard Album charts. Then, their 2008 follow-up, “The Glass Passenger,” peaked at number eight on the charts. With the maturity in songwriting found on Jack’s Mannequin latest release, a top five debut is almost a sure thing.

Most of the songs found on “People And Things” deal with some difficult situations. The album’s opening song and first single, “My Racing Thoughts” sounds like a modernized version of Crowded House with an up-tempo beat, while the lyrics speak of lovers turned away in the night. “Television” is a passionate piece of music that deals with harsh things being said after drinking too much and the television is the only thing that breaks the silence. “Amy, I” deals with something that everyone can relate to, the hardship of past relationships. McMahon makes light of the subject of death in “Hey, Hey Hey (We’re All Gonna Die)” while you can’t help be find yourself singing along with the wonderfully simple chorus. The album ends with the heartfelt acoustic ballad “Restless Dream” and the up-lifting “Casting Lines” which showcases the talent of McMahon’s songwriting.

Jack’s Mannequin will begin their headlining tour on October 5th in Hartford, CT performing with the Hartford Symphony Orchestra. From there, the band has dates running through to mid-November. The new album will be available Tuesday so be sure to check it out for yourself. For more information, check out the band website at jacksmannequin.com.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

CD Review: 9 Left Dead Do Right With "The Wrong Things"

From Oklahoma comes 9 Left Dead with their major label debut "The Wrong Things." They bring the grittiness of the LA streets into the hard rock arena as their sound combines the best of both worlds. Loud guitars, pounding drums, screaming vocals and lyrics about sex, guns and rock 'n' roll...what else could you ask for.

The album's lead single "Put Your Guns Down" is the song that the band originally released themselves that got them their record contract. The song is a perfect introduction to this band's hard rock, in-your-face sound. Their songs are a great combination of big drums, blazing guitars with a simple, but memorable chorus as in "Bad Girl" and "The Wrong Things." The band slows down the tempo, but not the aggression on "Nothing Left To Lose" in order to stress the song's lyrics about fighting back and not giving in. They tackle a cover of The Doors' "People Are Strange" with mixed results as they finish with a couple of the more mainstream rock songs on the album, "In Their Lives" and "The Tracks."

9 Left Dead just finished up their summer tour, but look for more dates to appear as the new album gets released on September 27. Also, check out the band's website (9leftdead.com) for more information on these guys as they explode onto the rock music scene.

Monday, September 26, 2011

CD Review: Lenny Kravitz Brings Together "Black And White America"

One of today's most innovative artists just released his 9th and one of his most powerful albums to date. Lenny Kravitz is never one to shy away from a memorable guitar riff, but on his latest release, "Black And White America," Kravitz finds comfortable ground to extend his musical legacy.

The album begins with a funky bass groove that sets up Kravitz's long-awaited 70s funk album that has been years in the making. The album's title track is an autobiographical account of his parents struggle, along with history's racial discrimination. The album deals with some serious subjects including discrimination, religion and war, but Kravitz finds a way to express his feelings without bashing the opposition. He receives help on this album from friends like trombone prodigy, Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews, Jay-Z and Drake. Jay-Z teams up DJ Military on the hip-hop sounding "Boongie Drop" which is the perfect background for Jay-Z's rapping. "Stand" sounds like a sure pop hit as Kravitz preaches about the positives in life. The funk does fly high on this album with the songs "Superlove" and "Life Ain't Ever Been Better Than It Is Now," and then he brings in Drake for the R&B flavored "Sunflower." The gentle piano ballad "Dream" is a nice break that shows Kravitz's maturity in his song-writing.

Lenny Kravitz is touring extensively in Europe, promoting the new album which debuted at #1 on a couple charts overseas. The album debuted in at #17 on the US Billboard Album charts. Look for Lenny Kravtiz to tour the US in the next year. For any information on Lenny Kravitz and the new album, "Black And White America," check out lennykravitz.com.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

CD Review: Paul Kelly Stirs Up Memories With "Songs From The South"

Singer/songwriter Paul Kelly may not be as big a name as Bob Dylan or Bruce Springsteen, but to many of his fans in North America and in his home country of Australia, Paul Kelly is considered a national hero. Now, if you are not familiar with songs of Paul Kelly, then this is your perfect opportunity to find out more about this fabqlous songwriter. Gawdaggie Music, in association with the CEN/RED, is releasing a two-disc greatest hits set from Paul Kelly entitled "Songs From The South: Volume 1 & 2."

The first disc begins with Kelly's 1985 folk single "From St Kilda To Kings Cross." Paul Kelly had a big string of hits beginning in 1986, including his US breakthrough "Darling It Hurts." Twenty songs span the first disc including his Top 20 Australian singles "Before Too Long" and "To Her Door." It finishes with the Australian-only EP single "How To Make Gravy" released in 1996.

The second disc begins with "Nothing On My Mind," the first single from his 1998 album "Words and Music." Kelly has been known as a musical chameleon, tackling many different musical genres including country ("Our Sunshine"), folk ("Every F#%king City"), and rock ("Love Is The Law"). His strength is in his powerful song-writing which gets highlighted on the acoustic songs "If I Could Start Today Again" and "Your Lovin' Is On My Mind." The second disc closes with a pair of unreleased songs, the moody ballad "Thoughts In The Middle Of The Night" and the playful calypso sounding "Shane Ware."

The digital version of this two-disc set was released back on September 6, but a physical version will be released on October 25 through Red Distribution. Paul Kelly is currently on tour in Canada and has two shows scheduled in New York at the end of the month. For a complete list of tour dates and up-to-date information on Paul Kelly, please visit his website, paulkelly.com.au.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Video Review: Season 2 Of Glee Shines Bright On Blu-ray

The television sensation known as Glee has taken the country by storm. There have been 11 soundtrack albums released from the show which some have gone on to sell Platinum and Gold status. Glee has also had more than 29 million song downloads since its debut in 2009. The series has been nominated for the Emmy Awards as well as the Golden Globe Awards, winning for Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy.

Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment just released the entire second season of Glee on Blu-ray on September 13. You get all 22 episodes from season 2, along with bonus features like the popular “Glee Music Jukebox,” The Making of “The Rocky Horror Glee Show,” exclusive bonus songs and more. Not only that, but you get it all in the highest quality.

While the first season paved the way for something fresh and new, the second season allowed the writers and performers to expand more on their stories and performances. The first disc alone is worth the price of this set. You not only get the season 2 premiere episode, but it also has the brilliant “Rocky Horror Glee Show”, the ode to Britney Spears in “Britney/Brittany” and “Grilled Cheesus” with Kurt Hummel performing an emotional rendition of The Beatles’ “I Want To Hold Your Hand,” and that is just disc one. The other three discs contain hours of great Glee entertainment, from the new holiday favorite, “A Very Glee Christmas” to tackling some tough high school topics like alcohol and sexual preference, but the cast seem to pull it of with ease and even a bit of comedic flair. As you watch each episode, you begin to get more involved with these character’s lives. Plus, the beauty of this package is that you don’t need to wait for next week’s episode because they are all here in these four discs.

Season two also included a load of special guests including John Stamos, Carol Burnett, Gwyneth Paltrow and more. Even Meat Loaf and Barry Bostwick give cameos in “The Rocky Horror Glee Show.” With all that Season 2 of Glee has to offer, you will not be able to wait for the new season 3 which just began. The Complete Second Season of Glee is available everywhere, also be on the look out for Glee Live: The 3D Concert Movie coming soon to Blu-ray & DVD. For more information, please visit foxconnect.com.

Friday, September 23, 2011

CD Review: Allele Are Back And Flying "Next To Parallel"

After a six year hiatus, Allele return with a new album entitled "Next To Parallel." After receiving so much praise for their debut album in 2005, Allele hit the road for two years. Their songs have been featured in video games and television shows. In May of this year, the band began to record their sophomore follow-up which was mastered by Paul Lapinski (Yellowcard, Alicia Keys). The new album has a release date of September 27 through Goomba Music.

The new album still carries that hard rock edge that brought them success in the past. The opener "Let It Go" is a energetic, full out rock assault that just gets carried through the whole album. Singer Wally Wood lets his vocals fly on the album's first single, "What I Get" as he shows his passion, screaming the chorus. After tackling the dark subject of "Dead and Cold," the band just takes off with some great hard rock riffs in "Drone" and "Something Cured." Then they raise the bar in "Feed The Wolves" with the perfect combination of pounding drums and blazing guitars. This only gets matched by the aggressive attack of "Stay Down" as these two songs are some of the strongest on this new album.

Allele are beginning their headlining tour in Florida making their way west before returning to the east coast in November. They will be performing live at Bleachers in Bristol, CT on November 10. For a complete list of tour dates, visit the band's facebook page (facebook.com/officialallele1).

Thursday, September 22, 2011

CD Review: Terra Lightfoot's Storytelling Folk Debut

Canadian singer/songwriter Terra Lightfoot just released her self-titled debut album on Sonic Unyon Records. After years of performing with rock, roots and country bands, Terra decided to try her hand at a solo project. The album is produced by fellow Canadian rocker Dale Morningstar (Neko Case, Barenaked Ladies).

Terra starts off her roots/folk album with the quietness of "Straight Line." She only raises her voice to slightly to show her passion for her music. The great thing is that the song picks up a rock bass/drum groove in the middle of this opening song. She shows us her knowledge of writing different types of music and a bigger talent for combining different musical genres. At times, Terra Lightfoot sounds like the female equivalent to Ryan Adams, by using the softness and loudness of her voice to stress the importance of the lyrics. The alt-country sound of "Sleep Away The Winter" and the fragile, mostly acoustic "Heads, Tails, Tails" show us how different her sound can be. The up-tempo country sounding "Quieter" is a great addition to the album as she almost fully steps into her country boots, but then finishes with five wonderful, thoughtful ballads.

Her new album is available now and she has a few shows lined-up in Canada. If you're in the Hamilton/Toronto area, be sure to check her out. Please visit terralightfoot.com for more information.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

CD Review: New York Duo Mahoney & The Moment Release Their Debut

From New York comes the duo of Mahoney & The Moment with their self-titled debut album. The album was self-produced and released on September 9th. Their folk sound is refreshing without over taking their wonderful harmonizing vocals.

Singer/guitarist Steve Mahoney handles the lead vocals on the album's first two tracks "When She Smiles Back At Me" and "Roadtrip." The vocals are so easy to follow that you feel yourself letting their music take you anywhere. Singer/multi-instrumentalist Emily Moment takes over the vocals on the up-tempo country sounding "If You Only Asked Me To." The two trade vocal duties on "Manhattan Girl Again" which draws similarities to the alt-country band Whiskeytown. While their individual vocices alone are comforting, but together Steve and Emily have a more complete sound as displayed in "Come Back For More." The album finishes strong with some of the best songs on the album. First the the slow-build of "Waiting Games," then the up-beat dance rhythm of "Chelsea Fling," before finishing with the acoustic, heartfelt ballad "One More Thing."

Mahoney & The Moment have some shows in California in September before heading to New York for two shows in October. Visit the band's facebook page (facebook.com/MahoneyandtheMoment) for song samples, videos and tour dates.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

CD Review: Sinatra & Basie Team-Up To Swing Once Again

The Concord Music Group is once again releasing a stellar collection of material from Frank Sinatra. This time around it's "Frank Sinatra & Count Basie: The Complete Reprise Studio Recordings." This newly remastered release comprises both albums that Frank Sinatra recorded with Count Basie and his orchestra on Sinatra's Reprise record label.

The first ten songs are from the album entitled "Sinatra-Basie: An Historic Musical First" which was originally released in 1962 and hit the top five on the Billboard album charts. This album featured many Sinatra classics including "Pennies From Heaven" and "I Only Have Eyes For You," but the thing you notice most is the clarity of these recordings. The power of the Count Basie Orchestra is felt in "(Love Is) The Tender Trap" as the horns just blast away the speakers and Frank's voice is just beyond compare.

The second half of this release is made up of the album "It Might As Well Be Swing" which was released in 1964 and hit the Top 20 on the Billboard album chart. On this album, the legendary Quincy Jones lends a hand by arranging and conducting the Count Basie Orchestra. While many of these songs carry a more somber tone, Sinatra and Basie still bring the swing on "I Wish You Love" and " I Wanna Be Around." Even the classics like "The Best Is Yet To Come" and "The Good Life" sound so clear that it's like hearing them again for the first time.

Be sure to pick-up this new release and you will no longer need to listen to those original vinyl albums because the sound on this newly remastered version will just blow you away. For more information on this release and other from the Concord Music Group, visit their website at concordmusicgroup.com.

Monday, September 19, 2011

CD Review: Portugal The Man Lands Debut "In The Cloud"

From southern Alaska, comes America’s latest band of psychedelic rockers, Portugal The Man, with their major label debut “In The Mountain In The Cloud.” The band released six independent albums before finding a home on Atlantic Records. The album was released back in mid-July and fell just shy of the top 40 albums chart.

The album’s lead single “Got It All (This Can’t Be Living Now)” is a great introduction to this band’s big sound. Lead singer John Baldwin Gourley proudly displays his falsetto vocals as the band throws everything from horns and keyboards to violins and sound effects to capture their unique sound. The band has a talent for mimicking the rock sound of the seventies as shown in “So American” and “Head Is A Flame (Cool With It).” Their experiments in sound are reflected in “You Carried Us (Share With Me The Sun)” as they conjure a My Morning Jacket vibe on “Once Was One.” Their music is so complicated that even when they bring-out a straight-up rock song like “Sleep Forever” it is still a bigger production that they seem to pull-off masterfully.

Portugal The Man performed at this year’s SXSW, Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza festivals and is still currently on the road. The band will be making their way east through October before heading over to Europe in November. For a complete list of tour dates and album information, please visit portugaltheman.com.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

CD Review: Sublime Return With Rome For "Yours Truly"

California band Sublime found success with their 1996 self-titled third album, but not before the tragic loss of the band's lead-singer and guitarist Bradley Nowell. Following the demise of Sublime, bassist Eric Wilson and drummer Bud Gaugh created a new band entitled the Long Beach Dub All-Stars which also featured many friends and fellow California musicians. After another short run, the members decided to go their separate ways until 2009 when the two original members came together for a show in Nevada. This time, they invited 20-year, Bradley Nowell sound-alike, Rome Ramirez to join them.

Now two years later the group known as Sublime With Rome released their first album entitled “Yours Truly.” The album debuted in the Top 10 on the Billboard Album charts upon its release in July and has brought hope back into the California ska/punk/rock community.

The album’s lead single “Panic” sounds like the second coming of Brad Nowell on vocals as Rome breathes new life into this band’s great original sound. But, that is where the comparisons end, instead Sublime With Rome create a slightly different California sound than that of the original Sublime line-up. The groove is still present as in “Murdera” and “Same Old Situation,” but Rome’s vocals are very smooth and safe without taking the risks that Nowell would take in order to make the songs stand-out among the rest. The album’s second single “Lovers Rock” has a great updated reggae sound that this trio should concentrate on exploring further. The album ends on a positive note as Sublime With Rome cross the boundaries of reggae, hip-hop and ska on “Can You Feel It” which also features an appearance by new-comer Wiz Kalifa.

Sublime With Rome had to cancel a bunch of their shows in early September, due to problems with bassist Eric Wilson’s shoulder. They still have a couple of dates lined-up in Hawaii in November, but look for the band to return to the road again in early 2012. For more up-to-date information, please visit sublimewithrome.com.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

CD Review: Next Batch Of Stax Remasters From The Concord Music Group

The Concord Music Group released the next wave of albums in the Stax Remasters Series including Rufus Thomas' "Do The Funky Chicken," The Dramatics' "Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get," and Shirley Brown's "Woman To Woman." Each of these albums will receive 24-bit remastering and include a load of bonus songs, some never before released in the US.

First up is the 1969 R&B novelty record, "Do The Funky Chicken" by Rufus Thomas. Thomas found huge success in 1960 with his hit single "Walkin' The Dog." He would not see that type of success for almost entire decade until his R&B single "Do The Funky Chicken" hit #5 on the R&B singles chart. Now we get the entire album in pristine quality as Thomas' voice becomes the main focus of songs like "Bear Cat" and "Old McDonald Had A Farm (Part 1 & 2)." The standout song on this album is the 7-plus minute version of his 1970 single "Sixty Minute Man" as Thomas just has fun performing this song. This new remastered album also features 8 bonus with Rufus Thomas backed by Booker T. & the MGs. The funk meter is turned up on these previously released Stax singles as these recordings are some of Thomas' last with Stax Records. This release also includes new liner notes by Stax historian Rob Bowman.

Next up is the vocal group The Dramatics from Detroit. Their album "Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get" was originally released in 1971 as the first wave a disco was hitting the airwaves. The album hit #3 on the R&B charts and the Top 10 on the Pop Albums chart. The album also garnished two Top 10 singles with "In The Rain" and "Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get." On top of the original 8-song album, this remastered version adds an additional 10 bonus songs. Many of these songs including "The Devil Is Dope" and "Hey You! Get Off My Mountain" which were previously released as "A Dramatic Experience." Now both Stax albums are remastered and together in one spot. This release also includes new liner notes by Stax historian Rob Bowman.

Last, but not least is the album "Woman To Woman" by Shirley Brown. Shirley Brown was brought to Stax by the legendary Albert King. She hit it big, especially with female fans, with her single "Woman To Woman." The song hit #1 on the R&B charts and was also a Top 40 Pop hit for the R&B singer. Her vocals have been compared to the great Aretha Franklin which shows on the album opener "It Ain't No Fun" and on the disco sounding "I Can't Give You Up." This new release also includes five bonus songs written by Stevie Wonder, Otis Redding and Aretha Franklin. You can hear in Shirley's voice that she puts her all into these performances which have been unreleased in the United States until now. Also included are new liner notes by Gail Mitchell, Senior Editor for Billboard magazine.

These three newly remastered albums were released on September 13 through the Concord Music Group. Please visit concordmusicgroup.com for more information on these and other releases in the Concord Music Group catalog.

Friday, September 16, 2011

CD Review: Bellflower Soundtrack Features Debut Of Jonathan Keevil

Singer/songwriter Jonathan Keevil gathered his recordings together for the soundtrack to the movie "Bellflower." The movie follows two friends as they venture out into the world to begin their lives as adults. The two spent their free time building flame-throwers and weapons of mass destruction in hopes that a global apocalypse will occur. The movie was an official selection to the 2011 Sundance Film Festival.

Jonathan Keevil worked with writer/director Evan Glodell on various projects that led him to perform the soundtrack to Glodell's movie "Bellflower." The music Jonathan used is a collection of recordings that he had set aside for one reason or another. While working on his debut album, Jonathan stumbled across these recordings which became the perfect fit for the movie.

The songs range from emotional instrumentals like "Dreadnought Side Road" to acoustic ramblings as in "Fuuuuu." On their own, the songs play-out like demo recordings without a specific purpose, but incorporated with visuals, these songs have more meaning. Keevil's lyrics in "Bland" are a great introduction to what hopes to be a successful musical career. He captures mood and feeling with only his vocals and an acoustic guitar.

For song samples, please visit Jonathan Keevil's myspace page at myspace.com/jonathankeevilnoice. Also be on the look-out for his debut album coming this fall.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

CD Review: Jeff Crosby Finds His Roots On Latest Album

Idaho singer/songwriter Jeff Crosby just released his new self-titled album full of southern/acoustic rock music. The album begins with the rocker "Plowshares 8" with Jeff handling the guitars while his band, The Refugees, give the song its edge. Jeff's song-writing comes shining through on the acoustic ballads "Anything I Could Do" and "Movin Too Fast." He shows us a bit of his bluesier side on "Love Will Let You Know." He also gives pop music a try on "One Of A Kind," but his strength lies in his gentle acoustic stories like "No Need For Excuses" and "All Is Fair."

Jeff Crosby has two shows lined-up in Los Angeles, CA to support his newly released album. For more information, please visit jeffcrosbymusic.com.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

CD Review: Chet Vincent And The Big Bend Are "For Everyone" To Enjoy

Pittsburgh native Chet Vincent returns with his friends, The Big Bend to release their sophomore album "For Everyone." The album was self-produced and released on August 23. Their sound is a cross between honky-tonk country and blues infused folk-rock.

Their honky-tonk sound flies right out with the album opener "Dead Kings" as Chet's voice plays the perfect cowboy telling stories of his adventures. Bassist Tad Wissel takes a crack at the lead vocals on "Without A Doubt" and "When You're Gone." The acoustic campfire song "Goodbye, My Love" is the perfect setting for Chet's countrified vocals. The band breaks out from the slow, country blues on "Mile Markers" as they seem to enjoy picking up the tempo. The addition of Molly Szramowski on vocals gives the closing song "State Line" a breath of fresh air as Chet sounds more relaxed sharing the vocal duties.

Chet Vincent & The Big Bend have a couple shows lined-up in the Pittsburgh, PA area. Check out the band's website, thebigbend.net for more information.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

CD Review: Sarah Pierce Wants To "Bring It On"

Singer/songwriter Sarah Pierce has released her eighth album entitled "Bring It On." The new album has received rave reviews since its release last month. Prior to the new album, Sarah Pierce has appeared on MTV and also in the Time-Life mini-series, The Wild West. She also did a driving tour of all 250 NPR stations across the country with interviews and live on-air performances.

Sarah's wonderful strong vocals are the first thing you notice on the album's opener "Bring It On." Her sound is the perfect mix of country and folk with just a hint of rock grooves to give the songs a bit of an edge as in "Wild And Gnarly Ride." Her playful lyrics on "Butterfly Tattoo" just captures her spirit and let's the music float along. Her country roots come shining out on "Cowgirls Ride" and "Twenty Dollar Silver Ring." You can't help but get wrapped around her vocals on the ballad "Baby Come Back," while she adds some blues to her country on "I Like Man." Sarah gives us a glimpse to her darker side of song-writing on "Pearl Handled .44" before finishing up with the gentle flow of "May Peace Find You Tonight."

Sarah Pierce has shows lined-up until December, mostly in the Austin, TX area. Check out her website (sarahpierce.com) for a complete list of tour dates, song samples and more.

Monday, September 12, 2011

CD Review: Pree Are Bringing "Folly" To Connecticut

From Washington, DC, newcomers Pree are readying the release of their Paper Garden Records debut album entitled "Folly." The band's sound is described as a folk base with elements of electric and digital melodies to create a unique listening experience.

The album's first songs "Songs of Promise" and "Fortune" shows us their music as simple and rustic, while singer/guitarist May Tabol's vocals give the songs a more nostalgic feel. The album's first single "Lemon Tree" is one of the stronger songs on the album as the storied lyrics are a pleasure to follow. At times, the band draws similarities to the Squirrel Nut Zippers as in the folk-jazz sound of "Fresh Paint." The gentle acoustics of "Shelf Life" get built-up to a rousing chorus that gives the song an added element of attraction. Pree show their edge on the dark sounding "Salt" as Ben Usie's drumming gives the song more appeal.

Pree are currently on their Fall 2011 tour and will be making a stop at the Heirloom Arts Theatre in Danbury, CT on September 18. They will have a release party on September 13 in their hometown of Washington, DC at The Black Cat. For more dates and album information, please visit the band's facebook page facebook.com/preemusic.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

CD Review: Red Hot Chili Peppers Are "With You" All The Way

The Red Hot Chili Peppers have returned once again with the release of their tenth studio album “I’m With You” to begin a new chapter in the evolution of this funk, rock band. Their new chapter actually began during the recording sessions with the addition of the band’s new full time guitarist Josh Klinghoffer. Klinghoffer replaced the long time lead-guitarist John Frusciante who left to find a more creative outlet for his music.

The new album certainly reflects this change as the groove lies heavily on bassist Flea and drummer Chad Smith. Smith, who also became a founding member of Chickenfoot, powers the opening song “Monarchy of Roses” with his new love for classic hard rock beats. The funk flies high on this new release as Flea’s bass takes center stage on “Factory of Faith” and “Ethopia.” Lead singer Anthony Kiedis plays it safe on the vocals of many of these songs without breaking-out into the full-out funk freak like he has on past albums. Maybe its maturity or maybe fatherhood, but he still lets his vocals rock out on “Look Around” and “Goodbye Hooray.”

The album’s first single, “The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie” is your typical Red Hot Chili Peppers single. It features the full-strength of the individual members clicking together to create a great pop song for the radio listening audience. The chorus is so simple that it is impossible not to repeat in your head over and over again. After the jazz infused “Happiness Loves Company,” the album loses a little bit of its edge and shows us a group looking for their new identity with the ballads “Police Station” and “Meet Me at the Corner.” The album closes with the hip-shaking “Dance, Dance, Dance” that seems too safe way for the Chili Peppers to close with as the band continues to evolve into one of the greatest alternative rock bands in history.

The new album was released at the end of August and debuted at #2 on the Billboard Album charts selling over a quarter of a million copies in its first week. The Red Hot Chili Peppers are currently on tour in South America before heading over to Europe to close out the year. Look for them to tour the US in 2012. For more information on the band and their new album, please visit their website at redhotchilipeppers.com.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

CD Review: Alberta Hunter Gets Immortalized At The Cookery

The name Alberta Hunter may not be as well-known at Bessy Smith or Ella Fitzgerald, but Alberta is one of the greatest female blues singers of all time. Her career began in the late 1910's when she was 22 years old. One of her original compositions "Downhearted Blues" brought her acclaim when the song became a hit for fellow vocalist Bessie Smith. She was in and out of record contracts throughout her recording career, but found a home performing for the troops during World War II.

In 1954 she took up a different career in nursing, which lasted until 1977. She was then invited by Barney Josephson at the suggestion of Charles Bourgeious to perform at The Cookery. An initial two-week schedule stretched to an open engagement that made Alberta Hunter a star once again at the age of 82 years old.

Now we finally get to hear one of those amazing shows from 1981 as Rock Beat Records in association with Stuart Goldman Productions is releasing "Downhearted Blues: Live At The Cookery." This recording is one of Alberta's final shows as she passed away in 1984 at the age of 89.

Supported by Gerald Cook on piano and Jimmy Lewis on bass, Alberta begins her show with the up-tempo original "My Castle Rockin'." While her voice has noticeable aged, it only adds to her wonderfully delivery of many classic original and cover songs. Her talk in-between songs is a great piece of history that I'm glad has been preserved in this recording. She performs her big hit "Downhearted Blues" with so much love and care as she puts her heart into this performance. Alberta gives us a saucy rendition of the song "Two-Fisted Double-Jointed Rough And Ready Man" which finds her having fun performing live. Alberta's passion for singing shines on the classic "Georgia On My Mind" as you hear her put everything she has into this performance. The show closes with Alberta Hunter telling the audience to remember your parents as she finishes with the heartfelt ballad "You're Welcome To Come Back Home."

This new live album was released on CD and on 180-gram vinyl on August 30. So, if you really want a taste of some classic, old-fashion blues be sure to pick-up this release.

Friday, September 9, 2011

CD Review: California Rockers KYNG Ready Debut Release

From California comes music's next group in line to take the reigns of rock royalty. The trio of Eddie Veliz (singer, guitarist), Tony Castaneda (bassist), and drummer Pepe Clarke Magana (drummer) are ready to rule the land as Kyng. Their debut album, "Trampled Sun" will hit the streets on September 27 on Realid Records.

The band's sound is huge, especially for a trio. The album opens with their first single "Falling Down" which just a blast of pure hard rock with no gimmicks. The rhythm just motors the song without overpowering it. The tempo gets sped up on "Pushing & Pulling" as Kyng proves they should be considered in the same group as any of today's heavy rockers. The album's second single, "Trails In Veins" proudly displays the talent these musicians have, as Pepe's drums are just a wonder to listen to. The pulsating sound of Eddie's guitar and Tony's bass just blast from the speakers in "I Don't Believe." The band hits on the classic Black Sabbath sound on "Between The Blame" before finishing with the 9-minute epic "The Beauty Of The End/Shoreline pt. 1& 2."

Kyng just finished up tours with The Sword, Black Stone Cherry and Pop Evil and are currently headlining their own tour. Their debut album will be available September 27, do yourself a favor and get reacquainted with classic hard rock. For more information on Kyng, please visit their facebook page facebook.com/kyngrocks.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

CD Review: Afterlife Parade Have A "Rebirth" After "Death"

Afterlife Parade return with the second half of their two-part concept album. Back in January, Afterlife Parade released "Death" which contained songs that touched upon the lighter side of the subject. Now in August of this year, the band released "Rebirth" which can be viewed as a new journey.

After a short instrumental introduces you to the album, Afterlife Parade bring the dance beats in the U2 infused "Rebirth." The band expands into the mainstream with the pop rock sounds of "Black Woods, White Beach" and "Cincinnati." Afterlife Parade's sound gets dark on "Chinese Hand Drum" as the pulsating drum beat moves along in the background. Their up-tempo pop sound returns in "Sequoia" before finishing with the keyboard driven "Devil's Dirt" and the experimental sounds of "Maypole."

Afterlife Parade have eight shows lined-up from now until the end of October. Please visit their myspace page (myspace.com/afterlifeparade) for a complete list of tour dates as well as song samples and more.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

CD Review: Son Of The Sun Is Here, "Not There"

New York band Son Of The Sun recently released their new album entitled "Almost Not There." This album is the follow-up to last year's full-length Son Of The Sun debut album "The Happy Loss."

Their sound on the opening track "As Far As Lucy" is a raw, alternative rocker that gets the album off to a good start. The album's new single "10,000" isn't as energetic as the opener, but has a more accessible, mainstream sound. Their first single off this album, "My Best Mistake" is a gritty, sixties-style song like something The Kinks would have recorded in their early days. The band stretches their sound on the slow, blues of "Fruit Jar" before finishing with the light, airy groove of "Don't Worry."

The band currently have a show scheduled in New York, NY on October 22. Check out their website, sonofthesunmusic.com for song samples from the new album.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Dirty Pearls Are Coming Back To Connecticut

From Manhattan comes one of rock's rising bands The Dirty Pearls with some new music from their upcoming album "Whether You Like It Or Not." The album will be released in January 2012, but the lead single "Static" is already burning up the rock charts. The album's second single "Who's Coming Back To Who" is fresh off the new release schedule and can be heard on the band's website, the dirtypearls.com.

The new song, "Who's Coming Back To Who" has a great gritty rock sound with some nice harmonizing on the chorus. The band just recently shot a video for the song which features Penthouse Pet of the Year, Nikki Benz. The song "Static" is a great modern hard rocker with a repetitive chorus that just won't quit. The band also currently has a video for "Static" that was filmed using an XBOX Kinect.

The Dirty Pearls have recently opened for Cinderella, Skid Row and Mr. Big and are now headlining their own mini-tour which includes a stop a Mohegan Sun on Thursday, September 8th. Look for more tour dates to be announced soon and be ready to pre-order their new album when it becomes available.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Book Review: The Ultimate Illustrated History Of Eric Clapton

While Labor Day may be the unofficial end of summer, Voyageur Press along with the Quayside Publishing Group is preparing to release one of their greatest books yet. “Clapton: The Ultimate Illustrated History” is 256 pages full of jaw-dropping photos and illustrations of the life of Eric Clapton. The hardbound cover is stunning with Clapton’s name etched in gold along with 3 photos of three different phases of his career. That alone can make one stop and stare, but just open the book to see all the wonderful details this book has to offer.

Beginning with his early, childhood bands up until his big break with The Yardbirds, author Chris Welch dives into Clapton’s life as if they’ve been friends forever. Then the book just takes off with a brief history of his time in The Yardbirds until his departure for John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers.

The book dedicates 76 glorious pages to Clapton’s other 60’s bands, Cream and Blind Faith. Like many of the other books put out by Voyageur Press, the highest quality has been put into each photograph and tour poster included here. Welch touches upon Clapton’s dark times, but boast more about each of his glorious rebirths in the music industry.

Many of his classic solo albums get an in-depth look at how they were written and recorded, from his comeback album “461 Ocean Boulevard” to his pairing with B.B. King on “Riding With the King.” A montage of recent live pictures closes the book, but how else could one sum up 48 years in the music industry.

“Clapton: The Ultimate Illustrated History” will be published on September 15 through Voyageur Press. For more information on this and other releases, please visit voyageurpress.com.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

CD Review: Rachel Taylor Brown Stays "Sweet" On Her New Solo Album

Singer/songwriter Rachel Taylor Brown is ready to release her seventh studio album entitled "World So Sweet" on September 20th through Penury Pop Records. Her music has been described as "dark" and "unpredictable" and on her new release those words ring truer than ever.

Rachel just attacks the lyrics on the album's opening track "Sister Jean" with equal output on piano with some horns to highlight the song's repetitive chorus. Her dark side comes out on "Taxidermy" and on "Modesto Waltz" while her gentle voice lightens the mood. Rachel's softer side gets wonderfully highlighted in the piano ballads "Anamone" and "Scotland." Her dark sense of humor comes out in the waltz sounding "Your Big Mouth" while her song-writing gets brought to another level in the solo piano piece "Didymus The Twin V. The Divine Sparkler." The album closes with another wonderful piano piece, "Joe/The Sacred Remains." Even though Rachel likes to rock, her strength is in her solo piano pieces. It really makes the listener take notice to her thought provoking lyrics.

Rachel Taylor Brown has a show scheduled on October 15 and is looking to set-up a tour of the east coast this fall. Please visit Rachel's website, racheltaylorbrown.com for more information on her new album as well as upcoming tour dates.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

CD Review: All The Apparatus Take You On A Wild Journey With New Release

From Oregon comes All The Apparatus with their self-titled sophomore release on Faultvo Records. This 11-piece band creates a sound that is very different from anything out there now. It is very hard to describe without hearing it for yourself. At times it sounds like a Broadway musical gone crazy with pieces of folk, rock and circus music thrown in for good measure, but it works so well.

The new album begins by asking everyone to "gather around" which is what you need to do to experience this music for yourself. It sounds like the circus has come to town on the opening song "Hat Trick" as the band take you on a wild, but amazing journey. The band keeps this moving swiftly with the simply lyrics of "Let's Go Ride Bikes" and the big rock sound of "Aeronaut." Then, they switch gears for the acoustic folk sounding "The Valley" before bringing you down to hell with "Chain's of Damnation." All the song's on this album have a special quality about them, but the one that stands out the most is "Wolf Song" with some wonderfully harmonizing. The song "Human Being" sounds straight from a broadway musical with its big sound and even bigger chorus. The album closes with a fun, mostly instrumental "Pancho Villa" which carries a Spanish flair with shouts of "hey, hey hey."

Please visit the band's website (ataband.com) for song samples to fully understand and appreciate the music on their new release. Also check for new tour dates being announced soon.

Friday, September 2, 2011

CD Review: The City Calls Ignite On "Spark" EP

From Southampton, U.K. comes punk/alternative rockers The City Calls with their new EP entitled "A Spark To Ignite." Their sound on this new release is sure to grab your attention as it draws similarities to Blink 182, New Found Glory and Fall Out Boy.

The lyrics and energy on the opening track "Get Away" is like a battle cry for today's youth about fighting back with a sing-along chorus of "you'll never bring us down." The EP's first single "Truth or Dare" has a great punk-rock tempo that is hard to ignore. The band also have a video for the song available on You Tube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eea-HsTnoyA). The energy that The City Calls puts into their songs is addictive as the close their EP with the guitar driven alternative rocker "Meet In the Middle."

The City Calls' new album is available now. Check out the band's facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/TheCityCalls) for up-to-date information on tour dates and song samples from the new album.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

CD Review: "The Kids Deserve Cable" On fORMER's New Album

Singer, songwriter, guitarist Denny Smith is ready to release the newest album from his latest band fORMER. The album entitled "The Kids Deserve Cable" is available now through Denny Smith's website (dennysmithmusic.com).

The album begins with the up-tempo rocker "Head Light" which showcases some of Denny Smith's sly vocals while being powered along by Billy Baker on drums. The album carries a great, high-powered rock sound without bringing in any unnecessary pop hooks to carry the music. The songs "Born A Ghost" and "Drown" have a classic rock sound that is sure to bring the band the recognition it deserves. The straight-up rock sound that fORMER delivers is heard all the way through the album's closing song "Come On."

Denny Smith and fORMER have a dates scheduled for September 2 at The Warehouse in Clarksville, TN and October 1 in North Nashville, TN and their new album is available now for purchase. Visit Denny Smith's website for song samples from the new album.