Wednesday, November 30, 2011

CD Review: Jonathan Jeter & The Revelators Debut "Late"

From Texas comes the trio of Jonathan Jeter & The Revelators with their debut EP entitled "Late To My Own Funeral." The saying goes that things are bigger in Texas and this band holds true to that saying by giving us that big alternative country sound.

The album begins with the acoustic, country sounds of "Come On," which is a slow way to start an album. Jeter's hard edge vocal delivery doesn't exactly fit in with the gentle sway of the music on this track, but his vocals are geared more for the up-tempo sounds of "19 Doin' 20" and "Eventually." The song "Bar Fly" finds the perfect mix of country-pop lyrics with Jeter's vocals and the band's sound. The album ends with the southern swamp, country-blues flavored "Voodoo Woman." A great fit for Jeter's vocal style while the band play their hearts out.

Jonathan Jeter & The Revelators have a load of dates in the Texas area running until the end of the year. To hear more from this band, be sure to check out their website at jonathanjetermusic.com.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

CD Review: As I Lay Dying Celebrates Anniversary With "Decas"

Grammy nominated heavy metal band As I Lay Dying have just released a new album made up of cover songs, remixes and three brand new recordings. The album entitled "Decas" coincides with the band's 10-year anniversary.

The band pays tribute to some of their influences with rip-roaring covers of Slayer's "War Ensamble," The Decendents' "Coffee Mug," and two Judas Priest covers ("Hellion" & "Electric Eye"). Instead of doing a straight remakes of the songs, As I Lay Dying add their brand of back-breaking metal to these covers, giving these songs a harder edge to their sound. The three original songs ("Paralyzed," "From Shapeless to Breakable" & "Moving Forward") fit in perfectly with the rest of their catalog. The songs even show a more defined, mature approach to their song-writing.

The last four songs of the album are different remixes of some of their songs, beginning with "The Blinding of False Light," remixed by Innerpartysystem. I understand what they are trying to do, but I feel that these songs would have been better off on their own album full of remixes, not just thrown on the end of this one. The song that benefits the most from be remixed is "Confined" by Kelly Cairns. The song has a mainstream, hard rock appeal, sounding similar to Linkin Park.

To celebrate the band's 10-year anniversary, they are also embarking on a 16-date tour dubbed "A Decade of Destruction." Joining them on this tour will be special guests Of Mice and Men, The Ghost Inside, iwrestledabearonce, and Sylosis. The tour begins November 30 in New York and will make its way across the country. For a complete list of tour dates and info on their new release, please visit asilaydying.com.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Vinyl Review: The Cabinet Of Natural Curiosities Rides The "Blue Highways"

Connecticut act, Cabinet of Natural Curiosities have a new album out on vinyl entitled "Blue Highways." This is the newest project from singer/songwriter Jasmine Dreame Wagner who recorded her experiences traveling the country on this latest release. The result is a mix of covers and originals delivered in Wagner's own way.

This seven-song album begins with a soft, acoustic version of the traditional "St. James Infirmary," with Wagner exploring the afterlife. Her voice on "Cities" is so sweet and gentle that you can't help but get lost in her vocals. Wagner brings you on a trip through her storied lyrics in "Blue Highways," before finishing the album with a with a cover of Tom Waits' "Green Grass." Jasmine almost whispers the lyrics as she appears alone in a room with just the recorder.

Jasmine wrapped up her Cabinet of Natural Curiosities tour at the end of August, but look for more dates possibly in the next year. To find out more, please visit cabinetofnaturalcuriosities.com.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

CD Review: Carnifex Bringing "Nothing" To Connecticut

San Diego death metal band Carnifex will invade Connecticut on November 30 performing at Tuxedo Junction in Danbury. They are currently touring behind their latest album entitled "Until I Feel Nothing." After the band received praise for their 2010 release, "Hell Chose Me," they went on to perform over 200 shows before heading into the studio to record their follow-up with Tim Lambesis (As I Lay Dying). Now with their latest album being released last month, Carnifex will solidify themselves as one of the top death metal bands in the world.

A short instrumental intro leads you to the gates of hell before you step through into "We Spoke of Lies" which gets motored by the drumming of Shawn Cameron. The album's first single is the title song "Until I Feel Nothing" which greatly displays lead singer Scott Lewis' growling vocals and the duel guitar attack of Ryan Gudmunds and Cory Artford. The band never lets up at they annihilate your senses with "A Grave To Blame" and "Dehumanize." The album closes with the masterful mayhem of "Curse My Name" as bassist Fred Calderon pounds the strings along with Cameron's speed metal drumming. This new album offers 30 minutes of death metal that ranks up there with some of the finest in the genre.

Carnifex are currently touring as part of the The Discovery Tour along with Born of Osiris and Veil of Maya. Check out the band's facebook page (facebook.com/CarnifexMetal) for a complete list of tour dates that run to the end of the year before heading overseas in 2012.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

CD Review: Opeth Return To Their "Heritage" On New Release

Swedish metal band Opeth have just released their tenth album entitled “Heritage.” The album was produced by guitar/vocalist Mikael Akerfeldt. The album was a commercial success, debuting in the top 20 on the Billboard Album charts. The album is a bit of a departure for the progressive metal band as it does not feature any of Akerfeldt’s “death growls,” and was influenced by a multitude of different artists.

The album begins with a tribute to Swedish pianist Jan Johansson as Joakim Svalberg pours his heart into the 2-minute instrumental. Then the album dives into familiar territory with “The Devil’s Orchard” which discusses the road to evil while using a jazz-break interlude. The song “Slither” is a heavy rocker that pays tribute to the late-great Ronnie James Dio. The band pulls in their influence from King Crimson on the very prog-rock sounding “Nepenthe,” as they build-up to the eight-and-a-half minute epic “Famine.” Opeth find the perfect combination of their hard rock drumming and medieval-style guitar strumming on the experimental sounding “The Lines In My Hand.” The album closes with a gentle, dream-like acoustic guitar solo by Akerfeldt that just bookends the album perfectly.

Opeth are currently on their 2011 Heritage Tour in Europe, before hitting Japan, Greece and South America in 2012. For a complete list of tour dates and more information on their new album, please visit opeth.com.

Friday, November 25, 2011

CD Review: Dream Theater Find "A Dramatic Turn Of Events" With New Album

Progressive metal band Dream Theater return with their eleventh studio album entitled “A Dramatic Turn Of Events.” This is the band's first album without founding member/drummer Mike Portnoy. It is also the first album to feature speed drummer Mike Mangini. The album was released back in September through Roadrunner Records and debuted at #8 on the Billboard Album charts.

Dream Theater is known for their great musicianship and epic songs and this album does not disappoint. The album opens with a great introduction piece entitled “On The Backs Of Angels” which showcases the instrumentation of every member of the band, especially keyboardist Jordan Rudess. The band takes a modern metal approach with its grand sound, showcasing the guitar work of John Petrucci, on “Build Me Up, Break Me Down.” Dream Theater dive headfirst into progressive rock with the 10-minute “Lost Not Forgotten.” Petrecci described the album as a “roller coaster ride” and the song “Outcry” is a perfect example with its tempo changes. The album does have its softer sides like the piano ballad “Far From Heaven” and the acoustic “Beneath The Surface,” but sandwiched between is the 12-plus minute “Breaking All Illusions” which follows that classic Dream Theater formula from the past.

Dream Theater has dates lined up out west before heading down to Mexico at the beginning of December. Then the band will spend the first two months of 2012 over in Europe, but look for more US dates in the near future. For more information on Dream Theater’s new album and tour dates, visit their website, dreamtheater.net.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Book Review: "Dead Letters" Brings Fans Closer To The Grateful Dead

There are very few bands throughout history that have received enough fan mail to make a book out of it. There are even fewer bands that not only received large amounts of fan mail, but have enough artistically designed envelopes to make a book out of them. One of those few bands is the Grateful Dead. Voyageur Press along with the Quayside Publishing Group have gathered thousands of fan designed envelops and fan letters and have presented them in the brand new book entitled, “Dead Letters: The Very Best Grateful Dead Fan Mail.”

The Grateful Dead have been well-known for their “out of this world” artwork. Whether it’s on album covers or concert posters, the Grateful Dead are a very artistic band visually as well as musically. Now, presented in this 232-page, full-color, hardcover book are tons of wonderfully designed artwork presented to the band through their fan mail. The style of the artwork ranges from quick sketches to full-blown masterpieces.

The book is divided into 14 chapters to help categorized the style of the artwork, as well as well as a write-up about each individual period in the band’s history. Providing the background information is Paul Grushkin, one of America’s top rock & roll historians. Grushkin also authored “Grateful Dead: The Official Book of the Deadheads,” the most successful book about the Grateful Dead to date. Also included is a four page forward by for NBA star and die-hard Grateful Dead fan Bill Walton. While the book is a great read with tons of information and facts, it’s the depiction of the artwork that will keep you flipping through this book after reading it. Everything from the “Steal Your Face” logo to the dancing bears and turtles is shown through the eyes and talents of the fans.

Grateful Dead fans, both new and old, will appreciate the collection found within these pages. The book was published on October 15 and retails for $29.99. For more information on this release and other great books by Voyageur Press, please visit their website, voyageurpress.com.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

CD Review: Gary Clark Jr. Summons The Ghosts Of The Past On New EP

Singer, songwriter, guitarist Gary Clark Jr. did not make a deal with the devil (at least as far as we know) to be able to plays the blues like he does. He does draw up the spirits of Robert Johnson, Jimi Hendrix and John Lee Hooker in order to create his refreshing brand of blues-based rock.

Gary Clark Jr. released his debut EP entitled "The Bright Lights" this past summer on Warner Bros. Records. The album begins with the blazing blues rocker "Bright Lights," which perfectly introduces you to one of the next generation's guitar heroes. His songwriting has southern pop style with a raw, grunge sound as in "Don't Owe You A Thang," which gives Clark's music a more authentic feel. We get invited to hear another side to Gary Clark's Jr's sound on the gentle acoustic R&B flow of "Things Are Changin'." It as if you were a fly on the wall, listening to Clark work on demo ideas that just lead him down the path to the blues. The highlight of this four-song EP is the 8-minute "When My Train Pulls In," which finds Clark channeling the ghost of Jimi Hendrix in this solo performance.

Beginning December 12th, Gary Clark Jr. has half-a-dozen dates throughout the Northeast, including a stop on The Late Show with David Letterman. He full length Warner Bros. debut will be released sometime in 2012, but for now we get these four outstanding songs to enjoy. For more information on Gary Clark Jr., check out his website garyclarkjr.com.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

CD Review: Forty Winks Let Out A Bark With "Bow Wow"

From Italy comes indie rockers Forty Winks with their fourth album entitled “Bow Wow.” Forty Winks burst onto the music scene with their 2001 album “To The Lonely Hearts,” which received great praise from publications like Alternative Press. Now, ten years later and more mature, Forty Winks is experimenting a bit more with an organ and electric piano.

The album begins with a heavy, guitar infused blues rocker “Beneath Her Feet,” which right-away shows a maturity in the band’s songwriting. Forty Winks add just enough pop to their punk-rock sound in the album’s first single “Way Out” to give it a lasting impression on the senses. Their song “I Feel Dead” feels like a 60’s underground, garage rock masterpiece with just enough organ to give it a fresh sound. The band shows their attitude on the edgy rocker “Dirt In The Creek” before returning to the more mainstream sounding “Outta Love.” The album closes with Forty Winks pulling off their best Green Day impression with “Whatever,” before going all-out with the punk-energy of “Ain’t Good Enough.”

The new album was released back in August in the US after a successful launch in Italy back in March of this year. For more information on Forty Winks, please visit their facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/fortywinkslounge).

Monday, November 21, 2011

CD Review: Don Dehlia Bring The Noise On New EP

From Louisville comes Don Dehlia, a rising progressive punk band, and they just released their self-titled EP on Painted Ox Records. The music on this five-song EP ranges from the prog-rock sound of the opening track "Living Spaces" and the heavy punk-rock attack of "Loriann." The band combines the two worlds with experimental music and punk vocals on "Elenher Historia." The band save their best for last on the closing song "Shnazz" which finds the right combination of aggressive vocals and a heavy prog-rock sound.

For more information on Don Dehlia, please check out their facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/dondehlia)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

CD Review: Disturbed Search The Vault For "Lost Children"

After 15 years of touring and recording, American metal band Disturbed are on an indefinite hiatus which was announced by lead vocalist David Draiman back in July. During the hiatus, the band is releasing a compilation of b-sides entitled "The Lost Children." The songs on this album have been written and recorded during different times throughout the band's career.

The album's first single is "Hell" which originally appeared as a UK tour edition bonus track for the album "Ten Thousand Fists." The one thing I must say is how smooth this compilation flows. Even though the origins of these songs are from all different years, it sounds like a complete album. Two of the more well-known original songs on this album are "A Welcome Burden" and ""God of the Mind," which appeared on the platinum selling album "The Sickness." The oldest song on this release is "Dehumanized," a b-side from the 2002 album "Believe." The album closes with two cover songs, "Midlife Crisis" (Faith No More) and "Living After Midnight" (Judas Priest). The band tries to too hard to sound like Faith No More instead of adding their own touch to the song, while "Living After Midnight" shows that band paying homage to one of their idols.

While we wait for one of America's best modern metal bands to return from their hiatus, fans are at least given somewhat new music to hold them over. For more information on this release, please visit disturbed1.com.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

CD Review: The Horrible Crowes Debut With Acoustic-Filled "Elsie"

American singer/songwriter Brian Fallon is one of the founding members of the alternative punk band The Gaslight Anthem. In 2011, Fallon started a side-project with his guitar tech Ian Perkins. The new band is called The Horrible Crowes and their debut album “Elsie” was released back in September on Side One Dummy Records.

The sound on this album is a bit of a departure from Fallon’s other band. The folk, acoustic, starkness of “Sugar” and the New Orleans flavored “I Witnessed A Crime” show us another side to Fallon’s songwriting. The songs “Behold the Hurricane” and “Go Tell Everybody” show signs of the energy that Fallon is used to putting in his music, but is it the simple sounds of “Cherry Blossoms” and “Blood Loss” where we find the truthfulness in Fallon’s lyrics. The album closes with his best Bruce Springsteen impression during the soft, storied vocals of “I Believe Jesus Brought Us Together.”

The Horrible Crowes only performed a handful of dates to support the album. For more information on Brian Fallon’s side project, The Horrible Crowes, please visit thehorriblecrowes.com.

Friday, November 18, 2011

CD Review: Ray Charles & Rolling Stones' Bill Wyman Get All Boxed Up


With all the new releases coming out this holiday season, there are two box sets that should be on every music fan’s list. The first CD box set is from “The Genius” Ray Charles and the other from original Rolling Stone bassist Bill Wyman. Both box sets are sure to please long time fans as well as new ones, too.

A new five-disc box set from Ray Charles collects his complete ABC/Paramount singles that were released between the years 1960 to 1973. All 106 songs have been digitally remastered and are represented here in chronological order. The set begins with the first ABC/Paramount’s single “Who You Gonna Love” and continues straight through to his final single “I Can Make It Thru The Days.” The great thing about this set is that it includes both the A and B sides to all of the singles Ray Charles released while on the ABC/Paramount label. Some of the highlights of this box set include his #1 singles “Georgia On My Mind,” “Hit The Road Jack,” and “I Can’t Stop Loving You.” Fans of his music will know most of the songs in this set, but the real treasure for fans are the rare b-sides. This includes his delicate version of “Born to Lose” and a jazzed-up version of “You Are My Sunshine.” Charles also tackled some of the most well-known songs in history like The Beatles’ “Yesterday,” Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire,” and John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads.” One of the greatest things about Ray Charles is that it did not matter what type of genre tha song was originally written in, he would take the lyrics and make the song his own by adding his own elements. This box set was released through the Concord Music Group on November 15.

The second box comes from long-time Rolling Stones’ bassist Bill Wyman. Wyman left the Rolling Stones in the early 1990s, and formed his own band, The Rhythm Kings in 1997. The Rhythm Kings reminded Wyman why he originally fell in love with music, performing great rhythm and blues without worrying about what was popular in today’s music. On November 22, Proper Records in association with Ripple Records will release the Bill Wyman’s Rhythm Kings “Collector’s Edition Box Set.” The set features the first four albums (Struttin’ Our Stuff, Anyway The Wind Blows, Groovin’, and Double Bill) released by the Rhythm Kings between 1997 and 2001. His albums featured many great guests including Peter Frampton on “Tobacco Road,” Eric Clapton on the Stones’ classic “Melody,” and one of George Harrison’s final recordings in “Love Letters.” Wyman himself handles all of the bass and even some of the vocal duties on songs like “Walking On My Own,” “Brownskin Girl,” and “Jellyroll Fool.” But it’s when he hands the vocals off to his other musicians is when songs like “Hole In My Soul” and “Mojo Boogie” really come alive. Fans of the Rhythm Kings who have followed the band, will not find anything here that they don’t already own, but if you are just being introduced to the band, this box set is a great place to start.

So, whether you’re looking for that “WOW!” gift for the music fan in your life, or just looking to treat yourself to some new music, both of these box sets are a great addition to any music collection.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

CD Review: Will Sexton Finds The Right "Balance"

Singer/songwriter Will Sexton re-released his 2010 album “Move The Balance” on November 15. After the recording of this album back in 2009, Will suffered a stroke. During his recovery process, the album was released without much notice. Now, almost fully recovered, Will is touring to promote the album’s new re-release.

The album begins with the title track, “Move The Balance,” which gives the listener an invitation to lay-back and relax while listening to this great acoustic, folk-rock album. Highlights include the Ryan Adams’ sounding “Sunday Driver” and the country infused “For Always.” Will gives us a bit of the blues on “Best Intentions” before continuing with the country-pop sounds of “Amnesia Lights” and “Little Late For Loving Me Now.” The album closes with the wonderful storytelling of “Happy Hour” as Will show’s off his songwriting talents.

Will has written and worked with a number of musicians ranging from country legend Waylon Jennings to psychedelic pioneer Roky Erikson to punk rocker Johnny Thunders. Will was also involved in the New Folk Underground with David Baerwald and has written for MCA and A&M Records. Will Sexton has a handful of dates in the Texas/New Mexico area running into December. Please visit Will’s website (willsexton.com) for a complete list of tour dates and album information.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

CD Review: The Ocean's Eyes Find "The Way"

From the U.K. comes alternative rockers The Ocean's Eyes with a new EP entitled "Lost Along The Way." There sound is pure punk that would fit in with the likes of Blink 182, Face To Face and NOFX. Their new album was released at the end of October through I Am Might Records.

The EP begins with "Keep Me A Secret" that shows us the energy and passion this band has for their music. Their sound never strays from this winning punk formula of great song-writing combined with an up-tempo, modern punk sound. The songs "Wake Up" and "Room of Red" just solidify why The Ocean's Eyes need to get the attention of modern alternative rock radio. The EP closes with "The Best Stories Are Lived" which shows are darker side to their song-writing, but they just perfectly execute their punk rock sound.

The Ocean's Eyes just wrapped up a mini-headlining tour in the UK and more dates have just been added for December. Visit the band's Facebook page (facebook.com/theoceanseyes) for tour dates and song samples from the new album.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

CD Review: Radiola Gives Us New Music In "Standard Broadcast"

From Texas comes the latest album from singer/songwriter Joe McDermott’s newest band Radiola. The idea of Radiola began many years ago as McDermott and good friend Tom Thornton performed acoustically in coffee shops in search of “the best music earth has ever known.” As years went on, new members joined the band and combined love for acoustic folk-jazz grew together, they decided they needed to get this wonderful sound recorded. The new album entitled “Standard Broadcast” was recorded and produced by Joe McDemott.

They album begins with the gentle acoustic sounds of “Euphoria,” which is what you may feel at times listening to this album. The wonderful harmonizing between the band members just captures the complete essence of Radiola’s sound. Joe’s voice sounds so true and fragile that you can’t help but get lost in his well-thought lyrics in “Edge of the Rhine” and “Gone Is Gone.” The instrumental “Ill Tempered Tiple” shows another side to this band’s sound as they add a bit of flamenco flair, while “Half Glass” gives us the country-side, to their folk-jazz sound. One of the album’s highlight is the heartfelt lyrics of “Chalk” that are just supported perfectly by the gentle music floating in the background. The album closes with some of McDermott’s best songwriting in “Angel’s Eyes” which features Beth Blackerby on violin.

For more information on Radiola, please visit joemcdermottmusic.com.

Monday, November 14, 2011

CD Review: The Front Bottoms Invading The Space In Connecticut

From New Jersey comes the duo known as The Front Bottoms with their new self-titled album. This new release is their debut album on Bar/None Records. To promote their new album, The Front Bottoms are out on the road and will be visiting Connecticut on November 15. They will be performing at The Space in Hamden.

The album overflows with playful lyrics that make you listen more intently to Brian Sella’s vocal delivery as he draws similarities to They Might Be Giants. Their songs like “Flashlight” and “Mountain” are just a reeling of lyrics that don’t necessarily follow a specific story but seem just as interesting to listen to. The other half of The Front Bottoms is drummer Matt Uychich, who’s drumming in the songs “Maps” and “The Beers” give the album an alternative rock atmosphere. The great thing about The Front Bottoms is the way they deliver a song, without adding anything that is not needed to portray the song’s meaning. The most mainstream song on this new release is “Bathtub” that combines a mouthful of lyrics with an easygoing, up-tempo backbeat. The album closes with “Hooped Earrings” that allows the music to breathe a little more without so many lyrics rolling on top of it.

As mentioned earlier, the band is currently on tour in the Northeast promoting their new album. For a complete list of dates and information on the band, check out thefrontbottoms.com.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

CD Review: Gregorian Brings Us To "The Dark Side Of The Chant"

German band Gregorian just released their 2010 European release "The Dark Side Of The Chant" here is the US. Gregorian is a musical project conceived by Frank Peterson featuring gregorian chants mixed with some of today's music. The new album features covers of some of the biggest names in rock and pop including AC/DC, Madonna and Depeche Mode mixed with some originals.

The album begins with the medieval poem "O Fortuna" which was set to music by German composer Carl Orff. The song has been used a number of times in today's popular culture. This version features an evil hard rock sound mixed with full orchestra while the poem is being chanted over the top of all this wonderful music. Some of the cover songs on this album fit the music and the style perfectly like "Stripped" (Depeche Mode), "Morning Dew" (Nazareth), and "Bring Me To Life" (Evanescence). AC/DC's "Hells Bells" get totally reworked to the point of not being recognized. The Gregorian originals seem more mainstream than their cover songs. The best of the four original songs on this album is "Dark Side" featuring soprano, Amelia Brightman on vocals.

The band has also recently released a greatest hits CD of songs from the past decade and have also released Chapter 8 of their ongoing "Master Of Chant" series. Gregorian have tour dates scheduled all over Germany running until the end of the year. Visit gregorian.de for a complete list of shows and information on their latest albums.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

CD Review: Ten Year Vamp Longs For "Lust" On New Release

High-energy rockers Ten Year Vamp are back with a new 5-song EP entitled “Lust.” The band’s popularity has really taken off since their 2009 debut album “Don’t Act Like You Don’t Know Me.” They’ve shared the stage with Bon Jovi, Aerosmith and Lifehouse amongst others and have a bunch of head-lining dates running through to December.

The EP starts off with the guitar driven “Got 2 Me” which shows off the band’s potential for writing a great hook-driven pop rock song that showcases the band’s talents perfectly. The song will be featured in the brand-new Playstation video game “A Band” coming out this Fall. Ten Year Vamp go all out on the pop-punk sounding “Thinking of Me” that has lead singer Debbie Gabrione playing the “roll” of the other girl. Gabrione’s vocals become the main focus of the power ballad “No Risk” as she pours her heart into her performance. The hardest rocking song on the album comes near the end with “Making Me Want You” before finishing with the song “Don’t Be Alone With Me.” It was originally written in 2007 for the band’s third EP, but has been re-recorded in 2009 and appears on this latest release.

The band has about a dozen shows scheduled in the Northeast between now and the end of the year. For a complete list of tour dates and information on their new EP, check out their website at tenyearvamp.com.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Vinyl Review: A Happy Death Rocks On Their New EP

From Portland, Oregon comes A Happy Death with a new self-titled, 7" vinyl EP. The album begins with "Ghost House," a great raw rocker that brings up similarities to early White Stripes. The song sounds as if is was recorded in one take, without any overdubs and that's exactly what is needed in music today. The song "Mr Rutter" sounds out of place with these other tunes. The slow melody just drags on too much next to the other quick, up-tempo rockers. "Nazi Zombies" is a mix of a surf-guitar with a punk rock beat. The song could be the perfect soundtrack for a B-list horror movie. I like the groove in "Surf Rock Band" if only the vocals were a little more defined, but A Happy Death gives us nice preview on this EP of what's to come from this band.

For more information on A Happy Death, please visit myhappydeath.com.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

CD Review: The Fledglings Fly High With A New EP

From Austin, Texas comes the duo of Wayne Stovey and Kat McNevins known as The Fledglings. They are ready to release their self-titled new EP on Ride A Mule Records. The five-song output gives the duo a sound similar to a 60’s pop-folk group. Their “trippy” sound begins with “Paternoster (Inhale Balloons),” which sounds a bit unpolished, but contains a chorus that is hard to resist. Stovey adds a sitar-sounding guitar to the beginning of “Catching a Raindrop,” while “Krystal” wants you to relax and expand your mind to their music. While their music may not be mainstream pop, it is definitely worth checking out.

The Fledglings recently performed at this year’s SXSW festival and acquired drummer Danielle Moran for future projects within the band. Check out the band’s website thefledglingsmusic.com for more information and well as song samples.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

CD Review: Amy Heffernan Gives Her Opinion On "Friggin Little Know It All"

From Canada comes singer/songwriter Amy Heffernan with her latest release "Friggin Little Know It All." The new album fits in perfectly with today's pop artists like Katy Perry or Lady Gaga. One of the things that Amy has going for her is she has a positive attitude toward her music career and it reflects in her songwriting.

The album's first song "Ignorant Pig" is one of those great pop, rock revenge songs that haven't come around since Alanis Morissette's "You Outta Know." Amy has a way of creating anthems with attitude as with "Friggin' Little Know It All" and "Being Awesome." She tries to slow down with "I Do," but her performing strength lies in her up-beat, dance, pop sound as in the single "Dance Ourselves Sober." Amy closes her album with a cover of Boney M's "Rasputin" which comes across with mixed results as she doesn't seem to fit the complete dancehall vibe. The song seems to be missing her rock attitude.

Amy Heffernan is currently on tour in Canada through to November. Please check out her website, amyheffy.com for song samples and more information on her new album.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

CD Review: Metal Rockers Enormicon Bring On The "Storm"

The Texas trio known at Enormicon was the brainchild of guitarist/vocalist Clay Davis along with lifelong friend, bassist Joe Rosenthal and veteran drummer Dave Slaughter. They released their debut EP this summer entitled "Storm of Swords" which was self-produced by the band themselves.

The opening track "Slaghammer" was featured on the "Do For It Records' 2010" compilation and features the band's heavy rock sound. Davis' vocals are almost lost in the mix as you notice the dark-sounding guitar and bass. All the elements come together on "Dark Forces" as the vocals and music have just enough metal power for you to take notice. While Enormicon try to add a bit of mysticism in "Pray for Death," their Black Sabbath-like sound comes shining through on the dark-sounding, 7-minute epic "The Gargantuan." That's the song that truly shows what this band is made of as the musicianship reaches its peak. The album closes with the hard-hitting "Brotherhood of the Plague" which gives us hope in the direction this band is headed on its next release.

To hear samples or to pick up the band's new release "Storm or Swords," please visit their website enormiconmetal.com.

Monday, November 7, 2011

CD Review: Monika Borzym Debuts With Covers Album

Polish-born vocalist Monika Borzym has released her debut album entitled “Girl Talk” on the Sony Music label. The 21-year old singer has the perfect combination of the voice of Norah Jones and the look of Selena Gomez. Her debut album features a dozen renditions of some of the biggest female names in music like Amy Winehouse, Fiona Apple, Erykah Badu, Dido, Bjork and others. The album was produced by Matt Pierson (Joshua Redman, Kirk Whalum) and arranged by Gil Goldstein (Sting, Wayne Shorter).

“Girl Talk” begins with Monika doing a spot-on cover of Amy Winehouse’s “You Know I’m No Good,” then she takes a pepped-up, jazzy approach to Fiona Apple’s “Extraordinary Machine.” Goldstein’s arrangement of Estelle’s “American Boy” adds a bit of flair that Monika pulls off with ease. She then gets her funk on for Erykah Badu’s “Appletree.” Monika’s voice fits perfectly with Abbey Lincoln’s “Down Here Below,” but she likes to open up and have fun as displayed in “Dry Cleaner From Des Moines.” The album closes with one of the more interesting arrangements by pianist Aaron Parks as he gives Dido’s “Thank you” a jazz club feel. I wish Monika Borzym did more with the vocals, but she plays it safe without adding much to the original.

Her new album “Girl Talk” is available now. For more information, please visit monikaborzym.com.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

CD Review: I Build Collapsible Mountains Puts On "The Act"

Scottish born musician Luke Joyce is enjoying success with his solo project, I Build Collapsible Mountains. Joyce has had a busy year releasing his first EP in April, his first European album in June and now his first US album entitled “The Spectator & The Act.” Fans of Ryan Adams and Ben Folds will love his acoustic, soft, subtle approach to his songwriting.

The opening track, “Face of Thunder Grin” sets up the listener for a relaxing, enjoyable trip through the words and stories of Luke Joyce. He quickens his pace with “Quickest Exit” as the focus falls on the dark lyrical subject matter. His voice shines on “Jump The Blue” as the starkness of just an acoustic guitar plays-out as the perfect backdrop. Joyce’s most valid attempt at a pop song is “Trail Song.” A backing band could give this song more life and more of an impact. On the flipside, “Burn” is set perfectly with just an acoustic guitar to stress the song’s meaning of love. The album ends with another great pop ballad “The Wrong Way” which leaves a memorable chorus playing over in your head.

I Build Collapsible Mountains have one show scheduled at the moment, but look for more dates in the near future. Please check out ibcmountains.com for tour dates, album information and music videos.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Concert Review: Pink Floyd Imported From Australia To Connecticut

Pink Floyd is one of the most well-known bands in music history. Their album “Dark Side of the Moon” set records for the longest running album on the music charts and on their final tour in 1994, Pink Floyd sold out stadiums around the world. Since then, the band has performed only a few times for charity reasons.

In 1988, a group of five musicians from Australia decided to begin a tribute band of Pink Floyd’s music. They called themselves the Australian Pink Floyd Show. Since then, they have become one of the best Pink Floyd tribute bands in the world and last Friday night, they brought their talents to Connecticut to the Mohegan Sun Arena.

Upon entrance into the arena, we were given 3-D glasses to be worn in the second half of the show. The stage was set up almost identical to Pink Floyd’s last tour including the large circular screen in the background. As the lights dimmed, the music began with the keyboard intro to “Shine On You Crazy Diamond.” The first chords of the guitar were strummed and you felt the vibration it was that loud. The music was probably loud enough to hear at the back of a large football stadium. Their first set was filled with some of the more obscure Pink Floyd classics like “Welcome To The Machine,” “Arnold Layne,” and the twenty-minute epic “Dogs.” At times, you could close your eyes and swear it was Pink Floyd on the stage performing, but if you did, you would have missed the laser and light show during “Sorrow” and “Learning To Fly.”

The end of the intermission was signaled by the heartbeat that begins “Dark Side of the Moon.” This was also the time to use the 3-D glasses that were given to the sold out audience. The effects worked well during “Breathe” and “On The Run,” but then it lost its appeal during “Time.” The trio of back-up singers each got their moment to shine, showing off their vocal talents during “Great Gig In The Sky.” The band blasted your eardrums during the screams of “Careful With That Axe, Eugene,” but finally got the audience to their feet for “Another Brick In The Wall.” During the song, the band members became like students to a 25-foot tall teacher from Pink Floyd’s movie “The Wall” as he pointed his finger up and down to the beat.

The audience sang along and cheered during “Wish You Were Here” as pictures of the original members of Pink Floyd were displayed in the background. The bass groove of “One Of These Days” brought out a 25-foot kangaroo to hop along to the song’s tempo. The Australian Pink Floyd Show finished the evening with one of Pink Floyd’s most well-known songs “Comfortably Numb,” shinning a disco ball during the song’s amazing guitar solo.

Without the original Pink Floyd performing live, this is as close as we will get these days to hearing and seeing them live. But it is still great to hear some best rock music of all time performed by one of the best tribute bands on the planet.

Set I: Shine On You Crazy Diamond, Welcome To The Machine, Coming Back To Life, Arnold Layne, Sorrow, Learning To Fly, Dogs

Set II: Speak To Me, Breathe, On The Run, Time, The Great Gig In The Sky, What Do You Want From Me, Careful With That Axe Eugene, Money, The Happiest Days Of Our Lives/Another Brick In The Wall (Pt. 2), Wish You Were Here, One Of These Days, Comfortably Numb

Friday, November 4, 2011

CD Review: Bess Rogers Comes From "Out Of The Ocean"

From New York comes singer/songwriter Bess Rogers with her sophomore release “Out Of The Ocean.” The inspiration for her new album came from a book entitled “Your Inner Fish” which Rogers says “is about the evolution from life as far back as pre-historic fish and microbes.” From that, Rogers looked deeper into her songwriting on this latest album. 

Beginning with “One Step Free,” Rogers begins as if she was leaving the ocean in evolution. The gentleness of her vocals in “Standing Tall” is just perfect amongst the backdrop of her ukulele strumming. The album’s first single, “Anchor” is a quick, acoustic pop song, while the ballad “In The Waves” plays out better for Rogers’ soft vocals. The most up-tempo songs on the album come in the second half with “Water And Dirt” with its sing-along chorus and Katy Perry-style vocals and “I’ll Be Gone” with its punk attitude. The album finishes with the gentle acoustic strumming of “Second Chance” and “Brick By Brick” that Rogers highlights wonderfully with her vocals. 

Bess Rogers is currently on tour and she will be in the New England area at the beginning of November. Her single “Anchor” was released back in August with a cover of The Beatles’ “In My Life.” For more information and a complete list of tour dates, please visit bessrogers.com.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

CD Review: Mark's Midnight Carnival Show Return With Their Best Album To Date

The power-pop trio of Mark's Midnight Carnival Show has returned with a new self-titled album. The nine-track album was released back in September and shows a maturity in the band's songwriting.

The song "Day Dreamer" is a magical combination of the music of vintage Grateful Dead with the lyrical and vocal styling of Jason Mraz. The acoustics of "Invisible" shows us the band's softer, folk-side, while "Dancing" and "The Moon Song" make you want to get-up an groove. They save their best for last with the 6-minute epic "Again," which features the perfection combination of heartfelt lyrics and spot-on music.

For more information on Mark's Midnight Carnival Show and their new album, please visit marksmidnightcarnivalshow.com.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

CD Review: These Days Wish For "Hope & Glory"

From the UK comes These Days with a new EP entitled “Hope & Glory.” The six-song album was recorded in Southampton, England as the songs and performances just came together so perfectly.

The album opens with “Glory” an alternative rocker that sest the ground work for what this band has to offer. The band’s first single “Growing Old” has a great mainstream, alternative rock sound that is sure to catch the ear of many new fans. The band also has a video for the song that can be viewed on their facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/TheseDaysrock). Their song “Always” features some great drumming from Thor Porter as he steals the spotlight while the duel guitar of Lee Male and Lewis Simmons gets the attention they deserve in “Wasting Away.”

The band has a bunch of live dates set-up throughout the UK. Check out the band’s facebook page for more information on this rising new force in alternative music.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

CD Review: White Label Hears "Stolen Voices" From The Past

From Europe comes the trio White Label with their new release "Stolen Voices." The idea for the album is very unique. They took vocals from rare, unreleased demos by some of the biggest names in music like John Lennon, Billie Holiday, David Bowie and others and added their own instrumentation to the vocals. It's like breathing new life into these forgotten gems.

The album begins with "Jean 1" which features Jean Terrell on lead vocals of the song "5.30 Plane" by The Supremes. The song titles on this album are just the first names of the singer on each track. "Todd" showcases Todd Rundgren performing "The Ballad (Denny and Jean)" live in 1971. The music supplied by White Label give these songs a new and different appeal. Many of these vocals have never been heard before and are now presented in such a beautiful way that you'd think that they've always been presented this way. John Lennon's vocals of The Beatles' outtake "Child of Nature" get the psychedelic treatment on "John 1." The combination of the guitar and piano almost give the song a dream-like sound. White Label try to keep the mood similar to what they think the artist would have like as in the piano ballad "Billy" sung by Billy MacKenzie of The Associates. The band gets very experimental on "Billie," but doesn't quite utilize the full potential of Billie Holiday's voice. One of the highlights is "David" which features David Bowie singing "Tired Of My Life" and the trio capture the feeling perfectly of what David might have been portraying in 1971. The album closes with "Dennis," an unreleased solo song from Beach Boys drummer Dennis Wilson. The song is "Carry Me Home," is was originally recorded in 1973 and can now be heard is if it was recorded today.

To hear this amazing idea for yourself, head over to whitelabelstolenvoices.com.