Saturday, December 31, 2011

CD Review: Katie Pearlman Starts The New Year With "Girls Like Us"

Singer/Songwriter Katie Pearlman has a new album on the horizon titled “Girls Like Us.” It is her third album and her most complete piece of music to date. The concept album contains songs about the hardship and survival of women, inspired by true stories from the book “Note to Self” by Andrea Buchanan.

Katie lets her country flag fly on the opener “Girls Like Us.” Surrounded by an all-star group of musicians, Katie’s singing is top notch on this release. She’s found the perfect blend of her sweet vocals and gentle acoustics in “My Movie” and “Little Minnie.” She seems playful on the pop-sounding “Me Again,” then turns serious in the blues-based song “The Lesson.” Katie’s acoustic-folk storytelling is wonderfully displayed in “Tomorrow Will Be Better” before closing the album with the uplifting sounds of “You Belong.”

Katie Pearlman’s new album “Girls Like Us” will be released on January 6 and she has two album release shows scheduled. The first show is on January 6 (the day the album is out) at the Patchogue Theater in Patchogue, NY. The second show is at Mexicali Live in Teaneck, NJ on January 21. She also has two more shows scheduled at the moment, but be sure to visit her website (katiepearlman.com) for more information.

Friday, December 30, 2011

CD Review: Danika Holmes Is Living Her "Dream"

Singer/songwriter Danika Holmes just released her second album entitled “Living Your Dream” which is exactly what she’s doing. An Iowa native, Danika received positive reviews on her debut album “Second Changes” and released her first music video for the single “Lock Me In Tonight.” Now she returns with more experience and the right formula for writing a great pop song.

Her album begins with the country-folk sounds of “Dreams Held Hostage” and the wonderfully gentle storytelling of “Bluebird.” The bluesy feeling of “Rainy Day Lovin’” shows Danika broadening her sound as she also adds some jazz to “Someone New To Forget.” Danika’s pop songwriting shines on “Kiss And Makeup,” while her talents soar on the title song, “Living Your Dream.” The album closes with a fitting cover of Bob Dylan’s “Forever Young.”

Danika Holmes is beginning the New Year off with a bunch of shows in Iowa before heading out on the road in March. Please visit her website (danikaholmes.com) for tour dates and information on the new album.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

CD Review: Stew & The Negro Problem Are "Making It" Happen

The duo of Stew and Heidi Rodewald return from their Tony-winning play “Passing Strange” with a new album entitled “Making It.” The two hit it big with their musical that was also turned into a feature film by Spike Lee Joint. Now, riding on a new high, the two, along with Stew’s band The Negro Problem have painted a new picture of love and art with this latest release.

Stew and the band begin right where they left off with the seven-minute storied song “Pretend.” While Stew’s vocals are still the main focus of the album, Heidi’s voice has been brought to the fore-front and featured in many of the songs like “Love Is A Cult” and “Leave Believe.” The simple beats and the tone of Stew’s singing in “Black Men Ski” is so contagious that you can’t help yourself get wrapped up in singing along. Stew & The Negro Problem rock out the solo on the build-up of “Speed,” but also know has to soften their sound with the gentle strings of “Suzy Wong.” Heidi finds the spotlight once again in the up-tempo “Therapy Only Works If You Tell The Truth” before the album finishes with the R&B flavored “Treat Right.”

Stew & The Negro Problem have a few university shows scheduled for 2012 and the new album will be released on January 24 through Redeye Distribution. For more information, check out their website stewsongs.com.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

CD Review: Hammer Fight Bring The Metal On Their New EP

From New Jersey comes Hammer Fight with their new self-titled EP. This hardcore metal band has the right formula to make an impact. Hard-hitting songs like "Disas-Tour" and "Stuck in the Chamber" just get thrown in your face. The vocals of Drew Murphy are rough and powerful and the band is right behind with their back-breaking metal speed. Hammer Fight will keep your heart pumping with the two-minute metal of "School of Rock" and "Get Wrecked." The band finishes the album with a cover of AC/DC's "If You Want Blood (You Got It)" which sound like they'll deliver on their promise.

Hammer Fight just wrapped up three shows in the New England area. Visit the band's facebook page (facebook.com/HammerFight) for more show dates, as well as song samples from the new EP.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

CD Review: The Dogs Divine Show Us The "Size Of The Fight"

Chicago record label Mortal Music released phe newest album from hard rockers The Dogs Divine back in November entitled "Size Of The Fight." It is the band's sophomore outing and a definite improvement over the band's debut album.

The Dogs Divine come roaring out of the gate with the fist-pumping, head-banding sound of "Dogs," which is the band's battle cry. The energy this band puts into their songs is felt instantaneously in the songs "Overnight Sensation" and "FDLF." Vocalist Tom Hart sounds like Kid Rock in "One and Only" before the band tackles Queen's "I'm In Love With My Car" with mixed results. The gentle acoustic instrumental "Gussie" is a nice break from their hard rock attack before closing the album with the storied lyrics of "One For The Ages."

The Dogs Divine performed a couple of shows in the Illinois area at the beginning of December, but look for more dates to be announced soon. Check out the band's myspace page (myspace.com/thedogsdivine) for more information.

Monday, December 26, 2011

CD Review: Victory Records Features Three New Heavy Metal Releases

Heavy Metal music label Victory Records was busy last October releasing three new albums from some of today’s rising heavy metal artists.

Canadian hardcore metal band Counterparts released their debut album entitled “The Current Will Carry Us.” The band comes roaring out from the beginning with “I Am No One” which is one minute, 48 seconds of blazing speed. Songs like “The Disconnect” and “Sinking” show us some slight variation in the band’s brutal delivery, while “Jumping Ship” is just a straight-on attack of the senses. The album closes with “Reflection,” easily the most accessible song on the album if you are just getting into this musical genre.




Texas metal band Close Your Eyes returned this past fall with their sophomore effort “Empty Hands and Heavy Hearts.” The new album carries some big, powerful guitar riffs and shout out loud lyrics. The pounding drums of the opening song “Hope Slips Away” sets the stage for what this band has to offer. Songs like “Erie” and “Valleys” gives the band a mainstream, heavy rock sound that’s ready for today's rock radio listeners. Close Your Eyes show their teeth on the gang-singing of “Injustice” and the aggressive “Wormwood.” The song “Wolves” sound like an outtake from a Linkin Park album, before the band finishes with the prog-metal rocker “Heavy Hearts.”


Seattle rockers Aiden released their sixth album this past fall called “Some Kind of Hate.” It is the second album by Aiden to not crack the Top 200 Billboard Album chart (the first was the 2011 album “Disguises”). The album’s first single, “Broken Bones” is a three-minute song full of punk-style drumming and rebellious attitude, which gets carried throughout the new album. The band speeds things up with “Grotesque Valley” then goes more mainstream on “Deactivate,” then change gears once again for a more alternative rock sound in “Transmission.” The album closes with Aiden returning to what their best at which is kick-ass lyrics and an in-your-face sound. Look for Aiden to be on the road at the beginning of the year as they just joined the Rock Beyond Belief Festival which begins in March 2012.

For more information on these new releases and others by Victory Records, please visit their website (victoryrecords.com).

Saturday, December 24, 2011

CD Review: The Morning Birds Want You To "Surrender" To Them

The Morning Birds keep cranking out the songs with a new 7-song EP arriving on January 1, 2012. The EP is entitled “Surrender To This” and it follows on the heels of the duo’s last album “The Quickening” which came out in April along with a bonus disc of “B-Sides.”

The duo experiment a little more with beats and harmonies on this new release, especially on the up tempo pop sounding “Born To Be Alive.” The Morning Birds revert back to their folk-pop sound on the song “Treasure,” while the vocals of Jennifer Thorington really begin to take-off. The EP includes a bonus song called “The Fox” which combines simple lyrics, sung along with a country-jaunt beat.

For more information on this new release by The Morning Birds, check out their website at themorningbirds.com.

Friday, December 23, 2011

CD Review: Skalle Begins With "Vol. 1"

From Mexico comes electro-rock band Skalle with their debut album properly titled "Vol. 1." The band is the brainchild of drummer/composer David Adrian who has performed solo and has been a part of instructional drumming videos. This latest adventure takes him to the electronic side of drumming, combining the edginess of hard rock with club-style beats.

The album opens with "Be Yourself," a very fast paced keyboard & drum driven song that draws similarities to The Prodigy and The Chemical Brothers. The album is more of a release for David Adrian to explore the electronic side of the drum world. The songs carry very little vocals, but the music of Skalle makes you want to release the pressures of the day and just let go and enjoy the beats of songs like "Nocturno" and "Electro Swing." The song "Lehania" sounds like it came from the original Tron movie while "Electrokinesis" is as close to mainstream rock music as you'll get on this album. Skalle features a bonus song entitled "Anime Song" which sound like you time warped back to the 80s and you are surrounded with synthesizers.

For more information on David Adrian and his latest project Skalle, please visit his website davidadrianmusic.com.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

CD Review: James Parenti Reflects On "Why We Lost"

From New York comes singer/songwriter James Parenti with a new album entitled "Maybe That's Why We Lost." The album was recorded entirely in Parenti's Queens, NY apartment.

The album begins with the acoustic, subtleness of "Your Frame." Parenti's voice blends in with the music so well that the lyrics hardly matter. The addition of Trish Phelps on vocals help flesh-out Parenti's vocals giving the lyrics a bit more of an impact on "Don't Feed The Animals" and "Winter." The overall appeal of the album is the relaxed way Parenti delivers his vocals, especially on "Rachel" and "Clear Eyes."

James Parenti's new album "Maybe That's Why We Lost" was released on December 12 and was celebrated with a release party at Brooklyn's Goodbye Blue Moon. For more information on James Parenti, please visit his myspace page (myspace.com/jamesparenti).

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

CD Review: Careless Remind Us Of The British Heavy Metal Invasion

If you missed out when the "New Wave of British Heavy Metal" invaded US shores in the late 70s, then here is your chance to experience it with the new release from Careless. The band first started out in the early 80's as fans of Rush and Iron Maiden. The band began writing songs of their own with the same feel as some of these British Heavy Metal bands and started recording them on home recording gear. As the 80's went on, Careless disbanded, until 2008 when founding member Walt Kosar searched the internet to get his band back together. They decided to re-record songs from that early demo along with some brand-new originals which is what makes up their self-released album "Coalition."

The album begins with the three songs from that early recording ("Curtains," "Boundaries," and "D.F.M."). You can instantly hear their love and passion for the "New Wave of British Heavy Metal" as the vocals, guitars and drums follow that blueprint. Of the new songs written on this album, the ones that stand out are "The Gods Themselves" and the more modern sounding "Contend In Vein." Also scattered throughout the album are newly recorded instrumentals.

For more information on Careless and to hear a sample of the album, please visit carelesscentral.com.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

CD Review: Parlor Mob Bring Their "Dogs"

From New Jersey comes the Parlor Mob with their latest album, “Dogs.” The album was released at the beginning of October and is their second release on Roadrunner Records. The band’s youthful energy is felt throughout the album and is very contagious when listening.

The album begins with a blast of sound from “How It’s Going To Be” as the band’s energy pushes the song into high gear powered by the drumming of Sam Bey. The album’s first single, “Into The Sun” has and edgy hard rock sound with a strong, powerful vocal delivery by Mark Melicia. The guitar groove on “Fall Back” draws strong similarities to The White Stripes as this is one of the highlights of the album. Melicia flexes his vocal muscles on the chorus of “I Want To See You,” while the rest of the band catches fire on “Take What’s Mine.” The Parlor Mob takes things down a notch with the acoustic ballads “Slip Through My Hands” and “Holding On” before finishing with slow burn of “The Beginning.”

The Parlor Mob just wrapped up their tour and currently have no dates on the schedule. Check out the band’s website, theparlormob.com, for more information.

Monday, December 19, 2011

CD Review: Never Shout Never Learn "Time Travel" With New Album

American mainstream rock band Never Shout Never return with their third album entitled “Time Travel.” Never Shout Never is the brainchild of Christofer Drew who took the band from obscure folk, indie artist to Top 40, art-rock superstars. The new album was self-produced by the band and shows a maturity in their execution of Drew’s lyrical experimentations.

The album begins with the electro, art house, pop sounding title track that shows the band experimenting with different sounds and tempo’s right from the beginning. It is hard to categorize the music of Never Shout Never as displayed in “Awful” as it switches from a mainstream, dance-pop beginning to a grand “Queen-like” rock ending which continues into “Silver Ecstasy.” I wish that Never Shout Never would do a rock opera in the near future, because their songs “Robot” and “Complex Heart” sound as if they would fit perfectly into a storied soundtrack. The album closes with “Lost at Sea,” a slow-chanting, power ballad that leaves you wanting more from this band.

Their “Time Travel” tour will begin in 2012 in Europe and joining them will be A Rocket to The Moon and Plain White T’s. The album was released in September on Reprise Records and is available everywhere. For more information on Never Shout Never, please visit nevershoutnever.com.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

CD Review: Slingshot Genius Debut With An "Operative Condition"

From Pennsylvania comes alternative rockers Slingshot Genius with their debut full-length album entitled "The Operative Condition." Their new album carries a very modern rock sound, similar to Sonic Youth and Guided By Voices and the singing duo of Scott Canavan and Erika June Christina Laing gives the songs that extra charm.

The album begins with the up-tempo attack of "Bullet," with the blazing guitars of Canavan and Brian Ciarimboli. Laing gets her first chance at the lead vocals in "Holodeck Dream" as she delivers a punk attitude to her vocal delivery. The highlight of the album is the grunge sounds of "Leash" that really show off the band's talent for songwriting. The band shows us some variety in their songs between the deep, slow burn of "Cancer" and the dance-pop of "Hey Manhattan." The album closes with the gentle acoustics of "Too Soon To Worry," which allows you to follow its dark lyrics.

Slingshot Genius just finished up with a show at the Thunderbird Cafe and currently have one date scheduled at the moment for the "Battle of the Bands" on February 2, 2012. To find out more about this band, please visit their website at slingshotgenius.com.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

CD Review: Connecticut Band, Johnny Mainstream Gets "Shipwrecked"

Connecticut band, Johnny Mainstream released their debut album “Shipwrecked” back in February 2011 and have already begun recording their follow-up album “Ghost Broadway.” Johnny Mainstream also had a busy year performing live all over the east coast and is also looking forward to getting back out on the road.

Their sound on their debut album is a mix country and Americana as displayed in the songs “The Mayor’s Daughter” and “Georgia.” The band has fun performing and it shows in their up-tempo songs “#9” and “Radio” as their enjoyment is felt through their recordings. The acoustics of “Mobile Phone” and “Foxholes” are the perfect setting for the song’s storied lyrics. The album finishes with “n nyc” which plays out like the ending of a long distance relationship.

Johnny Mainstream has two shows left this year, one at The Main Pub and the other is a Grady Tavern both in Manchester, CT. Look for the band to schedule more dates after they finish up recording their new album. For more information, check out johnnymainstream.com.

Friday, December 16, 2011

CD Review: Counting Crows Guitarist Gives Us Tender Mercies

Alternative-country newcomers Tender Mercies just released their self-titled debut album on Collective Sounds. Tender Mercies is led by Counting Crows lead guitarist and vocalist Dan Vickrey. The songs on this album originated before Vickrey joined the Counting Crows and are now finally seeing the light of day.

The album begins with the gentle acoustic strumming of "Safe And Sound" which carries a familiar charm to its sound. The band plugs in for "Four White Stallions" introducing us to some of that country swagger. The light brush work on the drums and the wonderful lyrics of "Heaven Knows" makes this one of the stand-out songs on this album. The five-minute story of "Scarecrow" sounds straight from the Ryan Adams songbook as Vickrey expands on his song-writing talents. Tender Mercies seem more at home with the slow-ballads of "Angeline" and "Mercy," then the bar-band sounds of "Ball and Chain" and "Riding Blind." The album closes with "Faded Memories" as the band pays tribute to the southern country of yesteryear.

For more information on Tender Mercies, please visit their facebook page (facebook.com/tendermerciesmusic).

Thursday, December 15, 2011

CD Review: Lorrie Singer & Bradley Kopp Find "A Deep Oasis"

From Texas, comes the duo of Lorrie Singer and Bradley Kopp with a new album entitled “A Deep Oasis.” Bradley Kopp is known as one of the hot, go-to lead guitar players in the Austin, TX area. He’s performed with the likes of Alejandro Escovedo, Charlie Robinson, and Jimmie Dale Gilmore just to name a few. Lorrie Singer sang back-up with musicians like John Denver and Tracy Nelson. After a brief meeting in the late-seventies, the two reunited over a decade ago and released their second album this past summer on Koppertunes Redboot Records.

The album begins with the acoustic-based “Radio Car” that quickly displays the chemistry between Singer and Kopp as the two trade vocals before coming together in the chorus. The album features guest musicians like Glenn Fukunaga (Dixie Chicks), Paul Pearcy (Jimmie Dale Gilmore), Phil Bass (Monte Montgomery), David Webb (Mason Dixon), Michael Wooten (Carole King) and Grammy-winner Joel Guzman. Their southern, laid-back country sound comes shinning through in “Cowgirl Souvenir” and “The Savage Ways Of Man.” The album contains 9 original songs along with 4 covers. Originals like “Eye Of A Needle” and “Uncle Ben’s House” give us a glimpse of Kopp’s guitar skills, while “The Easy Part” highlights Singers wonderful vocals. The best of the cover songs is the album closer “Breakfast In Bed” which has Singer and Kopp coming together to perform this folk classic.

The duo has three shows scheduled for the beginning of 2012 in the Austin, TX area. For more information, please check out their website singerandkopp.com.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

CD Review: Listenable Records Release New Albums By Sarah Jezebel Deva and Tornado

Independent record label Listenable Records is beginning to make a bigger impact in the metal music community. Located in France, the label specializes in heavy metal and has released two new albums by breakout artists Sarah Jezebel Deva and Tornado.

First album up is from Cradle of Filth backup singer Sarah Jezebel Deva. After spending 20 years in the background, Sarah released her first solo album, "A Sign of Sublime" in 2008 with minimal exposure. After a successful 2010 tour, Sarah returned to the studio and has now released her new album entitled "The Corruption of Mercy." There is no denying that Sarah's voice can send shivers up you spine, but it is her band that is the driving force behind this album. Songs like "No Paragon of Virtue" and "Silence Please" find that magical combination of Sarah's amazing vocals and the band's energetic delivery. Special guest Psy-Clone adds great orchestration to the song "What Lies Before You" and the solo piano of "Pretty With Effects" allows us to enjoy the fullness of Sarah's vocals. She also tackles a cover of The Cranberries' song "Zombie," giving it an edgier, heavier sound.

Sarah Jezebel Deva just finished up a UK tour in October. Look for her to add new dates in 2012. For more information, check out sarahjezebeldeva.co.uk.

The next album is from thrash metal band Tornado with their debut entitled "Amsterdam, Helsinki." Their sound has been described as having the grit of Motley Crue combined with the speed and energy of Slayer. The band goes right to the core of thrash with "Hate Worldwide" and "3 of 8" and delivers a home run with Superstar Joey Severance delivering on the vocals. The band's sound is pure metal as they motor through "Eugenics" and "Blue," while their LA-style attitude shows up in "Ignorance Is Thy Name." The album closes with "Rise Disciples, Rise," a blaze a speed with "in your face" vocals. The perfect way to end this band's new approach to thrash metal music.

Tornado do not have any shows scheduled at the moment, but visit their facebook page (facebook.com/tornadoamsterdam) get more information about this band.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

CD Review: Machine Head Release "The Locust"

California metal band Machine Head released their seventh studio album “Unto The Locust” at the end of September on Roadrunner Records. The album was considered one of the most anticipated heavy metal albums of 2011. “Unto The Locust” entered the Billboard album chart at #22; the highest chart ranking the band has ever received. The album was recorded at Green Day’s Jingletown Studios and was produced and mixed by lead vocalist/guitarist Robb Flynn.

The album kicks off with the 8-plus minute epic “I Am Hell.” As the song starts off with a chant of “Sangre Sani” you instantly get thrust in the duel heavy guitar and drumming attack that Machine Head is known for. Flynn’s vocals cast you in a dark and scary place as he brings on the plague with his powerful voice. The album’s first single “Locust” shows off the great rhythm section of Dave McClain on drums and Adam Duce on bass. Robb Flynn expands his vocal range on this outstanding track. The band speeds things up with the song “This Is The End” that features some great guitar work by Phil Demmel. Machine Head get the “prog-metal” bug out of their system on “Darkness Within” with mixed results before finishing the album with the metal powerhouse songs ‘Pearls Before the Swine” and “Who We Are.”

The band toured the US this past summer as part of the Rockstar Energy Mayhem Festival and are currently performing live overseas in Europe. Their new album was also recently featured as the "Pick Of The Week" on VH1 Classic's "That Metal Show." For more information on Machine Head’s new album and to view the video for the song “Locust,” head over to machinehead1.com.

Monday, December 12, 2011

CD Review: Mutemath Claim To Have An "Odd Soul"

Drum-heavy alternative rockers Mutemath return with their third studio album entitled “Odd Soul.” The album was released at the beginning of October and entered the Billboard Album charts at #24. It is the first album not to feature original guitarist Greg Hill.

The album's lead single is the title track; “Odd Soul” which follows the formula that Mutemath has set up on past releases with a pounding drum-line and chanting chorus. The band picks up the tempo with the almost dance-like beat of “Prytania,” before finding their groove on the blues-infused “Blood Pressure.” Funk rears its head on “Tell Your Heart Heads Up,” then Mutemath go a bit soft on the keyboard heavy “All or Nothing.” The rock returns in “Allies” and “Cavalries” before reaching the experimental sounds of the 7-minute epic “Quarantine.” The album closes with the gentle, floating airiness of “In No Time” which is the most mainstream, pop song to appear on this new release.

Mutemath have one VIP show left this year before heading out on the road in 2012. For a complete list of dates, song samples and album info, please visit mutemath.com.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

CD Review: "It's Likely" For The McCauliffe Brothers Band To Find Success

The McCauliffe Brothers Band, from North Carolina, released their debut album entitled “It’s Likely” this past summer. The band does a great job combining their laid-back, jam-band sound with the mellow vocals of guitarist Chris McCauliffe. The rest of the trio is made up of Chris’ brother Mike on bass and Lehman Best on drums.

While you hear the potential this band has in the opener “Easier,” they don’t find their groove until the Red Hot Chili Peppers-sounding “Might As Well.” The song “As It Was” sounds like a 90’s style alternative rocker, while “Locked Away” has a strong chorus surrounded by a heavy bass line. The McCauliffe Brothers Band save the best for last on their 7-minute, slow-building epic song, “It’s Likely,” which really shows off the band’s talents. Chris McCauliffe’s guitar solo about 4 minutes into the song is a must hear.

The McCauliffe Brothers Band is currently in the studio working on songs for their follow-up album. Check out their website, mcbrosmusic.com for more information.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Last Record Riot of 2011!

This Sunday, December 11, is the last Cromwell Record Riot of the year. If you haven't been to one yet, now is the perfect time to go. The weather is getting colder, plus it is the holiday buying season and the Record Riot is the place to find that rare gift. If you have a music lover on your Christmas list, then the Cromwell Record Riot is the perfect place to shop. There will be loads of vinyl records, CDs and DVDs. Sometimes the Record Riot even has concert shirts, posters, cassettes and other music memorabilia.

It takes place at the Crowne Plaza in Cromwell, CT - exit 21 off I-91. Hours are from 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM and admission is only $3. They also have an early bird special where you can pay $10 and be one of the first in the door at 8 AM. Over 40 dealers will be there ready to help you finish off your holiday shopping.

Friday, December 9, 2011

CD Review: The Wiggles Get "Rewiggled" On Tribute Album

Australian band The Wiggles are easily considered one of the biggest children's groups of all-time. Now, they are celebrating their 20th anniversary as a band and ABC Music is paying homage to them by releasing an album of cover songs called "Rewiggled." The album gathers some of the biggest names of the Australian indie music scene to record their own version of many Wiggles' classics like "Fruit Salad" and "Wiggle Party."

Many of the artists stick close to the original as in the opener "Hot Potato" by The Living End as they speed the tempo up just a bit, but still keep The Wiggles' playful energy. The band Washington turn "The Monkey Dance" into a California surf sounding song. Spiderbait turns "Rock-A-Bye Your Bear" into a fun, punk spectacle, while Oh Mercy give "Toot Toot, Chugga Chugga Big Red Car" an alternative rock remake. Some songs like "Get Ready To Wiggle" by Adalita and "Wake Up, Jeff!" by Bluejuice get totally reworked that they almost become unrecognizable. At least every band injects their own style into these classic children's songs.

For more information on this fun, exciting, interesting tribute album to one of America's (and the rest of the world's) biggest children's band, The Wiggles, please visit facebook.com/rewiggled.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

CD Review: The Dead Milkmen Return With "The King In Yellow"

Formed in 1983, The Dead Milkmen began as an underground punk rock band, performing in the Philadelphia area. Then, in 1988, they hit it big with their single “Punk Rock Girl” and their album “Beelzebubba” broke into the top 200 Billboard Album chart. Now after a fifteen year hiatus, The Dead Milkmen return with a new album entitled “The King In Yellow.”

The album begins with that familiar alternative, punk sound that only The Dead Milkmen are known for, the quick drumbeat and simple guitar strumming wrapped around storied lyrics. The band shows a harder edge on “Fauxhemia,” then add some eighties rock to “She’s Affected,” but it’s the “Meaningless Upbeat Happy Song” where we find the band’s comedic lyrics in full-force. Most of the songs on the new album average about two minutes, but that is all that’s needed for The Dead Milkmen to get their point across as in “Some Young Guy” and “Quality of Death.” The Dead Milkmen seem to be having fun performing again as it shows in the punk song “Commodify Your Dissent” and the ska-sounding “Can’t Relax.” The album closes with “Solvents (For Home and Industry)” as the band’s sound flashes back to the early eighties when alternative music was still underground before bands like R.E.M. made it mainstream.

The Dead Milkmen have one show scheduled on December 10 in Philadelphia and their new album is available now through the band’s website (deadmilkmen.com).

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

CD Review: Republic Of Letters Tells Us Some "Stories"

From San Diego, CA come alternative rockers Republic Of Letters with their debut album “Stories.” The album was produced by Brian Karscig (Louis XIV) and plays heavily on their influences like U2, Bruce Springsteen and The Police.

The album begins with the piano-driven “Lost Chord” as the band pull off their best Coldplay impersonation. The album’s first single, is the title song “Stories.” The song is a constant build-up of the instruments until the song’s final chorus. The band takes a page out of The Cure’s songbook with “Long Way Down” and “Endless Drive,” which carry a modern tempo beat that plays it safe in-order to accent the vocals of Chris Venti. The album closes with “Kate,” a Train-like rocker with great pop vocals that is sure to please the ears of anyone listening.

Their new album “Stories” was released back in April, but is still gaining momentum as the band receives play on radio stations in the California area. For more information on Republic of Letters, please visit their website at republicofletters.com.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

CD Review: Lucas Field Finds The "Conquest Of Happiness"

Singer/songwriter Lucas Field has just released his solo debut album entitled “Conquest of Happiness.” Lucas Field is the former frontman of the Los Angeles indie rock band Low vs. Diamond. This new album is a bit of a departure from his band as this album contains no guitars or synthesizers. Lucas tries to embrace and capture the sound of 70’s R&B through his vocals along with keyboards and bass to add some funk to the overall sound of the album.

The album starts with “Let It All Begin” as you instantly notice how wonderfully Lucas Field reaches back to achieve that 70s soul sound. Field gets his groove on for “Start From Scratch,” which is just a fun, sing-along with a great bass line that just gets you to move. Lucas’ song “Hold Her Tonight” is a funk experiment that you’d wish would just go on for hours as he locks in and just jams away. The album closes with a Barry White-type song entitled “Fate,” that carries a smooth R&B vibe.

The new album is available now and was recently featured on music.aol.com as one of the top releases of the week of November 14th. Please visit lucasfield.com for song samples and music videos from the new album. Also, check back for tour dates in the near future.

Monday, December 5, 2011

CD Review: Glass Child Instructs Us "How Ghosts Are Made"

Swedish-born Charlotte Eriksson returns with her latest Glass Child EP entitled "This Is How Ghosts Are Made." Since her 2010 debut, Glass Child had a #2 hit on the Swedish itunes chart with her charity single "I Will Lead You Home" and her song-writing has grown without limits.

The five-song EP begins with her latest single "Tell The World." The song starts off gentle and innocent, until Eriksson's "hold nothing back" attitude enters the song's chorus and turn into into an anthem for survival. I love the dark wordplay of "Insanity" as her alternative, folk-rock sound creeps into your head. The force of a full-band is welcomed in "Best Part of Me" as she truly put her song-writing talents on display on the most mainstream alternative rock song on this album. Charlotte's folk roots shine on "Hynic Jerk" before ending with "The Devil's Sin" which captures all the aspects of Eriksson's talents and leaves us with hope of a full-length album soon.

The Glass Child performed only a handful of songs in 2011, so look for more dates in the near future. Please visit charlotteeriksson.com for videos, song samples and more from the new album.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

CD Review: Mastadon Becomes "The Hunter" Not The Hunted

American metal band Mastodon return with their fifth studio album entitled “The Hunter.” It was released at the end of September on Reprise Records and cracked the top 10 on the Billboard Album chart upon its release. The title of the album is in honor of lead guitarist/vocalist Brent Hinds’ brother who died of a heart-attack while out hunting.

While some Mastodon’s albums are considered concept albums, “The Hunter” is not one of them. The songs on this new release are less progressive rock and more guitar riff heavy as in the opener “Black Tongue.” The latest song to be released as a single is “Curl of the Burl” sounds like a throwback to 70s hard rock. This song also garnished the band a Grammy nomination for "Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance." The grungy guitar intro to “Stargasm” lays the groundwork for blast of metal drumming from Brann Dailor. Mastodon feels at home writing about the elements, as in “Dry Bone Valley” and “Spectrelight,” which features Neurosis’ Scott Kelly on vocals. Their prog-rock aspects shine through on the epic-sounding “Creature Lives” and “Bedazzled Fingernails,” before finishing with the mostly instrumental “The Sparrow.”

Mastodon just wrapped up their US tour at the beginning of December and will be heading over to Europe at the start of the New Year. For more information on Mastodon’s new album “The Hunter,” please visit mastodonrocks.com.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

CD Review: Madonna's Guitarist, Monte Pittman Sings About "Pain, Love & Destiny"

Guitarist Monte Pittman has very interesting back-story. He was raised in Texas, then aspiring to become a professional musician, he moved to LA when he was 24. He proceeded to give guitar lessons to make ends meet, until one such lesson changed his life. British filmmaker Guy Ritchie just received a guitar from then girlfriend Madonna and asked Pittman for lessons. Soon after, Pittman was asked to give guitar lessons to Madonna herself. Then, in 2001 Pittman was asked to be the guitarist in Madonna's band, to which he proudly accepted. Monte Pittman is also currently the guitarist and music director for Adam Lambert's live band.

This past October, Monte Pittman released his second solo album entitled "Pain, Love & Destiny." The sound on this new release flows between acoustic ballads to full-blown rock numbers, and that's just describing the first song, "About You..." His work with Madonna and Adam Lambert has given Pittman a sense of writing a great hook-filled pop song like "Lost" and "The Price of Fear." Not to worry, Pittman does blaze a trail of rock with his guitar on "Close Your Eyes" and the 8-minute epic "Burn Down The Garden." His album closes with the ballad "Predetermined Destiny" which features some beautiful piano from Kelle Rhodes (Randy Rhodes' brother).

Monte Pittman recently performed at the of Blues in Houston, TX on December 1 and will be at the Whisky A Go Go in Los Angeles, CA on December 29. Next year he will also release his own signature guitar. For more information on Monte Pittman, please visit his website montepittman.com.

Friday, December 2, 2011

CD Review: R.E.M. Sums Up 31 Years As "Part Lies, Part Heart, Part Truth, Part Garbage"

R.E.M. were one of those bands that did things their way and found success with each new adventure. They released their first single, "Radio Free Europe" in 1981 and became an instant underground alternative cult band. Then in 1987, R.E.M. found success with their fifth album "Document" as it climbed into the Top 20 on the Billboard Album charts. By the beginning of 1991, R.E.M. were one of the biggest names in rock music with hits like "Losing My Religion" and "Everybody Hurts." As the 90s came to a close, R.E.M. had a difficult time finding the success that came less than a decade ago. The early retirement of the band's original drummer Bill Berry and the lack of sales for albums had the band rethinking their approach to making music. They decided that they needed to go back to move forward, so the band released two separate hits compilations. This sparked the band to release their comeback album, "Accelerate" in 2008 and the follow-up "Collapse Into Now" in 2011, which would become the band's last studio album as R.E.M. called it quits this past September.

Now from Warner Bros. Records we get the definite, career-spanning 2 CD greatest hits entitled "Part Lies, Part Heart, Part Truth, Part Garbage, 1982-2011." Now with any greatest hits set, songs that should be on here were left off, but this is the first R.E.M. compilation that combines the band's I.R.S. Records years with their Warner Bros. hits. One of the best things about this compilation is that is was done with full cooperation of the band.

The first disc opens with 1982's "Gardening at Night" which gives us the high, fragile voice of Michael Stipe that latter fans might not be used to as his tone grew deeper with each new phase in the band's career. Each early R.E.M. album gets represented with at least two singles. One of the big surprises is the inclusion of "Shiny Happy People" as Stipe mentioned his dislike for this song and with so many other great songs on that album, this could have be easily replaced with another song. The first disc ends with "The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonite" from the album "Automatic For The People."

Disc two continues with the album "Automatic For The People," beginning with the emotionally quiet "Everybody Hurts." Albums like "Monster," "Up," and "Reveal" only have one song from them, while R.E.M.'s last album, "Collapse into Now" used three songs. Like I said before, you can't put everyone's favorite songs together, but I believe Warner Bros. along with the band did a great job putting together this compilation to please both long-time fans and new ones too.

The set also includes three new songs that were written during the sessions for the band's last album. First is the quick "A Month of Saturdays" which is only 1:40 long and doesn't really make that much of an impact. The other two songs are more memorable as the first single "We All Back to Where We Belong" is the perfect song for a career ending compilation as Stipe sings his heart out. The album ends with the acoustic build-up "Hallelujah" which shows us the brilliance that this band still had to offer its fans.

After 31-years, R.E.M. decided to leave the music industry and its legacy behind as they solidified themselves as one of the greatest rock bands of all time.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

CD Review: Grouplove Sing Us "A Happy Song"

Indie rockers Grouplove have released their debut album “Never Trust A Happy Song” through Canvasback/Atlantic Records. The album was recorded and produced by drummer Ryan Rabin (son of Yes guitarist Trevor Rabin). The band’s debut album carries an alternative, pop sound that features the singing duo of Christian Zucconi and Hannah Hooper.

The album begins with “Itchin’ On A Photograph,” an up-tempo, acoustic, folk rocker that easily portrays the passion this band has for performing. The song “Colours” carries that same vibe and has been featured in the video games “Madden NFL 12” and Fifa 12.” The band has fun with “Tongue Tied” that sound like a throwback to the pop, alternative sound of the eighties. While the band’s slower songs seem to drag, it's their upbeat, get on your feet songs like “Spun” and “Chloe” that make this album fun to listen to. Their heartfelt acoustic ballad “Cruel and Beautiful World” and the closing song “Close Your Eyes and Count To Ten” show-off the true songwriting talents this band has to offer.

Grouplove have recently shared the stage with Florence and the Machine and will be heading to Australia at the beginning of 2012 for their own headlining tour. Check out the band’s website (grouplovemusic.com) for song samples from the new album, as well as tour dates and a live session performed at Spin magazine studios.