Friday, August 31, 2012

CD Review: Singer/Songwriters Mike Clifford And Eric Reitz Display Talents On New Albums

Singer/songwriter Mike Clifford has a new independent EP entitled “Day Dreamer.” The five songs are all acoustic based with some Dave Matthews-type songwriting as in “Come On Back To Me.” There is a frailty to his voice as displayed in “Next To You,” but it only adds to the overall appeal of his songwriting. The most complete sounding song on this EP is “Secret Heart” as the harmonizing and simple beat give this song an outdoor, campfire feel.

Mike Clifford has a show scheduled for September 15 at The Living Room In New York City. For information on his new release and for song samples, please visit mikecliffordmusic.com.

Pennsylvania singer/songwriter Eric Reitz recently released his second album “Sinister Love.” The album begins with the up-tempo, pop-rock of “Everybody’s Dressing Up” and “Sinister Love,” before Eric dives into the blues on “Two Shots.” He as a slight roughness to his voice that makes his vocals sound very mature and weathered. The album reaches its pinnacle with the album’s first single “City Lights” as he masterfully combines the music and the melody of the song. The album closes with the acoustic, heartfelt ballad “Breaking.”

Eric Reitz has about a dozen live dates scheduled in New York, North Carolina and Virginia. Please visit ericreitz.com for a complete list of shows and for more information on the new album.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

CD Review: I Was Totally Destroying It And Kestrels Push Out New Music

From Durham, NC come alternative rockers I Was Totally Destroying It with a new album entitled “Vexations.” The album was inspired by Stephen King’s book “The Dark Tower” and was co-produced by Joshua Cain (Motion City Soundtrack) and Ed Ackerman (The Replacements, The Jayhawks). This is the band’s fourth album and it was released on August 21 through Greyday Records.

The album begins with the up-tempo title track as lead singer Rachel Hirsh vocals draw a strong comparison to Sheryl Crow. Fellow vocalist John Booker takes over the reins on “Hello, Salty Ghost” as the music takes on a moody, more atmospheric feeling, but the harmonies between the two is just outstanding. The pulsating beat of “The Prisoner” gives the song a nineties-alternative vibe, similar to The Cranberries before updating their sound with the addition of keyboards on “My Internal Din.” The band brings up the great grungy guitar sound on “Dust Up New Perpetuum Mobile,” then closes the album with the dance beat of “Seasonal Low.”

I Was Totally Destroying It has a jam packed tour schedule for the next couple months, including a string of dates along the east coast with Motion City Soundtrack, Jukebox The Ghost and Now Now. For more information on the new album and for a complete list of tour dates, please visit iwtdi.com.

From north of the border comes the falcon named band Kestrels with a new album entitled “A Ghost History.” This guitar-driven release begins right away with the fuzzed out guitar sound of “Drowning Girl.” The band attacks their instruments with the punk-like “Dumb Angel” as they perfectly capture that rough, garage-rock atmosphere with their music. The band tries to expand their sound with the moody bass-heavy “Islands” before diving back to their comfort zone with “The Light” and “Decoder.” The album closes with the experimental sounds of “Lose” and the punk-pop of “The Past Resets.”

Kestrels just wrapped up a short, seven-date U.S. tour and will be heading out on the road in Canada in mid-September. For more information, please visit kestrels.ca.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

CD Review: Virus Cycle Demands An Answer For "Love"

Industrial/Electronic metal band Virus Cycle just released their latest batch of music which includes the latest single “Why Don’t You Love Me?” The combination of the club beats and dark, haunting vocals gives the new song a very gothic feel. The new song is a preview to the band’s upcoming album “Zombiechrist.”

The keyboard frenzy of the “From Dusk” remix is a great contrast to the moody, slow beat of “Love Me To Death.” The standout song on this new EP is “The Dead Hate The Living” with a more heavy metal/industrial sound similar to Rob Zombie. The eight-minute “Why Don’t You Love Me?” remix plays out like a movie inside your head as DJ N1nestein tries throwing in as much music as he can within the mix. The album closes with the Parasite In Agony’s Zombie Crucifix Remix of “Zombieland” as the song begins with a more metal sound that gets morphed into a club beat.

The new album, “Zombiechrist” will be available on October 13. For more information, check out bluntfacerecords.com.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

CD Review: Metal Blade Records Will Turn September Into "Metal Month"

Once again, Metal Blade Records rolls out some new music to bang your head to. Here are some of Europe’s finest metal, including new music from Darkness By Oath, The Foreshadowing, Over Your Threshold and Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell.

Darkness By Oath comes to us from Spain with a new album entitled “Near Death Experience.” Their music is hard-hitting death metal as showcased in the opening song “In An Obscure Eternity.” The band speed things up on “A Cry Of Terror” display their talents in the instrumental “Holloworld.” The album also features guest appearances from Anders Bjorler (The Haunted) and Mario Illiopoulos (Nightrage). Screams are heard (and felt) in “Unequivocal Evil Excitement” before the band closes the album with the aggressive “Terror In A Thousand Faces.”

Darkness By Oath will be performing at the Girona Metal Festival in September and at Hangar 77 in October. For more information, check out darknessbyoath.com.

The Foreshadowing recently released their 2010 European album “Oionos” alongside their latest album “Second World.” While lead singer Marco I. Benevento takes center stage on the band’s 2010 release, the musicianship becomes the focus on 2012’s “Second World.” You instantly notice has well the band perform together on the album’s opening song, “Havoc.” Their brand of doom metal has a lot more going on with the music than just the deep sludging bass and drums. The duel guitars of Andrea Chiodetti and Alessandro Pace give these songs a breath of life that keeps you listening as in “The Forsaken Son” and “Aftermaths.” The album closes with the haunting, keyboard drenched “Friends Of Pain.”

The Foreshadowing just performed at the Summer Breeze Open Air Festival in Germany and currently do not have any further dates on the schedule. Be sure to check out theforeshadowing.com for more information on the new album.

Right from the first guitar string, the new album from Germany’s death metal band Over Your Threshold hits you right in the face. The new album entitled “Facticity” was released on August 28th in North America and it is the band’s first full-length release. The vocals of Ludwig Walter on the opening song “Cortical Blindness” shows that is band means business. They find their speed metal groove on “Contextual Fluctuating” and “Abdicted,” before closing the album with the powerful “Facticity.”

Over Your Threshold will be performing at the Fistful of Metal 2012 on August 31 in Denmark. For more information on the band’s new album, as well as concert dates, please visit overthethreshold.de.

The Shovell are named after a 17th century English naval commander, Admiral Sir Cloudsley Shovell. Their heavy metal sound brings us back to seventies heavy rock as demonstrated in “Devil’s Island” and “Red Admiral Black Sunrise.” They pick up the pace on “iDeath” and “The Last Run,” but feel more comfort in the heavy bass and drum groove “Scratchin’ & Sniffin’” and “Killer Kane.”

For more information on this band, please visit metalblade.com/admiralsircloudsleyshovell.

Monday, August 27, 2012

CD Review: New Hot Music Coming From Missing Cats, P.J. Pacifico And Saul Zonana

Musicians John “Jojo” Herman and Sherman Ewing have combined their songwriting talents to become Missing Cats. The duo will release their debut album, “Larry Brown Amen” on September 4 and will embark on a fifteen date tour with the North Mississippi Allstars beginning September 7th.
 
The album begins with the open, airy, Tom Petty-esque rocker, “Any Moment” and continues on with the laid-back, ukulele sounds of “Rose Parade” as you instantly notice the chemistry between the two performers. Ewing’s slide guitar on “How We Go From Here“ is outstanding which makes this one of the more memorable songs on the album. The song “1/2 To The Top” sounds like an outtake of Herman’s former band, Widespread Panic, before his soft piano ballad “Highwire.” Missing Cats recapture that Tom Petty sound on “Your Guess Is As Good As Mine,” before adding some funk to their repertoire with “Skydiver.” The album closes with the seven-minute blues romp of “Vinyl Persuasion.”
 
The new album was produced by Jon Randall Stewart (Emmylou Harris, Sam Bush) and will be released through Two-Bone Shoes Records. For more information on the new album on their tour with the North Mississippi Allstars, please visit their facebook page (facebook.com/MissingCats).
 
Connecticut’s own P.J. Pacifico is not slowing down, he released his last studio album, “Outlet” last year and released a live EP earlier this year and now P.J. is ready to release his fifth studio album entitled “Surface.” The new album was produced by Andy Abel and will be released on September 25 through Viper Records.
 
The nine-song album begins with the very polished, pop-rock sound of “Half Wishing.” P.J.’s voice just seems to get better and more mature sounding with every release. His songwriting also continues to grow as in “Champions & Guardians” as his lyrics just wrap you up and take you on a journey. His voice is so warm and tender on the title song, “Surface” that you can’t help but get lost in the song. P.J. pays tribute to one of his idols with an inspiring cover of Christopher Cross’ “Sailing,” before continuing on with the powerful “It’ll Never End” about surviving cancer. The album closes with another heartfelt, acoustic ballad “Hold Me, Austin” featuring Garrison Starr on vocals.
 
P.J. Pacifico is currently on an east coast tour that will run through mid-October. He will be performing all over Connecticut in the month of September, so be sure to check him out in your area. For a complete list of dates, please visit pjpacifico.com.
 
Guitar virtuoso Saul Zonana will be releasing his tenth studio album, “Fix The Broken” on October 2. Saul performed 95% of the music, using nine different guitars on the ten songs. Saul Zonana has worked with Ace Frehley, Adrian Belew and Crash Test Dummies just to name a few, but he is now focusing once again on his solo career.
 
The album contains some amazing guitar work, as in the opening song “Notice,” as Zonana even uses his guitars to create the keyboard and synth sounds on his new release. His voice draws similarities to Lenny Kravitz at times, but he also maintains his own personality in his vocals. The highlight of the album is easily the eight-plus minute epic “Big Fish” as Zonana stretches out his talents for making the guitar a part of himself.
 
Saul Zonana has some dates scattered over the next few months, be sure to check out his website (saulsonana.com) for up to date information.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

CD Review: Steve Forbert Goes "Over" Well With New Album

Grammy nominated songwriter Steve Forbert, best known for the 1980 hit song “Romeo’s Tune,” is preparing to release his fourteenth album entitled “Over With You.” Hailed by critics as the “new Bob Dylan,” Forbert’s songs have been recorded by several artists including Rosanne Cash, Marty Stuart and Keith Urban. On his new album of original songs, Forbert incorporates the help of Ben Harper, Ben Sollee, Jason Yates, Michael Jerome and Sheldon Gomberg.

The album was recorded at the Carriage House studio in the Silver Lake’s neighborhood of Los Angeles as the songs reflect a more laid-back vibe beginning with “All I Asked Of You.” The gruffness in Forbert’s voice is most noticeable on the up-tempo songs “All I Need To Do” and “Metal Marie.” His storied songwriting shines on the pleading vocals of “Baby, I Know” and “Don’t Look Down, Pollyanna.” The album finishes with “Sugarcane Plum Fairy” as Forbert’s vocals reflect those of Tom Waits while the lyrics play out like a modern fairytale.

Steve Forbert has a jam packed tour schedule that includes a show at the Arch Street Tavern in Hartford, CT on September 15. Please visit steveforbert.com for a complete list of dates that run until the end of the year.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

CD Review: Janis Martin Releases Her Last "Sessions"

The final album by Rockabilly legend Janis Martin will be released on September 18 through Cow Island Music. This album was recorded in April 2007, five months before her death, by fellow rockabilly musician and fan Rosie Flores. Flores stated that “it was a dream come true” when she first met Martin in 1994 and is now is able to repay the favor by releasing her swan song “The Blanco Sessions.”

Janis Martin was nicknamed “the female Elvis” and this album proves that remark with her version of such songs as “Wild One (Real Wild Child)” and “Find Out What’s Happening.” Even at age 67, Janis Martin’s voice was so strong and pure as in “Sweet Dreams” that you just get lost in the moment listening to this song. The eleven songs on this album were recorded over the course of only two days, but you feel the spontaneity in her performances of “I Believe What You Say” and “Oh Lonesome Me.” The album closes with a duet with country singer Kelly Willis on the song “Walk Softly On This Heart Of Mine.” Willis’ vocals were recorded in April 2011 in order flesh out the song’s vocals.

For more information on this release, please visit conqueroo.com/janismartin.html.

Friday, August 24, 2012

CD Review: Miggs New Album Makes Its Way To "15th & Hope"

California rock band, miggs is preparing to release their fifth album entitled “15th & Hope.” The album is due September 11 and will be released through Elm City Music (EMI). Legendary producer Phil Ramone (Billy Joel, Paul Simon, Paul McCartney) stepped in on this album to give miggs that boost in sound to help them rise to the top of their game.
 
The album begins with the polished, mainstream rock sounds of “Pretty.” The band’s ten-plus years together shows in their musicianship and in their songwriting, as the album’s lead-single “Stars” combines the two perfectly to create a power, pop-rock hit. Miggs show their passion in the power ballad “Home,” before rocking out on “Everyone But Me.” They have another gentle ballad, “On Your Own Side” that slows down the flow of the album, before finishing strong with the pounding of drums on “Save Me” and the acoustic, heartfelt ballad “The Way It Is.”
 
Miggs have toured with Maroon 5, Ed Kowalczyk (Live), Plain White T’s and more and are heading out on the road beginning September 14 with a CD release show at The Orpheum in Tampa, FL. Their tour lasts until the beginning of November, so be sure to check them out in your area. For more information on their new release ,“15th & Hope” and for a complete list of tour dates, check out their facebook page (facebook.com/miggsmusic).

Thursday, August 23, 2012

CD Review: Apollo Run Are Back To Slay The "Dragon"

New York rockers Apollo Run are ready to release their grand, full-length debut album, “Here Be Dragons, Vol. III.” This follows the band’s earlier EP’s “Here Be Dragons, Vol. I & II.” The trio from Brooklyn have a huge, epic sound that is geared toward the stage with lyrics and music that create images within you mind. The band just finished a stage performance of their albums and will be taking their show on the road, including a stop on October 13 at Stella Blues in New Haven, CT.

The band combines their love for the bands, Queen and Electric Light Orchestra in the opener “The Inevitable Small Rebellions” which acts as an introduction to the story. They pick up the pace on “Desire” as the music matches the intensity of the storied lyrics. The band captures the airy flow of “Act IV” with some great harmonizing, while having a big rock sound on “Pay It Forward.” The gentle ballad, “Sirens” is perfectly executed with beautiful melodies and some of the best singing on this release. The tempo finally picks back up for “Devil In Disguise,” before reverting back to the wonderful harmonizing of “Autumn Song.” The album closes with “Ruby” which carries some very interesting time changes.

Apollo Run has a handful of live dates scattered over the next few months. For more information on the band’s new album, “Here Be Dragons, Vol. III” and for a complete list of tour dates, please visit apollorun.com.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

CD Review: The Coal Porters "Find The One" With Their New Album

British bluegrass band The Coal Porters will release their fifth album entitled “Find The One” on September 18 in the U.S. The album was produced by British folk veteran John Wood (Pink Floyd, Nick Drake) and will be released through Prima Records.

Singer/songwriter Sid Griffin was originally from Kentucky before moving to London to help pursue his music career. He helped invent alt-country with the Long Ryders back in the 1980’s in Los Angeles, CA and now helped create the “alt-bluegrass” sound in London with The Coal Porters.

The new album begins with a more traditional bluegrass sound in “Barefoot On The Courthouse Lawn.” The band picks up the tempo for the high-energy song “Never Right His Wrong” featuring the lead vocals of Carly Frey. The album features some well-known cover songs including an almost unrecognizable rendition of David Bowie’s “Heroes” and a spot on take of The Rolling Stones’ “Paint It, Black.” Famed British folk guitarist Richard Thompson lends a hand on the original composition “Hush U Babe/Burnham Thorpe.” The band flex their “alt-bluegrass” muscle on the quick paced “Brand New Home” and “You Only Miss Her When She’s Gone” as they have achieved a new plateau in their career.

The Coal Porters performed at the London Folkfest this past July and are continuing on the road in the UK with shows that last until November. For more information on the new album and a complete list of live shows, please visit facebook.com/thecoalporters.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Concert Review: Train Brings Fun To Mohegan Sun

The band Train pulled into the Mohegan Sun Arena on Sunday, August19 bringing along a fourteen year career of pop radio hits. There live show is like an extension of those hits on a more personable and fun level.

As the train whistle blew, the audience went crazy jumping to their feet, dancing to the band’s latest single “50 Ways To Say Goodbye.” The volume in the arena seemed maxed out as Train continued on with “This’ll Be My Year” and “If It’s Love.” There seemed to be an abundance of cameras as Train was filming part of the show for a documentary. They invited original Train bassist Rob Hotchkiss to the stage to perform the deep cut, “I’m About To Come Alive” from their 2003 album “My Private Nation.” They bookend their #1 single, “Calling All Angels” with a tease of the Rolling Stones’ “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.”

Then the fun started to skyrocket as beach balls were flying around the arena during “Save Me, San Francisco.” About a dozen girls ranging from age 6 to 36 were invited onstage to dance as mermaids for one of the band’s jamming new songs “Mermaid” off their 2012 album “California 37.” A Connecticut singer by the name of Melissa joined lead singer Pat Monahan for a duet of “Bruises,” before the audience sang with Monahan on an acoustic version of “Marry Me.”

After a short, but electrifying drum solo by Scott Underwood, lead guitarist Jimmy Stafford rejoined him on stage with his ukulele for a party-like version of “Hey Soul Sister,” which ended with the chorus of Fun’s “We Are Young.” They kept the tempo going, closing out the set with “Drive By.”

The three-song encore was just like an extension of the main set as they performed the title song from their new album “California 37” and their Grammy-winning single “Drops Of Jupiter.” Before the last song, Train gave away a signed, acoustic guitar to a group of young ladies that were full of energy through the entire 90-minute performance. Then the evening closed with the mostly acoustic “Sing Together.” Train had everybody up, having a good time as no fan left disappointed.

Beginning the night was a thirty minute performance from Andy Grammer, who appealed especially to the younger audience members, performing his pop hits “Fine By Me” and “Keep Your Head Up.” Following Grammer was Matt Kearney performing songs off his 2011 “Top 10” album “Young Love,” including “Ships In the Night” and “Hey Mama.”

Train's Setlist: 50 Ways To Say Goodbye, This'll Be My Year, If It's Love, Meet Virginia, I Got You, I'm About To Come Alive, Free/Respect/She's On Fire/When I Look To The Sky/ Ordinary/For Me It's You. Calling All Angels, Save Me San Francisco, Mermaid, Bruises, Marry Me, Everyday People, Hey Soul Sister, Drive By
Encore: California 37, Drops Of Jupiter, Sing Together

Monday, August 20, 2012

CD Review: New Music From The Higher Concept, The Como Brothers Band And Gitar

From New York comes the hip-hop trio The Higher Concept with their new full-length album entitled “Everybody.” Since their beginning in 2005, the band has made it clear that they don’t want to compromise on their message and their sound. They have a “Grassroots” motto and they display that in their latest release.

The 14-song release begins with “Everybody,” a funk/R&B flavored song with some great positive lyrics, while “Everything” sounds more like a mainstream, pop/rock dance hit. The Black Eye Peas-type “Runnin’ Away” has the most potential with the help of vocalist Missy Modell. I love the addition of the acoustic guitars on “When It’s Over” as it draw influence from Michael Franti & Spearhead and on the positive message of “Smile.” The Higher Concept has a very radio-friendly sound with “Topanga” and show that they can also rock on “American Way.” The album closes with more positive vibes on “This Is For” as the musical trio reaches new heights in song-writing with this outstanding track.

For more information on The Higher Concept and their new album, “Everybody,” please visit their facebook page (facebook.com/TheHigherConceptMusic).

Also from New York is The Como Brothers Band with their debut EP, “The Speed Of Sound.” They hit it big when they were selected out of 20,000 bands to perform at the Vans Warped Tour is year in Uniondale, NY. They also have one of their infections rock tracks (“Can I Be Matched With You?”) from the new EP featured on an episode of MTV’s “The Real World.”

The trio of Matt Como, Andrew Como, and Dorian Costanzo has a great gasp on the pop/rock sound that is found all over modern radio. They show a fun, acoustic side to their songwriting on “You Are My World,” before heading back to the big beats and blazing guitars of “I Don’t Like You.” The album closes with “Can I Be Matched With You,” a love song with attitude.

The Como Brothers have a handful of dates scattered throughout the coming months. For more information, check out the band’s website at comobrothersband.com.

From just north of the border comes the musical duo, Gitar with their full length debut album “Seen As Unclean.” The 12-song album begins with the flamenco, surf-guitar instrumental “Theme From Gitar.” Then the album takes a turn toward hypnotic beats and monotone vocals in “Eyes Of The World,” but then Gitar show us some raw, garage rock with “Different Fathers” and “Get Low.” The rest of the album takes on an 80’s alternative sound as the band returns to the monotone vocals and simple beats. Gitar end up closing the album with a return to the flamenco, lounge sounds of “Soaking Soul.”

For more information on Gitar and their new album “Seen As Unclean,” please visit their facebook page (facebook.com/GITAR/34099858557).

Sunday, August 19, 2012

CD Review: Alvin Lee Is Still Walking On That "Road To Freedom"

Almost thirty years after releasing his debut solo album, “On The Road To Freedom,” the Ten Years After front man returns with the sequel, “Still On The Road To Freedom.” After finding huge success at the Woodstock and Isle of Wight Festival, Ten Years After broke up in 1974. Alvin Lee enlisted the help of George Harrison, Steve Winwood, Ronnie Wood, Mick Fleetwood and Mylon LeFevre to create his debut solo album. The album contained many standout tracks including the Harrison penned “So Sad.”

Now, Alvin Lee returns after five years (since his last album) to release his most recent solo album, “Still On The Road To Freedom” on Rainman Records. This time he brings along his long time band members bassist Pete Pritchard and drummer Richard Newman along with keyboardist Tim Hinkley.

The album begins right were Lee left off with some great guitar driven songs like “Still On The Road To Freedom” and “Listen To Your Radio Station.” His voice still sounds timeless on the blues sounding; keyboard filled “Midnight Creeper.” Lee brings us back to the sixties with the jukebox hop of “I’m A Lucky Man,” before giving us some heartfelt acoustic ballads “Walk On, Walk Tall” and “Song Of The Red Rock.” Lee shows off his outstanding song-writing talents on the south of the border swag of “Nice & Easy” and the instrumental “Down Line Rock.” The album finishes with a remake of the Ten Years Gone song “Love Like A Man 2.”

Alvin Lee has only one show scheduled at the moment as it will take place in April 2013 with Johnny Winter at the Olympia Hall in Paris. For more information on his new album, please visit his website (alvinlee.com).

Saturday, August 18, 2012

CD Review: Another Lost Year Will Have "Better Days"

From Charlotte, NC comes Another Lost Year with their Megeforce debut “Better Days.” The album was released on August 14th and produced by Justin Rimer (12 Stones). Another Lost Year was named the 2011 Rock Band of the Year in North Carolina and is currently on the road promoting the new album.

The album begins with the pounding drums of “Better Days” as you can’t help but compare their sound to Creed. Their sound gets more aggressive on “War On The Inside” before hitting their mainstream stride with the acoustic rock of “All That We Are.” The power and force of “Broken” and “What I Deserve” is a welcome addition to off-set the power ballad “Angels.” The band once again flexes their rock muscle on “Writing On The Wall” before finishing the album with the passionate screams of “Forgot About Us.”

For more information on this rising band, check out their website at anotherlostyear.com.

Friday, August 17, 2012

CD Review: Gypsyhawk Debut With "Revelry & Resilience"

Heavy metal band, Gypsyhawk is getting ready to release their much-anticipated Metal Blade Records debut album “Revelry & Resilience.” The band has been named one of the top “100 bands you need to know” by Alternative Press Magazine and have been compared to UFO by Metal Hammer UK. The band took some classic rock guitar riffs for their debut album and created some great hard-rocking songs that metal fans are sure to love.

The album begins with the blazing duel guitars of “Overloaded” as the band plays loose and loud. Gypsyhawk get into a ZZ Top groove on “The Fields” as the band’s overall sound dates back to the hard rock seventies of Thin Lizzy and Deep Purple. The band’s song-writing for this album have been influenced by the George R. R. Martin novels “A Song Of Fire And Ice” as noticed in “Frostwyrm.” Gypsyhawk lets some of their progressive-rock ambitions slip in to “Night Songs From The Desert,” before finishing the album with the heavy metal, guitar driven “State Lines” and a spot on cover of Johnny Winter’s “Rock and Roll Hoochie Koo.”

Gypsyhawk have live dates almost every day in September and they will also be aboard the Mayhem Festival Cruise, performing alongside Anthrax, Hatebreed, Machine Head and others. For more information on their new album “Revelry & Resilience” and for a complete list of tour dates, check out the band’s facebook page (facebook.com/Gyspyhawkusa).

Thursday, August 16, 2012

CD Review: Brick + Mortar Are "Making Moves" With A New EP

The New Jersey duo of Brandon Asraf and John Tacon have come together under the name Brick + Mortar to create a very drum heavy EP entitled “Making Moves.” This is the duo’s third EP in three years. The songs featured on this EP were released as separate singles through Mad Dragon Records along with the support of Motion City Soundtrack.

The first song is “Bangs” which features a pounding drum beat highlighted by a fuzzed out guitar. The rawness of the song draws comparisons to what The Black Keys produce on their albums. The song “Old Boy” has a bit more funk in its beat as it pounds the speakers. The album closes with “Other Drugs” as Brick + Mortar stretch their sound along a very up-tempo beat.

For more information on Brick + Mortar, visit their website at brmr.net and check out their epic video for the song “Bangs.”

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

CD Review: Reel Big Fish Sing About Revenge With "Candy Coated Fury"

California ska/punk band Reel Big Fish return with their seventh studio album, “Candy Coated Fury.” It is the band’s first release of new original material in over five years and deals indirectly with the subject of relationships. The one thing with this album, is that Reel Big Fish never lost their sense of humor when singing about breakups and friendships lost.

The fourteen song release begins with the up-tempo ska beats of “Everyone Else Is An Asshole” with full blown horns and “tongue in cheek” humor. The punk feel of “She’s Not The End Of The World” tackles the subject of dealing with a break-up, while the funk horns of “Don’t Let Me Down Gently” give the cover song a great old-school ska feel. The highlight of the album is the duet of “I Know You Too Well To Like You Anymore,” as singer Aaron Barrett comes as close as possible to a love song with some great one liners. Their California sound comes out on the west coast beats of “Your Girlfriend Sucks,” as the band pays tribute to Madness with “Don’t Stop Skankin.” The album closes with a cover of When In Rome’s “The Promise” which ends on a mellow note.

Reel Big Fish are currently in the middle of a European tour, but look for more U.S. dates to be announced soon. Please visit reel-big-fish.com for more information.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

CD Review: It's Been 50 Years Of "Green Onions" For Booker T. & The M.G.s

It has been fifty years since Booker T. & the M.G.s released their smash instrumental “Green Onions” and to celebrate the anniversary, the Concord Music Group is reissuing the album along with two bonus songs. Booker T. & the M.G.s were the “house band” for the Stax Records label in the early sixties, performing on albums from Otis Redding, Wilson Picket, Rufus Thomas and others. Rumor has it that the four musicians came together in the studio one afternoon to record with rockabilly/pop/country singer Billy Lee Riley, but Riley only had enough material to record two or three songs. So after the session was done with Riley, the band just jammed on this blues riff. Producer Jim Stewart enjoy the music so much, he grabbed a tape and recorded the second full take of the song, which became one of the biggest instrumental hits in music history reaching #3 on the singles chart and #1 on the soul chart.

Now after fifties years, the original full-length album of instrumentals was carefully remastered by Joe Tarantino and includes a live version of the title song and a live version of the Phil Upchurch hit “Can’t Sit Down.” Both songs were recorded live at the 5/4 Ballroom in Los Angeles, CA in 1965. The original album features 12 songs, most of them covers, including Ray Charles’ “I Got A Woman,” the Isley Brothers’ “Twist And Shout,” and Jackie Wilson’s “A Woman, A Lover, A Friend,” but none of them had that spontaneous mix of blues and soul like “Green Onions.” Booker T. & the M.G.s even tried to recapture the magic with “Mo’ Onions.” This album began the career of a band that went on to make fourteen albums over the next fifteen years with many of them cracking the top 100 on the album charts.

This new remastered CD was released on July 24 and has these songs sounding better than they ever have before. For more information on this release, please visit concordmusicgroup.com.

Monday, August 13, 2012

CD Review: Jeff The Brotherhood Are Up Through "Hypnotic Nights"

The duo of Jake and Jamin Orrall have been together for ten years and released seven albums under the name Jeff The Brotherhood. Their latest release “Hypnotic Nights” was their first to crack the Top 200 album chart and was produced by the Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach.

Auerbach’s influence definitely rubbed off as the songs on this latest album have a very raw, garage rock sound giving them a much more mature feel to their songwriting. Leading off with “Country Life,” you instantly notice the minimalist in their instrumentation to create a powerful, well-crafted song. Their song “Sixpack” sounds like the Beach Boys meet the Ramones on this fuzzed out surf-pop gem. Dan Auerbach lends a hand with the vocals on “Wood Ox” before the duo return to the punk sound of “Staring At The Wall.” The album closes with a dark, eerie rendition of Black Sabbath’s “Changes” as the vocals are slightly distorted for that affect.

Jeff The Brotherhood is heading over to Europe for August dates. They will be returning to the U.S. at the end of September for a show in Kentucky. Check out jeffthebrotherhood.com for a complete list of live dates.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

CD Review: Serj Tankian Returns Solo With "Harakiri"

Musician Serj Tankian has enjoyed his hiatus from his band, System of a Down, by releasing three solo albums in the last five years. His most currently release, “Harakiri” was released back in July and hit #29 on the Billboard Album chart. According to Tankian, this is “the most up-tempo punk rock oriented record that I’ve written since the System days.” After the release of his 2010 symphonic rock album “Imperfect Harmonies,” this is a breath of fresh air and movement in the right direction for fans of System of a Down.

The album begins with “Cornucopia” which finds Tankian in familiar territory with deep bass grooves, loud guitars and hard rock drumming. This gets carried over into the album’s first single “Figure It Out.” This song is the most hard-rocking song on the album and really shows off how good his solo band is. Another great piece of music is “Butterfly” with its quick, punk-like drumming and sing-along chorus. Tankian takes a more progressive rock feel to “Occupied Tears” and adds some electronics to the mellowness of “Deafening Silence.” He brings back the power and intensity in “Uneducated Democracy” before finishing the album with the aggressive “Weave On.”

Serj Tankian just wrappped up a reunion tour with System Of A Down, then he is heading over to Europe for two months of solo dates. For more information on the new album and for a complete list of tour dates, please visit serjtankian.com.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

CD Review: The Zac Brown Band Become "Uncaged" On Third Album

American country artist the Zac Brown Band have a very distinct sound that is made up of many different musical genres. They are primarily a country band, borrowing the classic acoustic country of legends like Willie Nelson and George Jones. Then, they combine the southern rock of the Allman Brothers Band and the jamband sound of the Dave Matthews Band to create a unique, but universal sound.

The Zac Brown Band released their newest album, “Uncaged” on July 10 and it debuted at #1, just like its predecessor “You Get What You Give.” The band received a little help on this album from fellow singer/songwriters Jason Mraz (songwriting credit on “Jump Right In”) and Amos Lee (vocals on “Day That I Die”). The band hits all the right marks on this album, getting the southern rock sound on “Uncaged” and going a little reggae on “Island Song.” The band shows off how well they harmonize on the country ballad “Goodbye In Her Eyes,” before creating a country hoe-down with “The Wind.” They experiment with their sound on the R&B, funk flavor of “Overnight” featuring horns by Trombone Shorty. The album closes with the “feel good” country flow of “Last But Not Least” as the song reaches its peak then flows back to its mellow conclusion.

The Zac Brown Band just performed at The Peach Music Festival and will continue on to the Benefit for Atlanta Community band before hitting Connecticut on August 31. The band will kick off their headling tour with two nights at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT before concluding their tour on November 17 at Madison Square Garden. For a complete list of dates and for more information on the new album, please visit zacbrownband.com.

Friday, August 10, 2012

CD Review: Marina And The Diamonds Performs With Her "Heart"

Welsh singer/songwriter Marina Diamonds is better known by her stage name Marina and the Diamonds. After her 2010 debut album “The Family Jewels” failed to make a dent on the U.S. chart, Marina made sure her follow-up; “Electra Heart” would make a bigger impact.” Led by the singles “Primadonna” and “How To Be A Heartbreaker,” the new album debuted at #1 on the UK Charts and hit #31 on the US Billboard Album chart.

The new album fits in perfectly with today’s “top 40” music scene. Her songs “Home-wrecker” and “Power & Control” should be dance floor staples alongside Lady Gaga and Katy Perry, while “Teen Idle” shows a gentler side to her music. The fourteen song album closes with the bubblegum, dance pop of “Radioactive” and the six-minute, passionate sounding “Fear & Loathing.”

Marina and the Diamonds is currently on tour supporting Coldplay before heading her own tour in Europe beginning in October. For more information on this rising artist, please visit marinaandthediamonds.com.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

CD Reveiw: Stellar Songwriting From Lauren Harding And Friend Slash Lover

Massachusetts native Lauren Harding headed west to pursue her musical passion by recording her debut EP in a Los Angeles recording studio. Over the course of a long weekend, Harding produced six songs that would make up her album, “Heart In A Box.”

Her vocals become the main focus on the slow jazz of “Shooting Stars” and “My Heart Flies.” The passion in Lauren’s vocals are felt in the EP’s opening song “Give It Away” as the beat of drum gives the song an extra appeal. It’s great how Lauren disguises the dark subject of the “Poison” with her sweet sounding voice. The album closes with one of the few upbeat moments in the jazz/folk song, “Sunset.”

Lauren Harding has a couple of shows lined up in Los Angeles. Please visit laurenhardingmusic.com for more information on this rising singer/songwriter.

Connecticut native Josh Mintz’s latest band, Friend Slash Lover recently released their new EP entitled “The Grey Area.” The album’s leads off with “As Seen On TV” which has a modern pop rock sound with an infectious chorus. The first single off the EP is the title song, “The Grey Area,” which has a soft beginning that builds with great songwriting. The prayer-like “Dear God” and the piano driven “Carry Your Weight” lay focus on Josh's vocals as he delivers the lyrics with such a passion for performing.

Check out the band’s facebook page (facebook.com/friendslashlover) for more information.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

CD Review: New Indie Rock Albums From I Am Carpenter And Misser

From South Carolina comes the post-punk, indie-rock band I Am Carpenter with a new release entitled “My God Clara” through Bessie Pro Records. The twelve track album has a youthful, energetic appeal beginning with the deep heavy metal bass and drums of the title track. Their edginess comes through on “Mercy” as singer Steven Cathcarts belts out the lyrics. I Am Carpenter extend their sonic attack, pushing over the six minute mark on “You Might Be Right,“ “Girl Names” and “Pity.” Their strengths lie in the hard-hitting, concise, energetic sounds of “Future Black Tongues” and “Fights.”The album closes with the ten-minute epic “Postcards,” which includes a little bit of everything the band has to offer.

I Am Carpenter have a handful of shows around the Columbia, SC area. For more information and a complete list of shows, check out mygodclara.com.

Indie-rock duo, Misser (Tim Launders and Brad Wiseman) are ready to tour behind their debut LP “Every Day I Tell Myself I’m Going To Be A Better Person.” The album was recorded and released earlier this year as the band will begin their tour on September 14 with Diamond Youth and Young Statues.

The post-punk sound of the new album has great energy as displayed in the songs “Time Capsules” and “Bridges.” The duo adds rap/punk-style lyrics to their song “Weightless” to give their music a very edgy, garage-rock sound. Misser complains about television shows and radio songs, yet they contradict themselves by making their most accessible, pop-punk song “I’m Really Starting To Hope The World Ends In 2012.” They show off their aggressive side on “Reconnect,” before giving us the mellow, mainstream sound of “Stay Asleep.” The album closes with the punk, rawness of “The Waits.”

The eight-date mini-tour makes a stop at The Space in Hamden, CT on September 20. For more information, please visit the band’s facebook page (facebook.com/Missermusic).

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

CD Review: The Sometimes Family Have "Fun With Heartbreak"

Chicago soul comes alive with the new sounds of The Sometimes Family. Their new EP entitled “Fun With Heartbreak” brings together six songs that transport you to the heart of the city with seventies sounding R&B.

Beginning with “Love,” the vocals of Rebecca Sometimes are so appealing that you instantly find yourself wrapped up in her lyrics. The mellowness of “It’s Slow But It Feels Alright” is balanced by the upbeat, dance floor feel of “It’s A Wonder We Don’t Die From Dancing.” The band performs too safe until the full-out funk of “Stand Up.” The EP closes with the lounge-feel of “If It’s Love” as the song seems to just drift on.

The Sometimes Family has some live dates scattered over the next couple months. For more information, please visit the sometimesfamily.com.

Monday, August 6, 2012

CD Review: New Debut Albums From Belle Histoire And Rusted Pearls

Alternative rock band Belle Histoire just released their full-length debut album “Dreamers” and are currently embarking on a tour with Chidos and Tallhart. The album begins with “Don’t Run Away” as you instantly get attached to Jane Smith’s vocals. Her smooth, clear delivery gets enhanced by the wonderful music as in “Without You.” She portrays innocence in her voice in“Keep Your Heart,” before heading to the post-punk energy of “Kids.” The ballad of “We’ll Never Learn” is like a comfort blanket that makes you feel safe and cozy, while they expand their sound to a more Americana feel in “Ghost.” They show the edginess of their past releases in “My Dear,” before closing the album with the piano ballad “Home” which truly shows off Smith’s voice.

Belle Histoire hit the road on August 10 in Ohio before heading east. They will be performing at The Space in Hamden, CT on August 24. Their tour wraps up with a show on October 11 at the University of Kentucky’s Cats Den. For more information, please visit bellehistoiremusic.com.

European rock band Rusted Pearls released their debut EP last month entitled “Roadsigns.” The album was recorded at Saojo Studios in Italy and produced by Riccardo Asquini. On this album, the band pulls from all their influences including the Rolling Stones, Black Crowes and Ryan Adams to create some truly original music.

The album begins with “Free” which harkens back to early Ryan Adams solo, utilizing a raw, live rock sound without any overdubs to make it sound polished. Rusted Pearls rock on “Chilly Girl,” but the vocals never seem to take the song anywhere as they seem to be sung in the same tone, while “Home”shows more passion in the vocals. The album closes with the bar band, country rock of “Precious.”

The new album is available for preview on the band’s facebook page (facebook.com/therustedpearls).

Sunday, August 5, 2012

CD Review: Beta Wolf's U.S. Debut Is "Just Before Morning"

From Los Angeles, CA comes a new band of alternative rockers, Beta Wolf. They formed in 2010 and released their debut album, “Dark Days” exclusively in Japan where it reached #51 in the international album chart. Now Beta Wolf is ready to release their U.S. debut EP entitled “Just Before Morning” through Congregation Records.

The 5-song EP begins with the title song, which is a safe acoustic rocker. The band draws up similarities to Bon Jovi with the “arena rock” chorus of “Domino,” before showing their edginess in the hometown story of “Los Angeles.” The album closes with the most aggressive song on the album with “Last Man Standing.” The pounding drums and powerful chorus is what we expect more of on Beta Wolf’s next release.

The band is currently on the road, opening for Daughtry. The tour hits Connecticut on August 14th at the Ives Center in Danbury before finishing up the following day in West Point, NY. For more information on this rising rock band, please visit betawolfmusic.com.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

CD Review: The Trishas Like'em "High, Wide & Handsome"

From Austin, TX comes the all-female country band, The Trishas with their full-length debut album “High, Wide & Handsome.” The album will be released on August 7 through their own label, The Trishas Music LLC. The album includes an impressive list of guest songwriters and musicians like Kevin Welch, Bruce Robison, Kenny Vaughan and Tammy Rogers.

The album begins with the mellow stroll of “Mother Of Invention.” You instantly notice the exceptional harmonizing between The Trishas. The sounds of their songs are deep-rooted in country as displayed in “Liars & Fools” and “Looking At Me.” The album has a very gentle and comforting feel, due to the wonderful singing of Jamie Wilson, Liz Foster, Kelley Mickwee and Savannah Welch. The group rarely picks up the tempo, but there is little need to when songs like “One Down” and “Rainin’ Inside” display such passion in their singing. The album includes a link to down a bonus song which has The Trishas performing with Raul Malo on the original song “A Far Cry From You.”

The Trishas are filling up their tour schedule with dates running from August 3rd to November 2nd. For a complete list of dates, please visit thetrishas.com.

Friday, August 3, 2012

CD Review: Metal Blade Records Unleashes Kings, Pistols And Firebirds

New music arrived on July 31st from Metal Blade Records. King of Asgard released a new album of original material, while the U.S. got their first taste of music from Gentleman’s Pistol and Firebird to the delight of metal fans everywhere.

Death metal band, King of Asgard released their second album entitled “…to North.” The band continued along the lines of their debut album, combining their dark metal sound with medieval themes to give off an evilness to their new album.

After a “call to arms” introduction, King of Asgard blasts the doors down with the speed drumming and aggressive vocals of “The Nine Worlds Burn.” The band continues with the guitar solo driven “Gap of Ginnungs”and the loud guitar riffs of “Bound To Reunite.” The one song that stands out is “Up On The Mountain” with its use of acoustic guitars and vocal chorus as the band come together on this “Lord of the Rings” themed song. The album closes with the title song, “…to North” as a piano introduction get overtaken by guitars on this grand instrumental.

For more information on King of Asgard’s new release, visit kingofasgard.com.

British hard rock band Gentleman’s Pistols are getting their debut album re-released in the U.S. for the first time through Metal Blade Records. The sound on their debut album echoes back to when the New Wave of British Heavy Metal took over U.S. shores. They show off their speed on “Out of the Eye” before turning to the dark side on the sixties sounding metal song “Heavy Petting.” The album’s most mainstream songs are the seventies classic rock sounding “Widow Maker” and “Lying & Fooling” as the duel guitars take over. The album closes with the classic British blues groove of “Parking Banshee.”

Gentleman’s Pistols just performed at the Welsh Steelhouse Festival at the end of July. For more information, please visit gentlemanspistols.com.

British blues-rock trio, Firebird is getting their 2006 album,“Hot Wings” re-released. While the band may have called it quits earlier this year, their music brings you back to the hard rock of the late-sixties with band like Cream and Deep Purple.

Beginning with up-tempo “Carousel” and the deep bass groove of “Good Times,” Firebird were hitting on all cylinders on this album. The back-country rock of “Misty Mountain” shows how diverse this band was, while “Flying Blind” gives off a much-welcomed attitude to their music. The album closes with the big bluesy sound of “Needle In The Groove.”

For more information on this release and others from Firebird, please visit metalblade.com/firebird.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

CD Review: Post-Punk Comes Alive With Blane Fonda And Also The Cheerleaders

From Chicago comes Blane Fonda with their full-length debut album “Foolish Croon.” The band’s sound is a combination of modern pop-punk beats with retro eighties, electronic keyboards. The vocals in the opening song “Tales Of The Sea” have a Red Hot Chili Peppers edginess to them, while “Napalm As Medicine” is chock full of keyboards, giving it a Devo-ish type feel. Blane Fonda like to experiment with their music as shown in “Mirror World: Dad Holograms” and “Bear Lee Lee Gull” by adding horns and mixing up their time signatures. The songs “Charlie’s Happy Stance” and “A Miner’s High Life” are like flashbacks to MTV’s 120 Minutes show, as theses songs could have been underground hits 25 years ago. The album closes with “Hollow Bones,” a slow burning ballad gets turned into a dance hall with club beats and electronic highlights.

For more information on the rising band from Chicago, please visit blanefonda.com.

Another band beginning to make a name for themselves on the underground circuit is the Cheerleaders. A British trio from Leeds that are putting together the pieces for their debut release. The group’s current release is their debut single “Puzzles.” The song carries a very up tempo, post-punk sound with a little eighties garage rock thrown in for a bit of a retro feel.

Check out the band’s facebook page (facebook.com/cheerleaderscheerleaders) to keep up with their progress and for any live dates.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

CD Review: Night Terrain Are Living The "American Dream"

Night Terrain is a new heavy metal band from Albuquerque, NM and they recently released their debut album “American Dream.” The musical trio combine heavy metal riffs with a progressive sound to create some great instrumentals.

The ten-song album utilized the talents of the musicians such that no vocals are needed. The outdoor crackling fire starts the album off as the band introduces themselves with “Dyssonic.” Their sound is sharp and to the point, without any vocals getting in the way. They use movie sound clips to help with the meaning of songs like “Dusk” and “American Dream.” They show-off their metal side on the heavy bass and drums of “Beyond Walls” and the thrash metal guitar riff of “Wild Again.” The album closes with “Distant Echoes” that contains very little vocals, as the slow build-up of the song takes off as the band just jams away.

Their self-released album, “American Dream” is available through nightterrain.com.