Sunday, September 30, 2012

CD Review: New Music From Some New Names On The Independent Music Scene

Singer/songwriters Gerren Fish and Garth Rivers lit up the coffeehouse circuit in Habersham, GA before combining their efforts on Fish’s album “Can’t Always Recover.” With the addition of Rusty Townsen on drums and Chris McConnell on bass, the band named themselves Aardvark Park and recently released a live album.

Their live sound combines the storied coffeehouse lyrics with a bar room rock sound. Some of the stand-out songs on this new release are the slow-build of “Georgia Don’t Know” and the aggressive rocker “Nothin To Do.” The album closes with the passionate “Sarasota” and the hard rock of “Everyday Grind.”

Aardvark Park has a couple of live shows scheduled, including the Habersham Music Scene Festival in October. For more information on this new band, please visit aardvarkpark.webs.com.

From New Jersey, comes alternative rocker Chance Blak with a couple of newly released singles. The garage rocker “The Veil” has that raw appeal that The Hives and The Black Keys have turned into mainstream rock. The other single is “Love Demon,” which still carries that raw rock element, but has a fuller, more attractive sound that is easy to get hooked on.

To hear more from Chance Blak, check out his video on You Tube - http://www.youtube.com/chanceblakmusic.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

CD Review: Tim O'Brien & Darrell Scott Finally Release Live Show

Country/Americana duo Darrell Scott and Tim O’Brien have teamed up once again to release the live album “We’re Usually A Lot Better Than This.” The album was recorded in 2005 and 2006 at two separate shows at the Grey Eagle in Ashville, NC. Both shows were benefit concerts for the Arthur Morgan School, where both musicians had children attending. The 13-song album consists of some originals that the two recorded together for their Grammy-nominated album “Real Time” and also few covers by such great songwriters as Hank Williams and Townes Van Zandt.

The album begins with the fast-paced “Climbing Up A Mountain” and the more mellow, “House of Gold” which displays the outstanding harmonizing between the two performers. The first cover song on the set comes from Townes Van Zandt’s “White Freightliner Blues” as the acoustic instruments give off flashes of excitement while the lyrics work up the small crowd. The album keeps on chugging with the banjo-driven “With A Memory Like Mine” and another outstanding cover of Gordon Lightfoot’s “Early Morning Rain.” The only time Scott and O’Brien catch their breath is for the slow jaunt of “The Hummingbird” and “Mom And Dad Waltz.” The live album and I’m assuming the shows did to, close with the songs “Hambone,” performed to the backdrop of “Sweet Georgia Brown” and the eight-minute medley of “When There’s No One Around/Will The Circle Be Unbroken.”

For more information on this release, please visit darrellscott.com or timobrien.net.

Friday, September 28, 2012

CD Review: New Live "Magic" From Medeski, Martin & Wood

From Brooklyn, New York comes the American jazz trio, Medeski Martin & Wood with a new live album titled “Free Magic.” For this release, the trio revisits their archives to release songs from their acoustic tour back in 2007. Also on the heels of this release, the band will embark on an 11-date acoustic tour of New England.

The five songs on “Free Magic” truly capture what this improvisational jazz trio love to do. They just let the music take them on a journey through sound as they feed off each other’s energy and performance. The album begins with “Doppler” from their anniversary album, “20.” The music on the opening track is just outstanding with John Medeski’s piano leading the way over an almost tribal rhythm supplied by Billy Martin. The song “Blues For Another Day” sounds like a “free for all” as each member seems to be going off on their own solo before it all comes together around the four minute mark before almost going off the rails again. The quietness of the title track allows for Chris Wood to expand his sound on the bass in this live setting. At over sixteen minutes, “Where’s Sly” is full of ups and downs in the tempo as this rock-jazz fusion seems to please the audience as well as the listener. The album closes with the shortest song in the set, the nine-and-a-half minute flashback cover of Charles Mingus’ “Nostalgia In Times Square” which flows into Sun Ra’s “Angel Race.” A great finish as this trio of great musicians pays tribute to their elders.

Medeski Martin & Wood will begin their tour in Fall River, MA on October 3rd before hitting the Ridgefield Playhouse in Ridgefield, CT on October 10th. For more information on their new album “Free Magic” and for a complete list of tour dates, please visit mmw.net.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

CD Review: Travis T. Warren Finds Freedom "Beneath These Borrowed Skies"

Singer/songwriter Travis T. Warren is finally releasing his debut solo album, “Beneath These Borrowed Skies,” after years of fronting the bands The Lookout Kids and Blind Melon. Travis became the lead singer of Blind Melon eleven years after the death of Shannon Hoon. He released his first album with the band back in 2008 (“For My Friends”) and toured for the next couple years. His new solo disc was written and produced by Travis and was released on September 25 through Iron Ridge Road Recordings.

The album begins with “From The Depths” as Travis’ voice becomes instantly recognizable, while, the mellowness of this and many of the songs on this album shows off more of Travis’ songwriting talents. Not to worry Blind Melon fans, Travis also brings in the sounds he’s learned from his fellow bandmates on “Golden Lives” and “Bones And Times.” Travis rocks on the song “War Toys” as he displays the power in his voice, while the gentleness of “A Winters Tale” is a great folk, storytelling song. The album closes with the acoustic “Hand Me Down” as you truly feel the hope he has that this album proves how good of an artist he truly is.

For more information on Travis T. Warren and the new album, please visit travistwarren.com.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

CD Review: New Music Coming From Southern Connecticut


First up from New Milford, CT is the post-punk sound of Fins with a new 4-song EP entitled “Lawnmower.” The band carries a very raw sound with a lot a punk energy as heard in the opening track “Foxfire.” Fins let loose on the title-track as the song almost gets carried away with the chorus, but stays on course with some interesting guitar riffs. The guitars in the song “Hags” sound very dirty like the early days of English punk. The EP closes with “Hold” that keeps the energy flowing as the music overtakes the vocals.

For more information on Fins and their latest release, “Lawnmower,” check them out at http://www.obscuremerecords.com/p/fins.html.

Another independent band from down near the shore in Mystic, CT is Slander with a new 3-song EP entitled “World As Museum.” Slander was also named “band of the month” in the New England magazine “The Deli.” The album begins with “Device” as lead singer; Julia Farrar draws you in with her voice as the band’s modern alternative rock sound fits her vocals perfectly. The duet of “Trial” doesn’t quite have the same appeal, while the edgy rocker, “Magnets” hits the mark with its 80’s pop sound.

For more information on Slander, please visit http://www.portfire.org/slander/.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

CD Review: Sybreed Gives Us Their Thoughts On "God"

From Switzerland comes the industrial metal band, Sybreed with a new album, “God Is An Automaton.” The new album will be released through Listenable Records in Europe on September 24, then in North America on October 2.

Beginning with the powerful of energy of “Posthuman Manifesto,” the band is on a mission to prove that they are one of the top metal acts in the world today. The chorus on “No Wisdom Brings Solace” sounds like a flashback to early Queensryche, while “Red Nova Ignition” is pure, straight-up industrial metal. Sybreed add the progressive metal song “God Is An Automaton” to their catalog, expanding their sound and musicianship. Then, the album just runs through a massive attack of thrash-type metal with “Downfall Inc.” and “Challenger.” On the closing song, “Destruction And Bliss” the band stretches out the length of its metal pounding sound past the nine minute mark.

Sybreed has one date scheduled for Halloween over in their home country of Switzerland. Watch for more dates to be announced soon, once the album gets released. For more information on Sybreed’s new album, “God Is An Automaton,” please visit sybreed.com.

Monday, September 24, 2012

CD Review: Jerry Garcia And Merl Saunders Are Finally "Complete"

For the first time on CD, we get “The Complete 1973 Fantasy Recordings” by Jerry Garcia and Merl Saunders. This 4-disc box set presents the two shows that were recorded live on July 10 and 11 at the Keystone Club in Berkeley, CA. This new release co-insides with the 70thanniversary of Garcia’s birth and features seven presviously unreleased songs. Some of these recordings have been released twice before as “Live At Keystone” in 1973 and “Live At Keystone, Volume 1 & 2” in 1988. This release features all 25 songs that were recorded during that two-day run of live shows, remastered and put in the order in which the songs were performed.
 
Jerry Garcia and Merl Saunders began doing weekly jam sessions at San Francisco’s Matrix club back in December of 1970. Garcia would introduce Bob Dylan’s “It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry” and “Positively 4th Street” into their sets, while Merl Saunders would bring in the standard “My Funny Valentine" and the jazzy "Merl's Tune." This just showed how vast their repertoire was and how well they fed off each other’s energy in performing live. Jerry Garcia was quoted as saying that Saunders “taught me music” and Saunders was even by the guitarist’s bedside after his near fatal coma in 1986. This wonderful friendship lasted all the way until Garcia’s death in 1995.
 
Also included in this box set is a full color 28-page booklet features vintage photos and newly written liner notes by Grateful Dead expert David Gans, a poster, a coaster from the Keystone Club, a button and a “scratchbook” which replicates the design of the original album’s promotional matchbook. This box set will be available on September 25 through Fantasy Records. Fantasy Records will also be releasing a reissue of the original album, “Live At Keystone” on multi-color double vinyl on that same day. For more information on this wonderful release, please visit concordmusicgroup.com.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

CD Review: Autumn Begins With More From Metal Blade Records

California heavy metal band, As I Lay Dying is preparing the release of their sixth album entitled “Awakened.” Last year the band celebrated their tenth anniversary by releasing the compilation album, “Decas” and they are now ready to unleash some new music onto their fans. The new album was produced by Bill Stevenson (The Decendents drummer) and will be released on September 25 through Metal Blade Records.

The album leads off with the first single “Cauterize” as the band still knows how to blast your eardrums, but have also matured in their songwriting. The music and vocals are still aggressive, but they add some harmonizing to the chorus that shows growth within the band. This also appears on “The Great Foundation,” while As I Lay Dying mixes up tempos on “Resilience.” The song “Overcome” begins with a flowing guitar solo before the bands come crashing in, while the machine gun-like drumming on “No Lungs To Breathe” motors the songs screaming vocals. The album finishes with the epic sounding “Tear Out My Eyes.”

As I Lay Dying will begin their tour in October over in Europe, before hitting the U.S. shores in November. For a complete list of tour dates and information on the new album, please visit asilaydying.com.

From Greece comes your direct connection to the lord of the underworld as Satan’s Wrath are preparing the release of their debut album “Galloping Blasphemy” on September 25. The band is made up of Tas Danazoglou on vocals, drums and bass and Stamoz K on guitars. The music on this release is amazing, knowing it comes from just two musicians.

The album leads-off with the growling vocals of “Leonard Rising – Night of the Whip” and “Between Belial and Satan” as the metal pounding drums motors the songs. The short two-and-a-half minute instrumental, “Galloping Blasphemy” shows off the great musicianship these two have to offer without any vocals to distract the listener. The album closes with the over six-minute theme song “Satan’s Wrath” as you get an idea of what they band stand for.

For more information on Satan’s Wrath, check out http://www.metalblade.com/satanswrath/.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

CD Review: Glen Campbell And Jimmy Webb Share Stories While "In Session"

The Concord Music Group is preparing to release another volume in the “In Session” series. The first release in this series featured legendary blues guitarists Albert King and Stevie Ray Vaughn. This time around we get to hear songs performed by country legend Glen Campbell along with his favorite songwriter, Jimmy Webb on piano.

This release features a CD of the nine full songs recorded during this meeting on December 9, 1988. As a bonus, you also receive a DVD which is the true treasure of this collection. On the DVD you get to see conversions between the two artists, including how Glen Campbell met Jimmy Webb for the first time and didn’t care much for him. It is great to see when the two of them discuss the origins such songs as “Galveston” and “Where’s The Playground Susie.” Webb also discusses the origin of his massive hit “Wichita Lineman,” which became one of Glen Campbell’s biggest songs. Right after each discussion, you get a “one of a kind” performance of the song featuring Campbell on guitar and vocals, and Webb on piano. You truly feel as if you are in the studio with these great artists. One of the special things about this release is you get Glen Campbell’s only known recording of the song “Sunshower” which was originally written by Jimmy Webb for soul singer Thelma Houston.

As Glen Campbell embarks on his “Goodbye Tour,” it’s nice to see and hear him in his prime. This “In Session (CD/DVD)” will be released on October 9 through Fantasy Records. For more information, please visit concordmusicgroup.com.

Friday, September 21, 2012

CD Review: Scrapomatic Brings "A Stranger" To Connecticut

From New York City comes the blues, roots band Scrapomatic with a brand new album entitled “I’m A Stranger And I Love The Night.” The album was released back in August through Landslide Records and hit #3 on the iTunes Blues Chart and #1 on the Finnish iTunes Blues Chart. Singer/songwriter Mike Mattison started Scrapomatic thirteen year ago with fellow singer Paul Olsen. As the band’s popularity grew, Mattison received a call from The Allman Brothers’ guitarist Derek Trucks to join his new outfit the Tedeschi Trucks Band as a singer and songwriter. He won a Grammy with the band last year for 2011 Best Blues Album and put that renewed energy into Scrapomatic’s latest release.
 
The album begins with the blues romp, “Alligator Love Cry” which is a new song with a title that was carried over from the band’s previous release of the same name. Mattison’s gruff vocals start off a little bit like fellow bluesman Jonny Lang before settling in with Dave Yoke’s guitar. Olsen turns in a more R&B sound on the title track, before the band attacks “Rat Trap” as a Little Richard-type early rock n roll classic. The band opens up their sound on the Americana, country acoustics of “Don’t Fall Apart On Me,” before bringing out the bluesy ballad “I Surrender.” Scrapomatic rocks on the fun sounding “Mother Of My Wolf,” before ending the album with the acoustic country-blues ballad “Gentrification Blues.”
 
Scrapomatic will be opening for the Tedeschi Trucks Band on their next six tour dates, beginning on September 25 in Roanoke, VA. The tour will be hitting Connecticut on Friday, September 28 with a show at The Palace Theater in Waterbury before taking a break until mid-October. Mike Mattison will be performing double-duty on this tour as lead singer for Scrapomatic and back-up singer for the Tedeschi Trucks Band. For more information on Scrapomatic’s new album “I’m A Stranger And I Love The Night” please visit scrapomatic.com.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

CD Review: New Experimental Music From Underground Artists Infaux And Fertanish

From South Dakota comes the synthesizer-fueled, industrial rock band Infaux with a new album entitled “Regret: Zero.” The seven-song release shows the band’s love for 80’s electronic pop as they add a brand of industrial metal to make it rough around the edges.
 
Songs like the opener “Shotgun Formation” and “Oz” show the band’s love for the 90’s industrial rock of Nine Inch Nails and The Prodigy as the vocals just get shredded through the crashing of synthesizers. The band draws up their 80’s influences on the mellow flow of “Somniphobia (A Lullaby)”and even shows another side to their sound on the acoustic “Composure.” The album ends with a couple of remixes, one by DJ Skrilla that is definitely geared toward the club scene, while “Gingers (Just Want To Have Fun) –Landmines on Mainstreet Remix” is more about experimenting with sounds.
 
For more information on this underground industrial rock band, please visit their facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/infaux).
 
From Washington D.C. comes Fertanish with a new album entitled, “Contemplating Silent Wishes.” Fertanish is the brainchild of Bill Murphy, who combines rhythms and noises to create a very eclectic soundscape. This release follow the heavy drum filled experiment, “Zero, Zero, Three,” which was released in December of last year.
 
The new release contains only one track that runs for almost 79 minutes. It is not a musical piece that will blow you away with its artistry, but will gradually grow on you as it moves through its different phases. At times, the song sound like Murphy took some hints from the Blue Man Group and other times, it sound like it was recorded underwater as the different tones start to come together. It is very much a “methodical composition” as you began to assume the pattern, but there are very subtle sound waves that keep you interested.
 
For more information on Fertanish and the new album “Contemplating Silent Wishes,” please visit fertanish.com.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

CD Review: More New Music Coming From Indie Artists Tyne Darling And Sixstep

Singer/songwriter Tyne Darling started out in Milwaukee as a member of various punk bands, but many of the songs he had written didn’t fit into that scene. In November 2010, the roots were planted of what became his new solo album, “The Secret November.” Many of the songs on this album have been licensed to MTV, VH1, E!, Discovery and Bravo networks for use in shows.
 
The album begins with the slow, Americana, blues rock of “L.E.S.” as you get a feel of how meaningful his lyrics are to hear. The mellowness of “Echo/Gold” puts all of the focus on Darling’s vocals as you notice a slight gruffness in his voice, which gives off an experienced feel to his overall sound. At times, he sounds like a younger Elvis Costello as in “The Highline” and “Untitled.” The Tyne Darling finds himself repeating the same slow, laid-back groove, all the way until the accapella-filled finish of “The New York Palace.”
 
Tyne Darling has some live dates on his schedule including the Midpoint Music Festival in Cinncinnati, OH and the M.E.A.N.Y. Festival in New York. His new album “The Secret November” is available now. For more information, please visit tynedarling.com.
 
From Orange County, CA comes Sixstep with their new album “House of Cards.” Their music blurs the lines of rock, funk, punk and jazz. The album begins with the mainstream ska sounds of “Ministry” as their music moves you to get up and enjoy the beats. They fuse together rock and funk on “Get In Line”and “Klown,” before visiting their jazzier side on “Party For Steven.” They return to the mainstream rock of “In the Rain,” before closing the album with the dop-wop of “Enjoy The Free Fall” which goes on to show how diverse this band performs.
 
The Sixstep just wrapped up a show at The Coach House in California and they have one more show scheduled at the moment at Knuckleheads on September 28. Their new album, “House of Cards” is available now. For more information, please visit sixstepmusic.com.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

CD Review: New Music From New York Artists Generator Ohm And Vajra

From New York comes the trio of Ernest D’amaso, Willie Chen and Mikopolis Morales known as Generator Ohm. Their debut album, “Upon The Me Om I” was recently released and a second album is already in production. Their music combines the grunge of the nineties with a futuristic, electronic rock sound that sounds almost like a new progressive rock movement.
 
The quick pace of the album’s opening song “Lemming Shuffle” shows the great musicianship this trio has. You instantly notice the different fills as the music never contains any gaps. When the band pushes their songs past the five-minute mark as in “They Can See Us” and “First Encounters of the Worst Kind” is when their sound becomes more experimental and sounds unlike anyone else. Their shorter songs like “Smoke Eater” and “Marginal Hop” draws in parts of Red Hot Chili Peppers and Soundgarden which give their songs a more familiar sound.
 
Generator Ohm recently performed in Brooklyn, NY and currently has no further dates on the schedule. Please visit http://www.reverbnation.com/generatorohm to find out more about this rising underground band.
 
Also from New York comes Vajra with a melodic hard rock sound similar to Lacuna Coil, but with a touch more of a progressive metal feel. Their debut album, “Pleroma” was released back in June with a show at The Bowery Electric in New York.
 
The vocals of Annamaria Pinna are mesmorizing in the opening song “Inside The Flame.” The band rocks with the addition of some Middle-Eastern influences in the song “Intuition.” The song “Blind” has a lot of mainstream rock appeal, while Pinna gives her strongest vocal performance in “3.14.” The album closes with the eight-minute epic “The Apple,” which shows once again that this band can rock as they blast out the chorus.
 
Vajra just performed at The Roxy in Los Angeles, CA and at The Knitting Factory in Brooklyn, NY. They currently have no other live dates scheduled at the moment, but be sure to check out thevajratemple.com for updates.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Concert Review: The J. Geils Band Turns The Mohegan Sun Arena Into A "Houseparty"

The J. Geils Band is one of your typical blues-rock, bar bands from Boston that hit it big in the 70’s and 80’s with the live albums “Full House,”  “Blow Your Face Out” and “Showtime.” The albums displayed how great their music was when performed live and how much fun a J. Geils Band show was. Now into their 45th year together, the J. Geils Band embarked on their Houseparty 2012 Tour which brought them to the Mohegan Sun arena last Sunday evening.

As the members of the band filed onto the stage, the show began with the introductory instrumental “Sno-Cone” as each band member received a short one minute solo. Lead singer Peter Wolf, one of the more iconic members of the J. Geils Band, did not appear on stage until the follow-up song, “Wait” which dates back to the band’s first album. Wolf, accompanied by the two female back-up singers, received a huge applause as he instantly transformed into one of the great frontmen in rock n roll. His dance moves mirrored fellow Boston frontman Steven Tyler during the jams of “Night Time” and “Southside Shuffle.” Also joining the J. Geils Band that evening was The Uptown Horns, beginning with the “Peter Gunn Theme,” before making their presence heard on the song “Homework.” Harmonica player Magic Dick stepped to the front of the stage for his solos in “Give It To Me” and “I Do” which turned the concert in one big party as the crowd couldn’t help themselves, but to dance along. J. Geils Band paid tribute to the early days of rock n roll with “Pack Fair & Square” as Wolf invited a woman from the audience to get up on stage and dance along with him. The band played on all their strengths, showing off their blues prowess on “One Last Kiss,” before heading into their “MTV video” phase with hits like “Freeze Frame,” “Centerfold” and “Love Stinks.” The J. Geils Band was running on all cylinders for the instrumental “Whammer Jammer,” led by Magic Dick’s harmonica, before ending their set with a blazing version of “(Ain’t Nothin’ But A) Houseparty.”

The band’s five song encore began with another tribute to the early days of rock n roll with a cover of The Supremes’ “Baby Where Did Out Love Go.” From there, the J. Geils Band dove back to their first album for a rare performance of “First I Look At Your Purse.” Then Peter Wolf acted out his long, but classic "wooba gooba" introduction to the fan favorite song, “Must Of Got Lost,” which found Peter Wolf strolling through the audience singing the chorus as the band jammed on stage. They continued with the deep cut, “Start All Over Again,” before closing out the party with a cover of the song “Land of 1000 Dances.” As all twelve members of the J. Geils Band’s live show stood arm in arm and bowed “good night,” the two-and-a-half hour show certainly gave all in attendance their money’s worth that evening.

Fellow Boston musician Jesse Dee began the night with a 40 minute set of soul, R&B, and classic rock n roll originals to get the party started.

Setlist: Sno-Cone, Wait, Hard Drivin’ Man, Peter Gunn Theme, Homework, Night Time, Southside Shuffle, Cry One More Time, Sanctuary, Pack Fair & Square, Give It To Me, I Do, Just Can’t Wait, One Last Kiss, Surrender, On Borrowed Time, Freeze Frame, Detroit Breakdown, Centerfold, Love Stinks, Looking For A Love, Whammer Jammer, (Ain’t Nothin’ But A) Houseparty
Encore: Baby Where Did Our Love Go, First Time I Look At Your Purse, Must Of Got Lost, Start All Over Again, Land Of 1000 Dances

Sunday, September 16, 2012

CD Review: Amy Cook Sheds Her "Summer Skin" With Help From Friends

From California comes singer/songwriter Amy Cook with her latest release “Summer Skin.” The album was released back in August on Roothouse Records and features guest artists including Ben Kweller, Patty Griffin and the legendary Robert Plant. Cook found her first success in 2005 with songs appearing on the shows “Dawson’s Creek,” “Veronica Mars,” “Laguna Beach” and “The L Word.” She found the limelight again in 2010 with her single “Hotel Lights,” which found praise in the magazines, Rolling Stone and The Austinist. Now, after years of performing in coffeehouses and clubs, Amy Cook is ready for the bright lights of stardom with her new release.

Her slightly smoky voice fits in so comfortably with the music on the opening track “Waiting For The World” that you instantly find yourself a fan. The harmonies supplied by Robert Plant on “It’s Gonna Rain” easily makes this one of the stand-out tracks on the album with Amy’s gentle flowing heartfelt lyrics. Her tone gets a little darker on the moody, six-minute, Doors-type rocker “Airplane Driver,” which features guest vocals by Patty Griffin. Amy Cook gets playful with her lyrics on “Hello Bunny” and simplifies her sound on the acoustic “Levee.” The album closes with “Heart Is A Ghost” as Amy’s vocals matches the lyrics and mood of the song perfectly.

Amy Cook is currently on tour in the Midwest before heading back out to California in October. For more information on her new album “Summer Skin,” please visit amycook.com.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

CD Review: Connecticut's Own, The Reducers Get A Tribute

Connecticut record label, Good Sponge Records is rolling out a tribute to one of Connecticut’s most famous unsigned bands, The Reducers. The new 24-song compilation entitled “Rave On: A Tribute to The Reducers, Vol. 1” pays tribute to the band’s 34-year legacy with some local CT acts performing songs from throughout The Reducers’ catalog.

The album opens with New York’s The Rattlers performing The Reducers best known song, “Let’s Go.” The Rattlers feature Mickey Leigh (brother of the late Joey Ramone) on vocals as the song carries that raw, pop-punk feeling that The Reducers were known for. The punk-like tempo keeps going with The Backstabbers performing “Life In The Neighborhood” and Japanese band, Rockbottom delivering a blazing rendition of “San Antone.” The female vocals Linda Bean of Frigate fit the tone perfectly on “Boys Will Be Boys,” while Dave Rave & Lauren Agnelli draw up the eighties pop sounds with “Company Man.” Local bands, The Manchurians and Paul Brockett Roadshow pay tribute to The Reducers with their “pub rock” renditions of “Fashion of the Times” and “Nothing Cool.”

The Dogmatics brings out the grunginess of “Black Plastic Shoes,” while Missy Roback shows us the country, pop side of The Reducers, performing the song “Real Gone.” The newly formed band, Birdfeeder adds their own ingredients to a soulful version of “Sound of Breaking Down.” The Rivergods show their respect to their fellow New London peers with a great, clean sounding version of “My Problem.” The album closes with the Male Curriers adding some surf guitar instrumental to “Endless Bummer.”

The Eugene O’Neil Theater Center in Waterford, CT will be hosting a CD release party on Saturday, September 22. This was the first venue that The Reducers performed at back in 1978. The night will feature performances by Heap, The Dogmatics, The Manchurians, Paul Brockett Roadshow, The Rivergods, The Clothespins, Jes Farnsworth, Matt Gouette, Blonde Furniture and Missy Roback. For more information on this release, check out thereducers.com.

Friday, September 14, 2012

CD Review: New Buxter Hoot'n Music In "Na Na Na" EP

San Francisco bay area rockers, Buxter Hoot’n recently released their new six-song EP entitled “Na Na Na.” This is the band’s fourth release and features some of their most intricate, atmospheric, progressive rock to date.
 
The album starts off with the slow pulsating beat of the title song, “Na Na Na” as the sound grows with the sing-along chorus. The band adds a bid of Dave Matthews Band flair to the fiddle-laden “Kids Those Days,” before picking up the tempo with the heavy, guitar-riff filled “Fake Heart Attack.” The band jams on the southern rock, Allman Brothers Band-style of “Hung Up” that you wish would just keep-on going. The album closes with the piano driven ballad “Better Way.”
 
Buxter Hoot’n recently performed at Viracocha in San Francisco, CA and has another show scheduled for November 15 at Bottom of the Hill. For more information on their new EP as well as tour dates, please visit buxterhootn.com.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

CD Review: Come "With Us" For The Burning Of Rome

From San Diego, CA come the mind-expanding sounds of The Burning of Rome. Their origins begin with front man Adam Traub, creating music with four-track tape recorder. After outgrowing that process, he began seeking out local musicians to join his musical journey and the band are finally releasing their debut album on Surfdog Records entitled “With Us." The album was produced by Traub and Tom Biller and will be available on September 18.
 
The album begins with the laid-back song, “The Ballad of an Onion Sprout,” which relies heavy on a simple keyboard progression to keep the song on track while Traub’s vocals invite you along for the ride. The song “Little Piranhas” takes on a darker tone with its heavy rock beat and strong, aggressive vocal delivery. The album features three mixes created Paul Leary of the Butthole Surfers. The remix of “Cowboys & Cut Cigars” has a very strong appeal with it combination of electronic music and hard rock drumming, while “Norman Bates” and “Ballad of an Onion Sprout (Alternative Mix)” have a more retro sound. The Burning of Rome experiment some more with their sound on the songs “Island”and “Why Can’t I Stop Killing My Friends,” which makes their music very hard to categorize into only one genre. The album closes with the electronic, industrial rock of “The Universe Is Made of Nonsense” and a sixteen-minute untitled sound experiment.
 
The Burning of Rome has a few live dates scheduled, including an album release show at the Viper room in Los Angeles, CA on September 20. For more information, be sure to check out the burningofrome.com.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

CD Review: Steel Toed Slippers Are The Perfect Match For Little Feat

New rockers, Steel Toed Slippers recently released their self-titled debut album. The band features Little Feat bassist Kenny Gradney (who also co-produced the album with Grammy winner Johnny Lee Schell) on slide guitar, along with Chris Norton (Zappa Plays Zappa) on keys. They were also featured in the August edition of Relix magazine’s “Artist of the Month.”
The album starts off with the roots, jamband sound of “Fading” as you hear lead singer Will Nicoll put all he has into his vocals. The band gets a little funky with their drum beats and bass grooves on “Lay Step,” before showing their roots with “You’re Caught.” The acoustic-based songs, “Here Comes”and “Keeper” showcase the songwriting talents this duo has at their disposal. The album finishes with the five minute jamming “First Encounter” that you wish would just play on for hours.
Steel Toed Slippers just wrapped up a handful of dates out in California. They will be performing at The Mint in Los Angeles, CA with Year of the Dragon in October. Please visit the band’s website (steeltoedslippers.com) for more information.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

CD Review: At Sea Are Bringing "The New Machine" To Connecticut

From New York comes the debut album ("A New Machine") from the band At Sea. The band says that the lyrics and tone of the album are very apocalyptic due to the recent events of natural disasters and the Occupy Wall Street movement. Lead singer/songwriter Jason Brody states that “at the end of the day, it’s all about writing a great song.”
 
The album begins with the up tempo rocker, “The Past Is A Drug” as the uplifting beat makes the serious subject matter feel more comfortable dealing with. The big beats of “A New Machine” gives the song an epic feel as Brody’s smooth vocals floats on top of the music. Two of the stand-out tracks on this album are the deep, meaningful ballad “A Long, Long Night” and the moody, eerie cover of Nirvana’s “Something In The Way.” The album closes with slow jaunt of “These Stolen Hours” highlighted by Brody’s vocal delivery.
 
At Sea will begin a small, six-date tour beginning September 13 at The Space in Hamden, CT. The new album, “A New Machine” will be available on September 25 through Soap Media.CEN/RED. For more information on the band and the tour, please visit atseamusic.com.

Monday, September 10, 2012

CD Review: It's Only The Beginning For Throwing Gravity

From Nashville, TN comes Throwing Gravity with a brand new album entitled “It’s Not The End.” The members of Throwing Gravity are not new to the music scene having worked with such bands as Linkin Park, Velvet Revolver, Stone Temple Pilots, Paramore, Daughtry, Augustana and others. The album’s lead single “Here We Go Again” has garnished the band attention, being featured on TNA Wrestling, MLB and NHL games and has been #1 on the iHeartRadio chart for 4 months. They’ve also shared the stage with bands like 12 Stones, Chevelle and My Darkest Days and their experiences have definitely come through in their music.
 
The album begins with a strong guitar attack combined with up-tempo drumming and hard-edged vocals to create another hit single with “Circles.” The band heads to a more mainstream rock sound on “Giving Up On Giving Up On You” and “Best Time.” Their attractiveness lies in the hard rock prowess as demonstrated in the single “Here We go Again.” Throwing Gravity has also produced a future hit single with “What She Wants” as the music becomes very addictive. The album closes with the acoustic-based, power ballad “Lost In You.”
 
Throwing Gravity just wrapped up their summer tour and have no further dates scheduled at the moment. For more information, please visit throwinggravity.net.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Concert Review: The Legendary Bob Dylan Visits Mohegan Sun

For over fifty years, Bob Dylan has been a musician for the people. He has written about changes in the government, changes in relationships, and changes in one’s well-being. He’s been inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Songwriters Hall of Fame, received 11 Grammy Awards, 1 Golden Globe Award, 1 Academy Award and most recently the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Bob Dylan has done everything a musician can do and at 71 years old, he still loves touring and performing his music for his dedicated fans. It is this love which brought him to the Mohegan Sun arena last Saturday night.

As fans filed into their seats, the members of Bob Dylan’s band took their spots on a dark stage. The music of the opening song, “You Ain’t Going Nowhere” began before any of the lights came up on stage. Finally as the lights slowly lit up the stage, Dylan was on his guitar leading the pack. During the opening song which followed with “Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues”, Dylan’s voice seemed very rough. When he shifted to his grand piano, he seemed more comfortable and his voice fit the fast paced “Things Have Changed” and “Summer Days.” Many of his songs were disguised by a different melody or the way he sang the lyrics. He turned “The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll” into a ballroom waltz and chopped up the lyrical flow of “Visions of Johanna” to make it almost unrecognizable. The chorus of “Tangled Up In Blue” and his harmonica solo during “Not Dark Yet” drew big applause from the audience. Dylan and his band rocked “Highway 61 Revisited” and “Thunder On The Mountain” by quickening the pace and proving he can still move you with his music. This was displayed when Dylan was very animated performing from his grand piano and even once again when taking center stage with his guitar for “Simple Twist Of Fate.” The sixteen song main set ended with two long-time fan favorites, “Like A Rolling Stone” and “All Along The Watchtower.” Dylan and his band exited to a standing applause, as the stage went black.

He returned for a one song encore, the civil right anthem, “Blowin’ In The Wind.” The song’s chorus drew another huge applause, proving once again that Bob Dylan’s music applies to every generation of his fans.

Setlist: You Ain’t Going Nowhere, Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues, Things Have Changed, Tangled Up In Blue, Summer Days, Not Dark Yet, Jolene, The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll, High Water (For Charlie Patton), Visions Of Johanna, Highway 61 Revisited, Simple Twist Of Fate, Thunder On The Mountain, Ballad Of A Thin Man, Like A Rolling Stone, All Along The Watchtower
Encore: Blowin’ In The Wind

Saturday, September 8, 2012

CD Review: Pro-Pain Brings New Music "Straight To The Dome"

New York metal band, Pro-Pain are releasing their 13th studio album, “Straight To The Dome” on September 25 through Goomba Music. The new album features eleven adrenaline fueled, fist pumping, head-banging songs that proudly displays their hardcore sound.

The album begins with the quick, hard-hitting song, “Straight To The Dome” which is 94 seconds of pure intensity for your ears. The band keeps up the blistering pace with “Payback” and “Nothing Left” as Gary Meskil’s vocals hit you right in the face. Pro-Pain fire-up their battle cry, “Sucks To Be You” before knocking down the walls with “Bloodlust For War.” The album finishes up with the chant of “Zugabe!” as they display a more mainstream, thrash metal sound.

Pro-Pain are currently on their “Straight To The Dome” tour overseas where they will be until the end of September. For more information on the new album and for tour dates, check out pro-pain.com.

Friday, September 7, 2012

CD Review: Hard Rock Supergroup, Projected To Become "Human"

When you add two parts of Sevendust (John Connolly, Vince Hornsby) with two parts Creed (Scott Phillips, Eric Friedman), you get the latest hard rock super group, Projected. The band will be releasing their debut album, "Human" on September 18 on Connolly’s own record label, Yaya Papu LLC. The album was produced by Connolly along with Elvis Baskette (Alter Bridge, Puddle of Mudd).
After a short instrumental introduction, the music bursts out of the gate with “Hello.” The vocals of John Connolly are strong and match the intensity of the music perfectly. The album’s first single, “Watch It Burn”shows off the elements that each band member brings to the group, the hard edge of Sevendust and the heavy mainstream rock of Creed. The full force of the band is finally heard (and felt) in the song “Bring You Back,” which features a guest appearance from Sevendust singer Lajon Witherspoon. The album slows down slightly with “12804,” but comes back strong with the grind of “The Crown,”before closing with the most aggressive song on the album, “Breaking Me.”
Please visit the band’s website (projectedband.com) for more information on this super group.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

CD Review: New Music From Chicago From The Shams Band And Cobalt & The Hired Guns

From the heart of Chicago comes The Shams Band, made up of Donnie Biggins (Acoustic Guitar, Vocals), Paul Gulyas (Electric Guitar, Vocals), Doug Hill (Drums), Brian Patterson (Bass), Ben White (Banjo, Percussion). They have a brand-new album entitled “Cold City” which expands on the traditional Americana sound, adding a bit more of a classic rock element.

The album begins with the title song, “Cold City,” a tribute to their hometown of Chicago as you notice a more alternative rock sound with slight comparisons to The Avett Brothers. They head to a more country setting with “Love You The Most” before making a U-turn to the garage rock sound of “Breadwinner.” You finally notice the amazing harmonizing between the band members on “Cause You Can” and “Trunk Whiskey.” They rely on their roots for the country romp of “Virgin Mary,” before heading into the blues for “The Des Plaines River.” The album closes with the band returns to country rock with the up-tempo “I’m Not Sorry.”

The Shams Band has a show on the schedule for September 28 in Chicago. For more information, check out theshamesband.com.

Also from Chicago, come the pop-punk sounds of Cobalt & the Hired Guns. They recently released their full-length sophomore album entitled “Everybody Wins.” The core of Cobalt & the Hired Guns consist of the trio of Jesse Alexander (Drums, Vocals), Tominson Fort (Guitar, Vocals) and Mike Roath (Bass, Guitar, Vocals). At any given time, they are joined by as many as twelve other musicians to give the songs whatever they need.
They’re music crosses the musical boundaries of rock, punk, country and Americana. They show off their energy on the album’s opening song “Like You Like Me Like Me” and add some horns to “Leaving” to give the song a more ska-punk sound. They venture into the country/Americana for “You Left Your Sweater” as they bring banjos and acoustics into the mix. Cobalt & The Hired Guns return to a more pop-rock sound in “Ghost Of The Road” and “Blue and White.” The horn section makes a return in “Last August” and gives the song a fuller sound. The album closes with their tribute to the state of Oregon(?) in “Oregon, I Know.”
Cobalt & The Hired Guns currently have no dates scheduled, but make to visit their website (cobaltandthehiredguns.com) for updates and announcements.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

CD Review: Cosmic Funeral Bring About A "Godless War"

Cosmic Funeral is a death metal band from Turkey and they recently released their debut EP entitled “Godless War To Eternity.” The 5-song album begins with the two-minute symphony of “The Prophecy.” The dark overtone of drums and strings sets up the listener to be blown away by the sheer force of this band.
 
The album continues with “Doomsday” as the music hits you right in the face with it powerful speed drumming and aggressive vocals. Cosmic Funeral adds symphonic music to their metal assault on “Negligence Of Centuries,” which makes the music stand-out from other death metal bands that just keep attacking your eardrums. The album closes with the six-minute, epic sounding “Serenade To Fallen” as the band finds the perfect formula of orchestrated music and death metal power.
 
For more information on this new, international metal band, check out their facebook page at facebook.com/CosmicFuneral.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

CD Review: The Marquee Show Off Their Talents With "White Room"

From north of the border comes The Marquee with their full-length debut album “White Room.” This four-piece band throws together a modern pop sound with an underground alternative feel to give their music a very upbeat, playful sound.

The album opens with “First Time” as the song’s bass groove keeps the guitar and drums in-line. You begin to get a feel for the modern, alternative pop-rock sound with the song “Each and Every Week.” The band adds a bit of funk to “Beating Drums” and visits their alternative rock side on “Fall Back” as the band gives a bit of edginess to their music. The album finishes up with some their strongest written songs; the up-tempo, alternative “Melodies & Memories” and the fell-good acoustics of “One Last Time,” which really showcases the bands harmonies.

For more information on this new band from Canada, please visit themarquee.ca.

Monday, September 3, 2012

CD Review: The Concord Music Group Strikes Again With New "Best Of" Releases

The Concord Music Group recently released its second wave of discs in the “Very Best Of Jazz” series. This time around, we get four “best of” albums from some of Jazz’s best pianists including Dave Brubeck, Vince Guaraldi, Bill Evans and Thelonious Monk. But we begin with saxophonist extraordinaire Cannonball Adderley.

As one of the members of Miles Davis’ sextet, Cannonball Adderley went out on his own in 1958 with his first two solo albums “Portrait of Cannonball” and “Things Are Getting Better.” You can hear in those early songs, his bebop prowness in “A Little Taste” and his ability to share the limelight with fellow musicians as he worked alongside Milt Jackson and Bill Evans. He experimented more, later on in his recording career as you notice the funk-filled “Jive Sabma” and “Inside Straight.” Adderley’s life was cut short by a heart attack at age 46, but this ten song “best of” gives us just a glimpse of what he added to the world of jazz. The new release also offers new liner-notes by music journalist Ashley Kahn.

“The Very Best of Thelonious Monk” gives us the highlights of his musical period between his time on the Blue Note label and his time with Columbia Records. Monk recorded eight solo albums in his six years on the Riverside record label and also appeared on twelve other albums. Some of the songs appearing on this new release are the powerfully simple “Blue Monk” and his version of Duke Ellington’s “Sophisticated Lady.” With the help of other Jazz greats like John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins and Coleman Hawkins, Monk’s music easy stood the test of time with “Bemsha Swing” and “Well, You Needn’t,” but his solo rendition of “Round Midnight” shows us what talents he had to offer. Also included in this release, are newly written liner-notes from Neil Tesser.

Pianist Bill Evans created some of his best solo work with the Bill Evans Trio consisting of Evans on piano, Schott LaFaro on bass and Paul Motian on drums. During 1959 and 1961, the Bill Evans Trio released two solo albums and two live albums. The albums “Explorations” and “Portrait In Jazz” including Evans’ versions of Irving Berlin’s “How Deep Is The Ocean?” and Cole Porter’s “What Is This Thing Called Love.” However, the Bill Evans Trio was more soulful when they were recorded live, as demonstrated in “My Foolish Heart” and “My Man’s Gone Now.” Neil Tesser also writes the liner-notes for “The Very Best Of The Bill Evans Trio.”

“The Very Best Of Dave Brubeck: The Fantasy Era” allows you to discover Brubeck before becoming famous for mixing time signatures on “Take Five.” This release offers fifteen of Brubeck’s greatest performances between 1949 and 1953. He takes songs “Blue Moon” and “My Heart Stood Still” from songwriters Rodgers-Hart and instilled them with he keen sense of melody and passion. The live songs “Stardust” and “Give A Little Whistle” shows a musician on the prowl with something to prove, just before his career really begins to take off. New liner-notes for this release were also supplied by Neil Tesser.

Last, but certainly not least, especially around Christmas time is the timeless sound of Vince Guaraldi. His performance of “Linus And Lucy” is a classic that every generation knows through the holiday cartoon “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” But, Guaraldi added a little spice into his catalog with the Latin sound of “Treat Street” and the smooth lounge-style of “Star Song.” But, ultimately it would be his work with Charlie Brown that made Vince Guaraldi such a household name in music. Author Derrick Bang supplied the liner notes for “The Very Best Of Vince Guaraldi.”

The Concord Music Group does an excellent job entrusting these classic songs to be mastered by Joe Tarantino as they continue to make Jazz music sound as alive and fresh as ever. For more information on these “best of Jazz” releases, please visit concordmusicgroup.com.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

CD Review: Merch Finds "Betrayal," While Neonfaith Gets "Tied" Up

From San Francisco, CA comes MERCH with their sophomore effort, “This Betrayal Will Be Our End.” MERCH is the brainchild of Joe Medina as he invites his collaborators along to create some mind-expanding, psychedelic-pop sounds to embellish his storied lyrics.

The opening title, “Death Of A Love” is a short instrumental that leads you into the story of love and revenge. The music of “Osmosis” has combined elements of rock and orchestral to create a song that leaves an impact on the listener. The frailty of the vocals in “Before You Go Back To Him” and “When It Was Good” gives a sense of loss without understanding why, while “Infidelity” has the total opposite feeling of aggressive revenge. The album finishes up with the psych-pop music of “The Comedown Is A Killer,” which tries to handle the heavy weight of the lyrics before the closing song “The House We’ll Never Live In” about true heartbreak.

For more information on new album from MERCH, please visit http://soundcloud.com/merchmusic.

New York indie electro-pop band Neonfaith recently released their second single “Tied Together,” which instantly draws similarities to Blue Man Group’s tubular sound. The song carries a more relaxing feel than their first single “Escape,” but “Escape” has a more pop-dance beat that can certainly catch-on with clubs.

Check out samples of the Neonfaith’s two singles at http://soundcloud.com/neonfaith.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Concert Review: Zac Brown Band Become "Uncaged" At Mohegan Sun

The Zac Brown Band burst onto the country music scene in 2008 with their Grammy-winning album “The Foundation.” The band has toured relentlessly over the past three years, and has finally returned to Connecticut for a two-night stand at the Mohegan Sun arena on August 31 and September 1. These two shows would also signal the beginning of their 2012 fall tour which will conclude on November 17 at Madison Square Garden.

A full night of music began with a 45-minute set from one of country music’s newest singer/songwriters Levi Lowrey. He mixed in slow ballads with country romps as he performed songs from his latest album, “I Confess I Was A Fool.”

After waiting another 45 minutes, the lights finally went out as a countdown appeared on a white curtain hiding the stage and band behind it. As the countdown hit zero, the Zac Brown Band kicked off the night with country groove of “Keep Me In Mind” and the fast-paced hoe-down of “Whiskey’s Gone.” The high energy that the band displayed was felt throughout the arena as the audience got up on their feet and swayed to the island sound of “Knee Deep.”

The Zac Brown Band is touring behind their new #1 album, “Uncaged”. A few songs from this album were scattered throughout the set list and fit in perfectly with past hits like “Highway 20 Ride” and “Free.” After a jamming version of “Who Knows,” which including a blazing guitar solo from Clay Cook, the band convened halfway up the catwalk for a three song acoustic set.

The set began with the Zac Brown Band inviting opening act Levi Lowery to sing his song “Wherever We Break Down.” Then they continued with a brand-new song entitled “One Day” before finishing with a countrified version of Aerosmith’s “Sweet Emotion.”

The band kicked it into high gear with “Jump Right In,” “Toes” and a mash-up of Stevie Wonder’s song “Isn’t She Lovely” and John Mayer’s song “Neon.” They closed the set with a fiery version of “The Devil Went Down To Georgia,” highlighted by Jimmy De Martini violin playing.

After screams and stomps from the audience, percussionist Daniel de los Reyes and drummer Chris Fryer entertained with a drum solo which lead into “The Wind.” The band continued with “No Hurry” before feeling very patriotic by performing an excellent rendition of “America The Beautiful.” Their two hour performance came to a close with an outstanding performance of their Grammy nominated, #1 single “Chicken Fried.”

As night one concluded, the band seemed uplifted by their visit to Connecticut and to one of the state’s premier concert spots.

Setlist: Keep Me In Mind, Whiskey’s Gone, Knee Deep, Uncaged, Highway 20 Ride, Natural Disaster, Who Knows, Whenever We Break Down (acoustic), One Day (acoustic), Sweet Emotion (acoustic), Free, Jump Right In, As She’s Walking Away, The Day That I Die, Toes, Isn’t She Lovely/Neon, The Devil Went Down To Georgia
Encore: The Wind, No Hurry, America The Beautiful, Chicken Fried