Wednesday, October 31, 2012

CD Review: Rock Duo, Time And Energy Apply "Focus" To New Album

California experimental indie rock duo, Time And Energy has a new album, “Strange Kind Of Focus” to be released on November 16. Members Jorge Rios and Brennan Roach share the duties on this release as they fill every song with drum loops and keyboard samples to keep their sound fresh.

The album begins with the electronic frenzy of “Hot Air” as there seems to be too much going on. This song is a prime example of where less would mean more. They add a smooth bass groove and a little Spanish flair in “Thought Forms,” before overloading “Tree Salad” with more music than what is needed. The gentleness of “Breakdown” is a nice escape from the barrage of music, but it is short lived as they blast back with the experimental garage rock of “Da Da Da.” Time And Energy tap into their past with the sixties psychedelic sound of “Sitting On A Scale.” The album closes with “Acid Jam” as Jorge Rios mixes English and Spanish vocals over a progressive jazz beat.

For more information on this duo of musicians, please visit timeandenergyband.com and see what they are up to.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

CD Review: Pianist Micah Sheveloff Becomes An "Exhibitionist" On His Debut Album

Singer/songwriter/pianist Micah Sheveloff released his debut solo album, “Exhibitionist” back on August 27. The album was recorded at New Haven’s Firehouse 12 which was the perfect location to capture his 9-foot concert Steinway piano and his vintage Hammond B3 organ. The entire album was recorded to 2-inch tape without using today’s latest technology to achieve a more live, “in the studio” sound. 

 The album begins with a classic, blues piano led by Micah’s mellow vocals on “Tumble.” He follows the same path on “Stand Me Up,” but adds a bit more passion into his vocals, giving his voice a more raspy sound. At times, his voice also reflects an older Ray Davies of The Kinks as in the ballad “Barren Man” and the storytelling of “Baltimore.” The album closes with Micah performing a slow, piano version of Black Sabbath’s “Heaven And Hell” and a duet of Cheap Trick’s “Heaven Tonight” featuring Boston singer Rick Berlin.

For more information on Micah Sheveloff’s new album, “Exhibitionist,” check out micahmadness.com.

Monday, October 29, 2012

CD Review: Victory Records Unleashes New Albums From Ill Nino and Otep

After the release of their heavy metal smash album from Sister Sin, Victory Records returns with a couple more albums to enjoy. First up is Ill Nino with their brand new album, “Epidemia.” They come bursting out your speakers with “The Depression” with their dark heavy metal sound. The musicianship on the band’s sixth album shows how this band has matured since their first release over ten years ago. The tribal rhythms are heard throughout the album, especially in the songs “Only The Unholy” and “Demi-God.” The band’s speed and power overtakes you on “La Epidemia,” but the stick to a more mainstream metal sound on “Eva” and “Death Wants More.” The album closes strong with the power and energy of “Invisible People.”
 
Ill Nino just wrapped a string of live dates, but look for more shows as the new album was just released on October 22. For more information, check out the band’s facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Officialillnino.
 
Also coming from Victory Records is a live album from Otep entitled “Sounds Like Armageddon.” The album was recorded during her 2012 Destroy To Create Tour, which spans her entire career. After calling out her battle cry in “Battle Ready,” Otep just kicks ass with one her earlier songs “Fillthee.”Otep attacks the crowd with “Crooked Spoons” and “Confrontation” from one her bigger albums, “The Ascension.” She doesn’t touch upon her most recent album, “Atavist” until the end, with an aggressive live version of “Fists Fall.” The album closes with raw, rocking rendition of Nirvana’s “Breed” dedicated to “the late, to the great, Kurt Donald Cobain.”
 
The new live album will be released on November 6. For more information, please visit Otep’s facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Officialillnino.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

CD Review: Concord Music Group Puts Together The "Ultimate Creedence Clearwater Revival"

As one of rock music’s premier bands, Creedence Clearwater Revival helped define a generation through their music. They released seven albums in five years (two of them hit #1) and garnished over thirty compilation hits albums showing just how effective their songs were through the ages. Now, this November, we get the ultimate hits compilation to end all debates. From Fantasy Records comes the “Ultimate Creedence Clearwater Revival: Greatest Hits & All-Time Classics.” This 3-CD set features two full discs filled with all the hits from “Proud Mary” to their 11-minute version of “I Heard It Through The Grapevine.” The special thing about this set is the third disc which features live versions of many of their classic songs recorded between 1970 and 1971 at locations like Oakland, San Francisco, London, Stockholm, Amsterdam, Hamburg and Berlin.
 
The first disc features most of their early well-known hits like “Bad Moon Rising,” “Fortunate Son” and “Who’ll Stop The Rain.” They also pack the disc with some deeper cuts from the CCR catalog like “Bootleg” and “(Wish I Could) Hideaway” as well as their famous covers of “Good Golly Miss Molly”and “The Midnight Special.”
 
The second disc is laid out pretty much the same way, with hits like “Travilin’ Band” and “Green River,” but this disc digs a little deeper than the first disc with songs like “I Came Out Of the Sky” and “Someday Never Comes.” They do a great job with cover versions of “I Put A Spell On You” and “The Night Time Is The Right Time.” Both discs garnish 20 songs and over 70 minutes of music.
 
The third disc is what will peak the interest of collectors as it features 12 live songs. CCR blast through songs at face pace as “Travelin’ Band” and “Bad Moon Rising” barely hit the two-minute mark. The last two songs on this set, “Suzio-Q” and “Keep On Chooglin” is where you’ll notice how great this band was live. With the songs pushing past the nine-minute mark, you get to hear what outstanding live musicians they were. The only fault with this disc is that is only clocks in at 48-minutes. I wish they filled this disc up like the first two, after all, it is the “Ultimate Creedence Clearwater Revival” hits set.
 
For more information on this great piece of music history, please visit http://www.concordmusicgroup.com/albums/Ultimate-Creedence-Clearwater-Revival-Greatest-Hit/

Saturday, October 27, 2012

CD Review: The Wallflowers Are "Glad All Over" Their New Album

Late-nineties alternative rockers The Wallflowers are ready to return to their rightful place among today’s top alternative-pop groups. After the release of their 2006 album, “Rebel, Sweetheart” The Wallflowers decided to take an indefinite hiatus. Jakob Dylan, the band’s lead singer, released two solo albums during that time before announcing in 2011 that the band would be heading into to studio to record their first album in over five years. On October 9, The Wallflowers released “Glad All Over” on Columbia Records. The new album was produced by Jay Joyce and debuted at #48 on the Billboard 200 Album chart.

It nice to see the band rocking as on the opening song “Hospital For Sinners,” but it’s the album’s first single, “Reboot The Mission” that gets the heart pumping. Mick Jones (The Clash) lends a hand to this song giving it a later day Clash/Big Audio Dynamite sound that is very welcomed on this release. Mick Jones also appears on “Misfits And Lovers,” but doesn’t add as much of his influence to that song. The Wallflowers also keep their signature folk/rock sound on “First One In The Car” and “Love Is A Country” as the songs become short stories within themselves. The band continues to expand their sound and reach a little outside the box on “The Devil’s Dance.” The album closes with “One Set Of Wings” as it feels like 1996 all over again.

The Wallflowers are currently on tour promoting the new album, “Glad All Over.” The tour lasts until mid-November, so be sure to visit thewallflowers.com for a complete list of dates.

Friday, October 26, 2012

CD Review: Paul Kelly Picks His Favorite Seasons With "Spring And Fall"

Australian singer/songwriter Paul Kelly will be releasing his 19th studio album, “Spring and Fall” on November 6. It will be Kelly’s first album of new material in five years. His last release was the career-spanning compilation “Songs From The South” and now he begins again on a clean slate.
 
The theme of this release centers on the highs and lows of being in love, beginning with “New Found Year.” The song discusses the travels of time as only Paul Kelly knows how. His voice and words just wrap you up and take you on a storied journey as in “For The Ages.” Kelly sounds a little like Cat Stevens with the folk-styling of “Gonna Be Good” and reaches his peak with the dark sounding “Time And Tide.” Paul Kelly, considered the Australian Bob Dylan, brings truth to that statement with the exceptional “Sometimes My Baby”and the album closer “Little Aches And Pains.”
 
Hot on the heels of his new album; with be a feature-length documentary on Paul Kelly entitled “Stories Of Me,” which will be released in September of 2013. For more information on “Spring And Fall,” please visit paulkelly.com.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

CD Review: Nancy Parent's Voice Draws A "Vision Of Angels"

From New London, CT comes singer/songwriter Nancy Parent with a new solo album entitled “Vision of Angels.” It will be released on October 26 through Good Sponge Records and was produced by Hugh Birdsall (The Reducers) along with Nancy. As a member of the Americana band, The Rivergods, Nancy contributed to the development of songs, whether providing vocals or guitars. Now Nancy heads straight for the gentle folk sounds of her latest release.

Right from the opening songs “Sin Sick Soul” and “Ten Thousand Things,” you instantly notice how pretty her voice is along a stark musical background. At times her voice reflects the great Joan Baez as in “Winter Blues” and “All In My Head.” Nancy plugs in for “Memo,” but it’s the acoustic songs “The Well” and “Window” that capture the most meaning from her vocals.

Nancy Parent has a CD release show scheduled for October 26 at the All Souls Unitarian Universalist Congregation in New London, CT. For more information, please visit nancyparent.wordpress.com/.

CD Review: Sister Sin Are Ready To Rock "Now And Forever"

Heavy metal band, Sister Sin are celebrating 10 years together with the release of their third album, “Now and Forever.” The band brings back the “old-school” metal sound with the modern flair that Liv Jagrell brings to the vocals. The new album was also mixed by Cameron Webb (Motorhead, Danzing).
 
The album starts out strong with “End Of The Line”and “Fight Song,” which hits hard with attitude and a power that’s missing from many of today’s metal bands. They quicken the pace with “In It For Life” and create such a huge sound with “Hearts Of Cold” that the music is irresistible. Liv adds a bit more attitude to “The Chosen Few” and “Hang’em High” that give the songs an edgier, grittier sound. The new album has no “throw-away” tracks as each song is as good as the previous one and the band seem to bring their best to every performance.
 
The new album, “Now and Forever” was released on October 23 through Victory Records. Sister Sin will be hitting the road in February of next year with the legendary Doro. For a complete list of tour dates and more information on the new album, check out sistersin.com.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

CD Review: Ari Shine Hits New Heights With New "Songs"

Singer/songwriter Ari Shine released his latest album "Songs of Solomon" with the help of the grassroots community. His latest release was funded by a Pledgemusic campaign supported by fellow musicians like Mindy Smith, White Buffalo, Mike Peters of The Alarm, plus others. Ari also received some collaboration help from Marty Rifkin (Bruce Springsteen, Ryan Adams), who performed steel and lap steel on seven of the album's twelve tracks.

Ari begins the album with the Bruce Springsteen sounding "Ninety Nine" and "Got A Song Coming To You." Ari pours some of his political beliefs into these songs as he pays tribute to the Occupy Wall Street movement. Ari's songwriting stands out on the acoustic "Pauper's Grave" as you find yourself wrapped around his words. Ari's sound hits the mainstream mark with the pop sounds of "Welcome To The Biz," before closing the album with "Wear And Tear" as Ari's voice, at times, sounds like a young Elvis Costello.

Ari Shine has one live show scheduled for October 27 at the Knitting Factory in New York, performing alongside Ryan Cabrera. For more information on Ari Shine's new album "Songs of Solomon," please visit arishine.com.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

CD Review: Patrolled By Radar Sends "Cards, Gifts & Caskets"

From Los Angeles, CA comes Patrolled By Radar with a brand new album of cover songs entitled “Cards, Gifts & Caskets, Vol. 1” The new album was once again produced by Peter Curry from Los Straitjackets and features 12 songs ranging from punk rock legends, The Clash to the folk styling of Vic Chesnutt, but done in the vein of Patrolled By Radar’s Americana style.
 
The album begins with the traditional blues of “Goin’ Down To The River,” which is a great opener for this album as the band seem the most comfortable performing this song. They turn The Clash’s song “Hateful” into an old west bar band version with no recognition of the original. The storied lyrics of “When I Ran Off And Left Her” come shining through on the song’s simple production. Patrolled By Radar throw some rockabilly guitar into “Eager Boy” and perform a spot on rendition of The Kinks’ “Rosie Won’t You Please Come Home.” The band adds some country slide guitar to The Jam’s “In The Crowd” and makes it all their own. The album closes with the guitar rock shuffle of “Outta Place.”
 
Patrolled By Radar has about half a dozen dates scheduled at the moment out in California. For more information on the band’s new release “Cards, Gifts & Caskets, Vol. 1,” please visit patrolledbyradar.com.

Monday, October 22, 2012

CD Review: "Diamond Days" Are Coming This Way For Silverchair Drummer Ben Gillies

Indie-rock band Bento is releasing their debut album, “Diamond Days” on October 26 through the Diamond Day Records label. Bento is fronted by Silverchair drummer, Ben Gillies. While Silverchair is known for their big budget production pieces, Bento is the complete opposite. Gillies funded the entire project himself, which allows for the music to breathe and not be constricted to one idea.
 
The album begins with the title song as Gillies takes on the vocal duties throughout the entire album. The music carries a folk-rock vibe that doesn’t overpower the vocals. Gillies voice sounds so smooth and mellow on“Words of Love,” before picking up the tempo with the alternative rock sounds of “West Side Story” and “Obsession.” Bento is sure to hit the mainstream pop market with “How Many Times” as the music of the song is as catchy as its chorus. The song “Living Strong” carries a bit of funk, while “Poison Ivy” is pure, straight-up rock. The album closes with the mostly instrumental, experimental “Naked Next Me.”
 
For more information on Bento and their new album “Diamond Days,” please visit wearebento.com.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Concert Review: The Twins Of Evil Take Over Connecticut

While it wasn't quite a heavyweight title fight, the Mohegan Sun arena did feature a head to head battle between shock rockers Marilyn Manson and Rob Zombie. Both artists took to the stage last Saturday night as part of the "Twins Of Evil" tour and both tried to outdo the other in stage props and performance.
 
Marilyn Manson struck first, getting the crowd rocking during the opening songs "Hey Cruel World" and "Disposable Teens." He tried scoring the first points for controversy, as he donned a bishop's outfit for "The Love Song" and displayed the word "drugs" in huge light-up letters during "The Dope Show." Manson stated that he loved Connecticut because "it had the word cut" in its name, while displaying his knife-tipped microphone during "No Reflection." The mosh pits didn't develop until about halfway through his set as the crowd enjoyed his cover version of the songs "Personal Jesus" and "Sweet Dreams." His 75-minute set ended with the popular "Beautiful People" and all in attendance enjoyed Manson's stage antics.
 
After a 20-minute set change, it was time for the horror master, Rob Zombie to take the stage. Not to be outdone, Zombie made his songs come to life with 12 ft. tall robots and devils. The music was just as good as the stage theatrics. Without a new album to promote, Rob Zombie performed a 13-song greatest hits set. Beginning with the one, two punch of "Jesus Frankenstein" and "Superbeast" the audience was like putty in his hands. The loudest applause came during Zombie's songs, "More Human Than Human" and "Thunder Kiss '65" from earlier in his career with White Zombie. He ramped up the most pit during "Never Gonna Stop" and traveled out into the crowd during guitarist John 5's amazing, attention grabbing solo. Zombie paid tribute to his mentor Alice Cooper with a quick cover of "School's Out," before ascending to the top of the podium for the knockout punch of his popular hit "Dragula."
 
As fireworks and confetti signaled the finale, Zombie took the title that night. Manson definitely entertained a crowd that got there chance at seeing two of heavy metal's premier shock rockers. DJ Starscream began the evening with a 30-minute blast of club beats as he mixed music with horror show quotes.
 
Marilyn Manson setlist: Hey Cruel World, Disposable Teens, The Love Song, No Reflection, Mobscene, The Dope Show, Slo-Mo-Tion, Rock Is Dead, Personal Jesus, Sweet Dreams, King Kill 33, Antichrist Superstar, The Beautiful People
 
Rob Zombie setlist: Jesus Frankenstein, Superbeast, Meet The Creaper, Living Dead Girl, More Human Than Human, Mars Needs Women, Never Gonna Stop, Sick Bubble-Gum, Scum Of The Earth, Pussy Liquor, Thunder Kiss '65, School's Out, Dragula

Saturday, October 20, 2012

CD Review: October Brings Us More Heavy Metal From Metal Blade Records

Metal Blade Records is celebrating 30 years as a record label this year. What started out as a small, underground, heavy metal music community has grown into one of the premier metal record labels in the world. They continue to release some of the heaviest, most interesting music that has ever been created and this October finds five more releases to add the Metal Blade Records catalog.

Earlier this month saw the releases of new albums from Between the Buried and Me and Downfall of Gaia. Between the Buried and Me recently released their first concept album entitled, “The Parallax II: Future Sequence.” At first you wonder if they have taken a more progressive rock route as the opening track, “Goodbye to Everything” sound more like Rush than Slayer. But not to worry, the band brings their infamous heavy metal sound into the mix with “Astral Body.” The band extends their songs as on the ten-minute, chord changing,  riff-filled “Lay Your Ghosts To Rest.” The musicianship on this new album is outstanding as they add pieces of Rush and King Crimson into their heavy drumming and blazing guitar sound. As the storied album plays on, the band continues to mix death metal riffs (“Telos”) with progressive rock (“Bloom”) to create one of the most interesting albums of the year.

On the flipside, we have Downfall of Gaia with their feedback soaked new album, “Suffocating in the Swarm of Cranes.” The 8-minute opening song is swimming in its doom metal glory. The vocals are few and far between as the drumming takes the lead in the song. The follow-up song, “In The Rivers Bleak” adds a little more in the way of guitars, but continues with its fury of feedback. The band heads into a more progressive metal sound on “I Fade Away,” before returning to the slow burn of “Giving Their Heir To The Masses.”

Both of these albums were released on October 9 through Metal Blade Records.

Also coming out soon from Metal Blade Records are new albums from Bison b.c., AntropomorphiA and Abiotic. Bison b.c. brings their doom and gloom sound to their latest release “Lovelessness.” The band worked with acclaimed producer Sanford Parker (Buried At Sea, Minsk) on this new album as the band find themselves stretching out their songs for a more epic feel.

AntropomorphiaA return from a ten year hiatus with a new album entitled “Evangelivm Nekromantia.” The music on this latest death metal release sounds as if the members are re-energized and out to take the throne of death metal masters. The motor-like drumming and crunching guitars along with the aggressive vocals should give AntropomorphiA one their most acclaimed albums to date.

Also rising from the death metal community is the new band, Abiotic with their full-length debut album “Symbiosis.” The power and speed are captured in every song on this new release. There is no rest when listening to this album. Abiotic mix-in some classical guitar solos, but quickly blast you back with their hard-hitting sound.

These three new albums will be released on October 23rd. For more information on these and other release, check out metalblade.com.

Friday, October 19, 2012

CD Review: KISS Unleash "Monster" Riffs On New Album

Legendary rock band Kiss have finally released their 20th album, "Monster" on October 9. This album features some of their heaviest riffs and strongest songs since their 1997 album, "Revenge." The new album was produced by Paul Stanley and follows the success of their last album, "Sonic Boom" and comes out hot on the heels of their most recent concert collaboration with Motley Crue.

The new album starts off strong with the first single, "Hell Or Hallelujah." The song ranks as one of Kiss' anthems about never giving up. The song "Wall of Sound" features Gene Simmons on lead vocals and is one of the hardest rocking songs on the album. The drums are thunderous and the guitars are blazing on "Shout Mercy" as Kiss try to bring a bit of their seventies magic into the mix. The evilness of "The Devil Is Me" perfectly fits Simmons' demon demnor and also features some of Tommy Thayer's best guitar work. Kiss are known for leaving their sexual innuendo imprints all over their albums and they don't disappoint with "Take Me Down Below" as Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley trade verses. The album closes with Stanley leading the way with on the arena-sized rocker "Last Chance" as drummer Eric Singer quickens the pace to the big finish.

Kiss will be hitting South America in November. They recently appeared on the 50th Live On Letterman Webcast and Good Morning America. For more information on Kiss' new album, "Monster" please visit kissonline.com.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

CD Review: Rob Zombie Remixes His Songs And Hits The Road With Manson

Rob Zombie has been a very busy man of late. He has a brand new horror movie entitled “The Lords Of Salem.” He just released his second remix album, “Mondo Sex Head” through Geffen Records and he is currently on tour with Marilyn Manson as part of the “Twins Of Evil” tour. While Manson is promoting his new disc “Born Villain,” on this tour, Rob Zombie has packed his show with hits from his four solo albums and songs from his earlier band, White Zombie.

The new remix album features many songs that Zombie fans will know, but have never heard in this way before. JDevil handles the first remix on the album with an all-out rave version of one of Zombie’s biggest hits, “Thunder Kiss ’65.” Document One’s remix of “Let It All Bleed Out” sound like a horror movie within itself as the sound effects find their way to the front of the mix. Zombie’s heavy metal hit “More Human Than Is Human” sounds like shell of its former self as the song drags, but the album finds its punch on “Pussy Liquor” and “Lords Of Salem.” Zombie’s guitarist John 5 lends some extra guitar work to the Kraddy remix of “Superbeast” which gives the song some extra juice before finishing the album with club beat filled “Mars Needs Women.”

The Twins of Evil tour is rolling into Connecticut on October 20 with a show at the Mohegan Sun arena. The tour wraps up its U.S. dates on Halloween before heading over to Europe to finish out the year. For more information on the new album, “Mondo Sex Head” and for a complete list of tour dates please visit robzombie.com.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

CD Review: Lianne La Havas Asks "Is Your Love Big Enough" On Her Debut Album

British folk/soul singer Lianne La Havas released her debut album, “Is Your Love Big Enough?” back in July where it hit #4 on the British music charts. It was released in the U.S. in August and broke into the Billboard Top 200 album chart. On this album, La Havas performs all of the vocals and guitar duties with the help of Matt Hales on the other instruments. 

You instantly notice how smooth her voice is on the mostly acapella opening track “Don’t Wake Me Up.” She gets her soul groove going on the title track before slowing things down with the ballad “Lost & Found.” The fragileness in her voice works perfectly with Willy Mason in the duet, “No Room For Doubt.” Lianne is such a musical chameleon as she shows us her funk/rock vibe on “Forget” and her jazzy-side on “Age.” The album closes with the R&B flavored “They Could Be Wrong.” 

Lianne La Havas is currently on tour in Europe, but will be hitting the U.S. for a few shows before heading back across the pond to finish out the year. For more information on this rising young star, please visit her website at liannelahavas.com.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

CD Review: Rachael Sage Spreads Her Beauty On "Haunted By You"

Singer/songwriter Rachael Sage released her 10th studio album, “Haunted By You” earlier this year to rave reviews. She has also shared the stage with fellow female musicians Sarah McLachlan, Ani DeFranco and on her latest tour, the legendary Judy Collins. Rachael Sage also recently released a six-song EP entitled simply “The Acoustic EP.” The songs on this release feature stripped down versions of songs from her “Haunted By You” album.

The album begins with the gentleness of “Invisible Light” which allows Rachael’s vocals to be the main focus. The song makes a reprise again at the end of the album which includes additional vocals from Dar Williams. Rachael Sage’s voice pleads on “Abby Would You Wait Me,” before she demands your attention on “California” as she just takes you on a journey with her words. Rachael seems so venerable on “Everything,” then comes back strong on the powerful “Ready.” Rachael Sage puts all she has into her performances as heard in “Birthday” and “Confession.” She sings from the heart, which is what makes her songs so meaningful.

Rachael Sage is currently on a tour which will last until December. She visits Connecticut on October 21st with a show at the Infinity Music Hall with Al Stewart. Early November finds her headlining some dates in Europe before returning back to the states. For more information on Rachael Sage’s new album “Haunted By You and her acoustic EP, please visit rachaelsage.com.

Monday, October 15, 2012

CD Review: Amy Lynn & The Gun Show Are "Clearly" Full Of Great Music

Hailing from Brooklyn, NY is Amy Lynn & The Gunshow with their new 3-song EP, "Clearly." Amy Lynn, originally from Meriden, CT has finally found a backing band that can keep up with her amazing vocals. Amy's experiences performing at Radio City as part of the Christmas Spectacular and as Janis Joplin at the Kennedy Center have certainly allowed her to perfect her vocal skills. The band also recently had their song, "Missing You" featured on the WB's television show "Big Easy Brides."

The songs on this EP range from the soul/funk of "Clearly It's Me" to the bright lights of Broadway on "I Do." Her voice is perfectly accented by the horns of "I Believe To My Soul" as Amy gets to flex her pipes. The R&B/Jazz background of The Gunshow along with Amy Lynn's voice is as good as any of today's big names like Sharon Jones or Joss Stone.

Amy Lynn & The Gun Show have a Video Release Party set for October 21 at New York's Faces & Names. For more information on this outstanding musical act, please visit their website at
amylynnandthegunshow.com.

CD Review: CT's Hostage Calm Mixes Punk With Pop On New Album

Connecticut punk band Hostage Calm returns to the forefront of the punk movement with their latest release, "Please Remain Calm." Their sound on this latest release weaves together catchy guitar riffs with great melodies with an up-tempo, rebellious rhythm section.

The album kicks things off with "On Both Eyes" as the band brings a more mainstream sound into the mix. Their music is so contagious that you find yourself singing along to the chorus after only a couple listens. The band's raw energy shines through on "Woke Up Next To A Body," before doing a total turnaround on the acoustic love ballad "The M Word." Hostage Calm show off their harmonizing skills on "Patriot" before closing the album with the build-up tempo of "One Last Salute."

Hostage Claim are beginning their tour on October 17 in Cleveland, OH before hitting their home state of Connecticut on the 21st. The tour will last until the beginning of December so do yourself a favor and check them out. For more information, check out http://www.runforcoverrecords.com/hostagecalm.php.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

CD Review: Widespread Panic Bring Out Their Best "Wood"

American jamband, Widespread Panic will be releasing their ninth official live album entitled "Wood" on October 16. This 2CD set features highlights from the band's 2012 all-acoustic tour which hit Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Denver and Aspen for multiple nights.

The set features some classic Widespread Panic songs like "Tall Boy" and "Ain't Life Grand," done with a different set of rules. It shows the band's diversity by having to change up the arrangements for many concert staples like "Climb To Safety." The real gems of the set are the cover songs like a perfect rendition of The Beatles' "The Ballad Of John And Yoko" and Alan Price's "Sell Sell." The band  enjoys getting down and dirty with the blues of "Good Morning Little School Girl" and "Tail Dragger." Col. Bruce Hampton takes over the lead vocals on Bukka White's "Fixin' To Die" as Widespread Panic seem entirely natural in this type of setting without the need to plug in. The two discs just play so smoothly, that at times you forget that it was recorded live.

Widespread Panic are also releasing a special 3 LP box set of this new live album. For more information on this release, please be sure to visit widespreadpanic.com.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

CD Review: Country Music Comes Roaring Back With Big & Rich And Dwight Yoakam

This past September we saw the release of two albums that signaled the return of one of country music’s biggest acts and one of country music’s best songwriters. Big & Rich and Dwight Yoakam have both been out of the limelight for over five years and their new albums are sure to put them back in the forefront of this wildly popular music genre.

Big & Rich return from a five year hiatus with a new studio album entitled “Hillbilly Jedi.” The album was released on September 18 through Warner Bros and hit the top 5 on the Billboard Country Music chart.

The album begins perfectly with the duo’s return to form on “Born Again” as they receive a little help from New Jersey fans Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora. The song is the perfect collaboration of rock and country that just sets the stage for a party-type album which continues with “Party Like Cowboyz.” The album’s first single “That’s Why I Pray” finds the duo pulling back the partying for the heartfelt, country prayer. The mellowness continues with the acoustic “Last Words,” before returning to the up-tempo fun of “Rock The Boat.” The boys throw in one more ballad with “Never Far Away,” then finish up with the almost six-minute, wild west sounding “M-E-D-L-E-Y Of Hillbilly Jedi.”

Big & Rich have been on the road promoting the new album and only have a few dates left before returning to the road in December. For more information on their new album, “Hillbilly Jedi,” please visit bigandrich.com.

Dwight Yoakam returns with his first album of original material in over seven years. The new album, “3 Pears” was also released on September 18 and cracked the top 20 of the Billboard 200 Album Chart, one of Yoakam’s highest charting albums to date. The album also features some production help from alternative musical chameleon Beck.

The album begins with “Take Hold Of My Hand,” which finds Dwight Yoakam in fine form both musically and vocally. The twang is gone on this open track, but still carries that classic country appeal. His songwriting excels on “Waterfalls” as his words just have so much meaning against such a stark background of music. He rocks, country-style, on “Dim Lights, Thick Smoke” and he brings in some of that classic rockabilly guitar on “Nothing But Love.” Then Yoakam flashes back to the early days of country on “Heart Like Mine” as the song carries such a simple, but effective sound. He pours his soul into the acoustic “Missing Heart,” before picking up the tempo again on “3 Pears.” The album closes with a reprise of the opening song “Take Hold Of My Hand” as Yoakam sings along to just a lovely piano melody.

Dwight Yoakam is currently on tour in the U.S. before heading over to Australia in November. For a complete list of tour dates and more information on the new album, be sure to check out dwightyoakam.com.

Friday, October 12, 2012

CD Review: New Music From The West Coast

The Northwest corner of the country has been busy with some new independent releases this fall season. The music flowing from the region features some great roots rock along with singer/songwriter pop style.

First up is Kuwaiti-American singer/songwriter Yusif! with his self-titled debut album. He turns tragedies of his past into very personable triumphs, beginning with the guitar-rock of "Third World Soldier." Yusif! has been around too much war and destruction that he wants to create inspirational songs as in "Underdog" and "My Heart Is Yours Forever." He said he was inspired by the Seattle music scene in the nineties, with bands like Nirvana and Soundgarden. Yusif! places that rock edge in his music as shown in "Reach Out," before closing with the Soul Asylum-sounding "Fools Know Better."

Yusif!'s self-released album is available now and he has a load of tour stops along the U.S. For more information on this indie artist, please visit his website at yusifmusic.com.

Up next is the Americana band Sassparilla from Portland, OR with a new album entitled "Magpie." The band's laid-back approach resonates through their songs like "Threadbone" and "You Took It All." They also have a rawness to their sound, which is what makes songs like "Star" and "Two Black Hearts" have that real, true feel. The band experiments with some guitar fuzz on album closer "The Man Who Howled Wolf."

Sassparilla's new album "Magpie" will be available on October 23 on Fluff & Gravy Records. They also have a bunch of live dates scheduled in the Oregon area of the country. For more information, please visit sassparillapdx.com.

A newcomer from the west coast is Wilkinson Blades with their debut album, "4:00 AM." The new album will be released on October 30 through Shiftone Records. Lead singer Steve Wilkinson comes off as a countrified version of Billy Idol. His vocals have that snare to them as in the opener "No Exit" and "Holding Me Down." The songs on this album have very seventies, Rolling Stones-type country rocker as displayed on "No One" and "It Might Hit Me." THe album closes with the country sway of "Walking In The Snow."

Wilkinson Blades have a couple shows scheduled in Portland, OR. For more information on this new band, please visit http://www.reverbnation.com/wilkinsonblades.

Finally, from Boise, ID comes Revolt, Revolt with their latest release "Latah Nights" on Spark And Shine Records. The band just completed a successful tour with fellow rockers Built To Spill as Revolt Revolt expand their sound on this newest release. Their music take pieces of Seattle grunge, mix it with some southern rock and give it a sixties garage rock punch to create a truly unique style as hear in the opener "Nu Blud." Lead singer Chris Bock sounds a little like the late-Bling Melon frontman Shannon Hoon on the mind-expanding sounds of "Gold" and "Satellite." The band is at its best when is plays straight-up, raw rock as in "Flares" and "Hell Has Its Roads."

Revolt Revolt just wrapped up their fall tour last month and are currently working on some new material. Look for more live dates to be announced soon at revoltrevoltmusic.com.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

CD Review: Papa Roach Find A "Connection" With New Album

California rock band Papa Roach recently released their second album, "The Connection" on the Eleven Seven Music label. According to lead vocalist Jacoby Shaddix, he stated that the title refers to the band reconnecting "to the music." He also went on to describe the new album as a "rediscovery of the basic elements of Papa Roach."

After a short instrumental, the band comes bursting out with the aggressive, heavy rocker "Still Swingin." The song features all of the elements that Papa Roach is known for, rapping lyrics, arena sized choruses and some amazing, hard-hitting music motored by the rhythm section of Tony Palermo on drums and Tobin Esperance on bass guitar. The album continues with that classic Papa Roach sound as fully displayed in "Silence Is The Enemy." The band aims at a more mainstream rock approach on "Before I Die" and "Leader Of Broken Hearts," before returning to a more edgier, harder rock sound. Singer Jacoby Shaddix seems like he's battling some inner demons on "Not That Beautiful" and "Won't Let Up" as the song becomes an anthem for hope. The album closes with the heart-wrenching lyrics of "As Far As I Remember," as Shaddix delivers some his best vocals on the entire album.

The new album was produced by James Michael (Sixx:A.M., Halestorm) and John Feldmann (Panic At The Disco, The Used). It was released on October 2 on CD, a CD/DVD Deluxe Edition, on vinyl and also digitally. The deluxe edition features two extra songs ("What's Left Of Me" and "9th Life") and a DVD of music videos and a making of the album documentary. Papa Roach will be closing out the year on tour overseas, but look for them returning to the states in early 2013. For more information, please check out paparoach.com.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

CD Review: Rosie Flores Returns With Her "Working Girl's Guitar"

Rockabilly artist Rosie Flores will be releasing her 11th album entitled “Working Girl’s Guitar” on October 16 through Bloodshot Records. This is the first album that Flores handled all the production and guitar performances. This album follows her involvement with fellow artist Janis Martin’s final album “The Blanco Sessions” in which Flores produced and help funded the release of.

The album starts off with the title-song that finds Rosie’s voice in fine form as she sounds as good as she has ever sounded before. Here guitar playing is also in top form as noticed on the country-rockabilly song “Little But I‘m Loud” and on the instrumental “Surf Demon #5.” Her sound on “Drugstore Rock and Roll” dates back to the days of malt shops and jukeboxes as it becomes very refreshing to hear in today’s music. The album finishes with a cover of the Elvis Presley #1 hit “Too Much” and a quiet, acoustic rendition of George Harrison’s “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.”

Rosie Flores will be hitting the road performing her new album beginning out on the west coast before making her way east in early November. She will be performing in Connecticut on November 11 at Café Nine. For a complete list of tour dates and information on the new album, please visit rosieflores.com.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

CD Review: New Music From Chicago's The Luck Of Eden Hall And Mutts

From Chicago comes the psychedelic rock band The Luck Of Eden Hall, who have been very busy, cranking out their third album in just over a year with “Alligators Eat Gumdrops.” This follows on the heels of their two volume set, “Butterfly Revolutions.” The album starts off with the trippy sounds of “High Heeled Flippers” as a single piano chord leads the way. The band introduces sitar into the mix on the sixties rocker “Bangalore.” The band continues with their flashback to the sixties with “Ten Meters Over The Ground” and “Green Faery.” The Luck of Eden Hall show their range on the folk sounding “Wasting The Days of Youth” before closing the album with the heavy rock guitar riffs of “This is Strange” and “Alligators Eat Gumdrops.”

The Luck of Eden Hall has a show in Burlington in October before appearing on Chicago’s late night talk show, “Seven On Ridge” on November 9th. For more information, please visit theluckofedenhall.com.

Also from the Chicago area is the blues trio Mutts with a new album, “Separation Anxiety.” They are also coming off the high-praise of their last album “Pray for Rain” which was released last year. The vocals of Mike Maimone are very low and gruff on the opening songs “So Many So Many” and “Washington (Still) Owns People.” The band’s adds a grunge, punk sound to their repertoire with “Half Mile” and “Now Now Now,” but then move back into blues country with “Uninvited” and “Tire Swing Blues.” They save the best for last with the title song, “Separation Anxiety” as the band sounds like an old-fashion jazz band on speed, lead by Tom Waits.

Mutts have a load of dates on their tour schedule. Check out muttsmusic.com for a complete list of dates and information on the new album.

Monday, October 8, 2012

CD Review: An Edgy Debut From Fear And The Nervous System

Original Korn guitarist James Shaffer recently released the self-titled debut album from his latest band, Fear And The Nervous System. The new band features Shaffer on guitar along with fellow Korn touring guitarist Leopold Ross, Faith No More bassist Billy Gould, Bad Religion drummer Brooks Wakerman, Repeater singer Steve Krolikowski and Korn keyboardist Zac Baird. The new album was released on September 18 through Ingrooves Fontana.

After a two minute instrumental welcomes you to “Hell,” the band kicks it into high gear on the album’s first single “Choking Victim.” The song has an edgy, hard hitting sound supplied by the rhythm section, then highlighted by Steve’s outstanding vocals. The attack continues with “Chosen Ones” and “No Secrets” before changing the tempos on the hard rock, power ballad “Beautiful Side.” Fear And The Nervous System bring all their talents together on the epic sounding, six-plus minute “Dissolve” that makes this band stand apart from other hard-rock acts. The album closes with the flowing balladry of “Ambien” as they stretch out the sound on their debut album.

For more information on the newly formed Fear And the Nervous System, please check out fatns.com.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

DVD Review: Beatles Stories Show A Different Side To The Fab Four

New from Cinema Libre Studio comes the documentary "Beatles Stories" on DVD. The 85 minute movie follows Fab Four fan Seth Swirsky as he hits the road in search of more information about The Beatles. What he discovered and shows in this film is another side to the personality of the four members of one of the most popular bands of all time.

Seth Swirsky interviews over 50 celebrities, musicians, athletes and members of The Beatles regime, including Sir George Martin, Norman "Hurricane" Smith and Beach Boy Brian Wilson. Swirsky allows each story to live independent from the other stories, yet all of the stories show a more heart-warming side to John, Paul, George and Ringo. It's great hearing about how Graham Nash was invited to the recording of "All You Need Is Love" and how John Lennon asked Art Garfunkel how he felt about reuniting with Paul Simon. But two of my personal favorite stories come from Henry Winkler ("The Fonz"), the time he first met Paul McCartney on the street in New York City and record producer Jerry Douglas, when he knocked himself unconscious and was rescued by John Lennon.

The extras on this DVD include 30 more minutes of interviews, including Peter Tork of the Monkees and Denny Doherty from The Mamas and The Papas. It also features an extended interview with The Beatles' recording engineer, Norman "Hurricane" Smith as Swirsky gets invited to his home in England. 

The stories are very short, but the film flows so seamlessly. This DVD is great as you discover another side to The Beatles during their popularity and even during their solo recording years. This item was released on October 2 on DVD and digital platforms. For more information about this release, please visit cinemalibrestudio.com and beatlesstories.com.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

CD Review: Bob Dylan Celebrates 50 Years With The Release Of "Tempest"

Legendary artist Bob Dylan recently released his 35th studio album entitled “Tempest.” The release of this album coincides with the 50th anniversary of Dylan’s self-titled debut album on Columbia Records back in 1962. This new album also follows his string of critically-acclaimed albums dating back to 1997’s “Time Out Of Mind.” This ten-song set features some of Dylan’s most well-written, constructed pieces of music that he has ever created.

The album begins with the first single, “Duquesne Whistle” which finds Dylan down in New Orleans. He sounds like a later-day Louis Armstrong while the band performs a 1920’s swinging jazz tempo for Dylan to reel off his lyrics to. Dylan’s aged, gruff voice fits the mellow sway of “Soon After Midnight” and “Long and Wasted Years” perfectly, while the storied lyrics of “Scarlet Town” gives the song a darker tone. The song “Early Roman Kings” carries your typical blues backbeat, but Dylan’s lyrics make the song sound like new, along with the help of David Hidalgo’s accordion. The album closes with the 14-minute long “Tempest” about the sinking of the Titanic as Dylan rattles through facts and fiction about this fateful event and a tribute to fellow music icon John Lennon in “Roll On John.” The song is one of Dylan’s most heartfelt of his storied career and was almost left off the album.

The new album debuted at #3 on the Billboard Album chart, selling over 110,000 copies in its first week of release. Bob Dylan was also featured on the September 24 issue of Rolling Stone, discussing his latest album. Dylan is currently on tour in Canada with fellow musician Mark Knopfler and the two will be hitting the U.S. in mid-October. For more a Bob Dylan’s latest album, “Tempest,” please visit bobdylan.com.

Friday, October 5, 2012

CD Review: Heart Releases "Fanatic" After Box Set And Memoirs

Sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson have had a busy year as leaders of the rock band Heart. Back in June the band released its first ever career retrospective box set entitled "Strange Euphoria." Next, arriving on October 2nd was Heart's brand-new album, "Fanatic" and then this fall, the sisters released their memoir entitled "Kicking And Dreaming." Not only that, the band is also currently on a tour of the U.S. which hits the MGM at Foxwoods tomorrow night.

The new album starts off with Ann's vocals leading the way stating that "the world is changing," but it's a good thing their music isn't. Nancy's blazing, buzz-saw-like guitars on the opening track, "Fanatic" shows us why she is one of the elite guitars in the business. The song "Dear Old America" carries an edgier sound that allows Nancy Wilson to let loose on her instrument of choice. Ann Wilson shares vocal duties with songstress Sarah McLachlan on "Walking Good," an acoustic,
uplifting song. Heart returns to rock hard on "Million Miles" even with the inclusion of keyboards, which actually gives the song an epic feel. Once again Heart finds that edginess on "Mashellah" before showing us their gentler side on "Rock Deep (Vancouver)." The album closes with the slow-building power of "Corduroy Road."

Heart are riding along the east coast on their current tour which runs until mid-November. Then after a short break, they will be bringing their live show to Canada in early 2013. For a complete list of tour dates and more information on the new album, "Fanatic," please visit heart-music.com.


Thursday, October 4, 2012

CD Review: Sydney Rose Is On The "Rise" With A New Solo Album

Singer/songwriter Sydney Rose released her newest solo album, “Rise” back in July and the lead single, “Breaking Rules” cracked the top 25 on the national radio charts this past month. At 20 years old, Sydney has already experienced so much, being in a girl group (Rosemadayne) and releasing her debut solo album by age 16. After entering college, Sydney took a break from music, but the ambition of writing and performing became too much to hold back. She decided to make a fun, uplifting album for everyone to enjoy.

The album begins with “Hey Love” a polished, dance/pop song with a very catchy beat and a chorus that gets stuck in your head on repeat. She heads down the path to a more meaningful oriented pop song with “Message In The Stars,” but hits the dance floor again with “Back To Life.” The album closes with two songs with the biggest appeal, the inspirational “I’m Gonna Rise” and the mature pop hit “Breaking Rules.”

As Sydney Rose continues her rise to stardom, be sure to check out her website sydneyrosemusic.com to discover this new pop sensation for yourself.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

CD Review: Murder By Death Are "Bitter" On New Release

From Bloomington, IN comes the return of Murder By Death with a brand new album entitled “Bitter Drink, Bitter Moon.” This album follows their break-through album “Good Morning, Magpie,” which was the band’s first album to crack the Billboard “Top 200” album chart. They also started a project on kickstater.com to raise money for this new album and they became the third highest earning band ever, raising over $180,000.

The album begins with the slow, gentle acoustics of “My Hill” as Adam Turla’s vocals lie dark and deep within the storied lyrics of the song. The album begins to open up with the country backdrop of “Lost River” then, the band finally plugs in for the rock groove of “Straight At The Sun.” The album’s first single, “I Came Around” perfectly captures their up-tempo, Americana sound that ranks up there with Mumford & Sons and the Avett Brothers. Murder By Death quickens the pace as Turla’s vocals reflect that of a younger Johnny Cash. The band’s songwriting shines on the quick, dark storytelling of “The Curse of Elkhart,” then the band opens the floodgates with the slow-building “Ramblin’.” The album closes with the country sounds of “Ghost Fields” as Turla’s voice sounds like it aged throughout the course of the album.

Murder By Death is starting their month-long tour in support of the band Say Anything. Their new album, “Bitter Drink, Bitter Moon” was released on September 25 through Bloodshot Records. For more information, please visit murderbydeath.com.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

CD Review: The Indecent Lose "Control" On New EP

From New York comes the alternative rock band The Indecent with a new 5-song EP entitled “Control.” This is the band’s Warner Bros Records debut and was produced by Rob Cavallo (Green Day, Goo Goo Dolls, My Chemical Romance) and Julian Raymond (Mutemath, Cheap Trick). The band is comprised of triplets Emily Brout, Bo Brout and Madeline Brout along with Nicholas Burrows.

The EP begins with the grungy guitar driven “Lucky Ones” as Emily’s vocals gives the music an edgier sound. Her painful screams give the songs more meaning as the band pours everything they have into their music. The powerful drumming and blazing guitars in “Control” and “25 Steps” shows off their youthfulness, while Emily’s voice draws up comparisons to Shirley Manson on the song “Here Comes Another.” The album closes with the build-up, punk-like tempo of “Hear Them Fear Them.”

The new EP, “Control” was released on September 18 and The Indecent have one show scheduled for November 10 in the U.K. For more information on this rising young band, please visit theindecent.com.

Monday, October 1, 2012

CD Review: Paul Simon Brings His Songs To Life In New York City

Iconic singer/songwriter Paul Simon released one of his most successful albums last year, “So Beautiful Or So What” which inspired him to hit the road for a world tour. From that tour, we get the latest release from the Concord Music Group in association with Hear Music, “Paul Simon Live In New York City.” This 2CD/1DVD set features a 20-song, 90-minute performance by Paul Simon and his amazing band in front of his hometown fans in a special club performance at New York City’s historic Webster Hall.

The two CDs mirror the music that is presented on the DVD. Beginning with the upbeat sounds of “The Obvious Child,” Simon uses this song to introduce his band to the audience. The track list for this set features four songs from his latest album intertwined masterfully between classic solo hits “50 Ways To Leave Your Lover” and “The Boy In The Bubble.” The DVD does a great job highlighting the members of Simon’s backing band as they breathe new life into such classics as “Mother And Child Reunion” and “The Only Living Boy In New York.” The visual aspects allow you to appreciate the musicianship that Simon’s backing band has and what exactly goes into making his music sound as good as does in the studio. The show’s encore becomes extra special as Simon graces the stage solo with an acoustic guitar, starting off with a gentle rendition of the Simon & Garfunkel masterpiece “The Sound Of Silence.” Then the rest of the show turns into a party with the up-tempo songs “Kodachrome” and “Late In the Evening” as you feel like you are in the front row enjoying a master at work on his craft. Paul Simon pulls this off so effortlessly that you envy his abilities and how well he assembles backing musicians to make his music come alive.

This set was released back on September 18 and features one of the mostly complete live performances of Paul Simon’s long and storied musical career. For more information on this release, please visit concordmusicgroup.com.