Monday, December 31, 2012

CD Review: Frank Zappa's Catalogue Gets Remastered And Re-Released

In early 2012, the Universal Music Enterprise made a deal with the Zappa Family Trust to reissue Frank Zappa’s entire catalog on CD and in digital form. Many of the albums were being remastered from the original recordings in order to receive the optimal sound available. The first set of albums rolled out on July 31 and every month there after saw another dozen or so of Frank Zappa’s masterpieces hit the market. His entire catalog was also available on iTunes for the first time.
 
Beginning with his first album, “Freak Out!” all the way up until the “Mystery Disc” has been reissued on CD. Some of his albums are hitting the market for the first time and many of them have never sounded better than they do now. Some of the highlights that feature the amazing sound of Zappa are the mostly instrumental “Hot Rats” and “Waka/Jawaka.” Also, after being “out of print” is the return of all six volumes of “You Can’t Do That On Stage Anymore.”
 
Fans that have followed Frank Zappa throughout his career will also be happy to know about a couple new compilations, “Understanding America” and “Finer Moments.” “Understanding America” is a two-disc album that features many of Frank Zappa’s politically charged songs, including “Who Are the Brain Police?,” “Can’t Afford No Shoes” and the deluxe, 25-minute version of “Porn Wars.” The other newly released compilation, “Finer Moments,” focuses on some of Zappa’s output during 1967 – 1972 with the Mothers Of Invention. Fans of early Zappa will love these live versions of “The Walking Zombie Music”and “Uncle Rhebus.”
 
Another aspect of Zappa’s musical career that gets overlooked is his involvement in classical music and modern jazz. Albums like “Francesco Zappa” and “Jazz From Hell” are sure to give younger fans an insight to how talented Frank Zappa was a musician and how much he inspired others to reach outside the box.
 
So with the close of 2012, we finally get to rediscover was a musical genius Frank Zappa was and how great his music sounded, no matter who or where he was performing. For more information on Frank Zappa’s entire catalog, please visit zappa.com.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

CD Review: Eric Clapton's "Slowhand" Celebrates 35 Years With Bonus Material

For some, it's hard to imagine that Eric Clapton's pinnacle album "Slowhand" is celebrating its 35th Anniversary. In honor, Universal Music Group released a deluxe edition of the album which contains the original album, remastered with bonus songs and a live CD recorded at the Hammersmith Odeon on April 27, 1977.

The album, "Slowhand" features some of Clapton's most well-known songs including, "Cocaine," Wonderful Tonight" and "Lay Down Sally." The original nine-song album gets highlighted by four previously unreleased bonus tracks. The bonus songs, "Looking At The Rain," "Alberta," "Greyhound Bus" and "Stars, Strays And Ashtrays" were all outtakes from the original "Slowhand" sessions that did not end up on the final album. They give the album a different feel than probably what Clapton was originally looking for, but "Stars, Strays And Ashtrays" feels like the perfect closing song for this album.

The real gem in this set is the bonus live disc which highlights Clapton's 1977 live show. The disc features 9-songs from the Hammersmith Odeon show on April 27 (the super deluxe edition features the full show on two-discs). More than half of the songs are previously unreleased like the Blind Faith song "Can't Find My Way Home" and a 14-minute version of "I Shot The Sheriff."

Eric Clapton's "Slowhand: 35th Anniversary" comes in five different formats. The 2-disc set (original album remastered with bonus tracks and a nine-song live disc), the single disc set (original remastered CD), vinyl LP (original remastered album), a digital version of the original album (with the bonus tracks) and a super deluxe edition. The super deluxe edition features the original album remastered with the bonus tracks, the entire live at Hammersmith Odeon show on 2-CDs, a DVD audio only Hi-Resolution Stereo and 5.1 Surround Sound of the original album, a vinyl version of the remastered album, 3 replica tour programs and a book featuring behind-the-scenes photos from the recording sessions. To find out more on this release, please visit ericclapton.com.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

CD Review: Debut Album From Outasight Sets The Stage For "Nights Like These"

Hip-hop singer Outasight released his full-length debut album, “Nights Like These” in November and it features the smash hit, “Tonight Is The Night.” The song has taken on a life of its own, appearing in television shows and commercials and now we finally get to hear the rest from Outasight.

He combines hip-hop lyrics with pop singing laid over club beats on the opening song “Let’s Go.” Outasight invites his friend Chiddy Bang to rap over his own smooth vocals in “Shine,” before once again tapping the pop mainstream vein with “I’ll Drink To That.” Outasight seems to have the most fun when he gets to add a bit of rapping of his own, as in “Perfect Words.” His friend, RJ adds his vocals to “Under Lock And Key,” before closing the album with dance-pop fun of the title-song, “Nights Like These.”

Outasight has some live dates beginning on February 13 at the Heirloom Arts Theatre in Danbury, CT. For more information, please check out, Facebook.com/IamOutasight.

Friday, December 28, 2012

CD Review: Doreen Taylor Puts A Little "Magic" Into Her New Album

Singer/songwriter, Doreen Taylor has entered the realm of country music with her latest album, “Magic.” The new release carries ten original songs and a remake of Gershwin’s “Summertime.” After her dance-beat filled debut album, Doreen wanted more meaning in her songs, which led her to release her first country-based album.

Her voice is perfectly suited for this type of music as in the opening song “Last Call (For Alcohol)” and the ballad “Another Rainy Night In Memphis.” The album’s second single; “Heartbeat” has very passionate performance from Doreen as heard in the music and in her vocal delivery. She also knows how to have fun with the upbeat “Good Girls Wanna Be Bad” and “Baby C’mon.” The album closes with Doreen pouring her heart and soul into her performance of the “Porgy and Bess” song, “Summertime,” which has become the most downloaded song from her new album.

Doreen Taylor’s new album, “Magic” was released back in April, but is finally getting a lot of airplay with her latest single, “Judgment Day” as it's lyrics depict the end of the world. The video was delayed because of Hurricane Sandy, but has since received rave reviews. Doreen was also awarded the “2012 Suggested Artist Songwriting Award” by the Song of the Year Songwriting Completion committee.

For more information on Doreen Taylor, please visit doreentaylormusic.com.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

CD Review: TV Snow Brings Out "Red" From Down-Under

From half-way around the world comes the Australian, alternative rock band TV Snow with their full-length debut album, “Red.” The new release was dedicated to bassist Ben Linden, who was killed in a shark-attack just after recording for the album was finished. Hence the album titled, which was Ben’s nickname.

The band’s upbeat sound on the opening songs “Call To The Siren” and “Dowtown” have a very fresh sound that is needed in the music industry. “Death And Blues” shows a maturity in their songwriting that is not heard very often on debut albums. The boys rock hard on “Underground” and have fun with “Boy Wonder.” The album is full of upbeat, rocking tunes with no ballads to slow the energy down.

The new album was released internationally on December 1 and will be released in Australia at the beginning of 2013. For more information on this new, indie-rock Australian band, please visit tvsnow.net.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

CD Review: Andy Macintyre Plays The Blues For "Ruby"

From Austin, TX comes singer/songwriter Andy Macintyre with his bluesy third album, “Ruby.” With the help of Doug Day on drums and Chris Alexander on bass, Andy has accomplished his most mature, complete album to date. His last album, “Revolution” took a slight detour from his hard rocking debut album, “Set Me Free,” but this latest release has the right combination of blues and rock as heard in the opening song “Left Behind.”

He heads down south for some southern blues in the title-song and relaxes a bit on “Jailene,” before getting down and dirty with “Bluebird 1.” The standout track on his latest album is the Creedence Clearwater Revival, swamp music sound of the instrumental, “The Human,” which leads into the Chicago-blues based “Deranged.” The album closes with the hard-rocking attack of “D’Evil” and the slow-burning “Other Side…”

The new album by Andy Macintyre is available now digitally at iTunes, Amazon, CDBaby and others sites. It is also available on CD from Andy’s website andymacintyre.com.

Monday, December 24, 2012

CD Review: Glee Returns With Music From Season 4

These days it seems that “Glee” is everywhere, from its successful television show to its chart topping songs on itunes. Along with the recently released third volume of “Glee: Christmas,” we get new music from season 4 of the Fox television show. This release joins over sixteen other albums released from the show.
 
This 13-song album features musical performances during the first half of this most recent season of the show. Some of the songs are perfectly executed, such as the classic Billy Joel hit “New York State Of Mind” and Fun’s “Some Nights” which feels like it was written just for this show. But with the hits, also comes some near misses like Neon Trees’ “Everybody Talks” and the popular “Gangnam Style.” Both songs loose their fun and spontaneity as the cast of “Glee” puts too much effort into the song to recapture its energy. One of the standout songs on this release is the mash-up of “Homeward Bound” and “Home,” is if they were meant to go together.
 
For more information on “The Music of Glee: Season 4, Volume 1” please visit gleethemusic.com and as new episodes continue after the holidays, look for volume 2 to follow this spring.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

CD Review: Boys Like Girls Re-Enters This "Crazy World"

From Massachusetts comes the pop-rock band, Boys Like Girls with their third studio album, “Crazy World.” The band hit it big with their self-titled debut album and the Top 10 follow-up, “Love Drunk.” After a short hiatus, plus the departure of original bassist Bryan Donahue, The “Boys” are back to reclaim some of their former glory.

The new album starts off with the dance/pop beats of “The First Time.” Since their debut over six years ago, the band’s songwriting has grown and matured as noticed in the lyrics of “Be Your Everything” and “Stuck In The Middle.” They still know how to have fun like in “Life Of The Party” and add a bit of country flavor in the title-song “Crazy World” and “Shoot.” The band’s passion still glows in “Leaving California,” but they can’t help but bring the fun out on “Red Cup Hands Up Long Brown Hair.” The album closes with the big production number, “Hey You.”

The album was released on December 11 where it debuted at #134 as it continues to rise up the charts. To stay in touch with what’s going on with Boys Like Girls, be sure to visit their website at boyslikegirls.com.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

CD Review: "Save The Date" Soundtrack Brings Out The Emotions

Director Michael Mohan returned to the Sundance Film Festival with a new entry, “Save The Date.” The movie was written by Mohan along with famed novelist Jeffrey Brown and Egan Reich. The movie is based on the familial and romantic bonds the form us all. Even more exciting is the soundtrack to the movie which features songs that capture that time when you first heard the songs or saw the movie and the emotions you had about the story.

Popular alternative rock band Wilco lends one of their lesser known songs, “Heavy Metal Drummer” to the soundtrack which sets the stage for the eleven songs that follow. Some of the songs carry that feeling of youth, as in Giogio Moroder’s eighties sounding “Baby Blue” and the energetic, post-punk of Wolfbird’s “Babies.” The album gets its groove on with the R&B flavor of Charles Bradley’s “Lovin’ You Baby” and Nick Waterhouse’s “Some Place.” But, mostly the tone of this soundtrack is the underground alternative sounds of artists giving their all to their performances as in “Let Me Take You Out” and “Sunlight.”

This album was released on Lakeshore Records back in November. For more information about the soundtrack, please visit http://lakeshore-records.com/savethedate/.

Friday, December 21, 2012

CD Review: British Rock Band, Maycomb Bring Debut To The U.S.

From across the pond comes the U.K. band, Maycomb with their debut album, “I Opened My Heart To Caustic Things.” Since forming in 2009, the band has been on the road, touring with the likes of The Wonder Years and Saves The Day. When they finally entered the studio earlier this year, their songs were already perfected from stage performances and ready to record. The band managed to capture that live feeling into their first release.
 
The album begins with the powerful, raw, alternative rock of “New Storms” as you instantly feel the honesty within their music. Songs like “Old Gold” and “Sinking Song” have that young, fresh appeal to their sound. Maycomb begins to slow things down for “Out Of Darkness Cometh Light,” but quickly dive right into the energetic “When The Time Comes” and “Start Missing Everybody.” The album finishes up with the continued, up-tempo rhythm of “Whatever Happens Happens.”
 
To find out more about this new, up-n-coming alternative rock band, please visit Maycomb’s facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/maycomb).

Thursday, December 20, 2012

CD Review: Underground Indie-Rock Artists Deliver New Music

From Pennsylvania comes the punk-rock band Run For It with their recently released digital only EP, “Better Days.” The 4-song album carries that youthful energy as heard in the opening song, “Avenues.” The band has a great mainstream punk sound that is sure to catch-on. Their music is so infectious that you can’t help but join-in on “Drag You In” and “Home Again.”
 
To find out more about Run For It, please visit the band’s facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/runforitrock)
 
New Jersey band, Float The Witch also recently released their debut, self-titled EP. The songs on this release range from the acoustic folk of “Meridian” to the more progressive rock sound of “The Abyss Gazes Black.” Lead singer Carmelina Lista’s vocals bring a strong resemblance to The Cranberries’ singer Dolores O’Riordan. The band stretches out their sound on “Le Miroir” before closing with the slow-building “Hold Me Down.”
 
To find out more on this new, rising band, be sure to visit floatthewitch.com.
 
Singer/songwriter Justin Levinson is preparing to release is solo EP, “Take My Time” on January 1st. The three song album has a much laid back, acoustic rock sound that is easy to enjoy. Beginning with the title song, Justin’s vocals and music are so smooth that you just feel at ease with his voice. He gets a liptle more folky on “Give It One More Try” as you wait on every lyric of the song. The album closes with the most mainstream song on the album the slow jaunt of “Bid The Rest Goodbye.”
 
Justin has a couple shows coming up in Burlington, VT. If you are looking to find out more about Justin Levinson, please visit justinlevinson.com.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

CD Review: Whitehorse Duo Find Out "The Fate Of The World"

The husband and wife duo of Luke Doucet and Melissa McClelland, known better as Whitehorse, are getting ready to release their sophomore album, “The Fate Of The World Depends On This Kiss.” The album was produced by Doucet and will be released on January 15 through Six Shooter Records.

The twelve-song collection begins with the raw, alt-country sound of “Achilles’ Desire” as Doucet and McClelland trade verses. The song carries a very raw, simply, but effective beat similar to The Black Keys as the lyrics paint a very dark picture. The tempo picks up with the “Devil’s Got A Gun” as song carries a pop/country shuffle. Their voices mesh so well together on the country pop of “Peterbilt Coalmine” as the only thing that comes between them is the blistering, twangy guitar. The song “Jane” seems a little out of place amongst the other more country oriented sounds, but does show a bit of diversity in the band’s style. Melissa’s voice really excels during the acoustic songs “Mismatched Eyes” and “Out Like A Lion,” but the bluesy shuffle of “Radiator Blues” is Luke at his best. The album closes with the six-minute, slow-jaunt of “Mexaco Texaco” as you follow the storied lyrics to the end.

The band will begin their 17-date Canadian tour at the end of January. For more information on Whitehorse, please visit whitehorsemusic.ca.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

CD Review: Rise Records Brings Us The New Album From Crown The Empire

From Dallas, TX comes the heavy metal band Crown The Empire with their Rise Records debut “The Fallout.” The new album was produced by Joey Sturgis (Of Mice & Men) and hit #1 on the Heatseekers chart. Crown The Empire are also one of the few band’s making Karrang! magazine’s list of 2013 Breakout Bands.

The album begins with “Oh, Catastrophe” which slowly builds up to the metal blast of “The Fallout.” The band rocks hard as the combined vocals of Andy Leo and David Escamilla give the songs that perfect combination of hard rock and thrash metal. Songs like “Memories Of A Broken Heart” and “Menace” show off the full power of the band as the rhythm section rocks hard, laying the groundwork for the duel vocal attack. Crown The Empire also adds a mainstream rock radio hit in “The One You Feed,” but it’s when the band kicks it into high gear on “Evidence” and “Children Of Love” that you get the full appreciation of what they have to offer. The album closes with the band's most aggressive song on the album, “Johnny’s Revenge.”

The new album, “The Fallout” is available now and they will be part of the “Take Action Tour 2013” along with The Used, We Came As Romans, and Mindflow. The tour begins on January 11 in Law Vegas, NV before heading to Connecticut on February 1st. For a complete list of tour dates and for more information about the new album, please visit the band’s facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/Crowntheempire).

Monday, December 17, 2012

CD Review: Redline Addiction Double-Up Their Efforts With "A To B"

From Washington, D.C. comes Redline Addiction with their follow-up, the double album “A To B.” After the success of “Letters” the band hit a creative vein that just kept flowing. Instead of having to throw away songs to create a single album, the band decided to work up all 23 songs and release all of them.

The first disc, "Side A,” begins with the adrenaline pumping “I Beg To Surrender” as the band carries that classic late-seventies rock sound. Rob Robinson’s vocals are just so powerful as in “How To Lose” and the band just continues to rock hard, without overpowering the songs. They take a little off their classic rock sound to give the songs “Uptown” and “Ordinary Fool” a more pop appeal. The band is at their best during the blues shuffle of “Devil With The Red Dress On” and the power rock of “Yukon Gold.” “Side A” closes with the fun, ska-flavored sound of “Last Call.”

The second disc in the collection, “Side B” starts off the same way, with a shot of adrenaline during the energetic rhythm of “Everybody Knows.” The band continues to rock on the aggressive sounds of “The Arsonist” and “Coming Attraction.” The acoustic ballad of “Yesterday’s Wagers” still carries that edginess as you can feel the emotion in Robinson’s vocals. Once again, the band are at their best when they just flat out rock like in “Dark Days.” The album closes with the Irish jig “Whiskey Rose” and the instrumental “Melancholy.”

Redline Addiction currently do not have any shows scheduled for the new year, but their latest release, the double album “A To B,” is available now. For more information, please visit redlineaddiction.com.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

CD Review: A Second "Dos!" From Green Day

Earlier this year, punk-rock band Green Day entered the studio with over 40 songs, which is more than enough material for a new album. It was three years since their last album, the Grammy award winning “21st Century Breakdown,” and the band has hit a creative high. Instead of trying to wield the songs down to a single album, Green Day decided to release three full-length albums over the course of three months. The first album of the trilogy, “Uno!” (http://jpsmusicblog.blogspot.com/2012/11/cd-reviewgreen-day-begin-their-album.html) was released at the end of September and hit #2 on the Billboard Album charts. Now the band has released its second album, the appropriately titled “Dos!”

The 13-song release is full of flashback-type, garage rock. The songs don’t carry a lot of the punk edginess of the first album, but the songs still get their energy from the rhythm section of Mike Dirnt and Tre Cool. Songs like “Stop When The Red Lights Flash” and “Makeout Party” still have that raw energy that Green Day is know for, but it isn’t plastered all over this album. They combined a lot of their love songs into this release and have put a sixties, garage rock spin into their sound as in “Wild One” and “Stray Heart.” The band bring in the simple, raw rock that The White Stripes were known for in “Lady Cobra,” before receiving help from Lady Cobra on the dance/pop “Nightlife.” The album closes with just Billy Joe Armstrong and his guitar as he pours his heart into “Amy.”

While the band is on a hiatus from touring for the time being, there is still more music coming down the pike in the third release, “Tre!” which came out on December 11. While some may feel that it is a bit too much at one time, 37 new songs from Green Day are never enough for their legion of fans. For more information on this album and the rest of the Green Day trilogy, please visit Greenday.com.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

CD Review: Sons Of Anarchy Return With "Songs: Volume 2"

New from Columbia Records in association with FX and Twentieth Century Fox comes volume two of the soundtrack to the “Sons of Anarchy” television show. The first soundtrack to the hugely successful FX cable TV show was released in November of last year cracked the top 20 “Rock Album” and “Soundtrack” music charts and has continued the sell very well. The success of the first soundtrack, spawned “Songs of Anarchy: Vol. 2” and was released on November 19.

The music on this latest release ranges from rock to country to folk to blues. The backing band for the album is The Forest Rangers; (the same as the first album) lead by guitarist/songwriter Bob Thiele. The album starts off with a haunting version of The Rolling Stones’ “Sympathy For The Devil” performed by Jane’s Addiction. The song sets the mood for the rest of the album. Greg Holden’s gentle, folk song, “The Lost Boy” is a nice contradiction to Alison Mosshart’s rocker, “The Passenger.” Even Katey Sagal get into the act with “To Sir With Love,” as the music seems to floats behind her passionate vocals. Frankie Perez, with help from The Forest Rangers, turns Stevie Wonder’s “Higher Ground” into a southern rock anthem, before Audra Mae shifts the mood to country with “The Unclouded Day.” The album closes with the acoustic blues of “Family” performed by Noah Gundersen and a fragile cover of Herman’s Hermits’ “No Milk Today.”

The soundtrack is available now on Columbia Records. For more information, please visit http://www.fxnetworks.com/soa/.

Friday, December 14, 2012

CD Review: Cee Lo Green And Glee Broke Out Some Christmas Cheer

With Christmas fast approaching, here are a couple of newly released holiday albums to help get you in the mood. Cee Lo Green released his first Christmas album back in October, but now is the time to get a hold of a copy to get those spirits bright. Cee Lo invites a bunch of friends along to share in the experience, but he becomes the main focus of every song.

His upbeat, fun vocals on the opener, “What Christmas Means To Me” is the perfect introduction to his jolly disposition, while his smooth vocals in “Baby It’s Cold Outside” entices Christina Aguilera to join him in this duet. He gives a little R&B flavor to “This Christmas,” but continues to have fun with the songs, “White Christmas” and with his guests, The Muppets in “All I Need Is Love”. He gives a soulful performance of “All I Want For Christmas” and “Mary, Did You Know?,” before inviting Rod Stewart and Trombone Shorty to help him with the bluesy “Merry Christmas, Baby.” The album closes with a heartfelt, vocal rendition of “Silent Night.”

Cee Lo has made a number of holiday appearances this season including the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. Plus, he is just wrapping up season 3 of “The Voice” before heading off to Las Vegas in February 2013. For more information on Cee Lo Green and his new Christmas album, “Cee Lo’s Magic Moment” please visit ceelogreen.com.

Next, what would Christmas be without music from the hit Fox show “Glee.” This year we get “The Christmas Album: Volume 3,” which features songs from the December 13 holiday episode, plus four songs that were not in the episode.

The album begins with the uplifting songs “Jingle Bell Rock” and “White Christmas.” Their voices come together perfectly in “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” and “The First Noel.” The songs stick close to their original versions without straying too far away. The album also includes one Hanukkah song , “Hanukkah, Oh Hanukkah, “ before closing with an amazing version of John Lennon’s “Happy Xmas (War Is Over).”

This release is a great soundtrack to the holiday episode and proudly keeps up the tradition of wonderful holiday albums from the cast of Glee. For more information on this album, please visit “Glee” on facebook (facebook.com/glee).

Thursday, December 13, 2012

CD Review: Beta Wolf Decides On Two New EPs

California band, Beta Wolf is releasing two brand new EPs. One is five song live set recorded in Danbury, CT this past summer when the band opened for Daughtry. The other EP is a three-song set of holiday songs with a Beta Wolf twist.

The “Live In Danbury” album is a great introduction to the band for those who don’t know them. Beta Wolf has a great attitude and hard-rocking sound throughout their performance. The opener, “Obsession” has the band sounding a little like The Scorpions, while their hometown song “Los Angeles” quickens the pace to get the crowd moving. Lead singer Grant Arnow is very talkative with the audience, explaining the songs and keeping the energy flowing. The album closes with the epic-sounding rocker “Undertow.”

The band also felt the holiday feeling and decided to release “The Slaybell Sessions.” This album gives us acoustic versions of classic Christmas songs like “Jingle Bell Rock” and “White Christmas.” The stand-out track on this EP is their cover of John Lennon’s “Happy Xmas (War Is Over).” The band seems to pour their heart in soul into that performance.

Both albums are available now. Beta Wolf has a couple shows lined up before the end of the year out in their hometown of Los Angeles. For more information on Beta Wolf, please visit betawolfmusic.com.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

CD Review: New Music From Australian Imports Cub Scouts And Abbe May

From Australia comes Cub Scouts with a new EP, “Told You So.” The band is looking to break-out like fellow Australian rockers The Verve as the Cub Scouts carry a very pop-rock infused sound. The album starts off with the up-tempo, dance-rock of “Evie,” before giving off a more alternative rock sound on the album’s first single, “Told You So.” They quicken the pace on “Do You Hear” as you can’t help but notice their wonderful harmonizing vocals. The album closes with the gentle piano ballad “Light Me Up,” which shows-off their talents in song-writing.

To find out more about this young band, please visit their facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/CubScoutsMusic).

Also new from Australia is the latest single from Abbe May. Her latest album “Design Desire” (reviewed - http://jpsmusicblog.blogspot.com/2011/07/cd-review-abbe-may-returns-with-desire.html) was released back in July and Abbe is already looking forward to her next album. She gives a little taste with her latest single “Karmageddon.” It has a very dark, dance-pop sound with touches or Prince-like sounding vocals. Her songwriting has definitely grown since her last release, but we’ll have to wait and see what she has to offer on her next full-length album.

For more information about Abbe May, please visit abbemay.com.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

CD Review: Monte Pittman Goes Acoustic On "M.P.3:The Power Of Three, Part 1"

Madonna’s long-time guitarist Monte Pittman released his debut album in 2009, the acoustic “The Deepest Dark” and his first full-band album, “Pain, Love & Destiny” in 2011. Now Monte Pittman returns with a three part EP set entitled “M.P.3: The Power Of Three.” He just released part one, which is entirely acoustic as he gets back to his roots in song-writing. The second part which will be a “metal” album and third part which will be a “blues” album will be released over the course of the next year.

The new album starts out with the dark acoustic sound of “Another Lesson I’ve Learned” as Monte brings up the ghost of Layne Stanley. The songs carry a very personal feeling as Monte pours his heart in each performance, especially the ballad “Tonight.” The EP closes with “Pictures Of You” which feels like a stripped-down version of a bigger production.

Monte Pittman is currently on tour in South America with Madonna. Watch for more solo dates to be announced soon as Madonna’s tour wraps up at the end of the month. For more information on Monte Pittman’s new music, please visit montepittman.com.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Concert Review: The Who Bring "Quadrophenia" To Life At Mohegan Sun

Next year will be a milestone for one of The Who’s landmark albums, “Quadrophenia.” The band is celebrating the 40th anniversary of the album by bringing it to life on stage with surviving band members Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend. The tour began on November 1st in Florida and finished up the first leg of the tour at the Mohegan Sun arena last Sunday night. This is only the second tour to feature The Who performing the entire “Quadrophenia” album straight through since its release in 1973.

As the sound of the ocean filled the arena, The Who took the stage for an audience that was in for an adventures and exciting live performance. Daltrey’s vocals were a little shaky on the opening song, “The Real Me,” but his voice quickly warmed-up. He blasted through songs like “The Punk and The Godfather,” “Is It In My Head” and the crowd-favorite “5:15.” Guitarist Pete Townshend wasted no time showing off his signature windmill guitar solos, but it was his vocals on “I’m One” and “Drowned” that made the audience want more.

The Who also worked in tributes to past band members, John Entwistle and Keith Moon into the evening's performance. Moon’s video vocals during “Bell Boy” fit in perfectly with Daltrey’s live vocals and Entwistle’s video bass solo was made even more powerful by the live drumming of Zak Starkey. The 8-piece band, supporting Daltrey and Townshend gave the songs the perfect combination of passion and drive, as if they performed on the original album 40 years ago.

Pete Townshend traded guitar licks with his brother Simon during the instrumental “The Rock” before finishing their main set with the climactic “Love, Reign O’er Me.” Daltrey’s subtle vocals and loud screams were still in perfect pitch.

The remainder of the show was like a mini greatest hits set, beginning with “Who Are You.” The audience became more enthusiastic with each hit performed, playing air guitar during “Pinball Wizard” and air drums during “Baba O’Riley.” The band finished the set with an energetic version of “Won’t Get Fooled Again.” As the band bowed and left the stage, Townshend and Daltrey stood alone to perform the gentle, acoustic ballad “Tea & Theatre.”

Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend stood together, arm and arm, the audience was still memorized by this outstanding performance by two of music’s iconic legends. The two-and-a-half hour performance placed another page in the ever-growing history of The Who.

Starting off the evening was the California band, Vintage Trouble. Their blend of James Brown-type R&B vocals and Led Zeppelin-esque music got the crowd on their feet early. With only a thirty minute timeslot, Vintage Trouble performed six song set that was so uplifting and successful that there was a huge gathering of new fans waiting to meet them and become “Troublemakers.”

Setlist: The Real Me, Quadrophenia, Cut My Hair, The Punk And The Godfather, I'm One, The Dirty Jobs, Helpless Dancer, Is It In My Head, I've Had Enough, 5:15, Sea And Sand, Drowned, Bell Boy, Doctor Jimmy, The Rock, Love Reign O'er Me, Who Are You, Behind Blue Eyes, Pinball Wizard, Baba O'Riley, Won't Get Fooled Again, Tea & Theatre

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Book Review: Green Day's History Gets Poured Out In New Book By Voyageur Press

Still looking for that great for the holidays? Well, here is another great idea for the music fan in your life. Voyageur Press is publishing a new book about one of the most popular punk band's of all time, Green Day. Their new book "The Ultimate Unauthorized History" is 192 pages filled with everything you ever wanted to know about the band. Beginning with the upbringing of Billie Joe Armstrong and his meeting with Mike Dirst and how each of their tainted childhoods brought them together This book covers everything from their early days as the band Sweet Children to the addition of Tre Cool on drums to turn Green Day into what they are known as today.

Like many of Voyageur Press' other books on bands, this one has over 250 photos of the band throughout their history, as well as early concert posters and memorabilia. The book also goes into detail about each of the band's eight albums, leading up to their latest trilogy, and the impact they had on today's generation. It goes into some detail how the band were rejected by the punk community by going mainstream, only to have the last laugh by bringing the punk element back into rock music and selling millions of albums doing what they love to do. Author Alan di Perna does a great job covering the band's rise to stardom with the album "Dookie" and how they struggled to recapture the element of that album in the studio. That was until their album, "American Idiot" put the band in a different category all together.

Any music fan will enjoy this hardcover book as the "go to" piece on the history of the band, Green Day and their rise to super stardom. "Green Day: The Ultimate Unauthorized History" will be published on December 16. For more information, please visit voyageurpress.com.

Friday, December 7, 2012

CD Review: Dethcentrik Give Us The "Clean Version" Of Their New Album

From Colorado comes the fairly new industrial metal band Dethcentrik with their 2012 release “I Think You Got The Clean Version.” Their music was described as “black horrormetal” by Terrorizer magazine and they have self-released over half-dozen EPs since 2010.

The music on this album hits you right in the face with chaotic drumming and layers of feedback as in the opening track “Let Us Prey.” Some of the songs can have a more club feel like “Scrapes of the Real,” which features DJ Ribotic controlling the beats. Dethcentrik began to use more control in their music as in “I Want To Kill Them All,” before reverting back to the feedback fueled “A Quick Yet Painful Death.”

To find out more from this underground metal band, check out http://www.deathincarnaterecords.com/Dethcentrik/.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

CD Review: New Bands Corsair And Sticky Boys Make A Loud Impact

From Virginia comes a brand new progressive/hard rock band Corsair with their self-titled debut album. It will be released on January 21 through Shadow Kingdom Records and it features a sound that dates back to when rock was more about the instrumentation and less about the lyrics.

The album begins with the five-minute instrumental “Agathyrsi” as the band’s sound would have you convinced it came from Yes, ELP or even Rush. They take on a heavier, British metal sound on “Chaemera,” before heading back to their seventies classic rock era on “Gryphon Wing.” The band show off the musical talents again on the instrumental, “Mach,” the close the album with the more expanding, progressive rock of “The Desert.”

For more information on the new, rising band, please visit their Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/corsair/179747970753.

Another new band (from across the pond) has also recently released their debut album. After three years of touring, the Sticky Boys, from France, finally decided to come out with their first full-length album, “This Is Rock n’ Roll.” As said by the band, they decided to give France something that has been missing for so long, “a genuine rock n’ roll band.”

Right from the opening riffs of “Rock ‘n’ Roll Nation” you get a sense that this band doesn’t mess around. Their songs carry an AC/DC-type sound that is just pure rock with no fluff. The up-tempo pace up “Great Big Dynamite” and “Big Thrill” gets the adrenaline pumping as the band hits it out of the park with the guitar-riff fueled “Miss Saturday Night.” The album closes with the slow-building blast of “The Way To Rock ‘n’ Roll.”

The Sticky Boys have some dates lined-up for next year in their home country of France, but be on the look-out for the boys to hit the road hard in 2013 promoting their new album, “This Is Rock n’ Roll.” For more information, check out stickeyboys.eu.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

CD Review: Midnight Hike Aim Their Sights On The "Moon"

From Washington D.C. comes Midnight Hike with their second album entitled “Shoot The Moon.” Since the release of their debut album “Long Way From Yesterday,” the band has enjoyed some local success. They were voted one of the “Best 3 Bands” by Washington City papers and performed alongside classic rockers Cheap Trick and Blue Oyster Cult. Now with the release of their new album, the band is looking to build upon its success.

The new release continues that southern rock sound with “Today’s Your Day” as the music builds with the band’s signature sound. The guitars are blazing with “Burn Fire” and “Good Good Time.” Their music gets a little edgier as they add a bit of attitude to “Pilot” and “Masters Of The Sky,” before adding little two-step shuffle to “Midnight Hike.” Their acoustic rockers “Fight Your Way Home” and “Play In My Head” are truly the heart of the band’s sound as the vocals and instruments each have their own places to roam. The album closes with “Shoot The Moon” which carries some nice harmonizing and a great bar band sound.

Midnight Hike has a release party scheduled for December 14 at The State Theatre in Falls Church, VA. If you can’t make it, then be sure to visit midnighthikemusic.com to obtain a copy of their new album “Shoot The Moon.”

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

CD Review: Our Ghosts Show Us Their "Teeth" On Debut Album

From Boston comes the experimental, indie-rock band Our Ghosts with their debut album entitled “A Brand New Mouth Of Razorsharp Teeth.” The album will be released on December 4th and a limited amount of CDs and cassettes with be personally handmade by the band.

The 11-song album carries a very underground rock/hip-hop vibe with dance floor beats (“Lorasepam”) and industrial rock appeal (“Teeth” and “Morphine Drip”). Their music is very keyboard-driven like in “My Fellow Americans.” Their hip-hop side shows up on “Rest” which features rhymes by Mosef & B-Wise. Their rock side finally comes out on “Citalopram” before closing the album with the beat-filled “So Say We All.”

Our Ghosts definitely have an interesting sound that is not heard too much in the music industry. With a little more time and a couple more albums, they can really hone their skills and create some truly great music. For more information on Our Ghosts, please visit their Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/ourghosts666).

Monday, December 3, 2012

Concert Review: The Brian Setzer Orchestra Brings The Spirit Of Christmas To Foxwoods

Brian Setzer has become the torch bearer for the Rockabilly music community. He hit the big time in the mid-eighties with his three-piece band, the Stray Cats. Then in the late-nineties, he single handedly brought back the “swing revival” with his top 10 cover of Louis Prima’s “Jump, Jive An’ Wail.” Now, Setzer is one of the few artists that perform a Christmas show year in and year out. This year’s Brian Setzer Orchestra Christmas Extravaganza made a stop at the MGM Grand Theater At Foxwoods on December 2nd to spread some holiday cheer.

The evening began with a thirty-minute warm-up from new band, Totsy. Their sound dates back to the early days of jazz as they describe their music as “Burlesque Pop.” Lead singer, Beth Curry was very talkative with the crowd, giving insight to their songs. The show was also a “homecoming” for drummer Ric “Rocc” Roccapriore who is a native from Meriden, CT as he keep the band on pace throughout their ten-song set. The band mixed in playful songs like “Fickle Feet” and “Ball And Chain” with the darker, more seductive music of “Little White Secrets” and “Red Balloon.” Since it was a Christmas show, Totsy performed their self-penned original “Santa Likes Naughty Girls Too,” before closing their set with the highly energetic “Boom Boom Room.”

After a short break, the red curtain rose to reveal the Brian Setzer Orchestra as they kicked-in to the Brian Setzer original, “Dig That Crazy Santa Claus.” As Setzer walked on stage, with his guitar in hand, he received a standing ovation. He took every opportunity to show off his guitar prowess as he jammed during the solos of “This Cat’s On A Hot Tin Roof” and “Sexy & 17.” Setzer’s 14-piece orchestra also took their share of solos during the extended version of “Boogie Woogie Santa Claus.”

The energy in the room began to pick up as Setzer and his orchestra performed the up-tempo hit “Jump, Jive An’ Wail,” before cutting his band down to just a trio. He brought in his signature rockabilly sound with “Run Rudolph Run” and “Fishnet Stockings,” much to the audience’s delight. With the crowd on their feet, he closed his set with the very popular “Rock This Town” as people were dancing wherever space provided.

The two-song encore started off with Setzer’s Christmas remake of the Glenn Miller standard “In The Mood.” The audience was not ready to leave as Setzer singled for “one more.” The orchestra, led by Setzer guitar closed the evening with a roaring rendition of “Jingle Bells,” complete with snow and Santa throwing out gifts to the audience.

Once again, Brian Setzer continues to entertain like no other by keeping the Christmas spirit alive and rocking.

Setlist: Dig That Crazy Santa Claus, Sleigh Ride, ’49 Mercury Blues, This Cat’s On A Hot Tin Roof, Boogie Woogie Santa Claus, (She’s) Sexy & 17, Stray Cat Strut/You’re A Mean One Mr. Grinch, Drive Like Lightning (Crash Like Thunder), Honey Man, Angels We Have Heard On High, Jump Jive An’ Wail, Run Rudolph Run, Jingle Bell Rock, Blue Christmas, Fishnet Stockings, Rock This Town
Encore: Gettin’ In The Mood (For Christmas), Jingle Bells

Sunday, December 2, 2012

CD Review: Antonia Vai Tells Stories Of "Lovers And Prophets"

From Sweden comes singer/songwriter Antonia Vai with two new albums which were released simultaneously. Her debut album “Lovers and Prophets” and the quick follow up album “Dirt From When The Earth Was Flat” shows how diverse Antonia is as she handled most of the instrument performances herself. Antonia is a folk singer at heart as the first notes you hear from her are the laid-back storied lyrics of “Don’t Let The Bedbugs Bite" from “Lovers and Prophets.”
 
Her voice is so smooth with a tiny bit of a raspy-ness to it that gives it such a natural tone as in “Confessions of Berlin” and “Moth To The Flame.” She shows a darker side to her songwriting in “Russian Roulette,” then adds a little soul to her performance of “Time Killer.” Antonia finds her groove in “Waiting For War,” before closing her album by plugging in for the slow-burning gospel-fueled “Down The Rabbit Hole.”
 
Her album “Dirt From When The Earth Was Flat” carries a starker, acoustic sound that allows for Antonia to play more with her vocal abilities, as in “Riots” and “Dolinsko.” She even sings in her native tongue in “Pyromani (Lek inte med elden)” before diving into her story of “The Untold Tale Of Ikaros.” While most of Antonia’s recordings are perfectly fine the way they were recorded (with just an acoustic guitar), the one song I wish had a little extra put into it is the powerful “Naked And Quiet.” The message is so strong that the song should have a bigger sound than just a quiet whisper. But, there are times when less is more as in the album closer “It’s 6 In The Morning And I Think I Love You.”
 
For more information on this rising singer/songwriter, please visit antoniavai.com.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

CD Review: The Rolling Stones & The Who Hit The Road With New Releases

New from Universal Music Enterprises, in association with Hip-O Select, are two albums that are not really new, but newly released from two of the biggest, oldest groups still touring today. The Rolling Stones are celebrating 50 years together with a new greatest hits compilation that includes the first new music that the band has created together in over seven years. The other new release is an archived live album "Live At Hull 1970" from The Who, who are currently on tour performing their rock opera "Quandrophenia."

The Rolling Stones have just performed two sold-out shows in London and are next heading to the US for a few shows. The band kicked off their 50th anniversary with a book, movie and a brand new greatest hits compilation, "GRRR!". What makes this set stand out above the rest is the different configurations available to the fans. There is a basic 2CD set which features 38 of the Rolling Stones' most well-known hits and two brand-new recordings, "Doom And Gloom" and "One More Shot." "Doom And Gloom" contains that signature Keith Richards guitar shuffle and pounding drums supplied by the one and only Charlie Watts. But, The Rolling Stones show that they can still rock on "One More Shot" as the music gives a great raw backdrop for Mick Jagger's lead vocals.

True fans would be more interested in the 3CD set which features 48 of the Rolling Stones' songs starting off with their rhythm & blues beginnings ("Come On" and "Little Red Rooster") and ending with the news songs. It covers the band's entire recording career and digs a little deeper than the two-disc set. There is also an 80-song edition that is spread across four-discs and includes some of The Stones' lesser known hits like "Dandelion" and "She's So Cold." Hopefully with the recording of the two new songs and their handful of scheduled live shows, that this may jump start The Rolling Stones to perform more new music for us in the future.

Now, The Who are celebrating the 40th anniversary of their landmark album "Quandrophenia" with a full-fledged tour and to keep fans happy, they released their 1970 concert "Live At Hull" on CD. The concert was originally recorded to possibly be released as the band's first live album instead of the classic "Live At Leeds" album. The 2CD set was released in the "Live At Leeds" deluxe box set, but is now available for the first time on its own, in a deluxe edition. The sound on this release is much better than the deluxe edition of "Live At Leeds," but just like that release, they decided to place the entire "Tommy" performance on a separate disc. So, even though the set doesn't run in the exact order as it was performed, the way the first disc flows, you would never have missed the band's performance of "Tommy."

So be on the look out for these great new sets from two of classic rock's biggest performers. These also make great stocking stuffers for the music fan in your life this Christmas. For more information on these releases and more from the Universal Music Group, please visit hip-oselect.com.