Thursday, January 31, 2013

CD Review: Indie Artists Give Just A Taste With New EPs

UK Singer/songwriter Annie Dressner returns with her new 4-song EP entitled “East Twenties.” This is some of Annie’s best work to date. Her voice on “Heartbreaker” is so gentle and comforting that you can’t help but get lost in her words. You can feel her heartbreaking in “I Can’t Forget” and her passion on “Lost In A Car.”

Her new EP will be available in April, but she is currently on a tour of the UK. For more information on Annie Dressner, please visit AnnieDressner.com.



From Australia comes newest pop music diva to conquer America. Sarah D recently released her new 5-song EP entitled "Over You." Her sound is exactly what's hot on "Top 40" radio, similar to artists like Kelly Clarkson and Katy Perry. The album begins with "Stand Up" as her voice combined with dance beats are very infectious. Her delivery of the lyrics show a very passionate emotion as in "Crying Over The Rainbow," while the closing song "Make The World" shows you that she is in charge of her destiny.

The EP was produced by Andres Torres and is available now through cdbaby (http://cdbaby.com/cd/sarahd). For more information on Sarah D, please visit her website at sarahdofficial.com

Multi-talented musician Andrew Butler recently released his new album as Andrew and the Safari Rangers entitled, “On The Verge Of Indigo.” The simplicity of his music allows his lyrics to become the main focus of his songs. He tries to combine the harmonies of The Beach Boys with the vocal delivery of They Might Be Giants. It works well on the opening song, “A World Around You” and on the playful song “The Smartest Person.” The electronic, keyboard driven background music does get a bit old, but Butler’s lyrics keep the mood light on “Midnight On The Cliff Walk” and on the album closer “Sleep Paralysis.”

To find out more about Andrew and the Safari Rangers, please visit his facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Andrew-and-the-Safari-Rangers/116282091730680.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

CD Review: Straight To VHS Ask You To Be Kind With "Rewinder"

From New London, CT comes the garage rock/punk band Straight To VHS with their debut full-length album, “Rewinder.” The band has spent the time between their self-titled EP until now honing their skills, touring across New England.
 
The album begins with “Don’t Call It Love” as you instantly notice the rawness of their sound, similar to what the Sex Pistols and The Clash must have sounded like in their early days. The 11-song album only last about 23 minutes as songs like “It’s Not The Money” and “Medal Of War” are quick hits of adrenaline. The album finishes up with the Subpop era Nirvana sounding “Stuck In Transit” and the blast of guitar fury of “Your Face.”
 
The rawness of their sound is both a turn-on and a turn-off as they need to upgrade their recording and polish their sound up just a hint to make a bigger impact on the music community. To find out more Straight To VHS, please visit straight2vhs.com.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

CD Review: U.S. Gets Introduced To Roger Knox Through "Stranger In My Land"

Australian country singer Roger Knox is preparing to release his new album, “Stranger In My Land” on February 12 through Bloodshot Records. This is Knox’s first new album in 9 years and his first to be released here in the U.S. The album is a collection of folk songs originally written by Aborigine artists that Knox added his special touch to make them shine. The album also features guest appearances from Bonnie Prince Billy, Jon Lansford, Dave Alvin and load of other artists.
 
The album begins with “The Land Where The Crow Flies Backwards,” which has a bit of New Orleans flair to the song’s storied lyrics. He gives an island sound to “Blue Gums Calling Me Back Home,” but “Took The Children Away” is one of the highlights of album. His delivery of the chorus invites you to sing along as the song carries a powerful message of hope. Knox has fun with the lyrics of “Scobie’s Dream” then takes on a Don Ho type appeal with his delivery of “Ticket To Nowhere.” The album finishes with the Australian country cowboy singing “Home In The Valley.”
 
For more information on Roger Knox new album, “Stranger In My Land,” please visit the Bloodshot records website at http://www.bloodshotrecords.com/album/roger-knox-stranger-my-land.

Monday, January 28, 2013

CD Review: Manafest Becomes The "Fighter" For Christian Rock

From California comes Manafest with his latest release, “Fighter.” Manafest is the stage name of Christian rap/rocker Chris Greenwood, who originally hailed from Canada. His latest single, “Fighter” is making its way up the Mainstream and Active Rock radio charts, while the song “Human” is heading for the top of the Christian Rock radio chart.
 
The album begins with “Fighter” which shows the perfect combination of Manafest’s hip-hop lyrics, backed by a hard rock sound. He has edginess to his sound as in “Pushover” and “Come Alive,” he leans a little toward the pop rock sound of “Never Let You Go,” which should be his next hit single. The album finishes with the big blazing guitars of “Heart Attack” and the upbeat “Will You Catch Me.”
 
Manafest will be hitting the road, beginning in his home country of Canada on April 26, before heading down to the west coast in August. His album “Fighter” was released last April. For more information on Manafest, please visit manafest.net.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

CD Review: New Music From The Hard Rock Underground

The future of hard rock and heavy metal looks extremely bright with new music from underground bands Juggernaught, Bolder Damn and Mothership. Their music is full of great guitar riffs, adrenaline pumping energy and sing-along choruses.

First, from South Africa is Juggernaught with a new self-released album entitled "Bring The Meat Back." They combine elements of hard rock with southern blues as heard in the opening song "Bad Idea" and the guitar-fueled "The Storm." Juggernaught head down south with the swamp rock sound of "Back Door Women" the head to the streets of L.A. with the strip joint rocker "Booty Call." The album finishes with the deep grooves of "Wors and the aggressive closer "Paint It Brown."

To find out more about Juggernaught, please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/JUGGERNAUGHTMANROCK.

New from Shadow King Records is a new album from Bolder Damn entitled, "Mourning." Their music relives the early days of hard rock and heavy metal in the vein of Blue Cheer and Black Sabbath. Their lead track off the album, "BRTCD" places you back in the the seventies rock movement with its blazing guitar solos. They add a bit of blues to "Got That Feeling," while "Breakthrough" sounds like an anthem for Vietnam. The album closes with the sixteen-minute guitar driven epic "Dead Meat."

To find out more about Bolder Damn, please visit their website at bolderdamn.com.

Finally, landing this February is the new self-titled release from Mothership. They also have a very nostalgic feeling to their music by giving southern rock a big swift kick in the ass, as in the song, "Cosmic Rain." They bring up comparison to Molly Hatchet with "City Nights," but get into their own groove with "Angel Of Death." Their music flies high with "Eagles Soar," before finishing with the eight-minute adrenaline pumping rocker "Lunar Master."

For more information on Mothership, please visit their facebook page at facebook.com/mothershipusa.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

CD Review: Metal Blade Records Roll Out Their Next Wave Of Eardrum Destruction Albums

Metal Blade Records is ready to roll out some more new releases by some of the wildest band names one could ever think of. Bands like Lightning Swords of Death, Gloria Morti and Raven Black Night are just a few groups with new releases hitting all the aspects of metal including Thrash, Death Metal and even a little Celtic Folk Metal.
 
Lightning Swords of Death released their latest album, “Baphometic Chaosium” on January 22nd and the music just hits you with a blast of aggressive energy. Songs like “Acid Gate” and “Epicyclarium” are over six-minutes of headbanging power. The album closer, “Oaken Chrysalis” is the most attractive, evil-sounding song on the album, but perfect for this brand of metal music.
 
Also out on January 22nd is the new album from Nightfall entitled “Cassiopeia.” The band returns from their Metal Blade Records debut (“Astron Black & the Thirty Tyrants”) with an album that may be dedicated to the Greek metal scene, but can easily be accepted as a great addition to the Heavy Metal music world. The way Nightfall changes tempos as in the opener “Phaethon” and in “The Nightwatch” keeps you guessing as to their shear speed and power. The expert musicianship can be heard all throughout this album, especially in “Hubris” and “Hyperion.” The album closes with “Astropolis,”a hard rocker that shows flashes of doom metal.
 
Coming next week are new albums from Zombified and Gloria Morti. Zombified return with their sophomore album, "Carnage Slaughter And Death." The same aggression and impact from their first album are still present in the songs "Pull The Trigger" and "Withering Souls." The music of "Endless Days Of Wrath" and "Reborn In Sin" just blow you away with it's shear force, while "Clinched Fist Of Vengeance" sound like it pays tribute to the early days of Death Metal. The album closes with the pulse-pounding sounds of "Reign Of Terror."
 
From Finland, we get a new album from Gloria Morti entitled "Lateral Constraint." It is the band's fourth album and can certainly be classified with some of the best Death Metal albums of today. Beginning with "Lex Parmsimoniae," the band's speed and energy comes blasting through the speakers. Their songs like "Our God Is War" and "Sleep, Kill, Regress, Follow" shows the great musicianship within the band. The album closes with the speed-drumming energy of "Conclusion."

Finally we have the return of Raven Black Night with their first new album in over eight years, "Barbarian Winter." The band is on a mission to bring traditional metal to the world. They have a classic sound with hints of Black Sabbath, Deep Purple and Rainbow as their songs are mainly about gladiators and queens. Their music on this new album is very heavy, but not over powering as you follow the song's stories of battles and mystery.Their nostalgic appeal is heard in "Mystery Woman" and their Sabbath cover of "Changes." The album closes with the metal epic, "Angel With A Broken Wing."
 
To find our more about these new releases, be sure to check out metalblade.com

Thursday, January 24, 2013

CD Review: Love & Death's Debut Is Somewhere "Between Here & Lost"

New heavy metal band Love & Death just released their debut album, "Between Here & Lost" on Tooth & Nail Records. The band is led by former Korn guitarist Brian "Head" Welch and the album was produced by Jasen Rauch (Breaking Benjamin, RED). As the album title suggests, the songs deal with tragedy and triumph, darkness and light, evil and good.

The album starts off hard and heavy with "The Abandoning." As the lyrics deal with self-demons, the music is aggressive and pounding. The music takes on a more industrial hard rock feel with a cover of Devo's "Whip It," before the big, buzzing guitars and addicting chorus of "Watching The Bottom Fall." The music of "Meltdown" and "My Disaster" brings you back to the Nu Metal sound of the nineties with a great shout-along chorus. The album finishes up with the big sounds of "Paralyzed" and "Chemicals," before closing with the mellow, floating beginning music of "Bruises," which builds-up to crashing chorus.

Love & Death just headed out on their "War Of Change Tour," which runs until mid-March. For more information on the new album, "Between Here & Lost" and for a complete list of tour dates, check out loveanddeathmusic.com.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

CD Review: The Waterboys Work With "Mr. Yeats" On New Album

Scottish, Celtic rock band, The Waterboys are celebrating their twentieth anniversary with an album of new music, “An Appointment With Mr. Yeats.” The album finds the band’s main songwriter, Mike Scott collaborating (unofficially) with the legendary Irish poet W.B. Yeats to create some of the band’s best new music in a decade.

Beginning with “The Hosting Of The Shee,” The Waterboys gets the pace moving with this thunderous piece of music to match Scott’s lyrics about Irish folklore. The band falls back into the gentle storytelling side of their music with the “Song Of Wandering Aengus” and “Sweet Dancer.” The Celtic sound of “Mad As The Mist And Snow” places you in the Irish countryside, while “September 1913” captures a more seventies classic rock sound. The most pop mainstream song on the album is “Politics” as the combination of an upbeat tempo and lyrics that everyone can relate to become lodged in your memory. The album closes with the six-minute “The Faery’s Last Song” as the music just floats on by.

The Waterboys played a handful of shows last November and are returning to the road with the U.S. premiere show on March 20 in New York. To find out more on The Waterboys’ new album, “An Appointment With Mr. Yeats” and for more live dates, please visit mikescottwaterboys.com.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

CD Review: Bobby Rush Takes Us On A Trip "Down In Louisiana"

Grammy nominated blues artist Bobby Rush returns with a brand-new studio album entitled “Down In Louisiana.” The new release will be available on February 19 through Deep Rush Records. Rush has been known to share the stage with fellow blues giants Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf and Little Walter and at 77 years old, Rush can still make great, classic blues music.

The new album begins with Bobby rush taking us for a trip down south with the swamp blues of “Down In Louisiana.” Bobby gets his funk on with “You Just Like A Dresser,” before giving us some back porch blues with “Don’t You Cry.” He can still muster that classic blues sound as in “Raining In My Heart” and shows us how to “Rock This House” with some great guitar licks. The album closes with the gospel blues of “Swing Low.”

Bobby Rush’s new album will be available on February 19 through Amazon and many other major online retailers.

Monday, January 21, 2013

CD Review: Otis Taylor Tries To Help Native Americans With "My World Is Gone"

Famed singer/songwriter Otis Taylor is ready to release his 13th studio album, “My World Is Gone” on February 12 on Telarc, a division of the Concord Music Group. Taylor was inspired to write and sing about the struggles of Native Americans, along with help from Indigenous frontman and guitar virtuoso Mata Nanji.

The album begins with the title song as Nanji plays a little blues guitar as Taylor’s weathered voice gives the song such passion and heart. Taylor adds a little slide guitar to the country rock feeling of “Lost My Horse.” While most of the songs carry a very roots, earthy vibe; the one song that seems out of place on this album is the jazz-fueled “Huckleberry Blues.” The horns take away from the steady gallop of the banjo and just seem to overpower the song. The lyrics and music of songs like “Sand Creek Massacre Mourning” and “Never Been To The Reservation” tug at the heart, knowing that Native Americans received so much neglect. Otis Taylor walks that fine line between country and bluegrass with the simple sounds of “Jae Jae Waltz,” before returning to the storied lyrics of “Coming With Crosses.” The album closes with the upbeat, guitar boogie of “Sit Across Your Table.”

For more information on this newest release from Otis Taylor, please visit http://www.concordmusicgroup.com/artists/Otis-Taylor/.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

CD Review: Dustin Welch Breathes New Life Into Americana Music With "Tijuana Bible"

From Austin, TX comes Dustin Welch, son of the famed country songwriter Kevin Welch, with his second self-released album, "Tijuana Bible." After a short stint with the west coast punk band Scotch Greens, Dustin Welch went on his own, releasing his debut solo album in 2009. Now Welch returns with one of the most rocking Americana albums ever released.

The drum and bass groove of the opening song, "Ash & Iron" puts you under Dustin's spell as his vocals reflect an edgier Americana/Folk sound. Welch paints the perfect picture of a sea captain telling stories with the shanty "Lost At Sea," while "Jolly Johnny Junker" carries a raw, gritty folk rock sound with a classic appeal. Dustin heads mainstream with pop rock of "Goodbye," before returning to his folk roots with "Sparrows." Welch expands on his retro sound with the big rock of "Tango Blues" and then closes the album with the banjo-driven "Things I Cannot Change" and the upbeat drum/bass groove of "Tijuana Bible."

Dustin Welch has a load of live dates scattered over the next four months. His new album, "Tijuana Bible" comes out on February 12 through his own Super Rooster Records label. For more information on Dustin Welch, please visit dustinwelch.com.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

CD Review: Steven Adler Returns From The "Dead" With New Band

Former Guns N’ Roses drummer Steven Adler is finally ready to release his debut full-length album. After his departure from GNR, Adler went into a deep depression and drug use. After stints on “Celebrity Rehab” and “Sober House,” Steven Adler is ready to get back to the music that he enjoys. His former band, Adler’s Appetite released a couple EPs and played a few shows, but never got around to recording a full album. Now his new band, simply known as Adler, released their debut album, “Better Off Dead” digitally last year and on CD exclusively through Core Revolt (http://www.corerevolt.com/adler/).
 
The album rocks as hard as anything that Steven Adler has done in the past. Lead singer Jacob Bunton has great hard rock voice as in the opening song, “Back From The Dead” that also shows glimpses of the late-eighties rock that Adler helped create. Former Dokken and Dio bassist Jeff Pilson plays bass on all the tracks as well as produces the album. The guitars of Lonny Paul are big and blazing as in “Own Worst Enemy,” while Adler’s drumming has never sounded better. A couple of friends drop by to lend a hand as Slash plays guitar on “Just Don’t Ask” and John 5 (Rob Zombie) plays on “Good To Be Bad.” The slow burn of “Waterfall” reflects back to the power ballads of the hard-rocking eighties as Michael Lord performs piano on the song. The album closes with the “Dead Wrong” which gives more of edginess to the album’s appeal.
 
Adler is currently working on setting up a tour of Japan with former Guns N’ Roses band mate Duff McKagan’s band Loaded. Check out Steven Adler’s facebook page (facebook.com/stevenadlersite2) for more information about the band.

Friday, January 18, 2013

CD Review: Great Music Fills "Californication" Soundtrack

The original Showtime series, “Californication” has completed its sixth season and to celebrate, eOne Music is releasing the album, “Music From The Showtime Series Californication Season 6.” The television series centers around Hank Moody (David Duchovny) as a hedonistic novelist who struggles to be a good father to his college-aged daughter and who still carries a flame for his ex-girlfriend. The series has won several awards including Emmys in 2008, 2009 and a Golden Globe in 2008.

The album is choke full of rock, including five outstanding cover songs and originals including Johnny Thunders’ “You Can’t Put Your Arms Around A Memory,” Warren Zevon’s "For My Next Trick, I’ll Need A Volunteer” and Joe Walsh’s “Funk 50.” The soundtrack also includes a previously unreleased song, “So Long (As We Are Together)” from Australian musician/comedian/actor Tim Minchin. But the real gems on this album are the diversity of the cover songs from the likes of punk rocker Steve Jones (Sex Pistols) performing David Bowie’s “Suffragette City” to folk/pop artist Lissie performing Metallica’s “Nothing Else Matters.” The adrenaline gets flowing during Marilyn Manson’s cover of Depeche Mode’s “Personal Jesus,” the highlight of the album is Ryan Adams’ acoustic version of Iron Maiden’s “Wasted Years.” The album closes with the mellow grunge sounds of The Soundtrack Of Our Lives with “What’s Your Story” and Beth Hart’s gentle “My California.”

For more information on the tv show “Californication,” please visit http://www.sho.com/sho/californication/home.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

CD Review: Underground Bands Dog Faced Spiders And Better Days Release New Music

From right here is Connecticut comes the Dog Faced Spiders with their new album, “Perfect Organism.” The band has been together since 2004 and has gained a following along the east coast with their brand of hip-hop. Songs like “Dog Only Knows” and “High On Life” have a great beat with lyrics that make you grin, but keep it real. DFS have the club sounds as in “Lay Down, Stay Down” before showing a more mellow side with the “OPP” beats of “MTA.” They certainly have a way with words as in “Horrible Things” and “Busch Beach," before the album closes with probably the hardest hitting song on the album, “Say Hey.”
 
To find out more about this underground hip-hop band, check out the Dog Face Spiders Facebook page at facebook.com/Dog-Faced-Spiders/242366619691.
 
From halfway across the country comes the new punk band, Better Days with their debut EP, “Good Luck Tonight.” The band’s hardcore sound dates back to the early nineties with bands like Face To Face and Pennywise, before punk became mainstream. The longest song on this release is two-and-a-half minutes, but the blast of energy you get with “X Skull Goblet X” and “Cool Out, Man” is enough to get the juices flowing.
 
After a hectic 2012, Better Days are taking their time hitting the road in 2013. For the most up-to-date information on the band, please visit their facebook page at facebook.com/betterdays314.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

CD Review: Mary Gauthier Tells Stories On Her First Live Album

From Nashville comes singer/songwriter Mary Gauthier (pronounced Go-SHAY) with her first live album entitled “Live At Blue Rock,” recorded last year at the Blue Rock Artist Ranch and Studio in Wimberley, TX. Her last studio album, “The Foundling” received critical acclaim and landed at #3 on the L.A. Times’ 2011 “Records of the Year.” This new live album will be released on February 7 through In The Black and features eight of Mary’s original songs and three cover songs by fellow folk poet Fred Eaglesmith.

The hour-long album begins with the Eaglesmith cover, “Your Sister Cried” as Gauthier gets her country twang going during the folk song’s chorus. Her songwriting excels on the storied lyrics of “Last Of The Hobo Kings” and “Karla Faye” as she paints these wonderful pictures with her words. The highlight of the set is “Sugar Cane” from her third album, “Filth & Fire.” She shows such passion in her delivery of her lyrics that you can just sit and listen to her stories all day. The album finishes up with the slightly upbeat tempo of “Wheel Inside The Wheel” as the song closes in on the eight-minute mark.

Mary Gauthier is currently on tour, performing in Miami, FL before heading north to Nova Scotia. As she makes her way back down the east coast, she will be performing at CafĂ© Nine in New Haven, CT on March 14 before finishing up her tour in April in Dallas, TX. For more information on her new album, “Live At Blue Rock” and for a complete list of live dates, please check out marygauthier.com.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

CD Review: Henry Wagons Expects Help From Company On Solo Debut

From Australia comes Henry Wagons from the band, Wagons with his debut solo album entitled “Expecting Company?” The new album will be released on January 22 through the Thirty Tigers record label. On this seven song album, Henry invites some guests to sing along with him on this album.

The album begins with the song, “Unwelcome Company,” as Henry duets with the wonderfully talented Alison Mosshart (The Kills, Dead Weather) on this spaghetti western rocker. Alison’s vocals mesh so well with Henry’s that you wish they did a whole album together, but then you’d miss out on these other great voices. The songwriting of “I’m In Love With Mary Magdalene” and “A Hangman’s Work Is Never Done” is so well-rounded that you follow the dark stories of deception and misguided passion. Henry goes all-out country on “Give Things A Chance To Mend” as his duet with Jenn Grant sound like a former hit song for George Jones and Tammy Wynette. The album closes with Henry’s only solo effort on this album, the two-minute acoustic love song “Marylou Two.”

Henry Wagons has a load of dates in his home country of Australia before hitting the U.S. shores in mid-February, including a show at Black-Eyed Sally’s in Harford, CT on March 1. For more information on Henry Wagons new album and for a complete list of tour dates, please visit wagonsmusic.com.

Monday, January 14, 2013

CD Review: Charlie Scopoletti Headlines Benefit At Capitol Theatre

From New York comes singer/songwriter Charlie Scopoletti as he returns to his roots with his inspiring new album, “Truth.” The album was released almost a year ago, but is coming into the spotlight because of a benefit concert that Scopoletti will headline on March 7, 2013. The benefit show will take place at the Capitol Theatre in New York and Scopoletti, being from Port Chester compares the Capitol Theatre to “Madison Square Garden.” The evening’s concert will also include special guests and area musicians.

His 7-song album was inspired by his battles with cancer and overcoming other adversities. The words of the songs like “Truth” and “Heaven Can Wait” are so uplifting that you can’t help but get lost in his music. Charlie also shows a bit of diversity in his songwriting with the blues sound of “Forecast,” the jazzy “Feel Some More” and the mainstream pop of the album closer “Marry Me.”

Charlie Scopoletti has one other live date on his schedule before his benefit show in March. He will be performing this Wednesday at MacDaffs Pub in Greenwich, CT. For more information on Charlie and his upcoming live shows, please visit csband.com.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

CD Review: Wooden HEZ Marches In The "Children's Parade"

From Philadelphia comes the new rock/grunge band Wooden HEZ with their debut album, “Children’s Parade.” The 9-song album was recorded in the fall of 2012 and released in December.
The album begins with the slow burn of “Take Them There” as Wooden HEZ slowly introduces you to their sound. They pick-up the tempo with “Radio Man” as the feedback-fueled song sound like the son of Neil Young’s “Cortez The Killer.” The band’s grungy sound leans more towards Neil Young and less to the Seattle underground sound that erupted with Nirvana. Songs like “Sinner” and “Just Sacrifice” are led by a strong guitar presence, with the lyrics almost unrecognizable at times. The album closes with two acoustic folk songs “Competent Man” and “Children’s Parade.”
Wooden HEZ has some shows lined up over the next three months. For more information about this new indie-rock band, please visit woodenhez.com.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

CD Review: Ariel's Voice Leads The Undertow On Debut Album

Singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Ariel Rubin has put together a new band, Ariel + The Undertow. The band’s self-titled debut album will be released on January 22 after securing $11,000 through Kickstarter to record this album last year. The music of The Undertow has very retro jazz/soul appeal, while Ariel’s voice draws up similarities to Adele and Amy Winehouse.
The album begins with Ariel flexing her vocals on the up-tempo jazzy beat of “Kindness From Strangers.” Her voice really shines on “Lovely Girl” as the music meshes so well with her vocal-styling. The band shows its diversity with the music of the ballad “Only In French,” the jazzy “I Have No Music” and the rocking of “Take Me Home.” Ariel rocks out on “The Liar” before closing the album with the pop sounds of “Waiting Time.”
Ariel + The Undertow have one live date at the moment, an LP release show on January 24 at The Living Room in New York City. Be sure to visit arielandtheundertow.com for up-to-date news on the band.

Friday, January 11, 2013

CD Review: Flexus Reflects On The Past With "Succubus Humanitas"

From Venice, Italy comes Flexus with a new full-length album entitled “Succubus Humanitas.” This release is a collection of songs recorded between 1998 and 2000. His music is described as electronic gothic instrumentals with dark overtones.

The songs allow you to explore and expand your mind as in the opening song, “Visions of Hell.” The mostly keyboard driven piece allows you to get lost within the music. The music of “Three” has a more upbeat appeal, but the eeriness of “Dark Thoughts” and “Techspaces” is where you begin to appreciate his style. Flexus hits the club with the dance floor beats of “Distance,” but quickly returns to the darkness of “Moonlight” and “Respira.” The album closes with the quick, two-minute keyboard/demon sounding “Mors Triumphat.”

Flexus has a video for the song, “Moonlight” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P2DJHXTmo2Q) from the new release. To find out more, please visit opbyte.it/flexus.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

CD Review: Matt Costa Breaks-Out His Best Work For New Album

Singer/songwriter Matt Costa is one of the premier artists on Brushfire Records (Jack Johnson’s label). He has worked with Jack Johnson, Ryan Adams, Oasis, G. Love & The Special Sauce and Death Cab For Cutie amongst others. His new, self-titled album will be released on February 12, his fourth full-length album through Brushfire Records.

Beginning with “Loving You” you get a sense that Matt Costa wants to break out of his folk-storytelling role into a more pop-rock area. His voice and groove on this album are very infectious as he puts his touch on this opening up-tempo gem. The song “Early November” carries a very retro-style, compared to the raw, garage rock of “Good Times.” Matt’s signature sound is still heard on the songs “Shotgun” and “Ophelia” as his songwriting just keep getting better with each new album.

Matt Costa will be embarking on his tour on March 15, beginning out west and making his way eastward. For more information on Matt’s new, full-length album and for a complete list of live dates, please visit mattcosta.com.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

CD Review: New Music From Indie-Rockers The Great Affairs And Arc & Stones

Denny Smith and his band The Great Affairs return in 2013 with a seven-song EP entitled “4.” After taking most of last year off, the band comes back with one of their strongest efforts to date.

The new release starts off with the pure, straight-up rock of “Rock N’ Roll Heart.” The band sounds tight as Denny’s songwriting should be compared to some of the great classic rockers like Tom Petty and Neil Young. The song “Shame On You” sounds like it could’ve come from Kid Rock as the screaming vocals give the song just enough of an edge to stand out. Denny shows us the diversity in his songwriting with the heartfelt, power ballad “The Ring,” and then the band plugs back in for the hard rocker “Fists & Guitars.” The album closes with the acoustic “Gone” as the lyrics paint a perfect picture in your mind.

The new album from The Great Affairs will be released on January 15 through Faragon Records. The band has a show scheduled on January 19 in Nashville, TN. To find out more about The Great Affairs, please visit their website at thegreataffairs.com.

Also on the rise is the rock band Arc & Stones with their self-titled debut album. Hailing from Brooklyn, NY, Arc & Stones began as the duo of Dan Pellarin (Vocals, Guitar, Keys) and Ben Cramer (Guitar, Vocals) before adding Eddy Bayes on bass and Joe Doino on drums to help flesh-out their songs.

As heard in the album’s first single, “Silence” the band has a raw, rock sound, similar to the Kings Of Leon.  A video for the song can be found on the band’s website, arcandstones.com. They mix in a Soundgarden-type vibe in “Say Goodbye” as Dan’s vocals are strong and powerful.
 

The new EP from Arc & Stones will be released on February 12. The band has one show scheduled at the moment, January 10th at The Bowery Electric in New York. Check them out if you’re in the area.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

CD Review: Omnivore Recordings Finds Hidden Gems From Buck Owens And Don Rich

Country music star Buck Owens began his career in 1945 as a co-host to the radio show “Buck and Britt.” His recording career took off in 1959 with the country hit song “Second Fiddle.” He has had over 40 “Top 10” country singles (almost half have hit #1) and 18 “Top 10” country albums and now through Omnivore Recordings, we gets the latest release from Buck Owens, “Honky Tonk Man.” This new compilation culls together songs he recorded at his Bakersfield studio for the hit show “Hee Haw.”

Many of the songs on this release will be familiar to music fans as they laid the groundwork for the country/rockabilly sound. Beginning with the title song, Owens is in fine voice as this album as it was recorded and left untouched for almost forty years. He pays tribute to many of his earliest influences like Bob Willis & the Texas Playboys’ “Stay A Little Longer” and Hank Williams’ “My Bucket’s Got A Hole In It” and “Hey Good Lookin’.” None of these songs have been released before and show a fun side to Buck Owens’ singing. To have 18 unreleased songs by Buck Owens is a rare feat that we may never see again, so do yourself a favor and take a listen to these wonderful country music gems.

The same day, we get a newly released album from Buck Owens’ guitarist Don Rich. The new album, “Don Rich Sings George Jones” is the only completely solo album Don Rich ever recorded and it sat in the vaults, until now. Don Rich performed on almost every recording for Buck Owens until his untimely death in 1974. Now we get to hear Don Rich’s vocals as he pays tribute to one of his favorite artist.

The album contains 14 covers of George Jones classics including “The Race Is On” and “White Lightning.” Buck Owens approached Don Rich about doing this album and nobody knows why it has never seen the light of day until now. Rich seems to have fun, leading the band through the up-tempo “Love Bug” and the ballad “She Thinks I Still Care.” The album also carries four bonus tracks of Buck Owens performing the George Jones’ classics “The Race Is On,” “Four-O-Thirty Three,” “Root Beer” and “Too Much Water.”

Both of these albums will be released on January 23 through Omnivore Recordings. For more information, please visit omnivorerecordings.com.

Monday, January 7, 2013

CD Review: Victory Records Hits Hard In The Beginning Of 2013

Victory Records starts the New Year off with three new heavy metal albums from Fall City Fall, Otep and Continents. First up is Fall City Fall with their new debut album entitled “Victus” which will be released on January 22. Based out of Calgary, Alberta, Canada; Fall City Fall are ready to bring their brand of hardcore metal to the masses of North America.
The album begins with the screaming introduction of “St. James,” before the band quickens up the pace in “Dissentipede.” The sheer force of their music is heart and felt in “Anxiety Attack” and “Bitter to End.” The duel vocal attack of Nathan Zorn and Keenan Pylychaty keeps the adrenaline pumping as in “Lovebirds,” while the band finds their progressive groove in “Many Lives.” Fall City Fall’s new album is a blast of energy with every note all the way to the closing title-song.
Fall City Fall are taking a short break from touring, but look for them to hit the road again once their new album is released later in the month. For more information, please check out their facebook page at facebook.com/fallcityfall.
After releasing their first official live album last year, Otep returns with a new album of songs entitled “Hydra.” This album has been announced as the last one released by Otep after a decade of banging heads.
Beginning with a spoken word introduction, “Rising” sets up the listener for what has been described as their best album to date. The songs on this release reflect the graphic novel that Otep has been writing for the last two years along with this album. The concept for this album is about a girl corrupted by the world and abandoned to deal with “her personal alchemy of theophagy, revenge and righteousness.” Songs like “Seduce & Destroy” and “Hematopia,“show a different side to Otep’s songwriting as she deals with the seduction of the main character’s young mind. She gets her revenge on the world as a vigilante in the songs “Feral Game” and “Theophagy.” Her voice in “Voyeur” and “Hag”paints the perfect picture on what Otep is trying to portray with this latest album.
The new album drops on January 22 and Otep will be heading down to Australia for a few shows in April. For more information, please visit her facebook page, facebook.com/otepofficial.
Next up, from the UK come the premier hardcore metal band Continents with their new album, “Idle Hands.” The band has earned a spot as one of the best new metal acts of the UK and has gained attention from the June hardcore metal festival, Ghostfest.”
The new album begins with the powerful vocal delivery of Phil Cross on the title song which gets complimented by the machine gun drumming of Duncan “Ken” Hamill in “Pegasus, Pegasus.” The band mixes tempos in“Land Of The Free” before returning to the dark vocal style of “Regrets.” The album closes with the vocal assault of “Exhale” followed by the pounding “Truth And Lies” and the hardcore attack of “Lion’s Den.”
The new album, “Idle Hands” from Continents will also be released on January 22. To find out more about this hardcore metal band from the UK, please visit the band’s facebook page at facebook.com/Continentsband.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

CD Review: The Deftones Rock Harder Than Ever On "Koi No Yokan"

From Sacramento, CA comes the alternative metal band, Deftones with a new album entitled “Koi No Yokan,” which means “Premonition of Love.” It is the band’s seventh studio album and the second album not to feature long-time bassist Chi Cheng, who is still recovering from a near-fatal car accident.

The album features a harder sound then their last album, 2010’s “Diamond Eyes.” The first four songs on the album hit you like a blast of adrenaline as the band motors through the singles “Swerve City” and “Leathers.” The Deftones experiment with their sound on “Entombed,” which just slows down the album to the point of almost not recovering back to its hard metal sound. Then the one, two punch of “Tempest” and “Goon Squad” put the energy back into the songs. The album closes with the band trying to expand their sound on “What Happened To You?”

The album was released back in November where it hit #11 on the Billboard Album charts. The Deftones will begin their tour in February over in Europe before heading to Australia in May. To keep up with all that happening with the band and for more information on their new album, please visit deftones.com.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

CD Review: Stone Sour Leads Us To The "House Of Gold & Bones"

American hard rock band Stone Sour returns with their fourth album, part one of a double album entitled “House Of Gold & Bones.” The second part of the album will be released around May 2013. Lead singer Cory Taylor compares the new two part album to Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” meets Alice In Chains. The first part was released in October where it debuted at #7 on the Billboard Album charts.

The album begins with guitars blazing as Taylor’s vocals bring you right into the onslaught of metal music of “Gone Sovereign.” The power and adrenaline continue with “Absolute Zero” and “A Rumor Of Skin” before slowing things down for the acoustic ballad “The Travelers, Pt.1.” The rock returns with the mainstream metal sounding “Tired” and “My Name Is Allen.” You feel Tayor’s passion in his vocals in “Taciturn,” before the album closes with the heavy metal rocker “Last Of The Real.”

Stone Sour has a handful of dates in January, but watch for more live shows coming soon. Also be on the lookout for an announcement on “Part 2,” due in the spring. For more on Stone Sour and the new album, please visit stonesour.com.

Friday, January 4, 2013

CD Review: New Music From Indie-Rockers Falldown and Elliot Knapp

A couple of new albums coming your way, first from the Chicago area comes the debut album from acoustic rockers Falldown and secondly from the Seattle area comes the sophomore album from singer/songwriter Elliot Knapp.

New band, Falldown, features members from other indie-rock bands, The Redwalls and The Hue. Together they create a fresh new alt-country sound with a bit of an edginess to its sound. Fans of Wilco and Whiskeytown will appreciate the music displayed on this album. Songs like “The Drain” and “Sarah Says” shows the diversity of this band. They can either plug-in their guitars and rock or go acoustic on the heartfelt ballads. The album is underlined by the country-rock as heard in the opening song, “Couch Sleep” and the closer “Steam Again.”

Falldown have a couple of shows lined up in January before heading out on a full-tour this coming spring. From more information on the new band, please visit their website at falldownband.com.

Singer/songwriter Elliot Knapp released his new album, “Cheap Seats at the Cartesian Theater” back in December. The 23-song album carries a very experimental, Frank Zappa-type vibe that not too many artists are brave enough to try. The songs on this album tell little stories as in the 2-minute acoustic jaunt of “Chrysalis (In Three Verses)” and the dark rocking sounds of “Expedient Means To A Narrows.” His talents shine on the 3-minute instrumental “I Digress” and the gentle acoustics of “A Nice Place.” His experimentation really takes off on the one- and two-minute pieces of music and song that makes up the second half of the album and concludes with the seventies, David Bowie sounding “A House Is Not A Loam.” The album closes with the acoustic, folk-styling of “We’ll Be Alright.”

To find out more about Elliot Knapp and his new album, “Cheap Seats at the Cartesian Theater,” please visit elliotknapp.com.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

CD Review: Vestibule Expands Their Rock Sound At "The Surface"

From the Jersey Shore comes a new progressive rock band, Vestibule with their debut album, “Through The Surface.” The album was originally released in December of 2011, but is gaining a new life through New Ocean Media.

The album starts off with the band plugging-in for “Astray” as they add an edgier, punk sound to their prog-rock roots. The songs, “Sweet Surrender” and “The Longing” add jazzy drumming, up-beat bass lines to expand the album’s overall sound. The band’s edgier sound returns in “September Skies,” before slowing down for the mellow rock of “Lucid Dreams.” While most of the album’s songs fall well short of the five-minute mark, their true progressive side comes out on the almost six-minute, “Through The Surface” as the band’s sound truly comes alive. The album closes with the hard-rocking “Forget The Hour” as Vestibule leave their mark on your eardrums.

To find out more on this rising underground progressive rock band, please visit their facebook page at facebook.com/vestibulemusic.com.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

CD Review: Brand New Trash Give Off A Retro Sound

From San Francisco, CA comes the new, self-titled album from Brand New Trash. Their music has been described as “Trash Pop” and combines their influences of grunge, rock, folk, hip-hop and pop into a very creative sound. The band is a spin-off of Buxter Hoot’n with brothers Vince and Jimmy Dewald leading the way as the album’s first single, “Brenda’s Got A Baby” (a Tupac Shakur cover) is generating buzz along the west coast.

The album begins with “If You Let Me,” which carries a very retro sound that would make Neil Young proud. A mellow guitar and organ fill-in the background as the song begins to come together. The rawness in their music is heard on the album’s latest single, “Alana” as they combine folk lyrics with a Seattle grunge sound. The song “Blackwater” is an acoustic folk-blues that sounds like it was concocted in the swamps of the Deep South, while “Brenda’s Got A Baby” combines a Neil Young-style guitar/harmonica with hard-edged hip-hop lyrics to create their “trash pop.” The album closes with the slow burn; feedback fueled “The Ones” as the song sounds like a long lost Nirvana outtake.

The new album from Brand New Trash was released back in November and the band is planning a tour this coming spring. For more information, please visit brandnewtrash.com.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

CD Review: Happy New Year & Welcome To The Year "2112"

Rush's 1976 album, "2112" went against everything that was happening in music at that time. Nobody was successful anymore dedicating an entire album side to one complete musical piece, but Rush fans couldn't get enough of it. The complexity of the "2112 Overture" and just the musicianship within the band was some of the best that the music world had to offer. Many of today's hard rock and heavy metal bands use this album as inspiration to create music outside of the normal pieces.
 
This newly released deluxe edition features a remastered sound along with three live bonus tracks from the 1980-81 tour. The booklet contains new expanded artwork, the original liner notes, lyrics and unreleased photos and also features newly written liner notes from David Fricke of Rolling Stone magazine. The deluxe edition comes in three configurations, CD+DVD, CD+Blu-ray or the super deluxe edition which comes with the CD, Blu-ray and a hardbound book housing the 40 page comic book story by artist Tom Hodges (Star Wars, The Simpsons). The DVD and Blu-ray contain the same material, the comic book in digital form, a photo gallery and the entire album in 5.1 Surround Sound. The bonus tracks are the "2112: Overture" and "The Temple Of Syrinx" recorded at the Northland Coliseum in Edmonton, AB on June 25, 1981. The other bonus song is "A Passage To Bangkok" from the Manchester Apollo in England concert on June 17, 1980. Instead of only a few bonus tracks, an entire concert would have been more appropriate, but beggars can't be choosers. While I don't have the best speakers, the newly remastered version of the album sounds amazing, very clean and clear with just enough punch.
 
The new deluxe edition of "2112" was released in December and is available now. For more information, please visit rush.com.