Sunday, March 31, 2013

CD Review: Green Day Release "Tre" And Finally Hit The Road

In December, punk-rockers Green Day wrapped up their album trilogy with the aptly named "Tre" and have returned to the road after the rehab stint of lead singer/guitarist Billie Joe Armstrong. Now with the band promoting the albums, the sales have picked up after a disappointing start. "Tre" debuted at #13 on the Billboard Album chart (the lowest debut of all three albums), but contains the most mature songwriting of the three releases.
 
Beginning with "Brutal Love," the album starts off with a doo-wop sound wrapped in punk-rock rawness. Green Day can still make classic, aggressive punk music like 'Sex, Drugs & Violence" and "Amanda," but their music has gotten so much bigger and more complex that you look for their next masterpiece. Even  though Billie Joe mentioned in his recent "Rolling Stone" magazine interview that the song "99 Revolutions" is considered the best song he's ever wrote, it is the six-and-a-half minute "Dirty Rotten Bastards" that keeps you interested in their music. The album closes with "The Forgotten" as the band stretch their punk-rock prowess with this orchestra-filled, piano ballad.
 
Green Day are currently on the tour in the U.S. until mid-April, including a stop on April 6 at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT, before heading overseas to finish their world tour. For more information on their album trilogy and for a complete list of tour dates, Please visit greenday.com.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

CD Review: Sevendust Aim For The "Sun" On New Album

Heavy metal band, Sevendust return after a three year hiatus to release their ninth studio album entitled "Black Out The Sun." The new album was produced by the band and was released on March 26 through the band's own label in association with ADA. They are following its release with a full U.S. tour with fellow metal bands Coal Chamber, Lacuna Coil and Candlelight Red.
The new album starts off with the gentle acoustic instrumental "Memory" as it quickly becomes a distant one as Sevendust kick it into high gear with "Faithless." The songs on this latest release are more complex with changes in tempo and feeling. They let out a little aggression in "Till Death" and show us how big their sound is on "Mountain," but the true Sevendust sound comes alive in the album's first single "Decay." The heaviness of "Nobody Wants It" and the grittiness of "Dark AM" balances well with the ballad "Got A Feeling." The album closes with the power and speed of "Murder Bar."
Sevendust will be performing at The Webster Theater in Hartford, CT on April 14 as part of their tour. For a complete list of tour dates and for more information on the new album, please visit sevendust.com.

Friday, March 29, 2013

CD Review: Albert King's Breakthrough Album Get Remastered And Re-Released

Blues icon Albert King is finally being inducted into the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame on April 18. In honor of this achievement, the Concord Music Group is re-releasing his legendary album "Born Under A Bad Sign" on April 2. The album changed American blues forever and became an instant favorite to fellow guitarist Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan.

The original 11-track album was remastered with 5 never before released bonus tracks. Right from the opening notes of "Born Under A Bad Sign," you can hear the warmth in King's guitar. Most of the songs on this release are covers that King turned into his own personal pieces of art. Classic songs like "Kansas City" and "I Almost Lost My Mind" remind you of how King's singing was almost as powerful as his guitar solos.

The five bonus songs consist of four alternate takes of "Born Under A Bad Sign," "Crosscut Saw," "The Hunter" and "Personal Manager." Each of these are just as good as the released version with a slightly different solo or guitar riff. The real gem is the two-minute untitled instrumental that allows King to let his emotions flow. 

The new release also comes with a 16-page booklet that includes the original 1967 album notes, the 2002 CD re-issue essay by Michael Point and a brand-new essay by music historian Bill Dahl. For more information on this outstanding album, please visit www.conqueroo.com/staxrecords.html.


Thursday, March 28, 2013

CD Review: Spin Doctors Bring Out The Blues With A Little "Whiskey"

American rock band the Spin Doctors return from an eight year hiatus with their sixth studio album, "If The River Was Whiskey." The album will be release on April 30th through Ruf Records followed by a U.S. tour which kicks off May 2nd in Virginia Beach.

After achieving instant stardom with their debut album, "Pocket Full of Krptonite" the Spin Doctors have been trying to recapture that magic and I believe this album hits the nail on the head. Instead of trying to create another pop album, this time the Spin Doctors brought out their blues on this raw, electrifying album.

Beginning with the drum role of Aaron Comess on the opening track "Some Other Man Instead," their sound becomes almost instantaneous with the iconic vocals of Chris Barron. While there may not be a hit pop single on this album like in years past, every song carries that energy of hearing the songs performed live. The Doctors get a little Jimi Hendrix swagger with "Traction Blues," but its guitarist Eric Shenkman that does the talking on "Scotch And Water Blues." The band is running on all cylinders on "About A Train" led by the bass groove of Mark White. The album finishes up with the deep south blues of "So Bad" and the more upbeat "What My Love?" with its signature blues backdrop. 

This is the album that Spin Doctors' fans have been waiting for the band to make as their true sound and talents come shining through. This album will be great when the boys play live, including a stop at Mohegan Sun in Connecticut on May 10. For more information on the new album, please visit spindoctors.com.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

CD Review: Singer/Songwriter Brandon Reeves And Indie-Rockers Neither Scene Nor Herd Release New Music

From Atlanta comes Brandon Reeves with his latest release entitled “A Decent Melody.” The 13-song album shows off Brandon’s talents for songwriting. His music covers all the bases, the bar rock of “I Still Believe, “ acoustic blues of “Last Dollar Bill” and the southern country jam of “Every Heart Breaks Free.” Brandon has performed with members of the Zac Brown Band along with members of the Ringo Starr All-Star band and has gathered all that experience to create a truly remarkable album. He gets his groove on for “Wherever It Might Be,” before ending with the guitar-shuffle of “Reno.”

Brandon Reeves has a bunch of live dates scattered over the course of the next few months. To find out more about his new album, “A Decent Melody” and for a complete list of live shows, please visit brandonreevesmusic.com.

Heading just North to Greensboro, NC is the indie-rock band Neither Scene Nor Herd with their latest EP “How It Ends.” It was released late last year and has garnished attention in their area, but they are looking to expand. The punk/rock sounding opener, “Relapse” has a polished sound, but still keeps its garage rock rawness. The high energy of “We Rob Banks” and the album closer “Try, Try Again” keep Neither Scene Nor Herd on high alert as a band that should get noticed on mainstream alternative radio.

To find out more about this young, but rising band, please visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/NeitherSceneNorHerd.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

CD Review: Indie-Artists Rock Some New Releases

From Charlotte, NC comes the indie rock band, Grown Up Avenger Stuff with their new sophomore release, “Sparkleton.” The band toured behind their 2012 album, “Alive,” opening for bands like Cursive and Sick of Sarah and are currently out on the road promoting this new album with a load of shows at this year’s SXSW festival.

The quick seven-song album combines the elements of rock, pop, alternative and indie-punk to create a very upbeat and exciting sound. Songs like “The Beat” and “The Man” have a great groove that makes these songs stand above the others. Lead singer Deirdre Kroener can sound sweet as in “Sparkleton” and then rock out on “Too Cool,” which shows the diversity in the band musical performance. The album closes with the eerie, slow-buildup of “Do Ya.”

Grown Up Avenger Stuff has a few dates in the North Carolina/South Carolina is before performing at the Launch Music Festival in Pennsylvania at the end of April. For more information on this band, be sure to visit grownupavengerstuff.com.

Next we get a new release from prog-rockers the Monks of Mellonwah. On April 1st they will be releasing their three-part musical trilogy entitled “Sky And Dark Night.” The song must be heard in full trilogy mix to appreciate all that went into this production. The song is only eight minutes and fifteen seconds long, but the tempo changes are what keep it interesting. I hope they expand upon this concept for their next full-length album.

To find out more about the Monk of Mellonwah, please visit monksofmellonwah.com.

Monday, March 25, 2013

CD Review: Even More New Metal Music From Metal Blade Records

Metal Blade Records returns once again with five more albums to bang your head to. First up is the death metal powerhouse Six Feet Under with their tenth album entitled “Unborn.” Founding member Chris Barnes states that “the journey to create, write and record ‘Unborn’ has been the most challenging and exciting musical endeavor” that he has been involved in.

The new eleven song album begins with the slow, grinding doom metal of “Neuro Osmosis,” before the band gets the adrenaline pumping with the guitar/drum blast of “Prophecy.” Barnes’ deep, dark vocals on “Zombie Blood Curse,” give the album its breakthrough song and guitarists Steve Swanson and Ola England help flesh-out the song. The drumming of Kevin Talley motors through on “Incision” and “Fragment,” before the band blasts your ears with “Alive to Kill You.” The album closes with “The Curse of Ancients” as Six Feet Under demonstrate why they are one of the premier death metal bands today.

For more information on Six Feet Under, check out sfu420.com.

Next up is the new, full-length debut album from Beyond The Shore entitled “Ghostwatcher.” It will be released on April 2nd and expands upon the band’s debut EP, “The Arctic Front,” which brought on a load of internet buzz. They come out swinging on the opening track “Dividers” as their sound hovers the line between hardcore death metal and mainstream heavy metal. Songs like “Homewrecker” and “Glass Houses” are a full blast of adrenaline as the drums and screaming vocals motor the song. Beyond The Shore continue to blast away with “Visions” before closing the album with the most mainstream song on the album the heavy groove of “Ghostwatcher.”

For more information on Beyond The Shore, check out metalblade.com/us/artists/beyond-the-shore/.

English doom metal band Moss is ready to unleash their fourth album, “Horrible Night.” The six-song release celebrates all that is unknown and all that terrifies the mind. This cult band entered the studio in the autumn of 2012 and came out with their most accessible album to date. Each song drudges on with the longest song, “Dark Lady” running to the 11-minute mark. The song “Dreams From The Depths” sounds more like a tuning session as the song ends as it was beginning to get interesting. The album closes with the feedback fueled “I Saw Them That Night.”

For more information on Moss, check out their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/mossdoomcult.

Fellow doom metal band Memory Garden is preparing to release their third album, “Doomain” on Metal Blade Records on April 16. The album has been two years in the making as they nailed their sound with the heavy melodic sound of “The Evangelist” and mainstream metal sound of “Daughters Of The Sea.” The tempo changes in “Barren Lands” and “Violate & Create” keeps the songs interesting after multiple listens. Memory Garden picks up the pace with “The King Is Dead,” before closing with the guitar-driven instrumental “Misfortune.”

For more information on Memory Garden, check out metalblade.com/us/artists/memory-garden/.

Last, but certainly not least we have one of the pioneer bands of trash metal. Flotsam and Jetsam will be releasing their eleventh album entitled “Ugly Noise” on April 16th. Back on drums after a 14 years absence is founding member Kelly David-Smith and returning guitarist Michael Gilbert. The new twelve-song release breathes new life into the band sound as the speed of “Gitty Up” and “Carry On” are what fans remember about the early days of the band. Flotsam and Jetsam have their slower, grittier moments with “Run And Hide” and “Rabbits Foot,” but it’s the songs like “Rage” and the album closer “Machine Gun” that get the adrenaline pumping for more.

For more information on Flotsam and Jetsam, check out flotsam-and-jetsam.com.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

CD Review: Steve Forbert's First Two Albums Get Re-Released With Bonuses

Seventies singer/songwriter Steve Forbert broke through with his 1978 debut album "Alive On Arrival" and continued the success with his follow-up "Jackrabbit Slim." Now on March 26th, Blue Corn Music will re-release those lone forgotten albums along with a load of bonus tracks.
 
Forbert became a regular at the famous CBGB's along side The Ramones, Talking Heads and Blondie. His acoustic, storytelling weaved tales of wonder as his slightly weathered voice sounded as if he experienced every story first hand. The songs on his debut album sound so well-crafted that you would never have thought it's his first album. Song's like "Steve Forbert's Midsummer Night's Toast" and "Settle Down" have that Randy Neuman feeling, while "What Kinda Guy" has a little bit of an Elvis Presley swagger to it. Forbert gives us some seventies funk when he plugs in for "Big City Cat," but it's the acoustic ballads like "Tonight I Feel So Far Away From Home" that we truly get to appreciate his songwriting talents. The original album gets expanded with five bonus tracks consisting of session outtakes. The best of these is the Jackson Browne sounding "House Of Cards."
 
The following year Steve Forbert released his sophomore album, the more electric "Jackrabbit Slim." The album began with his biggest hit, "Romeo's Tune" (covered by Keith Urban on his Greatest Hits album) as you notice how much Forbert has expanded upon his troubadour demeanor. Songs like "Wait" and "Make It All So Real" still paint such vivid picture in your mind with his words that you can't help but wonder, what type of songs were left off the original album. "Jackrabbit Slim" adds seven bonus tracks to the original ten to give us a full CD worth of great music. Among the bonus songs we get the playful Irish jaunt "The Oil Song," the big rock sound of "Smokey Windows" and a live version of "Romeo's Tune" recorded at The Palladium in 1978.
 
Also included with this 2CD set is new essay from Rolling Stone editor David Wild. To find out more about this release, please visit steveforbert.com.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

CD Review: Josh Groban and Emmy Rossum Give Great Performances On Their New Albums

Earlier this year we had two new albums released by some of the youngest and most amazing voices in music. Josh Groban released his sixth album at the beginning of February and it debuted at #1 on the Billboard Top 200 album chart. The new release, entitled "All That Echoes" features twelve songs, seven of which were co-written by Groban.
 
His voice instantly becomes the focus of the album as it starts off with "Brave." His big vocals quickly adapt to the rocking chorus. The songs "False Alarm" and "Falling Slowly" brings the tempo down, but it quickly returns with the upbeat, pop sound of "Below The Line." The two operatic, foreign language songs on the album, find Groben duetting with Laura Pausini on "E Ti Promettero" and adding a little Spanish flair with Arturo Sandoval on "Un Alma Mas." The album closes with an epic sounding cover of Stevie Wonder's "I Believe (When I Fall In Love It Will Be Forever)."
 
Josh Groban will be heading overseas at the beginning of April for three months of touring before making a three-night stand at the Hollywood Bowl in early July. For more information on Josh Groban and his new album, "All That Echoes," please visit joshgroban.com.
 
The other newly released album is from the young singer/actress Emmy Rossum. Her new album "Sentimental Journey" is her first release in six years. Her last album "Inside Out" was released in 2007 where it barely cracked the Billboard Top 200 album chart. This album was released at the end of January and debuted at #92 on the album chart. Also, unlike her last album, this new release is made up entirely of cover songs.
 
The twelve-song album plays out like a calendar as each song highlights a different month, beginning with the title-song "Senimental Journey." Her voice on "The Object Of My Affection" is so sweet and pure, you can't help but follow her throughout the entire album. She covers songs from the 1920s through the 1960s as some song are very well know like "I'm Looking Over A Four Leaf Clover" and "Summer Wind." Emmy shows her versatility with the country jaunt of "Many Tears Ago" and the big beat jazz of "Things." The album closes with the powerful Christmas classic "Pretty Paper." The album also adds a bonus song, the interesting lounge sounding "Keep Young And Beautiful."
 
Emmy Rossum recently performed on "The View," "Entertainment Tonight," "Access Hollywood" and "Conan." She currently has no live dates scheduled, but keep visiting emmyrossum.com for up to date information on this young, rising talent.

Friday, March 22, 2013

CD Review: David Bowie Still Rocks On "The Next Day"

Finally, we have the return of the "Thin White Duke" as David Bowie released his first album of new material in a decade. The new album entitled "The Next Day" is one of Bowie's finest moments of his 46 year career.

On his 66th birthday, Bowie announced that he had a full album's worth of new material to be released, along with his first new single, the mellow, but moody "Where Are We Now." Luckily, its the slowest song on the album as Bowie rocks hard with the title song "The Next Day" and "(You Will) Set The World On Fire." The album's second single, "The Stars (Are Out Tonight)" has an edginess to it as Bowie's voice sounds as strong as it ever has. Songs like "If You Can See Me" and "Love Is Lost" sound as if they date back to Bowie's late nineties electronic period as he tries to keep up with fast-paced beats. The guitar riffs of "I'd Rather Be High" and the piano-led "You Feel So Lonely You Could Die" give us that classic seventies David Bowie sound that made him an icon. 

The new album was released on March 12 and debuted at #2 on the Billboard Album chart which was Bowie's highest debut to date. The original 14-song album was also released as a deluxe edition which added three bonus songs and will also be released on double-vinyl on March 25. For more information, please visit davidbowie.com.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

CD Review: "Vessel" Makes A Strong Debut For Twenty One Pilots

From Columbus, OH comes the pop duo of Tyler Joseph and Josh Dun, better known as Twenty One Pilots. After two self-released albums, they signed with the Fueled by Ramen label to release their full-length debut album, “Vessel.” The album was released at the beginning of the year and debuted at #58 on the Billboard Album chart and cracked the top 10 of the US Alternative music chart.

The music and beats on this album are very hard to resist. Joseph rolls through the lyrics of the opening track, “Ode To Sleep” as if he was Eminem. But the great thing about their sound is that they aren’t afraid of mixing tempos and styles like in “Holdin On To You” and “Screen.” Some of the highlights of this album is the acoustic sing-along “House Of Gold” and the playful, but unforgettable “Car Radio.” They turn on their 1980’s synthesizer for “Semi-Automatic” and “Fake You Out,” before finishing the album with the calming sounds of “Truce.”

Twenty One Pilots are currently on the road until mid-June, including a stop on May 10 and the Webster Underground in Hartford, CT. For more information and for a complete list of tour dates, please visit twentyonepilots.com.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

CD Review: "Girls" Soundtrack Mixes Styles On Volume 1

From the HBO hit show “Girls,” we get the series’ first soundtrack featuring a boatload of rising bands, including new songs from fun., Santigold and Grouplove. The soundtrack also includes a new exclusive song from Michael Penn.

The tempo of the album is all over the place, beginning with the upbeat, pop sounds of “Dancing On My Own” (Robyn) and “I Love It” (Icona Pop). The up-tempo dance beats clash with the more mellow folk sounds of Harper Simon’s “Wishes And Stars” and Belle & Sebastian’s “I Don’t Love Anymore” to create a very erratic sounding disc. One of the fun moments is The Vaccines’ “Wreckin’ Bar (Ra Ra Ra),” before the disc closes with the heartfelt “On My Way” from the iconic Michael Penn.

This soundtrack was released in January which also kicked off the second season of the show. For more information on the HBO series “Girls” and the music from it, please visit hbo.com/girls.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

CD Review: Indie-Artists Look To Make A Statement With New Albums

A new group of underground, indie music artists are ready to release a whole batch of new music. From France to the U.S., the music is exceptional and definitely deserves to be heard and hopefully gets the recognition it deserves.

Beginning with the Paris based duo of Nick McRoberts and Idriss Halfaoui we get the sophomore album from A.S. entitled “Exile.” The music on this latest release has a great universal appeal as McRobert’s falsetto tone becomes the focus of the song “Do What You Want” and “Invisible Kiss” sounds like it came right out of U2’s songbook. Their sound carries a Depeche Mode-vibe in “Probable Cause,” but their songwriting shines on the closing acoustic songs “Why The Hell Not?” and “Reasonable Doubt.”

For more information on A.S., please visit astheband.com.

From France, we head to the Twin Cities for some American Roots music supplied by Crankshaft. They bring out the true sound of classic Rock N Roll on their newest release, “What You Gonna Do.” The lead title-track kicks things off with the up-tempo beat that gets you out of your seat. The honest live recording of this album is heard in the songs “Boomtown” and “Trail of Tears” as you get the feeling the band recorded together in one room with one microphone. Even though they slow things down for “Waiting For Me,” their songwriting allows the music and lyrics to stand on their own. The album closes with the guitar boogie of “Fill It Up”and the southern blues/rock of “Barking Up The Wrong Tree.”

For more information on Crankshaft, please visit crankshaftmusic.com.

Next we move down south to witness the country sounds of Rick Hornyak with his full-length debut album entitled “Marigold.” This Austin-based singer/songwriter can easily draw comparisons to a young Kenny Rodgers as his warm, smooth vocals in “Cigarettes” and “Foolish Love.” Rick gets his honky-tonk sound working in the songs “Far From Home” and “Homesick Blues.” He stretches his country two-step on the album’s last track the Americana rock of “The Monkey Song.”

To find out more about Rick Hornyak, please visit rickhornyak.com.

Finally, we hit the shores of LA with indie-rocker Shane Sweet and his band Sandbox with their latest release, “Me & Him And Horse.” The band was the featured artists at last year’s CMJ Music Festival in New York and made a name for themselves at the SXSW festival. Now they take that experience to the studio with songs like “Doesn’t Really Matter” and the modern alternative rock of “Leaving Now.” The album finally comes alive with the quick-paced “Pen & Guitar,” before closing with the sing-along chorus of “Everybody.”

For more information on the Sandbox, please visit sandboxrebelmusic.com.

Monday, March 18, 2013

CD Review: Victory Records Unleashes New Albums From Tear Out The Heart And Jungle Rot

On March 19th, Victory Records returns with two new albums to blow away your eardrums. First up is the debut album from Tear Out The Heart entitled “Violence.” After their formation in 2011, the band has toured relentlessly, gathering a community of fans along the way. After inking a deal with Victory Records last year, the band entered the studio and is now ready to release to unleash their music upon the world.

The album begins with the aggressive, hard-hitting sound of “Dead By Dawn,” which has a chorus the hits on the mainstream metal sound. They speed things up with “Crucified” and “Eternal Shadows,” then show their deep, dark side on “Closure.” Tear Out The Heart receives help Caleb Shomo (Attack Attack!) on the thrash metal sound of “Undead Anthem” and Dan Marsala (Story Of The Year) on “Coffin Eyes.” The album closes with the machine gun drumming of “Darker Tides.”

Tear Out The Heart is hitting the road on March 22 for 9-dates. For more information on this rising metal band, please visit http://www.victoryrecords.com/tearouttheheart.

The other new release from Victory Records is from death metal elders, Jungle Rot entitled “Terror Regime.” This is the band’s eighth album over a twenty year career. Jungle Rot has also re-released their break-through 1996 album “Skin The Living.”

The new album, “Terror Regime” is like a blueprint for death metal. The speed drumming of “Voice Your Disgust,” the screaming vocals of “I Am Hatred” and the blazing guitars of “Blind Devotion” are all the right elements for great death metal. The band’s aggressive demeanor comes through on the songs “Ruthless Omnipotence” and “ I Don’t Need Society.” The album finishes with one of the best songs on the album the powerful sounds of “Pronounced Dead.”

Jungle Rot is hitting the road at the beginning of April. They will be performing in Hartford, CT on April 28 at The Webster Theater. For more information on the band and for a complete list of tour dates, please visit jungle-rot.com.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

CD Review: Gallo Releases A Trilogy Of New Albums

From Los Angeles, CA comes the brotherly duo of Kinski and Rodax, known as the group Gallo with their newly released album trilogy. The beginning of February saw the release of their all-English language album, “Phoenix Rising,” their all-Spanish language album, “Fuego,” and their bilingual album “Mamawe.” The duo combine rock and dance music to create a unique, but attractive sound that should be catching the attention of radio everywhere.
 
Their nine-song album, “Phoenix Rising” begins with the club beats of “The Red” with a punk rock attitude, drawing similarities to Depeche Mode and Pet Shop Boys. The music and vocals of “World Gone Crazy” are hard to resist as this should be the album’s first hit single. Gallo turn “Le Bele Noire” into a club remix, before heading back to rock on the alternative sounding “Feels Like Dying.” The album closes with the nine-minute electronic trip entitled “Never Follow.”
 
Gallo having been hitting the road like crazy since the beginning of 2013. They are currently finishing up their five-day show in Puerto Rico before heading back to the U.S. with shows in Chicago, Austin, Houston, Dallas and San Antonio. For more information on their trilogy of albums, please visit galloband.com.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

CD Review: Nakia Bears His Soul In "The Crimson Tide"

Southern soul/R&B singer Nakia recently released his latest album; the 6-song EP entitled “Drown In The Crimson Tide.” Nakia earned worldwide fame as a contestant on NBC’s “The Voice” and became close friends with CeeLo Green, who also featured Nakia on his latest Christmas album. Nakia’s new release features collaborations with the likes of Barry Goldberg (Bob Dylan), Bleu, Chris Seefried (Fitz & the Tantrums), Brian West (Nelly Furtado, K’Naan) and guitarist Johnny Lee Schell (Bonnie Raitt, John Fogerty).
 
The album begins with the acoustic, funk/R&B vibe of “Tight” as you instantly notice how mature Nakia’s singing has become. He hits that retro sound on “Make Up With A Gun” and rocks with the blues of “Pieces And Castles." He mentioned that “it was really important” for him to have an “Otis Redding/Fabulous Thunderbirds/Doug Sahm vibe” on the song “Walking On A Slant,” which closes the album with an exclamation point.
 
Nakia will be performing this weekend at this year’s SXSW festival in Austin, TX. For more information on his new album, please visit nakia.net.

Friday, March 15, 2013

CD Review: New Themed Albums From Blake Allee And Joe Devita

From Indiana comes hip-hop rapper/producer Blake Allee with his new album entitled “Television.” It was produced and self-released by Allee at the end of February. The album features 15 tracks that feature Blake rolling out lyrics over big beats. Songs like “Headlights” and “Model” have a very attractive hip-hop sound that can easily catch on. Blake gets into his synthesizer warmed-up for “Japanese TV” and “Synthesizer Inside Her,” before closing the album with the creative sounds of “Silent Film Star” and the instrumental, orchestrated “End Credits.”

Blake Allee has a show scheduled for March 15 in Indianapolis. For more information, please check out his website at blakeallee.com.

From New York comes the experimental, progressive jazz musician Joe Devita with his latest album, “The Antihero.” The album will be released on April 29th through Daddy Tank Records and tells the tale of a superhero down on his luck.

One of the greatest things about DeVita’s music is his ability to take chances with his music. The “Antihero Theme Song” is a funk-drench instrumental that has some nice guitar work flowing through it. The album draws similarities to Frank Zappa’s “Joe’s Garage” as DeVita proceeds to tell his story, but the beats and guitar work in “Open Mic Night” and “Infiltrating Snuff Boy’s Chicken House” become the bigger focus of the album. His progressive jazz/rock side some through on the 11-minute “The Populace Takes Over,” before closing the album with more great music.

To find out more on Joe Devita and his new album, “The Antihero,” please visit joedevita.com.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

CD Review: Dom La Nena Is Brazil's Latest Musical Star

From the heart of Brazil comes cellist/vocalist Dom La Nena with her debut album, “Ela.” The album was released earlier this year through Six Degrees Records and has been receiving praise from “The Wall Street Journal” and the “New York Times.” While the songs are sung in her native languages of Portuguese and Spanish, the melody of the music and her voice helps portray the feelings within the songs.

The album begins with the gentle, but haunting feeling of “Anjo Gabriel” as you slowly get introduced to her style. The album’s first single “No Meu Pais” has a more mainstream appeal that allows you to get lost in her music. Her voice is so gentle that you feel at ease with her vocals as her performance on the cello gives a haunting feeling as in “O Vento.” Her song “Dessa Vez” adds a bit of a Spanish flair, while her song “Buenos Aires” sounds like it belongs in the musical, “Evita.” The album closes with the softness of Dom’s voice leading the way in the song “Saudade.”

To find out more about the rising international music star, please visit http://www.missingpiecegroup.com/dom-la-nena/.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

CD Review: Esa Linna Explains That "This Is Who I Am"

From Finland comes the debut album from pop/rock artist Esa Linna entitled “This Is Who I Am.” His songs are very upbeat and very contagious. You will find yourself singing or moving along to the music after only a couple listens. If he follows the right path, his music should have no problem catching on with today’s pop/rock mainstream sound.

The album starts off with “Don’t Know What It’s All About” as he draws from his classic rock influences on this guitar driven song. He continues with the alternative pop sounds of “A Drop In the Ocean” and the fun, wonderfully harmonizing of “She’s Not A Human Being.” The song “New Address Tonight” sounds a like it came from Elvis Costello’s younger days with The Attractions, while the dark sound of “Meat Market” seems out of place with all these other upbeat songs on the album. His talents for songwriting shines bright on the album closer, “Dawnbreaker.”

To find out more from this new underground artist, please visit his website at esalinna.com.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

CD Review: Archers And Arrows Come "Together" On Their New Album

Switzerland rockers Archers and Arrows return with their sophomore release, “Alone Together.” The band combines elements of indie-rock with the edginess of punk and hardcore metal to create a truly unique sound. The band’s sound and songwriting has definitely matured since their debut album as their songs carry more appeal than just blasting through songs at neck-breaking speed.

The album opens up with “Innocence” as you notice they taken their foot off the gas and developed more structure to their songs. They may have a crossover hit with “Numb/Dumb” as the song carries an arena rock sound. The band’s punk-rock energy comes through on “Self-Made Man” and “Alone Together,” before finishing up the album with the more pop-rock feeling of “Emergency.”

Archers and Arrows have a few dates on their calendar, but they are all in their home country of Switzerland. For more information on their new album, please visit http://archersandarrows.tumblr.com/.

Monday, March 11, 2013

CD Review: Good Sponge Records Releases Good Music On New Sampler

Connecticut music label, Good Sponge Records has recently released their second music sampler. It contains 18 songs from some of Southeastern Connecticut’s best musicians. The first sampler was released over a year ago and is a great way to hear some of these musicians that mostly fly under the radar of the modern music industry.
 
The “Sampler” mixes different sounds and genres so as to not get bored hearing the same mundane type of music. The release begins with the jazzy Sue Menhart Band performing “Sunrise City CafĂ©,” before moving on to the modern alternative rockers, The Rivergods with “When Times Where Good.” Blues artist Josi Davis gets things going with “Ivy Grows” which compliments fellow singer/songwriter Hannah Fair’s acoustic “Hell Tonight.” Funk flies from Carl Franklin on “Boogie Groove” and then the fuzz flies from Matt Gouette’s rocking “Nobody Calls.” Country music gets represented with Ken Atkins & the HonkyTonk Kind on “New Pair Of Shoes” and punk rears its head with the Burnouts From Outer Space’s “Queen of the Angels.”
 
All the artists on this compilation have, or will be releasing new albums very soon. Also, be sure to check out some of these artists as they perform at this year’s Daffodil Festival in Meriden, CT. For more information on this great sampler and these wonderful artists, please visit goodsponge.com.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

CD Review: Stax Records Brings Together The Ballads Of Otis Redding

American soul singer/songwriter Otis Redding was one of the biggest, most popular singers in the sixties with hits like "Dock Of The Bay" and "Try A Little Tenderness." A plane crash in 1967 cut his career short and took his life way too early. Now on March 5, Stax Records released a new collection of Redding's most poignant ballads entitled "Lonely & Blue: The Deepest Soul Of Otis Redding."
 
The album comprises twelve of Redding's most soulful compositions that only enhance the argument the he is one of the best soul singers of all time. It features the hits "These Arms Of Mine," "I've Been Loving You Too Long" and "My Lover's Prayer" along side lesser known gems like "Gone Again" and "Waste Of Time." The real attraction for collectors are the alternate versions of the songs "Open The Door" and a darker, more personal version of "I've Got Dreams To Remember."
 
The new compilation is package like a vintage Stax/Volt album release with its liner notes on the back of the album and the CD comes housed in a sleeve, just like vinyl records. The cover has a picture of Otis Redding with the outer record wearing around the edges. A classic looking piece of music indeed.
 
For more information on this release, please visit otisredding.com.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

CD Review: The Howlin' Brothers Return With Their Readymade Records Debut

Nashville bluegrass band, The Howlin' Brothers recently released their first full-length album on Brendon Benson's Readymade Records label. The album entitled simply "Howl" is sure to be considered one of the best bluegrass albums of 2013. The album also features contributions from slide-blues guitarist Warren Haynes and fellow Nashville band Jypsi.
 
The album starts off with the big kick drum beat of "Big Time" which finds Haynes leading his skills on the guitar to this sing-along romp. The Howlin' Brothers speed things up with the quick-paced, barnyard burning "Julia Belle Swain," before heading down to New Orleans with the sounds of "Delta Queen." The Brothers breathe new life into Chicago blues singer Otis Smothers' "My Dark Can't Bark" and wear their hearts on their sleeves with "Tell Me You Love Me." The album closes with the wonderful harmonies of Jypsi on the song "Mama Don't You Tell Me" as it sounds like the band is having a grand time recording this album.
 
After The Howlin' Brothers perform at this weekend's SXSW Festival, look for the band to make their way east with scattered dates over the next couple months. For more information on their new album, "Howl" please visit their website at thehowlinbrothers.com.

Friday, March 8, 2013

CD Review: Marla Mase Just Wants To "Speak" On Her New Album

From New York comes the alternative, experimental rocker Marla Mase with her latest full-length album entitled “Speak.” The album was released at the end of February and features Mase’s passion for all different types of music styles. Marla Mase has been awarded the honorary “Messenger of Peace” award by Friends of the UN and was invited to perform in China for UN Global Peace Day last September. She has also been named one of the top bands of 2012 by Indie Bands blog.
 
Mase’s 16-song album is packed with music that keeps you guessing at her style. Beginning with “Scream (reprise),” she combines jungle beats with a Patti Smith punk-like attitude to her lyrics. She continues with a more alternative/pop sound with “Piece Of Peace” and adds a little reggae backbeat to “AnnaRexia.” The drumbeats in songs like “She Hooked Him Up” and “Smithereens” give her songs a more worldly sound that is not heard in a lot of today’s music. Mase quickens the pace for the pop-punk “Dance the Tango,” before closing the album with the big edgy rock sound of “Squirm.”
 
Marla Mase has only a couple shows scheduled at the moment including an appearance at this year’s Summerstage NYC 2013. For more information on Marla’s new album, please visit her website at marlamase.com.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

CD Review: North Carolina Band, Unifier Visits "Colorado" On New Album

From Greensboro, NC come the alternative rockers Unifier with their newly released debut album, “Colorado.” The band sifted through a mass amount of demos to the best dozen songs that represent their sound which combines the hard rock of Switchfoot and Foo Fighters with the progressive sound of The Dear Hunter and Manchester Orchestra. The new album was produced by Jesse Cannon (The Cure, Saves The Day) and was released on February 12 through Autumn + Colour and Round Kid Records.

The album starts off with the up-tempo beats of “Crush” as the band’s pop/rock sound signals the possibility of a hit single. Their more aggressive, harder rock appeal shines through on “Traps,” before hitting the mainstream again with “Colorado.” The slow-building song, “Shadows” shows off the band’s modern alternative rock appeal that is sure to draw some attention their way.

Unifier just announced their March tour which begins in Raleigh, NC before hitting Connecticut on St. Patrick’s Day. To find out more about Unifier, please check out their website at unifiermusic.com.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

CD Review: Elephant Stone Rise Up On Follow-Up Album

Canadian indie-psych rockers Elephant Stone have finally released their self-titled follow-up to their debut album “The Seven Seas.” The band already has a packed tour schedule performing with The Zombies and The Black Angels as they make their way along the east coast. Although the band has been together since 2009, their music is rooted in the sixties psychedelic era.

The album begins with the first single, “Setting Sun” as you’d think you were listening to an album that was released over forty years ago. The way Elephant Stone captures that vibe from the sixties is amazing. Each member of the band gives the songs their truly unique appeal, like Stephen Venkatarangam’s keyboards in “Heavy Moon,” Miles Dupire’s big drum sound in “Hold Onto Yr Soul,” lead singer Rishi Dhir’s sitar on “A Silent Moment” and lead guitarist Gabriel Lambert blazing a trial on “The Sea Of Your Mind.” The album closes with “The Sacred Sound,” which sounds as if it came from one of The Beatles’ George Harrison’s solo albums.

For more information on Elephant Stone, please visit the band’s website at elephantstonemusic.com.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

CD Review: Vintage Blue "Strike The Mics" On Debut Release

From Chicago comes Vintage Blue with their debut album “Strike The Mics.” The album was originally released last year as the band’s pure rock sound found them opening shows for Lifehouse, Fitz & The Tantrums and The Lovehammers.

The album begins with the fun rock sound of “Set You Free” as the addition of horns give their music that little extra shot of adrenaline that makes you want to dance. They rock out on “Unchained” as their sound gets a bit edgier with a little raw guitar. They move over to a more pop-rock sound with the keyboard highlights of “Speak” and the up-tempo “Sleep On This.” Vintage Blue travel out to the country with the songs, “Just Breathe” and “Against Time,” before finishing up the album with the fun, upbeat sound of “True.”

Vintage Blue is currently working on their follow-up album and will be announcing more live dates very soon. For more information on this rising rock band, please visit vintagebluemusic.com.

Monday, March 4, 2013

CD Review: Modern Superstar Preview New Music With "Dirty Girl"

From Florida come the hard rockers Modern Superstar with their “Nothing Less 2013” tour. The band have put the finishing touches on their new album which will be released later this year, but are heading out on the road following their video shoot for their new single, “Dirty Girl.”
 
The band has one album under their belt, the 2011 release “Under My Skin.” Songs like “Hollywood Dirty” and “Devil’s Playground” have that hard edge rock sound that’s been missing in today’s rock scene. They have fun with the party anthem “She Likes Girls” and show their passionate side with the power ballad “Love/Hate.” Their new song, “Dirty Girl” rocks hard with shout out loud lyrics and a guitar groove that keeps the song on track.
 
The band’s new lineup is ready to get out on the road as they begin on the east coast before making their way west during the next couple months. They will also share the stage with fellow rockers Kix on March 30 and Lizzy Borden on April 27. For more information about Modern Superstar and on their upcoming album, please visit officalmodernsuperstar.com.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

CD Review: Cherie Lily Wants You "Dripping Wet" After Working Out To Her New EP

From New York comes the pop/dance music and fitness star Cherie Lily with her new release, "The Dripping Wet EP." This is the follow-up to her successful club EP debut "WERK," and is being released through Andrew W.K.'s record label, Steev Mike. Her music on this latest album works perfectly into her intention of making these songs a work-out for the listener.
 
This 8-song album begins with the attractive, pop music of "Kiss My Lips," but quickly changes over to her more club/workout oriented sound of "Dripping Wet." Cherie Lily gets a little help from Jonte on "Lotion," before continuing with the fitness anthem "Total Body Workout." The EP finishes up with an updated version of her 2010 song, "WERK." The EP also features five bonus tracks that include remixes and acapella versions of some of the album songs.
 
Cherie Lily will be appearing at the SXSW Festival on March 13 in Austin, TX and her video for the single "Dripping Wet" is available to view now on her website, CherieLily.com.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

CD Review: "Smash" Drops A "Bombshell" With New Television Musical Soundtrack

The NBC's hit show "Smash" returned with its second season of outstanding musical numbers which included more music for the full-length musical "Bombshell" performed within the show. "Bombshell" is loosely based on the life of Marilyn Monroe as the show's cast, including Katharine McPhee and Megan Hilty give some of their best performances. The album was released on February 12 through Columbia Records and debuted at #43 on the Billboard Album chart.
 
The 22-song album begins with McPhee and Hilty performing together on "Let Me Be Your Star" as their voices go so well together that when they combine for a song, it is truly great. Broadway star Bernadette Peters appears as Norma Gene's mother on this soundtrack as she takes the lead on "At Your Feet" and she also appears in the second act on the piano ballad "Hang The Moon." The cast bring back the enjoyment of musicals with songs like "Smash!" and "The National Pastime." The doo-wop sound of "History Is Made At Night" sounds like a modern hit, while the slow-build up of "Cut, Print...Moving On" closes out the first act.
 
The second act begins with the huge introduction of Marilyn Monroe with "Public Relations." Actress Debra messing gets in the act with "The Right Regrets" as she performs an outstanding duet with Christian Borle. The album closes with the finale "Don't Forget Me" performed wonderfully by Katharine McPhee.
 
For more information on this latest release from the television show "Smash, " please visit http://www.nbc.com/smash/.

Friday, March 1, 2013

CD Review: Marcus Singletary Goes Country, While Heavy Glow Gives Us A Preview Of New Music

After releasing a couple compilations last year, Marcus Singletary is preparing to unleash his acoustic country album, “Marcus Singletary Sings Country Music Standards.” It will be a digital only release and features seven well-known songs done with the most country flair that Marcus can supply.

The album is very laid back, as Marcus records such classic songs as “Proud Mary” and “Don’t Mess Around With Jim” with as pure a sound as possible. He uses no auto-tuning or studio trickery on this album. The songs give you a feeling of being right there in the studio with Marcus as he rolls through some of his favorite country songs. The highlights of this release are his take of Jimmie Rodgers’ “Muleskinner Blues” and his up-beat strumming of Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues.” The album closes with Charlie Pride’s “Kiss An Angel Good Morning” as he sounds like he’s enjoying this little experiment outside his normal sound.

For more information on Marcus Singletary and his new album of country song covers, please visit his Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/MarcusSingletaryMusic.

Blues rockers Heavy Glow return with their first new music since their acclaimed album “Midnight Moan.” The new 7” single of “Mine All Mine” b/w “Headhunter” is being released on March 12 in anticipation of their new full-length album coming out later this year.

The songs carry a classic rock appeal as “Mine All Mine” picks up the pace with a chorus that rocks, while “Headhunter” finds a classic rock groove that Kiss would have made popular in the late seventies. The new single is limited to 300 copies so get your now before their gone.

For more information on Heavy Glow, as well as their run of live dates in April, please visit their website at heavyglowmusic.com.