Wednesday, July 31, 2013

CD Review: Serena Ryder Is In Perfect "Harmony" On Her New Album

Canadian singer/songwriter Serena Ryder will be releasing her new album, "Harmony" on August 27 through Capitol Records. To promote the new release, Serena Ryder is currently on tour with OneRepublic which includes a stop this Friday at the MGM Grant Theatre at Foxwoods.
 
Her new album kicks off with the acoustic shuffle of "What I Wouldn't Do" as she picks up the bass drum beats with hand claps. She kicks things into high gear with the album's debut single "Stompa." The combination of her strong vocals and the pounding beat make for the perfect combination to an addicting piece of music. The beats are pumped up on "Baby Come Back" as Ryder lays her feelings on the line with her heart-wrenching vocals. The acoustics of "Call Me" and the piano driven "Please Baby Please" really shows off her smoky, smooth vocals. She pulls off her Amy Winehouse impression on "For You" before closing the album with the quick fifty-second accapella "Nobody But Me."
 
Serena Ryder will be on tour through the end of September. To find out more about Serena's new album "Harmony" and for a complete list of tour dates, please visit serenarydermusic.com.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

CD Review: New Music From Indie-Rock Acts Drift Wood Miracle And Cold Country

From Durham, NC comes the new indie-rock band Drift Wood Miracle with their latest release "The 21st." The band produces songs that come from the heart as songwriter Bryan Diver lays it all out on the line, displaying his true feelings in "Mountain." The band mixes tempos and volume to keep songs interesting as in "Do You Shiver?" and "To Endevour." The rawness of "Juggernaut" and the acoustic "Solum" give a feeling of being in the studio with the band, hearing these songs take shape live. Drift Wood Miracle save the best for last as they close the album with the eight-minute epic "Sister" which shows the full-potential of the band's musicianship and Diver's songwriting talents.
 
To find out more about these new underground rock band, please visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/DriftWoodMiracle.
 
Chicago rocker Sean McConnell recently released his new EP entitled "Missing The Muse" under the band name Cold Country. This new album is McConnell's first with a full-band and has a great sound with all the power combination of instruments.
 
The EP kicks off with "What It Takes" as he combines a blazing electric guitar with a huge drumbeat and even throws in a toy piano. The title-song, "Missing The Muse" has a modern, alternative/acoustic rock vibe as his vocals lead the way on this shuffle-tempo. The addition of Anna Holmquist on vocals on "Carried Away With The Wind" gives more depth to the song's lyrics and balances well with McConnell's voice. The album finishes up with the big chorus rocker "Her Light."
 
Cold Country will be embarking on a mini-tour through the month of August mainly performing out west. For more information on the band and the new album "Missing The Muse," please visit www.facebook.com/pages/Cold-Country/389453301070362.

Monday, July 29, 2013

CD Review: New Jazz Music From Kneebody Toe "The Line"

From Concord Records comes the debut album from Kneebody, one of the  newest band's in electric jazz. The new album entitled "The Line" brings together all of the band's influences, which spans about fifty years of jazz music, and creates a unique sound that can't be described as new or even classic jazz.
 
Kneebody combine the big drum beats with some Miles Davis style trumpets on the opening song, "Lowell" to quickly show their new style of jazz. They head into a little more progressive, freeform territory on "Cha-Cha," but create a blasting backbeat on the up-tempo jam of "Trite." Kneebody slow the tempo down for a moment on the smooth mellow horns of "Sleeveless," before returning to the slightly chaotic "Still Play." The album finishes up with the energetic speed of "Work Hard, Play Hard, Towel Hard" and the exploratory R&B-flavored sounds of "Greenblatt."

Kneebody are heading to Japan for the first time in late-August for a show. To find out more from this new freeform jazz band, please visit kneebody.com.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

CD Review: Court Yard Hounds Call On "Amelita" For New Release

With the Dixie Chicks on an indefinite hiatus and Natalie Maines releasing her debut solo album earlier this year, it seemed like the perfect time for sisters Martie Maguire and Emily Robison to release a new Court Yard Hounds album. The new album entitled "Amelita" was released on July 16 through Columbia Records. While the duo's debut album was a top ten hit, this new album has a long way to go to reach the same status as it debuted at #70 on the Billboard Album chart.
 
The album leads off with the country-folk stomp of "Sunshine" as Robison's vocals are so smooth and silky that you get lost in her words. The additional harmonies of Maguire on "The World Smiles" just puts your mind as ease. It's also nice when they break-away from the mellow country sound they are known for and just let loose on "Rock All Night." The album finishes up with the gentle acoustic "Gets You Down," the bar-room country rocker "Watch Your Step" and the life lessons of the piano-led "The Road You Take."
 
The Court Yard Hounds will kick off their tour on August 1 in Fargo, ND before heading over to Lollapalooza. For a complete list of tour dates and for more information on the new album, "Amelita," please visit courtyardhounds.com.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

CD Review: Portugal The Man Want To Introduce You To Their "Evil Friends"

American rockers Portugal The Man have returned with their eighth studio album (second for Atlantic Records) entitled "Evil Friends." The band have taken a huge step forward with their sound with the help of producer Danger Mouse. The album was released back at the beginning of June and debuted on the Billboard Album charts at #28, the band's highest ranking to date.
 
Right from the opening chords of "Plastic Soldiers" you feel like you are in for a wonderful listening experience and Portugal The Man do not disappoint. The five-minute song plays out like an epic storytelling masterpiece in the vein of Queen's "Bohemien Rhapsody." The album's first single, "Evil Friends" tip-toes around with its acoustic guitar backdrop that gets sped up to follow along with the dance beat that gives the song a modern rock edge. The big chorus of "Modern Jesus" and the pulsating drum beat with buzzing guitars of "Atomic Man" show a diversity in the band's sound and songwriting. The folk-rock storytelling of "Sea Of Air" has the perfect formula for a radio hit with its sing-along chorus and true-to-heart lyrics. The album finishes up with the keyboard drive "Purple Yellow Red And Blue" and the lonely acoustic feeling of "Smile" as piano take over to close out the song.
 
Portugal The Man have half-a-dozen shows lined-up over in Europe. To find out more about the band and their new album "Evil Friends," please visit portugaltheman.com.

Friday, July 26, 2013

CD Review: Goo Goo Dolls Turn On The "Magnetic" Charm

American rockers the Goo Goo Dolls recently released their tenth studio album, “Magnetic” which debuted at #8 on the Billboard Albums Chart back in June. The album was produced by Gregg Wattenberg (Phillip Phillips, Train) along with John Shanks (Bon Jovi, Van Halen). The album carries a very pop oriented sound with little glimpses of rock with “Bringing On The Light,” but the album’s first single, “Rebel Beat” sound like straight-up pop.

The songs have that pop gloss all over them as hear in the heart-thumping “Caught In The Storm” and the dance beat backdrop of “More Of You.” The Goo Goo Dolls lay out their feelings on the ballad “Bulletproof Angel,” before picking up the tempo for the fun rocker, “Last Hot Night.” The album closes with the highlight of the album, the smooth rock of “Keep The Car Running” as the chorus gets lodged into your memory.

The Goo Goo Dolls are currently on the road with Matchbox Twenty and will be making their way to the east coast in August. For more information on the Goo Goo Dolls tour and new album, “Magnetic,” please visit googoodolls.com.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Concert Review: Sensational Space Shifters Breathe New Life Into Led Zeppelin Songs At Mohegan Sun

Former Led Zeppelin front man Robert Plant turned down millions of dollars to tour with his former band mates in order to create and perform the songs and music that he feels the most passionate about. So with no elaborate stage set-up and very minimal lighting effects, Robert Plant introduced his latest band, the Sensational Space Shifters to the overzealous crowd at Mohegan Sun Wednesday night.
 
The night began with a quick forty-minute, seven-song set from African jam band, Bombino. Their music could be described as Middle-Eastern rock with a hint of Reggae and very little singing, none in English. This set the stage for Plant's mind-expanding journey through sound as his six-piece band took to the stage after a quick set change.

The opening acoustic guitar introduction by Liam "Skin" Tyson started the set off with a huge lift-off as Plant revisited the classic Led Zeppelin cover "Babe I'm Gonna Leave You." The thirteen song set played heavy on Zeppelin hits including four songs from Led Zeppelin's untitled fourth album. Plant asked the audience if they were "in the mood" as he proceeded to perform his only solo hit of the night, "In The Mood."

Plant paid tribute to couple blues men performing a roughed up version of Howlin' Wolf's "Spoonful" and finding the groove with the southern-fueled "Funny In My Mind (I Believe I'm Fixin' To Die)." His set was scattered with Led Zeppelin songs, whether they were reworked classics, like the unrecognizable "Black Dog" or the outstanding, true-to-the-original "Going To California." Plant and his band experimented with the space rock of "The Enchanter," before continuing with back-to-back Zeppelin songs "Four Sticks" and "Friends." The main set closed with a bluesy version of "When The Levee Breaks" which featured some hot guitar licks from Justin Adams and a slow-building "Whole Lotta Love" that included lyrics from the blues hit, "Who Do You Love."

The encore kicked off with one of Plant's more recent singles, "Shine It All Around," then continued, bringing everyone to their feet with the Led Zeppelin powerhouse "Rock And Roll." As Robert Plant continues on with his career after 45 years, he has nothing left to prove, but so much more music to give to his fans.

Setlist: Babe I'm Gonna Leave You, In The Mood, Tin Pan Valley, Spoonful, Black Dog, Another Tribe, Going To California, The Enchanter, Four Sticks, Friends, Funny In My Mind (I Believe I'm Fixin' To Die), When The Levee Breaks, Whole Lotta Love
Encore: Shine It All Around, Rock And Roll

CD Review: Open Air Stereo Reverts Back To "Primates" For Debut Release

Rockers, Open Air Stereo released their debut album, “Primates” back in May through Goomba Music. The band received worldwide attention when lead singer Chase Johnson became one of the main characters on MTV’s show “Laguna Beach.” After stalled sessions and being dropped from their major label debut, the band took a three year hiatus before reconvening to create this album.

The album kicks off with the heavy drumming of “The Right” before heading into the straight-up rock groove of “Love Is Blind.” The album’s lead single “Stuck On You” carries a built-for-radio, pop-rock sound similar to the early days of Maroon 5. The band returns to their hard rock roots on “Where Do We Go” and “Hung Over You,” before again getting into the mainstream pop-rock of “What You Want.” The album finishes up with the dirty guitar-driven “Living Proof” and the edgier sound of “Your Way Is My Way.”

Open Air Stereo are currently on tour with Candlbox. To find out more about the new album, “Primate” and for a complete list of tour dates, please visit openairstereo.com.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

CD Review: Flashback To The Eighties With The New Debut Album From BNLX

From Minnesota comes the new rock trio BNLX with their self-titled debut album. The band’s raw underground sound reflex’s the early eighties alternative rock of The Jesus And Mary Chain and X.

The album starts off strong with the synthesizer driven pop rock of “Vibrant” and the more mainstream guitar streaming of “1929,” which really shows off the vocal compatibility between husband and wife band members, Ed Ackerson and Ashley Ackerson. BNLX finally bring out their raw, garage-rock, punk-like energy in “Devil You Know,” and “Message From HR.” They set the music to cruise with “Meet Me On The Barricades” and “Mixtape” as they have mastered that retro-eighties rock sound.

To find out more from this indie-rock trio, please visit bnlx2day.com.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

CD Review: New Hardcore Metal From eOne Music

Hardcore metal acts Chimaira and Legion are both preparing to unleash their latest studio albums on July 30 through eOne Music. Chimaira’s “Crown Of Phantoms” is a brutal attack on your sense of hearing as they come out with guitars blazing on the opening song “The Machine.” Mark Hunter’s vocals howl and scream with anger on “No Mercy,” while the drums explode on “Plastic Wonderland.” The pace slows down for only a moment during the acoustic instrumental “The Transmigration,” before returning to the full blast of “Crown Of Phantoms.” The album finishes with some amazing guitar solos in “Love Soaked Death” as Chimaira find the perfect hardcore metal groove to close out the album.

Fans have a great opportunity to get their hands on a “Fan Edition” CD/DVD or even a Limited Edition signed vinyl version of the new album by heading over to chimaira.com. The band is currently on tour with The Browning, Threat Signal and Dark Sermon. For more information, please visit the band’s Facebook page at facebook.com/chimaira.

Legion is ready to release their debut album that attacks everything that gets in their way. Their songs are three to four minute burst of power that are hard to recover from. The growling vocals of “And Then, The Devil Said” along with “Righteous Dictation” show that this band means business with a “take no prisoners” attitude. The machine-gun drumming of “He Became Death” hits you like a wave of power as Legion show the sheer force of their music. The album closes with the power of “The Roach” as Legion show why they are one of the new premier bands of hardcore metal music.

Legion is currently on tour, promoting the new album “Woke.” For a complete list of dates and to find out more about Legion, please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/Legion614.

Monday, July 22, 2013

CD Review: The New Album From Grandfather Comes "In Human Form"

From Brooklyn, NY comes the dark atmospheric rock of Grandfather with their soon to be released album “In Human Form.” The album was produced by Alex Newport (Mars Volta, Melvins) and will be self-released on August 13.
 
The eleven-song album carries a very heavy rock vibe heard on the opening song “Spun” as Grandfather combines aspects of nineties grunge rockers Alice In Chains with the dark progressive metal of the band Tool. An amazing guitar solo closes the six-plus minute song “Organ Thief,” before the energy gets pumping on the album’s first single, “Metamorphosis.” The album simmers with spurts of energy, as in the title song, “In Human Form” and the follow-up “Wishes.” The band experiments with a mellower, atmospheric feel on “Rearrange,” before closing the album with the aggressive attack of “Sorry” and the slow, epic build-up of “Exit Wounds.”
 
Grandfather only have one show scheduled at the moment in New York City, but look for more dates to be announced once the album is released in August. For more information on this independent metal band, please visit grandfathermusic.com.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

CD Review: Concord Music Group Rolls Out The Next Wave In The Jazz Classic Remasters Series

There's nothing better than the smooth sounds of jazz coming from your speakers on a beautiful Sunday morning as you sip coffee from your porch. On this July 23, you can indulge in this weekend getaway with the newly upgraded Jazz Classics Remasters Series. Five classic jazz albums got enhanced with 24-bit remastering, along with bonus takes from the original album sessions. This latest series of releases helps celebrate the Riverside label's 60th anniversary.

First up is pianist Bill Evans with his 1962 album "How My Heart Sings!" This album follows on the heals of the death of his original bassist Scott LaFaro. The Bill Evans Trio gave their all to this recording as you can feel the heart and emotion that was put into making this record. Also, Evans doesn't shy away from allowing new hired bassist Chuck Israels to step into the spotlight as in the song "Summertime." The steadiness of Evans piano keys and Paul Motian's drumming gives the songs that familiar feeling that had made the Bill Evans Trio one of the best in jazz music. The original album get three bonus songs included onto it. First up is take 2 of the up-tempo romp of "In Your Own Sweet Way." Then we get take 9 of the quick piano/drum duet "34 Skidoo," before closing with take 2 of the heartfelt sway of "Ev'rything I Love." These new remasters also include the original album artwork along with a new essays by some of the top jazz writers in the business.

Next up we get the meeting of sax great Gerry Mulligan and legendary jazz pianist Thelonious Monk on "Mulligan Meets Monk." Originally released in 1957, it features one of the first power pairings to appear on an album together as they pay tribute to each other's compositions. Beginning with the classic "'Round Midnight," we get a much different version with Mulligan's sax taking the lead over Monk's piano. The album feels like you we were in the studio with the musicians as it features live takes of songs where either one could have made the original album. Four bonus songs round out the album with two earlier takes of sweet combination of piano and sax on "I Mean You." Also as a bonus, we get a later, and longer, take of the jazz-bop of "Decidedly" and the first rough take of "Straight, No Chaser" as you can almost feel the musicians feeding off each other's outstanding talents.

Following next is the jazz guitar great Wes Montgomery with his 1961 album "So Much Guitar!" This was Montgomery's break-through album that made critics stand-up and take notice as he was finally allowed to let his talents run wild as heard in the opening track "Twisted Blues." His up-tempo, be-bop jazz guitar style is heard all over this album, except for the rare occasions when he slows down to give a mellow blues feeling to the songs "I Wish I Knew" and "While We're Young." The album gets doubled with eight bonus songs that originally appeared on Montgomery's album "The Montgomery Brothers In Canada." The bonus songs were recorded in Vancouver, B.C. in 1961 just prior to the recording of "So Much Guitar!" and features Wes' brothers Buddy Montgomery on vibraphone and Monk Montgomery on bass with Paul Humphrey keeping the beat on drums. Wes allows his brothers to take the spotlight for most of the album, but he still shows his stuff on the slow groove of "Angel Eyes."

Chet Baker's trumpet is unmistakable as he pays tribute to the Broadway songwriting partnership of Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe on "Chet Baker Plays The Best Of Lerner And Loewe." The nine-song album features many of the classic Broadway hits like "I Could Have Danced All Night" from "My Fair Lady" and "Almost Like Being In Love" from "Brigadoon." Baker makes all these songs feel like his own compositions with the way he just takes the original melody and rearranges it to make it feel like new. The original album closes with the blast of power of "Show Me," which is exactly what Baker and his band do on this great classic jazz masterpiece.

Finally we finish with the jazz combo of alto saxophonist Cannonball Adderley and vibes player Milt Jackson on their 1958 album "Things Are Getting Better." The two trade solos on the opener "Blues Oriental" as neither performer tries to outdo the other, but only set-up the next amazing solo. The songs "Serves Me Right" and "The Sidewalks Of New York" get double representation on this release as you can hear the subtle changes between takes 4 and 5 of each song. One other bonus track that appears on this new release is the 44 second in-studio banter " A Few Words." This short snippet is what fans would love to hear more of as an insight into the recording of this extraordinary albums.

To find out more about these new jazz remasters, please visit www2.concordmusicgroup.com/labels/label.php?Label_Name=Original-Jazz-Classics

Saturday, July 20, 2013

CD Review: Classic Soul Returns With Omnivore Recordings "The South Side Of Soul Street"

Soul music grew enormously in the 1960's with record labels like Motown and Stax, but one label that had an underground following was the Minaret record label. From 1967 to 1976 the label produced some of the best southern soul music that never made it big on the charts, but is some of the best music of that era. Artists like Willie Cobbs, Big John Hamilton, Leroy Lloyd & The Dukes, Doris Allen, and others made some outstanding singles that have been forgotten, until now. On August 13, Omnivore Recordings will release "The South Side of Soul Street: The Minaret Soul Singles 1967-1976." It feature two CDs (40 songs) of some of the best soul music that needs to be rediscovered as it captures a musical period of immense growth.
 
Beginning with disc one, we get the soul-blues of Big John Hamilton with the single "The Train" with it's groovier B-side "Big Bad John." Some of the songs were taken right from the actual vinyl singles as you hear the little pops and crackles that make records so enjoyable to listen to. The smooth soul sounds of The Double Soul heat things up with "Blue Diamonds" and the classic doo-wop of "I Can't Use You." Johnny Dynamite gets into the action with his soul shuffle of "The Night The Angels Cried" and it's mellow B-side "Everybody's Clown." One of the anchor artists of the Minaret's label was Big John Hamilton who is featured on this collection with 18 songs, including the 1969 special "Breaking Up Is Hard To Do."

Disc two begins with the classic vinyl soul of Willie Cobbs' "I'll Love Only You" and the horn highlighted B-Side "Don't Worry About Me." We also get some women into the act with Doris Allen taking control with the strong vocals of "A Shell Of a Woman." We get the first of four duets between Big John Hamilton and Doris Allen with the smooth, gospel-styles of "A Place In My Heart" and an electric cover of Buddy Miles' "Them Changes." The second disc closes with the mellow, heart-wrenching sounds of Count Willie's "I've Got To Tell You" and the one-two blues punch of Big John Hamilton's "I Got To Get Myself Somebody" and "Free Me."

To find out more about this fabulous collection, please visit omnivorerecordings.com/artists/south-side-of-soul-street/.

Friday, July 19, 2013

CD Review: The O's Let Loose The Folk-Rock Of "Thunderdog"

From Dallas, TX comes the country/folk/rock band The O’s with their third studio album, “Thunderdog.” The album will be released on July 23 through the band’s own record label, Punch Five Records and carries a sound that is heard all over today's radio by Mumford & Sons, The Avett Brothers and The Lumineers.

The twelve-song album starts off with the old west sounds of “Outlaw” as The O’s slowly build up their music and mainly rely on their harmonies. They hit the perfect combination for a pop radio hit with “Dallas,” then show-off their songwriting skills on “You Are The Light.” The O’s head out to the country for the twangy sounds of “Cicerone,” before returning to the familiar, storied folk-telling of “Levee Breaks.” The band could easily been mistaken for The Wallflowers on “Lighten The Load” and on the album closer “Kitty.”

The O’s are currently touring their new music around the state of Texas. For more information on the band, please visit their website at wearetheos.com.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

CD Review: The Chewers Make You "Chuckle" With Their New Music

From West Virginia comes the underground musical duo of Travis Caffrey and Michael Sadler, better known as The Chewers. Their latest release, “Chuckle Change And Also” gathers 22 musical ideas that are very interesting to listen to, but at times, sound like they do not all belong together on the same album. Most of the songs hardly break the two-minute mark and have a very rough, undeveloped sound, but have the potential to become something decent with more input. Their music can be described as “off-kilter,” drawing comparisons to alternative band Ween.

The album is broken up into three segments, “Now,” “Later” and “Past.” The farther out the sound, the more interesting the music like with “Burn It Down” and “A Part Machine.” The dark gallop of “Smiling Samuel” is one of the more complete songs that has the potential to become very interesting. The spoken lyrics and the slow jaunt of “Tornado of Stasis” is the only song that pushes past the six-minute mark. The album closes with a simple sound experiment that gives the most emotional feeling of abandonment with “Went Away.”

To find out more about this experimental underground band, please visit their website at www.artpushers.com/thechewers.html.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

CD Review: The Black Rabbits Turn On The "Hypno Switch"

From Orlando, FL comes the indie-rock band The Black Rabbits with their latest release, “Hypno Switch.” The album was produced by Stan Lynch (Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers) along with Billy Chapin and features ten songs that perfectly capture that raw, young, energetic energy.

The album leads off with “Twist,” which is full of energy as the Black Rabbits show-off their polished garage rock sound. The songs “My Baby Don’t” and “Hypno Switch” carry that raw, Whites Stripes-vibe with a little more instrumentation to flesh out the music. The band also showcases a classic rock sound on “Emotion” and flaunts their amazing songwriting on the acoustic “Painter, Poet, Prophet, Priest.” The album closes with the six-minute emotional epic sounding “So Long, Sophia.”

The Black Rabbits will be touring in the Florida area beginning July 19 in Orlando. To find out more about this young, rising indie-rock band, please visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/theblackrabbits.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

CD Review: Victory Records Brings Down Some New Metal From The North



Canadian hardcore metal band Counterparts will be releasing their third album, “The Difference Between Hell and Home” on July 23rd through Victory Records. The new album is their hardest, truest, most raw sounding in their short career and allows the band to express themselves through their music.

The eleven-song release is filled with short titles and quick-hitting songs. They lead the album off with “Lost,” a two-minute blast of music with screaming vocals and machine-gun drumming. The tempo changes slightly in “Ghost,” before Counterparts just try to blow you away with the sheer force of “Debris.” The band gives your ears a break on the build-up of “Decay,” then continues to just pulverize your speakers with the hardcore sounds of “Compass” and “Cursed.” The album closes with the band expands slightly on a deep, doom metal groove of “Soil,” while screaming vocals lead the way.

Counterparts are currently on a U.S. tour before heading to Canada in August and then overseas to Europe in September. To find out more about this underground hardcore metal band, please visit www.victoryrecords.com/counterparts.

Another Canadian metal band releasing some new music is the death metal band Erimha. Their debut album, “Reign Through Immortality” was released on July 9 through Victory Records. The ten-song blast of power starts off with a small introduction (“Enlightment”), before blowing you away with the sheer force of “Ascetic.” The deep growling vocals and machine gun drumming of “Condemned To Desolation” are sure put you back in your seat as Erimha continue the onslaught on your ears. The grand sounds of “Saunter To Extinction” once again give way to the desolation and destruction of “The Ritual Of Internicion” and “Verdict Of The Soul.” The album closes with the 10-minute epic “Metempsychosis” as the band shows off their endurance.

To find out more about this Canadian death metal band, please visit www.victoryrecords.com/erimha.

Monday, July 15, 2013

CD Review: Ashes Of Tyranny Show You Their "Shrine" Of New Music

Hard rock band, Ashes of Tyranny have been together, in one form or another, for over ten years and have finally released their debut album, “Shrine.” The quartet have created some of the heaviest music of any other independent band in the business. The new album starts off with the crunching guitars of “Demolition Man,” which carries a sound similar to the nineties alternative metal band Helmet. The band dives into the progressive metal territory on the seven-minute “Satisfy,” then get hardcore on the screaming, growling vocals of “Suffer.” The album closes with Ashes of Tyranny showing their influences on the Tool-like epic sounds of “Deathbringer.”
 
Ashes of Tyranny have a couple of shows lined-up in the Kansas area. For more information about the band and their new album, “Shrine,”please visit ashesoftyranny.com.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

CD Review: The Buckaroos Pay Tributes, While Don Rich Becomes "That Fiddlin' Man"

The classic country sound of The Buckaroos get reintroduced to the music world with a new release that combines the band's first and last albums that the band recorded together. This new 22 song CD brings together The Buckaroos debut album, "The Buck Owens Song Book" as they pay tribute to their bandleader along with "The Songs of Merle Haggard," who gave the band their enduring name.

The two original albums were released six years apart from each other, but shows the band's heart and dedication in interpreting some of the country hits that have become international country classics. The Buck Owens hits "Second Fiddle," "Act Naturally" and "Foolin' Around" join nine other of Owens' hits in this honor to the pioneer of the Bakersfield, CA sound in the early sixties. Also on this disc you get the Merle Haggard classics "Okie From Muskogee" and "Mama Tried" as they get the instrumental treatment that allows fans to sing along with these wonderful renditions by The Buckaroos. Included in the booklet are lyrics to the songs along with the original album's artwork and some unseen photos and new essays by surviving Buckaroos Willie Cantu, Doyle Curtsinger and Jim Shaw.

The Buckaroos front man, Don Rich carried on with the band until he was the only remaining original member. In 1971 he released a fiddle album, "That Fiddlin' Man," which comprised of 10 songs that he recorded along with the Buckaroos. The album was also one of the only Don Rich albums to be released during his lifetime as he was tragically killed in a motorcycle accident in 1974.

Now "That Fiddlin' Man" will be remastered and re-released with 10 bonus tracks that Rich also recorded during this time, but did not appear on the original album. This hard to find, out-of-print album includes some of Rich's best renditions of "Orange Blossom Special" and "Greensleeves" and closes with a live version of "Fiddle Polka" that originally appeared on Buck Owens' live album, "In Japan!"

These two releases will be long desired treats for fans as they include everything they would expect from these recordings. They will be available on July 23 through Omnivore Recordings. For more information, please visit omnivorerecordings.com/artists/the-buckaroos/ and omnivorerecordings.com/artists/don-rich/.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

CD Review: From New York Comes A Couple Singer/Songwriters With New Music To Enjoy

From New York City come the soulful sounds of Hadiza with her latest release, the six-song EP entitled “Chapter 4.” She is looking to take the emotion and energy of her live shows and inject it into her latest studio effort. The bluesy beginning of “All Come Back” shows off Hadiza’s pure vocal talents as she slithers her way around the jazzy music backdrop. Then she throws a curveball with the aggressive, in-your-face rock of “Off The Grid,” which sounds as if Hadiza had the most fun recording. Her mainstream appeal shines on “Too Long,” before closing the album with a couple of sultry, seductive songs, (“The Other Voice” and “Break Through”) which allow her really show off her vocal talents.

To find out more from this independent rising talent, please be sure to visit her website at hadizamusic.com.

Also from the streets of New York City comes singer/songwriter Nina Yasmineh with her latest EP entitled “Seven Years.” The album was written, performed and produced entirely by Nina and showcases her vocal and musical talents. The lead song, “Seven Years” has a little influence from Florence + The Machine, which gets carried through to the entire album. The song “Name” slow builds as Nina adds little elements to enhance the music supporting her vocals. The album closes with the dark, mellow heartbeat of “Hurricane Drops” as Nina’s voice is the main focus of the track.

For more information on Nina Yasmineh and her latest release, “Seven Years,” please visit her Facebook page at www.facebook.com/NinaYasminehMusic.

Friday, July 12, 2013

CD Review: New Music From The Indie-Rock Scene

From along the east coast come a couple of indie pop/rock artists that have recently released some new music for you to check out. First up, is the Connecticut alternative band Beijing with their new album “Night.” Their sound is ruled by raw, buzzing guitars and garage rock drumming, while the vocals lend themselves to a more mainstream appeal.  Songs like “Acrobat” and “The Sun Will Set” give the album a deep, moody feeling, while the up-tempo, guitar driven “Violent” and “Silence” show the diversity in the band’s songwriting. The album closes with the energetic attraction of “Standing” and the almost eight-minute slow-progression of “Seasons.”

Beijing has a show scheduled for this evening (July 12) at The Space in Hamden, CT. To find out more about this local indie alternative rock band, please visit beijing-music.com.

From the streets of New York comes the pop singer/songwriter Nehedar with her latest release, “This Heart.” The 13-song release brings in the combination of her acoustic folk songwriting with a pop sensibility as heard in “Take This World.” She goes a little over the top with her electronic beats on “What’s Becoming,” but also finds the right vibe with the jazzy sounds of “On Killing.” Her strengths lie in her gentle acoustic songs like “Something To Call Mine” and the influential “To Be Small.” The album closes with Nehedar showing us her worldly sounds in “Bring It Up."

To find out more about this indie folk/pop artist, please visit her website at nehedar.com.

Australian rock band the Monks of Mellonwah (MOM) have to be one of the hardest working bands in that country. Last year they released a five-song EP to go along with their eight-minute musical suite. Now the band is preparing to release their new full-length album entitled “Turn The People” later this year. But, instead of waiting for the entire album, the MOM is releasing it in three parts. Also, the band was recently signed to the A&R Worldwide label which is also home to such bands as Coldplay and Muse.

The upcoming full, twelve-song release shows the band expanding out into different territory. The songs are much shorter, (averaging three and half minutes) and have a more modern, mainstream rock appeal. The songs “Ghost Stories” has that Linkin Park harmonizing placed on top of some raw hard rock, while “Vanity” sounds as if it came from Lenny Kravitz’s songbook. The Monks of Mellonwah are at their best when they take chances with their music like in “Alive For A Minute” and “Downfall.” They almost go a little too dance/pop with their sound in “Turn The People,” but thankfully return to close the album with the progressive rock of “Sky And The Dark Night, Part 2.”

The Monks of Mellonwah are currently on tour in their home country of Australia, but look for them in the U.S. this fall. For more information on the band and their new music, please visit monksofmellonwah.com.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

CD Review: The World Finally Gets Introduced To The "Brasslands"

The new independent movie “Brasslands” tracks the worldwide Balkan brass movement that has swept over the globe. This movie documents the 50th anniversary of Guca’s brass music festival and competition. Musicians from all over the world flock to this location every year, along with millions of fans, to enjoy the music, dance and cuisine of the area. This film also showcases the first American brass band, Zlatne Uste to perform in the competition. 

The soundtrack to the movie features some of the greatest brass bands from around the world, including Veveritse, Raya Brass Band and Slavic Soul Party!, who created the mellow, rich theme of the movie, “Brasslands.” The soundtrack really picks up with the quick pace of “Demiranov Cocek” and the classic jazz sounds of “Boki 13.” Performer Veveritse showcase their big brass sound in “Mouser,” while Syversen, Geller, Godwin make the beats as important as the brass. The soundtrack closes with the Brasslands Big Band performing the gypsy horns of “Sukrjin.”

The “Brasslands” soundtrack will be released on July 13 through Evergreen Music and the movie will premiere on the same night at the Rooftop Films Summer Series in New York. For more information about the soundtrack, please visit evergreenemusic.com. To find out more about “Brasslands,” please visit brasslands.com.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

CD Review: Connecticut Indie-Rock Band Want You To Know That The World Is A Beautiful Place

Topshelf Records recently released the latest album from Connecticut indie rockers, The World Is A Beautiful Place And I Am No Longer Afraid To Die. While the band’s name may be long, their songs are short and concise and get right to the point. The album’s lead single, “Picture Of A Tree That Doesn’t Look Okay” has this slow melodic build-up that just explodes into this chaotic, but attractive punk song. The two-minute “Fightboat” is a quick, raw garage-rock song that seems to get cut short of its full potential. The band experiment with their sound on the slow-fast pace of “You Will Never Go To Space” and “Ultimate Steve,” before finishing the album with the seven-minute progressive rock of “Getting Sodas.”

The World Is A Beautiful Place And I Am No Longer Afraid To Die is currently on a U.S. tour that will conclude July 21 in New Haven, CT. To find out more information about the band, please visit www.topshelfrecords.org/tsr2/_pages/artist_the_world_is.php.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

CD Review: New Music From Indie-Bands The Trouble Starts And Emperors

Seattle band The Trouble Starts will be releasing their upcoming album, “East” on August 13 through Hello Tower Media. This is the first album by the band without front man Daniel G Harmann’s name at the beginning of it. As the Seattle area is the birthplace of grunge music, The Trouble Starts incorporates some of that raw, powerful guitar energy into their new album, beginning with “Glaciers.” The song has been picking up some spins on the local rock station (KEXP) and has a polished, garage rock sound like Radiohead, without all the experimentation. The Trouble Starts has a great straight-up rock sound with a hint of British punk as heard in “I Am Black Waves.” The rawness of their instrumentation gives the song “Kendrick” and early U2 sound, before the album closes with the big guitars of “Golden Silver.”

To find out more from this rising underground rock band, please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/DGHandTTS.

Australian rock band, Emperors recently released their new album, “Stay Frosty” back in April through the Gun Fever record label. The band is riding on a high following an opening slot on the Big Day Out concert and a feature in Rolling Stone magazine. The also picked up the honor of iTunes “Single of the Week” and “Rock Song of the Year” for the lead track off the new album, “Be Ready When I Say Go.” The song as all the right ingredients for a rock radio hit, pounding drums, big guitars and powerful, Dave Grohl-like vocals. Emperors have a very polished grunge sound as heard in “I’m Not Dead” with the right balance of raw rocking guitars and a strong, memorable chorus.  Their music heads more into pop territory with “Plastic Guns,” before giving off a Weezer-vibe on “Witch.” They attack the song “Drug Mule” with grunge-like fury before closing the album with a return to the beginning with “Fight Me Back,” which follows the winning formula for another hit single.

To find out more about the Emperors, please visit the band’s Facebook page at facebook.com/emperorsnewband.

Monday, July 8, 2013

CD Review: Poor Young Things Show Their "Heart" On Debut Album

On July 2nd, we saw the release of the debut album from rockers Poor Young Things entitled “The Heart. The Head. The End.” The band was recently featured as Sirius XM 2013’s “Emerging Artist of the Year” and will also be part of this summer’s Vans Warped Tour.
The eleven-song release combines the punk-rock grittiness of “Sign Of The Times” along with the country rock of “Revolver.” They show off a mainstream rock sound with the Counting Crows’ sound-alike “Running,” but they settle into their big rock sing-along with the memorable chorus of “Black Lightning.” The album finishes up with the edgy hard rock of “Given The Situation” and the darker, alternative rock of “Ghost Notes.”
Poor Young Things will be performing at The Space in Hamden, CT on July 11, in between their gig on the Vans Warped Tour. To find out more from this rising new band, please visit pooryoungthings.com.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

CD Review: Movie Soundtrack Shows How Close Some Come To "Stardom"

Back in June, we saw the release of one of the finest soundtracks of the year, "20 Feet From Stardom: Music From The Motion Picture." The album was released on June 18 through Columbia Records and features some of the greatest songs of seventies rock mixed with some modern renditions of some more classic songs.

The movie is a documentary about the lives of back-up singers to some of the biggest bands in the world including The Rolling Stones and Michael Jackson. The movie was directed by Morgan Neville and features Merry Clayton (Rolling Stones), Lisa Fischer (Luther Vandross), Judith Hill (Michael Jackson) and Darlene Love (The Crystals) amongst others. It gives insight to the world of a back-up singer and how important they are to a top artist's performances.

The soundtrack starts off with a couple of classic rock staples from Lou Reed ("Walk On The Wild Side") and the Talking Heads ("Slippery People"), before hearing a true to heart, gospel rendition of the blues song, "Nobody's Fault But Mine" performed by the cast. Joe Cocker's "Space Captain" is the perfect example of how important back-up singers are to a song's meaning and power. The album spotlights a couple of Merry Clayton's top hits, her cover of the Rolling Stones' "Gimme Shelter" and also her cover of Neil Young's "Southern Man." NBC's "The Voice" contestant Judith Hill lends her vocal talents to the original song, "Desperation," which was also co-written by Hill. The soundtrack closes with the cast once again coming together to perform a heartfelt rendition of Bill Withers' "Stand By Me."

The soundtrack is available now. For more information, please visit twentyfeetfromstardom.com.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

CD Review: Tool Drummer Gives New Life To Volto!

Progressive hard rock band Volto! will be releasing their new album, "Incitare" on July 23rd on Fantasy Records through the Concord Music Group. The nine-song instrumental album features Tool drummer Danny Carey, bassist Lance Morrison, guitarist John Ziegler and keyboardist Jeff Babko. The album's experimental hard rock sound draws upon the band's many influences including King Crimson, Yes and Emerson, Lake & Palmer.

As five of the nine songs push past the six-minute mark, Volto! really allows the listener to get wrapped up in the music. The guitar driven opener, "Grip It" is like the engines firing up, ready for take-off as John Z's fingers glide up and down the guitar's fret board. The sound expands on "Gillz" to a more space-rock sound with Babko's keyboards taking a lead role. The band's sound gets darker with Carey's tribal drumbeat keeping the tempo with flashes of John Z's guitar. The album's pinnacle track is the eight-and-a-half-minute "Drumbeaux" featuring an outstanding drum solo by Carey. The tempo changes in "BHP" shows diversity in the playing of these fine musicians. Volto! return to the space-rock on "Meltdown," before finishing the album with the more relaxed keyboard driven "I'm Calm Now."

Volto! will be performing a couple CD release shows out in California before heading to the east coast in August. To find out more about the band and their new album, "Incitare," please visit voltoband.com.

Friday, July 5, 2013

CD Review: Hard Rock's Newest Power Trio, The Winery Dogs

Hard rock’s latest supergroup, The Winery Dogs, came together almost by accident. Bassist Billy Sheehan (David Lee Roth, Mr. Big) and drummer Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater, Avenged Sevenfold) wanted to work on a project together along with singer/guitarist John Sykes. Once Sykes left the project, the door was open for fellow singer/guitarist Richie Kotzen (Poison, Mr. Big) to join at the request of heavy metal guru Eddie Trunk. On July 23rd we will get the self-titled debut album from this trio of musicians, through Loud & Proud Records.
 
The big surprise of this album isn’t how well these three musicians perform together, but how good their voices sound, especially Richie Kotzen on lead vocals. They blaze a path with the opening track, “Elevate” as Portnoy’s drums keep the adrenaline pumping, while Sheenan’s bass lines dance all around it. Kotzen’s voice draws some strong similarities to Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell, while his guitar is just on fire during “Desire.” The band lock into a great metal groove during “We Are One” that you wish would just go on for hours. The slow burn of “The Other Side” shows off the great songwriting that sometimes gets overlooked with all this great musicianship to back it up. The band get raw on the pure rock of “One More Time,” before slowing the tempo down just a bit for the power ballad “Damaged.” The album continues with the adrenaline shot of “Time Machine,” followed by the heavy pounding of “The Dying,”then closes with the pure rock of “Regret,” which sounds like some signs of the past.
 
The Winery Dogs are beginning their world tour in Japan on July 16 and will be making their way to the States at the beginning of August. For more information on this amazing supergroup, please visit thewinerydogs.com.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

CD Review: Booker T. Wants To "Sound The Alarm" With A Little Help From Friends

The multi-talented, multi-instrumentalist Booker T. Jones recently released his tenth studio album entitled "Sound The Alarm" on June 25th on Stax Records through the Concord Music Group. It is Booker T's first album on the label since his debut album, "Green Onions" back in 1960. On this album, Booker T allows some of the newcomers in the music industry to own the spotlight, while he sets up a backdrop of amazing soul music.

The album starts off with the title song, "Sound The Alarm," which features Mayer Hawthorne's gospel-like vocals layered over a stomping beat. Booker T flexes his musical muscles on the sixties R&B sounding instrumental, "Fun," before allowing soul singer Jay James to work his Al Green-type swagger on the bluesy-soul of "Broken Heart." One of the biggest newcomers to pick up a guitar is Gary Clark Jr., who's received praise from the likes of Eric Clapton and The Rolling Stones. On the song, "Austin City Blues," Clark interweaves his solos along with Booker T.'s keyboards to create a truly special bond between the two musicians. R&B pop singer Estelle gives the album a very mainstream modern dance vibe with "Can't Wait" and Poncho Sanchez and Sheila E. add a little Latino flair to "66 Impala." The album finishes up the R&B rockers Vintage Trouble showing their slower, bluesier side on "Your Love Is No Love" and then Booker T invites his son along for a little bonding time to close the album with some "Father Son Blues."

All of the songs on the album were written by Booker T as he is currently taking this album out on the road. He will be performing at a couple stops in New England in late July before heading to the west coast in August. For a complete list of tour dates and for more information on the new album, please visit bookert.com.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

CD Review: The Three O'Clock Reveal Their "Hidden World"

California rock band The Three O'clock are finally getting back together for a reunion which was kicked off at this year's Coachella music festival. Twenty-Five years after they broke up, we are finally getting a proper compilation of the band's earlier catalog with "The Hidden World Revealed." It brings together 20 songs from the band's beginnings in 1981 until their signing to I.R.S. Records in 1985. The only song on this compilation from past that era is the 1986 Christmas single "Regina Caeli."

The album begins with the psychedelic pop sound of the 1983 release, "All In Good Time." They show-off that eighties, alternative, underground energy with the song that was featured on the band's first EP, "With A Cantaloupe Girlfriend." They draw strong similarities to R.E.M. with the pop-punk of "Stupid Einstein" and cover Syd Barrett's "Lucifer Sam" with some truly dark, experimental rock. The compilation also adds ten previously unreleased versions of some of the band's classic compositions, including adding horns to the underground pop of "When Lighting Starts" and showing a rawer, guitar driven version of "In My Own Time." The album also includes a demo version of one of the band's earliest recording "Jennifer Only," when the band was known at The Salvation Army. They close with a rare, but perfectly executed version of Gene Clark's "Feel A While Lot Better." Only 27 copies of this 7-inch 45 are known to exist according to the liner notes.

The new compilation, "The Hidden World Revealed" by The Three O'clock was released on June 25 through Ominvore Recordings with full participation from the band. To find out more about this album, please visit omnivorerecordings.com/artists/the-three-oclock/.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

CD Review: New Documentary And Soundtrack Show Another Side To Big Star's Legacy

Formed in 1971 in Memphis, TN; the band Big Star laid the groundwork for alternative rock, before the term was even used to describe the type of music that was raw, real, pure rock feel. The band had a spurt of three years and three albums that would influence many of today's bands including R.E.M., Wilco, The Flaming Lips and a whole lot more. The band had all the ingredients, (exceptional songwriting and raw, truthful sound) to have the hit singles, but never got the success they deserved. After breaking up in 1974 due to frustrations with the music industry, they would re-groups 20 years later to find that their music meant so much to other upcoming bands. Big Star was considered one of the ultimate cult bands that did not receive their proper acclaim until after the band called it quits a second time after the death of founding members Alex Chilton and Andy Hummel.

Now, to set the record straight, Magnolia Pictures will be releasing the feature length documentary "Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me" on July 3. The film follows the band during their initial commercial failure and their rising success as on of rock's music greatest cult bands. Along with the movie comes the soundtrack, released by Omnivore Recordings on June 25. The soundtrack brings together 21 previously unheard recordings by the band during their seventies hey-day. Each of the band's early records made Rolling Stones' Top 500 Albums Of All Time countdown and all are represented here with classic alternate mixes and modern movie mixes.

Beginning with the 1973 rough demo of "O My Soul" you get a feel for a band on the brink of stardom as shown in the documentary. The band's first album is covered intensely with nine of the album twelve songs featured on this soundtrack in one form or another. One of the things that fans will enjoy hearing is the studio talk between members of the band leading into the songs. Big Star's most well-known song, "In The Streets" was remixed for the movie, but still resonates the teenage rock angst of the original song. The rough mixes of songs like "Holocaust" and "Big Black Car" show the band still feeling their way the songs that would later become staples in their legacy. The soundtrack also includes a couple of solo efforts from the late-Chris Bell ("Better Save Yourself" and "I Am The Cosmos") and the acoustic, heartfelt ballad, "All We Ever Got From Them Was Pain" from the late-Alex Chilton. The soundtrack finishes up with one the band's biggest studio effort, "September Gurls" which has been considered a "power pop classic" by Rolling Stone magazine.

To find out more about the "Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me" movie and soundtrack, please visit bigstarstory.com.

Monday, July 1, 2013

CD Review: New Albums From Battlecross And Hidden Masters Heat Up Summer Releases

Metal Blade Records is setting the summer ablaze with a couple of new releases from hardcore metal band Battlecross and the mind-bending psychedelic rock of Hidden Masters.

The new album from Battlecross (“War of Will”) is ten songs of pure adrenaline pumping power that will blow you away. Right from the opening song, “Force Fed Lies,” the guitars are blazing and the drumming is on overdrive. The vocal delivery of Kyle “Gumby” Gunther is an all-out attack on your ears with his screaming/growling vocals. He keeps the energy on full blast in “Never Coming Back” and “Ghost Alive.” The band stretches out on “Wage A War” with some slight tempo changes, but quickly returns to the machine-gun drumming and buzzsaw guitars of the album closer “Never-Ending Night.”

Battlecross will be out on tour this summer as part of the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival which runs until the beginning of August. To find out more about Battlecross and their new album “War of Will,” please visit battlecrossmetal.com.

Now on the flipside to Battlecross’ hardcore, in-your-face-metal attack is the smooth, sixties, psychedelic rock of Hidden Masters. Their debut release, “If This & Other Worlds,” will see the light of day on August 6. The musical trio of David Addison, Alasdair C. Mitchell and John Nicol has created something truly special with their mind-tripping, time machine of sound.

Right from the opening song, “She Broke The Clock of the Long Now,” you’d think you’ve gone back in time to the swinging sixties when bands like The Zombies and Strawberry Alarm Clock ruled the charts. Their three and four minute pieces of music are each a journey of their own, like the tempo changes of “Perfume” and the quick heaviness of “Nobody Knows That We’re Here.” The song “See You In The Dark” sounds like a hit single from the sixties that have finally found its way to the singles chart. Hidden Masters show off their wonderful harmonizing on “Last Days Of The Sun,” before closing the album with the album’s most rock-oriented song, “Fall In Line.”

To find out more about Hidden Masters, please visit the band’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/hiddenmastersmusic.