Saturday, August 31, 2013

CD Review: Steve Poltz Is "Running Wild" On New Soundtrack Album

Canadian born singer/songwriter Steve Poltz, best known for his collaborations with the singer Jewel, is ready to release his next project, the soundtrack to the movie "Running Wild." The movie tells the life story of mustang activist Dayton O. Hyde and Poltz's acoustic picking, storytelling talents fit right in.
 
The soundtrack pulls out 26 ideas that were floating around in Poltz's head after meeting Mr. Hyde last year on his South Dakota Ranch. The songs like the country blues of "Mustang Call" and the more upbeat swing of "I Pray It Never Comes To This" showcases Poltz's amazing song-writing talents. The album is filled with one-minute (or less) musical interludes that are nice to hear, but probably would have more impact after seeing the movie and relating the songs to certain scenes. He brings some of his rock elements to "Spirit Hands" and "Ordinary Love," but its the gentle acoustics of "Giving Thanks" and "Song For Hank (Acoustic)" that gives the listener that feeling of vulnerability.
 
The movie and soundtrack will be released in October. Steve Poltz is performing live out west during the month of September. To find out more, please visit poltz.com.

Friday, August 30, 2013

CD Review: The Mezmerists Unveil One Of Heavy Metal's Secret Bands

One of heavy metal's most well-kept secrets are the recordings of singer/guitarist Tommy Mezmercardo's band The Mezmerists. In the mid-eighties, the trio release two EP's that included some of the best metal songs of the eighties that nobody's ever heard. Most of the recordings were only given to friends of the band and were never widely released. Now Shadow Kingdom Records is releasing the seven-song album that combines both of the bands original EPs into one album entitled "The Innocent, The Forsaken, The Guilty." The album will also be released with an accompanying DVD that tells the history of the band.
 
The album introduces you to the world of The Mezmerists with the short, spaced-out "The Forsaken." The songs "Dead Ones Cry No More," "Arabian Nights" and "Victim of Environmental Change," from the band's debut 1983 EP, include none other than Black Sabbath's Bill Ward on drums. The music is classic eighties metal, but Tommy Mezmercado's high-pitched vocals are not for everyone. If Tommy was ever to sing with the metal god, Rob Halford, fans would have a hard time choosing who was actually singing. The songs "Kingdom of the Dead," "No Family, No Friends" and "The Jam Song" from the 1985 EP shows a more mature sound to their metal, but carries that raw aggressive appeal.
 
To find out more about this release, check out shadowkingdomrecords.com.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

CD Review: A Couple New Independent EPs From Overseas

The Swiss duo of Marc Dold and Judith Martin released their latest album as Aurah. The new six-song EP is entitled "Summon The Sky" takes you on a short journey through relaxation as the music and vocals become an escape from your worries.
 
The album leads off with an ambient cover of Bob Marley's "3 Little Birds" which puts your mind as ease as you float along to Judith's vocals. They follow that up with the beat-heavy "Take My Breath Away" and the organic sound of "Summon The Sky." Aurah have their most pop-influenced song with "Shine On," before closing the album with more of the relaxed acoustic sounds of "Pleasant Placidness."
 
To find out more about this truly unique duo, please visit their website at aurah.com.
 
English electronic rockers Syndrome have also recently released their debut album, "Colorful Cows." The seven-song EP was released independently and tells the story of how life in London is in present day.
 
The band's heavy electronic sound of "Change" seems to pay tribute to the early experimental days of Devo. They get more atmospheric on the heavy rock of "Open The Gate," which the band pull off masterfully. They keep their rock edge going on "L.Q.C." and "Get My Words" before closing with their tribute to Pink Floyd's "Atom Heart Mother" with "Colorful Cows."
 
To find out more about this independent electro-rock band, please visit syndrome.nu.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

CD Review: Yellowcard Revisit "Ocean Avenue" For 10th Anniversary

The Jacksonville, FL alternative rock band Yellowcard are on constant quest to produce an album that finds as big of an audience as their 2003 platnium-selling "Ocean Avenue." Their latest release, 2012's "Southern Air" debuted at #10 on the Billboard Top 200 Album chart and topped many critics "Album of the Year" lists, but did not have the impact that their breakout album had. To celebrate the tenth anniversary of that monumental album, Yellowcard are re-recording the entire album acoustically. The new album, "Ocean Avenue Acoustic" was released back in August through Hopeless Records.
 
The band shows a maturity in their sound as they deliver the songs in a very stripped-sown version, which shows the amazing song-writing that went into the original album. They still showcase their punk roots on the album opener "Walk Away," but it seemed like a no brainer to record the hit single "Ocean Avenue" with acoustic instruments. Yellowcard showcase their softer side with "Empty Apartment" and "Only One." They seemed to have fun going back and re-recording these classic songs, which is portrayed in the new recordings of "Miles Apart" and "View From Heaven." The album closes with (just like original) "Back Home" as Yellowcard show with this new release that you can go back home again.
 
The band are bringing this new release on the road, beginning August 31st. The tour includes stops at Boston's House of Blues and Wallingford, CT's The Dome at Oakdale at the beginning of September. For more information about the tour and the new album, please visit yellowcardrock.com.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

CD Review: New Raw, Energetic Music From Indie-Rockers False-Heads And Strangefellas

From across the pond we get new music from the independent alternative rock band False-Heads. They recently self-released their second EP entitled "Tunnel Vision" and are looking to make an impact in their hometown of London.
 
The band's raw, garage-rock sound pays homage to the Seattle grunge scene with "Without A Doubt." The song sounds like it could have come from an early Nirvana demo tape. False-Heads show that they are just more than a bunch of musicians bashing away at their instruments. They add a little more structure to their song-writing on "Remedy" and on the album closer "Comfort Consumption."
 
The False-Heads have one show lined-up at the moment in their hometown of London. To find out more about this underground rock band, please visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/FalseHeads.
 
Now for something a little closer to home, we get the new album from retro-sounding rockers Strangefellas. Based out of Springfield, MO, they released their second EP in as many months. The new album, "Bug Spray" features seven-songs of experimental garage-rock that brings you back to the early days of punk music.
 
The two-minute romp of "23:58" and its follow-up "Blindfold" show a spontaneity to their music, but the musicians keep the songs on track. They stick to what works for them as they channel Iggy Pop and the Stooges on "I Just Wanna Be Your Man," before branching out a little on the surf-guitar rock of the album closer "Space Blues."
 
To find out more about this indie, fuzz-rock band, please visit strangefellas.com.

Monday, August 26, 2013

CD Review: Metal Blade Records Gives Us New Metal From Facebreaker And Shakhtyor

Metal Blade Records finishes the month of August with a couple of hard-hitting metal album from Sweden's Facebreaker and Germany's Shakhtyor. The new album, "Dedicated To The Flesh" from Facebreaker is the second new studio release on the band's independent label, Cyclone Empire.

The album features eleven songs death metal that do more that just pounded the music into your brain. The title-song showcases some great guitar-work from Mika Lagreen as Roberts Karlsson's vocals don't let you forget who you are listening to. The band blast away your eardrums with the machine gun drumming of Makael Wassholm on "Catacomb" and the buzzsaw guitar of Janne Ivarsson on "Zombie Flesh Cult." The metal groove of "Swarm of Zombies" relies heavily on the bass playing of Jonas Ivarsson as each member's talents give Facebreaker a sound that puts them up near the top of everyone's death metal list.

Facebreaker recently performed in Europe as part of the "Infecting Europe - Summer Breeze Open Air Festival." After a short break, look for Facebreaker to be hitting the road again in support of their new album "Dedicated To The Flesh." For more information, please visit facebreaker.com.
 
After four years of touring, German doom metal band Shakhyor are releasing their self-titled debut album. The four-song release shows a band that has been honing their skills on the road before putting together a quality album in the studio.

The album leads off with "E Jasper" as the music keeps changing with the tempo in order to keep the sound fresh. With a couple of the songs pushing pass the ten-minute mark, Shakhyor give their all to each performance with "Handschuhmann" becoming the highlight of the album.

This trio will be hitting the road in September with a few dates scattered over the course of the next two months. For more information, please visit the band's facebook page at www.facebook.com/shakhtyorband.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

CD Review: The Band Of Heathens Create The Perfect "Sunday Morning Record"

The Austin-based Americana group, The Band of Heathens return with their fourth studio album, "Sunday Morning Record," which is exactly what the title suggests. The smooth vocals and storied lyrics are enhanced by their wonderful musicianship in this perfect album for Sunday mornings.

At times, the new album sounds like a long, lost Elton John album from his "Tumbleweed Connection" era as the Band of Heathens have a timeless quality to their music. The song "Caroline Williams" sounds like a breakout hit single, while "Miss My Life" chronicles how the band felt during the recording of this album. Their music and song-writing hit new heights on "Records In Bed" as the song adds a layer of funk to their Americana sound. The wonderful harmonizing on "Since I've Been Home" and the country-blues of "One More Trip" shows all the reasons why The Band Of Heathens' new album should be near the top of every critics "Best Albums of 2013" list. The album closes with the six-minute story that pays tribute to their home state in "Texas."

The Band of Heathens will release their new album, "Sunday Morning Record" on September 17 through their own BOH Records. They are hitting the road just after the release of their new album. The tour concludes in mid-October with performances at the Austin City Limits Festival. To find out more, please visit bandofheathens.com

Saturday, August 24, 2013

CD Review: Tim O'Brien And Darrell Scott Reunite For First Studio Album In 13 Years

It has been 13 years since the last time Tim O'Brien and Darrell Scott teamed to make a studio album of original material. Finally, the two have come together to put their talents together to create the new release, "Memories And Moments." The new album was produced by Scott and will be available on September 17 through the newly formed Full Skies label.
 
The two waste no time getting down to business on the O'Brien penned "Time To Talk To Joseph" and the Scott original "It All Comes Down To Love." They come together for the bluegrass/country history lesson of "Keep Your Dirty Lights On," then invite fellow singer/songwriter John Prine to sing along one the Prine-penned "Paradise." O'Brien and Scott show off their harmonizing on the opening of the all-too-short "Just One More," then tells us the story of "Fiddler Jones." The highlight of the album has to be the passion shown in their performance of the Hank Williams' classic "Alone And Forsaken." The album finishes up with the gentle sound of "Free Again" and the country-gospel sing-along "On Life's Other Side."
 
Tim O'Brien and Darrell Scott will be hitting the road on September 20, beginning with the American Music Festival in Nashville, TN. The tour will last into the new year, be sure to check out timanddarrell.com for dates near you.

Friday, August 23, 2013

The Revivalists Record Daytrotter Sessions & Kick Off Summer/Fall Tour

From the streets of New Orleans comes the funky rock of The Revivalists. The band are touring behind their 2012 release, "City Of Sound" and their newly recorded "Daytrotter" session. The tour kicked off in mid-August and runs through to November, which includes dates with J.J. Grey & Mofro and a stop in their hometown for the Voodoo Music & Arts Festival.

The band's latest studio album, "City Of Sound" shows a maturity to their sound as they showcase the loud funk of "When I Die" and the gentle Americana sound of "Pretty Photograph." The "Daytrotter" session includes songs from each of their two full-length studio albums and their debut EP. They show their wild side on "Criminal" then inject some of that southern swamp charm into "Sunny Days." Do yourself a favor and check out the band's catalog for a good time with some great music.

The Revivalists will be hitting Connecticut on September 11, before heading to the Harvest Jazz & Blues Festival in Canada. For a complete list of tour dates and to find out more about the band, please visit therevivalists.com.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

CD Review: The Sidekicks Are Bringing Their "Breeds" To Connecticut

Indie-rockers The Sidekicks are hitting the road for a late-summer tour in support of their year-old album "Awkward Breeds." They visit Connecticut on August 31st after a few stops north of the border in Canada.

The band's sound on this latest release is raw, almost punk-like as in the opening song "DMT" and the follow-up "Grace." The Sidekicks show off their great energetic sound on "Peacock," before heading into a more mainstream sound on "Incandescent Days." The crunchy guitars and big bang of "Diamond Eyes" and "Jonah And The Whale" show the attractive grunge sound that has brought success to the likes of Weezer and Cake. The band changes gears for the acoustic demo sounding "Looker," before closing the album with the big rock sound of "Baby, Baby" and the spaced out punk-styling of "Daisy."

Please check out the band Facebook page (www.facebook.com/sidekicksohio) for a complete list of tour dates and for more information on this outstanding indie-rock band.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

CD Review: Tantric Run Through "37 Channels" With New Album

Hard rockers, Tantric, return after four years with a new album's worth of material entitled "37 Channels." The new album will be released on September 17 through Pavement Entertainment and features some guests including Shooter Jennings and members of Hinder, 3 Doors Down, Saving Abel and Uncle Kracker.

The 13-song album starts off with the reckless rock of "Again" as lead singer (and only original member) Hugo Ferreira's voice gives off an experienced, weathered tone to the music. Shooter Jennings climbs aboard for the bar-brawling rocker "Mosquito" as the two singers perform a chaotic, aggressive duet of attitude. The mood changes for the loose, acoustic jam of "Loss For Words" as Hugo's voice struggles to hit the higher register, but the feeling places you in the studio with the band, listening to a great demo. Tantric brings together all the right elements for "Where Do We Go From Here" and just cruise through "Rise," before reaching to a new level of mainstream success with "Broken." The album closes with the epic sounding "Bullet" and the edgy rocker "Girl In White."

As the release date of the new album approaches, look for Tantric to announce some upcoming live shows. For more information on the band and their new album, "37 Channels," please visit www.facebook.com/Tantric.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

CD Review: The Tedeschi Trucks Band Make Up Their "Mind" On Sophomore Album

The husband and wife duo of Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi have had a very successful last couple of years since the debut album from the Tedeschi Trucks Band. That album brought much critical acclaim and a Grammy-award to the band solidifying them as a true force in blues music. Now the Tedeschi Trucks Band return with their follow-up "Made Up Mind," which was released on August 20th through Sony Masterworks.

The album starts off with the blazing, guitar-driven title song, "Made Up Mind," but then the band quickly get their blues groove on with the swampy thump of "Do I Look Worried." Susan Tedeshi's voice keeps getting better with each album and has the perfect backdrop of her husband's outstanding guitar playing. The song "Idle Wind" draws up some of that classic Allman Brothers Band sound that just has a timeless value. The band get their funk going on "Misunderstood," before moving on to the album's lead single "Part Of Me" which has Susan doing a duet with trombonist Saunders Sermons on this up-tempo jazzy/blues number. Another timeless piece of music is seventies sounding "All That I Need," before closing the album with the six-and-a-half guitar burning of "The Storm" and the wonderfully welcome acoustic "Calling Out To You," which shows how much Derek Trucks' guitar playing has matured.
 
The Tedeschi Trucks Band are taking a quick break before picking up the touring schedule again in September. To find out more, please visit tedeschitrucksband.com.

Monday, August 19, 2013

CD Review: Indie Singer/Songwriters Give Us A Bright Future With New Music

Chicago singer/songwriter Elle Casazza recently released her debut EP entitled "For Your Pleasure." She personifies her influences, pulling from the styles of Billy Holiday, Joni Mitchell and Amy Winehouse.

The album's title song seems like it was plucked from a jazz club at the turn of the century, while "Foolish Ones" shows off her folk side and showcasing her diversity with the difference in her performances. You get a sense of fun and playfulness in Elle's voice in "Say Something" as she portrays as style that perfectly suits her voice. The album closes with the jazzy/pop of "Your Move" that would make her influences stand up and take notice of this new rising independent artist.

Elle Casazza has a couple of shows lined-up later in the month. For more information on Elle, please visit her website at ellecasazza.com.
From New York comes another outstanding debut from singer/songwriter Rachel Ann Weiss. Her album "Dear Love" displays her wonderfully attractive smoldering vocals and her knack for writing powerfully appealing works of art.

The nine-song release starts off with the title-song that showcases her strong and sultry vocals. She picks up the tempo with the quick-step, Americana sound of "Rivermoon Romance," then changes gears to the smoky jazz of "Lonely." Her playfulness with the vocals of "Undercover Lover" and the gallop of "Maybe" shows an artist that sounds more mature that they would on their debut album. The album closes with the cool sounds of "Until I Meet My Next Love" that draws similarities to the debut of one Norah Jones.

Rachel Ann Weiss will be heading to the UK in September, but be sure to check out her new release "Dear Love." To find out more, please visit her website at rachelannweiss.com.
One last artist to be making an impact on the indie-music scene is Canadian folk/pop violist Eliza Moore. She returns to her solo roots with her latest EP "Everything To Me." The five-song release shows a more authentic side to her songwriting as she touches upon different aspects of life.

The first thing you notice is her voice as Eliza's high registry make the opening song, "Everything To Me," so light and airy. At times, her voice draws similarities to The Cranberries' Doloras O'Riordan in "My Longing Know You" and Tori Amos as in "Calls You Inside," but her performance on the violin gives a new look to pop music. Her album closes with "Shimmer" as she brings together all her talents to create a wonderful piece of music.

Eliza Moore is performing tonight in her home country before heading south for a few shows in New England. To find out more, please visit her website at elizamoore.com.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

CD Review: Over The Rhine Bring You To "The Edge Of The World" On Latest Double Album

Folk/Americana band Over The Rhine have been together now for over 20 years and have left their imprint on a number of record labels. Now the band are ready to release their fifteenth studio album, "Meet Me At The Edge Of The World." It is the band's second time collaborating with Grammy Award-winning producer Joe Henry and it their third release on Great Speckled Dog Records.
 
This new release comes as a double-album, featuring nineteen-songs that are played straight from the heart with each one as good or better than the song before. The one constant is the warm-tone of lead singer Karin Bergquist's voice, whether its on the gentle, country/folk of "Called Home" or the acoustic/electric stomp of "Gonna Let My Soul Catch My Body," she leads the way with power and grace. The haunting tone of "All Of It Was Music" just paints a picture in your mind with the wonderful lyrics of the songwriting duo of Bergquiest and Linford Detweiler. The first disc closes with the breeziness of "Wait" as you feel Karin's soul spill out into the microphone.
 
The second disc begins with the husband and wife duo trading verses as a homage to their home state in "All Over Ohio." The duo continue to harmonize on "Earthbound Love Song," before Karin's voice leads you on a story in "Against The Grain." Over The Rhine add their special touch to The Band's classic "It Makes No Difference," keeping the song's original meaning in tack, while adding some more emotion to it. The second disc features a couple of quick, one-minute instrumentals ("Cuyahoga" and "Bird Of Ohio") which allows Linford to add some of his flavor to the album's overall appeal.
 
Over The Rhine are currently on tour, promoting the new album which will be released on September 3rd. To find out more about this amazing band and their new release, "Meet Me At The Edge Of The World," please visit overtherhine.com.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

CD Review: Lost Tommy Bolin Recordings Get New Life On "Whirlwind"

American guitarist Tommy Bolin was at the center of some of the most incredible rock moments in the seventies. He was a founding member of the band Zephyr, who opened for Led Zeppelin in the early seventies. Bolin would move on to be an influential part of The James Gang and Deep Purple, before going solo in 1976. His career would be cut short because of a heron overdose after performing a show with Peter Frampton and Jeff Beck.
 
Now, Cleopatra Records is releasing a two-disc set of rare, unreleased recordings from Tommy Bolin's solo and band career. The new set entitled "Whirlwind" brings together 18-songs that would become highlights of Tommy's solo albums.
 
The first disc contains eleven songs beginning with the loose, instrumental "Cucumber Jam." While most of the songs are instrumentals, you get an appreciation as to how good of a guitarist Tommy Bolin was. His playing on "Hoka-Hay!" and on "Rock -A-Bye" show where Tommy's heart was prior to joining The James Gang. The first disc also contains a couple of songs that he was working on for his third solo album, the blazing instrumental "Dungeon" and the seventies funk-sounding "Gotta Dance." A couple of the highlights are the solo acoustic "Don't Worry 'Bout Cash" and the smooth, lead vocals of The James Gang song, "Alexis."
 
The second disc starts off with the instrumental version of "Red Skies" as Tommy's guitar does all the talking. A great 1972 acoustic demo of "Way It's Always Been"  and a raw recording of "Leave Other People Alone" shows us some insight into Tommy's writing process. The highlight of the second disc and probably the entire set is the original 26-minute instrumental "Marching Bag" which ended up as the 4-minute "Marching Powder" on Tommy's debut solo album "Teaser."
 
This two-disc set will also be released as a 2-LP gatefold vinyl set and in a limited edition deluxe box set which includes the two CDs along with 4 color postcards, a Tommy Bolan signature guitar pick, a collectible patch and a pin. For more information on this exciting new release, please check out http://www.tbolin.com/hampton/whirlwind/index.html.

Friday, August 16, 2013

CD Review: Jazz Music Expands With Help From Sknail And Trance Lucid

From Switzerland comes the jazz composer Sknail with his latest release "Glitch Jazz," which is the perfect description of his music. Sknail called upon some of the top jazz session musicians to bring his creations to life. The difference with his interpretations is that he adds the rhythm of broken printers and other worn-out machinery to replace the drummer.
 
His three part introduction, "The Snail" begins with the mellow tones of piano and trumpet, but its when the band hits the second part is where you get to full appreciation of Sknail's ideas. The "bleeps" and "pops" are as much of a distraction as a welcoming experiment with sound. The next three part suite "The Brick" begins with an eerie overtone as the bass and saxophone lead you through all the sounds happening around. The extra "clicks" and "ticks" feel as if they belong, giving the listener a totally different feel to the smooth jazz music playing in the background. The last three part suite "The Razor" is the most experimental with its creation of rhythm and beats. You discover something new with each listen of the album.
 
To find out more about this unique take on jazz music, please visit sknail.com.
 
Also new on the jazz front is the latest release from progressive rock/jazz fusion band, Trance Lucid entitled "Palace Of Ether." The album was released back in June and it took the band over two years to make.
 
Ten of the album's fifteen songs make up the 32-minute suite "Palace Of Ether," but before that, we get the introduction of "TM" and the jammy, guitar-driven "Spyglass." Trance Lucid show off the progressive rock side on the Rush-like "Pocket," before adding a more jazzy tone to their sound in "The Crossing." They work  in the tempo changes with "Saints In Stone," then head into a more experimental space-rock direction with "Painted Dancer." You could almost hear what the lyrics would be saying in "Before The Idols" as the lead-guitar does the talking. The album closes with the open, airiness of the keyboard/guitar duet "Remembrance."
 
To find out more about Trance Lucid and their new album "Palace Of Ether," please visit trancelucid.com.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

CD Review: The Greencards Pay Homage To The Ocean With "Sweetheart Of The Sun"

Australian/American band The Greencards return with their second album release through Darling Street Records, the highly anticipated "Sweetheart Of The Sun." The album uses the concept of the ocean, and other bodies of water, as the revolving theme. It was produced by Gary Paczosa (Allison Krauss, John Prine) and features the writing collaboration from Nashville's Kai Welch.

The twelve-song album starts off with the quick, two-minute warm-up, "Once And Gone," as the voice of Carol Young invites you into their world of Americana music. The Greencards hit their mark for mainstream stardom with "Forever Mine," before heading to the "Black, Black Water" with Carol's voice leading the way. Their music draws strong similarities to The Civil Wars with their "less is more" idea to making music. Their sound goes deep with the soft, gentle approach of the "Ocean Floor," then fellow band-mate Kym Warner is allowed to flex his fingers on the up-tempo instrumental "Ride & Sway." The album closes with the six-minute bluegrass sway of "Fly."

The Greencards have recently toured with Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson and are currently on the road promoting their new album, "Sweetheart Of The Sun," which will be released on August 20. For more information on the band and for a complete list of tour dates, please visit thegreencards.com.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Vinyl Review: The Gardenheads Begin With "Growing Season" On Wee Rock Records

It is great to see small, independent records labels pressing new vinyl for so many underground rock acts. One such label is Wee Rock Records out in Springfield, MO and they recently released a couple of new items. There is the new full-length album from The Gardenheads entitled "Growing Season" and also the new 7", self-titled album from Clawhammer.

The Gardenheads are full of rock energy with that raw, garage rock sound as heard on "We Are F'd Up Kids." They also show a maturity in their sound with the contagious groove of "The Dishwashers Union" and on the expanding sound of "Adderall." The second side starts off with the quick, punk-like "Greenhouse Soiree," before closing with the fifteen-minute epic "Silent Spring." The Gardenheads take some risks with their music as they bring you on a journey with the song's lyrics and music.

The new album, "Growing Season" was released exclusively on vinyl at the end of June and it is the record label's 87th release of their extensive catalog. The Gardenheads have one show lined up at the moment in their home state of Missouri. To find out more from this indie-rock band, please visit the band's Facebook page at www.facebook.com/thegardenheads.

Clawhammer have been making music together for the last couple years and have finally released their new self-titled 7" album. The songs "I Think I Heard A Sound" and "Hell" show off the band's knack for combining classic instruments like banjos and acoustics with some of today's electronics to create a truly unique sound that brings the old-fashion sound of yesterday into today's music world.

Clawhammer's newest release came out in February of this year. Look for the band's next release to come soon. For more information on the band, please visit www.facebook.com/pages/Clawhammer/150015881747210 and to find out about other releases from Wee Rock Records, check out weerockrecords.com.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

CD Review: Lee Koch And Blake Morgan Dig Deep On New Albums

Singer/songwriter Lee Koch caught worldwide attention when he become one of the finalist on NBC's "The Voice," representing Christina Aguileria's team in season two. Now Lee is ready to release his new album, "Whole Heart," his first since his 2009 debut album, "Same As Blood." With his new release, you can hear the maturity in his songwriting as "The Voice" has made him into a better performer.
 
The new album leads off with the up-tempo Americana/folk sounding "Journey To Unfold." His voice is warm and comforting in "Trusty Branch," while his music is so laid back like a Jack Johnson tune. He shows off his knack for blues-folk on "Being Broke," then creates a hit single waiting to be discovered with "Shining On Me." Lee's songwriting goes deep into "Gun & Blessing" and "Breathe Deeply" and creates a truly wonderful love song with "Precious Gift." The album closes with the country stomp of "Celebrities" and the fun, classic sound of "Keepin' On."
 
Lee Koch's new album, "Whole Heart" will be self-released on August 27th and he has a bunch of dates out west. For more information, please visit leekochmusic.com.
 
Also, from fellow singer/songwriter Blake Morgan is his new album "Diamonds In The Dark." After Morgan's last two albums received such positive reviews, this new release has a lot riding on it.
 
He leads off with the acoustic strumming of "Water, Water Everywhere" as he relaxes you with his falsetto vocals and smooth musicianship. Morgan shows his Beatles influence on "I Can Hear You Say," then hits the right chord for pop rock stardom with "Best Bad Idea." His voice shines on "Don't Want To Let You Go" upon an acoustic backdrop, before closing with the meaningful ballad "So Scared And Happy."
 
Blake Morgan's latest album, "Diamonds In The Dark" was released at the end of July. To find out more, please visit http://www.ecrmusicgroup.com/artists/blake-morgan/.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Concert Review: Kiss Monster Tour Explodes At The Mohegan Sun Arena

The iconic, make-up wearing rock band Kiss have always put their fans first when performing live. Their shows have become more of an event than your typical rock concert. As the audience filed into the Mohegan Sun Arena last Saturday night, you couldn't help but see the hundreds of different Kiss concert shirts from past shows. Also, fans wearing the make-up of their favorite band member and each year, more and more kids are attending their shows to see and experience what their parents have loved for the past forty years.

A loud, booming voice screamed out "You Wanted The Best, You Got The Best! The Hottest Band In The World, Kiss!" This signaled the beginning of an experience that all in attendance would never forget. As the curtain fell, three members of Kiss appeared on top of a giant metal spider which lowered them to the floor as they began the night inviting you to their "Psycho Circus." Fireworks, explosions and fireballs quickly turned the night into a "fourth of July" spectacle and this was all during the first song. The band mixed in a few new songs ("Hell or Hallelujah," "Say Yeah") with the classic concert staples "Shout It Out Loud" and "Calling Dr. Love." Front man Paul Stanley was very interactive with the crowd, getting them involved with some "audience participation" tests. Each band member would have their time in the spotlight. Guitarist Tommy Thayer and drummer Eric Singer would be lifted twenty feet up from the stage as they shot fireworks into the belly of the giant metal spider. Not to be outdone, bassist Gene Simmons emerged onto a dark stage for his solo. As he pounded away on his bass, fake blood would rush down his chin. Then he would ascend forty feet in the air to the top of the spider to perform his theme song, "God Of Thunder." Next was guitarist/singer Paul Stanley's turn as he hopped on a cable that flew him across the audience to a stage in the back of the arena for a performance of "Love Gun." All of these feats would lead up to the show closer, "Rock And Roll All Nite." During the finale, Simmons and Thayer would be elevated over the audience on two giant platforms as Stanley smashed his guitar on stage. While this is going on, confetti blew all over the arena as the stage exploded all around Singer's drum set.

As Kiss continues to set the bar for how many explosions and fireworks one band can fit into a show, their music continues to be timeless as it passes on to the next generation of fans.

Setlist: Psycho Circus, Shout It Out Loud, Let Me Go Rock N Roll, I Love It Loud, Hell or Hallelujah, War Machine, Heaven's On Fire, Calling Dr. Love, Say Yeah, Shock Me/Outta This World, God Of Thunder, Lick It Up, Love Gun, Black Diamond, Detroit Rock City, I Was Made For Lovin' You, Rock And Roll All Nite

Saturday, August 10, 2013

CD Review: "Late Show" Bassist, Will Lee, Shows The "Love" On His Latest Album

William Franklin Lee IV better known simply as Will Lee will be releasing his first album of new material in 20 years. Will Lee is the bassist for David Letterman's "Late Show" band and even invites fellow band member Paul Schafer to lend a hand on his new release. The new album entitled "Love, Gratitude and Other Distractions" will be released on August 20 through Sinning Saint Ltd. and features some friends like ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons and Toto's Steve Lukather amongst others.
 
The album begins with the eighties rock groove of "Gratitude," but things quickly heat up as Billy Gibbons helps out on the vocals and guitar along with Allen Toussaint on piano during the dirty blues of "Get Out My Life Woman." Fourplay guitarist Chuck Loeb as some smooth jazz sounds along with keyboardist Oli Rockberger on "Fooled Him" as Lee's vocals lead the way. The album hits its peak on the six-plus minute "Shahara" as Lee incorporates some worldly sounds into the mix. Lee invites international pop superstar "Akiko Yano" to help him on the vocals of "1,2,3," before closing the album with the simple sounds of "Smile."
 
To find out more about Will Lee's new album "Love, Gratitude and Other Distractions," please visit willlee.com.

Friday, August 9, 2013

CD Review: Emblem3 Have "Nothing To Lose" On Debut Album

California pop/rock band Emblem3 recently released their debut album, "Nothing To Lose" on July 30 through Columbia Records. The trio of Wesley Stromberg, Keton Stromberg and Drew Chadwick first made their impact on the music world with their fourth place finish on Fox's show The X Factor. Judge Simon Cowell was so impressed with their sound that he singed them to his Syco Records label.
 
The eleven-song album begins with the island beats of "Just For One Day," which is the perfect summer anthem that all generations can enjoy. The album's first single "Chloe (You're The One I Want)" is pure pop as the song's dance beats are contagious and their sing-along chorus is also very infectious. Their smooth vocals enhance the hip-hop sound of "Nothing To Lose" before moving on to the more rock-oriented "Teen Kings." The album closes with a return of the island beats on "One Day."
 
Emblem3 are on a huge U.S. tour that began in mid-July and runs to the end of November. They recently performed on "The View" and will be appearing on 2013 Teen Choice Awards on August 11. To find out more about this quickly soaring band, please visit emblem3.com

Thursday, August 8, 2013

CD Review: A Couple Of Female Indie-Artists Looking To Hit The Charts

New, recently released albums from a couple of outstanding female independent artists are catching the attention of music critics everywhere. First up we have the new album from the Icelandic rocker Lara Runars, then we head to California with a new album from L.A. songstress Leerone.
 
Runars just released her fourth full-length album entitled "Moment." Runars is the daughter of one of members of the popular Icelandic '80's band Grafik and she has recently collaborated with singer/songwriter Damien Rice and also with her tour-mate Matt The Electrician. Her new album "Moment" was released in her home country of Iceland last year where it yielded three top singles and now she is looking to make an impact on the U.S. charts.
 
Her music on the opening songs "Beast" and "Breathing" have a dark, heavy guitar-fueled sound, but she shows her diversity on the dance beats of "She." The twelve song album mixes in all different styles of music, including the heavy drumming of "Victory" and the experimental sound of "Don't Wake Me Up." The album finishes up with the deep, dark lyrics of "I Wanna Know" and the vocal attack of "Overrated."
 
To find out more about Lara Runars, please visit her website at lararunars.com.
 
Next up is the new album from Leerone entitled "Heart Shaped Bullets." The album was produced by Chris Seefried (Fitz And The Tantrums) and featured at straight-up, classic rock sound as heard on the blazing "Suzanne" and the sultry "She's Your Bird." She flaunts her swagger on the rockabilly sounds of "Pleased To Meet" and showcases the sixties, girl-group vibe of "Feel." She gets her rock on for "Cherry Red," before finishing with the mellow sway of "Trouble."
 
Leerone's music has been featured on a number of television shows, including CBS' "The Ex-Factor," MTV's "The Real World" and TLC's "LA Ink." To find out more from Leerone, please visit her website at leerone.com.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

CD Review: New Underground Releases From Seattle's Green Monkey Records

The underground Seattle music label Green Monkey Records recently released a couple of albums that you will not find at your typical music store. First up is the full-length debut album from The OF entitled "Oh It's The OF." This twelve-song release combines the musicianship of Medeski, Martin & Wood with the jamband rock of Widespread Panic. Their songs are like epic, instrumental stories that move past the nine-minute mark as in "Sodo Monkey Pt 2" and the fifteen-minute album closer "Mystic Fishstick." It's when OF adds vocals to the songs that they seem out of place alongside these great jamming pieces of music. The one song that hits the mark is the heavy classic rock groove of "Down In The Basement."
 
The other new release from Green Monkey Records is from King Country Queens and their album brings together twelve guitar-lead rockers that do not fit the Seattle music stereotype. The trio relies on a surf-guitar backdrop, adding the perfectly vocals to fit the sound as in "Kids On The Farm." As long as they keep the tempo up like in "Road Flower Blossom," their sound is very attractive, its when they slow down for "Kelp Whip" and "You Get The Fear" that they lose that extra adrenaline push that their sound needs. The album closes with the mellow "A Tide Of String" that allows for some great guitar soloing.
 
To find out more about these two new releases and more from this underground music label, please visit greenmonkeyrecords.com.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

CD Review: The Civil Wars Return With Brand New Music

The Nashville, TN duo of Joy Williams and John Paul White, better known as The Civil Wars, will be releasing their sophomore self-titled album on August 6 through Columbia Records. This follows on the heal of their gold-selling, top 10 debut album, "Barton Hallow."
 
Now the duo are looking to recapture that success with their latest batch of songs, beginning with the album lead-single, "The One That Got Away." The song begins with the eerie acoustic strumming as Joy's gentle vocals takes you along for the ride of her wrenching lyrics. Producer Rick Rubin lends a hand producing the grunge-guitar blazing country-fueled "I Had Me A Girl," in which Williams and White trade vocal duties. The Civil Wars revert back to their gentle acoustic ways in "Same Old Same Old" and "Eavesdrop," before putting their soul in the slave chant of "Devil's Backbone." John Paul White lends his vocals to the Smashing Pumpkins' single "Disarm" as they slow the tempo down to get to the root of the song's deeper meaning. The album closes with the raw, acoustic "D'Arlene," which sounds as if you were in the studio along with them, sitting in on this recording session.
 
To find out more about The Civil Wars new self-titled album, please visit their website at thecivilwars.com.

Monday, August 5, 2013

CD Review: The Dead Daisies Are Ready To "Lock 'N' Load" For Debut

The debut album from one of hard rock's latest super groups, The Dead Daises, will see the light of day on August 13 through Spitfire Music. The new self-titled release features members of INXS, Guns N Roses, Whitesnake, Mink and Nine Inch Nails. They are also currently touring as part of the Rockstar Energy Uproar Festival with is kicking off on August 9th.
 
The Dead Daises waste no time getting down to business with the opener "It's Gonna Take Time" and Richard Fortus' guitar and Jon Stevens vocals blaze a trail with their performances. The title-song, "Lock 'N' Load" features a guest appearance from Slash as he lends his signature blues/rock sound to this up-tempo rocker. The boys flashback to the big seventies rock sound in "Washington" and have fun with the loose southern rock groove of "Yeah Yeah Yeah" and "Miles In Front Of Me." The Dead Daises slow the tempo down for the power ballad "Yesterday," before getting down and dirty on the guitar shuffle of "Bible Row" and "Tomorrow." The album closes with the hard rock of "Talk To Me" as the band end on a high note with the heavy drumming of Alex Carapetis.
 
The Rockstar Energy Uproar Festival runs until mid-September so make sure to visit thedeaddaisies.com for a complete run-down of dates and to find out more about this latest supergroup.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

CD Review: The Crystal Fighters And Alpine Bring Their New Music To U.S. Shores

A couple of bands looking to breakthrough to the U.S. mainstream are the European quintet The Crystal Fighters and the Australian sextet Alpine. Both bands released their albums back in May and have been featured in recent magazines and on television.
 
The Crystal Fighters' music on their new album "Cave Rave" rely heavily on club beats combined with a list of instruments including guitars, ukuleles, charango, txalaparta and txistu. Their sound is huge and welcoming on the opening song "Waves" as the beat moves you. They add a Latin flair to the rhythm of "LA Calling" and have fun with the island groove of "You & I." The Crystal Fighters show that they are not just about creating dance beats as they show-off their songwriting on the acoustic strumming of "No Man." The highlight of the album is the up-lifting sounds of "Bridge Of Bones" before the band returns to the fun Jamaican beats of "Love Natural." The album closes with the synthesizer-fueled "Everywhere."
 
The Crystal Fighters will be heading out on the road in November, touring around the U.K. To find out more about this this band, please visit crystalfighters.com.
 
Newcomers, Alpine are beginning their quest to take over the world with their debut album "A Is For Alpine." The band was recently featured in Rolling Stone magazine as one of the band's to watch in 2013 and their album has already caught the attention of their home country of Australia. Their music also experiments with dance beats and electronics as they fit into the club scene with "Lovers Pt 1 & 2" and "Hands." Their music also carries an eighties underline beat with an updated alternative pop appeal as heard in "Gasoline" and "Too Safe." They find a rock groove with "In The Wild," before closing the album with the pop beats of "Multiplication."
 
Alpine will be hitting the road at the end of September, playing half-a-dozen dates in their home country of Australia. For more information, please visit alpineband.com.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

CD Review: New Music From Fitz And The Tantrums And Surfer Blood

A couple of bands on the rise since their debut albums are the R&B pop/dance sounds of Fitz & The Tantrums and alternative rockers Surfer Blood. Fitz & The Tantrums released their latest album back in May and it has been climbing up the charts hitting #26 thanks in part to the album's lead single "Out Of My League" and an opening slot on Bruno Mars' latest tour.
 
The new album entitled "More Than Just A Dream" is full of dance/pop hits waiting to be discovered like the big beats of "The Walker." They find that perfect mix of a powerful chorus and dance floor grooves on "Spark," before continuing with a more classic R&B sound on "6am." The songs "Fool's Gold" and "Last Raindrop" seem prepped and ready for the clubs to turn them into dance-fueled anthems. The band does revert back to that classic R&B sound on "Get Away," before closing with the big chorus of "MerryGoRound."
 
Fitz & The Tantrums are mixing in some headlining dates along with their opening slot on Bruno Mars' tour. For more information on the band, please visit fitzandthetantrums.com.
 
The Florida-band Surfer Blood are looking to break-through with their latest album "Pythons" which was released back in June through Sire Records. The album was produced by Gil Norton (Pixies, Foo Fighters, Counting Crows) and has more mainstream appeal than their debut album.
 
The album is comprised of ten short, to-the-point songs that have a fun, raw, energetic appeal like in "Demon Dance" and "Gravity." The band also show a moody side on "I Was Wrong" as they draw a close similarity in style to the classic alternative band Weezer. The band put their heart into their music as you feel the love on the pop-punk sound of "Say Yes To Me." They give in to the slow-pop of "Needles And Pins" before returning to the guitar buzzing rock of "Slow Six" and the up-beat "Prom Song."
 
Surfer Blood just announced their 25-date U.S. fall tour. For more information about the band, please visit surferblood.com

Friday, August 2, 2013

CD Review: Rounder Records Revisits Some Classic George Thorogood And The Destroyers

Back in 1977, nobody gave the blues a shot of adrenaline like George Thorogood & The Destroyers. Their self-titled debut album and the follow-up "Move It On Over" would become the biggest of their career on Rounder Records and are now finally being reissued on CD. The two albums have been remastered from the original analog tapes and were released on July 30th through the original record label that released them over 35 years ago.
 
The first album is the set up album that introduced the work of this young guitar-slinger name George Thorogood. He and his band The Destroyers would turn some of these lost blues classics by the likes of Robert Johnson and Elmore James into newly discovered blues staples. Songs like "Madison Blues" and "Ride On Josephine" fit the young trio's sound perfectly. Thorogood also expands his electric blues guitar to the acoustic side with a powerful version of Johnson's "Kind Hearted Woman" and a the backwoods country of "John Hardy." The album revolves around the eight-plus minute story of John Lee Hooker's "One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer," which is still played on classic rock radio today.
 
Without skipping a beat, Thorogood & The Destroyers entered the recording studio the following year to create another truly exceptional blues album. Originally released in 1978, Thorogood honed his skills on the guitar and turned the blues classics "Move It On Over" and "Who Do You Love" into instant classic rock hits. The add their country-flavor to the album with a speedy version of TJ Arnall's "Cocaine Blues," which was made famous by Johnny Cash. The boys get down and dirty on their cover of Willie Dixon's "That Same Thing" and show their hearts on their sleeve on the heart-breaking blues of "I'm Just Your Good Thing." Thorogood & The Destroyers end the album with some blazing guitars solos in the instrumental "New Hawaiian Boogie."
 
George Thorogood & The Destroyers would go on to achieve bigger success with their 1982 album "Bad To The Bone," but these two first albums paved the way for blues to be a part of the classic rock world. To find out more about these releases, please visit http://www.rounder.com/artists/george-thorogood-and-the-destroyers.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

CD Review: Fleetwood Mac's "Rumours" Gets An Orchestral Makeover

One of the biggest selling, most famous classic rock albums gets a make-over provided by one of the more prestiges orchestras. This new release features "The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Plays Fleetwood Mac's Rumours." The album was recorded at the famous Abbey Road Studios and was released through Purple Pyramid, a division of Cleopatra Records.
 
The album plays in chronologic order, beginning with "Second Had News" as the RPO almost doubles the song's length in time to include a grand introduction to the music. It's hard to imagine some of the more popular songs done in a different way than what our ears have heard for the past 35 years, but they do an exceptional job with "Don't Stop" and "The Chain." The real treasures are how they breather new life into the lesser known classics like the tip-toeing of "Never Going Back Again" and the gentle acoustic sway of "Songbird." The album also features a couple of special guests included Sarah Jory on petal steel guitar during "You Make Loving Fun" and the great Peter Frampton on the big album closer, "Gold Dust Women."
 
The album was released on July 16. To find out more, please visit cleorecs.com/store/shop/royal-philharmonic-orchestra-plays-fleetwood-macs-rumours/.