Friday, January 31, 2014

CD Review: Noah Gundersen Looks Over "Ledges" While St. Paul & The Broken Bones Take "Half The City"

From the extreme Northwest comes the latest album from 24 year old singer/songwriter Noah Gundersen entitled "Ledges." This album was recorded at Stone Gossard's (Pearl Jam) Studio Litho in Seattle, WA and will be released on February 11 through his own label 80bpm. After growing up listening to Bob Dylan's gospel albums, Gundersen has combined a sexuality found quite often in today's music with the spirituality of his full-length debut to explore every avenue of religion. Gundersen has also performed songs for television shows like FX's "Sons Of Anarchy" and has written songs for "One Tree Hill" and "Vampire Diaries."

His latest album begins with the acapella reading of "Poor Man's Son," which shows a maturity to his songwriting well beyond his age. All his hard work will pay off as Gundersen should join fellow singer/songwriters Ryan Adams and Ray Lamontagne as some of the best singer/songwriters in today's music. Songs like "Boat House" and "Separator" have that welcoming feel that you just get lost in his words because the music matches so perfectly. His passion burns on the slow moving "Cigarettes," before wrapping things up with the lyrical lessons of "Time Moves Quickly."

Noah Gundersen will be hitting the road following the release of his new album "Ledges," beginning with a string of dates along the west coast. To find out more, please visit noahgundersenmusic.com.

From the deep south comes the debut album from the Alabama sextet St. Paul & The Broken Bones. The album entitled "Half The City" comes out February 18 through the Single Lock/Thirty Tigers label and was produced by Den Tanner (Alabama Shakes). The group brings back that pure, seventies sound of soul and gives it a big boost of energy.

The twelve-song release starts out with the slow blues of "I'm Torn Up." Then things begin to get funky on the jazzy-soul of "Don't Mean A Thing" as lead singer Paul Janeway pulls-off his best Al Green rant. The band finds that contagious groove on "Call Me," before slowing things down for the grind of "That Glow." St. Paul & The Broken Bones pull out all the stops on the passionate execution of "Broken Bones and Pocket Change," as if they were performing for their lives. They lighten the mood with The Four Tops sounding "Sugar Dyed," then pour their hearts out with "Dixie Rothko" and finish with the quiet stroll of "It's Midnight."

St. Paul & The Broken Bones will be heading out on tour beginning in February with a string of show in Florida before making their way northward. To find out more about this amazing new soul group, please visit stpaulandthebrokenbones.com.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

CD Review: New Imported Music From Australia and Spain

From down-under comes the latest EP from the Melbourne, Australian band Soop. Their 5-song EP, "Buffalo, Buffalo" is the band's debut release as they are heralded as one of the front-runners of the techno-folk movement.

Their music contains twenty minutes of new, fresh experimental pop, beginning with the slow-techno beat of "Ostrich of War." They look to expand your mind with the airy, ambient flow of "Follow The Leader," which leads into the light pop of "Air Balloons," before finishing up with the mellow sway of "Johnny Fine."

To check out Soop's new EP, "Buffalo, Buffalo," go to www.cdbaby.com/cd/soop2.


From Spain comes the jazz duo of Marcos Pin and Yago Vazquez with volume 1 of their ongoing series entitled "Duology." The concept behind the recordings is to redo some famous jazz standards strictly as a duo, whether Marcos performs with Yago or with a guest musician.

The first EP, "Duology: Volume 1" contains five songs that most jazz fans would be familiar with. Beginning with Miles Davis' "Donna Lee," the main focus is the amazing finger-work of guitarist Marcos Pin. The tempo slows down for the relaxing appeal of Thelonious Monk's classic "Blue Monk." The low tones of the slow-moving "You Don't Know" and the more up-tempo bebop feel of "Dewey Square" finishes the album all too quickly.

To find out more about the "Duology" series, please visit marcospin.es.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

CD Review: New Independent Music Coming From Seattle And Chicago

The Trouble Starts, a post-punk band from Seattle, returns with part two of their planned two EP release. Having released part 1, "East" back in August of 2013 (read review here: http://jpsmusicblog.blogspot.com/2013/07/cd-review-new-music-from-indie-bands.html) they will be releasing part two entitled "West" on February 25th, putting six months between releases.

Beginning with "Faulkner" the five-song EP gets off to a roaring start with grunge-like guitars that slowly builds to the songs conclusion. The Trouble Starts hits a mainstream alternative rock vein with "Bird In The Water" that has a great guitar line that moves the song along. Their music shifts to a more mellow, melodic feel on "Alexandria," before closing with the Coldplay-type remix of "Golden Silver" from their earlier EP.

To find out more about The Trouble Starts and their latest EP "West," please visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/DGHandTTS.


From Chicago comes the debut album from the alternative country band Martin Van Ruin, entitled "Every Man A King." While the name may be new, the members are from other local bands around the Chicago area. The album was recorded over the last year with Neil Strauch (Iron And Wine) and the way they all came together on this new release begs the question, "What took so long?"

Their sound on the opening song "Wilderness" instantly puts them in the category with Wilco, Ryan Adams and the Monsters of Folk. Their songwriting throws together elements of pop with folk and country to create a comforting feel to their music as in "Sayanora" and "Gold And Love And Gin." They finish up the album with the aggressive folk of "American Moon" and the eerie, slow-moving "Storm Coming," which has a slight pulse until the rock-type close.

Martin Van Ruin has one show on their schedule for the moment at the Hideout in Chicago. Their new album was released on January 6th and is available now through their website, martinvanruin.com.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

CD Review: New Music From Singers Scott H. Biram and Lydia Loveless

Bloodshot Records is releasing a double dose of singer/songwriters with the latest albums from Scott H. Biram and Lydia Loveless. February 4th is the expected date for Scott's fifth release from Bloodshot Records entitled "Nothin' But Blood." The album has Biram all over the map with the laid-back acoustic strumming of "Slow & Easy" to the plugged in electric rant of "Alcohol Blues." He finds his way into your heart with the meaningful "Never Comin' Home," before ripping it apart with the punk-like rawness of "Only Whiskey." The album carries that quick, one-take feel of the recording without any overdubs, similar to Johnny Cash's "American Recordings" album. He finishes up with the heavy metal howling of "Church Point Girls," the fuzz-filled "Around The Bend" and a dirty gospel cover of "John The Revelator."

Scott H. Biram will be hitting the road at the beginning of February with a string of dates along the west coast. To find out more about his new album "Nothin' But Blood," please visit www.bloodshotrecords.com/artist/scott-h-biram.

The second album is from the country rocker Lydia Loveless entitled "Somewhere Else" and will be hitting stores on February 18th. She has a distinct purpose on this release by being open and honest with herself and her music as in the opening track "Really Wanna See You." She pays homage to a fellow recording artist with the song "Chris Isaak," then hits that classic rock sound with her strong vocal delivery on "To Love Somebody." Her voice feels timeless with the Carole King sound-alike of "Hurts So Bad" and portraying Stevie Nicks on "Somewhere Else." The album closes with the uptempo country sway of "They Don't Know."

Lydia Loveless will be heading out on a two-month tour, beginning at the end of the month. To find out more about her new album "Somewhere Else," please visit www.bloodshotrecords.com/artist/lydia-loveless.

Monday, January 27, 2014

CD Review: A Couple Of New Music Stars Look To Make An Impact In The U.S.

From Europe comes a couple of new artists looking to find success in the U.S. with new albums. One is from rock's newest U.K. singer/songwriter Dmarco and the other is from rising Irish country sensation Derek Ryan.

Dmarco's debut album entitled "Hollywood Crush" will see the light of day in March. Dmarco is not a stranger to the music industry, having been around musicians most of his life, including his step dad who was a member of The Human League. The music bug caught a hold of Dmarco and he recently released his first single from the album, "Hollywood Crush." The song carries a contagious rock beat with pop lyrics that should catch the attention of radio listeners. Other songs from the album like "Those 3 Words" have a bigger rock sound, similar to Coldplay, while "Annabelle" has a more classic Journey rock feel. The song "Into The Sea" showcases the diversity in his performance with a more acoustic-pop appeal.

To find out more about Dmarco and his soon to be released debut album, please visit wearedmarco.com.

 

European country star Derek Ryan has already found multi-platinum success in his home country of Ireland and has hit the top of the charts in Japan. Now with a new album ("County Soul") available, Derek Ryan is looking to make an impact in the U.S.

His latest single, "100 Numbers" has a very welcoming, care-free, fun country-pop sound that could make his hugh fan base grow even larger. His songwriting and performance of "Leave A Light On For Me" has a very mature feel, while "Better Times A Coming" carries that classic "back porch" country sound. Derek pours his heart into his performance of the Aerosmith's hit single "I Don't Want To Miss A Thing" and shows little bit of his Irish side on "The Long Way Home" as his accent gives the song its authenticity.

To find out more about Derek Ryan and his latest release "Country Soul," please visit derekryanmusic.com.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

CD Review: Blow Up Hollywood Float On By With "Blue Sky Blond"

From New York comes the underground rock band Blow Up Hollywood with their seventh studio album "Blue Sky Blond." The album was released on January 7th and finds lead singer/guitarist Steve Messina taking the reigns on what could be their breakthrough album.

The near seven-minute opening track "Throw Me A Line" shows a talent for flying under the radar, while sounding similar to many of today's popular rock bands like Radiohead and Coldplay. They head into a more pop/rock direction on "Headed For The Sun," before opening up on the unforgettable sound of "Waiting For My Ship." Blow Up Hollywood have the perfect formula for success with "Shine," before experimenting with the slow burn of passion on "Desert Rose." The album finishes up with the gentle touch of piano on "Majorie" and again with the solo piano instrumental of "Blue."

Blow Up Hollywood will be performing at The Space in Hamden, CT on January 29 and in Kingston, RI on the 30th before making their way westward over the next couple of months. To find out more about Blow Up Hollywood and their latest release "Blue Sky Blond," please visit blowuphollywood.com.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

CD Review: Capitol/Apple Corp Ltd. Boxes Up The Beatles "U.S. Albums" To Celebrate 50 Years

It was 50 years ago on February 9, 1964 when the fab four invaded homes around the U.S. with their appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. Since then, music in the United States has never been the same. The impact The Beatles left on the young influential minds of this country can still be felt this day.

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of The Beatles first visit to the U.S., Apple Corps. Ltd/Capitol Records released a 13CD career spanning box set entitled "The U.S. Albums." It features the U.S. version each one of The Beatles' album that were given a different track listings and song mixes and artwork than that of its U.K. counterparts.

Beginning in 1964 with their U.S. debut album "Meet The Beatles!," each of the band's albums (with the exception of "The Beatles' Story" and "Hey Jude") gets presented in mono and in stereo. While many of these albums have appeared on CD in this arrangement before, three of them ("Yesterday And Today," "Revolver" and "Hey Jude") will be making their U.S. debut in this format. Even the banned "butcher cover" for the album "Yesterday And Today" will be available officially for the first time. Each CD artwork looks identical to the originally release, included the inner sleeves that promoted other Capitol artists of the time. Also included with the discs is a 64-page booklet that included photos and promotional art from the sixties. The sound on these discs is top notch and crystal clear and each album was Mastered for iTunes. They will also be available on CD individually for a limited time. Now American Beatles' fans can hear the original album they fell in love with.

To also kick off the 50th anniversary is an appearance of surviving members Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr performing together at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards show. Then, fifty years to the day of their appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show, on Sunday, February 9th, CBS will air a two-hour special "The Night That Changed America: A Grammy Salute To The Beatles." It features performances from Maroon 5, John Mayer, Keith Urban, John Legend, Alicia Keys and even the reunited Eurythimics.

The "U.S. Albums" box set is a must have for Beatles' fans, especially the long sought after "Hey Jude" album. To find out more about "The U.S. Albums" box set, please visit http://usalbums.thebeatles.com/.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Book Review: The Life Story Of Rick Nelson "Rock 'N' Roll Pioneer"

One of the founding artists of modern rock 'n' roll music is Ricky Nelson. His music, along with Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis, is who every artist can trace their music heritage back to. While everyone knows the life of Elvis Presley, not everyone may know the history behind Ricky Nelson. Now there is a book that gives you the complete story of his life entitled "Rick Nelson: Rock 'N' Roll Pioneer" by Sheree Homer. It was published in August 2012 by McFarland Publishing.

Author Sheree Homer does an outstanding job layering the facts between quotes and opinions in a very loving adoring way. Homer, who is a big fan of Rick Nelson, does not allow her opinions to dictate the life of Nelson as a performer, actor, father and husband.

His background is laid out perfectly, as everything is covered about his very famous parents as musicians and actors. Also mentioning his appearances on "The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet," during the early years of his youth. Then in 1957, Ricky Nelson's career begins to ascent into music stardom with the single "I'm Walkin'." Then, as Nelson's hits get bigger and bigger, he becomes a teenage idols to girls across the U.S. and rivals "The King" Elvis Presley on the music charts.

The book also discusses his switch to country pop/rock music where his music soared to new heights. Sheree explains the recordings of each of his hits and the success of his tours. The final two chapters discuss his untimely death in late 1985 and how his musical legacy has impacted thousands of musicians that have named Rick Nelson as an influence on their music. Also included is a complete discography of all of Nelson's recordings.

The book is sprinkled with photos, many of them are publicity stills supplied by Kris Nelson, but one shows how Nelson's good looks were the perfect image for early rock 'n' roll music. To find out more about "Rick Nelson: Rock 'N' Roll Pioneer," please visit mcfarlandpub.com.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

CD Review: Reverend Horton Heat Is Ready To "REV" It Up With New Album

One of the torch bearers for Rockabilly music has to be the Reverend Horton Heat. Since 1990 he, and his band, have become the originators of another musical genre, Psychobilly (which is the combination of Rockabilly music with punk or hard rock). His music has a huge underground following and many of his songs have appeared in some of the biggest selling video games of all time including "Tony Hawk's Pro Skater" and "Guitar Hero." His latest album, "REV" was recently released in January through Victory Records and features thirteen songs to get the heart pumping.

Things heat up quickly with the punk-like speed of "Victory Lap," which leads into the very definition of Psychobilly with "Smell of Gasoline." The Reverend Horton Heat does a great job mixing in fun, Halloween-type instrumentals like "Zombie Dumb" with the classic Rockabilly, fifties feel hop of "My Hat." They try to break the speed limit with the punk fury of "Let Me Teach You How To Eat," before finishing up with the alternative rock, made for radio song "Chasing Rainbows."

The Reverend Horton Heat is currently on the road, in support of the new album "REV." His tour runs until the end of June. For a complete list of dates and to find out more about the new album, please visit
reverendhortonheat.com.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

CD Review: New Heavy Metal Music From Scent Of Remains And Black Space Riders

From Tennessee comes the latest album from heavy metal band Scent of Remains entitled "Under A Blackened Sky." It is the band's second full-length album and was released through Pavement Entertainment. Since 2009, the band has combined their musical influences with their experiences on the road to create metal music that is a positive, high energy release.

The album dives right into "The Forfeit" with howling vocals and a guitar-riff fueled rhythm. The album hits a more mainstream hard rock groove on "Hold You Under." They keep their metal edge on "BTK," before lifting their foot off the gas pedal on the gentle acoustic "Wakefield." Scent of Remains quickly turns the energy back on with "This Present Darkness" and "Snake In The Grass," before closing with the darker sounds of "Unholy" and the quiet, two-minute instrumental "These Dying Days."

Scent of Remains has a few shows lined up in their home state. For more information on the new album, "Under A Blackened Sky," please visit scentofremains.com.

From Germany comes the heavy metal band, Black Space Riders with their third album "D:REI" to be released on January 24 through the BSR/Cargo label. The new album tells the story of total destruction and rebuilding a newer, better society.

The new release begins with the seven-plus minute simmering guitar-riff filled "Stare At The Water" that finds a pulse during the explosive chorus. They continue the story with the progressive metal buzzing of "Bang Boom War (Outside My Head)" and the slow burn of "Rising From The Ashes Of Our World." The album finds its first possible single with the mainstream metal groove of "Way To Me" and then pulls in their Black Sabbath influence on the aggressive "The GOD-Survivor." Black Space Riders hit the perfect metal bass groove on "Leave," before finishing up with another possible radio single with "Letter To A Young One" and the grunge of "The Everlasting Circle Of Infinity."

Black Space Riders have a few live dates at the end of the month in their home country of Germany. To find out more about their new album "D:REI," please visit blackspaceriders.com.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

CD Review: Vocalist Alexander Kariotis Likes His Opera With A Little More Rock

One of the most unique debut albums to be released this year has to be from operatic rocker Alexander Kariotis. He has been classically trained by vocal masters Arrigo Pola (the late Luciano Pavarotti’s voice teacher), Gianni Raimondi (La Scala, Italy), as well as Dan Marek, John Wustman and Nico Castel (Metropolitan Opera). He proudly displays his vocal talents on this release and invites jazz saxophonist David Sanborn and Darryl "DMC" McDaniels to also guest on his album. The album will be released on February 4th through Sony/Red label.

The album opens up with Kariotis blowing you away with his vocal talents on the grand rock ensemble of "No One Sleeps" and the more operatic "Save This Soul." The rock finally comes in on "Lennon In Heaven," which begins with children's voices showing an innocence and purity to the song's lyrics. His passion for opera comes shining through on the seven-plus minute "I Don't Love You Anymore" as the song closes with a hot electric guitar solo. The album finishes up with the smooth jazz sax of David Sanborn on the passionate "I Need You" and then changes gears for the pop appeal remix of "Hide The Tears," which features Darryl "DMC" McDaniels adding vocals to give the song an even bigger sound.

To find out more about this great new vocal talent, please visit www.alexanderkariotis.com/
.

Monday, January 20, 2014

CD Review: Prog-Rockers Transatlantic Journey Into The "Kaleidoscope"

One of progressive-rock's most exciting new bands of the last decade has to Transatlantic. The band, featuring Mike Portnoy (ex-Dream Theater), Neal Morse (ex-Spock's Beard), Roine Stolt (The Flower Kings) and Pete Trewavas (Marillion) have been heralded, since their beginnings, as modernizing the classic progressive rock sound. Their new album "Kaleidoscope" will be released on January 28th through Radient Records/Metal Blade Records followed by a world tour.

The new album contains only 5 songs. It begins with the opening twenty-five minute suite "Into the Blue," which brings up memories of the early days of King Crimson with its classic, non-overpowering journey through the music. It closes with the thirty-two minute title song that brings a grand finish to the album with its tempo changes and more aggressive rock feel. The middle of the album contains a few of the more traditional rock songs including the slow burning ballad "Shine" and the up-tempo classic rock of "Black As The Sky" which has everyone firing on all cylinders.

The new album will also be available as a 2CD set which includes a bonus CD of covers songs performed by the band. The tour kicks off on January 31st in the U.S. before they make their way over to Europe in March. To find out more about Transatlantic and their new album "Kaleidoscope," please visit transatlanticweb.com.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

CD Review: Bruce Springsteen Has "High Hopes" For His New Album

It is amazing to think that even Bruce Springsteen's outtakes or left-overs from other albums can be put together to make a truly exceptional album. His latest release "High Hopes" was released on January 14th and is headed straight to top spot on the album chart, being the first blockbuster release of 2014. The twelve songs that make up the album features past concert staples and cover songs that have held a special place in Bruce's heart and are now given new life with the help of guitarist Tom Morello (Rage Against The Machine).

The album begins with the title song "High Hopes" which was left over from Springsteen's "Blood Brothers" EP. The song has a more aggressive feel then the original and is given a pulse by Morello's experimental guitar work. One of the more well-known songs on this album is "American Skin (41 Shots)" which was only released in a live setting on the "Live In New York City" album, but gets its studio debut on this album. The song does not stray far from the live version and still hits home with the amount of violence still present in the world. The song "Down In The Hole" sounds like "I'm On Fire" part 2, while "Frankie Fell In Love" sounds like it came from his "Tunnel Of Love" solo days. You find most of Bruce's passion in the last three songs as he remakes one of his most well-written songs "Ghost Of Tom Joad," stretching it to almost the eight-minute mark. The album's liner notes thoroughly explains the meaning behind "The Wall," which was written back in 1998 after his visit to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C. The album closes with one of two cover songs, "Dream Baby Dream" was originally performed by the protopunk band Suicide, but Bruce takes a hold of this song an makes it one of his own as he performs it with a passion that has lasted throughout his forty year career.

Bruce Springsteen will be hitting the road, performing in Australia and South Africa before performing at the 2014 Jazz Festival in New Orleans in May. Guitarist Tom Morello will be filling in for the absent Stevie Van Zandt on this tour, so look for many of these songs to be performed live, some for the first time. To find out more about the new album "High Hopes," please visit brucespringsteen.net.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

CD Review: Jimbo Mathus Returns To Let Out The "Dark Night Of The Soul"

Singer/songwriter/guitarist and former frontman for the jazz/rock band the Squirrel Nut Zippers, Jimbo Mathus is preparing to release his latest solo album entitled "Dark Night Of The Soul." It is his second album on Fat Possum Records and will become available on February 18. Mathus stated that the recording of this album was very casual. He would just stop by the studio with a song idea and record it tape before making any adjustments. He ended up with over 40 songs, twelve of which made the cut of this latest release.

For those that not have heard from Mathus since his Squirrel Nut Zippers, may have noticed how his voice has weathered as in the slow-opening track "Dark Night Of The Soul." The song is like a welcoming introduction to the style of music Mathus is passionate about performing. He gets his southern rock groove going on "White Angel" and sounds a little like Chris Robinson of the Black Crowes on "Rock & Roll Trash." Songs like 'Writing Spider" and  "Casey Caught A Cannonball" come off like rock soul classics from the seventies, while his songwriting shines on the slow blues of "Tallahatchie." Mathus gets funky with the bass line groove of "Fire In The Canebrake," before finishing the album with the dark overtones of "Butcher Bird."

To find out more about Jimbo Mathus and his soon to be released new album "Dark Night Of The Soul," please visit his Facebook page at www.facebook.com/jimbomathus.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Book Review: Get Your Facts Straight With The 2014 World Almanac

One of the must have books that need to be in every household is "The World Almanac and Book of Facts 2014." By never having one before, I did not know what I was missing out on. This book contains over 1000 pages of facts and milestones the were captured in 2013, as well as a complete recap of the major events that happened in the nation between November 2012 to October 2013.

Some of my favorite sections are the "Surprising Facts," like how music LP sales have risen from one million copies sold in 2005 to over seven million copies in 2012. Another is the entertainment section that lists the top selling movies and albums from the past year and of all time. Singer Justin Timberlake, who graces the cover, had the top-selling album of the year, while "The Avengers" made their way into the records books. But that's not all, "The World Almanac" is broken down into ten sections that makes it easier to find that specific fact about sports, politics or health. Amongst the thin, black & white pages filled with facts are 16 pages of full color pictures portraying the year's highs and lows. The book also prepares you for the upcoming 2014 Winter Olympics by recalling some of the most memorable past Olympic events.

This book is the "bible" of world facts and has the most up-to-date information available to readers in hardcopy form. "The World Almanac And Book Of Facts 2014" was published back in November 2013 and is available everywhere, including an eBook edition. To find out more about this please visit worldalmanac.com.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

CD Review: Newest Americana Album Comes With All "The Whistles & The Bells"

It has been almost four years since singer/songwriter Bryan Simpson abandoned his former band Cadillac Sky during a tour, opening for Mumford & Sons. Now Simpson is looking to take on a new adventure with his latest musical endeavor, The Whistles & The Bells. The new self-titled album will arrive on March 4th, but the album's first single "Mercy Please" has already become a hit through RollingStone.com.

The album leads off with the single "Mercy Please," which finds Simpson all over the place, combining gentle acoustics with a reckless chorus that demands your attention. The band gets their rock groove going on "Transistor Resistor," incorporating pieces of Americana music amongst at raw, fierce backbeat. They hit the right mainstream vein with "Ghost Town" and could easily be mistaken for The Avett Bothers on "Canary Cage," before closing with the gentler folk side of "Last Night God Sang Me A Song."

To find out more about Bryan Simpson's new band, The Whistles & The Bells, please visit thewhistlesandthebells.com.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

CD Review: Bottle Rockets Reissues Bring Them To Connecticut

Making their way to Connecticut is the St. Louis-based, alternative country band The Bottle Rockets. They have a show scheduled for January 27 at StageOne in Fairfield with Marshall Crenshaw. They will be touring behind the newly released 20th anniversary 2CD deluxe edition reissue of the band's first two albums ("Bottle Rockets" and "The Brooklyn Side").

Both albums come newly remastered with bonus tracks and a 40-page booklet with brand new liner notes. Their self-titled debut album showcases the songwriting talent of Brian Henneman as the band transitions between the alternative rock of "Gas Girl" and country feel of "Wave That Flag." Their music is also raw and rebellious as in "Manhatten Countryside" and "Rural Route." The 13 bonus songs tacked on to their debut album map out the creation of their sound with the addition of six songs from their 1989 pre-Bottle Rockets alternative rock band, Chicken Truck. The real gems are the acoustic demos that include contributions from Jeff Tweedy (Uncle Tulepo, Wilco) and Jay Farrer (Son Volt).

The Bottle Rockets' second album "The Brooklyn Side" was a bigger commercial success and got the band a deal with Atlantic Records and a national tour. The songs are a little more polished and have less grit that made their debut album a cult classic. But the one thing that is consistent is the "tongue-in-cheek" humor of songs like "Idiot's Revenge" and "Take Me To The Bank." The album gets an additional six bonus tracks consisting of a few acoustic demos and a couple of songs recorded live a the Mercury Lounge in 1994.

To find out more about this newly released two-disc set that helped pave the way for alternative country music, please visit www.bloodshotrecords.com/album/bottle-rockets-brooklyn-side-reissue.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

CD Review: Sister And Monte Pittman Start The Year Off With New Albums

Record label, Metal Blade Records is entering the new year with a pair of highly anticipated releases from Swedish metal band Sister and the return of metal guitarist Monte Pittman.

The new album from Sister entitled "Disguised Vultures" will be released on January 21 and follows their critically acclaimed debut album "Hated." The new album begins with the strong attack of "My Enemy" as the music pounds in your brains. The first single "Sick" was released late last year and displays a rawness to their sound as the music and chorus make for a successful metal hit. They pull from their hard rock influences on the edgy, dirtiness of "Arise" and speed things up with the Marilyn Manson sounding "Slay Yourself." The album closes with the chugging, energetic arena rocker "(Stop The) Revolution" and the garage, punk-like feel of "Please Kill Me."

Sister has a few festival dates planned for overseas. To find out more about the new album "Disguised Vultures," please visit sisterofficial.com
 

Guitarist/singer Monte Pittman is not new to the music industry. For over ten years he has been the lead guitarist for Madonna and released his debut solo album back in 2009. His solo career has been slowly building to the release of his Metal Blade Records debut "The Power Of Three."
 
The new release quickly shows off Pittman's skills on the guitar with the electrifying display on "A Dark Horse." He combines the speed of thrash metal with the grand mainstream hard appeal on "Delusions Of Grandeur," then expands his sound on "Blood Hungry Thirst" to incorporate a progressive-metal attack. He brings the energy on the thunderous six-minute "Before The Mourning Sun" which features Alex Skolnick (Testament) and Chris Barnes (Six Feet Under), before closing with the classic heavy metal sound of "Missing" and the epic 13-minute guitar driven "All Is Fair In Love And War."

Monte Pittman has one show scheduled for February at the Whisky A Go Go. To find out more about his new album "The Power Of Three," please visit montepittman.com
.

Monday, January 13, 2014

CD Review: New Extended Plays From A Few Independent Musicians

Here are some new underground EPs making their way onto the Internet. The genres range from singer/songwriters to death metal to alternative/grunge music.

First up is Brooklyn singer/songwriter Barsheem with his latest 5-song EP entitled "A Major EP." His influences draw from R&B, Pop  and Soul music as heard on the smooth sound of the opening track "If This World Were Mine." He gets his groove going on the up-tempo dance feel of "Need You In My Life," before closing with addictive pop of "(White World, Black World) Find Happy," which draws from Barsheem's influences of Marvin Gaye and Michael Jackson.

To find out more about this new artist, please visit barsheemsounds.com.

Next up is the 3-song EP from U.K. grunge rockers Loving Forty-Four. While it was released almost a year ago, the band are beginning to get noticed for bringing the Seattle grunge of Nirvana and Mudhoney to the U.K. They buzz through the opening song "Glenda Needs Her Bottle" as they perfectly capture that now classic alternative rock sound. The guitar buzz and monotone vocals flow through the entire ten-minute album, closing with the strong bass line of "Poppy."

To find out more about Loving Forty-Four, please visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/LovingFortyFour
.
Finally we get to the latest release from Swedish Death Metal band Mist of Misery. Their new EP entitled "Temple Of Stilled Voices" has become a work-in-progress as the band have released samplings from the new album on YouTube. The darkness of the vocals and the change in tempo keeps the eight-minute songs interesting especially in the slow burn of the title song and the more aggressive sound of the single "Window Mirror Image."

To stay up-to-date with the new release from Mist of Misery, stay tuned to their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/MistofMisery.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

CD Review: Progressive Rockers Imagery Start Their "Inner Journey"

From south of the equator comes the Brazilian progressive-rock band Imagery with their debut album, "The Inner Journey." The band came together in 2008 from the ashes of former metal bands G.A.F. and Revolt to create new music that had the technicality of prog-rock with the aggressiveness of heavy metal.

The album begins with the instrumental introduction of "Fourth Street" which showcases the talent of this band. They change tempos on the six-minute adventure of "Imagery" and continues with the more metal appeal of "Perception." They add some up-tempo thrash metal to "Start The War," but also display their softer, more sensible side on "Show Me." The album closes with the epic eight-minute rocker "Last" that gives Imagery the perfect blend of progressive metal music.

To find out more about this new rising hard rock band, please visit imageryprog.com.br.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

CD Review: Holly Golightly & The Brokeoffs Losen Up On New Album

From Georgia comes the latest release from the Americana/roots rock of Holly Golightly & The Brokeoffs. Their new album entitled "All Her Fault" will be released on March 4 through Transdreamer Records and takes their music in a different direction then their previous releases.

The twelve songs that make up the new album have a natural, raw, first-take feel that gives the music a very real, authentic sound. Beginning with their displeasure of Salt Lake City, the song "SLC" gets things headed in a country roots direction. The song "For All That Ails You" has a bluesier feel as Holly and Lawyer Dave (The Brokeoffs) pour their all into this performance. They pick the tempo up with a punk-rock pace for "Can't Pretend," before settling back into the country saloon sound of "Bless Your Heart." Holly Golightly & The Brokeoffs put their stamp on a drunkers' plee with "Don't Shed Your Light," then finish up with the slow blues of "Perfect Mess" and the rockabilly fun of "King Lee."

Holly Golightly & The Brokeoffs will be bringing their new album on tour beginning April 10 in Greenville, SC. For a complete list of tour dates and to find out more about the new album, please visit hollygolightly.com.

Friday, January 10, 2014

CD Review: The Good Romans "Open The Door" To Some New Music


The Finnish duo of Ilari Filander on Guitar and Jussi Miettola on drums and electronics have recently released their new album as the Good Romans. The new release entitled "Open The Door, Never Look Back" was made available digitally at the beginning of December through Finnish Explosions.

The new nine-song album begins with the slow-building strum of "Ode For Spar," but quickly turn on their free-form jazz/rock in "It's Just That...I Don't Love You Anymore." The album slowly moves along with the "Smiling No," before the frenzied feedback of "Moha Rave." The album finishes with the smooth guitar-jazz of "Alma Mater" and the ambient keyboards of "Open This Door, Never Look Back."

To find out more about Good Romans and their new album, please visit goodromans.com.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

CD Review: Heavy Metal Band Throwdown Find "Intolerance" On New Album

From California comes the latest release from the hardcore heavy metal band Throwdown entitled "Intolerance." The album will be released on January 21 through eOne Music and is the band's first album of new material in five years. Vocalist Dave Peters stated that this is going to be a "hard record for longtime fans."

Throwdown come blasting out of the gate, starting off with a quick two-minutes of hard-hitting, in your face, metal with "Fight or Die." They find the perfect metal groove with the guitar riff-filled "Avow," before attacking your eardrums with the machine-gun drumming of "Hardened By Consequences" and the vocal screams of "Defend With Violence." Peters howling vocals in "Cut Away" followed by the buzzsaw guitars of "Intolerance" is the perfect one-two punch of metal power on the album. They finish up with fist-pumping mainstream hard rock sound of "Born And Buried Alone" and the final blast of energetic furry with "Condemned To Live."

To find out more about Throwdown and their new album "Intolerance," please visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/throwdownOC.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

CD Review: Talented Musicians Come Together For The Hard Working Americans

New from Melvin Records and Thirty Tigers Records is the self-titled debut album from Hard Working Americans. The band could be considered a super-group as it includes acclaimed singer/songwriter Todd Snider, Widespread Panic bassist Dave Schools, Ryan Adams guitarist Neal Casal, Great American Taxi keyboardist Chad Staehly and King Lincoln drummer Duane Trucks (brother of guitarist Derek Trucks). The eleven tracks that make up the album are reinterpretations of songs that relate to the working man and are sequenced to tell the story of a typical day for everyday working Americans.

The album begins with the southern rock shuffle of "Blackland Farmer" which was made famous by country musician Frankie Miller back in 1959. The bluesy sway of Kevin Gordon's "Down To The Well" and the up-tempo rocker "Stomp And Holler" shows the diversity in the Hard Working Americans performances. The highlight of the album has to be the near six-minute slow building Drivin' 'N Cryin' song "Straight To Hell" as you feel the passion in Snider's vocals. The album closes with the slow burn of "I Don't Have A Gun" and the gentle heartfelt acoustics of Gillian Welch's "Wrecking Ball."

The Hard Working Americans have shows scattered through the U.S. during January. To find out more about this band and their debut album, please visit thehardworkingamericans.com.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

CD Review: Mogwai Looks To Expand Their Sound On "Rave Tapes"

From Scotland comes the latest release from post-rock band Mogwai. The new album, "Rave Tapes" will be released on January 21 through Seattle's Sub-Pop label.  This will be the band's eighth studio album and continues Mogwai's transition to the U.S. charts.

The ten-song release starts out with the ambient keyboard instrumental "Heard About You Last Night," before stretching out on the smooth progressive rock of "Simon Ferocious." The album's first single, "Remurdered" showcases a darker, early Pink Floydian side to their experimentation and continues with the eerie voice overs on "Replenish." The most accessible song on the album is the gentle airy piano-led "Blues Hour," which is one of the few songs featuring vocals. They close with the electronic, computer voiced soundscapes of "The Lord Is Out Of Control."

Mogwai are beginning their tour with a string of dates in Europe and Japan before making their way to the U.S. in April. To find out more, please visit mogwai.co.uk.

Monday, January 6, 2014

CD Review: New Breakthrough EPs From Western Avenue And The Loomis Fargo Gang

From Ontario, Canada comes the country music trio Western Avenue with their latest self-titled release. The group was nominated this past year for the Best Duo or Group category at the 2013 Ontario Country Music Association. The single "Wherever You Are" is already invading the U.S. country/roots charts and the band will be hitting a couple U.S. stops on their current tour.

The seven-song EP begins with Nikki English on lead vocals for "This I Promise You." Their sounds mirrors Lady Antebellum at times, as their hit single "Wherever You Are" has a strong, memorable chorus. The trio pour their hearts into the ballad "Without Saying Bye," before throwing some rock n roll into their country sound on "Heaven Bound."

To find out more about this quickly rising new country band, please visit their website at www.westernavenue.ca/index.html.


From Virginia comes the airy, folk sounds of The Loomis Fargo Gang with their latest album "The Prettiest Shade of Blue." The album was released this past summer and was recently nominated for Best Americana Album by VEER Magazine.

The eight-song EP starts out with the gentle sound of "Seventeen White Azaleas" as their music and words bring you on a relaxing journey. The laid, back acoustics of "Trampoline" are a great introduction to their country/folk appeal, before the quick acoustic story of "Birds." The highlight of the album has to be the slightly up-tempo "Tootsie And The Breeze" with its fun, skat-like chorus. The album closes with the sweet two-minute "Picking Blueberries," which puts your mind at ease with the mellow acoustic strumming.

To find out more about The Loomis Fargo Gang, please visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/TheLoomisFargoGang.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

CD Review: Roosevelt Dime Come At You With A "Full Head Of Steam"

From Brooklyn, NY comes Dixieland jazz band Roosevelt Dime presents one of the first breakthrough independent albums of 2014 with "Full Head Of Steam." Their sound combines that classic New Orleans sound with a modern folk/Americana feel. The new album will be released digitally on January 14th and physical copy will become available on March 4th.

The dozen songs that make up the new release, begins with the fun, foot-stomping pop-folk of "Oh To Be," which features the Punch Brothers' Chris "Critter" Eldridge on guitar. The female lead vocals of Molly Venter along with Red Molly mixes things up on "Down On Your Luck," before reaching a fuller folk/rock sound on "Calvary." The band gets loose on "I Want Mo!" and gets down and dirty with the horn-filled, R&B flavor of "Now There's You." Roosevelt Dime put their stamp on the traditional "St. James Infirmary" and add an up-tempo, party spin to "Deep Elem Blues." The album closes with the band's title-song "Roosevelt Dime" as they finish with a chorus that makes sure you remember the band's name.

They will be appearing in Putnam, CT on January 24 and Westport, CT on January 25 to start out the new year. To find out more about this fun, new and exciting album from Roosevelt Dime, please visit rooseveltdimemusic.com.

Also just released in physical form at the beginning of the new year is the 20-song compilation "New Arrivals, Vol. 5: Artists For Hurricane Sandy Relief." It was released digitally in October for the one year anniversary of the super storm that damaged the northern east coast. Appearing on this album are rising artists as well as some established ones that just wanted to be a part of this benefit album. New songs from Paula Cole, Antigone Rising, Rachel Sage and the U.K.'s Polly Paulusma, join rising artists Ari Hest, Lucy Wainwright Roche and A Fragile Tomorrow on this exciting benefit album. 100% of the proceeds of this compilation go towards the following charitable organizations: The Red Hook Initiative, Project Hospitality Staten Island Hurricane Relief Fund and Greybeards.

To find out more, please visit newarrivalscd.com.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

CD Review: The Luck Of Eden Hall Give Us Their Unique Brand Of Music With "Victoria Moon"

From Chicago comes the return of The Luck Of Eden Hall with a brand new album entitled "Victoria Moon." The new album is packed with fresh new psychedelic, mind-bending sounds that The Luck Of Eden Hall have been working to perfect for the last 25 years.

The new album kicks off with the sixties pop style of "Sassafras Overcoat" as they begin their journey. The crazy mix of keyboards and Nirvana-grunge guitar on "Queen Of The Stars" gives the band's music a more edgier rock sound, before turning around for the floating music notes of "Victoria Moon." The effects-filled "Zap" is two-and-a-half-minutes of nostalgic pop with more aggressive instrument experimentation. The slow moving "Blood On My Feet" shows the delicate progress to their songwriting, before closing with the mind-bending rocker "The Horrible Pill Book."

For more information on The Luck Of Eden Hall and their new album "Victoria Moon," please visit theluckofedenhall.com.

Friday, January 3, 2014

CD Review: A "Return To Memphis" Inspires New Album From Joey Molland

The legendary band, Badfinger had a string of hit albums and singles between 1969 to 1974 while on The Beatles' Apple Records label. One of the ingredients to their success with singer/guitarist Joey Molland, who also appeared on albums for George Harrison and John Lennon. He released his first solo album in 1983 and finally returned in 2013 to release his fifth and latest solo album "Return To Memphis."

The ten tracks that make up the new album show a classic rock artist who can still produce some timeless classic rock music. He begins with the slow jaunt of "Walk Out In The Rain," which showcases his weathered voice. Molland picks up the tempo on "A Love Song," that features some great backup support on the chorus. He shows a little bit of his guitar prowess on "Ship To Mars," then explodes on the six-and-a-half minute "Got A Feeling." The album finishes up with the blues shuffle of "All I Need Is Love" and the electrifying "Still I Love You."

To find out more about Joey Molland's new album "Return To Memphis," please visit www.badfingersite.com/mon-dec-2nd-official-release-date-for-joey-mollands-return-to-memphis-cd/.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

CD Review: Adam Zwig's New Album "Shimmers" With New Songs

From Portland, OR comes the latest release from singer/songwriter Adam Zwig. His new album "Visions of the Shimmering Night" was produced by Grammy Award winners Stuart Sikes (Loretta Lynn, The White Stripes) and David Bianco (U2, Tom Petty, Johnny Cash). His music has been featured on television shows for Fox Sports, Fuel TV and NBC and has been compared to the likes of Bob Dylan and Neil Young.

The new twelve song release begins with the safe stroll of "Everybody Love" and the painted picture of "Waiting On Heaven (To Make A Move)," in which Zwig sounds similar to fellow songwriter Ryan Adams. You can't help but feel comfortable with the gentle folk/rock of "When All The World Was In Love" and "So Glad." His voice has an originality to it in "I Remember You," also sounds like you've known and listened to him for quite some time. The album closes with the acoustic "I Shall Be," that draws similarities to the younger Bob Dylan with his vocal delivery and a reprise of "Waiting On Heaven (To Make A Move)."

Adam Zwig is already preparing his follow-up album which is due out later this year. To find out more about this independent singer/songwriter, please visit adamzwig.com.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

DVD Review: Vangelis Brings You Along For A Journey With New Documentary

Greek music legend Vangelis is finally getting the recognition he deserves in the new full-length documentary "Vangelis And The Journey To Ithaka." The DVD was released back in November through Gonzo Multimedia and gives respect to one of the most amazing movie composers ever. Not only did he compose music scores for some of the most famous movies of all time ("Chariots Of Fire," "Blade Runner," "Alexander"), but he also created some beautiful music with fellow classical musicians, opera singers and even rock stars.

The documentary shows the respect that fellow musicians, directors and actors have for Vangelis through newly recorded and archival interviews. Also included are clips to some of his greatest recorded moments like "Mythodea" and the opening ceremony of the 1997 World Games in Athens Greece. He was also a part of last summer's Olympic Games ceremony in London. The documentary gives us insight into his studio and how he composes this outstanding music with being about read or write it.

The images on the DVD are breathtaking and the perfect backdrop for Vangelis music, especially as he describes his upbringing and his parents escape during the Nazi regime. Vangelis' fifty years in music is displayed wonderfully in the two hour documentary. To find out more about this must-see DVD, please visit www.gonzomultimedia.co.uk/search/product_details/15580/Vangelis-Journey_to_Ithaka.html.