From the west coast comes the sophomore solo release from former Alice Cooper and Flo & Eddie bassist Erik Scott. He released his debut album, "Other Planets" in 2009 and his new album "And The Earth Bleeds" was released on May 8th of this year. Erik's latest love is creating world sounds that incorporates many different aspects of music from around the world, beginning with the Middle Eastern ambient instrumental "Gypsy Mother And The Royal Bastard." The Scottish/European flavor of "Free" allows the vocals of Ana Maria Botero to soar, while Scott's voice on "Loco Amour (If I Could Be Crazy)" mirrors an older David Bowie while the music just eases your mind. The album finishes up with the Gaelic feel of "Run" and the airiness of the epic sounding "The White Mouse." To find out more about Erik Scott and his latest album "And The Earth Bleeds," please visit erikeskiscott.com.
Also returning is the "Intelligent Music Project" featuring Simon Phillips and Joseph Williams from the band Toto and John Lawton, formally from the band Uriah Heep. Their first collaboration began in 2012 and was so well received, they quickly entered the studio to create "My Kind O' Lovin'," their follow-up album. The new thirteen song release certainly lives up to the expectations with a great classic rock single in "Friends," which contains great harmonies and great lyrics. They rock out with the seventies vibe of "No One Can Deny It" and "Get Into Real." The vocal collaboration of Lawton and Williams is the perfect match on the gentle acoustics of "Simple Game" and on grand piano ballad "Things We Can't Do." The build up of "Love Song" is a classic rock masterpiece, while "Step In Learning" sound like a lost Toto outtake from the eighties. The album closes with the guitar driven, six-and-a-half minute epic feel of "Conclusion." To find out more about this latest project among these great artists, please visit www.mykindoflovin.com.
There are loads of independent music acts hitting the airwaves this year. Hear are some that you need to check out. First up, from Austin, TX comes the trio 3D Friends with their "Summer Break EP." Lead singer/songwriter Dan C. Wright began getting noticed back in 2010 when one of his songs was selected by MTV as the theme to their show "Skin." Since then, his music has been featured on 14 different shows on MTV as well as shows on NBC, Bravo and CMT. In 2011, he teamed up with two of his best friends to create 3D Friends. The new 5-song EP hits the bullseye for the radio-friendly pop market with the dance beats of "All Right" and the uptempo, modern rock of "Dark Land." Their most interesting song is "Out Of Your Way" as the music just simmers without the need to be in your face. To find out more about 3D Friends, please visit 3d-friends.com/home.html.
Next, from New York City comes the funk/rock of The Cosmonauts with their latest release "Take Me To Your Leader." Their music has a smooth seventies vibe to is as in the song "Tar & Feather," while the mellow "Space & Time" builds into a Prince-like funk. The highlights of the album are smack dab in the middle as you groove to the Jamaican island feel of "Reggae Is Vile" and get your lounge coat on for "Bossa Nova." The album closes with the out-of place country rock of "Sweet Juanita" and their return to the seventies funk of "Mr. Elephant Man." To find out more from The Cosmonauts, please visit cosmonautradio.com/. From San Francisco, CA comes the progressive, space rock of the latest release from Impuritan entitled "Make It Look Like Nothing Happened." The album (and the band) warm up with the two-and-a-half minute exploration of "Monster Acolyte." The band wastes no time experimenting with different sounds (think early Pink Floyd) on "Wax/Wane" and rhythms of "Show Us Your Hidden Dagger." One of the few songs with lyrics is "Sun Goblins," which has a pyschedelic, mind-expanding tone as you try and follow along. The album finishes with the six minute journey of "Primeval Circles" and the feedback fueled "The Only Way Out." To find out more about Impuritan, please visit impuritan.net/.
Last, but not least, we have the latest EP from pop singer Nick Deutsch entitled "Crazy Ride." Nick certainly has his finger on the pop pulse as his song "Green Light" captures the youthfulness of today's digital music listeners. His "made for radio" hit comes in the form of a duet with American Idol finalist Marissa Pontecorvo on "The Static," but the highlight of the album is the slow build-up of "Crazy Ride." To find out more about Nick Deutch, please visit nickdeutschmusic.com/.
Italian heavy metal record label Cruz del Sur Music is rolling out some exciting new albums from Vestal Claret, Battleroar and Darkest Era. Beginning with the U.S. metal occult band Vestal Claret, their music has that classic British heavy metal feel. Their new album "The Cult Of Vestal Claret" was release on May 6th on CD and on vinyl, both with different track listings. The music motors through on the intense feel of "Three And Three Make Six," while "Great Goat God" takes its time with the Sabbath-sounding onslaught. Although their lyrics may be dark and disturbing, their sound is hard to resist on the energetic attack of "Piece Of Meat" and the sixteen minute doom metal masterpiece "Black Priest."
Also available on May sixth was the latest release from Battleroar, "Blood of Legends." Beginning with the acoustic sounds of "Stormbringer," the band place you in the medieval period, before blasting your eardrums with "The Swords Are Drawn" as you prepare for battle. Their grand sound has brought them fame in their home country of Greece as they look to carry their success to the U.S. with songs like "Poisoned Well" and "The Curse Of Medea." The power drumming of "Chivalry" and the progressive metal feel of "Exile Eternal" is sure to draw a new legion of fans.
Finally we get the new album from Darkest Era with their Cruz del Sur Music debut "Severance." The album will be released on June 3rd and has the band perfecting their "Celtic Metal" sound. The energetic opener "Sorrow's Boundless Reign" displays a veteran band that is still out to prove their dominance. The shear force of "Songs Of Gods And Men" and "Trapped In The Hourglass" along with the mainstream metal of "Beyond The Grey Veil," should make this the biggest selling album for Darkest Era.
Universal Music Enterprises along with Verve Records is celebrating the 50th anniversary of one of the landmark albums of jazz. On May 27th, music fans can enjoy the newly remastered version of the bossa nova jazz masterpiece "Getz/Gilberto." When it was released back in 1964, it won four Grammy Awards including "Album of the Year" and spawned the #1 single "The Girl From Ipanema."
This new release of the album features, for the first time on CD, a remaster from the original, first-generation master tapes. This new eighteen-song release includes both the correct stereo and mono versions of the album, as well as the two mono singles of "The Girl From Ipanema" and "Corcovado." The sound on this album is exquisite as you feel the deepness of the Joao Gilberto's voice in "P'ra Machucar Meu Coracao" which is full and strong, while Getz's horn floats on top. The love exchange between Gilberto and his wife Astrud on "Corvovado" is a sweet piece of classic jazz as pianist Antonio Carlos Jobim can just melt your troubles away with his performance. Even though the entire album is repeated twice (in mono and in stereo), the music is so good that it is worth listening to over and over again.
The 50th anniversary edition of this essential jazz album out now at amazon.
Back in 1974, four guys got together with a purpose of being the loudest, weirdest, most rocking band on the planet. They would do anything for their fans, like wear make-up, breathe fire, spit blood, smash guitars. Their outfits are still outrages by today's standards and they have one of the most common band names in history. I'm talking about KISS! The band is celebrating their 40th anniversary in a big way.
They were finally inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame, they made the cover of "Rolling Stone" magazine for the first time in their careers and they are blowing out the biggest vinyl release in history. Beginning back in April, Kiss rolled out the first batch of KISS vinyl with ten newly remastered albums pressed on 180-gram heavyweight vinyl. The next batch of vinyl will be released on May 27th. It includes some albums that have never been released on vinyl before, including "Alive: The Millennium Concert" and "Carnival of Souls: The Final Sessions." Also arriving on May 27th is their first career spanning greatest hits set that includes one song from each one of their albums, plus three newly released live songs and a previously unreleased demo. The forty song greatest hits release entitled "KISS 40" mixes together many well-known hits with selections that long-time fans and collectors will also find interesting. The two demos are the highlights of the first disc. The Paul Stanley vocals of "God Of Thunder (demo)" show a pop direction for the song, and is a questionable addition to this collection with so many other great outtakes that could have been included. The other demo is for the unreleased song "Reputation," which has Gene Simmons and the band still feeling their way through the song. The chorus seems simple and repetitive, but the song shows great insight in developing these classics. The second disc of the set includes eight live songs alongside 10 studio hits from the band's last eight studio albums. Some of these live songs are making their official debut on this release, including "Deuce" (from 2004), "Cold Gin" (from 2009) and "Crazy, Crazy Nights" (from 2010). The exceptional thing about this release is that it plays through chronologically, but is a little erratic mixing together demos with hits and live songs as the Universal Music Group try to please every level of KISS fan.
The major release comes in the form of "The Ultimate Vinyl Road Case." It houses all 19 studio albums, the 5 officially released live albums, the 4 original solo albums and 6 exclusive titles that will only be available in this set. Each of these albums was newly remastered and pressed on 180-gram vinyl. Extras in the set include eleven 11”x17” archival posters, including the band’s very first promo poster; a KISS vinyl cleaning cloth; a KISS turntable mat; a set of KISS dominoes; four band lithographs highlighting four decades of the band; and a certificate of authenticity displaying the limited edition number for each of the individual box sets. To find out more about this insane new release, please visit myplaydirect.com/kiss.
KISS is also touring this summer with fellow rockers Def Leppard. The tour begins on June 3rd and runs to the end of August. For a complete list of dates and for more information on these new releases, please visit kissonline.com/news/title/40th.
From Chicago comes the eighth studio album from "jamband" rockers Umphrey's McGee entitled "Similar Skin." Their studio albums have grown in popularity, introducing a legion of new fans into the live world of Umphrey's McGee. Their live shows are the driving force behind the band as they continue to tour year after year. The popularity of their live shows is due to their creative "jamming" and the band changes their setlist from night to night.
The new album begins with the funky bass drive of "The Linear" as the tempo begins to quickly pick-up with the fast-pace guitar of "Cut The Cable." Umphrey's McGee like to extend their sound beyond the typical rock genre, as they venture into the pop territory with "No Diablo." Their music gets a little more aggressive on the title track, before slowing down for the mellow groove of "Puppet String." Two of the albums highlights come at the end, the highly contagious sing-along chorus of "Loose Ends" and the fantastic musicianship of the nine-minute "Bridgeless."
Umphrey's McGee will be hitting a bunch of upcoming festivals including Mountain Jam, Bonnaroo and Gathering Of The Vibes. For a complete list of tour dates and for more information on the new album, please visit umphreys.com.
The rock band Battleme found success even before releasing their debut album. The song "Burn This Town" was featured in season 2 of the FX hit show "Sons Of Anarchy." Their cover of Neil Young's "Hey, Hey, My, My" hit the top 20 on the rock singles chart, setting the stage for America's newest indie rock band to take off into the mainstream. While Battlme's debut album received rave reviews, it did very little on the music charts, except for the break-out single "Touch." Now with a brand new album entitled "Future Runs Magnetic," Battleme look to build their success one album at a time. The album's first single "Just Weight" hits a alternative rock groove, while having a heavy guitar feel that really motors the song's energy. The band picks up the pace on the quick rhythm of "I Know," before slowing down for the dream-like appeal of "Nights On A Strand" that builds to the chaotic solo before relaxing once again. The rock anthem "We Are Underground" and the pounding rhythm of "I Am A Lighting Bolt" showcase the strength of this band's music as you get wrapped up in their energy. The album closes with the mainstream rock of "Easy Comes Riding" which feels out of place amongst these other heavy rockers.
Battleme are beginning their two-month tour on June 5 out in Seattle, WA. For a complete list of dates and for more information on the new album, please visit battleme.tv.
From Cleveland, OH comes the indie-rock band Cloud Nothings with their forth album "Here And Nowhere Else." It was released on April 1st through Carpark Records and showcases the band's raw garage rock sound. Beginning with the punk-like fury of "Now Here In" and continuing with the aggressive attack of "Quieter Today," their music is very contagious. Their sound works so well away from the mainstream radio as "Just See Fear" blows you away with it sheer force of energy. The band work their way through the seven-minute tempo changes of "Pattern Walks" as it sounds, at times, as if they are destroying their instruments. The album finishes up with the most radio-friendly song on the album "I'm Not Part Of Me," which sounds like early Clash.
The California funk/rock band War began 45 years ago, breaking into the music charts with the top 20 album "Eric Burdon Declares War." The band is known for many of their classic hits like "The Cisco Kid," "Why Can't We Be Friends" and "Low Rider." Their last studio album "Peace Sign" came out in 1994 and barely scrapped the Billboard Album Charts, but after a twenty year absence, War decided to go into the studio and create some new music. On May 20th, the band released their nineteenth studio album entitled "Evolutionary" and to help promote the new album, it is being released with a bonus disc "War Greatest Hits."
The songs on this new release make it feel as if they never stopped recording as their music feels so timeless. The opening song "That L.A. Sunshine" should definitely be the soundtrack to the summer as the band gather together all the right ingredients for a pop single. Long-time fans will enjoy the nine-minute funk masterpiece jam of "It's Our Right/Funky Tonk," while new fans will get into the reggae groove of "Just Like Us." They transport you back to seventies with the disco dance funk of "Scream Stream," then bring you back to the sounds of today with the R&B flavor of "Outer Space." The band find their follow-up to "Low Rider with the bass groove of "Bounce," before closing with a walk through the past with "It's My Life." No matter what era of music is popular, War stick to what they know and love, creating music that is consistently pure and truthful.
War are currently on the road promoting their new album "Evolutionary." For a complete list of dates and for more information on their new release, please visit war.com.
From Portland, OR comes the latest album from Americana indie-band Sassparilla. The double-album entitled "Pasajero And Hullabaloo" follow the band's plan of releasing a new album a year. Songwriter Kevin Blackwell is overflowing with ideas as he breaks the two albums into different directions. T
he first album, "Pasajero" is a tight, concise piece of recording that fits in-line with their past two studio albums. The quick two-minute "Overture" has drums banging away, which leads to the steady beat of "Dark Star." The album showcases the band's diversity with the blues of "The One That Got Away" and the alternative rock of "Peaches" and "When You're The Devil."
The second album "Hullabaloo" was recorded at Blackwell's attic and showcases a raw, looser feel to the music. These songs were recorded in complete takes without any overdubs. The acoustic, sit-down approach works great on the bluesy feel of "Through The Fence." Sassparilla fall back on their roots for quick country pace of "We Are Bold" and the honky-tonk of "Folks Like Us." The album closes with the slithering rhythm of "The Devil" and the fun, sing-along chorus of "The Hoot Song."
Sassparilla will be touring along the west coast this summer. To find out more about their new double-album, please visit www.sassparilla.info.
Local Seattle singer/songwriter Star Anna is finally releasing her more laid-back acoustic/rock album "The Sky Is Falling." The album was recorded prior to the revenge-filled "Go To Hell," but was shelved due to the timing of the music that needed to be released and heard by the public and her fans. Star Anna is now revisiting that album, feeling that the songs were to good to let them sit. Even if the songs have very personable feel, following the break-up of her band, the passion she delivers in "Let's Not Kid Ourselves" and "Little Voices" have a strong delivery of emotions. Star Anna describes this as her "sober" album. She delivers gentle, welcoming tones with "Hymns We Sang" and "Killing Time," before closing with the exceptional folk-style songwriting of "Stranger Than Silhouettes."
Star Anna is heading out on the road, beginning on June 4th. To find out more about her new album "The Sky Is Falling," please visit staranna.com.
From the U.S. Northwest comes British-raised folk/Americana artist Ray Tarantino with his latest album "Good Things Will Happen," a tribute to the American Dream. Ray is no stranger to the road, having performed almost two thousand shows, so his latest batch of songs brings together that American spirit through his exceptional songwriting. Beginning with "Brand New Day," he sings with such a passion that makes you feel as if the songs connect to you directly. Tarantino finds the funk groove of "The Thing About You" and shows off his deep smooth vocals on the gentle sway of "Faith In Faith." He plugs in for the up-beat "What You Gonna Do" as he tells his stories of traveling across the U.S. His voice mirrors a young Dylan (Jakob Dylan) on the mystical feel of "Since You Found Your Way" and "Silver Line" reflects the style of Paul Simon on his lyrical delivery. The album finishes with roots rock of "Who Do You Need Me To Be" and the laid back acoustics of "You're Still Free."
Ray Tarantino is currently on tour in the U.S. which runs until the end of August. To find out more, please visit raytarantino.com.
From Portland, OR comes the self-titled debut album from Hook & Anchor. The band consists of members of the of the folk/rock band Blind Pilot who were looking for another outlet to allow the songs that have been written by Pilot's leader Kati Claborn to be expressed. The band, Hook & Anchor came together by chance at a bluegrass festival in San Francisco last year and the fruits of their collaborations is the resulting new album. The twelve song release begins with the steady rock rhythm of "Famously Easy," before allowing their Americana roots to take hold of the music on "Wild Wind." The head straight-toward the Bluegrass sound of "Light Of The Moon" as the harmonizing within the band is undeniable. Their music gets dark on "No, It's Not" and carries that classic country appeal on "Hard Times," before closing with the gentle folk storytelling of "Fine Old Times."
From Springfield, MA comes the band Sakara with their debut album through Pavement Entertainment entitled "Forgetting What Was." The band has been gaining local attention and has opened for many well-known band's national tours along the east coast. The ten song release begins with the heavy hitting alternative rock of "Jonah," the progressive hard rock feel of "Headlines" and the punk-like attitude of "Standing My Ground." They mix in some acoustics to hit the mainstream radio with "The Hunger," and lock in to the modern metal groove of "From Ashes." The album closes with the addicting "Simulation Theory" which keeps you wanting more from Sakara.
The new album "Forgetting What Was" is produced by Johnny April (Staind) and will be released on May 27th. To find out more, please visit www.facebook.com/SakaraMusic.
From San Jose, CA comes the latest album from the symphonic metal band RetConStruct entitled "Denizens of the Depths." It is the band's sophomore release and proves that things only get better the second time around. Beginning with the heavy metal attack of "Gods Among," you are instantly drawn in to the lead vocals of Jill Valdes. The band motors through with machine gun furry of "Funeral Dawn" and showcase their musicianship on the power metal of "Ravage The Ages." The band has you pumping your metal fists in the air for the "Devil In The Wall" and chanting the chorus of "Storm The Castle," before finishing the album with the electronic nu-metal feel of "What Lies Below."
To find out more about RetConStruct and their new album "Denizens of the Depths," please visit retconstruct.com.
Swedish metal band Avatar recently released their fifth studio album entitled "Hail The Apocalypse." After reaching #25 on the album charts in their home country of Sweden with their last album "Black Waltz," Avatar are looking to continue building upon that success, lead by the Alice Cooper-like appearance of Johannes Michael Gustaf Eckerstrom. The eleven-track album is an explosion in music that metal fans were waiting to happen. The energy and aggressiveness of the opener "Hail The Apocalypse" has a great, deep metal rhythm that is irresistible. The music of "What I Don't Know" just pounds your brain as they look to hit the mainstream with the album's first single, the tempo changes of "Bloody Angel." The band are on fire with the dual guitar attack of "Vultures Fly" and Eckerstrom's screams during "Murderer" put you right in the middle of the song's disturbing action. They show us a different side to their music with the carnival feel of "Puppet Show," before closing with a reved-up cover of Nirvana's "Something In The Way" and the slow six-minute build-up to the "Tower."
Avatar are currently on tour in the U.S. until June 1st, before heading over to Europe. For a complete list of dates and for more information on the new album "Hail The Apocalypse," please visit avatarmetal.com.
From the southern swamps of New Orleans comes the new album from Crowbar entitled "Symmetry In Black." With their tenth studio album, the band are at their creative peak with these dozen songs that easily prove that Crowbar are one of the premier underground metal bands. The heaviness of the opener "Walk With Knowledge Wisely" and the slugging doom metal of "Symmetry In White" showcase the roots of their music. The slow burn of "Reflection Of Deceit" and the fast paced hardcore sound of "Ageless Decay" display the diversity in their music, keeping them from being placed into a specific metal category. Crowbar continue the onslaught with the screams of "Shaman Of Belief" and the pounding of "Teach The Blind To See," before closing with the four-minute instrumental "The Piety Of Self-Loathing."
The new album will be released on May 27th through eOne Music. To find out more, please check out their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/crowbarmusic.
From the American Midwest comes the new album from hard rockers Black Stone Cherry entitled "Magic Moutain." It was released on May 6th through Roadrunner Records and is the band's highest charting album in the U.S. After headlining the Download Festival last year, the band entered the studio with that energy to create one of their hardest rocking albums to date.
The thirteen-song release begins with Black Stone Cherry coming right into your face with the aggressive sound of "Holding On...To Letting Go." They lock into that classic metal groove with "Peace Pipe," before just exploding with the heaviness of "Me And Mary Jane." Black Stone Cherry show their unity with the southern hard rock appeal of "Magic Mountain" and "Blow My Mind." They show us a countrified side to their music with the acoustic ballad "Sometimes," before getting down and dirty with the energy blast of "Fiesta del Fuego." The album finishes with the mainstream metal of "Remember Me," a six-minute closer allows the band to just jam.
Black Stone Cherry have live dates running through to November, including stops in Europe. For a complete list of shows and to find out more about the new album, please visit blackstonecherry.com.
Award-winning singer/songwriter Janiva Magness will be releasing her eleventh studio album on June 24th entitled "Original." In the last four years, her life has been in turmoil, but her creativity has blossomed as shown in this latest release. The eleven-song album begins with her classic soul sound on "Let Me Breathe" as she does not shy away from her emotions. Janiva gets her R&B groove going on "Twice As Strong," but gets back to her roots on the clap/stomp rhythm of "I Need A Man." She grooves to the sweet R&B flavor of "Everything Is Alright," before pouring her heart into climbing the slow blues of "Mountain." She ventures into the Americana feel of "Badass" with huge success, before closing with the emotionally filled "Standing."
Janiva Magness will be heading to the "Blues & Brews Festival" in Oroville, CA on May 25 and in Flagstaff, AZ on June 21. To find out more about her new album "Original," please visit janivamagness.com.
Singer/songwriter/pianist Annie Stela returns with her second full-length album, "Whiplash Blues," which will be released on May 20th. She pours her all into her music as heard in the country rock of "Billy Jay" and the heartfelt ballad "Love Me Still." The album's first single, "Lucky" is a piano story that spotlights Annie's tremendous songwriting. Her breakthrough song definitely is "Any Time, Any Day" as it has all the right ingredients for a country hit. The album closes with Annie putting all her emotions out there in the feel-good song, "Right."
Annie Stela has only one show scheduled at the moment in Venice, CA on May 21st. For more information on the new album, please visit her Facebook page at www.facebook.com/AnnieStela.
Moonjune Records label has a trio of new releases that you need to check out. First is the self-titled debut album from The Sours. This New York based band is the brainchild of singer/songwriter Sarah Schrift, whose also moonlights as an artist who's work has been shown at international art galleries. The eleven-song acoustic album begins with the laid back vibe of "Everwas" and the Joni Mitchell-type storytelling of "Gnt." The Sours swing on the groove "Seawitch" and find the perfect setting for the story of "Angie." The album closes with the two-minute accapella delivery of "Egret."
Next we get the latest release from jazz/rock fusion band Tohpati entitled "Tribal Dance." It is the trio's second album together and the music on this new album sounds as if they've been together for over ten years. Tohpati is one of the most well-known jazz guitarist in Indonesia, but he lets his progressive rock side show through on this latest release. The eight-song album begins with the experimental breaks of "Rahwana" as lead guitarist Tohpati opens up and lets his talents fly amongst a progressive jazz rhythm. The music gets a little more rock oriented with the "Spirit Of Java," before exploding on "Tribal Dance." The two-minute calmness of "Savana" sets the stage for the aggressive instrumental rock of "Supernatural," before closing with the space rock of "Midnight Rain."
Lastly we get the new release from Copernicus, "Immediate Eternity 2." It features the final recordings of bassist Freddy Auz as he sadly passed away following the recording of this album. This album is a re-recorded version of the band's 2001 album "Immediate Eternity." Beginning with the spoken words of "Beautiful Humanity," the band begin to take flight during this independent art rock masterpiece. The music on this album was created and recorded spontaneously (according to the album notes) as the music supports Copernicus' vocals perfectly in "Absolute Truth Is Possible." While many of the songs are philosophical interpretations, "Dust" is a hard-hitting, modern metal music at it's experimental best. The smooth jazz background of "The Carrot," allows you to get into the scientific reciting of Copernicus. The eleven-minute song "The Stick" allows the band to expand and explore their sound as the vocals are passionate and reckless at the same time. The album closes with the erratic feel of "Viva The New!" as you helplessly follow along.
For one night, on January 10, 2014, friends gathered to pay tribute to one of the greatest voices in blues and rock, Gregg Allman. Next year will be 50 years since Allman began his career teaming up with his brother Duane Allman on Florida's local rock circuit. So, it was decided that many of his musical friends wanted to pay tribute to the man that gave us all this great southern rock music over the years as a solo artist and as the leader of The Allman Brothers Band.
On May 6th, Rounder Records along with the Concord Music Group released "All My Friends: Celebrating The Songs & Voice of Gregg Allman." It was released as 2CD/DVD or 2CD/Blu-ray and contains the entire two-and-a-half hour concert.
The night began with Allman Brothers Band guitarist and singer Warren Haynes kicking things off with the ABB concert staple "Come And Go Blues." While the night celebrated the tremendous songwriting of Gregg Allman, it would be the guitarist that steal the spotlight, such as Derek Trucks on "End Of The Line," Widespread Panic's Jimmy Herring on "Wasted Words" and Gregg's son Devon Allman on "You Can't Lose What You Ain't Never Had" along with Robert Randolph." Whether it was the pop rock of Pat Monahan (train) on "Queen Of Hearts" or the country rock of Trace Adkins performing "I'm No Angel," Allman's songs appeal to every genre and every type of singer. Even Martina McBride lends her sweet vocals to the title song, "All My Friends" as you forget that a southern blues rocker originally wrote and performed these songs. The honoree, Gregg Allman joins Jackson Browne for a couple acoustic numbers, "These Days" and "Melissa" as if two friends just coming together to have fun performing with one another. The evening finishes with The Allman Brothers Band showing they still have it after 45 years together with "Dreams" and then ripping into a blistering version of "Whipping Post." The final jam has every performer joining The Allman Brothers Band for the gospel sing-along "Will The Circle Be Unbroken."
The night was just one of those magical moments in music that your glad was captured as these performances may never happen again. To find out more about this amazing new release, please visit www.concordmusicgroup.com.
Blues singer/guitarist Eli Cook recently released his fifth studio album "Primitive Son" on April 29th through Cleopatra Records. Cook has been hailed "the best blues singer of his generation" and has performed alongside Blues legends B.B. King, Johnny Winter and Robert Cray. His new album features a load of guest appearances including Leslie West, Pat Travers, Vinny Appice and others.
The album is an hour long trip into the hard rockin' side of blues that was first introduced back in the sixties by bands like The John Mayall Bluesbreakers and The Butterfield Blues Band. The opener "War Horse" carries a very heavy blues riff and draws influence from classic Led Zeppelin. Cook rocks on "Revelator" with the help of the rhythm section of Vinny Appice on drums and Jorgen Carlsson on bass. The band continues to pound away on the dirty blues of "Sweet Thang," before heading to the folk/blues stomp of "Won't Be Long." Legendary guitarist Leslie West joins Eli Cook on guitar for the burning stomp of "Motor Queen," then Harvey Mandel lends a hand for the aggressive rock of "Shake The Devil Down." Cook returns to the front porch acoustics of "Tall & Twisted," before moving on to the funky blues of "The Great Southern Love Kill," featuring Pat Travers on guitar and vocals. The album closes with the slow, heavy beat of "Burying Ground" that allows Cook to peal off some more great guitar licks.
Eli Cook is currently on tour, which runs to end of May. To find out more about his new album "Primitive Son," please visit elicook.com.
First from the Ukraine comes the symphonic doom metal band Narrow House with their latest album "Thanathonaut." It will be released on May 19th through Solitude Productions and it is the band's full-length debut album. The atmosphere of "Crossroads" builds with intensity as the symphonic beginning is overtaken by the chants of "The First Day Of The Rest Of Your Life" and the doom metal thumping of "Furious Thoughts Of Tranquility." The band takes a break from their aggressive metal sound for the gentler feel of "A Sad Scream Of Silver," before heading over to close of the album with the thrash guitar of "The Last Retreat."
Narrowhouse are looking to head out on the road following the release of their new album "Thanathonaut. To find out more, please visit narrowhouse.net/.
Next comes Swedish hardcore metal band Art Far Away, who are finally ready to release their debut album “Verisimilitude & The Second Estate." The album was written and recorded back in 2010, but their record company went bankrupt before the album could be released. After failed attempts to retrieve the finished album, Art Far Away started over, writing and recording new material over the course of the last three years. Now the fruits of their labor will be able to be heard as they look to become one of the premier underground death metal bands in Europe. The music comes right at you without pulling any punches as you are swept away by the shear force of "Cancer" and "Obfucation." They bring together their voices for the harmony of "The King," before blowing you back in your seat with the machine gun blast of "Sunday" and the screams of "White Man's Burden." They tap into a more mainstream metal sound with "The Man Who Wasn't There," before closing with the extreme screams of "Invite Me In" and the eerie death metal "Your Back Is Gently Breaking."
To find out more about the new independent metal band, please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/artfaraway.
From Italy comes the full-length debut album from progressive/fantasy metal Holy Shire entitled "Midgard." The eight-member band showcases is duel female lead vocal and flute player to give their music a more mystical sound. The band began gaining attention with their video for the traditional song "Greensleeves" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k3KKAp-37Go) and has gathered over 2,000 views in less than a month with their latest single "Winter Is Coming." The video pays tribute to "Game Of Thrones" as the music mixes Evanescence-type metal with almost operatic-type vocals to create a unique, but powerful sound. They show a more aggressive side to their music with the "Overlord Of Fire," before "Beyond" showcases a DIO-feel to their fantasy songwriting. The album closes with the eight-and-a-half minute title song that feel like it came right from a battle scene in "Lord Of The Rings."
Holy Shire have a couple of live dates lined up in July. Their new album was released on May 13th. To find out more, please visit holyshire.com.
Last, but not least, from Florida comes the hardcore punk attack of Lavola with their new album "This Book Is My Cowardice." The raw, garage band feel mixes the energy of Green Day with the playfulness of the Dead Milkmen that gives off a youthful feel to their sound. They mix tempos on the erratic "Healing Eye," but show more restraint on the mainstream appeal of Pearl & Rust." The album finishes up with a great burst of power during the classic U.K. punk sounding "7 Steps To Hell" and "Please Excuse The Blood."
To find out more about this new indie-punk/alternative rock band, please visit iamlavola.com.
From Joplin, Missouri comes Matthew Feeds The Bears with their latest release "Lipstick And Lemonade." The band's name came from the experience of frontman and former zoo worker Matt Dobson, who's job it was to feed the bears. The songs range in genre from the alternative country stomp of "Grandpa's Cough Medicine" to the grunge of "Abraham." The band shows a darker Sabbath-side to their sound with "If This Was A Cherry Bomb I'd Say Yes, But This Is La Bomba," before closing with the mixed tempos of "Frank Lloyd Wrong."
From Austin, Texas comes the hard rock band SkyAcre with their full-length debut album "Sacred Ground." The band's raw sound echos that of early grunge mixed with some metal screams as in the opener "Confusion." The alternative simmer of "Puppet Emperors" explodes during the chorus, while the guitars buzz for "Steps On Sacred Ground." The tempo slows momentarily for the slow burn of "Too Alive To Sleep," before speeding things back up for the punk-like aggressions of "Decision Revision." The album closes with the six-minute Foo Fighters-sounding "Stars Are Crashing."
Sky Acre have a handful of live shows around the Austin, TX area. For a complete list of dates and to find out more about this new band, please visit skyacremusic.com.
From Chicago comes the debut album from indie-rockers Sabers entitled "Sic Semper Sabers." The band came together under the leadership of Josh Chicoine (The M's) to give a more developed feel to his song-writing. The eight-song release begins with the mellow-tempo of "Armchair Warriors" before closing with a guitar frenzy. The Sabers have showcase a modern, alternative pop sound with "Remedy" and turn "Puppet" around into a classic-feel Jane's Addiction number. The album closes with the raw garage, punk fury of "Big Fish."
To find out more about the Sabers new album "Sic Semper Sabers," please visit www.sabersmusic.com.
U.K. singer/guitarist Chris Thompson has performed alongside some of the greatest musicians including Elton John, Gary Moore and Sarah Brightman just to name a few. He was also a member of Manfred Mann's Earth Band during their popular 70's and 80's period. Thompson has also found time to record and release over a dozen solo albums, including his latest, "Toys & Dishes." The new album shows no signs of Thompson slowing down. He rocks with a new sense of purpose and love for what he creates as in the opener "Million Dollar Wonder Hit." He gets a little grittier with "Millie Christine," before displaying that classic rock feel that makes Thompson find the fountain of youth with "Eddie Wants To Rock." He displays that signature Manfred Mann's Earth Band sound in "Dark Side," then shows his softer side on the heartfelt ballad "Dream Away Little Girl" and the acoustic folk appeal of "You're The One I Love." The album closes the marching beat of "We Run" and the blues plead of "Woe Is Me."
Chris Thompson has bunch of scattered live dates across Europe. To find out more about his new album "Toys & Dishes, " please visit christhompson-central.com.
The debut album from the duo of Richard Sontaag and Ian Fortnam is a concept piece of grand proportions. "Sontaag," is a 45-minute space rock opera full of instrumental exploration and studio trickery. The album was co-produced and mixed by Youth (The Fireman) and recorded across two continents. The 12-song release begins with the aggressive prog-rock of "Empyrean," before the tempo shifts to a more spacey sound with "The Great Harmodulator." The Floydian seventies feel of "Spaceshifter" is one of the few songs with lyrics, while voice-overs continue the story amongst the angelic sound of "Serena Serenarum (Parts 1, 2 & 3)." The tempo (and the volume) pick up with the song "Interstellar Genocide," which is a fuzz fueled guitar rocker straight from the seventies. The album closes with storied progressive rock of "Aftershock Cacophony."
Acclaimed guitarist Matt Stevens recently released his latest album, "Lucid" through Cherry Red Records. It showcases Matt's talents for writing instrumentals that appeal to the mind. The diversity between the hard rock of "Oxymoron" and the spacey jazz feel of "Flow" shows us that Matt's performances cannot be directed in only one musical genre. The music moves slowly as you feel your way around "Coulrophobia," before the amazing acoustic finger-picking of "KEA" leads you into the twelve-minute journey of "The Bridge."
Jazz pianist Brad Mahldau has been a solid fixture for the last twenty years on the touring circuit mainly performing as a jazz trio. He has worked alongside such acclaimed artists as Joshua Redman, Matt Chamberlain and Wayne Shorter just to name a few. Then in 2013 Mehldau began touring with drummer Mark Guiliana as a synthesizer duo named Mehliana. Back on March 13th, Nonesuch Records released the duo's debut album "Taming The Dragon." This twelve-song release is filled to the brim with electronic soundscapes that explore your mind with its experimental sound. Beginning with the story of "Taming The Dragon," Mahliana are prepared to take you along for a journey with the funky, erratic beats of "You Can't Go Back Now" to the atmospheric synthesizer of "Elegy For Amelia E." featuring spoken word from a historic speech by Amelia Earhart. The two lock into a groove during "Hungry Ghost," which allows both Mahldau and Guiliana to showcase their skills. The album finishes with the spaced-out feel of "Swimming" and the smooth, mellow jazz of "London Glooming."
The duo will be heading over to tour Europe in July. For a complete list of live dates and to find out more about the debut album from this new jazz fusion band, please visit www.bradmehldau.com/mehliana/.
Next from California comes jazz guitarist Thom Douvan with his latest album "Brother Brother." The album is dedicated to the passing of The Funk Brothers Johnny Griffith and Richard "Pistol" Allen, to which he was bandmates with in '80s. The new release is filled to the brim with jazz covers of many famous funk and soul songs, beginning with The Isley Brothers' "Harvest For The World." Many of the songs on this album are instantly recognizable, even though Thom puts his spin on them turning many of these vocal hits into jazzy instrumentals. Thom and his backing band of seasoned musicians gives "Ain't Nobody" a shot of adrenaline with its peppy tempo and Thom's smooth guitar work. A couple of the most recognizable songs are sandwiched in the middle of the album, the organ-led "What's Going On," the slow blues of Hall & Oates "Sara Smile" and Stevie Wonder's "Isn't She Lovely" which has a more rock infused sound led by Thom exceptional guitar. The album finishes up with the amazing musicianship of the entire band in "The Water Is Wide," before closing with smoothness of the Alicia Keys' penned "If I Ain't Got You."
Thom Douvan and his band will be performing a CD release show on May 24 in Detroit, MI. To find out more about his latest release "Brother Brother," please visit thomdouvan.com.
First up is the Texas duo, Bruce Robison and Kelly Willis, who are preparing to make 2014 "Our Year" with their latest album. The two are becoming the hottest couple in country music as their music is beginning to spread into the mainstream. After writing hits for Tim McGraw, George Strait and the Dixie Chicks, Robison began writing for himself and his wife as they released their debut album, "Cheater's Game," last year. Now with a new set of songs, the duo keep the fire burning. The album begins with the slow-paced gallop of "Departing Louisiana," which has Bruce taking the reigns early on. Kelly's vocals give "Motor City Man" the country pop attention that they deserve, before slowing down for the heartfelt duet of "Carousel." Their two voices mesh perfectly on T. Bone Burnett's "Shake Yourself Loose," before moving on to the fun, finger-picking, swing-tempo of the Tom T. Hall penned song "Harper Valley PTA." The album closes with a peppy, up-tempo cover of the Statler Brothers' hit "I'll Go To My Grave Loving You" and then their two voices come together to finish with "This Will Be Our Year."
The new album will be released on May 27th through Thirty Tigers and they are embarking on mini six-date tour beginning on May 15th. To find out more, please visit bruceandkellyshow.com.
Next is the return of Texas-born country singer Travis Whitelaw with his much anticipated follow-up to his debut album "Sexarkana." His new release, "Beer & Booty" was released on April 29th through Skull Bros. Records and has been five years in the making. Now country music once again has an outlaw that is not afraid to sing about what drives him. The album begins with Travis and his band rockin' through "Shootin' Beer Cans Off My Fence" and shows off his rockabilly side with "Drank Beer, Got Drunk, Went To Jail." He moseys on with the country blues of "Don't Ask (And I Won't Tell)," then injects some guitar boogie with "Hillybilly Filly." His songs border between real life experiences and comedic situations as displayed with "Beer" and the sing-along album closer "Blue Balls."
To find out more about Travis Whitelaw and his new album "Beer & Booty," please visit traviswhitelaw.com.
The great jazz pianist Vince Guaraldi is the focus of one of the Concord Music Group's premier reissues, "A Boy Named Charlie Brown." The soundtrack was originally recorded and released back in 1964 to co-inside with a brand-new TV documentary "A Boy Named Charlie Brown," but the show never aired on television. The original show was a documentary about Peanuts creator Charles M. Shulz, but due to TV network programming, the show never aired, but Fantasy Records still released the soundtrack. Without much promotion, it did not fair well and was forgotten about until its 50th anniversary. On May 13th, the Concord Music Group will release a remastered version of the original soundtrack along with two bonus tracks and a 16-page booklet with new liner notes from Peanuts historian Derrick Bang.
Many of the songs on this release may not be familiar with fans of Charlie Brown or jazz, as one associates the Vince Guaralid Trio with the holiday classic "A Charlie Brown Christmas." The album begins with the all-too short swing of "Oh, Good Grief" and the Salsa-feel of "Pebble Beach," before moving on to more familiar territory of "Charlie Brown Theme" and "Linus And Lucy." The band really gets to stretch-out on the seven-and-a-half minute "Blue Charlie Brown," before the original album closes with beat-heavy rhythm of "Freda (With The Naturally Curly Hair)."
The two bonus tracks are a real treat. The gentle, almost operatic tone of the nine-minute cover of "Fly Me To The Moon" and the shorter, alternate take of "Baseball Theme" only add to this great soundtrack. To find out more about this missing piece of Charlie Brown history, please visit www.concordmusicgroup.com/albums/A-Boy-Named-Charlie-Brown-FCD-8430-2/.
If you haven't discovered them already, you need to check out some of the latest releases from Audio Fidelity. As a music fan, you can appreciate the time and effort put into their releases as today's music world is controlled by crunched audio files that are listened through a tiny set of ear buds. Audio Fidelity continues to impress with their choices of albums to remaster and release in the highest quality available on CD. This next batch brings together two of the biggest names in blues, Paul Butterfield and Eric Clapton.
The Paul Butterfield Blues Band became a concert staple in the sixties and was also famous for backing up Bob Dylan during the infamous Newport Folk Festival when "Dylan turned electric." While the band would only last seven years together, the music they created bridged the gap between the classic blues of Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf with the modern blues of that time. Their 1966 album "East-West" expanded the band's sound in the studio and was the highest charting album the band released while together. The guitar work of Mike Bloomfield and Elvin Bishop is what drives this album, but Paul Butterfield makes sure you know who's in charge with the Robert Johnson opener "Walkin' Blues" that features his bluesy harmonica solo. This new Audio Fidelity release cleans up the sound, making the instruments warmer and able to survive in its own space among the blues jam of "I Got A Mind To Give Up Living" and the jazzy "Work Song." The pinnacle of the album comes at the end with the fourteen-minute exploratory jam of "East-West" featuring the exceptional guitar playing of Bloomfield and Bishop along with Butterfield's harp.
As the eighties rolled around, Eric Clapton established himself as a strong pop songwriter, having hits with the songs "I Can't Stand It" and "I've Got A Rock And Roll Heart." His ninth solo studio effort, "Behind The Sun" would lay the groundwork for what would become the most successful period of his solo career. Clapton would also find help from fellow musicians Lindsey Buckingham and Phil Collins along with songwriter Jerry Lynn Williams. It allowed Clapton more time to spend on his guitar-playing which has taken a backseat on his most recent albums of the early eighties. Beginning with the power of "She's Waiting," the album was destined to become something special and now Audio Fidelity makes that happen with the beautiful job they do with Phil Collins production of the album. The eight-minute guitar fury of "Same Old Blues" has fans salivating over Clapton's playing, while he still cranks out the pop hits with "Forever Man." The songs that you may notice the biggest upgrade in sound may be the mellow keyboards of "Never Make You Cry" and the quick two-minute acoustics of "Behind The Sun."
To find out more about these new releases from Audio Fidelity and for a complete list of offerings, please visit audiofidelity.net.
Singer/songwriter Mary Scholz has been a staple on the live circuit, performing across the U.S. and internationally for the past seven years. She released three EPs and a live album prior to this, her first full-length release entitled "The Girl You Thought You Knew." She has honed her skills on the road and has put that experience to good use on this album, beginning with the two-minute harmonizing warm-up of "A Mournful Noise." Her gentle, inviting voice takes center stage on the slow-moving "Bridges We Burn," before showing off her country side on "Beautiful Tortured Mess." Her voice just floats along on the airiness of "One More Day" and shows a little bit of attitude on the country rocker "Til I Die." The album finishes up with the Jewel-sounding "Beautiful Girl (Live My Life)" and the acoustic folk/rock of "In My Bed."
Mary Scholz is currently in tour in support of her new album, "The Girl You Thought You Knew." To find out more, please visit maryscholz.com.
Singer/songwriter Jiggley Jones has as much a unique sound as his name entails. His vocals are strong enough to take you on a journey, but the music supporting him has a relaxed, laid back feel. His new album, "A Mountain, A Struggle, A Tunnel, A Light" is his first on Lamon Records. The five-song, twenty-minute album gives us only a glimpse into the creativity of Jiggley Jones. The stark, folk-like delivery of "Early Morning Light" and the strength in "Modern Day" shows Jones' diversity in his songwriting. The album closer "Nothing So Natural" has a southern country appeal that puts Jones' music heading in the right direction.
Jiggley Jones has a few shows lined up in the New England area. To find out more, please visit jiggleyjones.com.
Pop singer/songwriter James Hopkins recently released his debut EP, "Guided." It shows a quick glimpse to a star in the making. The pop sensibilities that Hopkins displays in the opener "Set The World On Fire" lays the groundwork for what could be. His voice has a vulnerability during the high points of "Summer Rain," before finishing with the upbeat power pop of "One More Night."
Canadian singer/songwriter Ed Roman returns with his latest release "Letters From High Latitudes." His style is very creative and diverse as you make your way through the thirteen songs on the new album. He touches upon many different genres including the classic jazzy feel of "Roly's Cottage" and his reggae attempt of "Jamaica." Ed seems to feel most at home with the Americana/folk of "Comin My Way" and the gentle touch of "Rosetta Stone" as his voice just melts your troubles away. He has some fun performing the five-minute acoustic New Orleans swamp blues of "Melacthon June Bug," before closing with the smooth contemporary rock of "I Found."
Ed Roman is currently on tour, splitting time between the U.S. and Canada. To find out more about his new release "Letters From High Latitudes," please visit edroman.net.
Singer/guitarist Denny Smith certainly keeps himself busy. Fronting the bands The Great Affairs and fORMER before that and now he has added his latest venture to the list, The Die Youngs. The band came together when Smith and The Great Affairs drummer, Kenny Wright began playing around in the studio with songs that were left over from previous Great Affairs' albums. They decided that the songs were too good to throw away, so they assembled an all-star supporting cast which includes members of Sugarland, John Fogerty's and Travis Tritt's bands and many others. What came of those recording sessions is the self-titled debut album from The Die Youngs.
Beginning with the uptempo rocker "As Fine As You Are," you notice that these songs have a loose feel that allows the musicians to take to songs to new heights. The alternative rock of "Dirty On The Stereo" and the country mainstream appeal of "Let Me Go" shows that these songs definitely deserved their day in the sun. The song styles are a bit of a "mixed bag" of genres, but that is what also makes that album so attractive, not knowing which direction the music is taking you. The song "That's My Girl" is a hit single waiting to be discovered, while "I Am Reborn" is perfectly titled for this release as a fresh, new energy is injected into the music.
Connecticut's own Americana/Roots rockers The Rivergods return with a 4-song EP entitled "Never Grow Old." The songs show enormous growth in the song-writing and musicianship. The album open with the uptempo sway "When Times Were Good" that contains a chorus that gets stuck in your head. The title-song is were the heart of the album lies as Ben Parent sounds like a younger Elvis Costello with his band supporting his every move. The Rivergods finish up with the attractive roots rocker "Rush Hour" that brings everyone together in creating a touching piece of music.
Connecticut punk band Twin Berlin recently released their full-length debut album, "Sleazebrain." It follows-up their Travis Barker (Blink-182) produced EP and has the band firing on all cylinders. Opening with the quick, destructive, punk-like fury of "You're A Problem," the band's songwriting has matured with the grunge-like distortion of "Wanna Be Your Girl." Twin Berlin look to capture their energy on record with "Keep Your Mouth Shut," before summonning up the ghost of Kurt Cobain on the Nirvana-like "Buzzkill." The album closes with the pulsating drumbeat and screaming guitars of "You Could Have Warned Me" and the classic rock appeal of "Kill This Low."
Twin Berlin have a show scheduled for Friday in North Adams, MA. To find out more about their new album "Sleazebrain," please visit twinberlin.net.
Next, we get the latest EP from Danbury, CT trio Spectral Fangs entitled "Memory Girl." It was released back in April through Obscure Me Records as the band's sound keeps improving with each release. The opener "You Are Watching The Decline," has that raw, early Rolling Stones rock appeal, while the follow-up song "Throw Your Tears" showcases a strong sixties pop/rock vibe. The title song feels a little underdeveloped, while the album closer "20" shows a punk side to their raw sound.
Last, but not least, we get the latest album from experimental musicians Florida=Death entitled "Post Information." This Meriden, CT band shows love for the early days of prog-rock, when Pink Floyd and Genesis would find new sounds from whatever way laying around the studio. The album begins with the layered sound of "Tension: Unresolved" as the trio lay the groundwork for your journey through sounds. Florida=Death shows a more modern sound to their experimentation with "A Deeper More Fulfilling Empty," before playing with your mind during "Empty Space." The starkness of "Empty Spacesuit" counters the layered sound of the album with a feeling of a complete song before venturing into the eight-plus minute mind-bender "Matter: That Which Does, And That Which Doesn't."