Tuesday, September 30, 2014

CD Review: New Independent Music Releases From Around The World

Danish singer/composer Astrid Nora recently released her new album on September 8th under the moniker Where Did Nora Go. It is her third album through G-Records/Rough Trade and shows her growth as a performer. The new thirteen-song release has a very gentle flow as Nora's voice and cello calms your nerves and invites you to relax and get lost in her songs. The album begins with the whispers of "Passing Through," before heading into the first two singles from the album "Shelter" and "Shimmer." While "Shelter" is a soft, subtle touch of jazz/pop that really allows you to focus on Nora's vocals, "Shimmer" has a slithery rhythm that looks to be in common to early Norah Jones and Amy Winehouse. Nora does an outstanding job bringing her emotions into her songs as in "Taking Me Over." Her voice sounds so fragile in "Kankucho," that it gives the music more strength and meaning. The album closes with the wonderful piano ballad "Hearts Of Hearts." To find out more about Where Did Nora Go, please visit wheredidnorago.tumblr.com.
 
Next, from Belarus comes the experimental band Port Mone with their latest album "Thou." It was released back on September 8th through the Hevhetia (Slovakia) label and features instrumental music recorded out in a forest. This three-piece band left the confides of a recording studio and brought their equipment out into the woods to capture a more earthy, acoustic feel. The new nine-song release is unlike any of the mainstream music out now. At times, their sound is comparable to early Pink Floyd, as the Floyd experimented with their sound in the late-sixties/early seventies. Plus, the most notable instrument on these recordings is an accordion, which provides the musical atmosphere for this album. To find out more about Port Monetrio, please visit portmonetrio.com.
 
Returning to the U.S., Texas folk band Lost & Nameless recently released their second EP of the year on Sptember 9th entitled "When You Walked Into The Room." They released an earlier EP back in March and brought in Grammy Award winning producer Bil VornDick to bring their music to life. The new six song EP begins with the two-minute title-song which gets the blood pumping.  Singer/musician Kimberly Zielnicki takes the reigns on "Say Goodbye" as her vocals just soar. The gentle touch of "May I" and the uptempo closing instrumental of "Matthew's Reel/Reel A Levi Beaulieu" shows the diversity in the band's sound between folk and bluegrass. Lost & Nameless have a handful of dates left on their calender, mostly in the Texas capital area. To find out more about their new album "When You Walked Into The Room," please visit lostandnameless.com.
 
Heading up north, Canadian singer/songwriter/musician Bill Majoros is preparing to release his latest double album "Record Collector" under the name The Foreign Films. He plans on releasing one side at a time, then the entire 18-song collection in one vinyl package. The five-song release of "Side 2" begins with the alternative grunge of "Emily Blue," while "Teardrop Town" has more mellow, but raw White Stripes-like feel as the music dances around in your mind. He visits the pop/rock sound of "Broken Dreamers," before closing "Side 2" with the psychedelic swirl of "Land Of 1000 Goodbyes." To find out more about The Foreign Films and his latest double-album release, please visit theforeignfilms.com.
 
Finally, from Tel Aviv, Israel comes the self-produced debut album from The Memory Plant entitled "An Epic Triumph." The six-song EP showcases a band experimenting with their instrumentation, beginning with the feedback frenzy of opener, "Memory Implant." They head into a more progressive rock territory with "This Love" as they mix tempos and vocal styles. The big payoff comes at the end of the album when the band takes you on a six-and-a-half minute journey into the raw, experimental rock of "Any Dancing" as they mix hard rock with ambient sounds to try and create a new and exciting rock movement. To find out more about The Memory Plant, please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/MemoryInPlant.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Concert Review: The Heavy Metal Community Was Alive And Well At Mohegan Sun

Sunday night at the Mohegan Sun Arena gathered some of the biggest of today's heavy metal bands to spread their music to the masses. The four bands featured were newcomers Nothing More, Texas metal band Hellyeah!, Denmark's greatest music export Volbeat and top concert draw Five Finger Death Punch. Five hours of heavy metal music is just what the fans of Connecticut were in need of on that Sunday night.

The night began with a couple of quick sets from Nothing More and Hellyeah!, to which the latter got the mosh pit up and running during the aggressive "War In Me." Volbeat took the stage to a roaring applause beginning with "Doc Holiday" from the band's latest release "Outlaw Gentlemen & Shady Ladies." The band paid tribute to "the man in black" Johnny Cash, singing the beginning of "Ring of Fire," before the audience took over the chorus, leading into the country metal feel of "Sad Man's Tongue." The energy reached a higher level during the one-two punch of "A Warrior's Call" and "16 Dollars" as more mosh pits and some crowd surfing broke out to the delight of the band. Volbeat snuck in a quick cover of the sixties hit "I Only Want To Be With You," before speeding up the tempo with "The Mirror And The Ripper." The highlight of Volbeat's hour and fifteen minute set was when all the kids in the audience were invited onstage. The band changed the title of their early single "Pool Of Booze, Booze, Booza" to "Pool Of Chocolate, Chocolate, Chocolate" for the age group in attendance onstage. They closed their set with "Still Counting" as the band came together at the front of the stage to throw out guitar picks, drum sticks and t-shirts into the standing room crowd.

Then the night reached a new level of energy and intensity as Five Finger Death Punch took the stage, screaming the vocals to the opening songs "Under And Over It" and "Burn It Down." The band dedicated their cover of Bad Company's "Bad Company" to members of the military who were in attendance that evening. Then past and present military veterans were invited onstage to sing along to the chorus of "Burn MF." Things slowed down for a moment as lead singer Ivan Moody sang an emotional, acoustic version of "Remember Everything" as the crowd shouted back the chorus to Moody. With the fans eagerly waiting a climatic finish, Five Finger Death Punch brought the power back with "Never Enough" and the explosive "Here To Die" to close their main set. Their encore consisted of the early hardcore metal attack of "The Way Of The Fist" and then audience made the arena glow with lighters and cell phones during "The Bleeding." All in attendance left with a smile on their face and their ears ringing, as the heavy metal community showed that it is alive and growing in Connecticut.

Volbeat Setlist: Doc Holiday, Hallelujah Goat, Ring Of Fire, Sad Man's Tongue, Heaven Nor Hell, A Warrior's Call, 16 Dollars, Lola Montez, Dead But Rising, I Only Want To Be With You, The Mirror And The Ripper, The Hangman's Body Count, Angelfuck, Fallen, Pool Of Chocolate, Still Counting

Five Finger Death Punch Setlist: Under And Over It, Burn It Down, Hard To See, Lift Me Up, Bad Company, Burn MF, Remember Everything, Battle Born, Coming Down, Never Enough, Here To Die, Far From Home, The Way Of The Fist, The Bleeding

CD Review: Two Posthumous Jimi Hendrix Albums Receive Proper Release On CD And Vinyl

After his death in September 1970, record companies looked to "cash in" on the popularity of the music of Jimi Hendrix. He released his final studio album in 1968 ("Electric Ladyland") and has been working in the studio on new music up until the time of his death. So Reprise Records along with the help of Eddie Kramer, Mitch Mitchell and John Jansen gathered together seventeen of Jimi Henrix's most completed songs and divided them amongst two new releases, "The Cry of Love" and "Rainbow Bridge." These were the first two albums of new Hendrix material to be released since his death. Both albums sold well and opened the door to loads of posthumous Hendrix releases. On September 16th, Legacy Recordings reissued these two albums on CD, the first time for "Rainbow Bridge" and the second time for "The Cry of Love." Both albums have been remastered by Bernie Grundman from the original analog master and showcases Hendrix's music in the highest quality.

Originally released in 1971, "The Cry of Love" album was compiled by the best of what Hendrix was working on at the time of his death. Most of the songs on this album were recorded in a six month span between December 1969 and the summer of 1970. The album leads off with the declaration of "Freedom" as the rhythm section of Billy Cox and Mitch Mitchell tries to keep up. Hendrix enlightens his sound with a gentle performance of "Drifting." Steve Winwood and Chris Wood lend a hand with the backing vocals on "Ezy Rider" as Hendrix seemed in full control of every aspect of the music being created. The only song to include original bassist Noel Redding is the loose blues of "My Friend," which was recorded in 1968 before Redding left the band. With songs like the ballad "Angel," and the acoustic blues of "Belly Button Window," the album was definitely a worthy follow-up in the progression of his overall catalog.

The soundtrack to "Rainbow Bridge" film features no live music from the actual movie, but instead gathers more of the leftovers from Jimi Hendrix's recording sessions between 1969 to 1970. The rock/pop of "Dolly Dagger" and the frenzied blues of "Room Full Of Mirrors" showcases some of Hendrix's best "post-Experience" songs. A studio version of the "Star Spangled Banner" doesn't have quite the same meaning and spontaneity as the Woodstock performance if it. The one live song that does appear on "Rainbow Bridge" is a mesmerizing version of "Here My Train A Comin'" recorded at the Berkeley Community Theatre four months before his death.

Both albums will also be released on vinyl on September 30th. To find out more about these "must have" reissues of "The Cry Of Love" and "Rainbow Bridge," please visit jimihendrix.com.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

CD Review: Guitarist Jimmy McIntosh And AC Myles Look To Break Out With New Albums

Las Vegas guitarist Jimmy McIntosh returns with his second full-length album entitled "Jimmy McIntosh And ..." It features McIntosh performing along side some very elite company, including Ronnie Wood (Rolling Stones), John Scofield, Mike Stern, Ivan Neville and others. The album really allows McIntosh to showcase his potential in a number of different musical genres. Beginning with the all too short "Slow Blues," which has McIntosh trading licks with Wood on a jam that you wish would just keep going. It gets better with the funk fueled sound of "The Logue" as McIntosh's guitar licks and Ivan Neville's organ gives each other a boost on this six-minute barn burner. The duel guitars of McIntosh and Scofield give a little extra soul to "Letsco, "but its the eight-minute "PM Blues" that carries a much welcomed jazziness to the album. Saxophonist Albert Wing is given the opening spotlight on the Ronnie Wood original "I Gotta See" and also showcases his skills on the cover of Keith Richards' "Demon." Jimmy McIntosh returns to the blues with a cover of Robert Johnson's "32 20 Blues," before exploding with Mike Stern on the progressive rock feel of "Back2Cali." The album finishes like it began with McIntosh and Ronnie Wood jamming on a song called "Fast Blues." To find out more about this release, please visit jimmymcintosh.com.

From California comes the latest studio offering from blues singer/guitarist AC Myles entitled "Reconsider Me." The album mixes Myles mature renditions of some classic blues numbers with a few original tunes to showcase his full-potential. The album was recorded and produced by Kid Anderson (Charlie Musselwhite, Elvin Bishop) who also lends a hand on the album. The new eleven song release begins with the seventies rhythm and blues feel of Fenton Robinson's "You Don't Know What Love," which allows Myles to flex his vocals. Then things begin to heat up with the blues guitar solos of "Do You Read Me" and the classic country blues of Johnny Adams' "Reconsider Me" as Myles showcases every side of his talents for performing. He plugs in for the rip rocking, pulsating rush of the original "Livin' A Lie," then turns to the blues of "Death Bed Blues" that shows his talent for songwriting. The album closes with a funky version of Fats Domino's "Blue Monday." To find out more about AC Myles and his new album "Reconsider Me," please visit acmyles.com.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

CD Review: New High-Powered Jazz Releases From Chris Walden, Michael O'Neill and Brian Tarquin & Friends

German composer Chris Walden is returning with his Big Band for their first album in seven years. The new album entitled "Full On!" was released on September 16th through Origin Records and features some of Walden's newest original masterpieces and cover songs. Walden has worked alongside such pop icons as Stevie Wonder, Neil Young and Michael Buble and has returned to his first love, big band jazz. The new twelve song release begins with the up-tempo original instrumental "Bailout" the gets the blood pumping before vocalist Melanie Taylor takes you away with her voice on "I Can Cook Too." The album features Walden's original composition written for the A&E TV movie "Gastby" as the music plays right in to all the glitz and glamour of the story. Ms. Taylor returns to lends her vocals to the jazzy cover of Stevie Wonder's "Sir Duke" as the music matches the originals appeal. The Frank Sinatra classic "Only The Lonely" gets a heartfelt makeover by Walden, featuring Tierney Sutton on vocals. Special guest Cuban trumpeter Arturo Sandoval gets his own song, "Arturo" to shine on as he amazes with his solo. The album closes with Walden turning Christopher Cross' "Ride Like The Wind" into big band success with the help of Siedah Garrett on vocals. To find out more about this latest release from Chris Walden, please visit chriswalden.com.

From San Francisco, CA comes the latest release from jazz saxophonist Michael O'Neill entitled "New Beginnings." He invites vocalist Kenny Washington to join in on his latest adventure. O'Neill and Washington have worked together over the last decade which has lead to this latest collaboration. The new album begins with the up-tempo rhythm of Dizzy Gillespie's "A Night In Tunisia," which has Washington showing off his scat skills as O'Neill also joins in the fun. The smooth, Stevie Wonder-like feel of the Miles Davis classic "On Green Dolphin Street" allows members of The Michael O'Neill Sextet to grab the spotlight. The George and Ira Gershwin classic "It Ain't Necessarily So" sets the mood with the piano introduction as the other instruments join in to give Washington a path to follow with his wonderful vocals. The story of "New Beginnings" continues with this famous Rodgers and Hammerstein number "Oh What A Beautiful Morning," which floats gently on by as you feel a comfort in the music. The album closes with the nine-and-a-half minute relaxed feel of "Nomali" lead by the piano of John R. Burr as O'Neill's sax makes this song special. To find out more about Michael O'Neill and Kenny Washington's latest collaboration, "New Beginnings," please visit mosax.com.

New from Cleopatra Records, in association with Purple Pyramid Records comes a visit to the "Smooth Jazz Café." The album features performances by Chuck Loeb, Brian Tarquin, Frank Gambale, Hal Lindes, Denny Jiosa and others. Loeb and Tarquein trade guitar licks on the quickly moving "Zoot Suit." The album really picks up with Chuck Loeb handling the lead duties on this cover of Steely Dan's "Peg." Dire Straits guitarist Hal Lindes steps into the lead roll on the smooth, moody feel of "The Big Sleep," while Grammy nominated guitarist Denny Jiosa lends a hand to the easy feeling of "Hipster." The sound gets a little funky with "Birdbrain," before Australian jazz great Frank Gambale takes the lead on the rocking rhythm of "Spanish Harlem," which really gives new life to the album. To find out more about this unique release, please visit cleorecs.com

Friday, September 26, 2014

CD Review: New Independent Music That Needs To Be Discovered

From Virginia Beach comes the full-length debut album from Two Bars From The Gun entitled "Thief & Love." It was released on September 23rd and showcases a band with a raw Americana rock sound that follows in the footsteps of Ryan Adams and Wilco. The twelve song release begins with alternative modern rock flair of "London Town" and the Tom Petty sounding classic appeal of "Moving On." The band walks the tight rope between the country sound of "Thief & Love" and the straight-up rock of "The Cure" as they tackle both genres with ease and youthfulness. They give off a garage-rock vibe, a-la latter day Clash, on "Ballad Of Chet Wilson," before closing with the epic Springsteen-esque feel of "Believe Me." To find out more about the new independent rock band Two Bars From The Gun, please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/pages/Two-Bars-from-the-Gun.
 
From Texas comes the debut album from nu-metal band, Like Monroe entitled "Things We Think Be Never Speak." This is a band that is molded for today's youth as their sound gathers everything that's breaking out from the music industry and adding a sharp edge to it. The eleven-song release begins with the hard-hitting screams of "Roswell" and the addictive chorus of the album's first single "The Hills." Like Monroe continues with the pounding metal stomp of "Black Lungs," before turning to their electronics for the industrial beats of "So Beautiful." They let some of the air out of their attack with the mellower "We Will All Prevail," before returning with the more aggressive feel of "Circle The Drain." The album closes with the band's last ditch effort for the mainstream with the electronic pop/rock feel of "Strange Lips." Like Monroe will be on the road until mid-October. To find out more about this young metal band, please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/likemonroeband
 
Canadian power trio Blackburn Hall will be releasing their self-titled debut album on September 30th. Their brand of alternative rock music is highly addictive as the music has a rawness quality that makes it easier to get involved with. The new eleven-song release begins with the guitar buzz of "49," as their sound feels similar to what Ryan Adams is  putting out these days. The band really gets things rolling with the uptempo Black Keys-like rock of "Steel & Wire" and the album's first single "Echoes Beat Louder Than Drums" is mellow, as it simmers until the guitars come crashing through to wake you up. They pick up the pace on "North American," then look for the mainstream appeal of "Common Man," and "Highways" before finishing with modern rock flair of "Walk Into The Sun." To find out more about Blackburn Hall, please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/pages/Blackburn-Hall
 
From Columbus, OH come singer/songwriter Philip Cogley who goes by the stage name, The Saturday Giant. He is bringing his one-man acoustic show to Connecticut on October 4th, performing at The Funky Monkey in Cheshire. He is touring behind his latest release, "When Death Comes," which is pop magic. The new five-song EP begins with the title-song, which a mix of electronic beats, warm harmonies and smooth vocals. The rhythm is addictive ("Kairos Over Chronos") and the vocals keep things fresh, mixing hip-hop with folk as in "No Mathematician." The Saturday Giant is a musical cameleon and moves easily between genres to create a new sound. To find out more about The Saturday Giant, please visit thesaturdaygiant.com
 
From South Carolina comes the alternative hard rock of Nepotism. They released their debut EP earlier this year entitled "Black Sheep" and are promoting their latest single "Animals//The Howl." Their music is highly charged and aggressive, but without being wreckless. The album's first single "New American Drugs" has more "nu-metal" approach, while "Animals//The Howl" is a slow-burner that gains intensity as the song continues. The EP closes with the hardcore metal howls of "Nobody Knows" as Nepotism looks to leave a stamp in your memory of their sound. To find out more about this underground hard rock band, please visit wearenepotism.com

Thursday, September 25, 2014

CD Review: Scruffy The Cat Says One Last "Goodbye" With Unreleased Recordings

Boston band Scruffy The Cat were heroes on the local college radio stations in the late-eighties. They signed a record deal with Relativity Records in 1986 and released two EPs and two full-length albums in three years. Their albums were heralded by MTV's 120 Minutes show and in Rolling Stone magazine, naming their album "Tiny Days" one of the best college albums of 1987. The band toured non-stop until they decided to call it quits in 1990. Scruffy The Cat did reunite for three shows in 2011 to benefit the cancer-stricken lead singer Charlie Chesterman, who died in November 2013.
 
Omnivore Recordings are looking to remind fans of how good Scruffy The Cat was with the release of "The Good Goodbye: Unreleased Recordings 1984-1990." It gives insight to one of the pioneering bands of alternative country music. The new twenty-song release begins with some of the band's earliest recordings from May 1984. The band seems tentative with their sound on "The Burning Cross," as if they are still finding their place in music. In just a few short months, Scruffy The Cat show a huge leap in their songwriting with "The Ghost Song," but it would be the ten live songs recorded in the Fall of 1985 that has this band turning into an underground sensation. Songs like the up-tempo "Oldest Fire In The World" and "Tiger Tiger" show a new confidence in their sound. They also have fun performing some cover songs like "Slow Down" and "Well . . All Right." The compilation then jumps a couple of years to some of the band's last live studio recordings in 1989. The music features a more modern pop-punk feel with "Red Light" and a raw version of their underground hit "Love Song #9."
 
Its really great to hear some of these lost gems by a band that never received the full accolades they deserved for helping define the alternative country sound. To find out more about this new release, please visit omnivorerecordings.com.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

CD Review: Two Huge Box Sets Released For A Forgotten Album And A Legendary Comedy Troupe

The British comedy act Monty Python are considered The Beatles of the comedy world. They turned sketch comedy into an art form and broke new ground in the late sixties with their bold, sometimes raunchy brand of humor. Many of today's top comedy acts have attributed their success to Monty Python. This year marked the 45th anniversary of the comedy troupe's debut on BBC television. Between 1969 to 1974 they created 45 television episodes which are still as popular today as when it debuted. Monty Python also created three feature films that have become cult classics, including the immortal "Monty Python And The Holy Grail." The comedy troupe also created five sketch albums, three soundtrack albums and a live album between 1970 to 1983. Back in 2006, the Monty Python audio catalog was remastered and released on CD along with bonus tracks added on to each release. Now, the Universal Music Group has gathered all of these albums into one new collection entitled "Monty Python's Total Rubbish: The Complete Collection." It was released in Europe back in June and will finally be hitting U.S. shores on September 30th.
 
This new set includes all of the original Monty Python albums, remastered along with all of the bonus tracks included in the 2006 edition. It will be released on CD and on vinyl. The box set includes a copy of the rare exclusive  7" single "Monty Python's Tiny Black Round Thing" that includes the classic "Election" sketch introduced by D.P. Gumby on one side and an extended version of one of their more well-known songs, "Lumberjack Song" on the other side. Fans may already have these albums in their collection, but one of the greatest things in this collection is the new artwork and liner notes explaining the history of the albums. Little insights behind the third record groove on "The Monty Python Matching Tie And Handkerchief" and how "Monty Python's Contractual Obligation Album" could have easily been a double-album with enough material left over that was never released. This set features almost ten hours of Monty Python humor that should be in every fan's collection.
 
If this box set is too much Monty Python for you, Universal Music also recently released "Monty Python Sings...Again." This new set features almost all of the classic Monty Python musical numbers from their albums and soundtracks. It also features six previously unreleased songs scattered throughout the album. A deluxe edition was also released which also includes the British comedy troupe's debut live sketch album, "Monty Python's Flying Circus." To find out more about "Monty Python's Total Rubbish" box set, please visit montypythononlinestore.com and for more information on "Monty Python Sings... Again," please visit montypythonlive.com.
 
Back in 1997, the American alternative rock band Smashing Pumpkins were on top of the world. They had their first multi-platinum selling album ("Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness") and just wrapped up a highly successful world tour. But tension within the band never grew bigger than during the recording of their follow-up album, "Adore." Frontman Billy Corgan was quoted as calling this album about a "band falling apart."
 
But, within such misery lies some of the most amazing, meaningful albums that the Smashing Pumpkins ever produced. They left their buzzing rock guitars behind, exploring a different side to their songwriting, creating sweeping folk ballads and controlled electronic chaos. Corgan especially was dealing with a lot of difficult subjects during the recording of "Adore." The loss of his mother is felt in the emotional piano ballad "For Martha" and the defensive club beat of "Ava Adore" showcases Corgan working through his recent divorce. At times the album feels all over the place, but on the recent six CD/DVD box set released by the Universal Music Group, we finally get an inside look into the creation of this misinterpreted album.
 
The first two discs in the set features a remastered stereo version of the album and for the first time a remastered mono version of the album. But, fans will want to sink their teeth into the third disc "In A State Of Passage," which contains eighteen demos recorded at Corgan's home studio "Sadlands" and includes the CRC demo. It shows Corgan at his most intimate with acoustic renditions of "Christmastime" and "The Tale Of Pistol Pete" and also has the Pumpkins' testing out the electronic beats on "The Love Of Guns Disastrous." The disc ends with a fuller version of "Blessed And Gone" sandwiched between a couple of attempts at "For Martha."
 
The fourth and fifth discs bring together outtakes from the recording along with hard to find remixes and some newly created "reimagined" versions to some of the songs from the album. Some of the highlights include a remixed version of "Crestfallen" done by Matt Walker and another remix by Puffy Combs for "Ava Adore" done in 1998. A 2014 version of "Eye" gets overproduced, while the instrumental of "It's Alright" sounds timeless as you feel the passion in the music. The Rick Rubin produced "Let Me Give The World To You" is a must hear as he brings out the best of the Pumpkins' sound in 1998. Amongst all the dark tones a light is found in the instrumental sounds of "Summer." Disc five closes appropriately with the slow-moving feel of "The Beginning Is The End Is The Beginning."
 
The sixth disc and the DVD go hand in hand as they feature some of the best of the Smashing Pumpkins live in 1998. The CD collects 10 live tracks from the band's 36-date tour in support of the "Adore" album, while the DVD features the Pumpkins' tour kick-off at the Fox Theater in Atlanta, GA on August 4, 1998. The show includes many songs off the newly released album and a few left-overs from the previous multi-platinum release "Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness." The box set also includes a full color booklet with new liner notes provided by David Wild and descriptions of each song as well as lyrics and pictures of the band. The box set was released on September 23rd. To find out more about this amazing new set, please visit smashingpumpkinsnexus.com.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

CD Review: Omnivore Recordings Revisits Ian Matthews' "Stealin' Home"

English singer/musician Iain Matthews has had a successful musical career that dates back to 1968 as a member of Fairport Convention. He released his first solo album the following year and has never looked back. He hit singles gold in 1979 with the top 20 hit "Shake It" from the album "Stealin' Home." With much of his solo catalog out of print, Omnivore Recordings has chosen to reissue his "Stealin' Home" album, adding nine bonus songs that were taken from a Japan only release.
 
The original eleven song release is the perfect showcase for Matthews brand of music, mixing together the mellow seventies rock of "Gimme An Inch," piano ballad of "King Of The Night" and the doo-wop feel of "Let There Be Blues." The highlight is definitely the pop sensation of "Shake It," but fans will want this reissue for the bonus live songs. The Japan only release was called "The Homecoming Concert" and has Matthews in the prime of his career, performing songs like "Tigers Will Survive" and "Just One Look" with an extra purpose and energy. The new re-issued CD closes with "Call The Tune" from Matthews other band Plainsong and a rocking cover Jesse Winchester's "Payday."
 
To find out more about this latest release from Omnivore Recordings, please visit omnivorerecordings.com.

Monday, September 22, 2014

CD Review: Medeski, Scofield, Martin & Wood Got Together To Squeeze Out The "Juice"

The successful American jazz avant-garde/fusion trio of Medeski, Martin & Wood have recorded over a dozen albums together and are still one of the top touring jazz acts around. Jazz guitarist John Scofield has worked along side some of the best artists in the history of jazz, including Medeski, Martin & Wood on their latest album "Juice." These four musicians have worked together before and have a mutual respect for one another.
 
The new ten-song album mixes together some great new originals along with four re-worked cover songs. The opener is a funky cover of saxophonist Eddie Harris' "Sham Time," which allows Scofield and Medeski to feed off each others energy on this smooth, uptempo piece. They keep the energy high and the mood light with the bossa nova rhythm of "North London" as drummer Billy Martin takes the reigns of "Louis The Shoplifter." The foursome return with the classic sounds of "I Know You," before heading into a great, jazz/pop instrumental cover of The Doors' "Light My Fire." An eleven-minute version of Cream's "Sunshine Of Your Love" is almost unrecognizable as a slow-moving psychedelic trip, before the album closes with the hymn-like inspirational cover of Bob Dylan's "The Times They Are A-Changin'."
 
Medeski, Scofield, Martin & Wood will be hitting the road in December, performing new music from the album "Juice." To find out more, please visit mmw.net.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

CD Review: Stax Records Breathes New Life Into Big Star Albums

Back in 1971, American rock band Big Star created the alternative rock music even before there was that sub-genre. Their albums were not huge blockbusters, but their music had a huge influence on today's modern alternative rock. Bands like R.E.M., The Replacements, Teenage Fanclub, The Posies, Wilco and Whiskeytown have all mentioned Big Star as early influences on their music.

Big Star released their debut album, "#1 Record" in 1972 and although it did very little on the album charts, it has since become a huge cult hit amongst fans. The CD version of the album has been long out-of-print, until now. On September 2nd, Stax Records released a remastered version of Big Star's first two albums, "#1 Record" and "Radio City." Also included with these releases are newly written liner notes from R.E.M.'s Mike Mills. The music sounds exceptional on these new releases. The seventies glam of "In The Street" and the hard rock of "Don't Lie To Me" both present the diversity in the band's sound and really pop from the speakers. The gentle acoustics and vocals of singer Alex Chilton in "Thirteen" puts you right in the studio with him with the clarity on this new release. While the band's hunger to succeed is certainly felt on the first album, "Radio City" has a more raw feeling to the music as Big Star tried to record the songs live, yet still adding layers to their sound. At this point, the tension between the band and their record label is more evident as they were looking for the band to produce a more pop friendly sound. But the guitar rock of the opener "O My Soul" is exactly what turned Big Star into a cult sensation. Two of the band's most well-known songs "Back Of A Car" and "September Gurls" are featured on this album and sound much clearer on this new remastered release. The music sounds more spread out and allows the instruments to breathe. The acoustic strumming of "I'm In Love With A Girl," feels as if you are getting a personal concert from Chilton as if he is singing in the room with you.

It is great to finally have these album's on CD and in the finest quality. To find out more about these releases, please visit conqueroo.com.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

CD/DVD Review: The Call Return To Pay Tribute To One Of Their Own

For twenty years (1980-2000) The Call was a straight-up American rock band from California that was always on the edge of super-stardom. The band produced 10 albums, none of them were blockbusters but they had a cult following, which got the band opening slots on tour with Peter Gabriel and Simple Minds. A couple of their songs become underground classics and members of The Band along with Gabriel and Jim Kerr from Simple Minds guested on a couple of their album in the '80s. After The Call disbanded in 2000, lead-singer Michael Been went on to work backstage for his son's band, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, until his untimely death in 2010.

As a tribute to their fallen band mate, The Call regrouped for a live performance at The Troubadour with Michael Been's son, Robert Levon Been filling his father's shoes. The show was recorded and was released on September 2nd through Label Records/Lightyear/Caroline in a CD/DVD set.

The night began with the steady rhythm of "Everywhere I Go" as Robert does an exceptional job adding a little of his own swagger into his father's legacy. One of the more generally well-known songs of the night was the safe version of "I Still Believe" as the band stick close to studio version. Robert sound like a younger Bono on the passionate "I Don't Wanna" as The Call give him all the support to make these songs sound outstanding. The performance of "Turn A Blind Eye" has a gothic-like feel to it, while "Red Moon" shows the emotional side to The Call. Everything comes together for the band's biggest hit "Let The Day Begin" as Robert's vocals gives a youthful jolt to the song's lyrics. The shows closes with the fun romp of "The Walls Came Down" and the lullaby-feel of "Uncovered."

The DVD shows the entire performance with Robert leading his father's band, The Call with his father's signature bass guitar. The way the video was captured, you feel as if you are in the front row at The Troubadour looking up at this iconic band, seeing history in the making. To find out more about this new release, please visit the-call-band.com.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

CD Review: Some Good Home Cooked Music Coming From Mama's Kitchin

From California comes the trio of Bill Schultz, Mike Sumser and Keats Gefter, known as Mama's Kitchin. They released their debut album, "Wide Open," a couple of years ago and since then, have gone through some line-up changes. The one constant is great southern rock music performed with passion. As the band make a name for themselves touring along the west coast, the album gives you a little insight into their pure talents.

The thirteen song album contains an over an hour of honest music performed with heart as heard in the southern swagger of the opener "So It Goes." They keep the energy high with "Bullet" and kick-in the country stomp of "Girl From New Orleans." They bring on the swamp blues of "Mama's Kitchen" and showcase their slower side with the wonderful acoustics of "Another Fine Day." The band gets a little room to jam on the six-minute "River," which has an Allman Brothers Band feel to the music. The album finishes up with some funk added to the rocking rhythm of "No Shame" and the big sounding country closer "Serves Me Well."

To find out more about Mama's Kitchin, please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/pages/Mamas-Kitchin

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

CD Review: New Music To Discover By Cooler By The Lake, Brandon Cunningham And Micah Olsan

There is plenty of new, independent music coming from the Windy City area over last month, but here a few you need to check out.
 
First up is the sophomre album from Cooler By The Lake entitled "Summer's Over." It was dedicated in memory of Cooler's bass play Conrad Shore. The band is led by Rory Lake, host of Chicago's Karaoke Dreams, and while the lyrics may seem satirical, the music has a very uptempo, pop rock feel that is sure to brighten your day. Cooler By The Lake's use of horns on "Kirby Come Back" gives the song a ska vibe that keep the energy high. They experimental with the instrumentation on "Lady Touche," mixing tempos, while "Fight Me With A Stick" has a harder edge to their delivery. The energy of the band is felt all the way throughout the entire album, only slowing down once for their passion for pants as heard in "Heroes In Jeans." To find out more about Cooler By The Lake, please visit rorylakepresents.com.
 
Also released back in August was the new four-song EP from singer/songwriter Brandon Cunningham entitled "Give Out." He begins with the slow moving "Baby" as he tries to ease you into his sound. The tempo picks up for alternative mainstream appeal of "Bush Wives," while his voice tries to stay calm before the chaotic finish. The slow gallop of "Doubt" is where you see Brandon's songwriting shine as you follow him word for word. To find out more about Brandon Cunningham, please visit facebook.com/brandoncunninghammusic.
 
Lastly we get the new album from the Wisconsin band Micah Olsan & The Many entitled "All Around." It was released at the end of August and starts off with R&B flavor of "Trouble." The five song EP contains four original songs and a cover of Van Morrison's "The Way Young Lovers Do." Micah's vocals are a perfect match to give this song a new pulse as he pours his all into the performance. They showcase a classic southern swagger on "Because It's There," before finishing with smooth melody of "On A String" as Micah Olsen calms your troubles with his voice. To find out more about Micah Olsan & The Many, please visit micaholsan.com.

Monday, September 15, 2014

CD Review: Singer/Songwriters Ellis Paul And Luke Winslow-King Release New Music

Singer/songwriter Ellis Paul released his latest album earlier this month entitled "Chasing Beauty." It is the 19th album of his 25 year career. According to Ellis Paul it is a "story teller's record" inspired by many of his heroes. It was also produced by Kristian Bush of Sugarland and Brandon Bush of Train. The new fourteen song release begins with the country/pop appeal of "Never Want To Lose You" as the song contains the perfectly formula for a successful hit single. Ellis showcases a more rockabilly sound with "Kick Out The Lights (Johnny Cash)" as the song continues to grow and have a bigger sound, featuring an amazing lap steel guitar solo from Megan Lowell. Ellis Paul pours his heart into gentle sway of "Drive-In Movie" and paints a picture in your mind with "Waiting On A Break." You can feel his passion for stories on the telling of "Jimmie Angel's Flying Circus" and sings to his daughter in "Hold Me, Scold Me." Ellis also finds country gold in the feel good sound of "Chasing Beauty," before closing with the gentle folk storytelling of "One Kiss Could Do Me In." Ellis Paul will be on the road, circling the U.S., until the end of year. To find out more about Ellis Paul and his new release "Chasing Beauty," please visit ellispaul.com.
 
Bloodshot Records artist Luke Winslow-King (LWK) will be releasing his second album in as many years. The new release entitled "Everlasting Arms" is like a snapshot of his life over the past year. The new fourteen-song release features many different musical genres, including country, rock, folk, jazz and blues. Beginning with the classic, Carter Family-like sound of "Everlasting Arms," you instantly get sense that LWK is a prodigy of the earlier sounds of country music. He gets into the blues with the boogie rhythm of "Swing That Thing," before heading on down south for the New Orleans jazz flavor of "Levee Man." He quickens the pace with the old-fashion rock of "Cadillac Slim" then instantly turns things into a Marti Gras party with the local jazz sounds of "La Bega's Carousel." LWK's wife, Ester Rose, helps out on vocals to the blues number "Wanton Way Of Loving" then LWK turns "Last Night I Dreamed My Birthday" into a early Dylan-type folk story. LWK rocks out once more on "Domino Sugar" showcasing his guitar skills, before closing with the swamp blues of "Traveling Myself." To find out more about Luke Winslow-King, please visit bloodshotrecords.com.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

CD Review: New Imported Music From Red Hill And Tribal Hybrid Concept Experiments With Different Sounds

U.K. record label Rare Noise Records will be releasing the debut album from the latest project involving Avant-Garde icon Wadada Leo Smith entitled Red Hill. Wadada is surrounded by a trio of musicians that share the same excitement for exploring sound and enjoy taking chances with their music. The new six song release begins with the twelve-minute sound collage, "Gneiss." The music sounds as if everyone is performing a different song, but a certain beauty is found within the chaos. The eight-minute "Agpaitic" (which is the shortest song on the album) contains a deeper, darker tone and a quicker pace to deliver their message. Even with the nine-minute, rhythm heavy feel of "Arvedsonite" you search for the common chord to follow which only keeps you listening further into this musical soundscape. To find out more about Red Hill and their new self-titled album, please visit rarenoiserecords.com.

From another U.K. record label, Gonzo Multimedia releases the experimental side project of Cyrille "Clearlight" Verdeaux entitled Tribal Hybrid Concept. The album has Verdeaux joining forces with Pascal Menetrey on this adventure into the local sounds of many tribes facing extinction in today's world. The new fourteen song release uses the language of the tribes amongst an ambient backdrop that only enhances these special dialects. One of the perfect examples is "Raonis Song" which features the voice of the Chief of Amazonia speaking on behalf of the children of the Kayapo tribe. Many of the songs feature the chants of different tribes as Verdeaux and Menetrey pick the perfect background music to give the songs a modern feel for the general public. Songs like "Organic Trance" and "Trance Connexion" have sound clips of African birds and insects amongst a steady dance beat. The different tribal chants give the music different tones, as with the deep swirling of "Papou Pas Pris" and the lighter, more energetic rhythm of "Zeph Here." The club-like feel of "Trance Pire" keeps the energy going right through to the closer of the quietly exploring sound of "Amazon Corazon." To find out more, please visit gonzomultimedia.com.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

CD Review: Gonzo Multimedia Re-Educates Us On U.K. Punk Legends The Deviants

English punk legends The Social Deviants began their career back in 1967 with their debut album "Ptooff!" The album would become an underground U.K. cult classic being re-issued on five different record labels. The band would record two more albums, before parting ways. Founding member Mick Farren would continue on, shortening the name to The Deviants and calling upon the help of MC5's Wayne Kramer and Motorhead's Phil Taylor to lend a hand when needed. After collapsing onstage in 2013, Farren died just two months shy of his 70th birthday. So, as a tribute and a reminder of this U.K. underground punk sensation, Gonzo Multimedia is re-issuing three of The Deviants later albums (1999's "The Deviants Have Left The Planet," 1999's "Barbarian Princes (Live In Japan)," and 2002's "Dr. Crow").

The pick of these new releases is the CD (now with a bonus DVD) of "Barbarian Princes (Live In Japan)." It shows this band in its most raw form, live and without any boundaries. While Mick Farren may have been the leader of The Deviants, guitarist Andy Colquhoun is the star of the show, pulling out all of his guitar tricks, turning songs like "God's Worst Nightmare" and "Dogpoet" into amazing jams. They turn Bob Dylan's "It's Alright Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)" into a chaotic mess, while showing their bluesier side with "Lennon Song." The DVD is of the same show with the corrected running order of the songs, but the film is something to be desired. While not filmed in high definition, at least there is a filmed document of this band performing live.

The other two new releases, "Dr. Crow" and "The Deviants Have Left The Planet" also show other sides to the band's underground success. The band's final studio album "Dr. Crow" mixes a few cover songs in with its originals to showcase the band's talents for keeping their music fresh and raw. While the punk-like furry of their early albums may be missing, the raw, straight-up rock feel of "Bela Lugosi 2002" and "Song Of The Hired Guns" shows a maturity within the band's songwriting and musicianship. The Deviants also put their stamp on the Beatles' classic "Strawberry Fields Forever" and "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance."

Mick Farren collected demos, outtakes and live versions of some of their early songs for the 1999 compilation album "The Deviants Have Left The Planet." The studio songs feature former Motorhead drummer Phil Taylor and guitarist Andy Colquhoun as this trio could have brought The Deviants a bigger slice of the music world than ever before. While the live/studio feel of the album mixes up the flow, it is also great to have all these songs together to enjoy. To find out more about these new re-issues from one of the legendary U.K. band The Deviants, please visit gonzomultimedia.com.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Vinyl Review: Audio Fidelity Turns The Tron Soundtrack Into Collector's Gold

Back in 1982, Walt Disney Pictures took a gamble with the live-action/digital animation movie "Tron." The story was simple, but the on-screen graphics were unlike anything else at the time and the movie propelled actor Jeff Bridges into stardom as the computer hacker Flynn. The only thing just as exciting as the eye-candy on the screen was the ear-candy of the soundtrack. American composer Wendy Carlos handled the reigns of the soundtrack using synthesizers and orchestration to compete with this visual break-through movie. The rock band Journey were also invited, after the band Supertramp declined, to lend a couple of their songs to the soundtrack to give it a more mainstream appeal. After going "out of print" on CD and on vinyl for quite some time, the soundtrack was re-released on CD in 2002 and was finally re-released on vinyl on August 26th through Audio Fidelity. But, this isn't just any vinyl release. The soundtrack was remastered by Kevin Gray at Cohearent Audio and pressed on 180g "virgin vinyl" to sustain the highest audio quality possible. The new double LP collectable vinyl is also a translucent blue to match the movie's computer theme.
 
The remastered sound on this release is amazing as all the little synthesizer techniques used by Carlos are easily heard. The two Journey songs, "1990's Theme" and "Only Solutions" still rock and remind you of that first appearance at Flynn's Arcade with the music blasting from the jukebox. Even if the music may seem a little dated, the dedication put into this release makes this version of the Tron soundtrack a timeless collectable. To find out more about this latest new release from Audio Fidelity, please visit audiofidelity.net.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Video Review: "Money For Nothing" Gives Us The History Of The Music Video

Do you remember when music videos ruled the airwaves? When songs were huge hits because of how creative their music videos were? Well, Virgil Films just released a new documentary entitled "Money For Nothing: A History Of The Music Video," based on the best-selling book of the same name written by Saul Austerlitz.
 
The seventy-nine minute documentary is directed by Jamin Bricker and narrated by Michael Charles Roman. It brings you back to the beginning of music videos with the arrival of Al Jolson's "The Jazz Singer" in 1927 and how The Beatles perfected the music video in 1964 with "A Hard Day's Night." Artists like Devo, Queen and David Bowie gave images to the their songs in some of the earliest true "music videos," but it would not be until MTV exploded onto the scene in 1981 that music videos would be the ultimate way to sell music. Early stars of the music video were Duran Duran, Billy Idol and Madonna, all of whom looked great through the television screen, but it would be Michael Jackson's "Thriller" video that took these mini-musicals to the next level.
 
The documentary touches upon all the different sub-genres of the music videos like female artists, artistic merit and the "made for screen" metal of the late-eighties. It also shows how some of these videos became mini-movies with grand film sets, actor or actresses telling the story of the song, almost as if the song was written for the music video instead of the other way around. It would not be until the early nineties when musicians perfected the music video with examples like Pearl Jam's "Jeremy" and Beastie Boys "Sabatoge" that videos would entertain as well as teach a lesson. The documentary breaks it down into parts to better understand the impact music videos had on our world. So, do yourself a favor and check out "Money For Nothing: A History Of The Music Video," even if just for nostalgia. Check it out on iTunes at itunes.apple.com.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

CD Review: Smoke Season And Molly Roth Showcase New Music

From California comes the pop duo of Smoke Season (Gabrielle Wortman and Jason Rosen) and the release of their latest EP, "Hot Coals Cold Souls." It features four tracks, beginning with the alternative rock/pop of "Badlands" as Gabrielle's vocals soar straight into your soul. The music and rhythm are impossible to resist as you hope for more. "Simmer Down" has a more playful feel as Gabrielle and Jason get more experimental with their sound. To find out more about this young band, please visit smokeseason.com.
Also from California comes the lead single from rising pop star Molly Roth. The new song entitled "Pin Me Up" is from her debut album due out later this year and perfectly fits into Molly's appealing appearance. The beat is catchy and has a good to dance to as her vocals float between pop and R&B. To find out more about Molly Roth, please visit her Facebook page at facebook.com/mollyrothmusic.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

CD Review: New Heavy Metal Music From Victory Records And eOne Music Labels

Progressive death metal band Black Crown Initiate are preparing to release their debut album "The Wreckage Of Stars" through eOne Music on September 30th. The band appeared last year on the "Metal Alliance Tour" and have become a "buzzworthy" band in the metal community. The new ten-song release starts out with the "Great Mistake" as the band looks to dominate your senses with the sheer blast of vocals and rhythm. The machine gun drumming of "The Fractured One" and the aggressive attack of "The Human Lie Manifest" showcase a band with the ability and the drive to rise to the top of the death metal genre. The band experiments with tempos in "Withering Waves" as they look to breakthrough with this mainstream metal hit song just waiting to be discovered. The album closes with the wonderful execution of "Purge" and the quick two-and-a-half minute final blast of "Linear." To find out more about Black Crown Initiate and their new album "The Wreckage Of Stars," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/BlackCrownInitiate.
 
Next from Indiana comes the latest release from the progressive-metal band, The Contortionist entitled "Language." It continues the band's obsession with space, "the final frontier," as the great musicianship looks to expand their range and draw them closer to some of their prog-rock idols. The new nine-song release gets things flowing with the two-part journey of "Language." The first part "Intuition" has a classic rock vibe without the need for excessive instrumentation. The second part "Conspire" is a hardcore metal attack on your ears with growling vocals and an aggressive rhythm. It is sure to wake you up and make you take notice. The band mixes the two genres once again on the forward moving attack of "Intergration," then venture into the six-and-a-half minute "Primordial Sound" as the band influences can't help but find their way into their sound. The album finishes with the seven exploring minutes "The Parable."
To find out more about The Contortionist and their new album "Language," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/thecontortionist.
 
Finally from New York, comes the Victory Records debut album from hardcore metal band Meridian entitled "The Awful Truth." With every member of the band under 21 years of age, Meridian have a long future in metal ahead of them. The new twelve song release wastes no time getting in your face with the quick two-minute introduction of "Gloom." The album continues with the highly addictive, mainstream metal appeal of "Everything That Kept Me Moving" and the screams of "Slip Away," which shows the band's harder edged sound. Their youthful energy is felt throughout the entire album, highlighted by "Waves" and "Set Free." Then they hit the mainstream once again with the radio-friendly rock of "Wait For Me," before closing with the aggressive attack of "Borrowed Time." To find out more Meridian and their new album "The Awful Truth," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/MeridianNY.

Monday, September 8, 2014

CD Review: Cleopatra Records Pays Tribute To American Soldiers With World's Top Guitarists

From Emmy Award winning producer/composer Brian Tarquin ("Guitar Masters") comes this latest release on Cleopatra Records entitled "Guitars For Wounded Warriors." The album features ten of the most highly skilled instrumental guitarist performing exclusive songs to the release for America's fallen soldiers. This eleven-song release puts together some amazing guitar work provided by members of Guns N Roses, Whitesnake, Mr. Big, Megadeth, Dire Straits and others.
 
Beginning with the guitar skills of Brian Tarquin on "Black Hawk," he is joined by the most electrifying bassist Billy Sheehan on this quick, up-tempo rocker. Next Bumblefoot and Reb Beach trade licks in the intense music of "Taliban Terror." Surf-guitarist Gary Hoey showcases his heavier side on "5 Klicks To Hell" as he slows the tempo down. Things really pick up with Chris Poland at the controls on the heavy metal feel of "Hunting." The album closes with Chuck Loeb stepping out of his comfort zone for a more rock approach to "Escape Kabul" and Steve Morse giving "Feedom" a patriotic, progressive rock feel. To find out more about the "Guitars For Wounded Warriors" album, please visit cleorecs.com.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

CD Review: Game Theory Look To Remind You Of The Eighties In A "Blaze Of Glory"

Back in 1982, singer/songwriter Scott Miller left his local California band, Alternate Learning for a bigger adventure with a new band he created entitled Game Theory. Their music was described as "guitar-based Anglo-American pop" as the songs were filled with a renewed energy by Miller with this new "pseudo-psychedelic pop quartet." Their debut album "Blaze Of Glory" arrived in the middle of 1982 and due to lack of funds was released in a white paper bag with the band's logo glued on the bag. Since then, the album has become an underground hit with Game Theory's music having a sort of cult following. Miller was looking to reform Game Theory in 2013, until his untimely death on April 15th. The following members did reunite later that year for a memorial concert in honor of Scott Miller.

Now on September 2nd, Omnivore Recordings has taken on the task of remastering and re-releasing the entire Game Theory catalog, beginning with the band's debut album "Blaze of Glory." The new release was mastered from the original tapes and features an amazing fifteen bonus songs added to the original twelve songs that appeared on the album. For those that loved the eighties music, this release is a must have. The music on this album ranges from the electronic pop of the opener "Something To Show" to punk-like energy of "All I Want Is Everything." Fans of the band will be most excited for the bonus tracks which include recordings from Scott Miller's early band Alternate Learning, as well as Scott Miller's "Record Test." The real gems are the rough solo recordings of Scott Miller alone, where you get a glimpse into his songwriting method. The new release also features a few rare live recordings that are appearing on CD for the first time. Omnivore Recordings has done an outstanding job collecting everything they could for this new release and with the album being out of print for so long, a new generation will be able to rediscover the experimental appeal of Game Theory.

To find out more about this newly released version of Game Theory's "Blaze of Glory" album, please visit omnivorerecordings.com.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

CD Review: Singer/Songwriters Philip Claypool, Joseph LeMay And Lucas Hardy Release New Music

This year, we finally see the return of American country music artist Philip Claypool, who released his new album back in June entitled "Come On Back Home." It is his first album in fifteen years and the first on Heyday Productions. This album is Claypool's most personal as he has a true story behind almost every song written. The new eleven-song release starts out with the title-song, "Come On Back Home" as Claypool sounds in excellent form and has his finger on the pulse of today's country music. He slows things down for "New Kind Of Love," which has Claypool sounding like the prodigy of Ronnie Milsap as the song carries a classic country/pop sound. The rockabilly blues of "Three More Beers" is country music at is best as the lyrics are fun to sing-along to and the song's mood is light and energetic. Philip Claypool pours his heart into the gentle acoustics of "God's Very Best" as he shows his vulnerability. He plugs in to rock on the upbeat "I'm Gonna Lie," before closing the album with the classic country feel of "Jack Daniel And Mr. Jim Beam" and a cover of Eddy Arnold's "You Don't Know Me." To find out more about Philip Claypool and his latest release "Come On Back Home," please visit philipclaypool.com.

From Tennessee comes the debut album from Americana singer/songwriter Joseph LeMay entitled "Seventeen Acres." Since its release back in May, it has been receiving praise from Rolling Stone Country and CMT Edge. Joseph LeMay has also been named one of the 25 finalists by American Songwriter for American Songspace's "Secret Road Pub Deal Songwriting Competition." The new eleven-song release begins with the slow-moving, country twang of the title-song "17 Acres," as LeMay eases you into his musical world. He picks up the tempo for the passionate chorus of "You Still Do It," before he lets his storied lyrics soar during "Fruit On The Vine" and "Warrant For My Worry." At times, Joseph LeMay draws strong similarities to the early work of Ryan Adams as in "Nothing You Can Do." He picks up the tempo with the country, two-step rhythm of "Molly My Girl," before closing with the frailness of "Just So." Joseph LeMay has half-a-dozen dates left on his concert schedule at the moment. To find out more about his new album "Seventeen Acres," please visit josephlemaymusic.com.

From the southern U.K. comes the new EP from singer/songwriter Lucas Hardy entitled "Needle & Thread." Lucas handles everything himself, including recording, producing and distributing his own CDs. It was released back in August and features sixteen minutes of catchy vocals with full harmonies, amongst a sometimes stark acoustic backdrop. His sound is raw, with no overdubs, which only adds to the originality that Lucas puts into his music as displayed in "Coffee" and "Runaway." The album closes with "Heaven's Well" that has the most potential to become something bigger as the lyrics have a pop quality to them with a dark alternative country sound to support them. To find out more about Lusa Hardy, please visit lucashardy.co.uk.