Friday, October 31, 2014

CD Review: KISS' "Love Gun" Gets The Deluxe Treatment With Demos And Live Tracks

In the late '70's, the legendary band KISS reached new heights of their stardom with the platinum selling albums "Destroyer" and "Rock And Roll Over" and achieving more merchandise endorsements than The Beatles. The release of their album "Love Gun" on June 30, 1977 would give them a top-ten selling album and turn the band into rock 'n' roll superheroes. But with all that success, failure would soon follow. The album "Love Gun" is the first to feature lead vocals by every member of the band and the last KISS album to feature every member of the band performing on every song recorded.

To continue the celebration of the band's 40th anniversary, the Universal Music Enterprises released a 2CD deluxe edition of the album on October 28th. The first disc includes a newly remastered version of the album that gives the album its best sound in decades. The opening riff of "I Stole Your Love" lets you know that you are in for one hell-of-a journey with some of the band's heaviest songs including "Got Love For Sale" and the title-song "Love Gun." The album also features the debut vocals of guitarist Ace Frehley on "Shock Me" and one of the most underrated Gene Simmons penned songs "Almost Human."

KISS fans will be looking forward to the second disc of the set, which includes 10 previously unreleased tracks including 7 demos, 3 live songs and an interview with Gene Simmons from 1977. Only one of the demos has be previously released, the song "Reputation" was released on the band's latest compilation "KISS 40." Beginning with "Much Too Soon," the song carries a '70's vibe that would have fit better on "Dynasty" than "Love Gun." Gene's vocals are soft and inviting on this outtake, while the demo for "Plaster Caster" has a dirtier vocal delivery than the studio release. It's great to hear Paul walk the band through the guitar chords "Love Gun," before hearing the song's demo, which sounds very similar to the released version. The disc closes with live versions of the songs "Christine Sixteen," "Shock Me" and "Love Gun" from their December 20, 1977 show at the Capital Centre in Maryland. The set also includes new liner notes written by Def Leppard's Joe Elliott about the album.

To find out more about the deluxe edition of KISS' 1977 album "Love Gun," please visit kissonline.com.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

CD Review: New Debut Albums From Underground Rockers Lock City Thieves, Hold/Transfer And Anton Vezuv

Returning with new music is the Connecticut band, Lock City Thieves (formerly known as BoneThrower). Their new four-song EP entitled "The Devil And Bad Decisions" shows a maturity in the band's songwriting, while still maintaining that raw, hard rock sound as displayed in the two-minute attention getter "DIY." The Lock City Thieves find a White Stripes-style of bluesy grunge rock on the exciting "Slept With The Devils," before closing with the nearly seven-minute classic metal sounds of "Prime." The band has only one show on their schedule at the moment for November 6th at The Fez in Stamford, CT. To find out more about their new album "The Devil And Bad Decisions," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/thelockcitythieves.

From Boston, MA comes the self-titled debut release from Hold/Transfer. The new thirteen-song album begins with the uptempo, alternative rock instrumental "New Strangers," which is a great introduction to the band. Their sound takes on a more art/pop rock feel to their music with the concise delivery of "Hang Tight And Wait" and "Nerves On The Big Occasion," before experimenting more on "Hissfits." The music explodes with the grunge guitar introduction of "Branton" as the energy finally picks up. Hold/Transfer head toward the mainstream with the mellow, alternative sound of "Let's Do It Anyway," before closing the album with slow-moving monotone feel of "Spoken For." To find out more about Hold/Transfer, please visit the band's Facebook page at facebook.com/holdtransfer.

From Budapest, Hungry comes the debut album from alternative rock band Anton Vezuv entitled "Into The Sea." The new twelve-song release begins with the up-tempo pop/rock of "Far Camp Song" that features an attractive rhythm that easily draws you in. They slow down for a "Moment Of Bliss" that builds to an amazing close along with the gentle flow of "Mr. Horsefly," and the softness of "I'm Sorry," which really showcases the band's exceptional songwriting. The album closes with the slow sway of "Say Something." To find out more about Anton Vezuv, please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/antonvezuv.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

CD Review: New Independent Metal Music From Fit For A King, Arabrot & MoE

From Texas comes the latest release from the Christian metal band Fit For A King entitled "Slave To Nothing." The band's last album "Creation/Destruction" debuted at #3 on the Billboard "Heatseekers" chart and their latest album is looking to capitalize on that success. The new eleven-song release begins with the adrenaline-fueled "Kill The Pain" that has the band sounding as good as ever, while the dark subject matter of "Young & Undeserving" has a more mainstream metal appeal. The screaming vocals of Ryan Kirby and the harmonies of the chorus gives "Break Away" a roller coaster effect to the song's momentum. One of the album's first singles "A Great Sense Of Self" hits you right in the teeth with its fast-paced rhythm and aggressive vocals. Fit For A King look to "Cleanse My Soul" from the evilness heard within song, before slowing the tempo down to appeal to a more general audience with "The Final Thoughts Of A Dying Man." To find out more about Fit For A King and their new album "Slave To Nothing," please visit fitforakingband.com.

From Norway comes two new releases through Fysisk Format Records from the bands Arabrot and MoE. Arabot's new album entitled "I Modi" features six hard-hitting songs that have a hardcore metal sound laid out by an aggressive vocal delivery and bashing rhythms. The album attacks religion and looks to gather more followers with its eerie, but majestic music and thought-provoking lyrics. MoE on the other hand delivers a drugging doom metal sound with moments of punk-like furry. The trio look to mesmerize you with their music and draw you in with their vocals. To find out more about Arabrot, please visit arabrot.com. To find out more about MoE, please visit facebook.com/moepages.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

CD Review: Metal Blade Records Heats Things Up With Some New Releases

British hardcore metal duo Anaal Nathrakh have a new album coming out on October 28th entitled "Desideratum" on Metal Blade Records. Their last album "Vanitas" appeared on many "best of 2012" metal album charts, so the new release has a tall act to follow. The original plan of the band was to create music for the soundtrack of Armadeddon and they definitely achieved that with this latest album. The new eleven-song release begins with the explosive blast of energy in "Acheronta Movebimus" and doesn't quit until the final notes of "Ita Mori." They electrify their sound with the fast-paced drumming of "Monstrum In Animo" and give us some hardcore industrial metal with the electronic feel of "The One Thing Needful." The album continues with the screaming vocals of "Idol" and the live setting of the aggressive "Rage And Red," before closing with guitar shredding solos of "Ita Mori." To find out more about Anaal Nathrakh and their latest release "Desideratum," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/Anaalnathrakhofficial.
 
Also out on October 28th is the latest release from Vesania entitled "Deus Ex Machina." It is the band's first new album in seven years and carries the theme of "a cheap solution in a poorly written script or novel." The ten tracks that make up the album tell dark tales beginning with the storied lyrics of "Halflight" as the music adds to the song's intensity. The band plays around with tempos during "Innocence," then attacks the vocals of "Vortex" with reckless abandonment as the music follows suit. The band's symphonic metal side comes through on the grand "Notion" with screaming vocals and adrenalized music, before Vesania finish with the final guitar-fueled onslaught of "Scar." To find out more about Vesania and their latest release "Deus Ex Machina," please visit vesania.pl.
 
Coming out in November from Metal Blade Records are new albums from Job For A Cowboy and Downfall Of Gaia. The new album from the American death metal band Job For A Cowboy is entitled "Sun Eater" and it will show fans how the band has grown in their songwriting. The band decided to showcase their talents in the studio, allowing everyone within the band to share their ideas and talents of this new material. Songs like "Suns Of Nihility" and "Buried Monuments" show an enormous amount of growth within the band, while "The Synthetic Sea" and "The Celestial Antidote" can still knock you back with the music's sheer aggressive force.To find out more about Job For A Cowboy and their new album "Sun Eater," please visit metalblade.com/jobforacowboy.
 
The new album from the German metal band Downfall Of Gaia is entitled "Aeon Unveils The Thrones Of Decay" and starts off with the nine-minute horror soundtrack "Darkness Inflames These Sapphire Eyes." The band's signature doom metal sound is displayed perfectly in the ten-minutes of "Carved Into Shadows," while they give one last blast of heavy metal adrenaline during the twelve-minute "Whispers Of Aeon." To find out more about the new album from Downfall Of Gaia, please visit metalblade.com/downfallofgaia.

Monday, October 27, 2014

CD Review: Queen Drummer Roger Taylor Releases "Best" Of His Solo Albums

Legendary Queen drummer Roger Taylor had a very successful solo career outside of his bands Queen and The Cross. He released five solo albums, all of which have charted very well in the U.K. His songwriting in Queen is sometimes overshadowed by lead singer Freddie Mercury and guitarist Brian May, but on this new "best of" compilation, we get to fully appreciate his creations on this new release from Omnivore Recordings.
 
The new album "Roger Taylor: best" features eighteen songs from throughout Taylor's solo career, beginning with the early eighties sound of "Future Management (You Don't Need Nobody Else)." The booklet doesn't give much insight into who performed on the songs, but on Roger's debut solo album, he performs all of the instruments himself as you can hear some of Brian May's guitar influence on "I Wanna Testify" and a touch of rockabilly on "Let's Get Crazy." His Queen comrades helped out on Taylor's second solo album "Strange Frontier" as Brian May is featured on the song "Man On Fire," which is included on the compilation. His third album "Happiness?" began with the controversial single "Nazis 1994" as Taylor's sound is still holding on to the eighties synthesizer era. One of Taylor's greatest non-Queen songs is the emotional "Foreign Sand" which he wrote and performed with Japanese musician, Yoshiki. The song "Surrender" shows more depth and experimentation with his sound as he seems renewed with writing this new music. Many of the songs' from his final two albums, 1998's "Electric Fire" and 2013's "Fun On Earth" could have been hit singles with the band Queen as they have that underlining feel of what could have been. The song "The Unblinking Eye" was released in 2009 and shows Taylor's subtle way of writing a protest song that also gives emotion to his music. The album closes with one of Roger Taylor's most touching moments on the 2013 single "Sunny Day."
 
To find out more about this first "best of" compilation from Queen drummer Roger Taylor, please visit omnivorerecordings.com

Sunday, October 26, 2014

CD Review: Richie Kotzen Brings His "Essentials" To Connecticut In November

Guitarist/singer/songwriter Richie Kotzen has release 18 solo albums throughout his 25 year musical career. Not to mention being a member of the rock bands Poison and Mr. Big and currently in the hard rock trio The Winery Dogs. On September 2nd, Loud & Proud Records gathered some of Kotzen's greatest solo efforts and released "The Essential Richie Kotzen" 2CD/DVD set. Kotzen will also be embarking on a solo U.S. tour that kicks off November 1st in Maryland. He will make his way along the east coast, before heading out west in mid-November.

The new two-disc set showcases his more popular fan favorites on the first disc, while the second disc gathers three new recordings, acoustic sessions and demos. He displays his Chris Cornell-type vocal range on the grunge-like rock of "Love Is Blind," while the eight-minute "Fooled Again" has a electrifying guitar solo to close the song. The classic rock appeal of "Help Me" and the bluesy "Bad Situation" show the diversity in Kotzen's songwriting and his guitar duties never disappoint. Kotzen looks for redemption in the scorcher "Save Me," before closing the disc with the slow, raw acoustic blues of "Remember (Reprise)."

The second disc is put together especially for the fans, beginning with three new recordings, including the soft acoustics of "What It" and "Change." Those are followed by five acoustic versions of some of Kotzen's more well-known songs, including his hit with Poison, "Until You Suffer Some (Fire And Ice)." The second disc closes with a piano demo for the song "Regret" and the R&B drum beat of "Damaged." To find out more about this latest new release from Richie Kotzen and about his upcoming U.S. tour, please visit richiekotzen.com.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

CD Review: Gonzo Multimedia Uncovers Another Live Album From Captain Beefheart

Gonzo Multimedia returns with the next treasure in the Captain Beefheart live releases series. The first release in the series was from 1980, but this one dives back a little further with a show from "Le Nouvel Hippodrome, Paris 1977." This recording is one of the first shows with his newly named "Magic Band," which recorded with Captain Beefheart on his final three studio albums.

This new two-CD set has a much better sound than the former release in this series, but it is still nowhere close to a professional recording, but that only adds to the atmosphere of being there. Captain Beefheart feels renewed by his new band, performing twenty-six songs in over two hours. Captain Beefheart pulls out some surprises like the unreleased "Bat Chain Puller" and "Floppy Boot Stomp." He also brings out classic gems like "Abba Zabba" and "Electricity" from his debut solo album. The "Magic Band" showcase their outstanding musicianship with the slow blues of "Grow Fins" and "China Pig." The Captain and his band pull off a rocking version of "Moonlight In Vermont" and the fan-favorite "Carson City," before closing the show with the two-minute frenzied blast of "The Blimp" and the more conventional romp of "Big Eyed Beans From Venus." To find out more about this latest live release from Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band, please visit gonzomultimedia.com.

Friday, October 24, 2014

CD Review: Singers/Songwriters Lloyd Cole, Madeleine Peyroux And Ronnie Fauss Shine On New Releases

English singer/songwriter Lloyd Cole began his career thirty years ago with his first band The Commotions. Their debut album "Rattlesnakes" became an instant hit in the U.K. reaching Gold status. After five years, Cole decided to go solo, stringing along five "top 40" albums in the U.K. during the nineties. On October 14th, Cole released his fifteenth solo album through Omnivore Recordings. The new album entitled "Standards" features the rhythm section of his debut solo release, which included Fred Maher on drums and Mathew Sweet on bass. Cole also brought back former Commotions keyboardist Blair Cowan and Joan Wasser on piano. The new eleven song release shows that Cole can still rock as he displays with the dirty guitar sound of the opener "California Earthquakes." Matthew Sweet's bass line leads the way of the upbeat rhythm of the pop/rock of "Period Piece," before the tempo slows for the ballad of "Myrtle And Rose." Cole works his folk side with the gentleness of "No Truck," before the guitars get plugged again for the driven "Opposites Day." The album closes with the country blues feel of "Diminished Ex." To find out more about Lloyd Cole's new album "Standards," please visit omnivorerecordings.com.

Singer/songwriter Madeleine Peyroux is finally getting the recognition she deserves with her first-ever career retrospective release. Rounder Records released "Keep Me In Your Heart For A While: The Best of Madeleine Peyroux" on October 14th. The album contains fourteen of her best songs and one new, never-before-released song, "Keep Me In Your Heart." Her career dates back nearly twenty years as her Billie Holiday-like vocals turned songs by Bob Dylan and Warren Zevon in jazzy originals. Her version of Dylan's "You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go" gives her gentle vocals the perfect canvas to turn this into a smooth jazz favorite. Leonard Cohen's "Dance Me To The End Of Love" seems as if it was written just for her as she keeps Cohen's lyrical measures amongst a steady jazz backdrop. One of the highlights is Madeleine's vocal delivery of the Italian classic "Le Vie En Rose" as it matches so perfectly to her singing style. The album features two songs from Warren Zevon, an extended version of "Desperadoes Under The Eaves" as Madeleine provides the perfect setting for Zevon's lyrics. The other Warren Zevon song is the previously unreleased "Keep Me In You Heart," which is one of the final songs Zevon recorded before his death. This version also tugs on your emotions just as much as the original does. To find out more about this new release, please visit madeleinepeyroux.com.

Texas native Ronnie Fauss returns with his second album "Built To Break," which will be released on November 4th through Normaltown Records. The new music has been receiving positive reviews and follows the success of his 2012 debut album "I Am The Man You Know I'm Not." The new eleven song release begins with the country rocker "Another Town" as Fauss shows no signs of slowing down. The country twang of "The Big Catch" has a smooth delivery that would make his influences proud. Old 97's frontman Rhett Miller joins Fauss on the honky-tonk flavor of "18 Wheels," before things slow down for the acoustic duet of "Never Gonna Last," featuring the sweet vocals of Jenna Paulette. Ronnie Fauss lets his emotions flow with the gentle country folk cover of the Phosphorescent's "Song For Zula," before finishing with the storied lyrics of "Come On Down." To find out more about Ronnie Fauss and his new album "Built To Break," please visit his Facebook page at facebook.com/ronniefauss.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

CD Review: Rocker Hozier And Rapper T.I. Release First Albums Through Columbia Records

Irish singer Hozier recently released his self-titled debut album on October 7th through Columbia Records. His name became known on U.S. shores when he first appeared on Late Night With David Letterman and on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. He is also currently headlining his first American tour, which runs until the beginning of November. His new thirteen song release begins with the dark, preaching arena rocker "Take Me To Church" followed by the raw guitar funk/blues of "Jackie And Wilson." The stomp and thump rhythm of "To Be Alone," will have you stand up and take notice as Hozier's vocals smooths out the rough edges. He shows another side to his songwriting with the more mainstream pop/rock of "From Eden" and the softer acoustics of the heartfelt delivery of "In A Week." His voices rises from the "slave chant" beat of "Work Song," while the harmonies soar like a gospel choir in "Like Real People Do." The album closes with a live acoustic version of "Cherry Wine" as Hozier morphs into a folk troubadour. To find out more about Hozier, his fall tour and new album, please visit hozier.com.

One of hip-hop's biggest artists is starting over again. Rapper T.I. released his first album ("I'm Serious") in 2001 and never looked back. Every album that followed, reached gold or platinum status for the Atlantic Records label. Now, on October 21st, T.I. has released his latest album "Paperwork" on his new label Columbia Records. It features an all-star cast of pop musicians to help T.I. make this his most successful album in six years. The fifteen-song release begins with T.I. telling you who's in charge with the self-proclaimed song "King" as he rolls lyrics off his tongue so quick and smooth that you might miss the R&B grooved music in the background. He brings a reggae feel to his sound with "About The Money" with help from Young Thug, before Skylar Grey's vocals explode on "New National Anthem," while T.I. does what he does best with his vocal style. Chris Brown turns "Private Show" into a smooth R&B-flavored strip tease as the beats are slow, before Iggy Azalea lends her vocals to the super-star hit single, "No Mediocre" as T.I. and Iggy are the perfect match-up for success. Pharrell lends his Midas touch to "Paperwork," while Usher teams up with T.I. for the slow jam of "At Ya' Own Risk." T.I.'s debut on Columbia is an all-star jams that is guaranteed to place T.I. on the top of the charts once again. To find out more about T.I.'s new album "Paperwork," please visit tipaperwork.com.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

CD Review: Famed Guitarists Dave Kilminster And Steve Hunter Release New Albums

Famed guitarist/singer/songwriter Dave Kilminster recently released his latest solo album "And The Truth Will Set You Free" on September 22nd. Kilminster has been a staple, performing the guitar duties on Roger Waters' last two world tours and wanted to try and create an album with just a few guys jamming in the studio, without the need for auto-tune or overdubs. He wanted the music to be as pure as possible, even bringing in a string quartet to perform instead of using sound bites. The new eight song release begins with the eight-minute power rocker "Messiah" with its great harmonies and strong vocal delivery by Kilminster. The band pulls off a tight performance of "Circles" as Kilminster looks to break out on his solos, but instead plays it safe. The solo acoustic delivery of "Save Me" allows his songwriting to shine through, while "The Fallen" allows the boys in the band to flex their musical muscle and rock. To find out more about Dave Kilminster's new album "And The Truth Will Set You Free," please visit davekilminster.com.

American blues guitarist Steve Hunter recently released his first ever live solo album, featuring Tony Levin (King Crimson, Peter Gabriel) on bass, Phil Aaberg (Peter Gabriel, Elvin Bishop) on keyboards and Alvino Bennett (Dave Mason, Robin Trower) on drums. The new release entitled "Tone Poems Live" was recorded and filmed on August 24th of last year and was performed as if their was a live audience. The band rehearsed together for two days before performing the songs live.  The album contains only eleven of the entire fourteen song set performed, beginning with Hunter allowing to show off his skills on the mellow blues of "The Idler." The band picks up the tempo for the upbeat "Flying Hippo" and gets a little funky with the rhythm of "Rubber Man" as Hunter weaves his guitar through the drum breaks. The album features Hunter performing an wonderful cover of "Riviera Paradise" in which Stevie Ray Vaughan would have been proud of. He brings out one of the song's from his past, performing an amazingly unique version of "Solsbury Hill," which he used to perform alongside Peter Gabriel as a member of his band. Hunter and his band throw in some jazz for the mellowness of "Swept Away," before closing with the two-minute bluesy guitar highlight "Of All Times To Leave." To find out more about the new CD/DVD release of "Tone Poems Live," please visit stevehunter.com.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

CD Review: Great New Indie-Rock Coming From The Northwest Corner Of The U.S.

First from Seattle, WA comes singer/songwriter Jason Sees with his third release "A Single Frame Passing Through The Light" with the Jason Sees Band. The new album will be released on October 28th and honors his wife's courageous battle with cancer. The album is very personable and follows Jason's life journey with his wife, from the up-beat rhythm of "And Of Course Howie," to the soft subtle sounds of "Light Blue Light." Sees and his band rock on the more aggressive feel of "I'm So Sorry," before experimenting with a rhythm machine on the funky beats of "Set Me Free" as Sees' voice floats over the music. The title song, "A Single Frame Passing Through The Light" and "I'll See You Soon" are very emotional and showcase Jason Sees talents the best. To find out more about his new album, please visit jasonseesband.com.

Next from Portland, OR comes the latest release from The Quick & Easy Boys entitled "Follow Us Overboard." The new album was released on October 4th and produced by Los Lobos' Steve Berlin. The release of the new album will also be followed by a mini-tour in November of the west coast. The trio of Sean Badders, Jimmy Russell and Casey Anthony set out to create an album that sounds like "The Beach Boys meets The Bee Gees meets The Flaming Lips" as the fifteen songs that make up the new album have a strong argument to that statement. The album begins with the funk-fueled rhythm of "Breathe," before getting the adrenaline pumping with the punk-like pace of "Die." The band turns on their experimental charm with "Love Will Go," but it's the song "I Go Walking" that brings together The Beach Boys-style harmonies with more modern rock flair. The Quick & Easy Boys have a mainstream radio hit just waiting to be discovered with "Chasing Shadows." The song "Rave Bird" is the perfect example of The Bee Gees and The Flaming Lips influences with the buzzing guitars and high pitch harmonies. The album closes with more wonderful harmonizing, along with the swaying rock rhythm of "Asleep" and the acapella lullaby of "Joe Schmo." To find out more about The Quick & Easy Boys and their new album "Follow Us Overboard," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/thequickandeasyboys.

Monday, October 20, 2014

CD Review: The Tyler Porch Band Look To The "Sky" And Scott Zuniga Speaks The "Language Of Ghosts" On Their Debut Albums

From Atlanta, GA comes the debut album from the blues/rock trio known as The Tyler Porch Band. The new six-song EP is entitled "Only The Sky Knows" and shows the amazing growth within the band since only forming 18 months ago. The new release begins with the straight-up southern rocker "Who I Am," before heading into the swamp-blues stomp of "Oh, Lady." The most attractive song is the mainstream appeal of "Only The Sky Knows," which features Tyler Porch peeling off some sweet guitar solos. The album closes with the six-minute instrumental "Leftovers From Woodstock" that is the perfect jam for the entire band to shine as Porch leads the way, while the rhythm section of Joey Robertson and Brad Kemp keep pace. To find out more about The Tyler Porch Band, please visit tylerporchband.com.


From Texas, comes the debut album from singer/songwriter Scott Zuniga entitled "Language Of Ghosts." There is a highness to his voice that you instantly notice on the opener "Isla's Promise," which could easily be mistaken for a female voice. The gentleness of "For Always & Forever" gives his music an emotional connection. One of the highlights of the album is the Americana/folk of "I Am A Coin" as Zuniga's vocals fit the music perfectly, along with "Blood Of A Poet," which was inspired by the Jean Cocteau film of the same name. The new twelve-song release closes with the five-minute acoustic playfulness of "Past Present Future" and the quiet delivery of "Starboard." To find out more about Scott Zuniga and his new album "Language of Ghosts," please visit scottzuniga.com.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

CD Review: New Heavy Metal Music Coming From Both Sides Of The Atlantic

First from the U.K. comes the third album from the heavy metal band Atkins May Project entitled "Empire Of Destruction." The band features former original Judas Priest vocalist Al Atkins and English guitar virtuoso Paul May. The band looks to set a new benchmark in heavy metal music with their latest nine-song release. The new album begins strong with the quick heavy metal pace of "Worlds At War" as Atkins vocals fit the music perfectly. The intensity picks up with the more aggressive attack of "The Midas Touch," before the nine-minute epic of "Here Comes The Rain," which allows Paul May to showcase his skills on guitar. The heavy thumping rhythm of "Reckless Child" and the quick hitting "Are You Ready" showcases that this duo contain the right recipe for heavy metal success. The album closes with the thirteen-minute journey of the prog-metal masterpiece "Whisper To The Wind." There is a limited edition release of this new album which contains a bonus track, the adrenaline-pumping, heavy guitar riff-fueled "End Of The Earth" and a bonus DVD which contains five music videos and interviews with Al Atkins and Paul May about the new album. To find out more, please visit gonzomultimedia.co.uk.

Then, from Boston, MA comes the latest release from hardcore metal band Unearth. The new album "Watchers Of Rule" will be released on October 28th through eOne Music and follows the path laid down by their influences of Slayer, Testament and Anthrax. The new eleven-song release begins with the aggressive power of "The Swam" as Unearth looks for the quick knockout with the sheer energy of their music. The guitar duo of Buz McGrath and Ken Susi just peel of solos during the grinding rhythm of "Lifetime In Ruins," while the thunderous drumming of "From The Tombs Of Five Below" will keep the blood pumping. The power and energy never lets up as you are constantly running on high octane with "Burial Lines" and the frenzied album closer "Watchers Of Rule." Unearth are currently on tour as part of the "Hell or High Wattage" tour. To find out more about the band's new album, please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

CD Review: New Progressive Rock Albums From ST37, Guru Freakout And My Education With Theta Naught Sound Mass

Texas psychedelic/progressive rock band ST 37 are released their latest album "I'm Not Good" on October 14th through Cleopatra Records. Since starting out in 1987, the band has found a local following that has slowly grown and spread across the U.S. They have found themselves on tour with Sonic Youth, Hawkwind, Chrome and Guru Guru. The new album features a dozen songs that exercises for your mind. Beginning with the experimental sound movement "Down On Us," the has an early Pink Floyd influence on their sound of this latest release. The band comes together for the heavy progressive rock of "Doppleganger," which really shows off the band's outstanding musicianship. ST 37 fly off course with the frenzied keyboards and sound bites of "Dirty Little Homewrecker," before finding their way again on the seventies-type rocker "In Crowd." They turn Edwyn Collins' "Girl Like You" into a ten minute space trip and showcase their experimentation to the fullest extent on the backwards riffs of "Eroica Horns." One of the album's highlights is the slow-building "Feeding Friendzy" that has some extraordinary guitar playing on it. To find out more about ST 37 and their latest release "I'm Not Good," please visit the band's Facebook page at facebook.com.

Next is the debut album, "Mothership" from the multi-talented singer/percussionist Mani Neumeier and instrumentalist/producer Jurgen Engler which was released just last month. The duo formed the new band Guru Freakout in 2012 with Scott Telles on bass. The trio got together in the studio to jam and see if there was any chemistry between the musicians. The music was so good, that they decided to record their rehearsal on a small digital recorder and add two of the songs from those sessions as bonus tracks. The two-song album begins with the expanded prog-rock of "Notre Dame (Mothership)" as the song pushes past the thirty-minute mark. The spaced-out guitar and the steady rhythm put your ears on high alert as you continue your journey with Guru Freakout. The second song on the album is the steady climb up "The Snows Of Mt. Bonnell," which contains some exciting solos and more adventurous sound. The three bonus tracks consist of two of the songs from the band's rehearsal sessions and a live version of "Elektrolurch-Mutation" that has the musicians locked into a deep grinding rhythm. To find out more about Guru Freakout and the new album "Mothership," plesae visit cleorecs.com.

Also new from Cleopatra Records is the joint venture from post-rock bands My Education and Theta Naught Sound Mass. The new album entitled "Sound Mass II: Spiritual Docking," combines classical string instruments with standard rock instruments to create a more mind-expanding sound with touches of intellect added to the music. This album has been two years in the making and was finally released on October 14th. The five song album begins with the slow-moving, atmospheric flow of "Salty Tassels." The band gets into a classic progressive rock grove and plays it safe on "Spiritual Docking," before bringing you on a journey with the perfect mix of soft and heavy music on "BAMF." The album also adds on two bonus track that were recorded back in 2011 when the two bands met and collaborated for the first time. Both tracks have a more upbeat rock tempo with a more adventurous resulting sound. To find out more about the new album "Sound Mass II: Spiritual Docking," please visit cleorecs.com.

Friday, October 17, 2014

CD Review: Audio Fidelity Brings Out The First Wave Of High Quality Surround Sound Titles

Just released from Audio Fidelity are the first two 5.1 surround sound titles on CD. The "Super Session" album featuring Mike Bloomfield, Al Kooper and Steve Stills is the perfect candidate for this type of release. Keyboardist Al Kooper booked two days at a recording studio to just jam and see what becomes of it. Guitarist Mike Bloomfield was invited along with Wrecking Crew drummer "Fast" Eddie Hoh and other session musicians to create some new music on the spot. The instrumental music that is laid down on the first two songs ("Albert's Shuffle" and "Stop") showcases this "super groups" musical talents as you feel as if you are placed right at the control desk of the studio. One of the highlights of the album is the nine-minute jazzy jam of "His Holy Modal Majesty," which is a tribute to the late-John Coltrane. The song showcases Bloomfield stepping out his mold to put his guitar talents on display. The second-half of the album replaces Bloomfield (who did not show up for the next day of sessions) with Steve Stills fresh off his break-up with Buffalo Springfield. The second day of sessions began with a quick sixties-pop version of Bob Dylan's "It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Try To Cry," which allows Kooper's keyboards to really stand out on this 5.1 surround sound mix. Stills' guitar solo shines on the eleven-minute funk-filled jam of Donovan's "Season Of The Witch." The new 5.1 mix was mastered by Bob Ludwig and the new SACD stereo version was mastered by engineer Steve Hoffman and the new release contains new liner notes from Al Kooper. To find out more about this newly released version of "Super Session," please visit audiofidelity.net.
 
The other album receiving the 5.1 surround sound mix release is George Benson's "Brezzin'". It is considered the biggest selling jazz album of all time, selling over three million copies in the U.S. The album's biggest selling single "This Masquerade" proudly showcases Benson's guitar/scatting technique as the song feels more alive and spacious on this new remastered release. This award winning album features songs written by Bobby Womack, Leon Russel and Jose Feliciano. Benson gets to add some funk on "Six To Four" as you can almost feel him plucking the strings if you crank up the volume high enough. But, Benson's biggest moment is on the self-penned "So This Is Love?" as he feels the need to just go off and flex his fingers up and down the fretboard of the guitar. A truly "rock star" moment that allows Benson to continue with high-class of smooth jazz. The mastering for the stereo was also done by Steve Hoffman and the 5.1 Multichannel was mastered by Doug Sax. To find out more about this release, please visit audiofidelity.net.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

DVD Review: New Videos Showcase The "Best" Of Youth And The Aged Experience Of Drivin' N' Cryin'

On September 23, Magnolia Home Entertainment released "We Are The Best!" on Blu-ray and DVD. The movie follows three teenage girls growing up in Stockholm, Sweden in the early 1980's. Their love for punk music and rebellion brought them together to form a band, without any knowledge of how to play an instruments or even own one. The film was screen written and directed by Lukas Moodysson and was filmed in their native language with English subtitles. The movie could be considered the blueprint of how many young band started out with a desire and a dream of performing music for a purpose. "We Are The Best!" is about the battle cry of youth for the Mohawk wearing Klara, spiky-haired Bobo and classically trained guitarist Hedwig. They continue to practice their rebellious music overcoming obstacles throughout the movie, with one day being allowed the opportunity to perform live. That part of this feature is the true "punk-rock" moment of the film and makes the whole adventure worthwhile. The subtitles do take a bit of getting used to and the European way of life is a little eye-opening to how others live. The youth of this movie brings you back to a young more rebellious time in your own life that you wish you'd follow that dream. To find out more about "We Are The Best!," please visit magpictures.com.

Also, coming November 4th on Blu-ray and DVD is a documentary on the Atlanta rock band Drivin' N' Cryin' entitled "Scarred But Smarter." The video shows the history of the band through the eyes of one of the band's biggest fans Eric Von Hessler, who is the morning radio show host of "Regular Guys." He followed the band around for three years, trying to figure out why Drivin' N' Cryin' were not a more popular band, but through interviews with fans and fellow musicians, he discovered the band does have a huge following and an influence on younger music acts. The documentary begins with the foundations of the band coming together over their love for all different kinds of music like punk, country, folk and classic rock. Their sound developed into a southern rock vibe that record companies could not seem to market, which only drove the band harder to achieve the critical acclaim they deserved. Their song-writing at the time was unmatched as many of today's musicians claim that songs like "Straight To Hell" turned them on to the band. Many of the early days are shown through home videos by the band as the documentary moves from album to album. Von Haessler shows the good times and the bad without sugarcoating anything. "Scarred But Smarter" is one of the most truthful documentaries of a band that seemed content with never making it big, but struggling to make it through. It's great to hear words, straight from the mouth of founding members Kevn Kinney and Tim Nielsen along with friends and fans like R.E.M.'s Peter Buck, Hootie And The Blowfish's Darius Rucker, Collective Soul's Ed Roland along with TV personality and superfan Ty Pennington. The video's release co-insides with the band's 30th Anniversary which will take place in 2015. To find out more about "Scarred Buy Smarter, please visit scarredbutsmarterdoc.com.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

CD Review: Omnivore Recordings Finds Time For TV Eyes Debut, While The Vibrators Return To Their Roots

The trio of Jason Falkner (Jellyfish), Roger Joseph Manning Jr. (Jellyfish) and Brian Reitzell (Redd Kross, Air) left their day jobs back in 2006 to record together under the name TV Eyes. Their debut album was only released in Japan and has since gone out of print. Fans have had to pay top dollar to find a copy, but now on October 7th, Omnivore Recordings released a new version of the debut album from TV Eyes. The new release contains the original nine song album along with four bonus tracks from the band's Japanese-only EP "Softcore." The music has a nostalgic, 1980's synthesizer fueled sound as heard on the opener "Over The City." The song "She's A Study," carries similarities to mainstream Depeche Mode, while "The Party's Over" has a more post-punk feel to their sound. The electronic beats of "Love To Need" and "Time's Up" show that TV Eyes were two decades away from their sound's heyday. The bonus tracks are songs from the album that were remixed by each member of the band. Jason Falkner's remix of "Facinating" tries to make the song into a more modern electronic pop hit, while Roger Joseph Manning Jr.'s remix of "She's A Study" would have easily been a hit at the clubs in the 80's. Brian Reitzell streches "Time's Up' past the ten minute mark, slowing down the tempo and giving more depth to the music. The album finishes with the rare "promo only" song "She Gets Around," which was only available on a 12" vinyl single over a decade ago. To find out more about this release from TV Eyes, please visit omnivorerecordings.com

British punk band The Vibrators are returning with the release of their 2oth album "Punk Mania - Back To The Roots." The album became available on September 16th through Cleopatra Records and is aptly titled as it returns the band's early punk sound to these new songs. The fourteen-song CD release adds three bonus songs to make it seventeen tracks, yet it still clocks in at under an hour. Things take off quickly with the power punk-rocker "Blackout" and the nostalgic sound of "Love Like Diamonds." The disturbing lyrics of "Bleed To Death" is hard to resist as you end up singing along after only a couple listens. They speed up the rhythm for the psychobilly feel of "The Ohio" and showcase their raw, edgy delivery of "Rats." The Vibrators try their hand at a love song with "Just Be True," before finishing with the recklessness of "Fix." The three bonus tracks lead off with a cover of the Flamin' Groovies' "Slow Death" and the male anthem of "Get Me A Beer" before closing with guitar-fueled chant of "On My Way To Hell." The Vibrators will be heading home in November for five shows in the U.K. To find out more about The Vibrators' new album "Punk Mania," please visit thevibrators.com.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

CD Review: Sixties Psychedelic Rockers Electric Prunes Return With What "Was"

American psychedelic rock band Electric Prunes began their career in the mid-sixties with the hit single "I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night)." The band released five albums in their four years together before disbanding in 1970. A renewed interest in the band sparked a reunion tour in 2001 and a new album in 2002. Since then the band has been steadily active with recording and touring, with the Electric Prunes releasing their latest album "Was" this past summer. The new fifteen-song release is a mixed bag of classic sounding rock and experimental pieces that just miss their mark. The album does feature original lead singer James Lowe and founding bassist Mark Tulin, who passed away in 2011. Beginning with an explosive cover of Howlin' Wolf's "Smokestack Lightning" the band sounds like it has a renewed energy for the recording studio. The Electric Prunes return you to the sixties with the psychedelic sounds of "Toyko" and "The Girl Who Crashed My Dream," while "Circles" sound like the band's attempt at a modern grunge sound. The band loses their signature sound on the more mainstream feel of "Blue Sky/Red Dress," but return with southern rock appeal of the live version of "Bullet Thru The Backseat." The album closes with the crawling lyrics and pleading chorus of "Don't Sneeze On Me" and the flashback nostalgic sixties pop sing-along "Oh My My." To find out more about this latest release from the Electric Prunes, please visit electricprunes67.com

Monday, October 13, 2014

CD Review: JPRiZM Creates Superhero Rapper With "Mindwalker" And Tanya Leah Gives "Roses For Panjo"

From Boston comes the self-proclaimed "Electro-hip hop" artist JPRiZM with his latest release "Mindwalker." His love for comics and science-fiction his heard in his lyrics as he imagines what it would be like "if the fan became the hero." JPRiZM wrote, performed and produced all the of the music on the album himself. The new ten song release begins with the smooth vocal delivery of "Writer's Block," before he delivers the album's first single "Vigil N Tea." JPRiZM rolls out lyrics as fast as he can amongst a simple beat as you feel his love of the comic vigilantes. He gets into a R&B groove on "Planes 2 Sea," before opening up the dance floor for the eighties retro-pop sound of "North Star." He slows the beats down for the grooving rhythm of "Golem," before closing with the club beats of "Paradox" and robotic delivery of "Mindwalker." To find out more about JPRiZM and his new album "Mindwalker," please visit jprizm.com.

Singer/songwriter/producer Tanya Leah found inspiration for her latest album "Roses For Panjo" while caring for her father after his recent stroke. She has written songs for many acclaimed artists, such as Wynonna Judd and Lesley Gore and her music has been featured on numerous television shows including "Dawson's Creek" and  "How I Met Your Mother." Her most recent album begins with the flowing melody of "Somewhere Beautiful" and continues with the gentle advice of "Sail." The music gets a little up beat with the playful country/folk sound of "Everything & Anything" and "Signs Of Spring." Tanya takes on the inspirational "What A Wonderful World" with ease and grace, before closing with the smooth, mellow jazz of "Dream With Me." To find out more about the new album "Roses For Panjo," please visit rosesforpanjo.com.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

CD Review: D. Edward Is Looking To Show Us What "Love Is" And C. Holmes Gives Us "Peace & Love"

California native D. Edward will be releasing his latest solo album, "Love Is" on October 21st through 10th & Clay Records. This album has been two years in the making and D. Edward invited award winning musicians help flesh out these pop songs. The new eleven-song release begins with the attractively catchy chorus of "Waiting" that pulls you into the album. He adds a little R&B flavor to "Show Me," featuring the stunning vocals of Jenna Lavoie, and puts a little retro spin into "Hold On." D. Edward returns to the modern dance/pop of "One For The Money," then treads on familiar ground with the jazziness of "Mezmerized." The album finishes with the big rock/funk sounds of "Mighty Love" and the feel good title song, "Love Is" that really allows D. Edward to open up and enjoy himself. To find out more about D. Edward and his new album, "Love Is," please visit dedwardmusic.com.


From Narragansett, RI come singer/songwriter Christina Holmes with her debut album "Peace, Love & C. Holmes." It will be released on October 14th through Tarpan Records and was produced by legendary producer Narada Michael Walden (Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey). The new sixteen song release shows every aspect to Christina's talents, beginning with the mainstream dance/pop of "Give A Little Bit More." She gets the island vibe flowing on the reggae backdrop of "Summer Fun" and "Message For The People," before returning to the dance beats of "Sitting Here In Gansett." Christina gets her groove on with the R&B highlighted "I Love You" and has a playfulness to her music on "If You Believe." Her sound finally takes on the adventurous rock of "Don't Block The Blessing," before closing with the modern folk appeal of "Fade Away." To find out more about Christina Holmes and her new release, "Peace, Love & C. Holmes," please visit her Facebook page at facebook.com/cholmesmusic.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

CD Review: New Independent Progressive Jazz-Rock From Marbin And Moraine

Instrumental jazz fusion band Marbin has been touring the U.S. non-stop, performing almost 1,000 shows in the last three years. So it seemed appropriate that the band's latest release would be a live album. The new release entitled "The Third Set" was recorded during March and April of 2013 and captures the band at their most natural state, live on stage. The new release chooses ten songs from their tour stops along the mid-west. The music and tempo gets the energy flowing early with the heavy rock/jazz of "Special Olympics" as the controlled chaos starts the album off strong. Guitarist Dani Rabin shows off his speed during "The Depot," while saxophonist Danny Markovitch gets into the act during the opening solo of atmospheric "Culture." Marbin gets a little funky with their sound on "Vanthrax," while the rhythm section of Justin Lawrence on drums and Jae Gentile on bass motors through the excitement of the upbeat "Rabak." They close the album with the three-minute, smooth jazz of "Northern Odyssey" and the eight-minute King Crimson-like progressive rock/jazz of "Volta." To find out more about Marbin and their latest release "The Third Set," please visit marbinmusic.com.

Next, from Seattle comes the latest release from the jazz/rock band Moraine entitled "Groundswell." The album features some outside songwriting by composers Daniel Barry and Jon Davis, specifically for Moraine to perform. The first of these, is the opener "Mustardseed," which is a slow-moving, pulsating rhythm that closes with the instruments coming to a chaotic conclusion. The band finds their Genesis sound on "Fountain of Euthanasia" as the music takes you on an emotional journey. They slow down the tempo for the ambient feel of the gentle flow of "In That Distant Place," before picking up the pace for the horn-filled seventies prog-rock feel of "Synecdoche." Moraine continues with the spacey sounds of "Waylaid," before closing with the tempo changes of the nearly eight-minute "The Okanogan Lobe." To find out more about Moraine and their latest release, "Groundswell," please visit moraineband.com.

Friday, October 10, 2014

CD Review: Brand New Indie-Rock Music That You Need To Check Out

Singer/songwriter Alvin Harrison has taken upon himself to address people's frustration with their views of America with his new release, "The 99." The lead single, "Rough Times In America" is a battle cry to help Americans during these hardships, by joining together in song and unity. Harrison brings together the pop rhythm of today's mainstream music with a gospel like delivery of the vocals to give a unique sound to "We Ain't Buyin'." The quick three-song EP closes with Harrison looking to rock on "Do You Wanna Go." To find out more about Alvin Harrison and his latest release, "The 99," please visit his Facebook page at facebook.com
 
From Australia comes the debut release from The Danny John Trio entitled "Mr. Twister." This three-piece instrumental rock band is lead by the high octane shredding of Danny John along with the rhythm section of Marcos Gil on bass and James Dennett on drums. While their sound may be considered progressive hard rock/jazz, their skills are nothing to question as displayed in the nine-minute opener "Drift." The music gets a little funkier on the follow-up track "Would," while the title song really allows John to flex his fingers on the Van Halen-sounding instrumental. The band showcases a little more of their progressive jazz fusion side on the radio edit of "Badland," before closing with the quick, energetic pace of "Lighthouse." To find out more about The Danny John Trio, please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/dannyjohntrio.
 
Texas punk band Funeral Kab recently released their self-titled debut EP. The band's inspiration draws from the late-seventies, early-eighties days of punk music when it was reckless, aggressive and explosive. The new five-song release begins with the doom metal beginning of "Church Maus," which quickly takes off with the speed of the raw, garage-punk sound that has influenced this band. They continue to blast through their music with the high-powered "Christian Sheep," before closing with the quick, two-minute "Hey Hollywood," which carries a heavier metal sound. To find out more about Funeral Kab and their new release, please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com.
 
Chicago singer/songwriter Sarantos will be releasing his debut album "Not Where I Want To Be" on November 18th. His popularity has been growing, performing at this year's Toronto Music Festival and being ranked in the top five in Reverbnation's pop category with over 1.4 million followers. The album's title song has a pop/folk feel to the flow as Sarantos' songwriting becomes the main focus of the tune. He showcases his synth-dance pop sound on "I Love To Love You Too" as his music looks to reach many different musical genres. He also has a hard rock side as shown in "Are You Sure You Can Last" as he plugs in on this high-powered mainstream rocker. His talents play perfectly into the light airy pop of "A Sunny Day" and the passion of "A Country Song." To find out more about Sarantos and his new debut album "Not Where I Want To Be," please visit his Facebook page at facebook.com/Sarantosmelogia.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

CD Review: New Heavy Metal Music Coming In October And November

Coming out October 7th is the self-titled debut album from Finland metal band Mausoleum Gate. Inspired by the band's love for the late-seventies/early-eighties European heavy metal sound, the music on Mausoleum Gate's album would have fit in perfectly with the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal. The opener "The Magic Of The Gypsy Queen" has an early Iron Maiden feel, while the nine-minute "Lost Beyond The Sun" carries a heavy pounding progressive metal sound that allows the music to carry through the atmosphere. They get the tempo moving with the classic metal feel of "Mercenaries Of Steel," before closing with the eleven-and-a-half minute "Mausoleum Gate" as the band concentrates more on the musical setting for the storied lyrics then about blasting your eardrums. To find out more about the new heavy metal band, please visit facebook.com/MausoleumGate

In November, Cruz del Sur Music is releasing the latest album from doom metal band Apostle of Solitude entitled "Of Woe And Wounds." The new ten song release may be considered one of the heaviest albums of the year. Not for the sheer force of the music, but because of the deep, dark tones as displayed in the seven-minute opener "Blackest Of Times." The band sounds like seasoned veterans on the pounding rhythm of "Whore's Wings," then show their Sabbath-esque prowess on the eight-minute "Die Vicar Die." Apostle of Solitude pick up the tempo with a more hardcore sound in "This Mania," before closing with a return to the slow-moving doom metal of "Luna." To find out more about Apostle of Solitude and their new album "Of Woe And Wounds," please visit apostleofsolitude.com.

German death metal band Arroganz will be releasing their third studio album on November 11th through FDA Rekotz. The band feels that the new album titled "Tod & Teufel" will become an instant classic with it catchy hooks and brutal, but contemporary metal sound. The new ten song release slowly builds into the striking metal assault of "One Death" as the two-minute instrumental opener "I.D.T.N." begins your journey. That classic thrash metal sound with the growling vocals of "Arise From The Failure Perished As King," is the perfect recipe for Arroganz to break-through on American shores. The dark heavy drumming of "Demons Heart" and progressive metal of the seven-minute "All Light Is A Lie" showcases the excellent musicianship with the band. The album closes with the agonizing screams of the doom metal sound of "Alles." To find out more about Arroganz and their new album "Tod & Teufel," please visit hellishhordes.com.
Also from Germany comes the new album, "Kingdom of Worms" from death metal juggernaut Deserted Fear on October 24th. Their speed and power are instantly felt on the opener "Forging Delusions," which just blows you away with its sheer force. They pull back the reigns for the heavy metal assault of "Call Me Your God," then the 90-second acoustic lead-in "Torn By Hatred" gives "The Agony" it proper send off as the machine-gun drumming and growling vocals are looking to take no prisoners on this death metal masterpiece. The album closes with the brutal attack of the "Mortal Reign" and the pounding rhythm of the "Last Of The Fading Kind." To find out more about Deserted Fear and their new album "Kingdom Of Worms," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/desertedfear.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

CD/DVD Review: Hard Working Americans Take Their "First Waltz" With Live Album

American rock band, Hard Working Americans released their debut album earlier this year and took their music on the road, performing live throughout the year. On October 28th, Melvin Records/Thirty Tigers will be releasing "The First Waltz," the band's first live album and live concert rockumentary. Filmmaker Justin Kreutzmann (The Who, Grateful Dead) documented the band coming together, recording their debut album and their first-ever live performance in Boulder, CO. The DVD features interviews with members of the band and a brand new studio recording, "Come From The Heart" with Rosanne Cash.
 
The twelve-song album features many of the songs from the band's debut release, with a little more jamming added to the mix, beginning with the eight-minute rebel call of the "Blackland Farmer." Hard Working Americans find the jamband groove with "Another Train/Working Man Blues" and show off their boogie shuffle with "Mission Accomplished." They slow things down for the moody, but meaningful "I Don't Have A Gun" and the mellow, heartfelt delivery of "Straight To Hell." The band picks up the tempo once again with the thumping rhythm of "Stomp And Holler," before closing the show with a moving rendition of "Come From The Heart," featuring Rosanne Cash on backing vocals.
 
The CD and DVD will be sold together as a two disc package. To find out more about Hard Working Americans, please visit thehardworkingamericans.com.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

CD Review: Gonzo Multimedia Remembers Hugh Hopper With New 10-CD Set

Former Soft Machine bassist Hugh Hopper is the subject of a ten-disc release from U.K. label Gonzo Multimedia. The discs are being released individually and are categorized by subject. The first disc is aptly titled at "Memories" and features seven of Hopper's unreleased demos and outtakes that have never been released before on CD. It was released on September 16th with Volumes two and three following two weeks later.
 
Hopper himself introduces the tracks, beginning with the Soft Machine demo "Memories," which places you in the studio with the band, back in 1969. This opening of the "vault" is a wonderful display of Hopper's talents as he showcases his unique bass style in eleven-minute running of "Was A Friend," performed by the Hugh Hopper's Franglo Band. He discusses his use of the fuzz box before allowing us to dive into the Frank Zappa-like "Shuffle Demos." One of the more recent recordings on the set is nine-minute jazz-fusion of "Debonaire." Volume one closes with a seventeen minute sound collage known as "Long Piece" as Hopper is at his most experimental.
 
The second volume of the set is entitled "Frangloband" and features Hopper performing live with his jazz band at the Triton Club in Paris in 2004. The seven song, seventy-minute set features all originals, except for a cover of John Coltrane's "Mr Syms." The set begins with Hopper using his fuzz boxed bass to the full effect on the progressive jazz fused "Facelift." The band heads into a more traditional jazz direction on the thirteen minute jam of "Lonely Sky and The Sea," before Hopper takes control with his outstanding solo on "Sliding Dogs." The night ends with a pair of ten minute pieces, first the dark, aggressive feel of "Wanglo Salon" and the more mellow "Miniluv" that harks back to the Soft Machine days. To find out more about these new releases to the Hugh Hopper catalog, please visit gonzomultimedia.com.