Sunday, November 30, 2014

CD Review: Hot New Releases From Metal Blade Records

Metal Blade Records finishes up November with some exciting new releases, including the first ever complete retrospective of King Diamond. Also coming out at the end of the month was the latest albums from the prog-metal band Primordial, German hardcore masters Cripper and heavy metal keyboardist Thomas Giles.

The new King Diamond set is entitled "Dreams Of Horror" and it divides the two-disc set between his Roadrunner Records and Metal Blade Records releases. The first disc features his early recordings, beginning with the haunting sounds of "The Candle" and "The Family Ghost." His band in the early days, which consisted of Mikkey Dee (Motorhead) on drums and Andy LaRocque on guitar laid the perfect backdrop for King Diamond's high vocal range. Songs like the eight-minute "Black Horsemen" and the nine-minute adventure of "At The Gates" is where the band would strive as you felt trapped inside a horror story with an amazing soundtrack. After five years between albums (1990-1995) King Diamond released his sixth album "The Spider's Lullabye" through his new record label, Metal Blade. The second disc begins with "Dreams" which shows a harder edge to King Diamond's mystical metal sound, while "Waiting" is a straight-up metal rocker. The title-track of his 1998 concept album "Voodoo" shows King Diamond more involved in the album's story, than the song's impact. He returns to the dark creepy metal of "Spirits" as he sounded rejuvenated with "The Puppet Master." The double disk set closes with "Never Ending Hill" and "Shapes Of Black" from his last studio album, 2007's "Give Me Your Soul...Please." This set should serve as a reminder of how good of a performer, singer, songwriter and metal legend King Diamond was. To find out more about this new release, please visit metalblade.com/kingdiamond.

European metal is alive and well according to the latest releases from Primordial and Cripper. Both bands are building upon past career topping albums as Primordial look to push their sound to a more heavier, live feel.  Their new album "Where Greater Men Have Fallen" are eight songs that are great epic numbers, beginning with the eight-minute title-song. The shortest song "The Seeds Of Tyrants" clocks in at five-and-a-half minutes and comes at you at blistering speed that just looks to overpower you, while the nine-minute "Born To Night" takes its time building with intensity and strength. To find out more about the new album from Primordial, please visit primordialweb.com. Now, Cripper has been finding new fans everywhere they have been heard since their debut in 2007. Their latest release "Hyena" is a power blast of guitar riffs, energetic drum fills and growling vocals. The new eleven-song release is German hardcore metal at its best. The youthful grasp of "Tourniquet" and "7 inch" shows a band looking to conquer the European metal market, then the world. The hardcore sound of "The Origin" and adrenaline-fueled drumming and electrifying solo of "Patterns In The Sky" make Cripper stand-out amongst other hardcore metal bands. To find out more about their latest release "Hyena," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/Cripper.

To change gears, we get the latest solo release from Between The Buried And Me's keyboardist and vocalist Tommy Giles Rogers entitled "Modern Noise." This follows his Metal Blade Records 2011 debut "Pulse" and establishes Rogers as one of the great young talents of progressive rock music. The new twelve-song release ventures further away from the long, extended jams and features a more concise and direct approach to his music as shown in "Mutilated World and "Siphon The Bad Blood." He begins to jam a little on "I Appear Disappear" and experiments with the rhythm of "We Wander Lonely," before returning to the straight up hard rock of "M3." He displays his keyboard skills in the quietness of "Noise Upon," before closing with the electronic rock of "Modern Noise." To find out more about Tommy Giles Rogers and his latest release, please visit his Facebook page at facebook.com/thomasgilesmusic.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

CD Review: Audio Fidelity Brings Out The Best Of Eric Clapton And Blood, Sweat & Tears

When one thinks of the best quality compact discs, only one name comes to mind, Audio Fidelity. They have taken some of the best, innovative albums and re-released them in the highest quality possible on CD. Audio Fidelity have also released some of these high quality albums in 5.1 surround sound. The latest releases from Audio Fidelity feature the debut album from Blood, Sweat & Tears, "Child Is Father To The Man" and Eric Clapton's 1998 album "Pilgrim." Blood, Sweat & Tears was one of the first groups to bring big bands in rock music. The band was led by multi-instrumentalist Al Kooper who left shortly after the release of this album. This is the perfect candidate for the Surround Sound treatment. The 5.1 Surround Sound mix of this album was handled by Kooper himself, while the Surround Sound mastering was given to Bob Ludwig at Gateway Mastering Studios, who has done outstanding work with other Surround Sound releases. The bluesy feel of "I'll Love You More Than You'll Ever Know," with the subtle hint of horns, just pops from the speakers, while Kooper's keyboards in "Morning Glory" lays the groundwork for this folk rock gem with horns. The radio single "I Can't Quit Her" breathes with new energy into this new remaster as the song sounds timeless. The storied, prog-rock feel of "The Modern Adventures Of Plato, Diogenes And Frued" has that classical appeal as the string section just ignites the vocals on this newly remastered version of the album. The remastering was handled by Steve Hoffman at Steven Marsh Studios as "Child Is Father To The Man" has never sounded better.

Eric Clapton's "Pilgrim" album was his first album of new material in over a decade and anticipation was very high for this release in 1998. With the help of producer/songwriter Simon Climie, "Pilgrim" was a hit pop album reaching #4 on the album charts and selling over one million copies in the U.S. Many of Clapton's older albums have been remastered and released through Audio Fidelity and this continues the long line of Clapton albums that excel through this process. The bluesy bass line of "River Of Tears" just warms your speakers as it has a fuller, fatter sound on this new release. This album focuses more on Clapton's amazing songwriting, instead of his guitar shredding. You can feel the passion in his voice in "Broken Hearted" and his pain in "Circus" as you are placed in the control room during the recording of this album. His guitars finally give your speakers a workout during "Sick And Tired" and "She's Gone," but all of the songs on this album have their place and displays another exceptional remastering job done by Steve Hoffman. To find out more about these latest releases, please visit audiofidelity.net.

Friday, November 28, 2014

DVD Review: New Documentary Displays The "Dangerous" Side Of Jerry McGill

Rockabilly artist Jerry McGill had a promising future in music after he released his first singles through Sun Records in 1959. He befriended fellow artists Johnny Cash and even Elvis Presley and went on the road with Waylon Jennings, but his destructive nature took over and McGill became a threat to society. He was in and out of jail almost a hundred times in his life and the only indication of McGill's existence in music is the Sun Records' 45 r.p.m. single and a movie entitled "Stranded In Canton." After reading about some of the excursions of McGill, filmmaker Paul Duane decided to document a career comeback of Jerry McGill, but instead Duane got a whole different type of movie. The new documentary entitled "Very Extremely Dangerous" chronicles the destructive behavior of McGill as he records and performs some of the last new music of his life. The video does not hold anything back as McGill misses his surgery twice to remove cancerous tumors on his lungs as he continues to smoke cigarettes and take painkillers.
 
One of the highlights of the documentary is when Jerry McGill enters Sam Phillips studio for a recording session with members of the North Mississippi All-Stars and producer Roland James. It amazing how focused McGill is when he performing, whether its in the studio or in a live setting. While watching this film, you never know what will send McGill over the edge as the slightest things set him off and you keep watching, not knowing if Duane's film captures McGill's final days. The documentary was released on November 25th through Fat Possum Records and includes a CD soundtrack which includes McGill's lost album and a musical soundtrack with contributions from artists like Ry Cooder, Alex Chilton, Waylon Jennings and others. To find out more about this eye-opening documentary, please visit facebook.com/VEDmovie.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Looking For Some New Vinyl On Black Friday? Get Ready For Record Store Day!

Black Friday is one of the busiest shopping days of the year, but let's not forget that Small Business Saturday is where many of us find those unique gifts from local shops. Music collectors will need to flock to their local records shops on Black Friday for "Record Store Day" to find those special vinyl releases. "Record Store Day" is when music labels release rare, one-of-a-kind, special vinyl that is only available on that day and in limited amounts. Many of these record stores use these days to promote other specials and one Connecticut local music shop Redscroll Records (in Wallingford, CT) is holding their 8th Annual "Blackout At Sunrise" Sale. It begins Friday at 6am in the morning and runs all weekend.  Redscroll Records will  have some of the best deals of the year on hard to find items, including 15% off new vinyl, 25% off used vinyl and used CDs for only $1.To find out more about this special event including hours and DJ schedule, please visit facebook.com.


Speaking of new vinyl, American blues musician Alvin Youngblood Hart is releasing his debut single "Helluva Way (For A Man To Make A Living)" b/w Watchin' Brian Jones" on Big Legal Mess Records. The single brings backs the seventies garage rock of the MC5's with its up-tempo rhythm and blazing guitar riffs. The flip-side sounds like a blues classic with a modern flair as Hart shows his almost two decades of experience on these amazing new tracks. This 45 r.p.m. leaves you wanting and waiting for more from this New Orleans native. To find out more about Alvin Youngblood Hart his latest release, please visit biglegalmessrecords.com.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

CD Review: New Independent Music That Needs Your Attention

Singer/songwriter Patrick Ames started his music career later in life. He first worked on his first love of owning a vineyard in the Napa Valley and then using that to influence the creation of his latest album "Oakville Ontology." The new nine-song release is an independent folk gem with a dash of rock flair for good measure. He begins with the stark sounding "Arm Yourself With This Song" as he lays out his opinions while using only an acoustic guitar for the melody and rhythm. He plugs in for the nine-minute, folk/rock storied lyrics of "How To Kill A Protest Song," and then brings his lyrics to the forefront of "I Could Be Mistaken" as if the music is almost non-existent. He sings from the heart on the emotional delivery of "Time Opens All Wounds," before closing with the smooth Americana delivery of "On The Yellowstone." To find out more about Patrick Ames, please visit patrickames.com.


Denver trio, Heart & Soul Radio recently released their fourth full-length album "Thieves" back in September. Heart & Soul Radio was created from the ashes of two other local Denver bands. Heart & Soul Radio have struggled through band breakups, drug addiction and record deals that fell through, but their new album shows a new sense of purpose with twelve powerfully addictive songs. The new release begins with the high energy pop/rock of "Ain't No Life Like The Low Life" as they sound like a well-oiled music machine that definitely belongs on the charts. The guys show a little more of a rock edge on "Kochheads," while their harmonizing takes center stage in "Can't Face Home."  The album seems loaded with potential singles including "Roll With The Hunches" and the comical "I Slept With Justin Bieber And All I Got Was This Stupid Shirt." To find out more about Heart & Soul Radio and their latest album "Thieves," please visit hsrrocks.com.


India native Rhett May was heavily influenced by the sound of the sixties psychedelic era. His latest batch of singles have a pop feel that brings you back to era or peace and love. Songs like "Jenny" and "Insatiable" dig deep into your soul with a laid back acoustic vibe, while "Cocktails and Cannabis"  and "Heaven Of Hell" have a more dream-like, atmospheric rock feel. To find out more about Rhett May's music, please visit rhettmay.com.


Southern California singer/songwriter Karen Reed returns to music after a 25 year absence with her debut solo album "True North." The eleven songs that make up the new album are very earthy and based upon her passion of the ukulele. The album begins with just Karen and her favorite instrument on the light-hearted "Stuck On You" and continues, treading lightly, to the interesting "A Better Day," which adds an operatic rock backdrop to her repetitive lyrics. Her sweetness in her vocals shines through on "Sugar Pie," before bringing on blues with "Bad Girl." The album closes with a quick instrumental cover of Don McLean's "Vincent," which she renames "Starry, Starry Night." To find out more about Karen Reed and her new album "True North," please visit her Facebook page at facebook.com/kreed007.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

CD Review: One Direction Quickly Heats Things Up With "Four"

British boy band One Direction have become one of the biggest groups in the world. Their posters hang one the walls of millions of girl's rooms and their brand has graced everything from dolls to Christmas ornaments. On November 17th, Columbia records released the band's fourth album aptly titled "Four." The album leads off with the band's latest single "She's My Girl," which has a pounding beat and a contagious chorus that's hard to resist and any age. Their music continues to find their way into the hearts of young girls with the passionate vocals of "18" and "Fool's Gold," while "Girl Almighty" and "No Control" are the new pop anthems for this generation. The album closes with the shout out chorus of "Clouds" that is showing a maturity in the band's songwriting. A deluxe edition of the album adds another four songs for a total of sixteen new tracks. To find out more about One Direction's latest release "Four," please visit onedirectionmusic.com.

Monday, November 24, 2014

CD Review: Newcomers Siena Root And Shae Create Amazing Debut Albums

First, from Sweden comes the debut album from the rock band Siena Root. Their new release entitled "Pioneers!" was released on November 18th through Cleopatra Records. The band digs deep into the root of classic British rock music as they deliver blistering solos, but also giving their music substance and atmosphere. The new nine-song release begins with the big riffs of "Between The Lines" as the guitar solo and the addition of the organ gives a Deep Purple feel to the music. Siena Root sound straight from the 70's rock era with "7 Years" and bring that organ to the forefront with the amazingly electrifying solo of "Roots Rock Pioneers." The album's first single "The Way You Turn" sounds almost 40 years too late, but carries that true rock feel. The album finishes with the nine-minute, bluesy feel of "In My Kitchen" and the loose jam of Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love." Siena Root will be sticking close to home with their live shows which run into March 2015. To find out more about their new album "Pioneers!," please visit sienaroot.com.

From the Northwest corner of the U.S. comes the debut album from singer/songwriter Shae. Her new album "Can You Feel The Music," was produced by Grammy Award winner Narada Michael Walden (Whitney Houson, Mariah Carey) and was also released on November 18th through Walden's label Tarpan Records. Shae has become a staple on the west coast music scene as lead singer of the band Rogue Suspects and in Craig Chaquico's (Jefferson Starship) band. Shae has also performed alongside such well-established modern artists as Jack Johnson. Her new eleven song release has a modern dance/pop feel that is sure to introduce Shae to the mainstream. She begins the album with the big rhythm of "Shooting Star" as her vocals perfectly fit this pop genre. She showcases an edgier side to her music with "Addicted" and then shows her sensuality with "Wanna Be By Your Side (Forever)." The dance floor opens up for the club beats of "Take Me To The City," before slowing down for the R&B flavor of "I'll Be There." The album closes with the dream-like feel of the slow-paced "Have Faith." To find out more about Shae and her new album "Can You Feel The Music," please visit her Facebook page at facebook.com/Shaeceline.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

CD Review: Veteran Musicians Swamp Dogg And Willie Nile Produce Some Of Their Best Work

American soul/R&B singer Jerry Williams first hit the music charts in 1966 with the hit single "Baby, You're My Everything." Shortly after that, he reinvented himself and continued to record under the name "Swamp Dogg." He released twenty albums throughout his forty year career and has earned the accolades of "musical genius" and "one of the great cult figures of the 20th century." Jerry "Swamp Dogg" Williams recently released his latest album "The White Man Made Me Do It" on November 18th through Alive Records. It features fourteen compositions that could have easily been released in the seventies as the songs carry a strong funk/R&B sound, beginning with the title song. The song "Hey Renee" has a very contagious rhythm as Swamp Dogg also showcases his skills on the piano. The album does contain a few covers, including the sixties sway of Sam Cooke's "You Send Me" and the soulful blues of The Clovers' "Your Cash Ain't Nothing But Trash." You can feel the emotions in Swamp Dogg's delivery of the soulful vocals of "What Lonesome Is" and he gets funky with his tribute to Sly Stone in "Where Is Sly." The album finishes with his opinions on prejudice in the storied lyrics of "Prejudice Is Alive And Well" and the Southern groove of "If That Ain't The Blues Nothing Is." To find out more about Jerry "Swamp Dogg" Williams' latest release "The White Man Made Me Do It," please visit swampdogg.net.

Veteran rocker Willie Nile is releasing some of his best work these days. His last album "American Ride" made many critics "best of" lists of 2013 and he returns with the intimate "If I Was A River." The new release features Nile amongst a backdrop of piano with the occasional acoustic guitar or violin. The piano he performs on was the same one that he was playing on the night John Lennon was shot as Nile was making his second album in the studio next door to Lennon. The songs on this album showcase Nile in the stark setting as he sounds vulnerable on the opening title song, "If I was A River." His lyrics in "Lost" are some of the best of his career as the song shows grace and emotion, while "Lullaby Loon" is a rock song slowed-down and turned into singing drinking song. The grand feel of "Gloryland" and the folk styling of "Goin' To St. Louis" has Nile in a comfortable setting allowing his lyrics to become the focus of these songs. The album closes with "Let Me Be The River," which could easily have Nile be measured alongside legendary songwriters like Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen. This new release is only available on CD at live shows and from willienile.com and digitally through music distributers. To find out more about this new album, please visit jsrdirect.com.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

CD Review: The Complete Basement Tapes Shows Intimacy Between Bob Dylan And The Band

Bob Dylan fans can finally rejoice as the "holy grail" of Bob Dylan's music catalog has been released! The "Basement Tapes" have become the most sought after bootleg recordings in the history of music. Back in 1967, a twenty-six year old Bob Dylan retreated to a house in upstate New York, following his motorcycle accident, to become a family man and get back to the roots of music. He invited his former backing band, The Hawks, to join him for what would become informal jam sessions that would last for about nine months. During the recordings, Dylan and The Hawks (who latter became The Band) performed over a hundred songs consisting of Dylan's originals and timeless folk and country music classics. An album of these recordings was released in 1975, titled "The Basement Tapes" as The Band's guitarist Robbie Roberson took it upon himself to go through hours of tape to find the best songs to release to the public. But Robertson felt the songs seem incomplete and added overdubs to help flesh them out. Plus, of the 24 songs released, only sixteen were from the "Basement Tape" session while the other eight were recordings of The Band at various locations between 1967 to 1975. Diehard fans were dissatisfied with the end results and have since sought out bootleg records to hear the amazingly fruitful original sessions.

On November 4th, Sony Legacy and Columbia Records made things right by releasing "The Complete Basement Tapes" on 6CDs (a 2CD set of highlights was also released). The songs featured in this set were mixed from the original recordings that have been held onto by The Band's Garth Hudson all these years. The first five discs have been compiled to closely follow the recordings chronologically as to when they were recorded during these sessions. The sixth disc contains 21 tracks that are rough versions of songs that didn't quite match up quality-wise with the other music, but stilled needed a place in this set.

The first two discs of the set show the musicians getting used to each other once again, performing loose covers of songs by Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, Pete Seeger, John Lee Hooker, Curtis Mayfield and others. The atmosphere of these early recordings is laid back with none of them really performed to be final takes for an album. Discs three and four are where Bob Dylan and The Band begin to settle-down and get serious about performing some ground-breaking music. While bands like The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and The Doors were looking to shake things up with loud, rocking rhythms, Bob Dylan was looking to do the opposite with getting back to his acoustic folk roots. Songs like "Tears Of Rage," "Quinn The Eskimo" and "Sign On The Cross" showed how fruitful these sessions were to create new music that would eventually becomes hit songs for other artists. Many of the songs on these discs contain multiple takes as each one sounds different and is a necessary addition to this set. Dylan's voice is in fine form during these sessions as The Band begin to come into their own as a group of performers, creating this timeless music that would eventually propel them into one of the folk/rock icons of American music. The fifth disc begins with Dylan and The Band performing the classics "Blowin' In The Wind" and "It Ain't Me Babe" as if the were looking to recreate these masterpieces. Dylan does a masterful job throughout the set taking traditional folk songs like "She'll Be Coming Around The Mountain" and "Ain't No More Cane" and recreating them into potential hit singles for either The Band or himself. While six discs may never be enough, it certainly will fill the need of historical documentation of Bob Dylan and his great extensive musical catalog.

The discs are housed in an 8.5" by 8.5" hardcover book that looks to replicate the boxes that the reel to reel tapes were stored in. Included alongside the discs is a 42-page full-color history of the recordings as told by Sid Griffen (author of "Million Dollar Bash: Bob Dylan, The Band & The Basement Tapes"), Clinton Heylin and Jan Haust. The box set also includes a 122-page hardcover book of "Photographs & More" as it shows Dylan and members of The Band in a more vulnerable, playful atmosphere. The book also contains historic newspaper clippings and articles that are a real treat to read.

This outstanding new release should be at the top of every music fan's Christmas list this year and should easily be considered one of the top new releases of 2014. While not every Bob Dylan fan will be completely satisfied with what this set contains or how it was presented, the time and effort that went into this set should be awarded as this should put to rest one of the great mysteries of the Bob Dylan catalog. To find out more about this amazing box set, please visit bobdylan.com.

Friday, November 21, 2014

DVD Review: New Documentary Shows Rock Music's Influence On Bringing Down The Berlin Wall

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. In honor of that achievement, Lightyear Entertainment and Specialty Studios created the documentary "Rockin' The Wall: How Music Ripped The Iron Curtain." The Berlin Wall was erected in 1961 in order to keep the civilians of East Berlin and the Eastern Bloc from traveling to West Berlin for freedom of expression. The seventy-plus minute documentary discusses the impact that rock 'n' roll music had on the fall of the Berlin Wall. When the wall was built over in Germany, the U.S. was booming with the automobile industry and rock music and how music was everywhere. The documentary includes interviews from members of The Doors, Vanilla Fudge, Toto, Quiet Riot and Mother's Finest. One of the great discussions is how British and American rock music was smuggled into East Berlin and what sort of an impact it had on the youth of that city. American funk/rock band America's Finest was one of the first bands to perform live in East Berlin and how difficult it was to cross through the famous "Checkpoint Charlie." Members of Vanilla Fudge discuss how they took popular songs from the early-sixties and added a hard rock edge to them to give their music a more political charge. Quiet Riot's Rudy Sarzo recalls his emotions the day he heard that the Berlin Wall came down and was already looking ahead to try and cure the troubles of bands performing live in Cuba.
 
The film was inspired by Larry Schweikart's book "Seven Events That Made America America" as rock music became a liberating force against Russia's Iron Curtain. The movie's soundtrack features over a dozen songs performed by some of the musicians that played a big role in the destruction of the Berlin Wall. The "Rockin' The Wall" documentary has been touring across the U.S. over the course of the past few months. A DVD and digital download of the documentary was released on November 4th. To find out more about this historic event, please visit rockinthewallstudios.com.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

CD Review: Omnivore Recordings Releases Deluxe Reissues From Old 97's And Game Theory

The Dallas, TX band Old 97's released their debut album "Hitchhike to Rhome" in 1994 and instantly became one of the founders of alternative-country music alongside such bands as Uncle Tupelo, Whiskeytown and The Jayhawks. Since then, the band has released ten studio albums during their twenty year career and has became one of the top live draws around the country and one of the few successful alt-country bands that is still together. To celebrate the 20th anniversary of their debut album, Omnivore Recordings is re-releasing it as an expanded two-CD set featuring demos and outtakes from the recording sessions for the album. The first disc contains the original sixteen-song album which has been remixed from the original session tapes by Rip Rowan, Old 97's longtime engineer. The songs definitely benefit from these remixes as the twang of the country-stomp opener "St. Ignatius" and the punk-like speed of the grunge-like rocker "504" sound very fresh and new. The sixties-sway of "Dancing With Tears" and the southern surf-guitar of "Leaf Clover" shows the band's diversity in these early days. Their cover of Merle Haggard's "Mama Tried" shows their respects to the early days of country, while also injecting youth into their sound in "If My Heart Was A Car."
 
The second disc begins with the band's four-song demo cassette that contained the storied lyrics of regretful love in the unreleased song "Making Love With You." The demo version of "Dancing With Tears" has a more laid-back acoustic feel, while "Ivy" is a work-in-progress that has the Old 97's still searching for their alt-country sound. The final six songs on the second disc contain outtakes that the band recorded for their debut album, but never made the final cut. The quick pace of "Eyes For You" is a shot of punk youth, while "Victoria" has the perfect blend of country and rock that would have fit perfectly on the original release. Fans can thank guitarist Ken Betha who discovered these tracks while digging for the original tapes for remixing the album. This new set from the Old 97's was released on November 17th. The band has a handful of live shows to finish out the year. To find out more about this new expanded version of "Hitchhike To Rhome," please visit old97s.com.
 
Underground 80's power pop band Game Theory released five full-length albums that have since been out of print, that was until Omnivore Recordings stepped in. The band's 1982 debut album "Blaze Of Glory" was remastered and re-released in September by Omnivore Recordings and now the label is looking to re-release the French-only compilation "Dead Center." The album was released in 1984 in France only and it combines the band's first two EPs "Pointed Accounts Of People You Know" and "Distortion."
 
The music definitely carries that synthesizer sound that made every pop song a hit in the 80's. Beginning with the modern, keyboard-heavy "Nine Lives To Rigel Five," Game Theory were full of pop anthems that never caught the ear of the general public, but found an underground following as the band grew to cult status. The band looked to be the leaders of the early 80's new wave movement with "Dead Center," but also show their post-punk edginess with their rendition of "The Letter." The original ten-song release adds on another eleven songs to this newly released version of the album. The bonus tracks are made up of demos, live versions and rare mixes of the song's that have showed up on this and other albums from Game Theory. The live versions of "Mother Of Pearl" and "Trouble" shows the band enjoying the live setting as their passion for performing is heard in the delivery of these songs. One of the highlights of the bonus tracks is Game Theory's live cover of "Gloria" as they try to capture the intensity of the original. The newly remastered version of Game Theory's album "Dead Center" will be available on November 24th. To find out more, please visit omnivorerecordings.com.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

CD Review: New Independent Artists Tackle Country, Jazz, Soul, Punk & Alternaitve Music

From the Chicago area comes some new independent releases from singer/songwriters Angela James and Sarah Marie Young, along with new music from the alternative/punk band Dead On TV. The new quick-hitting EP from Dead On TV features six high octane, energy-filled songs beginning with the title-song "Creeper." Their rhythm is contagious as you can easily get into the punk bashing of "Pour Your Heart Out." They do slow the tempo down for the grunge-like alternative feel of "Screwdriver," before finishing with the reckless attack of "I'm Easy." To find out more about Dead On TV, please visit deadontv.org.
 
Americana singer/songwriter Angela James recently released her full-length debut album entitled "Way Down Deep" back in October. The album has a gentle feel to it as you are introduced to James' warming voice with the minimal instrumentation of the opener "Halo." The laid-back country feel of "Drink And Try Not To Cry" and gentle folk sound of "Lost And Found" showcases why there is no need to rush through this album. It is like a fine wine that you take your time with in order to enjoy it more. The chorus of "All I Need" hooks you in after only one listen, while "Can't Go Home" sounds like a potential hit on the country charts. The album closes with the mellow sway of "Lighting Strikes" as you realized that you are hooked by the voice of Angela James. To find out more about her new album "Way Down Deep," please visit angelajamesmusic.com
 
Soulful Jazz singer Sarah Marie Young recently released her second album "Little Candy Hearts" through Snip Records. The new eleven-song release of originals showcases Young's sweet, sultry voice as in "Can't Stop."  She gets a little more jazzy on the up-tempo swing of "Little Candy Hearts," then gets her pop groove going with "Black And White," but the soft smoothness of "Long Way To Go" is where her voice shines. The album closes with the gospel-like hymn of "Be With You" as Young's voice continues to impress. To find out more about Sarah Marie Young and her latest release "Little Candy Hearts," please visit sarahmarieyoung.com

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

CD Review: New Music From Singer/Songwriters Suzanne Jarvie, Dan Medakovic & Hovey Otis

From Toronto, Canada comes the debut album from singer/songwriter Suzanne Jarvie entitled "Spiral Road." It was produced by Hugh Christopher Brown (Ani DiFranco, Barenaked Ladies) and was released on November 11th. Her sound on this new release is sunk deep into the country/Americana music as felt in the steady opener "Before And After" and the gentle touch of "2458." The song "Never Gonna Stop" is very personable to Suzanne as she sings about her son waking up from his coma despite what doctors have told her. She picks up the tempo on the smooth country rocker "Enola Gay" and sings with a renewed inspiration on "Love Is Now." Suzanne finishes the album with a return to the opening song with "Before And After Redux" which has a more bluegrass feel without the full harmonies that are in the opener. To find out more about Suzanne Jarvie and her new album "Spiral Road, please visit suzannejarvie.com.

Canadian singer/songwriter Dan Medakovic recently released his latest studio album "Jolley Cut" on November 7th. After venturing out with the alternative-country group, Fry Truck, Medakovic returned to the studio to create an album of folk/rock gems that sound timeless.  The new twelve song release begins with the acoustic, slow jaunt of "Big Yellow Moon" that just plain feels right as you can't help but sing along to the chorus. The album's first single, "The Hardest Part" has a laid-back feel as Medakovic's vocals are right at home amongst the folk heroes of the seventies. The title song, "Jolley Cut" has a classic country feel, while "Gringo In Paradise" sound like an outtake from Cat Stevens' "Tea For The Tillerman" album. Medakovic's music is very addictive as you feel comfort in his lyrics to "Chrome Hearts (Slow Drive Home)" and he adds a little island-flavor to the Jimmy Buffet like "Taco Star." The album finishes with the acoustic, war-fueled lyrics of "Stripes And Stars." To find out more about Dan Medakovic and his latest album, "Jolley Cut," please visit jolleycut.com.

From Burlington, VT comes the debut EP from Hovey Otis, led by singer/songwriter Tim Davis. The new release entitled "Standing Alone" was produced by Rob Stroup at 8 Ball Studio in Portland, OR and features five songs that deal with love and loss. The album begins with the warm folk sounds of "Standing Alone" then tells the story of love a first sight in "Girl With No Name." Hovey Otis picks up the tempo on the folk/rock of "New Mexico," before closing with "Your Story" as lead singer Tim Davis's vocals draws up similarities to John Mayer on this smooth ballad. To find out more about Hovey Otis, please visit hoveyotis.com.

Monday, November 17, 2014

CD Review: Japanese Punk Band Slang Look To Further Their Success With "Devastation"

Japanese hardcore metal/punk band Slang recently released their seventh studio album entitled "Devastation In The Void" on October 11th through Cleopatra Records. They followed that up with the release of their former album "Glory Outshines Doom" just two weeks later. The band has built a strong underground following in the U.S. with a successful tour in 2010 which spawned a live DVD of the shows. With the release of these album simultaneously, Slang look to built upon the success they have achieved here in the U.S.
 
The album "Devastation In The Void" is eleven-songs of high-powered energy that comes off aggressive, beginning with the opener "Scum." The speed and adrenaline are pumping through "Yoshimura Hideki," before slowing the rhythm down just a bit for the four-minute "Dystopia" (the longest song on the album). All of the lyrics are in Japanese which are almost impossible to understand (unless you speak Japanese), but are not necessary to get blown away by the sheer force of the music being performed. The guitars in "Reason Of Brutality" look to overpower you along with the super quick, fast-paced drumming of "Cursed Dawn." The album closes with the fused New York-brand hardcore metal into their sound on "162 Graves."
 
The band's previous release "Glory Outshines Doom" is fifteen-songs of powerful hardcore speed metal. The song titles are in Japanese, but by the second song, you'll realize that Slang has a crushing, take not prisoners attack, that is pure metal. They turn the traditional "Happy Birthday To You" into a devastating attack, using their instruments as weapons. The album does feature a couple of sixty-plus seconds instrumentals that pay homage to their early metal influences. The title-song "Glory Outshines Doom" brings together all the elements to create a crushing close to the album. To find out more about Slang and their two latest releases through Cleopatra Records, please visit cleorecs.com.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

CD Review: New Christmas Necessities From Home Free And "Grumpy Cat Christmas"

The internet sensation "Grumpy Cat" is being featured in the Lifetime Original movie "Grumpy Cat's Worst Christmas Ever" which will air on November 28th. The movie's soundtrack was released on November 11th and it features ten holiday classics and a few new original songs. The soundtrack opens with one of the more recent holiday songs, "It's Hard To Be A Cat At Christmas," performed by Cats Across America. The song's uptempo rhythm and fun lyrics sets the stage for the light-hearted feel of the entire album.  The soundtrack breathes new energy into the Christmas classics with updated versions of "Sleigh Ride," Jingle Bells" and "Deck The Halls" performed by KT Tunstall, The Brian Setzer Orchestra and Chris Mann respectively. The new songs featured on this release are performed by newcomers House Of Breaking Glass with "Worst Time Of Year" one of the stand-out tracks of the album with lead vocals by Shaprece. Big Bad Voodoo Daddy keep the energy going with the quick-pace of "All I Want For Christmas (Is My Two Front Teeth)," before the holiday staple "White Christmas" performed by Johnny Reid. The album closes with the instrumental performance of the "Grumpcraker Medley" and the quick, one-minute complaint-filled "A Very Grumpy Christmas," both songs performed by House Of Breaking Glass. To find out more about "Grumpy Cat's Worst Christmas Ever," please visit grumpycatmusic.com.


American country vocalists, Home Free, winners of Season Four of NBC's "The Sing Off," have released their first holiday album, "Full of Cheer," on October 27th through Columbia Records. The five members use their talents to bring new life to some Christmas classics as well as adding the original title song "Full of Cheer," which will have you up on your feet dancing. The album also features two guests, Canadian country star Kira Isabella lends a hand to the playful "Baby, It's Cold Outside" and violinist Taylor Davis sends chills down your spine with the heartwarming delivery of "Silent Night." The boys also like to have fun, playing around with the verses of "Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer" and show their love for facial hair with "Hairy Christmas." They showcase their vocal talents in their countrified version of the holiday classic "White Christmas" and the emotional "I'll Be Home For Christmas." The album also features bonus tracks, including a three-song Christmas medley and a live version of "Colder Weather" from "The Sing-Off Tour." Home Free will be hitting the road on November 30th for a ten-date "Full Of Cheer" tour. For a complete list of show dates and to find out more about Home Free and their latest release "Full Of Cheer," please visit homefreevocalband.com.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

CD/DVD Review: Rediscover Bing Crosby With The New "American Masters" Releases

The holiday season usually begins for most people with the sounds of Bing Crosby singing "White Christmas." His timeless vocals and smooth crooner delivery has made Crosby one of the original idols in American music. This December, the "American Masters" series will be showcasing a brand new documentary "Bing Crosby Rediscovered."  The two hour film follows Crosby's life as he begins his musical journey as the drummer in The Musiclanders, before he displayed his baritone voice. Once Bing Crosby moved to Los Angeles at the age of 22, his career skyrocketed. First as a member of the Rhythm Boys, along with Al Rinker and Harry Barris, then as a solo artist for the fledgling CBS network. He became a staple on the radio and produced over 600 record singles, singing everything from gospel hymns to Hawaiian lullabies to musical standards. He was the ruler of radio and movies on the 1940's and 50's. The documentary was directed by Emmy-Award winner Robert Trachtenberg and dives into Crosby's homelife more than any other movie. Trachtenberg was the first director to have access to the "Bing Crosby Archives" to create this stellar documentary. New interviews with Tony Bennett, his second wife Kathryn Crosby, his daughter Mary and sons Harry and Nathaniel add to the insight into Bing Crosby's personal and professional lifestyles. The documentary will premiere on December 2nd on PBS and re-aire again on December 26th.

Also available is the soundtrack to the "American Masters: Bing Crosby Discovered" doscumentary. It will be released on November 25th through Universal Music Enterprise and features 22 tracks, 16 of them have never been released before. Beginning with a rehearsal take for "I've Got A Pocket Of Dreams," Crosby's voice is always perfect, even when they change the lyrics to "Wrap Your Troubles In Dreams" without his knowledge. The highlights of the soundtrack have to be his duets with fellow co-stars Bob Hope ("Put It There, Pal"), Dixie Lee ("A Fine Romance") and Judy Garland ("You're Just In Love"). Crosby sounds the most relaxed when he is joined by fellow crooners Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin in "The Oldest Established" and his friend Louis Armstrong in the swinging jazz sound of "Now You Has Jazz." Also included is "Joshua Fit The Walls Of Jericho" that Crosby performed with his sons from his first marriage as he became a temporary member of their singing group. And of course, what Bing Crosby album would be complete without a version of "White Christmas." Both the soundtrack and a DVD of the American Masters documentary will be available in December this holiday season. To find out more, please visit pbs.org.

Friday, November 14, 2014

CD Review: Trance Lucid Members Play Some Classic Jazz With Sea Rocket Jasmine

Jazz guitarist Dave Halverson and keyboardist Richard Bugbee are members of the jazz fusion band Trance Lucid, but decided to take a break from the band to create the jazz duo known as Sea Rocket Jasmine. They released their debut album, "The Window" on October 10th and the two musicians handle all of the music and producing on the album themselves. The new twelve song release begins with classic piano sounds of the smooth jazz appeal of "Sun Nova." Pianist Bugbee takes the spotlight on the quiet instrumental "The Window," before picking up the tempo with "High Steps." The two musicians lock in unison on the quick pace of "Shepherd" as the energy continues to flow into the peppiness of "Recreate." Bugbee, once again, takes the reigns on the gentle touch "Blue Chamber," before Sea Rocket Jasmine closes with another upbeat jazz piece "Starting To Happen" and a shorten outtake of the song "Twilight." To find out more about Sea Rocket Jasmine, please visit davehalverson.com.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

CD Review: Somebody Else's Nightmare Brings Joe Holiday To The Forefront Of Jazz Music

Session musician Joe Holiday has finally released his first album under the band name, Somebody Else's Nightmare. The album brings together many of Joe's influences of working with a number of different artists including Eddie Harris and Paul Horn. The music can be described a "jazz fusion" as he brings in elements of rock and rhythm & blues to showcase his love for many different types of music.
 
The new ten song release begins with smooth flow of Adam Mix's sax against Joe's warming vocals in "Destination Nowhere." The instrumental "Yard Full Of Joes" has a modern swing feel as the underlying rhythm becomes very addictive. The music that Somebody Else's Nightmare delivers in "Working Bees" is bright and energetic and is placed well on the album as you are beginning to settle into Joe's musical world. Joe and his band like to expand their horizons, introducing the new sounds of "The Light Will Show The Way" and "Snake Hair" which seem out of place alongside the other great jazz songs like the mellowness of "Drones" and the up-tempo album closer "Again Dawn." To find out more about Somebody Else's Nightmare and their new album "Strength And Kindness," please visit senightmare.com.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

CD Review: New European Heavy Metal Music Is Making Its Way To The U.S.

European heavy metal record label Revalve Records is rolling out their latest batch of newly released albums. The label looks let the U.S. know about some of these underground metal bands making waves over in Europe.
 
First up is Schysma and their latest release entitled "Idyosynchasy," which will be available on November 24th. The new ten-song release begins with the intense feel of "Lost In The Maze" as the band's sound is hard hitting with a progressive rock underlining tone. Things begin to settle on the six-minute "The Noise Of Silence" as the band's instrumentation becomes the focus of the song. Their more aggressive side shines through on the screaming vocals of "Pendulum." They look to have a follow-up mainstream hard rock hit single with "Need A Chance," before closing the album with the high-powered rocker "Time Man," which should get the band a bigger following here in America.
 
Next up is the latest release from the classic heavy metal sounds of Deimos and their new album "Beyond." The twelve-song release begins with "Alive" as lead singer Andrea Serafini puts his vocal talents on display for all to enjoy. Their sound on "D.M.V." could easily draw comparisons to a modern day Stryper. Deimos show a more aggressive side with "Dark Times," before diving head first into the power ballad "Locked Heart" that features Paola Gemma on lead vocals. The album would fit in perfectly within the N.W.O.B.H.M. (New Wave Of British Heavy Metal) movement of the early 1980s as they continue to blow you away with their talents as displayed in "On Through The Night" and in the epic eight-minute album closer "Beyond."
 
Now comes the really heavy stuff from death metal band Lacerhate and Black Therapy. Lacerhate's new album "Mass Destruction" is exactly what the title refers to as the band looks to blast you away with the sheer force of their music. They come out swinging with that hard-hitting, aggressiveness of "A New Beginning" as howling vocals and machine-gun drum fills power their way into your brain. The band really gets things rolling with the high-energy, adrenaline-pumping attack of "Starving Revenge" and "Wake Up." Lacerhate mixes in some doom metal on "To Dead Dad," before closing with letting up on the gas pedal with slowed tempo changes of "CMZ."
 
Black Therapy's new EP entitled "The Final Outcome" is fifteen minutes of speed and aggression that will have you thirsting for more from this melodic metal band. The new four-song release begins with the title song that kicks it into high gear right from the opening guitar notes and never looks back. They turn the Tears For Fears song "Mad World" into a death metal ballad, before closing with the acoustic guitar/piano instrumental "Sunset Of The Truth." To find out more about these new releases, please visit revalverecords.com.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

CD Review: The Who "Hits 50" With A Different Set Of Their Greatest Singles

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the British rock band The Who and to celebrate, the band released yet another "greatest hits" package. But, this one is a little different. It doesn't contain all of your typical hits and this new release has many different versions of there singles all in one place. The new compilation entitled "The Who Hits 50!" was released on October 28th through the Universal Music Group as a single disc, a deluxe 2CD set, on Blu-ray Audio and on 180 gram double-vinyl. It also features the song "Be Lucky," the first new studio recording by The Who in over eight years.

The first disc begins with the band's first single that was issued back in 1964 when they were billed at The High Numbers. The first half of this disc, showcases The Who's amazing knack for writing catchy, hooked-filled pop/rock songs that have paved the way for what was to come from the band's ultimate rock opera, "Tommy." Many of the early singles ("I Can't Explain," "The Kids Are Alright" and others) appear here in their rare mono versions. A couple of the questionable additions to this first album is The Who's cover of the Rolling Stones classic "The Last Time" and the much underrated and under appreciated single, "Dogs." The rare single edits of versions of "See Me, Feel Me" and "Won't Get Fooled Again" are a welcome site for fans and collectors.

The second disc begins with the keyboard run of "Baba O'Riley" as you can fully appreciate the job that was done remastering these songs from their original mixes. Two non-album singles ("Join Together" and "The Relay") are featured here as you recognized the band's over low of songs from the band's 1971 album, "Who's Next." Some of the more obscure songs on this second disc are the additions of the John Entwistle-penned songs "Postcard" from the "Odds N Sods" album and "Trick Of The Light" from the "Who Are You" album. Eight of the eighteen songs that make up the second disc come from the post-Keith Moon era, including the lesser known "Don't Let Go The Coat" and "It's Hard." Finally, we get some new music from Pete Townsend and Roger Daltrey with "Be Lucky" which has a late-seventies classic "Who" sound. Daltrey's vocals are still strong and recognizable, while a stand-out solo from Townshend is needed for this song to really rock.

This release has a lot of different elements that many of the other compilations from The Who are missing and should be the new "go to" album for long-time fans and new ones too. To find out more about this new release, please visit thewho.com

Monday, November 10, 2014

CD Review: New Heavy Metal Music From Sister Sin, Unfathomed Of Abyss, Eyes Of Mara & ZOM

Female-fronted Swedish heavy metal band Sister Sin return with one of their heaviest, hardest hitting albums to date. The new release entitled "Black Lotus" was released on October 28th and featured nine songs that crank in just under 40-minutes. The band celebrated their tenth anniversary a couple years back with a successful tour and top ten heavy metal album in their home country. Now with the release of "Black Lotus" are looking to break through onto the U.S. charts. The album begins with the full, five-minute blast of energy of "Food For Worms" as the band's aggressive power is on display. The album's lead single "Chaos Royale" shows off the metal vocals of Liv Jagrell, while "Au Revoir" has all the elements for success with shredding guitar solos and fast-paced drumming to keep the adrenaline flowing. They display a classic metal sound on "Stones Thrown," before closing the album with the big drums of "Sail North" as Sister Sin brings up the early days of Motley Crue on this hard rocker. Sister Sin are finishing the year touring across Europe. To find out more about their new album "Black Lotus," please visit sistersin.com.


Texas symphonic death metal band Unfathomed Of Abyss is the brainchild of Kevin Price, who sings and performs all of the instruments on this latest release entitled "Arisen Upon Oblivion." The album has been 14 years in the making and has been cut down from a three hour album to just six songs equaling 56 minutes. The album begins with fourteen-plus minutes of intense music as Price's musical skills outweigh his vocal skills. The epic feel of heavy metal comes blasting through the speakers as you are taken along on this progressive metal journey. The shorter songs "The Figment Unadulated" and "To Nothing" are still grand pieces of music that build with intensity and amazement. The album closes with the more classic progressive rock sound of "The Malevolence Of Existence's Continuation" as your ears follow the hints of music along this eight-minute path. To find out more about the new release from Unfathomed Of Abyss, please visit unfathomedofabyss.com.


California hardcore metal band Eyes of Mara released their debut EP in 2013, which helped the band get a record deal with Immense Records. They released their self-titled, full-length debut album in October 28th and fans of the band will be pleased with what was achieved with their heavy metal sound. The new nine song release comes at you like a ton of bricks as the music hits your right in the mouth, beginning with "Vicious." The machine gun drumming and intense vocals of "Control" and "Pain And Fear" display their harder edge, while "Colder" shows a slower, more mainstream metal sound from the band. To find out more about their new self-titled album, please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/eyesofmara.


From Ireland comes the full-length debut album from Black Death Metal band ZOM. Their new album "Flesh Assimilation" will be released on November 24th through Dark Decent Records. The new eight-song release begins with the destructive chaos of the opener "Tombs Of The Void." Their music looks to blow you away with its sheer force of "Conquest" as the vocals and the music get mashed together into a big ball of energy. The hardcore sound of "Dead Worlds" and the thumbing death metal doom of "Flesh Assimilation" have ZOM running on adrenaline that should transfer to the listener. To find out more about ZOM and their latest release "Flesh Assimilation," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

CD Review: Neal Smith Tells The Story Of A Drug Lord With "KillSmith & The Greenfire Empire"

Former Alice Cooper drummer Neil Smith recently released his third solo album "KillSmith & The Greenfire Empire." Smith explains that this album tells the story of a poor boy growing up in the jungles of South America, who eventually becomes the biggest drug lord of the world.

The new eleven song release starts out with the hard rock feel of "Blessings And Curses" as Smith takes the lead vocals. as his gravely voice adds to the authenticity of this classic heavy sound. Singer Hubert Martin takes the lead on the upbeat "Good Morning In Blues Soul Land," which sounds out of place when followed by stomping drums and violent storied lyrics of "Screaming Bloody Murder." The mostly instrumental "The Killsmith Overture" combines classic hard rock with a little Latin flair. This song should have began the album as it sets the tone for the storied concept of the album perfectly. The album's first single "Greenfire Born Of Poison" has a great hard rocking, classic metal sound as Smith's exceptional drumming and the dual guitar attack of Doug Wahlbert and Kevin Franklin lead the way. Vocalist Lady Elizabeth Dellinger lends her vocals to the introduction of "I Want Money," which sounds the most like the classic Alice Cooper Band days. The album (and story) finish up with the steady, arena rocker "Death To The King" and the power ballad feel of "Noelle No Wonder," which features bassist Peter Catucci on lead vocals.

To find out more about Neal Smith and his latest release "KillSmith & The Greenfire Empire," please visit nealsmithrocks.com.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

CD Review: Friends Help Leon Alvarado Create New "Music From An Expanded Universe"

Progressive rock musician/artist Leon Alvarado recently released his latest album "2014, Music From An Expanded Universe" and he also invited a few friends along to help him out. Alvarado has worked alongside members of Yes, Pink Floyd, King Crimson and Hawkwind in the past and he continues that friendship, enlisting Trey Gunn (King Crimson), Jerry Marotta (Peter Gabriel) and the ambient music duo, Cyber Zen Sound Engine to help out on his latest release.

The new five song EP shows Alvarado expanding his progressive rock sound, beginning with part one of "Irreverence." The soft keyboard humming of that opening song sets the atmosphere for the funk-filled instrumental "The 2014 Microcosm" and the steady "rock" based structured feel of "Blood Like Red" that allows Gunn to showcase some of his guitar skills. The short album closes with the bonus track, "Cinemania Alive," which gives control to Alvarando as his keyboards lead the path to the end. To find out more about the new album "2014, Music From An Expanded Universe," please visit his Facebook page at facebook.com/Leonplaysmusic.

Friday, November 7, 2014

CD Review: Columbia Records Rolls Out The Next Wave Of Electronic Pop Music

Ever since breaking onto the music scene in 2007, Scottish singer/songwriter/DJ Calvin Harris has shined in the spotlight winning numerous awards including a Grammy in 2013. His 2012 album "18 Months" debut at #1 in the U.K. and cracked the top twenty in the U.S. He looks to build upon that success with his newly released album "Motion." It was released on November 4th through Columbia Records and features a load of guests performing on his latest album. The new fifteen-song release begins with Harris slowly building up the intensity of the dance beats in "Faith" as the lyrics are unforgettable. The latest single to come from this album is "Blame," which features English singer John Newman on vocals. The beats are contagious and Newman's vocals show a passion in his performance. The single that got the anticipation of the album running full steam was the hot weather hit "Summer." Harris handles the vocals as the beats only entice you to get up and dance. The Haim sisters lend their vocal talents to the blister rock beats of "Pray To God," while Big Sean turns "Open Wide" in to a modern hip-hop classic. Calvin Harris lays the perfect musical backdrop for Gwen Stefani's vocals in "Together," before closing the album with the memorable R&B flavored beats of "Dollar Signs" featuring lead vocals by Tinashe. To find out more about Calvin Harris' new album "Motion," please visit calvinharris.co.uk.

From one of today's most successful DJ's to one of the hottest new DJ's to burst onto the music scene, it's Dillon Francis with his debut album "Money Sucks, Friends Rule." The album's lead single "Get Low" is a hit in clubs, as well as in cars blasting there stereos. It has surpassed 3.5 million spins on SoundCloud and the video was viewed over 4.5 million times and why not, the music is addictive and the beats are just hard to sit still to. The album has an all-star cast of DJ's lending a hand as with the big fat beats of "Set Me Free" featuring a helping hand from the wildly talented Dutch DJ Martin Garrix. The bass on that song is sure to give your speakers a workout, while Panic! At The Disco's lead singer Brendon Urie lends his vocal and musical talents to the mainstream future alternative/electronic pop hit "Love In The Middle Of A Firefight." Dillion is finally by himself on a couple of tracks as you can fully appreciate his DJ/composing skills on the high-energy of "Not Butter" and the futuristic electronic rhythm of "I Can't Take It." The album closes with the addictive shouting chorus of "What's That Spell" mixed with some fresh beats and the pop radio friendly "Hurricane" that features Lily Elise on vocals. Dillion Francis is headlining a massive two month tour, beginning in Florida and making his way out west to California. For a complete list of dates and to find out more about his new album "Money Suck, Friends Rule," please visit dillonfrancis.com.

Finally, from New York comes the self-titled debut album from the modern electronic pop band Haerts. After the success of their EP last year, that's what got the ball rolling for the anticipation of their first full-length release through Columbia Records on October 27th. The new ten-song album begins with "Hearts" as lead singer Nini Fabi quickly shows-off her wonderfully memorizing vocals. The song "Wings" has an eighties nostalgic feel to the music, while the modern electronics of "Hemiplegia" gets the blood pumping. The album's first single "Giving Up" has Fabi's amazing pop vocals traveling up an energetic ladder of fast-paced rhythms. Nini Fabi takes control of your ears as her voice soars in the atmospheric "Lights Out," before closing the album with thumping rhythm of "All The Days" as the band finally begins to open up and the big epic sound of "Hope," which brings emotion to the end of your journey. Haerts are currently on tour with St. Lucia before continuing with Mikky Ekko until the end of the year. To find out more about their latest release, please visit haertsmusic.com.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

CD Review: New Music From Indie-Artists Touches Upon Every Genre

The latest batch of new independent music is rising to the surface, hitting every musical genre along the way. We begin with the latest release from singer/songwriter Tyler Gilbert entitled "OK, Murphy." Two of the singles from the album are making radio waves in his home country of Canada as he begins his journey to the U.S. The mellow acoustic rock of the openers "Beautiful Hypocrisies" and "What It Takes" eases you into his music without the need for overpowering you with his sound or vocals. The stark acoustic "Medicine Man" and the adult contemporary pop/rock of "Continuously" showcase the diversity in Tyler Gilbert's music. The album closes with the uptempo country sway of "Mornin' Sunlight," which has the potential to make Gilbert a rising star on the U.S. country charts. To find out more about Tyler Gilbert and his latest release "OK, Murphy," please visit his Facebook page at facebook.com.
 
Next up is the electronic rock/trip-hop of RXGF and their latest album, "Any Other Way." Their release is broken up into two halves. The first half of the album features a club like atmosphere to the songs with vocalist Angeline Schaaf sounding a little like Lady Gaga in "How To Make It" and "Flesh And Bone." The dance beats and her vocals become almost hypnotic during the song "Antidote," before the steady drive of "Never Felt So Good." The second half of the album highlights the duo of John Morgan Reilly and Jonathan Plum, who create an amazing rave with the aggressive feel of "The Dying Grace Of Machines" and the eight-minute, sound-clip filled "Things That Go Bang (False Flag Mix)." The album closes with the ambient sound of "Flow" and the return of Schaaf's vocals for the calming, gentleness of "Belladonna Dream (Verax Mix)." To find out more about RXGF and their latest release "Any Other Way," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/rxgf1.
 
From Los Angeles, CA comes the The Tiger Club and their debut album "Mephisto Island." The band is the brainchild of professional musician Baxter Robertson, who became a commercial composer, writing music for movies, TV shows and commercials. The one thing he missed as a musician was performing live, which brought upon the idea of The Tiger Club that features Robertson along with about 30 other musicians from around the world performing big band/swing music with a Latin pulse. The new twelve-song release begins with the familiar rhythm of "Habanera" as this album is hard to enjoy sitting down. The acoustic strumming and Mexican horns of "Showdown At Mezcal Flats," places you in the deep south as you can't help but get overtaken by the music. The slinky jazz of "Apeliotes," and the uptempo, classic be-bop feel of "Lemon Zest" shows a band that enjoys performing together and making music fun as in "Entrance Of Tigers."  The album closes with the eight-minute, adventurous soundtrack to the "Lair Of Dr. Mabuse," and the return of the Latin flair of "El Catrin." To find out more about this exciting new band, The Tiger Club, please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/thetigerclubband.
 
Returning to Canada, we get the latest from Random Dander with their "Second Cumming" album. This six-piece band has been growing in popularity since 2011, and are looking to bring their brand of high-octane fun down to the U.S. The four-song EP begins with the slinky swing of "Smooth Moves," that gives a more mainstream alternative sound than the rest of the album. Vocalist Jackie Lee leads the way on the rocker "Manna Stache" as the guitar-driven tune walks the thin line between classic hard rock and progressive metal. The band's overall sound matches perfectly to the American rock band Rival Sons as Random Dander borrows from their influences in order to create another outlet for music lovers to enjoy. To find out more about Random Dander, please visit their Facebook page at.facebook.com/randomdander.