Saturday, January 31, 2015

CD Review: Singer/Songwriter Jessi Teich Lets Loose Her "Twisted Soul" On Her Latest Album

Philadelphia singer/songwriter Jessi Teich will be releasing her latest album "Twisted Soul" on March 3rd through Madame Freak Records. It is her first full-length album since having vocal surgery to remove a cyst on her vocal chords. The album was recorded live in Paris, France which only adds to the purity of the music. Her sound not only crosses musical boundaries, but also generations. Her old-time jazz sensibility is mixed with modern pop to create some uniquely attractive songs.

The new thirteen song release begins with the piano blues of "The Haunting" as her vocals swirl around your head and just grab hold of your attention. She turns a cover of Tom Waits' "Clap Hands" into an Americana gem, before heading into the pop aspect of her music with the title song "Twisted Soul." The repetitive chorus of "Diggin' A Ditch" gives the jazzy-blues number a pulse, then Jessi turns Justin Timberlake's "Cry Me A River" into pop/soul gold that showcases her talents for re-arranging songs to suit her style. The album finishes with the playful jazz of "Ruins" as Jessi's amazing band leads her through this six-minute number, before closing with the quick international feel of "The Simple Life," which seems inspired by her time in Paris.

Jessi Teich has a CD release party planned for mid-April, but look for more live dates to be added soon. To find out more about Jessi Teich and her new album "Twisted Soul," please visit jessiteich.com.

Friday, January 30, 2015

CD Review: 2Cellos Creates A New "Celloverse" With More Classical Renditions

The Croatian cellist duo 2Cellos returns with their latest album "Celloverse" through Sony Music Masterworks. The album was released on January 27th and features more of the duo's renditions of classic rock songs as well as some more modern hits.
 
The thirteen-song album begins with "The Trooper (Overture)" as you begin to think this is a purely classical album. The music of the "William Tell Overture" leads the march before the well-known introduction of Iron Maiden's "The Trooper" takes over and begins this wild journey. 2Cellos stays true to the rhythm of Mumford & Sons' "I Will Wait," while one of the album's highlights follows in hard rock vein of AC/DC's "Thunderstruck." Sting's "Shape of My Heart" feels right at home being performed this way as you can almost hear Sting's voice singing along to 2Cello's rendition. The atmospheric tone of "Time" slows down the album's tempo, before returning with Avicii's more up-beat "Wake Me Up." Pianist Lang Lang lends a hand on Paul McCartney's explosive "Live And Let Die" as the three of them turn the song into a classical masterpiece. The album closes with the build-up rhythm of the title song "Celloverse" as Luka Šulić and Stjepan Hauser do not disappoint with this album.
 
2Cellos will be touring the U.S. this spring, beginning on February 22nd in Minneapolis, MN. For a complete list of tour dates and to find out more about their latest release "Celloverse," please visit 2cellos.com.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

CD Review: The Cleveland Steamers Want You To Know "Who's Next" With New Release

From Cleveland, OH comes the latest release, "Who's Next" from the indie-rock band The Cleveland Steamers. They are the brainchild of former Pink Holes bassist Scott "Cheese" Borger and their music has more of a grunge feel than the punk music that fans might be used to from Borger. They released two studio albums over the course of the last two years ("Terminal" in 2013 and "Who's Next" in 2014) and are beginning to gather some underground attention in their hometown. Their debut album "Terminal" begins with the guitar driven rocker "Chatterin' Monkeys" as their alternative sound is raw with grunge-like aspects. Their sound gets more aggressive during "Tim's Eyes" as the band sound swings between the modern rock feel of "Falling Apart" and the punk-like, garage rock of "Hot Biscuits." The album finishes with the slow, dark tones of "Glad Your Dead."
 
The latest album from The Cleveland Steamers entitled "Who's Next" has a more underground alternative sound beginning with "Standing In Line," which could have been featured on MTV's "120 Minutes" show. The song's chorus is stuck on repeat until it's instilled into your brain. With singer Meredith Rutledge taking more of a lead role on the vocals, songs like "Dance Baby" and "Malala" have a lighter rock sound that is more accessible and could catch the attention of the mainstream. They still dive into the garage-rock of "Nothing At All," which is highlighted more by the instrumentation then the lyrics. The band finally opens up with the fun, punk-like energy of "Papa Oom Maw Maw," before returning to the reckless rock of "Being With You." The album closes with a two-minute reprise of the opener "Still Standing" as if the chorus wasn't already being repeated in your head from before. To find out more about The Cleveland Steamers and their latest albums, please visit smogveil.com.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

CD Review: George Ezra Is Ready To Take You On A "Voyage" With His Debut Release

U.K. singer/songwriter George Ezra just released his Columbia Records debut album entitled "Wanted On Voyage" on January 27th. The album reached #1 on the album charts in his home country as he is looking to also accomplish that feat here in the U.S. The album's lead single "Budapest" is on its way of making it into the Top 20 on the singles charts.
 
The new twelve-song release begins with the acoustic folk chant of "Blame It On Me" as Ezra's style fits perfectly alongside Mumford & Sons as breath of fresh Americana air. The single, "Budapest" has a chugging rhythm as Ezra's vocals are so pure and true that you'd follow him anywhere. He brings along the feel of his home country in the clap/stomp beat of "Cassy O," then injects a little reggae into his sound on "Listen To The Man." The album's rawness only adds to the purity of his sound as in "Leaving It Up To You" and with pop acoustics of "Over The Creek." He continues to mix pop and Americana music on the dark sounding album closer "Spectacular Rival."
 
George Ezra is currently wrapping a U.S. tour with Sam Smith 0n February 4th, then jumps on tour fellow newcomer Hozier beginning March 2nd in Canada. For a complete list of tour dates and to find out more about his new album "Wanted On Voyage," please visit georgeezra.com.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

CD Review: Rockers Spiders & Snakes Look To Make 2015 The "Year Of The Snake"

From California comes the ninth album from the underground glam metal act Spiders & Snakes entitled "Year Of The Snake." The band is celebrating their 25th anniversary beginning with this new release, which is their first album of new material in over a decade. The band also invited some guests along for the ride, beginning with "Don't Step Outta Line," which sounds like seventies KISS backed by the E Street Band. Angelo Moore from Fishbone helps out on the first couple songs, especially with the energetic two-minute punk-feel of "Too Angry." Spiders & Snakes find their hard rock groove on the electrifying "Kawasaki City" as the band works together as a tight unit along with Ryo Okumoto from the band Asia. The glam/hair metal of "Neutron Baby" and the heavy metal thunder of "Driving Me Crazy" is surprising as to why they have not found the success they deserve within the mainstream metal community. Members of the L.A. Metal bands Steeler and Bitch lend a hand on the cover of the Angel hit single "I Ain't Gonna Eat Out My Heart Anymore" as the band seems to be having fun with this rendition. Progressive rock legend Billy Sherwood helps out on the album closer "The Digital Church," which has a great retro rock vibe, but seems out of place alongside some of these heavier Sunset Strip type glam rocking songs.

To find out more about Spiders & Snakes and their latest release, "Year Of The Snake," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com.

Monday, January 26, 2015

CD Review: New Music From Indie-Artists Jonathan Rundman, Brooklyn Doran And Robin's Egg Blue

From Minneapolis, MN comes the latest release from singer/songwriter Jonathan Rundman entitled "Look Up." It is his first album of all new material in a decade and he anchored the recording with some of the best instrumentalists that the "Twin City" had to offer from bands like Owl City and Sara Bareilles. The new ten-song release is power pop/rock at its finest with catchy hooks and addictive choruses, beginning with up-tempo, modern rock feel of "Prioritize Us." The energy picks up with the post-punk chorus of "Northbound Traffic," before diving back into the folk storytelling of "The Ballad Of Nikolaus Rungius." Jonathan Rundman hits the mainstream nail right on the head with the feel-good rocker "Helicopter Of Love" and the country-ballad of "Painter." The album closes with the Paul Simon-esque feel of the fun-spirited "No More Old Times." To find out more about Jonathan Rundman and his latest release "Look Up," please visit jonathanrundman.com.
 
Canadian folk/pop artist Brooklyn Doran recently released her latest five-song EP entitled "There's A Light On." The music is a little bluesy on the opener "Cold Outside" as her vocals draw out the innocence in the lyrics. She becomes a little more playful on the uptempo jazzy swing of "There's A Light On (Kitchen Song)," then makes sweeter music on the gentle folk sound of "Lansdowne." The album closes with her attempt at a more mainstream pop sound with "S.S. Calamity (Sink The Ship)" as the song builds with steady rhythm and chorus. To find out more about Brooklyn Doran and her latest release "There's A Light On," please visit her Facebook page at facebook.com/brooklyndoranmusic.
 
From New York City, comes the full-length debut album from the indie-baroque pop band Robin's Egg Blue. The new release "Circlefield" was recorded in Japan and mixed in New York and captures both of those music world within the album. The wonderful vocals of Atsumi Ishibashi are inviting on the two-minute warm-up of "Circle," before gently traveling through the steady electronic rhythm of "Edge Of The Woods." The album is highlighted by the airy ballad "Tarrytown" as the music and vocals are very soothing and relaxing. The music of "Shine" is just beautiful, before closing the album with the soaring vocals of "Deer (Reprise)" and the folk/pop feel of "Fields." To find out more about Robin's Egg Blue and their debut album "Circlefield," please visit facebook.com/robinseggbluemusic.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

CD Review: Orange The Juice Announces "The Messiah Is Back" With Their Latest Release

Polish band Orange The Juice recently release their second studio album "The Messiah Is Back" and their first live album "The Drug Of Choice." The band was rated one of the "Best Breakthrough Artist Of The Year," back in 2008 when they released their debut album "You Name It." They have been touring across Europe for the last five years and with these latest releases, Orange The Juice are looking to expand their market and make an impact overseas in the U.S.

Their new studio album "The Messiah Is Back" mixes together jazz, funk, rock and heavy metal, throwing it all in a musical blender and out comes Orange The Juice. Lead singer Konrad Zawadzki sounds little like rapper Eminem as he reads through the lyrics on the opener "Romanian Beach." Their experimental instrumental pieces are great to just let go of your ambitions, as you transition between the thunderous metal of "Summer Sea" and the smooth jazz of "The Message." The new release continues with the progressive-metal appeal of "Blame" as the music brings up the adrenaline with its aggressive collaboration and then calms down for the repetitive the song's chorus. The seven song album closes with the twenty-one minute epic wonder of "I Was Wrong."

Their new live album, "The Drug Of Choice," was released as a CD/DVD and showcases some of the band's "no limits" music as they mix in hardcore metal along with jazzy ska horns on the seven-minute up-tempo "Out Of Place." While the lyrics may be difficult to understand, due to the language barrier, the music is amazing as it breaks down the barriers between genres. As you listen, you never know which direction the music is headed as in the eleven-minute "Report" which draws out their progressive rock influence, as the song plays out like a soundtrack to genocide. The funk of "Romanian Beach" and the piano/metal mix of "Summer Sea" showcases such diversity that Frank Zappa would be proud of the experimentation within their music. The live album closes with the ten-minute jazzy journey of "I Was Wrong" and the horn-led European flavor of "Summer Sea Bonus."

To find out more about Orange The Juice and their uniquely amazing sound on their latest releases "The Messiah Is Back" and "The Drug Of Choice," please visit orangethejuice.com

Saturday, January 24, 2015

CD Review: Omnivore Recordings Doubles The Helping Of Ron Nagle's "Bad Rice"

California native Ron Nagle was in the middle of the sixties underground rock scene in San Francisco, first as a member of Mystery Trend then joining with Scott Matthews and creating the band, Durocs. In between those two stints, Nagle recorded and released his one and only solo album entitled "Bad Rice." The sound was very raunchy rock, a la Rolling Stones, but with Randy Newman like songwriting. The album included members of Commander Cody's Lost Planet Airmen along with Ry Cooder and Sal Valentino. It was produced by the legendary Jack Nitxsche (Rolling Stones, Neil Young) along with help from San Francisco D.J. Tom "Big Daddy" Donahue. The album became long out-of-print shortly after its release and for the first time, Omnivore Recordings will be releasing it on CD for the first time, along with a bonus disc of demos and outtakes.

The original eleven song release begins with a couple of quick-hitting rockers ("61 Clay" and "Marijuana Hell") as Nagle had his finger on the pulse of the seventies rock world. His songwriting is highlighted by the slower songs like "Frank's Store" and "That's What Friends Are For," but his music would rival any hard rock band from that era with the fast pace of "Capricorn Queen" and boisterous "House Of Mania." The final five songs of the first disc are previously unissued outtakes and alternate takes from that era, including the David Bowie-like "Francine" and the beautiful piano-led "Dolores."

The second disc consists of fourteen songs, twelve of which have never been previously released. Beginning with "From The Collection Of Dorothy Tate," you instantly get the feeling that Nagle could have become of the top songwriters of all time, just on the way he constructed his music. The songs "People Have Told Me" and "Out In The Hall" shows his cup overflowing with talent as these are just as good as what made the final cut of the album. Most of the tracks are two-to-three minutes pop gems like "Half As Much" and "So Long Johnny" and are very welcome on this outstanding new release. Omnivore Recordings has once again done an amazing job gathering all this music and distributing it to the fans. To find out more about Ron Nagle's "Bad Rice" album, please visit omnivorerecordings.com

Friday, January 23, 2015

CD Review: Musician Jim Alfredson Uses THEO To Explore His Prog-Rock Side

American keyboardist Jim Alfredson is one of the best Hammond organist performing these days and his work within the jazz trio organissimo has received praise from critics. His latest project is his solo album under the name THEO that pays tribute to his love of the classic progressive rock bands of the seventies. The new release entitled "The Game Of Ouroboros" will be released on January 27th through Big O Records and the album was three years in the making to complete due to Alfredson's heavy touring schedule.
 
The new six song album begins with a simple phone call which leads into the mystical, Yes-like keyboard introduction of "The Game Of Ouroboros." Alfredson gets funky on his solo before guitarist Jake Reichbart takes hold of the nine-minute song and drives it home. The instrumental "The Blood That Floats My Throne" showcases the full talents of THEO, but the album really excels into the spacey, prog-rock territory with the thirteen-minute heavy rhythm of "Idle Worship" as each member gets their shining moment. The eleven-minute closer "Exile" has an early Genesis feel with its darker tones and tempo changes. To find out more about the debut album from THEO, please visit jimalfredson.com.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Book Review: The Journey Of The Grateful Dead Was "No Simple Highway" As Told By Peter Richardson

This year marks the 50th anniversary of one of the most iconic American bands in music history...The Grateful Dead. Their music has mystified audiences all over the world and their allegiance of fans is incomparable to any other band in the history of music. To celebrate this milestone, the original four remaining members of the band, announced last week that the "core four" will perform once last time together in Chicago, IL during this year's 4th of July weekend. They will be performing at the exact location that The Grateful Dead last performed with the late-Jerry Garcia back in 1995 before his untimely death.
 
Alongside that announcement comes the latest must-have for "dead heads," the recently published hardcover book "No Simple Highway: A Cultural History Of The Grateful Dead." The 375-page book dives into the background of the band's success by addressing three aspects to their music career. Chapter one "Ecstasy" helps explain the origins of the band, beginning with Jerry Garcia's upbringing in Palo Alto, CA. Garcia's obsession with roots music lead to his meeting with jazz trumpeter Phil Lesh and the early formation of Mother McCree's Uptown Jug Champions with fellow Palo Alto musicians Ron McKernan and Bob Weir. While many fans may know the history of the band, author Peter Richardson gives insight into other happenings that were going on around this time in the music and drug culture. Chapter two "Mobility" talks about their life with being on the road and how it affected their music. The Grateful Dead's 1970 album "Workingman's Dead" was a different direction for the band, but was built to be taken on the road and played to the people, even if many fans did not understand this new direction. The Grateful Dead were all about taking their music in new directions, especially when performing live. As the second chapter deals with the band's touring heights of the 70's decade, chapter three "Community" takes on the business of being one of the top musical franchises in both money and popularity. Their legions of fans were some of the most dedicated as Garcia described their tours as traveling circuses. The band's late-eighties resurgence into the mainstream with the hit singles "Touch Of Grey" and "Hell In A Bucket" opened the floodgates for even more to discover this large fan following. As with the legacy of the Grateful Dead, the book  closes with the August death of Jerry Garcia in 1995. While the history of The Grateful Dead will never stop evolving, this latest book, "No Simple Highway" is one of the most complete as Richardson received access to the Dead's archives in order to try and answer the question, "why?" Why were The Grateful Dead so popular? Why did so many people follow their music? Why after fifty years are The Grateful Dead still one of the most successful bands of all time?
 
"No Simple Highway: A Cultural History Of The Grateful Dead" was published through St. Martin Press and is a wonderful journey through the band's "long strange trip." To find out more about this wonderful book, please visit macmillan.com.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

CD Review: The War And Treaty Debut Their Music "Live At Blue House Studios"

The duo of Tanya Blount and Michael Trotter have been amazing fans for four years now as the soulful acoustic folk band The War And Treaty. They recently released their debut album "Live at Blue House Studios," which was recorded in front of a live studio audience in Bethesda, Maryland and they are donating fifty percent of their digital sales of the album to Operation Second Chance.
 
These two singers are not newcomers to the music world as both have had their music featured in television and movies, but bringing their talents together just electrifies their sound. The fourteen-song album begins with Blount's sultry vocals amongst a stark jazz piano in "Irony" as the two begin to flex their vocal abilities. They trade verses on the loving "One Nation" as you enjoy the live, instantaneous aura of the recording. Their voices really soar as one on "Another Round" and mesh so well on the harmonizing of "My Dear" that this is a perfect musical match. The album closes with the soulful blues of "Open Book" and you can't help but feel their passion in this rendition of "Maryland," which helps about being away from the comfort of your home. The War and Treaty have a CD release party planned for January 21st at the Hard Rock Cafe in Baltimore, MD, before heading down south for a handful of shows. To find out more about their debut album "Live At Blue House Studios," please visit thewarandtreaty.com.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

CD Review: New Independent Releases Flying Under The Mainstream Radar

LA-based band Bullyheart is the latest project from acclaimed singer/songwriter Holly Long. The band recently released their debut album "Antigravity" back in November and has received a number of positive reviews. The ten song release begins with the title-song as Holly and her band sound like an early rendition of The Pretenders on this modern rocker. They continue along with this salute to eighties rock with "No Pleasing You" as Holly's voice is in top form. She displays some soulfulness on the bluesy ballad "Lost My Nerve," before returning to the rapid rock of "Panic Attack." The album closes with the energetic contemporary feel of "There Goes My Man" and the solo display of the heartfelt delivery of "Stay." To find out more about Bullyheart and their latest release "Antigravity," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/Bullyheart.

From Chicago comes the Americana/Jazz band Honey & the 45s with their latest release "Mad." The new seven-song EP begins with the blues romp of "Mad" as the vocals of Kristina Cottone give the music a retro feel. The band finds access to the mainstream with the soulful "Come Back," before showcasing the Americana wonder of "Dark," which is easily the highlight of the album with it classic jazz-like appeal. The music gets smooth and sultry with "Skinlovin'," before closing with the country-like ballad of "The Arrows." To find out more about Honey & the 45s, please visit honeyandthe45s.com.

Singer/songwriter The Random Hubiak recently released his latest seven-song EP entitled "Swing Masters." The music has an adult contemporary pop/rock feel as Rand's voice is very reminiscent of early Billy Joel. The first three songs on the album called "Sad Sack" have the same lyrics, but done in three different formats with the swing version having the most appeal. If Billy Joel dabbled more with jazz, then "Snarky Kiss" would be exactly what he would have sounded like. The Random Hubiak sound the most original on part one and part two of the song "Fuse" as it almost feels like part of a Broadway musical. The album closes with the piano ballad "La Casa Azul" as he saves the best for last with this amazing piece. To find out more about The Random Hubiak, please visit his Facebook page at facebook.com/TheRandomHubiak.

Canadian rockers Heavy Heart are preparing to release their latest EP entitled "Somewhere A While Ago" on February 3rd. The songs may be a snapshot of their small town, but they all have a big arena sound that needs to be heard on modern rock radio. The new four-s0ng release begins with the lead-single "Garden Arm" as the energy and adrenaline they display in this song are a major positive as you can't help but want more from this band. They show a darker tone to their music with "Bambi Legs," before closing with the howling chorus and blazing guitars of "Wash" as this is a much welcome introduction to this band. To find out more about Heavy Hearts, please visit the band's Facebook page at facebook.com/heavyheartsband.

Monday, January 19, 2015

CD Review: Omnivore Recordings Expands Jellyfish Studio Albums With Bonus Discs

On January 20th, Omnivore Recordings will resurrect the only two released studio albums from indie-rockers Jellyfish during their short existence. Within only five years, the band drew a very big cult following that still exists to this day. Once Omnivore Recordings released the two albums ("Bellybutton" and "Spilt Milk") on vinyl back in 2012, demand was high for the original music to be remastered. So, not only did Omnivore Recordings remaster the original albums, but they also added on a combined 51 bonus tracks, turning each album into a deluxe two-CD set.
 
The bands debut album "Bellybutton" showcases the band's influences in a mixed bag, paying tribute to everyone from The Beatles, Queen, XTC, Badfinger and Cheap Trick. The album contained a number of singles like the contemporary pop of "That Is Why," the harder post-punk appeal of "The King Is Half-Undressed" and the mellow flow of "I Wanna Stay Home." Jellyfish tap into their Beatles influence on the earthy feel of "She Still Loves Him" and the psychedelic, unplugged "Bedspring Kiss" as both songs still sound timeless. The big single from the album "Baby's Coming Back" is still pop gold, but does sound slightly dated amongst the electronic hits on the charts today. The first disc is beefed up with ten bonus live tracks taken from numerous EPs, singles and fan club releases. The highlights are the fast-paced, guitar driven "Mr. Late," a spot-on cover of Wings' "Jet" and the grunge-like rock of "All I Want Is Everything." The second disc of the set contains 16 demos that Jellyfish recorded for their debut album. Nine of the songs would end up on the album with one ("Bye Bye Bye") appearing on their follow-up album. All of the songs have appeared on other Jellyfish releases, but are finally right at home next to the original album.
 
The band's second release "Spilt Milk" featured some line-up changes, but still kept that great barrier-free music, beginning with the harmonizing of "Hush," before heading into one of the popular singles from the album "Joining A Fan Club." Their pop-rock aspects were still present on this album as in "New Mistake," but with more complex layers to the music. The break-through single "The Ghost At Number One" was the only one to break the top 10 on the modern rock charts in 1993 and had more of that sound from their first album along with "Bye Bye Bye." The original twelve song album gets an additional eight bonus tracks consisting of demos that never appeared on the final album. Two of the bonus tracks ("Worthless Heart" and "Watchin' The Rain") are credited to Beatnik Beatch, which was the predecessor to Jellyfish. The second disc consists of 17-tracks, mostly made up of demos for the "Spilt Milk" album with a few gems hidden within including a cover of Harry Nilsson's "Think About Your Troubles." The disc closes with four live tracks and a special message to their fan club which was never officially released to the public until now.
 
Both of these new releases preserve the Jellyfish legacy and give fans new and old the proper deluxe versions of these album that they deserve. To find out more about these great new releases, please visit omnivorerecordings.com

Sunday, January 18, 2015

CD Review: Paul Kelly Takes On A Little Bit Of Soul During The "Merri Sessions"

Acclaimed Australian singer/songwriter Paul Kelly is riding the high of a revival of his music. After a five years absence to right his memoir, Kelly returned in 2014 with some of the most powerful music of his career with "Spring And Fall" which debuted at #8 on the Australian Music Chart and reminded critics as to how good of a songwriter he was.

This year, Paul Kelly returns with a new album entitled "The Merri Soul Sessions." It will be released on January 27th through PledgeMusic and was recorded live in the studio between February 17 - March 1 of 2014. The eleven-song album features some of Kelly's past accomplishments along with three never before released songs. The major difference with this latest release is that Paul Kelly's voice only appears on three of the songs. Instead he enlisted the amazing vocals of Linda Bull, Vika Bull, Clairy Browne and Kira Puru to give his songs a different appeal. The album's lead-off single "Keep On Coming Back For More" is an up-tempo soul/blues number as Browne's vocals just explode with confidence. Fans of Kelly's music will find comfort in the acoustic folk/rock of "Righteous Woman" as Kelly performs in familiar territory. The slow dark blues of "I Don't Know What I'd Do" is perfectly portrayed by Kira Puru's vocals as you are instantly lost in the storied lyrics. The album finishes up with the Bull sisters dueting on the country-folk ballad "Down On The Jetty" and the light-hearted, upbeat rhythm of "Hasn't It Rained." Paul Kelly is touring his "Merri Soul Sessions" band around Australia for the next two months. To find out more about the album, please visit paulkelly.com.au.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Concert Review: Extreme Begins "Pornograffitti" Tour At Mohegan Sun

Boston rockers Extreme rode a three year high as one of the premier bands in the world from 1990 to 1993 due to their platinum selling album "Pornograffitti." Released in August of 1990, the album has sold over 2 million copies and produced two "top five" singles ("More Than Words" and "Hole Hearted"). This year marks the 25th anniversary of their breakthrough album and to celebrate, Extreme are taking the album on the road, performing it live, its in entirety along with many of their other hits.

The "Pornograffitti Live!" tour kicked off last Friday night at Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, CT, but not without its technical problems. The first being an hour wait as the band didn't even finish their sound check before the doors open to let people in. As fans waited patiently in the arena halls, lines began to form as the start time quickly approached. Little did we know that Extreme would not take the stage for another hour hailing "boos" from the audience, until the lights went down just past 9pm in the evening.

The night's festivities began just like the "Pornograffitti" album did with a soundtrack of rain storms and piano keys, before jumping into the hard rocker "Decadence Dance." Lead singer Gary Cherone has noticeable microphone troubles as the audience sang the first two verses of the song. The night belonged to guitarist Nuno Bettencourt as right from the opening solo he amazed the audience with his guitar wizardry. The night finally got on track with the hit rock single "Get The Funk Out" as fans were reliving their youth, singing along to #1 acoustic ballad "More Than Words." Once the band plugged back in, they ripped through lesser known songs like "Money (In God We Trust)" and "It ('s A Monster)." The jazziness of "When I First Kissed You" seemed out of place amongst the set of hard rock gems, but displayed Nuno's skills on the piano, before taking on the "Flight Of The Bumblebee" guitar solo. Extreme's other big hit "Hole Hearted" was the perfect closer of the set as the band and audience sang and clapped along in unison to the song's stomping rhythm.

After a quick cover of Queen's "Crazy Little Thing Called Love," Extreme left the stage as a shorted encore presented itself after the late start. Drummer Kevin Figueiredo began the encore with a Led Zeppelin-like drum solo, which lead into one of the band's earliest singles "Play With Me." Extreme seemed more loose and relaxed during the encore as they performed songs from throughout their career, including the fast-paced southern fun of "Take Us Alive" and strikingly epic feel of "Am I Ever Gonna Change." After one last jamming solo from Nuno Bettencourt, the band signed-off with their funk-metal masterpiece "Cupid's Dead." As pre-recorded orchestra music played, fans exited the arena, enjoyed their nostalgic trip back to a younger time when rock music ruled the airwaves.

Setlist: Decadence Dance, Lil Jack Horney, When I'm President, Get The Funk Out, More Than Words, Money (In God We Trust), It ('s A Monster), Pornograffitti, When I Fist Kissed You, Suzi (Wants Her All Day What), He-Man Woman Hater, Song Of Love, Hole Hearted

Encore: Play With Me, Rest In Peace, Kid Ego, Take Us Alive, Am I Ever Gonna Change, Cupid's Dead

Friday, January 16, 2015

CD Review: Ella Henderson Releases Her First "Chapter" And Lunden Reign Look For An "American Stranger"

From across the pond comes the debut album from U.K. pop star Ella Henderson. Her Columbia Records album was released on January 13th and the lead single "Ghost" is a top 10 single on iTunes and it already went platinum in the U.K. and Australia. The new album entitled "Chapter One" begins with the single "Ghost," which is pop music mastery. It has the perfect chorus to get stuck inside your brain as the music is energetic and fun. The beats in "Empire" and "Mirror Man" are so addictive that the minute you hear the song, you want to go back for more. The song "Glow" is a youthful anthem, while the ballads "Yours"  and "Hard Work" sound like the second coming of Adele as Ella's vocals just soar with strength and authority. The album closes with the dance/pop build-up of "Rockets" and the mellow solo piano performance of "Missed." To find out more about rising star Ella Henderson, please visit ellahenderson.co.uk.

From Mission Viejo, CA comes the debut album from Lunden Reign entitled "American Stranger." Their music is self-described as "big band prog rock" as lead singer Nikki Lunden's voice is a hard rock version of Sheryl Crow and Blondie. The new ten song release begins with the aggressive "Love In Free Fall," then moves on to a more "pop rock" feel for "The Savage Line" as Lunden's voice excels. Their sound could definitely catch the mainstream rock market with "Hush & Whispers," while the title-song "American Stranger" has a more country rock appeal. The band's progressive rock sound comes through in the songs "Mary" and "When Love Lies," before closing with the big vocal force of Nikki Lunden on "It's About Time." To find out more about the new album "American Stranger," please visit lundenreign.com.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

CD Review: New Heavy Metal Music From Independent Label Pavement Entertainment

French metal band One Way Mirror made its debut in the U.S. back in 2008, but have not released anything in the U.S. since. After two European only releases, One Way Mirror are making their return with their sophomore follow-up "Capture," which will be released on January 27th through Pavement Entertainment. The new twelve-song release begins with the alternative metal sound of "Stinkin' Of Gold" before getting more aggressive with the vocals of "Neglected Skies" sounding like an earlier version of the Deftones. The hardcore metal appeal of "Speculations" along with the band's youthfulness shines on the harder hitting "Confusion Core" and the fun cover of "Lady Marmalade" making One Way Mirror an exciting band to keep an eye on whether touring or producing more albums. To find out more about their latest release "Capture," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com

Also arriving on January 27th from Pavement Entertainment is the new album from Italian rockers The Cyon Project entitled "Tails Of Pain." The new twelve song release begins with the symphonic instrumental "Joe" as the band wants the new album to be a complete experience and not just based on singles. The adrenaline begins to pump with the heavy metal rhythm of "The Cheesy Song" and "Rulemaker" as The Cyon Project have a knack for writing addictive hard rock songs. The power ballad "Phantom Limb" should attract more fans to their music, while the screams of "Average People" showcase the passion this band has in their performances. The album closes with the quick-hitting fury of the Metallica-like sounding "John Ryder" and the symphonic metal of "Englewood's Hotel." To find out more about The Cyon Project and their latest release "Tails Of Pain," please visit their Facebook page facebook.com.

Heavy metal band BONZ in not new to the metal community although they will releasing their full-length debut album on February 10th through Pavement Entertainment. Lead singer Bonz was the front-man of the nineties metal/hip-hop band Stuck Mojo. They were one of the biggest underground metal bands in Europe until they disbanded in 2004. With an itch to scratch, Bonz got together with Curt Taylor to join forces and create BONZ. The new release entitled "Broken Silence" begins with the Body Count-like aggression of "Sinister Grin" as BONZ looks to bring "Nu-metal" back to the forefront. They lay out the blueprint for combining rap and heavy metal in only two minutes with the song "Comes Over Me."  They paint a dark picture, rolling out lyrics of "30 Seconds To Swat," before slowing the tempo down for "Take It Personal" as they combine their influences of Black Sabbath and Run-DMC. The album closes with a live version of "Take It Personal" as the band looks to portray their energy onto the audience. To find out more about BONZ and their new album "Broken Silence," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/bonzband.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

CD Review: New Independent Jazz Releases - Part 2

Spin Doctors drummer Aaron Comess has dabbled in jazz music before, but his latest release "Aaron Comess Quintet" is his first full-on jazz album. The new release brings us back to the influential jazz era of the 1960s, when the Miles Davis Group and the John Coltrane Group both featured superstar performers and created some of the greatest jazz music of all time. Comess' new album features himself on drums along with Keith Loftis on sax, Barney McAll on piano, Richard Hammond on upright bass and Teddy Kumpel on guitar. The new six-song release contains that special feeling of authenticity as the music could easily be mistaken for one of the classics. The Aaron Comess Quintet does cover Coltrane's "Resolution" as Comess gives us a taste of his skills on the drums with a short solo, as well as "Freedom Jazz Dance," made famous by Miles Davis, to which McAll's piano keeps the energy going. The music slinks on by with less direction and more innovation in "Catskills Last Waltz," while the album closer "Intangible" tries to finish the night with a relaxing piece of music to just sit back and absorb. The new CD will be released in March and a concert is already planned for the Spring release. To find out more about Aaron Comess latest release, please visit his Facebook page at facebook.com.

Jazz saxophonist Steve Wilson returns with his first new album in twelve years, "Live In New York: The Vanguard Sessions." Along with Orrin Evans on piano, Ugonna Okegwo on bass and Bill Stewart on drums, Steve Wilson & Wilsonian's Grain as they are called took up residence at The Village Vanguard for a couple of dates back in May of 2014. The live album begins with a nine-minute warm-up jam of Thelonious Monk's "Well You Needn't," which got things going in an up-beat, positive direction. The show continues with the smooth, mellowness of the Wilson original "Chrysalis," before they pick up the pace on the slightly chaotic run through of "Perry Street." The album finishes with the nostalgic feel of Migiwa Miyajima's "If I Were A Wind Of Spring" and the roaring conclusion of Paul Chambers' "Patterns" as Wilson leads his band through this night of amazing performances. To find out more about this latest release from Steve Wilson & Wilsonian's Grain, please visit stevewilsonmusic.com.

The big band jazz of Sasha's Bloc return with their latest album "Heart On Fire" as the band continues to carry the torch of the Big Band sounds of the 1920s and 30s. This album also features Grammy-nominated vocalist Jane Monheit performing on four tracks. The new eleven song release begins with the upbeat, Sinatra-like feel of "Day In Paris" as vocalist Nora Rothman shows-off us his vocal talents. Monheit's voice is so silky smooth and sultry on "Feels Like Jazz" that you get wrapped up in her memorizing vocals. Sasha's Bloc takes you down south to the dixieland jazz of New Orleans with the playful "Anything Is Possible" and the lite-hearted, Monheit-led "Breakfast," which instructs you to seize every moment. The band excels during the seven-minute jam of "Take A Chance," before closing with the early blues/jazz of "Sunday Blues" and uptempo rhythm of "Manhattan" inspired by the hustle and bustle of the city. To find out more about Sasha's Block latest album " Heart On Fire," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/sashasbloc.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

CD Review: New Independent Jazz Releases - Part 1

From the U.K. comes the British jazz duo of Paul Wigens (drums, percussion) and Pete Judge (trumpet, electronics) better known as Eyebrow. Since forming over five years ago, the duo have created some unique avant garde jazz soundscapes that draw you in with their simple arrangements. They recently released their new album "Garden City" back in November 2014, which begins with the slow ascent up "Blind Summit." They get their groove going with the rhythm of "The Golden Road," before slowing things down for the thirteen-minute "Thaw" as Judge's horn melts your troubles away. The album finishes with the duo experimenting with their sound on the nine-minute closer "Pinch Point." To find out more about Eyebrow and their latest release "Garden City," please visit eyebrowmusic.com.

Brazilian cellist/vocalist Dom Le Nena returns in 2015 with the follow-up to her widely acclaimed debut album. Her new release entitled "SOYO" will be released on March 3rd through Six Degrees Records and was co-produced by Dom and Brazilian composer/singer/guitarist Marcelo Camelo. The new eleven song release begins with the gentle, earthy flow of "La Nena Soy Yo" as her soothing vocals begin to take hold of your heart in "Vivo Na Mare." While you may or may not understand the language, Dom Le Nena uses the music to communicate the song's theme. Her vocals grow softer on the delicate delivery of "Juste Une Chanson," before giving a haunting performance of "Golondrina" as her music gives an acoustic Americana feel. Her vocals in "Llegare" are so warm and inviting, as you can easily get lost in her lyrics and music. Dom Le Nena is following the release of her new album with a month-long tour of Canada and the U.S. To find out more about Dom Le Nena and her latest release "SOYO," please visit her Facebook page at facebook.com/DomLaNena.

From Brooklyn, NY comes the latest release from multi-instrumentalist Peter Apfelbaum's new band Sparkler. The new three song EP "I Colored It In For You." features Natalie Cressman on vocals and trombone, along with Jill Ryan on vocals and alto sax along with Apfelbaum on sax, keyboards and percussion. The rest of the band fills in the groove on the opening hip-hop/jazz feel of "I Colored It In For You, Part 1." The second part of "I Colored It In For You" has a more Sade-type vibe, before the new release closes with a seven-minute remix of the song by Bill Laswell. To find out more about Peter Apfelbaum's new jazz group, Sparkler, please visit peterapfelbaum.com.

Monday, January 12, 2015

CD Review: Rev. Peyton Makes His Big Damn Band Sound "So Delicious!"

From Brown County, Indiana comes the latest release from Rev. Peyton's Big Damn Band entitled "So Delicious!" It will be released on February 17th and crosses the boundaries of rock, blues, country and Americana music. The trio of Reverend Peyton, "Washboard" Breezy Peyton and Ben "Bird Dog" Bussell create some truly unique music that definitely demands your attention.
 
The new eleven-song release begins with the uptempo blues rocker "Let's Jump A Train" as you find yourself singing along to the chorus. The band just wants to have fun with the playful lyrics of "Pot Roast And Kisses" as the music becomes so addictive. They journey into the pure blues romp of "Dirt," before taking on the energetic punk-like country of "Raise A Little Hell." The trio pick up the tempo even more with the jugband feel of the furious "Front Porch Trained," before slowing things down for the acoustic "Picking Paw Paws" and "You're Not Rich." The album closes with the quicken pulse of "Music And Friends" as the Brown Country All-Star Coir joins in the fun.
 
Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band are hitting the road in February. For a complete list of dates and for more information on their new album "So Delicious," please visit bigdamnband.com.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

CD Review: The Latest Gonzo Multimedia Live Release Centers Around Captain Beefheart's Vancouver Show

U.K. music label Gonzo Multimedia is rolling out its latest live album from Captain Beefheart & The Magic Band. Following earlier live releases from Paris and Detroit, this third volume features the Captain performing in Vancouver, Canada on March 3rd, 1973. Like other volumes in the set, the audio is a bit rough, as this was never intended to become an official live album. So, this could be best described as an official bootleg release. By the second song, the intense instrumental "Suction Prints," you already become use to the album's production. The crowd are really into Captain Beefheart's performance as every song is followed with a roaring applause. The show supports two of Captain Beefheart's biggest releases in the U.S. ("The Spotlight Kid" and "Clear Spot"). Both albums cracked the Top 100 on the Billboard album charts in 1972, a first for the Captain. He mixes in new favorites like "Low Yo Yo Stuff" and "I'm Gonna Booglarize You Baby" along with long-time concert staples "Abba Zaba" and "Sugar N'Spikes." The Magic Band are in top form, picking up the tempo of "Alice In Blunderland," before heading into the bluesy cover of "I'm A King Bee." The highlight of the show has to be the ten-minute jam of "Mirror Man" as the Captain really gets into his performance of the song. The album closes the same way as the album "Clear Spot," with the guitar driven "Big Eyed Beans From Venus" and the poetry reciting of "Golden Birdies." To find out more about this latest live release of Captain Beefheart & The Magic Band, please visit gonzomultimedia.com.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

CD Review: Audio Fidelity Brings Out The Best Of The Scorpions With "Blackout"

For the latest release from Audio Fidelity, they chose one of the most underrated metal albums of the early 1980's, the Scorpions break-through album "Blackout." The album almost never got recorded due to lead singer Klaus Meine's vocal surgery as singer Don Dokken was ready to step in on vocals. It was the first Scorpions album to hit the top 10 on the album charts in the U.S. and was also the band's first album to go platinum.

Audio Fidelity once again does a masterful job bringing out the best sound of the original recordings as the album was newly mastered by Kevin Gray from Cohearent Audio. The instant you hear the opening guitars of the song "Blackout," you know you are listening to something special. The heaviness of the album propelled them into the metal mainstream with "Can't Live Without You" and "Now," while the ballad "When The Smoke Is Going Down" introduced new to the amazing vocals of lead singer Klaus Meine. This new release allows you to turn your speakers up to "11" without the distortion of the instruments trying to overpower each other. The music is crystal clear and even more enjoyable is to re-discover the amazing duel guitar attack of Matthius Jabs and Rudolf Schenker on the album's big single "No One Like You." To find out more about the Audio Fidelity release of the Scorpions' "Blackout" album, please visit audiofidelity.net.

Friday, January 9, 2015

CD Review: Universal Music Revisits Extreme's Break-Through Album "Pornograffitti"

Back in 1990, "hair metal" bands were ruling the charts with ballads. Everyone from Skid Row to Poison and even Kiss had hit singles being played all over the radio. One up-n-coming band from Boston also had dreams of ruling the airwaves with their sophomore album. The band is Extreme and their album "Pornograffitti (A Funked Up Fairy Tale)" cracked the top 10, but not until the following year, when their acoustic ballad "More Than Words" was everywhere. It was one of the biggest selling singles of 1991 and propelled the band to musical stardom.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the release of the Boston-based band's platinum selling album "Pornograffitti" and to celebrate, Universal Music is releasing a deluxe version of the album on January 20th. To co-inside with this release, Extreme are also hitting the road, performing the album in its entirety.

The new two-disc set contains the entire album on the first disc, remastered from the original tapes. Five singles were released from this album. Everything from the hard rock of "Decadence Dance" to the unplugged feel of "Hole Hearted" was on this release. The harmonizing of "More Than Words" and "Song For Love" compared Extreme to music icons Queen, and guitarist Nuno Bettencout was the second coming of Eddie Van Halen, but the songs were fun and easy to sing along with. Teenagers would scream the lyrics to "Get The Funk Out," while adults would swoon to the piano bar ballad "When I First Kissed You." It was an album for everyone to enjoy as it sold over 5 million copies in North America alone.

The second disc may be disappointing to some as it features rare mixes and b-sides that die-hard fans would already own, but to finally have them altogether is nice. The ten-song disc features four slightly different versions of "More Than Words" and two extended remixes of "Get The Funk Out," which only leaves four more songs. Of the final four, the best ones are the b-sides "Nice Place To Visit" and "Sex N'Love." While the two songs would have added very little to the overall flow of the original album, each song features that great rocking Extreme sound.

The twelve-date tour begins in Uncasville, CT at the Mohegan Sun Casino on January 16th and runs through to the end of the month. The band will be performing the entire album, straight through for the first time ever along with some fan favorites. To find out more about this new deluxe edition of Extreme's sophomore album "Pornograffitti (A Funked Up Fairy Tale)," please visit extreme-band.com.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

CD Review: New Hardcore/Death Metal Arrives From Shredhead, Crucifyre, Winds Of Genocide and Heaving Earth

Israeli thrash metal band Shredhead will be releasing their latest album "Death Is Righteous" on January 12th through Might Music. The new eleven-song album is the heaviest that the band has produced in their short career, but it's a direction that Shredhead is excited about exploring. The band wastes no time getting your adrenaline pumping with the intense pulsating drumming and screaming vocals of the "Devils Race." The music doesn't let up as you get knocked around with the hardcore metal groove of "The Lie" and "Hallucinations." The brutal assault of "Walk With The Dead" and the mainstream metal appeal of the closer "I Am" shows the band's maturity since their debut album. To find out more about Shredhead and their latest release "Death Is Rightous," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/shredheadband.
 
Next from Sweden comes the debut album from Crucifyre entitled "Black Magic Fire." The band was formed in 2006 by Yassin Hillborg, formally of the Death Metal band Afflicted. He decided to gather some of his friends and produce a five song demo that showcased a dark, heavy sound that needed to be heard. The new ten song release is very much about the music, as the band portrays early Black Sabbath with the guitar driven "Pentagram Palms," then kicks up the energy with the quick pace of "Baphomet's Revenge." The six-minute screamer "Funeral Pyre" shows the band's passion in performing longer pieces of music, while the intense power of "Wolf's Hour" showcases Crucifyre's metal edge. The album closes with the marching rhythm of "One And One Is One," which features Hank Shermann (Merciful Fate, Volbeat) on lead guitar. To find out more about Crucifrye and their latest album "Black Magic Fire," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com
 
Also releasing their debut album is the death metal band Winds Of Genocide. The new nine-song release entitled "Usurping The Throne Of Disease" is a burst of intense energy as the music looks to blow you away with its speed. The machine gun drumming of "Deathstrike On The Scythe" and growling vocals of "Venomous Warfare" will have your eardrums begging for mercy. The darkness of "Millions Lie Slaughtered" and buzzsaw delivery of "Till Graven" is the perfect foundation for this death metal band to begin building their career on. To find out more about Winds Of Genocide and their latest release "Usurping The Throne Of Disease," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com.
 
Finally we get to the death metal band Heaving Earth and their new album "Denouncing The Holy Throne." This Czech band attacks religion with it technical musicianship and growling evil vocals. Their energy is felt right from the super-quick pulsating drum beat of "The Final Crowing" as the guitar solo steadies the song. They slow the tempo down for a more intense feel of the dark sound of "Worms Of Rusted Congregation," before gathering more energy for the adrenaline fueled attack of "Forging Arcane Heresy." The album closes with the seven-minute epic "Jesus Died" as the musicianship just takes over, before finishing with "Endless Procession Of The Holy Martyrs." To find out more about Heaving Earth and their latest release "Denouncing The Holy Throne," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

CD Review: Pink Floyd Engineer Andy Jackson Turns A "Signal To Noise"

Many fans may know Andy Jackson as one of the architects of Pink Floyd's 1980's and 90's sound. He received two Grammy nominations for his work on Pink Floyd's live album "Pulse" and he co-produced their latest release, "The Endless River." In November of 2014, Andy Jackson released his fourth solo album entitled "Signal To Noise." The seven song release has a very Floydian sound, beginning with the seven-minute "The Boy In The Forest." The Gilmour like vocals and integrated usefulness of the instruments makes this album one of the top new progressive rock discoveries of the year. The shorter songs ("Invisible Colours" and "It All Came Crashing Down") have a very retro feel to the music, while the ten-minute epic, "Herman At The Fountain" brings you on a space-rock adventure. The album finishes with "Brownian Motion," which feels as if it was pulled from the final recording sessions of Pink Floyd as Jackson brings some of that influence into this wonderful mind-expanding closing piece. To find out more about Andy Jackson's latest release "Signal To Noise," please visit cherryred.co.uk.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

CD Review: Canadian Singer Tanya Tagaq Shows Her "Animism" On New Release

From Canada comes the new album from Inuk throat singer Tanya Tagaq entitled "Animism." It will be released in the U.S. on January 20th through Six Shooter Records and was produced by Jesse Zubot (who also produced Tagaq's "Anuraaqtuq" album). The album already won the Canadian 2014 Polaris Music Prize upon its release their back in May of last year. The new eleven song release starts out with the thumping tribal rhythm of "Caribou" as Tagaq's vocals grow more intense along with the music. She displays her native "throat" singing on "Uja" and "Umingmuk" as the album begins to take on a life of its own. The ambient feel of "Rabbit" and the native Inuk sounds of "Tulugak" and "Fight" gives a more cultural sound to the album. To find out more about Tanya Tagaq and her latest album "Animism," please visit tanyatagaq.com.

Monday, January 5, 2015

CD Review: The Musical Battle Of Jim White Vs. The Packway Handle Band Will Get Your Blood Pumping

From Athens, GA comes the bluegrass band The Packway Handle Band with their latest album "Take It Like A Man." The story goes that the band sought out artist/producer Jim White to produce their next record and upon working with White, The Packway Handle Band discovered that White had a number of bluegrass songs just waiting to be discovered. The two connected and created what is sure to be the front-runner for best bluegrass album of the year.
 
The new eleven-song release begins with "Smack Dab In A Big Tornado," which explains your emotions upon hearing this album for the first time. You easily get swept away by the fun of "Corn Pone Refugee," and the first single "Not A Song" is addictive as any Mumford & Sons or Avett Brothers tune. Before you know it, you'll be tapping your foot to the stomp rhythm of "Gravity Won't Fail" and shaking your head to the punk-like speed of "Blood On The Fiddle" as Jim White and The Packway Handle Band guarantee you a good time. To find out more about this new release, please visit jimwhitevsphb.com.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

CD Review: New Heavy Metal Music From U.K. Bands Winter In Eden And HeKz

From the U.K. comes the third album from the symphonic metal band Winter In Eden entitled "Court Of Conscience." The album follows a number of accolades that the band recently received including "Best Female Singer" and "Best Live Act." The album was released in October of 2014 and produced by Ruud Jolie (Within Temptation). The eleven song release begins with the grand power of "Knife Edge" as you are reacquainted with the amazing vocals of Vicky Johnson. Winter In Eden keep their edge with the metal riffs of "With Intent" and outstanding musicianship of "Order Of Your Faith." The mainstream rocker of "Before It Began"  and "The Script" are great first introductions to the music of Winter In Eden, before the album closes with the pulsating attack of "Behind Closed Doors" and the full orchestrated feel of "Affliction." To find out more about Winter Of Eden, please visit winterineden.com.

Also from the U.K. comes the sophomore release from the British progressive metal band HeKz entitled "Caerus." The album was released in November of 2014 and features nine new original compositions, beginning with the excitingly energetic "Progress & Failure" as the music and the harmonies grab your attention. Their music takes on a heavier metal aspect with "Liberation" and "From Obscurity To Eternity," before heading into the epic twelve-minute journey of "The Black Hand." The musicianship is very mature for this young band as they never try to push too much onto the listener, while maintaining their musical strengths. The album closes with a couple of powerful numbers, the twelve-minute "Homo Ex Machina" and seventeen-minute "Journey's End." To find out more about HeKz and their latest release, "Caerus," please visit hekztheband.com.