Thursday, December 31, 2015

CD Review: New Releases From The Pop Group, The Vulgar Boatmen, Rio en Medio & Brian Cullman

British post-punk band The Pop Group formed in 1977 and lasted only four years as an underground punk act, which inspired bands like Sonic Youth and Nine Inch Nails. During this time, The Pop Group only released two albums, the second album titled "For How Much Longer Do We Tolerate Mass Murder?" was one of the top albums in Italy in 1980 and "Uncut" magazine named it one of the top 50 "Greatest Lost Albums." With bands like the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Jane's Addiction following the blueprint laid out by The Pop Group, their music was raw and rebellious bringing together elements of punk and funk. This album has been long out of print, but will be released on CD and digitally for the first time on February 19th through Freaks R Us. Songs like "Blind Faith" and "Communicate" showcase the experimentation that went into their recordings. Plus, by not conforming to what was popular, The Pop Group created a #1 selling independent album in 1980. To find out more about this new re-release of The Pop Group's album "How Much Longer Do We Tolerate Mass Murder?," please visit their website at thepopgroup.net.

Florida's underground rock band The Vulgar Boatmen are getting a second life as TimeChange Records is re-issuing the band's 1989 album "You And Your Sister." The band released five albums between 1982-1995, the last being released by Warner Bros. in Europe only, where the band had developed a cult following. Their album "You And Your Sister" has that classic late-eighties pop rock appeal, made famous by bands like Crowed House mixed with the lyrical flow of The Velvet Underground. The new fifteen-song release of "You And Your Sister" is highlighted by the up-tempo, post-punk feel of "Mary Jane" and the six-minute "Drive Somewhere," which became a college radio hit. A documentary of the same name as the song "Drive Somewhere" was also created by a fan to capture the band's last concert of their 30 year career. The new release of the "You And Your Sister" album also contains three brand-new remixes of "Decision By The Airport," "Change The World All Around" and "The Street Where You Live." These songs have a more modern tone that could easily become another college radio hit for a band that never received their fair shot at the music charts. To find out more about The Vulgar Boatmen and their new re-release of their album "You And Your Sister," please visit howlinwuelf.com/clients/the-vulgar-boatmen.

New Mexico native Danielle Stech-Homsy recently released her new album "Rio en Medio Radio" in November under the moniker Rio en Medio. Her quiet, gentle voice adds a depth and curiosity to the lyrics that give off a haunting folk appeal to the music. The new twelve song release mixes together her originals with some very early Italian and Welsh songs that would otherwise not have been found on a modern day folk album. Beginning with "Father," Danielle's harmonizing gives the song a psychedelic tone along with the subtle hint of drums. The classic folk appeal of "Where The Love Lay" has a touching tone that plays along perfectly to the song's lyrics and "Terrapin Karma" treads lightly on this quiet, soft acoustic number. Ninety-plus year old music veteran, George Flynn adds some layers of harmonica to the story of "Darlin' Corey," before Danielle showcases her worldwide appeal on the timeless songs "Sera Pasai" and "Y Deryn Du," sung in Italian and Welsh respectively. The album closes with the subtle steady rhythm of "Feels Like" as Danielle's voice continues to amaze as it swirls around in your head. To find out more about her latest release "Rio En Medio Radio," please visit rioenmedioradio.com.

Longtime music journalist and musician Brian Cullman will be releasing his new solo album in February titled "The Opposite Of Time." Cullman brings along an A-class of studio musicians to help him strip his music to the core and get the most out of these new twelve tracks. The album begins with the smooth, Dire Straits-like build up of "Times Are Tight" and the more up-tempo pop/rock appeal of "And She Said." The emotional delivery of the gentle acoustic song "Time If There Is Time" is fleshed out by the wonderful back-up harmonizing of Jenni Mudlaur. The delicate, folk storied lyrics of "Spoiled Child Blues" is the perfect counter to the countrified rock of "Memphis Madeline," which showcases the diversity in Cullman's songwriting. He closes the album with the six-minute, intellectual acoustic flair of "Beneath The Coliseum" and the sweeping instrumental "Unspoiled." To find out more about Brian Cullman and his new album "The Opposite Of Time," please visit briancullman.com.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

CD Review: New Music From Adara Rae, Vaudevileins, Dead Shakes & Barons Of Hiddenhausen

From Tucson, Arizona comes the debut album titled "Here Comes The Music," from Adara Rae & The Homewreckers. This album features performances from members of the punk bands MxPx and Good Charlotte, as well as premier studio musicians. The new twelve-song release begins with the country rock feel of "Miss Me Like Crazy" and the up-beat, pop-punk appeal of "Want You To Stay" that brings out the best of Adara Rae's vocals. Adara and the band have all the right ingredients for a hit single with "Here Comes The Music" and MxPx bassist Mike Herrera lends a hand on the chorus of "OK To Be OK." She slows the tempo down for the swaying ballad "If You Loved Me" which showcases the full potential of her voice, before closing the album with a live version of "See You Cry" as Adara Rae and the band lock into an alternative rock groove. To find out more about Adara Rae & The Homewreckers, please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/adararaemusic.

From Chicago comes the latest EP from hard rockers the Vaudevileins titled "Transmission." It was released at the beginning of December and features five energetic, rockers that has great modern Foo Fighters-like energy that motors through all the songs. Beginning with "Chasing Time," you instantly realize that this band should be on the radar as one of the new bands to check out in 2016. They slow the tempo down for the harmonizing sing-along of "Snow," before blowing you away with the guitar driven "SOB" and the alternative grunge-like groove of "Transmission." To find out more about Vaudevileins and their latest release "Transmission," please visit vaudevileins.com.

From Tulsa,OK comes the new live album from the garage/punk rock band the Dead Shakes. The new seven-song live album was released by Fuzz Row Records digitally and as a limited edition red cassette. It begins with the high-energy of "Here I Am" as their raw, reckless sound draws in the audience. The driving guitar boogie of "Modern Day Tripper" gives the band a psychedelic edge, while the shake rhythm and grunge-like guitars of "I Know Why" has the band jamming past the six-minute mark. The show closes with the final blast of energy for the punk-like fury of "You Make Me." To find out more about the Dead Shakes and their latest live album "Live At Young Camelot," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/deadshakes.

From a bedroom in Vienna, comes the latest release from Barons Of Hiddenhausen titled simply "Bedroom Edits." It features five songs written, recorded and produced by Moritz Kofler in his bedroom studio. He turned off any contact with the outside world and developed some amazingly dark new alt-rock music they will have you wishing for more. Beginning with the chugging guitars of "Realm Of The Edge," his music follows the vein of Nine Inch Nails as displayed in the follow-up song "Pass Trash Station." The hard-hitting, rhythm heavy sound of "Shipwreck Mattress" has an edgier heavy metal sound, while "Witherbitch" closes the album with an all-out assault on your ears with this electronic metal masterpiece. To find out more about the Barons Of Hiddenhausen, please visit bohh.net.

Chicago band, The Bishop's Daredevil Stunt Club look to close out the year with their latest single "The Woman Who Got Old." It features a great up-beat, modern alternative rock sound that tells us the message of being youthful with the start of a new year. To find out more about them, please visit facebook.com/pages/The-Bishops-Daredevil-Stunt-Club.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

A Small Tribute To The Great Lemmy Kilmister Of Motorhead

I was planning on posting my next batch of album reviews, when I received some sad news that Lemmy Kilmister, lead singer and bassist for the rock band Motorhead, had passed away at age 70. While most music fans may have heard the name "Lemmy" in discussions about heavy metal or mentioned in music documentaries, but who was he and why was he so important to music.

Lemmy was born on Christmas Eve in England in 1945 and always had a knack for conquering the impossible. His first introduction into rock music was as a roadie for the Jimi Hendrix Experience in 1967 during the height of the band's popularity in Europe. He joined the space-rock band Hawkwind in 1972, before being fired three years later for his erratic behavior within the band. This would set the stage for the birth of one of the most important bands in the history of heavy metal...Motorhead.

Formed in 1975, Motorhead lasted forty years, without ever having a "hit single" or a platinum selling album and the one remaining original member that entire time was Lemmy. His love for gambling was immortalized in the song "Ace Of Spades," his live for women in "Love Me Like A Reptile" and his love for World War II memorabilia in "Bomber." He would begin every show with, "we are Motorhead and we play rock and roll," having never considered himself a heavy metal musician. Inspired by Little Richard and The Beatles, Lemmy just wanted to play louder than any other band in history. His bass would be tuned differently than a normal deep bass guitar and he played it more like a rhythm guitar, which made his sound on the instrument very distinctive. He is considered my many in the hard rock/heavy metal genre to be one of the godfathers of rock music as his name is synonymous with heavy metal music.

I was fortunate enough to see Motorhead twice, once during the 2012 Gigantour with Megadeth and more recently this past September with Anthrax. Watching him take the stage was like a general rising from a war. He would slowly take his position in front of his mic stand, but once the music started, Lemmy was a strong as ever, belting out the lyrics to "Stay Clean" and "Metropolis." Along with his longtime band members, Phil Campbell (guitar) and Mikkey Dee (drums), every Motorhead show would solidify Lemmy's legacy. He will forever live within the hearts, minds and ringing ears of fans everywhere. So remember, when you listen to Motorhead, play it LOUD!

Monday, December 28, 2015

CD Review: Omninore Recordings Re-Issues Albums From Jazz Great Maynard Ferguson

Canadian jazz musician Maynard Ferguson had a career in jazz which lasted over fifty years. He performed alongside many of great legends like Jimmy Dorsey, Doc Severinsen and Stan Kenton and received numerous awards for his accomplishments. After being dropped from Columbia Records in 1982, Ferguson roared right back with his return to the classic jazz fusion that made him a star in the late-seventies. Now, for the first time Omnivore Recordings is reissuing the album "Storm" along with his 1985 concert album "Live From San Francisco."

Both releases feature new liner notes from Ferguson historian Eric Palmquist and re-introduces Ferguson's mid-eighties output to the world of jazz. The album "Storm" was released in 1983 and showcases Ferguson's love for the classics as he displays in his versions of Duke Ellington's "Take The 'A' Train" and his work on the theme to "Sesame Street." His fourteen man band are electrifying during the seven-minute jazz fusion of "Latino Lovewalk" and the album closers "Go With The Flo" and "Hit In The Head."

He would follow that studio release with his first live album in over a decade. "Live From San Francisco" captures his performance at The Great American Music Hall in San Francisco. He began with the explosiveness of his original "Fireshaker" as Ferguson made sure he was the star attraction. The island flair of "Coconut Champagne" and the 13-minute iconic jazz sound of "Bebop Street" proudly showcases how strong his band was and how great Ferguson was as a live performer. He would bookend his show with another original, the worldly experimental sound of "Ganesha." To find out more about this two new releases from the Maynard Ferguson catalog, please visit omnivorerecordings.com.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

CD Review: Guitarist Micha Schellhaas Does A "Double Take" With Debut Album

World-renown guitar virtuoso Micha Schellhaas released his debut solo album "Double Take" back on December 2nd. His musical career began in Germany where he received a Master's degree in jazz guitar before moving to California in 2013. Fellow guitarist Carl Verheyen (Supertramp) produced the new album as Micha is joined by Dave Marotta (Manhattan Transfer) on bass, Chad Wackerman (Frank Zappa) on drums and Jim Cox (Mark Knopfler) on keys.
The new nine-track instrumental album begins with the southern California blues of "Velocity" and the Texas-boogie shuffle of "Ford F-150." Micha controls the pace perfectly with his guitar riffs as he keeps the listener interested without overpowering the song's tempo. The band gets the funk flowing with a little New Orleans flavor in "Your Turn" as Micha peels off some more great guitar licks that you follow all the way down the fretboard, before getting jazzy with "False Fork." The album finishes with the acoustic/electric guitar picking of "Travel Song" and the six-minute tribute to the King with "Slow Blues for B.B." To find out more about Micha Schennhaas and his new album "Double Take," please visit michamusic.com.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

CD Review: New Music From Worldly Artists Sultans Of String And Christian Howes

From Canada comes the fifth album from the award winning instrumental group, Sultans Of String. Their latest album, "Subcontinental Drift" will be released on February 5th, through RED Distribution, in association with Sony Music. It also features special guest and sitar master Anwar Khurshid, who provided the soundtrack to the award-winning Oscar film "Life Of Pi." The new album features ten-songs that combine elements of Middle Eastern music with Cuban rhythms, Jazz and even some Blues. The opener "Enter The Gate" carries a steady bluegrass rhythm as sitar and violin battle for control. Anwar Khurshid adds his distinctive vocals to the worldly sounds of "Rakes Of Mallow/Rouge River Valley" and "Ho Jamalo," before turning Bob Dylan's "Blowin' In The Wind" into a Middle Eastern call for peace. The intense playfulness of "Snake Charmer" and the exciting "Journey To Freedom" showcase what amazing musicians the Sultans Of String are, before closing with the quieter, more relaxed delivery of "A Heart Does What It Does," To find out more about Sultans Of String and their latest release "Subcontinental Drift," please visit sultansofstring.com.

American musician/composer Christian Howes has been touring the world, performing for audiences for over twenty years. He is considered by many in the genre to be one of the leading jazz/classical violists in the world. He recently released his latest album "American Spirit" back in October and it features eleven instrumental songs that look to capture the spirit of this great nation. The album begins with a cover of Leonard Bernstein's tribute "America" as Howes' violin instantly becomes the focus of the song. The gentle touch of "Once Upon A Time In America" also has you feeling very patriotic, while "Just A Closer Walk" adds a little pep to your step with this swinging jazz number. The first of three Christian Howes originals on the album features the title-song, "American Spirit" as he includes the entire band on this sprawling magic piece of music. He gets jazzy with the Fats Waller original "T'Aint Nobody's Business" with lead vocals provided by Polly Gibbons, before finishing with the familiar theme from the TV show 'Taxi' titled "Anglea" and his impressive display of talents on the original "Postlude." To find out more about Christian Howes latest release "American Spirit," please visit christianhowes.com.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Book Review: The History Of The Doors Told In Glorious Pictures

The Doors were one of the quintessential bands of the late 60's and their existence as a band has been over analyzed in numerous books. So why do we need another book on the history of The Doors, the reason is that this newly published book, "The Doors The Illustrated History" has all the facts and photos to make any fan excited. Author Gillian G. Gear tells the entire story of the band's history through interviews and his own investigation as to what happened to The Doors in their short seven years of existence.
 
Like all stories about The Doors, you need to start with their leader, Jim Morrison. Gear briefly touches upon each of the band member's childhood before the band came together in late 1965. After overtaking the California club scene, The Doors would create one of the biggest selling debut albums of all-time in 1967. In this this book, each of The Doors eight albums gets examined by a different music historian as to the recording and impact the album had in The Doors developing their musical landscape.
 
While the story is only half of what is book has to offer, it's the hundreds of black & white/color photographs and artwork that made The Doors more that just a music act. Jim Morrison was the ultimate frontman and a model for the new movement in music that was happening in the sixties. His good looks and amazing stage presence is captured in many of these unpublished photos. These great concert posters that they show can only be matched by the artwork of the Grateful Dead, as The Doors could definitely be considered a band for the stoner and free spirit.
 
While the death of Jim Morrison may have closed out a chapter in the band's career, Gear continues to uncover the workings of the remaining members of The Doors as they tried to continue on without their leader. After two more studio albums, Ray Manzarek, John Densomore and Robby Krieger called it quits in 1973, but that would not be the end of The Doors. The book also dives into the aftermath of The Doors legacy, when they were inducted into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall Of Fame by Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder and when Krieger and Manzarek toured as The Doors of the 21st Century.
 
As new musical discoveries of The Doors continue to be released, whether its a live album or a new documentary, The legacy of The Doors will continue to live on long after every member of the band has moved on. This book tells the perfect story as to why The Doors' music and images will live on forever and why they are one of the best rock bands to have ever walked the earth. To find out more about "The Doors: The Illustrated History," please visit quartoknows.com.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

CD Review: Audio Fidelity Cleans Up Alice Cooper's "Muscle Of Love"

The original Alice Cooper band created seven magical albums together between 1969-1973. They reached the pinnacle as a band with the chart topping album "Billion Dollar Babies" and were looking to keep that success going with their follow-up album "Muscle Of Love." This would be the last album with the original band and it features a mix of musical styles. From the hard rock attack of "Muscle Of Love" to the seventies pop/rock feel of "Never Been Sold Before," on to the ballad "Hard Hearted Alice" to the big band New Orleans jazz feel of "Crazy Little Child." They parted ways following what was supposed to be a short hiatus as Alice Cooper grew apart from the rest of the band and decided to just go on as a solo artist. 
 
Audio Fidelity has accepted the task of remastering the "Muscle Of Love" in Quad Multichannel 4.0. It is almost hard to think that this album is one of the perfect subjects for this remaster process as the music is very basic, but at the same time, there is so much to listen to. The horns in "Never Been Sold Before" and "Man With The Golden Gun" just pop from the speakers and the dual guitars of "Working Up A Sweat" each has it's own space to breath in this new remastered version. Steve Hoffman and Stephen Marsh once again do an amazing job with the new production of the sound on this album. To find out more about this new remastered version of Alice Cooper's "Muscle Of Love," please visit audiofidelity.net.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

CD Review: Uriah Heep Is "Totally Driven" By Their New Release

British rock band Uriah Heep are one of the founding bands of the heavy metal genre, alongside Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and Deep Purple. They were one of the most successful hard rock bands of the seventies, then became more of a cult band during the eighties, but have since risen back to elite status as they have been named by many of today's rock bands as an early influence. They recently released their first album titled "Totally Driven" on their own label, Uriah Heep Records and it features 27 re-recorded Uriah Heep classics. These songs were originally recorded back in 2001 and was previously released under the titled "Remasters: The Official Anthology." According to founding member Mick Box, these songs were recorded in preparation for the "Acoustically Driven" and "Electrically Driven" concerts that Uriah Heep were performing in 2001. 
 
This new two-disc set begins with Uriah Heep's first single "Gypsy" and plays out just like a Uriah Heep live show, with rockers like "Return To Fantasy" and "Easy Livin'" mixed along with the magical ballads "Rain" and "Come Away Melinda." The nine-minute epic pieces "July Morning" and "The Golden Palace" are amazing adventures in songwriting as this set allows us to rediscover this wonderfully iconic music. The acoustic strumming of "Different World" and "Love In Silence" showcases the band's diversity in rocking hard or soft. The set closes with Uriah Heep's most well-known song "Lady In Black" as this new version almost sounds better than the original. To find out more about Uriah Heep and their latest release "Totally Driven," please visit uriah-heep.com.

Monday, December 21, 2015

CD Review: Neil Finn And Paul Kelly Work Together For New Live Album

World famous singer/songwriters Neil Finn and Paul Kelly teamed up for a tour of Australia in 2013. They recorded their show at the Sydney Opera House for an eventual release and after being released exclusively in Australia for the past few years, their new live album titled "Goin' Your Way" was finally released worldwide on December 11th through Omnivore Recordings.
 
The new two-disc set is packed with 29-songs that cover each of their successful solo albums with some Crowed House favorites and even a couple cover songs. The two songwriters have a mutual respect for each other's work which is felt in their song delivery. The album begins with the acoustic strumming of "Don't Stand So Close To The Window" as their two voices harmonize perfectly together. They continue with the gentle story telling of "Four Seasons In One Day" as Finn's words paint the perfect picture in your mind. They plug in on "She Will Have Her Way" as their backing band comes alive on this up-tempo rocker. The classic folk sound of "Careless" is a crowd favorite as Kelly & Finn become the modern day Simon & Garfunkel. The band swings in action on Paul Kelly's "Dumb Things" and "How To Make Gravy," while sandwiched between is one of the Crowed House favorites "Better Be Home Soon." The set finishes up with the wonderful story of "To Her Door" as their voices combine for the song's powerful message, and then the built-up chorus of "Don't Dream It's Over." The duo tack on a couple cover songs in the end including the quick shuffle of Buddy Holly's "Words Of Love" and the gentle touch of "Moon River." To find out more about Neil Finn & Paul Kelly "Goin' Your Way," please visit omnivorerecordings.com

Sunday, December 20, 2015

CD Review: Creed Brings Together Their Hits For New Career "Retrospective"

The American rock band Creed have released only four albums (three went platinum) and topped the rock singles chart numerous times in their sporadic 18 years together. Their 1997 debut album "My Own Prison" came right at the end of the alternative/grunge wave, as Creed successfully combined elements of grunge with an arena-like hard rock sound to create another branch in the tree of rock evolution. To celebrate their accomplishments and to re-introduce Creed to a new generation of music listeners, Concord Music Group gathered 40 songs from Creed's back catalogue of hits and rarities in order to release "With Arms Wide Open: A Retrospective." It was released digitally and on CD on November 20th, although the 3CD set is only available as a Wal-Mart exclusive.

The first disc collects 16 of Creed's greatest hits beginning with "My Own Prison." Many of the singles on this first disc are the radio edits including "My Sacrifice" and "One Last Breath." The chart topping "With Arms Wide Open" is a newly recorded version with strings and the song "Rain" is a pop mix, a different version than what is on the album "Full Circle." Fans will be drooling over the second disc which features a mixture of 11 rarities, demos and soundtrack songs. This is were you really get a feel for the band's true, hard rock sound. Songs like "Bound And Tied" and "Young Grow Old" showcase a band that is still hungry for success and acceptance. This disc also features their covers of Alice Cooper's "I'm Eighteen" and The Doors "Riders On The Storm" and "Roadhouse Blues," from Woodstock '99 and features Doors' guitarist Robbie Krieger. The three previously unreleased demos are definitely a welcome edition to their catalog, especially the guitar driven "More Than This."

The third disc collects 13 of Creed's hits done acoustically as everything gets stripped away and you can appreciate the band's core sound. It mixes together live versions of the songs "My Sacrifice," "To Whom It May Concern" and "Rain" with studio versions of "Don't Stop Dancing" and "What's This Life For." Some of the live versions of "One" and "Higher" are a little rough, but gives their music an authenticity that made them an exceptional live act. All of the members of Creed remain active in the music community and when the time calls for it, a tour or new studio album will be accepted by their fans "With "Arms Wide Open." To find out more about Creed and their new retrospective 3-disc set, please visit creed.com.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

CD Review: Get "A Double Dose Of The Blues" With New Two Disc Set

One of the hottest blues titles to come from Cleopatra Records is "A Double Dose Of The Blues." It is a two-disc set which combines the two albums, "From Clarksdale To Heaven, Remembering John Lee Hooker" and "Knights Of The Blues Table." This features some of the greatest guitarist to ever pick up the instrument like Jeff Beck, Gary Moore, Mick Taylor and others.

The first disc features fourteen of John Lee Hooker classics, reinterpreted by many of todays great guitarists. Highlights of the discs feature a one-of-a-kind collaboration between Gary Moore and Jack Bruce performing "I'm In The Mood" and Jeff Beck leading the gospel sing-along of "Will The Circle Be Unbroken." Peter Green gets down and dirty on the acoustic delivery of "Crawling King Snake" and Gary Booker teams up with Andy Fairweather-Low for the straight-up blues rocker "Little Wheel." The disc closes with John Lee Hooker joining Booker T. Jones and Randy California for a stunning version of "Red House."

The second disc gathers many of the great U.K. bluesmen to perform some of the all-time great blues songs, beginning with Jack Bruce and Clem Clempson teaming up for the Skeeter Davies original "Send For Me." Georgie Fame gives a jazzy delivery to "If You Live (Your Time Will Come)" and Mick Jagger allows younger brother Chris Jagger to have the spotlight with his singing and playing on "Racketeer's Blues" as Mick sticks to just the harmonica. The acoustic blues of "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" and "Traveling Riverside Blues" are raw and perfectly delivered by Miller Anderson, Peter Green and Nigel Watson. Mick Taylor and Max Middlton jam on the ten-minute Willie Dixon original "You Shook Me," before closing the disc with the new bonus tracks "Midnight Call" by Tom Killner and "Sweet Thang" by Eli Cook featuring Tinsley Ellis. To find out more about "A Double Dose Of The Blues," please visit cleorecs.com.

Friday, December 18, 2015

CD Review: King Diamond's Deluxe Sized "Spider's Lullabye" And A Metal Comedy Duo Terrorizes Telemarketers

Danish heavy metal musician King Diamond is considered to be one of the founding fathers of the current heavy metal sound. Since his beginnings as a founding member of Merciful Fate and his own solo early days, many of today's modern metal artists name King Diamond as an early influence. He has released twelve solo studio albums throughout his career and one in particular is getting the deluxe treatment. His 1995 album "The Spider's Lullabye" was his debut album on Metal Blade Records and to celebrate it's 20th anniversary, Metal Blade Records recently released a newly remastered version of the album with four demos added on as bonus tracks. King Diamond's voice is as strong as ever on this album as the screams of "Killer" and "Dreams" are the perfect setting for these haunting tales. The second half of the album tells the story of a certain individual's fear of spiders as King Diamond does a masterful job telling the story through song. The demos have a raw sound, but show the development of songs like "Moonlight" and "The Spider's Lullabye" as they become the metal magic we have known for the past 20 years. To find out more about the new deluxe edition of King Diamond's "The Spider's Lullabye" album, please visit metalblade.com.

Also new is the double-team of comedians Jim Florentine and Don Jamieson for volume 6 of their on-going series "Terrorizing Telemarketers." It was released on December 6th through Metal Blade Records and features 17 tracks of the duo causing trouble on the phone (similar to the Jerky Boys). It has been seven years since their last release and in that time, they have become famous as two-thirds of hosting team of "That Metal Show" along with music guru Eddie Trunk. While comedy may have been their first brush with fame, heavy metal music was their first love and their appearance on the VH1 Classic show has propelled them into the spotlight as comedians as well as metal music fanboys. The two team up for some great skits as you need to make your way through this album a least once for a great laugh. To find out more about Jim Florentine and Don Jamieson's "Terrorizing Telemarkets, Vol. 6," please visit metalblade.com/terrorizingtelemarketers.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

CD Review: New Heavy Metal Music For The New Year

Five new heavy metal music releases arriving early in the new year from underground thrashers Suppressive Fire, Ravensire, Septagon, Fall and Ripper. First up is the debut album from Suppressive Fire titled "Bedlam" and arriving on January 14th. This trio of death metal musicians bring in some of the classic thrash metal sound on the opener "Ceasefire." They also look to overpower you with their energy in "The Hellwraith" and "Thy Flesh Consumed" as their growling vocals and peeling guitar riffs give shots of adrenaline to the music. The machine-gun drumming of "Bayonet Penetration" and quick-pace of "Pyrophoric Blood" showcases the youth and power the Suppressive Fire have to offer their fans. To find out more about Suppressive Fire and their latest release "Bedlam," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/suppressivefire.
Next up are two new releases arriving in February from Cruz Del Sur Music from the Portuguese metal band Ravensire and the German speed metal band Septagon. Ravensire has the classic sound of the early days of thrash metal as displayed in "Solitary Vagrant" and "Trapped In Dreams," but their new album is highlighted by the three-part "White Pillars Trilogy." It tell the tales of the famed city of Sintra, near Lisbon as the tempo changes in the songs and the excellent musicianship close out the album on a high note. To find out more about Ravensire and their latest album "The Cycle Never Ends," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/Ravensire.
Then we arrive at the debut album from Septagon titled "Deadhead Syndicate." It will also be released in February of next year and features nine-songs of exciting thrash metal beginning with the six-minute guitar-driven attack of "Revolt Against The Revolution." The speed quickens with "Exit...Gunfire," but they also show us a softer side with the eerie, dark ballad "Henchman Of Darkness." The album closes with guitars blazing for the title-song "Deadhead Syndicate" and the classic thrash metal appeal of "Secret Silver Panorama Machine." To find out more about Septagon and their new album "Deadhead Syndicate," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/septagonband.

From Texas comes the new self-released album titled "The Insatiable Weakness" from the melodic thrash metal band Fall. This trio features a hard hitting sound with great heavy metal musicianship that leads to the great opener "From Ashes" and the more mainstream metal appeal of "Not Of The Sky." The drums and thrash-like guitar riffs motor through the song "Ever Hollow." Fellow Texas artist Jessie Frye lends her vocals to the wildly attractive sounds of "Harvester," then the Fall look to blow you away with the shear force of "Cinis" and "Soul Ignition." The album finishes with the epic metal sounds of the thunderous "Gods Of Ruin" and strong emotional delivery of "You Were But A Shade." To find out more about Fall and their new album "The Insatiable Weakness," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/falltodust.

Finally in March we get the latest album from the Chilean death metal thrash band Ripper, titled "Experiment Of Existence." Their new 11-song album comes blasting out of the gate with bashing rhythms and blazing guitars of the opener "Magnetic Solar Storms." The instrumental piece "Anatomy Of The Galaxies" showcases the band's exceptional metal musicianship, while the six-minute "Stellar Evolution" displays a more progressive heavy metal sound that will have fans wanting more extended pieces of music from the band. The album finishes up with the speed of "Spherical Energy" and the adrenaline fueled thunder of the closer "Humanity Was Wrong." To find out more about Ripper and their latest release, "Experiment Of Existence," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/ripperchileoficial.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

CD Review: New Independent Music Arriving From Around The World

British blues guitarist/singer Andy Gunn recently released his latest single from his 2014 album "Miracle Of Healing." His sound has a modern blues/rock flair as he captures the true essence of the blues in songs like "Brighter Days" and "Freedom Reality." Gunn brings back the sounds of the British blues of the sixties with "Hold On" and prays for salvation in the slow swing of "Miracle Of Healing." The eleven-song album finishes with the classic delta-blues appeal of "Trouble Women" and the ballad "Road That Leads Back Home." To find out more about Andy Gunn and his latest album "Miracle Of Healing," please visit andygunn.net.

From New Zealand comes the rising five-piece modern rock band Tablefox with their latest release "Objects." It features ten tracks of up-tempo rockers that are like a breath of fresh air waiting for their break-through on the music charts and this just might be that album. Beginning with the guitar riff rocker "Objects," Tablefox are ready to rock arenas with their huge sound. They slow down slightly for the steady rhythm of "Right Or Wrong," then deliver a big, Coldplay-like sound of "New World." Since their 2013 EP, their songwriting has definitely grown as with the simple, but meaningful lyrics of "Cigarette Glow" and the alternative/pop rock appeal of the album closer "Hold Fire." To find out more about Tablefox and their new album "Objects," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/Tablefox.

From Belgium comes the latest innovative rock/orchestral release from Ozark Henry titled "Paramount." It is the artist's eighth studio album and is considered "state of the art" with it's concept of being produced, mixed and mastered in Auro-3D 9.1 immersive sound. The Auro-3D sound allows the listener the most natural experience of how the music should sound. The new fifteen song release begins with the sweeping orchestra of "This Is All I Have" as Henry's vocals are pure and amazing. He takes on David Bowie's "Heores" as an inspirational ballad and continues with the emotional sounds of "Grace." The uplifting feel of "Out Of This World" is also amazing as the music plays in the background with Henry's vocals right up front as if you were in the studio with him. The wonderful piano ballad "At Sea" showcases some of Henry's best songwriting, while "Free Haven" has him utilizing the full orchestra for this album. To find out more about Ozark Henry and his latest album "Paramount," please visit ozarkhenry.com.

Singer/songwriter Edward David Anderson recently released his much anticipated follow-up album titled "Lower Alabama: The Loxley Sessions." It was recorded in his neighbor's studio which resided on Anthony Crawford's 24oo acre estate. Crawford is a former bandmate of Neil Young, and Anderson was unaware that he lived only minutes away from him. The two collaborated on the new nine-song release, which begins with the backyard, country swing of "Firefly" as Anderson's words and voice are hard to resist. He goes all out country on the acoustic strumming and slide guitar of "Sentimental In The Morning," then quickens the pace of the storied southern rocker "Jimmy & Bob & Jack." You get a sense of truth for the lyrics of the ballad "Cried My Eyes Dry" as you feel Anderson's experiences through the song. The album finishes up with slow cowboy sway of "One At A Timin'" and sweet violin and finger-picking of "Sadness." To find out more about Edward David Anderson and his latest album "Lower Alabama: The Loxley Sessions," please visit edwarddavidanderson.com.

From Toronto, Canada comes the full-length debut album from Paradise Animals titled "Day Bed." It features ten electronic based songs that combines elements of dance, pop and 80's alternative rock music as they base the songs on relationships between family, friends and strangers. Beginning with "Monday Morning," the mood is set with the build-up of rhythms as the song moves along to the playful lyrics as this trio get things underway with this up-tempo pop number. They continue down pop avenue with the eighties synthesizer filled "Tangled Sheets" and supports Kerri Silva on lead vocals with the wonderfully attractive sounds of "Tripping On The Rails." The rhythm fueled "What" is a great experimental piece that works very well with the vocal duet, before finishing with the two part soundscape of "In The Deserts Of The Heart." To find out more about Paradise Animals and their latest album "Day Bed," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/paradiseanimals.

Also from Canada comes the new album from the James Clark Hangover titled "Volume 3." The band's sound is made up of David Clark who has being playing music professionally for over 35 years. He performs all the instruments and does all the singing on this new ten-song release. Beginning with the up-beat rocker "Black Cloud" you get a sense at how talented Clark is a musician. He keeps the energy on high with the post-punk appeal of "Fat City" and the Ramones-sounding "My Jean Jacket." The album finishes with the rock power ballad "Two Kinds Of Lonely" and the raw, Rolling Stones-type blues of "The Boy That Cried Love." To find out more about the James Clark Hangover's latest release "Volume 3," please visit the Facebook page at facebook.com/James-Clark-Hangover.

Finally we get to the Canadian rock band Pet Sun, who recently released their new three-song EP titled "Shade Driver." The six-minute opening song "Dark Planet" is a mix of grunge and alternative rock, similar to the Smashing Pumpkins as their guitar binged solo send you on a feedback stoner trip. The much shorter "Zenifer" sounds like a Nirvana outtake from the "Bleach" album, while "Mrs. Warp" takes you down the rabbit hole as this song closes the album with a dark, twisted love song. To find out more about Pet Sun and their latest release "Shade Driver," please visit petsunrocknroll.com.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

CD/DVD Review: The 4th Live Album From The Avett Brothers Arrives

North Carolina band, The Avett Brothers are never ones to stop and rest. In the last five years they released two studio albums and two live albums. Their newest live album "Live, Vol. Four" will be released on December 18th through American/Republic Records. It will be released as a CD/DVD set as the CD is the exact soundtrack to the film, beginning with the Brothers getting ready to take the stage, warming up their voices with "Feeling Good." This new live release also features two brand new songs, "Satan Pulls The String" and "Rejects In The Attic."

The shows gets underway with the slow-build up of "Laundry Room" as the audience tries to harmonize with Seth And Scott Avett. The Avett Brothers are an amazing live act as they feed off the energy of audience as in "Kick Drum Heart" and "Talk On Indolence." They also have that gentle touch that puts a spell over the audience as with the acoustic "Ten Thousand Words," which features help from their sister Bonny on vocals and the ever popular "I And Love And You." In between, The Avett Brothers plug-in and rock out with their spot-on cover of Thin Lizzy's "Boys Are Back In Town." The disc closes with an accapella version of "Happy Trails" just like Van Halen did to close their "Diver Down" album.

The Avett Brothers just announced a 16-date spring tour that will cross the U.S. For a complete list of concert dates and to find out more about their new live album, please visit theavettbrothers.com.

Monday, December 14, 2015

CD Review: BR549 Give Us "One Long Saturday Night" Live Album

Country, rockabilly band BR549 have recently released their first full-length live album "One Long Saturday Night" back in November. The show was recorded for German television back in 1996 and features the band promoting their self-titled debut album, which was released one month prior to this live performance. It captures the band's full, fun, up-tempo show that is sure to win you over as a fan of their music.

The nineteen-song set begins with the quick-pace, rockabilly original "Even If It's Wrong," before heading into their first cover song of the evening, "Long Gone Lonesome Blues." They slow down for the bluegrass feel of "Heartaches By The Number," but only for a moment as they get you back up on your feet, swinging to the "Hometown Boogie" and "Honky Tonk Boogie." The band add their country twang to Gram Parsons' "Big Mouth Blues" and then swing along to the "Cherokee Boogie." The set closes with the quick-paced rockabilly original "One Long Saturday Night" and the knee-slapping, hand-clapping rhythm of "Take Me Back To Tulsa." The disc adds four bonus tracks, recorded in Kumamoto, Japan in 1996. Highlights include the short two-minute, country swing of "Hillbilly Thang" and the BR549 sped-up version of the classic "Sweet Georgia Brown."

Also available with the CD is a DVD of the show, both were released through Bear Family Productions. To find out more about BR549 and their new live album "One Long Saturday Night," please visit bear-family.com.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

CD Review: Fats Domino Rocks Philly In '73 And Pat Boone Sings Some R&B

American singer/pianist Fats Domino was a hits machine in the fifties and sixties, charting nine #1 singles and around 40 top ten songs. He is known for his biggest selling single "Blueberry Hill" and was an inspiration for everyone from Bob Marley to The Beatles. On October 2nd, Goldenlane Records, in association with Cleopatra Records, released a rare live Fats Domino album "Thrillin' In Philly!" For the first time, his entire 1973 performance at the Philadelphia Civic Center is now available. He peels through 22 of his hits with some covers thrown in. He gets the spirits flying high early on with quick, two-minute versions of "Blueberry Hill" and "Walking In New Orleans." He keeps the mood light as works his fingers up and down the piano for "Goin' To The River" and "When The Saints Go Marching In." The only thing lost in this release is the crowd's reaction to the songs, as they fade out after the last notes. The band works with Fats for "Another Mule" and he turns "Your Cheatin' Heart" into a New Orleans jazz classic. The show closes with Fats Domino and the band jamming together on the nine-minute up-tempo fun appeal of "Jambalaya (On The Bayou)." To find out more about "Fats Domino Live 1973: Thrillin' In Philly!," please visit cleorecs.com.

American singer/composer/actor Pat Boone has been involved in every aspect of entertainment for over 60 years and shows no signs of stopping. He topped the singles charts numerous times in the 50's and even reinvented himself in 1997 with a heavy metal album. After releasing 70-something albums, Pat Boone is rediscovering his R&B side with a brand new release titled "R&B Duets Hits." It features Pat performing alongside some of the pioneers in the genre including James Brown, Smokey Robinson and Joni Sledge. The eleven-songs that make up this release were recorded a various times during Boone's career as his is introduced at the beginning of the opener "Papa's Got A Brand New Bag." Boone has fun with KC & The Sunshine Band during "Get Down" and enjoys the company of Smokey Robinson during the up-tempo delivery of "Tears Of A Clown." The perfect duet is Pat Boone with Ray Parker Jr. on "A Woman Needs Love" as this has the perfect match of vocals, tempo and music. Boone seems to be enjoying himself with these recordings, especially during "Shotgun" with Geraldo Albright and even the hip-hop sounds of "Backbone" with Kool Moe Dee. To find out more about Pat Boone's new album "R&B Duet Hits," please visit cleorecs.com.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

CD Review: Stoner Rockers Salute Black Sabbath And German Rockers Hedersleben Release "The Fall Of Chronopolis"

Heavy metal band Black Sabbath are considered by many to be the pioneers of the genre, so its perfectly understandable that another tribute collection pays homage to the band that started it all. At the end of October, Deadline Music, in association with Cleopatra Records released "Sweet Leaf: A Stoner Rock Salute To Black Sabbath." It features two discs worth of some of the best underground metal bands paying tribute to their gods, Black Sabbath. Beginning with a hard edged delivery of "Into The Void" by the Canadian hardcore metal band Cancer Bats, you notice some of these bands looking to add their own touch to these metal classics. American metal trio Mos Generator jam away on "Dirty Women," while Wo Fat turns "The Warning" into a ten-minute frenzy of guitar and drums. The first disc closes with the Finnish psychedelic rock band, Death Hawks turning the song "Hand Of Doom" into a sixties mind trip.

The second disc begins with the House Of Broken Promises taking on the Ronnie James Dio led Sabbath track "Lady Evil" with great results. The ideal song for this set is the trippy "Planet Caravan," which was delivered perfectly by Machuca. The songs "Electric Funeral" and "Solitude" receive the same treatment on this release, but Black Sabbath were know to rock hard. Premier underground metal band Pentagram bring the force of Sabbath's songs back with their rendition of "After Forever" and Golden Void follows suit with a spaced-out version of "Paranoid." The set closes with the actor/singer William Shatner selling us on "Iron Man" with help from guitar great Zakk Wylde and Alice In Chains bassist Mike Inez. To find out more about "Sweet Leaf: A Stoner Rock Salute To Black Sabbath," please visit cleorecs.com.

German rock band Hedersleben (named after the village where the band began to take form) are releasing their third album, "The Fall Of Chronopolis." It is based on the book of the same name that follows the rise and fall of the Chronotic Empire. The band's currently line-up features members of Nik Turner's Hawkwind as the music takes on this progressive rock feel as in the eight-minute opener "An Empire" and the spacey "Gulf Of Lost Souls." The musicianship is amazing in "The Third Time Fleet" as only whispers are needed to portray the feeling of the story, while the gentle touch of "Umbul" sets the stage for what is to come. The guitar driven rockers "Imperator" and "The Fall Of Chronopolis" showcases an edginess their music that allows them to expand their sound on this release. To find out more about Hedersleben and their new album "The Fall Of Chronopolis," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/HederslebenBand.

Friday, December 11, 2015

DVD Review: Get Up Close With Richie Kotzen Live!

Guitarist extraordinaire Richie Kotzen has been non-stop for the past five years, releasing three solo albums and two studio albums with his new supergroup The Winery Dogs. He tours whenever he can, whether solo or with The Winery Dogs, and his latest release is a live video from the end of his 2014-2015 solo tour. The final show the the tour was held in Tokyo, Japan and was captured in high-definition.

He keeps the band as a trio, with Dylan Wilson on bass and Mike Bennett on drums as Kotzen has no trouble handling all of the guitar and singing as it keeps him mostly stationary at the microphone stand throughout the show. He mixes together some of his well-known solo songs like "You Can't Save Me" with new songs from his recently released solo album "Cannibals." The filming is amazing as you get closer to the band than ever before. They cut around the stage very quickly during songs, but that seems to be the norm these days for concert films, instead of sticking with one shot for a longer period of time. Being able to see Kotzen's fingers work the fret bar on his solos are worth the price of this video. 

The trio is tight in their performance of "Help Me" and "Go Faster" as Kotzen may be the star of the stage, but you notice the support he receives from the rest of his band. The intimacy of the location also helps you feel as if you are in the audience, but the closeness that this film get is unparalleled compared to other current concert videos. I hope that The Winery Dogs get some of their live shows filmed in this same way. Imagine following Billy Sheehan's fingers up and down the bass neck, but let's just hold out hope for that. Do yourself a favor and check out "Richie Kotzen Live," which was released back in October through his own Headroom Inc. label. To find out more, please visit richiekotzen.com.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

CD Review: New Music From Singer/Songwriters Art Schop And Jeremy Nash

Singer, songwriter, writer, philosopher Martin Walker recently released his new album under the name Art Schop. The new release titled "Death Waits 1" was inspired by the works of David Bowie, Lou Reed, Will Oldham, Richard Wagner, Michelangelo and others. Most of the album is performed only by Art Schop with the help of producer Jimi Zhivago. The new ten song release begins with a direct homage to David Bowie's "Space Oddity" as Art Schop performs "Back To Earth" with an inspired desire to create a unique piece of music. His song "The Prince Of Darkness" was inspired by the story of Don Carlo Gesualdo killing his wife and lover as the music has a gentle tone that keeps you glued to his storied lyrics. He expands his sound on the eight-minute "The Sun Deceives" inspired by Richard Wagner's opera "Tristan Und Isolde" and then he sounds like Roger Waters on the ballad "Just A Lombard Cat." The album finishes with his poetry delivery of "The Thistle And The Thorn" and the gentle touch of "Insubstantial Man." To find out more about Art Schop and his new album "Death Waits 1," please visit artschop.com.

Singer/songwriter Jeremy Nash returns with his follow-up album "Getaway Driver." It's a blend of great guitar hooks and storied lyrics highlighted by a great pace of songs that will keep you wanting more. The new eleven-song release begins with the title-song "Getaway Driver" as Nash paints a picture in your mind of traveling down the road to new adventures. He lays down a country vibe for "Waiting For The Fall" and "One Of These Days" and sandwiched between is"Killin' It In California" about long-distance relationships. He sticks with the gentle folk acoustics of "Everything Is As It Seems" and the Paul Simon inspired "So Long, So Long." He plugs his guitar back in to close the album in classic fashion with the Sun Records sound of "It's All Gone Now." To find out more about Jeremy Nash, please visit jeremynashmusic.com.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

CD Review: New Albums From These Outstanding Female Singer/Songwriters

American folk duo The Chapin Sisters recently released their new album "Today's Not Yesterday," their first release of original material in five years. Their last album "A Date With The Everly Brothers," made its way up the Billboard Heatseekers chart and they look to repeat that accomplishment with this new album. It features 12 songs, mostly written in New York, and recorded in sunny Los Angeles. Beginning with the slow sway of "Autumn," you instantly fall in love with their harmonies. They add a pop element to the up-tempo acoustic strumming of "Angelino" and their emotional delivery of "Getaway" has The Chapin Sisters working in perfect unison for success. They bring in the blues for "Child," before swinging to the country sounds of "Love Come Back." The album finishes up with the gentle touch of "There Will Be A Time" as their voices soar in unison and the country/folk sing-along of "We Will Not Stop." To find out more about The Chapin Sisters and their new album "Today's Not Yesterday," please visit thechapinsisters.com.

Singer/Songwriter/Guitarist Diana Catherine will be releasing her fifth studio album "Gossip In The Devil's Radio" this December. It was produced by Bud Snyder (The Allman Brothers Band, Gov't Mule) and features members of The Allman Brothers Band, Dickey Betts' band, Robby Krieger's band and Butch Trucks' band. Diana has become a force on the touring circuit for the last ten years and she is looking to build upon her success with this new album. It begins with the bluesy swing of "Devil At My Door" and the laid-back southern rocker "Birdman" as Diana's vocals and guitar are on fire. She heads to the country with the acoustic, campfire vibe of "Moonlight" and "Not For Long," before picking the tempo back up with the guitar driven "Should Have Seen You Coming." She closes her new twelve-song album by combining her love for the blues and country music with"Down." To find out more about Diana Catherine and her new album "Gossip In The Devil's Radio," please visit dianacatherine.com.

Canadian singer/songwriter Jennifer Budd recently released her debut album titled "Lip Service." It features ten songs that allows Jennifer to flex her vocals as she puts on a display with the powerful vocal delivery of "Church." She delivers the R&B flavor to "In America" and she adds some soul to the album with "Revivalist." Her songwriting takes center stage for the quick two-minute pop story of "The Colonial," before slowing down for the piano ballad "Love Means," which allows Jennifer to let her vocals soar. The album finishes with the sultry, sexy sound of "Le Tigre" and the vocal expression of "In The Morning." To find out more about Jennifer Budd and her new album "Lip Service," please visit jenniferbudd.com.

Canadian folk artist Lynne Hanson recently teamed up with her backing band, The Good Intentions, to release her new album "7 Deadly Spins." It features seven songs that pushes the boundaries of what you may think folk music should sound like, beginning with the dark, bluesy sound of "Gravedigger" and continuing with the equally dark lyrics of "My Mamma Said." The gentle, sweet sounds of "Cecil Hotel" tells the story of a wanted man waiting to be caught for his crimes. Her storytelling lyrics paints a full picture in your mind as with "Black Widow" and closes the album with the quick-paced rockabilly feel of "First One's Free." To find out more about Lynne Hanson & The Good Intentions, please visit lynnehanson.com.

One of Nashville's newest rising pop stars is Daphne Willis and she recently released her latest album "Get It," filled with pop hooks and catchy rhythms. Beginning with "Done With Being Done" you can't help but get drawn into her attractive vocals and fun, up-tempo style of music. She is sure to have a hit on the pop charts with "TMI," while "Soul Thang" shows her depth as an artist as visits her R&B side. The short six-song EP closes with the light, energetic title song, "Get It." To find out more about Daphne Willis and her new album "Get It," please visit daphnewillis.com.

Singer/songwriter Lisa Said recently released her debut EP titled "First Time, Long Time." Born in Egypt, Lisa never forgot her early days in North Africa, before moving to the U.S. as she displays an African rhythm on the opener "Been Around." She looks to combine elements of folk storytelling with exciting rhythms to create some pop gems like "For Today" and the country swing of "Somebody Somebody." The short, five-song release closes with "One Too Many" as Lisa finds her way to your heart with her warming vocals on this six-minute storied ballad. To find out more about Lisa Said and her new album "First Time, Long Time," please visit lisasaid.com.

From Seattle comes the debut album from singer/songwriter Shelita Burke titled "Transfixed." Her new six-song release has Shelita armed with just a guitar and her voice, which is all that is needed for her to portray the emotions within the songs "Pour" and "Gold." The simplicity of her delivery has you concentrating on her amazing lyrics as you feel as if you are discovering this new talent in a Seattle coffeehouse. She finishes with her nod to Joni Mitchell in the quiet delivery of "Else" and a dance remix of the titled song "Transfixed." To find out more about Shelita Burke and her new EP "Transfixed," please visit shelitaburke.com.

From Chicago comes the latest album from Bri Ingram titled "I Am." It features six songs that mixes together pop, country and jazz that makes her sound spread across many different music genres. Beginning with the country strumming of "Can't Even Cry," she lets loose on this revenge song, then tacks on this sultry country stomper "Bad, Bad Boy."  Her voice excels on the ballad "Save Me" as she wraps you up with her emotional words, before finishing with the up-tempo, jazzy sounds of "Belly Of The Beast." To find out more about Bri Ingram and her latest release "I Am," please visit briingram.com.

Singer/songwriter Bianca Casady is one half of the successful European folk duo CocoRosie with her sister, Sierra. Now Bianca is ready to venture on her own with her new album "Oscar Hocks," which will be released on January 22nd through Atlas Chair music. The new twelve-song release begins with the European flair of "Hay Lofts" as you are introduced to the innocent sounding vocals of Bianca on this gentle treading opener. The sound of this album is great to explore as it is unlike anything in mainstream music, yet Bianca Casady and her backing band The C.I.A. work their experimental folk style magic in the unforgettable "Daisy Chain" and "Roadkill." She adds to the blues of "Poor Deal" as you follow her vocals down the storytelling road. The album finishes with the seven-minute journey to the unknown with "Left Shoe" and the gentle piano ballad "The Empty Room." To find out more about Bianca Casady & The C.I.A. and their new album "Oscar Hooks," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/Bianca-Casady-the-CiA.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

CD Review: Newly Released Soundtracks For New "Point Break" Movie And Cult Classic "Cruising"

On December 25th, movie fans will be able to catch the long rumored remake of the Patrick Swayze/Keanu Reeves film "Point Break." Of course, with a new movie, comes a new soundtrack, which will be released three weeks earlier on December 4th through Alcon Sleeping Giant/Caroline. Gone are the songs by Ratt, Concrete Blonde and Sheryl Crow from the original soundtrack and in it's place is a disc filled with rocking rhythms and steady beats. The new thirteen song release begins with one of the only rock songs on the album provided by guitarist Andrew Watt titled "Runaway." The beats begin to flow during the steady flow of "I Need Your Love" from Gareth Thomas and "The Power Of Now" from DJ elite Steve Aoki & Headhunterz. San Diego alternative pop band MRKTS look to bring the energy higher with "Do You Wanna" along with the electronic dance remix of "Take Me Down" from Genevieve. The album finishes with Dig The Kid adding spurts of energy during "Still Breathing" and composer Tom Holkenborg (Junkie XL) keeping the rhythm going through the eleven-minute "Point Break End Credits." To find out more about the new soundtrack to the upcoming "Point Break" movie, please visit facebook.com/pointbreakmovie.

The soundtrack to the 1980 cult classic film "Cruising" gets the latest call for the remastered treatment from Audio Fidelity. The soundtrack is a mix of punk rock and disco to capture the essence of this psychological thriller which originally starred Al Pacino. The ten-song release begins and ends with songs from Willy DeVille as "Heat Of The Moment" looks to combine the beats of disco with an edgier rock vibe. The raw punk-like fury of The Cripples "Loneliness" and "Hypnotize" benefits from this new remastered version of the soundtrack as the music is allowed it's space to breathe instead of sounding like one big crash of sound. The two-minute guitar-driven rocker "When I Close My Eyes I See Blood" from Madalynn Von Ritz has a warmer tone as the drums and bass become a bigger factor in the song. The Germs have fun with the blasted of energy of "Lion's Share," before the album finishes with the Tex-Mex, ZZ Top like shuffle of "It's So Easy" from Willy DeVille as his vocals just take over the song. With the many punks songs on this release benefiting from the upgrade, maybe Audio Fidelity will look into more from that genre for future releases. To find out more about the new Super Audio CD release of the "Cruising" soundtrack, please visit audiofidelity.net.