Thursday, March 31, 2016

CD Review: New Heavy Metal Music Arriving From Rising Canadian & U.S. Bands

First from Montreal, Canada comes the latest release from black metal band Eohum titled "Ealdfaeder." The new five song release begins with the progressive metal feel of "Eurocide" as screams and quick, technical drumming take over the marching rhythm fueled by buzzsaw guitar riffs. The album's first single "Unmasking A World Of Deceit" is a hardcore, bash-in-your-skull metal as the band's energy is at an all-time high throughout this six-minute piece. The short, 30-minute album finishes with the quick-pace screams of "Ode To A Martyr" and the hardcore, nu-metal appeal of "Curative Undulations."

Next, from Vancouver, British Columbia comes the new album titled "Bloodlust" from death metal band The Mountain Man. Their new five-song EP begins with the chugging doom metal of "Backhand Of God," before exploding with the screams of the title-song "Bloodlust." The latest single from the album, "Open Graves" is a thunderous, head-banging juggernaut of power. The short EP closes with the aggressive tone of "Ghost" that will make your head spin.

From Kamloops, British Columbia comes the sophomore release titled "In Our Blood" from rockers The Decoys. Their sound reflects the honest tones of Neil Young and Tom Petty, with a youthful, hunger for success. Their new ten-song release begins with the raw, punk-like attitude of "Don't Hesitate," before bashing away to the seventies-style rock groove of "Not Right Now." They slow the tempo down for the country-rock appeal of "Wasting Your Time," while "Alibi" has The Heartbreakers influence all over its classic rock sound. The album finishes with a return to the punk-like energy of "Crossed The Line" and the seven-minute intense jam of "Don't Hang Me Up."

From Cambridge, Ontario comes the debut album titled "As The Crow Flies" from hard rockers A Rebel Few. The album was produced by Sterling Winfield (Pantera, Hellyeah) and mastered by Howie Weinberg (Rush, Aerosmith). It features nine speaker-shaking numbers that incorporate some of the greatest guitar riffs of the last five years. Beginning with "Born Again," the band hits the perfect power chords to grab your attention. Continuing with the intense rhythm of "Rebel Few" and the chugging guitars of "Dyin' Breed," A Rebel Few keep their foot on the gas. They close their new nine-song release with the Black Sabbath-like riff of "Bitter Man" and vicious attack of "Pure Revolution."

From Montreal, Canada comes the self-titled, debut album from power metal band Demise Of The Crown. Their new seven-song release hits you with a blast of energy right from the opening riffs of "We Are Invincible." They quicken the pace and let out the screams for "Human Denial," before showcasing their instrumental skills on the intense build-up of "Don't Worry." The album finishes with the mainstream power metal appeal of "Cold Dead Eyes" and the grand feel of "Eons." 

Finally from North Carolina comes the symphonic extreme metal band Rapheumets Well with their latest album "The Exile." It features eight pieces of hardcore heavy metal, wrapped up with a symphony of classical orchestration. Beginning with the "Resurrecting The Blood Gate" the sounds of classical strings gets overtaken by the intense delivery of drums, vocals and guitars. The stark piano introduction of "The Blight of Sotath Shal" is given a shot of adrenaline with the speed and force of the band's hardcore metal attack. The thunderous march of "Crucible Of Titans" and the epic, prog-metal appeal of "Resurgence" showcases the amazing depth in this band's musical repertoire. To find out more about all these bands and many other heavy metal acts, please visit ashermediarelations.com

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

CD Review: New Releases Arriving From Marcus Singletary, Daniel Hutchens, Richard Lynch, Michael Kroll, Animalia & Gillian Nicola

The musical chameleon known as Marcus Singletary returns with his most politically charged album to date, "Subversive Blues." The new ten-song release begins with the sound of arguments that will have you drawing your own conclusions as to what is being said and recorded. The short synthesizer instrumental "Astronaut's Daughter" and voice affects experiment "Bonnie Wright" has you wondering which direction this album is headed, but the back-porch blues of "That's The Way It Is" showcases Marcus' pure talents. He expands his sound with the atmospheric tones of "Blessing Of The Guru" and the work-day chant of "My Slave Life." The album finishes with his return to the confrontation of "Dead Cops And Starfighters" as a political rally turns into a great musical instrumental that leads into the soundscape of "The Hero Returns Home." To find out more about Marcus Singletary and his latest release "Subversive Blues," please visit marcussingletary.com.

Singer/songwriter Daniel Hutchens will be releasing his new solo album, "The Beautiful Vicious Cycle Of Life" on April 22nd. He is best known for his work in the rock band Bloodkin, as well as appearing with Lou Reed, Gov't Mule, Drive-By Truckers and Widespread Panic. The album was produced by Panic's Dave Schools and engineered by David Barbe of Drive-By Truckers fame. The new eleven-song release begins with the up-tempo, roots rocker "Jack Nicholson Grin" and continues with the acoustic blues of "American Country," which fully shows Daniel songwriting potential. He brings in the big guitars for "The Beautiful Vicious Cycle Of Life," then heads over to the country pop of "Pretty Girls In Summer Dresses," but its the laid-back acoustic setting of "Wings And A Walking Cane" that perfectly fits Daniel style. The album finishes with the guitar rocker "Epitaph Town" and the seventies, folk-style of "All Golden Traces." To find out more about Daniel Hutchens and his latest release "The Beautiful Vicious Cycle Of Life," please visit bloodkin.net.

American country artist Richard Lynch recently released his latest album "A Better Place." It features a dozen songs filled with that classic honky-tonk country sound. Beginning with "Daddy's Radio," Lynch's vocals bring back that good ol' southern charm that is missing from today's country radio singles. He continues with the waltz of "New Beginnings And Old Honky Tonks" and "It's All In My Head," before picking the tempo back up with the rocker "She's Got Me Drinkin' Again" with help from fellow country artist Billy Yates. Lynch keeps the energy on high with the toe-tappin', two-steppin' sound of ""Look Out Below," then slows down the pace for the new cowboy ballad "You're Why God Made Oklahoma." The album closes with Lynch bringing back the fun of "I Like My Music Country" and the soft-hearted emotional sway of "A Better Place." To find out more about Richard Lynch and his latest release "A Better Place," please visit his Facebook page at facebook.com/RichardLynchBand.

Connecticut native Michael Kroll will be releasing his new album "Clamorous" on April 22nd and he will be leading up to that release with a trio of shows in New York, Bridgeport and New Haven. The new thirteen-song release begins with the classic roots, Americana feel of "Blue," before adding a funky bass line to "Soul Of A Summer." The slow sway of "Crush" showcases Kroll's bluesy side, while he injects some soul into the grooves of "Come Back" and " Allegiance." The folk-rock appeal of "The Light" sounds like a lost outtake from the Rolling Thunder Revue, while "John Henry" builds into a great, complete band performance. The album closes with the quiet, steady rhythm of "Back No More" and the inspirational shine of "Joyful." To find out more about Michael Kroll and his latest release "Clamorous," please visit krollmichael.com.

From Toronto, Canada comes the latest release from female pop artist Animalia titled "(dissonance)." It features eight, electro-pop tunes that has many addictive qualities, but may be a little too dark for modern pop radio. Beginning with the synth-fueled rhythm of "Little Earth," Animalia leads the way with her sweet, sultry vocals. She experiments with her sound a little further in "Against Nature," by not conforming to the normal pop song structure. She seems to get more intense in "Dead Weight," before slowing down for the piano ballad "Paradise." The album's first single, "Face On" keeps the beats in the background, which allows Animalia's vocals to be the star. The album closes with the soft, starkness of "Hurting" as Animalia pours her all into this performance. To find out more about Animalia and her latest release "(dissonance)," please visit her Facebook page at facebook.com/music.animalia.

Also from Canada comes the sophomore release from singer/songwriter Gillian Nicola titled "No Place To Call." It features a handful of songs that begins with the acoustic rock of "February" as you picture Gillian performing in a coffee-house in Greenwich Village. She picks up the tempo with the country-rock appeal of "Lose You" as her voice is powerful enough to demand your attention. The acoustic strumming of "Unconditionally" and the gentle approach of "Stay" should have Gillian Nicola on everyone's lips as a must-hear artist of 2016. To find out more about Gillian Nicola and her latest release "No Place To Call," please visit gilliannicola.com.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

CD Review: New Music From Singer/Songwriters Janiva Magness, Lee Aaron, Ben Mauro, Kathryn Pallakoff, Noam Weinstein & Andrew Thomson

Soulful singer/songwriter Janiva Magness will be releasing her 12th studio album on April 8th titled "Love Wins Again." Janiva won the Blues Music Award for "Best Contemporary Blues Female Artist" for her previous album "Original," but Janiva heads in a more R&B direction on this latest release. Beginning with the title-song, "Love Wins Again," she allows her soul to swing on this gospel-toned opener. She gets a slight funk groove going with "Real Slow," before slowing down for the smooth bluesy ballad "When You Hold Me," along with the angelic feel of "Doorway." Janiva revisits the spirit of James Brown on the funky, uptempo "Your House I Burnin'" and covers Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Long As I Can See The Light" with grace and respect. She closes the album with her plea of "Who Will Come For Me" as Janiva's voice soars along with the choir. To find out more about Janiva Magness and her latest release "Love Wins Again," please visit her Facebook page at facebook.com/JanivaMagness.

From Canada comes the latest release from singer/songwriter Lee Aaron titled "Fire And Gasoline." The album will be released this month on her own record label, Big Sister Records and it is her return to straight-up rock music in almost two decades. The new eleven-song release begins with guitars a-blazing for the up-tempo romp of "Tom Boy" and continues with the big beats of the title-song "Fire And Gasoline." She takes the music up a notch with the punk-like fury of "Wanna Be" and hopes that the addictive "Popular" puts her on the charts. She blazes a trail with the slow burn of "50 Miles," before showcasing her edgier sound with the big guitars of "Bad Boyfriend." The album closes with the country rock of "If You Don't Love Me Anymore" and the power ballad "Find The Love." To find out more about Lee Aaron and her latest release "Fire And Gasoline," please visit leeaaron.com.

Singer/songwriter/guitarist Ben Mauro is following up his debut album, "To L.A." with another short, exciting piece of music titled "From N.Y." It features nine-songs of bright, sunshine rock that makes you feel good. Beginning with "I Look Around," he will definitely lift your spirits. Ben has fun with the groove and chorus of "Making Out In Traffic" as he peels off guitar riffs wherever space allows. He visits the Roots/Americana side of his songwriting with the hand-clapping rhythms of "Down By The River," then tackles the seventies, California rock sound of "Romeo & Juliet." Ben gives an island vibe to "Complicated," before closing with a great, light-hearted unplugged version of "Happily Ever." To find out more about Ben Mauro and his latest release "From N.Y.," please visit benmauro.com.

From Los Angeles comes the latest release from singer/songwriter Kathryn Pallakoff titled "Proud And Heavy Dreamer." The new album features eleven songs, beginning with the acoustic folk of "Hard Down In This Hole." Her voice sounds so sweet and innocent when she shoots for the stars in "American Astronaut." The ballad of "Psyche And Eros" is the perfect setting for the warming touch of her voice. She places her wonderful poetry into the gentle touch of the music of "Big Bang," before her music builds into the modern folk appeal of "Sorry For The Way." The album finishes up with the Jewel-like folk/pop of "Unicorn Scars" along with the slow, dreamlike sway of "Liquid Sound." To find out more about Kathryn Pallakoff and her latest release "Proud And Heavy Dreamer," please visit kathrynpallakoff.bandcamp.com.

Boston-born singer/songwriter Noam Weinstein recently released his latest album "Waves" back in February. It has garnished rave reviews from across the world and deals with the subject matters of birth, death, love and healing. The new fifteen song release begins with pop/soul groove of "Last Reincarnation" and the uptempo rock of "Mother." Noam's light-hearted delivery of "Through Your Eyes" and the jazzy feel of "He Will Be" showcases his songwriting, pouring his emotions into the words he sings. He pulls off a modern day Bee Gees sound with "If I Had Feelings" and mixes together jazz and soul for the big jam sound of "Over." The album finishes with the simple heartfelt ballad "I Do" and the gentle touch of "It Comes In Waves." To find out more about Noam Weinstein and his latest release "Waves," please visit his Facebook page at facebook.com/NSongs.

Canadian singer/songwriter Andrew Thomson will be releasing his latest album "Live At Apartment 2B" on April 15th through Blacktop Records. It features Andrew returning to a venue he performed at before, but this time acoustically. The short four song EP beings with "Stoya" as Andrew seems like he is getting adjusted to the acoustic setting. He picks up the energy with "Please," before closing this short release with the interactive folk delivery of "Bad Catholics/Parade." To find out more about Andrew Thomson and his latest release "Live At Apartment 2B," please visit blacktoprecords.bandcamp.com.

Monday, March 28, 2016

CD Review: Javier Colon Defies "Gravity," Idalee Is "Starting Now" And Soup Is "Still In Fullee Love"

The winner of the inaugural season of NBC's "The Voice," Javier Colon is releasing his new full-length album titled "Gravity." It will be released on April 15th through the Concord Music Group and he will be returning to "The Voice" on April 13th during a live episode. His new album features thirteen-s0ngs, beginning with the up-tempo soulful pop of "Close To You." His voice soars during the R&B flavor of "Clear The Air" and he brings along the choir for the uplifting sounds of "Giant." He soothes your worries with the gentle touch of "My Perspective" and then lifts your spirits with the soulfulness of "Say." The jazzy duet of "For A Reason" and folk/rock appeal of "It Don't Matter To The Sun" showcases the many different avenues for Javier Colon to follow with his soulful voice. The album finishes with the pop gem "Never Know," which should find its way up the single chart and the quiet, acoustic closer "Walkin' Blind." To find out more about Javier Colon and his latest release "Gravity," please visit javiercolon.com.

Singer/songwriter Topher Hall's new album "Starting Now" is the very definition of second-chances. After going to jail for plowing his car into a government vehicle while drunk and high on cocaine, he has reformed himself as Idalee and is looking to rebuild his career with this new release. Beginning with the title-song "Starting Now," you get a renewed sense of purpose for this indie-pop/rock artist. He is very good at his craft, inviting you along on his journey of recovery. The California, Sublime-feel of "Barbarian" will have you grooving to the beat in no time. He then rocks out to the big guitar sounds of "Some Day" and gives off a Shawn Mullins-vibe on the root-rocker "Heal." He closes his new seven-song release with the heartfelt delivery of "Home," which showcases the best of Idalee's vocals. To find out more about Idalee and his latest release "Starting Now," please visit idalee.com.

From Los Angeles, CA comes the debut album from the new project from Jurassic 5 MC, Zaakir Muhammad aka Soup title "Still In Fullee Love." The new seven-song EP from Fullee Love begins with the smooth beats of "Surfboard Cali" as you can picture yourself flowing down the boulevard blasting this tune. He adds more of a dance/pop aspect to "Rampage" and goes R&B with the big sweeping beats of "Overdue." Fullee Love spins rhythms like a master on "All Around The World" to close out the album. To find out more about Fullee Love and his latest release "Still In Fullee Love," please visit his Facebook page at facebook.com/FulleeLove.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

CD Review: Willie Nile Battles Back With "World War Willie" & East Of Venus Brings Out Their "Memory Box"

American singer/songwriter Willie Nile returns with his tenth studio album titled "World War Willie." It will be released on April 1st through River House Records in association with Virtual Label. This album is Willie's attempt to fight back at all the of confrontations between good and bad going on in the world today. His music has grown into a classic American rock and roll sound since his debut over 35 years ago and his songwriting on this release is some of the best of his career.

Beginning with "Forever Wild," Willie Nile and his band are ready to have a good time with this retrospective up-tempo rocker. He continues with a call to arms as he sings for everyone to work together to fix the problems in this country in "Let's All Come Together," while "Grandpa Rocks" blazes a trail with its punk-like energy. He displays some of his folk-storytelling songwriting with the acoustic "Runaway Girl," and "Hell Yeah" is pure rockabilly fun. His tribute to The Band's Levon Helm is country-rock gold as you can't help but find yourself singing along to the chorus of "When Levon Sings." The album closes with the bluesy appeal of "Citibank Nile" and a burning cover of the Velvet Underground classic "Sweet Jane." To find out more about Willie Nile and his latest release "World War Willie," please visit willienile.com.

Indie-rock supergroup, East Of Venus, will be releasing their debut album "Memory Box" on April 15th through Omnivore Recordings. Featuring members of Winter Hours, The Feelies, Luna, and The Bongos; this new four-piece band mixes together their originals with a few of their favorite cover songs to showcase their modern, alternative country/rock sound. The new ten-song release begins with the up-tempo "Let's Find A Way," highlighted by some slide-guitar as you easily find yourself getting lock into the song's groove. Their music is not meant to overpower you, but instead wrap itself around you as in the alt-country sounds of "You Started Something." The first of their three cover songs on this album is Red Buckets "Jane September," which comes off like a long-lost Lou Reed tune. They pick-up the tempo with the raw, classic rock appeal of "Who's To Know," before stepping into the shoes of Tim Hardin for a gentle take of his song "Reason To Believe." The album finishes with the excellent songwriting of "Dallas" and their final cover of the lesser-known Rolling Stones song "Citadel," which showcases the band stepping outside of their comfort zone with their sound. The album was dedicated to band member Michael Carlucci who passed away during the recording of this album. To find out more about East Of Venus and their new release "Memory Box," please visit omnivorerecordings.com.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

CD Review: Ben Harper Returns With The Innocent Criminals While Peter Wolf Comes Back Without The J.Geils Band

It has been almost a decade since Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals recorded an album together and since then, Ben Harper has been on a musical trip, experimenting with his sound. He played alongside blues legend Charlie Musslewhite, gospel pioneers The Blind Boys of Alabama and even his mother Ellen, but Harper never truly feels at home unless he performs with his long-time band, The Innocent Criminals. Their new album, "Call It What It Is" will be released on April 8th through Stax Records in association with Concord Music.

The new eleven song release gets the momentum flowing in a hurry with the stomp-rhythm and buzzing guitar of "When Sex Was Dirty." The chorus part of "na-na, na-na, na-na, na-na" isn't the greatest writing Harper ever did, but it sure is addictive. Then, he instantly brings the energy down with emotions flowing through "Deeper And Deeper," before powering the politically charged "Call It What It Is," which is centered around the wrongful cop killings that overtook the news media. Harper works his poetry amongst a stark acoustic backdrop in "All That Has Grown," before The Innocent Criminals help bring the energy back up with the album's first single "Pink Balloon." The island vibe of "Finding Out Way" carries the classic Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals sound from earlier albums, before finishing with the quietness of "Goodbye To You." Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals will be on tour for the rest of the year, beginning April 2nd in New York. To find out more about their new album "Call It What It Is," please visit benharper.com.

The iconic front-man of the seventies powerhouse J. Geils Band is returning to release his first solo album in six years titled "A Cure For Loneliness." Peter Wolf began his music adventure as a DJ in Boston, before finding his true calling as a lead singer. His solo career has been almost as successful as his band career, with many of albums making waves on the album charts. His love for the classic R&B sound is the subject of his latest album, which will be released on April 8th through Concord Records.

The new twelve-track release begins with the smooth soulful delivery of "Rolling On" as Wolf's vocals have never sounded better. The ballad "Peace Of Mind" is another perfect setting for Wolf's bluesy vocals, before picking up the tempo with the rockabilly swing of "How Do You Know." Wolf mixes in some live recordings that captured the mood perfectly as with "Wastin' Time" and the acoustic strumming of "Some Other Time, Some Other Place" as you follow his words anywhere they want to take you. He gives a honky-tonk facelift to the J. Geils Band single "Love Stinks," before returning to the soulful delivery of the 50's ballad "Tragedy." The album closes with just Peter Wolf and a guitar telling the short country tale of "Stranger." Peter Wolf is currently on tour, which includes a stop in Hartford, CT next Friday, before continuing along the east coast. To find out more about his new album, "A Cure For Loneliness," please visit peterwolf.com.

Friday, March 25, 2016

CD Review: New Metal Blade Records Releases From Amon Amarth, Mother Feather, Artillery, Accuser And Criminal

One of the premier Viking/Death Metal bands around is Amon Amarth and they will return with their tenth studio album titled "Jomsviking." Since their beginnings back in Sweden back in 1992, their mythological lyrics and hardcore music have amassed a huge following in the heavy metal community. Their last three studio albums cracked the Top 50 on the US album charts, as they look to continue their success with this latest release. The band continue to establish themselves as a juggernaut with the thunderous drumming and growling vocals of "First Kill" and the chugging guitars of "Wanderer." They pick up the pace for the quick-attack of "On The Sea Of Blood" as guitars come out blazing for the classic metal groove of "Raise Your Horns." Amon Amarth add a thrash metal pace to "At Dawns First Light," before inviting fellow European metal artist Doro Pesch to lend her vocals to "A Dream That Cannot Be." The album finishes with the band mixing tempos on the seven-minute closer "Back On Northern Shores." To find out more about Amon Amarth and their latest release "Jomsviking," please visit amonamarth.com.

The alternate rock band Mother Feather recently released their Metal Blade Records self-titled, full-length debut album and are one of the premier acts on this summer's Vans Warped Tour. Their new ten-song release is made up of their 2011 and 2013 independent EPs along with two brand new tracks. Their sound combines the garage rock buzz of "Living, Breathing" with the early post-punk Blondie feel of "Mirror" to create what has been a dominating force against "cock rock." The first new track "Natural Disaster" has a bluesy, Sabbath-like rhythm as Mother Feather keep it simple, yet powerful. Their early pop sound comes through on "Beach House," which carries over into their other new song "The Power." The album closes with the post-punk energy of "Egyptology." To find out more about Mother Feather and their latest self-titled release, please visit motherfeather.com.

From Copenhagen comes the latest release from the heavy metal band Artillery titled "Penalty By Perception." It is the band's seventh studio album since starting out almost 35 years ago. Fans have eagerly awaited its release over the course of the last two years, but this new eleven-track album will not disappoint any fans and will continue to draw in new ones. Beginning with "In Defiance Of Conformity," Artillery have kept their heavy metal sound close to their heart as they keep the same formula of melodic singing and energetic rhythms that has built them a strong following. Iconic metal guitar riffs fill "Live By The Scythe," while "Mercy Of Ignorance" comes through quick and heavy with it's thunderous rhythm. Artillery turn "When The Magic Is Gone" into an epic, progressive metal number that brings in elements of Yes, Rush and Dio to create this iconic song. The album finishes with the guitar frenzy of "Deity Machine" and the adrenaline-fueled "Welcome To The Mindfactory." To find out more about Artillery and their latest release "Penalty By Perception," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/ARTILLERY.DK.

From Germany comes the established hardcore death metal band Accuser with their latest release "The Forlorn Divide." Having released four internationally acclaimed metal albums between 1989 and 1995, Accuser broke up in 1996. They reunited in 2008, releasing the album "Agitation" in 2010, showcasing the band's new sound, inspired by Bay Area thrash metal bands. After celebrating their 25 anniversary as a band, Accuser are ready to regain their international metal dominance with their new ten-song release. Beginning with the short, "Predawn" classical guitar instrumental, Accuser attacks your eardrums with the shear force of "Lust For Vengeance." Guitars come out blazing for the six-minute hardcore journey of "Unreal Perception" and the pounding drums motor through "Arbitrary Law" on there way to "Impending Doom." The band's love for thrash metal is highlighted in the fast-paced "Fifth Column," before closing with the six-minute riff-fueled "Flow Of Dying." To find out more about Accuser and their latest release "The Forlorn Divide," please visit accuser.de.

From the U.K. comes the latest album from Criminal titled "Fear Itself." The band is celebrating 25 years together as one of Chile's premier thrash metal pioneers, finding success early with heavy rotation on MTV Latino and selling hundreds of thousands of their early records. After relocating to the U.K. in 2001, Criminal has consistently put out quality heavy metal albums. Their latest twelve-track release starts out with the thunderous attack of "Down Driven" and the fast-paced, neck-breaking speed of "Shock Doctrine." They keep pouring on the assault with the chugging guitars of "The Needle And Knife" and "Summoning The Apocalypse" will shake the foundation of thrash metal, with its prog-metal feel. The album finishes up with the aggressive screams of "Deep In The Rot" and "Carne Molida" sung in their native language. To find out more about Criminal and their latest release "Fear Itself," please visit criminal1.com.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

CD Review: New Heavy Metal Music From Gracepoint, Zamboni, Atala and Boudain

On April 1st comes the arrival of the new album from Gracepoint titled "Echoes." It is one of the most anticipated independent heavy metal albums of the year and pays tribute to their classic thrash metal influences, beginning with the chugging guitars of "Animal." The new ten-song release continues with the quick-pace of "Spider" as the band's energy is displayed in their performance. They let up on the momentum for a moment for the atmospheric instrumental "Secrets," before returning with the progressive metal feel of "Full Circle" and the heavy attack of "Crucible." The album finishes with the big thunderous sounds of "Echoes" and the short instrumental "Moon." To find out more about Gracepoint and their latest release "Echoes," please visit gracepointmetal.com.

From New Jersey/New York comes the self-titled, self-released debut album from east coast thrash metal band Zamboni. After two years of a revolving door of drummers, the album will finally be released on April 15th. The new nine-song release has some hard-hitting, quick-paced numbers including "The Greater Evil" and the chaotic "Nuclear Hatred." They add a raw, reckless punk-like fury to "Brain Hemorrhage," before finishing the short album with aggressive attack of "World War Z" and their experimental, fast-paced theme song "Zamboni." To find out more about Zamboni and their new release, please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/Zamboni666.

From California comes the latest release from doom metal band Atala titled "Shaman's Path Of The Serpent." It will be self-released on May 20th and features four epic pieces of music that takes a journey into the mind of singer/guitarist Kyle Stratton. Beginning with the slow buzz of "Gravity," the music feels heavy with dragged out guitar tones and a steady rhythm that keeps the song moving. Their doom metal sound continues into the eight-minute "Levity," before closing with the slow, chaotic build-up of "Shapeshifter." To find out more about Atala and their latest release "Shaman's Path Of The Serpent," please visit atalarock.com.

Coming April 20th is the new self-released album from Louisiana heavy metal band Boudain titled "Way Of The Hoof." It contains eight-songs, beginning with the classic, early metal, guitar riff-filled "Sleazy Feats." The alternative guitar buzz continues with "Neptune" into the stoner, doom metal appeal of "Coda." They pick the tempo up for the hard-edged grunge sound of "First Class," before locking into the classic Sabbath-like groove of "Disco Jimmy" as the song pushes toward the eight-minute mark. The album closes with a cover of Blue Oyster Cult's "Godzilla" as if it was being played at the wrong speed as the notes get stretched out on this doom metal version of the song. To find out more about Boudain and their latest release "Way Of The Hoof," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/boudainla.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

CD Review: Tons Of New Heavy Metal Music Arriving This April

April is quickly approaching and so are a boatload of new heavy metal albums. Beginning on April 1st, "April Fool's Day," we get the new album from the Copenhagen quartet Piss Vortex with their latest six-song EP titled "Future Cancer." Their songs are delivered with a fast-paced, hard-hitting, take-no-prisoners approach as the hardcore metal of "Failing The Voight-Kampff Test" and "Patterns Of Repetition" will bash in your eardrums until you beg for mercy. Also arriving on April 1st is the sophomore release titled "Stella Porta" from the Pennsylvania trio, Bardus. Their new seven-song album gathers its influences from band like The Melvins and Queens Of The Stone Age as the music is raw and hardcore with screaming vocals is in "Monolith." They slow the tempo down for the dark overtones of "Transcendence," before displaying their power with the hardcore metal appeal of "Oracle." Another April 1st release is from Detroit's punk/metal band Child Bite. Their new album titled "Negative Noise" will be the band's fourth as their music is quoted as "spazzy art rock." The new eleven-song release takes a page from the early days of Red Hot Chili Peppers with its chaotic punk sound as in the opener "Death Before Dementia." They keep the energy flowing with the hardcore punk of "Born A Hog," before settling into a more heavy metal riff with "Apex Of Anxiety." The band's underground following should be pleased with this latest release from Child Bite.
 
The New Keepers Of The Water Towers are also preparing to release their new album "Infernal Machine" on April 1st. Their new seven-song release is filled to the brim with epic pieces of music, beginning with the pounding rhythm of "The Forever War." They expand their sound with the baroque feel of "Tachyon Deep," before returning to the atmospheric sounds of "Escape Aleph Minor" and the progressive metal of "This Internal Machine." Another April 1st release is the full-length, debut album from Graves At Sea titled "The Curse That Is." Their new album release will be followed by a month-long tour of the U.S. The new eight-song album begins with the back-to-back, 11-minute openers, "The Curse That Is" and "Dead Eyes" as the band look to take you on a progressive metal journey. They slow down for the dark, doom-metal ballad "The Ashes Mad Her Beautiful" and close the album with the 14-minute "Minimum Slave" that simply burns into your memory with the song's consistent rhythm. Also arriving on this date is the rare split LP from underground metal acts Oryx and Languish. The new thirteen song album begins with a trio of songs from the grindcore metal band Oryx as their music slowly seeps into your mind. Then Languish takes over with ten songs of quick, fast-paced hardcore metal that will get your adrenaline pumping.
 
Moving up a week to April 8th is the sophomore effort from New York technical metal band Geryon titled "The Wound And The Bow." Their new seven-song release begins with the marching rhythms of "Silent Command," before blowing up with the thunderous sound of "Dawn." They mix tempos of "The Wound And The Bow," before closing with nine-minutes of intense metal music. We also get the latest release titled "Ephemeral" from California technical death metal band Inherit Disease. It features a blast of eleven neck-breaking tracks that combine the precise drumming with growling vocals and buzzing guitar riffs. Songs like "Mutant 2.0" and "Synaptic Reanimation" will make your ears bleed with delight as you crawl deeper into their death metal music. Also on April 8th is the new concept album from Cult Of Luna & Julie Chtristmas titled "Mariner." It features five epic pieces of music that showcase the band's talent for executing precise musicianship, highlighted by the vocals of Julie Christmas. The hardcore opener "A Greater Call" combines all these prog-metal elements perfectly to create an amazing piece of music. Julie's vocals take over the ten-minute story of "The Wreck Of The S.S. Needle," before taking you on an adventure with "Cygnus."
 
Hitting the stands in mid-April are a boatload of even more new releases, including the double-album "Pretending 2 Run" from Detroit's premier progressive-metal band Tiles. This new release is loaded with 21 songs that range from the Styx-like opener "Pretending To Run," the excellent musicianship of "Voir Dire" and the classic Deep Purple feel of "Taken By Surprise" and that's only the first disc. They have a classic rock appeal with a modern sound that easily captures your attention as with the harder appeal of "Weightlessness" and "The Disappearing Floor." Also arriving that same day is the new release from the German extreme metal duo Manta titled "Ode To The Flame." It is the band's worldwide debut album and features ten hard-hitting metal numbers that look to bash in your skull with its intense music delivery. They are following the release of their new album with a three-month tour of Europe, which includes a handful of festivals like Desertfest and Hellfest.
 
Also arriving on April 15th is the new release from Swiss death metal band Omophagia with their album "In The Name Of Chaos." Their new 11-song release blows you away with the shear force of the opening track "Willing Whore" as the machine-gun drumming and buzzing guitars look to overtake your senses like in "Until The Sky Turns Red." To go along with that release is the new arrival from Los Angeles death metal band The Zenith Passage with their full-length debut titled "Solipsist." It contains ten, head-splitting tracks that just crushes the competition with its speed and aggression. Songs like "Simulated Reality" and "The Dissension Consensus" showcase the amazing talent within this new band. Another new arrival is from long-time Stockholm hardcore metal band Victims with their new album "Sirens." The album has twelve new hard-hitting anthems that will have you begging for more. Two-minutes is all that is needed in the opener "Walls" as you shout along to the chorus. With only a few songs surpassing the three-minute mark, you will be hitting repeat on this album as soon as the last notes of "Ashes" are done ringing in your ears. The other release on April 15th comes from the old-school death metal band Necrot with their latest full-length album, "The Labyrinth." It features eight songs taken from the band's long out-of-print demo tapes. Mastered By Dan Randall at Mammoth Sound, these songs sound amazing as they look to crush your skull with tracks like "Consume Control" and "The End." Lastly we get the latest from New York psychedelic rockers The Golden Grass titled "Coming Back Again." Their new album features six, bluesy rock jams that hark-back to the days of early heavy metal, when bands like Cream and Deep Purple were laying down the foundation for this genre of music. To find out more about all these bands and some others, please visit earsplitcompound.com.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

CD Review: New Music From Pastel Motel, The Foreign Films, Mahoney & The Moment, Hemmingbirds, Wild Iris & Luna Jamboree

From the Northwest comes the the latest album from the progressive rock band Pastel Motel titled "E.A. St." It will become available in May, but I can assure you that this is a strong follow-up to their debut album which came out two years ago. The new six-song release takes a page out of the Pink Floyd song book as they begin their new album with the epic, sixteen-minute sound adventure of "Animalism (Pt. I, II & III)." They continue with the grunge-like influence of "Blanket," before moving on to the complete twenty-minute piece of "E.A. St. (Pt. I-XII)." You get a sense for their love of experimentation on this release as Pastel Motel try their hand at every genre including the jazzy ballad "Exit 84" and the punk-like fury of "Deprivation." The album closes with the chaotic build-up of the nine-minute "Time Traveling" tale. To find out more about Pastel Motel and their latest release "E.A. St.," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/pastelmotel.

Canadian artist Bill Majoros has recently released the final part of his four-sided LP "The Record Collector" under the moniker The Foreign Films. ​ This project started over two years ago with "Side 1," and now "Side 4" concludes this experiment with a six-song release that pays homage to his 60's British pop and 70's soul influences. Beginning with the seventies funk-style of "Aloha Blue Sky," Majoros saved his best for last as he does a masterful job bringing his influences into the 21st century. He does not look to overpower you by keeping his music simple, but effective as in "Time Disappears," while the classic pop of the early sixties is brought back with "Dream Another Dream." The album closes with a nod to the West Coast folk/rock of the seventies with "A Letter (To Our Future Selves)." To find out more about The Foreign Films and his latest release "Side 4," please visit his Facebook page at facebook.com/theforeignfilms.

Folk duo Mahoney & The Moment have recently released their third album titled "Confession Note." It was recorded in East London and features thirteen warm, sweet folk gems that you will no doubt loose yourself in its relaxed tones. Beginning with "Anyway...," Steve Mahoney takes the lead vocal on this acoustic, folk/pop single that has the perfect balance of tempo and structure to give them a hit single. Emily Moment's innocent, angelic voice echoes Joan Baez in "Slipping Away," before the two team up for the harmonies of "I've Carried The Weight." Emily's voice has a timeless quality to it as she tells the tale of "Only Us" and your worries are swept away with "All In A Dream" as Steve and Emily trade verses. The album's first single is the gentle sway of "Annie & I" as you focus on Steve softly delivering the lyrics of song. The album finishes with the up-tempo country/folk appeal of "Kiss My Frowning Face" and the lullaby of "Goodnight Moon." To find out more about Mahoney & The Moment and their latest release "Confession Note," please visit mahoneyandthemoment.com.

From Chicago comes the latest release titled "Half A Second" from modern alternative rockers Hemmingbirds. The new four-song EP begins with the energetic, punk-like guitar intro of the title-song "Half A Second," but once the vocals kick in, it's a power-pop blast of fun that would make Coldplay proud. The first single, "Mess Of Things" has an addictive rhythm that showcases the band's songwriting and musicianship that plays toward both the pop and alternative rock genres. This short new release closes with the emotional piano ballad "Lover, You're Out There." To find out more about the Hemmingbirds and their latest album "Half A Second," please visit hemmingbirds.com.

From Santa Cruz comes the duo of Kate Mullikin and Bryan Shelton known as Wild Iris with their self-titled debut album. Their new thirteen-song release begins with "Mine All Mine" as Bryan's southern country strumming and Kate's country/bluegrass vocals mesh perfectly together. Wild Iris delivery the intense storied lyrics of "Keys" as they look to take the place of fellow country band, The Civil Wars, as Wild Iris could become one of the premier new discoveries on country music. They slow the tempo down for "Getting Home Is Getting Harder Everyday" as Kate's angelic vocals soars, before picking up the tempo for the clap-along rhythm of "I'm Done" and "Lazy Daze." The sweet slide guitar of "Phoenix" gives Bryan the spotlight, before the album closes with blazing harp solo of "Until The Sunrise." To find out more about Wild Iris and their latest self-titled release, please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/WildIrisMusic.

From Missouri comes the latest release from funk rockers Luna Jamboree titled "Phases." It will be released on April 5th and is only the band's  second full-length album since starting out in 2008. The new ten-song release beings with the starting of a car and the tuning of a radio to find the perfectly traveling music, which leads into the smooth groove, funk of "Fool's Gold." The single female member of the band, Kim Painter takes the lead vocals on the soul-induced swing of "Cyclops," before sharing the stage with fellow singer Bryan Copeland on the Americana feel of "Chasing Dreams." The album finishes up with the glow R&B groove of "Breathe" and the rock/funk of the Red Hot Chili Peppers sound-alike "Hardened Heart." To find out more about Luna Jamboree and their latest release "Phases," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/LunaJamboree.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Book/CD Review: Family & Friends Pay Tribute To Kent Finlay With Words & Music

Texas music icon Kent Finlay passed away last March at the age of 77. He gained fame as a musical mentor for more that four decades, developing the careers of George Strait, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Eric Johnson and many, many more. Kent Finlay was the owner of the Cheatham Street Warehouse in San Marcos, TX and a songwriter who gave hope to many upstart Texas musicians.

To celebrate his amazing life, his daughter, Jenni Finlay and Brian T. Atkinson tell the story of Kent Finlay through a newly published book titled "Kent Finlay, Dreamer: The Musical Legacy Behind Cheatham Street Warehouse." It tells the tale of the life of Kent Finlay through his own words as Jenni interviewed her father prior to his death on the many life changing experiences that he helped create. Kent explains how the Cheatham Street Warehouse was his way of helping unknown local musicians, giving them a platform to showcase their talents. Country artist George Strait pays homage by writing the book's foreword. It was published on March 9th through Texas A&M University Press.

To accompany the book is a newly released album titled "Dreamer: A Tribute To Kent Finlay" that features fifteen of Kent's songs performed by the artists that have crossed his path at the Cheatham Street Warehouse. These songs are given their due as these artist handle the songs with pride and grace. Terri Hendrix starts things off with the classic country/folk appeal of "I'll Sing You A Story" and James McMurtry givea a short explanation prior to his solo, acoustic performance of "Comfort's Just A Rifle Shot Away." The album features a couple of duets, Brennen Leigh and Noel McKay harmonizing on "Yesterday's Oatmeal" and Randy Rodgers and Sunny Sweeney pouring their emotions into "Between You And Me." Owen Temple gives life to the storied lyrics of "Mines of Terlingua," before closing with Jamie Wilson lending her talents to the wonderful words of "Hill Country" and the CD contains a hidden bonus track from Brennen Leigh and Neol McKay returning to sing "Saturday Night." To find out more about these two newly released items paying tribute to Kent Finlay, please visit kentfinlaydreamer.com.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

CD Review: Omnivore Recordings Continues With Two New Maynard Ferguson Re-Issues

Canadian jazz virtuoso Maynard Ferguson's music is getting new life in the reissue campaign by Omnivore Recordings. Beginning last December, Omnivore Recordings reissued Ferguson's 1982 album "Storm" and his 1985 live album "Live From San Francisco" (review: jpsmusicblog.blogspot.com). On March 11th, they released the next wave of reissues with his 1986 album "Body & Soul" and his 1989 album "Big Bop Nouveau."

Following a successful live tour in 1985, Maynard Ferguson was on a creative high and he brought that energy to his next studio recording "Body & Soul." The original seven song release is full of high-powered numbers like the opener "Expresso" and "Last Drive." Rarely did he slow down the music, but when he did as in "Beautiful Hearts," Ferguson could capture the mood like no other. The gentle touch of his performance is breath-taking. The new reissue of "Body & Soul" get three previously unissued bonus tracks. First up is "Flight 108," which is a steady jazz-piece with shots of excitement from Ferguson's trumpet. Next is "Blues From Space," which is poetry reading laid over some smooth jazz grooves. Last up on this release is a live version of "M.O.T." with an even more killer groove than the original.

In 1989, Maynard Ferguson takes a break from his jazz fusion band and returned to the early classic big band sound on his album "Big Bop Nouveau." The album was recorded in full takes, "as live as possible" and the band sounded just great. This was the perfect move for Ferguson to revisit his roots, before moving forward into the nineties. The pinnacle of the album is the twelve-minute song "The Maynard Ferguson Hit Medley," which was recorded during his 60th Birthday Big Band Tour in the fall of 1988. The new reissue gets one bonus track, "Compared To You," an outtake from the "Big Bop Nouveau" sessions featuring Luther Kent on vocals on this jazzy/R&B number. To find out more about these new releases, please visit omnivorerecordings.com.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Concert Review: Winger Ignites The Wolf Den With Their Hard Rock Hits

The hard-rock band Winger never received their proper dues as a premier act in rock music. When they released their first album in 1988, they were an instant success. Their self-titled album, "Winger" and their follow-up release "In The Heart Of The Young" both became platinum sellers, but they were also grouped with the rest of hair metal bands of the era. Since their five year stretch of success, Winger have been re-capturing their fans with their live performances as the last two decades would not be an easy road for the band. In 2014, Winger released the comeback album "Better Days Comin'," which found it's way back onto the album charts, debuting at #85 and found a renewed excitement in the band's live show.
 
Last Friday night, Winger kicked off their latest leg of the tour with a packed show at the Wolf Den at Mohegan Sun. The night began with the sound of a revving engine as Winger instantly captured the audience with one of the new songs "Midnight Driver Of A Love Machine." But, everybody was there to hear the hits that still have a home on Sirius radio stations, like "Hair Metal Nation." Fans were singing along to "Easy Come Easy Go" and "Hungry" as lead singer Kip Winger got the audience involved with singing along to the chorus. A string of newer songs featured the excellent guitar work of John Roth as his solos contained a little taste of his bluesy Memphis roots.
 
Between the newer hard hitting tracks of "Stone Cold Killer" and "Rat Race," original drummer Rod Morgenstein took his turn in the spotlight with an intense drum solo. Kip Winger and the band would return to the stage, with Kip on keyboards for the ballads "Miles Away" and "Headed For A Heartbreak," before running through a string of Winger's most well-known classic rockers "Can't Get Enuff," "Madalaine" and of course "Seventeen." Guitarist Reb Beach just amazed the audience throughout the night with his skills on the instrument, pulling out solos that would mirror the great Eddie Van Halen.
 
The short 90-minute show would close with Winger inviting a couple of members of the audience to join them. First, Kip invited a young woman named Allison from a local rock band to sing lead vocals on "Time To Surrender" from the band's debut album. She was very into the moment as every word of the song was delivered with pure rock energy. Then Kip asked if there were any bassists in the audience to help on the band's closing song and one younger gentleman, on crutches hobbled over to the stage to help the band through a blazing version of Van Halen's "Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love" to finishes the night.
 
Winger have always supported live music and their performance Friday night showcases how great of a band Winger was and still is as the musicians in the band are some of the best in the genre.
 
Setlist: Midnight Driver Of A Love Machine, Easy Come Easy Go, Hungry, Pull Me Under, Down Incognito, Deal With The Devil, Stone Cold Killer, Rat Race, Miles Away, Headed For A Heartbreak, Can't Get Enuff, Madalaine, Saint Solo (instrumental), Seventeen, Time To Surrender, Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love

Friday, March 18, 2016

CD Review: Deadline Music Catches A "Falling Star" With New Jani Lane Release

Singer Jani Lane was the iconic frontman for the rock band Warrant, known for their hits "Cherry Pie," "Down Boys" and the unforgettable ballad "Heaven." From 1988 to 1992, Warrant was one of the top selling bands in the world, having two double-platinum albums. As the year went on, the band fell apart, album sales declined and alcohol abuse led to Lane leaving the band in 2004. He would release one solo album of originals and another album of covers. In 2011, Jani Lane lost his battle with alcohol addiction when he was found dead in a hotel room in California while on tour. 
 
On February 26th, Deadline Music re-issued Lane's cover album as "Catch A Falling Star" and added one extra track, a cover of Judas Priest's "Electric Eye." The new release begins with a spot-on cover of Cheap Trick's "I Want You To Want Me." Lane's outstanding vocals are put to the test with the intense delivery of Van Halen's "Panama" and Led Zeppelin's "The Ocean." After a perfect rendition of "Electric Eye," Jani Lane is joined by guitarist Jake E. Lee for the Ted Nugent romp, "Free For All" as Lane is enjoying this new found freedom of performing. The album closes with Jani Lane being joined by his former Warrant bandmates Erik Turner and Jerry Dixon for an edgier version of Bon Jovi's "Lay Your Hands On Me" as Lane's vocals steal the show. To find out more about the new Jani Lane compilation "Catch A Falling Star," please visit cleorecs.com.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

CD Review: New Live Album From Resonance Records Reminds Us Of The Talented Sarah Vaughan

Jazz singer Sarah Vaughan is easily considered to have one of the most iconic voices in the genre. Her career lasted over 45 years, before her death in 1990. She is member of the Grammy Hall of Fame and the New Jersey Hall of Fame and she will be receiving a "Commemorative Forever Stamp" during a ceremony at the end of the month. On March 25th, Resonance Records will release a 2-CD, deluxe edition of her live performance at the famous Rosy's Jazz Club on May 31, 1978. This new release, "Live At Rosy's" features 90-minutes of previously unreleased music originally recorded for The National Public Radio (NPR) program "Jazz Alive!"
 
This new 22-song release showcases some of the best scat singing of Sarah Vaughan's career, beginning right from the opener, "I'll Remember April" as she makes every song her own. After introducing the band of Carl Schroeder on piano, Walter Booker on bass and Jimmy Cobb on drums, Sarah becomes very playful with the song "East Of The Sun (And West Of The Moon)." When the music slows down for "Time After Time" is when you hear her angelic voice come alive. She does a quick, playful run through "A-Tisket A-Tasket," before arriving at her show-stopper "Send In The Clown," which became one her signature songs.
 
The second disc begins with the up-tempo, quick-pace of "The Man I Love," before mixing tempos between "If You Went Away" and "I Could Write A Book," which allows Vaughan more opportunity for iconic scat singing. The audience hangs on her every word as she settles into the beautiful "I Remember You" and "Everything Must Change." The set closes with Vaughan pulling out all the stops on the ballad "My Funny Valentine" as the band closes out the show with a short instrumental.
 
Also included in this new two-disc set is a 36-page, full-color booklet with new recollections from members of the band, plus author James Gavin. writer Will Friedwald and producer Zev Feldman. To find out more about this wonderful new release, "Sarah Vaughan - Live At Rosy's," please visit resonancerecords.org.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

CD Review: New Roots Music From Left Coast Country, Jonathan Warren & The Billy Goats And Town Mountain

From Portland, OR comes the latest release from the bluegrass/country band Left Coast Country titled "Pines Fly By." This new ten-song album begins with the quick-pace of "Ain't Found A Home" that will put an extra swing in your step. They add a classic country appeal to "Burnin' Old Pictures Of You" as the lyrics will have you singing along in no time. The band pours their emotions into "Mason Dixon Waltz" and also into the title song "Pines Fly By" as their country/folk style shines bright on these two tracks. They bring back the energy with the swiftness of "Trouble," before closing with the amazing instrumental "Sweetgrass" and the acoustic strumming sing-along of "On My Way." To find out more about Left Coast Country and their latest release "Pines Fly By," please visit leftcoastcountry.com.

From Boise, ID comes the latest release from folk singer/songwriter Jonathan Warren & The Billy Goats' titled "Bless My Soul." It features eight-songs of progressive folk rock, beginning with the sly, rockabilly swing of "Quite Like You Lady." They quicken the pace with the bluegrass feel of "Concrete" and settle into the New Orleans jazz backdrop of "Bless My Soul," before picking the tempo back up with the southern rocker "Cold Sweat." The album closes with the campfire sing-along "Maleena" and the six-minute folk storytelling of "Down The Lion." To find out more about Jonathan Warren & The Billy Goats and their latest release "Bless My Soul," please visit jonathanwarrenmusic.com.

From North Carolina comes the latest release titled "Southern Crescent" from the country/bluegrass band Town Mountain. It will be released on April 1st through LoHi Records, a brand new label formed in partnership with Railroad Earth's Tim Carbone and Hard Working Americans' Todd Snider and Chad Staehly. The new album features a dozen up-tempo, knee-slappin', hand-clapping tunes that will put you in a jolly mood. Beginning with the short 60-second instrumental "St. Augustine," Town Mountain let you know that this is not an album to sit down and enjoy, but invites you to get up and move along to. The live setting for this recording definitely helps you enjoy the rawness and inviting feel to "Ain't Gonna Worry" and "Southern Crescent" as if you were in the same room with these musicians. They pour their emotions into the slower-pace of "House With No Windows," before picking the tempo back up for the quick strumming of "Long Time Coming." The album finishes up with the wonderful bluegrass instrumental "Leroy's Reel" and then band comes together for the "last call" of "Whiskey With Tears." To find more about Town Mountain and their latest release "Southern Crescent," please visit townmountain.net.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

CD Review: New Music From The Raptor Trail, Colours And Desert Mountain Tribe

From North Carolina comes the sophomore release titled "New World" from the progressive-rock trio The Raptor Trail. They have expanded their sound, pushing most of the twelve-tracks past the six-minute mark, turning this into 78-minutes of great musicianship. Beginning with "Four Times," things get off to a hard rock start with vocalist Matt Mayes taking the lead on this track. Their sound get more relaxed on the jammy sounds of "Whoville," while the nearly nine-minute "Going To Dublin" has a fresh, aggressive feel that has The Raptor Trail heading in the right musical direction. They continue with the atmospheric beginning of "Let It Go" as they try their best to sound like classic Pink Floyd, while "New World" builds-up to this great bluesy guitar solo as the band comes together in union. The album finishes up with the southern groove of "Blue Highway" and the gentle, acoustic strumming of "Grace." To find out more about The Raptor Trail and their latest release "New World," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/theraptortrail.

From Florida comes the electronic pop duo Colours with their debut album "Ivory." It was released on February 26th through Victory Records and features eleven-tracks of hot rhythms, swift beats and blazing vocals. The album begins with their latest single, "Lawless" which has a big chorus, full of energy. The first single released from the album, "Monster" is receiving praise on the radio with it's R&B infused vocals and ignited chorus that burns into you memory. The smooth vocals of Kyle Tamo are giving the spotlight on the ballad "The Unforgettable," while drummer Morgan Alley lets his talents fly on the rhythm-fueled "Gone." Colours go all out pop with the dancefloor beats of "Mind Games," then attack the industrial/electronic music of "Remember." The album closes with the quiet delivery of "Alone" that erupts into an emotional chorus. To find out more about Colours and their latest release "Ivory," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/coloursfl.

From London comes the debut release titled "Either That Or The Moon" from the psych-rock band Desert Mountain Tribe. It was released on March 11th through Metropolis Records. Their music has gathered airplay from the BBC and the new eleven-song release hits you with a wall of sound, beginning with the seven-minute "Feel The Light." The thunderous rhythm of "Take A Ride" and the blazing guitar riffs of "Runaway" show that this band means business and they have a strong hard rock appeal. The band's sixties psych-rock influence shines through on "Enos From Space," then they add a blast of grunge guitar to "Way Down" to give their music that raw, edgier sound. The album finishes up with "OC Dream," which carries a King of Leon-type vibe and the seven-minute prog-rock journey of "Leave It All Behind." To find out more about Desert Mountain Tribe and their latest release "Either That Or The Moon," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/desertmountaintribe.

Monday, March 14, 2016

CD Review: 3 Doors Down Return With "Us And The Night"

American rock band 3 Doors Down return March 11th with their sixth studio album titled "Us And The Night." It has been almost five years in the making, their longest stretch between albums and is the first appearance of Chet Roberts on guitar and Justin Biltonen on bass. The album's first single, "In The Dark" has already cracked the Top 5 on the Active Rock charts and the album has a tall task of following the band's three previous albums that debuted in the Top 5 on the album charts. 
 
The new eleven-song release begins with the intense opener "I'm Broken" as the chorus will be perfect for rocking arenas when performed live. The lead single "In The Dark" and "Believe It" hold on to their edgier rock sound, while "Inside Of Me" and "Pieces Of Me" give in to the band's pop/rock radio gold. The album finishes with the big rhythms of "Love Is A Lie" and the wonderful piano ballad "Fell From The Moon." To find out more about 3 Doors Down and their latest release "Us And The Night," please visit 3doorsdown.com.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

CD Review: Omnivore Recordings Reminds Us Of "Mr. Clean" With New Winfield Parker Release

As the mid-1950's drew to a close, there wasn't a record label around that was owned by an African-American man, yet their music was all over the radio. In the early 1960's, Rufus Mitchell started Ru-Jac Records and their top talent was the soul singer Winfield Parker. Parker came from a small town in Maryland and began his musical profession as a saxophonist. It would be Rufus Mitchell who convinced Parker to become a solo artist and it would pay off with the hit singles "Mr. Clean" and "My Love." On March 25th, Omnivore Recordings will release "Mr. Clean: Winfield Parker At Ru-Jac," a collection of his singles packed with six previously unissued bonus tracks.

The new 23-song release begins with Winfield Parker's early recordings "My Love For You" and "On One Of These Mornings" recorded as Little Winfield Parker. He would perform the hits "I Love You Just The Same" and "Sweet Little Girl" along with The Shyndells Band, but his smooth vocals would shine through on the ballad "Wondering" and "Oh My Love." He had the perfect voice for the R&B grooves of "I Love You Just The Same" and "Funky Party," while "Mr. Clean" parts 1 & 2 showcased his full potential.

The six bonus tracks consist of a previously unheard take of "Nothin" as Winfield Parker shows how he swings on this classic sounding number. A couple of versions of "Go Away Playgirl" lead to an alternate take of the ballad "My Love For You." The set closes with two insightful takes of "My Love" that help show the development of the final well-known hit single. To find out more about the newly released "Mr. Clean: Winfield Parker At Ru-Jac," please visit omnivorerecordings.com.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

DVD Review: U.K. Rock Band Renaissance Reunites For New Live Release

The British symphonic rock band Renaissance recently released a brand new DVD titled "Live At The Union Chapel." It was filmed in April of 2015 at this famous London location using high-definition cameras to capture the band's every move. It was the band's first tour of Europe in over 35 years. Renaissance will be returning to the UK in April for another tour, supported by fellow UK band Curved Air.

The new DVD features ten songs, beginning with the seven-minute wonder of "Prologue" as lead singer Annie Haslam steals the show early. They settle into the folk/rock of "Carpet Of The Sun," before Anne and guitarist Mark Lambert duet on the classic "Ocean Gypsy." It is great seeing glimpses of smiles on the members of the band as they are enjoying their return to performing live. The camera do an excellent job capturing every solo as "Symphony Of Light" pushes on to the thirteen-minute mark as Annie's angelic voice leads the way. The striking sound of "the Mystic And The Muse" is made even more magical by seeing the performers work in unison to create this amazing music to support Anne's vocals. The show closes with the epic adventure of "Ashes Are Burning" as you are left with wanting more from Renaissance after 100 minutes of spectacular musicianship.

This new live DVD is the perfect companion to last years release of their 1974 performance at the Academy of Music as you can see the band's growth over the last forty years. To find out more about Renaissance and their latest release "Live At The Union Chapel," please visit renaissancetouring.com.