Wednesday, July 23, 2014

CD Review: A Wide Range Of Independent Releases From The Assist, Poker Man And Ivar Pall Jonsson

From the U.K. comes the debut release from the indie rock band The Assist. The new EP is entitled "Speak It Aloud" and features four songs filled with raw, youthful energy, but has an attractive modern alternative rock sound. Beginning with the title-song, you'd think this band has been around for a few decades as the music reflects a time when alternative rock was an underground phenomenon. They show some of their youthfulness with the post-punk rhythm of "The Rave" and also on "Control." To find out more about The Assist, please check them out on Soundcloud (soundcloud.com/the-assist).

Next, from Hollywood, CA comes the latest release from indie-pop artist Poker Man entitled "Psychedelia." All of the music, lyrics, singing and producing of the album was done by Poker Man and showcases his influences of pop icons Michael Jackson, Madonna and Donna Summer. His beats are addictive as with the club rhythm of "Moonshine" and "Turn Me On," while the lyrical hip-hop of "Take It Back" is where you really discover Poker Man's talents. He looks to break into the mainstream with the single "I Can't Be With You," which is the strongest pop piece on this release. He finishes the album with his return to the club with the beats of "Cannabis." To find out more about Poker Man, please visit his Facebook page at facebook.com/PokerManMusic.

Lastly, from Iceland comes singer/songwriter Ivar Pall Jonsson with his latest release "Revolution in the Elbow of Ragnar Agnarsson Furniture Painter," featuring the Revolutionary Cellular Orchestra. The new nineteen-song set was released on July 15 and tells the story in the same vein as The Who's "Tommy," mixing in rock singles with conceptual pieces of music. Beginning with "The Legacy Of Elbowville," Jonsson lays the groundwork with the build-up of rhythm and the amazing vocals of Soffia Bjorg. The tempo really gets going with the alternative rock appeal of "We Play The Game," which reflects the early days of Coldplay's career. The album mixes in the pop sound of "Don't Miss The Boat" and the grand orchestration of "All We Need Is Confidence" and "No Plan B." The album's first single, "Alone" is a great introduction into the complexity of Jonsson's songwriting, filled with tempo changes and drifting between rock and operatic pop. The album finishes with the lovely duet of "I'd Have Told You The Truth" and the grand build-up of "Our Revolution." To find out more about Ivar Pall Jonsson and his latest release "Revolution in the Elbow of Ragnar Agnarsson Furniture Painter," please visit facebook.com/elbowville.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

CD Review: Magic Man's Debut Album Comes "Before The Waves"

From Boston, MA comes the full-length debut album from electronic rock band Magic Man entitled "Before The Waves." It was released through Columbia Records on July 8th and features four songs from their "You Are Here" EP, which caught the attention of many music critics. The new twelve-song album begins with the dance-club feel of "Texas," then moves on to the funkier beats of the album single "Paris." The band comes together for the up-tempo, exciting sound of "Chicagoland" and the mainstream dance/pop of "Every Day." The single "Out Of Mind" has the rhythm to attract listeners of all ages, while the unforgettable chorus replays in your head. The album closes with the album's latest single, "It All Starts Here," which is the perfect recipe for a radio hit.
 
Magic Man are current on their U.S. tour which runs to the beginning of August. To find out more about their latest release "Before The Waves," please visit magicmanmusic.com.

Monday, July 21, 2014

CD Review: Slow Burn Inject A Raw, Hard Rock Sound Into Their Covers

Connecticut native band Slow Burn has been performing on the local indie-rock circuit for the better part of five years. They perform everything from covers to a few originals, putting their hard rock stamp on many well-known classics. Their latest self-titled EP features five cover songs and the originally penned "Take Me Home." They turn Joe Walsh's "Rocky Mountain Way" and Neil Young's "Rockin' In The Free World" into metal magic with the heavy driving guitar of Billy Francis and vocalist Mike Thiede nostalgic sounding vocals. The rhythm section of Justin Piccirillo on drums and Bob Nich on bass motors Led Zeppelin's "Good Times, Bad Times," but their sound matches perfectly to their cover of Alice In Chains' "Them Bones." The one original song "Take Me Home," carries a southern rock vibe with a slight country feel and a stomp beat that should get you to stand up and take notice.
 
Slow Burn have an upcoming show on July 25 at the courthouse green in downtown Meriden, CT. They will be on full display, performing classic covers with an original or two thrown in. To find out more about the band, and to hear some of their music, please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/pages/SLOW-BURN-band.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Concert Review: Adam Lambert Breathes New Life Into Queen Classics At Mohegan Sun

Since the 1991 death of Queen front-man Freddie Mercury,  and the retirement of bassist John Deacon, the remaining members (Brian May and Roger Taylor) of Queen have always pondered at the thought of whether or not to continue as a band. In 2005, they first attempted to create something new and magical with the music of Queen with Paul Rodgers (Free, Bad Company) filling in the lead vocalist roll. After a tour and an album, the band parted ways with Rodgers in 2009. Still on the search, Brian May and Roger Taylor may have found the right fit for the band with former American Idol contestant Adam Lambert as the two joined forces Saturday night at the Mohegan Sun arena.

With an entire catalogue of Queen music at their disposal, the set list was geared perfectly for the casual fan as they put together twenty-one of Queen's most well-known classics. The night began with Brian May's signature guitar intro to "Now I'm Here" as Adam Lambert appeared at the top tier of the stage dressed from head to toe in leather. While his vocal range may not have matched that of the late Freddie Mercury, Lambert certainly made up for it with hand and body gestures during "Another One Bites The Dust" and "Fat Bottom Girls." A lavish couch was placed on a small round stage located at the end of the catwalk for Lambert to "stretch-out along" during his performance of "Killer Queen," the band was all business during a rocking version of "I Want It All."

Since Queen guitarist Brian May was celebrating a birthday, Lambert enticed the audience to sing "Happy Birthday," just prior to May's solo acoustic sing-along "Love Of My Life." A three-piece band assembled behind May for the folk-rock feel of the 1975 classic "'39," before drummer Roger Taylor took the lead vocals for "These Are The Days Of Our Lives," as old videos of the band played on the giant back screen. Lambert received a huge applause when he returned to the stage for a duet with Taylor during "Under Pressure" and the newly reworked Freddie Mercury solo "Love Kills." His voice finally soared during the performance of "Who Wants To Live Forever" and he conducted the audience during an improvisational sing-along before everyone came together to perform in unison for "Radio Ga Ga." An extended rockabilly version of "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" and the fan-favorite "Bohemian Rhapsody" closed out the main set.

The encore began with Roger Taylor sitting at his drum kit, pounding out the stomp-clamp rhythm of the arena anthem "We Will Rock You," quickly followed by the audience participation sing-along of "We Are The Champions." As the members of the band stood arm in arm and bowed to the standing applause, "God Save The Queen" rang from the speakers, signaling the end of another magical night from Queen.

Setlist: Now I'm Here, Stone Cold Crazy, Another One Bites The Dust, Fat Bottom Girls, In The Lap Of The Gods... Revisited, Seven Seas Of Rhye, Killer Queen, Somebody To Love, I Want It All, Love Of My Life, '39, These Are The Days Of Our Lives, Under Pressure, Love Kills, Who Wants To Live Forever, Last Horizon/Brighton Rock, Tie Your Mother Down, Radio Ga Ga, Crazy Little Thing Called Love, The Show Must Go On, Bohemian Rhapsody
Encore: We Will Rock You, We Are The Champions, God Save The Queen

Saturday, July 19, 2014

CD Review: Country Artist Katie Garibaldi Continues To Follow Her Heart, While The Morning Birds Remix "Bloom"

From San Francisco, CA comes the seventh album from indie-country star Katie Garibaldi entitled "Follow Your Heart." It is her first album of new material since her 2009 award-winning album "Next Ride Out" and this is also one her most personal albums to date. The new twelve-song release begins with the title song as the slow gallop rhythm fits perfectly with Katie's amazing vocals. She picks up the tempo for the acoustic rocker "Make Them Go Away" and "Lock The Door, Lose The Key" as she is sure to have another award winner as she proudly carries that classic country sound. The power of "Whispers & Rumors" has a darker tone then the rest of the songs, but shows Katie in the brightest light as her performance makes the song unforgettable. The album finishes with the "feel-good" acoustic strumming of "You Saved The Best For Last" as Katie's vocals soar along with the build-up of instruments to create the perfect close to the album. Katie Garibaldi has a string of dates in California over the course of the next couple months. Her new album "Follow Your Heart" is available now. For more information, please visit katiegaribaldi.com.

It has been a few years since we last heard from the duo of Jennifer Thorington and Samuel Markus, known as The Morning Birds. They return on August 12 with a new EP entitled "Bloom." It features six remixes of the song with different electronic beats and jazzy rhythms that relax more that entice the need for movement. Beginning with "Bloom (Root Mix)," you are swept up by the harmonizing vocals and steady backbeat highlighted by the horns of Dan Gonda. While "Indian Summer Bloom (Dimond Saints Remix)" has a more club beat, it looks to allow your mind to melt your troubles away as you get lost in the music. The most upbeat tempo comes with "Winter Bloom (Invisibles Saves Her Soul Remix)" as the rhythm rings like a heartbeat pumping through your system. The electronics overtake "Summer Bloom (OPTIX Night Breeze Remix)," while the closer "Fall Bloom (Prizm Prime White Light Remix)" has that jazziness that perfectly matches the ambient feel of the vocals. To find out more about The Morning Birds and their new release "Bloom," please visit themorningbirds.com.