Saturday, December 20, 2014

CD Review: Omnivore Recordings Remind Us Of Trip Shakespeare With New Releases

Underground, alternative rock band Trip Shakespeare never found the success in music sales that their record labels had hoped for, but a cult following developed since their break-up in 1992. A revival for the band began in 2013 when they reunited for the first time in 20 years for a holiday show in December of that year. Omnivore Recordings is continuing the revival by releasing the band's first two albums ("Applehead Man" and "Are You Shakespearienced?") on CD and vinyl. The new re-issues became available on December 16th and each album features bonus tracks from the same era the albums were recorded.

Trip Shakespeare's debut album "Applehead Man" was originally released in 1986 and follows the vein of other new wave bands R.E.M. and The Smiths. Their sound held on to the electronic pop of eighties, but added some post-punk flair to their music as in "Fangs" and "Applehead Man." The funky bass groove of "Highway In The Sun" and pre-grunge feel of "Beatle" shows a band still searching for their sound. The original ten-song album gets an additional seven bonus tracks, consisting of outtakes that were recorded during the same sessions, but never made the final album. The songs "Freedom Bird" and "Fool Of The Wicked Kind" are the most welcome additions to this release as they expand upon the band's modern rock sound.

The band's second album, "Are You Shakespearienced?" was record live in the studio with everyone playing together and in turn, helped them get a record deal with A&M Records. The looseness of the album is felt in the jam of "Swing" as they dropped most of the electronic feel of their first album to develop a more rock-based sound as in "Two Wheeler, Four Wheeler." The hardness of "Toolmaster Of Brainerd" shows another side to Trip Shakespeare's songwriting as their songwriting became more developed. The original nine song album gets expanded with nine bonus tracks, including early versions of the songs "Bachelorette" and "Snow Days," which would appear on later albums. To find out more about these latest re-issues from Trip Shakespeare, please visit omnivorerecordings.com.

Friday, December 19, 2014

CD Review: Tom Dyer Brings Us Xmas Memories "In The Making"

Seattle's underground music label Green Monkey Records has been producing some of the Northwest's most unappreciated rock music for over thirty years. Started by Tom Dyer, the label has maintained a steady fan base and artist list as band's are allowed to create some truly unique pieces of music. One of the label's most recent releases is Tom's own Christmas album entitled "Xmas - 30 Years In The Making." The music sticks true to its title as Tom would record a Christmas song here and there and thought that eventually he would have enough for an album. That time had finally arrived in 2014 as Tom put together fifteen of his best songs for this new set of underground holiday standards.
 
Beginning with the two-minute "It's Christmas (And I'm Jolly)," Dyer gets you in the mood with his type of a gospel choir, belting out "Ho, Ho, Ho" and "Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas." The album's first single, "No Lou This Christmas" is a tribute to the late-Lou Reed as Dyer plugs in for this rocker. Dyer adds a nice, loose rhythm to "Jingle Bells Ska," and turns "Peace On Earth" into a spaghetti western, before bringing out the kid in all of us with the fun vibe of "Hot Dog! It's Christmas!" A great piece of holiday folk music is "Snowing In Seattle," which sounds as if it was recorded right on the spot, in one take as Dyer was looking out the window. The album closes with a couple of traditional Christmas songs ("God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" and "Angels We Have Heard On High") not exactly done in the traditional way, but very much a welcome addition to your holiday festivities. To find out more about Tom Dyer's Christmas album "Xmas - 30 Years In The Making," please visit greenmonkeyrecords.com.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

CD Review: New Rock Music Imported From Italy And Australia

Italian metal band Schysma recently released their full-length debut album entitled "Idiosyncrasy" through Revalve Records. The band came together in early 2012 to record their EP "Imperfect Dichotomy," which received rave reviews from around the world. The band quickly reconvened in the studio to record their follow-up which plays out as a concept album based on the human soul. The new ten-song release begins with "Lost In The Maze," which has a hard rock edge with dashes of power metal. The combination of founding member Martina Bellini's keyboards and the amazing guitar work of Vladimiro Sala gives "The Noise Of Silence" a classic progressive rock feel, which carries over to "Heremetic." The band brings in elements of classical music to give their sound a more mature and eclectic feel as in "Migdal" and "Invictus." The album closes with the album's first single "Time Man" that captures the band's sound perfectly with its soaring vocals and aggressive heavy metal appeal. To find out more about Schysma and their latest album "Idiosyncrasy," please visit schysma.com.

From Sydney, Australia comes the debut album, "Wave Rider Blues" from indie-alternative rockers Draw. The new four song release begins with the jazzy-rock of "I'll Save You" that has more lounge appeal than arena rock. They slink their way through "Ish," which has a retro-rock feel, while the acoustic strumming of "Sweet Mary" gives off a southern rock vibe. The short EP closes with the slow, Seattle-grunge of the title song "Wave Rider Blues." To find out more about Draw, please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/drawband

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

CD Review: New Independent Electronica Music Simmers Up From Underground Artists Doktor Hyde And Space Adapt

Electronic/dance artist Doktor Hyde recently released his latest independent album "Mercury." The new 5-track EP begins with the ambient feel of the eight-minute title song. The album takes its time building up from piano chords, adding beats that provide the song's smoothness without oversaturating it. The rhythm of "From The Ether" seems a little too redundant, but the energy picks up with "Night Train," before closing with the light airy feel of "I Heard You Called." To find out more about Doktor Hyde and his latest release "Mercury," please visit his Facebook page at facebook.com.

From Switzerland comes the latest electronic dance music from Marc Huerlimann, AKA Space Adept. His beats are silky smooth on the song "Renaissance Man" as he sticks close to what he does best. The club beats of "Vice Summer" could just go on for hours, while "Rosie's Adventure" has more interesting things go on with the song. To find out more about Space Adept, please visit his Facebook page at facebook.com/spaceadept.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

CD Review: The Great Affairs "Dream" Big With New Album

After a brief hiatus, The Great Affairs have returned with their fifth album in as many years. The new release entitled "Dream In Stereo" was released today and continues to showcase Denny Smith as one of the top independent singer/songwriters in music. Since the last album, The Great Affairs have also acquired a new rhythm section which included vocalist Kenny Wright to help out on harmonies. The new thirteen song release shows diversity in the music beginning with blazing blues/rock of "Left Of Me," before moving on to the country rock of "The Next Three Minutes" and "California." They rock hard with the big guitar riffs of "Secret's A Secret," before returning with the country power ballad "I Can't Sleep Alone." The album closes with the gentle acoustics of "The Highway" and a cover of Dave Mason's "We Just Disagree," which highlights the band's wonderful harmonizing. To find out more about The Great Affairs and their latest album "Dream In Stereo," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/thegreataffairs.