Friday, October 24, 2014

CD Review: Singers/Songwriters Lloyd Cole, Madeleine Peyroux And Ronnie Fauss Shine On New Releases

English singer/songwriter Lloyd Cole began his career thirty years ago with his first band The Commotions. Their debut album "Rattlesnakes" became an instant hit in the U.K. reaching Gold status. After five years, Cole decided to go solo, stringing along five "top 40" albums in the U.K. during the nineties. On October 14th, Cole released his fifteenth solo album through Omnivore Recordings. The new album entitled "Standards" features the rhythm section of his debut solo release, which included Fred Maher on drums and Mathew Sweet on bass. Cole also brought back former Commotions keyboardist Blair Cowan and Joan Wasser on piano. The new eleven song release shows that Cole can still rock as he displays with the dirty guitar sound of the opener "California Earthquakes." Matthew Sweet's bass line leads the way of the upbeat rhythm of the pop/rock of "Period Piece," before the tempo slows for the ballad of "Myrtle And Rose." Cole works his folk side with the gentleness of "No Truck," before the guitars get plugged again for the driven "Opposites Day." The album closes with the country blues feel of "Diminished Ex." To find out more about Lloyd Cole's new album "Standards," please visit omnivorerecordings.com.

Singer/songwriter Madeleine Peyroux is finally getting the recognition she deserves with her first-ever career retrospective release. Rounder Records released "Keep Me In Your Heart For A While: The Best of Madeleine Peyroux" on October 14th. The album contains fourteen of her best songs and one new, never-before-released song, "Keep Me In Your Heart." Her career dates back nearly twenty years as her Billie Holiday-like vocals turned songs by Bob Dylan and Warren Zevon in jazzy originals. Her version of Dylan's "You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go" gives her gentle vocals the perfect canvas to turn this into a smooth jazz favorite. Leonard Cohen's "Dance Me To The End Of Love" seems as if it was written just for her as she keeps Cohen's lyrical measures amongst a steady jazz backdrop. One of the highlights is Madeleine's vocal delivery of the Italian classic "Le Vie En Rose" as it matches so perfectly to her singing style. The album features two songs from Warren Zevon, an extended version of "Desperadoes Under The Eaves" as Madeleine provides the perfect setting for Zevon's lyrics. The other Warren Zevon song is the previously unreleased "Keep Me In You Heart," which is one of the final songs Zevon recorded before his death. This version also tugs on your emotions just as much as the original does. To find out more about this new release, please visit madeleinepeyroux.com.

Texas native Ronnie Fauss returns with his second album "Built To Break," which will be released on November 4th through Normaltown Records. The new music has been receiving positive reviews and follows the success of his 2012 debut album "I Am The Man You Know I'm Not." The new eleven song release begins with the country rocker "Another Town" as Fauss shows no signs of slowing down. The country twang of "The Big Catch" has a smooth delivery that would make his influences proud. Old 97's frontman Rhett Miller joins Fauss on the honky-tonk flavor of "18 Wheels," before things slow down for the acoustic duet of "Never Gonna Last," featuring the sweet vocals of Jenna Paulette. Ronnie Fauss lets his emotions flow with the gentle country folk cover of the Phosphorescent's "Song For Zula," before finishing with the storied lyrics of "Come On Down." To find out more about Ronnie Fauss and his new album "Built To Break," please visit his Facebook page at facebook.com/ronniefauss.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

CD Review: Rocker Hozier And Rapper T.I. Release First Albums Through Columbia Records

Irish singer Hozier recently released his self-titled debut album on October 7th through Columbia Records. His name became known on U.S. shores when he first appeared on Late Night With David Letterman and on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. He is also currently headlining his first American tour, which runs until the beginning of November. His new thirteen song release begins with the dark, preaching arena rocker "Take Me To Church" followed by the raw guitar funk/blues of "Jackie And Wilson." The stomp and thump rhythm of "To Be Alone," will have you stand up and take notice as Hozier's vocals smooths out the rough edges. He shows another side to his songwriting with the more mainstream pop/rock of "From Eden" and the softer acoustics of the heartfelt delivery of "In A Week." His voices rises from the "slave chant" beat of "Work Song," while the harmonies soar like a gospel choir in "Like Real People Do." The album closes with a live acoustic version of "Cherry Wine" as Hozier morphs into a folk troubadour. To find out more about Hozier, his fall tour and new album, please visit hozier.com.

One of hip-hop's biggest artists is starting over again. Rapper T.I. released his first album ("I'm Serious") in 2001 and never looked back. Every album that followed, reached gold or platinum status for the Atlantic Records label. Now, on October 21st, T.I. has released his latest album "Paperwork" on his new label Columbia Records. It features an all-star cast of pop musicians to help T.I. make this his most successful album in six years. The fifteen-song release begins with T.I. telling you who's in charge with the self-proclaimed song "King" as he rolls lyrics off his tongue so quick and smooth that you might miss the R&B grooved music in the background. He brings a reggae feel to his sound with "About The Money" with help from Young Thug, before Skylar Grey's vocals explode on "New National Anthem," while T.I. does what he does best with his vocal style. Chris Brown turns "Private Show" into a smooth R&B-flavored strip tease as the beats are slow, before Iggy Azalea lends her vocals to the super-star hit single, "No Mediocre" as T.I. and Iggy are the perfect match-up for success. Pharrell lends his Midas touch to "Paperwork," while Usher teams up with T.I. for the slow jam of "At Ya' Own Risk." T.I.'s debut on Columbia is an all-star jams that is guaranteed to place T.I. on the top of the charts once again. To find out more about T.I.'s new album "Paperwork," please visit tipaperwork.com.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

CD Review: Famed Guitarists Dave Kilminster And Steve Hunter Release New Albums

Famed guitarist/singer/songwriter Dave Kilminster recently released his latest solo album "And The Truth Will Set You Free" on September 22nd. Kilminster has been a staple, performing the guitar duties on Roger Waters' last two world tours and wanted to try and create an album with just a few guys jamming in the studio, without the need for auto-tune or overdubs. He wanted the music to be as pure as possible, even bringing in a string quartet to perform instead of using sound bites. The new eight song release begins with the eight-minute power rocker "Messiah" with its great harmonies and strong vocal delivery by Kilminster. The band pulls off a tight performance of "Circles" as Kilminster looks to break out on his solos, but instead plays it safe. The solo acoustic delivery of "Save Me" allows his songwriting to shine through, while "The Fallen" allows the boys in the band to flex their musical muscle and rock. To find out more about Dave Kilminster's new album "And The Truth Will Set You Free," please visit davekilminster.com.

American blues guitarist Steve Hunter recently released his first ever live solo album, featuring Tony Levin (King Crimson, Peter Gabriel) on bass, Phil Aaberg (Peter Gabriel, Elvin Bishop) on keyboards and Alvino Bennett (Dave Mason, Robin Trower) on drums. The new release entitled "Tone Poems Live" was recorded and filmed on August 24th of last year and was performed as if their was a live audience. The band rehearsed together for two days before performing the songs live.  The album contains only eleven of the entire fourteen song set performed, beginning with Hunter allowing to show off his skills on the mellow blues of "The Idler." The band picks up the tempo for the upbeat "Flying Hippo" and gets a little funky with the rhythm of "Rubber Man" as Hunter weaves his guitar through the drum breaks. The album features Hunter performing an wonderful cover of "Riviera Paradise" in which Stevie Ray Vaughan would have been proud of. He brings out one of the song's from his past, performing an amazingly unique version of "Solsbury Hill," which he used to perform alongside Peter Gabriel as a member of his band. Hunter and his band throw in some jazz for the mellowness of "Swept Away," before closing with the two-minute bluesy guitar highlight "Of All Times To Leave." To find out more about the new CD/DVD release of "Tone Poems Live," please visit stevehunter.com.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

CD Review: Great New Indie-Rock Coming From The Northwest Corner Of The U.S.

First from Seattle, WA comes singer/songwriter Jason Sees with his third release "A Single Frame Passing Through The Light" with the Jason Sees Band. The new album will be released on October 28th and honors his wife's courageous battle with cancer. The album is very personable and follows Jason's life journey with his wife, from the up-beat rhythm of "And Of Course Howie," to the soft subtle sounds of "Light Blue Light." Sees and his band rock on the more aggressive feel of "I'm So Sorry," before experimenting with a rhythm machine on the funky beats of "Set Me Free" as Sees' voice floats over the music. The title song, "A Single Frame Passing Through The Light" and "I'll See You Soon" are very emotional and showcase Jason Sees talents the best. To find out more about his new album, please visit jasonseesband.com.

Next from Portland, OR comes the latest release from The Quick & Easy Boys entitled "Follow Us Overboard." The new album was released on October 4th and produced by Los Lobos' Steve Berlin. The release of the new album will also be followed by a mini-tour in November of the west coast. The trio of Sean Badders, Jimmy Russell and Casey Anthony set out to create an album that sounds like "The Beach Boys meets The Bee Gees meets The Flaming Lips" as the fifteen songs that make up the new album have a strong argument to that statement. The album begins with the funk-fueled rhythm of "Breathe," before getting the adrenaline pumping with the punk-like pace of "Die." The band turns on their experimental charm with "Love Will Go," but it's the song "I Go Walking" that brings together The Beach Boys-style harmonies with more modern rock flair. The Quick & Easy Boys have a mainstream radio hit just waiting to be discovered with "Chasing Shadows." The song "Rave Bird" is the perfect example of The Bee Gees and The Flaming Lips influences with the buzzing guitars and high pitch harmonies. The album closes with more wonderful harmonizing, along with the swaying rock rhythm of "Asleep" and the acapella lullaby of "Joe Schmo." To find out more about The Quick & Easy Boys and their new album "Follow Us Overboard," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/thequickandeasyboys.

Monday, October 20, 2014

CD Review: The Tyler Porch Band Look To The "Sky" And Scott Zuniga Speaks The "Language Of Ghosts" On Their Debut Albums

From Atlanta, GA comes the debut album from the blues/rock trio known as The Tyler Porch Band. The new six-song EP is entitled "Only The Sky Knows" and shows the amazing growth within the band since only forming 18 months ago. The new release begins with the straight-up southern rocker "Who I Am," before heading into the swamp-blues stomp of "Oh, Lady." The most attractive song is the mainstream appeal of "Only The Sky Knows," which features Tyler Porch peeling off some sweet guitar solos. The album closes with the six-minute instrumental "Leftovers From Woodstock" that is the perfect jam for the entire band to shine as Porch leads the way, while the rhythm section of Joey Robertson and Brad Kemp keep pace. To find out more about The Tyler Porch Band, please visit tylerporchband.com.


From Texas, comes the debut album from singer/songwriter Scott Zuniga entitled "Language Of Ghosts." There is a highness to his voice that you instantly notice on the opener "Isla's Promise," which could easily be mistaken for a female voice. The gentleness of "For Always & Forever" gives his music an emotional connection. One of the highlights of the album is the Americana/folk of "I Am A Coin" as Zuniga's vocals fit the music perfectly, along with "Blood Of A Poet," which was inspired by the Jean Cocteau film of the same name. The new twelve-song release closes with the five-minute acoustic playfulness of "Past Present Future" and the quiet delivery of "Starboard." To find out more about Scott Zuniga and his new album "Language of Ghosts," please visit scottzuniga.com.