Sunday, June 30, 2013

Movie Review: New Documentary Shows How To Survive In "Musicwood"

The music documentary, “Musicwood” tells the story, through interviews and performances, as to how important the trees are to the world of music, specifically acoustic guitars. The film premiered on June 15 at the Bonnaroo Music Festival and will make its way around the country, being shown at Wilco’s Solid Sound Festival and the Newport Folk Festival.

The film was directed by Maxine Trump (Silent Life) and takes you on an adventure to the beautiful northern state of Alaska were some of the greatest guitar makers in the world (Bob Taylor, Chris Martin and Dave Berryman) are on a quest to save the Sitka Spruce trees. Known for their fine even texture and durability, the Sitka Spruce are disappearing at a great rate, due to Native American loggers clearing huge strips of land. This documentary shows how important these trees are, not only for the exquisite instruments it is used for, but also for the survival of the Alaskan rainforest.

The film begins with a little history lesson on how some of these classic guitars are made and how important the right materials are that create some of these outstanding acoustic guitars. Then, it moves on to show how Greenpeace have tried to stop the destruction of this rainforest. Within the story are little breaks of inspiration as musicians such as Yo La Tengo, Turn Brakes and Kaki King give their insight as to why they love these types of guitars and through these breaks we get some outstanding music interludes that are just wonderful to listen to.

As the three guitar makers journey to Alaska, you begin to get a sense of the devastation that is happening to one of the premier areas of the world. But as much as the land is being wiped of its natural resource, the land owners are using this resource as their only form of income. So the highlight of the film becomes the compromise between all groups as to a plan to utilize what is left.

While visually the movie is very moving, you don’t fully appreciate the guitar maker’s journey without the music fulfilling the emotions of the scenery. The soundtrack could definitely stand on its own, but with the visuals of this documentary, you will from this point on appreciate the resources that are put into the creation of these amazing musical instruments.

To find out more about “Musicwood,” please visit musicwoodthefilm.com/.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

CD Review: Train Revisits "California 37" Album With The "Mermaids Of Alcatraz"

San Francisco based band Train are riding a wave of success that is almost unheard of in today’s music world. Their 2009 album, “Save Me, San Francisco” has sold over a million copies and spawned five singles that made the Billboard US singles chart, including the Top 5 hit “Hey, Soul Sister.” To promote their 2010 tour, the band re-released the “Save Me, San Francisco” album and added seven bonus songs and called it the “Golden Gate Edition.”

Last year Train released their latest album, “California 37” where it debuted at #4 on the Billboard Album chart, their highest charting album to date. This album has also spawned five charting singles and has steadily stayed on the charts because of the band’s constant touring. Now once again Train are re-releasing the album, adding six bonus songs to promote their biggest tour to date.

The new album, “California 37: The Mermaids of Alcatraz Tour Edition” was released on June 25 and adds 3 additional studio tracks and 3 live versions of songs from the album. The new studio songs include a cover of John Lennon’s “Imagine” and two other song s (“Futon” and “To Be Loved”) that were recorded during the sessions for the “California 37” album, but were left off the original release. The song “To Be Loved” does not sound like it fits in with the original album, but has a more classic Train sound that helped them find success early on in their career, while, “Futon” fits the roll of Train’s current  fun-loving songs with its playful lyrics. The other three bonus songs are live versions of “Drive By,” “This’ll Be My Year” and “When The Fog Rolls In” recorded in San Francisco during their 2012 tour.

Train has also released a new mobile game for all Android and iOS devices called “50 Ways To Survive.” The game plays off the lyrics to their hit single “50 Ways To Say Goodbye” as you try and survive the different situations presented in the original song's lyrics. The game is available now to download for free and all proceeds raised from sponsorship from the game goes toward Family House, Train’s San Francisco based charity.

Train will begin their summer tour on July 11 at Virginia Beach and will slowly making their way to the west coast. For a complete list of tour dates and for more information on the band’s new release and mobile game, please visit savemesanfrancisco.com.

Friday, June 28, 2013

CD Review: Tributes, Drummers And Seventies Rock Highlight New Albums

From Portland, OR comes Kenny Feinstein with his debut solo album, “Loveless: Hurts To Love.” Feinstein is the front man for the west coast based punk band Water Tower and has decided to pay tribute to the My Bloody Valentine’s classic 1991 album, “Loveless.” It is one of Feinstein’s favorite albums and is recreating the music with an unlikely batch of instruments including the dobro, fiddle and dulcimer.

Right from the opening song, “Only Shallow” you realize that Feinstein it showing another side to the My Bloody Valentine album. His vocals are haunting at times, while the music follows a very roots/Americana approach to the alternative rock of the original. The album’s lead single, “Loomer”sounds as if these basic wooden instruments make the perfect backdrop to the song’s dark lyrics. The gentle acoustics of “When You Sleep” makes it sound like a folk classic. Kenny Feinstein does an outstanding job getting to the root of the song, by stripping away all the excess to show the song’s pure existence as with “Sometimes” and “What You Want.” The album closes with “Swallow,” which did not appear on the original album, but instead was released on an EP prior to the release of “Loveless.”

For more information, please visit kennyfeinstein.com.

Next up is the latest release from The Decemberists’ John Moen with his second solo album, “Revise Your Maps.” Moen has worked with a number of musicians, including Stephen Malkmus, Elliott Smith and Robert Pollard, plus his full-time job as drummer/harmonist in The Decemberists. This album really shows off Moen’s falsetto voice without isolating fans from the music they are used to him performing with The Decembrists.

The album starts off with the familiar Americana sounds of “Birds Off A Wire” as Moen’s vocals soar above the music to give the song a lighter sound. The song “Willamette Valley Ballad” brings in some stellar slide guitar to give the song a more country feel. Moen brings all his strong elements together for the retro-rocking sounds of “Ramble Scramble,” before heading back to the country/folk melody of “Revise Your Maps.” Moen gives his music a sixties pop sound with the harmonizing on “True Sparrow” and “Find Me,” before returning to more familiar territory with the Americana sounding “Sill (Mt. Zero).” The album closes with the smooth vocals of John Moen just floating along the mellow backdrop of “Lightlow Nightowl.”

To find out more about John Moen and his new album “Revise Your Maps,” please visit www.facebook.com/thedecemberists.

From Nashville, TN comes the five-piece rock band The Lonely H with a new self-titled album. Their music has that seventies, FM-radio sound made famous by Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers and The Eagles. Also guesting on the album is Rolling Stones’ saxophonist Bobby Keys.

The album wastes no time getting up to speed with a couple of rockers, “Try Again” and “Runaway” as you’d think you were listening to a classic rock radio station. The Lonely H bring in that California rock sound made famous by Jackson Browne on “Waiting on a Broken Heart.” The band gets a little funky on “Light Burn Out,” then taps the country rock vibe of “Head In The Clouds.” The album closes with the island vibe of “Highway Heart” as the band shows off their stellar harmonizing.

To find out more about The Lonely H, please visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/TheLonelyH .

Thursday, June 27, 2013

CD Review: These Hearts Want To Join With "Yours"

From the far reaches of Fargo, ND comes the hardcore punk/metal band These Hearts with their latest release, “Yours To Take” on Victory Records. This is the band’s second full-length album and features a heavier sound than their previous release. These Hearts are out to prove that harmonies in punk music do not make it sound any less aggressive or more pop.
 
The eleven-song release blasts through with the opening track, “This Is Love” as These Hearts get a little help from Bert Poncet (Chunk! No Captain Chunk!) on the deep growling vocals. They keep the hardcore vocal attack going with “The Inconvenience,” then show off their harmonizing against the backdrop of hard rock in “Psycho” and “Miserable.” These Hearts go full-on punk on the inspirational “Been Through Hell” and still show their pop-punk aspects in “Birds Of A Feather.” The aggression returns with “War” which features the vocals of Christian metal front man Mattie Montgomery from the band, For Today. The album closes with the gentle acoustic beginning of “Never Mind Me” as the band’s vocals are allowed to breathe on this potential radio rock hit.
 
These Hearts have a handful of shows in July. To find out more about These Hearts, please visit www.victoryrecords.com/thesehearts.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

CD Review: One Less Reason Lay Out Their "Blueprint" And Sir O Writes 3-Song EP For "Someone"

Independent rock band, One Less Reason released their latest EP, “A Blueprint For Writhing” back in December and has continued to raise money for the Sandy Relief Fund with the release of the album’s single, “Uneasy.” The song has helped raise over $7,000 for the cause and the band couldn’t be happier with the ability to help those in need.
 
This six-song album follows on the heels of their break-through hit album, 2010’s “Faces & Four Letter Words." The band continue with their hard rock approach as in “All Beauty Fades” and “Million Miles.” The album also includes a couple guest vocalists. The aggressive, edgy song “Never Let You Go” includes some screaming vocals from Anthony Basurto and the heartfelt piano ballad “Uneasy” gets a big boost from Blair Simpson vocals to help flesh out the song’s gentle tone. The EP closes with the seven-minute “Blueprints.”
 
To find out more about One Less Reason, please visit their website at onelessreasonmusic.com.
 
From across the pond comes U.K. singer/songwriter Sir. O with his latest 3-song EP, “Someone You’re Thinking Of.” His acoustic/pop/rock shines on the title song, while he seems to be holding back and playing it safe on “Stay.” The album closes with the most mainstream song, the wonderfully written“Three Words.”
 
Sir. O has a few live shows lined up in London over the next couple months. For more information on Sir. O, please visit sir-o.com.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

CD Review: Willie Nile Takes Out His "American Ride" For A Spin

Veteran rock ‘n’ roll singer/songwriter Willie Nile just released his eighth studio album, “American Ride” on June 25. This album is the first to be released through Loud & Proud Records under the label’s new deal with RED Distribution. After more than 30 years in the music industry, Nile is still producing some of the best work of his career.

The 12-song album kicks off with the punk-pop groove of “This Is Our Time” as Nile still has a chip on his shoulder to prove he’s one of the best rockers of the past three decades. He seems to have more fun with “Life On Bleeker Street” as he creates a sing-along anthem for New York City. The title-song, “American Ride” has Nile showing off his folk music side as his vocal delivery mirrors that of a young Bob Dylan. He returns to the edginess of his signature rock/punk sound with “God Laughs,” then turns up the tempo with guitars blazing for “People Who Died.” Willie takes on the “Holy War” with an experienced grudge that no newcomers could pull off. The album closes with the biographical piano ballad “The Crossing” and the country jaunt of “There’s No Place Like Home.”

Willie Nile has a couple shows scheduled in New York to celebrate the release of his new album. To find out more about Willie Nile, please visit willienile.com.

Monday, June 24, 2013

CD Review: Indie-Artists Pouring Their Heart And Soul Into New EPs

Singer/songwriter Jennifer Paige, known for the 1998 pop hit“Crush,” is teaming up with fellow singer/songwriter Coury Palermo to release their debut EP, “Stay.” The seven-song album combines their songwriting talents to create some fresh pop music with a deeper meaning. The two take turns with the lyrics on the opening song “Against The World” which has a little retro-eighties feel. Their music comes together on the power pop ballad “Save Me” as you can feel the passion within the lyrics. Their music takes on a more club appeal with “Walk Slow,” before returning to the duo’s strength of the love glossed lyrics of “Belong.” The album closes with the highlight of the album, the acoustic country sounding “For You.”
 
To find out more from this new pop duo, please visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/PaigeandPalermo.
 

Another fellow singer/songwriter, Natalie Gelman recently released her new EP entitled “Streetlight Musician.” Starting out as an opera singer, she began writing her own songs, to which she would perform on subway platforms for strangers to get an idea of how effective her songs were. The new six-song album begins with “Laugh So Hard You Cry” as she combines her focus on meaningful pop songs that allow her to stretch her strong vocals. Her acoustic folk-style songwriting shines in “The Lion,” while her heart and soul is poured into “Most The While.” The album closes with the up-tempo, acoustic rock of “One More Thing,” which shows a little edginess to her music.
 
Natalie Gelman is currently performing in New York and Washington D.C., but will be spending the summer out in California with shows running until mid-August. For more information, please visit nataliegelman.com.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Concert Review: Sting Brings "Back To Bass" Tour To Mohegan Sun

Sting, the legendary and iconic front man from the late-seventies, early-eighties band, The Police made a stop at the Mohegan Sun arena last Saturday night as part of his "Back To Bass" tour. His last stop at the venue was three years ago and at that show, he brought along The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra to help flesh-out his classic solo and Police catalog songs. This time around, he was accompanied on this visit by only a five-piece backing band that included long-time guitarist Dominic Miller, drumming Vinnie Colaiuta and keyboardist David Sanchez. Newcomers to this tour is the young, energetic violinist Peter Tickell and background Australian singer Jo Lawry.
 
As the tour title suggested, his show was a "back to bass"ics as Sting performed the two hour, 21 song set with a raw, renewed ambition. Even the stage was basic with no video monitors or elaborate light show. It was just enough to give the band and the audience that simple, but effective lighting for each individual song.
 
The band strolled on stage followed by Sting, which drew a huge applause from the audience. As the night kicked off with "If I Ever Lose My Faith In You," Sting would interweave his solo hits with Police classics like "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic" and "Driven to Tears." With each song performed, more and more audience members were drawn to their feet to move along to the songs of their past, like "Englishman In New Work" and "Seven Days." It seemed like the Police songs went over better with the older crowd as fans sang along to the choruses of "Message In A Bottle," "Wrapped Around Your Finger" and "De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da." The main set closed with an improvisational jam session featuring the outstanding talents of Sanchez on keyboards and Tickell's amazing violin solo that led into the crowd favorite, "Roxanne" as everyone stood and danced along to the song's throbbing bass line.
 
Sting and his band returned for the first of three encores performing one of his newer pop hits "Desert Rose," before returning to back The Police catalog to perform two of the former band's hits "King Of Pain" and "Every Breath You Take." Once again, Sting would leave the stage, only to return for a quick, rocking version of "Next To You," from the debut album of The Police.
 
Sting and his band stood arm in arm and bowed to the loud applause from the audience as the audience started heading for the exits. But once again, Sting returned to perform the gentle, heartfelt "Fragile" as the audience found seats anywhere they could to catch this pure emotional performance.
 
At 61 years old, Sting continues to perform at the top of his game and put on a truly exceptional show that his fans have no doubt enjoyed time and time again.
 
Setlist: If I Ever Lose My Faith In You, Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic, Englishman In New York, All This Time, Seven Days, Demolition Man, Fields Of Gold, I Hung My Head, Driven To Tears, Heavy Cloud No Rain, Message In A Bottle, Shape Of My Heart, The Hounds Of Winter, Wrapped Around Your Finger, De Do Do Do De Da Da Da, Roxanne
 
Encore: Desert Rose, King Of Pain, Every Breath You Take, Next To You, Fragile

Saturday, June 22, 2013

CD Review: The Allman Brothers Band Revisit "Brothers And Sisters" After 40 Years

The ever-enduring Allman Brothers Band are once again celebrating a milestone, the 40th anniversary of their commercial break-through album, "Brothers And Sisters." Following the death of band leader Duane Allman and founding member, bassist Barry Oakley, the band was lost and not sure what direction to take their music or even to continue as a band at all. Duane's younger brother Gregg and guitarist Dickey Betts arose as co-leaders of the band which would cause a riff that would last for the next 25 years, until Betts was forced out of the band in 2000. It was Betts who gave the band their biggest hit with the countrified song, "Ramblin' Man" which reached #2 on the U.S. singles chart and helped push the "Brothers And Sisters" album to #1 on the U.S. album chart for five straight weeks.
 
Now in honor of the album's 1973 release, we get the original album, remastered from the original recording tapes and released as a two-CD and four-CD deluxe editions. The original album has never sounded better as you can really hear all the instruments in their own place, without overcrowding the recording. Many of the songs from this album still show up regularly today when the Allman Brothers Band perform live, but the real treasure for fans is the second, third and fourth discs of this set.
 
Disc two gathers nine previously unreleased rehearsals, jams and outtakes, showing another side to the development of some of these classic songs. Highlights include an eleven-minute rehearsal of "I'm Gonna Move To The Outskirts Of Town," which shows some great interacting with Gregg Allman and Chuck Leavell and a 16-minute jam session that shows how well they fed off each other's input.
 
Disc three and four are from a previously unavailable live show recorded September 26, 1973 at the Winterland in San Francisco. The band is introduced by Bill Graham then go on to create a truly magical experience beginning with "Come And Go Blues." The band perform five of the seven songs from the "Brothers And Sisters" album mixed in with some classic blues numbers ("Stormy Monday") and ABB staples that have become highlights of their live shows. Songs like "In Memory Of Elizabeth Reed" (17 mins) and "Les Brers In A Minor (25 mins) show how this band can just take off at any moment and turn a song into an epic, unforgettable jam. The live show closes with the fifteen-minute impulsive version of "Whipping Post" that just brings the whole show to a roaring close.
 

Friday, June 21, 2013

CD Review: "This Time" Lindsay Mendez And Marco Paguia Make Beautiful Music Together

Singer Lindsay Mendez and bandleader/pianist Marco Paguia have prepared to release their debut jazz album “This Time.” The album saw a digital only release back in May and will see a physical release in July to coincide with their live concert at Birdland in New York City on July 21st. Mendez may be known around the New York area for her stints on Broadway, including her leading role in “Wicked.” Paguia is a musical director and supervisor that has composed for a number of films and shows. The two have teamed up with Pete Donovan (bass) and Tommy Crane (drums) to give some of these modern and classic pop songs new life in jazz music. 

The jazz re-arrangements on some of these songs work very well, like in the album opener “Ordinary People” made famous by John Legend and Alicia Keys’ “No One.” One of the biggest stretches is turning The Cars’ pop classic “Just What I Needed” into a freeform jazz piece, but it’s tough to forget such a popular song in order to show another side to Ric Ocasek’s lyrics. Some of the more perfect matches are their cover of Stevie Wonder’s “As” with Mendez’s vocals leading the way and “All My Days” from Alexi Murdoch, which allows Paguia to stretch out a take control of the tempo. The album closes with the piano gallop of “Sittin’ In the Middle” with Mendez keeping the beat with her vocals.

To find out more from this musical duo, please visit their new website at lmandmp.com.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

CD Review: New Albums From Singer/Songwriters Joshua Worden And Tomas Doncker

Independent singer/songwriter/guitarist Joshua Worden recently released his latest full-length album entitled “Always This.” The album was written, produced an almost entirely performed by Worden, with some slight help from Will Montgomery on drums.

The album has a very mellow, relaxed R&B sound as heard in the opening tracks “Marrow” and “The Road.” The beats are slow as Worden’s soft, smooth vocals put your mind at ease as in “Midnight” and “The Skies Glowed.” The tone begins to get a little repetitive with “Embers” and “The Turning Quiet” is a great starting point that needs some more adjustments to make it stand-out. The album closes with “The Line,” which ads a welcomed hip-hop rap from blxtxt to break the songs constant mellow tone.

Joshua Worden has a few shows lined-up in August, down in the Florida/Georgia area. To find out more about Joshua, please visit his website at joshuaworden.com.

Another independent singer/songwriter/guitarist Tomas Doncker gathered his band together to pay tribute to blues legend Howlin’ Wolf with a new six-song EP. Doncker has performed session work of the years with music icons Meshell Ndegeocello, Yoko Ono, Bonnie Raitt, Ivan Neville and Corey Glover (Living Colour) just to name a handful. The EP is just a taste of the musical love story created by the original compositions of Howlin’ Wolf along with original composition by Doncker and is called “Diablo Love.” The live musical will make its debut at the NYC SummerStage in August, but for now we get the outstanding craftsmanship of the “Howlin’ Wolf EP.”

The album is made up of five Howlin’ Wolf songs including “Spoonful,” which was made famous by the band Cream in the late-sixties. Doncker’s voice gives the songs an authentic sound with his ruff, gravelly vocals. Also included are some lesser known blues classic like “Evil” and “Blind Melon Morpheus.” Tomas adds one of his originals, “Shook Down” in the middle of the mix that sounds as if it belonged as part of Howlin’s Wolf’s catalog. The album finishes up with a blazing version of “Smokestack Lightning” and the pure blues romp of “Back Door Man.”

To find out more on Tomas Doncker and his new album “The Tomas Doncker Band’s Howlin’ Wolf EP,” please visit tomasdoncker.net.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

CD Review: Singer/Songwriters Sarah Miles And Carey Appel Look For Stardom

Singer/songwriter Sarah Miles will release her debut album, “One” on July 16 through Rock Ridge Music. The album shows a reflection of her journey of love and heartbreak during her recently move to New York City. Her voice sound so innocent and soft on the opener “Middle of Nowhere” that you’d instantly think that she is the next big act to follow Carrie Underwood and Taylor Swift. The tone of her new album has a country pop sound as heard in “Just So You Know” as her voice and melody are not overpowering, but very welcoming. The gentle acoustics of “You’re Not” and “Gray” showcase the full talents of her songwriting, while Sarah’s song, “Stand Up” about self-confidence is pure pop fun. The album closes with “Take The Lead,” as the song really shows Sarah full appeal for a hit country single and the country rocker, “I Don’t Want To See You.” 

Sarah Miles has some live shows booked for the end of July, including a date at The Space in Hamden, CT on July 25th. For more information on this rising star, please visit sarahmilesmusic.com. 

Another singer/songwriter looking to make a name for herself is Carey Appel. Her latest album, “House of Cards” was released back in May on showcases Carey’s voice wonderfully. She is also supported by an all-star cast of session musicians including Mark Prentice (Keith Urban), Mike Severs (Don McLean), Jeff Roach (Kenny Chesney) and Ken Lewis (Sara Bareilles).

The album starts off with “Don’t Get Used To It” as it moves along like a gentle breeze as Carey introduces her vocals to the listener. The album begins to take off on the title-track, “House of Cards,” which sounds like an acoustic outtake from the rock band Heart as Cary does her best Ann Wilson impersonation. Her songwriting, along with Marc Platt hits a high note on the regretful story of “Wish I’d Been There.” The gentle acoustics of “Pictures On The Wall” and “Words Don’t Fit Here” perfectly highlight Carey’s angelic vocals. The album closes with the story of “Heather Road” as Cary relives her childhood.

Carey Appeal has a show scheduled for June 20 at The Witz End in Venice, CA. To find out more about Carey, please visit her website at careyappel.com.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

CD Review: Indie-Artists Have Arrived With New Music In Hand

From Minnesota comes “the new classic rock” of The Oddfathers with their latest “Double Live 45” four song EP. The band has worked with legendary producers Jack Douglas and Eddie Kramer, but put their best foot forward producing their own music on this release.

Starting off with “Another Tear Goes By” the band has a straight-up rock sound with David Lee Roth-type vocals. If you closed your eyes, you’d think it was a new DLR album. The album’s lead single, “Whisper In My Ear” has a jazz swing in the background that gets drowned out by some blazing guitar solos. The Oddfathers move on to close the album with the softer swing of “Bleeker Street.” 

To find out more about The Oddfathers, please visit the band’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/TheOddfathers.

U.K. singer/songwriter Lucas Hardy has released his first EP entitled “Blood, Sweat & Tears.” After spending the last ten years in bands, Hardy though it was time to simplify his talents and have complete control of his music.

Most of the music on this new release are mellow acoustic pop songs that have been stripped of the all the extras to show how strong the music at its core. The song “City By The Sea” is a comforting folk/pop song about his past or current home. Lucas has fun with “Bug,” before closing the album with the passionate “Sail Faith." 

To find out more about Lucas Hardy, please visit his Facebook page at www.facebook.com/TheLucasHardy.

Pennsylvania punk rock band Soviet Sleeper Agent released their debut album, “Over And Out,” earlier this year. The band has found some local success with the album, but is looking to branch out across the U.S.

The eight-song EP has that raw, garage rock feel as heard in the opening song “Fonzie Jumps The Shark.” The band keeps the adrenaline pumping with the quick 92-second, “Wolf Man” and the even quicker 60-second “I May Have Alzheimer’s, But At Least I Don’t Have Alzheimer’s.” Trying to say the title takes longer than the length of the actual song. The band’s mainstream single could be “Casablumpkin” as the passion for performing is heard in the vocals. The album closes with the acoustic, demo-sounding “No Need For Sheets,” which is actually refreshing after all the quick, punk-like drumming.

To find out more about Soviet Sleeper Agent, please visit the band’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/SovietSleeperAgentPA.

Monday, June 17, 2013

CD Review: Great New Music Comes Pouring From These Rising Underground Bands

Underground rock acts band together through Head First Entertainment to release some great new music that music fans need to hear. Beginning with The New Black 7, their latest album, “Hangovers & Heartbreak” was released back in April and has been receiving a load of positive reviews. They combine country twang with an adrenaline shot of rock to create eight songs that have a raw, bar brawl energetic feel that fans can really grab a hold of.

Guitars come out blazing in the opener “Crazy All Over Me”and turn up the southern rock of “That Don’t Sound Like Country.” They add some fiddle to “Closing Time” to give the music that authentic feel, before blasting away the “Outlaw.” The acoustics of “Fly Me To Freedom” and “Can’t Go Home”show softer side that really accentuates that classic country twang, but their cover of Motley Crue’s “Kickstart My Heart” also shows how hard they can rock when they plug in.

To find out more about The New Black 7, please visit thenewblack7.com.

Late last year saw a surge of new underground metal music with new album from bands like Silencer, Creeper, Blacklist Union and Mongrel. Whether it was the aggressive thrash metal of Silencer or the classic L.A. rock sound of Blacklist Union, there was some great new sounds for every metal genre.

Hardcore metal band Creeper released “Welcome To Room 9”back in March of 2012. The album is filled to the brim with metal riffs and machine-gun drumming. The screaming vocals in “Now” and neck-breaking beats of “Powers Of Hell” show a band looking to obliterate the eardrums of listeners. Creeper found“The Magic” to create that classic “NWOBHM (New Wave Of British Heavy Metal)”sound that so many fans are attracted to. They turn to dark side with “War Machine,” before closing the album with the “Screaming Demon.”

To find out more about Creeper, please visit the band’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/creepertexasmetal.

The new album from Silencer entitled “The Great Bear” is a concept album for progressive metal fans without the long-drawn out solos and instrumental pieces. All the songs on the album clock in under the five minute mark. Quick songs like “I Am Thunder” and “The Roar” are the hardest hitting songs on the album, while “Star City Pt. I & II” are very epic sounding and have become the highlight of the album with its chord changes and space-like vocals.

To find out more about Silencer, please visit silencer.cc.

Female-fronted Mongrel released their full-length sophomore album “Reclamation” back in September of 2012 and the band is opening for Halestorm on July 14 at the Webster Theater in Harford, CT and on August 10 at the Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion. Plus the album was recently released in the U.K. earlier this year. Their new 12-song release has its quick-hitting, aggressive songs (“Pseudocide”), counters it with the slow grind of “Zombies of War.” The album continues with the vocal attack of “C and a Half” and keeps the blood pumping with the up-tempo, but dark subject of “Crucifiction.” Mongrel throws everything into their two-minute power closer “No Gods No Masters.”

To find out more about Mongrel, please visit mongrelband.webs.com.

Finally we get to the California rockers Blacklist Union and their latest release, “Til Death Do Us Part.” The band is comprised of members of Saliva, along with members of Iggy and the Stooges and has access to the songwriting talents of Anthony Valli (Crazytown) and Todd Youth (Danzing). The album has that “Sunset Strip” feel with a modern hard rock sound that has become a staple on satellite rock radio. Blacklist Union’s sound is very polished on the song “Alabama Slammer” and finds the perfect combination of hard rock edginess with a mainstream appeal on “Game Over.” The band dives back to the classic rock of the seventies with the bi guitars of “Feed The Snakes,” then has some fun with the lyrics of “The Lick Kitty Split Theme Song, “ before closing the album with the acoustic power ballad “I Don’t Love You Anymore.”

To find out more about Blacklist Union, please visit the band’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/BlacklistUnionRocks.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

CD Review: Delbert & Glen Share Their Stories Of Being "Blind, Crippled & Crazy"

It's been 40 years since singer/guitarist/pianist Delbert McClinton and Glen Clark teamed up to do an album together. The duo had a hit with the 1972 single "I Received A Letter," then parted ways the following year. Delbert went on to have a successful career in country and blues having albums and singles that appeared in the Top 5 charts, including his last album "Acquired Taste" which hit #1 on the blues album chart. McClinton was also inducted into the Texas Heritage Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2011. Clark became a songwriting success, creating hits for Etta James, Loretta Lynn, Wynonna Judd and Kris Kirstofferson; to which he would perform keyboards with on tours with Kristofferson and Bonnie Raitt. Later on, Clark would work with Jim Belushi on his sitcom, "According To Jim."
 
Now the two singers reunited for the 2013 album, "Blind, Crippled & Crazy," due June 18 on Nine West Records. The two deal with the acceptance of aging, but in a creative, sometimes humorous way like in the opening song "Been Around A Long Time." The two trade lyrics along a country-shuffle backdrop as they explain how age is only a number. They pick-up the tempo for the country rock of "Whoever Said It Was Easy," then head over to the blues with "Oughta No." One of the highlights of the album is "More And More, Less And Less," as McClinton pulls off the Leonard Cohen-type song with ease. The duo show off their diversity with the acoustic blues of "Sure Feels Good" and the classic country of "Peace In The Valley." Delbert leaves his final stamp of approval on the album with the dark tones of the acoustic closer "I Could Be Your Lover."
 
Delbert McClinton will be stopping at StageOne in Fairfield, CT on his currently month-long tour. For more information, please visit delbert.com.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

CD Review: Steve Hunter Invites Some Friends To Share In His Latest "Project"

Journeyman/guitarist Steve Hunter recently released only his fifth solo album in a career that began 40 years ago. His first session work was performing on Alice Cooper's "Billion Dollar Babies" album. He would continue that collaboration/friendship for the next five Cooper albums. He has also work on albums with Peter Gabriel, Lou Reed, David Lee Roth and Tracy Chapman. It has been five years since Steve Hunter's last solo album and on his new album, "The Manhattan Blues Project" Hunter invited some friends to join him including Joe Satriani, Joe Perry, Johnny Depp and others. The album was released at the end of April through his own publishing company, deaconrecords.
 
The album starts off with the rain pouring down the Manhattan skyline as Hunter's sweet "Prelude To The Blues" comes pouring from the speakers. His love for the blues is what this album was made for and he expresses it through the lonely sounds of "A Night At The Waldorf" and through his tribute of John Lennon and George Harrison in "Flames At The Dakota." He turns classic songs by Peter Gabriel ("Solibury Hill") and Marvin Gaye ("What's Goin' On") into unique masterpieces of his own as his guitar playing becomes the highlight of the music. Hunter shares the spotlight with Johnny Depp and Joe Perry on honky-tonk blues of "The Brooklyn Shuffle" and again with Joe Stariani and Mary Friedman on "Twilight In Harlem." Just to be in the studio during these recordings must have been a sight to see as Hunter leads this pack of all-stars.
 
To find out more about Steve Hunter's latest album, "The Manhattan Blues Project," please visit themanhattanbluesproject.com.

Friday, June 14, 2013

CD Review: Devour The Day Feel Their Way Through "Time & Pressure"

From Memphis, TN comes the newly formed metal band Devour The Day with their debut album, “Time & Pressure.” Devour The Day was created by Egypt Central members Joey “Chicago” Walser and Blake Allison after the band went on indefinite hiatus. The new album was produced by Grammy Award winning producer Skidd Mills (12 Stones, Charm City Devils) and released through Fat Lady Music.

The eleven song album comes out demanding your “Respect” and the opening song rocks hard with pounding drums and screaming vocals that make you feel the band’s passion for performing. The album’s lead single, “Good Man” just cracked the “top 10” on SirusXM’s Octane station “Big ‘Uns Countdown” for the newest hits in heavy metal music. The song has a great, adrenaline pumping, energetic sound that gets carried through the rest of the album. The song “You and Not Me” shows that “nu-metal” sound that keeps the listener on edge with tempo changes and firework drumming. Devour The Day take a page out of Linkin Park’s book with “Move On” and “Get Out Of My Way” as aggressive lyrics get layered over an electronic backbeat, fleshed out with grinding guitars and pounding drums. The album closes on the lighter side with the airiness of “Crossroads” and the acoustic storytelling of “The Drifter.”

Devour The Day just began their tour on Tuesday and are continuing to make their way across the U.S. for the next couple of months, supporting Hinder and Sevendust. To find out more information on this new rising metal band, please visit devourtheday.com.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

CD Review: Supersuckers Leader Goes For "The Value Of Nothing"

Eddie Spaghetti, lead singer/bassist for punk/rock/country band Supersuckers, is preparing to release his second solo album, “The Value of Nothing” on June 18 through Bloodshot Records. The Supersuckers were a band that always had fun with their music and Spaghetti continues that type of humor on some of his latest music.

The ten song album touches upon all of Eddie Spaghetti’s musical genres, beginning with the lead single “The Value of Nothing,” a song that Johnny Cash would be proud of with its dark overtones and aggressive classic country feel. He moves over to rock on “Empty,” before return to the honky tonk, slide-guitar of “Waste of Time.” Spaghetti reflects on his life through one of the few serious songs on the album, “You Get To Be My Age,” then returns with the fun, sarcastic “People Are Shit.” He closes the album with the appropriately titled, acoustic, campfire sing-along “When I Go I’m Gone.”

Eddie Spaghetti has half a dozen shows scheduled along the west coast. For more information on his new album, please visit www.bloodshotrecords.com/artist/eddie-spaghetti.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

CD Review: New Music Arises From Some Underground Musicians

New underground music acts are beginning to rise to the surface, from the eighties punk-style of The Diemakers to the experimentation of Richard Tyler Epperson. The latest releases from artists belonging to The Rainmaker Media Group. All have a unique sound that is ready to be unleashed upon the world.

Beginning with the duo of TJ Runnells and Nick Midulla, 2 The Nines have an acoustic, earthly sound that is beginning to take hold of modern rock radio. They display their passion of creating music in their delivery of songs like “Catch A Cold” and “Take Me Home.” They add a little Spanish flair on the album’s title song, “Oblivion,” before moving on to Jason Mraz-type lyrical delivery of “Cemetery Wedding.” The most mainstream song on this album is the acoustic pop of “Best Friends” as they hit the right chords for a radio hit single.

To find out more from 2 The Nines, please visit 2theninesmusic.com.

Next up are a couple of great new EPs from Matthias Sturm and The Diemakers. Both have that nostalgic feel as Sturm’s album ventures into the alternative rock of the late-eighties/early nineties, while The Diemakers bring out the garage rock/punk sounds of the seventies.

Mattias Sturm mixes up his sound on “Luna Park,” beginning with the Bowiesque “1947 (Pandora Out The Box,” which leads into the ghostly sounds of “All Beauty Must Die.” The EP closes with the English pop of “Kingdom (Built On Sand)” and the Floydian keyboard driven “If The Devil Comes.”

To find out more from Matthias Sturm, please visit his Facebook page at www.facebook.com/pages/MATTHIAS-STURM/182224888491205.

Now The Diemakers come right out of the gate with the new wave punk of “Way” as the band gets their edge from the early days of punk like in the vocals of “Take It Away.” The tempo change in “All The Plans We Make” gives the song a chance to breathe as the band put their best efforts into this possible single. They return to the Ramones-style punk of “Things,” before closing with the reckless, garage rock of “Gotta Go.”

To find out more from The Diemakers, please visit their website at thediemakers.com.

Last up is one of the most interesting and attractive albums to be released this year, “Falling Between The Stars” from Richard Tyler Epperson. His voice on the opener, “At Your Door” is so calm and soothing that you almost miss all that’s going on in the background with the music. The synthesizer fueled “Awake” and the gentle acoustics of “Stars” show-off both sides to Epperson’s songwriting. He continues with the rawness of “Sick,” the feel-good pop of “We’re Alright” and the country traveling sounds of “Drive.” The album closes with the slow blues waltz of “You And I.”

To find out more about Richard Tyler Epperson and his new album “Falling Between The Stars,” please visit richardtylerepperson.com.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

CD Review: Mellencamp, Burnett and King Resurrect The "Ghost Brothers"

Hear Music/Concord Music Group recently released the soundtrack of the collaborated musical from Stephen King, John Mellencamp and T Bone Burnett entitled, “Ghost Brothers of Darkland County.” The soundtrack was released on June 4 and features an all-star cast of musicians and singers including Elvis Costello, Sheryl Crow, Rosanne Cash, Taj Mahal, Neko Case and others. This album is packed to the brim with 17 songs and interludes that tell the supernatural story of love, jealousy and revenge.
An introduction by The Zydeco Cowboy (Glen Morshower) is one of 18 interludes written by Stephen King specifically for this soundtrack to help with the development of the story through song. Elvis Costello sounds like he’s been hanging around the bayou on this southern acoustic number called “That’s Me.” Neko Case’s vocals in “That’s Who I Am” are very refreshing, leading the way on this country jaunt. Ryan Bingham and Will Dailey trade lyrics on the boogie swamp blues of “Brotherly Love” and Kris Kristofferson lends his deep, aged vocals to the pounding drumbeat of “How Many Days.” The collaboration between Sheryl Crow and Taj Mahal create a truly exceptional sound as heard in the song “Home Again." Sheryl Crow’s vocals take over the soundtrack, sweetening the songs “Away From This World” “And Your Days Are Gone” and “Junkin.”Singer/songwriter John Mellencamp finally gets into the act with the closing song “Truth” as his weathered voice warms up to the song’s gospel chorus.
This album was released as single standard edition CD, a deluxe CD/DVD set which includes the soundtrack and a “making of” documentary and also a hardcover edition which includes 2 CDs, 1 DVD in a hard, leatherette holder. To find out more about this exciting collaboration, please visit ghostbrothersofdarklandcounty.com.

Monday, June 10, 2013

CD Review: More From Metal Blade Records For The Month Of June

The month of June has a load of new heavy metal music coming from Metal Blade Records. Many of these bands are four or five albums into their career and are looking to dominate their metal genre with a stranglehold of new music.  On June 11, we get new albums from doom metal bands, The Devil’s Blood and Church of Misery and death metal band The Black Dahlia Murder which will be performing on this summer’s Vans Warped Tour. Later on in the month we get new death metal music from Sweden’s Amon Amarth, who will be climbing aboard the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival at the end of June.
The Devil’s Blood’s new album title, “III: Tabula Rasa or Death and the Seven Pillars” is almost as long as some of the songs on the album. Beginning with the 22-minute “I Was Promised a Hunt” which tells the story through minor chord and tempo changes, but rocks hard with its thumping doom metal backdrop. They show us that great classic seventies metal sound with “The Lullaby of the Burning Boy” and “… If Not A Vessel?,” before returning to the epic songs like the 10-minute blast of “White Storm of Teeth” and the up-tempo, 8-minute instrumental album closer “Tabula Rasa.”
Back in January, the band issued a statement that this will be their final full-length album. To find out more on The Devil’s Blood, please visit thedevilsblood.com.
Japanese doom metal band Church of Misery return with their fifth full-length studio album, “Thy Kingdom Scum.” Also returning is lead-singer Hideki Fukasawa, who skipped the band’s last album after a three year hiatus. The album kicks off with the hard grind of the instrumental “B.T.K.” as the band continues to keep their edge after almost 20 years into the business. Fukasawa wastes no time announcing his return, screaming the lyrics to the seven-plus minute “Lambs to the Slaughter.” The band digs deep, pulling off their best performance with “Brother Bishop,” tackles the 1970’s Quartermass cover “One Blind Mice.” The album closes with Church of Misery building up the 12-minute epic “Dusseldorf Monster” with outstanding performances by Tatsu Mikami (bass) and Ikuma Kawabe (guitar).
To find out more about the Church of Misery, please visit churchofmisery.net.
Next up to blast away your eardrums is one of today’s most popular hardcore death metal bands, The Black Dehlia Murder. Their new album “Everblack” follows their rising success on the music charts. The band’s last album “Ritual” cracked the top 40 and helped the band secure a headlining spot on this year’s Vans Warped Tour. The beginning of the album just blows you away with its speed metal drumming and screaming vocals of “In Hell Is Where She Waits For Me.” The ten song album is sure to get the adrenaline pumping, attacking the senses with “Goat of Departure” and “Into the Everblack.” The pulsating drumming and guitar intro to “Blood Mine” and the vocal attack of “Every Rope A Noose” are what feed this musical monster of sound. The album closes with more speed and energy as “Map of Scars” is not for the faint of heart.
Look for The Black Dahlia Murder on tour this summer. For more information, please visit the band’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/theblackdahliamurderofficial.

Finally on June 25th we get the new album from Sweden death metal band Amon Amarth. It is the band’s ninth album and arguably one of their most powerful. Beginning with “Deceiver of the Gods,” you notice a band that has the experience to energize fans with their music, while also keeping their sound fresh. The band’s obsession with Norse mythology comes through in the growling vocals of “As Loke Falls” as well as their interest in the mystics of “Shaper Shifter.” Amon Amarth continues their onslaught with the speed of “Blood Eagle” and the aggression of “We Shall Destroy.” The album closes with the eight-minute epic story of the “Warriors of the North.”
Look for Amon Amarth to invade the U.S. this summer as part of the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival. For more information on the band and their new album “Deceiver of the Gods,” please visit amonamarth.com.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

CD Review: Nicholas Tremulis Orchestra Return With One "For The Baby Doll"

Returning from the heart of Chicago comes the Nicholas Tremulis Ochestra with their first album of new material in over five years with "For The Baby Doll." The new album will be released on June 18 through Hobo Bob's Music and 52 Recordings, which comes housed in a 6 1/2 inch by 8 1/2 inch, 36 page, mini-book with a few b&w photos, song lyrics and a self-explained history of Nicholas Tremulis' journey into music.
 
The eleven-song album begins with the country-blues of "Pitiful" which blazes a path with the guitar solo of John Pirruccello and slide-guitar of Rick Barnes as Tremulis' weathered voice is the perfect piece to complete the puzzle. The band brings back the garage rock of the sixties with "You're Gonna Lose (Everything You Got)" and shows a punk-like edge with "Lost Without You." Tremulis brings out the funk with the seventies groove of "Everybody Here," before returning to the raw garage rock/punk sound of "You're Too Much (But Never Enough)." The Nicholas Tremulis Orchestra have fun on the smooth, jazzy rock sound of "Push It," then close the album with "Walk In The Sun Again," which comes off as a lost Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band outtake.
 
To find out more about the Nicholas Tremulis Orchestra please visit their website at nicholastremulis.com.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

CD Review: Kobra And The Lotus Release One Of Heavy Metal's Hottest Debut Albums Of The Year

From Canada comes Kobra And The Lotus, one of the hottest, new power metal bands to emerge over the last few years. Their debut album was released back in April and they just completed a three month headlining tour of the U.S. The band also have their own television show, "Rock City" premiering on Spike TV this coming fall.
 
The album begins with "50 Shades of Evil" as the duel guitar attack of Jasio Kulaskowski and Charlie Parra del Riego show off their heavy metal prowess as they try to keep up with the rhythm section of Griffin Kissack on drums and Pete Dimov on bass. As the music continues to blow you away, the voice of Kobra Paige is what draws you in on "Welcome To My Funeral." Kobra And The Lotus are beginning to gather their troops on the metal march of "Forever One," before the outstanding strong vocals of Paige turn all listeners into fans with "My Life." The band slow things down for a quick moment at the beginning of "Sanctuary," then quickly pick up the pace to close the album with the head-banging of "No Rest For The Wicked" and the epic sounding finish of "Aria Of Kamika."
 
Kobra And The Lotus released their self-titled debut album through the Universal Music Group in association with Gene Simmons' Simmons Records and T-Boy Records. For more information on this new rising metal band, please visit their website at kobraandthelotus.com.

Friday, June 7, 2013

CD Review: New Music From Independent Bands Chateau Marmont And Shotgun No Blitz

From France comes the indie-pop band Chateau Marmont with a new EP, "Wind Blows." The combine an alternative rock edge with a dance/pop sound that becomes very contagious to listen to.
 
The EP starts off with the title-song as the disco rock sound become the perfect backdrop to the airiness of the vocals. The band heads in the "new wave" direction for "Wargames" and hits the vibe of the eighties on the head with their synthesizer-filled "The Maze." The EP closes with remixes of "Wargames" and "The Maze" that show another side to these song's appeal.
 
Chateau Marmont will be hitting the states for a handful of shows beginning June 10 in New York. To find out more from this "new wave" band, please visit www.facebook.com/chateaumarmont 
 
Underground punk band Shotgun No Blitz recently released their latest EP last month entitled "Letters To Myself." The band's sound continues to grow and mature with each new studio album they release.
 
This album begins with the chord changes of "Bystander" as they show an aggressive side to their music. The song "Reflections" combines the lyrical delivery of NOFX with the punk-edge of Face To Face to create a unique, but addictive sound. They speed things up with "Mass-Produced," before letting their creativity flow on the album closer "On My Own."
 
To find out more on this great rising punk band, please visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/shotgunnoblitz.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

CD Review: New Music From Female Artists Holly Elle And Chantilly

From Nashville, TN comes the Canadian classically trained Holly Elle with her latest EP, “Leopardess.” Her passion lies in the U.S. pop music market as she combines her background of operatic singing with the mainstream beats of today’s music charts to create a powerfully addictive sound to move your body to.

The five-song EP kicks off with the club beats of “Predator” as Holly’s voice demands your attention. She is “Seeing Red” as the beats pump to her unforgettable chorus. The album’s current single, “Who I Am” pays tribute to her current city that she calls home, Nashville. The song has very contagious beat as Holly Elle wants you to accept her for who she is.

To find out more about Holly Elle and her latest release, “Leopardess,” please visit hearholly.com.

From Brooklyn, NY comes singer/songwriter Chantilly with her latest release, “Up To The Moon.” Her voice is very soft and sweet as in the opening song, “Escape." The striking music gives the song a bigger impact. Chantilly's voice opens up on “What You Do To Me” as she shows the full range of her vocal ability. The five-song EP closes with the gentle acoustics of “Don’t Wanna Wait” as you fully absorb Chantilly’s sound.

To find out more about Chantilly and her latest release, “Up To The Moon,” please visit chantillysongs.com.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

CD Review: Damien Deadson Wants The Heavy Metal "Crown"

Hardcore metal band Damien Deadson released their sophomore album back on May 14 entitled “Crown Me, Destroyer.” The band is the brainchild of ex-Demon Hunter guitarist Ryan Helm who has taken over the singer/songwriter duties in his new band. The band’s sound is an aggressive vocal attack with blasts of energy from the drums and guitars.

The album kicks off with “15 Years of Hate” as Damien Deadson take you on a trip through hell with howling vocals and machine gun drumming. They kick things into high gear with the vocal attack of “The Full Extent of Revenge,” before hitting a more mainstream metal chord with “All Hail The Great Destroyer.” Damien Deadson speed things up, blasting through “The Fire Sent Me” and breaking necks with the fast-paced drumming of “The Light Bearer.” The album finishes up with the screams of “First Born, Curse Borne” and the deep growls of “We Grew Through Darkness."

To find out more on Damien Deadson, please check out the band’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/damiendeadson/app_178091127385.