Monday, September 30, 2013

CD Review: A New "Daybreak" Comes From Hudson Hank

From New York comes the all-new three piece alternative rock of Hudson Hank. Their debut album, "DayBreak" was released on September 17 through Laveta Music Group and produced by Coldplay bassist Guy Berryman. Singer/songwriter Sammy Oatts combines his career on Broadway as an orchestral musician with his love for rock and roll to create huge sounds and big instrumentation similar to recent newcomers .fun.
 
The ten-song album starts out with swooping string-arrangements as Oatts experiments with the vocals on "The Cut of Your Gibberish." Their tone gets somber on "Earthbone" and on the horn-fueled, Coldplay sounding "Breakfast Of Fools." The album comes to a haulting stop on the slow-pace of "New Year," before hitting the highlight of the album, the six-minute epic sounding "Daybreak, complete with full orchestration as Hudson Hank find the perfect combination of classical and rock music.
 
To find out more about this creative new band, please visit their website at hudsonhank.com.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

CD Review: Side Project Fight Or Flight Looks To Take Off With "Design"

From Warner Bros. we get the debut album from Fight Or Flight, a new hard rock side project from members of Disturbed and Evans Blue. The album, "A Life By Design?" was released back in July
 
The twelve song release begins with the album's lead single "First Of The Last" as singer Dan Chandler's vocals fit perfectly against this aggressive hard rock backdrop. The band hits a more mainstream rock sound with "It's Over" and the ballad "Leaving." They capture some of that heavy metal edge that has made Disturbed such a success with "If It Hurts" and "A Void." The album closes with the powerfully driven "Tragedy," which is one of the heavier songs on the album.
 
Fight Or Flight has been performing the new album on the road and only have one show left on their schedule at the moment. To find out more, check out fightorflightofficial.com.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

CD Review: The Ultimate Live Album By The Band, Newly Remastered

Fans having been waiting for a complete live show from The Band since their unofficial break-up of The Last Waltz. The closest thing was the album "Rock Of Ages" which included the best live versions of songs from their run of shows at New York's Academy of Music in 1971. The album was remastered, adding bonus songs, but not helping the album's original sound much. Now finally we get the five disc set of The Band's "Live At The Academy of Music 1971." It features a newly remastered version of the expanded "Rock of Ages" set by Band leader Robbie Robertson, who was never satisfied with the original remastering job done back in 2001.
 
The music sounds a little warmer with room for the instruments and vocals to not crash into each other and overtake the sound. It is definite upgrade sonically over past releases. But, fans are not drooling over the release of just this, the five disc set also includes, for the first time, the entire New Year's Eve show straight from the soundboard. This set (discs 3 & 4) have one of the best live sounds with The Band clicking on all cylinders and features a guest appearance by Bob Dylan during the encore. The tone of the album is clear and crisp, without being overproduced and killed by being mastered at a high volume.
 
The only slightly disappointing thing about this set is the DVD (disc 5). Fans were hoping for a video of The Band performing these shows, but instead the disc features a 5.1 Surround mix of the first two discs ("Rock of Ages" album) and footage of only two songs that were filmed from this amazing run of performances. Also included in this set is a 48-page hardcover book that features new, unseen photos and a reproduction of the album's review from Rolling Stone magazine.
 
The 5-disc deluxe set is available now (http://smarturl.it/BandAcademy4CD) along with a new remastered 2-CD (http://smarturl.it/BandAcademy2CD). For more information on this release, please visit http://www.robbie-robertson.com/news/the-band-live-at-the-academy-of-music-1971/.

Friday, September 27, 2013

CD Review: New Music From Americana Artists Mule Dixon & Western Skies Motel

From Pennsylvania comes the latest release from the Americana/Folk-Rock of Mule Dixon. The new album "Pillow: American-Made" starts off with the him and just an acoustic guitar as he sings about his 'axe to grind' on "American-Blowback Baby" as the other members of his band join in. His sound crosses the boundaries of folk and country, especially on "No Matter The Consequence" and on the storied lyrics of "Natdia (The Ballad Of Tonto & Jesus)." The slow country sway of "Another Country Roadside" is highlighted by the duet between Dixon and Kali Rea. His Americana roots show on "June Blossom Valley" as he lowers the tone of his voice to capture the mood of the song. The album finishes up with the gentle acoustics of the "Evening Song" as he sounds like a young Tom Waits.
 
To find out more about Mule Dixon and his latest album "Pillow: American-Made," please visit his Facebook page at www.facebook.com/pages/Mule-Dixon/119400151464377.
 
Also new on the Americana horizon is the new three-song EP from Western Skies Motel. Their new album, "Reflections" was released earlier this month and features a very quiet, ambient acoustic sound to the opening title track. The flow of their music relaxes as it explores during the seven-minute "Here And There" and in the closer "Homesick." There sound may not grab your attention, but that's not the point as you are swept away by what is presented in those fourteen minutes.
 
To find out more about Western Skies Motel, check out westernskiesmotel.bandcamp.com/.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

CD Review: Metal Blade Records Starts The Season Off With New Music

Metal Blade Records look to start the autumn season off with a trio of new releases, beginning with the third album from Swedish metal band In Solitude. Their latest release, titled "Sister," was recorded six months earlier and continues upon the success of its predicessor "The World. The Flesh. The Devil."
 
The album begins with the eerie acoustic sounds of "He Comes," followed by the band's signature classic metal approach to "Death Knows Where." The album plays host to a couple of songs that push past the seven-minute mark. First is the slow, doom metal of "A Buried Sun" that chugs along, while the album closer "Inmost Nigredo" simmers until the time is right to strike with wailing guitars and pounding drums.
 
In Solitude have filled their October calendar with a bunch of live shows, starting off at Irving Plaza in New York on October 8. For more information on the band and their latest release, "Sister," please visit www.metalblade.com/us/artists/in-solitude/.
 
Also new from Metal Blade Records is the seventies metal sound of Horisont. Their latest release, "Time Warrior" continues to show that this band has the unique talent of capuring the early sound of metal and adding elements of today's hard rock.
 
Right from the opening duel guitar riffs of "Writing On The Wall," you get a sense that this album is special. Lead singer Axel Soderberg hits the high pitch on "Backstreet," while "She Cried Wolf" draws up similarities to early Judas Priest. The band get a little nostalgic on "Dodsdans," before closing with the atmosspheric rock of "All Things Must Come To An End, Pts. I & II."
 
Horisont are currently performing over in Europe. To find out more about this Swedish metal band, please visit their Faebook page at www.facebook.com/horisontmusic.
 
A little closer to home, we get the latest release from Iron Man entitled "South Of The Earth." What started out as a Black Sabbath tribute band has grown into one of the primere doom metal bands on the planet. With the new addition of "Screaming Mad" Dee Calhoun on vocals, the band has been given new life with a more modern heavy metal sound.
 
The album starts off with the title-song as you get a little of everything, including blazing guitar solos, a sluging rhythm section and scream vocals. Guitarist Al Morris III peels off guitar licks like he's out to prove a point, especially in the aggressive attack of "The Worst And Longest Day." The album closes with the strong bass and drum groove of "In The Velvet Darkness" and the seven-minute build-up of "The Ballad Of Ray Garraty," which showcases some more exciting solos from Morris.
 
Iron Man are performing a couple of shows in the Baltimore, MD area in October. To find out more, please visit ironmanband.com.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

CD Review: New Independent Music Coming From The Windy City

From Chicago comes new music from the alternative pop band The Locals and singer/songwriter Julie Meckler. The Locals recently released their latest five-song EP entitled "Stereostatic Funicular." Right from the opening song "Running Toward The Sound," you instantly notice the pop-punk lead vocals of singer Yvonne Doll. Her voice is so fun and the music is very up-beat and infectious that you find yourself grooving to the quick pace of "Inventio." The album closes with the big guitar rock of "Bellissimo," which should make mainstream radio take notice of The Locals.

The band has half-a-dozen dates lined up, beginning with the Indie Rock Invitational in Michigan at the end of the month. To find out more about The Locals, please visit localsrock.com.
 
Singer/songwriter Julie Meckler will release her debut album, "Queenshead" on September 24th. She has also been named by the Chicago Tribune as one of "15 Artists To Watch." Her music reaches out and touches different genres including the grunge rock of "All Your Pretty Things" and the jazz-pop of "Queen's Head." The album's lead single, "Manhattan" is the perfect setting for her storied lyrics and the gentle acoustics allow her voice to become the focus of the song. Her album closes with the pop rock of "Forest" and the slow romp of "Deportation Blues."

Julie Meckler will be celebrating the release of her new album with a release show on September 26 at The Hideout in Chicago. For more information, please visit juliemeckler.com

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

CD Review: Headstones Combine "Love + Fury" On Newest Release

Canadian rockers Headstones will be releasing their first album of new material in over eleven years. The new release entitled "Love + Fury" will be available on September 24th through Frostbyte Records. It took the death of a founding member of the band to bring the music back.
 
The new eleven song release starts out with the wreck less aggression of "changemyways" as the band look to recapture their alternative punk sound. They hit the southern rock vibe on "laongwaytoneverland" then dive back the alternative grunge scene of the nineties with "farawayfromhere." Headstones speed things up for "dontfollowtheleader," before hitting the breaks for the acoustic "Astronaught," which has lead singer Hugh Dillon pulling off a perfect Eddie Vedder impersonation. They close out the album by blazing a trail of two-minute punk energy filled songs like "gobacktheotherway" and "outtamyleague."
 
To find out more about Headstones and their new album "Love + Fury," please visit headstonesband.com.

Monday, September 23, 2013

CD Review: "The King" Tops The Charts For Avenged Sevenfold

California heavy metal band Avenged Sevenfold return with their sixth album entitled "Hail To The King." It was released back in August where it debuted at #1 on the Billboard album chart, continuing upon the success of their last album "Nightmare." This is also the first album to feature the band's new drummer Arin Ilejay.

The album starts off with the sounds of a burning fire and a bell tolling in the background as a tribute to Black Sabbath, but then the music takes over and you instantly are draw to the heavy metal guitar and drumming of "Shepard Of Fire." The album carries more of a classic metal sound than a modern one as displayed in "Hail To The King" and "This Means War." The band slow the tempo down for the power balled "Crimson Day," but quickly return with the hard hitting "Coming Home" and "Planets." The album closes with the big, epic production of "Acid Rain" as songwriting and song structure play an important role on this new release.

After performing at Rock In Rio with Iron Maiden and Slayer, Avenged Sevenfold are hitting the U.S. in October, then heading over to Europe in November. For more information on the new album and for a complete list of tour dates, check out avengedsevenfold.com.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

CD Review: The Smiths' Johnny Marr Follows "The Messenger" To Solo Success

English singer/songwriter/guitarist Johnny Marr is finally releasing his debut album at 49 years of age. As a former member of the alternative rock band The Smiths, Marr found success alongside fellow songwriter Morrissey before leaving the band in 1987 over personal and creative differences. For the next fifteen years Marr would be the "go to" guitarist for session work for the likes of Paul McCartney, Pet Shop Boys, Talking Heads, Beck and Oasis. Marr was also involved with a couple other bands before deciding to record his debut solo album in 2012.
 
The twelve song release begins with the up-tempo guitar rocker "The Right Thing Right," which shows that Marr hasn't lost a step since his days with The Smiths. He continues to look to break down walls with the alternative punk style of "I Want The Heartbeat" and the big guitar riffs of the album's lead single "Upstarts." Marr finds that eighties underground sound with "The Messenger," then gets moody on the synthesizer-filled "Say Demesne." The album's latest single "New Town Velocity" is what fans were expecting from Marr's solo album, before closing with the aggressive guitar driven "World Starts Attack."
 
Johnny Marr is currently on tour in Europe before hitting the U.S. shores in November. To find out more about Johnny Marr and his newest album "The Messanger," please visit johnny-marr.com.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

CD Review: Bombino Gets Help From The Black Keys' Dan Auerbach On "Nomad"

From Niger, Africa comes one of the most unique rock bands that you will ever fall in love with. Bombino is the brainchild of Tuareg guitarist/singer Omara "Bombino" Moctar. In 2007, the Tuareg Rebellion forced Bombino in exile which put his recording career on hold even before it started. He was able to return in 2010 to record his debut album "Agadez," which debuted in the top five of iTunes World Chart. This album caught the ear of The Black Keys' Dan Auerbach, who would go on to produce his latest release "Nomad." Released back in April, the album entered the iTunes World Chart and Billboard World Chart at #1.
 
Even though the album is sung in his native language of Tamashek, the music is so addictive that you find yourself hooked on the guitar grooves of "Amidinine" and "Imuhar." Auerbach lends a hand playing bass on the two-minute free form rock of "Niamey Jam," then Bombino adds a little Middle-Eastern flavor to his rock sound on "Adinat." One of the tracks to stand out is the country gallop of "Imidiwan," before closing the album with the smooth blues of, "Tamiditine."
 
Bombino is currently on tour in Europe for the next couple months after opening for Robert Plant on his most recent U.S. tour. To find out more about this truly unique artist, please visit bombinomusic.com.

Friday, September 20, 2013

CD Review: MGMT Build Upon Their Indie-Rock Success With A New Album

Alternative psychedelic rockers MGMT released their third album on September 17th after a three year wait. The self-titled release is one of the most anticipated releases of the year, especially after fans received a glimpse into the new album on Record Store Day back in April. Songwriters Benjamin Goldwasser and Andrew VanWyngarden experimented with the songs in the studio to create some unique soundscapes that will make this album stand out amongst the others.

The album starts off with "Alien Days," which gets interesting during the fuzzed out guitar solo while a constant drum beat keeps time. The beats and rhythms of "Cool Song No. 2" showcases the experimentation that this band encounters when creating music together. The swirling sounds of "Introspection" and the electronic drumming of "Astro-Mancy" displays the diversity in MGMT's range of sounds. The album closes with the pop vocals of "Plenty Of Girls In The Sea" and the atmospheric soundscape of the Pink Floydian "An Orphan of Fortune."

MGMT are heading to Europe for a month of shows, beginning on September 26. For a complete list of dates and for information on the new album, please visit whoismgmt.com.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

CD Review: New Self-Titled Hardcore Metal From Activator And Conducting From The Grave

From New York comes the new album from hardcore/thrash metal band Activator. The new self-titled album was released on September 17th and features production by Jim Williams (Maximum Pentalty) and mixing by Matt Snedecor (Rush). The music on this release is a mix of old and new material recorded with a passion to capture the band's live sound.
The aggressiveness of Activator's sound comes bleeding from the speakers in the hard-hitting opening songs "Savior" and "Bedside Manor." The band's energetic sound is felt in the punk-like speed of "Sexy For Breakfast" and "Shackle," while "Interlope" showcases that hardcore/doom metal sound that has given them opening slots on tour with Bad Brains and Murphy's Law. The album closes with the slow-build up of "Unfortunate Lovely" as buzzing guitars and machine-gun drumming lay a path of destruction.
To find out more about this underground metal band, check out their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ActivatorNYC.
From the other side of the U.S. comes the California indie-metal band Conducting From The Grave. Their self-titled album will be released on October 1st with help from the band's Kickstater campaign. This latest release is the band third album.
The extreme hardcore metal sound of the opening song "Honor Guide Me!" introduces you to forty minutes of mind-plastering music from one of the rising underground band in hardcore metal. The speed drumming and screaming vocals of "Lycan" showcases the band's appeal with their fans. The tempo changes and growling vocals of "The Rise," along with the powerfully energetic attack of "The Harvest" display a high impact assault on your ears. The album closes with part three of "The Monster" which is as close as Conducting From The Grave will get to mainstream metal.
Conducting From The Grave have a few dates lined-up in California, including the CD Release show at The Boardwalk in Orangevale, CA. To find out more about the band, check out their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/conductingfromthegrave.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

CD Review: Star Anna Returns From "Hell" With A New Release

From Seattle, WA comes singer/songwriter Star Anna with her latest release entitled "Got To Hell" on Spark & Shine Records. She has received praise for her music from fellow musicians including Pearl Jam's Mike McCready and Guns 'n' Roses/Velvet Revolver's Duff McKagan. This, her fourth album, continues the path to underground success that lays ahead for Star Anna.

The album starts off with the aggressive, acoustic-folk of "For Anyone" as Star Anna has a chip on her shoulder that needs to be unleashed. Star gets a little bluesy on the title song, before hitting her pop stride on "Electric Lights." The edgier side of her sound rears its head on "Let Me Be" as she sings with a purpose. The album also contains a couple of covers including her reckless vocal delivery on "Power of My Love," made famous by Elvis Presley and Tom Waits' "Come On Up To The House," which sounds like a very successful jam session. The album closes with the punk fury of "Smoke Signals."

Star Anna has a CD release show lined up for this Friday at The Tractor Tarvern in Seattle, WA. To find out more about this indie folk-rock artist, please visit her website at staranna.com.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

CD Review: David Gogo Wants You To "Come On Down" And Enjoy His New Album

Canadian guitarist/singer David Gogo returns with his thirteenth studio album entitled "Come On Down." The album was released on September 17th through Cordova Bay Records and mixes in Gogo's originals with some cover songs.

Speaking of cover songs, the album starts off with a blazing rendition of The Faces' "Bad 'n' Ruin," which allows Gogo to flex his guitar muscle peeling off riffs. He gets a little bluesy with the title song, before picking the tempo back up with "Call Your Name" and "Kings." He dives back into the cover songs, giving new life to the Atlantic Rhythm Section's "So Into You" and adding a little blues flair into "Let's Go Get Stoned," made famous by Ray Charles. The album closes with a couple of Fleetwood Mac's lesser known hits, the pop sway of "Spare Me A Little Of Your Love" and the stand-up and take notice guitar-drivin "World Turning."

David Gogo has a load of live dates in Canada, beginning this Friday with a CD Release show at the Hermann's Jazz Club in Victoria, BC. To find out more about this outstanding musician, please visit his website at davidgogo.com.

Monday, September 16, 2013

CD Review: Black Label Society Take Their Foot Off The Throttle With "UnBlackened"

The guitar-driven hard rock band Black Label Society, helmed by Zakk Wylde, known for blazing guitar riffs and reckless vocals, are presenting themselves in a different light. This latest release entitled "Unblackened" shows the band taking a step back from their hard-hitting sound with the use of more acoustic instruments in a live setting. The album was recorded at Los Angeles' Club Nokia earlier this year and features 23 songs mixing in classic Black Label Society songs from throughout the band's existence. This new release might just give someone a different opinion of the band.

The two disc set starts off with a couple from the "Kings Of Damnation" album as you begin to notice in the song "Sold My Soul" the use of more acoustic instruments along side Wylde's electric guitar takeover. The song "Spoke In The Wheel" shows a softer sound to the band's catalog, while "Machine Gun Man" comes off like a southern rocker that the Allman Brothers Band would have released in their heyday. The close of the first disc captures the live energy of the band with the eleven-minute epic "Throwin' It All Away."
 
The second disc finishes the show with the acoustic grunge of "Won't Find It Here" and the eight-minute show closing pinnacle of "Stillborn." The second disc also contains six-newly recorded studio songs, unplugged. Two of the songs are covers, including a great heart-wrenching version of Bill Withers' "Ain't No Sunshine" and the oddly attractive "Song For You," originally written by Leon Russell. It's bands like Black Label Society that keep their music fresh by successfully expanding their sound beyond the normal heavy metal scene.
 
The new album "Unblackened" will be available on September 24th through eOne Music in a regular 2CD set and a deluxe 2CD/DVD set featuring a photo book and a signature replica of Zakk Wylde's silver dagger necklace. To find out more about this outstanding release, please visit blacklabelsociety.com.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

CD Review: Berlin Returns And Brings Out The "Animal" In Their New Album

The new wave band Berlin have surprisingly been around for 25 years. Most people know them from their hits in the eighties, including the chart-topping single "Take My Breath Away." Now after an eight year absence, the band returns with their latest album of new material entitled "Animal." The album will be released on September 17th through Something Music and carries a very modern, updated sound.
 
The album leads off with the club beats of "Animal" as lead singer Terri Nunn's voice sounds ageless as she belongs in the conversation with the likes of Lady Gaga and Katy Perry. The album's first single, "It's The Way" is a slow sway that fans may be more familiar with as Nunn's vocals become the highlight of the song. The dance beats return on "With The Lights On" as the sultry lyrics make the song very attractive to today's club attendees. The mellow, but meaningful "Blame It On The World" is the perfect contradiction to the up-beat electronic pop of "Secrets." The album closes with the powerful sounds of "Mom" and Nunn's vocals sound so natural against the piano backdrop.
 
Berlin are taking "Animal" on the road with some live dates scheduled at the moment, but look for more dates to be announced once the album gets released. To find out more, please visit berlinpage.com.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

CD Review: Lightning Strikes Twice With The Prog Collective's New "Epilogue"

The rock supergroup, Prog Collective made such a big splash last year with it's debut album that they decided to return to the studio, inviting a load of progressive rock all-star. The new album entitled "Epilogue" was released on September 10 through Purple Pyramid in association with Cleopatra Records. Some of the names attached to this project read like a who's-who of classic rock music. Twenty-five musicians and singers from bands like Yes, Deep Purple, Dream Theater, King Crimson, Hawkwind, Nektar have come together with the leadership of Yes' Billy Sherwood to create a truly exceptional album.
 
The nine song album begins with "Are We To Believe?" as you get a sense of something special happening. Rick Wakeman's synthesizer work and Colin Moulding's vocals give the music a classic seventies vibe that harks back to the early days of Genesis. Eight of the nine songs go well beyond the seven-minute mark which allows these outstanding musicians to open up and perform up to their greatest ability. John Wetton's timeless vocals on "What Can Be Done?" adds some familiarity to the album's space rock sound. The album's lead single "Shining Diamonds" shows-off the amazing bass work of Chris Squire, while supported by Billy Idol's leading man, Steve Stevens on guitar and Alan Parsons on vocals. Band leader Billy Sherwood finally gets into the act providing the lead vocals to a couple of songs, including the nine-minute epic of "Just Another Day." The album closes with a guest appearance from Captain Kirk as William Shatner talks his way through the heavy rock of "Epilogue."
 
To find out more about this latest release from the supergroup Prog Collective, please visit the band's Facebook page at www.facebook.com/pages/The-Prog-Collective/401268559931699.

Friday, September 13, 2013

CD Review: Debut Albums From Rising Singer/Songwriters Give Hope

New York singer/songwriter Kira Velella recently released her debut album entitled "Daughter." The six-song EP showcases Kira's fun, playful lyrics and her sweet, Jewel-like vocals in the opening song "Lover, Move." The soothing, gentle folk-storytelling of "Act Your Age" and the darker tone of "Come Down" shows the diversity in Kira's songwriting. The album closes with the thump/clap beat of "Found Her, Found Her" and the moody guitar backdrop shows us an artist feeling her way through her emense talents.
 
Kira Velella has a handful shows lined up in New York. For more information, please visit Kira's website a kiravelella.com.
 
From Chicago comes fellow singer/songwriter Sarah Marie Young with her first full-length release, "Too Many Februaries." The album is so soaked in jazz/R&B/soul that you can't help but feel good listening to this album, beginning with the acapella opener "Too Late To Say Goodbye." Her voice is so attractive and sultry that her lyrics just dance around in your head with "Good Morning To You" and Too Many Februaries." You feel like you went back in time to the jazz clubs of the 1920s and 30s with "Dream" and "Pretty Baby," while "Good Morning To Me" is a fun piece of music that breaks up the album's jazz-filled sound.
 
Sarah Marie Young has a bunch of shows in Chicago over the course of the next couple months. For more information on live dates and her new album, please visit sarahmarieyoung.com.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

CD Review: Jonny Kaplan & The Lazy Stars Look To "Shine" On New Album

From Southern California comes the good, straight-up rock of Jonny Kaplan & The Lazy Stars with the release of their new album "Sparkle And Shine." The album took almost six years to make, following the motorcycle accident of band lead Jonny Kaplan. It took the help of fellow band member and keyboardist Rami Jaffee (The Wallfowers) to get Kaplan back into the studio. This album also features a load of friends including Adam MacDougall (The Black Crowes), Brad Smith (Blind Melon), Jessy Greene (Foo Fighters) and actress Daryl Hannah.

The album begins with the title song as the music is so pure without the need for anything extra. This song could have just as easily been on a Tom Petty album. Kaplan and his band get down and dirty on the blues rocker "Annalee Meets The Scorpion," before heading to more familiar territory on the Americana-feel of "Helena's Afraid." The wonderful acoustics of "When You're Down" is one of the two songs that feature Daryl Hannah's harmonizing vocals. The other song featuring Hannah's voice is the gentle folk-poetry of "Always." The album closes with the storied lyrics of "Pretty Little Nose," amongst a soothing backdrop of acoustic instrumentation.
 
Jonny Kaplan & The Lazy Stars currently have no live dates scheduled, but look for the new album to arrive on September 24 through Reckless Grace Music. For more information, please visit jonnykaplanmusic.com.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Band's Live Performance From The Academy Of Music Gets Remastered

Coming this Tuesday, September 17, is the high-profile release of The Band's 1971 concert at New York City's Academy of Music. The new set features four newly remastered CDs worth of live material from the four shows The Band performed at the end of the year in 1971, including the entire uncut New Year's Eve show that featured special guest Bob Dylan. A fifth disc is a DVD featuring the songs in 5.1 Surround mixes, and also offering newly discovered footage of two songs filmed by Howard Alk and Murray Lerner along with pictures from the Band's run of performances.
 
Guitarist Robbie Robertson was not happy with the remastered version of the album "Rock of Ages," which featured songs from that string of shows. He decided to take matters into his own hands by remastering and producing the shows with help from Michael Murphy, Matt D’Amico and Bob Clearmountain. The final product is housed in a deluxe, 48-page hardbound book with previously unseen photos, a reproduction of Rolling Stone’s original "Rock of Ages" review by magazine co-founder Ralph J. Gleason, an essay by The Band’s Robbie Robertson, and appreciations of The Band and the set’s recordings by Mumford & Sons and Jim James of My Morning Jacket.
 
The two-minute trailer for this outstanding release can be seen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t1Ux2Np9RWQ&feature=share&list=UUt8virctRwIp4RFTV3UchHA.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

CD Review: From These Ruins And True North Come Out Blazing With New Music

Independent music comes rising to the top with a couple of high-powered rock releases. American metal band, From These Ruins are hitting the ground running with their debut EP, "Brotherhood." Their music is in constant rotation on over 50 Internet radio station and they are receiving positive feedback from many music critics.
 
The six-song album begins with the pounding drums and screaming vocals of "Biblicon," while the harmonizing chorus draws strong similarities to Linkin Park. Their aggressive sound comes pouring out with "Last Request" as From These Ruins find the perfect sound to make them metal masters. The EP finishes up with the dark, eerie sound of the title track as they hit that Zombie-esque metal groove and then showcase their power in the energetic "Temptation."
 
From These Ruins have half-a-dozen shows lined-up in their home state of Indiana. For more information, please visit the band's website at fromtheseruins.com.
 
From St. Louis comes the new punk band True North with their debut EP, "Hymns In Stereo," released through Zero Youth Records. The band recorded the album in just three days, capturing that raw, garage rock sound.
 
The eight-song EP is high octane with the energy flowing through the songs "Last Of Us" and "Auto Manifesto." Their sound is pure punk on "Candence" as they draw similarities to bands like Pennywise and Bouncing Souls. They hit their stride on the arena anthem rocker "Hymns In Stereo," performing at a lightning pace, before closing the album with the band stretching their sound to a more mainstream sound with "Shallow Pockets."
 
To find out more about this new underground punk band, please visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/TrueNorthStLouis

Monday, September 9, 2013

CD Review: Metal Blade Records Release New High Points For GWAR And TYR

Gore metal gods GWAR return with their first new album since the death of guitarist Cory Smoot. The new release entitled "Battle Maximus" will be released on September 17 through Metal Blade Records. The album has been a year-and-a-half in the making and shows new life in a band that has been around almost thirty years.
 
The album takes you on a wild ride with the thrash metal speed of "Madness At The Core Of Time" and the big banging guitars of "Bloodbath." Their music hits hard with "They Swallowed The Sun" and hits that perfect hardcore metal groove on "Torture." GWAR do not disappoint with the energetic machine-gun drumming of "I, Bonesnapper" and the theme-fueled, classic sound FX story of "Mr. Perfect." The album closes with the mainstream metal of "Fly Now" as this album is an instant classic.
 
GWAR are bringing "Battle Maximus" on the road, circling the U.S. and Canada over the course of the next couple months. For a complete list of live dates and for more information on the new album, please visit gwar.net.
 
Viking metal band TYR will be releasing their tenth studio album, "Valkyrja" on September 17th through Metal Blade Records. The new album tells the story of an anonymous Viking age warrior who leaves his woman and goes off to impress the Valkyrie on the battlefield so that she may bring him to Valhalla, or to Fólkvangr, the home of Freyja—the goddess associated with love, sexuality, beauty, fertility, gold, sorcery, war, and death. The songs are very well crafted and filled with big drums and loud guitars.
 
The album starts off with "Blood Of Heroes," which introduces you to the story with hard-hitting music and outstanding metal vocals. The storied vocals of "Mare Of My Night" brings up memories of the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal with the band's intricate musicianship. The tempo slows for a moment for "The Lay Of Our Love" featuring Leaves' Eyes vocalist Liv Kristine joining lead singer Heri Joensen on vocals. The album picks up with intensity on the electrifying "Another Fallen Brother," and the power metal of "Gridavisan." The thirteen song album finishes up with the thrash metal sound of "Where Eagles Dare" and the much-welcomed, aggressive "Cemetery Gates."
 
TYR are on tour in Europe for the next couple of months. To find out more about their latest release "Valkyja," please visit the band's Facebook page at www.facebook.com/tyrband.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

CD Review: Joe Satriani's U.S. Tour Will Have "Unstoppable Momentum"

Guitarist extrodinare Joe Satriani has easily become one of the top instrumental performers to have ever picked up the instrument. His second solo album, "Surfing With The Alien" has reached platinum status and his recent collaboration with the band, Chickenfoot has made them one of the top hard rock bands of today. This past May, Satriani found time to release his fourteenth solo album, "Unstoppable Momentum," which debuted at #42 on the Billboard Album chart and he recently embarked on a solo tour which runs through the U.S. and Canada for the next two months.
 
His new album begins with the title song, "Unstoppable Momentum" as sort of a warm-up for himself and the band, giving little hints of excitement while showing a harder edge to his playing. Satriani gets a little bluesy on "Can't Go Back," before going off on "Lies And Truths" as he plays his heart out, changing tempos and ripping off guitar shredding solos. He lets his feelings pour into the quick 90-second performance of "I'll Put A Stone On Your Cairn," before returning to his classic big rock sound on "A Door Into Summer." He closes the album with epic sounding "The Weight Of The World," which almost sound like a missed opportunity for Chickenfoot and the up-beat, fun sounds of "A Celebration."
 
For a complete list of tour dates, as well as information on the new album, "Unstoppable Momentum," please visit satriani.com.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

CD Review: Former Hawkwind Member, Nik Turner Goes Out In "Space"

Singer/Saxophonist/Flutist Nik Turner, former founding member of the seventies "space rock" band Hawkwind, finally has a brand new solo album entitled "Space Gypsy." It is Turner's first new album in over a dozen years  and it will be released on September 24th through Purple Pyramid in association with Cleopatra Records.
 
The album begins with the space rock of "Fallen Angel STS-51-L" as Turner only gets a few moments to showcase his sax playing on this up-tempo rocker. The energy continues on "Joker's Son" as Turner's sax solo becomes the highlight of the song. He brings you back in time for the retro-sounding "Time Crypt" featuring fellow Hawkwind band mate Simon House on violin and then Turner lets his flute do the talking on the epic, atmospheric "Coming Of The Maya." He shows his softer side on the acoustic "Eternity," before finishing up the album with the sixties rock vibe of "The Visitor."

After the release of his new album, Nik Turner and his band will embark on a two month U.S. tour beginning October 9th in California before making its way eastward. Turner will also be performing a free show on October 30th at BAR in New Haven, CT. For a complete list of tour dates and to find out more about his new album "Space Gypsy," please visit cleorecs.com/home/hawkwind-legend-nik-turner-returns-with-a-new-cd-space-gypsy-upcoming-us-tour/.

Friday, September 6, 2013

CD Review: Bloodshot Records Lets The New Music Do The Talking

Alternative country artist Robbie Fulks returns after a three year absence with the release of "Gone Away Backwards." It is his first album on Bloodshot Records in over a dozen years and Fulks' tone on the new album makes one think that it feels good to be back home.
 
The album begins with the classic Americana sound of "I'll Trade You Money For Wine" as he does his best Hank Williams impression. The storytelling lyrics of "Where I Fell" are easy to get lost in as the mellow acoustic guitars gallop along behind Fulk's vocals. He showcases his finger-picking on the banjo-led "Long I Ride," before hitting the album's highlight, the beautifully performed "That's Where I'm From." The simple sounds of "Imogene" and the fun-filled "Sometimes The Grass Is Really Greener" show an artist that is in love with what he does as Fulks' music feels fresh and new.
 
Robbie Fulks is currently on tour, heading to the east coast to perform during the month of September, including stops at Café Nine in Connecticut and the Iron Horse in Massachusetts. To find out more about Robbie's new album, "Gone Away Backward," please visit robbiefulks.com.
 
On the flip side to Fulks' gentle acoustics is the fuel-injected rock & roll of Barrence Whitfield and The Savages. Their latest release, "Dig Thy Savage Soul" is a blast of raw rock that has equal parts of Little Richard and The Black Keys.
 
The album wastes no time getting you out of your seat with the fast-paced garage rock of "The Corner Man." They capture more of that sixties rock vibe on "My Baby Didn't Come Home," then throw in some of that classic Rockabilly sound with "Daddy's Gone To Bed." Barrence and the band speed through the surf-guitar of "Blackjack" and swing to "Hey Hey Little Girl." The one thing that is undeniable about Barrence Whitfield and The Savages' new album is that it is loads of fun to listen and move along to. The album closes with the big guitar romp of "Turn Your Damper Down" as Barrence lays it all on the line.
 
Barrence Whitfield and The Savages have a release show tomorrow night (Sept. 7) in Cambridge, MA. For more information on the band, please visit www.barrencewhitfield.com.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

CD Review: From North Of The Border Comes The "Sinister" Side Of Deathpoint

From Canada comes the next great metal import, Deathpoint. After signing with their new record label, Spread The Metal Records, in April of this year, the band are releasing their sophomore album, "Sinister" in October. The band's appeal is a brutal attack of the senses as their hardcore metal sound is exactly what the doctor called for.
 
The album starts off with the crunching guitars of "Between The Lines" as your eardrums gets abused by the heavy drumming and screaming metal vocals. Deathpoint keep up the attack with "For Your Eyes Only," before showcasing the album's "Top 20" single "Sinister." The song captures the perfect energy and aggression that the band are trying to portray with their brand of hardcore metal music. The head-banging beat of "Condemned To Suffer" and the speed metal assault of "Remission" proves that Deathpoint is a force to reckon with.
 
To find out more about this amazing underground metal band, please visit the band's Facebook page at www.facebook.com/deathpoint.metal.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

CD Review: Signs Preyer Represent New Metal From Italy With Debut Album

European metal band Signs Preyer recently released their hard hitting, self-titled debut album. After forming in 2006, the band entered the studio after two years of touring to create their demo which would help the band sign with Red Cat Records. After two more years of opening for bands like Helmet, Corrosion For Conformity and original Iron Maiden lead singer Paul Di'Anno, Signs Preyer entered the studio in 2011 to put together their latest album.
 
The nine-song album begins with "Anger" as the band brings in different elements of thrash, doom and progressive metal to create something new and innovative. The evilness of "Just To Kill You" has a great metal groove, while "Killer Instinct" has a classic feel to song's aggressive tone. The album gets dark and moody with "Dark Soul," before closing the album with the mainstream metal of "Signs Preyer" and the hidden bonus sound experiment.
 
Signs Preyer have one show scheduled at the moment in Rome, Italy for this Friday, September 6th. The band will be entering the studio soon to record their follow-up album. For more information, check out the band's Facebook page at www.facebook.com/SignsPreyer.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

CD Review: New Singer/Songwriters Are Making Some Amazing New Music

Singer/songwriter Cecei is a well-traveled musician, moving from LA to Ft. Worth and before that, living in Hong Kong. They say that singers write their best music after facing a major crossroad in their life. This rings true on Cecei's new three-song EP about her break-up and her return to the U.S. after an 18-month engagement in Hong Kong.
 
Cecei pours her heart out on the Adele-sounding "Best Of Me" as she has you hanging on her every word. Her acoustic-folk storytelling side comes shining through on "City Boy," before finding her revenge on "The Reaping" as she lets her feelings fly on this beat-fueled tune of redemption.
 
Cecei's new EP is available now. For more information, please visit www.facebook.com/Cecei.music.
 
Another fellow singer/songwriter, Scott Barken just released his second album entitled "Flightless Bird." After being a session musician for many of today's big singers and bands, he decided it was time to venture on his own. Last year he release his debut album, "Little Days" and wasn't done saying what he wanted to say, which brings us to his latest release.
 
His new nine-song album begins with the title song, "Flightless Bird" as you instantly notice how talented a guitarist and singer Barken is. His music is so smooth and free that you feel yourself getting lost in the moment within the songs "Bad Dreams" and "Gone Away." He gets jazzy on the adventures lyrics of "Leaving Here," while making the song so memorable with the repetitive chorus. The Cohen-esqe "Crank Radio" and the gentle album closer "Last First Love" shows us a musician that is one of the best kept secrets to come out of New York.
 
Scott Barken has a handful of dates scattered throughout the U.S. To find out more about his new album "Flightless Bird," please visit scottbarkanmusic.com.

Monday, September 2, 2013

CD Review: Guitarist/Singer Jonny Lang Pours His "Soul" Into His New Album

Grammy-winning blues/rock/gospel guitarist/singer Jonny Lang is returning, after seven years, with a brand new studio album entitled "Fight For My Soul." The new release will be available on September 17th through Concord Records and was co-produced by Lang along with Tommy Sims (Eric Clapton).
 
The 11-song album just dives right into familiar territory with the guitar-driven blues-rock of "Blew Up (The House)." He experiments with his sound, throwing in some R&B beats on "Breakin' In" and on the pop-infused "What Are You Looking For." His voice and guitar shine on the epic sounding "The Truth," before hitting the funk groove of "River." He shows us the gentle side of his song-writing with the acoustic "All Of A Sudden" and the power ballad "Seasons" before Lang closes the album by pouring his heart and soul into "I'll Always Be."
 
Jonny Lang embarked on a five-month tour back in July and is making his way across the U.S., beginning on the west coast. For a complete list of tour dates and for more information on his new album "Fight For My Soul," please visit jonnylang.com.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

CD Review: John Mayer Finds "Paradise Valley" On New Release

Singer/songwriter/guitarist John Mayer has documented his maturity with each new album he releases. The mostly acoustic 2012 release "Born And Raised" seemed like a group of personal songs that he needed to get off his chest in order to take that next step in his music career. Now with the new release of his sixth studio album, "Paradise Valley," Mayer has finally achieved that sophisticated mellow rock that he was destined to produce.
 
The eleven-song album starts off with the clap-along pop/rock of "Wildfire" as his guitar playing finally gets even time with his smooth vocals. His acoustic letter of "Dear Marie" is his way of dealing with the internet mayhem that has surrounded his life in the past. He also writes a song about his ex-flame Taylor Swift with the album's lead-single "Paper Doll" as Mayer keeps his cool with showcasing a little blues guitar. He also invites a couple of guests to help out on his album as Mayer harmonizes with current girlfriend Katy Perry on "Who You Are" and allows Frank Ocean to take the lead on the 88-second version of "Wildfire." The album closes with the appropriate titled "On The Way Home," which is Mayer's new favorite place to be.
 
John Mayer is currently on tour, supporting his last two releases as vocal surgery derailed his last tour. His live dates run in mid-October, including a stop at the Rock In Rio Festival on September 21. For more information on his new album, "Paradise Valley," please visit johnmayer.com.