Sunday, June 25, 2017

CD Review: Two New Releases Center Around Seventies Rock Band Big Star

Seventies rockers Big Star were a huge influence to many of the alternative bands of the eighties and nineties. Their three seventies studio albums have become cult classics and turn the band into one of the greatest hidden gems in rock music. On June 16, the Concord Music Group in association with Stax Records released "The Best Of Big Star," a collection of 16-songs from their seventies output. While many of the songs on this release may not be considered hits, each one showcases a different aspect of the band.

Beginning with the pop/rock of "In The Street" and continuing with the garage rock of "Don't Lie To Me," you know that Big Star can rock. They can also perform the acoustic folk storytelling of "Thirteen" and the starkness of "I'm In Love With A Girl," which also showcases their beautiful songwriting. Their sound progressed with the addition of a string section on the ballad "Take Care," while still rocking with "Back Of A Car" and delivering the ultimate message with "Thank You Friends." To find out more about "The Best Of Big Star," please visit concordmusicgroup.com.

Less than a month later we get the earliest known recordings of Big Star founding member Chris Bell in a new compilation titled "Looking Forward: The Roots Of Big Star." This new release will be available on July 7th through Omnivore Recordings and features 22-tracks (6 previously unreleased) of Bell's work with his early bands, Rock City, Christmas Future, Icewater and The Wallabys.

You can hear the early British rock influence on songs like "My Life Is Right" and "Feeling High." The psychedelic rock of Icewater's "Looking Forward" and Bell's solo "Psychdelic Stuff" showcases his love for experimenting with his sound, outside of what's popular. You can hear the early roots of Big Star in the up-tempo rock of "A Chance To Live" and "Lovely Lady." The hidden gem on this release is the Tom Eubanks original "Shine On Me," which sounds like seventies gold, while the country acoustics of "Try Again" showcases Bell's beautiful songwriting. To find out more about the new compilation "Looking Forward: The Roots Of Big Star," please visit omnivorerecordings.com.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

CD Review: Relive The Glory Days Of Punk/Ska With New Albums From Goldfinger & Anti-Nowhere League

American punk/ska band Goldfinger are preparing to release their 7th studio album titled "The Knife" on July 21st through Rise Records. It will be the band's first full length album in almost a decade as Goldfinger almost abandoned releasing albums altogether. This new release also includes Blink-182 drummer Travis Baker on all tracks except one, which features Twenty-One Pilots drummer Josh Dun. The new 13-song album begins with the high energy, punk flow of "A Million Miles" and the ska feel of "Get What I Need," as lead vocalist John Feldmann brings familiarity to the songs. Goldfinger play around with the fact that they've been around for over 20 years with the fun lyrics of "Am I Deaf," then deliver the deep reggae/ska groove of "Tijuana Sunrise." The album's lead single, "Put The Knife Away" showcases the band's energy and they still have fun with their music as in "Orthodontist Girl" and "Liftoff." Goldfinger will be performing on a few west coast shows of the Vans Warped Tour. For a complete list of live dates and to find out more about their new album "The Knife," please visit goldfingermusic.com.


English punk band Anti-Nowhere League are quickly following up their 2016 album "The Cage" with another new album filled with cover songs. The new release titled "League Style!" takes ten reggae classics from the Tojan music catalogue and adds their own spin to the music. Anti-Nowhere League founder and frontman Animal is a fan of this style of music and the band had dedicated years into creating this album. It begins with the thick reggae backbeat of "Johnny Two Bad" as Anti-Nowhere League inject an extra boost of energy into this 1972 classic. They turn "Singer Man" and "Love Of The Common People" into punk anthems with a classic appeal. They fully capture the reggae spirit of "Long Shot Kick De Bucket," before finishing with their cover of The Tremeloes' 1970 single "Me & My Life." To find out more about Anti-Nowhere League and their latest release "League Style," please visit antinowhereleague.com.

Friday, June 23, 2017

CD/DVD Review: New "Purple Rain" Deluxe Edition Collects All It Can From Prince

Finally the vault has opened. Since the death of Prince last year, fans have been patiently waiting to hear what Prince has kept in his musical vault. Rumors have swirled that there are full albums, live concerts and collaborations that have been professionally recorded and scrapped for more impulsive music. On June 23, we will get a new deluxe version of Prince's 80's soundtrack masterpiece "Purple Rain." It will be released through Warner Bros. Records and comes as a 3CD/DVD set, a 2CD set and a rare picture disc vinyl.
 
The first disc features the original 9-song soundtrack, remastered at Paisley Park back in 2015 and approved by Prince himself. The music in these songs sound so crisp and clear that you may even notice things within the songs that you may never have heard before. The chiming of the cymbals in "Take Me With You" and the amazingly forgotten guitar solo in "Computer Blue" stand out on this new remastered version of the album. The classic hits of "Let's Go Crazy" and "I Would Die 4 U" sound better than ever with a new polished feel and "Purple Rain" still burns with its timeless guitar solo.
 
Disc 2 is filled with what fans have been waiting to hear, as we get 11-tracks that were recorded for the album and the movie, but were never released until now. It kicks off with the high energy, 11-plus minute electronic, experimental/jam piece "The Dance Electric," while Prince's backing band, The Revolution lead the way on the funk-fueled "Love And Sex." Prince and the band expand upon "Computer Blue," pushing it past the 12-minute mark as Prince reads his "Hallway Speech" poetry. Prince steps away from the mic on the first half of "Our Destiny / Roadhouse Garden," allowing his keyboardist Lisa Coleman to take the lead, before stepping back in for the second part of the song. The whole second disc is an undiscovered treasure of high-quality finished music that shows how much Prince had to offer early in his career, before this album made him a global sensation.
 
The 3rd disc consists of all of the B-sides and single edits that were released from this album. The popular hits like "When Doves Cry," "Let's Go Crazy" and "Purple Rain" appear here in their shortened, less well-known versions. The highlight of this disc is the inclusion of all of the B-sides that were only released on the original singles and have been sought after by fans ever since there release. Songs that have appeared as B-sides like "17 Days," "Erotic City" and "Another Lonely Christmas" have developed as classics in their own right. While most bands used throwaway tracks as B-sides, Prince's songs that he used for B-sides are just a good as the material he placed on the album.
 
The "Purple Rain" deluxe expanded edition also includes a DVD of Prince live at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, NY on March 30, 1985. The setlist for the show includes tracks from his current release at the time, plus old favorites like "Delirious," "1999" and "Little Red Corvette." To find out more about this new release of Prince's "Purple Rain" soundtrack, please visit officialprincemusic.com.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

CD Review: New Heavy Metal Music Arriving From Conveyer, Carnivore, Crimson Glory, Twilight Force & Soul Remnants

Arriving June 23rd is the sophomore release from hardcore metal band Conveyer. The new album titled "No Future" will be available through Victory Records. It features 11 bone-crushing anthems, beginning with the power attack of "Dust." The screams come reigning down during the swiftness of "The Whetstone" and the power of the music of "New Low" will hit you like a ton of bricks. The energy of "Levity," plus the aggressiveness of "No Future" and "Drift" will have you stand up and take notice of this new rising hardcore metal band. To find out more about Conveyer and their latest release "No Future," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/CONVEYER. 

Earlier this month, Roadrunner Archive label in association with Metalville have released new digitally remastered albums from the band's Carnivore and Crimson Glory. The band Carnivore was the introduction of singer/bassist Pete Steele (Type O Negative) into the metal world. Their original 8-track debut album gets expanded with 3 bonus tracks. In the early 80's, Carnivore were an underground thrash metal band from Brooklyn, NY that never found the popularity of other thrash metal bands like Metallica and fellow New Yorkers, Anthrax. The three bonus tracks contained on this new reissue include "U.S.A. For U.S.A.," "S.M.D." and "Sex And Violence." These songs would appear on the band's second album, but have been added since their history dates back to the studio sessions for Carnivore's debut album.

The sophomore album from Crimson Glory titled "Transcendence" is also get reissued. This was the band's most anticipated album, since their debut album sold so well among the rising hair metal fans of the mid-eighties. This second album from Crimson Glory finds the band adding a more progressive rock feel to their music. Their sound drew similarities to Queensryche, but never achieved the same fame and the band broke up shortly after their third album. Songs like "Lady Of Winter" and "Painted Skies" showcased some of the band's hard rock sound, while "Burning Bridges" and "In Dark Places" showcases the band's stellar songwriting and musicianship as they tested the limits of their fans with these new progressive metal numbers. Both albums were released on June 2nd.

Swedish metal band Twilight Force arrived on May 5th with their new album "Heroes Of Mighty Magic." Their orchestral heavy metal sound feels so epic in the album's opening track "Battle Of Arcane Might" that you feel part of the song's grand story. Strap yourself in for a ride of adventure with the swiftness of "Powerwind" and the "Flight Of The Sapphire Dragon" as this magical journey of heavy metal and mythical tales take you away from the norm. Their musicianship excels during the 10-minute prog-metal feel of "There And Back Again" and "Heroes Of Might Magic" as this music could be the soundtrack to the next season of "Game Of Thrones." To find out more about Twilight Force and their latest release "Heroes Of Might Magic," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/twilightforce.

Finally from Boston, comes the latest release titled "Ouroboros" from death metal band Soul Remnants. It is the band's third album since their 2009 debut and the album revolves around a futuristic, dystopian war among mankind. The new 9-song release comes blasting out of the gate with the intense attack of "Mechanical Synapse Modulations." They continue to deliver an onslaught of aggression with "Regurgitation And Consumed" and "Mental Tourniquet" with their growling vocals and buzzing guitars. Soul Remnants finishes with the progressive death metal energy of "Dissolving Into Obscurity" and the grinding rhythm of "False Kingdom Of Prophecy." To find out more about Soul Remnants and their latest release "Ouroboros," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/SoulRemnants.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

CD Review: New Music From Indie-Artists Marcus Singletary, The Victory Drive, The Shrimps & Highland Kites

The musical chameleon, Marcus Singletary is back again with a new EP titled "Spirit Dialogues." Singletary has delivered everything from rock to country to funk and blues, and now he showcases re-imagined versions of classic songs by Buddy Holly, Wayne Shorter and Genesis. His new 3-song/3-spoken word EP begins with the Holly tune "Not Fade Away," which doesn't stray too far from the original, but does tack on a extended guitar solo that pushes the song to the 7-minute mark. He delivers a rock infused, Hendrix-style guitar to Wayne Shorter's "Footprints" and then closes with the guitar instrumental tribute to Genesis' song "All In A Mouse's Night." To find out more about Marcus Singletary and his latest release "Spirit Dialogues," please visit marcussingletary.com.

From New Jersey comes the latest EP titled "Before I Self Destruct" from indie-rock band The Victory Drive. The new 3-song release begins with a cover of Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance." They slowly build the song up, verse by verse as the electro-pop music continues to intensify up until its grand arena rock finale. The album continues with the strong pop tones of "The Countdown Pt. II," before closing with with the emotions of "Dynamite" as The Victory Drive continue to grow and mature with each new release. To find out more about The Victory Drive and their latest release "Before I Self Destruct," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/thevictorydriveofficial.

Next up is the British-born Benjamin brothers with their new full-length album titled "Abstracts And Keywords." The album is the latest work of The Shrimps that have been making their way from New York City out to the rest of the world. Their new 11-song release showcases the band's iconic folk-rock sound as they use their harmonies in "Life We Live" and "On The Boat" to invoke emotion in their music. The gentle acoustics of "Wings Of An Angel" has a spiritual appeal as the brothers pour their hearts into their music. To find out more about The Shrimps and their latest release "Abstracts And Keywords," please visit reverbnation.com/theshrimps.

Lastly we arrive at the new highly anticipated release from Highland Kites. The trio's new EP titled "I'm Not Weak" features 5 songs, beginning with the alternative folk appeal of "Nothing To Say." Singer Marissa Lamar showcases her mesmerizing vocals in "Monster" as you easily get lost in her words. Their new short release finishes up with the beautiful gentle acoustic guitars and keyboards of "Temporary Life" along with the atmospheric folk/rock of the title song, "I'm Not Weak." To find out more about Highland Kites and their latest release "I'm Not Weak," please visit highlandkites.com.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

CD Review: New Celebratory Live Albums From Kai Hansen And Stiff Little Fingers

Near the end of the month, we have two new live albums arriving. One from heavy metal singer/guitarist Kai Hansen on June 23 and the other is from the classic punk band Stiff Little Fingers on June 30.
 
Kai Hansen has been an iconic figure in the heavy metal community for over thirty years, first as a co-founder of the heavy metal band Helloween, then as a founding member of the band, Gamma Ray. In 2016 he released his first solo album and he is now following that up with his first solo live album "Thank You Wacken." It showcases Kai at the 2016 Wacken Open Air festival with his same band that he recorded his solo album with, along with some friends. He begins his set with "Born Free" from his solo album, before diving back to the Helloween classic "Ride The Sky." Hansen and the band deliver the "Contract Song" as if it was the new heavy metal anthem, then singers Clementine Delauney (Visions Of Atlantis) and Frank Beck (Gamma Ray) help out on the Helloween song "Victim Of Fate." Kai duets with Clementine on the eight-minute epic "Fire And Ice," before quickening the pace with the electrifying "Follow The Sun." Kai invites one more guest on stage, Michael Kiske from Helloween jto join them for "I Want Out" and "Future World," before finishing the show with "Save Us" from Kai's early days. This new live album from Kai Hansen will be released in CD/DVD, CD/Blu-ray and 2LP vinyl format. To find out more about Kai Hansen and his new release "Thank You Wacken," please visit his Facebook page at facebook.com/kaihansenofficial.
 
Irish punk band Stiff Little Fingers is celebrating their 40th anniversary with a new live album titled "Best Served Loud: Live At Barrowlands." It was recorded last year at the Barrowland Ballroom in Glasgow as the band run through their entire career in 20 songs. They begin the night with the bashing of "Wasted Life" from the band's 1977 album "Inflammable Material." They perform all their material, without stopping, keeping the energy flowing through "Roots, Radicals, Rockers, Reggae" and "Nobody's Hero" from the band's second album. They deliver the love song "Barbed Wire Love" with renewed energy and showcase music from their latest album with "Guilty As Sin" and "My Dark Places." They wrap up their new live album with the reckless punk fury of "Suspect Device" and "Alternative Ulster." To find out more about Stiff Little Fingers and their latest release "Best Served Loud: Live At Barrowlands," please visit slf.rocks.

Monday, June 19, 2017

CD Review: Allen Ginsberg Sings The Words Of William Blake For "Songs Of Innocence & Experience"

Award-winning poet Allen Ginsberg was a leading figure of the "Beat Generation" of the 1950's as his unconventional work touched upon everything from religion to politics to sexual freedom. In 1970, Allen Ginsberg released an album of poetry by William Blake sung by Ginsberg, himself. For years the album has been out of print on vinyl and was never released on CD until its June 23rd premier on Omnivore Recordings.

The 2CD set is broken up into three parts, "Songs Of Innocence," "Songs Of Experience" and "Blake Songs." The new release also includes a new essay by producer Pat Thomas, who was able to track down the original musicians from the sessions to interview for the new liner notes. Ginsberg's vocals will take time to get used to as they struggle at times to carry tune, but the lyrics are what make this release an important piece of poetic history. The 2 sets of songs for "Songs Of Innocence" and "Songs Of Experience" are featured on the first disc as the music carries a folk/baroque feel as Ginsberg's vocals try to follow suit as if he was preaching the work of English Romantic William Blake.

The second disc consists of the "Blake Songs" as Ginsberg recites the work of Blake while accompanied by avant-garde cellist Arthur Russell. The tone is more somber than the first disc as four of the eleven songs have never been released, including the slightly more upbeat feel of "Spring" and the acoustic folk story of a "Nurses Song." The second disc finishes with three Tibetan mantras that feature a Buddhist choir as Ginsberg brings together the Eastern cultures into the Western mind in order to create a true worldly experience. To find out more about this new release of "The Complete Songs of Innocence And Experience," please visit omnivorerecordings.com.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

CD Review: Omnivore Recordings Releases Vol. 3 & 4 Of "Art Pepper's West Coast Sessions"

Omnivore Recordings has done an outstanding job covering the work of jazz saxophonist Art Pepper. Just last month they revisited "The Art Pepper Quartet" album by adding bonus tracks to the new remastered CD and earlier this year, they began releasing the "Art Pepper Presents 'West Coast Session!' Volume 1 & 2." On June 30, Omnivore Recordings will deliver volume 3 & 4 of the "West Coast Session" series.

Volume 3 centers around the recordings Art Pepper did with fellow alto sax player Lee Konitz. In 1982, Art Pepper recorded an album titled "High Jingo" that featured Lee Konitz and his west coast friends. The record company originally released that album under Leo Konitz name in Japan only. Now for the first time a CD in the U.S. we get an expanded reissue of that album that includes 2 bonus tracks from the sessions. The tracks had a certain groove to them that allowed Pepper and Konitz to showcase their skills as in the 8-minute "A Minor Blues In F." Art Pepper also performed clarinet on the slow, gentle melody of "The Shadow Of Your Smile," before the original album finished with the bright, high energy of "Cherokee." The two bonus tracks feature alternative takes of "S'wonderful" and "Whims Of Chambers." You really get a sense of how well the sessions went as even these alternative takes were just as good to be released on the album in place of the originals.

Volume 4 of the "West Coast Sessions!" series finds Art Pepper alongside trombone player Bill Watrous and his quintet. The album was titled "Funk'n Fun" and was released in Japan in 1979. Just like volume 3, the original album gets expanded with two bonus tracks for its U.S. debut. The Bill Waltrous Quintet were very skilled in their own right as they allow each player the spotlight on the album's opening track "Just Friends." They add a bit of energy to Cole Porter's "Begin The Beguine" and swing on "P. Town" as Waltrous and Pepper trade solos on this gem. The bonus tracks feature alternate takes of Pepper's own "Funny Blues" as the band expand upon the original and a more concise take of the quieter "Angel Eyes." To find out more about these two new volumes of "Art Pepper Present 'West Coast Sessions!'," please visit omnivorerecordings.com.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Concert Review: Journey Brings The Energy And The Hits To Mohegan Sun

Newly inducted Rock 'N' Roll Hall of Famers, Journey paid a visit to the Mohegan Sun arena last Friday night. Journey have become a steady act at Mohegan Sun and each time they come, they continually sell out the arena. Every year Journey delivers one of the best shows in the country, performing many of their platinum selling hits and this night was no different.

Fellow progressive pop/rock band, Asia opened the evening with a 7-song, 45-minute set that included the hits "Only Time Will Tell" and "Heat Of The Moment." Their time also included a thunderous drum solo from original band member Carl Palmer and a tribute to their late band member John Wetton, who passed away earlier this year.

A beginning, space-like instrumental signaled the arrival of Journey as they quickly dove into their hits with "Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)" and "Only The Young." Guitarist Neal Schon made is presence known early with the electrifying solos during "Be Good To Yourself" and at the beginning of "Stone In Love." Cell phones brighten the arena during the ballad "Lights" and throughout the night, the audience sang along, knowing every word of songs like "Open Arms" and "Faithfully."

Lead singer Arnel Pineda was a ball of energy, supplying round-house kicks at the close of "Any Way You Want It" and "Rubicon." Drummer Steve Smith took his solo during the close of the 1978 rare gem "La Do Da," but the night kept building up to the set closer "Don't Stop Believin'." As soon as long-time Journey keyboardist Jonathan Cain played those first notes, the arena erupted and turned into one big sing-along.

The encore began with the guitar driven "Escape," led again by Neal Schon, before Journey closed the evening with another of the band's big sing-along hits "Lovin', Touchin', "Squeezin'." With arms waving and fans singing, the night was filled with good times and a great escape from the pressures of everyday life. Another reason why, after so many years, Journey finally belongs in the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame.

Setlist: Separate Ways (Worlds Apart), Be Good To Yourself, Only The Young, Stone In Love, Any Way You Want It, Lights, Open Arms, Who's Crying Now, Rubicon, La Do Da, Wheel In The Sky, Faithfully, Don't Stop Believin'
Encore: Eclipse, Lovin' Touchin' Squeezin'

Friday, June 16, 2017

CD Review: New Music From Indie-Artists Midnight Vesta, Upright Man, Adam Ezra Group & The Thin Cherries

From Canada comes the sophomore release titled "Seconds" from Americana band Midnight Vesta. Their new 9-song release begins with the wonderful melody of "Someone To Call My Own," as you find your self singing along after only a couple listens. They deliver you to the country with the quick, two-step rhythm of "Take Me Back," before slowing down for the quiet, acoustic strumming of "Second Chances." The country rock of "Annie" and the storied lyrics of "Cut From The Cloth" showcases the wonderful diversity in their sound, before finishing their new album with the gentle love story of "The Only Other Person In The Room." To find out more about Midnight Vesta and their latest release "Seconds," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/MIDNIGHTVESTA.

New York rock band Upright Man is preparing to release their self-titled debut album on August 18th. The new 10-song release is a sonic landscape that combines the band's influence of Pink Floyd, Little Feat and Radiohead. Beginning with the "jamband" rock of "Elysia," you instantly get a sense that the musicianship within the band is top notch as their music takes you on a journey. They deliver the sweet songwriting of "Say What You Mean" and then the hard edged "Upright Man" in order to display the different genres that the band covers. Whether its acoustic folk of "Alaska" or progressive hard rock of "Animals," the one constant is that the music takes you a on sonic trip. To find out more about Upright Man and their new release, please visit uprightman.band.

Boston-based rock band the Adam Ezra Group recently released their new fan funded, fan produced album "Hurricane Wind." It features 11-tracks (10 studio, 1 live) and displays a new birth of energy within the band as they reconnected with their fans on this new release. The album begins with the funk/rock groove of "Life Of A Thief" as the band brings the song's rhythm to the forefront. The group falls back to their folk roots with "The Toast" and showcase their country side with "I Believe." The acoustic, country strumming of "Let Your Hair Down" is a hit single in the waiting, while "Steal Your Daughter" blurs the line between southern and hard rock. The album finishes with the swift-tempo of "Goin Out Tonight" and a live version of "All I Am" featuring John Oates on the song's beautiful harmonies. To find out more about the Adam Ezra Group and their latest release "Hurricane Wind," please visit adamezra.com.

From Chicago comes the latest musical project from Steven Delisi and Mark Lofgren called The Thin Cherries. They recently released their self-titled debut album back in April. It features 10-tracks that are certain to take you on a musical journey, beginning with the steady rhythm of "Uncountry." Their music takes on a retro sound with "I And Julia" as the vocals and melody become very addictive. The alternative pop delivery of "Dorian Gray" and the acoustic folk of "Not My Love" will keep you wanting more from this new band as their music feels familiar and safe in your possession. To find out more about The Thin Cherries, please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/thethincherries.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

CD Review: New Music From Indie Rock Bands Dishwalla, Gabriel & The Apocalypse, Sinking Feeling And Tablefox

Platinum-selling, alternative rock band Dishwalla are preparing to release their new studio album "Juniper Road" on July 14th through Pavement Entertainment. The band hit it big two decades ago with their song "Counting Blue Cars," which reached #1 on the U.S. Alternative singles chart. The band called it quits in 2005, before reforming 3 years later with a modified line-up and "Juniper Road" will be the band's first studio album in 12 years. 
 
The new 12-song release begins with the renewed energy of "Sirens" as their sound still carries that classic nineties alt-rock vibe. They deliver a huge arena rock sound with "Give Me A Sign," which should put the band back on the singles charts. Dishwalla showcase their youthful energy on the post-punk groove of "Mazelike Garden" and the addictive pop melody of "Don't Fade Away." They slow the tempo down for the power ballad "Hand In Hand," before delivering the intense harder edge of "Not Alone." Dishwalla finish their new album with "Waiting On You, Love" as lead singer Justin Fox saves his best for last. To find out more about Dishwalla and their latest release "Juniper Road," please visit dishwalla.com.

From the streets of Minnesota comes the Pavement Entertainment debut release from Gabriel And The Apocalypse. Their new album titled "The Ghost Parade" is drenched in industrial metal and is a concept album of today's politics and world issues. Their new 11-song release kicks off with the rhythm-heavy "March Of The Dolls" as you are introduced to the sweet and scouring vocals of Lindy Gabriel. They deliver a more mainstream, hard rock sound with "Until We Dream," then come roaring back with the industrial beats and screams of "Everything Is Red." The album's lead single "Beauty Under Glass" is a heavy metal attack lead by the amazing vocals of Lindy as the music overpowers your ears. They continue to deliver their industrial infused metal sound on "Thrill Of The Kill," before closing with the quieter, goth-like tone of "Since We've Become Ghosts." Gabriel And The Apocalypse are hitting the road on June 16th for a two month tour of the U.S. For a complete list of shows and to find out more about their new album "The Ghost Parade," please visit gabrielandtheapocalypse.com.

From Scotland comes the latest EP titled "One" from emo punk rockers The Sinking Feeling. While the band has gathered a strong cult following in their home of Glasgow, The Sinking Feeling are looking to extend their sound beyond the borders. They begin their short 3-song album with the steady alternative rock of "Standard," before picking the energy up with the more mainstream post-punk feel of "Woah..." They finish up their new short release with the screaming chorus and burning guitar melody of "Mary." To find out more about The Sinking Feeling and their latest release "One," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/TheSinkingFeeling.

From New Zealand comes the latest EP from alternative rock band Tablefox. Their new album titled "Glass Houses" was released back in May and begins with the build-up, melodic instrumental "Glass Houses." The album continues with the single "Nothing Every Changes" as the song's up-beat tone and undeniable chorus will have this song stuck in your head for days. The album's other single "Under A Broken Smile," sounds like a classic U2 outtake from "The Joshua Tree" era. They finish their new release with the acoustic-based sing-along "Beautiful Morning." To find out more about Tablefox and their latest release "Glass Houses," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/Tablefox.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Concert Review: Train Arrives At Mohegan Sun To "Play That Song" On Tour


Train pulled into the Mohegan Sun arena last Tuesday night on their latest cross country trek of the "Play That Song" tour. This time they brought along some new friends, British singer/songwriter Natasha Bedingfield and Maryland alternative rockers O.A.R. to help get the party started. Even though the concert was during the week, near the last days of school, the arena was packed with fans of all ages.
 
Singer Natasha Bedingfield opened the evening with a short 30 minute set. She got the early audience members singing and dancing along to her hits, "Pocket Full Of Sunshine" and "Unwritten." As the arena began to fill up, fellow east coast band O.A.R. took the stage to a roaring applause. They certainly got the energy flowing with their 50 minute set, which was highlighted by a trumpet/saxophone dual and the beautiful ballad "Peace," during which cell phones lit up the arena.
 
After a brief intermission, it was time for Train to arrive. While most bands save the confetti and streamers for the end of the show, Train kicked off with it, as they began their set with a new song, "Drink Up." The band Train may look different since the last time they played the arena two years ago, as lead singer Pat Monahan is the only original member of the band. He does surround himself with some very talented musicians and singers, as they turn recent hits like "50 Ways To Say Goodbye" and "Save Me, San Francisco" into party anthems.
 
Pat and the band invited Natasha Bedingfield to the stage for a sweet and soulful duet of "Bruises," before singing the opening verse of "Play That Song." Without the response he expected, Pat Monahan decided that the audience was not ready yet for that song and decided to dive back to the band's early days with "Meet Virginia." After the spiritual delivery of "You Better Believe," Train invited members of O.A.R. to perform the fun, up-tempo cover of Paul Simon's "You Can Call Me Al" as the energy from that song, continued right through to the set closers "Hey, Soul Sister" and finally "Play That Song" from the band's most recent album.
 
The current band members of Train got to showcase their talents during opening song of the encore. Their version of Queen's "Under Pressure" allowed each member to stand out on this identical cover of this classic rock tune. The night closed with Train's biggest hit of the band's early years as "Drops Of Jupiter" display how long the band has come in almost 20 years of providing positively fun music.
 
Train Setlist: Drink Up, 50 Ways To Say Goodbye, If It's Love, Angel In Blue Jeans, Get To Me, Save Me San Francisco, Calling All Angels, Bruises (with Natasha Bedingfield), Meet Virginia, Drive By, Marry Me, You Better Believe, You Can Call Me Al (with O.A.R.), Working Girl, Medley: Mermaid/Shape Of You/Cheap Thrills/Treat You Better/Lost And Found, Hey, Soul Sister, Play That Song
Encore: Under Pressure, Drops Of Jupiter

CD Review: Celebrate The 40th Anniversary Of Bob Marley & The Wailers' "Exodus" With New 3CD Set

Bob Marley & The Wailers' iconic 1977 album "Exodus" is celebrating its 40th anniversary with a new 3CD or 4 LP super deluxe edition. The CD set was released on June 2nd through Universal Music and was led by Bob's son, Ziggy, who took newly discovered original sessions with never-before-heard vocals and created new versions of the songs from this classic album. The 4 LP super deluxe edition will be available on June 30th and also contains two-7" singles containing the songs "Waiting In Vain" b/w "Roots" and "Smile Jamaica (Part 1)" b/w "Smile Jamaica (Part Two)."

The new package includes original album, remastered on the first disc, which was also remastered back in 2007 for the album's 30th anniversary. The second disc contains the new version of the album, created from the newly uncovered takes with different vocals. Right from the opening track, "Exodus," you are introduced to what sounds like a modernized version of the song. The rhythm is quicker and the sound is slightly louder overall than the original version of the song. It is refreshing to hear different versions of the music that we have all come to fall in love with over the last 40 years, and Ziggy Marley did an exceptional job keeping the truth in his father's vocals. The music at times reaches the brink of going over the top, but Ziggy pulls the reigns back and keeps in mind what his father would have wanted these songs to sound like if he released them in 2017. Songs like "One Love/People Get Ready," "Waiting In Vain" and "Three Little Birds" showcase a different dimension to the song's lyrics as the are presented here differently.

The third disc features Bob Marley & The Wailers live at the Rainbow Theatre in June 1977 during the "Exodus" tour. Only one song, "The Heathen" has be previously released from this concert as the other seven songs included have not be previously released before. Bob sounds as if he has a renewed love for life and his music since the assassination attempt on his life early that year. The band is prepared to follow Bob anywhere, as he brings the audience on a journey with the seven-plus minute "Guitiness" and the nearly 12-minute closer "Exodus." To find out more about this new version of Bob Marley & The Wailers album "Exodus 40 - The Movement Continues," please visit bobmarley.com.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

CD Review: New Music From Singer/Songwriters Builder Of The House, Joseph Eid, Chris Moore & Eli Raybon

From Maine comes the singer/songwriter, folk duo Rob Cimitile and Elliot Heeschen, better known as Builder Of The House with their debut full-length album "Ornaments." The new 9-song release will be available on July 14th and features a peaceful, mature sound that is easy to get yourself wrapped up in. The album begins with the Americana stomp rhythm of "Never Going Back Again" as you will easily find yourself singing along to the song's wonderful lyrics. The gentle climb of "When No One Is Here" showcases the amazing songwriting between Cimitile and Heeschen, while "My New Eyes" is pure fun that we have you pressing the repeat button on this track. The steady rhythm of "Evergreen" allows you to focus on the lyrical love story, while the island shake-up of "Dawn Of Day" will get your feet moving. They wrap up their new album with the folk/pop appeal of "Pray For Me" and the stomp rhythm and layered vocals of "Weight In Gold." To find out more about Builder Of The House and their latest release "Ornaments," please visit builderofthehouse.com.

Americana singer/songwriter Joseph Eid recently released his new EP titled "Watch It Fall." It features 6 songs that deliver a "feel good" melody on top of great storied lyrics, beginning with "Starting Over" as the song continues to build upon each verse. The album continues with the addictive storied lyrics of "Tomb (Walked Away)," before the beautiful folk strumming of "Watch It Fall." His new short release finishes with the sweet island flavor of "Diary" and the reggae-infused rhythm of "Let Me In." To find out more about Joseph Eid and his latest release "Watch It Fall," please visit josepheidmusic.com.

From Brooklyn, NY comes the latest release from award-winning singer/songwriter Chris Moore. His latest EP is titled "Threads" and was released on June 2nd. He begins his new album with the up-beat, acoustic strumming of "PLAYitUP" and continues with the epic, progressive unplugged sound of "NoONEhereWANTStheNIGHTtoEND." He finishes up his short, new release with the lyrical folk style of "Relentless" and quiet instrumental picking of "SideStreet." To find out more about Chris Moore and his latest release "Threads," please visit mooresong.com.

Arriving June 23 is the latest EP from new wave artist Eli Raybon titled "Green." It features 4 tracks, beginning with the nostalgic 80's synth-fueled sound of "30 Cents." He keeps the energy flowing with the keyboard driven rhythm of "Like An Eel," before finishing his new short release with the pop/hip-hop vocals of "Unsymmetrical." To find out more about Eli Raybon and his latest release "Green," please visit eliraybon.com.

Monday, June 12, 2017

CD Review: New Releases For A Good Cause, "Orlando In Heaven" & "Red Hot: A Celebration Of Sun Records"

To honor the victims and support the survivors of the Pulse Nightclub tragedy, which happened one year ago in Orlando, FL, award-winning guitarist Brian Tarquin assembled his friends for a new album titled, "Orlando In Heaven." Tarquin composed and produced each of the album's 11-tracks. The new release begins with the title song, a sweeping pop melody, which features Phil Naro (Talas) on vocals and Hal Lindes (Dire Straits) on guitar. The album features guitar icon Larry Coryell in his final recording before his passing with Naro on the storied lyrics of "Pulse 49." Former Megadeth guitarist Chris Poland steps outside his comfort zone for the jazz fusion instrumental "Hustle & Hassle," while Grammy-winning jazz guitarist Mike Stern and Denny Jiosa work together to electrify the rhythm of "Kinda Sorta." Jazz keyboardist Bobby Baldwin leads the way on the smooth melody of "She Used To Be A Lady" and fretless bass master Tony Franklin (Jimmy Page) adds a boost of energy to the album with "Tropical Trail." Tarquin finishes this new release with two tracks featuring Hal Lindes on guitar for the dual instrumentals "Jacob's Ladder" and "Orlando In Heaven."

Partial proceeds from the sale of this album go toward the Catholic Charities of Central Florida, who provide support for the victims of the Pulse Nightclub shooting. To find out more about "Orlando In Heaven," please visit cleorecs.com.

Americana/Blues musicians from Memphis have come together to celebrate the Sun Records label which helped change the face of popular music. The new release titled "Red Hot: A Memphis Celebration Of Sun Records" collects 10-tracks, including the cast of the hit TV series "Sun Records," re-recording classic songs from the Sun Records library in the historic recording studios owned by Sam Phillips (founder of Sun Records). The new release begins with John Paul Keith delivering the nostalgic vocals on the swinging rhythm of "Red Cadillac And A Black Moustache." Singer Valerie June steps in for the classic country sound of Carl Perkins' "Sure To Fall (In Love With You)" and Americana singer Shawn Camp fills in perfectly on the vocals of "Lonely Weekends." The cast of the TV show "Sun Records" performs the Billy Emerson original "Red Hot" as the million dollar quartet, before Bobby Rush delivers the blues of his own song "Tough Titty." The album finishes with the southern born and bred singer Jimbo Mathus working "High School Confidential" as if he was the second coming of Jerry Lee Lewis and blues singer/guitarist Luther Dickinson (North Mississippi Allstars) motoring through the 2 part, 13-minute blues of "Moanin' At Midnight."

The album will be released on June 16th, through Americana Music Society and all proceeds from the sale of this CD go to the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. To find out more about "Red Hot: A Memphis Celebration Of Sun Records," please visit redhotalbum.com.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

CD Review: Omnivore Recordings Reissues Classic Albums From Game Theory & Rosebud

Omnivore Recordings has done an outstanding job re-issuing the back catalog from California rockers Game Theory. On June 9th, Game Theory's final album "2 Steps From The Middle Ages" will be released as an expanded 24-track disc. The band took a more straight-forward rock approach to this album, garnishing positive reviews, but low album sales. Game Theory suffered the fate of their record label going out of business shortly thereafter the release of this album.

This new version of the album gets almost doubled in size, thanks to 11-bonus tracks that have been hiding in the vault. The bonus tracks mix together live versions of Game Theory's older songs like "The Waist And The Knees" and "Sleeping through Heaven" with demos of songs that appear on the original album. The demo version of "Amelia, Have You Lost" sounds very close to the final version, while the demo version of "Rolling With The Moody Girls" showcases how the song has grown from its demo version into the up-tempo released version. The highlight of the bonus tracks is Scott Miller's acoustic version of Simon & Garfunkel's song, "America." To find out more about Game Theory's new version of "2 Steps From The Middle Ages," please visit omnivorerecordings.com.

In 1971, a band consisting of singers and songwriters got together and made an album under the name Rosebud. The self-titled album has become a cult classic and has found a following in the underground music market. The album was released on CD in 2004 and on June 16th, Omnivore Recordings will feature the expanded re-issue of the album "Rosebud."

The original 10-song album gets doubled in size thanks to 10 bonus tracks (7 previously unreleased). The album contains many different styles, including the soft rock of "Panama," the gospel sound of "Reno" and the folk appeal of "Western Wisconsin." The difference in music genres is due to the democracy of the band with five different singer/songwriters, each getting equal time on the album.

The bonus tracks feature songs that were recorded for the album, but left off. Like the spirited mid-tempo rock of "Mercury Of Fools" and the piano blues of "Father Of Souls," both would have fit perfectly among the other tracks on the album. It's also nice to have the demos of the unreleased songs like "Hey Old Friend," which includes a version with Jerry Yester on lead vocals and a version with Judy Henske on vocals as you notice the difference in how the song is presented. To find out more about this new expanded reissue of "Rosebud," please visit omnivorerecordings.com.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

CD Review: Roger Waters Delivers The Ultimate Question, "Is This The Life We Really Want?"

Former Pink Floyd singer/bassist Roger Waters sure does take his time making albums. Since leaving Pink Floyd in 1985, Waters has made only five solo albums in the last 32 years. His most recent solo album was just released on June 2nd, titled "Is This The Life We Really Want?" through Columbia Records. It is Waters first rock album in almost 25 years and it was produced by Nigel Godrich (Radiohead) who also played guitar and keyboards on the album.

The new 12-song release seems indirectly influenced by the Pick Floyd masterpiece, "Dark Side Of The Moon" as that album dealt with greed, his new album ask the question "Is This The Life We Really Want?" Waters begins his new album with the ticking of a clock and random spoken words swirling around on the short opener "When We Were Young." His questioning lyrics dig deep into your thoughts as in the orchestral build up of "Deja Vu." The tone of "Picture This" reflects Waters dark period as he places obscure situations for you to ponder, while the music reflects his past Floydian adventures. Waters pleads for universal freedom in "Broken Bones" and in the politically charged title song as he is done sitting back and just watching this world blow itself up. Rogers Waters may not have made a rock album in over two decades, but he still knows how to create the perfect progressive rock song with "Smell The Roses," before finishing his new album with the emotional love of "Wait For Her" and acoustic folk tale of "Part Of Me Died."

Roger Waters is currently on his "Us + Them" North American tour, which runs into October, were he will be premiering new songs from the album alongside Pink Floyd and solo classics. For a complete list of live shows and to find out more about his new album "Is This The Life We Really Want?, please visit rogerwaters.com

Friday, June 9, 2017

CD Review: Both Mr. Big And Mark Slaughter Look To Capture Their Iconic Sound With New Albums

American rock band Mr. Big return with their 9th studio album "Defying Gravity." It will be released on July 7th through Frontiers Music, while the band is currently on the road promoting it. The album also reunited the band with producer Kevin Elson, who produced the band's first three albums during their early-nineties heyday.
 
The new 11-song release begins with the enforced guitar riff of "Open Your Eyes" as singer Eric Martin delivers his iconic vocals during the song's struttin' rhythm. The title song displays the strength of Matt Starr on the drums, grounding the music, while bassist Billy Sheehan delivers a deep bass groove on the southern rock flavor of "Everybody Needs A Little Trouble." Mr. Big switches gears for the acoustic-based country sound of "Damn, I'm In Love Again," before guitarist Paul Gilbert injects his energy into "Mean To Me." The band soars on the power ballad "Forever And Back" and then rock out loud on the intense blast of "1992." The album closes with the bluesy swing of "Be Kind" as the band jams on past the seven-minute mark.
 
Mr. Big are currently on tour in the U.S. until the end of June, before heading down to Brazil in August. For a complete list of dates and to find out more about their new album "Defying Gravity," please visit mrbigsite.com.
 
Mark Slaughter was the lead vocalist and guitarist for the hard rock band Slaughter, whose hits included "Up All Night" and "Fly To The Angels." While the band Slaughter have not released a new studio album in almost 20 years, Mark Slaughter has been continuing as a solo artist. He recently release his brand new studio album titled "Halfway There" on May 26, which still carries that classic hard rock sound.
 
The new 10-song release begins with the high-energy of "Hey You," which feels as if it came from one of Slaughter's early albums as Mark's vocals are strong and iconic on this opening track. The music continues chugging along with the metal riffs of "Devoted" and "Conspiracy," while the power ballad of "Halfway There" is guaranteed to bring out the lighters at any show. Mark stretches out his sound on the progressive metal appeal of "Reckless," before the emotions come pouring out during "Disposable" and "Not Here."
 
Mark Slaughter will be hitting the road this summer with his band Slaughter with shows scattered throughout July and August. For a complete list of shows and to find out more about his new solo album "Halfway There," please visit markslaughter.com.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

CD Review: New Heavy Metal Music In June From Dead Asylum, 1818, Antidote, The Summoned & Madrost

June is heating up with new heavy metal releases from Dead Asylum, 1818, Antidote, The Summoned and Madrost. Beginning June 2nd, we got the latest from Thrash/Death metal band Dead Asylum titled "Death Always Wins." Their new 8-song release kicks things into high gear right off the bat with the fast paced "Defiance." The titled song features the shout along chorus of "Death Always Wins" as the song's energy is extreme. The guitars come out a-blazing on the destruction of "Bury The Living," before all the intensity and excitement come together on "Forgotten Sacrifice." The album finishes with the thunderous drumming of "Welcome" and the growling vocals of "Inmate 666." To find out more about Dead Asylum and their latest release "Death Always Wins," please visit thedeadasylum.com.

Also June 2nd is the arrival of hardcore Pennsylvanian band, 1818's recently released new EP titled "Hiraeth" through Pavement Entertainment. It features 5 gut-wrenching songs that are aggressive and in-your-face. They begin their new album with "Seven" as the songs thunderous rhythm motors the intense screaming vocals. They switch tempos on the more melodic, mainstream metal of "Believe," then turn on their grunge appeal on "Swallow." Their new short release finishes with the emotional, built-up aggression of "Yesterday Calls Me Home." To find out more about 1818 and their latest release "Hiraeth," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/1818band.

Next up is the June 9th release of Antidote's "The Rock Years." This release is a compilation of the band's "rock era" albums. When the band began back in 1983, they were one of the premier underground hardcore metal bands of New York. They reformed again in 1986 as a hard rock act that drew its influence from Judas Priest and this latest release reflects that period of hard rock with this new 12-song compilation. It begins with "Return 2 Burn" as Antidote bring in elements of fellow New York metal band Anthrax to give their music an extra jolt of energy. When they try to tone down the hardcore part of their music, Antidote seems out of their element as in "Positively Negative." Their strength is in the thrash like guitar riffs of "Be True To Yourself" and "No No No." They finish this new compilation with raw energy of "Something Must Be Done," which reflects the band's early years as in the punk-like fury of "Rageman." To find out more about Antidote and their latest release "The Rock Years," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/antidotenyhc1983.

The following week on June 16th features the self-released sophomore effort from Boston-based metal band, The Summoned. The album titled "Sessions" is considered a concept album dealing with the mind of a trouble patient of a psychiatrist. The band's technical hardcore metal delivery blasts off with the attack of "The Pendulum Swing" as you instantly notice the band's musicianship. The Summoned continue with the screams of "Faradic" and "Fractal Patterns." The band's music excels during the swinging tempo of "Built Of Glass," before delivering an all-out hardcore metal assault with "Vetiginous." They finish their new album with the exciting bass runs of "Recollection" and the seven-plus minute progressive metal appeal of "Satori." To find out more about The Summoned and their latest release "Sessions," please visit thesummoned.com.

Finally we wrap up June with a new release from Madrost titled "The Essence Of Time Matches No Flesh." It features 7-tracks of progressive thrash metal, beginning with the energetic blast of "Eyes Of The Deceit." The band showcases their musicianship on the more progressive approach of "The Silence In Ruins," before speeding things up with the machine gun drumming of "From Sand To Dust." Their short 30-plus minute release wraps up with the speed and aggression of "No Future" and the epic heavy metal journey of "Dimensions." To find out more about Madrost and their latest release "The Essence Of Time Matches No Flesh," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/madrost.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

CD Review: New Releases From Metal Blade Records Artists Entrails, Tombs, Igorr & Riot

Here are some new heavy metal releases arriving in June from Metal Blade Records, beginning with a few albums arriving June 16th. First we begin with the legendary death metal band Entrails, who rose from the dead in 2008 to continue delivering bone-crushing rhythms at neck breaking speed. Their new album titled "World Inferno" begins with the title song as their sound will blow you back into your seat. They dig deep for the dark heavy metal growl of "Condemned To The Grave" and show no mercy on their death metal assault of "The Soul Collector." They delivery a horror movie like intro to the aggressive attack of "Insane Slaughter," then finish with the intense thrashing of "Suffer" and pace-quicking rundown of "The Blood Breed." To find out ore about Entrails and their latest release "World Inferno," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/Entrails666. 
 
Also arriving June 16th is the Metal Blade Records debut from New York band, Tombs. Their new album titled "The Grand Annihilation" is a sonic blast of speed as the album's 10-songs will tire you out just listening to them. The epic, progressive metal feel of the album's opening track "Black Sun Horizon," sets the stage for what's in-store from this ten-year old band. The energy continues to flow through songs like "Old Wounds" and the seven-minute journey of the "Way Of The Storm." The album wraps up with the the dark tones of "Walk With Me In Nightmares" and the slow moving, doom metal of "Temple Of Mars." To find out more about Tombs and their latest release "The Grand Annihilation," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/TombsBklyn. 
 
Another June 16th arrival, is the latest release titled "Savage Sinusoid" from hardcore, nu-metal band Igorr. The band is the brainchild of Gautier Serre, but has definitely become a more collaborative effort as each album release moves further away from the electronic sampling and more toward using live musicians. The new album begins with with the 2-minute, hardcore grind of "Viande," before changing gears on the heavy metal opera "ieuD." They break out the accordion to balance out the screaming vocals of "Houmous," before the industrial metal appeal of "Opus Brain," which gives the music an epic sound. The gentle acoustic beginning of "Spaghetti Forever" blows up to showcase the band's hardcore sound. The new 11-song release wraps up with the electronic beats of "Robert" and the intense, epic delivery of "Au Revoir." To find out more about Igorr and their latest release "Savage Sinusoid," please visit igorrr.com. 
 
Finally, at the end of the month arrives 3 new re-issues from the band Riot. Metal Blade Records is re-releasing the band's late-nineties output with the addition of bonus tracks taken from that same era of recording. The 3 albums included in this reissue are "Inishmore," "Sons Of Society" and their live album "Shine On." The steady line-up in the band, led Riot to one of their most successful periods as the albums created a cult following for the band. The bonus tracks are mixed in to the flow of the album to give fans a different perspective of the band's iconic albums. The album "Inishmore" includes the tracks "15 Rivers" and "Red Reign," which spotlight the vocals of Mike Dimeo and guitars of Mark Reale. The Japanese only song "Danny Boy" is also included as well as the demo version of "15 Rivers." 
 
The "Sons Of Society" album tacks on the song "Queen" that only appeared on the Japanese version of the album, as well as five early instrumental tracks from songs on the album. Fans will want to get their hands on the new reissue of Riot's live album "Shine On," which includes 2 bonus tracks to make the total amount of songs 20. The album adds the tracks "Watching The Signs" and "Nightbreaker" that appeared on the Japanese version in there rightful order and divides "The Last Of The Mohicans" and "Glory Calling" into two separate tracks. This live album is the most comprehensive collection of songs from the band's most productive period. To find out more about the new reissues from Riot, please visit metalblade.com.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

CD Review: New Music From Indie-Rock Bands Edge Of Free, Earth Groans, Reagan Bombs And Orthodox

From Nashville, TN comes the self-titled debut studio album from the acoustic based hard rock band Edge Of Free. Their new 8-song release became available on May 19th through Digital Sound Records and was produced by Toby Wright (Alice In Chains, Metallica). They kick off the album with the build-up of "Blood Eagle" as the acoustic guitars give way to the underlying hard rock drumming and vocal screams of singer Scott Sneddon. The album's first single, "Pony" takes on a southern rock vibe with the acoustic/electric guitar strumming and soaring chorus. Edge Of Free come roaring back with the intense delivery of "Higher" before slowing down for the quieter "In My Time (Falling)." Edge Of Free finish up their new album with the acoustic, Led Zeppelin-vibe of "Autumn" and the slinky melody of "Pushin' The Needle," which explodes into a full rock assault. To find out more about Edge Of Free and their debut album, please visit edgeoffree.com.

From South Dakota comes the debut release from underground, hardcore metal band Earth Groans. Their new 5-song EP titled "Renovate" is an all-out attack on your senses. They come blasting out of the gate with the growls of "The Estate" and continue with the grinding guitars and swift drumming of "Driving Out." They mix in different tempos for "Propaganda," before closing their new album with the high-powered, high-energy attack of "Eclipse." To find out more about Earth Groans and their latest release "Renovate," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/earthgroansband.

One of the newest underground duos to appear on the Swedish Columbia label is Reagan Bombs. There new self-titled release is hard to place in one musical category as they prefer using samples as compared to a live band. Their new album begins with the dance floor beats and deep bass groove of "Wind Me Up," before incorporating interview snippets into the funk-based rhythm of "Chuckin." They tell a story with the spoken words of "Marion County" as the modern beats continues to swirl around your speakers. Reagan Bombs keep the rhythm steady in "Lover" as they continue to layer new sounds into the mix. Their new 12-song release closes with the drum-infused rhythm of "Card," the international flavor of "Gogo Musik" and the steady, modern jazz feel of "Deuce." To find out more about Reagan Bombs and their latest self-titled release, please visit reaganbombs.bandcamp.com.
 
From Nashiville, TN comes the latest release titled "Sounds Of Loss" from heavy metal band Orthodox. The new 12-song release begins with the speech and screeching guitars of "The Anticipation." Then, they deliver a sonic assault on your ears with the thunderous eruption of "Panic," before the hardcore metal delivery of "Second Best." They combine the screams and growling vocals of "In The Dark" and raise the energy of the album with the power of "Dementia." The album closes with the deep, dark classic metal groove of "Resent Me" and the squealing guitars of "The Taking." To find out more about Orthodox and their latest release "Sounds Of Loss," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/orthodoxtn.

Monday, June 5, 2017

RJ Podcast: Mr Big's Billy Sheehan Talks With Us About Their New Album And Ongoing Tour

Billy Sheehan, bassist for the rock band Mr. Big, discusses the band's new album "Defying Gravity" and what their upcoming tour may be like. He also talks with us about visiting many different parts of the world while on tour with either Mr. Big or his other band The Winery Dogs and gives us tips on how he has continues to be one of the best bass players around.

CD Review: "Singles" Soundtrack Still Resonates 25 Years Later With Great Music

In 1992, the world was being introduced to a new form of music that has been brewing in the Northwest corner of the U.S. The name "Grunge" was given to the alternative rock music that Seattle bands were producing in the early nineties. Bands like Nirvana, Soundgarden, Alice In Chains and Pearl Jam were making a name for themselves with albums that had a lasting impression on America's youth. One such movie gave people a glimpse of the Seattle music scene during this time. The name of the movie was "Singles" and was directed by Rolling Stone writer/editor Cameron Crowe. After tackling high school with "Fast Times At Ridgemont High" and "Say Anything," it was time for Crowe to advance on to twentysomethings and the boiling underground sound of Seattle. 

While the movie may revolve around a love story, the music is what made it timeless and to celebrate the soundtrack's 25th anniversary, Epic Soundtrax/Sony Legacy released a new expanded/deluxe edition of the album. This new release features the original soundtrack album, remastered with a second disc of outtakes, live and demos of songs for the soundtrack. It is also being released as a double-LP, which also contains a copy of the bonus disc. The original 13-song release featured unreleased music from Pearl Jam and Chris Cornell alongside classics by the Jimi Hendrix Experience and The Lovemongers (Ann & Nancy Wilson of Heart). The soundtrack also introduced the world to the music of Paul Westerberg and Screaming Trees as both artists had breakthrough singles from the album. 

The new bonus disc is what fans have been waiting for as it features unreleased music that was featured in the movie and also more music from the recently departed Chris Cornell. The new 18-track bonus addition begins with the single, "Touch Me I'm Dick" from Matt Dillon's fictional band Citizen Dick, which also featured Eddie Vedder, Stone Gossard and Jeff Ament. The next few songs are from Chris Cornell's solo EP which he recorded for the movie. It features songs like the dark, experiential  tones of "Nowhere But You" and the psychedelic acoustics of "Flutter Girl," which would latter appear on his solo album "Euphoria Morning." Live versions of the Alice In Chains songs "Would?" and "It Ain't Like That" along with Soundgarden's "Birth Ritual" that were filmed and recorded specifically for the movie, pick the energy up as these songs carry that classic grunge appeal. The second half of the bonus disc contains mostly demos and unreleased songs that were created specifically for the movie. Paul Westerberg delivers acoustic versions of "Dyslexic Heart" and "Waiting For Somebody," while Mudhoney delivers a raw version of "Overblown." The set wraps up with Mike McCready's demo instrumental "Singles Blues I" and a pair of demo pieces from Chris Cornell. To find out more about this new 25th anniversary deluxe re-issue of the "Singles" soundtrack, please visit legacyrecordings.com.