Monday, October 23, 2017

Concert Review: Donald Fagan Delivers An Evening With Steely Dan At The Toyota Oakdale Theater

The legendary band, Steely Dan took a major hit last month, when just days before the start of their 2017 fall tour, original guitarist Walter Becker passed away from an undisclosed illness. Instead of cancelling the tour, the other half of Steely Dan, Donald Fagan made a decision to trek on as a tribute to his late fallen partner. Early reviews of the shows have been stunning as Steely Dan brought their "An Evening With Steely Dan" tour to the Toyota Oakdale Theater on Sunday night.

The two-hour performance started with the band kicking in to jazzy instrumental, "Fan It, Janet" as Donald Fagan and The Danettes strutted onto the stage. Fagan took to the microphone with his melodica to perform a song from his solo album "Green Flower Street," before settling into his keyboard that was perched center stage. The night was a string of Steely Dan hits, with a few obscure tracks to appease the diehard fans. Guitarist John Herington made his presence known during the jamming, electrifying guitar solos of "Hey Nineteen" and "New Frontier." Then, drummer Keith Carlock took over to close out "Aja" with a powerful drum solo.

Fagan mentioned that he felt "weird" being up on stage without his partner, before dedicating the band's version of "Book Of Liars" (from Walter Becker's solo album) to his memory. As the song played, family photos of Becker shown on a large projection screen behind the band. The energy quickly picked back up with "Black Friday" and the swift pace of "Bodhisattva," while the bluesy "I Want To (Do Everything For You)," sung by The Danettes, allowed each member of the band to be introduced.

Donald Fagan and Steely Dan headed toward the finish line with a string of their popular hits, "Peg," "My Old School" and "Kid Charlemagne." A standing ovation from the audience rang throughout the theater, before Steely Dan returned to the stage to close out the evening with probably their most well-known single, "Reelin' In The Years." As Fagan thanked his fans and exited the stage, the band broke into the theme from "The Untouchables." As the house light went up, there was no doubt that Steely Dan is still here to stay as long as Donald Fagan continues to be the driving force behind the band. Here's to many more years of Steely Dan's music ringing through the speakers in theaters across the country.

Setlist: Fan It Janet, Green Flower Street, Black Cow, Hey Nineteen, New Frontier, Aja, I Got The News, Time Out Of Mind, Book Of Liars, Black Friday, Dirty Work, Bodhisattva, I Want To (Do Everything For You), Don't Take Me Alive, Peg, My Old School, Kid Charlemagne
Encore: Reelin' In The Years, Theme From The Untouchables

CD Review: Flat Duo Jets Double Their Debut Album & Give Us "Wild Wild Love"

Rockabilly trio Flat Duo Jets was one of the greatest underground rock secrets of the late-eighties and nineties. Having originally formed as a duo in 1984, Flat Duo Jets were inspired by The Cramps as they recorded their first EP titled "In Stereo." The band was thought to be on the rise, releasing their self-titled debut album in 1990 and opening for The Cramps on their nationwide tour, but a performance on "Late Night With David Letterman" would be the extent of what the general public would gather from Flat Duo Jets.

Now, nearly 30 years later, record label Daniel 13 is releasing a 2CD set that contains the trio's debut album,their early EP and an entire second disc of outtakes. The energy that Flat Duo Jets placed in their songs has a punk-like feel with a classic, rockabilly sound. Songs like "Mill Stream" and their cover of Benny Goodman's "Sing Sing Sing" will make you instant fans of Flat Duo Jets. The rawness of "Man With The Golden Arm" and the jukebox-ready "Strut My Stuff" are hidden gems on the band's debut album.

The wildness of their debut EP shows that this band had loads of potential, but lacked a certain direction. The garage-rock feel of "Riot In Cell Block #9" combines elements of Stray Cats with The Clash, while "Love Me" has a fifties, Buddy Holly-like vibe. The first disc closes with the wildly attractive and playful "Raining In My Heart." The starkness of the outtakes almost surpasses the debut album as their sound has a slightly jazzier sound on the songs "Minor Swing" and "Love Has Its Jokes." Flat Duo Jets dig deeper into the blues with "Rock Me Baby" and "Look Down 2," before wrapping up the 30-plus minute disc with the slow-moving, piano boogie of "Justine 1." To find out more about Flat Duo Jets and their most recent release "Wild Wild Love," please visit daniel13.com/flat-duo-jets.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

CD Review: Peter Case Returns To The "FolkScene" & NRBQ Deliver Some "Happy Talk"

American singer/songwriter Peter Case has had a music career that has lasted over 40 years. First as a street performer in San Francisco, then forming the punk band, The Nerves in the late-seventies, before creating the new wave/pop band The Plimsouls in the early eighties. By the mid-eighties, Case went on his own to follow is dream of a solo career, which has lasted over 30 years. On October 27th, Omnivore Recordings will be releasing an album of 18 previously unreleased recordings by Peter Case in 1998 and 2000.

The new release titled "On The Way Downtown: Recorded Live On FolkScene" captures Case in his natural folk setting with an acoustic guitar. Tracks 1-9 were recorded live for the "Folkscene" radio show on March 1, 1998. The show features Peter Case in fine form as his surrounded by a handful of musicians to recreate songs from his album "Full Service, No Waiting" in this stark, stripped-down acoustic setting. The second half of this release features Case on a return visit to the "Folkscene" radio show on July 30, 2000. This time he focuses on his album "Flying Saucer Blues," with some surprises thrown in like his cover of Mississippi Jon Hurt's "Pay Day" and "Icewater" from his 1986 debut solo album. Case also debuts some new songs ("Beyond The Blues" and "Leaving Home"), which would be released the following year on his next solo album, "Thank You St. Jude." To find out more about this new release from Peter Case titled "On The Way Downtown: Recorded Live On FolkScene," please visit omnivorerecordings.com.


American roots/rock band NRBQ decided to follow-up their 2016 career retrospective box set "High Noon," with a handful of new recordings titled "Happy Talk." Their new 5-song EP begins with "Head On A Post," one of only two originals to appear on this release. They still know how to rock after 50 years on this opening track and it's country-feel follow-up "Yes, I Have A Banana." They quickly run through Roy Orbison's "Only The Lonely," before the six-minute "Blues, Blues Blues" is the perfect song to fit into their live set. Their new short album finishes with a cover of Rogers & Hammerstein's "Happy Talk," which has been years in the making and puts an exclamation point on the next chapter of this band. NRBQ will be closing out the year with a string of shows in Northern New England in November. For a complete list of shows and to find out more about their new album "Happy Talk," please visit nrbq.com.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

CD Review: The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Makes "Beautiful" Music With Roy Orbison

On November 3rd, the wonderful, iconic voice and music of Roy Orbison returns with a new album titled "A Love So Beautiful: Roy Orbison With The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra." It features 15 of Orbison's classic hits, back by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and also his sons, Alex, Wesley and Roy Jr. This new album was produced by Don Reedman and Nick Patrick, who also produced the hugely successful "In Dreams: Elvis Presley With The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra."

The new release kicks off with the lush, new string arrangement on the Orbison ballad, "In Dreams." Listening to these songs, you notice how perfect Orbison's voice was for this orchestral setting. His whole family joins in on his most popular hit "Oh, Pretty Woman" as his sons and grandson recreates to music of this timeless hit. The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra adds an element of grace to the songs, filling up his sixties singles like "Dream Baby" and "Blue Angel" with beautiful arrangements that seemed destined to be a part of these songs.  Roy Orbison's "Only The Lonely" and "Running Scared" felt like they were written specifically for this orchestral treatment, while his later hits like "I Drove All Night" and "You Got It" seem a little more forced into these grand remakes. The album closes with the emotional ballad "A Love So Beautiful," which showcases the amazing music of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra as they become the perfect setting for Roy Orbison's vocals. To find out more about this new release, "A Love So Beautiful: Roy Orbison With The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra," please visit royorbison.com.

Friday, October 20, 2017

CD Review: Lindsey Stirling Wants You To Feel "Warmer In The Winter"

Award-winning musical artist Lindsey Stirling is definitely a "go-getter" and has a wonderful work ethic as she has risen from YouTube star to one of the biggest pop acts in the world. Her last two studio albums topped the U.S. Dance and Classical charts and her theater shows have been attended fully by her legion of fans. On October 20th, she is preparing to release her first holiday album titled "Warmer In The Winter." The new 13-song release features covers of some Christmas classics along with a few new originals.

The album kicks off with Lindsey showcasing her skills as a violinist during the instrumental "Dance Of The Sugar Plum Fairy." Next she works with actress/singer Sabrina Carpenter on the high-energy, jazziness of "You're A Mean One Mr. Grinch," then incorporates the help of Becky G on the pop original "Christmas C'mon." Once again Lindsey displays her violin skills on the instrumentals "Carol Of The Bells" and "Angels We Have Heard On High," before teaming up with Trombone Shorty on another holiday original, "Warmer In The Winter."  She finishes up her new Christmas album with the fun, playfulness of "All I Want For Christmas" and the beautiful serenade of "Silent Night."

Lindsey Sterling will be on her holiday tour beginning November 8th, which runs all the way to December 23rd. For a complete list of dates and to find out more about her new holiday album "Warmer In The Winter," please visit lindseystirling.com.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

CD Review: New Prog-Rock Music From BangTower, Cairo And Podd

Progressive rock legends BangTower recently released a new digital-only EP titled "Hey, Where'd Everybody Go?" Guitarist/singer Neil Citron began writing more songs right after the release of their 2016 album "With N With Out" and he didn't want those songs to get stale so BangTower found time early in the year to get into a studio and record these 7 new songs. Citron was once again joined by his fellow bassist Robert Pagliari and also returning was drummer Frankie Banali (Quiet Riot). The new release begins with the hard rock groove of "She Don't Care" as each member makes their presence known on this exciting opening track. The trio begin to stretch out their sound on the nearly seven-minute instrumental "Lazy Afternoon," before returning to the hard rock of "Frankie's Silver Hammer." After a pair of epic rock pieces, the album closes with the driving force of "Right Hand Drive" and the short, relaxed piece "Ali's Midnight Wish." To find out more about BangTower and their latest release "Hey, Where'd Everybody Go?," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/Bangtower.

From The UK comes the debut album "Say" from progressive rock band Cairo. The band is led by Touchtone founder Rob Cottingham as he creates a sonic trip with the band's new 13-track release. The album begins with the Middle Eastern sounds of "Cairo," before the storied, spoken word of "Shadow's Return Prologue." The album continues with the quick-moving rock of "Wiped Out," featuring Lisa Driscoll on vocals. The centerpiece of the album is the nine-plus minute progressive rock epic "Nothing To Prove," followed immediately by its reprise. Driscoll's vocals float along the ballad "Katrina," before Cairo closes out the album with the atmospheric soundscape of "Random Acts Of Kindness Part 1" and the built-up rock melody of "Dancing The Gossamer Thread." To find out more about Cairo and their latest release "Say," please visit cairorocks.com.

Instrumental progressive rock band Podd recently released their debut studio album titled "Cosmic Forces." It features 10-tracks, beginning with the slow build-up of "Beyond Beyond" as the floating, melodic tones get taken over by the bursts of guitar frenzied riffs. The album continues with atmospheric feel of "There And Back" and the exciting musical movements within "Starseed." Next comes three epic pieces ("The Spark," "Impact" and "Ultimate Reality") as Podd showcases their musical talents on these songs. They finish up their new album with the beautiful acoustics of "Abraxas" and the sonic, jamband build-up of "Transmission." To find out more about Podd and their latest release "Cosmic Forces," please visit poddmusic.com

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

CD Review: New Heavy Metal/Punk Music From Winds Of Plague, The Professionals & Like Moths To Flames

October 27th marks the return of California metal band Winds Of Plague with their brand new studio album "Blood Of My Enemy." It has been 4 years since their last album and in that time they have recruited a trio of musicians to take their music to the next level. Their new 12-song release begins with a short orchestration, before getting blown away by the shear force of the deathcore metal attack of "Nameless Walker." They showcase the band's power on the intense "Kings Of Carnage" and their unity and musicianship with the battle cry of "From Failure, Come Clarity." Winds Of Plague deliver the extreme metal of "Blood Of My Enemy"  and "Snakeskin" as they make a claim for the top death metal band in the nation. They speed things up with the swift pace of "Never Alone," before finishing up their new album with the heavy hitting thunder of "A Walk Among The Dead" and the epic piece "Dark Waters." To find out more about Winds Of Plague and their latest release "Blood Of My Enemy," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/windsofplague.

English punk-rock band The Professionals have returned to release their first album in 35 years. The band was created out of the ashes of the Sex Pistols and had some chart success in the their home country in the early eighties. The honeymoon would only last a couple of years, before the break up of the band. In 2015, The Professionals reunited for some shows in celebration of the band's box set "The Complete Professionals." Now on October 27th, bandmates Paul Cook and Steve Jones reunite in the studio to release their new album "What In The World." The album also features a load of special guests like Mick Jones (The Clash), Duff McKagen (Guns N Roses) and Phil Collen (Def Leppard) to name few. The new ten-song release begins with the raw, garage-rock sound of "Good Man Down" as Billy Duffy from The Cult lends a hand. Their punk roots come shining through with Phil Collen on the high-energy of "Let Go" and "Rewind," along with Mick Jones adding his iconic touch to "Extremadura." The Professionals finish up their new album with the power punk attack of "Monkeys" as Duff McKagen and Phil Collen team up to close the album out strong. To find out more about The Professionals and their latest release "What In The World," please visit cookandjones.co.uk.

Hardcore metal band Like Moths To Flames is preparing to release their fourth studio album titled "Dark Divine." Their new 11-song release kicks off with the atmospheric introduction of "New Plagues," before the screaming vocals and shredding guitar riffs take over. The album continues with the high-energy, mainstream metal appeal of "Nowhere Left To Sink" and the adrenaline blast of "Dark Divine." They settle down for the more hard rock melody of "Empty The Same," before the pace picks back up for the hardcore attack of "From The Dust Returned." Like Moths To Flames finish up their new album with the great radio single "Glimpse" and the chugging rhythm of "False Idol." Like Moths To Flames will be hitting the road at the beginning of November for a 2-month U.S. tour. For a complete list of shows and to find out more about their new album Dark Divine," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/likemoths.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

CD Review: New Music From Pekka Tegelman, Mark Vickness, Peter Galperin, Jimmy Detalente & Jim Vegas

Finish guitarist Pekka Tegelman recently released his fourth studio album titled "Pekka Tegelman & Quartegel." It features 9-tracks of exciting jazz-rock fusion, beginning with the calm, gentle flow of "All Folks" as Pekka eases you into his new album as he works his magic on the guitar. Pekka and his band pick the tempo up for "Do Ra Mi," before the relaxed acoustics of "Two Towns." The second half of the album gets bookends by "Song 1: The Dawn" and "Song 2: The Twilight" as saxophonist Manuel Dunkel is featured on both tracks. To find out more about Pekka Tegelman and his latest release "Pekka Tegelman & Quartegel," please visit his Facebook page at facebook.com/pekka.tegelman.

Guitarist/pianist/composer Mark Vickness recently released his new acoustic guitar instrumental album "Places." Vickness has worked in the music industry for over two decades, writing and performing film scores and also as one-half of the acoustic fusion duo, Glass House (with David Worm). The new 9-track album is his first to feature a modern finger style and is a relaxing journey to simply just get lost in. Right from the opening notes of "A Thousand Islands," you will find yourself immersed in the beautiful way Mark strums the notes on his guitar. He adds a little more energy to "New York City"  and masterfully moves his fingers around the fret board on "Bishop Pass." His album closes with the eight-plus minute epic piece "Wonder Lake Suite" and the uplifting feel of "I Must Tell Jesus." To find out more about Mark Vickness and his latest release "Places," please visit markvickness.com.

From New York City comes the latest release from singer/songwriter Peter Galperin titled "This Burning Sun." His new 8-song release begins with the wonderful melody of "Normal To You" as Peter has perfected his craft at songwriting. Next comes the tale of "King Of You And Me" and the acoustic folk strumming of "On Higher Ground" as you find yourself amerced in Peter's vocals and stories.  He finishes up his new release with the guitar boogie shuffle of "Don't Look Back" and the acoustic ballad "One More Smile." To find out more about Peter Galperin and his latest release "This Burning Sun," please visit petergalperin.com.

Next, from Indiana comes the debut release from Jimmy Detalente and the Electric Revival titled "Where We Begin." The new 6-song release begins with a classic bluegrass introduction that gets blown away by the country/rock of "Sometimes We Bleed." The album continues with the weekend anthem "Where We Begin" and the up-tempo, sing-along chorus of "Fences." Their new short release closes with the emotional ballads "For A Few" and "Spark Into A Flame." To find out more about Jimmy DeTalente and the Electric Revival and their latest release "Where We Begin," please visit sparktherevival.com.

Colorado native Jim Vegas is ready to release his fourth studio album titled "Soul Shattered Sister" on December 1st. After honing his craft on songs by Bob Dylan, Tom Waite and Leonard Cohen, Vegas is ready to unleash his new release of all original material. His new 11-song album begins with the title-song "Soul Shattered Sister," which is soaked in blues/rock. Jim Vegas delivers a strong, Stray Cats vibe on the nostalgic sounds of "Bad Fruit In The Yard" and "Not That Strong." His album moseys on with the country/rock tones of "Love Is Coming Back Around," then he digs in for the blues/rock rumble of "Far From You," before closing with slow sway of "Suns Is Gonna Smile." To find out more about Jim Vegas and his latest release "Soul Shatters Sister," please visit jimvegasmusic.com 

Monday, October 16, 2017

CD Review: New Music From Singer/Songwriters Cindy Alexander & Sarah Aroeste, Along With Swedish Jazz Band Trallskogen

Award-winning artist Cindy Alexander is preparing to release her ninth studio album, "Nowhere To Hide" on January 5th, 2018. The album consists of some of Alexander's favorite songs, chosen by friends and fans, re-recorded live in the studio. Her new 11-song release begins with the gentle piano ballad "I See Stars" and the beautiful poetry of "Passenger," which is one of two brand new songs on this album. Her warming vocals soar on "4 Hours" and her beautifully simple cover of Bread's "Everything I Own" allows you to enjoy the truth behind Cindy's vocals. The other new original tale is "The Song Will Always Find You," which allows you to fully appreciate her songwriting, before she finishes her new album with the fan favorite "Wonderful," which carries the most up-beat tempo on this release. To find out more about Cindy Alexander and her new album "Nowhere To Hide," please visit cindyalexander.com.

Bi-lingual singer/songwriter Sarah Aroeste is preparing to release her new, all-original Ladino/English holiday album titled "Together/Endjuntos." The Ladino language is a old Sephardic dialect and includes elements of Portuguese, French, Italian, Greek, Hebrew and others. Her new 10-song release begins with "Buena Semana" as you are introduced to Sarah's beautiful vocals. While you may not understand all of the lyrics, you will still get wrapped up in her voice. She becomes more playful with the folk/pop sing-along of "Thank You For The Trees" and the Middle-Eastern rhythm of "El Dia De Purim." She returns to the gentle flow of "Ayada Buena" that just allows you to relax and melt into her vocals. Sarah closes her new album with the hip-hop beats of "Bimuelo," featuring the work of Kosha Dillz and the Latin jazz of "Buen Shabat." To find out more about Sarah Aroeste and her latest release "Together/Endjuntos," please visit saraharoeste.com.

Swedish jazz band Trallskogen recently released their debut album titled "Trollskogen." It features 9-tracks, beginning with the seven-minute "Intro" as you enter the world of this experimental band. As they feel their way around the studio in the opening track, they begin to settle down into the steady pace of the title song "Trollskogen." While you may not understand the language within the songs, you can certain appreciate the musicianship on some of these epic tracks. They deliver the avant garde jazz of "Bergtrall" and the more up-beat feel of "Vad Nu," which showcases the diversity in their musicianship. The wonderful vocals of Annika Jonsson is highlighted with the poetry of "Han Drak," before Trallskogen finish their new album with the rock infused "Bitar" and the epic build-up of "Farval" along with the hidden track "Intercity Mood," which is an energetic jazz number that you must seek out. To find out more about Trallskogen and their latest release "Trollskogen," please visit trallskogen.com.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

CD Review: Bob Marley & The Wailers "Live!" Doubles In Size & Native Works With Lee "Scratch" Perry

The legendary "Live!" album from Bob Marley and The Wailers is finally getting its proper release on CD. Originally released in December 1975, the album captured the band during their two-night stand at Lyceum Theatre in London on July 17 & 18 1975. The idea was to quickly put an album together of the band's live material to keep fans interested while Bob Marley and The Wailers recorded their new album, which eventually became "Rastaman Vibration." The original record only featured 7-songs, which were featured on the "King Biscuit Flower Hour." After 40 years, that was all corrected last year when the Universal Music Group released a 3-vinyl set that included both concerts. It featured, for the first time, the entire unreleased July 17th show and also full-length versions of songs from the July 18th show. On October 13th, Universal Music Group released a new 2CD set that featured the complete "Live!" album. Both shows are presented on their own discs and comes with a booklet of unpublished photos and new essay about the evening's events. To find out more about newly released Bob Marley & The Wailers "Live!" set, please visit bobmarley.com.

Back in 1977, Jamaican-based reggae band Native were given the keys to the kingdom, when they got to record with famed record producer Lee "Scratch" Perry. Perry was the pioneer of the dub sound, working with everyone from Bob Marley to Paul McCartney to the Beastie Boys. In 1973, Perry built his own studio, named The Black Ark. There he was able to control his signature sound and create some amazing albums from local Jamaican bands, including Native. On September 22nd, Goldenlane Records released the hidden reggae-gem "Black Ark Showcase 1977" by Native Meets Lee Scratch Perry. It was one of the last recordings done at The Black Ark studio before it burnt down in 1978.

The new 10-song release features the local reggae band Native given the sonic treatment to a handful of their songs. The first five songs on the album are featured as they were recorded in the studio, without any wizardry from Lee "Scratch" Perry. The second half of the album showcases the talents of Perry as the final mix features a deeper reggae vibe as you can feel the songs' groove. To find out more about this classic album makeover, please visit nativemeetsleescratchperry.bandcamp.com.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

CD Review: Europe Returns To "Walk The Earth," While Heaven & Earth Become "Hard To Kill" & Tom Keifer Adds More To His "Life"

Swedish rock band, Europe overtook the airwaves in 1986 with their third album, "The Final Countdown." It featured 3 "top 40" hits, including the title-song and the top 5 hit ballad "Carrie." Unable to capture that same fire, the band Europe broke up from 1992 to 2003. Since their reunion, the band has been on a steady climb back up the rock charts and on October 20th, Europe will release their 11th studio album titled "Walk The Earth." The new 10-song release includes the band signature keyboard-heavy rock sound, spearheaded by the iconic vocals of lead singer Joey Tempest.

The album start out with the atmospheric keyboards and thunderous rhythm of "Walk The Earth" as they have adapted a heavier sound on this release. They continue with the intensity of "The Siege" and still showcase their diversity with emotional ballad "Pictures." Then Europe come roaring back with the high-powered "Election Day" and "GTO," before finishing up their new album with big guitar riffs and wild drumming of "Haze" along with the seven-minute epic piece "Turn To Dust." Europe will be finishing out the year with a string of dates in Europe. To find out more about the band's new album "Walk The Earth," please visit europetheband.com.

Former Cinderella lead singer, Tom Keifer released his debut solo album titled "The Way Life Goes," back in 2013 (review: jpsmusicblog.blogspot.com). Now, 4 years later he revisits that album, releasing a deluxe edition of the album that includes 3 bonus tracks and a DVD that features a 30-minute documentary about album and the new recording sessions, as well as music videos and tour clips. The new bonus songs feature two version of the Cinderella classic "Nobody's Fool," one with Lzzy Hale (Halestorm) and the other is a stripped down piano version of the song. The other bonus song is a studio version of The Beatles' "With A Little Help From My Friends," which Keifer has been performing live in concert. This new deluxe edition of Tom Keifer's "The Way Life Goes" will be available on October 20th through Cleopatra Records. To find out more, please visit tomkeifer.cleorecs.com.

October 6th saw the fourth release from hard rockers Heaven & Earth. Their new album titled "Hard To Kill" is arguable their most explosive and cohesive album to date. The 11-track release kicks off with the adrenaline-fueled title song that showcases the full power of this band. The songs get an extra jolt of energy on this release from drummer Kenny Aronoff (Rolling Stones, Chickenfoot) and keyboardist Ty Baillie (Katy Perry). The album continues with the classic California hard rock appeal of "Walk Away" and the strut of "Till It's Over." They motor through the high-energy of "The Game Has Changed," led by bassist Lynn Sorensen, then lead singer Joe Retta and guitarist Stuart Smith smash down the walls with the "Monster." The album finishes up with up-tempo sonic blues of "Hellfire" and the pounding rhythm of "Bad Man." Heaven & Earth have only two live shows lined-up at the moment, but look for more to be announced soon. To find out more about their new album "Hard To Kill," please visit heavenandearthband.com.

Friday, October 13, 2017

CD Review: New Releases From Legendary Artists Nik Turner, Steve Hunter, Sonja Kristina & Rick Wakeman

Musician Nik Turner, co-founder of the band Hawkwind, recently released his brand new studio album titled "Life In Space." He is following up that album's release with a month-long North American tour. Turner plays the role of your pilot for this latest sonic journey, beginning with the classic, space-rock of "End Of The World." The song carries a timeless, classic rock quality, which could place his music in any era. Next, Turner delivers the seven-minute, psychedelic mind drifter, "Why Are You?" as he continues to delivery a nostalgic sound. Turner lets you in on the "Secrets Of The Galaxy" as he rocks out with this guitar led piece, before returning to the more experimental, ambient sound of "Approaching The Unknown." Nik Turner finishes up his latest album with a visit to the past as he remakes the Hawkwind classic "Master Of The Universe," adding a more modern rock flair. For a complete list of shows and to find out more about his latest release "Life In Space," please visit his Facebook page at facebook.com/NikTurnermusic.

Guitar legend Steve Hunter (Alice Cooper, Lou Reed) returns with a new solo album titled "Before The Lights Go Out." Hunter also uses this latest release to announce that this may be one of his last musical statements, due to his failing eyesight. Hunter kicks things off with the sonic blues groove of "On The Edge Of Uncertainty," which also showcases another side to his legacy. Fellow guitarist Joe Satriani lends a hand on the electrifying boogie shuffle of "Mojo Man," before Hunter continues with the country tones of "Summer's Eve." Hunter heads down south with the back country bayou strumming of "Cinder Block," then delivers the Latin flair of "Tienes Mi Corazon (You Have My Heart)." He wraps up his new album with the seven-minute journey "Under The Bodhi Tree" and the lullabye cover of "Happy Trails," which features the only vocals on the album, supplied by his wife Karen Hunter. To find out more about Steve Hunter and his latest release "Before The Lights Go Out," please visit stevehunter.com.

Legendary Curved Air singer Sonja Kristina is releasing a two-disc compilation titled "Anthology." The set features her first collection of her solo work along with exclusive newly recorded tracks. According to Sonja, these songs deal with "life and love through the decades and beautiful songs that I have had the privilege to perform and make my own." Her  ​ angelic vocals shine on the folk storytelling of "Frank Mills," before she settles into her comfort with "The Passion" and "Full Time Woman." One of the highlights of the first disc is the floating melody of "One To One" as Sonja's vocals capture the mood of the song perfectly. The second disc comes out rocking with "Devil May Care" and "San Tropez" as Sonja shows a different side to her solo work. The gentle touch of "I Don't Believe A Word" highlights her beautiful vocals, before closing this set with the progressive rock appeal of "Love Child" and the grand delivery of "Citadel." To find out more about Sonja Kristina and her new solo collection "Anthology," please visit sonjakristina.com.

The 1984 erotic thriller "Crimes Of Passion" may not have turned many heads when it was released in movie theaters, but it's soundtrack has become a cult collectors dream. The movie revolves around human relationships and mental illness and starred Kathleen Turner and Anthony Perkins. As the film brought upon negative reviews, fans sought out the film's soundtrack, which was scored by Yes keyboardist Rick Wakeman. Now the soundtrack is being re-released on CD and includes a bonus track that features Maggie Bell on vocals. The mostly instrumental album begins with the eighties rock number "It's A Lovely Life" that features Swedish vocalist Maggie Bell, as she gives her all to this opening track. Wakeman works his magic on the songs "Eastern Shadows" and "The Stretch" and all their eighties glory. He delivers the blues with "Stax," before returning the energy of "Taken In Hand." The bonus track, "Dangerous Woman" has a pop/rock vibe that would climb up any eighties music chart. To find out more about this album, please visit rwcc.com.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

CD Review: New Music From Neon Moon, Sweetwater String Band, Bend Sinister And Tony Geoffredi

The Americana/country duo Neon Moon recently released their latest album "6:53" this past summer. The new 6-song EP is a songwriter's dream as these well-constructed musical pieces are filled with emotion. They begin with the gentle swing of "If I Knew" and the darker tones of "Smoke" as you easily get wrapped up in singer Noelle's vocals. They deliver the nostalgic country twang of "Homewreker," before wrapping up their new album with the storied lyrics of the moody "Something In The Water" and the sweet, acoustic folk strumming of "If We're Being Honest." To find out more about Neon Moon and their latest release "6:53," please visit neonmoonmusic.com.

From the Sierra Mountains of California comes the third album titled "At Night" featuring the Americana/folk sounds of Sweetwater String Band. This four piece band make the most of their string instruments as they deliver a great collection of folk gems. Their new 11-song release begins with the up-tempo strumming of "Same Stars" and they keep the pace going with the steady rhythm of "Beautiful." They deliver a more bluegrass sound with "My Proud Mountains" and "Red Hill Country" as the Sweetwater String Band look to get you up on your feet with these quick-moving songs. They finish up their new album with the slow, mosey sound of "The Night Has Come" and the simple remembrance of "Wild River." To find out more about the Sweetwater String Band and their latest release "At Night," please visit sweetwaterstringband.com.

Canadian rock band Bend Sinister recently released their latest album titled "The Other Way." It features 6-tracks to get you re-antiquated with this band as their music becomes very addictive as in the opening track "Move A Little Slower." They keep the tempo high with the sing-along chorus of their new single "Walk The Other Way" and kick things into high gear with the intense delivery of "Run." Their new short release closes with the seventies pop/rock sound of "Rock N Roll" and the piano ballad "Gonna Be Alright." To find out more about Bend Sinister and their latest release "The Other Way," please visit bendsinisterband.com.

Finally from Denver comes the latest release titled "Life Is..." from singer/songwriter Tony Goffredi. The new 5-song EP begins with the country acoustics of "What Can I Say" as his vocals are a strong presence throughout this new release. The album continues with the ballad "Broken Glass" as you get emotional from the song's lyrics. He closes his new short release with the beautiful country tones of "An Ocean Away" and "Sleeping Away" as his voice is a hidden gem among the independent music community. To find out more about Tony Goffredi and his latest release "Life Is...," please visit tonygoffredi.com.  

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

CD Review: New Music From Indie-Artists Sam Marine, Richard Smith, Francesco Buzzurro, Dan Rico & The Jim Self/John Chiodini Duo

Singer/songwriter Sam Marine has been making a name for himself in the LA music scene since his recent arrival. He is also preparing to release his third album titled "Big Dark City," which was produced by Dwight Yoakam sideman, Brian Whelan. His new 5-song EP begins with the bluesy rock of the title song "Big Dark City" as he still keeps a pop sense to his music. Then he rocks out on the raw feel of "Dawn Come And Gone," before showcasing his diversity with the acoustic storytelling of "I'll Soon Be Gone." He wraps up his new 15-minute album with the country tones of "Mike Lee." To find out more about Sam Marine and his latest release "Big Dark City," please visit sammarine.bandcamp.com.

Critically acclaimed guitarists Richard Smith (Los Angeles) and Francesco Buzzurro (Italy) have teamed up for a new instrumental album titled "Heart Of The Emigrants." It features both musicians stepping out of their boundaries to record some famous songs like "Mambo Italiano," "Amazing Grace" and The Beatles' "Day Tripper." The duo mix together the gentle sounds of "Film Suite" and "Intimato" with more up-tempo, jazz-like pieces as in "Amor" and "Taranta Funk." The beauty of their collaboration is felt in the stunning 'Tango, Fire and Sea." To find out more about Richard Smith and Francesco Buzzurro and their latest release "Heart Of The Emigrants," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/BuzzurroSmithGuitar.

From Chicago comes the latest release titled "Flesh And Bone" from the multi-talented musician Dan Rico. His new 3-song EP begins with the garage rock, guitar buzz of the title song "Flesh And Bone." The flip-side features a more classic pop/rock vibe with "Gold Volvo," before finishing up with the digital only single "Any Way You Want Me" as Dan slows the tempo down for this alternative pop number. To find out more about Dan Rico and his latest release "Flesh And Bone," please visit danrico.com.
 
From Los Angeles comes the new album from freelance musician Jim Self and his collaboration with jazz guitarist John Chiodini. Their new album titled "Floating In Winter," features 15-tracks of covers and originals. Self has performed on over 1,500 motion picture soundtracks, including "Jurassic Park" and "Close Encounters Of The Third Kind." Self is a low-brass player, primary the tuba and he works beautifully with Chiodini's guitar to create some relaxed themes, beginning with "Nobody Else But Me." The duo dance their instruments around the "So Danco Samba," before swinging to the groove of "News From Blueport." They gently float along the Henry Mancini original "A Slow Hot Wind," then take on Thelonius Monk's "In Walking Bud" as the two lock into a smooth jazz groove. They revisit Monk's work again with "Blue Monk" and even Mancini shows up again with "Two For The Road," before they finish the album with the laid-back vibe of Gerry Mulligan's "Festive Minor." To find out more about the latest release from The Jim Self/John Chiodini Duo, please visit bassethoundmusic.com.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

CD Review: Super-Groups Sons Of Apollo & Revolution Saints Arise, Plus Discover Mark Loughman

On October 20th, the latest rock super-group, Sons Of Apollo, will unleash their debut album titled "Psychotic Symphony." Members of this elite rock band come from other current bands like Dream Theater, Mr. Big, Guns N Roses and Journey. The band reunites Dream Theater members Mike Portnoy and Derek Sherinian and The Winery Dogs members Portnoy and Billy Sheehan on this new 9-song album. The album begins and ends with a couple ten-plus minute epic progressive rock pieces as Sons Of Apollo showcase their exceptional musicianship. They continue to electrify with the intense, chugging delivery of "Coming Home" and the more atmospheric, sonic landscape of of the 9-minute "Labyrinth." The Sons Of Apollo head toward the close of the new album with the swift, quick-moving rhythm of "Lost In Oblivion" and the nostalgic, classic seventies rock appeal of "Divine Addiction." To find out more about Sons Of Apollo and their debut album " Psychotic Symphony," please visit the band's Facebook page at facebook.com/SonsOfApollo1.

The American rock super-group Revolution Saints have returned with a brand new studio album titled "Light In The Dark." It will be released on October 13th through Frontiers Music S.R.L. and comes in a number of formats including a single CD, CD/DVD deluxe edition, yinyl and a limited edition box set, which includes the CD, DVD, vinyl, poster, lithograph, sticker and T-shirt. Their new 11-song release begins with the blazing guitars of Doug Aldrich (Whitesnake, DIO) on the title song, before the iconic vocals of Deen Castronovo (Journey, Bad English) takes over on the passion of "Freedom." Motoring this new release is the bass groove and harmonizing vocals of Jack Blades (Night Ranger, Damn Yankees) as he helps pick the tempo up with the power of "Ride On." The album continues with the epic six-minute ballad "I Wouldn't Change A Thing," before picking the energy back up with the rawness of "Take You Down" and "Running On The Edge." The album finishes with big arena rock vibes of "Falling Apart." To find out more about Revolution Saints and their latest release "Light In The Dark," please visit revolutionsaints.com.

U.K. born singer/songwriter Mark Loughman is beginning to make a name for himself in the LA rock scene with his new single "My Misophonia." The song is about his rare medical condition, misophonia, which magnifies everyday sounds into anxiety and anger. Loughman carries a raw, seventies-style post-punk vibe on this song, which leads the way for his new album, "Bleedin Aura." The album features Mark working alongside other great artists like Steve Stevens, Billy Morrison and Kenny Arnoff. The video (youtube.com) gives you a slightly comical look into this rare condition that has made Mark Loughman into premier, indie artist. To find out more about Mark Loughman and his latest release "My Misophonia," please visit markloughman.com.

Monday, October 9, 2017

CD/DVD Review: Feel The "Honkin' & Jivin'" From Big Jay McNeely With His New Live Album

Classic rhythm & blues saxophonist Big Jay McNeely celebrated his 90th birthday back in April. They coined his brand of performing as "honking" due to his flamboyant way of performing live. An example of this was recently released on a new live CD/DVD by Big Jay McNeely. The new live album titled "Honkin' & Jivin' At The Palomino," showcases McNeely in the perfect club setting back in 1989, as he works the audience up into a frenzy by the close of the show.
 
His new 8-song set begins with the quick-jazz pace of the "Palomino Hop," which starts things off with a bang as McNeely tries to keep the energy flowing throughout the entire show. He works on getting the audience involved, singing along to his sax playing of the famous "I Can't Stop Loving You" and also having the audience shout out their favorite wines during "All That Wine Is Gone." Big Jay McNeely works in the blues of "There Is Something On Your Mind" and "Young Girl Blues" as he pours his emotions into his onstage performance. The show's encore closes the evening with the same energy as when he started, performing the "Big Jay Shuffle." To find out more about the new live album from Big Jay McNeely, please visit cleorecs.com.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

CD Review: New Release Sheds Light On Classic Recordings By Jerry Yester

Musical artist and producer Jerry Yester was a part of some of the biggest albums of the sixties and seventies from acts like The Turtles, Lovin' Spoonful and Tom Waits. Yester released a couple of singles in the late-sixties, but never assembled a full-length studio album. On October 6th, Omnivore Recordings has gathered together 15-songs that Jerry Yester recorded throughout the seventies for "Pass Your Light Around."

The songs were taken from Yester's personal archives and were remastered for this new release, which begins with the classic country/folk of the title-song "Pass Your Light Around." Yester's vocals have that iconic tone that made many singer/songwriters stand-out in this transitional period of music. The beautiful harmonies of "Brooklyn Girl" sound as if they were recorded by The Beach Boys, while the gentle acoustics of "The Whiskey Moon" will touch your soul. Yester draws similarities to the great Leon Russell with "Dance For Me, Anna Lee," then delivers the folk stories of "Seesaw," before finishing up the album with light touch of "The Rose" and the raw, blues rock instrumental "Hip Toad." To find out more about this new release from Jerry Yester titled "Pass Your Light Around," please visit omnivorerecordings.com.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

CD/DVD Review: David Gilmour Returns To Pompeii For New Live Release

Former Pink Floyd singer/guitarist David Gilmour has been meticulous about his solo career since the last days of Floyd. It took him 12 years between the release of the final Pink Floyd album "The Division Bell" and his 2006 solo album "On An Island." He followed that album up with an extensive world tour, which created the very successful live album "Live In Gdansk." It was the last show on the tour and the last live album to feature fellow Pink Floyd member Richard Wright.

Another decade had almost past, before we received David Gilmour's most recent studio album "Rattle That Lock," which debuted at #5 in the U.S. and #1 in the U.K. Once again Gilmour followed the release of that album with an extensive world tour. One of the special stops on that tour was Pompeii, which he had played at once before with his Pink Floyd bandmates back in 1971. This would also be the first live performances at Pompeii in front of an audience since AD 79, so you could say this was special and Gilmour pulled out all the stops to record these performances for prosperity.

A film version of the show was released in theaters for one special night on September 13, prior to its release on DVD, Blu-ray, CD and vinyl. The 21-song set mixed together tracks from his last two studio albums along with Pink Floyd favorites and some deep cuts. The night was filmed in ultra high-quality 4K by director Gavin Elder and includes highlights from both nights. Also, since it was outdoors and the arena was never rigged-up for concert lighting, Elder was given the task of not only capturing every possible moment, but also making each moment feel different from any other concert venue.

The new release kicks off much like the same way as his new album with the instrumental "5 A.M.," which leads into "Rattle That Lock." Each song is delivered with such clarity and grace that you can see on Gimour's face how happy he is to perform these new songs live in this amazing setting. He also brings back the ballad "The Blue" and the title song "On An Island" from his last solo album. He pays tribute to his former band member Rick Wright with the Pink Floyd song "The Great Gig In The Sky" and "A Boat Lies Waiting" from his most recent solo album.

Director Gavin Elder does an amazing job capturing the mood of each song as you can almost feel of power of "One Of These Days" and the emotions of "Fat Old Sun." Elder uses specially placed, high-powered cameras to capture angles from overhead and all around the Pompeii arena as this one-of-a-kind light show needs to be seen to believe.

The night closes with the Pink Floyd classics "Run Like Hell," "Time" and "Comfortably Numb" as Gilmour sports a pair of shades. He mentioned in an interview that he needed them to see, because of the way the lights moved and flashed, that he was unable to see his guitar or his fellow bandmates on stage from the brightness. The way these songs are captured on film is stellar as Gilmour and Elder continue to evolve an already incredible stage show.

The DVD also feature a short documentary titled "Pompeii: Then And Now." There is also a deluxe box set of this new release which includes 2CD/Blu-Ray, 24-page hardcover book, postcards and posters. To find out more about David Gilmour and his new live album titled "Live At Pompeii," please visit davidgilmour.com.

Friday, October 6, 2017

CD Review: New Music From Indie-Artists Moe Green's Eye, Venus Theory, SixTwoSeven & Brendan McMahon

From New York City comes the latest release from indie-rock powerhouse Moe Green's Eye. Their new 4-song EP titled "Fast Radio Bursts" are exactly that. Their song are perfectly crafted for rock radio, beginning with the steady flow of "Fixed" as their music carries that pure, classic rock sound. They pick the tempo up for the nostalgic feel of "Stay," before finishing up their new short release with the playful "What About Time" as you appreciate the live vibe coming from this new release. To find out more about Moe Green's Eye and their latest album "Fast Radio Bursts," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/MoeGreensEye.
 
Next up is the latest release titled "Nightwalker, Pt. 1" from the pop duo Venus Theory. Their new 5-song EP begins with the pop beats of "Fire" as the vocals of Alecia Gates steer the song's direction. The beats continues with the modern R&B flavor of "Afraid To Let Go," before Gates showcases the potential of her vocals on the electronica of "Lay Down." Venus Theory wrap up their new release with the slower more powerful, atmospheric tones of "Heart Still Beating." To find out more about Venus Theory and their latest release "Nightwalker, Pt. 1," please visit venustheory.com.
 
From Seattle comes the latest from alternative rockers SixTwoSeven titled "Some Other's Day." Their new 4-song EP kicks off with the high energy of "Wreckless Soul," which brings the nineties grunge movement into the modern era with a slicker produced sound. This trio deliver a huge rock assault on the post-punk feel of "Top Of The World," before finishing their new short release with aggressive delivery of "One Single Night." To find out more about SixTwoSeven and their latest release "Some Other's Day," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/SixTwoSeven627. 
 
Lastly we arrive and the new release titled "Universalist" from Melbourne singer/songwriter Brendan McMahon. His new 5-song EP is like a breath of fresh air as he comes sweeping in with his gentle, comforting sounds on "Marker 7-58" and the acoustic pop tones of "Fridays In December." He lays out his emotions on the piano ballad "Mother," before finishing his new album with the up-tempo, funk/rock of "Beat." To find out more about Brendan McMahon and his latest release "Universalist," please visit brendanmcm.com.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

CD Review: New Music From Hard Rock/Heavy Metal Acts Powerman 5000, Despyre & The Nearly Deads

Industrial metal band Powerman 5000 are back with a brand new studio album titled "New Wave." It is the band's 11th studio album and will be released on October 27th through Pavement Entertainment. The new 10-song release begins with the sonic clash of metal rhythms, hip-hop rhymes and the electronic melodies of "Footsteps And Voices." The album's lead single "Sid Vicious In A Dress" carries a classic goth-metal sound as they continue to be on the forefront of the industrial metal movement. The album continues with the battle cry of "Cult Leader," which has the most mainstream rock sound on the album that fans will enjoy singing along to. Powerman 5000 finish up their new album with the hardcore heavy metal attack of "Thank God" and the modern electronic build-up of "Run For Your Life." To find out more about Powerman 5000 and their latest release "New Wave," please visit powerman5000.com.

From Long Island, NY comes the debut album from heavy metal band Despyre titled "Irritation." Their sound has been compared to Five Finger Death Punch and Disturbed and the band names Biohazard, Type-O Negative and Dream Theater as some of their influences. Their new 5-song EP kicks off with the crunching guitar riffs of "Blue Sky" along with the chugging rhythm of "Lies," which carries a classic thrash metal appeal. Next, they dig down for the grinding bass groove of "Voodoo Fix, before finishing up their new album with the intense, 5-minute prog-metal piece "Black." To find out more about Despyre and their latest release "Irritation," please visit despyre.com.

The female-fronted hard rock band, The Nearly Deads recently released their new album titled "Revenge Of The Nearly Deads." It features 6-song of high explosive energy, beginning with the guitar driven "Diamonds In The Rough" as their music and vocals become very addictive. The band locks into the pounding rhythm of "My Evil Ways" and the arena rocker "Not Listening" as TJ's voice perfectly suits these high-powered songs. Their new short release finishes with the mainstream rock appeal of "Frequencies" and the power ballad "As Good As It Gets" as TJ vocals simply soar into your soul. To find out more about The Nearly Deads and their latest release, "Revenge Of The Nearly Deads," please visit thenearlydeads.com.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

CD Review: New Heavy Metal Music From I Klatus, Prostitution, The Kahless Clone & Rig Time!

Arriving in October are four new independent heavy metal releases from I Klatus, Prostitution, The Kahless Clone and Rig Time! Beginning with Friday the 13th, the Chicago doom metal band I Klatus return with their new digital/cassette only release "Nagual Sun." The new 8-song release begins with the slow-moving sludge metal appeal of the seven-plus minute "Beneath The Waves." While form and melody may not be their forte, I Klatus look to instill a dark emotion into their sound as in "Sorcerer's Gaze." They experiment with their sound, switching between the progressive rock and doom metal adventure of a "Moment Of Devastation," before wrapping up their new album with the moody, slow metal burn of the "Final Communion." To find out more about I Klatus and their latest release "Nagual Sun," please visit iklatus.bandcamp.com.
 
Also being released on Friday the 13th is the new 3-song EP from Prostitution titled "Egyptian Blue." This hardcore metal trio are looking to blast away your problems on this new 20 minute release. The songs combine elements of progressive thrash metal with hardcore screams in order to demand dominance in the hardcore metal community. The band musicianship shines on the 8-minute album closer "Elevated Droves." To find out more about Prostitution and their latest release "Egyptian Blue," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/Prostitution666.
 
The following week, we get the self-released, sophomore album from Chicago's premier instrumental dark metal band The Kahless Clone. Their new album, "Our Never-Ending Loneliness" begins with the atmospheric build-up of "I Would Leave All Of This Behind, And So Would You," as the band draws you in with their exceptional skills. Their sound carries a very strong progressive rock feel as in "If Only We Had More Time Together...," before wrapping up their new album with the melodic tones of "Is This What You Wanted?" To find out more about The Kahless Clone and their latest release "Our Never-Ending Loneliness," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/TheKahlessClone.
 
Finally, we arrive at the sophomore release from Wisconsion hardcore metal band Rig Time! Their new 10-song album titled "War," is exactly what you get into when things kick off with the pounding rhythm of the title-song. They continue with the howling vocals of "Garbage" and will certainly get your adrenaline pumping with the intense delivery of "Three Fools." Rig Time! wreck havoc with powerful, grunge-like delivery of "Restricted," before finishing up their new album with the metal riffs of "Discomposure" and the screams of "Vengeance." To find out more about Rig Time! and their latest release "War," please visit rig-time.com.