Friday, March 24, 2017

CD Review: Depeche Mode Show Some Political "Spirit" With New Album

It has been a long four years since Depeche Mode reached out with their last top 10 selling album "Delta Machine," but now they have returned with their most innovative album titled "Spirit." The album does have some large shoes to fill when it is released on March 17th, but critics are already calling it Depeche Mode's "most energized album in years." They are also following the release of their new album with a world tour.
 
The new 12-song release begins with the nearly six-minute build-up of "Going Backwards" as Depeche Mode touches upon the problems of today's society. The album continues with their latest single "Where's The Revolution" as the music's dark rock tones is a "call-to-arms" as they begin their trail to political freedom with the song's marching rhythm. Vocalist Dave Gahan delivers the perfect emotion for the ballad "The Worst Crime," before bringing back the electronic beats of "Scum" and "You Move." Depeche Mode experiment with their sound on the short sonic landscape of "Eternal," before returning with a bluesy delivery of "Poison Heart." The album finishes with the pulsating rhythm of "Poorman" as Gahan tells us a story, then "Fail" closes the album with the meaningful mellow tones that Depeche Mode are known for.
 
Their world tour kicks off  May 5th in Sweden, before making its way to the U.S. in August. For a complete list of dates and to find out more about their new album "Spirit," please visit depechemode.com.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

CD Review: 2Cellos Take You To The Movies With "Score" & Taarka New Release Is A "Fading Mystery"

What began as a fun YouTube video has grown into one of the most exciting duos to ever clash together classical and pop music. Croatian duo 2Cellos recently released their fourth studio album titled "Score." They re-imagine some of the most well-known themes from cinematic history. Although their new 14-song release begins with one of the most well-known television theme songs for "Game Of Thrones," the grand sound they put together matches up perfectly with the other songs on this new release. They continue with the gentle interlude of "May It Be" from "The Lord Of The Rings," before keeping with the lush, heartfelt delivery of "Love Story." The duo of Luka Sulic and Stjepan Hauser shed new light on some well-known classics like "Moon River" ("Breakfast At Tiffany's") and "My Heart Will Go On" ("Titanic"), while also spinning some magical sounds for the themes from "Rain Main" and "Schindler's List." Their new release finishes with the inspirational, uplifting tones of "Titles From Chariots Of Fire" and soul-searching melody of "Now We Are Free" from "Gladiator." 2Cellos are currently on a world tour which will hit the U.S. in July. For a complete list of dates and to find out more about their new album "Score," please visit 2cellos.com.

From Lyons, CO comes the latest release titled "Fading Mystery" from the old-fashion, Americana-style band Taarka. Their music has been described as Gypsy-Jazz, folk and even Celtic as this foursome produce some of the most meaningful music of the year. Their new ten-song release begins with "Carried Away" as the tempo is swift, while singer Enion Pelta-Tiller tells this darken tale through her wonderful delivery of the lyrics. The music takes on a lighter feel with "Polyamorous Polly" as David Tiller takes over the lead vocals on this love story. Their talents are heard on the amazing instrumental "What My Darl'n Says," before they try to capture the Americana mainstream sound of "I Could Really Use You Now." The album continues with the high-energy instrumentals "Retreat" and "Finn McCool Crosses The Rocky Mountains," before finishing with the gentle, folk melody of "Fading Mystery." Taarka have a handful of shows lined-up in April and May. For a complete list of shows and to find out more about their new album"Fading Mystery," please visit taarka.com.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

CD Review: Security Project Give Us A High "5" And Billy Valentine Showcases His "Brit Eyed Soul"

The Security Project has definitely enjoyed performing the music of Peter Gabriel and Genesis to sell-out crowds all over the world. The musicians involved with the band are a little more experienced than your typical tribute band as some have played with Peter Gabriel and other prog-rock bands like King Crimson. The Security Project have released two former albums simply titled "Live 1" and Live 2." Now the band skip ahead to release a new album titled "Five" which features for the first time, the voice of singer/songwriter Happy Rhodes.
 
The new five-song release, features four Peter Gabriel originals and one song from Kate Bush. The album begins with one of Gabriel's most popular solo hits "Games Without Frontiers" as Rhodes' vocals mimic the song's originals, while the music sweeps you away as it pushes past the 8-minute mark. The new short release continues with "No Self Control," which originally featured Kate Bush's vocals, as Rhodes handles the vocal duties with ease. The Kate Bush original "Mother Stand For Comfort" fits in perfectly among the other Gabriel classics, before finishing with the pounding beats of "Rhythm Of The Heat." To find out more about Security Project and their latest release "Five," please visit securityprojectband.com.
 
Soulful vocal artist Billy Valentine recently released a new album of cover songs titled "Brit Eyed Soul." Valentine is best known as the voice of songs on "Sons Of Anarchy" and "Boston Legal." Now he dives into a dozen well-known tracks from some of Britain's biggest hit makers, beginning with the Rolling Stones' "Beast Of Burden," which carries an R&B/funk groove that fits Valentine's style perfectly. His vocals set the mood with the sultry ballad, "Do You Really Want To Hurt Me" and the smooth delivery of "More Than A Woman." He turns John Lennon's "Watching The Wheels" into a seventies funk gold, then pays true respect to The Beatles with an beautiful soulful rendition of "Here, There and Everywhere." The album finishes with the perfect match-up of Billy Valentine's vocals on Elton John's "(I Guess That's Why) They Call It The Blues" and the cool jazz/funk rhythm of "(What's So Funny Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding." To find out more about Billy Valentine and his latest release "Brit Eyed Soul," please visit billy-valentine.com.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

RJ Podcast: Kinky Friedman Discusses His Upcoming Tour, Music And New Books On Our Latest Podcast

Legendary Texas singer/songwriter Kinky Friedman talks with us about hitting the road again on his upcoming "Resurrected Tour." He also explains some of his inspirations for some of his new songs like "Jesus In Pajamas." He also gives us some insight into the Utopia Animal Rescue Ranch, which he helped start and about the new books arriving soon about his career and about his life-long friendship with Bob Dylan. Kinky Friedman will be performing at Cafe Nine in New Haven on April 13 and at Bridge Street Live in Collinsville on April 14 & 15.

CD Review: New Progressive Rock From EchoTest, Light Freedom Revival, Dazed Marrow & Carptree

The progressive rock trio EchoTest are ready to release their third studio album titled "From Two Balconies." The new concept album features the work of world-renown bassists Julie Slick (Adrian Belew Power Trio, Crimson ProjeKct) and Marco Machera, along with their latest member Alessandro Inolti on drums. The new nine-song release begins with "Supercell" as the band deviate slightly for their mostly instrumental albums to a more mainstream rock sound as Marco handles most of vocal duties on the album. Not to worry their fans too much, their is still a strong progressive rock element as in the experimental atmosphere of "Confirmation Bias" and the exciting musical journey of "Beats In The Brain," featuring the exceptional guitar work of Tim Motzer. All of the elements come together for the seven-and-a-half minute sonic adventure of "The Plight," before wrapping up the new album with the mainstream ballad "Pity" (with vocals and piano by Claire Wadsworth) and the energetic, hard rock attack of "Radio Sayonara." To find out more about EchoTest and their latest release "From Two Balconies," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/slickmachera.

Canadian progressive rock band Light Freedom Revival are preparing to release their debut studio album titled "Eterniverse Deja Vu." Singer/songwriter John Vehadija assembled a cast of some of the best progressive rock musicians including Billy Sherwood (Yes), Oliver Wakeman (Yes), and Eric Gillette (Neal Morse Band). The new 13-song release begins with the up-tempo, progressive-pop/rock of "New Lightspace Age" as the vocals are addictive, while the music is amazing. Light Freedom Revival deliver "An Idea Of Freedom" with a Sting-like presence to the rhythm, while "Dream Again" takes you on a mystical sonic journey with its slower tempo. Light Freedom Revival returns to the pop/rock tones of "Eternaiverse Deja Vu," before delivering the hard rock attack of "They Fit You In." The album finishes with the steady, progressive feel of "Starting Over," the keyboard-heavy sound of "Place Of Power" and the slow, bluesy ballad of "Enjoy The Now." To find out more about Light Freedom Revival and their latest release "Eterniverse Deja Vu," please visit lightfreedomrevival.com.

From South Korea comes the latest release from ambient, electronic instrumental artist Dazed Marrow. The new album titled "Gaeseki Dream Machine" features sixteen cuts of layered sonic soundscapes that will just make your mind drift. The music entices moods, like the eerie opening "Intro" or the exploratory "Venturing Into Etherea," while the lush, sweeping tones of "Insomnia Euphoria" with ease your worries. The nearly 9-minute richly textured melody of "Feel Better My Friend" takes you on a journey with its ambient layers of music. The sounds of "A Short One" and "Binary Brain" will keep you locked into the movements of the music as Dazed Marrow continues to expand your mind. The experimental "Glass Jar" shows that Dazed Marrow are not afraid to step outside the normal boundaries of music and create new melodies. The album wraps up with the subtle, thought-provoking hints of sound on "Daeseki Gream Machine" and the electronic groove of "Outro," remixed by JackCote. To find out more about the latest release "Gaeseki Dream Machine" from Dazed Marrow, please visit cleorecs.com.

From Sweden comes the latest release titled "Emerger" from progressive rock ensemble Carptree. It features the work of the symphonic rock duo Niclas Flinch and Carl Westholm with help from the No Future Orchestra. Their new 8-song release begins with the amazingly intense rock piece "The Fleeting Deep." It invokes the classic progressive music of Genesis and Yes with an edgier hard rock sound. They continue with the nearly nine-minute sonic adventure of "Between Extremes" which changes tempos and melodies a number of times throughout their performance of the song. They display a more ambient, mystical sound with the mellow tones of "The River," before the big hard rock sound of "Never To Return And Never To Leave." The album finishes with the acoustic build-up of "Porous" and the intense, remixed version of "Dwindle Into Greatness," which originally only appeared as a B-side. To find out more about Carptree and their latest release "Emerger," please visit carptree.com.

Monday, March 20, 2017

CD Review: Former Police Guitarist Andy Summers Take A More Abient Approach On "Triboluminescence"

Andy Summers, former guitarist for The Police, is preparing to release his 14th studio album titled "Triboluminescence" on March 24th. This album will continue in the new direction Summers started in 2015 with his last album "Metal Dog." The album has a much more ambient reflection than his past releases as Summers keeps the music fresh with multi-layered instrumentation and rhythms that provide the perfect backdrop for his guitar work.
 
The new 9-song release begins with the ambient tones of "If Anything" as Summers' guitar solo highlights the opening track. The music gets much more interesting with the layered sounds of the nearly ten-minute instrumental, "Triboluminescence." He gets the feeling of jazz fusion flowing through "Adinkra" and the worldly tones of "Shadowland," before reaching "Haunted Dolls," which sounds like a long lost outtake from The Police era. The album closes with the funky beats of "Gigantopithecus" as Summers ignites the energy of his solo, then the gentle, psychedelic, backwards guitar of "Garden Of The Sea" finishes your adventure. To find out more about Andy Summers and his latest release "Triboluminescence," please visit andysummers.com.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

CD Review: Omnivore Recordings Reminds Us That Bobby Darin & Johnny Mercer Were "Two Of A Kind"

American singers/songwriters Bobby Darin and Johnny Mercer had long-standing careers that have turned them into vocal icons. Bobby Darin was one of the most popular singers of the early sixties as his singles "Mack The Knife" and "Beyond The Sea" controlled the singles chart. Johnny Mercer created some of the most well-known songs in history including "Fools Rush In," "That Old Black Magic" and "Summer Wind." In 1961, these two popular American vocalist teamed up, with the Billy May Orchestra, to record the album "Two Of A Kind."

To celebrate the album's 55th anniversary, Omnivore Recordings is releasing an expanded version of the album on CD. The album features the two singers joining forces, singing many American classic standards, including "East Of The Rockies" and "Mississippi Mud." It also included the originals "Two Of A Kind" and "Lonesome Polecat" as Mercer and Darin shared the vocals duties. The album was a homage to the artists of Tin Pan Alley.

For this new expanded re-issue, Bobby Darin's long-time manager Steve Blauner hired Grammy-winning producer Cheryl Pawelski to remaster the original album and dig through studio sessions for the seven added bonus tracks included on this new release. Two songs that were recorded, but not issued on the original album, "Cecilia" and "Lily Of Laguna" lead off the bonus tracks. The other five songs featured are alternate takes that show how much the two singers admired each other's talents. To find out more about this newly re-issued, expanded edition of Bobby Darin & Johnny Mercer's "Two Of A Kind," please visit omnivorerecordings.com.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

CD Review: Bassist Derrick Anderson Goes Off Into "A World Of My Own"

You may not have heard of the name Derrick Anderson, but he has been the backbone of some of rock's most popular, iconic artists. He has worked with The Kink's Dave Davies on his solo albums, as well as Matthew Sweet and most notably The Bangles. Now Derrick Anderson is venturing off on his own with his debut solo album titled "A World Of My Own." It will be released on April 7th through Omnivore Recordings.

The new 13-track release begins with the up-tempo, alternative-pop of "Send Me Down A Sign" as Anderson's vocals are strong and inviting. Anderson also helps out on percussion for the classic southern rock groove of "You Don't Have To Hurt No More," before slowing down for the ballad "Something New," which included background vocals supplied by The Bangles. His friend Matthew Sweet helps out on the short rocker "Happiness," before picking the energy up for the fast-pace of "Checking Out." His music takes on a nostalgic tone during "My Prediction," before delivering a live, raw, punk-like version of "Stop Messin' About." The album wraps up with some members of The Bangles lending a hand to the addictive pop sound of "When I Was Your Man" and Anderson's re-working of The Beatles' "Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)" with a "Come Together" type rhythm. To find out more about Derrick Anderson and his latest release "A World Of My Own," please visit derrickandersonmusic.com.

Friday, March 17, 2017

CD Review: The Shins Return With Their Latest Album, "Heartworms"

American indie-rock band The Shins just released their fifth studio album titled "Heartworms." The first tease of new music came last Halloween when The Shins released "Dead Alive" to the delight of fans since it has been five years since their last full-length album. "Heartworms" is also the first release since their debut album to be produced by lead singer/guitarist James Mercer.
 
Their new 11-song release begins with the up-tempo, pop tones of "Name For You," which hit #2 on the Adult Alternative Singles chart because of it's addictive rhythm and nostalgic feel. The Shins experiment with the driving beats of "Painting A Hole" and the electronics of "Cherry Hearts," before slowing down for the amazing, acoustic folk/rock of "Mildenhall." They continue with the sixties vibe of "Rubber Ballz," before switching gears for the album's first single "Dead Alive," which has a darker, acoustic tone that showcases another side to Mercer's songwriting. The album finishes with the gentle sway of "The Fear" as the song's music glides through your mind. The Shins have a few dates lined-up in Europe before returning to the U.S. this summer. To find out more about their new album "Heartworms," please visit theshins.com.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

CD Review: Ozomatli Cover Latin Classics Traveling "Non-Stop Mexico To Jamaica"

The Grammy-winning, Latin-fusion band Ozomatli recently released their new studio album "Non-Stop Mexico To Jamaica." They will kick-off the album's debut with a live show at the Troubadour in West Hollywood, CA. This is the band's 8th studio album and it features some special guests including Herb Albert, Juanes and G-Love to name a few. The album also included re-imaged versions of some famous Latin-based songs.
 
The new 14-song release begins with the reggae-infused "Eras" as the rhythm begins to grab hold of you. They deliver a ska-like versions of Selena's "Como La Flor" and Mana's "Oye Mi Amor." Herb Albert then steps in to help with the island-flavor of "Besame Mucho." Juanes lends a hand on the Juan Gabriel classic "Noa Noa," before Kyle McDonald (Slightly Stoopid) works with Ozomatli on the west-coast vibe of Richie Valens' "La Bamba." They turn Santana's "Evil Ways" into a dance club hymn, before finishing up with G-Love and Chali 2Na helping out on the addictive groove of "Land of 1,000 Dances" and fun electronic swing of Redbone's "Come And Get Your Love." To find out more about Ozomatli and their latest release "Non-Stop Mexico To Jamaica," please visit ozomatli.com.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

CD Review: Revisit The Music Of The Bill Evans Trio And John Lee Hooker With Two New Releases

Jazz pianist Bill Evans might best be known for his work on the Miles Davis' masterpiece "King Of Blue." He only worked with Davis for a year before going on his own to lead the Bill Evans Trio. The trio had a number of line-up changes throughout the years, but a specific live performance from 1976 is the subject of a new Bill Evans Trio release titled "On A Monday Evening."
 
The trio featured Bill Evans on piano, Eddie Gomez on bass and Eliot Zigmund on drums. The performance took place on November 15, 1976 at the Madison Union Theater on the campus of the University of Wisconsin. The new 8-song release was recorded by two student DJs who archived the concert for prosperity. The music that night was magical as Evans lead the way on the opening track "Sugar Plum." The gentle Evans original "Time Remembered" and the more up-tempo swing of "T.T.T. (Twelve Tone Tune)," leads the way to the audience favorite "Someday My Prince Will Come," which Evans used to perform with Miles Davis. The new live album finishes with the nearly ten-minute jam of "All Of You," which allows the band to let loose, before the quieter "Some Other Time," as Evans always leaves you wanting more from this musical genius. For more information about the new release "On A Monday Evening" from the Bill Evans Trio, please visit concordmusicgroup.com.
 
It would be hard to argue that John Lee Hooker is not one of the greatest bluesmen of all-time. His boogie-shuffle guitar style is uncanny and his deep vocals delivered his messages with a purpose. He has penned some of the most iconic blues songs of all time in his nearly 60 year music career. To kick off the celebration of what would have been John Lee Hooker's 100th birthday, Vee-Jay Records in association with Concord Bicycle Music, has gathered 16 of Hooker's most well-known tunes on the newly released compilation "Whiskey & Wimmen."
 
Beginning with "Boom Boom" you instantly feel that you are in the presence of greatness as the simply 1-2-3 rhythm, the shuffle guitar solo and memorable lyrics spelled out success for the 80 year old bluesman. The album continues with the storied lyrics of "Boogie Chillin'" and the burning guitar boogie of "Dimples." The title song, "Whiskey & Wimmen" gallops along as Hooker tells us tales of his addictions, before his pleads of "I Need Some Money." The new release includes Hooker's fascination with "Big Legs, Tight Skirts," the acoustic blues gems "No More Doggin'" and Crawlin' King Snake," before finishing with the slow, chugging of "It Serves Me Right" and the howling harp of "Time Is Marching." To find out more about the newly released "Whiskey & Wimmen: John Lee Hooker's Finest," please visit facebook.com/JohnLeeHookerofficial.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

RJ Podcast: James McMurtry Discusses His Upcoming Tour & Some New Music

Singer/Songwriter James McMurtry talks with us about his upcoming solo tour and performing at this year's SXSW festival. He also gives us some insight into the recording of his last studio album "Complicated Game" and about his new political single "Remembrance." James McMurtry will be performing at the Infinity Hall in Norfolk, CT on March 30th.

CD Review: New Music From Indie-Pop Artists J. Sutta, J-Bella, Omeri & Jazz Band E-Life 7

Former Pussycat Dolls singer J. Sutta recently released her full-length debut album on March 3rd. Her new album titled "I Say Yes" was produced by multi-Grammy winner Rico Love and features guest appearances from Pitbull, Liam Horne and Will Peters. The new 15-song release begins with the high-energy dance beats of "Reign" and addictive, electronic pop of "Distortion" as her voice is the highlight of any song she sings on. The R&B flavor of "Feel Like Making Love" and her duet with Rico Love in "I Say Yes" showcases her seductive vocals. Her song "Forever" hit #1 on the independent singles chart as the beats are strong, while she rolls out the lyrics. The soulful electronic pop of  "Inches Away" is where her vocals soar as she is able to let loose. She finishes up with Fuse ODG lending a hand on the high-energy, remix of "Special" and the laid-back R&B vibe of "Sunday Island." To find out more about J. Sutta and her latest release "I Say Yes," please visit jsutta.com.

From New York comes the debut album from R&B/pop singer J-Bella titled "All For Nothin'." It is one of the first releases to arrive on the brand new independent music label Three 2 Go Music. J-Bella grew up a fan of Mariah Carey and was influenced by Alicia Keys as she allows her vocals to soar on the opening track "Shine Remix." Her new 8-song release continues with her soulful delivery of "I Choose You" as J-Bella duets with the equally talented Roger Gossom on this ballad. She showcases her wonderful vocals in the soulfulness of "All For Nothin'," before bringing back the energy of "Game" and "Up Down." Her new album finishes with the return of "Shine" and a special bonus remix of "Shine" that displays how her vocals can accommodate many different music genres. To find out more about J-Bella and her latest release "All For Nothin'," please visit j-bellamusic.com.

Also from New York comes the debut album "Day Dream'n" from pop singer/songwriter Omeri. His new album will be released on March 24th through the Three 2 Go Music label and features a diverse array of music from pop to R&B to soul to rock. Beginning with the title song, Omeri instantly becomes accessible with the pop infused rock swing of  "Day Dream'n." The soulful delivery of "Guess I'll Be Waiting" and the light-hearted, fun, up-tempo pace of "Read Your Mind" will have Omeri on your playlist as you discover the talents of this young musician. His soulful vocals during the ballad "Don't Look For Me" will warm your soul, before he finishes his new 8-song release with the R&B delivery of "One Night" and an extended version of the title-song. To find out more about Omeri and his latest release "Day Dream'n," please visit omerimusic.com.

Finally we arrive at the debut album from E-Life 7 featuring Michael Pennick on bass. The new album titled "Miked Up" is also being released on March 24th through Three 2 Go Music. The new 14-track release begins with Pennick making a statement with his bass as he trades licks with guitarist Ronald Walker on the instrumental "Sunday Night." Pennick leads the way through the funky rhythm of "Choas" and delivers a "Smooth Ride" with the jazz tones of saxophonist Ken Whitman. E-Life combines the elements of rock and funk for the high energy of "That Girl," before Michael Pennick digs deep down for the bluesy bass solo of "Tony Rome." They introduce vocals into the R&B backdrop of "Feelin' You," before slowing down for the six-minute jazz of "Before The Storm." The album finishes with the bright, up-tempo pace of "Beautiful Day" and two radio edits of the songs "Tony Rome" and "Feelin You." To find out more about E-Life and their latest release "Miked Up," please visit e-life7.net.

Monday, March 13, 2017

CD Review: St. Patrick's Day Gets A Boost From The Tossers While We Ride Deliver Victory Records Debut

The punk band, The Tossers have become the elder statesmen of the genre, having been performing for over 24 years. Their Celtic/punk style have placed them on the same line as Dropkick Murphys and Flogging Molly. The Tossers have recently released their new album titled "Smash The Windows," just in time for St. Patrick's Day. It is the band's sixth release through Victory Records.

The new 17-track release begins with the quick-paced swing of "Erin Go Bragh" as they get the energy flowing. The Tossers know how to get you involved with their music by singing along to the simple, fun, exciting chorus of "Smash The Widows" and clap your hands or stomp your feet to the energetic rhythm of "Drinking All The Day." They slow the tempo down for the serious tale of "Resurrection Mary" and the traditional Irish hymn "Danny Boy." They pick the energy back up with the quick pace of "Whiskey," before slowing down once again for the wonderful harmonies of "My Love." The album continues with the instrumental "Lots Of Drops Of Brandy," which will make you feel like your are in a pub in Ireland drinking a pint of your favorite beer. They finish with the short sing-along "Fare You Well" and the dark story of "The Foggy Dew." The Tossers have one show line-up for St. Patrick's Day in Chicago, but they will provide the perfect soundtrack for the one day that everyone is Irish. To find out more about their new album "Smash The Windows," please visit thetossers.com.

Also arriving from Victory Records on April 14th is the label debut of We Ride's new album titled "Empowering Life." This hardcore punk band started out on the streets of Spain in 2009, before catching worldwide notice with their 2012 release "On The Edge." Their new 10-song release begins with the Rage Against The Machine-type attack of "Voices."  The screaming vocals of "Self-Made" and the chanting chorus "What You Are," match the frenzied musical attack supplied by the band. They take their energy up a notch with the intense delivery of "Do It All Again," before the chugging guitar rhythm of "Summer" will have you banging your head along to We Ride's hardcore sound. The album finishes with the thrash metal appeal of "Endless Hopes" and high-powered, high-energy closer "Hands Off." To find out more about We Ride and their latest release "Empowering Life," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/werideband.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

CD Review: Rock Candy Records Resurrects 80's Rockers King Kobra For New Releases

As the 1980's approached, there was a change in the air musically. The disco scene was getting old and hard rock music was ready to make it's move. The decade began with the release of such classic albums as Ozzy Osbourne's "Blizzard Of Ozz," Judas Priest's "British Steel" and AC/DC's "Back In Black." Then came the next wave of hard rock artists like Motley Crue, Quiet Riot and Def Leppard and in the middle of all this high-quality music was drummer Carmine Appice. He brought Rod Stewart's sound into the 80's and toured with Ozzy before creating his own 80's metal band, King Kobra.

The band featured members from Bulletboys, W.A.S.P. and Unruly Child and their look become the flipside of Motley Crue as all the members were blonde except for Appice's brunette hair color. Their debut album "Ready To Strike" was released in 1985 through Capitol Records and caught the attention of critics and fans everywhere. The drumming was hard and intense as in "Shadow Rider" and the music blurred the lines between heavy metal and mainstream rock as Mark Free's vocals demanded your attention in songs like "Breakin' Out" and "Dancing With Desire."

Unfortunately, the band's follow-up was not able to capture the same attention their debut album received as "Thrill Of A Lifetime" was released only one year later. Their second album did feature the song "Iron Eagle (Never Day Die)," which was featured in the movie of the same name, but songs like "Dream On" and "Feel The Heat" sounded was too polished and less rocking and their record label dropped the band due to poor album sales.

Now, for the band's 30th anniversary, Rock Candy Records has resurrected King Kobra's first two albums for new release. Both albums were remastered and feature a 16-page booklet with new interviews and rare photos as the music still sounds powerful and timeless. The band showcased their muscle on "Ready To Strike," then adapted too much to the technology of the eighties with "Thrill Of A Lifetime." To find out more about "Ready To Strike," please visit rockcandyrecords.merchnow.com and to find out more about "Thrill Of A Lifetime," please visit rockcandyrecords.merchnow.com.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

CD Review: The Numero Music Label Collects The Creation For New "Action Painting" Box Set

The mid-sixties were a booming time for British rock bands, with the success of The Beatles, The Kinks and The Who. Every band had stars in their eyes, with many of them never hitting that perfect note for success, even though their music was as good as what was on the music charts. One such band that found local success, which never carried over to the U.S. was The Creation.

The Creation formed from the ashes of The Mark Four, who recorded four uncharting singles. For The Creation's first album, their management incorporated the help of producer Shel Talmy who worked with The Who, The Kinks and The Easybeats. The Creation's first single "Making Time," cracked the top 50 British singles chart. Their second single "Painter Man" cracked the top 40 in Britain and the top ten in Germany in 1966. The following year, The Creation released both singles in the U.S. without any chart success. After multiple line-up changes, including the departure of guitarist Eddie Phillips and singer Bob Garner and the return of Kenny Pickett, the band could not repeat the success of their first two singles and broke up in 1968.

The Creation did have an impact on many British bands, including The Sex Pistols, Paul Weller and Ride. Even Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin incorporated the use of a bow on his guitar, which was introduced by Eddie Phillips. To celebrate the band's 50th anniversary, the Numero Group record label collected The Creation's recordings between 1965-1968 for the band's definite career compilation. The new release titled "Action Painting" was released on March 17th as a two CD box set which contains 46-tracks housed in a CD sized hardcover case. The book features 80 full color pages that tell the history of the band and includes many rare photos, along with singles and album artwork.

The music has been remixed with many songs receiving their debut on CD. Disc one features 23 tracks, beginning with The Creations' most well-known hits "Making Time" and "Painter Man." All of the band's issued singles and B-sides are represented along with tracks from their only 1967 album "We are Paintermen." The second disc features the four issued singles as The Mark Four, along with 15 new stereo mixes of the Shel Talmy produced singles. The set closes with the backing tracks of their songs "Making Time" and "How Does It Feel To Feel," along with an instrumental jam and the full length version of their B-side "Sylvette."

Just as impressive as the collection of songs, is the hardbound book which contains new essays from music historians Dean Rudland and Alec Palao. Together they tell the tale of The Creation during the late-sixties and how close they were to becoming one of the iconic classic British rock bands of the sixties. To find out more about this new release from the Numero Group label, please visit numerogroup.com.

Friday, March 10, 2017

CD/DVD Review: The Neal Morse Band Showcase Their Energy In New "Morsefest 2015" Release

The Neal Morse Band recently released their longest, most involved, mind-expanding album late last year titled "The Similitude Of A Dream." It has received rave reviews from critics everywhere, with many saying it is the band's best album to date. Now, The Neal Morse Band dive back in time to celebrate "Morsefest 2015" with a soon to be released 2 Blu-ray or 2 DVD set with an additional 4CDs which cover both nights of the band's live performances.
 
The band ran through 30 songs from throughout Neal Morse's career over the course of two nights and invited 38 musicians on stage with them to create a special prog-rock orchestra. The first video covers the band's first night as they kick things off with "The Call." The video quality is amazing as you are right on stage with The Neal Morse Band, watching these musical magicians at work. Songs like "Go The Way You Go" and "MacArthur Park" easily push past the 13-minute mark as you just become in awe of the amazing musicianship within the band. Morse introduces songs from his solo career with the Christian rock appeal of "New Jerusalem" and "Temple Of The Living God," as the additional choir gives the music a gospel-like quality. The additional singers and musicians bring songs like "Solid As The Sun" and "12" to bigger heights as they sound even better in this live setting than their studio versions. The first video (first night) closes with the emotional build-up reprise of "The Temple Of The Living God."
 
The second night features a much shorter set list with only eight songs as most of them last between 7 and 17 minutes. The night begins with the epic piece, "The Door" as the band expands upon the live setting with their iconic progressive rock sound. Neal Morse delivers this Cristian rocker to an audience that adores and expects only the best from this band. He gets right up to fans, displaying his guitar talents on "The Conflict My Heart" and drummer Mike Portnoy leads the band through the intense playing of "At The End Of The Day." Morse invites fellow Spock's Beard member Nick D'Virgilio to join him for the classic prog-rocker "Wind At My Back," before the night closes with "The Wirlwind Medley" from Morse's other band Transatlantic.
 
The Neal Morse Band are heading back out on the road in Europe at the end of the month. For a complete list of live dates and to find out more about "Morsefest 2015," please visit nealmorse.com.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

CD/DVD Review: Tedeschi Trucks Band Deliver New "Live From The Fox Oakland" Release

Since the winning combination of Susan Tedeschi and the Derek Trucks Band formed in 2010, they have helped carry the torch for classic southern soul/rock music. Both Tedeschi and Trucks are well educated in blues and both certainly know there way around a guitar. After three award-winning studio albums and one live album, the Tedeschi Trucks Band (TTB) are preparing to release their second live album titled "Live From The Fox Oakland." It will available on March 17th through Fantasy Records and will be presented in a 2CD/Blu-ray or DVD format, featuring the first official full-length concert video from the band. 
 
The show was recorded on September 9, 2016 with the entire 12-piece Tedeschi Trucks Band along with a couple of special guests. The set list from that evening featured a mix of originals and covers that have made the TTB one of the biggest draws on the concert circuit. The show was filmed with 12 cameras and mixed by Bob Ludwig on a vintage Neve counsel to give the music that extra warm appeal.
 
In between some of the songs, the film breaks away from the show to give fans a behind the scenes look at the band. It features interview footage of Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi discussing the workings of the band and about the songs they choose to perform together. After an amazing 10-minute version of "Keep On Growing," the band dives into a couple of cover songs featuring the work of Leonard Cohen ("Bird On A Wire") and George Harrison ("Within You Without You"). Sarod artist, Alam Khan joins the TTB for an interesting version of "These Walls," before Trucks explodes during his solo of "I Want More," which includes segments of Santana's "Soul Sacrifice." It's tough to include all the great moments of this show as you will surely be hooked after having watched this video of their live performance. They close the show with a stellar performance of "Let Me Get By," then former Black Crowes singer Chris Robinson joins the band for cover of Bob Dylan's "You Ain't Going Nowhere" during a dressing room jam.
 
The Tedeschi Trucks Band "Live From The Fox Oakland" will be released as a special edition 2CD/Blu-ray or DVD set, as well as on vinyl and as a stand-alone CD, Blu-ray or DVD. The TTB will be following the release of their new live album with a string of shows in Europe, before returning to the U.S. for their summer "Wheels Of Soul Tour." For a complete list of tour dates and to find out more about their brand new live album, please visit tedeschitrucksband.com
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Wednesday, March 8, 2017

CD Review New Music From Indie-Artists Jason Andrew Brown, Daphne Willis, Race To Neptune, Natalise, Howard Simon And DocFell & Co.

First from Indianapolis comes the latest self-titled release from singer/songwriter Jason Andrew Brown. After fronting a number of bands for the last two decades and performing alongside such artists as Neil Young, Counting Crows, Bush and Widespread Panic; Brown thought that it was time to re-invent himself as a songwriter. His latest five-song EP digs deep into his soul to deliver the most truthful album of his career. Beginning with "Shine Sun Shine," Brown definitely has a knack for writing an addictive chorus and music riffs to get the energy flowing on this fun, care-free opener. He gets more serious with the wonderful classic rock tones of "Stranger" and the emotional acoustic strumming of "Emptiness Is Forever." His maturity and experiences in the business have definitely shown through on this latest release, which closes with the folk-style, storied words of "Icarus." To find out more about Jason Andrew Brown and his latest self-titled EP, please visit jasonandrewbrown.com.

Next from Nashville comes the latest release from singer/songwriter Daphne Willis titled "Freaks Like Me." It follows quickly on the heels of her Beatles tribute "Come Together" and features songs that she has held on to for quite a while. The opening track, "Freaks Like Me," was originally written for use in Tim Burton's "Alice In Wonderland" movie back in 2010. The song carries a bluesy feel that fits in perfectly with the world of Tim Burton as Willis' vocals are sweet and seductive. She rolls out the lyrics of "Dopamine" like a Jason Mraz prodigy, as the song moves along its modern pop rhythms. She continues with the up-tempo, addictive dance beats of "Out Of The Black" and the island-clap swing of "Keep On Keepin' On." Her new 9-song release finishes with the funky backdrop of "Just A Little Bit" and the smooth R&B groove of "The Letter." To find out more about Daphne Willis and her latest release "Freaks Like Me," please visit daphnewillis.com.

From Colorado comes the alternative indie-rock band Race To Neptune with their debut album "Oh Contraire." Their sound derives from the early days of grunge as the music become more truthful and raw. Their new nine-song release begins with the guitar buzz of "Wanderlilly" as heart, emotion and desire drip from the music's youthful, energetic delivery. They keep the pace flowing with the steady rhythm of "Cigars And Celebrations" as the rage of guitars take the song to another level. The energy continues with the alternative mainstream radio sound of "Bulletful Of Piss" as Race To Neptune control their music with such maturity. Their new release finishes with the dark tones of "Constant Collapse," the fast, punk-like guitar fury of "Bayou Brew" and the steady, alternative rock of "Waterspout." To find out more about Race To Neptune and their latest release "Oh Contraire," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/RaceToNeptune.

From the California bay area comes the debut album "Glimpses Of The Sun" from the pop/rock band Natalise + The Sunset Run. Singer/songwriter Natalise has performed live all over the world, performing at over 150 different venues and has had some original songs featured on MTV, VH1 and the CW. Their new album begins with the wonderfully addictive, radio-friendly sound of "Abandon" as Natalise's voice is easy to get used to as she showcases her vocals on the gentle piano-based "See Me." Natalise + The Sunset Run are a hidden treasure for pop radio just waiting for their big break with the pop swing of "Headphones." Their new 5-song EP closes with the emotional, piano ballad "The Lucky Ones." To find out more about Natalise + The Sunset Run and their latest release "Glimpses Of The Sun," please visit natalisemusic.com.

Also from the California bay area comes the sophomore release from singer/songwriter Howard Simon. His new album titled "Visitors" features 14-tracks, beginning with the gentle, acoustic folk storytelling of "Three Horses." The tempo picks up with the swift paced rhythm of "The Librarian's Garden" and the jazzy swing of "Antonia." Simon uses his influence of another Simon (Paul) for the poetic lyrics of "Sweet Words And History" as he continues to draw comparisons to the folk leaders of the seventies. His warming vocals highlight "Christmas Day," while the title-song "Visitors" has a Celtic-feel attached to the song's melody. The album finishes up with Simon's slowed-down, re-imagined version of Bob Dylan's "Tomorrow Is A Long Time" and the up-tempo, lively strumming of "Albion." To find out more about Howard Simon and his latest release "Visitors," please visit howardsimonmusic.com.

Finally from the small town of Tahlequah, OK comes the latest album from Red Dirt band, DocFell & Co titled "Dust Bowl Heart." Having formed only five years ago, the band immediately entered the studio to create their debut album "Scissor Tail." As the band's sound continued the grow, they entered the studio once again to capture the country, bluegrass, Americana, folk style of "Dust Bowl Heart." The new release features 10-tracks, beginning with the knee-slapping, quick-pace of "Lonesomeville" as DocFell tells of the ghostly tales. They keep the energy flowing with the country rock of "The Less I Know" and the classic rockabilly flavor of "Love Sick." They dedicate a love song to their home state with the ballad "Oklahoma Lady," before the big modern country sound of "Dandelions" becomes the album's highlight. The album finishes up with the honky-tonk of "Tumbling Dice" and the country-folk storytelling of "This Machine." To find out more about DocFell & Co and their latest release "Dust Bowl Heart," please visit docfellmusic.com.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

CD Review: New Rock/Metal Music From Emperors And Elephants, Nox Vorago, Death Therapy, The Grandfather & Goresoerd

First from Chicago comes the latest release from hard rockers Emperors And Elephants. The new album titled "Moth" will be released on March 17th through Pavement Entertainment and features a dozen tracks that were completed prior to the passing of founding member/guitarist Jeff Windisch. Windisch is heard all throughout the album as he delivers a stellar solo on the opening track "Hidden." The music combines elements of heavy metal with alternative grunge to give the music a darker tone as displayed on "Not Today" and "Poison." They sing about the dark part of "Chicago" in this addictive rock number, before picking the tempo up for the guitar frenzy of "Give Away The Sun." The album finishes with the powerful guitar riffs of "Trigger" and the out-of-place, acoustic delivery of Chris Isaak's "Wicked Game." To find out more about Emperors And Elephants and their latest release "Moth," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/EmperorsandElephants.

Swedish death metal band Nox Vorago recently released their sophomore album titled "Al Chem" on February 24th. The album features seven new tracks that help develop the band's hardcore metal sound mixed with orchestration. Beginning with "Elena Tiamatu," the energy gets unleashed with the growling vocals and thunderous rhythms. Their sound is fleshed out by the use of keyboards as they look to keep a sense of mysticism within their music as they develop a more progressive metal delivery on seven-minute "Devourer Of Dreams." Nox Vorago find the perfect opportunities in "The Hissing Sound Of Ouroboros" to change tempos and make the synthesizers a vital part of their hardcore sound. The album closes with the evil screams of "Daughters Of The Sun" and the aggressive, energy-infused "At The Feet Of Ereshkigal." To find out more about Nox Vorago and their latest release "Al Chem," please visit noxvorago.com.

Industrial/electronic metal duo, Death Therapy recently released their debut album titled "The Storm Before The Calm." The band is the latest musical vision of Jason Widom (Becoming The Archtype), who describes Death Therapy as "capturing a mood and a bass groove and just experiment from there." They begin with the quieter, two-minute piano-based opener "Until Then," which leads into the intense metalcore appeal of "Self Mind Dead." Death Therapy bring together the aggressive screams of "The Lie" with the industrial metal buzz of "Prodigal." The heavy pounding of "Slow Dance (With Death)" gives the song a Rob Zombie-vibe, while "Everything Burns" combines elements of funk with nu-metal to make for a wildly, energetic experiment. The album closes with the two-part instrumental "The Belmont Family Curse," which feels like the soundtrack to an eighties horror film. To find out more about Death Therapy and their latest release "The Storm Before The Calm," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/deaththerapy.

Hardcore/metal band The Grandfather are releasing a trio of EPs this year. The releases with feature the concept of the journey of a man trying to find out who he really is. Each EP will be one chapter in the story, beginning March 3rd with "Absent." It feature five songs, beginning with the title-song as the slow pounding and guitar buzz lay the foundation for vocalist Dillon Schiel to scream out the lyrics. Bassist Cory Lanza calls this release their "heaviest and darkest" as the songs deal with depression and anxiety. The Grandfather pick up the energy with the aggressiveness of "Koresh" and the quick blast of "Chikatilo," before finishing their new short EP with the intense deathcore grind of "Shipman." To find out more about The Grandfather and their latest release "Absent," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/thegrandfatherband.

Finally from Estonia comes the latest album "Antikeha" from the heavy metal band Goresoerd. It is their fourth full-length release and the lyrics are sung in their native language of Estonian, but the sound of heavy metal is universal. The new album is made up of 9-tracks, beginning with the intense attack of "Pohjast" as the music pounds away your mind. The screaming vocals of "Neetud" and the speed of "Antikeha" will turn you into an instant fan, without understanding one single word of what is being sung. They deliver their most mainstream metal song with "Raamat" and then turn up the progressive metal sound of "Loikus," before closing the album with the aggressive growl of "Elajas." Goresoerd has some live dates lined-up in March and April. To find out more about their latest album "Antikeha," please visit goresoerd.com.

Monday, March 6, 2017

CD Review: Modern English Return To "The Trees" & Flamingods Become The "Majesty" Of World Music

British punk/new wave band Modern English hit it big in the U.S. and U.K. with their 1982 single "I Melt With You." After contractual problems with their record label, the band split up in 1991. Singer Robbie Grey would revive the band five years later to release the album "Everything's Mad." After touring the U.S. in 2002, the original members of Modern English reformed to re-record their hit single "I Melt With You" for the movie of the same name. Now Modern English are ready to release their 8th studio album titled "Take Me To The Trees."

The album was funded by PleadgeMusic and was released on February 24th through Kartel Music Group. The new ten-song release brings the band's iconic 1980's post-punk sound to modern day. The album begins with the classic appeal of "You're Corrupt" as you are instantly transported to punk revolution of late-seventies Britain. They still capture the pop essence of their music with addictive hooks and sing-along choruses as in "Trees" and "Moonbeam," while "Sweet Revenge" recalls the band's early days with it's edgier, new wave style. The album wraps up with the undeniable pop tones of "I Feel Small" and the darker, gloomier feel of "It Don't Seem Right." Modern English are hitting the road in March for two months worth of live shows. For a complete list of dates and to find out more about their new album "Take Me To The Trees," please visit modernenglish.me.

The London based five piece band Flamingods recently released their new studio album titled "Majesty." It is their first album on Soundway Records and their fourth overall. It features a worldly sound as the opening title-track carries a Middle-Eastern rhythm as lead singer/founder Kamal Rasool reads through the lyrics. The pop-feel of "Jungle Birds" dives head-first into Bollywood territory, while the up-tempo rhythm of "Taboo Grooves" and the gentle garden walk through "Majestic Fruit," will have you listening intently to hear every sound. Flamingods take you on a sonic journey with the six-minute instrumental "Anya," before the energetic beats and electric guitars of "Gojira." The album finishes with the authentic sounds of India in "Sarangi" and the progressive rock instrumental "Mountain Men." To find out more about Flamingods and their latest release "Majesty," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/flamingodsmusic.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

CD/DVD Review: Rick Wakeman Revisits His Past With Two New Releases

In 1925, there was a silent film created, based on the Gaston Leroux novel "Phantom Of The Opera." The film starred Lon Chaney as the disfigured phantom who roamed the halls of the Paris Opera House.  The film became famous for Lon Chaney's self-devised make-up, which became the basis for monster make-up for years to come. The only thing missing from this masterpiece was sound.

English keyboardist Rick Wakeman was commissioned to create a modern soundtrack for this original "Phantom Of The Opera" silent film upon its release on DVD. The film has been fully restored, along with the lost "Ballroom Scene" and Wakeman's full conceptual soundtrack has been included with this classic movie masterpiece.

This new Rick Wakeman version of the "Phantom Of The Opera" was released on February 3rd through Gonzo Multimedia as a 2CD/DVD set. The soundtrack spreads across two discs and expands upon Wakeman's "Phantom Power" album. The music soundtrack features the original, unedited versions of the songs that are being released for the first time on CD. The DVD includes, along with the movie, some bonus features like Rick Wakeman's commentary throughout the movie and an introduction by the late-great Christopher Lee. To find out more about this unique 2CD/DVD set, please visit rickwakemansmusicemporium.com.

In 1982, former Yes keyboardist Rick Wakeman teamed up will fellow English pianist Tony Ashton for the British television show "GasTank." It was an outlet for musicians to come and talk about anything they wanted and perform live on a television soundstage. Some of the many guests that appeared on the show ranged from Eric Burdon and John Entwistle to Steve Hackett and Ian Paice. The show only lasted for six episodes but featured some of the greatest English artists from the seventies performing some of their favorite songs live with Wakeman and Ashton and the "GasTank" house band.

Gonzo Multimedia is releasing a new 3CD set, along with a double-DVD set with newly remastered sound, featuring the highlights of the "GasTank" show. Each of the three discs are broken up into episodes, as you hear Eric Burdon performing some classic blues with "Trying To Get Back To You," then tackling the classic "Be Bop A Lula." On Episode 2, Andy Fairweather Low joins in for the calypso classic "Man Smart, Woman Smarter" and for Wilson Pickett's "In The Midnight Hour." Folk/rock artist Donovan performs a live version of his hit single "Mellow Yellow" in episode 3, while guitarist Alvin Lee take over "Stormy Monday Blues," pushing the jam past the nine-minute mark.

Alvin Lee returns in episode 4 for the guitar blazing rocker "Tell Me Baby What's On Your Mind," before the disc continues with Ian Paice on the intense rhythm of "Resurrection Shuffle" and Suzi Quatro on the blues favorite "C.C. Rider." Disc 3 kicks off with Steve Harley on the smooth sounds of "Mr. Soft," then The Strawbs perform their prog-rock classic "The Hangman." The Who's John Entwhitle delivers a rocking version of "Twist & Shout" and Roy Wood revisits' The Move's "California Man," before closing the set with Steve Hackett featuring "Camino Royale (Hackett To Pieces)" and "Hackett's Bogie." To find out more about this new 3CD set from Rick Wakeman and Tony Ashton's "GasTank," please visit gonzomultimedia.com.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

CD/DVD Review: Michael Schenker Invites Special Guests To "Michael Schenker Fest Live"

World-Renown guitarist Michal Schenker released one of his most famous live solo albums "Live At The Budokan" in 1982. He decided that Tokyo, Japan would be the perfect place to film his latest live album titled "Michael Schenker Fest Live." This time Schenker would invite his past singers from throughout the Michael Schenker Group (MSG) to lend a hand at this show, which took place August 24, 2016.

Michael Schenker is best known as helping define the iconic guitar sound of The Scorpions and bringing the British rock band U.F.O. from out of the shadows and turning them into one of the biggest hard rock bands of 70s. Throughout the 80s and 90s, Michael Schenker has maintained a steady solo career, creating the Michael Schenker Group and Michael Schenker's Temple Of Rock and has since become known as one of the greatest guitarists of our generation. His new live video and album with be released on March 24th through Inakustik in many different formats including Blu-ray, DVD, CD, vinyl and digital. The video was filmed in high quality and tries to capture every highlight of the night from every angle. At times, you'll feel as if you are backstage watching from behind the drumkit and the next minute you will be in the front row, drooling over Schenker's amazing solos.

The night begins with the instrumental, "Into The Arena" as the members of the Michael Schenker Group were on hand to back Schenker for the first time in almost a decade. Lead singer Gary Barden gets the crowd going with the MSG originals "Attack Of The Mad Axeman" and "Victims Of Illusion." After his short five-song set, Barden finishes with "Armed And Ready," before exiting to a roaring applause. Michael Schenker and the band lock into the instrumental "Coast To Coast," before Graham Bonnet dives into three songs from the 1982 "Assault Attack" album. The final special guest singer of the night was Robin McAuley who joined forces with Michael Schenker in the late 80's to form the McAuley-Schenker Group. McAuley also joined Michael Schenker on his "Temple Of Rock" tours, this night he would dive back in time, performing "This Is My Heart," "Save Yourself" and "Love Is Not A Game." Both McAuley and Schenker performed with smiles on their faces as the night closes with a trio of songs from U.F.O., beginning with "Shoot Shoot,. It seemed everyone was enjoying themselves rocking out to the classic U.F.O. tunes "Rock Bottom" and "Doctor Doctor," which featured all of the special guest lead vocalists performing together on this closing number.

The 2CD set features the entire 18-song set list and the Blu-ray/DVD also features a bonus slideshow of pictures and a special 12-minute invite to soundcheck. Michael Schenker has only a couple of festival dates line-up at the moment. To find out more about his new live release "Michael Schenker Fest Live," please visit michaelschenkerhimself.com.

Friday, March 3, 2017

CD Review: Chickenfoot Gathers Favorite Tracks For New "Best + Live" Release

Most bands wait until they have a handful of albums released before putting together their first "greatest hits" set, but Chickenfoot isn't like most bands. This supergroup was built out of the ashes of Van Halen when singer Sammy Hagar and bassist Michael Anthony teamed up with guitarist extraordinaire Joe Satriani and Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith to show how much fun bands could have performing together and creating new exciting rock music.
 
In 2009, Chickenfoot released their self-titled debut album and then quickly followed two years later with "Chickenfoot III," but then the group went quiet. Chad Smith went back to work with the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Joe Satriani released two brand new solo albums and a box set of all his former albums. Sammy Hagar released two new albums of his own and Michael Anthony became part of another new band, The Circle (along with Hagar).
 
Now with a newly recorded song titled "Divine Termination," Chickenfoot is gathering together ten of their most popular songs for their latest release titled "Best + Live." This is a 2CD set that features one disc of their favorite studio songs and live covers and another disc of their show recorded in Phoenix in 2009. The new two-disc set will be released on March 10th through eOne Music. 
 
The first disc contains 14-tracks, beginning with the grinding rhythm of "Divine Termination" supplied by Smith and Anthony. Hagar's vocals are timeless as he shouts out the chorus as Satriani's electrifying solo is the cherry on top. Then the "Best" of Chickenfoot delivers the favorites like "Oh Yeah" and "Big Foot," before ending the first disc with three covers songs from The Who, Montrose and Deep Purple.
 
The second disc is completely live and features, for the first-time on CD Chickenfoot's show in Phoenix, which was first available on the "Get Your Buzz On" DVD/Blu-ray. The band just released their first album and were anxious to take their new music out on the road and this live album showcases a band excited to be playing new music together with friends. The songs have that extra boost of energy that only comes in a live setting. Songs like "Avenida Revolution" and "Down The Drain" get extended as Satriani's guitar just shreds, while Anthony and Smith try and keep up. Hagar breaks down the wall between the band and the audience, by including them in the stories of the songs they wrote for their debut album.
 
The band throws in shots of Led Zeppelin here and there with the most noticeable reference is when Chickenfoot break into the "Immigrant Song" during the closing jam of "Get It Up." They finish their set with back to back, nine-minute versions of "Turning Left" and "Future In The Past." To find out more about Chickenfoot and their latest release "Best + Live," please visit chickenfoot.us.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

RJ Podcast: Bluegrass Legend Ricky Skaggs Discusses His New Tour With Bruce Hornsby

Country/Bluegrass legend Ricky Skaggs took some time out of his busy touring schedule to talk with us about performing live and how he feels about being the elder statesman of his group, Kentucky Thunder. He also discusses with us about today's country artists and who were some of his favorite musicians to perform with. Ricky Skaggs is currently on a U.S. tour with pianist/singer Bruce Hornsby.

CD Review: New Music From Indie-Artsits Scotch Hollow, My Heart Is A Metronome & Mad Ones

Kansas City blues/roots band Scotch Hollow have returned with their third album titled "Little Tortuga." It was written while the band was holed up on a rural family farm, away from civilization and they let nature be their canvas. Their new eleven-song release begins with the blues romp of "Hocus Pocus" as Carley Martin's vocals steal the show right from the beginning. They get the joint jumpin' with the classic fifties-style swing of "Kansas City Pepper" and the punk-like speed of "Too Bad Poor Boy." Martin's vocals get seductive on the blues/jazz of "Nobody But You," while Mark Verbeck's guitar work highlights "Little Tortuga." The album finishes with the slow stomp of "Bamma Lamma Jamma" and the wildly exciting gallop rhythm of "City By The Sea." To find out more about Scotch Hollow and their latest release "Little Tortuga," please visit scotchhollowmusic.com.

From Sweden comes the three-piece band My Heart Is A Metronome (MHIAM) with their newly released EP titled "Tierp." The new 4-song album was released on February 10th and begins with the addictive, guitar driven rocker "Tierp." The new release continues with the upbeat, pop tones of "Pick It Up" and the Kings Of Leon replica "Queen." Their new short album finishes with the attractive, alternative rock appeal of "Bubble." To find out more about My Heart Is A Metronome and their latest release "Tierp," please visit myheartisametronome.com.

From Toronto, Canada comes the new album titled "Regretless" from rockers Mad Ones. It is the band's third full-length release and comes out nearly one year since their last album "Sanciety." The new 11-song release begins with the clap-stomp rhythm of "End Of You" as the song builds with intensity. They keep the energy flowing with the guitar rocker "Love Me Again" and the lo-fi shuffle of "Regretless." Then, they bring out the energy with the grunge-like delivery of "Leave It" and the classic rock appeal of "Different Kind Again." The album finishes with the aggressive punk feel of "Amaze" and the slower, acoustic pop of "Love Me Again (Again)." To find out more about Mad Ones ad their latest release "Regretless," please visit madones.ca.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

CD Review: New Music From Indie-Artists Moving Units, Rick & The All Stars And Amanda Abizaid

The American dance/punk band Moving Units are paying tribute to their heroes, the English rock band Joy Division, with their latest release "Collision With Joy Division." Moving Units take ten of their favorite Joy Division songs and do their best to replicate the exact sound of the original. Beginning with "Disorder," Moving Units sound like the second coming of Joy Division, with a bit of a edgier sound to their music. Next they deliver their rendition of Joy Division's first hit single "Transmission" as you instantly feel transported back to the dance clubs of 1979. Moving Units become the fourth band to cover Joy Division's "Shadowplay" as the song still carries a timeless quality. Another Joy Division song that has been covered quite a lot is their 1980 single "Isolation" as the simple beat allows the other instruments to become the attraction. The new Moving Units release closes with one of Joy Division's most popular songs "Love Will Tear Us Apart" as Moving Units try to balance between the electronics of 1980 and the modern technology of today. Moving Units released "Collision With Joy Division" on February 17th and are currently on the road until mid-March. To find out more about their new release, please visit movingunits.net.

It has been almost two years since Rick And The All-Stars released their last album "The Invisible Session" and they are returning with a brand new studio album titled "The Sighting." Just like "The Invisible Session," this new album was performed and captured entirely live in the studio (with only two minor overdubs). The new 8-song release begins with the slow moving beats of "Her Most Recent Missive," led by saxophonist Dan Naiman. They pick the tempo up with the light, airy sounds of "Como Altar Kuchu"and the jazz fusion of "The Sighting," which gets Rick's guitar work involved with subtle riffs of energy. The pounding of "Camp Ephilus" and the up-beat, smooth jazz backdrop of "Refolding And Creasing The Paper Bag," end the album with some exciting, musical genre-breaking sounds that will have you wishing for more from Rick And The All-Stars. To find out more about their new album "The Sighting," please visit cdbaby.com/Artist/rickandtheallstars.

From California comes the new release from singer/songwriter Amanda Abizaid. Her new seven-song EP titled "Walking In Twos," is being released to help the non-profit organization robertwagnerfoundation.org. Her new project will be released on March 3rd and features Hall of Fame artist Stephen Stills on the opening track "Walking In Twos." His guitar work on song is subtle, but striking as Amanda is joined by the children's choir for the song's chorus to give the song that extra shot of emotion. She continues with the gentle folk/rock delivery of "Lion's Den," before adding some electronics to the R&B sounds of "Release Me." Her short new release finishes with the uplifting acoustic strumming of the addictive fun of "One Love" and the electronica remix of the title song which gives it a more up-beat, pop tone. To find out more about Amanda Abizaid and her latest release "Walking In Twos," please visit amandaabizaid.com.