Monday, October 21, 2019

Big Star's Final Album "In Space" Gets Expanded By Omnivore Recordings

On October 25th, Omnivore Recordings will reissue the final studio album from Big Star on CD (with bonus tracks) and on translucent blue vinyl. The album "In Space" was originally released in 2005, it was their first studio recording in thirty years, after reforming in the mid-nineties. It features twelve tracks (ten originals and two covers) that display a very power pop rock sound, which critics did not care for at the time of its release, but feels more nostalgic and addictive this second time around.

Songs like "Best Chance" and "February's Quiet" captures Big Star's classic sound, in a more polished setting, while their cover of The Olympics' "Mine Exclusively" is where the pulse of the album lies. Alex Chilton and Big Star try to bring that energy into "A Whole New Thing" and "Do You Wanna Make It," but the band's early raw rock sound was gone, as the band displayed a more mature sound on this final album.

The six bonus tracks that appear on the new CD release of "In Space" features the rare, out-of-print "Hot Thing," along with demos and early mixes of the songs "Dony" and "February's Quiet." The set closes with a sweet Acapella version of "Turn Back The Sun," which sounds like a modern version of The Beach Boys. Also included in this set a 16-page booklet filled with new essays from surviving band members, as well as from co-producer/engineer Jeff Powell. To find out more about this new reissue of Big Star's "In Space" album, please visit omnivorerecordings.com.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Fifty Years Later, Frank Sinatra Still Has It Going On "My Way"

One of the most popular songs in the Frank Sinatra catalog is his signature tune, "My Way," which reached number 2 on the Easy Listening charts in the U.S. and stayed on the U.K. singles chart for a record 75 weeks. The song begins side two of Sinatra's 1969 album "My Way," which reached the #2 position on the U.K. album charts. In celebration of the 50th anniversary of that timeless album, Universal Music Enterprises/Captiol Records, in association with Frank Sinatra Enterprises has reissued the album on a limited edition translucent green color vinyl and also on CD with four bonus tracks.

The "My Way" album features Frank Sinatra performing his own versions of pop classics, including songs by The Beatles ("Yesterday"), Simon & Garfunkel ("Mrs. Robinson") and Ray Charles ("Hallelujah I Love Her So"). He certainly did things his way on this album, as Sinatra (with the help of composer Don Costa) took these well known lyrics and put a different spin on the melody to add his own signature style to the songs. These songs still sound timeless (especially on vinyl) even after fifty years. Sinatra's voice is so warming on the ballads "Didn't We" and "If You Go Away," that you can feel his passion for these performances.

The four bonus tracks included on the new CD release featured two new versions of the song "My Way." One version is sung as a duet with Willie Nelson (which fits each other's musical style perfectly) and the other version is sung with Luciano Pavarotti, which doesn't have quite the same matching appeal. There are also two live version of the song "My Way" performed at two different eras of Frank Sinatra's career. While the original song "My Way" was only recorded in one take, I wish that some of the sessions of the other songs may have been included in this set as bonus songs to make this a more monumental release.

Also available for the first time is a new Frank Sinatra compilation titled "Sinatra Sings Alan & Marilyn Bergman." It features songs written by the famous songwriting duo and sung by Frank Sinatra at different points in his career. The new release also features two songs (as bonus tracks) that have never been previously released, "Leave It All To Me" and "How Do You Keep The Music Playing?." To find out more about these two new great anniversary releases, please visit sinatra.com

Saturday, October 19, 2019

The Black Keys' Dan Auerbach Helps Jimmy "Duck" Holmes Bring Out The Blues

The 72-year old classic blues artist Jimmy "Duck" Holmes recently released his new studio album "Cypress Groove," which was produced by The Black Keys' Dan Auerbach. The album features Auerbach, as well as some other special guests like Marcus King, Eric Deaton and Sam Bacco on Duck's new eleven track release.

The album begins with stark acoustic strumming of "Hard Times," as Holmes feels like shouting out the lyrics to get his point across. Dan Auerbach's influence is heard on the steady, southern groove of "Catfish Blues," which perfectly matches Holmes' weathered vocals. The pace picks up with the train-like rhythm of "Goin' Away Baby," before guitarist Marcus King lends some sweet slide-guitar work to "Rock Me." The album closes with Holmes returning to the acoustic guitar for the picking and tapping of "Devil Got My Woman," before the boogie, blues-shuffle of "Train Train" and keeping the steady backdrop for Holmes to finish with the story of "Two Women." To find out more about Jimmy "Duck" Holmes' latest release "Cypress Groove," please visit his Facebook page at facebook.com/jimmyduckholmes.

Friday, October 18, 2019

The Magpie Salute Hit The "High Water" Mark Once Again With Their Second Studio Release

After the demise of The Black Crowes in 2015, The Magpie Salute was born from its ashes, featuring Crowes' guitarists Rich Robinson and Marc Ford, along with Crowes' bassist Sven Pipien. Rounding out the group is lead singer John Hogg, drummer Joe Magistro and keyboardist Matt Slocum. On October 18th, The Magpie Salute will release their second studio album titled "High Water II," which follows the band's two-album project that began with last year's release of "High Water I." 

Their new twelve-song album kicks off with a pair of energetic rockers, "Sooner Or Later" and the thumping rhythm of "Gimme Something." The band embraces their southern rock roots on the sweet back roads country groove of "In Here" and also in the beautiful acoustic strumming of "Lost Boy," which features a guest appearance by legendary bluegrass/country singer Alison Krauss. The dual guitars comes out blazing during the intense rocker "Turn It Around," before The Magpie Salute close out their new album the guitar boogie shuffle of "Doesn't Really Matter" and the acoustic blues jam of "Where Is This Place." To find out more about The Magpie Salute and their latest release "High Water II," please visit their Facebook page facebook.com/TheMagpieSalute

Thursday, October 17, 2019

New Music From The Almost, American Grim, Fire From The Gods, Vatican, Varials & Raw Hex

On October 25th, The Almost make their Fearless Records debut with the album "Fear Caller." Frontman Aaron Gillespie (Underoath) states that he does his "best under pressure, when things are bad," so he went to the desert to write and record this new album. It features a dozen tracks that showcase another side of Aaron's creativity, away from his band, Underoath, as things kicks off with the mainstream rock of " I Want It Real" and the more pop oriented "Tame A Lion." Then, The Almost go all out rock and roll on the intensity of "Over And Underneath" and "I Think I Am," before reaching a spot on cover of U2's "In God's Country." The album closes with the quietly flowing ballad "I Won't Miss" and the dark, deep alternative rock approach of "Why Do You Bother Me." To find out more about The Almost and their latest release "Fear Caller," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/thealmost

Arriving November 1st is the new album from the New Jersey trio, American Grim. Their new release titled "Ultra Black" features thirteen tracks that are smothered in the band's nu-metal, industrial rock influences, beginning with the the pounding rhythm of "Ghost" and buzz of "Nightmare." The band look to shock you with the dark tones and hard hitting chorus of "Living Terror," while "Ultra Black" sounds straight from the nu-metal wave of the nineties. American Grim pick the energy back up with the aggressive hard rock attack of "So Sick" and "Gods And Kings," before the electronics take over their sound once again with the beats of "White Walls." American Grim wrap up their new album with hardcore metal feel of "Follow Me" and the hip-hop vocals of "Alone (Hate Me)." To find out more about American Grim and their latest release "Ultra Black," please visit americangrimmusic.com.  


Also arriving November 1st on the Eleven Seven Label is the sophomore effort from the hard rock band, Fire From The Gods. Their new album titled "American Sun" features thirteen tracks that combines elements of hip-hop, reggae and pop in their hardcore, modern hard rock sound, which makes them stand out ahead of many other bands in the genre. They begin with the rolling vocals and big chorus of "Truth To The Weak (Not Built To Collapse)" and the island groove of the title song "American Sun," which keeps you guessing on the direction of their music. Sonny Sandoval (P.O.D.) lends a hand on the hip-hop/rock collaboration of "They Don't Like It," while "Victory" is ready-made for modern hard rock radio to grab hold of. Fire From The Gods finish up their new album with the nu-metal blast of "All MY Heroes Are Dead" and the slow-building inspiration sounds of "Break The Cycle." To find out more about Fire From The Gods and their latest release "American Sun," please visit the band's Facebook page at facebook.com/firefromthegods


Hardcore death metal band Vatican will be releasing their new album "Sole Impulse" on November 15th through 1126 Records. It features eleven hard-hitting tracks, beginning with the intensity of the title song "Sole Impulse," quickly followed by the growling vocals and pounding drums of "Blades In Seria." The attack keeps on coming with the swiftness of "Thirty-One Staples" and "Color My Grave Mine," as both tracks hover around the two-minute mark. Vatican play around with tempo on "Cognition Rendered Dead" (the longest song on the album at almost five minutes), before closing out their new album with the hardcore metal groove of "Ex Nihilo" and the shrieking guitars of "Xero Line Crisis." To find out more about Vatican and their latest release "Sole Impulse," please visit vaticanvr.bandcamp.com


The hardcore metal band Varials recently released their latest full-length album titled "In Darkness." It features fifteen tracks that come blasting right out of the gate with the intensity of "Would" and the aggressive growls of "I Suffocate." The album only breaks away for the heavy metal pounding a few times for some spoken word interludes and instrumentals, before returning once again to the head-banging rhythms of "South Of One" and "I Against I." Varials finish up their new album with more melodic, mainstream hard rock appeal of "The Love Machine" and sonic attack of "Maze." To find out more about Varials and their latest release "In Darkness," please visit varialspa.net


Arriving November 15th is the new album from the hardcore metal band Raw Hex. Their latest release titled "Always High, Always Low" is a punch in the face, as their wall of sound knocks you down with its quick hitting tracks like "Dead Dealer" and "All Is Cold." Raw Hex save their two longest numbers for the end of the album, as "Shackled" is simply two minutes of shear force and speed, while "Mongrel" digs deep into the hardcore metal groove with it pounding rhythm. To find out more about Raw Hex and their latest release "Always High, Always Low," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/rawhexnc