Tuesday, January 31, 2012

CD Review: Coldworker Answers "The Doomsayer's Call"

From Sweden comes death metal band Coldworker with a new release entitled "The Doomsayer's Call." The new album has been two years in the making and will be out on February 14 through Listenable Records.

The album opens with "A New Era," which is actually one of the slower songs on the album. It features one of many great, but all too quick guitar solos by Anders Bertilsson. Then, the songs on the album take-off with neck-breaking speed and lyrics about the occult. The band lets up for a moment with "The Pessimist" which doesn't just go for speed but, changes the tempo slightly to keep the song fresh. Coldworker continue their attack with the aggressive vocals of "Living Is Suffering" and machine-gun drumming of "Violent Society." The album closes with the song "The Phantom Carriage," which may be the most accessible song on the album for those not familiar with Coldworker's music.

The band has one show scheduled at the moment at Neurotic Deathfest 2012. For more information on Coldworker and their new album, check out coldworker.com.

Monday, January 30, 2012

CD Review: Virus Cycle Remix "Zombieland"

From Boston, MA comes the latest form Industrial, Techno band Virus Cycle. The band's music revolves around a location called "Zombieland" as their sound mixes elements of Nine Inch Nails with ingredients from the band Prodigy, highlighted by the darkness of Bauhaus.

The new album entitled "Return to Zombieland" features 12 remixes of past songs along with 2 brand new tracks. The album begins with a marching club beat of "Bring You Down (Forever)" with its deep, dark, haunting vocals supplied by Johnny Virum. The other new song, "City of The Dead" is a more powerful piece of music with its creeping vocals and repetitive background beat. The rest of the songs on this release are newly created remixes of other songs by Virus Cycle. Some of the better ones are the keyboard driven "The Last Man On Earth (Blutaenasche Mix)" and "Alice In Zombieland (Re-Interpretation by Devil-M) which has a great tribal beat that carries the song.

For more information on Virus Cycle and their new release, please visit their facebook page (facebook.com/viruscycle).

Sunday, January 29, 2012

CD Review: Nightwish Release Their "Imaginaerum"

Finish metal band Nightwish have just released a new album entitled “Imaginaerum.” Their sound is different from the normal, head-banging heavy metal sound, as they incorporate a heavy symphonic blast of music on their albums. The band’s last album “Dark Passion Play” cracked the Top 100 on the Billboard US album charts and hit #1 in five other countries. Their new album was released January 10 on Roadrunner Records and it is considered a concept album about an old composer reminiscing about his youth while on his deathbed.

The album’s first single “Storytime,” sets the stage for a musical adventure with a hard-hitting drumbeat and soaring vocals supplied by lead singer Anette Olzon. The hard sound of “Ghost River” is balanced by the fragileness of “Slow, Love, Slow.” If you think that violins can’t be used in heavy metal, then take a listen to “I Want My Tears Back,” as solos are traded back and forth. The song “Scaretale” is concept song within itself as it features a load of tempo changes and aggressive, storied lyrics. Olzon’s voice gets beautifully highlighted with the acoustics in “Turn Loose The Mermaids,”before returning with the heaviness of “Rest Calm.” All these songs lead us to the thirteen-and-a-half minute epic climax of “Song of Myself” which shows us the full potential of this band’s symphonic metal sound.

The new album was released earlier in their home country of Finland and sold over 50,000 copies in one day. The band is beginning their tour in Finland in March before heading over to Europe in April. Visit the band’s website (nightwish.com) for a complete list of tour dates, as well as information on the new album.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Concert Review: Gigantour Hits Connecticut With Second Tour Stop

The Gigantour is a Heavy Metal festival that began in 2005 by Megadeth's Dave Mustaine. He said that he originally chose the bands as way to "put together a festival that consisted of positive bands that play heavy music in a high energy environment." After a three year hiatus, the Gigantour festival returned this year with the band's Megadeth, Motorhead, Volbeat, and Lacuna Coil. The festival made its appearance at the Mohegan Sun arena Friday night.

The saying goes that "if it's too loud, then you're too old." Well, I must be showing my age if I say that the band Motorhead plays loud. The three piece band revolves around leader/singer/bassist Lemmy Kilmister, who is considered a legend in the heavy metal community. The alarmed sounded which signaled the beginning of an attack on your eardrums as the band blasted away with "Bomber" and "Damage Case." Phil Campbell's guitar blazed a path with songs "I Know How to Die" and "Over The Top," as mosh pits broke out at the beginning of every song. Mikkey Dee's drum solo during the song "The One To Sing The Blues" turned up the volume as the rest of the band rejoined him on stage. The audience was out of control with crowd surfing during fan favorites "Killed By Death" and "Ace of Spades" as Lemmy stated that "we are Motorhead and we play rock 'n' roll." The band finished with an all too quick version of "Overkill" as the audience was hoping for an encore that never came. But not to worry, headliners Megadeth were still to come.

Megadeth are touring behind a brand new, top twenty album and will be celebrating their 30th anniversary next year, so they were ready to blow away the crowd. The only problem was that they had to follow Motorhead who have become the masters of getting a crowd rocking. As the curtain dropped, lead singer/guitarist Dave Mustaine walked onstage with his double-neck, Flying-V guitar singing the first words to the 1997 single "Trust." Mustaine's vocals seemed lost in the mix as his voice has gotten deeper and not as powerful as they once have been. He and his bandmates did get the crowd moving with the popular song "Sweating Bullets," but that was one of the only a few highlights from their short one hour set. New songs "Public Enemy No. 1," "Whose Life (Is It Anyways?)," and "Guns, Drugs & Money" seemed to fit in perfectly with older songs "Angry Again" and "Symphony of Destruction." Mustaine invited Lacuna Coil singer Cristina Scabbia to sing on the 1995 single "A Tout le Monde," but it did not draw as much attention as their biggest hit "Peace Sells." Demanding more, the audience was treated to an encore of "Holy Wars...The Punishment Due" which left the band's performance on a high note, but it was not one of the best performances that evening.

The night began with a 25-minute aggressive set from Lacuna Coil which featured songs from their new album "Dark Adrenaline." Then a 50-minute set from Volbeat blew the audience away with their blend of punk, rockabilly and heavy metal. Songs like "Sad Man's Tongue" and "Pool of Booze, Booze, Booza" won over new fans as they got the adrenaline flowing for Motorhead.

Motorhead Setlist: Bomber, Damage Case, I Know How To Die, Metropolis, Over The Top, The Chase Is Better Than The Catch, The One To Sing The Blues, Killed By Death, Ace of Spades, Overkill

Megadeth Setlist: Trust, Wake Up Dead, Hanger 18, Sweating Bullets, Angry Again, Poison Was The Cure, Dawn Patrol, Public Enemy No. 1, Whose Life (Is Is Anyway?), Guns Drugs & Money, A Tout le Monde, Symphony of Destruction, Peace Sells, Holy Wars...The Punishment Due

Friday, January 27, 2012

CD Review: Indie-Rockers Fertanish Go Commercial

From Washington D.C. comes the art rock band Fertanish with their first commercially available album entitled "Zero Zero Three." The band experiments with a multitude of sounds and instruments to create an almost chaotic work of art.

The album begins with "Practitioner" which combines a whirlwind of heavy drumming and electronic beats. Songs like "Mud" and "Cockroach" sound like they were taken from a movie score of a science fiction movie. "We Wished For An Explosion" is an instrumental piece of music with a purpose and is very interesting to listen to as it combines congo drumming along with a dark, evil soaring keyboard. The songs on this album seem like the perfect backdrop for a movie soundtrack, especially the closing songs "Terminelegy" and "Tired." The album finishes with the 14-minute epic music piece "The World Has Ended And We Have All Passed On" as the one minute piano introduction gets taken over by a barrage of sounds crashing together.

For more information on Fertanish and their new album, please visit fertanish.com.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

CD Review: Common Becomes "The Dreamer" With New Release

Hip-hop rapper Common returns with a new album entitled “The Dreamer/The Believer.” It is the artist’s first new album since 2008’s #1 Billboard Top Rap album “Universal Mind Control.” The new album was produced by No I.D. who has also produced albums for Jay-Z and Kanye West.

The album begins with “The Dreamer,” which contains a steady beat that Common just raps masterfully over. The song also features some sweet backwards guitar and closes with a poem read by Maya Angelou. The album has already produced five singles, beginning with “Ghetto Dreams” which features fellow rapper, Nas. The song was released back in July and is the perfect introduction to the new album that was released back in December. The album features a load of samples including Electric Light Orchestra’s “Mr. Blue Sky” during “Blue Sky” and Curtis Mayfield’s “I Loved And I Lost” in the song “Lovin’ I Lost.” Common gets his R&B groove going during “Celebrate” and invites John Legend to lend is vocals to “The Believer.” The album closes with “Pops Belief,” which is based on a poem by Lonnie “Pops” Lynn that he recites over a simple piano backdrop.

Common’s album “The Dreamer/The Believer” debuted at #18 on the Billboard album charts. For more information on Common, please visit his website (thinkcommon.com).

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

CD Review: The Black Keys Ride To Success With "El Camino"

It’s hard to believe that The Black Keys already have seven studio albums, including their latest release “El Camino.” Their popularity has grown with each album, highlighted by last year’s Grammy winning album “Brothers.” But, it seems that 2012 is gearing up to be an even bigger year for the duo, beginning with them appearing on the covers of Rolling Stone and Relix magazine and also selling out Madison Square Garden. Who knows how big this can get?

The new album, “El Camino” contains over a dozen pictures of beat-up vans, similar to the one The Black Keys used to use in their early days. The duo of Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney try to bring up the past with the sound on this new release. Beginning with simple guitar, the lead single “Lonely Boy” uses a shuffle, ZZ Top-style drumming to offset the repetitive fuzz-guitar riff and it all gets highlighted nicely by some keyboards. This is such a simple, but effective formula for The Black Keys. The addition of back-up singers on “Dead and Gone” and “Nova Baby” give the songs a fuller, more complete sound. The duo only slows down for a moment in “Little Black Submarines” which is their attempt at a folk-song that has Auerbach peeling-off some great guitar licks. They blast to the past with the British Invasion-sounding “Money Maker,” the raw, 60’s garage beats of “Run Right Back” and the funk-filled “Sister.” The production of Danger Mouse is heard throughout this album, especially in the dance-pop sounding “Stop Stop” and the bluesy album closer “Mind Eraser.”

The album debuted at #2 upon its release in December and made many critics Top Albums of 2011 list. The Black Keys are currently on tour over in Europe, but will be returning to the states at the beginning of March. For more information on this amazing duo, please check out theblackkeys.com.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

CD Review: Korn Paves "The Path Of Totality"

American Nu Metal band Korn return with their tenth studio album entitled “The Path Of Totality.” Produced by lead singer Jonathan Davis, the new album features special guests including Skrillex, Noisia and Excision amongst others. On this new release, Korn takes a big step towards electronics, meshing the worlds of heavy metal and electro-house music.

Right from the opening track “Chaos Lives In Everything,” you'll notice a difference in Korn’s sound as club beats and synthesizers replace buzzsaw guitars and booming drumbeats. According to Davis, he wanted to “create art that’s different and not conform to what’s going on.” Songs like “Burn The Obedient” and “Sanctuary” sound like an experiment with music as Korn tries to test the boundaries in their new electronic sound. The album’s first single “Get Up!” has become successful, selling over 200,000 downloads in the US alone and making the Top 10 of Billboard’s Mainstream Rock Songs. The song features a great, shout-out-loud chorus over some of the most rock-oriented music on the new album. The album’s second single is “Narcissistic Cannibal” and is a more typical Korn song with its song structure and deep meaning. The album closes with “Bleeding Out” a slower, darker song that is just plastered with electronics.

The new album reached #10 on the Billboard Album chart upon its release in December. Korn will begin their month-long tour on March 3rd in San Bernardino, CA. For more information on Korn’s new album, please visit korn.com.

Monday, January 23, 2012

CD Review: Hard Rockers' 77 Hit The "High Decibels"

From Spain comes the numbered band 77 with a new album entitled "High Decibels." The album will be released on February 28 through Listenable Records. The band's name is derived from the era of music that their sound comes from. The new album sounds like a lost material from the AC/DC era with Bon Scott on vocals.

The opening song, "High Decibels" is a gritty, guitar riff-filled rocker that fits in perfectly with the classic rock of the 70's. The guitar solos in "(Gotta Go) Gotta Hit The Road" and the bonus song "Things You Can't Talk About" leave you wanting more as you wish the solos would go on for hours. The band tackle the garage rock of the 60's with "Gimme A Dollar" as their punk attitude rears it head. The 8-minute album closer "Promised Land" brings together the guitar riffs of AC/DC with the swagger of Aerosmith, a combination that works well with this band.

The band will be sticking close to home with a performance in Barcelona, Spain on January 26th. For more information on this great new rock band, check out their myspace page (myspace.com/seventysevenrocks).

Sunday, January 22, 2012

CD Review: Mutts Make It "Rain" With New Album

From Chicago comes the debut album from the trio known as Mutts. The disc is called “Pray For Rain” and it is the band’s first full-length release and has reached #107 on the CMJ Top 200. The band combines the rawness of The Black Keys with the heavy rock sound of Queens of the Stone Age.

The album opens with the banging sound of “Fool” which sounds like the band is killing a piano as lead singer Mike Maimone does his best Tom Waits impression on vocals. The band has gone through multiple drummers before settling on Joe Mullen who joined the band in July of 2011. Mullen displays his talents on “Not Ready,” before the band finds their funk-groove on "D.O.B.” Mutts get experimental on the hard-rock sounding “Throwback,” then go west on the California-surf of “Blind Truth.” The album closes with “Putting On A Show,” which is exactly what the band tries to do as they build-up grunge-style guitars to a chaotic clonclusion.

The band has three shows lined up, including one on January 23rd in Chicago, IL. For more information and song samples, please visit wearemutts.com.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

CD Review: Minus Ned Are "Finally Fitting In"

LA band Minus Ned just released their debut full-length album entitled "Are We Finally Fitting In?" back in October and have also finished up a successful fall tour. The band also recently appeared on the morning show Connecticut Style performing the first single, "III" from the new album.

The album begins with "New Orleans" which combines an acoustic island flair with the drumbeat of a Mardi Gras parade. The only thing missing are those famous New Orleans-style horns that would put you right in the middle of the Louisiana festival. Singer Marissa DuBois gets her chance to shine, showing us her gentle, sultry voice in "Afraid," then rocking out on "III" and "Gotta Get Out." Minus Ned get their groove on with the bluesy "Wayside," before finishing with the southern rock gem "Come On" and the uplifting acoustic ballad "Something Better."

For more information on Minus Ned and their new album, please visit their website at minusned.com.

Friday, January 20, 2012

CD Review: Justin Levinson Shows Us His Better "Side"

Singer/songwriter Justin Levinson has a new album arriving this month entitled "This Side of Me, This Side of You." Levinson has a "knack for letter-perfect pop hooks" according to Dan Bolles of Seven Days, and he's 100% correct. Justin's songs have the perfect combination of mainstream music and catchy, radio-friendly lyrics like the band Train or fellow singer/songwriter James Blake.

Right from the opening track, "Water Wears The Rock" you feel like this should be a "Top 40" album. The up-tempo combination of a dance, rock sound is a great backdrop for Levinson's lyrics. Levinson's backing band, The Valcours, do a great job "fleshing out" the sound of songs like "You Became A Ghost" and "I'll Be Ok." Justin also invites fellow acclaimed singer/songwriters Will Dailey, Gregory Douglass, and Liz Longley to lend a hand (or voice) to a few songs. Levinson handles heartbreak with "Million Tears" and "If You're Happier," while the Jason Mraz sounding "Say What You're Gonna Say" gets sandwiched between the two songs.

Justin Levinson has some live shows scattered throughout Vermont, until he hits New York on March 7, then travels around the east coast. For more information on Justin Levinson's new album and a full list of tour dates, please visit justinlevinson.com.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

CD Review: Thomas King Makes This His "Last Night Living"

From Los Angeles comes Thomas King with a brand new EP entitled “Last Night Living.” The album was produced by Grammy-nominated Brandon Friesen (Sum 41, Nickelback) and engineered by Bryan Carlstrom (Billy Idol, Alive In Chains). This is King’s second release; his first album garnished him the praise of “Hot 100 Unsigned Artists” in 2010.

The new EP begins with the mainstream, pop-rock sounding “It Starts Tonight” that contains all the ingredients for todays “Top 40” radio audience. King has a knack for writing memorable chorus’ that just stick in your head. His songs have a very upbeat tempo with pop lyrics that contain just enough rock guitar and drums to give songs like “Last Night Living” and “Round Again” an edgier sound. The EP closes with King’s best song, the slow-building “Stay With Me.”

For more information on this rising pop star, please visit his website at thomaskingmusic.com.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

CD Review: Andrew Handrick Finds "Distractions"

Irish singer/songwriter Andrew Handrick has recently released his second self-financed independent album entitled “Distractions.” The 10-song, acoustic album was also recorded and produced by Handrick at his home studio in Italy.

The album is great to listen to when you just want to kick-back and relax as Handrick’s vocals in “Make It Right” and “Yellow River” put you right as ease with your problems. You can feel Andrew spill his heart out on “Forever” as his lyrics just fit in perfectly with his acoustic guitar. The song “Distractions” gives off a protest-folk vibe, while the contrast of “Just For Tonite” gives us a warm, gentle feeling of love. The album closes with that laid-back sounds of “Bourdon Smiles” as you will surely press repeat to hear this album again.

The album was released back in August, but a natural disaster in Vernazza delayed his promotion of the album. For more information on this artist, please visit his website at andrewhandrick.com.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

CD Review: Agent Fresco Visits The US After "A Long Time Listening"

From Iceland comes Agent Fresco with their first concert dates in the US and Canada. Touring behind the release of their 2010 European break-through album "A Long Time Listening," Agent Fresco will be performing at the 2012 SXSW Festival and the 2012 Canadian Music Festival. The band is also nominated for three Icelandic Music Awards (Performer of the Year, Vocalist of the Year, Rock Album of the Year).

The album starts off with "Anemoi" that begins with a wonderful piano interlude that gives the song a similar sound to Coldplay. The combination of hard rock guitars, piano and machine-like drumming in the song "Eyes of a Cloud Catcher" has the perfect combination to give lead singer Arnor Dan Arnarsson a grand backdrop for his passionate vocals. The song "Of Keen Gaze" shows off the talent these musicians have by combining elements of jazz with grunge-style guitars. Their hard rock riffs shine through on "Translations, " while they show us a gentler side to their sound on the song "In The Dirtiest Deep Of Hope." The tempo changes in "Yellow Nights" brings up memories of the British band Queen in their younger days. The band goes off course with the dancehall beats of "Implosions" and "One Winter Sailing," but return to rock on the song "Tiger Veil." The album closes with the song "Tempo," which is all about the tempo changes in the song from pop to heavy metal.

Agent Fresco currently have the two festival appearances on their schedule at the moment, but look for more to come from is Icelandic band once they hit American shores. For more information on Agent Fresco, please visit their website, agentfresco.is.

Monday, January 16, 2012

CD Review: Regurgitator Introduces Us To Their "SuperHappyFunTimesFriends"

From Australia comes Regurgitator with a new album entitled “SuperHappyFunTimesFriends.” The album was released in Australia in August and is slowly making its way to the US. Their music on this new album combines electronics with indie-alternative rock.

The album begins with the lead-single “One Day” which is an up-tempo, keyboard driven modern rocker with a touch of punk. The album contains 14-songs ranging in lengths from 21 seconds to over four minutes. The quietness of “Super Happy Funtime” and the drum-filled, speed-pop of “Punk Mum” show the contrast in sound this band can offer. The songs “Be Still My Noisy Mind” and “Into The Night” have a great eighties rock-vibe that Regurgitator has seemed to master. Then they bring out their guitars for the alternative rock sound “No Show” and the Ramones-like punk attack of “Uncontactable.” The album finishes with some of their best songs in the new wave sounding “Born Dumb” and “Outer Space.”

Regurgitator finished 2011 with a bunch of live dates in Australia and are scheduled to be a part of the Big Day Out Festival in late-January/early-February. For more information on this band, check out their website at regurgitator.net.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

CD Review: Toby Goodshank Puts His Faith In "Truth Jump Fall"

Artist of the New York City underground music scene, Toby Goodshank released his latest solo album entitled "Truth Jump Fall." Goodshank is a member of the band The Moldy Peaches and has recorded 14 albums in a five-year span, while also touring in Europe. This 8-song album features some of Goodshank's best written songs to date.

The album begins with the title song, "Truth Jump Fall" that gives us a mono-toned vocal delivery by Goodshank that never really goes anywhere. The song "Wedding Bells" is a short (1:31) acoustic number that shows us the unusual song structure that Goodshank uses in his music. His acoustic, indie-folk music shines on "The 3 is Silent," while his talents on performing get spotlighted on "Sarah & Jon." The album closes with his most mainstream, pop-sounding song "My Reflection."

For more information on Goodshank and his new album, please visit his facebook page, facebook.com/pages/Toby-Goodshank/40462507604.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

CD Review: The Devil's Blood Return With Sophomore Album

Dutch metal band The Devil’s Blood have just released their second full-length album in the US titled “The Thousandfold Epicentre” on Metal Blade Records. The band is known for their dark enchanting, seductive lyrics about the occult. Their sound combines the hard rock of the 70’s with a theatric lyrical presentation.

The band begins with the heavy guitar riffs of “On The Wings of Gloria.” The combination of the music and vocals in the song, “Within the Charnel House of Love” is as seductive as metal music gets, while the 7-plus minute song “Cruel Lover” sounds like it came from the Heart songbook only instead using lyrics about the occult. The guitars come out blazing in the song “She,” before getting lost in the 9-minute centerpiece of the album, “The Thousandfold Epicentre” with it amazing musicianship and mystical lyrics. The album closes with the 15-minute epic instrumental build-up “Feverdance.”

The Devil’s Blood is currently on tour in Europe. For a complete list of dates and more information on the new album, please visit thedevilsblod.com.

Friday, January 13, 2012

CD Review: Jsin Gets "Born" Again On New Album

Canadian native jsin released his latest album “Born” back in 2009 and has recently begun getting the recognition he deserved. The songs on his debut album range from modern rockers like “You Never Know” to hard rock power ballads like “I Will.” After a brief meeting with Guns N’ Roses at a young age, jsin has been drawn to the raw, gritty rock that GNR was known for. The song “Something To Say” is the perfect example as he blends hard rock riffs with a punk-style attitude. At times, his voice draws similarities to Axl Rose while his music adds some electronics as displayed in “Inside.”

Jsin packed venues in Toronto back in 2010 and is now working on his follow-up sophomore album and tour. For more information on this new artist, please visit his website, jsinisrockmusic.com.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

CD Review: Shotgun No Blitz Call The Plays On "Over It"

Pennsylvania punk band, Shotgun No Blitz released a new EP last year entitled “Over It” which is beginning to get attention in the Northeast. The band comes out blazing with a punk style similar to Face To Face on the album opener “You’re Not As Cool As You Think.” The energy continues with “Mouthful” and “We’re Swimming at the Bottom of the Sea (Drowing).” They bring a more heavy metal approach to “There’s Nothing More To You” before finishing with their fan-favorite, 2010 song “Objects in Mirror are Closer Than They Appear.” The song also shows the band expanding on their punk-rock roots.

Shotgun No Blitz just hit the studio to record their follow-up album. They also have a couple of shows lined-up in Pennsylvania area. For more information, check out the band’s facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/shotgunnoblitz.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

CD Review: Ghost Of Chance Create "A Simple Beast"

Connecticut indie rock band, Ghost of Chance just recently released their new album entitled “A Simple Beast” on February Records. The album was written in reference to the Chernobyl tragedy in 1986 and what the effect of that devastation has on today’s wilderness in the area.

The album begins with the simple beats of “New Carthage” with very mellow, almost unnecessary, vocals provide the backdrop, highlighted by piano keys. The band sounds like a mellow version of the Smashing Pumpkins in the song “Howe Howard,” while the acoustic guitar strumming of “Trident” works well with the song’s fragile vocals. Some songs like “Lend Me A Dollar” and “Chipper” still sound like they’re in the developmental stages while “Red Garbs” makes you take notice. The album finishes up with the instrumental song “Pipe” and the slow-ballad “Turbine.”

The new album, “A Simple Beast” is available now at februaryrecords.com and for more information on the band, please visit their facebook page at facebook.com/pages/Ghost-of-Chance/283039401524.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

CD Review: Steff Adams Is Fine With "Tunings"

Singer/songwriter Steff Adams returns with a new 5-song EP called “Tunings.” This is the follow-up to his 2010 debut album “Blue Pathways.” The EP is being self-released by Adams and was recorded at his own home studio.

The gentleness of his voice on the opening song “Hectic Day” along with the acoustic guitar are just the perfect combination for Steff Adams folk-storytelling lyrics. Adams’ shy vocal delivery during “Love Song #1” and “Love Song #2” gives the song more authenticity and feeling. The EP closes with “Over You” as you feel the pain and heartbreak in Adams’ voice. Steff Adams has a talent for writing laid-back, comfortable ballads that keep the listener focused on his lyrics throughout the entire song.

For more information on Steff Adams, check out his myspace page (myspace.com/steffadams).

Monday, January 9, 2012

CD Review: Megadeth Return With Lucky Number "Thirteen"

American metal band Megadeth return with their thirteenth album aptly titled “Thirteen.” The past year was huge for the band as they performed as a member of “The Big 4” of thrash metal and their break-through album “Peace Sells…but Who’s Buying?” celebrated its 25th anniversary. Now the band breathes new life into this new album with a new sense of purpose to prove they are one of the biggest metal bands on the planet.

The album begins with “Sudden Death,” a great introduction to the band’s musical talents as the duel guitar attack of Chris Broderick and Dave Mustaine just take you for a ride and once Mustaine’s vocals kick in, all bets are off. While Mustaine’s vocals are noticeably deeper, they fit the music and lyrics perfectly. The album’s latest single “Who’s Life (Is It Anyways?)” features an onslaught of drums from Shawn Drover. Also returning after an eight year hiatus is original bassist Dave Ellefson, who adds that extra bit of heaviness that’s been missing on the bass in recent years. The song “Never Dead” which was originally written for the video game of the same name returns the Megadeth sound back to their trash days. One of the earliest written songs that appear on this album is “New World Order” which was originally written back in 1991 and features some of Mustaine’s darkest lyrics. Mustaine’s political views enter in on the “Millennium of the Blind,” before ending with the autobiographical “13.”

Megadeth will begin their Gigantour at the end of January which also includes Motorhead, Volbeat, and Lacuna Coil. The tour will begin at the Susquehanna Bank Center before making a stop and the Mohegan Sun Arena on January 27th. The new album, “Thirteen” was released back in November and entered the Billboard Album chart at #11. For more information on the band, check out their website at megadeth.com.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

CD Review: Cirith Ungol Release Rare Music With "Servants Of Chaos"

California 80s metal band Cirith Ungol (pronounced "kirith ungol") was one of the most underrated bands during that time. The combination of fantasy-oriented lyrics and synth-heavy metal was the perfect mix for the decade, but it was tough for the band to find a home among the hair metal that took over the radio and videos. Now, the band is releasing a 2 CD/1 DVD collection of rare and live songs entitled "Servants of Chaos" on January 31st in the US. The album was originally released only in Europe back in 2001 as that was were their popularity grew during the eighties.

This set shows many different sides of the band's music, from the straight-on metal of "Last Laugh" to the synth-rock of "Frost and Fire." At times, the band sounds like a Judas Priest cover band, but it's when they add that extra flair to the songs like "100 MPH" and "Bite of the Worm" that really make them stand out as a metal band. The first disc is made up mostly of rare tracks and demos as some of the songs sound very rough and unpolished. The guitar work in "The Twitch" and the two "Lankhmar" songs is one to behold, while "Witchdance" is just plain annoying.

The second CD shows off the band's talents, beginning with "Death of the Sun" which sounds like Rob Halford singing Black Sabbath. Then they do a great cover of "Fire" originally performed by The Crazy World of Arthur Brown, capturing the insanity of the vocals. Listening to the five live songs give us an idea of how good this band was live, putting all they had into their performance and also making sure that the audience had a good time. The disc closes with a cover of the of "Secret Agent Man" and sounds of a Ferrari 308QV.

The DVD is an amateur filmed show from 1984 where the band performed live at the Wolf and Rissmiller's Country Club. The DVD includes 8 songs as they were the opening band that evening. This is one of the few live videos to even exist of the band.

So if you're looking to travel back to when metal music was become mainstream and if you're looking to rediscover a band that you may have overlooked, then this release by Cirith Ungol is a good place to start.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

CD Review: Cathedral Relive 20 Years With "Anniversary"

English metal band Cathedral have decided to call it quits after 22 years. Their brand of doom metal, forged with extreme metal, slowed the tempo down in order to make their music sound heavier. The band recorded their 20th anniversary live show at the Islington Academy in London and released it on November 22 as "Anniversary." It is the first official live release from the band.

The 2-disc set features over 2 hours of live music from Cathedral. The first disc, entitled "Back to the Forest (Forest of Equilibrium)" contains many of the band's epic songs like the 11-minute "Commiserating the Celebration (of Life)" and the 10-minute "A Funeral Request." The band picks up the tempo for "Soul Sacrifice" giving us a glimpse of some thrash metal before the disc ends with "Reaching Happiness, Touching Pain," which almost reaches the 11-minute mark.

The second disc, entitled "Freak Winter" begins with the band experimenting with a more hard rock sound on "Funeral of Dreams," before returning to the slow-jaunt of "Enter The Worms." One of the band's singles, "Midnight Mountain" makes an appearance to the delight of fans. One of the highlights of the second disc is the 11-minute "Carnival Bizarre." Cathedral close the show with the heavy rockers "Vampire Sun" and "Hopkins (Wichfinder General)."

Look for Cathedral to release their final studio album in 2012. For more information on this live album, visit the band's website, cathedralcoven.com.

Friday, January 6, 2012

CD Review: Matthias Sturm Releases "The Wishbone Sessions"

Artist/musician Matthias Sturm has a new album entitled “Blood and Thunder” which will be self-released on January 17. The new album features guest musicians Dave Krusen (Pearl Jam, Candlebox) on drums and the Grammy nominated Erin Alden (Octane, Starlodge Entertainment) on piano and arrangements. The album was produced by David Hillis (Pearl Jam, Afgan Whigs, James Blunt) and recorded at Blind Melon’s studio. With all these factors, how could the album not be a success?

The album begins with the gentle “Mister D” in which Sturm’s German-accented voice gets surrounded by a nice string arrangement. It almost sounds like it was imported as it does not follow the conventional pop song structure which is what makes this album interesting to listen to. “Blood and Thunder” sound like two song ideas combined into one as the vocals don’t always follow the music being performed. Sturm’s songwriting really shines on “What A Day” as he adds a catchy, Joe Strummer-type chorus with and interesting, almost reggae vibe. The groove of “Baxter Galoway Meets Mr Handsome” seems like it would fit in to a Broadway show more than on this album, but it is still a very cleaver song. Matthias Sturm sings in French on “Pierrot” and “L’Heure” as the music sets the mood of the songs without a need of knowing or understanding the lyrics. The album closes with “Crow Food” as Sturm tells us a story with great lyrics and chorus that just repeats in your head.

15% of sales of the new album through CDBaby.com will be donated to the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). For more information, check out Matthis Sturm’ facebook page (www.facebook.com/pages/MATTHIAS-STURM/182224888491205).

Thursday, January 5, 2012

CD Review: Jason Derulo Is Looking Toward The "Future"

Pop singer/songwriter Jason Derulo recently released his new album “Future History,” the follow-up to last year’s Top 20 self-titled debut. Derulo began in 2007 writing songs for artists like Diddy, Sean Kinston and Lil Wayne. In 2009, Derulo hit #1 with his single “Whatcha Say” and has been on an upward climb ever since. His new album debuted at #29 on the US Billboard Album chart, but hit #1 on the R&B charts in Australia and United Kingdom.

The album begins with the released singles “Don’t Wanna Go Home” and “It Girl.” The club beat heavy “Don’t Wanna Go Home” peaked at #14 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and features the chorus of Harry Belafonte’s “Day-O (The Banana Boat Song).” The album’s second single “It Girl” is pop perfection that today’s radio audience adores. The newest single is “Fight For You” that begins with Derulo singing the intro to Toto’s 1982 hit “Africa,” which he revisits in the chorus. Derulo slows the tempo down for the thick, R&B-filled “My Shhh,” then returns to the dance floor with “X” before finishing with the heartfelt ballad “Dumb.”

Jason Derulo has tour dates beginning in February 2012 over in Europe which runs through the end of March. Check his website, jasonderulo.com for more information on his new album and more.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

CD Review: Bushmaster And Gary Brown Make A "Revolution Rhapsody"

With a sound that flows from the Deep South, it’s surprising to find out that the blues band Bushmaster, featuring Gary Brown on guitar and vocals is from the Washington, DC area. Their new album entitled “Revolution Rhapsody” has a great guitar, blues-rock sound that is the perfect setting for Brown’s vocals.

The album begins with “Cumberland Blues” and while you instantly notice how good Brown’s songwriting is, it doesn’t compare to his guitar playing. Bushmaster gets their funk on for “Victim of Nostalgia,” before heading into the swamp-style blues of “Arizona Shame On Me.” Brown uses a classic blues guitar riff for “Ball ‘N’ Jack” then lets his guitar do the all the talking in “Sidewalk Strut.” The song “War On The Poor” can easily be a radio hit with its perfection combination of words and music. Bushmaster rock out on “River Flow – Splash!” and also show their softer side with the six-minute “Nothing Up Your Sleeve.” The album closes with a funky remix of “Victim of Nostalgia” that adds more electronics to the overall sound of the song.

Gary Brown and Bushmaster have a few lives shows scheduled for the beginning of January. Please visit their facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Bushmaster-Blues-featuring-Gary-Brown/178772253414?sk=app_2405167945) for song samples and tour dates.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

CD Review: Outasight Brings It All "Together"

New York singer/rapper Richard Andrew, better known as Outasight, recently released his first full-length studio album on Warner Bros. Records entitled “Get It Together.” After receiving much praise from his 2010 EP “Further,” Outasight went back into the studio and finished his latest mix of songs.

The album begins with Outasight’s break-through single “Tonight’s The Night.” This short (1:38), condensed version of the song is what appears in the latest Pepsi “Music Icons” commercial. The full-length version of the song is available on iTunes and was also featured on The X Factor TV show. Outasight has a fresh approach to dance/hip-hop as displayed in “Change The World.” He breaks out the ukulele, and samples The Beatles, in “She’s Leaving Home,” before inviting his friend Freddie Gibbs to help him out on “Near The End.” The album then goes full-blown hip-hop beginning with “Setting Sun.” He escapes from the rapping for a moment to throw-in the mainstream pop-sounding “Loosen Up” before returning to the beats with “Lush Life” which features XV on vocals. Some of the songs on this release are recycled from former albums like the songs “Figure 8” and the remix of “Catch Me If You Can.” The album closes with “The Graduate” that has Outasight rolling his lyrics over some fresh new beats.

Outasight visited a handful of Radio Shows down the east coast in December, but look for more from him in 2012. Please visit his website (iamoutasight.com) to check-out the video for his single “Tonight’s The Night” and to get more information on this rising artist.

Monday, January 2, 2012

CD Review: Indie Artists Come Together For "Breaking Dawn"

Once again, the music and movie industry combine to create chaos in the entertainment world with the third installment in the “Twilight Saga.”This past November saw the release of “Breaking Dawn: Part 1,” capturing the hearts (and money) of all those vampire lovers. Also released in November was the soundtrack, which once again takes some of the biggest independent artists in the music industry to create a “one-of-a-kind” soundtrack.

The biggest name to appear on the “Breaking Down: Part 1" soundtrack is vocal sensation Bruno Mars with another pop driven love song, “It Will Rain.” Some of the songs have a gentle, almost fragile sound like the piano ballad “Sleeping At Last” by Turning Page and “Flightless Bird, American Mouth (Wedding Version)” by Iron & Wine, while others add a welcome, up-tempo feel, like The Belle Brigade’s “I Didn’t Mean It” and The Features’ “From Now On.” The album closes with the quietness of strings in Mia Masestro’s “Llovera”and the instrumental “Love Death Birth” from composer Carter Burwell. Burwell’s complete score will appear on a separate release.

The “Twilight Saga – Breaking Dawn: Part 1” is available now on Chop Shop Records in association with Atlantic Records. For more information on this soundtrack, please visit breakingdawnthesoundtrack.com.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Favorite Albums Of 2011

1. My Morning Jacket - Circuital - Released in May, it entered the Billboard Album charts at #5 and became the highest debut album on the charts for the band. The songs on this album all work well together without sounding over-polished. Some of the songs on the album were written for the new Muppets movie, but were later rejected. The band experiments with their sound just enough to keep you listening to this album over and over again. The album was also nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Alternative Music Album.

2. Tedeschi Trucks Band - Revelator - Released in June, it is the debut album from Allman Brothers guitarist Derek Trucks and his wife, soul-blues singer Susan Tedeschi. Tedeschi's vocals on songs "Bound For Glory" and "Don't Let Me Slide" gave me a new respect for her singing talents. Derek Trucks' slide guitar gives the album a great new blues sound that Allman Brothers Band fans have been waiting for.

3. Wilco - The Whole Love - Released in September, it was the first album Wilco released on their own label, dBpm. The band seemed to have keep some of their best songs for their own first independent album. The album bookends wonderfully with the two epic songs on the album "Art of Almost" and "On Sunday Morning." The album was also nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Rock Album.

4. Ryan Adams - Ashes & Fire - Released in October, this is Ryan Adams' comeback solo album. It debuted on the Billboard Album chart at #7. The mostly quiet, acoustic album is a big step forward after Adams disbanded his band, The Cardinals in 2009. It features guest appearances from Norah Jones, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers' Benmont Tench and Cardinals guitarist Neal Casal. The album also shows Adams' stretching out more with his songwriting.

5. Foo Fighters - Wasting Light - Released in April, the album debuted at #1 on the Billboard Album chart. It was the first #1 album for the Foo Fighters in the US and with good reason. The album was produced by Butch Vig (Nirvana) and brings out the best this band has to offer. After taking an extending break, the band reconvined to create the hardest, loudest album of their career. The songs "Rope" and "Walk" were the perfect singles to bring the Foo Fighters back into the mainstream of rock radio. The album was also nominated for six Grammy Awards including Album of the Year.

6. The Black Keys - El Camino - Released in December, it debuted at #2 on the Billboard Album chart, the highest debut for the group. The duo stretch their legs on this album drawing from many early-American music influences like soul, R&B, rockabilly and surf rock. Initial reactions are that The Black Keys are still on the rise with their popularity and with more time to absorb the new album, this may be their greatest release so far.

7. Adele - 21 - Released in January, the album spent 13 weeks at the #1 position on the Billboard Album chart and has sold over five million copies in the US. While most pop albums are made up of singles, this is one of the few pop album this year to be considered a complete work of art. The single "Rolling In The Deep" just set up the listener perfectly for ride through the many different emotions of love. Adele's voice is just flawless throughout the album.

8. Metallica - Beyond Magnetic (EP)/Gary Clark Jr - Bright Lights (EP) - Both albums were released as 4-song EPs and both albums have that raw, unpolished sound that music fans are looking for. Metallica's "Beyond Magnetic" contains four outtakes from the "Death Magnetic" album sessions. These songs contain a certain edge to them, which is what Metallica fans hope will continue onto their next new album. The other EP is from newcomer Gary Clark Jr. and contains two studio tracks and two live, acoustic songs. On his debut, Gary Clark Jr. summons the spirits of Jimi Hendrix and John Lee Hooker and creates an incredible blues sound. Be on the look-out for his debut album in 2012.

9. Red Hot Chili Peppers - I'm With You - Released in August, the album debuted at #2 on the Billboard Album chart. After a five year hiatus, the Chili Peppers returned with a new album and a new guitarist to replace the departing John Frusciante. The songs "Monarcy of Roses" and "Look Around" brought back the band's funk-rock sound, but too many other songs on this album seem to have a slower beat and more emotional lyrics.

10. Anthrax - Worship Music - The return of Anthrax with singer Joey Belladona just makes this the band's best album in years. The album debuted at #12 on the Billboard Album chart back in September. All the heaviness and thrash metal that this band is known for is included on this album along with some of the best lyrics to songs like "I'm Alive" and "Judas Priest." Let's hope they don't take another 8 years to release their next album.