Saturday, March 31, 2012

CD Review: Esa Linna Claims That "She's Not A Human Being"

For the last 20 years, Esa Linna has been performing in punk, grunge and rock bands beginning with Time Flies and currently as a member of Itamaa. After writing solo material for over 10 years, it was time for Esa to put some of that material together for a new 2012 album. But in the meantime, we get just a taste of his solo work with a 4-song EP entitled “She’s Not A Human Being.”

The new release opens with the power-pop title song that is sure to open up some new eyes (and ears) to his music. The radio-friendly beats and lyrics seem to come natural to Esa and his bandmates. Esa expands on his songwriting with the slow-jaunt of “20,000 Days.” Esa handles all the instruments on the heartfelt, folk ballad “Piece of Me,” but finishes with the out of place, electronic experimental song “Meat Market.”

For more information on Esa Linna, please visit

Friday, March 30, 2012

CD Review: Darlene Bailey's Gentle Debut Album, "Wrenches & Rags"

Singer/songwriter Darlene Bailey released her debut album, “Wrenches & Rags” last May and has received very positive reviews. Her solo performances are very heartfelt as you can’t help but get caught up in her warming, gentle voice.

The 12-song album is full of relaxing, laid-back stories that just ease your troubles away. Her songs like “Linda’s Angel” and “Song for TJ” are like modern day fairy tales as Darlene’s lyrics paint the perfect picture in your mind, accompanied by the flow of an acoustic guitar. Darlene does add some electric instrumentation for “Ricky Rudd My NASCAR Stud,” but her strength lies in her folk-storytelling delivery as in “My Father’s Father’s Father.” The album closes with the June Carter Cash sounding, country ballad “The Old Songs.”

Darlene Bailey has a load of scheduled appearances in the Massachusetts area. Please visit her website ( for a complete list of dates and to find out more about this rising folk artist.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

CD Review: Hillbilly Vegas Debut With "Ringo Manor"

The roots of the band Hillbilly Vegas spread from Oklahoma to Nashville, capturing every type of music along the way. Their debut release entitled “Ringo Manor” brings together the sounds of rock, country and rockabilly to create a heavier southern rock sound.

The album starts off with the up-tempo, country-rocker “Shake It Like A Hillbilly.” The song carries a groove that’s sure to move you. The band brings together songs about having a good time (“Oklahoma 3.2,” “Mason Jars and Moonlight”) and about heartache (“Broken,” “Wrong Side of Goodbye”). Hillbilly Vegas bring out the hoedown with the two-step filled “Grits N Gravy,” then pays tribute to country legends of the past with the sound of “Faces Change.” The vocals and harmonies of “From An Empty Room” show off the versatility this band has when performing.

Hillbilly Vegas have some live dates scattered over the next few months. For more information on this band, be sure to check out

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

CD Review: The Black Spiders Decend Upon The U.S. With "Sons Of The North"

U.K. rockers the Black Spiders are ready to infest the United Sates with their new album entitled “Sons Of The North.” The new album comes out April 17th through Dark Riders/Red Eye and is full of hard rock riffs and in-your-face vocals.

The album begins with the hard hitting attack of “Stay Down” as the band makes sure you’re listening to what they have to say. The bluesy guitar groove of “Easy Peasy” features a rock duet between lead singer Pete Spiby and Danni Maibaum. The duel guitar attack of Ozzy Lister and Mark Thomas is felt throughout the album, especially in the AC/DC sounding “Just Like A Woman.” The band’s first single is “KISS Tried To Kill Me” as the band pay homage to one of their idols. The song was also given the approval of KISS lead singer Paul Stanley. The highlight of the album is the 7-plus minute heavy rocker “Blood Of The Kings” as the drumming of Si Atkinson keeps the song motoring. The band takes a page out of Black Sabbath’s book with the deep, full guitar sound of “St. Peter,” before hitting the the gas once again for “Medusa’s Eyes.” The album closes with more classic guitar riffs and powerhouse drumming in “What Good’s A Rock Without A Roll?”

The Black Spiders have spread all over Europe performing with Volbeat, The Supersuckers and Monster Magnet. Even Ozzy Osbourne personally chose them to open the UK Ozzfest festival. Their schedule is packed with U.K. dates before heading to the Sweden Rock Festival. Visit the band’s website at for more information.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

CD Review: Flash-back To The 80's With The Way We Were In 1989

Seattle duo, The Way We Were In 1989, is ready to release their second album entitled “Floating Islands.” The 6-song EP is like a book of short stories as each song tells us about a different adventure.

The lead-off song “Cleanse” appears twice on this release, once as a 1980’s pop, synth-heavy filled piece and the other is a more mellow-toned, low-pulse beat driven song. The vocals of Joyell Dunay become the focus of the moody “Rock & Roll,” while the duet, which includes partner Kelly Dale, on “Cliffs of Dubland” never, elevates the song out of its monotone sound. The album closes with the 7-minute, experimental “Battlegrounds of Colorado,” which becomes the most interesting song on this release.

The Way We Were In 1989 just finished up some shows in the Seattle area, but has nothing further on their schedule. Check out the band’s facebook page ( for more up-to-date information.

Monday, March 26, 2012

CD Review: Don Harvey Stretches His Sound On "Light Shines Through"

From Austin, TX comes drummer/composer Don Harvey with his sophomore album “Light Shines Through.” The album will be released on April 10 through Freedom Records. The sound on this latest release ranges from free-form jazz to ambiotic rock. It carries a very atmospheric sound.

The album begins with “Allen’s Studio,” which sounds like a band warming up before they venture into a quiet, jazzy piano ballad. Harvey gets to show off his drumming talents on the Moroccan, progressive rock sounding “Yasmin.” He then goes full-tilt rock ‘n’ roll on “Whirl” as the trumpet fills-in for the lack of vocals. Don Harvey slows down the pace for the gospel piano ballad “Light Shines Through.” The album closes with the seven-and-a-half minute experimental piece, “Between Lightning,” which keeps your attention until the very end as Harvey brings in everything from a Hammond B3 organ to a bowed vibraphone.

Don Harvey has performed with Charlie Sexton, Ronnie Lane, Fairport Convention and more. To find our more about Don Harvey and to hear samples of his new album, please visit

Sunday, March 25, 2012

CD Review: Angel Witch Return With "As Above, So Below"

Classic British heavy metal band Angel Witch return with their first album of new material in over 14 years. The new album entitled “As Above, So Below” features original member Kevin Heybourne with a new set of musicians including Will Palmer, Andrew Prestidge and Bill Steer of the band Carcass. The new album was produced by Jaime Gomez Arellano (Ghost) and will be released on March 27th through Metal Blade Records.

The album begins with the first single from the album, “Dead Sea Scrolls.” The song’s origin dates back to the classic New Wave of British Heavy Metal years to which Angel Witch was one of the founding members of. The song still carries that heavy drumming, blazing guitar sound as Heybourne’s vocals continue to sound timeless. The band picks up the tempo with the quick, pulse-pounding beats of “Into The Dark,” which was written back in the late seventies, but fits in perfectly with newly written powerhouses like “Geburah” and “Upon This Cord.” The album closes with another new song, the guitar riff driven “Brainwashed” which leaves you wanting more from this classic band. Let’s hope these members stick together for more than one album, as this is the best that Angel Witch has sounded since their early 80’s era.

Angel Witch currently have no live dates scheduled at the moment, but the release of new material should entice this band to head out on road sooner rather than later. Be sure to visit the band’s myspace page ( for information.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

CD Review: Astra Releases Their Sophomore Album "The Black Chord"

California progressive-metal band Astra is releasing their second full-length album of their six years together. The new album is called “The Black Chord” and expands on the sound of their psychedelic debut album. “The Black Chord” is scheduled to be released on March 27th through Metal Blade Records.

The band is known for their expanding, jam-band type solos and the album begins with “Cocoon,” a song that just keeps stretching the sound of the band. The almost 9-minute instrumental is as raw and as complex as some early 1970’s Pink Floyd. The title song, “The Black Chord” sounds like a 15-minute ode to King Crimson with it heavy keyboard and fuzz guitar sound. Astra hit the hard-rock notes on “Quake Meat,” before visiting the mystical sounds of “Drift.” The album closes with the 9-plus minute Pink Floydian sounds of “Barefoot In The Head.”

The band performed an album release party on March 16, but look for more dates once their sophomore masterpiece is released. Be sure to visit for more information.

Friday, March 23, 2012

CD Review: OSI Expand Their Sound On "Fire Make Thunder"

Heavy metal/Prog-rockers OSI are ready to release their fourth collaborative effort entitled “Fire Make Thunder.” OSI is made up of Fates Warning guitarist Jim Matheos and former Dream Theater keyboardist Kevin Moore. The duo, along with session drummer Gavin Harrison of Porcupine Tree, help create some of the most mind-expanding progressive metal in music today.

The 8-song album begins and ends with the two longest songs on the album, the seven-minute heaviness of “Cold Call” and the ten minute, King Crimson sounding “Invisible Men.” In between is mixed with industrial metal (“Guards”), gentle acoustics (“Indian Curse”), and the sound exploration (“For Nothing”) as OSI expand their sound on this latest release. The heaviest song on the album is the instrumental song, “Enemy Prayer” which also shows how this band can rock.

The new album will be released on March 26th through Metal Blade Records. For more information on OSI, check out the band’s website (

Thursday, March 22, 2012

CD Review: Janus Return With The Hard Rocking "Nox Aeris"

Hard rockers Janus are ready to take their spot on top of today’s rock music pedestal with a new album entitled “Nox Aeris.” The new album will be released on March 27 through Realid Records (Warner Music Group Independent label). It is the much anticipated follow-up to 2009’s critically acclaimed album, “Red Right Return.”

The new album begins with the dark, heavy rock sounding “In Flames,” which is a great opening act for the album’s first single “Stains.” The song’s gentle vocals get overtaken by the screams of chorus which gives the song that sharp edge that Janus is known for. Songs like “Pound Of Flesh” and “Waive” have guitars blazing as the singing of David Scotney balance between gently sung vocals and powerful choruses. The band’s darkness returns in “Stray” and the drums and bass power the song’s hard rock tempo. The heartfelt ballad “Always Rains” gets sandwiched between the album’s heaviest songs “Numb” and the album closer “Polarized.”

Janus is currently on tour with Chevelle and Middle Class Rut. They will also be performing at this year’s Rocklahoma Festival in May. Please visit the band’s website ( for more information.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

CD Review: Brandon McHose Prefers To Sing About "Late Night"

From Chicago comes singer/songwriter Brandon McHose with a new EP entitled “Late Night.” The four-song album gives us only a glimpse of the talents that Brandon have for writing guitar-driven, hook-filled rock songs. The album leads-off with the title-track, “Late Night” as the song treads on the holy Chicago-blues ground, as Brandon peels-off a classic sounding guitar solo. The song “Next” heads Brandon into a more pop-oriented direction, following the likes of John Mayer. The album closes with the gentle acoustic-lead “Just Say When,” which shows off his wonderfully talent for song-writing.

Brandon’s new album is available now online. He has a couple of shows scheduled in the Chicago area before heading out west. Please be sure to visit Brandon’s website ( for more information.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

CD Review: Birdy Makes A Big-Time Debut With Covers Album

British born singer/songwriter Birdy is ready to release her self-titled debut album on March 20 through Warner Bros. Records. Birdy, born Jasmine van den Bogaerde, began playing piano at age 7 and won a UK song-writing contest at age 12. By the time she was 15, she had a top 20 hit on the UK singles chart with her rendition of Bon Iver’s “Skinny Love” and now she is ready to conquer the world with her voice. She also has an original song ("Just A Game") featured on The Hunger Games soundtrack. The soundtrack includes songs from Taylor Swift, Maroon 5, Miranda Lambert and others.

Birdy's new album begins with a very stark, simple, emotional cover of Phoenix’s “1901.” Her voice is so pure and delicate at times that you are blown away when she opens up as in “The District Sleeps Alone Tonight.” Birdy’s voice builds with excitement during the harmonizing of the Fleet Foxes' “White Winter Hymnal.” She balances that with the gentle delivery of “Shelter” and you can hear Birdy pour her heart and soul into this performance. She experiments on her sound with “Young Blood,” then plays it safe on her cover of James Taylor’s “Fire and Rain.” The only original composition is a piano ballad “Without A Word” as Birdy begins to sound a little like British powerhouse vocalist Adele. The album closes with a cover of the High Violet’s “Terrible Love” which fits Birdy’s vocal style perfectly.

To celebrate the release of her new album, Birdy will be performing on The Ellen DeGeneres Show on March 20th and on Conan on March 21st. She has one show scheduled at the Tabernacle in London which has already sold out. Hopefully she will have more live dates coming soon. For more information on this rising singer, please visit her website,

Monday, March 19, 2012

CD Review: MXPX Are Making "Plans Within Plans"

Punk band MXPX are celebrating their 20th anniversary this year with a brand-new album entitled “Plans Within Plans.” The album contains 13 songs about the triumphs and tribulations that the band has gone through in the last 20 years. The new album will be released on April 3 through the MRI/Rock City Recording Company.

The punk power of MXPX is never duplicated, but often imitated. As soon as the drums and guitar of the opening song “Aces Up” hit the speakers, you know you’re in for thirty minutes of energetic splendor. The shortest song on the album is the one-minute masterpiece “Screw Lose” which is exactly how we all feel at one time or another. But, the energy just keeps coming with “Nothing Left” and “Best Of Times.” The lyrics of “Lucky Guy,” “Cast Down My Heart” and “When It Comes To You” is like a trilogy of love loss and rising again to the challenges of everyday life. The album closes with the rebellious “Nothing’s Gonna Change” which calls to you to get up and change the world for the better.

MXPX are spending the month of April overseas, but watch their website ( for more live dates to be announced. The band currently have a video for the album’s first single “Far Away” and are currently taking pre-orders for their new album “Plans Within Plans.”

Sunday, March 18, 2012

CD Review: The New Cassettes Woke Up With "Winterhead"

English rock band, the New Cassettes have some new music on the horizon. Due out April 3rd, the new album entitled “Winterhead” will be released on N13 Records in partnership with MTV. Their music has appeared on the MTV shows “Jersey Shore” and “The Real World: San Diego” and also on the season premiere of “Grey’s Anatomy.” This band are finally on the verge of breaking through onto U.S. mainstream radio.

The new album begins with “Left/Right,” a great high-energy, modern rocker that gets carried throughout the album. This tempo continues with “Bite Your Lip” and “Little Extremes.” The New Cassettes really get their infectious popular groove going on “Silent Guns.” The band slows down the beat on the moody sounding “You Are A Slow Wave” and “Straight Lines,” before returning to their rock roots with “Ghosts.” The grunge-like guitar in “I’m Not Faithful At All” only adds that edginess that the lyrics are portraying, as the album closes with the Coldplay sound-alike, “I Awoke.”

The New Cassettes just wrapped up an appearance at this year’s SXSW Festival and are heading out on the road across the U.S. They will wrap-up their tour with a stop at The Space in Hamden, CT. For a complete list of tour dates and more information on the new album, be sure to check out

Saturday, March 17, 2012

CD Review: The Hobart Brothers & Lil' Sis Hobart "Have Each Other"

Singer/songwriters Jon Dee Graham, Freedy Johnston and Susan Cowsill came together in 2010 to write a few songs about their past, working in restaurants. The trio wrote about ten songs and set out in 2011 to perform at the SXSW festival in Austin, TX. After a huge response, they decided to fund a recording project to get these songs onto tape. Now on February 28th, we finally got to hear this trio of songwriters who have become known as The Hobart Brothers & Lil’ Sis Hobart. Their new album is entitled “At Least We Have Each Other” and was released on Freedom Records.

The album features seven completed songs from the band’s latest session and three songs from their early songwriting-demo sessions. The album begins with the up-tempo country swing of the “Ballad of Sis (Didn’t I Love You).” Susan Cowsill takes the lead vocals as she sings with a specific passion and power that starts the album off perfectly. The songs on this release carry a country, bluesy vibe as in “Why I Don’t Hurt” and “Almost Dinnertime.” The band also brings in tones of classic 60’s pop as in “I Never Knew There Would Be You” and also the folk storytelling of “I Am Sorry” make this a classic sounding record that should be considered one of the best releases of 2012. The looseness of the recording comes through in songs like “First Day On The Job” and the album closer “The Dishwasher.”

The album also comes with the option to download the complete nine song demo-session. Some of the demos like “Sweet Senorita” and “All Things Being Equal” give the songs a more country, campfire flavor to the overall sound. It’s almost like having another entire album of new songs.

The Hobart Brothers & Lil’ Sis Hobart have a new website (, but currently have very little information on there. Be sure to check back periodically as more information and tour dates are announced. The new album “At Least We Have Each Other” is available now on CD, LP and digital download.

Friday, March 16, 2012

CD Review: Del Castillo's Greatest Songs Reworked on "Infinitas Rapsodias"

From Austin, TX comes the Latin rock group Del Castillo with a new album entitled “Infinitas Rapsodias.” The album is being released through Sony/RED and includes a 5-song bonus DVD. Of the thirteen songs on this new release, five are brand-new. The others are newly created versions of songs from past albums.

First off, let me say that you do not need to understand Spanish in order to enjoy this album. The music on this new release is fabulous, walking the line between classical guitar picking and hard rock acoustic strumming. The album begins with “Lumbres de Babylon” which just keeps building is speed and tempo until its exhaustive finish. You don’t fully appreciate the musicianship until you hear the instrumentals like “Fuego Egipico” and “Para mi Sobrina.” The one song with English vocals is “Brotherhood,” which is an acoustic blues rocker with a Latin flair, but seems out of place amongst these other great Latin pieces. Lead singer Alex Ruiz flexes his vocals on the slow ballad “Perdoname,” before returning to the Santana-sounding “Mi Carino.” The album closes with, “Amor Venme a Buscar,” an amazing, powerful duet performed between German opera diva, Anna Maria Kaufmann and Ruiz.

Del Castillo has toured with everyone from Styx, Willie Nelson, Buddy Guy and B.B. King to Los Lonely Boys, Los Lobos and Bela Fleck. Their 2012 world tour begins with a string of dates in Europe running until the end of March. For a complete list of tour dates, please visit

Thursday, March 15, 2012

CD Review: Otto Kinzel Reminds Us Of "The Zodiac Killer"

New Englander Otto Kinzel is a music chameleon. He has been or is currently a member of six industrial metal rock bands and recently formed a seventh band, Chemical Distance, three years ago. Finally, last year Otto released his first solo album entitled “We Are All Doomed: The Zodiac Killer.” The songs on this new album were influenced by the Zodiac killings that took place in the San Francisco Bay area in the late 60s/early 70s. Otto also handles most of the instrumentation on the album, except for a few guest spots here and there.

The album goes through the events in chronological order, beginning with the hard-hitting, industrial metal sounds of “Two Dead On Lake Herman Rd.” The album reflects a Frank Zappa-style with its storytelling songs like “July 31st” and “Modesto Terror Ride.” Otto is also allowed to expand his sound without restrictions as in “Oct 13,” but his talents lie in the heavy metal sounds of “The Stranger At Lake Berryessa” and “The Trophy (Paul Stine).” The album closes with the 7-minute “Epilogue” as Otto saves some of his best beats and guitar grooves for the end.

Otto Kinzel has a couple interviews lined up with ParaRock TV and MCTV. For more information, check-out

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

CD Review: Marcus Singletary Is Still "Smokin'" On His New Album

Singer/songwriter Marcus Singletary released his latest album last year entitled “Smokin’.” Marcus is a workhorse, handling all the vocals, guitars, organs, keyboards and synthesizers on this new album. He draws upon the classic rock sound of the seventies, while incorporating some of today topics within the lyrics.

The lead-off song, “Can It Be Real” draws some similarities to early Lenny Kravitz along with a more progressive approach, instead of a pop music approach. He brings out his soul music on “Meditate” before heading into the funk-style of “Get The Dance Gene.” The one cover song on the album is a great rendition of Bob Marley’s “Misty Morning.” The song still captures the message Marley was trying to portray, while Marcus makes this song sound like one of his own. Next, Marcus dives back to the sixties with “Psychedelic People,” which sounds as if he called upon The Fifth Dimension to lend a hand. The album closes with the fun, up-tempo sounds of “You Could Be Lucky,” ending the album on a high note.

For more information on Marcus Singletary, check out his facebook page at

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

CD Review: Europe's I Used To Be A Sparrow Release "Luke"

The pop music duo of Sweden’s Dick Pettersson and Italy’s Andrea Caccese have come together to form the indie group I Used To Be A Sparrow. The two teamed up in December of last year and created 11 songs that are as big sounding as a Coldplay album. The new album entitled “Luke” will be released on March 14 through Paper Wings Records.

The album begins with “Cambodia” which gives us airiness to their music. It sounds as if the instruments can breathe without overpowering one another. The album’s first single, “Life Is Good” is alternative-pop music at its finest with some up-tempo beats and sing-along lyrics. The harmonizing within the songs, “Let Go” and “Hawaii” shows us exactly why these two got together to record in the first place. The gentle beginning of “Lovers On The Moon” gets quickly swept-up as the shaker beat tries to move the song along, which is more annoying than helpful. The band returns to their indie-pop roots with “Moby Dick” before finishing the album with the guitar rock of “Alaska.”

I Used To Be A Sparrow has a handful of dates over in Europe, but nothing is scheduled at the moment for the U.S. Please visit for more information on this new band.

Monday, March 12, 2012

CD Review: Cannibal Corpse Return With A New "Torture" Device

Death metal band Cannibal Corpse will be celebrating their 25th year as a band next year. While the members of the band have changed over the years, their sound and purpose has not wavered. The band will be releasing their twelfth studio album on March 13 entitled “Torture.” It will be released through Metal Blade Records and was produced by Hate Eternal guitarist Erik Rutan (Six Feet Under, Goatwhore).

The band’s aggressive sound is heard (and felt, if your speakers are turned up) right from the speed metal beginning of “Demented Aggression.” George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher’s vocals are immediately present as the album features some of the band’s best work. Songs like “Scourge of Iron” and “As Deep As the Knife Will Go” show how much the band’s songwriting has grown. Instead of just speed, they incorporate melodies and structures into their arrangements. The power of the duel guitar attack is most noticeable in “Crucifier Avenged” as the album closes with the blazing speed of “Rabid” and machine-gun drumming of "Torn Through.”

Cannibal Corpse has just finished touring over in Europe and will begin their U.S. tour in April. Look for them to lead a path of destruction before heading back over to Europe in June of this year. Their tour wraps up at the Extreme Festival in July. For a complete list of tour dates and information on the new album, “Torture,” check out the band’s website (

Sunday, March 11, 2012

CD/DVD Review: Todd Rundgren Relives "Todd"

In 2010, rock ‘n’ roll guitarist Todd Rundgren set out to accomplish something that he has never done before. He wanted to perform his 1973 classic album “Todd” in its entirety from start to finish. On September 14, 2010 at the Keswick Theater in Pennsylvania, Rundgren accomplished his task and made sure to capture the performance on CD & DVD. This set was released on February 14 and features Rundgren, along with guest musicians Kasim Sulton (Utopia), Greg Hawkes (The Cars), and Prairie Prince (The Tubes) performing Rundgren’s masterpiece live for the first-time ever.

The performance was released on CD and DVD and is simply named “TODD.” The CD sounds exceptional. It's as if the original album was written to be performed in its entirety in front of a live audience. Rundgren’s voice is still as smooth as powerful as it was 37 years ago. His band excels during the ballad “A Dream Goes On Forever” and gives the show-tune sound of “The Lord Chancellor’s Nightmare Song” an extra pop that allows Rundgren to follow. Instrumentals like “The Spark of Life” and “Drunken Blue Rooster” sound as good as they did on the original album. Rundgren finally straps on his guitar for an amazing solo during “The Last Ride” and then just takes his performance to the next level on “Everybody’s Going To Heaven/King Kong Reggae.” The pinnacle of this live performance has to be the heavy rocker “Heavy Metal Kids.” The only song missing from the original album is “In and Out The Chakras We Go,” Rundgren goes on to finish the performance with the piano ballad “Do You Ever Learn?” and the sing-along anthem of “Sons of 1984.”

As for the DVD, multiple camera angles were used to capture the true feeling of being a part of the performance. The colorful, flashy outfits and grand gestures only add to the excitement of the performance. The one extra on the DVD is an interview between Emmy-award winning broadcaster Roy Firestone and Todd Rundgren.

While the CD allows you to relive the memories of hearing that album for the first time and allows you to make up your own images in your mind, the DVD gives you a visual look into the musicianship that went into performing this amazing piece of music. The only way to fully in capture and appreciate this once in a lifetime performance is to get both the CD & DVD. For more information on Todd Rundgren and this new release, please visit his website at

Saturday, March 10, 2012

CD Review: Riviera Keeps An Eye On "The Western Skies"

Originally from Chicago, the band Riviera is releasing their first batch of new music in six years. The new EP is entitled “Watching The Western Skies” and features some of the best songs this band has to offer. The music on this new release is country-folk-rock with traces of Wilco throughout.

The EP begins with “Hopeless”, which sounds like the slow jaunt of a Neil Young ballad, but it’s the lyrics that wrap you up as you listen closer on each play of the song. Their country side comes shining through on “Sweet By & By” and “Destiny,” before the band turns Americana with “The Grizzly Killers of Wassilla.” The album closes with the aptly titled “The Last Walk,” which is the folk-rock sound that Riviera is known for.

The band has recently opened for Jeff Tweedy, Son Volt, and Jarret Johnson amongst others. They currently have no shows on their schedule, but keep an eye on their website ( for upcoming shows.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Digital Review: Coeus The Boxing Titan Finds A Sparring Partner

Industrial rock band Coeus The Boxing Titan are getting ready to release their first digital album entitled “The Boxing Titan Spawns.” The band combined the sounds of Pink Floyd, Faith No More, King Crimson and Nine Inch Nails in a blender, turned it on high and out came this new album. It is a very exploratory album with soundscapes to expand the mind.

The lead-off song “Tension on Cloudland” uses a very steady drumbeat to keep time, while the vocals are almost read through a megaphone to give it a distorted sound. The shrieks of guitars break-up the mono-tone of the song. The song “Like Vegas” sounds as if Prince collaborated with Trent Reznor, while “God’s In A Lab In California” shows-off their more industrial side. Their love for progressive sounding rock is hear in the solos of “My Asylum,” before the band’s sound changes in “This Bomb’s Like A Clock Tick, which sounds like a beat-filled, futuristic sounding Grateful Dead song. The album closes with the seven-and-half minute epic “February, This Is For You” that echoes eerie sounds which would fit perfectly into a modern day horror movie.

For more information on Coeus The Boxing Titan, check out their website at

Thursday, March 8, 2012


Warner Bros. Records has announced that it will make a series of vinyl albums and singles available on April 21st in honor of the 5th annual Record Store Day - a celebration of the unique culture surrounding over 700 independently owned record stores in the USA, and hundreds of similar stores internationally. Warner Bros. Records is proud to be an official sponsor of Record Store Day.

These very special releases are as follows:

The Black Keys: El Camino (Deluxe vinyl album)
A stunning and highly collectible deluxe vinyl issue of the critically acclaimed 2011 album from The Black Keys. Cut for vinyl from the master tapes at Bernie Grundman Mastering and pressed at Pallas for sonic perfection. This album will never sound or look better. This RSD exclusive package also contains a bonus CD, a limited edition poster, and a two song 45 rpm 7" single featuring previously unreleased live tracks: "Sister" and "Money Maker."

Gary Clark Jr.: Gary Clark Jr. Presents HWUL Cuts Vol. I (12" vinyl single)
A RSD exclusive contains two previously unreleased live tracks, "If You Love Me Like You Say" and "Bright Lights" capture over twenty minutes of music from one of the most anticipated guitar players in music today. This first-ever vinyl release from Clark is sure to be sought out by fans and collectors alike. Cut at 45 rpm by Bernie Grundman Mastering for the very best in analog sound quality and presentation.

Eric Clapton: Blues (Deluxe Vinyl Album Box Set)
Released to critical acclaim leading up to RSD's Back To Black Friday 2011, this limited edition box set is close to selling out.  The set includes all three of Eric Clapton's seminal blues albums, From The Cradle, Riding With The King (with B.B. King) and Me And Mr. Johnson, remastered from original source material for vinyl.  First time vinyl versions of these albums afford the listener an absolutely stellar new audio experience. With little more than 1,000 box sets left it's time to get your hands on this audiophile treasure.
Common: The Dreamer/The Believer (12" vinyl album)
A limited edition offering featuring exclusive album art of Common's ninth studio album for Record Store Day. The Dreamer/The Believer reunites Common with producer No. I.D., who produced the rapper's most acclaimed CDs. Robust tracks revere and update the past, such as the retro-soul, Curtis Mayfield-influenced "Lovin' I Lost" and tremulously beautiful "Gold."

Wilco / Billy Bragg: Mermaid Avenue: The Complete Sessions (3 CD and 1 DVD)
On April 21, 2012 Nonesuch releases Mermaid Avenue: The Complete Sessions, which includes: Mermaid Avenue; Mermaid Avenue Vol. II  (re-mastered); Mermaid Avenue Vol. III, comprising 17 previously unreleased recordings made during the Mermaid Avenue sessions; director Kim Hopkins' 1999 film Man in the Sand, which documents those sessions; and a 48-page booklet with new liner notes by Nora Guthrie, full lyrics, archival photographs, and facsimiles of lyric sheets and sketches by Woody Guthrie.

Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr.: We Almost Lost Detroit EP (12" vinyl EP)
A Record Store Day exclusive containing three remixes and three covers, including Madonna's "Like A Prayer," "I Think Of You" by Sixto Rodriguez (both exclusive to this release only) and the memorable Gil Scott Heron cover "We Almost Lost Detroit" from their debut album IT'S A CORPORATE WORLD and remixes by Stepdad, Phantasmagoria, and Chuck Daniels. This six-song single disc is cut at 45 rpm by Bernie Grundman Mastering.

Disturbed: The Collection (Vinyl Album Box Set)
We are proud to announce the definitive Disturbed vinyl box-set edition, THE COLLECTION. A five-album, six-disc offering of the band's complete studio album discography featuring The Sickness (2000), Believe (2002), Ten Thousand Fists (2005), Indestructible (2008), and Asylum (2010). A career retrospective spanning ten years and 18 Billboard Top 100 hits of sophisticated and life-altering heavy music. For this box set, each album has been carefully mastered and pressed on 140-gram vinyl for the very best in audio quality. Each album has been meticulously showcased in a stunning art presentation that is unique and exclusive to this release. This is a limited edition box of only 2500 units worldwide.

Dr. John: Locked Down (Vinyl album)
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame-inducted boogie and blues pianist with an inimitable growl of a voice, Dr. John's most enduring achievements have fused New Orleans R&B, rock, and the Mardi Gras party spiritto come up with his own brand of "voodoo" music. Dr. John's new album, Locked Down (due April 3rd), is a bold statement produced by The Black Keys' Dan Auerbach and will be Dr. John's first for Nonesuch Records.

Fleetwood Mac: Fleetwood Mac (Deluxe and Standard vinyl editions)
What can be said about this classic album that has not been said before? Originally released in 1975 and representing not only a rebirth of the band, with the edition of Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham, but really a second debut for a group firmly rooted in the rock genre, now reinventing themselves into a pop rock force in a way that few other artists can lay claim to. The album includes the iconic songs "Rhiannon," "Say You Love Me," and "Over My Head." Cut for vinyl at Bernie Grundman Mastering from the original analog tapes and pressed in both 33 rpm and 45 rpm for the very best in audio presentation. A collectible and definitive version for any generation.

Jeff The Brotherhood: Upstairs at United Vol. 3 (12" vinyl EP) 
This release is a 3 song EP of JEFF The Brotherhood as a 5 piece band (recorded live to tape) performing "Master Of The Universe" by Hawkwind (from the album of the same name), a brain-melting new track called "In Space, Nobody Can Hear You Scream" plus a reprised  "cover" of  "I'm A Freak." Pressed at 45rpm for greater sonic impact at United Record Pressing and distributed by URP Music Distributors and 453 Music. You have no idea what you're in for...

Kimbra: Settle Down (Deluxe CD EP)
International newcomer Kimbra's digital EP is being re-released as a physical CD just in time for RSD and her tour with Gotye. The five-song release, which now includes the sultry "Good Intent," also features title track "Settle Down" as well as a remix of "Cameo Lover".
Metallica: Beyond Magnetic (12" color vinyl EP)

Beyond Magnetic consists of four outtakes from the 2008 Death Magnetic sessions and is available for the first time on silver vinyl just for RSD. A potent and exceptionally well-produced example of Metallica's most recent work, which can hold its own with anything within their vast heavy music cannon. Previously unreleased on vinyl and includes a limited edition Metallica sticker.  
Mastodon / Feist  "A Commotion"/ "Black Tongue" (7" vinyl single)

A very exclusive and highly anticipated RSD pressing features Mastodon covering the Feist song "A Commotion," while Feist covers Mastodon's "Black Tongue." A unique and highly buzzed-about Record Store Day prize.

Red Hot Chili Peppers: Stadium Arcadium (Deluxe 180 Gram vinyl Box Set)
On April 14, 2012, the Red Hot Chili Peppers will be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and to commemorate this historic event, this classic Deluxe box set of the band's first number one album will be specially priced for Record Store Day.  The Deluxe package was mastered for vinyl by Steve Hoffman and includes two 16-page booklets - "Jupiter" and "Mars."  The Red Hot Chili Peppers won four Grammy® Awards for Stadium Arcadium including: Best Rock Album, Best Boxed Or Special Limited Edition Package in addition to Best Rock Song and Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group for their chart-topping, record-breaking single "Dani California."

Ximena Sarinana: Maps / La Llorona (7" vinyl single)
A two-song 7" from an exceptionally original and emerging artist, featuring two audio tracks: "Maps" (a Yeah Yeah Yeah's cover) from Rolling Stone Live and "La Llorona" (a Latin America folk song) from KCRW's "Morning Becomes Eclectic."  A special release to celebrate her Coachella 2012 appearance.

Regina Spektor:  "The Prayer of François Villon (Molitva)"/ "Old Jacket (Stariy Pedjak)" (7" color vinyl single)
A RSD exclusive features two b-sides from Regina's upcoming album What We Saw From The Cheap Seats, due in May. This single on white vinyl, mastered by Bob Ludwig, features two songs originally penned by Russian Poet/Musician Bulat Okudzhava, and are performed completely in Russian.

Tegan and Sara: Get Along (12" color vinyl album)
A Record Store Day exclusive - never before on vinyl.  Featuring music from the 2011 Get Along release, comprised of 15 favorites like "Alligator," "Call It Off," "Monday Monday Monday," and "Sentimental Tune." This single live disc, pressed on 12" white vinyl, finds the duo waltzing through its 15-year career with the kind of ease and amiable confidence that can only come from longtime friends who also happen to be siblings.

Side by Side 2012 Series:
A continuation of the well-received Warner Bros Records "Side by Side" series, which was initially introduced in 2011. All are exclusive for Record Store Day on uniquely colored and extremely limited edition 7" vinyl singles, featuring Warner artists covering other historic and personally influential iconic artists. This year's series includes:

The Flaming Lips / Mastodon: "A Spoonful Weighs A Ton" (7" baby pink vinyl single)
The mighty Mastodon faithfully covers the Lips classic "Spoonful Weighs a Ton," from The Soft Bulletin album. Ferociously beautiful!

Sara Watkins(Featuring Fiona Apple) / The Everly Brothers:
"You're The One I Love" (7" olive green with blue/black splatter vinyl single)

Sara Watkins covers The Everly Brothers classic "You're The One I Love" and features co-vocals from a very special guest, Fiona Apple. From Sara's new full-length album, Sun Midnight Sun, available later this spring.

Michael Bublé / Ray Charles: Georgia On My Mind(7" Georgia Peach vinyl single)
Michael Bublé's first ever 7" vinyl release featuring a cover of Ray Charles' classic "Georgia On
My Mind" on "Georgia Peach" colored vinyl.

Carolina Chocolate Drops / Run-DMC: "You Be Illin'" (7" Coke-bottle green vinyl single)
The Run-DMC classic rendered in an entirely new way by old-time string band the Carolina Chocolate Drops. The Drops' version was recorded at the same sessions as their February 2012 release Leaving Eden, which was produced by Nashville legend Buddy Miller.

MC5 / Afrika Bambaataa:  "Kick Out the Jams" (7" White with red splatter vinyl single)
The incendiary original coupled with a cover version from the pioneer of The Electro Funk Sound.
Otis Redding / Aretha Franklin: "Respect" (7" gold vinyl single)

The seminal classics meet for the first time together on vinyl.

For more information, please visit

CD Review: Paul Hayworth Expands His Sound On "Soft Culture"

Multi-talented, European artist Paul Hayworth is finally releasing his “Chill Out” album entitled “Soft Culture.” The album was recorded back in 2001 using classic drum machines, sound loops and ambient textures to create an atmospheric piece of music. Why the wait? Paul Hayworth has been busy as a guitarist for the Austrian band Freud, as well as multimedia specialist for Sony and for The Bitmap Brothers. He is finally finding the time to release his back catalogue of solo projects.

The 10-track album is full of drumbeats and soundscapes as Hayworth tries to captures moods and atmospheres with his music. The songs range in length from the moody, 4-minute “Electrostatic” to the over 9-minute “Bambi Rasta.” The acoustic guitar in “Mish” and the soft, simple guitar in “Sunpool” is a nice break from the constant attack of electronic sounds in “Doctors of Empathy” and “Little Indian.” The album closes with the quiet flow of “Metropolitechnic.”

For more information on Paul Hayworth’s new release, check out

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

CD Review: Attention "Mission Control" It's Black Rock Revival

The trio of Sebastian (The Leader), Hype (The Beat Master) and Blue (The Bass Man) are better known by their group name, the Black Rock Revival. Their debut album was released in 2010 and gained some minor media attention, especially on college radio. Black Rock Revival has returned last year with a new album entitled “Mission Control” and are currently heard on over 100 radio stations throughout the U.S. Their music combines the funk, rock and soul into a flurry of fun, upbeat music that keeps you on your toes.

The new album introduces you to their funk side with the 1-minute instrumental “First Contact” before heading into the Jimi Hendrix, Band of Gypsy's sounding “Mission Control.” Between the beats and the bass groove, Sebastian’s funky guitar becomes the focus on songs like “Genetic Trait” and “Heavy Head.” Black rock Revival show off their rock influences on the bluesy sounding “Devil Comes To Town” and the heavy funk-attack of “Lola Falana.” They scatter their soul groove throughout the album with “Human Resource” and “You’d Better Come,” before closing the album with the Lenny Kravitz, guitar-driven “Keep It Together.”

The band will be performing at the SXSW festival on March 15, performing songs from their two original albums as well as covers from some of rocks greatest. For more information on Black Rock Revival, check-out their facebook page at

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

CD Review: Metal Blade Records Have Two More To Unleash Upon The World

Metal Blade Records are back with two new albums from bands that have paid their dues over the course of the last decade. Heavy Metal band Desaster celebrated their 20th anniversary back in 2009 and recently released their Metal Blade Records debut entitled “The Arts Of Destruction.” It is the band’s seventh full-length album and shows how far their songwriting and musical power has grown since their early days.

Their sound just blows you back as the sheer speed of the opening song “The Art of Destruction,” along with the dark, screaming vocals of lead singer Sataniac sets-up an assault on your senses. The music on this new album is heavy metal at its purest while lyrics about the occult give the songs a more mystical tone. The tempo changes in “Lacerate (With Rans of Doom)” and “At Hell’s Horizon” shows us how talented these musicians are instead of just playing three-chords at neck-breaking speed. The band’s thrash metal roots coming pouring out in “The Splendor Of The Idols” and the album closer “Beyond Your Graves.”

Desaster have a few festivals scheduled in 2012, but their first shows are in April down in Columbia. Check out the band’s website ( for a complete list of tour dates and information on the new album.

The other new release from Metal Blade Records comes from Lay Down Rotten who has been together now over ten years. Their new album entitled “Mask of Malice” is their third album on Metal Blade Records and their first with new guitarist Daniel “Kensington” Seifert.

The album begins with the pulse-pounding, recklessness of “Death-Chain.” Jost Kleinert’s vocals are aggressive and in your face, which is just how Lay Down Rotten likes it. The double-bass drum delivery by Timo Claas in “…And The Wolves Come Out” is exceptional as you just feel the energy. The album’s first single, “Hades Resurrected” and second single “The Devil Grins” shows us the full power and aggressiveness that this band puts into every bit of their music.

Lay Down Rotten has a few festivals lined-up as well over in Europe. Visit the band’s website ( for tour dates and information on the new album, “Mask of Malice.”

Monday, March 5, 2012

CD Review: Ben Kweller Goes Independent With "Go Fly A Kite"

Singer/songwriter Ben Kweller returns with a new album entitled “Go Fly A Kite.” This is Kweller’s fifth album and the first release on Kweller’s own record label, The Noise Company. This release was held back from its 2011 release date in order for Kweller to fine-tune it for a perfect sounding album. Kweller plugged in for this album, adding more electric guitars and eclectic sounds that any previous album.

The new release begins with the up-tempo, alternative rocker “Mean To Me,” which sounds like it may be directed at his formal record label. Fans of Kweller’s earlier releases may be in for a shock as he plasters the album with grunge-like guitar solos and dark lyrics. He does show us glimpses of the past with the acoustic strumming of “Out The Door” and “Full Circle,” which also features some great harmonizing. Kweller pours his feelings into “Gossip” and “The Rainbow” as he lays his heart on the line, singing these great lyrics that we can all relate to. The song “Justify Me” sounds like an outtake from Elvis Costello’s early days as Kweller’s talents are heard all over this release by making his songs sound instantly classic.

Ben Kweller is currently on tour promoting his new album, “Go Fly A Kite.” He just finished a tour of Australia and will be performing his first show back in the U.S. on March 20 at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford, CT. For a complete list of tour dates and information on the new album, check out

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Concert Review: Van Halen Were On Fire At Mohegan Sun

There’s just something about the Mohegan Sun Arena that the guys in Van Halen just love. On Van Halen’s last few tours, they made it a point to stop there for a show, even if it was out of the way. This included last Saturday night, after performing two sold-out shows at Madison Square Garden. The show at the Mohegan Sun Arena sold-out in less than an hour and fans packed the arena long-before Van Halen took that stage as not to miss one single moment.

This latest Van Halen tour had a lot to prove as their 2007 reunion tour was erratic and plagued with problems. Plus, on this tour, Van Halen had some new material from their recently released album, “A Different Kind Of Truth” which they performed along with the old classics.

One by one the members of Van Halen appeared onstage, beginning the evening with “Unchained.” The 22-song, 2 hour set list mixed in new songs like “Tattoo” and “She’s A Woman” with classics like “Runnin’ With The Devil” and “Everybody Wants Some.” Van Halen even brought out more obscure songs that have not been performed in almost thirty years like “Hear About It Later” and “Girl Gone Bad.”

David Lee Roth dressed like a fancy ringmaster. He wore a big grin on his face and was constantly moving the entire evening. His dance moves, high kicks and onstage antics keep the energy high, but all eyes focused on Eddie Van Halen whenever the guitar solo of each song arrived. Drummer Alex Van Halen and bassist Wolfgang Van Halen kept the groove of the classic songs sound as good live as they have ever sounded in recent years. New songs like “China Town” and “The Trouble With Never” had Eddie Van Halen peeling off some of the most impressive solos of the night. That was until his performance of the guitar driven instrumentals “Eruption” and “Cathedral” that had the jaws of audience members hanging to the floor.

The only slow part of the evening came as David Lee Roth played some notes on an acoustic guitar while a video of his dogs shown on the drive-in movie size screen. Roth’s stories and jokes were sprinkled throughout the night whenever the moment seemed to call for it, but his exaggerated dance moves keep the showman in the spotlight the entire time.

A blazing performance of “Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love” came to an end as the members of Van Halen embraced one another as a show of respect for a job well done. But the evening wasn’t finished until the band performed their biggest hit single “Jump.” Red and white confetti covered the stage as Roth waved a big checkered flag signaling the end of another triumphant performance from one of the biggest classic rock bands of all time.

Runnin’ With The Devil
She’s A Woman
Romeo Delight
Everybody Wants Some
Somebody Get Me A Doctor
China Town
Hear About It Later
Oh, Pretty Woman
You Really Got Me
The Trouble With Never
Dance The Night Away
I’ll Wait
Hot For Teacher
Women In Love
Girl Gone Bad
Beautiful Girls
Ice Cream Man
Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love

Saturday, March 3, 2012

CD Review: Skrillex Invites Friends Along For "Bangarang"

American electronic music producer Skrillex has recently received a big boost in fame, capturing three Grammy Awards, producing songs for nu-metal band Korn and most recently working with the remaining members of The Doors. The new song (“Breakin’ A Sweat”) which also features part of a 1969 interview with Jim Morrison, is the highlight of a new EP of songs released by Skrillex entitled “Bangarang.”

The new album carries seven songs, ranging from the masterfully done “Right On Time” and “Kyoto” to the collaborative effort of “The Devil’s Den” between Skrillex and Wolfgang Gartner. The beats and the mixes seem to flow so well, that you just glide right through the album. The closer is a simple, 6-minute pop, dance floor beat called “Summit,” which features guest vocals by the talented Ellie Goulding.

The EP was released back in December and reached #14 on the Billboard Album Chart and #1 on the Billboard Dance/Electronic Album Chart. Due to the strong sales and popularity of this latest release, we should be seeing some more new music from Skrillex very soon. He is currently over in Europe peforming on the “Grey Daze” tour which runs to the end of April. For more information on Skrillex, be sure to check out his website at

Friday, March 2, 2012

CD Review: I See Hawks In L.A. Have A "New Kind Of Lonely"

Alternative country group I See Hawks In L.A. is preparing to release their sixth album entitled “New Kind Of Lonely.” This is an entirely acoustic album that was recorded together at Marc Doten’s Echo Park Studio with some well-placed microphones to capture everything. This new album will be released on March 6 through Western Seeds Record Company.

The songs on this new release carry a very laid-back, campfire vibe as the acoustic guitars and storytelling lyrics set the tone. The Hawks tackle some tough, dark topics with the album opener “Bohemian Highway” and “Your Love Is Going To Kill Me.” They also try to make the topic of death a little lighter with “The Spirit Of Death” as the chorus becomes easy to sing-along with. The band pay homage to one of their favorite jambands with “I Fell In Love With The Grateful Dead,” they return with the solemn sounding “Mary Austin Sky.” The band picks up the tempo with “Big Old Hypodermic Needle” and “Hunger Mountain Breakdown” as once again they lighten-up the subjects of drugs and suicide. The album closes with the heartfelt ballad “If You Lead I Will Follow” as we all need that feeling of help once an awhile.

I See Hawks In L.A. will be out on the road, performing at a handful of festivals in May. Please visit the band’s website ( for a list of tour dates and information on the new album “New Kind Of Lonely.”

Thursday, March 1, 2012

CD Review: Jack Wilson Travels Through His Storied Debut Album

From Austin, TX comes singer/songwriter Jack Wilson with his self-titled, debut album. This album is set-out to bridge the gap between the Americana-country appeal of Austin and the folk-rock of Seattle (where his musical career began). Plus, the stories in his songs are sure to take you on a wonderful journey.

The album starts out slow with “Valhalla” as you instantly notice the comforting tone of Wilson’s voice. At times, he dips into the pool of country with “Clean,” then comes out of that pool to dry-off with the folk-rock of “Paying For Misery (Thanks To You).” His storied lyrics and Rick Danko-type vocals make songs like “Black Hills Fiction,” “The Watchers” and “Fell Inside” sound like outtakes from The Band’s early days. The album closes with the gentleness of “The Truth,” as you can feel Jack Wilson pour his heart into his music.

Jack Wilson’s album is being released on March 6 through Fluff & Gravy Records. He also has a couple of dates scheduled in the Austin, TX area before heading up to Portland, OR in May. For more information on this rising singer, check out his website at