Saturday, June 30, 2012

CD Review: The English Beat Gets Boxed Up Plus More

British Ska band, The English Beat hit their stride in the early 1980s with hits like “Mirror In the Bathroom,” “Hands Off She’s Mine” and “Can’t Get Used To Losing You.” After their break-up in 1983, original singer/guitarist Dave Wakeling went on to form the band General Public with Ranking Roger. Andy Cox and David Steele went on to form the successful group Fine Young Cannibals and drummer Everett Morton and Saxa formed The International Beat.

Fast-forward to 2003 and the original English Beat, minus Cox and Steele, performed a sold-out show at the Royal Hall Festival. Since then, Dave Wakeling has been fronting a US version of The English Beat and has toured all over the world performing these classic ska songs.

This year, as their renewed popularity continues to grow, The English Beat is preparing to release a box set of The Beat’s three original albums and a brand new “best of” compilation. The box set entitled “The Complete Beat” features their 1980 album “I Just Can’t Stop” remastered and includes the two songs “Tears Of A Clown” and “Ranking Full Stop,” which were not featured on the original U.K. release. Also included is their 1981 album “Wha’ppen?” which includes three bonus songs, “Psychedelic Rockers,” “Hit It” and “Which Side Of The Bed?” Also included for the first time is the hit single “To Nice To Talk To” which did not appear on the original album. Next is the 1982 album “Special Beat Service,” which includes four bonus tracks “What’s Your Best Thing,” “March of the Swivel Heads, “ “Cool Entertainer” and “A Go Talk (Tappy Luppy Dub).” The real gems in this set are the two bonus discs, one disc featuring the 12” & Dub Versions of classic songs like “Stand Down Margaret” and “Drowning.” The other disc features four separate live shows featured on the Peel Sessions and on the BBC in 1979, 1980 & 1982. These will be a real treat for fans as they have not been officially released before.

If that’s too much of The Beat for you, they are also releasing a “best of” compilation entitled “Keep the Beat: The Very Best of the English Beat.” This single disc gathers sixteen of The English Beat’s most well-known hits, including their cover of “Tears Of A Clown." The disc begins with their most well-known hit “Mirror In The Bathroom” and concludes with the aptly titled “End Of The Party.”

The English Beat will be celebrating their 35th anniversary next year and these two releases are the perfect way to remind people about the original ska kings and what an impact their music made. Both items are available for pre-order at the Shout! Factory website, and those who pre-order the box set will also receive the bonus CD/DVD set entitled “The English Beat: Live At The US Festival.”

The English Beat are currently on tour and will be performing July 7th and July 8th at the Fairfield Theatre – Stage One in Fairfield, CT. The Beat always put on a good show wlhich ends up turning into one big party. For more information, please visit

Friday, June 29, 2012

CD Review: Four Debuts From Some Of Today's New Artists

Here are four debut albums from some of today's rising pop artists. Many of these musicians have that special talent for writing a great hook, but each of them use a little extra to make their music their own.

Singer Mike Ruocco has just released his debut album entitled “The Rise. The Ride. The Risk.” on June 12. The former frontman of Cinder Road is ready to break out on his own and his first single “Too Late” has been receiving massive airplay in major markets in Texas, California, New Jersey and some others. The song has all the right ingredients to make a pop-rock hit song. His lyrics are about love lost and his music is upbeat enough to dance to. The rest of the album continues along those lines with some slight variation. Mike Ruocco adds a bit country flavor to “Millionaires” as his enjoyment for performing is heard through his vocals. He pours his heart into “After I’m Gone,” before finishing with the feel good song “Carry Me.”

Mike Ruocco will be opening for Daughtry on his recent tour beginning July 21 is New Jersey. For a complete list of tour dates and information on the new album, please visit

New York pop-rock band Mitchell Grey recently released their debut album entitled “On The Stellar Way.” The band's overall sound draws strong comparisons to Jason Mraz with their clever lyrics and laid back acoustic rock vibe. The songs “Heartstrings” and “Hazel” show the band’s smooth delivery of vocals and summer night music. Mitchell Grey stretches out on “Vampire Voltage” with a more rock approach as the guitars begin to come alive. There is a bit of an island feel to “Surface Surfing” before heading out to the country with “Keep On!” featuring Tori Kelly on vocals. The gentleness of “Inamorata” shows the soft side of the band with its heartfelt lyrics before return to the upbeat rock of “The Racers.”

Mitchell Gray has a couple of dates lined up in New York and New Jersey in mid-August before heading north of the border for a couple of shows. Check out the band’s website ( for more information on their debut album.

Singer/songwriter Clayton Bush recently released his debut album entitled “Spanish Satellites.” He places his pop-fueled vocals upon a laid-back, acoustic-rock background to give breath of fresh air to his songs. The album begins with “Metaphors,” which is acoustic pop mastery. His upbeat vocals and uplifting music make you stand up and take notice. His voice on “Hometown Hero” is so warming that you get wrapped up in his lyrics as you can feel the passion he has for his song-writing. He experiments on “Always Tomorrow” with mixed results, but wins you back with “Windows Down” as he settles perfectly into this vocal delivery. Bush gets a little funky on “Stoned” before hitting the pop mainstream with “Come Lift Me Up.” The album closes with the acoustic, country-sway of “Hunny” as his vocals fully take over.

For more information on this rising performer, please visit

Pop duo, Reasons Be is ready to release their debut EP “Hands Up.”A meeting on Craigslist led to a friendship that created 4 songs of acoustic pop anthems. Beginning with the title-song, Reasons Be’s Scotty Dickert and Ariel Belkin harmonize on this up tempo dance pop song. Their song “Carry Me Home”draws strong similarities to pop rock superstars Train as Reason Be’s music is hard to resist. Their gentle vocals in “Love the Way” does not overpower the song’s music as they reach a rocking climax before finishing in their signature up-tempo sound.

To find out more about this great musical duo, please visit their facebook page at

CD Review: Jon Dee Graham Releases New Songs With A "Garage Sale"

2012 has been a busy year for singer/songwriter Jon Dee Graham. Earlier this year he recorded an album with Susan Cowsill and Freedy Johnston as The Hobart Brothers and Lil’ Sis Hobart and on June 26 he released his tenth solo album entitled “Garage Sale.” Unlike past albums, this one came together on a spur of the moment. He was given one day a month of studio time to do with as he wished and what came out was an album of brand-new songs.

The eleven-song album begins with the organ tones of “Unafraid” as Graham lets the lyrics spill out over the music. His vocals on “Yes Yes” draw similarities to those of Tom Waits, but they get a boost on “On Dearest One” from Erin Ivey’s harmonies. The recordings on this album fluxuate between the very polished sound of “The Orphan’s Song” and the very raw, studio demo “Bobby Dunbar,” but it's great to hear some of these works in progress. One song that seems to need more time and tweaking in the studio was “Collapse.” Graham finishes the album with the Neil Young-type rocker “Where Were Yr Friends?” and the experimental “Radio Uxtmal.”

Jon Dee Graham has a CD-Release party set for July 7 at the Continental Club in Austin, TX before finishing the month with a few more shows in the area. He will also be part of the Tin Can Caravan in September that will travel around Texas. Be sure to visit for more information on his live show and on his new album “Garage Sale.”

Thursday, June 28, 2012

CD Review: Seth Walker Looks To Change With "Time"

From Nashville, TN; via Austin, TX comes singer/songwriter Seth Walker with a new album entitled “Time Can Change.” This new set of songs finds Walker experimenting with lyrics and treading into unfamiliar musical territory. Since his last album in 2009, Walker has had a whole new world of experiences (both geographically and philosophically) and this album is the result of his latest journey.

Beginning with “Love Is Through With Me,” we find Seth Walker down with the blues on this acoustic song as he becomes comfortable with his new surroundings. His vocals on “Stronger Than You Need To Be” become the focus as you notice an experienced tone to his delivery. Walker adds a jazzy vibe to “Found Myself Lost” and “Before It Breaks” as he shows us some of his guitar licks. A laid-back, island feel is heard in “Wait A Minute,” before switching gears for the romantic sounds of “All This Love.” The album closes with the upbeat jive of “More Days Like This” as Walker gives one of his best pop vocal performances.

Seth Walker will be on tour beginning June 23 opening for Todd Park Mohr of Big Head Todd & The Monsters. His new album was released on June 19 through Roe Records. For more information, check out

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

CD Review: Prog-Rockers Comes Together For Storm Corrosion

Newly formed Prog-rock band Storm Corrosion is the musical collaboration between Mikael Akerfeldt of the band Opeth and Steven Wilson of the band Porcupine Tree. Both artists have fond love for progressive rock music as this debut album shows. This self-titled album was released on May 7 through Roadrunner Records as a standard CD and as a Double-LP, Blu-ray/CD set. The album debuted at #86 on the Canadian Album Chart and is quickly becoming an underground sensation.

The six-song album has its share of epic numbers. The first two songs, “Drag Ropes” and “Storm Corrosion” dance around the ten-minute mark and draw similarities to early King Crimson as the music puts you at ease, while the lyrics become almost non-essential. The middle three songs feel like a bridge attaching the beginning of the album to the ten-plus minute finale, “Ljudet Innan.” For those expecting any signs of loud guitars or screaming vocals need to lock elsewhere. This album relaxes your mind as you drift along to the music.

For more information on this album, please visit

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

CD Review: Asgeir & Mo Add A Little Spice to "Danza de Andalucia"

Classical guitarist/composer Asgeir Aaroen teamed up with fellow violinist Bjarte Mo to release their first album together entitled “Danza de Andalucia.” This is Asgeiar’s first recorded album as he incorporates his passion for flamenco guitar with the classical sounds of Bjarte Mo’s violin. Also on the album are special guests Saska Cvijanovic, Gabriel Chicaiza, and Magnus Rod Haugland.

The album begins with the fiery flash of Asgeir’s flamenco skills on “Summer Flirt,” as the Latin dance beat becomes the perfect background for flamenco dancing. Bjarte Mo leads the way with his violin which gives the song its extra flair. They slow the tempo down on “Your Hand In Mine” as it takes on a more relaxed, classical sound. Asgeir is able to stretch out his fingers on the finger-picking of “Night In Netanya,” as his talents do not overpower the song, but gives is a little extra spice. Both musicians take their solos in the eight-minute “Andelucian Dance” which also features the flamenco footwork of Noelia Sabarea. While the song “Tango” becomes your turn to dance, they slow the tempo down for the heartfelt instrumentation of “Memories Of Enerhaug.” The album closes with “Summer Song,” which is the only song on the album to feature vocals supplied wonderfully by Aina Schold.

The album “Danza de Andalucia” is available now through iTunes, Amazon and Spotify.

Monday, June 25, 2012

CD Review: Lucio Rubino Comes Through With Solo Debut Album

Singer/songwriter Lucio Rubino released his debut solo album last month through The Fish Tank Recordings. The self-titled release finds the singer more relaxed and soulful in his new setting. Rubino was a member of the Christian band Storyside:B which received critical and popular acclaim among the musical genre. He also performed bass duties on Paramore’s album “All We Know Is Falling” and recently produced the latest release from Manic Drive.

Rubino begins his album with the gentle flow of “Better Left Unsaid” as get a feel for his warm, inviting lyrics. He picks up the tempo with the album’s first single “Fallin’ From The Start” as he begins to stretch his legs and sound a bit like Jason Mraz. His strength lies in his soft, comforting delivery of his vocals as in “Moonlight Drive” and “Hard To Find.” His wife joins him for three songs as her harmonies help flesh out the chorus to the songs “The Face Of Love” and “Isn’t Love.” He gives us a heart wrenching rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” before finishing with “Truth Or Dare,” the most rocking song on the album.

Lucio Rubio does not have any live dates scheduled at the moment, but be sure to visit for upcoming announcements.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

CD Review: Styx Brings "Regeneration" On The Road With Ted Nugent & REO Speedwagon

Seventies and eighties rock giants Styx have been feeling very nostalgic recently. Last year, the band released a double-album (“Regeneration”) of re-recorded hits with the band’s current lead singer Lawrence Gowan. In January of 2012, Styx also released a DVD, Blu-ray and DVD/2CD combo of “The Grand Illusion/Pieces Of Eight Live.” The show was recorded in Memphis, TN in 2010 and features the band performing both classic albums from start to finish.

Now this summer, Styx is heading on the road with fellow seventies and eighties superstars REO Speedwagon and Ted Nugent as part of “The Midwest Rock ‘n Roll Express” tour. Original Styx member James “JY’ Young stated that “it’s time for mega-Platinum Illinois bands STYX and REO Speedwagon in a battle to the end of the Mayan Calendar with the Motor City Madman!”

“Regeneration: Volume 1 & 2” gives us some of Styx’s greatest music moments, beginning with “The Grand Illusion” and “Lorelei.” Gowen steps into original lead singer Dennis DeYoung’s shoes and does an outstanding job, while original Styx bassist Chuck Panozzo handles duties on “Fooling Yourself.” Guitarist Tommy Shaw extends “Come Sail Away” past the seven-minute mark as he jams away on the solo. “Regeneration: Volume 1” finishes with one of the band’s newest original songs “Difference In The World,” which sounds like an early outtake song from the band’s seventies heyday.

"Regeneration: Volume 2” rocks more than “Volume 1” as it features the guitar driven “Blue Collar Man” and “Renegade.” Again, the vocals and harmonies are spot-on as in “Miss America” and “Snowblind.” This album closes with two songs that were originally recorded by Shaw’s side band, Damn Yankees. The songs “Coming of Age” and “High Enough” have been performed live by Styx over the years, but this is the first and only studio recordings of the songs performed by Styx.

“The Midwest Rock ‘n Roll Express” tour began in mid-June and will be heading to Connecticut on July 5 at the Mohegan Sun Arena. The tour wraps up three days later, and then Styx heads out on their own U.S. tour. Make sure to catch them with these two other musical giants as anything could happen on stage when these three get together. For more information, check out Styx website at

Saturday, June 23, 2012

CD Review: "Songs About Jane" Turns 10 Years Old For Maroon 5

American pop-rock band Maroon 5 are riding a popularity high that began with their 2010 album, "Hand All Over" and has continued on for the last two years. Now this year is sure to become their biggest yet. They have a brand-new album to be released on June 26 entitled "Overexposed," they are currently on a world tour and most recently released the 10th Anniversary Deluxe Edition of their debut album "Songs About Jane."

The original twelve-song album gets remastered and sounds the best that its ever had. All the instruments sound crisp especially on "Sunday Morning" and "This Love." Adam Levine's vocals on "Shiver" and "The Sun" are out front and sound as clear as being in the studio with the band.

This deluxe edition includes a second disc with the entire album presented in demo form. The songs still sound very polished on this disc, but carry a less pop sound and a more rock sound. I wish some of the songs were a slighty more variation than the ones that were originally release, but it's nice to hear how the songs developed into the final versions that have become so well known. Also included are 5 bonus songs, three of them are demos of songs that were not finished for the album. The song "Take What You Want" seems like a missed hit single for the album, while "Woman" and "Chilly Winter" sound like good ideas that never transpired. The song "Ragdoll" is an international b-side that carries a slow jazzy vibe, similar to "Sunday Morning." The disc finishes with an alternative mix of "The Sun" that is given a more dance-floor beat.

For more information in this new deluxe version of "Songs About Jane" and about Maroon 5's new album, "Overexposed," be sure to visit

Friday, June 22, 2012

CD Review: Get Ready To "Approach" Kyoto Drive

From Europe come modern rockers, Kyoto Drive with a new album entitled “The Approach.” It was released on May 28th through I Am Mighty Records and carries a very upbeat sound with glimpses of hard rock, punk and pop mixed with catchy lyrics and guitar riffs.

The seven-song LP begins with slow-building 90-second introduction, “Receive This Little Breath,” which flows right into the guitar driven “Holiday.” “So Much Alive” comes off as a timeless classic rock song with a great pulsating drumbeat and sing-along chorus. Kyoto Drive shows us a bit of their pop side with “Breathe” before finishing with the punk-style of “Chapters” and the mid-tempo ballad “You Never Knew.”

Kyoto Drive has a show scheduled for July 1st over in Europe. For more information, check out the band’s myspace page at

Thursday, June 21, 2012

CD Review: Branden Daniel & The Chics Are "Flying" High With New Album

From Seattle, comes Branden Daniel & The Chics with their debut album, which at times sounds like the second-coming of the Kings of Leon. The new release entitled “Keep Em Flying” was released back in May and was produced by Bruce Duff and Grammy-Award winning producer Tom Biller (Silversun Pickups). The trio of Branden Daniel (singer/guitarist), Aaron Schroder (guitar) and Matt Winter (drums) perform with that raw, garage-rock energy that would make bands like Iggy & The Stooges and The Velvet Underground proud.

The album starts off with the California-sounding, surf-punk of “All Things Chic” as Daniel’s vocals draw similarities to Iggy Pop. The trio experiment a little with their sound on the five-minute “Missionary” as their sound travels to the underground New York club scene of the seventies. They finally find their groove on “Hey, Howie” and “Only The Heavy” with their raw, garage-rock sound. The album’s first single is the fun, punk-romp “Mor Yay,” as you find yourself singing along to the chorus. They return to the surf-punk of “Burns,” before finishing with the slow-building “Not Like Anything.”

Branden Daniel & the Chics currently have no live dates scheduled, but stay tuned to for more information.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

CD Review: Bap Kennedy Finds "Revenge" With The Help Of Mark Knopfler

Singer/songwriter Bap Kennedy recently released his eighth studio album entitled “The Sailor’s Revenge.” The album was produced by Mark Knopfler and released on Proper American Records. On this new release, Kennedy brings together American and Irish traditions with the help of Knopfler on guitar and Jerry Douglas on lap steel and Dobro.

You can instantly hear the Irish influence of this recording as in the acoustic opener “Shimnavale.” The music just floats on by as you get wrapped up in Kennedy’s vocals. He pulls-off sounding like a young Bob Dylan on “Not A Day Goes By,” then settles into his stories as in “Jimmy Sanchez” and “Please Return to Jesus.” The song, “The Right Stuff” was written for Kennedy’s previous album, but left off at the last minute. Knopfler insisted he re-record it for this album and has become one of the highlights of this disc with its “true to life” lyrics that everyone can relate to. The gentleness of Kennedy’s voice is felt on the title-song, “The Sailor’s Revenge” as he comforts you with his words. The album closes with the Irish, lullaby-sounding “Celtic Sea.”

Bap Kennedy has some scattered dates in June and July, beginning in Lisburn, Ireland and finishing up in Perth as part of the Southern Fried Festival. For more information on Bap Kennedy’s new album and live shows, please visit

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

CD Review: Marley's Ghost Celebrates 25 Years With "Jubilee"

Country/Bluegrass/Folk band Marley’s Ghost is celebrating their 25th anniversary with a new album entitled “Jubilee.” The album was produced by the legendary Cowboy Jack Clement and features guest performances by Clement as well as Emmylou Harris, John Prine and Marty Stuart. The album is a mix of originals and covers from some of music most famous songwriters.

The album begins with country sounds of “Rollin” as the band’s classic, simple sound shines bright. They pick-up the pace with the quick-shuffle beat of “Wake Up Mama,” before heading over to the country blues of “The Blues Are Callin.” Guest singer John Prine trades lead vocals with Jon Wilcox on the Kris Kristofferson penned “The Old Road.” Then album begins to take-off with Bobby Womack’s “It’s All Over Now,” which features Jack Clement on vocals backed by the Old Crow Medicine Show. Emmylou Harris’ vocals add a breath of fresh air to the slow jaunt of “Growin’ Trade,” while Marty Stuart lends his vocals to “Hank and Audrey.” Marley’s Ghost tackles the traditional “Diamond Joe” as they make the song sound like one of their own. The album closes with the upbeat, fun “She Made Me Lose My Blues,” which also includes a little yodeling.

Marley’s Ghost are sticking close to home with some shows out in California, but will be venturing out soon for some festivals. Check out for a complete list of dates, as well as information on the new album which was released on June 5 through Sage Arts.

Monday, June 18, 2012

CD Review: The Bunny The Bear Hit You Right In The "Stomach"

Hardcore rockers The Bunny The Bear recently released their third album entitled “The Stomach For It” on Victory Records. The band began in 2008 when Matthew Tybor (The Bunny) combined his screaming vocals with Chris Hutka (The Bear) clean vocals to create a post-hardcore, electronic rock sound. Along with multiple musicians, The Bunny The Bear was signed to Victory Records in 2011 and released their break-through album “If You Don’t Have Anything Nice To Say.”

The new album begins with the short, electronic introduction of “Congregation” before the band kicks it into high gear with Tybor’s screaming vocals on “Sky.” The combination of the “clean” and “scream” vocals are utilized perfectly in the songs “All Birds” and “Soul.” The electronic side of the band’s sound pours through on “Breeze” and “Sheep,” while the album’s first single “Lonely, Lonely, Lonely” combines the rock and electric sounds perfectly. The album closes with the club beats of “It Kills Me” which get taken over by a hardcore vocal attack.

The Bunny The Bear is currently touring the U.S. For more information, check out the band’s facebook page (

Sunday, June 17, 2012

CD Review: Grand Magus Gets Reissued, While Whitechapel Gets Re-Energized

Heavy Metal band, Grand Magus is having two of their pinnacle albums (“Wolf’s Return” & “Iron Will”) released through Metal Blade Records. The albums were originally released in 2005 and 2008 respectively and are being re-released through their new record label. After their break-through album “Monument,” Grand Magus hit a new level of popularity around the world with the heavier “Wolf’s Return” and the continued with the more mainstream rock of “Iron Will.”

“Wolf’s Return” begins with the hard-rocking attack of “Kingslayer,” then continuing with the heavy drums and deep bass grooves of “Nine.” The album gets broken up by these 60- to 90-second instrumentals. They are used to introduce the next song.  The song “Blodorn” leads into the doom metal sound of “Wolf’s Return.” The album finishes strong with the tempo-changing rocker “Light Hater” and then returns to the doom metal sounds of “Wolf’s Return Part II.”

On the bend next release, “Iron Will” they polished their production to a more mainstream heavy metal sound. The opener “Like the Oar Strikes The Water,” finds Gran Magus running on all cylinders as the music just hits you. The band gets their hard rockin’ groove going on “Iron Will” as lead singer JB Christoffersson pulls off his best Ronnie James Dio impressions on “Silver Into Steal.” The album finishes with Trisse’s drumming and Fox’s bass locking into a deep groove on “I Am the North.”

Grand Magus also has a new album entitled “The Hunt” released last month, but in Europe only. They just wrapped up a set of dates and will be taking a month off before heading back out on the road in August. Check out the band’s website ( for more information and tour dates.

Death metal band Whitechapel have become one of the top bands of their genre breaking into the top 50 on the Billboard Album chart with their 2010 album “A New Era of Corruption.” Now Whitechapel returns with a new self-titled album that is sure to once again put them in the forefront of the metal community.

The album begins with “Make It Bleed” as a simple piano chord gets blown away by drums and guitars. Your pulse is sure to quicken on “Hate Creation,” before the anger and aggression takes over with “I, Dementia.” The assault continues with “Dead Silence,” before finishing with the metal bass grooves of “Possibilities of an Impossible Existence.”

Whitechapel just completed “The Recorruptour” with Miss May I and After The Burial. They will be heading out on the road again in July as part of the “Mayhem Festival” along with Slipknot, Slayer and Anthrax. That tour wraps up at the Comcast Theatre in Hartford, CT on August 5. For more information on the new album and for a complete list of tour dates, please visit

Saturday, June 16, 2012

CD Review: Jack White, Jason Mraz & John Mayer Go Their Own Way With New Albums

Three of today's most elite singer-songwriters released new albums one month apart. Jack White finally released his long-awaited debut solo album which debuted at #1 on the Billboard Album chart. Jason Mraz released his follow-up to his break-through platnium selling "We Sing, We Dance, We Steal Things." John Mayer most recently hit #1 with his new low-key album "Born & Raised." All three performers are at the top of their game on these great new albums.

Jack White has always been the main singer and songwriter of bands like The White Stripes and Dead Weather. Now we get to hear Jack White let loose with no boundries on his new album entitled "Blunderbuss." The great thing about this release is that is doesn't follow any form. You have the garage rockers "Sixteen Saltines" and "I'm Shakin," then you get the mellow pop-standards like "Love Interruption" and "Hip (Eponymous) Poor Boy." White also switches between his two bands, one made up of entirely female musicians and one entirely of male musicians and you can here the differences in the way the music is presented.

Jack White's album was released on April 23 through Third Man Records in association with Columbia Records. Jack White is currently on tour in Europe before returning to the U.S. in August. For more information, please visit

Jason Mraz hit pop super-stardom in 2008 with his #1 single "I'm Yours." Now Mraz returns with a brand-new album entitled "Love Is A Four Letter Word." The album debuted at #2 on the Billboard Album chart when it was released back in April and the lead single, "I Won't Give Up" is a top ten single. The new album features a more acoustic, mellow, laid-back vibe as Mraz makes you take notice of his words. Songs Like "Living in the Moment" and "Frank D. Fixer" are a couple of examples of how his song-writing has grown and matured. The album closes with the retro sounds "The World As I See It," which is Mraz's version of "What A Wonderful World."

Jason Mraz is currently on tour in China and Japan before hitting Hawaii in July. He has a show scheduled at the Comcast Music Theater in Hartford, CT on August 25. He will finish is tour December. For a complete list of dates, check out

Pop/Blues guitarist John Mayer has abandoned all his former hits to create a true singer/songwriter album that doesn't feature any specific pop vocals or slick guitar licks. Mayer's new album, "Born & Raised" has been described as a cowboy singing songs around the campfire while traveling cross-country. Mayer has searched deep inside to find a way to create some of the most timeless stories ("Walt Grace's Submarine Test, January 1967") and even poked-fun at himself ("Speak For Me"). Sing-alongs like "Born & Raised" and "Whiskey, Whiskey, Whiskey" are unforgettable as the lyrics become lodged into your memory.

Mayer had to cancel a recently planned tour due to the return of a "serious throat condition." Stay tuned to for the latest information on John Mayer and his new album "Born & Raised."

Friday, June 15, 2012

CD Review: Two New Albums Shine From Hard Rock's Underground

Progressive rocker The Reticent returns with a new album entitled “Le Temps Detruit Tout.” The Reticent is the mastermind of multi-instrumentalist Chris “Mordrid” Hathcock. After his break-through 2008 album, “Amor Mortem Mei Erit” Hathcock went on a two-year hiatus from music before entering the studio late 2010 to record his follow-up. The new album was released on May 29th through Heaven & Hell Records.

Hathcock has expanded his sound, stretching out his musical pieces by incorporating heavy rock riffs like in the eight-minute “Enemy” and then switching to an acoustic guitar for the heart-wrenching “Le Tenia.” His beauty in song-writing shines on the gentle “Lie To Me” and in the pounding drums of “Patience.” The album closes with the a cappella harmonizing of “With Folded Arms” and an eerie, haunting cover of R.E.M.’s song “Losing My Religion.”

The Reticent has a CD Release scheduled for June 30th in Charlotte, NC. For more information, please visit

From Chicago comes the debut album from one of hard rock’s newest trios, Athel. The new album entitled “Open Your Eyes To Society” was released on May 8 and combines the edginess of hard rock drums and guitars with pop-punk vocals.

The opening song “Radio” comes blazing out of the speakers with some great guitar riffs. Athel explodes with a “call to arms” on “These Are The Times” as it becomes the stadium anthem song of the album. Their pop-punk edginess comes shining through on “Their Shoes,” then they experiment with their sound a little to bring a more-heavy rock sound on “Wake Up, Sleepyhead.” The band goes a little too much “top 40” pop on “Oceans” before closing the album with the heavy bass/drum groove of “Heavy Things.”

The band is currently on tour through the end of June. For more information on Athel (live dates, song samples) check out

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Total Carnage Tour Is Heading Your Way

The Total Carnage Tour is gearing up to leave a path of destruction behind. The tour starts up in Chicago on June 16th and features headliner As They Sleep with supporting act Damien Deadson along with openers The Burial and Hope For The Dying. As They Sleep have not released a new album in over two years, but their last release "Dynasty" has enough power and aggression to hold you off until the band releases some new music.

Beginning with "Oracle Of The Dead," the album is 30-plus minutes of non-stop, adreniline-pumping drum beats and dark, evil vocals. The only break is a 90-second guitar instrumental, almost like an intermission, as you prepare for round two beginning with "The Offering." The album finishes with "The Unseen" which find the band hitting a more mainstream, death metal sound.

Damien Deadson is the heavy metal project of Ryan Helm (Demon Hunter, The Ascendicate). They released their debut album this past January entitled "A Warm and Dark Embrace." The album was recorded entirely by Helm in his home studio, "Helm's Deep." The album does a great job mixing death metal vocals with heavy guitar riffs as in "The Nothing." The songs "Power Soak" and "I Am Power" has a more aggressive sound, while Helm switches tempos in "Patterns of Progress." This album also contains a short instrumental to break up the album into two different sets. The album closes with the two part song "The Burning Sorrow," which begins as vengeful death metal song, but ends as mainstream rock anthem.

The Total Carnage Tour will be on the road through the end of July, including a stop June 25th in Hartford, CT. For more information, check out As They Sleep's facebook page at

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

CD Review: More Metal From Metal Blade Records Label

Death/doom metal is on the rise with new albums by Six Feet Under, The Cory Smoot Experiment and Electric Wizard. Metal Blade Records released Six Feet Under’s “Undead” and Electric Wizard’s “Witchcult Today” on May 22 and The Cory Smoot Experiment’s “When Worlds Collide” on June 5.

Six Feet Under are back with one of their most aggressive albums yet. New guitarist Rob Arnold is able to take some of the credit as his contributions on guitar and song-writing help put this album in the upper tier of new death metal albums. The band just unleashes on onslaught of sound from the beginning track “Frozen At the Moment of Death.” Many of the tracks are two- or three-minutes of hard-hitting drums and dark vocals as in “18 Days” and “Near Death Experience.” The band just tears through the twelve tracks closing with the tempo-changing attack of “The Depths of Depravity.”

Six Feet Under are currently on the road as part of their “18 Nights of Blood Tour” which finishes at the end of June. For a complete list of dates, check out

Also being released the same day is the doom metal cult band Electric Wizard’s 2007 album “Witchcult Today.” The album is being re-released with slightly altered cover art. It is the band’s most well-received album and the overall sound is less harsh than past albums by the band. Electric Wizard used vintage 1970s equipment to capture their dark, eerie music. Songs like “Dunwich” and “Satanic Rites of Drugula” reference horror movies of the same name while their tone is taken from the pages of Black Sabbath’s musical book. The eleven-minute epic “Black Magic Rituals & Perversions” is a journey to the dark side of the occult as you find yourself locked into the grungy guitars and pulsing bass groove.

Electric Wizard is currently going through line-up changes as they recently performed at Maryland’s “Deathfest.” It was the band’s first U.S. show on ten years. For more information, check out the band myspace page (

Cory Smoot was the guitarist for the heavy metal band GWAR. In 2010, Cory decided to create a hard-rockin' album on his own. His idea was that he would perform all the music himself and have some of his favorite metal singers perform the lyrics. Due to scheduling conflicts, Cory decided to record the vocals himself and name the project “The Cory Smoot Experiment.” He completed the project in the fall of 2011, just prior to his final tour with GWAR. Cory passed away while on that tour, now all the proceeds from the sales of this album go to the Smoot Family Fund to provide for Cory’s family.

Songs like the lead-off track, “The Blood Red” shows Cory’s talents for playing guitar as you can’t help but notice as the song revolves around those amazing guitar solos. While Smoot was never a singer, his vocals fit perfectly within the songs “Fortunate Sun” and “Brainfade.” The album is also filled with many great, mostly-instrumentals like “Rebirth” and “When Worlds Collide.” The album ends with his tribute to “The Goonies” movie with his funk-filled “Sloth Loves Chunk.” For more information on this album as the cause behind it, please visit

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

CD Review: Regina Spektor Gives Us A View From "The Cheap Seats"

Singer/songwriter Regina Spektor is riding a wave of success. She broke out with her 2006 album, "Begin to Hope" and then hit #3 on the Billboard Album chart with her 2009 album "Far." Now Spektor is releasing her long-awaited sixth album entitled "What We Saw From The Cheap Seats." The album was released on May 29 through Sire Records and debuted at #3 on the Billboard Album chart.

The new album begins with the gentle piano ballad of "Small Town Moon" as the tempo picks up with each new verse until the guitars come together at the chorus. Spektor samples the chorus of The Animals' "Please Don't Let Me Misunderstood" in her Italian-English collaboration, "Oh Marcello." The album's latest single, "Don't Leave Me" is an up-tempo, bubblegum-pop remake of "Ne me quitte pas" from her first album. Her beats and vocals are very infectious as in "Patron Saint" and on the album's first single "All The Rowboats." Spektor's song-writing talents shine on the story-telling of "How" and the piano-driven "Open." The album closes with the quick folk-ballad "Jessica."

Regina Spektor is beginning her tour in August with a handful of dates on the west coast. Check out for a complete list of tour dates, as well as information on the new album.

Monday, June 11, 2012

CD Review: The Dirty Heads Relax In Their "Cabin By The Sea"

Southern California rockers The Dirty Heads return with a brand-new album entitled “Cabin By The Sea.” This album follows the band’s breakthrough 2008 release “Any Port In A Storm” which established the band’s laid-back, reggae/rock sound. The new album was produced by Mario C. (Beastie Boys) and will be released on June 19 through Five Seven Music.

The acoustic “Intro” relaxes you as you drift into the band’s island/reggae title song “Cabin By The Sea.” The song is the perfect soundtrack to those mellow summer nights. The band adds a bit of hip-hop swagger into their vocals with “Disguise,” before heading into the 311-style of the album’s first single “Spread Too Thin.” The harmonizing on “Your Love” is like a drug that you can’t get enough of. The band’s hip-hop antics return in “Mongo Push” and in “Hipster” as the beats becomes so infectious that you can’t help but move. The Dirty Heads pack this album with over an hour’s worth of funky reggae beats that definitely needs to be part of your soundtrack this summer. The album closes with “Love Letters” that is an acoustic island jam the just eases your worries away.

The Dirty Heads will be heading out on the road in July traveling up the east coast before heading west in August and September. Please visit the band’s website ( for a complete list of tour dates and information.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

CD Review: "Everybody's Talkin" About The Tedeschi Trucks Band Live

After the success of their #1 Blues album, “Revelator” the Tedeschi Trucks Band hit the road, performing non-stop for almost an entire year. Now in 2012, we get a live album from the Tedeschi Trucks Band entitled “Everybody’s Talkin’.” The album was released on May 22 through Sony Masterworks and debuted at #25 on the Billboard Album chart.

The two disc set begins with the title-song, “Everybody’s Talkin’,” which is only one of two songs that fall below the eight-minute mark. The songs on the set are mixed between covers (“Rollin’ and Tumblin’”) and originals (“Bound For Glory) and all of them invite the band to jam with many songs exceeding the ten minute mark. While listening to these great musicians, you wish some of the songs would just keep going and never end, but many of Derek Trucks’ outstanding slide guitar solos begin soft and are sometimes hidden by the quietness of his performing. Almost as if he doesn’t want to steal the spotlight away from anybody.

The band fully comes together on a cover of Stevie Wonder’s “Uptight” and the rhythm section and the horns highlight the funk of Wonder’s original in a live setting. The 11-song set closes with the slow, gospel-blues of “Wade In The Water.” Not exactly what I would have expected them to end a live album with, but the song quietly brings this jam to a close.

Recordings for this album were taken from a set of shows performed in October 2011 in Toronto, ON, Washington, D.C. and Bridgeport, CT. The Tedeschi Trucks Band is currently on tour through the end of September. For more information on the new live album, “Everybody’s Talkin'” and for a complete list of tour dates, be sure to check out

Saturday, June 9, 2012

CD Review: Lostprophets Arm Themselves With "Weapons"

Welsh rockers, Lostprophets return with a brand new album entitled “Weapons.” This is the band’s first album on Epic Records, but it is their fifth album overall. The band hit #1 in the U.K. back in 2006 with their album “Liberation Transmission” and the new album debuted in the top 10 upon its release there back in April. The new album will not be released in the U.S. until June 19, but the first single off the album “Bring’em Down” is already making waves on alternative rock radio.

The band comes blazing out of the gate with the up-tempo rocker “Bring’em Down” that is sure to get the adrenaline pumping when it’s performed live this summer. Their powerful punk-pop sound continues with “We Bring An Arsenal” and “A Song From Where I Come From.” The band shows their edginess on “Better Off Dead,” before hitting more pop territory with “Heart On Loan.” The album closes with the slow burn of “Can’t Get Enough” and a hidden song called “Weapons.”

Lostprophets will be finishing the month of June over in Europe before joining the Vans Warped Tour in July. For more information on the new album and for a complete list of tour dates, check out

Friday, June 8, 2012

CD Review: Metal Music Breaks Through With I Will Break Thee and Grenouer

Last year saw the release of two independent metal albums that are beginning to gain attention from the hard rock/heavy metal community. From Orlando, FL comes heavy metal band, I Will Break Thee with their debut album "Welcome To My Kingdom." The album was originally released in 2011, but has caught the attention of many in the music industry. You instantly notice the variety of singing styles from vocalist Shane Bryant, from screaming to soft harmonies as displayed in "The Irony of Humanity." The duel guitar attack of Justin Lunsford and Rafiq Basaria gives the songs "Bloodguilt" and "Element" that extra punch that rattles your brain. Their aggression comes out full steam on "Hell To Pay," before finishing with the two part epic "The Suffering," which shows a more progressive side to the band.

I Will Break Thee currently has only on show scheduled for this evening in their hometown of Orlando. Be sure to check out for more information in this band as they begin to takeover the metal spotlight.


From Russia comes heavy metal band Grenouer with their latest release "Computer Crime." The album was also originally released back in 2011 through Copro Records (UK) and has been making its way to the U.S. The five song EP  features some of Grenouer's best songwriting including the heavy hitting "Rejected" and "Fix Your Life." The band slows down for "See No Sun," which finds Grenouer paying their own tribute to Black Sabbath's "Planet Caravan." Then finishes the album with the industrial power ballad "Golden Years."

Granour currently have not dates scheduled, but stay tuned to for more information.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

CD Review: Country Artists' Lee Brice & Hank Williams III Bring Us Some Old & New Tunes

Curb Records label recently released a couple of country albums that are sure to make their mark in the music industry. One album is from the classic country, honky-tonk sound of Hank Williams III (“Long Gone Daddy”) and the other album is from rising country-star Lee Brice (“Hard 2 Love”).

Hank Williams III, son of Hank Williams Jr. and grandson of country music legend Hank Williams, had a busy year last year releasing four new independent albums in September. In April of this year Curb Records released a compilation of covers and outtakes to create the new Hank Williams III album “Long Gone Daddy.” Williams’ honky-tonk singing-style shines on the covers “I’m Long Gone Daddy” and “Wreck of the Old ’97.” Some of the outtakes (“Sun Comes Up” and “What They Want Me To Be”) are from Williams’ first couple albums and displays a younger tone to his voice. The one track that stands-out is a collaboration between Williams and Joey Alcorn entitled “This Ain’t Montgomery” which appeared on Alcorn’s debut album.

The album debuted at #92 on the Billboard album chart and #16 on the Country album chart. Hank Williams III is currently on tour in Europe. For more information, check out

Next up is one of country music’s hottest rising stars, Lee Brice with his sophomore release “Hard 2 Love.” The album was released back in April and features the #1 country single “A Woman Like You.”

The album begins with the newest single off the album, the title song “Hard to Love” which has a nice, up-tempo swing to the overall sound. Brice’s vocals are perfect for the heartfelt ballad “A Woman Like You” and the country swing of “That’s When You Know It’s Over,” but he finally opens up with the rock of “Parking Lot Party.” Brice returns to the comfort of the feel-good ballad “I Drive Your Truck,” before rocking out to “Friends We Won’t Forget” and “Beer.” The album closes with the gentle, campfire prayer of “One More Day” as Brice pours his heart into his vocals.

Lee Brice is currently on tour promoting the new album, “Hard 2 Love.” For a complete list of dates, check out

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

CD Review: Fates Warning Pack Deluxe Edition Of "Inside Out"

Progressive metal band Fates Warning have been giving fans what they long for, expanded versions of almost every one of their albums. Beginning in 2002, Fates Warning has been digging through their vaults in order to give their vans everything they have including demos, live tracks and outtakes that were recorded for that specific album.

In June, Fates Warning will release a deluxe, expanded edition of their 1994 album "Inside Out" through Metal Blade Records. This album sold well upon its original release following the band's breakthrough album "Parallels." "Inside Out" still featured a commercial rock sound that also put more of a strain on band members as they disagreed on the direction the band was heading.

The first disc features the original album, remastered by its original producer Bill Metoyer. These songs have never sounded better as the vocals of Ray Alder in "Island in the Stream" really shine. Also the progressive rock of "Monument" and "Afterglow" show the excellent musicianship this band displayed back in 1994.

The second disc features five demos from the "Inside Out" album sessions, as you are able to hear some of the these songs in a rougher stage of development. The real treat is the five live songs taken from shows recorded around the time the album was originally released. You get great live versions of "The Eleventh Hour" and "Point Of View" which do not appear on the "Inside Out" album. The gem of this release is the demo for the song "Circles" which was left off the original album.

Also included in this set is a DVD featuring the band performing songs from the album live between 1993 and 2010. This release is a great treat for fans as they relive an earlier time in the band's history. For more information, check out

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

CD Review: The Kinected Become Part Of The "Evolution"

From Florida comes the debut album, “Evolution #9” from The Kinected. The album was released back in February through New Ocean Media and their music combines electronics of keyboards and synthesizers with a funk, pop-rock backbeat with smooth, catchy lyrics.

The album begins with “Hymnotize” which combines all the elements described above to create a modern pop music hit. Their music is geared for the dance floor just as much as it would appear on rock radio. The songs “Headgame” and “Money” rely heavily on keyboards and dance beats, while the band try to expand their sound on “Fly” and the Maroon 5 sounding “Feels Too Good.” The album closes with “Pressure” which carries a darker tone to the song with an industrial rock backdrop and “Victim of Circumstance,” which is the heaviest rocker on the album.

The band is currently touring around their home state with a shows at Palm Beach Gardens and Delray Beach. Tour dates are lined up through mid-July. For a complete list, please visit their website at

Monday, June 4, 2012

CD Review: The Villains Pick-Up "Velocity" On New Album

The Villains return once again to bring their brand of southern rock to the masses with the release of their sophomore album “Velocity.” The album was produced by Stan Lynch (former Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers drummer) and was released back in February on Toucan Cove Entertainment/Universal Republic. The album’s first two singles (“Rainy Day Girl” and “Cadillac”) are flying up the charts and the band will embark on a summer tour at the beginning of August.

The album begins with “Cadillac” are great honky-tonk rocker that shows a little edginess to The Villains sound. The album’s first single “Rainy Day Girl” brings together all the great elements that make an unforgettable hit song that just sticks in your mind. Their country-rock prowess shines through on “I’ve Got A Feeling” and “Bourdon Angel,” while the gentle, campfire sounds of “You’re The Only Right” and “Adelaine” display some amazing harmonies that are hard to resist. The album finishes with the bar band sounds of “Heartache, Whiskey, and Beer.”

The band’s tour begins in August, but there is one show scheduled at the end of June at The Rutledge in Nashville, TN. For a complete list of tour dates and more information on the band and their new album, check out

Sunday, June 3, 2012

CD Review: Scars on 45 Finally Release Long-Awaited Debut Album

English indie-rock band, Scars on 45 recently released their debut self-titled album. It entered the Billboard Heatseekers chart at #4 back in April upon its release. The band has been on tour with “The Voice” finalist Dia Frampton and with The Fray on there most recent tour. The band’s music has also been featured on the shows "Grey’s Anatomy" and "CSI: New York."

The album begins with the full-blown, pop-rock of “Warning Sign” and never looks back. The album is packed-full of pop lyrics and radio-friendly riffs. The album’s first single “Hearts On Fire” has a nice melodic backdrop for Danny Bemrose’s vocals. The band slows down to feature Aimee Driver’s vocals in “Change My Needs,” before returning to the airy, pop rock of “Burn The House Down.” The band excels with their performance of “Beauty’s Running Wild” as it becomes the high point of the album.

Scars on 45 are currently on tour in the U.S. through July before returning to the U.K. in August. For a complete list of tour dates and for more information on the new album, be sure to check out the band’s website at

DVD Review: "Chronicle" Ushers In A New Set Of Stars

New from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment is the release of “Chronicle” on Blu-ray and DVD. The movie comes from the young vision of director Josh Trank who became the youngest director at 27 years of age to top the North American box office with this movie.

The movie is filmed from a first-person prospective as is follows Seattle teenager Andrew Detmer during his life at school as an outcast and at home with his dying mother and alcoholic father. Detmer befriends his cousin Matt, who tries to get him socially involved with other students by attending a rave party. Once there, Andrew, Matt and popular student Steve happen upon a strange encounter out in the woods. That’s where the movie begins to take-on a more sci-fi approach to the story.

The CGI effects are done flawlessly as the movie becomes a cross between comic book superheroes and school-life documentary. The up-and-coming actors play their roles perfectly as you are never distracted with the star-studded cast. The only slightly disappointing thing is that the DVD version of the movie is only 80 minutes long, while the Blu-ray adds 12 more minutes.

The Blu-ray features a director’s cut of the film and uses some unseen footage that offers a more in-depth look at the story. Special features include one deleted scene, while the camera tests and pre-viz materials give you an interesting looking into the making of this movie.

"Chronicle" grossed over $64 million in the United States. It was released on Blu-ray and DVD on May 15 and is already generating a buzz as to a follow-up film.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

CD Review: Glee & Smash Soundtracks Rule The Charts

The Fox show “Glee” has become a musical enterprise, releasing over dozen soundtrack albums in three years. Their latest features the Season 3 finale entitled, “The Graduation Album.” Almost every song on the new release deals with the subject of closing out one chapter in your life and beginning another.

The thirteen song album features the cast of “Glee” covering many of today’s pop hits including songs from Jason Mraz and Beyonce. Their version of Fun’s “We Are Young” doesn't pack as much of a punch as the original, while Lady Gaga’s “Edge Of Glory” seems like the perfect selection. The cast also tackles some classic rock songs like Queen’s “We Are The Champions” and Alice Cooper’s “School’s Out,” to which they do a stellar job. They put their own spin on Bob Dylan’s “Forever Young” before finishing with an identical copy of Green Day’s “Good Riddance.”

This album was released on May 15 through Columbia Records and is sure to be the soundtrack to many graduations this spring. For more information, check out the “Glee” facebook page at

NBC’s newest hit show “Smash” recently released their first soundtrack for the show on Columbia Records. The 13 song album features performances from the cast members including Katharine McPhee (Karen) and Megan Hilty (Ivy Lynn).

Most of the music on this soundtrack is a cross between Broadway productions ("Stand") and modernized pop standards (“Haven’t Me You Yet"). Also included is the dance pop single “Touch Me” featuring McPhee on lead vocals. McPhee also takes on Christina Aguilera’s “Beautiful” with precise passion. The cast also performs period pieces like “The 20th Century Fox Mambo” and “History Is Made At Night” to give the show’s music more meaning and depth beyond the pop music of today.

So, while we wait for next season of “Smash” to come, we can relive the episodes with the soundtrack that captures the show’s meaning so well. For more information, please visit

Friday, June 1, 2012

CD Review: "Lovers" Reaches New Heights For The Royalty

Texas rock band, The Royalty return with their Victory Records debut album entitled “Lovers.”  The new album was released back on May 8th and had received some raving reviews. The new album carries a very retro sound to the late-sixties, early seventies, combining garage rock with soul to create a wonderful rocking sound with amazing vocals supplied by Nicole Boudreau.

The album leads off with the rock-shuffle of “Bartender.” The song “How I Like ‘Em” has Nicole flexing her pipes sounding a little like Adele with an attitude. The funk beats that the band pump into the songs “Other Boys” and “Every Little Bit” gives a retro feeling to the song’s overall modern sound. The Royalty performs to today’s radio standards on “I Want You” and “Bottle Breaker,” but also show some punk rebellion on “Mr. Hyde.” The band slow down the tempo for the floating, angelic sounds of “Witchcraft,” before finishing with the funky soul of “Saint Bowie” and the piano ballad “Won’t Be Long.”

The Royalty has some scattered live dates on the west coast throughout the summer. Check out the band’s website ( for a complete list of tour dates and more information on the new album, “Lovers.”