Tuesday, July 31, 2012

CD Review: Independent Artists Create Some Amazing Music

Indie artists Killer Miller, Sir O and MiXE1 are all self-motivating musicians that utilized their talents to create some interesting and exceptional songs. Killer Miller (Kevin Miller) released a 13-song album that uses simple programed beats along with acoustic guitar and pop vocals. His songs like "Stupid/Maizy" and "Jed" are just relaxing pieces of music that allow your mind to drift. His music also carries an Americana vibe as in the songs "Totem Pole" and "Poker Face Eyes." Killer Miller truly carries the flag for underground, independent music. For more information on Killer Miller, please visit myspace.com/millermusics.

Singer/songwriter Sir. O has a more professional approach to his debut album "Forever Plus A Day." As the album opens with the song "Stay" you find comfort in his delivery of the lyrics and the smooth flow of the music. The songs "Fighting" and "Please Stop Talking" show the alternative rock side of Sir. O, while his vocals are better suited for the acoustic rock of "Comeback." He expands into the realm of Pop music with "Lost" and "Someone You're Thinking Of," before finishing the album with the up-tempo "Glimmer of Hope." Sir. O is currently seeking out a record label to promote his music. For more information on Sir. O, please visit facebook.com/Sir.omusic.

Electronic artist MiXE1 has all the makings of a club/techno artist. His latest 4-song EP, "Module 2" has a very complete, polished sound that belongs in most DJ's libraries. His beats are contagious as in "This Is Not Goodbye," while the vocals mix pop and metal to create some original compositions. He takes a more mainstream pop approach on "Do You Know" which should attract more fans to his music. For more information on MiXE1, please visit facebook.com/mixe1.

Monday, July 30, 2012

CD Review: Singer/Songwriters David Bronson And Makenzie Caine Have New Music For Us

Singer/songwriter David Bronson released a double album in 2011 entitled “The Long Lost Story.” Earlier this year David released the second half of his double album titled it simply “Story.” Later this year, he will release the first half of his double album and call it “The Long Lost.” The music and lyrics on “Story” are tales within themselves without the need of the overall theme.

David begins with the modern rocker “The Turns” which set up the listener for a journey that continues through the rest of the album. His band is up to challenge as he rocks out with screeching guitars on “Times,” then switches gears to the folk-rock of “Easier.” David and his band add some post-punk sounds to the album with “The Ones,” before continuing with the pop-rock of “Momentary,” which features some great guitar work. The album closes with the seven-minute epic of “Unending (Underture)” as David and the band show a maturity to their performance.

Please visit davidbronsonmusic.com for more information on the album, as well as a look at his official video for the single “Times.”

Another rising singer/songwriter Makenzie Caine recently released her debut album, “Take This Town.” Her voice ranges from the softness of Tori Amos to the pop/rock of Alanis Morrisette. The new album begins with the title song as you are introduced to Makenzie’s innocence as her vocals try to rock, but find more of home in the acoustic country sound of “Young Marine.” She perfectly executes the feeling of frailty in “Pretty In Red” as the song centers around the story of a woman trying to find herself before its too late. The gentle folk acoustics of “Sweet Baby” fit Makenzie’s voice perfectly as you get wrapped up in her vocals. The album finishes up with a dance beat mix of Cat Stevens’ “Moodshadow.” I almost wish she made an attempt of a more accurate rendition of this classic song.

For more information on this new artists, please visit makenzinecaine.com.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

CD Review: Connecticut's Own Manners Combines EPs For New Album

Connecticut hardcore metal band Manners just released their new full-length album, “Apparitions/Escapism” through MorseCode Recordings. The album combines the groups earlier EPs (2010’s Escapism & 2011’s Apparitions) along with two newly written songs.

The album begins with the hardcore screams of “Premonitions” and “Apparitions.” The first seven songs have a harder edge to them than the rest of the album. The power, speed and energy of their music just blows through you with the songs “Hallows” and “Stigmata.” Then you hear the re-recorded version of the songs from their first EP. While songs like “Orbiter” and “Exodus” still have the screaming vocals, the music has more tempo changes that keep the songs from all sounding alike. The album’s first single, “Homecoming” definitely has the right amount of vocals and instrumentation to catch on. The only thing is that the song is only two-and-a-half minutes long. I only wish one of the best sounding songs on the album was just a little longer. The final two songs on the album are newly recorded and appear here for the first time. The song “Widow Maker” and “Shrouds” show flashes of their early hardcore roots with a more mature sound.

Manners will be performing at the Franco American club in Wilimantic, CT on August 4, for more information, check out mannersct.tumblr.com.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

CD Review: This Is She Is "OK' With Debut EP

Indie rockers, This Is She recently released their debut EP entitled “Nobody Is OK.” The six-song album combines the hard rock vocals of Evanescence with dance, pop, club beats in order to try and make an industrial rock sound that can be played on “Top 40” radio.

Lead Singer Alana Grace flexes her vocals on the lead track “Grow Up,” as the song sounds more pop than rock. The song “Ghost” is the must-hear song from this EP as the chorus is so addictive that you find yourself singing it after only a couple listens. The club beats come flying out on “Disobey” as Grace’s vocals sound more and more like Ke$ha. The band mixes in a more industrial rock sound on the title song, “Nobody Is Ok,” before finishing the album with the electronic dance beats of “Brace Myself.”

This Is She has a couple of shows lined up in California supporting Cobra Starship. Check out the band’s facebook page (facebook.com/thisisshemusic.com) for more information.

Friday, July 27, 2012

CD Review: Midnight Social Are "Heading South" On Debut LP

The duo of Jeremy Burchard and Jennica Scott are better known as the band Midnight Social and they just released their debut album, “Heading South.” Jennica Scott has a very mature sounding voice, while Burchard’s guitar playing adds that little extra to make the songs stand out, but their voices mesh so well together giving the alt-country album a little rock edge.

The album stars off with the title track as you instantly notice their great country sound with some very well-traveled lyrics. The combination of the two shine on “Hey Lonely” as they each perform their parts perfectly. Jeremy finally gets to rock on “The Finer Things In Life” as his guitar solo is nothing short of spectacular. Scott’s vocals in the ballad “Burning Bridges” is so strong and pure that you instantly feel the passion in her performance. They harmonize so well on the mellow, backwoods country sound of “Slow Release,” while Jennica shows us edginess to her vocal delivery in “Weight Off My Shoulders.” The album closes with the laid-back country-rock vibe of “So Long (San Antonio).”

Moonlight Social have shows scheduled this evening at Dean’s On Main in Houston, TX and tomorrow night at Jack’s Patio bar in San Antonio, TX. For more information, please visit moonlightsocialmusic.com.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

CD Review: Penny Jo Pullus Shows The Way "Through The Glass"

Singer/songwriter Penny Jo Pullus was working on some new material for her fifth album. She also decided to record some cover songs for the new album. Her and her band sounded so good and had so much fun recording that they decided to record the songs for her new album and also include only a few new originals. Her new album entitled “Through The Glass” contains eight cover songs ranging from Emmylou Harris to the Rolling Stones.

The album begins with an all too safe version of Brian Setzer’s “The Knife Feels Like Justice.” Her voice sounds great, but doesn’t match the song’s gritty subject. Her country roots coming shining on one of the original tunes, “Nowhere To Go.” With the help of great musicians like Will Sexton, Ian McLagan and John Bush to name a few, Penny Jo is able to concentrate more on her vocals as she delivers country versions of The Beatles’ “Every Little Thing” and Dusty Springfield’s “Son Of A Preacher Man.” The album closes with a “spot on” rendition of the Rolling’s Stones’ “Dead Flowers.”

Penny Jo Pullus has a show scheduled July 28 at the Bell Springs Winery in Texas. Her new album, “Through The Glass” is available now. For more information, please visit pennyjopullus.com.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

CD Review: Hammers Of Misfortune Tour Hits "17th Street"

Progressive metal band, Hammers of Misfortune are currently on a short 10-date tour which is wrapping up this weekend with a show at the Grog Shop in Cleveland, OH. The band is promoting their latest release entitled "17th Street" which was released back in October of 2011 through Metal Blade Records. 

The album combines their love of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal with classic eighties thrash metal as displayed in the title song, "17th Street." They provide a big, mainstream metal sound with a sing out loud chorus displayed on "The Grain" and show-off their blazing guitars on "Staring (The 31st Floor)." The band picks up the tempo on the welcoming, fast-pace of "Romance Valley," before continuing with the power ballad "Summer Tears." The album closes with the ten-minute epic "Going Somewhere."

Supporting Hammer of Misfortune on this tour is doom metal band, The Gates of Slumber. Their latest release, "The Wretch" is the trio's most complete work to date. The chugging bass and pounding drums of the opener, "Bastards Born" sets you up for the rest of the album. The jungle-type beat of "The Scourge Ov Drunkenness" and the mystical sounding "Castle Of The Devil" show more diversity within their songwriting for this latest album. 

The tour hits Cambridge, MA tonight before heading north for two shows in Canada. Please visit hammersofmisfortune.com for more information on the tour and updates on the band.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

CD Review: New Teaser EPs From The Elwood James Band And Howe

From Philadelphia comes The Elwood James Band with their debut EP. These five songs have a very retro sound. The keyboard solo on the opening track, “Rain” gives the song a sixties rock vibe, while the big drums and guitar riffs make “Nobody Rolls” sounds like classic rock from the seventies. The band draws some similarities to Styx on “Love At All,” before finishing with the keyboard driven “Kinda Lost.”

The band’s new album is available now through iTunes (http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/the-elwood-james-band-ep/id447799605) and they have a show scheduled for August 3rd in Doylestown, PA. For more information, please visit elwoodjamesband.com.

From across the pond in Britain comes the band Howe with a new 3-song EP entitled “Bolt From The Blue.” The title-track starts out live a Velvet Underground song then builds up to a hard rock groove as the band shouts out the chorus. The band’s upbeat pop sound on “It’s Not Such A Surprise,” is indeed a surprise as they go the way of Oasis instead of an edgier sound as the opening song lead up to. The EP closes with the great guitar riffs of “Lost Generation.”

Howe has two shows lined up in August. Please visit wearehowe.com for more information.

Monday, July 23, 2012

CD Review: New Releases From East Coast's Underground Music Scene

From New York City comes Rayvon Browne with their psychedelic mix of jazz and folk. Their new album entitled “Companion” was released in May and features “ukulele virtuoso” Morgan Heringer and singer Cal Folger Day along with Joel Kruzic on bass.

The eight-song album begins with the acoustic sounds of “Havin A Boyfriend” as Cal Folger Day rolls through her vocals, keeping the song interesting. The song “Cocktease” almost flies off the rails during the chorus. The music swirls around your head as you try to grasp a hold of the vocals. The band lightens up for the gentle floating sound of “Cat On Chest,” before giving in to their folk-side on “Queen.” Cal Folger Day’s vocals sound a little like Etta James on “Cocktail” as the album finishes with the ukulele driven “The Ghost of Rick Danko.”

For more information on this new band out of New York, please visit their facebook page (facebook.com/rayvonbrowne).

From across the river in New Jersey, the band Elevator Art plugs in their instruments to rock on their latest EP “Tent City.” The album’s title song features some great guitar chords and a chugging backbeat, complete with a harmonica solo. This six-piece band dives deep into their rock roots with the song, “Homicidal Desert” as they lock into a guitar-driven blues groove. The combination of the male and female vocals on “Killing Time” gives the song a Fleetwood Mac sound with a harder edge. The album closes with the new single “Lesbian Father.” The six-minute song is the most pop-rock sounding song on this new EP.

To find out more about this rising band, please visit elevatorartmusic.com.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

CD Review: Sara Jackson-Holman Shows Us The Study Of "Cardiology"

Singer/songwriter/pianist Sara Jackson-Holman is ready to release her sophomore album “Cardiology” on July 24. According to Jackson-Holman this is a very personal record about the study of her own heart during her times of “love and loss.” Sara’s singing and piano gets fleshed out by a strong supporting cast from the Northwest along with producers Keith Schreiner (Auditory, Sculpture) and Skyler Norwood (Blind Pilot, Horse Feathers).

The album begins with the gentle chords of “Cartography.” At times, Sara Jackson-Holman’s voice draws similarities to Norah Jones as in “For Albert” and “Empty Arms.” She gets her dance groove on for the revenge driven “Break My Heart,” her voice and music is better suited for the ballads “Oh My Honey” and “Come By Fire.” These songs really allow her voice to become the main focus of the songs. The album closes with the title song, “Cardiology” as Sara expresses her feelings through these meaningful lyrics.

Sara Jackson-Holman has about half-a-dozen shows scattered over the next few months. Please visit her website (sarajacksonholman.com) for more information on the new album and for a complete list of her tour dates.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

CD Review: Kimbra Sticks To Her "Vows"

New Zealand singer/songwriter Kimbra bursts onto the music scene with her debut album, “Vows” which hit #14 on the Billboard Album chart upon its release in May. She first hit the charts back in 2011 with the single “Somebody That I Used To Know” which hit #1 on the singles chart.

The album begins with “Settle Down” which was originally released as a single in 2010 and peaked at #37 in her home country of New Zealand. The song uses minimal instrumentation, in order to focus on her vocals which have a jazzy, pop vibe to them, especially in “Something In The Way You Are.” The album’s second single; “Cameo Lover” has a more dance floor beat, while “Good Intent” has a jazz backdrop to enhance Kimbra’s sultry vocals. The dance beats are in full effect on “Come Into My Head” and “Posse,” before she shows off her harmonizing on “Home.” The album closes with the piano ballad “The Build Up,” then adds the bonus dance track “Warrior,” which hit #22 on the New Zealand single chart.

Kimbra is currently on tour all over the U.S. including a stop at the Austin City Limits Festival in October. Check out kimramusic.com for a complete list of tour dates and more information on the new album, “Vows.”

Friday, July 20, 2012

CD Review: Scum Of The Earth Releases "The Devil" In August

Former Rob Zombie guitarist, Mike Riggs started his new band Scum Of The Earth in 2003 and released their much anticipated debut album “Blah…Blah…Blah…Love Songs For The New Millennium” in 2004. Their follow up album “Sleaze Freak” received rave reviews and was heard all throughout the video game community, while a number of songs off the album also found their way onto movie and TV soundtracks.

Now, after a five-year hiatus, Scum Of The Earth returns with “The Devil Made Me Do It” due August 28 on Goomba Music. Riggs, along with bassist Brandon Workman and new comers Eddie Travis and Nick Mason, have taken what they learned from Rob Zombie and added their own experiences to create this attention-grabbing, industrial rock sound.

The new album begins with the crash of keyboard and guitars, surrounded by a pulsating beat on “Born Again Masochist” as Riggs' vocals sound more and more like Rob Zombie’s. The club type beats gets overshadowed by the scream of guitars and the shout out loud chorus of “Zombies vs. Skeletons.” The album’s first single, “The Devil Made Me Do It 3” sounds like it’s up for a remix as metal music and club beats combine to make an up-tempo, head-banging song that you can also dance to. The band slows down the assault on “Sounds Of The Dead,” but quickly returns to the electronic beats of “Pray.” The album closes with the clash of fuzzed out guitars and squealing keyboards on the mostly instrumental, “Funeral March.”

Stay tuned to the Scum Of The Earth’s facebook page (facebook.com/scumoftheearth) for the announcement of the 2012 Zombie Apocalypse Tour coming soon.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

CD Review: Saving Abel Bring Down "The Giant," While The Contortionist Becomes "Intrinsic"

American rockers Saving Abel recently released their third album entitled “Bringing Down The Giant.” All of the band’s former albums reached the Top 50 on the Billboard Album chart and were also Top 5 on the Billboard Rock chart.

Saving Abel come out blazing with the title song as they show the edgier side to their music with loud guitar chords and pounding drums. They take a more mainstream rock approach in the songs “Amazing” and “Picture of Elvis” and even attempt to place you in the backwoods of of country in “You Make Me Sick.” Their hard rock sound returns in “New Loser” and “Me And You," while the album closes with the feel-good, pop rock of “Constantly.”

Saving Abel is currently on tour through the end of August, hitting states all over the U.S. For more information on the new album “Bringing Down The Giant” and for a complete list of live dates, please visit savingabel.com.

Progressive metal band, The Contortionist has released their second full-length album “Intrinsic” through Good Fight Music. The album follows their 2010 release “Exoplanet,” which laid the ground work for what was to come.

The six-plus minute opener, “Holomovement” has everything, from hardcore metal vocals to a Rush-like song structure. They follow that with aggressive beginning of “Feedback Loop” which then leads into an expanding keyboard solo before returning again to the aggressive drumming and guitars. Their songs are all structured similar with that “take hold” beginning, before their music finally reaches out to grab your attention.  One of the exceptions is “Anatomy Anomalies” with its rising volume, as it peaks and then retreats back to a soft, gentle keyboard. The album closes with “Parallel Trance” as you find your mind floating along in a transcendental state.

The Contortionist is headlining a tour with Jeff Loomis. They will be on the road for about a month making their way across the U.S. For more information, check out goodfightmusic.com/artists/thecontortionist.php.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

CD Review: The Damn Choir Are On "Fire" With New Album

Originally from Chicago, The Damn Choir started out in 2009 with their debut album “Faithful Fools.” Now after three years of song writing and touring the band recently released their sophomore album, “You’re My Secret Called Fire.” They celebrated the release of the new album with a sold-out show at The Hideout in Chicago.
The new album begins with “Road” as you instantly notice the chemistry between the musicians as Gordon Robertson’s vocals as times draws similarities to Ray Lamontagne as in “Stars On A String.” The band’s Americana sound is a great representation of the latest folk revival in music. Robertson’s song-writing comes shining through on the first-person, situational story of “Noah.” There is some great harmonizing in “Spit,” before the album closes with the gentle sounds of “Grace” and the amazing story-telling tale of “Ghost.”
The Damn Choir has two shows scheduled in the Chicago area. Please visit thedamnchoir.com for more information on this great new Americana/Folk band.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

CD Review: New EPs From Beware Of Darkness And The Horror Vacui

New musical trio, Beware Of Darkness recently released their debut EP entitled “Howl.” The fifteen minute, 4-song album features a rawness that is missing from a lot of today’s rock music. The title-song is a cross between The White Stripes and The Black Keys with elements of early Led Zeppelin blues riffs. The song “Ghost Town” sounds like a Goth-rock anthem infused with the blues, while “Culture Bomb” has elements of punk rawness. The EP closes with the deep, dark groove of “Holy Men” which brings up references to grunge legends Nirvana.
Beware Of Darkness have a show scheduled at the Aftershock Festival with Stone Temple Pilots, The Deftones and Rush. For more information on this rising band, check out bewareofdarknessmusic.com.
From Nashville, TN comes The Horror Vacui with a new EP entitled “Scissor Crystal Eyes.” The band has been receiving lots of airplay in their home state, but they are now looking to branch out into other markets. The sound on the new album begins with the garage rocker “Futile Arrangements.” At times their sound is similar to the alternative jamband powerhouse My Morning Jacket as in “All In My Mind” and “Time To Die.” The EP finishes with “Ink Spills” which builds with intensity through to its jamming finish.
The Horror Vacui currently has no dates scheduled, but be sure to visit thehorrorvacui.com for upcoming live dates and song samples from the new album.

Monday, July 16, 2012

CD Review: Metal Blade Records Releases New Albums From "Witch" Bands

Heavy Metal music label, Metal Blade Records recently released new albums that are sure to become favorites in the doom metal community. Some of these albums were originally released through Rise Above Records in Europe and have been re-released in July through Metal Blade Records.

First up is the doom metal trio, Witchsorrow with their new album entitled “God Curse Us.” The new release accomplishes their task of bringing the dark sounds of Black Sabbath into the 21st century. The lead track, “Aurora Atra” sludges along until the last two minutes where the band picks up the tempo. Their dark sound returns in the title track, as you are subjected to eight-minutes of evilness that comes bleeding through your speakers. With many of the songs exceeding the nine minute mark, two of the shorter songs stand out. The two-minute instrumental “Ab Antiquo” with its deep, slow bass and the occasional drums gives off an eeriness when hearing it at a high volume. This song should have been at the beginning of the album in order to set you up for what was to come. The only other short song, “Breaking The Lore” is a more mainstream metal sounding song, which could attract others to their style of metal music.

Witchsorrow have four shows scheduled over in the UK, including an appearance at Bloodstock Open Air 2012. Be sure to visit metalblade.com/witchsorrow for more information.

Another doom metal band, Witchcraft are working on their new album, but it’s the band’s 2005 sophomore album, “Firewood” and their 2007 album “The Alchemist,” which is gathering attention. The band’s 70’s dark sound is reflected in the songs “Chylde Of Fire” and “If Wishes Were Horses” from their “Firewood” album. Their mystical songs about a fantasy world comes through on “Mr. Haze” and “I See A Man,” as they carry a latter-day Black Sabbath vibe.

Witchcraft carried their classic sound to their next album “The Alchemist.” The sound of the opening song, “Walk Between The Lines” isn’t very heavy by today’s standards, but has the unique metal sound from the 70’s. The band finds a great groove with “Leva,” before finishing the album with the 14-minute epic “The Alchemist.” For more information on these new re-releases from Witchcraft, please visit metalblade.com/witchcraft.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

CD Review: The Flaming Lips Invite A Few "Fwends"

Alternative rock band, The Flaming Lips will be celebrating 30 years next year as a band. They have been in the music news recently breaking Jay-Z’s record for performing the most live concerts in 24 hours. Also, beginning in 2011, the band decided to release one new song a month, which including the “6 Hour Song” released in August and the 24-hour song entitled “7 Skies H3” released in October.

In June of this year, The Flaming Lips released their latest full-length album entitled “The Flaming Lips and Heady Fwends.” It features 13 songs with the band collaborating with special guests like Yoko Ono, Bon Iver, Kesha and more. Each song takes on a life of its own as the guest performer adds their talents to the music of The Flaming Lips.

The album begins with the club beats of “2012 (You Must Be Upgraded),” which features Kesha on lead vocals. With The Flaming Lips, you never know what to expect as they simplify their sound for the Bon Iver fronted “Ashes In The Air.” One of the better collaborations is “Helping The Retarded To Know God,” which includes Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros. Both bands expanded their pallets in order to create a great musical piece. My Morning Jacket’s Jim James is almost unrecognizable in the song “That Ain’t My Trip,” while The Flaming Lips surrounded Nick Cave with a wall of music in “You Man? Human??” The song “Do It,” which features Yoko Ono sounds like what John Lennon may have attempted with Ono if he was still with us today. The album closes with the spaced out sound of “Girl, You’re So Weird” and the storytelling of “Tasered and Maced” which features Aaron Behrens of Ghostland Observatory.

After completing 8 shows in 24 hours, The Flaming Lips are heading to Europe for a set of shows. They will be returning to the U.S. at the end of August performing at some festivals during that time. For a complete list of dates and up to date news on the band, please visit flaminglips.com.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

CD Review: Linkin Park Gathers Around All "Living Things"

Linkin Park were late-comers to the nu metal scene, but since their introduction to the musical genre, they became the torch bearers. Their mix of pounding beats, screaming vocals and the occasional hip-hop scratching has become the blueprint for many of today’s rising metal bands. They add a sort of energy to their songs that isn’t always easy to do, but Linkin Park continue this feat on a regular basis.

The band has had three consecutive albums debut at the number one spot on the Billboard Album chart and their latest album; “Living Things” continued that trend. The new album was released on June 20 and debuted at that number one spot on the Billboard Album chart. The new album was co-produced by Rick Rubin and singer Mike Shinoda, as were the last three Linkin Park albums.

The album leads off with “Lost In The Echo” which is a keyboard driven song with pounding dance beats and hip-hop rolling lyrics, but it does include their signature scream to give the song a more metal feeling. The album’s first single “Burn It Down” contains that energetic, sing-along chorus with more rapping lyrics. The big beats and metal vocals of “Lies Greed Misery” are the perfect example of how Linkin Park has mastered the nu metal sound. The band experiments on the song “Castle Of Glass,” including some great harmonizing between singers Mike Shinoda and Chester Bennington. The band comes roaring back with the heavy metal sound of “Victimized,” before slowing things down for the big, epic sounding “Roads Untraveled.” The album closes with the electronic sounds of “Powerless.”

Linkin Park will begin their tour in August as part of the Honda Civic Tour. They will be performing on August 12 at the Mohegan Sun arena with Mutemath before heading out on the road with Incubus. For more information on the new album and for a complete list of tour dates, check out linkinpark.com.

Friday, July 13, 2012

CD Review: Evans Blue Walk Through The "Graveyard Of Empires"

Hard rockers Evans Blue recently released their fourth album entitled "Graveyard of Empires." According to the band, this is their most collaborative effort to date. With a combined total of one million records sold, Evans Blue are ready to conquer the airwaves as the album's first single "This Time It's Different" is a Top 30 hit on SiriusXM Octane radio

The new album's edgier sound is heard through the crunching guitars of "Crawl Inside" and the bashing of drums on "Thank You." The band's mainstream hard rock sound is perfectly executed on "Beyond The Stars," while guitars blaze the way on "Alone Not Lonely." The album takes on a darker tone with "Live To Die" and the piano-driven ballad "Warrior," then finishes with the passionate screams of "Halo."

Evans Blue heading out on their North American Graveyard of Empires 2012 Tour, beginning in Michigan before heading east in mid-July. For more information on the new album and for a complete list of tour dates, be sure to visit the band's facebook page (facebook.com/evansblue).

Thursday, July 12, 2012

CD Review: Indie Rockers Make Some New Noise

From South Wales comes alternative/punk band The Calling Card with a new album entitled “Everything You’re Not.” The album begins with the punk fury of “The New Kings Of This Town” as their sound get more polished as the album progresses. The album’s lead single “Let’s Stay Young” carries a punk rawness with a pop anthem that keeps you singing the along to the chorus, while the band shows their aggressive side on “Camden Queen.” The band slows down for “Why So Serious?” which is not the band’s strong point as they get back to what they’re at with the heavy drumming and blazing guitars of “Everybody Gets One.” The album closes with the great alternative rocker “I Always Lose.”

For more information on The Calling Card and their new album“Everything You’re Not, please visit their facebook page (facebook.com/thecallingcard).

The indie, prog-rock band Coeus The Boxing Titan recently released their sophomore album entitled "Insomniatic Myth." This album takes on a more electronic, industrial sound than that of it predecessor. If you let this music take you on its journey, you may find discover new soundscapes through these many layers of music.

The journey begins with "A Giant Leap" which brings dance-hall beats together with rock 'n roll edginess. The "Bright Side" takes on a more Nine Inch Nails, industrial rock sound, while "It Begins In Confusion" brings in a hip-hop backbeat highlighted by screeching guitars. The music blasts you back in your seat, until the jazzy sounds of "Annie." The most interesting song on the new album is "For Immortality," which utilizes the piano interlude against spoken-word lyrics in order to make them sound darker. The album closes with experimental beats of "The Projectionist" which ends the album on a hight note.

For more information on Coeus The Boxing Titan, please check out their website at coeustheboxingtitan.com.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

CD Review: Victory Records To Unleash More Metal

The doctor is in! Heavy Metal band, Dr. Acula returns with a new album entitled “Nation.” It is the band’s second release on the Victory Records label and the album is sure to continue the band’s rise to the top of the deathcore metal community.

The band is known for its use of soundclips as the new album begins with “Be Careful What You Wish For," which leads you into the heavy hardcore thrash attack of “Heavy Handed.” The duel vocal attack of Tyler Guida and Casey Carrano gives the song an added dimension with a bit of hip-hop flavor. The band finds a great metal groove on “Keep On Running In Place,” then continues blasting away your eardrums in “Ironic Enclosure.” They expand their sound with “Robot People From Hell,” before returning to the hardcore sound of “Areola 51.” The album closes with the Marilyn Manson sounding “Thinner.”

Dr. Acula is currently on a tour of the U.S. which will continue into August. Check out the band’s facebook page (facebook.com/Dr.AculaBAND) for a complete list of shows. 

From Charlotte, NC comes the hardcore metal band A Hero A Fake with their new album "The Future Again." The album was recorded by Jamie King (Between The Buried and Me, Wretched) and will be released on July 17 through Victory Records.

The drums on the opening song "Mechanical Heart" hits you hard as A Hero A Fake gives off a "take no prisoners" attitude on this new release. The aggressive vocal attack  and tempo changes on "Port Hole" shows how much their "song-writing has grown since their last album, "Let Oceans Lie." The band's modern hardcore metal sound is heard (and felt) in the song "The Constant" as they mix-up tempos. They blast through the thrash-metal sounding "Wasted Miles" before ending the album with "Princess Of The Sun" as the band pulls out all the stops on this adrenaline pumping closer.

A Hero A Fake have one show scheduled at the moment, a CD Release show at the Tremont Music Hall in Charlotte. Their video for "Dead And Done" premiered on  July 5th. For more information, please visit victoryrecords.com/aheroafake.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Concert Review: The Scorpions Final Sting At Mohegan Sun

The Mohegan Sun arena played host last Monday night to a couple of 1980's rock giants, Tesla and the Scorpions. Both bands saw multi-million album success in the mid- to late-eighties, Telsa with the songs "Love Song" and "Signs" and the Scorpions with "Rock You Like A Hurricane" and "Wind Of Change." While Tesla's history dates back to 1986, the Scorpions date back even further with their 1972 debut album "Lonesome Crow."

Now 40 years later, the Scorpions are calling it quits (as far as touring goes). They are on the verge of completing their 2-year world tour, which will be their last, but the band is already planning their next studio album to be recorded and released next year.

As the lights went out, Tesla's duel guitar attack of Frank Hannon and Dave Rude made sure everyone paid attention as the band dove into "Comin' Atcha Live." Lead singer Jeff Keith played to the crowd on both sides of the stage as he roamed back and forth, acting out the lyrics to songs like "Edison's Medicine" and "Hang Tough." The heavy rock interlude at the end of "Mama's Fool" led into the sing-along of "Signs." Hannon and Rude took center stage with their acoustic guitars for the introduction to "Love Song" as the crowd helped Keith sing the song's chorus. Their hour-long set finished with the 1986 classic "Modern Day Cowboy" and the up-tempo rocker "Little Suzi."

With the audience pumped and ready to rock, the Scorpions did not disappoint, beginning with "Sting In The Tail" and "Make It Real." The catwalk, which extended into the first twelve rows of seats on the floor, became common ground for guitarists Rudolf Schenker and Matthias Jabs. Lead singer Klaus Meine was all smiles as he began throwing out drumsticks during "The Zoo" before strapping on a guitar of his own for the instrumental "Coast To Coast." Audience participation was in order as they sang along to "Wind Of Change" and the acoustic "Holiday." Drummer James Kottack got the crowd rocking for "Tease Me Please Me" and "Hit Between The Eyes," before entertaining the audience with his drum solo featuring a video history of the Scorpions on the three giant screens behind him. The 90-plus minute main set ended with fans shouting the chorus to "Big CIty Nights" as the band thanked everyone and exited the stage for a brief moment.

The Scorpions returned for the encore, beginning with the power ballad "Still Loving You." They concluded the evening with guitars blazing for  "No One Like You" and their huge 1984 hit "Rock You Like A Hurricane." While this may be the Scorpions' Final Sting Tour, they are still performing at the top of their game showing all other bands how it's done.

Tesla's Setlist: Comin' Atcha Live, Edison's Medicine, Hang Tough, Heaven's Trail (No Way Out), Mama's Fool, Signs, Love Song, Modern Day Cowboy, Little Suzi

The Scorpions' Setlist: Sting In The Tail, Make It Real, Is There Anybody There?, The Zoo, Coast To Coast, Loving You Sunday Morning, Rhythm Of Love, Wind Of Change, Holiday, Raised On Rock, Tease Me Please Me, Hit Between The Eyes, Kottack Attack (drum solo), Blackout, Six String Sting (guitar solo), Big City Nights
Encore: Still Loving You, No One Like You, Rock You Like A Hurricane

Monday, July 9, 2012

CD Review: Hellyeah "Band" Together For The Perfect Metal Album

Heavy metal supergroup, Hellyeah are preparing to release their third studio album entitled “Band of Brothers.” The album will be available on July 17 through Eleven Seven Records and was produced by Jeremy Parker (Godsmack, Evanessence). While the band’s first two albums crossed metal with country rock, this new release is 100% metal, which is what fans have been waiting for Hellyeah. This album has the perfect balance of Pantera, Mudvayne, Damageplan and Nothingface.

The album hits you right in the face with the aggressive opener “War In Me.” The renewed energy in this band is felt in the party anthem “Drink, Drank, Drunk” and “Call It” as Vinnie Paul’s drumming is just mind blowing. The dark overtone of the title track, “Band of Brothers,” is executed perfectly with the vocals of Chad Gray and duel guitar attack of Greg Tribbett and Tom Maxwell. Bob Zilla’s bass groove in ”Bigger God” just motors the song, while “WM Free” is exactly what we have come to expect from this talented band.

Hellyeah are currently on the road promoting the new album with shows out west. They have a few shows scheduled along the east coast in mid-July, so visit hellyeahband.com for a complete list of dates.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

CD Review: Summertime Dropouts Provide The Perfect Summer Soundtrack

Newcomers the Summertime Dropouts have released their debut album “Rewind” on June 12. The energetic pop-punk band has the perfect soundtrack to your summer. Their songs are about summer love and catching rays, not bad for a band from Minnesota. Their fun, youthful sound makes you want to get to the beach, no matter where you’re from.

The album begins with the first single “Full Time Cutie” as you notice a maturity to their songwriting. The tempo is upbeat and their lyrics and hooks are undeniable. The song “1999” appears twice on the album, first as an all-out punk-rock attack, then again at the end of the album as a slow ballad. Songs like “Getaway” and ”Spring Flings” are fun to listen to and bring you back to a time in your life when things were simpler. The album also contains the arena rocker “Put Em Up” and the Top 40 sounding pop hit “Amie.”

The album was produced by Clint Gibbs (Katy Perry, Nicki Minaj, Britney Spears) and was released through Voluminous Records. The Summertime Dropouts have a couple of shows scheduled in August, but be sure to check out their facebook page (facebook.com/SummertimeDropouts) for more information.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

CD Review: Concord Music Group Gives Us "The Very Best Of" Jazz

Once again, the Concord Music Group comes through with an outstanding new series entitled the “Very Best Of” and features releases from Chet Baker, John Coltrane, The Miles Davis Quintet, Wes Montgomery and Sonny Rollins. These first five titles were released back in June and each one contains no less than ten tracks that cover a certain period in that artist’s career.

Beginning with “The Very Best of Chet Baker,” we get 14 of his most well-known songs beginning with his 1952 rendition of “My Funny Valentine.” His vocals on “My Heart Stood Still” and “Old Devil Moon” are just fabulous as the music is so crisp in clear that you’d think you were in the studio with Baker and his band. The disc follows Baker’s career through to his 1965 hits “Have You Met Miss Jones?” and “When You’re Gone.” Also included with this disc is an 8-page booklet featuring brand-new liner notes from Jazz journalist Doug Ramsey and the credits to each song.

Other titles in these first set of releases cover a specific era of some of the biggest names in Jazz like John Coltrane during his time on the Prestige music label. While this time period didn’t create some of Coltrane’s most famous musical pieces, it does contain some of his most demanding. While he was only on the Prestige label less than two years, he invited some of the great names in Jazz like Thelonious Monk, Paul Chambers and Red Garland to create these truly special albums. Songs like “I Hear A Rhapsody” and “Soultrane” a very special and very important in the rising stardom of John Coltrane. Also included are new liner notes from music journalist Ashley Kahn along with song credits to the ten tracks on this disc.

The Miles Davis Quintet is arguable his most talented group he ever assembled, with John Coltrane on tenor saxophone, Red Garland on piano, Paul Chambers on bass and Philly Joe Jones on drums. Together they created the foundation to some of the most important work in Jazz history. The 10-songs on this release come from the classic string of albums, “Workin,” “Cookin,” “Steamin,” and “Relaxin,” as well as their first album together “Miles: The New Miles Davis Quintet.” Songs like the slow movin’ “Just Squeeze Me” and the up-tempo hop of “Oleo” show the wonderful range this band had when performing together. The only thing missing from this set are some live songs to show what this group was really made of and how well they fed off each other in a live setting. Music journalist Ashley Kahn adds some new liner notes to another great set of songs.

The sets rounds up with the great Jazz guitar of Wes Montgomery and tenor sax of Sonny Rollins. “The Very Best of Wes Montgomery” highlights his time on the Riverside music label with 11-songs recorded for eight albums that were released during a 3 year period. Montgomery’s guitar comes shining through on the cover songs “Besame Mucho” and “Round Midnight,” he really takes off on the originals “West Coast Blues” and “Four on Six.” The great Sonny Rollins also recorded eight albums in the same time period as Montgomery on three different music labels (Contemporary, Riverside, Prestige). With an ever changing backing band, Rollins created some of the most experimental songs in Jazz. The drum solo by Max Roach in “St. Thomas” is amazing, as is the sax solos by Rollins and Coltrane on “Tenor Madness.” Rollins was one who never needed to be in the spotlight all the time, but when it was his turn to shine, he made you stand up and take notice of his performance. Both albums, “The Very Best Of Wes Montgomery” and “The Very Best Of Sonny Rollins” also feature newly written liner notes by journalist Neil Tesser.

As the Concord Music Group continues to be the frontrunner in great Jazz releases, this new “Very Best Of” series is sure to please even the most casual fan of Jazz music. For more information, please visit concordmusicgroup.com.

Friday, July 6, 2012

CD Review: Harris Face And Tumbling Bones Tell Some Stories

Folk Music comes alive with a couple of new releases by some east coast artists. First up is singer/songwriter Harris Face from Washington, DC. His eight-song EP entitled "How The Story Goes" was released on June 7 and features the classic musical folk-style of storytelling.

The album begins with the acoustic strumming, quick-pace of "Role Model." He adds a bit of swing to "Texas Prime," while his voice sounds traveled as in "Sugarplum." The finger-picking of "I Could Have Told You" demands your attention as Harris Face gives us his love song. The country/campfire sound of "Dust and Smoke" allows you to focus on Harris' lyrics as he delivers them as a cowboy traveling across the country. The album ends with the rebellious "Up Goes The Ending" as the quick pace adds some fun to song.

Harris Face has a few live dates scheduled. Please visit his website (harrisfacemusic.com) for more information from this rising folk artist.

The folk band Tumbling Bones released their "back to basics" album "Schemes" back in May. The album features seven songs from the 1920's, 30's & 40's in which the Tumbling Bones add their harmonies and make the songs their own.

Beginning with "Prison War Blues," you instantly notice that this band uses minimal instrumentation in order to focus on the vocals and lyrics to many of old-fashion classics. The Tumbling Bones make Peter Winne's "Where The Palm Trees Grow" sound like a campfire sing-along, while the a cappella "Trouble Around My Soul" sounds like a small male gospel choir as their voice mesh so well together. The band adds their Dylanesque touch to the traditional ballad "Moonshiner" before finishing with the acoustic blues of "Viola Lee Blues" which was made famous by the Grateful Dead.

The Tumbling Bones are currently on an extensive tour which brings them from the east coast of the U.S. over to Ireland and back again. Please visit tumblingbones.com for a complete list of dates and for more information on the new album.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

CD Review: Delta Rae "Carry The Fire" For Country Music

From Durham, NC comes a new band, deep-rooted in country-folk/Americana, as Delta Rae released their debut album, "Carry The Fire" on June 19 through Sire Records. They recently appeared on The Tonight Show and also sold out the Troubadour in Los Angeles, CA. Delta Rae are ready to bring four-part harmonies and heartfelt vocals to radio and music venues across the U.S.

The new album begins with “Holding On To Good” as singer Britney Holljes pours her heart into her performance of this slow-building acoustic, country-folk song. The harmonies on this album are outstanding, just check out the mellow “Country House.” The album’s first single “Bottom Of The River” sounds like a slave chant as the complete band harmonies give the song a powerful effect with hardly any instruments. The pounding drums continue during “Dance In The Graveyards” as they sing about living and enjoy life. The album’s latest single, “Is There Anyone Out There” keeps building with intensity and harmonizing that rocks the chorus. The album ends with some more great harmonies in “Hey, Hey, Hey” as the island beats give the song a fun, lighter tone.

Delta Rae began their tour in mid-June and will be on the road through August. They have two stops in Connecticut on July 14 in Westport and on August 9 at The Wolf Den at Mohegan Sun Casino.  They also have a few festivals in October and November. Be sure to visit deltarae.com for a complete list of tour dates and to find out more from this great musical group.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

CD Review: Neil Young & Patti Smith Release Their Best Albums In Decades

The Godfather of Grunge is back and he brought along his band Crazy Horse. It's been nine years since they recorded together and they decided now is as good a time as any to get together in the studio and see what happens. Earlier this year on Neil Young's website they released a thirty-minute studio jam to introduce to the world what to expect.

On June 5, Neil Young and Crazy Horse released a newly recorded album of classic songs that everybody has sung since they were kids. The songs on "Americana" read out like a mother goose nursery rhyme book, but songs like the opener "Oh Susannah" and "Tom Dooley" are given a darker tone when performed by Young and Crazy Horse. They include all the verses (even the forgotten ones) that push most of the songs past the five-minute mark. The boys seems to be having fun with their brand of doo-wop as in "Get A Job." They lighten the tone a little on "Travel On" and "This Land Is Your Land" by using the help of a children's choir, but you can feel Neil's pain through his vocals on "Wayfarin' Stranger." The album finishes with an all-out rock assault of "God Save The Queen" as the children's choir returns to close out the album.

Neil Young and Crazy Horse are heading out on the road in August. They will be touring until the beginning of December where they will be performing at the Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, CT. Also, fans purchasing a ticket to the show will entitle you to receive a copy of the new album (while supplies last). For more information, be sure to check out neilyoung.com.

American singer/songwriter Patti Smith released her eleventh studio album on June 5 entitled “Banga.” This is her first collection of original material in eight years and her first set of recordings since her 2007 covers album, “Twelve.” The album debuted at #57 on the Billboard Album charts.

Smith instills a lot of her poetry within this album, beginning with “Amerigo,” which reimages the voyage of Amerigo Vespucci to the New World. The album’s first single, “April Fool” gives us a glimpse of the great songwriting that Smith has been known for. The song carries a very laid-back vibe with simple, but catchy lyrics that draw you into to Smith’s vocals. She continues this trend with “This Is The Girl” written in memory of Amy Winehouse. Smith speaks her poetry in “Tarkovsky” and “Constantine’s Dream,” which brings up memories of Jim Morrison’s poetry album, “American Prayer.” Johnny Depp lends a hand on “Banga” giving the song a post-punk, grunge sound, before Smith dives back to some of her most heartfelt lyrics in years on “Maria.” The album closes with a spot-on cover of Neil Young’s “After The Gold Rush,” which fits perfectly at the end of this album.

Patti Smith is touring extensively over in Europe until September. She will join Neil Young in November for a set of seven shows which concludes on December 4 at the Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, CT. For more information on her new album and for a complete list of tour dates, please visit pattismith.net.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

CD Review: Dot Hacker Work On Their "Inhibition"

Alternative/experimental rock band Dot Hacker recently released their debut album entitled “Inhibition.” The album was recorded back in 2009, but was delayed because of singer/guitarist Josh Klinghoffer’s new commitment to his other band, the Red Hot Chili Peppers. The album was released back in May on the ORG Music label and features Klinghoffer and his bandmates mixing all their experiences into this one album.

Beginning with “Order/Disorder” we get a taste of Klinghoffer’s vocals and guitars on this safe, alternative rocker as drummer Eric Gardner and bassist Jonathan Hischke keep a steady groove. The band begins to experiment on “Idleidolidyl” as Clint Walsh handles duties on the synthesizer. The band relaxes on the mind-expanding$sound of “Eye Opener,” before adding a dance beat to “Discotheque” and “Be Leaving.” The space-rock of “The Earth Beneath” and jazzy piano of “The Wit Of The Staircase” puts this band’s sound all over the place before finishing with the slow-fuzz blues of “Puncture.”

For more information on Dot Hacker, please visit www.orgmusic.com/artists/dot-hacker/.

Monday, July 2, 2012

CD Review: The Lumineers Debut A New Wave Of Americana Music

The roots revival is in full swing. Bands like The Avett Brothers, Mumford & Sons and The Punch Brothers are headlining festivals and the Newport Folk Festival in Rhode Island has been sold out for months. One of the latest bands to break through is The Lumineers with their self-titled debut album. The album was released back in April through Dualtone Records and reached #40 on the Billboard Album chart and hit #2 on the Folk Album chart.

The new release begins with the acoustic accounts of “Flowers In Your Hair” as the song builds with intensity until it’s all too quick finish. The simplicity of the instrumentation is what makes this album stand out. You can hear creaking doors on “Classy Girls” and hand clapping in “Big Parade” as the recordings make you feel like you are hearing the band perform live just for you. Their wonderful songwriting shines on “Submarines” and on the album’s first single “Ho Hey.” They ease back on the pace for the ballad “Slow It Down,” but quickly pick up the tempo back up for “Stubborn Love.” The album closes with the 5-minute blues/folk of “Morning Song.”

The Lumineers are currently on tour in the U.S. They will also be performing at the Austin City Limits festival before heading over to Europe. For more information, please visit thelumineers.com.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Book Review: Iron Maiden Unleashes "The History Of The Beast"

Voyageur Press, in association with Quayside Publishing, returns once again to bring us “The Ultimate Unauthorized History Of The Beast.” This 224-page book gives us one of the most detailed histories of one of heavy metal most iconic bands, Iron Maiden. Not only do you get the back-story to their success, but you also get over 450 color and black & white pictures of the band throughout their history.

Iron Maiden is one of the most artistic bands both musically and visually and this book does an excellent job representing both sides. The book is written by Neil Daniels who has written for a number of classic rock and heavy metal magazines, fanzines and websites. He has also written other books about bands like Judas Priest, Bon Jovi, Linkin Park and Journey. He does an outstanding job giving you an in-depth history of the band, without going over your head. He gives detailed information without assuming you know all the background to Iron Maiden.

Even more impressive are all the pictures from the band's live shows, to their promotional shots, to all the classic album cover art. Not only is Iron Maiden well represented, but their mascot Eddie also gets his share of pictures. Their are some covers that have not been seen since their original release dates.

The book begins with bassist Steve Harris putting the pieces together. He talks about his love for early progressive-rock music and how good of a footballer he was. As the story moves along you get the background story of addition of Bruce Dickinson on vocals and how they came to conquer the world in the mid-eighties. One of the best things about this book, besides the pictures is the short write-up on each album, how it was recorded and how popular each album became. Also included throughout the book is the setlist for each tour the band embarked on throughout their career. You get to see what songs have stood the test of time for the band live.

Like I said before, you will be amazed at the great detail that Voyageur Press put into each page. All the great concert posters and t-shirts are represented wonderfully. The book concludes with a short discography showing everything Iron Maiden released up until their 2010 album “The Final Frontier.”

“Iron Maiden: The Ultimate Unauthorized History Of The Beast” was published on June 26 and is available a major outlets. For more information, please visit voyageurpress.com.