Tuesday, April 30, 2013

CD Review: Massachusetts Based Bands Releasing New Music

Returning from Massachusetts is the punk rock band Sister City with a new album entitled "Small Talk." The band began recording this album in December 2011, following the release of "Carbon Footprint." The new album was self-released on April 9 and if you order through the band's website, you are entitled to a load of extras (depending on how much you pay).

The album kicks off with the title-song as the band's energy is on an all-time high as they layer the lyrics with "what if" problems as the tempo changes keep the song interesting. The pure punk of "Every Stone" is refreshing as too many bands today try to dig deeper to place more meaning within the song. The band changes gears slowing things down for "Kin" and adding a bit of a reggae groove to "Room 222," before heading back to business as usual in the up-tempo "Extreme Fever." Sister City close the album with the acoustic beginning of "Adm Gives Up The Dream" as they finish it off with the punk-style they are known for.

To find out more from this underground punk band, please visit their website at sistercityband.com.

Also from the Massachusetts area is the Boston-based band American Thread with their full-length debut album, "Killing Days." Formed last year, the band immediately hit the studio to record their songs, combining their influences of Bruce Springsteen and The Pogues with their love of the Northeast.

The album kicks off with the war storied "Drink For The Damned" as the band dive-in with their brand of Americana music. Their Bruce Springsteen influence comes shinning through on the acoustic "12 Ounce American Dreams" as they sing about the troubles of the world. American Thread plug in for the alt-country of "Fool's Gold" and "39 Days" as they show another side to their sound. The lyrics of "Fisherman's Lullabye" and "Parade" have you clinging to every word as you follow their stories. The album finishes up with the acoustic, old-sounding, back-porch singalong, "Time To Let Go."

American Thread have one show scheduled at the moment for May 18 at the All Asia Bar in Cambridge, MA. For more information on this new up-n-coming band, please visit americanthreadband.com.

Monday, April 29, 2013

CD Review: Independent Singer/Songwriters Who's Masquerade and Kye Alfred Hillig Shine With New Music

From Canada comes indie-folk artist Who's Masquerade with his self-titled debut album. The album was release back in March and carries a very interesting sound, unlike anything that you would hear today. The music on this release is mainly instrumental with spoken word dialect sprinkled here and there.

According to the artist, the album is "simply a story I wanted to be told." The twelve song album is made up of epic, acoustic pieces pushing past the six-minute mark ("In Love With A Stranger" and "Death's Best Friend") and short musical interludes to keep the emotional flow of the album. At times it sounds like confusing folk music as in "Predictions" and the lyrics lay in the background, while the music leads the way. His influences come shining through on "Colossal Youth, Pt. 1 & Pt. 2," as a repetitive strumming guitar makes you concentrate on the words spoken and the story told. He rocks on the aggressive "Afterlove" before closing the album with the gentle sounds of "Rose Petals."

For more information on Who's Masquerade, please visit whosmasquerade.bandcamp.com/.

Also, from just south of the Canadian border comes Tacoma, WA singer/songwriter Kye Alfred Hillig with his latest album "Together Through It All." This is Hillig's second solo album which was released back in February. After writing, recording and releasing eighteen full-length albums (with four other bands) he was recently asked what still inspires him to write music and he responded "the continual investigation of difficult subject matter."

This fourteen song album has a very polished, full band sound with guest musicians helping out on the instrumentation. The songs "Together Through It All," "You & Me & Time" and "About To Get Robbed" all sound like hits singles waiting to be discovered as Hillig has a comforting sound that fits perfectly with the folk revival going on with mainstream radio. He expands from his folk sound with the alternative rock of "Free The Birds" and "Life As A Rat," but his strength lies in his gentle folk-style storytelling as in "Oar The Shore" and "Lighthouse Man." Hillig's voice demands your attention in the album closer "Does My Soul Still Sing?"

To find out more from this underground singer/songwriter, please visit kyealfreadhillig.com.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

CD Review: Walk Off The Earth Find Success With "R.E.V.O." Album

From Canada comes the indie pop/rock band Walk Off The Earth with their Columbia Records debut "R.E.V.O." Walk Off The Earth has found success by making low budget videos showcasing the band covering popular hits, including "Somebody That I Used To Know," which is included on this new album. This is the band's third studio album and the first to crack the Billboard Album charts, debuting at #90.
The album kicks off with the title-song "R.E.V.O." as you instantly feel the energy this band puts into their performances and how much fun their music is. The album's latest single, "Red Hands" has the perfect mainstream radio sound, adding elements of folk, rock and dance to create an infectious song. Walk Off The Earth dive into their folk roots with "Gang of Rhythm" and quicken the pace with "Speeches" as the music mirrors that of Mumford & Sons and The Lumineers. Their cover of Goyte's "Somebody That I Used To Know" is just amazing as they create their own version of this popular song without taking away the feel of the original. The album finishes up with this year's hot weather anthem, "Summer Vibe," then they rock out to "Money Tree," before closing with the gentle acoustics of "No Ulterior Motives."
Walk Off The Earth just wrapped up their spring tour, but still have a couple dates scheduled for two music festivals this summer in Canada. To find out more about this rising band, please visit walkofftheearth.com.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

CD Review: New Indie-Rock Band Show Their American Fangs

From Houston, TX comes the self-titled debut album from indie-rockers American Fangs. The album is set to be released on May 14 through In De Goot Recordings distributed by the Sony/RED label. The band has shared the stage with the Deftones and Chevelle and are currently out on the road with the Hollywood Undead and Falling In Reverse.
The album kicks off with "Riot Food" as the band's energy mirrors the early days of the Red Hot Chili Peppers as they incorporate aspects of punk to give their music an edgier sound. Songs like "Le Kick" and "Pomona" are pure rock 'n' roll with loud guitar riffs and hook-filled choruses that you'll find yourself singing along to. American Fangs gets down and dirty on "Gimme Gimme," then move on to a more mainstream sound with "Man In The Sun." The album closes with the aggressive hard rocking "Fear Fathers" and the big chorus of "Last Time."
American Fangs will be on the road until the end of May with their tour concluding at Rocklahoma. For more information on the band's new album, please visit americanfangs.net.

Friday, April 26, 2013

CD Review: Tom Keifer Leaves Cinderella Behind With New "Life"

Rocker Tom Keifer, former lead singer of the late 1980's hair metal band Cinderella, will be releasing his debut solo album, "The Way Life Goes" on April 30. The fourteen song collection shows Keifer's range and passion for all different aspects and genres of music.

The album begins with the current single, "Solid Ground" as Keifer's raspy voice fits in perfectly with this southern rocker. The song is a reminder of how good of a singer he is and also how timeless his voice is. Some of the songs on this album show Keifer in "A Different Light" as he tones down his famous screaming vocals for a more countrified sound. He still shows glimpses of his "Cinderella prime" as he displays a dirty rock swagger in "It's Not Enough" and "Mood Elevator." Tom Keifer pours his heart into his performances as you can feel his pain in "Thick And Thin" and "Ask Me Yesterday." His passion for southern rock shines all over the album's first single, "The Flower Song" as he creates a song that can truly stand up to the rest of his past performances. The album closes with the straight-up rocker "Babylon" which harkens back to his Cinderella days. 

Tom Keifer is taking his new album out on the road, beginning May 2nd. For more information on his new solo album and for a complete list of tour dates, please visit tomkeifer.com.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

CD Review: Oleander Create "Something Beautiful" With New Music

From California comes the return of the rock band Oleander with their first album of new material in over a decade. The new album entitled, "Something Beautiful" was released on April 16 through Re_Ignite Records. After burning up the singles chart with their 2001 hit "Champion," the band released their Sanctuary label debut in 2003. Without much success, the band took an unofficial hiatus until a surprise return to the stage in August of 2010, sparking the rumors of a new album.

The band's straight-up rock sound is refreshing as they combine aspects of alternative and hard rock to create some powerfully aggressive mainstream music. The lead single, "Fight!" was released a couple years earlier and became the official theme song of the WWE '12 video game. The song truly captures the band's sound with its energetic battle-cry chorus. The album's latest single, "Something Beautiful" has a more mainstream rock appeal, built for modern rock radio. The band's big rock sound is perfectly executed on the power ballad "Until It's Over" and the acoustic heartfelt "Where Do We Go From Here." The album closes with "How Do We Say Goodbye," another venture into the mainstream hard rock territory as the band gives one of their best performances. 

Oleander have a couple dates lined up in Texas before performing at the Rock On The Range with Soundgarden and Alice In Chains. For more information on the band's new album and for a complete list of tour dates, please visit oleander.net.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

CD Review: A Trio Of New Releases From Victory Records

Victory Records returns with some new releases that touch upon almost every aspect of the hard rock genre. First up is the latest release from The Bunny The Bear. After the success of their 2012 album, “The Stomach For It,” the duo continued tapping that creative vein for “Stories,” which was released on April 16th. 

The nursery-rhyme beginning of “Eating Disorder” quickly turns tragic with its screaming vocals and hardcore industrial rock sound. The album carries a more mainstream feel as the electronic dance beats of “In Like Flynn” combined with the aggressive vocals of “Hey, Allie” has a certain appeal to their sound. They almost go too far into pop territory with “It’s Not Always Cold In Buffalo,” but return to their hard hitting sound in “The Frog.” The album closes with the acoustic rock of “Sadie.” 

To find out more about The Bunny The Bear, please visit www.victoryrecords.com/thebunnythebear. 

Next up is the Finnish, horror metal of Snow White’s Poison Bite with their latest release “Featuring: Dr. Gruesome And The Gruesome Gory Horror Show,” which also came out on April 16th. The creativeness that Snow White’s Poison Bite puts into their sound makes them stand out compared to other hard rock bands. 

They introduce you to Dr. Gruesome in the “Adams Family” like opening song, before quickly diving into their true speed-metal sound on “The Gruesome Gory Horror Show.” The band combines a nu-metal sound with punk-like aggression to give songs like “There’s A New Creep On The Block” and “Halloween Means Death” a different sound than the usual attack on the ears. The only complaint I have is that this album should have been released closer to Halloween to truly get into the season. 

To find out more about Snow White’s Poison Bite, please visit www.victoryrecords.com/merch/snowwhitespoisonbite. 

Last up, we get the latest release from New Jersey punk band Streetlight Manifesto. The new album, “The Hands That Thieve,” is the band’s fifth studio album and will be released on April 30th. In addition to the new album, Streetlight Manifesto is also releasing an acoustic version of the album with the same ten songs performed by Toh Kay and his acoustic trio. 

The new album begins with the band’s signature up-tempo punk/ska sound on “The Three Of Us” and “Ungrateful.” They show us a little of their acoustic side on “The Hands That Theive” which could easily turn into a sing-along. The highlight of the album is the six-minute epic “With Any Sort Of Certainty” as the musicianship within the band makes this song stand above the rest. The album closes with the acoustic, fun sounding “Your Day Will Come.”

To find out more about Streetlight Manifesto, please visit www.victoryrecords.com/streetlightmanifesto.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

CD Review: Hymn For Her's "Smokin" New Album

California country rockers Lucy Tight and Wayne Waxing are ready to release their new album entitled “Hymn for Her Presents…Lucy and Wayne’s Smokin Flames.” The duo traveled to Detroit to work with Jim Diamond (White Stripes) in his Ghetto Recorders Studio to help capture a more “stompgrass” sound. The album will be self-released on April 23 and proudly displays what the past few years of touring have taught them.

The album starts off with “Mojave” which comes a little too close the White Stripes to sound original, but not to worry, the rest of the album certainly does. Lucy and Wayne travel to the country for the acoustic blues of “Glistening Cowgirl” and have fun experimenting on the seven-minute “Trash The Sun.” They bang away on the 92-second punk sounding “Rosa Parks Blvd.,” before pulling back for the country blues of “Landescape.” The mellow, folk sounds of “Burn This” seems out of place with rockabilly numbers “Chemicals” and “For The Dead.” The album closes with the gentle acoustics of “Passion” as you can really appreciate the vocals of Lucy Tight.

Lucy and Wayne are making their way across the mid-west with shows in Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa and Kansas. To find out more, please visit hymnforher.com.

Monday, April 22, 2013

CD Review: Devil To Pay Have Sealed Their "Fate"

From Indianapolis comes the hard rock band Devil To Pay with their third full-length album, “Fate Is Your Muse.” The album was released on April 9 through Ripple Music and features some of the band’s best songwriting to date. Devil To Pay has suffered through the past ten years of trouble and turmoil to create an album to be proud of.

The band comes out blazing on the opening song “Prepare To Die” as you feel the heavy metal drumming and crunching guitars to give their music the edgy feel. They pick up the pace on “Ten Lizardmen & One Pocketknife,” before the slow grind of “Wearin’ You Down” and “Yes Master.” The power riffs and hard rock speed that Devil To Pay are known for comes through on “The Train Won’t Stop” and “Savonarola.” The album closes with the contrast of the up-tempo, mainstream hard rock of “Tie One On” and the Alice In Chains-type slow burn of “Beyond The Ether.”
Devil To Pay performed an album release show earlier this month and has a couple more shows on their schedule in the Indianapolis area. For more information on the band and their new album “Fate Is Your Muse,” please visit deviltopay.net.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

DVD Review: Ringo Starr Shows Off His All-Stars "At The Ryman"

If you've never seen Ringo Starr and his All-Star Band, then this new DVD entitled "Ringo at the Ryman" is the perfect idea as to what a Ringo Starr concert is like. It is an experience unlike any other live show you may have seen. Ringo Starr has a knack of taking musicians who have fallen below the radar of modern music and brings out their best live performance.
The DVD was released last month through Universal Music Enterprise and features the July 7th show from his 2012 tour. The great thing about Ringo Starr and his All-Star band is each year the line-up changes with special guest performers. This particular tour features Todd Rundgren, Greg Rolie (Santana, Journey), Steve Lukather (Toto), Richard Page (Mr. Mister) and special guest Joe Walsh. This filmed performance is also very special because it is Ringo's 72nd birthday. Age does not seem to matter, or effect Ringo as he performs many of his classic solo and Beatles' hits like "It Don't Come Easy," "Don't Pass Me By" and of course "Yellow Submarine." When he's not in the spotlight singing, he performs on the drums, along side fellow drummer Greg Bissonette (David Lee Roth). The video climaxes with a sing-along of "With A Little Help From My Friends," featuring some of Nashville's own musicians like Vince Gill, Gary Burr and Brad Paisley.
The video quality is outstanding for a DVD as all the special moments are captured, (including a sing-along of "Happy Birthday") without the need to jump around to every performer. With a running time of just over 2 hours, the only complaint is the lack of bonus features. Maybe a bio of each of the performers or some backstage footage would have been an added plus, but the great music and top-notch performances caught on video are reason enough to seek out this DVD.
For more information on "Ringo at the Ryman," please visit ringostarr.com.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

CD Review: New Rock Comes In The Form Of Jonas Sees In Color And Bang Bang Romeo

From Greensboro, NC comes the rock band Jonas Sees In Color with their sophomore album, “Give Me Mine.” The new album was recorded live to 2-inch, reel-to-reel tape and will be released on April 16. The band’s down ‘n dirty sound draws similarities to some British bands like The Clash and Sex Pistols.
The album starts off with the aggressive tones of “Give Me Mine” and the shout along chorus of “Black Coffee.” Jonas Sees In Color attacks the song “Dirty Little Sunshine” with a classic garage rock sound, before heading into the retro rock of “Harvest Pt. 1” and “Pt. 2.” They hit the mainstream rock chords in “Happiness,” then head “Underground” with the quick-pace beat. The album closes with the hard rock/punk appeal of “Help! Help!” followed by the slow dark ballad, “Teeth and Gums.
To find out more about Jonas Sees In Color, please visit the band’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/jonasseesincolor.
From across the pond we find Yorkshire indie-rockers Bang Bang Romeo recently released their new EP, “Adore Me” on March 29 through Divided Together Records. The album was produced with the help of Ian Dench (Florence And The Machine, BeyoncĂ©) and Clive Martin (Stereophonics, Reef). The band also has music videos on YouTube for three of the album’s songs.
The EP leads off with the pounding drums of “Right Now” as you get acquainted with the outstanding voice of Anastasia Walker. They get things rocking with “Just To See You Run,” then counter that with the slow-build of the title song, “Adore Me.”
For more information on Bang Bang Romeo, please visit bangbangromeo.com.

Friday, April 19, 2013

CD Review: Connecticut Artists Woodsman Orphan And Johnny Mainstream Release New Music

Connecticut folk/rock duo Woodsman Orphan are preparing for their latest release, “My Name Is Ishmael Ali.” It will be available on Record Store Day (April 20) as a 12” vinyl through Obscure Me Records. The album was only previously available in a very limited CDR release.
Their music has been described as “freak-folk” with catchy pop hooks and psychedelic guitars. The opening song, “The Barn” and its follow-up “Bethel Cop” sound as if the soul of Neil Young entered their studio. Both tracks seem like long lost outtakes from Young’s “Harvest Moon” album. They expand their folk sound with their experimental “One Year,” before going too far out into space with “Rhinestone.” The album closes with the laid-back vibe of “Through Glass Doors.”
To find out more about Woodsman Orphan, please visit woodsmanorphan.com.
Also from Connecticut come the indie-rockers Johnny Mainstream with their newest release “Ghost Broadway.” This is the band’s second release following their break-out, debut album, “Shipwrecked!” The album was released back in March. After two years of performing live, the music on their new album has a very professional, polished feel.
The band’s energy flows through the punk/pop of “Passing Bell”and “Whiskey For Dinner” and have fun with the lyrics of “No Noise.” The song “Pot Of Gold” with its quick-pace country/rock sound and “Scarecrow” with its mature lyrics are some of the stand out track on this new album. Johnny Mainstream jam on the almost eight-minute “Team Electric” before closing with the acoustic sing-along of “Northern Terminus.”
For more information on Johnny Mainstream, please visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/JohnnyMainstream.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

CD Review: Universal Music Expands Bob Marley's "Kaya" With Live Show

The legendary Bob Marley continues to influence new artists even after his death over 30 years ago. His studio albums are some of the belling selling of all-time. Four of his albums have been remastered and re-released in a deluxe edition and now we get the deluxe edition of his 1978 album "Kaya."

In honor of the album's 35th Anniversary, we get a newly remastered expanded edition of the original album which includes the bonus song, "Smile Jamaica." According to Marley, "to sing about suffering all the time is not a deep thing." So the album "Kaya" was recorded for "our people to live the way they want to live. We have to stop the suffering." Songs like "Easy Skanking," "Is This Love" and "Satisfy My Soul" give the message of love and redemption that we can all live by. The bonus song, "Smile Jamaica" was first released on the deluxe edition of the "Rastaman Vibration" album, but will be released for the fist time on vinyl as part of this deluxe edition of the "Kaya" album. 

Now, the second disc is what fans and collectors will be the most interested in as it features and unreleased concert recorded in Rotterdam, Netherlands on July 7, 1978. The "Live at Ahoy Hallen" disc consists of 13 songs, mixing newly released songs "Is This Love" and Easy Skanking" for the "Kaya" album with live favorites "Jamming" and "No Woman No Cry." The concert also features the classic "War/No More Trouble" and the ten-minute closer "Exodus." 

Both discs sound outstanding, as the highest quality equipment was used to remaster the music as each instrument is heard individually. This new "Kaya: 35th Anniversary Deluxe Edition" will be released on April 23 through Universal Music Enterprises in a 2CD and on April 30 on 180-Gram virgin vinyl. For more information on this special release, please visit bobmarley.com.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Concert Vault Expands To The iPad To Offer An Outstanding Concert Experience

Last month, Concert Vault (the #1 website for streaming classic concerts) released their new app for the iPad. The new app allows you to stream hundreds of thousands of rock, blues, jazz, country, folk, bluegrass and indie concerts, just like the iPhone app, but the real benefit is the viewing the videos and memorabilia on a larger screen. Being able to read the liner notes of each show and the background history of the band without having to squint to read the text.

The concert vault is not just about great classic concerts, they have recently added over two dozen shows from the "Golden Age of Alternative Rock." Rare shows from the Foo Fighters, No Doubt, Smashing Pumpkins among others are available for streaming. Also available are shows from some of today's artists like Mumford & Sons, Ed Sheeran and Gary Clark Jr., along with new concerts from classic rockers like Bruce Springsteen and Trey Anastasio of Phish.

Along with the new iPad App, The Concert Vault is offering an updated membership for only $3.99 per month (or $39.99 for the year). Membership includes everything offered above, plus exclusive live audio and video and two free "members-only" concert downloads per month.

For more information, please visit wolfgangsvault.com and download the new app from the iTunes store (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/concert-vault-for-ipad/id604177276?mt=8&ign-mpt=uo%3D2).

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

CD Review: Indie-Rock Comes Pouring Out Of Chicago

Chicago has become the hotbed for new indie-rock music and these three new releases are out to prove that fact correct.

First up is the indie-pop/rockers The Steak House Mints with their sophomore release, “Love Songs For Prostitutes.” Their songs are very contagious as they tap into that 60’s rock vibe on the album’s opening track “Hi Ya.” They have managed to capture that raw, garage rock sound and polish it up to give it that pop appeal as in “Don’t Mess With Me” and “What Are The Chances?” They bring is some horns for the ska/punk sound of “The Diplomat Hotel” then turn on their appeal for the jazzy “The Great Mustachio.” The album closes with the slow 60s waltz of “Tattoo” and the seven-and-a-half journey of “Please Come Again.”

For more information on The Steak House Mints, please visit thesteakhousemints.com.

Next up from the Chicago underground music scene is the country blues of Safe Haven with their latest release “Sermon For No One.” The band’s sound fits in perfectly with today’s folk/Americana music Giants Mumford & Sons and The Lumineers. Their album starts off with the big blues rock sound of “So Long (The Hercamo Flash Story)” and “I Steal,” before settling into their more acoustic appeal. Songs like “Leave Me Where I Want To Be” and “Never Change” come off as sing-alongs on the front porch before closing the album with the fast-paced country rock of “Eternal Farm.”

For more information on Safe Haven, please visit safehavenchicago.com.

Last up we get a sample of some new music from Oblio and Arrow with their new three-song EP, “Summer Triangle.” The music on this new release is indie-pop with a bit of edginess to their sound. Songs like “Crows Song” and “One Feeds The Other” carries that upbeat appeal, but the moody “It Was Intoxicating” is what stands out from the other two with a slow, progressive rock sound. 

For more information on Oblio And Arrow, please visit olioandarrow.com.

Monday, April 8, 2013

CD Review: The Wolves (Wolves At Bay & Werewolf Police) Are Out In Connecticut

Connecticut’s own Wolves At Bay are preparing the release of the new six-song EP, “I Was The Devil Once” on Animal Style Records. They have a record release show scheduled at The Space in Hamden, CT on April 16 where they will be performing along with HRVRD, Daylight, Night Owls and Lifelines. This new EP was produced by Nick Bellmore (Hatebreed, Make Do And Mend) and will be available on CD, digital download and a limited number of colored vinyls.
The album begins with the hardcore punk/metal attack of “Hide Like My Friends.” The album’s first single, “Know Why” has a more mature sound as the band still show their aggressive teeth, without the need of pounding their sound inside your mind. Wolves At Bay still has that youthful passion displayed in the songs “Forget Who I Was” and “Hollow.” The album closes with the most mainstream hard rock song on this new release, the energetic “I Was The Devil Once.”
If you can’t make it to the Wolves At Bay release show, then be sure to visit wolvesatbayband.com to find out more about this rising indie-rock band.
Another Connecticut band looking to make waves in the music industry is Werewolf Police with their new album, “The Moderation Blues.” The band used classic 4-track recording to give the music on the new album a warmer, fuller sound along with expert mastering by Todd Tobias (Guided By Voices). The new album was released at the end of March through Popular Wallpaper Recordings.
The grungy guitar of the opening track “Poison Dart” lays the ground work for Werewolf Police’s most complete project to date. The up-tempo rock of “Too Many Holidays” has that solid backbeat that gets the adrenaline pumping. They expand upon their alternative rock sound with the progressive, mind-expanding “Somewhere Cold,” before returning to the garage rock of “Under The Gun.” The album closes with the alternative, mainstream pop-rock of “Recital”and their return to the grunge of “In A Bad Way.”
Werewolf Police are releasing a special very limited edition run of 50 cassette versions of the new album along with a digital download. For more information on the band’s new album, please visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/WerewolfPolice.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

CD Review: Atlas Genius Releases Debut Album "Now"

Australian indie-rockers Atlas Genius recently released their much-anticipated debut album, "When It Was Now." The album came out back in February through Warner Brothers Records where it debuted at #34 on the Billboard Album chart.
Their contagious rock/pop sound is perfectly executed in the album's first two singles, "Trojans" and "If So." The former is a great summer-time anthem, while the latter song sounds like a slick version of a Kings of Leon song. Atlas Genius are in the early stages of mastering their arena rock sound as heard in "Through The Glass" and "All These Girls." The albums closes with the electronic pop of "When It Was Now" and the big rock sound of "Symptoms."
Atlas Genius are touring extensively behind their new release with a load of live shows between now and the beginning of August, including stops as Summerfest and Lollapalooza. For more information on their new album, "When It Was Now" and for a complete list of tour dates, please visit atlasgenius.com.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Concert Review: Eric Clapton Puts On A Blazing Performance At Mohegan Sun

There are not many performers that have lasted fifty years in the music industry, and even less than sound better than they did back when they began. One such artist is guitar "god" Eric Clapton who stopped by the Mohegan Sun arena on Friday night, on the eve of his Crossroads Guitar Festival in New York. Some musicians would have used this performance as a warm-up to their big event, but not Clapton. He pulled out all the tricks to perform a show for the ages.
The night began promptly on time with the opening band, alternative roots/rockers The Wallflowers featuring Jakob Dylan (Bob Dylan's son). Their 45-minute set mixed in songs from the band's latest album, "Glad All Over," including the opening song "The Devil's Waltz." They jammed to an extended version of their hit song "6th Avenue Heartache," but the biggest applause came at the end of their set for their performance of "One Headlight" and "The Difference."
With anticipations high, Eric Clapton walked out onstage to a standing ovation. As he picked up his acoustic guitar, his band followed his introduction to kick off the set with "Hello Old Friend." Clapton's guitar began heating up with the solo of his new song "Gotta Get Over," before diving into the blues with a cover of Albert Collins' "Black Cat Bone." The place was electrified with Clapton and guitarist Doyle Bramhall II trading solos during "Got To Get Better In A Little While," but it would be Clapton's solo that had jaws dropping to the floor. His surprised performance of Bob Marley's "I Shot The Sheriff" drew a huge applause from the sold-out arena.
His sit-down acoustic set was a nice break from the fiery electric guitars as they performed covers of "Driftin' Blues," and "Goodnight Irene." The highlight for fans was the emotional "Tears In Heaven" and a sing-along of "Wonderful Tonight." Keyboardist/singer Paul Carrack received the spotlight for his lead vocals of "Tempted" and "How Long" before Clapton paid tribute to blues legend Robert Johnson. Eric Clapton and his band performed a blazing rendition of "Love In Vain" and a pounding version of "Crossroads." If there were any doubters as to how good Clapton's guitar playing has become after 50 years, his solo during "Little Queen Of Spades" left all in awe. The set closed with the audience on their feet, dancing wherever they could to the hit single "Cocaine."
The two song encore began with one of Clapton's earliest hits from the band Cream as drummer Steve Jordan motored through "Sunshine Of Your Love." The two-hour and fifteen minute performance ended with Paul Carrack once again singing vocals on the Joe Cocker cover "High Time We Went." Fans waited to see if Clapton we return to the stage to perform his signature song, "Layla," but as the house light came on, the arena emptied with many satisfied with their experience of this living legend.
Setlist: Hello Old Friend, My Father's Eyes, Tell The Truth, Gotta Get Over, Black Cat Bone, Got To Get Better In A Little While, Tempted, I Shot The Sheriff, Driftin' Blues, Nobody Knows You When You're Down And Out, Tears In Heaven, Goodnight Irene, Wonderful Tonight, How Long, Stones In My Passway, Love In Vain, Crossroads, Little Queen of Spades, Cocaine, Sunshine Of Your Love, High Time We Went

Friday, April 5, 2013

CD Review: New Music Shines With The Debut Album From Yellow Red Sparks

I would like to introduce you to the acoustic folk/rock of Yellow Red Sparks as they released their self-titled debut album earlier this year. The trio of Joshua Hanson, Goldy and Sara Lynn do an outstanding job weaving lyrics with rich earthy tones that have become the mainstream of popular radio with the likes of Mumford & Sons and The Avett Brothers.
They have put a strong emphasis on their lyrics as the harmonizing on the opening track “Buy Me Honey” invites you into their musical world. The band kick things up with the bigger band sound of “My Machine Gun,” then slow down for “Happiness Comes In A Box” and “To Love And Loathe.” They keep their focus on their lyrics in “Mr. Wonderful” and “Monster With Misdemeanors,”then pick up the tempo for the two-step “Scents And Sensibility.” The album closes with the gentle, campfire acoustics of “Hope On A Rope.”
Red Yellow Sparks have one show scheduled at the WitZend in Venice, CA. For more information on the band and their debut album, please visit yellowredsparks.com.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

CD Review: The Joy Formidable Follow The "Wolf's Law"

Welsh alternative rockers The Joy Formidable released their second full-length album earlier this year entitled “Wolf’s Law.” The album was written and recorded during the band’s 12-month tour in support of their debut album, “The Big Roar.” According to lead singer/guitarist Ritzy Bryan the songs started out and vocals being accompanied by only one instrument and then being built up from there.

The album begins with album’s biggest single, “This Ladder Is Ours” as the three-piece band strap on their gear, plug in and rock. The song cracked the Top 25 on the Billboard Alternative Songs chart and showed their balance between aggressive and pop rock. They flex their alternative/punk muscle with the quick-paced “Cholla” and “Bats,” before slowing the tempo down for the simpler sounds of the “Silent Treatment.” The Joy Formidable show a grittier side to their music with the bass driven “Little Blimp” and the quick drumming of “Maw Maw Song.” The album could have another hit single with the punk-pop of “Forest Serenade” as they once again show that balance of aggressive and mainstream rock. The album closes with the slow-building “The Turnaround” and the hidden song “Wolf’s Law,” which displays the song’s progression from a simple piano to grand orchestration.

The Joy Formidable are once again touring hard behind this latest release as they have a full schedule of shows running until the end of August. For a complete list of tour dates and more information on the new album, please visit thejoyformidable.com.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

CD Review: Annalisa Ewald Releases Live Versions Of Classical Guitar Compositions

Classical guitarist Annalisa Ewald will be releasing her new live album entitled “Live At The Factory Underground.” The album offers fifteen wonderful songs based on South America as her interaction with the audience in between songs is fun, but minimal.  The music is so laid-back and relaxing that the only thing that breaks your attention is the applause.

As only a handful of the songs break the two-minute mark, the short, but powerful pieces of music pays the proper respect to past composers like Daniel Fortea, Rodrigo Riera and Julio Sagreras. Ewald is one of the most respected classical guitarists among fans of rock, blues and country and her performances of “Farucca” and “Por Una Cabeza” can attest to that. The two bonus songs (“Vals Venezolano #1” and “Vals Venezolano #2”) are some of the best performances on this album as Ewald pours her passion in these pieces of music.

Annalisa Ewald still continues to teach students in her Norwalk, CT guitar studio as well as perform live. A portion of the proceeds from the album’s sale will be donated to the John DeCamp Fund to help veterans heal though music and caring. For more information on her new album, please visit annalisaewald.net.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

CD Review: Gregg Robins Releases "April" Demos

Singer/songwriter Gregg Robins is releasing an album of demos entitled “Snowing In April.” The nine-song release is the follow-up to his acclaimed debut “Everything That Matters” and takes a simpler, but effective approach to his songs.

The album begins with the title-song, “Snowing In April” as he describes his time in Moscow, but can also be related to places in the U.S. as this past winter broke records for snowfall amounts. His Cat Stevens sounding vocals in “You're Not Far” gives the already meaningful song extra warmth. Gregg shares the vocal duties with Remy Sepetoski on this lovely duet, but it’s the upbeat “How Lucky” and “Sanibel” that Gregg portrays the fun he has in performing acoustically. The album contains the beautiful bonus song “Believe,” written in 2011 and features Gregg’s daughter on vocals.

For more information on the latest from Gregg Robins, please visit greggrobins.com.

Monday, April 1, 2013

CD Review: Singer/Songwriters Ilias And Natania Hope For Big Things

From Australia comes the Algerian born singer/songwriter/producer Ilias with his debut release “Somewhere In Time.” This album has been 10 years in the making as all of the instruments are performed by Ilias, as well as producing the album.
The eleven-song release has a very laid-back, jazzy guitar vibe, similar to the influential Dire Straits. Songs like “One Of A Kind” and “Last Words” are smooth sounding pieces of music that go great on a relaxing evening with a great bottle of wine. The instrumental song “September Memory” is where his true talents shine as he makes his guitar playing the main focus without overpowering the song’s feeling. The album closes with the falsetto vocals of “Sometimes I Wonder…” as his guitar lays the backdrop.
To find out more from this multi-talented artist, please visit his Facebook page at www.facebook.com/tamalocal.
From Los Angeles we get the latest EP from India born singer/songwriter Natania entitled “Hope & Heartbreak.” The album features her break-out single, “Cherry Love” that has been receiving airplay on the west coast and her video has been featured on VH1 India. The song’s music is acoustic pop as Natania voice draws similarities to Norah Jones.  The six-song release displays Natania’s gentle voice that is just so easy to get wrapped up in. She sounds natural and seems to have fun performing which is reflected in the songs “Dance The Night Away” and “Carelessly Captivated.”
For more information on this rising singer/songwriter, please visit Natania’s website at nataniamusic.com.