Friday, February 28, 2014

CD Review: Connecticut Rockers 1974 Give Us "Death Of The Herald"

Connecticut rock band 1974 have recently released their fourth album entitled "1974 & The Death Of The Herald." The band was named "Best New Band" in 2012 and "Best Rock Band" in 2013 at the annual Connecticut Music Awards. Their latest release is considered a concept album of Earth in the future and individual characters dealing with great triumphs and great sorrow.

The album starts out with "The Great Galactic War," which begins with a more aggressive feel of their symphonic/progressive sound. The 1974 sound huge with the big chorus of "Herald Of Life," before the band begins to show their musical talents on the prog-rock structure of "Building An Empire" which flows into the atmospheric build-up of "Essential Arms." Their music takes on a dark tone with "Admiral Tackett" and spaces out with a great performance as the backdrop to the voiceovers on "The United Earthlands' Assembly." The album (and story) conclude with the nine-minute title song "The Death Of The Herald," that builds in strength and speed as the band's progressive nature shines through.

The 1974 have a couple shows lined-up, including a return to Connecticut on April 26 at the Zen Bar in Plainville. To find out more about this band, please visit

Thursday, February 27, 2014

CD Review: The Duke Of Norfolk Flys "South" And Hope Vista Heads To "Wonderland"

From the U.K. comes singer/songwriter Adam Howard with his first full-length release under the moniker The Duke Of Norfolk. His album entitled "Birds...Fly South!" is a culmination of his previously released seven EPs. Howard took the best representation of himself from his previous releases and created a great break-through album.

The eleven-track release starts out with the 45-second gospel chant of "Oh Freedom," which heads right into "The South" which has a very attractive sound. His music and lyrics place him in the league with some of the best independent singer/songwriters like Sufjan Stevens and Connor Oberst. The Duke Of Norfolk showcases his talents on the "Nightingale Movement I & II." The soft gentle flow of the music, puts your mind at ease, while his vocals accent the smooth feel of the song's subject. Howard sounds a little like Dave Matthews on "The Storm & The Sea" as he holds off until the last minute to let the rhythm take over. The album finishes up with Christmas bells jingling for the "Lovely Winter."

To find out more about this rising singer/songwriter, please visit

From New Jersey comes singer/songwriter Hope Vista with her brand new four-song EP. She has appeared on the TV show "X-Factor" and has also opened for pop star Aaron Carter. Her new batch of recordings draw upon all her recent experiences, beginning with her new single "Down In Wonderland." The song has all the up-tempo pop elements, while the clever lyrics play around the "Alice In Wonderland" story. Her vocals really come alive on the soft, gentle feel of "Hearts Of Darkness" as the music only enhances her innocent voice. She also shows a country side on "Stating The Facts," that gives her music a little more diversity.
To find out more about Hope Vista, please visit her Facebook page at

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

CD Review: New Metal Music Imported By Crucifliction And Grenouer

From north of the border comes the Vancouver metal band Crucifliction with their debut album "Heresy Is Met With Fire." The album was released digitally in December 2013, but physical copies will not be available until March. Their music is described at "death metal," but with a more accessible sound, similar to the early days of thrash metal.

The twelve-song release starts out with the crunching guitars of "Iraqistan" as the band locks in with its quick heart-pounding beats. They keep the high energy music flowing with "Procession Of The Damned" and display their top notch musicianship during the solo of "Human Target." Crucifliction gets their motor pumping on the quick blast of "Shreds of Existence," before pulling back the reigns for the slow metal jaunt of "Til Death." They continue with some exceptional guitar work on "Epidemic," before splitting your head open with the heavy sound of "Soulless." The album closes with the nine-minute epic feel of "The Dystopian Arsenal" and the final blast of energy with "Crucifliction."

To find out more about this new metal band from Canada, please visit their Facebook page at

Russian metal band Grenouer return with their seventh studio album "Blood On The Face." After a two year wait, the album was finally released last year through Mausoleum Records. This album shows a maturity in the band performance by trading the quick, high-energy death metal shots to a more clean, complete hard rock sound.

The album start out with big, hard-hitting rhythm of the title-song "Blood On The Face" and Grenouer hit the hard rock mainstream with the irresistible presence of "Sands Of Silence." They look to modernize their music with the rap-like breakdown of "Midday Show" and sound more and more like Linkin Park with "Rejected" and "Brain Fever." The album finishes up with a return to their metal roots with "Last Stop" and a spot-on cover of Stone Temple Pilots' "All In The Suit That You Wear."

To find out more about Grenouer and their latest album "Blood On The Face," please visit

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

CD Review: New Independent EPs Show Glimpses Of Great Music

From New York comes the singer/songwriter duo of Roses & Revolutions with their second self-titled EP. The four-song album fits in perfectly with today's popular Americana-country-folk sound. Beginning with "Take Me With You," you instantly get wrapped up in the vocals of Alyssa Coco (American Idol), then get swept away with the gentle feel of "Down." The album finishes up with some nice guitar work by Matt Merritt complimenting Alyssa's vocals on "Boomerang."

To find out more about Roses & Revolutions, please visit

Another New York singer/songwriter with some new music is Kristin Hoffmann with her latest release "The Human Compass: New Directions." Her vocals float above the classical sounds of "Let It Go" and she keeps that gentle comfort feel through the entire 18-minute album. The music gets a more modern pop feel on "Ghosts," before finishing with the rock approach of "The Magic."

To find out more about Kristin Hoffmann, please visit

From Washington D.C. comes the debut EP from Braddock Station Garrison entitled "High Water." The album was recorded over a weekend last July and the album carries that raw, garage rock feel. Their sound is a little more polished on "A Lot To Ask" and "Maria With Child" after the more hectic opening song "Into Your Arms." The six-song EP finishes up with the rough, alternative rock of "Girl Gotta Gun."

To find out more about Braddock Station Garrison, please visit the band's Facebook page at

New music from Pennsylvania pop rockers Falling Andes will make its way to your hand at the end of the month. Following the success of their debut album "Frantic," they return with "Castlevania." The album begins with the electronic pop of "Follow Me," which has an addictive rhythm to rock or dance to. Falling Andes show they can rock on the title-song, before finishing with the slow-shuffle of "Sunshine."

To find out more about Falling Andres, please visit their newly designed website at

Finally from across the Atlantic comes the latest EP from Paris thrash metal band Unscarred entitled "Fake Democracy." The band has been together since 2002 and have recently released this latest EP on cassette through Contorted Records. The five song album starts the heavy attack of "100 Lashes" as Unscarred has that classic British Heavy Metal sound. The band's edge is sharp on the adrenaline-pumping "Puppets Territory" and mixes in some great guitar work to go along with the screams of "Reborn."

To find out more about Unscarred, check out their Facebook page at

Monday, February 24, 2014

CD Review: Omnivore Recordings Celebrates 25 Years Of Camper Van Beethoven

American alternative rock band Camper Van Beethoven is celebrating the 25th anniversary of their most popular album "Our Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart" with a deluxe version of the album. Omnivore Recordings almost doubles the amount of music with 11 bonus tracks added to the original album.

In 1987, Camper Van Beethoven signed with Virgin Records after having a huge underground following. The band had a minor MTV hit with "Eye of Fatima" and their sound was ahead of it's time as they experimented with elements of reggae, ska and Middle Eastern music, meshing it with pure, straight up rock.

This new release of the band's 1988 album "Our Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart" features the original remastered album, along with expanded artwork. Songs like "O Death" and "Devil Song" sound like early influences to the Seattle grunge movement, while "Turquoise Jewelry" and "Life Is Grand" feel like they were written for the eighties Clash album "Combat Rock." The real treasure lies within the bonus tracks, including live versions of some of their early independent recordings like "The Day Lassie Went To The Moon" and "Seven Languages." Also included is the rare promo only version of the single "Eye Of Fatima" and the rare b-side of the "Life Is Grand" single, "Pope Festival."

Plus, to celebrate the occasion, Omnivore Recordings is releasing a deluxe version of Camper Van Beethoven's follow-up album "Key Lime Pie." The album comes newly remastered just like its predecessor with nine bonus tracks added on to the original album. After the success of "Our Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart," the band decided to experiment more with their sound as heard in the Eastern influence of the "Opening Theme" and the more laid-back country rock of "Sweethearts." Camper Van Beethoven still rock with "(I Was Born In A) Laundromat" and found minor success with their hard psychedelic rock version of Status Quo's "Pictures Of Matchstick Men." The bonus tracks consist of live versions of early songs like "Wasted" and "Take The Skinheads Bowling" along with unreleased session versions of songs "L'aguardiente" and "(I Don't Want To Go To The) Lincoln Shrine."

Both albums were released on February 4th through Omnivore Recordings and are available in CD and vinyl format. To find out more, please visit

Sunday, February 23, 2014

CD Review: Metal Blade Records Continues To Roll Out New Metal Music

Heavy Metal/Hard Rock label Metal Blade Records is turning the month of February into a headbangers ball with a handful of new releases to blast your eardrums. On the new music radar is the latest from death/black metal band Behemoth. Their album "The Satanist" is filled will heavy metal riffs as in "Blow Your Horn Gabriel" and "Amen," while the howling vocals give an evilness to the song's cult-like subject matter. The title song gives a glimpse of mainstream ability, but Behemoth bashes away the idea of slowing down with the speed blast of "In The Absence Of Light."

Another new death/black metal release comes from the Norwegian band Sarke. Their latest release "Aruagint" leans more toward the classic metal from the seventies, then today's shot of speed. The songs "Jodau Aura" and "Walls of Ru" showcase the influence bands like Black Sabbath have on their music, while the masterfully crafted "Icon Usurper" looks to put Sarke on the heavy metal map.

Trying to keep up with the new music of Down Among The Dead Men is an almost impossible task. Their new self-titled album begins with the neck-snapping speed of "Draconian Rage." The thirteen-song release is made up of two- to three- minute burst of music and energy that is sure to get the adrenaline flowing. They slow down for the crunching "Venus Mantrap," but display machine-gun speed on "The Stones Lament."

If speed and power is what you are looking for, then the latest release from death metal band Bodyfarm, entitled "The Coming Scourage," is the perfect match. The harsh aggressive vocals and buzzsaw guitars of "Frontline Massacre" and the speed and power of "The Wall of Decay" have laid the groundwork for Bodyfarm to become the leading Denmark band for death metal.

Another Norwegian band with a new album is Sahg. Their latest release "Delusions Of Grandeur" was inspired by the classic sci-fi movies "2001 A Space Odyssey" and "Metropolis." Instead of creating 4-minute pieces of music, Sahg have made each song on this album belong together, beginning with the epic rock of "Slip Off The Edge Of The Universe." Their music has a progressive metal feel in "Blizzardborne" and the 11-minute "Sleeper's Gate To The Galaxy." They still have that metal edge and speed on "Firechild," but showcase their musicianship wonderfully on "Walls of Delusion."

And now for something completely different, comes the new release from Slough Feg entitled "Digital Resistance." They combine elements of Celtic folk with a hard rock/metal beat as heard on the opening track "Analogue Avengers/Bertrand Russell's Sex Den" and in "The Luddite." The hardest they rock is on the title track, "Digital Resistance," which seems like a song lost in time as it has a classic metal feel to it and on the pulsating beat of "Magic Hooligan."

To find out more about these band's, check out

Friday, February 14, 2014

DVD Review: New Documentary Puts Pussy Riot Behind Bars

One of the most shocking music documentaries is the newly released "Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer." The film follows the trial of three members of the protesting punk band Pussy Riot as they perform a 37-second "Punk Prayer" at Moscow's Cathedral of Christ The Savior almost exactly two years ago to the day.

Back on February 21, 2012, four members of the band Pussy Riot performed an original song at the alter, before being detained by police. The 90-minute documentary proudly shows the different upbringings and backgrounds of each of the arrested members of the band. Pussy Riot's protest was never against God, but against the thought of Russian leader Vladimir Putin combining politics and religion.

The film shows how much of an impact this act has made on a worldwide scale with protests showing up in the U.S., Europe and even at a Madonna concert. Interviews with the parents of the arrested show total support and how we should all value independent thinking and freedom of speech.

This documentary premiered on HBO in June of last year and finally received a DVD release on February 11th through Cinedigm. Just prior to the DVD's release date, news came of the early release of the members of Pussy Riot from a Russian prison. To find out more about this documentary, please visit

Thursday, February 13, 2014

CD Review: Indie-Artists Release Some Exciting New Music

A trio of new artists are looking to make a name for themselves in the independent market. New releases have arrived from traditional roots artist Andy Ferrell, California folk band Julian & The Upside Sound and pop performer Kris N.

Beginning with the debut EP ("I Was Born") from Andy Ferrell, you get the pure, stripped-down roots music that artists like Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen have all started from. Coming from the small town of Boone, NC, Ferrell felt very strong about his career choice, which had lead him to discover the work of folk music legend Doc Watson.

The classic folk of "On The Road" puts your nerves at ease with this campfire tale, while "Honey Where You Been So Long" carries a bluegrass feel. His sound feel more like a early folk music pioneer, then the modern early twenties performer. The six-song album closes with the acoustic-strumming, storied lyrics  of "Waiting On The Rain" and the quiet, demo-sounding plee of "Poor Boy."

Andy Ferrell has about half-a-dozen live dates on his schedule. For a full list of shows and for more about his new album "I Was Born," please visit

Next from Dayton, OH comes the rock/pop of Kris N. with his new full-length album "The Thankful Parade." It is his first album to be recorded in Hi-Fi and was released through Poptek Records.

Kris N.'s legion of fans will have no trouble accepting this latest release as he displays his more laid-back acoustic pop sound on "Farewell Fifth Street." His songwriting formula stays the same "For Awesome," but gets more aggressive on the quick, punk-like fury of "Christmas Tree." He shows diversity with the aerie feel of "Carillon Belles" and hits the nail on the head with the alternative pop of "Grace Killey." The album closes with the quiet experiment "Tallahassee."

To find out more about Kris N., please visit her Facebook page at

Now we get to the latest from Julian & The Upside Sound with their newly release self-titled, full-length album. While some of the members have been together since 2007 in various other formations, this band is forging a new sound combining their love for stringed instruments with folk/rock mainstream bands Mumford & Sons and The Avett Brothers.

The ten-song release begins with the infectious feel of "Water," followed by the more gentle folk of "Constantly Risking Absurdity," that taps the musical vein of today's Americana sound. They show their love for classic with "Mimi's Waltz" which flows wonderfully into the heartfelt passion of "On Your Sleeve." Their voice mesh perfectly on the up-tempo acoustic preaching of Psalm Of Life," before slowing down for the quiet story of "Something Seven." The album finishes up with the gentle flow of the instrumental "Silverlining Waltz" and the multi-layered vocals of "Out Of Time."

To find out more about Julian & The Upside Sound, please visit their Facebook page at

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

CD Review: New Double-EPs From Singer/Songwriter Dylan Starrs And Rock Trio Fox

From Los Angeles, CA comes singer/songwriter Dylan Starrs with his latest release, the double EP "The Swill To The Swell." It incorporates his early influences of growing up in Dallas, TX as he showcases his love for Americana music.

The twelve track release begins with Dylan paying homage to his homestate in "Hey California" as you notice a slight roughness to his voice in the quieter moments of the song. His music has a fun, light-hearted feel to it in "Not For All The Whiskey In Ireland," while"A Matter Of Fact" has Dylan Starrs drawing similarities to Dave Matthews. He gets all the emotions flowing in the gospel stomp of "Ol Water," before pouring his feelings out on "Ghost of June." The album closes with the acoustic folk storytelling of "Body For Bread" and the gentle, demo-like feel of "I'd Like To Think So."

To find out more about this new independent artist, please visit his Facebook page at

From Michigan comes the rock trio Fox with their debut double-EP entitled "Fox/Chris Sinclair." It was released last year through the Kalamazoo Recording Company. The album begins with the funky "Big Fred," before get down and dirty with the bluesy feel of "The Morning." The guys really rock, with guitars blazing on "High Tide Rising," before closing the first EP with the six-minute, slow burn of Apathetic People."

The second half of the double-EP starts out with the jammy bass groove of "Dayumn" and the slow, sluggy beat of "Toxic Brain." The quick one, two punch of "Far Away" and "Alamo" leads right up to the eight-minute closer, the prog-rock feel of "Motherfucker (Burn It Down)."

To find out more about Fox and their latest release, please visit

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

CD Review: Seventrain Debut With New Southern California Rock Album

From San Diego, CA comes the self-titled debut album from hard rockers Seventrain on February 18th through So Cal Records/Alliance Entertainment. The band exists from the ashes of former bands 24-7 Spyz, Cage and Tourniquet with a renewed excitement to perform.

The eleven song release comes slithering out with the rhythm shuffle of "Bleeding" lead by some nice guitar solo work. Seventrain shows glimpses of the music that rocked the sunset strip in the late-eighties with "Rays Of The Sun," then flexes their metal muscle on the aggressive feel of "Change." They slow things down for the passion of "Pain" and get a little funky with "Trouble," before returning to the hard grind of "Never." The album finishes up with the seventies sounding rocker "Let It Out."

Seventrain have a CD release party on February 14, opening for The Michael Schenker Group. To find out more about the band and their debut album, please visit their Facebook page a t

Monday, February 10, 2014

CD Review: Singer/Songwriter Rod Melancon Draws Up "Parish Lines"

From Louisiana comes singer/songwriter Rod Melancon with his sophomore album "Parish Lines." The album will be released on March 4th through Medina River Records and was produced by Brian Whelan (Dwight Yoakam).

The album begins with "Duck Festival Queen" as Rod feels the influence of his producer on this country opener. He gets heavier with the strong rhythm of "Marella" as he rocks the blues/country groove like a seasoned veteran. Rod shows his softer side with the gentle acoustics of "Curve Lounge," and draws up the classic country traditional sound of "South Louisian'." He plugs in his guitar to rock with the punk-like fury of "Wanna Go For A Ride" and gives his best Bruce Springsteen performance on "Cushing Avenue." The album closes with the Johnny Cash-style country/folk-storytelling of "Feathers."

To find out more about Rod Melancon and his new album "Parish Lines," please visit his Facebook page at

Sunday, February 9, 2014

CD Review: A New Release From The Dream Syndicate Gives Us Insight To "The Day Before Wine And Roses"

Back in the early 1980's, Los Angeles alternative band The Dream Syndicate was the west coast's answer to R.E.M. They became an underground sensation with the release of their debut album "The Days Of Wine And Roses," but never caught the attention of mainstream radio or MTV. On February 4th, for the first time, Omnivore Recordings will release "The Day Before Wine And Roses." It features a live, in-studio recording of The Dream Syndicate prior to the release of that fateful first album. With an audience of 200, including members of R.E.M., The Bangles and Green On Red, the album shows the birth of grunge music. The Dream Syndicate keep things loose, playing originals from their debut EP and some of their favorite cover songs.

The album starts off with the original "Some Kind Of Itch," which has lead singer Stevie Wynn pulling off his best Lou Reed impression. The first cover song that the band tackles is a grungy version of Neil Young's "Mr. Soul," before breaking out the dirty guitars on "That's What You Always Say." They turn Bob Dylan's "Outlaw Blues" into a reckless punk masterpiece and drag out "Open Hour" past the eight-minute mark before heading into the feedback-fused "When You Smile." The highlight of the show is another eight-minute romp through Donovan's "Season Of The Witch."

The Dream Syndicate recently celebrated the 30th anniversary of their debut album with a U.S. tour. To stay up to date with the latest happenings from The Dream Syndicate, please visit

Saturday, February 8, 2014

CD Review: Missing Persons Have Been Found With A New Studio Album

The new wave pop band, Missing Persons broke out big in the 1980's with their debut album "Spring Session M" and the hit singles "Words" and "Destination Unknown." After two more less successful albums, the band disbanded in 1986 with lead singer Dale Bozzio leaving the band. After mildly successful solo careers, the members of Missing Persons have reunited a handful of times for short-lived reunion shows.

Now, 18 years since their last studio album, Missing Persons have reunited to release their first album of new material entitled "Missing In Action." It showcases that pop/punk, new wave sound that brought them success early in their career. The album will be release on March 4th through Cleopatra Records and was produced by Billy Sherwood (Yes).

The ten-song release begins with "Do or Die," a battle cry for the band as they modernize and energize their dated sound. Buozzio's vocals in "Hello, Hello" are sure to win you over as she easily retains her crown as the queen of new wave rock music. Missing Persons still show glimpses of their eighties "hay-day" with "Covert Operation" and "All The Way," before closing with the reggae groove of "Siren Song" and the grunge-rock edginess of "Crisis In Overdrive." The album also includes two bonus songs, the radio remix of the album's first single "Hello, Hello" and an acoustic version of one of their most popular songs "Walking In L.A."

To catch up with Missing Persons, please visit and to find out more about their new album "Missing In Action," please visit

Friday, February 7, 2014

CD Review: Show Your Love With Some New Sinatra

To help you get ready for Valentine's Day, comes the latest compilation from Universal Music Enterprises entitled "Sinatra With Love." It features sixteen of Frank Sinatra's most timeless romantic classics from his Capitol and Reprise catalogs.

The album starts off with the gentle flow of "Moonlight Becomes You," which features the beautiful arrangement by Nelson Riddle. This compilation doesn't just feature the soft, mushy ballads, but also includes some more upbeat number like Cole Porter's classic "Just One Of Those Things" and the necessary "The Way You Look Tonight." The way Sinatra's voice seduces the female mind with "From This Moment On" is irresistible. One of the more rare songs featured in this set is the Antonio Carlos Jobim written "Wave" as the song adds a little Latin flair. The set finishes with "It Had To Be You," (featured in the movie "When Harry Met Sally") and a jazzed up version of the classic "My Foolish Heart."

To find out more about "Sinatra, With Love," please visit

Thursday, February 6, 2014

CD Review: Hannah & Maggie Find "Company" In New Album

From New York comes the newest female folk duo Hannah & Maggie with their new, soon to be released album "In The Company Of Strangers." It is the duo's third album and they have definitely honed their voices to showcase the perfect harmonization on this latest batch of songs.

The thirteen song release begins with the gentle acoustic folk-strumming of "Home As We Know It" as you instantly notice how well their voices mesh together. They show a little edginess to their sweet folk sound on "The Final Straw," then perform with the innocents of early Simon & Garfunkel on "Morning Star." Their voices float along on "Atticus" and its hard not to compare them to the Indigo Girls on "Pray For Wind," but Hannah & Maggie have a timeless sound to their voices. The girls get a little funky on "Nightingale," before closing with the graceful sway of "September."

Hannah & Maggie will be hitting the road on February 21 with a show at the Iron Horse in Northampton, MA. To find out more about their upcoming tour and their new album "In The Company Of Strangers," please visit

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

CD Review: Just Having "One Of These Days" From Marshall Dane

From Canada comes the latest release from Marshall Dane, one of the top country artist north of the border. His new album "One Of These Days" received several nominations at the 2013 Country Music Awards of Ontario (CMAO) including artist and album of the year. It will be released in the U.S. and worldwide in February of 2014 on Gold Lake Records.

The twelve song release has blockbuster written all over it, beginning with the smooth country sway of "Take You Home To Mama." Marshall finds his way to your heart with "I'll Be Your Whiskey," then gets his country rock groove on the feel good lyrics of "Stay Up Late." The title song gets you up on your feet with the pounding rhythm to dance and then he blazes a trail with the up-tempo rocker "Living It Up." The album's current single, "Alcohol Abuse" is a sure-fire hit as Marshall's play on drink names makes for a good time. The album closes with some great harmonizing on a another possible hit single, "Forever Girl."

Marshall Dane has just wrapped up a tour of Canada, but look for him to venture south of the border once his album is officially released. To find out more about his new album "One Of These Days," please visit

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

CD Review: Stars In Stereo Rock Hard On Debut Album

Los Angeles rockers Stars In Stereo have finally released their full-length, self-titled debut album that has been two years in the making. After hitting the road, opening for bands like Halestorm, Bullet For My Valentine, Flyleaf, Anberlin, Black Veil Brides, The Used and Foxy Shazam, Stars In Stereo took what they learned and created ten hard rock songs that could all become hits in their own right.

The album starts off with the band bursting out of the gate with the aggressive attack of "The Broken." Lead singer, Bec Hollcraft becomes the main focus as her voice during the chorus is undeniable. The band powers through "Violence" and show more of an edge to their sound during "All Together." While Bec's vocals have a pop appeal, the music of "Red Eye Romance" showcases the band hard rock aggressiveness. The album's lead single "Every Little Thing" sums up the album perfectly with great strong vocals and a mainstream hard rock vibe.

To find out more about Stars In Stereo, please visit

Monday, February 3, 2014

CD Review: Mexican Rockers Reacta Look To Make A "Refraction" With Debut Album

From south of the border comes the debut album, "Refraction" from the Mexican Alternative Rock band Reacta on February 11th. They honed their skills as an instrumental band in their hometown of Aguascalientes, Mexico before being discovered by American troubadour William Merritt Hendricks, who helped them create this debut release.

The ten-song album begins with the slow-build up of "Lost," which carries a hard rock back beat with glimpses of progressive rock. Their music takes on a more mainstream rock approach with "Back Home," then adds a more electronic sound on "Stay Here." The highlight of the album has to be the twelve-minute "Complication" as the band experiments with their sound, opening up by combining their brand of alternative rock with elements of ambient guitars and keyboards to create a space-like atmosphere. They return with the straight-up, mainstream rock of "Skyscraper," before closing with the edgier electronic rock of "Last Train" and the big guitar driven grand finale of "Storyline."

To find out more about Reacta and their debut release "Refraction," please visit

Sunday, February 2, 2014

CD Review: The Beatles Revisit The BBC With "On Air - Live At The BBC Volume 2"

It has been almost twenty years since the release of The Beatles "Live at the BBC" and continuing with the process of remastering their entire catalog, the two-disc set was remastered and re-released with updated artwork and the highest quality sound they could provide. To co-inside with this release came (for the first time) The Beatles "On Air - Live at the BBC Volume 2." It features over forty one-of-a-kind, live in-studio performances mixed with speech tracks of The Beatles live on the BBC radio.

The set begins with the young Beatles mixing in cover songs ("Words Of Love" and "Lucille") with previously unreleased performances of some of their hit singles "Please Please Me" and "Do You Want To Know A Secret." IT seem like they take more finesse performing the cover songs than their own original music. The quality of the recordings vary between the perfectly remastered sound of songs like "Ask Me Why" and "P.S. I Love You" to the rougher mixes of "I'm Talking About You" and "Beautiful Dreamer." One of the real treats is the in-studio banter between these four friends from Liverpool as they read song requests and answer questions for fans of the BBC.

The second disc consists of a handful of their biggest hit singles beginning with "I Saw Her Standing There." Some of the gems on this disc are their version of cover songs like Carl Perkins' "Glad All Over" and Chuck Berry's "Memphis, Tennessee." While some of the songs may repeat from the first release, their performance of these songs are different like a rougher, quicker version of "I Got A Woman" and a fun romp through "Kansas City/Hey Hey Hey." Each of the two discs close with candid interview given with each member of The Beatles individually between 1965 and 1966. It gives a little more insight into their personal lives and how they were coping will the success of their popularity.

This new two-disc set is the perfect companion to the original "Live at the BBC" release. It features a 48-page full color booklet that also gives a little insight to each performance on this set. To find out more about this release, please visit

Saturday, February 1, 2014

CD Review: Newly Released Forgotten Albums From Brand X and Percy Jones

One of the forgotten supergroups of the late-seventies is the UK Progressive Jazz Fusion band Brand X. It included Phil Collins (Genesis) on drums, Percy Jones (Soft Machine) on bass, John Goodsall on guitar and Robin Lumley (Rod Argent) on keyboards. This line-up stayed together for two albums that were mildly successful in the US and UK, before Collins left to record with Genesis. Upon his return, Brand X would record three more studio albums before Collins departed for good in 1980. Their final album with the original line-up was "Do They Hurt," which became a mild hit in the US. Following the band's demise, record labels Charisma (UK) and Passport (US) were owed one more album, which became "Is There Anything About?" It was cobbled together from what little unreleased material was hanging around in the Brand X vault.

Now Gonzo Multimedia is re-releasing the album "Is There Anything About?," along with another post-separation release "Missing Period," which was originally released in 1997. The "Missing Period" album covers the earliest known recordings of the band prior to the release of their debut album in 1976. The album feels more like a jam session as the musicians are feeling their way around each others talents. The seven-minute opening song "Dead Pretty" has a more progressive rock, King Crimson-like feel to the music. The band really takes off into the jazz-fusion of "Kugelblitz" as each band member is allowed to add their own certain elements to the overall sound. This album is more experimental than that of their debut, which gives the music a more spontaneous feel.

The album, "Is There Anything About?" is presented in its original track line-up and showcases Percy Jones' bass as the dominate instrument through the later recordings. Songs like "Swan Song" have a very modern eighties feel to the music, while the title-song is one of the best leftovers from their recording period together. Goodsall's guitar solos are mind-blowing, while Collins keeps the songs on track, not needing much of a solo to display his talents on this album.

Finally, for the first time is a previously unreleased soundboard recording of Brand X "Live At The Roxy LA 1979." It is 70-minutes of live Brand X music at the height of their popularity and performance. It was recorded on September 23rd and shows a band of brothers having fun, performing together like they have been a band forever. Song like "Dance Of The Illegal Aliens" and "Malega Virgin" take you on a journey, with each song pushing the twelve minute mark and beyond. The guitar/keyboard combo of John Goodsall along with Robin Lumley and Peter Robinson highlight many of the album's solo pieces and expands your mind with the music. The highlight of the album has to be the encore "Nuclear Burn" which showcases how locked in Phil Collins and Percy Jones were with the rhythm, doubling the song's original length with a sound you'd wish would go on for another hour or so.

Also from Gonzo Multimedia is the re-release of the long, out-of-print Percy Jones solo album "Cape Castastrophe," originally released in the early 1990s. It features Jones experimenting with sounds using whatever instruments or objects that were available to him. The title-song is the perfect example as he uses an array of different beats and tones as a backdrop for his bass solos. The album reaches its experimental peak on the 23-plus minute mind adventure of "Barrio," before finishing it up with the seven-minute bass solo that slowly takes flight on "Thin Line" and Jones' venture into classical music with "Symphony In F Major."

To find out more about these latest releases from Gonzo Multimedia, please visit