Thursday, April 30, 2015

CD Review: New Independent Releases From The Damngivers And From Lonnie In The Garden

California roots rock band Damngivers return with their full-length debut album "Everything's Jake," which was released independently on April 22nd. The album features Neal Casal (Ryan Adams & The Cardinals, Chris Robinson Brotherhood) on guitar and Marc Ford (Black Crowes, Ben Harper) producing six of the albums twelve tracks. The new release begins with the steady, southern rock rhythm of "Daddy Knows" as singer Gerry Gomez has that experienced country soul tone to his vocals. Their song "12-Pack Beauty Queen" runs along the same vein as Jim Croce's "Roller Derby Queen," while the smooth soulful blues of "This Day Forward" showcases the awesome music that this band creates. The Damngivers have fun with the up-tempo romp of "Drinking For Two," then return to the southern blues of "Working Class Stiff." The album finishes up with the heartfelt ballad of "Old Friend Joe" and the sing-along tone of "Waiting For The Waterfall." To find out more about The Damngivers and their new album "Everything's Jake," please visit

From Canada comes the new EP from psychedelic rockers Lonnie In The Garden. The new album entitled "Black" is part one of this planned double release, with part two to follow later in the year. This new six song release begins and ends with short instrumentals, but in-between is where we discover what this band is made of, lead by singer/songwriter Lynne Craven. Beginning with "Black & Blue," you get a sense of their combination of combining classic sixties rock with jazzy/pop vocals to keep you wondering where their music will take you. The album's lead single, "Song 3" has a gentle folk-style flow that allows Lynne's vocals to soar, while "Natasha" has the band running on all cylinders on this raw rocker. To find out more about Lonnie In The Garden and their new release "Black," please visit

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

CD Review: Singer/Songwriters Shine With New Releases From The Pine Hill Project, The Honeycutters And Andie Sandoval

Ever since the early nineties, Richard Shindell and Lucy Kaplansky have been creating great music on their own with each of them guesting on the others album. They talked about doing a record together for the better part of twenty years, deciding now was the perfect time to do it. They invited Larry Campbell (Bob Dylan) to produce the album and he made the duo, now known as The Pine Hill Project, step outside their comfort zones to create a different sound to what they were used to. The new album is made up of cover songs, including folk versions of well-known hits like U2's "The Sweetest Thing" and "I Know You Rider" made famous by the Grateful Dead. Richard's voice on the Gillian Welch song "Wichita" gives the song a more country feel, while Lucy delivers her best in "Rain Just Falls," before the two come together for the country combo, "Missing You." To find out more about The Pine Hill Project and their new album "Tomorrow You're Going," please visit their Facebook page at

American country roots band The Honeycutters recently released their third studio album "Me Oh My" on April 21st through the Organic Record Company. The new fourteen song album begins with the steady swing of "Jukebox" as lead singer Amanda Platt's vocals invite you to take a spin on the dance floor. The band picks up the tempo for the smooth country rocker "All You Ever," before slowing down for the blues tone of "Me Oh My." Your pulse will quicken with the two-step rhythm of "Ain't It The Truth" and you can't escape the warming vocals of "Little Bird" as Platt's voice looks to soothe your mind. The "Wedding Song" is sure to included in many summer celebrations, along with the up-tempo swing of "I'll Be Loving You." To find out more about The Honeycutters and their latest album "Me Oh My," please visit

Singer/songwriter Andie Sandoval is originally from Mexico and is looking to bring her latest single "Gold In The Sand" to the bright lights of Hollywood. Her voice is sweet and sultry as the music is definitely dance floor worthy, while the vocals may reflect her dreams of hitting it big in the music industry. Also check out her acoustic folk version of Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean," which is also amazing as her rendition adds more meaning to the words.. To find out more about Andie Sandoval and her music, please visit

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

CD Review: New Global Popularity Brings Out The First Two Albums From Momoiro Clover Z

Not many people in the U.S. have even heard of the Japanese pop band Momoiro Clover Z, that was until rock legends KISS collaborated with this five-piece girl group on their latest single, "Yume no Ukiyo ni Saitemina." Now with a new surge in growth in the group's popularity, the Cleopatra Records label is re-releasing their first two albums for the first time in the U.S.

Their music has a very attractive pop sound that becomes overwhelmingly contagious. Their albums have become huge sellers in Japan, both "Battle And Romance" and "5th Dimension" have debuted in the top 3 spots on the Oricon music chart. Even though the words to the songs are unrecognizable (unless you know Japanese) the music hits every addictive beat from dance pop to elaborative orchestration to hardcore electronic heavy metal. Their voices also have a innocent quality to them that allows the girls to harmonize very nicely and adds more punch to the vocals of the songs. To find out more about Momoiro Clover Z, please visit their Facebook page at

Monday, April 27, 2015

CD Review: New Vintage Sounding Releases From The Oddfathers And Seventies Band Kelakos

Classic rockers The Oddfathers return after two years with their new EP, "Part II." It was produced by guitarist Jerry Douglas and released back in March through Rock Steady Records. The new four-song EP begins with the steady, up-tempo rhythm of "Another Tear Goes Dry," which was released as a single back in 2013, as the band is focused on their hard rock delivery. The Oddfathers get funky on the Red Hot Chili Peppers sound of "Chasing Saving Grace," before closing with the steady, adult-rock of "Automatic Man." To find out more about The Oddfathers and their latest happenings, please visit their Facebook page at

While The Oddfathers have a classic rock sound, seventies rockers Kelakos is undiscovered classic rock. Kelakos formed in the mid-seventies, releasing their first single in 1976 and their first album in 1978. While little national attention was brought upon the band, Kelakos did have a mainstay on the New England club circuit for four years, after which the band disbanded. As the band's 40th anniversary came around, a decision was made to release the band's recordings for the first time on CD as a 15-song compilation entitled "Uncorked: Rare Tracks From A Vintage 70s Band."

Right from the dance-rock opener "Boogie Band Express," you can feel the nostalgia in the recordings. They had a great, addictive rock sound as displayed in "Funky Day," the B-side to their original single "There's A Feeling." The majority of the release is made up of their 1978 album "Gone Are The Days," which features a heavier classic rock sound as in "Frostbite Fantasy" and "Break Of Day Coda." They also had all the ingredients in place for pop/rock radio gold with "How Did You Get So Crazy" and "Lovin' So Fine." but the stars never lined-up perfectly for this band to find success. The compilation closes with the band's first single "There's A Feeling," which had a great "west coast" rock vibe that brings you back to the earlier days of FM radio. To find out more about this release, please visit

Sunday, April 26, 2015

CD Review: Prog-Rock Songs Gets Classical Treatment From The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

Over the last few years, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) has strayed away from their classical basis to take on a new challenge with progressive rock music. They released an album last year of the RPO performing the song of Rush and have now expanded their horizons with their latest work "The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Plays Prog Rock Classics." This new ten-song release dives deeper into these well-known rock hits and showcases them in a different light that only enhances the song's legendary status.

Beginning with the "ELP Suite: Tarkus/From The Beginning/Tarkus (reprise)" the RPO is off and running at top speed to keep up with the song's tempo. The music begins to settle down with their fulfilling performance of Pink Floyd's "Comfortably Numb" featuring guitarist Ian Bairnson (Alan Parsons Project) with an electrifying extended cover of David Gilmour's iconic guitar solo. They condense the Jethro Tull epic "Thick As A Brick" down to six-and-a-half minutes, before showcases the RPO's full potential with the intricacy on King Crimson's "21st Century Schizoid Man" featuring touring Crimson drummer Gavin Harrison and prog-rock guitarist Guthrie Govan. If any song was created for this setting, it has to be the Moody Blues' "Nights In Whits Satin" as the song's original melody plays through this piece featuring a harmonica solo by the great Mark Feltham. The album closes with a pair of songs that embodies progressive rock, beginning with the lush orchestration of Genesis' "Watcher Of The Skies." Then, Rush's "Red Barchetta" builds up the intensity once again with its energetic rhythm and amazing guitar interludes supplied by Iron Maiden's Adrian Smith. To find out more about this release, please visit

Saturday, April 25, 2015

CD Review: The Mighty Thor Gets "Unchained" With New Re-Release Of 1983 Album

Canadian heavy metal band Thor have become a cult fan favorite, especially overseas in Europe. Their beginnings hark back to their 1977 debut album "Keep The Dogs Away." It sold well in their home country, but did little elsewhere. It wasn't until their 1983 EP "Unchained" that Thor become one of the perfect bands for the heavy metal/hair metal movement happening in the U.S. and in Europe. They would stay together until 1987, when the band decided to break up and lead singer Jon Miki entered the world of acting. Thor reformed again in 2000 and have been releasing albums and building a bigger following ever since.

To remember the glory days of the eighties, Dead Line Music in association with Cleopatra Records is re-releasing Thor's "Unchained" EP along with six bonus tracks and also their 1982 EP "Lighting Strikes Again." Eighteen-songs blanket this release, smoldered with the eighties metal that was more about gimmicks and looks, than the music, but some of these songs have that lasting potential. Songs like "Anger," "Lazer Eyes" and "When Gods Collide" have a timeless quality to their metalness as they have that aggressive yet controlled tone to them. The bonus tracks also have that timeless heavy metal appeal beginning with "War Hammer" and the guitar riff driven "Ride From Hell," which at times has a Judas Priest feel to them. They present their speed metal with "Rag-Na-Rock" as this was the perfect setting for their brand of music. The addition of their earlier EP "Lightning Strikes Again" is a nice addition, but not needed since many of the songs are repeated from the more developed "Unchained" album.

Included with this new re-release is a bonus DVD with over two hours of concert footage, videos and behind the scenes footage that gives fans more insight into the world of Thor. There is also a 24-page booklet with a new essay by famed Los Angeles record producer Brian Kehew and a preview of the 20-page Thor comic book. To co-inside with this release, Thor will be hitting the road alongside the band's new documentary "I Am Thor." To find out more about this and all of Thor's latest news, please visit

Friday, April 24, 2015

CD Review: Jimmy LaFave Brings Along "The Night Tribe" For His New Album

Singer/songwriter Jimmy LaFave's career dates back to the late-seventies when he released his first solo albums just after graduating high school. His music has been described as "Red Dirt Music" as he was a follower of fellow Oklahoma native Woody Guthrie's recordings. Jimmy LaFave will be releasing his 18th studio album "The Night Tribe" on May 12th through Music Roads Records.

The sound on his latest release seems influenced from his production of the Jackson Browne tribute album that he worked on just last year. The new 13-song release begins with the smooth groove of "The Beauty Of You" as you are introduced to LaFave's amazing songwriting. The song "Maybe" has a Jackson Browne influence playing through this mild rocker, while his mellow, acoustic cover of Neil Young's "Journey Through The Past" puts your mind at ease. Jimmy LaFave picks the tempo back up with the bluesy-rocker "Trying To Get Back To You," before slowing the tempo down once again for the gospel-like feel of Bob Dylan's "Queen Jane Approximately." The steady rhythm of "Never Came Back To Memphis" and "Dust Bowl Okies" has the band showcasing their skills as Jimmy's words lead the way. Jimmy LaFave & The Night Tribe have a load of dates that run all summer long. To find out more about his latest album "The Night Tribe" and about his live shows, please visit

Thursday, April 23, 2015

CD Review: Newcomer Greg Holden Looks To "Chase The Sun" With Warner Bros. Debut

British-born singer/songwriter Greg Holden recently released his major label debut album "Chase The Sun" through Warner Bros. Records. He may be best known for writing the hit single "Home," which Phillip Phillips made into a #1 seller. The lead single from his new album, "Hold On Tight," is very contagious and will have you shouting along to the chorus as the Americana rhythm and amazing vocal delivery is the perfect combination for pop success.

The new eleven-song release continues with the mid-tempo appeal of "Save Yourself" as Holden's songwriting has the perfect pitch for mainstream success. He seems most comfortable strumming an acoustic guitar as in the folk style of "Boys In The Street," and in the heartfelt ballad "Go Chase The Sun," which helps showcase his amazing writing talents. He shows great diversity with his performances of the pop/dance beats of "Free Again" and the mainstream rock of "It'll All Come Out," before closing with the light, sunny, island vibe of "The Next Life."

Greg Holden is currently on tour with Delta Rae, before switching to tour with  Ingrid Michaelson in June. To find out more about his latest release "Chase The Sun," please visit

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

CD Review: Passion Pit Finds A "Kindred" Spirit With Their Third Release

After only a few years, American electronic rock band Passion Pit found success with their second album "Gossamer" debuting in the top 5 on the Billboard album chart upon its release back in 2012. This led up to the band headlining their own tour and a build-up of anticipation for their follow-up album, which was released on April 21st through Columbia Records entitled "Kindred." They gave fans a taste of their new release at this year's SXSW festival and are ready to head out on the road again with a month-long tour of the U.S. following this release.

The new ten-song album begins with the electronic pop beats of "Lifted Up (1985)," which carries that nostalgic eighties vibe mixed with modern youthful energy to create another hit single. That energy continues into the clap rhythm of "Whole Life Story" and "All I Want," but sandwiched between those two songs is the smooth R&B tone to "Where The Sky Hangs." The album's latest single "Until We Can't (Let's Go)" is filled to the brim with electronic beats along with a fun, contagious chorus that should have no problem finding success on the radio. The album closes with the short two-minute manufactured, slow swaying sound of "Ten Feet Tall (II)."

The album has already spawned three hit singles and will definitely be on a lot of Playlists throughout the summer. To find out more about the latest release from Passion Pit in their spring tour, please visit

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

CD Review: New Music From Independent Folk Artists Diamondwolf and Laura Joy

Seattle-duo Alicia Dara and Glen Cooper have rejoined as Diamondwolf to release their sophomore effort entitled "Your Time Has Come." The new album was released back in March and showcases the growth in their songwriting and allows each member to excel. The new ten song release begins with the Americana stomp rhythm of "When I Rise" as the duo stick close to each other vocally. Alicia looks to take the lead on the folk-rock appeal of "Crasher" and the soothing, gentleness of "Swan Song," which features the duo's amazing harmonies. Diamondwolf find a great folk-blues groove in "Burn Him Down," before closing with the fragile delivery of "Across The Water" and classic folk delivery of "Mantra," which allows Glen to finally step to the mic for the lead vocals. To find out more about Diamondwolf and their latest release "You Time Has Come," please visit

Also released in March was the latest EP from folk artist Laura Joy entitled "Between Our Words." Her voice reflects a younger Joni Mitchell at times while the lighter feel of the opener "Takes A While" makes her music very attractive and accommodating. Her songwriting shines on the uptempo folk/pop of "Moving On" as Laura Joy has her sights set on the mainstream of adult contemporary music. To find out more about Laura Joy and her latest release "Between Our Words," please visit

Monday, April 20, 2015

CD Review: New Music From Rising Indie-Artists Matthew K, Sun Soul Orchestra And Jus

Vocal sensation Matthew K will be releasing his debut album on May 5th through the Rough And Tumble label. The album was recorded and mixed, pretty much all over the world (U.S., U.K. and Australia) and mixes pop ballads with an International feel. Matthews' voice is strong and timeless and demands your full attention as in the opener "Home." The comforting feel of "I Love These Days," combines Beach Boys type harmonies amongst a country backdrop, while "Half Life" has that timeless quality that Matthew's vocals deliver. His voice carries you through the lush orchestration of "Story Of Love," before showcasing his full vocal ability with the European flavor of "Cuento Del Amor." The album finishes with a wonderful, heartfelt rendition of the timeless prayer "Ave Maria." To find out more about Matthew K and his new album, please visit

From California comes the full-length debut album from Sun Soul Orchestra entitled "What Matters Most." It has been five years in the making and showcases their love for soul music. The new eleven-song release is a mix of cover songs and originals, done with a twist, in order to put their mark on them. The album begins with the seventies soul style of "Can't Deny It" as singer Stevo Theard lays his gospel down. The first of back-to-back covers is a spot-on replication of Mary Jane Girls' "In My House," while Sun Soul Orchestra's take on The Rolling Stones' "Waiting On A Friend" has an island flavor added to the pop lyrics. After the classical sounds of "Gingerly," their cover of Bob Marley's "Waiting In Vein" continues in the classical scope without really making the impact of the original recording. They find more success on their smooth rendition of "Zoom," originally performed by The Commodores, before closing with the quick funk/souled retro feel of "Keep Talkin'." To find out more about Sun Soul Orchestra and their latest release "What Matters Most," please visit

NY music producer Justin Naundros is ready to release his debut EP under the name Jus entitled "Obsession." The new album was be available on April 21st through his own newly launched label Zenith Point Records. He also calls upon some of his friends to help out on this latest short, six-song release. Beginning with "Legacy," the beats are huge as BMG artist Bobby Dub and Chicago rapper Add-2 help out on this future mainstream hip-hop staple. The addition of Maryann's sultry pop vocals on "Made" along with bi-lingual rapper Freddy Flopez gives "Made" an added dimension. Freddy also appears on the title track "Obsession" as him and Jus flow so well together. The album finishes with Add-2 returning along with Niko Ellison for the smooth R&B flavor of "Love Songs." To find out more about Jus and his latest release "Obsession," please visit

Sunday, April 19, 2015

CD Review: Omnivore Recordings Gives You A History Lession With "Beale Street" And Live Album From Art Pepper

In 1978, an album entitled "Beale Street Saturday Night" was released to remind people about how important the early music scene of this particular Memphis, TN street was to birth of rock 'n' roll. The album was produced by James Luther Dickinson, who worked with the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan and the Flamin' Groovies amongst others and features musicians like Sid Selvidge, Sleepy John Estes, Furry Lewis and Teenie Hodges. It was recorded live at Ardent Studios, at the Orpheum Theater and at the artists' homes. The album became a cult classic in the Memphis area, but now Omnivore Recordings is releasing a remastered version of the album for the first time on CD.

The fourteen songs that make up this release is a history lesson and jam session all in one. Beginning with Sid Selvidge on piano for the original "Walkin' Down Beale Street," which is a lost folk/blues/gospel gem that gets the lesson started on high note. Grandma Dixie Davis places you back in time with her classy jazzy delivery of "Beale Street Blues," while Sleepy John Estes gives you your first account of the times on Beale Street during it's heyday with "Big Fat Mama/Liquor Store." The classic acoustic blues of "Furry's Blues" by Furry Lewis reminds us of an earlier time when songs were all about the stories as the music laid the backdrop for these tales. The Mud Boys & The Neutrons' "On The Road Again" comes straight from Bob Dylan & The Band's "Basement Tapes" as the feeling mirror each other. You only wish you were there to experience it in person. The album closes with Grandma Dixie Davis returning with the playful piano tune "Roll On, Mississippi." To find out more about this wonderful release, please visit

Omnivore Recordings closes out the new Art Pepper trilogy with "Neon Art: Volume Three," which includes three songs recorded live during his 1981 tour of Japan. The "Neon Art" trilogy began back in February and focused on his live recordings from his 1981 world tour. Volume three continues with the inspiring 24-minute smoothness of "Make A List (Make A Wish)" as Pepper is in complete command of this performance. He goes off slightly with some impulse ramp-ups, but the rhythmic flow of the song keeps the melody going. The slow, mellowness of "Everything Happens To Me" showcases the full emotion that Art Pepper and his band place into their performances as you just melt your troubles away listening to this great piece of music. The album closes with the funky rhythm of "Arthur's Blues" as the band and audience enjoy the performance very much. To find out more about this latest volume of "Neon Art" and the other volumes, please visit

Saturday, April 18, 2015

CD Review: Omnivore Recordings Releases Rare Live Show From Dion

Singer/songwriter Dion DiMucci, better known simply as Dion, was a huge influence on modern music, first as a leader of The Belmonts in the 50's and then his solo work in the sixties. Now for the first time, Omnivore Recordings is releasing a rare live acoustic show from 1971 recorded at the Bitter End. His voice is still strong and soothing and the songs are short, concise and showcase his love for folk music.

The new 17-song release begins with Bob Dylan's "Mama, You've Been On My Mind," which Dion slows down to give a more meaningful delivery than the original. He opens up to the audience, talking a little bit about his latest touring group before adding his own brand to Chuck Berry's "Too Much Monkey Business." Dion tends to stay away from his own catalogue until the end, instead performing his renditions of The Beatles' "Blackbird" and Leonard Cohen's "Sisters Of Mercy." He mixes in a blues cover of "Don't Start Me Talking" between a couple of his own numbers, "Your Own Backyard" and "Sunshine Lady." His singing seems more comfortable with his own songs as with "Sunniland" and "Willigo," before bringing out his hits to close the show. "The Wanderer" takes on a bluesier tone in this acoustic setting, while "Ruby Baby" is still fun to hear even stripped down to the core. He finishes with the slow, meaningful delivery of "Harmony Sound" which is showcased in the perfect setting.

Dion "Recorded Live At The Bitter End August 1971" was released on April 7th. To find out more about it, please visit

Friday, April 17, 2015

CD Review: The Best Of Audio Fidelity's SACD Comes From The Guess Who

The Audio Fidelity label does not take on too many "greatest hits" albums in order to perfect the sound. The reason for this could be that the songs are so well known that cleaning up the audio would not matter to fans or that a band's "greatest hits" set is usually an album that was put together by the label for sales purposes. There is one such "greatest hits" album that Audio Fidelity sought out to make one of their latest Hybrid Multichannel SACD releases and it is from the seventies rock band, The Guess Who.
"The Best of The Guess Who" was originally released back in 1971 and has remained the same quality, until now. Steve Hoffman at Stephen Marsh Mastering mastered the dual Channel SACD from all the original masters and gave new life to some of the greatest rock songs of the sixties and seventies. The keyboards, bass, strings and horns of "These Eyes" simply jump from your speakers as the instruments are allowed to breathe on this new release from Audio Fidelity. The smooth jazzy delivery of "Undun" and the grunge-like guitars of "American Woman" have you listening to these songs again for the first time, discovering little things that have been overlooked in past releases of these songs. The unsung highlight of the album is the forgotten gem "No Sugar Tonight/New Mother Nature" that is more than just a folk song with a pulse. This remastered edition showcases the passion in Burton Cummings vocals, while the closing song "Hang On To Your Life" is a hard rocking anthem that achieves the band message of getting off drugs and enjoying the music.
This set also includes a miniature version of the original psychedelic poster  that was contained with the 1971 vinyl album. To find out more about the Hybird Multichannel SACD release of "The Best Of The Guess Who," please visit

Thursday, April 16, 2015

CD Review: Celebrate 100 Years Of Frank Sinatra With The New "Ultimate Sinatra!" Deluxe Box Set

This year will mark the 100th birthday of the legendary Frank Sinatra. In honor of this celebration, Capitol in association with Universal Music will be releasing "Ultimate Sinatra!" in a load of different formats. On April 21st, "Ultimate Sinatra!" will be available as a new 25-track single CD, a 26-track digital version, a 24-track 180-gram double-LP and a deluxe 101-track 4CD box set. For the first time, this set includes many of his well-known recordings for Columbia, Capitol and Reprise together in one collection. The deluxe edition also includes an 80-page booklet with rare photos and a brand new essay by Frank Sinatra historian Charles Pignone.
Beginning with Frank Sinatra's first recording session with the Harry James Orchestra in 1939, we start will his innocent rendition of "All Or Nothing At All" as Sinatra's voice sounds so young and fresh. The first disc has a lush feel with the "best of" Sinatra's most tender moments like "Nancy" and "My Funny Valentine." His voice just takes over "Young At Heart" and "All Of Me" that makes you just get lost in his vocal delivery. The general topic of the second disc is Sinatra's greatest love songs including the fun "Love And Marriage" and the revengeful "The Lady Is A Tramp." It's the sweet smoothness of "In The Wee Small Hours" and "Love Is Here To Stay" that will have your significant other just melt in your arms, while "Witchcraft"  and "Come Fly With Me" shows off Sinatra's iconic swing that is still unmatched.
The third disc starts off with the mellow "Only The Lonely," but quickly picks up the pace with "Something's Gotta Give" and "High Hopes." His voice is so strong and overwhelming as in "Without A Song" and the casino-themed "Luck Be A Lady." The final disc centers around Sinatra's later-career recordings, beginning with "The Way You Look Tonight" and "My Kind Of Town." Such iconic numbers as "That's Life" and "Theme From New York New York" are simply timeless and could never be duplicated. Also included in the 100-song box set is a previously unreleased song, a rehearsal take from 1979 of Rogers and Hammerstein's "The Surrey With The Fringe On Top," while a nice addition, it does little to entice the rest of the collection.
This box set is the perfect example of why Frank Sinatra was the "Chairman Of The Board." He was always in complete control, whether it was with his voice, his acting or his producing, Sinatra never did anything half-way, it was "All Or Nothing At All." To find out more about the "Ultimate Sinatra!" box set or the other formats, please visit

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

CD Review: New Heavy Metal Music Arriving From Hammer King, Third Ion And Entropy O.A.C.

European metal band Hammer King are releasing their new album "Kingdom Of The Hammer King" on May 5th through Cruz Del Sur Music. With veteran musicians handling these hard rock riffs, you'll have no trouble enjoying their music and discovering this new band. The new storied album begins with chapter 1 "Kingdom Of The Hammer King" as the music fits in perfectly with the classic New Wave Of British Heavy Metal sound, alongside such bands as Judas Priest and Iron Maiden. The tempo quickens with "I Am The King" and the marching rhythm of "Chancellor Of Glory" shows a maturity in their delivery of these epic sounding numbers. The theme of the "hammer king" flows through all of the songs as the energy is locked on high with songs like "Blood Angels" and "Figure In The Black." The album closes with the final chapter, the seven-minute prog-metal epic "Glory To The Hammer King." To find out more about the latest news from Hammer King, please visit their Facebook page at
Also arriving in May is the debut album from prog-metal band, Third Ion. The new release entitled "13/8Bit" will be released on May 25th through Glasstone Records and features members of The Devin Townsend Band and Into Eternity. The album came about over the two band's love for progressive rock music and video games. Things blast off with the title song "13/8Bit" which quickens the pulse and carries a heavy vibe. The band builds the intensity of "Capitol Spill" without overpowering the music, then mixes tempos on the electronic metal appeal of "Zero Mass." Third Ion look to take you on a journey with the orchestrated funk metal of "Particle Displacement Mechanism," before closing with the aggressive electronic instrumental of "Van hAlien." To find out more about Third Ion and their new release "13/8Bit," please visit their Facebook page at
Finally, at the end of this month, we see the latest release from the Wisconsin metal band Entropy O.A.C. entitled "Dark Clouds And Clarity." The new three-song EP begins with "Failure To Thrive" as the song definitely delivers the energy of heavy metal, but a bigger punch is needed from the rhythm section to demand the listener's attention. The band only gives a small glimpse of their talents, but should have a strong future with the heaviness of the closer "Realm of Grey." To find out more about Entropy O.A.C., please visit their Facebook at

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

CD Review: Victory Records Lets Loose New Music From Shattered Sun And Feed Her To The Sharks

New from Victory Records are a pair of releases that you will need to get a hold of. First up is the Texas six-piece band Shattered Sun with their debut release "Hope Within Hatred." The band revolves around the double-guitar attack of Daniel Trejo and Jessie Santos as the new eleven-song release begins with the hardcore metal screams of "The Ultimatum" and "Victory Or Death." They keep the energy flowing on a constant high with "Hope With Hatred" and have a guaranteed hard rock radio hit with "Burning Regrets." Even when the band slows things down as in "281," the passion in their music is hear through the vocals of lead singer Marcos Leal, but things quickly pick-up again to close the album with the machine gun blast of "Awaken" and the dark, atmospheric "Return To Serenity." Shattered Sun are currently on the road, opening for the Exodus and Testament, but will be partaking in the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival this summer. To find out more about Shattered Sun and their latest release "Hope Within Hatred," please visit their Facebook page at
Also new from Victory Records is one of the label's latest signings, Feed Her To The Sharks with their new Victory Records' debut album "Fortitude." The eleven-song release is maximum energy right from the start with "The World Is Yours." Their sound has a nu-metal feel to it as the groove pulsates through "Chasing Glory" and rips the hardcore metal genre wide open with "Burn The Traitor." They continue the onslaught with "Walking On Glass" and "Fear Of Failure," before finishing with the punk-like energy of "Let Go," that shows little more depth to the band's songwriting. To find out more about Feed Her To The Sharks and their latest release "Fortitude," please visit their Facebook page at

Both band will be appearing at this year's Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival at the Victory Records stage. The traveling festival begins in San Diego on June 26th and makes its way east, hitting Hartford, CT on July 19th. Metal bands Slayer and King Diamond will headline the main stage, while Whitechapel will headline the Victory Records stage. For more information about the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival, please visit

Monday, April 13, 2015

CD Review: Metal Blade Records Unleashes New Heavy Metal Music In April

Heavy metal music label, Metalblade Records is rolling out some hard-hitting thunder for the month of April, beginning with the latest release from Dutch death metal band Apophys. The name comes from the asteroid that is due to hit earth in the year 2029 as lead singer Kevin Quilligan explains how "fragile" our existence is on this planet. The music on this album entitled "Prime Incursion" is anything but fragile as they burst through the speakers with the machine gun drumming of "Dimensional Odyssey." The howling vocals and aggressive tone makes you not take this band lightly as they demand your full energy with songs like "Requiem For The Absurd" and "The Sentient." They dig deep with a heavier riff for "The Final Step," which takes away some of the speed, but not the intensity. To find out more about Apophys and their latest release "Prime Incursion," please visit their Facebook page at
Next up, is the latest release from Florida's death metal band Abiotic entitled "Casuistry." The band is currently on the road in support of the album, performing 33 shows in just over one month. The new nine-song release wastes no time diving into the adrenaline-fueled attack of "Believe The Unseen" and "Violent Scriptures." They switch tempos on "Cast Into The Depths" and display some amazing solos during "Nightmare Of Conception," before closing the album with the heavy treading of "Drain. Deface. Abolish." To find out more about Abiotic and their latest album "Casuistry," please visit their Facebook page at
Finally we get to the debut album from the newest progressive-metal band Native Construct with "Quiet World." After catching the ear of Metal Blade's Brian Slagel, the band was quickly brought into the studio to create some truly magical music. On the six-minute opener "Mute," the band combines elements of classical music with a hard-rocking seventies vibe, similar to the early days of Styx and Queen with a heavy metal overtone. The band's musicianship excels during the eight-minute "The Spark Of The Archon" and six-minute "Hell Or High Water" that is sure to turn heads with their hard rock-opera sound. To find out more about Native Construct and their latest release "Quiet World," please visit their Facebook page at

Sunday, April 12, 2015

CD Review: The Grahams Are "Glory Bound" With New Album And Live Soundtrack

Husband and wife duo, The Grahams will be releasing their sophomore effort on May 19th entitled "Glory Bound." They will also be releasing a live documentary "Rattle And Hocks," digitally on the same date which talks about the relationship between the railroad and American roots music. The Grahams found their influence for this latest release from listening to "a lot of Woody Guthrie" according to lead singer Alyssa Graham.

The new twelve-song release begins with the slow-build up of the title song "Glory Bound" as the guitar strumming is sure to quicken your pulse and clap your hands to the rhythm. They find a country/blues groove in "Gambling Girl" and continue with the dark tones of the memories of "Blow Wind Blow." The pure country twang of "Kansas City" is infused with punk-like speed and energy keeping the music fun and contagious, before slowing down for the mellow love song for "Mama." They follow the same formula as the title song in "Biscuits" with the slow-build up as the entire band joins in the performance. The album finishes up with the countrfied, gospel-infused "Promised Land" as the Grahams use their Woody Guthrie influences to bring out their best.

The live album "Rattle And Hocks" co-insides with the documentary, but showcases some of their latest songs in a more raw setting that brings new energy to "Griggstown" and "Kansas City." The album also includes the unreleased "Tender Annabelle" and a cover of Arlo Guthrie's "City Of New Orleans," which sounds like it came straight from Bourbon Street in the French Quarter. The twelve-song soundtrack closes with everyone singing "Big John" into one microphone, with no instruments in order to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Memphis train station. To find out more about these two new releases from The Grahams, please visit

Saturday, April 11, 2015

CD Review: Country Rockers Little Texas Plan On Staying "Young For A Long Time"

Country rockers Little Texas return with their sixth studio album and their first new album since 2007's "Missing Years." The new release entitled "Young For A Long Time" will be released on April 14th through Goldenlane Records. Little Texas hit the ground running with their first three albums hitting gold and platinum status in the early nineties and since then, they have been looking to re-capture that magic once again.

The new 13 song release begins with the title-song "Young For A Long Time," which can easily become the battle cry for the 40-somethings as the country groove gets uplifted with a rock 'n' roll rhythm. They slow the tempo down for the heartfelt delivery of "Can't Get In A Hurry Here" and pay tribute to a fallen soldier in the moving piece of music, "Slow Ride Home." Another age appropriate number is "Kings Of This Town" as the words make you reflect on younger days when life was less hectic. Little Texas return with the fun sing-along rocker "Yeah Yeah Yeah," before slowing down once more for the gentle acoustic ballad "Take This Walk With Me," before closing with the new anthem of the lonestar state with "God Bless Texas."

Little Texas will be hitting the road at the end of the month for a tour lasting until the fall. To find out more about Little Texas and their new album "Young For A Long Time," please visit

Friday, April 10, 2015

CD Review: New Hard Rock Releases From Kicking Harold, Malacoda and Vast Robot Armies

The California rock trio Kicking Harold have returned with a vengeance. Since the release of their 2010 album "Zombies, Cars & Evil Guitars," the band has been riding a new wave of success, thanks to their hit single "Gasoline" (featured on TLC's show "Overhaulin'"), the band Kicking Harold have been played in your house without you even knowing it. Back in January, the band released their fifth studio album "Red Light District" and show no signs of slowing down this time. The new twelve-song release begins with the quick, hard-hitting rocker "American Nitro" and the edgier "Underneath It All." This trio have created some amazing full blown rock juggernauts with "Hollywood Way" and "Kill You" as their sound does not try to overpower you, but invites you to sing along. Kicking Harold update INXS' "Need You Tonight" with an alternative rock vibe, before closing with the quickening pulse of "Let's Fly Away." To find out more about Kicking Harold and their latest release "Red Light District," please visit

Next, from north of the border comes the Canadian heavy metal band Malacoda and their recently released self-titled debut album. With almost 1500 likes on Facebook in less than a month, word is getting around at how good this band is. Their new release begins with the adrenaline pumping rhythm of "Abandon All Hope" and "Lobotomy Of The Heart." They show a dark tone to their lyrics in "Cutting" and also have the perfect recipe for hard rock radio with "Vigilante." The new ten song release closes with the deep bass groove of "Lamia," which includes an explosive chorus, and the heavy metal screams of "Outback" as the band saves the best for last. To find out more about Malacoda and their debut album, please visit their Facebook page at

Also from Canada is the latest release from the rock band Vast Robot Armies. The new album "Little Creatures" was released back in March and is beginning to make waves through the underground circuit. Their music has been seeping down into the U.S. since their debut album back in 2013 and now the band are looking to become a staple on college radio. Their new ten-song release mixes aspects of punk with a modern alternative rock feel as displayed in the opener "Revenge For Nerds." They take on a more mainstream sound with the title song "Little Creatures," but come roaring back with the heaviness of "Everything New Is Old Again." They have a Foo Fighters-type appeal in the song "Foxtrot," while "Moving The Needle" has a slower, darker tone, before closing the album with mellow, space-rock of "You Ex Knife Set." To find out more about the Vast Robot Armies, please visit their Facebook page at

Thursday, April 9, 2015

CD Review: New Independent Releases From Roxy Roca, Morello vs Masaru Mitsu And Gentlemen Rogues

From Austin, TX comes the latest release from soul rockers Roxy Roca entitled "Ain't Nothin' Fancy." It was released back in February through Stag Records and features a sound similar to Fitz And The Tantrums and Vintage Trouble. Their new eleven-song release begins with the funky swing of the title song "Ain't Nothin' Fancy (It's Love)" as the band introduce you to 40 minutes of energetic soul music. The album's lead single "Love Maker Deville" features the grit of Taye Cannon as he leads his seven-piece band through this high energy smash that will get your feet moving. They bring the tempo down for the slow grind of "I Don't Wanna Dream No More," before picking things back up with the wonderful horn section of "Try My Love." Roxy Roca bring in a little James Brown swing with "Cornbread," before slowing things down one more time for the passion of "When The Lights Go Down." The album closes with smooth jazziness of "It's Your Dream" as Roxy Roca have a bright future laying ahead of them. To find out more about Roxy Roca and their new album "Ain't Nothin' Fancy," please visit their Facebook page at

The latest release from Morello Music is the new album "The Duellists," which features British singer/songwriter/drummer Malcolm 'Sir Mal" Cross aka Morello teaming up with Japanese multi-instrumentalist Masaru 'Masa" Mitsu. With a constant theme of "struggle" running through the album, the music meshes together the best of funk, rock, dance and pop to create some great, fresh new music. The ten song release begins with the great rock rhythm of "In-A-City" as the lyrics are kept simple to make their point to the listener. The duo get their dance/pop side flowing with the addictive beats of "Some Families" and add a little soul to their sound with the Prince-like delivery of "European Ride." The hard rock drumming of "I Wanna Be Bad" turns this into the energetic highlight of the album, before slowing down the tempo for the smooth R&B flow of "The Time To Know You Well." The album finishes up with the quick, fun reminder of "Keys, Wallet, Cellphone." To find out more about Morello vs Masaru Mitsu latest release "The Duellists," please visit Morello's Facebook page at

From Austin, TX comes the sophomore release from the power-punk, alternative rock band Gentlemen Rogues entitled "A History So Repeating." The new six-song release is filled to the brim with energy as "Your Armageddon" gets things rolling with a classic nineties punk sound that rises above three chords. The simple, rawness of "A Little Respect" certainly captures the band's hunger for pop success, without conforming to the norm of radio airplay. The album's lead single, "Mocking Love Out Of Nothing At All" brings together the band's energy with a catchy, melodic chorus that showcases the true strength of the band's youthful sound. To find out more about Gentlemen Rogues, please visit their Facebook page at

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

CD Review: New Music From Underground Hard Rock/Heavy Metal Acts Venrez, Defy All Reason And Whiskeydick

There is a trio of new underground rock releases that you will need to check out. First up is the Los Angeles band Venrez with their latest album entitled "Children Of The Drones."The band enjoyed their time on the road, opening for Slash, Alice Cooper, Buckcherry and Hardcore Superstar and took that energy into the studio for their latest ten-song release. The album begins with dark, grunge-like guitars of "Hang On Predator," which carries an Alice In Chains-type sound. They ramp up the volume with the title song "Children Of The Drone," then head down the mainstream to "Salvation," which captures the full intensity of the band's performance. They return to the "Seattle hard rock/grunge" sound with "20th Reason," before closing the album with heavy bashing of "Spin The Top" and the dark buzz tones of "Sacred Blood." To find out more about this latest release from Venrez, please visit
Also new next month is the latest heavy metal thunder from Welsh rockers Defy All Reason. The new album entitled "The Road Ahead" will be self-released on May 11th. The new thirteen-song release begins with the crunching guitar riffs of "Midnight Train" and the adrenaline pumping "Bad Blood," before slowing everything down for the ballad "Behind Those Eyes." They slowly build up the intensity in "Finding My Way (Back To You)," then hit the hard rock groove of "Shame" with guitars blazing. Defy All Reason inject an extra boost of energy into Bon Jovi's arena rocker "Wanted Dead Or Alive" and display their radio friendly sound with "The Only One." To find out more about the latest release from Defy All Reason, please visit
Now, to shift gears to the latest release from the acoustic country/metal band WhiskeyDick entitled "Welcome To Yeehaw Country." This is not your typical country band, nor your typical metal band as WhiskeyDick keep the speed of heavy metal, but deliver it with a country twang as in the opener "Redemption." One of the weirdest combinations is the dark, doom sounding vocals of "Yee Haw," amongst a bluegrass strumming rhythm. They bring in an electric guitar for an amazing solo during "HE!P," while "Drunk As Hell" fits their style perfectly as the lyrics match the song's dark tone. The album finishes up with the quick strumming of "Gun Totin Rebel Son" and the heart-felt honor of "Fallen - Heroes." They new album from WhiskeyDisk comes out April 27th. To find out more about it, please visit

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

CD Review: Prog-Rock Legend John Wetton Releases 2CD Anthology Within A "New York Minute"

As the lead singer of such iconic rock bands as Asia, King Crimson and UK, John Wetton has had an amazing career, but it's his studio work that is the subject of the latest release from Cherry Red Records. The "John Wetton Anthology Volume 1: The Studio Recordings" is a two-disc set which was released last month. It gathers 32 of Wetton's best known solo songs that features help from some fellow bandmates like Robert Fripp (King Crimson), Steve Hackett (Genesis) and Geoff Downes (Asia, Yes) just to name a few. The first disc begins with the lead-in instrumental "The Circle Of St. Giles" that flows into the pop/rock feel of "The Last Thing On My Mind." His 1994 release "Hold Me Now" has an emotional tone to it, before rocking out on "Where Do We Go From Here" and "Another Twist Of The Knife." His 2011 album "Raised In Captivity" gets represented with the heavy metal/prog-rock feel of "Lost For Words," then glides into the intense lyrics of "Archangel." The first disc closes with the adult contemporary soft rock of "Woman" and the wonderful acoustic strumming of the folk sounding "Real World."
The second disc starts out strong with the eighties synthesizer driven "Heart Of Darkness" from Wetton's 2001 album "Sinister." The tempo slows down quickly with "Cold In The Night" and "You're Not The Only One," before showcasing his prog-rock prowess in "Raised In Captivity." He gives off a Celtic vibe with "Steffi's Ring," then showcases his supreme songwriting on the six-minute "Take Me Down" and the emotional "Rock Of Faith." The second disc finishes this set with the acoustic, angelic tone of "Emma" and "After All." To find out more about the "John Wetton Anthology," please visit
Also new from John Wetton is his latest live album entitled "New York Minute." It features John performing many of his favorite influenced songs backed by the Les Paul Trio in an intimate jazzier setting. The nine songs that make up this recording is a mix of sixties, seventies and eighties classics that get stripped down to the core allowing John Wetton to inject his feelings into the lyrics. Beginning with Steely Dan's "Do It Again," the song places a lot of focus on Wetton's voice which is still warming up and sounds sweeter during Marvin Gaye's "What's Goin On." His take on Blind Faith's "Can't Find My Way Home" is one of the best songs on the album as he matches Steve Winwood's innocent delivery. The Beatles' "Lady Madonna" seems out of place amongst the ballads surrounding it, before closing with his own "Battle Lines." To find out more about John Wetton's latest release "New York Minute," please visit

Monday, April 6, 2015

CD Review: 10,000 Maniacs Tell Their "Twice Told Tales" On Latest Album

The alternative rock band 10,000 Maniacs will be celebrating their 35th anniversary as a band in 2016. Their late-eighties, early-nineties albums achieved a string of platinum success and they were one of the leaders of early modern rock radio with fellow newcomers R.E.M, Siouxsie & The Banshees and Cocteau Twins. Their appearance on MTV's Unplugged made them a household name with singer Natalie Merchant winning the hearts of teenagers, but now only two original members remain and the band are still on the cutting edge experimenting with non-conventional ideas. Instead of following up their last album with more original music, they decided to make an album of traditional British Isles folk songs. The new album entitled "Twice Told Tales" will be released on April 28th through Cleopatra Records and captures "the root of the 10,000 Maniacs sound."
The new fourteen song album begins with the short folk instrumental "Lady Mary Ramsay," which bookends the album with a return to close this collection. It is followed by the acappella song "The Song Of Wandering Aengus" that turns into magic with lead singer Mary Ramsey's vocals. Many of the songs on this release do not stray from the 10,000 Maniacs iconic sound as "She Moved Through The Fair" and "Misty Moisty Morning" can likely be found on any of their past releases with their folk rock vibe. While many of the songs on this new album are over a hundred years old, the 10,000 Maniacs easily turn them into modern folk/pop gems with a natural sound as with "Canadee-i-o" and "Carrickfergus." Fans may even recognize "Do You Love An Apple?," which has been in their live repertoire for years, also their rendition of "Wild Mountain Thyme" is just an amazing piece of music that ranks with some of the all-time best folk songs.
The 10,000 Maniacs still have some live dates on their schedule for the next couple months. To find out more about their latest release "Twice Told Tales," please visit

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Book Review: The Who Make It Seem Like War In The Sixties In New Book From Mark Blake

The British rock band The Who are celebrating its 50th anniversary with a world tour (which includes a stop at the Mohegan Sun Arena on May 24th). To celebrate, the band released a new compilation of greatest hits on CD and vinyl ("The Who Hits 50!" review here), but that doesn't really tell the true story of the band's beginnings. To find that out, you need to search for the newly published book "Pretend You're In A War: The Who & The Sixties" by Mark Blake.

The title comes from a quote from guitarist Pete Townshend in 1964, who described his preparation for a Who show as pretending "you're in a war." The new book goes all the way back to the beginning, going into depth of the childhoods of Roger Daltrey, Pete Townshend, John Entwhistle and later Keith Moon. Their upbringings described within these pages help explain their later-day personalities, but the meat of the book describes the early days of The Who, when they were first known as The Detours and The High Numbers. Being an aviate fan myself, it was interesting to read about Daltrey being the band's first lead guitarist and how Townshend smashing his first guitar came about by embarrassment because the ceiling was too low for his onstage antics. The book also goes into great detail as to The Who's early rise to success behind the lyrics of Townshend and the engine like rhythm section of Entwhistle and Keith Moon, which was unmatched by any other band in the mid-sixties.

The book, based on interviews with Townshend, Daltrey, Entwhistle also goes into detail about their early managers, Kit Lambert and Chris Stamp. That duo had a very important role in shaping The Who and what also went on behind the scenes during the sixties. The book ends with The Who riding an emotion and popularity high, having their latest album "Tommy" exceed everyone's expectations and performing in front of half a million people at the 1969 Woodstock festival. "Pretend You're In A War: The Who & The Sixties" was published in March through Aurum Press in association with the Quarto Publishing Group. To find out more about this great new book that belongs on every Who fan's shelf, please visit

Saturday, April 4, 2015

CD Review: New Prog-Rock From European Bands Van Der Graaf Generator And Not A Good Sign

English progressive rock band Van Der Graaf Generator have been going strong since reforming in 2005 after a 27-year hiatus. The current formation of the band includes founding member Peter Hammill and long-time bandmates Hugh Banton and Guy Evans. The group's most recent release is a double-live album "Merlin Atmos" recorded live in 2013 and released back in February through the Esoteric Antenna label. The new thirteen-song release shows the power of this band in the perfect setting, live. They begin with the grand, 21-minute epic "Flight," that feels like a short rock-opera within the performance. Hammill's storytelling vocals sets the dark overtones of "Lifetime," before the band showcases their heavier rock side on "All That Before." The highlight of the first disc is the rare, full 24-minute performance of "A Plague Of Lighthouse Keepers" as the many different time signatures display the amazing talents within this trio.

The second disc entitled "Bonus Atoms," begins with the intense back and forth tempo of "Interference Patterns," from their 2008 album "Trisector." The slow build-up of "Scorched Earth" still carries that mid-seventies vibe of the original release almost forty years later. The mostly instrumental "Meurglys III, The Songwriter's Guild" is a nice addition as the band jams for 15 minutes before closing the disc with the slow blues of "Man-Erg" and the passion of Van Der Graaf Generator's concert staple "Childlike Faith In Childhood's End." To find out more about this release, please visit

Italian Progressive Rock band Not A Good Sign recently released their sophomore album "From A Distance" at the end of February. After saying goodbye to founding member Francesco Zago, Not A Good Sign have added new guitarist Gian Marco Trevisan to the band, keeping this a five-piece powerhouse with great potential. The new ten song release begins with the classic seventies prog-rock sound of "Wait For Me" as the band shows their influences early. The keyboards lead the way on this Genesis like feel of "Going Down," while the band shows off their wonderful musicianship in the four-minute gentle instrumental "Aru Hi No Yoru Deshita." Not A Good Sign finally come into their own with the harder rock edge of the "Pleasure of Drowning" and continue with the album's highlight, "Open Window," which has the perfect balance of modern sounding progressive rock with a touch of that classic rock appeal. The album closes with the short, two-minute "Farewell," which is a peaceful flowing piano and flute interlude. To find out more about Not A Good Sign and their latest release "From A Distance," please visit