Tuesday, May 31, 2016

CD Review: New Music From Singer/Songwriters Rachael Sage, Justin Levinson, Russell Morgan And Mike Dedic

Singer/songwriter Rachael Sage returns with her latest studio album titled "Choreographic." It was released May 20th and her songs were featured on the Lifetime channel show "Dance Moms." The new twelve song release begins with the sweeping, piano-folk delivery of "Heaven (Is A Grocery Clerk)." The album is based on Sage's love for dance as the tempo flows through the waltz "Loreena" and the up-beat folk/pop of "Try Try Try." Her voice excels during the ballads "Home (Where I Am Now)" and "French Doors" as she calmly sends away the blues and puts your mind at ease. She struts in with "I've Been Waiting," before pouring all her emotions into the grand love song "Five Alarms." The album closes with acoustic ballad "7 Angels" featuring Peter Himmelman and the spiritual piano piece "It Would Be Enough." To find out more about Rachel Sage and her latest release "Choreographic," please visit rachaelsage.com.

From Vermont comes the latest from singer/songwriter Justin Levinson titled "Yes Man." Since his last release in 2013, Justin's sound has matured as he used his cover of The Beach Boys' "Sail On Sailor" as a stepping stone to his exciting new release. Beginning with "Together Forever," you are instantly taken over by his infectious grooves and up-beat sound. His harmonies highlight "I'll Move Closer" and the playful, Beatles-like melody of "Safety In The Rain" will have you appreciate Justin's vocals and songwriting abilities. The new ten-song release finishes with the emotional "The Moment I Laid Eyes On You" and the simplistically wonderful "Colleen Compassion." Justin Levinson has one date scheduled at the moment, but check back to his website for future dates to be announced. To find out more about his new release "Yes Man," please visit justinlevinson.com.

British singer/songwriter Russell Morgan recently released his new album titled "Begin Simple." The new four song release showcases Russell's vocals as they sound aged well beyond his years as in the acoustic folk/blues of "You Don't Feel" and "Sister." The short album closes with the folk/rock groove of "Beautiful Day" as more music is needed from this rising singer. To find out more about Russell Morgan and his latest release "Begin Simple," please visit russmorgan.co.uk.

Canadian instrumental guitarist Mike Milan Dedic recently released his latest self-titled solo album. It features five songs, clocking in a just under 20 minutes, beginning with the up-lifting groove of "Energy." He unleashes his heavy rock side on "Zoom" as his skills are very impressive. The album finishes with the electrifying journey of "Launch" and the more progressive feel of "Shall We Dance?" To find out more about Mike Milan Dedic and his new album, please visit his Facebook page at facebook.com/Mike-Milan-Dedic.

Monday, May 30, 2016

CD Review: Bob Dylan Returns To The Great American Songbook With "Fallen Angels"

The legendary Bob Dylan has nothing left to prove and he rather enjoys that place in his career. Beginning back 20 years ago, he re-established himself as the premier rock/folk songwriter with his Grammy-winning album "Time Out Of Mind" and continues to ride this new wave of popularity. His latest album "Fallen Angels" arrived on May 20th through Columbia Records and continues Dylan's love for the Great American Songbook.

Just over a year ago, he released "Shadows In The Night," which paid homage to the late, great Frank Sinatra as Dylan laid-down his version of his classic songs. Now, we get to round two, which features many classics by songwriters such as Johnny Mercer, Harold Arlen and Sammy Cahn just to name a few. Beginning with "Young At Heart," you get a sense that this music makes Dylan feel that way, since these are the melodies his grew up on. The wonderful acoustics of "Polka Dots And Moonbeams" is the perfect setting for a lazy, sunny afternoon as you get lost in the nostalgia of the song. Dylan and his band add the perfect swing to "Skylark" and "All Of Nothing At All," before reaching the pinnacle song on the album, "Melancholy Mood." The lead-up to Dylan's vocals are the perfect anticipation, which is handled with grace and justice to the song' overall tone. The album finishes with the up-tempo shuffle rhythm of "The Old Black Magic" and the mellow plea of "Come Rain Or Come Shine."

Bob Dylan begins a two-month tour of the U.S. on June 4th. For a complete list of live dates and to find out more about he new album "Fallen Angels," please visit bobdylan.com.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

DVD Review: The Story Of Country Music Begins With "The Winding Stream"

"The Winding Stream," a new award-winning documentary, directed by Beth Harrington, finally finds its way to home video on DVD and digital HD. It tells the complete story of The Carter Family, told by family members and fellow country artists. This documentary digs deeper than ever before into the creation of county music and how The Carter Family laid the foundation for others to follow.

The story begins with A.P. Carter and his infatuation with discovering new songs. He would travel for miles just to salvage all these great lyrics and write them down on any scrap of paper he could find. His wife Sara and sister-in-law Maybelle, along with A.P. would turn these songs in success as they appeared on pirate radio stations located just over the Texas border in Mexico. These songs would travel the airwaves and eventually found their way to a young Johnny Cash, who would never forget where the music came from.

Later on The Carter Sisters would continue the success of their family name, which lead to the attraction of Johnny Cash to June Carter. While this documentary may be a story of the beginnings of country music, it is also a love story as you see June's love for Johnny, the Carter family members loving their heritage and many of today's musical artists loving the music of The Carter Family.

The soundtrack features artists like Sheryl Crow, John Prine, George Jones, The Carolina Chocolate Drops and other performing the songs of The Carter Family and Beth Harrington does an amazing job placing these songs within her film, in order to show their influence. Some of the best moments of the film are when you are given a glimpse in some of the final recording sessions of Johnny and June for her album "Press On." Also when Mother Maybelle solidified her immorality with her recordings with The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, which got her a Grammy nomination.

All fans of country music need to see this documentary, in order to understand where it all began and why The Carter Family are the founding family of country music. To find out more about "The Winding Stream" on DVD and Digital HD, please visit thewindingstream.com.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

CD Review: Newly Discovered Rainbow Show From 1981 Gets Released

An unreleased live show from the band Rainbow finally saw the light of day on May 13th when it was released through Purple Pyramid Records. The show took place in Boston in 1981 and features the exceptional guitar work of Richie Blackmore following the release of their studio album "Difficult To Cure." Vocalist Joe Lynn Turner was still a newcomer to the group at this time, but holds his own next to Blackmore's great guitar solos.

The new ten-song, 65-minute release begins with "Spotlight Kid"  and "I Surrender" from their latest album, before diving into the more well-known songs like "Man On A Silver Mountain" and "Lost In Hollywood." While Dio's iconic vocals are missing from "Man On A Silver Mountain," Turner does his best to keep the passion alive. The highlight of the album is the 14-minute bluesy epic "Catch A Rainbow" as Blackmore experiments by infusing some baroque tones into his solo. The album finishes with the intense, quick-pace of "Long Live Rock N Roll," then running through some Deep Purple riffs before settling with "Smoke On The Water." To find out more about this newly released live album from Rainbow titled "Boston 1981," please visit cleorecs.com.

Friday, May 27, 2016

CD Review: Discover New Music Debuts From Flame Tree And Mani Neumeier

Former Hawkwind saxophonist Nik Turner has been on a journey to discover as many sounds as possible. His latest adventure is a jazz fusion band called Flame Tree. They recently released their self-titled debut album through Purple Pyramid Records, which was produced by Jack Endino (L7, Nirvana). The new seven-song release takes out a page from the book of Frank Zappa with the opening twelve-minute collage titled "Mosquitos." As rhythms clash in "Past Lives," you are led down the path of smooth jazz with "In The Distance." The duel ten-minute adventures of "Liquid" and "Tantalium" look to expand your palette for jazz-fusion music as Nik Turner's flute and sax respectively lead the way, before closing with the atmospheric soundscape of "Wild Flower." To find out more about Flame Tree and their new debut album, please visit cleorecs.com.

World-renown drum legend Mani Neumeier is making his U.S. debut with his new album titled "Talking Guru Drums." It features eleven tracks that fascinates the use of rhythm, from a simple water drip as in the sixteen-minute "Time Drops," to glasses clanging together in "Im Zaugergarten." In between each epic piece of music is a short segue that last only seconds long but sets the listener up for what is to come. The exciting rhythm of "Shaman Dancer" becomes very complicated as Mani adds layers to give intricacy to his sound. The flipside is the individual rhythm pace of "Maoi Haka News" as one approach is working on during this nine-minute drum solo. The album finishes with the thirteen-minute steady, but not overpowering appeal of "Om Mani Tom" and the one-minute "Jingle Shiva-Bells." To find out more about Mani Neumeier and his new release "Talking Guru Drums," please visit cleorecs.com.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

CD Review: New Heavy Metal Music Arriving In June

As summer inches closer, the new heavy metal music arriving this June will heat things up quickly. Beginning with the June 3rd release of the highly anticipated album from darkwave act Troller. Their new release titled "Graphic," features ten tracks of synth-heavy, electronic rhythms lead by the soulful, ambient vocals of Amber Goers. Songs like "Not Here" and "Storm Maker" will have you floating along on the angelic tone of the songs. Also arriving June 3rd is the latest release titled "Memento Collider" from the avant-garde rock band Virus. Their new six-song release begins with the ten-minute experimental piece "Afield." The grunge-like, goth delivery of "Dripping Into Orbit" and the heavy prog-rock of "Steamer" will have you digging further into this band's catalog to discover more hidden adventures. Another June 3rd release comes from Virginia's own doom metal band Cough, who return after a five year hiatus with their new album "Still They Pray." The new eight-song release begins with the feedback buzz of "Haunter Of The Dark." They follow that up with ten minutes of dripping dark tones with "Possession" and the screaming vocals of "Masters Of Torture." Cough will keep you glued to their songs, finding a deeper meaning to their songs.

The next week, June 10th, brings the full-length debut album from Massachusetts doom-metal band Conclave. The new nine-song release titled "Sins Of The Elders," begins with the guitar driven, nine-minute skull crushing rhythm of "Funeral Frye." They continue their assault with the Black Sabbath influenced "Cut It Off" and "Aethereum." Another album arriving June 10th is the latest from the Maryland metal band Concrete Mascara titled "Perennial Disappointment." The chaotic beginning of "Area Trinity" and the buzzing static of "Utopian Nightmare" are not for your average listener as your ears may not recover from this intense delivery of sound. Next up is the latest release from Greek hardcore death metal band Sarabante titled "Poisonous Legacy." The thunderous delivery of "A Day With No Sun To Rise" and "Deceit Times" is like a shot of adrenaline to your brain as the band's energy becomes very contagious.

The halfway point of the month of June features the latest from Italy's premier underground death metal band Deceptionist. Their new album adds an industrial sound that is masked in the aggressiveness of "Quest For Identity," while the rhythm rolls through "Final Innovation - Automatic Time." The electronics come alive during the intense delivery of "Irreversible Process," before closing with the electrifying guitar solo of "Operator Nr3."

Closing out the month with a June 24th release date is the latest from the progressive-metal band It's Not Night: It's Space titled "Out Birth Is But A Sleep And A Forgetting." The new six song release begins with the atmospheric introduction "Nada Brahma" before getting down to business with the nine-minute hardcore tones of "The Beard Of Macroprosopus." The band lock into a classic heavy metal groove on "Starry Wisdom," before closing with the doom metal appeal of "The Black Iron Prison And The Palm Tree." On June 24th, we also find the long-awaited release of the latest album from death metallers, Internal Suffering. Their new eleven-song release titled "Cyclone Void Of Power" is a blast of power that will send you back in your seat with its intense tracks like "Unleash The Antarctic Colossus" and "Vanished From The Cosmos." To find out more about these and many other new releases, please visit earsplitcompound.com.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

CD Review: New Music From Swans, Heroes Of Toolik, Sophe Lux & The Mystic And Girls On Grass

American experimental rock band the Swans will be releasing their 14th studio album titled "The Glowing Man" on June 17th. After a gap of fourteen years, Swans have been consistently releasing an album every two years since 2010, with their last album "To Be Kind," cracking the top 40 on the Billboard album chart. Their new album consists of nine-songs, ranging in length from four minutes to twenty-eight minutes. Beginning with the twelve-minute build up of "Cloud Of Forgetting," the music continues to grow before reaching the follow-up song "Cloud Of Unknowning" as lead singer/guitarist Michael Gira highlights the intensity with his vocal screams. The gentle/folk rock of "People Like Us" have a Syd Barrett vibe, while "When Will I Return" brings up memories of the Velvet Underground. The album finishes with the steady rhythm of the six-minute, gothic rock closer "Finally Peace." To find out more about the Swans and their latest release "The Glowing Man," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/SwansOfficial.

From New York comes the second release from the avant-garde rock band Heroes Of Toolik. The new album titled "Like Night" will be released in August and features nine tracks, beginning with the jazz infused, Grateful Dead feel of "Perfect." The steady rhythm of "8 Miles" allows the guitar frenzy to give the six-minute song life, while "Warm" burns bright on this steady, seven-minute jazz fusion. The modern rocker "Blind Man" draws upon their influence of early underground bands like, R.E.M. and Talking Heads. The album finishes with the quiet, lounge jazz/rock duet of "Crazy Doll" and the experimental testing of "You Will Not Follow." To find out more about Heroes Of Toolik and their latest release "Like Night," please visit heroesoftoolik.com.

From Portland, OR comes the debut album titled "All Are One" from the glam-rock/pop newcomer Sophe Lux & The Mystic. The new album will not be released until this upcoming August, but leader Gwynneth Haynes is ready to blow fans away with their live show. The new nine-song album begins with the synthesizer fueled dance rhythm of "Your Wonderland" and operatic rock of "The Love Comet." The programming of songs like "The Earth Breathes" and "Walking The White Winged Horse" were inspired by Brian Eno's work with David Bowie. The album closes with the soul-infused, funk-rock of "Love Is Waiting" and the six-minute, atmospheric journey of "Arise & Awake." To find out more about Sophie Lux & The Mystic's new album "All Are One," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/Sophe-Lux-The-Mystic.

From Brooklyn, comes the self-titled debut release from the country/rock quartet Girls On Grass. It features eleven-songs, beginning with the up-tempo alternative country riffs of "Father Says Why," which becomes very addictive with it's sing-along lyrics and upbeat rhythm. They add a fifties, rockabilly vibe to "Too Pretty," before the country strumming of the ballad, "Fair." Girls On Grass return to the alternative country vibe of "When The Pleasure Ends" and "Return To Earth" as they tap the veins of Whiskeytown and Uncle Tupelo on this new release. The album finishes with the country swing of "Dave, We Love You" and the steady rhythm of "One Of The Guys." To find out more about Girls On Grass and their debut album, please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/girlsongrassmusic.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

CD Review: New Music From Sometimes Julie, Athena, Ray Goren And The Bruce Mountain Band

First from San Diego, CA comes the latest release from Sometimes Julie. Their new six-song EP titled "Bright Side Of The Line" features the powerful vocals of Monica Sorenson along with the experienced songwriting of Rick Walker. The two have grown from an acoustic bar band in 2012 into a new indie-rock force that sounds polished beyond their years together. Beginning with "Emily" and "Bright Side Of The Line," Sometimes Julie deliver a powerful set of rockers that incorporate elements of funks, blues and country. Their new short release finishes with the intense, guitar driven "Another World" and Americana/pop of "When The Sun Ain't Shining." To find out more about Sometimes Julie and their latest release "Bright Side Of The Line," please visit sometimesjulie.com.
Next comes the latest release from singer/songwriter Athena titled "Ready For The Sun - Part 1." It features five-songs that will introduce you to this indie-artist that is already enjoying success overseas. Beginning with the bright, up-beat pop tone of "You Bring Me Luck" and the softer, emotional "Everything To Me," you will instantly fall in love with Athena's voice. Her new short release wraps up with the up-tempo, mainstream appeal of "Autopilot" and the gentle piano ballad "All Of You." To find out more about Athena and her new release "Ready For The Sun - Part 1," please visit athenaandreadis.com. 
We also have the arrival of the debut release from 16-year old blues prodigy Ray Goren. The new six-song EP titled "Save My Soul" will have your jaw drop to the floor right from the first notes of opener "Save My Soul." At thirteen years old, he opened for the legendary B.B. King and has honed his skills for the last few years for his first studio release. His guitar skills are just exceptional as displayed in "Stop" and "Rise Together." The album closes with an older version of the title-song as you find yourself wanting more from this young musician. To find out more about Ray Goren and his latest release "Save My Soul," please visit raygoren.com. 
Finally from Southern California comes the debut album from veteran rockers Bruce Mountain Band. Their new release titled "Another Day Lost" has been building over the last two years as seasoned session musician Tyson Bruce invited his friends to join him in the studio to create this new 16-song, spaced-out album. Beginning with "Shine On," you get transported back a few decades as the band's sound gives off a seventies rock vibe. The rawness of "Feel It Too" and the soulful rock ballad "Thank You" showcases the combined experience this band placed on their debut release. The energy picks up with the intensity of "Living Without You" and "Fireball" while the progressive rock feel of "Woman" fully engulfs you in their classic sound. The album finishes with the big drums and guitar riffs of "Crooked Leg," the British rock feel of "Broken Wing," along with the acoustic blues of "Long Way Home. To find out more about the Bruce Mountain Band and their latest release "Another Day Lost," please visit brucemountainband.com.

Monday, May 23, 2016

CD Review: Savoldelli Casarano Bardoscia Visit The Dark Side And Jon Davis Has His Band

The experimental jazz trio of Boris Savoldelli, Raffaele Casarano and Marco Bardoscia took on the task of re-creating one of the most iconic albums in music history. Their version of Pink Floyd's "Dark Side Of The Moon" was recorded back in 2013 and finally released this past February as "The Great Jazz Gig In The Sky." The album starts out similar to the original with a heartbeat and random voices, before diving into the quiet, stark delivery of "Breathe" as Savoldelli's vocals and Casarano's sax give the song any type of emotion. The programming imagery portrayed by "On The Run," leads us to a psychedelic version of "Time" and a modern, electronic disruption of "Money." The highlight of the album is the fourteen minute version of "Us And Them" that allows the trio to let loose and incorporate their influence on this classic album. The album closers "Brain Damage" and "Eclipse" are experimental pieces that will have you digging deeper into the recreation of this album as you begin to notice things the second time around. To find out more about "The Great Jazz Gig In The Sky," please visit moonjune.com/The-Great-Jazz-Gig-In-The-Sky.

Next we come to the American progressive rock band Zhongyu (which mean "finally" in Chinese). They recently released their self-titled debut album which features a dozen worldly jazz/rock instrumentals that add a Far Eastern tone to the overall music of the album. Beginning with the slow awakening of "Apple Of My Mind's Eye 2" and "Torture Chamber Of Commerce," the elements of King Crimson shine through on these early tracks. The eight-minute "Hydraulic Fracas" continues to build upon it's Africian rhythms with each instrument getting a lead part. Their influence of Miles Davis comes through on the jazz fusion of "Tunnel At The End Of The Light" and "Sleepwalking The Dog." The relaxing tone of "Wanderland Wanderlust" is nice welcome among these complicated instrumentals, before the album finishes with the atmospheric progressive rock feel of "All Food Comes From China." To find out more about Zhongyu and their new self-titled release, please visit moonjune.com/ZHONGYU_Zhongyu.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

CD Review: The Beach Boys Celebrate 50 Years Of "Pet Sounds" With New Box Set

Last Monday, May 16th marked the 50th anniversary of the original release of the monumental album "Pet Sounds" from The Beach Boys. This album featured a small glimpse into the mind of the musical genius Brian Wilson and it has inspired countless musicians, including Paul McCartney and John Lennon. But fans already know the history of the album and its recording process. To celebrate this great album, Capitol/UMe will be releasing a 5-disc box titled simply "The Beach Boys Pet Sounds 50th" on June 10th. It features 4 CDs full of studio outtakes and one Blu-ray audio that collectors have been waiting for.

The first disc consists of the mono and stereo versions of the album along with four bonus tracks that consist of two promotional spots for the song "Caroline No" which was originally a Brian Wilson solo single. The other two bonus songs consist of unused vocals for the song "Don't Talk" and an alternate mix of "Hang On To Your Ego," which became the song "I Know There's An Answer."

The second and third discs are where fans get to dissect of every song on the original album, beginning with highlights and backing tracks from "Sloop John B" and the unreleased "Trombone Dixie." On these discs you will hear Brian Wilson conducting the orchestra and even The Beach Boys to delivery the sounds he has in his head as multiple takes of songs are included in this set. While not every take is included, you get a sense of what the atmosphere may have been like on any given day in the studio trying to create this musical masterpiece. Highlights include the sweet backing vocals for "Wouldn't It Be Nice," a nine-minute vocal session for "I Know There's An Answer," highlights from the amazingly timeless "God Only Knows" and, of course session and vocal takes of "Good Vibrations," which ended up being left off the album.

The fourth disc in this set consists of previously unreleased live recordings of songs from the "Pet Sounds" album throughout the remainder of The Beach Boys career, up until 1993. Included are live versions of "God Only Knows" from The Jamaican World Music Festival in 1982 and "Sloop John B" recorded live at Universal Studio in 1989, along with excerpts from shows in 1966 and 1967. The second half of the fourth disc consists of the "Stack-O-Vocals" version of "Pet Sounds" as you truly hear the purity of their voices harmonizing as one.

The treasure of this box set consist of the Blu-ray Audio Disc, which features the mono and stereo version of the album in 5.1 Surround Sound. There are also six bonus tracks added that consists of sessions highlights of the singles "Wouldn't It Be Nice" and "God Only Knows." Also included in this box set is a 52-page, fully color booklet that consists of a new essay from David Fricke, song lyrics and a sessionography. Sprinkled throughout the book are photographs of The Beach Boys in the studio and outtakes of their photo session for the album cover.

While diehard fans may have most of this material, in bootleg form, I can assure you that it has never sounded better and gives a great overview of the recording of this timeless album. To find out more about "The Beach Boys Pet Sounds 50th," please visit petsounds.com.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

CD Review: The Muffs Get Re-Release Of 2nd Album And The Posies Come Together With "Solid States"

On May 27, Omnivore Recordings will re-release the second album from California alternative rock band The Muffs. Their debut album was re-released last August (review: jpsmusicblog.blogspot.com) and this new release follows suit, gathering seven bonus tracks to add to The Muffs original album "Blonder And Blonder." Now as a three-piece band, the music has a raw, punk-like sound as delivered in "Agony" and "Oh Nina." They had a hit single with the alternative-rock/pop feel of "Sad Tomorrow" as lead singer/guitarist Kim Shattuck steals the show with her energy and passion. Kim gives us her best Joan Jett impression with "Red Eyed Troll," while songs like "I Need A Face" and "Ethyl My Love" have The Muffs sounding like a mixture of early Green Day and Nirvana.

The bonus tracks consist of the two U.K. B-sides, beginning with the quick-pace and growling vocals of "Goodnight Now" and the post-punk guitar riffs of "Become Undone." The other five songs are demo recordings of the songs "Born Today," "Look At Me," "Pennywhore," "Red Eyed Troll" and "Won't Come Out To Play" as Kim is still working up the songs final version. To find out more about the new release from The Muffs titled "Blonder And Blonder," please visit omnivorerecordings.com.

American alternative rock band The Posies return with their first new release in almost six years. The new album titled "Solid States" was released back in April and is the first album since the death of drummer Darius Minwalla and bassist Joe Skyward. The new album features a dozen tracks beginning with the up-tempo, punk-like rhythm of "We R Power!" as original members Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow continue to grow as artists. They slow down for the psychedelic feel of "Scattered" and find the perfect blend of rock and soul for the addictive "Titanic." The Posies bring back the wonderful harmonies of their heyday with "Squirrel vs. Snake," while "The Definition" expands their sound into more electronic territory. The album finishes with the piano ballad "The Sound Of Clouds" and the uplifting pop-feel of "Radiance." The Posies are currently touring the U.S. until the end of the May. For a complete list of dates and to find out more about their new album "Solid States," please visit theposies.net.

Friday, May 20, 2016

CD Review: Robert Glasper Finds "Everything's Beautiful" With Miles Davis' Music

If jazz legend Miles Davis was still with us today, this latest release titled "Everything's Beautiful" is exactly what he may have produced. Davis always wanted to be on the cutting edge of music, combining genres and pushing the boundaries of what jazz music had to offer. Now, with the help of jazz pianist/producer Robert Glasper along with John Scofield, Stevie Wonder and many more artists, the work of Miles Davis get "re-imagined." Glasper takes some obscure outtakes from Davis' catalog and adds a modern flair to enhance and re-develop what Davis may have had in his mind when thinking of what the future may hold.
This new eleven-song release begins with Miles Davis chatting in the studio. His smokey voice get backed by a smooth hip-hop beat, highlighted with piano on the opener "Talking Shit." Then, the real amazement happens as soul singer Bilal lends his talents to the R&B/funk beat of "Ghetto Walkin'." Erykah Badu's smooth, sultry vocals relaxes your nerves on the seven-minute bossa nova feel of "Maiysha (So Long)," before hip-hop artist Phonte modernizes Miles Davis' music with "Violets." British soul singer Laura Mvula works with the beats and subtle jazz backdrop of "Silence In The Way," while Georgia Ann Muldrow's vocals highlights the modern take of Davis' classic "Milestones." The album finishes with the funk of "I'm Leaving You" provided by John Scofield along with singer Ledisi and the stellar work of Stevie Wonder on the harp for "Right On Brotha." 
"Miles Davis - Everything's Beautiful" will be released on May 27th through Sony Legacy, the day after what would have been Davis' 90th birthday. To find out more about this new release, please visit legacyrecordings.com.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

CD Review: The Voice Winner Sawyer Fredericks Delivers "A Good Storm"

American singer/songwriter and winner of season eight of NBC's "The Voice," Sawyer Fredericks recently released his debut album titled "A Good Storm." His songs set an iTunes record for "The Voice" and he is one of the youngest winners of the show. He was born in Connecticut, but has since moved to an 88-acre farm in New York. After releasing his first independent album in 2013, his appearance on "The Voice" changed his life forever. 
His new eleven-song release begins with the pop/stomp rhythm of "Take It All" as his voice sounds mature well beyond his sixteen years. His voice soars on the uplifting tone of "This Fire," while fellow "Voice" contestant Mia Z lends her talents to the country/pop appeal of "Stranger." The acoustic starkness of "Still Here" and "A Good Storm" allow you to focus on his exceptional vocals, before Pharell Williams (his coach on "The Voice") adds the dance beats to the album closer "4 Pockets." Sawyer Fredericks is touring throughout California before heading back to the east coast for the Schoharie County Fair in July. To find out more about his new album "The Good Storm," please visit sawyerfredericks.com.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

CD Review: New Rock Imports From Italy's Armonite And Brazil's Marcelo Paganini

First, from Italy comes the debut album from the progressive rock ensemble Armonite. The new release titled "The Sun Is New Each Day" features nine instrumental tracks that feature an exciting, worldly feel to the music. Beginning with "Suitcase War," the rhythm is intense as violinist Jacopo Bigi takes the lead with his instrumentation throughout this collection. Quick jolts of violin highlight the keyboard-heavy track "G As In Gears" as Samuel Gomper's speech becomes the only vocals on this release. The gentle beginning of "Slippery Slope" makes this song one of the highlights of the album as the music's intensity continues to builds. The short 30-minute album closes with the piano/violin balladry of "Le Temps Qui Fait Ta Rose" and the band's tribute to the coin-operated arcade games of the 80's with "Insert Coin." To find out more about Armonite and their latest release "The Sun Is New Each Day," please visit armonite.com.

Next, from Brazil comes the latest release from guitar virtuoso Marcelo Paganini titled "First Time In Rio - The Marcelo Paganini Band Live." It is the soundtrack to the documentary which covered Marcelo Paganini's return to Brazil for a tour in December 2014. The new six-song release begins with the eight-minute, Pink Floydian adventure of "Sphinxes Of Babel," as Paganini's guitar playing is prog-rock gold. His twelve-minute live version of "Somewhere Somehow" contains inspired elements of King Crimson as he combines rock and jazz in this clash of genres, before returning to the song again later on in the soundtrack. The album closes with more of Marcelo Paganini's exceptional guitar skills on display in "Trinidade." To find out more about Marcele Paganini and his latest audio release "First Time In Rio - The Marcelo Paganini Band Live," please visit marcelopaganini.zimbalam.com.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

CD Review: Couple Of New Albums From Independent Canandian Artists

First from Canada comes the latest album titled "The Happiest Man In The World" from award-winning roots musician Eric Bibb along with the North Country Far and legendary bassist Danny Thompson. The new 14-song release begins with the bluesy-stomp of the title-song as Bibb along with his banjo lead the way to the countryside. The gentle acoustic blues of "Toolin's Down The Road" and "Tossin' And Turnin'," bring back the early days of Robert Johnson, when the blues was young. The North Country Far add a funk groove to "Born To Your Man," while Bibb has fun with the lyrics and then warms your heart with the up-tempo appeal of "King Size Bed." They keep the traditional setting of "Tell Ol' Bill," before closing with a slowed-down bluesy version of The Kinks' "You Really Got Me." To find out more about Eric Bibb and North Country Far and their latest release "The Happiest Man In The World," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/northcountryfar.

Also from Canada comes the debut album from singer/songwriter/musician Paul Reddick titled "Ride The One." It will be released on May 20th through Stony Plain Records, which is celebrating 40 years as a label. The new eleven-song release begins with the rough-blues of "Shadows" as Reddick dances between his passionate vocals and intense harmonica. He keeps the energy flowing through "Celebrate," before coasting into the smooth sounds of "Mourning Dove." He brings together the elements of blues, rock and country to create the attractive  rhythm of "Gotta Find A" and continues with his spot on instincts for the guitar-driven rocker "Watersmooth." The album finishes with the powerful, electric blues of "Living In Another World" and the harmonica duet of "Moon And Star." To find out more about Paul Reddick and his new release "Ride The One," please visit paulreddick.ca.

Monday, May 16, 2016

CD Review: Hatebreed Return To "The Confessional" While Pierce The Veil Travel "Misadventures"

Connecticut's own hardcore metal band Hatebreed return with a new album titled "The Concrete Confessional." It was released on May 13th through the Nuclear Blast Entertainment label and continues the band's rise to heavy metal stardom. Hatebreed keep the songs short, concise and chock full of energy as the new thirteen-song release clocks in just over 30 minutes. Beginning with "A.D.," lead singer Jamey Jasta wastes no time, shouting out the lyrics and leading you down the rabbit hole of hardcore metal. The chanting chorus of "Looking Down The Barrel Of Today" is guaranteed to stir up the mosh pits in a live setting. Guitars come out blazing during "In The Walls" and they add some punk-like fury to the two-minute blast of "Us Against Us." Hatebreed lock into the metal groove of "Something's Off," before raising the bar with the neck-breaking speed of "Remember When." The album finishes up with the war call of "The Apex Within" and the deep chugging rhythm of "Serve Your Masters." Hatebreed are currently on tour through July. For a complete list of dates and to find out more about their new album "The Concrete Confessional," please visit hatebreed.com.

American hardcore rockers Pierce The Veil return with their fourth studio album titled "Misadventures." This album has been two years in the making and was finally released on May 13 through Fearless Records. It features eleven-tracks, beginning with the intense nu-metal appeal of "Dive In" and the punk-like fury of "Texas Is Forever." The album's lead single "The Divine Zero" has all of the right elements to create a modern alternative metal masterpiece. Their youthfulness is displayed in the attack of "Phantom Power And Ludicrous Speed" and uptempo, hard rock/pop appeal of "Circles." The new album finishes with addictive nu-metal sound of "Sambuka" and the bright, up-lifting sound of "Song For Isabelle." To find out more about Pierce The Veil and their latest release "Misadventures," please visit piercetheveil.net.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

CD Review: New Punk Music From Anti-Nowhere League, U.K. Subs, Oranjjoolus & The Last Ditches

Legendary English hardcore punk band Anti-Nowhere League have been carrying the torch of punk-rock music for the last 35 years. They've inspired countless bands, including Metallica and Rancid, with their "so what" attitude and they released their seventh studio album titled "The Cage" on May 13 through Cleopatra Records. The new thirteen song release begins with the call of "all aboard" as you join the band for an adventure of classic hardcore punk with "A Bad Storm" and "Punk Rock Girl." The tell-tale lyrics of "Sealed With A Kiss" and the classic punk romp of "Uncle Charlie" showcases a band with a chip still on their shoulder to prove they should be mentioned alongside other classic English punk bands like the Sex Pistols, Generation X and The Clash. The hardcore/thrash appeal of "Fix Me" and "13 Rat Theory" showcase the heavy metal side of Anti-Nowhere League, while the Irish-punk sound of "God Bless Alcohol" is pure fun that will have you singing along in no-time. The album finishes with the marching rhythm of "Walk Away" and the modern punk riffs of "Brick By Brick." To find out more about Anti-Nowhere League and their latest release "The Cage," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/antinowhereleague.

Another legendary English punk band, the U.K. Subs is releasing a new compilation of songs titled "Friends And Relations." It features sixteen songs that cover the U.K. Subs extended family of side bands, including Charlie Harper & Captain Sensible, Urban Dogs and Target Generation. Beginning with five from the U.K. Subs, we get "Product Supply," "Rare Disease" and "Embryo," which were recorded in 2005 during a day off between concert dates. The other two U.K. Subs' songs ("Terorist0s" and "Phillips Environmental") come from a 2001 rehearsal that took place in Brazil. The four tracks featuring the side project of vocalist Charlie Harper have a more modern rock vibe, filled with synthesizers and rockabilly guitars. The Urban Dogs returned in 2014 with the 7" single "Rebellion Song"/"One Foot In The Grave," which also lends a hand from Vibrators' bassist Pat Collier. The new compilation wraps up with a handful of demo recordings from Target Generation recorded in 1984. Songs like "Sail The Wind" and "King For A Day" have that post-punk vibe that was booming the early eighties. To find out more about the U.K. Subs new release "Friends And Relations," please visit cleorecs.com.

From Los Angeles, CA comes the latest self-titled release from the "alien surf punk band" Oranjjoolius. After conquering the underground rock in New York, these trio of musicians relocated to the west coast to unleash their brand of excitingly energetic instrumentals. The new twelve song release begins with the accapella harmonizing of "Broken Rider," which features vocal help from Kishi Bashi (Of Montreal). Then Oranjjoolius take off for space with the attractive modern surf instrumentals "Zorro" and "Escape From Rum Island." Artist Guccighost lends a hand on the electronic pop feel of "Change My Life" and the song "R.I.P." has an erratic pulse that will have your heart skip a beat with some outstanding solos. The album finishes up with spaghetti-western feel of "Is There Only One Horse?" and the seven-minute soundscape journey of "Roll Tide," featuring Armen Ra. The album was released on April 1st through Cleopatra Records along with a bonus live album titled "Live In Reno 1964." It features only five songs beginning with a 26-minute medley of surf instrumentals. To find out more about Oranjjoolius and their latest release, please visit oranjjoolius.com.

When iconic artists come together over their love for punk/rock music, you get The Last Ditches. Brought together by studio owner, Randy Pratt, the members of the band have all played a pivotal part of their former bands like The Heartbreakers and Black Sabbath. Their new album titled "Spilt Milk" features thirteen songs mixing together aspects of punk ("Where Am I?"), alternative rock ("Monkey On My Back"), country ("I Made A Mess"), and funk ("A Thing About You"). As their music ventures into all these different genres, all the songs have that pure, raw sound, which makes this album so appealing. To find out more about The Last Ditches and their new release "Spilt Milk," please visit the Hyperspace label Facebook page at facebook.com/Hyperspace-Records.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

CD Review: Omnivore Recordings Re-Releases The Blind Boys Of Alabama Albums With Bonus Tracks

The gospel band, The Blind Boys Of Alabama formed over 70 years ago and during that time, have produced over 60 albums and have won five Grammy awards. Their music has inspired everyone like Ben Harper and Tom Waits to want to perform with them and now Omnivore Recordings is reissuing two of the band's classic albums, "Spirit Of The Century" and "Higher Ground" on CD with bonus tracks.

After the turn of the century, The Blind Boys Of Alabama found a new abundance of fans discovering their music for the first time. Their 2001 album "Spirit Of The Century" features their iconic gospel sound blended with blues, soul and folk. It was also their first album to win a Grammy award. The album features musicians like Charlie Musselwhite on classic tracks like "Jesus Gonna Be Here" and "Nobody's Fault But Mine;" and John Hammond performing on "Good Religion" and "Soldier." Their rendition of "Amazing Grace" is outstanding and they turn The Rolling Stones' "Just Wanna See His Face" into a southern blues masterpiece. The new reissue is highlighted by a seven-song live set performed at The Bottom Line in New York in 2001. It features many of the songs from the album in a live setting. You will instantly be swept away from the strength of "Good Religion" and "Motherless Child" alongside the stark, accapella delivery of "The Last Time."

The Blind Boys of Alabama followed the success of "Spirit Of The Century" with the soul-infused album "Higher Ground." It features less of the traditional gospel songs and more modern classics by the likes of Aretha Franklin, Prince and Stevie Wonder. The album begins with the gathering call of Curtis Mayfield's "People Get Ready" as The Blind Boys Of Alabama find help from Ben Harper on guitar and vocals. They turn one of Prince's lesser known songs, "The Cross" into an inspirational, uplifting highlight of the album. Their version of Wonder's "Higher Ground" is a jolt of excitement supported by Harper on guitar and Leon Mobley on percussion. When Ben Harper isn't lending his skills on the guitar, Robert Randolph is there to turn "I May Not Can See" and "Precious Lord" into gospel/soul gems. The new reissued CD gets seven bonus tracks taken from the 2002 live performance on "Morning Becomes Eclectic." Robert Randolph and The Family Band support The Blind Boys of Alabama, turning songs like "Run On For A Long Time" and "Higher Ground" into funk fueled highlights. They close the disc with their "Housing Of The Rising Sun" style version of "Amazing Grace." To find out more about these two newly released, reissues from The Blind Boys Of Alabama, please visit omnivorerecordings.com.

Friday, May 13, 2016

CD Review: Roots Music Comes Alive With Handful Of New Releases

American bluegrass artist Del McCoury has been performing music for over five decades and his band will be celebrating their 50th anniversary together next year. Their latest release features a dozen songs written by the late-great Woody Guthrie, with a bluegrass spin added to the music. The new album titled "Del And Woody" was released last month through McCoury Music/RED label. Beginning with "The New York Trains," Del's vocals are the perfect fit for Woody Guthrie's magical lyrics as the band provides the ideal setting on this opening track. The banjo gets a workout on the up-tempo swing of "Ain't A Gonna Do," before the nostalgic appeal of "Left In This World Alone" takes over. The harmonies of "The Government Road"give the song a classic, western feel, while "Dirty Overhalls" is pure fun, played at a quick-pace. The album finishes with the lyrical fun of "Hoecake Fritters," which sound delicious in this classic bluegrass sound. To find out more about "Del And Woody," please visit delmccouryband.com/del-and-woody.

From Ontario, Canada comes the new self-titled debut album from The Redhill Valleys. This trio create some exciting new music for country fans to absorb with this new twelve-song release. Beginning with the acoustic strumming of "Falling For You," The Redhill Valleys slowly introduce you to their great harmonies and modern country flair. They pick-up the tempo with the southern rock backdrop of "Can't Be Alone" before return to the gentle acoustics of "Wrong Way Turns Out Right," which is one of the band's earliest songs, while "When You're Gone" is about lost love. They pick the energy back up with the country blues/rock groove of "Ragged And Run Down" and "Mean Old Sally," before closing with the country-boogie guitar driven rocker "Burn It Down." To find out more about The Redhill Valleys and their latest self-titled release, please visit theredhillvalleys.com.

Later this summer, we will see the debut album from California country band Dear County. The new release titled "Low Country" is the brainchild of singer/guitarists Mark W. Lynn and Arrica Rose. The two met while finding themselves performing live on the same night as a long distance relationship developed. Fast forward to this year and we get the new nine-song release from Dear County. The album builds with the slow country sway of "On And On" and the quiet soulful delivery of "Oh My Darlin." They pick up the tempo with the country-blues rocker "Spun" and follow with their swinging cover of Neil Young's "Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere." The album wraps up with the gentle country/folk of "Ellenae." To find out more about Dear County and their latest release "Low Country," please visit dearcounty.com.

Next, from Seattle comes the debut album from Western Centuries titled "Weight Of The World." It will be released on June 3rd through Free Dirt Records and revisits the roots of country music. Beginning with the title song, you are introduced to this fine group of musicians that remind us of the foundation of modern country music. The tempo picks up with the two-step shuffle of "Double Or Nothing" and the classic, authentic feel of "Knocking'em Down." Their love for honky-tonk comes shining through on "Philosophers And Fools" and "In My Cups," before slowing down for the sing-along chorus of "Off The Shelf." The album finishes with the guitar-boogie of "The Long Game" and the country rocker "Rock Salt." To find out more about Western Centuries and their latest release "Weight Of The World," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/westerncenturies.

From Asheville, NC comes the new release from country-roots-Americana band The Honeycutters titled "On The Ropes." It will be released on May 20 through Organic Records and continues their climb to nationwide stardom. The new album features thirteen tracks, beginning with the modern country swing of "On The Ropes" as lead singer Amanda Anne Platt demands your attention with her strong, smooth vocals as shown in "Blue Besides." The laid back tempo of "Golden Child" and "The Only Eyes" showcases the power in their lyrics as they paint the perfect picture with the combination of music and words. They pick the tempo up for the guitar-driven country rocker "Back Row" and the fun, bluegrass rhythm of "Let's Get Drunk." The album finishes up with the gentle, quiet touch of "Ache," an eight-minute countrified version of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" and the slow build of "Barmaid's Blues." To find out more about The Honeycutters and their latest release "On The Ropes," please visit honeycutters.com.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

CD Review: New Music From Beauty In The Breakdown, Ships Have Sailed, Fire Hot Opera And Sunshine Nights

From Los Angeles, CA comes the debut release from the electric pop band Beauty In The Breakdown titled "Neon." They've shared stages with Iggy Azalea and Ke$ha and band member Chasity Ashley is currently touring with Duran Duran. Their new eight song release begins with the addictive dance/pop energy of "Satellite" and the up-tempo "It's Not Too Late." The electronic beats pulsate through "Deep Love," while "On My Way" brings in a rock vibe to the album's dance pop overtone. To find out more about Beauty In The Breakdown and their latest release "Neon," please visit beautyinthebreakdown.com.

Also from Los Angeles, CA comes the acoustic folk/pop artists Ships Have Sailed with their latest release titled "Whispers." The new five-song release begins with the gentle melody of "Lucky" as Ships Have Sailed slowly introduces themselves to you. The acoustic pop tones of "Out Of Time" and the quiet, folk appeal of "Criminal" showcases the strength in their songwriting. The album closes with "Midnight" as the song's stark delivery leaves us with wanting more from this young band. To find out more about Ships Have Sailed and their latest release "Whispers," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/shipshavesailed.

Next, from Chicago comes the red-hot debut album titled "Test Market Fresh" from jazzy-rockers Fire Hot Opera. Influenced by the early days of doo-wop and Broadway soul, their new thirteen-song release is compact and full of energy. Beginning with the smooth jazz of "As Long As I Got Music In Me," you transported back to a simpler time with the song's swinging rhythm. The tempo picks up for the rockabilly flavor of "Make The People Happy" and the sixties soul of "Lovers Owe Much." The mild rock of "Next Time Around" and the upbeat, soul-infused "Laugh When I Feel Like" showcases a band with maturity far beyond just their solo album. To find out more about Fire Hot Opera and their new release "Test Market Fresh," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/Fire-Hot-Opera.

Finally, from Brooklyn, NY comes the songwriting partnership of Amy Priya and Stephen Sunshine, known as Sunshine Nights. Their latest release is a short, three-song EP, beginning with acoustic, traditional dixieland jazz of "From Behind" and the storytelling country/folk appeal of "Down On The G." These two songs were recorded in Savannah, GA and New York City, while in between they stopped at Jack White's Third Man Records to record "A Thousand Love Song" in the Voice-o-Graph booth. The scratchiness of the recording works perfectly into the duo's nostalgic style. To find out more about Sunshine Nights and their latest release "3," please visit sunshinenights.com.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

CD Review: New Music From Hillbilly Moon Explosion, Bear Hands, Straight To VHS & The Bandicoots

From Europe comes the Swiss rockabilly band Hillbilly Moon Explosion with their new album titled "With Monsters And Gods." It features fourteen songs filled with elements of rock, country, pop, jazz and everything in-between. Beginning with "In Space," you instantly get hooked on the sixties-swing rhythm, before the surf-guitars of "Temptation" leads you down the path of sultry seduction. The sixties California surf sound is the foundation for the songs "Depression" and "Love You Better," while the classic country-western feel of "With Monsters And Gods" will have you feeling relaxed. The jazzy horns of "Heartbreak Boogie" and the rockabilly/punk delivery of Blondie's "Call Me" with instantly turn you into fans, before closing the album with the fun, up-tempo swing of "Rose Outside." To find out more about The Hillbilly Moon Explosion and their latest release "With Monsters And Gods," please visit hillbillymoon.com.

From Brooklyn, NY comes the latest release from Bear Hands titled "You'll Pay For This." It features a dozen tracks that showcase the growth and maturity in their music since their 2010 debut album. This new release begins with the atmospheric, electronic beats of "I Won't Pay" and the lighter pop/rock of "2AM." The addictive keyboard medley of "Deja Vu" and the light acoustics of "The Shallows" displays the diversity in their songwriting, while still capturing their youthful, mainstream sound. The album's current single "Marathon Man" has modern alternative rock sound that delivers raw energy with its pulsating rhythm. The album wraps up with the post-punk appeal of "Winner's Circle" and the gentle treading of "Purposed Filled Life." Bear Hands are currently on tour, which runs through June. For a complete list of dates and to find out more about their new album "You'll Pay For This," please visit bearhandsband.com.

It has been almost two years since we last heard from the Connecticut rock band Straight To VHS, but they recently released a short, 11-minute EP titled "Landmind." It begins with the raw, grunge of "No Subject," as the big sounding chorus will wake up your senses. They bring in their punk aspects to the up-tempo "Huah" and "Landmind," while "I'm In Love With You" has a classic, early British blues/rock sound. The album closes with the quick-pace thrash of "Lowest Levels Of Hell." To find out more about Straight To VHS and their latest release "Landmind," please visit straighttovhs.wordpress.com.

From Canada comes the latest release titled "Quarters At The Penny Arcade" from indie-rockers The Bandicoots. The new four-song EP begins with the raw, energetic feel of "Overnight Innovator" and the up-tempo, alternative pop of "Frank & Stein." The short album closes with the post-punk, modern rock appeal of "Stuck At The Carnival" as the band continues to expand their sound. To find out more about The Bandicoots and their latest release "Quarters At The Penny Arcade," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/TheBandicootsMusic.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

CD Review: New Music From Singer/Songwriters Mike Marlin, Dan Henig, Ryan Cassata, Devi & Charlie Haley

From the U.K. comes the latest release titled "The Secret Of My Success" from singer/songwriter Mike Marlin. His new album arrives May 6 and he will be performing in New Haven, CT on May 26th and Hartford, CT on May 27th. The new thirteen track release begins with dark tones of "Just Another Day" as Marlin seems heavily influenced by Leonard Cohen and latter-day David Bowie. He continues with the subtle, slow movement of "The Secret," then gently picks up the tempo with "Missing Piece," before returning with the light treading of "Avalanche." Marlin takes up the role of folk artist with the acoustic, storied tale of "Drowning," before adding the electronics of "Mothers Eyes." The album finishes with the warm tones of "Caroline" and pulsating rhythm of "The Check Out." For a complete list of live dates and to find out more about Mike Marlin and his latest release "The Secret Of My Success," please visit mikemarlinmusic.com.

Next from Los Angeles, CA comes the debut EP from singer/songewriter Dan Henig titled "Paper Planes & Hurricanes." The new five-song release begins with the dance/pop feel of "Hostage," before grounding himself with the acoustic pop of "Crash & Burn" that wonderfully showcases his vocal ability. He grooves into the smooth-soul of "Habit," then closes the album with the intense, R&B delivery of "Paper Planes." To find out more about Dan Henig and his latest release "Paper Planes & Hurricanes," please visit danhenig.com.

Arriving from New York is the latest album from transgender singer/songwriter Ryan Cassata titled "Shine." Cassata first received attention through YouTube and has been featured in a handful of national magazines including "Rolling Stone" and "Billboard." The new ten-song release begins with the punk-like energy of "We're The Cool Kids," then turns on the hip-hops beats for "Check Engine." Ryan's soulful folk delivery of "Bedroom Eyes" is the perfect invite into a young person's confusing world. Cassata returns to the fun, punk-rock energy of "Sunrise Highway," before slowing down for an acoustic cover of Michael Jackson's "Man In The Mirror." The album closes with another cover song, Counting Crows "Round Here," which becomes a passionate, piano ballad as Cassata delivers the lyrics with grace. To find out more about Ryan Cassata and his latest release "Shine," please visit ryancassata.com.

Also, from New York comes the latest release from singer/songwriter Devi titled "Heart Stone." It features five songs, beginning with the slow waltz of "One More Day," before Devi gives her sound more pop with the intense beats of "Promises." The short album finishes with dance/pop delivery of "It's Your Life" and the light-hearted fun pouring out from "One And Only Love." To find out more about Devi and her latest release "Heart Stone," please visit facebook.com/devi.rosado.

Christian rock artist Charlie Haley returns with a new album titled "Today." The album is a reflection of his time away from music, following a near fatal accident in 2015. The new six-song EP begins with the dark, country rock of "Amen" as Haley's vocals are strong and demanding of your full attention. The up-tempo, up-lifting rock of "You Know It's True" and and the emotional delivery of "Today" showcases Haley's maturity as an artist, hitting all the right chords with his music and words. The new album closes with the gentle, country feel of "Bad Things Happen To Good People." To find out more about Charlie Haley and his latest release "Today," please visit his Facebook page at facebook.com/Charlie-Haley.

Monday, May 9, 2016

CD Review: Air Traffic Controller Discover The "Black Box" And LTTRS "Roam" The DC Universe

From Boston comes the third release titled "Black Box" from the alternative pop band, Air Traffic Controller (ATC). They have been featured on NPR's "Hot 100" list and performed at Billboard's "Hot 100" festival. They recently won the New England Music Award for best video for their song "The House" and their new album is receiving rave reviews. The new twelve-song release begins with with the clap-stomp rhythmic, pop beats of "People Watching" as singer/songwriter Dave Maunro takes the lead vocals. Fellow singer/songwriter Casey Sullivan showcases her vocal talents on the insanely addictive alt-pop of "Phantom." ATC bring all the elements of rock and pop together perfectly for "The House," while "What You Do To My Soul" brings out the band's early folk vibes. The duo of Maunro and Sullivan duet on the uptempo, Amercana-pop of "Water Falls," before things slow down for the acoustic folk of "Island." To find out more about Air Traffic Controller and their latest release "Black Box, please visit airtrafficcontrollermusic.com.

From deep in the northwest comes the sophomore album from LTTRS titled "Worlds We Roam." It features ten tracks (plus two hidden tracks) that deals around the concept of DC comics characters. Beginning with "Man Of Tomorrow," this hard rock/grunge tune refers to Vandal Savage, while the alternative rock of "Hey! Mr. Wilson" deals with the assassin Deathstroke. Jesse Lawson (Sleeping With Sirens) lends a hand on the intense hard rock love story between Harley Quinn and The Joker in "Frances," while the more pop/rock oriented "Elapsed Ascend" and "Elapsed Descend" revolve around The Flash. The album finishes with the songs "Legacy," referring to a discussion between Batman and his son Damian, which features Mike Herrera (MXPX) and the guitar buzzing alt-rock of "The Hooded Enigma" about the villain The Red Hood. The bonus tracks feature an acoustic version of "Frances" and a 30-second reading of "The Wilderness." To find out more about LTTRS and their latest release "Worlds We Roam," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/lettersmusic.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Blu-ray/DVD Review: Michael Schenker's Temple Of Rock Is "On A Mission" With New Live Video

Legendary hard rock guitarist Michael Schenker has been playing the instrument professionally for almost five decades. He was a pivotal member of bands like the Scorpions and UFO and continues releasing albums with his latest band, Michael Schenker's Temple Of Rock. Last year they released the studio album "Spirit On A Mission" to rave reviews (jpsmusicblog.blogspot.com) and on May 6th, Michael Schenker's Temple of Rock will release a brand new live Blu-ray/DVD/CD titled "On A Mission: Live In Madrid."

The show was filmed last November in Madrid, Spain and features Michael Schenker's Temple Of Rock covering the guitarist entire career, featuring songs from the Scorpions and UFO as well as songs from MSG. The music is outstanding as former Scorpions bandmates Herman Rarebell (drummer) and Francis Bucholz (bassist) lay down the rhythm for well-known songs like "Lovedrive"  "Rock My Night Away" and "Rock You Like A Hurricane." Singer Doogie White (Rainbow, Yngwie Malmsteen) breathes new life in the Schenker classics "Doctor, Doctor" and "Victim Of Illusion." The new songs "Live And Let Live" and "Vigilante Man" fit perfectly alongside many older songs as this live document does an amazing job covering his entire forty-plus year career.

Watching Michael Schenker work his magic on the guitar, up close, is the perfect reason to get this Blu-ray/DVD. It is filmed in high-definition (4K) as you feel as if you are on stage with the band. The small venue only enhances the experience as there are no sweeping crowd shots and you are able to get up close, even right next to these artists as they perform live. Being able to watch Schenker perform his solos during songs like "Attack Of The Mad Axeman" and give a renewed energy to UFO's "Rock Bottom" and the Scorpions' "Blackout" are worth the price alone for this new amazing live video.

For bonus features, you get a glimpse into the band's soundcheck and a two-minute interaction with fans outside of the theater before the show. This live document will be released on Blu-ray, DVD, and double-CD. Their is also a "Collector's Edition," which is limited to only 5,000 copies that includes 2CDs, 2 Blu-rays (with extensive bonus material) and a booklet containing exclusive biographies written by the musicians. To find out more about this latest release from Michael Schenker's Temple Of Rock tiled "On A Mission: Live In Madrid," please visit michaelschenkerhimself.com.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

CD Review: Motorhead Look To "Clean Your Clock" One More Time With New Live Album

In late-December 2015, the heavy metal world took a big blow, when one of the godfathers of the genre passed away. Lemmy Kilmister was heavy metal; his music, his attitude, his behavior and especially his band. Motorhead roared on for 40 years until the passing of Lemmy and in that time they released 22 studio albums and 11 live albums. On May 27th, UDR Music will release one of the last Motorhead shows from their 2015 "Bad Magic Tour."

The new album titled "Clean Your Clock" features 16-tracks, beginning with the air raid sirens of "Bomber." The band (Mikkey Dee and Phil Campbell) sound as energetic as ever, while Lemmy's vocals are smoother and less punchier than on earlier live albums. Campbell's guitar takes over "Metropolis," before Lemmy and the boys delivering "When The Sky Comes Looking For You," the only song performed off their latest studio album "Bad Magic." The Motorhead trio lock into the metal groove of "The Chase Is Better Than The Catch," then explode during "Lost Woman Blues." The song "Doctor Rock" was dedicated to the recent passing of former Motorhead drummer Phil Taylor, as Mikkey Dee showcases his talents on the skins. The album wraps up with the crowd favorite "Ace Of Spades," an acoustic version of "Whorehouse Blues" and an intense nine-minute version of "Overkill."

Heavy metal fans around the world will need this in their collection as one of the last true testaments of one of the greatest live band's of all time. To find out more about Motorhead's new "Clean Your Clock" live album, please visit www.udr-music.com.