Tuesday, February 28, 2017

CD Review: New Albums From Progressive Rock Bands Ape Shifter, Zero Times Everything And YANG

Coming this March is the self-titled debut album from the progressive rock band Ape Shifter. This new trio brings the classic sound of the early days of prog-rock into the 21st century with an edgier, harder rock sound. The members of the band have performed with the likes of Soft Machine, Body Count and Atari Teenage Riot. Their new 11-song release begins with the chugging rhythm section of Florian Walter on bass and Kurty Munch on drums on "Uhluhtc." Guitarist Jeff Aug shows off his chops on the seventies rock of "Revolution Summer" and the frenzied heavy metal guitar attack of "Dopamatic." Ape Shifter keep the instrumentals exciting and energetic with out the need for vocals as they lock into the thunderous delivery of "Hod Rod." Aug gets a little funky with his guitar in "Verdammit" as he brings you to the brink and back. The album finishes with the grittier, aggressive feel of "Ratchet Attack," the dark, bass-driven "Brain-O-Mat" and the up-tempo, addictive guitar riffs of "Superhero Helden." To find out more about Ape Shifter and their new debut album, please visit ape-shifter.com. 

Arriving April 21st is the debut album titled "Sonic Cinema" from Zero Times Everything. This progressive rock trio met at one of Robert Fripp's (King Crimson) Guitar Craft Seminars. Their sound was so different that they were asked to perform at the New York Festival of Light in 2013 and 2014. In 2015 Zero Times Everything created the soundtrack to the art film "Valkyrie Octopus" before entering the studio to create their debut album. The new 10-song release begins with the short, two-minute sonic build-up, which leads into the soft, sweeping tones of "Events In A Field." They get their guitars buzzing for the funktified rock of "Led," before taking you on a sonic journey with "Accident." The band plays with the subtle differences in sound for the experimental tones of "Ghost." The album finishes with the 13-minute electronic adventure of "Vox Populi," (their most politically charged song) and the up-lifting mono-tones of "(The Cathedral Of All Saints)." To find out more about Zero Times Everything and their new debut album "Sonic Cinema," please visit zerotimeseverything.com.

From France comes the new album from the instrumental progressive rock band YANG. It is only the band's third release since 2004 and it showcases the band's maturity over the course of 13 years. Their new album is titled "The Failure Of Words" and features nine tracks as the music pushes the limits of rock, beginning with the aggressive tones of "El Diablo." They slow the tempo down for the fluids sounds of "Six Four Five," before exploding with the hard rock attack of "Iago," which leads you into the 8-minute epic piece "9/8 Variations." YANG deliver the avante garde feel of "Slow Flow (Flux Lent)" and the heavy metal energy of "Indecision," before closing with the jazzier, flowing sound of "Healing." YANG have a couple of show lined up at the moment, but look for more soon. To find out about their latest release "The Failure Of Words," please visit yanggroup.fr.

Monday, February 27, 2017

CD Review: New Music From Singer/Songwriters Lisa Bouchelle, Mercy Weiss And Patrick Ames

Americana music artist Lisa Bouchelle recently released her new EP titled "Lipstick Tomboy" and it features the amazing country duet "Only The Tequila Talkin'." Blues Traveler's John Popper lends a hand with his undeniable vocals and fabulous harmonica work. Lisa and John work together perfectly on this new country radio staple. Lisa has shared the stage with some of rock's elite artists, singing backup for Bruce Springsteen and performing a duet with Jon Bon Jovi among others, which gives her a confidence, which shines through in her songs. The country/gospel feel of "Heart vs Mind" and the gentle, folk cover of "If You Could Read My Mind," showcases the warmness in her vocals, whether she is delivering an up-beat song or a quiet acoustic melody. To find out more about Lisa Bouchelle and her latest release "Lipstick Tomboy," please visit her Facebook page at facebook.com/LisaBouchelle.

From Brooklyn, NY comes the innocent, smokey vocals of Mercy Weiss with her new five-song EP, simply titled "Mercy." She begins with the slow, jazz-swing of "Ice Cream" as Mercy whispers her way through the sweet vocals. The nostalgic, classic jazz club feel of "Lioness" is unlike anything on today's pop chart, but the album closer "Evil Baby" is extremely addictive as Mercy aims her words toward President Donald Trump. To find out more about Mercy Weiss and her latest release "Mercy," please visit mercy-ep.bandcamp.com.

From Palo Alto, CA comes the latest EP from singer/songwriter Patrick Ames titled "Four Faces." Each song takes on a different persona as they reflect the album's artwork that was created by Patrick's older brother. The new four-song release begins with the up-beat, rock/gospel "Reawakened" as the music builds with each verse. Patrick uses his MIDI guitar synthesizer to recreate the bluesy tones of "The Lonely Lie So Easily," before closing his new album with the care-free, pop tones of "This Small Town." To find out more about Patrick Ames and his latest release "Four Faces," please visit patrickames.com.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Concert Review: The Music Of "Game Of Thrones" Comes Alive At Mohegan Sun

The HBO drama "Games of Thrones" has becomes one of the most popular cable shows of all time. The show is based on the best selling book series "A Song Of Fire And Ice," written by George R.R. Martin and has just completed filming it's seventh season which will air this summer. The music featured in each episode is just as iconic as the characters who give the story heart, soul and emotion. Now, for the first time, composer Ramin Djawadi is taking the music of "Game Of Thrones" on the road in a live concert experience. The show features state-of-the-art technology mixed with live orchestral music that brings out the best of what "Game of Thrones" brings to its millions of fans.

The stage laid across the length of the arena floor from end to end as one side featured the orchestra and the other side would feature soloist stage. Two huge screens would play clips from the show all evening as Ramin Djawadi would lead a local east coast orchestra performing the themes of each scene.

After the roaring applause following the opening "Game of Thrones Main Theme," a quiet violin solo would turn part of the stage into a tree with falling leaves. Fans would cheer as their favorite characters that would appear on screen and "booed" the evil enemies. The music was so perfect and sounded great as the stage came alive with smoke, lights and even fire for the "Mother of Dragons." Vocalist Stephanie Alexander closed out the first half of the show, leading a wonderful chorus during the theme song for Khaleesi.

The second half of the show dealt with the most recent sixth season of "Game Of Thrones" as an aggressive feel of the theme of the High Sparrow and the intense strings of the Whitewalkers keep the energy flowing. The drum heavy "Battle of the Bastards" and the sweeping "Flight of the Dragons" would receive huge praise from fans as both featured epic scenes from the show. Djawandi would be featured playing the lead instrument, like the dulcimer during the song "Needle" and the piano/pipe organ during the climactic explosion of the trial in the "Winds Of Winter" episode.

The night's grand finale featured the "Game of Thrones Theme" once again with a larger sound, filled with a chorus of angelic voices. After a standing ovation, the musicians would close the evening with a baroque-folk style rendition of the original song "The Bear And The Maiden Fair" as every character flashed on the screen. This night showcased how important the talents of Ramin Djawdi and the music of the "Game of Thrones" is the success of this one-of-a-kind drama series as all await to what the future holds.

CD Review: Composer Anthony Partos Provids Music For Oscar Nominated "Tanna"

The Academy Award nominated film "Tanna" recently released its award-winning movie score composed by Antony Partos. Partos is an Australian-born TV and film composer who has won numerous awards for his work on films and in 2015 was named Vice-President of the Australian Guild of Screen Composers. His latest work on "Tanna" has already won awards in his home country for its movie score and the film is nominated for "Best Foreign Language Film."

The movie score features 11-tracks, but only runs about 25 minutes long. The songs are short, but uplifting as Partos allows the music to swirl around and relax your mind. The longest song is five minutes and it impacts the whole soundtrack as the pinnacle piece of music. It brings together deep, dark tones with screeching metallic drumming to give the song a pulse. The rest of the soundtrack features the airy combination of electronic elements and angelic voices to capture the emotions of the movie. To find out more about "Tanna" and it's newly released movie score, please visit facebook.com/TannaMovie.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

CD Review: Omnivore Recordings Reissues The Muffs "Happy Birthday To Me"

Since the California rock trio The Muffs reunited in 2014, Omnivore Recordings has taken upon itself to re-release the band's catalog. This year marks the 20th anniversary of The Muffs third album "Happy Birthday To Me" and Omnivore is preparing to reissue the album on CD and on white vinyl.

The original 15-song release is considered by many the band's most hook-filled album as they looked to capture the mainstream popularity of alternative rock radio. Their new release was quick and high energy as the band were firing on all cylinders. Many of the tracks featured The Muffs' signature punk sound, as in the opener "Crush Me" and "That Awful Man," while they also stepped up their songwriting with the addictive "My Crazy Afternoon" and "Outer Space." The rawness of "Nothing" and "Keep Holding Me" allowed The Muffs to adapt to the new wave grunge movement overtaking the country on the late-nineties, but the album closer "The Best Time Around," showed another dimension to their development as a band.

This new reissue features the original album along with seven bonus tracks, beginning with the U.K. B-side, feedback-infused "Pacer." The other six bonus songs features previously unreleased demos for almost half of the songs on the album. The demos sound almost as good as the released versions of the songs, even two decades later. To find out more about this new issue of The Muffs "Happy Birthday To Me," please visit omnivorerecordings.com.

Friday, February 24, 2017

CD Review: Crystal Fairy Gathers Some Of Alternative Rock's Elite Artists For New Supergroup

Members of The Melvins, At The Drive-In and Le Butcherettes are ready to unleash their new band upon the world. Crystal Fairy just released their self-titled debut album on February 24th through Ipecac Recordings. The new 11-song release features the backdrop of King Buzzo (Buzz Osborne) and Dale Crover from The Melvins and Omar Rodriguez-Lopez  from At The Drive-In. The combination of this trio gives the music a jolt of grunge, alternative and punk, which allows lead singer Teri Gender Bender to deliver a raw, stellar high-powered performance.
The album begins with the quick, punk-like pace of "Chiseler" as Bender's vocals soar over the screeching guitars and thunderous drumming. Crystal Fairy bring on the rage of "Necklace Of Divorce" as Teri's voice takes over the song with raw emotion before heading into the big wall of sound from "Moth Tongue." The band digs-in for the bass-heavy rhythm of "Secret Agent Rat" as the song is sung in Spanish. The album wraps up with the chugging, aggressive power of "Bent Teeth" and the hard rock attack of "Vampire X-Mas" as the band flex their grunge muscle paving the way for Teri's wildly exciting vocals. To find out more about Crystal Fairy and their new self-titled debut album, please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/crystalfairyband.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

RJ Podcast: Anthrax Bassist Frank Bello Talks With Us About Upcoming Tour And More

Frank Bello, bassist for the trash metal band Anthrax, took some time to discuss with us about their upcoming U.S. tour with Killswitch Engage and what fans can expect from the band. Bello also gives us some insight into the band's new beer label "Wardance" and what to expect for the 30th anniversary of the "Among The Living" album. Anthrax will be performing at the Oakdale Theater in Wallingford, CT on April 4th.

CD Review: Stephane Wrembel Pays Tribute To Django Reinhardt With Two New Albums

French-born guitarist Stephane Wrembel was inspired by famous French guitarist Django Reinhardt to study jazz and contemporary classical music. Wrembel is best known as one of the premier Gypsy Jazz guitarists in the world. He pays his respect to Reinheardt by issuing two new studio albums titled "The Django Experiment I & II." 
Both albums will be released simultaneously on March 3rd through Water Is Life Records and each carries a dozen tracks mixing many of Django Reinhardt originals together with other modern tracks that carry the same vision as Reinhardt's. Volume 1 begins with a couple of up-beat Reinhardt classics "Nuages" and "Gin-Gin," which carry a jazzy swing. The nostalgic feel of "Dinette" allows Nick Driscoll to showcase his talents on the clarinet. The first of three Wrembel originals is "Windmills," which fits perfectly among the other Reinhardt numbers as he follows the blueprint laid down by the master of jazz guitar. Wrembel continues his display of appreciation with "Djangology" as his guitar work is stunning. He finishes "The Django Experiment I" with the eight minute addictive, quick-pace of "Minor Swing" lead by drummer Nick Anderson, as Stephane Wrembel leaves the best for last. 
Volume 2 begins with the nine-minute jazz swing of "Douce Ambiance," which features Wrembel and Driscoll trading solos. Wrembel continues the album with the rockabilly flavor of "Viper's Dream" and the more worldly, European feel of "Valse de Bamboula." The tempo slows down for the blues of "Boston," featuring Ari Folman-Cohen on bass and Thor Jensen on guitar. Wrembel gives his fingers a work-out on the Reinhardt original "Tears," before diving into the nine-minute steady pace of "Minor Blues," which allows everyone to step into the solo spotlight. The album finishes up with the smooth Reinhardt original "Anouman" as the music simply glides along. To find out more about Stephane Wrembel and his latest releases, "The Django Experiment," please visit stephanewrembel.com.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

CD Review: New Music From Singer/Songwriters Lawrence Morrill Glass And Scott Nolan

Singer/songwriter Lawrence Morrill Glass returns after giving us a glimpse into his latest project "Neanderthal." In November of 2016, Glass released the five-song "Extended Play" album which featured selections from his forthcoming, full-length album "Neanderthal," which was released on February 7th. The new 11-song release begins with the steady blues-rhythm of "The Habit Of You" as Glass' lyrics hit home and can relate to everyday life. He delivers a love letter to "Tina Fey" and then gently delivers the depression of "No Christmas This Year." He pays tribute to one of his idols in "Lou Reed Died," then rocks out on the guitar driven "Mary Contrary." The album finishes with the gentle, classic waltz of "Jukebox" and the uplifting, country sounds of "Believe." To find out more about Lawrence Morrill Glass and his latest release "Neanderthal," please visit lawrencemorrillglass.com.

Canadian singer/songwriter Scott Nolan recently released his latest studio album titled "Silverhill." If features 13-songs that find their way to your heart and warms the soul. The wonderful harmonies on the opener "Forever Is A Long Time" will make you an instant fan. The album's lead single, "Fire Up" is an Americana gem that showcases Nolan's lyrical poetry amongst a gentle, acoustic backdrop. He gets his blues groove going during the chugging of "Shake It Loose" and then visits the back porch swing with the country sway of "Curls & Curves." Nolan quietly delivers the prayer of "Silverhill," before finishing with the country duet sing-along of "Twister" and the mellow strumming of "You Leave Alone" as you follow Nolan's storied folk lyrics down the dusty path to greatness. To find out more about Scott Nolan and his latest release "Silverhill," please visit scottnolan.ca.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

CD Review: Hullabaloo Collects The Best Of Their Most Recent Albums For "Volume Two"

The kid-folk duo of Steve Denyes and Brendan Kremer, better known as Hullabaloo, are celebrating the number 13. They have been performing together for 13 years and have 13 albums. On February 24th, they will release the "Best of Hullabaloo: Volume Two," just before the duo perform their 3,000th show on February 26th in Solana Beach, CA.

The new release will not be a surprise to their fans, but it will collect three of their favorite songs from each of their last five albums. The album begins with the up-tempo, fun, bluegrass feel of "Sleep Well Tonight" and continues to keep the energy flowing with the swinging rhythm of "It's All Gonna Be OK" and the bluesy howls of "Dog Song." The country two-step of "I'm Hungry" will have you singing along and clapping your hand to this quick pace, while "Favorite Day" moseys along with the help of Molly Ledford on vocals. Hullabaloo brings together the fun, gospel-style "365 Days On Earth" with the emotional touch of "Best Friends Forever," before finishing their new release with the accapella and acoustic delivery of "You Are Loved."

Hullabaloo have quite a few shows lined-up for the next five months. For a complete list of live shows and to find out more about their new release "Best Of Hullabaloo: Volume Two," please visit hullabalooband.com.

Monday, February 20, 2017

CD Review: Legendary Artists Robby Krieger And Neville Staple Release New Solo Albums

Guitarist/songwriter Robby Krieger is one of the founding members of the iconic sixties rock band The Doors. He wrote the band's hit single "Light My Fire" and has become an influence on many of today's rock/blues guitarists. Since the end of The Doors in 1973, Krieger has kept busy lending a hand as a session guitarist, before forming Doors Of The 21st Century with fellow Doors' keyboardist Ray Manzarek. After Manzarek's passing in 2013, Krieger along with drummer John Densmore are the only two surviving member's of The Doors. Krieger also recently released his brand new studio album titled "In Session." It features ten cover songs and one bonus live track of Robby Krieger and his band performing the blues standard "Back Door Man."

Robby Krieger invited some friends along to help him flesh out these well-known tunes as Jackson Browne and a children's choir provide the vocals for The Beatles classic "Across The Universe." Nik Turner lends a hand on the instrumental "Hypernova" as Krieger unleashes his guitar skills. Krieger showcases his fondness for Pink Floyd as he covers "Empty Spaces" (with Billy Sherwood), "Don't Leave Me Now" (with Tommy Shaw) and "Brain Damage" (with Geoff Downes). Krieger expands his sound on "Deep Down" as William Shatner recites poetry among the backdrop of Kreiger's modernized guitar sound. The album closes with the late-John Wetton singing beautifully on The Beatles "All You Need Is Love." Robby Krieger will be hitting the road in April. For a complete list of tour dates and to find out more about his new album "In Session," please visit robbykrieger.com.

Jamaican-born singer Neville Staple is best known as a founding member of Fun Boy Three and the two-tone ska band The Specials. He has been called the "Original Rude Boy" and has continued a solo career that has lasted almost two decades. His latest solo release titled "Return Of Judge Roughneck" features re-workings of classic Jamaican songs, along with some brand new originals. The album features 12 tracks, plus 9 dub specials, beginning with the title-song that keeps a steady, up-beat rhythm with Staple delivering a political charge through his music. He brings a reggae-based groove to "Bangarang," then unleashes the horns for the ska mix of "Down My Street." Staple reworks the Fun Boy Three hit single "Lunatics" into a jazzier piece of music and revives the Peter Tosh classic "Maga Dog" with its thick bass groove and reggae tone. The regular album finishes with the mostly instrumental, island flair of "Run," a slowed-down version of the Jimmy Soul hit "Be Happy" and the sing-along chorus of "Enjoy Yourself," which includes Jessy Greene.

This new release also includes 9 Dub versions of some of the new songs on "Return Of Judge Roughneck" album. Beginning with "Maga Dub," this new remix features a thicker bass line which gives the song a dance-able quality. The vocals in "Crime Dub" get mixed around with the rhythm to give the song a different feel. The nearly six-minute "Dub Street" is almost unrecognizable compared to the original as this remix adds some electronics to the song's quick-paced rhythm. The album finishes with the dub-step, reggae groove remix of Peter Tosh's "Legalize It." The new album was released on February 17th through Cleopatra Records. Neville Staple his hitting the road in the U.K. during March and April. For a complete list of dates and to find out more about his new album, "Return Of Judge Roughneck," please visit originalrudeboy.co.uk.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Movie Review: Go Behind The Scenes Of Burlesque With The "Glitter Tribe"

The presentation of Burlesque dancing is a lost art and there is a new film titled "Burlesque: Heart Of The Glitter Tribe," which gives you a modern look at this classic type of performance. Burlesque dancing was a booming industry at the turn of the 20th century as jazz clubs and cabarets would feature such acts as a striptease along with bawdy comedy to keep male patrons interested. As the art of Burlesque has continued over the years, it has become a way of free expression for these performers and to let themselves be who they want to be.

The opening scene of the film shows how important the performers are to one another as they gather in a prayer circle before each night's performance. Not only are the visuals in this movie stunning, but the music is as important as the performance as it helps deliver the story. Dancer Zora Von Pavonine explains her love for fashion as her self-made outfits are extremely elegant and fully expressive as to where her passions lie. Each artist tells his or her story of who they are as a performer and what their show and styles represents.

The film is also a reminder of how each performance tells a story as you get a glimpse behind the scenes as to all the work and practice that is involved with being a Burlesque dancer. Even the male performers explain what brought them into the world of Burlesque performance. Dancer Isaiah Esquire gives us some background into why he chose this profession and what it means to him when he performs on stage and how it helped him overcome his shyness.

Director Jon Manning does an amazing job giving heart and emotion to the lives of these dancers as you begin to look beyond the nudity and into what each performer has to offer. The costumes and presentations are stunning as you feel the commitment each performer puts into their show. The movie also shows how involved dancers have gotten in Burlesque over the years as way of expressing themselves with fashion and dance. The film also shows the audiences involvement with each performance as they become even bigger fans of world of Burlesque. To find out more about the newly released "Burlesque: Heart Of The Glitter Tribe," please visit the Facebook page at facebook.com/glittertribethemovie.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

CD Review: Reverend Peyton Invites Us To "The Front Porch Sessions" & Cindy Lee Berryhill Becomes "The Adventurist"

From Indiana comes "The Front Porch Sessions," from singer/songwriter/guitarist Reverend Peyton and his Big Damn Band. The iconic thing is his Big Damn Band includes only two members, his wife Breezy and good friend Maxwell Senteney. The music this trio create has a timeless quality that brings up memories of blues artists of the past like Charlie Patton and Blind Willie Johnson.

The new 11-song release begins with the blues slide guitar of "We Deserve A Happy Ending" as the chorus gets repeated over and over again. Reverend Peyton opens up his vocals on the wonderful blues cover of "When My Baby Left Me," originally recorded by Walter Furry Lewis. The acoustic swing of "What You Did To The Boy Ain't Right" and the stomp/clap rhythm of "It's All Night Long" picks up the energy as Reverend Peyton shows off his skills on the guitar. The beautiful  storied lyrics of the folk/blues "One More Thing" fully displays the emotion of their performance. The album finishes with the up-beat instrumental "Flying Squirrels" and the swift-pace of "Cornbread And Butterbeans." Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band are heading out on tour at the end of February. Look for their new album "The Front Porch Sessions" to be released on March 10th. To find out more, please visit bigdamnband.com.

Californian singer/songwriter Cindy Lee Berryhill is preparing to release her first new album in almost a decade on March 10th. The new release titled "The Adventurist" is dedicated to her late-husband, music journalist Paul Williams and was recorded over the course of the last five years. The album was funded by a Kickstater campaign and features members of Brian Wilson's band. The new 14-song album begins with the climbing rhythm of "American Cinematography," which carries a very nostalgic folk/rock sound. Cindy opens up about her emotions in "Somebody's Angel" and allows the music to flow through the storied lyrics of "The Adventurist." She harmonizes beautifully among the subtle strings of "Thanks Again," before mixing tempos during "The Heavy." She finishes with the timeless sound of "Gravity Falls," the gentle, acoustics of "An Affair Of The Heart" and the instrumental "Deep Sea Dishing" as Cindy plays alongside the rhythm of a dishwasher. To find out more about Cindy Lee Berryhill and her latest release "The Adventurist," please visit cindyleeberryhill.com.

Friday, February 17, 2017

CD Review: Rag'n'Bone Man Becomes "Human" On Columbia Records Debut

British singer/songwriter Rory Graham has entered the music world as the Rag'n'Bone Man. After a trio of EPs, Rag'n'Bone Man recently released his Columbia Records debut album "Human." Early on, he formed the group Rum Committee and supported hip-hop acts like KRS-One and Pharoahe Monch, before being encouraged to sing the blues. His latest effort combines his love of hip-hop beats with his soulful talent of singing the blues.
His new album begins with his number one selling hit single "Human," which has a stomp/clap rhythm as Graham belts out the emotional, gospel-style lyrics. He gets his R&B groove on with the smooth tones of "Innocent Man" and then gathers all to sing-along to the addictive chorus of "Skin." The beats are flowing through the up-tempo rhythm of "Be The Man," before slowing down for the soulful ballad "Love You Any Less." His new 12-song release finishes up with the modern jazz/hip-hop mash up of "Ego" and the bluesy, accapella tones of "Die Easy." 
Rag'n'Bone Man has a show lined-up in New York on March 9th, before beginning his European tour on March 23rd. For a complete list of tour dates and to find out more about his latest album "Human," please visit ragnbonemanmusic.com.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

CD Review: New Music From Indie-Artists Vivian K And Jumbotron

The punk-rock trio Vivian K recently released their sophomore album titled "Verses" and are currently on a U.S. tour which concludes at the end of the month. Their new 12-song album begins with the raw, frantic, garage rock of "Friends Are Dangerous" as the screaming vocals only add to the song's high energy. The band moves quickly through "Lethologica," before slowing down the pace for the alternative-pop feel of "Love Is Evil." Vivian K dive into the nostalgic sound of "Earl" and "Can't Wait," before picking the pace back up for the punk-like fury of "First Snow." The album finishes with the wild screams of "The Acoustic Version Was Better (Stoned)" and the grunge appeal of "It's 9/11 Somewhere." To find out more about Vivian K and their latest release "Verses," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/viviankband.

The New Wave, Dance trio Jumbotron recently released their new self-titled EP through Public Schools Records. The new five-song album begins with the energetic beats of "Sell In May And Go Away," which sounds like the missing link between punk and dance music. Jumbotron incorporate hip-hop lyrics over a steady electronic dance beat on "Don Draper," before returning to the experimental new wave sounds of "Some Lucky Someone." Their new short release finishes with the dark, grunge-like tones of "Whiskey Vinaigrette." To find out more about Jumbotron and their latest self-titled release, please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/jumbotronzzz.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

RJ Podcast: Former Genesis Guitarist Steve Hackett Talks About New Album & Tour

Singer/guitarist Steve Hackett will be releasing a new album on March 24th titled "The Night Siren" and he found some time to talk with us about the creation of his new album and his upcoming year-long tour titled "Genesis Revisited With Classic Hackett." In our conversion, he talked about many different topics, including the possibility of a Genesis reunion and how he plans on celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Genesis album "Wind And Wuthering." Steve Hackett will be performing at the Ridgefield Playhouse on February 22.

CD Review: New Music From eOne Artists Within The Ruins, American Grim, Black Map & Fit For An Autopsy

Massachusetts metal band Within The Ruins are preparing to release their fifth studio album titled "Halfway Human." The band has been gathering attention since their 2009 debut album "Creature" and are looking to continue their rise to heavy metal dominance. The new album will be released on March 3rd through eOne Music and starts off with the onslaught of "Shape-Shifter" as the growling vocals and electrifying guitar solos highlight the song. Within The Ruins explode with the fast, thunderous pace of "Death Of A Rockstar" and lock into the deathcore groove of "Beautiful Agony." The band plow their way through the aggressiveness of "Bittersweet," then showcase the depths of their song-writing and musicianship with "Objective Realty" and the nearly seven-minute instrumental "Ataxia IV." They close their new album with the insane attack of "Treadstone" as screaming vocals and pounding drums motor through the song's high-energy. To find out more about Within The Ruins and their latest release "Halfway Human," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/withintheruins.

Arriving February 24th is the debut album titled "Freakshow" from the heavy metal band, American Grim. The band members state that it is the perfect time to release this album, since America is becoming a "Freakshow" and American Grim are ready to lead the charge for change. The new 12-song release begins with the energy blast of "Concrete Jungle." They do not shy away from singing about the dark corners of the world in "Drugs Like Candy," while the music explodes with rage. They bring together the worlds of metal and hip-hop on the swift rhythm of "I Want Out" after vocalist Ryan Healy rips his vocal chords on the chorus of "The Guns." They hit more of a mainstream metal vibe with "Doctor Doc," before finishing with the battle cry of "Get Loud" and the pounding, nu-metal bonus track "Bodies All Around." To find out more about American Grim and their new release "Freakshow," please visit americangrimmusic.com.

Northern California trio, Black Map are preparing to release their new studio album titled "In Droves" on March 10th, through eOne Music. All three well-established musicians have come together in 2014 for their debut release as they have toured alongside hard rock giants like Chevelle and Bush. Their new 15-song set has challenged the band to create a cohesive piece of music that works perfectly from start to finish and also contains many strong stand-alone tracks. The new album begins with the short "Transit I," which leads into the aggressive delivery of "Run Rabbit Run" as the heavy bass groove keeps the song's pace. They find the mainstream rock appeal of "Foxglove" and kick the energy up a notch with the heavy metal riffs of "Ruin." Black Map dig deep into their heavy metal roots for the chugging rhythm of "Octavia," then turn "No Color" into the bridge between progressive metal and modern hard rock. Black Map delivery the perfect mixture of strength and aggressiveness with addictive riffs and undeniable choruses. They wrap up their new epic sounding album with the alternative metal buzz of "Just My Luck" and the progressive metal appeal of "Coma Phase." To find out more about Black Map and their latest release "In Droves," please visit blackmapmusic.com.

From New Jersey comes the six-piece death metal band Fit For An Autopsy with their latest release "The Great Collapse," out on March 17th through eOne Music. The band's new nine-song album begins with the growling vocals of "Hydra" against a thunderous pounding rhythm. Fit For An Autopsy introduce a progressive metal sound with the tempo changes of "Heads Will Hang," before attacking with the quick pace and chanting chorus of "Black Mammoth." They become more aggressive with "Iron Moon" as the double-bass drum rhythm and screaming vocals showcase the passion for their deathcore genre. Fit For An Autopsy express their interest in Global Warming with the empowering delivery of "When The Bulbs Burn Out," before finishing with the slow, build-up explosiveness of "Empty Still" and the snarling guitars and growling vocals of "Spiral." To find out more about Fit For An Autopsy and their latest release "The Great Collapse," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/FitForAnAutopsyOfficial.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

CD Review: Robert Randolph & The Family Band "Got Soul" & Binky Womack Got "Style"

American pedal steel guitarist Robert Randolph has been blazing a trail across America with his "Family Band." Randolph is considered by "Rolling Stone" magazine one of the greatest guitarists of all-time and his studio albums have charted well. Robert Randolph & the Family Band are an amazing "live band" as their shows are a history lessons oozing with blues, funk, soul and rock vibes. On February 17th, Sony will be releasing the new Robert Randolph & the Family Band album titled "Got Soul."

The new album features a dozen tracks that will have you become a fan after only one listen. Beginning with the southern romp of the title-song, Randolph's guitar shreds through this gospel-like rock number. The sound of "She Got Soul," has a nostalgic feel as Anthony Hamilton lends his vocals to this quick-paced song. Darius Rucker sings and Robert Randolph shreds throughout the soulful, countrified-blues of "Love Do What It Do," while Cory Henry (Snarky Puppy) lends a hand on the re-imaged cover of Sam & Dave's "I Thank You." Randolph lightens the mood with the  two-minute instrumental "Heaven's Calling," before closing out his new album with the electrifying rock riffs of "I Want It" and the feel-good funk/R&B groove of "Gonna Be Alright." Robert Randolph & the Family Band are hitting the road in early March for a U.S. tour that runs into the beginning of April. For a complete list of dates and to find out more about their new album "Go Soul," please visit robertrandolph.net.
From Burbank, CA comes the latest release from singer/songwriter/producer Binky Womack, nephew of the legendary Bobby Womack. Binky's new album titled "Womack Style" was released through the U.K. label, Gonzo Multimedia. His new twelve-song release begins with the bright, up-tempo soul/pop beats of "Sunday Morning." Binky gets his R&B groove moving on "Just Enough," then pays tribute to the great Sam Cooke with the smooth vocals of "Nobody Loves Me Like You." Snoop Dogg lends a hand with the background vocals of "Love Addict" as Binky finds the perfect setting for his funky R&B style. Then he steps out into a new light with the up-tempo rock number "When You're Wrong," before reworking John Mayer's "Gravity" into a great soulful blues number. He finishes up with a modernized version of the classic Bobby Womack tune "I'm In Love" and then plugs in for the electrifying rock of "Put Something Down On It" as Binky showcases his skills on the guitar. To find out more about Binky Womack and his latest release "Womack Style," please visit binkywomackla.com.

Monday, February 13, 2017

CD Review: New Music From Indie-Rock Artists Red Reign, Brother Paul & Primal Static

From Virginia comes the classic hard rock sounds of Red Reign with their brand new self-titled EP. The new release was produced by David Ivory (Halestorm, Roots) and features an exciting follow-up to their 2014 debut album "Chasing Shadows." The new five-song release begins with the fiery rocker "Not That Way" as great hooks and electrifying guitar riffs motor the song's energy. They showcase an edgier, hard rock feel to their music with the chugging rhythm of "Toxic" and the gritty vocals of "Red Reign." The album closes with the classic power ballad, "What Is Love For" as screaming guitars lead the way through the  albums closing number. To find out more about Red Reign and their latest self-titled EP, please visit redreignband.com.

California band, Brother Paul have recently released their debut album titled "Cadillac Pickup Truck." The album has been in the works for last 10 years, as Matthew Shaw wanted to record with his uncle Paul Herman who used to gig in rock clubs and blues bars around the Central Valley and Bay Area. As health problems delayed the recording, the songs only became stronger and more meaningful. Their new nine-song release begins with the rockabilly/jazz of "Cadillac Pick-up Truck" as Herman's experienced vocals make the song's story feel authentic. Paul's vocals fit perfectly in the classic blues appeal of "Telling Everybody," while Shaw lays down the timeless acoustic folk/rock of "Dream On." Brother Paul gets down and dirty on "Student Blues" as there is no need to rush through this thick guitar groove. The album finishes with the acoustic, Neil Young-like folk delivery of "She Left Alone" and the heartfelt lyrics of "Heroin Heart." To find out more about Brother Paul and their latest release "Cadillac Pickup Truck," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/brotherpablito.

From Austin, TX comes the latest release from Primal Static titled "Panstylistic." It features four songs from the band's past year together and begins with the thunderous, frenzied rock of "Fall Before Your Pride." Their raw, grunge-like sound slows down for the acoustic-based "Sophia" and darkens with buzzing tones of "To Live." The short 20-minute album finishes with the swinging blues of "Come Back To Me." To find out more about Primal Static and their latest release ""Panstylistic," please visit primalstatic.com.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Vinyl Review: Megaforce Records Boxes Up The "Kings" Of Anthrax Into Singles

Legendary heavy metal band Anthrax are back out on the road with two months of tour dates in Europe, before returning to the U.S. for another two months of dates with Killswitch Engage. In the meantime, Anthrax has unveiled their own brand of beer titled "Wardance," which is brewed at New York's Butternuts Beer & Ale Brewery and will be available at the end of March. Anthrax are also preparing a new vinyl box set that will make your mouth drool with delight.

On March 24, Megaforce Records will release the "For All Kings 7-inch Vinyl, Limited Edition Box Set." It will include 10, 7-inch singles representing the full "For All Kings" album with previously unreleased demos, the Japan-only bonus track and two, brand new cover songs. This was something that Anthrax has always wanted to do to their albums and they worked very closely with Megaforce Records to get everything just right.

For a complete review of the original "For All Kings" album, please check out my review here (jpsmusicblog.blogspot.com). Now, on to the amazing bonus tracks, beginning with the Japan-only bonus track "Vice Of The People." The song carries a great, chugging rhythm that excels during the chorus and showcases the band's modern thrash metal sound. The two additional cover songs may seem like odd choices from a heavy metal band, but Anthrax turn The White Stripes' "Black Math" into a 3-minute, fun guitar romp that actually has them sounding more like their early days. The other cover song is Kansas' "Carry On," which showcases the band's diversity for playing many other kinds of rock music, while paying tribute to one of their favorite bands.

The set includes demos of six of the songs from the "For All Kings" album. They feature raw, instrumental versions of the songs "Breathing Lightning," "Monster At The End," Suzerain," "Zero Tolerance," "Blood Eagle Wings" and "Defend Avenge," whiche gives fans a glimpse into the creation of these amazing songs. They sound very polish and nearly complete versions of each of the songs. For a complete list of live dates and to find out more about the new "For All Kings, 7-inch Vinyl Box Set," please visit anthrax.com.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

CD/DVD Review: "Black & White Night" Turns 30 To Celebrate Roy Oribson's Greatest Show

This year marks the 30th anniversary of that special performance where Roy Orbison's legacy became known to a whole new generation. In 1987, Roy Orbison staged a comeback show, gathering iconic artists like Bruce Springsteen, Bonnie Raitt, k.d. lang and Elvis Costello to help with a live show that was being filmed for television. At the time of this performance, Roy Orbison has already been performing for over 30 years, having a number of hit albums and #1 singles throughout the sixties, but during the seventies his popularity had vanished and almost became unknown in the early eighties. The live performance and live album that followed was titled "Black & White Night." It was filmed entirely in stylish black and white and features some of Roy Orbison's biggest hit singles. This sparked a revival in the man and his music, which give him two more hit records before his untimely death in 1988 at the age of 52.

To celebrate the 30th anniversary of this iconic release, Sony Music Legacy, in association with Roy's Boys, is releasing the newly remastered "Black & White Night 30" on DVD and for the first time on Blu-ray with accompanying soundtrack CD. The audio portion of the release includes the full show in its original running order and includes a brand new alternative version of Orbison's biggest hit "Oh, Pretty Woman." The DVD/Blu-ray is not a reissue of the existing film, but features a brand new, re-edited version of the concert.

The night was filmed with seven different cameras, according to Roy Orbison's youngest son Alex, who was the co-editor on this new version of the film. Alex and his other co-editor Luke Chalk went through hundreds of hours of footage to give fans a new look at this performance. With so much great footage that the public has never seen, it seemed like the appropriate time to give this show a new, cleaner, modernized look. Also, this new version of the show is presented in the correct running order of that night's performance. While many viewers may not notice the subtle differences in the presentation, the quality is definitely a vast improvement over the existing film, but long-time fans will enjoy the wonderful bonus footage.

Included with the new "Black & White Night 30" DVD/Blu-ray is a bonus improv performance of the songs "Dream You," "Comedians," "Candyman," "Claudette" and "Uptown." After the main show concluded that special night and the club emptied, the performers gathered back on stage for a "secret concert" as the cameras were still rolling. Also included are bonus rehearsals, interviews and a beautiful photo gallery of that night. This new version of "Black & White Night 30" will be available on February 24th. For more information on this new release, please visit royorbison.com

Friday, February 10, 2017

CD Review: New Music Arriving From Death Metal Bands Six Feet Under And AntropomorphiA

Death Metal giants Six Feet Under return with their 12th studio album titled "Torment." It will be released on February 24th through Metal Blade Records and follows just two years after one of their highest charting album, 2015's "Crypt Of The Devil." The new 12-song release begins with the the chugging rhythm of "Sacrificial Kill" as singer Chris Barnes grinds out the vocals. The energy picks up with the fast-pace of "Exploratory Homicide" as the music becomes much more aggressive with the thunderous pounding of "The Separation Of Flesh From Bone." The military march of "Skeleton" signals the end of the world with it's dark tones and blazing guitar riffs. They add a swinging metal groove to the assault of "Knife Through The Skull," before the doom metal appeal of "Slaughtered As They Slept." The album finishes with steady grueling pace of "Obsidian" and the intense "Roots Of Evil." To find out more about Six Feet Under and their latest release "Torment," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/sixfeetunder.
Fellow death metal band AntropomorphiA are preparing to release their third full-length album on Metal Blade Records titled "Sermon Ov Wrath." It features nine, insanely energetic tracks that showcases why this Dutch band is one of the best in the world. Beginning with the title-song, you are instantly blown away by the shear force of their sound as machine-gun drummer and growling vocals will make your head spin. The extreme intensity of "Suspiria de Profundis" and "Murmur Ov The Dead" leave nothing to chance as they continue their onslaught with the intense drumming motoring the song's energy. The album wraps up with the epic build-up and chugging rhythm of "Within Her Pale Tomb Ov Putrid Lust" along with the guitar frenzy of "In Bestial Decadence." To find out more about AntropomorphiA and their latest release "Sermon Ov Wrath," please visit antropomorphia-official.com.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

CD Review: New Music From Experimental Artists Richard Barbieri And Le Seul Element

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

CD Review: Big Wreck Takes You Down "Grace Street" With New Release

Canadian rock band Big Wreck are ready to release their fifth studio album titled "Grace Street." It will be available on February 3rd through Rounder Records and co-insides with a three month North American tour, which began on January 25th. As the roots of Big Wreck began in Boston, MA, their popularity has grown north of the border with their albums receiving numerous JUNO awards.
Their new thirteen-song release begins with the strong vocals of "It Comes As No Surprise" as the band kicks in with Queen-like harmonies and hard rock authority on this opening gem. They lock into the infectious rock groove of "One Good Piece Of Me" as the music gets the blood pumping with its up-beat chorus. The guitars are blazing a trail through "Tomorrow Down," while "Useless" slows the tempo down for this acoustic, heartfelt ballad. The steady rhythm of "A Speedy Recovery" makes the seven-plus minute song move swiftly, until the wonderful guitar solo, which will have you drooling with delight. Big Wreck deliver a classic progressive rock sound on "Diggin In," before finishing their album with the pop/rock of "Floodgates" and Boston-boogie, guitar shuffle instrumental "Skybunk Marche." For a complete list of tour dates and to find out more about their new album "Grace Street," please visit bigwreckmusic.com.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

RJ Podcast: Guitarist/Singer & Oscar Award Nominee Adrian Belew Tells Us Tales About His Past & Future

Musician Adrian Belew is heading out on tour February 28th with his power trio, but found time to sit with us and discuss his work with Frank Zappa, David Bowie and King Crimson. Belew was also recently nominated for an Oscar for the Pixar short "Piper" and was part of the David Bowie tribute concert which took place in California on January 25th. Belew also gives us some insight into his ground-breaking project "FLUXbybelew."

CD Review: New Heavy Metal Music Arriving In March From Bungler, Lunar Shadow & Behind The Sun

First from Buffalo, NY comes the new album from hardcore metal band Bungler. Their new release titled "The Nature Of Being New" will be their debut album on Innerstrength Records and will become available on March 3rd. The new 12-song release begins with the powerful screams of "Finders Keepers Takers Leavers" as the music keeps up the quick-pace on this three-minute opener. They keep the tunes exciting with the hardcore metal riffs of "Double Glare" and the intense screams of "Drowning In Oil." The album features a few guests including Anthony Musior (The Traditional), Jorge  Sotomayer and Kyle Birhle (Sirens And Sailors). Bungler finish up their new release with the heavy, pounding rhythm of "Opia" and the throat-ripping, high-powered, energetic screams of "Feed Him Gravel." To find out more about Bungler and their latest release "The Nature Of Being New," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/bunglerband. 
Germany Progressive Metal band, Lunar Shadow are set to release their debut album on March 10th through Cruz Del Sur Music. Their new album titled "Far From Light," features eight songs, beginning with the near ten-minute epic "Hadrian Carrying Stones." The musicianship is amazing as they keep the energy flowing throughout this opening song. The intensity picks up with the guitar wizardry of "They That Walk The Night" and the classic metal riffs of "Frozen Goddess," which motors through the songs. Lunar Shadow slow down for the ballad "Gone Astray," before mixing up the tempos of "The Hour Of Dying," delivering a modern progressive metal masterpiece. The album finishes with hard-hitting, nine-minute story of "The Kraken" and the gentle acoustics of "Earendil." To find out more about Lunar Shadow and their latest release "Far From Light," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/lunarshadowband.

From South Carolina comes the self-released debut studio album from Behind The Sun titled "Post Solis." The new five-song, progressive metal release begins with the screams of "The Fall" as the the howling vocals are the only breaks from the amazing musicianship displayed in the eight-minute opener. Behind The Sun switch tempos on "Pangaea," before diving into the classic heavy metal groove of "Periapsis." The album finishes with eight-minutes of adrenaline-pumping rhythms and the screaming vocals of "Laniakea." To find out more about Behind The Sun and their latest release "Post Solis," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/BHNDTHSN.

Monday, February 6, 2017

CD Review: New Rock Releases Arriving From U.K Band Segregates & Argentinian Band Lujuria

From the U.K. comes the punk/metal trio Segregates with their debut album "Burston." The band was inspired by the music of Motorhead as their sound mirrors many of the classic riffs that Lemmy and company produced over the years. For those missing the music of Motorhead, Segregates are a great fill-in for Motorhead's energy. Their new 11-song release begins with the speed of "Segregates." As Motorhead was a rock 'n' roll band that played their music fast and loud, Segregates is an English punk band that have injected the sounds of Motorhead with a shot of adrenaline. They quicken the pace fof "Rock 'n' Roll" and use Lemmy's classic bass riff for the basis of "Living Nightmare." The 94-second splash of "Let Battle Commence" is pure energy as the music swiftly strikes. As "Step Aside" hits the speakers, you have already found yourself a fan of the band as this classic punk sound pays tribute to one of the best bands of all time. The short 25-minute album finishes with Tim Atkinson on bass for the Motorhead cover "Riding With The Driver." To find out more about Segregates and their latest release "Burston," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/Segregates.

Argentinian rock band Lujuria are ready to return with a brand new album titled "Rockeando El Pavimento." The name of the album was inspired by the band's recent meeting with Jesse Hughes (Eagles Of Death Metal) and Nick Oliveri (Queens Of The Stone Age). The music is high energy, hard rock, while the vocals feature of mix of English and Spanish lyrics. The new 14-song release begins with the high-powered rocker "Autopista" as you do not need to know the words to feel the energy in the music. They bring in a classic guitar riff to motor the rocker "Feel So High" and then delivery a thunderous rhythm to "Bar Whiskey Bar." Lujuria slow the tempo down for the dark tones of "Down," then quickly run through "Dr. Brujo," then explode with the build-up of "Intravenus." They finish their latest release with the intense, hard rock of "Ritual" and head-banging, grunge appeal of "Voltios." To find out more about Lujuria and their latest release "Rockeando El Pavimento," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/lujuriarock.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

CD Review: Ruthie Foster Brings Back The "Joy" Of A New Album

Grammy nominated artist Ruthie Foster is preparing to release her ninth studio album titled "Joy Comes Back." Last year Foster won the 2016 Female Artist of the Year at the Blues Music Awards and her new album is already receiving positive feedback, even before it's March 24th release date. On this album she performs alongside such great musicians as Derek Trucks, Joe Vitale and Warren Hood. Ruthie Foster also gives us her interpretations of songs by Stevie Wonder, Mississippi John Hurt and even Black Sabbath.

The new ten-song release begins with the mellow, warm tones of Chris Stapleton's "What Are You Listening To?" as Ruthie Foster explores her country side. She delivers her vocal strength during the battle cry of "Working Woman," then collects us for the gospel sing-along of "Joy Comes Back" with help from Derek Trucks on slide guitar. She hits her R&B stride for "Good Sailor" as her vocals soar, before turning Black Sabbath's "War Pigs" into an Americana/folk-infused political march. Ruthie Foster continues with her heartfelt delivery of Stevie Wonder's "Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever" and finishes with the gentle story of "Abraham" and the piano bluesy ballad "Forgiven."

Ruthie Foster will begin her U.S. tour on February 11th in Richmond, VA.
She has shows sprinkled throughout the spring and summer. For a complete list of dates and to find out more about her new album "Joy Comes Back," please visit ruthiefoster.com.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

DVD Review: Jonathan Rhys Meyers Help Bring The Clash To Life In "London Town" Movie

The new Sundance acclaimed film "London Town" is being released on DVD on February 14th, through IFC Films. It tells the story of 15-year Shay as he gets propelled into adulthood when his father's near life-ending accident put the survival of his father's business into Shay's hands. On Shay's travels, he meets Vivian, a fellow teenager who introduces Shay to the music of The Clash. The soundtrack is pure seventies punk-rock, reggae-infused songs from The Clash, as well as music from The Buzzcocks and Toots & The Maytals.

There are a couple of iconic scenes within the movie where Shay befriends Clash lead singer Joe Strummer, played brilliantly by Jonathan Rhys Meyers. Shay's eyes become wide open after attending a Clash concert and listening to the government rebellion that The Clash sing about. Young actor Daniel Huttlestone is the perfect pic for Shay as his youthful face hides a dark side that he needs to unleash in a few scenes in the movie. Director Derrick Borte tells a concise story without veering away for the main story as he magically works the punk-rock scene in London within the story. A wonderful tale that showcases the importance of music within the lives of young adults. To find out more about the newly released "London Town" DVD, please visit londontownfilm.com.