Tuesday, October 31, 2017

CD Review: New Music Arriving From Black Water Rising, The Bloody Beetroots, Voodoo Six & Wiccid

Heavy metal band Black Water Rising are preparing to release their third full-length album "Electrified" on November 3rd through Pavement Entertainment. The band has honed their skills performing along side such great artists as Hellyeah, Kill Devil Hill and Ace Frehley. Now that are ready to conquer the Hard Rock charts once again, beginning with the steady pounding rhythm of "Obey" and the high energy of "The Answer." Guitars buzz through the heavy grunge-like appeal of "Payback," and the head-banging groove of "Reality Check" will make you instant fans of the band. Black Water Rising wrap up their new album with the classic seventies hard rock approach of "Foolish Pride" and the acoustic ballad "World Of Frustration." To find out more about Black Water Rising and their latest release "Electrified," please visit blackwaterrising.com.

From Italy comes the latest release from the electronic dance/rock group, The Bloody Beetroots. Fronted by Sir Bob Cornelius Rifo, who handles guitar, keyboards, production and DJs, the new album features a load of special guests. Rifo was inspired to make this album out of his love for punk-rock music as the opening track features the band Jet on the energized rocker "My Name Is Thunder." Next The Bloody Beetbroots recruit Rival Sons' singer Jay Buchanan for the grand appeal of "Nothing But Love" as his iconic vocals grace the song's pounding dance beats. The beautiful vocals of Great Savbo Bech injects emotion into the songs "Invisible" and "The Great Run," while Gallows help combine the worlds of heavy metal and EDM on "All Black Everything." Foxy Shazam singer, Eric Nally's vocals seem tailor-made for this type of music as he brings life to "Enter The Void." The album wraps up with a few instrumental dance tracks, before the punk aspect comes roaring back with Deap Vally in "Drive" and the hardcore metal vocals of Jason Aolon Butler during "Crash." To find out more about The Bloody Beetroots new release "My Name Is Thunder," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/thebloodybeetroots.

From England comes the return of Voodoo Six with their latest release "Make Way For The King." This new album also features the studio debut of lead singer Nik Taylor-Stoakes as he kicks things off with the hard rock strut of "Electric." Voodoo Six turn the energy up a notch with the driving guitar riffs of the title song "Make Way For The King" and and the bluesy groove of "Riot." The intensity picks up with the hard hitting attack of "Amen" and the pounding rhythm of "Until The End," before the band wraps up their new release with the searing vocals of "The Choking" and darker tone of "Swept Aside." To find out more about Voodoo Six and their latest release "Make Way For The King," please visit voodoosix.com.

Industrial rockers Wiccid recently released their debut album last month titled "By Design" and they are currently on tour with Lords Of Acid and Combichrist. The band is spearheaded by Erie Loch whose worked with bands like Ministry, Prong and members of Nine Inch Nails and Marilyn Manson. The new 11-song release begins with the steady pace, futurepop beats of "Ash" and the more synth-pop, dancefloor anthem "Torn." The music turns darker with the goth-like "Inhuman Nature" and "Break." The tempo of "Fire In Your Veins" excels the album's movement, while Loch takes a page out of Trent Reznor's songbook with the addictive industrial beats of "The Reconstructing Gods." Wiccid's new album closes with the slower pace of "Anxiety" and the deep, dancefloor rhythm of "The Grand Comedian." To find our more about Wiccid and the debut release ""By Design," please visit Loch's Facebook page at facebook.com/WiccidOfficial. 

Monday, October 30, 2017

CD Review: New Metal Releases From We Came As Romans, Sinsaenum, Downswing & Tarja

From Michigan we get the latest release from the hardcore metal band We Came As Romans. Their new album titled "Cold Like War" has a lot to live up to as three of their former albums charted well and has made We Came As Romans a worldwide touring force. Their new 10-song release begins with the chugging rhythm of "Vultures With Clipped Wings" as screaming vocals and pounding drums take over your headphones. They will surely get your adrenaline pumping with the intense delivery of the title song "Cold Like War," before hitting their mainstream metal stride with the addictive "Two Hands." The album continues with the high-powered screams of "Wasted Age," then turns electronic with the beats of "Encoder." We Came As Romans wrap up their new album with the slower, radio-friendly "Promise Me" and the emotional strain of "Learning To Survive." To find out more about We Came As Romans and their latest release "Cold Like War," please visit coldlikewar.com.

Extreme death-metal band Sinsaenum return to follow-up last year's debut album with a new 6-song EP titled "Ashes." The new release contains 3 brand new songs, 2 Japanese bonus tracks from the band's debut album and a remix of their song "Dead Souls" done by French producer/musician Frederic Duquesne. The new release kicks off with the growling vocals of "Ashes" as you get reacquainted with Sinsaenum. The music of the six-plus minute epic "2099" displays the talents of band as they continue to add layers of metal upon your ears. The intensity of "Degeneration" and the speed of "King Of The Desperate Lands" should be enough to hold you over until their next full-length album coming in 2018. To find out more about Sinsaenum and their latest release "Ashes," please visit sinsaenum.com.

Arriving November 10th is the latest release titled "Dark Side Of The Mind" from the New York hardcore metal band Downswing. Their new 5-song EP begins with the pounding rhythm of "Bitter" and the chugging guitar riffs of "Disease." The album's lead single, "Enough" is an intense hardcore driven attack as the screaming vocals energize the song's swift pace. They wrap up their new short release with the wild frenzy of "Immolate." To find out more about Downswing and their latest release "Dark Side Of The Mind," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/DownswingHC.

Finnish singer/songwriter Tarja Turunen is preparing to release a new Christmas album this holiday season titled "From Spirits And Ghosts (Score For A Dark Christmas)." It will be released on November 17th through earMUSIC and includes 11 holiday classics and one original tune. Tarja adds her beautiful vocals to the melodic opener "O Come, O Come Emmanuel," singing part of the song in her native language. She continues with the only original track on the album, the gentle grace of "Together" as her voice simply strikes emotion in your heart. The eeriness of "Deck The Halls" and the festive appeal of "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" each have Tarja's special spin on these holiday classics. The album finishes with the slow, atmospheric flow of "Feliz Navidad" and the dark Gothic tone of "We Wish You A Merry Christmas." To find out more about Tarja and her new Christmas album "From Spirits And Ghosts (Score For A Dark Christmas)," please visit tarjaturunen.com.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

CD Review: Celebrate Halloween With New "Garage Blues" Compilation

As the yearly celebration of ghosts and goblins falls upon us once again, Cleopatra Records is here to help you prepare for your Halloween parties. A new compilation titled "Halloween Garage Blues" features 21 tracks of some classic songs that all have that common festive theme.

Beginning with Eric Gales & Geno, they get things underway with "She Cast A Spell On Me." The booklet does very little to tell you where these songs originated from, but classics like the MC5's "Poison" and Arthur Brown's "Fire" are great additions to this set. The slow, swampy blues of Junior Wells' "Hoodoo Man Blues," doesn't seem much like a Halloween song, but none the less is the very definition of the blues. Pat Travers follows suit with the acoustic blues of "Death Letter," before the rockabilly romp of The Coffin Daggers' "Kreepy Krawl" fills your speakers. The memory of Johnny Winter comes shining through on a blistering live version of "Black Cat Bone." This new compilation wraps up with the elder statesman on the album, 84 year old Leo Bud Welch, who warns you "Don't Let The Devil Ride" and Blues Image spot-on copy of The Troggs' "Wild Thing." To find out more about this newly released "Halloween Garage Blues" compilation, please visit cleorecs.com.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Book Review: The "Hellraisers" Of Heavy Metal Get Their Own Visual History

Arriving just in time for Halloween, is the newly published book "Hellraisers: A Complete Visual History Of Heavy Metal Mayhem." The co-authoring duo of Axl Rosenberg and Chris Krovatin look to give you a lesson into the history of heavy metal and every sub-genre that has been created. Each chapter sums up what bands are covered by the specific sub-genre (Glam Metal, Thrash Metal, Death Metal and so on). The end of each chapter also gives you homework on which songs are a "must hear" in order to get a better sense of that genre.

Not only is the writing of this book very easy to follow, as if it was a spoken lecture class in college, but Rosenberg and Krovatin, even have fun with the captions for the pictures. While I consider myself a fan of heavy metal, their was definitely information about some of the more "obscure" heavy metal genres that I did not know about, especially the "heavy metal criminals." My only argument with this book, is that they cover some topics more extensively than others. Such like, Doom Metal gets almost 20 pages dedicated to the sub-genre, while Progressive Metal only gets 4 pages.

The wonderful color/b&w photos and artwork within the book are great, while many of these metal band are not very photogenic. But, being able to now put a face with the band name certain helps feel more involved with in the music. The only thing missing from this book is a box set of CDs that cover the "homework" page from each chapter. Every heavy metal fan should get their hands on a copy of this book to give them a broader idea into the heavy metal genre. To find out more about "Hellraisers: A Complete Visual History Of Heavy Metal Mayhem," please visit quartoknows.com.

Friday, October 27, 2017

CD Review: New Punk/Metal Music From Ubergang, Spider Crew, Long Arms, Deliver & From The Heart

Arriving on November 24th is the full-length debut release from German metal band Ubergang titled "Zeichen der Zeit." Their new 13-song set is filled with thrash metal riffs and while you may not understand the lyrics due to the language barrier, the music will certainly excite your senses. They gets things moving quickly with the punk-like delivery of the opener "Nichat Allein" and the hardcore metal appeal of "Vakuum." The high-powered guitars of "Nichts Zu Verlieren" and the machine-gun drumming in "Leidenschaft" will make you take notice of this rising new European metal band. To find out more about Ubergang and their latest release "Zeichen der Zeit," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/uebergang.de.

Last month we receive the latest release from Austria's premier indie hardcore/punk band, Spider Crew. Their new album titled "Sounds Of Hatred" features a dozen hard-hitting tracks that attack all the different forms of hatred that go on in the world today. They begin their new release with an old-fashion recording getting overtaken by the intense delivery of "Six Feet Under." The album continues with the battle cry of "All In Me" and the quick, punk-like fury of "We Don't Need You." The guitars blaze a path through your mind with "Enemy Within," while the screams of "Never Fade Away" showcase the dedication and emotions that are poured into their music. To find out more about Spider Crew and their latest release "Sounds Of Hatred," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/SPIDERCREWVSHC.

From Virginia, comes the debut album from the punk rock band Long Arms. Their new release titled "Young Life" will be released on November 3rd through Dead Serious Recordings. It features a dozen tracks of positive energy, beginning with the addictive, repetitive guitar riff of the title song "Young Life." Long Arms continue their new release with the post-punk tones of "Quentin" and "Is This Heaven," as their songs are geared toward modern alternative rock radio. The have perfect recipe for a hit with "Tired Old Town" as the chorus sticks in your head. Next, they slow the tempo down for the swing of "Truly," before wrapping up their new album with the acoustic pop song "Nova" and the fun, lighthearted, energetic tones of "Party Girl." To find out more about Long Arms and their latest release "Young Life," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/longarmsmusic.

From Germany comes the latest release from the hardcore punk/metal band Deliver. Their new 4-song EP titled "On Solid Ground" is their third release on the Demons Run Amok label and begins with the high-powered energy of "Cannot Handle" as screaming vocals and a solid pounding rhythm signals the band's arrival. They speed up the tempo with the punk-like energy of "Vacuum," before finishing their new release with the shear force of "Still Here" as the band motors through this quick 11-minute album. To find out more about Deliver and their latest release "On Solid Ground," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/deliverofficial.

Next up is the return of the hardcore band, From The Heart with their sophomore release titled "Make It Last." From The Heart are determined to put Eurocore music back on the map as their music carries an old-school, fast, aggressive sound with a punk-like attitude. Their album kicks off with the swiftness of "Passion" as you find yourself trying to keep up with the song's furious punk-like speed. The album's hardcore sound should definitely make you take notice of this rising "Eurocore" band as songs like "King Of The Hill" and "Self-Destruct" will make you fans of From The Heart. They finish up their new album with pounding rhythms of "My Revenge" and the intense pace of "In This Together." To find out more about From The Heart and their latest release "Make It Last," please visit facebook.com/From.The.Heart.hc.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

CD Review: New Live Releases From Buddy Rich, Security Project And Uriah Heep

Legendary jazz drummer Buddy Rich had a music career that lasted over six decades. He performed along side such greats as Frank Sinatra, Louis Armstrong, Nat King Cole and Ella Fitzgerald. Rich continued to perform live right up until his death in 1987. Now two new live albums from Buddy Rich and his Big Band were released on September 15th, in order to celebrate his 100th birthday. The 2 new live albums are actually soundtracks to two of Buddy Rich's concert films, "The Channel One Suite" and "The Lost Tapes." The DVDs were released back in the mid-2000s and now we get the amazing soundtracks to go with them.
First up is "The Channel One Suite," which was renamed to "The Channel One Set." It features 8-tracks of Buddy Rich performing live with his Big Band in 1985 at the King Street Studios in San Fransisco. The night was filled with energy as Rich and his band kicked the night off with the swift pace of "Machine." He settled into a more swinging melody for "Best Coast," before diving into Count Basie's "One O'Clock Jump." Rich and his band also perform a quick cover of The Beatles "Norwegian Wood" and the Ella Fitzgerald favorite "Love For Sale," before wrapping up the evening with a 16-minute version of the "Channel One Suite." To find out more about this new release, please visit lightyear.com.
The second release titled "The Lost Tapes" features a concert from the same location as "The Channel One" release, but on a different night. This new 8-song set kicks things off the same way, as Rich lead his band on a rigorous stomp through "Mexicali Nose." He delivers some wonderful covers of Thelonious Monk's "Round Midnight" and Duke Ellington's "Cotton Tail," before closing that night's set with a 15-minute jam of "West Side Story." To find out more about this new release, please visit lightyear.com.

The Security Project returns once again with a new live album titled "Contact." It showcases the amazing talents within this band as they continue to re-create the music of Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush, adding a more progressive feel to the songs. The new 11-song release begins with a couple of the more obscure Gabriel solo material with "Lead A Normal Life" and "I Don't Remember," both were featured on Peter Gabriel's third solo album. Security Project look to expand their sound on the eight-minute delivery of "San Jacinto" and new lead singer Happy Rhodes showcases her vocal talents on the lone Kate Bush song, "Mother Stands For Comfort." The song fits perfectly next to other Gabriel classics "No Self Control" and "Family Snapshot," which appear on this new release. The album wraps up with an 8-minute version of "Games Without Frontiers" and the powerful, atmospheric feel of "Lay Your Hands On Me." Security Project will be heading out on tour at the beginning of November with a string of shows in the New England area. For more information on their new live album "Contact," please visit securityprojectband.com.

Back in September, classic rockers Uriah Heep released a brand new 2CD/DVD package of their 20th anniversary show from back in 1989. The show was only previously released on VHS and has long been out of print. Now, fans can look back and enjoy the 14-tracks of hard rock that has made Uriah Heep one of the pillars of heavy metal. The show included the songs "Bad Bad Man" and "Cry Freedom" from their most recent release at the time "Raging Silence." After the classic, guitar driven "Stealin'," Uriah Heep save most of their more well-known hits for the closing numbers of the show. The songs "July Morning" and "Gypsy" receive the epic treatment in this live setting as both songs surpass the 9-minute mark. The night closes with a 13-minute version of "Look At Yourself," which has been a concert staple for the band since 1971. Also included on the 2CD set is a 25-minute audio interview with Chris Tetley and Uriah Heep. To find out more about Uriah Heep and their new re-issue of "Raging Through The Silence," please visit uriah-heep.com

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

CD Review: Revisit The Music Of Keith Emerson, Magma And Philippe Debarge With The Pretty Things

English musician/composer Keith Emerson was an amazing talent. He was a founding member of the progressive rock band Emerson, Lake & Palmer and also composed musical scores for a number of soundtracks. Sadly, he ended his life prematurely by committing suicide in March 2016. One of his more enlightening albums was the piano instrumental "Emerson Plays Emerson." It was originally released in 2002 and quickly went out of print. To celebrate the album's 15th anniversary, the Keith Emerson Estate went back into the "vault" to create a fresh new transfer from the master tapes for this new re-release of the album. While this release showcased a different side to Emerson's talented piano playing, it also gave us insight into his love of classical music, as well as progressive rock side. Given the history of Emerson's more popular music, it's nice to here another side to his piano playing. To find out more about the newly released "Emerson Plays Emerson" album, please visit cherryred.co.uk.

French progressive rock band Magma have been pushing the boundaries of music since 1970. Their most famous album "Mekanik Destruktiw Kommandoh" ("MDK" for short) was released in 1973 and has been ranked #24 on Rolling Stones "50 Greatest Prog Albums Of All Time." Now the band has revisited the nearly 40-minute recording by releasing a live version of the song recorded in January 1973 with a full orchestra choir. The new album titled "Mekknik Kommandoh" features a new remastered version of the song and new cover art. While I am not that familiar with the original studio recording, this version is simply amazing. That is if you can hang in their for the nearly 38-minute track. Also arriving from Magma is a new feature film titled "To Life, Death and Beyond: The Music Of Magma." It gives an in-depth journey into this band that has lasted almost 50 years by making music that pushes the envelope of progressive rock music. To find out more about Magma and their latest releases, please visit magmamusic.org.

French playboy Philippe DeBarge teamed up with the English rock band The Pretty Things to record an album in late 1969. With the sales of The Pretty Things album "S.F. Sorrow" picking up, the project's release was scrapped for a new album from just The Pretty Things. The Philippe DeBarge collaboration would not see a release until 40 years later when it came out in 2009. Now the album is seeing a re-release on CD along with a new 16-page booklet and a few bonus tracks from the sessions. The sounds of the sixties is instilled in this release with songs like the hippie-sounding "Hello, How Do You Do?" and "Send You With Loving." The psychedelic rock of "Eagle's Son" and "I'm Checking Out" showcases the best of this collaboration. The three bonus tracks consist of the sonic blast of "Monsieur Rock (Ballad Of Philippe)," the raw, garage rock sound of "Lover" and the acoustic sixties blues of "Silver Stars." To find out more about this new release of Philippe DeBarge with The Pretty Things, please visit madfishmusic.com.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Concert Review: Guns 'n' Roses Turns Hartford Into "Paradise City" With Epic Show

When a band like Guns 'n' Roses come to town, it becomes an epic rock event, especially when the band's core three members are touring together for the first time in over 20 years. The tour is called "Not In This Lifetime," which was quoted by Axl Rose years ago when asked if he would ever play again with original guitarist Slash. Now the two have put their differences aside and joined forces along with original Guns 'n' Roses bassist Duff McKagen to invoke on one of the biggest world tours of the year. 

At just before 8pm, a short, animated movie showing all of Guns 'n' Roses conquests in the last two years got the crowd riled up. Bassist Duff McKagen hit the first riffs of "It's So Easy" and the three-plus hour marathon was underway. Axl's voice was in fine form throughout the evening as the band mixed in songs from all five of their original albums. Fan favorites like "Welcome To The Jungle" and "Live And Let Die" supported the weight of the lesser known songs like "Better" and "This I Love." The whole band collaborated on an epic version of "Rocket Queen" as the audience sang along to the song's chorus. Lead guitarist, Slash was simply amazing during the solos of "Double Talkin' Jive" and "Estranged," while Duff took over the lead vocals on their cover of The Damned's "New Rose."

Axl would pull an audible and perform the song "Prostitute," (from their 2008 album "Chinese Democracy") for the first time on this tour. Following the long, momentous feel of "Coma," it was now Slash's turn in the spotlight. His emotional guitar solo drew all eyes on him as his performance of the "Speak Softly Love (Love Theme From The Godfather)" lead right into the crowd pleaser "Sweet Child O' Mine."

To say that Guns 'n' Roses is one of the best cover bands, is an understatement, but the second half of the night featured covers of almost half of night's final fourteen songs. The excitement was raised to the next level as a punk-like version of "My Michelle" followed the mellow acoustics of the Glen Campbell's "Wichita Lineman." Guitarists Richard Fortus and Slash traded verses on Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here" as Axl settled into his seat at the piano for "November Rain." The main set closed with a rocking version of "Nightrain," that only left the audience only wanting more. 

Guns 'n' Roses would build the tempo back up during the encore, beginning with "Madagascar" and "Patience." They dedicated their version of AC/DC's "Whole Lotta Rosie" to Angus Young's brother, George Young, who recently passed away. The night would finish over 3 1/2 hours later was a strong, quick version of The Who's "The Seeker" and the final energy blast of "Paradise City." As fireworks and confetti rained down throughout the arena, Guns 'n' Roses proved once again why that are one of the greatest rock 'n' roll bands of all time. 

Setlist: It's So Easy, Mr. Brownstone, Chinese Democracy, Welcome To The Jungle, Double Talkin' Jive, Better, Estranged, Live And Let Die, Rocket Queen, You Could Be Mine, New Rose, This I Love, Prostitute, Civil War, Yesterdays, Coma, Speak Softly Love (Love Theme From The Godfather), Sweet Child O' Mine, Wichita Lineman, Used To Love Her, My Michelle, Wish You Were Here, November Rain, Black Hole Sun, Knockin' On Heaven's Door, Nightrain
Encore: Madagascar, Patience, Whole Lotta Rosie, Don't Cry, The Seeker, Paradise City

DVD Review: New L7 Documentary Shows The Band Is Anything But "Dead"

The all-female band L7 were one of the torch bearers of the grunge movement. Their sound was raw, their look was iconic and their songs were anthems of the youth movement. They rose to fame along with bands like Nirvana, Hole and Smashing Pumpkins, but never had that hit record or hit single to put them over the top.

A new, soon to be released documentary titled "L7: Pretend We're Dead" tells you the complete story, first hand from the band. Most of the footage of the band's rise was filmed by L7 with a handheld video camera. It displays the band's rise to conquer Europe and Brazil, as well as their downfall at the end of the nineties. One thing you can say, is that L7 did things their way. Director Sarah Price also does a masterful job allowing the band to tell their story with amazing, behind the scenes footage that can only be seen in this documentary. The band's friendship was as strong as their music, which became an inspiration for other rising bands and especially female musicians to follow. The documentary includes input from other famous musicians and producers like Joan Jett, Shirley Manson, Krist Novoselic, Butch Vig and others. While L7 may have been labeled the "Queens Of Grunge," and shortly dissolved as a band in 2001, their music has become an important, timeless part in the evolution of rock music. This documentary is a music see as it gives the complete story of L7's rise as they spearheaded the nineties decade.

"L7: Pretend We're Dead" will be released on October 27th on Blu-ray/DVD with a 12-page photo booklet. Included with the documentary are bonus scenes, in-studio live performances and 1997 tongue-in-cheek documentary "L7: The Beauty Process," which was directed by Nirvana's Krist Novoselic. To find out more about this new release, please visit l7pretendweredead.com.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Concert Review: Donald Fagan Delivers An Evening With Steely Dan At The Toyota Oakdale Theater

The legendary band, Steely Dan took a major hit last month, when just days before the start of their 2017 fall tour, original guitarist Walter Becker passed away from an undisclosed illness. Instead of cancelling the tour, the other half of Steely Dan, Donald Fagan made a decision to trek on as a tribute to his late fallen partner. Early reviews of the shows have been stunning as Steely Dan brought their "An Evening With Steely Dan" tour to the Toyota Oakdale Theater on Sunday night.

The two-hour performance started with the band kicking in to jazzy instrumental, "Fan It, Janet" as Donald Fagan and The Danettes strutted onto the stage. Fagan took to the microphone with his melodica to perform a song from his solo album "Green Flower Street," before settling into his keyboard that was perched center stage. The night was a string of Steely Dan hits, with a few obscure tracks to appease the diehard fans. Guitarist John Herington made his presence known during the jamming, electrifying guitar solos of "Hey Nineteen" and "New Frontier." Then, drummer Keith Carlock took over to close out "Aja" with a powerful drum solo.

Fagan mentioned that he felt "weird" being up on stage without his partner, before dedicating the band's version of "Book Of Liars" (from Walter Becker's solo album) to his memory. As the song played, family photos of Becker shown on a large projection screen behind the band. The energy quickly picked back up with "Black Friday" and the swift pace of "Bodhisattva," while the bluesy "I Want To (Do Everything For You)," sung by The Danettes, allowed each member of the band to be introduced.

Donald Fagan and Steely Dan headed toward the finish line with a string of their popular hits, "Peg," "My Old School" and "Kid Charlemagne." A standing ovation from the audience rang throughout the theater, before Steely Dan returned to the stage to close out the evening with probably their most well-known single, "Reelin' In The Years." As Fagan thanked his fans and exited the stage, the band broke into the theme from "The Untouchables." As the house light went up, there was no doubt that Steely Dan is still here to stay as long as Donald Fagan continues to be the driving force behind the band. Here's to many more years of Steely Dan's music ringing through the speakers in theaters across the country.

Setlist: Fan It Janet, Green Flower Street, Black Cow, Hey Nineteen, New Frontier, Aja, I Got The News, Time Out Of Mind, Book Of Liars, Black Friday, Dirty Work, Bodhisattva, I Want To (Do Everything For You), Don't Take Me Alive, Peg, My Old School, Kid Charlemagne
Encore: Reelin' In The Years, Theme From The Untouchables

CD Review: Flat Duo Jets Double Their Debut Album & Give Us "Wild Wild Love"

Rockabilly trio Flat Duo Jets was one of the greatest underground rock secrets of the late-eighties and nineties. Having originally formed as a duo in 1984, Flat Duo Jets were inspired by The Cramps as they recorded their first EP titled "In Stereo." The band was thought to be on the rise, releasing their self-titled debut album in 1990 and opening for The Cramps on their nationwide tour, but a performance on "Late Night With David Letterman" would be the extent of what the general public would gather from Flat Duo Jets.

Now, nearly 30 years later, record label Daniel 13 is releasing a 2CD set that contains the trio's debut album,their early EP and an entire second disc of outtakes. The energy that Flat Duo Jets placed in their songs has a punk-like feel with a classic, rockabilly sound. Songs like "Mill Stream" and their cover of Benny Goodman's "Sing Sing Sing" will make you instant fans of Flat Duo Jets. The rawness of "Man With The Golden Arm" and the jukebox-ready "Strut My Stuff" are hidden gems on the band's debut album.

The wildness of their debut EP shows that this band had loads of potential, but lacked a certain direction. The garage-rock feel of "Riot In Cell Block #9" combines elements of Stray Cats with The Clash, while "Love Me" has a fifties, Buddy Holly-like vibe. The first disc closes with the wildly attractive and playful "Raining In My Heart." The starkness of the outtakes almost surpasses the debut album as their sound has a slightly jazzier sound on the songs "Minor Swing" and "Love Has Its Jokes." Flat Duo Jets dig deeper into the blues with "Rock Me Baby" and "Look Down 2," before wrapping up the 30-plus minute disc with the slow-moving, piano boogie of "Justine 1." To find out more about Flat Duo Jets and their most recent release "Wild Wild Love," please visit daniel13.com/flat-duo-jets.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

CD Review: Peter Case Returns To The "FolkScene" & NRBQ Deliver Some "Happy Talk"

American singer/songwriter Peter Case has had a music career that has lasted over 40 years. First as a street performer in San Francisco, then forming the punk band, The Nerves in the late-seventies, before creating the new wave/pop band The Plimsouls in the early eighties. By the mid-eighties, Case went on his own to follow is dream of a solo career, which has lasted over 30 years. On October 27th, Omnivore Recordings will be releasing an album of 18 previously unreleased recordings by Peter Case in 1998 and 2000.

The new release titled "On The Way Downtown: Recorded Live On FolkScene" captures Case in his natural folk setting with an acoustic guitar. Tracks 1-9 were recorded live for the "Folkscene" radio show on March 1, 1998. The show features Peter Case in fine form as his surrounded by a handful of musicians to recreate songs from his album "Full Service, No Waiting" in this stark, stripped-down acoustic setting. The second half of this release features Case on a return visit to the "Folkscene" radio show on July 30, 2000. This time he focuses on his album "Flying Saucer Blues," with some surprises thrown in like his cover of Mississippi Jon Hurt's "Pay Day" and "Icewater" from his 1986 debut solo album. Case also debuts some new songs ("Beyond The Blues" and "Leaving Home"), which would be released the following year on his next solo album, "Thank You St. Jude." To find out more about this new release from Peter Case titled "On The Way Downtown: Recorded Live On FolkScene," please visit omnivorerecordings.com.

American roots/rock band NRBQ decided to follow-up their 2016 career retrospective box set "High Noon," with a handful of new recordings titled "Happy Talk." Their new 5-song EP begins with "Head On A Post," one of only two originals to appear on this release. They still know how to rock after 50 years on this opening track and it's country-feel follow-up "Yes, I Have A Banana." They quickly run through Roy Orbison's "Only The Lonely," before the six-minute "Blues, Blues Blues" is the perfect song to fit into their live set. Their new short album finishes with a cover of Rogers & Hammerstein's "Happy Talk," which has been years in the making and puts an exclamation point on the next chapter of this band. NRBQ will be closing out the year with a string of shows in Northern New England in November. For a complete list of shows and to find out more about their new album "Happy Talk," please visit nrbq.com.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

CD Review: The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Makes "Beautiful" Music With Roy Orbison

On November 3rd, the wonderful, iconic voice and music of Roy Orbison returns with a new album titled "A Love So Beautiful: Roy Orbison With The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra." It features 15 of Orbison's classic hits, back by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and also his sons, Alex, Wesley and Roy Jr. This new album was produced by Don Reedman and Nick Patrick, who also produced the hugely successful "In Dreams: Elvis Presley With The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra."

The new release kicks off with the lush, new string arrangement on the Orbison ballad, "In Dreams." Listening to these songs, you notice how perfect Orbison's voice was for this orchestral setting. His whole family joins in on his most popular hit "Oh, Pretty Woman" as his sons and grandson recreates to music of this timeless hit. The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra adds an element of grace to the songs, filling up his sixties singles like "Dream Baby" and "Blue Angel" with beautiful arrangements that seemed destined to be a part of these songs.  Roy Orbison's "Only The Lonely" and "Running Scared" felt like they were written specifically for this orchestral treatment, while his later hits like "I Drove All Night" and "You Got It" seem a little more forced into these grand remakes. The album closes with the emotional ballad "A Love So Beautiful," which showcases the amazing music of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra as they become the perfect setting for Roy Orbison's vocals. To find out more about this new release, "A Love So Beautiful: Roy Orbison With The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra," please visit royorbison.com.

Friday, October 20, 2017

CD Review: Lindsey Stirling Wants You To Feel "Warmer In The Winter"

Award-winning musical artist Lindsey Stirling is definitely a "go-getter" and has a wonderful work ethic as she has risen from YouTube star to one of the biggest pop acts in the world. Her last two studio albums topped the U.S. Dance and Classical charts and her theater shows have been attended fully by her legion of fans. On October 20th, she is preparing to release her first holiday album titled "Warmer In The Winter." The new 13-song release features covers of some Christmas classics along with a few new originals.

The album kicks off with Lindsey showcasing her skills as a violinist during the instrumental "Dance Of The Sugar Plum Fairy." Next she works with actress/singer Sabrina Carpenter on the high-energy, jazziness of "You're A Mean One Mr. Grinch," then incorporates the help of Becky G on the pop original "Christmas C'mon." Once again Lindsey displays her violin skills on the instrumentals "Carol Of The Bells" and "Angels We Have Heard On High," before teaming up with Trombone Shorty on another holiday original, "Warmer In The Winter."  She finishes up her new Christmas album with the fun, playfulness of "All I Want For Christmas" and the beautiful serenade of "Silent Night."

Lindsey Sterling will be on her holiday tour beginning November 8th, which runs all the way to December 23rd. For a complete list of dates and to find out more about her new holiday album "Warmer In The Winter," please visit lindseystirling.com.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

CD Review: New Prog-Rock Music From BangTower, Cairo And Podd

Progressive rock legends BangTower recently released a new digital-only EP titled "Hey, Where'd Everybody Go?" Guitarist/singer Neil Citron began writing more songs right after the release of their 2016 album "With N With Out" and he didn't want those songs to get stale so BangTower found time early in the year to get into a studio and record these 7 new songs. Citron was once again joined by his fellow bassist Robert Pagliari and also returning was drummer Frankie Banali (Quiet Riot). The new release begins with the hard rock groove of "She Don't Care" as each member makes their presence known on this exciting opening track. The trio begin to stretch out their sound on the nearly seven-minute instrumental "Lazy Afternoon," before returning to the hard rock of "Frankie's Silver Hammer." After a pair of epic rock pieces, the album closes with the driving force of "Right Hand Drive" and the short, relaxed piece "Ali's Midnight Wish." To find out more about BangTower and their latest release "Hey, Where'd Everybody Go?," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/Bangtower.

From The UK comes the debut album "Say" from progressive rock band Cairo. The band is led by Touchtone founder Rob Cottingham as he creates a sonic trip with the band's new 13-track release. The album begins with the Middle Eastern sounds of "Cairo," before the storied, spoken word of "Shadow's Return Prologue." The album continues with the quick-moving rock of "Wiped Out," featuring Lisa Driscoll on vocals. The centerpiece of the album is the nine-plus minute progressive rock epic "Nothing To Prove," followed immediately by its reprise. Driscoll's vocals float along the ballad "Katrina," before Cairo closes out the album with the atmospheric soundscape of "Random Acts Of Kindness Part 1" and the built-up rock melody of "Dancing The Gossamer Thread." To find out more about Cairo and their latest release "Say," please visit cairorocks.com.

Instrumental progressive rock band Podd recently released their debut studio album titled "Cosmic Forces." It features 10-tracks, beginning with the slow build-up of "Beyond Beyond" as the floating, melodic tones get taken over by the bursts of guitar frenzied riffs. The album continues with atmospheric feel of "There And Back" and the exciting musical movements within "Starseed." Next comes three epic pieces ("The Spark," "Impact" and "Ultimate Reality") as Podd showcases their musical talents on these songs. They finish up their new album with the beautiful acoustics of "Abraxas" and the sonic, jamband build-up of "Transmission." To find out more about Podd and their latest release "Cosmic Forces," please visit poddmusic.com

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

CD Review: New Heavy Metal/Punk Music From Winds Of Plague, The Professionals & Like Moths To Flames

October 27th marks the return of California metal band Winds Of Plague with their brand new studio album "Blood Of My Enemy." It has been 4 years since their last album and in that time they have recruited a trio of musicians to take their music to the next level. Their new 12-song release begins with a short orchestration, before getting blown away by the shear force of the deathcore metal attack of "Nameless Walker." They showcase the band's power on the intense "Kings Of Carnage" and their unity and musicianship with the battle cry of "From Failure, Come Clarity." Winds Of Plague deliver the extreme metal of "Blood Of My Enemy"  and "Snakeskin" as they make a claim for the top death metal band in the nation. They speed things up with the swift pace of "Never Alone," before finishing up their new album with the heavy hitting thunder of "A Walk Among The Dead" and the epic piece "Dark Waters." To find out more about Winds Of Plague and their latest release "Blood Of My Enemy," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/windsofplague.

English punk-rock band The Professionals have returned to release their first album in 35 years. The band was created out of the ashes of the Sex Pistols and had some chart success in the their home country in the early eighties. The honeymoon would only last a couple of years, before the break up of the band. In 2015, The Professionals reunited for some shows in celebration of the band's box set "The Complete Professionals." Now on October 27th, bandmates Paul Cook and Steve Jones reunite in the studio to release their new album "What In The World." The album also features a load of special guests like Mick Jones (The Clash), Duff McKagen (Guns N Roses) and Phil Collen (Def Leppard) to name few. The new ten-song release begins with the raw, garage-rock sound of "Good Man Down" as Billy Duffy from The Cult lends a hand. Their punk roots come shining through with Phil Collen on the high-energy of "Let Go" and "Rewind," along with Mick Jones adding his iconic touch to "Extremadura." The Professionals finish up their new album with the power punk attack of "Monkeys" as Duff McKagen and Phil Collen team up to close the album out strong. To find out more about The Professionals and their latest release "What In The World," please visit cookandjones.co.uk.

Hardcore metal band Like Moths To Flames is preparing to release their fourth studio album titled "Dark Divine." Their new 11-song release kicks off with the atmospheric introduction of "New Plagues," before the screaming vocals and shredding guitar riffs take over. The album continues with the high-energy, mainstream metal appeal of "Nowhere Left To Sink" and the adrenaline blast of "Dark Divine." They settle down for the more hard rock melody of "Empty The Same," before the pace picks back up for the hardcore attack of "From The Dust Returned." Like Moths To Flames finish up their new album with the great radio single "Glimpse" and the chugging rhythm of "False Idol." Like Moths To Flames will be hitting the road at the beginning of November for a 2-month U.S. tour. For a complete list of shows and to find out more about their new album Dark Divine," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/likemoths.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

CD Review: New Music From Pekka Tegelman, Mark Vickness, Peter Galperin, Jimmy Detalente & Jim Vegas

Finish guitarist Pekka Tegelman recently released his fourth studio album titled "Pekka Tegelman & Quartegel." It features 9-tracks of exciting jazz-rock fusion, beginning with the calm, gentle flow of "All Folks" as Pekka eases you into his new album as he works his magic on the guitar. Pekka and his band pick the tempo up for "Do Ra Mi," before the relaxed acoustics of "Two Towns." The second half of the album gets bookends by "Song 1: The Dawn" and "Song 2: The Twilight" as saxophonist Manuel Dunkel is featured on both tracks. To find out more about Pekka Tegelman and his latest release "Pekka Tegelman & Quartegel," please visit his Facebook page at facebook.com/pekka.tegelman.

Guitarist/pianist/composer Mark Vickness recently released his new acoustic guitar instrumental album "Places." Vickness has worked in the music industry for over two decades, writing and performing film scores and also as one-half of the acoustic fusion duo, Glass House (with David Worm). The new 9-track album is his first to feature a modern finger style and is a relaxing journey to simply just get lost in. Right from the opening notes of "A Thousand Islands," you will find yourself immersed in the beautiful way Mark strums the notes on his guitar. He adds a little more energy to "New York City"  and masterfully moves his fingers around the fret board on "Bishop Pass." His album closes with the eight-plus minute epic piece "Wonder Lake Suite" and the uplifting feel of "I Must Tell Jesus." To find out more about Mark Vickness and his latest release "Places," please visit markvickness.com.

From New York City comes the latest release from singer/songwriter Peter Galperin titled "This Burning Sun." His new 8-song release begins with the wonderful melody of "Normal To You" as Peter has perfected his craft at songwriting. Next comes the tale of "King Of You And Me" and the acoustic folk strumming of "On Higher Ground" as you find yourself immersed in Peter's vocals and stories.  He finishes up his new release with the guitar boogie shuffle of "Don't Look Back" and the acoustic ballad "One More Smile." To find out more about Peter Galperin and his latest release "This Burning Sun," please visit petergalperin.com.

Next, from Indiana comes the debut release from Jimmy Detalente and the Electric Revival titled "Where We Begin." The new 6-song release begins with a classic bluegrass introduction that gets blown away by the country/rock of "Sometimes We Bleed." The album continues with the weekend anthem "Where We Begin" and the up-tempo, sing-along chorus of "Fences." Their new short release closes with the emotional ballads "For A Few" and "Spark Into A Flame." To find out more about Jimmy DeTalente and the Electric Revival and their latest release "Where We Begin," please visit sparktherevival.com.

Colorado native Jim Vegas is ready to release his fourth studio album titled "Soul Shattered Sister" on December 1st. After honing his craft on songs by Bob Dylan, Tom Waite and Leonard Cohen, Vegas is ready to unleash his new release of all original material. His new 11-song album begins with the title-song "Soul Shattered Sister," which is soaked in blues/rock. Jim Vegas delivers a strong, Stray Cats vibe on the nostalgic sounds of "Bad Fruit In The Yard" and "Not That Strong." His album moseys on with the country/rock tones of "Love Is Coming Back Around," then he digs in for the blues/rock rumble of "Far From You," before closing with slow sway of "Suns Is Gonna Smile." To find out more about Jim Vegas and his latest release "Soul Shatters Sister," please visit jimvegasmusic.com 

Monday, October 16, 2017

CD Review: New Music From Singer/Songwriters Cindy Alexander & Sarah Aroeste, Along With Swedish Jazz Band Trallskogen

Award-winning artist Cindy Alexander is preparing to release her ninth studio album, "Nowhere To Hide" on January 5th, 2018. The album consists of some of Alexander's favorite songs, chosen by friends and fans, re-recorded live in the studio. Her new 11-song release begins with the gentle piano ballad "I See Stars" and the beautiful poetry of "Passenger," which is one of two brand new songs on this album. Her warming vocals soar on "4 Hours" and her beautifully simple cover of Bread's "Everything I Own" allows you to enjoy the truth behind Cindy's vocals. The other new original tale is "The Song Will Always Find You," which allows you to fully appreciate her songwriting, before she finishes her new album with the fan favorite "Wonderful," which carries the most up-beat tempo on this release. To find out more about Cindy Alexander and her new album "Nowhere To Hide," please visit cindyalexander.com.

Bi-lingual singer/songwriter Sarah Aroeste is preparing to release her new, all-original Ladino/English holiday album titled "Together/Endjuntos." The Ladino language is a old Sephardic dialect and includes elements of Portuguese, French, Italian, Greek, Hebrew and others. Her new 10-song release begins with "Buena Semana" as you are introduced to Sarah's beautiful vocals. While you may not understand all of the lyrics, you will still get wrapped up in her voice. She becomes more playful with the folk/pop sing-along of "Thank You For The Trees" and the Middle-Eastern rhythm of "El Dia De Purim." She returns to the gentle flow of "Ayada Buena" that just allows you to relax and melt into her vocals. Sarah closes her new album with the hip-hop beats of "Bimuelo," featuring the work of Kosha Dillz and the Latin jazz of "Buen Shabat." To find out more about Sarah Aroeste and her latest release "Together/Endjuntos," please visit saraharoeste.com.

Swedish jazz band Trallskogen recently released their debut album titled "Trollskogen." It features 9-tracks, beginning with the seven-minute "Intro" as you enter the world of this experimental band. As they feel their way around the studio in the opening track, they begin to settle down into the steady pace of the title song "Trollskogen." While you may not understand the language within the songs, you can certain appreciate the musicianship on some of these epic tracks. They deliver the avant garde jazz of "Bergtrall" and the more up-beat feel of "Vad Nu," which showcases the diversity in their musicianship. The wonderful vocals of Annika Jonsson is highlighted with the poetry of "Han Drak," before Trallskogen finish their new album with the rock infused "Bitar" and the epic build-up of "Farval" along with the hidden track "Intercity Mood," which is an energetic jazz number that you must seek out. To find out more about Trallskogen and their latest release "Trollskogen," please visit trallskogen.com.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

CD Review: Bob Marley & The Wailers "Live!" Doubles In Size & Native Works With Lee "Scratch" Perry

The legendary "Live!" album from Bob Marley and The Wailers is finally getting its proper release on CD. Originally released in December 1975, the album captured the band during their two-night stand at Lyceum Theatre in London on July 17 & 18 1975. The idea was to quickly put an album together of the band's live material to keep fans interested while Bob Marley and The Wailers recorded their new album, which eventually became "Rastaman Vibration." The original record only featured 7-songs, which were featured on the "King Biscuit Flower Hour." After 40 years, that was all corrected last year when the Universal Music Group released a 3-vinyl set that included both concerts. It featured, for the first time, the entire unreleased July 17th show and also full-length versions of songs from the July 18th show. On October 13th, Universal Music Group released a new 2CD set that featured the complete "Live!" album. Both shows are presented on their own discs and comes with a booklet of unpublished photos and new essay about the evening's events. To find out more about newly released Bob Marley & The Wailers "Live!" set, please visit bobmarley.com.

Back in 1977, Jamaican-based reggae band Native were given the keys to the kingdom, when they got to record with famed record producer Lee "Scratch" Perry. Perry was the pioneer of the dub sound, working with everyone from Bob Marley to Paul McCartney to the Beastie Boys. In 1973, Perry built his own studio, named The Black Ark. There he was able to control his signature sound and create some amazing albums from local Jamaican bands, including Native. On September 22nd, Goldenlane Records released the hidden reggae-gem "Black Ark Showcase 1977" by Native Meets Lee Scratch Perry. It was one of the last recordings done at The Black Ark studio before it burnt down in 1978.

The new 10-song release features the local reggae band Native given the sonic treatment to a handful of their songs. The first five songs on the album are featured as they were recorded in the studio, without any wizardry from Lee "Scratch" Perry. The second half of the album showcases the talents of Perry as the final mix features a deeper reggae vibe as you can feel the songs' groove. To find out more about this classic album makeover, please visit nativemeetsleescratchperry.bandcamp.com.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

CD Review: Europe Returns To "Walk The Earth," While Heaven & Earth Become "Hard To Kill" & Tom Keifer Adds More To His "Life"

Swedish rock band, Europe overtook the airwaves in 1986 with their third album, "The Final Countdown." It featured 3 "top 40" hits, including the title-song and the top 5 hit ballad "Carrie." Unable to capture that same fire, the band Europe broke up from 1992 to 2003. Since their reunion, the band has been on a steady climb back up the rock charts and on October 20th, Europe will release their 11th studio album titled "Walk The Earth." The new 10-song release includes the band signature keyboard-heavy rock sound, spearheaded by the iconic vocals of lead singer Joey Tempest.

The album start out with the atmospheric keyboards and thunderous rhythm of "Walk The Earth" as they have adapted a heavier sound on this release. They continue with the intensity of "The Siege" and still showcase their diversity with emotional ballad "Pictures." Then Europe come roaring back with the high-powered "Election Day" and "GTO," before finishing up their new album with big guitar riffs and wild drumming of "Haze" along with the seven-minute epic piece "Turn To Dust." Europe will be finishing out the year with a string of dates in Europe. To find out more about the band's new album "Walk The Earth," please visit europetheband.com.

Former Cinderella lead singer, Tom Keifer released his debut solo album titled "The Way Life Goes," back in 2013 (review: jpsmusicblog.blogspot.com). Now, 4 years later he revisits that album, releasing a deluxe edition of the album that includes 3 bonus tracks and a DVD that features a 30-minute documentary about album and the new recording sessions, as well as music videos and tour clips. The new bonus songs feature two version of the Cinderella classic "Nobody's Fool," one with Lzzy Hale (Halestorm) and the other is a stripped down piano version of the song. The other bonus song is a studio version of The Beatles' "With A Little Help From My Friends," which Keifer has been performing live in concert. This new deluxe edition of Tom Keifer's "The Way Life Goes" will be available on October 20th through Cleopatra Records. To find out more, please visit tomkeifer.cleorecs.com.

October 6th saw the fourth release from hard rockers Heaven & Earth. Their new album titled "Hard To Kill" is arguable their most explosive and cohesive album to date. The 11-track release kicks off with the adrenaline-fueled title song that showcases the full power of this band. The songs get an extra jolt of energy on this release from drummer Kenny Aronoff (Rolling Stones, Chickenfoot) and keyboardist Ty Baillie (Katy Perry). The album continues with the classic California hard rock appeal of "Walk Away" and the strut of "Till It's Over." They motor through the high-energy of "The Game Has Changed," led by bassist Lynn Sorensen, then lead singer Joe Retta and guitarist Stuart Smith smash down the walls with the "Monster." The album finishes up with up-tempo sonic blues of "Hellfire" and the pounding rhythm of "Bad Man." Heaven & Earth have only two live shows lined-up at the moment, but look for more to be announced soon. To find out more about their new album "Hard To Kill," please visit heavenandearthband.com.