Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Check Out New Music From European Metal Bands Fractal Universe and Dimwind

France's extreme metal band Fractal Universe recently released their new album "The Passable Horizon" on June 25th through Metal Blade Records. The album was recorded last year, following their short, two-month pre-pandemic tour with Obscura. The new eleven track release kicks off with the quick-hitting rhythm of "Autopoiesis," which shows depths to the band's songwriting with glimpses of progressive structure and melody. Fractal Universe deliver the complexity of "A Clockwork Expectation," with multiple time changes, chugging guitar riffs and harmonic vocal sections. The band keep you on this roller coaster ride with the up-and-down tempos of "Interfering Spherical Scenes," while "Withering Snowdrops" is a heavy metal juggernaut that is sure to get your adrenaline pumping. They deliver the more melodic flow of "Black Sails Of Melancholia," before finishing their new album with the hardcore growls of "Epitaph," the eight-minute epic metal journey of "Godless Machinists" and a stripped-down, unplugged version of "Flashes Of Potentialities." To find out more about Fractal Universe and their latest release "The Passable Horizon," please visit fractaluniverseband.com.

Swedish post-metal band, Dimwind also recently released their debut album "Slow Wave Violence." The album features seven-tracks, beginning with the opening, instrumental track "Blinds Drawn," which continues to grow with intensity until reaching its peak. The band's energy and excitement hits you on the crests of "4 AM," while the eight-minute progressive metal assault of "Slow Wave Decent" shows the band flexing their muscle with aggressive guitar riffs, which then reseed back to a post-apocalyptical soundscape, before building up once again. Dimwind wrap up their new album with the quiet, ambient tone of "Haglos," along with the pulse-pounding, progressive metal delivery of "Pelagic Vim" and the nearly nine-minute sonic adventure of "Broken Silver Cord." To find out more about Dimwind and their latest release "Slow Wave Violence," please visit dimwind.com

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

King Crimson Members Help Out On New Albums From The Grid and Dario & The Clear

Legendary rock guitarist Robert Fripp (King Crimson) has teamed up with the electronic duo, The Grid (David Ball & Richard Norris) for a new album titled "Leviathan." The Grid has found numerous success in the U.K. with their albums, singles and remixes and they have teamed up with Fripp before on their second album "456." Now, nearly three decades later, The Grid and Robert Fripp have collaborated once again on a new set of songs, based around the story of "Leviathan," the biggest prehistoric whale to have ever lived.

The album begins with sweeping waves of sound on the full eight-minute opener "Empire," while "Milkwood" may seem more subtle, as the music seems to echo itself as it simply floats along. The ambient flow of "Pulse Detected" has a slightly more relaxed tone, before reaching the graceful floatation of "Loom. The pinnacle piece of the album is the ten-minute electronic dreamscape of "Leviathan," which also carries a classical overtone. Robert Fripp and The Grid finish their new album with the sonar, rhythmic pattern of the album's most lively track "Fire Tower," along with pulsating beats of "Zhora" and the repetitive melody of "Simpatico." To find out more about this latest release between Robert Fripp and The Grid, please visit dgmlive.com/news/leviathan-released.

Progressive rock ensemble, Dario And The Clear have also recently released their new studio album titled "Optic Nerve." The Clear features experienced members of King Crimson and Peter Gabriel's band, which fully support Dario's eclectic guitar work on this latest album. The opening track "Deities In Splendor" combines elements of jazz, classical and rock in order to prepare you for anything that Dario And The Clear throw at you with their wide array, diverse sound. The energy explodes with the aggressive attack of "Smile/Lies," before slowing down for the more melodic textures of "Saint Street." The band rock out once again with the all-out assault of "This Moment," before wrapping up their new seven-song album with the more ambient, progressive touch of the instrumental "Designated Skin" and the final sonic hard rock blast of "Tattooed Prophet." To find out more about Dario And The Clear and their latest release "Optic Nerve," please visit darioandtheclear4.bandcamp.com.

Monday, June 28, 2021

Wanderlust Return After Two Decades With "All A View"

The story of the nineties band, Wanderlust may sound tragic, like so many other bands during the nineties. As record sales in the industry were soaring to record-breaking heights, every label was looking to sign the next golden ticket band, like a Nirvana or a Pearl Jam. The band Wanderlust formed in 1993, hit the studio in 1994, released their debut album in 1995 and opened for The Who in 1996. Critics loved the album, but the record buying public did very little to notice the band among a sea of new music that flooded the market. Wanderlust was eventually dropped from their label and disbanded before the close of the decade. The members of the band went on to find success on their own, front man Scot Sax ending up working with Tim McGraw, Faith Hill and opened for Robert Plant & Allison Kraus on their tour. Rob Bonfiglio teamed up with Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys and worked alongside Wilson Phillips. Both Jim Cavanaugh and Mark Getten went on to form other bands, but the work of Wanderlust was never completed, until now.

Nearly 25 years after their debut album, Wanderlust have come together to properly complete their follow-up album "All A View." The album will be released on July 2nd, on CD, vinyl and on digital format. Now with over two decades of experience, the band's new ten song release bridges the gap between the nineties and today. The album begins with the alternative, psychedelic pop of the title track "All A View," which shows glimpses of their early, edgy rock phase. Wanderlust quickly move along to their pop elements on the gentler melody of "Something Happens," as their maturity begins to shine along with the songs "Trick Of The Light" and "Critical Mind." Their inspirations and experiences are definitely present on nearly each and every track of this new album. The band finish with the quiet, folk-strumming of "Bored And Blue," next to the undeniably addictive delivery of "Inspiration." To find out more about Wanderlust and their latest release "All A View," please visit facebook.com/wanderlustfans.

Sunday, June 27, 2021

Discover New Music From Layla Frankel and Shawn Maxwell

Nashville-based singer, songwriter Layla Frankel recently released a new five-song EP titled "Postcard From The Moon." You will instantly fall in love with her warming, soulful voice on the quiet, folk touch of the opening track "TLC," before she picks the tempo up with the country-pop overtone of "Dear Jennie." Her voice sounds strong on the slow blues of "You Can't Love Me Like I Loved You" and shines as bright as the sun on the mellow ballad "Josephine." Layla finishes up her new, short release with the sweet soul-infused "Without Suffering." To find out more about Layla Frankel and her latest release "Postcard From The Moon," please visit
 laylafrankel.com.


Saxophonist Shawn Maxwell wrote and recorded seventeen new songs during the 2020 pandemic shutdown for his latest album "Expectation & Experience." The song lengths range from one minute and six seconds to over four minutes, as Shawn allows each track to breath on its own, beginning with the short bluesy jazz of "Expectation," along with the dance of keyboards and saxophone on elegant touch of "Empty Shelf." Shawn experiments with his performance on "The Great Divide," as you get lost in the layers of notes being performed. He quickly passes along the short, interesting climbing melody of "A Change Of Climate," while "Alternative Facts" features a great harmonica and saxophone duet. Shawn will get your pulse racing with the exciting blast of "The Show Can't Go On," while also showcasing his softer side on the mellow sounds of "Empty Stage." He wraps up his new album with the solitude of "Lockdown" and the beautiful touch of the album closer "Experience." To find out more about Shawn Maxwell and his latest release "Expectation & Experience," please visit shawnmaxwell.com.

Saturday, June 26, 2021

Jazz It Up With New Music From Troy Roberts & Tim Jago, Adam Glaser, Blue Muse, Dabin Ryu and Alex Martin

Musicians/friends Troy Roberts and Tim Jago have finally teamed up for a new album titled "Best Buddies." Each has found success on their own, Roberts has had multiple chart-topping albums and Grammy nominations, while Jago has worked with some of the genre's best, like Chick Corea, Bobby McFerrin and even Steve Miller. The duo's new nine-song release  begins with the exciting, up-temp, swinging melody of "Chythm Ranges" and the slower waltz of the title-track "Best Buddies." Both Troy and Tim get their moment to shine on the quick-moving solo-filled "Evil Eye," before finishing their new album off with the slow, smooth, emotion-fueled blues/jazz vibe of "Pho Tweny" and the final energetic blast of "Overlook." To find out more about this new collaboration between Troy Roberts and Tim Jago, please visit toyrobotmusic.com.

Back in May, jazz composer Adam Glaser released his sophomore solo effort titled "Excursions." It features fifteen tracks all written, recorded, produced and performed by Glaser. The album showcases many of Adam Glaser's musical inspirations, from the funky breaks of "Con Artist" and "A Little Bit Of Your Love," to the gentle piano jazz of "Lay Low" and the elegant strings of "It Snowed Last Night." He shows us his skills on the electric jazz of "Moonshine" and then flashes some synth-driven electronica with "Double Helix," before closing with the contemporary jazz of "Delivery." To find out more about Adam Glaser and his latest release "Excursions," please visit adamglaser.com.

Earlier this year, jazz outfit, Blue Muse, released their second full-length album titled "It Never Entered My Mind." This septet brings you back to the glory days of jazz with their new set of six cover songs, beginning with their classic take on Wayne Shorter's "One By One," which finds Blue Muse locked into the groove. They slowly move along the Rodgers and Hart ballad "It Never Entered My Mind," before delivering the exciting horns of Horace Silver's "Nutville" and the patriotic roll of Joe Sample's "Freedom Sound." The Blue Muse wrap up their latest release with another Wayne Shorter original, the swinging tempo of "Ping Pong," which keeps each member on their toes during this swift-moving number. To find out more about Blue Muse and their latest release "It Never Entered My Mind," please visit bluemusejazz.com.

Jazz pianist Dabin Ryu recently released her debut album simply titled "Wall." It features ten compositions written by Ryu, along with a steady cast of musicians to help with the instrumentation of the songs. The album begins with the graceful waltz of "The Light" and the swift rhythm "Temple Run," before reaching part one of "Wall," which features the vocals of Anthony Marsden. Part two of "Wall" has a more lively touch with a contemporary sound that keeps the energy flowing. Dabin Ryu finishes her new album with the quiet, elegant, solo piano piece "Stillborn," along with the swinging jazz of "Taxi Driver" and "We Will Meet Again." To find out more about Dabin Ryu and her latest release "Wall," please visit dabinryumusic.com.

We wrap things up with the third full-length release titled "Folk Songs Jazz Journeys" from storyteller Alex Martin. His new eleven-song release begins with the acoustic, Latin-flair of "Postal de Bata" and his quiet, bluesy version of "Wayfaring Stranger," featuring Maya Rogers on vocals. He keeps the worldly sounds flowing with island jazz of "Asa Branca" and "Triangulo," which are both highlighted by the sweet vocal work of Elin Melgarejo. Alex's skills on the guitar shine on the traditional Scottish tale of "I Once Loved A Lass," before wrapping up his new album with the exotic sounding jazz of "Laride" and "Estamos aqui para colaborar." To find out more about Alex Martin and his latest release "Folk Songs Jazz Journeys," please visit alexmartinmusic.com.

Friday, June 25, 2021

Billy Gibbons Shows Off His "Hardware" On His Latest Solo Album

Earlier this month, blues guitarist/singer extraordinaire Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top) released his third solo album titled "Hardware." This follows his string of solo outings that began back in 2015 with "Perfectamundo" and then followed with 2018's "The Big Bad Blues." His "Hardware" album was released digitally, on CD and on a multitude of color vinyl back on June 4th through Concord Records and was produced by Gibbons, along with Matt Sorum (The Cult, Guns N Roses) and Mike Fiorentino.

The new twelve-track release features more up-tempo rockers than his last two solo releases, beginning with deep, strutting guitar groove and solid pounding drums of "My Lucky Card." Gibbons delivers a more signature ZZ Top-style vibe on "She's On Fire," but the only thing missing is his co-pilot Dusty Hill's iconic vocal stylings on the chorus in order to make this a modern classic blues rocker. Billy Gibbons keeps the energy flowing with the short, but sweet electrifying guitar work on "More, More, More" and "Shuffle, Step & Slide." Gibbons tries to capture that swampy, southern blues feel with "Spanish Fly, but lacks the grit and dirty playing that has become a staple to many of his past blues numbers.

The reverend Billy F. Gibbons his present on the rolling rocker "West Coast Junkie," as Gibbons' rough vocals fit this song's steady rhythm, as you are flying down the highway. Another song, "S-G-L-M-B-B-R" sounds like a second missed opportunity for a new ZZ Top album, as this has a more mainstream rock approach, than the bluesy backdrop that we have come to expect from Gibbons' solo releases. The album wraps up with his cover of the Texas Tornados' "Hey Baby, Que Paso," which is a fun sing-along with some stellar harmonica and guitar solos, along with the slow, storied blues of the album closer "Desert High."

Billy Gibbons is hitting the road this summer with ZZ Top. For a complete list of tour dates, please visit zztop.com/tour, and to find out more about Gibbons and his new solo album "Hardware," please visit billygibbons.com.

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Crack The Sky Goes Searching "Between The Cracks" & Will Van Dyke Debuts New Music As "The Mayor"

Progressive rock pioneers, Crack The Sky have dug deep into their vault for a new compilation of tracks from their back catalog titled "Between The Cracks." The album will be released on July 2nd through Carry On Music and features twelve specially selected songs that were recorded for albums between 1983-2015, but have been overlooked. The new release kicks off with one of the earliest songs featured on this compilation, "All Fly Away" from the 1983 album "World In Motion." The song revolves around what was happening in the world at that time, which still seems relevant nearly 40 years later. The music has that over-polished eighties vibe, be a more seventies progressive backdrop to it. The songs on this new compilation were hand-picked by the band members, with two of them appearing from the 2001 album "Ghost." The songs "Coconuts" and "Zoom" have a darker tones to them, as with "Coconuts" funky rhythmic layers and the mysterious-sounding harmonies of the epic "Zoom." Three songs ("The Box," "Your House Is On Fire" and "King Of The Rodeo") come from the 2012 album "Ostrich" and find the band at one of their most experimental stages, combining elements of jazz fusion, hard rock, electronics and even country to express their songwriting at this most recent period of their careers. The album closes with the exciting, up-tempo guitar-driven rocker "Lemonade" (from the album "The Beauty Of Nothing"). To find out more about Crack The Sky and their latest release "Between The Cracks," please visit crackthesky.com.

Out June 25th, the debut EP titled "The Mayor" arrives from New York-based singer, songwriter, Broadway performer Will Van Dyke. He starts off his new release with the ever-building energy of "You'll Never Hear The Sound," which introduces you to Will's voice, which sound so smooth and inviting that you only want to hear more from him. The pop tones of "Tell Me" are addictive and will get you up on your feet dancing along to the song's upbeat rhythm, along with the storied lyrics of "Amy Clayton," which sounds larger enough to involve everyone listening. Will showcases his softer, quieter side on the ballad "Grab A Slice," which was written about New York City during the shutdown of the pandemic and how so many lives have changed during that moment. He wraps up his new album with the beautiful duet of "Wasting Time," which features the stellar vocals of fellow Broadway artist Tamika Lawrence, along with one final grand statement of hope with the title-track "The Mayor." To find out more about Will Van Dyke and his latest release "The Mayor," please visit willvandyke.com.

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Travel To Europe With New Music From Mortality and the Erik Dahl Ensemble

Finnish jazz music ensemble, Mortality has based their self-titled debut album around the work of Finland's great guitarist and composter Tapio Ylinen. The album features eight tracks, beginning with the three-part suite "In Memoriam..." The music moves by slowly, as you hear elements of modern jazz mixed with an ambient, progressive rock approach. The mood turns dark, with the subtle touches of piano on "Death's Little Sister," before the horns take over to deliver an emotional conclusion to the song. The album finishes the same way it started with a three-part suite titled "Towards Dawn," which begins with an elegant, up-lifting melody. The tone of this piece turns quieter during the second part, before the energy picks back up with the exciting jazz fusion of part three. To find out more about Mortality and their new self-titled debut release, please visit eclipsemusicrecordlabel.bandcamp.com/mortality.

Next up is the latest release titled "Gethenian Suite" from Swedish composer Erik Dahl and his jazz ensemble. It features 61-minutes of mind-exploring music spread across thirteen tracks, beginning with the soft, subtle flow of the opener "Gethen." Elements of classical music become present with the addition of horns on the more enlightening tones of "Parade." The waltz of piano and violin during "The Place Inside The Blizzard" is beautiful and calming, before the musical journey continues with the graceful touch of "Karhide Prelude & Fugue." The eleven-minute epic piece "The Ice" showcases a more jazz infused melody, as the song takes you through a barrage of emotions as the Erik Dahl Ensemble throw everything they have into the musical piece. The album closes with the lovely, modern touch of elegance of "Estraven" and the darker overtones of "The Ekumen." To find out more about the Erik Dahl Ensemble and their latest release "Gethenian Suite," please visit facebook.com/erikdahlensemble.

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Check Out These New Blues Releases From Dave Kalz and Eamonn McCormack

Arriving June 25th on Gulf Coast Records is the debut solo album from blues artist Dave Kalz titled "Relish." Kalz was one of the founding members of Devon Allman's Honeytribe, which opened shows for the legendary Allman Brothers Band, as well as Dickey Betts, Little Feat and Molly Hatchet. Dave Katz's new album was produced by Gulf Coast Records founder/co-owner Mike Zito, who also plays guitar on a couple tracks on the album. Kalz' new set kicks off with the southern swagger of "Mexico," which showcases the skills he picked up on the road, working with these established blues bands. The album continues with the guitar driven title-track "Relish," as Dave's skills on the six-string are on full display peeling off solo after solo. His sound gets a little funkier with the rhythm of "Flying High," before slowing the tempo down for the ZZ Top-style of "Werewolf Blues," which features Mike Zito on slide guitar. The energy picks back up with the swift moving "Route 666," before Dave Kalz wraps things up on his new album with the short, but sweet guitar boogie of "Coffee With Muffin" and the loose jam of "Playing The Blues With My Friends." To find out more about Dave Kalz and his latest release "Relish," please visit facebook.com/davekalzmusic.

Just last month, international blues artist Eamonn McCormack released his latest studio effort "Storyteller" through BEM Records. Eamonn has worked alongside many of his blues idols like Johnny Winter, Rory Gallagher and ZZ Top and his latest release showcases the exceptional songwriter and guitarist that Eamonn has become. The new eleven track release begins with the emotional, picture perfect story of "The Great Famine," as Eamonn uses his guitar skills to lay down the groundwork for this rocking opening number. He slows the tempo down for the great build-up of the politically charged "Help Me Understand," while the nostalgic flow of "Tie One On" sounds straight from classic big guitar rock of the seventies. The slow blues of "In A Dream" combines Eamonn's stellar guitar work with his beautiful songwriting, as the words come straight from the heart. He wraps up his new album with the adrenaline fueled, straight-up rockers of "With No Way Out" and "Make My Move." To find out more about Eamonn McCormack and his latest release "Storyteller," please visit eamonnmccormack.net.

Monday, June 21, 2021

New Music Arriving Soon From Heavy-Hitters Buckcherry and Light The Torch

On June 25th, Buckcherry are preparing to unleash their new studio album "Hellbound" through the Round Hill Music label. It is the band's first release on their new label and will be available in a number of different formats, including a limited edition smoke-colored vinyl. Their new ten song release kicks off with the countdown of "54321," which blast down the doors with the band's signature, heavy, hard-hitting sound, which sets the stage for the rest of the album's new tracks. Next comes the swift rhythm of the bluesy hard rock shuffle of "So Hott" and the raw, guitar-driven rocker "Hell Bound." Buckcherry take a step toward the mainstream with the less edgy feel of "No More Lies," before flexing their hardcore muscle one more time with the aggressive attack of "Here I Come." They wrap up their new album with the Aerosmith-style blues rock of "Junk," along with the power ballad "The Way" and the final sonic blast of "Barricade." After not be able to tour in 2020, Buckcherry have a extensive list of shows. For a complete list of tour dates and to find out more about their new album "Hellbound," please visit buckcherry.com.

Also arriving June 25th is the sophomore effort from the Los Angeles trio Light The Torch titled "You Will Be The Death Of Me," which will be released through Nuclear Blast Records. The new twelve-track release begins with the aggressive feel of the opener "More Than Dreaming" and the big, epic sounding delivery of "Let Me Fall Apart." The band's hardcore metal sound shines with the chugging guitars and screaming vocals of "End Of The World," while "Death Of Me" directs their sound to the mainstream with a more melodic tone to the music and singing. Light The Torch speed up the tempo with the swift, hard-hitting rhythm of "Living With A Ghost," before slowing the music down once again for the emotional chorus "I Hate Myself." They wrap up their new album with the heavy metal attack of "Denying The Sin" and a dark, moody cover of Terence Trent D'Arby's "Sign Your Name." To find out more about Light The Torch and their latest release "You Will Be The Death Of Me," please visit facebook.com/LightTheTorchOfficial.

Saturday, June 19, 2021

Discover New Music From Female Vocalists Lara Hope and Rebecca Angel

Lara Hope and her band, The Ark-Tones have been honing their skills on the road over the past few years, opening for the likes of the Brian Setzer Orchestra, Reverend Horton Heat and the Blasters. Their last full-length release ("Love You To Life") earned Lara the 2017 Ameripolitan Music Award for Best Female Rockabilly Artist and their new album, "Here To Tell The Tale" will be released on June 25th through Sower Records. The new eleven-song release kicks off with the swinging rhythm of "Let's Go!," which is sure to get the adrenaline flowing right away. There is a certain nostalgic quality to their sound, as in "Stop, Drop & Roll" and "Some Advice," which pays homage to the mainstream popular jazz numbers of the 50's. Lara Hope and the Ark-Tones pulls back the reigns for the bluesy flow of "It's A Crime," then turn to the mid-west for the country vibe of "Running In Circles," before wrapping up their new album with the fun, two-stepping energy of "12 Minutes Of Hot Water" and the sing-along bar anthem "I Drink To Your Health." Lara Hope and The Ark-Tones are also heading out on the road to promote their new album "Here To Tell The Tale." For a complete list of shows and to find out more about the band and their new album "Here To Tell The Tale," please visit larahopeandtheark-tones.com.

We also have the full-length debut release of New York City-based vocalist Rebecca Angel, who recently unveiled her album "Love Life Choices." It features ten tracks, beginning with the R&B vibe of her cover of "For What It's Worth," as you are introduced to Rebecca's smooth-style vocals. She delivers a calming, mellow, jazz flow to "Till Now (Gymnopedie No. 1)," before getting funky with the rhythm of "Side By Side." Rebecca takes the reggae melody out of Bob Marley's "Waiting In Vain" and turns it into an addictive pop song, which perfectly fits her vocal style. Next, she simply shines on Antonio Carlos Jobim's "Corcovado" and Sade's "Maureen," before finishing her new album with the modern, electronic pop touch of "Summer Song (Electro Remix)." To find out more about Rebecca Angel and her latest release "Love Life Choices," please visit rebeccaangel.net.

Friday, June 18, 2021

Cleopatra Records Releases Rare Live Collaboration Between Todd Rundgren and Joe Jackson

On June 18th (Today!), Cleopatra Records is releasing a new live album from Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame inductee Todd Rundgren titled "State Theatre New Jersey 2005." This is the first show to feature Todd's collaboration with Joe Jackson, along with the New York-based string quartet, Ethel. This new three-disc set features 31-songs spread across two CDs, along with a DVD of the show.

This live show finds these two artists performing disguised versions of some of their most well-known hits like "Hello It's Me," "Steppin' Out" and "Bang The Drum All Day." The show begins with the string-ensemble, Ethel introducing themselves with the instrumental opener "Nepomunk's Dances-Memory," as you can tell this is not going to be your typical rock and roll show. Their skills are on showcase during the two different stylings of the song "Sweet Hardwood," before Joe Jackson takes the stage for his stark, solo piano piece "Hometown" and a stripped-down version of his pop hit "Steppin' Out." Jackson brings the energy to "Take It Like A Man" and gets the crowd worked-up with his highest U.K. charting single "It's Different For Girls," along with the piano-based blues/rock of "Obvious Song." Joe Jackson brings on the first of two Beatles' covers of the evening, turning the song "Girl" into a piano ballad, before he wraps up his set with the audience-involved "Is She Really Going Out With Him."

Todd Rundgren begins his set with the swift, acoustic strumming of "Love Of The Common Man" and the quieter ballad "I Don't Want To Tie You Down." Todd really shines on the beautiful, stripped-down version of "Tiny Demons," as his vocals simply soar out of the speakers. Next, he moves to the piano for the gentle touch of "Compassion," before working up to "Hello It's Me" with a short spoken-word introduction. This song and "Bang The Drum All Day" are heard in a totally different context, which may not have the same punch as the originals, but are enjoyable in this new representation. Rundgren closes his set with a loose, acoustic version of his Utopia-penned song "The Wheel."

For the encore, Joe Jackson and Todd Rundgren each get their moment to front the Ethel string-quartet, first Joe with "Other Me," then Todd with "Pretending To Care." Then everyone joins in on George Harrison's well-known, bluesy sing-along "While My Guitar Gentle Weeps" and the epic closer "Black Maria," which finds Todd Rundgren plugin-in for this final track. To find out more about this unique night between Todd Rundgren and Joe Jackson at the "State Theater New Jersey 2005," please visit cleorecs.com/joe-jackson-todd-rundgren-state-theater-new-jersey-2005-2cd-dvd.

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Get Invited To The "Party For Joey" With A New Tribute Album For NRBQ's Joey Spampinato

The band, NRBQ (New Rhythm and Blues Quartet) helped shape the landscape of American rock music in the late-sixties and early seventies. Their fanbase spreads far and wide including the likes of Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney, Keith Richards and Bonnie Raitt. One of NRBQ's founding members Joey Spampinato was diagnosed with cancer back in October 2015 and The Sweet Relief Musician Fund has helped with the financial burden that Joey and his family has encountered. To help with those mounting costs, True North Records is releasing a new compilation titled "Party For Joey, A Sweet Relief Tribute to Joey Spampinato" on June 25th. Friends and fans of Joey's work in NRBQ have come together to record covers of some of the band's work for this new album.

Long-time NRBQ member Al Anderson starts things off with a new rocking version of "You Can't Hide" (from NRBQ's self-titled debut album), which still carries that nostalgic tone with Al on lead vocals. The rhythm of "Every Boy, Every Girl" simply swings with the help of Los Lobos and Deer Tick deliver a smooth Americana-style to "That I Get Back Home." The blues of "Like A Locomotive" glows bright with the line-up of Ben Harper, Keith Richards, Charlie Musselwhite, Benmot Tench, Don Was and Don Huffington. She & Him (Zoey Deschanel and M Ward) turn "How Can I Make You Love Me" into a floating, psychedelic ballad, before The Minus 5 turn the energy back up with a raw, garage-rock version of "Don't She Look Good." The duo of Buddy Miller and Jim Launderdale capture the essence of NRBQ's country side perfectly with "How Will I Know," while Bonnie Raitt leads the current line-up of NRBQ through the struttin' blues of "Green Lights." This new compilation wraps up with a jazzy, lounge-type delivery of "Plenty Of Somethin'," along with a brand new recording from Joey Spampinato and his wife Kami Lyle titled "First Crush." To find out more about "Party For Joey, A Sweet Relief Tribute to Joey Spampinato," please visit truenorthrecords.com/sweet-relief.

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Peter Holsapple and Chris Stamey Team-Up To Revisit Their "Back Pages"

Back in the late seventies & early eighties, music artists Peter Holsapple and Chris Stamey joined together to form the band, The dB's. The band found mild success with the underground, alternative scene, before disbanding in 1988. The dB's have since reunited and Peter Holsapple and Chris Stamey have teamed up to re-record some of their favorite songs from The dB's as acoustic pieces. This new album titled "Our Back Pages" was released on vinyl for Record Store Day on June 12 and will be released on CD and digital formats on June 18th through Omnivore Recordings.

The album features eleven tracks, along with a pair of bonus songs, beginning with the wonderful harmonies of "Today Could Be The Day" from their 1987 album "The Sound Of Music." The music turns softer on the ballad "From A Window To A Screen," while "Black And White" has a classic, acoustic folk appeal with a bit of energy added for good measure. Holsapple and Stamey's voice mesh together beautifully on "Dynamite" and "Happenstance," as this duo follows the path of Simon & Garfunkel and The Everly Brothers. This new compilation features the never before released original dB's track, "Depth Of Field," which leaves the pop aspects behind to deliver a more meaningful work of art, before closing with the slow blues of "Nothing Is Wrong," which just motors along its steady track. The two bonus tracks "Darby Hall" and "In Spain" are two of the quieter numbers on this release, which have a stark, almost demo like feel. To find out more about this new release "Our Back Pages" from Peter Holsapple and Chris Stamey, please visit omnivorerecordings.com/shop/our-back-pages.

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Yep Roc Records Release An Early Look Into The Music Of The Rubinoos

Arriving June 25th on Yep Roc Records is a rare glimpse into the early days of the late-seventies/early-eighties power pop band, The Rubinoos. This new release titled "The CBS Tapes," features The Rubinoos in the studio, feeling their way through a mix of eleven original and cover songs, prior to the recording of their self-titled debut album in 1976. The Rubinoos ended up recording three studio albums between 1976-1983, before disbanding in 1985, but they would eventually regroup in 1998, as the band still continues to record and tour to this day.

This new release begins with the original track "All Excited," which showcases the fun, youthful energy that The Rubinoos have to spare, as they exuberate that energy all over this addictive, alternative-pop opener. Next, they turn The Archies' "Sugar, Sugar" into a loose jam, which fits the band's style perfectly. The Rubinoos get down and funky with their cover of King Curtis' "Memphis Soul," before delivering the punk goods on another one of their original tracks "I Want Her So Band." They also show their much love for The Beatles with their own spot-on versions of "She Loves You" and "I Want To Hold Your Hand," as The Rubinoos match the harmonies perfectly. The album closes with the soulful groove of The Meters' "Cissy Strut" and a rough recording of the Modern Lovers' "Government Center," which matches The Rubinoos' rebellious power pop sound. To find out more about The Rubinoos, visit rubinoos.com and to order their new release "The CBS Tapes," please visit yeproc.11spot.com/the-rubinoos-the-cbs-tapes.html.

Monday, June 14, 2021

Styx Have Returned With Their Brand New Studio Album "Crash Of The Crown"

The legendary rock band, Styx are preparing to release their 17th studio album titled "Crash Of The Crown" on June 18th through the band's label, Alpha Dog 2T in association with UMe. The album will be released on CD, as well as on limited edition clear vinyl and on black vinyl. Styx also released a special vinyl EP for Record Store Day titled "The Same Stardust" which includes two songs from the new album and also five rare live performances that the band performed during a live stream they called "Styx Fix."

This new 15-track, full-length release is their first set of new music in four years and begins with the sound of their iconic harmonies on the rocking opener "The Fight Of Our Lives." The energy and aggression is taken up a notch on the edginess of "A Monster," before letting up on the gas pedal for the more progressive nature of "Reveries," which flows into soft beginning of "Hold Back The Darkness," highlighted by an electrifying guitar solo. Styx bring back their nostalgic seventies sound on the acoustic-based "Our Wonderful Lives" and "Sound The Alarm," before finishing their new album with the return of their harder rock sound with the intense delivery of "To Those" and the floating harmonies of "Stream," along with one final guitar solo sendoff.

Styx are also heading back on the road for a multi-date tour with Collective Soul, before heading back to Las Vegas for a three-night engagement at The Venetian Theatre. For a complete list of shows and to find out more about their new album "Crash Of The Crown," please visit styxworld.com.

Saturday, June 12, 2021

New Music From Independent Artists Richard X. Heyman, Emma-Jean Thekray, Round Eye, Lantera and the late, great Willie Durisseau

Veteran rock/pop guitarist Richard X. Heyman used his time during the 2020 pandemic shutdown to create new music, which is now being released in the form of a new album titled "Copious Notes." Heyman took a page out of Paul McCartney's book, by performing and recording the album almost entirely solo, with help from his wife Nancy who engineered and played bass on the album. The new release consists of a dozen tracks, beginning with the addictive pop melody of "Nearly There" and the upbeat rocker "Choices We Make." The album is balanced nicely by the gentle, graceful ballads "Cedarbrook Park" and "But Out Love," which truly shines with Richard's amazing songwriting talents. He keeps the tempo swinging with the undeniable pop flavor of "Return To You" and the more nostalgic tone of the album closer "The Greater Good." To find out more about Richard X. Heyman and his latest release "Copious Notes," please visit richardxheyman.com.

U.K. bandleader Emma-Jean Thakray is preparing the release of her debut album "Yellow" on July 2nd through her own label, Warp Records. It features fourteen tracks that blur the lines of funk and jazz fusion, beginning with the psychedelic clash of "Mercury," which starts things off with a spaced out, psychedelic instrumental. The seventies-style funk is extremely present on the flashback of "Say Something," while "About This" is the perfect touch of high quality jazz. The gospel-like harmonies of "Third Eye," place you right in the church of funk and "Sun" is a smooth R&B track that carries that spiritual message of a higher purpose. The album wraps up with the bright, uplifting tones of the title track "Yellow" and the closing jazz fusion art piece "Mercury In Retrograde." To find out more about Emma-Jean Thakray and the band's latest release "Yellow," please visit emmajeanthackray.com.

Next, we travel to the People's Republic of China for the latest release from Round Eye titled "Culture Shock Treatment." Their new fifteen-track release will get your adrenaline, pumping, right from the opening notes of the title track "Culture Shock Treatment." The band's intense, punk style feels even more rebellious on the short, hard-hitting delivery of "Magaman," while "The Foreigner" carries a classic U.K. punk energy that inspired Round Eye earlier in their career. The full force of the band is heard on the rawness of "Armadillo Man," before switching gears to the fifties R&B flow of "Red Crimes" and the ska-like delivery of "Pieces." Round Eye finish with the new wave style of "Uomo Moderno" and their dark oddity cover of "Endless Sleep." To find out more about Round Eye and their latest release "Culture Shock Treatment," please visit facebook.com/roundeyeband.

Avant-guard instrumental band, Lantera recently released their seventh studio album titled "Hidden Drive." The ten-song release begins with the graceful flow of "Aix," while the title-track "Hidden Drive" brings in some energy to the song steady pace. The swirling melody of "Cupola" and the country vibe of "Chagrin Boulevard" showcases the diversity in the band's musical style. The upbeat, pop tempo of "Aqueduct" feels as if it is need of some lyrics to make it more memorable, while "Maine 262" sounds like a latter-day Pink Floyd soundscape. Lantera closes out their new album with the beautiful strumming of "Nice" and the elegant, soaring touch of "Flag." To find out more about Lantera and their latest release "Hidden Drive," please visit facebook.com/lanternaband.

Last, but not least, we have the final recordings of 101-year old fiddler Willie Durisseau (who passed away in 2019). This new two-song EP titled "Creole House Dance" was captured on a Zoom recorder by Louis Michot (Lost Bayou Ramblers) at Willie's home back in the spring of 2019. These songs give us a look back to the roots of Louisana French music, beginning with the loose, shuffle of "Blues a Durisseau," which also included some banter between Willie and Louis. The other track "Willie's Zydeco" is a sweet southern serenade by one of the last original pioneers of Louisana folk music. To find out more about Willie Durisseau and the "Creole House Dance" release, please visit williedurisseau.bandcamp.com.

Friday, June 11, 2021

Walter Egan Returns With A "Fascination" & Mick Paul Takes Us On A Journey Down "Parallel Lines"

American rock artist Walter Egan returns with a newly inspired album "Fascination." The songs on his new release were deeply influenced by the history of super-groupie Pamela Des Barnes and the writings of her adventures through the years. He begins the album with "I'm With The Girl," which strangely sounds similar to solo Tom Petty, as Walter finds that southern rock charm on this opening track. The album's first single "Miss Pamela" is a straight-up rocker that quickly reminds us how great of a singer/songwriter Walter is with this addictive chorus and peeling guitar riffs. Next, he strips down to the basics for the acoustic ballad "The Fruit Of Fascination," while "Lovers" carries that nostalgic seventies rock vibe that made Walter a star early on in his career. He continues in that flashback mode with the sixties pop melody of "Treat Me Nice" and the swinging rhythm of "Fading Love," before finishing his new album with a return to rock with "Gestures" and the beautiful Americana melody of "Hell I Know It's Over." To find out more about Walter Egan and his latest release "Fascination," please visit facebook.com/eganwalter.

Next, we switch gears for the latest release from bassist Mick Paul titled "Parallel Lines." The album includes guest appearance by David Cross (King Crimson) and David Jackson (Van Der Graf Generator). The new fourteen-track release begins with the sweeping melody of "Your Days," as the music simply floats on high, as you follow every note that is performed. The mood shifts to the slightly darker, jazzy vibe of "Light Of Silence," which is highlighted by the song's haunting, harmonizing vocals, before reaching the more concise, keyboard-driven rock of "No Horizon." The soft, graceful touch of "Beneath The Gate" displays Mick's amazing songwriting, which captures the pure progressive sound of the album. Next, Mick Paul showcases his talents on the bass with a short solo piece titled "Cypher," and then experiments with the slightly classical flow of "Swallows." He finishes his new album with the more aggressive rock approach of "Name On You" and the progressive rock journey of "Morning Skyline." To find out more about Mick Paul and his latest release "Parallel Lines," please visit mickpaulbassist.com.

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Jazz/Blues Legends Nina Simone & Etta James Highlight "The Montreux Years" First Release

On Friday, June 25th, BMG will launch a new musical series titled "The Montreux Years," featuring performances from two great ladies of jazz and blues, Nina Simone and Etta James. This new collection will look back at some of the amazing performances that have be presented over the course of the festival's 55 year career. These two-CD or double-vinyl sets deliver some of the best live music around, beginning with Nina Simone's 29-song collection from her five different appearances at the Montreux Jazz Festival, including her entire show from 1968. It is great uncovering these treasures, like the nearly seven-minute "Backlash Blues," which includes a spoken word introduction, along with Simone's stellar vocals on the powerful message of "I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free." The first disc also includes some special cover songs, like the stark rendition of Janis Ian's "Stars" and a lively, re-imagined version of Bob Marley's "No Woman No Cry." Nina Simone closes out the first disc with one of her most well-known tracks "My Baby Don't Care For Me," which is equally loved by the audience, as they clap along to song's rhythm.

The second disc of the set features Nina Simone's entire 1968 performance, which was her first appearance at the Montreux Jazz Festival. Once again she holds the audience in her hands, beginning with swinging backdrop of "Go To Hell," along with the graceful, gospel-like vibe of "When I Was A Young Girl." She also performs an amazing, haunting cover version of "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" and a spirited delivery of "House Of The Rising Sun." Nina Simone wraps up her show with a stellar ten-minute performance of "Ain't Got No, I Got Life" (from the Broadway musical "Hair"), along with the up-tempo rhythm of "Gin House Blues" and the emotional touch of "I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free," which is just as important today as it was back in 1968.

This first pairing of releases is perfect, as Etta James was also a powerful voice in jazz/blues music and her appearances at the Montreux Jazz Festival, which were always one of the highlights of each of the years she appeared. James' 21-song release is a mixture of five different appearances at the festival, beginning with the strength and blues of "Breakin' Up Somebody's Home." She also shows her graceful side on the touching ballad "A Lover Is Forever," but songs like "Tell Mama" and "Running And Hiding Blues" is where Etta James' vocals come alive and deliver the true strength of a powerful performance. The set also includes an eight-minute medley of her early hits "At Last," "Trust In Me" and "Sunday Kind Of Love," which kicks off a string of electrifying jams including "I Sing The Blues For You," "Respect Yourself" and "W-O-M-A-N." Her pure talents shine on the raw, emotional delivery of "I'd Rather Go Blind," before the set finishes with the funky backdrop of "Rock Me Baby" and the pure, sweet blues of T-Bone Walker's "Stormy Monday." To find out more about these first two releases of "The Montreux Years," please visit themontreuxyears.tmstor.es.

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

New Music From Americana/Country Artists Ashleigh Flynn & The Riveters And The Soulful Hilary Scott

Singer, songwriter Ashleigh Flynn has teamed up with the all-female Americana/rock band, The Riveters for their latest release "Live From The Blue Moon." It was recorded back in July of 2019 at the Oregon Country Fair and mixes together some of the groups originals, along with a couple cover songs to make up the setlist. The album kicks off with nostalgic, country vibe of "How The West Was Won" and the two-step rhythm of "I'll Fly Away." The Riveters capture the perfect Americana sound on "Too Close To The Sun," as Ashleigh's vocals are the final piece of the puzzle to deliver those good ol' roots music melodies. The band finally plug in for the rocking country blues of "Cold Black Line," which turns the energy up another notch, along with the swift-moving "Deep River Hallow." The Riveters once again deliver the goods with the addictive country rock vibe of "You Will Remember," before flashing back in time with a cover of Buck Owens' "Tiger By The Tail." They wrap up their new live album with the heartfelt ballad "Shrouded Sun" and a lively, final energetic cover of Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers' "American Girl." The album was released back in May on Home Perm Records. For more information on Ashleigh Flynn & The Riveters, please visit ashleighflynnandtheriveters.com.

Multi-instrumentalist Hilary Scott is preparing the release of her new five-song EP titled "Kaleidoscope," which be available on June 25th through Belltown Records. Scott has worked and performed alongside some of the greats, like Chuck Berry, Tanya Tucker, Bonnie Raitt and Little Feat. Hilary's new release dates back to 2007, when she was invited to participate in a songwriting project with producer Matthew Wilder and songwriters John Goodwin and Angela Kaset. The results are featured on four of the songs on this new release, beginning with the stellar, laid-back Americana/pop groove of "Just A Shame," as you will easily fall in love with Hilary Scott's warming vocals. Scott's backing band perfectly matches her vocal range on "Almost Home," before delivering a funkier rhythm on the mainstream-driven rock of "Too Much Is Not Enough." She wraps up her short new release with her own original-penned, country-style ballad "And Just," along with the R&B vibe of "Free Country," which finds Hilary Scott stepping out of her comfort zone. To find out more about Hilary Scott and her latest release "Kaleidoscope," please visit hilaryscott.com.

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Mr. Bungle Officially Release Their Live Stream Show "The Night They Came Home"

During the shutdown of the pandemic, experimental rockers Mr. Bungle featured a rare live-streaming event titled "The Night They Came Home." It was shown on Halloween night and is now being released as a CD/DVD or CD/Blu-ray set on June 11th through Ipecac Recordings. This new release follows the band's other recent popular release "The Raging Wrath Of The Easter Bunny Demo," which pairs original Mr. Bungle members Mike Patton, Trevor Dunn and Trey Spruance with newest members Scott Ian (Anthrax) and Dave Lombardo (Slayer).

The new fourteen-track audio release begins with a slightly-twisted cover of Fred Rogers' "Won't You Be My Neighbor," the first of five covers that appear on this album. Mr. Bungle then lock into a groove for the energetic, thrash metal blast of "Anarchy Up You Anus," before speeding things up even more with the chaos of "Bungle Grind." The music sounds loose, but still powerful, as all the songs were captured live in one take. The band's next cover is a well-planned medley of Slayer's "Hell Awaits" and Seals & Croft's "Summer Breeze," which showcases the diversity in the band's selection of songs for this performance. The pounding rhythm of "Eracist" and the guitar frenzy of "Glutton For Punishment" are two fine displays why Mr. Bungle should be considered one of the best heavy metal bands around. The band cover one of their favorites, S.O.D.'s "Hypocrites/Habla Espanol O Muere," before wrapping up the audio portion of their new album with the seven-plus minute thrash metal epic "Sudden Death" and their spot-on version of Van Halen's "Loss Control," which sounds a little grittier when Mr. Bungle performs it. To find out more about "The Night They Came Home" release from Mr. Bungle, please visit mrbungle.com and ipecac.com.

Monday, June 7, 2021

New KISS "Off The Soundboard" Release Revisits Tokyo During 2001 "Farewell Tour"

Arriving Friday, June 11th is the first release in a new series of live releases from the legendary rock band, KISS titled "Off The Soundboard: Tokyo 2001." This new release arrives in a number of different formats, including a 2-CD set, as well as a black triple-vinyl set and a limited edition clear vinyl with a bone-colored swirl from the KISS online store only. The packaging for this set is bare-bones, simple. The three LPs are housed in their own individual sleeves with the track-listing and credits printed on each sleeve that contains the similar brown, cardboard style as the cover. There is no pictures of the band, liner notes, other than who performed the show (Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Ace Frehley and Eric Singer) and the production credits. It's all about the music anyways, right?

The black vinyl set is flat, quiet (with no surface noise) and is pretty thick (maybe 180-gram). The music from this performance (Tokyo, Japan March 13, 2001) is supposed to be from the soundboard with no added upgrades, unlike other KISS "Alive" albums. You will instantly notice how great Paul's vocals are on the energetic opener "Detroit Rock City." His stage banter hasn't changed much over the last twenty years, but that is why he is considered one of the greatest frontmen in rock history. Gene's vocals seem a little higher pitched on songs like "I Love It Loud" and "Calling Dr. Love," but his bass solo, which leads into "God Of Thunder" is one of the highlights of the show, which may give your speakers a workout. The secret weapon of this show is Ace Frehley's guitar style. It gives the songs a special nostalgic touch, even on the non-makeup era tunes like "Heaven's On Fire" and "Lick It Up."

For me, side three (LP2, side 1) is where the real magic happens. Even though it only features two tracks ("Let Me Go, Rock & Roll" and "Shock Me"). It sounds as if the band is all warmed up by this point and ready to showoff their skills. KISS more than double the length of "Let Me Go, Rock & Roll" with some jamming, while "Shock Me" includes an amazing solo by Ace Frehley that brings you back to the early days of KISS' "Alive" and "Alive II." Eric Singer's drum solo at the end of "God Of Thunder" is also impressive, as he is still adjusting to his role as "The Catman" shortly after the January departure of Peter Criss. Other high points of this live set is the ten-minute version of "100,000 years" and one of the band's longtime encore staples "Black Diamond."

I hope that this on-going "Off The Soundboard" series features shows from throughout the band's entire career, including the non-make-up era and also shows featuring the original line-up of the band. Other than maybe some liner notes about the show, or a possible picture or two, this set concentrates strictly on the music, which is all you need from KISS. To find out more about this new release "Off The Soundboard: Tokyo 2001," please visit shopkissonline.com/off-the-soundboard-tokyo-2001.

Sunday, June 6, 2021

"Only Time Will Tell" About The New Album From Vince DiCola & Leslie Hunt's New EP "Ascend"

Musician Vince DiCola is no stranger to the music industry. He has been involved in a number of blockbuster movie scores like "Stayin' Alive," "Rocky IV" and "Transformers." His new album titled "Only Time Will Tell" will be released on June 11th through Escape Music Ltd. It finds Vince inviting some friends along to give him a hand on this new 13-track release. The album kicks off with the hard rock blast of "Bound & Gagged," featuring Rick Livingston (Argent) on lead vocals, as DiCola motors the song intense backdrop. Vince takes the lead on the keyboard driven, adult rock delivery of "Kara," before finding that perfect combination of vocals (supplied by Jason Scheff of Chicago) and music on the exciting, progressive rock appeal of "Miracles." Vince, once again takes center-stage on the power ballad "You're Not Alone Tonight," before Bobby Kimball (Toto) opens up his vocal pipes for the mellow piano duet "Stay/Exit Wound." Yngwie Malmsteen vocalist Mark Boals adds his talents to the uplifting rock tones of "Living In A Daydream," before Vince DiCola wraps up his new album with the eight-minute prog-rock epic "Suffer The Children," which features Steve Walsh (Kansas) on vocals. To find out more about Vince DiCola and his latest release "Only Time Will Tell," please visit facebook.com/dicolaofficial and escape-music.com.

Also arriving soon is a new seven-song EP from American Idol finalist and prog-rock ensemble District 97 singer, Leslie Hunt. Her new album titled "Ascend" will be released on June 25th through Cherry Red Records and is part one of a two-album set, which features a second album ("Descend") to be released in September. The new album begins with the steady, alternative-pop tones of "Starting Over," while "There You Are" has more attitude and energy that suits Leslie's voice perfectly. Her vocals continue to impress with the addictive chorus of "Right Here," as Leslie makes her new set of songs concise and to-the-point. The short EP closes with the alternative country vibe of "Down The Road" and the laid-back, melodic tone of "The Key," as Leslie's vocals are the star of the show. To find out more about Leslie Hunt and her latest release "Ascend," please visit lesliehuntmusic.com.

Saturday, June 5, 2021

Discover The Doom Metal Of Thun, While Count Pariah Remind Us With A New EP

International heavy metal trio Thun will release their self-titled debut album on June 18th through the Eat Lead And Die Music label. The music on this album is an outlet for the stock-pile of new songs that Jon Higgs (Monsterworks) has been creating during the pandemic. Jon has brought along fellow Monsterworks band-mate Hugo Wilkinson to join him on bass, along with Gargoyle drummer James Knoerl. The seven song release begins with the nearly nine-minute epic title track "Thun," which slowly pounds its way through, with growling vocals and buzzing guitar riffs. The energy picks up with the high-powered attack of "Cage Within A Cage" and the aggression of "Intertwined Collective Fate," which proudly showcases the full power of this newly assembled band. Thun close out the album with the short, gentle instrumental interlude "Momentary Truce," before finishing with the doom metal grind of "Gaiacide." To find out more about Thun and their new self-titled release, please visit facebook.com/ThunDoom.

Back in May, Knoxville rockers, Count Pariah released a short, four-song self-titled EP through Pavement Entertainment. It features input from each of the band members, as they bring their influences to each of these new songs, beginning with the thunderous rhythm of "Feed Em To The Fire," which also showcases some of the band's melodic side. Count Pariah can pretty much release any of the songs from this new EP and have an instant impact on modern rock radio, including the adrenaline fueled "Possession" and the addictive chorus of "Feel It All Night." To find out more about Count Pariah and their new self-titled release, please visit facebook.com/countpariah.

Friday, June 4, 2021

Just Relax With The Calming Sounds of New Releases From Ross Christopher and Rick Sparks

Multi-instrumentalist and composer Ross Christopher recently released a new album of ambient soundscapes titled "Apophenia" through Heart Dance Records. It features eight tracks that blend the connection between instruments to create a cinematic musical escape. The album begins with the title track "Apophenia," which rises and fades like the tides of the sea, while "Greta" has the instruments lending a hand to one another and the music sweeps on by like the wind. The continues to rise during "They Are My Love," as you climb along with each note. The music of "Hidden" paints a picture in your mind of a possible lost love with the melody adding to the emotional struggle. Ross Christopher wraps up his new album with slow, steady rise of "Tempest" and the grand sonic closure of "Sirens." To find out more about Ross Christopher and his latest release "Apophenia," please visit heartdancerecords.com/rosschristopher.

Fellow contemporary artist Rick Sparks also just recently released a new album titled "Bella." It was inspired by a 19th century portrait of an Italian girl named, Bella. His new ten song release brings the idea of the painting to life with his music, beginning with the title-track "Bella." The gracefulness of the melody on this opening song sets the stage for a relaxed, almost meditative journey into beauty. The angelic voices of "Twilight Dreams" has a calming tone that puts you at ease, while the subtle piano keys of "Smiling" carries a light-hearted, playful tone. The gentleness of "Autumn Rain" has you following every note, as you find yourself comforted by the subtleness of the music. The fullness of "Highland Road" allows for the piano and flute to float above the background on this wonderfully melodic piece. Rick finishes his new album with the emotional touch of "Going Home" and the quiet, fragile sound of "Her Prayer." To find out more about Rick Sparks and his latest release "Bella," please visit ricksparksmusic.net.

Thursday, June 3, 2021

Mary Hott Sings About The "Devil In The Hills" & Stephan Said Returns To Become "Unstoppable"

West Virginia native Mary Hott is ready for the June 4th release of her new album "Devil In The Hills: Coal Country Reckoning." On this album, Mary is joined by the Americana band, The Carpenter Ants and it was co-produced by legendary indie-rock producer Don Dixon and band member Michael Lipton. The album revolves around the subject of the West Virginia mining country around the early 20th century, beginning with a spoken work introduction ("A Miner's Perspective"). The music begins with the dark tale of "They Built A Railroad" of how the men worked day and night building these amazing structures with little to no recognition, as Mary's silky smooth voice floats over the band's traditional country sound. The album continues with the tales of "Annabelle Lee," which carries a Celtic-style to the music, before the energy picks up with the train-chugging rhythm of "Take The Esau." Mary Hott and The Carpenter Ants continue first with the guitar-driven country blues of "The Spot," then with the dark, swampy, backwoods blues of the title-track "Devil In The Hills." The album finishes with the uplifting rock anthem "Rise Up WV" and a stark, slow-down re-imagined version of John Denver's "Take Me Home Country Roads." To find out more about Mary Hott and her latest release with The Carpenter Ants titled "Devil In The Hills: Coal Country Reckoning," please visit maryhott.com.

Arriving June 18th, is the first album of new material in over a decade from New York-based musician, global activist Stephan Said. His new release titled "Unstoppable" features his new band, The Clarion" and contains six tracks, beginning with the energetic march of "I Won't Be Silent." Stephan is passionate about his cause for change and expresses his emotions throughout this release, which continues with the addictive pop style of "What If" and the equally enjoyable sing-along chorus of "Our Dream (Unstoppable)." He wraps up his new six-song album with the light-hearted, acoustic-based comfort of "Together Across The World," in which Stephan sings about uniting to make a difference, along with the piano ballad "Amen." To find out more about Stephan Said & The Clarion's latest release "Unstoppable," please visit facebook.com/Stephan-Said-The-Clarion.

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Min Xiao-Fen Blossoms On "White Lotus" While Judy Wexler Takes Us "Back To The Garden"

The pipa is one of the key instruments in Chinese music, with its origins tracing back over two-thousand years. One of the masters of the pipa instrument is Min Xiao-Fen, who is preparing the release of her new album "White Lotus" on June 25. She is joined on the album by guitarist Rez Abassi and it is the featured original score for the 1934 Chinese silent film "The Goddess." The twelve track album slowly re-introduces you to Min and the sounds of the pipa in the gentle picking of the opening track "Anicca." The speed that Min is able to strum the pipa is present in the next song "Bija," as her performance is supports by the subtle hint of acoustic guitar. Next, its Rez's turn to take the lead with the wonderful guitar work in "Champaka." The two experiment by stepping beyond the boundaries of the normal use of their instruments with the many different sounds of "Emaho." The pipa is once again featured on the magical sounding "Gassho," before Min Xiao-Fen wraps up the album with the blues of "Hatha," along with the energetic strumming of "Karuna" and the quiet, atmospheric touch of "Lotus." To find out more about Min Xiao-Fen and her latest release "White Lotus" featuring Rez Abassi on guitar, please visit minxiaofenbluepipa.org.

Next, lets travel back in time to 1960's, when peace, love, hope and change were in the air, with the latest release from vocalist Judy Wexler. On her new album "Back To The Garden," she takes some of the most well-known songs from that era and reimagines them for these modern times, when we can all use some hope, love and peace. The new ten song release begins with her rendition of The Youngbloods' anthem "Get Together," by adding a jazzy backdrop to the song, while her smooth, warming vocals makes you feel that everything will be alright. Next, she dives into the true meaning of "Up On The Roof," as she expresses every word for you to understand that there is always somewhere you can go to escape the pressures of the world. The energy picks up with her jazzy rendition of Joni Mitchell's "Big Yellow Taxi," before reaching the first of two Bob Dylan tunes, a soft balladry version of "The Times They Are A-Changin'." Judy Collins' "Since You Asked" is the perfect match Judy's vocal style, while "Everybody's Talkin'" is a slow, swaying, laid-back rendition of the song. She finishes her new album with an uplifting version of Dylan's "Forever Young" and the gentle plea of "Who Knows Where The Time Goes." To find out more about Judy Wexler and her latest release "Back To The Garden," please visit judywexler.com.