Wednesday, July 26, 2017

CD Review: New Music From Indie-Rockers Modern Chemistry, Best Ex And Voice Of Addiction

From New Jersey comes the full-length, debut album "Everything In Gold" from the rock band Modern Chemistry. It was released back on July 7th and features a modern, alternative rock sound that feels very mature for their debut album. Modern Chemistry has been honing their sound by preforming at major music festivals like SXSW and Chicago's Riot Fest. Their new 11-song release begins with the dreamlike state of the title song "Everything In Gold," before ripping into the chorus just before the close of the song. They continue with the build-up of the arena rocker "The Moment" and the steady pace of "Pretty Death," before arriving at one of the album's highlights "Tripping Over You." The lyrics and melody blend together beautifully on this alt-pop ballad. They return with the hard-edged rock of "I Can't Take Myself Anywhere," then tread lightly with the soft tones of "Fever Dream." The album finishes with the retro feel of "It's Been A While (Demons)" and the hard rock intensity of "Tradewinds." To find out more about Modern Chemistry and their latest release "Everything In Gold," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/modernchemistry.

Fellow New Jersey band Best Ex (formally Loveland) recently released their new 6-song EP titled "Ice Cream Anti Social." After spending the summer of 2015 on the Vans Warped Tour, Mariel Loveland began to plot her next move and develop a more mature version of her former band Loveland. Best Ex was born with the same pop tones as its former band as their new release begins with the addictive beats and chorus of "Girlfriend." Mariel's vocals sound sweet on the nostalgic, electronic tones of "Lonely Life" and in the pop ballad "February 4th." The album closes with the up-tempo post-punk tones of "See You Again" and the ukulele based, folk style of "Jellyfish." To find out more about Best Ex and their latest release "Ice Cream Anti Social," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/bestexnj.

Chicago punk band Voice Of Addiction recently released their brand new album "The Lost Art Of Empathy" on July 14th. It features a dozen high-energy tracks, beginning with the upbeat rhythm of "Rustbelt." Their sound gets more aggressive with "Dead By Dawn" and "Petty Schemes," then add a bit ska to the fun, energetic tones of "Corporate Pariah." They leave a path of destruction with the swift, punk rock of "I Can't Breathe" and "Everything Must Go," before finishing their new album with the high energy, classic thrash metal/punk sound of "Alcorn Queen" and the acoustic tale of "Are We Even Human Anymore?" To find out more about Voice Of Addiction and their latest release "The Lost Art Of Empathy," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/voarockers.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

CD Review: New Music From Indie-Artists Remember Jones, Black Horse Motel, Welsh Avenue, Peasant Moon And Cottondale Swamp

From New Jersey comes the exciting performance of Remember Jones and his debut studio output "Tranquilizer!" He released his debut live album last year titled "Ladies And Gentlemen, Remember Jones!," which was recorded in front of 500 members of his Indiegogo campaign. His new 5-song output delivers the same dynamic feel of the live performance, just without the audience. He begins with the upbeat title song, "Tranquilizer" as he will certainly get your blood pumping on this modern soul classic. He pulls back the reigns for the smooth R&B feel of "The Story Suite" as you find yourself getting lost in his warm vocals. His new short release finishes up with the seventies strut of "You Got That Somethin'" and the sweet ballad "Why Don't They Cry?" To find out more about Remember Jones and his latest release "Tranquilizer!," please visit his Facebook page at facebook.com/rememberjonesmusic.
 
Next up is the Philadelphia-based band, Black Horse Motel with their latest release titled "Parable." Their Americana/folk sound gets a jolt of energy on the opening track "Run Rabbit Run" as they quicken the pace of their roots-style music. Their new 5-song EP continues with the gentle ballad "Bones," before Black Horse Motel pick the tempo back up with the dark tone of "Where The Money Comes From" and the clap-along rhythm of "Dear Mama" about parental suicide. To find out more about Black Horse Motel and their latest release "Parable," please visit blackhorsemotel.net.
 
Then we arrive at the latest release from Texas-based singer/songwriter, Welsh Avenue. His latest release titled "The Great Exchange" features four songs that carry a modern, new-wave sound that works between pop and R&B. His new release begins with the piano-led pop of "Germ Theory" and the addictive melody of "Blue Eyes" as Welsh Avenue sings about past experiences. He visits the clubs with the smooth beats of "The Great Exchange," before finishing his new release with the experimental, new-wave piece "Time To Fly." To find out more about Welsh Avenue and his latest release "The Great Exchange," please visit his Facebook page at facebook.com/WelshAvenue.
 
Following next is the international country duo Peasant Moon with their new 5-track EP titled "Our Timing Was Wrong." The duo has added a full band on this release as the country sway of the opening track "Back In Time" will grab hold of your heart and bring you in to their simpler sound. They continue with the slow, honky-tonk, nostalgic feel of "Out Timing Was Wrong" and the beautifully quiet ballad "Party," before finishing their new short release with the Americana sound of "Leaving Tonight," which brings up memories of The Band. To find our more about Peasant Moon and their latest release "Our Timing Was Wrong," please visit peasantmoonsongs.com.

Finally, from the Florida bayou comes the debut album from Cottondale Swamp titled "Leave Me On The Suwanee." It has been out for over 6 months and is beginning get the notice it deserves with its southern boogie blues sound. Their new release begins with the straight-up rock of "Swamp King Troubadour" as lead singer Kenny Grube grabs hold of you with his bluesy vocals. The album continues with the Americana shuffle of "Leave Me On The Suwannee" and the country rock of "Land Rich, Money Poor." The guitars come out blazing on the rockabilly feel of "Temporary Border" and "Feral Baby," before the classic country feel of "High Horse" will have you on the dance floor with your partner. The album closes with the swampy blues of "Ole' Beelzebub" and the desert boogie instrumental"Tighten Up." To find out more about Cottondale Swamp and their latest release "Leave Me On The Suwanee," please visit cottondaleswamp.com.

Monday, July 24, 2017

RJ Podcast: David Lovering Talks About The Pixies Current Tour & New Studio Album

David Lovering of The Pixies discusses the band's current tour and the release of their new studio album "Head Carrier." Lovering and The Pixies will be performing at College Street Music Hall in New Haven, CT on September 19th.

Concert Review: Queen Plus Adam Lambert Equals Success At Mohegan Sun

One of rock music's most prestigious and legendary bands made a return visit Sunday night to the Mohegan Sun arena. The band is Queen and two of its original members continue to add to the band's ever growing legacy. Guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor have assembled an amazing cast of band members, but the iconic spot of front man, who was lead by the incomparable Freddie Mercury, was filled by iconic pop singer Adam Lambert.
 
Since Queen decided to continue (after the death of Freddie Mercury) over a decade ago, they have had only a couple of different front men fill that roll. First was Paul Rodgers (Bad Company), which became a success of combining the music of the two bands, but the members of Queen wanted to showcase the music of their extensive catalog exclusively. So after a couple of years, Adam Lambert found his way into the hearts of Queen fans after his performances of "The Show Must Go On" and "We Are The Champions."
 
It has been three years since Queen made an appearance in Connecticut as fans were eager to relive all those classic songs that became soundtracks to our lives. After 30 minutes of ambient music oozed from the speakers, a ten-foot tall video screen which stood in front of the stage was lifted to welcome Queen + Adam Lambert to the stage, pounding out the rhythm of "We Will Rock You."
 
Adam, Brian and Roger were all business during the band's heavier rock tracks "Hammer To Fall" and "Stone Cold Crazy," before getting all the ladies up on their feet dancing to "Fat Bottom Girls." Adam Lambert arose from center stage on a giant robotic head (similar to Queen's "News Of The World" album) in the first of over a half a dozen outfit changes to perform the classic "Killer Queen" and his new solo single "Two Fux."
 
Guitarist/singer Brian May would utilize the catwalk (shaped like the neck of a guitar) to perform a solo, acoustic version of the Queen ballad "Love Of My Life." The song would end with an appearance of Freddie Mercury on the giant video screen singing harmony with May. Adam and drummer Roger Taylor would soon re-join May at the end of the catwalk to a mini-stage setup to perform crowd favorites "Somebody To Love" and "Crazy Little Thing Called Love." After a drum battle between Taylor and percussionist Tyler Warren, Adam Lambert and Roger Taylor would duet on "Under Pressure" as a tribute to their dear friend David Bowie.
 
The stage would be lit up like a Christmas tree, courtesy of a disco ball, for "I Want To Break Free," before lasers and Lambert's vocals delivered a memorable version of "Who Wants To Live Forever." Brian May was elevated above the stage to perform his space-like guitar solo, leading into the keyboard induced "Radio Ga Ga" and the set closer "Bohemian Rhapsody."
 
Queen + Adam Lambert would return to the stage for a thunderous encore, beginning with the stomping rhythm of "We Will Rock You" and the inspirational "We Are The Champions." As confetti shot out over the audience during the song's final notes, all of the members took center stage for a final bow as "God Save The Queen" played throughout the arena. With the perfect recipe in place to continue the legacy of the band, Queen + Adam Lambert seem like a match made in rock 'n' roll heaven.
 
Setlist: Hammer To Fall, Stone Cold Crazy, Another One Bites The Dust, Fat Bottom Girls, Killer Queen, Two Fux, Don't Stop Me Now, Bicycle Race/I'm In Love With My Car, Get Down Make Love, I Want It All, Love Of My Life, Somebody To Love, Crazy Little Thing Called Love, Under Pressure, I Want To Break Free, Who Wants To Live Forever, Radio Ga Ga, Bohemian Rhapsody
Encore: We Will Rock You, We Are The Champions, God Save The Queen

CD Review: Haim Returns With "Something To Tell You"

The Haim sisters have returned with their sophomore follow-up album "Something To Tell You." It was released on July 7th and looks to continue the success of Haim's debut album "Days Are Gone," which topped the U.K. and U.S. charts. Their new 11-song release begins with the acoustic strumming and folk appeal of "Want You Back" as the harmonizing between the sisters is some of the best in music today. They keep the tempo moving with the pop/rock sound of "Nothing's Wrong" and the dance beats of "Little Of Your Love" as their words will stick in mind. The title song "Something To Tell You" showcases the growth in their songwriting in the last 4 years since their debut release. Their music has everything from pop beats to amazing vocals and a modern sound that should propel Haim as one of the best artists of 2017. They finish up their new album with the uplifting, nostalgic feel of "Found It In Silence," the R&B groove of "Walking Away" and the dark, quieter melody of "Night So Long." To find out more about Haim and their latest release "Something To Tell You," please visit haimtheband.com.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

CD Review: New Re-Issues Of Albums By Arthur Alexander And Chris Fullerton

American soul singer Arthur Alexander never received the recognition he deserved. He penned such classic songs as "Anna (Go To Him)" and "You Better Move On," both covered by The Beatles and The Rolling Stones respectively. In 1972, Alexander released his only album on a major label and to celebrate the album's 45th anniversary, Omnivore Recordings is reissuing the album on CD with bonus tracks. Along with the bonus tracks, the booklet features new liner notes from Barry Hansen (Dr. Demento).

The original 12-song release begins with the uptempo soulfulness of "I'm Comin' Home" and the country feel of "It Hurts To Want It So Bad." The album features a version of Dennis Linde's "Burning Love," just prior to Elvis Presley turning it into a huge hit in the U.S. His soulful melody comes shining through on the storied lyrics of "Rainbow Road" and the funk infused "Call Me Honey." The six bonus tracks consist of the singles only releases of "Mr. John" and "Lover Please" along with their B-sides and the previously unreleased songs "I Don't Want Nobody" and "Simple Song Of Love." To find out more about this new expanded edition of Arthur Alexander's self-titled album, please visit omnivorerecordings.com.

Texas-based singer/songwriter Chris Fullerton is preparing to re-release his debut album "Epilepsy Blues" on Eight 30 Records. The songs have a country/folk appeal, beginning with the stark delivery of "Bad Winds" that allows Fullerton's vocals to evoke emotion. He writes his love of his home state with "Come To Texas," before slowing down for the ballad "I Feel Nothing." He finds his way into your heart with the emotional stories of "Float On Up & See" and "Motel Blues." The album finishes with the weathered vocals of "Come On In" accompanied by only an acoustic guitar and the slow, steady build-up of "Seven Roman Candles." To find out more about Chris Fullerton and his latest release "Epilepsy Blues," please visit chrisfullertonmusic.com.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

DVD Review: New Documentary Invites You Into The Life Of A "Hired Gun"

On August 1st, Vision Films, in association with Voltage Productions and Drama Kills Creative, will be releasing the award-winning documentary "Hired Gun" on DVD and VOD (video-on-demand). It features interviews with band leaders like Rob Zombie and Alice Cooper, talking about hired musicians that have helped them re-create their music onstage. This documentary also showcases the other side of being a "hired gun" and the possibility of becoming a full member of the band. Interviews with Jason Newsted (Metallica) and Eric Singer (KISS) give insight into that side of the business, but most of the stories in this new video revolve around some popular "hired guns."

Director Fran Strine gives us both sides of the story of the success of many famous artists due to their backing band. The first story centers around Billy Joel drummer, Liberty DeVitto and how he became a member of Billy's live and studio backing band for over 30 years. One of the highlights of film is the story of how "hired gun" Ray Parker Jr. became a household name by writing, recording and singing the hit single "Ghostbusters."

The video also shows the "hired guns" get together in the studio to record a new version of Ted Nugent's "Just What The Doctor Ordered," which was originally written and sung by "hired gun" Derek St. Holmes. It displays how talented some of these unknown musicians are and how well they can make an artist sound with them behind them. The story of how guitarist/singer Richard Patrick worked as a "hired gun" for Nine Inch Nails on one of their first tours, before breaking through to the big leagues with his band Filter and their hit song "Hey Man Nice Shot." It is one of the most inspirational pieces of this documentary. Bassist Rudy Sarzo and guitarist Jason Hook tell personal stories that will have you thinking differently about many of these backing musicians. To find out more about "Hired Gun," this new amazing documentary about some of the greatest musicians in music today, please visit hiredgunthefilm.com.

Friday, July 21, 2017

CD Review: The Return Of Hard Rock/Heavy Metal Artists Shattered Sun, For The Win, Rex Brown And Owl Company

American heavy metal band Shattered Sun return with their new sophomore album titled "The Evolution Of Anger." It will be released on July 21st through Victory Records. The band is currently on tour as part of the Vans Warped Tour, before headlining their own shows this fall. Their new 10-song release comes blasting right out of the gate with the speed and aggression of "Keep Your Eyes Shut." The screaming vocals of "Blame" and the buzzing guitars of "Declassified" will show you that this band has the energy to keep the mosh pits moving when they perform these songs live. They keep up the energy flowing through "Hollow Chains" and the hardcore edge of "Burn It Down," before finishing their new album with the speed and destruction of "Like Gasoline" and the thunderous rhythm of "Hope Dies" as screams will continue the ringing in your ears. To find out more about Shattered Sun and their latest release "The Evolution Of Anger," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/ShatteredSunBand.

From San Diego comes the Victory Records debut album from For The Win titled "Heavy Thoughts." It features 10-tracks of high energy, quick-moving, aggressive hard rock that is the perfect recipe for mainstream success. They begin their new album with the chugging guitars of "Us Verses Them" as the drums and vocals motor the song's intense pace. They continue with the fast pace rhythm and hardcore harmonizing vocals of "G Series" and the punk-like energy of "All Or Nothing" and "The Weight Of The World." They deliver the arena rocker "Dancing Shoes," before finishing up their new album with rock anthem "Crash And Burn" and the emotional, acoustic ballad "Until The End Of Time." The new album "Heavy Thoughts" will be released on August 25 through Victory Records. To find out more about For The Win and their latest release, please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/forthewinsd.

Rex Brown, former bassist for Pantera, is preparing to release his debut solo album "Smoke On This" on July 28th through eOne Music. After the success of his memoir "101 Truth, 101 Proof: The Inside Story Of Pantera" and his supergroup, Kill Devil Hill, Brown took some time off to figure out what he wants to do next. On his new 11-song release, Brown invited his old-friend Lance Harvill to help him out with the hard rock feel of the new album. He begins with with the straight-forward classic rock of "Lone Rider" and the big guitar riffs of "Crossing Lines" as Brown works his influences into his original music. The energy and buzz of "Train Song" has a great, heavy vibe that would have worked on a later day Pantera album. Rex Brown and his band deliver an edgier, psychedelic vibe with "Get Yourself Alive," then slow down for the southern rock ballad "Fault Line." Brown wraps up his new release with the mellow, addictive feel of "Grace" and the Floydian touch of "Best Of Me," before closing with the freedom of "One Of These Days" as Brown showcases his talents. To find out more about Rex Brown and his latest release "Smoke On This," please visit his Facebook page at facebook.com/rexbrownband.

From Sao Pablo, Brazil comes the debut album from heavy metal band Owl Company titled "Horizon." It feature 10-tracks, beginning with a chaotic "Intro," which leads into the intense delivery of "Celebrate And Kneel." The pounding groove of "Ain't Time For This" will have you banging your head to song's rhythm, while "Riddles" takes on a more mainstream metal sound as the song sound like a call to arms. The tempo speeds up with the aggressive feel of "Deathrow" and "Black 'N' Blue," before closing their new album with dark tones of "Caged Emotions" and grunge/metal appeal of "Underdog." To find out more about Owl Company and their latest release "Horizon," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/corujaofficial.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

CD Review: New Music From Independent Heavy Metal Artists These Streets, Slope & Fxss

Arriving in August is the latest release from California hardcore metal band These Streets titled "Unfinished Business." After their last release, These Streets have a new look on their career as they deliver hard-hitting melodies that they have become known for. Their new 9-song release begins with the pounding rhythm of "Unfinished Business" as These Street pull no punches. They continue with the aggressive attack of "Wasting Away" and the intense, hardcore/trash metal of "Bite The Hand." They continue the onslaught with the growling vocals of "Can't Be Saved" that deliver a truth to the lyrics, before finishing their new release with the quick, punk-like fury of "Life From The Gutter." To find out more about These Streets and their latest release "Unfinished Business," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/Thesestreetscv.

Next, from Germany comes the new release titled "Losin' Grip" from hardcore metal/punk band Slope. Their new seven-song album begins with the pace changes of "95," before delivering "Movino Losino," which sounds like the early punk days Red Hot Chili Peppers. They quicken the pace with the funk-like hardcore groove of "Buzz Off!" and "The Void," before finishing their new release with the band's instrumental build-up "Straight To Nowhere." To find out more about about Slope and their latest release "Losin' Grip," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/slopehc.

Norwegian heavy metal band Fxss return with their sophomore release titled "Second Coming." It has been 5 years since the band's debut album and they have taken all those experiences and created an outstanding underground metal album. Their new 9-song release begins with the classic metal appeal of "Make A Life" that sounds like a combination of early Iron Maiden and Tesla. They deliver a thrash metal feel to "Peace & Love," before slowing down for the power ballad "Dear Lucy." They close out their new release with the heavy metal guitar riffs of "Heathen" and the outstanding musicianship of the six-minute closer "Fall Away." To find more about Foss and their latest release "Second Coming," please visit fxsstheband.com.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

CD Review: New Heavy Metal Music Arriving From Canyon Of The Skull, Casket Robbery & Argus

Returning from the desert plains of Texas is the doom metal guitar duo Canyon Of The Skull with their new 37-minute instrumental track, "The Desert Winter." Make sure you clear some time to get lost in this epic piece of music as it takes you down into the caverns of your mind. The drums motor through the buzzing guitars of this slow-moving piece of doom metal. Their new self-released album will be available on August 19th. To find out more about Canyon Of The Skull and their new sonic adventure, "The Desert Winter," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/canyonoftheskull. 
 
Also arriving August 19th is the new self-released EP from death metal band Casket Robbery titled "The Ascension." Their new 3-song release is a vicious attack on your ears as the music comes blasting right from the opening track "Pockets Lined With Flowers." The title-song, "The Ascension" is not for the weak as screaming vocals and dark metal guitar riffs with have you feeling the full-force of this new death metal band. To find out more about Casket Robbery and their latest release "The Ascension," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/casketrobbery.
 
Rising heavy metal band Argus will be releasing their brand new studio album "From Fields Of Fire" on September 8th through Cruz Del Sur Music. Their new 9-song progressive metal album begins with a short instrumental before arriving at "Devils On Your Time." The music is filled with classic heavy guitar riffs as vocalist Brian 'Butch' Balich leads the way. The energy flows through the intense build up of "216" as the musicianship with Argus is amazing. The band takes you on an epic, 11-minute journey with "Infinite Lives Infinite Doors" as you can't help but get lost in this adventure. Argus also display their  dark, doom metal side with tones of "No Right To Grieve" to close out their new album. To find out more about Argus and their latest release "From Fields Of Fire," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/argusmetal.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

RJ Podcast: Styx keyboardist/singer Laurence Gowan Discusses Their New Album, "The Mission"

Lawrence Gowan, singer and keyboardist for the band Styx, discusses the band's new album "The Mission" and what went into recording their first album of new material in 14 years. He also talks with us about their summer tour with REO Speedwagon and Don Felder and tries to explain why Styx are not in the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame after being around for over 45 years.

CD Review: New Music From Metal Blade Records Artists Goatwhore, Bloodclot & Execration

There is a trio of new hardcore death metal albums from Goatwhore, Bloodclot and Execration that recently were released from Metal Blade Records. Over the last two decades, Goatwhore has developed quite a following along the death metal circuit that has established the band as huge concert draw when on tour. They recently released their seventh studio album titled "Vengeful Ascension" back in June and looked to capture the raw emotions of the songs by recording them live in the studio. They begin their new 10-song release with the grinding guitars and quick-paced drumming of "Forsaken" and the howling vocals of "Vengeful Ascension" as Goatwhore settle into their role as one of the premier death metal bands around. They come blasting out of your speakers with the intense adrenaline rush of "Chaos Arcane" and the swift pace of "Drowned In Grim Rebirth," before finishing their new release with classic thrash metal feel of "Mankind Will Have No Mercy" and the final burst of speed with "Those Who Denied God's Will." Goatwhore will begin their U.S. tour on September 1st. For a complete list of shows and to find out more about their new album "Vengeful Ascension," please visit goatwhore.net.

The new albums from Bloodclot and Execration both arrived on July 14th and look to add another layer to the hardcore metal community. Bloodclot features ex-members of bands like Danzig and Queens of the Stone Age, who got together to play the music they've always wanted to perform. Their debut album "Up In Arms" features a dozen tracks that showcase their love for hardcore metal music. The new release begins with the title song as "Up In Arms" carries a classic heavy metal sound that will get your blood pumping. They keep the energy flowing full blast on the quick, 90-second romps of "Fire" and "Kill The Beast." Bloodclot comes out screaming with the New York hardcore/thrash metal of "Soldiers Of The New Babylon" and "Kali," before finishing with the punk-like fury of "Slipping Into Darkness" and the sonic attack of "You'll Be The Death Of Me." To find out more about Bloodclot and their latest release "Up In Arms," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/bloodclotofficial.

Finally we have the latest from Norwegian death metal band, Execration titled "Return To The Void." It is the band's fourth full-length release and features 9-tracks of hard-hitting death metal that will make you stand up and take notice of Execration. The new album begins with the guitar driven, howling vocals of  "Eternal Recurrence" and the aggressive blast of "Nekrocosm." They deliver a progressive, hardcore metal sound with the seven-plus minute epics "Cephalic Transmissions" and "Unicursal Horrorscope," before closing with "Det Uransakelige Dyp," a song in their native language. To find out more about Execration and their latest release "Return To The Void," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/execrationnorway.

Monday, July 17, 2017

CD Review: Calvin Harris Invites Friends To Bounce Along To His New Album

Multi-platinum, Grammy Award winning artist Calvin Harris recently released the most star-studded studio album of the summer. His new studio album titled "Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1" was released on June 30th through Columbia Records and features names like Pharrell Williams, Ariana Grande, Future, Frank Ocean, Young Thug and that's just in the first four songs on the album.

Harris begins his new 10-song release with "Slide" as Frank Ocean and Migos team up on the summer hit. The classic disco-like beats and Ocean's iconic vocals gives the song a smooth, laid-back groove. ScHoolboy Q declares "party like its 1980" on "Cash Out" as the classic, nostalgic sound will have you moving, before Ariana Grande and Pharrell Williams work alongside Young Thug on the sweet vocals and undeniable beats of "Heatstroke." Hip-hop legend Snoop Dogg works with John Legend and Takeoff on the R&B groove of "Holiday" as Harris lays the perfect groundwork for these artists to excel. Nicki Minaj lends her talents to the Latin beats of "Skrt On Me," before Williams returns, this time with Big Sean and Katy Perry on the addictive tones of "Feels." The album closes with Jessie Reyez's sweet, smoky vocals on the jazzy vibe of "Hard To Love." To find out more about Calvin Harris and his latest release "Funk Wav Bounces Vol 1," please visit calvinharris.com.

Friday, July 7, 2017

CD Review: Celebrate 50th Anniversary Of The Beach Boys' "Wild Honey" With "Sunshine Tomorrow"

This year has marked the 50th anniversary of some iconic albums like The Beatles' "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band," The Doors' self-titled debut album and The Jimi Hendrix Experience "Are You Experienced?" Another band that was riding a high in the studio was The Beach Boys. After the success of their 1966 album "Pet Sounds," The Beach Boys, especially Brian Wilson, were ready to raise the bar with a project called "Smile." While recordings of the album went on for almost a year, the other members of The Beach Boys, as well as their record company, wanted to release a new album as soon as possible. So, The Beach Boys used what they could salvage from the "Smile" sessions for their new album "Smiley Smile" and the follow-up "Wild Honey."

While "Smiley Smile" retained that classic early Beach Boys' sound, "Wild Honey" was a more mature rock album that absorbed the sound of the psychedelic sixties. To celebrate the 5oth anniversary of the "Wild Honey" album, Capitol/UMe recently released a 2CD set titled "1967 - Sunshine Tomorrow," which features 54 previously unreleased studio sessions and live tracks. The original album was remastered with a brand new stereo mix that will also be released separately on 180-gram vinyl.

The first disc features the new "Wild Honey" stereo mix with 15 bonus session highlights and alternative versions, plus 5 live versions of songs featured on the album. Highlights of the first disc include early versions of "Cool Cool Water" and "Can't Wait Too Long" as you can hear the song's taking shape in the studio. Live versions of "Country Air" and "How She Boogalooed It" are also great additions to this first disc.

The second disc kicks off with studio sessions for the "Smiley Smile" album. Backing tracks and alternate versions of well-known songs like "Heroes And Villains" and "Vegetables" take up the first half of the disc, but the second half is a treasure-trove of live music. It includes the previously unreleased "live" album "Lei-d In Hawaii" recorded September 11th. It features classic Beach Boys hits like "Help Me Rhonda" and "California Girl" as well as a version of The Beatles' "With A Little Help From My Friends," which was released less that 4 months prior to this recording by The Beach Boys. The second disc wraps up with 5 songs recorded live in Hawaii in August 1967 as well as more live songs from their "Thanksgiving Tour" in Washington D.C. and Boston. Closing out the set is an early version of their song "Surf's Up" and an A Capella version of their early hit single "Surfer Girl." To find out more about this new release from The Beach Boys, please visit thebeachboys.com.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

CD Review: New Movie Soundtracks Bring Back Nostagia Through The Music

At the end of June, we saw two new soundtrack releases from Columbia Records. First is a mix of musical genres that make up the movie "Baby Driver" and the other is a return for Pharrell Williams to the "Despicable Me" franchise. The movie "Baby Driver" centers around a talented getaway driver that falls in love and wants to start a clean way of living after one last heist. The 2CD soundtrack touches upon every genre of music you can think of.
 
Most of the first disc contains hidden gems like the original version of "Harlem Shuffle" by Bob & Earl and one of the few Beach Boys' instrumentals "Let's Go Away For Awhile." The energy blows up with The Damned "Neat Neat Neat" and goes all out funk with the Incredible Bongo Band's "Bongolia." The second disc features some well known classics like "Nowhere To Run" by Martha & The Vandellas and "Baby Driver" by Simon & Garfunkel. The lead in of Barry White's "Never Never Gonna Give Ya Up" to Young MC's "Know How" to Queen's "Brighton Rock" showcases how well the crossover of musical genres feel on this new soundtrack. To find out more about the "Music From The Motion Picture Baby Driver," please visit BabyDriver.
 
Hip-hop artist Pharrell Williams returns to the movie franchise that gave him a Grammy Award winning smash single with "Happy." Williams is the main artist on the new "Despicable Me 3" soundtrack as the new release mixes together original tracks with 80's classics like "Take On Me" and "99 Luftballoons." The new 16-song soundtrack begins with the overly addictive pop beats of "Yellow Light" as Pharrell does what he does best. Trey Parker (South Park), who voices the new villain Balthazar Bratt, sings "Hug Me" as if it was recorded three decades ago. Both Michael Jackson and Madonna get in on the action with some of their past hits, but Pharrell might have the share the spotlight this time around with the Minions as they sing "Papa Mama Loca Pipa" and "Malatikalano Polatina." To find out more about the newly released "Despicable Me 3" soundtrack, please visit DM3Soundtrack.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

CD Review: New Heavy Metal Music Arriving From KillSET & From Phear

From southern California comes the latest album from hardcore metal band KillSET titled "S.T.F.U." It was produced by Eddie Wohl (Fuel) and showcases the band's growth in their songwriting and musicianship. The new 10-track album begins with "Get Up" as they mix modern rock melodies with hardcore guitar riffs. They display a harder edge to the their music in "Bully," before delivering the new mosh pit anthem with "Killers In The Pit." They slow down for the emotional delivery of "Broken Angel," then try their hand at turning Kris Kross' hit single "Jump" into nu-metal fun. KillSET finish their new album with the adrenaline shot of "Animal" and the aggressive blast of "Don't Let Me Die." To find out more about KillSET and their latest release "S.T.F.U.," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/killsetofficial.

From Toronto, Canada comes the new album from thrash metal band Phear titled "The Curse Lives On." Their new 5-song EP follows quickly on the heels of their debut album "Reagan's Dream" and contains live version of songs from that album along with a cover song and one more original piece. The album begins with an electrifying 15-minute cover of Iron Maiden's "Rime Of The Ancient Mariner" as Phear really dig in to display their musical talents. They add a grunge-like feel to the song "Dirty Work," before diving into the live versions of "Don't Scream," "Heaven" and "Regan's Dream." Performing live gives the band an extra jolt of adrenaline as you can hear them motor through the songs, pushing "Heaven" and "Regan's Dream" past the 9-minute mark. To find out more about Phear and their latest release "The Curse Lives On," please visit phearband.com.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

CD Review: New Music From Iconic Indie-Artists Andy Hall & Roosevelt Collier, Amanda Anne Platt & The Honeycutters And The War & Treaty

Country and Bluegrass music meet up in this new release from Andy Hall (The Infamous Stringdusters) and Roosevelt Collier (Lee Boys) titled "Let The Steel Play." It was released back in June and showcases both of their love for slide guitar. The new 10-song instrumental displays their backgrounds in music through their finger picking, and slide steel guitar work. They add a jolt of energy to their cover of "This Little Light" as you can picture yourself driving down Route 66 just blasting this song doing 90mph. The duo take on the classic "A Maiden's Prayer," trying to add a little extra to the already iconic song. They sound like the second coming of Duane Allman and Eric Clapton on "Singing Steel" and they mesh their sounds perfectly on their cover of the Grateful Dead's "Crazy Fingers." They finish their new album with the up-tempo swing of "Remington" and they invite fellow bluegrass performer, Anders Beck to help them out on the original track, "Colfax Boogie." To find out more about Andy Hall and Roosevelt Collier's new release "Let The Steel Play," please visit their Facebook pages at facebook.com/andyhalldobro and facebook.com/RooseveltCollier.

Country roots band The Honeycutters have made a decision to add lead singer Amanda Anne Platt's name to the front of the band's name. They also recently released their new album titled "Amanda Anne Platt & The Honeycutters." After four albums as The Honeycutters, the music still brings out the best of country music and Amanda's vocals are still undeniable. Their new 13-song release begins with the laid-back, country swing of "Birthday Song" as Amanda sings about how fast time flies, which everyone can understand. They continue with the steady rhythm of "What We've Got" as Amanda's vocals are timeless. The band plugs in for "Diamond In The Rough" giving an edgier feel to their country music, while "Eden" is a fun-filled, energetic and quickens the pace of the album. Amanda finds her way to your heart with the ballad "Learning How To Love Him," before slowly building the tempo back up with "Late Summer Child." Amanda Anne Platt & The Honeycutters wrap up their new album with the country swaying love song "Rare Thing" and the acoustic country/folk appeal of "The Road." To find out more about Amanda Anne Platt & The Honeycutters new release, please visit honeycutters.com.

The soulful roots duo The War & Treaty have recently released their new album titled "Down To The River." It has been a couple years since their last album and in that time, the duo have added mandolins, banjos, guitar, bass and drums to help give their music as big a sound as their voices portray. The new 8-song release begins with the title song as lead singer Tanya Blount will instantly grab your attention with her powerful, gospel-like vocals. When her musical partner Michael Trotter Jr. joins in on the vocals, the two have a bond that makes their music a force to be reckon with. They bring out the sound of the bayou on the stomp rhythm of "Hi Ho," before traveling out to the country with the storied lyrics of "Florida." Their new album continues with the soulful blues of "Hit Dawg Will Holla," before finishing with the burning jazz of "Set My Soul On Fire" and the up-tempo soul shot of "Wanna Get Outta Here." To find out more about The War & Treaty and their latest release "Down To The River," please visit thewarandtreaty.com.

Monday, July 3, 2017

RJ Podcast: Oliver Wood (The Wood Brothers) Discusses The Band's Upcoming Tour & New Live Album

Oliver Wood, of The Wood Brothers, talks with us about their "Wheels Of Soul" tour with Tedeschi Trucks Band and Hot Tuna. We also discuss the band's new live album "Live At The Barn" and what is was like to perform with Levon Helm before his passing at his barn in Woodstock, NY. The Wood Brothers will be in Simsbury, CT as part of the "Wheels Of Soul" tour this Sunday, July 9th.

CD Review: New Music From Singer/Songwriters Jennifer Saran & Tyler Edwards, Plus Indubious Returns "From Zero"

American singer/songwriter Jennifer Saran is preparing to release her third studio album in three years. Her new release features guests like Carlos Santana and Ladysmith Black Mombazo and is titled "Wake Up." Saran mixes together originals with covers songs, done her way. The new 15-song album begins with the wonderful harmonies of Ladysmith Black Mambazo, highlighted by the lead guitar of Carlos Santana on the island flavor of "Wake Up." She pays tribute to the recently departed George Michael with a smooth, gentle cover of his song "Jesus To A Child" and also pays tribute to Billy Paul with a cover of "Me And Mr. Jones." The energy picks back up with the African rhythm of "You Are My Star" as Saran duets with members of Ladysmith Black Mambazo. The tributes continue with her nostalgic cover of "Old Cape Cod" as a tribute to Patti Page and then an emotional delivery of "Lean On Me" as a tribute to Bill Withers. The album finishes with the beautiful ballad "My Love And Devotion" for Doris Day and the soulful prayer "Aad Guray." To find out more about Jennifer Saran and her latest release "Wake Up," please visit jennifersaran.com.

From Portland, OR comes the island/reggae sound of the new album from Indubious titled "From Zero." The band has collected a following by performing at festivals like Wakarusa and Gathering Of The Vibes and have been influenced by current artists like Michael Franti and Stephen Marley. Their new 14-song release begins with their mix of pop and reggae on "He Who Has Ears" as the beats keep the energy flowing, while "Rocketship" uses a more laid-back, island vibe. Dancehall artists Sizzla and Vaughn Benjamin lend a hand to the dubstep/dance sound of "Gold Ones" and "Don't Lose Sleep." The reggae/pop energy flows through "If You Follow," before reaching the love song of "Perfect." R&B singer Zahira lends her vocal talents to the smooth rhythm of "Root Down," before Indubious close their new album with the hip-hop movement of "Sky High." To find out more about Indubious and their latest release "From Zero," please visit indubiousmusic.com.

From Seattle comes the latest release from singer/songwriter Tyler Edwards. The new album titled "A Few Good Hearts" may be one of the best independent Americana, folk/rock albums of 2017. His new 11-song release begins with the short, quiet, acoustic introduction "Before The Question," before Tyler plugs in for the southern, country rocker "Hazy Goodbye." He continues with the steady flow of "Don't Rush Me" as his vocals will easily find their way into your soul. The folk appeal of "A Few Good Hearts" allows you to hear how good his songwriting is, while "Southern Belle" has a quiet, majestic tone that makes Tyler seem experienced beyond his years. Tyler plugs in one more time for the fun, up-tempo rocker "Talk So Tough," before closing his new album with the wonderful, Americana touch of "Plain And The Valley" and the slow blues of "As You Need." To find out more about Tyler Edwards and his latest release "A Few Good Hearts," please visit tyleredwardsmusic.com.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

CD Review: Moonjune Records Releases New Music From Machine Mass, Dusan Jevtovic, Talinka & Dialeto

We have four new releases arriving from Moonjune Records artists. First up is the latest from the musical trio Machine Mass. They are celebrating the 50th anniversary of Jimi Hendtrix's debut album, "Are You Experienced" with a 9-song tribute to the late-guitarist. All of the music on this new album was recorded live in the studio and gives off an impulsive jam feel. The album begins with the jazzy feel of the nearly 8-minute opener, "Third Stone From The Sun" as keyboardist Antoine Guenet and guitarist Michel Delville make their presence known as drummer Anthony Bianco steadies the rhythm. They come stumbling into "Purple Haze" as the iconic guitar riff begins to take shape about 2-minutes into the song. Machine Mass turn "Spanish Castle Magic" into a jazz-fusion/rock assault, before taking "Voodoo Chile" to another level of intense music. The album finishes with an 11-minute, wildly chaotic version of "You Got Me Floatin'" and "The Wind Cries Mary," which features quotes from Hendrix laid on top of the music.

Next up is the latest release from the jazz-fusion guitarist Dusan Jevtovic titled "No Answer." It features the work of Vasil Hadzimanov on keyboards and Asaf Sirkis on drums, delivering a sound that combines the jazz and progressive rock worlds. The new 9-song release begins with the grunge-like delivery of "Al Aire/Soko Bira" and the prog-rock of "Frusci." The intensity slows down on the airy jazz feel of "Yo Sin Mi," before erupting during the build-up of "No Answer." The new album wraps up with the King Crimson-type delivery of "Lifetime" and the light-treading of "Prayer," before closing with the atmospheric, space-rock of "The Place With A View."

From across the pond comes the new, self-titled album from the British band Talinka. Each of the four members of the band are "distinguished" in their own field and their collaboration on this new album allows them to showcase each of their skills. The new 10-song release begins with the light, jazz-feel of "Talinka" as vocalist Tali Atzmon uses her voice as an instrument, along with saxophonist Gilad Atzmon to make the melody just glide. Tali's angelic vocals float along on the inspirational sound of "Baroque Bottom," before the  band pick the tempo up slightly for the smoky, jazz lounge of "Invitation." They experiment with their sound in the six-minute "Four 2 Tango," while the smooth jazz of "You Don't Know What Love Is" will put your worries at ease on this mellow piece of music.

Finally we arrive at the latest release from the Brazilian progressive rock band Dialeto. Their new album "Bartok In Rock" pays tribute to the Hungarian composer Bela Bartok as this trio add an element of rock to these compositions. This album was originally released on CD in Brazil only and features King Crimson violinist David Cross on the opening track "Mikrokosmos 113." The tempo at the beginning of the album is swift and fast paced, it slows down during the quieter experiment of "An Evening In The Village." Dialeto showcase their talents on the six different "Hungarian Folk Dances" as the band work as a cohesive unit on these tunes. The album closes with the hard rock build-up of "The Young Bride" as Dialeto lead to the edge of chaos and back.

To find out more about these new releases and other MoonJune Records' artists, please visit moonjunerecords.bandcamp.com.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

CD Review: New Music From Singer/Songwriters Korby Lenker, Allen Hinds & Andrea Stray

Singer/songwriter Korby Lenker has traveled this beautiful country to be inspired for his latest album "Thousand Springs," which will be released on July 14th. Lenker left his Nashville studio to write and sing about his journey from Boston to Los Angeles and everywhere in between. He also invites some of today's best independent folk talent to help out on his new album. He begins with the gentle acoustic strumming of "Northern Lights" as you follow every word. Singer Molly Tuttle helps out writing and singing on the addictive chorus of "Friend And A Friend." He continues with the bluegrass feel of "Nothing Really Matters" and the country rock of "Last Man Standing." Korby Lenker sounds like Jack Johnson on the quiet tone of "Uh Oh," before picking the tempo up with the island vibe of "Father To The Man." Lenker closes his new album with the beautiful lyrics of "Mermaids" and the solo prayer of "Wherever You Are." Korby Lenker is currently on tour supporting his new album. For a complete list of shows and to find out more about "Thousand Springs," please visit korbylenker.com.

Guitarist/composer Allen Hinds returns with two new releases for 2017. First we have his new solo CD, "Fly South," which showcases the talents of Hinds as a rock-driven guitarist. The new 10-song release begins with the freeing sounds of "Springs Eternal" as Hinds keeps the music fresh and exciting, while drummer Vinnie Colaiuta (Sting) keeps the energy moving. Keyboardist Matt Rohde trades solos with Hinds on "Buckley," before moving on to the bluesy sound of "Joni." The energy picks back up with "Little White Lies" as Hinds' guitar work takes you on a sonic journey and you'll begin to feel elevated by the sound. The album finishes with the acoustic, country setting of "Old Mill Pond" and the six-minute "Blues For O.K. Tarpley."

Allen Hinds second release features his full-time band, Wonderland Park with their new album "Just Get In." This jazz-fusion trio create some exciting music that will allow you to really lose yourself in. They begin their new 7-song release with the nearly seven-minute guitar driven rock jam "All Due Respect." They get more funky and expand their sound on the eight-minute sonic adventure of "Just Get In." The band continues to funk out with their groove on "Barron's Crossing," before finishing with the electrifying jazz fusion of "Spittin' Image" and the slower, ambient feel of "A Far Cry." To find out more about Allen Hinds and his new releases, please visit allenhinds.com.

Finally, we finish up with the latest release from singer/songwriter Andrea Stray and her new EP "Into Blue." The new album begins with the country blues of the title song as her vocals carry a nostalgic, classic country sound. She delivers more attitude on the slow-moving rocker "Don't Cry" and lets her voice lead the way on "Little Word," before finishing her short new release with the acoustic country strumming of "You're The Kind." To find out more about Andrea Stray and her latest release "Into Blue," please visit andreastray.com.

Friday, June 30, 2017

CD Review: New Music From Singer/Songwriters Nescora, Jordan Okrend, MesAlfie & Brad Byrd

From New York City comes the latest album from singer/songwriter Nescora. His new release titled "Some Place Some Where" will be released on July 21st and features 8 songs that touch upon the tones of blues and country, while maintaining a folk/rock backdrop. The album begins with the slow, country strumming of "Together Play Together Pray," then he picks up  the tempo up with the steady, bluesy rhythm of "Rescue." The quietness of "Krazy Over U" allows you to appreciate Nescora's wonderful songwriting as he delivers pop lyrics on this folk gem. He goes full-on country with the the spirit of "Find Out" and "Rapid In My Heart," before finishing his new release with the acoustic blues of "Days Are Gone." To find out more about Nescora and his latest release " Some Places Some Where," please visit his Facebook page at facebook.com/nescora.

From Ashville, NC comes the latest release from jazz/funk/pop artist Jordan Okrend. His new album titled "Dance By The Riverside" was released back on June 23rd and features 8 tunes that will get your body moving. He begins with the seventies funk backdrop of "Unknown Love" as his vocals sound smooth with these solid rhythms. The album's lead single "Dance By The Riverside" has a "jamband" feel as Okrend and his band can keep the groove rolling for hours. His soulful vocals soar on the jazzy "Infinity" and the acoustic pop of "Changing My Mind," before closing his new release with the folk protest of "Unity." To find out more about Jordan Okrend and his latest release "Dance By The Riverside," please visit jordanokrend.com.

Italian singer/songwriter Alfredo Serafini recently released his first English album under the name MesAlfie. After much success in his home country of Italy, MesAlfie is looking to expand his sound beyond their borders with his new album "Hey, Super." The new 11-song release begins with the the steady build-up of the folk/rock feel of "Dear Enemy." His vocals are stellar on the gentle moving ballad "The Incredible World" and also in "Must See New York," his tribute to post 9/11, New York City. He dives into the R&B/pop side of American music with "I Need" and "I'm Gonna Meet You," before finishing his new album with the smooth vocals of "There Is No Way" and the quiet, acoustic folk love story of "Tania." To find out more about MesAlfie and his latest release "Hey, Super," please visit mesalfie.com.

From Los Angeles comes the latest release from singer/songwriter Brad Byrd titled "Highest Mountain." It is his first new album in almost 6 years and it is also his most personal as he sings about dealing with the struggles in his life. The new 10-song release begins with the gentle folk ballad "Nothing At All" as you are slowly introduced to Byrd's beautiful melodies. He plugs in to pick the tempo up on the title song as his music can easily be compared to Ryan Adams or Jeff Tweedy. He sings about caring for his sick mother in "Save You" as the words carry a heavy, emotional meaning. His voice warms your heart on the acoustic strumming of "Headlights" and "Hold On Mama" as you'd follow his words anywhere. The album finishes with the country/folk recollection of "Hard Road" as I hope he returns quickly with another new album. To find out more about Brad Byrd and his latest release "Highest Mountain," please visit bradbyrdofficial.com.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

CD Review: New Music From Indie-Artists Mojo Gurus, Guitar Slim, Heather Trost & Kim Rancourt

From the west coast of Florida comes the career-defining record titled "Gone" from rockers The Mojo Gurus. The band is led by veteran singer/songwriter Kevin Steele, who also produced the album. The new 15-song release begins and ends with the classic guitar rock of "Real Gone Groove," but it's everything that is in-between that will make you a fan. The album's lead single, "Love Somebody" sounds straight from the seventies with its up-tempo, guitar driven rhythm, highlighted by the horn section. Kevin and the band deliver the southern, soulful sound of "Fifty Miles," before moving on the blues of "All I Do Is Cry" and the psychedelic mindset of "Step Into The Light." The guitar boogie shuffle of "Monkey Off My Back" and the punk-like energy of "(We're All Goin') Straight To Hell" showcases the many genres that The Mojo Gurus cover with their brand of music. The album will be released on June 30th through MRI Entertainment. To find out more about The Mojo Gurus and their latest release "Gone," please visit mojogurus.com.

Back in April, Orleans Records re-issued the Grammy-nominated blues album "The Story Of My Life" from Guitar Slim Jr. It will be the first ever release of the album on vinyl and will be also issued on CD for the first time in almost 30 years. The album was the debut release from Guitar Slim Jr. (son of legendary Eddie "Guitar Slim" Jones) and features a classic blues sound that he adopted by being around his father at a very young age. Songs like "Bad Luck Blues" and "Reap What You Sow" showcases Guitar Slim Jr.'s exceptional skills on the guitar as he electrifies the music with jolts of energy. While he still performs live to this day, he has all but given up on studio recordings (his last studio album was released in 2010). To find out more about Guitar Slim Jr. and the new re-issue of his classic album "The Story Of My Life," please visit guitarslimjr.com.

Arriving earlier this month was the full-length debut album titled "Agistri" from singer/songwriter Heather Trost. Trost was one half of the performing duo A Hawk And A Hacksaw (with her husband Jeremy Barnes) and has recently went off on her own, assembling a new band for her new music. Her new 8-song release begins with the nostalgic, psychedelic rock of the title song, which is actually the name of a Greek Island. The music gently flows along on the instrumentals "Abiquiu" and "Bloodmoon," before Heather continues with experiment with her sound on the alt-pop feel of "Me And My Arrow" and the keyboard-fueled "Plastic Flowers." The album finishes with the angelic harmonies of "Real Me, Real You" and the quiet, ambient tone of "Three Feathers." To find out more about Heather Trost and her latest release "Agistri," please visit facebook.com/a-Hawk-and-a-Hacksaw.

From New York comes the latest from singer/songwriter Kim Rancourt titled "plum plum." It features an all-star band that was also featured in the HBO series "Vinyl" and brings Kim's music to life with a blast of energy for the songs "Circle's Gotta Go" and "I Kissed Pat Place." His new 10-song release switches between the rawness of punk as in "Arkansas Is Burning" and the nostalgia of "Claudine." He pays tribute to fellow New York artist Lou Reed with the experimental sonic blast of "She Got Hit," before finishing up with the quiet, late-night strumming of "Leave Your Light On." To find out more about Kim Rancourt and his latest release "plum plum," please visit howlinwuelf.com.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

CD Review: New Music From Freddie Nelson, Tom Killner, Rex Shepherd, Darryl Way & Bryan Stephens

Singer/songwriter/guitarist Freddie Nelson will be releasing his debut solo album "Shake The Cage" on July 7th. Nelson recently teamed up with guitar virtuoso Paul Gilbert (Mr. Big) to record and also to tour, which helped Nelson land a record deal. Nelson performs and produced most of the music on his new album, beginning with the hard rock of "Turn You On" as Nelson's vocals draw you in. The album's first single "Hey Doll" has a slinky rhythm as Nelson uses some of his pop aspects to create this addictive tune. He continues with the blues of "Light" and the punk-like energy of "Never Fight Alone" to showcase the diversity in his sound. The energy of "Let You Go" and "All Night Long" will have you coming back for more from this rising music artist. To find out more about Freddie Nelson and his latest release "Shake The Cage," please visit freddienelson.com.

UK blues guitarist Tom Killner recently released a brand new live album titled simply "Live." It follows quickly on the heels of his debut studio album and features a dozen cover songs that he adds his own spin to. He begins with the up-beat guitar rock of Fleetwood Mac's "Like It This Way" and Slim Harpo's "King Bee," as Killner showcases that he is a force of nature on stage. He electrifies the audience with his version of "Have You Ever Loved A Woman," before getting the blood pumping with the swift pace of Stevie Wonder's "Higher Ground." He slows the tempo down for the folk blues story of "Cocaine Blues," then doubles-up on Jimi Hendrix and The Allman Brothers Band, before closing with Joe Cocker's version of The Beatles' "With A Little Help From My Friends." To find out more about Tom Killner and his new "Live" album, please visit tomkillnerband.co.uk.

Experimental guitarist Rex Shepherd recently released his third installment of his "Never Buy My Self" instrumental series." This latest release features 14-tracks that may have you looking at guitar instrumental music in a different way. He begins with what sounds like a tuning exercise titled "A Blue Penguin In Khaki Pants." Then he looks to take you to the outer reaches of space with the sonic landscape of "47 & 48." He gently feels his way through the slow moving "An Improvised Ballad For Being My Beautiful Wife." The sound gets "grungy" on the darker tone of "Which Way Is Out," before showing us a glimpse more of his guitar skills on "Poison Ivy." Rex finishes his latest album with ambient feel of "Drift" and the sonic clash of "In An Experimental Mood." To find out more about Rex Shepherd and his latest release "Never Buy My Self III," please visit rexshep.com.

Next up is the latest release from Curved Air violist Darryl Way titled "Underworld." It is a brand-new rock opera that tells the dark tales of sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll. It was released on June 21st in 2 different forms, the complete rock opera with narration and a version of just the songs. Darryl Way brings in ten different vocalists to sing the story, while he handles violins and keyboards along with Richard Mead on guitar and Pete Skinner on drums. The 18-song only album begins with the uptempo, Queen-like rock tones of "The Language Of Love," before showcasing the beautiful ballad "I Miss Him Already." Then the story turns darker with the jazz/rock vibe of "All Is Fair In Love And War" and the stellar acting vocals of "The Contract" as you can easily follow the story through the song's lyrics. The story of deception continues with steady build-up of "Sorry Babe," until we reach "The Final Showdown" as anger rings through this six-minute prog-rock number. The album closes with the operatic ballad "The Floozies Lament" and the short instrumental "End Music." To find out more about Darryl Way and his latest release "Underworld," please visit darrylway.com.

Finally we arrive at the new debut album from singer/songwriter Bryan Stephens titled "Village Of Dreams." Stephens is the musical director for the famous club, Cafe Wha and a chance meeting happened to turn into a record deal with Blue Elan Records. Stephens new 12-song release begins with the R&B/pop of "River Flows." His vocals sound pure and genuine as he adds an addictive, up-tempo rock vibe to "In June" and "Revolution," before slowing down with the power ballad "Deprivation." Bryan adds a worldly flavor to "Out Of Her Mind," then rocks out on his cover of The Guess Who's "No Time." The album finishes with the grittier guitar driven "Taking Time" and the acoustic folk strumming of "Dreams." To find out more about Bryan Stephens new album "Village Of Dreams," please visit blueelan.com.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

CD Review: New Live Albums From King Crimson And iCon, Plus New Prog-Rock From Hedersleben

To celebrate the music of their friend David Bowie and to support their current North American tour, progressive rock band King Crimson released a new 5-song live EP titled "Heroes - Live in Europe 2016." The album features 4 songs recorded live in Berlin 2016 when the band were on their European tour. The new release kicks off with a spot on cover of Bowie's "Heroes," which leads into a 10-minute version of their 1973 song "Easy Money" as the music just glides along. The set continues with an edited version of the fan-favorite "Starless," before closing with the drum solo titled "The Hell Hounds Of Krim" and a radio edit of their "Heroes" single. A full live album from the band's 2016 European tour will be released later this year. For more information about King Crimson's "Heroes" EP, please visit schizoidshop.com.

Founding members of the band Asia, John Wetton and Geoff Downes collaborated first in 2002, recording an album under the new name iCon. They recorded 3 full-length albums and an EP in 7 years. A 2009 iCon concert was planned on being the premier release on Epicon Records and was approved by Wetton in January, just prior to his passing. It was recorded at St. Mary-le-Bow church in London, England and features 19 songs that cover the duo's entire career through iCon, along with Asia and King Crimson. A DVD of the show has only been available online under the artists' website, but now gets expanded with 2CDs.  

 The new 2CD/DVD set begins with the Asia classics "Countdown To Zero" and "Go." They end up touching upon the band's new album "Icon 3" with the songs "Twice The Man I Was" and "Don't Go Out Tonight," but seem to find more common ground with their audience with the Asia songs "True Colors" and "Heat Of The Moment." Wetton and Downes showcase their brilliance on the King Crimson classic "Starless" and the show closer "Rock And Roll Dream." To find out more about iCon and their new deluxe edition of "Urban Psalm Live," please visit cherryred.co.uk.

The San Francisco-based band, Hedersleben recently released their 4th studio album titled "Orbit" through Purple Pyramid Records. Each of the band's first three albums have featured a different lead singer and this time around it is Alicia Previn (daughter of world famous conductor Andre Previn) taking on the lead vocals. While the majority of the tracks center around the musicianship within the band as they begin your journey with the six-minute epic sounding "Judas Star." Then they continue with a heavier progressive rock sound on "Walk Above The Clouds," before delivering the atmospheric space rock of "Distant Sun." Previn's angelic vocals highlights the gentle flow of "Hedersleben (Dreamlike)," before the band finish the new album with the hard edge, seventies rock feel of "Be There" and the gentle nature of "Perigree." To find out more about Hedersleben and their latest release "Orbit," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/HederslebenBand.

Monday, June 26, 2017

RJ Podcast: The Outlaws' Henry Paul Talks About How Much Fun He Is Having Performing Live These Days

Henry Paul of The Outlaws discusses how great it is performing live and about the release of The Outlaws latest live album "Legacy Live." Also, about the possibility of a new studio album from The Outlaws arriving soon. The Outlaws will be performing at Infinity Hall in Norfolk, CT on June 30.

CD Review: Flash Back With These New Releases From Captain Beyond, Anthony Phillips & "Tonite Let's Make Love In London"

The sixties British documentary "Tonite Let's All Make Love In London" was a sign of the times in swinging London, England 50 years ago. While the movie may have opened many eyes to what was happening in the clubs of London, the soundtrack was also as ground-breaking. It featured music by Chris Farlowe, the Small Faces and a little known new band The Pink Floyd. The soundtrack featured some of the first studio recordings of Pink Floyd as well as Chris Farlowe's original version of "Out Of Time" (made popular by The Rolling Stones). Mixed in between the music was interviews with celebrities like Mick Jagger, Michael Caine and Julie Christie, describing what they thought of the sixties London scene. To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the "Tonite Let's All Make Love In London" soundtrack, Immediate Records is releasing a newly remastered version of the soundtrack on CD and on pink vinyl. To find out more about this new release, please visit immediate-records.com. 

Space rock supergroup Captain Beyond took the music world by storm in the seventies, releasing 3 studio albums in 5 years. The band, consisting of members of Deep Purple, Iron Butterfly and The Johnny Winter Band, was asked by Duane Allman, after hearing their demo, to join the Allman Brothers Band label Capricorn Records. Now, for the first time, those demos from the band's first album are being released on CD and limited edition red color vinyl.

The new 10-song release begins with a song that did not appear on any Captain Beyond album, "Uranus Highway," which sounds like if The Allman Brothers Band became a progressive rock band. The demos sound very clean for being buried for over 45 years. Songs like "I Can't Feel Nothing" and "Ragin River Of Fear" showcase the potential this band had as they combines elements of hard rock, southern rock and progressive rock to give music a unique, original sound. To find out more about Captain Beyond and the latest release "Lost & Found 1972-1973," please visit cleorecs.com. 

British singer/songwriter/guitarist Anthony Phillips was one of the founding members of the band Genesis. After the band's second album "Trespass," Phillips left to concentrate on his solo career. He released his first solo album in 1977 and continues to this day to recording music for albums, television and movies. Cherry Red Records label, Esoteric Recordings, is revisiting one of Phllips' albums for a new 2CD/DVD deluxe edition. The album, "Slow Dance" was originally released in 1990 and features 2 instrumental tracks, "Slow Dance (Part 1 & Part 2)." The music showcased Phillips range as a musician, mixing rock and orchestral music to create a classical suite, but Phillips felt that the album was unfinished. 

The new deluxe edition of the "Slow Dance" album features the original music re-mixed and remastered on the first disc. The second disc consists of "Slow Dance Vignettes" that were recorded in the studio to help with the ideas of the full "Slow Dance" rock suite. With the alternate mix of "No Way Out" and the addition of the "Clarinet Sleigh Ride," you can image how different the "Slow Dance" album could have sounded. The DVD features the original "Slow Dance" album in 5.1 surround sound, along with the original stereo mix of the album. To find out more about Anthony Phillips and his latest expanded deluxe edition of "Slow Dance," pleased visit cherryred.co.uk.