Title - 'Adeva! Ultimate' [4CD Expanded Edition]
Artist - Adeva
For those not in the know, this expansive 4CD set of Adeva’s eponymous debut album brings together the most comprehensive collection of this seminal house/R&B release.
Originally released in August 1989, the album went on to sell in excess of 300,000 copies in the UK.
Adeva actually hails from New Jersey in the USA, but found her career taking shape in the UK when, after an indie single release on Easy Street Records, she was then signed by Cooltempo/Chrysalis.
This resulted in two albums, Adeva! and Love Or Lust and numerous singles being released.
In 1997 she released an album New Direction for Distinctive Records, but not before collaborating with Frankie Knuckles on two singles and the album.
The first CD features the 10 tracks of the original album plus seven bonus tracks with the single versions of five tracks, ‘Respect’, ‘Warning!’, ‘I Thank You’, ‘Beautiful Love’ and ‘Treat Me Right’.
Plus there’s the Club mix of ‘I Thank You’ and the dub mix of ‘Warning!’.
2. 'Treat Me Right'
3. 'I Thank You'
4. 'So Right'
5. 'In & Out of My Life'
7. 'I Don't Need You'
8. 'Beautiful Love'
10. 'Musical Freedom'
11. 'I Thank You' (Club Mix)
12. 'Warning!' (Dub Mix)
13. 'Respect' (Single Version)
14. 'Warning!' (Single Version)
15. 'I Thank You' (Single Version)
16. 'Beautiful Love' (Single Version)
17. 'Treat Me Right' (Single Version)
The album opens with the sonic reach of the single 'Respect' (UK #17), and backs that up with the mellower 'Treat Me Right (UK #62), the low key R&B, dancefloor shuffle of 'I Thank You' (UK #17), and then both the Loleatta Holloway-esque 'So Right,' and the dancefloor passion of 'In & Out of My Life.'
The powerful 'Warning!" (yet another UK #17!) is up next and is followed by the dubstep dance of 'I Don't Need You,' the smooth and soulful 'Beautiful Love,' and then both Russ Kip Moore's sax-led magnificence on 'Promises,' with, for my money, the albums standout track, 'Musical Freedom' (UK #22) featuring Paul Simpson and Carmen Marie bringing the original album to a close.
This expanded edition now adds a pumped up 'I Thank You (Club Mix),' a funky 'Warning! (Dub Mix) instrumental,' and then simply Single Versions of 'Respect,' 'Warning!', 'I Thank You,' 'Beautiful Love' and 'Treat Me Right.'
The second CD features 13 tracks of remixes, dub versions plus bonus beats of the singles including Dancin’ Danny D’s remix of ‘Respect’ along with five other mixes of the track.
There’s two remixes of ‘Warning!’ – High On Hope Mix and Zanzibar Mix and these are accompanied by the ‘I Thank You’ Remixes – Original Club Mix, The New Jersey Mix, Somehouse Somewhere Mix, and Paul Simpson’s The Philadelphia Mix.
1. 'Respect' (Dancin' Danny D Remix)
2. 'Respect' (Bonus Beats)
3. 'Respect' (Accapella)
4. 'Respect' (Extended Version)
5. 'Respect' (Rough Mix)
6. 'Respect' (Longer Dub Version)
7. 'Warning!' (High on Hope Mix)
8. 'Musical Freedom' (Adeva with Paul Simpson)
9. 'Warning!' (Zanzibar Mix)
10. 'I Thank You' (Original Club Mix)
11. 'I Thank You' (The New Jersey Mix)
12. 'I Thank You' (Somehouse Somewhere Mix)
13. 'I Thank You' (The Philadelphia Mix)
Featuring six (6) versions of 'Respect,' four (4) versions of 'I Thank You,' two (2) versions of 'Warning!' and one of 'Musical Freedom,' if you aren't Adeva'd out come the end of this second CD, you're obviously doing it wrong!
The third CD includes five ‘I Thank You’ mixes, two of which are by the Dancing Divas with their Club mix and Rhythm Mix, Love To Infinity provide two mixes, plus there’s remixes of the single ‘Beautiful Love’ including the Classic Club and Dream mixes by Frankie Knuckles.
Oh, and its 7" single B-side, ‘Promises’ also has three mixes included!
1. 'I Thank You' (Philly Dub Mix)
2. 'I Thank You' (Love to Infinity Mix)
3. 'I Thank You' (Dancing Divas Club Mix)
4. 'I Thank You' (Dancing Divas Rhythmn Mix)
5. 'I Thank You' (Love to Infinity Edit)
6. 'Beautiful Love' (Extended Mix)
7. 'Promises' (Extended)
8. 'Beautiful Love' (Instrumental)
9. 'Beautiful Love' (Remix)
10. 'Promises' (Truth Mix)
11. 'Beautiful Love' (Classic Club Mix)
12. 'Promises' (Broken Mix)
Again, we have an overload of certain tracks here, especially 'I Thank You' which comes at us five (5) more times (which now makes 9 times over the two discs, for those playing along at home!).
Snuggled lovingly amongst the four (4) versions of 'Beautiful Love' is one of my all-time Adeva favorites, the lesser known B-side 'Promises,' a funky dancefloor work of musical art, for sure.
The fourth, and final CD boasts four mixes of the sixth single from the album, ‘Treat Me Right’, various rare Smack Productions remixes of ‘Warning!’ that featured on a US only 12” single.
Other mixes include ‘Warning!’ 7” Edit and Capitol mix, the B-sides ‘Love To See You Dancing’ and ‘Love Is Special’.
1. 'Treat Me Right' (Smack Mix)
2. 'Love Is Special'
3. 'Treat Me Right' (Big Jam Mix)
4. 'Treat Me Right' (The Trumped Mix)
5. 'Treat Me Right' (The Taj Mahal)
6. 'Treat Me Right' (The JZJ Mix)
7. 'Warning!' (Capitol Mix)
8. 'Warning!' (You've Been Warned Mix)
9. 'Warning!' (Serious Lies Mix)
10. 'Warning!' (The Emergency Mix)
11. 'Warning!' (Final Warning Mix)
12. 'Warning!' (Dubstrumental)
13. 'Love to See You Dancing' (LP Version)
Well, what we have here are more versions of songs we've already had flooded down the pipeline at us, such as six (6) versions of 'Warning!' (which now makes eight in total), but we also get five (5) versions of 'Treat Me Right,' along with (for me, the true gold dust finds here, the 7" single B-side tracks, the light and fizzy 'Love Is Special' and mid-tempo, dancefloor slide of 'Love To See You Dancing’.
This 4 CD collection comes in a capacity wallet, with each CD in a paper wallet featuring related Adeva sleeve images from the period.
There is also a 24 page booklet including sleeve notes and a UK Discography which is housed within an outer sleeve featuring the original cover artwork.
Remixers featured across this 4CD set includes Frankie Knuckles, Smack Productions, Dancin’ Danny D, Paul Simpson, Dancing Divas, Love To Infinity, JZJ and Tony Humphries.
Official 4CD Purchase Link
Title - 'To Sing And Be Born Again' (Vinyl)
Artist - The Explorers Club
For those not in the know, The Explorers Club, who have been lauded for “brightening our winters with their patented
brand of sun-kissed beach-pop” (Shindig! Magazine), will release two albums simultaneously through Goldstar Recordings (digitally June 12th, 2020 and on Vinyl and CD July 12th, 2020).
The Explorers Club showcases a dozen originals from the self-styled sunshine pop band featuring multi-part vocal harmonies and lush melodies reminiscent of ‘60s and ‘70s groups such as The Beach Boys, The Turtles and The Association.
To Sing And Be Born Again (which we have on lovely vinyl here now and will be reviewing directly from) is a ten-part love letter to their influences, consisting entirely of covers that were originally recorded by The Lovin’ Spoonful, Paul Revere & The Raiders, Herb Alpert, The Zombies and more.
The Explorers Club is the brainchild of Jason Brewer, who founded the band in his native Charleston, SC before relocating to Nashville.
With several songs featured on such shows as The O.C. and How I Met Your Mother and with three albums already under their belts –
Freedom Wind (2008), Grand Hotel (2012) and 2016’s Together – this June’s twin releases are Brewer’s most ambitious undertaking to date.
The impetus for this stems from the overwhelmingly positive reaction the band received after releasing several cover songs as free
downloads leading up to their sophomore release.
1. 'I Wonder What She's Doing Tonite'
2. 'She'd Rather Be With Me'
3. 'Roses And Rainbows'
5. 'The Mighty Quinn (Quinn The Eskimo)'
6. 'Maybe After He's Gone'
7. 'Can't Find The Time'
8. 'Say You Will'
9. 'This Guy's In Love With You'
10. 'The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore'
This foot-tappin, arms raised, exuberantly wonderful potpourri of songs from 1965-68 opens with 'I Wonder What She's Doing Tonite' (Tommy Boyce & Bobby Hartis), which is then backed by the shoulder-dippin', horn-backed 'She'd Rather Be With Me' (The Turtles), the summer melodies of 'Roses And Rainbows' (a pre-Three Dog Night Danny Hutton), the guitar pop of 'Kicks' (Paul Revere & The Raiders), and then Side A rounds out with a light and breezy, yet lovingly faithful 'The Mighty Quinn (Quinn The Eskimo)' (by Bob Dylan via Manfred Mann).
Side B opens with the psych pop of 'Maybe After He's Gone' (The Zombies), which is followed by the gentle musical waves lapping at the shore notes of 'Can't Find The Time' (by the “Bosstown Sound” band
Orpheus, as well as a latter chart entry by Rose Colored Glass, here featuring former-BNL's Steven Page), and then my own personal favorite, the amiable hipsway of the Lovin’ Spoonful’s 'Didn't Want To Have To Do It' (here featuring Jay Gonzalez of Drive-By Truckers).
Coming to a close on Brewer's simply divine rendition of Herb Alpert's 'This Guy's In Love With You,' and then finishing on a triumphal 'The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore' (Frankie Valli/The Walker Brothers), if this album had come out in the '60s, it would have been a monster hit, and deservedly so.
“I still get asked about those songs," Brewer explains, discussing the aforementioned positive reaction the band received after releasing several cover songs as free downloads, "so there is obviously a demand for a covers album.”
“I had a brand new album just about finished, which I think is one of the strongest things I’ve ever done. I figured I’ve got access to all this studio time and I’ve got some players to pull in to do it, so I’ll do an album of ‘60s covers, too."
"I just got to work and I finished both albums at the same time. It was an opportunity to give back to our hardcore followers who have
loved the band for over ten years now.”
"I had a solid lineup of musicians working with me on the previous
albums and I catered to their tastes, but this time around I made the record that I wanted to make,” Brewer adds.
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Title - 'Love'
Artist - Staring Into Nothing
For those not in the know, Southern California based Staring Into Nothing wields a foundation of melodic rock to explore the human experience and venture into new musical/thematic terrain.
Members Steve Rogers (keys/vocals) and Kurt Barabas (bass/vocals/guitars) craft their sound with a love for strong melody and musical virtuosity.
Taking a Steely Dan-esque approach in the recording studio, the band has a revolving cast of world class collaborators.
In November of 2017, Staring Into Nothing’s debut album Power delves deeply into the many ways power is used to manipulate, control, and subjugate people.
Staring Into Nothing’s latest album Love (out now via Antares Records) probes the multiplicity and evolution of romantic love.
The album was produced and mixed by Ronan Chris Murphy (King Crimson, Steve Morse, Ulver) and features an exceptional line up of musicians including: Gregg Bissonette (David Lee Roth, Santana, Ringo Starr) on drums, Victor Bisetti (Los Lobos) on percussion, Mike Keneally (Zappa, Steve Vai, Joe Satriani) on guitars, Trey Gunn (King Crimson, John Paul Jones) on Warr Guitar, and Danny T. Levin (Iggy Pop, Twenty One Pilots, Vampire Weekend) on horns.
Lending her voice to the album, Savannah Rogers is featured as lead vocals on two tracks, including the 18-minute journey that is ‘Towers: The Ecstasy & The Agony’.
5. 'The Thin Line'
6. 'Beautiful Delusion'
7. 'Only Love'
8. 'The Ties That Bind'
9. 'Find Our Way Back'
10. 'To All'
12. 'Amazing Grace'
This quite magnificent album opens with the ambient rock of 'Winter,' which is followed up by the more upbeat 'Spring,' the euphoric 'Summer,' and then the early '70s psych rock feel of 'Autumn.'
The trippy dips and swirls of 'The Thin Line' makes this one of my own personal favorites and that's backed by the melodic notes of 'Beautiful Delusion,' and then both the harmonious, mid-tempo flow of 'Only Love' and the psych pop of 'The Ties That Bind.'
The sterner guitar rock of 'Find Our Way Back' is then followed by the more lush roll out of 'To All,' with the album coming to a close on the the foot-tappin' hipsway of 'Ashes,' with 'Amazing Grace' (no, not that one!) bringing this glorious musical experience to a close.
Amazon Digital Purchase Link
Title - 'Life Motion'
Artist - Intelligent Music Project V
For those not in the know, the global rock inspiration Simon Phillips (drums and percussion, musical co-producer) joins once again the all-star line up assembled by Milen Vrabevski, MD to bring us the new album, Life Motion.
The team features the voice of Ritchie Blackmore`s Rainbow – Ronnie Romero (lead vocals) and the progressive vocal of the London based rock band River Hounds – Richard Grisman (vocals) and the great voice of John Payne (ex-Asia).
Intelligent Music Project V by Milen Vrabevski, MD showcases the chemistry and the creative style of all his previous IMP projects (I-IV): rich, guitar-centric, inspiring lyrics and empowering melodies.
The magic and high-end sound completed with the top-notch experts such as Ivo Stefanov (keyboards) and Simon Phillips himself, who are musical co-producers of Life Motion.
The band is completed with some of the leading Bulgarian musicians such as Bisser Ivanov (guitars) and Ivaylo Zvezdomirov (bass).
1. 'A Kind of Real Life'
2. 'Don't Let Them Win'
3. 'Where I Belong'
4. 'Letting Me In'
5. 'We Keep On Running'
6. 'By the Side of the Minute'
7. 'Run Away'
8. 'The Final Act'
10. 'Every Time'
12. 'The Things in Your Mind'
On an album that encompasses all things that move us forward in life, the ensemble open with the free flowing AOR of 'A Kind of Real Life' and that's backed by the guitar rock of 'Don't Let Them Win,' the quietly euphoric 'Where I Belong,' the anthemic, fist-pumping 'Letting Me In,' and then the down low, gruff rock 'n' roll of 'We Keep On Running.'
Up next is the beautiful mid-tempo piano ballad 'By the Side of the Minute,' the musical rock climb of one of my own personal favorites, 'Run Away,' and then we get the another ballad, this time incorporating the formidable storytelling found within 'The Final Act.'
Legendary drummer Simon Phillips (Toto, Protocol, Mike Oldfield, The Who) adds two solos for the songs 'Reflecting' and 'Rising,' with the ballad 'Every Time' sandwiched in between, before the album comes to a close on the orchestral magnificence of 'The Things in Your Mind.'
Milen Vrabevski, MD says: “I would like my children to grow up with the ideas I share in my albums, and instead of teaching them lectures about those ideas, I use the language of music, which is very universal and easy to understand.”
official Purchase Links
Title - 'Crash Test Kid'
Artist - Sammy Brue
For those not in the know, a native of Portland, Oregon, now living in Ogden, Utah,Sammy Brue released his debut album I Am Nice in mid-2017 via New West Records to widespread critical acclaim.
Brue has been writing songs since he was 10 years old after receiving an acoustic guitar from his father for Christmas. Long influenced by the Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Leadbelly, and Woody Guthrie songs played in the family car for years, Sammy quickly embraced the instrument and wrote his first song within two months.
Before signing to New West Records, Sammy self-released two EPs, the latest being I Don’t Want You To Leave in 2015.
Now on the back of his aforementioned New West full-length debut and a 2018 EP, Down with Desperation, Brue has brought forth arguably his finest work to date, his sophomore outing Crash Test Kid (out now, once again, via New West).
2. 'Die Before You Live'
3. 'Teenage Mayhem'
4. 'True Believer'
5. 'Pendulum Thieves'
6. 'Crash Test Kid'
9. 'Skatepark Doomsday Blues'
10. 'What You Give'
11. 'Paint It Blue'
This quite magnificent, fresh and abundantly jubilant new album opens with the raw vocal and acoustic guitar work of 'Gravity,' which is seamlessly backed up with the upbeat 'Die Before You Live,' the early '80s punk angst of 'Teenage Mayhem,' and then the quieter, balladeering melodies of 'True Believer.'
Brue has always been an artist seemingly wise beyond his years, but on Crash Test Kid he often gets at the heart of a matter or melody with just a simple, but insightful turn of phrase or cleverly-picked guitar.
Perhaps none more so than both the glorious storytelling of 'Pendulum Thieves' and the open-hearted observance of the title track, 'Crash Test Kid.'
The encouraging buoyancy of both 'Megawatt' and 'Fishfoot' make for a lively third chapter to the albums rhythmic anecdotes, and then the new recording rounds out with the yearning vocal reach and exquisite pitch of 'Skatepark Doomsday Blues,' the foot-tappin' 'What You Give,' before closing out on the teenage longing for acceptance found within 'Paint It Blue.'
"Music has just been a part of my life since I was very young," Brue explains. "It's been like my football or my soccer"
"I stopped going to school to do it, because I thought if I could put seven hours a day into music, imagine where it's going to take me!"
Official Purchase Links
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Title - 'Live at the Baked Potato'
Artist - Soft Machine
In 2018, Soft Machine (Roy Babbington, bass - John Etheridge, guitar - John Marshall, drums and Theo Travis on saxes, flute, and Fender Rhodes) released the well-received album called Hidden Details and following that release, they toured the world in 2018 and 2019.
Anyone who went to see them were treated to an excellent set of jazz fusion and rock of old and new tunes, played with tremendous fire and drive.Live at the Baked Potato (out now via MoonJune Records) is a quite magnificent 12 track follow-up; and one worthy of a broader listenership.
2. 'Out-Bloody-Rageous, Part 1'
4. 'Hazard Profile, Part 1'
5. 'Kings And Queens'
6. 'The Tale Of Taliesin'
7. 'Heart Off Guard'
8. 'Broken Hill'
9. 'Fourteen Hour Dream'
10. 'The Man Who Waved At Trains'
11. 'Life On Bridges'
12. 'Hidden Details'
Containing several Soft Machine classics from the '70s in addition to new tracks from their Hidden Details album of 2018, this live recording from their 50th Anniversary World Tour 2019/2020 (produced by Theo Travis, co-produced by Soft Machine themselves, and with Leonardo Pavkovic acting as executive producer), opens with the translucent majesty of 'Out-Bloody-Intro' and then slides seamlessly into the funky jam of 'Out-Bloody-Rageous, Part 1,' the drum-led 'Sideburn,' and then bring us both the Hendrix-esque (which is no surprise, as they were contemporaries of, and shared stages with, Syd Barrett's Pink Floyd and the Jimi Hendrix Experience back in the day) and sax-enfused 'Hazard Profile, Part 1,' and the laid back 'Kings And Queens.'
The quietly progressive, yet always thoughtful 'The Tale Of Taliesin' is then followed by the short, but pronounced guitar work of 'Heart Off Guard' and the dulcet prog flight of 'Broken Hill,' backing those up with the foot-tappin', flute enhanced wonderment of 'Fourteen Hour Dream.'
Creating their own train-like ambiance, next up is one of my own personal favorites, the free-wheeling ambiance of 'The Man Who Waved At Trains,' with the album coming to a close on the soaring sax delights of 'Life On Bridges,' and then the seven minute long, free for all jam, 'Hidden Details.'
Amazon Digital Purchase Link
Title - 'An Idealist's Handbook'
Artist - Noshir Mody
For those not in the know, Noshir Mody is a stimulating and creative fusion guitarist displaying a beautiful tone, versatility, and inventive ideas on his picturesque originals.
Indeed throughout his career, he has recorded and performed consistently rewarding and thought-provoking sets of original music.
Born and raised in Bombay, India, Mody is self-taught on guitar. He has stated that his early inspirations included Indian classical music, Al DiMeola's Elegant Gypsy, music from Bollywood, and rock along with the modern jazz guitar masters.
Mody's latest set, An Idealist’s Handbook: Identity, Love and Hope in America 2020 (due out July 3rd, 2020), debuts a selection of thought-provoking originals that are filled with strong melodies, superior and versatile guitar playing, along with warm vocals by Kate Victor.
The album features Mike Mullan on alto and tenor saxophone, Benjamin Hankle on trumpet and flugelhorn, Campbell Charshee on piano, Yuka Tadano on bass, Jarrett Walser on drums and, on two of the five main pieces, the aforementioned Kate Victor on vocals.
2. 'Sketching "Illusions Grow"'
3. 'Illusions Grow'
4. 'Sketching "Ol' Splitfoot"'
5. 'Ol' Splitfoot'
6. 'Illustrating "Rise"''
7. 'Sketching "Under A Starlit Sky (2020)"'
8. 'Under A Starlit Sky (2020)'
10. 'Illusions Grow (Reprise)'
On an album where the philosophical and hopeful lyrics combine seamlessly with inventive jazz solos to form a vibrant, and memorable work, first up we have the free flowing seven minute 'Radha,' which Mody backs with the minute and a half lead in 'Sketching "Illusions Grow"' to the actual near nine minute long track, the oh-so luscious overtones of 'Illusions Grow.'
Next up is another quick lead in, this time a one minute 'Sketching "Ol' Splitfoot"' which, of course, then brings us the magnificently dreamy ambiance of the seven minute 'Ol' Splitfoot,' and then we get the soaringly vocalized 'Illustrating "Rise".'
This stunningly authentic, and wholly spiritualized album then rounds out with the short 'Sketching "Under A Starlit Sky (2020)"' which bleeds beautifully into the low slung guitar work of 'Under A Starlit Sky (2020),' with the grandeur of a longer 'Rise,' and then the vocalized 'Illusions Grow (Reprise)' bringing the album to a close.
Always displaying a highly individual sound on the guitar and a fresh imagination, Noshir Mody is heard in top form throughout his timely new album, the quite magnificent An Idealist’s Handbook: Identity, Love and Hope in America 2020.
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Title - 'Human Rites Trio'
Artist - Jason Kao Hwang
For those not in the know, Jason Kao Hwang and his longtime bandmates Ken Filiano (bass) and Andrew Drury (drums) could only have made this recording now, after having persevered – individually and collectively – through life’s trials and errors to get to this point of effortless musical mastery, where they can converse freely and eloquently in a language created together over years of collaboration.
Certainly, the intimate experience of engaging with this music as a trio for at least a year, testing it in concert after concert, making revisions and discoveries all along the way, has engendered a truly remarkable depth of shared feeling and common understanding among them.
The music of Jason Kao Hwang (composer/violin/viola) explores the vibrations and language of his history. His compositions are often narrative landscapes through which sonic beings embark upon extemporaneous, transformational journeys.
Andrew Drury is a drummer, composer, and organizer who has performed in 30 countries and on 70 recordings, recently recognized by All About Jazz as “one of the most adventurous drummer/percussionists in creative music today, and a dedicated humanitarian.”
Ken Filiano, bass player, composer, improviser, has been performing throughout the world for thirty years, collaborating with leading artists in multiple genres, fusing the rich traditions of the double bass with his own seemingly limitless inventiveness.
On their brand new album, Human Rites Trio, and as explained by Hwang himself, "Each composition is a progression of gestures, songs, movements and locations that bring participants into a state of discovery and compassion."
"Within these Human Rites, individual voices are empowered to be fully expressive so that each moment is unpredictable and deeply intentional."
"This psychic intensity, both sacred and sacrificial, provokes a heightened awareness that unifies Listeners and Musicians within a spiritual entrainment."
"As we hear ourselves within music we become Music, which is no longer a performance but an affirmation of justice and celebration of life."
1. 'Words Asleep Spoken Awake: Part I' (6:45)
2. 'Words Asleep Spoken Awake: Part II (9:02)
3. 'Conscious Concave Concrete' (9:31)
4. '2 AM' (6:06)
5. 'Battle for the Indelible Truth' (11:49)
6. 'Defiance' (9:44)
Opening with the two-part ambiance of 'Words Asleep Spoken Awake,' the methodical way that Hwang’s compositions channel through his trio’s vibrant chemistry, perfectly encapsulates the increasingly syncopated chromatic string lines (especially those found in the frenetic Part II), providing a recurring frame of reference for mutually responsive interplay.
Weaving funk, swing, and free sections together with consistent thematic coherence, up next is the the melodic, at times Middle Eastern-esque, drum led wonderment of the near ten minute 'Conscious Concave Concrete.'
Inclusive of a rubato viola solo that serves as a pivot into the powerful blues groove that follow, that in turn is backed by the a transgression of conventional generic boundaries within the ornately highly strung elegance of '2 AM.'
The near-12 minute opulence of the pure, thrusting, raw string-shredding expressionism through hybrid Afro-Asian ecumenicism, of the dynamic 'Battle for the Indelible Truth' is a breathtaking work of musical art, in and unto itself, and then the album comes to a close on the fingering-finesse, and drum/percussion, dynamic call and response between composition and improvisation core found within 'Defiance.'
"I wish to thank Andrew Drury and Ken Filiano for their creativity, dedication and friendship,' Hwang continues.
"This CD was completed during the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020. The music honors all the heroic doctors, nurses, and frontline workers who are saving so many lives. The music is also dedicated to the memory of all the people whom we tragically lost to this terrible disease."
Title - 'Avocado'
Artist - Rolie Polie Guacamole
For those not in the know, Jersey natives Frank Gallo & Andrew Tuzhilin created Rolie Polie Guacamole in 2006 while living in Brooklyn, NY.
Over the next 15 years, they’ve played thousands of shows, recorded seven records, receiving top picks from Boston.com, Time Out NY Kids, and Time Out Chicago.
Winner of the prestigious Parents’ Choice® and NAPPA Awards, Rolie Polie Guacamole has developed a smart, parent-friendly musical style that dresses up original tunes and classic covers with vibrant harmonies and deft instrumental layers, plugging in a sizzling electric current of rhythm that lights up lyrics humming with relevance and humor.
Avocado, the bands 7th album (out June 19th, 2020) continues in this tradition broadening the genre of the band whilst continuing to bring forth a technically savvy, and imaginative sound that speaks to children, whilst reminding their parents of the golden age of 1990s music.
2. 'Ay Batta Batta'
3. 'Basketball Jane'
4. 'Fire Truck'
5. 'Dancing on the Sun'
6. 'A Very Quiet Song'
8. 'Pizza Pie'
10. 'Persevering Penguins & Pals'
11. 'Sammi the Cat'
12. 'Jingle Bells'
13. 'Avocado (outro)'
The new album opens with the mid-tempo, sing-along title track, 'Avocado,' and backs that up with the frenetic 'Ay Batta Batta,' a gentle, Rush-like rock ode to Baseball, and then comes an early 90’s Rap story within 'Basketball Jane' (featuring Katie Mullins as Jane).
Next up is a new rendition of a fan favorite, Ivan Ulz’s 'Fire Truck' where the band, whilst working with recording legend Steve Albini (Nirvana, Pixies, PJ Harvey), now embellish it with a new lo-fi punk angst vibe.
The near seven-minute 'Dancing on the Sun' sends the young listeners into space and around the solar system, inclusive of a hot-foot chorus one minute, a lush and gentle moon walk the next, and once they are back to terraferma we get the languid solace of the perfectly-entitled 'A Very Quiet Song.'
The Spanish-sung 'Aguacate' is up next, as the anthem returns as an appetizer for the fun, and weirdly instructional singalong 'Pizza Pie,' and then the kids rock of 'iScream' is up next.
Some rather fine storytelling comes to the fore next on 'Persevering Penguins & Pals,' where Frank and Andrew make a theme song for their OG fans Moorea & Jasper Friedmann (who published their first book “Meet the Persevering Penguins & Pals”).
This highly inventive, fun and bouncy album the rounds out with the longest track on the album, the Brooklyn feline storytelling of the near-ten minute 'Sammi the Cat,' a festively pre-Christmas 'Jingle Bells,' and then comes to a close on a thirty second outro of 'Avocado.'
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Title - 'Cabin Fever: Songs from the Quarantine'
Artist - John McCutcheon
For those not in the know, John McCutcheon is an American folk music singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who has produced 40 albums to date since the 1970s.
Indeed, he is regarded as a master of the hammered dulcimer, and is also proficient on many other instruments including guitar, banjo, autoharp, mountain dulcimer, fiddle, and jawharp.
This prolific folk instrumentalist and singer has now brought out a brand new, and completely unexpected album, Cabin Fever: Songs from the Quarantine (out now, and only available as a download directly from John's website (see below).
Sequestered in his cabin in the North Georgia mountains, McCutcheon had returned from an Australian tour in mid-March, and due to COVID-19 had gone straight into a self-imposed quarantine.
It was there that McCutcheon proceeded to write a song a day for three weeks, fueled by long conversations with friends and long walks where he reflected on the past, present, and future.
With his characteristic humor and his winning way as a storyteller, McCutcheon pays tribute to health care workers, offers an homage to John Prine, and ponders the ambiguities of human nature in this collection of moving songs.
1. 'Front Line'
2. 'The Night That John Prine Died'
3. 'Sheltered in Place'
4. 'In Bristol Bay'
6. 'One Hundred Years'
7. 'Six Feet Away'
8. 'That's All'
9. 'Hallelujah Morning'
11. 'My Dog Talking Blues'
12. 'When All of This Is Over'
13. 'The Donkey'
14. 'The Bean'
15. 'Monet Refuses The Operation'
17. 'Traveler's Rest'
18. 'The Night That John Prine Died' (Original Lyrics)
The well-traveled troubadour (here in a much stripped-down setting, not only providing the vocals, but acoustic/resophonic guitars and piano parts and more, I wouldn't wonder), kicks things off with 'Front Line,' an adamantly strummed tribute to the hourly stress that all health care and essential workers have found themselves for months now.
He then backs that up with the passionately heartfelt, somber storytelling of an ode to the beloved late singer/songwriter on 'The Night That John Prine Died' (with its opening chords riding on a phrase from 'These Days,' poignantly honoring Prine, whilst artfully revivifying him in the chorus also), and then the ornate 'Sheltered in Place.'
The mid-tempo guitar flow of a melodic look at blue-collar life in Alaska’s fisheries industry within 'In Bristol Bay' is up next and is followed by stern nod-and-a-wink reminiscing of 'Control,' the dulcet, gospel piano work of the hymn-like 'One Hundred Years,' and then both the Celtic-tinged ballad 'Six Feet Away' and the Simon & Garfunkel-esque 'That's All.'
The fervently upbeat 'Hallelujah Morning' is then backed by the lonesome underlay of 'Vespers,' with the perky fun of 'My Dog Talking Blues,' the free flowing folk of both 'When All of This Is Over' and 'The Donkey,' with the spoken word, Merle Travis-inspired ode to the simple, but oh-so plentiful bean.
The gilded folk embroidery of 'Monet Refuses The Operation' allows McCutcheon to shine to absolute perfection, and then comes a rather humorous narrative (told from the perspective of our long-suffering planet) within 'Earth,' and then the album closes on the opulent Americana of 'Traveler's Rest,' and an "original lyric" version (which runs at just 19 seconds and, buyer beware, features a naughty word!) of 'The Night That John Prine Died.'
With his keen eye for the great within the small, his captivating storytelling, and his ability to go for the funny bone and the heart at once, Cabin Fever: Songs from the Quarantine is truly vintage McCutcheon.
Official 'Cabin Fever: Songs from the Quarantine' Digital Download Purchase Link
John McCutcheon @ Facebook
Title - 'Dockside Saints'
Artist - Cary Morin
For those not in the know, Colorado-based singer and songwriter, Cary Morin has been described as acoustic Native Americana Fingerstyle Blues; with strong qualities of jam, reggae, jazz, blues, bluegrass and dance.
Indeed, Tim Duffy, president of Music maker Relief Foundation, describes Morin as a “... brilliant guitarist, heartfelt songwriter and soulful singer whose music gives us pause to reflect on life’s great rewards,” and I personally couldn't agree more.
On his brand new album, Dockside Saints (due out August 7th, 2020), Morin brought on board multi-Grammy winning producer/engineer, Tony Daigle, whilst leaving the mastering to Jim Demain at Yes Master in Nashville, TN.
These 12 powerful tracks - which were recorded at Dockside Studio in Maurice, LA. April 2019 - actually came about in 2018, at the urging of a friend of his from Lafayette, LA.
He thought that Morin's Piedmont blues style of songwriting and guitar playing was a good fit for the rhythms and sounds of Cajun, Creole, and Zydeco music.
And after a tour of the infamous Dockside Studios, introduced him to the aforementioned Daigle, and with the subsequent help of local drummer, Dave Nezat, they began to assemble an all-star cast of Lafayette area musical heroes.
The lure of working with such an illustrious and talented group in this multi-award winning Louisiana studio was obviously too good to resist for Morin went home from that tour and began to write a collection of songs, specifically for this project.
He returned in April of 2019 to spend one solid week with Tony and the guys, laying down all of the foundational tracks and over the past months have subsequently added various instrumentation and harmony vocals.
1. 'Nobody Gotta Know'
2. 'Exception to the Rule'
4. 'Because He Told Me So'
6. 'Jamie Rae'
7. 'Bare Trees'
8. 'Valley of the Chiefs'
9. 'Chosen Road'
10. 'Cary's Groove'
11. 'Blue Delta Home'
12. 'Come the Rain'
This vibrantly authentic album - which also features Lee Allen Zeno (bass), Brian Brignac (drums), Corey Ledet (guitar), John Fohl (guitar), Beau Thomas (guitar), Eric Adcock (piano), Keith Blair (guitar), and Celeste Di Iorio (vocals) - kicks things off in fine style with the funky jam of 'Nobody Gotta Know,' and backs that up with the low slung Americana folk of 'Exception to the Rule,' with Morin's deft fingerpicking guitar blues style coming immediately to the fore on 'Prisoner.'
The abundantly ornate ballad 'Because He Told Me So' is up next and is followed by the preciseness of the artful 'Tonight,' the rambunctious nature of the guitar-led 'Jamie Rae,' and then both the laid back, lush wonderment of 'Bare Trees' and the mid-tempo, train on the tracks vibe of 'Valley of the Chiefs.'
This genuinely heartfelt, deeply woven Americana, blues and folk album then rounds out with the achingly expansive 'Chosen Road,' the upbeat, foot-tappin' tones of 'Cary's Groove,' coming to a close on the dulcet, gilded beauty of 'Blue Delta Home,' before ending on the encouragingly buoyant 'Come the Rain.'
"The ancient Native culture of the South has been an inspiration as it relates to our travels and what has become an annual pilgrimage to the Mississippi Valley," Morin explains.
"This collection of songs represents our annual migration, just as my ancestors migrated from this region to the Western Plains so many centuries ago; sharing culture through music and more along the way. It is the product of our imagination of what was, and what has become our love of the sounds of the south."
Cary Morin @ Facebook
Cary Morin @ Twitter
Cary Morin @ YouTube
Title - 'Pop 85/95'
Artist - Neal Smith
For those not in the know, legendary Alice Cooper Group, HOF drummer Neal Smith has just-released a brand new album, Pop 85/95 via Kachina Records.
Smith's new "retro pop" album signifies the music style and time period in which he wrote these songs between 1985 and 1995 with the songs, along with the actual album concept, all being both overtly sexy and politically incorrect!
Furthermore, Smith's 11 new songs represent all aspects of relationships, falling in and out of love in a simpler bygone era before Coronavirus, politically correctness and the new world disorder.
With the onslaught of glam hair bands and heavily homogenized rock of the 1980’s, Smith was looking for a new direction for his songwriting.
Inspired by another drummer, songwriter, singer Phil Collins, he turned from writing hard rock to a slicker, more pop rock songwriting style.
In the late 1980’s he took four of his new songs into the studio and recorded them. One of the songs, 'Secret Eyes' helped land a recording deal with newly formed record company called Grudge Records.
Along with Dennis Dunaway (Alice Cooper fame), Joe Bouchard (Blue Oyster Cult fame), Charlie Hune (Ted Nugent fame) and lead guitarist Jay Jesse Johnson (also known as “Triple J”), a new band called Deadringer was formed and signed by Grudge Records.
Deadringer recorded an album in 1989 called Electrocution Of The Heart featuring the aforementioned single 'Secret Eyes, but the album and band were all short lived after Grudge Records' quick demise!
However, after Deadringer, and well into the 1990’s, Neal continued writing songs with Johnson in this pop rock style and decades later, well into the New Millennium, Smith was searching through his archives of music and found those songs that he composed and recorded between the years of 1985 and 1995.
Inspired by Johnson's amazing lead guitar work, Neal polished the songs and brought them back to life with the help of two of his best friends, Peter Catucci (bass guitar of Killsmith) and Rick Tedesco (guitarist/engineer).
Now, much to the excitement of his fans worldwide, Neal Smith’s Pop 85/95 is available digitally and on CD.
1) 'If I Only Had You'
2) 'Dying To Love You'
3) 'Secret Eyes'
4) 'Love Sets The Night On Fire'
5) 'Distant Drum'
6) 'I Wanna Be Good, But I Don't Know How'
7) 'Love Can Run, Love Can Hide'
8) 'In A Heartbeat'
9) 'Fly Home Sweet Angel'
10) 'I Love You To Death'
11) 'All My Eyes Can See'
Opening with the mid-tempo AOR of 'If I Only Had You,' that's followed by the lush ballad 'Dying To Love You,' which in turn is followed by the Smith-sung single, the foot-tappin' 'Secret Eyes,' and then the synth-led ballad 'Love Sets The Night On Fire.'
Next up is the mid-tempo, percussion-enhanced 'Distant Drum' which is backed by the free flowing melodic guitar work of 'I Wanna Be Good, But I Don't Know How,' with the rock guitars fully engaged for the mid'80s AOR of 'Love Can Run, Love Can Hide.'
The album then rounds out with the drum-led 'In A Heartbeat,' the soaring guitar work found on the yearning for a departed loved one within 'Fly Home Sweet Angel,' with dynamic drums and guitars working in harmony for the euphoric 'I Love You To Death,' before coming to a close on the passionate outreach of 'All My Eyes Can See.'
"In the 80’s and 90’s Rap, Hip Hop, Pop and even Rock music was being recorded with synthesized programmed drums," Neal Smith explains. "I understood that this was a new wave of recording percussion."
"But what I did not like was many of the synthesized drum tracks were being programmed by engineers and musicians who were not even drummers."
"Disappointed and inspired by that fact, I began a new phase of songwriting by programming synthesized drums on my recordings. The last eight songs on my new CD POP 85/95 is a collection of songs I wrote from that era featuring synth drums I programmed myself."
Official CD Purchase Link
Neal Smith @ Facebook
Title - 'Porter Plays Frishberg - Unsung'
Artist - Randy Porter
For those not in the know, Jazz pianist Randy Porter has a refined understanding of improvisation and the spontaneous communication between musicians.
As a Steinway Artist, Porter draws from a rich palette of sonorities found within his imagination and the depths of the piano.
Indeed, Porter has performed with many jazz greats, including Freddy Hubbard, Art Farmer, Benny Golson and Charles McPherson. With the Charles McPherson Quartet, he has traveled throughout the US and in Denmark, Spain, France, Italy, Greece, and China.
Furthermore, the Randy Porter Trio was also nominated for the 60th Grammy Awards for the album, Porter Plays Porter with Nancy King.
His brand new album, Porter Plays Frishberg - Unsung, is a tribute album to songs by Dave Frishberg, and is to be released this very month via HeavyWood Records.
Featuring Randy Porter on piano, John Wiitala on bass, and Todd Strait on drums, Porter also arranged, performed, engineered, mixed, and mastered this project at HeavyWood Studios.
2. 'Listen Here'
3. 'I’m Hip'
4. 'Heart’s Desire'
5. 'I Want to Be a Sideman'
6. 'You are There'
7. 'Dear Departed Past'
8. 'Wheelers and Dealers'
9. 'Little Did I Dream'
10. 'Peel Me a Grape'
11. 'Do You Miss New York?'
With all the 12 songs songs written by Dave Frishberg, except for: 'I’m Hip' (by Bob Derough and Frishberg), 'Heart’s Desire' (by Alan Broadbent and Frishberg), 'You Are There' and 'Little Did I Dream' (by Johnny Mandel and Frishberg), combined with some heartfelt, and at times intricately orchestrated arrangements by Porter, Porter Plays Frishberg - Unsung already features prominently in my own personal Top 10 albums of the year.
Opening on the light and breezy 'Snowbound' that then blends seamlessly into the fine dining accompaniment 'Listen Here,' the mid-tempo, layered funk of 'I’m Hip,' and then both the lush 'Heart’s Desire' and the perky 'I Want to Be a Sideman.'
The quietly poetic 'You are There' is then backed by the more precise sounds of 'Dear Departed Past' with the down low vibe of 'Wheelers and Dealers' nicely following along.
The highly-spirited 'Little Did I Dream' is then backed by the near-eight minute jam of 'Peel Me a Grape,' with the album coming to a close on the ornate 'Do You Miss New York?' and then the luxuriant 'Zanzibar.'
“A growing number of listeners and musicians have come to appreciate Dave Frishberg as a composer, lyricist and pianist, yet his name is still relatively little known to the larger public," Porter explains.
"Most recordings of Frishberg’s music or lyrics understandably feature vocalists. My hope is that Dave’s music also has the prominence to reach you Unsung."
"Perhaps by now, even with a purely instrumental interpretation, we can sense his message through the melody, the humor through the harmony, and the rhyming through the rhythm; not unlike his predecessors achieved through the other timeless jazz standards of the Great American Songbook. Hope you enjoy.”
Official Purchase Link
Title - 'Dance / Cello Concerto'
Artist - Inbal Segev / London Philharmonic Orchestra
This formidable release features Inbal Segev performing Elgars emotive Cello Concerto coupled with Dance, an inspiring new work by Grammy-nominated English composer Anna Clyne that was commissioned by Inbal.
Dance / Cello Concerto, released this past June 5th, 2020 via AVIE Records, also features Marin Alsop conducting the London Philharmonic Orchestra.
It was actually Marin who introduced Inbal to Anna, sparking a special synergy between the three women and whilst Anna was composing Dance, a five-movement concerto inspired by the 13th-century Persian poet Rumi, further connections organically ensued.
Anna Clyne (b. 1980)
1. I. when you’re broken up (4:43)
2. II. if you’ve torn the bandage off (4:07)
3. III. in the middle of the fighting (4:18)
4. IV. in your blood (5:30)
5. V. when you’re perfectly free (6:13)
Edward Elgar (1857 – 1934)
Cello Concerto in E minor, Op. 85
6. I. Adagio – Moderato (7:50)
7. II. Lento – Allegro molto (4:32)
8. III. Adagio (4:45)
9. IV. Allegro – Moderato – Allegro, ma non-troppo – Poco più lento – Adagio (11:56)
Opening with Clyne's 5-part Dance, 'when you’re broken up' is a poignantly heart-rendering piece, which is backed by the sterner, more proficiently determined 'if you’ve torn the bandage off,' and then an effortless calm at the center of any storm fully resides in the organic 'in the middle of the fighting.'
That feeling permutates into 'in your blood,' which itself then bleeds into the vibrantly energetic, sharp tones and deliberate movements of 'when you’re perfectly free.'
The second piece is Edward Elgar's Cello Concerto in E minor, Op. 85, and opens with the ornate magnificence of 'Adagio – Moderato,' before adding moments of upbeat dips and swirls within 'Lento – Allegro molto.'
A truly beautiful, quiet, and utterly pleasing 'Adagio' follows those moments perfectly, before the work rounds out with the near-12 minute long, breathtakingly lavish 'Allegro – Moderato – Allegro, ma non-troppo – Poco più lento – Adagio.'
Official CD Purchase Link
Title - 'The Austrian Connection'
Artist - Sarah Beth Briggs
Much lauded for her interpretations of Hans Gáls concerto and chamber music works, Sarah Beth Briggs now presents the composers beguiling Three Preludes alongside well-loved works by three of his greatest Austrian forebears: Franz Joseph Haydn, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Franz Schubert.
Following meticulous examination of the original scores, Briggs sensitively translates the authentic character of each work to the resources of a modern piano with revelatory results.
A leading recitalist, concerto soloist, and chamber musician, and a long-standing pupil of the late Denis Matthews, Briggs gained a Hindemith Scholarship to study chamber music in Switzerland with celebrated violist Bruno Giuranna, and continued her studies there with renowned Arrau pupil, Chilean pianist Edith Fischer.
Franz Joseph Haydn (1732 – 1809)
1. Variations on Gott erhalte Franz den Kaiser (7.28)
Piano Sonata in C, Hob. XVI/50 (15.25)
2. Allegro (6.33)
3. Adagio (6.19)
4. Allegro molto (2.33)
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 – 1791)
Piano Sonata No. 8 in A minor, K. 310 (20.11)
5. Allegro maestoso (5.56)
6. Andante cantabile con espressione (11.08)
7. Presto (3.07)
Franz Schubert (1797 – 1828)
Piano Sonata in A, D. 664 (21.00)
8. Allegro moderato (8.09)
9. Andante (5.14)
10. Allegro (7.37)
Hans Gál (1890 – 1987)
Three Preludes, Op. 65 (1944) (9.28)
11. Vivacissimo (2.40)
12. Lento e tranquillo (4.35)
13. Presto grazioso e con anima (2.13)
The Austrian Connection, released this past June 5th, 2020 via AVIE Records, opens with Haydn's magnificently tempered, ornately embroidered 'Variations on Gott erhalte Franz den Kaiser,' before moving seamlessly in his three-part 'Piano Sonata in C, Hob. XVI/50.'
The vibrantly perky 'Allegro' opens, before giving us the more thought-provoking 'Adagio,' with the upbeat, cheery jaunt of 'Allegro molto' bringing Haydn piece to an end.
Up next is Mozart's 'Piano Sonata No. 8 in A minor, K. 310,' whose 'Allegro maestoso' is simply a free flowing, and passionate work of musical art all by itself.
That's followed by the more precise key work of 'Andante cantabile con espressione,' before the expansively bubbly 'Presto' rounds out that work.
Schubert's 'Piano Sonata in A, D. 664' is my own personal favorite here, opening, as it does, with the dulcet majesty of 'Allegro moderato,' before bringing forth the softly orchestrated 'Andante' and then the always-a-joy-to-behold, enthusiastic ambiance of 'Allegro.'
The last work is Gál's short 'Three Preludes, Op. 65' which opens on the frenetically determined, yet at all times cultured, key work of 'Vivacissimo,' which is then backed by the delicately graceful 'Lento e tranquillo,' with Gál's piece, along with Briggs' work coming to a close on the excited fervor of 'Presto grazioso e con anima.'
Official CD Purchase Link
Title - 'Move On!'
Artist - Purdie Fabian Oswanski
On this, their first album together, Move On!, the trio of Purdie Fabian Oswanski bring forth (and for the first-ever) an album of organ and bass, playing original jazz funk and also incorporating amazing surprises, such as a swinging, grooving 'The Battle Hymn of the Republic.'
On this quite vibrantly magnificent new album, the living legend of the drums himself Bernard “Pretty” Purdie comes together with journeyman musicians Ron Oswanski (Hammond B-3 organ) and Christian Fabian (electric bass) for a recording that is, simply put, quite like nothing you ever expected to hear!
1. 'The Red Plaza'
2. 'BPP Blues'
3. 'Can’t You See (You’re Doin’ Me Wrong)'
5. 'Got Groove? (Pt. 2)'
6. 'Love You Madly'
7. 'Move On!'
8. 'The Battle Hymn of the Republic'
9. 'So What'
Opening with the funky jam of 'The Red Plaza' that's backed by Oswanski's prowling organ work alongside Purdie's wonderful groove solo on 'BPP Blues,' which is followed by the finger-snappin' mid-tempo, breezy flow of 'Can’t You See (You’re Doin’ Me Wrong)' and then the Fabian's bass lines come into play on the the magnificent '84-85.'
That bass is also front and center on 'Got Groove? (Pt. 2),' a track that actually showcases the collective indominable spirit that this trio has for their chosen genre, and that's followed by the low key, late night piano bar, lush tones of 'Love You Madly.'
The funky, drum-led title track 'Move On!' is one of my own personal favorites here, and that's backed by their wonderful cover of 'The Battle Hymn of the Republic' (also known as 'Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory' outside the US), with their cover of Miles Davis' 1959 'So What' bringing the album to a comforting flashback close.
Official Purchase Link
Title - 'Local Nomad EP'
Artist - Local Nomad
For those not in the know, capturing Paul Simons '70s aesthetic and the pop sensibility of Gnarls Barkley, Local Nomad’s sound is marked by soulful vocals, ethereal synths, and lustrous drum beats.
The pseudonym of multi-instrumentalist Michael Desmond, he is a dad rock powerhouse who shakes hands with pop — with two fingers crossed behind the back—breaking a promise to adhere to the mainstream of the genre, fusing it with delivery of indie-rock electricity.
Indeed, and as he himself has always said, "Local Nomad represents the constant searching for oneself. Abandoning a sedentary life," and here on the quite brilliant new 5-Track, self-titled EP, Local Nomad ensures that our lives are further enriched by showcasing warm, soulful vocals that amiably drift between dream-like synths and glossy drum beats.
1. 'Love Is Gone'
3. 'Getting Old Is A Bitch'
4. 'Young Vampires'
Opening with the spacious, perky, free flowing, early '90s Brit pop sounds of 'Love Is Gone,' that's backed by the free flowing, windows down on the road, summer breeze through your fingers vibe of 'Gates.'
The methodical hipsway of the mid-tempo 'Getting Old Is A Bitch' is then backed seamlessly by my own personal favorite track here, the one minute quietly RHCP-esque balladeering, the next the lo-fi emo pop flow of 'Young Vampires' (a song about unhealthy relationships), with the final track actually being Local Nomad's own favorite, 'Summertime.'
A track that captures his dry sense of humor perfectly, whilst still evoking a classic nostalgic emotional quality, the song is essentially a time capsule that represents what summer was like for him (and maybe you also) as a kid.
Official Purchase Link
Title - 'Know Say Or See'
Artist - Benny Rubin Jr. Quartet
For those not in the know, Benny Rubin Jr. is a Flint, Michigan born, Detroit raised tenor and alto-saxophonist now based in New York.
Rubin Jr. gained early experience playing saxophone in church. Indeed, he discovered jazz, graduated from the Detroit School of Arts, and worked locally with many top local musicians including Wendell Harrison, performing at the 2016 Detroit Jazz Festival with the Detroit Jazz Festival Youth All-Stars.
Since moving to New York, Rubin has played with renowned artists such as Roy Hargrove, Reggie Workman, Barry Harris and Winard Harper and in 2017 formed his very own Quartet (Rubin Jr. on Alto and Tenor Sax; Lex Korten on Piano; Adam Olszewski on Bass; and JK Kim on Drums).
That Quartet's quite wondrous debut album, Know Say Or See was released this past June 8th, 2020 and features eight tracks that distinctly reflect on the times we are all currently in.
1. 'Know' (6:42)
2. 'Say' (4:59)
3. 'Darn That Dream' (5:24)
4. 'NYC Urge' (5:46)
5. 'Kiss Me Right' (8:05)
6. 'Flint Water Crisis' (7:55)
7. 'Down They Go' (11:07)
8. 'Or See' (7:49)
Having made a strong impression with his debut, What's Next, his sophomore album as a leader covers a lot of current topics, along with allowing for Rubin Jr. to express some of his own personal, heart on the sleeve thoughts too.
The Quartet performs six of Rubin's originals along with some rather fresh renditions of two standards here on Know Say Or See, opening with the lo-fi, low slung appeal of the sax and bass duet 'Know.'
They then back that up with the perky, yet explorative piano work of 'Say,' the bass-led beauty 'Darn That Dream,' and then comes the rip-roarious 'NYC Urge' (an original based on Joe Henderson's 'Inner Urge'), and the mid-tempo hipsway swing of Horace Silver's 'Kiss Me Right.'
The piece closest to his heart is obviously the musically disjointed, always evolving 'Flint Water Crisis' (named after a public health crisis that started in 2014, after the drinking water source for the city of Flint, Michigan was changed), and then the album comes to a close on the 11 minute, John Coltrane-esque 'Down They Go,' and then the comforting, spiritually absorbed jam of 'Or See.'
Amazon Digital Purchase Link
Benny Rubin Jr. @ Facebook!
Title - 'You Must Believe In Spring'
Artist - Sue Anne Gershenzon
For those not in the know, Sue Anne Gershenzon has been a professional singer her whole life singing On Broadway, Off Broadway in Opera Houses, Regional Theaters, Concert Halls and Clubs.
Releasing on August 1st, 2020, Sue Anne's quite delightful debut album (complete with magnificent jazz back-up) is You Must Believe In Spring, and where one may well try to categorize her singing, simply put, Sue Anne lives in, and inhabits her songs quite like no other vocalist.
Taking her listeners on the journey of a life lived, lessons learned, and hope for the future, with her regular pianist and arranger Glafkos Kontemeniotis serving as her co-producer, Sue Anne's beautiful voice is showcased to perfection of 11 classic songs.
1. 'I Thought About You'
2. 'With so Little to Be Sure Of'
3. 'So Many Stars'
4. 'The Fool on the Hill'
5. 'When Sunny Gets Blue'
6. 'A Child Is Born'
7. 'Deed I Do'
8. 'Good Morning Heartache'
9. 'Straighten up and Fly Right'
10. 'East of the Sun'
11. 'You Must Believe in Spring'
Joined by tenor-saxophonist Joel Frahm, trombonist Ryan Keberle, bassist Sean Smith, drummer Dave Meade, Brandon Vazquez on trumpet, Bashiri Johnson on percussion and a string trio comprised of Megan Gould on violin, Karen Waltuch on viola and Noah Heffeld on cello, this magnificent, dreamy at times, heart rendering at others, debut album opens with the lush swing of 'I Thought About You,' and follows that up with the quietly dulcet flow of the Stephen Sondheim ballad 'With so Little to Be Sure Of,' and then comes the oh-so gentle, graceful hipsway of 'So Many Stars,' and a daring jazz rendition of the Beatles' 'The Fool on the Hill.'
The soft shuffle and expressive vocal of 'When Sunny Gets Blue' is a stand out here for me and that's followed by the magnificent jazz standard 'A Child Is Born' and the perky 'Deed I Do.'
Sue Anne's deep dive into the Billie Holiday-sung 'Good Morning Heartache' is yet another moment to be fully savored here, and that's backed by the vibrant Nat King Cole 'Straighten up and Fly Right,' with the album rounding out with the Brooks Bowman-written 'East of the Sun,' closing on the heart rendering Bill Evans classic, here a special duet with Kontemeniotis, 'You Must Believe in Spring.'
"This project has been a four-year labor of love in collaboration with my brilliant arranger and co-producer Glafkos Kontemeniotis," Sue Anne explains. "We are supported by some of the greatest musicians in the country and I think the result is one you will enjoy."
"The album is a linear story. It represents a time in my life of great challenges and struggle. I have learned that with love and caring for ourselves and each other one can emerge from anything."
"As we all struggle through these challenging times, it is my hope that this CD will offer you inspiration to persevere and to thrive."
"We All Must Believe in Spring."
Amazon Digital Purchase Link
Sue Anne Gershenzon @ Facebook!
Title - 'Born Innocent'
Artist - Alcatrazz
For those not in the know, the hard-hitting, melodic heavy metal band Alcatrazz will once again throw down a studio gauntlet on July 31st, 2020 with the absolutely pulsating Born Innocent (via Silver Lining Music).
Their first studio venture since 1986’s Dangerous Game, alongside the unique vocal prowess and range of star front man and founding member Graham Bonnet (Rainbow), Born Innocent also features fellow founding members Jimmy Waldo and Gary Shea.
Complete with classic album art that features the mighty rock itself, Born Innocent is a journey into the sort of heavy, melodic and supremely articulated hard rock that is a cornerstone of the likes of Rainbow and the Michael Schenker Group; territory Alcatrazz successfully strode in the ‘80s before going on hiatus.
Born Innocent also features guest appearances from Chris Impellitteri, who wrote the music and played all guitars on the arpeggio-powered title track, with Bonnet’s vocals soaring to old-school heights, as did the late Bob Kulick for the majestic 'I Am The King.'
Virtuoso Japanese guitar maestro Nozomu Wakai similarly wrote and played guitars on the double-kick steel-plated Irish warrior ode 'Finn McCool,' while the six-string legend that is Steve Vai wrote 'Dirty Like The City.'
Besides the supreme musicianship, Born Innocent features genuine storyteller lyrics courtesy of Bonnet who revels in showing he loves the scent of an entertaining tale, proudly illustrated on the storming lead single 'Polar Bear' which bristles with robust old-world adventure.
Though Alcatrazz might well have been "born innocent," their new album shows they’ve obviously learnt some robust and rawkus things along the way!
1. 'Born Innocent'
2. 'Polar Bear'
3. 'Finn McCool'
4. 'We Still Remember'
5. 'London 1666'
6. 'Dirty Like The City'
7. 'I Am The King'
8. 'Something That I Am Missing'
9. 'Paper Flags'
10. 'The Wound Is Open'
11. 'Body Beautiful'
12. 'Warth Lane'
13. 'For Tony'
Opening with the squealing guitars and frenetic drum back beat of the title track 'Born Innocent,' that's backed seamlessly by the head down, hair toss guitar rock of 'Polar Bear,' the thunderously melodic 'Finn McCool,' and then both the mid-tempo keyboard and guitar amalgamation ballad 'We Still Remember' and the powerhaus rocker 'London 1666.'
Their brand of roaring rock continues onward with the full on 'Dirty Like The City,' a track that truly encapsulates how good Bonnet's vocals still are, which is followed by the balls out frenzy of 'I Am The King' and then the cacophonous, black metal-esque 'Something That I Am Missing.'
The more upbeat, chest puffed out, head held high rocker 'Paper Flags' is next, and is backed by one of my own personal favorites, the unadulterated metal rock of 'The Wound Is Open.'
At times veering into Tygers of Pan Tang-esque work, the drum-led 'Body Beautiful' is up next and is followed by the stunning, ethereal at times, guitar work of 'Warth Lane,' with the album coming to a close on the black sheep of the album, the brass percussion and raw Bonnet vocalization of 'For Tony.'
Amazon Purchase Links
Silver Lining Music Website
Title - 'The Living Room Concert [Expanded]'
Artist - Anthony Phillips
For those not in the know, Esoteric Recordings will be releasing the incredible, and remastered and expanded edition of The "Living Room" Concert by original Genesis guitarist and celebrated solo artist and composer Anthony Phillips this July 17th, 2020.
Originally released in May 1995, the album featured highlights of a live solo performance by Phillips which was recorded on March 21st, 1993 as part of the Living Room Concert Series for the US Radio program Echoes; a daily program of contemporary instrumental music.
The show was broadcast on 120 public radio stations in America on 25th June, 1993.
For the performance, Phillips selected a number of acoustic guitar and piano pieces, drawing mainly on tracks originally released on the albums The Geese and The Ghost, Private Parts and Pieces and A Catch at The Tables.
He also included two pieces from New England, the eighth volume in the Private Parts & Pieces series and a solo 12-string version of the first movement of a Guitar Quintet that he had composed in 1976; which had subsequently been scored with parts for strings and wind instruments, Conversation Piece.
2. 'Which Way the Wind Blows'
3. 'Henry: Portraits from Tudor Times'
4. 'Conversation Piece'
6. 'Field of Eternity'
8. 'Lights on the Hill'
9. 'Last Goodbyes'
12. 'Jaunty Roads'
13. 'Let Us Now Make Love'
14. 'Lucy: An Illusion'
Released back in 1995 as part of Phillips' "Living Room" concert series, which in itself was a quaint tradition that started in folk music circles and had since moved into some of the smaller genres of prog by then, the actual idea was that the musician in question would subsequently perform at the house of a generous (heavily donating) fan.
But because Phillips has always been so, well, for the sake of a more medical term, stage shy, his first foray into these "Living Room" concerts was actually done by not even leaving his very own front room!
Hence, the radio broadcast came directly from Phillips' own living room, which might explain why the recorded results are both low key and very intimate.
Opening with the delicate 'Reaper,' the lush orchestrations of the magnificent 'Which Way the Wind Blows' then bleed seamlessly into the near 12-minute work of music art, the Mike Rutherford co-written 'Henry: Portraits from Tudor Times.'
More of that ye olde vibe come through on 'Conversation Piece' which is itself backed by the jaunty guitar work of 'Flamingo,' the free flowing, ethereal at times 'Field of Eternity,' and then the heart rendering recollections of 'Sistine.'
The original album then rounds out with the thoughtfully stirring 'Lights on the Hill,' the ornate piano work of 'Last Goodbyes,' coming to a close with one of the best tracks (in my humble opinion), the fabulously fable like storytelling of 'Sleepfall.'
Unavailable on CD for many years, The "Living Room" Concert has been remastered and expanded to include three previously unreleased tracks recorded for the original broadcast: 'Jaunty Roads', 'Let Us Now Make Love' and 'Lucy: An Illusion'.
The first of those is the sweet and joyful, albeit short 'Jaunty Roads' which is backed by the seven minute, delicately piano-led 'Let Us Now Make Love,' with the mid-tempo pop prog ballad 'Lucy: An Illusion' rounding out the newly added trio.
Phillips' solo performances on guitar and piano with occasional vocals are simple yet assured here throughout, and his between-song banter is endearingly awkward.
It's unavoidable, however, that Phillips' material - possibly because he's never wanted to be a live performer - is simply not particularly suited to the stage.
In its original studio version, 'Henry: Portraits from Tudor Times' is a marvelous tapestry of interlocking classical guitar filigrees. However, live, it by necessity sounds a bit weedy and much less harmonically inventive, so to speak.
The two solo piano pieces at the end of the album, 'Last Goodbyes' and 'Collections' are more melodically interesting and richer sounding, especially the latter, and so as much as The "Living Room" Concert is clearly for Anthony Phillips fans only, it still remains a quite wonderful musical document, nonetheless.
This Esoteric Recordings edition restores the original artwork and includes new liner notes by Anthony Phillips archivist Jon Dann.
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Title - 'Self Made Man'
Artist - Larkin Poe
For those not in the know, Rebecca & Megan Lovell of Larkin Poe are singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist sisters creating their own brand of Roots Rock 'n' Roll: gritty, soulful, and flavored by their southern heritage.
Originally from Atlanta and currently living in Nashville, they are actually real-life descendants of tortured artist and creative genius Edgar Allan Poe.
After a remarkable two-year run that saw them earn a Grammy Award nomination for their last chart-topping studio album while touring the world from Nashville to New Zealand and back again, Larkin Poe have returned with what is undeniably their most wide-reaching, artistically adventurous, and self-determined work to date.
Once again taking the producer reins and releasing on their own Tricki-Woo Records label, Self Made Man (released June 12th, 2020) sees the multi-instrumentalist sister duo pushing their music and message towards hitherto unexplored terrain.
1. 'She's a Self Made Man'
2. 'Holy Ghost Fire'
3. 'Keep Diggin'
4. 'Back Down South'
5. 'Tears of Blue to Gold'
6. 'God Moves on the Water'
7. 'Every Bird That Flies'
9. 'Danger Angel'
11. 'Easy Street'
Inspired by their epic world travels, yet still powerfully rooted in the creative heritage of their beloved American South, they open with the powerful rock opera vibe of 'She's a Self Made Man,' back that up with the rock hipsway of 'Holy Ghost Fire,' and then bring us the more melodically leveled 'Keep Diggin', the lowdown blues of 'Back Down South,' and the upbeat, lighter guitar work of the nostalgic, finger-snappin' 'Tears of Blue to Gold.'
'God Moves on The Water' is a Gospel-vibed, hand-clappin' beauty and that's backed by the mid-tempo slide guitar, Eastern-infused rock of 'Every Bird That Flies,' and then comes one of my own personal favorites, the hard-hitting, Chicago blues of 'Scorpion.'
This quite vibrant and yet fully grounded album then rounds out with some brilliant bluesy guitar work found on 'Danger Angel,' the rough and ready 'Ex-Con,' and then comes to a close on the upbeat and perky, clap-long melodies of the late night, front porch-esque feel of 'Easy Street.'
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Larkin Poe @ YouTube
Title - 'The Proper Years' [2CD]
Artist - Bill Kirchen
For those not in the know, and telling it like it is, upon tallying how many decades he’s worked as a professional guitar slinger, Telecaster master Bill Kirchen quips, “Well, they don't make 50 years like they used to.”
They don’t often make careers like his, either. From performing with his Who Knows Pickers jug band in Ann Arbor High School’s senior talent show (also on the program: the future Iggy Pop), to birthing the Americana genre with the original “hippie country band,” Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen, this affable Austinite has been everywhere, man, flying alongside some of the planet’s coolest cats — including the Jesus of Cool, Nick Lowe, and Lowe’s old protégé, Elvis Costello.
In fact, playing guitar has been his only job ever since. Over a ten-year period commencing in 2006, he made albums exclusively at Proper Records' Specific Sound studio in London.
Thus, all thirty-eight tracks, including some bonus material, are available come July 24th, 2020 (via The Last Music Company) in a quite magnificent, retrospective 2CD package, aptly entitled The Proper Years.
Featuring guest spots from the aforementioned Nick Lowe and Elvis Costello, Kirchen also teams up with Paul Carrack, Commander Cody, Dan Hicks, Maria Muldaur, Butch Hancock, and many more in this tour-de-force of Americana and Alt. Country.
1. 'Hammer Of The Honky-Tonk Gods' (with Nick Lowe and Geraint Watkins)
2. 'Rocks Into Sand' (with Nick Lowe and Geraint Watkins)
3. 'Get A Little Goner' (with Nick Lowe and Geraint Watkins)
4. 'Skid Row In My Mind' (with Nick Lowe and Geraint Watkins)
5. 'Working Man' (with Nick Lowe and Geraint Watkins)
6. 'Soul Cruisin'' (with Nick Lowe and Geraint Watkins)
7. 'Truth Be Told' (with Nick Lowe and Geraint Watkins)
8. 'Devil With The Blue Dress'
9. 'One More Day' (with Nick Lowe and Geraint Watkins)
10. 'Heart Of Gold' (with Nick Lowe and Geraint Watkins)
11. 'If It's Really Got To Be This Way' (with Nick Lowe and Geraint Watkins)
12. 'Bump Wood'
13. 'Shelly's Winter Love' (with Paul Carrack and Nick Lowe)
14. 'Man In The Bottom Of The Well' (with Elvis Costello)
15. 'I Don't Work That Cheap' (with Commander Cody)
16. 'Time Will Tell The Story'
17. 'Husbands And Wives' (with Chris O'Connell)
18. 'Open Range' (with Blackie Farrell)
19. 'Arkansas Diamond'
1. 'Word To The Wise' (with Dan Hicks)
2. 'Ain't Got Time For The Blues' (with Maria Muldaur)
3. 'Valley Of The Moon' (with Norton Buffalo)
4. 'Too Much Fun'
5. 'Tell Me The Reason'
6. 'Down To Seeds And Stems'
8. 'Rockabilly Funeral'
9. 'Womb To The Tomb'
10. 'Flip Flop'
11. 'Swing Fever'
12. 'It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry'
13. 'Truck Stop At The End Of The World'
14. 'Mama Hated Diesels'
15. 'Hot Rod Lincoln'
16. 'Talkin' About Chicken'
17. 'Think It Over' (with Austin de Lone)
18. 'Oxblood' (with Butch Hancock)
19. 'The Times They Are A-Changin'' (with Austin de Lone)
A well-balanced mix of engaging originals and wonderfully rendered covers, The Proper Years admirably conveys the Telecaster titan's versatility as a player and singer — one of the first to mash up rockabilly, country, Western swing, honky-tonk, jump blues, jazz, boogie-woogie and even the “psychedelic folk rock” he played with the Seventh Seal, the band he formed while attending the University of Michigan.
Kicking off in some fine old school rockin' swing style with the brilliant 'Hammer Of The Honky-Tonk Gods' (the first of ten tracks accompanied by Nick Lowe and Geraint Watkins, the latter a Welsh singer, songwriter, rock and roll pianist and accordionist), Kirchen then flows seamlessly into the countrified lo-fi ramble of 'Rocks Into Sand,' the mid-tempo honky tonk of 'Get A Little Goner' (which also features frequent contributor Sarah Brown; coincidentally also raised in Ann Arbor), and then the ballad 'Skid Row In My Mind' and the reverb club rock of 'Working Man.'
A musician more interested in sounding like Doc Watson than Eric Clapton, and whose main guitar was crafted by Rick Kelly of Carmine Street Guitars from 200-year-old pine floorboards recycled from film director Jim Jarmusch’s loft, next up is the gentle hipsway of 'Soul Cruisin' and balladeering craftmanship of 'Truth Be Told,' and then both the finger-snappin', slow roll flow of a later in life version of the song made into a hit by Mitch Ryder and The Detroit Wheels in 1966, 'Devil With The Blue Dress' and the perky 'One More Day' (once again featuring both Nick Lowe and Geraint Watkins - as are the next two tracks).
Taking a trip into the hue of Cash country, we head into 'Heart Of Gold' and then the mid-tempo lullaby of 'If It's Really Got To Be This Way' is brought forth. The tempo is punched back up for 'Bump Wood,' the harmonious magnificence of Merle Haggard’s 1971 ballad 'Shelly's Winter Love' (with Paul Carrack and Nick Lowe), and then we get my own personal favorite here, the Elvis Costello-enhanced 'Man In The Bottom Of The Well.'
The vibrant Hammond-inspired storytelling of 'I Don't Work That Cheap' (with Commander Cody) is yet another stand out cut and that's followed by the gentle foot-tappin' beats of 'Time Will Tell The Story.'
The alluring majesty of 'Husbands And Wives' (with former Asleep at the Wheel’s Chris O’Connell) is up next, with the first CD rounding out with the Americana vibe of both 'Open Range' (with guitarist Blackie Farrell) and then closing out with 'Arkansas Diamond.'
The second disc opens with the chatty musical reminiscing of 'Word To The Wise' (with Dan Hicks, who sadly died in 2016) and then follows that up with the mid-tempo, dulcet swing of 'Ain't Got Time For The Blues' (with folk and blues singer Maria Muldaur), the honky tonk 'Valley Of The Moon' (with Norton Buffalo, who played harmonica with the Airmen and Moonlighters, and who also passed away shortly after recording), and then jacks that rock guitar vibe up with 'Too Much Fun,' the foot-tappin' melodies of 'Tell Me The Reason,' and then the low slung ballad 'Down To Seeds And Stems.'
A devoted Anglophile, thanks to two aunts who married Brits, Kirchen began recording for the British label (distributed in the U.S. under the Proper American name) after owner Malcolm Mills promised, “I'm going to give you the best deal you've had in 25 years.”
He did, too, as personified in the fact that Mills not only supports Kirchen’s recorded output, he also supports the guitarist onstage, right alongside engineer/bassist Paul Riley.
Up next we get the precise finger-pickin' style, let alone a tutorial in how to play the bass, on the gently frenetic 'Semi-Truck,' which he backs up with the lo-fi 'Rockabilly Funeral,' the reminiscing of 'Womb To The Tomb,' and then both the funky 'Flip Flop' and the delightfully jaunty 'Swing Fever.'
The brilliant, laid back rock ambiance of 'It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry' is yet another highlight here, and that's backed by the more controlled frenzy of the Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen hit 'Truck Stop At The End Of The World,' and then comes the fun tone of 'Mama Hated Diesels' and the fast-paced storytelling of 'Hot Rod Lincoln.'
The Americana-countrified track 'Talkin' About Chicken' is always a finger-snappin' delight to behold, and that's backed by the vocal reaching expertise of 'Think It Over' (with keyboardist Austin de Lone), with this wondrous 2CD package coming to a close on the fully charged 'Oxblood' (with Butch Hancock), and then ends with a Tom Petty-esque rendition of Bob Dylan's 'The Times They Are A-Changin'' (once again with de Lone).
A mere 50 years later, and it's obvious that Kirchen’s still having a blast playing and making music. In fact, he’s even planning another tour with Riley and Mills, but as for releasing this new package, he says, “[It] nicely puts a bow on a whole, very enjoyable period of my life.”
“Not that it's over,” he adds quickly. “I mean, I’ve got more stuff in the works.”
Then he cracks, “Don’t tell anybody, but it's not as hard as it looks!”
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Bill Kirchen @ Facebook
Title - 'Living in the Gap + Hungarian Pictures' [2CD]
Artist - Mandoki Soulmates
L.A.-based indie label Cleopatra Records and Hungarian-born songwriter/producer/musician Leslie Mandoki, the mastermind behind the living, breathing art rock project Mandoki Soulmates, have just released the first full-length album since the two entities joined forces earlier this year.
Coming out on Cleopatra’s venerated progressive rock imprint, Purple Pyramid, home to such artists as Nektar, Tangerine Dream, Hawkwind-alumni project Hawkestrel, and Rick Wakeman, the album entitled Living In The Gap + Hungarian Pictures is actually a double album adding the 45-minute Prog Rock suite Hungarian Pictures, based on a musical concept by Deep Purple’s Jon Lord and ELP’s Greg Lake, to the original Living In The Gap album.
As with his other projects under the Mandoki Soulmates banner, Leslie Mandoki has brought together a Murderer’s Row of rock icons and musicians from some of the biggest names in prog and classic rock including Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson plus current and former members of Toto, Cream, Supertramp, ELP, Blood, Sweat & Tears, Manfred Mann’s Earth Band, and the list goes on!
The coming together of such a diverse cast perfectly expresses the album’s lyrical theme of unity, which couldn’t be a more timely message for today’s world.
Living in the Gap:
1. 'Living in the Gap'
2. 'Young Rebels'
3. 'Turn the Wind'
4. 'Where We Belong'
5. 'Let the Music Show You the Way'
6. 'Too Much Pride'
7. 'Old Rebels'
8. 'Welcome to Real Life'
9. 'Hottest Queen of Cool'
10. 'Wake Up'
11. 'Mother Europe'
12. 'I'm Not Your Enemy'
1. 'Sessions in the Village'
2. 'Utopia for Realists'
3. 'Transylvanian Dances'
4. 'You'll Find Me in Your Mirror'
5. 'Return to Budapest'
7. 'The Torch'
Opening with the pulsating one-two AOR punch of the title track 'Living in the Gap,' this concept double album about tribalism continues on seamlessly with the lush mid-tempo flow of both 'Young Revels' and 'Turn the Wind,' with the beautiful ballad 'Where We Belong' and the heartfelt and meaningful, acoustic guitar ballad 'Let the Music Show You the Way' along next.
For 'Too Much Pride' the band wander effortlessly into their jazz mode, and that's followed by the mid-tempo, foot-tappin' 'Old Rebels,' the sax-led 'Welcome to Real Life,' and then both the finger-snappin' hipsway of 'Hottest Queen of Cool' and the quite brilliant pop funk flow of 'Wake Up.'
Featuring flute work and vocals from Jethro Tull's very own Ian Anderson, the world historically slipping through our hands yearning of 'Mother Europe' is up next with the first album coming to a close with the Hammond vs. guitar masterpiece 'I'm Not Your Enemy.'
The second disc, Hungarian Pictures, opens with the dulcet piano and percussion work of 'Sessions in the Village,' and follows that up with the shoulder-to-shoulder, gently euphoric sway 'Utopia for Realists,' the near 20 minute 'Transylvanian Dances' and the soulful rhapsody of 'You'll Find Me in Your Mirror.'
This beautiful album then rounds out with the delicate, Sting-esque renderings of 'Return to Budapest,' the drum and percussion-led, all out musical behemoth 'Barbaro,' before coming to a close on the thought-provoking 'The Torch.'
If you are lucky enough to get the Box-Set Limited Deluxe Edition of this release, which features an expansive, glossy and oh-so colorful (and heavy) book along with both the vinyl 2LP and 2CD editions, trust me when I say that you will be experiencing a little bit of Heaven, my friends.
As for the overall release, Mandoki himself explains in the album’s video trailer (click link below), “We know that music is the greatest unifier…[These are] songs against division, from the old rebels to the young rebels. This is our time to take a breath for a better world.”
Watch the Entire Album Trailer Here!
Having already topped the Amazon Classic Rock Charts in Germany, Living In The Gap + Hungarian Pictures is poised to bring a whole new audience in North America, South America, the UK and beyond into the Soulmates’ family of fanatics.
LESLIE MANDOKI – vocals, drums, percussion & udu
BOBBY KIMBALL – vocals
CHRIS THOMPSON – vocals
IAN ANDERSON – vocals & flute
JACK BRUCE – vocals & bass
PETER MAFFAY – vocals
NICK VAN EEDE – vocals
DAVID CLAYTON-THOMAS – vocals
JULIA MANDOKI – vocals
AL DI MEOLA – guitars
MIKE STERN – guitars
RANDY BRECKER – trumpet & flügelhorn
ADA BRECKER – tenor & soprano saxophone
BILL EVANS – tenor & soprano saxophone
JOHN HELLIWELL – tenor, soprano, alto saxophone & clarinet
TILL BRÖNNER – trumpet
CORY HENRY – Hammond, piano & Rhodes
SIMON PHILLIPS – drums
TONY CAREY – vocals, Hammond & piano
JESSE SIEBENBERG – vocals
RICHARD BONA – bass & vocals
STEVE BAILEY – 6-string fretless bass
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Title - 'Night Kisses: A Tribute to Ivan Lins'
Artist - Eddie Daniels
Off the heels of Grammy-nominated album, Heart of Brazil, comes jazz clarinet icon Eddie Daniels' new project, Night Kisses: A Tribute to Ivan Lins (out August 7th, 2020 via Resonance Records).
Paying tribute to the world-renowned Brazilian musician/composer Ivan Lins, it brings Daniels together with legendary jazz pianists Dave Grusin and Bob James, plus top-shelf trio-Josh Nelson, Kevin Axt, Mauricio Zottarelli - and the Grammy-winning Harlem Quartet.
Featuring songs from Lins' classic `70s/'80s albums and new arrangements by Kuno Schmid and Josh Nelson, Night Kisses allows fans old and new to once again immerse themselves in the Latin Grammy-winning Brazilian musicians work.
Eddie Daniels is that rarest of rare musicians who is not only equally at home in both jazz and classical music, but excels at both with breathtaking virtuosity.
Eddie first came to the attention of the jazz audience as a tenor saxophonist with the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Orchestra. When Thad and Mel first organized their band in 1966 to play Monday nights at the Village Vanguard in New York (where it still plays), Eddie was one of the first musicians they called.
Eddie Daniels is clearly a renaissance musician, a virtuoso in both jazz and classical music, recipient of unreserved accolades from his peers, from critics, and from the public.
Having been an active performer and songwriter of Brazilian popular music and jazz for over thirty years, 75 year-old Ivan Lins has seen his own songs covered by such notables as Patti Austin, David Benoit, George Benson, Michael Bublé, Ella Fitzgerald, Shirley Horn, Quincy Jones, the Manhattan Transfer, Sérgio Mendes, Jane Monheit, Lee Ritenour, Sarah Vaughan, Diane Schuur, Sting, Barbra Streisand, and oh-so many more.
1. 'A Voz Do Povo' (The Voice of the People)
2. 'Pano de Fundo' (Backdrop)
3. 'Mãos de Afeto' (Hands of Affection)
4. 'D’Aquilo Que Eu Sei' (That Which I Know)
5. 'Velas Içadas' (Hoisted Sails)
6. 'Dinorah, Dinorah'
7. 'Cantor Da Noite' (The Night Singer)
8. 'Quadras De Roda: O Passarinho Cantou' (The Little Bird Sang)
9. 'Amor' (Love)
10. 'Lembra' (Remember)
11. 'Depois dos Temporais' (After the Storms)
12. 'A Noite' (The Night)
Produced by Resonance founder and co-president George Klabin with arrangements by pianists Josh Nelson, Kuno Schmid, Dave Grusin and Bob James, Daniels kicks things off in fine style with the building euphoria, and subsequent liveliness of 'A Voz Do Povo,' and backs that up with the country lane drive, windows down vibe of 'Pano de Fundo,' the dulcet, and measured hue of 'Mãos De Afeto' (featuring Dave Grusin), and the sonically free-wheelin' majesty of 'D'Aquilo Que Eu Sei.'
Next up is the cinematically-imbued 'Velas Içadas' which is followed by the perky ambitions of 'Dinorah Dinorah,' the mid-tempo decadence of 'Cantor Da Noite,' some rather playful notes found within 'Quadras De Roda,' and then the laid back, soulful late night jazz club ambiance of the ballad 'Amor.'
This quite delightfully orchestrated new album then rounds out with the quiet, piano-led ballad 'Lembra' (featuring Bob James), the sweepingly gorgeous 'Depois Dos Temporais' (featuring Dave Grusin), and then comes to a close on Umansky's cello work on 'A Noite,' and finally an original composition, the wistful 'Ivante' (again with Dave Grusin and also Bob James).
“It’s jazz, it’s beauty and it opens the heart,” is how six-time GRAMMY-nominated horn player Eddie Daniels describes his brand new album, Night Kisses: A Tribute to Ivan Lins.
“I was kind of befuddled because I loved the music, but I didn’t know if I could live up to the kind of heart that Ivan puts into the music that is so soulful," he continues.
"He became so special to me because of his singing, the heart – it’s raw, beautiful and emotional. I kept saying ‘How am I going to live up to this on a clarinet or a saxophone?’"
"The great thing about George [producer and conceptualizer, George Klabinis] that he wanted to do music that was not so popular, that was older music by Ivan Lins, so you could say that most of this music I knew nothing of,” Daniels adds, himself a New Yorker who has lived in Santa Fe for several decades.
Eddie Daniels – Clarinet, Flute, Tenor Sax
Bob James – Piano, Keyboards
Dave Grusin – Piano
Josh Nelson – Piano
Mauricio Zottarelli – Drums
Kevin Axt – Bass
Ilmar Gavilan – 1st Violin
Melissa White – 2nd Violin
Jaime Amador – Viola
Felix Umansky – Cello
Official CD Purchase Link
Title - 'Rise'
Artist - Roger Street Friedman
For those not in the know, Roger Street Friedman is a singer, songwriter and activist based in Sea Cliff, New York, who restarted his music career in 2010 following the loss of his parents and the birth of his daughter.
His critically acclaimed 2017 album, Shoot The Moon, reached #2 on the Roots Music Report Americana Country Album Chart and with Friedman having also garnered acclaim for his debut, The Waiting Sky (2014), the artist who has also shared stages with such venerated artists as Los Lobos and The Blind Boys of Alabama is now back with his third full-length album, the quite stunning Rise (out now via Rock Ridge Music).
1. 'Carry Me'
2. 'Last Train To Babylon'
5. 'Outcasts Of Love'
6. 'Give It Another Go'
7. 'Over And Over'
8. 'The Strange Shape Of Love'
9. 'The War Is Already Over'
10. 'Tough Crowd'
11. 'Runaway Girl'
12. 'Waiting On The Moon'
Produced by Larry Campbell, the GRAMMY winning producer and longtime collaborator of Levon Helm, once again, Friedman conjures his words and expressive thoughts into yet another, at times, autobiographical, always daringly honest, lovingly enriched with cinematically wanderlust, folk-rock, dreamy pop-rock, and progressive Americana and oh-so soulful R&B collection of 12 tracks that will, without a shadow of a doubt, have you finding someone to musically lose yourself within, in these dark times of ours.
Recorded at his home studio in Sea Cliff, NY, Rise - which features the type of honest, vulnerable songwriting that you could only hope to expect from such a well-received, and highly grounded artist such as Friedman - opens with the upbeat, foot-tappin' melodies of 'Carry Me,' and backs that up with the countrified, Randy Newman-esque vocal twang of 'Last Train To Babylon,' the Celtic inspirations of the title track, and 'Lessons,' the gently paced storytelling of a Vietnam veteran still “takin’ fire from Uncle Sam” upon his return.
Next up is the one-two AOR rhythms of 'Outcasts Of Love,' which is backed seamlessly by the beautiful balladeering found within 'Give It Another Go,' the Americana, train-tracked ambiance of a housewife questioning her day-to-day existence within 'Over And Over,' and then both the melodious, wanderlust romance of 'The Strange Shape Of Love' and the reminiscing of one of the stand out tracks for me, the highly emotive, and at times gorgeously cinematic 'The War Is Already Over' (a track about a 1919 post-World War I mission to Siberia).
The album then rounds out with the Jimmy Buffett-imbued 'Tough Crowd,' the passionate, lo-fi proposition of 'Runaway Girl,' and closes on yet another highlight, the dulcetly romantic 'Waiting On The Moon.'
“One thing I know now, after working with Larry on this album, is how important the producer is,” Friedman explains, “how important the process is, the vibe - having the right players, how every element has a place and how one thing could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back if you’re not careful. And most of all, how important it is to serve the song.”
“I think I took a lot more risks with the songs on this album,” Friedman continues. “Not everything has a happy ending. My voice is also way more out front than it’s been on the other records, which feels pretty vulnerable to me. I’m just trying to go deeper, really trying to get to the heart of the matter.”
Recorded with a crew led by Campbell, Rise features Friedman’s rhythm section of Jim Toscano and Matt Schneider, keyboard phenom Jason Crosby (Phil Lesh, John Mclaughlin), Campbell’s wife Teresa Williams, and Lucy Kaplansky on backing vocals.
"I think the creative mission was really to take the songs as far as they could go," Friedman adds, "with some compelling arrangements that highlight the songwriting as much as possible.”
Amazon CD Purchase Link
Title - 'Tomorrow Seems Like Yesterday'
Artist - Peter Galperin
For those not in the know, Peter Galperin writes songs about the people, places and things he loves, with a healthy combination of humor, skepticism, and honesty.
He admits to what he doesn't understand and questions what he already knows, in a unique musical style that fuses world rhythms with rock, country and folk melodies.
Here on this sixth album, Tomorrow Seems Like Yesterday, Galperin's theatrical rock and pop sensibilities come to the fore, once again, to bring us seven brand new tracks of pure, unadulterated musical genius.
1. 'Nature of Your Kind'
2. 'Never Too Young'
3. 'Digital Friend'
4. 'Don't Need to Know'
5. 'Another Drink'
6. 'As Good as It Gets'
7. 'Won't Let Go'
Recorded at Virtue and Vice Studios, Brooklyn, NY, Galperin kicks things off with a quite wondrous brass intro to the whistling pop fun of 'Nature of Your Kid,' and backs that up with the mid-tempo rock of 'Never Too Young,' and then the finger-snappin', elegant pop stroll of the harmonious 'Digital Friend'.
The acoustic guitar-led 'Don't Need to Know' is a joy to behold and is followed by more whistling on the upbeat 'Another Drink,' with the album rounding out with his jangly flashback on life found within 'As Good as It Gets,' and then coming to a close on the harmonica-driven 'Won't Let Go.'
Official Purchase Link
Peter Galperin @ Facebook
Title - 'In A Vigil State'
Artist - The Grand Undoing
For those not in the know, The Grand Undoing is a rotating collective of like-minded players anchored by founder, lead vocalist, guitarist and songwriter Seth Goodman.
Their critically acclaimed 2016 release, Sparks Rain Down From The Lights Of Love, was a hard act to follow. Yet the band kept the groove going, and then some.
The brand new, and highly anticipated fourth album by the Boston-based The Grand Undoing, In A Vigil State (releasing August 14th, 2020 via Secret Candy Rock Records) boasts 10 songs that delve into the changing seasons of life, and the dichotomy of being both very small yet of the infinite.
Indeed, Goodman deconstructs and reconstructs his way into a sonic space that’s beyond the past, present and future. He grabs you right away with inventive arrangements and delights you by infusing each with sonic surprises, then weaves it all together with a dazzling studio sheen.
1. 'Into The Glitter' (5:18)
2. 'A Little Piece Of Ground' (2:36)
3. 'Highway (You Can Ride Away)' (4:32)
4. 'Wave' (4:38)
5. 'See All I See' (3:04)
6. 'Darkness' (4:03)
7. 'Sunsetter' (4:40)
8. 'Silver Songs' (3:18)
9. 'Step In' (3:14)
10. 'Giving All My Things Away' (4:35)
Formulated from an intentional decision not to repeat himself, Goodman's conscious effort to broaden his musical horizons and not fall back into comfortable, all-too familiar ground, is showcased to perfection here on In A Vigil State.
From the opening track, the breezy, yet darkly upbeat 'Into the Glitter,' you know you have an album of great meaning, of earnest depth, of true, unadulterated resonance coming out of your speakers, for it veritably oozes a magnificent, profound, retro pop swagger, that has been missing from all "music" made in the past 30+ years.
"Ride out the summer on a crystal chandelier
One more for the road and the reasons
that we're even standing here
Bang bang the essence of the frozen heart's brigade
they left the stage when the lights went down
I'm wishing they were still around But I’m afraid they've ascended somehow
into the glitter,
forever, in the sky
while we're sitting here broken, in the mire, looking high"
I mean, come on now, who even lyrically thinks like this any more?! I could go on in much the same gushingly poetic vein about each track, but suffice to say that In A Vigil State, chock full of complex background vocal arrangements, and at times featuring a heavy, but never overwhelming use of the Mellotron, and which noticeably contains a far more involved production aesthetic than prior endeavors, is, quite easily, my favorite album of 2020.
For me, although I'm sure you all will have your own personal favorites, other stand outs here are 'A Little Piece Of Ground,' a song about trying to find meaning and peace amidst an unending cycle of making progress and then being thwarted, the pure power pop ambiance of 'Wave,' and 'Darkness, a track about the inevitability of death, and the grief, helplessness, and ultimate beauty that typically accompanies it, all come together to help form what could well be the most musically and lyrically satisfying album of recent times.
A labyrinth of creatively mixed tracks, all themselves embracing the ethos of prog, psychedelia, alt-punk, and pop rock, the new album brings forth an abundance of catchy hooks and driving beats, and will, without a shadow of a doubt, have you replaying it over and over.
Current Line-Up: Any Plaisted (drums), Dave Westner (bass, keys and percussion), Tom Henneberry (guitars), Chris Coughlin (keys), Ted Powers (back up singer), and BJ Cole, Dana Colley and Chris Nole.
The Grand Undoing @ Facebook
Title - 'Press On'
Artist - Peter Himmelman
For those not in the know, Peter Himmelman is a critically lauded rock troubadour, a Grammy nominated creator of children's music, an Emmy nominated film and television composer, a visual artist, pioneering webcast host, and founder of Big Muse, an organization devoted to the development of innovation and leadership skills.
The prolific Minneapolis-weaned singer-songwriter and muse recently moved from his longtime home of Santa Monica, Calif. to the upper west side of New York, just to shake things up (and see fellow members of his species on the city streets, which is not always the case in L.A.).
He’s also become a first-time grandfather during the Quarantine, his new grandson depicted on the album cover art on his brand new album, Press On (due out July 31st, 2020 via his own label, Himmasongs).
The 13-track album, which was recorded live in Los Feliz, California in a total of just three days, and solely on his acoustic guitar, was originally musically way more however. "I’d written a slew of about 40 new songs and eventually left them behind for the ones that appear on Press On,” Himmelman explains. "I needed to make something that was different enough to justify people listening to another Peter Himmelman record.”
1. 'Suite for Tambourine and Hand Claps'
2. 'This is How it Ends'
3. 'The Wall of the Trumpets and the Clatter of the Hoofbeats'
4. 'Press On'
5. 'A Place in Your Heart'
6. 'Straw and Kerosene'
7. 'Flying Sideways 'cross the Blacktop'
8. 'Truth Proffered in a Hard Time'
9. 'Outside Looking In'
10. 'Wither You Go'
11. 'It Seems We Never Rest'
12. 'Big Red Moon'
13. 'This is My Offering'
Opening with the laid back, folk rock ambiance of 'Suite for Tambourine and Hand Claps' he backs that up with the album's first single, the dulcetly magnificent 'This is How it Ends' and then follows that up with both the simply divine, rock guitar-led 'The Wall of the Trumpets and the Clatter of the Hoofbeats' and then the gritty storytelling of the title track.
The Gospel-tinged, lush love song 'A Place in Your Heart' is one of the stand out moments here, and that's followed by the upbeat, rawly strummed melodies of 'Straw and Kerosene,' the foot-tappin' 'Flying Sideways 'cross the Blacktop,' and then the truly melodious 'Truth Proffered in a Hard Time.'
The tempo comes right back down for the ballad 'Outside Looking In,' raises once more for the rattlesnake boogie of 'Wither You Go,' then we get the mid-tempo, finger-snappin' vibe of 'It Seems We Never Rest,' before the album comes to a close on the beautiful, enriched piano ballad 'Big Red Moon,' and then the acoustic guitar balladeering of 'This is My Offering.'
The session for Press On involved bassist/co-producer Matt Thompson, drummer Jimi Englund, keyboardist Chris Joyner, and longtime Himmelman collaborator/guitarist Greg Herzenach.
Co-producer and engineer Sheldon Gomberg made sure the live takes were left as unadulterated as possible, with any overdubs obviously kept to the barest minimum.
Amazon Digital Purchase Link
Peter Himmelman @ Facebook
Peter Himmelman @ Twitter
Title - 'The Boy in the Sailor Suit: Expanded Edition'
Artist - Dave Cousins
For those not in the know, Esoteric Recordings have just released a new remastered and expanded edition of the 2007 solo album by Strawbs founder, Dave Cousins.
The Boy in the Sailor Suit was Cousins’ second solo album, appearing thirty-five years after his first solo outing Two Weeks Last Summer.
Indeed, the album was a fine collection of personal songs and was produced by Chris Tsangarides.
For the recording sessions Cousins assembled a fine cast of musicians; Miller Anderson (guitar), Chas Cronk (bass), Ian Cutler (fiddle) and Chris Hunt (drums) with guests Chris Ball (piano), Tony Attwood (organ) and Elizabeth & Francis Tophill (vocal harmonies).
The ensemble was to be known as The Blue Angel Orchestra, a reference to the epic track on Cousins’ first solo album.
Following a few days rehearsal in Teddington, the album was recorded and mixed in just a week at Chris Tsangarides’ studio in Kent, with most tracks recorded live, giving the album a fine spontaneity.
Furthermore, the finished album was widely praised upon its release by both Strawbs fans and critics alike and now, here once again, this time remastered and expanded, well, it lives on again in all its musical splendor.
1. 'Never Take Sweets from a Stranger'
2. 'Mellow Moon'
3. 'The Smile You Left Behind'
4. 'Calling Out My Name'
5. 'Mother Luck'
6. 'Wish You Were Here'
7. 'Skip to My Lou'
8. 'Lonely Days, Lonely Nights'
9. 'Bringing in the Harvest'
10. 'Hellfire Blues'
11. 'Never Take Sweets from a Stranger' (Live)
12. 'Skip to My Lou' (Live 2009)
13. 'Hellfire Blues' (Live 2009)
Opening with the wonderful pop bounce of 'Never Take Sweets from a Stranger,' he backs that up with the laid back, hazy lazy swirling psych ambiance of 'Mellow Moon,' the earnest storytelling of 'The Smile You Left Behind,' and both the mid-tempo guitar rock of 'Calling Out My Name' and then the rockier 'Mother Luck.'
The Celtic-boned 'Wish You Were Here' is followed by Cousins' rendition (if only on the chorus) of 'Skip to My Lou' (which here he turns into a lo-fi Creole folk song), and then comes the magnificent, low-key tales of love from yonder days, 'Lonely Days, Lonely Nights.'
More Celtic-inspired vibes are brought to the fore on the forlorn, tinged with sadness mood of 'Bringing in the Harvest' with the original album closing on the blues-rocker, 'Hellfire Blues.'
Unavailable for some years, The Boy in the Sailor Suit has been newly re-mastered and expanded to include three bonus tracks, featuring live performances of songs from the album, recorded in the USA in 2008 and in the UK in 2009.
The first is 'Never Take Sweets from a Stranger' (recorded at Shank Hall, Milwaukee on March 18th, 2008), with both 'Skip to My Lou' and 'Hellfire Blues' both recorded at the Strawbs' 40th Anniversary Celebration, Twickenham, on the 12th/13th of September, 2009.
This release features the original artwork and booklet liner notes by Dave Cousins.
Official CD Purchase Link
Title - 'Transitory' [EP]
Artist - Dr. Chrispy
For those not in the know, Dr. Chrispy is an award-winning aeronautical engineer, and music producer who has spent the last 15 years tragically torn between two loves: Music and Space Exploration.
Having worked at NASA for almost five years inventing new kinds of spacecraft, Chris went on to co-found the company Planet Labs, which launched and monitors over 200 spacecraft that create a daily map of the global environment.
Transitory, his fifth release due out August 7th, 2020, and which follows the release of his 2018 debut album VHS, the 2019 singles 'Drive' and 'Voyager at the Heliopause', and the subsequent VHS Remixed album, the EP is a collection of short stories, each one a first person narrative from a different speaker.
With the stories woven over old school beats and instrumentation, every track features sampled monologues or dialogue with a mixture of live, sampled, and electronic instruments to create a nostalgic feeling that is simultaneously comforting yet unfamiliar.
Indeed, there’s a four-on-the-floor beat and some outside-the-box instrumentation for the dance genre, including saxophone.
With this new release, Dr. Chrispy explores the unconventional, but presents it in a familiar and digestible format with mid-tempo dance beats.
The three different tracks, each with distinct themes, cycle from morning, to afternoon, to evening, mirroring our own self-reflections as we move through our day.
We are different people late at night than we are early in the morning; who we really are is transitory.
1. 'Transitory Morning' (Emotional Dynamics)
2. 'Transitory Afternoon' (Pioneer Material)
3. 'Transitory Evening' (Afro Travel) feat. Haji Mike
4. 'Transitory Evening' feat. Haji Mike (Med Dred Afro Jungle Remix)
5. 'Transitory Evening' feat. Haji Mike (Synthapex Remix)
6. 'Transitory Afternoon' (Psybolord Remix)
7. 'Transitory Morning' (Aeronexus Remix)
Working throughout with contributing artists to bring their own unique perspectives to the EP, The Stunt Man (aka Greg Mindorff) is a music producer, DJ, fellow space enthusiast, and Grammy-nominated mastering engineer from Vancouver who mastered the entire Transitory experience.
The three 'Transitory Evening' tracks feature Haji Mike, an artist who takes whatever he puts his musical mind to and takes it to another level completely.
Indeed, he contributed dub poetry vocals to the track 'Transitory Evening (Afro Travel)' track, and it simply has to be heard to be believed, trust me.
Haji Mike started DJ'ing music in 1979 and as a musician is known for his hybrid of Jamaican dancehall and Cypriot melodies which he calls “Vraggamuffin,” and he is also a dub poet and DJ playing on various radio stations around the world.
The 'Afro Jungle remix is also the creation of producer, composer, and arranger Med Dred, a roots, reggae, and dub melodica soloist and reggae music specialist.
On the third iteration, contributing a remix of that same track, Hadfes Oblivion is the man behind Synthapex. With a background in metal, Hadfes Oblivion has played in a number of bands and now, with Synthapex, is exploring the electronic and synth wave genres.
'Transitory Afternoon' features Psybolord, a Moscow-based producer who has gone from deathcore to electronic music. He seamlessly merges techno with Russian folk motifs, and classical music organically gets along with synth wave and French-electro.
Closing the EP is a remix of the track 'Transitory Morning' from Aeronexus, a solo project by Harry Rowlands, who expertly produces '80s movie soundtrack-inspired tracks mixed in with synth wave.
Official Purchase Links
Dr. Chrispy @ Facebook
Dr. Chrispy @ Twitter
Dr. Chrispy @ Instagram
Title - 'Kingmaker: Everything Changed 1991-1995' [5CD]
Artist - Kingmaker
For those not in the know, Kingmaker were explosive ‘new cool rock’ and part of the pre-Brit Pop indie rock scene in the early 1990s.
Kingmaker released 10 singles / EP's during the period 1991-1995 signed to Chrysalis.
Everything Changed: 1991-1995' (released July 31st, 2020) is the definitive Kingmaker document and is also the most complete collection of Kingmaker's recordings available.
It is a comprehensive 5CD set of almost 90 tracks, combining the band's three studio albums Eat Yourself Whole (1991), Sleepwalking (1993) and In The Best Possible Taste (1995) along with two CDs packed full of bonus material.
Disc One - Eat Yourself Whole (1991):
2. 'Really Scrape the Sky'
3. 'Two Headed, Yellow Bellied Hole Digger'
7. 'When Lucy's Down'
9. 'Lady Shakespeare's Bomb'
10. 'Everything in Life'
11. 'High As a Kite'
12. 'Where You Stand' [Bonus Track]
13. 'Join the Human Race' [Bonus Track]
14. 'This Time This Town This Sea' [Bonus Track]
15. 'Wonderful Garden' [Bonus Track]
16. 'Pockets of St. Malachi' (Live) [Bonus Track]
17. 'Really Scrape the Sky' (Single Version) [Bonus Track]
18. 'Revelation' (Bombay Mix) [Bonus Track]
A veritable must-have for any fan of the band and indie rock fans everywhere, the first disc features the 10 tracks of the band’s first album, Eat Yourself Whole plus seven related bonus tracks.
I was actually around and living in the UK when Kingmaker first formed and started to impact the charts, in a low level way, and in truth, well, the band were for sure built up with much hype with the press as being the next new thing of a musical era that in the blink of an eye they had already been forgotten about.
That said, Kingmaker's first album (UK #29) is easy to get into, features some very catchy tracks and the singles released won them the most attention during the early '90s, and rightly so.
There were actually two (2) versions released of the album, one for the UK and the other for the US. The UK version had 'Wave' and 'Everything In Life' instead of 'Where You Stand' and 'Eat Yourself Whole' that were on the US version.
Personally, I think the track listing was a let down on the US version as there just wasn't the same consistency as there was on the UK version.
Stand out tracks, in my humble opinion, were 'Really Scrape The Sky,' 'Freewheeling,' 'Loveless/Defamed,' 'When Lucy's Down' and 'High As A Kite.'
Disc Two - Sleepwalking (1993):
1. 'Playground Brutality'
2. 'Armchair Anarchist'
3. 'Queen Jane'
4. 'Sad to See You Go'
5. 'Help Yourself'
6. 'Tomorrow's World'
7. 'Ten Years Asleep'
8. 'Honesty Kills'
9. 'Sequinned Thug'
10. 'Sleepwalking in the Five O'Clock Shadow'
11. 'Stay Free'
12. 'Pyromaniacs Anonymous'
13. 'Eat Yourself Whole' [Bonus Track]
14. 'Pyjama Girl' [Bonus Track]
15. 'Highway's Gate' [Bonus Track]
16. 'Everything's Changed (Since You've Been to London)' [Bonus Track]
17. 'Kissing Under Anaesthetic' [Bonus Track]
18. 'Stained and Sinking Fast' [Bonus Track]
This second disc features the 12 tracks off their second album, Sleepwalking plus six bonus tracks.
With the mix of excellent musicianship, catchy tunes and Loz Hardy's bitter world view lyrics, the combination made Kingmaker stand out from their peers during the early '90s with this, their sophomore album (UK #15).
It's a shame Kingmaker never got any more popular than they were at this juncture of their career, but as aforementioned, the musical tide changed, the press moved onto other bands, and this band just ebbed gently away.
But, as for this great album, to my mind, the best songs on here have to be 'Armchair Anarchist,' 'Sad To See You Go,' 'Ten Years Asleep' and 'Honesty Kills' - but, trust me, all the other songs are equally brilliant.
Disc Three - Bonus Tracks:
1. 'Genuine Liar'
2. 'Lady Madonna'
3. 'When Lucy's Down' (Live)
5. 'High As a Kite' (Live)
6. 'Hard Times' (Live)
7. 'Broadmoor Hotel'
8. 'Don't Come Over'
9. 'I'm in Love'
10. 'Queen Jane' (E.P. Version)
11. 'Your Place'
12. 'Electric Sue'
13. 'No Way Out'
14. 'Sequinned Thug' ('92 Version)
15. 'Sick and Angry Children'
16. 'Flesh Phobia'
17. 'Saturday's Not What It Used to Be'
18. 'Armchair Anarchist' (Live)
19. 'Highway's Gate' (Live)
20. 'Freewheeling' (Live)
Now we get into the true melodic heart of the band, with this third disc featuring 20 Bonus Tracks sourced from the band’s numerous EP, 12” and CD single releases.
Oh boy, now this is truly the Kingmaker, tune-making goldmine here as tracks that should have been on vinyl 12"s and such, were now being sourced out by newly manufactured CD singles!
They never sounded the same and they sure weren't as collectible as our beloved 7" single and 12" single poster bags and picture discs, but here they were anyway, all brought forth on nice and shiny "indestructible" discs!
Again, this disc is worth the price of the entire box-set alone as it features stand out cuts such as 'Broadmoor Hotel,' 'Electric Sue,' 'Flesh Phobia,' and vibrant, raw live cuts of 'High As a Kite,' 'Hard Times' and two of my own favorites, the always excellent to hear 'Armchair Anarchist' and the brilliant 'Freewheeling.'
Disc Four - In The Best Possible Taste (1995):
1. 'In the Best Possible Taste (Part 2)'
2. 'You and I Will Never See Things Eye to Eye'
3. 'Hey, Birdman'
4. 'Frustrated Gangster'
5. 'Story of My Life'
6. 'Sometimes I Think She Takes Me Along Just for the Ride'
7. 'One False Move'
8. 'Side By Side'
9. 'A Fool Like You'
10. 'End of the Line'
11. 'In the Best Possible Taste (Part 1)'
12. 'Backroom Boys' [Bonus Track]
13. 'Another Bad Dose of Home Truths' [Bonus Track]
14. 'Dissatisfaction Guaranteed' [Bonus Track]
15. 'Amateur's Lullaby' [Bonus Track]
This fourth disc features the band’s third and final studio album, In The Best Possible Taste plus four bonus tracks.
In truth, this final studio offering (UK #79) from the pre-Brit-pop UK darlings was a rather pompous, sprawling expression of bandleader/singer/songwriter Loz Hardy's considerable talent and ego!
A little too serious to be taking seriously, Hardy tries a little too hard to be clever, and his Billy Idol-meets-glam rock delivery comes off a little cartoonish at times.
That said, the near-epic 'Sometimes I Think She Takes Me Along Just for the Ride' is a fine example of Hardy's ability to make interesting, existential pop despite his propensity for excessive and unnecessary verbiage.
So yeah, some of the tracks were vividly sarcastic and some were even fanciful tunes of the highest order, but the world had lost interest in them and so this album was released, as they say, wrong time, wrong place.
Disc Five - Extra Bonus Tracks:
1. 'If You Were Mine'
2. 'Friends in Low Places'
4. 'Warm Heart, Cold Feet'
5. 'You and I Will Never See Things Eye to Eye' (Single Edit)
6. 'Bitch of a Son'
7. 'You of All People'
8. 'Everything's Changed Since You've Been to London)' (Live)
9. 'Eat Yourself Whole' (Live)
10. 'Every Teenage Suicide' (Live)
11. 'Really Scrape the Sky' (Thompson / Barbiero Mix)
12. 'Every Teenage Suicide'
13. 'Strip Away'
14. 'Never Too High to Fall'
15. 'Lies Before Kisses'
16. 'Loose Lips Sink Ships'
17. 'Gimme Shelter'
The fifth and final disc features even more bonus tracks, inclusive of some more live tracks, b-sides and extra mixes.
Chock full of Loz Hardy's snarky witticisms peppered throughout, this is yet another wondrous selection of Extra Bonus Tracks that will have you falling back in love with the band at their best.
All the music here, as a whole, gels a lot better as a group, as they did in their singular pockets spread across their musical timeline, that's for sure.
With Hardy having found his thunder completely stolen soon after Sleepwalking by Oasis, whose Jam/Smiths worship was transformed into something truly spectacular, on balance, any song around that time, and subsequent live tracks and b-sides were much more enjoyable to listen to, in my humble opinion.
Thus, the stand out tracks here for me are 'You and I Will Never See Things Eye to Eye' (Single Edit), 'Every Teenage Suicide,' 'Strip Away,' all the live cuts, and especially the US remix of 'Really Scrape The Sky' by Thompson & Barbiero.
Everything Changed has been made with the full cooperation of the band and includes photographs and memorabilia from their personal archives that are featured within the accompanying 28-page booklet.
Each CD comes in a paper wallet featuring original album and single artwork. Alongside a full UK discography there are sleeve notes written by bassist, Myles Howell.
Title - 'Threesome Vol. 1' [EP]
Artist - The Lickerish Quartet
For those not in the know, The Lickerish Quartet (not to be confused with the 1970 Italian erotic film of the same name) is an American rock band formed in Los Angeles in 2017.
Consisting of keyboardist Roger Manning, guitarist Eric Dover, and bassist Tim Smith, each former members of the band Jellyfish, they released the EP Threesome Vol. 1 in May of 2020 and are scheduled to release two more by September 2021.
Dover joined the band during the 1993 tour supporting their second album Spilt Milk. After their breakup in 1994, Manning and Dover formed Imperial Drag, a band which lasted until 1997.
Meanwhile, Smith formed one-half of the band Umajets and recorded the 1995 album Demolotion with help from Manning and Dover. This marked the last time the three musicians played together until 2017.
By the 2010s, Smith had relocated to Atlanta, while Manning and Dover stayed in Los Angeles. The Lickerish Quartet began forming in early 2017 when Manning reached out to Smith with the intent "to continue in the tradition of a lot of the pop/rock stylings" that he had appreciated.
He then reached out to Dover as well. Without the direct goal of recording, the trio got together for several writing sessions, each lasting around a week long, and ultimately produced 12 songs (Jeremy Stacey was recruited to play drums on the recordings).
As aforementioned, the first release is entitled Threesome Vol. 1, and released through Lickerish Quartet/Label Logic, brings forth four brand new songs.
2. 'Bluebird's Blues'
3. 'There Is A Magic Number'
4. 'Lighthouse Spaceship'
This sprightly EP opens with the foot-tappin' melodies of 'Fadoodle' backing that up with the lo-fi, mid-tempo storytelling of 'Bluebird's Blues,' and then the free wheeling, pliable musical assonance of 'There Is A Magic Number.'
Saving the best for last, in my humble opinion, the near seven-minute epic 'Lighthouse Spaceship' is not only a quite wondrous musical adventure akin to both ELO and Queen, but with its power pop bounce and crisp guitar and keyboard work, it oozes free flowing harmonies that will have you smiling from ear to ear for days!
Official Purchase Links
The Lickerish Quartet @ Facebook
The Lickerish Quartet @ Twitter
The Lickerish Quartet @ Instagram
Title - 5 Doo-Wop Recording CDs from Coed Records
Artist - Various
For those not in the know, five collections by doo-wop groups on the influential Coed Records label will be released this year by Omnivore Recordings.
The titles include: The Rivieras (The Coed Singles), The Duprees (with two separate volumes, The Coed Singles and The Coed Albums: You Belong to Me/Have You Heard), The Crests (The Best of the Crests featuring Johnny Mastro: 16 Fabulous Hits), and Adam Wade (The Coed Albums: And Then Came Adam/Adam and Evening).
All five will be available on CD and Digital and the actual street dates for the Rivieras and the Duprees’ The Coed Singles is July 24th, 2020; street date for the Crests is July 31st; and the Duprees’ The Coed Albums and Adam Wade on August 7th.
Based in New York’s legendary Brill Building — home to pop and Tin Pan Alley songwriters and labels through the 1950s and ’60s — Coed Records was the fledgling venture of ex-big bandleader George Paxton and business partner Marvin Cane.
The two founders were more into Glenn Miller than doo-wop, but they hired a stable of R&B-savvy songwriters. And as the youngsters who dominated the record-buying public stocked up on Paul Anka, Frankie Avalon, and Ricky Nelson platters, Coed nurtured vocal groups who could handle the classic pop standards of a bygone era, yet update those chestnuts enough to appeal to a new generation of listeners.
Among the label’s biggest hits were the Crests’ '16 Candles' and the Duprees’ 'You Belong to Me' and 'Why Don’t You Believe Me,' all included in Omnivore’s reissues.
Coed thrived from its inception in 1958 until 1965 and one of its most famous employees was promotion man Jerry Moss, a future founder of A&M Records with Herb Alpert.
The Rivieras: The Coed Singles
1. 'Count Every Star'
2. 'True Love Is Hard To Find'
3. 'Moonlight Serenade'
4. 'Neither Rain Nor Snow'
5. 'Our Love' (The Rivieras with Orch. under the direction of George Paxton)
6. 'Midnight Flyer' (The Rivieras with Orch. under the direction of George Paxton)
7. 'Since I Made You Cry' (The Rivieras with George Paxton & His Orchestra)
8. '11th Hour Melody' (The Rivieras with George Paxton & His Orchestra)
9. 'Moonlight Cocktails'
10. 'Blessing Of Love'
11. 'My Friend John'
12. 'Great Big Eye'
13. 'Stay In My Heat'
14. 'Easy To Remember'
15. 'El Dorado'
17. 'My Silent Love' [Bonus Track]
18. 'Serenade In Blue' [Bonus Track]
With precise vocal harmonies and meaningful lyrics, The Rivieras grew out of late ’50s, R&B/doo-wop ensembles; they ran through the names Five Bob-O-Links, the Four Arts, and El Rivieras before settling on The Rivieras.
Purveyors of classic New Jersey doo-wop in the ballad style, they made their mark covering tunes that had been made famous by big bandleaders such as Ray Anthony and Glenn Miller.
Omnivore now brings us all of their Coed singles, plus two bonus tracks, amounting to all the released output by the group.
One of the sleeper groups of the doo-wop era, The Rivieras took pure pop songs and turned them into R&B balladry. Which wasn't exactly what Glenn Miller had in mind when he and his first came up with 'Moonlight Serenade' and 'Moonlight Cocktails,' but then Artie Shaw didn't exactly think he was telegraphing R&B when former swing saxophonist Earl Bostic turned his 'Temptation' into an early soul stomper, either!
But The Rivieras were good at locking onto a thematic formula, from the moment their version of 'Moonlight Serenade' got into the top fifty. They were also clever harmony singers, a few cuts beyond the more commercial vocal groups of the time.
They left a legacy as both a group you'd love to hear serenade you and your woman at the local dance - and the guys you want to be part of setting the mood when you hop up to Lover's Lane; if you can find them!
The Rivieras: The Coed Singles CD Official Purchase Link
The Duprees: The Coed Albums: You Belong To Me/Have You Heard
You Belong To Me
1. 'You Belong To Me'
3. 'Why Don't You Believe Me'
4. 'September In The Rain'
5. 'Take Me As I Am'
6. 'The Things I Love'
7. 'My Own True Love' (Tara’s Theme from Gone With The Wind)
8. 'As Time Goes By'
9. 'Let's Make Love Again'
10. 'These Foolish Things (Remind Me Of You)'
11. 'My Dearest One'
12. 'I Wish I Could Believe You'
Have You Heard (featuring Joey Vann)
1. '(It's No) Sin'
2. 'I'd Rather Be Here In Your Arms'
5. 'I Gotta Tell Her Now'
6. 'It Isn't Fair'
7. 'Have You Heard'
8. 'Love Eyes'
9. 'Gone With The Wind'
10. 'So Little Time'
11. 'The Sand And The Sea'
12. 'Where Are You'
Signed to Coed in 1962 from a demo tape, The Duprees — some of them still teenagers upon signing — combined the sounds of big band orchestrations with harmony-heavy vocals.
Their remake of the Jo Stafford hit 'You Belong to Me' was a #7 hit in the summer of 1962 and was also their Coed debut.
They landed their second single, 'My Own True Love' (a song widely known as “Tara’s Theme” from the film Gone With the Wind), at #13.
The chart hits kept coming through the fall of 1964, when lead vocalist Joey Vann departed in an attempt at a solo career (Coed issued his debut single.)
Though the group carried on, signing to Columbia and Heritage, their heyday was at Coed. The Coed Singles features all the Duprees’ A- & B-sides for the label, while their two LPs are collected on The Coed Albums.
These guys had a sound that was similar to other Doo Wop groups but with their own unique harmony and easy to listen to voices. Their harmony is as good as any of the top groups of that era and just a step below Dion and the Belmonts.
Known more for their ballads it was certain that when one of them was played at a sock hop, the floor would be packed with slow dancers.
Every song on this two-album CD is easy to listen too. Those that you'll remember (or if you weren't around in that era, the ones that were their biggest hits) 'You Belong To Me,' 'Have You Heard,' and 'My Own True Love' are here and bring back memories of last dances.
One of my own personal favorites, 'Why Don't You Believe Me,' has the sound of a slow big band era song, but with Doo Wop harmony and performed with excellence.
The Duprees: The Coed Albums: You Belong To Me/Have You Heard CD Official Purchase Link
The Duprees: The Coed Singles
1. 'You Belong To Me' (The Duprees)
2. 'Take Me As I Am' (The Duprees)
3. 'My Own True Love' (Tara's Theme from Gone With The Wind) (The Duprees)
4. 'Ginny' (The Duprees)
5. 'I Wish I Could Believe You' (The Duprees)
6. 'I'd Rather Be Here In Your Arms' (The Duprees)
7. 'Gone With The Wind' (The Duprees)
8. 'Let's Make Love Again' (The Duprees)
9. 'I Gotta Tell Her Now' (The Duprees featuring Joey Vann)
10. 'Why Don't You believe Me' (The Duprees featuring Joey Vann)
11. 'The Things I Love' (The Duprees featuring Joey Vann)
12. 'My Dearest One' (The Duprees featuring Joey Vann)
13. 'Have You Hear' (The Duprees featuring Joey Vann)
14. 'Love Eyes' (The Duprees featuring Joey Vann)
15. '(It's No) Sin' (The Duprees featuring Joey Vann)
16. 'The Sand And The Sea' (The Duprees featuring Joey Vann)
17. 'Where Are You' (The Duprees featuring Joey Vann)
18. 'Please Let Her Know' (The Duprees featuring Joey Vann)
19. 'So Many Have Told Me' (The Duprees featuring Joey Vann)
20. 'Unbelievable' (The Duprees featuring Joey Vann)
21. 'So Little Time' (The Duprees featuring Joey Vann)
22. 'It Isn't Fair' (The Duprees featuring Joey Vann)
23. 'I'm Yours' (The Duprees featuring Joey Vann)
24. 'Wishing Ring' (The Duprees featuring Joey Vann)
25. 'Try To Remember' (Joey Vann with Artie Wayne Singers)
26. 'My Love, My Love' (Joey Vann with Artie Wayne Singers)
The Duprees: The Coed Singles CD Official Purchase Link
The Crests: The Best of the Crests featuring Johnny Mastro: 16 Fabulous Hits
1. '16 Candles'
2. 'A Year Ago'
3. 'Six Nights A Week'
4. 'Angels Listened In'
5. 'Gee (But I'd Give The World)'
6. 'Step By Step'
7. 'I Thank The Moon'
8. 'Pretty Little Angel'
9. 'Journey Of Love'
10. 'Trouble In Paradise'
11. 'Earth Angel'
12. 'Flower Of Love'
13. Always You'
14. 'If My Heart Could Write A Letter'
15. 'Molly Mae'
16. 'Isn't It Amazing'
Though there were other integrated ’50s vocal groups, The Crests demonstrated that musical and racial harmony went hand in hand.
From the liner notes by Bill Dahl: “Several integrated 1950s vocal groups preceded them, notably the Meadowlarks and Del-Vikings, but this young quartet from the lower East Side of Manhattan took the concept to the ultimate."
"Powerhouse lead singer John Mastrangelow (shortened to Mastro and then Maestro), born May 7, 1939 and of Italian-American ancestry, was joined by African American first tenor Talmadge “Tommy” Gough and bass singer J.T. Carter and second tenor Harold “Chico” Torres, who was of Puerto Rican descent. They found heavenly unity by crooning sweet doo-wop.”
One of the best groups of their day, this new collection includes their biggest hit, 'Sixteen Candles' as well as other hits like 'Trouble in Paradise,' 'The Angels Listened In' and one of my all-time Crests favorites, the excellent 'Step By Step.'
Simply put, this is just real music in a time when optimism needs to be both felt and heard and anyone listening to these songs can only ever be left with smiles on both their lips and hearts.
The Crests: The Best of the Crests featuring Johnny Mastro: 16 Fabulous Hits CD Official Purchase Link
Adam Wade: The Coed Albums: And Then Came Adam/Adam and Evening
And Then Came Adam
2. 'Teller Her For Me'
3. 'Just In Time'
4. 'First Love'
6. 'So In Love'
9. 'A Moment Of Madness'
10. 'I Had The Craziest Dream'
11. 'I'm Wise'
12. 'Around The World'
Adam And Evening
1. 'Sleepy Time Gal'
2. 'We Kiss In A Shadow'
3. 'Polka Dots and Moonbeams'
4. 'Gloria's Theme' (from Butterfield 8)
5. 'Guess I'll Hang My Tears Out To Dry'
6. 'Canadian Sunset'
7. 'My Reverie'
8. 'I Have Dreamed'
9. 'I Couldn't Sleep A Wink Last Night'
10. 'For You'
12. 'The Party's Over'
Not many singers went directly from being on the team of the world’s top polio vaccine researchers to making a string of hit records. In fact, there’s only one: Adam Wade.
Blessed with a fine-tuned set of pipes tailor-made for sustained pop success, Wade scored his first hit for Coed in late 1959 and developed into one of the label’s top stars.
From his debut album, And Then Came Adam, Wade sent two songs up the charts. 'Tell Her for Me' made it to #66, and 'Ruby' fared a little better at #58.
His follow up album, Adam and Evening, saw the song 'Gloria’s Theme' check in at #74. Though his single releases fared far better than album cuts, Wade’s albums were lush affairs with ornate arrangements and harmony-laden choruses courtesy of the Bel-Aire Singers.
Unfortunately for Wade, toward the end of 1961, his most successful year, the principals at Coed dissolved their partnership, necessitating a label switch by the singer.
The interruption blunted any momentum that Coed had been building for him. He moved over to Epic, but only hit the charts once more in 1965.
To my mind, Adam Wade is a singer in the Johnny Mathis mold who enjoyed a string of hits during the first years of the 1960's, and was a flagship artist for the Brill Building-based Coed label.
In the years before he went on to become a high-profile TV presenter and actor, Wade's music career showcases him performing across the pop spectrum, underlining that he was an incredibly versatile, and classy vocalist.
For the record, no pun intended, in 1975 he became the first African-American to host a prime-time game show called Musical Chairs which ran from June to October on CBS, followed in 1976 by a regular stint on The Sonny & Cher variety show, and in 1978 appeared for 6 months in a Las Vegas production of Guys And Dolls with an all-black cast.
Adam Wade: The Coed Albums: And Then Came Adam/Adam and Evening CD Official Purchase Link
Title - 'The Complete Collection' [6CD Box-Set]
Artist - Nick Kamen
In truth, Nick Kamen (born Ivor Neville "Nick" Kamen) was, without doubt, one of the most famous faces of the '80s, both as a model, and a pop star.
After scoring his first top 5 hit, 'Each Time You Break My Heart', Nick went on to have major success across Europe with four albums and several #1 singles.
Now, for the first time, Cherry Red has released an expansive collection of his entire recorded output during the '80s and '90s.Nick Kamen: The Complete Collection (in stores and online July 24th, 2020 via Cherry Red Records UK), the 6CD Box-Set features the international smash hits 'Each Time You Break My Heart' (co-written by Madonna), 'Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever', 'Nobody Else', 'Tell Me', 'Bring Me Your Love', 'I Promised Myself' and 'Oh How Happy.'
It also contains two previously unreleased songs, 'So Sad' a cover of the Everly Brothers classic, and 'Right On Track', originally a million selling '80s hit for The Breakfast Club.
Disc One - Nick Kamen (1987):
1. 'Win Your Love'
2. 'Open the Door to Your Heart'
3. 'Nobody Else'
4. 'Into the Night'
5. 'Come Softly to Me'
6. 'Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever'
7. 'Each Time You Break My Heart'
8. 'The Man in Me'
9. 'Any Day Now'
10. 'Help Me Baby'
11. 'Baby After Tonight'
12. 'Miss You'
13. 'Each Time You Break My Heart' (Dance Mix)
14. 'Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever' (Extended Dance Mix)
15. 'Nobody Else' (7" Version)
16. 'Open the Door to Your Heart' (Extended Version)
17. 'Each Time You Break My Heart' (Instrumental)
Also containing detailed liner notes, including new contributions from producers Stephen Bray and Toby Andersen, the box-set opens with Nick Kamen, which was obviously the British singer's eponymous debut album (UK #34), released by the WEA record label in 1987.
Long out of print on as an original CD and vinyl, in truth, and as much as you may still think of Kamen as a manufactured product (thanks, Madonna), this is still a great pop album from start to finish.
Personally, I've been a fan since the release of 'Each Time You Break My Heart' and being a collector of (basically) anything that got releases back in the day, I unashamedly also have all his albums (and 7" and 12" singles too!)
He should have been a superstar in America, but the teenage girls were already heavily into bands such as Duran Duran and Culture Club. I mean, shit, even Spandau Ballet couldn't crack the teen US pop market back then!
But, and playing Devil's Advocate here, sure, the old songs sung by Kamen aren't exactly pushing the boat out, nor are they particularly brilliant, but they sounded great, and that's what counted back then! Oh, and, of course, that Madonna-penned song just put Kamen soaring to the top of the charts and into a mass of teen hearts!
With the debut album featuring the hit singles 'Each Time You Break My Heart' (UK #5), 'Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever' (UK #16), 'Nobody Else' (UK #47), 'Come Softly to Me' (Italy #19) and 'Win Your Love' (Italy #13), this expanded disc now adds a quite brilliant trio of extended and dance mixes.
Disc Two - Us (1988):
1. 'Bring Me Your Love'
2. 'Turn It Up'
4. 'This Is Really Love'
5. 'Count on Me'
6. 'Tell Me'
7. 'I Can't Live Without Your Love'
8. 'Wonders of You'
9. 'Steal Love'
10. 'Better Be Good Tonite'
11. 'Bring Me Your Love' (7" Version)
12. 'Tell Me' (Extended Mix)
13. 'Bring Me Your Love' (Extended Mix)
14. 'Turn It Up' (12" Mix)
15. 'Tell Me' (Dub Mix)
16. 'Don't Hold Out'
In 1988, and following quickly on the heels of all his chart successes in both the UK and Italy, Kamen's sophomore album Us was released.
Yet another solid collection that instantly reminds the listener of where they were come the late '80s, and what the state of the record collections looked like, Us is pure, unadulterated nostalgia all the way.
OK, sure, it wasn't an album that lit the charts up in the UK (although it was #2 in Italy), and sure it was notably his least popular, but artistically it is his best album (in my humble opinion).
Catchy dance-pop tunes like the magnificent, Madonna-created chorus of 'Tell Me' (UK #40) make this album gold, along with opener 'Bring Me Your Love' (Italy #13).
'Count on Me' and 'Wonder of You' are well mixed with pure pop, as is 'This is Really Love,' with the beautiful, yearning ballad 'Steal Love' near the end one of the best of the year, for me.
Now inclusive of a quartet of extended and dub mixes, the stand outs here for me are both the brilliant 'Tell Me' (Extended Mix) and the excellent 'Turn It Up' (12" Mix).
Disc Three - Move Until We Fly (1990)
1. 'I Promised Myself'
2. 'Oh How Happy'
3. 'Looking Good Diving'
4. 'Somebody's Arms to Hold Me'
5. 'Um, Um, Um, Um, Um, Um'
6. 'Take Back My Hand Child'
7. 'We Can Make It'
8. 'Agony & Ecstasy'
9. 'You Are'
10. 'I Want More'
11. 'Move Until We Fly'
12. 'Love Street'
13. 'Sacrifice Your Reputation'
14. 'Oh How Happy' (7" Version)
15. 'Looking Good Diving' (7" Version)
16. 'Agony & Ecstasy' (7" Version)
17. 'I Promised Myself' (Independiente Mix)
Overstepping, for whatever reason, Kamen's 1988 album Loving You, next up is his 1990 entry, Move Until We Fly (Austria #4).
Opening with the low key, mid-tempo 'I Promised Myself' (UK #50, Austria #1), and backing it with the Edwin Starr classic 'Oh How Happy' (Italy #37), it was when we go to the mellow reach of 'Looking Good Diving' that the chart hits in any country seemed to just dry up completely.
The lo-fi soul of 'Somebody's Arms to Hold Me' is backed by Kamen's attempt at the Curtis Mayfield classic 'Um, Um, Um, Um, Um, Um,' which in turn is followed by the upbeat 'Take Back My Hand Child' and the soulful turn of 'We Can Make It.'
The original album then rounds out with the lush 'Agony and Ecstacy,' and then come three more all also written exclusively by Kamen, the funky 'You Are,' the steamy dancefloor groove 'I Want More,' and then closes on the electronic drum pad beats of the title track.
Now inclusive of six extra tracks, there's nothing extended or remixed about them, which is solely to do with the fact that by now, Kamen was wearing down, his pop stardom star dulling with every 7" single released, and where once each track was a heartfelt dance outreach, the entire Us album were just plain, mid-tempo tracks.
Disc Four - Whatever, Whenever (1992)
1. 'We'll Never Lose What We Have Found'
2. 'Whatever, Whenever'
3. 'You're Not the Only One'
4. 'Nothing Rhymes Now'
5. 'Did I Imagine You'
6. 'This Is Our Time'
7. 'Don't You Know'
8. 'I Need You'
9. 'There Was a Time in America'
10. 'You and I Are Here'
11. 'I'll Find Another Way'
12. 'We'll Never Lose What We Have Found' (7" Version)
13. 'I Know Where You Are'
14. 'We'll Never Lose What We Have Found' (Club Mix)
15. 'You're Not the Only One' (Youth Sa Roush Mix)
16. 'You're Not the Only One' (Extended Mix)
Released in 1992, and flatlining on the album charts in any country, Whatever, Whenever would prove to be the straw that broke the camels back, my friends.
Kicking things off with the guitar rock of 'We'll Never Lose What We Have Found,' Kamen then slides into the piano-led, funky tambourine beats of the title track, and then the lo-fi, mid-tempo pop duo of 'You're Not the Only One' and 'Nothing Rhymes Now.'
The upbeat, acoustic (yet plugged in) guitars of 'Did I Imagine You' make this a stand out track, and is backed by the funky pop-hop 'This Time Is Our Time,' then comes the Eastern-tinged 'Don't You Know' and the ballad 'I Need You.'
The original album then rounds out with the pop-lite 'There Was a Time in America,' the keyboard-infused 'You and I Are Here,' and then closes out on another, albeit this time more heavily-endowed, Eastern-inspired beat track, 'I'll Find Another Way.'
So, as you can clearly see, without Kamen's unique brand of late '80s funk and sexy singing, and without Madonna throwing him a chorus here and there, Whatever, Whenever is an album in search of hooks and melodies, sadly.
Now inclusive of five extra tracks, those include two different versions of the best track on the album, 'You're Not the Only One.'
Disc Five - Remixes & Rarities, Volume 1
1. 'Each Time You Break My Heart' (Shep Pettibone Extended Version)
2. 'Win Your Love' (The Love Mix)
3. 'Nobody Else' (Arthur Baker Dance Mix)
4. 'Come Softly to Me' (12" Version)
5. 'Nobody Else' (Jellybean 12" Version)
6. 'Each Time You Break My Heart' (US Mix)
7. 'Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever' (Alternative Mix)
8. 'Oh How Happy' (Bubble Mix)
9. 'Tell Me' (Instrumental)
10. 'Bring Me Your Love' (Instrumental)
11. 'Agony & Ecstasy' (Instrumental)
12. 'Looking Good Diving' (Instrumental)
13. 'Oh How Happy' (Instrumental)
14. 'I Promised Myself' (Instrumental)
15. 'Agony & Ecstasy' (Dawn Mix)
16. 'Lonely Boy'
OK, now we're cookin', all you Kamen fans, for here on Disc's Five and Six we get two complete CDs of his remixes, extended and alternative versions, along with, sadly, a slew of instrumentals (which are only ever useful - for any one, at any time - if you wish to use them for karaoke, of course!).
Volume 1 brings us stand out cuts such as, well shit, the opening five tracks re: 'Each Time You Break My Heart' (Shep Pettibone Extended Version), which is easily the best version of the song ever produced, 'Win Your Love' (The Love Mix), yet another corker from the 12" single vaults, the vibrantly excellent 'Nobody Else' (Arthur Baker Dance Mix), and then both 'Come Softly to Me' (12" Version) and 'Nobody Else' (Jellybean 12" Version).
Disc Six - Remixes & Rarities, Volume 2
1. 'US Megamix'
2. 'Nobody Else' (Alternative 12" Mix)
3. 'Oh How Happy' (Wow How Hippy Mix)
4. 'Looking Good Diving' (Extended Mix)
5. 'Count on Me' (7" Version)
6. 'So Sad'
7. 'Right on Track'
8. 'Oh How Happy' (G.U.C.C.I. Mix)
9. 'Take Back My Hand Child' (Alternative Version)
10. 'Win Your Love' (Instrumental)
11. 'Wonders of You' (Backing Track)
12. 'Somebody's Arms to Hold Me' (Instrumental)
13. 'You Are' (Instrumental)
14. 'You're Not the Only One' (Instrumental)
15. 'Come Softly to Me' (Backing Track)
16. 'Oh What a Night'
Continuing the extended love for all-things Kamen, yes, sadly, we still get en masse of instrumentals (which now also features two "Backing Track's" into the mix too), regardless, Volume 2 brings more mixes to the party.
Stand out tracks here are, and without a shadow of a doubt, the pulsating 'US Megamix' (simply cracking, from start to finish), the pumped up 'Nobody Else' (Alternative 12" Mix), and the gospel-tinged beauty 'Oh How Happy' (Wow How Hippy Mix).
Featuring 20 previously-unreleased mixes in this magnificent 6-CD Box-Set from Cherry Red Records UK, a package that also includes two previously unreleased songs in ‘So Sad’ (the Everly Brothers number) and ‘Right On Track’, a cover of the song by American band The Breakfast Club (who Madonna and Stephen Bray both drummed for at different points in time!), Nick Kamen: The Complete Collection is a collector's wet dream!
Title - 'The Barfly Sessions, Vol. 1'
Artist - Heidi Newfield
For those not in the know, a good-timing, honky-tonkin’, band-leading, song-writing, love-song-singing, blues-harp-blowing, tradition-nurturing, genre-busting, crowd-carrying, full-hearted flag bearer for all that’s true about music, that's Heidi Newfield.
At least, that’s her right now – at once the embodiment of an accomplished career and the promise of artistry still to come.
Music fans know Heidi for fronting Trick Pony, which rode songs including 'Pour Me,' 'On A Night Like This' and 'It’s A Heartache' to awards, acclaim and packed houses nationwide.
Armed with a collaborative history of platinum selling albums, Top 20 singles, ACM and AMA Awards to her credit, her distinctive voice and high-octane energy launched forward into a much-anticipated solo career.
Indeed, she is recognized for a remarkable evolution as a solo artist, writing and recording the poignant 'Johnny & June' from a deeply personal place.
More than a radio hit and impetus for a fist full of Academy of Country Music nominations, the song brought Newfield’s multi-faceted creativity into the sharper relief it deserved.
Through clear-eyed experience and musical passion in full flame, she continues to entertain, deepen the relationship with her core fans and win over new audiences.
Now in a deeply creative place in her solo career, singer-songwriter-harpist Heidi Newfield will be releasing her solo album, The Barfly Sessions, Vol. 1 this coming August 28th, 2020.
1. 'I Won't Wait Around'
2. 'Three Things'
4. 'Wrong Side of the Bottle'
5. 'Wait For It'
6. 'The Blues is My Business' (featuring Delbert McClinton)
7. 'Love Blind'
8. 'When Heaven Falls'
9. 'Whitley's Tombstone' (featuring Randy Houser)
10. 'I Could Fall 4 U' (featuring Jim Lauderdale)
12. 'Bring This House Down'
13. 'Temporary Fix (For A Permanent Scar)'
14. 'Come Hell or High Water Blues'
On this vibrantly honest, real and heartfelt album, Newfield (who co-produced with Jim “Moose” Brown, who, in addition to being a hit-making songwriter and producer, is known for playing Hammond B3, guitar and as the band leader of Bob Seger’s Silver Bullet Band) opens with the soaring 'I Won't Wait Around' and backs that up with the thoughtfully earnest ballad 'Three Things,' the countrified Gospel vibe of the title track, and then both the harmonica-driven 'Wrong Side of the Bottle' and the beautiful, lo-fi flow of 'Wait For It.'
Up next is a song driven purely by the incredible harmonica playing of Delbert McClinton, the foot-tappin' duet 'The Blues is My Business' which she backs up seamlessly with the low key 'Love Blind,' the gentle, acoustically yearning guitar work and tender vocals of the ballad 'When Heaven Falls,' and then comes the atmospheric balladry of 'Whitley's Tombstone' (featuring Randy Houser).
The tempo finally gets turned up for the frenetically cultured beauty 'I Could Fall 4 U' (featuring Jim Lauderdale) which is followed by the deep, down South, harmonica-driven blues of 'Whiskeytown,' the mid-tempo, free flowing country ease of 'Bring This House Down,' before the album comes to a close on the raw, earthy ballad 'Temporary Fix (For A Permanent Scar)' and the anthemic 'Come Hell or High Water Blues.'
Heidi Newfield @ Facebook
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Heidi Newfield @ YouTube
Title - 'Energize (Remastered)'
Artist - The Vibrators
For those not in the know, legendary Punk Rock pioneers The Vibrators have just reissued their 2002 release Energize as a crackin' new remastered edition via Deko Entertainment.
Remastered by Alan Douches (High on Fire, Mastodon, The Misfits, et al) and now including the live bonus track 'She's the One You Need', with liner notes by Vive Le Rock’s Eugene Butcher, the 17-track album sounds as freshly vibrant today as I'm sure it did back then.
With a career lasting over forty years, original vocalist/guitarist Ian "Knox" Carnochan, bassist Pat Collier, guitarist John Ellis (Peter Gabriel) and drummer Eddie originally formed The Vibrators in February 1976, and their first gig was supporting The Strangers at Hornsey Art College in North London.
Early in 1977 the band supported Iggy Pop (with David Bowie on keyboards) on a UK tour, and released the classic 'Baby Baby' single, followed by their first album Pure Mania on Epic Records which spent five weeks in the UK Top 75, peaking at #49.
A second single from the album - but a live version - 'London Girls', came out in the summer of 1977, followed by 'Automatic Lover' (March 1978), which not only reached #35 in the charts, but also got the band on the UK's infamous chart show, Top Of The Pops (TOTP).
Headed up by founding members Knox (Lead Vocals/Guitar) and John 'Eddie' Edwards (Drums) and joined by Robbie Tart (Bass), the album was produced by original bassist Pat Collier.
1. 'X-Files' (2020 Remaster)
2. 'Your Love Is Fading Away' (2020 Remaster)
3. 'So Far Down' (2020 Remaster)
4. 'New Brain' (2020 Remaster)
5. 'Rock The Kids' (2020 Remaster)
6. '3/4 Angelina' (2020 Remaster)
7. 'Animals' (2020 Remaster)
8. '2night' (2020 Remaster)
9. 'Brand New' (2020 Remaster)
10. 'General Purpose' (2020 Remaster)
11. 'Jukebox Light' (2020 Remaster)
12. 'Tears Are Falling' (2020 Remaster)
13. 'Moonlight' (2020 Remaster)
14. 'I Knew It Must Be Love' (2020 Remaster)
15. 'Shine' (2020 Remaster)
16. 'No More' (2020 Remaster)
17. 'Shake Some Action' (2020 Remaster) [Bonus Track]
OK, in all truth, The Vibrators may well not be as good a band as even they believe themselves to be (or to have once been), but they do still remind me a great deal of the Ramones (when they were themselves starting out).
That very same sense of stupid fun and bludgeoning power prevails throughout each song, especially here on Energize, which was, for my money, the best album by The Vibrators since their minor late '70s heyday.
Songs like 'New Brain' ("Her new brain says I’m no longer cool and it won't let me see her 'cos it's working to rule"), 'Animals,' 'General Purpose' and even '3/4 Angelina' (a song about a psychopath dismembering his victim), are all hardly in-depth tunes, chock full of nuances, but they still remain, one and all, irresistibly silly, in their own sweet ways.
But, more than these, there are three tracks on Energize that perfectly highlight why fans have never left their side: 'Jukebox Light' contains an infectious riff right out of the Marc Bolan play book; 'No More' contains (quite possibly) the greatest guitar refrain Big Country never wrote; and lastly, the hard-hitting 'So Far Down,' which is just simply one of the best songs the band have ever recorded (in my humble opinion, of course).
Knox himself looks back on the album and remarks, “I hadn't listened to any of this album for years, but I was shocked at how good the lyrics were and how on fire my guitar playing is. This album has lot’s of great moments - so give it a spin!”
Energize's greatest virtue isn't the fact that it's glorious business as usual, but the implausibility of that business still being glorious.
But a couple of choruses of the pounding 'New Brain' are all you need to hear before Energize re-energizes all your old enthusiasm, and The Vibrators' vibrations are, once again, as powerful as ever.
Amazon CD Purchase Link
The Vibrators @ Facebook
Title - 'Supertonic: Mixes'
Artist - Diana Ross
For those not in the know, Diana Ross - who has scored four consecutive Billboard #1 Dance Club Songs Chart singles over the last two years with 'Ain't No Mountain High Enough,' 'I'm Coming Out / Upside Down', 'The Boss' and 'Love Hangover 2020' (which is also an historical run, as each track also hit #1 during its original release) - has now released a brand new, self-produced album that follows these club hits, with classic songs turned upside down and inside out, so to speak.
Mixed by Eric Kupper, who has had 120 Billboard #1s, Supertonic: Mixes features nine tracks that encapsulate the vocal magnificence of a singer/songwriter who has had, as of today, eight #1 hits on Billboard’s Dance Club Songs chart.
1. 'I'm Coming Out / Upside Down' (Eric Kupper Remix)
2. 'Love Hangover' (Eric Kupper Remix)
3. 'The Boss' (Eric Kupper Remix)
4. 'Surrender' (Eric Kupper Remix)
5. 'Ain't No Mountain High Enough' (Eric Kupper Remix)
6. 'No One Gets The Prize' (Eric Kupper Remix)
7. 'It's My House' (Eric Kupper Remix)
8. 'Touch Me in the Morning' (Eric Kupper Remix)
9. 'Remember Me' (Eric Kupper Remix)
In truth, Supertonic: Mixes is a special kind of Diana Ross magic. Absolutely authentic, it’s her voice, her electrifying sound. This music has no boundaries, blending the past and the now in this new collection.
With all the remixes having been created from the original multi-tracks of the masters taken from the Motown vaults, up first is the magnificent, and still totally irresistible blend of 'I’m Coming Out/Upside Down' (originally remixed in 2018).
A super dosed package of hyper beats and frenetic, foot-tappin' energy bites, that's backed by my personal favorite of the nine tracks, a pumped up, classic Disco enhanced-for-modern-day vibe of her 1976 hit 'Love Hangover.'
Chock full of classic Motown rhythms and Disco-era high top beats and dancefloor jams, Kupper expertly adds sprightly, bouncy beats, back beat reverbs, and electronic faze effects to the original material.
With hands raised high above our heads, feet firmly planted in various shape-shifting moves on the dancefloor, 'The Boss' builds and then soars majestically, and that's backed seamlessly by the funky one-two beats of a reimagined 'Surrender.'
Rising to fame as the lead singer of The Supremes, Ross has never let the music world pass her by and here on Supertonic: Mixes, with the aid of Kupper, she has come back even stronger, to once again stake a claim on the charts.
'Ain’t No Mountain High Enough' now comes complete with a fabulously punchy bass line, as always just perfect for the dancefloors of any era, and that's followed by the euphoric 'No One Gets The Prize.'
Complete with a brand new beginning that seems perfectly suited to the opening of a live show, that's backed by a newly-incorporated electronic hipsway now evident within her 1979 gem, 'It's My House.'
This vibrantly magnificent album then rounds out with her second solo #1 single from 1973, the amped up 'Touch Me In The Morning,' and comes to a close on the lovingly warm, crisp and heartfelt textures of her foot-tappin', shoulder-swayin' classic, 'Remember Me.'
On May 29th, 2020, the digital release of Supertonic, featuring new remixes of nine classics, will be released by Motown/UMe. Supertonic: Mixes also will be available June 26th, 2020 on CD and crystal-clear vinyl.
Official CD Purchase Link
Official Crystal Clear Vinyl Purchase Link
Diana Ross @ Facebook
Title - 'Imagine That!'
Artist - Rena Strober and Friends
For those not in the know, Rena Strober is getting ready to release a magical children's album featuring the songs of Joe Raposo & Jeff Moss.
The men responsible for the heartfelt music of Sesame Street from the '70s through to the '90s, Rena's new album is entitled Imagine That!, and is released on August 28th, 2020.
Rena Strober started her career on Broadway in Les Miserables and went on to guest star on Disney's Liv & Maddie, VEEP, Shameless and voices hundreds of roles in animation and video games.
Rena is also a voice teacher in Los Angeles and specialized in working with children who are blind.
Featuring guest stars Jason Alexander, French Stewart & ML Wooley, also joining Rena on this magical musical quest is DOTZ, the Blind Children's choir - who have all worked with Rena as her voice students.
Other guest singers include world renown opera singer Cristina Jones, Deborah Grausman (who voices Elmo's smartphone 'Smartie'), legally blind Cabaret Artist with Albinism Marleena Barber, and more.
1. 'Somebody Come and Play'
3. 'Imagine That!'
4. 'Being Green'
5. 'I'm Pretty/I'm an Aardvark' (French Stewart & Jason Alexander)
6. 'I Don't Want to Live on the Moon'
7. 'What Makes Music'
8. 'Candy Hearts & Paper Flowers' (featuring Jason Alexander)
10. 'What is Braille? (Scene)'
11. 'Believe in Yourself'
12. 'To Love a Child'
13. 'High Middle Low' (Cristina Jones & Michael Leon Wooley)
14. 'One Small Voice'
Produced by Fred Mollin (Rita Wilson, Linda Ronstadt, Lyle Lovett, Billy Joel, Steve Webb, and many others), the wondrously vibrant, and highly affirmative album opens with the gentle pop hipsway of 'Somebody Come and Play' and continues merrily onward with DOTZ, The Blind Children's Choir shining brightly on 'Sing,' the exquisitely sung title track from Strober 'Imagine That!', and then favorites such as both 'Being Green' and the adorably humorous 'I'm Pretty/I'm an Aardvark' (featuring the unmistakable vocal talents of both French Stewart & Jason Alexander).
Next up is the ornate 'I Don't Want to Live on the Moon' which is backed by the rock 'n' roll of 'What Makes Music,' the beautiful 'Candy Hearts & Paper Flowers' (this time, a cute duet with Strober and Alexander), the delightful storytelling charm of 'Imagination,' and then both the spoken word 'What is Braille? (Scene)' and the upbeat fun of 'Believe in Yourself.'
The album then rounds out with the '70s pop flow of 'To Love a Child,' a rousing rendition of 'High Middle Low' (featuring Strober, Cristina Jones & Michael Leon Wooley, and enhanced by a musical saw, washboard, plectrum banjo, and also a tuba), and then closes out with the stunningly beautiful 'One Small Voice.'
Official Purchase Link
Rena Strober @ Twitter
Rena Strober @ Instagram
Title - 'John The Revelator'
Artist - John Fusco and the X-Road Riders
For those not in the know, Vermont bluesman John Fusco and his band the X-Road Riders will follow up their acclaimed 2019 self-titled debut with the 20-track double album John the Revelator, due out July 31, 2020 on Checkerboard Lounge Recordings.
More than three decades after, as a teenager, Fusco ran away from his Vermont home to Louisiana and Mississippi, returning with a semi-autobiographical screenplay called Crossroads, the writer-musician returned to the south to film his Netflix hit The Highwaymen, finding time to jam with Cody Dickinson and deliver the aforementioned album.
Here on John The Revelator he comes back with 18 new songs and two covers spread across the two discs.
1. 'John The Revelator'
2. 'Baker Man'
3. 'Bone Deep'
4. 'It Takes A Man'
5. 'Ophelia (Oh, I Feel Ya)'
6. 'Don't Mess Up A Good Thing'
7. 'Applejack Brandy'
8. 'Why You Chose Me'
9. 'Bad Dog'
10. 'Snake Oil Man'
1. 'Song For Peter'
3. 'Hottest Part Of The Flame'
4. 'Language Of Angels'
5. 'Fool's Fire'
6. 'Baby, Let's Not Borrow'
7. 'Moonstone Lady'
8. 'Motel Laws Of Arizona'
9. 'Good Money After Bad'
10. 'The Sun Also Rises'
For this expansive new album, Fusco has assembled a cast of modern blues stars: Dickinson (the North Mississippi Allstars), who produced Fusco’s first, appears behind the board again and also contributes background vocals, drums, bass, guitars, dobro, piano, and electric washboard.
Vocalist Risse Norman, who has toured and recorded with the North Mississippi Allstars and Samantha Fish, also returns. They are joined by new Fusco collaborator Sarah Morrow, former trombonist for Ray Charles and bandleader for Dr. John.
The big-name collaborations also extend to the album’s cover, which features artwork by Bobby Whitlock, best known as a keyboard player for Sam & Dave, Delaney & Bonnie, and Derek & the Dominoes, among others.
Oh, and Fusco also brings back his “northern chapter” of the X-Road Riders from his Vermont home.
Opening with the atmospheric, Gospel-laced, evocatively moody title track, 'John The Revelator' (itself a cover of a blues standard made famous by Son House), Fusco backs that up seamlessly with the gruff slide guitar, stripped-down sound of 'Baker Man,' the Hammond and harmonica-led, bawdy blues rocker 'Bone Deep,' the upbeat and funky horn work of 'It Takes A Man,' and then the piano and organ masterpiece 'Ophelia (Oh, I Feel Ya).'
The Gospel and blues-influenced duet 'Don't Mess Up A Good Thing' is definitely one of the stand out tracks here on the first disc, and that's followed by the lo-fi, tender reminiscing of 'Applejack Brandy,' the lonesome, road weary flow of 'Why You Chose Me,' coming to a close on the soulful Hammond and light guitar work of 'Bad Dog' and the three ring circus appeal of the satirical 'Snake Oil Man.'
The second disc opens with the quietly passive ballad 'Song For Peter' which is followed by the mid-tempo jaunt of 'Jacqueline'
("She comes walking out her front door, big sweet smile like Mary Tyler Moore"), the low down, percussive tale of doomed lovers within 'Hottest Part Of The Flame,' and then some achingly heartfelt recall is found within 'Language Of Angels,' before we get Fusco's excellent guitar work coming to the fore on 'Fool's Fire.'
Another stand out track for me is the piano and guitar masterpiece, combined with Fusco's trademark vocals, 'Baby, Let's Not Borrow,' which is backed by the gilded 'Moonstone Lady,' the gentle blues rocker that encapsulates those down-and-out drifters of 'Motel Laws Of Arizona,' the Hammond and Horn-enriched, Gospel and blues 'Good Money After Bad,' coming to a close on the warmly expansive 'The Sun Also Rises.'
“The first album was a loose, high-octane jam sesh, and Cody hit the record button. This next one digs into some deeper emotional clay as with ‘Language of Angels,’ ‘Applejack Brandy,’ and ‘Ophelia,’” says Fusco of the more subdued, gospel-laced material he cut at Meadowlark on the studio’s grand piano.
“Braiding the more emotional ballads in with the raw blues rockers and traditional blues stuff, it makes the album a little more unexpected and mercurial.”
John Fusco @ Twitter
Title - 'The Dream That Holds This Child'
Artist - The Sweet Water Warblers
For those not in the know, if the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, then The Sweet Water Warblers are no exception.
Comprised of Michigan songbirds Rachael Davis, Lindsay Lou, and May Erlewine, the folk trio’s organic vocal harmonies and seamlessly interwoven instrumentation leaves listeners breathless.
The Sweet Water Warblers came together in 2014, for a single performance at the Hoxeyville Music Festival upon request by the promoter.
From the beginning, there was a unique connection between the three artists, a bond forged by a mutual passion for social change and expansion of the soul through music.
With three-part vocal harmonies that are sublime, the singing sirens and multi-instrumentalists saw the release of their first EP, With You, in 2017.
The repertoire swinging from gospel and bluegrass to soul and even joyful interpretations of pop, The Warblers have just released their first full studio album, The Dream That Holds This Child this past May 15th, 2020.
Produced by Dan Knobler (Lake Street Dive, Caroline Spence), the album serves to empower and uplift spirits, and offer refuge, solidarity and support through its focus on modern femininity.“Our sound is a place of refuge. Its roots are deep, and its arms are stretched open wide,” says Lou. “This is the gospel of creating beauty from pain."
“We recognize an imbalance in the imagery and symbolism of the divine,” adds Davis. “When we sing gospel, we sing from a source deep within us that honors and elevates the feminine as much as the masculine.”
1. 'Turn To Stone'
2. 'Wishing Well'
3. 'Something More'
4. 'Mad At You'
7. 'Right With Me'
8. 'Righteous Road'
9. 'Do You Know The Chorus'
10. 'Mother's Voice'
Opening with the gently ornate 'Turn To Stone,' they follow that up with the Stevie Nicks-esque, mid-tempo rocker 'Wishing Well,' the lo-fi 'Something More,' and then both the Dixie Chicks-esque, foot-tappin' 'Mad At You' and then the Gospel-infused, handclapping passion of 'Hallelujah' is brought to the fore.
The beautiful, free flowing, driving with the windows down, arm out catching the warm breeze 'Summertime' is up next and is followed by the earnest 'Right With Me,' the spiritual 'Righteous Road,' and then the album comes to a close on the banjo-led 'Do You Know The Chorus' and then the simply breathtaking, collectively ethereal ambiance of 'Mother's Voice.'
Official Purchase Link
The Sweet Water Warblers @ Facebook
The Sweet Water Warblers @ Instagram
Title - 'The Big Game'
Artist - OGD
For those not in the know, The Big Game is the debut release from OGD featuring Derek Olivero (guitars, lead vocals), Bobby Gavin (drums), and Dave DeRanieri (bass).
The NYC-based power-trio recorded the album with legendary drummer Jerry Marotta as producer in upstate New York at Dreamland Recording Studios.
Hailing from the ashes of Outland, Olivero and DeRanieri joined forces with Gavin to form OGD creating modern day rock with shades of Rush, Kiss, and even Clutch.
The Big Game (out August 24th, 2020) features 10 original compositions co-written by Olivero, Gavin, DeRanieri.
1. 'Young Love'
2. 'Sweet Life'
3. 'The Word'
4. 'Out in the West'
5. 'Innocence Ran'
6. 'Setting Sun'
8. 'Scary Night'
Opening with the guitar and drum-led, forceful rocker 'Young Love,' they back that up with some funky guitar work on 'Sweet Life,' then follow that up seamlessly with the constructively free flowing 'The Word,' the atmospheric storytelling of 'Out In The West,' and then the, what seems at first, beautiful acoustic guitar ballad, that soon bleeds into the full on rock of 'Innocence Ran.'
The drum led 'Setting Sun' is then backed by the '90s grunge guitar rock sounds of 'Dreamland,' the powerhaus, gruffly vocalized 'Scary Night,' coming to a close on the frenetically sculptured 'Unknown,' and then the thoughtful, instrument showcasing 'Outland' wraps things up nicely.
“I love the record we made. I love these maniacs. We are now lifelong friends and the record is finally about to hit the airwaves. ‘The Big Game’ watch for the videos. Seek out the music. I mean what I say.” - Jerry Marotta
Famed album cover designer Hugh Syme (Rush, Aerosmith, Dream Theater) was recruited to create a package for the CD and vinyl harking back to the pre-digital days of rock-n-roll including a 20 page booklet of Hugh’s art.
Official Purchase Link
OGD @ Facebook
Title - 'Giants'
Artist - Days Between Stations
For those not in the know, Days Between Stations is the creative partnership between guitarist Sepand Samzadeh and keyboardist Oscar Fuentes.
The duo came together in Los Angeles in November 2003, and named the band after the 1985 novel by Steve Erickson.
The band’s sound – Samzadeh calls it “art-rock,” Fuentes labels it “post-prog” – reflects their varied influences, as well as a shared disregard for stylistic boundaries.
Days Between Stations' debut self-titled CD was released in October 2007, on Bright Orange Records, their expansive sophomore album, In Extremis was released in 2013, and their third album Giants will be released September 21st, 2020.
The album features guest appearances from Yes bassist Billy Sherwood, who also worked on production of the band's third album, former XTC bassist Colin Moulding, who also appeared on the band's 2013 album In Extremis, and Pink Floyd backing vocalist Durga McBroom.
1. 'Spark' (16:54)
2. 'Witness the End of the World' (featuring Durga McBroom) (3:56)
3. 'Another Day' (9:38)
4. 'Goes by Gravity' (featuring Colin Moulding) (4:51)
5. 'Giants' (12:58)
6. 'The Gathering' (4:09)
7. 'The Common Thread' (7:47)
Described as a "movie for your ears" (by Billy Sherwood himself), this all-inclusive, prog rock masterpiece opens with the simply stunning, free flowing, Hammond-led opus 'Spark' (which features Sherwood on vocals), and then backs that up seamlessly with the sweepingly gracious ballad 'Witness the End of the World' (featuring McBroom), and then the mid-tempo, slowly revealing rock of 'Another Day' (again featuring Sherwood).
Up next is, especially being a huge XTC fan, one of my own personal favorites, the lush XTC-esque vocalizations and orchestrations of 'Goes by Gravity' (featuring XTC's Moulding, of course), then comes the title track, the building, euphoric storytelling (a tale of watching a loved one being struck down by dementia) of the title track 'Giants' (again featuring Sherwood), with the album rounding out on the acoustic guitar instrumental 'The Gathering,' closing o the beautiful, Peter Gabriel-esque ambiance of the magnificent and effervescent 'The Common Thread' (featuring Sherwood).
Official Purchase Link
Days Between Stations @ Facebook
Title - 'Tessellated Resonance'
Artist - Dave Schoepke
For those not in the know, drummer Dave Schoepke, best known for his work with Jethro Tull legend Martin Barre, as well as The Willy Porter Band, will be releasing his second solo drum album Tessellated Resonance on August 5th, 2020.
The album comes on the heels of his critically acclaimed debut album from last year Drums On Low and features eleven brand new, all-drums compositions with no overdubbing or editing - and everything recorded entirely live.
1. 'Earth Calls'
2. 'Voices Welcome'
7. 'Sounds After Life'
8. 'Air Above'
10. 'Beyond The Slanting Surfaces'
11. 'The Churning Void'
Opening with the resonant 'Earth Calls,' Dave backs that up with the rhythmic 'Voices Welcome,' the heartier 'Hartundi,' the lighter melodies of 'Loomfixer' and then both the nature-inspired, atmospheric 'Nemophilist' and the mid-tempo, foot-tapping flow of 'Shorn.'
Next up is the methodical 'Sounds After Life' which is followed by the tempered 'Air Above,' the snare drum approach of 'Currents,' with this highly inventive album rounding out with the ambiance of 'Beyond The Slanting Surfaces,' and then closing on the stoic, yet all-embracing 'The Churning Void.'
Official Purchase Link
Dave Schoepke @ Facebook
Dave Schoepke @ Twitter
Dave Schoepke @ Instagram
Dave Schoepke @ YouTube
Title - 'Soca Gold 2020'
Artist - Various
Dance, wine, parade and jump!
It’s time to move to the sounds of SOCA.
Soca music is a celebration of Caribbean rhythms and contemporary global dance beats.
Soca Gold 2020 is a blend of Caribbean, African, Latin and Western Dance Music flavors.
For over 20 years, this annual compilation has presented the best songs from breaking and biggest artists in the genre.
Out July 31st, 2020 this latest 2020 compilation features the annual highlight of summer celebrations throughout the Caribbean diaspora.
Showcasing the best new music from established hit makers (Bunji Garlin, Iwer George, Tony Prescott) and exciting developing artists (Jus D, Hypasounds, Jamesy P), Soca Gold 2020 will make your temperature rise!
1. 'Wet Fete' - Iwer George & Viking Ding Dong
2. 'Dive' - Fay-Ann Lyons
3. 'Freaky Gal' - Menace XL & Rucas HE
4. 'Don't Stop' - Supa Mario
5. 'The Struggle' - Bunji Garlin
6. 'Touch' - Jus D
7. 'I Can't Help Myself' - Edwin Yearwood
8. 'Anna Anna' - GI
9. 'Omalay' - Super Blue & Ravi B
10. 'Wine Low' - Bunji Garlin & Fay-Ann Lyons
11. 'Some Time' - Leadpipe & Just Jay
12. 'Fair Sa (Feh Sa)' - Hypasounds
13. 'It Ain't Me' - Lil Rick
14. 'Doh Give Ah' - Jamesy P
15. 'Party' - Tony Prescott
16. 'Manita' - Rikki Jai (feat. Neniita)
17. 'Especially' - Ricky T
The 2CD set also includes a DJ mix disc by Frankie P aka #MaddYute.
We begin with the frenetic dancefloor, smart collaboration on 'Wet Fete' featuring Iwer George & Viking Ding Dong and that's backed by the sultry swirl of 'Dive' from Fay-Ann Lyons, the mighty solid 'Freaky Gal' from both Menace XL & Rucas HE, and then Supa Mario's pounding 'Don't Stop,' and then comes one of the baddest Soca artists ever, the brilliant Bunji Garlin with 'The Struggle.'
Jus D's infectious rhymes and rhythm's are brought to the fore on the reggae synth hit 'Touch,' which is backed by The General himself, Edwin Yearwood's fabulously free flowing 'I Can't Help Myself,' the story of a market vender, 'Anna Anna' from GI, and then the old school Calypso/Soca vibe of 'Omalay' from Super Blue & Ravi B.
Next up is the powerful, yet sexy 'Wine Low' from Bunji Garlin & Fay-Ann Lyons and that's backed by a song you will definitely need to find a dance partner for, the rhythmic 'Some Time' from Leadpipe & Just Jay.
The electronic sound of reggae comes to the for on 'Fair Sa (Feh Sa)' by Hypasounds and that's followed by Lil Rick's rambunctious 'It Ain't Me,' the funky 'Doh Give Ah' from Jamesy P, the big bad Soca sounds of Tony Prescott on 'Party,' before closing out with one of the dancefloor stand outs here, the vibrant 'Manita' (from Rikki Jai, featuring the Venezuelan señorita herself, Neniita), and then we get the tough rhythms of Ricky T's 'Especially.'
As aforementioned, the second disc features a DJ mix disc by Frankie P Spoil Bratzz.
Official 2CD Purchase Link
Title - 'Together We Stand'
Artist - Richie Spice
For those not in the know, celebrated reggae artist Richie Spice has a new album out now entitled Together We Stand (VP Records).
Recorded at various studios in Kingston, Jamaica, including the Marley family’s Tuff Gong, and including productions by seasoned producers Clive Hunt, Stephen Stanley and Element Music Group (formerly 5th Element), the album also features input from Chronixx, Dre Island and Kathryn Aria.
Richie Spice has recorded 9 albums for VP Records, including his critically acclaimed debut recording Spice in Your Life.
Other key releases include Streets To Africa, Gideon Boot which debuted at #1 on the Billboard Reggae chart, in May 2008 and Book of Job in 2011.
1. 'Blessings (The Album Intro)'
2. 'Together We Stand'
3. 'Di Dub Dance'
4. 'Eyes To See The World'
5. 'Beautiful Life' (feat. Kathryn Aria)
7. 'Valley of Jehoshaphat (Red Hot)'
8. 'I Use The Herbs'
10. 'Unity We Need' (feat. Chronixx)
11. 'Mother Nature'
12. 'Murderer' (feat. Dre Island)
13. 'De Stress'
14. 'There's A Way (Remix)'
15. 'Put This In The Schools'
Together We Stand musically presents to you, from the insight of our own living iconic legend Richie Spice, the love and togetherness of humanity, the protection of nature, the love and respect for women, and advocating for the youths through social welfare and the true teachings of Jah.
Indeed, Richie Spice has never ceased, over the years, to lift the banner for the freeing of the herb (Ganja) and even now that the herb is taking world center stage in medicine, recreation and wealth the singer is still holding the torch.
The album opens with the atmospheric, spoken word envibed 'Blessings (The Album Intro)' and then bleeds seamlessly into the invigorating title track 'Together We Stand,' the islands hipsway of 'Di Dub Dance' and then both the euphoric 'Eyes To See The World' and the magnificently sunny disposition and ambiance of 'Beautiful Life' (feat. Kathryn Aria).
Next up is the reggae groove of 'California' which is followed by the dancehall vibe of 'Valley of Jehoshaphat (Red Hot),' the methodical 'I Use The Herbs,' and then the hip-pop of 'Dabbin'' and one of my own personal favorites, the free flowing 'Unity We Need' (feat. Chronixx).
That's followed by the reggae bounce of 'Mother Nature,' which is backed by the thematic 'Murderer' (feat. Dre Island), the gentle breeze of 'De Stress,' the rhythmic melodies of 'There's A Way (Remix),' coming to a close on the one-two dub step of 'Put This In The Schools.'
Amazon Purchase Link
Title - 'Collective Expression'
Artist - Vance Provey, Bob Gorry, Paul Gunsberg
For those not in the know, Collective Expression (out June 19th, 2020 via NHIC Records), the debut album from the improvising trio of Vance Provey (Trumpet), Bob Gorry (Guitar), and Paul Gunsberg (Drums and Saxophone), is a focused musical exploration with three distinct personalities combining into a unified expression of the musical moment.
Indeed, the trio has a cohesive sound contrasting Provey’s luxurious trumpet tone providing sharp attacks, inventive motifs and languid long tones with Gorry’s guitar work that varies from rapid fire lines to melodic counterpoint to ambient encouragement.
Gunsberg’s drums propel everything with an unhurried pulse and layers of compelling rhythms while his abstract soprano saxophone takes things to a whole new level.
1. 'Cyclone' (2:27)
2. 'Extraction' (6:41)
3. 'Miles to Go' (6:43)
4. 'Convolution' (10:27)
5. 'Strap Hanger' (5:27)
6. 'Savage Detectives' (3:37)
7. 'Iron Mike' (8:27)
8. 'Still Time' (4:41)
Opening with the at times spiraling, deftly alert, and yet always fervently, and melodically jarring 'Cyclone,' they then back that up with the laid back 'Extraction,' the thoughtful presence of 'Miles to Go,' and then the aching yearn, strived for and reached, musical arc that only certain instruments can make within 'Convolution.'
Next up is the playful 'Strap Hanger,' the overlapping, dulcet, yet always ornate foundation building of 'Savage Detectives,' which they back with the Outer Limits-esque, quietly sculptured bluster of 'Iron Mike,' before closing this musical work of art with the, at times, elegant, skating and sliding maneuvers of 'Still Time.'
Simply put, Collective Expression is a wonderful testament to interaction and improvisation that expands and contracts, grinds and soars. From the lively introduction that is 'Cyclone' to the ever-evolving 'Miles to Go,' the dialogue between the players — their melodies, timbre, and pace — is continually shifting as they respond to each other's individual and collective voices.
Official Purchase Link
Title - 'Whoosh!'
Artist - Deep Purple
For those not in the know, in recent years, Deep Purple has progressively moved into new areas, piquing the interest of fans who were not born when the mighty Purple machine ruled the music world.
Their holy grail of In Rock (1970), Machine Head (1972) and Made In Japan (1973) catapulted Deep Purple to the top in concert grosses and album sales around the world, with tracks such as 'Smoke On The Water' ascending them to mega-status.
The band’s 20th studio album inFinite has become one of their most successful albums ever, braking chart records accumulated by the hard rock legends over an impressive 50-year history.
Their brand new album Whoosh! (released August 7, 2020 via Ear Music) sees Deep Purple for the third time joining forces with producer Bob Ezrin, who invited the band to Nashville to write and record new songs.
1. 'Throw My Bones'
2. 'Drop the Weapon'
3. 'We're All the Same in the Dark'
4. 'Nothing at All'
5. 'No Need to Shout'
6. 'Step by Step'
7. 'What the What'
8. 'The Long Way Round'
9. 'The Power of the Moon'
10. 'Remission Possible'
11. 'Man Alive'
12. 'And the Address'
13. 'Dancing in My Sleep'
This quite magnificent album opens with the invigorating boot-tappin' 'Throw My Bones' and then backs that up seamlessly with the Hammond-led rocker 'Drop the Weapon' and follows those up with the mid-tempo AOR of 'We're All the Same in the Dark,' the melodically precise, and highly orchestrated guitar work of 'Nothing at All,' and then both 'No Need to Shout' and the magnificent organ work found within the euphoric one-two punch of 'Step by Step.'
Next comes one of my own personal favorites, the early MeatLoaf-esque rocker of 'What the What,' which is followed by the AOR of 'The Long Way Round,' and then comes another musical delight in the form of the airy, mid-tempo ballad 'The Power of the Moon.'
Then comes another stand out track, the absolutely stunning, fuzzy guitar work and Hammond back bone of 'Remission Possible' which is backed by the atmospheric, spatial rock elegance of 'Man Alive,' with the album coming to a close on the full on blues rocker 'And the Address,' closing on the mid-tempo velocity of bounce found on 'Dancing in My Sleep.'
“We’ve included everything that made the whole band smile, including Bob Ezrin. We’ve always enjoyed making music and having the incredible luxury of a loyal audience.” - Steve Morse.
Whoosh! will be available as Limited CD+DVD Mediabook (incl. the 1h feature “Roger Glover and Bob Ezrin in conversation” and, for the first time, the full live performance at Hellfest 2017 as video), 2LP+DVD Edition, Limited Boxset and Digital on August 7th, 2020.
Official Purchase Links
Deep Purple @ Facebook
Deep Purple @ Twitter
Deep Purple @ Instagram
Deep Purple @ YouTube
Title - 'Flamin' Groovies Now' [Reissue]
Artist - Flamin' Groovies
For those not in the know, the band that played a major role in the evolution of power pop and are considered a forerunner of punk rock, the Flamin' Groovies, are readying to reissue two of their most popular, and now-classic albums: Now (July 10th) and Jumpin' In the Night (August 7th).
While it took a long and torturous five years for the Flamin' Groovies to find their way back to an American record deal (with Shake Some Action), 18 months later the band had a follow-up ready.
And while 1978's Now isn't quite as cohesive as the album that preceded it, in many respects the band sounds at once tighter and more relaxed (with some time on the road firming up the rhythm section) while giving the songs a bit more room to swing.
The band lost guitarist James Ferrell during the post-Shake Some Action tour, but former Charlatans picker Mike Wilhelm proved to be a more than simpatico replacement on these sessions.
And while leader Cyril Jordan didn't come up with another new song as transcendent as 'Shake Some Action,' 'All I Wanted' comes pretty close.
But it's significant that most of the songs on Now are covers, and while all of them are played with love, enthusiasm, and the right period flair, the chance to listen to some newly original material was obviously limited here.
1. 'Feel A Whole Lot Better' (2:26)
2. 'Between the Lines' (4:15)
3. 'Ups and Downs' (3:07)
4. 'Move It' (2:57)
5. 'Take Me Back' (2:50)
6. 'Reminiscing' (2:03)
7. 'Good Laugh Mun' (2:55)
8. 'Yeah My Baby' (3:55)
9. 'House of Blue Lights' (2:18)
10. 'Blue Turns to Grey' (2:29)
11. 'Paint It Black' (3:04)
12. 'All I Wanted' (3:02)
13. 'Don't Put Me On' (4:12)
14. 'There's A Place' (1:50)
Released about two years after their great Shake Some Action album, the Flamin' Groovies had once again changed their sound, beginning with that well regarded previous album to this.
Working with producer Dave Edmunds (one of my all-time favorite musicians) again, they continued to do great covers of pop tunes from the sixties, as well as throwing into the mix some terrific original songs too.
What I like here is their selection, choosing some obscure songs that I myself wasn't actually familiar with, but that they did a fantastic job introducing them to me.
Also, their own original songs are great too, and to my mind, the Groovies never really got enough credit for their intuitive moments of originality.
Anyhoo, moving on and this now reissued album contains great covers of songs from the Byrds, the Beatles' lesser know 'There's a Place,' the Rolling Stones (especially their rarity, 'Blue Turns to Grey'), Paul Revere & the Raiders' 'Ups and Downs,' and even a quite magnificent pre-Beatles Cliff Richard song, 'Move It.'
Oh, and for my money, Now also has one of their best original songs, 'Between the Lines.' This whole album sounds great and the team behind it has done a wondrous job in the remastering department.
• Cyril Jordan: Lead/rhythm guitars, guitars, mellotron, vocals
• Chris Wilson: Vocals, Rhythm guitar, harpsichord
• Mike Wilhelm: Lead/rhythm guitars
• George Alexander: Bass/vocals
• David Wright: Drums
• All percussion: David Chris, George
• Dave Edmunds: Piano, guitar on 'Move It' and Piano, vocals on 'Yeah My Baby'
Official Purchase Link
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Title - 'Jumpin' in the Night' [Reissue]
Artist - Flamin' Groovies
For those not in the know, the band that played a major role in the evolution of power pop and are considered a forerunner of punk rock, the Flamin' Groovies, are readying to reissue two of their most popular, and now-classic albums: Now (July 10th) and Jumpin' In the Night (August 7th).
While it took a long and torturous five years for the Flamin' Groovies to find their way back to an American record deal (with Shake Some Action), 18 months later the band had a follow-up ready, and it was Now.
And while 1978's Now wasn't quite as cohesive as the album that preceded it, this third, and last of the Flamin' Groovies late-'70s albums for Sire, Jumpin' in the Night storms out of the gate with the title song (a top-shelf rocker that brings the muscle of the Flamingo-era lineup of the Groovies to the more style-conscious British Invasion sonics of Cyril Jordan's version).
Though Jumpin' in the Night never rocks that hard or that well again, it does sound decidedly tighter and tougher than 1978's Flamin' Groovies Now, and guitarist Mike Wilhelm, a new addition to the Now lineup, is much better integrated into their wall of guitars, with the Groovies sounding more solid than they did a year before.
1. 'Jumping In the Night' (3:24)
2. 'Next One Crying' (2:36)
3. 'First Plane Home' (3:50)
4. 'In the U.S.A.' (3:20)
5. 'Down, Down, Down' (2:49)
6. 'Yes I Am' (2:35)
7. 'Werewolves of London' (3:37)
8. 'It Won't Be Wrong' (1:57)
9. 'Please, Please Me' (2:00)
10. 'Tell Me Again' (2:00)
11. 'Absolutely, Sweet Marie' (3:15)
12. '5D (Fifth Dimension )' (2:41)
13. 'Lady Friend' (2:31)
Unlike the first two albums, which were produced by Dave Edmunds Jumping in the Night was produced by group member Cyril Jordan in collaboration with Roger Bechirian.
However, there is no apparent difference in the sound, and Edmunds' spirit shines throughout the album.
The first Sire album, Shake Some Action, was characterized by fine original songwriting mixed with some solid cover version and with Edmunds’ fine feeling for pure clear sound, and the album has become a power-pop classic.
The sequel Now suffered a bit from more uneven songwriting, but it was still a fine album in the same vein of its predecessor.
In truth, the same thing can be said about this album. Fine sound and somewhat uneven original songwriting, but otherwise a solid album that easily measures up to Now.
Group members Cyril Jordan and Chris Wilson are, like on the previous two albums, behind the original songs. As a songwriting team they are distinguished with catchy tunes that bear clear signs of inspiration from The Beatles and The Byrds.
Six songs the duo contributed to this album, and with fine cuts such as 'Yes I Am,' 'Tell Me Again' and 'First Plane Home,' they present themselves from their strongest side.
The other three are song solid enough, but less significant, in my humble opinion.
Among the cover songs we get two Byrds songs, '5D' and 'Lady Friend,' which are as good as you could even hope them to be. Especially the latter, which here is given an interpretation that actually makes it more immediately catchy than The Byrds themselves!
Also the Stones' '19th Nervous Breakdown' and Dylan's 'Absolutely Sweet Marie' are given right royal treatments here, with the highlight for me, the Groovies' jangly Rickenbacker cover of Warren Zevon's 'Werewolves of London.'
• Cyril Jordan: Lead/rhythm guitars, mellotron, vocals
• Chris Wilson: Vocals, Rhythm guitar, harpsichord
• Mike Wilhelm: Lead/rhythm guitars
• George Alexander: Bass/vocals
• David Wright: Drums
Oh, and for my money, as aforementioned, 'Jumpin' in the Night' also has one of their best original songs, the blistering title track. Indeed, this whole album sounds great and the team behind it has done a wondrous job in the remastering department.
Official Purchase Link
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Title - 'A New Day Now'
Artist - Joe Bonamassa
For those not in the know, twenty years ago, Joe Bonamassa took the music world by storm when he released his debut solo album A New Day Yesterday (which itself was titled after a Jethro Tull song written by Ian Anderson in 1969).
Though he’d already been on the scene for years as a child prodigy and even opened for B.B. King at the age of 12, the album launched a career that, two decades later, has seen Bonamassa rise to the top of his field - with most recently being named Guitar World’s #1 top blues guitarist in the world.
Today, the blues-rock titan announces a revamped version to be released on August 7th, 2020 via J&R Adventures, entitled A New Day Now, that has been completely re-sung by Bonamassa and remixed and remastered by long-time producer Kevin Shirley.
1. 'Cradle Rock'
2. 'Walk In My Shadow'
3. 'A New Day Yesterday'
4. 'I Know Where I Belong'
5. 'Miss You, Hate You'
6. 'Nuthin' I Wouldn't Do (For A Woman Like You)'
7. 'Colour And Shape'
8. 'Headaches To Heartbreaks'
9. 'Trouble Waiting'
10. 'If Heartaches Were Nickels'
11. 'Current Situation'
12. 'Don't Burn Down That Bridge'
13. 'Hey Mona' [Bonus Track]
14. 'I Want You' [Bonus Track]
15. 'Line Of Denial' [Bonus Track]
This quite magnificent album opens with the lead single, the soaring vocals of Rory Gallagher's 'Cradle Rock' (which also now comes complete with a new guitar outro), and backs that up seamlessly with the Free's 'Walk In My Shadow,' the quintessentially Jethro Tull's 'A New Day Yesterday,' the earnest blues rocker 'I Know Where I Belong,' and then the self-penned, low slung magnificence of 'Miss You, Hate You.'
Next up we get one of my own personal favorites off this still-brilliant album, a funky rendition of the Al Cooper song 'Nuthin' I Wouldn't Do (For A Woman Like You),' which is backed by another original composition, the mid-tempo, melodic rocker 'Colour And Shape,' the raw blues sound of 'Headaches To Heartbreaks,' and then both the one-two blues punch of the high tempo 'Trouble Waiting' and a stunningly deep, clawingly vocalized take of Warren Haynes' 'If Heartaches Were Nickels.'
The original album then rounds out with another Bonamassa original, 'Current Situation,' and then a searing version of Albert King’s 'Don't Burn Down That Bridge,' with the incredibly rare bonus tracks (all of which were recorded with Stevie Van Zandt producing) being the gently frenetic, early STP-esque 'Hey Mona,' the vibrant 'I Want You,' coming to a close on the drum-led beauty 'Line Of Denial.'
In truth, there are phrases that sound straight from Led Zeppelin, Stevie Ray Vaughn and Jimi Hendrix. Indeed, not only can Bonamassa play in the same style as all of these distinctive guitar voices, he also has his own unique sound - which he uses to great effect.
Furthermore, his technical mastery really is something to behold at every given musical turn here. Simply magnificent.
In custom Bonamassa fashion, Joe has shared a personal message to fans, straight from his “Nerdville” home. “The reason we went back and remixed it, and re-sang it, and pulled from the original masters was because I never felt like I deserved a guy like Tom Dowd to produce my first album,” he confesses.
“I was an infant as far as being an artist. Tom saw a little pebble in a stream, that could travel down and eventually become this nugget of gold, if you want to call it that, and he had a vision for me that I didn’t see. I appreciate that and I wanted to pay tribute to him as a man who mentored me through that time. I hope you guys enjoy it.”
Official Purchase Link
Joe Bonamassa @ Facebook
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Title - 'Only A Man'
Artist - Joee Corso
For those not in the know, genuine, forgiving and weathered like your favorite pair of jeans, singer-songwriter Joee Corso’s debut album for Woodward Avenue Records, Only A Man was released digitally and then on CD this past June 12th, 2020.
Written by Corso on his acoustic guitar, the set produced by two-time GRAMMY winner Paul Brown provides an inviting showcase for the earnest storyteller to spin his melodic yarns amidst folksy Americana rhythms.
1. 'Havana Winds'
2. 'Garden of Love'
3. 'Starlight Chandelier'
4. 'Young Lovers and Friends'
5. 'Last Time Around'
6. 'My Love'
7. 'We Gone'
8. 'One More Shot'
9. 'Only A Man'
10. 'Young Lovers and Friends (Reprise)'
The album opens with the gentle, slide guitar harmonies and islands hipsway of 'Havana Winds,' and backs that up with the mid-tempo, slow rockers 'Garden of Love' (which also features Wendy Moten) and 'Starlight Chandelier,' with the acoustic, easy-going reminiscing ballad 'Young Lovers and Friends' and the cheeringly optimistic 'Last Time Around' (which itself features mandolin and guitar from Davey Johnstone, who has been playing in Elton John’s band for 45 years) along next.
Then we get one of my own personal favorites, the beautiful, albeit haunting ballad 'My Love,' which is followed by the countrified, foot-stomper 'We Gone' (a song about regaining your freedom), the storytelling of love gone wrong in 'One More Shot, coming to a close on the lush, introspective title track, 'Only A Man,' and then ends with the cautiously rambunctious 'Young Lovers and Friends (Reprise).'
“The album stands up as something that’s an honest reflection of who I am as an artist and captures my voice in a perfectly imperfect way,” says Corso, who has already begun writing songs for the follow up.
Amazon Purchase Link
Joee Corso @ Facebook
Joe Corso @ Instagram
Title - 'New Day' [EP]
Artist - Madd Scientist
For those not in the know, Madd Scientist is a music producer, songwriter, recording artist, open format DJ, and proud gentleman bachelor.
Using the professional production software Cubase, Madd Scientist produces hip hop, reggaeton, dancehall, and deep house music specifically for the night club setting.
He spent years as an MC and promoter at various night clubs in downtown Long Beach, and evolved into a recording artist and DJ with his debut release Mass Appeal EP in 2016.
Madd Scientist has since developed an intimate familiarity with open format night club music, which he showcases on his exhilarating new release New Day EP, available in stores and online August 14th, 2020.
1. 'Foreign Life'
2. 'Madd Krazy'
3. 'Take Flight'
4. 'You Nasty'
5. 'Grinding Me (Gucci Girl)'
6. 'And I'
8. 'Grinding Me (Gucci Girl) Remix'
The New Day EP is music for people who enjoy night club venues, VIP bottle service, and weekend day parties, and features an exciting mix of West Coast hip hop, reggaeton, and dancehall.
"I love the atmosphere and intimacy of night clubs,” Madd Scientist has admitted, and that love shines through on stand out tracks like the gentle Latin hipsway of 'Madd Krazy,' the dancefloor hip-bounce of 'Take Flight' (feat. JTLR), the transcendent 'Grinding Me (Gucci Girl),' and the way too hot for radio, 'You Nasty.'
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Title - 'All The Misery Money Can Buy'
Artist - Gasoline Lollipops
For those not in the know, Gasoline Lollipops front man, Clay Rose was raised between an outlaw, truck-driving father in the mountains of Colorado and a country song-writing mama in the sticks outside of Nashville, Tennessee.
Clay’s penchant for open roads and trouble making are the backbone of the Gas Pops’ sound. The rest of the band consists of Don Ambory, Scott Coulter, “Bad” Brad Morse, and Kevin Matthews who all come equipped with music degrees from Chicago, Boston, Jacksonville, and Denver, respectively.
They each add flavors of their own background and heritage, further diversifying the band’s signature sound.
Fresh out of the legendary Dockside Studio in Lafayette, Louisiana, Gasoline Lollipops are promoting their new album, All The Misery Money Can Buy (out September 11th, 2020), which pursues happiness and the American Dream to the end of the rainbow and chokes on a pot of gold.
Gas Pops collaborated with Clay’s song-writing Mama, Donna Farar ('Last Thing I Needed' recorded by Willie Nelson and Chris Stapleton) to create this politically-charged union of soul music and Southern rock.
1. 'All The Misery Money Can Buy'
2. 'Dying Young'
3. 'Train To Ride'
4. 'Lady Liberty'
5. 'Get Up!'
6. 'Nights Are Short'
7. 'Flesh and Bone'
8. 'Taking Time'
9. 'Bound For Glory'
Opening with the blues majesty of 'All The Misery Money Can Buy,' they then back that up with the lo-fi ballad 'Dying Young,' the troubadour invoking Americana of 'Train To Ride,' and then both the upbeat rock of 'Lady Liberty' and the gently frenetic 'Get Up!'
Up next is the gentle ballad 'Nights Are Short' which is followed by the twanging guitars and Hammond key work of 'Flesh and Bone,' the drum-led, slow poke 'Taking Time,' the gruffly-sung 'Bound For Glory,' with the album rounding out on the low brow, sorrowful rendering of 'Gypsy,' and closing on the foot-tappin' growth of both storytelling and vocals of 'Sinnerman.'
Amazon Purchase Link
Gasoline Lollipops @ Facebook
Title - 'NewRootz'
Artist - Chalwa
For those not in the know, for the past 15 years, Chalwa has been sending out Positive Earthly Vibrations from the Mountains of Western North Carolina, and now the WORLD has finally found out what our friends in the “cool mountains” have known all along!
For 'Cool Mountains' is indeed the first single off Chalwa‘s just-released new album, NewRootz, released this past June 21st, 2020.
The album is a compilation of Chalwa’s most popular songs written over the past decade, now recorded with the current line-up at NewRootz Studio with J Ferris at the master command console.
With NewRootz truly now the band’s new foundation, this 8 piece Mountain Reggae band out of Asheville, NC is made up of Dennis Berndt on lead vocals and guitar, Dusty “D-Train” Brown on bass, Tim Marsh on guitar and vocals, Evan Ackerman on guitar, Joshua Lyn on drums, Nethali Percival on percussion and vibes, Bernard Carmen on keys and vocals, and Jason Hazinski on saxophone.
1. 'Cool Mountains'
2. 'Little Darlin'
3. 'Better Weather'
4. 'Slow It Down'
7.' Nice Day'
9. 'Giving Thanks'
The album opens with the aforementioned reggae, hip-pop breeze of 'Cool Mountains' and backs that up with the the free flowing majesty of 'Little Darlin' (featuring Tim Marsh), and then we get the warmly rounded, mid-tempo duo of 'Better Weather' and then 'Slow It Down.'
The tempo is raised a little for the dancehall reggae of 'Searchin' which is followed by the sing-along hipsway of 'Workin', the calming islands essence of 'Nice Day,' finally coming to a close on the rawly melodic tones of 'Irie,' and then the lowbrow ambiance of 'Giving Thanks.'
Chalwa represents a community giving thanks for life, one love and the continual growth of Music, Mind and Spirit. Sharing a connection with the Blue Mountains of Jamaica, Chalwa draws from the ancient roots of the Appalachia to grow a musical mediation and prayer.
Official Purchase Link
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Chalwa @ Instagram
Title - 'Across the Evening'
Artist - Jon Durant & Robert Jürjendal
For those not in the know, Across The Evening - by guitarists Jon Durant and Robert Jürjendal - further extends the ambient/jazz/world crossover music that both musicians have traversed throughout their diverse careers.
Featuring appearances from Colin Edwin (UK) on bass, Aleksei Saks (Estonia) on trumpet, and Andi Pupato (Switzerland) on percussion, this often beautiful and atmospheric album crosses multiple stylistic boundaries.
Furthermore, the final two tracks, 'Return to Russia' and 'Balkan Blue' are live recordings from the ensemble’s live performance in Tallin in 2019.
1. 'Early Evening Colors'
2. 'Distance Groove'
3. 'Reflective Sea'
5. 'Leading Indicator'
6. 'Beguiling Eyes'
7. 'On the Water'
8. 'Return to Russia'
9. 'Balkan Blue'
Opening with the atmospheric, and melodically fascinating 'Early Evening Colors' they back that up seamlessly with the building, at times moody ambiance of 'Distance Groove,' the all-encompassing kaleidoscope of auras found within 'Reflective Sea,' and then both the foot-tappin' beats of 'Mirage' and some wholly inspiring framework growth within 'Leading Indicator.'
One of my own personal favorites is the quietly melodious wonderment of 'Beguiling Eyes' which is followed by the stirring beguilement of 'On the Water,' with the album closing on those two aforementioned live tracks - the delicate 'Return to Russia' and the ornate, Eastern-inspired 'Balkan Blue' (which, if my ears don't deceive me, at times seemingly borrows a distinctive melodic hook from the film Close Encounters of the Third Kind!)
Amazon Purchase Link
Jon Durant @ Facebook
Title - 'Mariposas Cantan'
Artist - José Rizo's Mongorama
For those not in the know, José Rizo, the popular and influential disc jockey who hosts the long-running Jazz On The Latin Side on KKJZ (KJazz 88.1 FM) in Los Angeles is also notable as a bandleader and songwriter.
Indeed, in 2011 he founded Mongorama, a nonet inspired by conguero Mongo Santamaria’s early 1960s band.
Their third album, Mariposas Cantan (due out September 18th, 2020 via Saungu Records) following Mongorama and Baila Que Baila, features flutist Danilo Lozano (the group’s musical director), tenor-saxophonist Justo Almario, violinist Dayren Santamaria, pianist Joe Rotondi, bassist Ross Schodek, Joey De Leon on congas, Alfredo Ortiz on bongo, guiro and chekere, the late timbale master Ramon Banda (whose place is taken by George Ortiz on half of the set), singer James Zavaleta, conguero Joey De Leon, and a few guests, including: trombonist Francisco Torres who wrote nine of the arrangements and co-wrote five songs with Rizo.
Ramon Banda was one of the greatest timbale players in Latin jazz and, sadly, Mariposas Cantan is his final recording. Banda, who played with Poncho Sanchez for years, recorded with Cal Tjader, and was also a jazz drummer with organist Joey DeFrancesco, recorded six of the selections of Mariposas Cantan before becoming very ill and passing away.
In fact, his last recorded solo is on the track 'Mongorama,' with the entire album also now dedicated to him. This vivrantly alive album also includes Rizo’s 'Descarga Ramon Banda,' an exuberant piece performed by the full group plus Francisco Torres as a final farewell.
1. 'Mambo Mindoro'
2. 'Mariposas Cantan'
3. 'Helen of Jazz'
4. 'Fiesta De Charangueros'
5. 'A Little Dab'll Do Ya'
6. 'Quiero Menudo'
9. 'Watermelon Man'
10. 'Descarga Ramon Randa'
11. 'Como Fue'
12. 'East L.A. Meets Napa'
In truth, there are oh-so many highlights to Mariposas Cantan, especially given that it magnificently opens on Cal Tjader’s upbeat and oh-so vibrant 'Mambo Mindoro' (which also features violinist Santamaria) and backs that up seamlessly with the free flowing melodies of the title track love song sung by James Zavaleta, 'Mariposas Cantan,' the piano-led 'Helen of Jazz' (itself a tribute to the late disc jockey Helen Borgers who requested flutist Lozano on this piece) and then brings forth Alfredo Ortiz singing on 'Fiesta De Charangueros.'
Next up is the methodical, slow dance moves of 'A Little Dab'll Do Ya,' the fun swing of 'Quiero Menudo,' with the heat turned up next for 'Mongorama' and then we get two of the stand out tracks for me personally, the Latin hipsway of the playful 'Quindimbia' (where both Zavaleta and flutist Lozano interact to perfection), and the funky strides and beats of the ever-popular 'Watermelon Man.'
This emotively charged album then rounds out with the gently frenetic Latin vibes of 'Descarga Ramon Randa,' the dancefloor, slow shuffle ballad (featuring Yoshigei Rizo) of 'Como Fue,' closing on the melodiously perky 'East L.A. Meets Napa.'
Amazon Purchase Link
José Rizo's Mongorama @ Facebook
Title - 'When Lights Are Low'
Artist - Kenny Kotwitz & the LA Jazz Quintet
For those not in the know, a few years ago, producer Peter Maxymych, a big fan of the Art Van Damme Quintet, organized a group to bring back the classic sound for The Montreal Sessions.
That release featured one of Van Damme's few students, accordionist Kenny Kotwitz.
Now, in the centennial of Van Damme's birth, the LA Jazz Quintet has been organized with Kotwitz providing colorful arrangements in addition to his accordion.
Filled with studio and jazz veterans, each of whom have an endless number of credits, the LA Jazz Quintet consists of Kotwitz, guitarist John Chiodini, vibraphonist Nick Mancini, bassist Chuck Berghofer, and drummer Kendall Kay.
Although all of the musicians are superior soloists, the emphasis throughout their brand new recording, When Lights Are Low (which is released on August 1st, 2020 via PM Records) is on the sound of the ensemble, the blend between the instruments and relaxed tempos.
1. 'When Lights Are Low'
3. 'Cry Me A River'
5. 'When Sunny Gets Blue'
6. 'Crazy She Calls Me'
7. 'Darn That Dream'
8. 'Harlem Nocturne'
10. 'Mood Indigo'
11. 'Polka Dots and Moonbeams'
12. 'Stairway To The Stars'
13. 'When Lights Are Low (Reprise)'
Opening with the ornately beautiful, flowing ambiance of the title track, 'When Lights Are Low,' that's congenially followed by the delicate 'Skylark,' the mischievous 'Cry Me A River,' the slow dance magnificence of 'Estate,' and then both the melodious shuffle of 'When Sunny Gets Blue' and then the cautiously breezy 'Crazy She Calls Me.'
Then we get treated to the free flowing 'Darn That Dream' which itself is backed by the inquisitive notes of 'Harlem Nocturne,' the early evening perkiness of 'Manhattan,' and then one of my own personal favorites, the late night in Paris-inspired 'Mood Indigo.'
This musically transcendent new album then rounds out with the lush 'Polka Dots and Moonbeams,' the delicate orchestrations of 'Stairway To The Stars,' and comes to a close on 'When Lights Are Low (Reprise).'
Musicians: Kenny Kotwitz - Accordion and Celeste; John Chiodini - Guitar(s); Nick Mancini - Vibraphone; Chuck Berghofer - Upright bass; and Kendall Kay - Drums and Percussion.
Kenny Kotwitz @ Facebook
Title - 'Ones Upon A Time'
Artist - Paul Brown
Although I'm sure you are all fully aware by now, the term “Renaissance Man” dates back to the time of Leonardo da Vinci, who was described as a man of “unquenchable curiosity” and “feverishly inventive imagination.”
Paul Brown’s four decade journey through the worlds of pop, R&B and jazz is the modern day musical equivalent.
Starting as a drummer, he became an engineer for R&B legends (Diana Ross, Luther Vandross, Aretha Franklin) before evolving into a two time Grammy winning urban jazz producer (with over 60 #1 radio airplay hits) and finally a popular guitarist, artist and performer in his own right.
In the remarkable 12 years since he released his debut album Up Front, Brown has released ten albums (including three that hit the Top Ten on the Billboard Albums chart), scored countless hit singles, and done thousands of performances across the U.S. and internationally.
And yet, as he prepares to release his seventh album, Ones Upon A Time (out August 14th, 2020), his fourth collection on Woodward Avenue Records after The Funky Joint (2012), Truth B Told (2014), One Way Back (2016), Brown freely admits he is still trying to find himself as an artist.
Here on the cleverly entitled Ones Upon A Time, the two-time Grammy winner brings together a soulfully seductively and delightfully delectable batch of his favorite chart-toppers, produced for himself and other artists (Boney James, Bob James, Larry Carlton, Kirk Whalum, George Benson) and re-imagines them for his brand new, 10-track collection.
1. 'Nothin' But Love' (feat. Jeff Ryan)
2. 'Mind Games' (feat. Gregg Karukas)
3. 'Grazing In The Grass' (feat. Euge Groove)
4. 'Deep Into It' (feat. Rick Braun)
5. 'Softly, as in a Morning Sunrise'
6. 'Now 'Til Forever' (feat. DW3)
7. 'Notorious' (feat. Richard Elliot)
8. 'Just Chillin' (feat. Darren Rahn)
9. 'Tequila Moon'
10. '24/7' (feat. Greg Vail)
The album opens with the easy, breezy, free flowing smooth jazz pairing
of both 'Nothin' But Love' (feat. Jeff Ryan) and 'Mind Games' (feat. Gregg Karukas), the South African Jazz icon Hugh Masekela's 'Grazing In The Grass' (from 1968, and featuring Euge Groove), and one of my own personal favorites here, the thoughtful and dedicated 'Deep Into It' (feat. Rick Braun).
Next up is the beautiful soul of 'Softly, as in a Morning Sunrise' which is backed by the one-two, gentle finger-snap vibe of 'Now 'Til Forever' (feat. DW3), the magnificently embedded hipsway of 'Notorious' (feat. Richard Elliot), and then rounds out with the light and perky ambiance of both 'Just Chillin' (feat. Darren Rahn) and 'Tequila Moon,' closing on the vibrant guitar track '24/7' (feat. Greg Vail).
Amazon Purchase Link
Paul Brown @ Facebook
Paul Brown @ Twitter
Title - Official Bootleg Box Set, Volume Three: 1995-2010
Artist - Glenn Hughes
For those not in the know, Glenn Hughes has been quite rightly hailed as “The Voice Of Rock”, as this 6CD live box set Official Bootleg Box Set, Volume Three: 1995-2010 ably testifies.
With vocals soaked in blues and soul, Hughes has fronted many legendary rock acts, including Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Hughes-Thrall, Trapeze and Black Country Communion.
Disc One - Wulfrun Hall, Wolverhampton, UK 17th November 1995: Part 1:
2. 'Big Time'
3. 'The Liar'
4. 'Muscle And Blood'
5. 'You Are The Music'
6. 'Your Love Is Alright'
8. 'This Time Around'
9. 'Coast To Coast'
Disc Two - Wulfrun Hall, Wolverhampton, UK 17th November 1995: Part 2:
1. 'Way Back To The Bone'
2. 'First Step Of Love''
3. 'You Fool No One'
4. 'You Keep On Moving'
5. 'Gettin' Tighter'
Spread across two discs, the set (at a venue named for the 10th Century English noblewoman who founded the city) kicks off with songs from what were Glenn’s more recent solo offerings, with the young Gary Moore-esque rocker ‘Big Time’, his pure, unadulterated vocal power on ‘The Liar’ and the funky rockin' blues of ‘Push’, before Trapeze classics such as the near nine minute slow burnin' blues of ‘Coast To Coast’ and AOR beauty ‘Way Back To The Bone’.
It wouldn’t be a Glenn show without featuring Deep Purple Mk3 and Mk4 hits, with his own personal takes on the excellent ‘This Time Around’ and ‘You Keep On Moving,’ his AOR cut of ‘Gettin’ Tighter’ (from 1975’s Come Taste The Band), a quiet blistering ‘You Fool No One’ and then two of DP's early hits, title tracks from both their 1974 albums, 'Burn' and massively-engaging 'Stormbringer.'
The following day Glenn made a live appearance at the more intimate LA2 in London, on 18th November 1995 (CD3).
Disc Three - Astoria 2, London, 18th November 1995:
1. 'Big Time'
2. 'Muscle And Blood'
3. 'You Are The Music'
4. 'Your Love Is Alright'
6. 'Coast To Coast'
7. 'Way Back To The Bone'
8. 'First Step Of Love'
9. 'You Fool No One'
10. 'Gettin' Tighter'
Unsurprisingly, much of the set replicates that from Wolverhampton, and no bad thing as Glenn revisits songs from across his long and varied musical journey, from Trapeze to Purple to his solo renaissance in the 1990s.
Stand out cuts here, not mentioned for the live discs above, include the near 8 minute, slow and smoky blues of 'Coast To Coast,' the full on guitar blues of 'Your Love Is Alright,' and the frenetic, and at times funky guitar onslaught of 'Gettin' Tighter.'
13 years later saw Glenn performing an exclusive acoustic show at Esquires in Bedford on 3rd May 2008 (CD4), celebrating the 40th anniversary of Deep Purple.
Disc Four - Esquires, Bedford, UK 3rd May 2008:
1. 'Coast To Coast'
2. 'I Found A Woman'
4. 'It's About Time'
6. 'This Time Around / Owed To "G"'
7. 'Will Our Love End'
8. 'Nights In White Satin'
9. 'Don't Let Me Bleed'
10. 'Holy Man'
11. 'You Keep On Moving'
As well as the expected Purple classics, such as the near 10 minute, Hammond-led rock blues of ‘Mistreated’, ‘This Time Around’ / ‘Owed to “G”', the gorgeous mid-tempo, gentle rock ambiance of ‘Holy Man’, ‘You Keep On Moving’ and ‘Stormbringer’, Glenn also includes a rare airing of his debut solo single, a quite stunning, reaching at times, horn-influenced rock ballad ‘I Found A Woman’ (from his debut solo LP, Play Me Out).
Also including a cover of The Moody Blues’ ‘Nights In White Satin,’ this live set comes complete with his near 8 minute 'Seafull,' a cut that almost begs to be an instrumental, yet still features moments of lyrics.
The final two discs feature a show recorded at the Spring & Airbrake, Belfast on 9th October 2010 (CD5 & 6).
Disc Five - Spring & Airbrake, Belfast, NI 9th October 2010: Part 1:
1. 'Muscle And Blood'
2. 'Touch My Life'
4. 'Sail Away'
6. 'You Kill Me'
7. 'Can't Stop The Flood'
9. 'Don't Let Me Bleed'
Disc Six - Spring & Airbrake, Belfast, NI 9th October 2010: Part 2:
1. 'Keepin' Time'
2. 'Steppin' On'
3. 'Soul Mover'
Kicking off with Hughes–Thrall’s killer rocker ‘Muscle And Blood’ (which comes from their self-titled album of 1982, and which, quite possible, showcases Hughes vocal reach at its absolute finest), the solo songs such as the foot-tappin' rocker ‘Orion’ (from Soul Mover), the guitar wizardry of ‘You Kill Me’ (from The Way It Is), and the SRV approach to ‘Can’t Stop The Flood’ (from Building The Machine) are included in a show that climaxes with the title track to the Addiction album, and finally, of course, Deep Purple’s 'Burn'.
Whilst every effort has been made to produce the best possible audio, limitations in the material drawn from various, non-standard, and unofficial sources means that the quality may not be up to the standard usually expected.
All tracks have been included for their historical importance, and to present an alternative anthology of Glenn Hughes live on stage from 1995-2010.
Purple Records have also reissued expanded collections of Glenn’s solo catalogue, including Play Me Out, Feel, Addiction, The Way It Is, Return Of Crystal Karma and Building The Machine.
Glenn Hughes also appears on the reissued 3CD set of 1974’s The Butterfly Ball And The Grasshopper’s Feast by Roger Glover And Friends, also on Purple Records.
Title - 'Sun Via'
Artist - Nick Perri & The Underground Thieves
For those not in the know, Nick Perri & The Underground Thieves, a Philadelphia-based rock band led by artist/songwriter/producer Nick Perri, are about to unleash their highly anticipated debut album, Sun Via.
Recorded and produced by Perri, Sun Via (out August 15th, 2020) is comprised of 10 original songs and is noted as being (and of which now, having listened to it twice, I can concur) a cohesive mix of rock, alternative, Americana, and psychedelia-infused tracks.
The band also announced plans to live-stream an album release show at the Ardmore Music Hall. The full band, full production concert will take place the day the group’s highly anticipated debut is released, the aforementioned August 14th, 2020.
In addition, Nick and The Thieves will open two Drive-In shows supporting British rock band The Struts later this month.
“It’s a whirlwind time, launching an album, gearing up for live shows, especially under these extremely different conditions," Nick admits. "We’re taking it one day at a time, but excited to potentially lift some spirits as get back to doing what we do; entertain.”
1. 'Feeling Good'
2. 'I Want You'
6. 'Everybody Wants One'
7. 'Daughters & Sons'
8. 'Let You Know'
10. 'White Noise'
Opening with the funky blues of the lead single, 'Feeling Good,' they back that up with the melodic, laid back AOR of 'I Want You,' the translucent psychedelia of 'Fall,' and then comes the serious Uni-vibe orientations and constructions of 'Excess' which are followed by the beautiful palate cleanser, 'You.'
Next up is one of my own personal favorites, the rock hipsway of 'Everybody Wants One' which is followed by the lush mid-tempo harmonies of 'Daughters & Sons,' the mellow psych rocker 'Let You Know,' and then this sonically terrific, heartfelt passion project rounds out with the free flowing instrumental '5.0.1,' closing on the barnstorming guitar fest within 'White Noise.'
"Sun Via is a labor of love and I gave it everything I had to give,” says Perri. “It was a long process, and I believe the songs and sounds reflect that effort."
"I’m very proud of the album top-to-bottom, and I’m excited to finally share it.”
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Title - 'Message from Groove and GW'
Artist - The Radam Schwartz Organ Big Band
For those not in the know, Hammond B3 Organist and Jazz pianist, Radam Schwartz has built his reputation over the last 35 years playing with such great musicians as Arthur and Red Prysock, Eddie Lockjaw Davis, Al Hibler, David Fathead Newman, Russell Malone, Cecil Brooks III and Jimmy Ford.
Indeed, he continues to make music history today playing with renowned artists, Bill Saxton, Iron City, The Spirit of Life Ensemble and many others.
Radam also has been a jazz educator for many years, with several generations of young musicians being mentored by him.
He served as music director at the Jazz Institute of New Jersey for close to 20 years, also served as an artist-in-residence at Middlesex County Arts High School, taught at the Jazz Academy in Red Bank, NJ, Jazz Connections in Montclair NJ. Jazz House Kids, and is the director of the Rutgers Newark Mosaic Jazz Ensemble.
And so, one of the pacesetters of the jazz organ, Schwartz teams up with drummer David F. Gibson and the Abel Mireles Jazz Exchange Big Band for a brand new album, entitled Message from Groove and GW (August 15th, 2020 via Arabesque Records).
1. 'Trouble Just Won't Go Away' (Radam Schwartz)
2. 'Blues Minor' (John Coltrane)
3. 'Ain't No Way' (Carolyn Franklin)
4. 'Dig You Like Crazy' (Radam Schwartz)
5. 'What to Do' (Abel Mireles)
6. 'Between the Sheets' (Rudolph Isley, O'Kelly Isley, Jr, Ronald Isley, E. Isley, M. Isley)
7. 'Message from Groove and GW' (Radam Schwartz)
8. 'A Path To Understanding' (Peter Lin)
9. 'Work Song' (Charles Mingus)
10. 'Von Gott' (J.S. Bach)
Quite easily one of the most swingingly sublime, groovingly funky, and musical BIG big band albums of the year, tracks such as the toe-tappin' magnificence of one of Radam's original tunes, 'Dig You Like Crazy,' let alone the funky rhythms and wondrous blues instrumental aggregation on the title track, 'Message From Groove and GW,' immediately showcase the fact that with four trumpets, five saxophonists, two trombone players, a guitarist and drummer making up Radam's outfit, sweet musical harmony is the the only, and most natural end product.
Add to that some stellar collective work on their covers of The Isley Brothers’ 'Between the Sheets,' mesmerizing turns on both John Coltrane’s 'Blues Minor' and Charles Mingus' 'Work Song' (not to be confused with the Nat Adderley composition), and even getting somewhat meditative on the J.S. Bach ballad, and album closer 'Von Gott,' for all intents and purposes, this all-encompassing collection might well be the must have, feel good album of the year!
Radam Schwartz @ Facebook
Title - 'Last Will & Testament'
Artist - Bonnie Whitmore
For those not in the know, Bonnie Whitmore is not new to the music business.
Indeed, for the last two decades, she’s played bass and sung with some of the biggest artists in the Americana genre: Hayes Carll, John Moreland, Eliza Gilkyson, Sunny Sweeney, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, and Butch Hancock, to name a few.
She’s also maintained a weekly residency at the legendary Continental Club Gallery in Austin, where she lives.
Her 2016 release F*** With Sad Girls turned heads, but with her brand new album, Last Will & Testament (due out October 2nd, 2020), Whitmore has turned a corner in her own artistry that may just catapult her to the top of the Americana heap.
As someone who’s never shied away from the issues, she’s not afraid to be direct. Her record is full of topical songs, tackling suicide, rape culture, loss, and the great American divide.
It’s not easy to talk about heavy subjects without weighing the music down, but Whitmore pulls it off without difficulty. It’s like she’s used to talking about serious matters in casual conversation — which she is.
1. 'Last Will & Testament'
2. 'None Of My Business'
3. 'Right Wrong'
5. 'Asked For It'
6. 'Time To Shoot'
7. 'Love Worth Remembering'
9. 'Flashes And Cables'
10. 'George's Lullaby'
Opening with an angelic chorus that soon bursts into a thumping, foot-stompin' blues grinder of a title track, that's backed by the magnificent, low slung ballad 'None Of My Business,' the melodic, finger-snappin' mid-tempo late '60s ambiance of 'Right Wrong,' and then both the guitar-led rhythms of 'Fine' and the frenetic guitar and tambourine fest of my own personal favorite, 'Asked For It.'
The atmospheric mood of the mid-tempo ballad 'Time To Shoot' takes us into Americana territory and that's followed by the yearning, storytelling ballad 'Love Worth Remembering,' the interestingly orchestrated 'Imaginary,' and then rounds out with the, at times, breathily vocalized, others laden with head held high rock reminiscences of 'Flashes And Cables,' closing on the lush, mid'50s soft vocals and instrumentation of the beautiful 'George's Lullaby.'
“I’ve definitely been told to shut up and sing,” Bonnie freely admits, referencing the phrase that became commonplace after it was directed at The Chicks.
In such divided times, many artists have become hesitant to share their opinions for fear of being ostracized or losing fans. But Bonnie took “shut up and sing” literally. “I thought, fine, I’m just going to sing what I want to talk about.”
“My goal for this record is to inspire people to have hard conversations,” she further explains. “But I definitely subscribe to writing pop music, with catchy lyrics and repeating phrases.”
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Bonnie Whitmore @ Instagram
Bonnie Whitmore @ YouTube
Title - 'Misfit Paradise' [EP]
Artist - Evelyn Cools
For those not in the know, folk-rock singer-songwriter, Evelyn Cools, will be releasing her upcoming new, and highly anticipated EP Misfit Paradise on August 14th, 2020.
Inspired by songwriters such as Stevie Nicks, Simon & Garfunkel, Lana Del Rey, and Angus & Julia Stone, Cools is recognized for her powerful lyrics and her storytelling abilities through music.
In collaboration with producer Enrique Lara, Cools took a very DIY approach to the recording of Misfit Paradise. Most of the tracks were recorded in Lara’s living room with blankets covering the walls and doorways for better acoustics.
1. 'Another Night'
2. 'Gold Woman'
4. 'Misfit Paradise'
Opening with the stoically melodic piano work of 'Another Night,' a track that warms up as it melodically progresses, Cools backs that up with the drum and guitar-led rocker 'Gold Woman,' which is followed by the gentle ballad about nature, 'Yosemite.'
The title track has, at first, a hauntingly ethereal lead before building to an orchestrated, swaying, beautiful dollop of windows down, top down, arm leaning summer drive ambiance (and, for me, is a clear stand out here on this EP), and then comes to a close on the beautiful gossamer ballad 'Soaring.'
The nomadic troubadour wrote Misfit Paradise after moving to New York for the first time. “As humans, we are always searching for other people who take us entirely for who we are."
"We look for people who challenge us, inspire us, elevate us, and make us feel like we are part of something beautiful - a tribe of people so different, but also exactly the same,” Cools says.
“Living in New York was what I always wanted, to be in a city made for people of all walks of life. At the same time, my passion for music led me to a community that felt entirely free of judgment and valued human connection above all else."
"All ages, all races, all bodies, all different, all together. This song ['Misfit Parade'] is written for the misfits, searching for a paradise to call our own.”
Official Purchase Links
Evelyn Cools @ Facebook
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Evelyn Cools @ Instagram
Title - 'American Nocturnes: Final Days of July'
Artist - John Finbury
For those not in the know, American Nocturnes: Final Days of July, is a new album of original instrumental compositions by Grammy and Latin Grammy-nominated composer John Finbury.
Finbury's earliest music education and influence came from his father Herb, a musician (violin) and one of the first jazz composition students at the Schillinger School in Boston, which would later become Berklee College Of Music.
In his teenage years, John played rock & roll drums, most notably at the “The Bitter End” in New York City. In college, John studied classical piano and music theory and composition at the Longy School of Music in Cambridge and Boston University.
Produced and arranged by Finbury (an American composer based in Andover, MA), Bob Patton, and co-produced by Emilio D. Miler, American Nocturnes (out now via Green Flash Music) is a collection of eleven evocative pieces that spotlights the composer’s mastery in an intimate setting.
Featuring some rather unorthodox instrumentation, not least a harmonica and an accordion, together with guitar, cello and piano, the album also embraces moments of improvisation amongst the melodic works.
1. 'Lay Me Down'
2. 'Final Days of July'
3. 'Black Tea'
4. 'Winter Waltz'
6. 'Halfway There'
7. 'Waltz for Patty' (Ensemble)
8. 'Storybook Ending'
9. 'I'll Pray For You'
10. 'My Hometown'
11. 'Waltz For Patty' (Piano)
Opening with the hauntingly melodic 'Lay Me Down,' that's backed by the languid cello gossamer (courtesy of Eugene Friesen) of the title track, which in turn is followed by the gently engaging 'Black Tea' and then the upbeat, although still mid-tempo, orchestrated sway of 'Winter Waltz' (just close your eyes and instantly you see people joined together, artistically twirling in time to the music).
Next up is the deeply reaching, at times purposely dissonant musical artwork of 'Fantasma' which is backed by the politely perky 'Halfway There,' the ornately affluent ensemble piece 'Waltz for Patty,' and then comes one of my own personal favorites, the delicate 'Storybook Ending.'
This quite alluring appealing album rounds out with the soulful, harmonica-led 'I'll Pray For You' (featuring Roni Eytan), the stunning accordion work of Vitor Gonçalves on 'My Hometown,' and then closes on a solo piano rendition of 'Waltz for Patty.'
In his own words: “This project is a collection of songs I have composed over the past fifteen years. It is music inspired by my historical listening and piano playing experiences including the Chopin Nocturnes, desert island piano music of unsurpassed beauty."
"That is what I am after, and why I feature the piano in all the tracks and call the songs Nocturnes. The emotions in this music are strong.”
Tim Ray, John Finbury – piano
Eugene Friesen – cello
Roni Eytan – harmonica
Claudio Ragazzi – guitar
Roberto Cassan, Vitor Gonçalves – accordion
Peter Eldridge – vocalese
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John Finbury @ Facebook
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John Finbury @ Instagram
Title - 'Half Life' (EP)
Artist - IZZ
On the heels of their celebrated 2019 studio album, Don’t Panic, this past July 28th, 2020, IZZ released a simply stunning 20-minute EP entitled Half Life.
Featuring four tracks, including three new studio songs as well as a previously unreleased live version of 'The Wait of It All,' a track originally featured on their 2004 EP, Ampersand Volume 1, a limited vinyl pressing of Half Life which contains a 20-minute bonus track on Side B from guitarist Paul Bremner's solo album (featuring all of the members of IZZ) was also made available.
1. 'The Soul of Music' (4:49)
2. 'Into the Sun' (4:02)
3. 'Half Life' (4:27)
4. 'The Wait of It All' (4:27) (Live)
The, at first hauntingly spectral, and then almost as quickly, a rambunctious, free flowing work of music art, 'Soul of Music' leads the way here and is backed by the acoustic magnificence, and delightfully vocalized 'Into the Sun.'
Next up is the passively orchestrated meanderings and wanderings of a person seemingly not attune to all the wonderment that happens around him within the title track, 'Half Life,' with this truly breathtaking EP coming to a close on the live ethereal prog guitar cut, 'The Wait of It All' (from CalProg).
“The title track of this EP was actually written several years ago, but when we listened to it again recently, it took on new meaning given the uncertainty in the world today and it became obvious to us that we needed to finish mixing it and get it out into the world,” says bassist John Galgano.
“This EP comes at an interesting time for the band and for the world, because we have been using our time at home these past few months to take a deep dive into writing our next proper studio album, which we plan on releasing in 2021 - and this EP kind of snuck its way into our consciousness, so we decided to go with it and follow the muse,” adds drummer Brian Coralian.
Paul Bremner: Guitars
Anmarie Byrnes: Vocals
Brian Coralian: Drums & Percussion
Greg DiMiceli: Drums & Percussion
John Galgano: Bass & Vocals
Tom Galgano: Keyboards & Vocals
Laura Meade: Vocals
Official Purchase Link
Title - 'Headcat 13'
Artist - Headcat 13
Proving the old adage about cats having nine lives, rockabilly guitarist and icon Danny B. Harvey has returned with a new descendent of the rockabilly project he started back with Lemmy of Motörhead and Slim Jim Phantom of The Stray Cats.
The Head Cat, as they dubbed themselves, released a studio album Fool’s Paradise in 2006 as well as a live album, Rock N’ Roll Riot On The Sunset Strip.
Years later, after the passing of Lemmy (who lived more lives than all these other cats combined), Harvey recruited 69 Eyes crooner Jyrki 69 for (what else) The 69 Cats.
And now, the man who filled Lemmy’s motorcycle boots in the legendary space rock band Hawkwind, Alan Davey, has teamed up with Harvey along with Frantic Flattops drummer Paul Vezelis for the newest litter, Headcat 13!
1. 'Let’s Go Crazy'
2. 'Wigglin’ And A Jigglin’'
3. 'Somebody’s Gonna Get Their Head Kicked In Tonite'
4. 'That’s It That’s All'
5. 'Route 66'
6. 'Psycho Daisies'
7. 'Reckless, Wild And Crazy'
8. 'Don’t Look Back'
9. 'Have Love Will Travel'
10. 'Susie Q'
11. 'Come Out And Play'
12. 'Whole Lotta Shakin’ Going On'
Following in the paw prints of the previous groups, this self-titled outing (released this past July 24th, 2020 via Cleopatra Records) offers some more fantastic covers of early rock classics such as 'Route 66' and 'Susie Q,' but the thing that confuses me is that if you look at the album cover, the last thing you would think this album was going to provide would be rockabilly!
I mean, there's a salivating, one-eyed, old lion/tiger on the front cover, hovering up above us in the clouds for pete's sake! Knowing nothing about this album going into its review (which I kinda like doing), I was blown away to discover it wasn't music akin to Tygers of Pan Tang!
Regardless, and amongst the slew of covers we also get some right royal gems in the form of some original songs, penned separately by Harvey and Davey, including the lead-off track 'Let’s Go Crazy.'
Oh, and for the record, the standout cut here for me is their totally on fire rendition of 'Whole Lotta Shakin’ Going On,' which also features a special guest performance by Annie Marie Lewis, niece of The Killer himself Jerry Lee Lewis.
And if you love that track, and why wouldn't you, check out other work she's done with them, such as another of my now personal favorites (although it's not included here on this new album), The Killer's very own 1958-penned beauty, 'High School Confidential.'
Headcat 13 will be available on digital as well as CD in a special digipak and on a very limited edition vinyl!
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Title - 'The Noble Rot'
Artist - Powerman 5000
For those not in the know, Powerman 5000 (also known as PM5K) are an American industrial metal band formed in 1991.
The group has released nine albums, gaining its highest level of commercial success with 1999's Tonight the Stars Revolt!, which reached #29 on the Billboard 200 while spawning the singles 'When Worlds Collide' and 'Nobody's Real'.
Indeed, last year, Powerman 5000 celebrated the 20th anniversary of its most successful album, the aforementioned Tonight The Stars Revolt!, by embarking on a U.S. tour.
Furthermore, front man Spider One is the younger brother of fellow metal musician Rob Zombie and his latest incarnation of the band also features guitarists Ty Oliver and Taylor Haycraft, bassist Murv3, and drummer DJ Rattan.
Well, two months ago, these industrial metal veterans announced they were readying a new album for 2020, The Noble Rot, which will now come out August 28th, 2020, via Cleopatra Records.
1. 'Cannibal Killers That Kill Everyone'
2. 'Brave New World'
3. 'Play God Or Play Dead'
4. 'Black Lipstick'
5. 'Special Effects'
6. 'Let The Insects Rule'
7. 'Movie Blood'
8. 'Strange People Doing Strange Things'
9. 'We Got The Beat'
Opening with the Industrially-rooted mayhem of 'Cannibal Killers That Kill Everyone,' they back that up seamlessly with the one-two rock-rap punch of 'Brave New World' and then we get one of my own personal favorites here, the sultry gothic vibe of 'Play God Or Play Dead.'
Next up is the lead single, 'Black Lipstick,' that together with its own goth '80s soundscape (think Depeche Mode, Cure and a subdued Sisters of Mercy), and its predominantly Siouxsie Sioux-inspired music video, well, you can most definitely now say that worlds have indeed collided!
This sonically stylistic adventure continues onward with a track berating creations such as Photoshop and IG filters, the revealing 'Special Effects,' the futuristic electronics of 'Let The Insects Rule,' and then more of the same on 'Movie Blood.'
This quite beautifully strange album then rounds out with a twisted blast from the retro past within 'Strange People Doing Strange Things,' a methodically-paced, Halloween-esque, reimagining of The Go-Go's '80s new wave classic, 'We Got The Beat,' with the album closing on the mellow 'VHS' and then a "hidden" cut, a 2020 re-recording of the band's signature hit 'When Worlds Collide.'
Available in digipak CD or on limited edition COKE BOTTLE GREEN vinyl, the CD comes with a special bonus track - a 2020 recording of the band's signature hit 'When Worlds Collide.'
Official 'Black Lipstick' Music Video
Official Purchase Links
Title - 'Anti-Pasti: 1980-83' (3CD Box-Set)
Artist - Anti-Pasti
For those not in the know, Anti-Pasti are a British punk rock band, founded by vocalist Martin Roper and guitarist Dugi Bell in 1978, featuring Kev Nixon on drums and Will Hoon on bass guitar.
Later they were joined by a second guitarist, Ollie Hoon and their first album, The Last Call, spent seven weeks in the UK Albums Chart, peaking at #31.
Roper left the band in 1982, and Anti-Pasti effectively ended until reformations in both 1995 and 2012.
This brand new 3CD Box-Set, Anti-Pasti: 1980-83' (releasing August 14th, 2020 via Captain Oi! / Cherry Red Records UK) features all of the seminal Punk bands early '80s recordings.
Disc One is their debut album The Last Call which hit #31 in the UK National Chart and also topped the Independent Chart.
Disc One - The Last Call (1981):
1. 'No Government'
2. 'Brew Your Own'
3. 'Another Dead Soldier'
4. 'Call The Army (I'm Alive)'
5. 'City Below'
6. '24 Hours'
7. 'Night of the Warcry'
8. 'Freedom Row'
9. 'St. George (Gets His Gun)'
10. 'The Last Call'
11. 'Ain't Got Me'
12. 'Truth And Justice'
14. 'I Wanna Be Your Dog'
Now, in truth, bands like this were fine to see live, or even listened to by way of some dodgy live bootleg, but they just didn't translate to the studio very well (in my humble opinion).
I got this album when it came out, and even though at that time I was involved in the same musical movement, I still thought it was lacking their known passion and energy that you would get from their live shows.
Nearly 40 years on from this album's release and that feeling still lingers for as much as it is wonderful from a purely nostalgic perspective, that studio-numbness still smothers the bands undoubted live aura.
That all said, The Last Call is still a broodingly explosive and highly dynamic, albeit mid-tempo punk rock record, and is as good, or perhaps even better, than earlier work from other seminal bands such as Discharge, Exploited, GBH or even the great UK Subs.
The second disc is 1982's Caution In The Wind album which hit #7 in the Independent Chart.
Disc Two - Caution In The Wind (1982):
1. 'Caution In The Wind'
2. 'One Friday Night'
3. 'X Affair'
4. 'Get Out Now'
5. 'Mr Mystery'
6. 'East To The West'
7. 'See How They Run'
8. 'Hate Circulation'
9. 'Agent ABC'
10. 'The Best of Us'
11. 'Guinea Pigs'
12. 'Beyond Belief'
Well, this sophomore album is a lot different than their debut, simply because it sounds more like '80s rock and roll mixed with punk, rather than just undiluted punk rock.
Still a pretty decent album, you see a band pushing the boundaries with a more melodic rock approach to their music, still chock full of attitude and distain for the government, of course.
The more adventurous production generally makes them sound almost exactly like The Clash circa 1978, and incorporates occasional subtleties such as keyboards and (on 'East To The West') echoed lead guitar and Latin-style bongos suggestive of Combat Rock-era Clash.
Even stranger is 'Agent ABC', a Motown-esque semi-instrumental filled out with mock-orchestral keyboards. But, they were doing what they thought was required of them, just as punk was dying out, and hence we get this melodic punk rock-esque 12-tracker.
The final disc contains 18 non-LP tracks including all of the Indie Chart #11 hit EP Four Sore Points, the #9 charting 'Let Them Free' and the #1 'Six Guns'.
Disc Three - Rarities:
1. 'No Government' (Single Version)
3. 'Two Years Too Late'
4. 'Something New'
5. 'Ain't Got Me' (The Wragby Studio Session Tapes, 1980)
6. 'Another Dead Soldier' (The Wragby Studio Session Tapes, 1980)
7. 'Two Years Too Late' (Live - Apocalypse Now Tour)
8. 'I Wanna Be Your Dog' ((Live - Apocalypse Now Tour)
9. 'Another Dead Soldier' ((Live - Apocalypse Now Tour)
10. 'Let Them Free'
11. 'Another Dead Soldier' (Single Version)
12. 'Hell' (Single Version)
13. 'Six Guns'
14. 'Now's The Time'
15. 'Call The Army (I'm Alive)' (Single Version)"
16. 'Burn In Your Own Flames'
17. 'Last Train To Nowhere'
18. 'Blind Faith'
Now this third and final disc, containing a plethora of Rarities and live recordings, truly comes into its own, and showcases the band at their finest, on the aforementioned live tracks.
The energy and the power in their guitars and vocals are magnificent and breathe genuine life into all the lyrics and songs that come forth.
A few repeats in the mix - live and single versions - but for the most part, and inclusive of the brilliant 'Six Guns,' this is the way to listen to Anti-Pasti, trust me!
The booklet contains detailed liner notes, pictures of all relevant record sleeves and lots of clippings from the era.
Title - 'Rawer Than Raw'
Artist - Bobby Rush
For those not in the know, on August 28th, 2020, Grammy-winning blues icon Bobby Rush will release his brand new album, Rawer Than Raw, a stripped-down, acoustic tribute to the rich blues history of Mississippi featuring songs from a handful of blues greats from his adopted home state.
The record, on the 86-year-old’s own Deep Rush Records label in partnership with Thirty Tigers, is a follow-up to Rush’s Grammy-nominated 2019 album Sitting on Top of the Blues, and his first project since his acclaimed cameo in last year’s Golden Globe-nominated Eddie Murphy film hit 'Dolemite Is My Name.'
1. 'Down In Mississippi'
2. 'Hard Times'
3. 'Let Me In Your House'
4. 'Smokestack Lightning'
5. 'Shake It For Me'
6. 'Sometimes I Wonder'
7. 'Don't Start Me Talkin''
8. 'Let's Make Love Again'
9. 'Honey Bee, Sail On'
10. 'Garbage Man'
11. 'Dust My Broom'
Partly inspired by the popular series of intimate solo concerts Rush has made a mainstay of his concert calendar in the years since his first all-acoustic album (titled Raw), Rawer Than Raw casts a spotlight on five Mississippi Blues Hall of Famers: early acoustic blues greats Skip James and Robert Johnson, and Rush’s contemporaries on the music scene of the ’50s and ’60s, Howlin’ Wolf, Sonny Boy Williamson II, and Muddy Waters.
The record features a half dozen covers of some of their best-known songs rendered in Rush’s own inimitable, acoustic style, characterized by wailing harmonica and a stomping foot to keep the rhythm.
Along with five Rush originals (all credited under his given name, Emmett Ellis, Jr.), there's a song from Skip James, Robert Johnson, Sonny Boy Williamson, Willie Dixon, and Howlin' Wolf. One song is Public Domain originally recorded for the Library of Congress by Alan Lomax, but later made famous by Muddy Waters ('Honey Bee, Sail On').
On this earthy, indeed raw and sawdust svelte-lined 11-track album, Rush kicks things off with the smoothly harmonica-driven 'Down In Mississippi' and backs that up with the slow, one-two groove of' Hard Times,' then the foot-tappin' 'Let Me In Your House,' and then we get two of my own personal favorites here, the hard-harmonica vibe of 'Smokestack Lightning' and the hip-shakin', guitar-picking funk of 'Shake It For Me.'
Long considered one of the blues’ preeminent raconteurs, Rush continues onward with the quietly playful guitar work of 'Sometimes I Wonder,' which is followed by the perky 'Don't Start Me Talkin',' and yet another doozy, the rousing, foot-tappin', harmonica-embroidered 'Let's Make Love Again.'
Rounding out this stunningly spiritual sequel to his 2007 all-original album Raw, we next get more ornately finger-picked guitar on 'Honey Bee, Sail On,' with more harmonica coming to the fore again on 'Garbage Man,' and then the album comes to a close on the mid-tempo rocker 'Dust My Broom.'
“Although I was born in Louisiana, I’m proud to call Mississippi home,” says Rush, who moved to Jackson, Mississippi, in the 1980s and traces his family connections to the Magnolia State back to his great grandparents.
"I’m saluting Mississippi guys because they, to me, stayed truest to their roots. If you want to get the real deal of the blues, get it from the bluesmen who are from Mississippi."
"Whether they migrated somewhere else like Chicago or Beverly Hills, if they are from Mississippi you can hear the deep roots of Mississippi in their stories.”
"“I could have done so many more people, but you can only put 10, 11 songs on a CD,” Rush adds, and hints at plans to honor other artists in a similar way, perhaps focusing on performers from the other Southern states where he has lived, Arkansas and Louisiana. “This doesn’t mean these are the only people that I love or respect.”
Amazon Purchase Link
Bobby Rush @ Facebook
Bobby Rush @ Twitter
Bobby Rush @ Instagram
Bobby Rush @ YouTube
Title - 'The Southwest Sky and Other Deams'
Artist - Karen Jonas
For those not in the know, Equally prolific on the road and in the studio, Fredericksburg, VA based Country and Americana artist, Karen Jonas, has toured non-stop since her 2014 debut album Oklahoma Lottery, gathering steady creative and critical momentum through 2016's Country Songs; 2018's Butter; and last year's Lucky, Revisited, which debuted at #13 on the EuroAmericana Chart.
Sharing stages with the likes of Dale Watson, Alabama, Joe Ely, Bob Schneider, Robert Earl Keen, and Amanda Shires, Jonas' heartfelt compositions and nuanced timbre have entranced intimate house concerts, rowdy honky-tonks, and outdoor festivals alike.
An official showcasing artist at last year's SXSW, she was also nominated for a 2018 Ameripolitan Award, and recently named 'Best Country/Americana Artist' by the Washington Area Music Awards.
Karen Jonas' fifth album, The Southwest Sky and Other Dreams (out August 28th, 2020 via Yellow Brick Road) is a flashback-fueled fever dream of Americana songcraft and storytelling.
Taking the vast desert expanses of the American Southwest as her backdrop, Jonas embroiders small-town snapshots into vivid explorations of our inner struggle between ambition and inaction.
The Virginia singer-songwriter's most accomplished and evocative expression to date, The Southwest Sky and Other Dreams captures that aching space between romantic dream-state and numb reality like few before.
1. 'The Last Cowboy (at the Bowling Alley)'
2. 'Out In Palm Tree Paradise'
4. 'Pink Leather Boots'
5. 'Maybe You’d Hear Me Then'
6. 'Be Sweet to Me'
7. 'Farmer John'
8. 'Barely Breathing'
9. 'Better Days'
10. 'Don’t Blink Honey'
Here on the gathered together 10 vignettes that make up The Southwest Sky and Other Dreams, Jonas sets her central themes, creates their characters, all connected by through lines of setting and circumstance, so elegantly, so insightfully, that if you close your eyes, scenes play out in my mind from the lyrics being afforded you.
Opening with the Mexican/Latin guitar intro'd 'The Last Cowboy (at the Bowling Alley)' and the pedal steel guitar-licked 'Out In Palm Tree Paradise,' we next get a pair of upbeat country rockers in 'Tuesday' and the highly infectious, almost rockabilly rhythms of 'Pink Leather Boots,' and then comes the troubadour storytelling of 'Maybe You’d Hear Me Then.'
One of my own personal favorites is up next in the form of the old school rock 'n' roll of 'Be Sweet to Me,' which is followed by the moody blues, southern gothic-imbibed 'Farmer John,' a tale of another relationship gone wrong on 'Barely Breathing,' before the album rounds out with the hopeful 'Better Days,' closing on the melodic melancholy of 'Don’t Blink Honey.'
"I capture these faint ghosts of stories – some my own; some not,” says Jonas, poetic even in conversation. “Oil derricks peck on forever, little mosquitoes sucking the blood of the Earth … Watching with detachment the infiniteness of the land and the stories that seem to add up to nothing.”
Backing comes from her long time collaborator Tim Bray on guitars, with Tom Hnatow on pedal steel and Wurlitzer, Seth Morrissey on bass and Seth Brown on drums.
Amazon Purchase Links
Karen Jones @ Facebook
Karen Jonas @ Twitter
Karen Jonas @ Instagram
Title - 'Freeze, Melt'
Artist - Cut Copy
For those not in the know, beloved Australian electronic act, Cut Copy return with their third single for 2020, 'Like Breaking Glass,' out now via Cutters Records/The Orchard.
The track is taken from the four-piece’s greatly anticipated sixth studio album, Freeze, Melt, to be released on Friday, August 21st, 2020.
Initially the bedroom recording project of Dan Whitford, Cut Copy evolved into a full-fledged band with guitarist Tim Hoey, drummer Mitchell Scott, and bass player Ben Browning.
The quartet’s studio albums include In Ghost Colours, which Pitchfork named as one of the best albums of 2008 and among the top albums of the 2000s, and 2011’s Zonoscope, which won two ARIA Awards and was nominated for a GRAMMY®.
Their last album, 2017’s Haiku From Zero, represented the band at their most refined and efficiently emotive.
Taking a listen now to this sixth album, Freeze, Melt, and along with their previously-released singles, 'Love Is All We Share' and 'Cold Water,' the entire body of work showcases an expansion yet refining in their sound over the past three years, while maintaining a legacy unmatched in Australian music since their inception.
Written during an especially cold European winter, the collection takes an evocative turn finding slowed meaning and influence from emotional manipulations that feed into their work but have never taken center stage, ultimately shaping a headier journey inward while lyrically exploring love in strange times. A treat for the mind, as well as the body.
1. 'Cold Water'
2. 'Like Breaking Glass'
3. 'Love Is All We Share'
4. 'Stop, Horizon'
5. 'Running In The Grass'
6. 'A Perfect Day'
8. 'In Transit'
Opening with the translucent electro pop of 'Cold Water,' it's backed by the free flowing synth of 'Like Breaking Glass,' a track that wouldn't have been out of place in the early '80s, and that's backed by the dream state ambiance of 'Love Is All We Share,' and then comes the simply divine orchestrations of 'Stop, Horizon.'
Next up is one of my own personal favorites, the synth pop bounce of 'Running In The grass,' which is followed by the transcendent milieu of 'A Perfect Day,' with the album rounding out with the delicately jaunty, keyed tones of 'Rain,' closing on the Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD) vibe of 'In Transit.'
Official Purchase Link
Cut Copy @ Facebook
Cut Copy @ Twitter
Cut Copy @ Instagram
Title - 'Class of 98'
Artist - Eric Hutchinson
For those not in the know, sometime last year, Eric Hutchinson came to a strange realization: he kept daydreaming about high-school.
The adolescent dreams, hopes, fears, anxieties and emotions the singer faced as a kid began flooding back; suddenly, he felt transported back into his teenage self.
Growing up in suburban Maryland, Hutchinson’s teenage years were filled with the type of alienation and private angst recognizable to most anyone who’s ever been 17, now in 2020 the singer was finally ready to write about it.
The result: Class of 98, a '90s alt-rock-inspired autobiographical record that chronicles the singer-songwriter’s adolescence.
“It took me a long time to understand myself,” Hutchinson says. “Writing this record allowed me to get into the time machine and go back and look around my old life and report from my current point of view. That was fun.”
1. 'Rock Out Tonight'
2. 'Cooler Than You'
3. 'My Old Man'
4. 'Ann Marie'
5. 'Good Things Come'
6. 'Sweet Little Baby Rock N Roller'
7. 'If They Don’t Care (Then We Don’t Either)'
8. 'Drunk At Lunch'
9. 'Lovely Lori'
10. 'Whether I Like It Or Not'
Opening this early '90s guitar flashback of the highest order, 'Rock Out Tonight' paves the way for what's to come in magnificent, melodic-alt style, and is backed by the Weezer-esque, one-two bounce of 'Cooler Than You,' the drum-led foot-tapper 'My Old Man,' and then comes the acoustic guitar beauty, 'Ann Marie,' which also allows us to fully embrace the vocal lengths and breadths of Hutchinson.
The pace is picked up once again on 'Good Things Come,' which is followed by the gently fuzzy guitar and methodical drum work of 'Sweet Little Baby Rock N Roller,' the punchy rock of 'If They Don’t Care (Then We Don’t Either),' the alt-pop flow of 'Drunk At Lunch,' rounding out with more acoustic appeal on 'Lovely Lori,' closing on the speakers-at-eleven vibe of 'Whether I Like It Or Not.'
"Like any true son of the '90s, I know a grunge song is only good if you can rock it unplugged too," Hutchinson explains. "All of my songs start with me and an acoustic guitar, so reinterpreting these rockers was a fun and easy transition."
Official Purchase Links
Eric Hutchinson @ Facebook
Eric Hutchinson @ Twitter
Eric Hutchinson @ Instagram
Eric Hutchinson @ YouTube
Title - 'An American Classic'
Artist - Jeannie Seely
For those not in the know, Country music royalty and soon to be fifty-three year member of the Grand Ole Opry®, Jeannie Seely, is celebrating her 80th birthday with the announcement of her highly-anticipated album, An American Classic, on Curb Records (August 14th, 2020).
Inclusive of her duet with longtime friend, Willie Nelson, who plays guitar and sings on 'Not A Dry Eye In The House,' the classic country ballad was written by Dallas Wayne, an established singer / songwriter and an on-air personality on SiriusXM Ch. 59 on Willie's Roadhouse (where Seely is also a weekly host every Sunday afternoon on her show, Sunday’s With Seely).
Seely has achieved chart topping songs as a solo artist, as a duet partner, and as a songwriter. Early in her career, Jeannie’s deeply moving vocals earned her the nickname of “Miss Country Soul,” a title that’s still used today.
Jeannie’s biggest dream came true when she was inducted as a member of the world-famous Grand Ole Opry, becoming the first Pennsylvania native to do so. Jeannie takes much pride in her involvement and support of musicians’ rights.
1. 'So Far, So Good'
2. 'If You Could Call It That'
3. 'To Make a Dream Come True'
4. 'Teach Me Tonight'
5. 'Can I Sleep in Your Arms Tonight, Mister'
6. 'All Through Crying Over You'
7. 'When Two Worlds Collide'
8. 'Not a Dry Eye in the House' (feat. Willie Nelson)
9. 'Peaceful Waters'
10. 'Old Flames (Can’t Hold a Candle to You)'
11. 'That's How I Roll'
12. 'Don't Touch Me'
13. 'Dance Tonight'
Opening with the perky and upbeat, Charleston-esque vibe of 'So Far, So Good' (recorded with The Whites, Sharon and Cheryl), that's followed by the lonesome call of 'If You Could Call It That' (a song co-written by Dottie West, a friend of Seely's and recorded here with Steve Wariner), the melodic mid-tempo 'To Make a Dream Come True,' and then the slow and sultry ballad 'Teach Me Tonight' (originally a hit for Jo Stafford in 1954).
Next up are the strong-willed melodies of 'Can I Sleep in Your Arms Tonight, Mister' (originally a top ten hit for Seely herself in 1974), which is backed by the rambunctious country shuffle of 'All Through Crying Over You,' (anther Seeley original, here recorded with Rhonda Vincent), and then the laid back, lazy river approach to 'When Two Worlds Collide' (originally a hit for Roger Miller in 1961).
We then get one of the stand out highlights of this wonderful album, 'Not a Dry Eye in the House,' a magnificent duet with Willie Nelson (a personal friend of Seely's and who himself plays his famous guitar, “Trigger"), the aptly-titled, bagpipe enhanced, Celtic-flavored, woodwind-led 'Peaceful Waters, and then the powerful vocals and chords of 'Old Flames (Can’t Hold a Candle to You)' (recorded here with Waylon Payne, it was originally a hit for Joe Sun in 1978 and also a #1 single for Dolly Parton in 1980).
The album then rounds out with the free flowing, super slick piano, and just all-round pure rockin' country of 'That's How I Roll' (recorded here with Lorrie Morgan on vocals, and Vince Gill on guitar), the soulful ballad 'Don't Touch Me' (which was also Seely's very first hit in 1967), and comes to a close on the fiddle-tastic 'Dance Tonight' (written by Sir Paul McCartney, and recorded here with Ray Stevens, who sings the duet too).
“I don’t know what I envisioned my 80th birthday would look like, but I never imagined I’d start the day with Coffee, Cody and Country, on WSM 650 and Circle TV!,” exclaims Jeannie Seely.
“To have a duet with Willie Nelson be the first song released from my upcoming album is icing on the cake - the cake being this album called An American Classic."
"You don’t get more classic than Willie Nelson, and 'There’s Not A Dry Eye In The House' is the perfect example of a classic country song."
"This is the best 80th birthday gift I could ever imagine. Thank you Don Cusic, B! Noticed PR and Curb Records!”
Official Purchase Links
Jeannie Seely @ Facebook
Jeannie Seely @ Twitter
Jeannie Seely @ Instagram
Official Jeannie Seely Merchandise Purchase Link
Title - 'Oi! The Albums' [6CD]
Artist - Various
For those not in the know, Oi! The Albums (released September 18th, 2020 via Captain Oi! / Cherry Red Records), is a long awaited 6CD Box-Set covering the first six volumes in the seminal Oi! Compilation series; and which features 68 artists across 121 tracks.
Initially launched in 1980 by Sounds journalist Garry Bushell, the first disc is Oi! The Album, which contained tracks from the likes of Cockney Rejects, Angelic Upstarts, The Exploited, The 4 Skins, Cock Sparrer, Slaughter & The Dogs and Peter & The Test Tube Babies.
Disc One: Oi! The Album
1. 'Oi! Oi! Oi!' - Cockney Rejects
2. 'Rob a Bank (Wanna)' - Peter and the Test Tube Babies
3. 'Wonderful World' - 4 Skins
4. 'Have a Cigar' - The Postmen
5. 'Daily News' - The Exploited
6. 'Generation of Scars' - Terrible Twins
7. 'Guns for the Afghan Rebels' - Angelic Upstarts
8. 'Sunday Stripper' - Cock Sparrer
9. 'Last Night Another Soldier' - Angelic Upstarts
10. 'Chaos' - 4 Skins
11. 'Here We Go Again' - Cockney Rejects
12. 'Isubleeeene' - Max Splodge & Desert Island Joe
13. 'Beardsmen' - The Postmen
14. 'Where Have All The Bootboys Gone' - Slaughter & The Dogs
15. 'Bootboys' - Barney and The Rubbles
16. 'Intensive Care' - Peter and the Test Tube Babies
17. 'I Still Believe in Anarchy' - The Exploited
1981’s Strength Thru Oi! featured the likes of Toy Dolls, Infa Riot, Cock Sparrer, Last Resort and (at the time) newer bands like The Strike and Criminal Class as well as the Oi! poet Garry Johnson.
Disc Two: Strength Thru Oi!
1. 'National Service' - Garry Johnson
2. '1984' - 4 Skins
3. 'Gang Warfare' - The Strike
4. 'Riot Riot' - Infa-Riot
5. 'Dead End Yobs' - Garry Johnson
6. 'Working Class Kids' - The Last Resort
7. 'Blood on the Streets' - Criminal Class
8. 'She Goes to Fino's' - The Toy Dolls
9. 'Best Years of Our Lives' - Barney Rubble
10. 'Taken for a Ride' - Cock Sparrer
11. 'We Outnumber You' - Infa-Riot
12. 'The New Face of Rock'n'Roll' - Garry Johnson
13. 'Beans' - Barney Rubble
14. 'We're Pathetique' - Splodge
15. 'Sorry' - 4 Skins
16. 'Running Riot' - Cock Sparrer
17. 'Johnny Barden' - The Last Resort
18. 'Isubaleene (Part 2)' - Splodge
19. 'Running Away' - Criminal Class
20. 'Skinhead' - The Strike
21. 'Deidre's a Slag' - The Toy Dolls
22. 'Harbour Mafia Mantra' - The Shaven Heads
The next album, Carry On Oi!!, hit #4 in the Independent Chart and introduced the likes of The Business, The Partisans, Blitz, Red Alert and The Ejected alongside veterans such as The 4 Skins and Infa Riot.
Disc Three: Carry On Oi!!
1. 'United' - Garry Johnson
2. 'Dambusters March' - JJ All Stars
3. 'Suburban Rebels' - The Business
4. 'Each Dawn I Die' - Infa-Riot
5. 'Arms Race' - The Partisans
6. 'East End Kids' - The Ejected
7. 'Transvestite' - Peter and the Test Tube Babies
8. 'Nation on Fire' - Blitz
9. 'King of the Jungle"' - The Last Resort
10. 'Tuckers Ruckers Ain't No Suckers' - The Gonads
11. 'Evil' - 4 Skins
12. 'Product' - The Business
13. 'SPG' - Red Alert
14. 'Guvnor's Man' - Oi The Comrade?
15. 'Maniac' - Peter and the Test Tube Babies
16, 'What Am I Gonna Do' - The Ejected
17. 'No U Turns' - The Partisans
18. 'Youth' - Blitz
19. 'Walk On' - Oi The Choir
'Disc 4 is 1982’s Oi! Oi! That’s Yer Lot. Reggae legend Judge Dread along with ‘one man Chas ‘N’ Dave’ Frankie Flame and established Oi! acts such as The Business and The Oppressed.
Added to the disc are five tracks originally recorded at the session for the LP, but later released on the Back On The Streets EP.
Disc Four: Oi! Oi! That’s Yer Lot
1. 'Real Enemy' - The Business
2. 'Dr Crippens' - Five 0
3. 'White Flag' - The Oppressed
4. 'Stick Together' - Sub-Culture
5. 'Liddle Towers' - Crux
6. 'Horror Show' - The Warriors
7. 'Big Brother' - Attak
8. 'Revenge' - Black Flag
9. 'Arthur's Theme' - Arthur and the Afters
10. 'On Yer Bike' - Frankie and the Flames
11. 'Getting Pissed' - The Magnificent Gonads
12. 'Willie Whitelaws Willie' - Attila the Stockbroker
13. 'The Belle of Snodland Town' - Judge Dread
14. 'Oi Oi Music' - Skin Graft
15. 'Away Day' - Attila the Stockbroker
16. 'Such Fun' - Coming Blood
Son Of Oi! is what you will find on Disc 5. An Indie Chart #11, it featured stalwarts like The 4 Skins, Angelic Upstarts, Cock Sparrer, The Business and The Gonads as well as introducing (at the time) newer acts such as Vicious Rumours, Prole and Maniac Youth.
Disc Five: Sun Of Oi!
1. 'Chip on my Shoulder' - Cock Sparrer
2. 'Onwards' - Kraut
3. 'Generation Landslide' - Prole!
4. 'The Young Conservatives' - Garry Johnson
5. 'Tomorrow's Whirl' - Paranoid Pictures
6. 'Jobs Not Jails' - The Gonads
7. 'Violent Playground' - Clockwork Destruction
8. 'Joe Public' - Phil Sexton & Mick Turpin
9. 'Herpes in Seattle' - Alaska Cowboys
10. 'Lager Top Blues' - Gary & The Gonads
11. 'Made in England' - Terry McCann
12. '6.27 to London' - Mick Turpin
13. 'Sing Something Swindle' - The Orgasm Guerillas
14. 'Andy Is a Corporatist/Mindless Version' - Attila/Newtown Neurotics
15. 'On the Streets' - 4-Skins
16. 'Boy About Town' - Garry Johnson
17. 'Out in the Cold' - The Business
18. 'Make Mine Molotov' - Maniac Youth
19. 'I Understand (Live)' - The Angelic Upstarts
20. 'Manifestoi!' - Oi! The Robot
21. 'Top of the Pops' - Phil Sexton
22. 'This Is Your Life' - Vicious Rumours
23. 'Jerusalem' - L.O.L.S. Choir
24. 'Beano' - Oxo's Midnight Stumblers
The final disc is 1984’s Oi! Of Sex which reached #11 in the Indie Chart. Again a mixture of the established – Cock Sparrer, Gonads – and the new – The Burial, ABH and Rat Patrol.
Disc Six: Oi! Of Sex
1 . 'We'll Never Say Die' - Prole
2. 'The Suns Says' - Cock Sparrer
3. 'S.E.7 Dole Day' - The Gonads
4. 'Old Mans Poison' - The Burial
5. 'Vicious Rumours' - Vicious Rumours
6. 'Zombie Mind Eaters' - Jimmy Mack
7. 'Rat Trap' - Rat Patrol
8. 'Here We Go' - Crossed Hammers
9. 'The Sun' - Swift Nick
10. 'Friday Night' - The Burial
11. 'Destination Room 101 - 'Prole
12. 'Frankie Goes to Pot' - Orgasm Guerillas
13. 'Being Short' - Little Dave
14. 'Stiff With a Quiff' - Nick Toczek
15. 'Take the Blame' - Vicious Rumours
16. 'Don't Mess With the SAS' - A.B.H.
17. 'Murder' - Dogsbody
18. 'If Looks Could Kill' - Garry Johnson
As a whole, it is rather interesting that this various artists box-set compilation, that quite literally showcases who gave birth to the punk subgenre of Oi!, not only provides us the definitive introduction to the style and era, but also includes lesser-known, under the radar bands of the time and ilk too.
What we get, for the most part, is a magnificent glimpse of England's working class punk groups, especially at a time when the '77 punk explosion was dying down and/or being cleaned up and marketed as "new wave".
Just like the punk groups of 1977, most of these bands had distinct styles and, by today's standards, would probably not be grouped together under a single banner.
The Cockney Rejects (whose front man Stinky Turner adorns the album cover), Angelic Upstarts, and The 4-Skins are the most important (and easily the most representative of what is now Oi), with the first two having the classic rabble-rousing terrace chants, while the latter focused on a more aggressive (but still plenty chant-able) brickwall sound.
Both Slaughter and the Dogs and the almighty Cock Sparrer played a huge part in influencing the above bands, but their actual sound at the time was much closer to pub or glam rock.
Elsewhere Splodge, The Postmen, and most notably Peter and the Test Tube Babies set the stage for the "punk pathetique" style, which placed more emphasis on silliness and fun than anger and aggression.
While almost all of the tracks range from great to enjoyable (The Exploited contribute two tracks that were later re-recorded for the better), this quite magnificent 6CD Box-Set ay well still be construed by some as an overview of the style, but for me it is the nitty gritty of the genre and their origins therein.
Showcasing a quite fascinating viewpoint of the shifting punk rock movement circa 1980, and containing more than a few classic songs to make it worth picking up, these albums (and albums much like them) defined a British era of music perfectly.
Personally, the best track overall for me is probably Cock Sparrer's 'Sunday Stripper,' an otherwise hard-to-find song which sounds like a real striptease number, though punked-up by this superb boot boy squad.
This one is a delight to listen to, as are tunes by the Exploited, such as 'I Still Believe in Anarchy' and 'Daily News.'
The best album for me here would be the final one, Oi!! Of Sex, because, and even though Cock Sparrer was the only big name band featured, an outsider could be forgiven for assuming that Oi! - as a movement - was starting to wane.
Indeed, any doubts are swiftly allayed by Vicious Rumours, whose two tracks are pure fire. These songs, along with ABH's 'Don't Mess With the SAS', powerfully demonstrate that there was a whole new underground of bands waiting in the wings to forge Oi! into an organic scene of its own beyond the pages of Sounds.
Official 6CD Box-Set Purchase Link
Title - 'Happy Camper'
Artist - Bob Beland
For those not in the know, Bob beland is an American born musician/songwriter from Los Angeles, CA, where he has performed, written and recorded original music from 1974 to the present.
On his recently release eighth album Happy Camper (June 30th, 2020 via Wrong Way Works), the 9-track musical gem reflects upon his experiences living and performing in California since 1967.
"As I was assembling the songs for my 8th album, Happy Camper," Beland explains, "and I started to see a theme develop. It was a personal travelogue of sorts about my time here in California."
1. 'Honey in the Hive'
2. 'Something / Anything?'
3. 'Underneath the Sweeping Sky'
4. 'In Big Sur'
5. 'I'll See You There'
6. 'Heartbreakers and Soultakers'
7. 'Orange Groves'
8. 'Pal O' Mine'
9. 'Happy Camper'
This quite vibrantly adorned album of raw and openly honest musings opens with the foot-tappin' 'Honey in the Hive,' and backs that up with the rockier 'Something / Anything?,' the magnificently free-flowing hipsway of 'Underneath the Sweeping Sky,' the lush drift of 'In Big Sur,' and then comes the late '70s, summer Sunday drive time vibe of 'I'll See You There.'
One of my own personal favorites is the low key, one-two drum and guitar flow, Petty-esque troubadour work of the aptly entitled 'Heartbreakers and Soultakers,' which is followed by the mid-tempo AOR of 'Orange Groves,' with the album rounding out with Celtic-tinged 'Pal O' Mine,' closing on the piano balladeering of the title track, 'Happy Camper.'
Bob Beland - "The title track, 'Happy Camper,' came as a surprise to me as I had no intention of writing a song with that title."
"I had it in mind only for the album title two thirds of the way through when I suddenly became ill in February 2020."
"While recovering, the lyrics of the song came to me fast. So fast that I felt more like a stenographer taking notes than a songwriter."
"A melody came as soon as I reviewed what I had written but it took another 3 days for me to feel good enough to go into the studio and put it to music and the piano."
"The music came together very quickly as well. This song didn't come to me in a dream. It came to me in the middle of the day while I was sick and anything but alone with my thoughts in a busy family household."
"However, what I did feel was the presence and words of my mother and father, who had passed away decades ago, coming back to me and whispering into my ear."
"I was listening to the spirits from long past and it was an intense but beautiful feeling of resolution. I hope those who listen feel the same way I did."
FYI - Beland recently collaborated with 10cc legend Kevin Godley on a song that will be released on Kevin's first solo album Muscle Memory in December 2020.
The collaborative track, 'Big Bang Theory' will be released as a single this month of August 2020.
Amazon Digital Purchase Link
Bob Beland @ Facebook
Title - 'Mixed Emotions'
Artist - Nohokai
For those unaware, Hawaiian-born Emcee/Producer Nohokai has just released his new album Mixed Emotions across digital and online music platforms today via Perfect Time Music Group.
Nohokai has created an underground hip-hop debut for the ages enlisting an all-star cast of guests for the album that reads like a lineup worthy of a festival.
The album is a nod to the true school of hip-hop sound with Nohokai providing boom-bap production style beats for an A-list to unleash some hard-hitting bars courtesy of R.A. The Rugged Man, Locksmith, Chino XL, ILL BILL, Gift of Gab, and more!
2. 'A Level' (feat. True Justice & Casual)
3. 'Catch the Wave' (Feat. Gift Of Gab)
4. 'Asphalt' (Feat. R.A. The Rugged Man, Big Earth)
5. 'Careless' (feat. DJ Gi Joe & Diabolic)
6. 'Burden of Proof' (Feat. Pep Love)
7. 'Limitless' (feat. Tone Spliff & Apathy)
8. 'Final Destination' (feat. DJ Gi Joe & Nems)
9. 'Was' (Feat. Chino XL)
10. 'Golden Goose' (Feat. Slaine & Rite Hook)
11. 'Nothing More I Can Say' (Feat. Locksmith)
12. 'Life is But A Dream' (Feat. Eligh)
13. 'Where the Party At' (feat. DJ Eclipse, Ill Bill, Matt Maddox)
Opening with the short, but ever-so-sweet 'Introkai,' we move seamlessly into the gentle rap of 'A Level' (feat. True Justice & Casual), the heavier-toned rap of 'Catch the Wave' (Feat. Gift Of Gab), the melodic run-on of 'Asphalt' (Feat. R.A. The Rugged Man, Big Earth), and then both the Eminem-esque 'Careless' (feat. DJ Gi Joe & Diabolic) and the best track on here (in my humble opinion), the boot-tappin' 'Burden of Proof' (Feat. Pep Love).
Next up is the free-flowing rap of 'Limitless' (feat. Tone Spliff & Apathy) which is followed by the lighter fare of 'Final Destination' (feat. DJ Gi Joe & Nems), the rhymical hipsway, complete with speedster-spitting, hard center rap of 'Was' (Feat. Chino XL), the lyrically intriguing 'Golden Goose' (Feat. Slaine & Rite Hook), and then rounds out with the easy going flow of 'Nothing More I Can Say' (Feat. Locksmith), the melodic 'Life is But A Dream' (Feat. Eligh), closing on the hard-hitting 'Where the Party At' (feat. DJ Eclipse, Ill Bill, Matt Maddox).
As he matured, Nohokai quickly realized that performing as an MC wasn’t his true calling and instead turned to the studio as his rightful place in the hip-hop ecosystem.
Now as a grown man with a growing list of responsibilities, Nohokai has put everything he’s got into this full-length debut as a producer.
The result is a polished, mature, aggressive sound that rings of the same urgency Nohokai feels for his musical abilities.
Amazon Digital Purchase Link
Title - 'Walkin' Through This World'
Artist - Cidny Bullens
After a career spanning more than four decades in rock ’n’ roll and multiple recordings, singer-songwriter Cidny Bullens is releasing a unique, debut album — of sorts.
While it’s true, this brand new album Walkin’ Through This World (due out August 21st, 2020 via Blue Lobster Records), is actually Bullens’ ninth collection of original songs, it’s the first album he will put out as Cidny Bullens, a transgender man.
Produced by Ray Kennedy and Cidny Bullens, and recorded at Room & Board Studio in Nashville, Tenn., Walkin’ Through This World tells the story of Bullens’ gender transition and celebrates his life as an artist.
The album includes collaborations with several artists, such as guest vocalists Rodney Crowell, Beth Nielson Chapman, Jess Leary, Mary Gauthier, Siobhan Kennedy, and Reid Bullens Crewe.
1. 'Little Pieces'
2. 'Purgatory Road'
3. 'Walkin' Through This World'
4. 'The Gender Line'
5. 'Crack The Sky'
7. 'Call Me By My Name'
8. 'Laugh In The Rain'
9. 'Lucky For Me'
10. 'Healing The Break'
With Bullens’ songs reflecting a range of musical influences, drawing on his lifelong narrative of reinvention, renewal, and paradox, the album opens with the stuttering rock of 'Little Pieces' and then backs that up with the pain, and ultimately gratitude, felt within 'Purgatory Road,' the Mellencamp-esque, spoken-word title track 'Walkin' Through This World,' and then both the low lung ambiance of 'The Gender Line' and the impassioned 'Crack The Sky.'
Next up is the divinely motivated 'Sugartown' which in turn is followed by the upbeat and rowdy 'Call Me By My Name,' the harmonica-driven ballad 'Laugh In The Rain,' and then the album rounds out with the rambunctious, bar room rumpus of 'Lucky For Me,' closing on the ornately beautiful, tender guitar ballad 'Healing The Break.'
The album is, says Sir Elton John, “... a musical journey of the miracle that is Cidny Bullens. He HAD to do this. He had to musically tell his story. And it is SO moving."
"'The Gender Line,’ ‘Walkin’ Through This World,’ ‘Call Me By My Name’ are killers. The playing and the sound are fabulous!”
Official Purchase Links
Cidny Bullens @ Facebook
Cidny Bullens @ Twitter
Cidny Bullens @ Instagram
Cidny Bullens @ LinkedIn
Title - 'The Third Gleam'
Artist - The Avett Brothers
For those not in the know, The Avett Brothers will be releasing their brand new album, The Third Gleam on August 28th, 2020 via Loma Vista.
The album - which follows their tenth studio album, Closer Than Together from last year - sees the band returning to their roots, playing as a trio with longtime bassist Bob Crawford.
While recorded ahead of the pandemic and the social reform movements that have swept the nation, the eight-song collection captures the band’s personal experiences and perspectives on themes that are undeniably universal and timely: isolation, gun violence, incarceration, historical prejudice, and mortality, along with resilience, love, faith, hope and redemption.
Twelve years in the making, the third installment of their ongoing Gleam series sees the brothers continuing to share what’s on their minds and in their hearts as their lives, relationships, and the world around them continue to evolve, and offering a speck of light gleaming in what appears to be a relatively long and dark night.
2. 'I Should’ve Spent The Day With My Family'
3. 'Prison To Heaven'
4. 'Back Into The Light'
5. 'Women Like You'
6. 'Untitled #4'
7. 'I Go To My Heart'
8. 'The Fire'
This quite breathtakingly raw, honest, open and lushly orchestrated album opens with the melodic intimate lead single, 'Victory' and backs that up with the catchy ambiance of 'I Should’ve Spent The Day With My Family,' the harmonized bounce of 'Prison To Heaven' and then a track about stepping outside of ones personal shadows, the liberatingly magnificent 'Back Into The Light.'
Next up is the infectious hipsway of 'Women Like You,' one of my own personal favorites, the dual acoustic guitar work of 'Untitled #4,' with the album rounding out with the gentle foot-tapper 'I Go To My Heart,' closing on the, at times, haunting piano, always wordsmith profound, and more of their metaphoric light-in-darkness theme, 'The Fire.'
Billboard has observed, “At their core, the brothers are artists and documentarians, sharing little pieces of what they see and feel by means of song,” and throughout the eight songs on the album, the band reflects on their personal experiences and perspectives on themes that are inevitably anchored in our current world: injustice, gun violence, and mortality, as well as resilience, redemption, and hope.
Official 'Victory' Music Video
Official Purchase Links
The Avett Brothers @ Facebook
The Avett Brothers @ Twitter
The Avett Brothers @ Instagram
The Avett Brothers @ YouTube
Title - 'Yours, Millie McGuire'
Artist - Millie McGuire
For those not in the know, which is admittedly most of us, Millie McGuire, a 20-year-old singer from Chapel Hill, N.C., is not famous, not yet, but is about to release a debut album that is going to change that status completely!
You see, behind the scenes, musicians are talking. Such as Mike Mills (R.E.M., Baseball Project), with whom she appeared in Big Star’s Third concerts, who says Millie is his “favorite new voice of the last five years."
Indeed, Millie's debut album, Yours, Millie McGuire, gradually evolved over the last several years, as Millie found herself as a writer.
Producer Chris Stamey recalls: “I first met Millie during someone else’s session, where she seemed genuinely interested in learning about the studio."
"She was still in high school then. With no expectations I suggested she drop by and try to sing a demo for me and in return I’d show her how to stand at a mic and how headphones worked."
"Ha! To my surprise, she was a natural: She glanced at the sheet music, nailed the tune (‘I Fall in Love’) in about 15 minutes — and that’s the vocal that’s on the record today.”
It was what he calls a “Sam Phillips surprise” — the dream of every producer, that one day a remarkable singer will simply walk in off the street unexpectedly.
1. 'I Am Yours'
2. 'There's A Place'
3. 'One More Moment'
4. 'Two' (feat. Dan Wilson)
5. 'Tomorrow's Too Soon'
6. 'I Fall In Love (So Easily)'
7. 'Here's How We Start Again'
8. 'Your Last Forever After'
9. 'Dream a Little Dream of Me'
10. 'Dear Friend'
This quite breathtakingly raw, honest, and lushly orchestrated album opens on the, at first ornate piano composition, and then free flowingly symphonious of 'I Am Yours,' and backs that up with the gentle guitar and horn work of 'There's A Place,' the melodic hipsway of 'One More Moment,' the tenderly rhythmic 'Two' (a duet with co-producer Dan Wilson), and then the forgivingly euphoric 'Tomorrow's Too Soon.'
Next up is the beautifully breezy 'I Fall in Love so Easily,' which is followed by the country twang of 'Here's How We Start Again,' the at-times ethereal love song 'Your Last Forever After,' a deliciously unpretentious, studio one-take cover of the 1931 Ozzie Nelson and his Orchestra hit 'Dream a Little Dream of Me,' and then closes on the tender ballad 'Dear Friend.'
Official 'Two' Music Video
Official 'There's A Place' Music Video
Official 'I Am Yours' Music Video
Official 'I Fall In Love (So Easily)' Music Video
Official Purchase Links
Millie McGuire @ Facebook
Millie McGuire @ Twitter
Millie McGuire @ Instagram
Millie McGuire @ YouTube
Title - 'Expected To Fly' [EP]
Artist - Eddy Lee Ryder
For those not in the know, Eddy Lee Ryder has just released her debut EP, Expected to Fly (out now via Head Bitch Music).
A ready and willing mistress of everything from murder ballads to love songs and upbeat party tunes, Ryder’s intricate storytelling twists and turns over staccato electric guitars, moody piano, and center-stage drums that nod to the extravagance of the ‘80s.
A classically trained musician and opera singer, Ryder was obsessed with music of all genres growing up. Falling in love with Peter Gabriel and Fleetwood Mac helped push her to start writing her own songs.
As she grew, she began to take inspiration from eclectic people she met while driving around the country, as well as examining her own life.
1. 'Expected To Fly'
2. 'Silver Chain'
3. 'There In Dreams'
4. 'Small Apartment'
Opening with the soulful, foot-tappin' AOR of the Fleetwood Mac-esque title track, 'Expected To Fly,' that's backed by the free flowing, at times lyrically vibrated, Nicks-infused 'Silver Chain,' and then comes one of my own personal favorites, the beautiful track, 'There In Dreams.'
The foot-tappin' '80s-ibued, Go-Go's elegance of 'Small Apartment' (which also contains noted passages of '50s all-girl group harmonies) is up next and then the vibrant EP closes on her strongest vocal performance, the deeply emotive, low slung 'Vultures.'
The exuberant title track captures that recognizable moment when desperation becomes either a breakthrough or a big fall. “I think it’s a mix of feeling both defeated and hopeful,” Ryder says.
That dichotomy is also evident in 'Silver Chain,' which is about “... wanting to live a wild and carefree life, but also having that fear that you might end up being an old decrepit person sitting in a bar,” Ryder explains. “It’s seeing that future closing in on you.”
Perhaps the most vulnerable song on the EP, 'There In Dreams,' is about Ryder’s father who passed away when she was 16, and how she hopes he is proud of her when she sees him in her dreams.
'Vultures' ponders a toxic relationship over piano and prickling snare drum, and in 'Small Apartment,' Ryder puts herself under a microscope, telling the true tale of a disgruntled downstairs neighbor.
'Small Apartment' (Official Music Video)
'Silver Chain' (Official Music Video)
Official Purchase Links
Eddy Lee Ryder @ Facebook
Eddy Lee Ryder @ Twitter
Eddy Lee Ryder @ Instagram
Eddy Lee Ryder @ Spotify
Title - 'No Future - Singles Collection: Sound Of UK 1982'
Artist - Various
For those not in the know, No Future: Complete Singles Collection – The Sounds Of UK 82 (due out August 21st, 2020 via Captain Oi / Cherry Red Records UK) is a 112 track, 4CD capacity wallet, containing every A and B side issued by seminal Punk label No Future Records between 1980 and 84.
This quite magnificent, and highly nostalgic 4CD set, which features the likes of Blitz, The Partisans, The Violators, Red Alert, Attak, Blitzkrieg, The Insane, Peter & The Test Tube Babies and The Blood amongst many others, also houses a booklet that contains info on each single and band along with pictures of each release and sleeve notes by Vive Le Rock’s Andy Peart.
Indeed, of the 29 singles / EP’s issued by the label, 26 made the (then) important Independent Chart.
1. 'SOMEONE’S GONNA DIE' – Blitz
2. 'ATTACK' – Blitz
3. 'FIGHT TO LIVE' – Blitz
4. '45 REVOLUTIONS' – Blitz
5. 'POLICE STORY' – The Partisans
6. 'KILLING MACHINE' – The Partisans
7. 'THE FUTURE MUST BE OURS' – Blitzkrieg
8. 'DIE WITH DIGNITY' – The Violators
9. 'GOVERNMENT STINKS' – The Violators
10. 'FIGHT BACK' – Hostile Youth
11. 'GOVERNMENT DOWNFALL' – The Samples
12. 'JERUSALEM' – One Way System
13. 'BLUE PATROL' – Attak
14. 'ORDERS' – Protest
15. 'C.L.A.' – Crux
16. 'ACTION MAN' – Distortion
17. 'POWER SCHEMES' – Pseudo Sadists
18. 'WHOSE BOMB' – Chaotic Youth
19. 'BANNED FROM THE PUBS' – Peter & The Test Tube Babies
20. 'MOPED LADS' – Peter & The Test Tube Babies
21. 'PEACEHAVEN WILD KIDS' – Peter & The Test Tube Babies
22. 'IN BRITAIN' – Red Alert
23. 'SCREAMING AT THE NATION' – Red Alert
24. 'MURDER MISSILE' – Red Alert
25. 'RAZORS IN THE NIGHT' – Blitz
26. 'NEVER SURRENDER' – Blitz
27. 'TODAY’S GENERATION' – Attak
28. 'HELL' – Attak
29. 'ESCAPE' – Attak
30. 'THE ABUSE OF POWER' – Blitzkrieg
31. 'DESTRUCTION' - Blitzkrieg
Featuring stand out bands such as Blitz (formed in 1980 and were producing albums until 1983), The Partisans (formed in 1978, when all four members were in their early teens, and produced album through to 1984), The Violators (formed in 1979, producing three albums up to 1983), and both Peter & The Test Tube Babies (formed in 1978, and due to their humorous tongue-in-cheek lyrics, were always considered part of the Punk Pathetique subgenre), and Attak (formed in 1980, and with only three releases - two 7" singles and an LP - until 1983), this is, for my money, the best of the four compilations.
1. 'LEST WE FORGET' – Blitzkrieg
2. 'WARFARE’S HEROES' – Blitzkrieg
3. 'GANGLAND' – Violators
4. 'THE FUGITIVE' – Violators
5. 'EL SALVADOR' – The Insane
6. 'CHINESE ROCKS' – The Insane
7. 'NUCLEAR WAR' – The Insane
8. 'I’VE GOT A GUN' - Channel 3
9. 'MANZANAR' – Channel 3
10. 'MANNEQUIN' – Channel 3
11. '17 YEARS OF HELL' – The Partisans
12. 'POWER & THE GREED' – The Partisans
13. 'BASTARDS IN BLUE' – The Partisans
14. 'TAKE NO PRISONERS' – Red Alert
15. 'EMPIRE OF CRIME' – Red Alert
16. 'SELL OUT' – Red Alert
17. 'DEAD HERO' – The Samples
18. 'FIRE ANOTHER ROUND' – The Samples
19. 'SUSPICION' – The Samples
20. 'RUN LIKE HELL' – Peter & The Test Tube Babies
21. 'UP YER BUM' – Peter & The Test Tube Babies
22. 'WARRIORS' – Blitz
23. 'YOUTH' (NEW VERSION) – Blitz
24. 'MURDER IN THE SUBWAY' – Attak
25. 'FUTURE DREAMS' – Attak
26. 'KEEP ON RUNNING' – Crux
27. 'STREETS AT NIGHT' – Crux
28. 'BRIGHTON FRONT' – Crux
29. 'I’LL DIE WITH MY BOOTS ON' – Crux
This second disc features stand out bands such as Blitzkrieg (formed in 1979, they made a distinct contribution to the UK hardcore punk scene, have a strong underground following due to it, and despite the Nazi connotations of the name Blitzkrieg, German for "Lightning-War", they took a fiercely anti-Nazi stance, The Insane (formed in 1979, and released material until 1984), Channel 3 (actually, an American punk rock band from Cerritos, California, formed in 1980), and both Red Alert (formed in 1979, the quartet have recorded seven albums through to 2005), and Crux (formed in early 1981, and lovingly known as the "Nuneaton nutters").
1. 'FIGHT FOR YOUR LIFE' – Crash
2. 'RELIGION' – Crash
3. 'KILL THE COW' – Crash
4. 'TV TIMES' – Crash
5. 'SUMMER OF ’81' – Violators
6. 'LIVE FAST DIE YOUNG' – Violators
7. 'CITY INVASION' – Red Alert
8. 'NEGATIVE REACTION' – Red Alert
9. 'DAY TRIPPER' – The Wall
10. 'CEREMONY' – The Wall
11. 'INDUSTRIAL NIGHTMARE' – The Wall
12. 'GROWING UP' – The Wall
13. 'HALL OF MIRACLES' – The Wall
14. 'WHEN I’M DANCING' – The Wall
15. 'ANIMAL GRIP' – The Wall
16. 'CASTLES' – The Wall
17. 'SPIRIT DANCE' – The Wall
18. 'FUNHOUSE' – The Wall
19. 'MEGALOMANIA' – The Blood
20. 'PARASITE IN PARADISE' – The Blood
21. 'CALLING THE SHOTS' – The Blood
22. 'UNKNOWN SOLDIERS' – Patrol
23. 'NURSE NURSE' – Patrol
24. 'BLOOD MONEY' – Mania
25. 'DID HE OR DIDN’T HE?' – Government Lies
26. 'ON PAROLE' – Condemned
27. 'CRIMINAL CREW' – Criminal Damage
This third disc contains such stand out bands as Crash (formed in 1981, and whose best single release, in my humble opinion, was easily the ferocious 'Kill The Cow'), The Blood (formed in 1982, led by Cardinal Jesus Hate and JJ Bedsore - AKA Colin Smith and Jamie Cantwell - they recorded albums through to 1999), Patrol (purveyors of fine punk rock since the late '70s!), and then comes a veritable hits selection from The Wall.
Formed in 1978, and releasing only two albums until 1982, their original line-up recorded the band's debut single, 'New Way' (which sadly isn't on this compilation), which was issued in April 1979.
Played regularly by BBC Radio 1 disc jockey John Peel, the single sold more than 10,000 copies, and after meeting Paul Cook and Steve Jones, the two former Sex Pistols decided they wanted to work with the band, and produced the next single, 'Kiss the Mirror' / 'Exchange', The Wall becoming the first punk band to be produced by an ex-Pistol! (again, neither of which are on this compilation).
1. 'COUNTRY BOY ROCKER' – A.B.H.
2. 'WANNA RIOT' – A.B.H.
3. 'SNOW BLINDNESS' – Cadaverous Clan
4. 'STORM TROOPER TACTICS' – Impact
5. 'FIGHT & DIE' – Intensive Care
6. 'GHOST TOWN' – Intensive Care
7. 'SUFFRAGETTE CITY' – Rose Of Victory
8. 'OVERDRIVE' – Rose Of Victory
9. 'NIGHT CREATURES' – Screaming Dead
10. 'ANGEL OF DEATH' – Screaming Dead
11. 'NECROARIA' – Screaming Dead
12. 'TWENTIETH CENTURY VAMPIRE' – Screaming Dead
13. 'RIDE OF THE CROW' – Screaming Dead
14. 'POINTLESS SLAUGHTER' – Violators
15. 'THERE’S A GUITAR BURNING!' – Red Alert
16. 'THE DUST HAS SETTLED' – Red Alert
17. 'TRANQUILITY' – Red Alert
18. 'ALL THE WAY TO GLORY' - Red Alert
19. 'THE REVOLUTION WILL COME' – Red Alert
20. 'CAST IRON’S CRUSADE' – Red Alert
21. 'VALLEY OF THE DEAD' – Screaming Dead
22. 'SCHOOLGIRL JUNKIE' – Screaming Dead
23. 'LILITH' – Screaming Dead
24. 'PAINT IT BLACK' – Screaming Dead
25. 'WARRIORS' – Screaming Dead
The fourth and final disc features such stand out bands as A.B.H. (Actual Bodily Harm, formed in early 1981, split in 1983), Intensive Care (a Scottish quartet that soon became a quintet), Rose Of Victory (a duo who formed in 1982, lasted until 1983, and who reunited under the Rose Of Victory banner for a studio only collaboration thereafter), and then lot of tracks from Screaming Dead.
Formed in 1980, and who have often been characterized as "horror punk", they released several singles and EPs with indie chart success, before splitting up in 1985 - they reformed in 1997; disbanded again in 1999; and reformed in 2014!
Official 4CD Box-Set Purchase Link
Title - 'The Georgia Thunderbolts' [EP]
Artist - The Georgia Thunderbolts
Whether it be on the banks of the Mississippi River or deep in the heart of the English countryside, rock ‘n’ roll lives, breathes, and burns on the outskirts.
Hailing from Rome, GA at the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, The Georgia Thunderbolts rise up with a scorching signature style steeped in soulful southern swagger, blistering blues, and raw rock.The Georgia Thunderbolts have been called “timeless” by American Songwriter and “your new favorite southern rock band” by Classic Rock.
On this self-titled debut EP (due out August 21st, 2020 via the Mascot Label Group), the quintet — TJ Lyle [vocals, harp, piano], Riley Couzzourt [guitar], Logan Tolbert [guitar], Zach Everett [bass, harmony vocals, keys], and Bristol Perry [drums] — conjure a tried-and-true spirit through a fresh fire.
Furthermore, Rolling Stone magazine has featured the band's latest single 'Looking For An Old Friend' in its RS Country Music Picks column, highlighting the best new music releases from country and Americana artists.
1. 'Looking For An Old Friend'
2. 'So You Wanna Change The World'
3. 'Lend a Hand'
4. 'Spirit Of A Workin’ Man'
5. 'Set Me Free'
Opening with the aforementioned lead single, 'Looking For An Old Friend' is a slice of melodic AOR southern country at its finest and is backed up seamlessly by the drum-led, mid-tempo rock stance ballad of 'So You Wanna Change The World.'
Next up is the full force, southern blues guitar rocker 'Lend a Hand,' which is followed by a slightly more tempered 'Spirit Of A Workin' Man,' with the EP coming to a close on the free flowing, reaching rock balladry of 'Set Me Free.'
“We’re going for that timeless and classic sound with a modern twist and newer attitude,” exclaims TJ. “We’ve got a real hunger and eagerness to play.”
“We all grew up on rock music,” Riley adds. “Rock ‘n’ roll comes back around, but longevity depends on grinding it out. That’s what we want to do. We try to put in the work our favorite bands did."
"If I could think of three words to describe us, they would be ‘Hardworking, Determined, and Humble’," Riley ponders.
Bristol grins, and chips in, “If I could think of three words, they would be ‘Rock And Roll’.”
The Georgia Thunderbolts @ Facebook
The Georgia Thunderbolts @ Twitter
The Georgia Thunderbolts @ Instagram
The Georgia Thunderbolts @ YouTube
Title - 'Music for a Viennese Salon'
Artist - Night Music
Here on the quite uniquely breathtaking Music for a Viennese Salon (out now via AVIE Records), Philadelphia-based period-instrument ensemble Night Music re-creates an afternoon of music making from October 1801 at the Austrian capital’s Palais Arnstein.
Complete with a flamboyant Quintet for flute and strings by Joseph Kraus, a duo by Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf for the unusual combination of viola and double bass, and a chamber arrangement – by the impresario Johann Peter Salomon in the same instrumentation as the Kraus Quintet – it's actually hard to say which culminate in being the most adroit of symphonic surprises once they reach your ears (pun intended, sorry!).
Joseph Martin Kraus (1756 – 1792)
Quintet in D, VB 188, for flute and strings
1. I. Allegro moderato (14.12)
2. II. Largo (7.09)
3. III. Finale: con brio (6.40)
Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf (1739 – 1799)
Duetto in E-flat, Kr. 219, for viola and violone
4. I. Allegro (4.40)
5. II. Menuetto I (2.47)
6. III. Adagio (2.47)
7. IV. Menuetto II (2.20)
8. V. Andante: Tema con variazioni (3.33)
Franz Joseph Haydn (1732 – 1809)
Symphony in G, Hob. I:94, “Surprise” (arr. Johann Peter Salomon for flute and strings)
9. I. Adagio – Vivace assai (7.36)
10. II. Andante (6.16)
11. III. Menuetto (4.39)
12. IV. Allegro di molto (4.04)
Recorded back on August 27th, 28th, and 29th, 2018, at the Immanuel Highlands Episcopal Church, Wilmington, Delaware, produced by Erin Banholzer and engineered by Loren Stata, period-instrument ensemble Night Music, quite literally, make these recordings freshly their own here.
Opening with Kraus' 14 minute Allegro moderato, from his Quintet in D, VB 188, for flute and strings, the flighty number is crisply effervescent here, as one could only hope to expect, and yet Night Music seems to ornately cut and run with Kraus' inbred thoughts and wishes for the work almost seamlessly.
Another stand out is the gently foreboding work found within Andante: Tema con variazioni from von Dittersdorf's Duetto in E-flat, Kr. 219, for viola and violone.
Overall not a long work, but with Night Music bringing all his nuances to the fore in such dedicated style, the work is one quite magnificently dulcet beast, that's for sure.
The last one I shall highlight here is the simply breathtaking Adagio – Vivace assai from Haydn's Symphony in G, Hob. I:94, “Surprise” (arr. Johann Peter Salomon for flute and strings).
Running at just under 8 minutes, it is a pure, and unadulterated work of pristine musical art and fully deserves its place (as part of a complete work) here on this expertly arranged new CD from Night Music (via AVIE Records).
Official CD Purchase Link
Title - 'Paint Still Wet'
Artist - Peggy James
For those not in the know, don't worry, for the brilliant Peggy James - born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, but who spent her formative years in the Southwest - defies categories!
Sure, there's a lot of country in her songwriting and her voice, but listen carefully enough and you'll soon come upon elements of many other music genres too.
On her fifth album, Paint Still Wet (due out September 18th, 2020 via Daystorm Music), Peggy is a pop artist for the 21st century, eclectic in her sources and strong in her conviction in the power of a well-crafted four-minute song.
Is Peggy Americana? Only if the audible influence of The Beatles and Elton John counts as Americana. Peggy grew up with big ears and — without calculation or deliberation — draws widely from the sonic world around her.
With a timeless simplicity, Peggy’s lyrics are heartfelt in their profession of love and friendship. Heartbreak is delivered with wrenching poetry, regret in meaningful sighs.
Singing in a soft, emotionally resonant voice, the Wisconsin singer-songwriter gives performances that echo with the confident humanity of the Midwest.
1. 'Let's Fly Away'
3. 'Holdin' Hands'
4. 'San Antone'
5. 'Can't Do Lonely Anymore'
6. 'Sailor Knots'
7. 'Lighter Than a Feather'
8. 'Head Over Heels'
9. 'Nothin's The Same'
10. 'Fallen Star'
11. 'Scarlet and Gold'
12. 'Gettin' Serious'
Once again championed by veteran producer/guitarist Jim Eannelli, whose meticulous attention to detail ensures that justice has been well and truly served here to the projects’ recording, the album opens with the easy, breezy, free flowing vibe of 'Let's Fly Away' and then bleeds seamlessly into the lo-fi Americana of 'Wiser.'
Up next are the mid-tempo melodies of 'Holdin' Hands,' and then we get the reminiscing of a love gone by within 'San Antone' and a stand out cut in the form of the lushly orchestrated, breathy '60s-esque appeal of 'Can't Do Lonely Anymore.'
Next up is the ornately delicate, mid-tempo ballad 'Sailor Knots' which is followed by one of my own personal favorites, the gentle hipsway of a love lost within 'Lighter Than a Feather,' which in turn is backed by the countrified 'Head Over Heels,' and then a buoyantly upbeat message of standing tall in the face of a fallen love, 'Nothin's The Same.'
Coming into the final straight, and we get another stand out track in the form of the country blues of 'Fallen Star,' with the album rounding out on the sweepingly majestic audioscape of 'Scarlet and Gold,' closing on the upbeat rockabilly flow of 'Gettin' Serious.'
From pop/rock to ballads to country/bluegrass, Peggy’s storytelling, melodies, and lyrics here on Paint Still Wet create captivating journeys that we can all relate to.
“What inspires me the most in writing a song is a good story,” Peggy says. “Traveling, observing, listening and reflecting on my own life experiences affords a lot of material because there are so many stories to be told."
"Putting these stories to music is a way to connect these stories to people on deeper emotional levels.”
Peggy James @ Facebook
Title - 'The Normal Album'
Artist - Will Wood
For those unaware, Avant-pop singer/songwriter, Will Wood, has just-released his third album, The Normal Album, this past July 10th, 2020, via Say-10 Records.
Produced by Jonathan Maisto (Dillinger Escape Plan, Foxy Shazam) with a guest appearance from multi-platinum producer Matt Squire (Panic! At The Disco, Ariana Grande, One Direction), The Normal Album is an enthralling, 10-track statement on normality and conformity.
Furthermore, the new album was successfully funded on Indiegogo within a day of its launch, and went on to raise nearly $28,000, with hundreds of passionate fans pledging up to thousands of dollars each!
- Greetings, from Mary Bell Township!
- (Vampire) Culture
- Love Me, Normally
2. '2econd-2ight-2eer (that was fun, goodbye)'
3. 'Laplace's Angel (Hurt People? Hurt People!)'
5. '... well, better than the alternative'
6. 'Outliars & Hyppocrates: A Fun Fact About Apples'
7. 'BlackBoxWarrior - OKULTRA'
8. 'Marsha, Thankk You for the Dialects, but I Need You to Leave'
9. 'Love Me, Normally'
10. 'Memento Mori: the most important thing in the world'
The album opens with the, at times frenetic, at others delightfully vaudeville trilogy that goes under the title of 'Surburbia Overture' and then backs that up seamlessly with the anthemic '2econd-2ight-2eer (that was fun, goodbye),' the melodic lyricism, ala Fall Out Boy-esque of 'Laplace's Angel (Hurt People? Hurt People!),' and then we get the sped-up circus appeal vibe of 'I/Me/Myself' and the one-two pop bounce of '... well, better than the alternative.'
Up next is the languishingly beauty of 'Outliars & Hyppocrates: A Fun Fact About Apples,' the fevered 'BlackBoxWarrior - OKULTRA,' the near-operatic output of 'Marsha, Thankk You for the Dialects, but I Need You to Leave,' rounding out with the passionately enraptured 'Love Me, Normally,' closing on the Ziegfeld Follies-esque revue feel of 'Memento Mori: the most important thing in the world.'
"The '80s nostalgia prevalent in the pop world right now leaves out the best part of the '80s: the '50s nostalgia," says Wood when asked about the lead single, 'Love, Me Normally.'
"Multi-platinum producer Matt Squire helped me and the band stack nostalgias with a '50s doo-wop '80s power ballad so I could capture not the simpler times we long for," Will continues, "but the longing for simpler times itself. After all, times have never been simple; we just want things to go back to normal."
He adds, "A lot of people like to, when faced with how weird they are or someone they care about is, ask the age-old rhetorical question 'well, what is normal, anyway?'"
"We understand what the question means, but we don't really bother to answer it. The Normal Album is my answer, and the other questions it begs."
Will Wood @ Facebook
Will Wood @ Instagram
Will Wood @ Patreon
Title - 'Delta Tales'
Artist - Sun King Rising
For those not in the know, rock music and biomedical science might seem to be strange bedfellows, but it is the bed that Peacock Sunrise recording artist, John Blangero, has made for himself.
In fact, just one listen to his soulful new album, Delta Tales by alter-ego Sun King Rising will make the oddness of that pairing seem almost normal.
Furthermore, neither his music nor his work as a renowned genetic scientist are strange at all, it turns out. Call it “The Genetics of Soul,” if you will.
Blangero’s prodigious musical gifts were revealed when he started taking piano lessons at the age of five in his hometown of New Castle, Pennsylvania.
Five years later, he had absorbed not only the fundamentals of classical music but also gospel and rock music. He joined his first rock band at 14 and was soon composing and singing his own music.
Apprenticeships in a series of area bands culminated in the formation of his own original band called Harlequin. By then his music had evolved into a combination of prog-rock and glam, presented with all the theatrics such music generally entails.
Harlequin attained retained regional popularity throughout the fertile Pennsylvania/Ohio/West Virginia market.
At the height of the band’s popularity, though, he gave up music to obtain his Ph.D. and become an active biomedical research scientist.
During his twenty-year hiatus from music, he ascended to rock star stature in the international scientific community. But the musical beast within him could not be stilled forever.
Playing casually with blues bands in San Antonio revived that beast and rekindled Blangero’s creative spark.
Now, he has completed the recording of his first solo album, the aforementioned Delta Tales. While prog-rock remains dear to Blangero’s heart, his soul and gospel influences that have come to fore in this album.
1. 'The Snake'
2. 'Milkweed and Thistle'
3. 'Down the Delta Road'
4. 'In a State of Grace'
5. 'Take it Down'
6. 'Beneath the Southern Sun'
7. 'Evangeline in the Morning'
8. 'Love Turns Grey'
9. 'Drive Me to Nashville'
10. 'Let There Be Light'
Produced by Steven “Ace” Acker, formerly of notable 1970s MCA recording artists, LAW, Delta Tales is a collection of nine original songs and one rather obscure 1969 R&B gem titled, and which kicks this whole musical experience off nicely, 'The Snake' (a song written by civil-rights activist Oscar Brown in 1963 and released as a single by American singer Al Wilson in 1968).
Opening with some mood setting, earthy snare and bass drum, before some divine, and righteously funk-emboldened, soulful gospel singers ask us to “Come on in”, now infused with some deep bass sax, the track is a right royal music rendition of the highest order.
Next up is the guitar-led, Bob Seger-esque magnificence of 'Milkweed and Thistle' which in turn is backed by the finger-snappin', slide blues guitar work of 'Down the Delta Road,' the profoundly resonating storytelling on a bed of horn percussion of 'In a State of Grace,' and then the low slung ballad (complete with an enthusiastic guitar solo) 'Take it Down.'
A complex, yet ultimately rewarding production, involving multiple studios and numerous top players and singers scattered throughout the country, next up is the gently frenetic rocker 'Beneath the Southern Sun' and the Bruce Springsteen-esque southern ballad 'Evangeline in the Morning' (which, yet again here, showcase Blangero's emotionally atmospheric vocals to a tee).
Then we get the upbeat, maracas' enriched 'Love Turns Grey,' with the album rounding out on the Americana troubadour rumblings of 'Drive Me to Nashville,' closing on the brilliant AOR radio rock of 'Let There Be Light' (complete with its lush organ fade out).
The recording of Delta Tales was a fascinating task, spanning four months, from January 2020 to mid-May.
The Coronavirus shutdown in April forced Blangero and producer Ace Acker to complete the production remotely with players and singers recording in several different studios across the country rather than recording additional live, full-band studio sessions.
Says Blangero, “It was a logistical challenge, but I think we captured the magic that I’ve always heard in my head. Great background singers, classic horn parts, tight rhythm sections, killer guitar, funky keys, and my own acoustic piano parts."
"It sounds like it could have been recorded in the early '70s, which is the vibe I was going for.”
In closing, Blangero adds, “I tried to capture my southern soul on this album. I hope that the overall message it conveys is one of positivity, especially in these dark times."
"I think we have put together strong songs that will make people tap their feet and sing along, too! For me, the song is everything.”
Sun King Rising @ Facebook
Title - 'Chemical Trance'
Artist - Krief
For those not in the know, Indie singer-songwriter Krief (full name Patrick Krief), has just released his brand new album, Chemical Trance, this past August 14th, 2020 via Indica Records.
Chemical Trance (the follow-up to his 2019 release, Dovetale) is a psychedelic masterpiece of secular shamanistic humanism.
The Montreal-based musician taps into that holy intersection of divine and mortality, confronting his own vulnerabilities in a beautiful cacophony that, at times, recalls Pink Floyd, late-era Beatles, Leonard Cohen, and Radiohead.
And just like the artistic epochs of those great musical masters, the new album is at its best when Krief digs deepest into his most personal moments.
1. 'I Am The Pillar Of Darkness In Your Life'
2. 'I Love You Just The Same'
3. 'Man About Lies'
4. 'Line Stepper'
5. 'Chemical Trance'
7. 'One Up Two Down'
8. 'The Light Between Your Eyes'
9. 'Never Without You'
10. 'Gyp Million Star'
The album (conceived to be one continuous listen) opens with the laid back, hazy dayz swirls of 'I Am The Pillar Of Darkness In Your Life,' and is backed up seamlessly by the ambient piano magnificence of 'I Love You Just The Same,' the more pronounced, yet still acutely grounded, mid-tempo reverb of 'Man About Lies,' and then both the gentle hipsway of 'Line Stepper' and the fiery, fuzzy guitar and drum-led psych rocker, the title track 'Chemical Trance.'
Continuing to tap into the intersection of divine and mortality, confronting his own vulnerabilities in a beautiful cacophony, Krief next brings us the ethereal ballad 'Svengali,' which is followed by the almost-Americana flow of 'One Up Two Down,' the, at first, spatial and airy, the next a guitar rock-enhanced, psych trip of 'The Light Between Your Eyes,' and then rounds out with the Sgt. Peppers-esque piano number 'Never Without You,' closing on the .53 second air space drift of 'Gyp Million Star.'
While Krief is known for dream pop, shoegaze, classic pop/rock, and folk, he pictured Chemical Trance to be more psychedelic in nature, like an Ayahuasca trip. “It’s like you've taken the drug and you're confronting your whole past – all the darkest stuff,” Krief says.
"But you're not reliving it in a normal way, it's hyped-up: emotions as demons, that sort of thing.”
Krief @ Facebook
Krief @ Twitter
Krief @ Instagram
Krief @ YouTube
Title - 'Lilac Hill'
Artist - Sukyung Kim
For those not in the know, the just-released Lilac Hill, Korean-born, Brooklyn based pianist/composer Sukyung Kim's self-produced, five song debut EP, is a veritable musical masterpiece that blends a highly personal collection of musical sensibilities with the most perfect balance of sophistication and creativity.
"These compositions are very personal to me," Kim reveals, "they are like my secret record of feelings and images. I am grateful to be able to finally share them with the world and I hope that they might touch anyone who is going through hard times."
Kim is a jazz pianist and composer from Korea, now based in Brooklyn, NY. She began studying classical piano at the age of 4 and from an early age, she regularly played at local churches and accompanied singers.
She moved to New York and majored in Piano Performance at SUNY Binghamton and after learning an extensive repertoire, she wanted to learn more about jazz and composing.
She then decided to move to New York City to be involved in the New York jazz scene. In 2017, she began studying Master’s program in Jazz Performance at NYU and Kevin Hays, Alan Broadbent, Drew Gress, Alex Sipiagin and Ari Hoenig have been her mentors.
1. 'Lilac Hill' (4:24)
2. 'Stargazers' (8:08)
3. 'Bluebird' (5:06)
4. 'Summer Days' (5:45)
5. 'California' (6:54)
With the entire EP drawn from a dream Kim had of a purple hill, and how such a place made her feel so safe and sound, the EP opens with the upright bass-led, fast 5/8 title track, and backs that up with the, at first, languishing ambiance, latterly a medium swing movement, of the longest track, at just over eight minutes, the quite superbly enthralling, 'Stargazing.'
Next up is the Poinciana groove and lyrical melodies of 'Bluebird,' a track that also allows Kim to pay tribute to her favorite pianist, Keith Jarret.
The dulcet, drifting majesty of the nostalgically-vibed 'Summer Days' is just simply a masterful work of musical art, and one that allows Kim to play Rhodes on the 5/4 tune, and then the EP closes out on the intimately delicate at times, chorale-like at others, 'California' (a tune composed about Kim's childhood in California).
Musicians - Sukyung Kim: piano; Ethan Helm: saxophone; Paul JuBong Lee: guitar; Luca Alemanno: bass; and Jongkuk Kim: drums.
Official Purchase Link
Sukyung Kim @ Facebook
Sukyung Kim @ Instagram
Sukyung Kim @ SoundCloud
Title - 'Building'
Artist - Shannon LaBrie
For those not in the know, soulful songstress Shannon LaBrie is set to release a new LP, entitled Building, on September 25th, 2020.
Written in 2019, each song holds significant importance and relevance now more than ever.
Building offers listeners a journey to self-discovery and reflection with songs about finding strength in pain, spiritual guidance, and words that turn to bullets, as in the song 'The Things We Say' as she sings, “The things we say, it’s the weapon of the age.”
Indeed, Building is the follow-up to LaBrie’s first full-length album, entitled War & Peace, which earned LaBrie and her music critical acclaim and respect within the music industry.
Furthermore, Rolling Stone praised the 2016 project saying, “Her songs unfold with style and subtlety, coasting over the album's lush, beautiful arrangements via LaBrie's gorgeous voice.”
2. 'Raining Hallelujah'
3. 'Angels Fall'
4. 'The Things We Say'
6. 'One In a Billion'
7. 'It’s Good To Be King'
The album (with all seven songs written or co-written by LaBrie) opens with her current single 'Firewalker,' a heroic anthem that just gains some succulent blues rock traction as it builds, and that's backed by 'Raining Hallelujah,' a drum-led, mid-tempo track that allows LaBrie's brand of storytelling to come crisply through.
The beautiful guitar ballad 'Angels Fall' allows for a vein of yearning calm to flow freely, and that's backed by the soulful piano work of 'The Things We Say.'
The album then rounds out with the Americana, soft hue shuffle of the title track, 'Building,' which is followed by the soothing AOR of 'One In A Billion,' closing on a Tom Petty cover (from his magnificent 1994 album Wildflowers), Labrie's rendition of 'It's Good To Be King' (where she uses her smooth and sultry vocal to bring new light, and female perspective to a song based off of the male ego).
Official 'Firewalker' Music Video
Official Purchase Link
Shannon LaBrie @ Facebook
Shannon LaBrie @ Twitter
Shannon LaBrie @ Instagram
Shannon LaBrie @ Pintrest
Title - 'Hanover Fist'
Artist - Hanover Fist
For those not in the know, Hanover Fist originally formed in 1996 and released two albums in the first four years - HF1 and Y2K.
With ten years of touring and radio play in the regional market, they left there foot-”Fist” print in the Wilmington NC scene.
After the passing of drummer Jamie Mintz, remaining members Ronny Lamanna and Bud Shepard played in various projects.
Deciding to reform in 2016 they added the talents of drummer Eric Stahle. Since reforming with Stahle they have written many new songs, played some awesome shows (Blackfoot) (Cuz Fest) featuring local rock legends IN U DEEP & Faith Collapsing and so many other great bands.
And now, the great Hanover Fist is releasing a brand new studio album, their third and aptly named III, which contains a wonderous 14-tracks.
And with all the pre-release talk about it becoming louder and louder, it just goes to prove, you still simply cannot resist the fist!
1. 'Out Of My Head'
2. 'Juke Box Dancer'
3. 'Cats And Dogs'
5. 'Room With A View'
7. 'Sweet Leaf'
8. 'Risky Business'
9. 'See You Again'
11. 'Black Out'
12. 'Buzz Saw'
14. 'Mean Old Ax'
Opening with the AOR guitar and vocal reverb of 'Out Of My Head' and then the infectious '80s metal vibe of 'Juke Box Dancer,' they follow those up with the mid-tempo, STP-esque 'Cats And Dogs,' the melodic rock of 'Dreamin' and then we get one of my own personal favorites, the gently frenetic 'Room With A View.'
Next up is a rockin' track that showcases Lamanna's vocals perfectly, the powerhaus 'Captain' which is backed by the the Ozzy-esque appeal of 'Sweet Leaf,' the screamer, Crüe-esque 'Risky Business,' and then both the grunge alt-metal, drum-led beauty 'See You Again' and the lowdown metal grunge of 'Quest.'
On an album that never takes its foot of the metal pedal for one second, up next are the vibrant guitar sounds throughout of 'Black Out,' another early Ozzy-esque cut in the form of 'Buzz Saw,' with the album rounding out with another searing guitar solo from Shepard, laid bare on an expansive, frenzied, yet cultured drum bed from Stahle, 'Neurotica,' finally closing on the ardent metal sound of 'Mean Old Ax.'
Official Digital Purchase Link
Hanover Fist @ Facebook
Hanover Fist @ YouTube
Title - 'Slow Dancing: Recordings 1974-1979' [Remastered]
Artist - Unicorn
Esoteric Recordings has just-released a magnificent new 4CD clamshell box-set that gathers together three albums and an additional disc of previously-unreleased archive material by the legendary British band Unicorn, Slow Dancing: The Recordings 1974–1979.
Slow Dancing: The Recordings 1974–1979 gathers together the albums Blue Pines Trees, Too Many Crooks and One More Tomorrow, all with additional bonus tracks and features an additional CD with 19 previously unreleased studio and live archive recordings, selected by Unicorn’s Pat Martin.
The set also features an illustrated booklet and essay and is a fine tribute to one of Britain’s most unique bands.
Unicorn recorded their first album in 1971 for the Transatlantic label, but by 1973 they began an association with David Gilmour of Pink Floyd who was taken with the band’s musical approach and American West Coast musical influences, vocal harmonies and very English lyrics.
Featuring a line-up of Kenny Baker (guitar, keyboards, vocals), Pete Perryer (drums, lead vocals) Pat Martin (bass, vocals) and Kevin Smith (lead guitar, mandolin), Blue Pine Trees was released on the Charisma label in 1974 and was produced by David Gilmour, who also featured on Pedal Steel Guitar and guitar on several tracks.
Disc One - Blues Pines (1974):
1. 'Electric Night'
2. 'Sleep Song'
3. 'Autumn Wine'
4. 'Rat Race'
5. 'Just Wanna Hold You'
7. 'Nightingale Crescent'
8. 'The Farmer'
9. 'In The Gym'
10. 'Blue Pine Trees'
11. 'Ooh Mother' [Bonus Track]
12. 'Volcano' [Bonus Track]
13. 'The Ballad of John and Julie' (BBC Session 1974) [Bonus Track]
14. 'Bog Trotter' [Bonus Track]
15. 'Ooh Mother' (Single Version) [Bonus Track]
16. 'I'll Believe In You (The Hymn)' [Bonus Track]
17. 'Take It Easy' [Bonus Track]
I first saw this band supporting Osibisa at Brunel University and was totally blown away. Considering how brilliant they were live, and how fantastic this album and Too Many Crooks were, along with the backing of David Gilmour, it is truly difficult to understand just how they escaped fame!
If you enjoy very melodic soft rock (think Sutherland Brothers, Stealers Wheel, etc.) with a hint of country and intelligent lyrics, and are of a certain age, man, this kind of music was surrounding you from all sides (albeit form other artists and bands, of course).
In truth, his album has always been a staple in my collection and the best comparison I could make, thinking logically about it now, is the music of Lindisfarne.
Complete with a distinctive twang, much like Lindisfarne, there are several songs here that are more than nice, carrying a deep emotive hook and such.
Now complete with some delicious extra tracks, such as 'The Ballad of John and Julie' (BBC Session 1974), the brilliant 'Ooh Mother' and the lush 'I'll Believe in You (The Hymn),' this first disc is a real doozy!
In 1976 the band signed with EMI’s Harvest label and recorded their next album Too Many Crooks. David Gilmour produced the album, once again, and also featured as a musician on several tracks.
Disc Two - Too Many Crooks (1978):
2. 'Ferry Boat'
3. 'He's Got Pride'
4. 'Keep On Going'
5. 'Too Many Crooks'
6. 'Bullseye Bill'
7. 'Disco Dancer'
9.'No Way Out Of Here'
10. 'In The Mood'
11. 'So Far Away' (Out-take)[Bonus Track]
12. 'Weekend' (Live Radio Studio Session 1975) [Bonus Track]
13. 'Ferry Boat' (Live Radio Studio Session 1975) [Bonus Track]
14. 'He's Got Pride' (Live Radio Studio Session 1975) [Bonus Track]
15. 'No Way Out Of Here' (Live Radio Studio Session 1975) [Bonus Track]
16. 'Disco Dancer' (Single Mix) [Bonus Track]
Including the song 'No Way Out Of Here,' which Gilmour would cover on his first solo album in 1978, in truth, any fan of Dave Edmunds or Nick Lowe (or even the brilliant Rockpile, featuring Elvis Costello) must have already added this album to their collection back in the day.
A delightful blend of rock and country, all very easy going and melodic tunes, sure both the label and the name of the band conjure up images of Prog Rock, but Unicorn's classic mid-seventies, West Coast vibe was embedded evenly throughout this album; and their music, in general.
Also now featuring some lovely bonus tracks, the stand outs here for me are the excellent outtake from the album sessions, 'So Far Away' and the live studio session cuts, originally recorded for radio promotion use only, the cowbell-enhanced 'Weekend' and 'No Way Out of Here.'
One More Tomorrow was the band’s final album and was released in 1977. Although Unicorn would continue until 1979, the band sadly didn’t record another new album.
Disc Three - One More Tomorrow (1977)
1. 'Have You Ever Seen The Rain'
2. 'New Shoes'
3. 'Slow Dancing'
4. 'Get Along Fine'
5. 'British Rail Romance'
7. 'One More Tomorrow'
8. 'So Hard To Get Through'
9. 'I'm Alright (When I'm With You)'
10. 'The Night'
11. 'The Way It Goes'
12. 'Magnolia Avenue'
13. 'Give And Take' [Bonus Track]
14. 'Nothing I Wouldn't Do' [Bonus Track]
15. 'In The Mood' [Bonus Track]
17. 'Rio De Janeiro' [Bonus Track]
18. 'Don't Tell Me I Know' [Bonus Track]
19. 'All Crazy People' [Bonus Track]
The majority of the album was, of course, produced by David Gilmour, who also, of course, featured on Pedal Steel guitar and regular guitar on several tracks.
The band is tight here, as you could have only hoped, but the rhythms they create are spacious, that's for sure. Changing things up more often than they used to, there is no doubt that most all of the songs here are sublime, but admittedly there are a couple that are just, well, let's say, rather good (at best).
This remastered edition of One More Tomorrow features seven bonus tracks; including two previously unreleased songs recorded live in the studio for radio promotional use, several demos and the rare single B-sides 'Give and Take' and 'Nothing I Wouldn't Do'.
Disc Four - The Archive Recordings
1. 'Come A Long Way'
2. 'Billy The Kid'
3. 'The Man In Me'
4. 'Hold On'
5. 'Loving You'
6. 'Don't Turn Away'
7. 'This Old World'
8. 'The Sweeter Life'
9. 'Look Into Your Mirror'
10. 'Boney Fingers' (Live in the USA 1974)
11. 'Corrina Corrina' (Live in the USA 1974)
12. 'Nashville West' (Live in the USA 1974)
13. 'Lenny Dee'
14. In The Gym' (Live BBC Radio)
15. 'Get Along Fine' (Alternative Mix)
16. 'Man In The Fog'
17. 'You Angel You'
18. 'One More Tomorrow' (Demo)
19. 'Tell Me Straight'
The fourth and final disc is entitled The Archive Recordings and is a collection of 19 previously-unreleased tracks that include a trio of live in the USA recordings from 1974, an alternative mix of 'Get Along Fine,' and both a demo of 'One More Tomorrow' and another live recording, this time from the BBC Radio archives, of 'In the Gym.'
Overall, and as for this remastered and expanded 4CD clamshell box-set collection from Esoteric Recordings, the sound is very good, nice and crisply clean and features good separation between the vocals and the various instruments.
The booklet is informative, with a good overview of the bands history, with specific attention as to how David Gilmour came to produce a number of tunes, let alone eventually play on them, of course.
In addition to color reproductions of the group's album covers and some wonderful band photos, there's a track-by-track listing of who plays what and from what album it's from also included.
Title - 'Two To One'
Artist - James Williamson & Deniz Tek
For those not in the know, two fathers of garage punk have now joined forces for the first time ever on this odds-defying, razor sharp, brand new album!
James Williamson was the founding guitarist for one of the most iconic and influential US bands of all-time, The Stooges, while Deniz Tek fronted one of Australia's very first punk bands, the revered Radio Birdman.
Featuring 11 all-new original compositions highlighted by the first single 'Stable and the explosive lead-off track 'Jet Pack Nightmare,' the new album Two To Die (out September 18th, 2020 via Cleopatra Records) is also available on both digipak CD and vinyl in your choice of RED, BLUE, YELLOW and classic BLACK!
1. 'Jet Pack Nightmare'
3. 'Take A Look Around'
4. 'Good As Gone'
6. 'Climate Change'
7. 'Birthday Present'
8. 'Small Change'
10. 'No Dreams'
11. 'Melissa Blue' [CD ONLY]
Opening with the powerhaus, garage-punk duo of both 'Jet Pack Nightmare' and 'Progress,' they are seamlessly backed by the melodic rock of the observant 'Take A Look Around,' the powerful storytelling of 'Good As Gone,' the raw, euphoric pop-rock power of 'Stable,' and then the garage-rock of one of my own personal favorites, 'Climate Change.'
Next up is the darker-edged 'Birthday Present,' which is backed by the acoustic-driven, Americana-rock rhythms of 'Small Change,' the end-of-the-road frustrations of 'Liar,' rounding out with the noticeably restrained 'No Dreams,' and then closing on the CD-only bonus track, the Lou-Reedesque ambiance of 'Melissa Blue.'
Official Color Vinyl Purchase Link
Title - 'CircuLive::NewView' [CD, BR & DVD]
Artist - Circuline
For those unaware, What do you get when you take a bass player from the 70′s, a keyboard player from Juilliard, a musical savant playing guitar, two theatrical lead vocalists, and a drummer with progressive rock in his DNA?
All veteran musicians? Sure, but collectively you get the new American modern progressive rock band Circuline.
Performing original and classic progressive rock, Circuline was founded in 2014 when former progressive rock tribute band Downing Grey members Andrew Colyer (keyboards, vocals), Bill Shannon (lead guitars, vocals), and Darin Brannon (drums, percussion) had a burning desire to write original material.
With their influences ranging from Genesis to Sound of Contact, from Electric Light Orchestra to Steven Wilson, from Emerson, Lake, & Palmer (ELP) to Evanescence, and from Gentle Giant to Jethro Tull, et al, the band are readying to bring forth an incredible CD, Blu-ray & DVD package entitled CircuLive::NewView (due out October 9th, 2020, via Inner Nova Music).
Having already brought forth two well-received studio albums, Return and Counterpoint, this brand new live CD/Blu-ray/DVD is the culmination of two years of touring those two albums.
1. 'Intro + Erosion'
2. 'Black Sun'
3. 'One Wish'
4. 'Nautilus '
5. 'Piano Challenge'
7. 'Return' (acoustic)
8. 'Fallout Shelter'
9. 'Pale Blue Dot'
10. 'Forbidden Planet + Drum Feature'
Recorded and performed at the 2017 International ProgStock Festival, at the beautiful Union County Performing Arts Center in Rahway, New Jersey, this simply divinely perfect musical work of art opens with a short 'Intro' (from their management) before sliding into the originating build of 'Erosion.'
Backing that with the funky lead guitar and slap bass groove of 'Black Sun,' one of my own personal favorites is the lush, all-encompassing Prog-Pop of 'One Wish,' and then come the powerhaus vocals and guitars of 'Nautilus,' the magnificently profound, and totally enthralling opus 'Piano Challenge' (featuring both Darin Brannon and Andrew Colyer), and then the free flowingly epic 'Hollow.'
Featuring the band members at the time - Darin Brannon (drums/keys/percussion), Andrew Colyer (keys/vocals/percussion), Natalie Brown (vocals/percussion), William "Billy" Spillane (vocals/guitars/percussion), Joel Simches (bass/drums), and Alek Darson (guitars/percussion) - next up an acoustic version of their melodically progressive 'Return,' which is backed by the divinely inspired, industrially-cultivated, higher yearning vibe of 'Fallout Shelter' and an immaculate Sound of Contact cover, 'Pale Blue Dot.'
With their mission statement being one to create music that will move people, sometimes making them happy, sometimes even arousing within them intense emotions, and sometimes, well, they just want you to think about things, trust me when I say that this new live recording will assuredly have all those feeling free flowing within you come the end!
Next up is the hauntingly ornate vibe of 'Forbidden Planet' (which itself flows seamlessly into a short, but sweet, bout of all-encompassing drumming), the orchestrated, low key ambiance of 'Inception,' and then rounds out with the drum-led, synth enlightened majesty of the soaring 'Summit,' coming to a close on the joyous instrumentation (and, watching the Blu-ray, band interaction) of another stand out track, 'Stereotypes.'
"The piano challenge was something Andrew and I wanted to do since we started the band," Darin Brannon reveals. "The drum-off was something I remember seeing Gentle Giant doing, so that was inspired by them."
"We thought it would be more entertaining to see everybody involved in that section as opposed to just seeing me bashing away up there behind the drums!”
The Bonus Video Content (Blu-ray only) features a veritable plethora of delightful goodies, such as the entire concert with an Audio Commentary, Backstage and Behind the Scenes footage, Official Music Videos, an Onstage Photo Slide Show, and even a Concert Posters Slide Show!
"Our band is constantly evolving, with the music creation, songwriting, and presentation," explains Andrew Colyer. "This concert is quite different from our last large-scale event that was captured on audio and video, and we wanted to document the changes and progress that we've made."
"We want you and future fans and booking agents to see what we're capable of doing on a large stage."
Circuline @ Facebook
Circuline @ Twitter
Circuline @ Instagram
Title - 'Generations'
Artist - Will Butler
For those unaware, in the five years since Will Butler released his debut album, Policy, he’s toured the world both solo and as a member of Arcade Fire, released the Friday Night live album, recorded and released Arcade Fire’s international #1 album Everything Now, earned his master’s degree in public policy from Harvard, hosted a series of touring town halls on local issues, and spent time raising his three children!
But here in 2020, Butler will be releasing his sophomore release under his own name, the quite brilliant Generations (due out September 25th, 2020 via Merge Records).
“My first record, Policy, was a book of short stories,” Butler says. “Generations is more of a novel—despairing, funny, a little bit epic. A big chunk of this record is asking: What’s my place in American history? What’s my place in America’s present?"
"Both in general—as a participant, as we all are, in the shit that’s going down, but, also extremely particularly: me as Will Butler, rich person, white person, Mormon, Yankee, parent, musician of some sort, I guess."
"What do I do? What can I do? The record asks that question over and over, even if it’s not much for answers.”
1. 'Outta Here' (4:46)
2. 'Bethlehem' (3:31)
3. 'Close My Eyes' (4:30)
4. 'I Don't Know What I Don't Know' (3:31)
5. 'Surrender' (3:49)
6. 'Hide It Away' (3:46)
7. 'Hard Times' (3:53)
8. 'Promised' (4:25)
9. 'Not Gonna Die' (5:07)>BR>
10. 'Fine' (6:50)
Generations, which was recorded and produced by Butler in the basement of his home in Brooklyn, with tracking finished in March 2020 (just as New York closed down for the pandemic), opens with the probing alertness of 'Outta Here' and backs that up with the gently frenetic 'Bethlehem' and the comes the pensive at first, brimming yet delicate thereafter, foot-tappin' beauty of 'Close My Eyes.'
The bass-led mid-tempo hand-clapper 'I Don't Know What I Don't Know' is then followed by more of the same, albeit in the more controlled frenzy stylings of the jangly 'Surrender,' which in turn is backed by the precise rock orchestrations, and drummed back bone of 'Hide It Away' and then the fuzzy pop hipsway of 'Hard Times.'
This quite stunning solo album, which was half mixed in Montreal by longtime Arcade Fire engineer Mark Lawson, the other half by Brooklyn-based producer Shiftee, then rounds out with my own personal favorite here, the one-two pop bounce of 'Promised,' the, at first ornate piano ballad, latterly a gorgeously sweeping 'Not Gonna Die,' closing out on the relatable troubadour storytelling of 'Fine.'
Official Purchase Links
Title - 'Blue Hearts'
Artist - Bob Mould
For those unaware, in the winter of 2019, Bob Mould bucked the era's despair with his most melodic, upbeat album in ages, Sunshine Rock.
Cut to spring of 2020, and he has this to say: "We're really in deep shit now!"
That sentiment informs the new full-length album, Blue Hearts (due out September 25th, 2020 via Merge Records), the raging-but-catchy yin to Sunshine Rock's yang.
Recorded at the famed Electrical Audio in Chicago with Beau Sorenson engineering and Mould producing, Blue Hearts nods to Mould's past while remaining firmly planted in the issues of the day.
In truth, Blue Hearts is perhaps the most directly confrontational work of Bob Mould’s four-decade career, a raging 14-track collection described by its creator as “the catchiest batch of protest songs I’ve ever written in one sitting.”
Produced by Mould at Chicago’s famed Electrical Audio with longtime collaborator Beau Sorenson engineering, the album – which once again features backing from the crack rhythm section of drummer Jon Wurster and bassist Jason Narducy – nods to the veteran singer-songwriter’s groundbreaking past while remaining firmly planted in the issues of the day.
1. 'Heart on My Sleeve' (1:58)
2. 'Next Generation' (2:21)
3. 'American Crisis' (2:29)
4. 'Fireball' (1:40)
5. 'Forecast of Rain' (2:27)
6. 'When You Left' (2:33)
7. 'Siberian Butterfly' (2:10)
8. 'Everyth!ng to You' (2:51)
9. 'Racing to the End' (1:52)
10. 'Baby Needs a Cookie' (2:58)
11. 'Little Pieces' (2:37)
12. 'Leather Dreams' (2:53)
13. 'Password to My Soul' (2:54)
14. 'The Ocean' (3:56)
Having already enjoyed a career that has spanned decades, from his pioneering early ’80s work with Hüsker Dü to his solo work in singer-songwriter, electronic, and rock modes, to the deafening pop sparkle of Sugar, opening with the acoustic guitar and vocal magnificence of 'Heart on My Sleeve,' it's obvious that Mould has lost none of his musical verve and passion.
That's followed by the crashingly frenetic duo of 'Next Generation' and 'American Crisis,' which in turn are backed by the late '70s punk energy of the short, but sweet 'Fireball,' the melodic rocker 'Forecast of Rain,' and then both the bitter guitar angst of 'When You Left' and the raw tidal surge of the Green Day-esque 'Siberian Butterfly.'
Next up is the profoundly earnest 'Everyth!ng to You' which is backed by the frenzied 'Racing to the End,' the drum-led, mid-tempo rocker 'Baby Needs a Cookie,' then we get the gaudily frantic beats of 'Little Pieces,' with the album rounding out on the free flowing hipsway of 'Leather Dreams,' the jangling guitars of 'Password to My Soul,' closing out on the, at first, low key, earnest guitar ballad that latterly turns into a distorted guitar onslaught, 'The Ocean.'
Official Purchase Links
Bob Mould @ Facebook
Bob Mould @ Twitter
Title - 'Eno Axis'
Artist - H.C. McEntire
For those unaware, H.C. McEntire, frontwoman of Mount Moriah, strikes out once again on her sophomore solo album, the quite magnificent Eno Axis (released August 21st, 2020 via Merge Records).
Following on from her well-received debut album, Lionheart (2018), and unlike that very same album, which was recorded in sporadic bouts and fits while she was touring, Eno Axis is firmly rooted in place.
After two years working all over the world as a backup singer in Angel Olsen’s band, McEntire came home to a hundred-year-old farmhouse tucked away in the woods of Durham, North Carolina, right on the Eno River.
Ergo, Eno Axis emerges from this time as the strongest work McEntire has shared yet.
1. 'Hands for the Harvest' (4:17)
2. 'Footman's Coat' (3:43)
3. 'High Rise' (4:50)
4. 'River's Jaw' (4:34)
5. 'One Eye Open' (2:13)
6. 'Final Bow' (4:10)
7. 'True Meridian' (3:35)
8. 'Sunday Morning' (1:41)
9. 'Time, On Fire' (3:07)
10. 'Houses of the Holy' (4:10)
“Early rise, start the fire, till the rows, pass the tithes.” So starts McEntire’s sophomore release, the ornate piano ballad 'Hands for the Harvest' revealing her daily routine from the time spent writing this heartfelt and soulful new album.
Next up is the free flowing majesty of 'Footman's Coat' which is backed by the gently countrified 'High Rise,' the profoundly strong, yet melodically abundant 'River's Jaw,' and then the lushly orchestrated 'One Eye Open.'
One of my own personal favorites is the Americana, summer's day, driving, windows and top down, hair blowing vibe of 'Final Bow, which is followed by the ornately dulcet ballad 'True Meridian,' which in turn is backed by the experimentally organic sounds of the short, but sweet instrumental 'Sunday Morning,' the album coming to a close on the mid-tempo rocker 'Time, On Fire,' and then a quite breathtaking rendition of Led Zeppelin's 'Houses of the Holy.'
In closing, so what exactly is Eno Axis? Simply put, overall, and throughout its ten tracks, it is a set of directions delivered with assurance and authority, reaching the listener without pretension almost as a sermon or spell.
McEntire has always had one foot planted in the traditional country gospel roots of her upbringing while boldly wrestling with its complications, creating an Americana sound of her own.
But that has never rung as true as it does now on the transcendent psalms of Eno Axis.
Official Purchase Links
H.C. McEntire @ Facebook
H.C. McEntire @ Twitter
H.C. McEntire @ Instagram
H.C. McEntire @ YouTube
Title - 'Happy Birthday'
Artist - Sneaks
For those unaware, like a piece of art with as many interpretations as people who view it, Sneaks’ music is kaleidoscopic, completely unique to the listener.
Continuing the collaborative relationships from 2019’s Highway Hypnosis with mixing engineer Carlos Hernandez and legendary producer Jacknife Lee, on her brand new album Happy Birthday (out August 21st, 2020 via Merge Records), Sneaks’ Eva Moolchan felt free to turn up the energy and explore more elaborate melodies than ever before.
With astrological assertions alongside poetry filtered through a riot grrl spirit and set to thumping bass lines and infectious beats, Moolchan asks all of the questions, but invites the listener to divine their own answers.
So put on your headphones and let Washington, DC's Sneaks lead you on an unforgettable journey of self-discovery that will keep you humming for days.
1. 'Do You Want to Go Out Tonight' (2:23)
2. 'Faith' (2:38)
3. 'Mars in Virgo' (1:53)
4. 'Sanity' (5:59)
5. 'Scorpio on Your Side' (1:53)
6. 'Slightly Sophisticated' (3:19)
7. 'This World' (3:34)
8. 'Winter Weather' (2:10)
9. 'You’ve Got a Lot of Issues' (3:10)
Opening with the infectious dancefloor beats of 'Do You Want to Go Out Tonight,' that's backed by the funky bass line grooves of 'Faith,' the gently frenetic hip-trip vibe of 'Mars in Virgo,' and then the frantically cultured beats of the longest track, the near 6 minute 'Sanity.'
Up next is a jaunty electronic slide into 'Scorpio on Your Side' which is followed by the frantically melodic spit-balling of 'Slightly Sophisticated,' the one-two, early '80s pop synth sounds of 'This World,' and then rounds out with the low slung rap of 'Winter Weather,' closing on the mid-tempo, and captivatingly free flowing 'You’ve Got a Lot of Issues.'
Official Purchase Links
Sneaks @ Facebook
Sneaks @ SoundCloud
Sneaks @ Instagram
Title - 'Color and Passion'
Artist - Blake Aaron
For those unaware, right out of the gate with two #1 Billboard singles and one #1 single on the Radiowave / Groove Jazz charts for the entire year 2019, the soon-to-be released Color and Passion (September 18th, 2020, via Innervision Records) is already feeling like a greatest hits CD for Blake Aaron.
While many fans know him from his years of hosting the popular syndicated The Blake Aaron Radio Show with Tina Anderson, since the early 2000s, he’s also become one of the genre’s most inventive, adventurous and stylistically eclectic guitarist and artists.
Now a Billboard #1 producer himself as well as artist with his self-produced, silky-smooth Fall for You, Aaron also teams up with hit producers Darren Rahn with the #1 Billboard single, 'Groovers and Shakers', the #1 for all of 2019 Radiowave single, 'Drive', and with Adam Hawley for the upcoming single, 'Sunday Strut'.
1. 'Fall for You'
2. 'Groovers and Shakers' (feat. Darren Rahn)
3. 'Sunday Strut' (Feat. Najee)
6. 'Color and Passion'
8. 'Riviera Nights'
9. 'Godfather Brown'
10. 'Weekend in Paradise'
11. 'Don't You Worry 'Bout a Thing' (feat. Kim Scott)
Heading full-throttle into his second decade as a recording artist, the multifaceted guitarist, composer, producer and media personality opens up this brand new album with the summer driving, windows down, sun shining catchiness of 'Fall for You' and then backs that up seamlessly with the free-flowing magnificence of 'Groovers and Shakers' (featuring Darren Rahn, although you would swear George Benson was in the mix too), and the funky, brass-enhanced 'Sunday Strut' (featuring Najee).
Next up is the light and breezy 'Drive' and the infectious, foot-tappin' vibe of 'Vivid,' which are in turn followed by the beautiful balladry (enhanced by his nylon string guitar) of the title track, 'Color and Passion' and the delightfully playful, Soca-inspired 'Daylight.'
My own personal favorite here on this quite vibrantly orchestrated new album is up next in the form of the feisty Latin hipsway of 'Riviera Nights,' which is backed by a downright funky tribute to the great JB on 'Godfather Brown,' with this soulful fusion of sounds and styles rounding out with the reggae-tinged appeal of 'Weekend in Paradise,' closing on a barnstorming take of Stevie Wonder’s 1973 hit 'Don't You Worry 'Bout a Thing' (feat. Kim Scott).
Amazon Purchase Links
Blake Aaron @ Facebook
Blake Aaron @ Twitter
Blake Aaron @ Instagram
Title - 'Sweet Little Truths: EMI Years 1992-1996'
Artist - Tasmin Archer
Cherry Pop UK are about to release a brand new 53 track, 3CD collection of her '90s recordings from the great Tasmin Archer.
Sweet Little Truths: The EMI Years 1992-1996 offers up expanded editions of both Archer's EMI albums, remastered for the first time since their original release, and adds a whole array of bonus mixes, B-sides, and live tracks to a third rarities disc.
Tasmin Archer blazed onto the charts in 1992 with the unforgettable #1 single ‘Sleeping Satellite’. The record went on to become a significant hit worldwide, including the U.S.A, and was quickly followed by a top 10 Gold-certified album, Great Expectations.
Further top 40 hits followed, and a critically acclaimed second album, Bloom, produced by the legendary Mitchell Froom, in 1996.
Disc One - Great Expectations: Expanded Edition (1992):
1. 'Sleeping Satellite'
3. 'Lords of the New Church'
4. 'When It Comes Down To It'
6. 'The Higher You Climb'
7. 'In Your Care'
8. 'Somebody's Daughter'
10. 'Ripper Inside'
11. 'Halfway To Heaven'
12. 'Man At The Window' (Acoustic Version)
13. 'Sea of Rest'
14. 'Strings of Desire'
15. 'Real Oh So Real'
16. 'Sleeping Satellite' (Acoustic Version)
17. 'In Your Care' (U.S. Radio Edit)
18. 'Lords of the New Church' (Radio Edit)
19. 'Arienne' (Radio Edit)
20. 'Somebody's Daughter' (Radio Edit)
By the '90s, music had started to die (in my humble opinion) and whilst the '80s greats could be relied on in 1992 (Kim Wilde, Sandra Cretu, Cathy Dennis and Annie Lennox, et al), out of nowhere, in a year of trite, monotonous dance-dirges and by-the-numbers trash-guitar indie rockers, Tasmin Archer rose like the eagle she namechecks with the beautiful, utterly captivating and magical 'Sleeping Satellite.'
A song that rose spectacularly from a low lying chart placing to make #1 in a month, it's actually amazing how, sometimes even in dire times, the realization of a grand, creative and good idea can be rewarded.Grand Expectations in 1992.
'Sleeping Satelite' is a staple of radio stations, and remains gorgeous, but no one should dismiss the album, for each of the remaining 10 tracks are concrete strong.
Aching, heart-rending ballads, with a delicious minimalist approach ('Ripped Inside', 'In Your Care', 'When It Comes Down To It') puts her winsome, aching vocals forefront.
Subjects here range from disregarding the world for space-exploration (the big hit), financially decimated townships, bogus religious leaders on the enticing swoop of intriguingly chosen third single 'Lords of the New Church', to the impoverished and the build-'em-up-to-knock-em-down regime of the business the lady now finds herself in; since her long-awaited but disappointing sophomore album consigned her to the scrapheap!
Disc Two - Bloom (Expanded Edition) (1996):
1. 'Sweet Little Truth'
2. 'After Hell'
3. 'One More Good Night With The Boys'
4. 'Rain Falling'
5. 'I Like It So'
6. 'Breaking My Back'
7. 'I Would Love To Be Right'
8. 'You Made a Fool of Me'
10. 'Give In With Grace'
11. 'In Your Garden'
13.' Itchycoo Park'
14. 'Tumbling Tumbleweeds'
15. 'Obeah Wedding' (Live)
17. 'Deep Dark Truthful Mirror'
18. 'All Grown Up'
19. 'New Amsterdam'
As aforementioned, and since her long-awaited, but disappointing sophomore album ('Bloom') consigned her to the scrapheap, personally, I don't see why it was so torn apart by the press / media at the time.
Tasmin still featured songs that were multi-pronged, intelligently approached and featured pure good-old fashioned instrument playing, alongside a select choice of well-constructed melody and winning choruses, but listening to it again today (with fresh ears, so to speak), sure, it's massively lacking in the hook-filled memorable winners arena, but it's just not that bad, truly.
That all said, you can listen to many good songs on Bloom, like 'Sweet Little Truth', 'One More Good Night with the Boys', 'I Would Love to Be Right', 'You Made a Fool of Me', 'Give in with Grace' and even the magical 'In Your Garden.
On a couple of the songs, cellist Caroline Lavelle is one of the musicians, while Mitchell Froom is the producer and one of the musicians too.
Oh, and this expanded edition now also contains her cover of Elvis Costello's brilliant 'Shipbuilding,' which she actually had released in 1994 as a stand alone EP (that itself featured a wonderful 8 tracks), along with her very rare version of ‘Itchycoo Park.’
As for why it "failed," well, it's an age old business story, I'm afraid. EMI Records were not supportive of the material that Tasmin had recorded, deeming it too uncommercial and too removed from the sound of her debut album.
Indeed, Tasmin and her songwriting partner John Hughes had to fight for almost a year with EMI executives to get the album released in the form they wanted it to be. Sadly, that didn't help their cause as it only reached #95 on the UK Albums Chart that year of release.
Disc Three - One More
1. 'Sleeping Satellite' (Extended Version)
2. 'Lords of the New Church' (Remix)
3. 'Ripped Inside' (12” Version)
4. 'The Higher You Climb' (Remix)
5. 'When It Comes Down To It' (12” Version)
6. 'Ripped Inside' (Ben Chapman Mix)
7. 'Sleeping Satellite' (Fitz Mix)
8. 'In You Care' (Live)
9. 'Lords of the New Church' (Live)
10. 'Steeltown' (Live)
11. 'Man At The Window' (Live)
12. 'After Hell' (Live)
13. 'Rain Falling' (Live)
14. 'Sleeping Satellite' (Rock Version)
The third and final disc is entitled One More and is a collection of 14 fully remastered alternative and extended mixes of her singles, but moreover features nearly all the aforementioned Shipbuilding EP live collection of songs (which include covers of songs written by Elvis Costello).
Given that, and perhaps unsurprisingly, Tasmin parted ways with her major label back in the day after her sophomore slump, she actually didn't make another album for 10 years, and then brought out 2006’s On.
So, and with not much having been heard of her since, and her only other release that comes close to this expanded feel being EMI’s 2009 The Best of Tasmin Archer - which also includes remixes, 12″ extended versions, et al - this new Cherry Red UK 3CD release 'Sweet Little Truths: EMI Years 1992-1996 is the dawn of yet another joyous deep dive back into an era of music seemingly long since forgotten, and yet resounding still has a heartbeat much stronger than most all music being force fed us today!
This 3CD Box-Set also adds detailed liner notes, photos and a complete discography to the package.
Title - 'The Rhythm of Love and Dysfunction'
Artist - The Livesays
For those unaware, Billy Livesay, best known for his work with E Street Band legend Clarence Clemons as his Guitarist and Vocalist, is releasing a new album with his group The Livesays, independently.
The majority of The Livesays' new album The Rhythm of Love and Dysfunction was recorded in 2018 and was set to be released early in 2019.
Tragically, on November 2nd, 2018, the band experienced unimaginable sorrow when their drummer, Eddie Zyne, passed away from a heart attack.
Eddie, who began his illustrious career as the drummer in Hall and Oates, was an original co-founding member and integral part of The Livesays.
Eddie had been so excited about the upcoming release of The Livesays’ fourth album, particularly the new songs which showcased his solid metronome-like drumming style.
Finding a replacement for Eddie would prove to be no easy task as he left tremendous shoes to fill. In the Spring of 2019, along came Howard Goldberg, formerly of the indie funk band “Rudy.”
Says Billy Livesay, “Howard knew us from playing around South Florida through the years. He was a tremendous fan of Eddie’s, knew of his passing, and asked if he could audition for us."
"Much to our surprise and delight, he turned out to be a great fit. He brought a revived energy to our band. We were back up and running in a few months."
The songs were recorded in Billy Livesay's home studio in Pembroke Pines, FL, mixed by Grammy nominated engineer Steve Gordon and mastered by Grammy winning engineer Mike Fuller at Fullersound in Ft Lauderdale.
The original plan was to have the song 'The Rhythm of Love' be the title cut, and the album was to include songs written and recorded over a two year period after the release of The Livesays' 2016 release Hold On ... Life Is Calling.
But, obviously, circumstances changed after losing Eddie. Turmoil set in due to ongoing political unrest, the upcoming election, protests, the Covid-19 pandemic, unemployment, isolation, and having to quarantine.
The general feelings of uncertainty and uneasiness, and the ever-changing dysfunctional social and political climate, inspired some fresh new songs and a reevaluation as to which songs to release.
Armed with twenty songs, the band narrowed it down to thirteen that reflected a congruent theme, which gave birth to the adjusted title The Rhythm of Love and Dysfunction.
1. 'There's Something Coming Now'
2. 'When I Dream'
3. 'Another Mile'
4. 'Let It Flow'
6. 'The Rhythm of Love'
7. 'Better Than He Ever Was'
8. 'How Can I Be?'
9. 'That's The Trouble with Love'
10. 'Heart Of The Matter'
11. 'Better Than You'
12. 'Book Of Rules'
13. 'Can I Have (What You Have)?'
Opening with the old rockin' blues crawl of 'There's Something Coming Now' and the more grounded, ferociously melodic E-Street guitar sound of 'When I Dream,' they then back those up with the mid-tempo 'Another Mile,' the foot-stompin' beauty 'Let It Flow,' and then comes their atmospherically, free flowing rendition of Joni Mitchell's 'Woodstock.'
Up next is one of my own personal stand outs here, the fast-paced rocker of a title track, 'The Rhythm of Love' which is backed by the growing, soaring combination play of 'Better Than He Ever Was,' the low slung, mid-tempo 'How Can I Be?' and then the subtle Latin-influenced guitar work of 'That's The Trouble with Love.'
Another stand out track is the foot to the floor Don Henley rocker 'Heart Of The Matter,' which has Livesay sounding like Bryan Adams, and that's backed by the upbeat storytelling of 'Better Than You,' with the album rounding out with the power rock punch of 'Book Of Rules,' closing on the anthemic, Hammond-backed 'Can I Have (What You Have)?'
Billy Livesay - Guitar / lead vocals
Jorge Laplume - Bass / vocals
Howard Goldberg - Drums
Victor "Cuqui" Berrios - Organ / vocals
Tim Murphy- Piano / vocals
Official Purchase Link
The Livesays @ Twitter
The Livesays @ Facebook
The Livesays @ Twitter
The Livesays @ Facebook
Title - 'In. Frequencies'
Artist - NRBQ
For those unaware, originally birthed in Miami, Florida, in 1967, NRBQ — the New Rhythm and Blues Quartet — established their New England cred when singer/guitarist Al Anderson (ex-Wildweeds) joined existing members pianist Terry Adams, bassist Joey Spampinato and drummer Tom Staley (later replaced by Al Ardolino) in 1974, ushering in a twenty-year run of stability for a band known as much for its revolving-door line-up as its ability to tackle nearly any musical style — jazz, pop, blues rock, power pop, et al.
Despite only having one song chart on the Billboard Hot 100 (1974’s #70 'Get That Gasoline Blues'), and several New England-area hits — notably 1977’s instant-classic 'Ridin’ In My Car' — NRBQ maintained a loyal cult fanbase and reputation for wild, setlist-free concerts.
Anderson left the group in 1994, replaced by Spampinato’s brother Johnny; the group continued to tour and release albums in various line-up permutations, occasionally celebrating anniversary concerts at Northampton, MA’s Calvin Theater, in shows that frequently featured past NRBQ members.
The soon-to-be released In. Frequencies (October 2nd, 2020, via Omnivore Recordings) is a quite wondrous 16-song collection of NRBQ rarities, and will be made available as digital, on CD and as a limited edition yellow vinyl LP (availably exclusively only via Omnivore Recordings website).
In. Frequencies has already been described as a journey with the ’Q through a different lens, and having listened to it twice now, I have to agree.
A true, career-spanning release, the album opens on the band’s beginning with a soundcheck recording from October 1968, and travels all the way to recent days, including the first physical appearance of their 2018 digital EP track, April Showers (recorded for the 2018 film Change in the Air, with the late Hal Willner as musical director).
Indeed, all but four tracks are previously unissued. Of the recordings that have previously released, two made their debut on those oh-so now rare 45's.
Furthermore, they are also the NRBQ offshoot “mock” group, Dickens, which provides the obscure 1970 single track 'Sho’ Need Love' and 'Sourpuss,' recorded in Memphis in 1974 and first issued on the Select-O-Hits label.
1. 'Dogwood Winter' (Soundcheck Recording)
2. 'Get Real'
3. 'Sho’ Need Love' [Dickens]
5. 'It’s A Wild Weekend' (Soundcheck Recording)
6. 'Let Me Tell You ‘Bout My Girl'
7. 'Love Came To Me' (Live at WDET-FM)
8. 'We’ll Make Love' (Live at Trinity College)
9. 'April Showers'
10. 'That’s All'
11. 'Everybody’s Smokin’' (Alternate Version)
12. 'Blues Stay Away From Me'
13. 'My Dearest One'
15. 'Too Much' (Live At The Pyramid Arena)
16. 'Chapel Of Love'
Having already enjoyed a career that has spanned over five decades, this band, that has conjured up a unique blend of early R&B, devoted country, rockabilly, seductive '70s melodies, and even novelty songs along the way, all embedded within a wonderfully improvisational energy, first bring us the short, but sweet lo-fi, gently countrified guitar magnificence of 'Dogwood Winter' (a soundcheck recording) and that's backed by the drum-led, mid-tempo 'Get Real.'
We then get the stirringly '70s magnetism of 'Sho’ Need Love' [as Dickens], the Motown-esque, finger-snappin' vibe of 'Orioles' and the late '60s guitar rock of 'It’s A Wild Weekend' (another soundcheck recording).
Up next is the foot-tappin' melodies of 'Let Me Tell You ‘Bout My Girl' which is backed by the lush, laid back tones of 'Love Came To Me' (recorded live at WDET-FM), the crowd-enhanced, horn-backed R&B of 'We’ll Make Love' (recorded live at Trinity College), and the lush '70s melodic vibe of 'April Showers.'
We next get one of my own personal favorites on this new release, the horn-led, hipsway jazzy blues orchestrations of 'That’s All' which is followed by the one-two, rockin' pop sounds of 'Everybody’s Smokin’' (an alternate version), and the lowdown and soulful 'Blues Stay Away From Me.'
The XTC-esque 'My Dearest One' is another stand out here, with the album rounding out on the rockabilly of 'Sourpuss,' the blues piano work of 'Too Much' (recorded live At The Pyramid Arena), and then closing on a Phil Spector cover, now a spoken word imbibed, and yet still highly energetic 'Chapel Of Love'.
“As a member of the band, I get to hear an awful lot of stuff that other people don’t have access to," NRBQ member Scott Ligon reveals, "but I’m hearing most of these tracks for the first time."
"The Dickens track ‘Sho’ Need Love’ is a real favorite for me. It’s almost too good to be true! It’s also hard to believe that I had never heard Terry [Adams]’s ‘Get Real’ or ‘Let Me Tell You ’Bout My Girl’ until this collection came together."
"You think you know a person! But ‘April Showers’ is my sentimental favorite. The piano break is unreal. The singer ain’t bad either.”
Founding member Adams adds: “When these songs surfaced on the tapes I felt like I was meeting an interesting woman for the first time. I had to say, ‘What’s a song like you doing on a tape like this?’”
In. Frequencies is a deep dive into why the band is a favorite of humans the world over and is a perfect compendium to their core studio albums and retrospectives you already love.
The tracks are annotated with information, anecdotes and photos elaborating on the recordings made in studios, radio stations and stages across the country and the decades.
Official Purchase Links
NRBQ @ Facebook
Official Omnivore NRBQ In. Frequencies Trailer
Title - 'My Blues Pathway'
Artist - Kirk Fletcher
For those unaware, a real deal bluesman, guitarist and vocalist Kirk Fletcher, digs deep into his soul for this passionate and compelling new sixth album, My Blues Pathway (September 25th, 2020 via Cleopatra Blues).
Highlights include the lead single 'No Place To Go,' which was released along with a video in late July, plus a special guest performance by legendary harmonica player Charlie Musselwhite on the knock-out closer 'Life Gave Me A Dirty Deal'.
Furthermore, Fletcher (former guitarist with the Fabulous Thunderbirds) has earned his stripes playing with Joe Bonamossa's band for many years now and has also been nominated for four Blues Music Awards.
1. 'Ain’t No Cure For The Downhearted'
2. 'No Place To Go'
3. 'Love Is More Than A Word'
4. 'Struggle For Grace'
5. 'I'd Rather Fight Than Switch'
6. 'Heart So Heavy'
7. 'Fattening Frogs For Snakes'
8. 'Place In This World'
9. 'D Is For Denny'
10. 'Life Gave Me A Dirty Deal'
This quite passionate, heart-enthralling new album of ten tracks (that was recorded this album over the Christmas holidays 2019 in six days over a two-week period), and that resolutely takes you on personal musical tour of Fletcher's very own blues history, opens on 'Ain’t No Cure For The Downhearted,' showcasing a guitar style akin to a late-'80s Eric Clapton.
That's backed by the vibrantly soulful, horn-infused 'No Place To Go' (co-written with Robert Cray’s bassist, Richard Cousins, and features a magnificently soulful bass line from Travis Carlton), the slow roll of 'Love Is More Than A Word' (another Cousins co-write), and then the funky, semi-autobiographical 'Struggle For Grace.'
Next up is Fletcher's AC Reed (sax player with Albert Collins and Earl Hooker) cover of 'I'd Rather Fight Than Switch,' an all-in, euphoric band jam that reaches for the skies whilst remaining soulfully grounded, the contemplative, minor-key, slow blues of 'Heart So Heavy,' and then another cover, this time a raw, and enthusiastic rendition of Sonny Boy Williamson’s 'Fattening Frogs For Snakes.'
The album then rounds out with the old school-enbibed blues 'Place In This World,' expertly layered with Jeff Babko’s flawless keyboard work, that's followed by a dutifully thoughtful blues instrumental, and a tribute to an early inspiration of his, blues guitarist Denny Freeman, 'D Is For Denny,' with the album closing on the acoustic Delta blues cut, 'Life Gave Me A Dirty Deal' (featuring Charlie Musselwhite on harmonica and written by Juke Boy Bonner).
“The album was a joy to make,” says Fletcher, “especially making music with some of my longtime friends. I’ve known drummer David Kida for over 25 years. We have been in the trenches together on the L.A. Blues music scene."
"It was very important for me to include some covers on this album. I wanted to shine a spotlight on some of my favourite blues artists including Sonny Boy Williamson, Chris Cain, AC Reed and Juke Boy Bonner.”
Kirk Fletcher: Guitar & Vocals
Travis Carlton: Bass
Lemar Carter: Drums (tracks 1,2 & 3)
Joe Sublett: Saxophone
Mark Pender: Trumpet
Luckily for us all, My Blues Pathway is available on both digipak CD as well as limited edition PURPLE vinyl!
Official CD Purchase Link
Official Purple Vinyl Purchase Link
Kirk Fletcher @ Facebook
Kirk Fletcher @ ReverbNation
Kirk Fletcher @ Instagram
Kirk Fletcher @ YouTube
Title - 'The Blues'
Artist - William Shatner
For those unaware, legendary star of the stage and screen, William Shatner, brings his dramatic interpretive talents to the blues music canon on this superb new album entitled, The Blues (out October 2nd, 2020 via Cleopatra Blues).
It features guest appearances by blues giants Sonny Landreth, Canned Heat and Tyler Bryant, along with country superstar Brad Paisley, Deep Purple's Ritchie Blackmore, and many more!
The album's first single, 'Let's Work Together' featuring Canned Heat, has already been released and stirring up a mighty buzz and soon you can also watch the fully animated video for 'I Put A Spell On You' featuring Pat Travers!
'Let's Work Together' - Music Video
1. 'Sweet Home Chicago' (feat. Brad Paisley)
2. 'I Can’t Quit You Baby' (feat. Kirk Fletcher)
3. 'Sunshine Of Your Love' (feat. Sonny Landreth)
4. 'The Thrill Is Gone' ( feat. Ritchie Blackmore)
5. 'Mannish Boy' (feat. Ronnie Earl)
6. 'Born Under A Bad Sign' (feat. Tyler Bryant)
7. 'I Put A Spell On You' (feat. Pat Travers)
8. 'Crossroads' (feat. James Burton)
9. 'Smokestack Lightnin’ (feat. Jeff “Skunk” Baxter)
10. 'As The Years Go Passing By' (feat. Arthur Adams)
11. 'Let’s Work Together' (feat. Harvey Mandel & Canned Heat)
12. 'Route 66' (feat. Steve Cropper)
13. 'In Hell I’ll Be In Good Company' (feat. Albert Lee)
14. 'Secrets Or Sins'
Chock full of Shatner-inspired, reworked versions of Robert Johnson's 'Sweet Home Chicago,' Jay Hawkins' sultry 'I Put a Spell on You, as well as the Willie Dixon written, first recorded by Chicago blues artist Otis Rush classic 'I Can’t Quit You Baby', another revered Robert Johnson cut, 'Crossroads', and Albert King's timeless 'Born Under a Bad Sign'.
Already released as a teaser to the album, the slow minor-key blues song written by West Coast blues musicians Roy Hawkins and Rick Darnell in 1951, but taken for a hard ride by B.B King in 1970, Shatner's version of 'The Thrill Is Gone' completely upends the renowned blues standard and exposes a spoken-word underbelly, remarkably, never before probed.
'The Thrill Is Gone' - Music Video
Shatner had this to say about the song: "'The Thrill Is Gone' is the title of the song, but the thrill is there with Ritchie Blackmore and his great guitar!”
Blackmore and Night return the praise saying, “We would like to express our gratitude for being able to appear on the recording with William Shatner. It is always an honor to work with him. He is a man of many legendary performances.”
Another stand out centerpiece is 'Let’s Work Together', done in collaboration with Harvey Mandel and Canned Heat, who originally released the song in 1970.
Originally written and recorded back in 1969 by Wilbert Harrison, and brought out amidst unprecedented social strife and racial tensions in America, the song was a clarion call to "every boy, girl, woman and man" to join the burgeoning social movements that promoted peace, justice and equality.
The following year, Southern California hippie blues band Canned Heat released their own version of the song, which became a major hit and amplified Harrison's call to action and unity.
Now, that same band - together with former member, and revered blues guitarist, Harvey Mandel - has teamed up with the famed actor and musical interpretationist Shatner for a much-needed revival of the spirit of unity found in this song.
Indeed, Shatner's spoken-word take is here enbibed with a little dramatic rhythm and flow, which makes the song now embrace some gently grounded hipsway too.
Luckily for us all, The Blues will be available on both CD in a gorgeous digipak as well as a limited edition series of colored vinyl!
Official CD Purchase Link
Official Colored Vinyl Purchase Link
William Shatner @ Facebook
William Shatner @ Twitter
William Shatner @ Instagram
Title - 'Pray For It' [Vinyl]
Artist - July Talk
For those unaware, Canadian alt rock five-piece July Talk stormed in with the flinty radio-ready rock of their debut, followed by the volatile siren songs of Touch, an album of saw toothed pop + convulsing tension.
For album three, the band cracks their equilibrium open to find a thrilling new balance in asymmetry. With Pray For It (out now via Sleepless Records), July Talk (Leah Fay, Peter Dreimanis, Josh Warburton, Ian Docherty and Danny Miles) commits to the possibility of alternate endings, acknowledging the power of vulnerability as a way to begin again.
July Talk’s path has never been through fitting in. Their music, viscerally, blisteringly hot, sliced right through the alternative and rock charts for multiple number one singles.
Their churning and fiercely physical performances make spaces hiss and hum, spit and seethe in glorious, artful abandon.
1. 'Identical Love'
2. 'Good Enough'
3. 'Life Of The Party'
5. 'Pay For It'
6. 'Champagne' (w/ James Baley + Kyla Charter)
7. 'Friend Of Mine'
8. 'The News'
9. 'Governess Shadow'
10. 'See You Thru'
11. 'Still Sacred'
This quite magnificent album (and yet, it should be noted, a most definitive departure from their signature sonic identity of amped rock and, at times, ominously disquieting rhythms), kicks off Side A with the almost trumpetering hubris of the haunting 'Identical Love' and follows that with the foot-tappin', hand-clappin', '80s melodies of 'Good Enough.'
The guitar-led, sober undertow of 'Life Of The Party' is next and that's backed by the Robbie Robertson-esque baritone of Peter Dremainis' 'Pretender,' and then the first side rounds out with Leah Fay showcasing her vocal stylizations atop a sinewed bed of electronic orchestrations on 'Pay For It'
Side B opens with the Gospel-infused, addictively soulful 'Champagne' (featuring Juno nominated, multi-diciplanary performer and music creator James Baley and the rock tonalities and pop sensibilities of Kyla Charter) and backs it up with the rhythmic mid-tempo duet 'Friend Of Mine.'
The alt-rockier duo of both the high octane 'The News' and the drum-led roustabout 'Governess Shadow' are up next, with the album closing on the, at times, almost-spoken word, at others, the beautiful hipsway of a couples lone, last, midnight-lit, waterfront dance of 'See You Thru,' and then the almost stoically ethereal, gently industrial, fuzzy electronica of 'Still Sacred.'
Pray For It was produced by Burke Reid (Courtney Barnett, The Drones, Julia Jacklin), Graham Walsh (Holy Fuck, Metz), David Plowman (Brendan Canning, Young Clancy, Michael Rault), Milan Sarkadi (Mute Choir, Said The Whale) and Ben Fox (Film Composer) and was mixed by Rob Schnapf (Beck, Cat Power, Andy Shauf).
Official Purchase Links
July Talk - 'Governess Shadow' [Official Video]
July Talk @ Facebook
July Talk @ Twitter
July Talk @ Instagram
July Talk @ YouTube
Title - 'Jesus, Red Wine & Patsy Cline'
Artist - Victoria Bailey
For those unaware, Victoria Bailey has got it figured out; all one needs in life is simply Jesus, Red Wine & Patsy Cline!
Grounding her timeless country music palette is her crystalline voice; an inviting warm tone with the occasional flutter that transports you back in time to a classic honky tonk where they’re playing the aforementioned Cline, Emmylou Harris, Loretta Lynn, and Dolly Parton on rotation — all of whom she has carried from the dive bar to the main stage.
Bailey brings that same spirit to the 21st century through relatably raw, non-sugarcoated songwriting that may seem unexpected from most contemporary female musicians in the country realm.
Produced by Jeremy Long, her brand new album Jesus, Red Wine & Patsy Cline (out September 15th, 2020 via Rock Ridge Music), is a whiskey-smooth concoction of crisp guitars, silky fiddle, and radiant pedal steel that expertly glides beneath Bailey’s magnetic, California sun-kissed soprano.
Bailey’s full-length label debut — a nine-song collection featuring eight originals and one cover — paints stunning vignettes spanning from adrenaline-rushing love at first sight and down-and-out heartache, to treasuring country music’s indelible roots, and the wavering journey of resilience when chasing one’s dreams.
1. 'Honky Tonk Woman'
2. 'The Beginning'
3. 'Ramblin' Man'
4. 'Spent My Dime on White Wine'
5. 'Homegrown Roots'
8. 'Skid Row'
9. 'Travelin' Kind'
This quite heartwarming, passionately sculptured, storytelling work of music art opens with the first single, the toe-tapping, country-fiddled twang of 'Honky Tonk Woman' and then bleeds seamlessly into the swirling, twirling countryfied pop of an initial meeting on the dancefloor of two lovers, 'The Beginning.'
The mid-tempo ballad that pays mention to a two-timing ex, 'Ramblin' Man' is up next and then Bailey brings us the invitingly warm tones of the low key, blues centered, Gospel-esque hubris, and warm summer breeze flow of 'Spent My Dime on White Wine' and then some more gently frenetic, fiddle-imbued, foot-tappin' vibes within 'Homegrown Roots.'
Next up is Bailey's homage to the late, great Johnny Cash, her faithful rendition of 'Tennessee,' which is followed by the one-two-sway three-four-dip, country slow dance 'Outlaws,' and then the LA honky tonk and Bakersfield sound of her second single, 'Skid Row.'
Closing on the acoustic, lo-fi ballad, that comes complete with more of Bailey's inviting warm tone on the cautionary tale of life dating a musician within 'Travelin' Kind,' trust me when I say that this new album from Bailey shines a relevant light on some of the shadier corners of the genre not typically addressed.
Such as the hypocrisy that can be found in the outlaw country mindset, all while evoking a fiery, no-holds-barred lyrical approach in the vein of Margo Price.
On Jesus, Red Wine & Patsy Cline, Bailey weaves these honest stories together for a refreshing examination of real-life American trials and tribulations through her heartfelt lens. “I hope that listeners get to know me and my story through this album, and what I love the most in life,” she says.
"Just to be brought back into what classic country captures and makes people feel good about, I hope that it resonates in that same way."
Amazon Purchase Link
Victoria Bailey @ Facebook
Victoria Bailey @ Twitter
Victoria Bailey @ Instagram
Victoria Bailey @ YouTube
Title - 'Jesus of New Orleans'
Artist - Jack Spann
For those unaware, Jack Spann has had an incredible couple of years. The Saint Louis native has lived in New York City for the last 18 years and established himself as one of the city’s in-demand keyboardists.
His reputation led to an introduction to David Bowie’s producer, Tony Visconti who hired him to play on the demos for what would be Bowie’s final album, Blackstar.
Spann’s Visconti connection did not end there. It led to an introduction to Milwaukee-based producer, Gary Tanin, who worked with Spann on his first three critically acclaimed solo albums, Time, Time, Time, Time, Time, Beautiful Man From Mars, Propaganda Man.
Jack Spann’s album recognition led to performances at the world’s largest music festival, Summerfest, in both 2016 and 2017.
Indeed, his just-released brand new CD Single, 'Jesus Of New Orleans' (via Big Boo Records and Daystorm Music) was simultaneously released with a full production music video in support of the single.
Both dance mix and radio edits are included on the CD and Spann again provides lead vocals, piano, keyboards, guitar and bass with Cecil Robbington on drums and percussion.
1. 'Jesus of New Orleans' (Full Version) [9:27]
2. 'Jesus of New Orleans' (Radio Edit) [4:04]
With a supporting cast of guest musicians include long time friend and St. Louis native John Covelli on Trombone, the near-10 minute long, energetically funky, and complete with a bouncy, foot tapping, finger snapping hipsway track opens the CD single with the shorter Radio Edit closing it.
Digital Purchase Link
Jack Spann @ Facebook
Daystorm Music @ Facebook
Title - 'Misadventure'
Artist - Diana DeMuth
For those not in the know, Diana DeMuth released her debut album, the quite magnificent Misadventure this past September 25th, 2020 via Creaky Gate Records.
Restless and ready to pave her own way, DeMuth has burst onto the singer-songwriter scene with an arresting perspective about life, love and self-discovery.
Growing up on the coast of Massachusetts, DeMuth was immersed in a bohemian upbringing where she moved from place to place with hippie parents.
That same restless spirit inhabited DeMuth. After seeing The Avett Brothers from the front row when she was 13, she was enamored with their raw performance and hunger on stage.
Indeed, in that very same moment, she knew she wanted to be an artist one day. So at 19, after going to college for one week, DeMuth left because she was certain music was her path.
For the past five years, she’s focused on just that, spending her time traveling and playing small gigs around America, while waitressing and honing her craft.
1. 'Hotel Song'
2. 'Into My Arms'
3. 'Rose of Nantucket'
4. 'The Young & The Blind'
5. 'Steady Rolling'
8. 'All The Liars'
9. 'In Ivory White'
10. 'Already Gone'
In her travels, DeMuth spent time in London. Feeling aimless, she ended up writing the opening track, the melodically dulcet 'Hotel Song.' “I just busted out of this hotel / Took all of my belongings / And I ran for it,” DeMuth belts out in the opening line over stark keys.
For DeMuth, the song was a breaking point: a door opening into a new chapter of her life. The track’s vagabond chorus evokes the liberating feeling of driving down an empty road with nothing but your dreams, destiny and the windows down.
Next up is the foot-tapping, euphorically upbeat beauty, 'Into My Arms' which is backed by the lo-fi wanderlust of 'Rose of Nantucket,' the immensely sanguine, pop bounce storytelling of 'The Young & The Blind,' and then the piano-led ballad, and cover of a Two Gallants’ track, 'Steady Rolling.'
The gently vibrant, mid-tempo singalong 'Signs' is yet another glorious allowance for us to listen to the unique vocal expertise brought forth by DeMuth, and that's followed by the low key Americana found within both 'Photographs' and the exultant 'All The Liars,' with the album rounding out on the delicate, graceful piano work of 'In Ivory White,' closing on the Americana folk sensibilities of 'Already Gone.'
DeMuth delves deeper into the message and inspiration of the song, 'Into My Arms' by saying: "Into My Arms is about breaking away from what holds you back, like small town talk, toxic relationships, dead-end jobs, and how liberating that feels."
"It’s the kind of song you stomp your foot and sing at the top of your lungs to. Whenever I sing it I’m always reminded of summers when I was young and driving around late at night with the windows down."
"There’s a joy to it that I love and it’s message speaks to the album as a whole. I hope people feel that joy and release when they listen.”
As for 'Steady Rolling,' DeMuth says: “Every time I play Steady Rolling I feel it in my bones. Something about this song and the way we recorded it feels unhinged and honest; it’s a pillar of the album."
"My producers Simone Felice and David Baron helped guide me to a place of being able to sing this in the raw and emotive way it wanted to be heard. I felt strongly about putting this song out now given the current climate and how uncertain these times are."
"I feel like the world needs music now more than ever and to feel connected through it. There’s a line in the chorus that goes, ‘And if you should ever need me, I’ll go wherever you lead me’."
"At its core, Steady Rolling is about humanity and how powerful and unrelenting our need for one another is.”
Official Purchase Links
Diana DeMuth @ Facebook
Diana DeMuth @ Instagram
Diana DeMuth @ YouTube
Title - 'Weathering The Storm, Vol.1'
Artist - Rob Williams
For those not in the know, Richmond, VA-based Americana/roots rock singer-songwriter Rob Williams is set to release his fourth album, Weathering the Storm, Vol. 1, on August 28, 2020 via Evertone Records.
A natural storyteller who crafts melodies and narratives with intelligence and ease, Williams is known for his compelling, character-driven songs, and, with his new album, he shares his most moving and intimate work yet.
Full of beauty and balance, each track reveals the characteristic poise and brightness of Williams’ songwriting, blending the relaxed, free-wheeling spirit of old classic country with a new, more modern consciousness.
2. 'Me and You'
3. 'Falling Sky'
4. 'A Hard Time'
5. 'Only Heaven Knows'
6. 'Long Distance'
7. 'Moon's Light'
8. 'Ghostwriter (Rosie and Justin)'
9. 'Good with the Changes'
Opening with the foot-tappin' melodies of 'Nameless,' Williams backs that up with the beautifully strummed, sunshine acoustic 'Me and You,' the harder edged guitar work of 'Falling Sky,' and then we get the troubadour-infused 'A Hard Time' and the rootsy, lo-fi flow of 'Only Heaven Knows.'
The one-two, mid-tempo hipsway of 'Long Distance' is up next and is followed by the ornately orchestrated wonderment of 'Moon's Light,' with the album rounding out on the folk storytelling of 'Ghostwriter (Rosie and Justin),' closing on the flirtatious, piano-embedded back bone of the good ol' fashioned rocker 'Good with the Changes.'
While the album title may conjure images of the country’s recent tornado devastation or the general upheaval of American life in 2020, the root inspiration is Williams’ personal experience with depression.
An album that blends elegance, approachability, and a refreshing amount of candor, Weathering the Storm, Vol. 1 features driving acoustic guitar rhythms, warm horn harmonies, and the introduction of newer elements like raw electric guitar and textured vocal effects.
The songs on the album reside between the rough calm of alt-rock bands like The Wallflowers and the open-hearted, windows-down purity of artists like Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.
'Nameless' Official Music Track
'Me And You' Official Music Track
'Moon's Light' Official Music Track
'Only Heaven Knows' Official Music Track
Official Purchase Link
Rob Williams @ Facebook
Rob Williams @ Instagram
Rob Williams @ Twitter
Evertone Records @ Facebook
Title - 'Reincarnated' [Pure Audio Blu-ray + CD]
Artist - Hazar
For those not in the know, on his new album Reincarnated (out now via Immersive Audio Network, and thanks to Pure Audio Blu-Ray, brought to us with an almost 3D sound experience in Dolby Atmos that clearly enhances and accentuates the "live" sound), Hazar shows an outstanding virtuosity and masters a congenial interplay, alternating with sonorous melodies, fast solo lines and breathtaking technique, while always adding new emotional depth to his playing.
For the recordings he collaborated with jazz guitarist Michael Sagmeister who contributed as a supervisor at his side. The tracks were recorded in a studio where Miles Davis made his recordings during his lifetime and mastered at the famous Abbey Road Studios in London.
More than ten years ago Hazar caused a sensation with his album Virtuoso, on which he played Paganini, Mozart and Bach with the saz on only three strings.
His artistry with long-necked lutes in perfect form, Hazar turned to the guitar at the height of his career.
As the title of Hazar's album suggests, Reincarnated marks a new era in his life, that is based on an impressive background.
1, 'Made for Wesley'
2. 'Spain' (featuring Al Di Meola)
3. 'Bossa Dorado'
4. 'Black Orpheus'
5. 'Made In France'
7. 'For Sephora'
8. 'Donna Lee'
9. 'Le Vieux Tzigane'
Also featuring special guest guitar virtuoso Al Di Meola, this quite magnificent album opens with the stunningly profound guitar mastery of 'Made for Wesley' and backs that up with one of the albums stand out tracks, the delightfully perky 'Spain' (featuring Al Di Meola).
We then get the, at first, piano-led, then the gentle acoustic guitar work of the immaculately orchestrated 'Bossa Dorado,' the playfully funky 'Black Orpheus,' and another stand out cut, the warmly inviting, yet vibrant tempo of 'Made In France.'
Next up is a delectable rendition of Gershwin's evergreen 'Summertime' which is itself backed by the free flowing 'For Sephora,' his wondrous reinterpretation of Charlie Parker's 'Donna Lee,' with the album gracefully closing on the instrumentalists virtuoso skills coming to the fore on the breathtaking 'Le Vieux Tzigane'
2.0 PCM 24Bit / 96kHz
5.1 DTS-HD MA 24Bit / 48kHz
7.1.4 Auro-3D 11.1 24Bit / 48kHz
mShuttle: 3D Binaural, FLAC
Official Purchase Link
'Bossa Dorado' (Official Music Video)
'Black Orpheus' (Music Video)
'Spain' (Music Video)
Hazar @ Instagram
Hazar @ Facebook
Title - 'Bucket List'
Artist - Jim Waller Big Band
For those not in the know, Jazz musician and educator Jim Waller, who played with Los Blues, has produced a big band album at the University of the Incarnate Word's state of the art recording studio.
Entitled Bucket List, and featuring Jacqueline Sotelo on some of the tracks, the album is readily available now and even has a vinyl release planned.
1. 'Samba for Suzell' (feat. Will Kennedy)
2. 'I Love Being Here With You' (feat. Jacqueline Sotelo)
3. 'New Blue Funk'
4. 'Blues for Los Blues'
5. 'Georgia on My Mind' (feat. Jacqueline Sotelo)
6. 'Waltz for Laura'
7. 'Rhapsondy in Blue'
8. 'Why Don't You Do Right' (feat. Jacqueline Sotelo)
9. 'Funksuite 109' (feat. Will Kennedy)
10. 'Goody Goody' (feat. Jacqueline Sotelo)
11. 'Honky Tonk'
12. 'God Bless the Child' (feat. Jacqueline Sotelo)
13. 'This Is It'
Opening with the finger-snappin exuberance of 'Samba for Suzell' (feat. Will Kennedy), they back that up seamlessly with the energetic swing of 'I Love Being Here with You' (feat. Jacqueline Sotelo), and then the free flowing, book end duo of 'New Blue Funk' and 'Blues for Los Blues' and then give us a rather sultry rendition of the Ray Charles classic 'Georgia on My Mind' (feat. Jacqueline Sotelo).
The tempo is then turned up for the feisty 'Waltz for Laura' before we get a brand new arrangement of George Gershwin's 'Rhapsody in Blue,' which is followed by the moody hipsway of 'Why Don't You Do Right' (feat. Jacqueline Sotelo), the funky, Hammond-inspired 'Funksuite 109' (feat. Will Kennedy) and then the laid back, lusciously orchestrated tones of 'A Ballad for Bob.'
The album then next brings us the vibrantly imbued, foot-tappin' beauty 'Goody Goody' (feat. Jacqueline Sotelo), the blues guitar work of 'Honky Tonk,' and then rounds out with a delightfully observant rendition of Billie Holiday's 'God Bless the Child' (feat. Jacqueline Sotelo), closing on the upbeat and flirtatiously infectious 'This Is It.'
Apple Music Purchase Link
Title - 'Fifth Season'
Artist - Ben Zucker
For those unaware, the just-released Fifth Season (on the artist-run collective Amalgam Records) is the bandleader debut of multi-instrumentalist composer and improviser Ben Zucker.
Currently based in Chicago, Ben's music draws upon a varied practice combining experimental forms and styles, the product of studies and collaborations across North America and the UK.
Ultimately, his concerns as a music maker are about experience, and how we come to understand the world as it unfolds in real time and place ourselves in it in new yet responsible (response-able) ways.
The music of Fifth Season, in particular, enables active collaboration and creativity through setting up improvised contexts via narrative text.
By using long-form prose descriptions of gestures and textures, the forms of the music are guided yet open-ended, and content is constantly made anew in the moment.
It has allowed the music to come to life in many different ways in the hands of various performers, who are able to bring their vocabularies to the fore and merge it with the "notation".
Adam Shead (John Dikeman, Jason Stein, leader of the Adiaphora Orchestra), Eli Namay (Jer'af, Phil Sudderberg, Gilded Records), and Mabel Kwan (Ensemble Dal Niente, Deerhoof, Restroy) likewise represent a wide range of the city's strong communities of new music.
1. 'Sussurigation A'
2. 'Fifth Season: I'
3. 'Fifth Season: II'
4. 'Fifth Season: III'
5. 'Fifth Season: IV'
6. 'Moths Eating the Wallpaper of Concorde'
7. 'Sussurigation B'
8. 'Sixth Skin Pataforming'
Opening this vibrantly alive, always alluring and truly enticing album, and one of such incredibly documented musical communications and explorations at that, is the lo-fi magnificence of the vibraphone-infused, and briskly enhanced percussion work of 'Sussurigation A' which in turn is backed by the four chapters of the title track.
First is 'Fifth Season: I,' a chance for the tempo to be raised somewhat and that's followed neatly by the drum-led 'II,' then both we get the explorative precision of 'III,' and finally the flirtatiously perky, upright bass work and key work of 'IV.'
The longest track at just under 12 minutes here on the album is the impressive instrumentation shown within the hallowed, spatial confines of 'Moths Eating the Wallpaper of Concorde', where yet more experimental visions are fleshed out, with the album rounding out with the, at times, coquettish chamber music of 'Sussurigation B' eventually feeding into the darker, industrialized at times, stretched, contorted and even cinematic in nature, 'Sixth Skin Pataforming.'
Ben Zucker - Vibraphone
Mabel Kwan - Piano
Eli Namay - Upright bass
Adam Shead - Drums
'The Tell' Official Purchase Link
Ben Zucker @ Facebook
Title - 'Casually Containing Rage' [EP]
Artist - Potter's Daughter
For those not in the know, the international art pop band Potter’s Daughter was formed in NYC while North Pocono native Dyanne Potter Voegtlin (piano, vocals, composer) was studying classical piano performance at the Manhattan School of Music.
The group performed regularly in NYC, as well as in northeastern PA, and has been featured on radio and TV.
Back in July of 2018, they joined forces with longtime friend, Amit Chatterjee, (producer, arranger, and guitarist), Ian C. Voegtlin (composer, guitarist, saxophonist), Randy Crafton (percussion), and Walter Sitz (drums) and released their stunning debut album, The Blind Side.
In August of 2019 they then released a Potter's Daughter single, 'Blood and Water' (which also featured a very special guest artist, Annie Haslam from Renaissance on vocals), which was followed in November of that year by another single, the aptly-named 'This Winter's Child.'
Melodic Revolution Records has now announced the release of a brand new Potters’ Daughter EP entitled Casually Containing Rage, with the title speaking differently to each of the three songs on the EP - but especially to their song about racial injustice, 'We Could Be.'
1. 'To My Love'
2. 'Accidentally Like a Martyr'
3. 'We Could Be'
The opening track of the trio, 'To My Love' is a completely new arrangement from their song that appeared on their debut album, The Blind Side, but their take on the wondrous Warren Zevon 'Accidentally Like A Martyr' (also known as one of the best break-up songs ever written!) is definitely the stand out track here for me.
The last track is a politically-charged, highly motivated, and yet calmly sung and serenely orchestrated one, that tells the story of George Floyd, a 46-year-old black American man who was killed in Minneapolis, Minnesota, during an arrest for allegedly using a counterfeit bill.
It proclaims we need to all come together, that we can all be better than this (act), and that those in power must prove their collective understanding of where the world stands today.
'We Could Be' (Official Music Video)
Official CD EP / Digital Purchase Link
Potter's Daughter @ Facebook
Title - 'Songs From Isolation'
Artist - Dane Clark and the Backroom Boys
For those not in the know, Dane Clark has just released Songs From Isolation on August 21st, 2020 (via Thundersound Records), the first pandemic-themed and pandemic-spawned rock album to be issued while COVID-19 continues to ravage the country.
Indiana-based Clark is well known as the touring and recording drummer in John Mellencamp’s band and is an accomplished vocalist and multi-instrumentalist who has previously recorded and released six critically lauded albums; all featuring a range of guest musicians, including Carlene Carter, Donovan, Ian Hunter, Mickey Raphael and members of Moby Grape.
Clark’s basement home studio served as headquarters for the effort to musically chronicle these extraordinary times with collaborating musicians working out of their own respective workspaces on the project.
With touring at a standstill and concerts non-existent, Clark found himself locked down at home in Anderson, IN and living on unemployment insurance during the early weeks of the pandemic.
1. 'You'll All Be Hearin' From Me'
2. 'Six Feet Away'
3. 'Ain't Gettin' Out Of Bed Today'
4. 'Killin' Time'
5. 'After The Rain'
6. 'Sitting In Limbo'
7. 'Your Heart's Still Mine'
8. 'When The Panic Sets In'
10. 'Keep The Lights On'
11. 'You'll All Be Hearin' From Me Reprise'
12. 'Long Road Back'
13. 'Keep The Lights On' (Acoustic Version) [CD Bonus Track]
This rambunctious album opens with the harmonica-driven (courtesy of the Lovin’ Spoonful’s John Sebastian) beauty 'You'll All Be Hearin' From Me' and backs that up seamlessly with the piano-led, mid-tempo 'Six Feet Away,' and then comes the harmonious ballad 'Ain't Gettin' Out Of Bed Today,' the magnificent '60s flashback ambiance of 'Killin' Time,' and both the Mellencamp-esque rocker 'After The Rain' (which is no surprise, given that Clark has been his drummer now for some 24 years!), and the percussion-imbued, countrified AOR of 'Sitting In Limbo.'
Next up is the Springsteen-esque rocker 'Your Heart's Still Mine,' which is followed by the atmospherically euphoric guitar work of 'When The Panic Sets In,' the drum-led, one-two prog rock punch of 'Isolation,' the down South, Hammond-inspired, the slow roll of 'Keep The Lights On' (which is a duet with his daughter, Abigail Clark), before rounding out on a brief harmonica and guitar driven stand off on 'You'll All Be Hearin' From Me Reprise,' closing on the laid back, '70s AOR of 'Long Road Back' (which again features his daughter, Abigail).
Also inclusive of 'Keep The Lights On' (Acoustic Version) [a CD Bonus Track], you can now watch their brand new single 'Keep The Lights On' - Dane Clark, John Sebastian and Abigail Clark with The Backroom Boys by clicking this link!
"Greetings from isolation music fans! I sincerely hope everyone is staying safe and healthy in body, mind and spirit. These last few months have sure been a wake up call to me, as I’m sure they have to all of you."
"With live music virtually nonexistent and all recording sessions cancelled, I found a way to keep busy. Start a new band and make an album (and a batch of videos) about this pandemic!"
"On August 21st I am releasing Songs From Isolation by Dane Clark and the Backroom Boys featuring John Sebastian, Abigail Clark and Jason Sturgeon."
"This 12 song album was recorded by all involved from their own workspaces and mixed by me at my Thundersound Studio. And yes, we are VERY honored to have the legendary John Sebastian, on harmonica and guitar, as part of our line up."
"The band is rounded up by myself on drums and vocals, Troye Kinnett on all manner of keyboards and vocals, Randy Melson on bass guitar, Erik Scull on guitars and vocals, and my daughter Abigail Clark on vocals."
"My old friends Jason Sturgeon (vocals) and Scott Kemper (piano) are also featured on the album. We will be releasing electronically everywhere, as well as in CD format, which will be available from my website."
"We hope to be able to play the whole record from top to bottom in a few venues before the end of the year, but we will have to see how that works out pandemically."
"Miss playing music for you all and hope to see everyone soon!"
You can order Songs From Isolation now at www.DaneClark.com on CD.
Dane Clark @ Facebook
Dane Clark @ Twitter
Dane Clark @ YouTube
Title - 'Words & Music: Newly Remastered Compilation'
Artist - Ray Thomas
For those not in the know, Words & Music: Newly Remastered Compilation is a brand collection of recordings celebrating the musical life and work of Ray Thomas.
Ray was a founder member of The Moody Blues, a band whose legacy and classic albums need no introduction. When the band went on a hiatus in the mid-'70s, Ray recorded two solo albums for the band's Threshold label: From Mighty Oaks and Hopes, Wishes & Dreams.
Sadly, Ray passed away in January 2018 leaving behind a wonderful legacy of work, including his very last song (co-written and recorded with the Welsh musician Ryland Teifi): 'Dada's Song', a piece which lyrically paid homage to Ray's Welsh ancestry.
This compilation gathers together a collection of songs from the first line-up of the Moody Blues, Ray's solo album and includes the first ever release of 'Dada's Song'.
1. 'It Ain't Necessarily So'
2. 'From the Bottom of My Heart (I Love You)'
3. 'How Can We Hang on to a Dream'
4. 'I Wish We Could Fly'
5. 'High Above My Head'
6. 'Adam and I'
7. 'Love Is the Key'
8. 'Rock-A-Bye Baby Blues'
10. 'Didn't I'
11. 'Within Your Eyes'
12. 'We Need Love'
13. 'The Last Dream'
14. 'The Trouble with Memories'
15. 'Dada's Song'
Opening with the Magnificent Moodies' slow poke version of 'It Ain't Necessarily So, featuring Thomas on lead vocals (and, for my money, one of their best songs from their R&B years 1964-66), next up is the terrific 'From the Bottom of My Heart (I Love You)' (which Pinder himself once likened the background vocals on this track to those on 'Nights in White Satin'), and then the delicately beautiful 'How Can We Hang on to a Dream' (which I personally first heard by The Nice with Keith Emerson).
After those opening Moodies songs, we then get Thomas' sweepingly magnificent vocals onward, perhaps nonemoreso than here on 'I Wish We Could Fly,' which is backed by the foot-tappin' High Above My Head' (which bears a canny resemblance to Elton John's 'Elderberry Wine'), the relaxing melodies of 'Adam and I,' and then both the passionate 'Love Is the Key' and the lazy-hazy, overlooked gem 'Rock-A-Bye Baby Blues.'
Next up is the truly beautiful, soaring 'Migration' which is followed by some '70s soul music at its finest within 'Didn't I,' the Folk with a touch of Psychedelia track 'Within Your Eyes,' and then the incredible orchestral arrangement of 'We Need Love.'
This quite magnificent new compilation then rounds out with the piano-led ballad 'The Last Dream,' the yearning of 'The Trouble with Memories,' coming to a righteous close on the aforementioned very last song that Thomas recorded, his beautiful homage to to his homeland of Wales, 'Dada's Song.'
It also includes a bonus DVD (NTSC / Region 0) which features the 5.1 surround sound mix of Ray's 1975 album From Mighty Oaks, the 1975 promotional video of 'High Above My Head' and the new video for 'Dada's Song' exclusively shot for this release.
Words, Pictures & Music From Mighty Oaks - 5.1 Surround Sound Mix
From Mighty Oaks (5.1 Surround Mix)
Hey Mama Life (5.1 Surround Mix)
Play It Again (5.1 Surround Mix)
Rock-a-bye Baby Blues (5.1 Surround Mix)
High Above My Head (5.1 Surround Mix)
Love Is The Key (5.1 Surround Mix)
You Make Me Feel Alright (5.1 Surround Mix)
Adam And I (5.1 Surround Mix)
I Wish We Could Fly (5.1 Surround Mix)
Visual Content: High Above My Head (1975 Promotional Film)
Visual Content: Dada’s Song (Official Video)
The booklet features many tributes from those who worked with him, including former band mates Denny Laine and Mike Pinder.
Official Purchase Link
Title - 'Touched By Love'
Artist - Yola Nash
For those not in the know, growing up stifled by the communist regime in Poland and an abusive, alcoholic father, Yola Nash found solace by escaping into music where she feels safe and protected.
With her personal experiences in love serving as muse for her songs that paint the complete color palate of human emotions, Nash’s sophomore Touched By Love album (which comes a decade after her debut, Another Girl), was released August 26th, 2020 via YoStar Recordings.
What we get is the jazz singer-songwriter at her finest, on this intimate six-song acoustic set that she produced with GRAMMY-winning jazz pianist Edsel Gomez (Dee Dee Bridgewater) serving as musical director.
1. 'Lies and Wishes'
2. 'I Miss You Loving Me'
3. 'Ready For Love'
4. 'Dance With Me'
5. 'Forbidden Love'
6. 'Lololove Me'
This thoroughly seductive, truly heartfelt and earnest new album opens with the mid-tempo, one-two Latin dancefloor hipsway of 'Lies and Wishes,' and backs that up with the soulful ballad 'I Miss You Loving Me,' and then the smooth, finger-snappin' grooves of the beautiful 'Ready for Love.'
The, at times, sultry spoken-worded passion of 'Dance with Me' (the lone song not penned by Nash) is then followed by the mid-tempo, dancefloor rendezvous of 'Forbidden Love,' with the short album coming to a close on the passionately imploring resonance of 'Lololove Me.'
“The songs were inspired by my life, beautiful love and longing for it, or tremendous pain, betrayal, burning questions or just hunger for hope," Yola explains.
"All of those powerful emotions that needed to be shared and expressed. The world needs more love, hope and the spirit of never ever giving up."
"I’m here as living proof that bad times always pass and good things always prevail,” further explains Nash, who arrived in New York City over 15 years ago, not knowing any English or anyone or having any place to go, with only the $1,000 that she borrowed from her late mother, Danusia, to whom the album is dedicated.
“I’m creating my purposeful path every day with my determination. I hope my story and my music will inspire people to be stronger and dream big, especially now during these challenging times, so they can find a creative way through the impossible waters and the impossible becomes possible,” Nash concludes.
You can digitally order Touched By Love now at www.YolaNash.com.
Yola Nash @ Facebook
Yola Nash @ Instagram
Yola Nash @ Twitter
Title - 'Playing It Forward'
Artist - Alexander Zonjic
For those not in the know, serving as the artistic director for nearly a dozen music festivals and concert series throughout Michigan ordinarily keeps contemporary jazz flutist Alexander Zonjic super busy from March through September; in addition to maintaining his own active performance schedule.
But with most of the events shelved this year due to coronavirus concerns, Zonjic was able to find time to finish his first album in more than ten years, Playing It Forward, his 13th album, released October 9th, 2020 via his company’s Hi-Falutin Music label.
GRAMMY-winning keyboardist Jeff Lorber produced the set with the exception of the first single, 'Motor City Sway,' a throwback R&B groove inspired by Zonjic’s adopted home of Detroit, which was written and produced by Pieces of a Dream’s keyboardist James Lloyd.
Indeed, the single has been one of the most added songs on Billboard BDS chart two weeks in a row, with the album title making obvious reference to the phrase paying it forward: something the philanthropic Zonjic is big on doing throughout the Metro Detroit region, where the Windsor, Ontario native has been a multimedia personality ever since he began hosting a WVMV morning radio show in 1998 and expanded to weekly television hosting duties for his own show, “Alexander Zonjic: From A to Z,” three years ago.
1. 'Jazz Café'
4. 'Night Crawler'
5. 'Motor City Sway'
6. 'Playing It Forward'
8. 'Living In The Past'
9. 'Nature Boy'
10. 'Bottom Heat'
11. 'Rolling In The Deep'
Along with a half a dozen new songs (five of which were penned or co-penned by Lorber), Zonjic has also reimagined five cover tunes for flute with fresh arrangements, and opens this delightful new album with the delightfully smooth, and yet flirtatiously perky new track 'Jazz Café' and backs that up with the quirkly hip 'Benita,' the jazz swagger of 'Hipster,' and then brings us a stunningly funky reimagining of Bob James' Night Crawler' (Zonjic who was actually discovered by the GRAMMY and Emmy-winning contemporary jazz keyboard icon, whilst playing in Detroit’s famous Baker’s Keyboard Lounge in 1981!).
Next we get those aforementioned funky Motown grooves of 'Motor City Sway' (which also includes 14-year-old South African keyboard phenom Justin-Lee Schultz on his talkbox), which is followed by the virtuoso fusion vibe of the title track, 'Playing It Forward,' the new Lorber-penned, smoothly orchestrated 'Musaic' (a song also co-written and recorded by guitarist Chuck Loeb, who passed in 2017), and then a right royal beauty in the form of Jethro Tull's 'Living In The Past.'
Being a flute player who began as a teenage rock guitarist, Zonjic has been repeatedly asked ever since the '80s when he was going to record a Jethro Tull song. Well, now we know that day has finally arrived as it is, without a shadow of a doubt, one of the stand out highlights here on this new album.
“A mix of originals and covers is a format that was very successful from a retro standpoint during the great era of CTI Records that came out of New York and made records by Hubert Laws, George Benson and Bob James," Zonjic explains. "There was always a mixture of cool arrangements of covers along with originals,” he adds.
The album then rounds out with a magnificently dulcet, almost big band, jazz flute style arrangement of Nat King Cole's lush 'Nature Boy,' a track originally written and recorded by legendary trombone player, Raul de Souza's 'Bottom Heat,' before coming to a close on the new pop classic 'Rolling In The Deep,' which showcases the Selected of God gospel choir.
Explains Zonjic, “‘Rolling In The Deep’ was not inspired by Adele, but by watching Aretha Franklin sing it on David Letterman’s show."
"Whilst listening, it dawned on me that it would make a great flute song. Lorber put this great track together and I got ahold of Selected of God, who I had seen on ‘America’s Got Talent’ and in an Eminem video. That’s from where the magic came.”
As for the album, “When we got into this pandemic, people really started to play it forward," Zonjic explains. "For us, our connection with Detroit has always been this back-and-forth relationship and us finding ways to give back.""We love the people of Detroit and do a lot of fundraisers for more than a dozen nonprofit organizations. My son and I came up with Playing It Forward and I like the energy of it."
"It’s a very forward momentum record. There’s a lot of energy,” Zonjic reveals, himself a three-time Canadian Smooth Jazz Awards winner (including International Broadcaster of the Year) and a 15-time Detroit Music Awards winner).
You can order Playing It Forward now at myiesstore.com/alexanderzonjic as a CD or digitally.
Alexander Zonjic @ Facebook
Alexander Zonjic @ Instagram
Alexander Zonjic @ Twitter
Title - 'The Red Planet'
Artist - Rick Wakeman
For those not in the know, Rick Wakeman, best known as keyboard player in progressive rock band Yes, has just released The Red Planet - a serious return to "Wakeman Prog" (out now via Madfish Records).
Harking back to Wakeman's critically acclaimed 1973 debut The Six Wives of Henry VIII, The Red Planet features eight newly composed pieces based around a central subject matter.
Indeed, Rick's blown the dust off his favorite analog keyboards and along with his latest keys has used the same formula he devised when making his debut album and the equally legendary Criminal Record.
Upon being asked about the expectations of his prog fans, that they are hoping he will have shoved the "Prog Fader" up to 11, he replied, "That could be a problem ... as it's already at 14!"
1. 'Ascraeus Mons' (5:52)
2. 'Tharsis Tholus' (6:16)
3. 'Arsia Mons' (6:10)
4. 'Olympus Mons' (5:20)
5. 'The North Plain' (6:53)
6. 'Pavonis Mons' (7:13)
7. 'South Pole' (7:35)
8. 'Valles Marineris' (10:02)
Without a shadow of a doubt, The Red Planet - complete with his backing band The English Rock Ensemble - showcases Rick’s aforementioned return to his heavier keyboard sounds that he made famous during The Six Wives–era.
Proving that as much as you may well be able to still teach an old dog news tricks, that the dog itself might well be able to still show you the life it once had as a puppy, The Red Planet also shows us that Rick himself is not showing any signs of slowing down.
Furthermore, and not just for my money, trust me, but this brand new, and absolutely stellar and sonically charged new album is still quite the journey for Rick to have invited us all along on.
Returning to his roots with his orchestral and harder approach, The Red Planet sums up the spatial ambiance of where all the prog rock fans once came to worship at the feet of their keyboard master ("Oh Rick, take us to the 'Centre of the Earth' again, let us go to 'Close to the Edge' and sail the 'Topographic Ocean' once more!").
Listening to this new album reminds me of Return to the Centre of the Earth, with the Moog played throughout the album one that transports you back to his glory days.
Perhaps more so, this new album is very '70s sounding, complete with lots of time signature changes of his expansive prog rock era. A joy to behold from start to finish, there is also a lovely 10-page color inlay booklet that reveals facts about the making of the album and the planet itself, Mars.
- Rick Wakeman / keyboards
- Dave Colquhoun / guitars
- Lee Pomeroy / bass
- Ash Soan / drums
Amazon Purchase Link
Rick Wakeman @ Facebook
Rick Wakeman @ Instagram
Rick Wakeman @ Twitter
Title - 'Fireworker'
Artist - Gazpacho
For those not in the know, for nearly twenty years, Gazpacho have reigned as the kings of atmospheric and affective art rock.
That’s certainly no small feat, as the subgenre is full of wonderfully moody, ornate, and emotional artists; yet, none of them manage to achieve the same level of exquisite baroque resonance and hypnotically introspective weight as the Norwegian sextet.
As a result, they never fail to provide awe-inspiring examinations of the human condition, and their latest observation, Fireworker (out now via Kscope Records) is no exception.
For it is undoubtedly among their greatest achievements, as well as bring one of the most profound pieces of music you’ll hear in 2020.
Conceptually, the album follows the band’s tradition of blending grand philosophical quandaries, stimulating literary leanings, and haunting personal turmoil.
In a way, it acts as the culmination of the themes and techniques that’ve decorated earlier collections, combining the fatalistic isolation of Night and Missa Atropos; the ill-fated narrative drama of Tick Tock and Soyuz; and the hefty theological/scientific contemplations of Demon and Molok.
Beyond that, its central premise (that humanity has always been controlled by an infallible and omniscient creature determined to propagate at any cost) means that Fireworker comes across like the overarching umbrella under which all of its predecessors occur.
1. 'Space Cowboy'
Fireworker is a single “trip” broken into five chapters but meant to be appreciated all at once and, unlike Night, is one where Gazpacho’s recurring protagonist is investigating the labyrinthian hive of his own psyche to engage in a Bergman-esque confrontation with the “Fireworker.”
Indeed, this journey is even represented by the Wimmelbilder cover, which, as usual, was designed by collaborator Antonio Seijas and depicts “the billions of neurons that create the cave of the mind”.
That all said, and taking the album track-by-track, this magnificent opus opens with 'Space Cowboy.' The so-called "inner battle" of the album, it features alternating layers of choral arrangements and vocal meanderings, whilst always enticing us to hang on in there; no matter how many supposed endings they tease.
Up next is the slower 'Hourglass,' chock full of beautiful ambiance and stunning, fluent and magical orchestrations galore, especially come its finale, that is then backed by the title track itself, 'Fireworker,' a folk-rock sound, if you will, and one that leans into a heavier stance than the band are usually known for at times, but one with a definitive cinematic scope to it.
We then get the dulcet melodies of 'Antique,' which features some gorgeous, supple, and even artful early '80s subtle electronica rhythms, with the album coming to a close on the ten minute epic, 'Sapien,' a reserved work, for the most part, sure, but one that still ebbs and flows accordingly to its very own operatic heartbeat, nonetheless.
In closing, Fireworker is truly life-changing experience, so you would be wise to turn off all of the lights, clear your mind as best you can, and prepare to meet the Fireworker.
Keyboardist Thomas Andersen elucidates: “There’s an instinctual part of you that lives inside your mind, separate from your consciousness. I call it the ‘Fireworker’ or the ‘Lizard’ or the ‘Space Cowboy.’ It’s an eternal and unbroken lifeforce that’s survived every generation, with a new version in each of us."
"It’s evolved alongside our consciousness, and it can override us and control all of our actions.” In order to get us to do what it wants, he clarifies, the “Fireworker” will silence the parts of our mind that feel disgust or remorse so that we’re unable to stop it."
"The conscious part of our mind, Andersen notes, will actually “rationalize and legitimize” those thoughts and actions so that we never discover the beast behind-the-scenes."
"No matter how we feel about ourselves in terms of identity, accomplishments, and value, we’re all just vessels — or “Sapiens” — that the creature uses until it no longer needs us."
“If you play along,” Andersen explains, “It’ll reward you like a puppy and let you feel fantastic; if you don’t, it’ll punish you severely.”
Official Purchase Links
Gazpacho @ Facebook
Gazpacho @ Instagram
Gazpacho @ Twitter
Gazpacho @ YouTube
Title - 'Bare as Bone, Bright as Blood'
Artist - The Pretty Things
For those not in the know, the acoustic and gritty Bare as Bone, Bright as Blood is the remarkable, and totally unexpected 2020 album by The Pretty Things, who remained the tainted, dark Rock royalty they always were until the very end.
May 15th, 2020 marked the death of Phil May, the legendary lead singer with The Pretty Things and at the time of his death, Phil was hugely excited about the impending release of the first-ever, all-acoustic Pretty Things album, which had recently been completed.
Unfortunately, the songs will never be heard live with Phil’s voice, but that doesn't diminish the power of this remarkable record which stands as a touching tribute to one of the most significant artists of a rightly celebrated generation (and beyond).
1. 'Can't Be Satisfied' (03:04)
2. 'Come Into My Kitchen' (04:17)
3. 'Ain't No Grave' (03:58)
4. 'Faultline' (04:22)
5. 'Redemption Day' (05:22)
6. 'The Devil Had A Hold Of Me' (04:16)
7. 'Bright As Blood' (04:44)
8. 'Love In Vain' (04:17)
9. 'Black Girl' (02:37)
10. 'To Build A Wall' (04:25)
11. 'Another World' (03:56)
12. 'I'm Ready' (03:43) [Bonus Track]
In truth, Bare As Bone, Bright As Blood has little in common with The pretty Things past work, save for the fact that it is wholly unique and an absolute first.
That said, arguably, this record is as ground-breaking as the band’s seminal psychedelic masterpiece S. F. Sorrow, which is acknowledged as the first Rock Opera.
Inclusive of the lead single 'Bright as Blood,' which features May and Dick Taylor embracing a moving bluegrass overtone, inclusive of Jon Wigg’s fiddle and Sam Brother’s banjo, that are woven together by writer George Woosey’s driving guitar, and the simply beautiful, vulnerably-sung, folk/Americana of 'To Build A Wall,' this album, which is reminiscent of the heart of Depression-era Mississippi, is truly, and already, an album for the ages.
Overall, it features a mix of source material; standards the band has featured in its set for years; some semi-contemporary compositions by unexpected, existing and established artists (but of a younger generation); original recordings penned by old friends and new finds.
There is a connection across the 55-year timespan between the start-up Pretties, and this newly emerging, acoustic and roots Pretty Things.
This is work stripped bare and reflects the frailties and insecurities of gathering age, ill health, painful failure and memorable success. It is a reflection on two long, long lives in art and music that have always been at the cutting edge.Bare as Bone, Bright as Blood is the work of two old men who are acting their age, maybe for the first time ever!
If their health and energy is depleted, their skill, insight and experience is not, with the result that they have made a remarkable, exciting, unexpected and thought-provoking record, that is, against all the odds, another singular “first” for an already groundbreaking band.
Official Purchase Links
The Pretty Things @ Facebook
Title - 'Interconnected'
Artist - Mark Vickness
For those not in the know, Mark Vickness began his musical training on piano at age six.
The road from there to the modern fingerstyle guitarist he is today included a bachelor’s and master’s degree in composition, studies in classical piano, guitar, sitar and tabla.
Add to all that years as a performing jazz guitarist, composer and arranger, several film scores and two decades of recording and performing as the instrumental half of the acoustic fusion duo, Glass House (with singer David Worm - and which has thus far released three CD’s and an EP), and you can clearly see a man dedicated, still, to honing his craft.
Mark’s performing experience spans a huge range of genres from free improvisation to West African drum and dance ensembles, from Motown and funk bands to big band jazz and orchestral conducting.
Indeed, Mark has a unique approach to solo modern fingerstyle guitar. He plays custom instruments including a baritone guitar built by renowned luthier Michael Greenfield, an eight string guitar which Mark helped design with luthier Matt Mustapick and an eighteen string acoustic double neck.
In addition to original tunings and the extended use of percussive effects, tapping, harmonics and effects, Mark employs sympathetic resonance in how he strings and tunes his guitars to produce a lush, rich sound.
Three years after releasing his debut solo CD, Places, Mark has just released his brand new album, Interconnected. Featuring four new solo modern fingerstyle compositions and four original pieces with his new ensemble (who are also named Interconnected), the ensemble brings together two-time Grammy-winning violinist, Mads Tolling, cellist Joseph Hebert, Dan Feiszli on upright and electric bass and tabla virtuoso, Ty Burhoe.
1. 'Interwoven' (ensemble)
2. 'Grey Skye' (solo)
3. 'Hot Apple Stuff' (ensemble studio version)
4. 'Bodega Blue' (solo)
5. '6 in 7' (ensemble)
6. 'Mia Lucia' (solo)
7. 'For Every Child' (trio)
8. 'Hot Apple Stuff' (live) (ensemble)
9. 'One Day Over A Thousand' (solo)
A totally unique artistic vision, Mark along with Interconnected approach musical creation as a solemn opportunity to express the interconnectedness of humanity, and of all things, through the universal language of music here on Interconnected, which culminates in an exquisite work of musical art.
This magnificent, truly magical at times, free flowing and oh-so wonderfully rich embodiment of free-form Jazz, classical guitar, amidst a sea of New Age and Folk-inspired, modern day compositions, opens with the gorgeous, cinematic at times 'Interwoven' (ensemble) and backs that up with the Latin-flavored acoustic guitar work of 'Grey Skye' (solo), the playful, Celtic-embroidered 'Hot Apple Stuff' (ensemble studio version), and then we get both the sterner, more stoically imbued guitar work of 'Bodega Blue' (solo) and the ethereally-inspired, hypnotic Celtic vibe of '6 in 7' (ensemble).
The ornate guitar work of 'Mia Lucia' (solo) is up next and is followed by the precise, yet soothingly opulent 'For Every Child' (trio), a live recording of 'Hot Apple Stuff' (ensemble), with the album closing on the sweepingly melodious milieu of 'One Day Over A Thousand' (solo).
“The music on this recording is intended to convey interconnectedness, the reality that we live in an interconnected, interdependent world, that we are all one human race," Mark explains.
"Instrumental music is an ideal means of expressing this because it is a universal language. This ensemble is comprised of musicians who are capable of a wide range of styles from different cultures and different eras."
"I worked hard to write this music with interconnectedness in mind, within each piece individually and in the relationships between the pieces themselves. Some of the pieces on Interconnected come from a deeply personal place."
"'For Every Child' was written for every person who has either experienced or known someone who has gone through the trauma of losing their innocence to childhood sexual abuse as I did before age ten."
"'One Day Over A Thousand' is dedicated to all those who lost their lives to Covid-19, and to my dear friend Holli Ross, who died while this piece was being written.”
Official 'Interwoven' Music Video
Mark Vickness @ Facebook