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Title - Always Comes Back: The Authorized Recordings
Artist - SVT

For those not in the know, SVT is a San Francisco based outfit fronted by ex-Jefferson Airplane/Hot Tuna bassist Jack Casady (a 1996 inductee to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for his work with Jefferson Airplane).

Casady brought with him Nick Buck from Hot Tuna and added Brian Marnell and Bill Gibson from Airplay (ex Sound Hole).

The band was formed early in 1978 as Jack Casady Band but evolved rapidly into SVT and their debut single Heart of Stone, became a hit on local FM station KSAN.

Bill Gibson, who had been a founding member of SVT, did not play on any of SVT’s albums - only on the singles. Although, he is playing drums and singing backing vocals on two tracks that were added to the re-released and extended No Regrets album.

Bill left SVT in 1979 to form what was to become Huey Lewis and the News and was replaced by local drummer Paul Zahl.

So what does SVT stand for? Long time fans thought it to be Supra Ventricular Tachycardia - excessive heart beat and pulse rate. I mean, sure, that’s a cool idea because SVT’s music could cause that, but in reality the name SVT was simply taken from Jack’s bass amp rig!

The recordings of the San Francisco rock group SVT are set to be reissued on vinyl for the first time in the modern era. Always Comes Back: The Authorized Recordings by SVT is out now on CD and will be released as a double-vinyl LP by Liberation Hall on June 3rd, 2022.

1. Bleeding Hearts
2. Waiting for You
3. No Regrets
4. Money Street
5. Love Blind
6. North Beach
7. What I Don’t Like
8. Secret
9. Too Late
10. You Don’t Rock
11. Price of Sex
12. I Can See
13. Red Blue Jeans
14. Always Come Back
15. I Walk the Line
16. Modern Living
17. Down at the Beach
18. New Year
19. Wanna See You Cry
20. Heart of Stone
21. The Last Word

The most mainstream of the San Francisco club bands from the late ’70s and early ’80s, SVT open this compilation on the aching angst of Bleeding Hearts and the gently rambunctious Waiting for You and follows those up with the rebel-imbibed awe of No Regrets, the drum-led feist of Money Street, the harmonious rocker Love Blind, and then comes the soaring North Beach and the alt-punk of What I Don’t Like.

Up next is the rhythmic alt-rock of Secret and the aching, mid-tempo AOR balladry of Too Late which are in turn backed by the foot-to-the-floor, bass-imbed You Don’t Rock, the pop bounce of Price of Sex, the jangly, raw ambiance of I Can See, the sing-along, quietly countrified rocker Red Blue Jeans and the free flowing Always Come Back.

Along next is one of my own personal favorites form this new compilation, their vibrantly heartfelt cover of Johnny Cash’s renowned I Walk the Line and that is followed by the (early) Adam & The Antz-esque Modern Living, the languishing ache of Down at the Beach, the bluster-incorporated New Year, the album rounding out on the Ramones-esque Wanna See You Cry, the guitar work within the melodic pop rock of Heart of Stone, coming to a close on the joyously upbeat, drum-led rhythms of The Last Word.

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Title - Toyah! Toyah! Toyah! [CD/DVD]
Artist - Toyah

For those unaware, the third instalment in Cherry Red’s deluxe re-issue series of Toyah’s Safari Records back catalogue is the 1980 live album Toyah! Toyah! Toyah!.

Now released as an expanded deluxe CD+DVD and a Limited Edition Color Vinyl LP (May 13th, 2022), the live album originally peaked at #22 in the UK Top 40 Album Chart in 1980 and also spent an entire year in the Independent Album Chart, earning a Silver sales certification.

The recorded gig took place on June 17th, 1980 at the legendary Club Lafayette, Wolverhampton where Sex Pistols, Led Zeppelin and Stevie Wonder all performed.

The gig was recorded on the Rolling Stones’ Mobile Recording Unit and has been remastered from the original master tapes by Nick Watson.

The CD features the entire original live album along with previously unreleased songs ‘She’, a reprise of ‘Danced’ and an unedited complete version of ‘Neon Womb’ [which originally faded early as the B-Side of live single ‘Danced’].

Disc One: Toyah! Toyah! Toyah!
1 Victims Of The Riddle
2 Indecision
3 Love Me
4 Vision
5 Bird In Flight
6 Tribal Look
7 Danced
8 Insects
9 Race Through Space
10 Ieya
11 Ghosts [Bonus Track]
12 Neon Womb (Unedited)* [Bonus Track]
13 She* [Bonus Track]
14 Danced (Encore Version)* [Bonus Track]

*Previously unreleased

Featuring the diminutive Toyah Wilcox (4ft 10in) when she was more Siouxsie Sioux and not so Kate Bush, Toyah! Toyah! Toyah! captures her full bloodied early eighties concert in Wolverhampton, England to absolute perfection.

An acquired taste for a lot of music listeners, given her tendency to scream with her God-given noticeable lisp in tow, combined with a severe personality for on stage, and most times, buoyantly colorful delivery, Toyah and her severely spikey orange (for the most part of her career, but just a floppy mop for this early tour!) hair were either going to sink or swim from the very off (luckily for us, she could swim with the big dogs at the time in the charts).

That said, Toyah! Toyah! Toyah! is most definitely for fans who crave a document of her scrappy early years. With only two albums under her belt at the time of this recording, the new wave diva sounds urgent, hungry, and just as sharp as her haircut while her band rocks with that jagged, amphetamine beat, occasionally slowing down for the dramatic sci-fi numbers like Insects.

A year later she would release the fantastical and heavy album Anthem and so began phase two of her career, so this is a kiss goodbye to the days of Derek Jarman and anti-establishment with some songs that wouldn’t be on future set lists.

Not that there is any other kind of Toyah fan, but this is strictly for the hardcore, especially now as the original album now has the four aforementioned bonus tracks: the propulsive Ghosts, the trippy Neon Womb, the hauntingly ethereal She, and the hyperactive (just watch the original video and try to keep up with the Toyah keep fit routine!) Danced.

Disc Two: Toyah - The ATV Documentary

With sleeve notes by Craig Astley, Toyah’s official archivist, who also compiled the package, the CD+DVD set finally restores the full concert set list and pairs the live album with a DVD of the 1980 television documentary Toyah, released on disc for the first time ever.

Directed by Graham Moore and originally broadcast by ATV (a regional ITV channel better known as Associated TeleVision) on November 17th, 1980, it followed Toyah for over half a year capturing band rehearsals, studio recording sessions, play rehearsals and in her then-home, the notorious Battersea warehouse Mayhem.

A pure and unadulterated slice of grainy heaven, the ATV Documentary is everything you could ever hope it to be in a flashback look at one of England’s most beloved alt-rockers.

With her freshly-washed, freshly-tinted bright orange hair free flowing, bouncing all around as she walks, talks, laughs and performs, Toyah (at just 22 years-old) is the epitome of someone enjoying every second of their chosen career.

During the interview portions, she reveals she would like to become a ... commercial cult figure, because I believe if you are a cult performer your following is so strong, and so religious, that they are fans of yours the whole of your working life.

It also now includes promo video-style footage of ‘Neon Womb’ and ‘Blue Meanings’ and concert footage of ‘Insects’, ‘Danced’ and ‘Ieya’.

The CD+DVD contains a fully illustrated 24-page booklet featuring an introductory note from Toyah alongside rare and unseen photography of Toyah and the band line-up which disbanded before this album’s original release.

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Title - Moment of Truth
Artist - The Red Clay Strays

For those not in the know, with a sound as classic as the crackling of a Sun Records vinyl still spinning somewhere in Memphis, yet as fresh as the musical stylings of the 21st century, The Red Clay Strays are busy making waves with their spellbinding and genre - bending brand of tunes.

Reminiscent of the vibrant heyday of southern music, the band finds their origins in the styles of classic country, rockabilly, and gospel - fed soul all the while ushering in a new era of rock and roll that is as distinctive as the men who form it.

Born and bred in the red dirt clay of south Alabama, Brandon Coleman (lead vocals/guitar), Drew Nix (vocals/electric guitar/harmonica), Zach Rishel (electric guitar), Andrew Bishop (bass) and John Hall (drums), blended their unique individualities and influences together to create a band with a rare sincerity that isn’t often seen in today’s industry.

After spending the past five years cutting their teeth in the Gulf Coast music scene while simultaneously running the roads discovering who they are and where they belong in the world, The Red Clay Strays are prepared to take the world by storm as they reveal their Moment of Truth in the spring of 2022.

So ... How ‘bout you come on and join the ride?

1. Stone’s Throw
2. Moment of Truth
3. Do Me Wrong
4. Wondering
5. Forgive
6. Heavy Heart
7. Ghosts
8. She’s No Good
9. Don’t Care
10. Killers
11. Sunshine
12. Doin’ Time

This quite stunningly orchestrated, wholly ambient, and tremendously atmospheric new album opens on the foot-tapping AOR of Stone’s Throw and backs that up with the languishing, Twin Peaks-esque Moment of Truth and then brings us the low slung, Motown-imbed, and dutifully soulful Do Me Wrong, the rhythmically melodic one-step of Wondering, and then comes the aching balladry of Forgive and the lonesome troubadour-adorned gossamer of Heavy Heart.

Up next is one of my own personal favorites, the gentle funk and guitar-led AOR of Ghosts, which is in turn followed by the heat getting turned up for the joyous honky tonk of She’s No Good, the unpretentious burn within Don’t Care is along next, the album rounding out on the hurt, yet heartfelt storytelling within Killers, the gently enduring Sunshine, coming to a close on the smoothly rambunctious Doin’ Time.

Official The Moment of Truth Project Video

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Title - Gasoline Alley [EP]
Artist - Wyld Ryde

For those not in the know, hailing from Louisville, KY Wyld Ryde brings hard rock and heavy metal into the new era with great hooks, arrangements and a heavy, razor sharp modern edge that is sure to please fans all over the world.

Growing up the band faced adversity from a very, very early age. Their neighborhoods are extremely crime ridden from violence to drugs. Just making it out was a blessing as lots of their friends and family died from gun violence and drugs.

And now Wyld Ryde is making sure good ol’ rock N’ roll lives on in a great, and loud way with the release of their brand new EP Gasoline Alley.

1. Gasoline Alley
2. Hold On Me
3. Alone
4. Six Gun Shooter
5. Come and Go [Bonus Track]
6. Don’t Say No [Bonus Track]

This brilliantly vibrant, and wholeheartedly genuine rock metal EP opens on the highly energetic, drum-led rock of the title track Gasoline Alley and then brings us the foot-to-the-floor, rockin’ metal thunder of Hold On Me and the soaring AOR of Alone.

Next up is the free-wheelin’ Six Gun Shooter with the EP rounding out with the melodic rock of Come And Go, coming to a close on the pounding metal of Don’t Say No.

Wyld Ryde “Gasoline Alley” [Official Music Video]

Wyld Ryde “Hold On Me” [Official Lyric Video]

Official Website

Wyld Ryde @ Facebook

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Title - Live from Vienna, 1967
Artist - Dave Brubeck Trio

For those not in the know, Brubeck Editions is thrilled to announce the release of Dave Brubeck Trio’s Live from Vienna, 1967, the newly discovered recording of the extraordinary evening when the iconic Dave Brubeck Quartet was forced to take the stage as a trio.

This electrifying album marks the only recording of jazz luminary Dave Brubeck, celebrated drummer Joe Morello and acclaimed bassist Eugene Wright performing in a trio context.

During this performance at Vienna’s famed Konzerthaus, the pared-down instrumentation proves only to exemplify the genius of Brubeck and his legendary rhythm section.

This historical release will drop as a compact disc on April 15th, 2022, followed by a special LP release on April 23rd, 2022 for Record Store Day.

1. St. Louis Blues (W. C. Handy, Arr. by Dave Brubeck) (8:55)
2. One Moment Worth Years (Dave Brubeck) (10:10)
3. Swanee River (S. Foster, Arr. by Dave Brubeck) (7:37)
4. La Paloma Azul (Traditional, Arr. by Dave Brubeck) (6:09)
5. Someday My Prince Will Come (F. Churchill & L. Morey) (5:28)
6. Take the A Train (B. Strayhorn) (4:16)

This brilliantly vibrant, and wholeheartedly genuine piece of true musical art, opens on a spirited take on St. Louis Blues where for chorus after chorus, Brubeck offers up some of the finest examples of his signature chordal and rhythmic performing, while interspersing soulful, lyrical melodies in his right hand.

The band continues with One Moment Worth Years, on which Brubeck and Wright’s touch can be described as charming, inventive and elegant and then they bring forth Swanee River; which features an up-tempo syncopated groove that sets up a very polyrhythmic and high-spirited interpretation of the Stephen Foster composition that the trio had previously recorded alongside Desmond on the 1959 album Gone With the Wind.

The trio calms things down with a sweet, tender, soft-hearted even version of La Paloma Azul, a Mexican folk tune rearranged with an ingenious polyphonic twist that appears during the closing melodic statement.

The crowd immediately recognizes Someday My Prince Will Come, and the piano leads the group on an intense romp that challenges the underlying time from the rhythm section with an elastic piano solo superimposing 3 against 2 and the incredible live album concludes with a tune known throughout the world, the simply magnificent jazz standard Take the A Train.

For a little more of a painted picture, the date was November 12th, 1967 and the Dave Brubeck Quartet was nearing the end of their very last tour of Europe. They had played in Hamburg on November 10th, but saxophonist Paul Desmond got “distracted” after going out on the town for one last evening to explore Hamburg with an old friend.

When the rest of the quartet went to the airport on the morning of November 11th, Paul was missing. He didn’t make the lobby call or the flight and the rest of the group traveled to Vienna without him.

Grammy nominated composer and son of Dave, Chris Brubeck notes “Knowing my father, he was probably worried about Paul. However, Dave also would have suspected that Paul may have been out celebrating too hard.”

Brubeck must have felt assured that Desmond would show up, as Chris indicates, “there were later flights Paul could take to get to Vienna in time for the concerts”.

But Paul never made it to Vienna, and the remaining members of the quartet were reluctantly pushed into an exciting place of spontaneous invention and exploration.

As Chris notes “Dave often said that the audience was the fifth member of the Quartet. In this unique situation, the Trio played a singular and inspired set no doubt influenced by this particular concert’s fourth member of the ensemble – the Viennese audience. There was suddenly more solo space for all three musicians to explore with their inspired improvisations. These performers instinctively utilized the great sound and dynamics of this hallowed concert hall both to rattle the rafters and float gentle melodies up to the balconies.”

The recording highlights the late “Senator” Eugene Wright, who sadly passed away December 30, 2020. The last surviving member of the quartet, he was always appreciated as the foundation upon which the other members of the quartet relied, but on this recording, he has more space to show off his formidable bass chops.

Amazon Purchase Link

Title - Like a Picasso: Expanded Edition
Artist - Bonnie Pointer

For those not in the know, following five releases with her sisters on ABC/Blue Thumb Records (including a Grammy® win in 1975 for the Bonnie and Anita Pointer penned “Fairytale”), Bonnie Pointer left the group she co-founded and began a solo career.

She signed with Motown Records in 1978, and her eponymous debut featured the hit “Heaven Must Have Sent You,” which reached #11 on the Billboard Hot 100.

The next year brought another self-titled released, and a third album came five years later. Bonnie appeared on Soul Train in 1985, but it would be decades before she would release more music.

After being approached by songwriters/producers Lloyd Poe and Robin Taylor to record a demo for a new Taylor Poe composition, “Answered Prayer,” Bonnie agreed and brought in sister Anita to sing background vocals with her.

The 2008 session laid the foundation that resulted in an entire album’s worth of recordings using Taylor Poe’s extensive catalog of material.

Originally issued in 2011, Like A Picasso was released by Poe and Taylor on the Platinum Trini Entertainment label, although a lack of funding and promotion limited its chances in the marketplace.

Flash forward another decade, and Like A Picasso will receive an overdue worldwide release for the marketplace, on April 8th, 2022 via Omnivore Recordings, on CD and Digital.

6. YOU WILL (Steel Guitar Version)*
13. GHOST OF I-95
14. LIKE A PICASSO (Breakdown Mix)* [Bonus Track]
15. LIKE A PICASSO (Radio Mix)* [Bonus Track]
16. YOU WILL (Original Version) [Bonus Track]

* Previously unissued

On what is a genuine musical masterpiece from start to finish, as one would have fully expected, of course, on Like a Picasso allowed the lushly-vocal Bonnie Pointer re-emerge as a kind of contemporary singer-songwriter; and one who never missed a single beat on this excellent album.

Opening on the synth-drizzled title track itself LIKE A PICASSO and the pulsating HIDE, she follows those up seamlessly with the luscious affair of GENIUS OF MY HEART, the mid-tempo balladry of ANSWERED PRAYER, the free-flowing melodies of STRANGEST DAY, and then we get the acoustically-imbibed YOU WILL (Steel Guitar Version) and the powerful YOU AIN’T WORTH IT.

While somewhat reminiscent of the then-surprising acoustic guitars on her first solo album (mind you, this was 1978 and decades before a gorgeous India Arie hit the charts), the songs are meaningful, un-disco-ish and Bonnie’s voice is as soulful as it ever was.

Up next is the languishing beauty of LONG AGO and the countrified storytelling of HEY HARLEY and they are in turn backed by the rocker DESIRE, the Tina Turner-esque AOR of I DON’T EXPECT A ROSE, and the original album rounds out with the jaunty AOR of HE DON’T LIKE LOVE, closing on the troubadour-imbibed rhythms of GHOST OF I-95.

These thirteen songs from the original recording are now augmented by three tracks (two previously unissued) in the shape of a funky LIKE A PICASSO (Breakdown and Radio Mixes) and a beautiful YOU WILL (Original Version).

The artwork has also been updated, the music remastered, and the packaging contains new liner notes from Scott Schinder, featuring conversations with Poe and Taylor, telling the story of how the material came about, and why it deserves another shot.

Bonnie Pointer passed away in 2020, so sadly she is no longer with us to experience the joy of Like A Picasso’s return. It’s the worldwide release from a genuine R&B icon. That icon is Bonnie Pointer.

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Title - A Point of View: Expanded Edition
Artist - Bobby Cole

For those not in the know, Frank Sinatra walks into a bar…
Well, Frank called it a “bistro”—and Jilly’s on 52nd Street even had matchbooks that when opened read, “My favorite bistro–Frank Sinatra.” It also featured Frank’s “favorite saloon singer,” Bobby Cole, who held court there for many years.

His other gigs around New York landed him a recording contract with Columbia, but the 1960 release from The Bobby Cole Trio, while well reviewed, failed to gain traction.

It featured no original material from Cole, and was essentially a recorded version of his Jilly’s act—one hard to capture on LP.

Judy Garland walks into a bar…

In 1964, and after hearing Cole’s performance of one of her favorites, Cy Coleman’s “You Fascinate Me So,” Garland invited the New York jazz singer to become the new musical arranger for CBS’s The Judy Garland Show in Los Angeles. When that show ended, Cole returned to New York and Jilly’s.

Jack Lonshein, whose day job was creating covers for artists including Sarah Vaughan, Maynard Ferguson, Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young, (and eventually Big Brother & The Holding Company and The Amboy Dukes!), was a friend of Cole’s.

He knew Bobby’s magic, and original songs, were what the jazz world needed. Taking things into his own hands, A Point of View was released on Lonshein’s own Concentric Records, and as can happen, no matter how well received and reviewed a record is, finding a copy was half the battle for fans.

A Point of View made waves in the boroughs, was raved about in Billboard and Cash Box, and then disappeared — but became a coveted prize by those who experienced it. Artists including Freddy Cole (Nat’s brother), Nancy Sinatra, and Tom Jones all covered material from it.

A Point of View now returns 55 years later, fully authorized by the Estate of Bobby Cole. Produced for release by Grammy®-winner Cheryl Pawelski and lovingly remastered by Grammy®-winner Michael Graves, this new version presents the original release, plus 12 previously unissued bonus tracks drawn from sessions likely intended for a follow up release to A Point of View that didn’t happen.

A fascinating and thorough essay from Grammy®-nominated writer Randy Poe tells the story of Cole, the scene, and the music.


Opening on the liquid fervency of STATUS QUO and the swinging, finger-snapper THE NAME OF THE GAME IS TROUBLE, the lushly orchestrated LOVER BOY, the playfully perky YOU CAN’T BUILD A LIFE ON A LOOK, the balladry of BUT IT’S SPRING, the aptly-named HEAT, the quietly-stoic YOU COULD HEAR A PIN DROP, and then comes the upbeat A CHANGE OF SCENE, the free flowing A PERFECT DAY, the beautiful stillness of ELEGY FOR EVE, the original album rounding out with the mid-tempo NO DIFFERENCE AT ALL and the dulcet I’M GROWING OLD.

24. A CHANGE OF SCENE (Alternate Take)

Up next are the previously unissued bonus tracks, which begin with lushly motivated roll of CHECKERBOARD LIFE and the beautifully rhythmical DRINK THIS CUP and they are backed by the throaty HOW THE LONELY SPEND THEIR TIME, the forthright melodies of I NEVER SAW THE SHADOWS, the upbeat and joyous TEAR FOR TEAR, the ornate balladry of WHEN SHE WAS IN LOVE WITH ME, the gently fervent jazz piano of GET OFF LOOKING GOOD, the one-two beats of AT THE DARKEST HOUR and then comes the finger-snapping A TOAST, the beautiful, late night club balladry of THE MIDNIGHT FLOWER, the recording now coming to a close with the quietly rambunctious NEVER ASK THE HOUR, the jazzy A CHANGE OF SCENE (Alternate Take), and finally a deliciously seductive LIFE ROLLS ON.

Available on CD and Digital April 15th, 2022 (with a double-LP version slated for Fall of 2022), A Point of View will be finally seen and heard, appreciated, and revered, as originally intended.

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Title - Rhythm in New York
Artist - Andy James

For those not in the know, on her latest album for Le Coq Records, Andy James captures the vibrant tempo and exhilarating thrills always unfolding in the thoroughfares of the city that never sleeps.

Rhythm in New York (out May 6th, 2022) features a stunning mix of classic standards and original music inspired by life in Manhattan. As has become standard for Le Coq releases, the album boasts an unparalleled line-up of in-demand musicians, all of who have captivated audiences on the bandstands of New York and beyond.

James’ key collaborator on Rhythm in New York is John Patitucci, who not only graces every track with his virtuosic bass playing but co-wrote several tunes with James and his daughter, singer-songwriter Greisun.

They are joined by pianist Jon Cowherd, drummers Nate Smith and Marcus Gilmore, saxophonists Chris Potter and Marcus Strickland, trumpeter Terell Stafford, flutist David Mann, guitarists Adam Rogers and Chico Pinheiro, and percussionists Alex Acuña and Rogerio Boccato.

Additionally, Cowherd and Patitucci collectively arranged all 15 songs on the album. While Patitucci has been a key member of the Le Coq family since its launch, he and James furthered their collaboration last year with the collaborative outing An Evening with John Patitucci & Andy James, which inaugurated the singer’s venture into original compositions.

“Although I’ve always loved the songs of the past - who wouldn’t? - I thought it was time to express myself more as a writer of music on this album”, James explains. “I feel it’s necessary to convey my sentiments in music so I can grow further as a singer and musician.”

“My collaboration with John Patitucci and his daughter Greisun has been an enormous pleasure for me. They are so talented and always know what I’m looking for; which I’m sure is helped by their family bond.”

1. I’m Gonna Live Till I Die (feat. Marcus Strickland & Nate Smith)
2. Day Dream (feat. Chris Potter)
3. Walk On By (feat. Jon Cowherd)
4. Time To Think (feat. John Patitucci)
5. El Ritmo (feat. Chris Potter)
6. I Can’t Stop Loving You (feat. Jon Cowherd)
7. What The World Needs Now (feat. Chris Potter & Jon Cowherd)
8. Think Of Me (feat. Christ Potter & Adam Rogers)
9. People (feat. Marcus Strickland, Jon Cowherd & Adam Rogers)
10. When I Look In Your Eyes (feat. Chris Potter, Marcus Strickland & Adam Rogers)
11. The Best Is Yet To Come (feat. Chris Potter)
12. This Girl’s In Love With You (feat. Marcus Strickland)
13. There Will Never Be Another You (feat. Chris Potter)
14. I’ll Be Seeing You (feat. Chico Pinheird & Chris Potter)
15. Just In Time (feat. Chris Potter & Jon Cowherd)

This delightfully artful and musically cognitive to its surroundings album opens on the big dream aspirations found within I’m Gonna Live Till I Die and the orchestrally stunning balladry of Day Dream and backs those up seamlessly with the low slung Walk On By, the dreamy ambiance of Time To Think, the finger-snapping vibes of El Ritmo, and then we get the dulcet musical musings found within both I Can’t Stop Loving You and the subtle, albeit it atmospherically-layered What The World Needs Now.

Up next is one of my own personal favorites from this quite breathtaking ambient new album, the gentle Mediterranean hipsway of Think Of Me and then the Cleo Laine-esque People and they are in turn backed by the soft textures of When I Look In Your Eyes, the gently forthright overtones of The Best Is Yet To Come, the melodic mastery of This Girl’s In Love With You, with the album rounding out with the upbeat swirls and twirls of There Will Never Be Another You, the pensive balladry of I’ll Be Seeing You, coming to a close on the delightfully jaunty piano ballad instrumental Just In Time.

Speaking of family bonds, James’ other co-writer on Rhythm in New York is her husband and dance partner, Le Coq founder Piero Pata, who contributed to two new pieces on the album, Time To Think and Just In Time. As James explains, “Working with Piero has really been easy. Wherever I am, he seems to catch and remember the melodies that I’ve been casually humming around the house and later brings them to me with lyrics already attached. It makes a great start for a song. Of course, then I sink my teeth into them and change just enough to make it me.”

In writing as well as selecting songs for the album, James thought back over the many memorable visits she’s enjoyed to New York City, stretching back to childhood trips with her parents, who would occasionally travel to the States on business and bring their artistic daughter along.

As an adult she would return often to soak in the nightlife and take in the influences that helped forge her own singing style.

“My first walk in Central Park in the snow will always be a highlight,” James recalls. “I will never forget the colors of Times Square at night, the people swarming all over the place with excitement, the magnitude of the shows on offer on every street. I would wander for hours finding one exciting nook and cranny after another to enjoy musicians. Whether at Birdland Jazz Club or the Village Vanguard, there was always someone special to admire.”

Rhythm in New York spotlights a wide variety of moods and styles, while showcasing the jaw-dropping musicianship of the assembled artists. James so admires her collaborators that in at least one instance – her and Pata’s own Just In Time – she decided to remove her vocals altogether and let the band shine on their own.

But throughout, from the enticing, Bossa-inflected opener “There Will Never Be Another You,” through the lush original ballad “Day Dream” and the Flamenco-inspired “El Ritmo,” to the wistful farewell of “I’ll Be Seeing You,” James finds endless inspiration in her adoration for the city.

“I tried to capture my feelings when I was younger, to convey my impressions traveling to this great city,” she explains. “New York is a city of love in many ways, and its people have proved this on countless occasions. The beauty of the seasons always leaves me breathless. It has so many musical tastes for anybody to enjoy: R&B, pop, opera, musical comedy, and of course my favorite, jazz. It is one of my favorite places on Earth.”

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Title - A Room of Mirrors
Artist - Emiliano Gonzalez Toro & Zachary Wilder

For those unaware, on March 4th, 2022, the French Baroque ensemble I Gemelli releases the first album on its new imprint: Gemelli Factory.

Entitled A Room of Mirrors, the recording features Swiss tenor Emiliano Gonzalez Toro and his period instrument ensemble I Gemelli with American tenor Zachary Wilder in 17th century duets for tenors.

As a singer and ensemble leader, Emiliano Gonzalez Toro specializes in baroque music, particularly in that of Monteverdi, the giant against whom all Italian composers were measured throughout the seventeenth century and the absolute monarch of vocal music.

With A Room of Mirrors, Gonzalez Toro and Wilder have chosen to focus on the reflections of this tutelary figure, evoking the master rather than the citer.

It was Monteverdi who “invented” the opera duet, and more precisely the tenor duet, in L’Orfeo (1609), representing the dialogue between Orpheus and Apollo in a virtuosic and symbiotic style: the voices entwine in a profusion of melisma in which it is difficult to distinguish which of the two gods is the father and which the son. The technique was further developed in Monteverdi’s seventh book of madrigals.

It was a natural choice for I Gemelli to produce a recital based on twinned voices, and particularly in this tenor tessitura, which dominated the others in the early seventeenth century.

They have chosen to represent the peak of the Baroque era with works by Castelani, Turini, Marini, Falconieri, Frescobaldi, Castello, Castaldi, Gregori, D’India, Notari and Sabbatini.

1. Damigella tutta bella Vincenzo Calestani (1589-after 1617)
2. Dialogo della rosa Sigismondo d’India (1582-1629)
3. Dove ten’vai Francesco Turini (1595-1656)
4. La vecchia innamorata Biagio Marini (1594-1663)
5. Folia echa para mi señora Andrea Falconieri (1585?-1656)
6. Se l’aura spira Girolamo Frescobaldi (1583-1643)
7. Sonata Quarta Dario Castello (1602-1631)
8. Mai non disciolgasi Annibale Gregori (?-1633)
9. Piangono al pianger mio Sigismondo d’India
10. Langue al vostro languir Sigismondo d’India
11. Giunto alla tomba Sigismondo d’India
12. Intenerite voi Angelo Notari (1566-1663)
13. Quella che tanto Bellerofonte Castaldi (1581-1649)
14. Folgori Giove Galeazzo Sabbatini (1597-1662)

The musically exquisite A Room of Mirrors opens on the sturdier flare of Calestani’s Damigella tutta bella and the lighter, flourishing ambiance of d’India’s beautiful Dialogo della rosa and follows those up nicely with the dulcet tones within Turini’s Dove ten’vai, the gently playful, flute-imbibed swirl of Marini’s La vecchia innamorata, the palpable growth found within Falconieri’s Folia echa para mi señora, and then comes the aching yearn of Frescobaldi’s Se l’aura spira and the prospering Sonata Quarta (Castello).

Next up we get brought forth the vivacious Mai non disciolgasi from Gregori and then come three of my favorites works on this set, all once again from d’India, this time in the form of the wholly symbolic Piangono al pianger mio, the stirring ebb and flow of Langue al vostro languir, and the cultured, Choir-like Giunto alla tomba, the recording rounding out on the quietly rhythmic entrancement of Intenerite voi, the rousingly ornate Quella che tanto, finally coming to a close on the harpsicord-embedded wonderment of Folgori Giove.

Gemelli factory is the new label created in 2022 by Emiliano Gonzalez Toro and Mathilde Etienne to represent the projects of the I Gemelli, from large-scale programs such as Monteverdi’s opera Return of Ulysses or Coronation of Poppea, which will be released in the next few years, to chamber music like A Room of Mirrors, and solo performances of instrumentalists and singers emblematic of I Gemelli.

Emiliano Gonzalez Toro tenor
Zachary Wilder tenor

Ensemble I Gemelli
Stéphanie Paulet violin
Jérôme Van Waerbecke violin
Rodrigo Calveyra recorder, cornetto
Myriam Rignol viola da gamba
Julien Léonard viola da gamba
Annabelle Luis cello
Marie-Domitille Murez triple harp
Vincent Flückiger archlute
Nacho Laguna theorbo
Violaine Cochard harpsichord, organ
Amazon Purchase Link

Emiliano Gonzalez Toro @ Facebook

Zachary Wilder @ Facebook

Title - Opera in Musica: Carlo Monza Quartets
Artist - Fabio Biondi & Europa Galante

For those unaware, on April 22nd, 2022 Naïve Classiques will release an album of six never-before recorded string quartets by 18th century Milanese composer Carlo Monza, performed by violinist Fabio Biondi and members of his Europa Galante ensemble: violinist Andrea Rognoni, violist Stefano Marcocchi, and cellist Alessandro Andriani.

With their joyful tone and flirtatious style, Monza’s string quartets could easily be taken for youthful works by Mozart, which is hardly surprising, as the 14-year-old Mozart was in Milan at the time, immersed in its music and its composers: Sammartini, Lampugnani, and Monza.“I was trying to find out what characterized the writing of the composers in the court of the Duke of Milan, and how Mozart, then a young man of fourteen, had understood this himself so he would be accepted by local audiences,” writes Biondi.

“I therefore began by looking at the Milanese composers of the time, which basically included three names: Giovanni Battista Sammartini, undoubtedly the most important, Giovanni Battista Lampugnani and Carlo Monza.”

A decade ago, Biondi chanced upon a catalogue of manuscripts stored in a private library, including the six string quartets of Monza. Frustratingly, the library denied Biondi access to them, but after a long search he discovered a copy was in the Bibliothèque Nationale de France.

“Monza’s music is so beautiful and reflects so accurately the Milanese school in the second half of the eighteenth century that I wanted to make a recording of it,” says Biondi.

1-5. quartetto in do maggiore "gli amanti rivali"
6-10. quartetto in re maggiore "opera in musica"
11-13. quartetto in fa maggiore "la fucina di vulcano"
14-17. quartetto in si bemolle maggiore "il giuocatore"
18-21. quartetto in soi minore "divertimento notturno"
22-25. quartetto in mi bemolle "la ca"

The simply divine recording opens on the immediately sprightly, stoic mid thrust, yet euphorically culminating work of quartetto in do maggiore "gli amanti rivali" and follows that up seamlessly with the animated, at first, earnest and forthright next, honest and cultured at end "opera in musica".

The merry opening and close of "la fucina di vulcano" is married in the midst by a beautifully crafted bout of longing and reach and then we are into the quartetto in si bemoile maggiore "il giuocatore", which opens with fervency, centers itself with a solid stance, and then brings forth the royal ending.

Along next is quartetto in soi minore "divertimento notturno" which is opened with a playful swirl and twirl before heading into the more composed midsection, culminating on the graciousness of a stunningly melodic embrace, the final work of quartetto in mi bemolle "la ca", where we are instantly drawn in with an effervescent pairing, comes to a close on a sternly crafted mid region and then a work of pure, unadulterated gossamer is lovingly brought forth.

The six quartets are characterized by an operatic form and evocative subtitles. The vocal style of composition – right down to the recitatives played by the violins or the viola in Gli amanti rivali or Opera in musica, where the purely instrumental lines seem to be guided by the rhythm of an invisible text – displays a true dramatic art, a series of colourful mini-plays (Gli amanti rivali, La fucina di Vulcano), moods (Divertimento notturno, La caccia) and sentiments (Gli amanti rivali, Il giuocatore).

“The general public knows the most famous composers, but I believe it is always important to play those who remain in the shadows but contributed just as much to the wealth of the history of music and the construction of new forms,” continues Biondi. “Monza was an important and all-round composer, as can be seen in all his instrumental, symphonic or operatic music that we have at our disposal today.”

Europa Galante
Fabio Biondi, Violin
Andrea Rognoni, Violin
Stefano Marcocchi, Viola
Alessandro Andriani, Cello

Title - Remixes & Rarities [2CD]
Artist - Matt Bianco

For those unaware, Remixes & Rarities celebrates the expansive sound of Matt Bianco, featuring a selection of recordings from across their first four studio albums: ‘Who’s Side Are You On?’ (1984), ‘Matt Bianco’ (1986), ‘Indigo’ (1988), and ‘Samba In Your Casa’ (1990).

Containing remixes of the band’s many singles including the highly sought after Steve Anderson remix of ‘Half A Minute’, never released commercially until now, also among the rarities is a previously unreleased version of ‘You’re The Rhythm’ featuring the spectacularly soulful Kym Mazelle, the First Lady Of House Music, on lead vocals, and the original version of ‘Blame It On That Girl’.

Matt Bianco are a British band that were formed in 1983 and who are mainly known for their success in the mid-1980s and with their jazz, Latin-flavored music.

The group’s name suggests that Matt Bianco is a person, often assumed to be an alias for the main member and front man Mark Reilly, but according to the group, however, Matt is in fact a made up spy, a secret agent; we loved spy TV themes and film scores.

Disc One: For A Night Out

Opening on the drum and synth-tastic, upbeat and metallically-charged GET OUT OF YOUR LAZY BED (EXTENDED VERSION) and then the rich samba-inflected hipsway of HALF A MINUTE (EXTENDED VERSION), they back that up with the richly harmonic MORE THAN I CAN BEAR (REMIX), the uber funky YEH YEH (DANCE MIX), the melodic grooves of DANCING IN THE STREET (DANCE MIX) and the aptly-named SMOOTH (EXTRA SMOOTH).

Next up we get the drum-led beats and saxophone-embedded DON’T BLAME IT ON THAT GIRL (RARE GROOVE SAX VERSION) and the chunky funk thrusts of GOOD TIMES (NEW LONG VERSION) and they are in turn followed by the synth-laden rhythms (akin to Paula Abdul’s Opposites Attract) on NERVOUS (RE-RECORDED VERSION), the rapped R&B (VOCAL DUB MIX), the hyper-atmospheric WAP BAM BOOGIE (LATIN REMIX EDIT), the disc coming to a close on the evocative YOU’RE THE RHYTHM (HARDING/CURNOW REMIX).

Disc Two: For A Night In
2. MACUMBA (RUMBA MIX) [Matt Bianco featuring Chulito]
4. YOU’RE THE RHYTHM (ALTERNATE VERSION) [Matt Bianco featuring Kym Mazelle]

The seismic dancefloor hipsway of their Doobie Brothers cover of WHAT A FOOL BELIEVES kicks the second disc off in fine style and is followed by the stunningly different-to-their-norm MACUMBA (RUMBA MIX) [Matt Bianco featuring Chulito], the jaunty synth work and drum track of SAMBA IN YOUR CASA (CAHASSA MIX), the melodically ’90s rap-R&B of YOU’RE THE RHYTHM (ALTERNATE VERSION) [Matt Bianco featuring Kym Mazelle], and then comes the piano-introduced NERVOUS (7” REMIX INSTRUMENTAL) and the vibrant R&B (PERCAPELLA).

Along next is one of my own personal favorites from this quite wonderfully upbeat and joyous new collection, the wholly atmospheric HALF A MINUTE (THE QUICA FRENZY) which is turn followed by the swirling rhythm and beats of DON’T BLAME IT ON THAT GIRL (ORIGINAL MIX), the cinematic, dancefloor glide step of SLIDE (ORIGINAL MIX), the funky INDIGO (ORIGINAL MIX), another foot-tapping version of R&B (ORIGINAL MIX), the second disc coming to a close on the almost choir-like, at first, mid-tempo lushness of MORE THAN I CAN BEAR (RE-RECORDED VERSION).

An essential companion piece to the deluxe editions of ‘Who’s Side Are You On’, ‘Matt Bianco’, and ‘Indigo’, each of which have been released on the Cherry Pop label and have sold extremely well and now comes with a 20-page booklet containing comprehensive credits and a fully illustrated discography.

Remastered from the original master tapes stored in the Warner archives. Also available: ‘Whose Side Are You On?’ (Deluxe Edition) ‘Matt Bianco’ (Deluxe Edition) ‘Indigo’ (Deluxe Edition).

Official 2CD Purchase Link

Title - What Am I Afraid Of? [Vinyl LP]
Artist - Ken Newman

For those not in the know, San Francisco-based singer/songwriter Ken Newman has been dipping his toes in the entertainment business since the age of 12.

With forays into the world of acting, magic, and finally, music, Newman strives to make positive change with his talents.

With a background in corporate entertainment, Ken uses his experience to create change within his community, helping the less fortunate through his charity Blanket the Homeless, a Bay-Area based organization that improves the lives of people living on the streets by handing out blankets, socks, first-aid kits and other essential items.

“I am deeply committed to using my music to effect change,” Ken says about Blanket The Homeless.

Ken also shares that he would absolutely love to see Blanket The Homeless expand beyond the Bay Area. Most notably, Ken can be seen intertwining his passion for music with his penchant for change in his single “I Can’t Breathe” which reached Erica Garner, the daughter of Eric Garner who was deeply moved by the heartfelt track.

“I Can’t Breathe” was followed by a music video titled “It Stops Today” featuring men and women of color who have lost their lives, to capture the sentiment and emotional significance of the song.

As someone who wants to be remembered for being interested than being interesting, Ken strives to produce music that helps people heal and open their minds.

Ken’s upcoming album, What Am I Afraid Of? is out April 22nd, 2022 and kicks off with an invitation to overcome challenges and soar to new heights with its catchy guitar riffs, motivating lyrics, and melodic vocals.

Diving into this album, Ken expresses his true colors by exploring different types of songwriting while remaining faithful to his signature political-pop sound.

Side A:
1. What Am I Afraid Of?
2. Nothing To See Here
3. Danny Don’t Go Upstairs
4. Talk To You
5. I Can’t Breathe
6. We Should Do This Again

This musically earnest, at all times captivating, superbly crafted, and genuinely heartfelt new album opens on the drum-led, guitar-wrangling rocker of a title track What Am I Afraid Of? and the alt-rock fervency of Nothing To See Here and then brings us the atmospherically charged electricity of Danny Don’t Go Upstairs, the upbeat, social media-inspired rock-swing of Talk To You and then comes one of my own personal favorites from this new recording, Ken’s rooted passion for change within the unfeigned I Can’t Breathe, the side rounding out on the earthy, almost ethereally stoic tale told within We Should Do This Again.

Side B:
7. Dreaming Of Guns
8. I’m Your .45
9. Away From You
10. The Fish Song
11. I Can’t Breathe (Acoustic)

The second side of this beautiful, almost transparent in color vinyl LP brings us the all-out rocker Dreaming Of Guns and the mid-tempo, AOR foot-tapper I’m Your .45, which is itself followed seamlessly by the alt-’90s vibe of Away From You, the album closing out on the tantalizingly harmonious The Fish Song, and then a poignantly grounded, wholly organic acoustic version of I Can’t Breathe.

On his new approach to songwriting, he states, “I am treating songwriting much more as a job in that I commit myself to a certain amount of time to work on new material. This, as opposed to hoping for inspiration to strike.”

“I want to write music that makes people want to listen over and over, that helps them deal with heartbreak, that gives them cause to celebrate, that opens their minds to possibilities.”

Band Members:
Ken Newman
Scott Mickelson
Frank Reina
Kyle Caprista
Lilan Kane
Brendan Getzell
Luke Kirley
Dave Len Scott
David Hayes
Kevin White
Adam Rossi
Dennis Haneda

Official Website

Official Spotify Purchase Link

Ken Newman @ Facebook

Ken Newman @ Twitter

Ken Newman @ Instagram

Ken Newman @ YouTube

Title - Roxy Music [180g Vinyl]
Artist - Roxy Music

Roxy Music, one of the most influential and exhilarating music acts in history, will tour for the first time in more than a decade to mark the 50th year since their groundbreaking debut album.

Bryan Ferry, Andy Mackay, Phil Manzanera and Paul Thompson, together on stage for the first time since their sold-out and critically acclaimed 2011 For Your Pleasure tour, will perform 13 arena shows across North America and the UK, beginning September 7th, 2022 in Toronto at the Scotiabank Arena.

Roxy Music’s self-titled seminal classic released in 1972 firmly put Bryan Ferry and Eno at the forefront of the art-rock movement. Their penchant for glamour was showcased in the lyrics and immortalized in the 1950s-style album cover.

Each Roxy Music album has been reissued with a fresh Half-Speed cut by Miles Showell at Abbey Road Studios, London. To reflect the audio, all eight of the Roxy Music studio albums have had their artwork revised and with a gloss laminated finish so that each album is not just a record it’s a piece of art.

180g Vinyl LP! Remastered & Cut Half-Speed From Original 1/4" Tapes by Miles Showell at Abbey Road Studios!

Side A:
1. Re-Make/Re-Model
2. Ladytron
3. If There Is Something
4. 2HB

This mighty fine, luxuriously-elegant album opens on Re-Make/Re-Model, an elegant pop rocker with a ’67 west-coast vibe saturated with discrete weird noises, Ladytron starts like King Crimson but blossoms into a chic funky verse continuing into explosive instrumental assaults, then comes If There Is Something (which is one of their best pieces), a gorgeous mid-tempo full of surprises, the side culminating in 2HB, is a hazy mid-tempo, retro and futuristic at the same time.

Side B:
1. The Bob (Medley)
2. Chance Meeting
3. Would You Believe?
4. Sea Breezes
5. Bitters End

The second side is much weirder, if I might be so bold as to lead with. The Bob is a collage of synths waves, short parts of different songs, and oboe, explosions, and whilst challenging and funny, Chance Meeting is wholly different, in that it is an eerie ballad with delicate piano and dissonant guitar feedback all over.

Would You Believe is a sensitive ballad again, this time continuing in fifties vintage rock ’n’ roll and back again, whereas Sea Breezes may well be yet another ballad (with piano and oboe), but it eventually morphs into a weary robotic crawl of hesitant drums, off-kilter bass, and guitar feedback, the album coming to a close on Bitters End, a gentle doo-wop kiss if ever there was.

Falling halfway between musical primitivism and art rock ambition, Roxy Music’s eponymous debut remains a startling redefinition of rock’s boundaries.

Simultaneously embracing kitschy glamour and avant-pop, Roxy Music shimmers with seductive style and pulsates with disturbing synthetic textures. Although no musician demonstrates much technical skill at this point, they are driven by boundless imagination.

Indeed, Brian Eno’s synthesized treatments exploit electronic instruments as electronics, instead of trying to shoehorn them into conventional acoustic patterns.

Similarly, Bryan Ferry finds that his vampiric croon is at its most effective when it twists conventional melodies, Phil Manzanera’s guitar is terse and unpredictable, while Andy Mackay’s saxophone subverts rock & roll clichés by alternating R&B honking with atonal flourishes.

In truth, flickers of their sound may be heard in artists later associated with Eno, such as John Cale and David Bowie, but Ferry’s stamp is very much in the foreground. His songs are the strength, deeply melodic and finely wrought lyrically.

But what makes Roxy Music such a confident, astonishing debut is how these primitive avant-garde tendencies are married to full-fledged songs, whether it’s the free-form, structure-bending Re-Make/Re-Model or the sleek glam of Virginia Plain, the debut single added to later editions of the album (but not on this edition, sadly).

That was the trick that elevated Roxy Music from an art school project to the most adventurous rock band of the early ’70s.

The tour will make stops across the U.S. including such landmark venues as New York’s Madison Square Garden and The Forum in Los Angeles before culminating with a performance at the O2 Arena in London. Tickets for the Live Nation produced North American shows will go on sale Monday, April 4th, 2022 (10am local time) at

Artist presale starts Tuesday, March 29th, 2022 (10am local time) until Friday, April 1st, 2022 (5pm local time).

Roxy Music will offer several VIP packages for each show that include premium tickets, access to the pre-show VIP lounge, limited edition merchandise and more.

Package contents vary based on offer selected. Fans can visit for more information.

Very special guest St. Vincent will be appearing on all North American shows (*except Boston). Since making her recorded debut as St. Vincent in 2007, Annie Clark has consistently been regarded as one of the most innovative and fascinating presences in modern music, continually reinventing her unique sounds and personae—and winning two GRAMMY Awards in the process.

Most recently, St. Vincent channeled the hungover glamour and gritty sepia-toned soundtrack of 1970s downtown NYC into the triumphant Daddy’s Home, released in May 2021 to universal acclaim. Outside of recording and performing, St. Vincent has designed her own Ernie Ball Signature guitar, and co-written and starred as a fictionalized version of herself in the upcoming film The Nowhere Inn.

2022 marks a year of celebration for Roxy Music. Throughout the year, each of their eight studio albums, all heralded as modern classics, will be reissued as special anniversary editions with a new half-speed cut, revised artwork and a deluxe gloss laminated finish.

The first two LPs, Roxy Music and For Your Pleasure, will be released on April 1st, 2022, with the remaining albums arriving in paired drops throughout the year.

Since their formation in 1972, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees, Roxy Music have left an indelible mark on the worlds of music, fashion and art, merging the three with a singular and astonishing vision that brought them immediate, global success.

Today they are regarded as one of the most influential bands of all time, whose work has inspired generations of musicians. Intense, emotive, and clever, with iconic graphics, Roxy Music’s eight studio albums birthed the art-rock movement, blurring the lines between genres and infusing a new kind of glamour into rock music for the first time.

09/07 - Scotiabank Arena - Toronto, ON
09/09 - Capital One Arena - Washington, DC
09/12 - Madison Square Garden - New York City, NY
09/15 - Wells Fargo Center - Philadelphia, PA
09/17 - TD Garden - Boston, MA*
09/19 - United Center - Chicago, IL
09/21 - Moody Center - Austin, TX 09/26 - Chase Center - San Francisco, CA
09/28 - The Forum - Los Angeles, CA

Oct 10 - OVO Hydro - Glasgow, UK
Oct 12 - AO Arena - Manchester, UK
Oct 14 - The O2 - London, UK

Roxy Music 50th Anniversary Tour 2022 [Official Promo Video]

Official Website

Official Bryan Ferry LP Reissues Purchase Link

Roxy Music @ Facebook

Roxy Music @ Instagram

Roxy Music @ YouTube

Roxy Music @ Twitter

Title - My Satellite
Artist - Red Hot Shame

For those not in the know, Red Hot Shame is the brainchild of singer-songwriter Xeff Scolari and his fluctuating lineup of Northern California based musical partners in crime.

The band will release their album My Satellite on April 15th, 2022 and will have several performances in support of the album across Northern California with the plan to release a My Satellite LIVE album before the year is through.

For the new Red Hot Shame album, Xeff Scolari recorded with frequent collaborators Steven Pitsenbarger (vocals, percussion), Ryan Wilson (guitar), Spencer Kennedy (bass), Rick Fugate (drums), James Terris (keys), and Mark Bennet (harmonica), a lineup that brings an energy and excitement to the band that Xeff Scolari could not accomplish alone.

Together they are a creative force that launches My Satellite into another dimension where the performances feel like a wild ride where anything can happen at any moment, turning the band’s live shows into can’t miss events.

The new album My Satellite was recorded, mixed, and mastered collaboratively by the whole group at Xeff Scolari’s own Shameful Studio in late 2021.

1. Lift Off
2. X-exe
3. My Satellite
4. The Only Star
5. Solitude
6. My Shuttle
7. Stranded
8. Synchronizing
9. Eject
10. Come On, Rocket
11. Little Moon

This vibrantly alive, heartfeltly constructed and musically well honed, sonically charged new album (whose songs range thematically from birth, death, and rebirth, to love and loss, and, well, everything in between) opens its first chapter with the harmonious instrumentation within Liftoff and the rocker X.exe and then comes the tuned in, cracking alt-rock, guitar slide title track My Satellite, the second chapter bringing us the languishing The Only Star, the trippy ambiance of Solitude and then we get the laid back, swirled haze of My Shuttle.

The album, which is notably chock full of talented multi-instrumentalists who add continual layers of sonic textures (including horns, vintage mellotron, and even accordion) continues onward within the third chapter with the free flowing ’90s pop-alt vibe of both Stranded and then Synchronizing and the melodic rock of Eject, the fourth and final chapter (Epilogue) next bringing us the harmonica-imbibed, mid-tempo balladry of Come On, Rocket, the recording coming to a close on the laid back, gently melodic hipsway of Little Moon.

A resident of Eureka, CA, lead vocalist and songwriter Xeff Scolari has played in several other local bands including Colorblind, Acoustic Gypsies, Sugardaddy, and Chowderhead, the last of which was on the Magnetic Oblivion Records label.

Throughout 2020 he created and launched Shelter N Play, an online virtual open mic with musicians signing up to perform 15-minute sets from all over the country, a hugely valuable resource to the musical community throughout the pandemic.

These also helped Xeff to further hone his own vocal and songwriting chops, and it was actually through the Shelter N Play open mics that Xeff met bassist Spencer Kennedy and guitarist Ryan Wilson, a fortuitous meeting indeed.

Soaring through this instrumental journey is a vocal blending that is rich with decades of collaboration and friendship; Xeff Scolari has been singing together with Steven Pitsenbarger for so long that it feels like instinct.

Steven Pitsenbarger was a member of the San Francisco bands RhythmChaos, and Machine Shop, and has been making music together with Xeff since the late ’80s.

The only core member of the band that doesn’t live near the rest, Steven collaborated on many of the songs via email, sending tracks back and forth to Xeff. Together they also have another band known as Vanity Project.

Guitarist Ryan Wilson’s inventive stylings bring the Red Hot Shamesound to life. They call his pedalboard “the spaceship” because of all the crazy sounds he is able to get out of it. He also performs with bassist and multi-instrumentalist Spencer Kennedy in another group called Stable Vices, who were regulars at Xeff’s Shelter N Play open mics.

Drummer Rick Fugate has a well-known face in Eureka, playing punk songs on his accordion on the streets during Arts Alive monthly events. When he’s done there, he jumps behind the drum kit for Red Hot Shame.

James Terris has been playing music with Xeff Scolari since his very first band in the late ’80s and also plays keys with the touring Neil Diamond tribute band Super Diamond.

Red Hot Shame began in 2017 when it was just Xeff Scolari with a few guest tracks by some close friends like Steven Pitsenbarger and James Terris on the debut release Curiosity. In 2021, Red Hot shame released the follow up album Sounds Like, which also featured Chad Johnson.

Official Website

Red Hot Shame @ Facebook

Red Hot Shame @ Instagram

Red Hot Shame @ Soundcloud

Red Hot Shame @ Bandcamp

Title - Crisis Actor
Artist - Sandman Sleeps

Releasing a debut album must be nerve wracking, as those songs are the band’s first and best shot to tell the world who they are as artists. And Floridian indie/alternative outfit Sandman Sleeps is coming very strongly out of the gate with Crisis Actor.

In addition to the delightfully edgy title, Crisis Actor is the culmination of many years’ worth of preparation, with the band having been begun in the earlier 2000’s by lead vocalist Christina Peck and her sister, Alexis (bass). The onboarding of Zack Jones (guitar) and Karsten Andersen (drums) in 2019 rejuvenated the band, and this album is the glorious result.

1. Soaked
2. Feet
3. Opaque
4. Fellini
5. Induced
6. Spiral
7. Five Bell Alarm
8. Portrait of Jennie
9. Summer Rain
10. Rare Cloud

From the outset, Sandman Sleeps grabs hold of the listener and does not let go, with shredding baselines and reverb guitars on “Soaked.” The rhythm section are the true stars of the band, with Alexis and Karsten pushing everything forward with the perfect momentum.

Christina’s vocals are fragile, but not breathy; lovely, but occasionally overwhelmed by the music of her bandmates. And on the subject of vocals, Christina gives off vibes reminiscent of Tori Amos, but built to really soar. To that end, “Opaque” is the strongest use of Christina’s voice.

Songs like “Feet” feel like they could be featured on the soundtrack to the greatest skateboard game you’ve never played, while “Induced” jams at a slower pace, showcasing the more mellow end of the band’s range, primarily through the fuzzy sounds of Zack’s guitar. Of the lot, “Five Alarm Bell” takes the prize for Best Track.

Even though Crisis Actor is the debut album by Sandman Sleeps, their sound is one that cannot be constrained to a record only — it needs to be experienced. I eagerly await their first concert headline concert tour, and the success that will surely be theirs if any of their future efforts are half as good as this one.

Review by: Ashley J. Cicotte

Crisis Actor by Sandman Sleeps is available on all major music streaming platforms.

Official Website

Sandman Sleeps @ Facebook

Sandman Sleeps @ Bandcamp

Title - Avondale Drive
Artist - Nicki Bluhm

For those not in the know, a San Franciscan now calling Tennessee home, Nicki Bluhm possesses a modern, clear-eyed perspective that grabs the heart and keeps you holding on to every word.

Bluhm’s music career began in the Cow Hollow area of San Francisco, where she recorded two solo albums and co-founded Nicki Bluhm and The Gramblers.

The band wrote and performed their own music and recorded covers nostalgic to their childhoods, including the Hall and Oates classic “I Can’t Go For That.”

After gaining widespread attention for their “Van Sessions” on YouTube, they toured internationally and recorded two albums as a band.

The band’s meteoric ascent into the public eye had its obvious blessings, but it came with challenges as well, particularly for Bluhm’s creative process.

Says Bluhm, “It’s been confusing learning how to move away from defining success in an algorithmic way; how many clicks and likes and views you can get. These past few years have been a process of trying to articulate my authentic voice, which has taken a lot of self-reflection, vulnerability, and to be honest, therapy.”

In 2017 Bluhm made the decision to leave California to forge a career as a solo artist in Nashville. Her ensuing solo album, To Rise You Gotta Fall (2018), plumbed the depths of hard goodbyes and hopeful beginnings. Produced by Matt Ross-Spang (Jason Isbell, Margo Price, Calexico) and recorded in the legendary Sam Phillips Recording Services in Memphis, the album exhibited a natural blending of Tennessee sound and Bluhm’s West Coast roots, which she jokes as being her ‘CaliMemphis’ sound.

In 2020, Bluhm embarked on creating her new album with Los Angeles producer Jesse Noah Wilson. Releasing in June of 2022, Avondale Drive is a masterful exploration of what it means to be fully yourself, rather than a vessel for the expectations of others.

“This album is a lot about building trust back in myself. Finding my own inner compass and aligning it to my authentic self,” she says. “When you go through a lot of trauma, divorce, estrangement you learn that you don’t have to repeat the patterns of the past or continue to identify with the old story.”

1. Learn to Love Myself
2. Love to Spare
3. Feel
4. Sweet Surrender
5. Juniper Woodsmoke
6. Friends (How To Do It)
7. Mother’s Daughter
8. Fool’s Gold
9. Leaving Me (Is the Loving Thing to Do)
10. Wheels Rolling

This lushly created, smoothly orchestrated, and wholly heartfelt new album opens on those saliant, poignantly gestational moments found within self-reflection on the, at first, waves of a melodic Hawaiian hipsway that later turn into a twanging guitar bed of Learn to Love Myself, the lonesome ode to the confusion of middle-aged dating within the organ-imbibed Love to Spare (which Bluhm co-wrote with songwriter A.J. Croce), and then comes the funky blues foot tapper Feel, itself a juxtaposition of sentiments and time signatures, the velvet gossamer of Sweet Surrender (which aptly defines a crucial lesson in the human experience), and then comes her rhythmic reflections on her 10-year marriage to musician Tim Bluhm within Juniper Woodsmoke.

Up next on this truly beautiful, musically embracing, artistically triumphant album is the mid-tempo Friends (How To Do It), a duet with Oliver Wood (The Wood Brothers) it is an amusing shake of the head at the follies of dating in the modern world, which is itself followed by her earnest outreach, a rallying cry for survivors of harassment and sexual assault within Mother’s Daughter, and then comes my own personal favorite here, the stylistic nod to the theatrical sonic landscape of Ennio Morricone within the gently jaunty Fool’s Gold, the album rounding out on the heart-wrenching ballad (about the moment of realization that a relationship is over) Leaving Me (Is the Loving Thing to Do), closing on the atmospherically-charged, free-wheeling ode to the theme of trust within Wheels Rolling.

Recorded in Bluhm’s home in East Nashville, and featuring the talents of luminaries like Oliver Wood, James Pennebaker, Jay Bellerose, Jen Condos, Erik Slick, Erin Rae, Karl Denson, A.J. Croce and more, Avondale Drive combines nostalgic country-rock with distinctly modern, sharp lyricism — an apt contrast for the process of studying one’s past in order to make a better future.

05/07/22 PELHAM, TN The Caverns w/Bill Nershi
05/17/22 JOSHUA TREE, CA Bahootenzie Folk Fest w/Steve Poltz
06/10/22 LAYTONVILLE, CA Hog Farm Hideaway 2022
07/08/22 ANN ARBOR, MI The Ark
07/09/22 PETOSKEY, MI Blissfest 2022
09/09/22 BRISTOL, TN Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion 2022

More dates to be announced soon.

Official Purchase Link

Official Website

Nicki Bluhm @ Facebook

Nicki Bluhm @ Instagram

Nicki Bluhm @ Twitter

Nicki Bluhm @ YouTube

Title - The Seven Ages of Starlight
Artist - Art Griffin’s Sound Chaser

For those not in the know, Art Griffin’s Sound Chaser was assembled piece by piece over the course of several years to record the music of Art Griffin.

First with guitarist Kelly Kereliuk, then with drummer Steve Negus (best known for his work with Canadian rock legends SAGA) and finally with the addition of electric violinist Victoria Yeh.

Work began on what was to be the first album in 2012. Gradually as the musicians rounded out the lineup, the first album, Visions From The Present was completed. Released in 2016, the album comes adorned with a stunning Roger Dean cover. Roger also designed the AGSC logo.

Now, with the help of some special guest artists, Jamie Glaser (Jean-Luc Ponty Band), Todd Sucherman (Styx), Michael Sadler (SAGA), Frank Wyatt (Happy The Man) and keyboardist Sarah Westbrook, along with the core four AGSC members, the second album The Seven Ages of Starlight is now available!

The new album was written by Art from 2015 to 2017. Recorded primarily at his Artsounds Studio with the exception of the drums. Steve recorded his drums at his Blue Room Studio and when Todd Sucherman came on board to record two tracks, they were recorded at his studio in Texas.

Most of the guitar and violin solos were recorded at Artsounds but after the Covid outbreak were recorded at the players residences and takes/retakes were done online.

The album was mixed by Art Griffin with additional mixing done with Adam Fair at his Villa Sound Studio. The album was mastered by Phil Demetro at Lacquer Channel, Toronto Canada.

1. Earthrise
2. Ride To Valhalla
3. Sorcerer’s Apprentice
4. Total Eclipse
5. JLP
6. Spanish Galleon
7. Seventh Wave
8. Chasing Sound
9. Mona Lisa Smile
10. Astronomy By Rail
11. Pulsar
12. All Of A Sudden It’s The End

This lushly created, smoothly orchestrated, and wholly heartfelt new album opens on the atmospheric Earthrise and the exuberantly-charged AOR of Ride To Valhalla and follows those up with the melodical free-wheeling Sorcerer’s Apprentice, the thunderously rhythmic orchestrations of Total Eclipse and then comes the near-nine minute lushness of JLP and the precise, acoustic guitar ambiance of Spanish Galleon.

Up next is one of my own personal favorites, the countrified fiddle and electro-pop organ vibe of the buoyant Seventh Wave and the lower ebbed AO(prog)R of Chasing Sound which are in turn backed by the finger-snapping funk lines of Mona Lisa Smile, the spacially atmospheric Astronomy By Rail, the album rounding out on the searing guitar work found within the near-nine minute epic Pulsar, coming to a close on the soaring, magically illuminous guitar opus All Of A Sudden It’s The End.

Says Art, “AGSC III is already written and recording is underway. We are essentially a Recording Act but the possibility for a gig or two and the recording/filming of the same could potentially come to fruition. Video footage is always being posted on our FB page.”

Official Purchase Link

Official Website

Art Griffin’s Sound Chaser @ Facebook

Art Griffin’s Sound Chaser @ Bandcamp

Title - The Sun Will Always Set
Artist - Imminent Sonic Destruction

For those interested in finding new metal, Imminent Sonic Destruction has come out with their newest album, The Sun Will Always Set.

They’ve been on the scene since 2012 with their first release, Recurring Themes. Metalheads may list their sound as “prog death.”

I’ve been a huge metal fan most of my life, so finding this band was a great pleasure. Their sound is slightly reminiscent of one of their biggest influences, Pantera, relying on a heavy bass and rhythm style guitar.

Vocally, they are quite diverse, using a combination of clean and lower pitched screams which rise and fall in unison to the sound of the song.

Lead singer Tony Piccoli did a fantastic job creating this lineup. The drums (Pat Deleon) use a great mixture of straight timekeeping and fills that at times gave me goosebumps. The guitar duties are shared between Piccoli and Scott Thompson.

The deep rhythm sound melds so well with the bass (Bryan Paxton) that it makes you instinctively want to bob your head raise those metal fingers.

1. “Arise”
2. “Fledgling”
3. “Source”
4. “The Core”
5. “Solitude”
6. “Nightshade”
7. “The Sun Will Always Set”

Some people assume — incorrectly — that all metal has to be fast and you barely get to hear the vocals. Well, for Imminent Sonic Destruction, you can very easily get into the vocals. The occasional screaming aspect just adds flavor to this album.

They also rely on a medium speed and even have some incredible slower moments. In fact, one of my favorites on this release is actually led by a piano.

In “Solitude,” Pete Hopersberger needs to get his props, as he sounds fantastic using the keyboard. Creepy vibes can be heard throughout the harder songs, but easily come back to melodic melodies whenever he needs to, such as in the song just mentioned.

If I could be so bold as to give some slight criticism it would be to encourage the band to let loose more. The song “Source,” while being fantastic, felt like it could have been faster. Extra blast beats from the drums would have made that song just blow me away, as well as a possible quicker guitar solo.

So in conclusion, I’d give this release a solid two thumbs up. I know perhaps metal isn’t for everyone, but this band is definitely worth checking out.

Perhaps they might make a metal fan of you if you’re not already.

Review by: John Cicotte

The Sun Will Always Set is available on all streaming platforms.

Official Website

Imminent Sonic Destruction @ YouTube

Title - I Don’t Want You to Worry Anymore
Artist - Mothé

Coming off of several successful EPs, Mothé (AKA Spencer Fort) has released a new album, the dreamy I Don’t Want You to Worry Anymore.

For those less familiar or inclined to the synth-pop sound that pours from the speakers as soon as the first track begins, the music of Mothé may seem a bit strange. But by the time the last track is reached, even the most skeptical of listeners will be glad to have taken this musical journey.

What I appreciated most about Mothé’s sound is that they reminded me at various points of different artists whose work I enjoy, without even trying, making it that much easier to lose myself in a genre of music with which I wasn’t well acquainted.

1. Dancing On An Empty Floor
2. Isaac
3. Debt Collector
4. Wrong Places
5. Leave A Little Late
6. Summer’s Almost Gone
7. Somewhere In Your Dreams
8. I Don’t Want You To Worry Anymore
9. Breathe The Air On The Moon
10. Concrete Smile
11. Terrified
12. Everyone Is Everything

The vocals on tracks like “Dancing on an Empty Floor,” for example, brought to thought all the pop rock goodness of the band Rooney. The musical vibes on a few tracks, most of all the verses of “Wrong Places,” was shades of Devendra Banhart.

But while Mothé’s music nudged other artists in my subconscious, the lyrics are all one-hundred percent theirs, and that certain electric poetry is a lot of what makes the album so great.

“Isaac” is all hazy vocals overtop a lyrical commentary about the perils of blind faith, drawing on the Biblical story of Abraham’s commanded sacrifice of his son, Isaac. It is this direct tie to such a well-known story that makes the track so compelling.

Lead single “Debt Collector” is propelled forward by not just computerized beats, but also by a steady baseline which helps to ground in an album which feels so hypnotic, while “Somewhere in Your Dreams” is sheer indie pop perfection.

At times, the lyrics may be a touch difficult to decipher, due to Mothé’s incredible falsetto and overall vocal range, but this is a small price to pay for songs that will make you dance, but also maybe make you think.

The title track is haunting, just repeating those seven words over and over again, with a soft synth background with a hint of what could be glockenspiel.

Indeed, there is nothing to worry about when it comes to Mothé’s future success, for if this album is indicative of whatever may lie ahead, the world is theirs to take.

Review by: Ashley J. Cicotte

Mothé’s I Don’t Want You to Worry Anymore is available on all major music streaming platforms.

Mothé - Somewhere in Your Dreams (Official Music Video)

Better Than Ever 2022 Tour Dates:
06/10/22 – Fresno, CA – Strummer’s
06/11/22 – San Francisco, CA – Café Du Nord
06/13/22 – Seattle, WA – The Crocodile
06/14/22 – Portland, OR – Holocene
06/16/22 – Salt Lake City, UT – Soundwell
06/17/22 – Denver, CO – Gothic Theater
06/18/22 – Lincoln, NE – Bourbon Theater
06/20/22 – St. Louis, MO – Delmar Hall 06/23/22 – Minneapolis, MN – Amsterdam Hall
06/24/22 – Milwaukee, WI – Summerfest
06/25/22 – Chicago, IL – Bottom Lounge
06/26/22 – Grand Rapids, MI – Elevation
06/28/22 – Columbus, OH – A&R Bar
06/29/22 – Buffalo, NY – Rec Room
06/30/22 – Albany, NY – Empire Underground
07/01/22 – Asbury Park, NJ – Asbury Lanes
07/06/22 – Pittsburgh, PA – Thunderbird Music Hall
07/07/22 – Washington, DC – Black Cat
07/08/22 – New York City, NY – Music Hall of Williamsburg
07/09/22 – Boston, MA – The Sinclair
07/10/22 – Philadelphia, PA – Foundry
07/12/22 – Charlotte, NC – The Underground
07/13/22 – Charleston, SC – Music Farm
07/14/22 – Orlando, FL – Beacham Theater
07/15/22 – Atlanta, GA – Terminal West
07/16/22 – Nashville, TN – Basement East
07/18/22 – Dallas, TX – Granada Theatre
07/19/22 – Austin, TX – Antone’s
07/21/22 – Phoenix, AZ – Nile Theater
07/23/22 – Los Angeles, CA – Regent Theater

Mothé @ Bandcamp

Mothé @ Twitter

Mothé @ Facebook

Mothé @ Instagram

Title - Generation Mind
Artist - Black Swan

Rock band Black Swan are newcomers onto the music scene, but they are also prolific, with Generation Mind being their second album released in two years.

And the best way to describe this sophomore release is magnetic. Right out the gate, they draw the listeners in and don’t let go.

But even though the band is new, the music is not. Black Swan is a supergroup, of sorts, with its members having comprised some of the most recognizable groups of past decades: Robin McAuley (lead vocals ; Survivor), Reb Beach (guitar; Winger, Whitesnake), Jeff Pilson (bass; Foreigner, Dokken), and Matt Starr (drums; Mr. Big).

So if the vibes given off seem familiar, there’s a good reason for that.

1. Before the Light
2. She Hides Behind
3. Generation Mind
4. Eagles Fly
5. See You Cry
6. Killer on the Loose
7. Miracle
8. How Do You Feel
9. Long Way Down
10. Crown
11. Wicked the Day
12. I Will Follow

The opening track, “Behind the Light,” is a ramp up, lasting only a few seconds. The fuzzy guitars build and build, soon exploding into “She Hides Behind,” which is one of those songs that you can get a speeding ticket to if you listen to it while driving. Exercise caution.

And while the band is full of rock superstars in their own rights, there were moments here and there in which the guitar work seems reminiscent of Joe Satriani, or the vocals of Twisted Sister’s Dee Snider — each time in the best possible way.

In addition to being the album’s title track, “Generation Mind” is the album’s best track. Not only is it a straight-up jam, but it contains a tangible message, urging the listener to listen only to their own individual truth in a world that so often lies.

Similarly, “Eagles Fly” is a tune driven by the guitars and drums that depicts a battle with a laser-eyed monster.

This tune, perhaps more than any other, drove home the point that Black Swan are a concert band. I sincerely hope they tour widely, and soon.

“Stay With Me” is a song of steadier tempo with a message of unflinching loyalty, and for its relatively slower pace is no less shredding.

Just as this whole album is so far beyond excellent.

Immediately upon it ending, I immediately went back and played it again, a sure sign of a band destined to become a long term favorite. What a delight.

Review by: Ashley J. Cicotte

Black Swan’s Generation Mind is available on all major streaming platforms.

Black Swan - Eagles Fly [Official Video]

Black Swan @ Facebook

Title - Twenty Twenty 2
Artist - Special EFX feat. Chieli Minucci

Celebrating a 40th anniversary is a big deal, especially when it comes to the longevity of a band so when Covid forced contemporary jazz group Special EFX featuring Chieli Minucci to abandon their concert tour midflight in March 2020, Minucci retreated to his NYC home studio and began work writing, producing and recording an album to commemorate the outfit’s milestone occasion.

Thus, Twenty Twenty 2 arrives on April 22nd, 2022.

Minucci, a three-time Emmy-winning and Grammy nominated guitarist-composer-producer-arranger, teamed with Hungarian percussionist George Jinda to form Special EFX in 1982, a bountiful partnership that ushered the band to the top of the charts, saw them embark on extensive concert tours with stops at some of the most prestigious jazz festivals in the world, and crafted a distinctive brand of music that incorporates jazz, rock, fusion, blues, pop and world music.

Although Jinda died in 2001, the release of Twenty Twenty 2 celebrates the enduring legacy of what he and Minucci built together that continues to thrive today via the guitarist’s fervent vision and creative force.

Twenty Twenty 2 consists of eleven new Minucci compositions, most of which were written during the first year of the pandemic. The album includes two reimagined songs from Minucci’s catalogue that were expanded and given new twists.

1. “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed”
2. “Gonna Be Alright”
3. “Slow Hands”
4. “Showboat”
5. “Folks Like Us”
6. “Ceili Music”
7. “Everything & Anything”
8. “Novembers Child”
9. “December”
10. “Ballerina Dreams”,br> 11. “I’m Leaving You”
12. “Kampalino”
13. “Homeland”
14. “Words Left Unsaid”

This vibrantly heartfelt, sonically charged, and wholesomely embracing new recording opens on the charged summer breeze of the near nine-minute remake of The Allman Brothers Band’s “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed” (and which is now given the Special EFX gloss) and then comes the funky delights of “Gonna Be Alright” and then we get the reflective “Slow Hands”, the joyous odes to fusion within “Showboat”, the reflective balladry of “Folks Like Us”, the playful, handclapping Irish romp “Ceili Music”, before next brought to the musical fore is “Everything & Anything” (a refresh of “Anything & Everything” penned thirty years ago, now featuring a sweet and soulful saxophone solo by Grammy winner Eric Marienthal).

Up next is a courteous nod to the productions and arrangements of global pop artists like Zedd and Max Martin on the joyously uplifting swirls and twirls of “Novembers Child” and the crafted fervency of the short but sweet “December” which are themselves followed by the cultured “Ballerina Dreams” (which at over seven minutes long and recorded live at the SiriusXM studio prior to the lockdown, is a sprawling 1989 piece that frees Minucci’s guitar to plier and pirouette with passion and grace) and then comes the coursing, exhilarant guitar work of “I’m Leaving You”, the .50 second drum expose “Kampalino”, the album rounding out on the espionage-imbibed rhythms within “Homeland”, coming to a righteous close on the searing guitar work found within “Words Left Unsaid.”

Minucci and his extended band - seventeen musicians perform on Twenty Twenty 2 in addition to the guitarist – broke from standard Special EFX recording practices.

“Special EFX has traditionally been a live-in-the-studio band for most of its years. But because of the world health crisis, that option wasn’t available. So, as many artists also experienced recently, the music was sometimes recorded one part, one musician at a time. This was a new experience for me,” said Minucci who acknowledges that “Ballerina Dreams” and “Ceili Music” are exceptions that were recorded live.

Twenty Twenty 2 showcases Minucci on acoustic and electric guitars, keyboards, synths, beats, shaker and vocals. Making appearances on the album are keyboardists Lao Tizer, Jay Rowe and Oli Silk; saxophonists Marienthal, Nelson Rangell and Richie Cannata; violinist Antoine Silverman; trumpeter Lin Rountree; bassists Jerry Brooks, Ric Fierabracci, Dave Anderson and Gianluca Minucci; drummers Joel Rosenblatt, Lionel Cordew and John Favicchia; and percussionist Mino Cinélu.

“I once read that composing is like an energy wave passing through one’s body: first from above, through the mind, then through the body, and finally out the hand, off into the world for all to share. I still feel that same excitement about music that I experienced as a child, more than ever perhaps,” said Minucci who has written music for television (“The Guiding Light,” “Dancing With The Stars,” “American Idol” and the “Good Morning America” theme), movies (“Bowfinger,” “Legally Blonde,” “Snake Eyes” and “Panic”), radio (Bloomberg Radio theme), and theater (live productions of “Peter Pan,” “Dora the Explorer” and “Thomas the Tank Engine”).

Special EFX featuring Minucci recently launched their 2022 concert itinerary with shows in Minneapolis and Denver to set the stage for Twenty Twenty 2.

The band has dates booked through October and includes Boscov’s Berks Jazz Festival (April 2, 3 and 10), Winter Park Jazz Festival (July 16) and the Vail Jazz Festival (July 17). Special EFX will be in Houston, TX (Sugar’s Cajun Cuisine) the day Twenty Twenty 2 streets and at Southern California hotspot Spaghettini the following night.

“My hope is that music lovers will listen to ‘Twenty Twenty 2’ from top to bottom, as is, in the order I chose to sequence it in - kind of like how we all did back in the day, before streaming and websites,” said Minucci who earlier this year released the solo acoustic guitar album, Someone’s Singing.

Catch Special EFX featuring Chieli Minucci on tour in 2022:

March 31 - Annapolis, MD Ramshead Tavern
April 1 - Richmond, VA The Tin Pan
April 2 - Reading, PA Berks Jazz
Festival Midnight Jam April 3 - Reading, PA Berks Jazz Festival
April 10 - Reading, PA Berks Jazz Festival/Friends of Nick Colionne>br> April 22 - Houston, TX Sugar’s Cajun Cuisine
April 23 - Los Angeles, CA Spaghettini
April 29 & 30 - Tarrytown, NY Jazz Forum Arts
May 6 - Baltimore, MD Montpelier Arts Center
June 5 - Saratoga Springs, NY Caffe Lena
June 12 - San Diego, CA San Diego Smooth Jazz Festival
June 17 - Birmingham, AL Steel City Jazz Festival
June 18 & 19 - Atlanta, GA Velvet Note
July 16 - Denver, CO Winter Park Jazz Festival
July 22 - Pittsburgh, PA Allegheny County Sound Park Bandshell
July 23 - Augusta, GA Capture the Rhythm Art and Jazz Series
August 6 - Portland, OR Vanport Jazz Festival
August 25 - Branford, CT Branford Town Green
October 28 - Miami, FL Miami Smooth Jazz Festival
October 29 - Charlotte, NC Middle C Jazz

Official Purchase Link

Official Website

Title - Whatever You Need
Artist - Johnny Ray Daniels

For those unaware, Johnny Ray Daniels, born in 1946 in the Beaver Dam area of Greenville, North Carolina, was one of seven children.

By age 20, Daniels and a group of local friends started up a rock ‘n’ roll band called the Soul Twisters.

One night, Daniels’ life changed forever. He was standing on stage at a white nightclub in the neighboring city of Wilson, looking out over the faces of the audience dancing and drinking. “I saw them just like a picture,” he recalls. “In the blink of an eye, it was like I could hear the Lord saying, ‘You’re in the wrong place.’”

He played out the rest of his booking obligations with the Soul Twisters, and then quit the band. After leaving his gear and his guitar with his bandmates, Daniels started his music career over again, this time in the church.

He married a woman named Dorothy Vines, who was also singing in church with her sisters under the name the Vines Sisters. Daniels began attending their church, and when they found out he could play guitar they encouraged him to play piano too, something Daniels had never done.

He started on just two fingers. “I said Lord, give me that gift and I’ll play it for you. My fingers opened up and I’ve been playing ever since.”

Daniels put the music to every song the Vines Sisters ever sang as the group built up a reputation as one of the most stirring gospel groups in Eastern North Carolina. Holding on to a hard-driving old-school quartet style, they were soon dubbed the “Glorifying” Vines Sisters by a local radio DJ, for the way they sang and shouted for the Lord.

Daniels drove the Glorifying Vines Sisters on long road trips around the national gospel circuit, often coming home to sleep for four hours before putting in a day of work and getting right back on the road again.

After 54 years, he turned his business over to his son Anthony, who leads his own group The Dedicated Men of Zion and continues the musical legacy of the Daniels and Vines families.

And now the seventy-six-year-old has just-released his debut album, Whatever You Need (May 6th, 2022 via Bible & Tire), a mighty fine recording that exemplifies the core values of all traditional gospel music that still, and lovingly thrives around this great nation of ours.

1. Whatever You Need
2. Something Within Me
3. God Is Able
4. I Shall Not Be Moved
5. Jesus Is Waiting
6. Glory Glory
7. Lord You’ve Been Good To Me
8. Church Get Ready
9. Thank The Lord

Opening on the Gospel, finger-snapping vibrancy of the title track Whatever You Need, he smoothly backs that up with the mid-tempo funk lines within his own interpretation of Lucie Campbell’s Something Within Me, the feisty standpoint held within the forthright God Is Able, and then we get the low slung, Muscle Shoals-esque blues of I Shall Not Be Moved.

Some gently wavering, quivering even organ work opens up the medically-spun testimony about surviving a car accident of Jesus Is Waiting which is itself backed by the hand-clapper Glory Glory, the righteous Lord You’ve Been Good To Me, the recording rounding out on the outpouring of everlasting faith within Church Get Ready, coming to a close on the organ-imbibed gracious praise within Thank The Lord.

Bible & Tire Official Website

Bible & Tire @ Facebook

Title - The Devil Don’t Like It
Artist - Dedicated Men of Zion

For those unaware, the Eastern North Carolina Sacred Soul all stars, Dedicated Men of Zion are back with the follow up to their critically acclaimed, 2020 debut album, Can’t Turn Me Around.

The Devil Don’t Like (out now) picks up where we last heard DMZ, blending traditional sacred soul offerings with the fire and passion of a touring outfit.

Backed by the Sacred Soul Sound Section and produced by Bible & Tire founder, Bruce Watson, these songs are presented just as they should be, with a precision of sound and style but as raw as the original recordings demand.

These men did not come to play, they came to work for the Lord.

1. Lord Hold My Hand
2. The Devil Don’t Like It
3. One River To Cross
4. Rock My Soul
5. God’s Got His Eyes On You
6. A Change Is Gonna Come
7. I’m Going Home
8. I Know I’ve Never Changed
9. Up Above My Head
10. I’m A Solider In God’s Army

Opening on the organ-imbibed, finger-snapping, Gospel vibrancy of the infectious grooves that run throughout Lord Hold My Hand and the low slung blues soul of the title track The Devil Don’t Like It, they are seamlessly followed in some style with the joyously free-wheeling One River To Cross, the deeply earthy, deeply organic reach of Rock My Soul and then comes the rambunctious revival vibe of God’s Got His Eyes On You.

Next up is the funky guitar work that leads us smoothly into the ’70s-imbibed A Change Is Gonna Come, which is itself backed neatly by the finger-snapping blues rhythms of I’m Going Home, my own personal favorite on this magnificently heartfelt new album, the soulful balladry of I Know I’ve Been Changed, then comes the revival-coursing Up Above My Head, the recording coming to an all-too-soon close on the stoically formidable hymn I’m A Solider In God’s Army.

Bible & Tire Official Website

Bible & Tire @ Facebook

Title - Iron Shackles
Artist - Luzifer

Metal music may be one of the most divisive genres of music amongst listeners.

Since it is so stylistically diverse, you can never be quite certain what it is you might be getting when first you push play. So it was with Luzifer and their debut album, Iron Shackles.

Formed in Hamm, Germany in 2009 by L. Steeler and S. Castevet, two members of another band, Vulture, Luzifer has previously released Rise, a well-received EP in 2015, and Black Knight, a single in 2018.

And here they are, at last, with a full-length album. Here they are, at last, to make converts of unbelievers like me.

1. Iron Shackles
2. Barrow Downs
3. Faltige Schwingen über Loudun
4. Hexer (In Dreiteufelsnamen)
5. Wrath Of The Sorcerers
6. Der Goldene Reiter
7. Attila (Blazing Hooves)

What I thought would be a stereotypical metal album leaned more toward hard rock in the title track, with a killer guitar solo and lyrics that seem to be a personal liberation. “Barrow Downs” was a drummer’s showcase, with Gereon Deceiver driving home the lesson that you should never book by its cover, be it the name of the band or the style of music.

“Faltige Schwingen über Loudun,” the first of three songs on the record sung in German, had a feeling almost like an opening track to an album. “Hexer (In Dreiteufelsnamen)” begins with guitar only, which is a really nice contrast to the electric-right-out-the-gate style that the other songs had, but the drums end up making it most like the metal style I had thought the whole record would be.

“Der Goldene Reiter” chugs along with Castevet’s guitars front and center. It is a contender for favorite track, with a blistering lead riff that feels reminiscent of a piece of classical music I know I’ve heard, but can’t quite place. “Attila (Blazing Hooves)” makes cool use of a horse whinny, and shows that Steeler has the basslines that it takes to dominate the genre.

“Wrath of the Sorcerers” is the “stereotypical” metal song that I’d been looking for, falling deep into the fantasy trope with lyrics like, “if you disrupt their spells, and don’t flee their curse, you’ll feel the wrath of the sorcerers.” It’s cheesy, but it’s good — very good indeed.

Luzifer puts a lot of effort into making the “metal” genre accessible to people who are searching for something different in that label by being that something different. I can’t until their next release.

Review by: Ashley J. Cicotte

Luzifer’s ‘Iron Shackles’ album is available on all major music streaming platforms.

Official Luzifer Source

Luzifer @ Facebook

Title - Blanket the Homeless [Vinyl 2LP]
Artist - Various

Mission Statement: BLANKET THE HOMELESS is a Bay Area charity committed to improving the day-to-day experience of people living on the street.

Their volunteers hand out small parcels containing emergency blankets, socks, first-aid supplies, and other essential items.

They know that homelessness is a complex, nation-wide crisis and one that cannot be easily solved.

At Blanket The Homeless their goal is not to solve the larger problem. Their goal is triage; to address the immediate suffering of men, women and children living on the streets and to offer a small degree of comfort.

It is their belief that this gesture of assistance can give their homeless population more than just help … it can give them hope.

For those not in the know, and after more than a year in planning and production, the Blanket the Homeless double vinyl LP compilation, produced by Scott Mickelson, is now complete and 100% of your purchase price will support Blanket The Homeless.

Featuring tracks from two-time GRAMMY Award Winner Fantastic Negrito along with The Stone Foxes, Tim Bluhm (of The Mother Hips), Con Brio, Goodnight, Texas, The Brothers Comatose, Mickelson, Rainbow Girls, John Craigie, Marty O’Reilly & The Old Soul Orchestra, King Dream, it also showcases other artists such as The Coffis Brothers, Tobias The Owl, Ken Newman and Whiskerman.

1. The Stone Foxes – “Million Dollar Shoes”
2. Tim Bluhm – “Clean Me Up”
3. Fantastic Negrito – “Working Poor”
4. Mickelson – “Odd Man Out”
5. Goodnight, Texas – “Someday, Somehow”
6. John Craigie – “Your Sailor”
7. The Brothers Comatose – “Angeline”
8. King Dream – “Many Moons Ago”
9. Whiskerman – “U.S.M.E.”
10. Tobias The Owl – “Out Of Place”
11. Marty O’Reilly & The Old Soul Orchestra – “Mad Tom of Bedlam”
12. Rainbow Girls – “American Dream”
13. The Coffis Brothers – “I Ain’t Living In Your World”
14. Ken Newman – “We Should Do This Again”
15. Con Brio – “Body Language” (Live in Amsterdam)

This quite stunningly culled, lovingly created, organic and yet endurably heartfelt new double album opens on the San Francisco rockers The Stone Foxes with their alt-rock ’n’ roller “One Million Dollar Shoes” and then we get the low key balladry of “Clean Me Up” from Mother Hips front-man Tim Bluhm, and that is in turn followed by the funky blues and R&B from Fantastic Negrito on “Working Poor”, the lazy, hazy, folksy roots within Mickelson’s “Odd Man Out” and the foot-tapping, twanging folk fuzz rock of “Someday, Somehow” by Goodnight, Texas.

Next up is the Modern-Day Troubadour himself, John Craigie with “Your Sailor” and that is in turn backed by the upbeat bluegrass hipsway from The Brothers Comatose on the melodic “Angeline,” the soulful indie rock of John Lyon (King Dream) on “Many Moons Ago,” the acute lyricism of the Oakland band Whiskerman on their “U.S.M.E.” track, and then comes the free flowing indie acoustic, folktronica vibe found within Tobias The Owl’s “Out Of Place.”

One of my own personal favorites here is up next in the form of Marty O’Reilly & The Old Soul Orchestra’s trance-based blues on “Mad Tom of Bedlam” and then comes the eclectic folk trio Rainbow Girls and their soothing “American Dream,” the rootsy rock ’n’ roll of “I Ain’t Living In Your World” by The Coffis Brothers, the double compilation album rounding out with Ken Newman’s ethereally stoic tale told within “We Should Do This Again,” closing on some soulfully smooth grooves on Con Brio’s “Body Language” (Live in Amsterdam).

“Ken Newman, one of the original founders of the #berobin homeless outreach has put together another amazing project with Blanket The Homeless, in the exact spirit of my vision for honoring Robin Williams by caring for the Bay Area’s most vulnerable residents. This album also rocks! #berobin”Margaret Cho.

“No human being should be homeless — not while there are more billionaires in the world than ever before. When we turn our backs on human beings that have been displaced for whatever reason, we are turning our backs on the legacy of compassion and activism that has made the Bay Area the place that we all love. There are enough start-ups, non-profits and hipster bars that serve your favorite drinks and coffee. Lets focus on helping each other out a little bit.”Fantastic Negrito.

“The dire lack of affordable housing and a sharply rising inequity gap are driving San Francisco’s homeless population to numbers not seen for 15 years with more than 8,000 people living on the city streets. Statewide, California has 129,972 homeless people (2018), the largest street population of any state” (source: Kevin Fagan, San Francisco Chronicle, May 16, 2019).

Official Vinyl 2LP Purchase Link

Official Apple Music Purchase Link

Ken Newman @ Facebook

Ken Newman @ Twitter

Ken Newman @ Instagram

Ken Newman @ YouTube

Title - Kamikaze - 10 Years in the Slums
Artist - Hell in the Club

Recorded in 2021 to commemorate the decade since the release of their first album, Hell in the Club’s latest EP, Kamikaze - 10 Years in the Slums - is a five-piece flight of songs to celebrate the old, pay tribute to the even older, and revel in the new and exciting.

The Italian outfit - comprised of Andy Burrato (bass), Picco Piccoli (guitars), Marco Lazzarini (drums) and Dave Moras (vocals) - walk a line between a hard-punching, in-your-face hard rock sound, and certain near-metal vibe that makes you wish the listen was longer than only five tracks.

1. Kamikaze
2. 10 Years in the Slums
3. He’s Back (The Man Behind the Mask)
4. Chainsaw Charlie (Murders in the New Morgue)
5. In Your Eyes 2021

The first of two title tracks, Kamikaze begins with a hypnotic opening riff, almost immediately going for the jugular with a distinctly hard rock sound and Piccoli working overtime with the guitar. The lyrics contain rather powerful imagery, reminding the listener to, “when the devil whispers in your ear, remember, have no fear and stay close to the flame…”

The second title track, 10 Years in the Slums, is the sort of tune that can get you a speeding ticket, so exercise caution if listening while behind the wheel. With lyrics like, “ten years in the slums/we don’t need your appreciation…” this track feels like a giant middle finger to the haters out there. This band has been around for a decade; they’ll do what they want, how they want.

And good for them.

In Your Eyes 2021 is a soul-stirring ballad (something nearly every band with power chords needs at least one of), containing such lyrics of devotion as “the only place I wanna go where I feel safe is in your arms…”.

A lovely sentiment, for sure. Moras takes the prize here on vocals, making the words bleed sincerity. The title is odd, though - it’s In Your Eyes 2021, but there is no song called In Your Eyes on any of their five previous full-length albums. It doesn’t deviate too much from the source material, but definitely adds a unique flair of which, I think, Alice Cooper would be proud.

Chainsaw Charlie (Murders in the New Morgue) is the closest to what I envisioned being with big drum fills and blistering guitars. The title and some of the lyrics appear to riff on Edgar Allan Poe. “Murders in the New Morgue” seems to be a slight take on “Murders in the Rue Morgue,” a short story by Poe.

If that’s the case, this track alone is one step closer to making this lit nerd into a metalhead.

But, of course, the rest of the EP also helps. Here’s to another ten years, HITC.

Review by: Ashley J. Cicotte

Hell in the Club’s ‘Kamikaze - 10 Years in the Slums’ is available on all streaming platforms.

Official Website

Hell in the Club @ Facebook

Hell in the Club @ Twitter

Hell in the Club @ Instagram

Title - Another World [180g Vinyl]
Artist - Brian May

For those not in the know, Another World is Brian May’s second full solo album, originally released in 1998 it follows the reissue of his 1992 album Back To The Light in the latest of his Gold Series releases.

While Brian undertook a great deal of the instrumental work himself, his efforts were complimented by a host of talented musicians, including: Cozy Powell and Steve Ferrone on drums; Neil Murray and Ken Taylor on bass; Spike Edney on keyboards; and Jamie Moses on guitar.

The album also features a special turn by Status Quo bandmembers John Edwards (bass), Jeff Rich (drums), and Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt (guitar) on “F.B.I. (Original Ruff Mix With Real Bass And Drums)”.

This sought-after record has long been unavailable in any format. Its timely re-issue in a variety of formats has been supervised by Brian himself, along with co-producer Justin Shirley-Smith, and Kris Fredriksson, long-time Queen art designer Richard Gray, and Grammy Award winner Bob Ludwig, who has newly mastered the entire collection.

Thus the original Another World album is now presented as a 180g heavyweight black vinyl LP in spined sleeve with printed inner bag. Newly re-mastered by Bob Ludwig from the original master tapes.

Side A:
1. Space
2. Business
3. China Belle
4. Why Don’t We Try Again
5. On My Way Up
6. Cyborg

Side B:
1. The Guv’nor
2. Wilderness
3. Slow Down
4. One Rainy Wish
5. All The Way From Memphis
6. Another World

Business, the second song on this excellently crafted Brian May solo album, finds the guitarist recording the type of ferocious hard rock that he became known for with Queen in the early ’70s. With a great pop hook and churning heavy guitars, it’s arguably the best thing he’s done as a solo artist, even today.

The rest of the album doesn’t quite live up to its opening, but it shows May had grown more confident in his singing and in playing balls-to-the-wall hard rock than on 1992’s Back to the Light. Songs like China Belle and The Guv’nor contain enough ’70s-styled bombastic rock to satisfy May’s many fans, while On My Way Up, with its catchy groove and gospel-like backup singers, is irresistible in its unadulterated optimism.

Unfortunately, May does get lost at times, for his ballads tend to come off as a wee bit lackluster compared to the ones he wrote whilst in Queen, but we can forgive him that, given whose vocals the ballads were originally written for back in the day. And whilst the over-the-top metal exercise Cyborg, with its processed vocals, doesn’t click for me personally, it still showcases more than enough searing, free flowing guitar riffs to make us more than happy.

In truth, May is much better sticking to what he knows best; catchy but eccentric hard rock. The album draws near a close with three covers and whilst two of them, including Jimi Hendrix’s One Rainy Wish, do come off as generous bow’s to their lyrical masters, May’s spirited live version of Mott the Hoople’s All the Way From Memphis is absolutely riveting.

“This, dear Listener, is the second release in my “Brian May Gold Series” reissues. To this album, historically my second solo record, we’ve applied the same loving care that we lavished on ‘Back to the Light’ – repolishing and remastering but using the exact original mixes. Originally delivered 24 years ago, ‘Another World’ is now reborn just as it was originally created.”Brian May, 2022.

When Brian May finished touring his debut solo album, Back to the Light, he began to throw open his doors to fresh possibilities. “I got all these little kinds of commissions and triggers and inspirations from outside,” said Brian, who took ownership of these “triggers” and moulded them into a second solo album in his own image.

Now released as the second strike in Brian’s Gold Series reissues campaign, Another World pays rich, raucous and fully felt testimony to the legendary Queen guitarist and songwriter’s roots and reach: between its expansive energies and immersive craft, the album’s world-class quality rings out.

Driven by the potent drumming of the much-missed Cozy Powell, who tragically passed away prior to the album’s release, Another World is a superlative successor to Back to the Light.

Drawn from many sources of inspiration, the record emerged in June 1998 as an album of roof-raising rock’n’roll and scorching guitar and indelible melodies, plus a couple of impassioned covers.

The album is full of dangerous unguarded feelings and uplift, with guests including Jeff Beck and Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins helping to stoke its fires.

Warmly received by the press on its original release in 1998, the album birthed four electric singles in “The Business (Rock on Cozy Mix),” “On My Way Up,” “Another World” and “Why Don’t We Try Again.”

It also ushered Brian and his band out on a hugely successful 42-date tour covering a large swathe of the world and packing out prestigious venues including London’s Royal Albert Hall.

For Brian, Another World upholds the value of the open-door policy he adopted post-Back to the Light. “I travelled a lot of paths to gather all the pieces,” he said. “In order to have something worthwhile for the next Brian May album, I would have to rediscover who I was. I decided to go out and do a lot of playing and open myself up for projects because I didn’t want to make another purely introspective album. I thought I would go out into the world, experience things and rediscover my roots.”

Meticulously restored with mastering by Bob Ludwig, working from the true original mixes for maximum quality, the album will be reissued in multiple formats, including 1-CD and – on 180g heavyweight black vinyl – 1-LP versions.

The 2CD Deluxe set adds Another Disc (mastered by Adam Ayan), while a 2-CD + 1-LP Collector’s Edition includes both CDs and a sky-blue vinyl LP in a 12” lift lid box, complete with 32-page booklet and enamel badge. Queen Online Store exclusives will include picture disc and cassette options.

In his new 2022 liner notes, Brian notes how far we have all travelled since the album’s release in 1998, but also that the exploration feels very appropriate at this time. “It seems perhaps that in 2022 we ARE in Another World,” he writes, “but if it’s not quite the world we asked for, perhaps we can still reach that perfect world… in our dreams. JOIN ME !!!”

Bursting with forceful rock anthems, open-hearted yearning, lush melodies and galvanizing guitar work, Another World sends out a gloriously irresistible invitation to do just that.

Brian May - On My Way Up (Official Video)

Brian May - Another World (Official Video)

Official Purchase Links

Official Brian May Website

Official Queen Website

Title - Suzi Quatro - The Albums (1980-1986) [3CD]
Artist - Suzi Quatro

The Albums (1980-1986) (due out May 20th, 2022 via 7T’s Records/Cherry Red Records UK) is a triple CD containing three albums by legendary ‘70s actress, broadcaster and the self-proclaimed First Lady of Rock, Suzi Quatro!

For those wanting a little bit more than that, Suzie Quatro is the aforementioned American singer-songwriter, musician, and actress who in the 1970s scored a string of hit singles that found greater success in Europe and Australia than in her homeland; reaching #1 in the UK, other European countries and Australia with her singles Can the Can (1973) and Devil Gate Drive (1974).

Quatro released her self-titled debut album in 1973 and since then she has released fifteen studio albums, ten compilation albums, and one live album. Her other solo hits also include 48 Crash, Daytona Demon, The Wild One, and Your Mama Won’t Like Me.

Following a recurring role as bass player Leather Tuscadero on the popular American sitcom Happy Days, her duet Stumblin’ In with Smokie’s lead singer Chris Norman reached #4 in the US.

Between 1973 and 1980, Quatro was awarded six Bravo Ottos and in 2010, she was voted into the Michigan Rock and Roll Legends online Hall of Fame. She is reported to have sold over 50 million records worldwide and continues to perform live.

Indeed, Quatro’s most recent studio album, The Devil in Me, was released in 2021 and saw the collaboration of her son Richard Tuckey who had already taken part in No Control in 2019.

The Albums (1980-1986) features three albums she put out between 1980 and 1986: Rock Hard (1980), Main Attraction (1982) and Unreleased Emotion (1986), and also now come with some extra tracks as a bonus!

Disc One is the Rock Hard album, the title track of which hit #68 in the UK charts (#26 Germany, #11 Australia) which features the ‘Glad All Over’ (#70 Germany) and ‘Lipstick’ singles.

CD 1: Rock Hard (1980)
1. Rock Hard
2. Glad All Over
3. Love Is Ready
4. State Of Mind
5. Woman Cry
6. Lipstick
7. Hard Headed
8. Ego In The Night
9. Lonely Is The Hardest
10. Lay Me Down
11. Wish Upon Me
12. Warm Leatherette [Bonus Track]

Although glam had long slipped off the radar by 1981, that year found Suzi Quatro releasing one of her finest albums. With Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman (the producers behind her biggest hits) at the controls, Quatro and her band craft a series of songs that blend the hard rock power that fueled her glam rock era hits with a new soundscape that tarts up the songs with some ear attracting new wave hooks.

The tone is set by the title track, which starts the album with a blast thanks to its effective combination chugging guitar riffs, a stomping beat, and a shout-along chorus that praises the song’s tough female heroine.

Other hard rocking highlights include Glad All Over, a cover of the Dave Clark Five classic that uses a backbeat reminiscent of a squad of rolling tanks on its chorus, and Lipstick, a kiss-off to a cheating lover that pits power chords against bubblegum-styled handclaps to create a beguiling fusion of pop hooks and rock & roll muscle.

Even the quieter numbers manage to rock in their own way: a good example being Love Is Ready, a mid-tempo invitation to romance that swings with authority over some soaring guitar riffs.

Although it lacks the kind of single that would have put it over the top commercially, Rock Hard is so consistent and likable that it is tough to argue with.

Disc Two is 1982’s Main Attraction album which includes the ‘Heart Of Stone’ and the title track ‘Main Attraction’ 45s.

CD 2: Main Attraction (1982)
1. Heart Of Stone
2. Cheap Shot
3. She Knows
4. Main Attraction
5. Two Miles Out Of Georgia
6. Candy Man
7. Remote Control
8. Fantasy In Stereo
9. Transparent
10. Oh Baby
11. Heart Of Stone (7” Version)[Bonus Track]

I think it is more than fair to say that in the 1970s, glam-rocker Suzi Quatro was the original leather-clad rock & roll tough gal, inspiring Joan Jett and a host of others.

By the early ’80s, though, she was exploring a variety of other sonic options and coming just two years after Rock Hard, Main Attraction comes across as a three-album-melding of genres, thoughts and lyrical depth.

That said though, more than enough of the tracks are wickedly melodic, acoustic-based in places, some even a little Juice Newton-sounding (which is bever a bad thing, in my book), and whilst a few explore new wave/electro-dance production touches of the time (for better or for worse), the faithful were more than happy to hear her Quatro-embedded rocker mode still being forged.

The final disc is the Unreleased Emotion album which was recorded in 1986 though not issued until 1992. Bonus tracks include the ‘I Go Wild’ and ‘Tonight I Could Fall In Love’ singles which are joined by a duet with Troggs’ vocalist Reg Presley on ‘Wild Thing’.

CD 3: Unreleased Emotion (1986)
1. Pardon Me
2. There She Goes
3. Can I Be Your Girl
4. I’m A Rocker
5. Strange Encounters
6. Comes The Night
7. Starry Night
8. Good Girl (Looking For A Bad Time)
9. Everything I Ever Wanted
10. Secret Hideaway
11. Just Like Momma
12. Suzi Q
13. I Go Wild [Bonus Track]
14. Tonight I Could Fall In Love [Bonus Track]
15. Tonight I Could Fall In Love (Extended Mix) [Bonus Track]
16. Wild Thing (with Reg Presley) [Bonus Track]
17. I Don’t Want You (with Reg Presley) [Bonus Track]
18. Wild Thing (with Reg Presley) (Extended Mix) [Bonus Track]

An obvious loving ode to the likes of Roy Orbison, ’50s and early ’60s girl groups and similar era Elvis and company, Unreleased Emotion is perhaps a wee bit too faithful to this sound for its own good.

Though it undeniably illustrates Quatro’s abilities in writing accomplished approximations of this era across many styles, an ’80s twist a la the production approach of fellow ’50s inspired Detroiters The Romantics, may have served to make this a little more relevant, whilst still preserving Quatro’s rock credentials, so to speak.

As it stands, overwhelmingly, this album is very light bubbly rock with (I’m sad to report) thin, inexpensive sounding production. The result is that the great majority of it feels like it would never have made it onto albums when Quatro was successful just a few years earlier.

However, on another level, Unreleased Emotion is a graphic illustration (one of many) of just how difficult the massive post-punk change in musical style was in the ’80s, and especially for most ’70s chart artists in Europe.

But Quatro pushed on with it and come the final result, the music is definitely Quatro-esque, but not the hard rocker vibe that we were all used to before the dawn of the ’80s. But change, nay perpetual evolution, is most definitely something that music artists have to either dive into or shirk away from, and so (and regardless of the overall lackluster musical embrace that it puts out), I still praise Suzi for her efforts here.

‘70s expert Phil Hendricks has provided in-depth liner notes and the booklet also contains numerous associated picture sleeves from around the globe.

Still touring to this very day Suzi will be celebrated her 50-year career in the music industry with a show at the London Royal Albert Hall in April 2022.

Official Suzi Quatro Website

Official 3CD Purchase Link

Title - Fierce Bliss
Artist - Ann Wilson

Every so often, an album will come along that you know you will love without even hearing a note, based solely on who the artist is. So it is with Ann Wilson and her most recent release, Fierce Bliss.

I make no secret that Heart, Wilson’s on-again-off-again band, is my favorite all female rock outfit of all time, and Fierce Bliss serves as a beautiful reminder as to why.

Produced by Wilson and Tom Bukovac and featuring an array of guest musicians and artists, Fierce Bliss is Wilson’s third full-length solo album and is a beautiful mix of original material and cover songs that are collectively enough to make the listener wish that there were eleven tracks more once the final notes fade out.

1. Greed
2. Black Wing
3. Bridge of Sighs
4. Fighten for Life
5. Love of My Life (ft. Vince Gill)
6. Missionary Man
7. Forget Her
8. A Moment in Time
9. Angel’s Blues
10. As the World Turns

From the outset, Wilson has a statement to make with Greed, a hard-rocking number all about the pitfalls of avarice.

The song subconsciously nudges other artists, from Meredith Brook’s ‘Bitch’ with a descriptive list of things the singer is (“I’m an angel, I’m a lush / I want nothing, I want too much…”) to a guitar riff slightly reminiscent of a song by Kansas, and more lyrics decrying such a sin similar to George Harrison’s ‘Devil’s Radio’: “Greed is empty, greed is lonely / Constant craving, for one thing only / Greed is guilty, greed is fakin’ / Unforgiving and always taking…”

And yet, it is all distinctly Ann, with her distinctive belt soaring high above everything else.

Make no mistake, Wilson’s voice is a bit aged compared to a lot of the Heart’s Greatest Hits that listeners may be tempted to compare it with, but there’s a strength inside the slight huskiness, a sort of richness that beckons closer, waiting to put any doubt about quality completely to rest.

The backing band on the record is something of a revolving door of musicians, but most take notable turns, particularly Warren Haynes (guitar) and Matt Abst (drums) as they blend together to make the mellowest of jams on Angel’s Blues.

Vince Gill joins in on the Soul Stirring Love of my Live, a cover of Brian May’s song of the same name. This track, especially, showcases the warmth present in Wilson’s voice as the plaintive melodies unfold. She really can do it all.

Fierce Bliss is the name of the record, and it fits. Fierce is what Ann Wilson is. She is a powerhouse, exuding strength and vulnerability when each track calls for it. Bliss is what you experience when listening — the whole time. Every time.

Review by: Ashley J. Cicotte

Ann Wilson’s Fierce Bliss will be available for purchase or streaming on April 29th, 2022.

Follow Ann Wilson on social media:

Official Ann Wilson Website

Ann Wilson @ Facebook

Ann Wilson @ Instagram

Ann Wilson @ Twitter

Ann Wilson @ YouTube

Catch Ann Wilson on tour (more cities to be added):
Wed 5/4 San Francisco, CA Great American
Thu 5/5 Napa, CA The Uptown Theatre
Sat 5/7 Pala, CA Pala Casino
Mon 5/9 Los Angeles, CA El Rey Theatre
Tue 5/10 Los Angeles, CA El Rey Theatre
Fri 5/13 Toronto, ONT. Scotiabank Arena (with Journey)
Mon 5/16 Quebec City, QUE. Videotron Centre (with Journey)
Sat 6/11 Peachtree City, GA Fred Amphitheater
Mon 6/13 Nashville, TN Basement East
Tue 6/14 Nashville, TN Basement East
Thu 6/16 Tampa, FL Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa
Fri 6/17 Ft. Lauderdale, FL The Parker
Sat 7/30 Floyd, VA FloydFest22 Heartbeat

Title - Thirteen
Artist - FM

For those of you into 80’s metal, FM has come out with their newest album. Thirteen is a masterclass of nostalgia and hits all the right notes for a big dose of cheesy fun.

If you aren’t familiar with 80’s music, it relies heavily on electric keyboards and synth combined with guitars, and it’s all there in spades on Thirteen.

Continuing to make music since their strong debut in 1986 with Indiscreet, FM’s sound has not shied away from the synth and electric keyboard (played by Jem Davis). Davis seems to magically pour his soul into the notes, as do all of the other musicians across this eleven track marvel.

1. Shaking the Tree
2. Waiting on Love
3. Talk is Cheap
4. Turn This Car Around
5. Love and War
6. Long Road Home
7. Be Lucky
8. Every Man Needs a Woman
9. Just Got Started
10. Fight Fire with Fire
11. Be True to Yourself

Steve Overland on vocals has great range on this release. He hits the high notes with ease and transitions smoothly to his gruffer sound. The guitars (Steve Overland, Jim Kirkpatrick) meld well with the bass (Merv Goldsworthy) in every song. I love the rhythm, and the extra flair of the solos give a good overall sound.

To finish off the great sound for this fantastic album are the drums (Pete Jupp). The timing for the bass beats fits well, and the fills throughout each song aren’t forced at all.

Shaking the Tree seems to combine all the elements I’ve mentioned to the highest degree. More than many others on the release, it offers powerful electric and synth vibes with a slow and deliberate melody. The guitars don’t mess around, matching the timing of the drums. And the bass on this track is quiet, but effective.

This album isn’t without its faults, however. It would be nice if the band could liven up certain aspects of their songs. One of my favorite songs, Talk is Cheap, could have been slightly quicker in tempo. The lyrics and context of the song feel slightly off with the deliberate motions. I kept feeling the urge to tap my foot an extra beat faster.

The second issue I had with several songs is that I couldn’t distinguish some of the bass from the rest of the sound. Perhaps just a little volume boost on that baby is the key. Give Goldsworthy his proper due.

Overall, I couldn’t recommend Thirteen enough. It’s so good to hear my favorite era of music get some love. Give FM’s latest offering a listen, and pass along the news that 80’s rock/metal is still alive and well.

Review by: John Cicotte

FM’s Thirteen is available on all major music streaming platforms.

Follow FM on social media:

Official FM Website

FM @ Facebook

FM @ Twitter

FM @ YouTube

Title - Light at The End of The Tunnel
Artist - Angela O’Neill and the Outrageous 8

For those of you not in the know, Angela O’Neill, a spirited singer who always swings, formed the Outrageous 8 in 2015.

Their debut recording was Live At The VFW and, during the same period when they recorded their Home For The Holidays CD, they documented the music for his brand new album, Light At The End of The Tunnel.

Indeed, Angela O’Neill was originally an oboe player before falling in love with big band jazz, switching her focus to singing and founding the Outrageous 8.

The title of this new release has a definite meaning for the music was recorded in singer Al Timss’ backyard (with social distancing) on two hot summer days in 2021 during the height of the COVID pandemic.

The music and the vaccine were the lights that allowed the performers to feel optimistic about the future.

The results are surprisingly well recorded and consistently joyful. While the band is an octet, the arrangements of trombonist Harry Smallenburg (with two by pianist Rocky Davis and one from Dan West) make the ensembles sound like a big band.

1. I’ve Grown Accustomed to His Face (2:35)
2. Cry Me a River (4:10)
3. Come Rain or Come Shine (4:09)
4. I’m Gonna Live Till I Die (1:52)
5. Now and Again (4:22)
6. New York Minute (6:42)
7. On a Clear Day (2:32)
8. Hallelujah I Love Him So (3:30)
9. It Might As Well Be Spring (4:02)
10. When the Sun Comes Out (4:48)

This beautifully crafted new album opens on the lusciously cultured, and even danceable I’ve Grown Accustomed To His Face and an assertive Cry Me A River, and backs those up seamlessly with the vibrant, yet sultry gossamer of Come Rain or Come Shine, the uptempo I’m Gonna Live Till I Die (featuring Al Timss) and then a foot-tapping, jazz waltz instrumental in the form of Now and Again is brought forth.

Next up is Angela O’Neill’s touchingly heartfelt performance of New York Minute, which is now known to be a tribute to the many who did not make it through the pandemic, particularly two friends of the band (Mary Iannicchieri and Leslie Carol Warren), and that is itself followed by On A Clear Day (which features Bill A. Jones), a rhythmically infectious Hallelujah I Love Him So, the album rounding out with the addition of Jackie Gibson on the bossa nova-flavored It Might As Well Be Spring, coming to a close on a bluesy When The Sun Comes Out.

The Outrageous 8 is comprised of top studio musicians who have a real feeling for swinging jazz and have quite a range of experience.

Tenor-saxophonist Sam Morgan (the band’s musical director) is joined in the saxophone section by the versatile altoist Ron Cyger and baritonist Richard Walker (a veteran of many big bands). Trumpeter Paul Litteral worked with quite a few major names including the Rolling Stones, John Mayall, Keb’Mo’ and Debbie Harry.

Trombonist-arranger Harry Smallberg has performed with many top big bands (including those led by Kim Richmond and Roger Neumann) and doubles on the vibraphone. Pianist-arranger Rocky Davis has composed quite a few scores for television and films and worked as musical director for Dionne Warwick.

The band’s regular bassist Phil Romo is a greatly in-demand teacher. Bill Bodine, who produced the project, subbed for Romo and has played with such notables as Van Morrison, Joan Armatrading, Cher, Hampton Hawes and Sergio Mendez just to name a few. Drummer Tony Pia has worked with Pepper Adams, Mose Allison, Frank Sinatra Jr, Maynard Ferguson and the Doobie Brothers.

Official Angela O’Neill Website

Angela O’Neill @ Facebook

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Title - Beatles in Bossa
Artist - Minas

For those of you not in the know, as a teenager in the 1960s, native Brazilian Orlando Haddad fell in love with the Beatles and credits the Fab Four as the inspiration for becoming a musician and later immigrating to the United States.

During the same time period, American Patricia King had fallen in love with Sergio Mendes and Brasil ’66, while experiencing the Beatles by osmosis through her older siblings.

When they met in the 1970s the duo’s passions for the music of North and South merged into the MINAS sound, clearly evident in this re-imagination of The Beatles fused with American Jazz and Brazilian styles of Bossa Nova, Samba, Choro, Partido Alto, Afoxé, Marcha Rancho and Frevo.

Beatles in Bossa (Nova) first premiered as a live show at World Cafe Live in November of 2017 to a sold-out audience. The new arrangements were so well-received that fans have since been asking for a recording.

And so here it is, after 4 years, and a result of the pandemic! Available on CD and double vinyl, Beatles in Bossa is the 8th full-length recording produced, arranged, and performed by Orlando and Patricia Haddad, along with their band MINAS, featuring outstanding musicians who represent the MINAS sound cultivated by decades of playing together.

1. BLACKBIRD (Bossa)
2. COME TOGETHER (Partido Alto)
3. SHE LOVES YOU (Bossa/Ballad)
4. DAY TRIPPER (Samba)
6. I WILL (Afoxé/Marcha Rancho)
7. CAN’T BUY ME LOVE (Samba)
9. WITHIN YOU WITHOUT YOU (Bahia vibe/Free Jazz)
11. NORWEGIAN WOOD (Bossa/Samba/Jazz)
13. IN MY LIFE (Marcha Rancho)
14. GET BACK (Frevo)

This stunningly magnificent, wholly original and elegantly crafted new album opens on the beautiful hipsway of BLACKBIRD (Bossa) and the atmospherically-charged, sturdy reworking of COME TOGETHER (Partido Alto) and then confidently brings us the late night jazz club ambiance of SHE LOVES YOU (Bossa/Ballad), the uptempo swing of DAY TRIPPER (Samba), the fast-tempo, perhaps almost too fast at times percussion work found within LUCY IN THE SKY WITH DIAMONDS (Samba in 3/Baião) and then we are gifted the rhythmical I WILL (Afoxé/Marcha Rancho) and the lazy hazy, hot summer night appeal of CAN’T BUY ME LOVE (Samba).

Up next is the melodically pleasing ELEANOR RIGBY (Bossa) and then the Esatern-imbibed WITHIN YOU WITHOUT YOU (Bahia vibe/Free Jazz), those tracks then themselves backed by the quietly organic growth within HERE COMES THE SUN (Bossa), the dance floor swirling hipsway of NORWEGIAN WOOD (Bossa/Samba/Jazz), the upbeat and harmonious WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM MY FRIENDS (Choro/Bossa), the album rounding out on the Matt Bianco-esque of IN MY LIFE (Marcha Rancho), coming to an all too soon close on the furtively accordion-flourished of GET BACK (Frevo).

Musicians on the record: Orlando Haddad, Patricia K.Haddad, John Swana, Andrew Neu, Cyro Baptista, Tom Cohen, Jim Stager, Jordan Haddad, and Rob Hyman.

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Title - Puppets: The Music of Gregg Hill
Artist - Randy Napoleon

For those of you not in the know, while staying true to his roots as a guitarist deep in gratitude to Wes Montgomery and Grant Green, Randy Napoleon aspires to find new routes through the music and refine his already fully evolved voice.

On Puppets: The Music of Gregg Hill, he teams with the prolific composer Gregg Hill, finding energy in Hill’s quirky, out of the box melodies, and arranging them to keep the spirit of the tunes while amplifying Hill’s intentions.

He joins with longtime compatriots - three of the hardest swinging and creative voices in jazz, Rick Roe, Rodney Whitaker, and Quincy Davis - and features New York vocalist Aubrey Johnson on several Napoleon-penned lyrics.

1. Andy’s Lament (5:19)
2. Fan-O-Gram (5:54)
3. The Jazzdiddy Waltz (4:19)
4. Lyrica (7:10)
5. Moonscape (7:03)
6. Puppets (7:28)
7. Still Life with Tuba (6:28)
8. The Unknown Ballade (6:20)
9. Tone Colors (6:40)
10. Truck Driver’s Blues (3:33)
11. Wide River (3:16)

As his former employer Freddie Cole reminded him often, It’s not only how good you play, it’s about how you present the music, Napoleon takes the advice to heart, continually swinging while looking to keep his audience surprised and inspired.

Opening on the sweetly organic tone of Andy’s Lament and then the energetic hot bop of Fan-O-Gram, those are backed up by the blues ambiance of The Jazzdiddy Waltz, the over-easy feeling within Lyrica, some deft tandem lines come to the fore on Moonscape and then comes one of my own personal favorites, the soulfully sung title track by Aubrey Johnson.

With this highly impressive collective effort never putting a musical foot wrong, along next is the low-end horn-imbibed Still Life with Tuba and the emotionally-charged The Unknown Ballade, and then comes the melodically layered Tone Colors - where Aubrey channels Sheila Jordan - and the reflective Truck Driver’s Blues (again by Aubrey, but less Merle Haggard and more Patsy Cline), the album closing on a resonating Randy/Aubrey duet; one that recalls both traditional and contemporary rhythms, Wide River.

Randy Napoleon - Guitar
Aubrey Johnson - Vocals
Seth Ebersole - Bass clarinet (5,6,7,8), Flute (3,4,5)
Rick Roe - Piano
Rodney Whitaker - Bass
Quincy Davis - Drums
Brandon Rose - bass (2)
Will Crandell - drums (2)

Official Website

Randy Napoleon @ Facebook

Title - What I Was For You: re.think
Artist - Nancy Goudinaki

For those of you not in the know, Nancy Goudinaki, the extraordinary up-and-coming jazz vocalist, and guitarist, is ready to take center stage!

Hailing from Greece, Nancy G., as she is refereed to in the jazz world, now lives and performs in the greater New York City Area.

At the precocious age of 8, Nancy knew that she wanted to pursue music and learned how to play classical guitar.

Nine years later, she continued her studies with master classical guitarist Costas Cotsiolis and received her Master’s in Musicology/Fine Arts, her BA and Masters with honors in classical guitar.

Here in 2022, Nancy is releasing her foray into bringing her guitar skills to the forefront with the latest full-length album, What I Was For You: re.think.

Nancy reflects, After the long musical journey in my life and trying several musical styles as a singer/songwriter/guitarist, with this album, I return to where I started from, the classical guitar.

1. La Catedral (3:11)
2. Fuoco (3:33)
3. What I Was For You: re.think (4:53)
4. Nereids (4:29)
5. Feel Alive (5:29)
6. Berimbau (2:51)
7. One Night in Caldera (2:37)
8. Ariadne’s Lullaby (2:35)
9. El Ultimo Canto (3:38)
10. What I Was For You: re.think (played with MOOVtravel Guitar) (3:46)

With her new album incorporating original compositions and modern renditions of classical guitar masterpieces whilst utilizing different harmonies and vocalizations, it opens on the almost ethereally-charged urgency of La Catedral and the gently frenetic Fuoco and then brings us the laid low, late night smoky club ambiance of the title track What I Was For You: re.think, the mid-tempo balladry of Nereids and then we get the vocally-infused Feel Alive.

Up next are the playful rhythms within Berimbau and the contemplative One Night in Caldera which are in turn followed by the intricate, and atmospheric melodies within Ariadne’s Lullaby, the album rounding out on the almost labyrinthine work of El Ultimo Canto, coming to a book end close (relatively) with the dulcet What I Was For You: re.think (played with MOOVtravel Guitar).

This specific work is a celebration of women. Every woman goes through phases in her life and the different stages inspired Nancy in her person life to compose these tunes.

The songs traverse a woman who is in love, a heartbroken woman, a homesick woman, and a woman who will be an aunt. A big part of my inspiration is my niece Ariadne, to whom I was inspired and composed a special lullaby, Nancy reveals.

Players & Instruments
Nancy Goudinaki - Nylon String Guitar, MOOVtravel Guitar (10), Vocals (1,5)
JD Allen - Tenor Saxophone (3)
Richie Goods - Electric Bass (4)
Devo D. - Backup Vocals (1,5)

Official Website

Title - Ballad for Brad
Artist - The Margaret Slovak Trio

For those of you not in the know, Jazz guitarist Margaret Slovak’s comeback album after overcoming major physical problems caused by a car accident is a quietly inventive trio set filled with original heartfelt compositions and subtle creativity.

Joined by bassist Harvie S and drummer Michael Sarin, Margaret Slovak displays a personal style on both nylon string and electric guitars, performing ten of her colorful originals.

Back in 2003 Margaret Slovak, an up-and-coming guitarist with great potential and her own sound, was seriously hurt in a car accident that damaged her right hand, arm, shoulder and brachial plexus. After many operations and years of struggle, she is now well on her way to making a successful comeback.

Ballad for Brad, her long awaited fourth album as a leader, features the guitarist in top form in a trio with bassist Harvie S and drummer Michael Sarin.

The project is named after her beloved husband Brad Buchholz who has had a longtime struggle with cancer.

Margaret Slovak contributed all ten compositions and, while the tempos are generally laidback and the improvisations are thoughtful, the music is filled with creative ideas and telepathic interplay by the trio.

1. Again (4:29)
2. Flowers for Marie (6:52)
3. The Answers Within (4:18)
4. Song for Anne (5:57)
5. Forty-Four (2:56)
6. Courage, Truth and Hope (5:23)
7. Carrot Cake Blues (4:47)
8. Ballad for Brad (5:44)
9. Thirty-Three (7:31)
10. Will You Ever Know? (4:08)

The album opens with the harmonically jazz waltz of Again and the compassionate ballad Flowers for Marie and are then seamlessly followed up with the enthusiastic hipsway of The Answer Within, before we are given two songs dedicated to Margaret’s late sister: the aching Song for Anne (which celebrates her life) and the soberly subdued Forty-Four.

Up next is the ornate, yet pensively flourishing Courage, Truth and Hope (a tribute to journalist Bill Moyers) and that is itself backed by the playful nature found within Carrot Cake Blues (where the trio get to indulge in some medium-tempo swing blues), the quietly puckish title track Ballad for Brad, this wholly heartfelt album rounding out on the bowed bass-led Thirty-Three (courtesy of Harvie S), coming to a close on the smoothly skittish, yet always controlled and accessible melodies within Will You Ever Know?

Margaret Slovak, who is originally from Denver, started on the guitar when she was 11. By the time she was 14 she was already composing and two years later she began playing professionally. She graduated from the Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle.

In 1988 she moved to New York City where she led her own group for five years and recorded For the Moment (which was released years later in 2007), a set of eight of her original songs with a quartet that included pianist Fred Hersch, bassist Michael Formanek and drummer Michael Sarin.

Margaret moved to Portland, Oregon in 1993 where she recorded Undying Hope, performing her originals as a solo guitarist. She toured with her quartet (which included drummer Bob Moses), performing in Germany, the Czech Republic, Canada and throughout the United States.

Despite the injuries suffered during the 2003 car accident, she was able to release New Wings, a set of solo and duet pieces and spent 2008-2012 back in New York City. In addition, since 1994 Margaret has performed for patients in cancer treatment centers, hospitals and hospice.

Now after many surgeries and a successful recovery, Margaret Slovak (who currently lives in Austin, Texas) is realizing her potential.

Ballad for Brad, which most are saying is her finest recording to date, serves as the perfect introduction to her musical talents.

Official Website

Official Purchase Link

Title - Identity Crisis
Artist - Matt Simons

For those of you not in the know, a story of humble beginnings, Matt Simons grew up in Palo Alto as the grandson of two opera singers.

He spent much of his early life studying jazz and classical music before switching to clarinet and guitar, and ultimately crafted his own identity as a melodic pop songwriter and lyricist.

He took steps to self-promote his releases online, and to his surprise, a remix of his breakthrough single “Catch & Release” bubbled up organically and ended up as one off 2016’s biggest hits, reaching Gold and Platinum status.

International recognition, performances on The TODAY Show, and billions of streams followed.

And now Matt has just released his fourth studio album Identify Crisis, featuring his recent hit singles “Better Tomorrow,” “Cold,” and “Identity Crisis,” which have amassed over 50 million streams.

With sweet, piano-rooted melodies and lyrics that speak plainly about important events in his life — including his struggles with panic attacks — the album was written when COVID began its spread, giving him space and time to reflect.

Furthermore, Identity Crisis is a reflection of both his personal values and versatile musical style. In the six singles released from the album so far, Simons holds nothing back.

He dives into his struggles with mental health and panic attacks, while still delivering a hopeful message for listeners. Thus Identity Crisis features a wide range of styles, from upbeat pop tunes to stark recollections of Simons’ darkest moments.

1. Identity Crisis
2. Too Much
3. Cold
4. Better Tomorrow
5. In My Head - Interlude
6. Self Control
7. In Case You Missed It
8. Years
9. Always Have My Love
10. The Boxer

The album opens with the jaunty electro-pop vibe of the title track Identity Crisis and the pacy, pop-centric Too Much and backs those up with the shimmeringly translucent, chill-inducing Cold, the catchy, but importantly wholly inspiring Better Tomorrow, and then comes the powerfully crafted In My Head - Interlude.

Next up is the rhythmic, mid-tempo love song Self Control and the melodically beautiful, pop hipsway flow of In Case You Missed It, and they are in turn followed by the effervescent Years, the album rounding out with the soulfully melodic rhythms within Always Have My Love, coming to a close on the quietly soft, heartbeat baselined cover of Simon & Garfunkel’s The Boxer (featuring Chris Ayer).

Official Website

Official Purchase Link

Matt Simons @ Facebook

Matt Simons - Identity Crisis (Official Music Video)

Matt Simons - Too Much (Official Music Video)

Matt Simons - Better Tomorrow (Official Video)

Matt Simons - Cold (Official Music Video)

Title - On the Rocks [EP]
Artist - Fritz Michel

For those of you not in the know, arriving on the heels of his latest single Look Out - which the critics called “warm and alluring,” boasting “a cinematic sound” - Fritz Michel is taking his next step with the release of his debut EP, On the Rocks.

While it finds him taking a bold step forward in his emerging music career, On the Rocks also draws distinct references to his bilingual roots and a multi-faceted creative history that constantly mines new avenues of expression and exploration.

Artistic expression generally knows no bounds, and given Michel’s array of experience, that’s clearly the case.

Born in France and based in NYC, he’s made his mark as an accomplished actor who’s shared his skills in film, television, and the stage. And now, as evidenced by his new EP, Michel’s ambitions have expanded to include making music that’s articulate, intelligent and instantly accessible.

Like his previous singles “Darker Now,” “King of Corona” and “Stardust” – all of which accumulated thousands of hits on YouTube and Spotify – Fritz’s debut EP embraces a pure pop sound, similar in stance to Belle & Sebastian, Badfinger, and Big Star, with a flair for melodious melodies and a certain lyrical largess.

1. On the Rocks
2. King of Corona
3. We Are What We Are
4. Suddenly You Love Me
5. Siffler Sur La Colline

The EP opens with the drum-led, mid-tempo vibrancy of the title track On the Rocks and then brings forth the REM-vibe of King of Corona, following that up neatly with the languishing melodic majesties found within We Are What We Are (whose video, see below, is a conceptual 21st century riff on “The Wizard of Oz”), the EP rounding out on the jaunty pop-rock of Suddenly You Love Me (a past hit by the British Invasion band the Tremeloes), and performed here in both English and in French (as Siffler Sur La Colline).

The five songs featured on the On the Rocks EP capture Fritz’s facility for writing expressive, accessible songs, thanks to a radio-ready sound that’s both evocative and magnetic.

Engaging an array of creative collaborators, including producers Jason Cummings and Tosh Sheridan, Fritz retraces the various threads of his life’s journey and combines them into a new reality.

“That song was an international hit in the early 1970s,” Fritz recalls about Suddenly You Love Me, “And I thought to myself, why not cover French singer/songwriter Joe Dassin. I speak French fluently and, as an actor, I’ve played many French character roles on television and in the movies.”

“I thought singing in French would be an interesting creative challenge and hidden connections inform musical ideas. I grew up speaking French in school and English at home. Maybe that ambiguity informs my music, much as it does my life.”

Fritz Michel - We Are What We Are (Official Music Video)

Fritz Michel @ Instagram

Fritz Michel @ Spotify

Title - Invisible Love
Artist - Susie Suh

For those of you not in the know, after being signed to Sony Epic Records for her debut album, Susie Suh became disenchanted with the major label world of music and decided to make music on her own terms, with total control of the music, artwork, and all creative choices.

Her instinct proved to be the right move. Almost every song from her second album was licensed on television - in shows like The Blacklist, Parenthood, and Awkward - all without marketing or a big “corporate machine” behind her.

A traveler and a seeker, Susie then began to assemble what would become her new album, Invisible Love, inspired by her journey over the past few years studying meditation and alternative modes of healing at various sacred sites around the world.

She lived with the Buddhist monks in Thich Nhat Hanh’s Plum Village, spent time communing in nature by growing a garden, and studied the energetic expression of plants and herbalism, which ultimately informed not only her music, but her values, perspective, and life.

“This album chronicles an inner journey that I’ve been on, a pilgrimage of sorts,” she explains. “With all of the noise in the world, this album was about going inward and finding healing from within.”

1. The Beginning (Intro)
2. Invisible Love
3. Best Friend
4. Over You
5. Down The River
6. Winning Feeling
7. Taste Of Your Tears
8. A New Year
9. This Is Love
10. Jophiel
11. Blood Moon
12. The End (Outro)

This simply divine, wholly magnificent, expertly-crafted new album opens on the short, quietly chimed, aptly-named opening The Beginning (Intro) and the beautifully written, veritably translucent title track Invisible Love and follows those up with the comforting, inspiring, artfully shimmering Best Friend, the acoustic guitar backed, breathy vocals of Over You, and then comes the heartfelt storytelling within Down The River and the electronical jitters, sonic hand-claps of the rhythmically-infectious Winning Feeling.

Up next is the achingly earnest Taste Of Your Tears and the deft piano/cello balladry of A New Year and they are in turn backed by the breathy, almost diaphanous This Is Love, the quietly ethereal Jophiel, the album rounding out with the echoing, gracefully delicate Blood Moon, coming to and all too soon close on the quietly chimed bookend The End (Outro).

Invisible Love represents a personal and artistic rebirth for Susie. “Invisible Love feels like a debut for me,” she says. “I’m welcoming everyone to get to know different sides of me like never before. I wanted to create a piece of work that, not only helps to uplift the human spirit, but also helps us remember who we truly are.”

Susie Suh - Invisible Love [Official Music Video]

Official Purchase Link

Official Website

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Susie Suh @ YouTube

Susie Suh @ Spotify

Title - Shining Night
Artist - Anne Akiko Meyers

For those unaware, Anne Akiko Meyers has amassed a multitude of fans and admirers for her exquisitely curated recordings, often exploring her passion for new music, and old music in new guises.

Her quest for creative collaborations has inspired countless commissions and world-premieres, with the results infusing Shining Night (whose release coincides with International Astronomy Day, May 7th 2022, via Avie Records), an album that embraces themes of love, poetry and nature.

Shining Night is based on a poem by James Agee and describes a man going on a walk and thinking back over his life. That inspired this collection of pieces that metaphorically begins in the morning and explores the vast musical history through Baroque, Romantic, Popular, and current genres.

ARCANGELO CORELLI (1653–1713), arr. Poxon
1. La Folia* (8:32)

JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH (1685–1750), arr. Campbell – adapted Poxon
2. Air on G* (5:26)

3. Cantabile (3:39)

MANUEL PONCE (1882–1948), arr. Heifetz – adapted Poxon
4. Estrellita* ‘Little Star’ (3:28)

5. Aria from Bachianas Brasileiras No.5 (5:12)

DUKE ELLINGTON (1899–1974), arr. De Rosa
6. In My Solitude* (3:12)

ASTOR PIAZZOLLA (1921–1992), arr. Varelas
Histoire du Tango
7. Bordel 1900 (3:54)
8. Café 1930 (7:29)
9. Night-club 1960 (5:50)
10. Concert d’aujourd’hui (2:53)

HUGO PERETTI (1916–1986), LUIGI CREATORE (1921–2015)
GEORGE DAVID WEISS (1921­–2010), arr. Poxon
11. Can’t Help Falling in Love* (3:13)

12. Laude al Árbol Gigante*
‘Laude to the Giant Sequoia Tree’ (2020) (4:33)

13. Dirait-On* (4:55)
14. Sure On This Shining Night* 4:56)

Jason Vieaux, guitar - 1,2,3,5,6,7-10,11,12
Fabio Bidini, piano - 4,13,14
For Anne* 1,2,4,6,11,12,13,14

As aforementioned, the common themes throughout the music reflect on one’s relationship with nature, love, and poetry and this new recording opens on the aching yearn of both Arcangelo Corelli’s colorful La Folia and the simply stunning, veritably crystalline J.S. Bach’s famous Air on G (both arranged for violin and guitar), and then we get the gently playful Niccolo Paganini’s Cantabile, the Latin-tinged Estrellita (Little Star) by Manuel Ponce and the longingly heartfelt Aria from Heitor Villa-Lobos’ Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5.

Up next is a tender new arrangement of Duke Ellington’s (In My) Solitude, Astor Piazzolla’s four-part Histoire du Tango, and then comes a new arrangement of Elvis Presley’s Can’t Help Falling in Love (Peretti, Creatore & Weiss), the recording rounding out with Leo Brouwer’s almost translucent Laude al Árbol Gigante (‘Laude to the Giant Sequoia Tree’ (2020), culminating with two from Morten Lauridsen: the impassioned Dirait-On and the ornate, orchestrated mastery of Sure On This Shining Night.

Anne’s fruitful association with composer Morten Lauridsen led to the arrangement of his popular choral work Sure on this Shining Night, for violin and piano, lending its name to the album’s title.

From there springs forth an album imbued with music of light and hope, spanning the history of music through Baroque, Romantic, Popular, and current genres.

Anne’s collaborators are eminent Italian pianist Fabio Bidini and Grammy Award-winning guitarist Jason Vieaux.

Official Anne Akiko Meyers Shining Night Trailer

Official Purchase Links

Official Website

Title - Ann Peebles - Live in Memphis [Vinyl]
Artist - Ann Peebles & the Hi Rhythm Section

For those not in the know, a stellar live performance by soul queen Ann Peebles backed by many of the same musicians with whom she recorded the jewels of her catalog was captured thirty years ago and is at last set for release.

Memphis International Records presents Ann Peebles & the Hi Rhythm Section Live in Memphis on vinyl LP, CD and digital formats on April 29th, 2022.

The album, produced by David Less, is the only known live recording of Peebles and Hi Rhythm, the ensemble numbering a total of nine players behind Peebles as she offered her best known repertoire on the night of February 7th, 1992 on a program billed “An Evening of Classic Soul.”

Ann Peebles & the Hi Rhythm Section Live in Memphis includes such hits as “Part Time Love,” “Straight From The Heart,” “(You Keep Me) Hangin’ On,” “I’m Gonna Tear Your Playhouse Down” and her pop crossover hit “I Can’t Stand The Rain,” among others.

Side A:
1. If I Can’t See You
2. Part Time Love
3. Didn’t We Do It
4. I Feel Like Breaking Up Somebody’s Home

This tremendously heartfelt, joyously upbeat, and wholly melodically euphoric live album opens on the introduction, and rapturous applause thereafter for Ann Pebbles and she rolls immediately into the gratified rhythms of If I Can’t See You and then the solidified embrace of Part Time Love before slowing it all the way down with the lushly orchestrated Didn’t We Do It, the first side rounding out on the funky I Feel Like Breaking Up Somebody’s Home.

Side B:
5. I’m Gonna Tear Your Playhouse Down
6. I Didn’t Take Your Man
7. (You Keep Me) Hanging On
8. Let Your Love Light Shine
9. I Can’t Stand The Rain

The second side of this wonderous vinyl LP continues onward (after a request for a glass of water) with one of my all-time favorites, the euphoric I’m Gonna Tear Your Playhouse Down which is itself backed seamlessly by the spoken word intro to the poignant I Didn’t Take Your Man, then comes the soulful mid-tempo balladry within (You Keep Me) Hanging On, the recording closing out with the groovy duet (of sorts) Let Your Love Light Shine and a quite breathtaking, enchanting even I Can’t Stand The Rain.

Peebles, now 75, recalled that evening. “It’s always great to perform in front of an audience; you build excitement as you go.” She notes that she, along with husband Don Bryant, had a hand in writing three of the album’s selections: “If I Can’t See You,” “Let Your Lovelight Shine” and “I Can’t Stand The Rain.”

She remembers when Willie Mitchell, the legendary Hi Records producer first heard the song in 1973. “He said, ‘That’s a hit!’ and proceeded to record it almost immediately.”

Numerous topflight artists including Tina Turner, Lowell George and Eruption went on to cover it over the years and it went on to make Rolling Stone’s list of 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

“I Can’t Stand The Rain” was called “the best song ever” by John Lennon. It was heavily sampled by producer Timbaland for Missy Elliott’s debut 1997 single “The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly),” illustrating Peebles’ impact on the hip-hop generation.

Among those who played on the original session and others that Mitchell produced at Hi were Howard Grimes (drums), Leroy Hodges (bass) and Charles Hodges (keyboard).

Those same musicians, as well as Thomas Bingham (guitar), David J. Hudson (background vocals), Tina Crawford (background vocals), John Sangster (saxophone), Anthony Royal (trumpet) and Dennis Bates (trombone), are heard on Ann Peebles & the Hi Rhythm Section Live in Memphis.

This unique circumstance makes the forthcoming album a truly compelling audio document for the ages.

Peebles, originally from St. Louis, has made her home in Memphis since those early Hi Records sessions and spoke of the thrill of performing before a hometown audience.

Of “I Feel Like Breaking Up Somebody’s Home,” one of the key tracks on the new album, she confides, “I got into it as if a movie was playing in my head.”

Similarly, she spoke of “I’m Gonna Tear Your Playhouse Down,” which was later covered by Paul Young, with whom she has a mutual admiration. “He told me, ‘I thought it was too haunting for me to do’,” but Ann, who thinks of herself as something of an actress, had no problem with it when she recorded it earlier.

“You put yourself in the role, imagine how you would act in that kind of situation,” she notes. It’s a very convincing portrayal, as is the totality of Ann Peebles & the Hi Rhythm Section Live in Memphis.

Official Purchase Links

Ann Peebles & Hi Rhythm Section - I Feel Like Breaking Up Somebody’s Home Tonight (Live in Memphis) [Official Audio Video]

Ann Peebles & Hi Rhythm Section - Part Time Love (Live in Memphis) [Official Audio Video]

Ann Peebles & Hi Rhythm Section - Let Your Love Light Shine (Live in Memphis) [Official Audio Video]

Ann Peebles & Hi Rhythm Section - Didn’t We Do It (Live in Memphis) [Official Audio Video]

Title - If I Were Honest
Artist - Angie Goeke

For those of you not in the know, Houston, TX-based Americana singer-songwriter Angie Goeke is set to her release her debut full-length, If I Were Honest, on April 29th, 2022.

An independent release, the album was recorded in Nashville and produced by Mary Bragg. If I Were Honest presents a stunning, atmospheric Americana collection that melds the many facets of Goeke’s creative and personal life into one cohesive, elegant whole.

The album celebrates the enormous complexity of being human and boasts a spectrum of sounds ranging from textural and cinematic to candid and nostalgic.

1. So I Pray
2. Leftovers
3. Whiskey in a Teacup
4. If I Were Honest
5. Farewell
6. Starlight
7. Fayetteville
8. Fly Baby Fly
9. Half a Mind
10. Floored

This simply divine, wholly embracing and lovingly heartfelt album opens on the delicate musings within So I Pray and the playfully melodic Leftovers and follows those up with the rambunctious Whiskey in a Teacup, the lush gossamer of the title track If I Were Honest and then comes the aching honest Farewell.

Next up is one of my own personal favorites from this new recording, the almost ethereal Starlight and that is itself backed by the puckish Fayetteville, the beautiful storytelling balladry of Fly Baby Fly, the album rounding out with the sterner spine within Half a Mind, coming to a close on the rhythmic ebb and flow of the mid-tempo Floored.

Inspired by independent, individual artists like Ella Fitzgerald and Willie Nelson, Goeke quickly earned a reputation for her particular brand of haunting, narrative, emotionally complex songs. Her unique compositions, which she often begins writing on ukulele before expanding for a larger band, fuse elements of classic Americana, folk, bluegrass, and jazz, with her captivating vocal melodies front and center.

“I have spent most of my life feeling as though I need to meet the expectations and roles others have placed on me,” says Goeke. “With this album, I feel as though I am truly coming into my own. This album was a way for me to identify and reconcile all the different parts of myself.”

“I’m a mom and an artist, a quiet church-goer and a girl who loves a good cocktail. These things aren’t in opposition to one another, but I had to learn that. They’re all valuable—because they make me who I am. I don’t have to let go of one thing to grab hold of another.”

The songs provide vibrant, engaging insights into the mind of this multifaceted individual. The first single, “So I Pray,” a tender, gentle ode to the healing power and hope of prayer, was released on January 14th, 2022. The song premiered prior at Americana Highways, who said that the song “flows like a gentle spring rain.”

A sassy, empowering anthem that speaks to strong introverted women everywhere, the second single, “Whiskey in a Teacup,” was released on February 11th, 2022. The song and accompanying video premiered earlier that week at Glide Magazine, who called the song a “swaggering Americana-rocker tune… showcasing her honky tonk vocals with a tough edge as she uses a Southern analogy of keeping your strength behind a classy image.”

The third single, “Fly Baby Fly,” written for her four children, was released March 11th, 2022, while the fourth single and title track, “If I Were Honest,” came out this past April 8th, 2022.

Amazon Purchase Link

Official Website

Angie Goeke @ Facebook

Angie Goeke @ Instagram

Angie Goeke @ YouTube

Angie Goeke @ Twitter

Title - Lucy Ford: The Atmosphere EP’s [Vinyl]
Artist - Atmosphere

For those not in the know, following the release of their debut album, Overcast!, Atmosphere was already making waves in the underground Hip-Hop scene, attracting attention for their unique combination of content, styles and sounds.

Although the group was suddenly smaller due to the departure of one member, Spawn, the buzz continued to grow, as did the creative output of remaining members Slug and Ant.

Over the next 3 years, the duo recorded and released a flurry of unofficial Atmosphere CD’s, tapes, songs and side projects, along with pressing and distributing a string of vinyl EP’s, titled Ford One, Ford Two, and The Lucy EP.

These vinyl EP’s were ultimately consolidated onto one CD as well, for the purpose of selling on tour and distributing to retail, becoming what most considered to be Atmosphere’s official sophomore album, Lucy Ford: The Atmosphere EP’s, more commonly referred to as simply Lucy Ford.

Now, in celebration of its 20th anniversary, the entire Lucy Ford album is finally available on 2xLP vinyl, for the first time in history. At last, fans and collectors everywhere can finally own this integral part of Atmosphere’s legacy on vinyl, complete with the original artwork and a redesigned layout.

Vinyl packaging includes 12” Matte UV Gatefold Jacket, Black Dust Sleeves, Black Double Vinyl and free digital download card.

Sides A + B:
1. Between the Lines
2. Like Today
3. Tears for the Sheep
4. Guns and Cigarettes
5. Don’t Ever Fucking Question That
6. It Goes
7. If I Was Santa Claus
8. Aspiring Sociopath

Sides C + D:
1. Free or Dead
2. Party for the Fight to Write
3. Mama Had a Baby and His Head Popped Off
4. They’re All Gonna Laugh @ You
5. Lost and Found
6. The Woman with the Tattooed Hands
7. Nothing But Sunshine

The opening track on Lucy Ford, Between the Lines, burrows into the heads of a frustrated policeman, an oblivious young girl who watches movies perpetually to get away from her own life, and an indie rapper who descends into self-abnegation instead of self-aggrandizement.

I think you will agree they are hardly typical subject matter for a rap song. In fact, with Slug’s singsong delivery, it hardly seems like a rap song at all, and is tugged back toward the genre only by Ant’s steady beat-making.

But then Atmosphere proves not to be typical in most every respect on this debut full-length, which is much the better for the duo’s, and particularly its MC’s, peculiarities. Thus Lucy Ford now collects the bulk of a pair of early Fat Beats-distributed vinyl EPs from the Minneapolis-based group on a stunningly created two-vinyl LP set which makes for a sterling introductory display, for sure.

In truth, Lucy Ford was packed with the kind of nimble wordplay found on Atmosphere’s debut, but it was paired with more self-reflective and introspective rhymes than their previous album.

Tracks like The Woman With the Tattooed Hands and Nothing But Sunshine showed Slug was equally as talented at poignant storytelling as he was at conveying a deeper message for the greater good of humanity, while songs like Don’t Ever Fucking Question That and Like Today stripped away at the character facade, allowing listeners to know the rapper on a more intimate level.

For me, Slug excels when he allows his obvious passion to settle on subjects outside himself, as when he tries to coax the hip-hop community toward a higher calling on Tears for Sheep, or, more breathtakingly, mixes autobiographical details with flights of pure imagination.

Indeed, the best tracks tend to occur when he plums the psychological depths of complex characters through brainy, abstract, and freewheeling narratives that exist somewhere in a surreal netherworld (If I Was Santa Claus, Aspiring Sociopath, Party for the Fight to Write, and the aforementioned Between the Lines).

The album wasn’t entirely devoid of ego though. Slug reminds listeners of his competitive roots on Guns & Cigarettes over a truly inspired bluesy beat by Ant, who handled the lion’s share of the album’s production.

And while Ant knows how to bring the emotional essence out of a beat, from the idyllic to the incensed, there were a few notable contributions from outside producers as well, including the dub-inspired Free or Dead by Jel, and the aforementioned, darkly optimistic Nothing But Sunshine by Moodswing9, among others.

Official Purchase Link

Official Atmosphere Website

Title - Stranded [180g Vinyl]
Artist - Roxy Music

Roxy Music, one of the most influential and exhilarating music acts in history, will tour for the first time in more than a decade to mark the 50th year since their groundbreaking debut album.

Bryan Ferry, Andy Mackay, Phil Manzanera and Paul Thompson, together on stage for the first time since their sold-out and critically acclaimed 2011 For Your Pleasure tour, will perform 13 arena shows across North America and the UK, beginning September 7th, 2022 in Toronto at the Scotiabank Arena.

Stranded, the third long playing outing from Roxy Music, not only gave the band their first No. 1 album in the UK but was also the first to come to the wider attention of US audiences.

An incredibly accomplished and consistent collection of songs Stranded thrills from start to finish – from the definitive album opener (and hit single) ‘Street Life’ to the affecting ballad ‘Just like You’, the smoldering ‘Song For Europe’ and the epic (and one of the all-time great Bryan Ferry compositions) ‘Mother Of Pearl’.

From its Antony Price-styled sleeve in, Stranded is nothing short of a musical hothouse, brim-full of color, drama and exotica.

To mark the 50th anniversary of Roxy Music Stranded has been given a fresh Half-Speed cut by Miles Showell at Abbey Road Studios in London while the album artwork has been similarly revised with lyrics and a deluxe gloss laminated finish.

Indeed each Roxy Music album has been reissued with a fresh Half-Speed cut by Miles Showell at Abbey Road Studios, London. To reflect the audio, all eight of the Roxy Music studio albums have had their artwork revised and with the aforementioned gloss laminated finish so that each album is not just a record, it’s a piece of art.

180g Vinyl LP! Remastered & Cut Half-Speed From Original 1/4" Tapes by Miles Showell at Abbey Road Studios!

Side A:
1. Street Life
2. Just Like You
3. Amazona
4. Psalm

Side B:
1. Serenade
2. A Song For Europe
3. Mother Of Pearl
4. Sunset

The Ferry - Eno relationship grew increasingly quarrelsome during the making of For Your Pleasure, with Eno complaining about Ferry’s desire for glamor when the latter was sometimes fed up with Eno’s systematic struggle to add strangeness.

The music press turned these creative tensions into an ego rivalry, and in the end, Eno left Ferry’s band. Ultimately, this was good for both Roxy and Eno’s own career.

In Stranded, Eno’s relentless experimentation spirit is still present as a legacy, and it’s Roxy’s most coherent and tasty album, full of stellar musicianship, emotions and surprises. Indeed, for my money, Stranded has the best songwriting of all Roxy albums, Ferry inviting Manzanera and Mackay to contribute to great results.

It’s still an art-Rock album, but was their first (and only during the seventies) to top the UK charts and this without an ultra-commercial single such as “Love is the Drug” later.

Did I mention I absolutely love this album? OK, well, I LOVE it. I’m never tired of Stranded. Every time I listen to it, I cannot do something else at the same time, for it completely captures my attention and life is vibrating with grace. Not one song is less than magical.

In summary, from the frenetic lead track Street Life and the opening section of the glorious Mother Of Pearl, Roxy Music’s third album is a more subdued affair than its predecessors, with Bryan Ferry’s world-weary romanticist persona magnificently stepping to the fore.

Still brimming with gorgeous sonic flourishes, this set of songs is their strongest yet - not only somewhat more accessible but more fully formed. There is real beauty here, and Ferry’s phrasing, while still offbeat, doesn’t have the forced eccentricity of earlier efforts.

The tour will make stops across the U.S. including such landmark venues as New York’s Madison Square Garden and The Forum in Los Angeles before culminating with a performance at the O2 Arena in London. Tickets for the Live Nation produced North American shows will go on sale Monday, April 4th, 2022 (10am local time) at

Artist presale starts Tuesday, March 29th, 2022 (10am local time) until Friday, April 1st, 2022 (5pm local time).

Roxy Music will offer several VIP packages for each show that include premium tickets, access to the pre-show VIP lounge, limited edition merchandise and more.

Package contents vary based on offer selected. Fans can visit for more information.

Very special guest St. Vincent will be appearing on all North American shows (*except Boston). Since making her recorded debut as St. Vincent in 2007, Annie Clark has consistently been regarded as one of the most innovative and fascinating presences in modern music, continually reinventing her unique sounds and personae—and winning two GRAMMY Awards in the process.

Most recently, St. Vincent channeled the hungover glamour and gritty sepia-toned soundtrack of 1970s downtown NYC into the triumphant Daddy’s Home, released in May 2021 to universal acclaim. Outside of recording and performing, St. Vincent has designed her own Ernie Ball Signature guitar, and co-written and starred as a fictionalized version of herself in the upcoming film The Nowhere Inn.

2022 marks a year of celebration for Roxy Music. Throughout the year, each of their eight studio albums, all heralded as modern classics, will be reissued as special anniversary editions with a new half-speed cut, revised artwork and a deluxe gloss laminated finish.

The first two LPs, Roxy Music and For Your Pleasure, will be released on April 1st, 2022, with the remaining albums arriving in paired drops throughout the year.

Since their formation in 1972, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees, Roxy Music have left an indelible mark on the worlds of music, fashion and art, merging the three with a singular and astonishing vision that brought them immediate, global success.

Today they are regarded as one of the most influential bands of all time, whose work has inspired generations of musicians. Intense, emotive, and clever, with iconic graphics, Roxy Music’s eight studio albums birthed the art-rock movement, blurring the lines between genres and infusing a new kind of glamour into rock music for the first time.

09/07 - Scotiabank Arena - Toronto, ON
09/09 - Capital One Arena - Washington, DC
09/12 - Madison Square Garden - New York City, NY
09/15 - Wells Fargo Center - Philadelphia, PA
09/17 - TD Garden - Boston, MA*
09/19 - United Center - Chicago, IL
09/21 - Moody Center - Austin, TX 09/26 - Chase Center - San Francisco, CA
09/28 - The Forum - Los Angeles, CA

Oct 10 - OVO Hydro - Glasgow, UK
Oct 12 - AO Arena - Manchester, UK
Oct 14 - The O2 - London, UK

Roxy Music 50th Anniversary Tour 2022 [Official Promo Video]

Official Website

Official Bryan Ferry LP Reissues Purchase Link

Roxy Music @ Facebook

Roxy Music @ Instagram

Roxy Music @ YouTube

Roxy Music @ Twitter

Title - Country Life [180g Vinyl]
Artist - Roxy Music

Roxy Music, one of the most influential and exhilarating music acts in history, will tour for the first time in more than a decade to mark the 50th year since their groundbreaking debut album.

Bryan Ferry, Andy Mackay, Phil Manzanera and Paul Thompson, together on stage for the first time since their sold-out and critically acclaimed 2011 For Your Pleasure tour, will perform 13 arena shows across North America and the UK, beginning September 7th, 2022 in Toronto at the Scotiabank Arena.

The first Roxy album to break the US Top 40, Country Life, demonstrated that, four records in, the band were every bit as hungry, audacious and pioneering as on their debut two years earlier.

Opening with the urgent, propulsive ‘The Thrill Of It All’, ‘Country Life’ effortlessly embraces avant-garde song structures, touching ballads, English nostalgia, visceral hard rock, European influences and even medieval Christian references without skipping a beat.

The resulting album is an yet another immensely satisfying musical experience - compared to their peers it’s almost frightening what sounds Roxy Music could perfect and make their own.

To mark the 50th anniversary of Roxy Music Country Life has been given a fresh Half-Speed cut by Miles Showell at Abbey Road Studios in London while the album artwork has been similarly revised with lyrics and a deluxe gloss laminated finish.

Indeed each Roxy Music album has been reissued with a fresh Half-Speed cut by Miles Showell at Abbey Road Studios, London. To reflect the audio, all eight of the Roxy Music studio albums have had their artwork revised and with the aforementioned gloss laminated finish so that each album is not just a record, it’s a piece of art.

180g Vinyl LP! Remastered & Cut Half-Speed From Original 1/4" Tapes by Miles Showell at Abbey Road Studios!

Side A:
1. The Thrill Of It
2. Three And Nine
3. All I Want Is You
4. Out Of The Blue
5. If It Takes All Night

Side B:
1. Bitter Sweet
2. Triptych
3. Casanova
4. A Really Good Time
5. Prairie Rose

Eno’s long gone! It’s 1974. Bowie’s boundary busting, Eno’s manically retaliating and the rock music out of England advances exponentially as demonstrated by Roxy Music’s brilliant contribution, Country Life (which elegantly showcases Ferry, Andy McKay and Phil Manzanera in some fine form).

Continuing with the stylistic developments of Stranded, Country Life finds Roxy Music at the peak of their powers, alternating between majestic, unsettling art rock and glamorous, elegant pop/rock.

At their best, Roxy combine these two extremes, like on the exhilarating opener The Thrill of It All, but Country Life benefits considerably from the ebb and flow of the group’s two extremes, since it showcases their deft instrumental execution and their textured, enthralling songwriting.

And, in many ways, Country Life offers the greatest and most consistent set of Roxy Music songs, illustrating their startling depth. From the sleek rock of All I Want Is You and Prairie Rose to the elegant, string-laced pop of A Really Good Time, Country Life is filled with thrilling songs, and Roxy Music rarely sounded as invigorating as they do here.

My two personal favorites are when Eddie Jobson’s violin inundates the elegant Out of the Blue, which became a live staple in their live shows and the southern rock-influenced If It Takes All Night, which is a light and simpler track that closes the album’s first side in a rather lovely way.

In summary, Country Life is the most sonically diverse album Roxy Music ever released and is their second triumph after losing Eno’s visionary influences. Furthermore, this album is a testament of the band’s dynamism and cemented Roxy Music’s status as one of the biggest names in rock music early on.

The tour will make stops across the U.S. including such landmark venues as New York’s Madison Square Garden and The Forum in Los Angeles before culminating with a performance at the O2 Arena in London. Tickets for the Live Nation produced North American shows will go on sale Monday, April 4th, 2022 (10am local time) at

Artist presale starts Tuesday, March 29th, 2022 (10am local time) until Friday, April 1st, 2022 (5pm local time).

Roxy Music will offer several VIP packages for each show that include premium tickets, access to the pre-show VIP lounge, limited edition merchandise and more.

Package contents vary based on offer selected. Fans can visit for more information.

Very special guest St. Vincent will be appearing on all North American shows (*except Boston). Since making her recorded debut as St. Vincent in 2007, Annie Clark has consistently been regarded as one of the most innovative and fascinating presences in modern music, continually reinventing her unique sounds and personae—and winning two GRAMMY Awards in the process.

Most recently, St. Vincent channeled the hungover glamour and gritty sepia-toned soundtrack of 1970s downtown NYC into the triumphant Daddy’s Home, released in May 2021 to universal acclaim. Outside of recording and performing, St. Vincent has designed her own Ernie Ball Signature guitar, and co-written and starred as a fictionalized version of herself in the upcoming film The Nowhere Inn.

2022 marks a year of celebration for Roxy Music. Throughout the year, each of their eight studio albums, all heralded as modern classics, will be reissued as special anniversary editions with a new half-speed cut, revised artwork and a deluxe gloss laminated finish.

The first two LPs, Roxy Music and For Your Pleasure, will be released on April 1st, 2022, with the remaining albums arriving in paired drops throughout the year.

Since their formation in 1972, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees, Roxy Music have left an indelible mark on the worlds of music, fashion and art, merging the three with a singular and astonishing vision that brought them immediate, global success.

Today they are regarded as one of the most influential bands of all time, whose work has inspired generations of musicians. Intense, emotive, and clever, with iconic graphics, Roxy Music’s eight studio albums birthed the art-rock movement, blurring the lines between genres and infusing a new kind of glamour into rock music for the first time.

09/07 - Scotiabank Arena - Toronto, ON
09/09 - Capital One Arena - Washington, DC
09/12 - Madison Square Garden - New York City, NY
09/15 - Wells Fargo Center - Philadelphia, PA
09/17 - TD Garden - Boston, MA*
09/19 - United Center - Chicago, IL
09/21 - Moody Center - Austin, TX 09/26 - Chase Center - San Francisco, CA
09/28 - The Forum - Los Angeles, CA

Oct 10 - OVO Hydro - Glasgow, UK
Oct 12 - AO Arena - Manchester, UK
Oct 14 - The O2 - London, UK

Roxy Music 50th Anniversary Tour 2022 [Official Promo Video]

Official Website

Official Bryan Ferry LP Reissues Purchase Link

Roxy Music @ Facebook

Roxy Music @ Instagram

Roxy Music @ YouTube

Roxy Music @ Twitter

Title - Technicolor Shakedown [Vinyl]
Artist - Velvet Starlings

For those unaware, Technicolour Shakedown is the follow-up to 2019’s EP Love Everything, Love Everyone. Christian Gisborne (who turned 19 in May) released his debut self-titled EP Velvet Starlings when he was 15. Both EP’s charted in the top 5 at Specialty Radio and hit #1 on KROQ’s “Locals Only.”

Gisborne also caught the attention of, among others, BBC Radio, Shepard Fairey, and The Kinks’ Dave Davies who all count themselves as fans of Velvet Starlings.

Speaking about the album which hearkens neo-’60s garage - best described as beach-fuzz-psych with a big cheeky nod to the UK Invasion - Gisborne says In the doom and gloom of Covid I found myself reminiscing all the time about the days when we would wait in line for hours to see our favorite bands. The songs on the first album reflect everything I felt I was missing out on.

Velvet Starlings are Christian Gisborne (vocals, guitars, keys), Foster Poling (drums) and Hudson Poling (bass). Technicolour Shakedown is now available on vinyl via Kitten Robot Records / Sound x 3 Records.

1. She Said (She Said)
2. Checkmate
3. Back Of The Train
4. Can’t Control
5. There’s Nobody There
6. No Regrets
7. Colours On The Canvas
8. Young Ideas
9. Technicolour Shakedown
10. Turn It On

This vibrantly electric, wholeheartedly fresh, upbeat and joyous new rock album opens on the controlled freneticism of She Said (She Said) [check out the incredible video below] and the harder-edged rock of Checkmate and backs them up with the controlled-underground vibe of Back Of The Train, the brilliant Liverpool-era, psych rock-imbibed Can’t Control and then comes the thunderously enigmatic There’s Nobody There.

Up next are a couple of my own personal favorites, the reverberating rock of No Regrets and the evocatively chilled, nostalgic-tinged Colours On The Canvas and they are in turn followed by the pulsating Young Ideas, with this album rounding out (all too soon) with the heel-pounder Technicolour Shakedown, coming to a close on the jangling rock guitar and organ work of the super addictive instrumental romp Turn It On.

Following the release of the perpetual motion video for Can’t Control with its Billy Elliot-inspired narrative, LA-based VELVET STARLINGS return with their latest video There’s Nobody There, a psychedelic ruby-hued pastiche of performance, static visuals and over-saturated images.

Taken from their aforementioned, and critically-acclaimed debut Technicolour Shakedown, There’s Nobody There grasps at a darker psychedelic groove and track, anchored by Harrison-esque or Byrds-styled twelve string guitar riffs.

Chronicling the isolation and loss of connection caused by the pandemic, the eerie ghostly vocal echo effects create an atmosphere that washes in the desperate feeling of emptiness of isolation.

We shot the video for There’s Nobody There at the height of the Covid-19 restrictions, explains songwriter, recording wizard, singer, guitarist, keyboardist Christian Gisborne. Half the scenes are videos of me and my guitar shot with my iPhone and a tripod at an abandoned park, under the freeway and in some empty bushes.

Taking advantage of not only the cover of night but also the desolate environs that the quarantine afforded, they were able to capture the feeling of isolation perfectly. We shot at 2am when there was quite literally nobody there, he continues.

I think this song and video really captures the feeling of what it really was like during that era where we really didn’t know what was going on or where things would be in the coming months. The rest of the album has a very positive and outgoing sentiment however this track is rooted in the very real doom and gloom that was on our minds in late 2020.

Originally released August 27th, 2021, the youthful ’60s-infused garage rock ’n’ roll band is gearing up for a busy 2022 with a slate of live shows and festival dates, including Redondo Beach, CA’s BeachLife Festival on May 13th where they share the stage with Weezer, 311, Black Pumas and Cold War Kids and McGill, NV’s Schellraiser Festival on June 5th alongside Broncho and Old 97’s before heading over to the UK for a round of dates later that month.

Hailing from Los Angeles and the beach cities of Southern California, Velvet Starlings has released a handful of EPs, singles and its debut album Technicolour Shakedown all before the band members could legally drink.

Founded by Christian Gisborne (who incidentally tracked, engineered, mixed and produced their debut album), Velvet Starlings rose to national prominence when they won the “Emerging Stage” competition at Milwaukee’s Summerfest 2019.

In 2021, the band returned to Summerfest, but this time on the main stage alongside with Black Pumas, The Struts, Pixies and Cold War Kids.

MAY 05 - Zebulon (Los Angeles, CA)
MAY 13 - BeachLife Festival 2022 (Redondo Beach, CA)
MAY 21 - The Phoenix Theater (Petaluma, CA)
JUN 05 - Schellraiser Music Festival 2022 (McGill, NV)
JUN 09 - Dive (Hull, UK)
JUN 10 - EBGBS (Liverpool, UK)
JUN 11 - Dead Wax Digbeth (Birmingham, UK)
JUN 18 - The Water Rats (London, UK)
JUN 23 - PJ Molloys (Dunfermline, UK)
JUN 24 - Broadcast (Glasgow, UK)
JUN 25 - Sneaky Pete’s (Edinburgh, UK)
JUN 30 - The Cornish Bank (Falmouth, UK)

Velvet Starlings - There’s Nobody There [Official Video]

Velvet Starlings - There’s Nobody There [Official Video]

Velvet Starlings - Can’t Control [Official Video]

Official Website

Official Purchase Link

Velvet Starlings @ Facebook

Velvet Starlings @ Instagram

Velvet Starlings @ Twitter

Title - More Than You Can Chew [35-Disc Box-Set]
Artist - Horslips

For those of you not in the know, Horslips, the founding fathers of Celtic Rock, are delighted to announce that, while rumors of their demise as a performing entity have sadly not been exaggerated, they are releasing, in July 2022, through the good auspices of Madfish Music, More Than You Can Chew – a stunning 35-disc box set overflowing with music, film and printed matter encapsulating their entire career.

The set has been curated by Bert Jansch/John McLaughlin biographer (and longstanding Horslips fan) Colin Harper in close collaboration with the band members.

The audio, including most of the film audio, has been restored and (re)mastered by IFTA award-winning engineer Cormac O’Kane. Herculean Horslips biographer Mark Cunningham has written the books, with fresh input from the band, and, wearing his day-job designer hat, has lovingly designed the set under the oversight of Horslips’ de facto art director Charles O’Connor.

In addition to the previously unreleased content, More Than You Can Chew includes two albums new to any digital medium: “Tryal” (1983) by the Host (a post-Horslips band featuring Eamon, Johnny and Charles) and “Breaking Star Codes” (1983) by Barry Devlin.

• 13 CDs – all 12 original 1972–80 albums (Live being a double) in mini-LP slipcases, in their original form and newly mastered
• 1 CD – Tracks from the Vaults Vol.2 – all of the single mixes and non-album tracks not included on the original TFTV (1977) compilation plus previously unreleased outtakes
• 8 CDs – anthologies of previously unreleased live and rehearsal recordings 1973–80, including “The Last Time” – the stunning final concert at the Ulster Hall 8/10/80 in full
• 3 CDs – 2 reunion-era Horslips albums: (1) “Roll Back” (2) “Live at the O2” (double)
• 1 CD – RTÉ Sessions 1971 – all previously unreleased
• 1 CD – RTÉ Sessions 1972 – all previously unreleased
• 1 CD – RTÉ Sessions 2004–12 – almost all previously unreleased
• 5 CDs – selected post-Horslips adventures:
1) Barry Devlin “Breaking Star Codes” (1983) – unreleased on CD;
2) The Host “Tryal” (1983) and non-album single sides (1983–85) – unreleased on CD;
3) Johnny Fean & Eamon Carr “Live & Studio 1984–86” – a new self-curated anthology of previously unreleased solo, duo and Host recordings from the period;
4) Jim Lockhart “Picking Up The Pieces” – a new self-curated anthology of his TV/radio soundtrack music (1980s-00s) – almost all previously unreleased;
5) Charles O’Connor’s “Resolution Suite Angel on the Mantelpiece” (1995).
• DVD1 – The RTÉ Vault 1973–79 – c.160 minutes (50% previously unreleased)
• DVD2 – The Reunion Era 2004–2019 – c.160 mins (95% previously unreleased)

Additionally, the Horslips will be releasing the first digital single from the box set “Sure The Boy Was Green” (Live 1980 ‘Belfast Gigs’ Outtake):

Horslips - Sure the Boy was Green (Live 1980 ‘Belfast Gigs’ Outtake)

This performance was recorded during a run of three nights at Belfast’s Whitla Hall towards the final Horslips album of their 1972-80 tenure, “The Belfast Gigs.”

It was mixed for possible inclusion on the album at the time and stored on a reel of tape but didn’t make the cut. With the multi-tracks for the three gigs now lost, this is the only professionally recorded outtake extant from those legendary gigs - Horslips going out with a bang.

On St Patrick’s Day 1972, Horslips released their debut 45, “Johnny’s Wedding” – in a single bound, inventing Celtic rock – with a press launch at Captain America, a Dublin diner. Over the next eight years they toured the world, recorded 12 albums and collapsed in a heap with a last hurrah at Belfast’s Ulster Hall in October 1980.

After lying in darkened rooms for a week or two, the five members – Eamon Carr, Barry Devlin, Johnny Fean, Jim Lockhart and Charles O’Connor – got on with their lives, enjoying many adventures in the worlds of music, media, U2-mentoring and bric-a-brac retailing in the Whitby area. In 2004, the Fab Five found themselves onstage in Derry with a bijou skiffle set at a fan-curated memorabilia exhibition.

The love in the room was overwhelming. Over the next five years, Horslips recorded a reunion album and made a handful of Irish TV and radio appearances until, in 2009, they ran out of excuses and opened the doors to the general public with sensational arena concerts in Belfast and Dublin. Twenty-nine years – the longest tea-break in history – gave way to a ten-year victory lap, untaken at a leisurely pace with huge smiles and glad-handing all round.

The Indian summer concluded by stealth at the end of 2019 – retrospectively announced in October 2021 – the legendary beast gently felled, like much else, by lockdown. Fans were glum yet grateful for a comeback that had outlasted the career proper.

Like the Spanish Inquisition, no one in the fan community was expecting a box set the size of a tombstone, or a tombstone the size of this box set. Fans can now be even more grateful – if considerably poorer.

HORSLIPS - More Than You Can Chew (35-Disc Box-Set Official Trailer)

Official Purchase Links

Official Website

Horslips @ Facebook

Horslips @ Instagram

Title - The Admiralty Lights [50-CD Box-Set]
Artist - Al Stewart

For those of you not in the know, Al Stewart’s sixty-year career in music has made him one of the most successful folk-rock artists the British Isles have ever produced. The Admiralty Lights shines a light on how a Glasgow born Skiffle-mad kid conquered the world.

Lights is the new career spanning, definitive collection of Al Stewart’s work. Comprising 50 discs, this astounding set follows the legendary singer-songwriter from humble beginnings in 1964, to global stardom in the ‘70s, through to his most recent recordings in 2009.

The new deluxe box set features Al’s complete original run of 21 studio albums which have been remastered from the original tape transfers, housed in original sleeves and lovingly presented in deluxe LP style jackets.

Also included are 18 discs featuring never-before-heard live concert recordings from 1970 to 2009, 3 discs of rare BBC Sessions from 1965 - 1972 and 8 discs of Demos, Outtakes and Rarities, offering a rare inside look into Mr Stewart’s world.

Studio album pick-outs include the 1967 debut “Bedsitter Images” with its Dylan influences, the follow up “Love Chronicles” (1969) which saw Stewart backed by Fairport Convention alongside appearances from Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones, and 1973’s “Present & Future” featuring guest slots from Rick Wakeman and Queen’s Roger Taylor.

Then came the celebrated Alan Parsons years, commencing with “Modern Times” (1975) which in turn sowed the seeds for its magnificent follow up, the perennial classic “Year of the Cat” (1976) before concluding with 1978’s “Time Passages.”

Another inclusion in the pantheon of distinguished Al Stewart studio albums is the highly acclaimed 2005 release “A Beach Full Of Shells,” a wonderful listening experience featuring 13 songs full of the dream-like, poetic lyrical wordplay that has become the singer-songwriter’s hallmark.

The collection also includes over 300 previously unheard tracks recorded from 1964, showcasing a young Al as he made his start, through to 2008.

A beautiful 160-page hardback coffee table book is at the center of this spectacular package, featuring comprehensive liner notes from author and Al Stewart expert Neville Judd and previously unseen photographs, flyers and ephemera from across his illustrious career.

Vigilant fans will recognize the masterful touch of Colin Elgie, who has provided a visually striking original illustration for the outer box cover, having previously collaborated with Al on his “Year of the Cat” album.

Rounding off this smorgasbord of Al Stewart delights is a “Year of the Cat” print, individually signed by Colin Elgie, three posters and a 24 page Collectors’ Book, detailing all of the rare recordings in the set.

• 21 Discs of Newly Remastered Studio Albums
• 18 Discs of Live Recordings
• 3 Discs of BBC Sessions from 1965 - 1972
• 8 Discs of Demos, Outtakes and Rarities from 1964 - 2008
• 160 Page Hardback Coffee Table Book featuring Comprehensive Liner Notes, and In Depth Interview with Al Stewart and Rare Photographs, Memorabilia and Ephemera
• 24 Page Collectors’ Book detailing all the Rare Recordings in the set
• “Year of the Cat” Print individually signed by Colin Elgie
• “Last Days of the Century” Poster

Al Stewart - The Admiralty Lights: Complete Studio, Live and Rare 1964 - 2009 (Official Trailer)

Official Purchase Links

Official Website

Al Stewart @ Facebook

Al Stewart @ Twitter

Al Stewart @ Instagram

Title - Deep Cycles
Artist - JUST

For those of you not in the know, on May 13th, 2022 Justin Kniest (JUST) releases his debut album Deep Cycles, a melancholic journey through the grooves of sadness, loss and hope.

Justin Kniest (1969) is no stranger in the Dutch music scene. As producer of the Dutch Battle of the Bands, booker at Paradiso Amsterdam and founder of Fabchannel - concerts online, he dedicated a large part of his career to promoting new music. The fact that he plays multiple instruments, sings and writes songs he kept to himself. Years of exposure to quality music in Paradiso Amsterdam had raised the bar to a paralyzing level.

That all changed in 2019 when Justin wrote and performed two sad, melancholic and painfully personal songs during a songwriter bootcamp in Spain. The strong emotional reaction to his songs made him decide to take the step into the forefront. He recorded both songs in his home studio and released them under the name JUST. Both songs got airplay on Dutch national radio and amassed over 40.000 plays on Spotify.

In early 2020 Justin decided that his debut album should be produced by Minco Eggersman (UNIFONY, ME, At The Close of Every Day). Eggersman is a well-known producer and international soundtrack composer who has proved to know his way around the world of melancholic music and showing brokenness through beautiful and musical textures.

Together they started working on the first demos and after a short period of time both arranger René de Vries and engineer/mixer Theodoor Borger (UNIFONY) joined the team. JUST was beginning to find its final form. Great songs followed and the rest of 2020 and the first half of 2021 were filled with the production of JUST’s debut album Deep Cycles.

1. Dark Times
2. Walk Slow Smile More
3. Into The Fire
4. Down The River
5. Feels Like Home
6. Every Little Tear
7. Desperate Game
8. Eye Of The Storm

Transparent, heartfelt, melancholic: only a few terms that come to mind when listening to the music of JUST. One immediately recognizes the quality in songwriting as well as recording of the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. The depth in both the recordings and mixes are second to none and sometimes remind you of bands like Talk Talk.

Songwise it’s a mix of the song structures used by Mike Lindup and David Sylvian, albeit way more angled toward the songwriting and vocal delivery of the late Colin Vearncombe (Black), yet these songs definitely deserve their place in between the works of more present-day songwriters like Thomas Dybdahl and Emmet Tinley.

Opening on the ethereally atmospheric, yet levelingly harmonic Dark Days - which is actually not as dark as the title suggests - and the melodic Walk Slow Smile More, up next is the breathy synth pop of Into The Fire, the sophisticated jazz-pop of Down The River, the laid back, top down, Summer’s drive of Feels Like Home, and then we get the pop-centric rhythms of Every Little Tear, the rippling gossamer of Desperate Game, the album closing all too soon on the emotive Eye Of The Storm.

In all, JUST’s music comes to life because of the excellent performances of the participating artists. Justin plays guitar, bass & piano. Minco plays the drums. Famous German session guitar-player Lothar Kosse (Nir Z., brothers Bissionette, Abraham Laborial) added his typical sounding ‘swell’ guitar sounds to the tracks to create some lovely and verby textures. Keyboard player Stephen Smith (ABC, Dire Straits) played Hammond on several tracks.

Official Purchase Link

Official Website

JUST @ Facebook

JUST @ Instagram

Title - The Trilogy, Part 3: White
Artist - Brian Culbertson

For those of you not in the know, the three-phase arc of a longtime relationship serves as the muse of R&B-jazz hitmaker Brian Culbertson’s trilogy of instrumental albums that he wrote, produced and performed with creative input from the 800-plus members of his Hang Club.

On Friday (May 6th), the third disc in the series, a collection of hopeful songs titled The Trilogy, Part 3: White, drops on the BCM Entertainment label. It’s Culbertson’s 25th album that to date has launched nearly forty singles to shoot to number one on the Billboard chart.

Culbertson composed the thirty songs that populate the three albums thematically along what he describes as the three-part arc of a long-term relationship: the hot and steamy “falling in love” phase, the rocky middle when perhaps they even break up for a bit, and the couple reunites to live “happily ever after” phase.

The first album in the series, the sensual and romantic “Part 1: Red” was released last October and the second set, the melancholy “Part 2: Blue” streeted in January.

“Part 3: White” is slightly more diverse stylistically with the uplifting urban grooves, nuanced contemporary jazz and shimmering pop songs fostering feelings of hope as the relationship thrives and endures.

1. “Prelude”
2. “Stars”
3. “Step Into Love”
4. “Dance With Me Tonight”
5. “Just You & Me”
6. “Sandcastles”
7. “My Promise To You”
8. “Conversations”
9. “Summer Hideaway”
10. “Love Everlasting”
11. “You Are My Everything”

This simply divine, orchestrally magnificent, harmonically euphonious new album opens on the short, but sweet reach of “Prelude” and then seamlessly launches us into the smooth grooves of “Stars”, the shimmering, late night beauty of “Step Into Love”, the flutteringly cool breeze of “Dance With Me Tonight” and then comes the transcendent “Just You & Me.”

The atmospheric, guitar-led “Sandcastles” is a finger-snapping delight, so too the full-bodied euphoric majesties found within “My Promise To You” and they are in turn backed by the more profoundly crafted sounds within “Conversations”, the aptly-titled, radiating positive energy and warmth of “Summer Hideaway”, and then the album rounds out with the exultant “Love Everlasting”, closing on the dulcet piano work of “You Are My Everything.”

All three albums in “The Trilogy” were crafted with input from the Hang Club, a tiered membership program via Patreon that Culbertson formed in 2020 tied to the weekly Friday night show that he streams live on YouTube. Hang Club members were granted exclusive behind-the-scenes access into every aspect of Culbertson’s creative process: from songwriting, arranging, recording, producing and mixing.

The first single released from “Part 3: White” for airplay is “Step Into Love,” a sultry mid-tempo call-and-response track featuring Culbertson’s signature piano melodies engaged with Patches Stewart’s soulful muted trumpet explorations, a song that has already been added into Culbertson’s live repertoire.

“I knew it would translate live because the song has real guitar, real bass, a lot of percussion. I had (drummer) Chris Miskel lay a simple groove down and it really turned out nice on stage,” said Culbertson, who has concert dates booked through November to support the album series.

As he has throughout “The Trilogy,” Culbertson performed the majority of the instruments on “Part 3: White” himself, playing piano, vocals, keyboards, Fender Rhodes, Wurlitzer, Hammond B3 Organ, Clavinet, Moogs, guitar, bass, drums, percussion, cello, trumpet and trombone amongst other instruments. Guitarists Paul Jackson Jr., Michael Thompson, Isaiah Sharkey and Gerey Johnson, bassist Maurice Fitzgerald, trumpeter-flugelhornist Michael Stever and vocalist Micaela Haley also appear on the album.

Something different for Culbertson on “Part 3: White” is “Dance With Me Tonight,” which opens with a clubby pulsating beat before breaking into a festive salsa rhythm lavishly decorated with layers of percussion, horns and breathy flute accents by Althea Rene.

“I kept hearing more and more stuff in my head on ‘Dance With Me Tonight’ so I just kept adding it. The last piece of the puzzle that I added was Althea on that rhythmic flute-vocal thing that she did. As a producer, I go where the song takes me. I’ve never had a song that was asking for all that (instrumentation) before. This one asked for it. I’m not going to say no so I just did it. It’s a fun song. I threw the kitchen sink in on that one,” laughs Culbertson, who will be hosting the ninth annual Napa Valley Jazz Getaway in California Wine Country from June 8-11, the sold-out festival that he founded, curates and headlines.

In closing, here on The Trilogy, Part 3: White Culbertson voraciously explores and incorporates innovate sounds and technology into his recordings, which is heard in the lush sonic design he architected for “Part 3: White.”

Official Website

Brian Culbertson @ Facebook

Brian Culbertson @ Instagram

Brian Culbertson @ YouTube

Brian Culbertson @ Twitter

Title - Get F**ked By Fabulous
Artist - Fabulous

For those of you not in the know, few bands’ reputations precede them as much as 1990s British band FABULOUS. Much like the Sex Pistols a dozen years before them, Fabulous’ media headlines back then often included the words “Vandals,” “Banned,” and “Riots.”

Banned by nearly every venue of their debut UK tour, they featured heavily in NME, i-D, The Face, The Wire, Select, and Melody Maker even though they only officially released a mere handful of singles, one of which, “Destined To Be Free” garnered NME’s prestigious “Single of the Week.”

But before they could release their debut album, the band imploded … and their history became UK legend. On June 24th, 2022 however, Boston-based Supermegabot Records is unearthing their 15-track never-before-released album GET F***ED BY FABULOUS to deliver what exactly has been missing in the rock world for the last three decades.

Including the original seven single A and B-sides, coupled with loads of unreleased instant-classic anthems by a wildly-overlooked band from an unsung era of rock history, Get F***ed… carries all the unbridled swagger and unchecked danger that was absent from the post-shoegazer/ecstasy-laced rave trash that dominated the music scene of that time.

With all the attitude and unrestrained infamy of punk bands before them, Fabulous bearhugged Kylie Minogue, Keanu Reeves, Radiohead and Beastie Boys among many others in their den of iniquity and shook up the sleepy music world.

1. Personality Recession
2. Pour Petrol In Her Face
3. Contribution
4. The Faces
5. There’s A Riot Going On
6. Lady Day
7. Dead Friends
8. Destined To Be Free
9. Capital Gold
10. Get Off My Cloud
11. Bus Stop
12. Everything’s Fine
13. The Great British Showbiz Show
14. Right Out Of Here
15. Manic Street Preachers

This exhilarating, raw and yet musically amped for the soul album opens in the vibrantly excessive Personality Recession and the joyfully brash Pour Petrol In Her Face and then launches us into the anthemic Contribution, the rhythmic rock of The Faces, the power chord progressions within There’s A Riot Going On, and then comes both the energy of Lady Day and the catchy rocker Dead Friends.

Up next is the punk ‘n’ roll of Destined To Be Free and the sturdy Capital Gold which are in turn backed supremely by a massively audacious, but fully formed cover of the Stones’ Get Off My Cloud, the melodiousness within Bus Stop, the languished rocker Everything’s Fine, the knee-jerk punk rock nod within The Great British Showbiz Show, the collection rounding out on the burning Right Out Of Here, coming to a close on the aptly-named Manic Street Preachers.

The band’s first lineup featured NME journalist Simon Spence Dudfield (singer) and NME photographers Martyn Goodacre (guitar) and Russell Underwood (guitar), rounded out by Kieron Ronnie Fabulous Flynn (bass) and Robert Hodge Hodges (drums). Equally key was the presence of manager Brown who was also NME editor (and future founder of Loaded Magazine) in the role of not exactly a manager, more a sixth member / agent provocateur.

Produced by Jon Langford (Mekons), their first single on the iconic Heavenly Records “Destined To Be Free” b/w “There’s A Riot Going On,” was released in November 1991 and it burned up the charts. They were consumed with NME Single of the Week, television, tours (opening for the Beastie Boys, having a fledgling Radiohead open for them, riots, chaos, and loads of coverage.

A seemingly endless party had begun. For the next year, Fabulous went full-on, keeping the rumor mill churning, which in turn drove everyone in the business to chase the band. The following May, KROQ in Los Angeles played the B-side “There’s A Riot Going On” as LA burned after the Rodney King verdict.

“We had loads of narcotics, a pad in Soho and masses of arrogance,” recalls Fabulous manager James Brown. “It ended at the Mondrian Hotel in Hollywood, after a disastrous dinner with Seymour Stein (a.k.a. The Man Who Signed Madonna) and Mo Ostin (a.k.a. Chairman of Warner/Reprise). It is fair to say that they were responsible for 50% of the hits in America and had been for 20 years: they were two of the five most influential people in the music world, and we turned up late for the meeting, minus demo tape, with nothing but dirty clothes and indifference to the godfathers of the American music industry. We ordered 10 bottles of wine and the bill came to £4,000.” Needless to say, a signing offer didn’t materialize.

And in due fashion, the stranger-than-fiction stories continued. Pete Waterman (of the massive pop hitmaking production team Stock Aitken Waterman) signed the band to his PWL label and promised to release their supposed debut album Produced By Kylie (of Minogue fame, of course). Simon claimed to Pete that it would be “a cross between the Sex Pistols and Kylie Minogue. He respected that and wanted to work with us.” The signing fizzled soon after and that record never came out.

Enter Keanu Reeves. Running into the actor while he was in London filming a movie, he got mixed up with the band in a bar and ended up stuffed into the trunk of their car. “It must have been a half-hour drive. You could hear him giggling in the back every now and then,” laughs Martyn. “He looked a bit disheveled but got out like nothing had happened and said something like Awesome!

A year and a half after the release of “Destined To Be Free,” they finally get around to releasing new music. Produced by Miles Hunt (The Wonderstuff), “Personality Recession” had early on been singled out as perhaps their best song and created a nice boost for the band but did little to return them to their rightful spot at the top of the charts.

Their following single “Dead Friends” fizzled too. But it wasn’t because the songs sucked… their mates Manic Street Preachers released their debut Generation Terrorists and sucked the air out of their room… and in the States, Nirvana and grunge killed the scene (of which they were part), leaving no room left for Fabulous to reclaim their stake.

“We had a lot of attention early on, but deservedly so, because we were probably the most exciting band in the country,” says Simon. “We were the only band saying anything, the only band that had any intelligence, and we just put people’s backs up. Someone said Fabulous were like the KLF with guitars, and we’ve always just wanted to be terrorists; to stick it up the establishment, to stick it up the music industry.”

As an epitaph, Fabulous had broken up with little fanfare merely a year later in 1993. What remained of UK rock was mushed together under the far more mannered Britpop genre.

What had Fabulous been about? Were they a brilliant band, a revolt against tedium, an attempt to get rich off media manipulation, the luckiest or unluckiest bastards on the planet?

Listen to this exhilarating collection of music on this brand new CD and you decide for yourselves!

Fabulous - Get off My Cloud [Official Music Video]

Title - Légèreté de L’Être
Artist - Cédric Theys

For those unaware, Cédric Theys’ new album Légèreté de L’Être is a musical work of art where beautiful music invites us to travel somewhere outside our usual life and sound, constructed within an ambitious approach in the writing and choice of instruments, and all whilst offering a fresh and naïve approach to the compositional structures.

Indeed, the main sound tissue is woven mostly with mallet and glockenspiel, with inspiration taken from Steve Reich, Philip Glass, all gently with a pallet of pastel colors.

Some pieces are reminiscent of early eighties new wave/cold wave experiments such as Tuxedomoon, but with a more positive touch which is unique to Cédric’s approach.

1. Esprit Dans Une Broderie De Nuages (04:13)
2. Light Being (04:21)
3. Pensive Mind (05:54)
4. Envol (01:48)
5. Le Poids De L’Anima (04:15)
6. Planant Désir (06:18)
7. Heavy Light (06:44)
8. Gliding Through Clouds (03:56)
9. Vol (01:31)
10. Machine Pensante (06:12)
11. Forming Perception (04:53)

The sound is bright and lush and particular care has been given to the recording of all these acoustic instruments and there are beautiful melodic lines provided by oboe, bass clarinet and even a soprano voice on some pieces.

Opener Esprit Dans Une Broderie De Nuages is a crystalline work of pure gossamer and is backed seamlessly by the aptly-titled Light Being, the contemplative craftmanship within Pensive Mind, the veritably gleaming Envol, the profoundly determined Le Poids De L’Anima and then comes the twirling majesties of percussional sounds within the elegant Planant Désir.

Up next is the ruggedly cavernous Heavy Light and the translucent Gliding Through Clouds which are in turn followed by the delicate musings within Vol, the album rounding out on the Eastern exploration found within the cultured rhythms and melodies of Machine Pensante, coming to an all too soon close on the playfully ornate Forming Perception.

In spite of the diverse influences, the songs evolve in a very consistent tapestry and the album is a real concept materialized by its cover symbolizing lightness and freedom. A crystalline universe, and like crystal: tightly organized and reflecting light in all directions.

Says Cédric: “The pieces on Légèreté De L’Être (Lightness of Being) took a few years to write but all of them were finished during the Covid pandemic. I felt that if our being could feel light, we could get through pretty much anything. It doesn’t mean carelessness or meaninglessness but light like the egret taking flight on the cover of the album, free, for a moment, of worries and anxiety.”

“Some will think: Kundera. But the inspiration for the title really is the photography of the egret taking flight with just the grey sky as the background. It seems absolutely fantastic being this light. What stunning things can be done when we reach that state of mind, without having to question what being human means.”

Soprano & celesta: Cristin Colvin
Piano: Deborah Schmit-Lobis
Oboe: Ian Wisekal
Clarinet & bass clarinet: Mary Jungerman
Marimbas, vibraphones & glockenspiels: Peter Cooper, Carl Dixon, Mark Foster, Robert Jurkscheit, Don Roberts
Percussion overdubs: Thomas A. Blomster

Official Website

Cédric Theys @ Facebook

Cédric Theys @ YouTube

Mad Duck @ Twitter

Mad Duck @ Instagram

Title - Faust
Artist - Mahogany Frog

For those unaware, Mahogany Frog’s Faust is an original score set to the eponymous 1926 German silent film. Directed by F. W. Murnau, Faust is widely regarded to be among the greatest films of the silent era.

It tells the classic legend of fate and temptation that dates back centuries. In this, their latest offering, Mahogany Frog brings together their collective experience in composition, experimentation, electronics, intense rock & roll, and searing fuzz guitar. Together they weave a dark and diverse score around Faust’s brooding tale of corruption, devastation and redemption.

1. Introduction (01:14)
2. Faust I (Including: Alchemy) (04:29)
3. Plague I (04:31)
4. Dirge I (07:46)
5. Crossroads (09:41)
6. Stoned I (02:43)
7. Flying Carpet I (04:44)
8. Faust II (01:18)
9. Introduction II: Smokey Reflections (02:18)
10. The Mando Glass (02:32)
11. Muhme Marthe (04:03)
12. We Encircle Within This Ring (05:09)
13. A Decision Of The Flower (05:32)
14. Flying Carpet II: Sword Fight (05:41)
15. Dirge II (04:19)
16. Plague II: Insanity (03:33)
17. Stoned II: Funeral Pyre (03:50)
18. Faust III: Ascension (01:49)

The mood of Faust is varied and complex. There are many faces of Mahogany Frog. Harsh noise, electronic drones, and pulsing textures flow in and out of dark and heavy, guitar-driven riffage.

Soothing washes of melodic synth-pop flow through syrupy, languid organs only to be obliterated by the shrieks of the damned and the devil himself. LOVE.

Act I opens on the reverberating chimes of Introduction which is followed by the razor-edged guitar work within Faust I (Including: Alchemy), the twisted, elevator-esque at first, synth-tastic thereafter Plague I and then the aptly-titled, seven minute Dirge I.

The enveloping growth of the magnificently ambient, near ten minute, spacially aware Crossroads opens up Act II and that is backed by the industrial Stoned I, the translucent Flying Carpet I and then we get the jittery Faust II.

Act III opens with the mysteriously crafted percussion found within Introduction II: Smokey Reflections and then comes the veritably shimmering The Mando Glass and the deep synth work of the fluctuating Muhme Marthe which are in turn backed by the atmospherically-charged We Encircle Within This Ring and the soulful, peacefully melodic A Decision Of The Flower.

The drum-led edge of Flying Carpet II: Sword Fight opens the final Act IV, the recording rounding out on the prog AOR of Dirge II, the scattered rhythms of Plague II: Insanity, coming to a close on the darkened rock hue of Stoned II: Funeral Pyre and the euphorically climatic Faust III: Ascension.

The music for Faust was initially written and rehearsed over the span of three months, culminating in a premier performance at the Roxy Theatre, a historic atmospheric cinema in Saskatoon.

Three more performances in Edmonton, Calgary, and Winnipeg followed. Accompanying the band on this tour was audio engineer Grant Trippel, who later recorded the studio sessions at EDR in February of 2020.

In the interim, Mahogany Frog worked on their seventh studio record Mahogany Frog In The Electric Universe. Following work on …Electric Universe, the live recordings were revisited and work on Faust began anew.

Whereas …Electric Universe was tightly produced, polished and positive; Faust was envisioned as being dark, raw and emotional. Over the course of 12 months, sessions at four different studios yielded the raw materials for a dense and maximalist sonic tapestry. Final editing, mixing and mastering was completed over the next 3 months, first to picture and then for LP.

Official Purchase Link

Mahogany Frog @ Facebook

Mahogany Frog @ YouTube

Mahogany Frog @ Instagram

Title - Tentacles [EP]
Artist - Stick Men

For those unaware, Tentacles (out April 1st, 2022 via MoonJune Records) is a 30-minute limited edition EP and the first in over 6 years from the supergroup Stick Men.

Jam packed with musicality, its grooves and high energy are truly infectious, which goes a long way to showcasing the fact that you simply will not hear this kind of music from any other band!

And sure, ok, the King Crimson influence is obvious, the comparison unavoidable, but these guys - Tony Levin, Pat Mastelotto and Markus Reuter - come together to redefine that sound, adamantly exploring different ideas where, perhaps, Crimson left off.

1. Tentacles (06:39)
2. Ringtone (05:57)
3. Company of Ghosts (06:50)
4. Danger in the Workplace (05:32)
5. Satieday Night (04:57)

Opening on the ferociously-paced, energetically hardened Prog AOR of the title track Tentacles, a track that highlights Mastelotto’s vivacious drumming, Reuter’s touch guitar lines, and Levin’s forthright chapman stick to perfection, that is followed by some masterfully enveloped experimentations within electronics born out through Ringtone and the creepingly organic, intricately rhythmic, stuttered approach to the aptly-titled Company of Ghosts.

Then comes a magnificent Reuter moment where he veritably transforms his instruments sound into a machinic monster, ploughing forward with both Levin and Mastelotto in hot pursuit within the powerhaus Danger in the Workplace (complete with Middle-Eastern sequence), the EP coming to a close on the textural sensibilities of Andy Summers on the rhythmically harmonic, layered instrumental grains of Satieday Night.

Tony Levin: Chapman Stick, Touch Guitars® U10, Vocoder
Pat Mastelotto: Acoustic and Electronic Drums & Percussion
Markus Reuter: Touch Guitars@ AU8, Soundscapes

Official Purchase Link

Stick Men @ Facebook

Stick Men @ Bandcamp

Title - Puzzlebox
Artist - Clint Bahr

For those unaware, PUZZLEBOX is the brainchild of multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Clint Bahr (former member of TriPod, Andromeda & Flash).

PUZZLEBOX is a rock band, a multidimensional “Tabula Rasa” in both compositional and improvisational formats.

PUZZLEBOX is a genre-defying global collaboration of artists, a cross-pollination of diverse instruments and talents.

Inextricably linked to the label, the 2003 self-titled debut of Clint Barr’s seminal NYC-based power trio, Tripod, was MoonJune Record’s fourth release. Harkening back to the same reaching beyond mentality which defined the work, Puzzlebox - bassist / vocalist / composer / multi-instrumentalist Barr’s long-awaited epic - is a fitting way to document this most special of occasions: seeing both artist and label going full circle, and in grandiose style!

Delightfully blurring both stylistic and structural approaches, the tight-knit unit Barr has assembled proves as unpredictable as they are adept, articulate and convicted. Described as a genre-defying global collaboration of artists; a cross-pollination of diverse instruments and talents, Puzzlebox recalls prog in its early heydays: when albums as uninhibited and offscript as King Crimson’s Lizard and Beefheart’s Trout Mask Replica were celebrated, and the Canterbury renaissance was in full swing.

Brilliantly arranged and produced, Clint Barr has delivered a multi-faceted, timeless epic ... at such a time as this.

1. Tabula Rasa (02:27)
2. New Design (05:46)
3. Plate (07:51)
4. Shelter (03:59)
5. As Tympani Melt In The Greek Heat (10:47)
6. Fall From Grace (04:53)
7. Belt & Braces (01:13)
8. Triangles Circles And Squares (02:18)
9. Oslo (01:14)
10. Kicking The Wasps Nests (03:10)
11. Lifeguard In The Rain (03:38)
12. Tabula Rasa 2 (02:39)

Opening on the mystical Eastern soundscapes within Tabula Rasa and the harder edged rocker New Design, they are followed by the flirtatiously experimental, organic Plate, the drum-led prog rock of Shelter and then comes the ten minute percussional masterpiece As Tympani Melt In The Greek Heat and the euphorically soaring Fall From Grace.

Up next is the gently furtive, short but sweet Belt & Braces and the atmospherically-imbibed Triangles Circles And Squares, which are in turn backed by the stoically spoken words of Stephanie Feyne within Oslo, the Bowie-esque rocker Kicking The Wasps Nests, the album rounding out with the aptly-titled, mid-tempo balladry of Lifeguard In The Rain, coming to a close on the sonically-charged Tabula Rasa 2.

Official Purchase Link

Clint Bahr @ Facebook

Clint Bahr @ YouTube

TriPod The Band Website

Clint Bahr @ Bandcamp

Title - Samba Jazz Odyssey
Artist - Hendrik Meurkens The WDR Big Band

For those of you not in the know, maestro Hendrik Meurkens isn’t just an acclaimed artist, whom we have all come to admire. He’s a man brimming with incandescent ideas which manifest into musical gold.

Indeed, what makes Meurkens so special is the singularity of his sound - a German-born, New York-based harmonica player who performs Latin Jazz.

If there is a Venn diagram of these attributes, he would be one of the few in the middle. That he has carved such a niche over a storied career should put this album under a special light. Samba Jazz Odyssey is an adventure with seven pieces composed by Meurkens, which were undoubtedly informed by his trailblazing musical journeys around the world.

The maestro pairs with the august WDR Big Band, from Cologne, Germany, with arrangements which were also conducted by Michael Philip Mossman, a Grammy-nominated arranger.

This project is very special to me, said Meurkens. It is everybody’s dream to record with the WDR Big Band, and I was honored to collaborate with them.

The resulting production is a vivid voyage through samba jazz in its many forms.

1. A Night in Jakarta
2. Manhattan Samba
3. Prague in March
4. Sambatropolis
5. Mountain Drive
6. You Again
7. Bolero para Paquito
8. Samba Tonto
9. Choro

This brand new album A Night in Jakarta (out May 20th, 2022 via Zoho Music) isn’t just a get-up samba with feel good effect. It exemplifies the theme of this project, a veritable tour of samba jazz, which begins in the South Pacific.

Furthermore, Meurkens wrote the piece as an honorific for the Java Jazz Festival organizers based in Jakarta. He and his Samba Jazz Quartet have played at this well-regarded festival many times.

Meurkens has fond memories, particularly of the late-night jam sessions at the hotel. Paul Heller (tenor saxophone) and Raphael Klemm (trombone) deliver dazzling solos to get this album going.

Opening on the free flowing majesties within the title track itself A Night in Jakarta and then a track that Meurkens first recorded on his album Poema Brasileiro in 1996, Manhattan Samba, they back that up seamlessly with the laid back, late night ambiances of Prague in March, the upbeat, finger-snapping rhythms of Sambatropolis and then the euphorically charged Mountain Drive.

O an album where every tune is created with a multitude of melodically rhythmic layers and runs where the band plays as one, navigating the sections with aplomb, up next is the furtively magnificent You Again, the dining serenade of Bolero para Paquito, and then the album rounds out with the gentle hipsway of Samba Tonto, coming to a righteous close on the triumphantly soaring melodies within Jobim’s Choro.

This piece is a musical dedication to the vibrant samba jazz scene in New York, as many terrific Brazilian artists live in the Big Apple.

Official Website

Minas @ Facebook

Title - Always the Outsider
Artist - Stacy Antonel

For those of you not in the know, Americana singer-songwriter Stacy Antonel has always felt as though she’s on the outside looking in, and judging by the music that view inspires, it must really be something.

“I’ve always just had like a sort of outsider looking in perspective,” Antonel says. “I don’t know, my whole life, even as a child in school, I was just watching everybody trying to figure out — ‘Why is that chick popular? What is happening?’ or ‘I don’t know what to do here. I feel very confused.’”

When her debut full-length, aptly titled Always the Outsider, is released on June 17th, 2022 it will reveal stunningly intricate, cosmically oriented Americana songs that oscillate seamlessly between classic country sounds and floating interstellar qualities.

1. Always The Outsider
2. Karmic Cord
3. Kicking And Screaming
4. Planetary Heartache
5. Heartbroken Tomorrow
6. Absent Captain
7. Texas Last Forever
8. You Can’t Trust Fate
9. I Talk When I’m Nervous
10. Not Looking For Love
11. Better Late Than Never
12. Save Your Breath (bonus track)

With each and every song being carried by Antonel’s versatile and silvery vocal melodies, together with her bold instrumental progressions, as well as plenty of serene and exploratory pedal steel, the album opens on the rollalong title track itself Always The Outsider (which addresses the loneliness and isolation she experienced when she first moved to Nashville) and follows that up with the troubadour-imbibed Karmic Cord, the train-track calling within Kicking And Screaming, the achingly earnest Planetary Heartache and then comes the gently fervent twang of Heartbroken Tomorrow and the beautifully crafted hipsway of Absent Captain.

With the fact that even though each song is embedded with the rich quality and consistent vocals of their creator, in such a way that you would assume that decades of worn out boots trodden down over miles of country roads touring must be where her delivery originates, Antonel has actually only been writing and performing for the past six years, which just makes everything you hear on this album all the more special.

Up next is the elegant gossamer balladry of Texas Last Forever and the mid-tempo rumble of You Can’t Trust Fate and they are in turn followed by the aching yearn within I Talk When I’m Nervous, the playfully orchestrated, guitar-led Not Looking For Love, the album rounding out with the flirtatious countrified funky blues of Better Late Than Never, coming to a close on the CD bonus track, Save Your Breath.

An idiosyncratic artist with a background in classical piano, Stacy Antonel makes jazzy, country-leaning, clever Americana that feels both vintage and hyper-modern at the same time.

Rooted in classic country but influenced by jazz, pop, and R&B, her throwback “country jazz” style conjures the 20s-30s musical era when jazz and country weren’t such disparate genres.

There’s a complex, conversational quality to her lyrics, reminiscent of alt-rocker Courtney Barnett, paired with the effortless, emotive vocal power of country icon Patsy Cline. “I like passionate, full-throated singing,” says Antonel. “I want the notes to burst out of me.”

Now based in Nashville, Antonel is poised to release her Americana debut Always the Outsider, featuring compelling, narrative storylines (taking a page from Willie Nelson’s songbook), agile vocal melodies, and unexpected thematic twists.

Official Website

Stacy Antonel @ Facebook

Stacy Antonel @ Twitter

Stacy Antonel @ Instagram

Stacy Antonel @ YouTube

Title - No Nostalgia
Artist - Agender

For those of you not in the know, it’s hard to put Agender into any box: With Australian songwriter and musician Romy Hoffman at the helm, the quartet makes schizo, synthy, paranoid, post-punk with a dash of dysmorphic desire.

And fans? They revel in their sweeping existential terror that comes with a fetish for femininity.

Initially formed in 2011 as a solo punk excursion for Hoffman, Agender was born when she decided to get sober. “It started as impulsive, a way to cope with all these new, raw feelings. I played every instrument myself on the first Agender record.”

But as quickly as it started as a solitary endeavor, it evolved into a trio just two years later. By 2014, the band had become known for its intense punk shows and had released its sophomore album Fixations via Desire Records.

Since then, the queer post-punk outfit has now become a full-fledged quartet with bassist Cristy Michel, drummer Christy Greenwood and synth player Sara Rivas rounding out the band. Still, Hoffman still remains its focal point as the primary writer in the group.

Agender, however, has taken its time with releasing a new record. It’s been seven years since the band released its sophomore LP Fixations. In that 7-year time span, Hoffman moved from Melbourne to Los Angeles, built a life for herself in a new city, released a solo record of dark, driving electronic music, starting running two of L.A’s biggest queer parties (‘Homoccult’ and ‘Lez Croix’), and situated herself as a respected DJ.

The process of No Nostalgia, the band’s third album releasing on May 27th, 2022, has also been slow and steady: the songs were penned pre-pandemic and partially recorded then, but finished during COVID.

In fact, No Nostalgia came from Hoffman reaching the crossroads of oscillating between bouts of extreme nostalgia and extreme amnesia. With the record, she wanted to strip it all away. “When we live in a world where everything is nostalgic, I’m trying to imagine a world with none of that, but it’s impossible. Even if I’m just commenting on society, it’s still referential to something, therefore relies on memory, therefore I’ve thought myself into a corner. It’s from this corner that I write,” she says.

And so, come Spring 2022, fans of Agender will get to experience Hoffman’s reality.

1. Avoid A Void
2. Woah Life Wow
3. Top Bottom Top
4. No Nostalgia
5. Safe
6. Preach
7. Astro Tarot
8. Trouble & Desire
9. FFF
10. Rusher
11. Pastiche
12. Womb 2 Wound
13. Mother Simulacra
14. This Extinction of Handwriting

Opening on the fervent synth, alt-pop urgency of the self-referential Avoid A Void (“Exist in a slippery dip/Spits you out into a big abyss”) and the angst punk introspection complete with grunge guitar riffs within Woah Life Wow, they back those up seamlessly with the funky celebration of queer love with the disco-punk anthem Top Bottom Top, the drum led early ’80s, new wave/art pop embrace of the title track No Nostalgia, the flickering synth hue of Safe and then we get the alt-punk balladry of Preach and the alt-pop rock bounce of Astro Tarot.

Next up is the drum-led, Kraftwerk-esque synth work within the heart-racing Trouble & Desire and the frantic fuzzy guitars of FFF (Fact Fuck Fiction) and they are in turn followed by the emphatic foot-tapper of the absurdity of politics as theater within Rusher, the fist-clenched, tongue-in-cheek parody on postmodernism within Pastiche, the rambunctious Womb 2 Wound, the album rounding out on the playful synth and guitar fuzz of Mother Simulacra (a realization that Hoffman’s relationships are a copy of her relationship with her mother), coming to a mighty hard earned close on the bass-led, again Kraftwerk-esque piece This Extinction of Handwriting; where Hoffman’s spoken word yearnings for simpler times are brought forth.

While Agender’s last two records took themselves a bit more seriously, No Nostalgia is rooted in satire. “This record is poking fun at modernity and postmodernity,” says Hoffman. “It’s satirical. It’s a bird’s eye view of where we are and the absurdity of everything.”

Inspired by everything from The French Situationist Movement to Wire and Buzzcocks, No Nostalgia is a canvas painted with singular post-punk.

Introducing No Nostalgia, Agender has shared two singles ahead of its release. Last Fall, they unveiled “Preach,” an eerie, synth-heavy single laced with guitar stabs that transforms God into Goddess energy.

And in May, they shared “Astro Tarot,” an ode to divine intuition and the cosmic roadmap that intrigues the psyche. The title track is Agender’s third single, which is due TK is most emblematic of the record: “For me, it’s imagining a world of no memory.”

While Agender is Hoffman’s current focus, her experience in music spans more than two decades: She began her career as a teen playing guitar in Ben Lee’s pop-punk band Noise Addict and later became the first hip hop artist (and second Australian) to sign to Kill Rock Stars, as Macromantics.

Later, Hoffman began making dark electro pop and house music under ROMY.

Official Purchase Link

Official Website

Agender @ Facebook

Agender @ Instagram

Agender @ SoundCloud

Title - Bach - Goldberg Variations [2CD]
Artist - Tianqi Du

For those of you not in the know, in recent years, Tianqi Du has returned to the stage performing Bach’s Goldberg Variations. Featuring 13 preludes and fugues arranged by the B.A.C.H motif, his program has been presented many times and gained wide attention in both China and America.

The review of The Theatre Time at Carnegie Hall says, “It’s impossible not to draw comparisons to Glenn Gould when considering Tianqi Du, age 25, a rising star in China’s classical music scene. In the sea of up-and-coming piano talent, Tianqi Du has forged his own identity. Embracing avant-garde experimentation and modern visual arts, Du pushes the envelope, extending himself far beyond the classical concert pianist route.”

In the Chinese classical music magazine Piano Artistry, world-renowned piano teacher, Professor Zhaoyi Dan, wrote that “Tianqi’s ‘Goldberg Variations’ deeply touched everyone at the recital and my heart was quivering. At the many concerts I have seen in my lifetime I have experienced emotions from excitement to sleeplessness, but this was the first time I listened to a performance with tears in my eyes, and then sobbed in the artists’ arms backstage.”

Releasing this month as a 2CD set, Tianqi Du’s Bach - Goldberg Variations (out via Naive Records) is everything you knew it would be and everything you could have ever hoped it would be.

CD 1:
1. aria
2-16. variations I â xv

CD 2:
1-15. variations XVI â xxx
16. aria da capo

As I am sure we are all well aware by now, at its core, the Goldberg Variations do constitute a cycle, primarily for the very fact that any succession of variations on a preceding theme provides a strongly interlinked cyclic form, but also, and more importantly, because they follow an elaborate compositional structure, interlocking character, virtuoso, and canonic variations, implementing musical progression and symmetry as paramount formal principles.

The cyclic shape of the work is not identifiable only through the architectonic disposition of the three types of variations mentioned above; there are further traits that link the pieces together, such as dance suite movements which relate to each other in different ways (e.g., passepied, gigue, French ouverture, sarabande, menuet, polonaise), genres (e.g., fantasia, sinfonia, fugetta, quodlibet), time signatures, (minor) key, number of voices, etc.

Any variation may be classified according to a number of parameters, simultaneously belonging to several networks of pieces. In this context, the question arises to what extent its performers realize the cyclic potential of the Goldberg Variations inherent to its overall structure and to the individual pieces, i.e., how they handle parameters such as tempo, duration, dynamics, repeats, and harpsichord registration.

So yes, the overall interpretation of such elements may add further layers to the correlational structures present in the cycle, but never, at any point, does it sway the listener away from what is provided, what is conjured by each performer that has chosen to undertake it - in part or in whole.

From the ornately flourishing opening aria on through both sets of variations on to the finale of the delicate gossamer of the aria da capo, everything about this recording is top notch and heartfeltly cultured.

With that all said, here on Du’s undertaking, the fast rising star in China’s classical music scene strives to forge his own identity within the genre and for the most part not only manages to achieve that, but most assuredly brings about one of the most accomplished works of Bach to our ears at the same time.

Official Website

Tianqi Du @ Instagram

Title - Chiaroscuro
Artist - Zlata Chochieva

For those of you not in the know, Zlata Chochieva first came to international attention with her highly-praised recordings of works by Chopin and Rachmaninov.

Displaying a deep affinity with these composers, combined with probing honesty and imagination, they have established her as a distinctive voice amongst pianists.

Hailed by Gramophone as “the possessor of a comprehensive technique who brings an inner glow to every bar”, Zlata Chochieva appears regularly at many prestigious concert halls, festivals and with major orchestras and conductors.

This season, Zlata returns to Aachen Symphony Orchestra for performances of Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 2 which follows on from having been “Artist in Focus” there in the 19/20 season.

She also returns to the Serate Musicale series in Milan and Berlin Klavierfestival at the Konzerthaus as well as visiting Tilburg and Linz for recitals.

She will be touring the USA giving recitals in Miami, Minneapolis and San Diego amongst others.

And so with Zlata Chochieva joining Naïve exclusively she has now brought out this month the first album of their collaboration, Chiaroscuro, which features Mozart and Scriabin, to coincide with Scriabin’s 150th birthday.

1-10. Mozart - Variations (9) on a minuet by Duport for piano in D major, K. 573
11-15. Scriabin - 5 Preludes op.15
16-19. Scriabin - Piano Sonata No. 3 in F sharp minor (“Etats d’âme”), Op. 23
20-30. Mozart - Variations (10) on “Unser dummer Pöbel meint,” for piano in G major, K. 455
31-35. Scriabin - 5 Preludes op.16
36. Scriabin - Piano Sonata no.10 op.70
37. Mozart - Gigue for piano in G major (“Eine kleine Gigue”), K. 574

Scriabin and Mozart: two composers rarely associated, yet the juxtaposition here seems clear when performed by Zlata Chochieva. Yet on this vivaciously heartfelt new, and first album, the Russian pianist, new to the naïve label, is ingenious in both the cycles of fragmented variations and the more opulent sonatas or preludes.

Opening on the elegantly graceful work of Mozart’s 9 Variations (on a minuet by Duport for piano in D major, K. 573), where each one brings forth its very own spirited waves, delicate nature, and at times flirtatiously impassioned and, dare I say, forthrightly playful melodies, we then enjoy the rhythmic melodies within Scriabin’s - 5 Preludes (op.15) and furthermore the more pronounced themes and refrains within his Piano Sonata No. 3 in F sharp minor (“Etats d’âme”, Op. 23). [Not listed is also the most sublime bonus Mozart moment of Fantasia Master 44k 16b.]

Next we receive the woundrous collection of Mozart’s 10 Variations (on “Unser dummer Pöbel meint,” for piano in G major, K. 455) which range from the opening perkiness on through to the tantalizingly embellished through to the vivaciously lively finale, and which is backed, for the most part, by the more somber, subdued tones held with Scriabin’s 5 Preludes op.16.

Rounding this incredible work of musical art out is the quietly spirited work of Scriabin’s Piano Sonata no.10 (op.70) and then one of my own personal favorites, Mozart’s precisely manicured, restraints off flow within Gigue for piano in G major (“Eine kleine Gigue”, K. 574). [Not listed is also the quite glorious bonus Mozart moment Fantasia Master 44k 16b]

About this new collaboration with naïve, Zlata Chochieva said: “I am extremely happy to become part of the family at naïve and look forward to our upcoming recording projects exploring some wonderful music. I am delighted to announce that our first album together will celebrate the 150th birth-anniversary of the great Russian composer Alexander Scriabin, whose world will be highlighted by the music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.”

“Scriabin and Mozart have walked by my side along my musical path since I was a child, and recording this repertoire has been an act of pure happiness for me, so I can’t wait to share it with a wide audience.”

Official Zlata Chochieva Website

Zlata Chochieva @ Facebook

Title - Violeta y el Jazz
Artist - Emiliano Gonzalez Toro / Thomas Enhco

For those of you not in the know, on April 29th, 2022 tenor Emiliano Gonzalez Toro and pianist Thomas Enhco released Violeta y el Jazz, an album dedicated to the works of Chilean composer, singer-songwriter, and folklorist Violeta Parra.

The album marks the second release on Gonzalez Toro and his French Baroque ensemble I Gemelli’s newly minted Gemelli Factory label. Violeta y el Jazz includes ten tracks in new arrangements for voice, piano, trumpet, bass, percussion, and cuatro, compiled as a tribute to the Chilean songstress 50 years after her death.

1. Volver a los 17
2. Écoute moi petit
3. Gracias a la Vida
4. Maldigo del alto cielo
5. La jardinera
6. Run Run se fue pa’l norte
7. Según el favor del viento
8. Une Chilienne à Paris
9. Porque los pobres no tienen
10. Gracias a la Vida

This remarkable passionate and heartfelt new recording opens on the velvet gossamer wings of the delicate Volver a los 17 and the upbeat, playful and swinging Écoute moi petit and backs those up with the ornate piano musings found within Gracias a la Vida, the vibrancy of Maldigo del alto cielo and then a profoundly honest yearn is brought forth within La jardinera (The Gardener).

Up next is the profoundly steadfast tones and notes of Run Run se fue pa’l norte and the spirited Según el favor del viento and they are in turn followed by the late night, smokey club, lush, low vocalizations within Une Chilienne à Paris, the album rounding out on the impassioned embrace within Porque los pobres no tienen (Because The Poor Do Not Have), coming to a righteously flirtatious close on Gracias a la Vida.

Violeta Parra was born in 1917, in the region of Chillán, in the South of Chile, into a poor family of ten children. She composed her first songs at the age of twelve and soon after, started perfor¬ming in small venues with one of her sisters.

In 1952, after taking advice from her brother (the renowned “anti¬-poet” Nicanor Parra), she initiated a journey travelling around Chile with a tape recorder, capturing and compiling the nation’s traditional and folk songs. This was how she contributed to the creative process of the national Chilean identity, transcribing over 3000 songs in a book entitled Cantos Folklóricos Chilenos (Chilean Folk Music).

“Violeta Parra is a legend,” says Gonzalez Toro. “She roamed the country, looking for Chile’s forgotten folk songs, becoming the relentless ambassador of an unpretentious popular culture. Self-taught, she learned how to sing, to write, to play the harp and the guitar. Her raw voice imprinted the history of song writing in Latin America and beyond: without Violeta, there would be no Joan Baez, no Bob Dylan!”

“She invented and broadcasted what would then revolutionize po¬pular music in the 60s: folk. Violeta’s songs are of the utmost beauty: Volver a los 17, Según el favor del viento… and the international hymn that is Gracias a la Vida today. As the son of Chilean parents, I grew up with Violeta Parra’s songs; I know them like the back of my hand, as many other Latin Americans of my generation do.”

To commemorate 50 years since Parra’s tragic death by suicide, Gonzalez Toro invited pianist Thomas Enhco and others to pay a tribute to her life in songs. Enhco, who had never heard the works of Parra before working on this project, writes, “I discovered a fascinating poetic work, texts so deep and uniquely rich that overwhelmed me… I tried to align the music to the same intensity and richness as that of the lyrics without betraying their essence by using reharmonization, building on form and rhythm, while leaving moments to improvisation, as well as an orchestra¬tion that mixes jazz (piano, double bass, trumpet) with Latin American roots (percussions, cuatro, voice).”

EMILIANO GONZALEZ TORO - lead vocals & artistic direction
THOMAS ENHCO - piano, violin, vocals & arrangements
DAVID ENHCO - trumpet, flugelhorn
JEREMY BRUYÈRE - upright bass
EDWIN SANZ - percussion
LEO RONDON - cuatro & arrangements
IRENE TORO - vocals, Spanish coach

Ensemble I Gemelli @ Facebook

Title - On The Edge of No Tomorrow
Artist - Quartz

For those not in the know, On The Edge of No Tomorrow is the brand new studio album from legendary NWOBHM-influencing Quartz and features founder Quartz members Mick Hopkins, Derek Arnold, Malcolm Cope and Geoff Nicholls, with vocals from Geoff Bate and Dave Garner.

It also includes the final songs and recordings from Black Sabbath keyboard player Geoff Nicholls and guest vocals from Sabbath’s Tony Martin.

Although Quartz are often viewed as mainstays of the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal scene of the late 1970s and early 1980s, in truth they were more of an influence on the movement, their origins predating the NWOBHM (New Wave Of British Heavy Metal) by a number of years.

The significance, relevance and importance of this album cannot be simply measured in just terms of music, because it’s so much more than that.

Indeed, the band hope that this will give the listener an insight into the amount of work, under some extreme difficulties and associated emotional feelings involved, in the completion and the eagerly anticipated release of their latest studio album that both honors and pays tribute to Geoff Nicholls’ legacy.

1. Freak of Nature
2. Death or Glory
3. They Do Magic
4. Master of the Rainbow
5. Night of the Living Dead
6. Evil Lies
7. Angels at the Crossroad
8. Keep Up the Fight
9. Brainwashed
10. Babylon Is Burning
11. What Love Is
12. Dirty Disease
13. World of Illusion
14. Highway to Madness

This majestically-cultured, heartfelt rock project (and one that is easily accessible by all ages regardless of their metal heritage) opens on the riff-driven pounder Freak of Nature and the prog/rock/pop of Death or Glory and backs those up with the rambunctiously melodic They Do Magic, the drum-led, guitar heavy rocker Master of the Rainbow, the free-flowing pop rocker Night of the Living Dead, and then we get the prog balladry, at first, later the guitar lickin’ fest within Evil Lies and the pure metal of Angels at the Crossroads.

I mean, considering the fact that to the best of my knowledge, Geoff Bate hasn’t performed vocals on a Quartz record in nearly 40 years, overall his vocal expertise here is simply phenomenal as the recording continues onward with the cultured classic rock vibe of Keep Up the Fight and the free wheelin’ beauty Brainwashed and they are in turn followed by the mid-tempo balladry of Babylon Is Burning, the full force ’80s metal AOR of What Love Is, the recording rounding out on the prog grunge of Dirty Disease, the rhythmic rock of World of Illusion, coming to a close on the gently frenetic Highway to Madness.

Official Purchase Link

Title - Sing To The Walls
Artist - Chastity Brown

For those not in the know, as the daughter of a blues musician, Chastity Brown was born with an innate ability to channel complex circumstances into beautiful, uplifting songs.

But after surviving the isolation of the early pandemic and witnessing the global racial reckoning that manifested itself in the riots mere blocks from her South Minneapolis home, even she is surprised to hear the way her new album Sing To The Walls turned out.

“It’s a love album, in a way I didn’t plan on,” Chastity says.

Like so many artists who endured the uncertainty of the 2020 lockdown, Chastity’s instinct was to turn inward, at first out of self-preservation, and then because the new songs kept coming and coming.

Since finishing her last album, 2017’s Silhouette Of Sirens, she estimates she’s written nearly 100 new songs, 10 of which found their way onto Sing To The Walls.

1. Wonderment
2. Back Seat
3. Loving the Questions
4. Boston
5. Curiosity
6. Golden
7. Sing to the Walls
8. Like the Sun
9. Hope
10. Gertrude

In truth, from the very off, all these songs unfold with Chastity’s expressive voice and expansive melodies as if she were a songstress from days of yore, leading the listener through an intertwining pendulous of atmospheric sounds that simply fill your very soul with righteous harmony.

Opening on the heartfelt growth of sounds and vocals within the expressive, emotively dreamy Wonderment and the dulcetly manicured, subdued Latin-hued hipsway of Back Seat, she backs those up seamlessly with the flickering synth work of the wrenching ballad Loving the Questions, the quietly euphoric, organ-imbibed Boston and the Americana-tinged Curiosity (her ode to healing a broken heart post-breakup).

Up next is the soaring Golden, a searing indictment of white complacency and a cathartic release of post-uprising rage and that is in turn followed by an ode to the sweetness of life within the magnificent title track Sing to the Walls, the totally transcendent gossamer flow of Like the Sun is next, the album rounding out on the pulsing promise made within Hope, coming to an all too soon close on the atmospherically-charged balladry of Gertrude.

For the first time, Chastity also served as the lead producer on some of the tracks, and co-producer on all of them. “I just was like, ‘why can’t I do it?’ It maybe meant that some things took longer, but it was like, ‘Where am I going now anyway?’ The way I’ve worked since the pandemic began, as far as songwriting and arranging and composing, I’ve never been so productive. Whatever touring life becomes going forward, I want to always carve out writing time. I’m addicted to it. And it’s such a cool high,” she says.

Sing To The Walls is a sonically expansive album; it mines the roots of Americana, folk, and soul music, but Chastity’s stories are delivered in a style that feels remarkably timely, modern, and forward-thinking. “I celebrate the emotional richness in the tradition, but in my music I’ve committed myself to moving forward and reflecting the experiences of those overlooked by tradition.”

In the same way, her lyrics seek to reach across a great divide. “I will sing to those walls, hope it gets through / And I will sing to your scars, they need healing too,” Chastity sings on the album’s title track, a pandemic love song about breaking through the physical, emotional, and social barriers that have been constructed around all of us in recent years.

By the next track, “Like the Sun,” she breaks through into a melody that rises like a wide-open prairie sunrise—a heart-rending moment that demonstrates her talent for expressing big, beautiful ideas in her music, and to create songs that radiate bliss.

Even amid the chaos, while delivering the release-valve verses of “Golden,” she remains steadfast. “I’ve got joy even when I’m a target, if you think that’s political don’t get me started,” Chastity sings, demanding to know: “Why have I got to be angry?”

Official Chastity Brown | New Album - Sing To The Walls Promo

Official Purchase Link

Chastity Brown @ Facebook

Chastity Brown @ Twitter

Chastity Brown @ Instagram

Chastity Brown @ YouTube

Title - Kings of the New Age
Artist - State Champs

New York pop-punk outfit State Champs may have the best band name in the game today. It bleeds a certain bravado, daring the new listener to take a listen and become a fan. And their sixth studio release since their debut in 2011, Kings of the New Age, is equally as daring, and wholly delivers on the unspoken guarantee that you’ll walk away impressed.

With a bright guitar sound and a driving rhythm section behind nearly every track, State Champs’ music joyfully nudges the listeners’ subconscious toward Sum 41, Blink-182, Good Charlotte, and other bands I loved in junior high and high school. And yet, for sounding so similar, State Champs brings their own distinct vibes to each song.

1. Here to Stay
2. Eventually
3. Everybody But You (ft. Ben Barlow)
4. Outta My Head
5. Fake It
6. Half Empty (ft. Chrissy Costanza)
7. Just Sound
8. Act Like That (ft. Michell Tenpenny)
9. Where Were You
10. Sundress (ft. Four Year Strong)
11. Some Minds Don’t Change

Just Sound became an early contender for favorite track, with an overall feeling that it could easily be featured on the best skateboard video game you’ve never played. Vocalist Derek Discanio brings the exact amount of spite required for one of the best worn-out relationship lines ever: “Enough is enough, what the f*** was I thinkin’/Being with you is like working on the weekend…” Brutal.

Perhaps the best part of State Champs as a band is that each member gets a chance to shine. Drummer Evan Ambrosio leads the charge on Some Minds Don’t Change, and while distorted vocals are cool, Ryan Scott Graham’s bass wins the day on Outta My Head. The ensemble is rounded out with the high marks that Tyler Szalkowski’s guitar gets on Eventually.

Certain songs, particularly Fake It and Act Like That, lean into the pop side of the pop-punk equation. These tracks, as well, bring to thought another beloved band, Rooney. But as with the others, these similarities only occur in the very best of ways. And while State Champs more than carry the album on their own, they also make good use of Mitchell Tenpenny, Ben Barlow, Chrissy Costanza, and Four Year Strong as featured guests.

In many ways, I’m grateful Kings of the New Age (they are exactly that) was my introduction to State Champs, since it was such a strong note to begin on. But by the same token, the fact that I am a decade too late to support this band from an initial release is a disappointment.

But I’m very excited to make up for all that lost time.

Review by: Ashley J. Cicotte

Kings of the New Age is available on all music streaming platforms.

State Champs - Act Like That [Ft. Mitchell Tenpenny] (Official Music Video)

Official Purchase Link

Official Website

State Champs @ Facebook

State Champs @ Instagram

State Champs @ Twitter

State Champs @ YouTube

State Champs @ Bandcamp

Title - Bioluminate
Artist - Circus Mind

For those of you not in the know, CIRCUS MIND is a New York-based rock outfit and the brainchild of singer/songwriter and keyboardist Mark Rechler.

The band is about to celebrate its 20th year and will unveil their fourth release BIOLUMINATE on June 17th, 2022. BIOLUMINATE continues to capture the CIRCUS MIND spirit as they weave through past, present, and funky future.

CIRCUS MIND is a camouflaged Cephalopod that can change colors, moods and styles in an instant, swimming from jazzy groove rock to funky reggae roots with ease. Their previous release JOY MACHINE featured Big Sam, Marc Ribot, Ivan Neville, Walter Wolfman Washington, Scott Metzger, and more.

An eclectic collection of ’70s rock and funk with modern takes on N’awlins swamp rock mixed with Beatles pop, the first JOY MACHINE single “Are You Ready?” featured guest guitar phenom Brandon “Taz” Niederauer, and its music video was well received by critics and fans alike.

Their earlier release “Silver Flower” was voted one of the Best Indie Albums of 2006 by Newsday and put a modern take on influences such as Traffic, Steely Dan, Little Feat, and Mott the Hoople while mixing in NoLa vibe influences like Dr. John, The Meters and The Neville Brothers. The CIRCUS MIND single “Jazzfest Time” was released as an ode to the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.

1. West End Road (4:44)
2. Darwin’s Sister (6:02)
3. Baby Come Back Down (4:15)
4. Miss Fortune (6:36)
5. Vampire Blues (3:46)

This quite wondrously uplifting, vibrantly joyous new album opens on the fluidly gorgeous, Jagger-imbed vibe of the second official single from the album West End Road, which brings with it an emotive experience akin to a swamp rock, jazzy gospel hoedown ala Little Feat and Taj Mahal and that is followed by the early-Stones-imbibed blues-rock of Darwin’s Sister.

Up next is the uproarious first BIOLUMINATE single Baby Come Back Down (featuring NoLa guitarist Marc Paradis of Johnny Sketch and The Dirty Notes) and which comes complete with a funky driving Caribbean backbeat mixed with rock and soul vibes and delicious synthesizer work and that is in turn backed by the mid-tempo balladry of Miss Fortune (with special guest Nels Cline of Wilco), the album coming to an all too soon close on the Hammond-embedded, smooth blues grooves within Vampire Blues (which also features special guests Matty Fox and Matt Godfrey from the Brandon “Taz” Niederauer Band).

Longtime bassist Chris Crosby, who passed during the recording of the album, appears on four of the tracks.

CIRCUS MIND has opened for national acts (Toots & The Maytals, The Neville Brothers, The Radiators) and had many notable guests sit in on their recordings and live performances (Soulive, Rebirth Brass Band, Cyril Neville).

CIRCUS MIND’s members are diverse in their influences and playing styles. Lead vocalist, songwriter and keyboardist Mark Rechler performs with multiple projects and has played, toured, and recorded with members of The Meters, The Neville Brothers, The Radiators, Soulive, The Brandon “Taz” Niederauer Band, Rebirth Brass Band, Ivan Neville, and more.

Spending five years in New Orleans studying music, art, & architecture helped influence his style and direction, and he always keeps his listeners salivating and wanting more.

Guitarist Jaime Scott has toured the world as a guitarist and engineer, with renowned ensemble John Lurie and the Lounge Lizards. In doing so he followed the lineage of the legendary and influential Lounge Lizard’s guitarists who came before him. “Baby Come Back Down” also features late and long-time CIRCUS MIND bassist Chris Crosby, who had studied with Oteil Burbridge of The Allman Brothers Band and Dead & Co.

The band’s rhythm section features drummer Dan Roth, a driving force of funky world influences and percussionist Steve Finkelstein, who has worked recorded and performed with pop icons from Ray Charles as well as jam band giants including members of the Dead, Allman’s, and Neville’s, and Tower of Power. Steve is also a founding member of the Funk Filharmonik.

New Member Saxophonist Michael Amendola holds a BA in Arranging from The Berklee College of Music. Credits include touring, film scores, jingles, and Broadway shows. Michael was a member of The Tony Trischka Band for 7 years, producing 2 recordings on Rounder Records and as a leader, released the jazz recording “Big Sunflower” on CDC Records.

Also joining the party is Leandro Da Silva, a multi-faceted bassist from São Paulo, Brazil who brings elements of Samba and Funk that can be heard in his diverse playing style.

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Title - Canelita Sabrosa
Artist - Canelita Sabrosa

For those of you not in the know, serial entrepreneur Chris Nettuno isn’t merely a music patron; he’s a member of the band. And when the COVID-19 lockdown threatened the livelihood of his group of full-time studio musicians and sidemen, the conga player found a way to keep the music playing.

Those weekly porch concerts not only kept the musicians afloat but became the lifeblood of the debut album from the multicultural band Canelita Sabrosa.

The Atlanta-based unit’s self-titled set, produced by five-time Grammy winner Dru Castro (India.Aire, Usher, Childish Gambino) along with the band’s two-time Grammy-winning guitarist Julio Miranda and drummer Chunky Sounds, drops May 20th, 2022 on the band’s Canelita Sabrosa Records label.

1. “Señorita”
2. “Te Espere”
3. “Si Se Puede”
4. “Morning”
5. “Breath of Rio”
6. “Havana”
7. “Vamos”
8. “Use Me”
9. “Lovesong”
10. “Come Together”
11. “Clouded Vision”
12. “Late Winter”
13. “Use Me” (vocal version)
14. “Lovesong” (vocal version)
15. “Come Together” (vocal version)
16. “Clouded Vision” (vocal version)

This exuberantly charged and vibrantly spirited new album opens on the free flowing majesties within the shimmering cover of Camila Cabello’s “Señorita” and the sultry, sensually-imbibed Latin jazz guitar groove of “Te Espere” before they bring forth the rhythmical sashays and shimmies of “Si Se Puede,” the atmopsheric “Morning,” the captivatingly exotic “Breath of Rio,” the intricate guitar work of Cabello’s mesmerizing “Havana,” and then come both the anthemic “Vamos” and the newly-veined hipsway of Bill Withers’ “Use Me.”

Canelita Sabrosa, which means tasty cinnamon in Spanish, and is a name selected to reflect the group’s multiethnic makeup as well as their combined multicultural stylings, continues onward with a highly inventive rendition of Cure’s “Lovesong” and a Latin guitar rock out on The Beatles’ “Come Together,” and those are followed by the sax-embedded, rousingly euphoric “Clouded Vision” before the album rounds out on a quintet of smoothly sung vocal tracks by Nettuno, in the form of “Late Winter” and then vocalizations of previous tracks: “Use Me,” “Lovesong,” “Come Together” and “Clouded Vision.”

During the first few months of the pandemic, Nettuno invited the band over to play in his family room. After a few songs, they heard applause coming from outside the house. Neighbors had gathered and asked the group to perform outside. The eight-piece outfit that blends Latin, jazz, R&B, funk and rock was happy to oblige the following week.

Word spread quickly and soon hundreds of people began flocking to the weekly Friday night shows. A local television reporter was in the audience, which led to a segment on Atlanta’s CBS affiliate.

The grassroots buzz inspired Canelita Sabrosa to record an album featuring a mix of the popular cover tunes that populate their live setlist along with five original songs composed by Miranda and a pair of songs written by vocalist-rhythm guitarist Kenny Nettuno and his son, KJ Nettuno.

Colorful Puerto Rican, Afro Cuban, Brazilian and Caribbean nuances intermingle with improvised jazz explorations and rock god guitar pyrotechnics. Anchored by thick percussive salsa, samba and bossa nova beats constructed by Sounds, Chris Nettuno and percussionist Frankie Quinones, Miranda issues piercing lead guitar riffs and scorching solos seasoned by Kenny Nettuno’s spicy rhythms and sweet melodies.

As bassist Matt Stallard carves deep-pocketed grooves, the dynamic three-man horn section - trumpeter Justin Powell, saxophonist EJ Hughes and sax/flutist Mac Isseks - douses the tracks with fire and fervor. Adding to the project’s pedigree is four-time Grammy-winning engineer Ralph Cacciurri (Coldplay, OutKast, P!nk).

“Canelita Sabrosa is a culmination of diverse cultures and musical backgrounds. We all have one thing in common and that is passion: passion for life, love and music. That passion is what drives every part of our music - the grooves, the tones, the words!” enthuses Chris Nettuno.

The music on Canelita Sabrosa is primarily instrumental with a handful of selections appearing on the album in both instrumental and vocal versions. The eclectic track list confirms the band’s multigenerational appeal with the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s and present day represented by fresh versions of The Beatles’ “Come Together,” Bill Withers’ “Use Me,” The Cure’s “Lovesong” and Camila Cabello’s “Señorita” and “Havana.”

“The covers are all about the grooves, the feeling. We try to play music that people can identify with and feel while letting each musician fly freely to let loose and show their musical soul and unique voice in each song,” says Chris Nettuno.

“As a band, we really enjoy playing together and Covid couldn’t slow us down. We started recording in the summer of Covid, which was The Summer of Love for Canelita Sabrosa. We wrote and recorded because we never stopped when everyone else had to. We found a way. Chris Nettuno had other plans. Because of this one man, us musicians where saved. He kept us playing to feed the beast in our soul to perform for people and to help them forget that we were in a pandemic. As the world steadily emerges from the grip of the pandemic, the timing is perfect to release our first album,” says Miranda.

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Title - Freedom
Artist - Albare & Co.

For those of you not in the know, Albare is the nom de guerre of Albert Dadon, a virtuoso jazz guitarist with a strong melodic sense and a wealth of global influences.

Born in Morocco and raised in Israel and France, Albare first worked as a musician in France, before emigrating to Australia at the age of 27. He is not only well known as a jazz musician but has maintained a highly successful career as one of Australia’s most prominent musician entrepreneurs.

He is undoubtedly a major force in Australian jazz, having directed the Melbourne Jazz Festival for many years and as chairman of the Australian Jazz Awards. In 2008 he received the Order of Australia for his service to the Arts and Business.

Albert Dadon, stage name ALBARE, was born in 1957. Albare started playing music at the ripe age of 8 when his late mother bought a classic acoustic guitar for his birthday. Living in Israel at the time, he became one of the first students of the freshly opened conservatory of music in Dimona Israel.

His love for the instrument only became obvious when his parents moved to France when he turned 10. His discovery of Django Reinhardt, Jimi Hendrix, Wes Montgomery, and later Antonio Carlos Jobim, set Albare into a lifetime of study, composing and playing the instrument.

Albare remembers that the sense of melody he brings to his compositions and improvisation was always present. Compositions written in his teenage years, such as ‘What Goes Around’ (from the album by the same name) and Zarathoustra (Midnight Blues) were recorded in the 90s and still form part of the Albare repertoire today.

The songs presented on his brand new album Freedom (out June 3rd, 2022 via ALFI Records) are all original compositions by either Albare or his collaboration with Phil Turcio which has been ongoing for over thirty years.

Freedom is a tribute to the symbol Jazz represents everywhere. In a world where freedom of expression is increasingly being censored, Albare says “Jazz is the voice of freedom and it shall never be silenced”.

1. Freedom
2. Adues
3. La Fiesta (w/ Intro)
4. Lost Compass
5. Love Is Always
6. Randy Makes Me Smile
7. Shimmozle
8. Sketches
9. Sunny Samba
10. New Expectations

This exuberantly charged and vibrantly spirited new album opens on the free flowing title track Freedom and the upbeat hipsway of Adues and backs those up seamlessly with the gently frenetic swinger La Fiesta (w/ Intro), the triumphantly euphoric musings within Lost Compass and then comes the late night jazz club appeal of Love Is Always.

Next up is one of my own personal favorites on this vital new recording, the trumpet-imbibed magnificence of Randy Makes Me Smile and that is in turn followed by the low slung rhythmic swing of Shimmozle, the precisely manicured guitar work within the almost delicate Sketches, the album rounding out on the mid-tempo melodies of Sunny Samba, coming to a close on the hot summer’s day breeze of New Expectations.

Long before Bob Dylan and Paul Simon hit a societal raw nerve through their protest songs of the 1960s, Jazz had long established itself as arguably the first activist music – becoming the poster child for emancipation and liberty along the way.

Such is its power that totalitarian regimes similar as North Korea sought to ban it and jail musicians who ventured into its orbit. At this strange point in our western democratic history, where one by one, our freedoms are being eroded, it is good to remind ourselves of the genesis of Jazz – as an expression of freedom.

In this spirit, we conjure once again the activist roots inherent in the art form, in order to celebrate and protect our hard won freedoms.

We shall never be silenced. [Albert Dadon AM aka Albare]

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Title - Late Bloomer
Artist - Brett Wiscons

For those of you not in the know, sometimes, the most difficult circumstances offer a silver lining. One has to look for it, but it’s there, ready to be discovered.

Indiana-based singer, songwriter, and five-time author Brett Wiscons felt that reality all too keenly when the pandemic made for unique and trying times to put together his forthcoming album, Late Bloomer, and the silver-lining mentality ended up permeating the songs on the record.

“I just wanted to offer hope in a seemingly hopeless situation,” Wiscons says of the genesis for this album. “These songs wouldn’t have existed without the kindness of my Kickstarter backers, and I wouldn’t have written some of them if it hadn’t been for the global pandemic.”

His new full-length album, Late Bloomer, was a labor of love created with mix engineer, producer and collaborator Thom Daugherty (The Elms, The Band Perry), and it will be released on July 13th, 2022 via Wiscons’ own label, MAD Diamond Entertainment.

1. Vertical City
2. Walk Tall
3. Late Bloomer
4. Déjà You
5. Collection of Hearts
6. When You Canʼt Breathe
7. Letʼs Do it Again
8. Any Other Kind of Way
9. French Café (Inside a Dream)
10. October

This exuberantly charged and vibrantly spirited new album opens on the rock guitar and piano rollercoaster of Vertical City and the rhythmic Walk Tall and then brings us the euphorically strident Late Bloomer, the achingly beautiful balladry of Déjà You and then comes the AOR yearn found within Collection of Hearts.

Next up is the forthright, fist clenched stand within the powerful When You Canʼt Breathe and the finger-snapping, foot-tapping melodies of Letʼs Do it Again which are in turn backed by the thunderous guitar rock of Any Other Kind of Way, one of my own personal favorites, the upbeat and playful French Café (Inside a Dream), the album coming to a close on the dulcet, mid-tempo balladry of October.

Thom Daugherty - guitars, bass, mellotron, background vocals
Niko Albanese - drums
Steven Potaczek - keys (1, 2, 4-10) accordion (9)
Sarah Scharbrough McLaughlin - background vocals (1,2,5)
Mark Bryan - mandolin (4)
Megan Campbell - vocals (4)
Mark Evitts - string arrangement (5)
Craig Shields- saxophone (7)
Rachel McGoye - vocals (7)
Seth Jenkins - slide guitar (4)
Kadell Randle Jr. - keys (3)
Brett Wiscons - vocals

“Well before the pandemic hit, I had an idea for a song called ‘Late Bloomer’ in May of 2019” Wiscons recalls. “I told Thom about it and he, almost without thinking, said, ‘I have a chord progression that will work for that song idea.’ I then wrote the lyrics on a plane from Indy to Phoenix. They just poured out of me. I am a late bloomer, and I figured many other folks out there might be able to relate to this song.”

Late Bloomer was released as a single in February 2020, mere weeks before everything shut down, but the track garnered Wiscons new fans from as far afield as Australia, Morocco, and the UK, to name a few places where other “late bloomers” chimed in to let Wiscons know how much his song resonated with them. In July of 2020, “Late Bloomer” appeared on the soundtrack for the new “NASCAR Heat 5” video game on Xbox and PlayStation.

With the song out in the world, Wiscons and Daugherty had huge aspirations to record a full album by the same name. “I knew it had to be done, but I knew it was going to be expensive to produce,” Wiscons says. “I’d had success with Kickstarter before, so I ran a campaign and hoped for the best.”

What happened next blew Wiscons away. “Somehow, 137 people scattered around the country believed in me and this project, and we raised over twenty-two thousand dollars and were completely funded two weeks into the 30-day campaign.”

Wiscons and Daugherty had planned to get to work in mid-March of 2020, but the pandemic had a little to say first. “We were so eager to get rolling, but then, quite literally, like the rest of the world, we got shut down,” Wiscons remembers.

By May 2020, they started working remotely, writing lyric and song ideas and passing them back and forth via text and email while communicating through the Marco Polo app. Two of the collected songs were directly influenced by the pandemic and lockdown itself: “Walk Talk” and “Vertical City.”

“I was feeling all sorts of emotions during that time; anxiety, fear, doubt, and worry seem to be the ones that stuck around the longest, at least initially,” Wiscons says, “but then hope started to emerge. Seeing news footage of a desolate New York City with empty streets and sidewalks was the beginning of the song ‘Vertical City.’”

News topics and emotional responses laced other tracks, and the songwriting pair also tackled what happened to George Floyd in Minneapolis (“When You Can’t Breathe”), parenthood (“Let’s Do it Again”), and wishful thinking (“French Café”).

“You really hear all of the influences Thom and I grew up with come out in these songs,” Wiscons says. There are shades of The Beatles, Pearl Jam, Eagles, Jackson Browne, and Hootie & the Blowfish all over the songs on the album, but with Wiscons’ unique spin on things making it feel fresh and new.

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Title - Postcards From the End of the World
Artist - Shining Black

For those looking to expand their metal discography, Shining Black has just come out with their latest album. Their self-titled debut came in 2020 with their record, Shining Black. They continue their symphonic melodies with Postcards From the End of the World.

A relativity new band, the group combines melodic and flowing notes from the guitar and expansive keyboard and synthesizers that meld perfectly with the overall tone of the vocals.

The group consists of veteran singer Mark Boals, who uses his experience from bands such as Ring of Fire and Royal Hunt to his full advantage, and guitarist Olaf Thorsen, whose expertise from bands Labyrinth and Vision Divine showcases how smoothly he crafts his music.

1. Postcards From The End Of The World
2. Higher Than The World
3. We Are Death Angels
4. Summer Solstice Under Delphi’s Sky
5. Like Leaves In November
6. A Hundred Thousand Shades Of Black
7. Faded Pictures Of Me
8. Mirror Of Time
9. Fear And Loathing
10. Time Heals, They Say

The beautiful melodies from this album are on full display in every song. Keyboardist Oleg Smirnoff flawlessly matches tone with Thorsen’s riffs and Boals’ vocals. Although electric keyboards normally feel too digital, in Faded Pictures of Me, Smirnoff is able to somehow put soul inside the keys, and it really makes the song extra special. His use of synth just makes it even better.

If I could give some slight criticism, it would be to point out the volume of the bass. Nik Mazzucconi does a fabulous job at mixing in with the guitar. His skill is definitely on point, especially when it comes to Mirror Of Time. It is this obvious skill that makes me a little sad when the bass is drowned out by the rest of the rhythm section.

It’s understandable that symphonic metal doesn’t want to go too much into super bass qualities like death metal does, but I would love it if, in a future album, we could see Mazzucconi shine in his element.

No metal album can be complete without good drums. The timing of Matt Peruzzi in each song connects the final dots for a great experience. There are some really nice fills in Time Heals, They Say. It definitely makes you wanna close your eyes and bob up and down.

Overall, this is a great example of melodic metal. If you’re looking for some clean vocals with fantastic guitar solos, this is for you. The piano, synthesizer, bass, and drums are just the icing on the cake.

Review by: John Cicotte

Shining Black’s Postcards From the End of the World is available on all music streaming platforms.

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Title - Diary of a Loner
Artist - Reo Cragun

Reo Cragun is surely one of the most prolific young rap artists in the game today. Releasing his third album since 2017, and his second since 2020, Cragun not only helps to redefine the new listener’s sensibility of what rap and hip-hop can be, but also strikes a blow to toxic masculinity with Diary of a Loner.

While the Apple Music categorization of Reo Cragun’s music is rap, the title track leans more toward a sort of R&B, with melodic vocals. There is a certain wistfulness to the lyrics as Cragun dives deep into the sort of things that make him who he is, for better or worse: “I celebrate my mom and auntie on Father’s Day/I used to pray to God that I would pop off/When this s*** drop, I’m sending them on holiday…” The song’s chorus is even more telling: This is the diary of a loner/ It is this wistfulness and more importantly — this honesty — that sets this record apart from most other rap records I’ve heard.

1. Diary of a Loner
2. My Life
3. Verizon
4. Starstruck
5. Light Show (ft. Kid Ink)
6. Just My Luck
7. Like It or Not (ft. Johan Lenox)
8. Truer Vibes
9. Crazy4U (ft. Marian Hill)
10. Hundred Million (ft. Clear Eyes)
11. Pills
12. Mile High

Just My Luck is more discernible than other raps I’ve heard, backed with strong electronic beats and more of this startlingly honest disclosure of Cragun’s mental health struggles. These admissions are so stark that, halfway through the track, I found myself wishing that Reo Cragun would find the support system his music sounds like he needs, if he hasn’t done so already.

Stylistically, Mile High is the standout track. The soft piano and the faraway vocals before the beat drops are everything, and if there was nothing else but those, I would have been more than happy. Alas, that beauty soon dissipated and the regular rap came in. Bummer.

One of the strengths of Cragun’s album is that there are several guest stars, none of which do it quite as well as Marian Hill on Crazy4U. But this track isn’t without its pitfalls, too; while Cragun and Hill sound marvelous together, there is a touch too much vocal layering. It’s very easy to get lost trying to parse out every part.

While Diary of a Loner is a worthy listen overall, I would be remiss if I did not exercise a word of caution: Several are the occasions in which Cragun drops the n-word in the middle of a bar, so if you are not one of the people who could sing along with that particular lyric in good conscience, perhaps make sure you don’t.

Otherwise, this is a record that will untie both rap aficionados and new listeners under the banner of Reo Cragun Fans.

Review by: Ashley J Cicotte

Reo Cragun’s Diary of a Loner is available on all major music streaming platforms.

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Title - Just Woke Up
Artist - Jaret Ray Reddick

Critically-acclaimed Texas musician Jaret Ray Reddick’s debut country album, Just Woke Up (Brando Records/Que-So Records), is now available worldwide.

Just Woke Up is a sincere love letter to Texas and pays homage to the greats before him while giving a refreshing, unique spin on the genre, with one example being his single “One of the Good Ones”, which blends elements of both country and rock. Written by Reddick alongside Zac Maloy, the track is now at Texas Country Radio and is currently climbing the charts.

Jaret Ray Reddick might be a name you recognize, but his voice is one that pretty much everyone will know, whether it is from being the singer of pop-punk pioneers Bowling for Soup with hits like “1985,” “Girl All The Bad Guys,” or “High School Never Ends,” to voicing Chuck E Cheese or singing the theme to Disney’s long-running hit series Phineas and Ferb.

Born in Grapevine and raised in Wichita Falls, Texas, Reddick’s country roots run deep as his pride for the Lone Star State. His parents were Country music fans, and Willie, Waylon, and other classic country artists were on regular rotation at home. Music from fellow Texan The Red Headed Stranger and his outlaw friends would prove vital in his development as a musician and remain a crucial rock throughout his career.

Those familiar with his work as the front man of Grammy-nominated pop-punk band Bowling for Soup will find a familiar voice and sense of humor in the music and lyrics. The album features some special guests, most notably one of Reddick’s favorite musicians and good friend Frank Turner, who lends his vocals on “Drunk as It Takes.”

There’s also a cameo by Uncle Kracker on the album opener “Way More Country,” Descendents guitarist Stephen Egerton performs on “Natalie,” and Cody Canada of The Departed appears on “You and Beer.”

1. “Way More Country” (feat. Uncle Kracker)
2. “One of the Good Ones”
3. “Songs About Texas”
4. “Ohio” (Come Back to Texas)”
5. “Royal Family”
6. “Doggonit!”
7. “Drunk as It Takes” (feat. Frank Turner)
8. “You and Beer” (feat. Cody Canada)
9. “Natalie” (feat. Stephen Egerton)
10. “My Truck Up and Left Me”
11. “Back In 83”
12. “The Bitch Song”

Opening on the free flowing country pop of “Way More Country” (featuring Uncle Kracker) and the euphorically-charming ode to love within “One of the Good Ones” and backs those up with the mid-tempo balladry of “Songs About Texas,” the easy breezy, Bowling for Soup poem to “Ohio” (Come Back to Texas),” the family tribute within “Royal Family” and then comes the gently rambunctious “Doggonit!”

Up next is the lonesome yearn within “Drunk as It Takes” (featuring Frank Turner) and the mid-tempo barn twirler “You and Beer” (featuring Cody Canada of The Departed) and follows them up with the finger-snapping one minute, down and gritty rocker the next “Natalie” (feat Descendents guitarist Stephen Egerton), the tongue in cheek storytelling within “My Truck Up and Left Me,” the album rounding out on the melodious pop rock of “Back In 83,” closing out on another Bowling for Soup cut, the now countrified twang of “The Bitch Song.”

Reddick spoke about the album, saying, "Making this album is a long time coming for me. And part of all of that was being able to write songs from the heart and not hold back. ‘One Of The Good Ones’ is a song written with a few folks in mind and how much they mean to me. Friends are rampant in life. But, sometimes, we are lucky enough to find those folks that not only make us better people but can also soften the blows that take the wind out of us."

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Title - This Girl [EP]
Artist - James Holvay

For those not in the know, after four decades out of the music limelight, singer-songwriter-guitarist James Holvay returned last year with his debut solo recording Sweet Soul Song EP and is now once again bringing us his authentic Chicago-style soul music this year with his brand new This Girl EP on his Mob Town Records imprint.

The collection is a vibrant tip of the hat to the music Holvay witnessed and then played in during its 1960s when it ruled the R&B roost in America.

1. Hot N’ Heavy Love
2. This Girl
3. More Of You
4. Whatever She Wants
5. She’s Gone Away

This at all times pleasing musical flashback extravaganza opens on the oh-so sweet soul sounds of string melodies and guitar rhythms within Hot N’ Heavy Love and then bleeds seamlessly into the drum-led, finger-snapping rhythm and blues of the title track This Girl, before bringing us the low slung, airy Motown-eseque balladry of More Of You.

With the entire EP lovingly embracing the glory days of Windy City soul, an era that Holvay was able to experience first-hand as an aspiring adolescent guitarist and songwriter, we then find him dip into the soulfulness of the polished songwriting and candidly smooth vocal delivery of Whatever She Wants, the new EP coming to an all too soon close on the wistful yearn of the ballad She’s Gone Away.

Every aspect of This Girl was designed for maximum authenticity and crafted with care and played and sung with punch, James Holvay’s sophomore recording in his own name is sure to delight the most ardent soul music fans.

James Holvay - Hot N’ Heavy Love (Official Audio)

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Title - Succubus Swing [EP]
Artist - Xanthan

For those not in the know, Xanthan is a three piece experimental rock band from Houston Texas featuring Boz Miller (drums), Max Miller (guitars), and Corin Gatwood (6 string basses).

The trio will be releasing their debut six-track EP Succubus Swing on May 24th, 2022 which features half instrumentals and half songs with vocals.

This E.P. features two of Xanthan’s early instrumental tracks (1934 and Colliskeions 23). The trio wanted to include them on this release to demonstrate their early sound, but the opening track (HYBYC) and the last three are songs the band is most proud of.

2. 1934
3. Colliskeions: 23
4. Bump of Excellence
5. Ms. Haan
6. In Killeen

This free wheeling, massively atmospheric and genuinely heartfelt juggernaut of an EP opens on the, at first blush thunderously funky and yet progressively sweet, perhaps even charming, melodically expressive HYBYC and backs that up with the funk-tastic 1934 and then comes the layered, sculptured and for the most part frenetically-charged Colliskeions: 23.

The first of the vocalizations (but, only faintly from the onset and then they themselves dispate) comes in on the forthright rhythms found within Bump of Excellence and that is itself followed seamlessly by the electronically static, low ebb resonators (complete with hushed vocals) of the short Ms. Haan, the EP closing on the fevered, at times cinematically-imbibed pulse of In Killeen.

Says Corin, “The album has a lot of moods. There is a lot of humor in it for us. Hence the titles, but also just how we’ve managed to compose the songs. It’s all playful. We always try something different in each song. A lot of the lyrics were inspired by strange and unsettling experiences I have had with certain people. The music was written first; but while working on the instrumentals, it put me in the right mood to write about some dark stuff. Plus, it was during late 2020, early 2021. It was still the pandemic, and hell froze over in Texas. A surreal time can be a good time to be creative, I suppose.”

“When recording the album, the music came first, but the band would adjust things for vocals as needed. Recording was fast. Every track was the three members recording live in Corin’s living room / practice space with no click track.”

Corin further explains, “The track ‘Ms. Haan’ was made from noisy stuff I made on a tape machine, and me banging on the side of my washing machine. My hope was for it to evoke the anxiety of being a child again; alone, in school, or a building with scary noises and machines humming away. And it made for a good segue.”

In closing Corin has this to say, “Just give it a listen in your car stereo on a sweltering summer night, in a dark, small town alleyway.”

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Title - Strangeways: Complete Recordings Vol. 1 1985-1994
Artist - Strangeways

Formed in 1985 by brothers Ian J. Stewart (guitar) and David Stewart (bass), joined by Jim Drummond (drums) and singer Tony Liddell, Strangeways they released their critically-acclaimed self-titled debut album in 1985.

Produced by Kevin Elson (Lynyrd Skynyrd, Journey and Mr Big), they were championed by Kerrang! whose rave review reckoned that, “‘Breakin’ Down The Barriers’ has American Number One hit single written all over its baby face,” assuring us that, “This band still possess that unmistakably British flavour… I predict a big success.”

Further plaudits in Kerrang! stated that, “Strangeways are a British band playing British rock with the additional elements of American-style professionalism and attention to detail… They have made an album that sounds truly magnificent when it comes out of your speakers.”

And if that wasn’t enough, it confidently proclaimed that it was, “the greatest and most preciously perfect AOR album of all time”.

American Terry Brock replaced Tony Liddell as vocalist, joining Dave Munch Moore on keyboards for the John Punter-produced ‘Native Sons’ in 1987, arguably their greatest commercial success.

Described by Kerrang! as, “Absolutely stunning and without doubt the best AOR album of the last six years,” assuring the reader that it was, “a time bomb of an album… it will blow every mind and lughole that comes into contact with it.”

The same line-up released the third album ‘Walk In Fire’ in 1989. Featuring the single ‘Every Time You Cry’, the album was co-produced by guitarist Ian Stewart with John Lee and mixed by Mike Shipley (Whitesnake, The Cars, Def Leppard).

The story on this collection ends with fourth album, ‘And The Horse’, from 1994, by which time guitarist Ian Stewart had also taken on lead vocal duties.

With grunge being the order of the day (as far as the fickle rock press were concerned, at least), the album saw Strangeways moving away from their original AOR sound to one that was more bluesy, jazzy and almost progressive in nature, with hints of Pink Floyd, while still remaining resolutely melodic.

Key tracks include ‘Precious Time’ and ‘Out Of The Blue’ plus the near ten minute ‘Some Of Us Lie’.

Strangeways: Complete Recordings Vol. 1 (1985-1994) is a 4CD collection that contains First four albums from Glasgow’s Strangeways who took their musical cues from across the pond, making melodic AOR style-rock inspired by bands such as Loverboy, Foreigner, Night Ranger and Journey.

Covering their output from 1985 to 1994 with a host of bonus tracks, live and demos, it is the most complete collection that has ever been released on the band thus far.

CD 1: Strangeways (1985)
1. The Kid Needs Love
2. Hold Back Your Love
3. Close To The Edge
4. Heartbreak Zone
5. Cry Out
6. Power Play
7. Breakin’ Down The Barriers
8. Now It’s Gone
9. More Than Promises
10. Hold Tight
11. All The Wrong Reasons (Demo) [Bonus Track]
12. Hold On (Demo) [Bonus Track]
13. Close To The Edge (Demo) [Bonus Track]
14. Breakin’ Down The Barriers (Demo) [Bonus Track]
15. Streets On Fire (Demo) [Bonus Track]

As was known at the time, the Record Label they were signed to was more known for its disco leanings than anything to do with rock music and the album artwork had a new romantic/pop feel to it also, which meant, perhaps, those who purchased it thought that they were in for something a little different than what they rockingly got!

The band themselves originated from Scotland but they were up against many things, one of them being that UK rock / AOR fans did not think a good quality melodic rock band could come out of anywhere but the USA.

So the band were already under the cosh with how this was going to work for them, but as soon as the needle went down on that first track (so to speak), wow, you suddenly realized that this was a band that should have been absolutely huge!

I mean, and I am not even close to kidding here, every single track, one after the other is relatively chock full of stunning melodies, superb song structure and killer vocal and musicianship performances.

Most of the songs were written by the lead Guitarist Ian J. Stewart who is also a brilliant and tasteful guitarist and the whole album (along with the five bonus tracks now included here in this new collection) is absolutely stunning. Simply put, if you’re into classic AOR this comes highly recommended.

CD 2: Native Sons (1987)
1. Dance With Somebody
2. Only A Fool
3. So Far Away
4. Where Do We Go From Here
5. Goodnight LA
6. Empty Streets
7. Stand Up And Shout
8. Shake The Seven
9. Never Gonna Lose It
10. Face To Face
11. Stand Up And Shout / Breaking Down The Barriers (Live) [Bonus Track]
12. Dance With Somebody (Live) [Bonus Track]
13. Never Gonna Lose It (Live) [Bonus Track]
14. Only A Fool (Single Edit) [Bonus Track]
15. Goodnight LA (Single Edit) [Bonus Track]
16. Dance With Somebody (AOR Mix) [Bonus Track]

As aforementioned, as AOR goes (and I listen to far too much of it, me thinks), you cannot do better than this band and, in particular, and from personal choice, this particular album.

Unlike contemporaries such as Bon Jovi and Journey, Strangeways never feel contrived or forced which allows this sophomore batch of songs to simply ooze class and atmosphere like Winston Churchill bled charisma. .. and that is not something I say lightly!

For people who want to enjoy the whole FM rock shtick without having to deal with most of the overt, cringe worthy cheesiness that pervades this sort of music, Strangeways should be everybody’s first (possibly even their last) stop for AOR; and this album alone, now complete with some wickedly brilliant live tracks, wholeheartedly proves that!

CD 3: Walk Into The Fire (1989)
1. Where Are They Now
2. Danger In Your Eyes
3. Love Lies Dying
4. Every Time You Cry
5. Talk To Me
6. Living In The Danger Zone
7. Modern World
8. Into The Night
9. Walk In The Fire
10. After The Hurt Is Gone
11. Jackie’s Gone (Demo) [Bonus Track]
12. Big Tom (Demo) [Bonus Track]
13. Liberty (Demo) [Bonus Track]
14. The Last Chance (Demo) [Bonus Track]
15. So Far Away (Live) [Bonus Track]
16. Where Do We Go From Here (Live) [Bonus Track]
17. Every Time You Cry (Single Edit) [Bonus Track]

Walk Into The Fire showcases a very proud collection of songs, pure in their AOR essence, and yet perhaps overly (at times) tinged with an overemphasized, anthemically melancholic vein, sure, but nonetheless their finished product here on their third album is epic, huge even, and the most perfect driving force accompaniment for a long motorway drive home.

Indeed, many of the core qualities of AOR - the glossy production, the soaring vocals, the ballads soaked in synth washes, the lighter-raising qualities of every single song - you know, these are basically all that keeps AOR afloat, and thus as appealing as they are, luckily for their fans, Strangeways never tried (at this point) to steer away.

CD 4: And The Horse (1994)
1. Precious Time
2. Mans Maker
3. Out Of The Blue
4. Through The Wire
5. The Great Awakening
6. Wonder How
7. Head On
8. Some Of Us Lie
9. Over You
10. On

Here on their 1994 album, and as noted in the intro, much like the AOR band FM, Strangeways also moved away from AOR to blues rock. And like FM they lost most of their popularity and anything that made them special, sadly.

Once again featuring ten tracks solely written by the brilliant lead guitarist Ian J. Stewart, the album is a veritable smorgasbord of rhythms and melodies, opening with the funk rock of Precious Time and the slow Southern crawl of Mans Maker, before heading into the languishing balladry of Out of The Blue and later tracks such as the gently countrified balladry of Wonder How, the wavering imminence of Some Of Us Lie, closing on the stillness within On.

Official 4CD Purchase Link

Title - The Learning Tree
Artist - Mike Ian

For those not in the know, Mike Ian announces his return to original vocal music, bringing a new, large-scale, progressive sound to fans with the release of his next album, The Learning Tree.

Now available, the new record brings back vocal elements not heard since his 2010 release, Puzzle Pieces.

Multi-instrumentalist, Ian recorded all the instruments and vocals for The Learning Tree in his studio, Eyeball Studios, in Cinnaminson, NJ casually spanning as far back as 2004 onward.

Upon deciding to finally complete this massive project this year, freshly recorded drums and vocals were added to complete the project and give it its final touches.

The Learning Tree is composed of 9 tracks each of which is an epic adventure within themselves. The opening title, A Pirate’s Dream, conjures up the thrill of the pirate life in the deep seas, and the adventures and dangers of the nautical, seafaring life.

While Something More Nothing Less questions why love must be earned and fought for to have its rightful presence. The CD was mastered by Tom Volpicelli at The Mastering House, PA. Artwork for the project was done by Mike’s daughter, Ivy.

1. A Pirate’s Dream
2. Happily Ever After
3. Cast In Stone
4. Hereafter
5. Next Stop Anywhere
6. Saved
7. Letter From Home
8. Something More Nothing Less
9. Shine On

This quite stunningly opulent, atmospherically-charged new album opens on the beautifully crafted A Pirate’s Dream and the Celtic-imbued Happily Ever After and then follows those with the gently melodic AOR of Cast In Stone, the mid-tempo, uplifting balladry of Hereafter and then comes the acoustically-driven Next Stop Anywhere.

Up next is one of my own favorites, the rhythmically-prosperous Saved which is in turn backed seamlessly by the enthused storytelling within Letter From Home, the album rounding out on the quieter tones, at times, plushly euphoric at others within Something More Nothing Less, coming to an all too soon close on the balladry of Shine On.

Lyrics always eluded Mike for completion of this project. The music has such a grand quality about it. And to put lyrics to match such a project was proving difficult. A few phrases were sporadically laid out amongst the tunes in the early infancy years.

And a few phrases stuck. But the project lay dormant for years until lyrical inspiration would come to complete this massive music project. But for Mike, the lyrical inspiration never did come.

Finally, collaborating with lyricist “Troy Raleigh,” Troy brought life to The Learning Tree with his poetic, and explorative lyrics. The words fit seamlessly and take the listener on a spiritual journey of reflection, inspiration, exploration, salvation, and love.

Watch the Official The Learning Tree Promo Video Here!

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Title - Two Rivers
Artist - John Sloman

For those not in the know, former Uriah Heep, Gary Moore Band, and Lone Star front man John Sloman has just released a rather fascinating video for his new single This River Is A Time Machine, taken from his brand new new solo album Two Rivers (out now via Red Steel Music label).

Gifted with a multi-octave vocal range and also a multi-instrumentalist musician, John Sloman is a renaissance man with a singular musical vision brought to mesmeric life on his magnificent new solo album.

As a personal record, Two Rivers documents John’s journey from his childhood home city of Cardiff to treading the well-beaten path to London and his encounters in the music business fronting major headline bands.

Two Rivers is a compelling cocktail of songwriting that blends crucial chapters of John’s life in song and verse. In essence, Two Rivers is a distillation of his eclectic musical progress from Lone Star to Uriah Heep, his adventures with UFO and The Gary Moore Band and his Todd Rundgren produced debut solo album Disappearances Can Be Deceptive.

Adopting Cardiff’s River Taff and London’s River Thames as metaphors, John’s stream of consciousness observations pour forth from his deep well of memories. Populated with sublime songs wrapped around sharply observed personal postcards of a remarkable life Two Rivers simply has to be heard to be believed.

1. Two Rivers
2. This River Is a Time Machine
3. Caerdydd (City on the River)
4. Scenes from An Old Biscuit Tin
5. From the Taff to the Thames
6. Londinium
7. Blackweir
8. When I Go Home
9. Rest in Peace (For Sylvy)
10. Charing Cross Moon
11. 70s Sunday
12. Walking Along the Taff
13. The Last Coalminer
14. Farewell to London Town

This soundtrack to a life less ordinary (where most all tracks have a spoken word intro) opens with the title track’s prophetic opening lines: Two rivers flow through my mind - the one I see before me and the one I left behind," and continues onward with the Eastern-imbibed rhythms of This River Is a Time Machine, the euphoric storytelling within Caerdydd (City on the River), tambourine-laden, hurdy gurdy ambiance of Scenes from An Old Biscuit Tin, the harmonica-driven, fist-clenched From the Taff to the Thames and then we get the theatrically-charged Londinium and the balladry of Blackweir.

Next up is the personal heartbeat felt within the gently frenetic When I Go Home and the languishing gossamer of Rest in Peace (For Sylvy) and they are in turn backed by the troubadour-inspired urgency of heed within Charing Cross Moon, the flashback blues within 70s Sunday, the rhythmically melodical Walking Along the Taff, the album rounding out on the operatic The Last Coalminer, closing on the instrumentally acoustic, yet scattered with vocalized sentiment Farewell to London Town.

As John says, The River Taff and the River Thames have come to personify this unrelenting tug of love I have experienced for most of my adult life. I left the one with a spring in my youthful step. But with so many of those who once walked beside me now gone to that great river in the sky, I regret all the days I was away. This album is for them - and for those of you still being torn in two by your own two rivers.

This memorial theme is taken further on the new single This River Is A Time Machine that explores the memory bank simile of these constant yet fluid and life-giving channels delivered with a heartfelt passion by John.

Revisiting his childhood on the song Scenes From An Old Biscuit Tin, John explains the song’s inspiration: On school mornings, as I ate my porridge, I would lose myself in images of Elizabethan London adorning the family biscuit tin, while dreaming that I might one day, go there - London, that is.

And going to London is exactly what John did, which he superbly documents on Londinium and Charing Cross Moon, and achieving a substantial measure of success in doing so that established him as a major player in the late 70s and 1980s rock music scene and his continuing solo career.

There is a pleasant surprise in store for fans of John Sloman with the Avant-garde nature running right through this record. Think experimental Frank Zappa and late-period Scott Walker meeting the acoustic elements of Led Zeppelin and your imagination will be stoked by the captivating contents of this unique and exceptional album.

Two single releases This River Is A Time Machine followed by The Last Coalminer have non-album B sides and both are accompanied by videos for each single release.

A compilation of John’s solo works, Conspectus, will follow on from the release of Two Rivers as will a remastered series of John’s solo albums.

John Sloman @ Soundcloud

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Title - A Night at the Rhythm Room
Artist - Until The Sun

For those not in the know, rocking blues band Until The Sun’s new live album, A Night at the Rhythm Room, was recorded January 13th, 2022 at the historic blues venue.

The Rhythm Room, one of the last of the remaining old school blues clubs in the country, proved a fantastic stage to record the show.

The band recorded ten songs consisting mostly of new material and as an added bonus the album has two covers, the Etta James classic At Last, and the Led Zeppelin tune, Whole Lotta Love.

The band gave a hard-hitting soulful performance that night that all the members were happy with. Larry Elyea at Minds Eye Studio recorded and engineered the show and the album was mixed and mastered at Minds Eye Studio. The show was filmed as well as recorded and the video will be released to YouTube when the album is out.

Until The Sun features Brandon Teskey on lead guitar, Bruce Jensen on bass guitar, Chris Tex on drums, and Alyssa Swartz on vocals.

1. Battle Cray
2. The 4th Turning
3. Hell Of A Thing
4. Death In Disguise
5. Diamonds In The Dust
6. Unborn
7. At Last
8. Arisen
9. Burning Home
10. Whole Lotta Love

In a live show that only features one already-known track of theirs, the remainder all originals or the two aforementioned covers, they open with the throaty, euphoric funky blues within Battle Cry and the rocking balladry, one minute, wailing guitar breaks the next of The 4th Turning and back those up with the Hendrix-imbibed beauty Hell Of A Thing, the heartfelt blues AOR of Death In Disguise and then comes the fuzzy, yet elegantly reaching guitar work that lovingly embodies and guides Diamonds In The Dust.

Up next is a right royal doozy in the form of the emotively languishing blues reach of Unborn and a simply breathtaking, and original cover of Etta Jane’s At last, and they are in turn followed by the slung low blues crawl of Arisen, the album rounding out on the slow blues song, Burning Home (first released off their second album, Drowning in Blue), coming to a most righteous close on their feisty, and quietly reworked rendition of Led Zeppelin’s Whole Lotta Love.

Says Brandon, “The show that was filmed nearly didn’t happen. There were dozens of factors working against us. Up to just days prior we were unsure if the recording would actually take place, while the whole time we were practicing more intensely than ever before. I was almost in disbelief when it did happen. But the show that was captured went great.”

“The album consists of mostly new material and I think it’s the best thing we’ve done. It’s a great snapshot of our live sound. We wanted a live album with mostly new material, like Hendrix did with the Band of Gypsys. Something that stood alone as a piece of work instead of a live version of previously released songs. Overall I think it’s the best material we’ve ever put out.”

Chris adds, “Playing the Rhythm Room during the COVID pandemic was a once in a lifetime event, as well as energizing since music has been therapy for so many people during these trying times. I was impressed by the sound quality and the energy we captured in our live show! I feel like the recording certainly captured our raw and powerful blues rock sound!”

Alyssa concludes, “My favorite thing in the world is to perform in front of a live audience. It was so exciting to be out playing our hearts out for everyone who came out!”

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Title - Neurotic Outsiders: Expanded Edition
Artist - Neurotic Outsiders

Let’s be honest, when former Sex Pistol STEVE JONES joined a pick up band for a benefit concert for a cancer-stricken friend at LA’s notorious Viper Room back in the mid ’90s, he probably had no clue that the lineup he’d choose would result in a full blown record deal with Madonna’s Maverick Records for $1million.

And so what started out as a random mishmash of his musician friends - JOHN TAYLOR (Duran Duran) and DUFF McKAGAN and MATT SORUM (Guns N’ Roses) - and a Monday night residency at the infamous club quickly turned into the supergroup NEUROTIC OUTSIDERS.

Together, they took all that power they possessed and channeled it into a self-titled debut which was originally released in 1996. Long out of print, Neurotic Outsiders is being re-released as an Expanded Edition, containing all the tracks from the album plus their rare Japanese–only EP. It will be released on June 3rd, 2022 via Boston-based Supermegabot Records.

“We all were in these high-profile, high maintenance bands with very little actual playing. With Neurotic Outsiders, things felt completely loose,” laughs Taylor of the ragtag nature of the band.

Originally starting out as cover band that hosted a wide array of surprise guests including Simon LeBon, Billy idol, Izzy Stradlin, Chrissie Hynde, Ian Astbury, Sporty Spice Mel C, Iggy Pop, Brian Setzer, and Slash, the band’s own internal chemistry between its four members was so apparent that soon Neurotic Outsiders was born.

As more and more of Jones’ post-Sex Pistols originals started making their way into their sets, the band began embracing the new material. Comprised of no frills, guitar-drenched, cracking rock n’ roll tunes, most of the originals were unheard material leftover from Jones’ Sex Pistols/Professionals days. “He [Jones] gave me the tape of his songs and it became my favorite tape,” recalls McKagan. “It sounded like 1979 English punk rock with an American feel. It was rockin’. It was heavy. Jonesy wrote the coolest pop.”

Pulling in Talking Heads’ Jerry Harrison to harness its power, the self-titled debut was chock full of songs that reveled in the rock n’ roll excess of yore which New York Times characterized as pure Hollywood, honestly, and comfortably vulgar and Details called crude punk rock.

1. Nasty Ho
2. Always Wrong
3. Angelina
4. Good News
5. Better Way
6. Feelings Are Good
7. Revolution
8. Jerk
9. Union
10. Janie Jones
11. Story Of My Life
12. Six Feet Under
13. Seattle Head
14. Spanish Ballroom
15. Planet Earth
16. Jerk (Clean Version)

This quite stunningly bravado laden and atmospherically-charged expanded edition of the (to me, anyways) always excellent debut album perfectly showcases the fact that as grunge - and its vague angst and politics - fizzled out in the mid-’90s, Neurotic Outsiders stepped to the fore and together with their combined spirit tried their hardest to stem the musical tide that they were already knee deep in.

A lot closer to poseurs and then players of the decade’s rap scene, their odes to nasty sex and bad women are here actually tinged with tongue-in-cheek camp. Combined with a quite fabulous rhythm section, John Taylor’s hyperkenetic bass lines paired with Sorum’s machine-gun drums are a treat for the ears from start to finish.

Indeed, McKagan and Jones turn in surprising above average guitar work throughout and all members do a respectable job sharing vocal duties; which is a rare even these days for supergroups, in general.

Of course, a punk album born in the Viper Room sports some in-your-face lyrics about sex in all its rock and roll forms. Jerk is so obnoxious it’s impossible to dislike it where as Angelina is a slightly campy stripper-wants-to-escape romp with big-’80s guitar and a disarmingly catchy chorus about, well, the leading lady being the queen of misdemeanors, et al.

Whether it’s sex, drugs, or music, every track has a dark undercurrent, giving a surprising bit of depth to the record. Revolution, Good News (the bad news is your dying/the good news is I’m alive), and Six Feet Under are frenetic, anthemic, mixes of punk and GnR style hard rock.

In truth, Jones’ song writing talents are intriguing. Better Way, a rolling power ballad, is an astute meditation on going and staying straight, and finding fulfillment whereas Union recounts the rise and fall of the Sex Pistols.

Fittingly, the band nods to their collective musical past with a superb, fiery cover of the Clash’s Janie Jones and here on the brilliantly expanded edition, listening to Taylor’s, at first spoken word and then full on vocalization of Duran Duran’s Planet Earth just adds a renegade salty/sweetness to the whole thing.

So, and even though it’s already been 16 years since its original release, this Expanded Edition of their self-titled album Neurotic Outsiders not only includes the original remastered album, but now adds four b-sides from a rare Japan-only EP.

Meaning, that if there are any fans missing punk, pre-grunge hard rock, or the musicianship of any of the bands that fed into Neurotic Outsiders, it is now time to reintroduce yourself back into their musical orbit, my friends.

So yeah, just as the band was starting to gather steam, each of the band members were - one by one - pulled away when their previously inactive bands started reforming again, leaving prospects of a continuation of Neurotic Outsiders swept away in the Viper Room’s evening detritus.

Had they stuck together, it might have re-energized Jones to continue making music. But as it stands, this currently stands as his final album (he is, by admission, “quite lazy”).

“I am proud of that album,” smiles Jones through a sepia-toned lens. “This is one album I really do like. I like the songwriting. I like the production and I like the way it’s played. We had a fun time making that record and I think it could’ve done well if we’d all been around to give it a proper push.”

Neurotic Outsiders - Jerk (Official Video)

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Title - Watertown [Deluxe Edition CD]
Artist - Frank Sinatra

For those not in the know, the legacy of Frank Sinatra – one of the world’s most enduring, beloved and revered singers – includes a studio album no one anticipated: Watertown.

Recorded in 1969 and released in 1970, the concept of Watertown unfolds as a personal tragedy about a working man with children whose wife suddenly leaves him. Sinatra’s performance elicits sadness, defeat and forlornness.

Ultimately, as Sinatra so wonderfully expresses, it’s also a story about one man’s resilience.

On June 3rd, Frank Sinatra Enterprises and UMe present Watertown, newly mixed and remastered from the original Reprise session tapes resulting in superior sound quality.

The original album sequence will be available on vinyl, while the CD and digital editions will feature eight bonus tracks, including alternate takes from the recording sessions, two radio ads and Lady Day, which was not part of the Watertown concept.

Charles Pignone produced the updated edition from the new mixes created by longtime Sinatra engineer Larry Walsh – the team behind recent FSE/UMe releases Sings for Only the Lonely and Nice ‘N’ Easy.

1. Watertown
2. Goodbye (She Quietly Says)
3. For A While
4. Michael & Peter
5. I Would Be In Love (anyway)
6. Elizabeth
7. What A Funny Girl (You Used To Be)
8. What’s Now Is Now 10. The Train
11. Lady Day* [Bonus Track]
12. Lady Day (11/7/69)* [Bonus Track]
13. Watertown (Session Take)* [Bonus Track]
14. Goodbye (Session Take)* [Bonus Track]
15. The Train (Session Take)* [Bonus Track]
16. Lady Day (11/7/69) (Session Take)* [Bonus Track]
17. 1970 Reprise Radio Promo #1* [Bonus Track]
18. 1970 Reprise Radio Promo #2* [Bonus Track]

As paid mention to, this beautifully crafted album of unique and exquisite storytelling and scene setting from the great man was, perhaps, one of his most ambitious concept albums, as well as his most difficult to record, one imagines.

For not only does it tell a full-fledged story, it is his most explicit attempt at rock-oriented pop. Since the main composer of Watertown is Bob Gaudio, the author of the Four Seasons’ hits Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You, Walk Like a Man, and Big Girls Don’t Cry, that doesn’t come as a surprise.

With Jake Holmes, Gaudio created a song cycle concerning a middle-aged, small-town man whose wife left him with the kids. Constructed as a series of brief lyrical snapshots that read like letters or soliloquies, the culminating effect of the songs is an atmosphere of loneliness, but it is a loneliness without much hope or romance; it is the sound of a broken man.

Producer Charles Calello arranged musical backdrops that conveyed the despair of the lyrics. Weaving together prominent electric guitars, keyboards, drum kits, and light strings, Calello uses pop/rock instrumentation and production techniques, but that doesn’t prevent Sinatra from warming to the material.

In fact, he turns in a wonderful performance, drawing out every emotion from the lyrics, giving the album’s character depth throughout, allowing us, the vicarious bystander, the opportunity with each passing track to grow more and more attached to his centralized character.

And so with Sinatra’s vocals noticeably affected by age and his social circles, to put it politely, here on Watertown we get some of his best, most heartfelt, and soothingly dramatic performances, where all of the above brought forth a quite mesmerizing, and some might say perfect cocktail of expressively sung melancholy.

Now appreciated as a masterpiece of drama and heartbreak, Watertown will also feature, in addition to a recreation of the original packaging, new liner notes, a track-by-track breakdown from songwriter and album producer Bob Gaudio, quotes from Sinatra, plus essays by Frankie Valli, co-writer Jake Holmes, among others who were involved in the original project.

All three formats – Watertown [LP] and Watertown: Deluxe Edition [CD + Digital] – are available for preorder here Siriusly Sinatra (SiriusXM Ch. 71) will air an exclusive Watertown special in May.

Upon Watertown’s release, fans and critics alike simply weren’t prepared for such a radical stylistic departure from Sinatra. But the album has shown resilience: Despite the initial lukewarm response, in the decades since the album has had a re-evaluation and, in 2007, The Guardian declared Watertown “one of [Sinatra’s] greatest masterpieces” and in 2015, The Observer noted that “it made some sense that Sinatra would attempt a story-driven concept album, considering he had helped pioneer the thematic concept LP in the 1950s. But on Watertown, Sinatra did something truly risky: he told an entire album-length story from the point of view of [a] character that is most definitely not Frank Sinatra.”

Gaudio’s essay explains that Sinatra, with a level of empathy only he could achieve, was “reaching down into a man’s soul and feeling his pain and still finding hope.”

Frank Sinatra - I Would Be In Love (Anyway) (2022 Mix / Visualizer)

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Title - Painting the New Night
Artist - The Dye

For those not in the know, it was a big step for alternative rock group The Dye in their four-year journey from inception to this month’s release of their debut album, Painting the New Night.

The sold-crowd at New York City’s Rockwood Music Hall erupted boisterously as guitarist-vocalist Bruno Arredondo and vocalist-keyboardist Eudora Ellis led the band in the premiere performance of the two singles released last month, “Clementine” and “Tantric Pace.”

The double single release set the stage for the WITHYN Records album produced and mixed by multi-time Grammy winner Damon Whittemore (Paul McCartney, Béla Fleck, Cécile McLorin Salvant, Arooj Aftab) slated to drop on June 10th, 2022.

The Dye paints sonic murals crafted from palettes of psychedelic color and dark gothic hues. Arredondo and Ellis wrote eleven songs for Painting the New Night, pairing their flair for incisive poetic lyricism with artful mélanges of sound constructed from vintage classic rock sensibilities, retro new wave nuances, post-punk edginess and bite, and avant-garde alternative rock.

Vibrant melodies and lush harmonies cascade, washing over tracks etched from gritty, grinding and gauzy guitar riffs and swirling swatches of keyboard atmospherics anchored by raw rhythmic basslines (Paul Ogunsalu) and punctually aggressive drum beats (Jared Pease and Eric Grajo). Tenor saxophonist Isak Gaines adds to the wall of sound.

1. “Sheet Of Flowers”
2. “Clementine”
3. “Tantric Pace”
4. “Helen”
5. “Full Moon”
6. “House Of The Fall”
7. “Pool Of Night”
8. “Summer”
9. “Colors Of The Universe”
10. “Town Of The Tower”
11. “Tuning The Wind”

This at all times pleasing musical extravaganza opens on the shimmering “Sheet Of Flowers” and then Arredondo sings lead on the psychedelically goth-tinged “Clementine,” a tune about love and surrealism, and they are in turn followed by the powerful vocals of front woman Ellis who herself helms the Grace Slick-esque rocker “Tantric Pace,” which tackles violence against women, the translucent, ’80s Cure-esque lure of “Helen” and then we get the rhythmic charms of “Full Moon” and the upbeat, Doors-esque “House Of The Fall.”

Next up is one of my own personal favorites on this vibrantly captivating new recording, the languishing beauty of “Pool Of Night” and the atmospherically-charged “Summer,” and they are backed seamlessly by the reverberating melodies within “Colors Of The Universe,” the early ’90s goth of “Town Of The Tower,” the album coming to an all too soon close on the Smiths-imbibed “Tuning The Wind.”

“There was an enormous amount of passion, devotion and positive intentions that went into creating each and every note of this work of art,” lead vocalist Ellis (and who plays synthesizers, organ, piano and tambourine on the recording) explains. “The album ignites sensory pathways that illuminate with vivid dreamlike landscapes of colors. ‘Painting the New Night’ is a journey into the labyrinth of the soul, finding new spaces, shades, tones, textures, shapes and shadows of sound.”

“The album invites one to embark on a sonic quest delving deep into psychedelic, cinematic alternative rock while traveling through themes of transformation, empowerment, release, innocence, mysticism, rebirth, love and healing.”

Arredondo and Ellis first met while studying at Berklee College of Music. Arredondo was allured by cinema, poetry and classic rock music, and he studied theater and filmmaking in London and New York. He found comfort in the studio composing and recording cinematic music.

Before Berklee, Ellis ventured into singing jazz, recording several albums in the genre. While in the UK, she turned down the invitation to join the British band Portishead.

Arredondo and Ellis linked up in New York City three years after graduating Berklee and decided to collaborate. It was at their third show together as The Dye in 2016 that provided confirmation of the creative magic that existed between them.

Audio engineer Richie Clarke (Herbie Hancock, Brian Eno) was one of the mesmerized audience members at that concert and he connected the band with Whittemore. Work began in earnest in the East Village at the famed Flux Studios with Clarke as part of the team.

Meanwhile, The Dye cultivated a following by becoming a staple on the Big Apple’s club circuit. They released the “Poem of Ride” EP three years ago, which was mastered by Grammy winner Joe LaPorta (David Bowie). The title track was selected as the best tune of the month on the national radio show Indie Music Countdown. The Dye was already a year into working on Painting the New Night when the EP streeted.

“Four years have passed and the experience of making Painting the New Night has been the most incredible of my artistic career so far. The entire process changed our lives as musicians completely. I can’t wait for the world to hear the album,” says Arredondo.

The Dye - “Tantric Pace” [Official Lyric Video]

Official Purchase Link

Official Website

The Dye @ Facebook

The Dye @ Instagram

The Dye @ Spotify

The Dye @ YouTube

Title - The Future Won’t Be Long:The Albums (1971-1973)
Artist - Spirogyra

For those unaware, Spirogyra was formed by duo Martin Cockerham and Mark Francis in Bolton in 1968, but the band expanded when Cockerham was a student in Canterbury at the end of 1969.

The expanded line-up featured Cockerham (guitar, vocals), Barbara Gaskin (lead vocals), Steve Borrill (bass) and Julian Cusack (violin, keyboards) and secured a contract with B&C Records in 1970.

The band’s impressive debut album, St Radigunds was issued in 1971 and featured guest drummer Dave Mattacks and Tony Cox on VCS3 Synthesiser.

In 1972 the band’s second album, Old Boot Wine, was released on the Pegasus label, a “progressive” imprint established by B&C. Prior to the recording of the album Mark Francis re- joined the group, and the sessions also saw contributions from guest musicians Dave Mattacks (drums), Julian Cusack (violin, keyboards), Rick Biddulph (mandolin), Alan Laing (cello).

With the demise of the Pegasus label, Spirogyra recorded their third album for Polydor, Bells, Boots & Shambles in 1973. By this time Spirogyra had become a core of Martin Cockerham (guitar, vocals) and Barbara Gaskin (lead vocals) with Steve Borrill (bass) and guest musicians Dave Mattacks (drums), Julian Cusack (violin, keyboards), Henry Lowther (trumpet), John Boyce (cello), Stan Sulzman (flute) and Steve Ashley (whistle).

Despite achieving critical praise, Spirogyra failed to enjoy commercial success which ultimately led to their demise. The trio of albums the band recorded between 1971 and 1973 featured music of innovation and originality and are arguably beyond classification. They remain highly regarded and are sought after by collectors and aficionados of the Progressive era.

This brand new 3CD collection The Future Won’t Be Long:The Albums (1971-1973) (out June 24th, 2022 via Esoteric Recordings) features four bonus tracks recorded during sessions for Old Boot Wine and the 1973 single release I Hear You’re Going Somewhere (Joe Really).

CD 1: St Radigunds (1971)
1. The Future Won’t Be Long
2. Island
3. Magical Mary
4. Captain’s Log
5. At Home In The World
6. Cogwheels, Crutches And Cyanide
7. Time Will Tell
8. We Were A Happy Crew
9. Love Is A Funny Thing
10. The Duke Of Beaufoot

In truth, this is a welcome return for Spirogyra, one of the more intriguing bands of the early ’70s. As aforementioned, the quartet of singer/guitarist/songwriter Martin Cockerham, singer Barbara Gaskin, violinist/keyboardist Julian Cusack, and bassist Steve Borrill were obviously short a member, with future Fairport Convention drummer Dave Mattacks coming on board for the recording of St. Radigunds, the group’s debut album.

The group’s sound was unusual, with Cockerham’s brittle, almost adenoidal vocals counterpointed by Gaskin’s crystalline tones. Musically, too, the band members played their instruments off against each other, with soaring, sometimes searing violin rocketing around strummed guitar and striking keyboard work.

Stylistically, Spirogyra were determined to clash genres as well, and although much of their sound was grounded in folk-rock, Spirogyra interlaced it with proggier elements and psychedelic leanings. Thus they never quite fit comfortably into the contemporary Canterbury scene, into which they were often lumped, and effectively drew in a much more diverse audience.

This eclectic approach was also reflected in the lyrics, heard in the working man’s view of WWII and its aftermath on the strident The Future Won’t Be Long and the -isms that infect Time Will Tell, notable in the acid-drenched imagery of Magical Mary, and found in the poetry-laced lyrics of Island.

With occasional use of unusual rhythms, intriguing blends of styles, innovative arrangements, and lyrics to ponder, St. Radigunds had it all, and quickly established Spirogyra as one of the most creative and innovative groups of the day.

CD 2: Old Boot Wine (1972)
1. Dangerous Dave
2. Van Allen’s Belt
3. Runaway
4. Grandad
5. Wings Of Thunder
6. World’s Eyes
7. Don’t Let It Get You 8. Disraeli’s Problem
9. A Canterbury Tale
10. Counting The Cars [Bonus track]
11. Window [Bonus track]
12. Turn Again Lane [Bonus track]
13. Melody Maker Man [Bonus track]

Although a couple of relatively big names were on this record (Barbara Gaskin, who’d collaborate with Dave Stewart for the number one British single It’s My Party in the early ’80s, and Fairport Convention drummer Dave Mattacks), sadly, it’s not a notable endeavor.

Martin Cockenham offers some not-bad wizened singer/songwriter ballads in a mellow but worn style, and Wings of Thunder has a fairly effective injection of pop into the folk-rock core, though the male-female dual vocals seem to be in need of retakes.

But there’s just not that much to hang onto in the ordinary material, and the lead vocals are much worse when handled by the male singers and not by Gaskin, in my humble opinion (although, the fact that there are now five bonus tracks added does make this a sought after fan must-have, of course).

CD 3: Bells, Boots & Shambles (1973)
1. The Furthest Point
2. Old Boot Wine
3. Parallel Lines Never Separate
4. Spiggly
5. An Everyday Consumption Song
6. The Sergeant Says
7. In The Western World
1) In the Western World
2) Jungle Lore
3) Coming Back
4) Western World (reprise)
8. I Hear You’re Going Somewhere (Joe Really) (A-Side of single) [Bonus Track]

This was their third and final album, and (once again) it is distinguished by Gaskin’s flitting vocals and Cockerham’s madcap delivery. At times, their tendency to drift resembles the Incredible String Band with Gaskin being the equivalent of Robin Williamson.

Spirogyra rocks with considerably more regularity than ISB but they’re equally esoteric, nevertheless. Cockerham even does a convincing imitation of Hunky Dory-era David Bowie on The Sergant Says, and his manic side is most evident in the middle passage of the three-part epic In the Western World. This is a difficult album to classify and was as problematic to promote, given its conspicuous absence in the U.S. market.

Official 3CD Purchase Link

Title - Don’t Know
Artist - Claudio Scolari Project

For those not in the know, the Claudio Scolari Project releases its sixth album Don’t Know this month and it is yet another wondrous journey into jazz experimentation inspired by images and emotions on which the artists create a completely improvised soundtrack.

Drummer, composer, percussionist, teacher at the conservatory and member of the most prestigious symphonic orchestras of Italy, Claudio Scolari is the founder of this modern jazz music project.

He has been the guide of this new original music and he always had the ability to involve and inspire his musicians so as to draw out the best of their musical expression.

His compositional process starts with building the synthesizers, adding then rhythmic grooves and colors with percussion, drums and adding ornamental lines using piano, Electric Bass and trumpet.

The album features Claudio Scolari on drums/synth programming, Daniele Cavalca on drums/live synths/rhodes/piano, Simone Scolari on trumpet and finally Michele Cavalca on electric bass (the new entry of the project who turned the trio into a quartet).

1. Siculiana (6:15)
2. Binary Code (6:02)
3. E-Walzer (2:43)
4. Goose Bumps (6:09)
5. Don’t Know (6:01)
6. Fireworks (5:38)
7. Wet Sand (6:09)
8. Underground Wave (5:42)
9. Sentimentale (6:12)
10. Night Moon (6:58)
11. Cold Water (4:34)

This at all times organically crafted, heartfelt and musically sumptuous new album opens on the pleasing rhythms of Siculiana and the veritably shimmering Binary Code and they are followed by the stuttered swagger of E-Walzer, the electronically-charged, adroit perkiness of Goose Bumps, before we get the translucent, late night ambiance of stillness within the title track, Don’t Know.

The aptly-named Fireworks, which builds gradually throughout, tantalizing and teasing as it does, is up next and is backed by the free flowing majesties of the triumphant Wet Sand, and then we get some pronounced melodical methodology within Underground Wave, the rhythmic hipsway within Sentimentale, the album rounding out on the alluringly atmospheric Night Moon, closing on the modulated electronic beats of Cold Water.

Official Purchase Link

Official Website

Claudio Scolari Project @ Facebook

Claudio Scolari Project @ Instagram

Claudio Scolari Project @ Twitter

Title - Siren [Remastered 180g]
Artist - Roxy Music

Roxy Music, one of the most influential and exhilarating music acts in history, will tour for the first time in more than a decade to mark the 50th year since their groundbreaking debut album.

Bryan Ferry, Andy Mackay, Phil Manzanera and Paul Thompson, together on stage for the first time since their sold-out and critically acclaimed 2011 For Your Pleasure tour, will perform 13 arena shows across North America and the UK, beginning September 7th, 2022 in Toronto at the Scotiabank Arena.

Roxy Music’s Siren, their fifth studio album was released in 1975 and produced the singles Both Ends Burning, and Love Is the Drug, which became their highest-charting single reaching #30 on the Hot 100.

In truth, it is a highly luxurious and totally captivating offering from Roxy Music that draws you in closer with each listen.

This vinyl reissue is mastered at half-speed and cut by Miles Showell at Abbey Road Studios. It also features revised artwork with a gloss laminated finish [Half-Speed LP].

Side A:
1. Love Is the Drug
2. End of the Line
3. Sentimental Fool
4. Whirlwind

Side B:
1. She Sells
2. Could It Happen to Me?
3. Both Ends Burning
4. Nightingale
5. Just Another High

Abandoning the intoxicating blend of art rock and glam-pop that distinguished Stranded and Country Life, Roxy Music concentrate on Bryan Ferry’s suave, charming crooner persona for the elegantly modern Siren.

As the disco-fied opener Love Is the Drug makes clear, Roxy embrace dance and unabashed pop on Siren, weaving them into their sleek, arty sound. It does come at the expense of their artier inclinations, which is part of what distinguished Roxy, but the end result is captivating nonetheless.

Lacking the consistently amazing songs of its predecessor, Siren has a thematic consistency that works in its favor, and helps elevate its best songs - Sentimental Fool, Both Ends Burning, Just Another High - as well as the album itself into the realm of classics.

Indeed, some detractors may be put off by the direction taken by the band on this release, but they simply cannot ignore the art that lies within the grooves of Siren.

There may be some pop hooks here and there in place of the experimentation from previous Roxy releases, but this is still a strong effort thanks to some great performances and melodic songwriting.

And lest we forget that Ferry’s vocals and lyrics are pure, unadulterated magic. Manzanera’s guitar is the stuff legends. Mackay, Thompson, Gustafson proves their skilled musicianship marries well to Ferry’s style. And, of course, Edwin Jobson’s incredible work with the keyboards, strings, and synthesizers make this band what they were.

The tour will make stops across the U.S. including such landmark venues as New York’s Madison Square Garden and The Forum in Los Angeles before culminating with a performance at the O2 Arena in London. Tickets for the Live Nation produced North American shows will go on sale Monday, April 4th, 2022 (10am local time) at

Artist presale starts Tuesday, March 29th, 2022 (10am local time) until Friday, April 1st, 2022 (5pm local time).

Roxy Music will offer several VIP packages for each show that include premium tickets, access to the pre-show VIP lounge, limited edition merchandise and more.

Package contents vary based on offer selected. Fans can visit for more information.

Very special guest St. Vincent will be appearing on all North American shows (*except Boston). Since making her recorded debut as St. Vincent in 2007, Annie Clark has consistently been regarded as one of the most innovative and fascinating presences in modern music, continually reinventing her unique sounds and personae—and winning two GRAMMY Awards in the process.

Most recently, St. Vincent channeled the hungover glamour and gritty sepia-toned soundtrack of 1970s downtown NYC into the triumphant Daddy’s Home, released in May 2021 to universal acclaim. Outside of recording and performing, St. Vincent has designed her own Ernie Ball Signature guitar, and co-written and starred as a fictionalized version of herself in the upcoming film The Nowhere Inn.

2022 marks a year of celebration for Roxy Music. Throughout the year, each of their eight studio albums, all heralded as modern classics, will be reissued as special anniversary editions with a new half-speed cut, revised artwork and a deluxe gloss laminated finish.

The first two LPs, Roxy Music and For Your Pleasure, will be released on April 1st, 2022, with the remaining albums arriving in paired drops throughout the year.

Since their formation in 1972, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees, Roxy Music have left an indelible mark on the worlds of music, fashion and art, merging the three with a singular and astonishing vision that brought them immediate, global success.

Today they are regarded as one of the most influential bands of all time, whose work has inspired generations of musicians. Intense, emotive, and clever, with iconic graphics, Roxy Music’s eight studio albums birthed the art-rock movement, blurring the lines between genres and infusing a new kind of glamour into rock music for the first time.

09/07 - Scotiabank Arena - Toronto, ON
09/09 - Capital One Arena - Washington, DC
09/12 - Madison Square Garden - New York City, NY
09/15 - Wells Fargo Center - Philadelphia, PA
09/17 - TD Garden - Boston, MA*
09/19 - United Center - Chicago, IL
09/21 - Moody Center - Austin, TX 09/26 - Chase Center - San Francisco, CA
09/28 - The Forum - Los Angeles, CA

Oct 10 - OVO Hydro - Glasgow, UK
Oct 12 - AO Arena - Manchester, UK
Oct 14 - The O2 - London, UK

Roxy Music 50th Anniversary Tour 2022 [Official Promo Video]

Official Website

Official Bryan Ferry LP Reissues Purchase Link

Roxy Music @ Facebook

Roxy Music @ Instagram

Roxy Music @ YouTube

Roxy Music @ Twitter

Title - Manifesto [Remastered 180g]
Artist - Roxy Music

Roxy Music, one of the most influential and exhilarating music acts in history, will tour for the first time in more than a decade to mark the 50th year since their groundbreaking debut album.

Bryan Ferry, Andy Mackay, Phil Manzanera and Paul Thompson, together on stage for the first time since their sold-out and critically acclaimed 2011 For Your Pleasure tour, will perform 13 arena shows across North America and the UK, beginning September 7th, 2022 in Toronto at the Scotiabank Arena.

In 1979, Roxy Music released Manifesto, almost four years since the last album, and with it brought one of the band’s biggest hits - the second single and disco tinged, Dance Away - and was a Top 10 selling single of 1979.

Each Roxy Music album has been Re-Issued with a fresh Half-Speed cut by Miles Showell at Abbey Road Studios, London.

To reflect the audio, all eight of the Roxy Music studio albums have had their artwork revised and with a gloss laminated finish so that each album is not just a record it’s a piece of art.

This vinyl reissue is mastered at half-speed and cut by Miles Showell at Abbey Road Studios. [Half-Speed LP].

Side A [East Side]:
1. Manifesto
2. Trash
3. Angel Eyes
4. Still Falls The Rain
5. Stronger Through The Years

Side B [West Side]:
1. Ain’t That So
2. My Little Girl
3. Dance Away
4. Cry, Cry, Cry
5. Spin Me Round

Returning to action after four years of solo projects, Roxy Music redefined its sound and agenda on Manifesto. More than ever, Roxy sounds like Bryan Ferry’s backing band, as the group strips away its art rock influences, edits out the instrumental interludes in favor of concise pop songs, and adds layers of stylish disco rhythms.

Furthermore, this new Roxy Music sounded something like the old Roxy Music split in half: strange on the East Side, seductive on the West Side. (The album is broken into an East and West side, which suggests the band was broken into two camps, and maybe they were).

The opening title track Manifesto starts out as a weird instrumental and then gets an intentionally flat and sour reading from Bryan Ferry. As it turns out, the title track is more of a red herring than a red revolution.

And although, in parts, the songwriting is distressingly inconsistent, there are a number of wonderful moments on the record, particularly in the sighing Angel Eyes and the heartbroken Dance Away.

To my mind, a wholly underrated Roxy album, the idea here was to embrace the new wave movement without losing the Roxy Music sound. Watered down only a smidge, MacKay and Manzanera adopt a more modern approach. This was, after all, 1979.

They are too distinct to be buried (and co-wrote half the tracks), but Paul Thompson leaves his stamp on the album as well (even if other drummers are listed in the credits).

In my humble opinion, more enigmatic are the Eastern blocks, which haunt the record, such as Trash (which is by far the tastiest), the kin of such kinetic keepers as Pyjamarama and Street Life.

Still, and where trading sonic adventure for lush, accessible disco-pop isn’t entirely satisfactory, even if it is momentarily seductive, what is a fact is that the one true sleeper is the closing track Spin Me Round. Composed by Ferry, it is a slower tempo piece that is delicate and swirling and wholesomely beautiful.

The tour will make stops across the U.S. including such landmark venues as New York’s Madison Square Garden and The Forum in Los Angeles before culminating with a performance at the O2 Arena in London. Tickets for the Live Nation produced North American shows will go on sale Monday, April 4th, 2022 (10am local time) at

Artist presale starts Tuesday, March 29th, 2022 (10am local time) until Friday, April 1st, 2022 (5pm local time).

Roxy Music will offer several VIP packages for each show that include premium tickets, access to the pre-show VIP lounge, limited edition merchandise and more.

Package contents vary based on offer selected. Fans can visit for more information.

Very special guest St. Vincent will be appearing on all North American shows (*except Boston). Since making her recorded debut as St. Vincent in 2007, Annie Clark has consistently been regarded as one of the most innovative and fascinating presences in modern music, continually reinventing her unique sounds and personae—and winning two GRAMMY Awards in the process.

Most recently, St. Vincent channeled the hungover glamour and gritty sepia-toned soundtrack of 1970s downtown NYC into the triumphant Daddy’s Home, released in May 2021 to universal acclaim. Outside of recording and performing, St. Vincent has designed her own Ernie Ball Signature guitar, and co-written and starred as a fictionalized version of herself in the upcoming film The Nowhere Inn.

2022 marks a year of celebration for Roxy Music. Throughout the year, each of their eight studio albums, all heralded as modern classics, will be reissued as special anniversary editions with a new half-speed cut, revised artwork and a deluxe gloss laminated finish.

The first two LPs, Roxy Music and For Your Pleasure, will be released on April 1st, 2022, with the remaining albums arriving in paired drops throughout the year.

Since their formation in 1972, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees, Roxy Music have left an indelible mark on the worlds of music, fashion and art, merging the three with a singular and astonishing vision that brought them immediate, global success.

Today they are regarded as one of the most influential bands of all time, whose work has inspired generations of musicians. Intense, emotive, and clever, with iconic graphics, Roxy Music’s eight studio albums birthed the art-rock movement, blurring the lines between genres and infusing a new kind of glamour into rock music for the first time.

09/07 - Scotiabank Arena - Toronto, ON
09/09 - Capital One Arena - Washington, DC
09/12 - Madison Square Garden - New York City, NY
09/15 - Wells Fargo Center - Philadelphia, PA
09/17 - TD Garden - Boston, MA*
09/19 - United Center - Chicago, IL
09/21 - Moody Center - Austin, TX 09/26 - Chase Center - San Francisco, CA
09/28 - The Forum - Los Angeles, CA

Oct 10 - OVO Hydro - Glasgow, UK
Oct 12 - AO Arena - Manchester, UK
Oct 14 - The O2 - London, UK

Roxy Music 50th Anniversary Tour 2022 [Official Promo Video]

Official Website

Official Bryan Ferry LP Reissues Purchase Link

Roxy Music @ Facebook

Roxy Music @ Instagram

Roxy Music @ YouTube

Roxy Music @ Twitter

Title - Stars: The Best Of 1992-2002 [2LP]
Artist - The Cranberries

The Cranberries rose to international fame in the 1990s with global smashes such as “Zombie,” “Dreams,” and “Linger” — collected here alongside tracks from their five albums for Island — plus two tracks unavailable on other albums, “New New York” and “Stars.”

The Cranberries debut album Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We? was released and charted at #1 on the UK album charts in March 1993. Their second and most commercially successful album No Need To Argue was released in October 1994 and stayed on the UK charts for 98 weeks after being certified multiple platinum, making the band global superstars.

In April 2019, The Cranberries released their eighth and final album, In The End, the vocals for which had been recorded by Dolores prior to her tragic passing in 2018. Guitarist Noel Hogan confirmed its release would honor her memory.

In The End reached top 10 in the UK, Ireland, Germany, France, Italy, and on the Billboard Independent Albums chart in the US. It was nominated for Best Rock Album at the 2020 Grammy Awards.

As aforementioned, The Cranberries Stars: The Best Of 1992-2002 newly-released 2LP collection (yes, audiophiles everywhere, that means it is now on a lush double vinyl set), featuring music from their rise to international fame alongside tracks from their five albums, plus two bonus songs, “New New York” and “Stars.”

Side A:
1. Dreams 2. Linger 3. Zombie 4. Ode To My Family 5. I Can’t Be With You

Side B:
1. Ridiculous Thoughts 2. Salvation 3. Free To DecideB 4. When You’re Gone 5. Hollywood

Side C:
1. Promises 2. Animal Instinct 3. Just My Imagination 4. You & Me 5. Analyse

Side D:
1. Time Is Ticking Out 2. This Is The Day 3. Daffodil Lament 4. New New York 5. Stars

For the Cranberries, assembling a best-of covering the first decade of their career meant compiling their singles in chronological order, which turns out to be a foolproof approach for a band that can be uneven over the course of a full-length album but has always managed to express itself well on the two-to-four catchiest cuts.

Indeed, Hollywood and You & Me were not singles chosen for release as such by the band, but they were put out in individual territories. From Dreams and the breakthrough hit Linger to the sometimes harder-rocking and more political efforts such as Zombie and Free to Decide, and on to more melodic songs later on, the singles (presented here in some cases in single versions or new edits to fit everything in) make a case for the Cranberries as one of the major international rock bands of the ’90s.

The Cranberries music, like a lot of Irish music, spends a lot of time reminiscing about the past, how life has been going, and how it will be. Some of the observations are melancholy, some are astute, some are humorous.

If you just want some background music to listen to as you relax and read a book or magazine, I would find something else for this kind of music is more astutely cultivated to listen to when you are feeling a wee bit down and need a consoling shoulder or a anthemic pick-me-up!

Also included is one album cut, Daffodil Lament from No Need to Argue (see lyric video below), said to have been an overwhelming fan choice as the one non-single inclusion, and two new songs, New New York and Stars.

In truth, New New York, in which lead singer and songwriter Dolores O’Riordan takes on the September 11 terrorist attacks, is a bit heavy-handed, as O’Riordan confesses that the subject is beyond her (“There’s nothing to say”) before settling for the anthemic statement, “They won’t tear us apart”.

Much better is Stars, one of the band’s more pop-sounding efforts. But the inclusion of the two songs is appropriate, as it shows the Cranberries continuing to pursue two tracks in their music, one a harder-edged, more political side, the other softer and more romantic.

The Cranberries - Daffodil Lament (Official Lyric Video)

Official Website

Official 2LP Purchase Links

Cranberries World @ Facebook

The Cranberries @ Instagram

The Cranberries @ YouTube

The Cranberries @ Twitter

Title - Licked Live In NYC [2CD]
Artist - The Rolling Stones

In 1964, The Rolling Stones arrived to absolute mayhem for their first show in NYC, after the release of their debut album The Rolling Stones. Having played New York City multiple times, at several venues, it was only fitting that in January 2003, as part of their 40th anniversary tour, they made it a point to return to New York’s most celebrated arena… Madison Square Garden.

The Rolling Stones’ 40-year celebration tour with the NYC crowd bearing witness to a razor-sharp performance is evidenced throughout this entire set.

On June 10th, 2022, Mercury Studios will proudly present Licked Live In NYC on DVD+2CD, SD Blu-ray+2CD, as well as a standalone 2CD and 3LP.

Originally released in 2003 as an HBO special and as part of the Four Flicks package, this concert has been fully restored and remastered with four previously unreleased songs: “Start Me Up”, “Tumbling Dice”, “Gimme Shelter”, and “Sympathy For The Devil.”

CD 1:
1. Intro 2. Street Fighting Man 3. Start Me Up* 4. If You Can’t Rock Me 5. Don’t Stop 6. Monkey Man 7. Angie 8. Let It Bleed 9. Midnight Rambler 10. Tumbling Dice* 11. Band Introductions 12. Thru And Thru 13. Happy [*Previously unreleased]

With this live recording perfectly capturing the adrenaline-pumped excitement - both on stage and from the crowd - and the pure, unfiltered energy that only the Stones’ proficient repertoire and body morphing stage antics ever could, the set is kicked off in some style with the pulsating psychedelia (complete with with creepy sitar chords and piano) of Street Fighting Man, one of my own personal favorites, and one where Charlie is the stoked engine of the Start Me Up locomotive, and the comes the duo of the vibrant If You Can’t Rock Me and the brilliant R&B pop rock of Don’t Stop.

The crazy lyrics embedded within Monkey Man make it yet another stand out highlight here and that is itself backed by the languishing beauty of Angie, the masterfully laid back blues, low key guitar and piano rock of Let It Bleed, the rhythmic blues, and Mick-driven harmonica of Midnight Rambler, a gently rambunctious, yet quintessential Stones turn on Tumbling Dice, and after some quick band introductions, the first disc rounds out on the emotional, Keith-sung Thru And Thru, and also carried by Keith’s riff and vocal, the vibrant Happy.

CD 2:
1. Gimme Shelter* 2. You Got Me Rocking 3. Can’t You Hear Me Knocking 4. Honky Tonk Women (with Sheryl Crow) 5. (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction 6. It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll (But I Like It) 7. When The Whip Comes Down 8. Brown Sugar 9. Sympathy For The Devil* 10. Jumpin’ Jack Flash [*Previously unreleased]

The second disc opens on one of the most memorable opening riffs of any tracks in the history of rock, the totally haunting Gimme Shelter which is then followed by the thunderous groove within You Got Me Rocking, and then we get the open-G tuned guitar intro by Keith on Can’t You Hear Me Knocking, one of the best drum sounds ever recorded on Honky Tonk Women (albeit this version also features, and even though she totally rocks it, a vocally husky Sheryl Crow), and then comes yet another incredibly iconic and fantastically built guitar riff on the pulsating (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.

Up next is yet another bow to the great Charlie Watts, the heartbeat of the world’s greatest rock ‘n’ roll band on the incredulously performed It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll (But I Like It) and then comes the seamless convergence of guitars between both Keith and Ronnie on When The Whip Comes Down, the cool sounds and riffs of Brown Sugar, this collection closing on the atmospherically-charged smoothness of Sympathy For The Devil and the monumental opening chords along with the magically masterful irruption of the devastating main riff on the truly spectacular Jumpin’ Jack Flash.

Joining Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood, and Charlie Watts were Darryl Jones (bass, backing vocals), Chuck Leavell (keyboards, backing vocals), Bobby Keys (saxophone), Bernard Fowler (backing vocals), Lisa Fischer (backing vocals), Blondie Chaplin (backing vocals, acoustic guitar/ percussion), Tim Ries(saxophone, keyboards), Kent Smith (trumpet), and Michael Davis (trombone) who set the Garden’s stage ablaze.

The addition of three bonus performances from Amsterdam and rehearsal footage gives an insider’s view of the Rolling Stones gearing up for this tour. The SD Blu-ray package includes the additional 51-minute documentary Tip Of The Tongue, which captures the conception and preparation of the Live Licks tour’s innovative three show / three venue approach.

Inspired to switch up venues on a nightly basis between arenas, ballrooms, or theaters, and setlists along with it, the band are captured preparing for this tour from the recording studio in Paris to the rehearsals in Toronto.

A dynamic performance delivered at one of the most celebrated of venues, Rolling Stones Licked Live In NYC showcases a landmark, celebratory moment in the lives of the world’s greatest rock ‘n’ roll band.

Official Purchase Link

Rolling Stones - Licked Live in NYC | Official Trailer The Rolling Stones - Don’t Stop (Licked Live in NYC) [Official Live Video]

Official Website

The Rolling Stones @ Facebook

The Rolling Stones @ Twitter

The Rolling Stones @ Instagram

The Rolling Stones @ YouTube

Title - American Rocker
Artist - Joe Bouchard

For those of you not in the know, Joe Bouchard is best known as a former member of Blue Öyster Cult. The original lineup sold millions of albums for Columbia Records, with such classic songs as “(Don’t Fear) the Reaper” and the #1 hit on the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart “Burning for You.” He contributed to songwriting and lead vocals on some of their greatest songs, such as “Hot Rails to Hell.”

Bouchard releases his brand new album American Rocker, and drops a new lyric video for the haunting track Deadly Kisses. Joe had this to say about the song, “Deadly Kisses is a song of young love and how it traps you. I sat down in a music room at a private boarding school and played a few odd chords. The opening lines and melody just came out.”

1. “My Way is the Highway”
2. “In the Golden Age”
3. “Deadly Kisses”
4. “Love Out of Thin Air”
5. “Off Season Hotel”
6. “Hounds of Hell”
7. “Conspiracy”
8. “Rocket to Fame”
9. “The Devil’s in the Details”
10. “Katherine”
11. “Hey There Suzi Dear”

This quite wondrously uplifting, vibrantly rocking new album opens on the rockin’ foot tapper “My Way is the Highway” and the melodic troubadour flashback of “In the Golden Age” and follow those up with the mehtodically-paced “Deadly Kisses,” the tension-filled “Love Out of Thin Air” and then comes the entwined Eastern-tinged rhythms within “Off Season Hotel.”

Up next on this album that sees Joe taking a look back at the heyday of the 70’s with BÖC, the atmospherically-charged “Hounds of Hell” and then the free flowing, joyously-crafted rocker “Conspiracy” and they are in turn backed by the rambunctious “Rocket to Fame,” the AOR of “The Devil’s in the Details,” the album rounding out on the ’60s-imbibed duo of “Katherine” and the fervent rock/pop of “Hey There Suzi Dear.”

American Rocker sees the return of Mickey Curry (Bryan Adams, Hall and Oates, Alice Cooper) on drums, and sees Bouchard taking a look back at the heyday of the ‘70’s with BÖC on tracks like “In the Golden Age,” and “Rocket to Fame.”

As Joe states, “American Rocker is a musical journey of my life as a rock star. I feel lucky to live a life of music, and to be fulfilling my wildest dreams.”

Deko Entertainment president, Bruce Pucciarello, continues, “If there was ever an album aptly named, Joe Bouchard shares this collection of amazing rock and roll flashbacks. Joe exemplifies the true American rocker.”

Joe Bouchard will be joining his brother, Albert Bouchard, for select shows in North America and their first ever Bouchard Brothers UK Tour this summer.

UK Tour Dates 2022:
August 9: Glasgow (Hard Rock Café)
August 10: Edinburgh (Bannermans)
August 11: Blackpool (Waterloo)
August 12: London (Underworld) w/Angel
August 14: Nuneaton (Queen’s Hall)
August 15: Hull (Wrecking Ball)
August 17: Newcastle (Trillians) w/Angel
August 18: Stoke-on-Trent (Eleven)

Joe Bouchard - Deadly Kisses (Official Lyric Video)

Official Album and Joe Bouchard Merch Purchase Link

Official Website

Joe Bouchard @ Facebook

Joe Bouchard @ Twitter

Joe Bouchard @ Instagram

Title - Fernande Decruck: Concertante Works
Artist - Carrie Koffman & Jackson Symphony Orchestra

For those of you not in the know, French composer Fernande Breilh-Decruck showed signs of a promising career from an early age, when she won several prizes at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Paris (harmony, fugue, piano).

As an assistant professor of harmony, she trained many students, including one who became very famous and later dedicated her a score: “To Fernande Decruck, with all the gratitude and fond memories of the author – Olivier Messiaen”.

From 1926, the year of his appointment as organ teacher, Marcel Dupré introduced her to improvisation. This talent earned her an organ concert tour in the United States at the end of 1928. She later gave solo recitals in New York City’s grand auditoriums.

Decruck’s trajectory as a composer can be traced through her early works, which give prominence to the organ (her instrument), saxophone and double bass (her husband’s instruments). The Decrucks lived in New York City for several years. Her husband Maurice played double bass and saxophone in the New York Philharmonic under Arturo Toscanini.

Decruck’s American period saw the birth of numerous compositions for piano, organ, orchestra, a concerto for cello and orchestra, and many works for a wide range of wind instruments, notably for saxophone.

In 1937, Fernande Decruck moved to Toulouse alone with her three children. She worked as a professor at the Toulouse Conservatory. From 1942 onwards, she devoted herself entirely to composition, notably writing a harp concerto, Poème héroïque, and the Sonata in C-sharp for saxophone.

She officially divorced Maurice in 1950, which led to financial difficulties. She ended her career as a professor of harmony at the Fontainebleau Conservatory. A series of health problems led to her untimely death at the age of 57.

An impressive testament to Decruck and her incredible, groundbreaking in many ways, musical enterprise, Jackson Symphony Orchestra have just released an album of Concertante Works for Saxophone, Trumpet, Horn and Harp by the late French composer on Swiss Label Claves (June 10th, 2022).

The album marks the inaugural recording in the Jackson Symphony Orchestra’s newly launched Equal Billing Project that aims to record and support the music of a composer not adequately recognized during their lifetime.

Decrück: Sonata for Saxophone & Orchestra
I. Très modéré
II. Noël
III. Fileuse
IV. Nocturne et Rondel

Decrück: Poème Héroïque:
I. Moderato
II. Andante espressivo
III. Final

Decrück: Harp Concerto:
I. Modéré, sans lenteur
II. Andante
III. Très vif et léger
IV. Final. Allegro molto

Sonate en ut dièse pour saxophone (ou alto) et orchestre opens on the languishing beauty of Très modéré and the playfully perky Noël they are both followed by the layered ambiances found within the quietly joyous Fileuse, the work rounding out on the dutiful Nocturne et Rondel.

Poème Héroïque pour trompette solo en ut, cor solo en fa et orchestre opens on the stern affair of Moderato and then brings us the sweeping, Disney-esque Andante espressivo, before itself coming to a close on the triumphant embodiment of the aptly-named Final.

The final work, Concerto pour harpe et orchestre opens on the precocious gossamer of Modéré, sans lenteur and the delicate musings within Andante, before we are treated to the sentimental embrace of Très vif et léger, the whole recording coming to a rather triumphant close on the resoundingly euphoric Allegro molto.

Carrie Koffman, saxophone
Amy McCabe, trumpet
Leelanee Sterrett, horn
Chen-Yu Huang, harp
Jackson Symphony Orchestra
Matthew Aubin, conductor

Title - The Landscape
Artist - Marilyn Scott

For those of you not in the know, a native of southern California, vocalist Marilyn Scott counts among her earliest influences, artists Aretha Franklin, Donny Hathaway, Etta James, Jean Carn and Andy Bey.

She began performing in local clubs and school functions when she was fifteen. She moved to San Francisco to attend college on an art scholarship, and fronted soul-jazz bands around the San Francisco Bay area.

Among the many friends she made were the guys in Tower of Power, who gave her the opportunity to do backing session vocals with the Oakland-based band.

Those recording sessions steered her to making her way back to Los Angeles as a studio session singer, where she recorded and performed with musicians and groups including Spyro Gyra, Yellowjackets, Hiroshima, John Mayall, Etta James, Bobby Caldwell and Bobby Womack.

Scott’s first recording in 1977, as a solo artist, was a single version of Brian Wilson’s “God Only Knows” which led to her first album, Dreams of Tomorrow, on Atco/Atlantic. Her discography continued with, 1983 Without Warning, Polygram, 1991 and 1992 Sin-Drome recordings, Smile and Sky Dancing. 1996 and 1998 Warner Bros releases of Take Me with You and Avenues of Love. The Japanese Venus Records recording, Every Time We Say Goodbye, in 2008.

Marilyn moved to Prana Entertainment and released from 2001 to 2017, Walking with Strangers, Nightcap, Handpicked, Innocent of Nothing, Get Christmas Started and Standard Blue in 2017. Her 2022 release on Blue Canoe Records, The Landscape marks her most recent release.

1. Thrown Out Into Space, Butterfly
2. The Landscape
3. Summer Night
4. Irreplaceable
5. Tomorrow
6. Unzip
7. The Sun (feat. The Perri Sisters)

Combining her interest in neo-soul, jazz and Brazilian music, along with collaborating here with Dori Caymmi, George Duke, Russell Ferrante, Bob James, Jimmy Haslip, Brenda Russell, Bob Mintzer, Perri Sisters, Terri Lynne Carrington, Patrice Rushen, and Scott Kinsey, the new album opens on the veritably translucently vibrant Thrown Out Into Space, Butterfly and the comes the gently perky, low ebb jazzy blues of the title track The Landscape and the delicately ornate Summer Night.

Up next is the harder edged, guitar-reverb found within Irreplaceable which is itself followed by the thoughtfully-crafted rhythms found within Tomorrow, the album rounding out on the free flowing, perky melodies of Unzip, coming to a close on the heavenly harmonics within The Sun (featuring The Perri Sisters).

The Landscape is Marilyn Scott’s thirteenth album as a leader. Born out of the determination to create during a global pandemic, Scott looked inward and called upon some of her closest friends to collaborate her most profound truths.

Scott expands, “The Landscape project grew out of listening to myself and others with life’s frustrations and concerns. One of the only outlets I know of is putting yourself in front of nature and letting go. These elements of life, precious and surreal, give answers if we embrace and nurture our surroundings.”

“With The Landscape, I addressed places to put yourself and add an appreciation of the moment, no matter where you are. I find it more difficult at times to find that peace, but it’s right in front of you, right outside your door, in the street and alleys of your wilderness. Let’s protect nature, and she will help you find your breath.”

Official Website

Marilyn Scott @ Facebook

Title - Dice Que Vive (Signs of Life)
Artist - Rafael Greco

For those of you not in the know, beyond his musical endeavors, Rafael Greco is also a published author and an exceptionally gifted photographer. His children’s books include: “Begoña la araña” (“Begoña the spider) y “La nueva naríz” (“The new Nose”) published by Camelia Editions.

Furthermore, his photos have been used for the album covers for these artists: “El Vecino” (Juanma Trujillo) and “Viaje a la luna” (Mariana Serrano).

His photos were also a featured part of the “Chroma” Project by Antonio Mazzei in conjunction with other globally recognized photographers such as: Caterina di Perri, Diego Sierralta, Fran Beaufrand, Fryd Frydendhal, Jonas Bendiksen, Oscar Bambú Castillo, Ricardo Jiménez and Sara Maneiro. All curated by: Vasco Szinetar.

Now, in 2022, Rafael Greco is ready to present his debut album as a solo artist and leader titled: Dice Que Vive (Signs of Life) on Blue Canoe Records.

Within this work, he offers a most intimate vision that translates his world in a very personal way through his lyrics and sonic tapestries. The April 27th release hopes to reach the ears and hearts of everyone who hears this extraordinary musical statement.

1. Once Upon a Time (Erasé una vez)
2. Ondé
3. Mr. Iwai (Sr. Iwai)
4. African Boy
5. Igno Two
6. 10th Avenue (Avenida Diez)
7. 11-2
8. Mantra
9. Time (Tiempo)
10. An Illusion (Una ilusión)
11. Belén
12. Five Miniatures for Solo Piano (Cinco Miniaturas Para Piano Solo)
13. Ghost Owner

On this tantalizingly eclectic album, one where Greco offers the following: The album begins with a study of reiteration for generally, in folk music, rhythmic cells are repeated to form a continuous fabric that groove and inspire dancing, first up is the wholly atmospheric fable Once Upon a Time (Erasé una vez) and the rhythmic Ondé and they are followed by the more pronounced, rounded melodies within the ghost story Mr. Iwai (Sr. Iwai), and then comes the imagined landscape within African Boy and the short, but sweet tale of Igno Two (imagine a clumsy robot at a circus!)

Up next come the sounds of chimbangueles (a gathering of tambores, the sounds of Zulia, Greco’s home state in Venezuela) within 10th Avenue (Avenida Diez) and the short hymn (and laughter)-imbibed 11-2, and they are in turn followed by the meditative repetition through prayer of Mantra, the organic layering of Time (Tiempo), the slow guaguancó, or a fast yambú for Our Lady of Chiquinquirá An Illusion (Una ilusión), the recording rounding out on the near ten minute Belén, the passionate Five Miniatures for Solo Piano (Cinco Miniaturas Para Piano Solo), closing on the free improvisation (dedicated to those who might take a ghost for a ride in a helium balloon) of Ghost Owner.

Upon discovering the rhythms of Central Africa and composer Steve Reich caused me to listen to reiteration, the art of repetition from another angle, Greco explains.

It was almost like looking at a butterfly’s wings through a microscope. Each song contains reiterative cues, layers of sounds, carefully designed textures that were vital to creating a work that could give the impression of being a simple yet coherent architectural illusion.

The album is a tribute to my family, to the music of my homeland, to my memories, to the places and people that marked the way I perceive my surroundings. It is a sincere attempt to express my musical and artistic nature.

I must also mention some of the great masters who influenced this work: Naná Vasconcelos, Charles Ives, Toru Takemitsu, Don Grolnick, Johnny Pacheco, Ángel Canales, Keith Jarrett, Django Bates, Federico Mompou, Steve Winwood, Bruce Hornsby, Lyle Mays, Michael Brecker, Adalberto Santiago, Gil Evans, Herbie Hancock, Joe Henderson, Steve Reich, James Taylor, Juan de Dios Martínez, Olivier Messiaen, Joe Zawinul, Peter Gabriel and Oliver Knussen.

Official Purchase Link

Title - Tiger Tail
Artist - Evan Drybread

For those of you not in the know, Evan Drybread is a freelance saxophonist from Indianapolis, Indiana and performs with many of the finest musicians in the Midwest.

He frequently performs at the Jazz Kitchen, Chatterbox Jazz Club, and many other events in town including Indy Jazz Fest and Concerts on the Canal.

Although performing mostly in Central Indiana, Evan has performed around the globe including time as a show band musician for Royal Caribbean International.

Since returning to Indy, he has performed with Josh Kaufman, Emmet Cohen, the Sean Imboden Large Ensemble, and the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra.

Evan’s debut album Tiger Tail (out now) showcases his tenor and soprano sax work on six of his compositions ranging in styles from hard bop to jazz fusion.

Additionally, Tiger Tail features two duo pieces written by pianist Christopher Pitts.

1. Blackball
2. High Priestess (feat. Kenny Phelps)
3. The Queen of Cups
4. Tiger Tail
5. Atlantic Mirror (feat. Christopher Pitts)
6. The Downey Wives (feat. Mark Buselli)
7. Woodruff Place Town Hall (feat. Scott Pazera)
8. Waltse (feat. Christopher Pitts)

The opener, Blackball is a most joyous swing number that just rolls off the soul and that is backed seamlessly by the upbeat grooves and rhythms within High Priestess (featuring drummer Kenny Phelps), and then comes the laid back, smooth sexiness of The Queen of Cups and then the gently frenetic title track Tiger Tail.

The low key, seductive, after midnight vibe of Atlantic Mirror (featuring pianist Christopher Pitts) is up next is is itself followed by the foot-tapper The Downey Wives (featuring trumpeter supreme Mark Buselli), the album coming to an all-too-soon end with the high energy of Woodruff Place Town Hall (featuring guitarist Scott Pazera), coming to a close on the sedate, ornate gossamer of Waltse (once more featuring Christopher Pitts).

Evan graduated from Ball State University where he studied improvisation and arranging with Mark Buselli. As a graduate student at Purdue University, he served as the Jazz Program Assistant Director and was the jazz saxophone instructor at nearby Wabash College.

Evan continues to teach private lessons locally and frequently performs as a sideman performing on all saxophones, clarinet, bass clarinet, and flute.

Evan Drybread - tenor and soprano saxophones
Mark Buselli - trumpet and flugel horn
Christopher Pitts - keys
Scott Pazera - upright and electric basses
Kenny Phelps - drums

Official Website

Amazon Album Purchase Link

Title - Levitation 1
Artist - Kevin Kastning / Laszlo Gardony

For those not in the know, Greydisc Records have just released the new album from Kevin Kastning and Laszlo Gardony entitled Levitation 1.

Furthermore, this is the first of a two-album series. This blend of instruments provides a unique palette for the six new compositions on this record; in fact, it is the first time 36-string Double Contraguitar has been paired with Piano.

Kevin Kastning is an American guitarist, composer and musical instrument inventor who along with playing the aforementioned 36-string Double Contraguitar, also plays the 30-string Contra-Alto guitar, 17-string Hybrid Extended Classical guitar, 15-string Extended Classical guitar, twelve-string guitar, six-string guitar, fretless guitar, 12-string extended baritone guitar, 6-string bass-baritone guitar, alto guitar, the 14-string contraguitar, the 16-string contraguitar, the 17-string contraguitar, 12-string soprano guitar, mandolin, piano, and, phew ... bass!

Internationally acclaimed Boston-based jazz pianist and composer Laszlo Gardony is one of the most expressive and technically skilled pianists working in jazz today.

“A formidable improviser who lives in the moment” (JazzTimes), Laszlo Gardony has performed in 27 countries and released 14 albums on the Sunnyside, Antilles, and Avenue Jazz labels during his distinguished decades long career.

1. Levitation Opus I (7:48)
2. Levitation Opus II (6:32)
3. Levitation Opus III (7:27)
4. Levitation Opus IV (10:48)
5. Levitation Opus 5 (5:45)
6. Levitation Opus 6 (11:21)

On a recording that clearly shows us that both Kevin and Laszlo have a deep and immediate artistic connection, of which can be heard in each of these advanced and intricate compositions, they open with the low ebbed, scratchy at times, piercingly angular at others, notes and melodies within Levitation Opus I and back that up with the quieter, more methodical works within both Opus II and Opus III.

Opus IV is one of my own personal favorites, for the ten minute oeuvre is a veritable smorgasbord of astute, organically-charged, at times insular, other times methodically disjointed, yet at all times melodically fascinating rhythms, whilst Opus V brings forth a thematic approach to their work, with the recording coming to a close on the excitedly jaunty, experimental yet cultured, and wholly ambient eleven minute Opus VI.

Official Purchase Link

Kevin Kastning @ Bandcamp

Kevin Kastning @ Facebook

Title - The Rolling Stones Singles 1963-1966 [Box-Set]
Artist - The Rolling Stones

For those not in the know, ABKCO Records will release The Rolling Stones Singles 1963-1966 on June 10th, 2022 in celebration of the group’s 60th anniversary this year.

The limited-edition set includes reproductions of the first 18 7” vinyl singles and extended play records by “The World’s Greatest Rock ‘n’ Roll Band,” as originally released by Decca and London Records.

The tracks are all remastered by 12-time Grammy Award-winning engineer Bob Ludwig. The set, replete with period-correct picture sleeve art, will also come with a 32-page book with extensive liner notes by Stones authority Nigel Williamson, as well as rare photos and ephemera plus a set of five photo cards and a poster, all housed in a hard-shell box.

A companion second vinyl box set in the series, The Rolling Stones Singles 1966-1971, will be released next year.

Before they were thought of as one of the rock era’s quintessential album bands, the Rolling Stones began their recording career in 1963 with a slew of singles that captured the energy and excitement created by the classic lineup of Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Brian Jones, Charlie Watts and Bill Wyman.

Their version of Chuck Berry’s “Come On” backed with a cover of Muddy Waters’ “I Want To Be Loved” kicked it all off, and was quickly followed up with “I Wanna Be Your Man,” a song written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney for the Stones to use, before being recorded by The Beatles themselves.

London Records, their US label, quickly withdrew the single on “moral grounds” due to the illicit implications of the B-side “Stoned” (credited to Nanker Phelge – the songwriting pseudonym for the entire band). None of the songs from these first two singles appeared on any of their albums.

The Rolling Stones Singles 1963-1966 follows the group’s shift away from covers in favor of originals, due in large part to Jagger and Richards developing into one of the most accomplished powerhouse songwriting duos of their generation.

Of the nine US Top 40 hits contained within the set, all but one are Jagger/Richards compositions. These include “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” and “Get Off Of My Cloud,” which were number one hits on both sides of the Atlantic.

This collection includes the US and UK versions of both these singles, which feature different sleeve art and B-sides. The sole Top 40 cover is “Time Is On My Side,” (written by Jerry Ragovoy and notably recorded by Irma Thomas).

The single in this collection is the lesser-known version which features an organ intro. Another rarity that never made it onto an album in any form is “Sad Day,” the US B-side of the 1966 hit “19th Nervous Breakdown.”

Three extended-play (E.P.) 7” records are included in The Rolling Stones Singles 1963-1966, all of which were originally UK-only releases. These are The Rolling Stones (not to be confused with the album of the same name) and Five by Five (recorded at Chicago’s famed Chess Studio at 2120 South Michigan Avenue), both released in 1964, as well as 1965’s Got Live If You Want It! – the first of many live records by a band that to this very day is known as an explosive concert attraction.

The Rolling Stones Singles 1963-1966 tracklist:
“Come On” (originally released June 1963)
Side A: Come On
Side B: I Want To Be Loved

“I Wanna Be Your Man” (originally released November 1963)
Side A: I Wanna Be Your Man
Side B: Stoned

The Rolling Stones E.P. (originally released January 1964)
Side A: Bye Bye Johnny / Money
Side B: You Better Move On / Poison Ivy

“Not Fade Away” (originally released February 1964)
Side A: Not Fade Away
Side B: Little By Little

“Tell Me” (originally released June 1964)
Side A: Tell Me
Side B: I Just Wanna Make Love To You

“It’s All Over Now” (originally released June 1964)
Side A: It’s All Over Now
Side B: Good Times, Bad Times

Five by Five E.P. (originally released August 1964)
Side A: If You Need Me / Empty Heart / 2120 South Michigan Avenue
Side B: Confessin’ The Blues / Around and Around

“Time Is On My Side” (originally released September 1964)
Side A: Time Is On My Side
Side B: Congratulations

“Little Red Rooster” (originally released November 1964)
Side A: Little Red Rooster
Side B: Off The Hook

“Heart Of Stone” (originally released December 1964)
Side A: Heart Of Stone
Side B: What A Shame

“The Last Time” (originally released February 1965)
Side A: The Last Time
Side B: Play With Fire

Got Live If You Want It! E.P. (originally released June 1965)
Side A: We Want The Stones (Live) / Everybody Needs Somebody To Love (Live) / Pain In My Heart (Live) / Route 66 (Live)
Side B: I’m Moving On / I’m Alright

“(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” (US version, originally released June 1965)
Side A: (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction
Side B: The Under Assistant West Coast Promotion Man

“(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction)” (UK version, originally released August 1965)
Side A: (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction
Side B: The Spider And The Fly

“Get Off Of My Cloud” (US version, originally released September 1965)
Side A: Get Off Of My Cloud
Side B: I’m Free

“Get Off Of My Cloud” (UK version, originally released October 1965)
Side A: Get Off Of My Cloud
Side B: The Singer Not The Song

“As Tears Go By” (originally released December 1965)
Side A: As Tears Go By
Side B: Gotta Get Away

“19th Nervous Breakdown” (US version, originally released February 1966)
Side A: 19th Nervous Breakdown
Side B: Sad Day

Having grown up in a 7” single, vinyl-buying household in both the UK and the US, and with parents both devoted fans of bands such as The Rolling Stones, the Beatles, The Kinks, The Who and oh-so many more, I myself grew up listening to all these wondrous songs (A-Sides and B-Sides, I am glad to report) and so not only feel very blessed that this quite stunning new box-set has been kindly sent to us for review by ABKCO, but honestly feel well positioned to bring to you my collective thoughts on the contents here today.

Firstly, once you remove the factory-seal and open the box, that new car smell (so to speak) generously, and gorgeously wafts up to your nose and makes you immediately smile (knowing that, unlike second hand garage sales and old timey record shops), the vinyl you remove from this box will not be raggedy-sleeved, or feature vinyl scratches and blemishes of any kind.

With each single lovingly housed within its own color picture sleeve - as opposed to some other box-sets that shall remain nameless, where each single came out housed in plain white sleeves - it is not only the quality of the vinyl itself when played, but the look of the replica flashback picture sleeves that just make you nostalgically crumble inside.

If I had to pick a favorite from amongst this plethora of musical wonderment, it would be the vibrant The Rolling Stones E.P. Originally released in January, 1964, it opens with, to my mind, one of their best covers ever, that of Bye Bye Johnny, which ultimately plays straight into Keith Richards’ Chuck Berry powerhouse stance and then we get the Harmonica-driven (courtesy of Brian Jones) cover of the very first hit record for Berry Gordy’s Motown enterprise, Money.

Flipping the single over and we next get these so-called wild men of rock singing this beautiful ballad from Arthur Alexander, You Better Move On (complete with gentle harmonies from Bill Wyman and Brian), the EP rounding out on the perky and upbeat Poison Ivy; originally written by Leiber & Stoller for The Coasters.

The 32-page color book is magnificent also, features lots and lots of wondrous old black and white/color photographs of the band, along with adjacent single release information. And the predominately-posed, five various art cards (photos) and luscious horizontal black and white poster make for lovely viewing also.

ABKCO Records is home to the entire catalog of The Rolling Stones from 1963 to early 1971. This includes the albums The Rolling Stones, England’s Newest Hit Makers, 12 X 5, The Rolling Stones No. 2, The Rolling Stones, Now!, Out of Our Heads, December’s Children (And Everybody’s), Aftermath, Got Live If You Want It!, Between the Buttons, Their Satanic Majesties Request, Beggars Banquet, Let It Bleed and Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out! The Rolling Stones in Concert. ABKCO Films is home to Charlie Is My Darling - Ireland 1965 and The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus.

Official Unboxing | The Rolling Stones 7" Singles 1963 - 1966 (Vinyl Box Set)

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Title - Brahms: Cello Sonatas & Songs
Artist - Antonio Meneses & Gérard Wyss

For those of you not in the know, this year, legendary cellist Antonio Meneses celebrates his 65th birthday and the 40th anniversary of winning first prize and the gold medal at the 1982 Tchaikovsky Competition.

Shortly after that triumph Antonio made a renowned recording of Brahms’ Double Concerto with conductor Herbert von Karajan.

Here on the just-released Brahms: Cello Sonatas & Songs, along with pianist Gérard Wyss, he revisits the composer’s music on his 11th recording for AVIE and his first of Brahms’ two cello sonatas, generously paired with a selection of lieder arrangements.

Cello Sonata No. 1 in E minor Op. 38
1. I. Allegro non troppo (14.43)
2. II. Allegretto quasi Menuetto (5.43)
3. III. Allegro (6.54)

Songs for cello & piano, arr. Norbert Salter 1868–1935 & David Geringas b. 1946
4. Feldeinsamkeit Op. 86 No. 2 (3.36)
5. Wie Melodien zieht es mir leise durch den Sinn Op. 105 No. 1 (2.17)
6. Sapphische Ode Op. 94 No. 4 (2.28)
7. Wiegenlied Op. 49 No. 4 (2.06 )
8. Liebestreu Op. 3 No. 1 (2.11)
9. Minnelied Op. 71 No. 5 (3.07)
10. Immer leiser wird mein Schlummer Op. 105 No. 2 (3.11)

Cello Sonata No. 2 in F Op. 99
14. I. Allegro vivace (9.12)
12. II. Adagio affettuoso (6.59)
13. III. Allegro passionato (7.45)
14. IV. Allegro molto (4.46)

Antonio mines Brahms’ baritonal sound world, extracting the full expressive range of the cello. Opening on Cello Sonata No. 1 in E minor Op. 38, the sterner fare of the near-fifteen minute Allegro non troppo is first brought forth and is backed by the flirtatious Allegretto quasi Menuetto and then the closer is the forthright melodies within Allegro.

Similar qualities infuse a selection of seven Lieder in arrangements - Songs for cello & piano, arr. Norbert Salter 1868–1935 & David Geringas b. 1946 - that sound so effective on the cello that one cannot help but wonder whether somewhere in the back of his mind Brahms had the sound of the instrument – he was, after all, an accomplished player in his youth, and it would remain central to his chamber music output throughout his life.

The new recording culminates with Cello Sonata No. 2 in F Op. 99, which begins with the yearningly beautiful, near-ten minute Allegro vivace, before bringing us the somber affair Adagio affettuoso, then comes the inspiringly uplifting Allegro passionato, the work ending with the gentle ballroom twirl of Allegro molto.

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Title - La folia
Artist - Sebastian Bohren

For those of you not in the know, Sebastian Bohren’s new album La folia is an affectionate homage – to Ida Haendel, one of his heroes; to fiddlers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries; and to the violin itself.

Indeed, the Swiss violinist says, “It is also like a hall of mirrors, as some tracks invoke the spirits of two or three violinists.”

From an early age, Sebastian was immersed in a lineage of violinists who favored Romantic transcriptions of Baroque repertoire, studying with a pupil of the great Ukranian-born violinist Nathan Milstein.

Later in life, he fell under the influence of violinist Ida Haendel on YouTube, watching her perform Corelli’s La folia variations. “She played this amazing virtuoso cadenza, and I was captivated.”

So arose the concept of a program reflecting the ethos of La folia, the ear-catching theme which has fascinated composers for centuries, from the Baroque era’s Tomaso Antonio Vitali and Giuseppe Tartini to latter-day Ottorino Respighi and Fritz Kreisler.

FRITZ KREISLER (1875–1962)
1. Praeludium and Allegro in the style of Pugnani (5:56)
arr. violin & strings Manuel Naegeli

2. Chaconne in G minor (10:52)
arr. violin & strings Peter Petrof, after the violin & piano arr. by Léopold Charlier

MARIA THERESIA VON PARADIS (1759–1824) (attrib.)
3. Sicilienne (3:27)
arr. violin & strings Mariana Rudakevych
Sebastian Bohren, violin
Stringendo Zürich
Jens Lohmann, conductor

4. Violin Sonata in D minor Op .5 No .12 ‘La Folia’ (11:28)
arr. violin & strings Mariana Rudakevych, after the violin & piano arr. by Hubert Léonard (‘La Folia: Variations sérieuses’); cadenza: H. Léonard

Violin Sonata in A GT 2 .A16
arr. violin & strings Ottorino Respighi (‘Pastorale’ P.86)
5. I . Grave (3:41)
6. II . Allegro sostenuto (2:30)
7. III . Largo (4:18)

Violin Sonata in G minor GT 2 .g05 ‘Devil’s Trill’
arr. violin & strings Ingolf Turban & Holger Frey; cadenza: F. Kreisler
8. I . Andante (4:17)
9. II . Allegro (3:06)
10. III . Andante–Allegroassai (7:47)

11. Variations on a theme of Corelli in the Style of Tartini (3:48)
arr. violin & strings Mariana Rudakevych

With Sebastian capturing the sound world with sincerity, playing on two different violins, the 1710 “King George” Stradivarius, and a Guadagnini made in 1761, together with the CHAARTS Chamber Artists, he opens on extraordinarily beautiful Praeludium and Allegro in the style of Pugnani (Fritz Kreisler) and then backs that up with the quieter, achingly sterner fare of Chaconne in G minor (Tomaso Antonio Vitali), the almost ethereal Sicilienne (Maria Theresia Von Paradis) and then comes the centerpiece, the ornately succulent, opulently crafted Violin Sonata in D minor Op .5 No .12 ‘La Folia’ (Arcangelo Corelli).

Up next is the fascinatingly playful, yet at all times dulcet and restrained three-part Violin Sonata in A GT 2 .A16 (Giuseppe Tartini) which is itself followed by the triumphant euphoria within the three-part Violin Sonata in G minor GT 2 .g05 ‘Devil’s Trill’ (both by Giuseppe Tartini), the new recording coming to a righteous close on the fruitfully abundant melodies found within Variations on a theme of Corelli in the Style of Tartini (Fritz Kreisler).

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Title - Voodoo Nation
Artist - Supersonic Blues Machine

For those of you not in the know, Supersonic Blues Machine will release their brand-new studio album Voodoo Nation on June 24th, 2022 via Provogue/Mascot Label Group.

Once again, the again features a reunion of some of the most exciting icons and names in blues: Charlie Starr (Blackberry Smoke), Eric Gales, Joe Louis Walker, Ana Popovic, Kirk Fletcher, King Solomon Hicks, Josh Smith and Sonny Landreth.

“The general discontent in the world at the moment is so widespread, we get told to embrace it because that’s life,” says bassist Fabrizio Grossi. “No, that’s not life,” he asserts. “It’s how we’re forced to live nowadays. Voodoo Nation refers to the times we’re living in, at least here in the States, but I guess the whole world can relate. We’re getting to the point where we’re living out life almost as Zombies. We’re little machines.”

But there is always hope, which is what Supersonic Blues Machine has always been about.

1. Money
2. Too Late
3. Coming Thru
4. You And Me (feat. King Solomon Hicks)
5. Get It Done (feat. Josh Smith)
6. 8 Ball Lucy (feat. Sonny Landreth)
7. Devil At The Doorstep (feat. Eric Gales)
8. Is It All (feat. Joe Louis Walker)
9. Do It Again (feat. Ana Popović)
10. I Will Let Go (feat. Kirk Fletcher)
11. Voodoo Nation
12. All Our Love (feat. Charlie Starr)

Opening on the drum-led rock euphoria of Money and the foot-pounding, hand-clapping, grooving down south slide guitar work of Too Late, they then back those up seamlessly with the pulsating, harmonica-driven Coming Thru, the reverberating funky blues rock of You And Me (featuring young Harlem blues-sensation King Solomon Hicks), the drum-led AOR of Get It Done (featuring blues guitarist Josh Smith), the rhythmic rock of 8 Ball Lucy (featuring Louisiana slide-god Sonny Landreth) and then we get the euphorically-charged, 8-minute long Devil At The Doorstep (featuring Eric Gales, whose recent album Crown was a #1 Blues Billboard hit and hasn’t been off my turntable for the past two months).

Up next is the gorgeously smooth, mid-tempo blues balladry of Is It All (featuring the legendary Joe Louis Walker) and the thunderous Do It Again (featuring the Serbian blues singer/guitarist Ana Popović), and they are in turn backed by the band’s trademark soulful blues sound comes to the fore on I Will Let Go (featuring blues guitarist Kirk Fletcher), the album coming to a close on the pounding blues rock of the title track Voodoo Nation and the inspirational, atmospherically-imbibed rootsy rock of All Our Love (featuring Charlie Starr of Blackberry Smoke).

At the core of the band is producer/bass player Fabrizio Grossi (Steve Vai, Alice Cooper, George Clinton, Slash) and drummer Kenny Aronoff (John Mellencamp, Meat Loaf, Brandon Flowers, John Fogerty, Red Hot Chili Peppers) with British rocker Kris Barras replacing Lance Lopez as singer-guitarist.

Barras has a recent UK Top 30 album chart hit in March himself, and he is leading the pack of the British hard rock revival with several A-list singles, BBC Radio appearances and sell-out shows.

Voodoo Nation is the band’s third studio album. “Kris comes from this British school of hard rock and blues,” Grossi says. “This is a different sound to Kenny and me with the Allman Brothers, Sly Stone & The Family & Mountain. On Californisoul (2017), we were going more West Coast Funkadelic 60s and overall jam vibe. Blues but with more of a hippy flower power. With Kris, we wanted his footprint there, so that’s why you hear Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, and Gary Moore. Kind of a Union Jack imprint over a Star-Spangled Banner.”

The lyrical front on Voodoo Nation is less forgiving than everything in the past. “I’m not saying fuck flower power because that’s always the message,” Grossi says. “But there are very introspective things and a lot of the theatrics that we are dealing with on this record which I would say are fairly common in the blues but are dealt with a twist. There is a lot of Devil’s stuff in this record.”

Supersonic Blues Machine - 8 Ball Lucy (feat. Sonny Landreth) - Official Music Video

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Title - A Tale of 7 Cities
Artist - Raleigh Keegan

Raleigh Keegan is a country artist — at least, that’s what the internet at large has decided to label him. And with a backstory that could provide the script for an inspirational film, it would seem like Keegan would have enough material for an album full of basic, run-of-the-mill country songs.

But what you get when you press play on his 8-song latest release, A Tale of 7 Cities is anything but run-of-the-mill or basic.

It’s an unlikely start to a not-so-typical tale of country stardom: singer/songwriter Keegan was born in a jail to a brave, selfless single mother and placed for adoption. “It ended up being the best case scenario – my parents are wonderful. I had an awesome childhood.”

Raised outside of Cincinnati with a large extended family (11 aunts and uncles and nearly 50 cousins on just one side), Raleigh was the only member with any sort of musical inclination. “My birth father played guitar – that’s about all I know of where my talents come from.”

1. Cold Day in Tucson
2. Send My Love to Lexington
3. How’s the View in New York City
4. New to Nashville
5. Paris Wheel
6. Lonely Night in LA
7. Miss Me Memphis
8. Where My Home Is
9. Lost In Vegas

Cold Day in Tucson starts the record off strong, seamlessly blending elements of country and rock music. Keegan’s voice is the standout element in this (and nearly every other) song. His voice is deep, rich, and silky smooth, greatly downplaying the typical drawl that most male country artists prominently feature.

The lyrics themselves are a neat take on the post-breakup song, comparing unnatural cold in a place like Arizona to the strangeness of being without a lover.

Give My Love to Lexington is a beautiful ballad, a love letter to Kentucky. And this melodic, mellow ode to the Bluegrass State will surely be enough to rouse the pride of Kentuckians near and far, or in the reviewer’s case, descendants thereof. Thank you, Raleigh.

The cool thing about the record itself is that it is titled A Tale of 7 Cities, and seven of the eight tracks involve a different city, tracing the route, to some extent, that Keegan has traveled across his musical journey.

But for all of the smoothness of the vocals and pleasant twang of the guitars, A Tale of 7 Cities occasionally hits a few clunky notes, mostly in the way that Keegan’s voice occasionally wanders out of its sweet spot, making the chorus on songs like How’s the View in New York City sound shrill, and thus, unpleasant. But this is all forgivable in the face of seven other tracks that are absolute bangers.

Raleigh Keegan’s music may most appeal to the listener who has set roots downing multiple places or are perhaps looking for their forever home. And Raleigh Keegan will surely find a home — if he hasn’t already — at the top of the charts.

Review by: Ashley J. Cicotte

Raleigh Keegan’s A Tale of 7 Cities is now available on all streaming platforms.

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Title - Cumbiana II
Artist - Carlos Vives

While English-speaking audiences may recognize Carlos Vives as a contributor to the Disney Encanto soundtrack, he is one of the most recognizable and acclaimed artists in Latin America today, mostly due to the ways in which his music has championed the classic musical styles of Colombia, his country. He happens to also be a personal favorite of mine.

In 2020, Vives released ‘Cumbiana I’ a veritable smorgasbord of music that reached across not only Colombia, but much of Latin America.

This second installment, Cumbiana II is no different, spanning from Bogotá, Colombia to Buenos Aires, Argentina and San Juan, Puerto Rico.

1. Solo
2. Cinerama
3. Baloncito Viejo
4. Montaña Solitaria
5. Currambera
6. Canción Bonita
7. Babel
8. Pagamento
9. Besos en Cualquier Horario
10. Mi Guitarra Enamorada
11. En La Selva
12. Buscando Al Caballo (Homaneje a Johnny Ventura)
13. El Teke Teke
14. Patria

The thing about Carlos Vives’ music is, nearly every word is in Spanish. So of course it goes without saying that the listener who speaks or knows a little Spanish may fair better.

But it even gets a little sticky for folks like us, since the pronunciation of certain words and syllables vary from Spanish-speaking country to Spanish-speaking country; so someone used to listening to Mexican music, for example, may stumble over a few words sung in Vives’ Colombian accent without looking at the lyrics first.

But you get there, and without much difficulty overall. But listeners who don’t speak Spanish at all will still be treated to a disc full of catchy, tropical beats.

As mentioned, Cumbiana II is a journey all over the map, and it begins right where it ought: In Colombia, with “Solo” bringing the accordion-driven vallenato sound that Carlos Vives helped make famous.

For several other tracks, Vives enlists the help of several heavy-hitter guest stars including Ricky Martin, Camilo, Fito Páez, and — surprisingly — the Black-Eyed Peas. The presence of each adds an element to their respective songs, but it’s not enough for the fan of Vives in his own right to feel like he could just as easily do it on his own just as well.

Baloncito Viejo is the first standout track, with reggaeton sensation Camilo joining his countryman on a tune that compares a woman’s love to winning a sports match, with a cute little video featuring old time-y soccer. On the more mellow side of the groove, this song is also the first from the album I’ve seen to get radio airplay, which has to count for something.

The lead single off the record, Canción Bonita steals the position of Favorite Track, thanks to a bright, beachy sound (and video) and cameo by eternal heartthrob Ricky Martin. As far as Spanish lyrics with decent English translations go, this certainly wins, with the song’s narrator pledging fedelity: “Y si tengo escoger/Me quedo me quedo contigo…” In English: “And if I have to choose, I’ll stay, I’ll stay with you.” Isn’t that nice? They weren’t kidding around when they named it Beautiful Song.

Babel touches old-fashioned Argentinian rock with Fito Paez guesting on the track, while Patria serves as a delicate love song to Colombia, with only guitars dishing out complex rhythms that showcase the variation of musical stylings even within the singular country.

El Teke Teke brings the fun, courtesy of Black-Eyed Peas and Play n Skillz, with a silly little video dance that will surely help to make this track the bilingual summer smash it deserves to be.

Carlos Vives’ latest effort is a very solid one - as all of them are - even if it continues the somewhat unfortunate trend of being beset with one too many other musicians on the record, pero al final, me encantó. In the end, I loved it.

Review by: Ashley J. Cicotte

Cumbiana II is now streaming on every major platform.

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Title - Live at the Palladium
Artist - Killswitch Engage

For those of you needing something new to listen to, Killswitch Engage released a new album and boy, is it a fun ride for metalcore fans. Live at the Palladium is jammed packed with strong vocals and heavy guitar you’d come to expect from one of the greats in the genre.

First off, everything starts off with a bang as Unleashed begins with a growl. It certainly seems to unleash the beast as vocalist Jesse Leach throughout each song perfectly encapsulates his command of his voice. One minute he’s screaming and growling, the next minute he goes into his smooth tones. Each transition just makes you want to sing along to each song.

The backing vocals of Adam Dutkiewicz make each song powerful and epic in every way. Leach and Dutkiewicz uniquely blend to make an overall fantastic experience. There are a couple moments where their voices miss their timing but that’s the only thing critical I can say. All that is pretty much forgotten as you simply bang your head.

1. “Unleashed”
2. “The Signal Fire”
3. “Us Against The World”
4. “The Crownless King”
5. “I Am Broken Too”
6. “As Sure As The Sun Will Rise”
7. “Know Your Enemy”
8. “Take Control”
9. “Ravenous”
10. “I Can’t Be The Only One”
11. “Bite The Hand That Feeds”
12. “Temple From The Within”
13. “Vide Infra”
14. “Irreversal”
15. “Rusted Embrace”
16. “Prelude”
17. “Soilborn”
18. “Numb Sickened Eyes”
19. “In The Unblind”
20. “Just Barely Breathing”

It’s at this point that you’ll notice that there are no crowd sounds, despite it being a live album. This is because the band live streamed their set without an audience. There are times where this can be felt in a negative way, as songs like Us Against The World makes you want sing and scream along to embody the emotions behind it. But that’s harder to do if no one else is doing it, too.

Although there are some negatives, overall it really is a bold take on the music industry. It really opens the door to continue life outside of restrictions brought about things closing down during the COVID crisis.

Musically, dueling guitars of Dutkiewicz and Joel Stroetzel are straight fire. The metalcore grinds and chugs with solos throughout are just so good. Their ability to sound practically the same as their songs in their albums speak to their true ability. Nothing distracts them from keeping the beat with the drums and bass.

Speaking of beat, Mike D’Antonio on bass and Justin Foley on drums are true specialists in their respective fields. The timing of each beat from Foley flows like its second nature while he expertly brings in the fills to finish the overall sound.

D’Antonio just adds the icing on the cake for beats. He’s able to match Foley on the drums but then can flow into the guitar sounds effortlessly. Know Your Enemy is a great example of each instrument coming together in near flawless unity.

Overall, this album is fantastic and shows that even though Killswitch Engage has been around for years, they are still giants in the industry. Here’s hoping for many more albums to come.

Review by: John Cicotte

Killswitch Engage’s Live at the Palladium is available on all major streaming platforms.

Killswitch Engage - Vide Infra (Live at the Palladium) [Official Video]

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Title - Sinners Never Sleep [LP]
Artist - You Me At Six

For those unaware, today, You Me At Six are celebrating the 10 year anniversary of their milestone U.K. Gold certified album, Sinners Never Sleep (UMe) with the first ever vinyl pressing, including an expanded color vinyl 3LP set featuring the entire album, the 2012 The Final Night Of Sin At Wembley Arena album, and a third LP of unreleased rarities.

Alongside this will be the standard 12 track album on 1LP (being reviewed here today), digital, and a 3CD deluxe package with previously unreleased bonus material.

Released by Virgin Records on October 3rd, 2011, Sinners Never Sleep reached No. 3 in the U.K. album chart on its release, selling over 182,000 copies and cementing You Me At Six as one of the most important and influential bands in U.K. alternative rock.

Songs like “Loverboy” and “Bite My Tongue” (ft. Oli Sykes) proved transcendent and genre-shifting classics. Created when You Me At Six were barely out of their teens, ”Sinners Never Sleep” was applauded for and fueled by heroic hooks and towering choruses, lauded as the heaviest album they had ever made both sonically and lyrically at this point in their career.

Side A:
A1. Loverboy
A2. Jaws On The Floor
A3. Bite My Tongue
A4. This Is The First Thing
A5. No-one Does It Better
A6. Little Death
A7. Crash

Side B:
B1. Reckless
B2. Time Is Money
B3. Little Bit Of Truth
B4. The Dilemma
B5. When We Were Younger

Produced by Garth Richardson (Biffy Clyro, Rage Against the Machine) and with guest appearances from two of the metalcore scene’s most notable front men, You Me At Six’s third album, Sinners Never Sleep, suggested (and rightly so) that the Surrey quintet were keen to distance themselves from their punk-pop boy band label.

Thus the follow-up to their 2010 breakthrough, Hold Me Down, does indeed contain two of the heaviest tracks they’ve recorded, with Bite My Tongue, an aggressive slice of crunching metal featuring the vocals of Bring Me the Horizon’s Oliver Sykes, and the intense, Pendulum-esque riffs and thrashing beats of Time Is Money, which also includes the demonic howls of Australian metalcore outfit Parkway Drive’s Winston McCall.

But elsewhere, Josh Franceschi’s emotive tones quiver over a number of more palatable, radio-friendly offerings, the majority of which bear the hallmarks of several bands from across the pond, whether it’s Jimmy Eat World on the lighters-in-the-air ballad Little Bit of Truth; Panic at the Disco on the theatrical emo rock The Dilemma; or the Goo Goo Dolls on the chiming guitars and sweeping strings of soft rock anthem Crash.

The latter, in particular, may not have done anything to help their credibility-chasing cause, but the album is always much more convincing when it plays to its melodic strengths, as on the soulful, slow-building finale When We Were Younger, and the ’80s-tinged new wave of This Is the First Thing, than it is when pandering to the Kerrang! masses, as on the formulaic quiet verses/loud chorus formula of Little Death and the gang mentality glam rock of lead single Loverboy.

Indeed, in general, there’s no shame in appealing to a more commercial crowd, and if You Me At Six could have continued to pursue the album’s more mature mainstream moments, instead of trying to prove their rock credentials, Sinners Never Sleep would probably have turned out to be a more consistent affair.

That said, and having replaced buoyant guitars and boy-girl dilemmas with dark themes of religion, parenthood and death, Sinners Never Sleep was a welcomed bridge to grittier side of their material; albeit one adorned with a now-glittering pop-rock handrail.

The newly-expanded 3LP edition now comes complete with eleven ferociously-captured live tracks recorded on their final Night Of Sin 2012 tour at England’s prestigious Wembley Arena, together with two further vinyl LPs worth of ten previously unreleased rarities, this 10th Anniversary fanfare to You Me At Six is as good, and as complete as it gets for every fan of the band; or the genre, or of thoroughly heartfelt and ambitiously-crafted music overall.

You Me At Six are one of the most successful alternative rock bands in Britain. Their 15-year career has seen two U.K. Number 1 albums, four U.K. Gold Records, six Top Ten Albums in the U.K., and 17 consecutive A-List singles on BBC Radio One.

In addition, they’ve sold out multiple U.S. headline tours, with a Number One rock song in the U.K., Australia, and Top Five Rock Radio track in North America.

Following the release of their 2021 U.K. No. 1 album, SUCKAPUNCH, You Me At Six continue to play shows and work on new music.

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