Thursday, July 28, 2011

GEORGE & G. - So Much To Say (2011)

GEORGE & G. - So Much To Say 2011 GEORGE GRUNWALD



The project "George & G - So Much To Say” was initiated by George (Jerzy) Grunwald, a multi-talented musician and arranger who was born in Poland, raised in Sweden and also lived in New York City during his teen years.

In the early 80s after having lived in Sweden for some time George decided to move to San Diego, California, where he made his first experiences in the professional music business. One of the key figures became studio contractor Benjamin Barret.

Through Benjamin’s connections George had the chance to meet lots of the top session players of the L.A. music scene and to be present in the studio when they recorded multi-million selling AOR albums.



It was also the time when George perfected his musical skills and his musical taste was defined. Among his favourites were artists like The Eagles, TOTO, Journey and Christopher Cross.

After some time in the States George moved back to Sweden, where he is still based today. During the '90s he mainly worked as an arranger, song writer and session player for other artists and he met musicians that became friends and would later take part in the recording sessions for “So Much To Say”, like producer / guitarist Håkan Mjörnheim and sax player Eric Marienthal.



“So Much To Say” was written over a longer period of time and the basic tracks were recorded with a great cast of talented musicians in various studios in Denmark, Sweden and Poland, before the background vocals were arranged and recorded in Bill Champlin’s studio in Los Angeles.

Perfectly arranged and sung background vocals have always been an important part of the AOR / Westcoast sound, so the choice to involve some of the best vocalists of the L.A. studio scene at the time was an obvious one.

The amazing combination of Bill Champlin (Chicago), Jason Scheff, Joseph Williams (TOTO, Lou Pardini, the amazing Warren Wiebe and Alex Ligertwood on one album can hardly be found lately.

More high profile contributions on several songs come from David Garfield on keyboards and Eric Marienthal on sax.



This is a stupendous summer-breeze AOR album, leaning in style towards some of George's influences, with the American Rock feel of Toto, Steely Dan and The Eagles rubbing shoulders with the likes of the softer Chicago, Michael McDonald and Christopher Cross.

The title track "So Much To Say", 'You Know' and "Have I Lost My Girl" are the up-tempo numbers with catchy choruses, while the great "Touch The Sun" has a big TOTO influence.

There are also plenty of gentle ballads like "With Every Breath", "Mystery Girl" and "A Love So Right".

The two bonus tracks are "Why Don't You Stay", a smooth ballad that again reminds me a little of TOTO, and there's also an instrumental smooth version of "Save My Love".





A ten track version of the album was first released in 2006 as 'Jerzy Grunwall - So Much To Say' in South East Asian territories. Then, Japanese version featuring 2 bonus tracks followed in 2007.

Now is being released for the first time in Europe including the same 2 bonus tracks as the Japan version.

"So Much To Say" is immaculately crafted, arranged at the maximum detail and awesomely performed. You may expect material in the vein of classic acts like Airplay, Chicago, Pages or TOTO.

The state-of-the-art sound of the album is courtesy of the internationally renowned Danish producer, songwriter and musician Oli Poulsen, who produced and mixed the record.

Another true gem for all AOR and Westcoast fans and music collectors.





01 - So Much To Say

02 - Save My Love

03 - You Know

04 - Have I Lost My Girl

05 - I'm Emotional

06 - Touch The Sun (Duet with Alex Ligertwood)

07 - With Every Breath

08 - Mystery Girl

09 - A Love So Right

10 - Don't Give It Up

11 - Why Don't You Stay [Bonus track]

12 - Save My Love (Instrumental version) [Bonus track]





George Grunwald: Lead & Background Vocals, Guitars

Alex Ligertwood: Lead & Background Vocals (Track 6)

Hakan Mjornheim, Hans Poulsen, Finn Verwohlt: Guitars

Oli Poulsen: Bass, Piano, Rhodes, Keyboards, Guitars, Percussion

David Garfield: Piano, Wurlitzer

Jan Lysdahl: Drums

Jacob Andersen: Percussion

Eric Marienthal: Jens Hack: Horns

Background Vocals:

Bill Champlin, Joseph Williams, Jason Scheff, Lou Pardini, Warren Wiebe, Tamara Champlin, Trille Palsgaard, Stine Findsen, Mark Leadford, David Blamires, Oli Poulsen, Daniel Zimerman









BUY IT !

http://tinyurl.com/buy-So-Much-To-Say

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

SOREN ANDERSEN - Constant Replay (2011)

SOREN ANDERSEN - Constant Replay (2011)

Actual Mike Tramp lead guitar man and Glenn Hughes touring guitarist (touring UK together last month), Søren Andersen has been a part of the Danish and all Europe music business for two decades, yet at the ripe age of 37 released his first solo album "Constant Replay".
Most sidemen have a dream of being the one in center of the spotlight. Therefore "Constant Replay" is natural progress in Soren Andersen's career.
Soren takes advantage of being in charge since he has written all songs, sings, plays guitars, keyboards and also produces.
Basic tracks for the album were recorded at Søren's Medley Studios, with help from musicians / session friends on bass & drums.

The style of "Constant Replay" is a great compendium of trends in the guitar rock world for the past 30 years, resulting in varied and eclectic collection of tunes, from melodic hard rock to catchy hard rockers.
Andersens' playing is wonderful and his choice of tones is tasty, proving why Tramp and Hughes hired him. Accomplished vocalist as well, Soren's vocals reminds me Ritchie Sambora or Hughes itself on many songs.
Just by listening to the songs you can tell that Andersen, and the rest of the band for that matter, have played them with big goofy smiles on their faces, foots on monitors and hair flying around in the air. That’s an endearing quality that even though Søren undeniably is an amazingly skilled guitarist, he resists the urge to show off. The guitar solos are short, sharp and leaves you hungry for more.

It all starts with the catchy "Song About You", a melodic rocker in the early Bryan Adams-style but with tons of punch. Great tune to listen on your car cranked to 10.
"Glitter World" has a blistering guitar riff and a monster guitar solo around a commercial chorus.
The modern and heavy "Black Lady" has a groovy riff and many guitar twists, a sound reminiscent of recent Ozzy albums or Black Label Society but with more class and style.

One of may favorites is "Lavender In My Calendar", a summer song that deserves to be played loud in your convertible on a summer day. A true coool song that Ace Frehley could have written for his first solo album. Riff and chorus Rocks!
Soren pay tribute to legends Gary Moore and Jimi Hendrix on the gorgeous ballad "So Many Faces". This man is a serious player. It is easy to see (hear) why this Andersen is endorsing major brands such as Marshall, Yamaha or D'Adario.
"Cold Shock" is a terrific '70s inspired hard rocker in the Glenn Hughes style, while "Leave Me Alone" is a moody melodic song that reminds '80s Robert Plant solo albums.
"Catch Me If You Can" is another fun, groovy rocker in a heavy-funk style, think the first Lenny Kravitz with with more, more elaborated guitar work.
The title of "California Girl" says it all: this is a melodic easy listening rocker with a contagious chorus. Another summer-fun tune to enjoy at maximum volume.


"Constant Replay" is equally well-suited to a trip down Sunset Strip in an convertible car with the music playing at full blast as it is on an iPod during a train journey in Europe.
It's big, happy rock packed with good and unabashedly pop melodies. Latest Mike Tramp's release 'Stand Your Ground' is a perfect example of Soren Andersen when he sounds best.
The album is diverse and spans within all aspects of Rock music, from Hendrix to Deep Purple, from classic (melodic) rock to traditional hard.
But that’s really a pointless exercise as "Constant Replay" works perfectly on its own. It's a melodic, well-played, great rock album with lots of twangs and pings you don’t hear the first time, but appreciate the fourth or fifth time you go through the tracks.
Soren Andersen is a complete and inventive player and an experienced producer. The result is top notch professional work. Production is perfect, crisp and organic, he already has produced a dozen albums.
I love the sound of summer that "Constant Replay" possesses. Old school classic rock as it was meant to be played.
Really, really good.


01 - Song About You
02 - Glitterworld
03 - Black Lady
04 - Lavender In My Calendar
05 - So Many Faces
06 - Cold Shock
07 - Leave Me Alone
08 - Catch Me If You Can
09 - The Letter
10 - California Girl
11 - Time To Time
12 - Bad Luck







BUY IT !
www.sorenandersen.net/Soren_Andersen/news.html




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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

7th HEAVEN - Pop Media (2011)

7th HEAVEN - Pop Media (2011)

*

Since their start in 1985 (yes, that long ago), 7th HEAVEN has grown to one of the biggest indie bands of the world.
This is the premier Chicago festival act according to prominent talent buyers in Illinois. The critically acclaimed website 'Barstar' refers to 7th HEAVEN as one of the 3 best bands in Chicago.

Not that they sell albums by the truckload, but mainly because they have made a name for themselves as a very active live band.
Playing approximately 200 shows per year is indeed a number that would make many groups jealous.
Also known for being a prolific band, 7th Heaven is releasing an new all-original CD of 22 songs called "Pop Media".

After the rocking predecessor 'USA-UK' (2008), 7th Heaven now turns the dial to a more commercial set of tune, obviously more melodic rock&pop oriented, a feel-good summertime disc.
The line-up has changed since their 'Silver' album, with vocalist Keith Semple (South African born, raised in Ireland) taking up residence in the USA as the new lead vocalist. He is the perfect fit for the band and judging by the writing credits and the quality of the songs, has made an immediate impact with band founder, guitarist and principal songwriter Richie Hofherr.

"Pop Media" still retains the trademark 7th Heaven sound, that said; light Def Leppard style but this time mixed with a radiable approach.
As usual, we have here a lot of tracks, but all short (about 3 min.) and enjoyable.
Opener "Sing" is a commercial Def Leppard-esque light anthem featuring a great vibe in the intro and build by the chorus. It has a very nice melody in the verses too.

On "Go For A Ride" the whole song revolves around the guitar riff. This is a poppy catchy tune in the vein of Savage Garden.
"Beyond Beautiful" is a nice mid-tempo shuffle piano piece with soft vocals and syncopated drum beats. It's a very modern track for 7th Heaven standards.

"Turn Up The Radio" is one of the best tracks of the album. It pays some respect to the '80s when melody ruled the airwaves. A really catchy track with a great hook and an harmonic twin guitar solo played by Hofherr and Cox together.
As the name states "Dance Of A Lifetime" is a poppy-rock, almost danceable tune with tons of synths and a cool refrain.
"I Did Not Sign Up For This" has a nice change from the rest of the CD in terms of style and sound. This song is very different from most 7th Heaven songs with a shuffle kind of feel, very organic sounding. It's pretty british in its conception.

Thankfully, the band rocks a bit on "Love Or Hate" to give the album a balance. The 'whoa' chorus is welcomed as the reverbered guitars as well.
"Animals" is another favorite. This is one of the best crafted songs on the album, very Def Lepp with a catchy chorus and strong guitars.
There's also space for the ballads; the classy "Wouldn't Change A Thing" and the more modern and poppy "Beyond Beautiful".
To add more diversity, Richard Hofherr did lead vocals on a couple of tracks ("Living In A Mystery", "Life Goes On"), and second guitarist Nick Cox takes the mic on "Should I Stay".

"Pop Media" is a collection of fun, catchy Rock&Pop songs that can transcend numerous generations. A feel-good, easy listening CD.
I still prefer 7th Heaven's rocking side (which isn't absent here) but I respect how they're willing to try different styles, and on many songs here, they succeed.
The band's sound is a little programmed at times, but that's their high-tech style that has been constant since the start.
7th Heaven always delivers the goods and they always deliver great value. One of the hardest working indie bands that deserves world recognition.
Good Stuff.


01 - Sing

02 - Go For A Ride

03 - She Shoud Have Been An Angel

04 - World Gone Mad

05 - Beyond Beautiful

06 - Turn Up The Radio

07 - Dance Of A Lifetime

08 - I Did Not Sign Up For This

09 - Get Up On The Floor

10 - Snapshots In Time At The Speed Of Light

11 - Love Or Hate

12 - Animals

13 - Wouldn't Change A Thing

14 - Photographs

15 - What's My Name

16 - Perfect Girl

17 - Change The World

18 - Should I Stay

19 - Stuck In A Moment

20 - Living In A Mistery

21 - Loving You

22 - Life Goes On


Lead Vocals, Piano, Guitars: Keith Semple
Guitars, Keys, Bass, Vocals: Richard Hofherr
Guitar: Nick Cox
Bass: Mark Kennetz
Drums: Michael Mooshey
Back-Up Vocals: Keith Semple, Nick Cox, Richard Hofherr



BUY IT !
itunes.apple.com/us/album/pop-media/id450460483
.

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DAVID ROBERTS - Better Late Than Never (2011)

DAVID ROBERTS - Better Late Than Never (2011)

David Roberts' magnum opus 'All Dressed Up' (1982) is considered as a milestone in the AOR / Westcoast genre and it's easy to explain why.
Although it was David's first album, the man knew how to write catchy songs and to perform them in a breathtaking way.
Count to that the support of an excellent producer Greg Mathieson and a whole cast of impressive musicians and it becomes obvious that one can call this record a classic.

After the successful debut, David concentrates as composer, and built himself a career as unparalleled songwriter for the likes of Lee Aaron, Bad English, Jimmy Barnes, Boulevard, House Of Lords, Signal and Starship.
When a japanese label released 'All Dressed Up' for the first time on CD in 2006, it sells very well, more than the company expected.
At the same time, David started to feel very confident that it would be the time to restart his own musical career as an artist to know the fact that many AOR / WestCoast fans has been expecting his brand-new album.

The first recording session of "Better Late Than Never" was done in the Summer of 2007 in Los Angels again with Greg Mathieson behind the desk.
The rest half of the album was done in Nashville in March 2008, with Fred Mollin as the producer, best-known for America's 1980's album 'Alibi' and/or Jimmy Webb's 1996 album 'Ten Easy Pieces'.
Once again world renowned musicians were hired for the recording including the likes of guitarists Michael Landau (Richard Marx), Brent Mason (Shania Twain) and J.T. Corenflos (Richard Marx, Billy Ray Cyrus), drummer Mike Baird (Hall & Oates, Billy Idol, Journey) and bassist Abraham Laboriel (Elton John, Michael Jackson.)

"Best Thing I Never Had" is the bright and breezy opener, with a great interplay of acoustic and electric guitars. This is wonderful tune that clearly demonstrates Roberts' ability to write a catchy tune.
The title track "Better Late Than Never" is a dramatic mid-tempo AOR number with a double-tracked vocal and bluesy edge, and reminds me of something Nelson would record but more much classy.
"Someone Else's Song" is a Toto sound-alike masterpiece, and the one song that harks back to the debut album the most.
"Be Gentle With My Heart" is reminiscent of Richard Marx's output in the later nineties, and was written with Randy Goodrum, who was also responsible for co-penning Steve Perry's 'Oh Sherrie' and 'Foolish Heart.'

"Before I Go" has a great AOR melody and a fabulous chorus. This song was originally recorded by Starship for their smash hit album 'Knees In The Hoopla' (1986) but it's a Roberts' original. A highlight.
"Stay With Me Tonight" (co-written with John Waite and originally slated for one of his solo albums) is another gem. This is an outstanding ballad performed very much in Waite's style.
Also beautiful is the elegant "Be Gentle With My Heart", which features some tasty spanish guitar parts by the great Michael Landau.
"This Is How I Say Goodbye" has a tons of attitude, very retro-AOR in its conception with staccato keyboards and a killer guitar work.
"What I've Been Missing" is a classy melodic mid-tempo to close the album with style, stating what a great songwriter and vocalist David Roberts is .


Originally, the aptly titled "Better Late Than Never" appeared in 2008, but was only ever released in Japan and soon became out of print.
Now is being re-released in Europe and you can't miss it. This is a fantastic return by David Roberts, one of the greats in this genre.
I can't recommend this album enough. It has all that classic AOR fans love and die for.
Essential Purchase.


01 - Best Thing I Never Had
02 - Better Late Than Never
03 - Someone Else's Song
04 - Before I Go
05 - Stay With Me Tonight
06 - Be Gentle With My Heart
07 - Eight Wonder
08 - This Is How I Say Goodbye
09 - If I Woulda' Been There
10 - What I've Been Missing


Lead and Background Vocals: David Roberts
Guitars: Michael Landau, Brent Mason, J.T. Corenflos, Fred Mollin
Bass: Abraham Laboriel Sr., Larry Paxton
Drums: Mike Baird, Shannon Forest
Keyboards: Greg Mathieson, Pat Coil
Percussion: Luis Conte
Background Vocals: Tim Buppert, Lyle Gudmunsen

produced by Greg Mathieson



BUY IT !
http://hmv.com/hmvweb/displayProductDetails.do?sku=84944



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Monday, July 25, 2011

KARMAKANIK - In A Perfect World (2011)

KARMAKANIK - In A Perfect World (2011)

KARMAKANIK is the amazing progressive rock band hailing from Malmo, Sweden. With three prior albums under their belt, the band is about the release their fourth and best one yet.
"In A Perfect World" is their 2011 release and is a study in neo progg, melodic rock, rock&pop, fusion rock, and has a feeling of the '70s / '80s riding rampant throughout.

While listening to the album, we will find evident Flower Kings (the project of gifted bass player Jonas Reingold) reminiscences, but also many classic bands, as the '80s YES influence, noticeable in several parts, mostly for the vocals and bass sound.
So with that combination, as you can imagine here you will have a feast of symphonic prog rock but accessible and almost commercial.
Be prepared to this seven-track album and enjoy almost one hour of this first-class Swedish music.

It starts with "1969", which is an ambitious introduction, a long epic that reaches the fourteen minutes and serves as the explanation of the album line. Keyboards play a main role here, as background or with solos, they give a special flavor to the sound. The rhythm is always constant, producing exquisite sounds and creating wonderful passages. Fat and noticeable bass sound and great vocals in the vein of '80s Yes abound.
"Turn it up" has a softer sound, nice melodic rhythms and a catchy chorus. The music here is not that complex as the previous one, the sound tends to be friendlier and easier to dig.
"The World is Caving in" starts with 45 seconds of a capella, then piano joins and create a soft melody for two minutes. Then there is a change when drums and keyboards enter, so the music changes direction and becomes heavier for moments, though it always slows down and keep that gentle sound. After four minutes there is a very nice keyboard solo.
"Can't Take It With You" is a very curious track, is a wild ride through the bowels of Hell. Dante would be proud. More guitars and vibrant keyboarding make the intense lyrics light up. The introductory piano and percussion sound creates a kind of latin-american or bossa-nova sound, but it is a tricky one because later it becomes chaotic and with the rock element on it, more interesting.

"There's Nothing Wrong With the World" is one of the finest tracks of the album. The bass sound is lovely, always present as a main character, creating good lines and helping building up the structure. The keyboard work is also excellent, adding different atmospheres that at the same time create images and mind passages.
"Bite The Grit" has a dreamy atmosphere and a peculiar sound at first, but later it changes to a tense and maybe dramatic style that lasts only for some seconds. Then the song returns to its original proposal, and keep making some changes every once in a while. The guitar work is great here.
Finally "When Fear Came To Town" completes the album. In this ten minutes you will have a different Karmakanic sound, not that symphonic one we are used to. It is complemented by some other unusual rhythms. Like in the beginning, we listen to a soft acoustic guitar accompanied by delicate vocals by master Edman, giving the impression of being a ballad. The last two minutes have nice guitar and drums, and open the exit gates, I mean, you know the album is finishing.


Karmakanic has done an amazing job on this album.
"In A Perfect World" is a soul searing, blazing trail of keyboard, guitar and multi-instrumental mastery. Both vocalists are terrific, specially the great Göran Edman which sings better and better every day.
From rock&pop to prog to fusion, this album draws from the classic sounds of YES and Genesis, but also Styx, Deep Purple, Aryeon, Fates Warning and much more.
If this mixture of styles looks a bit eclectic or unorganized, then listen repeatedly to Karmakanic's In A Perfect World. The whole album proved to be a wonderful listening experience.
Mostly, progressive rock should be innovative, but also catch the listener by surprise, and in that surprise also delight the listener.
I believe "In A Perfect World" does this very thing.
Highly Recommended album.


01 - 1969
02 - Turn It Up
03 - The World Is Caving In
04 - Can't Take It With You
05 - There's Nothing Wrong With The World
06 - Bite The Grit
07 - When Fear Came To Town


Göran Edman – Vocals
Jonas Reingold – Fretted and Fretless Fass, Backing Vocals
Lalle Larsson – Keyboards, Backing Vocals
Nils Erikson – Vocals, Keyboards
Krister Jonsson – Guitars
Marcus Liliequist – Drums




BUY IT!
www.insideoutmusic.com/release.aspx?IdRelease=1241

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JERUSALEM - She (2011)

JERUSALEM - She (2011)

Hard Rock pioneers JERUSALEM formed in 1975 was first Swedish rock band performing on MTV already in 1981 with songs from their classic album 'Warrior'.
The group is a concept in music in Scandinavia and Europe, and has delivered hard-hitting hard rock for over 30 years.
They're one of the first credited bands for blending Christian theme lyrics with a Hard Rock sound and it began to gain them not only Christian fans, but mainstream fans as well, that looked past the lyrics and enjoyed their hard rock, party style atmosphere.
Since the mid-eighties, Jerusalem took a different direction by going to a more melodic rock sound and not overtly gearing the lyrics towards Christianity.

Now, the band is releasing their first studio album with completely newly written material in 16 years: "She".
Ever since the 'Prophet' album (1994), Jerusalem sort of shed their pure hard rock roots and went for a more updated rock sound, a blend of light Scorpions with earlier U2.
Some fans have liked it and some wished they’d head back to their earlier sound. Well, it seems with "She" there is a mishmash of both.

The first track "Calling On" makes me very pleased with good tempo: kickin' drumming from Mr Ulvsgärd and nice guitars. Ulf Christiansson voice doesn't feels like he's passed 60 rather in his 40s. His vocals are the key to the band's character and his style has changed over the years, now sounding like a Swedish Bono on many tracks and like Klaus Meine on others.
Eighties U2 is written all over on other tracks such as the more radio friendly "Suddenly", the rockier "Save My Life" and the closing ballad "Standing At Jericho".

U2 aren't the only reference point; the energetic "I Want to Leave Her" could be a recent D-A-D song, "Crown The King" is reminiscent of Simple Minds with a rockier edge and "Heaven" sounds like 90's Scorpions.
A couple of the tracks also hark back to their hard rocking roots; "Come On" which centers around a big riff that allows the band to jam around, and "Amos 5", again with a big rock riff and a vocal delivery that reminds me of Fish with its spoken parts that turn to vitriolic singing.
There are also several ballads, as the hypnotic 'Supernatural', or the slow
title track "She" which has one of the best vocals on the record, where Ulf sounds absolutely as Scorpion's Klaus Meine.


Reading the references above you might think this is a pop album. Not at all.
This is just rock, a rock album with a hard edge.
It's good to see a band not resting on their laurels and trying to recreate past glories, but move their sound into the next century.
Good melodies abound, with an upfront bass underpinned by a strong drum sound that drives the band, and spirited The Edge-like guitars throughout.
The vocals are clear, very well performed and in perfect pitch. Ulf shows he can still belt it out; his vocal performance is solid and commanding.
Another good point is that the lyrics don’t penetrate as Christian based.
"She" is a really interesting addition to the many albums that have surfaced from Sweden this year, a solid rock piece which should please the fan base and garner new listeners.


01 - Calling On
02 - Come On
03 - I Want To Leave Her
04 - Suddenly
05 - Supernatural
06 - Save My Life
07 - She
08 - Amos 5
09 - Crown The King
10 - The Story Of D
11 - Heaven
12 - The Greatest Party
13 - Standing At Jericho


Ulf Christiansson: Lead Vocals, Guitars & Keyboards
Peter Carlsohn: Bass & Backing vocals.
Michael Ulvsgard: Drums & Backing vocals.




BUY IT !
http://tinyurl.com/Jerusalem-SHE

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Thursday, July 21, 2011

MICKEY THOMAS - 'Starship' Marauder (2011)

MICKEY THOMAS - Starship Marauder (2011)

Mickey Thomas is a musical marauder, always on the search for worthy treasure to challenge his outsized vocal talents.
The golden-throated singer from Georgia thrilled arena rock fans when he joined the Starship in 1979 and starred on 'We Built This City on Rock and Roll', 'Sara' and 'Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now' among others, through the eighties and beyond.
After years engaged in a variety of projects, like a fearless vocal gunslinger in 2009 he trained his sights back on the blues for a stunning and authentic set of classics with the stomping Bluesmasters (already presented here at 0dayrock).

Now, seven years after his last album of original rock, Over The Edge, Thomas has harnessed his muscular and versatile chops to present a hip and wide-ranging selection of classic rock covers spanning decades and styles that only he could perform with such utter confidence and conviction.
As opposed to his basically self-contained blues band from the previous outing, Thomas commandeers a virtual orchestra of exceptional supporting musicians including a full honking horn section, the heavenly Unity Community Choir and many executive producers.
Guest stars included: AOR legends Jimi Jameson (Survivor), Bobby Kimball (Toto), Dewight Twilley, Alex Ligertwood (Jeff Beck), Leif Garrett, Starship band members, and many more.

To his credit and that of his friend, producer, keyboardist and ace guitarist Jeff Tamelier, who plays 'everything', the result is a cohesive and strikingly expansive 16-song set and the Rolling Stones' "Gimme Shelter" is the perfect lead-off tune.
Showcasing Thomas' brawny, bluesy growl and the Unity Community Choir, with the band in a funky R&B groove flavored with evocative and expressive acoustic Dobro slide guitar from Mark McGee, an inventive, simmering version is created with all the drama and apocalyptic menace of the original.

After a scatting intro over trilling keyboards, Thomas slide-steps right into Peter Gabriel's "Sledgehammer" (1986) that faithfully replicates the horn-driven eighties' pop dance track vibe of the original, but with a crucial injection of Memphis-style soul from the lead singer and his nimble rhythm section.
Thomas was initially influenced to sing after witnessing the Beatles in 1965 and they are well-represented and done justice on the album.
"Maybe I'm Amazed" (1970), Paul McCartney's hit from his first solo album, is kick started by slashing electric slide guitar courtesy McGee in the intro, while Thomas actually sounds 'amazed' as he ramps up his vocal even beyond Paul's shouting.

The epic Britpop power ballad "Champagne Supernova" (1995) from Oasis provides Thomas an excellent opportunity to wrap his supple vocal chords around the tuneful melody that soars over the dramatic chord progression. After a likewise soaring lead guitar solo from Tamelier that builds in intensity, he takes full advantage to create an orgasmic coda, scatting with lusty abandon.
The Beatles' "Rain" (1966) could have been written for Thomas as he manages to skillfully and joyfully channel the innocent spirit of the British Invasion era while using his considerable skills to extend and embellish the vocal melody. Clanging guitars and dynamics of volume, along with gorgeous harmonies by the backup singers of Thomas, Tamelier, Marla Major and Bill Bently produce a remarkably innovative version that also contains a smile-inducing segue into "Tomorrow Never Knows" from Revolver.

Leaping forward decades, Thomas continues to display his infallible ear for picking great covers when he sings "Chasing Cars" (2006) by Snow Patrol. Totally immersing himself in the bittersweet lyric line, he builds the 'emo' ballad with nuance and restraint while communicating without irony the passion and yearning in the original performance.
The later Beatles oeuvre is acknowledged with a deeply moving version of "Across the Universe" (1969) that functions as a fitting tribute to the complicated genius that was John Lennon. Changing the matter-of-fact earnestness of the original into a defiant declaration with "nothing's gonna change my world," Thomas could again be speaking his own mind as he intelligently references the "hela" coda from "Hello Goodbye" for added poignancy.
Unafraid to go where no 'soul man' has gone before, Thomas tackles "Supermassive Black Hole" (2006) from Muse that appeared on the Twilight soundtrack. Even more ominous than the original with a bigger sound emanating from the heavy rocking rhythm section of Tamelier, bassist Bobby Vega and drummer Prairie Prince, it features Thomas digging way deeper into the lyrics.

"Voices" (1984) by Russ Ballard, that once graced an episode of Miami Vice, gets the full Mickey Thomas 'treatment' with a huge, arena-filling sound sporting thunderous rhythm and searing lead guitars and his far more urgent, expressive and soulful vocals. As with some of his other song selections, the lyric of "don't look back, look straight ahead, don't turn away then the voice it said..." would seem to have personal resonance.
"Oh! Darling" (1969) gave Paul McCartney the chance to salute his fifties rock `n' roll roots on Abbey Road and Thomas utilizes it to do double-duty as a tribute to his roots. Starting with a tinny old radio sound, it evolves to the horn section doubling the classic fifties bass line and aggressive punctuation in the stop-time verses. Giving free rein to his rawest vocal technique, Thomas pleads to his lover for all he is worth, and it is considerable.
Slipping right into the fatback R&B groove of Joe Cocker's "Delta Lady" (1969) penned by Leon Russell, Thomas opts for a more traditional sound with acoustic and electric slide guitars from McGee adding a nice, greasy down home touch. Rollicking and raucous without being bombastic, it is one of many highlights on the album as Thomas sings his big heart out, slyly changing the bridge lyric to,"...oh, when I'm home again in Georgia" instead of "...in England" that was appropriate to Cocker's homeland.

In a trip west to Los Angeles by way of the Midwest of Bob Seger, Thomas again seems to be mining autobiographical territory with "Hollywood Nights" (1978). Going the gravel-throated Seger one better, he takes the dramatic, surging rock anthem past the Hollywood Hills to the peak of the San Bernardino Mountains with his unstoppable vocal power that rises from a whisper to a full out, breathtaking wail that matches the 'singing' tenor sax of Bill Slais.
A shift in gears to Canadian Tom Cochrane's "Life is a Highway" (1991) is another natural fit for the versatile Thomas and his eclectic tastes.

Jumping genres like an Olympic hurdler, Thomas next takes on the bone crushing, hard rock of AC/DC and their relatively light-hearted "Moneytalks" (1990). The band enthusiastically turns the heavy "pop rock" into a romping, fist-pumping, testosterone-fueled track. Thomas does a spot-on, tongue-in-cheek impersonation of AC/DC singer Brian Johnson while also injecting his own inimitable exuberance and irrepressible soulfulness as McGee howls on slide like a Tasmanian Devil.
"Tempted" (1981), from Squeeze, the British New Wavers, was their take on "blue-eyed soul" and it allows Thomas to figuratively put on a skinny tie and sing an ironic love song. As is his wont and likely beyond his control as it is in his DNA, he ups the soul ante incrementally while the band exhibits more energy compared to the studied insouciance of the original.
Given his predilection for the Beatles, it is only right that Thomas should end with George Harrison's "Wah Wah" (1970) that seems to be about not needing a lot of things - drugs, fame, hassles, the material world etc. Whereas the original is an almost cacophonous whirlwind of voices and instruments, including the ubiquitous wah wah pedal played by Eric Clapton, here the arrangement is cleaner and tighter, while again Thomas gets far inside the song and rides the angular harmony of the progression in order to express the profound philosophy of the lyric content.

Fine wine mellows and improves with age, as do many great singers.
The great and fine Mickey Thomas, however, continues to improve while leaving the concept of 'mellow' for others to ponder as he refuses to allow the passage of time to halt the pursuit of his musical goals.
On "Marauder", Thomas proudly proclaims his identity as a musician dedicated to giving his audience the full measure of his vast artistic accomplishments.
The power and strength of his vocal gifts insures that he will continue to rock on far into the future.
Great album.


01 - Gimme Shelter

02 - Slaedgehammer

03 - Maybe I'm Amazed

04 - Champagne Supernova

05 - Rain

06 - Chasing Cars

07 - Across The Universe

08 - Supermassive Black Hole

09 - Voices

10 - Oh! Darling

11 - Delta Lady

12 - Hollywood Nights

13 - Life Is A Highway [feat. Jay Dot]

14 - Moneytalks

15 - Tempted

16 - Wah Wah


Mickey Thomas - vocals, acoustic guitar, background vocals
Jeff Tamelier - guitar, keyboards, background vocals
Mark McGee, Walter Bare - guitars
Bobby Vega - bass, background vocals
Peter DeLeon, Phil Bennett, Alan Koshiyama - keyboards
James Preston, Serge Lysak, Andre Nedeoglo, Prairie Prince - drums
Mitchell Koulouris - percussion
Jimi Jamison, Bobby Kimball, Dwight Twilley, Alex Ligertwood - backing vocals



BUY IT !
http://marauder.mickeythomas.com/
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SCREAM ARENA - Forever [single] (2011)

SCREAM ARENA - Forever [single] (2011)

Rock music has been well served by the British Isles over the last four decades.
Most of the prime movers down rock's flamboyant history have been from UK and this makes the relative scarcity of quality British hard rock acts over the last decade a puzzle.

Scream Arena is one of the bands intending to get British Hard Rock off the ropes and back into the ring is cause for good cheer.
Hailing from York, England, the band was formed in 2005 by vocalist Andy Paul, bassist Nick Daniel, guitarists Christian White and Simon Gillott and an enigmatically named drummer Stix.
After a self published EP-demo, Scream Arena have just released their debut single, "Forever" b/w "Another Night In London Town".
Taken from their self-titled upcoming album due this year, the single (and album) was helmed by renowned LA producer / artist Paul Sabu.

Scream Arena style is traditional Hard Rock, influenced by classic acts such as Def Leppard, UFO and the rockier Queen, as well as giving a nod to American bands Ratt, WASP and Icon. I can hear some The Cult hints too, specially on the vocals.
These rockers know how to mix solid rhythms paying attention to melodic choruses and persuading structures of the songs.
Interesting and rockin' advance waiting for the full length album.


01 - Forever
02 - Another Night In London Town


Andy Paul - Vocals
Nick Daniel - Bass, Keyboards
Chris White - Lead Guitar
Simon Gillott - Rhythm Guitar
Stix - Drums



BUY IT !
http://tinyurl.com/Forever-single
www.screamarena.com

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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

PAUL SABU - Call Of The Wild (2011)

PAUL SABU - Call Of The Wild (2011)

Legend Paul Sabu is now signed by an UK label, and in anticipation of his next new album with them, they have cobbled together "'Call Of The Wild", the essential Sabu collection, featuring 16 remastered classics with an in depth history of one of AOR true Gods.

Everyone knows about Paul Sabu. Don’t you? Well, here's a little bio.
The Emmy winning singer, songwriter and guitarist has, over the the last quarter-century, sharpened his talents as a producer, session guitarist and songwriter, releasing albums under Kidd Glove, Paul Sabu, Sabu & Only Child.
Sabu's name is a familiar one to music industry veterans, most of whom know little or nothing about his early disco productions.
His work with artists such as David Bowie, Alice Cooper, Little Caesar, Lee Aaron, Madonna, Malice, Robbie Neville, Motels, The Nelsons, Prince, John Waite, Tattoo Rodeo, Fatal Smile and Shania Twain have earned him 14 Platinum and 11 Gold records.

He also has a lot of movie and tv series soundtrack credits, among which are Accused, American Drive-In, Assault Of The Killer Bimbos, Baywatch, Beverly Hill 90210, Diving In, Ghost Town, Goulies II, Hard Rock Zombies, Meatballs 4, Million Dollar Mystery, Sex And The City, To Die For, Trick Or Treat, Twin Sitters, Vice Versa, and many more.
His own musical vehicles were Sabu (his band) and Only Child, with which he recorded big sounding albums, with lots of depth, fat keyboards, blistering guitars and vocals, combined with great choruses.
No small wonder that he was the darling of several Melodic Rock magazines, who dubbed him an L.A. session King and AOR hero.

So on to the record, and when the words 'Best Of' are uttered I wonder sometimes are these the best tracks that could possibly be offered up from an artist.
Well in the case of "Call Of The Wild" they are, as there are so many outstanding tracks on this release, all truly mouth-watering.
The album kicks off with the brilliant "Angeline" from the 1985 classic 'Heartbreak' and vocally Sabu has the aura of an americanized David Coverdale and the looks of Kane Roberts, this is swiftly followed by the pounding rock anthem "Just Ask" from one of my all time favourite albums, the 'Only Child' debut from 1988.
Next up is title track of the collection, "Call Of The Wild", again from 'Heartbreak' and features some soaring choruses and great vocals, this is followed by, in my opinion, one of the greatest melodic rock songs ever released, the storming "I Believe in You", again from the Only Child debut, and why this album never sold millions of copies is beyond me.

Sabu tracks ''Cherie'' and ''Arms Of A Hangman'' are aired up next before we are treated to the awesome title track from 'Heartbreak' with its great hook and composition.
The rocking ''Mad Dog'' from the 1996 Sabu offering is followed by the sexy & sassy ''I Wanna Touch'' from Only Child, before the 'Kidd Glove' classic ''Who Else Is Touching You''.
Then the MTV hit ''Always'' (my fav Paul song ever) from 1988 with its great chorus and awesome guitar solo precludes the outrageous ''Scream Until You Like It'' from Ghoulies II, as covered by W.A.S.P.
The catchy ''Hot Flash'' from 'Heartbreak' and another personal favourite of the mine, the brilliant ''Save A Place in Your Heart'' from the Only Child debut, follow before the more hard rock Sabu tracks ''Bad Blood'' and ''Spitfire'' bring this magnificent collection of songs to a close.


So with an all new Paul Sabu studio album in the vein of the classics 'Heartbreak' and 'Only Child' due in early 2012, and his first UK live appearance later that year, things are on the up for Mr Sabu, and I for one can't wait.
If you’ve never dabbled in Paul Sabu, you need this album. Seriously, just get it at any cost, because it will instantly become a favourite.
If you are an existing fan it’s still a great compilation with a freshly remastered sound.
Trust me when I say this is a slice of pure Melodic Rock / AOR heaven.
An essential purchase.


01 - Angeline
02 - Just Ask
03 - Call Of The Wild
04 - I Believe In You
05 - Cherie
06 - Arms Of A Hangman
07 - Heartbreak
08 - Mad Dog
09 - I Wanna Touch
10 - Who Else Is Touching You
11 - Always
12 - Scream Until You Like It
13 - Hot Flash
14 - Save A Place In Your Heart
15 - Bad Blood
16 - Spitfire



BUY IT !
http://tinyurl.com/SABU-COTW

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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

CARMINE APPICE's Guitar Heroes (2010)

CARMINE APPICE's Guitar Heroes (2010)
Europe release only


Carmine Appice has legendary status in the world of Rock ‘N’ Roll.
A founding member of Vanilla Fudge, Cactus and King Kobra; Carmine has also played with Paul Stanley, Pink Floyd, Stanley Clarke, Ted Nugent, Blue Murder, Ozzy Osbourne, to name a few.
While playing in Rod Stewart’s outfit he co-wrote 'Young Turks' and the classic 'Do Ya Think I'm Sexy'.

In the late '90s Appice created the 'Guitar Zeus project', an opportunity to record with some of the best guitarists in the world. A total of three Guitar Zeus albums were released.
"Guitar Heroes" compiles the best of those performances on one album for the first time in Europe.

Carmine Appice: "Guitar Zeus for me was an amazing experience, working with so many great guitarists. It was fun picking out songs for each.
Each guitarist loved the songs. It was an awesome experince. I would do it again in a minute even though it was a lot of work.
I consider these drum tracks to be some of my best drum performances in my career."

Most of the top guitarists of the previous 20 years are present here.
The Guitar Zeus band itself consists of Mr. Appice on drums of course, the Fretless Bass wonder Tony Franklin (Blue Murder, The Firm) and the amazing vocals and rhythm guitar of the great Kelly Keeling (Baton Rouge).
With this solid foundation, the 17 tracks picked for this compilation are a good example of what the entire Guitar Zeus thing is all about.
Not a Heavy Rock record at all and actually with a bluesy feel and retro-eighties, this album delves into quite a few different emotions.

Some of the best standout solos come from the chromatic licks of Steve Morse (The Dregs, Kansas, Deep Purple) in the song "Four Miles High", the soulful Doug Aldrich (Whitesnake, Bad Moon Rising, Dio) in "So Long", the always competent Bruce Kulick on "Snake", or the one and only Zakk Wylde, where you know it's him after 2 notes on the cool "Code 19".

But the "Guitar Heroes" show is completely stolen by 2 players; Ted Nugent and Yngwie Malmsteen. While I was a bit miffed in the unrecognizable lead work of some of my favorite players (Brian May, John Norum), Nugent's work on "Even Up The Score" are quite possibly his finest lead work in his storied career. Very inspired, indeed.
And while one would expect Yngwie to do his neo-classical shredding, he does NOT, but rather restrains himself and does some very tasty blues infused lick work. I have always wished Yngwie would slow down and do more bluesy playing and on the song "This Time Around" (also featuring the awesome pipes of King's X's own Dug Pinnick) you get to hear what Yngwie can really do. This is also the heaviest tune on the record.


"Guitar Heroes" is a great opportunity to catch some of the biggest guitar heroes of the past two generations doing what they do best, and occasionally offering some surprise turns in the process.
This is some of Appice's finest work behind a drum kit, and each tune runs over with the vibrant energy of a new relationship.
If you yearn for the days of the strutting guitar god, then "Guitar Heroes" is for you. A trip back to the '80s.
Very well done.


01 - Jennifer Batten - Guitar Zeus Part 1
02 - Dweezil Zappa - Dead Wrong
03 - Yngwie Malmsteen - This Time Around
04 - Steve Fister - Blaze
05 - Steve Morse - 4 Miles High
06 - Ted Nugent - Even Up The Score
07 - Bruce Kulick - Snake
08 - John Norum - Nothing
09 - Brian May - Nobody Knew
10 - Doug Aldrich - So Long
11 - Slash - Where You Belong
12 - Zakk Wylde - Code 19
13 - Rick Derringer - Everybody's Comin'
14 - Earl Slick - Here Comes The Nite
15 - Richie Sambora - Gonna Rain
16 - Steven Seagal & Seymour Duncan - Gz Blues
17 - Leslie West - Guitar Zeus Part 2


Kelly Keeling: Lead & backing vocals, rhythm guitar & keyboards
Tony Franklin: Fretless bass guitar
Carmine Appice: Drums, percussion & background vocals



BUY IT !
www.music-avenue.net/detail.php?id=250268

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Monday, July 18, 2011

THIN LIZZY - Black Rose [2CD Deluxe Edition] (2011)

THIN LIZZY - Black Rose [2CD Deluxe Edition] (2011)



Irish hard rock legends THIN LIZZY finally has their greatest, classic, most successful studio album remixed and remastered by guitarist Scott Gorham along with Def Leppard frontman Joe Elliott, in a Deluxe Edition containing the original album, and second CD with rare bonus tracks.



"Black Rose: A Rock Legend" remains as one of the most influential albums of the genre, a true classic.

It was the first time that icon guitarist Gary Moore remained in Thin Lizzy long enough to record an album after previous stints in 1974 and 1977 with the band.

The musical results were spectacular. Moore had always been a hot player, but he was fresh off a stint with Colosseum II, a progressive rock band known for a very technique-demanding brand of music.

The experience pushed Moore's playing to a much higher level, and he was really coming into his own at the time he rejoined Lizzy.

Black Rose would reap the benefits.



But this disc is about more than just great playing. It's about great songs. Despite an often volatile personal relationship, Lynott/Moore musical collaborations always had a magic about them each man was hard-pressed to capture individually. This was something both men admitted freely.

Black Rose was their collaborative peak. In fact, as brilliant a player as Moore was becoming and later became, he probably never played on any better set of songs than these.

This album is filled with Lynott's typically vast array of unusual themes and brilliant lyrics that are far deeper than your typical rock-and-roll fare.

Here you find songs about self determination, tough street life, kinky sexual fetishes, compulsive gambling, Phil's baby daughter, drug and alcohol addiction, relationships breaking up, and Lynott's would-be alter ego, the mythical Irish hero, Cuchulain.

Perhaps more importantly, the album totally rocks!





Disc 1 features the remastered original Black Rose LP, and it sounds fantastic.

Crisp and dynamic, you can hear a lot of the subtleties that were more or less buried in the original mix. Superb remaster.

The original album is excellent but it is the bonus CD which makes this special.

Disc 2 has an abundance of great material, including a previously unreleased track entitled "Rock Your Love" (which has been out on the net for quite some time as 'Rockula') but this one is vastly superior as it's cleaned up significantly.

Also added is the rare b-side "Just The Two Of Us", and really interesting sessions in Nassau including an unreleased track entitled "Cold Black Night" plus more, and a different version of "Toughest Street In Town". It features different lyrics and an overall different sound.

A must have classic in all its Glory.





Disc 1: "Black Rose" original

01 - Do Anything You Want To

02 - Toughest Street In Town

03 - S & M

04 - Waiting For An Alibi

05 - Sarah (version 3)

06 - Got To Give It Up

07 - Get Out Of Here

08 - With Love

09 - Roisin Dubh (Black Rose) A Rock Legend



Disc 2: The Bonus

01 - Just The Two Of Us (B-Side)

02 - A Night In The Life Of A Blues Singer (longer version)

03 - Rock Your Love (prev. unreleased)

04 - Don't Believe A Word (slow version Lynott & Gary Moore on vocals)

05 - Toughest Street In Town (different version)

06 - S & M (Nassau Session Version)

07 - Got To Give It Up (Nassau Session Version)

08 - Cold Black Night (Nassau Session Version)

09 - With Love (Nassau Session Version)

10 - Black Rose (Nassau Session Version)





Phil Lynott - bass guitar, lead vocals, twelve-string guitar

Scott Gorham - lead guitar, backing vocals

Gary Moore - lead guitar, backing vocals

Brian Downey - drums, percussion

Huey Lewis - harmonica on "Sarah" and "With Love"

Jimmy Bain - bass guitar on "With Love"







BUY IT !

http://tinyurl.com/Lizzy-Deluxe

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TESLA - Twisted Wires & The Acoustic Sessions (2011)

TESLA - Twisted Wires & The Acoustic Sessions (2011)



At this point, Tesla is some kind of a legend.

2011 marks the 25th Anniversary of the band’s first release 'Mechanical Resonance', and Jeff Keith and the boys have again loaded up the gear and hit the road to celebrate the landmark, as well as their latest release "Twisted Wires & The Acoustic Sessions".

25 years in the business is no small task these days, and considering the group has stayed relatively active with touring and albums over that stretch (minus a brief hiatus during the late 1990s), you’d be hard pressed to find a more cohesive, harder working band in rock and roll.



Instead of having one or two songs to carry them through the State Fair circuit, Tesla’s history is filled – to the brim – with great, memorable tracks spanning over all seven of their studio albums.

It’s because of this that the band has been able to continue touring and recording all these years, and with the release of their eighth studio album, it’s obvious they plan on making a little more history for themselves before they’re done.



"Twisted Wires & The Acoustic Sessions" thankfully is not a cash-grab recording. Sure, it is a collection of previously recorded songs, but not their biggest hits. Also, it is acoustic, and we all know how Tesla spawned the acoustic craze in the early '90s with 'Five Man Acoustical Jam' and the smash hit "Signs".

So if anything, this new album could be considered a return to their roots, and they sound damn good doing it.

It would have been easy for Tesla to record unplugged versions of their biggest hits, but I think the inclusion of lesser known tracks and the more obscure hits will cater to more than just the casual fan.



But let’s break it down just a bit so you know what you’re getting with this release.

"Twisted Wires & The Acoustic Sessions" is a combination of some old stuff, some borrowed stuff, and some brand new stuff as well.

The band has freshly re-recorded a handful of their songs from previous albums and stripped them down to the bone.

“Into The Now,” “Hang Tough,” Edison’s Medicine,” “What You Give,” “Changes” and “Song and Emotion” are all revisited here, but often with a completely different take. You’ll recognize the lyrics, but it comes across extremely fresh.

A credit to the song-writing, undoubtedly, but just as inspiring is the rest of the band reinventing the tracks instrumentally.

You can tell these songs are deep in the heart of everyone involved – and the end result is emotional, authentic and memorable.



Half of the album are some tracks recorded in 2005 at bassists Brian Wheat’s J Street Recorders studio, which was the last recording sessions with original member Tommy Skeoch.

“Shine Away” and “A Lot To Lose” might not have been huge hits for the band, but the versions presented here are truly fantastic.

The band has kept mum about his departure, and the real reasons we may never know, but I thought it was very classy to include these recordings here – as Skeoch was every bit a part of the band during their peak of popularity.

Here's also a little surprise on this disc, a cover of The Climax Blues Band's “I Love You.” I can’t think of a better song for Keith and company to take on – and they really make it their own. The vocals are soulful, and it’s a great tribute to a piece of music’s history they obviously hold dear.



Lastly, we do get a couple of new tracks here as well. And both stay true to the Tesla sound.

“2nd Street” and “Better Off Without You” were penned exclusively for this release, and while they are songs you haven’t heard before, they fit so comfortably in the flow of this album that you might just miss them if you’re not careful.

“2nd Street” is a soulful romp that keeps the acoustic vibe going and represents everything good about Tesla. The vocals and lyrics are powerful and the music leaves its mark with great structure and form with its sing-a-long chorus.

The second 2011 track, “Better Off Without You” is a slow-crawling ballad that, again, suits the record perfectly. Soft strumming and crooning give way to an electric guitar/piano instrumental solo that is the heaviest thing on the album, but it reels itself back in to finish the song off.

Both cuts are solid, when combined with the rest of the album add just the right touch to what may be Tesla’s most definitive release since 'The Great Radio Controversy'.





Tesla has once again done an incredible job. This studio effort proves these guys can pull off the blend of hard rock and acoustic guitars work with flawless execution.

The great thing about this "Twisted Wires" project is Tesla have chosen tracks that are not featured on 'Five Man Acoustical Jam' so listeners don’t have to worry about whether or not the guys could improve on what they did back in 1990.

Instead here are some cool and soulful variations on lesser known songs. I think that's why I'm enjoying this album so much, it doesn't seem like a 'safe' release.

Jeff Keith's vocals are as awesome as ever. Fan of the band or not you will be impressed. Would like to see some of the supposed 'big boys' of the current scene produce something like this.

Ever since their return in 2004 Tesla have matured extremely well and their performance on "Twisted Wires" proves it doesn’t matter whether they’re amped up or stripped down fans are going to end up getting their money’s worth.

Recommended.





01 - Into The Now

02 - Hang Tough

03 - 2nd Street [new track 2011]

04 - Edisons Medicine

05 - What You Give

06 - Better Off Without You [new track 2011]

07 - Shine Away

08 - I Love You (Climax Blues Band cover)

09 - Changes

10 - A Lot To Lose

11 - Caught In A Dream

12 - Song And Emotion





Jeff Keith - vocals

Frank Hannon - guitar

Dave Rude - guitar

Tommy Skeoch - guitar

Brain Wheat - bass

Troy Luccketta - drums









BUY IT !

http://tinyurl.com/buy-Tesla

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SERPENTINE - Living and Dying in High Definition (2011)

SERPENTINE - Living and Dying in High Definition (2011)

Released last year SERPENTINE’s debut album 'A Touch Of Heaven' received many accolades culminating with an astonishing 92% review in the Japanese metal bible BURRN Magazine and an HMV chart album in the land of the rising sun.

Described by the press as 'one of the most impressive new names on the melodic rock radar' this British quintet fronted by current TNT vocalist Tony Mills are riding a resurgence in melodic rock.
Originally founded in Wales around the talents of keyboard player Gareth David Noon, guitarist Christopher Gould and bassist Gareth Vanstone, the band were keen to capitalize on their burgeoning reputation and returned to the studio late last year to begin recording their follow up "Living and Dying in High Definition" at M2 Studios, Wolverhampton, England.

Keyboard flourishes, lush harmonies and breathless vocals provide the opening of "Deep Down (There's A Price For Love)" before the main riff kicks in aided by some surging guitars and Serpentine make an immediate impact.
"Philadelphia" is one of the highlights, a keyboard driven melodic rocker with a catchy chorus and heavenly harmonies.
"Dreamer" will delight fans of JOURNEY, an anthemic, sweeping epic track with galloping guitars and great vocals by Tony Mills.

On the moody midtempo "Where Do We Go From Here?" the band sounds very british reminding you the best HEARTLAND and the ballad "Love Is Blue" both sounds natural and from the heart.
Emotional is the word to describe "Best Days Of Our Lives", while "Cry is like a summer AOR breeze to your ears.
The band offers something different on the rocking "Nuremberg" featuring interesting lyrics.
The album ends on a high note with the long and melodic epic "Forgotten Heroes", a track with fantastic variations and instrumentation.


With "Living and Dying in High Definition" Serpentine has improved on all aspects; better songwriting, catchy choruses and more hooky arrangements.
One of the most welcomed things to my ears on this new album is the absolutely perfect crystal clear production (a little weak on the predecessor in my opinion), again on charge of Sheena Sear (Magnum), this time they have captured the muscle and melody at full fire.
Playing an unashamedly keyboard led, yet guitar infused brand of melodic hard rock, Serpentine has delivered a terrific recording.
Tony Mills shines on his best performance in years, and although he's no longer the band's vocalist (replaced by Matt Black), will be contributing to the band on way or another in the future.
In support of their new album the goal now is to win new fans by playing to as many people as possible in the coming months. To augment live dates in the UK, the band will be supporting their Serpentine Over Europe tour this Autumn with Festival dates booked for Germany and Spain and culminating with a slot in England alongside former Survivor legend Jimi Jamison at the prestigious Firefest 2011 event in October.
"Living and Dying in High Definition" is one of albums of the year without a doubt.
Highly Recommended.


01 - Deep Down (There's A Price For Love)
02 - Philadelphia
03 - Dreamer
04 - Love Is Blue
05 - Where Do We Go From Here?
06 - Cry
07 - Best Days Of Our Lives
08 - Heartbreak Town
09 - Nuremberg
10 - Forgotten Heroes
11 - Lonely Nights 2011 (Featuring Matt Black) [Japan bonus]
12 - Dreamer (Radio Mix) [Japan bonus]


Tony Mills - Vocals
Gareth David Noon - Keyboards, Vocals
Christopher Gould - Guitars
Gareth Vanstone - Bass, Vocals
Roy Millward - Drums


BUY IT !
http://tinyurl.com/serpentine-2011
.

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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

DAVID COOK - This Loud Morning (2011)

DAVID COOK - This Loud Morning ITUNES (2011)

iTunes version





If you live outside the USA, may not now David Cook.

He has won American Idol seventh season in 2008 and released his first solo album on a major label the same year.

Two and a half years after his post-A.I. debut, David is making his way back onto the music scene with his sophomore effort, "This Loud Morning".



At this point maybe you're wondering what a 'mainstream modern rock' artist is doing here on this blog.

Well, first of all, Cook's music could be commercial, sometimes radio-ready and a bit modern, but in its essence is firmly based into classic rock roots.

Second, he's a complete musician; good songwriter, guitar player and a terrific singer.

And third, and most important, Cook is a really good artist, simply like that. And play rock. Good rock.



Mainly vocalist, David is a tenor, but possessor of a stunning instrument that is actually rather rare in rock/pop music. The man has a very large voice with a great deal of ring and resonance, that can be pushed to dramatic climaxes more easily than the usual light leggiero voices or warm, bright lyric tenors.

Cook trips lightly from a beautiful and more certain lower register into that dark and velvety, firm middle voice upwards to the full-throated tenor glory notes, and at times into a gorgeous falsetto, all seamlessly.



There are spots where I could imagine Steve Perry singing some of the tracks in his glory days.

Yeah, call me crazy or sacrilegious... but I believe that Cook is one the best rock tenors since Perry. Their high notes are equally glorious but different, and of course, the song material is also different; we're in 2011.

Also, sometimes Cook reminds me Harry Hess of Harem Scarem. It's no surprise that I mention this band, as several of the tracks on "This Loud Morning" sounds like the late '90s / 2000's Harem Scarem.



"This Loud Morning" is a commercial Rock&Pop multi-layered endeavor replete with beautiful details, from lush orchestration, vocal and instrumental countermelodies and musical tie-ins, majestically produced by Matt Serletic.

It must be listened to several times before any fair judgment can be made.

The musicians are highly skilled including Serletic himself who leaves no stone unturned in his production.

David's band-mates are first rate, including L.A. session legend Tim Pierce on guitars, the precise bass player Monty Anderson and the ever energetic young drummer Kyle Peek, among a long list of performers.

Cook also co-wrote all the songs with a selection of composers, between them the accustomed Marti Frederiksen, responsible of many '80s hits and soundtracks.

(partially reviewed by Rebecca "beckylink" @magicalbeck)





Sticking with the same rock influences present on his previous record, the album includes some really good anthemic and big rock tunes with bridges that swell massively, and driving guitars infusing catchy melodies.

Of course there's also some radio-ready tracks that aren't exactly my cup of tea, but considering this is mainstream CD, it's triumph that a rock based disc hit the charts.

This isn't a collection of singles thrown together and packaged perfectly to fit in the pop-laden industry.

Even in his softest-poppy moments, David's voice stays strong and true, which is such a nice change from the auto-tuned artists shoved down the public's throat on a daily basis.

A mainstay on the Tulsa music scene before winning the seventh season of 'Idol', Cook rose to national fame on a reality TV show, but in many ways, the singer/songwriter/guitarist can be regarded as a throwback.

Not only is he releasing a bona fide album in the digital-garbage-pop era, he also continues to favor the 'real rock' firmly rooted in the classic pattern.

Set aside prejudices and give it a try.





01 - Circadian

02 - Right Here, With You

03 - We Believe

04 - Fade Into Me

05 - Hard to Believe

06 - Take Me As I Am

07 - Time Marches On

08 - The Last Goodbye

09 - Paper Heart

10 - 4 Letter Word

11 - Goodbye to the Girl

12 - Rapid Eye Movement

13 - This Is Not The Last Time [bonus track]

14 - Sunlight [bonus track iTunes exclusive]

15 - Don't You (Forget About Me) [Simple Minds cover / single only]





Vocals, Guitar: David Cook

Guitars: Neal Tieman, Tim Pierce, Joel Shearer

Bass: Monty Anderson, Chris Chaney

Keyboards: Andy Skib, Matt Serletic

Drums: Kyle Peek, Dorian Crozier









BUY IT !

www.davidcookofficial.com

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SUN CAGED - The Lotus Effect (2011)

SUN CAGED - The Lotus Effect (2011)

The Real one, not the promo





SUN CAGED is a Dutch progressive metal band led by guitar virtuoso Marcel Coenen. This ensemble is founded back in 1999, but the band take several years between recordings as their music is really elaborated.

Following the succes of their second 2007 album 'Artemisia', Coenen and Co. are about to unleash their third album, entitled "The Lotus Effect".



Quality over quantity must be the band’s collective motto, because "The Lotus Effect" has plenty of musical fireworks to offer which makes even the most demanding prog fan drool out of sheer satisfaction.

Guitarist Marcel Coenen and vocalist Paul Adrian Villarreal make quite a combination for the foundation of the band - directing the sound into a variety of directions while keeping the heart and soul of forward thinking, challenging landscapes at hand.

The most intersting thing about this band is that they don't sound like any other prog-metal band. Of course there are similarities with some of the bigger bands in the genre, but they never sound like any of them.

Unlike their peers in Dream Theater for instance, the guys in Sun Caged know when to show restraint when a song calls for it.

It doesn’t matter how technical and over the top it gets, it still about writing a solid composition.



As is typical of progressive metal, there is plenty of genre transgression on this album which contains virtually everything from blastbeats over ballady choruses and heavy groove guitar riffage to slapping and fretless bass as well as some fusion-like and neoclassical elements.

In essence the album is divided in two sections. The first six songs makes up the first half.

The opener "Seamripper (& the Blanket Statement)" contains some grinding drumming combined with melodic elements, and there is some awesome slapping bass in "Tip-Toe The Fault-Line" and "Shades Of Hades", while "Ashes To Ear" delivers some more classic and accessible progressive metal figures and odd time signature plus prominent keyboards and a quite melodic nature.

"Reductio As Absurdum" features a flashy extravagant neo-classical guitar solo enriched by synthesizer eruptions, while a fusion flavor flows freely for "On Again/Off Again" - the four instrumentalists giving their talents while Paul deftly weaves in the soaring, melodic vocals to give listeners the hook to pull it all together.



Part II is entitled "Ashtamangala (The 8 Auspicious Symbols)", an epic suite separated in 7 musical pieces which, needless to say, offers many twists, turns and other interesting things.

But apart from the superbly textured "Pareidolized (The Ocean in the Shell)", the rest of the pieces are short and dynamic, and all keeps your ears focused every second, it never gets bored or makes you desire for the end. Includes steady, sometimes heavy arrangements, with bursts of imagination within.





"The Lotus Effect" is a true progressive metal album, with many tempo-changes and varied structures, combining both modern and classic elements.

Vocals are clear and have a very melodic quality as well as an almost volatile texture but very potent at the same time, which is in an interesting contrast to the very heavy sounding guitars.

The level of musicianship is obviously very high, delivering impressive work on all instruments, and fans of guitar / keyboard / bass virtuoso-playing can look forward to some very elaborated solos.

Lyrically tackling deep topics through politics, relationships and philosophy with modern reference points, there is so much dynamic versatility within the 14 tracks that Sun Caged accomplishes so much without redundancy and with a clear sense of vision and forethought.

The production is handled by Sun Caged themselves. They’ve done an excellent job, because its powerful sound really drives the recording forward.

"The Lotus Effect" is one the best 'real' prog-metal albums recently released, it’s a shining example of what can be achieved when you the find the right balance between dazzling musical technique and the advanced art of songwriting.

Recommended.





PART I

01. Seamripper (& The Blanket Statement)

02. Tip-Toe The Fault-Line

03. Ashes To Ear

04. Shades Of Hades

05. Reductio ad Absurdum

06. On Again / Off Again

07. Lotus



PART II 'Ashtamangala (The 8 Auspicious Symbols)'

08. Pareidolized (The Ocean in the Shell)

09. Parasol

10. Wave the Banner

11. Fish Afraid of Drowning

12. Moebius Knot (Instrumental)

13. Full Circle

14. Let it Wash Away (The Lotus Effect)





Paul Adrian Villarreal - Vocals

Marcel Coenen - Guitars

René Kroon - Keyboards

Daniel Kohn - Bass, Fretless

Roel van Helden - Drums







BUY IT !

www.suncaged.com

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Monday, July 11, 2011

NIGHT RANGER - Somewhere In California [bonuses] (2011)

NIGHT RANGER - Somewhere In California itunes amazon bonuses (2011)

*

NIGHT RANGER has released their really good album "Somewhere In California" featuring 2 excellent exclusive bonus tracks as digital download only.

The iTunes edition includes a great cover of AC/DC's classic "Dirty Deeds (Done Dirt Cheap)", while the Amazon exclusive is the breathtaking long version of Damn Yankee's hit "Coming Of Age", with Ted Nugent as guest playing an incendiary hot guitar solo linked with his classic 'Stranglehold'.


12 - Coming Of Age (feat. Ted Nugent) [amazon exclusive track]

12 - Dirty Deeds (Done Dirt Cheap) [iTunes edition exclusive]




BUY IT !
http://tinyurl.com/amaz-exclusive
http://tinyurl.com/itunes-exclusive
.

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LEAGUE OF LIGHTS - League Of Lights (2011)

LEAGUE OF LIGHTS - League Of Lights (2011)

The U.K.'s League Of Lights is some kind of super group fronted by Threshold keyboardist and songwriter Richard West, created around gorgeous singer Farrah West, his wife.
They're joined by Ruud Jolie from the mighty Within Temptation on guitar, Fates Warning's drummer Mark Zonder and bassist Jerry Meehan who has played with such luminaries as Robbie Williams, Chris de Burgh and Brian Ferry.

They describe themselves as 'a modern melodic rock group with '80s / '90s pop sensibilities', and this seems like a fairly good description, but there is more.
With Farrah West's catchy vocals underpinned by varied synth modulations, some electronic elements, and an overall '80s feel, "I'm Alive" defines the direction for the album.
Farrah West does indeed possess a voice suitable to eighties synth-pop, and together with her husband's contribution the blueprint of the songs is set.
Richard West is critical to each and every song on the album. He uses so many sound samples, symphonic textures and tones but he refrains from his role in Threshold in that there are no synth leads on this song.
Rather, the emphasis is on the vocals from start to finish with inspiring lyrics saturated in faith, hope and love.
On drums is ex-Fates Warning demigod, Mark Zonder. This being basically a pop-rock structured album, Zonder's contribution mostly holds down the rhythmic core with steady 4/4 beats, but his tone is still as unique as always.

In order to add diversity to the songcraft, the West duo's "Last Senset" is washed over with a spine-tinkling piano theme and New Age-like sound explorations.
On guitars, there is Within Temptation's Ruud Jolie at the helm. Jolie's playing is pretty similar to his work with his own band, as he usually plays within the realm of pop music sensibilities -- just as these songs dictate.
Therefore, it would be wise not to expect any mammoth riffs or guitar licks. The most noticeable riffing you'll hear is in the intro of "Ambertown" and the acoustic guitars planted underneath Farrah's indelible vocals on "Anime." This one sounds like a soundtrack played during the most heartbreaking scene of a romantic comedy. Her singing is sublime.

The album's secret hit is "Half Light" because it is the song where Richard West returns to his atmospheric playing heard in Threshold. The keys on this track evoke Kevin Moore's (original Dream Theater keyboardist) solo material with sparse notes ringing atop Farrah West's multi-tracked vocals whilst "Cool of the Day" is based entirely on synth-piano and her gorgeous a capella vocals.


League Of Lights is a very pleasant surprise.
Ten soft and gentle melodic rock tracks but not in the 'anthem' style, the tunes have a strong '80s pop-rock flair with a soft neo prog aura.
Think as a mix of Wetton/Downes Icon melodic rock, a hint of Bangles catchiness and a spot of modern prog here and there resulting in fresh, vibrant and why not, sumptuous rock.
The charming and fragile voice of Farrah West is the signature of the band; her style has a lot of similarities with the English '80s female pop scene. She sings the songs beautifully and emotively without ever resorting to any wailing or screaming, relying on tone, timbre, melody and clarity rather than most vocalists today who feel the need to over-sing.

Richard's crystal clear production allows you to hear every nuance of the music, power is applied with restraint and at exactly the right moments, the sound is subtle instead of bombastic, very different to Within Temptations 80's infused 'The Unforgiving' which might appear on paper very similar, especially with Ruud playing on both, the yin to their yang.
Given the right push and airplay, this superbly written, performed and produced album could be massive in the mainstream, it has that right mix of outstanding musicianship and accessible songs that will appeal to a very broad spectrum of rock music lovers, as well as prog and metal fans thanks to their lineage.
Sophisticated and really interesting.


01 - I'm Alive
02 - Cover Me Now
03 - Last Sunset
04 - Half Light
05 - Ambertown
06 - You Light My Way
07 - Don't Leave Me Behind
08 - Animé
09 - Cool Of The Day
10 - Heaven Sent A Star

Farrah West: vocals
Richard West (Threshold): keyboards
Ruud Jolie (Within Temptation): guitars
Mark Zonder (ex-Fates Warning): drums
Jerry Meehan: bass


BUY IT !
www.leagueoflights.com
.

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Friday, July 8, 2011

BAD COMPANY - Live At Wembley [ltd. edition 3CD] (2011)

BAD COMPANY - Live At Wembley [ltd. edition 3CD] (2011)

Limited Edition triple CD set





Bad Company had not performed in the UK for 31 years with the original lineup before last year’s tour.

The band returned home triumphantly with an amazing show that featured drummer Simon Kirke, guitarist Mick Ralphs and vocalist, guitarist and keyboardist Paul Rodgers.

Bad Co. was welcomed home like troops returning from a victorious battle. In return, they put 110% effort into this concert, now released as "Live At Wembley".



Joining to the line up guitarist Howard Leese (who previously worked with Heart) and Lynn Sorenson on bass and piano, the band played with soul and Rodgers amazed all with his ability to defy time.

His looks, playing skills and voice are all as strong, if not stronger, than they have ever been.

Bad Company launched its crisply show with "Can't Get Enough,'' a bit of bluesy yearning that serves not only as a signature hit but also a template for the band's work: narrative lyrics, chunky guitar hooks, disciplined grooves.

For "Run with the Pack," Rodgers stood to play a black piano and added the first of several soulful vocal tags at the end.

Lightening the mood, the band's hit cover of the Coasters' "Young Blood" was simple fun, while the gorgeous ballad "Seagull" found Rodgers and Ralphs alone at the front of the stage on acoustic guitars.



Some harder-edged rock came via "Gone Gone Gone" (from 1979's Desolation Angels). Then Rodgers was back at the piano for the tranquil "Electric Land," which the frontman said was inspired by Paris. He had no problem with the sustained vocal notes.

Leese's 12-string guitar work on the extended intro to "Simple Man" shimmered; Rodgers infused the contemplative song with bluesy vocalizations.

The subtle folk accents on "Feel Like Makin' Love" were freshened up and elevated live, thanks to Leese's mandolin work and Rodgers' harmonica solo. Audience members loudly sang along at Rodgers' prodding, but did so even more boisterously during the poignant casualty tale "Shooting Star."

Despite its non-hit status, that track's reception is equal to that of "Rock and Roll Fantasy" and "Movin' On."

For the encores, Bad Company offered up a laid-back "Ready for Love," with dreamier guitar effects that verged on the psychedelic, plus more of Rodgers' bluesy inflections. Both he and Ralphs playfully leaned on each other a few times, proving the old camaraderie remained intact.





During the past 40 years, Rodgers and Co., haven't lost any of the passion for the music that they had in the early years.

Every one of the 15 songs on "Live At Wembley" is delivered as though they were introducing it the first time, and the pacing of the songs gave both the band and the fans the chance to build to energy-packed final tunes.

With the adding of Leese to the line-up (a regular in Rodgers's solo band), Bad Company boasts a fuller sound. The 66-year-old Ralphs and Leese nicely shared lead guitar duties while the 61-year-old Kirke pounded his drum kit like a man half his age.

But it is the extraordinaire Rodgers the total charmer here, a versatile and complete musician, as he played piano, harmonica and handled acoustic guitars. At age 60, Paul still has his full vocal power, and is more inclined to improvise around his original parts.

"Live At Wembley" isn't another 'live' album for the sake of.

This recording documents better than ever the class of this legendary band with full production and terrific sound, produced, mixed and mastered by Bruce Gowdy (Unruly Child, Glenn Hughes, Frederiksen/Phillips).





Limited Edition triple CD set



Disc 1:

1. Can’t Get Enough

2. Honey Child

3. Running with the Pack

4. Young Blood

5. Seagull

6. Gone Gone Gone



Disc 2:

1. Electric Land

2. Simple Man

3. Feel Like Making Love

4. Shooting Star

5. Rock ‘N’ Roll Fantasy

6. Movin’ On



Disc 3:

1. Ready for Love

2. Bad Company

3. Deal with the Preacher







Paul Rodgers - Vocals

Mick Ralphs - Guitar

Howard Leese - Guitar

Lynn Sorensen - Bass

Simon Kirke - Drums



Produced, mixed and mastered by Bruce Gowdy & Guy Allison









BUY IT !

www.badcompany.com/news.html

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Thursday, July 7, 2011

THE GLORIA STORY - Shades Of White (2011)

THE GLORIA STORY - Shades Of White (2011)

THE GLORIA STORY was formed in a small town of Skövde, Sweden, in early 2009.
After a successful local single and loads of TV and Radio-show-appearances, the band are reloading their guns and with the help of Anders 'Boba Fett' Lindström (ex Hellacopters) as a producer, they are releasing their first album “Shades Of White”.
In short, The Gloria Story plays retro-rock.
Their influences are classic rock bands as Thin Lizzy, Bowie, Cheap Trick, T-Rex, Kiss and many others, mixed with a contemporary sound. The music is undoubtedly modern and fresh, and the band does its best to pay tribute to the greats without imitating them.

Fronting the band are vocalists Joan 'Kid' Sallrot and Filip Rapp. Besides doing a commendable job in front of the mic, both also contribute solid guitars throughout. Carl Ahlander also slings the guitar with fire and enthusiasm, providing the opportunity for some slick harmonies and neat and tidy solos.
The real heartbeat of the music however is the solid teamwork by Joakim Ståhl (bass) and Henrik Siberg (drums). These guys are shy and really know how to drive a song without being too in your face.

“Valentino” opens the album, and the guys from Thin Lizzy would be pleased with this bouncy bass driven track that features good guitar harmonies and a vocal delivery that the late great Phil Lynott would love.
Light, pop-inspired guitars, strong vocals and great drumming make “Total Stranger” a light rock kick.
An amazingly upbeat blues rock bass line will have even the most jaded feet tapping along to “When Hearts Cease To Bloom.”
“Highway” is a truly a classic rock guitar tune with some great hooks and driving riffs – and would be an excellent sing-along song thanks to its good natured catchy chorus.
The lower energy Cheap Trick-inspired “That 70′s Night” proves that you always need more cow bell…

“Baby Let The Good Times Roll” features some slick guitars and great vocals backed by a driving bass and drum line – another foot-tapper.
“I Don’t Wanna Be Your Bet” is the heaviest track on the album. Pounding bass and brutal drums blend seamlessly with energetic guitars and well done vocals to make this the standout track on the album.
“I Can Make You Run” showcases the band’s vocal abilities while mixing in some lighter guitars with a simple but effective solo and a fat bass.
“15,000 Ft.” is guitar driven track that tells the story of someone who really hates air travel. Anyone who like rock guitar will dig this one.


“Shades Of White” is a very well recorded retro, vintage Hard / Classic Rock album with an updated sound. It mixes the past with the future.
The sounds of Thin Lizzy, Kiss and Cheap Trick never sounded more up to date.
Fans of the '70s will be thrilled while contemporary radio-rock fans will find themselves on seventh heaven, as the songs are instant and rockin'. I mean, the sound is mainly focusing on the analogue '70s standards but it also efficiently looks one eye at today’s radiohuntin’ rock standards.
Not exactly my cup of tea, but I like most of the tunes, the attitude and the warm rock sound.
This is the kind of music that will get hands clapping and feet tapping. After all, isn’t that what rock and roll is all about?


01. Valentino
02. Total Stranger
03. When Hearts Cease To Bloom
04. Highway
05. That 70’s Night
06. Baby Let The Good Times Roll
07. I Don’t Wanna Be Your Bet
08. I Can Make You Run
09. 15000 FT.
10. It’s Forbidden To Make You Mad


Joan 'Kid' Sallrot: guitar, lead vocals, backing vocals
Filip Rapp: guitar, lead vocals, backing vocals, percussion
Joakim Ståhl: bass, backing vocals
Carl Ahlander: guitar
Henrik Siberg: drums



BUY IT !
www.thegloriastory.com

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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

SEAN FILKINS - War and Peace & Other Short Stories (2011)

SEAN FILKINS - War and Peace & Other Short Stories (2011)

British SEAN FILKINS was the lead singer of the well respected UK prog band Big Big Train on the albums 'Gathering Speed' (2004) and 'The Difference Machine' (2007), two of the band's better efforts.
Having left Big Big Train he guessed as a singer on ex Galahad bass player Lee Abraham's third solo album 'Black & White'.
Now, joined by Abraham and a large list of other guest musicians (Gary Chandler from Jadis, Dave Meros from Spock's Beard, John Mitchell from It Bites and many more) he puts out his first solo album "War And Peace & Other Short Stories".

After giving it more than a few spins, I must say I was quite impressed by this CD.
After the short intro "Are You Sitting Comfortably?" we get five very good Prog/Rock pieces very much in the Neo tradition (think Arena, IQ, early Marillion).
It is a wonderful varied musical fare, and the catchiness on the compositions is always present.
Symphonic melodies and strong rockier parts are blended with bombast and drama, ambient sounds, enchanting ballads, orchestral keyboards, and great noise / electronic sampled sounds.
Specially charming is the musical performance on "Prisoner Of Conscience, Part 1 - The Soldier". You have it all hare, plus exotic instruments as didgeridoo, flamenco guitar, mandolin or sitar. All used with taste and a 'rock approach', never boring.
"Epitaph For A Mariner" is particularly striking as well, featuring heavenly female vocals.


I will clearly attach the 'Neo' tag to "War and Peace & Other Short Stories", that means; although the format is typically Progg (long compositions with several parts), the sound is absolutely modern, in parts very close to prog-metal, sometimes extremely melodic (rock), almost commercial.
The arrangements keeps you interested all the time, featuring an excellent guitar work (really, really good), a varied palette of keyboards and an awesome rhythm section.
Filkins' voice fits like a glove for this kind of music, melodic and soft when needed, but with presence and authority.
Production is perfect, clear and airy, superbly mixed.
I would conclude by saying that Sean Filkins' "War And Peace & Other Short Stories" should be considered one of the best Neo Prog albums to have come out in quite a while, this on the strenght of the compositions and the musicians involved.
No matter if you like proggy music or not, you will love this album, as it exceeds the boundaries, this is just wonderful ROCK music.
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED


1. Are You Sitting Comfortably?
2. The English Eccentric
3. Prisoner Of Conscience, Part 1 - The Soldier
4. Prisoner Of Conscience, Part 2 - The Ordinary Man
5. Epitaph For A Mariner ;
I) Sailors Hymn
II) Sirens Song
III) Maelstrom
IV) Ode To William Pull
V) Epitaph
6. Learn How To Learn


Sean Filkins: Vocals, guitars, ebow guitar, additional keyboards, percussion, blues harp, didgeridoo.

Gary Chandler: Guitars on 2
Dave Meros: Bass on 2
Rob Arnold: Keyboards on 3, 4, 5
Alistar Begg: Fretless Bass on 3
Marc Clayton: Tabla on 3, 6
Christopher James Harrison: Guitars on 3
John Mitchell: Guitars on 3, 4, 5
Simon Nixon: Flamenco Guitar on 3
Darren Newitt: Lead Guitar on 3, 6
Ben Rouse: Mandolin
Helen Tudor: Flute
Geoff Webb: Acoustic Guitar & Keyboards
Diane Abraham, Amanda Filkins: Vocals on 3
Amanda Filkins: Support Vocals on 3
Abigail Filkins: Support Vocals on 5
Daisy Sammes: Sirens Vocals on 5



BUY IT !
www.seanfilkinsmusic.co.uk

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THE OUTFIELD - RePlay (2011)

THE OUTFIELD - RePlay (2011)

Bonus tracks





Looking at the list of new releases this summer, one might think it’s still the summer of ’85. Bands like Journey, Night Ranger, Yes and The Cars all have new albums out.

Also one of my favorites from the mid '80s are back with a brand new album as well.

The album is titled “RePlay” and it’s by none other than The Outfield.



The new album is chock full of memorable hooks, sunny harmonies and multi-layered guitars, just like how the band sounded back in their heyday. It’s almost uncanny how lead singer Tony Lewis can hit those high notes as he did way back when.

It’s also great to see drummer Alan Jackman back in the fold.

Jackman has been sorely missed over the years and so his presence and his style of playing has obviously re-energized the band.

As a matter of fact, the new material has a focus and drive that hasn’t been heard from the band since 1987′s Bangin' album.

This might also be related to the fact that main songwriter/guitarist John Spinks has been battling some health issues these last few years which may have given him all the more reason to put together some 'a game' material this time out.



We can find here beautiful melodies, like the one on the advanced single (already featured here on 0dayrock) “California Sun".

“A Long, Long Time Ago” is a rockin’ track that sounds like something straight off the ’87 era of the band. Probably my favorite song on the album.

“New York City” features a nice loop-like groove and a neat repetitive drum fill that may seem out of place at first but becomes one of the hooks in the song after a few listens.

“Disraeli Years” is a big nod to ’60′s blues/rock trio Cream. The track features fun lil’ lyrical references to the iconic band as well as a tasty guitar solo 'ala Clapton'. And just in case you miss any of those references, Jackman adds the unmistakable drum fill from 'White Room' at the end of the song. Fun stuff.

On “Shake Your Thing” Lewis’ vocals are an integral part of The Outfield sound. In the past his high tenor overshadowed his bass playing. But with the new album and on tracks like “Shake Your Thing”, Lewis has come a long way in terms of memorable bass lines.





The eighties are back, and The Outfield returns with one of the best albums of their career. With all three original members in place, the band seems revitalized.

The new songs are driven by the astoundingly high range tenor vocals from Tony Lewis. Compressed and phased vocal harmonies are featured on almost every track. The musicianship of the performers is impeccable, and production crisp and warm.

"RePlay", with its upbeat and oh-so melodic tunes, is a perfect addition to this summer’s soundtrack. It’s too bad the band won’t be out on tour this summer to support the new release. Spinks is still dealing with health issues so live gigs are unfortunately out of the question.

Purchase the album, turn up the volume and have a melodic rockin’ retro summer!





1 - Aladdin's Cave

2 - California Sun

3 - A Long, Long Time Ago

4 - In Your Company

5 - Who Would You Be?

6 - Shake Your Thing

7 - New York City

8 - Call It Out

9 - Process

10 - Wonderland

11 - Disraeli Years

12 - Sandman

13 - Malibu Beach (bonus track)

14 - A Little Piece Of Luck (bonus track)





Tony Lewis - Vocals, Bass

John Spinks - Guitars, Backing Vocals

Alan Jackman - Drums, Backing Vocals





BUY IT !

www.theoutfield.com

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