Black Sabbath overcome odds, deliver on ’13’

CD Review: Black Sabbath ’13’ 

Release Date: 11 June 2013

Black Sabbath '13' Album Art

Black Sabbath have been attempting to create new music with its original lineup for more than a decade. However, distractions and solo efforts always seemed to get in the way. When the creative machine started to churn again in late-2011, a number of obstacles appeared to derail their efforts as if it were destiny. Guitarist Tony Iommi was diagnosed with lymphoma, drummer Bill Ward refused to participate due to “contract disputes,” and Ozzy Osbourne had a relapse from sobriety that almost ended his marriage. Though Ward never accepted their terms–Ozzy and Iommi later offered their side of the story–the creative spark could not be quelled and “13” was born. It officially hits the streets on June 11.

Continue reading the rest of this CD review at The Examiner!

Follow Concert Capture – FacebookTwitterExaminer Content

Follow The Dead Hub – FacebookTwitter

Stone Sour set to release House of Gold & Bones part 1 October 23rd

 

 

 

New York, NY (August 16, 2012) – Grammy-nominated rockers Stone Sour will release the first installment of their double album House of Gold & Bones Part 1 on Roadrunner Records on October 23, 2012. The second installment will be released in 2013. The album was recorded at Sound Farm Studios just outside of the band’s native Des Moines, Iowa with producer David Bottrill (Tool, Muse, Staind) at the helm.

 

www.facebook.com/stonesour

www.stonesour.com

 http://houseofgoldandbones.com/

https://twitter.com/WeAreStoneSour

 

Dirty Heads’ “Cabin by the Sea”

Dirty Heads
Cabin by the Sea
Release Date: 6/19/2012

http://www.dirtyheads.com/
Dirty Heads Cabin by the Sea CoverI usually shy away from album reviews but when I opened the FedEx package on my doorstep and found the new Dirty Heads album complete with promotional rolling papers presumably to accompany the album, I decided to take a second look because obviously this was intended to take my worries away and make everyone feel great.

In 2008 The Dirty Heads splashed onto the music scene with their debut album Any Port in a Storm, this year, on June 19, 2012, they will follow up with their long-awaited album Cabin by the Sea. Cabin is a true master class that sticks to the So-Cal alternative rocker vibe that The Dirty Heads are known for. When popping the disc in the dash of the car the first chord of “Arrival instantly enthralls you and throws you into the cabin by the sea with a group of friends enjoying life the way it was intended to be. The song that really struck a chord with me was “Spread Too Thin” because I think everyone can relate to being pulled in many directions every day and wanting to just slow down  for a minute and this album allows you to take a break and do just that. Cabin is the perfect summer album; it ranges from that summery feel-good reggae like the song “Your Love,” to the hip-hop vibe in “Smoke Rings,” and some poppy acoustic in the title song Cabin by the Sea, which is perfect for the sunny summer.

I personally love Cabin by the Sea, every time I listen to this album it takes me away from the daily grind and monotony. There are many collaborations in this album with the likes of features collaborations with Matisyahu, Del the Funky Homosapien, Rome, and Ky-ManiMarley. One of the coolest parts of this album is the DVD that came in the package. The DVD takes you behind the scenes in the process of the day-to-day for the two week recording process at Sonic Ranch Studios in Texas. Cabin by the Sea is a must have for the summer and it hits the shelves on June 19.

http://www.dirtyheads.com
http://www.myspace.com/dirtyheads
http://www.twitter.com/dirtyheads
http://www.twitter.com/jaredwatsondh
http://www.twitter.com/DuddyB

United Brad Stands

BRAD
United We Stand
Razor & Tie
Release: 24 April 2012


Brad celebrates their 20th year as a band, and releases their 5th album this month. Brad began as the side project for members Stone Gossard of Pearl Jam, Regan Hagar (Satchel and formerly a member of Malfunkshun), Shawn Smith (also a member of Pigeonhed and Satchel), and Jeremy Toback. Brad is a Seattle band from the 90s which includes one of the founding members of Pearl Jam, the fathers of the grunge sound, yet their music is more chill and psychedelic. For someone who can very rarely relax, I have trouble understanding these jams. If I still hit the hash pipe, it may help. Though I have to admit that Shawn Smith’s lead vocals are beautiful on “Make the Pain go away” the rest of the tracks leave me confused.. I just don’t get it. Although by the sounds of the jam session album the boys are so chilled out, I don’t think they care if I’m grooovin or not, because they sure are regardless. If you already like Brad, or the guys other full time bands give it a listen, you should love it as the sound seems consistent with previous works. Regardless, give “Make the Pain go away” a spin, it will (cliche enough) take some pain away, for sure.

Jon McLaughlin Makes Promises

Jon McLaughlin
Promising Promises
Razor & Tie
Release: 22 May 2012

In September of last year Jon McLaughlin released his album Forever if Ever. On May 22nd he will release an updated and remixed/remastered version of that album along with new artwork and packagin. Jon has also included three new singles for his fans. One of the new singles can be heard below, the album’s first single, “Summer Is Over” featuring Sara Bareilles is on sale now –Buy HERE and Listen HERE.

* Look out for the title track “I’ll follow you”, it’s enough to make most tough guys well up, myself included.

Dar Williams, the Other Folk Meat!

Dar Williams
In The Time of Gods
Razor & Tie
Release: 17 April 2012

Dar Williams has always been a household name growing up on the East Coast. She’s notably a talented singer songwriter whom I… never paid a single ounce of mind to, for no justifiable reason. I guess when I wanted folk music, I went to Ani DiFranco and never looked any further. I think that “go to” has happened to many of us, but tonight I listened to a Dar Williams album in it’s entirely, a few times actually.

First off I will admit this isn’t my first choice in music anymore, yet I found myself in a somber place in life tonight and the album greeted me with open arms. Dar writes beautiful songs. She has a beautiful voice and writes beautiful lyrics. If you listen to her music, I can’t imagine this album would be anything but a satisfying add to your collection of her albums. For a non listener such as myself, I am going to take away this stand out track: “I will free myself”. Next Tuesday when this album drops I ask you to listen carefully to this aforementioned track. I have played it about 10 times so far. Each time as soon as I hear the opening notes, chords, and vocals they force me to pause: and listen. Maybe it’s my situation, or maybe Dar has just been this good all along and this is what you miss when you focus on that one artist that’s gets you by with what you already know. Makes me grateful to always expand my focus.

Monica, New Life, Same Sound.

Monica
New Life
RCA
April 10, 2012

I will give credit where it’s due. When I was in 8th grade Monica’s first singles “Don’t Take It Personal (Just One of Dem Days)” and “Before You Walk out of My Life” were my jams. Then when Monica did that duet with Brandy talking about “The Boy is Mine” by that point I was a junior in high school and we all thought we were bad ass playing that song on each other’s answering machine’s. (If you were really cool your pager had an answering machine.) Monica could sing, she was cute with her overalls, and we related to her music. We were teenagers. We grew up. Unfortunately, her music did not.

Monica released her seventh studio album today, also you can now purchase vanilla ice cream at your local grochery store. Doesn’t sound very exciting does it? Vanilla Ice Cream, that’s what Monica has become to me over the years. You see vanilla ice cream is fine, I mean who doesn’t like ice cream, it has all of the qualities there that should make it really good, hell it’s ice cream, and if you pair it with something like apple pie then it get’s better. Yet you would prefer something with Caramel running through it wouldn’t you? Wouldn’t you prefer to listen to Mary J. Blidge? Doesn’t Monica sound better when you pair her with Brandy? Do you want to listen to another album of Monica’s where it’s all just FINE.If the answer is no, then you just go ahead and skip this album too.

Thanks to her first album and those songs I loved as a kid, Monica’s net worth is around the total of $15 Million US dollars. Tell me why she can’t buy a good song? The album is wonderfully produced, with all the production stars in today’s game that you know, or should, since they make all of today’s hits. Rico Love, Polow da Don,Salaam Remi, even damn Missy Elliott can’t save Monica from making 12 more filler tracks that you can easily live without. What’s the issue? Monica can sing her ass off, she is gorgeous as ever, the beats are decent, the production is good, yet the lyrics fail almost immediately being completely expected, or embarssing (“Log off your facebook it all belongs to me”). Most of the Album’s topics have been exhausted in pop music in the last ten years, even by Monica herself. If you are going to rehash topics of self empowerment, love, and growth you really have to have something bold to back it all up. What we needed was a drastic new sound that recreated Monica in a fresh new way, something with today’s sound vs. 1995. It feels like she keeps painstakingly trying to recreate her first few big hits, even going so far as to have another duet with Brandy, trying to force the magic to happen again. Those overalls, the mid 90’s, being 14 with two top 10 singles: Magic. Being 31 and not having a big hit since, 5 albums later? Time to call in the heavy hitters dear.. New Life? Next time you need a new sound.

Exitmusic – Passage

Exitmusic
Passage
Release date: May 22, 2012
Secretly Canadian

Exitmusic, the husband and wife duo of Devon Church and Aleksa Palladino, produce a blend of chill wave meets  apocalyptic crescendo.  Though Aleksa has quite the day job playing Angela Darmody on Boardwalk Empire, she is no actress tinkering at a music side project.  Exitmusic is legit.  Last October they released their debut EP, From Silence, which included “The Modern Age” – the only track that graces their forthcoming full length album Passage.

The title track starts as a little sea foam on the shore and catapults into a crashing chorus.  Aleksa really digs into a guttural vocal delivery with “The Night” as sweet “ha ha ah’s” calm the backing music-scape.  “The City” starts with Aleksa’s numbing vocals then pounds in with drums and guitars, creating a push and pull effect.

Exitmusic is reminiscent of Beach House with a dash of Goldfrapp, but darker and more foreboding.  “The Wanting” is especially atmospheric with repetitive loops.  My favorite track “White Noise”  has Aleksa crooning in desperation as frenetic guitars seem to change her tune to an uplifting cheer.  The now defunct Los Angeles CityBeat described it prefectly as, “mak(ing) me think of two sweet kids strolling hand-in-hand into Armageddon.” Now that’s the perfect exit music.

Track list
Passage
The Night
The City
White Noise
Storms
The Wanting
Stars
The Modern Age
The Cold
Sparks of Light

Tour dates
4.10 – Baton Rouge, LA / Spanish Moon
4.11 – Houston, TX / Fitzgerald’s
4/12 – Austin, TX / Mohawk
4.14 – Fort Worth, TX / Modern Art Museum
4.15 – Kansas City, MO / The Riot Room
4.16 – Denver, CO / Larmier Lounge
4.17 – Salt Lake City, UT / Urban Lounge
4.19 – Los Angeles, CA / Echoplex
4.20 – San Francisco, CA / Rickshaw Stop
4.22 – Portland, OR / Doug Fir Lounge
4.23 – Seattle, WA / The Crocodile
4.24 – Vancouver, BC / The Electric Owl
4.28 – Chicago, IL / Lincoln Hall
4.29 – Bloomington, IN / The Bishop
4.30 – Detroit, MI / Magic Stick

5.02 – Toronto, ON / The Hoxton
5.03 – Montreal, QC / La Sala Rossa
5.04 – Allston, MA / Brighton Music Hall
5.05 – New York, NY / Le Poisson Rouge

What a comic should sound like?

Geoff Barrow has always made wonderful instrumental music for Beth Gibbons to swoon over. On his new venture alongside Ben Salisbury he has made 19 tracks sans Beth and the clan. Ben and Geoff get together on this album and created all of these tracks keeping instead a comic book in mind, the Judge Dredd comic in particular. The end result is Ben and Geoff’s vision of what “Mega City One” (depicted in the comics) may actually sound like, and I must say it’s a bit creepy. Having never read these particular comics the boys aural exudes suggest a ghost town teetering on the edge of something very peculiar happening very soon. Geoff was a pioneer and founding member in the beloved band Portishead, so unsurprisingly this album has fleeting moments of the same sounds where you can imagine Beth’s voice sweeping in, although for a PHead fan there aren’t nearly enough of these to keep you entertained.

Clearly this was a fun side project for Barrow during off time from Portishead, Anika, and other tinkering projects that keep him busy. Yet except for the track “End Them” none of the tracks feel as though they are full songs. The “songs” feel more like raw interludes for scenes in a horror film, or samples to use for films, none of it feels like when you sit down and listen to a Nine Inch Nails instrumental for example. It’s just a bit of anxiety inducing shuffle music that would work wonderfully in a slicer scene in your next summer slasher film. Yet somehow.. I think this was the exact sound they were going for, this may be exactly what Mega City One is supposed to sound like.

Of Montreal Drop Psychedelic Vibes At The Metro

Of Montreal
Metro – Chicago, IL

03/28/12

Performing to a sold out crowd is an achievement on its own. When you’re of Montreal and have 10 Albums behind it should be more of an expectation. Of Montreal returned to their most loyal city, and Chicago fans playing to a sold out show at the Metro.

Their new Album Paralytic Stalks like most all of the lead singer’s, Kevin Barnes, albums is a personal reflection yet he did mention that It would not be an instantly gratifying collective and that it would take time to take it all in as a whole. Taking this into consideration, it was expected that their tour for Paralytic Stalks would be way chilled out and less theatrical then their past. Yet, compared to other shows they only performed a small fraction of songs from their current album.

Their show started off with “Gelid Ascent”, from Paralytic Stalks, as they introduced colorful projected images onto their set. A dapper Kevin Barnes stepped onstage wearing a trim grey suit while keeping in touch with his signature effeminate stage persona through wearing a red ruffle button up and electric blue eye shadow. While the set tone was bit more serious it did however pick up as they performed songs from their past albums. There were even a few appearances by their imaginative creations which consisted of white creatures and the infamous human pigs which were a main attraction on their last tour. They finished off a fun set with “The Past is A Grotesque Animal.” Yet they hit their high when they came back onstage for an encore which consisted of a potpourri of songs from their album “Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer?” It was the highlight of the show as they danced on stage with their mythical creatures while confetti explosions went off.

While this tour was more subtle and less outrageous then their past, Of Montreal seem to release a new album almost every year. It will be interesting to see what they’ll have for us next.

Photos from Of Montreal’s set in Chicago:

Liam, Who?

Noel Gallaher
High Flying Birds
Released: 8 November 2011
Label: Sour Mash

Oasis.
The word in the UK makes music folks get mushy and gather flags to wave. They are the official poster boys of Glastonbury Music Festival and whilst there, after a few ciders, you too against all your good restraints will be swinging with your mate sobbing “you’reeeeee my wondderwalllllll”.

The Gallaher brothers didn’t have the insane appeal here in the US as they did in their homeland. Yeah we like them, yeah we know some songs, but once you have seen the boys over there you realize they are to England what Kylie is as Britian’s Madonna. The Gallaher brothers more importantly have this effect on each other though that has notoriously shaped the face of the band and again they are, no more. In the last years they have sued each other, cracked guitars over each other and smacked each other with chairs. All while one brother insisted that his niece came to be born from his brother’s wife cheating on him. All of this sounds like an American family Thanksgiving – or the making of a great punk album, but instead again, it was the end, and for real this time.

Noel went solo. Noel has written all of the Oasis songs you know that get stuck in your head anyway. Now, he has now made a ten track solo album that people in the UK are loving, and people in the states are ignoring. At the first few listens of the album, I wasn’t impressed. I obviously felt something was missing, and I wasn’t a big Oasis fan to begin with but still, it wasn’t reaching me. Then just before I finally penned this review I came across this beautiful visual and I fell in love with the songs after they were delivered to me in their correct form.

I now almost hate to say how much I love the songs, which you can almost hear the entire album in the above visual link. Above all I am ashamed at how much I am in love with the following cheesy line from the song “If I had a gun”..

“..Excuse me if I spoke too soon, my eyes have always followed you around the room
cause you’re the only god that I will ever need..”

May Noel help you find your mush as well and prove to you that his brother may be the rock star, but he has always been the soul behind the band.

Common – The Dream Killer

Common
The Dreamer/The Believer
Released: December 20, 2011
Label: Warner Bros.
Stand Out Track: Ghetto Dreams

The follow up to Common’s 2008 record Universal Mind Control is here, released just before Christma$ for everyone’s stocking. While the album is lyrically better than Common’s latest works (Better than Finding Forever, Not better than 2005’s Be), it ultimately leaves me pissed off at Lonnie again.

Common is a racist. I’m a white chick who loves hip hop, and so things are not really working out for us. Common was one of the first brothers I had a lil’ crush on. Then I met him and he was a vile racist in person. He makes it really hard to love him and overlook these character flaws that make him the furthest thing from sexy..Why mention this? Because in 2012 this crap is still happening, by an open minded “conscious” rapper.

It’s nothing new, Common really came out the gate spitting this ignorant shit, it’s just gotten harder for me to swallow due to it’s consistency which overshadows his lyrical talents, and as a profoundly smart man, approaching 40 years old – it boggles my mind that he hasn’t grown out of this nasty circumstance. Afrocentric, cool, do you, but how you can tell me what is wrong, and what is and isn’t love?

1994
Resurrection Album – “In My Own World (Check the Method)”
It’s a Jungle out there but I’m never Fever-in for them white hoes
I love black thighs, you sisters better realize

2005
Be – “Real People”
This album is a complete gem, but then there is this:
“Black men walking wit white girls on they arms, I be mad at em as if I know they moms
Told to go beyond the surface, a person’s a person, When we lessen our women our condition seems to worsen.”

Common’s racist opposition to mixed race relations goes beyond a crude song lyric. He not only opposes the mixing of the races, he sees women outside his race as nothing more than objects of personal sexual gratification. From a 2005 interview:

COMMON: I don’t think there’s anything the matter with somebody loving somebody from another race but it’s almost like a stereotype that if you’ve got dreadlocks you go out with a white girl. just feel like, as black men, we do have to be aware that, yo, every time we step out with some woman it’s setting an example for our daughters and it’s also representing something for our mothers. If you can’t really love your own, how can you really love others?

TOUCH: So you don’t agree with mixed race relationships?
COMMON: I disagree with them. It’s a lack of self-love. It’s a problem.

TOUCH: Have you ever dated outside your race?
COMMON: Nah, not dated [giggles].

TOUCH: Have you slept with anybody outside your race?
COMMON: Yeah, I definitely have.

So white women are good enough to sleep with, only. Not to be seen in public with, not to procreate with, not to love. What karma is going to do to Common is this; His little pre-teen daughter is going to end up haphazardly loving a white boy and then he’s going to have to face this racism once and for all. True story, I know it because I live it as we speak. I am the better half of a wonderful 5 year and running interracial relationship. Common (the all judging father) would snear at me for this, and my racist family also drags their feet to accept it. Yet, while Common would judge me, and look down on my children, Common loves his Chicago brother Barack Obama – a man of mixed race himself. Common Sense, a living breathing contradiction.

Here we are in 2012.
What does Common have to say about it?
On the track “Gold”
“I write it and still get invited to white Christmases”

No Motherfucker. Not this cracker honkey’s Christmas. You are like, so, OMG uninvited.

The album is better then the radio hip hop trash, but still not Common’s best work. With each year that passes he get’s further and further away from the capability to reproduce classic hits like “I used to love H.E.R“, “Heat“, “The Light” etc etc. Personally I have grown tired of having to face disses about my race, and racial insults that hit home on every single Common album that at this point, I am officially retiring as a listener of his music, entirely. Music is an escape, and if you are providing as much tension and malcontent as a judgmental family member then you are obviously going to lose fans. LL Cool J talks about spending nights in “Trump Towers with a blue eyed blonde” and you don’t hear Jay-Z talking shit about anyone’s preferences, as much he calls people out, it’s still done in a mindful way not to step on people’s toes. This is called “how to achieve platinum status”.

A prime example:

From Jay-Z’s track “Moment of Clarity”
“Truthfully – I wanna rhyme like Common Sense, (But i did five Mil) I ain’t been rhymin like Common since. When your sense got that much in common And you been hustlin since, Your inception, Fuck perception, Go with what makes sense”

If you can read through the lines what Jay is saying, almost directly to our boy common is – you’re being too deep passing your “conscious” views onto the public, that shit doesn’t sell. Considering Jay is the cross culture accepted hip hop mogul and welcomed where no other rappers have gone before, Lonnie may want to take notes, give advice with less judging and preaching, or drink a can of STFU, once and for all.

Hot Chelle Rae’s “Whatever”

Hot Chelle Rae
Whatever
RCA Records
www.hotchellerae.com

The world needs good pop music. Pop music – by default – becomes a harbinger for the current generation and the issues that shape them. The attitude of each generation – the fashions – the trial and tribulations – are ever present in the pop music of that generation.

If you really look into it – these things rarely vary much from generation to generation. One defining component is the music. This might explain why we remember certain songs that may not be great songs – but they are linked to a special moment or event in our lives.

Hot Chelle Rae – the currently emerging pop quartet dishing on all things pop and culture have released “Whatever” which is chock full of bouncy-pouncy pop songs that are so infectious even a fussy old curmudgeon can be seen breaking a smile.

Sure the stuff sounds processed and forced – there is something really enjoyable about the surrender to what they are doing.  They have an odd fixation for – shall we say non-Caucasian-urban cultural references which are actually endearingly hilarious because they are blindingly Caucasian.

The music is seamless. The harmonies are tight. The hooks are dance-friendly. They are at the top of their game- if not the top of their genre. With luck they will grow with their audience and mature into a serious musical enterprise.

If not – we might not even hear about them in a year – but for the moment – they have their finger on the pulse of every ingredient needed to create and market a pop masterpiece.

 

Stand Out Tracks

Tonight Tonight

Why Don’t You love Me

Downtown Girl

Gorillaz Has Something for Everyone

Gorillaz
The Singles Collection 2001-2011
Virgin
gorillaz.com

The millennium needed a musical hero. The 20th century didn’t exactly end on a high-note (pun intended). The millennium surely needed someone who could break down the artifice of pop music and navigate the evolving world of hip hop. (Rock and roll was/is hemorrhaging.) Whoever was charged with this task would risk having a short shelf life. The innovators usually suffer at the hands of the imitators. Gorillaz became that band.

A decade later the “fictional” group created by Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett – is set to release an anthology chronicling their storied career. “The Singles Collection 2001-2011” is proof that rolling with the times – keeping the music organic and alive is one way to stay relevant and fresh.

The fifteen songs on this disc were so timeless when they were created they remain suspended in their own universe. Strangely they bridge musical eras with subtle nods to The Kinks (The melodic themes of “Feel Good Inc.” sounds vaguely familiar.) as effortlessly as they reflect some modern computer-driven aesthetic and the balanced chaos of modern club music.

The band we know as Gorillaz – a response to the banality of the music industry at the turn of the last century – has deconstructed the pop song and broke it down to its primitive core. The duo altered our expectations of new music making it accessible to a much wider audience than most new music artists.

Laced through all of these clarion electronic beats and lush strings there is a sense of humor that transcends the hip factor making this a collection for people who love music with less boundaries. There truly is something for just about everyone here.

Stand Out Tracks
Rock the House
Feel Good Inc.
On Melancholy Hill

Scott Weiland Takes on Christmas

Scott Weiland
The Most Wonderful Time of the Year
Available Now!

scott weiland the most wonderful time of the year coverWho would be one of the most likely candidates to release a Christmas album? I’ll give you a minute to think about that one…Ok, so Scott Weiland released a Christmas album called, The Most Wonderful Time of the Year. It’s kind of trippy to hear this Stone Temple Pilot’s singer covering Christmas classics like “The Christmas Song.”   The first track that popped up on my music player was “Happy Christmas and Many More,” and it sounded like Jimmy Buffett high-jacked the track.  It’s very much an island song. Scott’s take on “Silent Night” has a bossa nova beat that is right inline with “Happy Christmas.”  Yet the album is filled with traditional piano and sting arrangements. What’s not there is the rock element that so many fans may be expecting, so don’t hold your breath for a guitar solo or Scott singing into a  megaphone.

It’s obvious Scott wasn’t afraid of taking some risks with the Christmas album.  He took a big one just releasing a Christmas album…period. Not many rockers release an entire album of Christmas music.  If I wasn’t told this album was by Scott Weiland, I don’t think I could have pinpointed the artist.   I might have guessed an unreleased Christmas album by David Bowie.  It’s a far stray from what Scott Weiland fans are accustomed to, but not a bad attempt at covering our favorite Christmas songs. I can tell you for sure it beats anything by Justin Bieber, but if I ever see Scott collaborating with Mariah Carey on a Christmas tune, we’ll have to sit down and talk. Do you hear me Scott?

scott weiland christmas photoThe album is available now in stores and on all digital retail outlets (iTunes / Amazon)- get more details at ScottWeiland.com.

Track Listing
1. “The Christmas Song”
2. “I’ll Be Home For Christmas”
3. “White Christmas”
4. “Silent Night”
5. “It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year”
6. “What Child Is This?”
7. “Winter Wonderland”
8. “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas”
9. “Happy Christmas And Many More”
10. “O Holy Night”

Get Your Soul to the Dance Floor with this Little Ditty!

Lauriana Mae
Love Mae EP
Released: 12/6/2011
Atlantic Records

Lauriana Mae Love Mae EP cover

Atlantic Recording artist Lauriana Mae is inspired by the likes of Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, and Etta James and fuses those big soulful sounds with a modern pop/R&B twist.  There is so much talent on the EP and it’s just Lauriana Mae with the assistance of producer Kwame (Christina Aguilera, Mary J. Blige).  She doesn’t just belt out the punching pop tunes, she also penned all the tracks.

The EP kicks off with “Money Mae,” which is her moniker, and is something I dare you not to sing along to.  “Like a Drum (Beat It)” and “Love” are the other two tracks to make this EP’s cut.   “Like a Drum” stays with the same catchy beat as “Money Mae,” while “Love” is the smooth jazz ballad.  Even though Love Mae EP is only 3 tracks, it’s a well rounded introduction and there is no reason to not pick up this gem. This EP won’t touch your soul, it’ll grab it and toss it on the dance floor. Now we just have to wait for the full length album. You can pick it up on iTunes here for $2.99!

Lauriana Mae’s “Love Mae EP” Sampler music video:

http://laurianamaemusic.com/
http://twitter.com/laurianamae

Re-Imagine This

Smashing Pumpkins
Siamese Dream
Gish
www.smashingpumpkins.com

Smashing Pumpkins Gish Siamese dream

Oh, you better watch out. You better not cry. You better not pout – that’s Billy Corgan’s job, and if he can’t squeeze the last dollar out of your wallet with his skinny, wan hand you can bet he is going to pout; all the way to the bank.

There is nothing worse than an inflated and fading rock star repackaging his music at holiday time in an effort to guilt the fans into parting with their hard earned money. What have the “Pumpkins” done for us lately? If you ask Corgan, they have saved your youth and repackaged it with some bogus extras.

The website that hawks this warmed over tripe has a “message” from Billy that reads like a manifesto for all that is pompous and pretentious in music today. Ironically he was this pretentious 20 years ago and things haven’t changed.

To make matter more egregious there is a standard re-release and a “deluxe edition.” Do we really need a serving of cast-offs and basement demos to enrich our musical landscapes? The price for the new “deluxe edition” is double the price of the re-release.

“Gish” includes (and I quote) Original Album Remastered With Reimagined Cover Art -15 Previously Unreleased or Alternative Versions of Gish Era Songs – Previously Unreleased, Full Length DVD From The Metro 1990 – 6 Postcards Featuring Never-Before-Seen Band Photos – 24-page Booklet Featuring Complete Lyrics, Liner Notes by David Wild, and Track-by-Track Annotations by Billy Corgan.

Re-imagined Cover Art?” Now the die hard fans will be forced to buy it to complete their set. Good looking out for your peeps, Corgan.

“Gish-era” songs? Ah, the songs that weren’t good enough to actually go on “Gish.”  A Metro show that is old enough to drink and postcards?

“Siamese Dream” features basically the same things only more of them and a (slightly) more recent Metro show. Wow for only $30.00. This is my lucky day. (There is even a substantial price difference when ordering the digital download. The “deluxe edition” is $5.00 more per download.)

Call me crazy – but Corgan would do better by his fans to get off of his high horse and cut a new album. Make something relevant and fresh. Taking these songs – that sound pathetically dated anyway – and trying to prepackage them is a travesty.

This Christmas forget Corgan and his greedy ways. True Pumpkin fans already have “Gish” and “Siamese Dream.”  There will be a lot of competition for your holiday dollar. Don’t give it to a petulant sycophant unless you really want that re-imagined covert art and a new postcard collection.

Chiwawa: A Good Story with an Indifferent Sound

Chiwawa
Element
Satellite Records Canada
http://www.chiwawa.ca

Chiwawa Element CoverSometimes you just want to relax and enjoy a disc. You read a lot about the group – you get the back-story and you want to root for them. In an ideal world you put on the disc and the music is solid and you realize that the good feelings you preconceived for the band will be rewarded.

Then there are times that the music just falls flat and you feel hoodwinked. You cringe your way through the review (no one really enjoys writing a bad review – no true music lover does anyway).

Chiwawa is that rare band that doesn’t commit to either one. Their story is a beautiful, modern day Indie film that may have been written by Diablo Cody. Two impossibly beautiful people marrying for citizenship only to blossom into true love. I’d buy that for a dollar.

“Element” is their latest release and it is just another one-dimensional electro-pop collection rife with repetitious beats and forced rhymes. The troubling element is that it isn’t terrible and it isn’t great. It is just a predictable computer generated dozen cuts designed to get your rump shaking and that is about it.

Krassy Halatchev and Laurie Gordon complement each other very well. You can hear the seamless collaboration on these electronic offerings.  You just find yourself wishing the stakes were higher.

“Another Moment” is the exception.  The quixotic blend of sounds – the haunting melody – the sweetness of Gordon’s vocals show what the duo could do if they were so inclined.

They have an impressive discography and their downloads are priced to be fan friendly. They are obviously doing something that is connecting. I just can’t figure out a way to put my finger on it.

Stand Out Track
Another Moment

Robert Schwartzman’s “Double Capricorn”

Robert Schwartzman
Double Capricorn
Self-released
Robertschwartzman.com

robert Schwartzman Double Capricorn coverIt seemed – at first – that Robert Schwartzman had fallen into a deep sleep and had woken up in 1982 in a recording studio.  His quirky-alt-80s sound is endearing if not a bit kitschy. The electro-bump of “Out of My Mind” kicks off “Double Capricorn” sounding a bit like a Human League on happy pills.

“Double Capricorn” is a collection of songs in which the instruments are played (almost) entirely by Schwartzman himself. The interesting thing – he actually pulls it off. The recording is tight and the arrangements – while a bit dated – are no worse for the wear.

It would be a little more compelling in Schwartzman had backed off of the affectations and let the music find its way over to its own invention. The songs seem to be written with the tongue firmly in cheek – a left-handed-homage to music designed to make you homesick for music that you missed the first time around.

Robert Palmer, John Lennon, The Pet Shop Boys, and the Beatles are among the filters Schwartzman employs on his way to being hipper-than-thou. His take on early 80s Elton John is spot on. He created a record the 20-something hipsters can call their own while being enjoyed by the 40-somethings who actually remember this music the first time around.

There are a lot reasons to buy this disc. Not the least of these reasons is all profits from the sale of this album are being donated to the Tibetan Healing Fund. Let “Double Capricorn” heal you at the same time.

Stand Out Tracks
I Know Why
Funny Money
All My Life

Falling in Love with Kimbra’s “Settle Down” EP

Kimbra
Settle Down EP
Label: Warner Bros. Records
Released: 10/18/2011

Kimbra Settle Down EPKimbra is a 21-year-old New Zealand pop sensation.  She released her 4 song EP Settle Down on October 18th via Warner Bros. Records.   The EP includes her catchy hit “Settle Down,” “Limbo,” a remix of “Cameo Lover,” and “Plain Gold Ring” performed live at Sing Sing.   The EP can be purchased here.

Kimbra already released her album Vows in New Zealand and Australia, where it was certified gold.  She is currently working on a full length album for the U.S. release through Warner Bros. Records. The full length album is set for a Spring 2012 release.

The Settle Down EP is one the catchiest pop EP’s that has been released this year.  “Settle Down’s” catchiness comes from the hand-clapping rhythm, tied in with the heavy bass line that will make any person catch the fever.   The second track, “Limbo” is no less pop infused than “Settle Down.”  It’s the crescendo that kicks off “Limbo” and leads into more hand-clapping rhythms with Kimbra’s smooth and fluid lyrics flawlessly intertwined.

Kimbra’s Official “Settle Down” Music Video:

With two gangbuster pop melodies at the forefront of the Settle Down EP, it’s a little hard to simmer down into the slower melodies of “Plain Gold Ring.” Granted just because this cover of Nina Simone’s “Plain Gold Ring” takes more of a slower tempo, and is very stripped down, doesn’t mean it isn’t an awesome track.    The final track on the all-too-short EP is “Cameo Lover.”  The song gets the full club remix courtesy of Sam Sparro & Golden Touch.  I must say I am a little attached to the original mix versus the remix.

Overall, the EP is something refreshing and a must-have for those who are looking for some new music to get them on their feet and moving!  It will definitely keep me intrigued until Kimbra’s 2012 full album release.

The track-listing for Settle Down is as follows:
“Settle Down”
“Limbo”
“Plain Gold Ring” (Live at Sing Sing)
“Cameo Lover” (Sam Sparro & Golden Touch Remix)
Plus:
Video for “Settle Down” (available from all participating digital retail outlets)

Kimbramusic.com | myspace.com/kimbramusic | facebook.com/kimbramusic |twitter.com/kimbramusic

The Windsor Player: The Ultimate Supergroup

The Windsor Player
Eponymous
Self-Released
www.thewindsorplayer.com

The Windsor PlayerThis is meat and potatoes. This is dependable and delicious and every bit as American as the Super Bowl. The Windsor Player – the latest alt-supergroup created by Troy Stewart – has released an eponymous disc that is bigger than all of its components yet intimate and relevant.

From the melancholy strings of “Release” which kicks off this powerful collection – to the rolling melody and seamless instrumentals and playful faux-rap of “Just a Song” there is not a weak moment on this disc.

Sadly I am not nearly hip enough to know who Stewart is except that he is the touring guitarist for Snow Patrol. The names of the players and the bands that he has assembled reads like a who’s who of bands that linger on the fringes of mainstream – just safety within the reach of the hipsters, but not the radio station program directors.

I think – in this case – my ignorance fed my bliss because I had no preconceived notion of what I was getting into. What I was – and continue to – get into is a whip smart and impeccably recoded and produced collection of songs.

It isn’t enough that Stewart – and his army of co-conspirators – have blended their own unique perspectives into each bar – each measure of music – they had the good sense to get out of the way and let the song rule the day. I promise this is a disc that will serve as background when you are working/partying. It will also work as a clinic in songwriting and arranging.

As we begin the head-long careen into the holiday shopping season, every writer is putting together their “best of list” in hopes of boosting the holiday sales and having one more shot at influencing their readers.

The Windsor Player is my favorite release of the year. End of list.

Stand Out Tracks
Release
Empty Well
Just a Song

Over the Rhine brings The Long Surrender

Over the Rhine
The Long Surrender
Now available
Great Speckled Dog

The wife-and-husband duo of Karin Bergquist and Linford Detweiler known as Over the Rhine return with their twelfth studio album. The couple have been making music for over two decades and for their latest, The Long Surrender, it was for the fans. No literally. The album was fan funded and released on the couple’s label Great Speckled Dog (named after their own beloved Great Dane, Elroy).

With the new album, OtR team up with Grammy winning producer Joe Henry to craft a stellar treasure trove of songs.  Karin explains that the album title “speaks to our ongoing desire to let go of certain expectations (and much of what we are so convinced we know for sure) in favor of remaining open and curious. It seems like many of our friends are currently wrestling with various forms of ‘letting go,’ so hopefully, the ideas conjured by the title feel somewhat universal. And I think the title speaks to the arc of a lifelong commitment to writing and performing regardless of recognition. Learning when to work hard and when to let go. Learning to leave room for grace to billow our sails occasionally. Learning not to white-knuckle everything.”

With that mantra, Lucinda Williams lends her vocals for “Undamned”, which pairs nicely with Karin’s vocals as they melt nicely into Lucinda rasps. “Infamous Love Songs” is classic OtR, as Karin enunciates each lyric with aching desire. A slight lyric low point would be the reference to “fuzzy whuzzies” on “Only God Can Save Us Now”, but that’s redeemed by the slow waltzy ballad “Days Like These” with lyrics that any top 40 pop artist would kill to cover.  “Oh By The Way” showcases the heart of OtR at its best when Linford and Karin sing together.  “All My Favorite People” has Randy Newman-esque keys anchored by Karin’s pitch perfect vocals that trickle in the memories of the gang from Toy Story.  Another solid release from the pair from Ohio.

Track list
The Laugh Of Recognition
Sharpest Blade
Rave On
Soon
Undamned
Infamous Love Song
Only God Can Save Us Now
Oh Yeah By The Way
The King Knows How
There’s A Bluebird In My Heart
Days Like This
All My Favorite People
Unspoken

Tour dates
11.5 – Louisville, KY / Bomhard Theater
11.13 – Los Angels, CA / El Rey Theater
11.15 – San Francisco, CA / Great American Music Hall
11.17 – Portland, OR / Aladdin Theater
11.18-20 – Seattle, WA / The Triple Door12.2 – Boston, MA / Berklee Performance Center
12.3 – New York, NY / Le Poisson Rouge
12.4 – Alexandria, VA / Birchmere
12.5 – Philadelphia, PA / World Cafe Live Downstairs
12.7 – Columbus, OH / Lincoln Theatre
12.8 – Kent, OH / Kent Stage
12.9 – Grand Rapids, MI / Calvin College Covenant Fine Arts Center

Feist goes full “Metals”…kinda

Feist
Metals
Cherrytree/Interscope
Available now

It’s been four years since the ubiquitous “1234” graced the iPod nano commercial and skyrocketed Leslie Feist to a guest spot on Sesame Street.  She spent the time off jamming with old friends Broken Social Scene and retreating to a cabin in Big Sur to write her latest album, Metals.

Feist is back with a more percussion heavy effort, as opening track “The Bad in Each Other” thunders into a gush of tenor thumps and snare whips.  “The Commotion” causes quite the bombastic hiccups of choral crescendos, while “Undiscovered First” jiggle jangles and rattles through horns.  Feist doesn’t diverge too much from her sound, in fact “Caught A Long Wind” brings memories of “The Water” from The Reminder, with its stark piano and her vocals on full display.  The first single, “How Come You Never Go There” struts in with a bittersweet ditty of heartbreak.

The setting of where she recorded can be heard in her references to “horizon lines” on “The Circle Married The Line” and song titles like “Cicadas and Gulls”.  Other choice tracks include “Bittersweet Melodies” and “Get It Wrong, Get It Right”, which will not disappoint Feist fans (or as some would call the brunchwave).   You can listen to the whole album below to make your verdict.  Brunchers unite!

Track list
The Bad In Each Other
Graveyard
Caught A Long Wind
How Come You Never Go There
A Commotion
The Circle Married The Line
Bittersweet Melodies
Anti Pioneer
Undiscovered First
Cicadas And Gulls
Woe Be
Comfort Me
Get It Wrong, Get It Right

Tour dates
11.06 – Atlanta, GA  / Tabernacle
11.08 – Dallas, TX / Majestic Theatre
11.12 Los Angels, CA / Wiltern Theatre
11.14 San Francisco, CA / Warfield Theatre
11.16 Portland, OR / Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall
11.17 Seattle, WA / Moore Theatre

Cass McCombs returns with his second album of 2011

Cass McCombs
Humor Risk
Release Date: November 8, 2011
Domino

The prolific Cass McCombs doles out his second album in 2011.  The first was Wit’s End, which contained charmer “County Line” as well as other moody waltzes.  With Humor Risk, Cass rocks it out a bit more.

The opening track “Love Thine Enemy” trembles in with an incessant bass line, and Cass even breaks out the electric guitar for “Mystery Mail”.  At the heart of Humor Risk is poetic lyrics set against melancholy cadences.  On “To Everyman His Chimera”, Cass spits  “California makes me sick. Like trying with a rattle snake.”  OUCH!

Classic Cass for fans.  A little country.  All little rock.  All heart.

Track list
Love Thine Enemy
The Living Word
The Same Thing
To Every Man His Chimera
Robin Egg Blue
Mystery Mail
Meet Me At The Mannequin Gallery
Mariah

Tour dates
11.30 – Los Angeles, CA / The Echo

12.1 – San Diego, CA / Casbah
12.4 – San Francisco, CA / Great American Music Hall
12.6 – Vancouver, British Columbia / Electric Owl
12.7 – Seattle, WA / Tractor Tavern
12.8 – Portland, OR / Doug Fir
12.9 – Eugene, OR / Cozmic

Russian Circles on Their Own Planet

Russian Circles
Empros
Sargent House
russiancircles.tumblr.com

Russian Circles Empros

I totally get the concept of acquired tastes. When I was in high school while my friends were getting buzzed on Miller High Life and puffing on Kools I was drinking Cutty Sark and smoking Lucky Strikes. I couldn’t see what they were excited about and they thought I was on my own planet.

Russian Circles seem to be on a planet of their own making – only I felt like a visitor there – and not a very welcome one. Theirs is a planet of droning shapeless music designed – I think – to enhance a good trip – although not a road trip.

Thinking in terms familiar to the average music listener – Russian Circles can be defined as a metal-jam-goth band. They seem to be the type of group that cringes at the every notion of labels – but for our purposes the labels at least create an accessible expectation of the music.

Metal-Jam-Goth isn’t necessarily a negative term – it is just my interpretation of these long sprawling musical journeys that reflect the most common elements of Metal, Jam, and Goth music.

Many Americans don’t like Middle Eastern or Asian music because they are unaccustomed to it. It doesn’t fit well into their (dare I say?) virgin ears. The time signatures are different – the scales are different. It can be jarring to the uninitiated.

Russian Circles – while wholly American – have blended the genres to the point that they don’t settle well for me. The result veers toward melodramatic horror film soundtrack.

I am hard pressed to create a negative review because Russian Circles surely have a clear idea of what they want to do musically.  Empros is just not something I am interested in listening to on a regular basis.

They are committed to that they do and for that you might give Empros a listen. You may find their odd darkness fused with a few strands of hope is just what the doctor ordered – especially if you are planning any trips any time soon.

Stand Out Track
Schiphol (the first3:40)

Electric Touch’s “Don’t Stop”

Electric Touch
Don’t Stop
Island Records
www.electrictouch.com
Suppose millennial pop star Pink made a song so catchy and commercial a health club decided to use it as their… wait. That has happened already. Clearly the soft-pop quintet Electric Touch was paying very close attention. You might say they were heavily influenced by that driving dancer-cize-style of pop music.

“Don’t Stop” is an EP of clean and crisp pop music. Nothing challenging – nothing deep, just fun, aggressive, predictable pop that nearly blurs into one 13-minute long song.

The title track resonates with a “spin-off-the-pounds” vibe. This is the song I expect to hear ringing out in every gym/health club pushing the bar and raising the adrenaline – not challenging the mind.

Magnetic” sounds like an outtake from the aforementioned Pink. It is fun and painless – but it is likely not something that will be around a year from now. This is not to say that all music must have along shelf life – but the best music typically does. Beatles anyone?

Dominos” saves this EP from being completely bereft of substance. It is very close – but not completely.

If you are going to the gym – or power walking – or you want to feel like you are might be working out later – “Don’t Stop” (even the title suggest forward motion) is a good little quartet of pop nuggets.

If you prefer your music to be original – passionate – compelling – you might want to a pass on this one. I will say – though – the song “Don’t Stop” contains my favorite lyrical line of the year, “Life is strange, but love is stranger.”
Stand Out Track
Dominos

http://ElectricTouch.com
http://twitter.com/ElectricTouch
http://Myspace.com/ElectricTouch

MENEW’s “Wide Awake Hello”

MENEW (pronounced “men-u”)
Wide Awake Hello
Redcore Music Group

MENEW is:
Shade – Vocals
Nathan Samuel Philip – Drums, Backing Vocals I
Key – Piano, Synthesizers

WideAwakeHello-CoverFINALsquare

Hello David Bowie! MENEW is a trio of brothers Canada that were heavily influenced by British Rock. They are all classically trained on the piano and have a deep love and appreciation for music.  The brothers’ last EP, Of The Future, was a hit among critics and landed them recognition by the Grammy Awards as well as placement at the top of the Billboard charts of top written songs back in 2009.  As for their name, it is more of a symbol than a name. Shade explains, “It originally came from merging two signs in our garage rehearsal space. We liked that it was ambigram.”

MENEW Group Photo

Photo Credit: Deborah Anderson

Wide Awake Hello is their first full length studio album. It’s packed with songs that demonstrate their knowledge of British rock and synthesizers.  It’s songs like “Sinking Ship” that immediately reminds me of David Bowie.  Yet “The Neon Light (Part 1)/In Debt (Part 2)” has the alternative rock vibe. When Shade hits the higher octaves I feel like I am listening to Chris Cornell.

MENEW’s “Don’t Give Up on Us Now” Music Video:

The entire album is infused with a balance of pop, synths, and rock. It’s tasty ear candy in a world of mundane music. Pick it up if you are looking for a bit of British Rock fused into your rock ‘n’ roll!

Standout Songs
Wide Awake
Sinking Ship

http://www.menew.com
Facebook
MySpace
Twitter
Official Website
Official MySpace
a href=”http://www.youtube.com/menewmusic” target=”_blank”>YouTube Channel

Kelly Clarkson returns “Stronger”

Kelly Clarkson
Stronger
Release Date: November 24, 2011
Sony

Our American Idol sweetheart is baaack and better than ever.  Kelly Clarkson returns with her fifth studio album, Stronger, and takes off running with her first single “Mr. Know It All”.  It’s got the same swagger as former Kelly songs, “Miss Independent” and “Walk Away”.

“What Doesn’t Kill You (Stronger)”, the “title” track is a dancey anthem with synths bumping and might be the guuuurl power anthem of 2012.  This track leaves Britney’s “Stronger” in the dust as Kelly belts out “Stroooooonger” with more panache than the former mouseketeer.  The twinkling bass line ending is a nice touch too.

“Dark Side” reminds me a little of the opening of The Hills (aka Hillary Duff’s “Come Clean”)  with it’s slow burn into the chorus, “Everybody’s got a dark side. Do you love me.”  Another track that conjures familiar pop territory is “You Love Me” which opens a little like Gwen Stefani’s “Cool” with a retro 80’s undertone, as Kelly’s vocals really pack a punch on this track.

Standouts include “The War Is Over”, a signature ballad soon to be a kellassic, and “I Forgive You”, which  Melissa Maerz of Entertainment Weekly aptly concluded “plays like a heartfelt postscript to the guy who left her in ”Since U Been Gone””.  Could this be the next single?  Unfortunately, the album isn’t free of duds.  Most glaringly is “Einstein”, where Kelly sings about math and utters the cringe-worthy lyrics, “Dumb plus dumb equals you.”  Kelly is known as a queen of the pop ballad, but aside from the aforementioned “The War Is Over”, tracks like “Standing In Front Of You” and “Breaking Your Own Heart” are simply sweet serenades and not the power ballads we love Kelly belting.  Here’s the thing though.  These mediocre ballads are still better than many of the latest crop of pop princesses attempting to overthrow our queen.  So with that all hail, Queen Kelly!

Note: Though not reviewed, a bonus version includes previously released “Don’t You Wanna Stay?” (duet with Jason Aldean), “Alone,” “Don’t Be a Girl About It” and “The Sun Will Rise.”

Track list
Mr. Know It All
What Doesn’t Kill You (Stronger)
Dark Side
Honestly
You Love Me
Einstein
Standing In Front Of You
I Forgive You
Hello
The War Is Over
Let Me Down
You Can’t Win
Breaking Your Own Heart

No tour dates announced yet, but Kellibrities await at baited breath.

Anika = Music is Art, Art is Music

Anika
Anika
Released: November 15, 2010
Stones Throw Records

This is the third degree of separation table to introduce you to Anika:
Portishead –>
Geoff Barrow –>
Beak –>
Anika.

Anika is a political journalist from Berlin and Bristol, England. Geoff Barrow is the musical mastermind behind all of the quirky Portishead sounds and the namesake of the band (his mum moved to the town in England). Beak was his post phead project. All of these things meshed together and in 12 days in one room, without any edits, this album came to be. The album is mostly covers including: Yoko Ono’s “Yang Yang”, “Terry” by Lynn Ripley, “End of the World” by Skeeter Davis, “Masters of War” by Bob Dylan, and “I Go to Sleep” by The Kinks. All of which are renewed by Anika’s sing/speak dark and unassuming politically injected voice. The cd released last year served as a new project for Geoff and Beak, and a new beginning for Anika as she dabbled outside of journalism. If you’re wondering if it sounds like PHead, it doesn’t. The smart quirky signature Geoff sounds are all over the record but this is more of a moody background record while intellectuals nosh on gouda cheese, rather than girl alone in bedroom with Beth delivering a message. Still, The album would impress any hipster with ears.

Although, a new chapter is evolving for Anika as she continues down this new musical chapter of her life. This year she released a 3 track EP which shows much evolution in self written lyrical content and an overall more cohesive musical package. It showcases music as art, which is something so rarely seen today. It sounds beautiful, therefore it looks beautiful, therefore it can be used in beautiful ways. It’s simplistic musical thing, come full circle, and how good music can be if we just don’t mess with it. Judge for yourself as Anika finishes up her tour at the following dates:

Sat 10/22/11 Los Angeles, CA EchoPlex
Tue 10/25/11 Austin, TX Emo’s
Wed 10/26/11 New Orleans, LA Siberia
Appearing at “Moogfest” (NC) / Moby Fri 10/28/11 Asheville, NC Downtown Asheville
Appearing at “Moogfest” (NC) Sat 10/29/11 Asheville, NC Downtown Asheville
Appearing at “St. Ghetto Festival” Sat 11/19/11 Bern, Switzerland Dampfzentrale

It’s Semi-Sweet for Gavin DeGraw

Gavin DeGraw
Sweeter
Released: September 13, 2011
RCA Records

Gavin DeGraw Sweeter Cover

I love Gavin DeGraw’s voice, I just don’t like the songs that he sings. Gavin sing’s these soft fluffy perfect pop songs that are so far from anything I would ever entertain listening to that I don’t feel I can properly review the album, just merely his voice. Which remains comforting and smooth. On his new album Sweeter his fans have remarked that he has returned to his earlier style of the album entitled Chariot, this apparently makes them happy. It seems that if you enjoy a good adult contemporary pop album than this record from Gavin DeGraw will also make you happy. Enjoy!

Gavin DeGraw’s “Not Over You” Music Video:

Woof! I’m Still Hungry.

Eve To Adam
Eve to Adam Banquet for a Starving Dog

Queens NY band Eve to Adam releases their national debut cd: Banquet for a Starving Dog and to be honest the band still needs to give the dog a bone. To be as nice as I can possibly be, the entire cd is no worse than anything else on the radio today, although that is the problem because it is also no better. The lyrics are straightforwardly delivered to you, without metaphor, and in a rhyming fashion. I listen to lyrics and so at this point the music has become nails down a chalkboard to me. If you don’t listen to lyrics and just like rock music, for rock music, then you will be satisfied along with the solid allegiance of ETA fans. I truly hate bashing an up and coming band but I have to be honest, I would have sat on releasing this album until the lyrical content showed more depth and perception, it killed it for me. Maybe the lead singer can focus less on his already impressive body and more on the words he’s delivering? Sometimes pretty just isn’t enough.

Where Are You?

Kelly Rowland
Here I am
Released: July 22, 2011
Universal Motown

Kelly Rowland Here I Am Cover

The other girl in Destiny’s Child put out another album. Not the rich one, not the religious one, the other one. The one that makes all the singles that you know and love, but have no idea who sings them? That’s right her, Kelly Rowland. Kelly is good for a hot single now and again but I don’t think she ever needs to make a full album. She’s alright jumping on a Ne-Yo track and doing a hook or doing an intro to a new Kells single and we’ll know she ‘s still alive and this will suffice on paying her rent. Truly homegirl needn’t 10 opportunities to hit the target, because 8 will miss the mark. Kelly has a problem repeating herself, repeating herself, repeating herself on the cd – when she runs out of creative lyrics and it’s annoying annoying annoying. If you have heard the two biggest singles “Commander” and “Motivation” you needn’t hear anymore. Especially the opening track where Kelly blatantly impersonates B. Kelly bites B so often on the CD that really the only difference in Kelly’s music is that Kelly drops the N word in almost every single and she’s not afraid to get dirty, tell you how and where she wants it and in which rooms. All of which could have been contained inside two dance singles, or an EP. The extra tracks just remind us that Kelly isn’t a Beyonce, sadly, she may not even know who she is.

Nightmare? I Ain’t Scared!

Alice Cooper
Welcome 2 My Nightmare
Released: September 13, 2011
Label: Bigger Picture

Alice Cooper Welcome 2 My Nightmare

At 63 years old Mr. Alice Cooper remains a theatrical fellow. His new Album Welcome 2 My Nightmare is just in time for Halloween, it provides the creepiest background music you could desire for your Halloween party and eerie haunted houses. Some of the tracks could seamlessly blend into a good horror movie, a sadistic Broadway thriller, or a suspenseful commercial, but beyond all of those options, I can’t picture anyone taking this music seriously.

When a senior aged man wears clown make up, an oversized top hat, and fake blood out in public and writes songs named: “”I’ll Bite Your Face Off”; He’s already down a few points on my taken seriously scale. On the opening track Alice gives auto tune a shot and he plummets to background music for D list films. This cd serves as the follow up to the first 1975 album by the same name, but this time I doubt there won’t be any #1 hits, unless you consider the hit it will be at Jimmy’s Halloween Ho-Down in East Overshoe….

Little Red is a Must-Have

Little Red
Get a Life
Liberation Records (AUS)
True Panther Sounds (US)
www.littleredmusic.com

Little Red Midnight Remember

Good pop music is like a cool ripe juicy mango on a hot summer day. You sink your teeth in and pull away chunks and the sweet juices flow down your neck and you kind of look silly –but you don’t care because you are really enjoying the experience on every level. You really feel good.

Little Red is the best mango I’ve dug my teeth into in some time. The Australian quintet offers delicious, juicy melody lines over buoyant arrangements that are filled with sweet surprises.

Little Red might feel – at times – like they are weighed down by the influence of pop bands that have come before them – specifically when it comes to lyrical ideas, but the result is fresh and wholly their own. The songs on “Get a Life” offer a penumbra of 80s radio-pop without sounding like a tribute disc.

Rock It” with the thumping base and hi-hat intro almost sounds like a cogent riff on Jukebox the Ghost, again Little Red will tease you with musical ideas that seem like they might have come before – but really haven’t.

In My Bed” showcases the quintet’s ability so soar vocally. Their harmonies are tight and the arrangement keeps them relevant – but not overbearing.

I Can’t Wait” is another beauty. It just feels good to listen to. It is smoky with a shade of melancholy even if the message is more hopeful than the arrangement will allow.

Little Red – the band – has created a sweet treat for your ears. Dig in and let the juices flow. Who cares how you look – if you feel good.

Stand Out Tracks
Rock It
In My Bed
I Can’t Wait
February

Tracklisting

1. Get A Life
2. Slow Motion
3. Rock It
4. Little Bit Of Something
5. All Mine
6. In My Bed
7. I Can’t Wait
8. February
9. Chelsworth
10. Follow You There

Little Red online:

www.littleredmusic.com
www.truepanther.com
truepanther.com/store/releases/midnight-remember