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6 Degrees Entertainment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Official Website

Title - Ballad for Brad
Artist - The Margaret Slovak Trio

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Official Website

Official Purchase Link

Title - Identity Crisis
Artist - Matt Simons

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Official Website

Official Purchase Link

Matt Simons @ Facebook

Matt Simons - Identity Crisis (Official Music Video)

Matt Simons - Too Much (Official Music Video)

Matt Simons - Better Tomorrow (Official Video)

Matt Simons - Cold (Official Music Video)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fritz Michel @ Instagram

Fritz Michel @ Spotify

Title - Invisible Love
Artist - Susie Suh

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Susie Suh - Invisible Love [Official Music Video]

Official Purchase Link

Official Website

Susie Suh @ Facebook

Susie Suh @ Instagram

Susie Suh @ YouTube

Susie Suh @ Spotify

Title - Shining Night
Artist - Anne Akiko Meyers

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

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

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

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

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

3. Cantabile (3:39)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Official Anne Akiko Meyers Shining Night Trailer

Official Purchase Links

Official Website

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Official Purchase Links

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

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

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

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

Title - If I Were Honest
Artist - Angie Goeke

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Amazon Purchase Link

Official Website

Angie Goeke @ Facebook

Angie Goeke @ Instagram

Angie Goeke @ YouTube

Angie Goeke @ Twitter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Official Purchase Link

Official Atmosphere Website

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Official Website

Official Bryan Ferry LP Reissues Purchase Link

Roxy Music @ Facebook

Roxy Music @ Instagram

Roxy Music @ YouTube

Roxy Music @ Twitter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Official Website

Official Bryan Ferry LP Reissues Purchase Link

Roxy Music @ Facebook

Roxy Music @ Instagram

Roxy Music @ YouTube

Roxy Music @ Twitter

Title - Technicolor Shakedown [Vinyl]
Artist - Velvet Starlings

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Velvet Starlings - Can’t Control [Official Video]

Official Website

Official Purchase Link

Velvet Starlings @ Facebook

Velvet Starlings @ Instagram

Velvet Starlings @ Twitter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Official Purchase Links

Official Website

Horslips @ Facebook

Horslips @ Instagram

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Official Purchase Links

Official Website

Al Stewart @ Facebook

Al Stewart @ Twitter

Al Stewart @ Instagram

Title - Deep Cycles
Artist - JUST

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Official Purchase Link

Official Website

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Official Website

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fabulous - Get off My Cloud [Official Music Video]

Title - Légèreté de L’Être
Artist - Cédric Theys

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Official Website

Cédric Theys @ Facebook

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Mad Duck @ Twitter

Mad Duck @ Instagram

Title - Faust
Artist - Mahogany Frog

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Official Purchase Link

Mahogany Frog @ Facebook

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Mahogany Frog @ Instagram

Title - Tentacles [EP]
Artist - Stick Men

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Official Purchase Link

Stick Men @ Facebook

Stick Men @ Bandcamp

Title - Puzzlebox
Artist - Clint Bahr

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

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

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

Inextricably linked to the label, the 2003 self-titled debut of Clint Barr’s seminal NYC-based power trio, Tripod, was MoonJune Record’s fourth release. Harkening back to the same reaching beyond mentality which defined the work, Puzzlebox - bassist / vocalist / composer / multi-instrumentalist Barr’s long-awaited epic - is a fitting way to document this most special of occasions: seeing both artist and label going full circle, and in grandiose style!

Delightfully blurring both stylistic and structural approaches, the tight-knit unit Barr has assembled proves as unpredictable as they are adept, articulate and convicted. Described as a genre-defying global collaboration of artists; a cross-pollination of diverse instruments and talents, Puzzlebox recalls prog in its early heydays: when albums as uninhibited and offscript as King Crimson’s Lizard and Beefheart’s Trout Mask Replica were celebrated, and the Canterbury renaissance was in full swing.

Brilliantly arranged and produced, Clint Barr has delivered a multi-faceted, timeless epic ... at such a time as this.

1. Tabula Rasa (02:27)
2. New Design (05:46)
3. Plate (07:51)
4. Shelter (03:59)
5. As Tympani Melt In The Greek Heat (10:47)
6. Fall From Grace (04:53)
7. Belt & Braces (01:13)
8. Triangles Circles And Squares (02:18)
9. Oslo (01:14)
10. Kicking The Wasps Nests (03:10)
11. Lifeguard In The Rain (03:38)
12. Tabula Rasa 2 (02:39)

Opening on the mystical Eastern soundscapes within Tabula Rasa and the harder edged rocker New Design, they are followed by the flirtatiously experimental, organic Plate, the drum-led prog rock of Shelter and then comes the ten minute percussional masterpiece As Tympani Melt In The Greek Heat and the euphorically soaring Fall From Grace.

Up next is the gently furtive, short but sweet Belt & Braces and the atmospherically-imbibed Triangles Circles And Squares, which are in turn backed by the stoically spoken words of Stephanie Feyne within Oslo, the Bowie-esque rocker Kicking The Wasps Nests, the album rounding out with the aptly-titled, mid-tempo balladry of Lifeguard In The Rain, coming to a close on the sonically-charged Tabula Rasa 2.

Official Purchase Link

Clint Bahr @ Facebook

Clint Bahr @ YouTube

TriPod The Band Website

Clint Bahr @ Bandcamp

Title - Samba Jazz Odyssey
Artist - Hendrik Meurkens The WDR Big Band

For those of you not in the know, maestro Hendrik Meurkens isn’t just an acclaimed artist, whom we have all come to admire. He’s a man brimming with incandescent ideas which manifest into musical gold.

Indeed, what makes Meurkens so special is the singularity of his sound - a German-born, New York-based harmonica player who performs Latin Jazz.

If there is a Venn diagram of these attributes, he would be one of the few in the middle. That he has carved such a niche over a storied career should put this album under a special light. Samba Jazz Odyssey is an adventure with seven pieces composed by Meurkens, which were undoubtedly informed by his trailblazing musical journeys around the world.

The maestro pairs with the august WDR Big Band, from Cologne, Germany, with arrangements which were also conducted by Michael Philip Mossman, a Grammy-nominated arranger.

This project is very special to me, said Meurkens. It is everybody’s dream to record with the WDR Big Band, and I was honored to collaborate with them.

The resulting production is a vivid voyage through samba jazz in its many forms.

1. A Night in Jakarta
2. Manhattan Samba
3. Prague in March
4. Sambatropolis
5. Mountain Drive
6. You Again
7. Bolero para Paquito
8. Samba Tonto
9. Choro

This brand new album A Night in Jakarta (out May 20th, 2022 via Zoho Music) isn’t just a get-up samba with feel good effect. It exemplifies the theme of this project, a veritable tour of samba jazz, which begins in the South Pacific.

Furthermore, Meurkens wrote the piece as an honorific for the Java Jazz Festival organizers based in Jakarta. He and his Samba Jazz Quartet have played at this well-regarded festival many times.

Meurkens has fond memories, particularly of the late-night jam sessions at the hotel. Paul Heller (tenor saxophone) and Raphael Klemm (trombone) deliver dazzling solos to get this album going.

Opening on the free flowing majesties within the title track itself A Night in Jakarta and then a track that Meurkens first recorded on his album Poema Brasileiro in 1996, Manhattan Samba, they back that up seamlessly with the laid back, late night ambiances of Prague in March, the upbeat, finger-snapping rhythms of Sambatropolis and then the euphorically charged Mountain Drive.

O an album where every tune is created with a multitude of melodically rhythmic layers and runs where the band plays as one, navigating the sections with aplomb, up next is the furtively magnificent You Again, the dining serenade of Bolero para Paquito, and then the album rounds out with the gentle hipsway of Samba Tonto, coming to a righteous close on the triumphantly soaring melodies within Jobim’s Choro.

This piece is a musical dedication to the vibrant samba jazz scene in New York, as many terrific Brazilian artists live in the Big Apple.

Official Website

Minas @ Facebook

Title - Always the Outsider
Artist - Stacy Antonel

For those of you not in the know, Americana singer-songwriter Stacy Antonel has always felt as though she’s on the outside looking in, and judging by the music that view inspires, it must really be something.

“I’ve always just had like a sort of outsider looking in perspective,” Antonel says. “I don’t know, my whole life, even as a child in school, I was just watching everybody trying to figure out — ‘Why is that chick popular? What is happening?’ or ‘I don’t know what to do here. I feel very confused.’”

When her debut full-length, aptly titled Always the Outsider, is released on June 17th, 2022 it will reveal stunningly intricate, cosmically oriented Americana songs that oscillate seamlessly between classic country sounds and floating interstellar qualities.

1. Always The Outsider
2. Karmic Cord
3. Kicking And Screaming
4. Planetary Heartache
5. Heartbroken Tomorrow
6. Absent Captain
7. Texas Last Forever
8. You Can’t Trust Fate
9. I Talk When I’m Nervous
10. Not Looking For Love
11. Better Late Than Never
12. Save Your Breath (bonus track)

With each and every song being carried by Antonel’s versatile and silvery vocal melodies, together with her bold instrumental progressions, as well as plenty of serene and exploratory pedal steel, the album opens on the rollalong title track itself Always The Outsider (which addresses the loneliness and isolation she experienced when she first moved to Nashville) and follows that up with the troubadour-imbibed Karmic Cord, the train-track calling within Kicking And Screaming, the achingly earnest Planetary Heartache and then comes the gently fervent twang of Heartbroken Tomorrow and the beautifully crafted hipsway of Absent Captain.

With the fact that even though each song is embedded with the rich quality and consistent vocals of their creator, in such a way that you would assume that decades of worn out boots trodden down over miles of country roads touring must be where her delivery originates, Antonel has actually only been writing and performing for the past six years, which just makes everything you hear on this album all the more special.

Up next is the elegant gossamer balladry of Texas Last Forever and the mid-tempo rumble of You Can’t Trust Fate and they are in turn followed by the aching yearn within I Talk When I’m Nervous, the playfully orchestrated, guitar-led Not Looking For Love, the album rounding out with the flirtatious countrified funky blues of Better Late Than Never, coming to a close on the CD bonus track, Save Your Breath.

An idiosyncratic artist with a background in classical piano, Stacy Antonel makes jazzy, country-leaning, clever Americana that feels both vintage and hyper-modern at the same time.

Rooted in classic country but influenced by jazz, pop, and R&B, her throwback “country jazz” style conjures the 20s-30s musical era when jazz and country weren’t such disparate genres.

There’s a complex, conversational quality to her lyrics, reminiscent of alt-rocker Courtney Barnett, paired with the effortless, emotive vocal power of country icon Patsy Cline. “I like passionate, full-throated singing,” says Antonel. “I want the notes to burst out of me.”

Now based in Nashville, Antonel is poised to release her Americana debut Always the Outsider, featuring compelling, narrative storylines (taking a page from Willie Nelson’s songbook), agile vocal melodies, and unexpected thematic twists.

Official Website

Stacy Antonel @ Facebook

Stacy Antonel @ Twitter

Stacy Antonel @ Instagram

Stacy Antonel @ YouTube

Title - No Nostalgia
Artist - Agender

For those of you not in the know, it’s hard to put Agender into any box: With Australian songwriter and musician Romy Hoffman at the helm, the quartet makes schizo, synthy, paranoid, post-punk with a dash of dysmorphic desire.

And fans? They revel in their sweeping existential terror that comes with a fetish for femininity.

Initially formed in 2011 as a solo punk excursion for Hoffman, Agender was born when she decided to get sober. “It started as impulsive, a way to cope with all these new, raw feelings. I played every instrument myself on the first Agender record.”

But as quickly as it started as a solitary endeavor, it evolved into a trio just two years later. By 2014, the band had become known for its intense punk shows and had released its sophomore album Fixations via Desire Records.

Since then, the queer post-punk outfit has now become a full-fledged quartet with bassist Cristy Michel, drummer Christy Greenwood and synth player Sara Rivas rounding out the band. Still, Hoffman still remains its focal point as the primary writer in the group.

Agender, however, has taken its time with releasing a new record. It’s been seven years since the band released its sophomore LP Fixations. In that 7-year time span, Hoffman moved from Melbourne to Los Angeles, built a life for herself in a new city, released a solo record of dark, driving electronic music, starting running two of L.A’s biggest queer parties (‘Homoccult’ and ‘Lez Croix’), and situated herself as a respected DJ.

The process of No Nostalgia, the band’s third album releasing on May 27th, 2022, has also been slow and steady: the songs were penned pre-pandemic and partially recorded then, but finished during COVID.

In fact, No Nostalgia came from Hoffman reaching the crossroads of oscillating between bouts of extreme nostalgia and extreme amnesia. With the record, she wanted to strip it all away. “When we live in a world where everything is nostalgic, I’m trying to imagine a world with none of that, but it’s impossible. Even if I’m just commenting on society, it’s still referential to something, therefore relies on memory, therefore I’ve thought myself into a corner. It’s from this corner that I write,” she says.

And so, come Spring 2022, fans of Agender will get to experience Hoffman’s reality.

1. Avoid A Void
2. Woah Life Wow
3. Top Bottom Top
4. No Nostalgia
5. Safe
6. Preach
7. Astro Tarot
8. Trouble & Desire
9. FFF
10. Rusher
11. Pastiche
12. Womb 2 Wound
13. Mother Simulacra
14. This Extinction of Handwriting

Opening on the fervent synth, alt-pop urgency of the self-referential Avoid A Void (“Exist in a slippery dip/Spits you out into a big abyss”) and the angst punk introspection complete with grunge guitar riffs within Woah Life Wow, they back those up seamlessly with the funky celebration of queer love with the disco-punk anthem Top Bottom Top, the drum led early ’80s, new wave/art pop embrace of the title track No Nostalgia, the flickering synth hue of Safe and then we get the alt-punk balladry of Preach and the alt-pop rock bounce of Astro Tarot.

Next up is the drum-led, Kraftwerk-esque synth work within the heart-racing Trouble & Desire and the frantic fuzzy guitars of FFF (Fact Fuck Fiction) and they are in turn followed by the emphatic foot-tapper of the absurdity of politics as theater within Rusher, the fist-clenched, tongue-in-cheek parody on postmodernism within Pastiche, the rambunctious Womb 2 Wound, the album rounding out on the playful synth and guitar fuzz of Mother Simulacra (a realization that Hoffman’s relationships are a copy of her relationship with her mother), coming to a mighty hard earned close on the bass-led, again Kraftwerk-esque piece This Extinction of Handwriting; where Hoffman’s spoken word yearnings for simpler times are brought forth.

While Agender’s last two records took themselves a bit more seriously, No Nostalgia is rooted in satire. “This record is poking fun at modernity and postmodernity,” says Hoffman. “It’s satirical. It’s a bird’s eye view of where we are and the absurdity of everything.”

Inspired by everything from The French Situationist Movement to Wire and Buzzcocks, No Nostalgia is a canvas painted with singular post-punk.

Introducing No Nostalgia, Agender has shared two singles ahead of its release. Last Fall, they unveiled “Preach,” an eerie, synth-heavy single laced with guitar stabs that transforms God into Goddess energy.

And in May, they shared “Astro Tarot,” an ode to divine intuition and the cosmic roadmap that intrigues the psyche. The title track is Agender’s third single, which is due TK is most emblematic of the record: “For me, it’s imagining a world of no memory.”

While Agender is Hoffman’s current focus, her experience in music spans more than two decades: She began her career as a teen playing guitar in Ben Lee’s pop-punk band Noise Addict and later became the first hip hop artist (and second Australian) to sign to Kill Rock Stars, as Macromantics.

Later, Hoffman began making dark electro pop and house music under ROMY.

Official Purchase Link

Official Website

Agender @ Facebook

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Agender @ SoundCloud

Title - Bach - Goldberg Variations [2CD]
Artist - Tianqi Du

For those of you not in the know, in recent years, Tianqi Du has returned to the stage performing Bach’s Goldberg Variations. Featuring 13 preludes and fugues arranged by the B.A.C.H motif, his program has been presented many times and gained wide attention in both China and America.

The review of The Theatre Time at Carnegie Hall says, “It’s impossible not to draw comparisons to Glenn Gould when considering Tianqi Du, age 25, a rising star in China’s classical music scene. In the sea of up-and-coming piano talent, Tianqi Du has forged his own identity. Embracing avant-garde experimentation and modern visual arts, Du pushes the envelope, extending himself far beyond the classical concert pianist route.”

In the Chinese classical music magazine Piano Artistry, world-renowned piano teacher, Professor Zhaoyi Dan, wrote that “Tianqi’s ‘Goldberg Variations’ deeply touched everyone at the recital and my heart was quivering. At the many concerts I have seen in my lifetime I have experienced emotions from excitement to sleeplessness, but this was the first time I listened to a performance with tears in my eyes, and then sobbed in the artists’ arms backstage.”

Releasing this month as a 2CD set, Tianqi Du’s Bach - Goldberg Variations (out via Naive Records) is everything you knew it would be and everything you could have ever hoped it would be.

CD 1:
1. aria
2-16. variations I â xv

CD 2:
1-15. variations XVI â xxx
16. aria da capo

As I am sure we are all well aware by now, at its core, the Goldberg Variations do constitute a cycle, primarily for the very fact that any succession of variations on a preceding theme provides a strongly interlinked cyclic form, but also, and more importantly, because they follow an elaborate compositional structure, interlocking character, virtuoso, and canonic variations, implementing musical progression and symmetry as paramount formal principles.

The cyclic shape of the work is not identifiable only through the architectonic disposition of the three types of variations mentioned above; there are further traits that link the pieces together, such as dance suite movements which relate to each other in different ways (e.g., passepied, gigue, French ouverture, sarabande, menuet, polonaise), genres (e.g., fantasia, sinfonia, fugetta, quodlibet), time signatures, (minor) key, number of voices, etc.

Any variation may be classified according to a number of parameters, simultaneously belonging to several networks of pieces. In this context, the question arises to what extent its performers realize the cyclic potential of the Goldberg Variations inherent to its overall structure and to the individual pieces, i.e., how they handle parameters such as tempo, duration, dynamics, repeats, and harpsichord registration.

So yes, the overall interpretation of such elements may add further layers to the correlational structures present in the cycle, but never, at any point, does it sway the listener away from what is provided, what is conjured by each performer that has chosen to undertake it - in part or in whole.

From the ornately flourishing opening aria on through both sets of variations on to the finale of the delicate gossamer of the aria da capo, everything about this recording is top notch and heartfeltly cultured.

With that all said, here on Du’s undertaking, the fast rising star in China’s classical music scene strives to forge his own identity within the genre and for the most part not only manages to achieve that, but most assuredly brings about one of the most accomplished works of Bach to our ears at the same time.

Official Website

Tianqi Du @ Instagram

Title - Chiaroscuro
Artist - Zlata Chochieva

For those of you not in the know, Zlata Chochieva first came to international attention with her highly-praised recordings of works by Chopin and Rachmaninov.

Displaying a deep affinity with these composers, combined with probing honesty and imagination, they have established her as a distinctive voice amongst pianists.

Hailed by Gramophone as “the possessor of a comprehensive technique who brings an inner glow to every bar”, Zlata Chochieva appears regularly at many prestigious concert halls, festivals and with major orchestras and conductors.

This season, Zlata returns to Aachen Symphony Orchestra for performances of Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 2 which follows on from having been “Artist in Focus” there in the 19/20 season.

She also returns to the Serate Musicale series in Milan and Berlin Klavierfestival at the Konzerthaus as well as visiting Tilburg and Linz for recitals.

She will be touring the USA giving recitals in Miami, Minneapolis and San Diego amongst others.

And so with Zlata Chochieva joining Naïve exclusively she has now brought out this month the first album of their collaboration, Chiaroscuro, which features Mozart and Scriabin, to coincide with Scriabin’s 150th birthday.

1-10. Mozart - Variations (9) on a minuet by Duport for piano in D major, K. 573
11-15. Scriabin - 5 Preludes op.15
16-19. Scriabin - Piano Sonata No. 3 in F sharp minor (“Etats d’âme”), Op. 23
20-30. Mozart - Variations (10) on “Unser dummer Pöbel meint,” for piano in G major, K. 455
31-35. Scriabin - 5 Preludes op.16
36. Scriabin - Piano Sonata no.10 op.70
37. Mozart - Gigue for piano in G major (“Eine kleine Gigue”), K. 574

Scriabin and Mozart: two composers rarely associated, yet the juxtaposition here seems clear when performed by Zlata Chochieva. Yet on this vivaciously heartfelt new, and first album, the Russian pianist, new to the naïve label, is ingenious in both the cycles of fragmented variations and the more opulent sonatas or preludes.

Opening on the elegantly graceful work of Mozart’s 9 Variations (on a minuet by Duport for piano in D major, K. 573), where each one brings forth its very own spirited waves, delicate nature, and at times flirtatiously impassioned and, dare I say, forthrightly playful melodies, we then enjoy the rhythmic melodies within Scriabin’s - 5 Preludes (op.15) and furthermore the more pronounced themes and refrains within his Piano Sonata No. 3 in F sharp minor (“Etats d’âme”, Op. 23). [Not listed is also the most sublime bonus Mozart moment of Fantasia Master 44k 16b.]

Next we receive the woundrous collection of Mozart’s 10 Variations (on “Unser dummer Pöbel meint,” for piano in G major, K. 455) which range from the opening perkiness on through to the tantalizingly embellished through to the vivaciously lively finale, and which is backed, for the most part, by the more somber, subdued tones held with Scriabin’s 5 Preludes op.16.

Rounding this incredible work of musical art out is the quietly spirited work of Scriabin’s Piano Sonata no.10 (op.70) and then one of my own personal favorites, Mozart’s precisely manicured, restraints off flow within Gigue for piano in G major (“Eine kleine Gigue”, K. 574). [Not listed is also the quite glorious bonus Mozart moment Fantasia Master 44k 16b]

About this new collaboration with naïve, Zlata Chochieva said: “I am extremely happy to become part of the family at naïve and look forward to our upcoming recording projects exploring some wonderful music. I am delighted to announce that our first album together will celebrate the 150th birth-anniversary of the great Russian composer Alexander Scriabin, whose world will be highlighted by the music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.”

“Scriabin and Mozart have walked by my side along my musical path since I was a child, and recording this repertoire has been an act of pure happiness for me, so I can’t wait to share it with a wide audience.”

Official Zlata Chochieva Website

Zlata Chochieva @ Facebook

Title - Violeta y el Jazz
Artist - Emiliano Gonzalez Toro / Thomas Enhco

For those of you not in the know, on April 29th, 2022 tenor Emiliano Gonzalez Toro and pianist Thomas Enhco released Violeta y el Jazz, an album dedicated to the works of Chilean composer, singer-songwriter, and folklorist Violeta Parra.

The album marks the second release on Gonzalez Toro and his French Baroque ensemble I Gemelli’s newly minted Gemelli Factory label. Violeta y el Jazz includes ten tracks in new arrangements for voice, piano, trumpet, bass, percussion, and cuatro, compiled as a tribute to the Chilean songstress 50 years after her death.

1. Volver a los 17
2. Écoute moi petit
3. Gracias a la Vida
4. Maldigo del alto cielo
5. La jardinera
6. Run Run se fue pa’l norte
7. Según el favor del viento
8. Une Chilienne à Paris
9. Porque los pobres no tienen
10. Gracias a la Vida

This remarkable passionate and heartfelt new recording opens on the velvet gossamer wings of the delicate Volver a los 17 and the upbeat, playful and swinging Écoute moi petit and backs those up with the ornate piano musings found within Gracias a la Vida, the vibrancy of Maldigo del alto cielo and then a profoundly honest yearn is brought forth within La jardinera (The Gardener).

Up next is the profoundly steadfast tones and notes of Run Run se fue pa’l norte and the spirited Según el favor del viento and they are in turn followed by the late night, smokey club, lush, low vocalizations within Une Chilienne à Paris, the album rounding out on the impassioned embrace within Porque los pobres no tienen (Because The Poor Do Not Have), coming to a righteously flirtatious close on Gracias a la Vida.

Violeta Parra was born in 1917, in the region of Chillán, in the South of Chile, into a poor family of ten children. She composed her first songs at the age of twelve and soon after, started perfor¬ming in small venues with one of her sisters.

In 1952, after taking advice from her brother (the renowned “anti¬-poet” Nicanor Parra), she initiated a journey travelling around Chile with a tape recorder, capturing and compiling the nation’s traditional and folk songs. This was how she contributed to the creative process of the national Chilean identity, transcribing over 3000 songs in a book entitled Cantos Folklóricos Chilenos (Chilean Folk Music).

“Violeta Parra is a legend,” says Gonzalez Toro. “She roamed the country, looking for Chile’s forgotten folk songs, becoming the relentless ambassador of an unpretentious popular culture. Self-taught, she learned how to sing, to write, to play the harp and the guitar. Her raw voice imprinted the history of song writing in Latin America and beyond: without Violeta, there would be no Joan Baez, no Bob Dylan!”

“She invented and broadcasted what would then revolutionize po¬pular music in the 60s: folk. Violeta’s songs are of the utmost beauty: Volver a los 17, Según el favor del viento… and the international hymn that is Gracias a la Vida today. As the son of Chilean parents, I grew up with Violeta Parra’s songs; I know them like the back of my hand, as many other Latin Americans of my generation do.”

To commemorate 50 years since Parra’s tragic death by suicide, Gonzalez Toro invited pianist Thomas Enhco and others to pay a tribute to her life in songs. Enhco, who had never heard the works of Parra before working on this project, writes, “I discovered a fascinating poetic work, texts so deep and uniquely rich that overwhelmed me… I tried to align the music to the same intensity and richness as that of the lyrics without betraying their essence by using reharmonization, building on form and rhythm, while leaving moments to improvisation, as well as an orchestra¬tion that mixes jazz (piano, double bass, trumpet) with Latin American roots (percussions, cuatro, voice).”

EMILIANO GONZALEZ TORO - lead vocals & artistic direction
THOMAS ENHCO - piano, violin, vocals & arrangements
DAVID ENHCO - trumpet, flugelhorn
JEREMY BRUYÈRE - upright bass
EDWIN SANZ - percussion
LEO RONDON - cuatro & arrangements
IRENE TORO - vocals, Spanish coach

Ensemble I Gemelli @ Facebook

Title - On The Edge of No Tomorrow
Artist - Quartz

For those not in the know, On The Edge of No Tomorrow is the brand new studio album from legendary NWOBHM-influencing Quartz and features founder Quartz members Mick Hopkins, Derek Arnold, Malcolm Cope and Geoff Nicholls, with vocals from Geoff Bate and Dave Garner.

It also includes the final songs and recordings from Black Sabbath keyboard player Geoff Nicholls and guest vocals from Sabbath’s Tony Martin.

Although Quartz are often viewed as mainstays of the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal scene of the late 1970s and early 1980s, in truth they were more of an influence on the movement, their origins predating the NWOBHM (New Wave Of British Heavy Metal) by a number of years.

The significance, relevance and importance of this album cannot be simply measured in just terms of music, because it’s so much more than that.

Indeed, the band hope that this will give the listener an insight into the amount of work, under some extreme difficulties and associated emotional feelings involved, in the completion and the eagerly anticipated release of their latest studio album that both honors and pays tribute to Geoff Nicholls’ legacy.

1. Freak of Nature
2. Death or Glory
3. They Do Magic
4. Master of the Rainbow
5. Night of the Living Dead
6. Evil Lies
7. Angels at the Crossroad
8. Keep Up the Fight
9. Brainwashed
10. Babylon Is Burning
11. What Love Is
12. Dirty Disease
13. World of Illusion
14. Highway to Madness

This majestically-cultured, heartfelt rock project (and one that is easily accessible by all ages regardless of their metal heritage) opens on the riff-driven pounder Freak of Nature and the prog/rock/pop of Death or Glory and backs those up with the rambunctiously melodic They Do Magic, the drum-led, guitar heavy rocker Master of the Rainbow, the free-flowing pop rocker Night of the Living Dead, and then we get the prog balladry, at first, later the guitar lickin’ fest within Evil Lies and the pure metal of Angels at the Crossroads.

I mean, considering the fact that to the best of my knowledge, Geoff Bate hasn’t performed vocals on a Quartz record in nearly 40 years, overall his vocal expertise here is simply phenomenal as the recording continues onward with the cultured classic rock vibe of Keep Up the Fight and the free wheelin’ beauty Brainwashed and they are in turn followed by the mid-tempo balladry of Babylon Is Burning, the full force ’80s metal AOR of What Love Is, the recording rounding out on the prog grunge of Dirty Disease, the rhythmic rock of World of Illusion, coming to a close on the gently frenetic Highway to Madness.

Official Purchase Link

Title - Sing To The Walls
Artist - Chastity Brown

For those not in the know, as the daughter of a blues musician, Chastity Brown was born with an innate ability to channel complex circumstances into beautiful, uplifting songs.

But after surviving the isolation of the early pandemic and witnessing the global racial reckoning that manifested itself in the riots mere blocks from her South Minneapolis home, even she is surprised to hear the way her new album Sing To The Walls turned out.

“It’s a love album, in a way I didn’t plan on,” Chastity says.

Like so many artists who endured the uncertainty of the 2020 lockdown, Chastity’s instinct was to turn inward, at first out of self-preservation, and then because the new songs kept coming and coming.

Since finishing her last album, 2017’s Silhouette Of Sirens, she estimates she’s written nearly 100 new songs, 10 of which found their way onto Sing To The Walls.

1. Wonderment
2. Back Seat
3. Loving the Questions
4. Boston
5. Curiosity
6. Golden
7. Sing to the Walls
8. Like the Sun
9. Hope
10. Gertrude

In truth, from the very off, all these songs unfold with Chastity’s expressive voice and expansive melodies as if she were a songstress from days of yore, leading the listener through an intertwining pendulous of atmospheric sounds that simply fill your very soul with righteous harmony.

Opening on the heartfelt growth of sounds and vocals within the expressive, emotively dreamy Wonderment and the dulcetly manicured, subdued Latin-hued hipsway of Back Seat, she backs those up seamlessly with the flickering synth work of the wrenching ballad Loving the Questions, the quietly euphoric, organ-imbibed Boston and the Americana-tinged Curiosity (her ode to healing a broken heart post-breakup).

Up next is the soaring Golden, a searing indictment of white complacency and a cathartic release of post-uprising rage and that is in turn followed by an ode to the sweetness of life within the magnificent title track Sing to the Walls, the totally transcendent gossamer flow of Like the Sun is next, the album rounding out on the pulsing promise made within Hope, coming to an all too soon close on the atmospherically-charged balladry of Gertrude.

For the first time, Chastity also served as the lead producer on some of the tracks, and co-producer on all of them. “I just was like, ‘why can’t I do it?’ It maybe meant that some things took longer, but it was like, ‘Where am I going now anyway?’ The way I’ve worked since the pandemic began, as far as songwriting and arranging and composing, I’ve never been so productive. Whatever touring life becomes going forward, I want to always carve out writing time. I’m addicted to it. And it’s such a cool high,” she says.

Sing To The Walls is a sonically expansive album; it mines the roots of Americana, folk, and soul music, but Chastity’s stories are delivered in a style that feels remarkably timely, modern, and forward-thinking. “I celebrate the emotional richness in the tradition, but in my music I’ve committed myself to moving forward and reflecting the experiences of those overlooked by tradition.”

In the same way, her lyrics seek to reach across a great divide. “I will sing to those walls, hope it gets through / And I will sing to your scars, they need healing too,” Chastity sings on the album’s title track, a pandemic love song about breaking through the physical, emotional, and social barriers that have been constructed around all of us in recent years.

By the next track, “Like the Sun,” she breaks through into a melody that rises like a wide-open prairie sunrise—a heart-rending moment that demonstrates her talent for expressing big, beautiful ideas in her music, and to create songs that radiate bliss.

Even amid the chaos, while delivering the release-valve verses of “Golden,” she remains steadfast. “I’ve got joy even when I’m a target, if you think that’s political don’t get me started,” Chastity sings, demanding to know: “Why have I got to be angry?”

Official Chastity Brown | New Album - Sing To The Walls Promo

Official Purchase Link

Chastity Brown @ Facebook

Chastity Brown @ Twitter

Chastity Brown @ Instagram

Chastity Brown @ YouTube

Title - Kings of the New Age
Artist - State Champs

New York pop-punk outfit State Champs may have the best band name in the game today. It bleeds a certain bravado, daring the new listener to take a listen and become a fan. And their sixth studio release since their debut in 2011, Kings of the New Age, is equally as daring, and wholly delivers on the unspoken guarantee that you’ll walk away impressed.

With a bright guitar sound and a driving rhythm section behind nearly every track, State Champs’ music joyfully nudges the listeners’ subconscious toward Sum 41, Blink-182, Good Charlotte, and other bands I loved in junior high and high school. And yet, for sounding so similar, State Champs brings their own distinct vibes to each song.

1. Here to Stay
2. Eventually
3. Everybody But You (ft. Ben Barlow)
4. Outta My Head
5. Fake It
6. Half Empty (ft. Chrissy Costanza)
7. Just Sound
8. Act Like That (ft. Michell Tenpenny)
9. Where Were You
10. Sundress (ft. Four Year Strong)
11. Some Minds Don’t Change

Just Sound became an early contender for favorite track, with an overall feeling that it could easily be featured on the best skateboard video game you’ve never played. Vocalist Derek Discanio brings the exact amount of spite required for one of the best worn-out relationship lines ever: “Enough is enough, what the f*** was I thinkin’/Being with you is like working on the weekend…” Brutal.

Perhaps the best part of State Champs as a band is that each member gets a chance to shine. Drummer Evan Ambrosio leads the charge on Some Minds Don’t Change, and while distorted vocals are cool, Ryan Scott Graham’s bass wins the day on Outta My Head. The ensemble is rounded out with the high marks that Tyler Szalkowski’s guitar gets on Eventually.

Certain songs, particularly Fake It and Act Like That, lean into the pop side of the pop-punk equation. These tracks, as well, bring to thought another beloved band, Rooney. But as with the others, these similarities only occur in the very best of ways. And while State Champs more than carry the album on their own, they also make good use of Mitchell Tenpenny, Ben Barlow, Chrissy Costanza, and Four Year Strong as featured guests.

In many ways, I’m grateful Kings of the New Age (they are exactly that) was my introduction to State Champs, since it was such a strong note to begin on. But by the same token, the fact that I am a decade too late to support this band from an initial release is a disappointment.

But I’m very excited to make up for all that lost time.

Review by: Ashley J. Cicotte

Kings of the New Age is available on all music streaming platforms.

State Champs - Act Like That [Ft. Mitchell Tenpenny] (Official Music Video)

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State Champs @ Twitter

State Champs @ YouTube

State Champs @ Bandcamp

Title - Bioluminate
Artist - Circus Mind

For those of you not in the know, CIRCUS MIND is a New York-based rock outfit and the brainchild of singer/songwriter and keyboardist Mark Rechler.

The band is about to celebrate its 20th year and will unveil their fourth release BIOLUMINATE on June 17th, 2022. BIOLUMINATE continues to capture the CIRCUS MIND spirit as they weave through past, present, and funky future.

CIRCUS MIND is a camouflaged Cephalopod that can change colors, moods and styles in an instant, swimming from jazzy groove rock to funky reggae roots with ease. Their previous release JOY MACHINE featured Big Sam, Marc Ribot, Ivan Neville, Walter Wolfman Washington, Scott Metzger, and more.

An eclectic collection of ’70s rock and funk with modern takes on N’awlins swamp rock mixed with Beatles pop, the first JOY MACHINE single “Are You Ready?” featured guest guitar phenom Brandon “Taz” Niederauer, and its music video was well received by critics and fans alike.

Their earlier release “Silver Flower” was voted one of the Best Indie Albums of 2006 by Newsday and put a modern take on influences such as Traffic, Steely Dan, Little Feat, and Mott the Hoople while mixing in NoLa vibe influences like Dr. John, The Meters and The Neville Brothers. The CIRCUS MIND single “Jazzfest Time” was released as an ode to the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.

1. West End Road (4:44)
2. Darwin’s Sister (6:02)
3. Baby Come Back Down (4:15)
4. Miss Fortune (6:36)
5. Vampire Blues (3:46)

This quite wondrously uplifting, vibrantly joyous new album opens on the fluidly gorgeous, Jagger-imbed vibe of the second official single from the album West End Road, which brings with it an emotive experience akin to a swamp rock, jazzy gospel hoedown ala Little Feat and Taj Mahal and that is followed by the early-Stones-imbibed blues-rock of Darwin’s Sister.

Up next is the uproarious first BIOLUMINATE single Baby Come Back Down (featuring NoLa guitarist Marc Paradis of Johnny Sketch and The Dirty Notes) and which comes complete with a funky driving Caribbean backbeat mixed with rock and soul vibes and delicious synthesizer work and that is in turn backed by the mid-tempo balladry of Miss Fortune (with special guest Nels Cline of Wilco), the album coming to an all too soon close on the Hammond-embedded, smooth blues grooves within Vampire Blues (which also features special guests Matty Fox and Matt Godfrey from the Brandon “Taz” Niederauer Band).

Longtime bassist Chris Crosby, who passed during the recording of the album, appears on four of the tracks.

CIRCUS MIND has opened for national acts (Toots & The Maytals, The Neville Brothers, The Radiators) and had many notable guests sit in on their recordings and live performances (Soulive, Rebirth Brass Band, Cyril Neville).

CIRCUS MIND’s members are diverse in their influences and playing styles. Lead vocalist, songwriter and keyboardist Mark Rechler performs with multiple projects and has played, toured, and recorded with members of The Meters, The Neville Brothers, The Radiators, Soulive, The Brandon “Taz” Niederauer Band, Rebirth Brass Band, Ivan Neville, and more.

Spending five years in New Orleans studying music, art, & architecture helped influence his style and direction, and he always keeps his listeners salivating and wanting more.

Guitarist Jaime Scott has toured the world as a guitarist and engineer, with renowned ensemble John Lurie and the Lounge Lizards. In doing so he followed the lineage of the legendary and influential Lounge Lizard’s guitarists who came before him. “Baby Come Back Down” also features late and long-time CIRCUS MIND bassist Chris Crosby, who had studied with Oteil Burbridge of The Allman Brothers Band and Dead & Co.

The band’s rhythm section features drummer Dan Roth, a driving force of funky world influences and percussionist Steve Finkelstein, who has worked recorded and performed with pop icons from Ray Charles as well as jam band giants including members of the Dead, Allman’s, and Neville’s, and Tower of Power. Steve is also a founding member of the Funk Filharmonik.

New Member Saxophonist Michael Amendola holds a BA in Arranging from The Berklee College of Music. Credits include touring, film scores, jingles, and Broadway shows. Michael was a member of The Tony Trischka Band for 7 years, producing 2 recordings on Rounder Records and as a leader, released the jazz recording “Big Sunflower” on CDC Records.

Also joining the party is Leandro Da Silva, a multi-faceted bassist from São Paulo, Brazil who brings elements of Samba and Funk that can be heard in his diverse playing style.

Official Purchase Link

Official Website

Circus Mind @ Facebook

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Circus Mind @ Instagram

Circus Mind @ YouTube

Title - Canelita Sabrosa
Artist - Canelita Sabrosa

For those of you not in the know, serial entrepreneur Chris Nettuno isn’t merely a music patron; he’s a member of the band. And when the COVID-19 lockdown threatened the livelihood of his group of full-time studio musicians and sidemen, the conga player found a way to keep the music playing.

Those weekly porch concerts not only kept the musicians afloat but became the lifeblood of the debut album from the multicultural band Canelita Sabrosa.

The Atlanta-based unit’s self-titled set, produced by five-time Grammy winner Dru Castro (India.Aire, Usher, Childish Gambino) along with the band’s two-time Grammy-winning guitarist Julio Miranda and drummer Chunky Sounds, drops May 20th, 2022 on the band’s Canelita Sabrosa Records label.

1. “Señorita”
2. “Te Espere”
3. “Si Se Puede”
4. “Morning”
5. “Breath of Rio”
6. “Havana”
7. “Vamos”
8. “Use Me”
9. “Lovesong”
10. “Come Together”
11. “Clouded Vision”
12. “Late Winter”
13. “Use Me” (vocal version)
14. “Lovesong” (vocal version)
15. “Come Together” (vocal version)
16. “Clouded Vision” (vocal version)

This exuberantly charged and vibrantly spirited new album opens on the free flowing majesties within the shimmering cover of Camila Cabello’s “Señorita” and the sultry, sensually-imbibed Latin jazz guitar groove of “Te Espere” before they bring forth the rhythmical sashays and shimmies of “Si Se Puede,” the atmopsheric “Morning,” the captivatingly exotic “Breath of Rio,” the intricate guitar work of Cabello’s mesmerizing “Havana,” and then come both the anthemic “Vamos” and the newly-veined hipsway of Bill Withers’ “Use Me.”

Canelita Sabrosa, which means tasty cinnamon in Spanish, and is a name selected to reflect the group’s multiethnic makeup as well as their combined multicultural stylings, continues onward with a highly inventive rendition of Cure’s “Lovesong” and a Latin guitar rock out on The Beatles’ “Come Together,” and those are followed by the sax-embedded, rousingly euphoric “Clouded Vision” before the album rounds out on a quintet of smoothly sung vocal tracks by Nettuno, in the form of “Late Winter” and then vocalizations of previous tracks: “Use Me,” “Lovesong,” “Come Together” and “Clouded Vision.”

During the first few months of the pandemic, Nettuno invited the band over to play in his family room. After a few songs, they heard applause coming from outside the house. Neighbors had gathered and asked the group to perform outside. The eight-piece outfit that blends Latin, jazz, R&B, funk and rock was happy to oblige the following week.

Word spread quickly and soon hundreds of people began flocking to the weekly Friday night shows. A local television reporter was in the audience, which led to a segment on Atlanta’s CBS affiliate.

The grassroots buzz inspired Canelita Sabrosa to record an album featuring a mix of the popular cover tunes that populate their live setlist along with five original songs composed by Miranda and a pair of songs written by vocalist-rhythm guitarist Kenny Nettuno and his son, KJ Nettuno.

Colorful Puerto Rican, Afro Cuban, Brazilian and Caribbean nuances intermingle with improvised jazz explorations and rock god guitar pyrotechnics. Anchored by thick percussive salsa, samba and bossa nova beats constructed by Sounds, Chris Nettuno and percussionist Frankie Quinones, Miranda issues piercing lead guitar riffs and scorching solos seasoned by Kenny Nettuno’s spicy rhythms and sweet melodies.

As bassist Matt Stallard carves deep-pocketed grooves, the dynamic three-man horn section - trumpeter Justin Powell, saxophonist EJ Hughes and sax/flutist Mac Isseks - douses the tracks with fire and fervor. Adding to the project’s pedigree is four-time Grammy-winning engineer Ralph Cacciurri (Coldplay, OutKast, P!nk).

“Canelita Sabrosa is a culmination of diverse cultures and musical backgrounds. We all have one thing in common and that is passion: passion for life, love and music. That passion is what drives every part of our music - the grooves, the tones, the words!” enthuses Chris Nettuno.

The music on Canelita Sabrosa is primarily instrumental with a handful of selections appearing on the album in both instrumental and vocal versions. The eclectic track list confirms the band’s multigenerational appeal with the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s and present day represented by fresh versions of The Beatles’ “Come Together,” Bill Withers’ “Use Me,” The Cure’s “Lovesong” and Camila Cabello’s “Señorita” and “Havana.”

“The covers are all about the grooves, the feeling. We try to play music that people can identify with and feel while letting each musician fly freely to let loose and show their musical soul and unique voice in each song,” says Chris Nettuno.

“As a band, we really enjoy playing together and Covid couldn’t slow us down. We started recording in the summer of Covid, which was The Summer of Love for Canelita Sabrosa. We wrote and recorded because we never stopped when everyone else had to. We found a way. Chris Nettuno had other plans. Because of this one man, us musicians where saved. He kept us playing to feed the beast in our soul to perform for people and to help them forget that we were in a pandemic. As the world steadily emerges from the grip of the pandemic, the timing is perfect to release our first album,” says Miranda.

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Title - Freedom
Artist - Albare & Co.

For those of you not in the know, Albare is the nom de guerre of Albert Dadon, a virtuoso jazz guitarist with a strong melodic sense and a wealth of global influences.

Born in Morocco and raised in Israel and France, Albare first worked as a musician in France, before emigrating to Australia at the age of 27. He is not only well known as a jazz musician but has maintained a highly successful career as one of Australia’s most prominent musician entrepreneurs.

He is undoubtedly a major force in Australian jazz, having directed the Melbourne Jazz Festival for many years and as chairman of the Australian Jazz Awards. In 2008 he received the Order of Australia for his service to the Arts and Business.

Albert Dadon, stage name ALBARE, was born in 1957. Albare started playing music at the ripe age of 8 when his late mother bought a classic acoustic guitar for his birthday. Living in Israel at the time, he became one of the first students of the freshly opened conservatory of music in Dimona Israel.

His love for the instrument only became obvious when his parents moved to France when he turned 10. His discovery of Django Reinhardt, Jimi Hendrix, Wes Montgomery, and later Antonio Carlos Jobim, set Albare into a lifetime of study, composing and playing the instrument.

Albare remembers that the sense of melody he brings to his compositions and improvisation was always present. Compositions written in his teenage years, such as ‘What Goes Around’ (from the album by the same name) and Zarathoustra (Midnight Blues) were recorded in the 90s and still form part of the Albare repertoire today.

The songs presented on his brand new album Freedom (out June 3rd, 2022 via ALFI Records) are all original compositions by either Albare or his collaboration with Phil Turcio which has been ongoing for over thirty years.

Freedom is a tribute to the symbol Jazz represents everywhere. In a world where freedom of expression is increasingly being censored, Albare says “Jazz is the voice of freedom and it shall never be silenced”.

1. Freedom
2. Adues
3. La Fiesta (w/ Intro)
4. Lost Compass
5. Love Is Always
6. Randy Makes Me Smile
7. Shimmozle
8. Sketches
9. Sunny Samba
10. New Expectations

This exuberantly charged and vibrantly spirited new album opens on the free flowing title track Freedom and the upbeat hipsway of Adues and backs those up seamlessly with the gently frenetic swinger La Fiesta (w/ Intro), the triumphantly euphoric musings within Lost Compass and then comes the late night jazz club appeal of Love Is Always.

Next up is one of my own personal favorites on this vital new recording, the trumpet-imbibed magnificence of Randy Makes Me Smile and that is in turn followed by the low slung rhythmic swing of Shimmozle, the precisely manicured guitar work within the almost delicate Sketches, the album rounding out on the mid-tempo melodies of Sunny Samba, coming to a close on the hot summer’s day breeze of New Expectations.

Long before Bob Dylan and Paul Simon hit a societal raw nerve through their protest songs of the 1960s, Jazz had long established itself as arguably the first activist music – becoming the poster child for emancipation and liberty along the way.

Such is its power that totalitarian regimes similar as North Korea sought to ban it and jail musicians who ventured into its orbit. At this strange point in our western democratic history, where one by one, our freedoms are being eroded, it is good to remind ourselves of the genesis of Jazz – as an expression of freedom.

In this spirit, we conjure once again the activist roots inherent in the art form, in order to celebrate and protect our hard won freedoms.

We shall never be silenced. [Albert Dadon AM aka Albare]

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Title - Late Bloomer
Artist - Brett Wiscons

For those of you not in the know, sometimes, the most difficult circumstances offer a silver lining. One has to look for it, but it’s there, ready to be discovered.

Indiana-based singer, songwriter, and five-time author Brett Wiscons felt that reality all too keenly when the pandemic made for unique and trying times to put together his forthcoming album, Late Bloomer, and the silver-lining mentality ended up permeating the songs on the record.

“I just wanted to offer hope in a seemingly hopeless situation,” Wiscons says of the genesis for this album. “These songs wouldn’t have existed without the kindness of my Kickstarter backers, and I wouldn’t have written some of them if it hadn’t been for the global pandemic.”

His new full-length album, Late Bloomer, was a labor of love created with mix engineer, producer and collaborator Thom Daugherty (The Elms, The Band Perry), and it will be released on July 13th, 2022 via Wiscons’ own label, MAD Diamond Entertainment.

1. Vertical City
2. Walk Tall
3. Late Bloomer
4. Déjà You
5. Collection of Hearts
6. When You Canʼt Breathe
7. Letʼs Do it Again
8. Any Other Kind of Way
9. French Café (Inside a Dream)
10. October

This exuberantly charged and vibrantly spirited new album opens on the rock guitar and piano rollercoaster of Vertical City and the rhythmic Walk Tall and then brings us the euphorically strident Late Bloomer, the achingly beautiful balladry of Déjà You and then comes the AOR yearn found within Collection of Hearts.

Next up is the forthright, fist clenched stand within the powerful When You Canʼt Breathe and the finger-snapping, foot-tapping melodies of Letʼs Do it Again which are in turn backed by the thunderous guitar rock of Any Other Kind of Way, one of my own personal favorites, the upbeat and playful French Café (Inside a Dream), the album coming to a close on the dulcet, mid-tempo balladry of October.

Thom Daugherty - guitars, bass, mellotron, background vocals
Niko Albanese - drums
Steven Potaczek - keys (1, 2, 4-10) accordion (9)
Sarah Scharbrough McLaughlin - background vocals (1,2,5)
Mark Bryan - mandolin (4)
Megan Campbell - vocals (4)
Mark Evitts - string arrangement (5)
Craig Shields- saxophone (7)
Rachel McGoye - vocals (7)
Seth Jenkins - slide guitar (4)
Kadell Randle Jr. - keys (3)
Brett Wiscons - vocals

“Well before the pandemic hit, I had an idea for a song called ‘Late Bloomer’ in May of 2019” Wiscons recalls. “I told Thom about it and he, almost without thinking, said, ‘I have a chord progression that will work for that song idea.’ I then wrote the lyrics on a plane from Indy to Phoenix. They just poured out of me. I am a late bloomer, and I figured many other folks out there might be able to relate to this song.”

Late Bloomer was released as a single in February 2020, mere weeks before everything shut down, but the track garnered Wiscons new fans from as far afield as Australia, Morocco, and the UK, to name a few places where other “late bloomers” chimed in to let Wiscons know how much his song resonated with them. In July of 2020, “Late Bloomer” appeared on the soundtrack for the new “NASCAR Heat 5” video game on Xbox and PlayStation.

With the song out in the world, Wiscons and Daugherty had huge aspirations to record a full album by the same name. “I knew it had to be done, but I knew it was going to be expensive to produce,” Wiscons says. “I’d had success with Kickstarter before, so I ran a campaign and hoped for the best.”

What happened next blew Wiscons away. “Somehow, 137 people scattered around the country believed in me and this project, and we raised over twenty-two thousand dollars and were completely funded two weeks into the 30-day campaign.”

Wiscons and Daugherty had planned to get to work in mid-March of 2020, but the pandemic had a little to say first. “We were so eager to get rolling, but then, quite literally, like the rest of the world, we got shut down,” Wiscons remembers.

By May 2020, they started working remotely, writing lyric and song ideas and passing them back and forth via text and email while communicating through the Marco Polo app. Two of the collected songs were directly influenced by the pandemic and lockdown itself: “Walk Talk” and “Vertical City.”

“I was feeling all sorts of emotions during that time; anxiety, fear, doubt, and worry seem to be the ones that stuck around the longest, at least initially,” Wiscons says, “but then hope started to emerge. Seeing news footage of a desolate New York City with empty streets and sidewalks was the beginning of the song ‘Vertical City.’”

News topics and emotional responses laced other tracks, and the songwriting pair also tackled what happened to George Floyd in Minneapolis (“When You Can’t Breathe”), parenthood (“Let’s Do it Again”), and wishful thinking (“French Café”).

“You really hear all of the influences Thom and I grew up with come out in these songs,” Wiscons says. There are shades of The Beatles, Pearl Jam, Eagles, Jackson Browne, and Hootie & the Blowfish all over the songs on the album, but with Wiscons’ unique spin on things making it feel fresh and new.

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Title - Postcards From the End of the World
Artist - Shining Black

For those looking to expand their metal discography, Shining Black has just come out with their latest album. Their self-titled debut came in 2020 with their record, Shining Black. They continue their symphonic melodies with Postcards From the End of the World.

A relativity new band, the group combines melodic and flowing notes from the guitar and expansive keyboard and synthesizers that meld perfectly with the overall tone of the vocals.

The group consists of veteran singer Mark Boals, who uses his experience from bands such as Ring of Fire and Royal Hunt to his full advantage, and guitarist Olaf Thorsen, whose expertise from bands Labyrinth and Vision Divine showcases how smoothly he crafts his music.

1. Postcards From The End Of The World
2. Higher Than The World
3. We Are Death Angels
4. Summer Solstice Under Delphi’s Sky
5. Like Leaves In November
6. A Hundred Thousand Shades Of Black
7. Faded Pictures Of Me
8. Mirror Of Time
9. Fear And Loathing
10. Time Heals, They Say

The beautiful melodies from this album are on full display in every song. Keyboardist Oleg Smirnoff flawlessly matches tone with Thorsen’s riffs and Boals’ vocals. Although electric keyboards normally feel too digital, in Faded Pictures of Me, Smirnoff is able to somehow put soul inside the keys, and it really makes the song extra special. His use of synth just makes it even better.

If I could give some slight criticism, it would be to point out the volume of the bass. Nik Mazzucconi does a fabulous job at mixing in with the guitar. His skill is definitely on point, especially when it comes to Mirror Of Time. It is this obvious skill that makes me a little sad when the bass is drowned out by the rest of the rhythm section.

It’s understandable that symphonic metal doesn’t want to go too much into super bass qualities like death metal does, but I would love it if, in a future album, we could see Mazzucconi shine in his element.

No metal album can be complete without good drums. The timing of Matt Peruzzi in each song connects the final dots for a great experience. There are some really nice fills in Time Heals, They Say. It definitely makes you wanna close your eyes and bob up and down.

Overall, this is a great example of melodic metal. If you’re looking for some clean vocals with fantastic guitar solos, this is for you. The piano, synthesizer, bass, and drums are just the icing on the cake.

Review by: John Cicotte

Shining Black’s Postcards From the End of the World is available on all music streaming platforms.

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Title - Diary of a Loner
Artist - Reo Cragun

Reo Cragun is surely one of the most prolific young rap artists in the game today. Releasing his third album since 2017, and his second since 2020, Cragun not only helps to redefine the new listener’s sensibility of what rap and hip-hop can be, but also strikes a blow to toxic masculinity with Diary of a Loner.

While the Apple Music categorization of Reo Cragun’s music is rap, the title track leans more toward a sort of R&B, with melodic vocals. There is a certain wistfulness to the lyrics as Cragun dives deep into the sort of things that make him who he is, for better or worse: “I celebrate my mom and auntie on Father’s Day/I used to pray to God that I would pop off/When this s*** drop, I’m sending them on holiday…” The song’s chorus is even more telling: This is the diary of a loner/ It is this wistfulness and more importantly — this honesty — that sets this record apart from most other rap records I’ve heard.

1. Diary of a Loner
2. My Life
3. Verizon
4. Starstruck
5. Light Show (ft. Kid Ink)
6. Just My Luck
7. Like It or Not (ft. Johan Lenox)
8. Truer Vibes
9. Crazy4U (ft. Marian Hill)
10. Hundred Million (ft. Clear Eyes)
11. Pills
12. Mile High

Just My Luck is more discernible than other raps I’ve heard, backed with strong electronic beats and more of this startlingly honest disclosure of Cragun’s mental health struggles. These admissions are so stark that, halfway through the track, I found myself wishing that Reo Cragun would find the support system his music sounds like he needs, if he hasn’t done so already.

Stylistically, Mile High is the standout track. The soft piano and the faraway vocals before the beat drops are everything, and if there was nothing else but those, I would have been more than happy. Alas, that beauty soon dissipated and the regular rap came in. Bummer.

One of the strengths of Cragun’s album is that there are several guest stars, none of which do it quite as well as Marian Hill on Crazy4U. But this track isn’t without its pitfalls, too; while Cragun and Hill sound marvelous together, there is a touch too much vocal layering. It’s very easy to get lost trying to parse out every part.

While Diary of a Loner is a worthy listen overall, I would be remiss if I did not exercise a word of caution: Several are the occasions in which Cragun drops the n-word in the middle of a bar, so if you are not one of the people who could sing along with that particular lyric in good conscience, perhaps make sure you don’t.

Otherwise, this is a record that will untie both rap aficionados and new listeners under the banner of Reo Cragun Fans.

Review by: Ashley J Cicotte

Reo Cragun’s Diary of a Loner is available on all major music streaming platforms.

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Title - Just Woke Up
Artist - Jaret Ray Reddick

Critically-acclaimed Texas musician Jaret Ray Reddick’s debut country album, Just Woke Up (Brando Records/Que-So Records), is now available worldwide.

Just Woke Up is a sincere love letter to Texas and pays homage to the greats before him while giving a refreshing, unique spin on the genre, with one example being his single “One of the Good Ones”, which blends elements of both country and rock. Written by Reddick alongside Zac Maloy, the track is now at Texas Country Radio and is currently climbing the charts.

Jaret Ray Reddick might be a name you recognize, but his voice is one that pretty much everyone will know, whether it is from being the singer of pop-punk pioneers Bowling for Soup with hits like “1985,” “Girl All The Bad Guys,” or “High School Never Ends,” to voicing Chuck E Cheese or singing the theme to Disney’s long-running hit series Phineas and Ferb.

Born in Grapevine and raised in Wichita Falls, Texas, Reddick’s country roots run deep as his pride for the Lone Star State. His parents were Country music fans, and Willie, Waylon, and other classic country artists were on regular rotation at home. Music from fellow Texan The Red Headed Stranger and his outlaw friends would prove vital in his development as a musician and remain a crucial rock throughout his career.

Those familiar with his work as the front man of Grammy-nominated pop-punk band Bowling for Soup will find a familiar voice and sense of humor in the music and lyrics. The album features some special guests, most notably one of Reddick’s favorite musicians and good friend Frank Turner, who lends his vocals on “Drunk as It Takes.”

There’s also a cameo by Uncle Kracker on the album opener “Way More Country,” Descendents guitarist Stephen Egerton performs on “Natalie,” and Cody Canada of The Departed appears on “You and Beer.”

1. “Way More Country” (feat. Uncle Kracker)
2. “One of the Good Ones”
3. “Songs About Texas”
4. “Ohio” (Come Back to Texas)”
5. “Royal Family”
6. “Doggonit!”
7. “Drunk as It Takes” (feat. Frank Turner)
8. “You and Beer” (feat. Cody Canada)
9. “Natalie” (feat. Stephen Egerton)
10. “My Truck Up and Left Me”
11. “Back In 83”
12. “The Bitch Song”

Opening on the free flowing country pop of “Way More Country” (featuring Uncle Kracker) and the euphorically-charming ode to love within “One of the Good Ones” and backs those up with the mid-tempo balladry of “Songs About Texas,” the easy breezy, Bowling for Soup poem to “Ohio” (Come Back to Texas),” the family tribute within “Royal Family” and then comes the gently rambunctious “Doggonit!”

Up next is the lonesome yearn within “Drunk as It Takes” (featuring Frank Turner) and the mid-tempo barn twirler “You and Beer” (featuring Cody Canada of The Departed) and follows them up with the finger-snapping one minute, down and gritty rocker the next “Natalie” (feat Descendents guitarist Stephen Egerton), the tongue in cheek storytelling within “My Truck Up and Left Me,” the album rounding out on the melodious pop rock of “Back In 83,” closing out on another Bowling for Soup cut, the now countrified twang of “The Bitch Song.”

Reddick spoke about the album, saying, "Making this album is a long time coming for me. And part of all of that was being able to write songs from the heart and not hold back. ‘One Of The Good Ones’ is a song written with a few folks in mind and how much they mean to me. Friends are rampant in life. But, sometimes, we are lucky enough to find those folks that not only make us better people but can also soften the blows that take the wind out of us."

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Title - This Girl [EP]
Artist - James Holvay

For those not in the know, after four decades out of the music limelight, singer-songwriter-guitarist James Holvay returned last year with his debut solo recording Sweet Soul Song EP and is now once again bringing us his authentic Chicago-style soul music this year with his brand new This Girl EP on his Mob Town Records imprint.

The collection is a vibrant tip of the hat to the music Holvay witnessed and then played in during its 1960s when it ruled the R&B roost in America.

1. Hot N’ Heavy Love
2. This Girl
3. More Of You
4. Whatever She Wants
5. She’s Gone Away

This at all times pleasing musical flashback extravaganza opens on the oh-so sweet soul sounds of string melodies and guitar rhythms within Hot N’ Heavy Love and then bleeds seamlessly into the drum-led, finger-snapping rhythm and blues of the title track This Girl, before bringing us the low slung, airy Motown-eseque balladry of More Of You.

With the entire EP lovingly embracing the glory days of Windy City soul, an era that Holvay was able to experience first-hand as an aspiring adolescent guitarist and songwriter, we then find him dip into the soulfulness of the polished songwriting and candidly smooth vocal delivery of Whatever She Wants, the new EP coming to an all too soon close on the wistful yearn of the ballad She’s Gone Away.

Every aspect of This Girl was designed for maximum authenticity and crafted with care and played and sung with punch, James Holvay’s sophomore recording in his own name is sure to delight the most ardent soul music fans.

James Holvay - Hot N’ Heavy Love (Official Audio)

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Title - Succubus Swing [EP]
Artist - Xanthan

For those not in the know, Xanthan is a three piece experimental rock band from Houston Texas featuring Boz Miller (drums), Max Miller (guitars), and Corin Gatwood (6 string basses).

The trio will be releasing their debut six-track EP Succubus Swing on May 24th, 2022 which features half instrumentals and half songs with vocals.

This E.P. features two of Xanthan’s early instrumental tracks (1934 and Colliskeions 23). The trio wanted to include them on this release to demonstrate their early sound, but the opening track (HYBYC) and the last three are songs the band is most proud of.

2. 1934
3. Colliskeions: 23
4. Bump of Excellence
5. Ms. Haan
6. In Killeen

This free wheeling, massively atmospheric and genuinely heartfelt juggernaut of an EP opens on the, at first blush thunderously funky and yet progressively sweet, perhaps even charming, melodically expressive HYBYC and backs that up with the funk-tastic 1934 and then comes the layered, sculptured and for the most part frenetically-charged Colliskeions: 23.

The first of the vocalizations (but, only faintly from the onset and then they themselves dispate) comes in on the forthright rhythms found within Bump of Excellence and that is itself followed seamlessly by the electronically static, low ebb resonators (complete with hushed vocals) of the short Ms. Haan, the EP closing on the fevered, at times cinematically-imbibed pulse of In Killeen.

Says Corin, “The album has a lot of moods. There is a lot of humor in it for us. Hence the titles, but also just how we’ve managed to compose the songs. It’s all playful. We always try something different in each song. A lot of the lyrics were inspired by strange and unsettling experiences I have had with certain people. The music was written first; but while working on the instrumentals, it put me in the right mood to write about some dark stuff. Plus, it was during late 2020, early 2021. It was still the pandemic, and hell froze over in Texas. A surreal time can be a good time to be creative, I suppose.”

“When recording the album, the music came first, but the band would adjust things for vocals as needed. Recording was fast. Every track was the three members recording live in Corin’s living room / practice space with no click track.”

Corin further explains, “The track ‘Ms. Haan’ was made from noisy stuff I made on a tape machine, and me banging on the side of my washing machine. My hope was for it to evoke the anxiety of being a child again; alone, in school, or a building with scary noises and machines humming away. And it made for a good segue.”

In closing Corin has this to say, “Just give it a listen in your car stereo on a sweltering summer night, in a dark, small town alleyway.”

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Title - Strangeways: Complete Recordings Vol. 1 1985-1994
Artist - Strangeways

Formed in 1985 by brothers Ian J. Stewart (guitar) and David Stewart (bass), joined by Jim Drummond (drums) and singer Tony Liddell, Strangeways they released their critically-acclaimed self-titled debut album in 1985.

Produced by Kevin Elson (Lynyrd Skynyrd, Journey and Mr Big), they were championed by Kerrang! whose rave review reckoned that, “‘Breakin’ Down The Barriers’ has American Number One hit single written all over its baby face,” assuring us that, “This band still possess that unmistakably British flavour… I predict a big success.”

Further plaudits in Kerrang! stated that, “Strangeways are a British band playing British rock with the additional elements of American-style professionalism and attention to detail… They have made an album that sounds truly magnificent when it comes out of your speakers.”

And if that wasn’t enough, it confidently proclaimed that it was, “the greatest and most preciously perfect AOR album of all time”.

American Terry Brock replaced Tony Liddell as vocalist, joining Dave Munch Moore on keyboards for the John Punter-produced ‘Native Sons’ in 1987, arguably their greatest commercial success.

Described by Kerrang! as, “Absolutely stunning and without doubt the best AOR album of the last six years,” assuring the reader that it was, “a time bomb of an album… it will blow every mind and lughole that comes into contact with it.”

The same line-up released the third album ‘Walk In Fire’ in 1989. Featuring the single ‘Every Time You Cry’, the album was co-produced by guitarist Ian Stewart with John Lee and mixed by Mike Shipley (Whitesnake, The Cars, Def Leppard).

The story on this collection ends with fourth album, ‘And The Horse’, from 1994, by which time guitarist Ian Stewart had also taken on lead vocal duties.

With grunge being the order of the day (as far as the fickle rock press were concerned, at least), the album saw Strangeways moving away from their original AOR sound to one that was more bluesy, jazzy and almost progressive in nature, with hints of Pink Floyd, while still remaining resolutely melodic.

Key tracks include ‘Precious Time’ and ‘Out Of The Blue’ plus the near ten minute ‘Some Of Us Lie’.

Strangeways: Complete Recordings Vol. 1 (1985-1994) is a 4CD collection that contains First four albums from Glasgow’s Strangeways who took their musical cues from across the pond, making melodic AOR style-rock inspired by bands such as Loverboy, Foreigner, Night Ranger and Journey.

Covering their output from 1985 to 1994 with a host of bonus tracks, live and demos, it is the most complete collection that has ever been released on the band thus far.

CD 1: Strangeways (1985)
1. The Kid Needs Love
2. Hold Back Your Love
3. Close To The Edge
4. Heartbreak Zone
5. Cry Out
6. Power Play
7. Breakin’ Down The Barriers
8. Now It’s Gone
9. More Than Promises
10. Hold Tight
11. All The Wrong Reasons (Demo) [Bonus Track]
12. Hold On (Demo) [Bonus Track]
13. Close To The Edge (Demo) [Bonus Track]
14. Breakin’ Down The Barriers (Demo) [Bonus Track]
15. Streets On Fire (Demo) [Bonus Track]

As was known at the time, the Record Label they were signed to was more known for its disco leanings than anything to do with rock music and the album artwork had a new romantic/pop feel to it also, which meant, perhaps, those who purchased it thought that they were in for something a little different than what they rockingly got!

The band themselves originated from Scotland but they were up against many things, one of them being that UK rock / AOR fans did not think a good quality melodic rock band could come out of anywhere but the USA.

So the band were already under the cosh with how this was going to work for them, but as soon as the needle went down on that first track (so to speak), wow, you suddenly realized that this was a band that should have been absolutely huge!

I mean, and I am not even close to kidding here, every single track, one after the other is relatively chock full of stunning melodies, superb song structure and killer vocal and musicianship performances.

Most of the songs were written by the lead Guitarist Ian J. Stewart who is also a brilliant and tasteful guitarist and the whole album (along with the five bonus tracks now included here in this new collection) is absolutely stunning. Simply put, if you’re into classic AOR this comes highly recommended.

CD 2: Native Sons (1987)
1. Dance With Somebody
2. Only A Fool
3. So Far Away
4. Where Do We Go From Here
5. Goodnight LA
6. Empty Streets
7. Stand Up And Shout
8. Shake The Seven
9. Never Gonna Lose It
10. Face To Face
11. Stand Up And Shout / Breaking Down The Barriers (Live) [Bonus Track]
12. Dance With Somebody (Live) [Bonus Track]
13. Never Gonna Lose It (Live) [Bonus Track]
14. Only A Fool (Single Edit) [Bonus Track]
15. Goodnight LA (Single Edit) [Bonus Track]
16. Dance With Somebody (AOR Mix) [Bonus Track]

As aforementioned, as AOR goes (and I listen to far too much of it, me thinks), you cannot do better than this band and, in particular, and from personal choice, this particular album.

Unlike contemporaries such as Bon Jovi and Journey, Strangeways never feel contrived or forced which allows this sophomore batch of songs to simply ooze class and atmosphere like Winston Churchill bled charisma. .. and that is not something I say lightly!

For people who want to enjoy the whole FM rock shtick without having to deal with most of the overt, cringe worthy cheesiness that pervades this sort of music, Strangeways should be everybody’s first (possibly even their last) stop for AOR; and this album alone, now complete with some wickedly brilliant live tracks, wholeheartedly proves that!

CD 3: Walk Into The Fire (1989)
1. Where Are They Now
2. Danger In Your Eyes
3. Love Lies Dying
4. Every Time You Cry
5. Talk To Me
6. Living In The Danger Zone
7. Modern World
8. Into The Night
9. Walk In The Fire
10. After The Hurt Is Gone
11. Jackie’s Gone (Demo) [Bonus Track]
12. Big Tom (Demo) [Bonus Track]
13. Liberty (Demo) [Bonus Track]
14. The Last Chance (Demo) [Bonus Track]
15. So Far Away (Live) [Bonus Track]
16. Where Do We Go From Here (Live) [Bonus Track]
17. Every Time You Cry (Single Edit) [Bonus Track]

Walk Into The Fire showcases a very proud collection of songs, pure in their AOR essence, and yet perhaps overly (at times) tinged with an overemphasized, anthemically melancholic vein, sure, but nonetheless their finished product here on their third album is epic, huge even, and the most perfect driving force accompaniment for a long motorway drive home.

Indeed, many of the core qualities of AOR - the glossy production, the soaring vocals, the ballads soaked in synth washes, the lighter-raising qualities of every single song - you know, these are basically all that keeps AOR afloat, and thus as appealing as they are, luckily for their fans, Strangeways never tried (at this point) to steer away.

CD 4: And The Horse (1994)
1. Precious Time
2. Mans Maker
3. Out Of The Blue
4. Through The Wire
5. The Great Awakening
6. Wonder How
7. Head On
8. Some Of Us Lie
9. Over You
10. On

Here on their 1994 album, and as noted in the intro, much like the AOR band FM, Strangeways also moved away from AOR to blues rock. And like FM they lost most of their popularity and anything that made them special, sadly.

Once again featuring ten tracks solely written by the brilliant lead guitarist Ian J. Stewart, the album is a veritable smorgasbord of rhythms and melodies, opening with the funk rock of Precious Time and the slow Southern crawl of Mans Maker, before heading into the languishing balladry of Out of The Blue and later tracks such as the gently countrified balladry of Wonder How, the wavering imminence of Some Of Us Lie, closing on the stillness within On.

Official 4CD Purchase Link

Title - The Learning Tree
Artist - Mike Ian

For those not in the know, Mike Ian announces his return to original vocal music, bringing a new, large-scale, progressive sound to fans with the release of his next album, The Learning Tree.

Now available, the new record brings back vocal elements not heard since his 2010 release, Puzzle Pieces.

Multi-instrumentalist, Ian recorded all the instruments and vocals for The Learning Tree in his studio, Eyeball Studios, in Cinnaminson, NJ casually spanning as far back as 2004 onward.

Upon deciding to finally complete this massive project this year, freshly recorded drums and vocals were added to complete the project and give it its final touches.

The Learning Tree is composed of 9 tracks each of which is an epic adventure within themselves. The opening title, A Pirate’s Dream, conjures up the thrill of the pirate life in the deep seas, and the adventures and dangers of the nautical, seafaring life.

While Something More Nothing Less questions why love must be earned and fought for to have its rightful presence. The CD was mastered by Tom Volpicelli at The Mastering House, PA. Artwork for the project was done by Mike’s daughter, Ivy.

1. A Pirate’s Dream
2. Happily Ever After
3. Cast In Stone
4. Hereafter
5. Next Stop Anywhere
6. Saved
7. Letter From Home
8. Something More Nothing Less
9. Shine On

This quite stunningly opulent, atmospherically-charged new album opens on the beautifully crafted A Pirate’s Dream and the Celtic-imbued Happily Ever After and then follows those with the gently melodic AOR of Cast In Stone, the mid-tempo, uplifting balladry of Hereafter and then comes the acoustically-driven Next Stop Anywhere.

Up next is one of my own favorites, the rhythmically-prosperous Saved which is in turn backed seamlessly by the enthused storytelling within Letter From Home, the album rounding out on the quieter tones, at times, plushly euphoric at others within Something More Nothing Less, coming to an all too soon close on the balladry of Shine On.

Lyrics always eluded Mike for completion of this project. The music has such a grand quality about it. And to put lyrics to match such a project was proving difficult. A few phrases were sporadically laid out amongst the tunes in the early infancy years.

And a few phrases stuck. But the project lay dormant for years until lyrical inspiration would come to complete this massive music project. But for Mike, the lyrical inspiration never did come.

Finally, collaborating with lyricist “Troy Raleigh,” Troy brought life to The Learning Tree with his poetic, and explorative lyrics. The words fit seamlessly and take the listener on a spiritual journey of reflection, inspiration, exploration, salvation, and love.

Watch the Official The Learning Tree Promo Video Here!

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Title - Two Rivers
Artist - John Sloman

For those not in the know, former Uriah Heep, Gary Moore Band, and Lone Star front man John Sloman has just released a rather fascinating video for his new single This River Is A Time Machine, taken from his brand new new solo album Two Rivers (out now via Red Steel Music label).

Gifted with a multi-octave vocal range and also a multi-instrumentalist musician, John Sloman is a renaissance man with a singular musical vision brought to mesmeric life on his magnificent new solo album.

As a personal record, Two Rivers documents John’s journey from his childhood home city of Cardiff to treading the well-beaten path to London and his encounters in the music business fronting major headline bands.

Two Rivers is a compelling cocktail of songwriting that blends crucial chapters of John’s life in song and verse. In essence, Two Rivers is a distillation of his eclectic musical progress from Lone Star to Uriah Heep, his adventures with UFO and The Gary Moore Band and his Todd Rundgren produced debut solo album Disappearances Can Be Deceptive.

Adopting Cardiff’s River Taff and London’s River Thames as metaphors, John’s stream of consciousness observations pour forth from his deep well of memories. Populated with sublime songs wrapped around sharply observed personal postcards of a remarkable life Two Rivers simply has to be heard to be believed.

1. Two Rivers
2. This River Is a Time Machine
3. Caerdydd (City on the River)
4. Scenes from An Old Biscuit Tin
5. From the Taff to the Thames
6. Londinium
7. Blackweir
8. When I Go Home
9. Rest in Peace (For Sylvy)
10. Charing Cross Moon
11. 70s Sunday
12. Walking Along the Taff
13. The Last Coalminer
14. Farewell to London Town

This soundtrack to a life less ordinary (where most all tracks have a spoken word intro) opens with the title track’s prophetic opening lines: Two rivers flow through my mind - the one I see before me and the one I left behind," and continues onward with the Eastern-imbibed rhythms of This River Is a Time Machine, the euphoric storytelling within Caerdydd (City on the River), tambourine-laden, hurdy gurdy ambiance of Scenes from An Old Biscuit Tin, the harmonica-driven, fist-clenched From the Taff to the Thames and then we get the theatrically-charged Londinium and the balladry of Blackweir.

Next up is the personal heartbeat felt within the gently frenetic When I Go Home and the languishing gossamer of Rest in Peace (For Sylvy) and they are in turn backed by the troubadour-inspired urgency of heed within Charing Cross Moon, the flashback blues within 70s Sunday, the rhythmically melodical Walking Along the Taff, the album rounding out on the operatic The Last Coalminer, closing on the instrumentally acoustic, yet scattered with vocalized sentiment Farewell to London Town.

As John says, The River Taff and the River Thames have come to personify this unrelenting tug of love I have experienced for most of my adult life. I left the one with a spring in my youthful step. But with so many of those who once walked beside me now gone to that great river in the sky, I regret all the days I was away. This album is for them - and for those of you still being torn in two by your own two rivers.

This memorial theme is taken further on the new single This River Is A Time Machine that explores the memory bank simile of these constant yet fluid and life-giving channels delivered with a heartfelt passion by John.

Revisiting his childhood on the song Scenes From An Old Biscuit Tin, John explains the song’s inspiration: On school mornings, as I ate my porridge, I would lose myself in images of Elizabethan London adorning the family biscuit tin, while dreaming that I might one day, go there - London, that is.

And going to London is exactly what John did, which he superbly documents on Londinium and Charing Cross Moon, and achieving a substantial measure of success in doing so that established him as a major player in the late 70s and 1980s rock music scene and his continuing solo career.

There is a pleasant surprise in store for fans of John Sloman with the Avant-garde nature running right through this record. Think experimental Frank Zappa and late-period Scott Walker meeting the acoustic elements of Led Zeppelin and your imagination will be stoked by the captivating contents of this unique and exceptional album.

Two single releases This River Is A Time Machine followed by The Last Coalminer have non-album B sides and both are accompanied by videos for each single release.

A compilation of John’s solo works, Conspectus, will follow on from the release of Two Rivers as will a remastered series of John’s solo albums.

John Sloman @ Soundcloud

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Title - A Night at the Rhythm Room
Artist - Until The Sun

For those not in the know, rocking blues band Until The Sun’s new live album, A Night at the Rhythm Room, was recorded January 13th, 2022 at the historic blues venue.

The Rhythm Room, one of the last of the remaining old school blues clubs in the country, proved a fantastic stage to record the show.

The band recorded ten songs consisting mostly of new material and as an added bonus the album has two covers, the Etta James classic At Last, and the Led Zeppelin tune, Whole Lotta Love.

The band gave a hard-hitting soulful performance that night that all the members were happy with. Larry Elyea at Minds Eye Studio recorded and engineered the show and the album was mixed and mastered at Minds Eye Studio. The show was filmed as well as recorded and the video will be released to YouTube when the album is out.

Until The Sun features Brandon Teskey on lead guitar, Bruce Jensen on bass guitar, Chris Tex on drums, and Alyssa Swartz on vocals.

1. Battle Cray
2. The 4th Turning
3. Hell Of A Thing
4. Death In Disguise
5. Diamonds In The Dust
6. Unborn
7. At Last
8. Arisen
9. Burning Home
10. Whole Lotta Love

In a live show that only features one already-known track of theirs, the remainder all originals or the two aforementioned covers, they open with the throaty, euphoric funky blues within Battle Cry and the rocking balladry, one minute, wailing guitar breaks the next of The 4th Turning and back those up with the Hendrix-imbibed beauty Hell Of A Thing, the heartfelt blues AOR of Death In Disguise and then comes the fuzzy, yet elegantly reaching guitar work that lovingly embodies and guides Diamonds In The Dust.

Up next is a right royal doozy in the form of the emotively languishing blues reach of Unborn and a simply breathtaking, and original cover of Etta Jane’s At last, and they are in turn followed by the slung low blues crawl of Arisen, the album rounding out on the slow blues song, Burning Home (first released off their second album, Drowning in Blue), coming to a most righteous close on their feisty, and quietly reworked rendition of Led Zeppelin’s Whole Lotta Love.

Says Brandon, “The show that was filmed nearly didn’t happen. There were dozens of factors working against us. Up to just days prior we were unsure if the recording would actually take place, while the whole time we were practicing more intensely than ever before. I was almost in disbelief when it did happen. But the show that was captured went great.”

“The album consists of mostly new material and I think it’s the best thing we’ve done. It’s a great snapshot of our live sound. We wanted a live album with mostly new material, like Hendrix did with the Band of Gypsys. Something that stood alone as a piece of work instead of a live version of previously released songs. Overall I think it’s the best material we’ve ever put out.”

Chris adds, “Playing the Rhythm Room during the COVID pandemic was a once in a lifetime event, as well as energizing since music has been therapy for so many people during these trying times. I was impressed by the sound quality and the energy we captured in our live show! I feel like the recording certainly captured our raw and powerful blues rock sound!”

Alyssa concludes, “My favorite thing in the world is to perform in front of a live audience. It was so exciting to be out playing our hearts out for everyone who came out!”

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Until The Sun @ ReverbNation

Title - Sex Pistols: The Original Recordings [2LP]
Artist - Sex Pistols

For those unaware, for the first time in over 20 years, 20 of the Sex Pistol’s recordings from 1976 to 1978 are collected together to tell the story of one of the world’s most influential and extraordinary bands.

Sex Pistols: The Original Recordings (UMe) covers a historic period when the band were rarely out of the news or the charts and will be available on double vinyl, CD and limited edition double transparent green vinyl.

The Sex Pistols left the British Establishment shaking when they exploded onto the music scene, kick-starting what later became known as punk - a term the band were never comfortable with. Young people ripped up not just their musical forebears but their social ones too and Sex Pistols were the snarling, ferocious figurehead of the revolution.

They made one perfect, 40-minute album for the ages in 1977’s Never Mind The Bollocks and from its artwork to the individual players, the attitude and music - every bit of it influenced the world we live in today.

The record is frequently listed as one of the most influential albums of all time with musicians from Joy Division / New Order to Kurt Cobain, Noel Gallagher, Green Day, to YUNGBLUD all citing them as key inspiration.

And this was not just musically, punk showed that anyone could create and many took the hint across fashion, art and design and more.

Side A:
1. Pretty Vacant
2. God Save The Queen
3. Bodies
4. No Feelings
5. I Wanna Be Me

Side B:
6. Anarchy In The UK
7. Submission
8. No Fun
9. (I’m Not Your) Stepping Stone
10. Holidays In The Sun

Side C:
11. New York
12. Problems
13. Lonely Boy
14. Silly Thing
15. Something Else

Side D:
16. C’Mon Everybody
17. Satellite
18. Did You No Wrong
19. Substitute
20. My Way

This still brilliantly vivacious, and highly-charged vinyl collection from the Sex Pistols - that not only charts their successful chart period along with other key singles, also includes essential tracks from Never Mind The Bollocks, further originals and covers from The Great Rock & Roll Swindle soundtrack album, and even some essential B- sides - opens with a riff so simple, so evocative and yet which still stands the test of musical time, Pretty Vacant, and then comes their anthemic song that had so much power and relevance for those times, God Save the Queen.

Released as a benefit track to the Fireman who were out on strike at that time in 1977 - and with a cake-filled video that has to be seen to be believed - Bodies was a song about the British working class being persecuted and oppressed beyond toleration and that is backed by the heavily-laden, wicked humor, satire and sarcasm within No Feelings, the first side of this double vinyl set rounding out on I Wanna Be Me (where Jones’s guitar sound was surely showcased as being the heaviest of the early punk bands).

The second side opens with the thunderous track that sums up the anger of a generation perfectly at that time (and maybe even still does today) Anarchy In The UK and then we get the rhythmically melodic Submission, the immense raw energy of the Stooges’ No Fun, the ferociously exuberant (I’m Not Your) Stepping Stone (a cover of The Monkees track that shattered the expectations of a listening journalistic world), and then this side rounds out on the cataclysmic birth of rock and roll within Holidays In The Sun.

The third side of this wondrous double vinyl opens on the New York Dolls referenced, and criminally underrated and seldom heard monster New York and that is followed by the true punk sounds within Problems, the soon-to-be emo-influencing, Jones-sung track Lonely Boy, and then we get a lovely gem in Silly Things (written by drummer Paul Cook and guitarist Steve Jones, recorded after Rotten had left the band, and sung by Jones), the side rounding out on the Sid Vicious-sung rock and roll beauty, Something Else (from the album Sid Sings).

The fourth and final side opens on the beautiful middle finger raised up at the world that constantly moved toward the average, bland and mediocre, Vicious’ cover of Eddie Cochran’s C’Mon Everybody and that is backed seamlessly by the massively underrated Pistols classic, Satellite, a track less punk and more mainstream ’70s hard rock, Did You No Wrong, and then we get their fiercely beautiful cover of The Who’s Substitute, the entire collection coming to a close on a stirringly-unnerving cover of Frank Sinatra’s My Way (which showcased the fact that, perhaps, Vicious was surprisingly a better singer than bass player!)

Their 1977 single “God Save the Queen” was banned by the BBC and reached Number 1 on the U.K.’s NME chart, but appeared at Number 2 on the Official U.K. Singles chart, leading to accusations that the song was purposely kept off the top spot. For the only time in chart history, the track was listed as a blank, to avoid offense to the establishment.

The collection soundtracks the period and features key singles “Anarchy In The UK,” “God Save The Queen,” “Pretty Vacant” and “Holidays In The Sun,” essential tracks from Never Mind The Bollocks, further originals and covers from The Great Rock & Roll Swindle soundtrack album and some essential B- sides in “I Wanna Be Me” (the flip side of “Anarchy…”), “Satellite” (the b-side of “Holidays In The Sun”) and “Did You No Wrong” (from “God Save The Queen”).

Sex Pistols - God Save The Queen Revisited [Official Video]

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Title - Neurotic Outsiders: Expanded Edition
Artist - Neurotic Outsiders

Let’s be honest, when former Sex Pistol STEVE JONES joined a pick up band for a benefit concert for a cancer-stricken friend at LA’s notorious Viper Room back in the mid ’90s, he probably had no clue that the lineup he’d choose would result in a full blown record deal with Madonna’s Maverick Records for $1million.

And so what started out as a random mishmash of his musician friends - JOHN TAYLOR (Duran Duran) and DUFF McKAGAN and MATT SORUM (Guns N’ Roses) - and a Monday night residency at the infamous club quickly turned into the supergroup NEUROTIC OUTSIDERS.

Together, they took all that power they possessed and channeled it into a self-titled debut which was originally released in 1996. Long out of print, Neurotic Outsiders is being re-released as an Expanded Edition, containing all the tracks from the album plus their rare Japanese–only EP. It will be released on June 3rd, 2022 via Boston-based Supermegabot Records.

“We all were in these high-profile, high maintenance bands with very little actual playing. With Neurotic Outsiders, things felt completely loose,” laughs Taylor of the ragtag nature of the band.

Originally starting out as cover band that hosted a wide array of surprise guests including Simon LeBon, Billy idol, Izzy Stradlin, Chrissie Hynde, Ian Astbury, Sporty Spice Mel C, Iggy Pop, Brian Setzer, and Slash, the band’s own internal chemistry between its four members was so apparent that soon Neurotic Outsiders was born.

As more and more of Jones’ post-Sex Pistols originals started making their way into their sets, the band began embracing the new material. Comprised of no frills, guitar-drenched, cracking rock n’ roll tunes, most of the originals were unheard material leftover from Jones’ Sex Pistols/Professionals days. “He [Jones] gave me the tape of his songs and it became my favorite tape,” recalls McKagan. “It sounded like 1979 English punk rock with an American feel. It was rockin’. It was heavy. Jonesy wrote the coolest pop.”

Pulling in Talking Heads’ Jerry Harrison to harness its power, the self-titled debut was chock full of songs that reveled in the rock n’ roll excess of yore which New York Times characterized as pure Hollywood, honestly, and comfortably vulgar and Details called crude punk rock.

1. Nasty Ho
2. Always Wrong
3. Angelina
4. Good News
5. Better Way
6. Feelings Are Good
7. Revolution
8. Jerk
9. Union
10. Janie Jones
11. Story Of My Life
12. Six Feet Under
13. Seattle Head
14. Spanish Ballroom
15. Planet Earth
16. Jerk (Clean Version)

This quite stunningly bravado laden and atmospherically-charged expanded edition of the (to me, anyways) always excellent debut album perfectly showcases the fact that as grunge - and its vague angst and politics - fizzled out in the mid-’90s, Neurotic Outsiders stepped to the fore and together with their combined spirit tried their hardest to stem the musical tide that they were already knee deep in.

A lot closer to poseurs and then players of the decade’s rap scene, their odes to nasty sex and bad women are here actually tinged with tongue-in-cheek camp. Combined with a quite fabulous rhythm section, John Taylor’s hyperkenetic bass lines paired with Sorum’s machine-gun drums are a treat for the ears from start to finish.

Indeed, McKagan and Jones turn in surprising above average guitar work throughout and all members do a respectable job sharing vocal duties; which is a rare even these days for supergroups, in general.

Of course, a punk album born in the Viper Room sports some in-your-face lyrics about sex in all its rock and roll forms. Jerk is so obnoxious it’s impossible to dislike it where as Angelina is a slightly campy stripper-wants-to-escape romp with big-’80s guitar and a disarmingly catchy chorus about, well, the leading lady being the queen of misdemeanors, et al.

Whether it’s sex, drugs, or music, every track has a dark undercurrent, giving a surprising bit of depth to the record. Revolution, Good News (the bad news is your dying/the good news is I’m alive), and Six Feet Under are frenetic, anthemic, mixes of punk and GnR style hard rock.

In truth, Jones’ song writing talents are intriguing. Better Way, a rolling power ballad, is an astute meditation on going and staying straight, and finding fulfillment whereas Union recounts the rise and fall of the Sex Pistols.

Fittingly, the band nods to their collective musical past with a superb, fiery cover of the Clash’s Janie Jones and here on the brilliantly expanded edition, listening to Taylor’s, at first spoken word and then full on vocalization of Duran Duran’s Planet Earth just adds a renegade salty/sweetness to the whole thing.

So, and even though it’s already been 16 years since its original release, this Expanded Edition of their self-titled album Neurotic Outsiders not only includes the original remastered album, but now adds four b-sides from a rare Japan-only EP.

Meaning, that if there are any fans missing punk, pre-grunge hard rock, or the musicianship of any of the bands that fed into Neurotic Outsiders, it is now time to reintroduce yourself back into their musical orbit, my friends.

So yeah, just as the band was starting to gather steam, each of the band members were - one by one - pulled away when their previously inactive bands started reforming again, leaving prospects of a continuation of Neurotic Outsiders swept away in the Viper Room’s evening detritus.

Had they stuck together, it might have re-energized Jones to continue making music. But as it stands, this currently stands as his final album (he is, by admission, “quite lazy”).

“I am proud of that album,” smiles Jones through a sepia-toned lens. “This is one album I really do like. I like the songwriting. I like the production and I like the way it’s played. We had a fun time making that record and I think it could’ve done well if we’d all been around to give it a proper push.”

Neurotic Outsiders - Jerk (Official Video)

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Title - Watertown [Deluxe Edition CD]
Artist - Frank Sinatra

For those not in the know, the legacy of Frank Sinatra – one of the world’s most enduring, beloved and revered singers – includes a studio album no one anticipated: Watertown.

Recorded in 1969 and released in 1970, the concept of Watertown unfolds as a personal tragedy about a working man with children whose wife suddenly leaves him. Sinatra’s performance elicits sadness, defeat and forlornness.

Ultimately, as Sinatra so wonderfully expresses, it’s also a story about one man’s resilience.

On June 3rd, Frank Sinatra Enterprises and UMe present Watertown, newly mixed and remastered from the original Reprise session tapes resulting in superior sound quality.

The original album sequence will be available on vinyl, while the CD and digital editions will feature eight bonus tracks, including alternate takes from the recording sessions, two radio ads and Lady Day, which was not part of the Watertown concept.

Charles Pignone produced the updated edition from the new mixes created by longtime Sinatra engineer Larry Walsh – the team behind recent FSE/UMe releases Sings for Only the Lonely and Nice ‘N’ Easy.

1. Watertown
2. Goodbye (She Quietly Says)
3. For A While
4. Michael & Peter
5. I Would Be In Love (anyway)
6. Elizabeth
7. What A Funny Girl (You Used To Be)
8. What’s Now Is Now 10. The Train
11. Lady Day* [Bonus Track]
12. Lady Day (11/7/69)* [Bonus Track]
13. Watertown (Session Take)* [Bonus Track]
14. Goodbye (Session Take)* [Bonus Track]
15. The Train (Session Take)* [Bonus Track]
16. Lady Day (11/7/69) (Session Take)* [Bonus Track]
17. 1970 Reprise Radio Promo #1* [Bonus Track]
18. 1970 Reprise Radio Promo #2* [Bonus Track]

As paid mention to, this beautifully crafted album of unique and exquisite storytelling and scene setting from the great man was, perhaps, one of his most ambitious concept albums, as well as his most difficult to record, one imagines.

For not only does it tell a full-fledged story, it is his most explicit attempt at rock-oriented pop. Since the main composer of Watertown is Bob Gaudio, the author of the Four Seasons’ hits Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You, Walk Like a Man, and Big Girls Don’t Cry, that doesn’t come as a surprise.

With Jake Holmes, Gaudio created a song cycle concerning a middle-aged, small-town man whose wife left him with the kids. Constructed as a series of brief lyrical snapshots that read like letters or soliloquies, the culminating effect of the songs is an atmosphere of loneliness, but it is a loneliness without much hope or romance; it is the sound of a broken man.

Producer Charles Calello arranged musical backdrops that conveyed the despair of the lyrics. Weaving together prominent electric guitars, keyboards, drum kits, and light strings, Calello uses pop/rock instrumentation and production techniques, but that doesn’t prevent Sinatra from warming to the material.

In fact, he turns in a wonderful performance, drawing out every emotion from the lyrics, giving the album’s character depth throughout, allowing us, the vicarious bystander, the opportunity with each passing track to grow more and more attached to his centralized character.

And so with Sinatra’s vocals noticeably affected by age and his social circles, to put it politely, here on Watertown we get some of his best, most heartfelt, and soothingly dramatic performances, where all of the above brought forth a quite mesmerizing, and some might say perfect cocktail of expressively sung melancholy.

Now appreciated as a masterpiece of drama and heartbreak, Watertown will also feature, in addition to a recreation of the original packaging, new liner notes, a track-by-track breakdown from songwriter and album producer Bob Gaudio, quotes from Sinatra, plus essays by Frankie Valli, co-writer Jake Holmes, among others who were involved in the original project.

All three formats – Watertown [LP] and Watertown: Deluxe Edition [CD + Digital] – are available for preorder here Siriusly Sinatra (SiriusXM Ch. 71) will air an exclusive Watertown special in May.

Upon Watertown’s release, fans and critics alike simply weren’t prepared for such a radical stylistic departure from Sinatra. But the album has shown resilience: Despite the initial lukewarm response, in the decades since the album has had a re-evaluation and, in 2007, The Guardian declared Watertown “one of [Sinatra’s] greatest masterpieces” and in 2015, The Observer noted that “it made some sense that Sinatra would attempt a story-driven concept album, considering he had helped pioneer the thematic concept LP in the 1950s. But on Watertown, Sinatra did something truly risky: he told an entire album-length story from the point of view of [a] character that is most definitely not Frank Sinatra.”

Gaudio’s essay explains that Sinatra, with a level of empathy only he could achieve, was “reaching down into a man’s soul and feeling his pain and still finding hope.”

Frank Sinatra - I Would Be In Love (Anyway) (2022 Mix / Visualizer)

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Title - Painting the New Night
Artist - The Dye

For those not in the know, it was a big step for alternative rock group The Dye in their four-year journey from inception to this month’s release of their debut album, Painting the New Night.

The sold-crowd at New York City’s Rockwood Music Hall erupted boisterously as guitarist-vocalist Bruno Arredondo and vocalist-keyboardist Eudora Ellis led the band in the premiere performance of the two singles released last month, “Clementine” and “Tantric Pace.”

The double single release set the stage for the WITHYN Records album produced and mixed by multi-time Grammy winner Damon Whittemore (Paul McCartney, Béla Fleck, Cécile McLorin Salvant, Arooj Aftab) slated to drop on June 10th, 2022.

The Dye paints sonic murals crafted from palettes of psychedelic color and dark gothic hues. Arredondo and Ellis wrote eleven songs for Painting the New Night, pairing their flair for incisive poetic lyricism with artful mélanges of sound constructed from vintage classic rock sensibilities, retro new wave nuances, post-punk edginess and bite, and avant-garde alternative rock.

Vibrant melodies and lush harmonies cascade, washing over tracks etched from gritty, grinding and gauzy guitar riffs and swirling swatches of keyboard atmospherics anchored by raw rhythmic basslines (Paul Ogunsalu) and punctually aggressive drum beats (Jared Pease and Eric Grajo). Tenor saxophonist Isak Gaines adds to the wall of sound.

1. “Sheet Of Flowers”
2. “Clementine”
3. “Tantric Pace”
4. “Helen”
5. “Full Moon”
6. “House Of The Fall”
7. “Pool Of Night”
8. “Summer”
9. “Colors Of The Universe”
10. “Town Of The Tower”
11. “Tuning The Wind”

This at all times pleasing musical extravaganza opens on the shimmering “Sheet Of Flowers” and then Arredondo sings lead on the psychedelically goth-tinged “Clementine,” a tune about love and surrealism, and they are in turn followed by the powerful vocals of front woman Ellis who herself helms the Grace Slick-esque rocker “Tantric Pace,” which tackles violence against women, the translucent, ’80s Cure-esque lure of “Helen” and then we get the rhythmic charms of “Full Moon” and the upbeat, Doors-esque “House Of The Fall.”

Next up is one of my own personal favorites on this vibrantly captivating new recording, the languishing beauty of “Pool Of Night” and the atmospherically-charged “Summer,” and they are backed seamlessly by the reverberating melodies within “Colors Of The Universe,” the early ’90s goth of “Town Of The Tower,” the album coming to an all too soon close on the Smiths-imbibed “Tuning The Wind.”

“There was an enormous amount of passion, devotion and positive intentions that went into creating each and every note of this work of art,” lead vocalist Ellis (and who plays synthesizers, organ, piano and tambourine on the recording) explains. “The album ignites sensory pathways that illuminate with vivid dreamlike landscapes of colors. ‘Painting the New Night’ is a journey into the labyrinth of the soul, finding new spaces, shades, tones, textures, shapes and shadows of sound.”

“The album invites one to embark on a sonic quest delving deep into psychedelic, cinematic alternative rock while traveling through themes of transformation, empowerment, release, innocence, mysticism, rebirth, love and healing.”

Arredondo and Ellis first met while studying at Berklee College of Music. Arredondo was allured by cinema, poetry and classic rock music, and he studied theater and filmmaking in London and New York. He found comfort in the studio composing and recording cinematic music.

Before Berklee, Ellis ventured into singing jazz, recording several albums in the genre. While in the UK, she turned down the invitation to join the British band Portishead.

Arredondo and Ellis linked up in New York City three years after graduating Berklee and decided to collaborate. It was at their third show together as The Dye in 2016 that provided confirmation of the creative magic that existed between them.

Audio engineer Richie Clarke (Herbie Hancock, Brian Eno) was one of the mesmerized audience members at that concert and he connected the band with Whittemore. Work began in earnest in the East Village at the famed Flux Studios with Clarke as part of the team.

Meanwhile, The Dye cultivated a following by becoming a staple on the Big Apple’s club circuit. They released the “Poem of Ride” EP three years ago, which was mastered by Grammy winner Joe LaPorta (David Bowie). The title track was selected as the best tune of the month on the national radio show Indie Music Countdown. The Dye was already a year into working on Painting the New Night when the EP streeted.

“Four years have passed and the experience of making Painting the New Night has been the most incredible of my artistic career so far. The entire process changed our lives as musicians completely. I can’t wait for the world to hear the album,” says Arredondo.

The Dye - “Tantric Pace” [Official Lyric Video]

Official Purchase Link

Official Website

The Dye @ Facebook

The Dye @ Instagram

The Dye @ Spotify

The Dye @ YouTube

Title - The Future Won’t Be Long:The Albums (1971-1973)
Artist - Spirogyra

For those unaware, Spirogyra was formed by duo Martin Cockerham and Mark Francis in Bolton in 1968, but the band expanded when Cockerham was a student in Canterbury at the end of 1969.

The expanded line-up featured Cockerham (guitar, vocals), Barbara Gaskin (lead vocals), Steve Borrill (bass) and Julian Cusack (violin, keyboards) and secured a contract with B&C Records in 1970.

The band’s impressive debut album, St Radigunds was issued in 1971 and featured guest drummer Dave Mattacks and Tony Cox on VCS3 Synthesiser.

In 1972 the band’s second album, Old Boot Wine, was released on the Pegasus label, a “progressive” imprint established by B&C. Prior to the recording of the album Mark Francis re- joined the group, and the sessions also saw contributions from guest musicians Dave Mattacks (drums), Julian Cusack (violin, keyboards), Rick Biddulph (mandolin), Alan Laing (cello).

With the demise of the Pegasus label, Spirogyra recorded their third album for Polydor, Bells, Boots & Shambles in 1973. By this time Spirogyra had become a core of Martin Cockerham (guitar, vocals) and Barbara Gaskin (lead vocals) with Steve Borrill (bass) and guest musicians Dave Mattacks (drums), Julian Cusack (violin, keyboards), Henry Lowther (trumpet), John Boyce (cello), Stan Sulzman (flute) and Steve Ashley (whistle).

Despite achieving critical praise, Spirogyra failed to enjoy commercial success which ultimately led to their demise. The trio of albums the band recorded between 1971 and 1973 featured music of innovation and originality and are arguably beyond classification. They remain highly regarded and are sought after by collectors and aficionados of the Progressive era.

This brand new 3CD collection The Future Won’t Be Long:The Albums (1971-1973) (out June 24th, 2022 via Esoteric Recordings) features four bonus tracks recorded during sessions for Old Boot Wine and the 1973 single release I Hear You’re Going Somewhere (Joe Really).

CD 1: St Radigunds (1971)
1. The Future Won’t Be Long
2. Island
3. Magical Mary
4. Captain’s Log
5. At Home In The World
6. Cogwheels, Crutches And Cyanide
7. Time Will Tell
8. We Were A Happy Crew
9. Love Is A Funny Thing
10. The Duke Of Beaufoot

In truth, this is a welcome return for Spirogyra, one of the more intriguing bands of the early ’70s. As aforementioned, the quartet of singer/guitarist/songwriter Martin Cockerham, singer Barbara Gaskin, violinist/keyboardist Julian Cusack, and bassist Steve Borrill were obviously short a member, with future Fairport Convention drummer Dave Mattacks coming on board for the recording of St. Radigunds, the group’s debut album.

The group’s sound was unusual, with Cockerham’s brittle, almost adenoidal vocals counterpointed by Gaskin’s crystalline tones. Musically, too, the band members played their instruments off against each other, with soaring, sometimes searing violin rocketing around strummed guitar and striking keyboard work.

Stylistically, Spirogyra were determined to clash genres as well, and although much of their sound was grounded in folk-rock, Spirogyra interlaced it with proggier elements and psychedelic leanings. Thus they never quite fit comfortably into the contemporary Canterbury scene, into which they were often lumped, and effectively drew in a much more diverse audience.

This eclectic approach was also reflected in the lyrics, heard in the working man’s view of WWII and its aftermath on the strident The Future Won’t Be Long and the -isms that infect Time Will Tell, notable in the acid-drenched imagery of Magical Mary, and found in the poetry-laced lyrics of Island.

With occasional use of unusual rhythms, intriguing blends of styles, innovative arrangements, and lyrics to ponder, St. Radigunds had it all, and quickly established Spirogyra as one of the most creative and innovative groups of the day.

CD 2: Old Boot Wine (1972)
1. Dangerous Dave
2. Van Allen’s Belt
3. Runaway
4. Grandad
5. Wings Of Thunder
6. World’s Eyes
7. Don’t Let It Get You 8. Disraeli’s Problem
9. A Canterbury Tale
10. Counting The Cars [Bonus track]
11. Window [Bonus track]
12. Turn Again Lane [Bonus track]
13. Melody Maker Man [Bonus track]

Although a couple of relatively big names were on this record (Barbara Gaskin, who’d collaborate with Dave Stewart for the number one British single It’s My Party in the early ’80s, and Fairport Convention drummer Dave Mattacks), sadly, it’s not a notable endeavor.

Martin Cockenham offers some not-bad wizened singer/songwriter ballads in a mellow but worn style, and Wings of Thunder has a fairly effective injection of pop into the folk-rock core, though the male-female dual vocals seem to be in need of retakes.

But there’s just not that much to hang onto in the ordinary material, and the lead vocals are much worse when handled by the male singers and not by Gaskin, in my humble opinion (although, the fact that there are now five bonus tracks added does make this a sought after fan must-have, of course).

CD 3: Bells, Boots & Shambles (1973)
1. The Furthest Point
2. Old Boot Wine
3. Parallel Lines Never Separate
4. Spiggly
5. An Everyday Consumption Song
6. The Sergeant Says
7. In The Western World
1) In the Western World
2) Jungle Lore
3) Coming Back
4) Western World (reprise)
8. I Hear You’re Going Somewhere (Joe Really) (A-Side of single) [Bonus Track]

This was their third and final album, and (once again) it is distinguished by Gaskin’s flitting vocals and Cockerham’s madcap delivery. At times, their tendency to drift resembles the Incredible String Band with Gaskin being the equivalent of Robin Williamson.

Spirogyra rocks with considerably more regularity than ISB but they’re equally esoteric, nevertheless. Cockerham even does a convincing imitation of Hunky Dory-era David Bowie on The Sergant Says, and his manic side is most evident in the middle passage of the three-part epic In the Western World. This is a difficult album to classify and was as problematic to promote, given its conspicuous absence in the U.S. market.

Official 3CD Purchase Link

Title - Don’t Know
Artist - Claudio Scolari Project

For those not in the know, the Claudio Scolari Project releases its sixth album Don’t Know this month and it is yet another wondrous journey into jazz experimentation inspired by images and emotions on which the artists create a completely improvised soundtrack.

Drummer, composer, percussionist, teacher at the conservatory and member of the most prestigious symphonic orchestras of Italy, Claudio Scolari is the founder of this modern jazz music project.

He has been the guide of this new original music and he always had the ability to involve and inspire his musicians so as to draw out the best of their musical expression.

His compositional process starts with building the synthesizers, adding then rhythmic grooves and colors with percussion, drums and adding ornamental lines using piano, Electric Bass and trumpet.

The album features Claudio Scolari on drums/synth programming, Daniele Cavalca on drums/live synths/rhodes/piano, Simone Scolari on trumpet and finally Michele Cavalca on electric bass (the new entry of the project who turned the trio into a quartet).

1. Siculiana (6:15)
2. Binary Code (6:02)
3. E-Walzer (2:43)
4. Goose Bumps (6:09)
5. Don’t Know (6:01)
6. Fireworks (5:38)
7. Wet Sand (6:09)
8. Underground Wave (5:42)
9. Sentimentale (6:12)
10. Night Moon (6:58)
11. Cold Water (4:34)

This at all times organically crafted, heartfelt and musically sumptuous new album opens on the pleasing rhythms of Siculiana and the veritably shimmering Binary Code and they are followed by the stuttered swagger of E-Walzer, the electronically-charged, adroit perkiness of Goose Bumps, before we get the translucent, late night ambiance of stillness within the title track, Don’t Know.

The aptly-named Fireworks, which builds gradually throughout, tantalizing and teasing as it does, is up next and is backed by the free flowing majesties of the triumphant Wet Sand, and then we get some pronounced melodical methodology within Underground Wave, the rhythmic hipsway within Sentimentale, the album rounding out on the alluringly atmospheric Night Moon, closing on the modulated electronic beats of Cold Water.

Official Purchase Link

Official Website

Claudio Scolari Project @ Facebook

Claudio Scolari Project @ Instagram

Claudio Scolari Project @ Twitter

Title - Siren [Remastered 180g]
Artist - Roxy Music

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

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

Roxy Music’s Siren, their fifth studio album was released in 1975 and produced the singles Both Ends Burning, and Love Is the Drug, which became their highest-charting single reaching #30 on the Hot 100.

In truth, it is a highly luxurious and totally captivating offering from Roxy Music that draws you in closer with each listen.

This vinyl reissue is mastered at half-speed and cut by Miles Showell at Abbey Road Studios. It also features revised artwork with a gloss laminated finish [Half-Speed LP].

Side A:
1. Love Is the Drug
2. End of the Line
3. Sentimental Fool
4. Whirlwind

Side B:
1. She Sells
2. Could It Happen to Me?
3. Both Ends Burning
4. Nightingale
5. Just Another High

Abandoning the intoxicating blend of art rock and glam-pop that distinguished Stranded and Country Life, Roxy Music concentrate on Bryan Ferry’s suave, charming crooner persona for the elegantly modern Siren.

As the disco-fied opener Love Is the Drug makes clear, Roxy embrace dance and unabashed pop on Siren, weaving them into their sleek, arty sound. It does come at the expense of their artier inclinations, which is part of what distinguished Roxy, but the end result is captivating nonetheless.

Lacking the consistently amazing songs of its predecessor, Siren has a thematic consistency that works in its favor, and helps elevate its best songs - Sentimental Fool, Both Ends Burning, Just Another High - as well as the album itself into the realm of classics.

Indeed, some detractors may be put off by the direction taken by the band on this release, but they simply cannot ignore the art that lies within the grooves of Siren.

There may be some pop hooks here and there in place of the experimentation from previous Roxy releases, but this is still a strong effort thanks to some great performances and melodic songwriting.

And lest we forget that Ferry’s vocals and lyrics are pure, unadulterated magic. Manzanera’s guitar is the stuff legends. Mackay, Thompson, Gustafson proves their skilled musicianship marries well to Ferry’s style. And, of course, Edwin Jobson’s incredible work with the keyboards, strings, and synthesizers make this band what they were.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Official Website

Official Bryan Ferry LP Reissues Purchase Link

Roxy Music @ Facebook

Roxy Music @ Instagram

Roxy Music @ YouTube

Roxy Music @ Twitter

Title - Manifesto [Remastered 180g]
Artist - Roxy Music

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

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

In 1979, Roxy Music released Manifesto, almost four years since the last album, and with it brought one of the band’s biggest hits - the second single and disco tinged, Dance Away - and was a Top 10 selling single of 1979.

Each Roxy Music album has been Re-Issued with a fresh Half-Speed cut by Miles Showell at Abbey Road Studios, London.

To reflect the audio, all eight of the Roxy Music studio albums have had their artwork revised and with a gloss laminated finish so that each album is not just a record it’s a piece of art.

This vinyl reissue is mastered at half-speed and cut by Miles Showell at Abbey Road Studios. [Half-Speed LP].

Side A [East Side]:
1. Manifesto
2. Trash
3. Angel Eyes
4. Still Falls The Rain
5. Stronger Through The Years

Side B [West Side]:
1. Ain’t That So
2. My Little Girl
3. Dance Away
4. Cry, Cry, Cry
5. Spin Me Round

Returning to action after four years of solo projects, Roxy Music redefined its sound and agenda on Manifesto. More than ever, Roxy sounds like Bryan Ferry’s backing band, as the group strips away its art rock influences, edits out the instrumental interludes in favor of concise pop songs, and adds layers of stylish disco rhythms.

Furthermore, this new Roxy Music sounded something like the old Roxy Music split in half: strange on the East Side, seductive on the West Side. (The album is broken into an East and West side, which suggests the band was broken into two camps, and maybe they were).

The opening title track Manifesto starts out as a weird instrumental and then gets an intentionally flat and sour reading from Bryan Ferry. As it turns out, the title track is more of a red herring than a red revolution.

And although, in parts, the songwriting is distressingly inconsistent, there are a number of wonderful moments on the record, particularly in the sighing Angel Eyes and the heartbroken Dance Away.

To my mind, a wholly underrated Roxy album, the idea here was to embrace the new wave movement without losing the Roxy Music sound. Watered down only a smidge, MacKay and Manzanera adopt a more modern approach. This was, after all, 1979.

They are too distinct to be buried (and co-wrote half the tracks), but Paul Thompson leaves his stamp on the album as well (even if other drummers are listed in the credits).

In my humble opinion, more enigmatic are the Eastern blocks, which haunt the record, such as Trash (which is by far the tastiest), the kin of such kinetic keepers as Pyjamarama and Street Life.

Still, and where trading sonic adventure for lush, accessible disco-pop isn’t entirely satisfactory, even if it is momentarily seductive, what is a fact is that the one true sleeper is the closing track Spin Me Round. Composed by Ferry, it is a slower tempo piece that is delicate and swirling and wholesomely beautiful.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Official Website

Official Bryan Ferry LP Reissues Purchase Link

Roxy Music @ Facebook

Roxy Music @ Instagram

Roxy Music @ YouTube

Roxy Music @ Twitter

Title - Stars: The Best Of 1992-2002 [2LP]
Artist - The Cranberries

The Cranberries rose to international fame in the 1990s with global smashes such as “Zombie,” “Dreams,” and “Linger” — collected here alongside tracks from their five albums for Island — plus two tracks unavailable on other albums, “New New York” and “Stars.”

The Cranberries debut album Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We? was released and charted at #1 on the UK album charts in March 1993. Their second and most commercially successful album No Need To Argue was released in October 1994 and stayed on the UK charts for 98 weeks after being certified multiple platinum, making the band global superstars.

In April 2019, The Cranberries released their eighth and final album, In The End, the vocals for which had been recorded by Dolores prior to her tragic passing in 2018. Guitarist Noel Hogan confirmed its release would honor her memory.

In The End reached top 10 in the UK, Ireland, Germany, France, Italy, and on the Billboard Independent Albums chart in the US. It was nominated for Best Rock Album at the 2020 Grammy Awards.

As aforementioned, The Cranberries Stars: The Best Of 1992-2002 newly-released 2LP collection (yes, audiophiles everywhere, that means it is now on a lush double vinyl set), featuring music from their rise to international fame alongside tracks from their five albums, plus two bonus songs, “New New York” and “Stars.”

Side A:
1. Dreams 2. Linger 3. Zombie 4. Ode To My Family 5. I Can’t Be With You

Side B:
1. Ridiculous Thoughts 2. Salvation 3. Free To DecideB 4. When You’re Gone 5. Hollywood

Side C:
1. Promises 2. Animal Instinct 3. Just My Imagination 4. You & Me 5. Analyse

Side D:
1. Time Is Ticking Out 2. This Is The Day 3. Daffodil Lament 4. New New York 5. Stars

For the Cranberries, assembling a best-of covering the first decade of their career meant compiling their singles in chronological order, which turns out to be a foolproof approach for a band that can be uneven over the course of a full-length album but has always managed to express itself well on the two-to-four catchiest cuts.

Indeed, Hollywood and You & Me were not singles chosen for release as such by the band, but they were put out in individual territories. From Dreams and the breakthrough hit Linger to the sometimes harder-rocking and more political efforts such as Zombie and Free to Decide, and on to more melodic songs later on, the singles (presented here in some cases in single versions or new edits to fit everything in) make a case for the Cranberries as one of the major international rock bands of the ’90s.

The Cranberries music, like a lot of Irish music, spends a lot of time reminiscing about the past, how life has been going, and how it will be. Some of the observations are melancholy, some are astute, some are humorous.

If you just want some background music to listen to as you relax and read a book or magazine, I would find something else for this kind of music is more astutely cultivated to listen to when you are feeling a wee bit down and need a consoling shoulder or a anthemic pick-me-up!

Also included is one album cut, Daffodil Lament from No Need to Argue (see lyric video below), said to have been an overwhelming fan choice as the one non-single inclusion, and two new songs, New New York and Stars.

In truth, New New York, in which lead singer and songwriter Dolores O’Riordan takes on the September 11 terrorist attacks, is a bit heavy-handed, as O’Riordan confesses that the subject is beyond her (“There’s nothing to say”) before settling for the anthemic statement, “They won’t tear us apart”.

Much better is Stars, one of the band’s more pop-sounding efforts. But the inclusion of the two songs is appropriate, as it shows the Cranberries continuing to pursue two tracks in their music, one a harder-edged, more political side, the other softer and more romantic.

The Cranberries - Daffodil Lament (Official Lyric Video)

Official Website

Official 2LP Purchase Links

Cranberries World @ Facebook

The Cranberries @ Instagram

The Cranberries @ YouTube

The Cranberries @ Twitter

Title - Licked Live In NYC [2CD]
Artist - The Rolling Stones

In 1964, The Rolling Stones arrived to absolute mayhem for their first show in NYC, after the release of their debut album The Rolling Stones. Having played New York City multiple times, at several venues, it was only fitting that in January 2003, as part of their 40th anniversary tour, they made it a point to return to New York’s most celebrated arena… Madison Square Garden.

The Rolling Stones’ 40-year celebration tour with the NYC crowd bearing witness to a razor-sharp performance is evidenced throughout this entire set.

On June 10th, 2022, Mercury Studios will proudly present Licked Live In NYC on DVD+2CD, SD Blu-ray+2CD, as well as a standalone 2CD and 3LP.

Originally released in 2003 as an HBO special and as part of the Four Flicks package, this concert has been fully restored and remastered with four previously unreleased songs: “Start Me Up”, “Tumbling Dice”, “Gimme Shelter”, and “Sympathy For The Devil.”

CD 1:
1. Intro 2. Street Fighting Man 3. Start Me Up* 4. If You Can’t Rock Me 5. Don’t Stop 6. Monkey Man 7. Angie 8. Let It Bleed 9. Midnight Rambler 10. Tumbling Dice* 11. Band Introductions 12. Thru And Thru 13. Happy [*Previously unreleased]

With this live recording perfectly capturing the adrenaline-pumped excitement - both on stage and from the crowd - and the pure, unfiltered energy that only the Stones’ proficient repertoire and body morphing stage antics ever could, the set is kicked off in some style with the pulsating psychedelia (complete with with creepy sitar chords and piano) of Street Fighting Man, one of my own personal favorites, and one where Charlie is the stoked engine of the Start Me Up locomotive, and the comes the duo of the vibrant If You Can’t Rock Me and the brilliant R&B pop rock of Don’t Stop.

The crazy lyrics embedded within Monkey Man make it yet another stand out highlight here and that is itself backed by the languishing beauty of Angie, the masterfully laid back blues, low key guitar and piano rock of Let It Bleed, the rhythmic blues, and Mick-driven harmonica of Midnight Rambler, a gently rambunctious, yet quintessential Stones turn on Tumbling Dice, and after some quick band introductions, the first disc rounds out on the emotional, Keith-sung Thru And Thru, and also carried by Keith’s riff and vocal, the vibrant Happy.

CD 2:
1. Gimme Shelter* 2. You Got Me Rocking 3. Can’t You Hear Me Knocking 4. Honky Tonk Women (with Sheryl Crow) 5. (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction 6. It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll (But I Like It) 7. When The Whip Comes Down 8. Brown Sugar 9. Sympathy For The Devil* 10. Jumpin’ Jack Flash [*Previously unreleased]

The second disc opens on one of the most memorable opening riffs of any tracks in the history of rock, the totally haunting Gimme Shelter which is then followed by the thunderous groove within You Got Me Rocking, and then we get the open-G tuned guitar intro by Keith on Can’t You Hear Me Knocking, one of the best drum sounds ever recorded on Honky Tonk Women (albeit this version also features, and even though she totally rocks it, a vocally husky Sheryl Crow), and then comes yet another incredibly iconic and fantastically built guitar riff on the pulsating (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.

Up next is yet another bow to the great Charlie Watts, the heartbeat of the world’s greatest rock ‘n’ roll band on the incredulously performed It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll (But I Like It) and then comes the seamless convergence of guitars between both Keith and Ronnie on When The Whip Comes Down, the cool sounds and riffs of Brown Sugar, this collection closing on the atmospherically-charged smoothness of Sympathy For The Devil and the monumental opening chords along with the magically masterful irruption of the devastating main riff on the truly spectacular Jumpin’ Jack Flash.

Joining Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood, and Charlie Watts were Darryl Jones (bass, backing vocals), Chuck Leavell (keyboards, backing vocals), Bobby Keys (saxophone), Bernard Fowler (backing vocals), Lisa Fischer (backing vocals), Blondie Chaplin (backing vocals, acoustic guitar/ percussion), Tim Ries(saxophone, keyboards), Kent Smith (trumpet), and Michael Davis (trombone) who set the Garden’s stage ablaze.

The addition of three bonus performances from Amsterdam and rehearsal footage gives an insider’s view of the Rolling Stones gearing up for this tour. The SD Blu-ray package includes the additional 51-minute documentary Tip Of The Tongue, which captures the conception and preparation of the Live Licks tour’s innovative three show / three venue approach.

Inspired to switch up venues on a nightly basis between arenas, ballrooms, or theaters, and setlists along with it, the band are captured preparing for this tour from the recording studio in Paris to the rehearsals in Toronto.

A dynamic performance delivered at one of the most celebrated of venues, Rolling Stones Licked Live In NYC showcases a landmark, celebratory moment in the lives of the world’s greatest rock ‘n’ roll band.

Official Purchase Link

Rolling Stones - Licked Live in NYC | Official Trailer The Rolling Stones - Don’t Stop (Licked Live in NYC) [Official Live Video]

Official Website

The Rolling Stones @ Facebook

The Rolling Stones @ Twitter

The Rolling Stones @ Instagram

The Rolling Stones @ YouTube

Title - American Rocker
Artist - Joe Bouchard

For those of you not in the know, Joe Bouchard is best known as a former member of Blue Öyster Cult. The original lineup sold millions of albums for Columbia Records, with such classic songs as “(Don’t Fear) the Reaper” and the #1 hit on the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart “Burning for You.” He contributed to songwriting and lead vocals on some of their greatest songs, such as “Hot Rails to Hell.”

Bouchard releases his brand new album American Rocker, and drops a new lyric video for the haunting track Deadly Kisses. Joe had this to say about the song, “Deadly Kisses is a song of young love and how it traps you. I sat down in a music room at a private boarding school and played a few odd chords. The opening lines and melody just came out.”

1. “My Way is the Highway”
2. “In the Golden Age”
3. “Deadly Kisses”
4. “Love Out of Thin Air”
5. “Off Season Hotel”
6. “Hounds of Hell”
7. “Conspiracy”
8. “Rocket to Fame”
9. “The Devil’s in the Details”
10. “Katherine”
11. “Hey There Suzi Dear”

This quite wondrously uplifting, vibrantly rocking new album opens on the rockin’ foot tapper “My Way is the Highway” and the melodic troubadour flashback of “In the Golden Age” and follow those up with the mehtodically-paced “Deadly Kisses,” the tension-filled “Love Out of Thin Air” and then comes the entwined Eastern-tinged rhythms within “Off Season Hotel.”

Up next on this album that sees Joe taking a look back at the heyday of the 70’s with BÖC, the atmospherically-charged “Hounds of Hell” and then the free flowing, joyously-crafted rocker “Conspiracy” and they are in turn backed by the rambunctious “Rocket to Fame,” the AOR of “The Devil’s in the Details,” the album rounding out on the ’60s-imbibed duo of “Katherine” and the fervent rock/pop of “Hey There Suzi Dear.”

American Rocker sees the return of Mickey Curry (Bryan Adams, Hall and Oates, Alice Cooper) on drums, and sees Bouchard taking a look back at the heyday of the ‘70’s with BÖC on tracks like “In the Golden Age,” and “Rocket to Fame.”

As Joe states, “American Rocker is a musical journey of my life as a rock star. I feel lucky to live a life of music, and to be fulfilling my wildest dreams.”

Deko Entertainment president, Bruce Pucciarello, continues, “If there was ever an album aptly named, Joe Bouchard shares this collection of amazing rock and roll flashbacks. Joe exemplifies the true American rocker.”

Joe Bouchard will be joining his brother, Albert Bouchard, for select shows in North America and their first ever Bouchard Brothers UK Tour this summer.

UK Tour Dates 2022:
August 9: Glasgow (Hard Rock Café)
August 10: Edinburgh (Bannermans)
August 11: Blackpool (Waterloo)
August 12: London (Underworld) w/Angel
August 14: Nuneaton (Queen’s Hall)
August 15: Hull (Wrecking Ball)
August 17: Newcastle (Trillians) w/Angel
August 18: Stoke-on-Trent (Eleven)

Joe Bouchard - Deadly Kisses (Official Lyric Video)

Official Album and Joe Bouchard Merch Purchase Link

Official Website

Joe Bouchard @ Facebook

Joe Bouchard @ Twitter

Joe Bouchard @ Instagram

Title - Fernande Decruck: Concertante Works
Artist - Carrie Koffman & Jackson Symphony Orchestra

For those of you not in the know, French composer Fernande Breilh-Decruck showed signs of a promising career from an early age, when she won several prizes at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Paris (harmony, fugue, piano).

As an assistant professor of harmony, she trained many students, including one who became very famous and later dedicated her a score: “To Fernande Decruck, with all the gratitude and fond memories of the author – Olivier Messiaen”.

From 1926, the year of his appointment as organ teacher, Marcel Dupré introduced her to improvisation. This talent earned her an organ concert tour in the United States at the end of 1928. She later gave solo recitals in New York City’s grand auditoriums.

Decruck’s trajectory as a composer can be traced through her early works, which give prominence to the organ (her instrument), saxophone and double bass (her husband’s instruments). The Decrucks lived in New York City for several years. Her husband Maurice played double bass and saxophone in the New York Philharmonic under Arturo Toscanini.

Decruck’s American period saw the birth of numerous compositions for piano, organ, orchestra, a concerto for cello and orchestra, and many works for a wide range of wind instruments, notably for saxophone.

In 1937, Fernande Decruck moved to Toulouse alone with her three children. She worked as a professor at the Toulouse Conservatory. From 1942 onwards, she devoted herself entirely to composition, notably writing a harp concerto, Poème héroïque, and the Sonata in C-sharp for saxophone.

She officially divorced Maurice in 1950, which led to financial difficulties. She ended her career as a professor of harmony at the Fontainebleau Conservatory. A series of health problems led to her untimely death at the age of 57.

An impressive testament to Decruck and her incredible, groundbreaking in many ways, musical enterprise, Jackson Symphony Orchestra have just released an album of Concertante Works for Saxophone, Trumpet, Horn and Harp by the late French composer on Swiss Label Claves (June 10th, 2022).

The album marks the inaugural recording in the Jackson Symphony Orchestra’s newly launched Equal Billing Project that aims to record and support the music of a composer not adequately recognized during their lifetime.

Decrück: Sonata for Saxophone & Orchestra
I. Très modéré
II. Noël
III. Fileuse
IV. Nocturne et Rondel

Decrück: Poème Héroïque:
I. Moderato
II. Andante espressivo
III. Final

Decrück: Harp Concerto:
I. Modéré, sans lenteur
II. Andante
III. Très vif et léger
IV. Final. Allegro molto

Sonate en ut dièse pour saxophone (ou alto) et orchestre opens on the languishing beauty of Très modéré and the playfully perky Noël they are both followed by the layered ambiances found within the quietly joyous Fileuse, the work rounding out on the dutiful Nocturne et Rondel.

Poème Héroïque pour trompette solo en ut, cor solo en fa et orchestre opens on the stern affair of Moderato and then brings us the sweeping, Disney-esque Andante espressivo, before itself coming to a close on the triumphant embodiment of the aptly-named Final.

The final work, Concerto pour harpe et orchestre opens on the precocious gossamer of Modéré, sans lenteur and the delicate musings within Andante, before we are treated to the sentimental embrace of Très vif et léger, the whole recording coming to a rather triumphant close on the resoundingly euphoric Allegro molto.

Carrie Koffman, saxophone
Amy McCabe, trumpet
Leelanee Sterrett, horn
Chen-Yu Huang, harp
Jackson Symphony Orchestra
Matthew Aubin, conductor

Title - The Landscape
Artist - Marilyn Scott

For those of you not in the know, a native of southern California, vocalist Marilyn Scott counts among her earliest influences, artists Aretha Franklin, Donny Hathaway, Etta James, Jean Carn and Andy Bey.

She began performing in local clubs and school functions when she was fifteen. She moved to San Francisco to attend college on an art scholarship, and fronted soul-jazz bands around the San Francisco Bay area.

Among the many friends she made were the guys in Tower of Power, who gave her the opportunity to do backing session vocals with the Oakland-based band.

Those recording sessions steered her to making her way back to Los Angeles as a studio session singer, where she recorded and performed with musicians and groups including Spyro Gyra, Yellowjackets, Hiroshima, John Mayall, Etta James, Bobby Caldwell and Bobby Womack.

Scott’s first recording in 1977, as a solo artist, was a single version of Brian Wilson’s “God Only Knows” which led to her first album, Dreams of Tomorrow, on Atco/Atlantic. Her discography continued with, 1983 Without Warning, Polygram, 1991 and 1992 Sin-Drome recordings, Smile and Sky Dancing. 1996 and 1998 Warner Bros releases of Take Me with You and Avenues of Love. The Japanese Venus Records recording, Every Time We Say Goodbye, in 2008.

Marilyn moved to Prana Entertainment and released from 2001 to 2017, Walking with Strangers, Nightcap, Handpicked, Innocent of Nothing, Get Christmas Started and Standard Blue in 2017. Her 2022 release on Blue Canoe Records, The Landscape marks her most recent release.

1. Thrown Out Into Space, Butterfly
2. The Landscape
3. Summer Night
4. Irreplaceable
5. Tomorrow
6. Unzip
7. The Sun (feat. The Perri Sisters)

Combining her interest in neo-soul, jazz and Brazilian music, along with collaborating here with Dori Caymmi, George Duke, Russell Ferrante, Bob James, Jimmy Haslip, Brenda Russell, Bob Mintzer, Perri Sisters, Terri Lynne Carrington, Patrice Rushen, and Scott Kinsey, the new album opens on the veritably translucently vibrant Thrown Out Into Space, Butterfly and the comes the gently perky, low ebb jazzy blues of the title track The Landscape and the delicately ornate Summer Night.

Up next is the harder edged, guitar-reverb found within Irreplaceable which is itself followed by the thoughtfully-crafted rhythms found within Tomorrow, the album rounding out on the free flowing, perky melodies of Unzip, coming to a close on the heavenly harmonics within The Sun (featuring The Perri Sisters).

The Landscape is Marilyn Scott’s thirteenth album as a leader. Born out of the determination to create during a global pandemic, Scott looked inward and called upon some of her closest friends to collaborate her most profound truths.

Scott expands, “The Landscape project grew out of listening to myself and others with life’s frustrations and concerns. One of the only outlets I know of is putting yourself in front of nature and letting go. These elements of life, precious and surreal, give answers if we embrace and nurture our surroundings.”

“With The Landscape, I addressed places to put yourself and add an appreciation of the moment, no matter where you are. I find it more difficult at times to find that peace, but it’s right in front of you, right outside your door, in the street and alleys of your wilderness. Let’s protect nature, and she will help you find your breath.”

Official Website

Marilyn Scott @ Facebook

Title - Dice Que Vive (Signs of Life)
Artist - Rafael Greco

For those of you not in the know, beyond his musical endeavors, Rafael Greco is also a published author and an exceptionally gifted photographer. His children’s books include: “Begoña la araña” (“Begoña the spider) y “La nueva naríz” (“The new Nose”) published by Camelia Editions.

Furthermore, his photos have been used for the album covers for these artists: “El Vecino” (Juanma Trujillo) and “Viaje a la luna” (Mariana Serrano).

His photos were also a featured part of the “Chroma” Project by Antonio Mazzei in conjunction with other globally recognized photographers such as: Caterina di Perri, Diego Sierralta, Fran Beaufrand, Fryd Frydendhal, Jonas Bendiksen, Oscar Bambú Castillo, Ricardo Jiménez and Sara Maneiro. All curated by: Vasco Szinetar.

Now, in 2022, Rafael Greco is ready to present his debut album as a solo artist and leader titled: Dice Que Vive (Signs of Life) on Blue Canoe Records.

Within this work, he offers a most intimate vision that translates his world in a very personal way through his lyrics and sonic tapestries. The April 27th release hopes to reach the ears and hearts of everyone who hears this extraordinary musical statement.

1. Once Upon a Time (Erasé una vez)
2. Ondé
3. Mr. Iwai (Sr. Iwai)
4. African Boy
5. Igno Two
6. 10th Avenue (Avenida Diez)
7. 11-2
8. Mantra
9. Time (Tiempo)
10. An Illusion (Una ilusión)
11. Belén
12. Five Miniatures for Solo Piano (Cinco Miniaturas Para Piano Solo)
13. Ghost Owner

On this tantalizingly eclectic album, one where Greco offers the following: The album begins with a study of reiteration for generally, in folk music, rhythmic cells are repeated to form a continuous fabric that groove and inspire dancing, first up is the wholly atmospheric fable Once Upon a Time (Erasé una vez) and the rhythmic Ondé and they are followed by the more pronounced, rounded melodies within the ghost story Mr. Iwai (Sr. Iwai), and then comes the imagined landscape within African Boy and the short, but sweet tale of Igno Two (imagine a clumsy robot at a circus!)

Up next come the sounds of chimbangueles (a gathering of tambores, the sounds of Zulia, Greco’s home state in Venezuela) within 10th Avenue (Avenida Diez) and the short hymn (and laughter)-imbibed 11-2, and they are in turn followed by the meditative repetition through prayer of Mantra, the organic layering of Time (Tiempo), the slow guaguancó, or a fast yambú for Our Lady of Chiquinquirá An Illusion (Una ilusión), the recording rounding out on the near ten minute Belén, the passionate Five Miniatures for Solo Piano (Cinco Miniaturas Para Piano Solo), closing on the free improvisation (dedicated to those who might take a ghost for a ride in a helium balloon) of Ghost Owner.

Upon discovering the rhythms of Central Africa and composer Steve Reich caused me to listen to reiteration, the art of repetition from another angle, Greco explains.

It was almost like looking at a butterfly’s wings through a microscope. Each song contains reiterative cues, layers of sounds, carefully designed textures that were vital to creating a work that could give the impression of being a simple yet coherent architectural illusion.

The album is a tribute to my family, to the music of my homeland, to my memories, to the places and people that marked the way I perceive my surroundings. It is a sincere attempt to express my musical and artistic nature.

I must also mention some of the great masters who influenced this work: Naná Vasconcelos, Charles Ives, Toru Takemitsu, Don Grolnick, Johnny Pacheco, Ángel Canales, Keith Jarrett, Django Bates, Federico Mompou, Steve Winwood, Bruce Hornsby, Lyle Mays, Michael Brecker, Adalberto Santiago, Gil Evans, Herbie Hancock, Joe Henderson, Steve Reich, James Taylor, Juan de Dios Martínez, Olivier Messiaen, Joe Zawinul, Peter Gabriel and Oliver Knussen.

Official Purchase Link

Title - Tiger Tail
Artist - Evan Drybread

For those of you not in the know, Evan Drybread is a freelance saxophonist from Indianapolis, Indiana and performs with many of the finest musicians in the Midwest.

He frequently performs at the Jazz Kitchen, Chatterbox Jazz Club, and many other events in town including Indy Jazz Fest and Concerts on the Canal.

Although performing mostly in Central Indiana, Evan has performed around the globe including time as a show band musician for Royal Caribbean International.

Since returning to Indy, he has performed with Josh Kaufman, Emmet Cohen, the Sean Imboden Large Ensemble, and the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra.

Evan’s debut album Tiger Tail (out now) showcases his tenor and soprano sax work on six of his compositions ranging in styles from hard bop to jazz fusion.

Additionally, Tiger Tail features two duo pieces written by pianist Christopher Pitts.

1. Blackball
2. High Priestess (feat. Kenny Phelps)
3. The Queen of Cups
4. Tiger Tail
5. Atlantic Mirror (feat. Christopher Pitts)
6. The Downey Wives (feat. Mark Buselli)
7. Woodruff Place Town Hall (feat. Scott Pazera)
8. Waltse (feat. Christopher Pitts)

The opener, Blackball is a most joyous swing number that just rolls off the soul and that is backed seamlessly by the upbeat grooves and rhythms within High Priestess (featuring drummer Kenny Phelps), and then comes the laid back, smooth sexiness of The Queen of Cups and then the gently frenetic title track Tiger Tail.

The low key, seductive, after midnight vibe of Atlantic Mirror (featuring pianist Christopher Pitts) is up next is is itself followed by the foot-tapper The Downey Wives (featuring trumpeter supreme Mark Buselli), the album coming to an all-too-soon end with the high energy of Woodruff Place Town Hall (featuring guitarist Scott Pazera), coming to a close on the sedate, ornate gossamer of Waltse (once more featuring Christopher Pitts).

Evan graduated from Ball State University where he studied improvisation and arranging with Mark Buselli. As a graduate student at Purdue University, he served as the Jazz Program Assistant Director and was the jazz saxophone instructor at nearby Wabash College.

Evan continues to teach private lessons locally and frequently performs as a sideman performing on all saxophones, clarinet, bass clarinet, and flute.

Evan Drybread - tenor and soprano saxophones
Mark Buselli - trumpet and flugel horn
Christopher Pitts - keys
Scott Pazera - upright and electric basses
Kenny Phelps - drums

Official Website

Amazon Album Purchase Link

Title - Levitation 1
Artist - Kevin Kastning / Laszlo Gardony

For those not in the know, Greydisc Records have just released the new album from Kevin Kastning and Laszlo Gardony entitled Levitation 1.

Furthermore, this is the first of a two-album series. This blend of instruments provides a unique palette for the six new compositions on this record; in fact, it is the first time 36-string Double Contraguitar has been paired with Piano.

Kevin Kastning is an American guitarist, composer and musical instrument inventor who along with playing the aforementioned 36-string Double Contraguitar, also plays the 30-string Contra-Alto guitar, 17-string Hybrid Extended Classical guitar, 15-string Extended Classical guitar, twelve-string guitar, six-string guitar, fretless guitar, 12-string extended baritone guitar, 6-string bass-baritone guitar, alto guitar, the 14-string contraguitar, the 16-string contraguitar, the 17-string contraguitar, 12-string soprano guitar, mandolin, piano, and, phew ... bass!

Internationally acclaimed Boston-based jazz pianist and composer Laszlo Gardony is one of the most expressive and technically skilled pianists working in jazz today.

“A formidable improviser who lives in the moment” (JazzTimes), Laszlo Gardony has performed in 27 countries and released 14 albums on the Sunnyside, Antilles, and Avenue Jazz labels during his distinguished decades long career.

1. Levitation Opus I (7:48)
2. Levitation Opus II (6:32)
3. Levitation Opus III (7:27)
4. Levitation Opus IV (10:48)
5. Levitation Opus 5 (5:45)
6. Levitation Opus 6 (11:21)

On a recording that clearly shows us that both Kevin and Laszlo have a deep and immediate artistic connection, of which can be heard in each of these advanced and intricate compositions, they open with the low ebbed, scratchy at times, piercingly angular at others, notes and melodies within Levitation Opus I and back that up with the quieter, more methodical works within both Opus II and Opus III.

Opus IV is one of my own personal favorites, for the ten minute oeuvre is a veritable smorgasbord of astute, organically-charged, at times insular, other times methodically disjointed, yet at all times melodically fascinating rhythms, whilst Opus V brings forth a thematic approach to their work, with the recording coming to a close on the excitedly jaunty, experimental yet cultured, and wholly ambient eleven minute Opus VI.

Official Purchase Link

Kevin Kastning @ Bandcamp

Kevin Kastning @ Facebook

Title - The Rolling Stones Singles 1963-1966 [Box-Set]
Artist - The Rolling Stones

For those not in the know, ABKCO Records will release The Rolling Stones Singles 1963-1966 on June 10th, 2022 in celebration of the group’s 60th anniversary this year.

The limited-edition set includes reproductions of the first 18 7” vinyl singles and extended play records by “The World’s Greatest Rock ‘n’ Roll Band,” as originally released by Decca and London Records.

The tracks are all remastered by 12-time Grammy Award-winning engineer Bob Ludwig. The set, replete with period-correct picture sleeve art, will also come with a 32-page book with extensive liner notes by Stones authority Nigel Williamson, as well as rare photos and ephemera plus a set of five photo cards and a poster, all housed in a hard-shell box.

A companion second vinyl box set in the series, The Rolling Stones Singles 1966-1971, will be released next year.

Before they were thought of as one of the rock era’s quintessential album bands, the Rolling Stones began their recording career in 1963 with a slew of singles that captured the energy and excitement created by the classic lineup of Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Brian Jones, Charlie Watts and Bill Wyman.

Their version of Chuck Berry’s “Come On” backed with a cover of Muddy Waters’ “I Want To Be Loved” kicked it all off, and was quickly followed up with “I Wanna Be Your Man,” a song written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney for the Stones to use, before being recorded by The Beatles themselves.

London Records, their US label, quickly withdrew the single on “moral grounds” due to the illicit implications of the B-side “Stoned” (credited to Nanker Phelge – the songwriting pseudonym for the entire band). None of the songs from these first two singles appeared on any of their albums.

The Rolling Stones Singles 1963-1966 follows the group’s shift away from covers in favor of originals, due in large part to Jagger and Richards developing into one of the most accomplished powerhouse songwriting duos of their generation.

Of the nine US Top 40 hits contained within the set, all but one are Jagger/Richards compositions. These include “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” and “Get Off Of My Cloud,” which were number one hits on both sides of the Atlantic.

This collection includes the US and UK versions of both these singles, which feature different sleeve art and B-sides. The sole Top 40 cover is “Time Is On My Side,” (written by Jerry Ragovoy and notably recorded by Irma Thomas).

The single in this collection is the lesser-known version which features an organ intro. Another rarity that never made it onto an album in any form is “Sad Day,” the US B-side of the 1966 hit “19th Nervous Breakdown.”

Three extended-play (E.P.) 7” records are included in The Rolling Stones Singles 1963-1966, all of which were originally UK-only releases. These are The Rolling Stones (not to be confused with the album of the same name) and Five by Five (recorded at Chicago’s famed Chess Studio at 2120 South Michigan Avenue), both released in 1964, as well as 1965’s Got Live If You Want It! – the first of many live records by a band that to this very day is known as an explosive concert attraction.

The Rolling Stones Singles 1963-1966 tracklist:
“Come On” (originally released June 1963)
Side A: Come On
Side B: I Want To Be Loved

“I Wanna Be Your Man” (originally released November 1963)
Side A: I Wanna Be Your Man
Side B: Stoned

The Rolling Stones E.P. (originally released January 1964)
Side A: Bye Bye Johnny / Money
Side B: You Better Move On / Poison Ivy

“Not Fade Away” (originally released February 1964)
Side A: Not Fade Away
Side B: Little By Little

“Tell Me” (originally released June 1964)
Side A: Tell Me
Side B: I Just Wanna Make Love To You

“It’s All Over Now” (originally released June 1964)
Side A: It’s All Over Now
Side B: Good Times, Bad Times

Five by Five E.P. (originally released August 1964)
Side A: If You Need Me / Empty Heart / 2120 South Michigan Avenue
Side B: Confessin’ The Blues / Around and Around

“Time Is On My Side” (originally released September 1964)
Side A: Time Is On My Side
Side B: Congratulations

“Little Red Rooster” (originally released November 1964)
Side A: Little Red Rooster
Side B: Off The Hook

“Heart Of Stone” (originally released December 1964)
Side A: Heart Of Stone
Side B: What A Shame

“The Last Time” (originally released February 1965)
Side A: The Last Time
Side B: Play With Fire

Got Live If You Want It! E.P. (originally released June 1965)
Side A: We Want The Stones (Live) / Everybody Needs Somebody To Love (Live) / Pain In My Heart (Live) / Route 66 (Live)
Side B: I’m Moving On / I’m Alright

“(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” (US version, originally released June 1965)
Side A: (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction
Side B: The Under Assistant West Coast Promotion Man

“(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction)” (UK version, originally released August 1965)
Side A: (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction
Side B: The Spider And The Fly

“Get Off Of My Cloud” (US version, originally released September 1965)
Side A: Get Off Of My Cloud
Side B: I’m Free

“Get Off Of My Cloud” (UK version, originally released October 1965)
Side A: Get Off Of My Cloud
Side B: The Singer Not The Song

“As Tears Go By” (originally released December 1965)
Side A: As Tears Go By
Side B: Gotta Get Away

“19th Nervous Breakdown” (US version, originally released February 1966)
Side A: 19th Nervous Breakdown
Side B: Sad Day

Having grown up in a 7” single, vinyl-buying household in both the UK and the US, and with parents both devoted fans of bands such as The Rolling Stones, the Beatles, The Kinks, The Who and oh-so many more, I myself grew up listening to all these wondrous songs (A-Sides and B-Sides, I am glad to report) and so not only feel very blessed that this quite stunning new box-set has been kindly sent to us for review by ABKCO, but honestly feel well positioned to bring to you my collective thoughts on the contents here today.

Firstly, once you remove the factory-seal and open the box, that new car smell (so to speak) generously, and gorgeously wafts up to your nose and makes you immediately smile (knowing that, unlike second hand garage sales and old timey record shops), the vinyl you remove from this box will not be raggedy-sleeved, or feature vinyl scratches and blemishes of any kind.

With each single lovingly housed within its own color picture sleeve - as opposed to some other box-sets that shall remain nameless, where each single came out housed in plain white sleeves - it is not only the quality of the vinyl itself when played, but the look of the replica flashback picture sleeves that just make you nostalgically crumble inside.

If I had to pick a favorite from amongst this plethora of musical wonderment, it would be the vibrant The Rolling Stones E.P. Originally released in January, 1964, it opens with, to my mind, one of their best covers ever, that of Bye Bye Johnny, which ultimately plays straight into Keith Richards’ Chuck Berry powerhouse stance and then we get the Harmonica-driven (courtesy of Brian Jones) cover of the very first hit record for Berry Gordy’s Motown enterprise, Money.

Flipping the single over and we next get these so-called wild men of rock singing this beautiful ballad from Arthur Alexander, You Better Move On (complete with gentle harmonies from Bill Wyman and Brian), the EP rounding out on the perky and upbeat Poison Ivy; originally written by Leiber & Stoller for The Coasters.

The 32-page color book is magnificent also, features lots and lots of wondrous old black and white/color photographs of the band, along with adjacent single release information. And the predominately-posed, five various art cards (photos) and luscious horizontal black and white poster make for lovely viewing also.

ABKCO Records is home to the entire catalog of The Rolling Stones from 1963 to early 1971. This includes the albums The Rolling Stones, England’s Newest Hit Makers, 12 X 5, The Rolling Stones No. 2, The Rolling Stones, Now!, Out of Our Heads, December’s Children (And Everybody’s), Aftermath, Got Live If You Want It!, Between the Buttons, Their Satanic Majesties Request, Beggars Banquet, Let It Bleed and Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out! The Rolling Stones in Concert. ABKCO Films is home to Charlie Is My Darling - Ireland 1965 and The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus.

Official Unboxing | The Rolling Stones 7" Singles 1963 - 1966 (Vinyl Box Set)

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Title - Sunshine Hotel
Artist - Neybas

For those of you not in the know, the Neybas (pronounced “nay-bahz”), are a Trad Rock Jam band from Connecticut and their music is organic, energetic, and danceable, with good-vibes and echos of the late 60’s and early 70’s.

A cult favorite in the northeast for decades, the Neybas have won multiple readers’ polls including “Best Original Music,” and “Best Live Performance,” among others.

The band’s fourth album, Flow was released in the fall of 2019, and features their strongest work in years, receiving rave reviews from new and old fans alike.

That said, Sunshine Hotel, their fifth and newest album, has just been released this month and is already attracting a lot of warranted attention within the music industry.

1. At The Sunshine Hotel
2. Something About Her
3. Hey Cinderella
4. Aliens Have Taken My Brain
5. The Doorman
6. Sunshine Girl
7. A Little 2 Hi
8. Crank This Up
9. Big Love (The Doorman’s Theme)
10. Pearl (Girl in Room 303)
11. The Girl I Knew Yesterday
12. Talking About You
13. Song About Sunshine
14. Freeway Paradise

Opening on the melodically funky grooves of the title track At The Sunshine Hotel, that is seamlessly followed by the dutiful, mid-tempo hipsway of Something About Her, then comes the trippy melodic hipsway of Where It Came From, the drum-led beauty Hey Cinderella, the dreamy balladry of Aliens Have Taken My Brain, the jaunty The Doorman, and then comes the rockin’ Caribbean beach feel of Sunshine Girl and then the toking prose admittance within A Little 2 Hi.

Up next on this organically-crafted and totally rockin’ new album is the reggae-tinged Crank This Up and the free flowing pop rock of Big Love (The Doorman’s Theme) and they are in turn followed by the low slung, at first, solid foot-tapping entity thereafter Pearl (Girl in Room 303), the uptempo pop balladry of The Girl I Knew Yesterday, the forthrightly earnest love song within Talking About You, then the album rounds out on the rhythmic Song About Sunshine, closing on the free wheelin’ advice within Freeway Paradise.

The Neybas formed in the late 1980s when a group of friends at the University of Connecticut began jamming together at parties and college events where they garnered a rambunctious, fun-loving following of loyal fans.

By the early 1990s, the Neybas were regulars on the Connecticut club scene, playing a robust mix of “deep track” 60’s and 70’s rock and a strong stable of hooky original music. This was a magic combination that, along with regular appearances at legendary area clubs from Boston to Hartford to Manhattan, and annual “best of” wins in local readers’ polls helped bolster the group’s fanbase.

They also had several regional “hits” from their first three albums, including “Get Up (Do Your Laundry),” and “Waiting for Mary Jane.”

Over the years, the Neybas have played live with the Georgia Satellites, Joan Osborne, Great White, Felix Cavaliere of The Rascals, Ratt, Everything, Poison, Universal Honey, and Rick Derringer, to name a few.

After a hiatus of a few years (aka, a self-imposed exile), the Neybas are back and rocking again and creating music that connects with listeners. Featuring original members Kevin “English” Bornstein (bass/vocals), Nicholas “Toad” Eckert (guitar/vocals), Russ “Skull” Waesche (guitar/vocals), and long-time drummer Emmet Hale, they added keyboardist and hometown “neybahood” friend Greg Marshall in 2019 to complete the outfit.

“Neybas? Does that stand for New England Yankee Bad Ass Society?” - question from a fan. In case you’re wondering, the name “Neyba” plays off the northeast accent some use when saying “neighbor” (as in “howdy, neyba”).

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Title - Rhapsody & Filigree
Artist - Brian Woodbury

For those of you not in the know, Brian Woodbury will be releasing Rhapsody & Filigree, the 4th and final volume of the “Anthems & Antithets” series on July 25, 2022.

Brian Woodbury is a songwriter who straddles the Avant-Pop Theater/Comedy divide. His eclecticism ranges from writing Disney cartoon themes and children’s TV songs, to experimental Jazz big band, to arranging 1960s Bollywood covers, to a country anthem about marriage equality and Tom Lehrer-esque comedy songs.

He has released eleven albums, including the current 4-volume “Anthems & Antithets.” He creates music videos for his songs, most recently “Gimme Some of That Old Time Prog,” a spot-on send up of Prog Rock and his songs have been sung by Nathan Lane, Lisa Loeb, Terre Roche and David Yazbek.

1. Theseus Rex (feat. Tulasi Rain, Derek Day & Rob Shapiro)
2. The Other Brian Woodbury
3. Where It Came From
4. Two Halves
5. We Are the Sun (feat. Naomi Adele Smith & Johnny Unicorn)
6. Dystopian Fantasy
7. Everybody’s Gonna Be the Same (feat. Jonathan Feinberg)
8. How Soon We Forget, How Long We Remember (feat. Amy Denio, Amy Engelhardt, Bill Burnett, Jonathan Feinberg, Paul F. Perry, Tulasi Rain & Johnny Unicorn)
9. The Honorable Mention
10. This Golden Hour
11. The Day the Music Never Died
12. Dilettante
13. Murderer (feat. Brian Dewan)
14. Intelligent Life
15. Bad Timing
16. When Byron Swam
17. Our Cattywampus World
18. Brief Mass (feat. Anand Darsie, Kathi Funston & Tulasi Rain)

Opening on the near ten minute, prog-rock-pop-psych, storytelling opus Theseus Rex (featuring Tulasi Rain, Derek Day & Rob Shapiro), that is seamlessly followed by the trumpet-led, swinging beauty The Other Brian Woodbury, then comes the trippy, melodic balladry hipsway of Where It Came From, the Tenacious D-esque, strident Two Halves, the summer’s breath within the rhythmic We Are the Sun (featuring Naomi Adele Smith & Johnny Unicorn), the trip-tonic Dystopian Fantasy, and then comes the Caribbean-imbibed Everybody’s Gonna Be the Same (featuring Jonathan Feinberg), the Renaissance-flavored How Soon We Forget, How Long We Remember (featuring the smorgasbord of Amy Denio, Amy Engelhardt, Bill Burnett, Jonathan Feinberg, Paul F. Perry, Tulasi Rain & Johnny Unicorn) and then the blurred layers of vocals and musicianship within The Honorable Mention are brought forth.

Up next on this lushly harmonious new album is the beautifully jaunty balladry of This Golden Hour and the alt-pop-rock of The Day the Music Never Died and they are in turn followed by the fun, perky diligence of Dilettante, the stalkingly atmospheric prose within Murderer (featuring Brian Dewan), the upbeat and joyous Intelligent Life, then comes one of my own personal favorites, the alt-prog-psych and even rap of Bad Timing, then we get the ornate piano balladry of When Byron Swam, the album closing on the echoing, atmospheric-charged, Cartoon-imbibed Our Cattywampus World and the foreign-tongue (possibly just lyrics recorded backwards!), festive-time feel (even if lyrically it isn’t) of Brief Mass (featuring Anand Darsie, Kathi Funston & Tulasi Rain).

Says Brian: “Anthems & Antithets is a series of 4 double albums I’ve made during the pandemic, each one in its own musical mood: comic, confessional, political and arty. Rhapsody & Filigree is the 4th Volume in the series, and the culmination of the project.”

“Rhapsody & Filigree is expansive, fancy and fanciful – with a wide variety of arty, experimental kinds of pop songwriting, both musically and in subject matter. An emphasis on melody and beauty. The assumption is we’re all educated adults here. I always try to write songs about the things nobody writes songs about. For this album, even more so.”

“On this album, I condense large forms into smaller ones. For instance, the rock opera ‘Theseus Rex’ where Theseus is the bastard son of Jerry Garcia from the Grateful Dead. Inspired by early Genesis and prog rock concept albums, this rock opera lasts just over 9 minutes, but it has a sweeping cinematic scope and it tells a tragic story. Another example is the ‘Brief Mass,’ a full setting of the Latin Mass in just over 7 minutes.”

“I also love miniatures, like ‘When Byron Swam,’ a song about the elusive nature of artistic achievement. (“Did Lord Byron swim the Dardanelles or was it the Bosphorus?”) Or ‘The Honorable Mention’ where a Hollywood award show nominee rehearses his acceptance speech.”

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Title - Can’t Get It Out of My Head
Artist - Mary Fahl

With “a voice for the gods that can transport listeners to other realms” (Boston Globe), Mary Fahl is an expressive, emotional singer/songwriter who first achieved fame as lead singer and co-founder of the mid-1990s NYC-based chamber-pop group October Project; a band known for their lush harmonies, sweeping melodies and Fahl’s unique and powerful vocals.

After two records on Epic, the band disbanded, but Fahl had more freedom to pursue her own muse, whether that meant writing and recording songs for movies (including the theme for the Civil War epic “Gods and Generals”), singing arias and medieval Spanish songs for Sony Classical or releasing a unique album-length take on “Dark Side of the Moon.”

Fahl’s music has a timeless quality that she conveys with earthy, viscerally powerful contralto that bridges the generational gap between Fairport Convention’s Sandy Denny and London Grammar’s Hannah Reid.

Her elegant, cinematic songs have a hauntingly gothic romanticism that inspired renowned writer Anne Rice to portray Mary’s voice emanating from a dead woman’s room in her 2013 novel “The Wolves of Midwinter.”

Over the past few years, she’s been touring and recording on her own label, Rimar Records, and her recent releases have garnered awards including an Indie Acoustic Award for Best Live Album for “Live at the Mauch Chunk Opera House” (filmed for PBS) and a 2020 Independent Music Award for her recent holiday album, “Winter Songs and Carols”.

Coming on the heels of her last release, a Blu-ray 5.1 surround DVD, “From the Dark Side of the Moon,” brilliantly mixed by Bob Clearmountain, and which won the 2021 Immersive Album Audio Listener’s Choice award and was also named “Immersive Album of the Year” by Life in Surround, her brand new album Can’t Get It Out of My Head is out now via Rimar Records.

1. Can’t Get It Out of My Head
2. Ruby Tuesday
3. Tuesday Afternoon
4. River Man
5. Got A Feelin’
6. Don’t Let It Bring You Down
7. Comfortably Numb
8. Since You’ve Asked
9. Beware Of Darkness
10. The Great Valerio

Opening on a quite stunning rendition of the Electric Light Orchestra’s track Can’t Get It Out of My Head, that is seamlessly followed by her bravado-infused take on the Stones’ Ruby Tuesday, a simply divine revitalization of The Moody Blues’ Tuesday Afternoon, an elegantly crafted take on Nick Drake’s River Man and then comes the lushly orchestrated Got A Feelin’ (The Mamas & the Papas).

Up next on this organically-crafted and veritably translucently vocalized new album is Fahl’s sturdy take on Neil Young’s Don’t Let It Bring You Down and then her almost-breathy offering of Pink Floyd’s slice of harmony and focused energy within Comfortably Numb is brought forth, and they are in turn followed by the summer’s breeze of Judy Collins’ ethereal Since You’ve Asked, the album rounding out on the brilliantly heartfelt George Harrison cut Beware Of Darkness, coming to an all too soon close on her version of Richard & Linda Thompson’s stoic The Great Valerio.

As for a deeper dive into her brand new album Can’t Get It Out of My Head, the collection of songs are what she herself has termed “essential” to her development as an artist: “With all the madness that was happening in the world, I was grappling with the loss of my mother and sister this past year and was feeling completely rootless. In an effort to find an anchor, a link to the past, a sense of home, I began to immerse myself in the comfort of music from my youth.”

“These were such essential songs for me ... like old friends ... my musical home in many ways. I fell in love with each of them at the quintessential coming-of-age moment when music goes straight into your heart with no filter and these songs became part of my musical DNA.”

“I learned to play guitar with several of them – especially the early Neil Young songs. Most of these covers come from the first albums I ever bought using one of those Columbia House ‘get 12 free albums for a $1’ mail order programs. I played these records endlessly and the lyrics on many of these songs still have a powerful resonance for me.”

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Title - Brahms: Cello Sonatas & Songs
Artist - Antonio Meneses & Gérard Wyss

For those of you not in the know, this year, legendary cellist Antonio Meneses celebrates his 65th birthday and the 40th anniversary of winning first prize and the gold medal at the 1982 Tchaikovsky Competition.

Shortly after that triumph Antonio made a renowned recording of Brahms’ Double Concerto with conductor Herbert von Karajan.

Here on the just-released Brahms: Cello Sonatas & Songs, along with pianist Gérard Wyss, he revisits the composer’s music on his 11th recording for AVIE and his first of Brahms’ two cello sonatas, generously paired with a selection of lieder arrangements.

Cello Sonata No. 1 in E minor Op. 38
1. I. Allegro non troppo (14.43)
2. II. Allegretto quasi Menuetto (5.43)
3. III. Allegro (6.54)

Songs for cello & piano, arr. Norbert Salter 1868–1935 & David Geringas b. 1946
4. Feldeinsamkeit Op. 86 No. 2 (3.36)
5. Wie Melodien zieht es mir leise durch den Sinn Op. 105 No. 1 (2.17)
6. Sapphische Ode Op. 94 No. 4 (2.28)
7. Wiegenlied Op. 49 No. 4 (2.06 )
8. Liebestreu Op. 3 No. 1 (2.11)
9. Minnelied Op. 71 No. 5 (3.07)
10. Immer leiser wird mein Schlummer Op. 105 No. 2 (3.11)

Cello Sonata No. 2 in F Op. 99
14. I. Allegro vivace (9.12)
12. II. Adagio affettuoso (6.59)
13. III. Allegro passionato (7.45)
14. IV. Allegro molto (4.46)

Antonio mines Brahms’ baritonal sound world, extracting the full expressive range of the cello. Opening on Cello Sonata No. 1 in E minor Op. 38, the sterner fare of the near-fifteen minute Allegro non troppo is first brought forth and is backed by the flirtatious Allegretto quasi Menuetto and then the closer is the forthright melodies within Allegro.

Similar qualities infuse a selection of seven Lieder in arrangements - Songs for cello & piano, arr. Norbert Salter 1868–1935 & David Geringas b. 1946 - that sound so effective on the cello that one cannot help but wonder whether somewhere in the back of his mind Brahms had the sound of the instrument – he was, after all, an accomplished player in his youth, and it would remain central to his chamber music output throughout his life.

The new recording culminates with Cello Sonata No. 2 in F Op. 99, which begins with the yearningly beautiful, near-ten minute Allegro vivace, before bringing us the somber affair Adagio affettuoso, then comes the inspiringly uplifting Allegro passionato, the work ending with the gentle ballroom twirl of Allegro molto.

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Title - La folia
Artist - Sebastian Bohren

For those of you not in the know, Sebastian Bohren’s new album La folia is an affectionate homage – to Ida Haendel, one of his heroes; to fiddlers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries; and to the violin itself.

Indeed, the Swiss violinist says, “It is also like a hall of mirrors, as some tracks invoke the spirits of two or three violinists.”

From an early age, Sebastian was immersed in a lineage of violinists who favored Romantic transcriptions of Baroque repertoire, studying with a pupil of the great Ukranian-born violinist Nathan Milstein.

Later in life, he fell under the influence of violinist Ida Haendel on YouTube, watching her perform Corelli’s La folia variations. “She played this amazing virtuoso cadenza, and I was captivated.”

So arose the concept of a program reflecting the ethos of La folia, the ear-catching theme which has fascinated composers for centuries, from the Baroque era’s Tomaso Antonio Vitali and Giuseppe Tartini to latter-day Ottorino Respighi and Fritz Kreisler.

FRITZ KREISLER (1875–1962)
1. Praeludium and Allegro in the style of Pugnani (5:56)
arr. violin & strings Manuel Naegeli

2. Chaconne in G minor (10:52)
arr. violin & strings Peter Petrof, after the violin & piano arr. by Léopold Charlier

MARIA THERESIA VON PARADIS (1759–1824) (attrib.)
3. Sicilienne (3:27)
arr. violin & strings Mariana Rudakevych
Sebastian Bohren, violin
Stringendo Zürich
Jens Lohmann, conductor

4. Violin Sonata in D minor Op .5 No .12 ‘La Folia’ (11:28)
arr. violin & strings Mariana Rudakevych, after the violin & piano arr. by Hubert Léonard (‘La Folia: Variations sérieuses’); cadenza: H. Léonard

Violin Sonata in A GT 2 .A16
arr. violin & strings Ottorino Respighi (‘Pastorale’ P.86)
5. I . Grave (3:41)
6. II . Allegro sostenuto (2:30)
7. III . Largo (4:18)

Violin Sonata in G minor GT 2 .g05 ‘Devil’s Trill’
arr. violin & strings Ingolf Turban & Holger Frey; cadenza: F. Kreisler
8. I . Andante (4:17)
9. II . Allegro (3:06)
10. III . Andante–Allegroassai (7:47)

11. Variations on a theme of Corelli in the Style of Tartini (3:48)
arr. violin & strings Mariana Rudakevych

With Sebastian capturing the sound world with sincerity, playing on two different violins, the 1710 “King George” Stradivarius, and a Guadagnini made in 1761, together with the CHAARTS Chamber Artists, he opens on extraordinarily beautiful Praeludium and Allegro in the style of Pugnani (Fritz Kreisler) and then backs that up with the quieter, achingly sterner fare of Chaconne in G minor (Tomaso Antonio Vitali), the almost ethereal Sicilienne (Maria Theresia Von Paradis) and then comes the centerpiece, the ornately succulent, opulently crafted Violin Sonata in D minor Op .5 No .12 ‘La Folia’ (Arcangelo Corelli).

Up next is the fascinatingly playful, yet at all times dulcet and restrained three-part Violin Sonata in A GT 2 .A16 (Giuseppe Tartini) which is itself followed by the triumphant euphoria within the three-part Violin Sonata in G minor GT 2 .g05 ‘Devil’s Trill’ (both by Giuseppe Tartini), the new recording coming to a righteous close on the fruitfully abundant melodies found within Variations on a theme of Corelli in the Style of Tartini (Fritz Kreisler).

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Title - Love Over War
Artist - Don Paul

For those of you not in the know, Don Paul is the leader or producer of over 20 albums. He currently works with Hamid Drake and Alex de Grassi in the GALLOP Trio and with them and Kidd Jordan, William Parker and Paul Plimley in the GALLOP Sextet.

He is the youngest winner of Wallace Stegner Fellowship in Creative Writing at Stanford University and the former world-record holder (1982-1992) for running 50 kilometers and was a logger or roughneck between 1973 and 1980.

He began with music in 1988 and led or produced 14 albums over the next seven years in the San Francisco Bay Area, collaborating with his brother Kenton, Babatunde Lea, Henry Kaiser, Chuck Prophet, John Baker, Dhyani Dharma, George Cremaschi, Richard Howell, James Henry, Glenn Spearman, Lisle Ellis, India Cooke, Larry Ochs, William Winant, Anthony Carrillo, Jeannette Armstrong, q.r. hand, Alfonso Texidor, devorah major, Jack Hirschman, Jerry Anomie, Paul Plimley, Donald Robinson, Myles Boisen, Miya Masaoka, Ben Goldberg, Francis Wong, Genny Lim, Daniel Higgs, Nilak Butler, Lee and Salas of Hedzolleh Soundz, Ustad Salamat Ali Khan, Ustad Shafqat Ali Khan, and many more.

Since the year 2000 he has co-founded Housing Is a Human Right, From the Ground Up, and Rebuild Green, and served as Operations Director for Common Ground Relief in New Orleans and Executive Director for a Central City project known as the Wesley United Digital Arts & Training Center.

Also, he and his wife Maryse Déjean co-direct Sticking Up For Children, thanks to an idea from Cyril and Gaynielle Neville.

His brand new album is Love Over War out July 1st, 2022 via Irresistible / Revolutionary Records, is an album of jazz, funky, Gospel, Rock and Poetry, where the first three songs (and six tracks, as a whole) are Don Paul and Rivers Answer Moons, recorded in New Orleans in January and February 2022.

1. Get Your JAM On!
2. Glory Glory Glory Is For Us All
3. Love Over War. Every Time We Play (instr.)
4. Love Over War Every Time We Play
5. Glory Glory Glory Is For Us All
6. Get Your JAM On! (instr.)
7. My Old Man
8. About Reinaldo. Mourning and Outrage
9. A Baby’s Smile is Sweet to See
10. Bobee (What a Spirit Walks That Way)

Opening on the righteously funky and groove-laden Get Your JAM On! and a rousingly sumptuous, piano-led instrumental Glory Glory Glory Is For Us All, next up is another instrumental, this time the trumpet-led Love Over War. Every Time We Play, a soulfully vocalized Love Over War. Every Time We Play and then comes the spiritualized vocalization of Glory Glory Glory Is For Us All.

Along next is the funky instrumental of the opening track Get Your JAM On! and the short, but sweet acoustic renderings within My Old Man, before the spoken-word excellence of About Reinaldo. Mourning and Outrage is brought forth, the album rounding out on the acoustic, drum-led A Baby’s Smile is Sweet to See, closing on the gently bombastic and quietly fervent rhythms within Bobee (What a Spirit Walks That Way).

ROGER LEWIS saxophones
HERLIN RILEY drums-set
KIRK JOSEPH sousaphone
MICHAEL TORREGANO JR. piano and B3 and electronic keyboards
+ ERICA FALLS guest singer

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Title - Alright!
Artist - Roger Lewis

For those of you not in the know, Alright! is Roger Lewis’ first album after more than 60 years of illustrious play as a saxophonist in New Orleans and round the world.

Roger Lewis is co-founder of the 45-years-and-going-strong Dirty Dozen Brass Band and as such he is a part of more then a dozen treasured albums since the early 1980s.

A quarter-century earlier, Roger Lewis as a teenager accompanied some of the Rhythm & Blues key creators and the Cosimo Matassa studio and Dew Drop Inn and Pimlico Club of New Orleans.

Now 80, he has pursued throughout his career - studying and shedding with Frederic Kemp, William Metcalf, Kidd Jordan, Dizzy Gillespie, et al - tones and expressions unique to his decades of upbringing and his own voice.

Alright! beings Roger Lewis into company with world-renowned players who know his music intimately. Herlin Riley and Kirk Joseph, each a bandleader himself, grew up a generation later in New Orleans traditions.

They know Roger like family. Don Paul heard the stories behind Roger’s tunes with the sympathetic understanding Roger evokes - Bobee, Carrying The Saxophones, Little Things all were vivid through Roger.

1. Bobee (What A Spirit Walks That Way) (Instrumental) (5:05)
2. Carrying The Saxophones (Instrumental) (7:01)
3. Little Things (Instrumental) (3:26)
4. Little Things (with verse) (3:26)
5. Glory Glory Glory Is For Us All (Instrumental) (4:41)
6. Maybe You See Horses (Instrumental) (9:46)
7. Maybe You See Horses (with verse) (9:44)
8. Glory Glory Glory Is For Us All (with verse) (4:41)
9. Carrying The Saxophones (with verse) (7:01)

Opening on the upliftingly funky tones of the instrumental Bobee (What A Spirit Walks That Way) and the ferociously powerful sax work that adorns the instrumental Carrying The Saxophones, the dulcet piano-led work of Little Things (Instrumental) and then with a spoken word verse added, before we are given the melodically rhythmic Glory Glory Glory Is For Us All (Instrumental).

Up next is one of my own personal favorites, the almost crystalline, skillfully crafted improvised tribute to Kidd Jordan Maybe You See Horses (Instrumental) and then another version with an additional spoken word verse, the album rounding out on the pure gospel flow of Glory Glory Glory Is For Us All (with additional verse), closing on a cut from Don Paul’s new album (Love Over War), the righteously funky and groove-laden Get Your JAM On!

ROGER LEWIS / saxophones
HERLIN RILEY / drums-set
KIRK JOSEPH / sousaphone
MICHAEL TORREGANO JR. / piano and B3 and electronic keyboards
MARIO ABNEY / trumpet
(All five above are in the RIVERS ANSWER MOONS band)
ERICA FALLS / singer
DON PAUL / vocalist

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Title - Voodoo Nation
Artist - Supersonic Blues Machine

For those of you not in the know, Supersonic Blues Machine will release their brand-new studio album Voodoo Nation on June 24th, 2022 via Provogue/Mascot Label Group.

Once again, the again features a reunion of some of the most exciting icons and names in blues: Charlie Starr (Blackberry Smoke), Eric Gales, Joe Louis Walker, Ana Popovic, Kirk Fletcher, King Solomon Hicks, Josh Smith and Sonny Landreth.

“The general discontent in the world at the moment is so widespread, we get told to embrace it because that’s life,” says bassist Fabrizio Grossi. “No, that’s not life,” he asserts. “It’s how we’re forced to live nowadays. Voodoo Nation refers to the times we’re living in, at least here in the States, but I guess the whole world can relate. We’re getting to the point where we’re living out life almost as Zombies. We’re little machines.”

But there is always hope, which is what Supersonic Blues Machine has always been about.

1. Money
2. Too Late
3. Coming Thru
4. You And Me (feat. King Solomon Hicks)
5. Get It Done (feat. Josh Smith)
6. 8 Ball Lucy (feat. Sonny Landreth)
7. Devil At The Doorstep (feat. Eric Gales)
8. Is It All (feat. Joe Louis Walker)
9. Do It Again (feat. Ana Popović)
10. I Will Let Go (feat. Kirk Fletcher)
11. Voodoo Nation
12. All Our Love (feat. Charlie Starr)

Opening on the drum-led rock euphoria of Money and the foot-pounding, hand-clapping, grooving down south slide guitar work of Too Late, they then back those up seamlessly with the pulsating, harmonica-driven Coming Thru, the reverberating funky blues rock of You And Me (featuring young Harlem blues-sensation King Solomon Hicks), the drum-led AOR of Get It Done (featuring blues guitarist Josh Smith), the rhythmic rock of 8 Ball Lucy (featuring Louisiana slide-god Sonny Landreth) and then we get the euphorically-charged, 8-minute long Devil At The Doorstep (featuring Eric Gales, whose recent album Crown was a #1 Blues Billboard hit and hasn’t been off my turntable for the past two months).

Up next is the gorgeously smooth, mid-tempo blues balladry of Is It All (featuring the legendary Joe Louis Walker) and the thunderous Do It Again (featuring the Serbian blues singer/guitarist Ana Popović), and they are in turn backed by the band’s trademark soulful blues sound comes to the fore on I Will Let Go (featuring blues guitarist Kirk Fletcher), the album coming to a close on the pounding blues rock of the title track Voodoo Nation and the inspirational, atmospherically-imbibed rootsy rock of All Our Love (featuring Charlie Starr of Blackberry Smoke).

At the core of the band is producer/bass player Fabrizio Grossi (Steve Vai, Alice Cooper, George Clinton, Slash) and drummer Kenny Aronoff (John Mellencamp, Meat Loaf, Brandon Flowers, John Fogerty, Red Hot Chili Peppers) with British rocker Kris Barras replacing Lance Lopez as singer-guitarist.

Barras has a recent UK Top 30 album chart hit in March himself, and he is leading the pack of the British hard rock revival with several A-list singles, BBC Radio appearances and sell-out shows.

Voodoo Nation is the band’s third studio album. “Kris comes from this British school of hard rock and blues,” Grossi says. “This is a different sound to Kenny and me with the Allman Brothers, Sly Stone & The Family & Mountain. On Californisoul (2017), we were going more West Coast Funkadelic 60s and overall jam vibe. Blues but with more of a hippy flower power. With Kris, we wanted his footprint there, so that’s why you hear Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, and Gary Moore. Kind of a Union Jack imprint over a Star-Spangled Banner.”

The lyrical front on Voodoo Nation is less forgiving than everything in the past. “I’m not saying fuck flower power because that’s always the message,” Grossi says. “But there are very introspective things and a lot of the theatrics that we are dealing with on this record which I would say are fairly common in the blues but are dealt with a twist. There is a lot of Devil’s stuff in this record.”

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Title - Greatest Hits (And Near Misses)
Artist - Nelson

For those of you not in the know, multi-platinum-selling act Nelson is unveiling their most comprehensive compilation ever on July 8th, 2022 on CD and digital platforms through Universal Music Enterprises (UMe).

Greatest Hits (And Near Misses) not only includes their smash (Can’t Live Without Your) Love and Affection and other hits from their two Geffen Records releases, but also notable tracks from the Nelson twins’ well-received subsequent albums.

Available starting today, pre-order and hear the first track, Too Many Dreams, which had previously only been officially available in Japan as a 1991 single and as an After The Rain (Japanese Edition) bonus track and is getting its digital debut.

Included are eight additional tracks, exclusively licensed from the Nelsons and their Stone Canyon Records label. Lightning Strikes Twice, which is often viewed as After The Rain’s true sequel (and even considered by some a stronger album), is represented by Take Me There, You’re All I Need Tonight and Call Me.

Rockstar hails from Peace Out (lauded by one critic as being quintessential Nelson from start to finish) while A Girl Like That comes from Life (praised as sparkling, melody-driven pop/rock by

Greatest Hits (and Near Misses) also includes the newly recorded acoustic version of Keep One Heart, a studio track that appeared on their Perfect Storm live album and as a bonus tune on After The Rain’s Japanese version. Two Heads Are Better Than One is a song movie fans will recognize from Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure.

This original unreleased version features Gunnar’s vocals as heard in the film (while the version on the soundtrack album featured another vocalist). The track is credited to Power Tool, a name the Nelson brothers used for this pre-After The Rain recording.

Gunnar and Matthew have also included What About Me? from their Brother Harmony album (that they released as The Nelsons). This twangy ballad reveals their musical connection to their late father, who helped pioneer the country-rock sound. The brothers further acknowledged their father’s legacy in a highly praised tribute concert that they have performed over the years.

1. After The Rain - from After The Rain
2. (Can’t Live Without Your) Love And Affection - from After The Rain
3. Call Me - from Lightning Strikes Twice
4. You’re All I Need Tonight - from Lightning Strikes Twice
5. More Than Ever - from After The Rain
6. Only Time Will Tell - from After The Rain
7. Too Many Dreams - Bonus track from After The Rain (Japanese Special Edition)
8. Cross My Broken Heart - from Because They Can
9. Won’t Walk Away - from Because They Can
10. A Girl Like That - from Life
11. (You Got Me) All Shook Up - from Because They Can
12. What About Me? - from Silence Is Broken
13. Keep One Heart (Acoustic Version) (New Recording)
14. I Can Hardly Wait - from After The Rain
15. Two Heads Are Better Than One (Previously Unreleased Original Version)
16. Rockstar - from Peace Out
17. Take Me There – from Lightning Strikes Twice

As for the music, well, come on now, all these songs still sound rocking even today! Like their aforementioned celebrated ’50s icon father, Matthew and Gunnar went for a polished, boy-next-door, albeit long blonde hair image. Much like wholesome sex symbols, if you will, but their music didn’t sound anything like their father’s!

Instead, their debut album boasted glossy, ’80s-sounding blends of corporate rock and arena rock (sort of White Lion meets Loverboy meets Bon Jovi, minus the bad boy element) even though it was released in 1990!

Rock critics tended to deplore and rail against albums like After the Rain, for example, but say what you will, tracks such as I Can Hardly Wait, Fill You Up, the chart-topping (Can’t Live Without Your) Love and Affection and other melodic cuts from their subsequent albums are all catchy and still very much likable.

OK, sure, the musical Gods had blown a new musical game our way come the mid ’90s, and so on 1995’s Because They Can Nelson had to pivot and subsequently delved into the underground market, settling for AC moods and riffs, but still the songs stand up today.

Granted, this type of pop/rock can easily become bloodless and mechanical, but the Nelson siblings come across as sincere, which meant that from the off, their albums, for all their respective slickness, were all heart.

For the record, all pun intended, where I honestly do applaud them for their homage to their father on 1999’s Like Father, Like Sons, as harmoniously melodic as the entire album was, it was a direction I don’t think they necessarily needed to go at the time, but they got back on the rock track with 2010’s excellent free flowing AOR album Lightning Strikes Twice.

Brothers Gunnar and Matthew Nelson found phenomenal success with their 1990 DGC debut After The Rain, which has been certified double platinum by the RIAA after selling more than 2 million copies and remained on the Billboard 200 Album Chart for over 60 weeks.

The twin brothers’ harmony-heavy melodic rock (Billboard described, a catchy hybrid of power-pop and hard rock) spawned four singles that cracked the top 30 on Billboard’s Hot 100: After The Rain, (charted in the top three and also hit number one in Radio & Records), More Than Ever, Only Time Will Tell, and the chart-topping (Can’t Live Without Your) Love and Affection.

I know that saying ’having a Greatest Hits record is a dream come true’ sounds trite, but in this case it’s totally accurate, says Gunnar. I’m just another songwriter/artist who’s dream to have a Greatest Hits record one day began in earnest at the age of 6. I truly love music, and I never rest until my work is the very best that it can be. Out of respect for my fellow music lovers and my musical mentors, I’ve always put everything I have into the songs that I hope will turn into the soundtrack of peoples’ lives.

I am SO proud of this Greatest Hits record, and all of the blood, sweat, and tears that it took through the decades to bring it to you now. It is the very best of the best that I have to give you.

When (Can’t Live Without Your) Love and Affection topped the singles chart, it marked the first time that one family scored a #1 hit across three generations. Gunnar and Matthew’s father, Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Rick Nelson, reached #1 twice with Poor Little Fool and Traveling Man, and their grandfather, Ozzie Nelson, had a #1 hit in 1935 with And Then Some.

Their breakout debut propelled the Nelsons from playing clubs to headlining arenas, performing over 100 shows per year while touring the world. The twins, with their signature long-blonde hair and photogenic good looks, became an iconic image of the early 90s. By the time Nelson’s second record, Because They Can, arrived in 1995, music trends had shifted, but the album still hit #30 on the Radio & Records Pop chart.

Greatest Hits (And Near Misses) revisits Nelson’s popular radio hits from their Geffen era, while also spotlighting songs from their well-received later releases. This compilation contains After The Rain’s four classic Nelson hits, including Only Time Will Tell, as well as I Can Hardly Wait.

Featured from the underappreciated Because They Can album is a trio of tracks: (You Got Me) All Shook Up, Won’t Walk Away, and Cross My Broken Heart. Notable too is the rarity, Too Many Dreams, which has officially only been available in Japan as a 1991 single, and an After The Rain bonus track (and is getting its digital debut).

This is the very first time in history that we have been able to deliver a comprehensive career-spanning collection of NELSON’s most shining moments, says Gunnar. Now that our own Stone Canyon Records label has officially joined forces with Universal, we can finally pull out all the stops. Start to finish, this is an album that we’re truly proud of… and the very first thing any music fan should pick up if they ever wondered what NELSON is all about.

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Title - The Complete Capitol Albums
Artist - The Hagers

For those of you not in the know, on July 22, 2022, Omnivore Recordings will release The Complete Capitol Albums by American country duo The Hagers.

Jim and John Hager recorded three albums for Capitol Records: The Hagers and Two Hagers Are Better Than One in 1970, and Motherhood, Apple Pie & The Flag the following year.

The identical twins also logged a staggering 135 appearances on Hee Haw between 1969 and 1985, and were a concert draw until Jim’s death in 2008 – with his brother passing a mere eight months later in 2009.

While all critically acclaimed, and being dubbed “the next big thing” in country music, the albums did not chart as well as expected. But, those who knew country and Buck Owens know they were something special.

The Complete Capitol Albums collects these sought-after albums, coupling them together on CD for the first time, and debuting them digitally as well.

Mastered from the original analog master tape sources by Grammy®-winner Michael Graves, the collection was produced for release by Grammy®-winner Cheryl Pawelski and Grammy®-nominee Randy Poe – author of Buck ‘Em!: The Autobiography Of Buck Owens. In addition to photos of The Hagers, packaging contains liner notes from Poe, as well.

The Hagers:
1. Loneliness Without You
2. I’m Her Fun
3. Tracks (Running Through The City)
4. Your Tender Loving Care
5. I Don’t Wanna Make It
6. Gotta Get To Oklahoma (’Cause California’s Gettin’ To Me)
7. With Lonely
8. I’m Not Going Back To Jackson
9. Give It Time
10. Goin’ Home To Your Mother

Two Hagers Are Better Than One:
11. Silver Wings
12. The Whole World Holding Hands
13. I’m Jesse James
14. Flowers Need Sun, Too
15. Loony Caboose
16. That’s My Love
17. Second Fiddle
18. The Last Time
19. I’m Miles Away
20. Gamblin’ Man

Motherhood, Apple Pie & The Flag:
21. Motherhood, Apple Pie And The Flag
22. White Line Fever
23. Silver Threads And Golden Needles
24. Four Strong Winds
25. Ft. Worth Texas
26. Freight Train Fever
27. Break My Mind
28. I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight
29. California On My Mind
30. Back Out On The Road Again

Their three 1970–71 Capitol albums now available on CD and Digital for the first time, we open on their self-titled The Hagers album, which contained their first three charting singles and their B-sides too.

All coming together nicely to make up this late 1969/early 1970 Capitol album, what emerged were the chart placers Gotta Get To Oklahoma (’Cause California’s Gettin’ To Me) (#41), Loneliness Without You (#74), and Goin’ Home To Your Mother (#50).

Other stand outs for me personally here are the truly uplifting, free wheeling ’70s psych-rock jaunt of Tracks (Running Through The City), the smooth, yet gently funky grooves of I’m Not Going Back To Jackson, and the fun and bouncy Give It Time.

Next up is Two Hagers Are Better Than One, which was released in late 1970 and contained the charting singles Silver Wings (#59) (and which was written by Merle Haggard) as well as I’m Miles Away (#47).

Here amongst the other songs that stand out for me are joyously uplifting melodies within The Whole World Holding Hands, the catchy dance floor twirl of Loony Caboose and then the boisterously fervent I’m Jesse James.

And as much as that would be that in so far as nationally-charting singles were concerned, the third album here is Motherhood, Apple Pie And The Flag. Containing the one failed single - White Line Fever in mid-1971 - the album was the unwitting victim to a musical tide-changing world.

But, digging deeper into the album and tracks such as the gorgeously free flowing title track Motherhood, Apple Pie And The Flag, the beautifully harmonious, scenically-imbibed Four Strong Winds, and both the aptly-named Freight Train Fever and album closer Back Out On The Road Again are all highlights of an album that deserved much more media and listener attention.

Funnily enough, the story, of course, does not end there, as The Hagers continuing recording with other labels throughout the 1970’s whilst also touring, with great success, their country show.

They also made successful acting appearances, including roles in the movie Twin Detectives for ABC-TV in 1976, and in 1987, they co-presented Country Kitchen on TNN.

Their uniqueness as identical twins led to many television appearances, as well as work on commercials, and they are the only twins to achieve major success in country music.

In the ’90s, they even became noted for hosting their major annual fishing competition at Lakewood, Wisconsin, which they organized to benefit charities.

From the liners: The real reason The Hagers were never able to score a major hit on Capitol Records is impossible to say. Maybe record buyers and radio didn’t take the brothers seriously because of their frequent comedic portrayals on Hee Haw.

Perhaps there was some strange stigma attached to the fact that they were twins. Maybe it was their pre-Willie long hair that turned off a late 1960s/early 1970s country audience.

Whatever the actual reason The Hagers failed to sell records in droves, it certainly wasn’t because of a lack of talent. The songs were strong; the production was solid; and the vocals were spot-on.

This collection of their Capitol albums is aural proof that the duo knew what they were doing in the studio and confirms that Three Hagers LPs Are Better Than One.

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Title - A Tale of 7 Cities
Artist - Raleigh Keegan

Raleigh Keegan is a country artist — at least, that’s what the internet at large has decided to label him. And with a backstory that could provide the script for an inspirational film, it would seem like Keegan would have enough material for an album full of basic, run-of-the-mill country songs.

But what you get when you press play on his 8-song latest release, A Tale of 7 Cities is anything but run-of-the-mill or basic.

It’s an unlikely start to a not-so-typical tale of country stardom: singer/songwriter Keegan was born in a jail to a brave, selfless single mother and placed for adoption. “It ended up being the best case scenario – my parents are wonderful. I had an awesome childhood.”

Raised outside of Cincinnati with a large extended family (11 aunts and uncles and nearly 50 cousins on just one side), Raleigh was the only member with any sort of musical inclination. “My birth father played guitar – that’s about all I know of where my talents come from.”

1. Cold Day in Tucson
2. Send My Love to Lexington
3. How’s the View in New York City
4. New to Nashville
5. Paris Wheel
6. Lonely Night in LA
7. Miss Me Memphis
8. Where My Home Is
9. Lost In Vegas

Cold Day in Tucson starts the record off strong, seamlessly blending elements of country and rock music. Keegan’s voice is the standout element in this (and nearly every other) song. His voice is deep, rich, and silky smooth, greatly downplaying the typical drawl that most male country artists prominently feature.

The lyrics themselves are a neat take on the post-breakup song, comparing unnatural cold in a place like Arizona to the strangeness of being without a lover.

Give My Love to Lexington is a beautiful ballad, a love letter to Kentucky. And this melodic, mellow ode to the Bluegrass State will surely be enough to rouse the pride of Kentuckians near and far, or in the reviewer’s case, descendants thereof. Thank you, Raleigh.

The cool thing about the record itself is that it is titled A Tale of 7 Cities, and seven of the eight tracks involve a different city, tracing the route, to some extent, that Keegan has traveled across his musical journey.

But for all of the smoothness of the vocals and pleasant twang of the guitars, A Tale of 7 Cities occasionally hits a few clunky notes, mostly in the way that Keegan’s voice occasionally wanders out of its sweet spot, making the chorus on songs like How’s the View in New York City sound shrill, and thus, unpleasant. But this is all forgivable in the face of seven other tracks that are absolute bangers.

Raleigh Keegan’s music may most appeal to the listener who has set roots downing multiple places or are perhaps looking for their forever home. And Raleigh Keegan will surely find a home — if he hasn’t already — at the top of the charts.

Review by: Ashley J. Cicotte

Raleigh Keegan’s A Tale of 7 Cities is now available on all streaming platforms.

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Title - Cumbiana II
Artist - Carlos Vives

While English-speaking audiences may recognize Carlos Vives as a contributor to the Disney Encanto soundtrack, he is one of the most recognizable and acclaimed artists in Latin America today, mostly due to the ways in which his music has championed the classic musical styles of Colombia, his country. He happens to also be a personal favorite of mine.

In 2020, Vives released ‘Cumbiana I’ a veritable smorgasbord of music that reached across not only Colombia, but much of Latin America.

This second installment, Cumbiana II is no different, spanning from Bogotá, Colombia to Buenos Aires, Argentina and San Juan, Puerto Rico.

1. Solo
2. Cinerama
3. Baloncito Viejo
4. Montaña Solitaria
5. Currambera
6. Canción Bonita
7. Babel
8. Pagamento
9. Besos en Cualquier Horario
10. Mi Guitarra Enamorada
11. En La Selva
12. Buscando Al Caballo (Homaneje a Johnny Ventura)
13. El Teke Teke
14. Patria

The thing about Carlos Vives’ music is, nearly every word is in Spanish. So of course it goes without saying that the listener who speaks or knows a little Spanish may fair better.

But it even gets a little sticky for folks like us, since the pronunciation of certain words and syllables vary from Spanish-speaking country to Spanish-speaking country; so someone used to listening to Mexican music, for example, may stumble over a few words sung in Vives’ Colombian accent without looking at the lyrics first.

But you get there, and without much difficulty overall. But listeners who don’t speak Spanish at all will still be treated to a disc full of catchy, tropical beats.

As mentioned, Cumbiana II is a journey all over the map, and it begins right where it ought: In Colombia, with “Solo” bringing the accordion-driven vallenato sound that Carlos Vives helped make famous.

For several other tracks, Vives enlists the help of several heavy-hitter guest stars including Ricky Martin, Camilo, Fito Páez, and — surprisingly — the Black-Eyed Peas. The presence of each adds an element to their respective songs, but it’s not enough for the fan of Vives in his own right to feel like he could just as easily do it on his own just as well.

Baloncito Viejo is the first standout track, with reggaeton sensation Camilo joining his countryman on a tune that compares a woman’s love to winning a sports match, with a cute little video featuring old time-y soccer. On the more mellow side of the groove, this song is also the first from the album I’ve seen to get radio airplay, which has to count for something.

The lead single off the record, Canción Bonita steals the position of Favorite Track, thanks to a bright, beachy sound (and video) and cameo by eternal heartthrob Ricky Martin. As far as Spanish lyrics with decent English translations go, this certainly wins, with the song’s narrator pledging fedelity: “Y si tengo escoger/Me quedo me quedo contigo…” In English: “And if I have to choose, I’ll stay, I’ll stay with you.” Isn’t that nice? They weren’t kidding around when they named it Beautiful Song.

Babel touches old-fashioned Argentinian rock with Fito Paez guesting on the track, while Patria serves as a delicate love song to Colombia, with only guitars dishing out complex rhythms that showcase the variation of musical stylings even within the singular country.

El Teke Teke brings the fun, courtesy of Black-Eyed Peas and Play n Skillz, with a silly little video dance that will surely help to make this track the bilingual summer smash it deserves to be.

Carlos Vives’ latest effort is a very solid one - as all of them are - even if it continues the somewhat unfortunate trend of being beset with one too many other musicians on the record, pero al final, me encantó. In the end, I loved it.

Review by: Ashley J. Cicotte

Cumbiana II is now streaming on every major platform.

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Title - Live at the Palladium
Artist - Killswitch Engage

For those of you needing something new to listen to, Killswitch Engage released a new album and boy, is it a fun ride for metalcore fans. Live at the Palladium is jammed packed with strong vocals and heavy guitar you’d come to expect from one of the greats in the genre.

First off, everything starts off with a bang as Unleashed begins with a growl. It certainly seems to unleash the beast as vocalist Jesse Leach throughout each song perfectly encapsulates his command of his voice. One minute he’s screaming and growling, the next minute he goes into his smooth tones. Each transition just makes you want to sing along to each song.

The backing vocals of Adam Dutkiewicz make each song powerful and epic in every way. Leach and Dutkiewicz uniquely blend to make an overall fantastic experience. There are a couple moments where their voices miss their timing but that’s the only thing critical I can say. All that is pretty much forgotten as you simply bang your head.

1. “Unleashed”
2. “The Signal Fire”
3. “Us Against The World”
4. “The Crownless King”
5. “I Am Broken Too”
6. “As Sure As The Sun Will Rise”
7. “Know Your Enemy”
8. “Take Control”
9. “Ravenous”
10. “I Can’t Be The Only One”
11. “Bite The Hand That Feeds”
12. “Temple From The Within”
13. “Vide Infra”
14. “Irreversal”
15. “Rusted Embrace”
16. “Prelude”
17. “Soilborn”
18. “Numb Sickened Eyes”
19. “In The Unblind”
20. “Just Barely Breathing”

It’s at this point that you’ll notice that there are no crowd sounds, despite it being a live album. This is because the band live streamed their set without an audience. There are times where this can be felt in a negative way, as songs like Us Against The World makes you want sing and scream along to embody the emotions behind it. But that’s harder to do if no one else is doing it, too.

Although there are some negatives, overall it really is a bold take on the music industry. It really opens the door to continue life outside of restrictions brought about things closing down during the COVID crisis.

Musically, dueling guitars of Dutkiewicz and Joel Stroetzel are straight fire. The metalcore grinds and chugs with solos throughout are just so good. Their ability to sound practically the same as their songs in their albums speak to their true ability. Nothing distracts them from keeping the beat with the drums and bass.

Speaking of beat, Mike D’Antonio on bass and Justin Foley on drums are true specialists in their respective fields. The timing of each beat from Foley flows like its second nature while he expertly brings in the fills to finish the overall sound.

D’Antonio just adds the icing on the cake for beats. He’s able to match Foley on the drums but then can flow into the guitar sounds effortlessly. Know Your Enemy is a great example of each instrument coming together in near flawless unity.

Overall, this album is fantastic and shows that even though Killswitch Engage has been around for years, they are still giants in the industry. Here’s hoping for many more albums to come.

Review by: John Cicotte

Killswitch Engage’s Live at the Palladium is available on all major streaming platforms.

Killswitch Engage - Vide Infra (Live at the Palladium) [Official Video]

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Title - Body Machine
Artist - Priest

For those of you not in the know, PRIEST, the synthwave act featuring former members of the Grammy Award-winning Swedish rock act GHOST, will release a new full-length album, Body Machine, on July 15th, 2022 on all formats, including CD, vinyl and digital.

The LP’s early singles A Signal In The Noise and Techno Girl have already been generating a major buzz across both the metal and electronic music worlds, preparing the path for the full-length release.

Produced by Simon Söderberg, another GHOST alumni, Body Machine will be the band’s third studio album and their first to be released in conjunction with U.S. indie label juggernaut Cleopatra Records.

But for now, fans can bask in the glory of another stellar pre-release single, the throbbing, hypnotic Blacklisted, which is released last month on all digital platforms.

PRIEST had this to say about Body Machine: We’re excited to finally release our diverse and heavy rhythm-driven third album! Body Machine is steeped in darkness, but it also shows glimpses of hope through the black, hovering smog of polluted future cities.

1. A Signal In The Noise
2. Ghost Writer
3. Hell Awaits
4. Phantom Pain
5. Blacklisted
6. Perfect Body Machine
7. Techno Girl
8. Crystalline Lace
9. Nightcrawler
10. Keep On Burning

Opening on the addictive goth synth of A Signal In The Noise and the lighter fare of the melodic Ghost Writer, they follow those up with the spoken word-imbibed rhythms of Hell Awaits, the free flowing, foot-tapping synth work of Phantom Pain and then comes the gentle pound of Blacklisted.

Up next is the synth dance fest of Perfect Body Machine and the jaunty Techno Girl and they are in turn backed by the ’80s-esque vibe of Crystalline Lace, the album coming to a rousing close on the Hi-NRG, layered approach to both Nightcrawler and the quite brilliantly effervescent Keep On Burning.

Hailing from the same icy darkness of the Scandinavian inland that birthed GHOST, PRIEST consists of a trio of musicians — vocalist Mercury, who was known as Water when he played bass for GHOST, keyboardist Salt, formerly known as GHOST keyboardist Air, and programmer/ keyboardist Sulfur — who came together in 2017 and started releasing their own unique brew of electronic music that bears little sonic resemblance to their former band yet still shares the same creative DNA.

But whereas GHOST borrowed their theatrics from old school horror and ’80s rock, PRIEST comes steeped in cyberpunk and industrial music.

In 2020, PRIEST released a new album called Cyberhead, the follow-up to its debut, New Flesh. Cyberhead was the first album since original singer Tom Åsberg (also known as Ginger Khan) left the band to pursue other projects. PRIEST mastermind Linton Rubino has taken over on vocals, which are performed by a masked character they call Mercury.

Cleopatra Records shared of the signing, We see an extremely bright future ahead for the band and are thrilled to be partnering with them to make them happen.

The band said, Signing with such a legendary label like Cleopatra will probably be the biggest step in our career. With great knowledge of the genre we’re in, we can’t think of a better match for Priest. Our next album is by far the best yet and we cant wait to unleash it a wider and more diverse audience.

Priest - A Signal In The Noise (Official Music Video)

Priest - Techno Girl (Official Music Video)

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Title - Curse of the Easily Amused
Artist - The Mutants

For those of you not in the know, it’s hard to let go of a good thing! More than four decades after The Mutants first appeared on the San Francisco underground music scene, four of the original members are still playing shows together under that name in 2022.

After all, mutants are known to mutate, and that’s what this colorful, energetic musical collective has been doing off and on since 1977.

Perhaps even more surprisingly, the sessions for their lone album, 1982’s Fun Terminal, continue to bring forth lost nuggets. In punk and new wave lore, Fun Terminal is considered a troubled project.

Prior to the album’s appearance, the Mutants - fronted by Fritz Fox with fellow singers Sue White & Sally Webster - had released only one 7-inch single - 1980s’ The Mutants EP - and the band also had songs featured on two local compilations. Both the EP and one of the compilations were issued by 415 Records, the legendary Bay Area indie that made the jump from the new wave trenches to the majors when they signed a deal with Columbia Records in 1981.

Many scenesters felt that the Mutants should have begun album sessions for 415 immediately after the EP, but that didn’t happen.

Each of the 14 tracks on the new collection, Curse of the Easily Amused has either been remixed, or sourced from previously unreleased tapes. From the band’s point of view, each cut is a substantially different version than what might have appeared before, explains current Mutants bassist and project producer Peter Conheim.

Eight songs have never been officially released on vinyl or CD in any form. The versions of Think Think Think and Tribute to Russ Meyer feature radically different approaches than what was heard on the Fun Terminal reissue.

We recently rediscovered a tape reel that included those songs. The Mutants discarded or forgot about a ridiculous amount of music during its first eight years. Audio quality for all the tracks here is superior to anything that’s come before. No overdubs were used in preparing this release.

1. Party!!!
2. Odd Man Out (2021 Remix)
3. Modern Conversation
4. Love Song (2021 Remix)
5. Think, Think, Think
6. Too Much, Too Soon (2021 Remix)
7. Noises and Numbers
8. Insect Lounge (2021 Remix)
9. Other Government
10. Sofa Song
11. Space Song (Live)
12. W.A.S.P.
13. Missing In Action
14. A Tribute to Russ Meyer (Live)

This ’70s/’80s San Francisco art-punk band’s 14-track collection, one which includes remixed tracks and previously unreleased recordings galore, opens on the melodic Party!!! and the rhythmic Odd Man Out (2021 Remix) and then back those up seamlessly with the rambunctious Modern Conversation, the vibrant Love Song (2021 Remix), the slinky Think, Think, Think, and then comes the euphorically-charged Too Much, Too Soon (2021 Remix) and the wrenching Noises and Numbers.

Up next is the upbeat rocker Insect Lounge (2021 Remix) and the gently frenetic Other Government and they are in turn followed by the mid-tempo guitar fest that is Sofa Song, the free flowing rock of Space Song (Live), the alt-pop-rock of W.A.S.P., the collection now rounding out on the languishing Missing In Action, coming to a righteous close on the reaching, alt-punk ebb of A Tribute to Russ Meyer (Live).

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Title - Alquimina
Artist - Katherine Farnham

For those of you not in the know, Katherine Farnham is a 2022 Grammy U Mentor, Billboard-charting, award-winning and internationally acclaimed American jazz and blues singer/songwriter/pianist.

She is at the forefront of the jazz singer/songwriter movement and is known for bringing fresh, contemporary twists to jazz standards as well as releasing tracks that merge classic and contemporary influences.

The winner of twenty-four awards and nine nominations, her single Necessary Groove debuted in Billboard’s Top 40 Pop Charts as a crossover hit. A prolific and versatile artist, she has been compared to Diana Krall, as well as legendary vocalists Barbra Streisand, Celine Dion, Sarah Vaughan and others.

A child prodigy, she was born into an artistic family and began composing at age four. She gave her first performance at five as leading actress in a school play and sang her first jazz vocal solo a few months later.

She is classically trained in both piano and voice. Her vocal range spans four octaves. She writes most of her own songs and also records her own versions of famous classics. She has recorded songs in English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Italian and Latin.

In the last few years, Katherine has won over a staggering twelve music awards, including being one of the youngest recipients of the Albert Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award. (Other recipients include Colin Powell, Wonder Woman Entertainer Lynda Carter and actress Dee Wallace.)

Indeed, Katherine’s early 2022 album LOVE PHILOSOPHY won a total of eight Global Music Awards - one for the whole album and others for seven singles.

She has earned Global Music Awards for Jazz/ Emerging Artist and Jazz/Blues Song as well as Los Angeles Music Award Nominations for Best Jazz Artist and Americana: Blues & Roots Artist.

She has also won a Las Vegas Counter Culture Award for Best Jazz Performer. HG Radio in Mexico also nominated her for her Spanish language singing with Cantante Feminine del Ano.

Even throughout a challenging few years, Katherine has continued to release new music and thus, and aside from the aforementioned LOVE PHILOSOPHY, she is readying her long-awaited Latin jazz project ALQUIMIA.

The album features original songs and well-known favorites in Spanish and Portuguese and features Latin Grammy winner and virtuoso flutist Néstor Torres, Four-Time Grammy Nominee and acclaimed guitarist Denny Jiosa and beloved, award-winning Brazilian artist Guinga on vocals and guitar.

1. Tango (4:09)
2. Onde Esta Meu Amor (4:28)
3. Discricao (3:48)
4. A Vox do Mundo (feat. Guinga) (5:17)
5. Besame Mucho (feat. Denny Jiosa) (3:22)
6. Eternidad (feat. Néstor Torres) (4:35)
7. So Tinha de Ser Com Voce (3:23)
8. Discricao (Extended Version / feat. Denny Jiosa) (4:48)
9. A Vox do Mundo (Acoustic Version / feat. Guinga) (5:15)

This vibrantly earthy and wholly embracing new album opens on the forthright Tango and the luscious Latin melodies within Onde Esta Meu Amor and they are then followed by the funky hipsway of Discricao, A Vox do Mundo features the sumptuous vocals and ornate guitar playing of Brazilian guitarist and composer Guinga and then comes the laid back Besame Mucho (featuring the jazz artist from Nashville, Denny Jiosa).

Up next, Puerto Rico jazz flutist Néstor Torres joins Katherine on the simply beautiful Eternidad and that is in turn followed by one of my own personal favorites, the free flowing majesties that imbibe the slow dancefloor swirl of So Tinha de Ser Com Voce, the album rounding out on an extended Discricao and an acoustic A Vox do Mundo.

Katherine and her longtime band have recorded and performed throughout the world. The winner of a Las Vegas F.A.M.E. Award for Best Jazz Performer, she has performed for celebrities, done standing ovation performances for the Mayor of Miami-Dade County and at the Hollywood F.A.M.E. Awards, sung live on NBC 6 and Telemundo, on the Los Angeles and Las Vegas strips, on stages with Latin jazz greats Celia Cruz and Tito Puente Jr., and to a sold out crowd at the Hub City Jazz Festival in New Jersey.

She has even inspired audiences at major sporting events, singing the National Anthem multiple times for World Series Champions The Florida Marlins, and performing for The Ericsson Open (only female artist), The Miami Marathon and national tour dates for NASCAR.

She has recorded with many renowned musicians including Grammy winner and legendary saxophonist Kirk Whalum, Latin Grammy winning flutist Nestor Torres, Blues Hall of Fame and Grammy Winning trumpeter Darrell Leonard, Grammy Nominated guitarist Denny Jiosa, Grammy nominated saxophonist Mindi Abair and award-winning Brazilian singer/songwriter/pianist Guinga among others.

Her engaging style combines elements of jazz, Latin jazz, adult contemporary, theater, R&B, blues/roots, and fusion. In recognition of her considerable contributions to the genre, her groundbreaking, self-produced CD VINTAGE was added to the prestigious jazz archives at the Mediatheque Musicale de Paris, France.

The Los Angeles Music Awards voted the third-generation musician the Best Female Singer/Songwriter in their entire twenty-five year history. All Music Guide says, “Her lyrics are heavy and meaningful, but her vocalizing is soaring.”

AXS says, “...a singer with many sides, all worth getting to open, fearless artist.” Two-Time Emmy Nominee and Celebrity Radio Host Phillip Silverstone raved, “absolutely brilliant. Farnham is doing for jazz what Clapton did for the blues – bringing it to the mainstream.”

Spotify Purchase Link

Official Website

Katherine Farnham @ Facebook

Katherine Farnham @ Twitter

Katherine Farnham @ YouTube

Katherine Farnham @ Spotify

Title - Wild is the Wind
Artist - Patrisha Thomson

For those of you not in the know, at the age of twelve, Patrisha Thomson heard Count Basie’s One O’ Clock Jump pouring out from a music store. “In that moment I knew this sound was me, and I would write songs expressing the same joy, but with contemporary lyrics.”

Classic jazz singers such as Billie Holiday, Anita O’Day, and Sarah Vaughan have influenced her music, along with contemporaries Ann Hampton Callaway and Dianne Reeves.

Listeners will also hear a touch of musical theater in her voice. Her childhood favorites are West Side Story, Ain’t Misbehavin’, and Porgy & Bess. On her new album, Wild is the Wind, anyone how has the summertime urge to slip into something cool will want to try this musical offering on for size.

For on her album, this LA-based vocalist delivers Great American Songbook faves and more with an engaging easy elegance. She has a light touch that’s expressive and nuanced, providing a balm to these unsettled times.

Wild is the Wind offers a collection of beloved tunes by the likes of Ellington, Jobim, Rodgers and Hart, and Johnny Mercer, plus an original bonus track.

Patrisha is clearly having a ball when Mon David joins her for a swinging, playful take on Route 66, for the twosome are clearly on the same page musically.

All Patrisha’s albums are available for purchase on itunes and Amazon.

1. In A Mellow Tone (3:52)
2. Dindi (4:58)
3. Route 66 (3:42)
4. Wild is the Wind (4:51)
5. There is No Greater Love (3:36)
6. You Don’t Know What Love Is (4:27)
7. Just Squeeze Me (4:26)
8. This Can’t Be Love (3:33)
9. A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square (4:22)
10. I Can’t Give You Anything But Love (4:06)
11. Autumn Leaves (4:41)
12. Frim-Fram Sauce (3:19)
13. The Happy Birthday Song (1:08) [Bonus Track]

This beautifully orchestrated, soothing to the soul new album opens on the gentle finger-snapping appeal of In A Mellow Tone and the almost atmospherically ethereal Dindi and they are followed by a jazzly-robust Route 66, the sweepingly elegant title track Wild is the Wind, and then comes the joyously upbeat swing of There is No Greater Love, the low ebb elegance of You Don’t Know What Love Is and the mid-tempo, smokey appeal of Just Squeeze Me is brought forth.

Up next is the free flowing hipsway of This Can’t Be Love and the delicate A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square, which are in turn backed by one of my own personal favorites from this album, the finger-snapping melodies of I Can’t Give You Anything But Love, and then we get the stunningly beautiful balladry of Autumn Leaves, the album rounding out on the playful Frim-Fram Sauce, coming to a close on the short, but sweet The Happy Birthday Song.

Vocals: Patrisha Thomson
Piano: Steve Rawlins
Guitar: Grant Geissman
Bass: Bob Feldman, Jennifer Leitham, Ken Wild
Drums: Bernie Dresel, Bob Leatherbarrow, Gordon Peeke
Percussion: Brad Dutz
Flute and Alto Flute: Scott Mayo
Tenor Saxophone: Tom Peterson
Trumpet: Michael Stever
Trombone: Ira Nepus

Official Purchase Link

Official Website

Title - Altitude
Artist - Lifesigns

For those of you not in the know, Lifesigns have just released their third studio album Altitude.

Following on from the self titled album in 2013, the Live DVD (2015) and Cardington (2017), the album features the tracks Ivory Tower, Gregarious and Last One Home which were all played live on the 2020 pre-lockdown UK tour.

Add to this the title track Altitude together with further new tracks Shoreline and Fortitude and you start to get a bigger picture of what to expect from this new album.

1. Altitude
2. Gregarious
3. Ivory Tower
4. Shoreline
5. Fortitude
6. Arkhangelsk
7. Last One Home
8. Altitude Reprise

This beautifully orchestrated, soothing to the soul new album - which was completely crowdfunded - opens on the emotionally-charged title track Altitude (which itself evokes the sorrow, pain and perils of wartime aviation) and then brings us the impishly playful, yet innocently rhythmic Gregarious, the heartbroken lament of a trust broken within Ivory Tower and then the melodic Prog jam (complete with glorious instrumental solos) of Shoreline.

Up next on this free flowing new album is the euphoric, ten minute musical swell that brings forth Fortitude which is in turn backed seamlessly by the less-than-a-minute’s worth of keyboard soundscapes that make up Arkhangelsk, the album rounding out on the heart-wrenching balladry of Last One Home (a reworked Quango song, co-written by Young and Prog rock hero, the late John Wetton), coming to a close on a short, but sweet electronic reprise of Altitude.

Lifesigns was the brainchild of John Young (keys/vocals), Frosty Beedle (drums), Steve Rispin (sound) and Nick Beggs (bass/vocals). Their first album, Lifesigns, was released in February 2013 and sold well, briefly reaching the UK top 100 album chart. Guests included Steve Hackett (Genesis), Robin Boult (Fish) and Thijs van Leer (Focus).

The band started touring the following year with Jon Poole joining to replace Nick Beggs who had other commitments. The line up was completed by former Steven Wilson guitarist Niko Tsonev. Fifty shows were played over the next year with highlights being appearances at Cruise To The Edge in the USA and Night of the Prog at Lorelei in Germany as well as the Ramblin’ Man and Cropredy festivals in the UK.

In addition to this Live In London, a DVD and double audio CD was released. This was recorded at Under The Bridge at Chelsea Football Club.

In 2017 a new album Cardington was released. The album was funded via a pledge music campaign that met its target in just 48 hours. The album features guest appearances from Robin Boult (Fish), Dave Bainbridge (Iona) and Menno Gootjes (Focus).

Niko decided to pursue his own solo career after having played on the album, and he in turn was replaced in the band by Dave Bainbridge on guitar and second keyboards. Cardington reached the top ten in the Amazon national chart and was number 4 in the UK Indie chart, all without any mainstream airplay.

In 2018 Lifesigns took to the road again with a third appearance on Cruise To The Edge and a UK tour. 2019 saw the band perform further live dates both in the UK and Europe.

February 2020 saw the release of the single Impossible, a radio friendly edit of the track from Cardington, which brought the band to a new audience. A short tour in March 2020 was to culminate in a fourth appearance on Cruise To The Edge in the USA, but the cruise has now been postponed to May 2022.

June 2020 marked the end of Frosty’s time with the band and the arrival of Zoltán Csörsz. The current album Altitude was recorded remotely without the band having met Zoltán in person (although you’d never guess that on hearing the intricate interplay between him and bassist Jon Poole) and released in March 2021.

Tours are planned (lockdowns permitting) in November 2021 and April 2022, ahead of Cruise To The Edge in May 2022.

John Young (keys/vox)
Jon Poole (bass/bvox)
Dave Bainbridge (guitars/keys/bvox)
Zoltan Csörsz (drums)
Steve Rispin (sound & add keys)
Lynsey Ward (backing vocals all tracks)
Juliet Wolff (cello - Altitude)
Peter Knight (violin - Altitude)

Official Album Trailer

Official Website

Lifesigns @ Facebook

Lifesigns @ Twitter

Lifesigns @ Instagram

Lifesigns @ Bandcamp

Title - Souls Of The Innocent
Artist - Jack Starr’s Burning Starr

For those of you not in the know, unleashing the latest chapter of a career now in its 5th decade, Jack Starr is well known amongst the metal community, first emerging on the scene as a founding member of the legendary Virgin Steele, before making his considerable mark as a solo artist, then as leader of his own band Burning Starr.

Burning Starr, the band Jack Starr founded in 1984 is now on its tenth album and yes they have gotten better and better! Indeed, yes they have thunderous drums provided by Rhino ex-drummer of Manowar, and yes they have killer vocals that some would describe as “pillar crumbling” provided by new boy Alexx Panza, and yes again they have massive and agile bass playing by Ned Meloni, a former bandmate of Joe Lynn Turner, UFO’s Paul Chapman and Kix front man Steve Whiteman ... and last, but not least, some face-melting guitar playing by the one and only Jack Starr himself!

1. The Ascension
2. Demons Behind Me
3. Ships In The Night
4. River of Blood
5. Souls Of The Innocent
6. Winds Of War
7. The Sinner
8. Where Eagles Fly
9. Road To Hell
10. Atilla
11. All Out War
12. When Evil Calls [Bonus Track]

This highly impressive, piercingly crisp and melodically rocking new album opens on the short, but sweet, quietly alluring The Ascension and then launches into the punchy rock of Demons Behind Me, the forthright AOR of Ships In The Night, before bringing us the gently frenetic melodic rock within River of Blood, the foot-tapping, head-swaying rock of the titular Souls Of The Innocent and then comes the pacy Winds Of War.

Next up is the melodic AOR of The Sinner and the euphorically-charged Where Eagles Fly which are in turn followed by one of my own personal favorites here, the staggered guitars within Road To Hell, then comes the upbeat rocker Atilla, the album rounding out on the thunderous All Out War, coming to a righteous close on the seven minute guitar rock opus of the bonus track When Evil Calls.

Jack Starr has the following to say about the new album: When Virgin Steele put out its first album in 1982 we were asked by the record company to say a few words about it and why people should buy it. I remember all of us discussing the various influences we had and what the songs were about.

I recall one member saying people should buy the album because it has some great songs that were very heavy and had cool riffs. I recall someone else in the band saying the vocals were killer and the drums were like thunder and that metal fans would like it.

Someone else said the guitar playing is really great. But what I remember most is when the bass player uttered these simple words: Buy It. It’s Good.

Look for Burning Starr on the road in 2023 and beyond as they celebrate nearly 40 years of Burning Starr and many surprises are planned for later this year and into 2023 with a career spanning anthology, reissues of the back catalog and much more!

Jack Starr’s Burning Starr - Souls Of The Innocent [Official Music Video]

In Conversation with Jack Starr from Jack Starr’s Burning Starr [Official Interview Video]

Jack Starr’s Burning Starr @ Facebook

Title - Sinners Never Sleep [LP]
Artist - You Me At Six

For those unaware, today, You Me At Six are celebrating the 10 year anniversary of their milestone U.K. Gold certified album, Sinners Never Sleep (UMe) with the first ever vinyl pressing, including an expanded color vinyl 3LP set featuring the entire album, the 2012 The Final Night Of Sin At Wembley Arena album, and a third LP of unreleased rarities.

Alongside this will be the standard 12 track album on 1LP (being reviewed here today), digital, and a 3CD deluxe package with previously unreleased bonus material.

Released by Virgin Records on October 3rd, 2011, Sinners Never Sleep reached No. 3 in the U.K. album chart on its release, selling over 182,000 copies and cementing You Me At Six as one of the most important and influential bands in U.K. alternative rock.

Songs like “Loverboy” and “Bite My Tongue” (ft. Oli Sykes) proved transcendent and genre-shifting classics. Created when You Me At Six were barely out of their teens, ”Sinners Never Sleep” was applauded for and fueled by heroic hooks and towering choruses, lauded as the heaviest album they had ever made both sonically and lyrically at this point in their career.

Side A:
A1. Loverboy
A2. Jaws On The Floor
A3. Bite My Tongue
A4. This Is The First Thing
A5. No-one Does It Better
A6. Little Death
A7. Crash

Side B:
B1. Reckless
B2. Time Is Money
B3. Little Bit Of Truth
B4. The Dilemma
B5. When We Were Younger

Produced by Garth Richardson (Biffy Clyro, Rage Against the Machine) and with guest appearances from two of the metalcore scene’s most notable front men, You Me At Six’s third album, Sinners Never Sleep, suggested (and rightly so) that the Surrey quintet were keen to distance themselves from their punk-pop boy band label.

Thus the follow-up to their 2010 breakthrough, Hold Me Down, does indeed contain two of the heaviest tracks they’ve recorded, with Bite My Tongue, an aggressive slice of crunching metal featuring the vocals of Bring Me the Horizon’s Oliver Sykes, and the intense, Pendulum-esque riffs and thrashing beats of Time Is Money, which also includes the demonic howls of Australian metalcore outfit Parkway Drive’s Winston McCall.

But elsewhere, Josh Franceschi’s emotive tones quiver over a number of more palatable, radio-friendly offerings, the majority of which bear the hallmarks of several bands from across the pond, whether it’s Jimmy Eat World on the lighters-in-the-air ballad Little Bit of Truth; Panic at the Disco on the theatrical emo rock The Dilemma; or the Goo Goo Dolls on the chiming guitars and sweeping strings of soft rock anthem Crash.

The latter, in particular, may not have done anything to help their credibility-chasing cause, but the album is always much more convincing when it plays to its melodic strengths, as on the soulful, slow-building finale When We Were Younger, and the ’80s-tinged new wave of This Is the First Thing, than it is when pandering to the Kerrang! masses, as on the formulaic quiet verses/loud chorus formula of Little Death and the gang mentality glam rock of lead single Loverboy.

Indeed, in general, there’s no shame in appealing to a more commercial crowd, and if You Me At Six could have continued to pursue the album’s more mature mainstream moments, instead of trying to prove their rock credentials, Sinners Never Sleep would probably have turned out to be a more consistent affair.

That said, and having replaced buoyant guitars and boy-girl dilemmas with dark themes of religion, parenthood and death, Sinners Never Sleep was a welcomed bridge to grittier side of their material; albeit one adorned with a now-glittering pop-rock handrail.

The newly-expanded 3LP edition now comes complete with eleven ferociously-captured live tracks recorded on their final Night Of Sin 2012 tour at England’s prestigious Wembley Arena, together with two further vinyl LPs worth of ten previously unreleased rarities, this 10th Anniversary fanfare to You Me At Six is as good, and as complete as it gets for every fan of the band; or the genre, or of thoroughly heartfelt and ambitiously-crafted music overall.

You Me At Six are one of the most successful alternative rock bands in Britain. Their 15-year career has seen two U.K. Number 1 albums, four U.K. Gold Records, six Top Ten Albums in the U.K., and 17 consecutive A-List singles on BBC Radio One.

In addition, they’ve sold out multiple U.S. headline tours, with a Number One rock song in the U.K., Australia, and Top Five Rock Radio track in North America.

Following the release of their 2021 U.K. No. 1 album, SUCKAPUNCH, You Me At Six continue to play shows and work on new music.

Official Purchase Links

Official Website

You Me At Six @ Facebook

You Me At Six @ Instagram

You Me At Six @ Twitter

You Me At Six @ YouTube

Title - Vibrate Generate [2CD]
Artist - Re-Flex

For those unaware, Re-Flex are an English new wave band formed in London in 1979. They are most often recognized for their hit, The Politics of Dancing, the title track from their debut album, as well as the singles Hurt, Hitline, Couldn’t Stand a Day, Praying to the Beat, Sensitive, and Flex It.

The band stopped actively working together in 1985, but occasionally collaborated on individual members’ solo projects in the years following.

Vibrate Generate is the perfect sequel to Cherry Pop’s previous double-CD re-issue of Re-Flex’s The Politics Of Dancing album. Collecting together various rare and unreleased tracks from across their career.

Exclusively for this release, nearly all of the tracks have been remixed including two new versions of The Politics Of Dancing, songs from their subsequent albums Humanication and Jamming The Broadcast, it also features another new song Human.

Also included are tracks featured within films and that were not previously widely available: Life’s Too Dangerous and Revolution Now (both from Superman IV), Over The Top (Over The Top) and Cut It (Break Dance).

Indeed, the album’s title song Vibrate Generate was the last-ever recording made by the band to feature drummer Roland Kerridge, who sadly died soon after it was completed. The track has remained unreleased and is their final missing piece, now regarded by the other members to be among their best-ever creations.

This new package – which boasts 16 previously unissued recordings – will be promoted with a video for the title track.

CD 1:
3. HOW MUCH LONGER (Remix) *
8. CUT IT (Music Re-Action mix)
10. REVOLUTION NOW (Remix) *
* previously unreleased

CD 2:
1. HUMAN *
3. JAMMING THE BROADCAST (Alternative Version – Remix) *
6. HOW MUCH LONGER (12″ Dance Remix) *
8. HURT (Music Re-Action Mix)
9. LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT (Alternative Version) *
10. THE POLITICS OF DANCING (Club Mix – Remix)
11. OVER THE TOP (Remix) *
12. ANGRY MAN (Remix) *
* previously unreleased

Taking it from the top, and digging a little deeper (as this band were, most definitely, one of my own personal go-to’s for music back in the day), the British new wave band Re-Flex might well have been classified as a One-Hit Wonder band for their radio smash hit from 1983 The Politics of Dancing, but those jumping aboard that ship do a massive disservice to the tracks that followed, trust me.

Sure that one lone song was a glorious staple of ’80s compilation albums forever and a day, but with the band as tight as they were - John Baxter (vocals, guitar), Paul Fishman (keyboards), Nigel Ross-Scott (bass), and Roland Vaughan Kerridge (drums) - Re-Flex may well have been musically riding the coattails of Heaven 17, Gary Numan and David Bowie, et al. but they most assuredly had a sound that deserved more chart successes.

Thus their albums, much like this brilliant 2CD collection here today, brought forth in massive doses a definitive knack for crafting radio-friendly hooks, and the politics of oooh feeling good at the very same time (sorry!).

That track itself peaked at #24 on the Billboard charts on November 26th, 1983, but here’s a little tidbit of info for you: the song wasn’t catchy enough for the producers of Footloose as they rejected the tune in favor of Shalamar’s Dancing in the Sheets!

Anyhoo, and moving on, featuring tracks from both albums, Re-Flex’s debut album, The Politics of Dancing (1983), their sophomore Humanication (1985), and their 2010 album Jamming The Broadcast, this 24-track set is a monstrous musical collection from the band that shone brightly, albeit far too quickly.

As for the stand out cuts here, I’ve always had a soft spot for the throaty Praying To The Beat (Remix), the Fashiøn-esque Hitline, obviously the brilliantly catchy The Politics of Dancing (Club Mix - Remix) and the funky bass lines and David Sylvian-esque vocals of Hurt (Music Re-Action Mix).

With regard the cool bonus material, stand outs for me include the statically-charged Jamming The Broadcast (Alternative Version - Remix), the Depeche Mode-esque Angry Man (Remix), the free flowing synth pop of Sending Out A Message and, of course, the new track Human.

Official 2CD Purchase Link

Title - Songs For While I’m Away + The Boys Are Back ...
Artist - Thin Lizzy

For those unaware, Songs For While I’m Away is the story of how a young black boy from working class 1950’s Dublin became Ireland’s greatest rock star. As lead singer of Thin Lizzy, Phil Lynott was a songwriter, a poet, a dreamer, and a wild man.

The film gets to the heart of Philip: the father, the husband, the friend, the son, the rock icon, the poet, and the dreamer. Also included is Thin Lizzy’s famed October 1978 concert at the Sydney Opera House with remixed audio and cleaned-up picture.

Following a tour of the United States between August and October 1978, which was Gary Moore’s first tour as a permanent member of the band, Thin Lizzy embarked upon a six-date tour of Australia and New Zealand during late October.

The band’s regular drummer Brian Downey was unable to take part in these tours due to the hectic schedule, and had taken a break from performing. He later explained his reasons as exhaustion, and a lack of interest in seeing a stage again for a while.

In early August 1978, during rehearsals with a number of drummers including Terry Bozzio, Thin Lizzy had chosen ex-Ian Gillan Band drummer Mark Nauseef to replace Downey. The Sydney concert was Nauseef’s penultimate show as a member of Thin Lizzy, as Downey returned to the band in December.

The opening acts for the concert were The Sports, Jon English and Wha-Koo, though these acts do not appear on the CD or some of the video releases.

Thin Lizzy did a morning sound check which extended to a jam of around 25 minutes for those who had arrived extra early for the concert. The band performed for an estimated crowd of 100,000 on the steps of the famous Sydney Opera House. Furthermore, the large crowd was due to the free entry for the concert.

With their driving hooks, twin lead guitars, lyrics saturated in working class lore, and the charismatic presence of singer/songwriter/bassist Phil Lynott, Thin Lizzy are undeniably one of the most influential bands in Rock ‘N’ Roll.

Complementing this film is The Boys Are Back In Town Live At The Sydney Opera House October 1978. Previously released on VHS, Laserdisc, and DVD, this version presents the show in the highest quality that has been made available, with not only cleaned up video and remixed audio from multi tracks, but five additional songs from this set that have never been officially released.

This performance showcases the electricity of these original Rock ‘N’ Roll masters – Lynott, Scott Gorham (guitar / background vocals), Gary Moore (guitar / background vocals), and Mark Nauseef – delivering searing versions of their celebrated anthems, such as “Jailbreak”, “The Boys Are Back In Town”, “Bad Reputation” and “Me And The Boys”.

Songs For While I’m Away chronicles the life and music of Phil Lynott, utilizing archival footage, interview snippets from the man himself, and music from both the Thin Lizzy and Phil Lynott solo catalog.

Notable conversations with Midge Ure (Ultravox / Thin Lizzy), Darren Wharton (Thin Lizzy), Scott Gorham (Thin Lizzy), Adam Clayton (U2), Huey Lewis (Huey Lewis & The News), James Hetfield (Metallica) and others, as well as Phil’s wife Caroline Taraskevics and daughters Sarah Lynott and Cathleen Lynott reveal an all-encompassing look at Phil, from his 1950s’ upbringing as a Black boy in blue collar Dublin to his rise to fame.

Fully exploring his history and rippling impact on music, the film examines Lynott as a singer, songwriter, poet, father, and cultural icon.

At the start of this documentary, his family express their wish for a film that celebrates his life, rather than glamorizing his death. And Songs for While I’m Away does that, albeit at the price of becoming something of a hagiography. We’re told about Lynott’s talent, charisma and (away from the stage) shyness.

But just about everything that went wrong (the breakup of his various band lineups and relationships, and his eventual dependency on heroin) is glossed over. Things happened, we’re told, with an air of inevitability; but how they did so is not covered in any detail.

Mercury Studios salutes their legacy with the release of Phil Lynott Songs For While I’m Away + Thin Lizzy The Boys Are Back In Town Live At The Sydney Opera House October 1978 on June 24. Pairing the acclaimed Phil Lynott documentary with a renowned live concert film, the set will be available as a 2xDVD+CD and Blu-ray+DVD+CD (with the Phil Lynott documentary on the Blu-ray).

1. Jailbreak
2. Bad Reputation
3. Warriors
4. Don’t Believe A Word
5. Waiting For An Alibi
6. Still In Love With You
7. Johnny The Fox Meets Jimmy The Weed
8. Cowboy Song
9. The Boys Are Back In Town
10. Suicide
11. Are You Ready
12. Baby Drives Me Crazy
13. Me And The Boys

Phil Lynott - Songs For While I’m Away – 113 minute documentary

Thin Lizzy – The Boys Are Back In Town Live At The Sydney Opera House October 1978

1. Jailbreak
2. Bad Reputation
3. Waiting For An Alibi
4. Cowboy Song
5. The Boys Are Back In Town
6. Are You Ready
7. Me And The Boys
8. Baby Drives Me Crazy
Lost Sydney Performances
1. Warriors
2. Don’t Believe A Word
3. Still In Love With You
4. Johnny The Fox Meets Jimmy The Weed
5. Suicide

Note: There is an option on the DVD to play the songs with the Lost Performances in the order they were performed the day of the show.

Official Purchase Link

Official Trailer

Title - The Saints Are Coming: Live & Acoustic (2007-2021)
Artist - The Skids

For those not in the know, The Saints Are Coming: Live & Acoustic (2007-2021) is a wondrous 6CD set collecting together four live shows from the reunited Skids including one from their acoustic tour plus their 2019 acoustic studio album, Peaceful Times and much more!

Skids were the leading Scottish punk band, playing their first gig at the Belleville Hotel in their home town of Dunfermline in August 1977 when Richard Jobson was just 16.

After U2 and Green Day had a worldwide hit with their cover of ‘The Saints Are Coming’ in 2006 with proceeds going to victims of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, Richard Jobson reformed Skids the following year and played an incendiary radio session for Radio Clyde that is released for the first time as Disc Six of this box set.

Original lead guitarist Stuart Adamson (who had left Skids to form Big Country in 1981) took his own life in 2001, his place on guitar in the reunion was taken by his Big Country compatriot Bruce Watson and Watson’s son Jamie.

Each CD is presented in a newly designed wallet and the booklet features a new interview with singer Richard Jobson, who says in the sleeve notes “We don’t want to do it if it’s not fun for us and not fun for the audience . I think you can hear that in these recordings. Everyone is having fun.”

CD 1: Skids Live: Alhambra, Dunfermline, 6/3/2010
1. Animation
2. Of One Skin
3. Melancholy Soldiers
4. Thanatos
5. The Saints Are Coming
6. Scared To Dance
7. Hurry On Boys
8. Working For The Yankee Dollar
9. Out Of Town
10. A Woman In Winter
11. Charade
12. Charles
13. The Olympian
14. Masquerade
15. Into The Valley

Skids reunited again in 2010 with an incredible set at The Alhambra, Dunfermline, and which opens up this box-set perfectly. With every song played with an energy that defied their age, the Scottish punk rock and (at the time) edging on the new wave cusp band are more the former than the latter in this blistering set, but that’s what aging will do to a grizzled bunch of guys still wanting to perform the classics, live, I guess!

CD 2: Skids Live: The Roundhouse, London, 16/6/2017
1. Animation
2. Of One Skin
3. Melancholy Soldiers
4. Thanatos
5. Dulce Et Decorum Est (Pro Patria Mori)
6. Working For The Yankee Dollar
7. The Saints Are Coming
8. Scared To Dance
9. Charles
10. The Olympian
11. Out Of Town
12. Hurry On Boys
13. A Woman In Winter
14. Circus Games
15. Masquerade
16. Into The Valley
17. Charade
18. TV Stars
19. A World On Fire
20. Of One Skin (Reprise)

Their 2017 show at The Roundhouse on this second disc is another amazing performance from a band firing on all cylinders.

Much like the aforementioned 2010 show, Skids attack this much longer set list with a virtuous rocking venom that puts a lot of today’s so-called youth rockers to shame!

Stand out highlights for me, and I would assume all Skids fans, include Charles (from the original EP) and the early single The Saints Are Coming, along with other tracks from their powerhaus debut Scared To Dance and the forthright Into The Valley.

CD 3: Peaceful Times (Studio Recordings) 2019
1. Into The Valley
2. A World On Fire
3. Kings Of New World Order
4. The Saints Are Coming
5. Animation
6. Hurry On Boys
7. Blood And Soil
8. Fields
9. Kreuzberg ’79
10. Desert Dust

The 2019 acoustic album Peaceful Times on this third disc showed that thundering punk classics worked well as acoustic numbers drawing attention to the quality of the lyrics.

Skids have always been such an electric band and so an album of acoustic cuts sounded a wee bit stretched, but I am thankful to fully admit Jobson and company make each and every one of them work (well, some more than others, of course).

I mean, there is a new life brought into the songs so much so that some of them actually begin to sound almost like new compositions. A song such as Hurry On Boys, previously such a loud anthem, is treated so gently with a wonderful arrangement and Animation is a revelation; along with the newer stuff such as Kings Of The New World Order.

CD 4: Skids Live (Acoustic Tour) - The Sage 2, Gateshead, 10/09/2019
1. Kings Of The New World Order
2. World On Fire
3. Working For The Yankee Dollar
4. Fields
5. Desert Dust
6. The Saints Are Coming
7. Blood And Soil
8. Castles In Spain
9. Charles
10. A Women In Winter
11. Into The Valley

Next up on this fourth disc is a live acoustic tour recording featuring Jobson and the Watsons from which their gig in Gateshead is included.

Much like their aforementioned Peaceful Times acoustic album, Skids took that mellower sound out on the road and it proved to be a massive success with all their lifelong fans.

Chock full of newly-interesting highlights, stand outs obviously include acoustic versions of cult tracks such as World On Fire, fields, Blood And Soil, and both closer’s A Women In Winter and the ever ready Into The Valley.

CD 5: Skids Live: Lockdown Live, Livingston, 9/3/2021
1. Charade
2. Of One Skin
3. Kings Of The New World Order
4. The Saints Are Coming
5. Working For The Yankee Dollar
6. Hurry On Boys
7. A Woman In Winter
8. Circus Games
9. Masquerade
10. Into The Valley

On the fifth disc, Skids’ 2021 Lockdown show performed in Livingston opens with a storming version of ‘Charade’ and finishes with powerful, passionate renditions of ‘Circus Games’, ‘Masquerade’ and ‘Into The Valley’ with no let up in between.

“Oxygen for Mr Jobson, and a defibrillator” he quips at the end, and rightly so as it is truly a blistering, no holds barred, full throttle, foot to the pedal live rock show of the highest order!

CD 6: Skids – Radio Clyde Session, 1/7/2007
1. Melancholy Soldiers
2. The Saints Are Coming
3. Working For The Yankee Dollar
4. Charles
5. Out Of Town
6. Masquerade
7. Into The Valley
8. Vambo
9. TV Stars

The sixth and final CD of this brilliant new box-set is their nine track 2007 Radio Clyde session that includes a cover of The Sensational Alex Harvey Band’s ‘Vambo’ along with all their usual suspects, of course.

Official 6CD Purchase Link

Title - The Time is Now
Artist - The Jones Factor

For those unaware, uncertainty brought on by the pandemic has inspired major life changes as well as creating a sense of urgency when it comes to completing long-gestating projects.

Five years in the making and fifteen years since their last release, jazz ensemble The Jones Factor committed to finishing their third album, The Time is Now, as soon as pandemic restrictions eased and the ten-piece horn-powered band could gather safely in the studio.

The contemporary jazz collection comprised of original compositions and inventively arranged covers, produced by the group’s Dave Anderson and John Fumasoli and is being released on July 15th, 2022.

1. Past Ports
2. Pools
3. When He Calls
4. Hall of Mirrors
5. Better Left a Memory
6. All That I Need
7. Summertime
8. Those City Ways
9. Chorale

The album opens on the gently free flowing rhythms of Past Ports (Yellowjackets) and the more pronounced, quieter nodes within Pools (Step’s Ahead) and is the seamlessly followed by the rhythmic ambiance of the original composition When He Calls (written by Harris’s late wife), the upbeat and groovy Hall of Mirrors (by Bela Fleck and here featuring multiple Grammy nominee and three-time Emmy winner Chieli Minucci) and the soft embrace of Better Left a Memory.

Next up is one of my own personal favorites from this new collection, the foot-tapping sunshine within All That I Need which is windows down, top off, summer’s country lane drive of Summertime, the beautiful ensemble piece Those City Ways (where no less that seven soloists get to shine), the album rounding out on the ornate melodies housed within the breathtakingly beautiful Chorale.

Trombonist Fumasoli formed The Jones Factor (originally called The Jazz Collective) in 1986 with bassist Anderson joining shortly thereafter. Horn heavy, they described themselves as a little big band and together, they crafted over one hundred charts spanning various shades of jazz; including contemporary, bop and hard bop as well as Latin, blues, funk and even hip-hop grooves.

The unique instrumentation allows for a wide variety of textures, colors and sounds while the diversity of the unit’s players makes for exciting performances and imaginative improvisation.

The challenge inherent for a band comprised of busy first-call musicians who have played with jazz, pop and R&B legends galore, as well as prominent orchestras, symphonies and ballets is being able to gather all the members at the same time, in the same place.

Thus, work on their albums takes a while and they were about three years into recording The Time is Now when the pandemic slowed the process to a halt. But as soon as the band got the greenlight to get back to work, The Jones Factor returned to the studio with a renewed impetus to finish the project.

The album title comes from the fact that we were moving along great with our recording and then COVID hit. Like so many others in the music world, our lives were deeply disrupted and so we got to the point of saying that this album has to come out now. We cannot wait any longer, no matter what!, Fumasoli explains.

Honestly, it was as much about getting off our butts and getting this music out there as it was about the pandemic. The album is too good to sit on!

The Time is Now features 16 musicians, including ten horn players and guest guitarists Chieli Minucci (Special EFX) and John Tropea. Anderson’s elastic basslines anchor the rhythm section fortified by drummers Joel Rosenblatt (Spyro Gyro) and Thierry Arpino.

Pianist Rob Aries adds to the melodies, but the focal point of The Jones Factor is the layers of mighty horns, astutely deployed and meticulously arranged.

Fumasoli teams with Bill Harris (tenor saxophonist, flute), Ken Gioffre (soprano and alto sax, flute), Jason Polise (tenor sax, bass clarinet), Don Hayward (bass trombone), Janet Wendholt (French horn), Tony Kadleck (trumpet, flugelhorn), Scott Wendholt (tempet, flugelhoen), Don Harris (trumpet, flugelhorn), and Ben Kibbey (trumpet, flugelhorn).

Official Purchase Link

Title - Cover to Cover
Artist - The Brother Brothers

For those unaware, harmonizing folk duo The Brother Brothers are used to hearing Everly Brothers comparisons, but even Phil and Don couldn’t beat the sound of siblings Adam and David Moss, who share identical DNA.

The twins started weaving their voices together before they hit first grade, learning by singing along to the Everlys, the Beatles and other artists they found in their dad’s record collection.

On their new album, Cover to Cover, the Brother Brothers pay homage to those early influences and other favorite songwriters with unique arrangements of both beloved classics and songs they want more people to hear.

Among their eclectic picks are notable musicians such as Tom T. Hall, Jackson Browne, James Taylor, Hoagy Carmichael, Robert Earl Keen, Richard Thompson, Judee Sill, and amongst others, Tom Waits.

Fiddler/violinist Adam and cello player/guitarist David also called on special friends, from singer/mandolinist Sarah Jarosz to Lake Street Dive vocalist Rachael Price — who sings with her sister, Emily, making this effort even more of a family affair.

1. That’s How I Got To Memphis
2. These Days
3. You Can Close Your Eyes (feat. Sarah Jarosz)
4. If You Ain’t Got Love
5. There’s A Rugged Road
6. I Will
7. I Get Along Without You Very Well (Except Sometimes)
8. Feelin’ Good Again
9. Waltzing’s For Dreamers
10. High Sierra
11. Blue Virginia Blues
12. Flower’s Grave

This organically cultured, and wholly heartfelt new album opens on the free flowing melodies of Tom T. Hall’s That’s How I Got To Memphis and the quietly rhythmic lyrics that deal with loss and regret within Jackson Browne’s These Days and follows those up with the harmonious secular hymn You Can Close Your Eyes (by James Taylor, here featuring Sarah Jarosz), the gently rambunctious If You Ain’t Got Love and then comes the lush frontier-imbued ambiance of Judee Sill’s There’s A Rugged Road and the short, but sweet ode to declaring eternal love within The Beatles’ I Will (which holds special significance, because they created their own harmonies over the solo-vocal original when they were six).

Next up is one of my own personal favorites from this new album, the melodically themed Hoagy Carmichael track I Get Along Without You Very Well (Except Sometimes) and the upbeat homecoming anthem from Robert Earl Keen of Feelin’ Good Again and they are in turn backed by the Americana folk of Richard Thompson’s Waltzing’s For Dreamers, the aching Harley Allen-written High Sierra, the album rounding out on the banjo-tastic Blue Virginia Blues (by Larry Sparks), closing on the ornately sculptured semblance of finding joy in hope within the profound Tom Waits track Flower’s Grave.

Official Purchase Link

Title - The Rule of Three
Artist - Ian Danter

For those unaware, The Rule of Three is the brand new collection of original rock songs entitled from acclaimed Hard Rock songwriter, multi- instrumentalist and UK broadcaster Ian Danter.

A follow up to 2015’s Second Time Around. Containing several co-writes with Ian’s long-time friend and former Shotgun Wedding bandmate Gray Ettrick with a number of special guests contributing play guitar solos.

The cast includes Wayward Sons’ Sam Wood and Chris Buck from Buck and Evans / Cardinal Black, as well as Ettrick himself and Ian’s guitar cohorts from his theatre rock project Leather And Lace – Jon Sudbury and Glenn Quinn. Quinn also co-wrote the epic ‘Generation Z’.

Songs like ‘One Over The Eight’ and ‘Route Of All Evil’ combine Ettrick’s punchy riffs with Ian’s inventive melodies and lyrics, while Ian himself wrote standout tracks such as ‘Pick A Side’ and the swirling, exquisite ballad ‘Landscapes’, while Ian’s long time best friend Keith Laurent supplies a fun tune in ‘I’ve Got A Problem’ that dates back to the band he and Ian formed as teenagers back in Birmingham during the mid 1980’s.

1. One Over The Eight
2. Fine Time to Die
3. Massive Passive Aggressive
4. Pick A Side
5. Landscapes
6. Generation Z
7. Route of All Evil
8. Whatever Happened
9. I’ve Got a Problem
10. I Was There
11. Last Chance Wagon

The album opens on the brilliant pair of rockers One Over The Eight and Fine Time to Die and those are followed by the harder rock of the aptly-titled Massive Passive Aggressive, the euphorically-charged Pick A Side and then comes the AOR magnificence of the quite stunning Landscapes and the soaring Generation Z.

Next up is the pounding Route of All Evil and the Extreme-esque Whatever Happened and they are in turn backed by the alt-pop-rock of I’ve Got a Problem, the album rounding out on the funky rock styling of I Was There, coming to a close on the frenetically rambunctious Last Chance Wagon.

Ian Danter - Landscapes (featuring Chris Buck) [Official Lyric Video]

Official Website

Title - Bodega Flowers
Artist - Mark Duda

For those unaware, set for release July 29th, 2022, Bodega Flowers is an emotional journey packed with characters, experiences, and swagger straight from Manhattan’s lower east side.

Mark Duda is a New York City-based artist and storyteller who sings, plays guitar, and writes great rock and roll songs. Duda shines on his debut full-length album Bodega Flowers, which journalist and musician Phil Mitchum praises as a transformative album from a generational songwriter.

Indeed, Duda seamlessly blends all of the NY flavors he’s soaked up over the years, from Dion to Lou Reed, The NY Dolls, the Dead Boys, and beyond, bringing his own signature update to the New York rock and roll sound and continuing to forge the musical identity he first introduced with his Month of Sundays EP from 2017.

Bodega Flowers proudly features the legendary rhythm section of Kasim Sulton (bass) and Thommy Price (drums), collaborating here for the first time in 30 years!

Jimi K. Bones further energizes the record with his guitar playing and background vocals. Arno Hecht (Dion, Rolling Stones) returns to play saxophone on several songs, and Johnny Pisano (Willie Nile) sings backing vocals throughout the record.

Cynthia Longley Richards, who was featured on Month of Sundays, returns to the band to play cello on several songs, and Joan Chew (Lez Zeppelin) contributes keys.

1. Ambulance Song
2. Bodega Flowers
3. Astroland
4. Avenue A is Dead
5. Hush Money
6. Don’t Wanna Be Right
7. Black Eyed Susan
8. Wednesday
9. My Stash
10. There Goes the Band
11. Dead Again

With the album including eleven brand new original Duda songs that are sure to make a fan of anyone who loves New York style rock and roll and is looking for something new to add to their rotation, it opens on rambunctiously fantastic Ambulance Song and the studiously-crafted rock within the titular Bodega Flowers and they are followed by the atmospherically-charged rocker Astroland, the mid-tempo, low key ebb of Avenue A is Dead and then comes the Springsteen-esque Hush Money.

Next up is the aching balladry yearn of Don’t Wanna Be Right and the all-out R n’ R of Black Eyed Susan and then they are in turn backed seamlessly by the foot-tapping rhythms within the triumphant Wednesday, the old school rock of My Stash, the album rounding out with the ’80s-imbibed There Goes the Band, coming to a close with the surf-rock-embued Dead Again.

A singer/songwriter above all else, Duda is influenced by Dion, Buddy Holly, Lou Reed, David Bowie, and Willie Nile. These influences are effortlessly delivered through the glam rock lens he grew up with, and shine through on Bodega Flowers.

Just as Jesse Malin emerged from the glam punk of D Generation to carve out his niche as an important voice for New York singer-songwriters, Duda is now bringing his own unique voice to the scene.

Over his storied career, Duda has collaborated with rock and roll royalty from New York and beyond. Recent collaborations include legendary guitarists Cheetah Chrome (Dead Boys), Jake Cinninger (Umphrey’s McGee), Pat Travers, and Steve Hackett (Genesis). Mark has also recorded with bassist Kenny Aaronson (Billy Idol, Joan Jett), bassist Kasim Sulton (Todd Rundgren, Joan Jett), drummers Bobby Rondinelli (Black Sabbath, Blue Oyster Cult) and Thommy Price (Joan Jett, Billy Idol), and saxophone legend Arno Hecht (Dion, Rolling Stones).

Bodega Flowers was executive produced by Mark Duda and produced by Jimi K. Bones (Blondie, Joan Jett, Jonas Brothers, Willie Nile.) Jimi’s crisp production and arrangements perfectly showcase Mark Duda at his finest.

Two-time Grammy nominee Kostadin Kamcev served as both recording and mastering engineer for Bodega Flowers, while also contributing keys.

Official Purchase Link

Official Website

Title - Live at The Palace, Hollywood [CD/DVD]
Artist - Sheena Easton

For those unaware, Sheena Easton is a Scottish singer and actress. Easton came into the public eye in an episode of the first British musical reality television program The Big Time: Pop Singer, which recorded her attempts to gain a record contract and her eventual signing with EMI Records.

Easton’s first two singles, Modern Girl and 9 to 5, both entered the UK Top Ten and she became one of the most successful British female performers of the 1980s.

A six-time Grammy nominee in the US, Easton is a two-time Grammy Award winner, winning Best New Artist in 1982 and Best Mexican-American Performance in 1985, for her duet with Luis Miguel on the song Me Gustas Tal Como Eres.

She has received five US Gold albums and one US Platinum album. She has recorded 15 studio albums, released 45 singles total worldwide, and had 20 consecutive US singles, including 15 US Top 40 singles, seven US Top Tens and one US #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 between 1981 and 1991.

She had 25 top 40 hits internationally. In Canada, Easton scored three gold and two platinum albums. She has sold over 30 million records worldwide.

Indeed, Easton became the first and only recording artist in Billboard history to have a top 5 hit on each of Billboard’s primary singles charts: Morning Train (Nine to Five) (pop and AC), We’ve Got Tonight with Kenny Rogers (country and AC), and Sugar Walls (R&B and dance).

As part of Cherry Red’s acclaimed re-issue campaign of the star’s EMI catalogue, this CD and DVD Deluxe Edition of 1982’s hit home video Live At The Palace, Hollywood showcases Sheena Easton’s rising star in the US as she performs such enduring hits as ‘Morning Train (9 To 5)’, ‘Modern Girl’ and her Bond theme ‘For Your Eyes Only’.

The set also includes rare non-album covers of Joni Mitchell’s ‘Raised On Robbery’, Elvin Bishop’s ‘Fooled Around And Fell In Love’ and The Little River Band’s ‘Help Is On Its Way.’

1. Prisoner
2. Don’t Send Flowers*
3. Help Is On Its Way
4. I Wouldn’t Beg For Water
5. Machinery*
6. Are You Man Enough
7. Fooled Around And Fell In Love
8. When He Shines
9. Modern Girl
10. Madness Money And Music
11. Star*
12. In The Winter
13. Weekend In Paris
14. Just Another Broken Heart*
15. Take My Time*
16. Morning Train (9 To 5)
17. You Could Have Been With Me
18. Raised On Robbery
19. Wind Beneath My Wings
20. For Your Eyes Only

* Previously edited from original 1982 VHS release

Opening on the mid-tempo Prisoner and the countrified synth of Don’t Send Flowers, Sheena then decides to early on chat with the audience before launching into the lively and upbeat pop-R&B of Help Is On Its Way and then we get the beautiful balladry of I Wouldn’t Beg For Water, the crafted Machinery, the poptastic Are You Man Enough, and after another audience chit-chat (about her personal life) we get the hipsway of Fooled Around And Fell In Love and then comes the aching ballad When He Shines.

Next up is one of the true gems of this collection, the simply awesome Modern Girl which is itself backed by the pop-AOR of Madness Money And Music, a fun and colorful Star (check out Kiki Dee’s version), the forthright ballad In The Winter, the searing Weekend In Paris, the free flowing pop harmonies of Just Another Broken Heart, the beautiful Take My Time and then comes the effervescent Morning Train (9 To 5).

Up next is the beautifully evocative You Could Have Been With Me and that is followed seamlessly by the sax-led rock and roll of Raised On Robbery, the live recording rounding out on the sweeping Wind Beneath My Wings, coming to a close on the goosebumps caused by a quite brilliant For Your Eyes Only.

1. Prisoner
2. Help Is On Its Way
3. I Wouldn’t Beg For Water
4. Are You Man Enough
5. Fooled Around And Fell In Love
6. When He Shines
7. Modern Girl
8. Madness Money And Music
9. In The Winter
10. Weekend In Paris
11. Morning Train (9 To 5)
12. You Could Have Been With Me
13. Raised On Robbery
14. Wind Beneath My Wings
15. For Your Eyes Only

In truth, this hit 1982 HBO TV special and best-selling home video – officially released on CD and DVD for the very first time - is a lovely reminder at just how laid back, how unmessy concerts of this ilk were back in the day.

Opening on a sci-fi layered intro, Sheena stands centerstage in her shiny green jacket and black pants, her face pursed, her eyes focused, before she bursts into the show opener Prisoner.

Continuing onward, interlacing the songs with audience chit-chat and, at times, some personal facts about her, Sheena brings us all the hits and oh-so much more!

The beautiful balladry of I Wouldn’t Beg For Water, the poptastic Are You Man Enough, the simply awesome Modern Girl, and the sassy R&B-pop of Help Is On Its Way and a whole host of others are fed to her eagerly devouring audience, one after another.

After a costume change into a lush blue top, frilly short skirt and blue legging, we next get the pop-AOR of Madness Money And Music, the forthright ballad In The Winter and, of course, the bubbly pop of Morning Train (9 To 5), the sax-led rock and roll of Raised On Robbery, the show culminating on a chilling For Your Eyes Only, where her final act is to fade away under a bright red hazy light.

Now on CD and DVD and featuring the full unedited concert remastered from the original master tapes, Live at The Palace, Hollywood is one of those right royal musical double whammy treats: a great soundtrack to listen to and a wonderful live stage show to watch.

Sheena Easton’s hit 1982 HBO TV special and best-selling home video – officially released on CD + DVD for the very first time.

The CD features the full unedited concert, remastered from the original master tapes. Premiering five audio tracks edited from the original release including live versions of her hits ‘Machinery’, ‘Just Another Broken Heart’ and a rare cover of Kiki Dee’s ‘Star’.

Includes a 12-page booklet including a new interview with Sheena’s guitarist Jeff Carpenter and a liner essay by ex-Attitude editor Adam Mattera.

Official Purchase Link

Title - 12 Little Killers
Artist - Vanderwolf

For those unaware, following the recent release of his EP Extinction which featured musical legends Robert Wyatt and Daevid Allen, Vanderwolf has put forth an album of 12 original tracks available on vinyl and digital download - his first LP under his own name.

Vanderwolf re-emerges with 12 Little Killers (July 20th, 2022), an eclectic collection that includes the deliciously oozing slice of psychedelia of the single Glisten, which is heavily-slanted toward melting analogue synthesizers (Sam Sallon) and rich layers of acoustic guitars (Chris Cordoba) and an exquisite vocal by Max Vanderwolf.

Recorded by producer Chris Wyles at his south London studio, the 12 songs were selected, mixed and compiled by keyboardist and co-producer Sam Sallon and is available in a limited pressing of 500.

1. I Am Not A Mountain
2. Ain’t Gonna Hurt
3. Something For Nothing
4. Stand By Your Fool
5. If This Is Love ... (Please Make It Stop)
6. NYC
7. Existential Terrier
8. Walking Away
9. Glisten
10. Aftermath
11. Headway
12. Somebody’s Lovesong

The album opens on the laid low melodic embrace of I Am Not A Mountain and the more forthright rock tones within Ain’t Gonna Hurt and they are backed by the early ’60s-esque rock ’n roll vibe of Something For Nothing, the pure, delicate gossamer balladry of Stand By Your Fool, the upbeat and brilliantly raucous If This Is Love ... (Please Make It Stop) and then comes the grooving rock of NYC.

Next up is one of my own personal favorites from this new collection, the free flowing, euphoric rock of Existential Terrier and then the mid-tempo, ornately sculptured AOR of Walking Away, and they are in turn followed by the shimmering psychedelia of Glisten, the low slung melodies of the beautifully-crafted Aftermath, the album coming to a close on the spatial ambiance within Headway and the aching, countrified ballad Somebody’s Lovesong.

Says Max, These 12-tracks, present human fallibility in its many forms - greed, anxiety, lust, self-debasement, our seemingly limitless capacity to hurt others - it’s all there. It was important to have a visual identity that carries these themes.

Vanderwolf’s music spans a wide-range of genres from global beats to hard blues to fragile balladry to prog-rock monstrosities and beyond. With a vast back catalogue of songs to release, Vanderwolf is set to get his wild and restless music out to the world.

Born in NYC, working in London and as of 2020 residing in Los Angeles, Max Vanderwolf has recorded several albums and countless songs. Most of them remain unreleased. Notably, he was vocalist and creative-force behind the semi-legendary London band, Last Man Standing, whose sole album in 2008 received plaudits from many including Mojo and Uncut.

Concurrent to his life in music, Vanderwolf has worked under an assumed name as a music programmer and concert producer in some of the worlds’ most celebrated clubs and venues. He went from overseeing the legendary underground downtown NYC’s Knitting Factory to overseeing London’s Royal Festival Hall, where for 9 years he produced the Meltdown Festival where he worked closely with David Bowie, Patti Smith, Jarvis Cocker, Massive Attack and others.

He has also produced concerts in Brooklyn, Rome and Paris working closely with John Cale, Sparks and the Residents.

Max Vanderwolf - Vocals
Sam Sallon - Keyboards
Chris Wyles - Drums
Kevin Petillo - Drums
Chris Cordoba - Guitar
Oli Hannifan - Guitar
Will Muldrew - Bass
Malin-My Nilsson and Amy Langely: strings
Victy Silva - backing vocals

Glisten [Official Music Video]

Official Purchase Link

Official Website

Title - See You in Marfa [EP]
Artist - Salim Nourallah

For those unaware, Salim Nourallah’s new See You in Marfa EP is a collaborative effort with English guitarist/songwriter/producer, Marty Willson-Piper.

Marty spent over 30 years in the Australian band, the Church. During the Fall of 2018 Salim assembled his long-time band of John Dufilho (Deathray Davies/Apples in Stereo), Joe Reyes (Buttercup), Richard Martin (Shibboleth) and Jason Garner (Polyphonic Spree) for the first time since 2011’s Hit Parade.

Along with Marty, co-producing and playing guitar, the group of six musicians cut an album and a half’s worth of songs in a Nashville studio called Welcome to 1979.

Plans to release a full length album of the material fell through when the Covid pandemic struck in March of 2020 and forced Marty to cancel plans to come to the United States and tour with Salim. Salim ended up indefinitely shelving the album, A Nuclear Winter.

The five song See You in Marfa EP includes bonus material from the Nashville sessions as well as Hold on to the Night, a song Salim and Marty wrote together.

1. See You in Marfa (2:44)
2. Not Back to Sad (3:00)
3. Hold on to the Night (3:31)
4. Love’s a Promise (3:35)
5. Hate the Waiting (3:14)

The EP opens on the gently jangly, Tom Petty-esque titular See You in Marfa and backs it up with the buoyantly upbeat Not Back To Sad, the juttered pop-rock of Hold on to the Night, rounding out on the gentle rocking balladry of Love’s a Promise, closing on the hauntingly acoustic Hate the Waiting.

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Official Website

Title - Sugar is My Name
Artist - Sugar Harp

For those unaware, flames engulfed Birmingham, Alabama bluesman Charles “Sugar Harp” Burroughs’ van, packed with all of his belongings and instruments. Sugar acted on instinct, jumping out of the moving vehicle, and rolling on the ground to extinguish the fire that had spread and caught onto his jacket.

It was close to Thanksgiving, 2019. Sugar was completely distraught, and soon thereafter, when the pandemic hit, he worried he might be done playing the harmonica for good.

But a year and a half later, with the help of a few friends, Sugar had a new ride, a set of harmonicas, and was on stage at the prestigious Telluride Blues & Brews Festival — and now sees his debut album Sugar Is My Name, set for release via Music Maker Foundation.

The album will be available on CD exclusively to the Music Maker Listeners Circle on June 1st, 2022 and will be available to the general public streaming July 1st, 2022.

As they say, the Listeners Circle makes Music Maker’s recordings possible.

1. Sugar Is My Name (2:51)
2. Special Recipe (5:11)
3. How Come My Dog Don’t Bark (4:07)
4. I Don’t Want A Soul Hangin’ Round (4:22)
5. Lemon-Squeezin’ Fool (3:07)
6. May Your Soul Make It To Heaven (5:07)
7. My Truck My Dog My Wife (3:50)
8. Leave Me The Same Way You Came (5:22)
9. Mojo Hand (3:28)
10. Murder Murder Murder (4:49)

The album opens on the informative titular blues track Sugar Is My Name and the raw, slow Southern crawl of Special Recipe and then comes the emotive How Come My Dog Don’t Bark, the earnestly reaching I Don’t Want A Soul Hangin’ Round (a retitled B.B. King hit from 1966) and the funky guitar and harmonica duet Lemon-Squeezin’ Fool.

Next up is one of my own personal favorites from this new collection, the spaciously emotive, layered May Your Soul Make It To Heaven and the gentle blues breeze of My Truck My Dog My Wife, the low key Leave Me The Same Way You Came, the album rounding out on the atmospherically-charged rawness of Mojo Hand, coming to a close within the long blues shadow of Murder Murder Murder.

When Charles Burroughs was 8 years old in Tampa, Florida, his great-grandfather would simultaneously blow harp and strum a handmade guitar formed from an orange crate and broomsticks. Charles would say, “Grandaddy, I need to do that.”

If you witness what Charles describes as his “down in the gutter, back alley, storytelling blues” today, you’ll know he inherited his great-grandfather’s creativity and musical talent. In the decades since he first picked up the harmonica, he has more than earned his moniker, Sugar Harp.

His original lyrics are a little raunchy, full of innuendo but always clever, such as on the slow and steady “Special Recipe,” the rumba blues “Lemon-Squeezin’ Fool,” and the laugh-out-loud “My Truck My Dog My Wife,” with a groove that reminds one of Billy Boy Arnold or Junior Wells.

Sugar guides listeners to draw their own conclusions, never saying anything X-rated outright, keeping his shows technically family-friendly but keeping the audience cracking up.

In addition to his original songs, as aforementioned, Sugar tackles B.B. King’s 1966 Billboard Top 100-charting hit “Don’t Answer the Door,” here retitled “I Don’t Want a Soul Hangin’ Round.”

The album also features Music Maker Blues Revue’s Ardie Dean on drums and Microwave Dave on guitar.

Official Purchase Link

Title - Live at Blue Bamboo
Artist - Chris Cortez

For those unaware, Chris Cortez is a busy man. The number of jobs he performs suggests the presence of more people. Guitarist, composer, vocalist, bandleader, arranger, producer, engineer, label head, entrepreneur, and community leader, to name a few. Cortez’ work ethic puts him in the middle of everything, and he always seems to be running non-stop.

In 2015 Chris paused the record label Blue Bamboo Music and returned to his hometown of Winter Park, Florida to build a performing arts center with his wife Melody. In six years’ time, Blue Bamboo Center for the Arts became a community asset, an amazing venue that supports the local and national music scene, presenting a diverse range of artists in an intimate concert setting.

Chris was named one of the most influential people in Central Florida by Winter Park Magazine and when asked how he managed to accomplish so much, Chris’ answer was “Start with it’s possible and the rest is logistics.”

Building community is the driving force. In 2013 Downbeat magazine published a profile piece called “Unified in Houston,” focusing on his label and its positive effects on that community of musicians. He is an advocate for the arts and for artists.

As Blue Bamboo, or ‘the boo” (as fans affectionately call it) became sustainable, Chris began to direct his focus back to his own personal musical goals and revived the label. The first recording project was Hermanos, a collaboration with old friend Larry Williams, which became a staple of jazz radio for most of 2022, rising to #1 on the RMR chart.

Chris’ guitar style is uniquely his own. There is a relentless sense of meter and precision. His vocabulary is instantly recognizable to fans of his previous work. Growth and evolution are obvious, but Cortez still sounds like Cortez. There is a compositional feeling in his solos.

Themes unfold with an emotional arc that takes you on a journey, and his songs provide the perfect backdrop for that kind of development. There is a landscape to explore. There are plenty of surprises, but everything makes sense and seems filled with intention.

His brand new album is entitled Live at Blue Bamboo and is one where Chris arranged several concert events; featuring drummers Joel Rosenblatt and Jeff Sipe, bassists Ron Jenkins and Doug Mathews, saxophonist Jeff Rupert, trumpeter John DePaola, flutist Dan Jordan, and pianist Bob Thornton.

Ergo, from the first notes, we are on a fun, e-ticket ride and that is no accident. Chris was inspired to make this record with these people. “I realized I had never made a live album and decided that was a challenge I needed to face,” Chris admits.

1. The Visit
2. That’s the Way of the World
3. Arlington Park
4. Awakenings
5. Different Strokes
6. Aarrgh
7. Melody Makes It Happen (for Melody Cortez)
8. The Rose of Shalamar
9. A Remark You Made (for all those lost in the covid 19 pandemic)

The album opens on the collective vibrancy of The Visit (a tribute to guitar master Pat Martino with solos by Thornton, Cortez, and Sipe) and a veritably swinging rendition of the classic Earth Wind and Fire anthem That’s the Way of the World (featuring solos from Thornton, Jordan, and Cortez) and backs those up seamlessly with the 5/4 ensemble romp of Arlington Park (featuring solos by Rupert, DePaola, and Rosenblatt), the confident 7/4 vehicle Awakenings and then comes the up-tempo swing piece Different Strokes (featuring solos from Thornton, DePaola, and Rosenblatt).

Next up are the funky, mid-tempo grooves associated with the aptly-named Aarrgh (named for the sound made by an old man rising from a low chair and with solos by Cortez and Rupert) which is in turn followed by the lush, bluesy balladry of Melody Makes It Happen (noted as being a beautiful ode to his wife Melody of 30 years and featuring solos by Rupert and Thornton), the Latin hipsway of The Rose of Shalamar (an unforgettable ostinato in 15/8 with solos by Cortez, Mathews and Sipe), the album coming to a close on a quite breathtakingly stunning solo acoustic guitar interpretation of Joe Zawinil’s heartbreaking ballad A Remark You Made (noted as being for all those lost in the covid 19 pandemic).

Official Purchase Link

Title - Abiola Time
Artist - Abiola

For those unaware, a triple threat in the traditional sense of the word, Abiola has been singing, dancing and acting across four continents. She is a dynamic and exciting entertainer and approaches her musical exploration from a multicultural perspective.

Her artistic journey has taken her from The Classical Theatre of Harlem in New York to sharing the stage with Grammy-winner Shania Twain/ From shaking the stage with Latin Grammy-nominee Viviana Pintada to crooning with jazz big bands.

Spending an adventurous three and a half years in Asia further broadened Abiola’s musical perspective and the depth of her skills. From performing Korean folk songs to African and Latin dances, Abiola used art to share her global experiences and connect with Asian audiences.

With her latest offering, Abiola Time, Abiola is thrilled to present her debut album. This album will dance you around the globe with infectious rhythms while dazzling your ears with delightful melodies. She was honored to work with Grammy-winner Dave Darlington of Bass Hit Recording to complete the mixing and mastering of this eclectically satisfying album.

Simply put, Abiola Time is a treat that will delight your ears and inspire your heart.

1. Kilofe
2. Give Me
3. Can’t Wait
4. Werey Style
5. What We’ll Be
6. Free
7. Ko Le To
8. Naked Talk
9. Para Ti, Para Mi
10. Feel This Good

The album opens on the upbeat and groove friendly, harmonic Kilofe and the highly rhythmic, mid-tempo balladry of Give Me and they are followed by the sultry R&B of Can’t Wait, the strutting, dancefloor vogue styling within Werey Style and then the smooth R&B gold of What We’ll Be is brought forth.

Next up is one of my own personal favorites from this new collection, the atmospherically-charged, guitar-led Free and that is in turn backed by the Afrobeat-imbibed Ko Le To, the Ibiza-House embodied dips and whirls of Naked Talk, the album rounding out on the Caribbean-flavored Para Ti, Para Mi, closing on the sassy euphoria of the dancefloor banger Feel This Good.

The studio was her playground as she recorded this album. A playground where nothing was too odd to try, an additional take was never too much, ad the music of dreams was the waking reality.

Now you are invited to partake in this dream of sound unbound, to revel in the sweetness, to weep at the melancholy and to dance, dance, dance to the exciting Abiola Time.

Official Website

Abiola @ Bandcamp

Title - New Dreams
Artist - Barry Coates / Jimmy Haslip / Jerry Kalaf

For those unaware, electric and syn-guitarist Barry Coates, with his melodic but expressive approach, has been recording solo projects and has worked with some interesting artists over the years, including touring with the Pointer Sisters, Angela Bofill, Willie Bobo, John Klemmer, and Kitaro.

Coates has fared equally well on his own. His music is heard in such films as Dead Bang, Partners in Crime, Fatal Attraction, and television shows including Two on the Town, Eye on Hollywood, Partners in Crime, the Weather Channel, and Playboy After Dark.

Coates recorded two impressive albums with his band Barry Coates & the Hats, Because I Love You, and Move Like A Dancer. On his third album, The Spirit Within, he collaborated with bass player Jimmy Haslip of the Yellowjackets. Their compositions can be heard on this album, also Luis Conte’s Black Forest (a must-have percussionist CD) and the Yellowjackets The Spin.

More recently, Warner Bros published Jimmy and Barry’s guitar and bass instruction books titled Ultimate Play Along/Just Classic Jazz. Vol 1-3.

Bassist Jimmy Haslip has created an iconic career in recording and performing. Producing over 190 recordings, he also has himself recorded on over 400 records. Haslip is a founding member of the group Yellowjackets, a member for 34 years. He has 22 GRAMMY-Nominations and 3 GRAMMY-Wins.

A resident of Los Angeles, drummer Jerry Kalaf has been active in the jazz community for many years. His credits include performances and tours with Eddie Harris, Gary Burton, Gary Foster, Frank Strazzeri, Bill Mays, Bill Perkins, Jimmy Cleveland, The Pointer Sisters, Gregory Hines, and Major Holley.

New Dreams is a celebration of like-minded musicians exploring the cerebral, the explorative, and the connectivity between the chemistry of a trio setting while uniquely highlighting the collaborative compositions of Coates and Haslip, all presented by seasoned veterans in peak form.

1. Towner
2. Transcendence
3. Faith
4. Swing Set
5. Before
6. Mays
7. Sacred
8. Retrograde

The album opens on Coates’ melodic soundscapes free flowing within Towner and the powerfully thoughtful Transcendence and then backs those up with the dutiful aesthetic of Coates’ fingerpicking sound on Faith and the meditative ambiance of modern jazz found within Swingset.

Next up is one of my own personal favorites from this new collection, the spaciously emotive, layered synthesizer and guitar moods within Before which is itself followed by the melodically picturesque Mays, the acoustic, and beautifully textural Sacred is along next, the album closing on the almost studious, Avant side of progressive music brought forth within Retrograde.

New Dreams is an album to be savored. There is nothing typical or predictable within the grooves of this album. Whether touching on the pensive or the cognitive, the album fires on all cylinders by three top-shelf players.

Official Barry Coates Website

Title - Songs for William
Artist - Agony Street

For those unaware, a must for fans of Jeff Lynne, Traveling Wilburys, Brian Wilson and any of the post-Beatles pop tunesmiths of rock legend, the second Agony Street album Songs For William was recorded in 1993 yet never released until 2021.

Never before released, yet reissued 30 years later, here it is on CD and download. The second Agony Street, Songs For William is a perfect example from the now late great Swedish pop-rock genius Klas Qvist, here doing his best impression of Beatles-era sounds at its finest.

Featuring Klas writing and playing most of the instruments and harmonizing together with his Agony Street co-founder / vocalist / producer Gudmundur Bragason, Songs For William features one huge pop song after the next and is a must for both pop-rock fans and fans of the music written and recorded by Klas on his 2004 solo work, Carried Away and his three Citizen K albums.

Oh, and two tracks recorded in 2019 were added as tracks 16 & 17, supplanting the original 15-track 1993 album.

1. Another Sleepless Night
2. A Song For William
3. You’re In Love
4. Right Place, Wrong Century
5. A Perfect Day For A Breakup
6. 39 Tank
7. Plastic Revolution
8. Voices From The Other Side
9. The Voices Inside My Head
10. Therapy Hill
11. Be My Wife
12. Believe Me
13. I Bet They Wish
14. I’ve Heard It All Before
15. Looking For Grand Mal
16. Merry Christmas Anyway (single) [Bonus Track]
17. Goodbye Forever (single) [Bonus Track]

The album opens on the buoyant Another Sleepless Night and the Eastern-tinged A Song For William and backs those up with the euphoric You’re In Love, the lushly melodic Right Place, Wrong Century, the mid-tempo A Perfect Day For A Breakup and then we get the Beach Boys-esque, gently rambunctious 39 Tank, the psych-rock of Plastic Revolution and the free-flowing melodies of Voices From The Other Side.

Next up is one of my own personal favorites from this new collection, the foot-tapping sunshine within The Voices Inside My Head which is itself followed by the lush Therapy Hill, the trippy rock of Be My Wife, the jangly guitars of Believe Me, the summer’s breeze of I Bet They Wish, the melodious rhythms within I’ve Heard It All Before, the album closing on the upbeat Looking For Grand Mal; and now also inclusive of the two bonus track singles: Merry Christmas Anyway and Goodbye Forever.

The archival CD of Songs For William is actually the first release of the band’s label Silverton Records. The fact that no Agony Street albums were actually released when they were recorded, yet were stored for posterity, is emphasized by the musical genius that fills these two reissue treasures.

As fascinating as Songs For William, 119 Agony Street (so far only on download) will hopefully come out on CD. Klas Qvist and Gudmundur Bragason made a great team and the sheer exuberance of the first their two Agony Street albums makes for a sonic pop revelation.

These albums were in fact a training ground for the future Klas Qvist, and they also offer a great look at the duo’s group partnership and shared musical perfectionism. Adding in the backing are some of Sweden’s finest session players.

Speaking to the press in 2021, Klas Qvist sounded quite excited about Songs For William and the imminent release of the as of yet still untitled third Agony Street album, which was nearly finished at the time of his tragic sudden death on July 5th, 2021. The final album will be finally released in the Fall of 2022.

Original Purchase Link

Title - Music For Small Rooms
Artist - Erik Dahl

For those unaware, Erik Dahl is a composer and pianist from Sweden with a passion for discovery. His music is melodic, melancholic and imaginative. Many describe the music as filmic and with a visual quality.

The impulse to make a piano album came unexpectedly. In 2018 Erik heard a solo concert with a folk singer at Saltoluokta Mountain Station in the far North of Sweden. She said: ’This song has been with me for 15 years’.

The words had a deep effect and made him wonder. What would it mean to have a solo repertoire? Then he started writing songs.

The piano is at the center on his new release Music For Small Rooms. The music is both grandiose and restrained. There is a strong melodic element that binds together the diverse influences. Indeed, many of the sounds are recurring in Erik’s music making.

In addition to the piano you hear instruments like harmonium, synthesizers, viola, bass clarinet, live electronics, organic beats and field recordings.

The album is produced in collaboration with Filip Leyman (Anna Von Hausswolff).

1. Postpop (4:16)
2. Natural Home (5:23)
3. Tuva (4:11)
4. Gnista (5:08)
5. The Leopard (4:45)
6. Sparv (5:33)
7. Mannen med bollen (3:31)
8. Night Sky (2:09)
9. Between Heartbeats (4:33)
10. Børnevise fra Skibby (4:28)

The album opens on the ornately beautiful Postpop and the delicate Natural Home and then comes the near crystalline Tuva, the veritably translucent Gnista and the forthright, grandly melodic musings within The Leopard.

Next up are a couple of my own personal favorites from this new collection, the atmospherically charged pairing of Sparv and Mannen med bollen and they are in turn followed by the spacial openness of our infinite surroundings within the ethereal Night Sky, the album closing on the opulent gossamer of Between Heartbeats, coming to a close on the contained, yet elegantly grandiose masterpiece Børnevise fra Skibby.

Erik has been releasing music since 2012 and has been consistently praised by reviewers in Sweden, as well as in the US, Canada and Holland. Music For Small Rooms combines elements of pop, jazz, modern classical, Swedish folk and ambient. It is possibly his most personal album to date.

Erik Dahl, piano, harmonium, synthesizer, voice, field recording, guitar
Anna Malmström, bass clarinet (7)
Anna Cochrane, viola (2, 5, 7)
William Soovik, drums (2)
Filip Leyman, percussion (5, 9), modular (4, 5, 9, 10)

Official Purchase Link

Official Website

Title - Start Where You Stand
Artist - Zan Zone

For those unaware, the entire world has been shaken and stirred since Zan Zone put out its last album in 2018. Huge world events have altered the structure of daily life.

Confusion and angst have ruled, and only by taking stock and moving forward can we leave behind the ennui and weltzschmerz.

Start Where You Stand, the long-awaited new Zan Zone album, encourages and inspires one and all to march towards a new paradigm; all whilst introducing their new co-lead female singer, Angela Watson Modeste to the musical fold.

1. Bad Dreams (4:51)
2. Start Where You Stand (4:53)
3. Watchin’ The World Go By (5:58)
4. I Won’t Live A Lie (4:37)
5. Extinction: Rebellion (4:42)
6. Baby Cried (3:41)
7. THAT (5:32)
8. One Step Ahead Of The Red (5:05)
9. Extinction: Romp (4:04)
10. Survival (5:29)
11. Hot & Cold (5:14)
12. Holdin’ You Tight (3:13)

The album opens on the brilliant late ’90s alt-rock of Bad Dreams (which actually recalls the disturbing uncertainty of lockdowns, quarantines and ecological destruction) and the R.E.M.-esque title track Start Where You Stand and follows those up with the melodic rock of Watchin’ The World Go By, the soaringly euphoric I Won’t Live A Lie, and then come both the rhythmically structured instrumental Extinction: Rebellion and the ’70s-imbibed rocker Baby Cried.

Next up is the punchy THAT and the languishing AOR of One Step Ahead Of The Red and they are themselves backed by the jaunty Extinction: Romp, the free flowing alt-pop rhythms within Survival, the album rounding out with the heartfelt outreach of Hot & Cold, coming to a close on the rhythmic pop-rock bounce of Holdin’ You Tight.

Album number five for Zan Zone brings back Philip Dessinger and Arianna Burnham on vocals, Saadi Zain on bass, and Zan Burnham on guitars, and adds world-class drummer Marco Djordjevic, and grammy-nominated vocalist, Angela Watson-Modeste.

Along with seasoned engineer Chris Benham, this ensemble spent over three years perfecting the project. Many hours were spent getting the instruments to really augment each other, inspired by many great classic rock trios.

Coupled with awesome singing and instantly engaging songs, SWYS is ready to inspire the whole world into action. ”Without a doubt it’s the most amazing project I’ve ever been involved in - and the most difficult. The times have been hard,” said Zan Burnham, Producer and main songwriter.

The project began at a rehearsal in March of 2019 when Philip brought in a new song he’d written with long-time songwriter and musician, Joe Raposo. (Joe’s father, wrote many of the classic songs for Sesame Street). That song, Start Where You Stand, blew Zan away and when Marco enthusiastically suggested they record it, an album was born.

The band had been primed over the previous two years with regular rehearsals and gigs. At Brooklyn’s Big Orange Sheep studio, where seasoned engineer and owner Chris Benham has built one of the best studios currently in all of NYC, two songs became twelve, and out of the mud of humanity came this powerful work, an album for a new way and a new time.


Zan Burnham - Vocals, guitars, picked bass, percussion, Theremin
Saadi Zain - Fingered electric and acoustic bass
Marko Djordjevic - Drums and percussion
Angela Watson Modeste - Vocals
Arianna Burnham - Vocals
Philip Dessinger - Vocals

Official Purchase Link

Official Website

Title - Brave
Artist - Su Andersson

For those unaware, singer-songwriter Su Andersson learned about bravery, as we all did, in the light of these strange times. Inspired by her new found musical liberty, Su has taken pen to paper and composed ten fresh songs that not only reflect the times we live in, but that also shows just how far she has come since her acclaimed 2020 album, Train Stories.

Whereas that album was an outward burst of musical creativity reflecting her train travels all across the U.S., 2022’s 34-minute, 10-track Brave album finds the celebrated Swede going deeper and the result sets a new standard of musical excellence in the modern pop-rock era.

1. Japanese Tea
2. Southern Belle
3. Scissors
4. Bread and Butter
5. Limits
6. Northern Light
7. Brave
8. Echoes
9. Turquoise & Rust
10. Missing It All

The album opens on the melodic Japanese Tea and the dutifully enchanting, daringly quirky Southern Belle and then leads us gloriously into the pure, playful gossamer of Scissors (with vocals from Maja Granberg), the laid-back, jazz-imbued styling within Bread and Butter (a duet with West Australian singer-songwriter Ryan Edmund) and then the powerfully ambient, Americana ebb and flow of Limits.

Next up is one of my own personal favorites from this new collection, where the banjo’s tones come magnificently to the fore on Northern Light and the upbeat rhythmic melodies (with accordion and vocal accompaniment by Canadian folk noir-ist Wendy McNeill) of the titular Brave are brought forth, and they are in turn backed by the exciting tones, and forthright vocals and pop sensibilities on Echoes (a duet with US soulstress Naiika Sings), the album rounding out on the delightful Turquoise & Rust (featuring Jaded Jane on vocals and piano), coming to a close on the upbeat and reflectively embracing Missing It All.

Sparking the sound of Brave is Su’s new songs as well as the choice of musicians assisting in her latest musical outing, including Brave co-producer Henning Sernhede. Henning co-produced Brave as well as adding in all forms of guitar, electric and acoustic, and mando guitar, sitar guitar, keyboards and synths.

Jonas Abrahamsson adds in drums and piano, while several guest artists join Su on backing vocals and a series of duets. Even with a star-studded crew of supporting musicians, the key to Brave is her new songs.

As Su tells it in her Brave liner notes, “Restrictions of freedom only enhanced my desire to want to interact with other people no matter how insular a world we might have found ourselves in.”

As Brave reveals, the human desire to transcend dread and emptiness in times of hardship can lead not only to acts of courage, but can also point the way to new artistic breakthroughs. In a world of angst and war, with Brave Su Andersson gives music fans reasons to be optimistic and brave.

Su Andersson - Turquoise & Rust (Official Video)

Su Andersson - Missing It All (Listen Now)

Official Purchase Link

Official Website

Su Andersson @ Facebook

Title - Great American Rock
Artist - Held Hostage

For those unaware, Held Hostage announce the release of their brand new album Great American Rock on Fire Rock Music Group.

The album is described as American rock and roll at the purest form by Cry Wolf Magazine and both Tim “Ripper” Owens and Joe Lynn Turner provide guest vocals on the album.

Held Hostage recently premiered the video for their second single The Master on Metal Shock Finland and is currently sharing videos of the stories behind each track with Metal Heads Forever on their Facebook/Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts.

1. We Rock Hard (feat. Tim “Ripper” Owens)
2. Now We Ride (Bikers Life) (feat. Tim “Ripper” Owens)
3. Your Eyes (feat. Tim “Ripper” Owens)
4. The Master (feat. Tim “Ripper” Owens)
5. Hold On (feat. Tim “Ripper” Owens)
6. You Rock Our Way (feat. Tim “Ripper” Owens)
7. Take Me Away (Raw) (feat. Tim “Ripper” Owens)
8. Be A Man (feat. Tim “Ripper” Owens)
9. Chaos (Live)
10. Rise (Stop Suicide All Ages) (feat. Tim “Ripper” Owens)
11. Fallen Brothers (feat. Tim “Ripper” Owens)
Show Me The Way Back (Acoustic), featuring Joe Lynn Turner

Featuring the distinctive metal growl of Tim “Ripper” Owens on most all tracks, the album opens on the thunderous We Rock Hard and the melodic rock of Now We Ride (Bikers Life) and then comes the darker-edged Your Eyes, the pounding metal rock of The Master, the powerhaus Hold On and then comes the head-banging brilliance of You Rock Our Way.

Next up is one of my own personal favorites from this new collection, the metal balladry of the raw version of Take Me Away and then the euphorically-charged Be A Man and they are in turn backed by a live version of Chaos, a melodic metal hipsway then comes to the fore on the GNR-imbibed Rise (Stop Suicide All Ages), the album rounding out on the throat-tearing rock of Fallen Brothers, coming to a close on the rhythmically-enhanced Show Me The Way Back (Acoustic), featuring Joe Lynn Turner.

Tom Collier founding member/ lead guitarist/lead singer speaking with about the new video, The story behind the song is kind of different. When I was writing the music to The Master I wanted to create what I called and iconic guitar riff that as soon as you heard it you went wow what a great riff.

I called Scott Gregg (rhythm guitarist) at like 6 am in the morning and said hey get over to my house I got this great riff I am turned into a song. He came over and was like yeah I love it. Then I finished all the music to the song. I had a theme of addiction but had not named the song.

At rehearsal Scott came up with the name The Master. All the music was done then I wrote the first verse and got stuck (which never happens with me) and I asked Scott to come over and we wrote the second and 3rd verses together.

Everyone has some sort of addiction whether it is, alcohol, drugs, music, sex, food, coffee. The meaning of the song is, you have to try and beat your master (addiction). when you do its a new world for you to see.

Tom Collier discussing Tim “Ripper” Owens singing on ten tracks, This was our second collaboration with Tim “Ripper” Owens. He sang our last album Epic all 12 tracks. I have to say “Ripper” is one of the hardest working guys in the business. When he does a project, he does it 110%. He sent me 10-12 vocal tracks for each song he sang including harmony backups. Not only did he sing but “Ripper” helped produce the vocal tracks. He would send me ideas and suggestions I would send them back to him and it worked fantastic.

He is a true professional in every sense of the word. Very easy to work with and extremely helpful. He goes above and beyond what you asked for and he does the same when he is special guest singer with Held Hostage live performances. I have to say “Ripper” took the vocals on this album to a new level.

Held Hostage is: Tom Collier - lead guitar/lead vocals
Scott Gregg - rhythm guitarist/backup vocals
Jeff Murray - drums
Dave Carrol - bass /backup vocals

Official Purchase Link

Official Website

Title - We Stand With Ukraine
Artist - Dark Star Records

For those unaware, Dark Star Records is pleased to announce that they are now offering a special, and mighty epic new hard rock metal compilation album We Stand With Ukraine and ALL the proceeds for CD, along with the brilliant Limited Edition Box-Set, goes to help the people of Ukraine.

I have had the pleasure of spending time in Ukraine and Russia, the fans and the people have always been warm and welcoming. So it is with great sadness that now our thoughts and hearts go out to the people of Ukraine to support them during this time of troubles.

This group of artists have given the only thing they can to help and though all the profits of this album will go to the displaced and suffering, the music goes to EVERYONE in a hope that it can bring people together in the only way that music can bring people together.

We love our fans and want you all to be safe. - Tony Martin (Ex-Black Sabbath, vocalist).

1. Tony Martin – As The World Burns
2. Breed of Aggression – I Am The Enemy
3. A Rising Force – War Machine
4. Conquest – The World Has Gone to Hell
5. Voodoo Moonshine – Rise Free
6. Sygnal to Noise – Human Condition
7. DiAmorte – Where the Light Grows Cold
8. Fierce Heart – War For the World
9. Leaving Eden – Jackhammer
10. Angeles – Freedom
11. Trip 6 – Push Back
12. Ritchrath Project 3:13 – Tears of My Pain
13. Aeraco – Back With Vengeance
14. Death Pop Radio – F@#K It!
15. Rev Jones – Bad Gab
16. Vante – It’s My Life

The album opens on the absolutely badassary of the thunderous As The World Burns (Tony Martin), the throaty goth rock of I Am The Enemy (Breed of Aggression) and the melodic rock of A Rising Force (War Machine), and then follows those up seamlessly with the kick ass alt-rock of The World Has Gone to Hell (Conquest), the rambunctious rock of Voodoo Moonshine’s Rise Free, the transitional chords post-chorus of Human Condition (Sygnal to Noise), DiAmorte’s chillingly atmospheric Where the Light Grows Cold, and the comes the free flowing rock of War For the World (Fierce Heart).

Next up are a couple of my own personal favorites from this new collection back to back in the form of the melodic rock of Leaving Eden’s compelling Jackhammer and the Heart-esque Freedom (Angeles) and they are in turn followed by the pounding Push Back (Trip 6), Ritchrath Project 3:13’s melodic AOR of Tears of My Pain, the angst-ridden Back With A Vengeance (Aeraco), and then comes the metal-pop-rock of Death Pop Radio’s intriguing F@#K It!, the album rounding out on the harmonious Bad Gab (Rev Jones), coming to a powerful close on the, at first acoustic, then bass and drum-initiated, then full on rocker It’s My Life.

Official Purchase Link

Title - Vante
Artist - Vante

For those unaware, Vante announce their self-titled debut album on Dark Star Records. The new full length CD will be available on June 17th, 2022 at all retailers worldwide as well as all digital stores.

Vante acutely feels the existential threat of a world consumed by materialism and greed, and seeks a compassionate soul in the barren wasteland of the sleeping collective mind.

Revelation can be found in altered states, where pleasure provides a temporary answer in a world filled with confusion. Channeling their outrage at the mass apathy that has created a chaotic, out of control world, Vante delivers a taste of hope for rebirth into a more loving and compassionate world.

Vante reclaims the animal within, in an apocalyptic vision that prophesies a spiritual rebirth through all-out rebellion. They see that the sky is painted red and they refuse to submit.

1. Why Is It So Cold
2. It’s My Life
3. Watch The Sunrise
4. Paint It Red
5. The Craving
6. Going With The Flow
7. I Stand
8. Animal
9. Under My Skin
10. Waiting For Reverence
11. Scary Was The Man
12. Thunder and Rain
13. The Road To Shangri-La
14. Never The Slave

The album opens on the thunderous Why Is It So Cold, the, at first acoustic, then bass and drum-initiated, then full on rocker It’s My Life and the bass-led rocker Watch The Sunrise and then follows those up seamlessly with the studious rocker Paint It Red, the atmospherically-charged, mid-tempo balladry of The Craving, the melodic AOR of Going With The Flow, and then comes the harder-edged I Stand.

Next up is the pulsating rock within Animal and the forthright Under My Skin and they are in turn backed by the tautness of the strained balladry of Waiting For Reverence, the frantic, rhythmic throb within Scary Was The Man, the expansive Thunder and Rain, the album rounding out on the sweeping, guitar-led AOR of The Road To Shangri-la, closing out on the veritable headbanger Never The Slave.

With serious metal cred, Vante brings together five legendary musicians Brian Troch, Scott McClellan, Rev Jones, Chris Moore, and Jeff Tortora who have toured the globe and recorded with mega metal acts such as Hammeron, Cyclone Temple, Michael Schenker Group, Steelheart, Tony Martin.

Guitarist Scott McClellan picked up his first guitar at age nine and began composing music at age fourteen. Spending his formative years in Long Beach, California, where the streets were dirty and rife with trouble, McClellan found his salvation in music.

After relocating to Illinois and becoming a dedicated tradesman, he spent twenty-five years in Pantera tribute bands (Cemetery Gatez, Domination), where he mastered the singing virtuosic guitar riffs of Dimebag Darrell.

McClellan wields his soaring guitar lines like a knife in a bar fight, but he writes with the soul of a poet. For him, Vante’s debut album comes fresh on the heels of an album release with Black Sabbath’s Tony Martin titled ‘Thorns’ and the completion of ‘This is My War’ with Breed of Aggression.

Singer/ multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Brian Troch reaches deep into the eternal void and draws us in with him. Rich with meaning and heavy with the spirit of catharsis, Troch’s vocals promise to wake a sleeping generation from its deathly slumber.

Joining Hammeron, Troch performed at the MTV Halloween Horror Show with Motley Crue at The Limelight in Chicago. Troch then joined Cyclone Temple and signed with Combat/ Relativity records, opening for Death Angel at Metal Fest in Milwaukee and touring with Napalm Death and Obituary.

Leading the helm for Shooting Hemlock, his band played to capacity crowds where the singer found his groove, feeding on the pure electricity of the manic fans.

Bassist Rev Jones comes from Oklahoma’s Tornado Alley playing with the energy of a violent storm. Rev is known not only for his unconventional techniques, but also for the unforgettable visual experience that he brings to every performance.

With his two-handed tapping style and over-the-neck fingering technique, he riffs like a madman both onstage and offstage. He has toured with Michael Schenker Group, Steelheart, Mountain, Fuel, Black Symphony, Rev Jones band and many other prestigious acts.

Drummer Jeff Tortora has a musical history with singer Brian Troch as both answered the call in 1996 to form Shooting Hemlock. Troch and Tortora reunited to record Vante’s self-titled debut album in 2021, their easy chemistry returned. Jeff Totora is right at home on the big stage as well as in the recording studio.

In 2000 he was chosen to play with the mind-blowing, explosive Blue Man Group and he accepted this percussionist’s dream job to play to adoring crowds around the world and even at the Super Bowl halftime show. A true virtuoso, Tortora brings versatility, innovation and most of all, hard-hitting energy to all of his performances.

Percussion took root in drummer Chris Moore’s soul from an early age. Known as “Music’s Best Kept Secret”, Chris Moore has recorded with Ultraphonix (with Corey Glover of Living Colour) and Project Nfidelikah (with Angelo Moore of Fishbone). He has most recently played the role of an 80’s metal drummer for the Rock of Ages 10th Anniversary Tour.

Brian Troch, lead singer, says: “VANTE is thrilled to share the culmination of a journey a year and a half in the making. I am personally very mirthful to finally be able to share the fruits of our intense journey that resulted in this powerful 14 song debut album from VANTE. As for Scott McClellan and myself it was an absolute pleasure to work with Rev Jones , Chris Moore and Jeff Tortora. The first single and video, Why Is It So Cold is barn burning intense number that I think will resonate with people “.

“Vante is a group of amazing players from some killer bands, and this new album brings out the best in all of them, creating a new sound that is heavy and cool as hell“ - Jeffrey A. Swanson / President / Dark Star Records.

Brian Troch - Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Guitar, Additional Bass, Keys
Scott McClellan - Guitar, Lead Guitar, Bass, Acoustic Guitar, Background Vocals
Rev Jones - Bass Guitar, Guitar, Fretless Bass
Chris Moore - Drums
Jeff Tortora - Drums
Jaben Pennell - Hammond B-3 Organ on The Craving & Going With The Flow
Jenny Franck - Background Vocals on I Stand & It’s My Life

Vante - Why Is It So Cold (Official Music Video)

Vante - Watch The Sunrise (Official Music Video)

Official Purchase Links

Official Website

John McCutcheon @ Facebook

Title - The Astrud Project
Artist - Anne Walsh

For those unaware, the seeds for The Astrud Project were sewn on jazz vocalist Anne Walsh’s previous album, Brand New. On that 2016 set, Walsh penned biographical lyrics to Brazilian jazz singer Astrud Gilberto’s lyric-less scat on “Nao Bate O Coracao,” retitling the song “The Writing’s on the Wall.”

Walsh did a similar thing with Gilberto’s scatted “Beach Samba,” which led to recording an entire album that pays tribute to Gilberto’s seminal bossa nova catalogue.

“Looking over Astrud’s life and career in researching that song (“Nao Bate O Coracao”) was the beginning of a deeper dive into the songs that inspired this collection. I’ve always found a kindred spirit in the vocal approach that Astrud took. Her light, straight tone is what really makes the music she sang shine. There is little doubt that Astrud’s approach set the stylistic vibe for the bossa nova movement of the 1960s,” says Walsh, who will preview the new album at a concert performance at Herb Alpert’s Vibrato in Los Angeles on June 22nd, 2022 that will feature Zink and an orchestral ensemble.

Hence The Astrud Project is comprised of eleven tunes and encompasses a mix of songs sung in English and Gilberto’s native Portuguese, including the iconic “The Girl From Ipanema.”

Produced and orchestrated by Grammy nominated arranger Tom Zink, The Astrud Project drops July 8th, 2022 on the A to Zink Music label.

1. “On My Mind”
2. “Call Me”
3. “Crickets Sing for Anamaria”
4. “(Take Me To) Aruanda”
5. “Dindi”
6. “The Girl From Ipanema”
7. “Beach Samba”
8. “Canto de Ossanha”
9. “Fotographia”
10. “Voce É Eu”
11. “Once Upon a Summertime”

The album opens on the gently effervescent rhythms of “On My Mind” and the slow dancefloor twirl of “Call Me” and those are followed sweetly by the sweepingly perky “Crickets Sing for Anamaria,” the forthright “(Take Me To) Aruanda,” the ornate beauty of “Dindi” and then comes the Brazilian bossa nova jazz of “The Girl From Ipanema.”

Next up is one of my own personal favorites from this new collection, the swishingly ambient “Beach Samba” which is itself backed by the foot-tapping melodies of “Canto de Ossanha,” the delicate gossamer of “Fotographia,” the album rounding out on the upbeat hipsway of “Voce É Eu,” closing on the atmospherically-charged “Once Upon a Summertime.”

Walsh and Zink say that Gilberto served as “sort of a poster child for innocence and the unaffected musical beauty that summed up the early bossa nova movement.” To honor the indelible mark she made on the music for which they hold immense ardor, the spouses recorded some of Gilberto’s best-known songs as well as lesser-known selections, adding their own fresh twist to the arrangements and approach.

Gilberto’s sultry and sensual voice meshed perfectly with Brazilian jazz rhythms and the rich melodies written by Antonio Carlos Jobim (“Dindi,” “The Girl From Ipanema” and “Fotographia”) and other emerging Brazilian composers of the era such as Baden Powell and Vincius de Moraes (“Canto de Ossanha”) and Marcos Valle (“Crickets Sing For Anamaria”).

She uniquely illumined pop songs like “Call Me” and selections from the great American songbook (Legrand and Mercer’s “Once Upon a Summertime”) by applying her trademark bossa nova varnish.

Indeed, on The Astrud Project, Walsh skillfully plies her exquisite voice and passion for Brazilian jazz to the lavishly produced and orchestrated tracks meticulously crafted by Zink.

“Learning the Portuguese lyrics is so important to understanding how the music should swing. In Brazil, you can find yourself listening to a conversation and faintly hear the cadences of the various percussion instruments. That is such a huge part of getting the music under your skin as a singer; really internalizing the percussive feel of the language. I sing most of ‘The Girl From Ipanema’ in Portuguese because it’s impossible to get that same rhythmic feel from the English lyrics,” Walsh adds.

Official Purchase Link

Official Website

Title - Sirius Sounds (Expanded) [3CD]
Artist - Children of the Bong

For those unaware, Children of the Bong was a British electronic band, formed in the early 1990s by Rob Henry and Daniel Goganian. They signed to Planet Dog Records in 1994 and released one album, Sirius Sounds, as well as a couple of tracks on Planet Dog compilations. The band recorded a Peel Session for DJ John Peel on BBC Radio 1 on 26th April 1994.

The group split up shortly after the release of the album. Rob Henry went on to form a band called Euphonic and now plays in a band called Deep City. Daniel Goganian went on to study at the National Film and Television School and now works in the film and television industry as Studio Director for The Peoples Voice in London. He also plays samba percussion for the Paraiso School of Samba in London.

Sirius Sounds: The Planet Dog Years is a quite wondrous expanded 3CD edition of Children Of The Bong’s debut album that brings together stand-alone tracks released during the band’s time with Planet Dog, unheard mixes and demos, forgotten remixes and a recording of a live performance from 1995.

All the tracks have remastered from their original sources.

CD 1: Sirius Sounds (Remastered)
1. Polyphase
2. Ionospheric State
3. Interface Reality
4. The Veil…
5. Underwater Dub
6. Life On Planet Earth
7. Squigglasonica
8. Visitor

Disc One is a remaster of the band’s 1995 debut album ‘Sirius Sounds’, an 8-track collection of breakbeat-influenced, melodic, analogue, dubby electronica.

Some albums won’t give you life-changing experiences, but they will at least pass the time effectively enough. When it comes to the realm of ambient techno, such an approach is actually more welcome than most. Children of the Bong actually care about beat as well, but though they fool around with dub touches and some often heavy beats, the feeling is more about sweet float ala the lighter side of the Orb.

Indeed, that band is the obvious touchstone for what the Children are doing, but lacking the insane, out-of-nowhere touches which transform the Orb into true experimental monsters of odd. The Children would rather live up to their name and just relax a bit, and you can almost smell the burning cannabis as a result.

Underwater Dub, as can be guessed by the name, really hits the stoner flow hard; about the only thing missing is black light and patchouli oil, though admittedly it’s not all that distinct a song to begin with. Still, there are enough moment of combined acid squelch and relaxed float that make things worthwhile.

Ionospheric State is the first song of note, with a melody buried tantalizing beneath the lead synth crunch and a sharp rhythm roll. Further keyboards in the background accentuate the gentle rise and flow surrounding the main parts of the song.

Other tunes of greater note include the nicely energetic Interface Reality and the deep bass tug of Life on Planet Earth, managing to be both a good groove and subtly haunting at the same time. Otherwise, things tend towards the generally pleasant through Sounds, as with the nice-but-not-much-to-it The Veil... and the tighter dance grooves and vocodered snippets of speaking on Squigglasonica, which definitely has a fun name to its credit.

CD 2:
1. Ultrascope – Quadruped V·1
2. Symbol I – Feed Your Head Volume 2 4. Underwater Dub – Full on, Drums and Bass All Hands-on Deck Roots Mix…!
5. Polyphase Dub – Alternate mix of Polyphase from the Sirius Sounds sessions
6. Squigglasonica – Demo Version
7. The Veil – Having Bean Mix
8. Visitor – Demo Version

Disc Two brings together all of the band’s stand-alone tracks released on various Planet Dog compilations along with a previously unreleased out-take from the ‘Sirius Sounds’ recording session and three demo tracks from the band’s earliest days prior to their signing to Planet Dog.

CD 3:
1. Interface Reality – Stryke’s Reality Reconstruction
2. Interface Reality – Deep Dust Remix
3. Interface Reality – Tyler Stone Remix
Live at Megadog, Cambridge Junction, May 1995
4. Polyphase – Live Version
5. Interface Reality – Live Version
6. Ionospheric State – Live Version
7. Aphelion Force – Live Version
8. Ultrascope – Live Version
9. Squigglasonica – Live Version

Disc Three features three remixes which only ever saw light of day on a limited edition US- released 12”. These are followed by a desk recording of a full live set by the band recorded at a Megadog event in Cambridge in 1995.

The package includes a 20-page full color booklet featuring many unseen photographs and artwork from the band’s archives accompanied by insightful sleeve notes from Kris Needs charting the band’s short but productive career.

“Pushing musical boundaries from the off, COTB laid the exploratory path for all to follow” – Trunky, Exclusive Magazine, 15/7/22.

“Fiery acid melodies and earthy dub rhythms. Dance music has rarely sounded so warm, so organic, so human” – Push, Melody Maker, 8/1/94.

“This album sounds like the unfolding of an entire previously unexplored universe via lots of dubbed-up bass sounds, break beats, trip hoppy vibes and…squiggly techno noises” – Ngaire Ruth, Muzik, August 1995.

“The jewel in the Planet Dog crown…it soundtracks the open mindedness of a new post-E generation” – John Collins, Muzik, September 1995.

Keep up with the latest Children Of The Bong news at their official website:

Official Purchase Link

Title - Feelin’ Better: Anthology 1963-1969 [3CD]
Artist - The Swinging Blue Jeans

For those unaware, The Swinging Blue Jeans had a residency at Liverpool’s legendary Cavern Club where The Beatles once appeared as their guests and, like the Fab Four, they cut their teeth playing Hamburg’s The Star-Club.

The huge success of their 1963 single ‘Hippy Hippy Shake’ made The Swinging Blue Jeans stars in the UK, Canada, Scandinavia, Germany, Australia and the USA.

Terry Sylvester from The Escorts joined The Swinging Blue Jeans in early 1966, appearing on singles, ‘Sandy’, ‘Rumours, Gossip, Words Untrue’ and ‘What Have They Done To Hazel’ and the Canadian album, ‘Don’t Make Me Over’, before leaving to replace Graham Nash in The Hollies in 1968. Singers Madeline Bell and Kiki Dee guest on the 1967 single ‘Tremblin’’.

Feelin’ Better: Anthology 1963-1969 is a brand new 3CD set containing every song recorded by Merseybeat group, The Swinging Blue Jeans between 1963 and 1969.

Including the classic hit singles ‘Hippy Hippy Shake’ (UK #2), ‘Good Golly Miss Molly’ (UK #11), ‘You’re No Good’ (UK #3), ‘Don’t Make Me Over’ (UK #31) and ‘It’s Too Late Now’ (UK #30). Also featured is their 1965 single ‘Ready Teddy’ coupled with ‘Lovey Dovey’ that was originally only issued in Finland and Norway.

Plus their sole UK album ‘Blue Jeans A’ Swinging’ (1964) in full in both mono and stereo versions and all of the tracks from their rare 1966 Canadian only LP ‘Don’t Make Me Over’, believed to have been withdrawn soon after release.

These tracks include versions of The Beatles’ ‘This Boy’, The Lovin’ Spoonful’s ‘Do You Believe In Magic’ and soul man Rufus Thomas’ ‘Jump Back’.

Containing a literal wealth of incredible The Swinging Blue Jeans songs - 103 tracks, to be exact, all be a few of them the same song, but perhaps in German, or commercial tests or stereo versions, of course - containing every song recorded by the Merseybeat group from 1963-1969, this is the most expansive collection ever put together for this band; of that have no doubt!

Although they are only remembered today for their 1964 hit Hippy Hippy Shake, which charted on both sides of the Atlantic, The Swinging Blue Jeans were actually one of the strongest of the Liverpool bands from the ’60s British Invasion; and, indeed, the Blue Jeans’ earliest incarnation goes back about as far as the roots of the Beatles as the Quarry Men.

Hippy Hippy Shake - a cover of an obscure ’50s rocker that was actually done much better by the Beatles on tapes of their BBC performances - was their only Top 30 entry in the U.S., but the band enjoyed some other major and minor hits in the U.K., including a top-notch Merseyization of Betty Everett’s (and later Linda Ronstadt’s) You’re No Good, which they took into the British Top Five in 1964.

Indeed, and making this as all-encompassing a review as I can for you, the reader, the group’s origins go back to 1957, when singer/guitarist Ray Ennis decided to form a band. The result was a skiffle sextet called the Bluegenes - the latter a misspelling of blue jeans that remained unchanged for a couple of years.

Surprisingly, Ennis had already played rock & roll, but, and in a manner the opposite of many other young musicians of the time, he regarded skiffle as an advancement. Equally surprisingly, given their later work, the Bluegenes were heavily jazz influenced, and stayed away from trying to cover songs associated with Elvis Presley and other American rock & rollers, preferring instead to try and emulate the horn and sax parts that they heard on their guitars.

The skiffle group lineup also included Bruce McCaskill on guitar and vocals, Tommy Hughes on banjo, Norman Kuhlke on washboard, and Spud Ward on oil drum bass. Ralph Ellis later joined on guitar, and Ward subsequently moved over to Rory Storm’s band, and eventually Les Braid took over the bassist spot. Hughes and McCaskill later left, the former for the army and the latter over personal disagreements, replaced by Johnny Carter and Paul Moss, respectively.

By 1962, they were working full-time and playing the same venues in Liverpool as rival bands such as the Beatles, Gerry & the Pacemakers et al, and also performed for the first time at the Star Club in Hamburg late in the year. But amazingly, they were still playing jazz-based skiffle, and had even done some unsuccessful record company auditions working in that musical genre.

They saw no reason to change until the German audiences, not as tolerant of skiffle music as Merseyside listeners at the Cavern had been, booed them off the stage. At that point, seemingly in the blink of an eye, they switched to rock & roll, trading in their acoustic instruments for their electric equivalents.

And in that guise - and a name change to the Swinging Blue Jeans - they not only won over German audiences but earned a coveted recording contract with EMI’s HMV imprint, under producer Walter J. Ridley (who handled such diverse talents, and not too well, by some accounts, as Johnny Kidd & the Pirates and Alma Cogan).

With the departure of banjo player Paul Moss soon after, they were left as a quartet comprised of Ray Ennis (rhythm guitar, vocals), Les Braid (bass, keyboards), Ralph Ellis (lead guitar), and Norman Kuhlke (drums). They made their recording debut (still as a quintet) with a Ray Ennis original, It’s Too Late Now, which made the British Top 30.

Their second single, Do You Know, released in the fall of 1963, failed to sell, but in December of that year they broke through to stardom in with their rendition of Hippy Hippy Shake. They rode that record’s success all the way to the number two chart spot in England, right behind the Dave Clark Five’s Glad All Over, and earned a place on the first-ever broadcast of Top of the Pops in the bargain.

Their follow-up single, Good Golly Miss Molly, released in March of that year, charted in England at number 11. And You’re No Good followed two months later, and soared to number three in the U.K. That string of successes led to a good debut album called Blue Jeans A’ Swinging, issued in July of 1964. They were only to enjoy one more charting single, a rendition of the Burt Bacharach/Hal David-authored Don’t Make Me Over, which only reached number 31 in 1965.

Ralph Ellis, who, with Ray Ennis was one of the two songwriters in the group, left early in the following year, and was succeeded by Terry Sylvester, who had previously played with the Escorts. The band carried on for a couple of more years, but, like most early-’60s Liverpool outfits, the Blue Jeans’ career rapidly lost momentum as the ’60s progressed.

As with most other Liverpool bands of the period, they were masters of that particular brand of rhythm-heavy rock & roll known as Merseybeat, but like most of their compatriots - and the Beatles were the notable exception - they were unable or unwilling to let their music evolve into new forms and directions.

By 1965 their string of hits was over, though their chart success in America (and elsewhere) with Hippy Hippy Shake did give them a higher international profile than all but a handful of Merseybeat bands. Ennis and Ellis had written some catchy and energetic, if slightly sappy, originals in the purest Merseybeat style.

And while it doesn’t add up to an enduring legacy, there’s a lot to be said for the naive energy of the best of their early tunes, and they did hang on quite effectively until 1968, remaking themselves as more of a harmony group in the process.

Terry Sylvester left that year to join the Hollies, succeeding Graham Nash in the latter group, but the Swinging Blue Jeans soldiered on, right into the early 1970s. Ennis and Braid stayed on in the core of the band, amid myriad personnel changes, and kept them going for years after that.

The group essentially became an oldies act, their playing and recordings mostly consisting of remakes of their ’60s hits. Braid passed away in 2005, but a version of the band featuring Ennis was still playing in the 21st century.

CD 1:
1. Ol’ Man Mose (commercial test version)
2. It’s Too Late Now (commercial test version)
3. Three Little Fishes (commercial test version)
4. It’s Too Late Now
5. Think Of Me
6. Do You Know
7. Angie
8. Hippy Hippy Shake
9. Now I Must Go
10. Dizzy Miss Lizzy
11. Wasting Time
12. Good Golly Miss Molly
13. Shaking Feeling
14. Shakin’ All Over
15. Shake, Rattle and Roll
16. You’re No Good
17. Don’t You Worry About Me
18. Promise You’ll Tell Her
19. Ol’ Man Mose
20. Save The Last Dance For Me
21. That’s The Way It Goes
22. Around and Around
23. It’s All Over Now
24. Long Tall Sally
25. Lawdy Miss Clawdy
26. Some Sweet Day
27. It’s So Right
28. Don’t It Make You Feel Good
29. All I Want Is You
30. Tutti Frutti
31. You Got Love
32. Dizzy Chimes
33. It Isn’t There
34. One Of These Days
35. Get Rid Of Her
36. It’s True

CD 2:
1. Make Me Know You’re Mine
2. I’ve Got A Girl
3. Ready Teddy
4. Lovey Dovey
5. Crazy ’Bout My Baby
6. Good Lovin’
7. Don’t Make Me Over
8. What Can I Do Today
9. I’m Gonna Sit Right Down and Cry Over You
10. Gotta Draw The Line (Sidney)
11. I’m Gonna Have You
12. I Don’t Believe It
13. Nobody But Me
14. You Don’t Love Me
15. I Want Love
16. Jump Back
17. Chug-A-Lug
18. This Boy
19. Do You Believe In Magic?
20. Sandy
21. Now That You’ve Got Me You Don’t Seem To Want Me (Early Version)
22. It’s In Her Kiss
23. You’d Better Stop
24. Our Day Will Come
25. I Wanna Be There
26. Anyway
27. You’re Welcome To My Heart
28. Rumours, Gossip, Words Untrue
29. Now The Summer’s Gone
30. I Made A Mistake
31. Master John (The Preacher’s Son)
32. Gotta Draw The Line (Sidney) (Later Version)
33. It’s Alright

CD 3:
1. Tremblin’
2. Something’s Coming Along
3. Don’t Go Out Into The Rain (You’re Gonna Melt)
4. One Woman Man
5. Painting The Day
6. RAY ENNIS & THE BLUE JEANS What Have They Done To Hazel
7. RAY ENNIS & THE BLUE JEANS Now That You’ve Got Me (You Don’t Seem To Want Me)
8. THE BLUEJEANS Hey Mrs. Housewife
10. Big City
11. Summer Comes Sunday
12. Good Golly Miss Molly (German Version)
13. Das Ist Prima (Shakin’ Feeling German Version)
14. Tutti Frutti (German Version)
15. Das Ist Vorbei (One Of These Days German Version)
16. The Hippy Hippy Shake (Stereo)
17. Ol’ Man Mose (Stereo)
18. Save The Last Dance For Me (Stereo)
19. That’s The Way It Goes (Stereo)
20. Around and Around (Stereo)
21. It’s All Over Now (Stereo)
22. Long Tall Sally (Stereo)
23. Lawdy Miss Clawdy (Stereo)
24. Some Sweet Day (Stereo)
25. It’s So Right (Stereo)
26. Don’t It Make You Feel Good (Stereo)
27. All I Want Is You (Stereo)
28. Tutti Frutti (Stereo)
29. Make Me Know You’re Mine (Stereo)
30. I’ve Got A Girl (Stereo)
31. Ready Teddy (Stereo)
32. Sandy (Stereo)
33. You’re Welcome To My Heart (No Brass – Stereo)
34. Tremblin’ (Stereo)

With notes including a new interview with original vocalist and lead guitarist Ray Ennis.

Official Purchase Link

Title - Be-Bop!
Artist - Paquale Grasso

For those of you not in the know, following the extraordinary success of guitar virtuoso Pasquale Grasso’s digital showcase series, which launched in 2019 and includes Solo Standards, Solo Ballads, Solo Holiday, and tributes to jazz royalty Thelonious Monk, Charlie Parker, Bud Powell, Sony Music Masterworks is set to release Be-Bop!, a brilliant new tribute to be-bop pioneers Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker.

Born and raised in Ariano Irpino in Southern Italy’s Campania region, Grasso relocated to New York City in 2009 and has since been wowing audiences with regular appearances at Mezzrow, Smalls and The Django, where he has showcased his tremendous command of the fretboard by freely moving between single notes, chords and independent bass lines while flashing Art Tatum-esque filigrees with uncanny speed and precision.

1. A Night in Tunisia
2. Be-Bop
3. Ruby, My Dear
4. Shaw ‘Nuff
5. I’m in a Mess (featuring Samara Joy)
6. Cheryl
7. Ornithology
8. Quasimodo
9. Lamento Della Campagnia
10. Groovin’ High

Opening on the dazzling array of melodies and rhythms within a sparkling rendition of Dizzy Gillespie’s quintessential composition, A Night in Tunisia (originally composed in 1942 when he was a member of Benny Carter’s band and which marked the beginning of Gillespie’s unique blending of Afro-Cuban rhythms with American jazz), Pasquale follows that up with the free flowing titular track Be-Bop and then comes the breathtakingly sweet Ruby, My Dear’ (Thelonious Monk), the gently frenetic guitar work of Shaw ‘Nuff and the comes the mid-tempo swinger I’m in a Mess (originally sung by Joe Carroll on Gillespie’s 1951 album, School Days and here featuring Samara Joy on vocals).

Backed by his working trio of bassist Ari Roland and drummer Keith Balla, the trio is in sync through super-up-tempo, challenging fare like both the excitedly frenzied, and yet always creatively restrained pairing of both Cheryl and Ornithology, the album rounding out on a lushly orchestrated rendition of Charlie Parker’s Quasimodo, the smoothly lush Lamento Della Campagnia (based on the Billie Holiday torch song Some Other Spring), coming to a righteous close on the finger-snapping grooves within the funky wonderment known as Groovin’ High.

“Since I was a little kid, I always had this sound in my head, then slowly it’s coming out,” he explains. “I was never too much influenced by guitar players, for some reason. I grew up listening to Art Tatum, Bud Powell and Thelonious Monk. Those were my guys. For guitar, I always liked Charlie Christian and Oscar Moore, but I never really listened to too much guitar players. Of course, when I hear Barney Kessel and Chuck Wayne and Jimmy Raney, I love them. They’re all great artists but they never really got me when I was a kid. I was more into Bird and Bud, Dizzy Gillespie, Roy Eldridge and Louis Armstrong. So I was always more influenced by horn players and piano players than guitar players.”

In 2015, Pasquale won the Wes Montgomery International Jazz Guitar Competition in New York City, including performing with guitar legend Pat Martino’s organ trio. Grasso was subsequently signed to an exclusive deal with Sony Masterworks, which led to his initial series of digital releases in 2019. Working with the simpatico rhythm tandem of Roland and Balla again, the great guitarist takes things up a notch on Be-Bop!

“Obviously, I think the older you get the more you understand,” Grasso said. “When you’re in your twenties, you just want to play everything you know. But over time, you realize that music is not about that -- it’s about telling a story and making somebody feel certain emotions. I love Lester Young for that. That’s the beauty of music.”

Tour Dates 2022:
4 Vail, CO, USA / Vail Square *
5 Denver, CO, USA / Dazzle *
6 Tulsa, OK, USA / Lowdown *
8 New York, NY, USA / Mezzrow
10 New York, NY, USA / Little Island *
15 New York, NY, USA / Mezzrow
19 Aspen, CO, USA / JAS at Aspen Art Museum *
22 New York, NY, USA / Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola
26 Atlanta, GA, USA / Callanwolde Fine Arts Center *
27 Charlotte, NC, USA / Middle C *
28 New York, NY, USA / Tompkins Square Park (Charlie Parker Jazz Festival)
29 New York, NY, USA / Mezzrow

5 New York, NY, USA / Mezzrow
12 New York, NY, USA / The Blue Note *
15 Portsmouth, NH, USA / Jimmy’s Jazz & Blues Club *
16 Boston, MA, USA / Sculler’s *
17 Lake George, NY, USA / Lake George Jazz Festival *
18 Pittsburgh, PA, USA / August Wilson African American Cultural Center *
20 San Francisco, CA, USA / Freight & Salvage *
22 Paso Robles, CA, USA / AMSTRDM
23 Monterey, CA, USA / Monterey Jazz Festival *
24 Chicago, IL, USA / Hyde Park Jazz Festival (Samara Joy/Pasquale Grasso Duo)
26 New York, NY, USA / The Blue Note

1 Costa Mesa, CA, USA / Segerstrom Center for the Arts *
2 Half Moon Bay, CA, USA / Bach Dancing & Dynamite Society *

3 Indianapolis, IN, USA / Shelton Auditorium *
4 Appleton, WI, USA / Lawrence University *
10-14 Chicago, IL, USA / Jazz Showcase *
18 Blue Bell, PA, USA / JPN *
19 Pittsburgh, PA, USA / Manchester Craftsman Guild *

* Samara Joy (featuring Pasquale Grasso)

Official Website

Title - Play or Die
Artist - Tony Williams

For those of you not in the know, M.I.G. Music GmbH, an independent multi-genre recording label based in Hanover, Germany is set to release on July 22nd, 2022 on all digital platforms and CD (and a limited vinyl edition to be released in late 2022), an auspicious rare studio recording entitled Play or Die from the late legendary drummer Tony Williams while the imposing bandleader was on tour more than four decades ago.

It’s 1980 and Tony Williams, perhaps best known for his seven-year stint with Miles Davis’ 1960s Quintet, before creating fusion with his impossibly brilliant 1969 album, Emergency! followed six years later by the equally influential Believe It, is somewhere in Europe on tour with a band of his choosing that is slowly disintegrating.

The previous year, Williams recorded the genre-smashing The Joy of Flying that featured a star-studded cast which included a concert on July 27, 1978, at Japan’s Denen Coliseum, billed as “The Tony Williams All Stars.” The album planted yet another jewel in the crown of Williams, who as a luminous 17-year-old drummer had set the jazz world ablaze with Miles Davis’s Quintet and his own Blue Note debut albums, Life Time (1964) and Spring (1966).

Recordings with Eric Dolphy (Out to Lunch), Jackie McLean (One Step Beyond) and Grachan Moncur III (Evolution) further established the precociousness and power of a young Bostonian who would become one of the greatest and most influential jazz drummers of all time. With fusion, Williams originated a controversial genre that never met its creator’s own demanding expectations, and for whom it took years to receive due credit.

But in Europe, on tour with a band that included keyboard player Tom Grant (on recommendation from Jeff Lorber), another keyboardist Bruce Harris and guitarist Todd Carver, the mercurial Williams is in a funk and the band’s sell by date is long past due.

“I suggested we get bassist/keyboardist Patrick O’Hearn,” recalled Grant, who toured with Williams for two years in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s. “We played with Patrick and Tony just killed it. As soon as he started playing, it was like we’d taken off in a spaceship. The power of his playing, it was so physically incredible.”

On May 30 and 31 of 1980, Williams, Grant and O’Hearn, who had previously worked with Frank Zappa and would co-found the new wave band Missing Persons the following year, entered Tonstudio Zuckerfabrik, Stuttgart (Germany), to record five original tracks that comprised Play or Die, a vinyl album limited to 500 pressings that probably never saw the light of day beyond its German borders.

Recorded in two days and mixed in the studio with co-producer Peter Schnyder, the trio was soon back on the road, the album lost to history. Williams died from a heart attack following a gall bladder surgery in 1997.

1. The Big Man (6:41)
2. Beach Ball Tango (11:11)
3. Jam Tune (9:43)
4. Para Oriente (6:33)
5. There Comes A Time (5:38)

Opening on the rather ominous, prowling synthesizer and dashing cymbal intro to the scintillating The Big Man, that is followed seamlessly by the pure ’80s new wave flow of synths, clashing bass drum and cymbal on the brilliant Beach Ball Tango, then comes the organically changing rhythmic tattoo with angular bass, willowing subliminal synths within the appropriately entitled Jam Tune, before the album rounds out on the swingingly textural analog synth work of Para Oriente, coming to a close on the vocalized, yet bittersweet-esque notes within the low arched swing of There Comes A Time.

In cooperation with Williams’ widow, Colleen Williams, and produced by M.I.G. Music GmbH, Play or Die finally receives the release it deserved in 1980, not long before the direction of jazz changed, not long before the direction of jazz changed to follow Young Lions’ fashion, and Williams led his great band that recorded six albums for Blue Note.

With digital remastering performed by Johannes Scheibenreif, a renown mastering engineer from Vienna, Play or Die is reborn as a jazz power trio onslaught, with touches of rock grandeur and new wave fashion shaped by Williams, a time-traveling pioneer whose voice speaks today as forever fresh, innovative, and restless. The original master, not the re-release, was cut at SST Brüggemann in Frankfurt in 1980.

Title - The Wire
Artist - Brightshine

For those of you not in the know, tapping into an energy comparable to that of Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, and Tom Petty, California-based quartet Brightshine redefines improvisational rock by focusing on strong songs and arrangements, creating an irresistible style that is syncopated, ethereal and rocking.

Founded in 2019, Brightshine is led by songwriter, singer, producer, and lead guitaristPete Sawyer, who brings his extensive experience in the Northern California music scene into the band, which features Celso Alberti (Steve Winwood), Eric Levy (Night Ranger), Paul Rustigian (Freestone Peaches), Murph Murphy (Poor Man’s Whiskey) and Maria Caycedo (Verisimo Opera Company).

Instantly discovering fluid chemistry and camaraderie with one another upon their union, Brightshine began the process of recording their first album Shadows In The Sky, creating a foundation for a cohesive and creative band that was ready to test the waters with a tour through their home state.

With the rise of COVID-19 quickly bringing shows to a stop, Sawyer turned to writing once again and discovered an abundance of new material within. “After a few weeks of acclimating to the ‘new normal’ I found that without planning gigs, rehearsals etc., songs started appearing, and soon I was writing one after another with a frequency I hadn’t seen since I first started writing 20 years ago. This rebirth also featured songs that were more uptempo, rocking and complex than the songs on Shadows In The Sky,” he explains.

Set for release on July 23RD, 2022, Brightshine’s upcoming sophomore album The Wire was born out of quarantine, a period that proved to be creatively fruitful for the band. During this time, their funky style incorporated energizing rock-based sounds.

Brightshine’s expressive playing, and scintillating, deeply musical improvisations showcase Sawyers’ stylistically diverse compositions and feature unusual and masterfully executed harmonic structures that are adorned with deep, multi-layered lyrics.

With most of the album recorded live off the floor of the studio, the group’s excitement in being able to play again after quarantine explodes out of the deep grooves kicked out by the band, while their innovative expansive sound plays like every note they hit is their last.

1. New Days
2. The Wire
3. Airborne
4. Arrow In The Dark
5. Until We Fall
6. Ghost Of A Life
7. Heal True
8. Eyes Prize
9. Shedding The Blues
10. Stage Blue
I. Raina’s Tune
II. Stage Blue
III. The Signal Turns Grey
IV. Make Myself A Way

Opening on the scintillating, euphorically charged New Days, that is seamlessly followed by the bluesy psych, funky flow within the groovy ebb and flow of the titular The Wire, the joyously lush Airborne, the groovy, funky at times ebb and flow of Arrow In The Dark and then comes the euphorically-charged Until We Fall.

Up next is one of my own personal favorites of this wonderful new album, the rocking blues of Ghost Of A Life which is in turn backed by the languishing beauty within the upbeat melodies of Heal True, then comes the abundantly jubilant Eyes Prize, the heartwarming rhythms of Shedding The Blues, the album closing on the drum-led, ten minute, four-part Stage Blue.

Brightshine has played notable venues including The Kuumbwa Jazz Center, Ashkenaz, 19 Broadway, and Michael’s On Main,among many others. With their upcoming release, they’re sure to create waves within the music industry, making Brightshine one jam band you just can’t miss.

Official Website

Official Spotify Purchase Link

Brightshine @ Facebook

Brightshine @ Instagram

Brightshine @ YouTube

Title - Pink Lem
Artist - Danceland

For those of you not in the know, which admittedly included my good self, today, with the release of the country-flavored lead single Don’t Act Surprised, the Toronto based jam band Danceland announces their debut album Pink Lem, out July 29th, 2022.

Rooted in the timeless psychedelic Americana tradition, the album is replete with fine, storyteller songcraft, sunny harmonies, lonesome pedal steel, stratospheric lead guitar passages, and a touch of Eastern mysticism.

1. Bluewater Sky
2. Don’t Act Surprised
3. Danceland Road
4. Protection Mantra
5. Down On Me
6. Not Without A Fight
7: 4:20

Opening on the countrified hop skip, mid-tempo rock of Bluewater Sky and the storytelling prose, enriched by lonesome pedal steel guitar, bucolic banjo, and breezy harmony vocals of the breezy Don’t Act Surprised, we then get the funky grooves of the Booker T-imbibed Danceland Road, some Eastern-imbued, languishing rhythms and melodies within Protection Mantra, before the album rounds out on the dulcet, aching blues-rock balladry of Down On Me, the lyrically heartfelt Not Without A Fight, coming to a close on the upbeat and free flowing guitar work within 4:20.

Danceland - Don’t Act Surprised (Lyric Video)

Danceland - Not Without A Fight (Lyric Video)

Danceland - Protection Mantra (Lyric Video)

Danceland - 4:20 (Lyric Video)

Danceland @ Instagram

Danceland @ Facebook

Danceland @ YouTube

Title - Souls and the Barren Heart
Artist - Love Crushed Velvet

For those of you not in the know, the NYC post-punk outfit Love Crushed Velvet have just released their new studio album Souls and the Barren Heart.

Inspired by post-pandemic Manhattan and the untapped chaos of urban life, the album features taut, visceral songs that blend alternative, glam, and classic rock into a contemporary sound.

New York City is a place that’s at its best when it’s at its worst. The urban decay of the 70s unleashed a musical explosion that still reverberates nearly half a century later. Post-pandemic Manhattan vibes volatile again. The raw power of punk and the sonic blur of post-punk are back in full force with Souls and the Barren Heart.

1. The Future
2. Free
3. Saddened Eyes
4. The Light Inside
5. Other Places
6. Hateful Forever
7. Workin’ (Don’t Blame The People)
8. Under A Rainbow

Opening on the laid low, alt-pop-rock of The Future, that is seamlessly followed by the bluesy psych hipsway of Free and the beautiful ebb and flow of Saddened Eyes and then comes the euphorically-charged The Light Inside.

Up next is one of my own personal favorites on this wonderful new album, the pacey rock turbulence within Other Places and that is itself followed by the languishing Hateful Forever, the album rounding out on the elated musings within the spacious Workin’ (Don’t Blame The People), coming to a close on the harmonically melodic Under A Rainbow.

Love Crushed Velvet is the creative vision of A.L.X., a regionalist who believes in the power of varied music scenes and assembling different bands for different records - improvising, revising, consolidating - an organic approach that retains the spark of late night jams, of a musical rapport forming in real time.

The new album sprang from spontaneity, and even in its polished form that energy comes through. Like with their 2010 debut and follow-up EP, a fierce group of players was assembled for the album under producer David Maurice. Australian drummer Alex Carapetis (Julian Casablancas, Nine Inch Nails) anchors the group. Rob Ritchie and Erik Deutsch shape the textures on guitar and Keyboards.

More than influences or even instrumentation, this is music fueled by the untamed chaos of urban life, by passion over precision. While the textures and colors of the music have shifted from record to record, A.L.X.’s hypnotic vocals are the through-line connecting the body of work as a whole: past, present and future, condensed into 8 fierce songs. The sound of the city, in all its gritty glory.

Love Crushed Velvet - The Future (Official 360/VR Music Video

Official Website

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Love Crushed Velvet @ Facebook

Love Crushed Velvet @ Instagram

Love Crushed Velvet @ BandCamp

Title - Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers
Artist - Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers

For those of you not in the know, Jonathan Richman formed The Modern Lovers in 1970 in Boston with Jerry Harrison (Talking Heads), Ernie Brooks and David Robinson (The Cars). The band recorded a series of demos, first with John Cale (The Velvet Underground) and later with producer Kim Fowley. Both sets of demos were eventually released, but not until the original group had disbanded.

In 1975 Jonathan relocated to California and secured a recording deal with Beserkley Records. By 1976 he had pulled together a new version of The Modern Lovers. This group included the holdover David Robinson from the original band and added, Leroy Radcliffe and Greg ‘Curly’ Keranen (The Rubinoos).

The self-titled release delivered on Richman’s desire for more acoustic and harmony-based material. Unfortunately, nearly on top of the bands’ debut album release, the earlier demo material drawn mostly from the Cale demo sessions was issued, and Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers was overshadowed by “Pablo Picasso,” “Roadrunner,” and their—now classic—“debut.” Shortly after the release of their actual self-titled debut, Robinson departed to join The Cars.

Needing a new drummer, the band found D. Sharpe (later of the Carla Bley Band) and this new line-up recorded Rock ’n’ Roll With The Modern Lovers which was released in 1977 and achieved some chart success in Europe with “Egyptian Reggae” making it to #5 on the U.K. Singles Chart.

Greil Marcus called it “the purist rock ‘n’ roll album I’ve heard this year.” However, another in the series of personnel changes, Keranen left the group. Modern Lovers ‘Live’ followed in 1977 with new bassist Asa Brebner.

While the U.S. might not have caught on to the magic of Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers, the U.K. certainly did. Recorded at the Hammersmith Odeon, ‘Live’ features Jonathan and The Modern Lovers performing classics from their first two releases to an enthusiastic crowd. The set included the recent Top 5 U.K. single “Egyptian Reggae,” as well as tracks from The Modern Lovers’ previously releases plus an eight-minute version of “Ice Cream Man.”

1979’s Back In Your Life marked the end of any original versions of The Modern Lovers and closed the Beserkley era with Jonathan stepping back from music for a few years after its release.

Luckily for us all, that very same self-titled debut Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers is being re-released as a remastered album on CD/LP this August 19th, 20222 via Omnivore Recordings.

1. Rockin’ Shopping Center
2. Back In The U.S.A.
3. Important In Your Life
4. New England
5. Lonely Financial Zone
6. Hi Dear
7. Abominable Snowman In The Market
8. Hey There Little Insect
9. Here Come The Martian Martians
10. Springtime
11. Amazing Grace

Richman’s second collection of Modern Lovers, over which he was billed (eventually, the group name would be dropped) had a lighter rock & roll sound than the first. In fact, as often as not, Richman played acoustic guitar. And his lyrical concerns had similarly lightened up, to the point of childlike whimsy on such songs as Hey There Little Insect and Here Come the Martian Martians.

But the focus was still Richman’s unabashed vocalizing (the word “sings” is actually put in quotes on the back cover), giving the whole album an amateurish charm.

Opening on the bass-tastic, mid-tempo rock Rockin’ Shopping Center, that is seamlessly followed by their low key rendition of Chuck Berry’s Back In The U.S.A., the beautifully jaunty Important In Your Life and then comes the informatively heartfelt New England and the depressingly accurate description within Lonely Financial Zone.

Up next is one of my own personal favorites of this wonderful new album, the upbeat hand clapper Hi Dear which is in turn backed by the endearingly written Abominable Snowman In The Market (... a dirty marshmallow with fangs), then comes the pre-schoolers dance within Hey There Little Insect, the buoyant melodies within Here Come The Martian Martians, the album closing on the languishing Springtime and then a track that starts off as you would imagine, but ends up completely different, Amazing Grace.

Official Purchase Link

Official Website

Jonathan Richman @ Bandcamp

Title - Really Really Happy: Expanded Edition [2CD]
Artist - The Muffs

For those of you not in the know, “Really Really Happy is the album that kicks off the second phase of The Muffs career,” so begins Roy McDonald’s liner notes for the expanded reissue of the band’s fifth album.

After eight years and four albums, The Muffs had written, recorded, and toured non-stop. After a break, the group was ready to do it all again, and was approached by friends (and sisters in law) Charlotte Caffey (Go-Go’s) and Anna Waronker (that dog), who had just started their own label – Five Foot Two Records.

McDonald, bassist Ronnie Barnett, and singer/guitarist/songwriter Kim Shattuck had a new home, and were ready to do it all again.

Really Really Happy arrived in 2004 to rave reviews. Now, nearly two decades later, it returns (via Omnivore Recordings) as an expanded double-CD / Digital release with 22 bonus tracks, including 16 of Kim Shattuck’s original demos for the album. The original 17 tracks are also available on LP.

The demo recordings on Disc 2 of the CD are available separately as New Improved Kim Shattuck Demos. In addition to McDonald’s liner notes, the packaging also features pieces from Barnett, Caffey, Waronker, and Shattuck’s husband Kevin Sutherland, plus photos and a new layout.

Barnett’s notes begin, “Dear Kim, This is the first project we’ve put together since you went away and I can’t say it’s been easy. The task of what, if any, extra stuff to include with this reissue was daunting but you, still ever present and in your own indomitable way, somehow ended up making it easy.”

Are we glad they did it? We’re really, really happy they did.

CD 1:
1. Freak Out
2. A Little Luxury
3. Really Really Happy
4. Something Inside
5. Everybody Loves You
6. Don’t Pick On Me
7. And I Go Pow
8. My Lucky Day
9. Fancy Girl
10. How I Pass The Time
11. Slow
12. I’m Here I’m Not
13. The Whole World
14. My Awful Dream
15. By My Side
16. Oh Poor You
17. The Story Of Me
18. My Whore [Bonus Track]
19. Uh Oh [Bonus Track]
20. Under The Covers In Jammies [Bonus Track]
21. My Imagination [Bonus Track]
22. Just The Beginning [Bonus Track]
23. I Hate Gym [Bonus Track]

When the Muffs finished their 1999 tour obligations, they were at a low point. No manager, no label, seemingly not many career prospects left. It would have been easy to give up the game after eight solid years and four sterling albums of punk-meets-power pop goodness.

They weren’t quite ready to pack it in, though, and kept playing the occasional show, even while the band’s leader, Kim Shattuck, formed a new group with cub’s Lisa Marr called the Beards. At the same time, she kept cranking out songs for the Muffs, and after the band hooked up with Five Foot Two, the label run by Anna Waronker and Charlotte Caffey, they got a chance to record them.

To make Really Really Happy, the group eschewed the studio experience - which hadn’t always been pleasant in the past - and tracked everything except the drums in Shattuck’s kitchen. The new recording setup didn’t change much; the band still delivered crunchy and raw slices of punk powered by Shattuck’s gnarly guitar and sugar-snarled vocals.

There is a layer of grunge gloss missing from the mix, and that’s just fine. The band were able to make it through that era with their facilities intact, and some might even say they sound more immediate and pop-friendly without the fancy studio treatment.

Shattuck certainly sounds at the top of her game vocally, spitting out venom on tough rockers like Freak Out or The Whole World. She also proves up to some of the stylistic gambles the Muffs take. The bouncy put-down Don’t Pick On Me is a rollicking blast, Something Inside is a painfully honest ballad that is well served by the stripped-down production, My Awful Dream proves that the band are just as powerful minus electricity, and the doo wop-meets-sea shanty Fancy Girl is a showcase for Shattuck’s more intimate vocal style.

Add in a few glimmering pop songs (Everybody Loves You, How I Pass the Time) that float by on a cloud, and it makes for a set that explores more sides of the band than any album that came before. It may lack some of the thumping power of earlier work, but it makes up for it with variety and some truly great songs.

Ergo, Really Really Happy was the start of the second half of the band’s career, and it’s a really, really strong record.

CD 2: New Improved Kim Shattuck Demos
1. Really Really Happy (Demo)
2. Freak Out (Demo)
3. Everybody Loves You (Demo)
4. Something Inside (Demo)
5. And I Go Pow (Demo)
6. Don’t Pick On Me (Demo)
7. The Story Of Me (Demo)
8. A Little Luxury (Demo)
9. By My Side (Demo)
10. Fancy Girl (Demo)
11. How I Pass The Time (Demo)
12. I’m Here I’m Not (Demo)
13. Even Now (Demo)
14. Slow (Demo)
15. My Lucky Day (Demo)
16. Oh Poor You (Demo)

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Official Website

Title - Naught Again [2CD]
Artist - Zero

For those of you not in the know, Zero was formed in the early 1980s by guitarist Steve Kimock and drummer Greg Anton after playing with Keith and Donna Godchaux’s Heart Of Gold Band with Quicksliver Messenger Service’s John Cipollina.

Various San Francisco Bay and international artists including Nicky Hopkins (The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who) Pete Sears (Jefferson Starship), Vince Welnick (The Tubes, Grateful Dead), John Kahn (Jerry Garcia Band), and more played with the band.

It seemed inevitable considering the Zero family tree, that Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter added lyrics to their instrumentals, it was a magic ingredient and Zero took off. After nine albums and over 1,300 shows, Zero was more than a conglomerate of talented musicians, they were a San Francisco institution.

Now Zero is back again, hitting the road in 2022 and in celebration, is releasing two shows that were recorded at The Great American Music Hall in 1992. One show was released as Chance In A Million in 1994 and now, the other set appears as Naught Again in 2022.

Naught Again (out now via Omnivore Recordings) is newly mixed by Emmy®-nominated Brian Risner from the original multi-track tapes recorded by Dan Healy and Don Pearson (Grateful Dead).

An evening from the past ushers in a new era for Zero for Naught Again is a music treasure trove, featuring originals, as well as covers from The Who, Jimi Hendrix, and so much more.

CD 1:
1. Prologue by Robert Hunter
2. Cole’s Law
3. Interlude
4. Tangled Hangers
5. End Of The World Blues
6. Golden Road

This quite wondrous musical work of art opens on a very profound, and well articulated one-minute prologue by Robert Hunter and then we are introduced to the sweepingly ornate gossamer of Cole’s Law which is itself followed seamlessly (after a brief, instrument-recharging interlude) by the triumphantly free flowing Tangled Hangers, this live recording coming to a close on the forthright rhythms held within the piano-led End Of The World Blues and the harmonica-led, rocking-blues of the brilliant Golden Road.

CD 2:
1. Gregg’s Egg’s
2. Baba O’Riley
3. Little Wing
4. Epilogue by Robert Hunter
5. Tear Tags Off Mattresses
6. Roll Me Over
7. Roll Me After

The second live recording opens on the wickedly turbulent, cinematically-charged Gregg’s Egg’s and a stunningly vocalized version of Baba O’Riley and they are backed by their take on Jimi Hendrix’s languishing beauty Little Wing, before we once again hear from Robert Hunter (via a somewhat rambling epilogue), before the album rounds out on the euphorically sunny Tear Tags Off Mattresses, the completely all-encompassing musical magnificence within Roll Me Over and its fluidly ornate instrumental book end Roll Me After.

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Title - One Love: The Best Of Their Nighthawk Recordings
Artist - Gladiators

For those of you not in the know, formed by singer and guitarist Albert Griffiths in the mid-‘60s, Gladiators soon became a force in the genres of Ska and reggae. As Reggae moved toward Ragga (synthesized drums, sampling, etc.) Gladiators’ recordings for the Nighthawk Records label in the ‘80s stayed true to their roots reggae sound.

One Love: The Best Of Their Nighthawk Recordings (out now via Omnivore Recordings) collects 20 tracks from their tenure at the label, including tracks from the albums Symbol Of Reality (1982) and Serious Thing (1984), as well as the 1992 collection of previously unissued tracks Full Time, the 1983 U.S. Tour EP, and Dread Prophecy (recorded with Ethiopian) from 1986.

It traces the direction of Jamaican music, coupling Griffith’s originals with covers of Bob Marley and more. It is the perfect introduction to the band’s pivotal period, and also stands as document of how as the genre had evolved, the need for true roots reggae never wavered.

Packaging contains photos and new liner notes from Dana Smart outlining Gladiators’ story. One Love: The Best Of Their Nighthawk Recordings presents an integral piece into the roots and soul of reggae music.

1. Symbol Of Reality
2. Fling It Gimme
3. Mister Goose
4. One Love
5. Reggae Jamboree
6. Cheater
7. Full Time
8. My Thoughts
9. Fussing And Fighting
10. Serious Thing
11. Bless Our Soul
12. Streets Of Gold
13. Boy In Long Pants
14. Dread Prophecy
15. Small Axe
16. Mid-Range
17. Stand Alone
18. Bongo Red
19. You Little Rat (aka Prince Tony’s Head)
20. After You

For many, many decades, Albert Griffiths and his Gladiators have been a major force within Jamaican music. Born in 1946, in St. Elizabeth parish, he grew up in poverty in Trench Town, and trained as a mason. However, music beckoned, and linking with David Webber, brother of the popular Webber Sisters, the pair auditioned around the studios, but to no avail.

Thus it was back to masonry, where Griffiths was now working alongside the Ethiopians’ Leonard Dillon under a foreman, Leebert Robinson, also looking to enter the music industry. Griffiths convinced Robinson to fund a recording session; with the Supersonics providing accompaniment, the Ethiopians cut Train to Skaville, backed by Griffiths’ You Are the Girl, credited to Al & the Ethiopians. Train was a smash, while Girl confirmed Griffiths’ own potential.

On this superb set, the Gladiators revisit the past and take note of the present, while simultaneously looking to the future, opening with the Rastaman roots and nyabhingi bongo beat of Symbol Of Reality and the reggae-pop bounce of Fling It Gimme and then come the cool vibes of Mister Goose, the joyous One Love, the sterner rhythms of Reggae Jamboree, then come the Jamaican blues of Cheater, the free flowing Full Time, the sunshine within the gorgeous My Thoughts, before we are given the euphorically-charged Fussing And Fighting and the pure reggae jam Serious Thing.

Next up is the forthright Bless Our Soul and the dutiful reggae melodies within Streets Of Gold and they are backed by the beautiful hipsway of Boy In Long Pants, the reggae-pop bounce flow of Dread Prophecy, the Gospel-tinged, Hammond-imbued Small Axe, the ’60s-embued colors and tones of Mid-Range are next, and then comes the tantalizing reggae-pop-rock flow of Stand Alone, the album rounding out with the big Rastafarian tune Bongo Red, the drum-led rhythms of You Little Rat (aka Prince Tony’s Head), coming to a close on the strident message contained with After You.

Official Purchase Link

Title - Three Sides of One
Artist - King’s X

For those unaware, the legendary King’s X - comprised of Dug Pinnick, Ty Tabor & Jerry Gaskill - recently announced the release of their 13th studio album Three Sides of One on the 2nd September 2022, via Inside Out Music, representing their first new music in 14 years.

Three Sides of One will be available as Limited CD Digipak, Gatefold 180g 2LP+CD+LP-booklet & as Digital Album.

There will also be a Limited Deluxe 180g Orange/Red Marble 2LP+CD+LP-booklet that also includes a poster and a hand-numbered print, as well as an exclusive variant of the front cover artwork.

1. Let It Rain
2. Flood, Pt. 1
3. Nothing But The Truth
4. Give It Up
5. All Gods Children
6. Take The Time
7. Festival
8. Swipe Up
9. Holidays
10. Watcher
11. She Called Me Home
12. Every Everywhere

The album opens on the emotional pleas within the vibrant rocker Let It Rain and then the muscular, pounding beats of Flood, Pt. 1 open and thread through what is also a melodically harmonized chorus, before we then get given one of my own personal favorites of this album, the mid-tempo balladry (complete with a yearning guitar solo) of Nothing But The Truth, the ’80s-imbued, Thin Lizzy-esque Give It Up, and the comes the ornately sculptured, rock balladry within both All Gods Children and Take The Time.

Next up is the full on rock n’ roll of Festival and the throbbing social media-nod rocker (complete with what sounds distinctly like low key sleigh bells!) Swipe Up and they are in turn followed by the slow-rock-roll of the bluesy Holidays, the funky Watcher, the album rounding out on the drum-led mid-tempo AOR of She Called Me Home, coming to a close on the rhythmic hipsway of Every Everywhere.

During 2019, the members congregated at Black Sound Studio in Pasadena, CA with Emmy Award-winning producer Michael Parnin to bring Three Sides of One to life. Despite consistent touring, they hadn’t cut a new LP since 2008.

Nevertheless, the guys picked up where they left off. Creative confidant and collaborator Wally Farkas rolled through, and they channeled their incredible chemistry on tape.

Of the new album, Dug Pinnick comments: “When I think of it, King’s X feels like a couple of old best friends coming together, shooting the shit, and having a good time, it’s instinctual. When I would listen to demo tapes of Jerry and Ty for the record, it gave me a great perspective on how blessed I am to be in King’s X. What they did on Three Sides of One sounded so good. For as familiar as it is, it’s like I’m in a new band.”

Ty adds: “This time, we sat around, listened to each other’s ideas, and would collectively say, ‘Let’s work on that’. It was the most enjoyable album I’ve personally ever recorded in my entire life, period.”

Jerry continues: “I’ll cherish what we did in my heart forever. Everything lined up perfectly.”

Official Website

Official Purchase Links