Insider Gossip
  Monthly Hot Picks
  Book Reviews
  CD Reviews
  Concert Reviews
  DVD Reviews
  Game Reviews
  Movie Reviews
  Jeffrey Reddick (Director - Dont Look Back)
  Amanda Seyfried (Mank)
  Eddie Izzard (Six Minutes to Midnight)
  The Home of WAXEN WARES Candles!
  Angelina Jolie (Those Who Wish Me Dead)
  Check Out Anne Carlini Productions Now!!
  David Chase (Creator, ‘The Many Saints of Newark’)
  NEW! Crystal Gayle
  NEW! Chez Kane
  Anthony Hopkins (The Father)
  NEW! Ellen Foley (2021)
  NEW! Doogie White (2021)
  Michigan Siding Company for ALL Your Outdoor Needs

6 Degrees Entertainment

Title - Official Keith Emerson Tribute Concert [2CD+2DVD]
Artist - Various

For those unaware, Fanfare For The Uncommon Man: The Official Keith Emerson Tribute Concert is a new concert film and album documenting the May 2016 tribute show honoring the late Keith Emerson.

The Official Keith Emerson Tribute Concert is now available as a four-disc set featuring DVD and two CDs capturing the entire two-and-a-half-hour event and a disc of Bonus interviews.

The show featured a roster of rockers including Steve Lukather, Steve Porcaro, Eddie Jobson, Jordan Rudess, Brian Auger, Jeff “Skunk” Baxter, Vinnie Colaiuta, Marc Bonilla, Gregg Bissonnette, CJ Vanston, Troy Luccketta, Rachel Flowers, Terje Mikkelsen, Philippe Saisse, Travis Davis, Ed Roth, Mike Wallace, Mick Mahan, Karma Auger, Rick Livingstone, Jonathan Sindelman, Joe Travers, Kae Matsumoto, Aaron Emerson, Dan Lutz, and Michael Fitzpatrick.

The event also featured Emerson’s son Aaron, and members of his solo band and his Three Fates Project group.

The show, which was held at the El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles on May 28th, 2016, offered a career-spanning celebration of Keith’s work, including music from ELP, The Nice, Three Fates Project and the Keith Emerson Band.

10. TANK

The first CD of this quite remarkably vivid and wondrously musical 2CD/2DVD release opens on Kae Matsumoto’s overture introduction to the Tribute concert Prelude to a Hope and backs that up seamlessly with Marc Bonilla singing the fan favorite Karn Evil 9, before we are brought forth Rachel Flowers raising the bar on both The Barbarian and soon thereafter the symphonic instrumental The Endless Enigma.

A prog journey into the ol’ Wild West from both Ed Roth & Jeff “Skunk” Baxter next brings us Hoedown which is in turn followed by both the beautifully crafted tones of Touch and Go and the orchestrated magnificence of one of my own personal favorites, A Place To Hide.

Next up is a highly moving wave of layered prog simply entitled Tribute to Keith, then comes the Flowers’ aforementioned The Endless Enigma, the first CD rounding out on the translucent Take A Pebble, the melodically layered magnificence of Tank, closing on some 60’s psychedelia within the structured Fanfare for the Common Blue Turkey.


This highly-anticipated concert that captures the essence of what made Keith Emerson a pioneer of prog rock continues onward in fine style with the second CD opening on Aaron Emerson honoring his dad’s music with his brilliantly emotive piano composition Ride, which is backed by the smooth, laid back jazz of From the Beginning.

Next up is when Eddie Jobson comes to the fore and rampantly honors Emerson’s own gently frenetic use of the keyboards within Bitches Crystal, and then we get a rendition of Kim Fowley’s Nutrocker, a mid-tempo affair that starts off with a courteous nod to Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy.

We then get treated to the stand out and definitive highlight of this entire set, for my liking, the 21-minute epic Tarkus, where Jordan Rudess undertakes an almighty musical battle re: the giant armadillo (just watch the live DVD as it will make more sense!), which is followed by the languishing prog beauty of Lucky Man, the phenomenally vibrant The Great Gates of Kiev, with Fanfare for the Common Man (and the closing track Are you Ready, Eddy?) bringing the entire show to a quite amazing climax.

Terje Mikkelsen of the Three Fates Project conducts the first part of the fanfare intro before Jobson returns once more on the second part as the blaring horn synths and galloping grooves bring the punches even harder. It is, without a shadow of a doubt, a most satisfying and most heartwarmingly magnificent end to a show that I think I have witnessed in the past decade or more.

11. TANK
13. RIDE


All proceeds from the release will benefit the Dystonia Medical Research Foundation, a charity that focuses on treating and finding a cure for dystonia, a debilitating neurological ailment that Keith battled.

Official Purchase Link

Title - Not What I Bargained For
Artist - The Livesays

For those unaware, The Livesays are an accomplished five-piece rock band fronted by the band’s namesake critically acclaimed singer/songwriter/guitarist Billy Livesay, who spent 12 years performing, recording and touring with E-Streeter Clarence Clemons’ band Temple of Soul.

During his 12-year tenure with the beloved “Big Man,” Billy recorded and released Live in Asbury Park Volumes I & II at The Stone Pony, the second album which features Springsteen.

Indeed, Billy has shared the stage with so many industry giants, his resume reading like a Who’s Who of Rock n’ Roll Hall of Famers.

Drummer Howard Goldberg was a co-founding member and drummer for critically acclaimed funk band Rudy who garnished a wide range of international song placements on MTV, MTV2, Disney Channel and more, and was voted Best Funk Band in Florida.

The Livesays’ lineup is rounded out with Jorge Laplume on bass, Victor “Cuqui” Berrios on Hammond B-3 organ, and Tim Murphy on piano, all of whom have impressive resumes of their own.

Cuqui, who grew up in New York City, offers a touch of the Big Apple to the band with his Hammond B3 and impassioned vocals. Tim brings his ear for harmony and his unique Elton John style piano.

Jorge hails from Havana, Cuba; with his Latin roots coupled with a steady diet of the rock groups The Who and Free, he delivers a bass sound that is both funky and thunderous.

The Livesays have created four full length albums that are both memorable and moving with stories ranging from adolescence to adulthood, from battling addiction to conquering depression, from finding love to losing love, and now they bring all that, and oh-so much more back for their fifth album, the excellent Not What I Bargained For (out September 1st, 2021).

1. Two Sides
2. One More Chance
3. What I Bargained For
4. Drunkard’s Lament
5. Show A Little Honesty
6. Hold Me
7. In A Small Town
8. If I Should Ever Fall Behind
9. In Troubled Times
10. Better Angels
11. Can’t Stop The Taking
12. Crazy, Isn’t It

This wickedly vibrant new album opens on the free wheeling AOR of Two Sides and the quieter One More Chance and then backs those up with the melodic tones of the title track What I Bargained For, the down and dirty, gravelly-toned Drunkard’s Lament, and then both the lighter mid-tempo balladry fare of Show A Little Honesty and the Jack Little, Dave Oppenheim, and Ira Schuster-written ditty Hold Me (of which I personally always remember as having been covered by B.A. Robertson and Maggie Bell back in 1981).

Next up is one of my own personal favorites on this brilliant new album, the heartfelt ballad In A Small Town which is itself backed by the lonesome Americana of If I Should Ever Fall Behind, the mid-tempo, drum-led In Troubled Times, the graveled storytelling of Better Angels, the album rounding out with the gently paced Can’t Stop The Taking and the guitar-laced, AOR foot-tapper Isn’t It.

Official Purchase Link

The Livesays @ Facebook

The Livesays @ Twitter

The Livesays @ Instagram

The Livesays @ YouTube

Title - No. 2
Artist - City Weezle

For those unaware, City Weezle is a rock fusion beast that’s been kicking it since 2006 in the European Alternative/Rock/Metal underground and has just released - after a long hiatus taken due to disbanding in 2010 - their second album, appropriately entitled No.2.

Indeed, it is the fruit of many years of work with the sophomore album having been written and recorded in various beautiful and precarious places; from the backwaters of Ireland to the metropoles of France and Japan over a four year period.

1. Captain Introspective
2. The Underground in Europe
3. Maestro Mafioso
4. Crimson Jig
5. She’s A Stomper
6. Even Weezles Get The Blues
7. Eskimo Pie
8. Cludedo

Split into two halves of the same, but different musical experience, the first half (Side A, if you will) is considered the European side as it does not include the bands usual swing rock grooves.

With the tracks all exhibiting a varying degree and amalgamation of rather different European themes and sounds, it kicks off with the ornate piano work, at first, and then the up-from-the-gut musical imploring next of Captain Introspective and then brings us the rousing Renaissance storytelling of The Underground in Europe, which are backed by two of my own personal favorites here, the Zappa-esque constructions of both Maestro Mafioso and the boisterous Crimson Jig.

The second half (Side B, if you will) can be considered the American side as the tracks have more of an American sound - from a Melvins-esque tune, to a bluesy tune, to a twisted Beach Boys tune to a swingy tune, it begins with the harmoniously prolific She’s A Stomper and backs that up with the melodic hipsway of Even Weezles Get The Blues, the riff ambient Eskimo Pie, and then closes on the exciting momentum of Cluedo.

Simon “The Vocal Viking” Fleury // Guitars, Vocals, Banjo, Arrangement and baby screams
Kengo “The Bass Samuri” Mochizuki // Bass Guitar
Axel “Wunderkind” Steinbiss // Keyboard
Ai “The Drum Ninja” Uchida // Drums

In short, No. 2 is a big statement that City Weezle is evidently a band capable of evolving and exploring different sounds as they look forward to getting back on track and hitting the stage again with a great live show (not to mention, so it has been already told, coming back as soon as possible with another album of more new and exciting material!).

Official Purchase Link

City Weezle @ Facebook

City Weezle @ Twitter

Title - Little Girl Blue (2021 Stereo Remaster)
Artist - Nina Simone

For those unaware, it’s rare when a debut album introduces a musician who already has a fully developed artistic vision, but Little Girl Blue is one such recording.

Released in February, 1959, it reveals Nina Simone as having already honed her unique talents as a singer, pianist, and arranger.

It is amazing to consider that she was not yet 25 years old and had only played her first professional gig a little more than three years before recording these tracks — which were done all in one day — at the end of 1957.

BMG is proud to present a brand-new reissue of Little Girl Blue, which has been justifiably celebrated as a timeless classic.

In all honesty, these 11 tracks are still thrilling to experience nearly 65 years after they were recorded.

1. Mood Indigo
2. Don’t Smoke in Bed
3. He Needs Me
4. Little Girl Blue
5. Love Me or Leave Me
6. My Baby Just Cares For Me
7. Good Bait
8. Plain Gold Ring
9. You’ll Never Walk Alone
10. I Loves You, Porgy
11. Central Park Blues

Backed by bassist Jimmy Bond and Albert “Tootsie Heath”, it showcases her ballad voice as one of mystery and sensuality and showcases her uptempo jazz style with authority and an enigmatic down-home feel that is nonetheless elegant.

The album also introduced a fine jazz pianist. Simone was a solid improviser who never strayed far from the blues. Check the opener, her up-tempo interpretation of Duke Ellington’s Mood Indigo, which finger-pops and swings while keeping the phrasing deep-blue.

It is contrasted immediately with one of the - if not the - definitive reads of Willard Robison’s steamy leave-your-lover ballad Don’t Smoke in Bed. Up next is the soft and sultry piano ballad He Needs Me which is backed by the title track, written by Rodgers & Hart, and which features Good King Wenceslas as a classical prelude to one of the most beautiful pop ballads ever written.

Then comes the funky swing in Love Me or Leave Me with a smoking little piano solo in the bridge where Bach meets Horace Silver and Bobby Timmons and that is followed by the strident shuffle of My Baby Just Cares for Me and then Simone’s instrumental and improvising skills are put to good use on Tadd Dameron’s Good Bait (which is transformed into something classical from its original bebop intent).

Simone delivers yet another haunting, heart-aching ballad this time in the form of Plain Gold Ring, and then we get her version of You’ll Never Walk Alone, which feels more like some regal gospel song than the Rodgers & Hammerstein show tune it was.

Of course, one of Simone’s signature tunes was her version of I Loves You, Porgy, which appears here for the first time and was released as a single, her very own spirited instrumental Central Park Blues (and one of the finest jazz tunes here, in my humble opinion) bringing the beautifully remastered album to a close.

Little Girl Blue’s multi-phased release begins on June 1 with a digital release (on high-definition and standard audio) that coincides with African-American Music Appreciation Month.

A Barnes & Noble exclusive clear blue 180-gram vinyl edition will be available starting July 16, while August 13 is the date Little Girl Blue comes out globally on 180-gram black vinyl and CD.

Additionally, this newly restored and remastered stereo version was engineered and produced by Grammy Award winners Michael Graves and Cheryl Pawelski respectively, with the vinyl cut by renowned engineer Kevin Gray.

In her essay written specifically for this release, Yale Professor and author of the acclaimed book Liner Notes for the Revolution, Daphne A. Brooks, puts it best when she assures that Little Girl Blue presents “an astonishingly daring, dazzlingly confident, endlessly adventurous artist with a deep well of formidable instrumentality up her sleeve as well as a wide and robust, rich and varied knowledge of jazz, blues, American songbook, folk and spiritual standards and aesthetics.”

Official Purchase Links

Title - Nightingale [EP]
Artist - TectonicBeats

For those unaware, TectonicBeats is an American composer, music producer, and artist who released his first series of groundbreaking original singles throughout July 2021, and come August 27th, 2021 will then collectively entitle them as the Nightingale EP (and released with additional bonus instrumentals).

These new tracks from TectonicBeats are an exploration of sound born out of the spirit of music and the power of technology. Known by his followers as “the synthmaster,” and for his hybridization of genres and expressive polyphonic composition, TectonicBeats is an earthquake and it’s off the Richter scale.

1. Nightingale
2. Rosemary
3. Exemplar
4. Nightingale (Instrumental)
5. Rosemary (Instrumental)
6. Exemplar (Instrumental)

The free flowing, triumphantly ambient title track Nightingale opens the EP. Released as a single on July 2nd, 2021, the song tells the story of a small hero you would never expect and their story of survival.

A story as old as time with a modern pop sound, the track takes the listener on a voyage to somewhere they have never been.

Next up is the harder-hitting pop song Rosemary. Released on July 16th, 2021, the abundantly delightful melodies layer atop an addictive beat, one that explores new musical terrain boldly and playfully in ways that reimagine everything.

The last single in the series is Exemplar, and which was released on July 30th, 2021, and is a rather psychedelically electric experience chock full of the sounds of love and light.

Born as Will Carney, TectonicBeats was conceived while Will was attending the electronic music production school Pyramind in San Francisco.

He began selling his instrumental beats online and working with artists around the world including Destorm, Babatunde, and Brooklnn. Inspired by the new era in music, TectonicBeats began collaborating with labels, producers, and singers across genres from K-pop to hip hop and EDM.

In 2017 while in Los Angeles, TectonicBeats wrote and produced an instrumental EP and solo album. Then just prior to the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 he relocated his studio to Arizona and began collaborating with Australian singer Brooklnn.

These sessions resulted in all three singles that now comprise the new Nightingale EP release, a project that sees TectonicBeats weave a delicate narrative seamlessly together with colossal themes to create a vast work of art.

Simply put, TectonicBeats crafts songs of epic scale, ornately original and striking to the imagination. Get ready for a kaleidoscope of stimulation and a universe of creativity when TectonicBeats hits the scene in the summer of 2021!

Nightingale Single Purchase Link

Rosemary Single Purchase Link

Exemplar Single Purchase Link

Official Website

TectonicBeats @ Spotify

TectonicBeats @ Instagram

TectonicBeats @ Twitter

TectonicBeats @ YouTube

Title - I’ll Meet You Here
Artist - Dar Williams

For those unaware, Dar Williams’ lyrics contain bouquets of optimism, delivered on melodies alternating between beguiling lightness and understated gravity.

Williams strongly believes that all of us possess our own power and ability to achieve, and she rejects the exceptionalism that encourages us to “admire that yonder star,” while making us feel small and insignificant; unworthy of shining on our own but hoping to catch enough distant light to inspire some tiny accomplishment.

Williams has always been very interested in how to control our future and her brand new album I’ll Meet You Here (out October 1st, 2021 via Renew BMG) has to do with the fact that at some point, you just can’t.

Like everyone else, Williams spent 2020 in that state of non-control. She and longtime producer Stewart Lerman tracked most of the album, her 12th studio recording, in November of 2019.

In late February of 2020, she cut the title tune in Woodstock with bassist Gail Ann Dorsey and Larry Campbell, who produced the track and played guitars, pedal steel and twangy baritone guitar.

When told they had to postpone a mid-March mixing date, Campbell said he wasn’t feeling well anyway. Turns out he’d contracted a serious case of COVID-19.

That was a clear sign that at some point, you have to meet life where it meets you - the common thread throughout that these songs, the willingness to meet life as it arrives.

Dar Williams was always in the right place at the right time for the success she’s had over a 25+-year career. She rose out of the vibrant mid-90’s Boston scene, inspired by the eclectic influences of alt-rockers, Berklee jazz musicians, slam poets, and folk artists, like Patty Griffith, Melissa Ferrick, the Throwing Muses, Vance Gilbert, and Jonathan Brooke.

After a year of touring non-stop with her first album, The Honesty Room, in 1994, she was invited by Joan Baez to tour in Europe and The United States.

“Good and bad things happen, and it’s not necessarily a reward or indictment. I’ve just got to meet it.” Williams observes.

“Like, I’m bringing my whole life to this moment; it will surprise me, challenge me, show me where I was wrong, even make a fool out of me, but my job is to show up and not take adversity personally.”

“Real happiness doesn’t have to feel like Snoopy dancing with Woodstock; it can just be knowing you have the resilience to meet whatever comes to you. I will call that a good life.”

1. Time, Be My Friend
2. You Give it All Away
3. Let the Wind Blow
4. Magical Thinking
5. Little Town
6. Berkley
7. Today and Every Day
8. I Never Knew
9. Sullivan Lane
10. You’re Aging Well

Opening on the flavorful mid-tempo milieu of Time, Be My Friend and the absolutely mesmerizingly ambient, melodious summers breeze of You Give it All Away, those are seamlessly backed by the lusciously lazy, ambiently hazy Let the Wind Blow, the beautiful, translucent gossamer of Magical Thinking and then one of my own personal favorites, the silken storytelling of Little Town.

Next up is the gentle foot-tapper Berkley which is in turned followed by the upbeat, dancefloor twirl of Today and Every Day, and then comes the feathered strokes of I Never Knew, with the album rounding out with the gently buoyant Sullivan Lane, closing (all too soon, in my humble opinion) on the pleasingly layered piano complexions of You’re Aging Well.

Official You Give it All Away - Dar Williams Music Video

Official Website

Dar Williams @ Facebook

Dar Williams @ Twitter

Dar Williams @ YouTube

Dar Williams @ Spotify

Dar Williams @ Apple

Title - Stray Gods
Artist - CousteauX

For those unaware, one of music’s best-kept secret has re-emerged from self-inflicted obscurity. One of the world’s distinctive voices, Liam McKahey and songwriter/instrumentalist Davey Ray Moor have re-united as CousteauX.

CousteauX combine to make darkly romantic torch songs generating both light and heat. Liam brings a voice worn both rough and smooth to Davey’s slow jams: the remnants of a life’s stories darkening Davey’s bittersweet tunes. It’s a heady brew.

When this singer sings these songs, something mercurial happens. Theirs is an evocative, romantic sound critics are quick to compare to David Bowie, Nick Cave, Scott Walker and Burt Bacharach. “It’s not as though we try to blend those people, this is just the noise that comes out of us.”

Cousteau swept the world in 2001: their first album went gold internationally and they have been playing on radios, cinema and television soundtracks ever since.

Thus, CousteauX are Cousteau again; things just got a little darker.

On June 2nd, 2021, CousteauX announced their return with Karen Don’t Be Sad, the first single from the duo’s upcoming Stray Gods album (due out August 20th, 2021).

Written by Miley Cyrus in collaboration with Wayne Coyne and Steven Drodz of the Flaming Lips, Karen Don’t Be Sad originally appeared on Cyrus’ 2015 album Miley Cyrus & Her Dead Petz.

1. Cheap Perfume
2. Love The Sinner
3. Karen Don’t Be Sad
4. Yesterdays Eyes
5. Bloom Overture
6. When The Bloom Has Left The Rose
7. So Long, Marianne
8. Praying For Rain
9. This Thing Won’t Fly
10. Hush Money
11. Electrical Storms In Berlin
12. In The Meantime

This quite stunningly opulent new album opens on the fractured guitar work of Cheap Perfume and the Nick Cave’s Bad Seeds-esque Love The Sinner, before unleashing the dazzlingly magnificent, rich and smooth, trumpet-imbibed first single Karen Don’t Be Sad, the smoky, late night jazz club ambiance of Yesterdays Eyes, the achingly ornate orchestrations of Bloom Overture and then comes the deeply emotive ala Colin Vearncombe (Black) gem When The Bloom Has Left The Rose.

Up next on this album of ten Moor originals alongside covers of the aforementioned Karen Don’t Be Sad and Leonard Cohen’s So Long, Marianne, is that very same, latter-named track itself and then we get the sweeping elegance of Praying For Rain, with those themselves backed by the mid-tempo free flow of This Thing Won’t Fly, the reverberating guitar crawl of Hush Money, with the album rounding out on the brooding noir appeal of Electrical Storms In Berlin, closing on the countrified Americana of In The Meantime.

“Of everything we’ve done, this is the album of which I’m most proud,” says McKahey. “Considering that Stray Gods was made by Davey in his attic — trading instrumental files with an array of musicians — I think this is our finest hour.”

The sessions for Stray Gods were begun immediately after production wrapped on 2017’s eponymous CousteauX.

At the time, lead vocalist Liam McKahey was spending half of each year in the UK, and the other half with his family in Australia. All of his vocals were recorded in the UK while in the company of Moor, the songwriter/keyboardist of the duo.

Without label support, the album lay dormant until 2020 when Australian filmmaker Brendan Young expressed interest in creating a video for album track When the Bloom Has Left the Rose.

Filmed in impressionistic black & white, the short film features a cabaret star in her waning years confronting the sorrows of aging.

Since its debut last fall, the video has gone on to win 21 international film awards, ten for Best Music Video, including at the London Independent Film Awards.

Official CousteauX - When the Bloom Has Left the Rose Music Video

“I saw Miley perform Karen Don’t Be Sad on Saturday Night Live in 2015,” explains CousteauX’s Davey Ray Moor. “It was different to the version on her Dead Petz album. It sounded like a classic, and her performance was brave and sincere. The lyric is a sweet thing to communicate to anybody.”

Official CousteauX - Karen Don’t Be Sad Music Video

Official Album Purchase Link

Official Website

CousteauX @ Facebook

CousteauX @ Twitter

CousteauX @ Instagram

CousteauX @ Spotify

CousteauX @ Bandcamp

CousteauX @ SoundCloud

Title - Heavy Shoes
Artist - The Cold Stares

For those unaware, Indiana duo The Cold Stares will release their new album Heavy Shoes on August 27th via Mascot Records (Black Stone Cherry, Crobot, Monster Truck).

Their story alone would be enough for a drama series – cancer, suicide, betrayal, divorce, loss, self-identity crisis, survival, and ancestral skeletons. Write about what you know, they say.

Indeed there is a richness running through the songs with dark, multi-layered narratives that course through every twist and turn.

Dirty fuzzed-up rock and roll meet blues, garage, desert rock and a Southern Gothic sensibility.

Somber storytelling is etched into their songs with unflinching honesty. For Chris Tapp and Brian Mullins, authenticity is their hallmark.

I’m writing from the point of Edgar Allan Poe and William Faulkner. It needs to have weight to it, singer-guitarist Tapp explains. There’s not really anything that bothers me to talk about. When you don’t allow yourself to be human and say what’s happened to you, then you make other people that are going through tough shit think that they’re alone.

1. Heavy Shoes
2. 40 Dead Men
3. Take This Body From Me
4. Hard Times
5. In The Night Time
6. Strange Light
7. Prosecution Blues
8. It’s A Game
9. Save You From You
10. You Wanted Love
11. Election Blues
12. Dust In My Hands

This quite stunningly opulent new album opens on the foot-stomping rock of the title track Heavy Shoes and the phenomenal rocker 40 Dead Men, before bringing us the melodic strains of Take This Body From Me, the Delta rock of Hard Times, the Nuggets-era psychedelic garage-rock of In The Night Time and then the rhythmic rock-blues of Strange Light.

Up next is the slow-blues, swamp guitar groove of Prosecution Blues and the foot-stomper It’s A Game, and they in turn are followed by the down and dirty rock-blues of Save You From You, the drum-led hipsway of You Wanted Love, the album rounding out on the Zeppelin-esque Election Blues (and not the Canned Heat song either), the album closing (all too soon, in my humble opinion) on the mid-tempo, earnest, foot-planted rock of Dust In My Hands.

There were a million opportunities for us to bail, Tapp continues. We’ve both been through divorces, and I’ve been through cancer. We’ve been through tough times and never been given anything on a silver plate. We’re just a blue-collar American rock and roll band, he continues.

I don’t think you can get to know people any better than playing music together, says drummer Mullins. You see people at their best and their worst. We’ve cried in front of each other, we’ve celebrated in front of each other.

You want authenticity, take one long cold hard stare at these two. The Cold Stares are a rock ’n’ roll band, but they take a sledgehammer to the foundation to reveal the cracks that are suppressed within it.

With that, allowing themselves to be raw and open to show that, we are not alone.

Heavy Shoes will be available on CD and 180 Grams Shiny Gold Vinyl.

The Cold Stares - In The Night Time (Official Lyric Video)

The Cold Stares - Prosecution Blues Official Music Video

Amazon Album Purchase Links

Official Website

The Cold Stares @ Facebook

The Cold Stares @ Twitter

The Cold Stares @ Instagram

Title - Fragments
Artist - Trifecta

For those unaware, Trifecta, a new addition to the Kscope roster, features 3 of the contemporary music scene’s most lauded and revered musicians – bassist and songwriter Nick Beggs, keyboardist extraordinaire Adam Holzman and completing the line-up, Craig Blundell – one of the world’s most celebrated drummers.

Having performed together as part of Steven Wilson’s band, the three would jam together after soundchecks, forming what they referred to as “jazz club” and from these sessions the fledgling ideas for this brand new album Fragments were born.

Nick Beggs comments after the last tour with Steven finished, we had a handful of tracks ready to work on and as we moved through our various separate projects we agreed to work on Trifecta.

The record primarily leans toward a fusion of jazz rock, imaginatively described by Beggs as Fission! It’s like Fusion but less efficient and more dangerous with fall out and being mainly instrumental with the exception of one track, the wonderfully titled and first single Pavlov’s Dog Killed Schrodinger’s Cat.

The lyrics of which, Beggs states are written from the perspective of a layman trying to understand quantum mechanics…and failing. The track also features drum programming from Russell Holzman.

Trifecta - Pavlov’s Dog Killed Schrodinger’s Cat (from Fragments) - Official Music Video

The brilliantly animated video was devised and created by Beggs himself – he comments The film clip is a new take on the lyric video concept I guess? I made it one afternoon in my home studio using my i-phone and a writing pad!

1. Clean Up On Aisle Five [03:07]
2. Check Engine Light [02:55]
3. Proto Molecule [02:20]
4. Auntie [02:57]
5. Venn Diagram [02:42]
6. The Enigma Of Mr. Fripp [02:44]
7. Sally Doo-Dally [02:54]
8. Have You Seen What The Neighbours Are Doing? [02:58]
9. The Mute Gospel [03:16]
10. Pavlov`s Dog Killed Schrodinger`s Cat [04:12]
11. Voyage Of Discovery [03:02]
12. Nightmare In Shining Armor [02:00]
13. Dry Martini [03:13]
14. Lie 2 Me And Take My Money [03:13]
15. Hold It Like That[03:28]

This highly inventive album opens on the perky flights of both Clean Up On Aisle Five and Check Engine Light and follows those up seamlessly with the easy breezy jazz club ambiance of Proto Molecule, the gently frenetic Auntie, the mid-80’s synth vibe of Venn Diagram, and then brings us two of my own personal favorites here back-to-back in the jaunty, staggered The Enigma Of Mr. Fripp and the more laid back Sally Doo-Dally.

Up next is the spikey, funky, spatial wanderlust of Have You Seen What The Neighbours Are Doing? which is in turn backed by the smooth jazz evenflow of The Mute Gospel, then comes the first single, the quietly meditative, late night autumn stroll of Pavlov`s Dog Killed Schrodinger`s Cat, the upbeat 70’s-imbibed rhythms of Voyage Of Discovery, the jazz-layered, funky, foot-tapping ebb and flow of Nightmare In Shining Armor, with the album rounding out on the methodical ebb and flow of Dry Martini, the mid-tempo, electro-jazz coolness of Lie 2 Me And Take My Money, closing on the late night, underground jazz club appeal of Hold It Like That.

Each band member completed the recording and engineering of their own contributions in their various home studios which helped in bringing their individual production ideas to each track.

Adam Holzman mixed the record at his New York home studio and the mastering was handled by Andy VanDette (Rush, David Bowie, Deep Purple, Porcupine Tree, Beastie Boys) in New York.

The title for the debut came about as Nick Beggs explains We discussed early on, the idea of each piece having a Fragment number and track title, for example – Fragment 10 - Pavlov’s Dog Killed Schrodinger’s Cat.

As all the compositions were written as jams or in our home studios this idea seemed even more prescient. So, we titled the album Fragments.

Fragments will be released on August 20th, 2021 via Kscope on CD, black vinyl LP, ltd edition neon orange vinyl LP (exclusive to and digitally.

Trifecta – Fragments (Album Teaser)

Official Album Purchase Links

Trifecta @ Facebook

Trifecta @ Instagram

Trifecta Artist Page @ Kscope

Title - Horizontal Rain
Artist - Bernardo Lanzetti

For those unaware, conceived and recorded over a few years with outstanding musicians and special guests, Bernardo Lanzettiʼs new work Horizontal Rain (out now via Dvmore) is presented as a collection of musical episodes that sail from Progressive Rock to Vanguard, making port of call at Modern Opera, Art Rock, Rock & Soul and Classix 2 B.

Eight songs in English, two lyrics written by friend Peter Jack Marmot, wordsmith and coach manager between London and Marbella, plus an Italian text for the song Ero un num Ero, built on an elementary and random numerical progression as if to point out that the so-called inspiration, at times, can only be a fairy tale to deceive the unwary listener.

Without exaggerating or forcibly imposing his vocal range exceeding three octaves, the vocalist makes available the complete range of his voice, including the one processed by his Glovox device and those written for a choir that, in Different, move on articulated bars, always different in their division and imperceptibly delusional succession.

1. Walk Away
2. Heck Jack
3. Lanzhaiku
4. Time Is King
5. Genial!
6. Conventional
7. Ero un num Ero
8. Horizontal Rain
9. Different

Opening on the almost operatic Walk Away and the brilliantly funky Heck Jack, he backs those up with the obliquely translucent storytelling of Lanzhaiku, the mid-tempo melodic rock of Time Is King and then we get the all-out guitar and slap bass rocker Genial!

Next up are the sweepingly magnificent orchestrations of Conventional and the drum-led / guitar picked wonderments of one of my own personal favorites here Ero un num Ero, with the album rounding out on the prog rock of the title track Horizontal Rain, closing on the beautifully dulcet, Asia-imbued Different.

In the album, passion, detached nostalgia, fury and irony unfold track after track with a mix of sounds that are as unpredictable as they are effective: David Jackson’s baritone sax replacing the double bass in Lanzhaiku or Tony Levin’s unmistakable stick in Heck Jack.

The pressing guitars of Marco Colombo in Genial where not even Andalusia is neglected or those of Andrea Cervetto, excitingly painful in the desperate appeal of Walk Away, which finds Tony Franklinʼs precise fretless bass and, in contrast, the hectic synth of Derek Sherinian and the poignant violin of David Cross.

Alternating solid and frantic episodes, Jonathan Moverʼs drumming stands out on four strong selected tracks.

With more than 120 songs already published to his credit, Bernardo also celebrates his being an author/composer with this new album where almost everything, including the artwork, is due to his talent and attitude.

Including the above mentioned special guests, in all 19 musicians and a choir of 7 from Italy, UK, USA and Spain, numerous sound engineers and the careful and patient work of the producer Dario Mazzoli, make this work precious and unique.

Bernardo Lanzetti - Heck Jack (Official Music Video)

Amazon Purchase Links

Bernardo Lanzetti @ Facebook

Title - Departure Tapes
Artist - Giancarlo Erra

For those unaware, UK based Italian composer, multi-instrumentalist and visual artist Giancarlo Erra has just released his new album Departure Tapes (CD+DVD AV) on July 2nd, 2021 through Kscope.

Departure Tapes is an album consisting of 6 contemplative recordings, written while travelling between the UK and Italy.

The majority of these 6 tracks were improvised in the studio by Erra, so for the most part, are totally unique and hold a sincerity which cannot be replicated.

It is the follow up to 2019’s acclaimed album Ends I-VII, with the new recordings reflecting what has been an extremely difficult year for Giancarlo, with the loss of his father to cancer.

Erra comments In 2019 my first solo album was just being released, and I already had the view that I wanted to be more experimental with the second one, but no precise idea how at that point. Then my father suddenly got ill with cancer, and everything changed.

Erra, having had a fractured and conflicted relationship with his father since his early teenage years found a way to turn this distressing time into a cathartic experience, He left when I was 14 and since then he wasn’t really part of my life. Then I received the news of his terminal illness and somehow, I found myself in a situation where I was taking care of this man, someone who I have been distanced from for so long.

During this period, I realized it had become a time for both of us to come to terms with many things. I wanted to get closure, but a positive one, for him and for me, and I think he was the same even though he maybe didn’t know it; this was hard but at the same time healing and in a painful twist, it was possibly the most close and positive few months I had with him since I was a small child.

He explains the influence this had on him creatively It’s the first album I have created without realizing I was actually writing it, as it is so intrinsically linked to one of the hardest and yet more healing parts of my life.

The end result is the most experimental, and at times, the darkest material I have ever written, without compromise or set plan. It contains all the elements of my music in a very unconscious free flowing way.

1. Dawn Tape [06:15]
2. Previous Tape [01:48]
3. 169th Tape [02:51]
4. Unwound Tape [08:24]
5. Departure Tape [16:51]
6. A Blues For My Father [07:31]

This simply mesmerizingly ornate, heartfelt and culpably structured new album opens on a building line above a circular static vinyl arc within Dawn Tape and then brings us the quieter fare of the translucent Previous Tape and the repetitious sound of a tape being loaded soon becomes the springboard for the achingly magnificent 169th Tape.

Next we get brought the spatially opulent Unwound Tape, which is itself followed by the longest track on the album, the magnificent 16 minute opus of the title track itself. Led by a solo, choir-like opening, the tracks flows into pure orchestrated gossamer soon thereafter, climaxing in a gentle coming together of harmonies, before the album comes to a close on a musical bookend with the immensely vast emotiveness of A Blues For My Father.

The first single to be taken from the new album is the extremely poignant and personal Departure Tape with the video dedicated to Erra’s father, he explains This track was written I think when I came back from my first visit to Italy to see my father after he had been diagnosed. It really just began as a live experiment - born and finished within one afternoon.

I remember I didn’t really want to do anything; I was exhausted and down, but then, when I started playing the track took shape. I discovered there was much more going on inside my head that needed to be faced.

For me, music has always been the only way I can do that, and from this introspection Departure Tape was born. It’s almost like a free subconscious stream of thoughts and feelings while recording everything that was happening.

Giancarlo Erra - Departure Tape (edit) (from Departure Tapes) - Official Music Video

Departure Tapes will be released on the following formats:

• A gatefold LP on oxblood colored 180g vinyl
• 2-disc CD/DVD with the DVD-A/V including high resolution stereo & 5.1 mix: DVD-V: stereo 24/48 LPCM lossless mixes, Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround, DTS 96/24 5.1 Surround and DVD-A: 5.1 Surround 24/48 LPCM lossless mixes
• Digitally (with digital pre-orders receiving the single Departure Tape as an instant download from 22nd April)

Official Album Purchase Link

Giancarlo Erra @ Facebook

Giancarlo Erra @ Instagram

Giancarlo Erra @ Twitter

Giancarlo Erra @ Soundcloud

Giancarlo Erra @ YouTube

Title - Folk for Little Folk, Volume 1
Artist - Gordie “Crazylegs” MacKeeman

For those unaware, Award-winning Canadian fiddling wizard Gordie “Crazylegs” MacKeeman has wowed audiences around the world with his high-octane performances, “crazy legs” style of dancing, and mischievous musical humor.

Gordie will have everyone up on their feet and dancing with his first album for kids and families, Folk for Little Folk, Volume 1, set for release on September 17th, 2021.

Ferocious fiddle playing and fleet-footed dancing has brought Gordie MacKeeman comparison to the late John Hartford, and in Folk for Little Folk Volume 1 he adds his warm, melodious, baritone voice to delight listeners with a sonic round-up of traditional bluegrass, Western swing, and classic country.

Joined by a group of folk musician virtuosi pals, Gordie has put together a foot-stomping, spirited romp that is destined to leave listeners of all ages grinning from ear to ear.

1. All Around the Kitchen
2. Big Rock Candy Mountain
3. Ladybugs’ Picnic
4. Chicken Reel
5. Get Out There and Dance
6. Snaccident
7. Dancing in the Bathtub
8. Mama Don’t Allow
9. Walking Along
10. Old MacDonald
11. Log Driver’s Waltz
12. Hokey Pokey
13. Listen to the Mockingbird
14. Oo-De-Lally
15. Boogie Woogie Baby
16. Hop High ladies
17. Dreamland

Opening on the rambunctious, old-time music-imbibed All Around the Kitchen and the upbeat and gently frenetic Big Rock Candy Mountain, Gordie backs those up seamlessly with a rousing version of the Sesame Street classic Ladybugs’ Picnic, a fiddletastic Chicken Reel, the instructional, mid-tempo delight of Get Out There and Dance, and then we get their rendition of a country patter song with an uncommon sound and style (due, in large part, to Gordie’s virtuoso, lightning-fast vocals) on Snaccident and the quite atmospherically literal, Dancing in the Bathtub.

Any old-time music album would be incomplete without the ubiquitous country standard Mama Don’t Allow, and Gordie skylarks through his rendition with a surprise around every corner and backs that up with the foot-tappin’ delights of Walking Along, the traditional fare of Old MacDonald, the accordion-led Log Driver’s Waltz and then Gordie fiddles his fast-paced styling to the hilt (complete with an abundance of double stops, drones, and a bowing techniques) on the classic Hokey Pokey.

Next up is the grounded instrumental Listen to the Mockingbird and given that throughout the album, Gordie sings with superlative diction, allowing young ears a chance to easily catch the words, that comes to the fore on the delightful Oo-De-Lally, with the album rounding out with the finger-snappin’ Boogie Woogie Baby, a spirited rendition of the traditional fiddling tune Hop High Ladies, closing on the sweet finale of the gently sophisticated waltz Dreamland.

Music was such an important part of my childhood, and now, as a father, it is one of my favorite activities to share with my children, says Gordie MacKeeman.

We love to clear a space and dance; it doesn’t get any easier than that! My vision for this project is to create something that will please all members of the family and allow families to listen together, dance together, and enjoy each other.

Official Website

Official Purchase Link

Gordie MacKeeman & His Rhythm Boys @ Facebook

Gordie MacKeeman & His Rhythm Boys @ Twitter

Gordie MacKeeman & His Rhythm Boys @ Instagram

Title - Coming Down Roses
Artist - Billy Test Trio

For those unaware, Pennsylvania native Billy Test is a pianist, composer, arranger, and educator.

Currently holding the piano chair in the Grammy award winning WDR Big Band in Köln, Germany, Billy splits his time between Europe and the United States, maintaining a busy schedule as a performer, composer, and educator.

After having performed on several recordings as a sideman, Coming Down Roses (out August 13th, 2021) is Billy Test’s debut as a bandleader.

With a focus on Test’s original compositions, the nine tracks on the recording showcase the trio from every angle of their musicianship: the ability to wail, to cry, and to live and breathe creatively as a single unit.

1. All of You (6:53)
2. Spinning (7:05)
3. Fate (7:16)
4. Hardly (7:24)
5. Empty Spaces (4:47)
6. Coming Down Roses (6:43)
7. The Prince (6:29)
8. Mother’s Day with Freud (7:41)
9. Belonging (7:00)

Opening on the lesser-played Cole Porter standard All of You, the trio put their own mark on it, breathing new life into the under-rated track and back that up with the softer textures of Spinning, the simply heavenly and delicate orchestrations of Fate and then we get the frenetic collective fire, not to mention a blazing drum solo from Ian Froman, on Hardly.

Next up is the ornate solo piano piece (written in loving memory of Test’s deceased father on the tenth anniversary of his passing) Empty Spaces which is itself backed by upbeat and perky title track Coming Down Roses, the album rounding out on the resonating melodies of The Prince (composed by John Coates, Jr., one of the trio’s unsung heroes, and a his homage to one of his own heroes, Boston Red Sox pitcher Luis Tiant), the experimentally fervent wonderment of Mother’s Day with Freud, closing on the sensitively beautiful Belonging.

Billy Test: Piano
Evan Gregor: Bass
Ian Froman: Drums

When in the United States, Billy primarily performs with his trio, featuring bassist Evan Gregor and drummer Ian Froman.

Evan Gregor is an in-demand acoustic and electric bassist that has worked as sideman with masters including Gary Burton, Dave Liebman, Phil Woods, Bob Dorough, Phil Markowitz, John McNeil, Vic Juris, Ed Cherry, Urbie Green, and Bill Goodwin.

A seasoned creative and working musician, Ottawa, Canada native Ian Froman moved to the U.S. to study Jazz Performance, first at Berklee College of Music, then with Elvin Jones at the Atlantic Center for the Arts in Florida, and then with Miroslav Vitous at the New England Conservatory.

Ian is a faculty member at Berklee College of Music, Drummers Collective, New School University and City College of New York.

Official Album Purchase Link

Official Website

Billy Test @ Facebook

Billy Test @ Instagram

Billy Test @ Twitter

Billy Test @ YouTube

Title - Beautiful Things
Artist - Kenny Shanker

For those unaware, Kenny Shanker is back with an exciting program of original compositions and jazz standards on Beautiful Things (out August 20th, 2021), his second release on Wise Cat Records.

The common element that appears throughout this wildly diverse set is a search for beauty in all of its various forms.

Some highlights include the blazingly fast Prestissimo, inspired by the early bebop recordings that Shanker grew up listening to, and the catchy, spirited original composition Cool Mint.

Other standouts include straight-ahead renditions of several jazz classics, the spontaneous freedom of Orange and Gray, and the classically influenced title track Beautiful Things.

He is joined by his longtime rhythm section of Mike Eckroth, Daisuke Abe, Yoshi Waki, and Brian Fishler, along with Bill Mobley on Trumpet.

1. Cool Mint (4:46)
2. Prestissimo (3:35)
3. It Never Entered My Mind (7:27)
4. Mirth (5:32)
5. L’Impossible (5:47)
6. Orange and Gray (7:54)
7. Without a Song (8:40)
8. I’m Old Fashioned (6:55)
9. Softly as in a Morning Sunrise (7:11)
10. Like Someone in Love (5:35)
11. In Walked Bud (4:56)
12. Beautiful Things (5:40)

This quite stunning musical adventure opens on the melodic, finger-snapping trip of Cool Mint and the gently frenetic Prestissimo, backing those up with the ornate beauty of It Never Entered My Mind, the perfectly entitled Mirth, and then both the mid-tempo, toe-tapping vibe of Oscar Peterson’s L’Impossible and the stout, yet flexible orchestrations of Orange and Gray.

Next up is the free flowing majesty of Without a Song and the Johnny Mercer co-written hipsway magnificence of I’m Old Fashioned, the perky Oscar Hammerstein II co-written escapade Softly as in a Morning Sunrise, the album rounding out on the delicately layered wonderment of Like Someone in Love, their upbeat rendition of Thelonious Monk’s In Walked Bud, closing on the luscious tranquility of the title track, Beautiful Things.

Kenny Shanker - Alto Saxophone
Bill Mobley - Trumpet (2, 4, 6)
Daisuke Abe - Guitar
Mike Eckroth - Piano
Yoshi Waki - Bass
Brian Fishler - Drums

Kenny has performed with the New World Symphony, Richard Bona, David Benoit, Lage Lund, Taylor Eigsti, Bill Mobley, Shelly Berg, the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, the Nelson Riddle Orchestra, Coalescence, and many others.

Locally, he has performed at Carnegie Hall, Birdland, Dizzy’s Club, Smoke, Smalls, Fat Cat, Jazz at Kitano, Queens Jazz Festival, The Garage, Rockwood Music Hall, and The Walter Reade Theater at Lincoln Center. He currently resides in New York City.

Amazon Purchase Link

Official Website

Beautiful Things [Official Promo Video]

Kenny Shanker @ Facebook

Kenny Shanker @ Instagram

Kenny Shanker @ Twitter

Kenny Shanker @ YouTube

Title - Any Such Thing
Artist - Loveland Duren

For those unaware, veteran recording artists Vicki Loveland and Van Duren (aka Loveland Duren) are cradling dynamite once again with their brand-new album, Any Such Thing (Edgewood Recordings), due out October 1st, 2021.

Following the duo’s first two releases, Bloody Cupid (2013) and Next (2016), Any Such Thing reflects the sum of their experiences through the past five years of performing in the Mid-South and in faraway locales.

Any Such Thing swings from rock & soul to power pop to orchestral to rhythm & blues to eclectic improvisation in the most adventurous and wily ways.

These 10 sly songs fuse worldliness with wide-eyed joy, folded in with well-traveled tales of the human condition in the 21st century. Love, too. Maybe. As Hemingway said, “Ain’t it pretty to think so?”

1. Tumbledown Hearts
2. A Place of No Place
3. Within Crying Distance
4. Ain’t It Pretty to Think So
5. Skywriting (Tasmania)
6. Funny Way of Showing It
7. Where Are We Going?
8. Bridges I Had to Burn
9. Everyone Is Out of Tune
10. Ending Again

Opening on the gently rockin’ blues duet of Tumbledown Hearts and the upbeat, percussion embedded A Place of No Place, Loveland Duren never look back, always growing in their musical confidence and strengths, especially on following tracks such as the troubadour yearning of Within Crying Distance, the late ’70s New York-imbibed, finger-snappin’ hipsway of Ain’t It Pretty to Think So, and the harmoniously divine Skywriting (Tasmania).

Next up is the string orchestrated gossamer, Kate Bush-esque Funny Way of Showing It and the mid-tempo AOR storytelling of Where Are We Going? which are in turn seamlessly followed by the countrified Bridges I Had to Burn, the smoothly accessible, Steely Dan-esque Everyone Is Out of Tune, the album closing on the tacitly, quietly melodious Ending Again.

As a singer, songwriter, producer and performer, Vicki Loveland has always been about music. Her mother was a touring professional big-band singer; her father was a popular radio DJ.

By the time Vicki was four years old, she was absorbing country, blues, and gospel music from her grandfather’s radio and became immersed in four-part harmonies with her mom and older siblings on the family’s front porch in Memphis.

Vicki’s professional singing career began when she was 14, and has included work as a singer and percussionist with legendary artists such as Isaac Hayes, Albert King, Rufus Thomas, Alex Chilton, Tav Falco, The Box Tops, The Funk Brothers, The Hi Rhythm Section, Low Cut Connie and many more.

Vicki also found time to graduate magna cum laude from the University of Memphis with a degree in music and recording technology, and has worked as a recording engineer and producer at several Memphis studios.

Vocalist/bassist/guitarist/pianist Van Duren is a native Memphian whose path was decided at 10 years old by one event: The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show in early 1964.

His recording career began in 1977 with the critically acclaimed solo album Are You Serious?, now regarded as one of the progenitors of what later became tagged as “power pop.”

Subsequently Van went on to release more than 12 albums, a mix of solo records as well as several collaborations. Duren led one of the top Memphis groups of the 1980s, Good Question, whose album, Thin Disguise (1986), is a cult fave.

And in the studio Van has added his skills to recordings by Billy Swan, Rufus Thomas, Cait Brennan, and Ringo Starr.

Nine years into the Loveland Duren adventure the duo’s third album is finally here. Seven new songs were tapped for the first sessions in the autumn of 2019 at Ardent Studios with engineer Mic Wilson.

In two days, drummer Ian Duren and bassist Adam Holton laid down basic tracks on six songs with Vicki singing and Van on guitar or piano. In the next session the seventh song, Funny Way of Showing It was tracked with Loveland’s dynamic vocal and violinist Jessie Munson and cellist Jana Misener embellishing the track until a 12-piece string section made the track soar.

Memphis string-man Richard Alan Ford overdubbed pedal steel, then the recording was topped off with French horn tracks added remotely by old friend and Brian Wilson Band alum Probyn Gregory.

The album cover features work by two gifted Memphis artists. An original collage by multimedia artist Nancy Apple incorporates images by renowned photographer Jamie Harmon, perfectly illuminating the eclectic music within — powerful, whimsical, familiar and new.

Loveland Duren - Within Crying Distance [Official Video]

Official Website

Loveland Duren @ Apple Music

Loveland Duren @ Facebook

Loveland Duren @ BandCamp

Title - Your First Rodeo
Artist - Jules Leyhe

For those unaware, this ain’t your granddaddy’s blues! Heck, it ain’t even your daddy’s blues!

Guitarist Jules Leyhe is on an entirely different trip. His forthcoming album Your First Rodeo (out September 17th, 2021 via Monkey Finger Records) is a whimsical mashup of blues, hip hop, funk, fusion, jazz, rock and Latin music.

Producing the set with Protist, the Oakland, Calif.-based slide guitar slinger wrote the bucking bronco of an album that obstinately refuses to be categorized.

An audacious collection evading lasso, Your First Rodeo brilliantly juxtaposes futuristic elements with downhome “comfort” sounds.

Leyhe paired inventive sonicscapes with soulful blues guitar play. All conceived and constructed using vivid fantasy, the guitar man wondered what it would sound like to pair diametrically opposed artists – or, in this case, use signature elements of the imagined artists’ unique style – on one recording.

Picture Cardi B sitting in with the Buena Vista Social Club. Or Jimi Hendrix playing in Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Or Duane Allan jamming with jazz pianist Gil Evans.

1. Taco Truck
2. Fight The Night
3. High Street
4. The Journey
5. Start Your Engines
6. The Planetarium
7. Deep Sleep
8. Sad But True

Opening on the Latin swing of Taco Truck and the vibrantly layered guitar work of Fight The Night, those are seamlessly backed up by the funky blues, sax-imbued brilliance of High Street and the stoic gossamer of The Journey.

Next up is the amazingly intense, stunningly animated, roaring race car appeal of the raw blues guitar workout within Start Your Engines and the sultry, fusion jazz-rock underground bar ambiance of The Planetarium, with this highly inventive, and seductively alluring new album rounding out on the atmospherically spatial Deep Sleep, closing on the old school slow burn of Sad But True.

I wanted to create music based off of collaborations that I’ve pictured of many of my favorite artists who never actually worked together.

The clearest example is picturing Jimi Hendrix playing with the psychedelic Beatles era, a wild pairing that never actually happened but sure is fun to imagine and try to create with my own flavor.

My bandmates’ fantastic playing and imaginations helped me reach for this sort of potential for pairing abstract, disparate musical ideas and getting away with it, or at least creating something unique to us.

This album encapsulates so many musical idioms with a gritty, urban, fun feel of an old-soul Oakland band, said Leyhe who was empowered by his Family Jules Band – keyboardist Ian McArdle, saxophonist Nancy Wright, bassist Murph Murphy and drummer Isaac Schwartz.

Enabling Leyhe’s fantastical vision is a powerful protagonist in horn player Shane Cox, who deftly uses layers of trumpet, trombone and sousaphone to illuminate the intricately textured tracks with color, might and majesty.

The horns leap off the page, providing melodic framework for Leyhe’s shrieking slide guitar, embellishing dexterous fretwork and spiking rampaging guitar assaults.

Leyhe, who will perform the National Anthem next month solo prior to an Oakland A’s vs. San Francisco Giants game and will lead his band in a tribute to Mahal at the prestigious SFJAZZ next May, has a message for those who are new to his work.

Since this is your first rodeo, hopefully you’ll find the new album to be a spirited musical adventure through wildly animated tunes.

With no lyrics and only instruments and textural/environmental sounds, we hope that the listener can hop on board our sonic journey and come up with a personal meaning for each song.

It’s supposed to be a lot of fun - like a Marvel Comics movie and like the album cover, which is filled with tongue-in-cheek, music nerd-type humor and entertainment.

Amazon Purchase Link

Official Website

Title - Hits To Spare
Artist - The Poppermost

For those unaware, born out of a one-man mission with his roots firmly planted in all things Fab, head Poppermost Joe Kane has gone the whole hog by recording his own music so in thrall to his idols as to be genuine rather than pastiche.

Utilizing an array of FAB instruments, microphones and recording techniques, all glued together by bargain basement analogue junk, shitty is pretty, says Joe, your innermost Fab Four desires will be sated by an affected Lennon-like You wanted the werld and I gave you the werld here, a woody McCartney bass-line there, and a multitude of 12 string chiming George middle eights, with everything held in place by a Ringo-perfect compressed backbeat.

1. Egg & Chips
2. Yes It’s True
3. One Of Those Gerllss
4. Can’t Take That Away
5. Call To Me
6. Goodnight Georgia Peach
7. Cry For Another
8. Hits To Spare
9. In & Out
10. Get It Down
11. Laziest Fella In The Realm
12. Park And Ride
13. What A Wonderful Love
14. Well I Will

This vibrant, historically-imbed album opens on (possibly) take 78 of the gently rambunctious Egg & Chips and the jangly hipsway of Yes It’s True, and backs those up seamlessly with the harmonica-led One Of Those Gerllss, the melodically structured Can’t Take That Away, the drum-led, mid-tempo ballad Call To Me and then the layered harmonies of both Goodnight Georgia Peach and Cry For Another are brought forth.

Next up are the classic rock ’n’ roll vibes of the day found within both the title track Hits To Spare and the finger-snapping In & Out and they are in turn followed by the driven interplay of Get It Down, the upbeat foot-tapper Laziest Fella In The Realm, the traditional pop sounds of both Park And Ride and What A Wonderful Love, with this exciting new album closing on the rhythm and blues of Well I Will.

In truth, there’s a song for every occasion on this record. Short, sweet and exactly as they used to make ‘em, Hits To Spare does exactly what it says on the sleeve.

Like all the best albums, it’ll have you waiting impatiently for the needle to slide across that dead-wax at the end of side 2 so that you can flip it over and play the LP again!

The Poppermost - Hits To Spare [Official Video]

The Poppermost - Laziest Fella In The Realm [Official Video]

The Poppermost - Well I Will [Official Video]

Official Purchase Link

The Poppermost @ YouTube

The Poppermost @ Facebook

The Poppermost @ Instagram

The Poppermost @ Twitter

Title - Sound of Music
Artist - Zero Times Everything

For those unaware, Zero Times Everything will be releasing their second album Sound of Music on August 28th, 2021.

The album was recorded over the course of three years and then, in the middle of the mixing, the pandemic hit, stopping all work. This caused a delay of over a year.

Indeed, the new release date of this innovative new double album (which is being put together via the donator campaign platform) coincides with a private concert the band is giving in Massachusetts, just outside of Boston.

Furthermore, on August 21st, 2021 Zero Times Everything (Tony Geballe, Pietro Russino, and Richard Sylvarnes) will release the official video for the 19 minute Die Nacht Ist Leben.

The title Sound of Music is derived from the Pythagorean theory of musica universalis or the music of the spheres wherein Pythagoreas states that if objects in motion create sound then the planets forever in motion must forever produce sound.

This theory has been totally discredited but the notion of the sound of a harmonious planetary-solar-system is the touchstone for the title of the album.

There is also the notion present within the record itself of the dangerous existence of black holes and white holes within this planetary harmony.

The gravity of black holes is so strong that once it pulls matter within it nothing, even light, can get out.

On the opposite extreme, a white hole in space is a hypothetical region that cannot be entered from the outside, although matter and light can escape from it.

Thus, side one is titled Black Hole and side two White Hole. If the theory is that the movement of the stars produces a harmony, then these holes in space create danger within that harmoniousness.

CD 1:
1. You Are Here
2. Razorblade Keychain
3. The Same Flat Field
4. Ice Report
5. Blisterine
6. Milky Black Sun
7. Sound Tenement
8. Tears In The Waterfall
9. Die Nacht Ist Leben
10. Coda

CD 2:
1. You Are Hearer
2. Third Uncle
3. Oculus
4. Two Dead Stars Falling Into A Catastrophic Embrace
5. Lux Aeterna
6. The Sound

Oft described as avant-garde, post-industrial, pre-cambrian, pan-ethnic, serial noise, proto-punk, neocortex music, Zero Times Everything’s sophomore album is chock full of melodious EDM wonderment for the masses.

Tracks such as the opulent, at times translucent, at others jangly and seemingly random studio sounds sewn together from musical remnants, and yet at all times informative, Milky Black Sun combine seamlessly with the self-ordained centerpiece of the album, the near 20 minute blitzkrieg Die Nacht Ist Leben (The Night Is Life).

Stitched together with the spoken words (in German) of Sven Marquardt, the infamous gatekeeper of the notorious Berlin nightclub Berghain, and featuring Reg Bloor on guitar, Bruce McClure and contralto Daria on vocals, diaphanous one minute, screeching, crackling patterns the next, all then give way to cacophonous layered guitars for a journey into raw, extreme, electricized metal.

With the two CDs combining to bring us over two hours of music (and complete with a wondrous 16-page booklet), quite easily the most ambitious track on the album is the 26 minute Lux Aeterna (which has been affectionately called Our Supper’s Ready within their ranks.

On what one would most likely term as apocalyptic music, albeit artistically, and acutely veined with spiritual, political, and scientific terms, the work opens with a recording of the late Frederick Neumann, legendary actor, director and friend of Samuel Beckett, reading The 10 Most Popular Ways for the Word to End (as compiled by scientists at a convention).

As the track plays out along its distinctively dark, unwavering path of EDM plus, the midway point then includes random moments from a 1950’s radio play of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, its culmination the somber, yet stoically beautiful apocalyptic liturgical text El Cant de la Sibilla (a Gregorian chant, also known as The Song of the Sibyl).

With the whole recording closing on the somewhat stalwart, hardy, Old West-imbibed soaring resonance of The Sound, it should be made clear that Sound of Music will be the equivalent to a triple album on vinyl; given, as aforementioned, that the band have produced over two hours of music here!

Zero Times Everything began in 2012 when Richard Sylvarnes invited Tony Geballe and Pietro Russino, who first met at one of Robert Fripp’s Guitar Craft Seminars, to perform a live musical accompaniment to a film he had recently completed called The Last Words Of Dutch Schultz.

It was supposed to be a singular event, a project, but it became quite apparent in the early rehearsals that there was much more potential than a simple one-off project.

They immediately began to get invites to play in galleries, at benefit concerts, and even to make music for an artist installation in China.

So, almost without realizing it, they became an official band and started working on material for their first record, Sonic Cinema, which was released to great critical acclaim on Trey Gunn’s 7D Media label in 2017.

When they finished their first album Richard immediately had the brazen idea that their second album should be a double album. He gave two reasons.

One was to experiment, to allow the material to breathe, and not worry about the length of tracks and have to reflexively edit something for reasons of limited space.

The second reason was to invite other musicians, mostly avant garde musicians from New York, to contribute their unique talents to this endeavor; even to the extent of redefining what can be considered Zero Times Everything music.

These artists include extreme-metal guitarist Reg Bloor, avant pianist Matteo Ramon Arevalos, singer Daria Neumann, percussionist Michael Evans, multi-media artist Bradley Eros, guitarist Zach Layton, turntablist and foley artist Rachael Guma, singer Mikey Kirkpatrick, writer Sven Marquardt, film-projector rhythmatist Bruce McClure, composer and Touch guitarist Markus Reuter, vocalist Patricia Rothberg, and writer Sønje Sylvarnes.

As Richard said, We wanted to open the door to Zero Times Everything and allow other artists we greatly admire to participate in making the music and use these collaborations to stretch the definition of what Zero Times Everything music can be.

Each of these unique and extraordinary artists have a strong sensibility and signature sound that deeply affected not only the overall sound of a piece but the compositions themselves.

Zero Times Everything thanks its audience for their support which allows them to make adventurous, artistically ambitious, non-mainstream music that thrives on the fringe of culture.

Official indiegogo Purchase Link

Official Website

Zero Times Everything @ Spotify

Zero Times Everything @ Facebook

Zero Times Everything @ BandCamp

Zero Times Everything @ Instagram

Title - Elektra Years [1990-1992] (2CD)
Artist - Lynch Mob

Lynch Mob were originally formed by lead guitarist George Lynch and drummer Mick Brown in 1989 after creative differences led to the break up of their previous band, Dokken.

Having missed out on the opportunity to play lead guitar with a newly solo Ozzy Osbourne, Lynch truly made his mark on the rock metal scene of the 1980s with Dokken.

After some initial success in Germany, they relocated to Los Angles in time to take full advantage of the then new MTV music channel and the burgeoning hair metal scene the Sunset Strip, populated by contemporaries such as Ratt and Motley Crue.

Dokken’s split came follow their fourth studio album, Back For The Attack.

Featuring Lynch on lead guitar, and Brown on drums, the line-up for Lynch Mob’s debut Wicked Sensation was completed by bassist Anthony Esposito and singer Oni Logan.

Released in 1990, Wicked Sensation was co-produced by the band with Max Norman, famed for his work with Ozzy Osbourne, am many others.

The album features the singles River Of Love and No Bed Of Roses, with this edition now including the radio edit of the title track. The album was awarded gold sales status in the States.

Disc One: Wicked Sensation (1990)
1. Wicked Sensation
2. River Of Love
3. Sweet Sister Mercy
4. All I Want
5. Hell Child
6. She’s Evil But She’s Mine
7. Dance Of The Dogs
8. Rain
9. No Bed Of Roses
10. Through These Eyes
11. For A Million Years
12. Street Fightin’ Man
13. Wicked Sensation (Edit) [Bonus Track]

For my money, had it been released a few years earlier, Lynch Mob’s solid debut would have probably sold by the truckload. With the L.A. hard rock scene on the verge of annihilation at the hands of Seattle, however, 1990’s Wicked Sensation went largely unnoticed.

Capable singer Oni Logan quickly proves his mettle, complementing a veteran lineup featuring half of the ’80s mainstay Dokken, in guitarist George Lynch and drummer Mick Brown.

Lynch’s guitar absolutely sizzles on the title track, and the gang chorus of Sweet Sister Mercy would have guaranteed a massive hit single in a different musical climate.

Other standouts such as River of Love, Hell Child, and Rain find the band locking on to a powerful groove, and though it hardly breaks new ground, this remains a rather overlooked album.

The musicianship is impeccable (especially on Street Fightin’ Man), and certainly Anthony Esposito’s post-Lynch Mob discography has proved his worth.

George had the opportunity to shred as he hadn’t before, exploring different tones in his solos and rhythms and thus as much as it is not a so-called “guitar album”, nor are there any instrumentals, it is heavy on the guitars throughout.

Although their second album didn’t fare quite so impressively, with their brand of commercial hard rock losing favor to grunge, the album was critically well received.

Produced by famed producer Keith Olse (Fleetwood Mac, Whitesnake, Heart), the eponymous Lynch Mob hit the racks in 1992.

Now featuring Robert Mason on lead vocals, replacing Oni Logan, among this collection of original songs, including the singles Tangled In The Web and Dream Until Tomorrow, is a solid cover of Queen’s Tie Your Mother Down, written by Brian May.

Japan had always been a popular stronghold for Dokken, an aspect that Lynch Mob were primed to take full advantage of, releasing a special edition of their second record featured two exclusive bonus tracks for Japan, Love Finds A Way and Love In Your Eyes, both of which are included here.

Disc Two: Lynch Mob (1992)
1. Jungle Of Love
2. Tangled In The Web
3. No Good
4. Dream Until Tomorrow
5. Cold Is The Heart
6. Tie Your Mother Down
7. Heaven Is Waiting
8. I Want It
9. When Darkness Calls
10. The Secret
11. Love Finds A Way [Bonus Japan Track]
12. Love In Your Eyes [Bonus Japan Track]

In truth, guitarist George Lynch delivered a typically impressive set of solos on the Lynch Mob’s second album. While most of the songs vacillates between slick hard rock and radio-ready power ballads, the material is professionally performed, particularly on the part of Lynch.

Dedicated fans will be delighted with his playing throughout the record, although casual hard rock fans will find the album less compelling, since most of the songs sound underdeveloped, lacking memorable melodies or hooks.

No Good burns, which blends into the six-minute groove of Dream Until Tomorrow and the icy Cold Is The Heart totally rips. Robert Mason’s vocal workout is epic on the soaring Heaven Is Waiting, I Want It is a hard rockin’ track that is driven behind a killer riff, with the lengthy duo of When Darkness Calls and The Secret competently bringing Lynch Mob to a conclusion.

For the record, The Secret may be buried deep in the running order, but man, the impassioned track definitely deserves immediate attention.

Lynch Mob would split shortly after their second album, but have regularly reformed for new recordings and tours, with their most recent release a 30th Anniversary Reimagined edition of their debut.

Official 2CD Purchase Link

Title - You Are Magic
Artist - Alison Faith Levy

For those not in the know, Alison Faith Levy, formerly of legendary kindie trailblazers The Sippy Cups, makes a stellar return to the kids’ music scene with her third solo album for families, You Are Magic (out September 3th, 2021).

You Are Magic marks a turning point in Alison Faith Levy’s career, her life, and her message. The album is an upbeat collection of colorful, whimsical, retro-inspired pop songs designed to open a spiritual dialogue for young children and families.

What are the values we choose to live by, and how do we express them? Who are we, and why are we here? How do we connect with others? Where does creativity come from? How do we connect to the natural world? What can we do to make the world a better place?

1. Roots & Branches
2. Turn Around
3. You Are Magic
4. Putting It Back Together
5. Draw
6. Canopy
7. The Gift
8. Now Is The Moment
9. Leaves & Sky

All those universal questions will obviously resonate with families of all backgrounds and Alison opens up this colorfully vibrant new album with the beautifully sculptured, short but oh-so sweet instrumental Roots & Branches and backs that up with the harmoniously upbeat Turn Around, the finger-snapping, ‘60s beats within the title track You Are Magic, and then we get the gentle blues hipsway of Putting It Back Together (which featuring Alison’s son Henry Plotnick on piano).

Next up is the majestically layered sing-along of Draw which is itself backed by the absolutely brilliant, buoyant and resoundingly early ‘70s-embibed summers breeze of Canopy, before we get the Rockpile-esque The Gift, the album rounding out on the resounding, uplifting Now Is The Moment, coming to a close on the short instrumental book end Leaves & Sky.

This is a concept album, says Alison Faith Levy. I envision You Are Magic as a tree, starting with Roots & Branches, and reaching all the way through Leaves & Sky.

The overarching theme is that our own creative energy, which comes to us naturally, is a reflection of the universe. Everyone has something inside of them that contributes to making the world better, more beautiful, more colorful, more compassionate, more sparkly – more awesome.

I wanted to tell that to the listener in a very direct way!

Often compared to Carole King, Alison Faith Levy says, That works for me! She’s a big influence.

Alison is inspired by the music of the ‘60s and ‘70s: The Beatles, Elton John, psychedelia, folk rock, the British Invasion, and piano singer-songwriters.

In addition to You Are Magic, The Start of Things, and World of Wonder, Alison Faith Levy can be heard on The Sippy Cups’ albums The Time Machine (2009), Electric Storyland (2006), and Kids Rock for Peas (2005).

She also appears on the band’s DVD, Electric Storyland Live at the Great American Music Hall (2007). As one half of McCabe & Mrs. Miller, she is heard on Time for Leaving (2009).

Earlier in her career, Alison released two solo albums for adults and recorded two albums as a member of The Loud Family.

You Are Magic will be available on all digital platforms, including iTunes, Amazon Music, Spotify, and more.

Official Purchase Link

Alison Faith Levy @ Facebook

Alison Faith Levy @ Instagram

Alison Faith Levy @ YouTube

Title - Go Find The Moon: The Audition Tape
Artist - Laura Nyro

For those unaware, Omnivore Recordings will release two sets of rare Laura Nyro music over the next few months: Trees of the Ages: Laura Nyro Live in Japan and the never-before-issued Go Find the Moon: The Audition Tape.

Both will be available on CD and Digital, with Go Find the Moon also available on vinyl (a 45-rpm LP). Each was restored and mastered by Grammy-winner Michael Graves and produced for release by Grammy-winner Cheryl Pawelski and George Gilbert with the approval of the Laura Nyro Trust.

A member of both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame, Laura Nyro not only wrote songs that became hits for artists like 5th Dimension, Blood, Sweat & Tears, Three Dog Night, and Barbra Streisand, but has been cited as a major influence by artists as varied as Kate Bush, Elton John, Elvis Costello, Cyndi Lauper, Todd Rundgren, Broadway composer Stephen Schwartz (Godspell, Wicked), and countless others.

Born in the Bronx in 1947, she left us far too soon, at age 49 following a bout with ovarian cancer.

She recorded ten of her own studio albums (one released posthumously), but a live performance from Nyro was always a particularly special event.

Originally issued only in Japan as Live in Japan in 2003, the 16 tracks recorded at Kintetsu Hall, plus five recorded at On Air West return as Trees of the Ages: Laura Nyro Live in Japan, was released July 16th, 2021.

Go Find the Moon: The Audition Tape, due out September 10th, 2021, puts the listener in the room at the very beginning of Nyro’s legendary career.

Available now for the first time, it includes And When I Die as well as songs she never officially released, and her own versions of classics, all delivered with a deft and distinctive touch.

As journalist Jim Farber writes in the liners: “Here, Laura Nyro led the way with a performance that captured an artist who, however young, was, at root, already fully formed.”

Omnivore will offer a special bundle of the LP Go Find The Moon: The Audition Tape with a numbered litho print of the cover limited to 200.

1. And When I Die
2. Lazy Susan (False Start)
3. Enough of You
4. In and Out
5. Go Find the Moon
6. Luckie/Studio Talk
7. When Sunny Gets Blue (Fragment)/Kansas City (Fragment)/I Only Want to Be With You
8. Lazy Susan

Opening on the beautiful, upbeat balladry of And When I Die and then, weirdly, just a few precious seconds of Lazy Susan (False Start), we then get the ornate piano majesty of Enough of You which is itself backed by the short-but-sweet, cheerful storytelling of In and Out.

Next up is the delicate musings of the title track Go Find the Moon and the gently rambunctious Luckie/Studio Talk (complete with someone from the booth asking if Laura sang any other songs that weren’t hers, which leads to a lovely little chat, which then feeds into the next compilation track), with the album rounding out with small clips of Nyro singing off the cuff tracks such as clips of When Sunny Gets Blue (Fragment)/Kansas City (Fragment)/I Only Want to Be With You, the album coming to a close on the ornamented gossamer of the full version of Lazy Susan.

In the summer of 1966, an 18-year-old Laura Nyro auditioned for Milt Okun, one of the most respected music producers of the day, and Artie Mogull, a noted A&R man.

After the session, these eventual music business legends were so blown away that Mogull became her manager, and Okun signed on to produce her debut record, More Than Just a Discovery.

The first song she performed, And When I Die, became the opening track on Peter, Paul and Mary’s hit album, The Peter, Paul and Mary Album, and achieved even bigger success with the cover by Blood, Sweat, & Tears, which reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1969.

Quite a song with which to begin an audition!

Nyro certainly wrote other future smashes delivered to the charts by artists like Three Dog Night (Eli’s Coming), the 5th Dimension (Stoned Soul Picnic, Save the Country, and Wedding Bell Blues), Barbra Streisand (Stoney End), and more.

But it was Nyro’s heart, soul, songwriting brilliance and magnificent vocal talent that drove music fans to discover her own work.

Official Omnivore Laura Nyro Trailer

Official Purchase Link

Title - If Only ...
Artist - The Far Cry

For those not in the know, Prog ensemble The Far Cry has released their debut album If Only ....

Though not intended in any way to be a concept” album, If Only ... very much exhibits a connecting common thread of human emotion and perspective meeting real human conditions.

Apparently, some people just won’t give up on long held goals and aspirations. Jeff Brewer and Robert Hutchinson, co-conspirators behind the inception of what was to become The Far Cry, can vividly recall the musical awakening that occurred in their younger days when The Beatles landed and with all that followed.

Soon thereafter, they each were even more deeply moved by the emergence of the Progressive Rock bands of the early 70’s, most notably King Crimson, Yes, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Genesis and Gentle Giant.

Jeff and Hutch first crossed paths around 1976 with the formation of a short-lived rock covers band. Common ground occurred later, though not simultaneously, when both were members of Connecticut prog-rock band Holding Pattern, Hutch as co-founder from 1980-83 and, after Hutch left the band, Jeff joined as lead vocalist and percussionist from 1984 to 1993 when the band ceased operations.

Fast forward to 2013 when Hutch purchased a speaker cabinet Jeff had for sale. In the attendant dialogue, the pursuit of the likely impossible was quickly broached and a decision was made to chase the dream just one more time. Thus the seeds for The Far Cry were sown.

Unfortunately, due to the ambitious and stylistic nature of the music they were pursuing, connecting with suitable personnel to complete the band lineup was met with recurring difficulty and disappointment.

Eventually, the duo decided to enter the recording studio to get the material up and running. Guitarist Bryan Collin had already been in contact, having answered a Craigslist ad, and was amenable to playing on the recordings.

As he did so, he became intrigued and more strongly connected to the music and the band concept. Certainly his stellar contributions and playing on the If Only ... CD demonstrate that. Bryan Collin was now The Far Cry guitarist.

Still, a highly competent keyboardist was required. Studio owner and master engineer John Bolduc was asked if he knew of any keyboard man who could properly interpret and perform the music he was hearing.

John responded instantaneously: Chris Dabbo. No time was wasted in contacting him. At first, Chris came on as a session man but very quickly demonstrated his impressive skill set as well as a connection to and understanding of the music.

All involved were highly enthused and Chris was drafted in as keyboardist for The Far Cry.

Hence, the If Only ... CD is a result of a step by step evolution by what has now become a fully formed membership. Robert Hutchinson, Jeff Brewer, Bryan Collin and Chris Dabbo are the artists that comprise The Far Cry. The future awaits

1. The Mask Of Deception
2. Programophone
3. Winterlude
4. Simple Pleasures
5. The Missing Floor
6. Winterlude Waning
7. If Only
8. Dream Dancer

Opening on the rambunctious, near 12 minute opus The Mask Of Deception, they back that up with the shorter duo of the synth-tastic Programophone and the ornately beautiful, tender grand piano work within Winterlude, before launching back into the near 14 minute AOR Prog epic Simple Pleasures.

Next up is the slightly heavier guitar ambiance of The Missing Floor which is itself followed by another delightful dose of piano play and warm acoustic guitar on Winterlude Waning, with the album rounding out on the Renaissance-flavored, melodiously layered, uproariously triumphant glory of the near 17 minute title track If Only, closing on the ambient mystique of Dream Dancer.

Says the band, Our fondest wish and recommendation is that this music should be listened to from beginning to end uninterrupted through a great set of headphones.

The Far Cry is now formulating plans for the creation of videos to support the music from the CD. Certainly, live performance will be part of the near future and into 2022.

Also, work on the next CD to follow If Only ... will begin within the next couple of months.

Chris Dabbo: piano. keyboards, vocals
Robert Hutchinson: drums, percussion, bells, spoken word
Jeff Brewer: lead vocals, bass, bass synth, bass pedals, guitar
Bryan Collin: lead guitar, Electric and acoustic guitars

Official Apple Purchase Link

Official Spotify Purchase Link

Official Amazon Purchase Link

Official Website

The Far Cry @ Facebook

Title - The Big Pitch
Artist - L.A. Cowboy

For those unaware, a project has crossed our desk with all the mystique, enigma and intrigue of the music industry documentary Searching for Sugar Man, and thus we most definitely have to share it with y’all.

To begin with, we highly doubt that most of you have even heard of L.A. Cowboy. We certainly hadn’t - and are now, and openly, wondering why!

J. Frederick Millea wrote his fist song sitting in a bathtub in the early nineties. Shortly thereafter he took the stage name L.A. Cowboy, as an homage to the eclectic nature of his work.

In the ensuing 9 years he would write a remarkable string of philosophical songs that his artistic associates dubbed poetry in motion and musical mini-movies.

While most songs strive to express and thus induce a particular emotion, his convey complete stories, rife with subtle wit, tightly framing profoundly moving thoughts, feelings and reflection on life, love, loss, resignation and hope.

By 1997 he had produced his first full CD of invisible art as he himself coined it, soon getting top representation. Offers initially came as a series of boilerplate deals, mostly seeking to tie up access and publishing ownership regarding his extensive catalog.

In early 2000, just when it seemed he might acquire a reasonable professional relationship with a major label, the truth finally leaked out: An A&R rep who was highly enthusiastic that he had located the flagship artist his major label was lacking was summarily informed by the President of the label that he deemed L.A. Cowboy’s work to be more of a potential problem that a benefit, stating: We sign acts here -- not artists.

When the A&R man protested that another label would swoop him up, the President simply shrugged and revealed, They’re also aware of him, and we’ve all agreed, nobody is going to sign this artist.

The caliber of the material was just something that the label heads did not care to embrace and champion, unanimously concluding that they would have to justify the comparatively lower quality of so many on their rosters.

Devastated and disgusted with the industry, L.A. Cowboy sadly walked away. It would take 17 years, some insistent fans and financial backers as well as the maturation of the internet to convince him to make his return, revisiting his previous material to once again present evidence of what the gatekeepers in the music industry had purposefully forsaken so many years ago.

Understandably, the selected songs here on the just-released The Big Pitch (Reconcile Recordings) showcase an utterly charming, salutary, tongue-in-cheek ode to Tinseltown.

As he himself puts it: I was determined to show the timelessness as well as intersective reach of these tock songs. So I decided to dress them up in tuxes on this current outing.

1. Stories to Tell
2. Forget About Her
3. Flyover Land
4. Angel in L.A.
5. The Museum
6. The Big Pitch
7. Love Songs
8. Why Do I?

With all the songs written, arranged and produced by the L.A. Cowboy himself, this quite harmoniously wonderful album opens on the storytelling of the aptly-named Stories to Tell and the mid-tempo balladry of Forget About Her and never once looks back.

Millea then seamlessly backs those up with the gently fervent Flyover Land and the ornate hipsway of Angel in L.A., before bringing us his hypnotic tale of The Museum.

Next up is the free flowing ambiance of a man decidedly on top of his musical game within one of my own personal favorites here, the title track itself The Big Pitch, and then the album rounds out on the earnest balladry of Love Songs, coming to a close on the self-questioning ponderances within Why Do I?

L.A. Cowboy - Vocals
Sam Hirsch - Steinway Piano
Fino Roverato - Guitars
Johnny Hatton - Standup Bass
Claudius Kannbanger - Drums
Jaime Havorka - 1st Trumpet
Ron Brown - 2nd Trumpet
James McMillen - Trombone
George Shelby - Alto Sax
Mike Nelson - Tenor Sax
Terry Landry - Baritone Sax
Co-orchestrated with master musicologist James McMillen
Featuring Lady Millea and special guest John Millea on backup vocals
Ensemble Cast: The Hiplomats

Official Website

Title - I Don’t Mind Missing You
Artist - Lady Millea

For those unaware, we are thrilled to aid in the promotion of the first CD featuring recently discovered chanteuse, Lady Millea.

As part of an amazing two CD package promotional release, we’re once again faced with a bona fide mystery: Where did this equally unknown and elegant musical ingenue come from and why have we never heard of her?

We’re convinced that in the ensuing weeks and months we won’t be the only ones asking this artistically pertinent question, given that it comes on the back of the upcoming J. Frederick Millea (aka L.A. Cowboy) CD The Big Pitch.

Boutique label Reconcile Records was formed as a creative vehicle through which to purvey timeless, world-class, lyric-driven songs framed by outstanding musical performances.

This CD I Don’t Mind Missing You (out August 15th, 2021 via Reconcile Records) provides additional evidence of their quest, as well as further confirmation of their professional capacity to deliver the goods.

While initially formed to showcase the talented temerity of LA. Cowboy, they’ve decided, on a very limited basis, to expose and exhibit extraordinary talent when it corresponds with the core vision of the label.

Fortunately they have an entire catalog of eclectic virgin songs, that are at once original and refreshing, displaying intellectual depth seasoned bon vivant, raconteur and reluctant industry rebel, the aforementioned J. Frederick Millea to draw from.

So yes, it is certainly thrilling to release this first CD by songstress extraordinaire, Lady Millea. We’re confident her heart-melting voice combining poignant purity with a sultry sophistication something akin to Sarah Vaughn meets Karen Carpenter will redefine the current musical standard for unassuming elegance.

Sprinkle it all with the mystique of a gracious, almost other-wordly angel on assignment and you have a sonic masterpiece fit to entertain and enthrall, as well as elevate, enrich and enlighten everyone from plain folks to the most discriminating connoisseurs.

So who is this mysterious woman with the mystifying voice? As our ensuing international promotion campaign unfolds we’ll just have to find that out together.

Reconcile Records has certainly proven thus far to be full of amazing surprises. With such an unprecedented initial showing as their first twos releases, we can only begin to envision what they might have ins tore.

At this point the record label appears to be in total lockstep with their mission statement, which simply reads: Music that stimulates the mind as well as the senses.

1. I Don’t Mind Missing You
2. Almost
3. Slow Healing
4. Play On
5. The Museum
6. You And I
7. My Heart Sings
8. Hold Me
9. Why Do I?

Opening on the lushly orchestrated title track I Don’t Mind Missing You and the cool breeze luster of Almost, they are backed seamlessly by the mid-tempo balladry of Slow Healing, the melodically thoughtful Play On, and then we get a soulfully hypnotic tale told within The Museum.

Next up is the beautiful sculptured You And I, a track that you will listen to more than once on repeat, trust me and then we get the uplifting My Heart Sings, the album rounding out with the diligent yearning of Hold Me, coming to a close on the self-questioning ponderances within Why Do I?

Lady Millea - vocals
Glen Burger - tenor and alto sax, flute, penny whistle
Phil Finesse - drums
Johnny Hatton - stand-up bass
Sam Hirsch - Vintage Vibe electric piano and piano
Fino Roverato - electric and acoustic guitars (nylon guitar - track 1)
Brian Acsenzo - mandolin and electric guitar

Official Website

Title - Conversations
Artist - Rodney Jordan & Christian Fabian

For those unaware, Rodney Jordan and Christian Fabian have recently released a new album of bass duos called Conversations.

This unique compilation of songs ranges from free improv/conversation-style to DeSpiritu-tone rows by Hildegard von Bingen, a German abbess who lived from 1098-1179.

She used music to heal people by singing tone rows to them. Included are some standards from the American Song Book and original songs by Rodney Jordan & Christian Fabian. The song 432 has the overtone series on the bass with overdubs up to the 7th.

The entire recording was done in A=432hz - the original tuning of A up until Mozart’s time. There was a belief that the original tuning of A at 432hz has a healing affect on the listener’s body.

Both Jordan and Fabian were both intrigued by this notion and thought the best way to find out would be to do a recording in this old tuning to see if it resonated with the listener.

Their goal overall was to bring back the 432 healing frequencies and introduce some meditative improvisations in combination with songs.

1. Just For You
2. Happy To Be Alive
3. My One and Only Love
4. Robin’s Theme
5. The Ride Over
6. Body and Soul
7. Conversations #4
8. The Kind Giant
9. DeSpiritu #2
10. DeSpiritu #4
11. 432
12. Conversations #1

Opening on the diligent Just For You and the earnest yearn of Happy To Be Alive, they follow those up with the ornateness of both My One and Only Love and Robin’s Theme and then we get two of my own personal favorites back-to-back, the gentle funk of The Ride Over and the almost stoic ambiance of Body and Soul.

Next up is the finger-snapping title track Conversations #4 and then the thoughtfully sculptured The Kind Giant which are in turn backed seamlessly by the ardent pairing of DeSpiritu #2 and Despiritu #4, with the album rounding out on the atmospheric 432, closing on the orchestrally magnificent Conversations #1.

Rodney Jordan: bass
Christian Fabian: bass

Title - The Horses and the Hounds
Artist - James McMurtry

For those unaware, on James McMurtry’s new effort, The Horses and the Hounds, the acclaimed songwriter backs personal narratives with effortless elegance (Canola Fields) and endless energy (If It Don’t Bleed), never once bowing to the hand of commerciality.

This first collection in seven years, due August 20th, 2021 via New West Records, spotlights a seasoned tunesmith in peak form as he turns toward reflection (Vaquero) and revelation (closer Blackberry Winter).

Familiar foundations guide the journey. There’s a definite Los Angeles vibe to this record, McMurtry says. The ghost of Warren Zevon seems to be stomping around among the guitar tracks. Don’t know how he got in there. He never signed on for work for hire.

Accordingly, the new collection marks another upward trajectory: The Horses and the Hounds will be McMurtry’s debut album on the aforementioned, genre-defining Americana record label New West Records (Steve Earle, Rodney Crowell, Lucinda Williams, John Hiatt, Aaron Lee Tasjan, Buddy Miller, dozens more).

1. Canola Fields
2. If It Don’t Bleed
3. Operation Never Mind 4. Jackie
5. Decent Man
6. Vaquero
7. The Horses and the Hounds
8. Ft. Walton Wake-Up Call
9. What’s The Matter
10. Blackberry Winter

This simply magnificent, troubadour-esque musical outing opens on the gently hipsway of Canola Fields and the slightly more upbeat, Zevon and Petty-imbued If It Don’t Bleed and backs those up with the gentle foot tapper Operation Never Mind, the earnest balladry of Jackie and then brings us the Americana storytelling within Decent Man.

Next up is the gentle hipsway of Vaquero and the funky blues rock of the title track, The Horses and the Hounds, which is itself backed by the countrified twang of Ft. Walton Wake-Up Call, the album rounding out on the gently rambunctious rocker What’s The Matter, closing on the roots-rock ambiance of Blackberry Winter.

The Horses and the Hounds is a reunion of sorts. McMurtry recorded the new album with legendary producer Ross Hogarth (Ozzy Osbourne, John Fogerty, Van Halen, Keb’ Mo’) at Jackson Browne’s Groove Masters in Santa Monica, California, a world class studio that has housed such legends as Bob Dylan (2012’s Tempest) and David Crosby (2016’s Lighthouse) as well as Browne himself for I’m Alive (1993) and New Found Glory, Coming Home (2006).

McMurtry and Hogarth first worked together 30 years ago, when Hogarth was a recording engineer in the employ of John Mellencamp at Mellencamp’s own Belmont Studios near Bloomington, Indiana.

Hogarth recorded McMurtry’s first two albums, Too Long in the Wasteland and Candyland, for Columbia Records and later mixed McMurtry’s first self-produced album, Saint Mary of the Woods, for Sugar Hill Records.

Another veteran of those three releases, guitarist David Grissom (Joe Ely, John Mellencamp, Dixie Chicks), returns with some of his finest work.

Other accolades include a 1996 Grammy nomination for Long Form Music Video for Where’d You Hide the Body and an American Indie Award for Best Americana Album for It Had to Happen (1997).

McMurtry tours year-round and consistently throws down unparalleled powerhouse performances, reflected in the release of two live discs: the universally lauded Live in Aught-Three on Compadre Records, and 2009’s Live in Europe, which captured the McMurtry band’s first European tour and extraordinary live set.

Along with seasoned band members Ronnie Johnson, Daren Hess, and Tim Holt, Live in Europe features special guests Ian McLagan (Faces) and Jon Dee Graham (True Believers, Skunks). (Video of the performance is available on the included DVD).

Official Purchase Links

Official Website

Title - Songs of the Spires [Expanded Edition]
Artist - Gleaming Spires

For those not in the know, Leslie Bohem and David Kendrick met in the late ‘70s when David saw Les’ band Bates Motel. Kendrick joined as the band’s drummer.

They soon entered the studio with musician/producer, Andrew Gold, to capture their repertoire on tape. They garnered a regional following and played gigs up and down the West Coast, but a record contract eluded them.

They met Ron and Russel Mael of Sparks in 1980 and invited them to come see the band. But, instead of the brothers producing them, they asked Leslie and David to join Sparks.

While on tour with Sparks in Germany, Leslie and David continued writing songs, and upon their return, demoed them with Jules & The Polar Bears member, Stephen Hague.

The demo found its way to KROQ in Los Angeles, and the radio exposure led Posh Boy Records to sign the band, now named Gleaming Spires.

Songs Of The Spires was released in 1981 and this new, expanded edition of Songs Of The Spires (out September 17th, 2021 via Omnivore Recordings) is produced for release by David Kendrick, Chaim O’Brien-Blumenthal, and Grammy®-winner Cheryl Pawelski.

It features the original album tracks, a rare B-side, the Life Out On The Lawn EP, and 6 previously unissued Bates Motel tracks from their sessions with Andrew Gold.

10. THE WAY MARLENA MOVES – Bates Motel* [Bonus Track]
11. REAL TIME – Bates Motel* [Bonus Track]
12. ONLY THE YOUNG DIE YOUNG – Bates Motel* [Bonus Track]
13. DEDICATION – Bates Motel* [Bonus Track]
14. UNEXPECTED OVERNIGHTERS – Bates Motel* [Bonus Track]
15. REAL LOVE – Bates Motel* [Bonus Track]
16. WALK RIGHT [Bonus Track]
17. LIFE OUT ON THE LAWN [Bonus Track]
18. SOMEWHERE [Bonus Track]
19. PASSION PIT [Bonus Track]

* Previously unissued

This wondrously eclectic debut album opens on the early ’80s synth funk of GOING HEY HEY and the vivacious pop beats of ARE YOU READY FOR THE SEX GIRLS? and follows them up seamlessly with the glossy WHILE WE CAN, the synth pop art of WHEN LOVE GOES UNDER GLASS and then the balladry of THE END OF ALL GOOD THINGS is brought forth.

Next up is the gently frenetic WATCH YOUR BLOOD BEAT and the foot-tapping HOW TO GET GIRLS THRU HYPNOTISM, which are in turn followed by the pop-tastic, OMD-esque TALKING IN THE DARK, the original album closing out on the opaque stance of BIG HOTELS.

The rash of bonus tracks here is a joyous delight, and for the most part featuring previously unissued cuts, such as the rockier Bates Motel tracks THE WAY MARLENA MOVES and the pop-punk of ONLY THE YOUNG DIE YOUNG, along with the brilliant AOR of UNEXPECTED OVERNIGHTERS.

Gleaming Spires’ debut album, Songs of the Spires, was issued in 1981 and the follow-up, Walk on Well Lighted Streets, in 1983. Both were produced by Stephen Hauge (New Order, Pet Shop Boys, OMD).

Prior to recording their second album, the Spires grew to a quartet with the addition of Bob Haag (Bates Motel, Sparks) and Jim Goodwin (John Cale, Sparks).

The band enlisted Greg Penny (k.d. lang, Elton John) to produce their well-received 1984 Party EP and their 1985 album Welcoming a New Ice Age.

They even had time to write songs for — and appear in — the film School Spirit (made for Roger Corman’s production company).

Post-Spires, Bohem and Kendrick continued to work together, adding Paul Cutler (45 Grave, The Dream Syndicate) on guitar.

Calling themselves Eleven Blue Men, they only recorded two tracks; a band wasn’t meant to be as Bohem became a screenwriter (Dante’s Peak, The Alamo) and Kendrick went to work with Bob and Mark Mothersbaugh — eventually joining Devo as their drummer.

These new, expanded editions are produced for release by Kendrick, Chaim O’Brien-Blumenthal, and Grammy®-winner Cheryl Pawelski.

Packaging for all features expanded artwork, lyrics, photos, an essay from producer O’Brien-Blumenthal, plus interviews and track-by-track commentary by Bohem and Kendrick.

Official Purchase Link

Omnivore Gleaming Spires - Reissues Trailer

Title - Walk On Well Lighted Streets: Expanded
Artist - Gleaming Spires

For those not in the know, Leslie Bohem and David Kendrick met in the late ‘70s when David saw Les’ band Bates Motel. Kendrick joined as the band’s drummer.

They soon entered the studio with musician/producer, Andrew Gold, to capture their repertoire on tape. They garnered a regional following and played gigs up and down the West Coast, but a record contract eluded them.

They met Ron and Russel Mael of Sparks in 1980 and invited them to come see the band. But, instead of the brothers producing them, they asked Leslie and David to join Sparks.

Their debut, Songs Of The Spires, was released in 1981 and the song, Are You Ready For The Sex Girls was a radio hit and MTV staple, even being featured in the films Revenge Of The Nerds and The Last American Virgin.

Still on tour as members of Sparks, Bohem and Kendrick added Bates Motel guitarist Bob Haag and Sparks keyboardist Jimbo Goodwin to the line-up.

The new four member version of Gleaming Spires recorded Walk On Well Lighted Streets which appeared in 1983. They once again worked with Stephen Hague (Pet Shop Boys, New Order, O. M. D.) as their producer and contributor.

This new, expanded edition of Walk On Well Lighted Streets is produced for release by Kendrick, Chaim O’Brien-Blumenthal, and Grammy®-winner Cheryl Pawelski features the original album, the Party EP produced by Greg Penny (k.d. lang, Elton John), two tracks from Revenge Of The Nerds, and their contribution to the film Bad Manners — which gets its first official release here.

11. FUNK FOR CHILDREN [Bonus Track]
12. DOES YOUR MOTHER KNOW? [Bonus Track]
13. CHRISTINE [Bonus Track]
14. BRAIN BUTTON [Bonus Track]
15. FUNK FOR CHILDREN (Part II) [Bonus Track]
16. BRAIN BUTTON (Part II) [Bonus Track]
18. ARE YOU READY FOR THE SEX GIRLS? (Full Band Version) [Bonus Track]
19. ALL NIGHT PARTY [Bonus Track]

* Previously unissued

This wondrously eclectic debut album opens on the AOR of MINING and the lush, early ’80s, mellow synth work within YOU’RE RIGHT and then we get brought forth the pop-tastic beats of BIG SURPRISE, the wonderful, sax-led title track WALK ON WELL LIGHTED STREETS, and then we get the gently frenetic, gentle punk-imbibed of FUN TYPE.

Next up is the drum-led, twinkling synth-rock orchestrations of A CHRISTIAN GIRL’S PROBLEM which is itself backed by the Split Enz-esque HAPPY BOY, the original album rounding out with the synth-pop urgency of AT TOGETHER, coming to a close on the shimmering THE MAKING LOVE PROJECT and the totally rocking YES I CAN.

The rash of bonus tracks here is a joyous delight, and now includes the Party EP, two tracks from Revenge Of The Nerds, and their contribution to the film Bad Manners, such as the Escape Club-esque FUNK FOR CHILDREN, a quite breathtaking cover of ABBA’s DOES YOUR MOTHER KNOW? and the synth hipsway of the previously unissued IT’S KINDA LIKE THE MOVIES.

Packaging features expanded artwork, lyrics, photos, an essay from O’Brien-Blumenthal, plus interviews and track by track commentary from Bohem and Kendrick.

Official Purchase Link

Omnivore Gleaming Spires - Reissues Trailer

Title - Welcoming A New Ice Age (Expanded)
Artist - Gleaming Spires

For those not in the know, Leslie Bohem and David Kendrick met in the late ‘70s when David saw Les’ band Bates Motel. Kendrick joined as the band’s drummer.

They soon entered the studio with musician/producer, Andrew Gold, to capture their repertoire on tape. They garnered a regional following and played gigs up and down the West Coast, but a record contract eluded them.

They met Ron and Russel Mael of Sparks in 1980 and invited them to come see the band. But, instead of the brothers producing them, they asked Leslie and David to join Sparks.

Their debut album, Songs Of The Spires, was released in 1981, and the follow up, Walk On Well Lighted Streets appeared in 1983. They continued to work with Greg Penny (k.d. lang, Elton John) as their producer after Penny produced the well-received Party EP.

Though the members of Gleaming Spires were still studio and touring members of Sparks, they found the time to record the Penny-helmed, Welcoming A New Ice Age which appeared in 1985.

They even had time to write songs for, and appear in the film, School Spirit. Sadly, Haag would leave the band right as a tour for the album was to begin, and the Spires decided to hang it up.

Bohem and Kendrick continued to work together, adding Paul Cutler (The Dream Syndicate) on guitar. Calling themselves Eleven Blue Men, only two tracks were actually recorded, but a band wasn’t meant to be.

Bohem became a screenwriter (Dante’s Peak, The Alamo) and Kendrick went to work the Bob and Mark Mothersbaugh — eventually joining Devo as their drummer.

This new, expanded edition of Welcoming A New Ice Age, produced for release by Kendrick, Chaim O’Brien-Blumenthal, and Grammy®-winner Cheryl Pawelski features the original album produced by Greg Penny (k.d. lang, Elton John), and 4 tracks from the film School Spirit (made for Roger Corman’s production company) — which get their first official release here, as well as, the tracks from the Eleven Blue Men sessions.

11. HARM
12. HERE COMES MR. FUNHOG* [Bonus Track]
13. DEDICATION* [Bonus Track]
14. I WANT MORE* [Bonus Track]
15. A BOY AND A GIRL* [Bonus Track]
16. SUSPICIOUS MINDS* [Bonus Track]
17. IT’S ALL RIGHT MA, I’M ONLY BLEEDING* – Eleven Blue Men [Bonus Track]
18. CRUMBLING* – Eleven Blue Men [Bonus Track]
19. THAT’S IT, FORGET IT* [Bonus Track]

* Previously unissued

This wondrously eclectic debut album opens on the pop-rock jangle of MERCY and the foot-poundingly vibrant rock the title track WELCOMING A NEW ICE AGE, and backs those up with the sweeping synth gossamer of TEARAWAY, the countrified twang of NO ONE COMING OVER, and then the free flowing melodies of YOUR SECRET ROOM are brought forth.

Next up is the drum-led AOR appeal of BIGGER THAN LIFE and the all-out guitar rock vibe of THINGS I HAVE DONE TO OUR LOVE, which are in turn backed by the lush lines of BLOWING UP MY LIFE, the pop-soft punk of WHAT’S COMING NEXT, the original album rounding out with the acute balladry of UNPROTECTED, closing on the pulsating, Eastern-imbued synth beats of HARM.

The rash of bonus tracks here is a joyous delight, and now includes 4 tracks from the film School Spirit (and which get their first official release here), as well as the tracks from the Eleven Blue Men sessions, such as the rambunctious rock of HERE COMES MR. FUNHOG, the ZZ Top-esque (trust me, listen to its rhythms and back beats) of A BOY AND A GIRL and the brilliantly exuberant IT’S ALL RIGHT MA, I’M ONLY BLEEDING.

Packaging features expanded artwork, lyrics, photos, an essay from O’Brien-Blumenthal, plus interviews and track by track commentary from Bohem and Kendrick.

Official Purchase Link

Omnivore Gleaming Spires - Reissues Trailer

Title - Bucket List
Artist - John McCutcheon

For those unaware, for fifty years John McCutcheon has toured the world with the exception of the past year and a half.

Without planes to catch, soundchecks to make, concert halls and clubs to fill, he stayed home and wrote – a lot.

He composed his last recording, Cabin Fever: Songs from the Quarantine, in a mere three weeks but he didn’t stop there.

“When you’re in that zone, you never want to leave it. It’s exciting, fascinating, revealing. You’re not entirely in control and you’re just hanging on for the ride!” he muses.

And what a ride it’s been! Once McCutcheon hit one hundred new songs, he decided to step back and try to figure out what, exactly, to do with this bounty.

The result is the first of a series of new recordings, Bucket List, out nationally on September 17th, 2021.

Filled with his well-known storytelling prowess, McCutcheon explores a small town in France that has harbored refugees for centuries, the piano that first played “We Shall Overcome,” his own musical mentors, moonshine, kids’ crayon art, the atonement of a former white supremacist, and even the World Lacrosse Games.

Rich with character and detail, each song is wrapped in his warm baritone and the loving attention that only a master songwriter brings to his craft.

1. Bucket List
2. Be Still
3. It’s Not
4. Farmer
5. Art
6. Atonement
7. Out Here
8. The Other
9. Ghost Town
10. Used To
11. Moonshiner
12. Peekaboo
13. Medicine Game
14. Le Chambon-sur-Lignon
15. Sins of the Father
16. The Hinge
17. Finally
18. Zilphia’s Piano

This quite beautifully crafted new album opens on the Celtic-imbued, smooth elegance of the title track Bucket List and backs that up with the charmingly strident Be Still, the gentle, orchestrated balladry of It’s Not, and then the laid back, low key storytelling strains of Farmer are brought forth, along with the gently frenetic guitar work of Art and then the sweepingly graceful Atonement.

Next up is the loving hipsway of both Out Here and The Other and McCutcheon follows those up with the isolation-imbibed theme of Ghost Town, and then we get the fiddle balladry of years and thoughts gone by within Used To, the upbeat melodies of Moonshiner, and then McCutcheon reminisces of his time as a child on the homestead, within Peekaboo.

The informative Medicine Game is then backed by the endearing Le Chambon-sur-Lignon (a true story about the same-named commune in the Haute-Loire department in south-central France where during World War II, these Huguenot residents made the commune a haven for Jews fleeing from the Nazis), with the album rounding out on the heartfelt personalization’s found within Sins of the Father, the upbeat and fun The Hinge, closing on the layered, mid-tempo Finally and then comes the quietly spacious offering, Zilphia’s Piano.

While Cabin Fever was a stark musical presentation, a single instrument and a voice, Bucket List has a richer palette. John brings in some of his longtime musical partners, Jon Carroll on piano, JT Brown on bass, and Stuart Duncan on fiddle and mandolin.

Adding his own multi-instrumental skills on guitar, banjo, and piano, the album retains the intimacy of “a conversation with an old friend,” as the Oakland Tribune has previously referred to the musician.

Bucket List, an 18-song feast, is McCutcheon’s 42nd release. He’ll follow it up with Leap!, out in mid-2022, a further exploration of the songs composed recently.

“Having too many songs is a nice problem to have,” he jokes. “I love these stories and wanted to share what I found therein. We simply recorded song after song, only dividing them up into different releases when we realized they all couldn’t fit on a single CD. So, there you go.”

The Smoke Rise, GA-based musician, whom Johnny Cash once referred to as “the most impressive instrumentalist I’ve ever heard” is greatly looking forward to sharing the new music as well as beloved favorites on the live circuit with his fans across the globe in 2022 and beyond.

For now, select live and online appearances are on deck for 2021.

Official Website

Official Pay-What-You-Will Purchase Link

John McCutcheon @ Facebook

John McCutcheon @ Twitter

Title - Pachamama
Artist - Flor Bromley

For those unaware, Pachamama, a new dual language album (English/Spanish) for families by powerhouse Peruvian singer Flor Bromley, is a tribute to her indigenous roots and a fusion of native elements and popular music genres.

Pachamama means Mother Earth in Quechua, a vernacular language of Peru, which you will also hear sprinkled throughout the album. The album is a collection of 21 songs: 10 in English and their equivalent 10 in Spanish, plus a bonus bilingual song called Luz (light).

These songs speak about Mother Earth in a unique and diverse way and encourages us to take care of the Earth and its elements while also taking care of each other accepting our differences and diversity.

Indeed, there is definitely something for everybody in this album: the music influences go from Huayno to Quebradita, Pop to Hip-Hop, Tango to Bachata, Country, Tanguillo, and Folk.

1. Pachamama (feat. Wendy Sulca) [English-Quechua Version]
2. Drop of Water
3. The Ocean (feat. Laurie Berkner)
4. Mango’s Tango
5. Peas and Carrots (feat. SaulPaul)
6. Totora Horse (feat. Justin Lansing)
7. Mother Nature
8. Ñusta Tika
9. Condor, Puma, Snake
10. Let’s Move It!
11. Luz
12. La Pachamama (feat. Wendy Sulca) [Spanish-Quechua Version]
13. Gota de Agua
14. El Océano (feat. Miss Laurita)
15. El Tango del Mango
16. Arvejitas y Zanahorias (feat. SaulPaul)
17. Caballito de Totora
18. La Naturaleza
19. Princesa Tika
20. Cóndor, Puma, Serpiente
21. Muévete

This quite delightfully heartfelt album opens on the English-Quechua versions of the atmospheric title track Pachamama (feat. Wendy Sulca) and then the lush Hawaiian hipsway of Drop of Water, and backs those up seamlessly with the melodically informative The Ocean (feat. Laurie Berkner), the cultured rhythms of Mango’s Tango, and then we are brought forth the Caribbean rap beats of Peas and Carrots (feat. SaulPaul) and the fun storytelling of Totora Horse (feat. Justin Lansing)

Next up is the guitar tour de force of Mother Nature and the harmonious delicacies of Ñusta Tika, which are in turn backed by the clap-happy Condor, Puma, Snake, the accordion-imbibed Let’s Move It!, and finally the gentle acoustic guitar balladry of the bonus bilingual song, Luz, before all the songs repeat again, this time via Spanish-Quechua versions.

The album also has some special award winning guests: Kindie queen Laurie Berkner, hip-hop musician with a message SaulPaul, Grammy winner Justin Lansing from The Okee Dokee Brothers, multi-talented violinist Elena Moon Park, Peruvian folk-pop star Wendy Sulca, and beloved children’s performer Miss Laurita.

Produced with attention to and respect for cultural authenticity, Pachamama offers a sampling of music from around the world: Andean huayno, bachata from the Dominican Republic, tanguillo from Cadiz, Tex-Mex quebradita, tango, country/folk, a Peruvian hip-hop fusion, and even more.

In closing, Pachamama is a never-ending rollercoaster of global music fun for children and grown-ups and thus is highly recommended!

Flor Bromley - The Ocean (Feat. Laurie Berkner) [Official Music Video]

Official Bandcamp Purchase Link

Official Website

Flor Bromley @ Facebook

Flor Bromley @ Twitter

Flor Bromley @ Instagram

Flor Bromley @ YouTube

Title - The Toy Dolls - The Albums 1989-1993 [5CD]
Artist - The Toy Dolls

For those unaware, The Toy Dolls are an English punk rock band formed in 1979. Departing from the angry lyrics and music often associated with punk rock, The Toy Dolls worked within the aesthetics of punk to express a sense of fun, with songs such as Yul Brynner Was a Skinhead, My Girlfriend’s Dad’s a Vicar and James Bond Lives Down Our Street.

Although there is often alliteration in their song titles (ie: Peter Practice’s Practice Place, Fisticuffs in Frederick Street, Neville Is a Nerd, Quick to Quit the Quentin), but they are probably best known however for their sole UK hit, a punk-rock cover of Nellie the Elephant.

Following on from the success of Captain Oi’s previous The Toy Dolls box-set (The Albums 1983-1987), a further 5 CDs (and some 74 tracks) make up the extensive second volume, The Toy Dolls - The Albums 1989-1993 (out September 3rd, 2021).

Disc 1 is the debut album Dig That Groove Baby which hit #10 in the Indie Chart back in 1983.

Disc One: Dig That Groove Baby (1983)

As I’m sure we are all well aware by now, The Toy Dolls are all about fun, and their long-awaited full-length debut, 1983’s Dig That Groove Baby, is an absolute punk gem.

Bandleader Olga (aka Michael Algar) is capable of jaw-droppingly fast guitar picking, while lending his purposefully effeminate voice to numerous silly characters.

Besides containing the definitive version of their classic Nellie the Elephant, the album finds Olga tackling other comedic ditties such as Spiders in the Dressing Room, Glenda and the Test Tube Baby, and the long-winded Queen Alexandra Road Is Where She Said She’d Be, But Was She There to Meet Me...No Chance.

Anyway, you get the picture and if all this doesn’t do it for you, then the band’s 100-mph cover of Blue Suede Shoes certainly will!

The second disc features 1985’s #4 Indie Chart album A Far Out Disc which includes the Indie hit singles We’re Mad (#4) and She Goes To Finos (#4).

Disc Two: A Far Out Disc (1985)

In 1985, and having already established themselves as the class clowns of the European punk scene, the band upped the ante by increasing the number of skits and segues and including a frenetic cover of the surf classic Wipe Out.

Guitar hero, pixie-thin British jester, and exhausting front man Olga leads the listener through a demented working-class Romper Room that begins and ends with the nursery rhyme instrumental A Far Out Theme Tune.

Other highlights include the Ramones-like She Goes to Finos, which was originally released in 1979 by Olga’s previous group, the Showbiz Kids, and the loony-bin anthem We’re Mad, which spent 13 weeks in the indie Top 20.

A few of the instrumental segues, like Chartbuster/Razzmatazz Outro, interfere with the flow of the record as opposed to smoothing it out, and the production is a bit muddier than the band’s previous offering.

While not as strong as other records in their catalog, even a weak Toy Dolls album harnesses more energy than an entire year of new releases!

Idle Gossip (1986), the band’s third album, and an Indie Chart #12, is to be found on Disc 3 and it includes the Geordie’s Gone To Jail hit single.

Disc Three: Idle Gossip (1986)

With their continued trademark sound of hyperactive, wacky punk that hasn’t changed one bit since the Toy Dolls started out, Idle Gossip not only maintains the tradition of having a playful attitude, but it also never fails to get old no matter how many albums they put out.

The wackiness and energy are still there with Olga’s helium-fueled vocals and the 78-rpm speed. It’s always great to see a band like the Toy Dolls maintain their offbeat sense of humor, and with nursery rhyme song titles like Silly Billy, You Won’t Be Merry on the North Ferry and I’ll Get Even with Steven, this record provides the ultimate alternative to anti-depressive medication.

Disc 4 features 1987’s Bare Faced Cheek LP with its seminal Yul Brynner Was A Skinhead opus!

Disc Four: Bare Faced Cheek (1987)

In truth, Bare Faced Cheek is a rather uneven offering from punk comedians the Toy Dolls, proving that no amount of humor can make up for average songwriting.

Despite their hilarious lyrics, tunes such as Yul Brynner Was a Skinhead and How Do You Deal With Neal? quickly fade from memory.

And though singer/guitarist Olga and his ever-changing backup cast score a few winners with Fisticuffs on Frederick Street and Howza Bouta Kiss Babe, it’s far too little to make this album interesting to anyone but hardcore fans.

The fifth disc features 20 non-LP cuts by the band including their ultra-rare debut 45s, their contribution to the legendary Strength Thru Oi! compilation plus the not-so-rare, but nonetheless very important UK National Chart #3 smash hit Nellie The Elephant.

Disc Five: Rare Dolls
10. H.O!

Rare Dolls is a rather fantastic collection to round out the new 5 CD set nicely, especially as it features a lot of their most famous recordings.

In closing, this fifth and final disc not only makes this a must have for all The Toy Dolls fans, but given it features most all of their best work, is most definitely a brilliant, and conclusive collection of the band’s formative years.

The booklet includes notes on each of the albums plus pictures of all the sleeves whilst each disc comes in a cardboard wallet depicting the original artwork and all are housed in a sturdy clam shell box!

Official 5CD Purchase Link

Title - Late Style
Artist - Wesley Stace

For those unaware, with his brand new album Late Style, Wesley Stace, the artist formerly known as John Wesley Harding, has done things differently.

Having begun to put some new lyrics to music, in his usual way, singing to an acoustic guitar, he realized he was coming up with old solutions, reinventing a wheel he had already made, with chord progressions and melodies that worked as folk and pop songs but were not satisfying his desire for something fresh - something he’d be excited to listen to in 2021.

So, he turned to David Nagler, the musical director of his portable variety show, the Cabinet of Wonders, to be the Rodgers to his Hart, the Elton to his Bernie, the Bachrach to his David.

Ergo, Late Style is influenced by artists like Mose Allison, Carla Bley, Nina Simone, Bob Dorough, Steely Dan, Harry Nilsson, Gil Scott-Heron, The Bee Gees, Tom Lehrer, The Carpenters, and even The Partridge Family, without imitating them, so the songs feel modern and “modern” all at once.

You can call them uneasy easy listening—smooth, but oddly shaped, with surprising harmonic changes and rhythmic angles. They have the paradoxical flavor of having been written to be hits without any thought of having hits at all.


Opening on the rhythmic one-two step of WHERE THE BANDS ARE and the finger-snapping melodies of EVERYTHING ALL THE TIME, Wesley backs those up seamlessly with the lushly layered YOUR BRIGHT FUTURE, the gently upbeat and perky HEY! DIRECTOR, and then we get the ’70s-imbibed hipsway of COME BACK YESTERDAY and the late night, underground jazz café vibe of of one of my own personal favorites, ALL THE YOUS.

Next up is the free flowing majesty of THE CALIFORNIA FIX and the drum-led WELL DONE EVERYONE, which are in turn followed by the translucent orchestrations of THE IMPOSSIBLE SHE, the relaxed ambiance of DO NOTHING IF YOU CAN, with the album rounding out with the Hammond-backed JUST SAYIN’, closing on the easygoing, summers breeze of HOW YOU ALL WORK ME.

Though Wesley had originally imagined a record that “a phenomenally well-rehearsed combo might record in a club, perhaps even in front of an audience,” COVID had other plans.

But through the mysterious magic of modern technology, the recording came together out of Philadelphia, where Wesley lives; New York, where David built tracks from keyboards, acoustic guitars and virtual instruments; San Francisco, where Wes’s longtime friend and collaborator Chris von Sneidern (a solo artist in his own right and sometime member of the Flamin’ Groovies) added electric guitar, vocals, horns and the drums of Prairie Prince (The Tubes, Todd Rundgren, Jefferson Starship); and Chicago, where Kelly Hogan and Nora O’Connor of the Flat Five added harmonies.

As Barry Gifford (renowned poet, author of Wild At Heart, screenwriter of David Lynch’s Lost Highway, and more) says in his liner notes: Late Style (available on CD and both standard and high resolution digital) is perfect for listening to on late night radio.

“It’s late, but we’ll get it done. Well done, everyone!”, adds Wesley, “Well Done Everyone.”

Official Purchase Link

Title - Solar Flash
Artist - Asaf Sirkis

For those unaware, Solar Flash is the new album of Israeli born and UK based drummer, composer, arranger and educator Asaf Sirkis, featuring a stellar line-up consisting of English keyboardist extraordinaire Gary Husband, Scottish bassist Kevin Glasgow, and special guests Polish vocalist Sylwia Bialas and USA born English guitarist Mark Wingfield.

So fully expect some haunting outer space electro-acoustic sounds with a wide range of dynamics ranging from Erik-Satie-like gentle ballads all the way to high energy electric Prog-jazz-improv and everything in between.

1. Kinship (6:35)
2. Under The Ice (5:44)
3. Aquila (5:20)
4. Polish Suite - Part 1 (4:06)
5. Polish Suite - Part 2 (7:56)
6. For Eric (9:00)
7. Solar Flash (6:06)
8. Polish Suite - Part 3 (4:57)

The simply translucent, free flowing, spatially supreme majesty of Kinship opens this quite wondrous new album and that is backed by the more meditative Under The Ice and then one of my own personal favorites, the ornate mysticism of Aquila is brought forth.

Next up we get Parts 1 and 2 of Polish Suite, where first a dulcet piano entwines with the quietly impassioned vocals of Sylwia Bialas, before the second part brings a more ethereal, jazz centric ambiance to the fore.

Recorded at La Casamurada studio, Banyeres del Penedes, Catalunya, Spain, by Jesus Rovira, next up is the sweepingly layered For Eric, with the album rounding out on the atmospheric, other worldly cascade of the title track Solar Flash, closing on the gently gilded guitar and drum work of Polish Suite - Part 3.

ASAF SIRKIS - drums, compositions, arrangements
GARY HUSBAND - acoustic piano, keyboards
KEVIN GLASGOW - 6 string electric bass guitar
SYLWIA BIALAS - vocals (1, 3, 4)
MARK WINGFIELD - electric guitar (3, 5, 8)

Official Bandcamp Purchase Link

Asaf Sirkis @ Twitter

Asaf Sirkis @ YouTube

Asaf Sirkis @ Facebook

Title - PAKT
Artist - Jones / Skolnick / Grohowski / Motzer

For those unaware, PAKT is made up of fretless bass guitar icon Percy Jones, guitarists Alex Skolnick and Tim Motzer, and drummer Kenny Grohowski.

They are all very experienced players. Welsh bassist Jones (a New York resident) is known for his tenure in the jazz fusion group Brand X, as well as extensive studio work with Brian Eno, Suzanne Vega, David Sylvian.

Skolnick is best known as the lead guitarist in the thrash metal band Testament; he went on to freelance work, playing jazz with his Alex Skolnick Trio, and experimenting with World Music and Progressive Rock.

Grohowski is one of the busiest drummers in business, and his recent associations include John Zorn, Brand X, Imperial Triumphant, Kilter, Felix Pastorius & Hipster Assassins, John Medeski, Lonny Plaxico, Tony Levin, Beledo, Markus Reuter, and many others.

Motzer has a long background in free improvisation as well, including the bands Bandit65 (with fellow guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel) and Orion Tango, plus many other recorded collaborations for his 1k Recordings label.

PAKT recalls the fearless attitude and daring approach that originally defined progressive music: where the magic of the moment always triumphed over preconception.

Templates be damned for their music, let alone this new 2CD album simply entitled PAKT blazes its own path! This is truly exquisite fare, serving as a reminder to aficionados of what initially drew them to this most creative, visionary of genres.

CD 1:
1. Emergence (12:23)
2. Over Strange Lands (7:49)
3. The Mystery (12:46)
4. The Unsilence (6:18)
5. Brothers Of Energy (9:59)

CD 2:
6. Perseverance (8:05)
7. The Sacred Ladder (7:25)
8. Drifts & Alignments (11:42)
9. Night Crossings (6:12)
10. The Great Spirit (10:24)
11. Departure Sanctuary (7:37)
12. Cosmic Fire (5:15)

Recorded live at the ShapeShifter Lab, Brooklyn, NY, August 15th, 2020, during the lockdown, this rather excellent double album opens with the first CD (Chapter One: The Unsilence) on the scintillating strands of Emergence and the bold attitude of Over Strange Lands before bringing us the growth and development found between the spatially layered lines of The Mystery, and then we get brought forth the daring approach of solace within magnitude on The Unsilence, and finally we are presented some defined electronic progression on Brothers Of Energy.

The second CD (Chapter Two: The Sacred Ladder) opens on the cultured mannerisms found within Perseverance and then comes one of my own personal favorites, the ornately sculptured layers of The Sacred Ladder, which are in turn followed by the tantalizingly improvisational ebbs and flows of Drifts & Alignments, the abstract soundscapes created within Night Crossings, the creatively processed sonic wrinkles that lusciously permutate The Great Spirit, with the album rounding out on the visionary of genres that beats within Departure Sanctuary, before bringing the recording to a highly satisfying conclusion with the textural fearlessness of Cosmic Fire.

It was the Plague Year, and musicians denied the ability to tour and play in front of a live audience quickly began to pivot to virtual concerts.

As early as April performances from musician’s homes started (including one large series that was titled Live From Our Living Rooms).

By August some conventional performance venues had gotten into the act, including the Village Vanguard and Smalls Jazz Club in New York City.

But this ShapeShifter Lab concert felt like a real event: four experienced improvisers getting together in a room to create music spontaneously, just like in the Before Times.

The players were masked and socially distanced, as the current public health guidelines demanded. There was only the most minimal live audience: just a few staff to open the venue and film the event.

But there was plenty of electricity, running through the instruments and between the musicians. Odd to play six feet apart and masked, certainly, but not enough to dampen the joy of playing live music together for the first time in months.

They played two sets, each about 50 minutes long, and the album version presents the music with very little editing.

The first set began with gentle interweaving guitars (Alex Skolnick on electric, Tim Motzer on acoustic-electric) joined initially by Percy Jones’ fretless bass and cymbal washes from drummer Kenny Grohowski.

Before long they locked into a groove and Skolnick took his first solo, a keening melodic excursion.

As the set went on there was also space for an abstract soundscape with sampled news voices, scraping guitar noises, and Motzer’s bowed guitar; a big Skolnick solo with overdrive and harmonizer (and his trademark speed); and Motzer’s solid-body guitar solo (switching from the acoustic-electric he favored most of the time) with wild whammy effects.

Above all else there was a great sense of flow, which included dynamic contrast. At full force this band is formidable, but they could whisper too.

The second set added some new sonic wrinkles: Motzer’s rare acoustic guitar solo (he usually employs electronic processing, even when playing an acoustic-electric instrument), as well as a bit of slide; Jones got a couple of striking solo spots; at one point Grohowski played his drum kit with his hands; and Skolnick contributed both looping and full-on guitar hero solos.

It was an altogether fearless, rich night of music making, with all of the magic fully evident in this live document.

PERCY JONES - bass guitar
TIM MOTZER - guitars, electronics

Official Bandcamp Purchase Link

Title - Until The Sun Drowns [Vinyl]
Artist - Flight Club

For those unaware, Richmond, VA based rock band Flight Club cut their teeth hitting every club venue or living room they could book during their college days, before hitting the road for regional touring.

After a successful year of touring the eastern seaboard and Midwest, as well as the band’s first trip to Canada, Flight Club signed a deal with Richmond-based label Open Your Ears Records.

Together they released the late 2019 EP, Recreational Love, produced by Four Year Strong’s Alan Day.

Almost immediately after the release, Flight Club began gearing up to record their first full-length album, Until The Sun Drowns.

With time off from touring due to Covid, the band was able to pour all of their attention into writing music and pairing the songs with engaging music videos.

The result is a cathartic collection of songs spanning an array of vivid emotions fueled by the band’s desire to connect with the listener on a more honest level.

Until The Sun Drowns will be released on July 30th, 2021 via Open Your Ears Records (purchase link below).

1. Another Great Unknown
2. Adolescence
3. I’ve Been Kicked Out Of Better Homes Than This
4. High Roller
5. Dust Bunny
6. Two Tongues
7. Good Company
8. Like You Mean It
9. Visitors
10. Come Back
11. Patterns

This vivaciously, and all round excellent album that has high hopes of being the last bastion of the true rock and grunge era, opens on the melodious, mid-tempo Another Great Unknown and the upbeat vocalizations and beating heart of Adolescence and backs those up seamlessly with the angst-ridden, racing energy of I’ve Been Kicked Out Of Better Homes Than This, the unwaveringly earnest catchy instrumentation hooks within High Roller, the gentler, euphonic musicianship and vocals of Dust Bunny, and then comes the addictively stylistic guitar work of Two Tongues.

Next up is one of my own personal favorites, the free flowing indie/alt drive and passion of Good Company and the cultured freneticism of pop-rocker Like You Mean It which are in turn backed by the uncomplicated, lighthearted guitar fare of Visitors, the album rounding out on the the balladry ebb and flow of Come Back, closing on the richly embodied soundscapes of the profusely canorous Patterns.

“For us, Until The Sun Drowns was the opportunity to explore so many of the influences that we wanted to touch on as a band, without sacrificing songs or styles to fit the mold of what our genre should sound like,” shares guitarist Sam Tucker.

“We hope anyone who listens to this record can hear the freedom of creativity that we felt working on each song. There’s truly something for everyone on this album and we hope it can speak to you as a whole.”

On the lead single, he adds: “This song is just plain fun for us. From the instrumentation, to the title, it’s just a high energy track that was designed for our live show. We just can’t wait to play it for people.”

Flight Club - I’ve Been Kicked Out Of Better Homes Than This (Official Music Video)

Flight Club - Adolescence (Official Music Video)

Flight Club - High Roller (Official Music Video)

Official Purchase Link

Flight Club @ Facebook

Flight Club @ Twitter

Flight Club @ Instagram

Title - Re:Connection
Artist - Greg Loughman

For those unaware, Greg Loughman has performed and/or recorded with artists including Danilo Perez, Jerry Bergonzi, George Garzone, Hal Galper, Yoko Miwa, Mark Murphy, and many others.

His brand new album Re:Connection (due out September 24th, 2021), is a suite of 7 songs that seeks to explore the current state of disconnection from a musical standpoint.

We live in a deeply divided country; divided racially, divided politically, divided economically, and increasingly isolated not only from our neighbors, but from our close friends and loved ones.

1. Disunion (7:44)
2. Isolation (6:49)
3. From All Sides (8:59)
4. Transition (2:02)
5. Grow (5:32)
6. Home (6:41)
7. Horizons (7:09)

This exquisitely succulent new album opens on the traditional fare of Disunion (originally entitled Darling Nelly Grey and which is a Civil War era song) and the layered, smoky ambiance of Isolation, before abruptly transitioning into the fevered swirling unrest of From All Sides.

One of my own personal favorites, the earnest moments of reflection within the short but sweet Transition is up next and that is backed by the ornately sculptured ebb and flow of Grow, the album rounding out with the wistful balladry of Home, closing on the exploratively euphoric, vibrant troughs and ridges of Horizons.

Born in Zanesville, Ohio, Loughman currently lives in Boston, Massachusetts, where he earned a Master of Music degree from the Berklee Global Jazz Institute.

Loughman claims that the creation of this music has led him to create an organization called the New England Jazz Connections or NEJC.

The mission of NEJC is to connect musicians, audiences, and performance spaces throughout New England and to put on concerts that will raise money for worthy causes.

Similarly to his predecessors, Loughman’s music is an escape into the after hours sphere.

Greg Loughman - bass (pronounced “loaf-men”)
Nathan Kay - Trumpet
Dan Elbert - Alto Saxophone
Anton Derevyenko - Tenor Saxophone (pronounced “dare-ev-yen-ko”)
Matt Stubbs - clarinet and bass clarinet
Anastassiya Petrova - piano
Tyson Jackson - drums
Nadia Washington - voice
Faris Ishaq - Nay (pronounced “Fare-iss E-shock”)
Jerry Leake - percussion (pronounced “leak”)
Max O’Rourke - guitar, sounds

Re:Connection - Greg Loughman Explains

Official Website

Greg Loughman @ Instagram

Greg Loughman @ YouTube

Greg Loughman @ Facebook

Title - Midnight Sun
Artist - Bryan Lubeck

For those unaware, Midnight Sun is the much-anticipated new release from Billboard Magazine Critics’ Choice artist Bryan Lubeck.

Weaving Bryan’s signature Spanish guitar sound with pop, funk, and urban influences, Midnight Sun’s 11-track collection (out August 27th, 2021 via Vineyard Music) delivers immersive, front-to-back listening pleasure.

Indeed, collaborations with guitarist Felton Offard (Hamilton), saxophonist Nick Bisesi (Ramsey Lewis “Urban Knight”), and a live strings section create an authentic and emotive music experience.

1. Invincible
2. Rocket Fuel
3. Sara Smile
4. Come Dance
5. Road To Mackinac
6. If You Only Knew
7. Midnight Sun
8. Sun Dress
9. Till I’m Found
10. Alex Arrives
11. Adirondack

Opening on the rhythmically easy-going Invincible and the foot-tapping, guitar-enriched melodies of Rocket Fuel, next up is a simply magical rendition of Hall & Oates’ Sara Smile, which is backed by the more forthright Come Dance, the heavenly, Chris Rea-esque build of Road To Mackinac and then some translucent rhythmic visions are brought forth within If You Only Knew.

The pleasurable jaunt of the title track itself Midnight Sun is itself followed by the laid back, summers breeze of Sun Dress, then comes the gently countrified fare of Till I’m Found, with the album rounding out on the clemently funky Alex Arrives, coming to a close on the atmospherically-imbibed Adirondack.

Amazon Purchase Link

Official Website

Bryan Lubeck @ Instagram

Bryan Lubeck @ Twitter

Bryan Lubeck @ Facebook

Title - Naturally Live [Deluxe Edition]
Artist - Ten Years After

For those not in the know, Ten Years After are best known for their Platinum selling album A Space in Time which featured the Top 40 hit I’d Love to Change the World, and their prodigious performance appearance at the Woodstock Festival in upstate New York, August 1969.

Furthermore, their rendition of I’m Going Home was featured in both the subsequent film and soundtrack album and catapulted them to star status.

Original members Ric Lee and Chick Churchill have continued this legacy and are now rounded out by Guitarist/Vocalist Marcus Bonfanti and Bass Icon Colin Hodgkinson.

Naturally Live was recorded at HsD, Erfurt, Germany on 24th March 2018 and contains live recordings such as: Land Of The Vandals, Silverspoon Lady & Last Night Of The Bottle taken from their phenomenally successful studio album A Sting In The Tale.

These tracks are combined with old favorites such as I’d Love To Change The World, Hear Me Calling, Good Morning Little Schoolgirl and, of course, the Woodstock killer track I’m Going Home.

Also included is the band’s semi-acoustic section of their current live show which features three tracks from the very early days in 1967: Portable People, Don’t Want You Woman and Losing The Dogs.

This Naturally Live: Deluxe Edition due out August 13th, 2021 also contains I Say Yeah which was previously only available on the vinyl edition and the previously unreleased rendition of 32-20 Blues performed by bassist Colin Hodgkinson.

1. Land of the Vandals
2. One Of These Days
3. Hear Me Calling
4. I’d Love To Change The World
5. Silverspoon Lady
6. Last Night Of The Bottle
7. Portable People
8. Don’t Want You Woman
9. Losing The Dogs
10. 50,000 Miles Beneath My Brain
11. Good Morning Little Schoolgirl
12. I’m Going Home
13. Ric Lee Introducing TYA
14. I Say Yeah [Bonus Track]
15. 32-20 Blues [Bonus Track]

This thunderously vibrant AOR/blues album opens on the foot-to-floor pounder Land of the Vandals and the cultured blues riffs found on One Of These Days, and then we get the lighter mid-tempo fare of Hear Me Calling, a quite stunning rendition of their own smash hit I’d Love To Change The World, and then comes the blues funk of Silverspoon Lady.

Next up is the masterful, guitar-led showcase of the arts within Last Night Of The Bottle and the melodic harmonies of Portable People, which are in turn followed by the lowdown, piano-imbed blues shuffle of Don’t Want You Woman, the upbeat and flavorful acoustic rock of Losing The Dogs and then some beautifully orchestrated, layered guitar, piano and drum work come together for 50,000 Miles Beneath My Brain.

The final third of this outrageously phenomenal album continues onward with the gently raucous Good Morning Little Schoolgirl, before the guys ramp things up completely for the frenetic I’m Going Home, before Ric Lee introduces TYA on stage (for two and a half minutes), with this newly expanded edition of the album now rounding out on the placid psych rock of I Say Yeah, closing on the downtown blues ambiance of the brilliant 32-20 Blues.

Founding member Ric Lee states, “In the early days at London’s Marquee Club we did an acoustic performance where Alvin Lee played an acoustic guitar, Leo Lyons played an upright string bass, Chick played the Marquee’s acoustic piano and I went from the drum set to the front of the stage to join the guys with just a snare drum on a stand and a pair of brushes.”

“The slot went down really well and several years later when we were playing larger venues, I suggested we played the acoustic spot again to add some variety to what we were doing. Alvin didn’t think it would work and so it didn’t happen.”

“Much later, after Alvin had more or less retired and we had Joe Gooch on vocals and guitar I again suggested we do the acoustic set but this time Leo didn’t think it was right.”

“When Marcus and Colin joined us and we were discussing new material for the set, they were both very enthusiastic about doing the three acoustic songs included on the Naturally Live (Deluxe Edition) album and it proved to be a good decision, as that part of the set goes down fantastically well with our audiences.”

“I Say Yeah always sounded like an unfinished song to me so we worked out a new arrangement and it’s become somewhat anthemic and involves audience participation.”

“What can I say about Colin’s performance of John Lee Hooker’s 32-20 Blues? It’s a superb showcase of his amazing bass playing and vocalizing. Colin is an extremely talented and experienced musician.”

“The people he’s played with throughout his long career reads like a who’s who of the music business. From my point of view it’s an honor and a pleasure to have him in the Ten Years After rhythm section and, to cap it all, he’s a great guy too!”

Official Purchase Link

Official Website

Ten Years After @ Spotify

Ten Years After @ Facebook

Title - Afterlife / Don’t Kill the Thrill
Artist - Blackthorne

For those unaware, the albums Afterlife and Don’t Kill The Thrill from hard rock supergroup Blackthorne will be released in a special 2CD pack, including reworked bonus tracks and previously unreleased content through The Store For Music on July 30th, 2021.

Blackthorne was a combination of some seriously heavyweight talents; Vocalist Graham Bonnet (Rainbow, Michael Schenker Group), Guitarist Bob Kulick (Kiss, Meat Loaf, Michael Bolton), Keyboard Player Jimmy Waldo (New England).

Add to that the fact that Waldo, together with drummer Frankie Banali and bassist Chuck Wright, had all been in Quiet Riot, while Bonnet and Waldo had previously worked together in Alcatrazz and the sheer power captured on Afterlife and Don’t Kill The Thrill comes as no surprise.

Afterlife was the band’s only official studio release, coming in 1993, whilst Don’t Kill The Thrill was a compilation that followed in 2016.

Add in to this mix a fascinating mix of extras including unreleased demos and live takes and this package represents not only a great introduction to this great band, but also some serious value.

CD1: Afterlife
1. Cradle To The Grave
2. Afterlife
3. We Won’t Be Forgotten
4. Breaking The Chains
5. Over And Over
6. Hard Feelings
7. Baby You’re The Blood
8. Sex Crime
9. Love From The Ashes
10. All Night Long
11. Wild Inside (Demo Cassette 1992) [Bonus Track]
12. Get My Heart Out Of Here (Demo 1992) [Bonus Track]
13. Since You Been Gone (Demo 1992 Vocal 2018) [Bonus Track]
14. Afterlife (Original Demo Mix) (Tony Palacios Guitar) [Bonus Track]
15. Baby You’re The Blood (Demo 1992) [Bonus Track]
16. Afterlife (Live Unplugged) [Bonus Track]
17. We Won’t Be Forgotten (Live Unplugged) [Bonus Track]

Afterlife was originally released in 1993, an era when grunge ruled the music world and most classic hard rock, and metal, was considered outdated at that time.

Sadly the album didn’t sell much at the time due to the changing musical landscape but has, over the years, aged like fine wine and become an underrated gem, much like Blackthorne itself.

This reissue of Afterlife features seven unreleased bonus tracks including both demos and live tracks and opens with the thunderous rock ’n’ roll of Cradle To The Grave and the pounding title track Afterlife and then we get the guitar driven We Won’t Be Forgotten, the frenetic Breaking The Chains, the mid-tempo rock of both Over And Over and Hard Feelings, the free flowing AOR of Baby You’re The Blood, with the original album rounding out on the angst-ridden Sex Crime, the totally rocking Love From The Ashes, closing on Bonnet’s cover of his own-sung Rainbow hit All Night Long.

The AOR beauty Wild Inside (Demo Cassette 1992) is a brilliant addition to this CD and is backed by the rocker Get My Heart Out Of Here (Demo 1992), before Bonnet again brings us his own-sung, albeit here rather low key) Rainbow hit Since You Been Gone (Demo 1992 Vocal 2018), before launching into another cut of Afterlife (Original Demo Mix, Tony Palacios Guitar), now closing on the lush AOR of Baby You’re The Blood (Demo 1992), a wickedly raw coupling of both Afterlife (Live Unplugged) and We Won’t Be Forgotten (Live Unplugged).

CD2: Don’t Kill The Thrill
1. Don’t Kill The Thrill
2. Wild Inside
3. Skeletons In The Closet
4. Dreaming In The Hideaway
5. Man In A Black Hat
6. Twist The Blade
7. Judgement Day
8. Insanity
9. Sanctuary (Alternate Vocal)
10. Save Me
11. Paralyzed (Early Demo) [Bonus Track]
12. Twist The Blade [Early Demo] [Bonus Track]
13. Guilty Of Insanity [Early Demo] [Bonus Track]
14. Afterlife [Demo 1992] [Bonus Track]
15. We Won’t Be Forgotten (Demo 1992) [Bonus Track]
16. Over And Over (Demo 1992] [Bonus Track]
17. Baby You’re The Blood (Demo 1992) [Bonus Track]
18. Love From The Ashes (Demo 1992] [Bonus Track]

Prior to disbanding, Blackthorne recorded a second album entitled Don’t Kill the Thrill, but the album was shelved when Bonnet left the group. It remained unreleased for over two decades.

But good things come to those who wait, and the album is now released and contains not only the original ten tracks recorded for the album but also eight additional unreleased demos included as bonus tracks.

This fantastic compilation opens with the cannonade of Don’t Kill The Thrill and the AOR pulsed of Wild Inside, following those up with the earnest rock of Skeletons In The Closet, the late 80’s / early 90’s guitar rock of Dreaming In The Hideaway, the thumping Man In A Black Hat, the gently frenetic Twist The Blade, and then comes the soaring Judgement Day, with the original album rounding out on the rapturous Insanity, the drum-led rock of Sanctuary (Alternate Vocal), closing on the helter-skelter ambiance of Save Me.

The bonus tracks lead off with the yearning rock of Paralyzed (Early Demo) and another great Twist The Blade [Early Demo], backing those up with the harder-edged AOR of Guilty Of Insanity [Early Demo], another version of Afterlife [Demo 1992], the cultured layered guitar work of We Won’t Be Forgotten (Demo 1992), and then rounds out with the early 90’s rock vibe of Over And Over (Demo 1992] and the pop rock of Baby You’re The Blood (Demo 1992), closing on the light rock fare of Love From The Ashes (Demo 1992].

Amazon Purchase Link

Afterlife - Acoustic Version [Official Video]

Hard Feelings [from Afterlife]

Title - The Definitive Singles: 1980-1987 [3CD]
Artist - Sheena Easton

For those unaware, The Definitive Singles: 1980-1987 is a forthcoming Sheena Easton 3CD set that includes (for the first time) every UK and US single A-side from her EMI era.

Having rocketed to fame in the UK in the early ‘80s, Sheena quickly established herself as an international star, where her genre-crossing approach resulted in her being the only artist in US history to score top three hits in each of Billboard’s main charts: Hot 100, R&B, Dance, AC and Country.

Releasing September 24th, 2021 via Cherry Pop (UK), the triple-disc package includes her 1980s pop hits such as Morning Train (9 To 5), For Your Eyes Only, Telefone (Long Distance Love Affair), We’ve Got Tonight, Strut, Sugar Walls and oh-so many more!

Even better, as well as seven-inch edits, The Definitive Singles offers original extended versions, rare dub mixes many of which are new to CD and eight of which are completely unreleased including the ‘lost’ 1986 singles Anything Can Happen and Sweet Talker in their 7-inch and 12-inch versions.

Disc One: The 7-inch Singles
1. Modern Girl (Edited Version)
2. Morning Train (9 To 5)
3. One Man Woman
4. Take My Time
5. When He Shines
6. For Your Eyes Only
7. Just Another Broken Heart
8. You Could Have Been With Me (Edited Version)
9. Machinery
10. Are You Man Enough
11. I Wouldn’t Beg For Water
12. We’ve Got Tonight (Duet with Kenny Rogers)
13. Telefone (Long Distance Love Affair)
14. Almost Over You
15. Devil In A Fast Car (Single Version)
16. Back In The City
17. Strut
18. Sugar Walls
19. Swear
20. Do It For Love (Single Version)
21. Jimmy Mack (Edited Version)
22. Magic Of Love (Edited Version)

This quite wondrous flashback collection opens on the foot-tapping synth melodies of Modern Girl and backs that up seamlessly with the stretchin’ and a’yawnin’ of Morning Train (9 To 5), which are followed by the countrified pop twang of One Man Woman, the synth-laden Take My Time, and then we get the quieter balladry fare of When He Shines and the James Bond theme tune, For Your Eyes Only.

Next up is the brilliantly poppy beats of Just Another Broken Heart and another ballad in the form of You Could Have Been With Me, and then comes the gently frenetic Machinery, the mid-tempo R&B pop flow of Are You Man Enough, another ballad within I Wouldn’t Beg For Water, the country classic, and Sheena’s heartfelt duet with Kenny Rogers on We’ve Got Tonight, and then we get the fun pop (and black and white video that supported it!) of Telefone (Long Distance Love Affair).

This first disc then rounds out with the beautiful ballad Almost Over You and the sterner mid-tempo balladry of Devil In A Fast Car, then we get the upbeat and fun Back In The City, before we shift into the latter stages of her career in the charts with the harder edged Strut and the lovelorn naughtiness of Sugar Walls, and then comes the pop bounce of the brilliant, and criminally under-rated Swear, closing on the R&B sway of Do It For Love, the finger-snapping Jimmy Mack, and then the swarthy Magic Of Love.

Disc Two: The 7-inch Singles + The 12-inch Singles
1. So Far So Good
2. Anything Can Happen (Single Version) *
3. It’s Christmas All Over The World
4. Sweet Talk (Shep Pettibone Short Version) *
5. No Sound But A Heart (7” Version) *
6. Eternity (Single Version)
7. Ice Out In The Rain (7- inch Remix)
8. Telefone (Long Distance Love Affair) (Club Mix)
9. Strut (Dance Mix)
10. Sugar Walls (Dance Mix)
11. Swear (Dance Mix) †
12. Do It For Love (Extended Dance Mix)
13. Jimmy Mack (Extended Version)
14. So Far So Good (The Red Mix) †

*Previously unreleased track
† Never before available on CD

The second disc keeps the 7-inch singles going by opening on the delicious bubblegum pop of So Far So Good and the funky beats of Anything Can Happen, before bringing us the luscious, and oh-so heartwarming It’s Christmas All Over The World, the heavier R&B funk of Sweet Talk (listed here as Sweet Talker) and then comes the orchestrated magnificence of No Sound But A Heart, the expressive Eternity and then the low ebb pop roll of Ice Out In The Rain.

The 12-inch singles kick off next with the excellent Telefone (Long Distance Love Affair) (Club Mix) and the tantalizingly enticing extra beats of both Strut (Dance Mix) and Sugar Walls (Dance Mix), with my own personal favorite Swear (Dance Mix) along next, the disc rounding out on the free flowing majesty of Do It For Love (Extended Dance Mix), the upbeat and fun Jimmy Mack (Extended Version), closing on the rather brilliant So Far So Good (The Red Mix).

Disc Three: The 12-inch Singles + The Dub Mixes
1. So Far So Good (Extended Dance Mix) †
2. Anything Can Happen (12” Extended Version) *
3. Sweet Talk (Shep Pettibone Long Version) *
4. No Sound But A Heart (12” Version) *
5. Eternity (Shep Pettibone Mix) †
6. Ice Out In The Rain (12” Remix) *
7. Telefone (Long Distance Love Affair) (Dub Mix)
8. Strut (Dub Mix) †
9. Sugar Walls (Red Mix)
10. Swear (Dub Mix)
11. Do It For Love (Instrumental Mix)
12. Jimmy Mack (Instrumental Mix) †
13. So Far So Good (Dub Mix) †
14. Eternity (Dub) †
15. Ice Out In The Rain (Instrumental Remix) *

*Previously unreleased track
† Never before available on CD

The third and final disc is simply chock full of really excellent 12-inch singles and dub mixes, none more so (in my humble opinion) than the out the park Anything Can Happen (12” Extended Version), the electrically-extended Telefone (Long Distance Love Affair) (Dub Mix), a rather naughty combo of both Strut (Dub Mix) and Sugar Walls (Red Mix), with my own favorite Swear (Dub Mix) also included in the mix.

This collection comes with a 24-page color booklet includes rare photos, discography and a new intro from Sheena herself.

Official 3CD Purchase Link

Title - The Capitol Session ‘73
Artist - Bob Marley And The Wailers

For those unaware, the scene is Hollywood. October 1973. International reggae pioneers Bob Marley and The Wailers were filmed in a closed door session at The Capitol Records Tower on October 24th by famed producer Denny Cordell, who received the blessing from Marley to capture the band recording 12 songs.

Shooting with four cameras and mixing “on the fly” to a colorized tape, this footage, has been painstakingly restored, resulting in an incredible presentation of this unseen live session.

On September 3rd, 2021, Tuff Gong and Mercury Studios are proud to present this concert (almost 50 years after it was recorded): Bob Marley And The Wailers: The Capitol Session ‘73 on DVD+CD, standalone CD [which is being reviewed here today], 2LP pressed on green marble vinyl, 2LP pressed on Rasta swirl vinyl (red, yellow and green – available exclusively at Sound of Vinyl), and digital formats.

Official Purchase Links

1. You Can’t Blame the Youth
2. Slave Driver
3. Burnin’ and Lootin’
4. Rastaman Chant
5. Duppy Conqueror
6. Midnight Ravers
7. Put It On
8. Stop That Train
9. Kinky Reggae
10. Stir It Up
11. No More Trouble
12. Get Up Stand Up

The sound of Bob Marley’s style of music was Reggae, which as I’m sure you all know by now, is simply a slowed down version of Ska. Indeed, many of you are probably familiar with Ska music, not only due to the old school bands such as the Specials, Selector, The Beat, etc. but because it made a rather spectacular comeback in the ’90s and early ’00s with bands such as Reel Big Fish, No Doubt, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, and oh-so many more.

Which makes this raw, unbothered, uncluttered lost sound and vision performance from Marley and the Wailers such a pure and honest delight to behold here today.

Opening on the laid back hipsway of You Can’t Blame the Youth and then some doo-wop-steeped harmonies layered within a stretched-out groove bring us the lyrically incisive Slave Driver, next up are the slow and mournful, almost haunting harmonies of Burnin’ and Lootin’, the atmospheric, drum-led Rastaman Chant, the beautiful, yet entrancingly eerie Duppy Conqueror (in Jamaican folklore, duppies are evil spirits) and then we get Marley’s one-two dub step, conservative rant about London nightlife on Midnight Ravers.

The harmonized roots reggae of Put It On is itself followed by the soulful R&B-ska of Stop That Train and then we get presented the laid-back, cheerful, warm grooves of Kinky Reggae, the seductively vamp Stir It Up, with the recording rounding out on the ominous American funk and R&B vibe within No More Trouble, closing on the most potent song ever about human rights and the fight to secure them, the potent-chorused Get Up Stand Up.

This session at Capitol Studios represented a unique moment in the band’s career. Filmed 10 years after their formation, Bob Marley and the Wailers already had several established hits through the ska and rocksteady eras.

Gaining recognition stateside, including a few shows with Bruce Springsteen at Max’s Kansas City in NYC, they then went on to tour with Sly and the Family Stone, before they had been unceremoniously dumped from the tour.

This led to the band (Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Joe Higgs, Aston Barrett, Carlton Barrett, Earl “Wya” Lindo) making their way to Hollywood to do this session.

The footage from this session was considered lost until a freelance researcher uncovered a few frames. For over 20 years, archives and storage units from New York and London to San Diego were tracked down and searched to retrieve fragments of the film, until it was fully unearthed, restored, and remastered.

Evolving into a politically and socially charged unit after being inspired by the US Civil Rights movement, various African liberation efforts, and Rastafari, which Bob Marley and the Wailers studied from Rasta elders, their music reflected the soul and struggles of the era.

Making poignant statements about life, liberty, and social justice, the sentiments are imbued in the songs, which are beautifully brought to life via Bob Marley and The Wailers: The Capitol Session ‘73.

Sadly, Bob Marley passed away with melanoma in 1981 at the age of 36. He left behind the incredible legacy.

Bob Marley and the Wailers - ‘The Capitol Session ’73’ (Official Trailer)

A track from the set — “Slave Driver” — is available to view here on YouTube.

A track from the set — “Stir It Up” — is available to view here on YouTube.

Official Purchase Links

Title - The Ghost and the Wall
Artist - Joshua Radin

For those unaware, with more than 1-billion streams and 1-million records sold, Josh Radin still views songwriting as a healing force, where acoustic eloquence and dyed-in-the-wool Americana storytelling can soothe the roughest seas.

His earnestness and transparency have earned comparisons to artists like Elliot Smith and Paul Simon, with poignant, refreshingly frank lyrics that lead to catharsis and eye-opening realizations (Rolling Stone).

He’s sold out shows on four continents, performed with artists like Ed Sheeran and Sheryl Crow, and earned super-fans like Michelle Obama and Ellen Degeneres, who invited him to perform at her wedding.

On his latest collaboration, the just-released The Ghost and the Wall (via Nettwerk Records) with producer Jonathan Wilson (Father John Misty, Conor Oberst), Radin explores the walls we build to protect ourselves against sadness and pain, especially this past year.

From the lilting vocals of Better Life, which details an immigrant’s journey, to the folksy picking of Make It Easy about the relentless search for love, Radin wrestles with the sense of longing and alienation that haunted us this year, producing an album during quarantine without ever seeing his producer face-to-face. It’s a theme I’m fixated on, he explains. I’m trying to heal myself and others in the process.

1. Goodbye
2. Fewer Ghosts
3. Better Life
4. Make It Easy
5. Hey you
6. I’ll Be Your Friend
7. You’re My Home
8. Not Today
9. Till The Morning
10. Next to Me

After sixteen years, now-nine albums, and hundreds of shows, Joshua Radin still treats music as an antidote to any ailment and thus here on The Ghost and the Wall, the gold-selling, Los Angeles-based singer and songwriter finds healing in between waves of acoustic eloquence and dyed-in-the-wool Americana storytelling.

His latest full-length album - produced by Jonathan Wilson (Father John Misty, Conor Oberst, Dawes) - opens on the gently jaunty Goodbye and the dulcet gossamer of Fewer Ghosts and backs those up seamlessly with the upbeat and joyous bounce of Better Life, the melodically translucent Make It Easy, and then we get one of my own personal favorites, the hot summers breeze of Hey You.

A writer of tunes that are ready made for the soundtrack of all out lives, the troubadour continues a cycle of catharsis meant to be shared among any and all receptive hearts with the candidly uninhibited I’ll Be Your Friend and the massively euphoric You’re My Home, which is in turn followed by the lockdown-imbibed scenery of Not Today, this quite mesmerizingly affluent new album rounding out on the fraughtly clenched Till The Morning, closing on the rolling thistledown of Next To Me.

Joshua Radin - Fewer Ghosts [Official Music Video]

Amazon Purchase Link

Official Website

Joshua Radin @ Instagram

Joshua Radin @ Twitter

Joshua Radin @ Facebook

Joshua Radin @ YouTube

Title - Rise
Artist - Lawson Rollins

With the release of Rise (releasing September 17th, 2021, via Infinita Records), Lawson Rollins offers a bold collection of ten original songs that showcase his signature virtuoso guitar style and eclectic compositional flair for melody and rhythm.

Lawson explores new collaborations with Haitian vocalist Jeff Pierre, saxophonist Mary Fettig, and Grammy winning violinists Charlie Bisharat and Mads Tolling on several tracks, while deepening his connection with regular band mates Stephen Duros, Davo Bryant, and Dan Feiszli throughout the album.

Each song finds Lawson rising to his peak abilities as a guitarist and composer. Lawson states, This album was forged during the unprecedented difficulties the world has seen over the past year, but as the Latin motto Ad Astra Per Aspera proclaims, we can reach the stars through difficulty. It is in that spirit that this album was made.

1. Free To Fly (4:58)
2. Rise (6:11)
3. Bossa Nova California (3:41)
4. Ascension (4:41)
5. Escalate (6:42)
6. Pulse (3:34)
7. Carry The Torch (4:13)
8. Quest (5:01)
9. Come To Light (4:50)
10. Emerge (4:27)

This simply magical new album opens on the gentle funk ambiance of Free To Fly and then the summers breeze of the title track itself Rise, before moving seamlessly into the pleasing hipsway of Bossa Nova California, and then brings us back-to-back bouts of Eastern promise within Ascension and the gently frenetic Escalate.

In truth, I have been listening to Lawson Rollins ever since his initial collaborations with Dan Young and thus he rates as one of the top acoustic masters today, for my money.

He oh-so easily drifts between pure Latin and into the fluid realms of smooth jazz, perhaps none more so than with the foot-tapping melodies of Pulse and the atmospherically fervent Carry The Torch which is in turn followed by the Eastern-imbibed Quest, with the album rounding out (albeit too soon, in my humble opinion) on the upbeat Latin vibe of Come To Light, closing on the earnestly free-flowing Emerge.

Few artists inhabit their music as seamlessly as multiple award-winning, Billboard Top 10 ranked guitarist and composer Lawson Rollins.

He plays his instrument with a soulful intensity that combines the stimulating rhythmic drive of rumba, salsa, and samba with graceful melodic finesse and free-flowing improvisational flair.

Indeed, the key to Rollins’ mass appeal is his signature artistic balance between classically influenced compositional refinement, infectious exotic rhythms, and the unbridled intensity of full-on shred.

Over the past 20 years, Lawson’s 10 solo albums and 4 albums with his prior group Young & Rollins have landed in the Billboard Top 10 World Music Chart and spawned several Billboard Top 30 contemporary jazz hits, winning him an ever growing fan base attracted by his melodic, exhilarating solos and exotic, cross-genre instrumentation performed by internationally renowned musicians.

Lawson’s critically acclaimed, award-winning, genre defying solo albums - INFINITA, ESPIRITO, ELEVATION, FULL CIRCLE, TRAVELER, INFINITE CHILL, 3 MINUTES TO MIDNIGHT, AIRWAVES: THE GREATEST HITS, DARK MATTER: MUSIC FOR FILM and TRUE NORTH - landed high on the contemporary jazz radio charts and produced a Billboard #1 song - Moonlight Samba from ESPIRITO.

For two consecutive years, he earned a 1st Place award in the prestigious USA Songwriting Competition. He also won three Gold Medals in the Global Music Awards for Instrumentalist, Album, and Top 10 Albums of the Year for his TRAVELER album.

In his globally-inspired music, Lawson incorporates the propulsive drive of Afro-Cuban rhythms with a style based on the music of Spain, India, Persia and the Arab world. All music has a hybrid quality, Lawson believes. Thousands of years of travel, trade and communication between cultures created new forms of musical expression. The Spanish guitar embodies this with its ties to the Arab oud, the Persian tar, even the sitar, so weaving those strands together seems natural to me.

Official Purchase Links

Title - 1988: The Original Demos
Artist - The Bootheels

The Bootheels sprang to life for a few glorious months during the first half of 1988.

Their brief existence was noted by a fortunate handful of friends and fans who happened to be in the right place and time to experience the youthful L.A. foursome’s meteoric creative surge and their equally swift dissolution.

In between, the band developed a raw, distinctive rock ’n’ roll sensibility and a repertoire of catchy, funny, introspective songs that never had a chance to become records.

The Bootheels were composed of front man/songwriter/bassist Luther Russell, who would later lead the Freewheelers before emerging as a prolific solo artist and half of Those Pretty Wrongs (with Big Star’s Jody Stephens); guitarist Jakob Dylan, who would soon achieve stardom as leader of the Wallflowers; future Wallflowers guitarist Tobi Miller, whose instrumental interplay with Dylan provided one of the Bootheels’ most notable sonic features; and drummer Aaron A. Brooks (who would go on to work with Moby, Lana Del Rey, and others).

These tracks (13 on LP plus three bonus tracks on CD/Digital) provide a glimpse into the origins of teenage musicians who would rise to greater heights than they could ever have imagined.

The packaging contains photos and an aural history of the band — with interviews with all four members conducted and assembled by noted writer Scott Schinder.

The resultant compilation, 1988: The Original Demos, is due out on CD, LP and Digital via Omnivore Recordings on September 24th, 2021.

1. See It in Your Eyes
2. Thing Called Love
3. Empty Wallet, Empty Bottle, Empty Heart
4. The Deal
5. Wasted Dime
6. Interstate 68 Blues
7. Got Me on My Knees
8. Glad It All Worked Out
9. Halfway There
10. B-Line for You
11. Seven Seas
12. Queen of Hearts
13. Too Many People
14. Images of You [Bonus Track]
15. All I Want Is You [Bonus Track]
16. Think Of The Time [Bonus Track]

This brilliantly vibrant album opens on the pop-punk love song See It in Your Eyes and the guitar-led Thing Called Love and are then backed by the jangling guitars and drums of the belter Empty Wallet, Empty Bottle, Empty Heart, the Animals-esque lead into the gentle rock of The Deal, the foot-stomper Wasted Dime and then we get both the brilliant indie-pop rock of Interstate 68 Blues and the feisty Got Me on My Knees.

Next up is the drum-led pairing of both Glad It All Worked Out and Halfway There, which are in turn followed by the rock elegance of B-Line for You, the alt-pop rock of Seven Seas, the melodically pacey Queen of Hearts, the wondrous group jam Too Many People, with the three bonus tracks being the speaker reverb-induced pair of rockers Images of You and All I Want Is You, this expanded album rounding out on the gently ferocious rocker Think Of The Time.

Russell said of the band’s short tenure, “We only played two shows outside of the garage, bottom-of-the-bill Tuesday night gigs at the Troubadour and at Madame Wong’s West. But otherwise, it was really hard for us to get gigs. That may have been because of our ages, since three of us were under 18. But it was also sketchy just being an unknown band playing this kind of music.”

Jakob Dylan: “The band ended when I moved to New York to attend art college. The Bootheels was really Luther’s band, and I knew I’d eventually need one of my own. But it was truly an incredible beginning to learning all the things a band might include. We had a great one for a really short time.”

Tobi Miller: “I can only imagine how the Bootheels would have evolved had we stayed together. When we formed the band, Luther was already a fully developed singer-songwriter. Although Jakob wasn’t singing in the Bootheels at that time, he was writing songs and already showing signs that he could be a brilliant songwriter as well.”

“So it’s really daunting to think how strong the Bootheels would have been had we given it enough time for all the songwriting talent in the band to develop together.”

Aaron A. Brooks: “Had we stayed together, I think we would have accomplished extremely great things musically. All the pieces were in place. I’ve absolutely no regrets, as we’ve all had amazing careers, but I know it would have been a wonderful trip, had the stars aligned. We didn’t really break up. We just quietly dissipated, like the debris and dust settling after a massive explosion.”

Produced for release by Russell and Grammy®-winner Cheryl Pawelski, it’s not a story of what might have been, but of a powerful one that was. However briefly the Bootheels’ light shined, 1988: The Original Demos shows that it indeed shone bright!

Official Purchase Links

Official Omnivore Bootheels Trailer

Title - Faraway Place
Artist - Dan Siegel

While the coronavirus wreaked havoc to a deadly extreme, the pandemic era with its heightened quarantine measures proved to swing a double-edge sword for musicians.

Many were silenced, suffering the liability of limited-to-no opportunities to perform. But on the other hand, the disease aroused many to be creative in their artistic expression.

Veteran contemporary jazz pianist/keyboardist Dan Siegel took that difficult challenge during the social distancing desert to remotely assemble a group to deliver his eclectic album Faraway Place on his DSM label.

Ergo, Faraway Place (out August 13th, 2021) is comprised of 11 originals that range from straight-up lyrical beauties to accordion-tinged grooves, to a baroque-like number with strings and horns.

1. Old School
2. Sentimental Story
3. Tried And True
4. Something You Said
5. Curves Ahead
6. Faraway Place
7. Some Time Ago
8. Bluebird
9. Your Smile
10. Looking Up
11. Once Again

Siegel’s 22nd recording as a leader opens on the forthright, harmonically retro approach to Old School and the more laid back vibe of Sentimental Story, before bringing us some funky, gently euphoric hipsway on the free flowing majesty of the organ-fueled Tried and True, the elegantly layered, accordion-tinted Something You Said and then we get the shifting tonalities of key work found within the grooved Curves Ahead.

On what Siegel himself as described as something of a trilogy, his brand new album continues onward with the ornate splendor of Faraway Place and the Renaissance-esque imbed Some Time Ago, and then we get the dulcetly orchestrated tones, and Brazilian vocalist Rogerio Jardim’s wordless vocals of Bluebird, with the album rounding out on the Celtic-infused imbibement of Your Smile (again featuring Rogerio), the upbeat swirl of Looking Up, the album coming to a close on the harmoniously fevered jaunt Once Again.

“This is a different kind of album because of the pandemic,” says the Irvine, California-based composer and bandleader. “After writing the music in isolation, everything, with a few exceptions, was recorded separately by musicians in their home studios.”

“All of the tracks were demoed and developed rhythmically by drummers Vinnie Colaiuta, Steve Gadd at East West Studios in LA. Those were the only sessions that I was present at,” Siegel admits.

“They set the music into motion with their drums. Then I sent what they did to the musicians I wanted to use and asked them to lay their parts down.” “What they sent back was so musical and really well-played. It only required a few modifications. I also went into the studio to record piano, and I rented an accordion for four tunes.” “I used contrast on the arrangements. They started sparse but then built with layers in the mix, always keeping in mind the song underneath it all. The way I see it is that I’m a composer first and I perform piano second,” Siegel adds.

Also joining Siegel on the album are saxophonist Eric Marienthal, trumpeter/trombonist Lee Thornburg, guitarist Allen Hinds, acoustic bassist Brian Bromberg, electric bassists Abraham Laboriel and Dwyane “Smitty” Smith, percussionist Lenny Castro, and on two tracks Brazilian vocalist Rogerio Jardim.

Amazon Purchase Link

Official Website

Dan Siegel @ Facebook

Dan Siegel @ YouTube

Title - Lift Every Voice
Artist - Audrey Dubois Harris

Renowned for her remarkable and profoundly inspired vocal delivery, Audrey DuBois Harris has captivated audiences all over the world for nearly a decade.

Following the release of her powerful single We Shall Overcome earlier this year, the gifted singer has returned with her stunning, highly anticipated new album LIFT EVERY VOICE (released June 18th, 2021 via Nobel Records).

Comprising nine tracks, LIFT EVERY VOICE is a gorgeous compilation of traditional classics that capture the bold beating heart of a resilient nation and the incredible foundation upon which it was built.

Created with encouragement from legendary icon Aretha Franklin, who inspired DuBois Harris and served as a cherished mentor to her until her death, the album delivers a brilliant sound that will shower listeners in a brilliant, luminous light representing all voices to ensure that every voice is heard.

1. America, The Beautiful
2. God Bless America
3. Lift Every Voice & Sing
4. The Star Spangled Banner
5. Oh Canada
6. Amazing Grace
7. The Battle Hymn of the Republic
8. We Shall Overcome
9. The Living Years [Bonus Song]

Known as “Aretha Franklin’s Favorite Soprano,” DuBois Harris is a versatile classically-trained vocalist and thus effortlessly brings all her musical expertise to these nine songs, the opening two of which are her very own renditions of patriotic American songs: America, The Beautiful and an amazingly operatic turn for the euphoric God Bless America.

Those are then followed by the dulcet piano balladry of the title track Lift Every Voice & Sing and then comes a pairing of resoundingly stalwart renditions of the national anthem of the United States, The Star Spangled Banner, and then Oh, Canada, the national anthem of Canada.

Next up is the earnest, crystalline yearning found within the solemn, beloved hymn Amazing Grace which is backed seamlessly by a pair of Civil War songs The Battle Hymn of the Republic (known as Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory outside of the United States) and the deeply seated timbre of the labor song We Shall Overcome, with this emphatically mesmerizing new album coming to a close on her cover of the rapturous rock ballad from Mike + The Mechanics hit single of 1988, The Living Years.

“LIFT EVERY VOICE is a collection of songs that celebrate America’s rich cultural heritage and history. From such musical treasures as God Bless America to We Shall Overcome, LIFT EVERY VOICE aims to showcase and honor our sacred love of God, country, and freedom,” DuBois Harris shares.

Also included on the album is the bonus track The Living Years, a powerful rendition of the Grammy-nominated hit by Mike + The Mechanics, which instills a restored sense of hope and anticipation for the future.

“Generations of the past create the generations of the future,” DuBois Harris notes. “We’re all different yet the same. Seize the moment to listen to, communicate with, and embrace each other in ‘The Living Years’ before it’s too late.”

Official Purchase Links

Official Website

Audrey Dubois Harris @ Facebook

Audrey Dubois Harris @ Instagram

Audrey Dubois Harris @ YouTube

Audrey Dubois Harris @ Spotify

Title - Nabeshima [2CD]
Artist - Imari Tones

For those unaware, Imari Tones is a rock band from Japan that started out life as a Tak “Tone” Nakamine’s personal recording project circa 1998. It evolved into an actual band in 2004.

Tak Nakamine found his faith in Jesus Christ in early 2008, and decided to play Christian music and since then, Imari Tones has declared themselves as “The first Christian heavy metal band from Japan” and been playing internationally, touring the United States and Japan with other Christian musicians.

Although they are primarily known to play 1980’s style classic heavy metal, Imari Tones’ music is fairly diverse, combining the elements of Progressive, Alternative and J-Pop.

They might be another indie band in the world, but they are devoted to one special mission: Spreading God’s Love among people in Japan, and the world.

And now the ultimate Japanese Christian metal album from Imari Tones is upcoming for release, the 2CD set Nabeshima.

CD 1:
1. Passion
2. Lord’s Prayer
3. Sakura Day
4. Atomic Jam
5. 123,4&5
6. Sakura Night
7. Extravaganza
8. Chanbara
9. Yamagoya3
10. Jidai
11. Bloodthirsty
12. God Anthem

With the new lineup consisting of singer/guitarist Tak, bassist Marie, and drummer Shinryu, this brand new 2CD album Nabeshima opens on the polarizingly layered rock brilliance of Passion and the melodic Lord’s Prayer and backs those up seamlessly with the soft rock of both Sakura Day and Atomic Jam, the Scorions-esque 123,4&5 and then we get the brilliant Sakura Night.

The foot to the floor rocker Extravaganza and the gently frenetic Chanbara are then in turn followed by the gentle ballad Yamagoya3, with the first disc rounding out on the 80’s-imbibed rocker Jidai, closing on the heavier rock milieu of both Bloodthirsty, and the screeching guitar work of the almost-instrumental God Anthem.

CD 2:
1. Crucified Boy
2. Sonic Soldiers
3. The Garden
4. Who Are You
5. Sengoku Christians
6. Screaming Sin
7. Matsuo
8. Once In A Lifetime
9. Redemption
10. Tsukuru
11. Not Of This World
12. Utage

The fusion of Christianity, Japanese traditional music, and heavy metal lovingly continues onward with the expressive Crucified Boy and more 80’s-imbibed rockers in the form of both the upbeat Sonic Soldiers and the melodic balladry of The Garden, and then comes the pop-rock of Who Are You, and the foot-pounders Sengoku Christians and Screaming Sin.

Next up is the rhythmic, mid-tempo soft rock of both Matsuo and the drum-led Once In A Lifetime which are in turn backed by the low key rock of Redemption, more gorgeous balladry in the form of Tsukuru, with the second CD rounding out on the pop-rock, Europe-esque of Not Of This World, closing on their guitar rock at its finest on the breathtakingly excellent Utage.

Simply put, this is Japanese traditional Christian metal at its finest and something the world has never heard before!

Buy The Album on Spotify

CD Purchase via Dead Pulse

Official Website

Imari Tones @ Facebook

Imari Tones @ Twitter

Imari Tones @ YouTube

Title - Dear America
Artist - Eric Bibb

For those unaware, Eric Bibb has known many different Americas; the good, the bad and the ugly. Born in New York City in 1951, the thunderbolt of the Sixties folk revival remains so alive in the 69-year-old’s memory that he can still recall the idealism on the night air of Greenwich Village and picture Bob Dylan standing in his living room.

Yet just as vivid are the dark societal flash points of the last year, when protesters highlighted the open wound of US race relations while a bitter Presidential election scrawled jagged battle lines.

Now, with the pain of recent events still in the air, Bibb has announced his new album Dear America, out September 10th via Provogue Records / Mascot Label Group, featuring guest appearances by Ron Carter, Eric Gales, Shaneeka Simon, and more.

1. Whole Lotta Lovin’ (feat. Ron Carter)
2. Born Of A Woman (feat. Shaneeka Simon)
3. Whole World’s Got The Blues (feat. Eric Gales)
4. Dear America
5. Different Picture (feat. Chuck Campbell)
6. Tell Yourself
7. Emmett’s Ghost (feat. Ron Carter)
8. White & Black
9. Along The Way
10. Talkin’ ’Bout A Train (Part 1) (feat. Billy Branch)
11. Talkin’ ’Bout A Train (Part 2)
12. Love’s Kingdom (feat. Tommy Sims & Glen Scott)
13. One-ness Of Love (feat. Lisa Mills)

This quite stunning new album, and one that Bibb has admitted is an unabashed love letter “because all of America’s woes, and the woes of the world, can only come into some kind of healing and balance with that energy we call love,” opens on the gentle acoustic guitar, food-imbibed Whole Lotta Lovin’ (featuring Ron Carter) and the rhythmic, Southern twang storytelling of Born Of A Woman (feat. Shaneeka Simon), before we then get the lowbrow, blues balladry ambiance of Whole World’s Got The Blues (featuring Eric Gales), the foot-stomping, grounded blues of the title track Dear America, and then the mid-tempo storytelling of Different Picture (featuring Chuck Campbell).

Up next is the achingly poignancy found within both Tell Yourself and the reminiscing tale of Emmett’s Ghost (featuring Ron Carter), and they are in turn followed by the ornately beautiful White & Black, the rhythmic Along The Way, and then comes the harmonica-driven pairing of Talkin’ ’Bout A Train (Parts 1 and 2, the first featuring Billy Branch), with this simply magnificent, soulful blues album rounding out on the R&B-soul-gospel flow of Love’s Kingdom (featuring Tommy Sims and Glen Scott), coming to a close on the orchestrated balladry of One-ness Of Love (featuring Lisa Mills).

Fiercely literate and historically informed, Bibb is a global citizen whose US motherland – with all its pain and shame, hope and wonder – has bled into his art at every juncture since 1972’s debut album, Ain’t It Grand, announced him as a new force in blues, folk, and any other genre he cared to alight on.

The Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter has perhaps never addressed the United States – or shone a light on himself – with such focused eloquence as he does on Dear America.

“I’m saying all the things I would want to say to somebody dear to me,” Bibb considers. “But it’s a self-portrait as well.”

If you could call out to your country, what would you say? When Bibb embarked on the title song that would galvanize the Dear America album, the songwriter found himself unpacking a seven-decade relationship with a partner of dramatic extremes.

“It’s a love letter,” he explains of the record’s root concept, “because America, for all of its associations with pain and its bloody history, has always been a place of incredible hope and optimism. To be American, and particularly to come from New York City, is to be blessed.”

Eric Bibb - Born Of A Woman (featuring Shaneeka Simon) [Official Video]

Eric Bibb - Whole World’s Got the Blues [Official Music Video]

Eric Bibb - Emmett’s Ghost [Official Lyric Video]

Official Purchase Links

Official Website

Eric Bibb @ Facebook

Eric Bibb @ Twitter

Eric Bibb @ Instagram

Eric Bibb @ YouTube

Title - Dreamhaven
Artist - Misha Seeff

For those unaware, Misha Seeff is a teenage singer-songwriter who grew up in Canada, the US, and South Africa.

His music has a classic acoustic pop sound, and he uses pictographic lyrics to tell stories both fictional and true.

Now, a mere nine months after writing his first song, Misha introduces a world of fictional love stories, poetic lyrics, and lush melodies with his debut album DREAMHAVEN (set for release September 17th, 2021 via Misha Music).

Featuring instrumentals reminiscent of classic 2000s bands and innovative vocal engineering, DREAMHAVEN feels like a perfect mix of the old and new.

Indeed, to coincide with the September 17th release, Misha will also broadcast a live performance virtual event online featuring songs from the album.

1. Now
2. April Haze
3. Come and Go
4. You and I
5. Tonight
6. Your Eyes
7. Lamplight
8. Dreamhaven
9. Used To Be
10. Boardwalk
11. Sun is Shining
12. Apart
13. Dream
14. Valentine’s Day
15. Look Around

This incredibly heartfelt and wholly genuine-sounding album opens on the gently jaunty Now and the newer work of the lazy-hazy, and aptly-named April Haze and backs those up seamlessly with the quietly content foot-tapper Come and Go, the ornately impassioned You and I, the funky blues bounce of Tonight, and then we get the newly-written lovelorn message of remembrance within Your Eyes and then comes some gentle reggae hipsway sewn throughout Lamplight.

Next up is the stoic ache of the title track itself, Dreamhaven and the rhythmically sanguine Used To Be, with those in turn being followed by the breathy Boardwalk, the joyously upbeat Sun is Shining, before we are presented with the very first song that the teenage singer-songwriter ever wrote, the impassioned Apart, the debut album rounding out on the drum-led Dream, closing on another early-written track, the benevolent musings of Valentine’s Day and then the smoothly orchestral sweep of Look Around is brought forth.

The album was produced, recorded, and mixed by Ben Bernstein at Soniczen Records and Petting Zoo Studio in Oakland, CA, with additional vocal recording by Mark Ambrosino at The Madhouse in Queens, NY.

DREAMHAVEN also features guitar work by Dave Shul, bass by Ben Bernstein, and drums and percussion from Andrew Griffin.

For Misha, music is an escape. It’s how he makes sense of the world around him, and how he deals with and expresses his emotions. He particularly loves telling stories through song.

The first song that Misha ever wrote was called Apart, a ballad that conveys the pain and longing of being far away from someone you love.

Misha knew this was a universal experience for people around the world, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic, and he understood that music could be one of the most powerful ways of sharing that experience.

Dreamhaven - First Look & Listen [Official Video]

Official Purchase Links

Official Website

Misha Seeff @ Facebook

Misha Seeff @ Twitter

Misha Seeff @ Instagram

Misha Seeff @ YouTube

Title - Mighty Fine Austin City Limits Tribute: Walt Hyatt
Artist - Various

For those unaware, Uncle Walt’s Band (David Ball, Champ Hood, and Walter Hyatt) were one of the most popular acts in late ’70s/early ’80s Austin, Texas, where the South Carolina band relocated after a long stint in Nashville.

Their on-point songwriting, playing, and singing garnered them local fans, but also Texas luminaries like Willis Alan Ramsey (in a very rare appearance), Jimmie Dale Gilmore, and (then Texas A&M student) Lyle Lovett.

After a few self-released albums and cassettes (all available again via Omnivore Recordings), the band went their separate ways, with Hyatt returning to Nashville with his wife, Heidi.

In 1990, Lovett produced Hyatt’s major label debut, King Tears, and went on the road with Walter as his opening act. Three years later, Hyatt released Music Town.

Then, sadly, he died in the 1996 ValueJet plane crash that took the lives of all passengers and crew. Lovett helped organize tribute concerts to benefit Hyatt’s wife and children.

In 1997, Austin City Limits broadcast one of those tributes featuring friends and fans including Lovett, Ramsey, Gilmore, Junior Brown, Marcia Ball, Allison Moorer, David Halley, Shawn Colvin, and his Uncle Walt’s Band partners, Ball and Hood.

Now, nearly 25 years later, the 11 songs from that original broadcast are available on CD and Digital for the first time as Mighty Fine: An Austin City Limits Tribute to Walter Hyatt.

Due from Omnivore Recordings on October 1st, 2021, the set adds six tracks recorded for, but not shown on Austin City Limits.

Indeed, to make this collection even more special, four previously unissued Hyatt recordings make their debut.

The packaging features photos and a new essay from North Carolina author and musician Thomas Goldsmith. It truly is Mighty Fine.

Austin City Limits Tribute to Walter Hyatt:
1. As The Crow Flies – Willis Alan Ramsey
2. Houston Town – David Ball
3. Georgia Rose – Jimmie Dale Gilmore
4. Are We There Yet Momma – Marica Ball
5. Lonely In Love – Willis Alan Ramsey
6. Motor City Man – David Halley
7. Tell Me Baby – Allison Moorer
8. Diggeroo – Junior Brown
9. Babes In The Woods – Lyle Lovett with Shawn Colvin
10. I’ll Come Knockin’ – Lyle Lovett
11. Aloha – Ensemble

Bonus Austin City Limits Recordings (not included in original broadcast):
12. Rollin’ My Blues – Champ Hood
13. Teach Me About Love – Lyle Lovett
14. Going To New Orleans – Champ Hood
15. Message In A Bottle – David Ball
16. I’m Calling – Lyle Lovett
17. River Road – Champ Hood

Previously-Unissued Walter Hyatt Recordings:
18. Jungle Flower
19. In A Christmas Dream
20. Early Days
21. Shouldn’t Have Told Me That

Opening on the 11 tracks recorded that night back in 1997, first up is the upbeat hipsway of As The Crow Flies (Willis Alan Ramsey) and the country twang of Houston Town (David Ball) and they are backed by the gentle balladry of Georgia Rose (Jimmie Dale Gilmore), the rocking blues piano of Are We There Yet Momma (Marica Ball) and then the dulcet tones of Willis Alan Ramsey come to the fore on the beautiful Lonely In Love.

Next up is one of my own personal favorites from this set, the Dixie-imbibed Motor City Man by David Halley and that is in turn followed by the gentle foot tapper Tell Me Baby (Allison Moorer), the rambunctious rock of Diggeroo (Junior Brown), the late night, low slung blues of Babes In The Woods (Lyle Lovett with Shawn Colvin), the recording rounding out that night on the pleasant magnificence of I’ll Come Knockin’ (Lyle Lovett), closing on the atmospherically charged Aloha from the Ensemble.

The bonus Austin City Limits Recordings that were not included in original broadcast, kick things off with the mid-tempo Rollin’ My Blues (Champ Hood) and the charmingly jaunty Teach Me About Love (Lyle Lovett), before bringing us the acoustic guitar storytelling of Going To New Orleans (Champ Hood), the quietly impassioned Message In A Bottle (David Ball), closing out on the wonderfully harmonized I’m Calling by Lyle Lovett and the heartfelt yearning of River Road from Champ Hood.

Last, but by no means least, come four previously-unissued Walter Hyatt recordings, starting with the harmonica-driven Jungle Flower, before we are led into the festive spirit of In A Christmas Dream, this 21-track CD finally coming to a close on the poignant reminiscing found within Early Days and the quietly frenetic rock ’n’ roll of Shouldn’t Have Told Me That.

Official Purchase Links

Title - All Wood and Led
Artist - James Lee Stanley & Dan Navarro

For those unaware, Beachwood Recordings is proud to present, All Wood and Led, the fourth in the celebrated acoustic series created by James Lee Stanley to honor the greatest bands in rock and roll.

In the tradition of All Wood and Stones I and II, and All Wood and Doors (with appearances by both Robby Krieger and John Densmore) comes All Wood and Led.

Imagine if the members of Led Zeppelin lived in Laurel Canyon in 1967 with neighbors like Stephen Stills and Joni Mitchell; David Crosby and Roger McGuinn.

That is exactly what James Lee and Dan Navarro (late of Lowen & Navarro fame) did. They didn’t just cover these classic Led Zepplin songs, but entirely reinvent them.

It was a daunting task to maintain the respect and integrity for the band and the material and yet come up with something brand new and utterly their own but that is what Stanley and Navarro have done.

All the guitars and vocals are by James Lee Stanley and Dan Navarro, the bass by the unbelievable Chad Watson and the inimitable Washington “Smowdown” Tahr on drums.

1. Houses of the Holy
2. Good Times Bad Times
3. Rock and Roll
4. D’yer Mak’er
5. The Battle of Evermore
6. Stairway to Heaven
7. Whole Lotta Love
8. Over the Hills and Far Away
9. Hey Hey What Can I Do
10. Dazed and Confused
11. Fool in the Rain
12. Ramble On

With a literal tour de force of musicians working at the peak of their powers, this breathtaking new album opens on the harmonic Houses of the Holy and the first track the duo cut, the gentle rock of Good Times Bad Times and backs those up seamlessly with the ethereal stinging guitar work found within a dulcet Rock and Roll, their reggae ganja rendition of D’yer Mak’er, and both the human digeridoo bottom line and occasional cello-infused The Battle of Evermore and the tranquilly atmospheric Stairway to Heaven.

Next up is the Willie Dixon tune Whole Lotta Love (reworked here as a samba) and the romantic balladry of Over the Hills and Far Away which are in turn followed by a magnificent, symphonious and layered Hey Hey What Can I Do, a harmonized rearrangement of Dazed and Confused, with the album rounding out on the upbeat and drum-led Fool in the Rain, closing on the funky rhythms of Ramble On.

Stanley writes: In 2003, I was one of three songwriters invited on to the band stage at a friends wedding: Rod McDonald, George Merrill and me. Once there, we realized that we only sang our own songs…what could we do together?

Rod McDonald started singing Ruby Tuesday and George and I immediately did two other harmonies. It sounded fantastic and the whole wedding party charged the stage enthralled.

On the way home, I decided to do a collection of classic Rolling Stones songs in an acoustic style. All Wood and Stones with my pal, John Batforf was the result.

Later at a lunch with John Densmore of the Doors, he suggested that if I did the same thing to the Doors that I did to the Stones, he would play on it.

That resulted in All Wood and Doors with Cliff Eberhardt. It was then that Dan Navarro (of Lowenn and Navarro fame) came to me and suggested that we do Led Zepplin in this same fashion.

However life intruded and several solo CD’s and and All Wood and Stones II later, it took until 2019 for Dan and I to find the time to create All Wood and Led.

You are holding in your hands the effort of two years and hundreds of studio hours finding just the right approach to re-invent the songs of one of the most successful bands in rock history, Led Zepplin.

We hope that you enjoy these reinterpretations, as we didn’t have any interest in covering the songs. With absolute respect and admiration, we wanted to bring our own sensibilities to these songs.

Imagine if Led Zepplin lived in Laurel Canyon in 1967 and you will see what we are presenting here. Dan and I did all the vocals and guitars, with our pal Chad Watson on bass, Washington “Smowdown” Tahr on percussion and the Phantom Airman on cello.

Title - Vers le Silence
Artist - Ran Dank

For those unaware, at first glance, the musical worlds of Frédéric Chopin and William Bolcom would seem strange bedfellows.

But on his solo debut recording, Israeli American pianist Ran Dank makes a convincing case for pairing the two composers.

The former, Poland’s national composer, is synonymous with pianistic panache. The latter, a leading American, possesses one of contemporary music’s most bold and inventive voices.

Juxtaposing the works of these two pianist-composers reveals their common affinity for the keyboard and ear for sound and sense of structure.

William Bolcom’s Twelve New Etudes won the Pulitzer Prize in 1988. Wonderfully eclectic, they move effortlessly between one musical idiom to another with endless ingenuity, exhibiting all the traits of Bolcom’s compositional craft.

Chopin equally excelled with his Etudes, but Dank turns to his plentiful Polonaises, Mazurkas and Waltzes which range in style from heroic, to dark and brooding, haunting and beautiful.

1. Polonaise in C minor, Op 40 No. 2 (9:32)

2-4. Twelve New Etudes for Piano, Book I
No. 1. Fast, Furious (0:53)
No. 2. Récitatif (4:26)
No. 3. Mirrors (1:55)

5. Mazurka in C Major, Op. 68 No. 1 (1:49)
6. Mazurka in G minor, Op. 67 No. 2 (2:14)
7. Mazurka in A minor, “Emile Gaillard” (3:01)

8-10. Twelve New Etudes for Piano Book II
No. 4. Scène d’opéra (2:39)
No. 5. Butterflies, Hummingbirds (2:23)
No. 6. Nocturne (2:30)

11. Waltz in B minor, Op. 69 No. 2 (3:56)
12. Waltz in A-flat Major, Op. 42 (4:00)

13-15. Twelve New Etudes for Piano, Book III
No. 7. Premonitions (3:03)
No. 8. Rag infernal (Syncopes apocalyptiques) (2:22)
No. 9. Invention (3:11)

16. Polonaise in A-flat Major, Op. 53 (7:33)

17-19. Twelve New Etudes for Piano, Book IV
No. 10. Vers le silence (7:16)
No. 11. Hi-jinks (2:07)
No. 12. Hymne à l’amour (6:20)

20. Mazurka in F minor, Op. 68 No. 4 (2:13)

Opening on Chopin: Polonaise No. 4 in C minor, Op. 40, No. 2, a magnificently milieu of a work of which Arthur Rubinstein once remarked that the Polonaise in A major is the symbol of Polish glory, whilst the Polonaise in C minor is the symbol of Polish tragedy, Dank transcends the high roads here to bring us a viral work of musical reorchestration.

Next up is Bolcom’s Twelve New Etudes for Piano, Book I that opens on the flutteringly ambient, gently frenetic key work of the oh-so aptly-named Fast, Furious before it threads nicely into the compliantly ornamented Récitatif, closing on the gentle, cat on the keys scuttling bustle of Mirrors.

Chopin’s forthright Mazurka No. 46 in C major, Op. 68 No. 1 is a flirtatious joy to behold as is the quieter stance of Mazurka in G minor, Op. 67 No. 2 and the ornately cultured Mazurka in A minor, “Emile Gaillard.”

Bolcom’s 12 New Etudes for Piano, Book II opens on the tonal preciseness of the adoring fanciful Scène d’opera, before next bringing us the delicately busy Butterflies, Hummingbirds, closing on the heartfelt, at times stilted diligence of Nocturne.

Both Chopin’s Waltz No. 10 in B minor, Op. 69 No. 2 and the following Waltz No. 5 in A flat major, Op. 42 are simply divine works from start to finish and here under Dank ebb and flow in a most provocatively seductive manner.

Bolcom’s 12 New Etudes for Piano, Book III is next up and opens with the forbidding, harder edged key work of Premonitions, before bringing us the animated, veritably exuberant Rag infernal (Syncopes apocalyptiques), the work closing on the confidently lowered appeal of Invention.

One of Chopin’s most admired compositions, the devastatingly exquisite Polonaise in A-flat Major, Op. 53 is also one of the outstanding highlights here for me, as the piece requires exceptional piano skills and great virtuosity to be interpreted at a high degree of proficiency by Dank.

Bolcom’s Twelve New Etudes for Piano, Book IV brings to a conclusion the entire work (and of which, as aforementioned, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Music in 1988) and continues the fusion of tonal and what he once called non-centered elements to bring forth a musical speech that is at once coherent and comprehensible and in constant expansion.

The last piece is Chopin’s Mazurka No. 49 in F minor, Op. 68 No. 4, which is rather fitting, given that the work overall is often regarded as Chopin’s last composition, along with the Mazurka in G minor, Op. 67, No. 2).

Ran Dank, a winner of numerous international competitions and prizes, has been significantly influenced by these two composers who have shaped his trajectory as a pianist and musician.

As a child to two parents from Poland, Chopin played a meaningful part in his upbringing, and he became mesmerized by the composer’s music at an early age.

Bolcom’s music was a much later discovery, but one that has become equally valuable and fitting, following Dank’s move to America.

Official Purchase Link

Title - The Solo Album
Artist - Christoph Croisé

For those unaware, Modernism, Multi-culturism, Multi-tuning and Lockdown are among the elements that bind the works on The Solo Album (out now via AVIE Records) by award winning cellist Christoph Croisé, who took the opportunity of 2020’s coronavirus isolation to work intensively on a variety of solo works and also turn his hand to composition.

Lauded for delicate yet virtuosic playing (BBC Music Magazine) and seamless subtleties of tone colour with plenty of edge (The Strad), Swiss-French-German cellist Christoph Croise is quickly building an international reputation as one of the most captivating young concert soloists to emerge in recent years.

Born in 1993, he made his New York debut at the age of 17 at Carnegie Hall, where he has performed on several occasions since.

Today, his busy international performing schedule includes regular appearances in many of the world’s renowned concert halls.

1-4. Concerto Rotondo for solo cello
i. Lento con liberta (3:26)
ii. Allegro (4:06)
iii. Yafu (3:57)
iv. Allegro (4:00)

GYÖRGY LIGETI (1923–2006)
5-6. Sonata for solo cello
i. Dialogo (3:58)
ii. Capriccio (3:52)

7. Spring Promenade (4:12)

8. Stonehenge (4:26)

ZOLTÁN KODÁLY (1882–1967)
9-11. Sonata for solo cello Op. 8
i. Allegro maestoso ma appassionato (8:07)
ii. Adagio (con grand espressione) (10:55)
iii. Allegro molto vivace (11:32)

12. Alone (5:03)

13. Some Like to Show It Off (3:46)

Taking inspiration from Sicilian composer-cello virtuoso Giovanni Sollima, his Concerto Rotondo incorporates electronics and extended techniques, all of which allow Christoph to truly flourish.

Opening on the stern embodiment of Lento con libertà and the slightly more flighty Allegro, the work as a whole transcends onward, bringing the beautifully orchestrated Yafù and the gently fervent Allegro seamlessly to the piece.

György Ligeti’s two-movement Sonata, and of which itself draws inspiration from Béla Bartók, ornately opens on the lusciously divine, highly emotive Dialogo before conjoining with the other half of its being, the sculptured beauty of Capriccio.

Next up is Christoph’s first composition for solo cello, Spring Promenade, which is infused with boogie-woogie, reggae, swing and techno, and which is a pure and unadulterated joy to behold.

That’s followed by the more recent Stonehenge by cellist, composer and pop-music producer Péter Pejtsik which includes intimations of electric guitar atop a bass line that, if you allow yourself to drift into, for sure lives, breathes, ebbs and flows akin to early Led Zeppelin work.

At the heart of the album is Hungarian composer Zoltán Kodály’s epic Sonata, the first major work for solo cello after the suites by Johann Sebastian Bach which were written two centuries earlier.

This piece opens on the flinty steel of Allegro maestoso ma appassionato, before bringing forth the deeper resonance of Adagio (con grand espressione), closing on the playfully flirty Allegro molto vivace.

Closing out the album is both Sollima’s short work, the somber austere of Alone and that then gives way to the album’s “encore”, the joyously exuberant Some Like to Show It Off by Croatian cellist-composer Thomas Buritch.

Official Purchase Link

Christoph Croisé @ Instagram

Christoph Croisé @ YouTube

Christoph Croisé @ Facebook

Title - Happily Ever Now
Artist - G’Raph

Happily Ever Now (releasing October 1st, 2021), the first album for children and families from Vermont’s critically acclaimed musician and composer Raphael Groten (a.k.a “G’Raph”), is dedicated to the cultivation of kindness, joy, love, living in the present moment, and the art of having fun NOW!

At the root of Raphael Groten’s longstanding vision and two decades of work as a music educator echoes the question, “Why wait for the ultimate line of the story, ‘happily ever after,’ to get happy?’”

The time to come alive is now. Happily Ever Now is a musical anthology of the moment, with songs of health, humility, and adventure, along with a grand dose of downright silliness.

Embracing styles that range from folk, blues, soul, and rock, to funk, reggae/ska, country, and world, Happily Ever Now takes the listener on an excursion with a delight around every bend in the road.

A highlight is the title track, which celebrates the most important teaching of the album, to be fully present in each moment.

In the universal mode of the folk-tale tradition, the lyrics journey from G’Raph’s youth to adulthood and reconstruct the central epiphany of his life – the value of living “Happily Ever Now.”

1. Hands in the Water
2. I Can Eat a Rainbow
3. Happily Ever Now
4. I Love You Baby
5. Don’t Pick Your Nose
6. The Minor ABC’s
7. I’m Not pErfect
8. No! No!
9. Baby Blues
10. The Only Me
11. Quiet Time
13. Owl’s Dream

This vibrant colorful and fun album of songs opens on the informative teachings of the funky Hands in the Water and the free flowing I Can Eat a Rainbow, and backs those up seamlessly with the Caribbean-imbibed title track, the beautifully atmospheric I Love You Baby, the gentle consumer warning of Don’t Pick Your Nose and then we get the Spanish guitar work within The Minor ABC’s.

Next up is the Sesame Street-esque Monster Truck and the countrified, harmonica-driven storytelling of I’m Not pErfect, the funky No! No!, the perfectly-titled Baby Blues, with the album rounding out on the lush hipsway of The Only Me, the ornate, almost instrumental balladry of Quiet Time, the album closing on the sleepytime vibe of Owl’s Dream.

“I began recording Happily Ever Now as I set up my own studio, Humming Bird Studio, when the lockdown came in 2020,” Raphael explains.

“Composing, arranging, performing, producing, and engineering the entire album alone was an adventure in creativity and inspiration. Happily Ever Now serves not only as entertainment for the entire family, but also as an introduction to many different genres of music, all of which form roots in my own musical tree.”

“The soundscape draws upon my extensive instrument collection and also includes elements of the real world, including nature, my kitchen, and Samson the cat. I might describe the music as Pete Seeger meets the Mother Ship!”

Official Website

Title - The Complete Collection [4CD]
Artist - The Piranhas

For those unaware, The Piranhas: The Complete Collection [4CD] (releasing September 17, 2021) is a very much long overdue round up of pretty much everything recorded by legendary Brighton Ska-Pop-Punk outfit The Piranhas.

The Piranhas formed in 1977, and were originally part of the Brighton punk scene, first coming to prominence when DJ John Peel started playing their single I Don’t Want My Body on his BBC Radio 1 program, but achieved their biggest success with their cover version of the South African kwela song Tom Hark.

This had been an instrumental hit in 1958 for Elias & His Zig Zag Jive Flutes, and had already been covered in a ska style by Millie Small and by Georgie Fame on his 1964 EP Rhythm & Blue-Beat.

With new lyrics written by the band’s front man Boring Bob Grover (allegedly en route to the recording studio), and with Pete Waterman on executive production duties, it was a Top 10 hit in the UK Singles Chart in 1980.

It was the first song to feature on BBC Television’s pop music program, Top of the Pops, when it returned in 1980 after being blacked out for nine weeks by industrial action.

During the obviously mimed performance the drummer played using a pair of plastic fish as drumsticks and much later it also became a popular chant amongst British football fans.

It is also popular at limited-overs cricket games, often being played when a boundary is hit, and the tune was also used in the novelty World Cup song We’re England, performed by the presenters of the radio station talkSPORT with adapted lyrics for the 2006 FIFA World Cup Finals.

Two years later the band’s version of Lou Busch’s Zambesi - produced by Pete Collins - was a Top 20 hit in the UK Singles Chart.

Making its debut on CD on Disc 1 is the band’s sole self-titled album which reached #69 in the UK National Charts in 1980. Included on the album is the Top Ten hit Tom Hark and also featured as bonus cuts are the Space Invaders and I Don’t Want My Body singles.

Disc One: Piranhas
Bonus Tracks

On their sole long-player in September, 1980, The Piranhas unleashed a slice of that popular and fashionable second wave of SKA action that was still just oh-so easy to sell.

The album’s lead single, Tom Hark, a cracking cover of an old South African hit by Elias and His Zig-Zag Jive Flutes in 1956 and now complete with some hurriedly written lyrics en route from Brighton to London for the recording session, soon became a bona fide hit.

Getting Beaten Up opens the album, complete with a message which absolutely resonated with me in the early ’80s as a schoolboy - getting beaten up is part of growing up - and where the album lacks some depth overall, there were just so many honest-to-God good tracks keep the sound alive.

Another stand out is Pleasure, the SKA hipsway of Green Don’t Suit Me (a re-recording of the Peel session track) and the rollicking I Don’t Want My Body (a re-recording of the track which had first impressed Peel when it appeared on a 1978 compilation).

OK, sure, the album didn’t do much business, stalling at #69 - and a horrific road crash, in which their road manager died, killed their mojo and momentum - but they locked down their place in UK music history, that’s for sure.

Disc 2 rounds up all of the bands singles on Dakota Records most of which are making their debut on CD and thus includes the UK #17 chart hit Zambezi; plus five previously unreleased studio demos from the early 80s.

Disc Two: The Dakota Years

By the end of 1981, the original version of the band split with the township jive of the Vi Gela Gela single, which opens the second disc here subtitled The Dakota Years, their last official release.

Recorded at the famous Pathway Studios in London even though the album didn’t make an impact, its sound most definitely resonates a fresh musical start for the band; and takes a big step away from their punk beginnings, funnily enough.

Also included here are five (5) bonus tracks - also from the same Pathway Studio demo sessions - and feature what to my mind is the definitive stand out cut, Bone Idle, which reshapes the band and their original sound into a hip hop / rap vibe.

The skank fest Fallen Hero is another great cut and also features a lovely middle complete with a big brass layer whilst the last cut of this disc, Smiling, is just as alt-fun danceable as you could ever hope for!

The third disc collects all of the band’s output for the Attrix label including the singles Yap Yap Yap and Jilly along with the recordings intended for their first album that were shelved due to the success of Tom Hark.

The band’s first ever studio recording, Shut Up, makes its debut on CD on this disc as does the demo version of Love Game, previously only issued on the rare Rock Against Racism – RAR’s Greatest Hits compilation.

Disc Three: The Attrix Years
15. PLEASUREbr> 16. DO YOU?

The third disc contains the The Attrix Years and does an immediate U-turn in their history and throttles the engine back to the very beginning of their career.

Featuring The Piranhas’ cuts for the Vaultage 78 album I Don’t Want My Body, Tension and Virginity, plus both sides of the band’s two singles for the label, the majority of the tracks on this third disc were already recorded and waiting for release long before that option was sadly scuppered by the label.

The songs, however, are really good, very vibrant, very earthy, combining a raw, but genuine musicianship together with a batch of intense, worldly lyrics, and you can just sense the vitality that the guys were trying to impart as they recorded it (the added pressure of any form of commerciality to abide by back then off their shoulders, of course.

The fourth and final disc contains three previously unreleased four track sessions for the BBC’s John Peel show.

Disc Four: John Peel Sessions

The fourth and final disc brings together the three (3) John Peel Sessions that The Piranhas recorded in 1979/80. Like most items taped for Peel, these are clear, simple recordings that rival the officially released takes.

Personally, the JP Sessions that were done with Adam & The Antz back in the late ’70s still resonate with me for their crystal clear, albeit taped quality (even today on vinyl).

The opening four songs are from February 1979 and includes a stunningly opulent rendition of Coloured Music, a wildly excellent Cheap And Nasty, and, of course, their infamous pop-punk ode Jilly rides again.

They went back later that year in July and brought forth another quartet of punk blasts, inclusive this time of two (2) of the band’s best loved numbers; both Boyfriend and Getting Beaten Up given sharp and zesty recountings.

The third and final session took place in late January 1980 and comes complete with another foursome of musical delights, perhaps nonemoreso than the funky reggae vibe of opener Anything and strolling on through, the succinct Green Don’t Suit Me closer.

The CD booklet contains detailed liner notes by fellow Brightonian Phil Byford plus pictures of all related record sleeves and associated memorabilia.

Official 4CD Purchase Link

Title - The Complete ATCO Recordings: 1982-2004 [4CD]
Artist - Vandenberg

For those unaware, Dutch guitarist and songwriter Adrian Vandenberg formed the band Teaser in 1981. Joining forces with lead vocalist Bert Heerink, bassist Dick Kemper, and drummer Jos Zoomer, Teaser’s first demo led to a worldwide deal with Atlantic Records.

The Complete ATCO Recordings: 1982-2004 [4CD] (releasing September 24th, 2021) contains the hard rock bands three early ’80s albums for Atlantic and a host of rarities and live tracks on the fourth disc.

The band – now named band after their guitarist and songwriter – released their eponymous debut Vandenberg (CD1) via Atlantic imprint ATCO in 1982.

Produced by Vandenberg and recording engineer Stuart Epps at Jimmy Page’s Sol Studios in the UK, the album featured the power ballad Burning Heart, the track making an impressive dent on the US Billboard Hot 100 charts in 1983.

The track Wait was also issued as a single. Vandenberg became a big concert draw, with major tours supporting Ozzy Osbourne and KISS, as well as shows in Japan, where the band had grown popular enough to headline in their own right.

Disc One: Vandenberg (1984)
1. Your Love Is In Vain
2. Back On My Feet
3. Wait
4. Burning Heart
5. Ready For You
6. Too Late
7. Nothing To Lose
8. Lost In A City
9. Out In The Streets

OK, well, first off, just how the album Vandenberg largely flew under the radar is beyond me! This is one incredibly great, well composed hard rock release, up there with the best of them from within the genre, that is for damn sure!

The songs are tight and the band has musicianship chops galore and, of course, Adrian Vandenberg is easily one of the best rock guitarists to ever grace the scene.

Impressing with his emotive and technical acoustic and electric style, and adored by legions of rock guitar fans worldwide, listening to this 9-track CD now, every track (every single track) sounds just as fresh now as it did in 1982!

Then again, quality, timeless music will always stand the test of time. For me, Burning Heart is worth the price of admission alone with some of the most heartfelt vocals and downright gorgeous guitar playing this side of Alpha Centauri!

Following hot on the heels of their debut, 1983’s Heading For A Storm (CD2) was released the following year, cementing the success of the first record.

Again co-produced with Stuart Epps at Sol Studios, the singles Friday Night, Waiting For The Night and Different Worlds further broadened their appeal.

Disc Two: Heading For A Storm (1983)
1. Friday Night
2. Welcome To The Club
3. Time Will Tell
4. Different Worlds
5. This Is War
6. I’m On Fire
7. Heading For A Storm
8. Rock On
9. Waiting For The Night

Their sophomore album was a notable step upwards for Vandenberg in terms of songwriting, performances and overall production for you can tell a great deal more effort went into this record versus their already-astounding debut.

Adrian’s playing is much sharper and is full of impressive guitar breaks and Bert Heerink also sounds more confident with his vocals, which sounded a bit more stilted on the first album, in truth.

Indeed, this is somewhat understandable given that he’s not singing in his native language (Dutch). Anyway, this album is fairly solid throughout, but the highlights for me are Welcome To The Club, Friday Night and This Is War.

Fans had to wait until the end of 1985 before they could hear more Vandenberg, with the release of Alibi (CD3). The biggest change for Vandenberg’s third record was the production duties were now handled by pop producer and former Golden Earring drummer, Jaap Eggermont.

An accomplished and respected artist, Adrian Vandenberg also produced the album cover artwork for Alibi, Heading For A Storm and the self-titled debut.

Shortly after Alibi, Vandenberg effectively split up, with Adrian joining Whitesnake for the remainder of the 1980s.

Disc Three: Alibi (1985)
1. All The Way
2. Pedal To The Metal
3. Once In A Lifetime
4. Voodoo
5. Dressed To Kill
6. Fighting Against The World
7. How Long
8. Prelude Mortale
9. Alibi

By the time Alibi rolled around, Vandenberg was fast losing steam and creative ideas (though the cover with the Alligator bursting out from underground near ancient temples is a refreshing ode to surrealism in a metal dominated field of leather and makeup).

The group had fallen prey to the then-contemporary, overly produced, highly glossed sound that glam metal was to bring to the forefront of commercial hard rock, and failed miserably at conforming to the sound (and the label’s) demands.

There are moments where the band still show traces of their original promise, but those are few and far between.

As noted, shortly after this, group founder and lead guitarist Adrian Vandenberg would disband the group and join David Coverdale’s Whitesnake project at the pinnacle of the band’s commercial success.

Ergo, and sadly, Alibi is most certainly one for die-hard fans and Whitesnake collectors only.

CD4 collects together the officially released rarities, including demos of Back On My Feet, Ready For You, Nothing To Lose, I’m On Fire, Out In The Streets, Out Of Cash and Help Me Thru The Night.

Disc Four: Rarities & Live Tracks (1982-2004)
1. Back On My Feet (Demo)
2. Ready For You (Demo)
3. Nothing To Lose (Demo)
4. I’m On Fire (Demo)
5. Out In The Streets (Demo)
6. Out Of Cash (Demo)
7. Help Me Thru The Night (Demo)
8. Burning Heart (Stereo Edit)
9. Once In A Lifetime (Special Mix)
10. Burning Heart (Mono Edit)
11. Ready For You (Live)
12. Lost In A City (Live)
13. Friday Night (Live In Japan),br> 14. Welcome To The Club (Live In Japan)
15. Roll Through The Night (Live In the USA)
16. Too Late (Live)
17. Burning Heart (2004 Unplugged)

The fourth and final disc brings together 17 rarities and live tracks culled from around the world, and aside from the aforementioned ones we also get varying degrees of musical wealth within both mono and stereo edits for the Burning Heart single along with Once In A Lifetime (Special Mix).

The set finishes with the live tracks Ready For You, Lost In A City, Friday Night and Welcome To The Club (both recorded in Japan), Roll Through The Night (Live in the USA) and Too Late.

This final CD of the new collection rounds out on the 2004 Unplugged version Burning Heart (for Vandenberg recorded a new version of that song at that time, of course).

Thankfully, a brand new version of Vandenberg formed in 2020, releasing the 2020 album, with a line-up featuring Rainbow vocalist Ronnie Romero, with Randy van der Elsen on bass and Koen Herfst on drums.

This collection is completed by an extensive, new essay from Adrian Vandenberg himself, detailing the history of the band.

Official 4CD Purchase Link

Title - Deep Secrets
Artist - Dee Brown

For those unaware, following his run of three successful radio singles, Innervision Records guitarist Dee Brown releases his first full length album in 3 1/2 years Deep Secrets (out September 3rd, 2021).

Although the album, featuring Dee’s irresistible combination of contemporary jazz, R&B, and Motown inspired soul, will sound familiar to long-time fans, this project goes further in revealing the spiritual and more grounded, mature side of Dee Brown - with the help of some terrific players such as Lin Rountree, Darryl Williams, Merlon Devine and label mate Blair Bryant.

1. Love You Too
2. Smooth Talk
3. The Prize
4. Surrender
5. Make Up Your Mind
6. Wake Up
7. Praise Is What I Do (feat. Gerard Brooks and Merlon Devine)
8. Deep Secrets (feat. Blair Bryant)
9. Controlled Passion (feat. Merlon Devine)
10. Tie The Knot (feat. Lin Rountree)
11. Pretty Girl (Skylar)

Opening on the free flowing majesty of Love You Too and the gentle funk of Smooth Talk, Brown backs those up seamlessly with the lush R&B orchestrations of The Prize, the melodically low key Surrender, the upbeat and perky Make Up Your Mind and then we get the finger-snapping Wake Up.

Next up is one of my own personal favorites from this set, the orchestrally sweeping live track Praise Is What I Do (feat. Gerard Brooks and Merlon Devine) which is in turn followed by the funky hipsway of Deep Secrets (feat. Blair Bryant), the methodically creative Controlled Passion (feat. Merlon Devine), this simply divine new album then rounding out on the horn-imbed funk of Tie The Knot (feat. Lin Rountree), coming to a close on the George Benson-esque Pretty Girl (Skylar).

Amazon Purchase Link

Official Website

Dee Brown @ Facebook

Dee Brown @ Instagram

Dee Brown @ Twitter

Dee Brown @ YouTube

Title - Prim and Primal
Artist - Adam Nolan Trio

For those not in the know, Prim And Primal (out now) is a fresh new concept album based on contrasting personalities and approaches to free jazz.

One is clean, tidy, polite and humble while the other is aggressive, bold, raw, risky and wild.

Furthermore, each track is based on reflecting scenes called out by the Adam Nolan Trio before the take.

I am, Co-Creator, Composer, Saxophonist, Producer, Poet, Artist and Meditator. My music expresses the constantly evolving phases of life as I experience them.

My states of consciousness are therefore expressed by quasi-physical cognitive experimentation. My process allows me to exist as a conduit of inspirational improvisational musical creations.

I would describe the resulting sounds as ethereal in nature, combining concept stylizations based on practice, improv and ever ascending risks in creativity, swaddled within deep flow states of awareness.

So I believe. - Adam Nolan.

1. Expand the Tempo (11:28)
2. The Modern Jazz Trio (9:37)
3. Latin Jazz? (8:17)
4. Ancient Mayan Jungle (9:57)
5. The Magic Carpet (9:10)
6. Kung Fu Master Vs The Ape (8:32)

With some of Nolan’s influences leading up to this recording session included Ornette Coleman, Kaoru Abe, Anthony Braxton, Kenny Garrett, Bobby Watson and Sam Rivers, he opens on the melodically swirling 60’s -imbibed haze of the near 12 minute Expand the Tempo and then leads us into the cool free jazz ambiance of the near 10 minute The Modern Jazz Trio.

Next up are some highly ornate, cultured and harmonized stylizations and expressions found within some expressively haunting contemporary harmonies, all layered within some dulcet bossa-inspired stylings on Latin Jazz? and then a sense of a tropical jungle ambiance found within the ancient world workings come to the fore next on the atmospheric near 10 minute Ancient Mayan Jungle.

This quite stunningly opulent new album then rounds out on the earnest playing of all three, coming together on the near 10 minute The Magic Carpet (a tune that came together after Nolan visualized the three of them in a desert, thirsty and dying for a drink of cold water, before spotting a magic carpet flying past), closing on the highly inventive, magically creative, full on Kung Fu Master Vs The Ape (described by Nolan as a scene that really expresses the wild raw power of an ape along with a Kung Fu masters precision, awareness and discipline complimented by the rustle and tumbles of a smoking area along with a bewildered crowd experiencing this bizarre scenario!)

Official Purchase Link

Adam Nolan Music @ Facebook

Adam Nolan Music @ Twitter

Adam Nolan Music @ Instagram

Adam Nolan Music @ YouTube

Official Website

Title - Trust Me
Artist - Gerry Eastman Trio

For those not in the know, Gerry Eastman has long had an original sound and style on the guitar.

While there are moments where his tone many briefly recall George Benson or Wes Montgomery, his improvising is always adventurous without losing its blueness.

Gerry Eastman was born and raised in New York, and as a youth learned to play guitar, bass and drums.

He studied at Cornell University and Ithaca College and has been working constantly ever since.

Eastman was a member of the Count Basie Orchestra in 1986, and recorded with altoist Joe Ford, flutist Reynold Scott, the Contemporary Composer’s Orchestra, trumpeter Cullen Knight, drummer Nasar Abadey, and singer Karen Francis in addition to the Basie band.

The guitarist has led at least six albums of his own and his sidemen have included such notables as James Spaulding, Frank Foster, Jimmy Owens, Hank Crawford, Archie Shepp, David Murry, Robin Eubanks, Sumi Tonooka, Patience Higgins, Andy Bay, and Regina Carter, amongst others.

On his new album Trust Me (due out October 1st, 2021), Eastman along with organist Greg Lewis and drummer Taru Alexander provide a fresh spin on the classic jazz organ trio with their individual sounds, solos and inventive interplay.

They perform eight (8) of the guitarist’s originals and, while the music wings and grooves soulfully, it is far from predictable.

Eastman provides a variety of rich melodies, his chord changes are original, and each of the musicians contributes to the music’s surprising twists and turns.

1. Trust Me
2. St. Marteen Swing
3. Native Son
4. Learn From Yoiur Mistacks
5. Just A Matter Of Time
6. Distant Lover
7. Dance One
8. Cuban Sunset

Opening on the bluesy hipsway of the title track Trust Me, that is followed by the tantalizingly grooved melodies of St. Marteen Swing, the original title from Eastman’s 1992 album, Native Son (here masterfully redone by taking it out of tempo), and then we get the purposefully mistitled swinger, Learn From Yoiur Mistacks.

Up next is the uncomplicated, yet melodically sublime Just A Matter Of Time which is in turn followed by the conversational improve of Distant Lover, the album coming to a close on the boisterously exuberant Dance One, closing on the infectiously expressional Cuban Sunset.

Official CD Purchase Link

Title - [OCT 8] Restless
Artist - Jackson Potter

For those not in the know, Jackson Potter is an award winning guitarist and composer based out of St. Paul, MN who recently graduated from the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami with a B.M. in jazz performance.

During his time in Miami, Jackson shared the stage with Grammy Award winners, Gonzalo Rubalcaba and Dafnis Prieto as well as performed at venues such as the New World Symphony Center, Ball and Chain, Lagniappe House and many others.

Indeed, Jackson has just released a stunning debut album, the quite brilliant Restless (out now via Wise Cat Records), all whilst still studying privately with guitar virtuoso, Mike Moreno at the Manhattan School of Music in New York City.

1. Bird Flu (6:56)
2. Falling Grace (6:16)
3. Mulberry Tree (7:02)
4. Sophia’s Waltz (5:37)
5. Amalfi (5:59)
6. Peace (6:55)
7. Hindsight Is 2020 (6:09)
8. Restless (6:43)

This quite vibrantly euphoric album opens on the dulcet swirling haze of Bird Flu and the gently frenetic Falling Grace and backs those up seamlessly with the mid-tempo hipsway of Mulberry Tree and then the simply divine orchestrations of Sophia’s Waltz are brought forth.

Up next is one of my own personal favorites here on this beautiful new album, the ornately sculptured foot-tapper Amalfi which is in turn followed by the sweepingly elegant Peace, the album rounding out on the cutely entitled, and lushly sophisticated Hindsight Is 2020, closing on the guitar-led feistiness of the upbeat title track Restless.

Official Website

Jackson Potter @ Facebook

Jackson Potter @ Instagram

Jackson Potter @ YouTube

Title - Deviate from Standards
Artist - David Larsen

For those not in the know, David Larsen (saxophonist, composer, educator) is the director of instrumental studies at Spokane Falls Community College.

He holds a PhD from Washington State University and degrees from Pacific University, University of Oregon & Western Oregon University.

David has been a presenter/performer for the Jazz Education Network, North American Saxophone Alliance and several other conferences and festivals.

David is also an active adjudicator and works with various festivals around the US.

His brand new album, Deviate from Standards (out October 1st, 2021) started as a COVID-19 escape. A way to keep playing music, even as live performances were not possible.

As the world began to open, I was able to play these pieces in public and learn more about how I wanted to present them, David explains.

The compositions are taken from the last four years of my life; earning my doctoral degree and getting more exposure to jazz composers from a variety of eras and genres.

1. A New Thing Comin’ (6:30)
2. Smoke Screen (5:44)
3. Augmented Reality (6:58)
4. Family (5:16)
5. He Who Getz the Last Laugh (6:00)
6. See You at 8 (6:38)
7. Into the Light (5:24)
8. Into the Mild (7:01)
9. Tensai (7:02)

Opening on the lushly orchestrated, gentle swing of A New Thing Comin’ and the gently fervent Smoke Screen, David backs those up with the finger-snapping, cool hipsway of Augmented Reality and then we get the ornate majesty of the beautiful Family.

Up next are the upbeat and cheerful stylings of He Who Getz the Last Laugh and then the brilliantly-paired, gliding, rhythmically sculptured designs of both the piano-led See You at 8 and the trumpet-imbued Into the Light, with the album rounding out on the upbeat and perky flow of Into the Mild, the album closing on the rousing Tensai.

This project has also helped me stretch out and learn more about my own playing< David continues. I want to thank Dr. Greg Yasinitsky for all his help and his great saxophone playing.

I also want to thank clarinetist, Ken Peplowski, for adding his sound to the album. And to the other players: Josh, Kate, Danny, Nick, and Brendan for working so hard to make this sound amazing.

David Larsen - Baritone & Tenor Saxophone
Brendan McMurphy - Trumpet, Flugel Horn, & Drums
Greg Yasinitsky - Tenor & Baritone Saxophone (Tracks - 1, 9)
Ken Peplowski - Clarinet (Track 3)
Kate Skinner - Piano & Keyboards (Tracks - 1, 3, 5, 8, 9)
Danny McCollim - Keyboards (Tracks - 2, 4, 6, 7)
Josh Skinner - Bass (Tracks - 1, 3, 5, 8, 9)
Nick Isherwood - Bass (Tracks - 2, 4, 6, 7)

David has performed with a variety of artists including Ken Peplowski, Francisco Torres, Dave Glenn, Ron Vincent, Bill Mays, Dean Johnson, and the internationally acclaimed jazz vocalist, Halie Loren.

David’s last release, The Mulligan Chronicles (2021), is an homage of Gerry Mulligan and has received international radio play and rave reviews.

Recently, David appeared on the Origin Records release New Normal (2021) by Greg Yasinitsky and was featured on the award-winning Halie Loren album Butterfly Blue (2015).

Larsen’s previous releases include Borrowed Time (2018), One of a Kind (2016), and Night Shift (2016).

David is also an active composer. His published works cover a wide variety of styles and genres. His compositions have won numerous awards including JW Peppers Editor’s Choice for 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021.

His music has been performed and recorded by a wide variety of groups around the U.S. and abroad. His compositions and arrangements have been played by Washington State University, University of Oregon, and others around the country.

Official Purchase Link

Official Website

David Larsen @ Facebook

David Larsen @ Instagram

David Larsen @ YouTube

Title - A Vida Com Paixão
Artist - Brasuka

For those unaware, Brasuka is an exciting and original world music ensemble. They are 6 musicians, representing 5 different cultures, singing in 3 languages: Portuguese, Spanish, and English.

Their wonderful musical and cultural diversity comes together through their friendship and their shared love of Brazilian music.

From samba to reggae, jazz fusion to funk, fiery frevo to tender ballads, Brasuka explores many different rhythms and stories, delivering them with carefully crafted, lush arrangements, reminiscent of beloved Brazilian artists like Sergio Mendes and Ivan Lins.

Their debut album of almost all original music, A Vida Com Paixão (releasing October 6th, 2021 via trombonist Nick Finzer’s Outside in Music label), delivers a compelling debut recording rooted in Brazilian fusion, taking the listener on a culturally diverse journey.

Over the past year and a half, music experienced a dark and dismal outlook of pandemic doom. But in demanding times, musicians keep us grounded. They call up the strong, beautiful parts of our spirits.

Welcome Brasuka, the hopeful and spirited ensemble that offers a healing outlook. Based in Dallas, the sextet’s compelling debut recording, A Vida Com Paixão, captures the joy and beauty of its translated name, A Life With Passion.

Inspired by different styles of Brazilian music with spices of reggae, classical, jazz improvisation, folk-styled melodies, Uruguayan candombe, and splashes of pop, the six-member band, along with special guests, delivers a sublime album with every tune a pure delight of lyricism and percussive rhythms.

1. Samba Jiji
2. A Vida Com Paixão
3. Road to Hermeto
4. Marakandombe
5. Deusa Do Meu Carnaval
6. Reina’s Song
7. Praia Felix
8. La Higuera
9. Confundido
10. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

Opening on the delicious hipsway of the captivating wordless vocals within Samba Jiji and the addictively joyful and uplifting beats of the title track itself, A Vida Com Paixão, next up is the beautifully buoyant Road to Hermeto, the Uruguayan candombe and Brazilian maracatu combination of Marakandombe and then we get the gentle samba, flute and melodica joy of Deusa Do Meu Carnaval.

Next up is the simply divine, sobering original Reina’s Song and the exuberant Praia Felix, which are in turn followed by one of my own personal favorites here, the candombe groove-layered, complete with mellow bass solo that bleeds into a rousing sing-along of La Higuera, the vibrantly seductive album rounding out on the melodious and dynamic improvisations found within Confundido, closing on Brasuka’s rhythmic approach to their uplifting rendition of the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

The 10 tracks, including 9 original songs, work together as a culturally diverse journey of a group formed a decade ago, originally as a Sergio Mendes tribute spearheaded by percussionist Ricardo Bozas and vocalist and current spokesperson, Rosana Eckert.

“After many years of playing music by artists like Sergio Mendes and Ivan Lins, the band evolved. After a few personnel changes and some brainstorming, we shifted our focus to original music. We started writing songs together as a group and loved it.” says Eckert.

Eckert likens the band to a collective. “There is no one leader. There are six leaders, and we’re all invested. The biggest challenge has been finding the time to rehearse and write, given that we all have so many other musical jobs and groups.”

“But we believe in this band and devote ourselves to it, planning rehearsals weeks in advance. Rehearsals are often day-long events when we eat together, write, arrange, eat some more. We also split up into smaller groups for writing sessions,” she says.

Brasuka stands as a solid band with a firm undergirding influenced by their shared love of Brazilian music. The multi-ethnic ensemble features Mexican-American Eckert on vocals and keyboards, Uruguay-born Bozas on percussion and vocals, Cubaborn Denny Robinson on keys and vocals, Tom Burchill from South Dakota on acoustic and electric guitars and vocals, Dallas-born Brian Warthen on bass and percussion, and Puerto Rico native Jose Aponte on drums and vocals.

Guests include co-producer Daniel Pardo on flutes and melodica, Drew Zaremba on flute and tenor sax, and Jeff Robbins on tenor saxophone.

Official Website

Brasuka @ Facebook

Brasuka @ Instagram

Title - Quartet +
Artist - Helen Sung with Harlem Quartet

For those unaware, Helen Sung is an acclaimed jazz pianist and composer, and a newly named 2021 Guggenheim Fellow.

A native of Houston, Texas, and graduate of its High School for the Performing and Visual Arts (HSPVA), she eschewed her classical piano upbringing after a jazz epiphany during undergraduate studies at UT Austin.

Helen went on to become part of the inaugural class of the Thelonious Monk Institute (now the Herbie Hancock Institute) at the New England Conservatory of Music.

Pianist/composer and 2021 Guggenheim Fellow Helen Sung celebrates the work of influential women composers on her latest album Quartet+, crafting new arrangements of tunes by Geri Allen, Carla Bley, Mary Lou Williams, Marian McPartland, and Toshiko Akiyoshi while carrying the tradition forward with her own stunning new works.

Co-produced by violin master Regina Carter, the album pairs Sung’s quartet with the strings of the GRAMMY® Award-winning Harlem Quartet in an inventive meld of jazz and classical influences.

1. Feed The Fire
2. Mary’s Waltz (feat. Melissa White)
3. Coquette
4. Elegy For The City (feat. Jaime Amador)
5. Time loops
6. Intermission: A Grand Night for Swinging
7. Long Yellow Road
8. Wrong Key Donkey
9. Melancholy Mood (feat. Harlem Quartet)
10. Kaleidoscope
11. Lament for Kalief Browder (feat. Felix Umansky)
12. Sungbird (feat. Ilma Gavilan)
13. Reprise: A Grand Night for Swinging

This tantalizingly wondrous new album opens on the dramatically striking Feed The Fire and the dulcet tones of Mary’s Waltz (feat. Melissa White) and backs those up seamlessly with the playful artistry of Coquette, before bringing us the two-movement Temporality section of the recording: the ornate stillness of Elegy For The City (feat. Jaime Amador) that is then matched with the benevolently fervent Time loops.

Next comes a quick Intermission: A Grand Night for Swinging which itself continues with the symphonic qualities of Long Yellow Road and then we are treated to the originality and eccentricity found within the whimsical Wrong Key Donkey, before we are given the aptly-named Melancholy Mood (feat. Harlem Quartet).

The layered group improvisations of Kaleidoscope are up next and then come both the breathtakingly adorned Lament for Kalief Browder (feat. Felix Umansky, and dedicated to the Bronx teenager who committed suicide following his arduous three-year imprisonment without trial at Rikers Island) and the passionate Sungbird (feat. Ilma Gavilan), the album closing on the minute long Reprise: A Grand Night for Swinging.

Helen and her band have performed at major American festivals and venues including Newport, Monterey, Disney Hall, SFJAZZ, and Carnegie Hall.

Internationally, her NuGenerations Project toured southern Africa as a U.S. State Department Jazz Ambassador, and recent engagements include debuts at the London Jazz Festival, Jazz at Lincoln Center Shanghai, Blue Note Beijing, and the Sydney International Women’s Jazz Festival.

She has performed with such luminaries as the late Clark Terry, Wayne Shorter, Ron Carter, Wynton Marsalis (who named her as one of his Who’s Got Next: Jazz Musicians to Watch!), MacArthur Fellow Regina Carter, and Grammy-winning artists including Terri Lyne Carrington, Cecile McLorin Salvant, and the Mingus Big Band.

Helen is a Steinway Artist and has served on the jazz faculties at Berklee College of Music, the Juilliard School, and Columbia University, where she also was the inaugural jazz artist-in-residence at Columbia’s prestigious Mortimer B. Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute.

Looking at the difference between September 2020 and September 2021 fills me with hope for the future, Helen explains, that slowly but surely we are reclaiming live music and community.

Case in point, we had a blast last month at the San Jose Jazz Summerfest: besides the joy of presenting Quartet+, it was awesome to hang with other musicians who were also performing and get to hear their sets.

This month has plenty of excitement in store, foremost of which is the release of Quartet+ on Sunnyside Records on September 17th, 2021 with release shows at Flushing Town Hall (Sept.16), at the Lake George Jazz at the Lake Series (Sept.18), and Amherst College (Oct.1).

I am excited to see where Quartet+ takes us, and hope you’ll join me for the ride!

Her recent releases Sung With Words (Stricker Street), a collaborative project with renowned poet Dana Gioia funded by a Chamber Music America New Jazz Works Grant, and Anthem For A New Day (Concord Jazz) topped the jazz charts.

Official Purchase Link

Official Website

Helen Sung @ Facebook

Helen Sung @ Twitter

Helen Sung @ Instagram

Title - ... Sounds Like Swiss [2CD/DVD]
Artist - Nektar

For those unaware, ...Sounds Like Swiss (out October 1st, 2021 via Beyond Before) is a 2CD/DVD set of unearthed audio and video recordings from legendary progressive rock band Nektar captured live in Switzerland, 1973.

Indeed, as aforementioned, it also includes an hour-long concert videotaped for Swiss TV’s Kaléidospop, unseen since its original broadcast.

The two CDs include the audio portion of the TV show as well as a complete show soundboard audio recording from the Pavilion des Sports in Lausanne, Switzerland in May 1973.

Housed in a beautiful 4 panel digipak, this 2CD/DVD set is an epic, historical document showcasing the bands early innovative and pioneering sound that remains as vital and influential as ever.

CD 1:
1. introduction
2. Journey To The Centre Of The Eye
3. Desolation Valley / Waves
4. A Day In The Life Of A Preacher
5. Crying In The Dark / King Of Twilight
6. Let It Grow
7. Odyssee
8. Ron’s On
9. Never, Never, Never

CD 2:
1. 1-2-3-4
2. Do You Believe In Magic?
3. Cast Your Fate
4. A Day In The Life Of A Preacher
5. Good Day
6. Desolation Valley / Waves
7. 1-2-3-4
8. Crying In The Dark / King Of Twilight

The first of the CDs opens on an introduction which then bleeds into both the joyously free flowing opus Journey To The Centre Of The Eye and the stunningly ornate, spatial pairing of Desolation Valley / Waves, which are backed seamlessly by the guitar rock and funky Hammond work within A Day In The Life Of A Preacher, the layered rock growth found on the - come the end - blistering Crying In The Dark / King Of Twilight, the disc rounding out on the beautiful Prog hipsway of Let It Grow, the heavy, psych jazz rock and drum led orchestrated fervency of of the Odyssee and Ron’s On pairing, closing on the funky bass and Hammond rhythms of Never, Never, Never.

If, like me, you have been eagerly awaiting for something like this to finally, some 50 years on, to get a glimpse of early Nektar at their rawest incarnation, well, the treat continues onward with the second CD opening on the absolutely brilliant, foot-stomping excellence of 1-2-3-4 and the elegantly careening Do You Believe In Magic? which are in turn followed by the melodic rock of Cast Your Fate, the downright Prog rock magnificence of A Day In The Life Of A Preacher, the mid-tempo, harmonized and soulful Good Day, the package rounding out on other renditions of tracks already brought forth: Desolation Valley / Waves, 1-2-3-4, closing on Crying In The Dark / King Of Twilight.

1. Cast Your Fate
2. A Day In The Life Of A Preacher / Squeeze / Jimi Jam
3. Good Day
4. Desolation Valley / Waves
5. 1-2-3-4
6. Crying In The Dark / King Of Twilight
7. Da-Da-Dum

The booklet includes liner notes by bassist and founding members Derek “Mo” Moore and Mick Brockett.

The band’s line up for these legendary performances in fact features all five original members - the late Roye Allbrighton on guitar and vocals, Derek “Mo” Moore on bass and vocals, Allan “Taff” Freeman on organ and vocals, and Ron Howden on drums and percussion in addition to Mick Brockett handling the visual tapestry that was such a key component of the “Music and Light Theatre” that the band was presenting at the very height of progressive rocks main sequence during the mid-70’s.

“I have known of its existence since we did this concert in 1973 and have never been able to find it. To have this unearthed after all these years is fantastic and takes me immediately back to that time.”

“It was great to be allowed to contribute what was needed to bring this about. Roger Houdaille of ‘Think Like a Key’ did a great job in putting this together” - Derek “Mo” Moore.

Official Purchase Links

Offical Nektar The unboxing of ...Sounds Like Swiss! By Nektar co-founder and bass player Derek “Mo” Moore.

Official Website

Nektar @ Facebook

Nektar @ Instagram

Nektar @ YouTube

Title - End Of Innocence
Artist - Tony Kaye

For those unaware, keyboard legend Tony Kaye announces the release of his debut solo album End Of Innocence, on September 10th, 2021 on Spirit Of Unicorn Music (distributed via Cherry Red Records) to mark the 20th anniversary of 9/11.

Having retired from music in 1996, Kaye was moved, by the events of 11th September 2001, to commit his thoughts and feelings to a heartfelt personal musical interpretation.

Ergo, End Of Innocence is a requiem for those who lost their lives and all those touched by the horrific events of 9/11.

Primarily orchestral, End Of Innocence is a powerful and emotional suite that is both beautiful and sinister, reflecting the dark forces at work that day.

It guides the listener through the day and touches on the response, to reach a hope that peace and calm may prevail.

1. Twinkle Twinkle Little Star/Twilight Time
2. 911 Overture
3. NYC Blues
4. Battle Cry
5. 285 Fulton Street
6. Let’s Roll
7. Tug of War
8. Flight 11
9. Towers Fall
10. Sweetest Dreams
11. Aftermath
12. Heroes
13. The Battle
14. Hope and Triumph
15. Homecoming
16. Ground Zero

This remarkably atmospheric new album from Kaye opens on the sonically opulent Twinkle Twinkle Little Star/Twilight Time and the emphatic 911 Overture and backs those up with the blues synth work of NYC Blues, the 7 minute orchestral airplay of Battle Cry, the guitar and percussion jam of 285 Fulton Street, and then we get both the dynamic, stark piano found on Let’s Roll and the short, but lively Tug of War.

Up next is the soaring Flight 11 and some Eastern-imbibed poignancy found with each aching bar of Towers Fall, and they are themselves followed by the breathy beauty of Sweetest Dreams, the starkly opulent Aftermath, the heartfelt ode that melodically runs through Heroes, the near 12 minute melodically surfeit opus The Battle, with the album rounding out on the rousing Hope and Triumph, the Latin guitar-tinged Homecoming, closing on the vibrantly earthy ebb and flow of Ground Zero

As did many millions, Kaye watched the horrors of 9/11 unfold on his TV screen. “The next day I unpacked my keyboards for the first time in a long time,” Kaye recalls. “I didn’t know what I was going to do. It was one of those things that happened, inspiration on a musical level.”

The suite begins the night before 9/11 but, as Kaye’s wife Dani Torchia sings an innocent lullaby, menacing storms are gathering.

The beautiful 9/11 Overture was the first piece Kaye composed, the following day. “I had no recording equipment, just an 8-track cassette recorder and some of those recordings became what you hear now.”

Kaye continues to create vivid images of New York City life and a vibrancy around The World Trade Centre (285 Fulton Street) before the terror begins and captures the fears of those on the planes, Flight 11 depicting the conversations stewardesses had with the tower.

The track includes a powerful drum solo by Kaye’s friend Jay Schellen (CIRCA, YES) reflecting the struggles onboard.

Following the collapse of the towers, Dani Torchia sings her lament Sweetest Dreams and the album looks at the Aftermath and the Heroes before focusing on the response.

“I wanted it, musically, to be about that day,” Kaye says, “but I felt compelled to extend it to deal with the repercussions of what happened.”

“Musically, it was quite challenging to do the battle scene and then the Hope And Triumph, a patriotic anthem and the consequences of war. Ground Zero is the hope for the future, the rebuilding.”

The artwork for the album has been created by Roger Dean, known for his work with YES and ASIA, powerful imagery reflecting the journey the music takes.

Tony Kaye, Spirit of Unicorn Music and Cherry Red Records are donating 10% of all profits from End of Innocence to (the charity supports veterans, defenders and first responders in times of hardship.

Official Purchase Link

Title - The RAK Singles [4CD]
Artist - Hot Chocolate

For those unaware, Hot Chocolate chalked up at least one hit single every year between 1970 and 1984, a rare achievement and they are among the Top 200 most successful UK chart artists of all time.

Unlike many UK pop acts of the day they scored chart success in the USA where Emma (No.3), Disco Queen (No.28), You Sexy Thing (No.3), So You Win Again (No.31), and Every 1’s A Winner (No.6) were all Billboard Top 40 hits.

24 of these singles were also chart entries in Germany while eight of them went Top 20 in Australia, the band scoring hits across most of Europe as well.

With 12 UK Top 10 singles, 29 Top 40 hits and a combined 280 weeks (over 5 years!) in the UK charts Hot Chocolate are one of THE most successful chart acts of all time.

This brand new 4CD clam shell box-set The RAK Singles (out September 24th, 2921 via 7T’s Records/Cherry Red Records) features every A and B-side they issued on the seminal RAK Records label, all 36 singles.

So You Win Again was the band’s sole No.1 single but they scored Top 10 hits with Love Is Life (No.6), I Believe In Love (No.8), Brother Louie (No.7), Emma (No.3), A Child’s Prayer (No.7), You Sexy Thing (No.2), Put Your Love In Me (No.10), No Doubt About It (No.2), Girl Crazy (No.7), It Started With A Kiss (No.5) and What Kinda Boy You’re Lookin’ For Girl (No.10).

Hot Chocolate were notable, before their mid-late seventies/early eighties soul pop domination, for being a pioneer multi-racial band, like the Equals before them.

There have been oh-so many Best Of and Greatest Hits compilations over the years, but this The RAK Singles is by far the best collection of their hits ever produced (in my humble opinion).

Virtually covering everything in the career of this remarkably successful chart group, and a band that I personally loved everything that they put out over the years, the remastered sound quality here for this new 4CD box-set is truly excellent throughout.

Disc One
1. Love Is Life
2. Pretty Girls
3. You Could’ve Been A Lady
4. Everybody’s Laughing
5. I Believe (In Love)
6. Caveman Billy
7. Mary-Anne
8. Ruth
9. You’ll Always Be A Friend
10. Go Go Girl
11. Brother Louie
12. I Want To Be Free
13. Rumours
14. A Man Needs A Woman
15. Emma
16. Makin’ Music
17. Changing World
18. Bump And Dilly Down

The first disc is as good as the others, trust me, and opens up on the R&B smooth soul of both Love Is Life and Pretty Girls and continues onward with tracks like the finger-snapping mid-tempo lush vibe of Everybody’s Laughing, the funky Mary-Anne, the guitar rock of Ruth, the absolutely brilliant soul rhythms of Brother Louie, and even has time to bring forth the addictive funk lines of both Makin’ Music and the disc closer Bump And Dilly Down.

Disc Two
1. Cheri Babe
2. Sexy Lady
3. Blue Night
4. You Sexy Thing (B-side version)
5. Disco Queen
6. You’re A Natural High
7. A Child’s Prayer
8. Everything Should Be Funky
9. You Sexy Thing
10. A Warm Smile
11. Don’t Stop It Now
12. Beautiful Lady
13. Man To Man
14. Eyes Of A Growing Child
15. Heaven Is In The Back Seat Of My Cadillac
16. Sex Appeal
17. So You Win Again
18. A Part Of Being With You

The second disc opens on the drum-led pairing of Cheri Babe and the smooth R&B flow of Sexy Lady and continues onward with tracks such as the massive dancefloor smash You Sexy Thing (two versions, both sounding the same, in truth), the hump and bump of Disco Queen, the two-step funky beats of Don’t Stop It Now, the free flowing lush orchestrations of Beautiful Lady, and we also get the horn-tastic Heaven Is In The Back Seat Of My Cadillac, closing on the smooth groove of So You Win Again and the aching ballad A Part Of Being With You.

Disc Three
1. Put Your Love In Me
2. Let Them Be The Judge
3. Every 1’s A Winner
4. Power Of Love
5. I’ll Put You Together Again (from Dear Anyone)
6. West End Of Park Lane
7. Mindless Boogie
8. Don’t Turn It Off
9. Going Through The Motions
10. Stay With Me
11. No Doubt About It
12. Gimme Some Of Your Loving
13. Are You Getting Enough Of What Makes You Happy?
14. I’ve Got You On My Mind
15. Love Me To Sleep
16. The Girl Is A Fox
17. Losing You
18. Children Of Spacemen

The third disc opens on the hypnotic melodies of Put Your Love In Me, the funky soul of Let Them Be The Judge, and then we get one of their true masterpieces Every 1’s A Winner, before continuing onward with the simply mesmerizing baseline within Mindless Boogie, the hidden gem (beloved by all HC fans) Don’t Turn It Off, the deliriously funky late 70’s dancefloor soul of Are You Getting Enough Of What Makes You Happy?, the disc rounding out on the uptempo ballad Losing You and the soaring, ornately magnificent Children Of Spacemen.

Disc Four
1. You’ll Never Be So Wrong
2. Robot Love
3. Girl Crazy
4. Bed Games
5. It Started With A Kiss
6. Emotion Explosion
7. Chances
8. A Night To Remember
9. What Kinda Boy You’re Lookin’ For (Girl)
10. Got To Get Back To Work
11. Tears On The Telephone
12. It’s My Birthday
13. I’m Sorry
14. Love Is A Good Thing
15. I Gave You My Heart (Didn’t I)
16. Jeannie
17. Heartache No. 9
18. One Life

Opening on a brilliant cover of Kim Wilde’s 1981 hit You’ll Never Be So Wrong and the synth-laden Robot Love, the fourth and final disc rolls ever onward with a classic pop soul ballad in the form of It Started With A Kiss, the dancefloor rhythms of Emotion Explosion, the Michael Jackson-imbibed (especially the video) Tears On The Telephone, the euphorically happy beats of I Gave You My Heart (Didn’t I), closing on the finger-snapping cover of Delegation’s harmonious Heartache No. 9 and the slow soul roll of the beautiful One Life.

The booklet comes complete with detailed notes on each single by 1970s expert Phil Hendriks and is fully illustrated with sleeves from across the globe.

Official 4CD Purchase Link

Title - The East West Years 1995-1998 [3CD]
Artist - Bonnie Tyler

For those unaware, Welsh chanteuse Bonnie Tyler’s musical career began in 1977 with the country-tinged worldwide hit, Lost In France, but her biggest smashes came in the mid-‘80s when she teamed up with Bat Out Of Hell creator, Jim Steinman.

Germany was always a big stronghold for Bonnie Tyler, and a new deal there with East West Records led to the release of Free Spirit, in 1995.

Featuring songs from a number of established and acclaimed writers, including Frankie Miller and the Scorpions’ Rudolph Schenker and Klaus Meine, it included an equally varied array of producers, including ELO’s Jeff Lynne.

The album is particularly notable for seeing Bonnie teaming up with mentor, Jim Steinman, for the singles Making Love (Out Of Nothing At All), which had previously been a huge hit for Air Supply, plus Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad, which had originally been recorded by Meat Loaf for the multi-platinum Bat Out Of Hell.

Three years later, Bonnie released her second East West album, All In One Voice. The album was mainly produced by Jimmy Smyth, and featured contributions from Mike Batt (The Wombles, Katie Melua) and Harold Faltermeyer (Beverly Hills Cop).

The lead single, He’s The King, was also used in a popular German TV show of the time The King of St. Pauli, that Bonnie made an appearance in. Always a truly international artist, the second single from the album, Heaven was performed at Sweden’s selection show for the Eurovision Song Contest.

The upcoming The East West Years 1995-1998 (releasing September 24th, 2021 via Cherry Pop Records, UK) is a 3CD set that features those two aforementioned ‘90s albums; who recently celebrated her 70th birthday.

There is also a bonus CD of their international-selling single cuts in various formats including the mighty Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad, her cover of The Alan Parsons’s Project’s Limelight and the theme tune to German TV series The King of St. Pauli in which she appeared.

With contributions from Bat Out Of Hell composer Jim Steinman, Frankie Miller, the Scorpions’ Rudolph Schenker plus Klaus Meine, Mike Batt and Harold Faltermeyer (Beverly Hills Cop), this wonderful new 3CD set is just perfect for all Bonnie Tyler fans.

Disc One: Free Spirit (1995)
1. Nothing To Do With Love
2. You’re The One
3. Making Love (Out Of Nothing At All)
4. Given It All
5. What You Got
6. Bridge Over Troubled Water
7. Time Mends A Broken Heart
8. Driving Me Wild
9. Sexual Device
10. Make It Right Tonight
11. All Night To Know You
12. Forget Her
13. Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad
14. Sexual Device (The Vari Mix)

With her throaty voice sounding as raspy and smoky as ever, (reminiscent of Kim Carnes or a female Rod Stewart), which is what made Bonnie Tyler so unique, I personally love this 26 year-old album of flashback music.

OK, sure, playing Devil’s Advocate, several songs on the album rate about average, but there are several shining moments which should have brought this set, from such an engaging singer, much more attention than the minimal it received. Their version was already great, but hers is awesome. The album’s first single (which went nowhere) was a dance remake of the Meat Loaf hit Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad, and the upbeat treatment sends the song in a whole different, and entirely appealing, direction.

Her performance is truly passionate, and makes for a song that would have sounded fantastic on the radio as well as in a nightclub. Her blown-up rendition of Bridge Over Troubled Water is perhaps a little too much for some, and may reach the point where her asset becomes a liability.

When she sings in an understated manner, such as the intimate Time Mends a Broken Heart, the lovely What You Got, and the appealing power ballad All Night to Know You, the results are just as good, if not better.

There are some low points, especially the obnoxious and tacky Sexual Device and Driving Me Wild, both which recall the worst of bad 1980s hair metal.

However, and despite these pitfalls, this album has some great moments, and when she shines, she does indeed become a free spirit.

Disc Two: All In One Voice (1998)
1. Heaven
2. Like An Ocean
3. Soon Will Be Too Late
4. You Always Saw The Blue Skies
5. We Can Start Here
6. Angel Of The Morning
7. The Reason Why
8. Return To Blue
9. You’re Breaking My Heart Again
10. I Put A Spell On You
11. I’ll Never Let You Down
12. The Rose
13. He’s The King
14. Silent Night

In truth, All In One Voice is an unexpected experimental offering from Tyler. Released in 1998, it achieves a striking balance between Celtic-influenced acoustic folk-pop and a mainstream European pop sound.

The first half of the album was recorded with The Bogey Boys’ Jimmy Smyth in Dublin. Here, Tyler explores a new sound with traditional Irish folk instruments, including uilleann pipes and low whistle.

Smyth’s experience producing The Sun and the Moon and the Stars, an ambient album by Spirit of Eden, yields some interesting results for All in One Voice, especially with Like an Ocean and We Can Start Here, which feature ritualistic chanting and hushed whispers.

Furthermore, to my mind the album provides an excellent opportunity to explore a softer side to Tyler’s distinctive raspy vocals with the latter half of the album was recorded in Hamburg with Harold Faltermeyer.

My personal stand out is Tyler’s haunting delivery of I Put a Spell on You, which was produced by Mike Batt. Ergo, All In One Voice is a mature effort from Tyler, and though it failed to yield any major hits - the album itself failed to chart worldwide - she should rightly be commended for this daring endeavor.

Disc Three: Singles & Bonus Tracks (1995-1998)
1. Making Love (Out Of Nothing At All) (Radio Version)
2. Making Love (Out Of Nothing At All) (Long Version)
3. Making Love (Out Of Nothing At All) (Shnauzer Plus)
4. Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad (Radio Version)
5. Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad (Kobe Edit)
6. Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad (Ralphi’s Soft Dub)
7. Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad (Ralphi’s Cha-Cha Dub)
8. Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad (Ralphi’s Extended Vox)
9. Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad (Ralphi’s Tribal Beats)
10. Limelight (Radio Version)
11. Limelight (Overture Mix)
12. He’s The King (Radio Version)
13. He’s The King (Acoustic Mix)
14. Heaven (Chamber Mix)

Official 3CD Purchase Link

Title - Luz
Artist - Mauricio J Rodriguez Project

For those unaware, bass player, composer, producer, and educator, Mauricio J Rodriguez is one of the finest musicians of his generation in Cuba.

He was a member of Fervet Opus jazz quartet, one of the most important Latin jazz bands in Cuba in the 80’s, touring around the world to many festivals and concert including The Havana Latin Jazz Festival, Jamboree, Bratislava, Spain, and Moscow, among others.

In 1994 he moved to Venezuela with the string quintet Union under a contract with the Venezuelan Cultural Ministry to participate in the Youth Symphony System as a professor and consultant.

For more than six years he taught at the Aragua Conservatory and was the Master of the Aragua’s Symphony Orchestra double bass section.

In 2001 he moved to the USA where his performance was well received in the music community inviting him to perform with different bands and ensembles, among them are Nestor Torres, Marty Morell, Guisando Caliente Latin Jazz, Renesito Avich, Daniel Giron Trio, Tomasito Cruz, and Fusion Beat, among others.

His degrees include a Master of Music Performance from University of South Florida and studies at the University of Miami in Jazz Studio Writing.

Rodriguez SAYS: After many years of attempting to find a personal voice that could describe my approach to expressing my influences and development as a musician, I have arrived with this production, Luz. Fortunately, friendship came in my support, and I am fortunate to have had Vicente Viloria as a co-producer, who also brought four original songs to this production.

Many thanks to all my friends and colleagues musicians for contributing to this project with their talent and musicianship. I am very honored.

However, there is no music if it will not satisfy the most critical factor from the formula, you, the listener.

My greatest wish is to please you with the music presented in this album, and I hope you will have an enjoyable experience listening to it.

1. Casualty
2. Monday
3. Es el Amor
4. Tuesday
5. Claudia
6. Luz
7. Wednesday
8. Danzon No. 1 Opus 1 con Chá
9. My Funny Valentine
10. Vocalize

On an album that resonates as a cohesive body of work rather than a collection of songs, Rodriguez opens with the ornate, late night gossamer of Casualty and the uptempo hipsway of Monday and follows those up with the stunningly ambient Es el Amor, the gently frenetic Tuesday and then we get the sweepingly magnificent Claudia.

Up next is the soulful title track itself Luz which is in turn followed by the ornamented piano stylings of Wednesday, the subtle dancefloor swirl found within the passionate embrace of Danzon No. 1 Opus 1 con Chá, the album rounding out on their rendition of a signature song, My Funny Valentine, closing on the upbeat and free flowing majesty of Vocalize.

Mauricio J Rodriguez Project - Casualty (Official Music Video)

Mauricio J Rodriguez Project - Luz (Official Music Video)

Official Purchase Links

Mauricio J Rodriguez @ Facebook

Mauricio J Rodriguez @ Instagram

Mauricio J Rodriguez @ YouTube

Title - Alexis
Artist - Alexis Parsons

For those unaware, Alexis Parsons is a New York City based vocalist of Greek and Swedish decent.

She has spent a lifetime honing a uniquely personal vocal style and fiercely independent career.

Indeed, the long and often arduous journey through the years has stamped her rich alto voice with warmth, wisdom and a flexibility borne of the eclectic musical roads she’s traveled.

During the past two decades, Alexis has led a variety of bands, showcasing her distinctive interpretations of both standard and lesser-known works in the jazz canon.

As a bandleader, she has shown exceptional skill and a discerning ear in selecting accompanists. Her trios have included a host of celebrated artists, including pianists Frank Kimbrough, Arturo O’Farrill, David Berkman, and Lynn Arriale among others.

Manning the bass have been top call performers such as Jonathan Gilley, Drew Gress, Dean Johnson, Cameron Brown and Sean Smith. And behind the drums, Matt Wilson and Willard Dyson have provided swinging and sensitive grooves.

Alexis graduated from the Manhattan School of Music and all that and oh-so much more comes to the musical fore on her brand new album, the self-titled Alexis (due out October 1st, 2021).

1. Easy to Love*
2. I Didn’t Know What Time It Was*
3. Make It Last*
4. Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most*
5. Organ Grinder+
6. Devil May Care*
7. Summertime+
8. Speak Low+
9. Gentle Rain+
10. Weaver of Dreams+
11. In the Still of the Night*

Having been one of the more unique voices on the New York jazz scene for more than two decades, Alexis opens this delightfully delicious new album with Cole Porter’s lusciously delectable Easy to Love and her dulcet rendition of Lorenz Hart and Richard Rodgers-written I Didn’t Know What Time It Was and backs them up seamlessly with the cultured Make It Last, changing vocal tact and subsequently fully inhabiting Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most, before bringing us the improvised feel of Franz Schubert’s Organ Grinder.

Next up is the gently vibrant affair of Devil May Care which is in turn followed by her atmospherically-charged version of Gershwin’s Summertime and then we get one of my own personal favorites here, the impassioned, warmly personal Speak Low, her fresh, captivating approach to Gentle Rain, the album rounding out with the emerging intimacy of Weaver of Dreams, coming to an all-too-soon close on the gorgeously intimate Cole Porter song In the Still of the Night.

Alexis Parsons, voice, with:
* David Berkman, piano; Drew Gress, bass; Matt Wilson, drums
+ Arturo O’Farrill, piano; Jonathan Gilley, bass; Willard Dyson, drums

Official Purchase Links

Alexis Parsons @ Facebook

Title - Again
Artist - The Furys

For those unaware, punk legends The Furys are back with a new album The Furys Again which will be released in all formats on October 8th, 2021.

Furthermore, if this fact had also escaped you over the past few decades, The Furys are one of Southern California’s first New Wave/Punk/Powerpop bands!

The group’s first single was released in 1977 (Hey Ma b/w Jim Stark Dark), and 1978’s Say Goodbye to the Black Sheep was an international success, garnering extensive airplay, press, and live performances.

According to founding member and lead vocalist Jeff Wolfe, “The Furys formed in 1977 as a reaction to the dreadful noise that was on the radio at that time.”

1979 saw the release of the Moving Target / We Talk We Dance single which elicited substantial critical response.

The Furys released a five-song mini album entitled Indoor/Outdoor in 1987. Recorded at EMI/America studio in Hollywood, Indoor/Outdoor had an excellent sales run, huge radio response and heavy press coverage.

The band’s new singles (New Wave Girl and Action Reaction) were released the second week of September 2021 and these songs are the first new material issued by the band since 2015’s The Sound of the Furys CD.

2. GLITTER BOMB (3:27)
3. ANNA, COME HOME (4:10)
4. NEW WAVE GIRL (3:05)
5. WORTHY (4:41)
6. GOTTA GROW UP (2:56)
10. PLEASE, MR. KAFKA (1:23)
11. AFRAID (4:26)

This raw, earthy, melodically gritty album opens on the low angst alt-rock of TIGHTROPE WALKING and the rhythmic hipsway of GLITTER BOMB and backs those up with the guitar rocker ANNA, COME HOME, the gently free-flowing NEW WAVE GIRL and the storytelling empowerment of WORTHY.

Up next is the drum led handclapper GOTTA GROW UP and the pop rock guitar drawl of MISS HAVISHAM REGRETS which are in turn backed by one of my own personal favorites, the euphoric, percussion-imbibed beauty IT’S THE DAY THAT WAS THAT NEARLY WASN’T, the album rounding out on the gently guitar-careening, finger-snapping hipsway of ACTION REACTION, the short, but sweet upbeat rocker PLEASE, MR. KAFKA (a homage to the brilliant surrealist author Franz Kafka), closing on a powerful look at the BLM movement via the vocal and guitar reverb of AFRAID.

In conjunction with the release of The Furys Again album, a reissue program will occur concurrently containing all three singles as mentioned above plus the Indoor/Outdoor mini album.

These reissues will be the first time these pivotal tracks have been issued digitally. Says Jeff Wolfe, “After numerous multi-generational requests, The Furys have been reformed to continue their campaign for world domination.”

The musical direction of The Furys was, is, and always will be melodic poetry blended with powerful music. The group’s latest release The Furys Again proves, yet again, that this philosophy holds true.

Founding member and lead singer Jeff Wolfe provides the poetry. Long standing Furys member and multi-instrumentalist Dave Lewty provides the music.

This new album was recorded wholly in Lewty’s home studio with songs written by the duo. Wolfe and Lewty have enough compositions for three more Furys albums plus dozens more in various genres, including some not yet defined.

The Furys are entering their fifth decade of performing and recording; their latest album, The Furys Again keeps the original tradition alive whilst acknowledging contemporary influences.

The Furys that are responsible for this racket are:
Jeff Wolfe: lead, harmony, background vocals, yelling
Dave Lewty: bass, guitar, keyboards, vocal noises

Assisted by:
Momo McKellop vocal on 1,2,4,6,7,10
Kelly Fair vocal on 1,4,6,10
Jonathan Sheldon violins, piano, vocal on 7,9

Official The Furys Again Album Purchase Link

Official New Wave Girl - Single Purchase Link

Official Action Reaction - Single Purchase Link

Official Website

The Furys @ Facebook

The Furys @ Twitter

The Furys @ Instagram

Title - Sunshine Day: The Boyhood Sessions (50th Ann)
Artist - Osibisa

For those unaware, collected together for the first time, all of these carefully curated tracks were originally provided for the soundtrack to the universally acclaimed Richard Linklater film: Boyhood.

From humble beginnings in Ghana, to playing some of the world’s most prestigious venues, Osibisa remains the remarkable soundtrack to the lives of the many who cherish their distinctive and immersive music.

And it was Linklater’s production team who contacted the band and their producer with the view to include these much-loved songs on the soundtrack of this Oscar-winning motion picture.

An astute decision as, known for their criss-cross rhythms that explode with happiness, Osibisa’s oeuvre overflows with the joyful sunshine and innocence of childhood and resonates perfectly with the movie’s bold and engaging narrative.

Famously included in the movie soundtrack, Sunshine Day (Boyhood Mix) is joined here on the just-released Sunshine Day: The Boyhood Sessions (50th Anniversary Edition) CD by rare remixes and live tracks drawn from Osibisa’s deep well of recordings as well as one new studio recording and are finally brought together in this release as The Boyhood Sessions.

1. Sunshine Day (Boyhood Mix)
2. Feel Good (Boyhood Summer Mix)
3. Hold On (Hoodie Mix)
4. Woyaya (Acoustic Live)
5. Superfly Man (Live)
6. Sunshine Day (Live)
7. Abele (New Studio)
8. Nkosi Sikelele Afrika (Alternate)
9. Djankoso (Studio)
10. Jumbo (Studio)
11. Ayiko Bia (Live)
12. Sunshine Day (Boyhood Summer Mix)

Opening on the oh-so joyfully luscious Sunshine Day (Boyhood Mix) and the heavier funkier rap stomp of Feel Good (Boyhood Summer Mix), next up is the sunnier fare of Hold On (Hoodie Mix), the smooth grooves of Woyaya (Acoustic Live), the upbeat and triumphant Superfly Man (Live), and then we get more summery goodness within Sunshine Day (Live).

Next up is the gently frenetic, drum-led musical wonderment of Abele (New Studio) and the euphoric chanting found within Nkosi Sikelele Afrika (Alternate), which are in turn followed by the percussion-imbibed Djankoso (Studio), the tribal drumming within Jumbo (Studio), with the album rounding out on the infectious beats of Ayiko Bia (Live), closing on the a synth-laden Sunshine Day (Boyhood Summer Mix).

Amazon Purchase Links

Title - To The Universe
Artist - Steffie Moonlady & Dennis Haklar

For those unaware, dreamscapes, soft yet strong, blended and distinguished; these are the realms created by the duo Steffie Moonlady & Dennis Haklar in their new work, To The Universe.

Having worked together for over 25 years in the recording arts, they nurtured their sound. They have been honored to work with many legends, including Jon Anderson of Yes, Giovanni Hidalgo, Larry Coryell, Mark Egan, and many more.

Their latest release, To The Universe, is an ethereal odyssey taking you to spiritually charged spaces. Sonic textures from instruments such as the Citera, indigenous rattles, and Tibetan Singing Bowls evoke an ancient vibe.

Furthermore, Steffie Moonlady provides mesmerizing multi-layered vocals delicately blended within the dreamscape of guitars and synthesizers by Dennis.

“My music comes with pure intentions from within, to the universe, for peace, love, and harmony.” (Steffie Moonlady)

1. Awakening
2. Ocean Moon
3. To The Universe
4. Dream Blossom
5. New Moon
6. Earth’s Wind
7. Great Spirit Moon
8. Tamparawa
9. Beautiful Child
10. Rainforest
11. Epilogue

This tantalizingly wondrous new album opens on the dulcet growth found within Awakening and the beautiful guitar work of Ocean Moon and backs those up seamlessly with the hauntingly ethereal title track To The Universe, the delicately Asian-imbued Dream Blossom and then the Eastern-imbibed New Moon.

That wondrous Eastern cultured vibe also ebbs gently through Earth’s Wind which is in turn followed by the percussion-infused mystery of Great Spirit Moon, the free flowing drum and guitar hipsway of Tamparawa, the delicate Spanish guitar gossamer of Beautiful Child, the album rounding out on the atmospheric duo of Rainforest, closing on Epilogue.

Dennis Haklar: Acoustic and Electric Guitars, Citera, Mandolin, Synthesizers and Percussion
Stefanie Moonlady: Vocals, Lyrics and Percussion

Official Purchase Link

Steffie Moonlady @ Facebook

Dennis Haklar @ Facebook

Title - Transparent Sky
Artist - Lisa Hilton

For those unaware, as America and other countries re-emerge from the limitations of 2020, Lisa Hilton and her trio with Rudy Royston and Luques Curtis, enthusiastically embrace the moment with a vibrant new jazz offering entitled Transparent Sky (out now), that will inspire, uplift and motivate us all.

Rich with glorious harmonies and unique compositions, Hilton’s swinging band radiates a sun bleached aura to listeners. Throughout the album Hilton, Royston and Curtis develop a surprisingly wide range of rhythmic ideas from a variety of genres, masterfully blending classic traditions with new approaches and upbeat style.

1. Santa Monica Samba
2. Random Journey
3. Nightingales & Fairy Tales
4. Living in Limbo
5. God Bless the Child
6. Chromatic Chronicles
7. Fall Upon a Miracle
8. Infinite Tango
9. Extraordinary Everyday Things
10. Transparent Sky

This deliciously fresh, and exuberantly ambient new album opens on the cool hipsway of the Latin-tinged Santa Monica Samba and the gently energetic ebb and flow of Random Journey, and backs those up seamlessly with the joyously lush, sixties-imbibed ballad Nightingales & Fairy Tales, the playfully harmonic Living in Limbo and then the stand out track, for me, an absolutely charming cover of God Bless the Child.

Up next is the harmoniously funky Chromatic Chronicles and the tall-trees, summer sway of Fall Upon a Miracle, which are in turn followed by the finger-snapping delights of Infinite Tango, the album rounding out on the ornately delicate musings and expressive soundscapes of Extraordinary Everyday Things, closing on the simply beautiful, sonorous piano solo title track Transparent Sky.

Lisa Kristine Hilton is a distinctive composer of jazz, an acclaimed pianist, a bandleader and producer. Growing up in a small town on California’s central coast, she originally taught herself to play piano with a colored keyboard guide, writing her first simple songs around six years, before beginning studies in classical and twentieth century music starting at the age of eight.

In college she switched majors from music, and graduated instead with a degree in art. This art background informs her musical creations: she describes “painting” compositions using improvisation, and harmony or “sculpting” with multiple rhythmic ideas from different cultures.

Hilton’s music draws on classical traditions, and twentieth century modernists as well as classic American jazz greats such as Cole Porter, Thelonious Monk, and Horace Silver, as well as blues heroes Muddy Waters and Robert Johnson.

Hilton’s music annually tops the jazz charts and appears on popular shows such as Apple Music’s Pure Jazz Playlist. In the book, “The New Face of Jazz: An Intimate Look at Today’s Living Legends and Artists of Tomorrow” by Cicily Janus, it states that Hilton has been “compared to some of the best pianists in history.”

Noting that the overwhelming majority of music performed in jazz clubs and concert halls today are of compositions written by male musicians, Hilton is outspoken about the importance of presenting, and listening, to music composed by women in these fields as well.

Amazon Purchase Links

Official Website

Lisa Hilton @ Facebook

Lisa Hilton @ Twitter

Lisa Hilton @ Instagram

Lisa Hilton @ YouTube

Title - Risin’ Up
Artist - Adam Hawley

For those unaware, dropping his third album two weeks prior to last year’s stay-at-home order due to the COVID-19 pandemic didn’t halt guitarist Adam Hawley’s remarkable chart domination.

His R&B-jazz collection Escape proved inescapable, scoring three No. 1 singles, including the No. 1 single of 2020, To The Top. The musician-songwriter-producer who to date has amassed nine No. 1 singles returns on September 10th, 2021 with his fourth album, Risin’ Up, which will be preceded by the horn-powered title track as the first single that goes for playlist adds on August 16th.

The second release on Hawley’s MBF Entertainment label, Risin’ Up is purposely upbeat after what the world has endured since his last album.

Furthermore, Risin’ Up represents us as a country ascending over the past year and a half with a sense of renewed purpose and vigor. It’s about overcoming and feeling inspired and hopeful.

1. Gotta Get Up
2. Keep It There
3. Right On, Right On
4. Let’s Get Down Tonight
5. On The One
6. Keep On Dancin’
7. Risin’ Up
8. Come On And Dance
9. Undeniable
10. Tell Me You Love Me

This deliciously fresh, and exuberantly ambient new album opens on the cool hipsway of the upbeat and funky Gotta Get Up and the luscious ebb and flow of Keep It There (featuring Steve Cole), and backs those up seamlessly with the soulful R&B of Right On, Right On (featuring Julian Vaughn), the finger-snapping groove of Let’s Get Down Tonight (featuring Vincent Ingala) and then the laid back, smooth roll of On The One is brought forth.

We then get the joyous, free flowing soulful groove of Keep On Dancin’ (featuring Riley Richard), with the title track up next, featuring a great horn arrangement from David Mann, it encapsulates perfectly the positivity of this album, before the recording rounds out on the magnificent, late summer’s night appeal of Come On And Dance, the harmonious ambiance of Undeniable, closing on the all-encompassing vocals and melodies of the mid-tempo Demi Lovato love song Tell Me You Love Me (featuring his wife, Kat Hawley).

“I started writing as soon as my last album was released, which coincided with the pandemic,” Hawley explains. “Like many others, I found myself at home with a great deal of time on my hands and spent most of it in the studio writing, experimenting with new sounds, and exploring my creativity.”

As noted, other featured soloists on Risin’ Up include bassist Julian Vaughn, who appeared on Hawley’s second album, Double Vision, and Kat Hawley, his wife who sings on all of his projects.

Indeed, Kat Hawley’s vocals command the spotlight on Tell Me You Love Me, a reimagined Demi Lovato tune that closes the collection.

Amazon Purchase Links

Official Website

Adam Hawley @ Facebook

Adam Hawley @ Twitter

Adam Hawley @ Instagram

Adam Hawley @ YouTube

Title - The Cotillion Years (1979-1985) [7CD]
Artist - Stacy Lattisaw

For those unaware, The Cotillion Years (1979-1985) is an extensive box set featuring Stacy Lattisaw’s complete Cotillion album collection from between those years.

Including all seven albums Young And In Love, Let Me Be Your Angel, With You, Sneakin’ Out, Sixteen, Perfect Combination and I’m Not The Same Girl plus selected bonus tracks, this is quite an INCREDIBLE new collection from Cherry Red Records (UK).

Starting with her debut album produced by the legendary Van McCoy that includes her take on the standard When You’re Young And In Love, the set spans Stacy’s career which took off when she was offered a recording contract at just 12 years old.

Disc One - Young And In Love (1979)
1. When You’re Young And In Love
2. Love Is Here Beside Us
3. Rock With Me
4. Three Wishes
5. Spinning Top
6. Dedicated To The One I Love
7. Downtown
8. When You’re Young And In Love (Disco Version) [Bonus Track]
9. When You’re Young And In Love (12” Disco Version) [Bonus Track]

A far cry from the soulful ballads that would later make her a favorite in R&B circles, Lattisaw’s debut album consists of remakes of ’60s and ’70s pop hits and a few pleasant, if forgettable, disco entries.

Recorded when she was only 12, Young and in Love showcases a warm, sweet voice surprisingly mature for its age. Her subtlety and youthful emotion work to great effect on serene numbers like Love Is Here Beside Us and the title track (both disco and ballad versions are included); and her delivery of Petula Clark’s classic, Downtown, is as enjoyable as the original.

On several cuts, Lattisaw has a few intonation problems here and there. But the bulk of the performances is consistent, making it an essential item for any loyal fan.

Disc Two - Let Me Be Your Angel (1980)
1. Jump To The Beat
2. Dynamite!
3. You Don’t Love Me Anymore
4. Dreaming
5. Let Me Be Your Angel
6. Don’t You Want To Feel It (For Yourself)
7. You Know I Like It
8. My Love
9. Jump To The Beat (7” Version) [Bonus Track]
10. Dynamite! (7” Version) [Bonus Track]

Big success came when she teamed up with famed singer/songwriter Narada Michael Walden who produced her breakthrough album Let Me Be Your Angel, which included the hits Jump To The Beat, Dynamite and Let Me Be Your Angel.

Lattisaw was only 13 when, in 1980, she made her commercial breakthrough with her second album, Let Me Be Your Angel. Not surprisingly, the fact that she was just barely an adolescent got a lot of press; the black teen magazines that had given the Jackson 5 and the Sylvers so much coverage were quick to run articles on Lattisaw.

But Let Me Be Your Angel isn’t a bubblegum record, and Lattisaw doesn’t go out of her way to be cutesy. If anything, she sounds like a younger version of Deniece Williams or Rose Royce’s Gwen Dickey - girlish, certainly, but substantial and not without grit.

Although Lattisaw had some developing to do in 1980, this is a fairly promising sophomore effort. Narada Michael Walden, who produced the LP and wrote or co-wrote all of the songs, doesn’t treat Let Me Be Your Angel like a teen record.

More often than not, he gives Lattisaw solid material to work with, and that includes infectious dance-funk items like Jump to the Beat, Don’t You Want to Feel It (For Yourself), and the hit Dynamite! as well as sentimental soul-pop ballads such as My Love and the title track.

Let Me Be Your Angel isn’t perfect; again, Lattisaw still had some growing and developing to do back in 1980. But it’s a respectable offering that has more plusses than minuses, and those who gave the LP a serious listen realized that Lattisaw wasn’t a mere novelty.

Disc Three - With You (1981)
1. Feel My Love Tonight
2. Screamin’ Off The Top
3. It Was So Easy
4. Baby I Love You
5. Love On A Two Way Street
6. With You
7. Young Girl
8. Spotlight
9. You Take Me To Heaven

The Washington, D.C. native found success on her third album with the classic Love on a Two Way Street. Released by the Moments 11 years prior (#1, 5 weeks), Lattisaw’s maturing vocals introduce her to an older audience.

Her effortless deliveries are commendable on this solid production. Her version held the number two position on the Billboard R&B charts for four consecutive weeks. The second single was the mid-tempo It Was So Easy where Lattisaw’s vocals are supreme on this relaxing number (the single peaked at #61).

The third single was the more upbeat Feel My Love Tonight. Here too Lattisaw’s vocals ring with precision. With rap on the rise, the young vocalist ventures into that untamed territory and whilst her enunciation is articulate, the texture is still painted with a juvenile sound, of course.

The title track is a mellow, soft number allowing Lattisaw to expand her ever-expanded vocal range and at the same time, this album was also a wonderful platform for some of Narada Michael Walden’s earlier production work.

Disc Four - Sneakin’ Out (1982)
1. Sneakin’ Out
2. Guys Like You (Give Love A Bad Name)
3. Memories
4. Tonight I’m Gonna Make You Mine
5. Hey There Lonely Boy
6. Don’t Throw It All Away
7. Attack Of The Name Game
8. I’m Down For You
9. I Could Love You So Divine
10. Attack Of The Name Game (7” Version) [Bonus Track]

Peaking at #55 U.S. Pop and #11 U.S. R&B, the album opens with a strong dance tune penned with the same name as the album. The footsteps one hears in the beginning of the song lends the illusion of someone sneaking out of a room; very clever.

Guys Like You Give Love A Bad Name is a dance song with a message, and such a strong one at that for such a young 16 year-old. Next up is Memories which is a very pretty song and one of my favorites. Indeed, to my mind, this is classic Stacy at her finest and is what made her so sensational.

That is followed by Tonight I’m Gonna Make You Mine, a catchy dance tune reminding me of the type of music I used to dance to back in the early 80’s that is backed by Hey There Lonely Boy (which peaked at #71 on the U.S. R&B), and is not bad for a cover which had previously been done by more mature artists.

Don’t Throw It All Away was another popular favorite of mine back in the day and as Stacy sings you can hear the pleading and strength in her voice. Her age belied her emotions, and this song peaked at #9 on the U.S. R&B.

One might say that Attack of the Name Game was one of the earliest attempts on rap and making it mainstream it peaked at #70 on U.S. Pop and #14 on the U.S. R&B. Although not one of my favorites at the time, it has slowly grown on me over the years and I never tire of hearing it (Oh, and if you listen carefully you can hear her brother on this song too).

I always liked I’m Down For You because at the time it came out it, it sounded so cool, but now I can say with maturity that it has a great melody, catchy rhythm and sweet words. The final song I Could Love You So Divine should have charted in my opinion because it was sung with such passion and melancholy, making it a true love song.

Disc Five - Sixteen (1983)
1. 16
2. Black Pumps And Pink Lipstick
3. I’ve Loved You Before
4. Million Dollar Babe
5. What’s So Hot ‘Bout Bad Boys
6. Johey!
7. The Ways Of Love
8. Miracles
9. 16 (7” Version) [Bonus Track]
10. Million Dollar Babe (7” Version) [Bonus Track]
11. The Ways Of Love (7” Version) [Bonus Track]

A few years before the teenage-to-womanhood liberation of Janet Jackson’s epic Control album, Lattisaw stripped a lot of her R&B roots away on this album-length ode to being teenager.

It’s a heavily sugarcoated synth pop affair, no doubt due in part to the production aesthetics of Narada Michael Walden, who took many of the ideas implemented here and evolved them for other artists such as Whitney Houston later in the decade.

The topics are highly predictable in nature, with titles like 16, Black Pumps and Pink Lipstick, and What’s So Hot ’Bout Bad Boys pretty much delivering as advertised.

However, Lattisaw’s vocals are in prime form, as she easily reaches a wide range of notes and delivers passages with relative ease, something that a very young diva in training by the name of Beyoncé no doubt heard on her parents’ turntable.

Disc Six - Perfect Combination (with Johnny Gill) (1984)
1. Block Party
2. Fun ‘N’ Games
3. Falling In Love Again
4. 50/50 Love
5. Perfect Combination
6. Heartbreak Look
7. Baby It’s You
8. Come Out Of The Shadow

A nice collaboration album with future New Edition member, Johnny Gill, Perfect Combination saw Lattisaw successfully team up to record this masterpiece of ’80s R&B which still sounds great today.

Producer/songwriter extraordinaire Narada Michael Walden gave them some top-notch tracks which have stood the test of time. 50/50 Love, the upbeat Block Party, Come Out Of The Shadows and Falling In Love Again all epitomize the fresh, lighthearted sound of early-’80s R&B.

In truth, and listening back to this album today via this incredible box-set, I wish they could have recorded again, perhaps singing another song together after Where Do We Go From Here in 1989.

Disc Seven - I’m Not The Same Girl (1985)
1. Can’t Stop Thinking About You
2. Coming Alive
3. Now We’re Starting Over Again
4. He’s Just Not You
5. I’m Not The Same Girl
6. Toughen Up
7. Together
8. I Thought It Took A Little Time

Endearing, sugar-coated, pop ditties of young love shape Lattisaw’s final effort for Cotillion, which sadly went unnoticed. Age 18 when she recorded I’m Not the Same Girl, Lattisaw’s voice had reached a nice maturity, yet didn’t sound too old to sing youthful tunes here like Together and Coming Alive.

Her reading of the Michael Masser ballad, I Thought It Took a Little Time, is more authentic and accessible than Diana Ross’ 1976 version, and she lends equal conviction to Now We’re Starting Over Again, later recorded by Natalie Cole on her Good to Be Back album.

Indeed, the up-tempo tunes are just as strong, as evidenced by the fiery title track and the bright Can’t Stop Thinking About You.

Official 7CD Purchase Link

Title - BASSic Instinct
Artist - David Finck

For those unaware, a follow up to the 2019 Burton Avenue Music release, Bassically Jazz, acclaimed bassist, David Finck returns with an all-new collection of jazz tunes and original compositions titled, BASSic Instinct.

Finck is joined by a bevy of talented collaborators including Andy Snitzer, Quinn Johnson, Bob Mann, Mike Davis, Meg Ruby and others. Vocal features include Melissa Errico, Kelly Mittleman, Téka Penteriche and Trist Curless.

A gifted New York-based bassist and bandleader, David Finck is known for his sophisticated, straight-ahead acoustic jazz albums. Initially emerging as a session and touring performer in the 1980s, Finck has worked with a bevy of Grammy-winning pop and jazz performers including Rod Stewart, Natalie Cole, André Previn, and Elton John, among others.

As a solo artist, he leads his own small groups and has garnered praise for albums like 2008’s Future Day, 2017’s Low Standards, and 2019’s Bassically Jazz.

1. Bassic Instinct
2. The Best Thing For You (Would Be Me)
3. Dearly Beloved
4. Theme From ’Mannix’
5. Bateu Levou / Who’s Wrong Or Right
6. Seascape
7. Tea For Two
8. Joy
9. So What
10. Soon It’s Gonna Rain
11. Tico-Tico no fubá
12. I’m Confessin’ (That I Love You)
13. I Remember

This multi-layered album that fairly trips the jazz light fandango opens on the free flowing majesty of the title track and then a delightful rendition of Irving Berlin’s The Best Thing For You (Would Be Me), and backs those up seamlessly with the euphoric Jerome Kern/Johnny Mercer number Dearly Beloved, the brilliant Lalo Schifrin TV score Theme From ’Mannix’, and then we get the simply magnificent Latin ambiance and hipsway of Bateu Levou / Who’s Wrong Or Right (sung by Teka Penteriche and Trist Curless) and the ornate beauty of John Mandel’s Seascape and the most joyous dancefloor swirl of Irving Caesar’s Tea For Two.

These are all then in turn followed by the Summer’s breeze of Gerry Niewood’s Joy, the svelte Terry Silverlight / Gene McDaniels track So What (featuring Kelly Mittleman on vocals) , the aching balladry of Soon It’s Gonna Rain (from the musical comedy The Fantasticks), a vibrantly delicate and wholly delightful rendition of Zequinha de Abreu’s 1917 track Tico-Tico no fubá, rounding out on the popular standard I’m Confessin’ (That I Love You), closing on the stirring piano ballad I Remember (with vocals from Melissa Errico).

As a leader, Finck made his debut in 2008 with the quartet album Future Day, featuring vibraphonist Joe Locke, pianist Tom Ranier, and drummer Joe La Barbera.

Three years later, he paired with pianist Roger Davidson for the tribute album Umbrellas & Sunshine: The Music of Michel Legrand. He then joined guitarist Tisziji Munoz for a series of recordings before returning in 2017 with two albums: Low Standards, featuring pianist Gary Versace and drummer Carl Allen, and The Deep, a duo effort with pianist Shelly Berg.

In 2019, Finck issued Bassically Jazz with Burton Avenue Music, which included guest spots from vocalists Linda Eder and Alexis Cole. Bassic Instinct is Finck’s latest offering on Burton Avenue.

David Finck @ Facebook

Title - Arizone!
Artist - Lizard Music

For those unaware, Lizard Music began in Atlantic Highlands, NJ in 1989 when high school friends Mikael Jorgensen and Erik Paparozzi started learning and writing songs with a four-track.

They pillaged their parents’ record collections and discovered the musical universes of The Beatles, Frank Zappa, Captain Beefheart, XTC, James Brown and The Meters. In 1991, Chris Apple joined the band on bass and Craig Smith on drums and the “classic” Lizard Music lineup was solidified.

Their vocal harmony-driven surreal pop sensibility stood in stark contrast to the grungy testosterone-addled sludge rock that overtook the Jersey Shore in the early 90s.

After independent releases (including their Steve Albini-produced debut) the band toured for a few years (with Pere Ubu, and sharing the stage with Yo La Tengo and Jonathan Fire Eater), and the band went on hiatus in 1997. In 2009, they reformed to headline a benefit concert.

Then, in August of 2020 while the world was stuck inside during quarantine, Erik sent a text to Mikael, Chris and Craig about working on some ideas.

With a mix of trepidation, excitement and curiosity, work on the just-released Arizone! began.

The only rule that was set forth was that any idea presented had to be brand new and created in the moment. Each of these ideas yawned their way into existence during what could be described as a slow-motion improvisation.

Over the course of the next three months more layers were added, lyrics written and sung, edits made, mixes scrutinized and then by Thanksgiving of 2020 it was released on Bandcamp for one week until the word came in that Omnivore Recordings wanted to put it out.

This creative reconnection was a potent experience and it’s clear that these four guys love making records filled with joy, humor and songs about breakups and mixtapes. Available on CD, Digital, and double LP, it’s time to book your trip to Arizone!.

15. NAKED IN LAS VEGAS [Bonus Track]

This vibrantly authentic new album opens on the psych rocker THE CROW FLIES and the jagged foot-tapper THE MIXTAPE and backs those up with the lighter fare of KEYSTONE COPS, the atmospheric synth ambiance of the title track ARIZONE!, the transporting breeze of UNDER THE TABLE and then we get both the melodic THEY DID THEIR BEST and then the melancholy rocker COMES AND GOES.

Up next is one of my own personal favorites, the gently frenetic LAUGHING IN THE FACE OF LOVE which is itself followed by the psych prog rocker WHAT’S MY LINE?, the synth-laden, spoken word YOU SHOULD BE PROUD, the joyful pop rock of MAKE THAT DRINK TO GO, and then we get some beautiful musical complexions found within the laid back BETTER BELIEVE, the drum-led, pop-rock bounce of IN JEST, the album rounding out on the orchestrally-imbibed, AOR resonance of IMPOSSIBLE and the CD/Digital Only Bonus Track, the acoustically wonderous NAKED IN LAS VEGAS.

Official Website

Lizard Music @ Facebook

Official Purchase Links

Lizard Music @ Bandcamp

Title - Modern Acoustic World Jazz Rock
Artist - Freedom Tree

For those unaware, multicultural group Freedom Tree have achieved international popularity among music fans for their eclectic performances, drawing from 3 continents.

Together, guitarist Steinar Aadnekvam (Norway), bassist Rubem Farias (Brazil) and drummer/singer Deodato Siquir (Mozambique) have performed hundreds of concerts in some 17 countries across Europe, Eurasia, Africa and the USA before making this brand new album, Modern Acoustic World Jazz Rock (out now).

Formerly known as Freedom’s Trio, the band has undergone a slight name change in 2021, embracing the name Freedom Tree - a significant name with deep connotations - and with their new album they continue characteristically in the vein of an eclectic afro jazz rock expression, whilst sustaining the desire to be firmly rooted in both past and present.

Aptly titled Modern Acoustic World Jazz Rock, the new album was recorded live in studio during the pandemic with the performance originally live streamed to a group of fans.

Only afterwards did the band realize that the music captured was of such a high quality in both performance and recording that it deserved to be released as a proper album.

The album features a set of familiar tracks from the bands original repertoire in what is arguably their best recording to date.

What we hear is a band that has lived together on tour for a number of years, honing their interplay through hundreds of concerts, perfecting their compositions and collective musical presence to such a degree that there is not a split second of temporary loss of focus to be found anywhere on this live studio album.

1. Freedom
2. Troubled Dogs
3. Vhuya Ka Mina
4. For All
5. Turn On Your Light
6. Terra Mae / Motherland
7. Cold Shower

This truly wondrous and contextually ambient new album opens on the up-tempo and funky Freedom and backs that up seamlessly with the methodically layered fervor of Troubled Dogs and then we get the gracefully free flowing, lyrically effervescent Vhuya Ka Mina.

The earnest compassion and honed resonance found within For All makes the track one of the stand out highlights here for me and that is followed by the beautifully melodic, rhythmically ambient Turn On Your Light, the album rounding out on the gently fervent remunerations given within Terra Mae / Motherland, closing on the upbeat blues/jazz/funk, Level 42-esque Cold Shower.

Spotify Purchase Link

Tidal Purchase Link

Official Website

Freedom Tree @ Facebook

Freedom Tree @ Instagram

Freedom Tree @ YouTube

Title - Frogs And Birds
Artist - Lindsay Munroe with Raffi

For those unaware, Raffi’s label, Troubadour Music, has just released Frogs and Birds by the award-winning Lindsay Munroe.

Lindsay is also joined on many of the songs by Raffi, who also produced the album.

Eight of the songs were originally written by Lindsay for Bridges Learning System, an innovative new curriculum that highlights the strengths of neurodiverse students.

These songs use music to build bridges of understanding between people. Written in conjunction with the SEA Bridge curriculum, they reinforce concepts around social communication, such as recognizing our similarities and celebrating what makes us different.

1. Frogs And Birds [feat. Raffi]
2. Faces Show Our Feelings
3. You Are My Sunshine [feat. Raffi]
4. Feelings Like The Weather
5. Little Bird On My Window [feat. Raffi]
6. Flexible And Easygoing
7. I See You [feat. Raffi]
8. The Ally Song
9. Conversations
10. If I Knew You Were Coming [feat. Raffi] 11. Very Funny Things [feat. Raffi]
12. Take A Breath
13. Where There Is Love [feat. Raffi]
14. Happy Trails [feat. Raffi]

The vibrantly alive, crisp and bountiful new album opens on the lilting title song, a duet with Lindsay and her daughter Mem, a tender and joyful tune about considering other people.

Mother and daughter first alternate verses and then join for a collective chorus, with Raffi blending in for the final chorus and that is then backed by the expressive Faces Show Our Feelings, their rendition of BMI songwriter Jimmie Davis’ You Are My Sunshine [feat. Raffi], the buoyant Feelings Like The Weather and then we get the delicate Little Bird On My Window [feat. Raffi].

With the melodic voices of Munroe’s children adding the icing on the cake of this family songfest, up next is the suggestible Flexible And Easygoing and the dulcet harmonies of I See You [feat. Raffi], which are in turn followed by the perky and instructional The Ally Song, the subtle directive within Conversations, and then comes their totally melodious rendition of a song first brought to light by Eileen Barton in 1950, If I Knew You Were Coming [feat. Raffi].

This simply stunningly opulent new album then rounds out with the informatively revealing Very Funny Things [feat. Raffi], a tale about mental health found within the excellent Take A Breath, closing on the gently euphonious Where There Is Love [feat. Raffi] and their rendition of the whistling wonderment that is Roy Rogers’ Happy Trails [feat. Raffi].

Building on the success of I Am Kind, Raffi and Lindsay have filled Frogs and Birds with even more positive, hopeful, original songs, including two – I See You and Where There Is Love – that were written specifically for this album by Raffi, along with such enduring, classic favorites as You Are My Sunshine, If I Knew You Were Coming, and Happy Trails.

“It was an absolute joy to work with the incomparable Raffi on this, our second album,” says Lindsay Munroe. “I am so excited for this music to be yours. I envision your children singing along and enjoying the melodies as they learn important lessons about kindness, acceptance, and understanding. I hope these songs uplift and bring joy to all who listen.”

While primarily drawing from her experiences with her own children, Lindsay Munroe has also found inspiration in the Raffi Foundation’s online course in Child Honouring.

Lindsay’s songs reflect the Child Honouring principles of Respectful Love, Diversity, Caring Community, Emotional Intelligence, and Nonviolence.

“Lindsay Munroe’s voice is a clarion call of compassion," says Raffi. “Her new songs feel like a tutorial on emotional intelligence, playful and inspiring. We had great fun recording the Frogs and Birds album—kids and their families will love it.”

Official Purchase Links

Lindsay Munroe Official Website

Lindsay Munroe @ Facebook

Lindsay Munroe @ Instagram

Raffi Official Website

Raffi @ Facebook

Raffi @ Twitter

Title - Live at the Baked Potato!
Artist - Charged Particles

For those unaware, on their latest collaboration, Bay Area jazz trio Charged Particles joins forces with powerhouse Bay Area saxophonist Tod Dickow in a heartfelt tribute to iconic tenor saxophonist Michael Brecker.

Set for release this October 8th, 2021 on Summit Records, the album will be released concurrently with Brecker’s biography, Ode to a Tenor Titan by acclaimed author, Bill Milkowski.

Staggering in its authenticity and collective desire by the participants to get it right, Live at the Baked Potato! is a fitting testament to the late tenor titan’s greatness.

Furthermore, no less an authority than Randy Brecker has given his stamp of approval: “Everyone’s at the top of their Mike game here. I found myself pinching my arm to remind myself that Mike is sadly no longer with us,” Randy said.

In tackling Michael Brecker’s imposing oeuvre, the band reveals the genius of his compositional prowess, a side of the multi-faceted musician that was often overshadowed by his legendary chops.

Yet there is no attempt here to recreate Michael Brecker’s awesome technique — no transcriptions of his heroic solos, no slavish adherence to every nuance of his classic recordings.

Instead, the Bay Area group successfully captures the essence of Michael’s spirit in their faithful renditions of his tunes spanning three decades, rendered with their own signature sound and approach.

1. Peep
2. Arc of the Pendulum
3. African Skies
4. Never Alone
5. Not Ethiopia
6. Slings and Arrows
7. Talking to Myself
8. The Mean Time
9. Song for Barry

This quite vibrantly alive, mesmerizingly authentic and joyful album opens on the gently frenetic Peep and the Arc of the Pendulum and then backs those up seamlessly with the atmospherically charged, foot-tapping delights of African Skies, the effortlessly laid back and sumptuous Never Alone and then we get the swirlingly energetic and creatively frenetic Not Ethiopia.

Next up is one of my own personal favorites on this sumptuous live album, the veritable musical smorgasbord of rhythmic melodies, stylings and so much more contained within the ten minutes of Slings and Arrows which is in turn followed by the calmer aurora of Talking to Myself, the album rounding out on the melodically impassioned rhythms of The Mean Time, closing on the foot-tapping verve of Song for Barry.

The success of the group’s mission to honor Michael is due in no small part to the contributions of veteran San Francisco tenor saxophonist Tod Dickow, whose sheer force and fluent execution of some typically unconventional Breckerian lines seem to lift the entire band throughout this March 17th, 2019, performance at the intimate Baked Potato in Los Angeles’ quaint Studio City neighborhood.

“I certainly listened to enough of Mike’s music that it’s going to come out in my playing,” said Dickow, who delivers with passionate intensity on classic Brecker tunes like the hard-charging Peep (from Brecker’s third Impulse! album, 1990’s Now You See It…(Now You Don’t), Arc of the Pendulum (from 1999’s Time Is Of the Essence) and a chops-busting The Mean Time (from Michael’s 2007 swan song, Pilgrimage).

“But it’s not really like I’ve ever outright tried to imitate him. I just know that some of the devices that he used have become a part of my playing. He’s a model of perfection, and I’ve always looked at his playing as something to strive for,” added Dickow.

The core trio of drummer and founder Jon Krosnick, pianist Murray Low, and bassist Aaron Germain began working together around the Bay Area in 2011. After doing nearly a thousand gigs together as a trio, Krosnick floated the idea of adding a tenor saxophonist in order to do a full-fledged Michael Brecker tribute.

“I’m always looking for new projects - something to change things up for us and our listeners, to keep our performances interesting,” said Krosnick. Keyboardist Low knew exactly who to recruit to stand in front of the band for this adventure: “There’s only one guy: Tod,” he said. “Tod has had a passion for getting it right and capturing the Brecker sound. In rehearsals, he guided us through ‘the Michael vision’ – he’s absorbed so much from his listening over the years. It’s really helped us with authenticity,” said Low.

While Dickow’s muscular tenor prowess is a formidable presence throughout Live at the Baked Potato!, kudos must also be given to inventive keyboardist Low, whose nimble segueing from piano to organ to sampled sounds and assorted synths during the set (courtesy of some complicated splits on his keyboard allowing him to cover multiple parts at once) helped capture the richness of the original studio recordings by Brecker’s various bands.

Germain’s seamless doubling from electric to upright bass provided the band with much-needed versatility to cover this wide swath of Brecker music. And special commendation goes to Charged Particles drummer Krosnick, who has been the driving force behind this band for nearly 30 years ago.

“Mike’s music has been the soundtrack of my life,” he said. “This album is my way of saying thanks to him for so much happiness and inspiration over the years,” says Krosnick.

Amazon Purchase Link

Official Website

Charged Particles @ Facebook

Charged Particles @ Twitter

Charged Particles @ Instagram

Title - Burn [Vinyl LP]
Artist - Hot’n’Nasty

For those unaware, Hot‘n‘Nasty are one of the best German blues and rock bands around and have also been awarded the German Blues Award 2020 for, of course, Best Band.

The new album Burn (released on September 3rd, 2021 via Sonic Revolution) was again recorded, mixed and mastered at the Megaphon Studios by Martin Meinschläfer (producer and recording engineer for Henrik Freischlader, Layla Zoe, Kai Strauss and Tommy Schneller).

As you would fully expect, the almost analogue, warm and powerful sound leaves a lasting impression of this wondrously vibrant, truly heartfelt new album.

Furthermore, original founding member and guitarist Malte Triebsch most certainly stands out here as someone who most definitely succeeded in creating an extraordinary album, allowing vocalist Robert Collins to aid in presenting their self-proclaimed power blues in a fresh and energetic way.

Side A:
1. Anyway the Wind Blows (3:09)
2. Like a Hammer (2:53)
3. I Can’t Stand It Anymore (2:50)
4. Superstar (3:14)
5. Dark City (4:04)
6. It Ain’t Easy (6:13)

Side B:
7. Connected (2:28)
8. Too Good to Be True (3:12)
9. Leavin’ (3:30)
10. Too Much Babble (3:36)
11. Gonna Do It Better (4:50)
12. Stacy Lee (2:15)
13. The Night Before (5:04)

Complete with powerful grooves and a sure feeling for catchy songs that instantly make the album a must-have for every fan of blues rock music, this excellently crafted album (which also features Dominique Ehlert on drums and Jacob Müller on bass) opens Side A on the melodic AOR of Anyway the Wind Blows and the ZZ-Topesque rocker Like a Hammer and backs those up with the SRV-imbibed blues rock of I Can’t Stand It Anymore, the mid-tempo, euphonious Superstar and then we get the low slung, gritty Dark City and the mid-tempo balladry of It Ain’t Easy.

Next up, as we flip the vinyl LP over to Side B, is one of my own personal favorites, the pulsating, and aptly-named Connected and then comes the foot-tapping rocker Too Good to Be True, the countrified Leavin’, the AOR of Too Much Babble, then we get more SRV-infused guitar work on the brilliant Gonna Do It Better, with the album rounding out on the upbeat and gently frenetic, harmonica-driven Stacy Lee, closing on the gentle blues hipsway of The Night Before.

The quality and power of Hot‘n‘Nasty also ensured that international well-known rock greats such as Wishbone Ash, Dr. Feelgood, Walter Trout, Ana Popovic and Chris Farlowe became aware of them and repeatedly engaged the band as a support act.

Indeed numerous concerts at home and abroad as well as various TV specials brought the band a large fan base and in the Ruhr area, where the musicians come from, the band already enjoys cult status.

Live Dates 2021:
27.08.21 Haus Eifgen, Wermelskirchen
11.09.21 Blue Notez, Dortmund - verschoben auf 13.05.22
24.09.21 Culucu, Kleve
25.09.21 Kunsthaus Langenberg, Velbert (CD-Präsentation!)
02.10.21 Saal Niermann, Delbrück ("Blues in Anreppen")
09.10.21 Kultbahnhof, Gifhorn
06.11.21 Blues Meets Hambach, Hambach
19.11.21 Buena Ressa, Rees
20.11.21 Crowded House, Oberhausen
10.12.21 Kulturrampe, Krefeld
11.12.21 Torburg, Köln

Official Purchase Links

Official Website

Hot‘n‘Nasty @ Facebook

Hot‘n‘Nasty @ Instagram

Hot‘n‘Nasty @ YouTube

Sonic Revolution Promotion Page

Title - In The Palm Of Your Hand: Reissue
Artist - Buck Owens & The Buckaroos

For those unaware, throughout Omnivore Recordings 12-year relationship with the Buck Owens Private Foundation, one request from the fans was clear and consistent—to make Bucks late-’60s/early-’70s releases available again as stand-alone reissues.

Omnivore is proud to answer that call and announce 9 titles to be released throughout the summer and fall of 2021.

Starting August 6th, Omnivore will put out these 9 albums, offered as standalone reissues. Each drop will consist of three albums: Sweet Rosie Jones, I’ve Got You on My Mind Again and Tall Dark Stranger, then on August 27th, they will release Your Mother’s Prayer, The Kansas City Song and I Wouldn’t Live in New York City, and then finally come October 1st, they will put out In the Palm of Your Hand, Ain’t It Amazing, Gracie and (It’s a) Monsters Holiday.

The albums will be released as they were originally issued and for the first time, appear in their original configuration on CD and Digital, mastered from the original analog tapes, and with expanded artwork & new liner notes.

Originally released in 1973, In The Palm Of Your Hand became yet another hit album for Owens and His Buckaroos, hitting #21 entry on the country album charts.

Nine of the ten of the songs were written or co-written by Owens, with the other being penned by his son, Buddy Alan. The title track would land at #23 on the singles chart, and Arms Full Of Empty would become a #14 hit.

Now, nearly four decades later, the classic album returns—mastered from the original analog tapes by Grammy®-winner Michael Graves, Produced for release by Grammy®-winner Cheryl Pawelski, and featuring expanded artwork including new liner notes from author Randy Poe (Buck ‘Em! The Autobiography Of Buck Owens).


Though a few of the ten tracks on In the Palm of Your Hand appeared on previous albums and have been included on subsequent releases, the majority of them appear here together for the first and only time in Buck Owens’ recorded catalog.

Opening on the forlorn yearning balladry of the title track In The Palm Of Your Hand and the mid-tempo, twanging rhythms of There Goes My Love, he backs those up nicely with the dutiful country/Asian-blended love song Made In Japan, the beautiful arrangements found within Sweethearts in Heaven and then we get the classic Bakersfield sound caught within Arms Full of Empty.

Up next we get one of my own personal favorites, the sardonically-cultured, mid-tempo, steel guitar twang of You Ain’t Gonna Have Ol’ Buck to Kick Around No More, and that is itself followed by the foot-tapping melodies of A Whole Lotta Somethin’, the heartfelt troubadour storytelling of Get Out Of Town Before Sundown, the album rounding out on the truly excellent ballad Something’s Wrong, closing on the peppy I Love You So Much It Hurts.

In my own personal opinion, There Goes My Love is one of the most insanely catchy songs to ever appear on an Owens album, as well and his last number one hit as a solo artist, Made in Japan, making this still one of his more overlooked albums of the day.

Sadly, the entire album squeaks in at just under 26 minutes, though there are definitely more than enough reasons to check it out, trust me.

Available for the first time since its original album release and for the first time on stand-alone CD and Digital formats. The reissue of these latter-day Buck Owens And His Buckaroos albums is a cause for celebration!

Omnivore Buck Owens 9 Classic Reissues Trailer

Official Purchase Link

Title - Ain’t It Amazing, Gracie: Reissue
Artist - Buck Owens & The Buckaroos

For those unaware, throughout Omnivore Recordings 12-year relationship with the Buck Owens Private Foundation, one request from the fans was clear and consistent—to make Bucks late-’60s/early-’70s releases available again as stand-alone reissues.

Omnivore is proud to answer that call and announce 9 titles to be released throughout the summer and fall of 2021.

Starting August 6th, Omnivore will put out these 9 albums, offered as standalone reissues. Each drop will consist of three albums: Sweet Rosie Jones, I’ve Got You on My Mind Again and Tall Dark Stranger, then on August 27th, they will release Your Mother’s Prayer, The Kansas City Song and I Wouldn’t Live in New York City, and then finally come October 1st, they will put out In the Palm of Your Hand, Ain’t It Amazing, Gracie and (It’s a) Monsters Holiday.

The albums will be released as they were originally issued and for the first time, appear in their original configuration on CD and Digital, mastered from the original analog tapes, and with expanded artwork & new liner notes.

Originally released in 1973, just two months after In The Palm Of Your Hand, Ain’t It Amazing, Gracie became yet another top 20 album for Owens and His Buckaroos, reaching #17 on the country album charts.

The title track would peak at #14 on the singles chart, and it features the original release of what would become a Buck Owens staple, Streets Of Bakersfield, later to become a 1988 chart-topping duet with Dwight Yoakam.

Now, nearly four decades later, the classic album returns—mastered from the original analog tapes by Grammy®-winner Michael Graves, Produced for release by Grammy®-winner Cheryl Pawelski, and featuring expanded artwork including new liner notes from author Randy Poe (Buck ‘Em! The Autobiography Of Buck Owens).


This vibrantly melodic, always heartfelt album opens on the joyous and upbeat title track Ain’t It Amazing, Gracie and the countrified jaunt of Long Hot Summer and backs those up with the melodious hop/skip of Streets Of Bakersville, the lonesome ballad She’s Had All The Dreamin’ She Can Stand and then the sardonic Your Monkey Won’t Be Home Tonight.

Up next is one of my own personal favorites from this album, the country/pop-tastic I Know That You Know (That I Love You) which is in turn followed by the achingly rendered The Good Old Days (Are Here Again), the old country balladry of Old Faithful, the album rounding out on the storytelling found within When You Get Back From Nashville, closing on the gently rambunctious When You get To Heaven (I’ll Be Waiting).

Available for the first time since its original album release and for the first time on stand-alone CD and Digital formats. The reissue of these latter-day Buck Owens And His Buckaroos albums is a cause for celebration!

Omnivore Buck Owens 9 Classic Reissues Trailer

Official Purchase Link

Title - (It’s A) Monsters’ Holiday: Reissue
Artist - Buck Owens & The Buckaroos

For those unaware, throughout Omnivore Recordings 12-year relationship with the Buck Owens Private Foundation, one request from the fans was clear and consistent—to make Bucks late-’60s/early-’70s releases available again as stand-alone reissues.

Omnivore is proud to answer that call and announce 9 titles to be released throughout the summer and fall of 2021.

Starting August 6th, Omnivore will put out these 9 albums, offered as standalone reissues. Each drop will consist of three albums: Sweet Rosie Jones, I’ve Got You on My Mind Again and Tall Dark Stranger, then on August 27th, they will release Your Mother’s Prayer, The Kansas City Song and I Wouldn’t Live in New York City, and then finally come October 1st, they will put out In the Palm of Your Hand, Ain’t It Amazing, Gracie and (It’s a) Monsters Holiday.

The albums will be released as they were originally issued and for the first time, appear in their original configuration on CD and Digital, mastered from the original analog tapes, and with expanded artwork & new liner notes.

1974 gave Buck Owens and His Buckaroos their 23rd top 10 country album with (It’s A) Monster’s Holiday. The title track would peak at #6 on the singles chart, and it features On The Cover Of The Music City News, a re-write of Shel Silverstein’s Cover Of The Rolling Stone, adapted by Owens and Jim Shaw.

Now, nearly four decades later, the classic album returns—remastered by Grammy®-winner Michael Graves, Produced for release by Grammy®-winner Cheryl Pawelski, and featuring expanded artwork including new liner notes from author Randy Poe (Buck ‘Em! The Autobiography Of Buck Owens).


This abundantly rhythmic, vibrantly melodic, and wholly beautiful album (which only has the one track that is Halloween-related) opens on that very same title track, the hop/skip, hauntingly-inspired (It’s A) Monster’s Holiday and the beautiful ballad Amazing Love, following those seamlessly with the aforementioned hand-clapping parody of Shel Silverstein’s Cover Of The Rolling Stone, here known as On The Cover Of The Music City News, the lush I Love and then comes the upbeat and joyous Stony Mountain West Virginia.

Up next is the contagious foot-tapper Meanwhile Back at the Ranch and the stunning balladry of You’re Gonna Love Yourself in the Morning, which is in turn followed by the soulfully euphonic Kiss an Angel Good Mornin’, the album rounding out on the yearning storytelling of Great Expectations, closing on country twang of Pass Me By (If You’re Only Passing Through).

Available for the first time since its original album release and for the first time on stand-alone CD and Digital formats. The reissue of these latter-day Buck Owens And His Buckaroos albums is a cause for celebration!

Omnivore Buck Owens 9 Classic Reissues Trailer

Official Purchase Link

Title - I’ve Been Expecting You [Vinyl Reissue]
Artist - Robbie Williams

For those not in the know, Robbie Williams today reissues his first two multi-million selling solo albums Life Thru A Lens and I’ve Been Expecting You on vinyl for the very first time -- including a special edition white vinyl of Life Thru A Lens and aquamarine for I’ve Been Expecting You that are available exclusively at: Official Purchase Links.

Released August 27th, 2021, both titles have been newly mastered at Abbey Road Studios, are pressed on 180 gram heavyweight vinyl and housed in gatefold sleeves, reproducing the original distinctive artwork. Both titles come with Download codes.

Now certified 10 x Platinum by the BPI, with UK sales in excess of 2.5 million, I’ve Been Expecting You was originally released in October 1998 when it entered the chart at number one. It returned to the summit the following January and once again a month later.

It includes the hit singles Millennium (#1), No Regrets (#4), Strong (#4) and She’s The One (#1). No Regrets features backing vocals from Pet Shop Boys’ Neil Tennant and The Divine Comedy’s Neil Hannon, while album track Win Some Lose Some includes the ‘Telephone Voice’ of All Saints’ Nicole Appleton.

Side A:
1. Strong
2. No Regrets
3. Millennium
4. Phoenix From The Flames
5. Win Some Lose Some
6. Grace

Side B:
1. It’s Only Us
2. Heaven From Here
3. Karma Killer
4. She’s The One
5. Man Machine
6. These Dreams

Robbie Williams’ second solo long-player saw the one-time boyband singer stretch his creative wings in a fashion entirely unexpected, embracing not only sumptuous (read: overblown to some ears) string arrangements but also bruised pop-soul and boisterous, hook-heavy rock.

While his debut, the preceding year’s Life Thru a Lens, was an album typical of its type, full of missteps in pursuit of a sound guaranteed to maintain a long and successful career, I’ve Been Expecting You focused on the finest aspects of its predecessor to come across as a 12-track collection with emphasis on accessibility only through greater investment of attention.

While it lacked a sing-along anthem in the styling of Angels (for Millennium is a wholly different-of-mood piece) Williams and his songwriting partner Guy Chambers achieved a consistency that marks this record out as perhaps his strongest to date.

Granted, there’s no real single of memorable note beyond the aforementioned over-ubiquitous John Barry-sampling number, but the bitterness of Karma Killer – the line “I hope you choke on your Bacardi and Coke” may seem trite on paper, but Williams’ delivery confirms he means business.

And, for sure, the wonderful No Regrets, featuring subtle backing vocals from Pet Shop Boys’ Neil Tennant and The Divine Comedy’s Neil Hannon, are songs that keep the listener engaged with the narrative.

And it’s here that I’ve Been Expecting You impresses – our once cocksure protagonist reveals a sensitive side, often sounding broken by the weight of emotion and expectation, and is all the more endearing for it. His stories seem real, believable, and sympathies are stirred.

“I don’t want to hate, but that’s all you’ve left me with / A bitter aftertaste and a fantasy of how we all could live”, from No Regrets, is a telling line.

After the paparazzi-baiting and headlines-courting hi-jinx of his debut, Williams found the cheekiness had drained away somewhat for this often reserved and only intermittently energized set.

Even Millennium, the record’s upbeat high, offers an idea of where Williams’ head was at: “Come and have a go, if you think you’re hard enough”.

In truth, few critics dared to knock the man down a peg or two, as by being lyrically open like never before Williams scored, and what has still since been referenced as, his greatest album hit yet. That’s now been certified 10× Platinum and counting, since you asked, and little he’s produced since has seemed quite so times-defining of content.

Official Purchase Links

Official Website

Robbie Williams - Millennium (Official Music Video)

Robbie Williams @ Facebook

Robbie Williams @ Twitter

Robbie Williams @ Instagram

Robbie Williams @ YouTube

Robbie Williams @ Spotify

Title - Wannabe 25 [12” Picture Disc, EP]
Artist - Spice Girls

Tell me what you want, what you really, really want!

The biggest selling girl band of all time, the Spice Girls are celebrating the 25th anniversary of their debut hit single Wannabe in style, by releasing an all-new limited edition EP - Wannabe25 which is available now via UMC / EMI at: Official Purchase Links.

Wannabe, originally released on July 8th, 1996, catapulted the Spice Girls to global stardom. A song that embodies empowerment, it is the most emblematic song of the band’s People Power philosophy and a song that continues to be treasured through the generations.

Furthermore, Wannabe has broken numerous records. It is the seventh best-selling debut single of all time, with over 1.3 million CD singles and download sales, as well as the longest-reigning Number 1 by a girl group.

The new EP includes the original single, an in-demand remix by Junior Vasquez (originally a bonus track on the 1996 2 Become 1 CD Single), the original demo recording, and Feed Your Love, a demo of a previously unreleased ballad written by Spice Girls and "Wannabe" co-writers Richard Biff Stannard and Matt Rowe.

Side A:
A1. Wannabe (Original Radio Edit)
A2. Wannabe (Junior Vasquez Remix Edit)

Side B:
B1. Wannabe (Demo: Previously Unreleased)
B2. Feed Your Love (Previously Unreleased Song)

Here’s the story from A-Z ...!

After their iconic 1996 debut single Wannabe topped the charts in 37 countries, Spice Girls’ debut album Spice went on to sell more than 31 million copies worldwide, becoming the best-selling album of all time by a female group.

The girls have gone on to sell more than 90 million records around the globe, releasing three studio albums and 11 singles and winning a host of awards including a BRIT Award for Outstanding Contribution to British Music.

This quite brilliant 25th Anniversary 4-Track Picture Disc opens on the well known Wannabe (Original Radio Edit - 2:53) and backs it up with the drum and synth-laden, funky Caribbean-flavored Wannabe (Junior Vasquez Remix Edit - 5:57).

Flip this beautiful picture disc over and the next track is the Previously Unreleased Wannabe (Demo - 2:58), where everything is toned down, both the beats and their singing, and then the 25th Anniversary vinyl is rounded out with Feed Your Love (4:36), another Previously Unreleased song that features Mel B’s quieter, soulful R&B balladry vocals at their finest.

Official Purchase Links

Official Website

Spice Girls - Wannabe (Official Music Video)

Spice Girls @ Facebook

Spice Girls @ Twitter

Spice Girls @ Instagram

Spice Girls @ YouTube

Spice Girls @ Spotify

Title - A Celebration of Andy Gill and Gang of Four [2CD]
Artist - Various

For those not in the know, The Problem of Leisure: A Celebration of Andy Gill and Gang of Four (released June 4th, 2021 via Gill Music Ltd.) is a brand new compilation album featuring major artists with original artwork by Damien Hirst.

The Problem of Leisure is a double album of tracks written by Andy Gill and Gang of Four, all newly reinterpreted and recorded by artists whose own unique contributions to music were enriched by listening to Gang of Four.

The album features songs from across Gang of Four’s 40-plus year career, each individually chosen by the artists’ who covered them.

After Andy’s death in February 2020, Andy Gill’s widow Catherine Mayer assembled a small team to complete The Problem of Leisure. The record had originally been conceived by Andy himself not as a post-mortem tribute, but to mark the 40th anniversary in 2019 of Gang Of Four’s extraordinary 1979 debut long player Entertainment! an album widely heralded as a classic (“the fifth best punk album of all time”: Rolling Stone magazine).

Andy had already revised that vision in the months before his death, after some artists chose tracks from different albums and periods. Every musician who committed to the project was given the freedom to create new versions of whichever Gang of Four songs they wanted to cover, with Andy overseeing some of the earlier productions but largely leaving artists to create their own interpretations.

When Andy died, obituarists struggled to sum up his profound impact on music. He had co-founded Gang of Four and remained at the time of his death its only original member.

As co-writer or writer of all the band’s songs and through his unmistakable and much emulated guitar style, Andy influenced generation after generation of musicians, and that effect was amplified by his work as a composer and producer.

This album speaks to that impact and influence.

The final 20 track double album features an extraordinary roll call of global talent, with artists from seven different countries and four continents, and demonstrates the breadth and scale of Andy and Gang of Four’s influence.

Disc 1:
1. IDLES – Damaged Goods
2. Tom Morello & Serj Tankian – Natural’s Not In It
3. Helmet – In the Ditch
4. 3D x Gang of Four featuring Nova Twins – Where The Nightingale Sings (Redux)
5. Hotei – To Hell With Poverty
6. Gary Numan & Ade Fenton – Love Like Anthrax
7. Gail Ann Dorsey – We Live As We Dream, Alone
8. Herbert Grönemeyer featuring Alex Silva – I Love a Man in Uniform
9. LoneLady – Not Great Men
10. JJ Sterry – 5.45

Opening on the angst-ridden, syncopated bass and guitar lines, all whilst waiting for the drums to kick in debut single Damaged Goods (brilliantly brought forth by IDLES), that is backed by Tom Morello and System of a Down’s Serj Tankian’s melodically elevated Natural’s Not in It and then we get Helmet’s vibrant In the Ditch (and which is actually their very own first new recording in five years!), 3D x Gang of Four featuring Nova Twins on their diligently explored, lyrically re-concepted and beautifully poetic take of Where The Nightingale Sings (Redux), before one of my own personal favorites, Hotei’s rhythmically funked up To Hell With Poverty is showcased.

Next up is the Gary Numan & Ade Fenton, Eastern-imbibed Love Like Anthrax (a track off Gang of Four’s quite stunning, late ’70s debut album, Entertainment!) and the foot-tapping, slap bass and funk lines found within Gail Ann Dorsey’s pop-tastic We Live As We Dream, Alone, which are in turn followed by the slyly subversive and full of the sarcasm I Love a Man in Uniform (by Herbert Grönemeyer featuring Alex Silva).

The first CD then rounds out with a track where Gang of Four analyzes and opposes the Great Man Theory (which claims history is shaped by powerful individuals) Not Great Man (here with the soothing timbre of LoneLady laced throughout), concluding on JJ Sterry’s synth-laden, flashback brilliance of 5.45 (How can I sit and eat my tea / With all that blood flowing from the television / At a quarter to six).

Disc 2:
1. La Roux – Damaged Goods
2. Everything Everything – Natural’s Not In It
3. Dado Villa-Lobos – Return The Gift
4. The Dandy Warhols – What We All Want
5. Warpaint – Paralysed
6. Flea & John Frusciante featuring The Silverlake Conservatory Youth Corale – Not Great Men
7. The Sounds – I Love a Man in Uniform
8. Hardcore Raver In Tears – Last Mile
9. Killing Joke x Gang of Four – Forever Starts Now (Killing Joke Dub)
10. Sekar Melati – Not Great Men (live version)

The second disc opens on La Roux’s (aka Elly Jackson) very own synth pop take on Damaged Goods and then Everything Everything’s own take on Natural’s Not In It, before we get the opaque post-punk Return The Gift (by Dado Villa-Lobos, ex-guitarist of post-punk band Legião Urbana), The Dandy Warhols with their quieter alt-rock take of What We All Want, and then comes the lush tones of Warpaint’s Paralysed (where the cover stays true to the original, opening with searing drums and a crunchy bass line from Jenny Lee, who also produced the track).

Along next is the totally pulsating, and RHCP-honed Not Great Men from Flea & John Frusciante featuring The Silverlake Conservatory Youth Corale and the Tron-esque synth work of The Sounds’ take on I Love a Man in Uniform, which is in turn backed by the Wuhan band Hardcore Raver in Tears’ cover of Last Mile, the album rounding out on Killing Joke x Gang of Four on the new song (which also features the late guitarist and producer) Forever Starts Now (Killing Joke Dub), closing on a quite stunning, breathtakingly percussion-hued live version of Not Great Men from Sekar Melati (a gamelan band from Gifu, Japan).

The album’s brilliant artwork was created by Damien Hirst, a long-term Gang of Four aficionado. Andy chose the cover art from a selection of options provided by the artist.

The album is available to order now in a variety of double vinyl, two CD and cassette formats from all usual retail outlets worldwide.

The deluxe vinyl format, “Dogluxe” is only available from the Gang of Four website, All formats feature different versions of the artwork from Damien Hirst.

Official Purchase Link

Official Gang Of Four Website

Official The Problem of Leisure Website