Monday, October 20, 2014

CD Review: The Tyler Porch Band Look To The "Sky" And Scott Zuniga Speaks The "Language Of Ghosts" On Their Debut Albums

From Atlanta, GA comes the debut album from the blues/rock trio known as The Tyler Porch Band. The new six-song EP is entitled "Only The Sky Knows" and shows the amazing growth within the band since only forming 18 months ago. The new release begins with the straight-up southern rocker "Who I Am," before heading into the swamp-blues stomp of "Oh, Lady." The most attractive song is the mainstream appeal of "Only The Sky Knows," which features Tyler Porch peeling off some sweet guitar solos. The album closes with the six-minute instrumental "Leftovers From Woodstock" that is the perfect jam for the entire band to shine as Porch leads the way, while the rhythm section of Joey Robertson and Brad Kemp keep pace. To find out more about The Tyler Porch Band, please visit tylerporchband.com.


From Texas, comes the debut album from singer/songwriter Scott Zuniga entitled "Language Of Ghosts." There is a highness to his voice that you instantly notice on the opener "Isla's Promise," which could easily be mistaken for a female voice. The gentleness of "For Always & Forever" gives his music an emotional connection. One of the highlights of the album is the Americana/folk of "I Am A Coin" as Zuniga's vocals fit the music perfectly, along with "Blood Of A Poet," which was inspired by the Jean Cocteau film of the same name. The new twelve-song release closes with the five-minute acoustic playfulness of "Past Present Future" and the quiet delivery of "Starboard." To find out more about Scott Zuniga and his new album "Language of Ghosts," please visit scottzuniga.com.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

CD Review: New Heavy Metal Music Coming From Both Sides Of The Atlantic

First from the U.K. comes the third album from the heavy metal band Atkins May Project entitled "Empire Of Destruction." The band features former original Judas Priest vocalist Al Atkins and English guitar virtuoso Paul May. The band looks to set a new benchmark in heavy metal music with their latest nine-song release. The new album begins strong with the quick heavy metal pace of "Worlds At War" as Atkins vocals fit the music perfectly. The intensity picks up with the more aggressive attack of "The Midas Touch," before the nine-minute epic of "Here Comes The Rain," which allows Paul May to showcase his skills on guitar. The heavy thumping rhythm of "Reckless Child" and the quick hitting "Are You Ready" showcases that this duo contain the right recipe for heavy metal success. The album closes with the thirteen-minute journey of the prog-metal masterpiece "Whisper To The Wind." There is a limited edition release of this new album which contains a bonus track, the adrenaline-pumping, heavy guitar riff-fueled "End Of The Earth" and a bonus DVD which contains five music videos and interviews with Al Atkins and Paul May about the new album. To find out more, please visit gonzomultimedia.co.uk.

Then, from Boston, MA comes the latest release from hardcore metal band Unearth. The new album "Watchers Of Rule" will be released on October 28th through eOne Music and follows the path laid down by their influences of Slayer, Testament and Anthrax. The new eleven-song release begins with the aggressive power of "The Swam" as Unearth looks for the quick knockout with the sheer energy of their music. The guitar duo of Buz McGrath and Ken Susi just peel of solos during the grinding rhythm of "Lifetime In Ruins," while the thunderous drumming of "From The Tombs Of Five Below" will keep the blood pumping. The power and energy never lets up as you are constantly running on high octane with "Burial Lines" and the frenzied album closer "Watchers Of Rule." Unearth are currently on tour as part of the "Hell or High Wattage" tour. To find out more about the band's new album, please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

CD Review: New Progressive Rock Albums From ST37, Guru Freakout And My Education With Theta Naught Sound Mass

Texas psychedelic/progressive rock band ST 37 are released their latest album "I'm Not Good" on October 14th through Cleopatra Records. Since starting out in 1987, the band has found a local following that has slowly grown and spread across the U.S. They have found themselves on tour with Sonic Youth, Hawkwind, Chrome and Guru Guru. The new album features a dozen songs that exercises for your mind. Beginning with the experimental sound movement "Down On Us," the has an early Pink Floyd influence on their sound of this latest release. The band comes together for the heavy progressive rock of "Doppleganger," which really shows off the band's outstanding musicianship. ST 37 fly off course with the frenzied keyboards and sound bites of "Dirty Little Homewrecker," before finding their way again on the seventies-type rocker "In Crowd." They turn Edwyn Collins' "Girl Like You" into a ten minute space trip and showcase their experimentation to the fullest extent on the backwards riffs of "Eroica Horns." One of the album's highlights is the slow-building "Feeding Friendzy" that has some extraordinary guitar playing on it. To find out more about ST 37 and their latest release "I'm Not Good," please visit the band's Facebook page at facebook.com.

Next is the debut album, "Mothership" from the multi-talented singer/percussionist Mani Neumeier and instrumentalist/producer Jurgen Engler which was released just last month. The duo formed the new band Guru Freakout in 2012 with Scott Telles on bass. The trio got together in the studio to jam and see if there was any chemistry between the musicians. The music was so good, that they decided to record their rehearsal on a small digital recorder and add two of the songs from those sessions as bonus tracks. The two-song album begins with the expanded prog-rock of "Notre Dame (Mothership)" as the song pushes past the thirty-minute mark. The spaced-out guitar and the steady rhythm put your ears on high alert as you continue your journey with Guru Freakout. The second song on the album is the steady climb up "The Snows Of Mt. Bonnell," which contains some exciting solos and more adventurous sound. The three bonus tracks consist of two of the songs from the band's rehearsal sessions and a live version of "Elektrolurch-Mutation" that has the musicians locked into a deep grinding rhythm. To find out more about Guru Freakout and the new album "Mothership," plesae visit cleorecs.com.

Also new from Cleopatra Records is the joint venture from post-rock bands My Education and Theta Naught Sound Mass. The new album entitled "Sound Mass II: Spiritual Docking," combines classical string instruments with standard rock instruments to create a more mind-expanding sound with touches of intellect added to the music. This album has been two years in the making and was finally released on October 14th. The five song album begins with the slow-moving, atmospheric flow of "Salty Tassels." The band gets into a classic progressive rock grove and plays it safe on "Spiritual Docking," before bringing you on a journey with the perfect mix of soft and heavy music on "BAMF." The album also adds on two bonus track that were recorded back in 2011 when the two bands met and collaborated for the first time. Both tracks have a more upbeat rock tempo with a more adventurous resulting sound. To find out more about the new album "Sound Mass II: Spiritual Docking," please visit cleorecs.com.

Friday, October 17, 2014

CD Review: Audio Fidelity Brings Out The First Wave Of High Quality Surround Sound Titles

Just released from Audio Fidelity are the first two 5.1 surround sound titles on CD. The "Super Session" album featuring Mike Bloomfield, Al Kooper and Steve Stills is the perfect candidate for this type of release. Keyboardist Al Kooper booked two days at a recording studio to just jam and see what becomes of it. Guitarist Mike Bloomfield was invited along with Wrecking Crew drummer "Fast" Eddie Hoh and other session musicians to create some new music on the spot. The instrumental music that is laid down on the first two songs ("Albert's Shuffle" and "Stop") showcases this "super groups" musical talents as you feel as if you are placed right at the control desk of the studio. One of the highlights of the album is the nine-minute jazzy jam of "His Holy Modal Majesty," which is a tribute to the late-John Coltrane. The song showcases Bloomfield stepping out his mold to put his guitar talents on display. The second-half of the album replaces Bloomfield (who did not show up for the next day of sessions) with Steve Stills fresh off his break-up with Buffalo Springfield. The second day of sessions began with a quick sixties-pop version of Bob Dylan's "It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Try To Cry," which allows Kooper's keyboards to really stand out on this 5.1 surround sound mix. Stills' guitar solo shines on the eleven-minute funk-filled jam of Donovan's "Season Of The Witch." The new 5.1 mix was mastered by Bob Ludwig and the new SACD stereo version was mastered by engineer Steve Hoffman and the new release contains new liner notes from Al Kooper. To find out more about this newly released version of "Super Session," please visit audiofidelity.net.
 
The other album receiving the 5.1 surround sound mix release is George Benson's "Brezzin'". It is considered the biggest selling jazz album of all time, selling over three million copies in the U.S. The album's biggest selling single "This Masquerade" proudly showcases Benson's guitar/scatting technique as the song feels more alive and spacious on this new remastered release. This award winning album features songs written by Bobby Womack, Leon Russel and Jose Feliciano. Benson gets to add some funk on "Six To Four" as you can almost feel him plucking the strings if you crank up the volume high enough. But, Benson's biggest moment is on the self-penned "So This Is Love?" as he feels the need to just go off and flex his fingers up and down the fretboard of the guitar. A truly "rock star" moment that allows Benson to continue with high-class of smooth jazz. The mastering for the stereo was also done by Steve Hoffman and the 5.1 Multichannel was mastered by Doug Sax. To find out more about this release, please visit audiofidelity.net.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

DVD Review: New Videos Showcase The "Best" Of Youth And The Aged Experience Of Drivin' N' Cryin'

On September 23, Magnolia Home Entertainment released "We Are The Best!" on Blu-ray and DVD. The movie follows three teenage girls growing up in Stockholm, Sweden in the early 1980's. Their love for punk music and rebellion brought them together to form a band, without any knowledge of how to play an instruments or even own one. The film was screen written and directed by Lukas Moodysson and was filmed in their native language with English subtitles. The movie could be considered the blueprint of how many young band started out with a desire and a dream of performing music for a purpose. "We Are The Best!" is about the battle cry of youth for the Mohawk wearing Klara, spiky-haired Bobo and classically trained guitarist Hedwig. They continue to practice their rebellious music overcoming obstacles throughout the movie, with one day being allowed the opportunity to perform live. That part of this feature is the true "punk-rock" moment of the film and makes the whole adventure worthwhile. The subtitles do take a bit of getting used to and the European way of life is a little eye-opening to how others live. The youth of this movie brings you back to a young more rebellious time in your own life that you wish you'd follow that dream. To find out more about "We Are The Best!," please visit magpictures.com.

Also, coming November 4th on Blu-ray and DVD is a documentary on the Atlanta rock band Drivin' N' Cryin' entitled "Scarred But Smarter." The video shows the history of the band through the eyes of one of the band's biggest fans Eric Von Hessler, who is the morning radio show host of "Regular Guys." He followed the band around for three years, trying to figure out why Drivin' N' Cryin' were not a more popular band, but through interviews with fans and fellow musicians, he discovered the band does have a huge following and an influence on younger music acts. The documentary begins with the foundations of the band coming together over their love for all different kinds of music like punk, country, folk and classic rock. Their sound developed into a southern rock vibe that record companies could not seem to market, which only drove the band harder to achieve the critical acclaim they deserved. Their song-writing at the time was unmatched as many of today's musicians claim that songs like "Straight To Hell" turned them on to the band. Many of the early days are shown through home videos by the band as the documentary moves from album to album. Von Haessler shows the good times and the bad without sugarcoating anything. "Scarred But Smarter" is one of the most truthful documentaries of a band that seemed content with never making it big, but struggling to make it through. It's great to hear words, straight from the mouth of founding members Kevn Kinney and Tim Nielsen along with friends and fans like R.E.M.'s Peter Buck, Hootie And The Blowfish's Darius Rucker, Collective Soul's Ed Roland along with TV personality and superfan Ty Pennington. The video's release co-insides with the band's 30th Anniversary which will take place in 2015. To find out more about "Scarred Buy Smarter, please visit scarredbutsmarterdoc.com.