Monday, September 15, 2014

CD Review: Singer/Songwriters Ellis Paul And Luke Winslow-King Release New Music

Singer/songwriter Ellis Paul released his latest album earlier this month entitled "Chasing Beauty." It is the 19th album of his 25 year career. According to Ellis Paul it is a "story teller's record" inspired by many of his heroes. It was also produced by Kristian Bush of Sugarland and Brandon Bush of Train. The new fourteen song release begins with the country/pop appeal of "Never Want To Lose You" as the song contains the perfectly formula for a successful hit single. Ellis showcases a more rockabilly sound with "Kick Out The Lights (Johnny Cash)" as the song continues to grow and have a bigger sound, featuring an amazing lap steel guitar solo from Megan Lowell. Ellis Paul pours his heart into gentle sway of "Drive-In Movie" and paints a picture in your mind with "Waiting On A Break." You can feel his passion for stories on the telling of "Jimmie Angel's Flying Circus" and sings to his daughter in "Hold Me, Scold Me." Ellis also finds country gold in the feel good sound of "Chasing Beauty," before closing with the gentle folk storytelling of "One Kiss Could Do Me In." Ellis Paul will be on the road, circling the U.S., until the end of year. To find out more about Ellis Paul and his new release "Chasing Beauty," please visit ellispaul.com.
 
Bloodshot Records artist Luke Winslow-King (LWK) will be releasing his second album in as many years. The new release entitled "Everlasting Arms" is like a snapshot of his life over the past year. The new fourteen-song release features many different musical genres, including country, rock, folk, jazz and blues. Beginning with the classic, Carter Family-like sound of "Everlasting Arms," you instantly get sense that LWK is a prodigy of the earlier sounds of country music. He gets into the blues with the boogie rhythm of "Swing That Thing," before heading on down south for the New Orleans jazz flavor of "Levee Man." He quickens the pace with the old-fashion rock of "Cadillac Slim" then instantly turns things into a Marti Gras party with the local jazz sounds of "La Bega's Carousel." LWK's wife, Ester Rose, helps out on vocals to the blues number "Wanton Way Of Loving" then LWK turns "Last Night I Dreamed My Birthday" into a early Dylan-type folk story. LWK rocks out once more on "Domino Sugar" showcasing his guitar skills, before closing with the swamp blues of "Traveling Myself." To find out more about Luke Winslow-King, please visit bloodshotrecords.com.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

CD Review: New Imported Music From Red Hill And Tribal Hybrid Concept Experiments With Different Sounds

U.K. record label Rare Noise Records will be releasing the debut album from the latest project involving Avant-Garde icon Wadada Leo Smith entitled Red Hill. Wadada is surrounded by a trio of musicians that share the same excitement for exploring sound and enjoy taking chances with their music. The new six song release begins with the twelve-minute sound collage, "Gneiss." The music sounds as if everyone is performing a different song, but a certain beauty is found within the chaos. The eight-minute "Agpaitic" (which is the shortest song on the album) contains a deeper, darker tone and a quicker pace to deliver their message. Even with the nine-minute, rhythm heavy feel of "Arvedsonite" you search for the common chord to follow which only keeps you listening further into this musical soundscape. To find out more about Red Hill and their new self-titled album, please visit rarenoiserecords.com.

From another U.K. record label, Gonzo Multimedia releases the experimental side project of Cyrille "Clearlight" Verdeaux entitled Tribal Hybrid Concept. The album has Verdeaux joining forces with Pascal Menetrey on this adventure into the local sounds of many tribes facing extinction in today's world. The new fourteen song release uses the language of the tribes amongst an ambient backdrop that only enhances these special dialects. One of the perfect examples is "Raonis Song" which features the voice of the Chief of Amazonia speaking on behalf of the children of the Kayapo tribe. Many of the songs feature the chants of different tribes as Verdeaux and Menetrey pick the perfect background music to give the songs a modern feel for the general public. Songs like "Organic Trance" and "Trance Connexion" have sound clips of African birds and insects amongst a steady dance beat. The different tribal chants give the music different tones, as with the deep swirling of "Papou Pas Pris" and the lighter, more energetic rhythm of "Zeph Here." The club-like feel of "Trance Pire" keeps the energy going right through to the closer of the quietly exploring sound of "Amazon Corazon." To find out more, please visit gonzomultimedia.com.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

CD Review: Gonzo Multimedia Re-Educates Us On U.K. Punk Legends The Deviants

English punk legends The Social Deviants began their career back in 1967 with their debut album "Ptooff!" The album would become an underground U.K. cult classic being re-issued on five different record labels. The band would record two more albums, before parting ways. Founding member Mick Farren would continue on, shortening the name to The Deviants and calling upon the help of MC5's Wayne Kramer and Motorhead's Phil Taylor to lend a hand when needed. After collapsing onstage in 2013, Farren died just two months shy of his 70th birthday. So, as a tribute and a reminder of this U.K. underground punk sensation, Gonzo Multimedia is re-issuing three of The Deviants later albums (1999's "The Deviants Have Left The Planet," 1999's "Barbarian Princes (Live In Japan)," and 2002's "Dr. Crow").

The pick of these new releases is the CD (now with a bonus DVD) of "Barbarian Princes (Live In Japan)." It shows this band in its most raw form, live and without any boundaries. While Mick Farren may have been the leader of The Deviants, guitarist Andy Colquhoun is the star of the show, pulling out all of his guitar tricks, turning songs like "God's Worst Nightmare" and "Dogpoet" into amazing jams. They turn Bob Dylan's "It's Alright Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)" into a chaotic mess, while showing their bluesier side with "Lennon Song." The DVD is of the same show with the corrected running order of the songs, but the film is something to be desired. While not filmed in high definition, at least there is a filmed document of this band performing live.

The other two new releases, "Dr. Crow" and "The Deviants Have Left The Planet" also show other sides to the band's underground success. The band's final studio album "Dr. Crow" mixes a few cover songs in with its originals to showcase the band's talents for keeping their music fresh and raw. While the punk-like furry of their early albums may be missing, the raw, straight-up rock feel of "Bela Lugosi 2002" and "Song Of The Hired Guns" shows a maturity within the band's songwriting and musicianship. The Deviants also put their stamp on the Beatles' classic "Strawberry Fields Forever" and "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance."

Mick Farren collected demos, outtakes and live versions of some of their early songs for the 1999 compilation album "The Deviants Have Left The Planet." The studio songs feature former Motorhead drummer Phil Taylor and guitarist Andy Colquhoun as this trio could have brought The Deviants a bigger slice of the music world than ever before. While the live/studio feel of the album mixes up the flow, it is also great to have all these songs together to enjoy. To find out more about these new re-issues from one of the legendary U.K. band The Deviants, please visit gonzomultimedia.com.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Vinyl Review: Audio Fidelity Turns The Tron Soundtrack Into Collector's Gold

Back in 1982, Walt Disney Pictures took a gamble with the live-action/digital animation movie "Tron." The story was simple, but the on-screen graphics were unlike anything else at the time and the movie propelled actor Jeff Bridges into stardom as the computer hacker Flynn. The only thing just as exciting as the eye-candy on the screen was the ear-candy of the soundtrack. American composer Wendy Carlos handled the reigns of the soundtrack using synthesizers and orchestration to compete with this visual break-through movie. The rock band Journey were also invited, after the band Supertramp declined, to lend a couple of their songs to the soundtrack to give it a more mainstream appeal. After going "out of print" on CD and on vinyl for quite some time, the soundtrack was re-released on CD in 2002 and was finally re-released on vinyl on August 26th through Audio Fidelity. But, this isn't just any vinyl release. The soundtrack was remastered by Kevin Gray at Cohearent Audio and pressed on 180g "virgin vinyl" to sustain the highest audio quality possible. The new double LP collectable vinyl is also a translucent blue to match the movie's computer theme.
 
The remastered sound on this release is amazing as all the little synthesizer techniques used by Carlos are easily heard. The two Journey songs, "1990's Theme" and "Only Solutions" still rock and remind you of that first appearance at Flynn's Arcade with the music blasting from the jukebox. Even if the music may seem a little dated, the dedication put into this release makes this version of the Tron soundtrack a timeless collectable. To find out more about this latest new release from Audio Fidelity, please visit audiofidelity.net.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Video Review: "Money For Nothing" Gives Us The History Of The Music Video

Do you remember when music videos ruled the airwaves? When songs were huge hits because of how creative their music videos were? Well, Virgil Films just released a new documentary entitled "Money For Nothing: A History Of The Music Video," based on the best-selling book of the same name written by Saul Austerlitz.
 
The seventy-nine minute documentary is directed by Jamin Bricker and narrated by Michael Charles Roman. It brings you back to the beginning of music videos with the arrival of Al Jolson's "The Jazz Singer" in 1927 and how The Beatles perfected the music video in 1964 with "A Hard Day's Night." Artists like Devo, Queen and David Bowie gave images to the their songs in some of the earliest true "music videos," but it would not be until MTV exploded onto the scene in 1981 that music videos would be the ultimate way to sell music. Early stars of the music video were Duran Duran, Billy Idol and Madonna, all of whom looked great through the television screen, but it would be Michael Jackson's "Thriller" video that took these mini-musicals to the next level.
 
The documentary touches upon all the different sub-genres of the music videos like female artists, artistic merit and the "made for screen" metal of the late-eighties. It also shows how some of these videos became mini-movies with grand film sets, actor or actresses telling the story of the song, almost as if the song was written for the music video instead of the other way around. It would not be until the early nineties when musicians perfected the music video with examples like Pearl Jam's "Jeremy" and Beastie Boys "Sabatoge" that videos would entertain as well as teach a lesson. The documentary breaks it down into parts to better understand the impact music videos had on our world. So, do yourself a favor and check out "Money For Nothing: A History Of The Music Video," even if just for nostalgia. Check it out on iTunes at itunes.apple.com.