Monday, December 22, 2014

CD Review: Singer/Songwriters Quinn Tsan And Nan Roy Debut New Music Along With Jazzy Renditions From Elaine Dame

From Chicago comes singer/songwriter Quinn Tsan with her debut EP "Good Winter." The six-song release begins with the gentle story of "Sadie" as the music builds in the background to give it a 10,000 Maniacs feel. Quinn's voice is so playful during the two-plus minutes of "Good Winter," before getting deeper with the acoustic folk styling's of "Bedrooms III." The album closes with the single "Love Of A Painter," which was released earlier this year and Quinn's voice has a Jewel-like quality to it. To find out more about Quinn Tsan, please visit her Facebook page at facebook.com/quinntsanmusic.

Also from Chicago comes the jazzy/cabaret feel of Elaine Dame's latest release "You're My Thrill." The album was released on December 2nd and features Elaine's renditions of pop and show tunes done in her style, lead by her warm, sultry vocals. The twelve song release begins with the title song that fully captures the mood of the album with it's quiet moments and big finishes. She looks to channel Ethel Merman with the gentle feel of "They Say It's Wonderful" from the musical "Annie Get Your Gun." Elaine Dame picks up the jazzy tempo with a cover of Barbara Streisand's "I'm All Smiles," while the five minute "Sugar" is highlighted by the saxophone solo from Chris Madsen. Pianist Dennis Luxion tickles the keys on "All I Want" as Elaine's scat vocals are a welcome inclusion. The album closes with the Richard Thompson-penned blues of "The Dimming Of The Day" that welcomes vocalist Paul Marinaro on harmonies during the chorus as Elaine's vocals soar. To find out more about Elaine Dame and her new album "You're My Thrill," please visit her Facebook page at facebook.com/elainedameyouremythrill.

Connecticut native Nan Roy recently release her fist solo project entitled "Tiny Tigers." Nan handles the guitars, keyboards and vocals on this new four song album and receives help on percussion from Dan Mitchell. The album leads off with "I'm Alive" about abandonment and survival as Nan's vocal delivery reflects the mood of the lyrics. Her voice sounds so pure and innocent in "Dewy," before closing with the folk/pop strumming of "In The Window" as Nan Roy will continue to grow as an artist. To find out more about Nan Roy, please visit her Facebook page at facebook.com/nanroymusic.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

CD Review: Collin Raye Wants Your Love To Live On Through "Everlasting"

American country artist Collin Raye began his solo career in 1991 (after being a member of The Wrays) and topped the country singles chart with his song "Love Me." He has released twelve albums (five consecutive platinum selling albums) and has become an icon of country music with his tender voice and good looks. Collin Raye recently released his thirteenth album, "Everlasting," a covers album of love songs that Raye puts his special touch on to make even more enjoyable.

The album begins with Raye's version of the modern country love song "Divine Everlasting Love," originally recorded by Dave Pahanish. He dives into the classic appeal of the Bee Gee's "How Deep Is Your Love," adding a country flair to the original. One of the surprises of the album is Raye's take on Annie Lennox's "Love Song For A Vampire" as his warm voice gives new life to the song since its original release in 1993. He brings together three piano men with the heartfelt renditions of Rany Newman's "Marie," Billy Joel's "She Got A Way" and Elton John's "Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Words." The album closes with Raye's tribute to the late Dan Fogelberg with an amazing rendition of "Same Old Lang Syne," which sticks close to the original. To find out more about Collin Raye's latest album, "Everlasting," please visit cleorecs.com.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

CD Review: Omnivore Recordings Remind Us Of Trip Shakespeare With New Releases

Underground, alternative rock band Trip Shakespeare never found the success in music sales that their record labels had hoped for, but a cult following developed since their break-up in 1992. A revival for the band began in 2013 when they reunited for the first time in 20 years for a holiday show in December of that year. Omnivore Recordings is continuing the revival by releasing the band's first two albums ("Applehead Man" and "Are You Shakespearienced?") on CD and vinyl. The new re-issues became available on December 16th and each album features bonus tracks from the same era the albums were recorded.

Trip Shakespeare's debut album "Applehead Man" was originally released in 1986 and follows the vein of other new wave bands R.E.M. and The Smiths. Their sound held on to the electronic pop of eighties, but added some post-punk flair to their music as in "Fangs" and "Applehead Man." The funky bass groove of "Highway In The Sun" and pre-grunge feel of "Beatle" shows a band still searching for their sound. The original ten-song album gets an additional seven bonus tracks, consisting of outtakes that were recorded during the same sessions, but never made the final album. The songs "Freedom Bird" and "Fool Of The Wicked Kind" are the most welcome additions to this release as they expand upon the band's modern rock sound.

The band's second album, "Are You Shakespearienced?" was record live in the studio with everyone playing together and in turn, helped them get a record deal with A&M Records. The looseness of the album is felt in the jam of "Swing" as they dropped most of the electronic feel of their first album to develop a more rock-based sound as in "Two Wheeler, Four Wheeler." The hardness of "Toolmaster Of Brainerd" shows another side to Trip Shakespeare's songwriting as their songwriting became more developed. The original nine song album gets expanded with nine bonus tracks, including early versions of the songs "Bachelorette" and "Snow Days," which would appear on later albums. To find out more about these latest re-issues from Trip Shakespeare, please visit omnivorerecordings.com.

Friday, December 19, 2014

CD Review: Tom Dyer Brings Us Xmas Memories "In The Making"

Seattle's underground music label Green Monkey Records has been producing some of the Northwest's most unappreciated rock music for over thirty years. Started by Tom Dyer, the label has maintained a steady fan base and artist list as band's are allowed to create some truly unique pieces of music. One of the label's most recent releases is Tom's own Christmas album entitled "Xmas - 30 Years In The Making." The music sticks true to its title as Tom would record a Christmas song here and there and thought that eventually he would have enough for an album. That time had finally arrived in 2014 as Tom put together fifteen of his best songs for this new set of underground holiday standards.
 
Beginning with the two-minute "It's Christmas (And I'm Jolly)," Dyer gets you in the mood with his type of a gospel choir, belting out "Ho, Ho, Ho" and "Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas." The album's first single, "No Lou This Christmas" is a tribute to the late-Lou Reed as Dyer plugs in for this rocker. Dyer adds a nice, loose rhythm to "Jingle Bells Ska," and turns "Peace On Earth" into a spaghetti western, before bringing out the kid in all of us with the fun vibe of "Hot Dog! It's Christmas!" A great piece of holiday folk music is "Snowing In Seattle," which sounds as if it was recorded right on the spot, in one take as Dyer was looking out the window. The album closes with a couple of traditional Christmas songs ("God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" and "Angels We Have Heard On High") not exactly done in the traditional way, but very much a welcome addition to your holiday festivities. To find out more about Tom Dyer's Christmas album "Xmas - 30 Years In The Making," please visit greenmonkeyrecords.com.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

CD Review: New Rock Music Imported From Italy And Australia

Italian metal band Schysma recently released their full-length debut album entitled "Idiosyncrasy" through Revalve Records. The band came together in early 2012 to record their EP "Imperfect Dichotomy," which received rave reviews from around the world. The band quickly reconvened in the studio to record their follow-up which plays out as a concept album based on the human soul. The new ten-song release begins with "Lost In The Maze," which has a hard rock edge with dashes of power metal. The combination of founding member Martina Bellini's keyboards and the amazing guitar work of Vladimiro Sala gives "The Noise Of Silence" a classic progressive rock feel, which carries over to "Heremetic." The band brings in elements of classical music to give their sound a more mature and eclectic feel as in "Migdal" and "Invictus." The album closes with the album's first single "Time Man" that captures the band's sound perfectly with its soaring vocals and aggressive heavy metal appeal. To find out more about Schysma and their latest album "Idiosyncrasy," please visit schysma.com.

From Sydney, Australia comes the debut album, "Wave Rider Blues" from indie-alternative rockers Draw. The new four song release begins with the jazzy-rock of "I'll Save You" that has more lounge appeal than arena rock. They slink their way through "Ish," which has a retro-rock feel, while the acoustic strumming of "Sweet Mary" gives off a southern rock vibe. The short EP closes with the slow, Seattle-grunge of the title song "Wave Rider Blues." To find out more about Draw, please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/drawband