Album Review - Chotto Ghetto - WILDFIRE

Chotto Ghetto delivers a challenging, fun concept album on their latest release.
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In their 14 years together, Chotto Ghetto has been compared to the likes of Bad Brains, Faith No More and The Mars Volta. With such a diverse range of influences, it's no surprise that their third (and latest) album, WILDFIRE, is a challenging, yet fun listen that combines numerous different styles and forces the listener to think. WILDFIRE is a concept album about a found black box recording and science experiments gone awry. Several tracks include voiceovers with actors delivering the storyline while some tracks are purely news clips. The record is political and covers topics as wide ranging as

DVD Review - Toto - 40 Tours Around The Sun

Toto celebrates its 40th anniversary in style with a killer concert.
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Toto has experienced a recent resurgence with Weezer's cover of "Africa" making the classic song a hit once again. The band never really went anywhere though. In fact, they have been traveling the globe in celebration of their 40th anniversary. The group filmed a March 2018 show before a capacity crowd at the Ziggo Dome in Amsterdam and that performance makes up the new DVD Toto - 40 Tours Around The Sun. After some brief footage of the city, the show begins with a moody synth intro before giving way to "Alone," a new song from the band's greatest hits

SDBlu-Ray Review - The Rolling Stones - Bridges To Buenos Aires

The Rolling Stones deliver a memorable show on the Bridges To Babylon Tour
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In April 1998, The Rolling Stones took their Bridges To Babylon tour to Buenos Aires, Argentina, for a series of massive stadium performances. Being the Stones, the band didn't just do one show, but rather five, at the famed River Plate Stadium. The band was in top form, mixing songs from their virtually untouchable back catalog -- including some rare cuts -- with several songs from the then new Bridges To Babylon. Add in a guest appearance by Bob Dylan and it made for a memorable night, a night that, fortunately for Stones fans, was filmed and makes up the

DeepSoul: Jr. Walker & the All-Stars - "Shake and Fingerpop"

Best known for "Shotgun," Jr. Walker & the All-Stars cut several other worthy singles, including this 1965 dance classic.
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Say "Jr. & Walker and the All-Stars," and two songs will immediately leap to mind: "Shotgun," their biggest hit, and the classic "What Does It Take (to Win Your Love)." While the two singles have endured, other tracks have received less attention, none more so than the timeless 1965 single "Shake and Fingerpop." Born Autry DeWalt Mixon Jr. in 1931, the musician earned his nickname courtesy of his stepfather; dubbing the child "Junior," he also allowed his stepson to adopt his surname: Walker. Growing up, Walker heard Louis Jordan's brand of "jump" music, inspiring him to take up the saxophone.

Single Review - Stimuli - "Ripple"

Stimuli mixes classic and modern metal on their single "Ripple".
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California's Bay Area has long been a source of some of the best hard rock and heavy metal produced. The latest of these bands is Stimuli, a power trio consisting of Jimmy Tomahawk on guitar and vocals, Cole Andrew on drums and Tai Hake on bass and Theremin. Stimuli's sound is at once familiar - the group has been compared to the likes of Black Sabbath, Tool, Soundgarden, and Alice In Chains - and modern, mixing palm-muted riffs and big guitar solos with dropped tunings. On their single, "Ripple," Tomahawk delivers an Ozzy Osbourne-like vocal over a chunky rhythm. The

CD Review - The Magpie Salute - High Water II

The Magpie Salute offers up another slab of killer, classic rock-influenced tunes.
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The Magpie Salute are back with their second full-length release, High Water II, and, like the name implies, it is a continuation of the sound from the group's debut album, High Water. That's not a bad thing at all when one considers the sound is very reminiscent of that of the Black Crowes - bluesy southern and hard rock trading in equal parts Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, Faces, and Steve Marriott - and not a surprise considering three of the band's members, including guitarists Rich Robinson and Marc Ford, were members of the Crowes. The album opens with "Sooner

CD Review - Fastball - The Help Machine

Fastball delivers a modern pop classic with The Help Machine
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For Fastball's seventh album, The Help Machine, the band enlisted some top notch help. Released on the group's 33 1/3 label, it was produced by Steve Berlin of Los Lobos fame and includes guest appearances by Charlie Sexton, Bruce Hughes of Cracker, Wye Oak's Andy Stack, and Gordy Quist and John Chapman from The Band of Heathens. The result is an 11-song collection of smartly crafted pop tunes that straddle the line between classic and modern rock. As usual, Miles Zuniga and Tony Scalzo share songwriting duties on the album, with Zuniga having seven tracks and Scalzo four. The duo

Blu-ray Review - John & Yoko - Above Us Only Sky

This excellent documentary looks even deeper into this creative period in John Lennon's life.
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The period surrounding John Lennon's second proper solo album, Imagine, was one of the most creative times in his life. Freed from the pressures and expectations of the Beatles, and with his wife Yoko Ono challenging him mentally as well as artistically, it is no wonder he came up with some of his best material. Lennon also had a penchant for filming everything, offering fans an intimate look at his life few other artists of his stature (or any stature, really) would ever allow the public to see. Fans caught a glimpse of these films in the original Imagine movie

Blu-ray Review - Queen + Bejart - Ballet For Life

Six years after his death, Freddie Mercury's dream of bringing ballet to the masses came true.
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In a chance meeting at a recording studio in 1977, Sid Vicious once sneered to Freddie Mercury that he was trying to bring ballet to the masses -- a jab at Mercury's well-known love of the art form and his penchant for wearing ballet-inspired leotards on stage. While the merger between rock and roll and ballet never really happened during either Vicious or Mercury's lifetimes, in 1997, the surviving members of Queen teamed with famed choreographer Morris Bejart for the Ballet For Life, a performance that mixed ballet with the music of Queen and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, with fashion by

DeepSoul: The Persuasions - "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother/You've Got a Friend"

Honor original lead singer Jerry Lawson by diving into the eclectic a cappella group's extensive catalog.
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"Still Ain't Got No Band."-- motto of the Persuasions A cappella singing has seen a resurgence in recent years, but the Persuasions set the standard over 50 years ago. The R&B group enjoyed a devoted following, performing with everyone from Frank Zappa to Liza Minnelli. Their rich, gospel-enriched vocals reimagined songs; they would reinterpret tracks rather than simply cover them. Recently the Persuasions lost the heart of the group: Jerry Lawson, the original lead singer, passed away on July 10, 2019. His husky, joyful, and distinct vocal touches enhanced songs including the "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother/You've Got a

CD Review: Cadillac Baby's Bea & Baby Records - The Definitive Collection

A thorough collection of sides from a classic Chicago blues label.
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Chicago has long been known for many things, with the blues being at the forefront. Labels such as Chess and Brunswick come from the Windy City and great artists such as Muddy Waters and Buddy Guy have ties there as well. It wasn't just the larger labels producing great blues and R&B music though. Chicago had a plethora of talent and was a hotbed for many independent labels as well. One of these labels was Bea & Baby Records, led by the larger than life Narvel "Cadillac Baby" Eatmon. From 1959 to 1989, Eatmon's label released a number of classic

Album Review: Outerfield - Pleasant Grove Hotel

Matt Hutson and Gary Schrader's patience pays off with a strong set of songs.
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Matt Hutson and Gary Schrader had been veterans of the Indiana music scene for some time when they met playing in a local church band. The pair realized they had something together and decided to combine forces as Outerfield. The duo enlisted the help of Posies and latter-day Big Star Member Jon Auer, who produced some of the group's sessions, but they were not initially happy with the results. Undeterred, they revisited the material and managed to cobble out a strong album, Pleasant Grove Hotel, in the process. Unsurprisingly, given the Auer connection, the album is rooted in strong song

Marvin Gaye - "Where Are We Going?"

In the series' final salute to the posthumous Marvin Gaye release "You're the Man," DeepSoul examines a buried gem from those 1972 sessions.
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Jazz fans may be familiar with "Where Are We Going?" from Donald Byrd's 1973 album Black Byrd. The first of his albums for the Blue Note label, it became a pioneering work in the jazz funk genre and one of Blue Note Records' bestselling releases. However, Marvin Gaye also recorded the Larry Mizell/Larry Gordon composition for a planned album entitled You're the Man. The project was ultimately shelved, but a compilation of songs intended for that album as well as other outtakes were recently released to celebrate Gaye's 80th birthday. Lyrically, the track fits perfectly with What's Going On, retaining
Pop singer-songwriter Juliette Reilly has teamed up with pop/dance/EDM artist INViDA (David Schoenwetter) and international music duo Muza (Muza and G'Anomaly) for an interesting new single, "Chameleon". The song mixes modern pop touches with a bit of gospel and EDM for good measure. Opening with a dreamy, gospel-like feel and distant, ethereal backing vocals, the song builds in intensity throughout. Reilly delivers a soulful vocal where she unapologetically touts how she is "always turning into someone new, "likening herself to that of a chameleon. The track showcases modern pop production values with a nod to classic sounds while including a

Album Review: The General Maynyrd Band

A strong side project filled with grooves and killer vocals.
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When Crooked Flower guitarist Dan Ingberman began writing otherwise strong songs that just didn't fit his group's direction, his band mates, Daniel Erik (bass) and Pat Shields (drums) suggested forming a side project. They called upon many of their Bay Area music friends, including powerhouse vocalist Dave Combs, and the General Maynyrd Band was born. The band's music offers up heavy doses of funk and soul with a healthy slice of Lynyrd Skynyrd-style southern rock (The band's name itself has a stylized spelling not unlike Skynyrd's). One would not think this is a side project given the musical chemistry the

EP Review: Seneko - Soul Numbers

A killer mix of country, rock, folk and gospel.
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On Soul Numbers, Seneko's third EP release in the last four years, Stan Olshefski has conjured up an exciting mix that is equal parts country, rock and roll, folk, and gospel -- all with an indie edge. The songs showcase a crack band, as well as some killer singing and playing. With lyrics both serious and humorous, Olshefski's songs are bound to provoke. Soulful backing vocals and honky-tonk piano dominate the opening track "The Devil You Don't Know." Olshefski does a great job of playing the jilted ex in this country-tinged rocker. "Calling Of The Cause" is a gritty, riff-based

Single Review: Saint Mars - Loveghost

Saint Mars offers a surrealistic look at life and love with "Loveghost".
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Saint Mars released their debut EP in 2017 to much fanfare. Now the group, which is based in the UK and Switzerland and includes several notable musicians such as Angelo Bruschini from Massive Attack, has a new single, "Loveghost". The song is from their forthcoming LP Boys Never Cry, a concept album about bullying that features 14-year-old Internet sensation Tryzdin Grubbs on vocals on most of the tracks. The song is a trippy dance number, with rapped verses courtesy of Jethro "Alonestar" Sheeran (cousin of Ed) and a powerful, sung chorus from Grubbs, whose voice sounds much more mature than

Album Review: Annamay - F*ck You

a strong debut record from this Swedish singer-songwriter.
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From Sweden comes Annamay, a singer-songwriter that is equal parts pop, folk, country, rock, and 80s new wave. Her voice is strong and she crosses genres effortlessly. Her debut album, the somewhat surprisingly titled F*ck You, is proof positive of her eclectic influences and wide-ranging talent. The album opens with "I'm Gonna Wake Up," a track that features famed songwriter Tom Kimmel. The song is pleasant enough, folk-influenced pop rock about finding better things in life and showcases some tasteful, country-influenced slide guitar. Annamay gives a strong vocal performance both here and throughout the album. "See Me Now" mixes tribal

Single Review: Eddy Yang - On Our Way (Into The Night)

Eddy Yang mixes old and new genres in an exciting debut single.
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New from Eddy Yang comes "On Our Way (Into The Night)", the lead single from his debut album American Glory, the first-ever new release to be available in 5.1 Surround Sound, 24-bit/96Khz. That distinction is usually reserved for legendary, classic albums, not a first release. The song is a pleasant mix of jangly, power pop guitars over an electronic drumbeat. Yang likes to combine old sounds with new and has created something exciting here. The song's lyrics deal with being young and searching for one's path in life - something most people can relate to. Yang also mixes in some

Review: Joshua Redman Quartet - Come What May

Joshua Redman Quartet in top form on enjoyable, efficient "Come What May" LP
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The Joshua Redman has been my favorite contemporary tenor saxophonist even before I knew I had one, back when I didn't think I liked jazz because I couldn't understand it. It pains me a little to say it but credit must be given to the Rolling Stone magazine for their review of his Freedom In The Groove LP. That review and, well, if I'm completely honest, his name and the fact I attempted saxophone as a kid made me curious enough to gamble on a jazz record back when I didn't do that. It didn't immediately make me a jazz

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