No need to reread the headline—yes, I'm featuring 1980s supergroup Toto, of "Rosanna" and "Africa" fame, in a column entitled "DeepSoul." Although they may be primarily known for their rock/pop hits, they also display a penchant for blue eyed soul on deep album tracks. The best example of this tendency, "Georgy Porgy," continues to resound in the R&B and hip-hop communities since its 1978 debut. Toto's self-titled first album contains the classic rock tracks "Hold the Line" and "I'll Supply the Love," but "Georgy Porgy" represents a departure for the group. While it peaked at number 48 on Billboard's Hot
October 2011 Archives
Primarily known for classic rock like "Hold the Line," Toto could also play blue-eyed soul.
The inevitable raiding of the vaults begins...
The first posthumous release from Amy Winehouse, Amy Winehouse Lioness: Hidden Treasures will be released December 5, featuring songs she worked on for the never-completed followup to Back to Black. Winehouse passed away at age 27 on July 23, 2011. That didn't take long, did it? We got numerous reports throughout Winehouse's struggles with drug and alcohol addiction the singer/songwriter was working on new material but her physical and personal problems interfered with her ability to focus on new music. It was inevitable we'd hear some of these songs at some point. The timing of it seems on one hand
Tomorrow, Americans, we can get our ceremony on!
I've been talking about Florence + The Machine's Ceremonials since word of it first leaked and it's one of my most anticipated albums of the year. Word is there are a few of you out there excited about this record as well, so let's talk about the first official single from the record and its accompanying video. US fans have been able to stream "Shake It Out" via YouTube for some time and recently were able to buy it via iTunes. It's a great song and if this is what we have in store, there will be no sophomore
Virtual venue offers you the best seat in your house for live music
I've mentioned before that I love what technology has done for music fans - and tonight that affection found a whole new corner of cyberspace to love. Thanks to Stageit.com I was able to see Glen Phillips live - from his couch to my couch. Not familiar with the Stageit technology, I was lucky enough to learn about this gem at nearly the last minute. For a mere $5 I was able to purchase 50 notes (each note is worth $.10) and the Glen show was a mere 30 notes (that's 3 bucks people). I logged in a few
They're one but they're not the same...
I've been (rightly) making a huge fuss about the first post-Oasis record from Noel Gallagher but let us not forget it was Liam who struck first when Oasis splintered. Beady Eye released the quite respectable Different Gear, Still Speeding earlier this year and while I've not listened to it a ton in the months since its release, there are still a handful of really good tunes from it. "Four Letter Word" is the first track on the album and sounds like an outtake from Oasis' final studio album Dig Out Your Soul, complete with the psychedelic keyboards, huge slabs of
Alt/country rocker Ryan Adams returns with fewer demons and better music
Ashes and Fire is the long-awaited newalbum from the famously prolific Ryan Adams. The record taken as a whole is a mixture of the alt/country crooning Adams fans have come to expect from the former Whiskeytown frontman and piano laden tracks that practically ooze of grown-up themes. Ashes and Fire shows a maturity that far surpasses Adam's previous body of work, a maturity that was long in coming and hard fought for personally and professionally. After leaving the music business for a while in 2009 (he called it a retirement but none of us took it all that seriously) Adams
A vicious, remorseless extreme metal record.
Vicious and remorseless in its brutality, As You Drown’s Rat King is a repetitive but demanding bombardment of extreme metal. As You Drown emerged from Borås, Sweden in 2003 with cold death on their minds. Within two years, they were playing in support sets for the likes of Vader and Entombed. In 2009, after the addition of bassist Robert Karlsson and vocalist Henrik Blomqvist to the crew that already included Mikael Åkerström, Simon Exner and drummer Martin Latvala, the band released its debut recording entitled Reflection. The band’s sophomore record is more of the same persistent punishment. Mixed and mastered
“AKA…What A Life” and “Let The Lord Shine On A Light On Me” is the most interesting single of the three that have been released from Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds ("The Death Of You & Me" / "The Good Rebel" being the first). Lazy critics have knocked Noel’s songs as little more than Beatles ripoffs and while the influence is evident in many of his classic tunes, that criticism ignores his other influences and musical interests, some of which are heard on these two songs. He twice worked with electronic act Chemical Brothers and Oasis made an ill-fated attempt
Two mysteries solved on night two of Gallagher's 'High Flying Birds' tour...
Well I guess we have our answer, kids. Noel Gallagher played a homecoming gig for the second show of his first ever solo tour in Manchester and it's the same as the one he played at the tour kickoff in Dublin the other night. It doesn't seem we're going to have a whirlwind of different songs from the Oasis catalog being rotated in and out with songs from High Flying Birds each night, even if he alluded to some doubts about the set in his road journal. Noel plays Edinburgh tomorrow and London on Saturday, and I'll be obsessively keeping an eye
U2's 'Achtung Baby' Re-issue... OR... How To Dismantle A Classic Record?
No one is more surprised than me that we're just now talking about the upcoming Achtung Baby re-issue by U2, but it's been amateur hour at Camp McGuiness trying to get the details of what's actually IN this monstrosity and I've been so angry with them about it at nearly every turn that I just haven't had the heart to discuss it but I will now as we have a trailer from the documentary that will be included. From The Sky Down tells the story of the making of Achtung Baby, one of U2's classic works. It's hard to call
Don't make your best of list until you've heard this...
Our good friends The Black Keys have released a video for the first single from their upcoming album El Camino, due Dec. 6. The video for "Lonely Boy" is simple, lo-fi, and pretty damn funny. It's not groundbreaking in its concept but brilliant in its simplicity and execution, which describes a large portion of The Black Keys' catalog when you get right down to it. The tune is short and to the point and for the first 20 seconds or so, it sounds "... more straight ahead rock and roll- raw, driving, and back to basics" as vocalist/guitarist Dan Auerbach
Were there any surprises in tonight's departures?
Tonight was the first live night of The X Factor and 17 acts will quickly be whittled down to 12, as chosen soley by the judges. I made predictions prior to the show airing; let’s see how many, if any, I get right. Each full category will perform, then their mentor will send one of them home right there on the spot after the entire category finishes. Astro comes up first and holy hell, he’s doing “Jump” by Kriss Kross! That’s wiggedy wiggedy wiggedy whack! This kid is annoying as crap but he’s got stage presence. The audience went
The X Factor should shake things up big on their first live broadcast...
I was lucky enough to sit in on a conference call with The X Factor’s mentor and judge, LA Reid, which was both interesting and eye-opening. Reid gave us some inside information, new perspective and a lot of promises of an exciting and different music competition “reality show.” I was waiting for the best time to write it up for you all when I received word today that in what seems to be a sudden and certainly shocking decision; FIVE contestants are going home tonight taking us immediately down from 17 to 12. Wow! No official word on how this
'Stronger' is schizophrenic and static at the same time, adding up to a mediocre effort...
Kelly Clarkson’s Stronger is less strong and more “Fair To Middlin’” as she takes us on a 13-track rollercoaster ride that feels bumpy at best, disconnected and amateurish at its worst. I got my hands on the deluxe version which has four more songs, including the mega-hit duet with Jason Aldean, “Don’t You Wanna Stay” and sadly it’s one of the strongest songs on her album, if not the strongest song. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves here; we have a lot of tunes to cover. Stronger begins with “Mr. Know It All” and “What Doesn’t Kill You (Stronger)” which
New Music Tuesday was split between Monday and Tuesday this week...
I don't if I've ever seen a New Music Tuesday where 1/2 the releases were put on sale on Monday, but that seems to be the case this week and I'm sure there's a good reason for it. My suspicion is the Grammy cutoff deadline, which is often around this time, and would explain why high profile acts like Coldplay and Kelly Clarkson didn't wait for today. That said, we're still calling it New Music Tuesday and there are a lot of titles worth considering this week. Let's begin with the latest from Coldplay, Mylo Xyloto. I picked up my
Musical punishment at one speed: head-explodingly fast.
Skeletonwitch’s Forever Abomination is not for the faint of heart, I can tell you that. The battering from these Ohio thrashers comes generally at one speed: head-explodingly fast. Their fourth full length is a never-let-up assault on the senses, a devastating kick to the mouth and a fall off a very tall structure. It is musical punishment, a test of fortitude set to bone-chewing guitars and Starscream-meets-your-mother vocals. Forever Abomination is the band’s first record to feature new drummer Dustin Boltjes and he proves his mettle (and metal) with a diabolically fast percussive barrage from the back. Vocalist Chance Garnette
The soul diva's best-known track remains a Chicago house music classic.
Despite being a lifelong Chicagoan, I did not listen to house music until about ten years ago. Back in the day, house music was not played on radio or MTV—if you wanted to hear it, you had to go to the clubs. But several years ago I heard a soulful, heartfelt tune with a killer beat, and later learned it was one of house's first hits. Alicia Myers' "I Want to Thank You," an irresistible blend of R&B and gospel, entices people onto the dance floor even today. Although her breakthrough solo single occurred in 1982, she was by then
He'll also be performing on the CMAs on Nov. 9
The Scotty McCreery train just keeps on rolling with no sign of slowing down. His debut album Clear As Day broke records when it debuted atop the Billboard 200 charts earlier this month, he sang the National Anthem at a World Series game, his singles and videos are being received well, he’s touring with Brad Paisley and The Band Perry in early 2012 (see dates below) and he’ll be performing at the CMA’s on November 9th. Today he officially debuts the video on CMT for “The Trouble With Girls” shot by director Roman White, who is responsible for videos for Taylor
Top 15 albums at blues radio for Week of Oct. 21, 2011...
Duke Robillard is our third #1 in the past three weeks as his Low Down & Tore Up takes the top spot at radio this week. It's exciting to see the shakeup of late after watching Gregg Allman's Low Country Blues and Tedeschi Trucks Band's Revelator camp out on top for weeks at a time. They're both great albums but change can be a good thing and Duke's record is a very, very good thing! Our previous two #1s Maria Muldaur's Steady Love and Ray Bonneville's Bad Man's Bloodcheck in second and third with George Thorogood and Hugh Laurie rounding out the Top 5. We got shakeup in terms of
I'm weeping with envy as Gallagher kicks off his post-Oasis career...
Noel Gallagher kicked off the first show in support of his debut solo record, which is set to hit #1 in the UK ahead of its Nov. 8 release in the US, Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds. Gallagher played a large chunk of his new record while also serving up a bevy of Oasis hits and rarities, causing me to curse geography because his painfully brief N. American tour isn't coming anywhere near where I live. Gallagher kicked off the night playing two Oasis songs, the well-known B-side "It's Good To Be Free" and "Mucky Fingers" from the Don't Believe The Truth album
You may remember Casey James from American Idol’s ninth season as the guy who finished third behind Crystal Bowersox and winner, Lee DeWyze. Or as the doofus who took his shirt off in his initial audition because cougar-on-a-mission judge Kara DioGuardi told him to, or maybe as the surprise of “Lennon/McCartney” night who rendered many speechless with his perfect rendition of John Lennon’s “Jealous Guy.” The point here is that you remember him; and if you don’t it’s time to get re-acquainted with the guy CMT is calling the “Next Big Thing” and recently debuted the video for his first
Official video goes online Monday; here's a behind-the-scenes look...
Scotty McCreery’s new video for his current single “The Trouble With Girls” off his chart-topping debut album Clear As Day is premiering at special times all weekend on CMT (aired today on CMT at 8:45AM ET and will be shown again tomorrow (Sunday) at 8AM ET). We have a behind the scenes clip for you, while we await the video’s official release on Monday October 24. Roman White is the director for “The Trouble With Girls” video and Scotty mentions having a blast doing this video with him and how exciting it is that White also directed videos for Taylor
Champagne-bassed KABB brought an energetic set to Huntsville, AL Oct. 21, 2011...
Kilborn Alley Blues Band played a powerhouse show in Huntsville last night, previewing material from their upcoming album Four as well as mining their previous albums and a few blues classics. I lauded the band's ensemble playing when I reviewed Better Off Now and they create the same unique, intuitive interplay that characterizes their record when they take the stage together, and they do it as a quartet. I spent a couple years following the E Street Band, seeing several shows, and got used to hearing a big band make a big, holy racket. It's been a long time since I've heard the kind
Davis manages the remarkable – a genuinely likeable blues album.
Listening to Morgan Davis' new disc, Drive My Blues Away, it helps to know a bit about the man behind the music. Something of an unassuming legend for his role in the nascent Canadian blues scene back when Canadian music first began to have an identity, he was there when the 'Toronto sound' was forged. And in person he's pleasant, thoughtful, witty, and intellectually curious, with a generous and warm spirit. In short, a really nice guy. Nice guys, typically, don't make compelling blues albums. Blues, by design and by definition, isn't 'nice' music. At their best, the blues have lots
Is anyone in music hotter than Scotty McCreery right now?
Scotty McCreery has the Midas touch and is making history as his debut album, Clear as Day, enters the Billboard 200 chart at No. 1 with 197,000 sold, according to Nielsen SoundScan. This makes him the first country artist to debut at number one for their first studio album, as well as the youngest man to top Billboard their first time out. Further adding to the accolades; Scotty is the first Idol winner since Ruben Studdard in 2003 to start their career with a No. 1 album, and scored a No. 1 spot on iTunes and Billboard’s Country charts. Clear
Durbin Unleashes Generic Single "Love Me Bad"; Unveils Tracklisting for 'Memories Of A Beautiful Disaster'
Will the real James Durbin please stand up?
Is it just me or is putting the word "disaster" in the title of your album just begging for trouble? James Durbin is on the verge of learning that lesson the hard way as he releases a second single from his upcoming album as well as unveiling the complete tracklisting and artwork for the record. He might have thought finishing fourth on American Idol was the worst thing to have happened to him. I think his debut album Memories Of A Beautiful Disaster will take that title. On Idol, James was heralded as the first person to sing a
A gutwrenching, uncomfortable, beautiful record...
Revelation Road is guilty of depraved indifference to the emotional well-being of its listeners, offering songs that are at times warm, loving, beautiful, pitiful, aching, devastating, and chilling. Reaching so deep into her own past has yielded some of the finest songs she's ever written and her amazing gift as a song interperter shines as bright as ever. "I'll Hold Your Head" is a gentle, bittersweet portrait of a family life filled with love and happy memories undercut by heartbreaking images of poverty, struggle, and violence. Lynne vividly contrasts tender moments in times of struggle -- harmonizing in the car
Wilco supports The Whole Love with a solo acoustic set for NPR
It’s now been three weeks since Wilco gave us the ultimate gift – their newest full length release The Whole Love (and their first record on their own label dBpm). For longtime Wilco fans, The Whole Love brings us back to a feel akin to Summerteeth: ,ore rock, less noise. Honestly my buddy Josh already said everything I would say about the record (only better) so I won’t even try to repeat his efforts. I will say I’m not sure if it’s their release from a major label, maturity as a band, or just plain old life, but the band
One of the '90s biggest bands revisits their discography with multi-format reissue campaign...
It's been a big year for re-issues from the alternative rock world as Nirvana re-issued their seminal Nevermind and U2 will issue Achtung Baby, both in honor of the 20th Anniversary of those records. Smashing Pumpkins is the latest band to launch a major re-issue campaign and the first two SP discs Gish and Siamese Dream will be released in deluxe editions on November 29. Both titles will be released in multiple formats including a single disc, deluxe 2CD/DVD, vinyl LP, and various digital formats. Bob Ludwig remastered both titles. The vinyl editions have been specifically mastered for vinyl (making me concerned
The X Factor judges choose their final 16... or do they?
Tonight’s X Factor is the third and final installment at the judge’s houses, and we finally find out which 16 of the 32 acts will move on to the live shows. In case you’ve been asleep for Nights One and Two, Paula Abdul will mentor the Groups, Nicole Scherzinger has Over 30s, LA Reid has Boys and Simon Cowell is mentoring the Girls. Right off the bat we see Simon chose Simone Battle over Tora Woloshin and my jaw has literally dropped because he has chosen looks and “potential” over a dynamite voice and solid stage presence. Simon blamed it
Aretha Franklin's original 1971 recording set the standard, but Shirley Brown almost equals Franklin's power and conviction in this previously unreleased version.
Normally one would be foolish to take on a tune made famous by the Queen of Soul. But Shirley Brown fearlessly tackled three Aretha Franklin standards--"Ain't No Way," "Respect," and "Rock Steady" for her audition for the legendary Stax label. While Franklin's original 1971 recording set the bar for any subsequent covers, Brown comes close to the singer's power and conviction in this previously unreleased take on the classic. Brown's story begins similar to many soul singers—in the church. Growing up in East St. Louis in the 50s and 60s, she started singing in the choir at nine years old.
Fathead founder celebrates a milestone with a superlative sampling of deep soul
There’s a cliché that says certain singers are so soulful they can ‘sing the phone book’ and make it a profoundly moving experience. John Mays is one of those singers, a man who seemingly oozes soul, and his debut, “I Found A Love,” is an utterly superb recording. Mays isn’t exactly a stranger to the studio – as lead vocalist for Toronto-based Fathead, he’s fronted the band through numerous recordings. But I Found A Love, released on his 70th birthday, is the first under his own name. Chock full of deep soul chestnuts, it’s a magnificent collection that combines exquisitely
Weaving Switchfoot, Guster, John Lennon, and The National together in one post; these are the voices in my head...
"The DJ" is my favorite of all the voices in my head because every day I wake up with a song or band in my head. Sometimes the seed is planted in those precious, semi-conscious moments before I'm completely awake and other days it takes a little while for "The DJ" to wake up and get his act together. It happens every day, though, and a song or band is planted in my head and it drowns out the other voices in my head -- even the ones that say, "Shut it, I'm trying to sleep -- until I
Not groundbreaking in style or substance, but enjoyable moments to be found on latest from 5FDP...
Five Finger Death Punch has released their third studio album and one thing is clear right of the bat: American Capitalist is not for the feint of heart. The rapid-fire delivery feels like what I imagine sticking my face under a moving lawnmower would feel like. The title track starts things off and with about five swear words out of the first ten, letting you know exactly what you’re in for. Not one to be off put by swearing in the least, I sit back with an open mind and enjoy the ride to see where this takes me. There are heavy,
Dani Wilde and Samantha Fish are 2/3 of the Girls With Guitars collaborative project (Cassie Taylor being the third) and the two of them have now released solo albums this year, giving us a chance to take the pieces from the sum apart and hear them as individuals. Girls With Guitars was a flawed outing from three talented performers. Fish's solo album avoided many of the problems that marred GWG but Wilde is not as fortunate on Shine. This is being touted as a blues releaese and Wilde fancies herself a blues artist with a passion for the idiom. The passion may well be there
FFDP’s American Capitalist is undistinguished and silly.
For tough guy, fist-in-the-air kicks, Five Finger Death Punch’s American Capitalist will fit the testosterone-heavy bill. Not a concept album decrying economic injustice, FFDP’s third studio album is a corny carnival of having the freedom to be an inconsiderate prick “buying in” to the wonders of capitalistic society. In these days of global Occupy Wall Street movements, it’s an interesting message to send. It doesn’t help that the message feels like it’s been written by a fermenting 13-year-old male in a Staind t-shirt. Instead of providing an intricate examination of the state of American capitalism, the album is absorbed with
Norcia's combination of elegance and grit yield excellent results
Sugar Ray Norcia occupies a somewhat curious place in the blues. A smooth-voiced crooner with a buttery-rich, mellow delivery, he’s usually found fronting a hard-driving, gritty band in the classic, down-‘n’-dirty Chicago mold. It’s an unusual juxtaposition -- silky elegance and whiskey-soaked grit -- but Norcia makes it work through sheer artistry, with equal helpings of energy and aplomb. It doesn’t hurt that he plays one of the meanest harmonicas around, either. Norcia’s been at it for a long time now. He’s led his Bluetones – initially featuring a just-starting-out Ronnie Earl - on and off since 1979, taking time
Some of these acts need to go, and they will on Tuesday.
Tonight’s X Factor takes us back to the Judge’s houses where the remaining members of the Top 32 sing their faces off for a shot at the Top 16 who will go on to the live shows and be one step closer to realizing their dream. Each judge has a partner to help them make their decision about cuts. LA Reid brought on Rhianna to help him pick his final four for the Boy category, Paula has Pharrell helping her on Groups, Nicole Scherzinger and Enrique Iglesias are critiquing the Over 30s and Simon is solo with the Girls
We've heard it all before, but it somehow works anyway.
The third studio album from Jack’s Mannequin is a bit of a mixed bag. On one hand, there’s a pop sensibility to the piano-based alt-rockish songs of People and Things that works to produce atmospheric mass – at least in a musical sense. On the other hand, however, much of what goes on is derivative, sappy, anticipated, and plain. The trick is in determining if the predictability is an obstacle that can be overcome, especially when the manifestation of familiar melodies and hokey lyrics is so robust. Formed in 2004, Jack’s Mannequin is the “side project” of Something Corporate’s Andrew
For the first time in over 10 years, the entire Monkees TV series is available on DVD.
Monkees fans, rejoice: at last, all original episodes are now available on DVD, in two separate boxed sets (Seasons One and Two). This Eagle Rock release marks the first time in over ten years that both seasons have been issued on DVD. To this day, The Monkees are often called the "Pre-Fab Four," a fake band that at first did not play their own instruments. However, as the series continued, the four actors/musicians evolved into a full-fledged group, writing their own material and producing some underrated rock classics such as Headquarters, Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd., and Head. All
The next best thing to being There.
Recorded live in November of 2010 at Cory Weed’s Cellar Jazz Club in Vancouver (my home town), Ernesto Cervini’s third recording as a leader is an energetic, ultimately present piece of work. There, as it is aptly titled, features the drummer/composer along with Joel Frahm (saxophones), Adrean Farrugia (piano) and Dan Loomis (bass). At the forefront is Cervini’s dynamic stick work. The record captures the live experience well and really zeroes in on the drums as they form the hinge on just about every composition on the record. That’s not to say that the other instruments aren’t given their due,
This time they came to Memphis rather than bringing Memphis to them...
Louisiana Red and Little Victor's Juke Joint first paired up on Back To The Black Bayou, an album nominated for Best Traditional Blues Record at the 2010 Blues Music Awards. They brought Memphis to Europe where Red lives these days for that record, finding a studio with a '60s Auditronics mixing console formerly housed in Memphis' Stax Studio. Fast forward to May 6, 2010 and Louisiana Red has just won two BMAs. He didn't win forBayou (his awards were for his collaboration with veteran pianist David Maxwell, You Got To Move) but he took to the stage with Victor's Juke Joint for
Top 20 Albums at Blues Radio for the Week of October 14, 2011
We have a new #1 at Blues Radio this week! Ray Bonneville's two-week run at the top of the blues radio chart came to an end this week as Maria Muldaur's Steady Love vaults four spots to claim the #1 position. Bonneville slips one spot to #2, followed by Duke Robillard, George Thorogood & The Destroyers, and Warren Haynes' Man in Motion. There's another Allman Brothers Band guitarist in the Top 10 as former #1 Revelator from Tedeschi Trucks Band checks in at #6, followed by Moreland & Arbuckle, Ana Popovic, Hugh Laurie, and Carolyn Wonderland's Peace Meal. Of those Top 10 albums, I'm particularly partial
Jason Aldean and Zac Brown Lead 2nd American Country Awards; Scotty McCreery, Pistol Annies, Brad Paisley Also Receive Nods
Fans can have their say in the ACAs; Voting Runs Through Dec. 2
Country fans will once again have the chance to help hand out the hardware to their favorites when the 2nd Annual American Country Awards are handed out at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on Dec. 5. The awards are decided strictly on the basis of the fans' vote and this year Jason Aldean and Zac Brown lead the way with eight nominations. It’s clear this these awards aim for a younger country audience with nominees that extend beyond the traditional, expected superstars and basing the awards solely on the vote of the fans. It's The People's Choice Awards,
Here are the Top 20 Albums at Blues Radio for the Week of October 14, 2011:
Ray Bonneville’s two-week run at the top of the blues radio chart came to an end this week as Maria Muldaur’s Steady Love vaults four spots to claim the #1 position. Bonneville slips one spot to #2, followed by Duke Robillard, George Thorogood & The Destroyers, and Warren Haynes’ Man in Motion. There’s another Allman Brothers Band guitarist in the Top 10 as former #1 Revelator from Tedeschi Trucks Band checks in at #6, followed by Moreland & Arbuckle, Ana Popovic, Hugh Laurie, and Carolyn Wonderland’s Peace Meal. Of those Top 10 albums, I’m particularly partial to Robillard’s Low Down &
A prog masterpiece that comes in 3s.
The Ghost You Gave to Me is one of the most diverse, stimulating, enjoyable pieces of music I’ve heard in quite some time. This, the sixth recording from 3, is a glorious and gleeful webbing of '80s rock, technical progressive stuff, metal riffs, dance music goodness, and the notorious kitchen sink. Indeed, the Woodstock-based band fiddles with so many musical elements here that it probably shouldn’t work. But some exercises of sonic hedonism and keen copiousness do, in fact, produce results that are altogether awesome. 3 is considered an “American hybrid band” by the illustrious Wikipedia, which cites vocalist
...and some surprise assistants.
We finally got our X Factor fix! Neither rain nor the Detroit Tigers could keep us away this time! Tonight’s episodes features the 32 remaining acts being officially in their category (Boys, Girls, Over 30s, Group) and flying to all parts of the U.S. and even France to stay at their mentor’s mansions before being cut down one final time to 16 acts, before the live shows. While the judges know who they are mentoring, the contestants don’t yet know and mysteriously arrive at these mansions to eagerly await who will be walking through the door to greet them
The beauty of heartbreak, exposed...
You shouldn't judge a book by its cover but perusing its table of contents often gives clues of what's in store. The first chapter of Amy LaVere's Stranger Me, "Damn Love Song," may not scream 'Breakup Album' but it's hard not to jump to that conclusion when considered in the context of a few other chapter titles like "You Can't Keep Me," A Great Divide," and "Cry My Eyes Out." You won't be disappointed if you buy the record hoping that assumption holds true. You won't be disappointed if you buy the record, period. "Damn Love Song" is a brilliant,
97 seconds was enough for me to make up my mind... I think...
There's a new trailer for Lulu, the collaboration between Metallica and Lou Reed, for those of you who've been wondering what the blue hell something like this might sound like since we told you about it early last month. I've watched the trailer and I'm convinced someone will like this but I don't know who. It's not fair to make too many judgments a 97 second snippet of an album that will run well over an hour but someone at Warner Bros. is hoping this teaser will entice you. Notsomuch. I'm of an age to have grown up listening
Award-winner Nick Moss readies 9th album for fall release and jamband fans and guitar heads are in for a huge treat...
Nick Moss will release his ninth album Here I Am on November 22 through his Blue Bella Records label and has announced the full tracklisting for the set and released artwork for the new album. Moss’ last album, Privileged, was the most commercially and critically successful of his career and yet was a marked departure from the string of great traditional Chicago blues records he recorded with his band, The Flip Tops. Here I Am starts where Privileged left off and goes even further in terms of arrangement, sound, and style. The new set features 11 tracks: 10 new
A 'must hear' for blues/roots fans...
Award-winners Kilborn Alley Blues Band will release their new album Four via Blue Bella Records on Nov. 22 and have released album artwork as well as the complete tracklisting for the upcoming set. Four follows their critically acclaimed Better Off Now and features 11 original songs produced and mixed by Nick Moss. The band recorded the set as a four-piece with frontman Andrew Duncanson sharing guitar duties with Josh Stimmel and Chris Breen and Ed O’Hara again handling bass and drums respectively. I don’t want to tease my review too much but I’ve heard the entire album so I'll
Lauren Alaina’s debut album could have easily been called Coming Out From The Shadows Of Scotty McCreery as Lauren is making her own mark on the country world with her debut of Wildflower and setting herself up as a wholly separate and legitimate country artist. Wildflower is currently sitting pretty at No. 3 on itunes albums chart while Scotty has slipped a little, down to No. 9. Lauren’s making the rounds promoting Wildflower and her upcoming second single “Georgia Peaches” (“Like My Mother Does” was released before her album was complete). Lauren stopped by Good Morning America and chatted with
Yet another lineup change for LA Guns...
Tracii Guns announced Jizzy Pearl would be leaving LA Guns after two years fronting the band a mere two days before releasing an abysmal live album -- Acoustic Gypsy Live -- featuring Pearl. But wait! You don’t have time to let the shock reverberate through your body or mourn a Jizzy-less LA Guns (the Tracii Guns version, mind you), because Tracii has already announced his new lead singer... You may remember the highly obnoxious Dilana Robichaux from the bad idea reality “rock” singing competition Rock Star:Supernova which was preceded by Rock Star:INXS. Dilana was an early favorite of mine but her entitled
A grooving, killer soundtrack to the 2012 DVD release...
For the first time in their three decades together, the B-52s have released a live album, and With The Wild Crowd! – Live In Athens, GA is a party I’m sorry I wasn’t invited to. To commemorate their 34th anniversary, the B-52s performed a Valentine’s Day show for their most rabid fans who came resplendent in glitter, boas, and sunglasses. Hold on to that image for a moment, won’t you? And don’t worry; you won’t need your imagination for much longer as a DVD version of the show will be available in 2012. The B-52s formed in Athens, Georgia in
Grammy-winners Black Keys return with the follow-up to Brothers...
The Black Keys are ready to release the follow-up to their Grammy-winning smash Brothers when they release El Camino on December 6 and fans who pre-order the record will get a download of the first single “Lonely Boy” on Oct. 26. The Black Keys rise from lo-fi, indie blues-rockers from Akron, Ohio to a megaselling act is one of the most surprising and inspiring in recent memory. The music industry has exalted many pretenders but this time success found a tremendously talented band with a deep catalog. If you happen to be one of the newcomers, first of all,
Still a work in progress, there's a lot to like on Alaina's debut
Lauren Alaina may have come in second to fellow country singer Scotty McCreery on American Idol’s season 10 but her debut release Wildflower might just put her at the top of the heap. I was never a huge fan of Lauren during her Idol run; she was too immature and not ready for the grueling schedule winning the American Idol title would entail. I also grew tired of her cutesy personality, along with her inconsistent performances. I never disputed her singing ability; she has a huge voice but needed to learn what to do with it and how to control it.
A heartfelt singer, a rocking choir, uplifting lyrics, and a throbbing beat: soul doesn't get much better than this.
Gospel has rarely seen massive crossover success, although many soul artists began their careers singing in the church. Starting in the 1970s with the Staple Singers, gospel has slowly crept into the R&B and pop charts. Years later, BeBe and CeCe Winans scored hits with their breakthrough album, 1988's Heaven; tracks such as the title song, "Lost without You," and "Celebrate New Life" (with guest vocalist Whitney Houston) earned frequent urban radio airplay. Almost ten years later, Kirk Franklin released "Stomp," a jubilant collaboration with the choir God's Property and Salt-N-Pepa's Cheryl "Salt" James. More contemporary artists such as Yolanda
The guys of Mastodon groove out on 'The Hunter' and show why they still are the ultimate wizards of psychedelic metal.
Groovy! I guess that’s not exactly the word you would expect in 2011 to sum up Mastodon’s latest release The Hunter, but after taking a couple of weeks to digest this album that’s the best way I can think to describe it. Before we get to the tunes I think an artwork discussion is in order. Mastodon has been as impressive as Tool when it comes to the physical presentation of their music. In fact, those are the only two bands that I still purchase physical copies of the releases because I don’t want to miss out on the
New CD Releases for Oct. 11, 2011
Another week, another release from American Idol's resurgent 10th season. Last week it was winner Scotty McCreery and Clear As Day, which won a rave review from our American Idol correspondent and dominated the charts in its first week of release. It's runner-up Lauren Alaina's turn this week as the tango these two have been doing -- releasing singles and videos in close succession -- continues. Her debut album is called Wildflowers and we have our review of it, as well. I’ll also throw out another tease and remind you all to stay tuned for details on fellow Season 10 contestant
7 songs from Noel Gallagher's "High Flying Birds" are available to stream and we've got them all...
Another Noel Gallagher B-side from the High Flying Birds album is streaming on YouTube, “I’d Pick You Every Time” from the single “If I Had A Gun.” “Gun” is currently the only song available to purchase in the US; the B-side as of right now is not. We’re going to add “I’d Pick You Every Time” to our Noel Gallagher page today, giving impatient US fans like myself a chance and place to hear the music while we wait to get our hands on it. I don’t know how I missed this one because I’ve been scouting this
How Can a Poor Man Stand Such Times And Live?
Lead singer and chief lyricist Jon Foreman said Hello Hurricane tells the story of life before “the storm,” braving the storm, and picking up the pieces after it. It was musically and lyrically sequenced so the ending fed back to the beginning because life, like the weather, will always bring another storm. Vice Verses is the successor to that Grammy-winning album and once again there is a theme perhaps best expressed by the question in the title of an old folk song: how can a poor man stand such times and live? Faith is at the core of Switchfoot’s music
My new musical obsession... and don't that say it all?
I joke with my faithful companion and loyal sidekick that, to quote Tom Petty, he's "the man who loves women" and it's going to get him buried "in the pines, in the pines, where the sun never shines." He gets both of those references; the one I'd really like to throw in is Wilco's "I'm Always In Love" but it would be lost on him so I've applied it to me when it comes to music. I'm in love… again. I was hanging out on Turntable.fm in the "It's All Connected" room and Yellow Dog Records honcho Mike played "Red
Bob Dylan brings back memories of traveling far to see a girl.
Nearly a decade ago I lived in Tennessee but the girl I was dating lived in Indiana. Every three weeks or so I'd make the 250 mile drive and see her for a couple of days. I'd leave Friday after work and speed my way up through the mountains of Kentucky through the plains of Indiana desperately looking forward to seeing her again. I'd get there around 10:30 or so and usually find her in the kitchen fixing a late supper or popcorn or maybe some muffins - keeping herself busy is what she was doing, waiting on me. We'd
Here are the Top 20 Albums at Blues Radio for the Week of October 07, 2011
The story this week should be Ray Bonneville holding the top slot at blues radio for a second straight week and we will give Ray his due as Bad Man's Blood is an excellent album, but first we begin with a record that has taken the BlindedBySound family by storm: Gary Clark Jr's Bright Lights EP. To those of you hearing of Gary or his music for the first time, first of all, welcome. We cannot adequately express our love for Bright Lights but that hasn't stopped us from trying. We've posted numerous live clips and testimonials to just how
Muldaur broadens her scope this time out with stellar results
Maria Muldaur is something of a one-woman musical preservation society. Following a trio of finely focused recordings celebrating early women blues singers, she released an album of old-timey jug band music. All excellent projects that helped to show just how vibrant this music remains in the hands of a committed and engaged performer, they nonetheless must have seemed a bit confining to a woman with the chops and savvy to interpret just about anything and make it her own. With Steady Love, Muldaur returns to a more all-encompassing sound she calls ‘bluesiana,’ and the results, if considerably more eclectic, are
As Scotty McCreery’s star ascends, so does his debut album Clear As Day; released this week it’s sitting pretty at the No. 1 spot on iTunes, Amazon, and projected to make it a perfect trifecta with a No. 1 on the Billboard 200 album chart as well. This would make young Scotty the first American Idol winner since Ruben Studdard to have their debut album come in at the top spot during its first week (Ruben’s debut album, Soulful, entered the top 200 at No. 1 in 2003). I reviewed Clear As Day earlier this week and even though I
X Factor Top 32|Chris Rene, Tora Woloshin, Skyelor Anderson, Drew Ryniewicz, Rachel Crow, Leroy Bell Survive
From 100 acts down to 32, The X Factor competition is heating up!
Tonight’s X Factor promises more drama and cuts than last night as Boot Camp continues and 100 acts are reduced to 64, then finally to the 32 who will be split into four categories -- Boys, Girls, Over 30s, Groups -- and subsequently moved into the house of one of the four judges who will be mentoring the respective category. Before we get down to what we’re all really here for, we have a couple more ensembles to get through. The first group has my favorite, Chris Rene and his sister Gina Rene, early favorite Marcus Canty, country hopeful
Second single from Clarkson's Oct. 24 album a vast improvement over its predecessor...
Kelly Clarkson is a hot commodity among American Idol and pop music fans alike- so hot, in fact, she and her label decided to release "What Doesn't Kill You (Stronger)" early because of the proliferation of online leaks of inferior versions of the track. Her new album, Stronger, is due October 24 and "What Doesn't Kill You (Stronger") seems to be the de facto title track from the album. Clarkson feels strongly about it, having proclaimed it’s a bit of an anthem, meant to empower listeners. There is a strong "love yourself and screw the world feeling to it," much
An exhausting 90 minutes of mixed bag performances...
Things are getting exciting on this week’s The X Factor now that the grueling audition process is over! Tonight we start Boot Camp, which consists of first axing contestants down to 100 from 162 and then placing those 100 into ensembles that receive help from vocal coaches, choreographers, and stylists. Part of the process of cutting the fat is dancing then singing solo again for the judges. Brian Bradley (“Stop Lookin’ At My Moms”) refuses to participate in the dancing portion because “MCs don’t dance, you don’t see Jay-Z dancing.” I’d bet if he was a snot-nosed, 14-year old
Love without reason; it's magic.
I've been listening to The Whole Love repeatedly for over a week now hoping to solve its riddle and I've yet to come close. All I have are a few thought fragments that don't come close to explaining why I love this record, but I really do. I'm rarely at a loss for words when it comes to music I love but none of my usual approaches are bridging the gap between the music and the way I feel about it. I tried them all: analyze the lyrics, describe sounds, express how it makes me feel, compare it to the
Scotty McCreery, Lost Notebooks Of Hank Williams, Cash Box Kings, Feist, Indigo Girls, MUTEMATH, Release New CDs
New Music Tuesday; Oct. 4, 2011
There's no doubt the big story of the week is the debut release from American Idol Season 10 winner Scotty McCreery. American Idol enjoyed a ratings renaissance and there are many theories about how and why that happened but clearly a field of younger contestants had to help and soon-to-be 18-year old champ McCreery was a big part of that. He releases his solo debut after two big singles helped pave the way. I have to believe this is going to be a huge seller at least through Christmas. Check out the BlindedBySound review of Scotty McCreery's Clear As Day. If Scotty McCreery
The legendary R&B group may be best known for their 1970s output, but they also produced some quality '80s singles.
This is one of many times you'll see Earth, Wind, and Fire mentioned in this space. The legendary band fuses jazz, rock, soul, and Latin grooves to create a genre that no one else has ever duplicated. Like artists such as The Beatles or Stevie Wonder, if you don't like at least one track by this group, well, you may need some fine-tuning of your musical tastes. Founded by drummer, bandleader, songwriter, kalimba player, and vocalist Maurice White, the group explored the aforementioned sounds while incorporating elements of African and Egyptian culture. Lead singer Phillip Bailey's soaring falsetto and Verdine
Even a few missteps can't derail a fine debut from a rising country star...
Most recent American Idol champion, Scotty McCreery is turning 18-years old in about a week and what better way to kick off the symbolic passing into adulthood than to release your debut album? Clear As Day is the first of what is sure to be many solo albums for young Scotty and for a jumping off point, Clear As Day is a solid introduction into the country music world. We’ve gotten glimpses of what the album was going to be like in the form of leaked demos, and two singles – “I Love You This Big” and “The Trouble
The Duke doing what he does best
It’s tempting to say that, following a somewhat less-than-stellar outing featuring his own compositions, Duke Robillard has returned to doing what he does best – covering blues classics with swinging, swaggering aplomb. But then, truth be told, Robillard’s pretty darn good at just about any musical undertaking … Robillard first made his name as a co-founder of perennial favorites Roomful Of Blues, an outfit that’s still going strong. He’s since dabbled in rock (for a while he was the guitarist for The Fabulous Thunderbirds, and led his own Pleasure Kings through a few recordings) and jazz. Producer extraordinaire, he’s also
Gallagher is putting a lot out there to entice you buy... and it's working!
Noel Gallagher is making the B-side of his "AKA...What A Life!" single available to stream via YouTube. The single will be released on CD, 7" vinyl, and digitally Oct. 17. You can hear "Let The Lord Shine A Light On Me" right now if you're impatient like I am (see below). I've pre-ordered my copy of "AKA" and will "soon" have the CD in my collection but you can bet your ass I'll be checking this out throughout the days until my single delivers. BlindedBySound is your one-stop shop for all things Noel. We just reported the infuriatingly limited release
US Fans will have to settle for streaming it via YouTube...
I've got good news (for some of you) bad news (for the moment) for the many, and an olive branch of sorts at the end: the good news is Noel Gallagher is releasing a track today or tomorrow -- I've read conflicting reports on this -- that won't appear on his upcoming High Flying Birds LP called "Alone On The Rope." That's good news... if you live in the UK. The bad news is the track is not presently available as a legal download in the US. Also available for streaming now is the B-side to the "AKA...What A Life!"
Queensrÿche's 'Mindcrime At The Moore,' Dream Theater's 'Live At Budokan' Come to Blu-ray
Two titans of contemporary progressive heavy metal will bring classic live performances already available in myriad formats to the high definition age when Queensrÿche releasesMindcrime At The Moore and Dream Theater releases Live At Budokan, both on Oct. 18, on Blu-ray for the first time ever. Queensrÿche's performance features the 1988 classic Operation:Mindcrime and its 2006 sequel Operation:Mindcrime II, performed in their entirety at Seattle's Moore Theatre. The first Mindcrime album remains among the most beloved, highly regarded concept albums in rock history and was recorded by the band's original lineup. I'm not ashamed to admit I can't count how many hours I spent listening to
R.E.M. Release "We All Go Back To Where We Belong," Single From 'Part Lies, Part Heart... 1982-2011' Compilation
A nearly perfect 40-track retrospective to summarize a brilliant career...
R.E.M. has prepared the final chapter of their incredible Hall of Fame 31-year career with a retrospective package that puts together the defining songs they created in the '80s for IRS as well as music from their commercial apex with Warner Brothers in the '90s and beyond for the very first time, having announced their retirement late last month. Part Lies, Part Heart, Part Truth, Part Garbage 1982-2011 will be released Nov. 15 and is a two-disc set featuring songs from every R.E.M. album beginning with the Chronic Town EP all the way through this year's Collapse Into Now and will also include three new
Top 15 Albums At Blues Radio For Week Of Sept. 30, 2011
Ray Bonneville's Bad Man's Blood vaults eight spots to unseat Tedeschi Trucks Band's Revelator from the #1 slot at blues radio according to Roots Music Report. It's a shocking but welcome development not because I don't love TTB but because it gives me enormous pleasure to think such a thoughtful, lyric-intensive album still captivates listeners. It's not a prototypical blues album at all but some radio programmers were willing to give the veteran storyteller a chance to connect with listeners. I hope they enjoyed it as much as I did. I still can't believe it hit #1. Bono was right: you miss too much these