September 2012 Archives

Review: Green Day - ¡Uno!

Green Day rolls back the clock and loosens up.
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Released as the first part of a trilogy, Green Day’s ¡Uno! is a sharp slash of pop-punk and dance music. The follow-up to the politically-charged duo of American Idiot and 21st Century Breakdown finds Billie Joe Armstrong (guitars, vocals), Mike Dirnt (bass, vocals) and Tre Cool (drums, vocals) looking to let their hair down and have a little fun. There will be those who’ll decry ¡Uno! for its perceived lack of impact, but this brush with the lighter side seems right on target. Green Day is back to revelling in the less consequential, into tackling the suburban ennui that laid

DVD Review: Gary Moore - Blues For Jimi

The late guitarist takes on the Hendrix catalog in this 2007 performance
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On October 25, 2007, history was made as Gary Moore took the stage at the London Hippodrome with his band to perform a set of Jimi Hendrix classics. The performance was part of the lunch of the Jimi Hendrix Live At Monterey program and makes up the new DVD, Gary Moore — Blues For Jimi. The band opens with the classic riff of “Purple Haze.” Playing in a trio format featuring Dave Bronze on bass and Darrin Mooney on drums, the band quickly gets lost in the music on the tiny stage. Moore, playing a well-worn Strat, attacks his guitar,

CD Review: Gary Moore - Blues For Jimi

The late guitarist tackles the legendary Hendrix catalog in this special performance
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Jimi Hendrix was considered by many to be the greatest rock guitarist who ever picked up the instrument. Hendrix inspired countless guitarists, many who became virtuosos in their own right. One of those players was the late Gary Moore. In 2007, as part of the launch of the Jimi Hendrix Live At Monterey program, Moore performed a set of Hendrix classics with his band and some very special guests at the London Hippodrome. The show was recorded and filmed, and makes up the CD, Gary Moore — Blues For Jimi. Moore’s band, much like the original Jimi Hendrix Experience, was

Blu-ray Review: Freddie Mercury - The Great Pretender

An insightful look at the legendary singer
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When one thinks of Queen, the first person he or she usually thinks of is Freddie Mercury. This in spite of the fact that all four members of the band were major forces in their own right, contributing hit songs and, in guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor’s case, the trademark harmonies that enabled Queen to sound like no band before or since. Mercury was one of popular music’s best singers and arguably the greatest rock front man to ever grace the stage, effortlessly making crowds of 100,000 seem like intimate shows of 1,000. He was flamboyant, but he

Previewing Neil Young And Crazy Horse - Psychedelic Pill, Pt. 2

Beginning to sift through the massive pile of new ideas Neil Young has crafted with the venerable Crazy Horse...
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(Editor's Note: Part 1 of this preview of Neil Young & Crazy Horse's Psychedlic Pill can be read here) Way back in the early part of this year, Neil Young posted two teaser tracks on his website, an 18 minute jam later to be called “Horse Back” in reference to the return of Neil’s most noted band, Crazy Horse. The other track was a new studio-jam take on “Cortez the Killer,” often rated as his best song, which rivaled all the live versions I have personally witnessed. In addition, at 18 minutes, I can only surmise that Neil was giving

Satriani, Duff McKagan, Santana, Flaming Lips, Vai, And Metallica Pay Tribute to Deep Purple Classic On 'Re-Machined'

40 years on, the classic album gets the tribute album treatment
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Deep Purple’s Machine Head has long been considered one of the high water marks for hard rock and heavy metal music. Now, to celebrate the album’s 40th anniversary, an all-star group of musicians has come together to pay tribute to this legendary release with Re-Machined – A Tribute To Deep Purple’s Machine Head. Machine Head, of course, is the album that introduced the world to one of the most famous guitar riffs ever with “Smoke On The Water.” Every guitarist learns that riff and, as such, the song is featured in two vastly different versions. The first one leads off

Blu-ray Review: Etta James - Live at Montreux 1993

Some of the legendary singer's Montreux appearances are highlighted in this Blu-ray.
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Throughout her legendary career, the late Etta James made many appearances at the Montreux Jazz Festival. Her 1993 appearance showed that even more than three decades into her career, she had lost none of her swagger. This performance is captured on the Blu-ray, Etta James – Live At Montreux 1993. The show opens with a song that lives up to its name – the instrumental “Funky Good Time.” A slinky blues workout, the song is punctuated by the horns of Kraig Kilby on trombone and Ronnie Buttacavoli on trumpet. A second instrumental follows, a sizzling cover of the Sam &

CD Review: Tanita Tikaram - Can't Go Back

Singer-songwriter continues to push musical boundaries on her seventh release
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For more than two decades, Tanita Tikaram has been blending folk and pop music with her unique voice to create something special. On her seventh album, Can’t Go Back, she mixes in influences of Americana to go along with Motown and Chess soul. The blend gives the album its unique style. The album opens with “All Things To You,” which marries an irresistible bass and piano groove with a hint of 1950s rock. Tikaram’s deep, distinctive voice really drives the track, which would not be out of place stylistically on Robert Plant and Alison Krauss’ Raising Sand. On the acoustic

Previewing Neil Young And Crazy Horse - Psychedelic Pill, Pt. 1

Neil Young takes his Crazy Horse reunion to the next logical step, a collection of brand new originals...
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My introduction to Neil Young was at the age of ten when the first Buffalo Springfield LP was released, in December 1966, to an unsuspecting legion of future fans of at least three artists and many configurations of bands. Since my only source of information was a guitar-playing older cousin from “up north.” He was always up to date on all the great bands of the day – the first song I learned on guitar, around the same time, was “Heroin” by the Velvet Underground. It was a must with only two chords and subject matter that was definitely taboo

Jazz Review: Anna Estrada - Volando

Love of expression comes home to roost.
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Bay Area jazz vocalist Anna Estrada may have a lot of irons in the fire, working as an anesthesiologist and an actress as well as dominating as a champion fencer, but her love of expression through song comes home to roost with the beautiful Volando. Performing with an impressive group that includes Jonathan Alford (piano, Rhodes), Alex Baum (bass), Ray Scott (guitar), Phil Thompson (drums), Tommy Kesecher (vibes, marimba), Charlie McCarthy (tenor saxophone, flute), and Al Bent (trombone) among others, Estrada’s searching understanding of the lyrics and how they suit the greater good of the song forms the heart of
The Hallowed Halls of Music are littered with flash in the pans, burn-outs and one-hit wonders.  While we all love artist who are able to consistently make great music year after year, decade after decade and who can wall-paper their house with gold records, there is something sort-of special about those who only manage to capture the attention of the masses just once.  Many get sucked into the fame machine only to be spit out just as fast, while others stay in the business creating good music that satisfies a small, but loyal fanbase but never manages to reach into

Review: Sean Paul - Tomahawk Technique

Gets in and gets out, leaving no memories behind.
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The fifth studio album from Jamaica’s Sean Paul is Tomahawk Technique. It adheres to the artist’s dancehall tradition, but branches out a bit more into mainstream pop music with traces of hip hop, electro-pop and R&B. Paul, who won a Best Reggae Album Grammy for his 2004 album Dutty Rock, succeeds because of his cordial musical sense. Singles like “Gimme the Light” and “Temperature” brought the Kingston native attention on the global stage, while appearances with artists like Beyoncé and Blu Cantrell helped solidify his presence. Paul is at his best when it brings his signature reggae style to the

Lianne La Havas Spellbinding On Debut 'Is Your Love Big Enough?'

One of the year's essential listens...
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Is Your Love Big Enough? is an extraordinary achievement on its own merits made all the more remarkable coming from a young artist recording her debut. It feels like an aural tour through a museum where the listener is the tourist and Lianne LaHavas is our charming guide. Where some tour guides become jaded to wonders surrounding them, she is eager to welcome us to them. She navigates us through the experiences of these songs with sophistication and wide-eyed wonder. It’s as if she’s reliving pages of her own diary and discovering them for the first time. She sings as

Jazz Review: Kat Parra - Las Aventuras de Pasión!

The love of a good adventure.
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With her latest recording, Las Aventuras de Pasión!, Latin jazz vocalist Kat Parra merges countless musical traditions into one vivacious, thrilling form. Like the spectacular Dos Amantes, Las Aventuras de Pasión! walks the footpaths of Sephardic Jews and branches out from there. The new trail ambles through Latin American tradition, enlisting help from Grammy nominee Wayne Wallace and a host of other talents to flesh out the vision. Everything that proved so inviting on her previous records is here, but Parra ups the ante and creates an album that is intensely personal. She makes bolder choices, building on the escapades

Todd Rundgren, Iggy Pop, the Sweet, Dave Davies, Ginger Baker Unite For 'Who You Are: An All-Star Tribute To The Who'

A rare tribute album that lives up its billing and does justice to its inspiration...
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In these trying times for the music industry, Cleopatra Records have found a number of innovative ways to stay relevant. Through their Purple Pyramid imprint, they have found a great niche in releasing some very cool box sets. Their recent Outlaws Anthology is but one example of this. Another has been in the realm of superstar tributes to legendary bands, such as the new Who Are You: An All-Star Tribute to The Who. While the idea of such tributes has been around for decades, they are often hit and miss affairs. In the end, it comes down to the various

Former 'Idol' Contestant Michael "Big Mike" Lynche Fails To Dazzle On Debut...

Too many big misses sink this first effort from Big Mike...
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Michael Lynche is known to millions as “Big Mike” the teddy bear with the sweet, velvet voice who garnered the judges “save” on Season Nine of American Idol where he ultimately finished fourth. Big Mike released his self-titled debut in August on the back of two singles that charted and are currently moving on Adult Contemporary and Urban charts, respectively.I watched the entire Idol season with Mike and was never especially bowled over or impressed by him, he was a Central Florida boy so that added some love into his column for me but, vocally he wasn't special or a

Interview: Dave Fields Discusses New Album 'Detonation'

The blues guitarist spoke with Blinded by Sound about his new album, playing with legends and building guitars, among other things
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Blinded by Sound had a chance to interview New York blues guitarist, Dave Fields. He spoke about his new album, Detonation, playing with Hubert Sumlin, building guitars and some of his influences. "Addicted to Your Fire" has a definite Hendrix vibe to it, as does the solo to "Prophet in Disguise." Who are some of the players, past and present, that you try to emulate? There is a long list of guitarists that I listened to. I would try to emulate them just so I could understand what they were doing then incorporate the essence of what I had learned

CD Review: Dave Fields - Detonation

New York blues guitarist blends blues and rock on this powerful release
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New York blues guitarist, Dave Fields’ new CD, Detonation, is making people take notice. Big City Rhythm‘n’Blues magazine opined, Detonation explodes with a harder rocking sound as Fields works through a variety of styles touching on classic rock and reggae mixed in with a blast of blues.” While Detonation is indeed more rock-oriented than his previous two releases, the recent New York Blues Hall of Fame inductee still manages to incorporate the blues for his most diverse album yet. Fields channels his inner-Hendrix with the scorching album opener, “Addicted To Your Fire,” mixing a strong vocal with his wah-drenched guitar

Deep Soul: The Crusaders featuring Randy Crawford - "Street Life"

Funk, jazz, and soul collide to create one memorable 1979 track.
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Who says that funk and jazz cannot co-exist? Certainly not The Crusaders, who scored a 1979 hit with "Street Life." The fact that it made the R&B, Dance, and Billboard Hot 100 charts demonstrates how one track could become a crossover success. Even more importantly, the song proved to be the launching pad for jazz/R&B vocalist Randy Crawford, who has continued collaborating with original Crusaders member Joe Sample. Despite the tune's contemporary sound that appealed to disco dancers as well as soul and jazz aficionados, the Crusaders actually date back to the 1950s. In 1954, pianist Sample approached Houston high

Preservation Hall: The First Fifty Years

48 tracks from the Preservation Hall Jazz Band that document fifty years of fantastic music, while leaving open the possibility of great music for generations to come.
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The HBO series Tremé began its third season this week. While the show has always treated viewers to an inside view of the world of New Orleans music - weaving in story lines about everything from zydeco to sissy-bounce – one style has been largely relegated to the background; traditional jazz. The occasional cameo by a local hero not withstanding, the major storylines in Tremé rarely revolve around the raucous ‘hot’ jazz that originally put the city on the musical map. Even trombonist Antoine Batiste (the most likely candidate for a ‘trad’ hit) spends the majority of his time chasing

Review: Sylencer - A Lethal Dose of Truth

A gargantuan thrash metal project.
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Sylencer’s A Lethal Dose of Truth may feature a crateful of guest performances from metal monarchs, but the colossal meat-and-potatoes thrash springing from Markus Johansson’s project is still very much the Chicago-based musician’s baby. Featuring Johansson, Johnny Rox and Kevin Talley, Sylencer should be set for a significant career. While there are a lot of thrash metal acts and retro groups cooking at the moment, few manifest the energy and technical proficiency as confidently as these dudes. Playing through a round of 16 songs like a boyish Metallica still sowing their wild oats, Sylencer is an exhilarating and lively thrash

Review: The Killers - BATTLE BORN: No Surrender, Just Rocking For Righteous Reasons

The Killers might have topped themselves on fourth album...
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I wonder if Brandon Flowers walks around at parties wearing one of those ‘My Name Is’ stickers on his shirt, with ‘My Name is Brandon Flowers, and I am from Nevada’ written on it. Outside of Bruce Springsteen’s ever-present New Jersey references, I can’t think of another artist that writes about his home state as much as The Killers’ frontman. Evidently, Nevada is ‘The Battle Born State.’ We must have skipped that in fifth grade Social Studies, because I had never heard of such a thing until the lead-up to The Killers’ fourth studio album, Battle Born. Like many major

Book Review: 'Please Please Me' - Alex Hendler

The book takes readers inside the recording of The Beatles' debut album through a blend of fact and fiction.
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February 11, 1963 stands as an important date in rock history. On this day, the Beatles entered Abbey Road Studios to begin recording songs for their debut album Please Please Me. Due to their tight touring schedule (as well as EMI's desire to capitalize on The Beatles' growing popularity), the group recorded an astonishing ten songs in one day. Their debut now ranks as one of the best rock albums ever released, and firmly established the group's reputation as formidable players and songwriters. What would it have been like to sit in the booth with producer George Martin that day?

Hit Parade: Maroon 5 - "One More Night"

This song has nothing but terrible singing, stupid lyrics, and awful music. Other than that, I'm cool with it.
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A new name finds itself atop the Billboard Top 100. Well, that is to say there is a new number one song, but it is by the band Maroon 5, which has been around for a while, and has probably had number one songs before. Their song "One More Night" is now the top hit in these United States of America. I'm mildly familiar with the band. I've heard pieces of "Moves Like Jagger" when sporting events go to commercial. I know Adam Levine is on that show The Voice, alongside Christina Aguilera, some gentle man named Blake Shelton, and

Review: Castle - Blacklands

A woozy and cluttered routine.
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Castle’s Blacklands is an interesting album, to be kind. This is the second record from the Bay Area-based group and their American label debut. In Witch Order was released in spring of 2011 in Germany and wound up getting the trio some recognition. With Blacklands, the band merges a love for old school metal with flimsy gothic sensibility to come up with a formula that doesn’t really work. There are elements of Black Sabbath and Danzig at work, sure, but Castle’s own sound doesn’t carve anything into the tree and the album falls flat. Elizabeth Blackwell (vocals, bass), Mat Davis

Jazz Review: Connie Evingson - Sweet Happy Life

A sophisticated interpreter of some truly great songs.
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Minnesota-born jazz singer Connie Evingson delivers her clear, alluring character on Sweet Happy Life, her ninth release on Minnehaha Music. The record pays tribute to Oscar and Grammy-winning lyricist Norman Gimbel, whose words have driven hit songs like “Killing Me Softly with His Song” and “The Girl from Impanema.” Through it all, Evingson expresses her own voice. She has iridescent tone with just a dash of attitude. She never neglects the swing and ties in pleasantly with the instruments, forming a consistent vision of the songs that flows through the album. Evingson was born in Bob Dylan’s hometown of Hibbing,

Review: Passion Pit Tops Stellar Debut With 'Gossamer'

The second album from Passion Pit is beautiful, personal, and excellent.
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Three years after their stellar debut Manners, Passion Pit finally returns with Gossamer, an album that manages to be even better. It's a fantastic pop album from start to finish that is a joy to listen to. However, the ear candy hides the fact that this is one of the more intensely personal albums you'll ever hear. This is what makes it one of the best albums released in 2012. Everything on Gossamer is a step above Passion Pit's previous album. The most notable upgrade is in the vocals of mastermind Michael Angelakos. His signature falsetto remains but it sounds more polished.

Review: Legacy of Disorder - Last Man Standing

A robust but generic melodic thrash album.
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Taking more than a few pages from the books on thrash metal written by heavyweights like Pantera and Biohazard, New Zealand’s Legacy of Disorder materializes with the robust Last Man Standing. The Pantera comparisons gain more ground when one realizes that Sterling Winfield serves as producer. He produced Pantera’s Reinventing the Steel as well as Damageplan’s 2004 debut New Found Power. With Legacy of Disorder, the results are similarly hostile. That’s not to say that Last Man Standing is on par with the aforementioned or even deserves to stand in the same bloodied field, of course. Despite bursting at the

Maria Neckam - Unison: An Exciting, Clever, Daring Record

Unison is an appealing and freeing piece of work...
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Austrian-born singer Maria Neckam takes an amorphous approach to Unison, a piece of sprawling art that neglects musical limits but maintains cohesion nevertheless. Featuring Aaron Parks (piano), Thomas Morgan (bass) and Colin Stranahan (drums) along with other players like Nir Felder (guitar) and Lars Dietrich (alto saxophone), Neckam’s latest is hard to pin down. There are divine notes of jazz, but colours from avant pop, free form music and poetry readings in New York coffee shops also paint an elegant picture. Neckam, who grew up in Vienna, brings the wealth of her experiences to Unison and elegantly moves through space

Review: Heart - Fanatic

Ann and Nancy Wilson reflect on heartbreak and renewal -- while rocking as hard as ever -- on their 14th studio album.
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Heart has come full circle since their 1970s beginnings. Sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson have transitioned from hard rock beginnings to glam pop back to grungy rock again. Along the way, they paved the way for women in music, demonstrating that they can be feminine and rock as hard as the guys. Their 14th studio album, Fanatic, shows the Wilsons in fine form, with Ann's raspy vocals changing little since their “Barracuda” days and Nancy's crunching guitar anchoring each track. Fanatic may not break any new musical ground, but it's a thoroughly enjoyable album for those who like their rock

Review: Gary Clark Jr -"Ain't Messin 'Round"

Clark releases 1st Single From 'Blak And Blu'
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Okay: this is the last reference I make today to my birthday but I choose to think it's no coincidence Gary Clark Jr. has chosen today to release the first single from his upcoming major label debut Blak And Blu. You're free to disagree; you'll be wrong. This is all about me. Now I know what you're thinking and you're wrong. You think this is going to be more embarrassing fanboy gushing about music from Clark, that I've no capacity to listen objectively to the music. Go read my Springsteen posts: I can be scathing when it comes to

Happy Birthday To Me: Wilco - "When You Wake Up Feeling Old"

Just another day at the office, right?
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Congratulations: you made one more trip around the sun. Yes, kids, it's my birthday and I'm treating it just like any other day because it's treating me just like any other day. Congresses past haven't done the one useful thing they could have done and passed a law that allows us all a paid day off on our birthday so I am gratefully plugging away at the office. Gratefully plugging away: that's the outlook I aspire to each and every day- one I learned from a former radio colleague. I don't think I want to become someone so out

DeepSoul: The Jacksons - "Show You the Way to Go"

The Jacksons took the first step toward artistic maturity during this brief brush with Philadelphia Soul.
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By 1976, The Jacksons found themselves at a crossroads. Having outgrown their Jackson 5 days, they struggled to transition to more mature tunes. Thus they took the first major step: departing Motown, the only label they ever knew. This move came at a cost, as Motown CEO Berry Gordy successfully fought to retain ownership of the Jackson 5 moniker. Now dubbed The Jacksons, they signed with CBS Records but were minus one member: Jermaine, who elected to stay with Motown. The Jacksons were in need of a hit since their final album for Motown, Moving Violation, failed to make a
There are a couple of trends in the music business with artists young and old that started with a good idea but went a little wacky along the way. The covers record has been around as long as popular music but is now living up to it’s reputation of artists buying time for writer’s block or fulfilling a lost cause record deal. In the early days lf popular music, vocalists rarely wrote their own tunes so they were all covers records but in the hands of a Frank Sinatra or Ella Fitzgerald, Lena Horne or Perry Como, the chosen songs

DVD Review: Produced by George Martin

Beatles fans as well as pop music enthusiasts will enjoy this fond look back at Martin's impressive career and personal life.
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Who was the “Fifth Beatle”? One of the strongest arguments favors George Martin, the producer who tirelessly experimented with various sound techniques and helped the group realize their creative visions. Now in his mid-eighties, Martin is celebrated in the documentary Produced by George Martin, a film first aired by the BBC in 2011 and is now available in the U.S. Beatles fans as well as pop music enthusiasts will enjoy this fond look back at Martin's impressive career and personal life. Wisely avoiding a narrator, the documentary relies on Martin's own words as well as interviews with Paul McCartney, Ringo

Review: Billy Talent - Dead Silence

Billy Talent blisters and rages all over their fifth record.
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Formed in high school in 1993 as a band called Pezz, the artists now known as Billy Talent have been making their way through the Canadian rock scene for some time now. They have two multi-platinum records and took to a Led Zeppelin naming tack with their first three major releases. With Dead Silence, their fifth as a band and fourth as Billy Talent, these dudes set their legacy. Led by the one-two punch of vocalist Benjamin Kowalewicz and guitarist Ian D’Sa, Billy Talent emerges on Dead Silence with a set of riff-heavy, pissed-off punk rock tunes. Bassist Jonathan Gallant

Review: Mark Knopfler - Privateering

...goes to prove that while Mark’s biggest hits came in his Dire Straits-past his best music and most interesting stories belong to the present..
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Every time veteran guitar-player and former Dire Straits frontman Mark Knopfler releases an album, there are those who keep hoping stubbornly and naively, for a Dire-Straits reunion record or at least for a sound resembling that of Brothers in Arms. I think of those people in the same way I think of those who believe that Elvis is still alive or that “disco” will someday make a comeback. Alas, they are bound to be disappointed. Meanwhile, Mark Knopfler continues making the music he cares most about which is the music he’s been making for the last eighteen years. His

Review: Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell - Don't Hear It...Fear It!

Get the Shovell, there's rock and roll to dig.
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Named for a 17th century English naval commander and taking hints from a giant red bird, Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell plays things for authenticity on Don’t Hear It…Fear It! Influences are handpicked from bands like Black Sabbath, Deep Purple and MC5. The Shovell, as they are called by fans, come right smack dab in the middle of a significant movement to resuscitate 70s rock awesomeness. Luckily, these guys are definitely pretty good at what they try to pull off. The aforesaid desire for authenticity works in their favour, as Don’t Hear It…Fear It! is recorded with enough low-fi tricks so

Jazz Review: Amikaeyla - Being in Love

An absence of pretence gives way to sheer love of art.
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Bay Area vocalist Amikaeyla doesn’t believe in confining herself. Being in Love exemplifies this approach confidently, with an absence of pretence giving way to sheer love of art. Like love, the rules are made to be broken and passion flows liberally through 10 authentic expressions of affection. “I really do feel a deep connection to so many types of sounds,” Amikaeyla says. “Currently in the music industry, where you kind of have to pocket yourself in one genre, it’s really challenging for me because I want to be a part of all the things that make me happy sonically.” Luckily

Matchbox Twenty Maintains Legacy Of Mediocrity On 'North'

Still predictable, pleasant, and unassuming even after a hiatus...
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With their first album in about ten years, Matchbox Twenty proves themselves arduous occupants of the middle. Theirs is a legacy filled with mediocrity, one built on erecting pleasant pop-rock tunes for summer events under patio lanterns. There is nothing at all wrong with North. Many obnoxious rock entries have passed this desk and through these headphones, afflicting these ears with some of the most shockingly rotten and unbearably trite sounds to ever reach the fading light of day. This album does not fall in that distended class, but it’s not particularly interesting either. Rob Thomas, Paul Doucette, Kyle Cook,

Hit Parade (Farewell to Summer Edition): Carly Rae Jepsen - "Call Me Maybe"

The song of the summer...?
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This week, the dance between Taylor Swift and Flo Rida continued, as Swift once again took the top spot in the Billboard Hot 100 with "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together." So, I want to take the time to discuss the song of the summer. The song in question is "Call Me Maybe" by a plucky upstart named Carly Rae Jepsen. This is, evidently, at least a somewhat officially title, as I am fairly certain I saw somewhere that Billboard had deemed it the song of summer, given it's popularity over those months. This seems reasonable, as "Call Me

BlindedBySound Loves The '80s: The Smiths, Skid Row, Tears For Fears, Poison, And Michael Jackson

Like we've totally got the raddest songs from the hottest decade.
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Ah the 1980s: the decade of Me, Reagan, parachute pants, jellies, Michael Jackson, hair metal, rap as a popular musical medium and so much more.  The 80s birthed MTV and the rise of the video star who had to look as good as they sang.  There were huge superstars such as Madonna and Michael Jackson plus plenty of one-hit wonders like Bobby McFerrin's "Don't Worry Be Happy" or "Relax" by Frankie Goes to Hollywood.  For many the 1980s is a decade is awash in over indulgence, terribly dated synth noises, and a white-washed rap movement to sooth the masses.  But

Gary Clark Jr To Release 'Blak And Blu' in October, First Single "Ain't Messin 'Round" Due Sept. 18

The most anticipated album of the year is nearly upon us...
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Gary Clark Jr. has released the tracklisting and artwork for his major label debut Black And Blu, due October 23 from Warner Brothers Records preceded by the release of first single “Ain’t Messin’ ’Round” on September 18. The new Gary Clark Jr. single is being released on my birthday, kids. Best. Birthday. Present. Ever! Back to the album at hand… The 13-track Blak And Blu features 12 Clark originals and was produced by Mike Elizondo, Rob Cavallo, and Clark. Many of these titles are going to be familar to longtime Clark fans and obsessives like me as it seems several

Review: Trey Songz - 'Chapter V'

A pop yawn of a record that mistakes talking dirty for raw sex appeal.
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There’s little doubt that Trey Songz, the Virginia-born singer and rapper, has taken more than a few pages out of R. Kelly’s book. Songz has the proclivity for sexualizing everything down pat and exacts emotional spasms at times, enlarging words in a corny gospel-meets-porno tenor and rubbing his moderate vocal talents for all they’re worth. The fixation makes Chapter V, his fifth album of course, into a lump of clay that somehow always manages to shape itself into some kind of genitalia. When Songz informs us on “2 Reasons” that he only “came here for the bitches and the drinks,”

Review: Martin Solveig - SMASH

SMASH isn't quite a smash.
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Martin Solveig’s SMASH has been available around the world and in download format for quite a while now, but the fifth record from the French DJ and producer is seeing its physical compact disc release in the United States on September 18. SMASH has been fuelling sweaty dance floors since 2010 at least, when the single “Hello” featuring Canada’s electro-pop group Dragonette took to airwaves. The track’s video has over 60 million views on YouTube and landed in a gum commercial, the sure marker of success for modern dance music. As dance music goes, Solveig’s brand is typical stuff. He

DeepSoul: Luther Vandross - "A House Is Not A Home"

The R&B vocalist took a Burt Bacharach and Hal David classic and truly made it his own.
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Lyricist Hal David's recent death has brought his work with composer Burt Bacharach back into the spotlight. Indeed, the team produced an impressive number of modern classics, including "Do You Know the Way to San Jose," "Walk on By," and "The Look of Love," to name just a few. Singer Dionne Warwick recorded definitive versions of many of their tracks, but other R&B artists have made these songs their own. Even Bacharach admits that Aretha Franklin's cover of "I Say A Little Prayer" has superseded Warwick's original. Another phenomenal vocalist, Luther Vandross, took a Bacharach and David composition and transformed

Robert Cray In Top Form on 'Nothin But Love'

Hall of Fame bluesman delivers some of his finest work on 21st studio album...
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Robert Cray is still a young man by blues standards but Nothin But Love is the Blues Hall Of Famer's 21st studio album and over the course of the last three decades, he has etched out a signature sound and style that has defined his work. I was nonplussed learning rock producer Kevin Shirley produced this set, having endured some needlessly loud, bombastic blues-rock records from his past work. It took me awhile to warm up to Cray's smooth brand of blues but once I did, I didn't want anyone coming in to mess with it. It turns out

CD Review: Ian Gillan & Tony Iommi - WhoCares

Legendary rockers combine new, old and rare tracks on this charity CD
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In 2011, Deep Purple’s Ian Gillan reunited with his old Black Sabbath band mate, Tony Iommi, to record a charity single to benefit a music school in Armenia that was destroyed in the 1988 earthquake that devastated the region. The pair recruited a number of A-list musicians for the lead track, “Out Of My Mind,” including Iron Maiden’s Nicko McBrain on drums, Jason Newsted on bass and the late Jon Lord on keyboards. That track, along with its B-side, “Holy Water,” is included in the two-CD compilation album, WhoCares, the profits of which will further aid the charity. The album

CD Review: Saga - 20/20

Canadian Prog-Rock legends return with their twentieth studio album
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Canadian prog-rockers, Saga, are back with 20/20, their first album since the return of original vocalist, Michael Sadler. Like The Beach Boys before them, 20/20 refers to the fact that it is the band’s twentieth studio album (The Beach Boys included compilations in their tally), but it has a double meaning as well, as keyboardist/vocalist Jim Gilmour had eye surgery during the band’s most recent European tour leaving his vision, you guessed it, 20/20. The album opens with the pulsating synths of “Six Feet Under” before the full band kicks in on this melodic rocker. The track features a call

Blu-ray Review: Staind - Live From Mohegan Sun

Staind deliver their alt-metal to a packed house.
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For over 15 years, Staind have delivered their unique brand of heavy music. Part grunge, with a big dose of detuned metal guitars, but not lacking in melody, the band has racked up more than 15 million album sales worldwide as well as the most-played rock song of the last ten years, “It’s Been Awhile.” The band was captured live on November 25, 2011, at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Montville, CT. That performance makes up the Blu-ray, Staind – Live From Mohegan Sun. The show opens with “Eyes Wide Open,” from the band’s self-titled 2011 release. After a menacing

Review: Bob Mould - Williamsburg Park, Brooklyn - September 7, 2012

Copper Blue and Silver Age - Live and Loud
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Bob Mould is a bonafide rock and roll Renaissance Man. Over his three decades in the entertainment industry, Bob has serenaded us with thought provoking punk (Husker Du), pop music worthy of his best influences (Sugar), solo work that opened a vein for us to speculate on his personal life and loud, electronic grunge and DJ dance music on the road. He did all this and managed to be an early supporter of Aids awareness, came out on his own terms, dealt with hearing loss and wrote a damn fine memoir. And Bob did all this without regard to

Jazz Review: Jessica Jones and Mark Taylor - Live at the Freight

A coffeehouse conversation.
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Mark Taylor (French horn) and Jessica Jones (tenor saxophone) get together to have a conversation with Live at the Freight, a record that illuminates a touching, subtle and somewhat eccentric dialogue between the two players. They are backed by drummer Jason Lewis and bassist John Shifflet and the recording took place in June of 2011 at the Freight and Salvage Coffeehouse in Berkeley, California. “Jessica and I really seem to connect musically on a lot of levels,” Taylor says. “I don’t think we play alike at all – and conceptually, we’re coming from different but complimentary places, which might be

Guy Clark & John Prine: Last Of The Classic Troubadours?

Are There Any More Left?
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I fear that after we lose Guy Clark, John Prine and a few more like Ramblin’ Jack, Jerry Jeff Walker, the Flatlanders (Joe Ely, Butch Hancock and Jimmie Dale Gilmore) and Billy Joe Shaver, there will be no more down and dirty troubadours to hang their hats on their hearts. Sure, there are excellent, next-generation stand-ins Steve Earle (too political), Lyle Lovett (too commercial), Todd Snider (too unpredictable) and that Iron & Wine Guy (way too sensitive). There is just something about the original guys from the seventies straight through to today that present their songs with just the

Review: Gypsyhawk - Revelry And Resilience

Jesus H. Christ, can they rock!
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Drenched in economy beer and pot smoke, Pasadena’s Gypsyhawk materializes from the back of the decrepit van parked in the bad neighbourhood to present their brand of rock and roll with their second album Revelry & Resilience. The follow-up to 2010’s Patience & Perseverance is a bold statement of a record. With so many metal acts trafficking in the more “extreme” edges of the genre and drilling home the point with snarls and blast-beats, Gypsyhawk unabashedly cuddles the frayed denim vests of bigger, more groove-oriented heavy music. “Gypsyhawk is four metal dudes playing rock and roll and bringing the party

Hit Parade: Flo Rida - "Whistle"

Stop me if you've heard this one before...
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After two weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100, Taylor Swift has been deposed. The new song atop the chart is Flo Rida's "Whistle," which was the song that was number one the week before Swift. So Mr. F. Rida has taken back his usurped throne. It's all very exciting. Much as was the case with Ms. Swift, I have never heard a Flo Rida song before this. I have heard his name, and I have laughed, because it is ridiculous. I mean, in a sense it does work, because it implies he rides flows. Plus, Florida is both a state

Review: Tom Waits - Bad As Me

...while the themes he tackles in some of the songs go beyond his usual stories about tragic individual destinies set against the backdrop of the dark and weird aspects of Americana, the sound of the songs seems to be more conservative...
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For everyone who knows me it is no mystery that the “Big Bang” from which the Universe of my musical predilection originated and started expanding is one Tom Waits. To put it simply: my life can easily be divided into “Before Tom” and “After Tom”. Ever since I’ve come across his work Tom Waits has helped shape my view and understanding of the process of writing and composing music. I even wrote my dissertation on the man’s oeuvre so it was only natural for me to get around to reviewing his very well received 2011 record Bad as Me.

Rhett Walker Band - Come To the River

Christian Music Deserving Praise
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There is a music industry blog written by a guy named Bob Lefsetz. He can go a bit overboard ranting and raving on just about everything that is wrong with record companies and young musician’s quest for stardom over good material and content. Bob does not review or preview an act or release that does not touch him personally and never jumps on a bandwagon. When he does give thumbs up, you can rest assured the record is at least worth a couple of listens. Bob recently raved about a new release by The Rhett Walker Band. I know nothing
Details have been announced for Noel Gallagher's live DVD/Blu-ray International Magic Live at the O2 and in what should be a surprise to no one: he's doing it right while so many get it wrong. The set will be released Oct. 23 and will feature his entire performance at O2 Arena in London- something far too few bands do (I'm looking squarely at you U2 and Rolling Stones, for starters) and he's also packed this set with some fantastic bonus features and goodies. The 20-song set will be appended with Gallagher's eight-song acoustic mini set in Toronto that includes

CD Review: Alvin Lee - Still On The Road To Freedom

Legendary guitarist still pushing the edge musically.
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In 1969, the Woodstock Music & Art Fair catapulted Ten Years After and their young guitarist, Alvin Lee, into the spotlight. Seemingly overnight, the band went from playing clubs to arenas and, by 1973, Lee had had enough of the lifestyle and of being expected to produce hits. He was tired of being just product. That year, he released his first solo album along with Mylon LeFevre, the star-studded On The Road To Freedom. Now, nearly 40 years later, Lee is back with a sequel of sorts, Still On The Road To Freedom. The album leads off with the title

DVD Review: Queen - Greatest Video Hits

A rerelease of some of Queen's most beloved videos
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Throughout their illustrious career, Queen presented a unique experience for their fans, both with their complex, operatic music featuring multilayered guitars and vocals and visually, with their extensive, groundbreaking use of music videos. Queen Greatest Video Hits celebrates the latter, presenting many of the band’s videos in both restored picture and sound. Disc one leads off with perhaps their most iconic track, “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Opening with the striking visual of the four band members used on the cover of Queen II, the video mixes straight performance with images of multiple Queen members replicating the vocals. It is often considered the

DeepSoul: William DeVaughn - "Be Thankful for What You Got"

This 1974 hit captured a particular period in R&B and helped define today's hip hop culture.
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Diamond in the back, sunroof top/ Diggin' the scene with a gangsta lean. These words come from a '90s or 2000s rap track, right? Wrong--they actually derive from a 1974 hit entitled "Be Thankful for What You Got." While it ultimately ranks as a one-hit-wonder, William DeVaughn's words linger in today's pop culture landscape. From the moment DeVaughn wrote the song, it seemed an unlikely hit. According to AllMusic, he was a government employee and part-time entertainer in Washington, D.C. in the early '70s. On a whim, he booked a $900 recording session at Philadelphia's Omega Sound, Inc. At the

David Baerwald's "Triage"

A Twenty Year Old Reflection of Our Current Times
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I can define my life by certain records that appear at different times in my life. “Sgt. Pepper’s,” the first four albums by The Band; “Court & Spark, “ “Late For the Sky” and several more. It is the darker ones that I take with me wherever I go and have them there when I need a dose of reality. Lou Reed’s “Berlin,” “Street Hassle” and “New York”; Neil Young’s “Time Fades Away” and “On the Beach,” “The Who’s “Quadrophenia” and David Baerwald’s “Triage.” It is hard to comprehend that the latter is 20 years old this year. Radio listeners

Rodriguez - 'Searching For Sugar Man' - Live in NYC

Rodriguez's New York Debut - 42 Years In the Making
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New York City audiences are tough. Even when they like an artist, they can be brutal. I had the (mis)fortune of seeing one of the legendary shows of Neil Young at the Beacon in the early '90s. There was almost a riot because he was playing the soft acoustic songs that would evolve into Harvest Moon. None of that was evident for Rodriguez. The 1100-plus audience, made up of 21-80 year old fans, was his from before he stepped onstage with an acoustic/electric guitar and strummed quietly as he sang, “I Only Have Eyes For You.” The old cliché

Harry Shearer And Friends Come Up With A Winner On 'Can't Take A Hint'

Comedian/actor/Spinal Tap man Harry Shearer teams up with some big time music talents on latest music...
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As “Harry Shearer,” Derek Smalls of Spinal Tap has achieved an enormous amount of success. He has conquered the worlds of television, film, radio, and as a solo musician. It is with this in mind that I wonder if the title of his latest album is a direct statement to his Tap bandmates Nigel Tufnel and David St. Hubbins. Can’t Take a Hint seems sum up his feelings about his ne’er do-well partners, but maybe that is the whole point. In deference to Small’s obvious wishes to keep himself and “Harry Shearer” separate, I will try and refer to him