CD Review: Vintage Blue “No Going Back”

One of the best unsigned bands in the country at the moment is Chicago’s Vintage Blue. Vintage Blue consists of: Ryan Tibbs guitarist, vocalist; Benjamin Bassett guitarist, vocalist; Brent Shumard percussionist, wind; Cesar Corral bassist; Matt Zimmerman backup vocalist, brass, keyboardist and Will Crowden drummer. Back in 2012, the band put out their first CD, a 13-track called Strike the Mics. With that release, the public got a good indication of what the band sounded like as the band’s sound would have attracted fans of both Vertical Horizon and Sister Hazel.

Now Vintage Blue is back with a new 6-song EP called No Going Back. While the last release featured that Vertical Horizon/Sister Hazel sound, the new release finds Vintage Blue going after a pop-rock sound that is much more unique to the band.

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CD Review: Lindsey Buckingham Palace “Rock Star Parking”

Lindsey Buckingham Palace is a four-piece rock band from the Washington, D.C. area. After being together for several years, the current version of the band is now a quartet made up of singer/guitarist Mike Hill, lead guitarist Mark Minicucci, bassist Marc Rothschild and drummer Made Ployamornrat. Lindsey Buckingham Palace features a Hard Rock style with Classic Rock and Heavy Metal as influences.

The band once put out one self-titled EP and then decided to expand their musical library. The band recently added to that library with another EP, the recently released Rock Star Parking.

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CD Review: Young Liars “Night Window”

Young Liars is a modern-day Canadian rock band that hails from Vancouver, British Colombia. Currently made up of Jordan Raine on Vocals, Guitar; Wesley Nickel on Keyboards; Ty Badali drums and bassist Andrew Beck, the quartet has been in existence since 2008. The band creates a sound that focuses on the keys from Wesley Nickel and that gives the band a very obvious “pop” sound that will appeal to fans of “pop” music as much as those who prefer a stronger rock sound.

In the time that they’ve been together, Young Liars have only produced two EPs- 2012’s Homesick Future and their latest EP, 2014’s Night Window. The band’s newest EP of Night Window is a simple 4-song release that features two original tracks of “Night Window” and “Young Again” and includes remixes of both of those tracks to bring the total tracks to four.

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CD Review: Martin Van Ruin “Every Man a King”

Martin Van Ruin is a Chicago-based Rock band that came together from different bands from that area to create something new and different. Consisting of Pete Falknor: drums; Sarah Jane Goldstein: vocals, percussion, melodica; Derek Nelson: vocals, guitars; Brian Sharpe: lead guitars, piano; Cathy Starr: violin; Philip Vickers: lap steel, guitars, trumpet; Alex Winter: bass, the various members of the band add several different musical influences into the band’s sound. Within the band’s sound you’ll find Rock, Folk, Country and other sounds that all blends together to make a style that is as much about Rock and Roll as it is about Folk and Country music. That style can be found on Martin Van Ruin’s current release called Every Man a King.

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CD Review: These Knees “The Young and The Bright”

These Knees is a modern-day rock band that makes its home in Cleveland, OH. The band consists of singer/songwriter/guitarist Stephanie Trivison, bassist Eric Piontkowski and drummer Rob Hassing. Led by Stephanie Trivison who writes the songs for the band, These Knees creates their music by taking many different influences like Classic Rock icons The Beatles and more recent bands like Paramore and Tegan and Sara. The result of those influences creates a musical sound that sounds both retro and modern at the same time. The band’s unique take on modern-day Rock and Roll can be found on their 2013 release entitled The Young and The Bright.

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CD Review: Sputnik “rising”

Cleveland-based rock band Sputnik can easily be called a “supergroup” as the trio that makes up the band has made names for themselves on their own and as part of other bands for many years now. Lead singer and guitarist Alan Grandy had been performing in Cleveland as both a guitarist and a bassist for several bands including The Terrible Parade and Jehova Waitresses and also created music on his own. Jay Bentoff has also been a major part of the Cleveland music scene as he performed with his band The Kind Revolution while also recording music from Cleveland artists at his Dark Tree Studio. And the third part of the band, Chris Solt, has been part of several projects in Cleveland including Susan Weber’s band Monet’s Orbit before he hung up his guitar and sat behind the drumkit to fill out the current lineup of Sputnik.

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CD Review: John Brodeur “Little Hopes”

New York-based singer-songwriter John Brodeur has been creating music for around two decades. While he has spent time as part of bands like The Suggestions and Maggie Mayday, Brodeur is known mainly for his solo work. Currently, Brodeur’s musical library includes several EPs and the albums Get Through from 2009 and his 2000 album Tiger Pop which was given the reissue treatment when the album turned 10 years old. The Tiger Pop Ten release included one CD that included the original recordings from the album and another CD that included brand new interpretations of those same tunes. Later in 2011, Brodeur also released a compilation of early music under the title of Young Man, Volume One: Studio Recordings 1994-98.

With the exception of 2011’s Tiger Pop Ten where John Brodeur took his previously composed songs and rewrote them to give them a fresh feeling, he had not released a new album since 2009’s Get Through. That probably had to do with his one-man band way of creating music. And while other people who go the singular voice route of creating music end up making songs that turn out two-dimensional, Brodeur is one of the best when it comes to creating music on his own and the music he creates ends up being just as full and fleshed out as if it had been created by an entire band. Nonetheless, it has been four years since a completely new release had been put out by Brodeur. Recently, he remedied that by releasing a new collection of music entitled Little Hopes.

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CD Review: Jackpot Donnie “Mayday!”

Like a rising amount of bands and artists out there today, Chicago’s Jackpot Donnie is a band that creates its sound by combining several genres of music together. It’s the combination of Reggae, Funk even Blues that helps give the band’s music its quality and sound. And because the band draws from these unique and varying styles at different times, the Rock and Roll produced by Jackpot Donnie changes from one tune to the next.

To help create their sound, the five members of Jackpot Donnie call upon their various musical influences. The five members of Jackpot Donnie are: Adam Campbell on drums, Dave Langley on bass, Matt Love on guitar and vocals, Peter Spero on keys and Brian Wise on guitar. The band is currently promoting their third release, 2013’s Mayday!

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CD Review: Heaven and Earth “Dig”

Back in 1997, guitarist Stuart Smith got together with a rather large group of musicians to record an album of Classic Rock music. Together, this group of musicians (which included the likes of Bon Jovi’s Richie Sambora, Deep Purple’s Glenn Hughes and even Steve Priest of the band Sweet) created several different musical formations of the same band which came to be known as Heaven & Earth. Some of the participating musicians in the recording project lent their talents to only one or two of the resulting tracks, while others (including bassist Chuck Wright, drummer Richie Onori and keyboard player Arlan Schierbaum) were a bigger part of the recording process as they lent their talents to several of those tracks.

After the self-titled album from Heaven and Earth was released, the band later added to that album and the resulting 2004 re-release easily stands as strong as any Classic Rock/Hard Rock release from The Yardbirds, Led Zeppelin or even Steve Priest’s band Sweet. It’s the talent of the musicians and the strength of the music that you notice; you would never know the album took seven years to become a reality.

Now, almost a decade after that first album was released, Heaven & Earth have returned. While that first album had its unique circumstances with how it was created and by whom, this new release, entitled Dig, has been written and performed by five main musicians who finally feel like a band. The quintet that brought Dig to life consists of: Guitarist Stuart Smith, bassist Chuck Wright, drummer Richie Onori and keyboard player Arlan Schierbaum, all of whom participated in the recording process that led to that first album. The final piece is newcomer Joe Retta who adds both vocals and lyrics to the songs.

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CD Review: Johnny Beauford “A Pig Eating Past Love”

Johnny Beauford is a Dallas, Texas-based singer-songwriter who has been spending a lot of time creating music. When he is not making his own music, you can find Johnny Beauford in the Dallas-based bands Jack Kerowax and Bravo, Max! In his short time on the scene in the Dallas, Texas area, Beauford seems to be making a lot of noise as he has already been nominated for Best Alt-Country/Americana Act for his time as part of the band Bravo, Max! And after putting out his debut solo EP called Lo-Fi back in 2013, Beauford is back in 2014 with the next release in his musical catalog.

Johnny Beauford’s new release is called A Pig Eating Past Love. For this release, Beauford took the one-man army approach and created most of the album on his own with a few parts on the album being recorded by a few of Beauford’s friends. And while one-man bands can sound very one-dimensional, that is not the situation with the feel of the music on this release.

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