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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A Glimpse into the world of CalatrilloZ

Do you like rock/metal with a classical, theatrical, operatic twist to it? If so then you really should go and take a look at London based band CalatrilloZ and have a listen. CalatrilloZ seem to have been dormant for the past  year but are now back, with a bigger appetite and desire to make an impression within the music world. With their own operatic blend of symphonic metal and progressive rock CalatrilloZ can hardly fail to be noticed. They have a sound which is as rich and diverse as a rainforest would be if it were set upon a theatrical rock stage.
 
 
 
CalatrilloZ have just released two singles, ‘Lords of Misery’ and ‘A Glimpse at a Fools Destiny’. I have some demos from this incredible for some while now and have always found that once any CalatrilloZ music is set playing, I am then instantly drawn into their oceanic soundscape. This musical circus otherwise known as CalatrilloZ really do need to be heard to be believed. 
 
I had a brief chat with Z from CalatrilloZ and asked him a few questions about the band -
 
 
Nick - How did CalatrilloZ originally form and what inspired your style?
 
Z - Thats a big question. The band had many formations, and it was through a drummer I started playing with that the whole thing started unveiling, going through almost four formations. The style comes from not exactly Opera, but the storytelling side of it. The idea that a story, like a tale, full of metaphors, can be told through music. Call it the Bard Syndrome.
 

 

 

Nick – Could you tell us a little about the musical background of the various CalatrilloZ band members?
 
Z -  I've been in music for as long as 14 years, studying singing, guitar and bass  playing and taking part in rock covers band for as long as I remember. Five years ago I took up Classical Singing and Composition, and since then the art has bloomed. My mates have different background and ages. Mobius was never educated in music, but can really move the bass. Count Viktor, guitars, our british ambassador, studied ad Guitar Tech, and Mattias, the drummer, like me, has been in music for ages, studying and developing. He has his own drum samples. Now that's something, hey?
 
Nick - What can people expect from CalatrilloZ and how much more can people expect to see and hear in a CalatrilloZ live show?
 
Z -  Intensity, Nick, and depth. We dont go on stage and ask how everybody's doing. We won't make speeches. We will give you an experience akin to a night at the Opera: characters and drama with make-up and costumes, under a heavy metal format. We may be a cross genre band, but we fit different styles within a metal frame, so be ready to be taken to places. We will keep the intensity and storytelling going, deep songs, complex in the heart but heavy and beautiful in appearance.
 
Nick – Could you tell us a little about any planned future releases?
 
Z - Yes I can and yes I wll. We aim to reach a stage where we can start playing Europe and USA. Our plan is a periodic release of singles, which will culminate in a concept album figuring the singles in a full storytelling album, with intros, outros, interludes and gran finales. A one hour fully connected non-stop recorded performance. And of course, if you've seen our videos, expect a way more deep insight into the tale that inspire our songs.

 

 

Nick – What is the best way for people to check your music?

 

 

Z - I will say: go to our website. Not only you can check the songs, you can also check each song individually with additional content, and follow our storytelling videos. If pictures is what you are after, again, that;s the place. And, of course, you will be helping us move forward, as every play adds to the magic numbers promoters and labels look after.
 
Nick – What are your hopes and dreams for the future?
 
Z -  Nick, I guess that's the same for all of us. On one side, we want to be playing big stages and festivals. On another side, very ambitious one, I want the story to grow to a book, to a film, to a 18+ animation series. I wanna be playing in a theatre, with extras, special effects, actors and singers and full blown orchestra.

 

 

And yes, I want to make a life out of the thing I love the most: yup, Music.
 

 

 

 

 

CD Review: Wells the Traveler “One for the Dreamers”

Multi-talented musician Danny McGaw came to the United States after being raised in Manchester, England. When he came to the United States, he brought with him a love for the Northern England form of Rock and Roll. It is that style of Rock and Roll that he combined with the American Folk music. With that musical combination, McGaw started creating music with the band Wells the Traveler. The rest of the band consists of guitarist/singer Chad Brothers, percussionist Jason Jones, bassist Dan Hines, and producer Mike West who helps complete the band’s sound. Together, the members of Wells the Traveler are currently promoting their new debut release entitled One for the Dreamers.

The new album from Wells the Traveler is a very strong Rock release. One thing that separates this album from many of the albums that are released each year is that Wells the Traveler created the album live in the studio. On this album, the band brings a bit of closeness to their music as the listener gets to experience what the band would most likely sound like live. It is that feel that makes the album that much more special.

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An introduction to the ambassadors of the weird, the strange and the socially unconventional

If you like the idea of being entertained by an excellent genre bending band then you really do need to check out The Bohemian Embassy who are another fantastic band from Bath in the UK. They released an album back in 2012, Built For The Future, which is an absolute musical gem and a joy to listen to.

This band, affectionately known as the Boho’s defy any defined kind of genre pigeonholing. Their sound combines elements of alt pop/rock with occasional skiffle-ish and post punk connotations. This unique style along with their phenomenally well executed live sets has been getting the Boho’s plenty of praise from the likes of Cerys Matthews on BBC Radio 6 and has taken the Boho’s to some of the best live music venues in the UK as well as a Spanish tour. Since the release of Back To The Future the band have gained a new member on guitar and violin which expands their stupendous sound even further. In 2014 the Boho’s will be taking their fantastic sound back into Europe and also America..

 

If you fancy checking out the sound of The Bohemian Embassy then you can download track 2 from Built For The Future, Subject To Status’ as a free download.

 

The mighty Boho’s are about to release a new EP called Seek Love and have already released a single as a free download called ‘Look East’ from the EP.

The Boho’s main web page is HERE

Matheson Kamin’s “Best Of” List for 2013

It is now time for my 2013 “Best Of” list. This time around, the list will be slightly different for me: There will be the usual best albums of the year; however, some of the selections did not appear on the Rock And Roll Report. Greater Alexander and Cole Hermer and the Ravens were reviewed over on my blog. I also have made the list slightly longer as I have also included two artists (Alert New London and May Stands Still) who I wanted to include in the list, but Alert New London put out a new EP since I reviewed their Youth album and I did the review of May Stands Still’s When You Come Home back in 2012 but decided to include it on my Best Of list this year because the album has grown on me throughout the last 12 months. For those reasons, the list contains the top ten reviews from me in the last year plus two extra. Check out these talented artists and their solid releases.

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CD Review: A Great Big Pile of Leaves “You’re Always on My Mind”

A Great Big Pile of Leaves is an Indie Rock band from Brooklyn, New York. The band is composed of guitarist/ lead singer Peter Weiland, bassist Tucker Yaro, guitarist Matthew Fazzi & drummer Tyler Soucy. Together, the band creates a sound that brings together sounds of bands like Taking Back Sunday, Motion City Soundtrack, Saves The Day, The Appleseed Cast and Hellogoodbye.  A Great Big Pile of Leaves also incorporates some earlier rock sounds into their style to help bridge the gap between the modern-day rock sound and the sound of the rock music from a little earlier on. The combination of Indie Rock and Alternative create a sound that will grab the attention of many music lovers.

There are very few albums that grab your attention so hard and so completely that you just let the album play out because you are really enjoying the music, but You’re Always on My Mind from A Great Big Pile of Leaves is one such release. From the first note, you know you’re listening to something that really has that type of energy to it.

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Festive Freebies For Your Pleasure

   The purpose of this little article is to list a selection of some wonderful independent bands, all of which have inspired and fuelled my passion for good independent/unsigned music. As it is the season of good will all of the bands who I have listed below have music available as free downloads. On the Bandcamp links where you can ‘name your price’, please do give something if you possibly can. This will help to keep the independent scene alive and of course be a bonus to the bands. Obviously spreading good word about all of these bands will also be a great help. All of us here at the Rockandrollreport wish you a wonderful festive season.

Animals & Men

  There is a saying that old punks never die which is very true although the same can be said for music enthusiasts and aficionados of all varieties.

  This spotlights a great little band called Animals & Men who are based in Frome, South West of England On August 24th 2013 Animals and Men released an EP, To Live And Die In The West Country in downloadable format and also on vinyl.

 This EP is a minor masterpiece in minimalist alternative punk. It is clear that each of the four EP tracks come directly from the heart of the band fuelled by their love and appreciation of the alternative post punk sound. These four tracks have a combined total play time of just under ten minutes making To Live And Die In The West Country a short but extremely addictive experience.  Animals & Men have recently made available a CD copy of To Live And Die In The West Country.

Links

You can discover more about Animals & Men HERE complete with free downloads of their excellent music. The Animals & Men Facebook page is HERE.

Eletrika

Eletrika were formed in 1998 by Claudio David. They are a Brazilian metal band who combines Brazilian rhythms and Portuguese language in their own unique style. Eletrika have a unique style which is simply amazing. In 2005 Eletrika re titled their album V.S.F. to S.O.B. This was re worked during 2009 into an English version calling it ‘V3.1beta’.

Eletrika combine a powerful metal sound complete with sharp breaks along with that beautiful fusion of Portuguese and English languages. S.O.B. is an excellent album in all of is formats and I cannot rate this highly enough. You can get the complete S.O.B. album HERE. There is a huge selection of Eletrika tracks available as free downloads, you can check this out on Soundcloud HERE. Hey are also on My Space and Facebook. Their Facebook page has a very large selection of tracks to listen to and/or download for free thanks to the generosity of Eletrika.

Fabric

 Fabric are another band based in the South West of England, they are from Bath. The bands roots date back further but Fabric named themselves in 2005. I saw them live couple of years ago and was entranced by their performance. Fabric create a stunning atmospheric form of light electronic/pop/rock which is very easy listening. They have a style which is somewhat magnetic. Once you start listening you are drawn into the music – especially when listening to their most recent album from 2011. This is called The Wait.

 The Fabric website can be found HERE. The band have kindly made their gorgeous music downloadable for free HERE. As always I urge you to show your appreciation and thanks, you could always be really appreciative and make a donation to the band via pay pal, there is a link for this at the bottom of the page. Fabric can be found on Facebook HERE.

Four Year Beard

  This article would be far from complete without mentioning the mighty Four Year Beard. This is a musical project set up by Mike Frank to allow him some escape from the musical and artistic restrictions of playing in a band. This project grew into a stable of artists all of which can be found on the website 7thandbleeker.com – I strongly recommend that you go there and immerse yourself into the vast amount of aural insanity which is available, a great deal of it is for free. Enter at your own peril though as you may never be the same again!

Halfsleeper

 Halfsleeper are relatively new band/musical projects who, to the best of my knowledge are based in Bristol, UK. I cannot tell you too much about them but their music is gorgeous form of light alternative rock. Halfsleeper are on Facebook and Bandcamp. You can name your price to download The Iowaska Demos three track EP through the Bandcamp link.

Hark

 If you are a fan of good dynamic solid and pounding heavy rock then you need to take a look and have a good listen to Hark. Welsh heavy power-rock trio HARK (Jimbob Isaac (ex Taint - Guitar, Vocals Nikolai Ribnikov (ex- Whyteleaf) – Bass, Simon Bonwick (ex- WHYTELEAF) – Drums) have finished recording their forthcoming Season of Mist debut album, titled Crystalline. This has been recorded at Monnow Valley Studios in Wales (Black SabbathRUSHJudas PriestPortishead), and mixed by Converge guitarist Kurt Ballou (CONVERGE,High On Fire, KVELERTAK, YOUNG WIDOWS). Crystalline will be an absolute tour de force of a solid and heavy power rock album which will be released in March 2014.

Regarding the recording, front-man Jimbob Isaac has stated ’Fingers to the bone. That has been one of our mottos since HARK's inception, and it carried us through to the recording studio. Long days, little sleep and grim determination made this record the beast that we believe it to be. We pushed ourselves in all kinds of ways, and that commitment resonates throughout’. This rings so true when you listen to Harks first single, ‘Mythopoeia’. To give us a free taster Hark have made this single available as a free mp3 download through their Bandcamp page HERE. Their main site with European tour dates for 2014 can be found HERE. You can find Hark on Facebook HERE.

Gouranga

  Gouranga are a four piece heavy grunge outfit based in Bristol, UK. They have a solid grungy sound which is guaranteed to shake your foundations. They have two albums, the four track Nature’s Knife and the earlier seven track Keep Your Colours along with the single live track ‘Dinosaur Apathy’, recorded at The Cooler in Bristol during May 2011. You can name your price for all of this kickass music at Bandcamp HERE and find them on Facebook HERE

Los Criptozoos

 Los Criptozoos are a five piece melodic and fun punk band rocking out of Castellon De Plana in Spain. They where born in 2009 and in 2012 the band released their album La Danza Del Cadaver. This translates to ‘The Dance Of The Corpse’ and it is a superb piece of low budget punk jollity. The lyrics are all sung in Spanish which I love, I may not have much or any idea about what the songs are about but they are all extremely infectiously inflective. Los Criptozoos have this album available as a free download HERE and can be found on Facebook HERE.

POHL

 POHL are a powerful experimental rock duo based in Bristol, UK. Their style is a kicking combination of grunge, stoner and sludge with a hint of psychedelia. Their debut five track EP POHLSMOKER is available through Bandcamp. Once again you you can name your price HERE. You will also find them on Facebook.

Sicknote

  Punk has evolved in many ways, one stupendous and sublime example of this is Sicknote who are from Cardiff, South Wales, UK. They are a kind of techno rave dance shamanic punk revolution who, in a relatively short space of time have gained a huge following. The bands formation was an entirely fortunate but haphazard affair. A group of friends met an all night after party spot and decided to ‘wing it’ on stage just to see what would happen. From here Sicknote were born and they have been doing their ‘thing’ ever since. Sicknote have very sadly and recently lost one of their members, Dr Conker who was their dancer and spiritual guide. Dr Conker passed away in his sleep, RIP and dance on forever Dr Conker. Currently all live dates have been cancelled. You can get a great taste of Sicknote on their website HERE, there is a page there where you can download a whole pile of free music. Sicknote are on Facebook HERE, you know what to do!

The Bastard Fairies

  How could you not be intrigued by a band with a name as good as this? It was the name which caused me to check them out some while ago and if I had a Xmas tree in my flat then I would definitely have a bastard fairy on top of it! This band are a dangerous alternative pop band from L.A. who have a couple of stunning albums available as free downloads. Momento Mori is available through Bandcamp where you can name your price and Gutbucket Slims Blues Emporium is up for grabs in return for signing up to the bands mailing list. The Bastard Fairies can be found on Facebook HERE. If you like their music then I would strongly recommend you to also check out Well Hung Heart.

The Shanklin Freakshow

 The Shanklin Freakshow are a top notch steampunk industrial circus rock band who have been blasting out from their home on The Isle Of Wight, UK. Their sound has been shaped by the likes of Marilyn Manson, Insane Clown Posse, Alice Cooper, Rob Zombie etc. Their music is big, bouncy and buoyant with a full circus rock sound. I would love to see the live act sometime, it has to be one wild stage party. If you like the sound of these guys then check out their website HERE, there is a music player at the bottom of the page where you can listen to and download their music from. A large selection of it is available for free.

Vodun

  Based in London, UK Vodun are a three piece afro, heavy psych soul outfit who would also slip into the stoner/sludge metal genre. Their seven track album Eat Up The Sun is available as a free download HERE, Vodun are also on Facebook.

 

Thanks to each of the bands mentioned above for their musical generosity and good will 

 

 

 

CD Review: The Del-Lords “Elvis Club”

Back in the late eighties, four musicians came together to form a rock band for the purposes of bringing a little life back into the somewhat stagnant rock scene in America at the time. The band that was intent on adding that energy back into Rock And Roll was called The Del-Lords. Made up of lead guitarist/vocalist Scott Kempner, guitarist Eric Ambel, bassist Manny Caiati and drummer Frank Funaro, The Del-Lords had a short but lasting effect on Rock And Roll. The band released several albums of music that did just what the band wanted- they put a little life back into the music.

And then, the band called it quits. Almost as fast as they appeared on the scene, the band quickly ceased to be. The Del-Lords only existed as a band for eight years before the four members of the group went their separate ways to further influence music as part of other groups. The only thing that remained of the group when they split up was the four studio releases and one live album that they put out during their time together.

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CD Review: Stone Diamond “We Stole the Stars from the Black Night”

Stone Diamond is a rock trio made up of Cy on vocals/bass, Josh on vocals/guitar and The Tongue on drums. Having come together several years ago as a garage band, today, the three musicians create a rock band that has a lot of energy. The band also calls upon keyboardist, Toby Philippen to help flesh out their music. The resulting sound can be found on the band’s debut album We Stole the Stars from the Black Night.

We Stole the Stars from the Black Night begins with the track “Love Stays”. “Love Stays” is one of those tracks that starts off strong and just keeps going. The track features a straight-out rock feel that could easily find its way onto a Classic Rock radio format. The lyrics to the song are simple enough that the listener will find that they are singing along. When the band stops playing their instruments late in the track to sing a’cappella, the listener gets to hear the band harmonize. The track is very strong and is a great way to start off the new release from Stone Diamond.

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