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Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Tom Guerra “All of the Above”

Singer-songwriter Tom Guerra spent 15 years with the band Mambo Sons before the band called it quits. During their time together, the band released 4 albums of Indie Rock And Roll. The 4 albums included the last release of Heavy Days, which turned out to be a 2-CD set of music.

With Mambo Sons no longer together, Tom Guerra turned his attention to creating his own music. Not surprisingly, Guerra’s sound and style picked up right where Mambo Sons left off and therefore, Guerra’s music contains the same Indie Rock feel of his old band, but with a lot of other influences thrown in as well.

Not that long ago, Tom Guerra created his first solo album, 2014’s All of the Above. With Guerra now being a solo artist, he called upon several other people to help bring his music to life. Throughout the disc, Guerra performs both the guitar and bass parts on all of the tracks included on the release. But to bring the songs life, Guerra is joined by Mike Kosacek on drums, Morgan Fisher on piano, Matt Zeiner on piano, clavinet and Hammond B-3 and Christian Guerra adds vocals to a few of the tracks.

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Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Nektare “Apocalyptic Butterfly”

Trials and Tribulations is a character builder. After a two-year hiatus, I have returned to give awesome reviews of great rising heroes of Rock!

In my time in L.A., I’ve seen many concerts of talented bands. But there is one classic rockin’, psychedelic sounding, awesome band that stands above the rest. Nektare is the name. The driving force behind this band is Naomi Nektare. This petite lass, with a deep powerful voice, is an Arizona native who began writing songs from the age of three and has not stopped since.

Nektare consist of Naomi , vocals, Brandon Criswell, bass, Rich Vaccaro, guitar, and Todd Nosek, drums. The bands sound is inspired by rock legends like Janis Joplin, Led Zeppelin, all the way to The Red Hot Chili Peppers and Lenny Kravitz added with a little blues. Nektare has toured all over Southern California in well-known venues such as The Roxy, Viper Room and The Hard Rock Café.

I recently had the pleasure of listening to Nektare’s upcoming album, Apocalyptic Butterfly. There is a lot of rock, heart, life experience, and passion in each track of the album. “American Dream”, written by Naomi Nektare and Rich Vaccaro, is about the struggles of following your dream. No matter how much you are pushed down, dust yourself off, get up and keep on trucking. It is a very inspiring song about tenacity. “Cruelean Blue”, written By Naomi Nektare and Brandon Criswell, is a touching story of love and loss. You can feel Naomi’s broken heart cry out. This song speaks to me the most. “Cruelean Blue” represents a painful part of life we all go through. The title track, “Apocalyptic Butterfly,” written by Naomi Nektare, is a very fast paced, classic rock sounding with religious symbolism popping out here and there. The song is about Revelations and the second coming of The Messiah. Talking about epic symbolism, imagine the apocalyptic destruction is a cocoon, and the symbolic butterfly, rising from the ashes, is The Messiah returning. What better way to symbolize the second coming like the title of the song?  If the end is coming, it takes a BIG brave person to ask forgiveness. And it equally takes a BIG person to set aside differences, accept the apology, and renew ties of friendship. Life is too short to hold grudges. (WINK, WINK). But I digress. Apocalyptic Butterfly will be released later this year.

I did have the pleasure of seeing the band in concert. Nektare’s live show is a spectacle. “Naomi sees herself as the shaman, her band as the sweet soul medicine and the audience as the tribe – uniting together to rise to a higher consciousness through music.” As said on her website. It was a magical experience I will never forget.

(Editor’s Note: Check out the video for the title track from Nektare‘s upcoming release Apocalyptic Butterfly as well as other songs by the group here.)

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Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Hollywood Tramp “Lies About The Truth”

Hollywood Tramp is a pop/rock band with a funky twist based in London, England. They’ve just released a new four-song EP entitled, “Lies About The Truth,” with infectious tunes that wiggle themselves into your ears and head straight for the patches of neurons that govern your mobility. No lie, it is hard to resist the will to move to the beat and glide to the grooves set down by Hollywood Tramp.

Don’t let the name fool you – yeah, Hollywood Tramp sounds like a late ’80s glam band, but these four lads won’t impress you with fret board gymnastics or mile-high hair. But their music does possess a seductive lure, intertwining slinky melodies and sexy rhythms. In a phrase, Hollywood Tramp aims to get your body moving with irresistible pop rock hooks.

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Artists and Bands Record Labels

Alive and Rocking: Part 2

This is the second part of this round-up review/label profile so let me repeat:

Let me tell you, I get a decent bit of music in the mail thanks to this gig right here and although every day brings a package with a little bit of melodic lovin’ inside, there are days where the bounty is just so fucking cool it makes me glad I decided to become a music writer. The day I received this fat package of music from the Alive label was one of those great days. Alive is one of the few labels left which is dedicated to keeping rock and roll…ahem…alive in many ways, but most importantly in spirit. The label is a throwback to the days when substance meant more than anything else and sticking by your bands while they grew and matured was more important than milking them for one monster hit. I mean, while I am sure Alive would love to sell a ton of records and have a huge fat hit on their hands, they seem incredibly loyal to their bands and are nurturing their roster as each band builds their own reps and fanbases which will eventually help the label as a whole. As it is, the label has one of the best young rosters out there and will soon be able to compete with any other label out there is the discs contained in this package is any clue. Since they sent me so many wonderful releases, I am splitting this article into two parts so I don’t hit you with too much good stuff at one time. This is, of course, the second part!