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Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: U.S. Americans “Greatest Hits”

The band U.S. Americans is a Rock and Roll band that makes its home in New York City. The four-piece band consists of Jeff Weiss on Vocals/Guitar/Percussion, Emerson Williams on Drums, Daniel Deychakiwsky on Bass/Guitars and Roy Abraham on Guitars. Together, the musical ensemble creates a sound that they describe as: “Acid punk, whirling guitar, pummeling vocals, throbbing bass, and Dickensian drums.” With this style, the band has created a brand new album of music. And like much of the Punk Rock music scene, the band of U.S. Americans has taken to creating a release that has a slight political undercurrent to a few of the songs on the release. The new album from is U.S. Americans entitled Greatest Hits.

Greatest Hits from U.S. Americans begins with the track “Playtime”. This track features a quote that is most likely where the band’s moniker comes from. Back in 2007, Caitlin Upton, a Miss Teen USA contestant was answering a question about people living in this country not being able to find the United States on a map when she dropped the now infamous description of “U.S. Americans” as part of her answer. While the track features this now infamous statement, the song also features a rather fun lyrical content from vocalist Jeff Weiss as the track features lyrics of board game titles strung together to create a rather amusing wordplay. The track also features a very strong, driving feel to the music. Blending all of these elements together, “Playtime” is a track that comes across as more fun than political.

The new release from U.S. Americans continues with the track “Money in America”. The track’s sound features a very strong seventies vibe to the Rock and Roll music, not to mention the unmistakable Robert Plant vibe on the vocals from Jeff Weiss. The track has a definite Classic Rock style to the music in the style of Led Zeppelin while the lyrics deal with ever-growing divide between the Haves and the Have-Nots in the United States. Musically, “Money in America” will appeal to fans of Classic Rock while still trying to get a message out there about the shrinking category of the Middle Class in the U.S.

With the track “Innocent Fools,” the band changes the direction of their music. On this track, the band takes up a sound that would fit firmly in the eighties. “Innocent Fools” finds Jeff Weiss, Emerson Williams, Daniel Deychakiwsky and Roy Abraham blending their talents together to create a strong Power Rock sound. The strong guitar presence in the track and the feel of the bass and drums really bring out the feel of the track. While the track may not be ready for radio airplay because of the throwback feel to the eighties-style music, the song will absolutely fill the void for those music lovers who have missed the sound of the eighties.

For the track “Manolo,” the band creates a track that features a Prog-Rock style of Rock and Roll that feels as if it had been influenced by Frank Zappa. In fact, the music features guitar playing that brings to mind either the playing of Frank himself or that of his son Dweezil. “Manolo” is the shortest track on the release, but it’s still one track that stays with the listener.

“Fade Out” is the current track on the release to be featured, and it’s easy to see why. The track begins with a guitar riff that sounds as if it’s been backwards masked. That effect creates a very unique sound that catches the listener’s ear immediately. That riff is repeated over and over again throughout the entire length of the track which adds to the unusual but catchy nature of that riff. After the riff has played for about ninety seconds, the rest of the band joins in to create a song that features a slow pace to the music; at least, for the first half of the song. The track alternates between a slow pace and a much harder musical delivery that picks up the pace. The track “Fade Out” is easily one of the tracks that stands out the most on Greatest Hits from U.S. Americans. And the track is one of the songs that all but begs the listener to put on headphones and just allow the music to take you away.

The track “King Someday” is a track that finds U.S. Americans blending musical styles. The track contains a strong Classic Rock feel to the music that also contains a light Hip Hop flavor to the lyrical delivery. Actually, the delivery on the lyrics feels slightly more poetic than Hip Hop-flavored; although, there is a definite Hip Hop attitude to the lyrics. “King Someday” contains a slow pace to the music that brings to mind the music of Led Zeppelin once again.

U.S. Americans pick up the pace of their music for the song “Fuck the KGB”. The Punk Rock track contains a strong guitar presence that goes along with the quick pace. With the track, the band lets their feelings out about how they feel about the Russian spy agency. The track adds just a little bit more political presence to the band’s Greatest Hits release.

Greatest Hits from U.S. Americans comes to a close with the track “Dentist Street”. The track contains a rather relaxed feel to the music while still containing a strong backbone. The straight-out Rock and Roll track has a definite timeless feel to the music. The track could have been created in any decade of the last forty years. To go along with that timeless feel to the music, the lyrics are also rather universal as they seems to tell you to watch your step no matter what you do. “Dentist Street,” while not containing one of the more upbeat musical paces, is one of the more memorable tracks on the new release from U.S. Americans.

The Greatest Hits release from U.S. Americans is a solid album from the very first note. The New York-based quartet incorporates many different musical styles of Rock and Roll to create a release that changes directions throughout the twelve tracks. If you like Rock and Roll, even Rock and Roll that’s slightly political, Greatest Hits from U.S. Americans is well worth checking out.

 

For the music of U.S. Americans, check out the song “Fade Out“.

For more information, check out the PR Firm for the band, Whiplash PR

To purchase a copy of Greatest Hits from U.S. Americans, click on the album cover below:

 

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Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Lee Gallagher and the Hallelujah S/T

Lee Gallagher and the Hallelujah is a San Francisco-based musical ensemble made up of members who made their way to that area from all over the United States. The organ/guitar-drive band creates a Rock and Roll sound that contains a rather generous amount of psychedelic flavor to it. While the band’s music feels rather retro because of the nature of the band’s musical influences, they still have a style that would fit in with many of the bands out there in today’s music scene. Because their music is both fresh and new while still containing that retro feel to it, Lee Gallagher and the Hallelujah has had the opportunity to expand their fanbase after performing with the likes of Leon Russell, Heartless Bastards, Living Colour and even The Doobie Brothers.

As leader of the band, Lee Gallagher has a voice that brings to mind earlier vocalists such as Robert Plant from Led Zepplin, Syd Barrett from Pink Floyd and Neil Young. That vocal style proves that Gallagher’s voice contains a rather timeless sound to it.

Along with Lee Gallagher, the rest of the band consists of Kirby Hammel, Jacob Landry, Joe Miller, Jimmy Dewald. Together, the musicians create a Rock and Roll sound that is multi-layered and rather varied. The band Lee Gallagher and the Hallelujah is currently promoting their 2015 self-titled release.

The self-titled release from Lee Gallagher and the Hallelujah begins with the band’s theme song of sorts. The music for “The Hallelujah Prelude” seems to draw influence from the likes of Pink Floyd as the track has the same laidback feel as a song like “Comfortably Numb”. The use of things like the rainstick at the beginning of the song added that psychedelic feeling. The ninety seconds that make up “The Hallelujah Prelude” only hint at those musical influences before the track comes to an end.

With the second that, the self-titled release from Lee Gallagher and the Hallelujah really picks up steam. The track “Sugartown” finds the ensemble creating a straight-out Rock and Roll track that feels very timeless. The six-plus minute track indicates that the band has a style that makes use of a jamband style. And the guitar solos included in the track truly show off that jamband style. “Sugartown” gives the listener of a very good indication of just what the band can do while it also indicates what is to come during the rest of the release. Lee Gallagher and the rest of the band continue the album with the track “Empty Stars”. With this track, the organ stands out a lot more among the rest of the instrumentation. The keyboards add to the laid-back feel of the music. “Empty Stars” is one track on the album that truly feels as if it should have come from the late sixties/early seventies era.

The energy of the music picks up on the track “Gloryland”. With this track, the band creates a track that feels like a hybrid of something from Led Zeppelin mixed with something from Bob Seger. The resulting track has a strong piano feel and a few strong electric guitar solos that add that unmistakable Rock and Roll feel to the track. “Gloryland” is one track that feels as if it should be played on Classic Rock radio formats.

One particular track that stands out the most is “Night Trip”. The music of the song mixed with the lyrics combine to create a very trippy song that easily takes the listener back into the late sixties/early seventies. Like many tracks from that period, “Night Trip’s” easy pace, somewhat psychedelic production and musical arrangement all combine to create a track that begs the listener to turn the lights down low and just enjoy the song in the darkness, no pun intended. “Night Trip” ends up being one of the strongest tracks on the album.

Lee Gallagher and the Hallelujah’s album comes to a close with the track “1935”. With this track, the band creates a track with a slow pace but plenty of energy. The band all join in to create a track with a very strong ensemble feel to the music. While all of the band contributes a lot to the track, it’s the electric guitar and the organ that seem to share the spotlight throughout the three-and-a-half minutes. With how strong the music of the track is, “1935” feels like the perfect track to bring the 2014 album to a close.

The songs on the self-titled release from Lee Gallagher and the Hallelujah are all strong and enjoyable to listen to. With the band using other bands like Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin This is the type of release that begs the listener to listen through a pair of headphones. As you put on the self-titled release from Lee Gallagher and the Hallelujah and just allow the album to play out, the time and album seem to slip away rather quickly. Before you know it, you end up wanting even more than the eleven tracks that make up the album. This is the type of album that is rarely found in today’s music industry. If you are a fan of Classic Rock, the self-titled release from Lee Gallagher and the Hallelujah is something you must check out.

To check out the music from Lee Gallagher and the Hallelujah, check out their song “1935“.

Click on the album cover below to check out the self-titled release from Lee Gallagher and the Hallelujah.

cover

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Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Count’s 77 “Soul Transfusion”

In today’s music scene, the radio is full of overly commercialized music. What exists today can largely be categorized as nothing but pop music. Sometimes, you have to go far out of your way to find real Rock and Roll music these days. Thankfully, there are still those musicians out there that are keeping the feeling of real Rock and roll alive. You just have to know where to look for it. One band that is keeping the spirit of real Rock and Roll alive is Las Vegas-based band Count’s 77.

Like the band’s name suggests, Count’s 77 is a Hard Rock band that focuses their musical energy on creating real Rock and Roll. Consisting of bassist Barry Barnes, drummer Paul Disibio, keyboardist Tommy Paris and the twin guitar team of John Zito and Stoney Curtis and lead singer Danny “Count” Koker, the band’s main musical influences come from the Hard Rock era of Rock and Roll. Most importantly, the band lists Thin Lizzy, Foghat, Led Zeppelin and the Allman Brothers as major influences on the band’s sound.

Having already released a self-titled album, Count’s 77 have returned with a new album of music. The brand new album from Count’s 77 is entitled Soul Transfusion.

Soul Transfusion from Count’s 77 begins with the track “Summer of ‘77”. Just like “Summer of ‘69” from Bryan Adams, the new track from Count’s 77 is written as a musical remembrance of days gone by. In this case, lead singer Danny Koker sings of the musical highlights of yesteryear that helped to shape the tastes of the members of the band. Mixed with a musical style that would have been right at home on Power Rock radio formats in the eighties, “Summer of ‘77” features a strong, driving pace to the beat of the song. The vocals from Danny Koker and the powerful guitar solo from Stoney Curtis help make the song very strong.

The new release from Las Vegas’ Count’s 77 continues with the song “Hard Rock Band”. Like the title of the song suggests, “Hard Rock Band” pays tribute to all those who continue to create music in the same style as those bands that are now grouped into the Classic Rock radio format. The first few bars of the song bring to mind “Get Back” from the Rolling Stones before Count’s 77 takes the song in a much stronger and more original direction. “Hard Rock Band” slows the pace of the album down slightly. However, the music produced by the guitars and the rest of the instrumentation makes sure no energy is lost on the track.

Count’s 77 pick up the energy level of the music with the track “Do You Feel Me”. While the first two track on their latest release of Soul Transfusion fall into Rock and Roll, “Do You Feel Me” is straight-out Heavy Metal. With a style that incorporates the older Heavy Metal sound from the seventies that bands like Deep Purple and Steppenwolf helped to influence, “Do You Feel Me” is more about the energy of the music and not the speed that some Heavy Metal contains. The energetic delivery of the music creates a track that would be perfect for inclusion on a mixtape for use on highway cruising alongside songs like Golden Earring’s “Radar Love” or Steppenwolf’s “Born to be Wild”. “Do You Feel Me” from Count’s 77 feels like a classic track right from the very first note.

One standout track from Count’s 77’s new album of Soul Transfusion is the title track of the release. The song “Soul Transfusion” finds the six members of the band creating a song that incorporates a slightly more modern feel to the Hard Rock they create than the previous tracks. The song once again features a very driving feel to the pace of the music while the music itself contains stylistic elements that bring the song into a Modern Rock format more than a Classic Rock format. That modern approach proves that while the members of Count’s 77 have plenty of older influences to draw from, newer ones are also there to help keep the band’s music fresh. “Soul Transfusion” is one of the strongest tracks on the release and it is one song that will easily grab the attention of the listener.

The feel of the Soul Transfusion release from Count’s 77 changes drastically on the song “Evil You Could Do”; while the majority of the album contains a hot and blistering quality to the Hard Rock/Heavy Metal that the band produces, the song “Evil You Could Do” finds the band incorporating a large dose of the Blues into the Blues-Rock track. The track seems just a little bit reminiscent of something from Carlos Santana. Having listened to several tracks where the band delivered a strong Rock and Roll approach where the music comes at you with unrelenting energy the Blues-Rock on “Evil You Could Do” seems to come out of nowhere. At the same time, the extreme change of musical direction helps to show off the talent and versatility of each of the members of the band.

With singer Danny Koker and the rest of Count’s 77 being based in Las Vegas, it should come as no surprise that the band would end up producing a song that is influenced by that city. “Sin City Boogie Man” is a track that brings back the full throttle energy of the band’s musical approach. With the subject matter being as dark as it is, the song could be classified as “Horror Rock”. The track features plenty of energy that comes from a multi-guitar “axe attack” that adds to the driving nature of the song. “Sin City Boogie Man” ends up being one of the more entertaining tracks on the Soul Transfusion release.

Through the album’s eleven tracks, Soul Transfusion from Count’s 77 makes good use of musical influences that are both modern and a little bit older. The album contains plenty of songs that will end up satisfying and Rock and Roll lover’s need for Good Ole Rock and Roll.

To check out the music of Count’s 77, click HERE for the video to the band’s song of “Summer of 77”

For more information, check out the band’s record label, Shrapnel Records.

To check out Soul Transfusion from Count’s 77, click on the album cover below:

album cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also, check out Danny Koker and the rest of his crew at Koker’s custom motor shop called Count’s Kustoms AND the television show they are part of, “Counting Cars” which can be found on the HISTORY channel.

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Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Bofus “Get Some”

Bofus is a Missouri-based three-piece rock band that hails from the Greater Kansas City area. The three musicians that make up the band are: Rusty Mainard on drums, guitar, vocals; Kevin Scott on guitar, vocals and Mike Criger on bass, vocals. Having once been part of the same music scene in the Kansas City area, the three musicians have been creating music together as a group for a decade. During that amount of time, the band has developed a very tight sound and that solid feel in their music is very apparent on the band’s newest album which is entitled Get Some.

Get Some from Bofus begins with a two-part track called “Demintro-Rich Man”. The track begins with the instrumental portion of the song. The trio creates a very rockin’ sound that features a hard rock feel to the music. After about ninety seconds when the track changes pace and slows down, it takes on a bluesier feel to the music while still have plenty of energy. The lyrics about finding the right person seem to have an almost universal appeal to them.

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Reviews and Suggestions

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 & 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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Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Black Earth “Pink Champagne”

Black EarthWhile the sound of rock and roll has changed throughout the years, you can still find bands that have been influenced by the sound of Classic Rock bands like Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Cream and others. One current band that has focused their musical energy on creating new music with that Classic Rock feel is Austin, Texas-based Black Earth.

Black Earth is a trio consisting of guitarist/vocalist Jason “Ving” Calise, bassist/vocalist Dave Rangel and drummer Jason Reese. Together, these three musicians create a trio that any Classic Rock lover will enjoy. This trio is currently promoting their latest release entitled Pink Champagne, a ten-song album that was recorded over two five-day sessions.

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Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: The Muggs “Born Ugly”

To find an album of music so strong and enjoyable that you just need to put it on and let it play out from the first track to the last without the need to skip tracks is always a dream for music lovers. But a lot of the time, you inevitably find one or two tracks that don’t really live up to the rest of the release and you pass over those tracks to get to the better ones. So when you find that “perfect” album of music by a band or musician that is strong from beginning to end, you tend to cherish it more than other releases. Born Ugly by The Muggs is one such release that will rise to the top of your music collection because of the strength within each and every one of the 13 songs that make up the 2011 rock release.

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Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Granicus “Thieves, Liars and Traitors”

Psychedelic hard rock band Granicus existed alongside bands like Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin. The Cleveland-formed band left the area to seek their musical fortunes out in New York. RCA signed the band and released their self-titled debut release. However, it would be their only major label release, as bad management and a bad record deal left Granicus’ potential as a band unfulfilled. By the mid-seventies, Granicus had ceased to be.
Jumping ahead three and a half decades to 2010, unfinished demos were uncovered as band members were cleaning and the idea to release the ‘album that never was’ was born.

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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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Artists and Bands

The Edification of Lick And A Promise

You may have recently read my review of Come Together In The Morning by Lick And A Promise. Well, I have just had a chat with them regarding their formation, influences and instrument choice. They also talked a little about their recent US mini tour and their hopes for a similar tour in the UK.

Q: Can you give us a little more info on how Lick And A Promise came together in 2005?

A: Jochen and Manuel have been playing together in different bands like, forever and recorded their first real album in 2006. A year after they’ve founded Lick And A Promise. The record, which they had to produce on their own after some falling out with the original producer (but he’s a homefuck anyway), was alright, but things just didn’t really work out with the other band members. So the band kinda drifted apart without ever having played a single gig together.