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CD Review: In The Next Life “4FriendsInARoomWithAGun”

In The Next Life is a four-piece band from New York City. Much like New York City, the four musicians that make up the band come from different backgrounds, both musically and personally. The different personal backgrounds and different musical backgrounds help to create music that borrows from many different styles. It is because of that borrowing from different styles that the band’s new album alternates between many different influences. The new release from In The Next Life is entitled 4FriendsInARoomWithAGun.

4FriendsInARoomWithAGun from In The Next Life features the track “Manica Satanica”. The track begins with the sound of evil laughter before the band joins in with chanting to go along with the sound of bongos. This helps to musically set the scene as the music of the track takes on a Heavy Metal feel. The screeching guitars and the powerful vocals from singer Caroleen Stewart combine with strong drums from drummer as well as engineer/producer for the release, Tamas Vajda to create a track that should satisfy those with the need for a heavier style of music, especially for those fans of Heavy Metal from the nineties.

With the track “Hope Dies (Acoustic/Vocal),” the feel of the music from In The Next Life changes. It is the Acoustic/Vocal mix of the track that is focused on here. The acoustic guitar from Charles A Cudd II and the vocals from Caroleen Stewart are the two elements in play as the two bandmates create perhaps the softest, most relaxing moment on the release. Well, when compared to the rest of the release, at least. Of course, the acoustic guitar from Cudd still has plenty of energy as this is an acoustic version of a much harder track. Together, the talents of Charles A Cudd II and Caroleen Stewart come through as no other instruments are featured on this track.

In The Next Life’s track called “Ashes and Dust” comes complete with an alternating musical feel as the music alternates between laidback and soft and a much harder, Heavy Metal-like approach. “Ashes and Dust” begins with the sound of the drums as well as the bass from John McD. Together, the two instruments create a Jazz-like feel to the music. When Caroleen Stewart joins them, the result is a moment that feels rather familiar, as if influenced by the Sixties band Jefferson Airplane; especially when Stewart’s vocals are very reminiscent of Grace Slick. After a few moments, the feel of the track changes as the band adds the guitar into the mix. The guitar adds a bit of Heavy Metal flavor to the track before the Jazz feel comes back. While the music of “Ashes and Dust” keeps the listener’s attention as it alternates between the hard and soft passages, Caroleen Stewart’s vocals are the main focal point of the track. On this track more than any other, you get to hear Stewart’s range as a singer as her vocals stretch from lower registers to higher ones.

The 4FriendsInARoomWithAGun release from In The Next Life finds the band creating one of the more interesting tracks with “Living in the Moment”. This track features strong, almost Heavy Metal-like guitars creating the melody of the track. But while the guitars are powerful, the rest of the track is much different. In fact, the Heavy Metal feel of those guitars mix with the easy feel of the drums and a slightly relaxed bassline. This creates a definite Prog-Rock feel to the track. While not really the norm, In The Next Life’s track of “Living in the Moment” shines the light on the bass guitar of John McD. In fact, much of the track feels like a bass solo for McD. And after an extended bass part, solo drums add some strong rhythm to the track.

One final track to focus on in the 4FriendsInARoomWithAGun release is the song “Hope Dies”. If that titles looks familiar (and it should), this is the actual song that the earlier track “Hope Dies (Acoustic/Vocal)” was inspired by. While the earlier track featured vocals and acoustic guitar, the entire band of In The Next Life creates this track. Just like with the earlier song, the track features a slow pace to the music. But this time, instead of an acoustic guitar, the track features an electric guitar. The first minute of the song feels much like the acoustic version of the song as the track is laidback. Soon after reaching the one-minute mark, however, the electric guitar truly makes its presence known as the band picks up the energy level. Much like the aforementioned “Ashes and Dust,” “Hope Dies” alternates between hard and softer passages in the music, bringing the track to a close during one of the harder points in the music.

4FriendsInARoomWithAGun from the band In The Next Life finds the band creating songs that are widely different from each other. The band’s use of different musical influences makes for a very interesting and entertaining release.

For more information, check out In the Next Life’s PR firm of Whiplash PR & Management by clicking on the logo for the company.

 

 

 

 

For a taste of the music from In the Next Life, check out the song “Manica Satanica”.

To hear the 4FriendsInARoomWithAGun release from In The Next Life, click on the album cover below: 

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CD Review: Microcosms “Fairytale”

Sometimes you learn an instrument and then create a band. Sometimes you spend years playing one instrument only to find inspiration in another instrument. That was the situation with songwriter Andrew Tschiltsch who spent time playing drums for years before the desire to play guitar hit him. And once the guitar was in his hand, the desire to create his own songs hit. Tschiltsch spent a few years recording and experimenting with the way his music sounded before bringing Bryan Emer (bass) and Jered Pipenbrink (drums) into the fold. Together, Tschiltsch, Emer and Pipenbrink create the Chicago-based band called Microcosms. The band’s first release, Know My Body, came out a few years ago in 2017. And in 2018, the band released their latest EP called Fairytale

Fairytale from Microcosms begins with the track “Omnipotence”. The track begins with the entire trio creating a track that blends together straight-out Rock and Roll with some Prog-Rock influence to it. Soon enough, however, the feel of the track changes as Bryan Emer’s bass seems to be the instrument to focus on as the bass pushes the track forward. Both Tschiltsch and Pipenbrink use their instruments to support Emer’s playing. Eventually, the trio creates a song that contains a rather unique feel to it. Ultimately, the slightly off-key music of the track brings to mind the style of Frank Zappa, as both the music on the track and the playing of the band both seem to contain Zappa’s influence. The track’s lyrical content features a darkness as the lyrics describe a person who wants as much power as possible.

With the second track on the release, Microcosms creates a slightly more upbeat track. The track “Wrapped Up” features a musical blend that takes some Punk feel and mixes it with some straight Rock and Roll. What stands out on this track is the vocal delivery from singer/guitarist Andrew Tschiltsch. On this track, for whatever reason, Tschiltsch seems to be channeling Mark Mothersbaugh of the band Devo. The lyrics to the track also seem to contain a little influence from the Akron, Ohio band of Devo as the lyrics about wondering why the singer is so attracted to the person of interest that the lyrics are about. The band powers through “Wrapped Up” as the song doesn’t even last for two minutes before it’s finished. While the song is not one hundred percent influenced by Devo, the influence does seem to be there.

Microcosms’ 2018 release of Fairytale continues with the song “Flinch”. With this track, the band continues their pattern of creating songs that are inspired by older bands. On “Flinch,” you can almost hear the influence of the band Talking Heads in the music. It’s the slightly off-kilter feel of the music that brings the vision of the Talking Heads to mind when listening to the song, not to mention the way the lyrics feel as Andrew Tschiltsch delivers them. The Frank Zappa approach of the band on this track makes for a great track that goes well with the previous track of “Wrapped Up”. The overall feel of the track makes it perfect for any Alternative Rock radio station.

As the track “Strangle” begins, the listener finds themselves back in the nineties as the track has a style that is rather reminiscent of bands from the era. The track starts off with the sound of Bryan Emer’s bass. The riff created by Emer brings to mind something from the band Weezer. From there, the track features a style that blends Weezer’s influence with some Punk feel. The driving pace to the music of the track creates a strong, fun feel to the song. Like much of the EP, “Strangle” features lyrics about someone who has too much power. The lyrics deal with the singer trying to control his anger towards that person. The song feels rather at home in today’s political atmosphere.

The five tracks that make up the 2018 EP of Fairytale from Microcosms have a definite feel to them that helps to create a solid release. However, the five tracks also contain a different approach. This creates a solid EP with a good amount of variety in the Rock and Roll. While this EP was released not that long ago, the band continues to record. Stay tuned.  

 

To check out the music of Microcosms, check out the video to their single “Omnipotence”.

For more information, check out Microcosms’ PR Firm, Whiplash Marketing & Whizkid Management. Click on the logo below to visit their site.

 

 

 

 

Microcosms just celebrated the release of their latest single entitled “Forget Us”. Click HERE to check out my review of that track. 

To check out the Fairytale EP from Microcosms, click on the album cover below:

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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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CD Review: Ale Torriggino “Blue Light”

The city of Rosario, Argentina is home to singer-songwriter Ale Torriggino. Within the town of Rosario, Torriggino and other musicians seem to be very influenced by music that would be considered oldies here in the United States. Because of that, the original music created by Ale has a definite retro feel to it. The feel of Ale Torriggino has been influenced by the likes of B.B. King, Bob Dylan, The Beatles, along with more modern artists such as John Mayer. Together, these influences shine through in the music produced by Torriggino as his music features Rock, Blues and Jazz influences.

Ale Torriggino has already released one album of music. The 2016 album from Torriggino called Sureste features songs written and performed in Spanish. The musician has just recently followed that album up with another album of music. This time, however, Torriggino has created a release performed in English. The 2017 release from Ale Torriggino is entitled Blue Light. To help bring the release to life, Torriggino’s drums and guitar were joined by bass from Marcos Benítez and keyboard from Natalia Nardiello. The album was helped along by Gonzalo Esteybar who contributed production, arrangements, additional guitar.

Blue Light from Ale Torriggino begins with the track “The Healer”. As the song begins, the listener experiences the guitar playing of Torriggino that adds a definite Blues element to the song. Along with that Blues influence, the track also features a strong acoustic approach. The acoustic/electric combination on the track gives the track a timeless musical approach. The track ultimately feels as if it had been influenced by the playing of Eric Clapton. The guitar solo on the track is proof of that.

Ale Torriggino turns up the energy level on the next track called “When the Tide begins to Turn”. The song still contains a strong Blues influence to both the music and the lyrics, but the music is a lot stronger as Torriggino chooses to incorporate the electric guitar to the music. The song’s lyrical content sounds very much like something from B.B. King while the electrified nature of the music makes the song feel more like something from Stevie Ray Vaughn.

The release continues with the song “Grey Sky Blues”. With this song, Ale Torriggino slows things down. The softer musical approach that is contained within the music of the track seems to contain a Folk flavor to it. Plus, the organ that comes courtesy of Natalia Nardiello adds a certain amount of Soul feeling to the track. The lyrics of the song contain a slightly sad feel to them adding to the concept of the grey sky.

After one track with a slower pace, Ale Torriggino picks the pace back up with the song “Catherine”. The music of the track contains elements from musicians such as Elvis Presley or Roy Orbison when they were first starting out, helping to shape the history of Rock and Roll music. The older Rock and Roll influences on the track give the song a definite Rockabilly flavor. That Rockabilly influence does a lot to set “Catherine” apart from the rest of the album.

One of the strongest tracks on the Blue Light release from Ale Torriggino is the song “Waiting for the War to Come”. The track features a strong, driving feel to the music that comes for the inclusion of an electric guitar. The track brings the listener back to the days of the late sixties as the music has a slight Neil Young feel to it. The track would have easily fit in with other anti-war tracks that existed back during the Vietnam War era.

Ale Torriggino keeps the energy level of the music up with the song “Hostage”. The Blues-Rock track brings to mind someone like the band Cream while the song also contains a slight Prog-Rock influence to it. The powerful guitar part is matched up well with a bassline that combine to form a track that has a strong groove to it. “Hostage” is one of the strongest, and shortest, tracks on the Blue Light release from Ale Torriggino.

The track “Shelter” features music that seems to combine elements from both “Let it Ride” from Bachman-Turner Overdrive and “Waiting on the World to Change” from John Mayer; although, as the song progresses, the slow pace of the music would side more with Mayer’s song than with BTO’s track. Throughout the track, the John Mayer influence is evident in both the music and the style of the lyrics. “Shelter” finds Ale Torriggino writing a song about sharing the same roof with that special someone. “Shelter” is easily one of the more commercial tracks on the Blue Light album.

The Blue Light release from Ale Torriggino comes to an end with the song “The Color Life”. The track begins with a simple man-and-his-guitar approach as Torriggino creates a track that feels very much like something from James Taylor, in both music and lyrical content. As the track proceeds, the music continues to build. Eventually, the one lonely guitar is joined by an entire symphony of strings to add an orchestral feel to the track. “The Color Life” and its orchestral feel helps to bring the album to a close in a rather laidback manner.

Blue Light from Ale Torriggino is a strong musical release. The many different musical elements used by Torriggino to create his music ultimately combine to form an album that feels retro in some places and rather modern in others. The ten tracks of music make for an album that will appeal to a lot of music lovers at the same time.

 

To hear some of the music from Ale Torriggino, check out the song “Hostage“.

For more information, check out Ale Torriggino’s record label, River Flow Records.

To purchase a copy of Blue Light from Ale Torriggino, click on the album cover below:

Blue Light

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CD Review: Resilient “How to Peach”

Much of the current music being produced today seems to lack the bit and power of music from days gone by. Thankfully, there are still those out there who want to create new music that contains the power and energy of real Rock and Roll. While it seems that type of band is getting harder and harder to find, once in a while you will find the diamond in the rough, musically speaking. Once such band creating real Rock and Roll today is the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania-based Resilient.

 
Resilient is a four-piece Rock and Roll band consisting of Lennon Cantwell: Lead guitar/backing vocals; Alicia Dickerson: bass; Erin Fox: guitars/vocals and Katie Fox: drums/backing vocals. Together, the members of the band draw inspiration from various forms of Rock and Roll, but mainly from Alternative and Grunge. The resulting style of music from Resilient is something that has not been heard regularly for several years now. So with the band’s new album of How to Peach, Resilient is keeping the memory of Grunge and Alternative Rock alive.

 
The new album of How to Peach from Resilient begins with the track “Crickets”. The song contains a very strong 90’s Alternative Rock feel to the music. Moreover, the track screams Hole featuring Courtney Love. The track feels very much like something from Hole’s 1998 release of Celebrity Skin; specifically, the “Crickets” track from Resilient is more than a little reminiscent of the album’s title track of “Celebrity Skin”. Like that classic track, “Crickets” from Resilient has a strong, driving pace to the music and you can almost imagine Love being the one to sing the lyrics to the track. But in this case, that responsibility goes to lead vocalist Erin Fox who does a great job. For those missing the sound of the 90’s Alternative Rock music, this track is just what you’re looking for.

 
Resilient’s How to Peach continues with the track “Ceiling”. While the first track of “Crickets” had a driving feel to the pace of the music, “Ceiling” comes across as a lot more relaxed. In fact, the track’s musical feel is closer to a Lounge style of music than Alternative Rock. But as the music still does not fit into the commercial style of mainstream Rock and Roll, “Ceiling” could (and should) still be considered Alternative in nature. As the track of “Ceiling” progresses, the song picks up steam and the band ends up letting loose and creating a strong jam near the end of the song.

 
With the track of “I Broke It As Soon As I Got It,” the band shows off a slightly different side of the personality as a group. While the track ultimately would be classified as Alternative Rock, the band adds a lot of Progressive Rock elements to the music such as off-kilter rhythms. The addition of the Prog-Rock elements adds a lot of depth to the track.

 
The track of “Medication” seems to have been created after having been written about real-life events. The track’s lyrics deal with the singer as she goes through side effects because of taking medicine to treat the illness. While the lyrics are rather grim, the music of the track was created having a rather upbeat feel to it. The listener will even notice a connection to the track in the cover art as the artwork contains not only a reference to the title track (and final song) of the release “How to Preach,” but also references to medication in the pills that fill up the album cover.

 
As a change of pace, the members in Resilient send their music in a more straight-out Rock and Roll direction on the track “Comin Yer Way”. The guitar-heavy track brings to mind the Rock and Roll music of the seventies from bands like Molly Hatchet, Foghat and other bands that were creating the harder Rock and Roll during that era. “Comin Yer Way” from Resilient shows that the band may draw a lot of their influences from Alternative bands like Nirvana and Hole, but they also find influence from older music as well.

 
Resilient’s How to Peach comes to a close with the “title track” of the release. The song “How to Preach” finds the band returning to a Grunge direction for the final track. Like many of the tracks that make up the release, “How to Preach” is a track that features a strong, driving nature to the music of the song. The track contains a lot of Grunge influences; however, there are also a lot of influences from the likes of Joan Jet in the music, as well. “How to Preach” is a track that, through its different musical influences, will connect fans of different eras of music together.

 
When much of the music out there today seems to be missing a lot of energy, How to Peach from Philadelphia’s Resilient is one release that hits hard from the start and never lets up. If you are tired of music that just doesn’t it hard enough and have been looking for an album that falls into the category of REAL Rock and Roll, then How to Peach from Resilient needs to be added to your music collection.

 

For a taste of the music of Resilient, check out their live performance of the song “Medication“.

To check out Resilient’s album of How to Peach, click on the album cover below:

How to Peach

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more information, check out the band’s PR Firm of WhiplashPR

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CD Review: The World of Captain Beefheart

Fans of the obscure and more challenging forms of Rock and Roll such as Progressive Rock or even Avante Garde Rock and Roll should, no doubt, be familiar with the name Don Van Vliet or his alter ego, Captain Beefheart. As Captain Beefheart, Van Vliet created some of the more unusual songs and albums in the sixties, seventies and early eighties. In the time period, the Captain created thirteen albums (with the album Bat Chain Puller being released posthumously in 2012, two years after Don Van Vliet passed away).

While it has been seven years since the passing of Don Van Vliet, there are still plenty of people who call upon his music as an influence to their own. Because of that, it should come as no surprise that someone would create a new album that pays tribute to the memory of Van Vliet and the music he left behind.

The World of Captain Beefheart is a new album created by Gary Lucas, a guitarist who spent time helping Don Van Vliet create some of his later albums. It is Lucas that creates the music for the album. Helping Lucas out with the creation of the new album is singer Nona Hendryx who has a history creating some very original material of her own as well as backing up people like Patti LaBelle. As you listen to the album, you can tell that Hendryx’s voice seems just perfect for interpreting the musical direction of the lyrics to the songs from Van Vliet. Together, the two artists and a few of their friends have taken some of the best music from Captain Beefheart’s musical library and compiled those songs into the album called The World of Captain Beefheart.

As there are thirteen albums to pick from in order to create the playlist for the tribute, a decision as to what would be used had to be made. Taking a look at the playlist for the new tribute album, Gary Lucas and Nona Hendryx have focused on some of Captain Beefheart’s more well-known albums. Along with other albums, the songs for this release were taken largely from Clear Spot and Safe as Milk which the songs from those albums account for about half of the release.

Starting off the tribute album is the song “Sun Zoom Spark”. One of the more Avante Garde of Captain Beefheart’s compositions, “Sun Zoom Spark” features a rather difficult rhythm to the music, creating one of the more interesting songs in Van Vliet’s song collection. As far as Gary Lucas and Nona Hendryx’s version of the song is concerned, the duo does a good job of interpreting the track with just enough Avante Garde feeling to satisfy those looking for that type of feeling. The resulting track lives up to the original.

One of the more commercial tracks on the release is “My Head Is My Only House Unless It Rains”. With this track, Captain Beefheart created a track that blends Jazz and Rock and Roll together to create a track with a gentle pace to it. The version here from Lucas and Hendryx contains a little bit more Jazz influence as a result of Hendryx’s vocal delivery. The quick two-and-a-half minute playtime makes for a great single for radio.

As you go through the album, you encounter a lot of different musical styles. The track “I’m Glad” features a sound that brings to mind something from the band Tommy James and the Shondells. More specifically, the track would fit right alongside that band’s “Crystal Blue Persuasions”. This is one of the more arranged tracks on the album as the original had more of a Motown feel to it. This album version from Gary Lucas and Nona Hendryx may actually blow the original version away.

Another standout track on The World of Captain Beefheart is the song “Her Eyes Are a Blue Million Miles”. This version of the song finds Lucas and Hendryx slightly departing from the original feel of the piece for something a bit different. Although still containing a lot of the original feel of the piece, this version seems to contain a bit of Frank Zappa influence to the music. While the Van Vliet influence is there, the arrangement favors Zappa’s way of playing. Having that Zappa influence, while probably unintentional, isn’t all that unusual since Van Vliet and Zappa knew each other and collaborated with each other over the years.

Putting the album together, it was important that the release was a good representation of the works of the writing style of Don Van Vliet. That meant including some of the more challenging tracks from Captain Beefheart as well as the more commercial of his songs. One of the challenging tracks from Beefheart is the song “Sugar and Spikes”. The constant changing of the beat and the slightly off-key playing from multi-instrumentalist Gary Lucas creates a track that slips into Prog-Rock style. In fact, at times in the track, the music will remind the listener of something from the band Gentle Giant. With the track having such a challenging rhythmic pattern, vocalist Nona Hendryx does a fine job handling the changes that are thrown her way as she sings.

Speaking of singing: For most of the tracks on this release, vocalist Nona Hendryx’s voice works well with the music of the songs to produce a good take on the vocals even though she doesn’t sound much like Captain Beefheart. On the track “Sure ‘Nuff ‘N Yes I Do,” however, Hendryx’s vocals seem a little hoarser than on the rest of the album. So much so, the listener can almost imagine Beefheart singing the lyrics to this one. As far as the music to the track is concerned, a stronger Blues influence shows up. With this track, you can hear a definite nod to the early days of Rock and Roll when the Blues were more of a part of the music. With the very evident Blues feel to the track, “Sure ‘Nuff ‘N Yes I Do” could easily have been Don Van Vliet’s tribute to one of the major building blocks that helped to build Rock and Roll.

The World of Captain Beefheart comes to an end with the track “Tropical Hot Dog Night”. In true Captain Beefheart fashion, this track has a very warped sense of humor as far as the lyrics are concerned. And with the definite sexual innuendos that flow through the track, the female vocals from Nona Hendryx seem strangely and sadly out of place. This is one of the weirdest tracks on the album and one that definitely screams “Captain Beefheart”.

One of the things that fans of Captain Beefheart will immediately notice when putting on The World of Captain Beefheart is that the tracks on the album stay pretty true to the original versions of the songs. While they wanted to create an album that paid homage to Don Van Vliet, one thing the duo of Gary Lucas and Nona Hendryx seemed to not want to do was to alienate fans of Captain Beefheart. Because of that, the resulting tracks that make up the release interpret the music of Van Vliet but do not “reinvent the wheel”. The songs used for this release are close to the original arrangements while still breathing new life into the songs.

If you have been a fan of Captain Beefheart or are now just coming to become aware of the artist and the music he left behind when he passed away in 2010, The World of Captain Beefheart is a great place to start before you go off and find the original recordings. And if you have the original albums from Captain Beefheart, this album is well worth the time to seek out so you can add it into your library of his music.

For a taste of some of the music off of The World of Captain Beefheart, check out the song “Sure ‘Nuff ‘n’ Yes I Do” by Gary Lucas and Nona Hendryx.

For more information on this and other releases, check out Howlin Wuelf Media.

To purchase a copy of this release, click on the album cover below:

Capatin Beefheart

 

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Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Race to Neptune “Oh Contraire”

Fort Collins, Colorado is home to the band Race to Neptune, a group that features several different styles of Rock and Roll together that helps to create their music. The band is comprised of Brian Maier on guitar, vocals; Vanessa Freese on drums; Ken Cavanaugh on bass, vocals and Zach Berger on guitar. Together, this foursome creates a sound that features multiple forms of Rock and Roll flowing through it. Because of the multiple styles of Rock and Roll flowing through their music, Race to Neptune has created an album of original music that seems to change from one track to the next. The band recently recorded a debut album. That album is entitled Oh Contraire.

Oh Contraire from Race to Neptune begins with the track “Wanderlilly”. The band creates a track that features a strong Alternative Rock feel to the music. The track brings back some of the best elements of the genre from the mid-nineties. The track begins with a mellow approach before the band takes the music into overdrive by adding a lot more energy to the song. “Wanderlilly” does have a very dated feel to the music, but it still is a strong track that kicks the new release from Race to Neptune off with a ton of energy.

The band kicks up the energy on their next track called “Cigars and Celebrations”. The track effortlessly takes the musical feel of the band The Police and mixes it with a lot of Alternative Rock. The groove created with the influence from The Police is then seamlessly pushed aside for a much stronger and more aggressive Alternative Rock feel to the music. The resulting track is an outright jam that features one of the strongest bass solos I’ve heard in a long time. The alternating between the two different musical mindsets in the track help make a song that never stays in the same groove long enough to become stale. “Cigars and Celebrations” is a very solid track.

Race to Neptune changes the feel of the music for the song “Threes and Fours”. The lighter, somewhat slower pace of the track matches up well with the lighter, almost acoustic-like sound to the guitar on the track. The light feel of the music lasts for the majority of the track before the band increases the intensity a bit more the end of the song. “Threes and Fours” and its lighter musical approach gives the listener a different sound by the band to enjoy.

With the next track, Race to Neptune once again changes the style of their music. On the track “Bulletful of Piss,” the band takes their music back into the seventies for the type of Rock and Roll that would have been perfect for headphone use. “Bulletful of Piss” features guitars creating a very strong and catchy melody that is built up with the guitars blending the melody and harmony parts to make a track that is much better to listen to with your headphones on. The music on the track features so many fascinating elements blending together that the headphones help you catch every musical moment. “Bulletful of Piss” is the strongest track up to that point on the Oh Contraire release.

Race to Neptune continues their Oh Contraire release with the track “Iron Satire”. Just like “Bulletful of Piss” before it, the band creates yet another track that is much better experienced with your headphones on. The sound of the track brings to mind the lighter side of the band Queensryche. In fact, while the lyrics may not fit with the rest of the storyline, “Bulletful of Piss” contains a musical style that would have fit right in with other tracks on that band’s Operation: Mindcrime release.

Oh Contraire continues with the track “Constant Collapse”. Having already experienced many other styles from the band, the fact that “Constant Collapse” contains a very strong Rush-like guitar-based Progressive Rock sound should not surprise anyone. The track makes good use of the Progressive Rock style and creates yet another one of the strongest moments on the album.

With their Oh Contraire release, Race to Neptune gives the listener many different styles of music on one album. As each of the tracks contains something good that the listener would enjoy, it’s hard to review each track without writing a review that goes on forever. The multi-layered album offers something for everyone who enjoys listening to Rock and Roll. Take a listen and you will agree.

To check out the music from Race to Neptune, check out their song “Wanderlilly“.

For more information, check out the band’s PR firm THE RMG Media GROUP

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Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Vaudevileins “Magician”

The Chicago-based band called Vaudevileins is a musical outfit that seems to switch its sound from one track to the next. Bandmates Bill Aldridge on bass, Brennan Chouinard on drums and vocals, and vocalist/guitarist Jeff Julian recently added guitarist Evan Mohler into the mix. That newly-solidified version of the band seems to be rather open to creating tracks that contain any number of influences and musical elements that keep the band’s music from becoming stale.

On one track, Vaudevileins’ (pronounced vaude-villains) sound feels like a trio with one dominant guitar, while other tracks feature a definite double guitar sound. One track may feel as if it was influenced by modern-day Rock and Roll while others have a more timeless feel to their musical styles.

The current version of the band Vaudevileins with new guitarist Evan Mohler just recorded and released their second full-length album of music. That new release is entitled Magician.

Magician from Vaudevileins begins with the track “Sea Anemone”. The song begins with the double guitar attack of Jeff Julian and Evan Mohler as they create a double-layered guitar riff that adds to the Alternative Rock sound from the entire band. That riff helps lay the foundation for the sound of the track. As the band proceeds in making the track, Julian and Mohler start adding more depth to the music with two-part guitar riffs. The music of the track “Sea Anemone” contains a sound that belongs on Alternative Rock radio formats. The lyrics about trying to survive as a fish in a sea undergoing change because of Man’s influence on the sea and its environment gives the listener something to think about.

The second track of the release is the album’s title track. “Magician” finds the band changing changing musical directions. In fact, the Prog-rock contained within the track feels as if the band Rush were the ones creating the song’s music. As you listen to the track, you can easily imagine Alex Lifeson, Neil Peart and Geddy Lee playing the music. And even though “Magician” does contain a large amount of Progressive Rock influence, Vaudevileins adds a generous amount of Commercial Rock influence to the song. While the music is very progressive in nature, you could easily imagine “Magician” being played on the radio.

With the track of “Sticky,” Vaudevileins create a song that would fit onto Alternative Rock radio formats back in the nineties. The strong guitar presence as well as the driving bass from Bill Aldridge gives the track a definite Alternative Rock influence.

It is with the very next track that Vaudevileins create a track with a timeless Rock and Roll approach. “Chasing Time” hits the listener with a very strong guitar riff before the rest of the band joins in to make music that would have been right at home during the Glam era of music or the Power Rock time period or even amongst today’s bands like The 1975, another band that exists to make music with a strong Rock and Roll backbone.”Chasing Time” contains enough of a commercial Rock and Roll sound that the track could easily find its way onto today’s radio formats.

The very next track finds the band changing the feel of the album. The track “Hell Jazz” begins with a lighter sound than anything else that had come before on the Magician release. A very gentle guitar plays for a few bars before the bass and drums join in to make up the slow-paced, laidback melody of the track. The inclusion of strings helps to produce a track that ultimately sounds like something that could have been produced by either Pink Floyd or Queensryche . The reason for that feel is that Bill Aldridge created an orchestration for the track that has a definite Michael Kamen vibe to it. “Hell Jazz” may stick out as far as the track on Magician is concerned, but the song gives the listener a much different perspective on Vaudevillians’ music.

With the song of “Fake Cigarette,” the band seems to cross musical eras and influences to create a track that has a timeless sound. The song begins with a beat created by Bill Aldridge’s bass and Brennan Chouinard’s drums. The drum/bass intro brings to mind something from the Glam Rock era of Rock and Roll. The criss-crossing of the guitar through the left and right channels also seems to give the song a definite retro feel. And then, when the entire band begins playing, the track takes on a more modern-day approach to its sound. “Fake Cigarette” ultimately feels right at home on today’s radio stations that feature Modern Rock formats.

The Magician release from Vaudevileins comes to a close with the track “Devils”. The song begins with an instrumental passage that contains an electrified Rock and Roll feel before the band changes directions and brings in an acoustic feel that is reminiscent of something from the band T-Rex. The electric introduction leading into the acoustic approach makes for an interesting shift in sound and direction. The dual approaches at once create one track that shows off the talent and versatility of the musicians that make up the band Vaudevileins.

Magician from Vaudevileins is a solid Rock and Roll release. The band makes use of many different styles, influences and sounds to make a very strong album. The ten tracks on the album are so varied that they keep the listener wanting to hear more.

Click on the album cover below to check out the Magician album from Vaudevileins:

Magician

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more information, Check out the band’s PR Firm, Novo Management and Publicity.

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CD Review: Circuline “Counterpoint”

The form of Rock and Roll called Progressive Rock (or Prog-rock for short) had its heyday back in the late 60s/early 70s. However, there have always been bands or solo artists out there that continue to create new Prog-rock. These bands draw influence from earlier bands like Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Gentle Giant, or even Peter Gabriel-era Genesis to create their own songs in order to keep the vision of the originators of the style alive. The newer songs being created are continuing to push the envelope of that style of Rock and Roll music in order to keep the music fresh. One such band around today that is doing their best to push the envelope of Rock and Roll by creating Progressive Rock is Circuline.

Circuline is a modern-day Prog-rock band that consist of two parts: Part one of the band consists of the musicians Andrew Colyer on keyboards and bass pedals, Darin Brannon on drums, Beledo on guitars and Paul Renieri on bass (although Renieri was just recently replaced for the band’s Sonic Voyage Fest tour by bassist/sound mixer Joel Simches).

While the band’s music is created by the aforementioned musicians, the songs of the band would not be complete without the second part of the group, the two vocalists who add their vocals to the band’s songs. The two people who are responsible for bringing the band’s lyrics to life are: theatrical vocalists Billy Spillane and Natalie Brown. Together, Spillane and Brown complete Circuline’s sound. There is one more piece to the puzzle that is Circuline. It is with the help of lyricist Randy McStine that the band’s songs become complete. Together, the musicians, vocalists and lyricist all combine their talents to create one entity that is Circuline.

Earlier in 2016, Circuline released their second album called Counterpoint. The album showcases the band’s Progressive Rock sound. Counterpoint from Circuline begins with the track “New Day”. Right from the start of the track, the listener gets a taste of the progressive sound of the band as the musicians create a very loose jam before they bring the track around to create a very orchestral instrumental track. The track feels very much like it could have been created for background music for a movie. The inclusion of soundbites from NASA adds a definite outer space flavor to the track. This adds to the “background music” feel to the track.

One of the showcase pieces for the band comes very early in the playing time for the Counterpoint release by Circuline. Throughout its five-minute playtime, the track of “Who I Am” changes musical directions, tempos and even intensity several times. The song begins with a passage that feels like a very strong overture for a rock opera before the band changes the feel of the song. The intense feel of the music at the beginning of the track is something that sounds like it could have been created by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. The song later takes on a more theatrical style that will remind the listener of something from Broadway. The music of the track alternates between intense and theatrical throughout the length of the song.

For the song “Forbidden Planet,” Circuline brings the outer space feel of “New Days” back. In fact, when bringing the song “Who I Am” into the mix as well, the three tracks create a mini Rock Opera type of feel to the tracks. The three songs come together to seemingly tell the story of a person who feels very out of place, as if he does not belong, no matter where in the universe he is.

One particular track of the Counterpoint release from Circuline that sticks out is “Hollow”. The song seems to have been not-so-subtly influenced by events that have taken place within the political scene in America for the last year or so. The lyrics to “Hollow” seem to bring to mind the mass hysteria created by everything that had taken place over that year or so of time. In fact, the track’s lyrics of “I Don’t Want to Follow You, I Don’t Want Your Hollow View” seem to express what many of us were thinking as we watched the campaign drag on. The uneasy feel to the prog-rock music on the track even seems to reflect the anger felt during the campaign. While you can easily interpret the lyrics as an answer to what took place recently, truth be told, those lyrics could be used for any heated campaign at any point in history.

In much the same way that the song “Who I Am” gave the listener a chance to experience the talents of every member of Circuline, the song “Nautilus” also showcases each and every member of the band as well as the band as a whole. From one second to the next, the band creates a track that features many different musical directions. Whether it’s a melodic passage of Rock and Roll where the keyboard is featured, a more aggressive section that features the guitar, or a section that finds the band playing collectively while creating what can only be described as jazz, “Nautilus” is one track on Counterpoint from Circuline that truly makes use of every member’s various musical influences.

After a full nine tracks that draw from many different musical styles, Counterpoint from Circuline comes to a close with the song “Summit”. The track features a musical direction that seems to be equal parts Rock and Roll and jazz as the guitar on the track adds a Smooth Jazz effect to a rather strong and solid beat. The combination creates one of the more unusual tracks on the album.

Counterpoint from Circuline is a solid Progressive Rock release. Throughout the album, the band shows off its ability to create some of the most entertaining Prog-rock out there today. For fans of the style, this is a great album to add to your collection. And for those unfamiliar with the style, this is a great place to start.

To check out the music for Circuline, check out the video to their song “Who I Am”.

For more information, check out the band’s PR firm, Leighton Media.

To purchase a copy of Counterpoint from Circuline, click on the album cover below:
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Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Stratospheerius “The Next World…”

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Joe Deninzon live in concert

Russian-born musician/songwriter Joe Deninzon came to the United States as a young child when his parents were hired to be a part of the Cleveland Orchestra. With that early Classical upbringing, it was almost a given that Deninzon himself would end up becoming a musician, which he did. And while he did learn to play the violin, it was Rock and Roll and not Classical music that would eventually draw him into the world of music. And with that Classical music influence, it seemed only natural that Deninzon would find the style of Progressive Rock to be his musical direction of choice.Eventually, Joe Deninzon went on to form the band Stratospheerius.

Drawing from early Prog-rock bands like Emerson, Lake & Palmer; Jethro Tull; Gentle Giant and even Peter Gabriel-era Genesis, Stratospheerius takes the various influences from those bands and creates their own style of Prog-rock while also helping to continue pushing the boundaries of Progressive Rock. That wide array of influences can be found in the music contained in the band’s current release, 2012’s The Next World…

While the band incorporates unusual rhythm patterns and melodic structures just like any other Prog-rock band, the lead-off track from The Next World… “Release,” is one of the most commercial sounding tracks on the album. Drawing more from the likes of Sting rather than Peter Gabriel, “Release,” features a pop-rock approach that incorporates a sound that feels like something from The Police. “Release” is one song from Stratospheerius that could easily find a spot on Album-oriented Rock radio formats.

The following track of “The Missing Link” also finds Deninzon and the band creating a track that feels very commercial. This time, however, Stratospheerius adds a little more progressive feel to their Prog-rock. The track’s music is a little less straightforward and a little more challenging. The ever-changing feel of the rhythm and pace of the song along with a stronger feel of the playing from guitarist Aurelien Budynek gives the listener a lot more substance to the music to enjoy. While the track does contain a strong progressive approach, there is also a lot of melody that fills up the track’s sound.

Of the album’s first three tracks, the most progressive musical approach comes from the song “Tech Support”. The track begins with the unmistakable sounds of a computer. Those sounds then get incorporated into the main body of the music to the track. The band of bassist Jamie Bishop, guitarist Aurelien Budynek and drummer Lucianna Padmore help Joe Deninzon create music that continuously alternates between Ska influences and Jazz-Rock. The speed at which the quartet plays the Ska passages and the way they transition into the Jazz-rock proves just how capable the band is at handling the challenges of playing Prog-rock. “Tech Support” is one of the standout tracks on The Next World… because of the challenging nature of the music.

Along with the widely accepted challenging nature that comes with Prog-rock, one of the other things that make the genre so progressive is the inclusion of other styles into the music that helps to continuously change the way the music sounds. On the track “Climbing,” it isn’t so much about intensity as it is about adding new sounds into the mix. With Joe Deninzon adding a strong folk influence into the music with his violin, “Climbing” ends up being the track on the release with the easiest pace. With the rest of the album being rather intense, “Climbing” is a nice change of pace…if only for one track.

If you get to catch Joe Denizon live in concert, you experience firsthand the talent of the musician and what he can do with the violin. On the track “Gods,” Deninzon puts down the bow of his violin and ends up playing the instrument in much the same way someone else would play the mandolin. With Deninzon “picking” on the electric violin creates a rather unique and interesting sound and it’s that sound that is featured on “Gods”. The track itself features a straight-out Rock and Roll approach. But the violin adds an element to the music in a style reminiscent of an electric guitar but with a noticeable difference that makes “Gods” such a strong track.

On the song “Road Rage,” the band as a whole picks up the energy of the music. The track begins with the electrified sound of Joe Deninzon’s violin as he lays down a riff that sounds very much like a guitar. After a few seconds, the rest of the quartet launches the song into hyperdrive. The quick pace of the playing from every musician in the group creates a tune that would be perfect when included a mixtape for long highway journeys.

The Next World… from Stratospheerius continues with the song “One Foot in the Next World”. Like the song “Release” from earlier in the album, “One Foot in the Next World” once again finds the band creating a track that has a much more commercial, radio-friendly approach than most of the other songs. In fact, the album’s “title track” is the most recognizable song in Joe Deninzon’s library of songs. The track has become a fan favorite.

The Next World… from Stratospheerius is one solid release with strong songs from one song to the next. And with the album already being several years old, Joe Deninzon and the band are in the process of creating a follow-up. But until they release the album that is in the works, check out The Next World… and rock out.

 

For more information, check out Joe Deninzon’s PR firm, Leighton Media. To check out “One Foot in the Next World” from Stratospheerius, click HERE.

Also check out his record label, Digital Nations.

Click the album cover below to purchase a copy of The Next World… from Joe Deninzon and Stratospheerius.

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