Sunday, March 31, 2013

Oleander - Something beautiful

Oleander - Something beautiful (2013) Re-Ignite Records
Produced by Rich Mouser
Tracks : 1.Fight 2.Something beautiful 3.Bulletproof 4.Until it´s over 5.Never too late 6.Save the best 7.Save me 8.You are the one 9.Daylight 10.Where do we go from here 11.How do we say goodbye
3,5 out of 5

Here is a safe buy if you´re into active rock, it´s been a while since Oleander latest album "Joyride", well exactly 10 years but now they´re back with a new solid modern rock album and I´m sure fans will be pleased to hear this new rocking affair. The opener "Fight" was featured in WWE 12 last year and the rest of the album follows the same fine tradition of guitar oriented modern rock, the 2nd track "Something beautiful" is the new single and it´s a perfect ambassador for the whole album. A modern rock album without a strong power ballad won´t be complete and so here it is with "Until it´s over" that you will probably see as a video on youtube in 2013. Oleander has sold the impressive numbers of 500,000 albums and the new album is just as strong to make those numbers bigger, welcome back Tom Flowers and Co!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Craig Jackson - Sweeter songs

Craig Jackson - Sweeter Songs (2013) Green Records
Produced by Ken Coomer
Tracks : 1.Sweeter song 2.A little love 3.Much too long 4.Things get lost 5.Sound of the world 6.Here I go again
3 out of 5

Craig´s previous musical effort "Damn the roses" from 2009 was a real fine album and he does not disappoint with his upcoming "Sweeter songs" EP either. There´s a warm sound that I like a lot and the vocal performance from Craig is great, he can lift the songs with just his voice. I really would like to call Craig´s songs as road music, they´re perfect for long road trips. The listener gets a nice dose of California pop, Nashville country and midwest rock here for fans of The Jayhawks and Tom Petty. My favorite songs are "A little love" and "Here I go again", I´m not entirely certain about the artwork though because it looks a bit cheesy. A good thing that the music is so much better than the album cover then.

Friday, March 29, 2013

The GoAround - Restating the question

The GoAround - Restating the question (2012) Independent
Produced by The GoAround
Tracks : 1.Make it loud 2.When I hit the bottom 3.I ran 4.Her love is like glass 5.Remedy 6.Fooled 7.Overtaken 8.On your shoulders 9.Sunflower song 10.War 11.You come alive 12.Amber skies
3,5 out of 5

Now this is a really great album from Pennsylvania based The GoAround, their debut album "Restating the question" came out last year and it sounds like a mix between The Wallflowers, Better Than Ezra and The Strokes. We´re talking 90´s modern rock here with a touch of folk and roots rock, The GoAround is more of an album band that makes album songs instead of radio friendly singles so this record works better in it´s entirety. The band is Alexander Saddic - Vocals/Guitar and Anthony Saddic - Keyboards, they mention The Fray, Switchfoot and House of Heroes as their main influences which sounds just right when you listen to "Restating the question".
Highlights : I ran, Fooled, On your shoulders

Nobody, Ever - Everyone stood by the side of the road

Nobody, Ever - Everyone stood by the side of the road (2013) Independent
Produced by Ow
Tracks : 1.On a July sunday 2.Snap to zero weather 3.Not so good, Al 4.Everyone always
2 out of 5

The U.K based indie rock band Nobody, Ever has released their debut EP on bandcamp where you can name your price, either you support the band or download it for free. They deliver melancholic indie rock with traces of emo and punkrock and this is a decent 4 track EP where the lead track "Snap to zero weather" is quite good. I think they´ve got a typical British sound if you listen to "Not so good, Al" that bring together the musical worlds of pubrock and 70´s punk. But it´s a jungle out there so they´d better write stronger songs to stand out.
For fans of The Jealous Sound, Maker, The American Scene

Smash Into Pieces - Unbreakable

Smash Into Pieces - Unbreakable (2013) Gain / Sony Music
Produced by Per Bergquist
Tracks : 1.Colder 2.Heroes 3.A friend like you 4.Crash and burn 5.Here to stay 6.Unbreakable 7.Rockstar 8.Come along 9.I want you to know 10.My enemy 11.Fading
4 out of 5

I´m proud of this band from my hometown of Orebro, Smash Into Pieces have struggled real hard to get their music out on a major label and finally their debut album "Unbreakable" will be released in April. The wait is over because fans have been dying to get a copy of their first album for years, I first saw this band live at Yeah Festivalen in 2010 and they impressed me so much. Those who have followed this band from the start will recognize a few tracks from their promo EP in 2010 such as "Rockstar", "Crash and burn", "Here to stay" and the debut single "Fading". They are re-recorded here and sound way better. The album opens with the new single "Colder" that is conquering the charts in Sweden, don´t be surprised if SIP will get a Grammy for best hard rock album in 2014. They are already winners of the breakthrough band at Bandit Rock Awards and Millencolin Music Prize this year, well deserved too because when you hear new songs like "A friend like you", "Heroes", "Unbreakable" and "My enemy" - you know we´re dealing with big rock here. I won´t be too surprised if the title track will end up as the WWE anthem of 2013.

Detective - Live from the Atlantic studios

Detective - Live from the Atlantic studios (2013) Gonzo Multimedia Music
Produced by Detective
Tracks : 1.Help me up 2.Got enough love 3.Recognition 4.One more heartache 5.Detective man 6.Grim reaper 7.Fever 8.Nightingale 9.Tear jerker 10. Good rocking tonight
3 out of 5

The American/English rock band Detective was a short lived band in the late 70´s with a true star line up of Michael Des Barres - Vocals (Chequered Past), Tony Kaye - Keyboards (Yes), Michael Monarch - Guitar (Steppenwolf), Jon Hyde - Drums (Hokus Pokus) and Bobby Pickett - Bass. Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin signed them to his Swan Song label and they released two albums in 1977 and 1978 before they parted ways, "Live from the Atlantic studios" was recorded only for radio broadcast in 1978 and is now released on CD for the first time. Detective was a support act to Kiss in 1978 where Kiss fell in love with one of Detective´s songs and thought about recording it with Peter Criss on vocals, 3 tracks on this live album are taken from their 1978 album "It takes one to know one" and the rest are from their self titled debut in 1977. I wonder if not Chris Robinson of The Black Crowes had Detective posters on his wall when he was young, close your eyes and you´ll hear a lot of The Black Crowes in these songs. We´re talking classic rocknroll here for fans of Free, Faces and Bad Company, and it´s always nice to hear a live recording with no overdubs.

Clementine and The Galaxy - EP

Clementine and The Galaxy - EP (2013) Independent
Produced by Mike MacAllister
Tracks : 1.Robot 2.Bottom line 3.Taken 4.How can I not love you 5.Crying my whole heart out
3 out of 5

What do you get if you get a producer who has done music in ads for Nike and XBox, a jazz trained vocalist and let them fool around in a computer playground? Well you get Clementine and The Galaxy, behind this duo we find Mike MacAllister - Instruments and Julie Hardy - Vocals. The songs on their debut EP are quite irresistable and catchy, the listener will find traces of indie pop, synth and new wave in these songs. In one moment Clementine and The Galaxy deliver 21st century bubblegum pop and in the next, artrock. The best tracks are "Taken", "Crying my whole heart out" and the new single "Robot". For fans of Marina and The Diamonds, Shiny Toy Guns and Scissor Sisters.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Born Cages - Don´t Look Back

Born Cages - Don´t look back (2013) Razor and Tie Records
Produced by Jon Kaplan
Tracks : 1.Don´t look back
5 out of 5

I don´t normally review singles here but this is such an amazing first single from New York based Born Cages, the band features Vlad Holiday - Vocals/Guitar, Amanda Carl - Keyboards, Steve Kellner - Bass and Dave Tantao - Drums. This upbeat singalong anthem will hook you right from the start with a melody that bring thoughts to Slade´s "Run Runaway", the rhythms will appeal to fans of The Killers and Carpark North while the atmosphere has traces of Ash´s smash hit "Shining star". Expect a debut album in the summer of 2013 and do you think I´m thrilled? Holy smoke, this song is stunning.

Kita - Twisted Complicated World

Kita - Twisted Complicated World (2013) Independent
Produced by Kita
Tracks : 1.Twisted complicated world 2.The only one 3.You 4.No regrets 5.Nature´s own desire 6.Go ahead 7.Feel it
3,5 out of 5

For the people outside Brazil, how often do you make your rock collections called Best of Brazil? Well, I can only speak for myself but I hardly know any bands from from the country that is most known for it´s amazing football team. I can list a few though like Shadowside, Cruz, Auras, Sepultura, Angra, Soulfly and now also Kita. This female fronted band are influenced by Nine Inch Nails, Foo Fighters and Incubus but to me, they sound more like an electro rock version of Evanescence. The bandmembers of Kita have released albums with other bands but they were sung in Portuguese, the songs on the first EP with Kita are all in English. No doubt they write great songs but the drumsound could´ve needed a better mix I think, the best track is "No regrets" with it´s new wave flavor. Lovely. Also for fans of The Birthday Massacre and I Killed The Symphony.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Andrew Leahey and The Homestead - Summer Sleeves

Andrew Leahey and The Homestead - Summer Sleeves (2013) Independent
Produced by David Barbe / Andrew Leahey
Tracks : 1.Little in love 2.Don´t make me sad 3.Waiting on a plane 4.Who wants an easy love
3 out of 5

Nashville based Andrew Leahey and The Homestead debuted with their self titled album in 2011 and during the long trips between Nashville and his native Richmond, Virginia in 2012, Andrew listened a lot to albums with Tom Petty, Drive By Truckers and Bob Dylan which became the inspiration for his new songs on the "Summer sleeves" EP. Andrew met up with producer David Barbe (R.E.M, Son Volt) who agreed on mixing the new EP, Andrew describes the sound of these new songs as a mix between roots rock, Americana and alternative country. This is most certainly a grower because I´m not especially fond of the songs the first two spins, however the EP has become a friend of mine now where the highlights are "Little in love" and "Don´t make me sad". "Who wants an easy love" flirts with John Lennon and Neil Young, I like the vibes in this song. "Summer sleeves" will be released in April.

Reasons Be - Hands Up

Reasons Be - Hands Up (2012) Independent
Produced by Lee Miles
Tracks : 1.Hands up 2.Voice of Mount Mary 3.Carry me home 4.Love the way
3,5 out of 5

Reasons Be is a Los Angeles based duo featuring Scotty Dickert - Vocals and R.E.L - Guitar. Their debut "Hands up" EP is produced by Lee Miles (Puddle of Mudd, Shinedown) and contains 4 radio ready songs that are rich of harmonies and performed by two really great musicians. I love their mix of midwest rock and modern pop, imagine Jason Mraz on a picnic with Train making The Eagles-like music and you´ll get Reasons Be. The opener "Hands up" is a real winner, that song belong on the charts, believe me. We get a taste of country in the beautiful "Voice of Mount Mary", close your eyes and drift away to this fine fine song. "Carry me home" is a lovely upbeat pop/rock song with an AOR-ish chorus, amazing six string work from R.E.L. The closing track "Love the way" is just as great as the other three songs, that chorus sticks like superglue to your head......I love it. I come to think of Swirl 360 meets The Script while listening to "Love the way". What a great EP!

Sarah Donner - Fossil of girl

Sarah Donner - Fossil of girl (2012) CatLady Records
Produced by Sarah Donner
Tracks : 1.The pilot 2.Fossil of girl 3.All my guns 4.Knocks on a door 5.Treeline 6.Decade 7.Summer home 8.Signs of life 9.Bitches you can steal my shit 10.The crane song 11.Going under 12.Your love is my drug 13.Overrated new year 14.Follow suit
3 out of 5

When I hear Sarah Donner´s voice, I think of Alanis Morissette. But Sarah Donner´s music bring thoughts to other artists like First Aid Kit, Miss Li and Mumford and Sons. There´s a bit of both classic 70´s singer/songwriter style and 21st century indie folk sounds in her latest album "Fossil of girl", Sarah is without doubt a talented artist where her songs feels honest and warm. She´s right at home with composing in key major, and I´m really impressed by her musical skills because she plays guitar, violin, ukulele and piano.
This album is filled with bright and positive songs where my favorites are "Going under", "The pilot", "Fossil of girl" and "All my guns". Also expect a real nice cover of Kesha´s "Your love is my drug", thumbs up. If you´re interested in more from Sarah Donner, you´ve got 3 more albums to check out in "Reluctant cat lady" (2007), "The sleep you´ve been missing" (2008) and "Typing is dangerous" (2010).

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Static Fiction - EP

Static Fiction - EP (2013) Independent
Produced by Ryan Greene
Tracks : 1.Static fiction 2.Ashes 3.Stop and look 4.Guano love 5.Good times
3,5 out of 5

I just love to listen to music that gets me in a good mood, the California based pop punk band Static Fiction has done a really cool EP that feels like a huge c-vitamin injection. They blend powerpop and pop punk where the songs are filled with plenty of hooks and they have often been compared to Green Day, but I would like to describe their sound as mix of SR 71, Treblecharger and Good Charlotte. We get a crispy production from Ryan Greene and all 5 songs are really good but my personal fave is "Ashes", ohyeah what a great debut EP this is.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

For Today - Prevailer

For Today - Prevailer (2013) Razor and Tie Records
Produced by Will Putney
Tracks : 1.From Zion 2.Crown of thorns 3.Flesh and blood 4.Open heaven 5.Fearless (acoustic)
2,5 out of 5

For Today´s previous album "Immortal" debuted at #15 on Billboard´s Top 200 Album Chart and I gave it 3 stars, in April they follow up with the "Prevailer" EP that contains 4 new songs and an acoustic version of "Fearless". The opener "From Zion" takes the band into deathmetal territories but with a metalcore flavor, a decent song but hardly one of their strongest. The following "Crown of thorns" sounds like a cousin to "From Zion", this one´s better though. The best track is "Flesh and blood" with traces of Clawfinger-like guitars and a real strong chorus. The riffs in "Open heaven" are very tasty and smart, but I can´t stop to think this one sounds like a leftover from the "Immortal" sessions. The acoustic version of "Fearless" doesn´t do anything for this EP I´m afraid, the rocking version on "Immortal" is way better. If you get the physical edition of "Prevailer", you´ll get a 90 minute DVD about the band and even some live footage from 2012. I think the EP has some fine moments but I prefer the previous full length album over this.

The Color Morale - Know hope

The Color Morale - Know Hope (2013) Rise Records
Produced by Josh Schroeder
Tracks : 1.Burn victims 2.Smoke and mirrors 3.Learned behavior 4.Living breathing something 5.Strange comfort 6.In light in me 7.Silver lining 8.Steadfast 9.Hole hearted 10.Saviorself 11.Have will 12.Never enders
3 out of 5

The Color Morale share the same hometown as Cheap Trick, namely Rockford, Illinois. The post hardcore band The Color Morale debuted with "We all have demons" in 2009 and followed up with "My devil in your eyes" in 2011, which leads us to their 3rd effort "Know hope". The band is very proud over this new album and their fans will embrace it without doubt, TCM focus on melodic hardcore with catchy choruses and not only screamo in the verses but also clean vocals every once in a while. Three tracks stand out and they are "Learned behavior", "Strange comfort" and "Steadfast", I especially like "Strange comfort" with it´s anthemic chorus. Their two new guitarists Devin King and Aaron Saunders sound really tight but the band´s star is frontman Garret Rapp, when most hardcore bands have 2 singers doing screamo and clean vocals each, Garret do both just brilliant. For fans of We Came As Romans and The Devil Wears Prada.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Sevendust - Black out the sun

Sevendust - Black out the sun (2013) 7 Bros Records
Produced by Clint Lowery / Sevendust
Tracks : 1.Memory 2.Faithless 3.Till death 4.Mountain 5.Cold as war 6.Black out the sun 7.Nobody wants it 8.Dead roses 9.Decay 10.Dark A.M 11.Picture perfect 12.Got a feeling 13.Murder bar
3,5 out of 5

There´s no arguing with Sevendust being one of the greatest numetal bands on this planet along with bands like Disturbed, KoRn and Saliva. Their 9th studio album "Black out the sun" is a bit darker than their previous album "Cold day memory" (2010) but even though the band said it would sound a bit like their early albums "Home" and "Animosity", I don´t think the new album is equally heavy. At first I thought the songs on this album weren´t strong enough but the album grows and I have now found several killer tracks like "Nobody wants it", "Black out the sun" and of course the single "Decay" that is awesome. Frontman Lajon Witherspoon shows why he was voted into the Top 100 metal vocalists of all time list, the vocal performance on BOTS shines from the first track to the last. I think it´s time for a live album from this band, and now a real live album and not an acoustic one like "Southside Double Live" from 2004. Perhaps this time it won´t take another 3 years for another studio album, if only the bandmembers could skip their side projects Projected and Call Me No One and focus on writing their best music for Sevendust.

Pretty Maids - Motherland

Pretty Maids - Motherland (2013) Frontiers Records
Produced by Jacob Hansen
Tracks : 1.Mother of all lies 2.To fool a nation 3.Confession 4.The iceman 5.Sad to see you suffer 6.Hooligan 7.Infinity 8.Why so serious 9.Motherland 10.I see ghosts 11.Bullet for you 12.Who what where when why 13.Wasted
3 out of 5

The only two original members left in Pretty Maids, singer Ronnie Atkins and guitarist Ken Hammer are still going strong and show no signs of slowing down. Their 13th studio album "Motherland" sounds a bit like "Pandemonium II", their previous album "Pandemonium" from 2010 was a classic Pretty Maids album with plenty of strong tracks and the band must´ve felt they shouldn´t take any chances with the new album. However, "Motherland" feels a bit safe where the major part of the tracks are less heavy metal with the band going all melodic. That should probably mean only positive things since their melodic songs before have been smashes, and I do dig a few tracks here quite a lot like the single "Mother of all lies", the pumping "Hooligan" and the AOR-ish "To fool a nation". But this album just don´t give me any goosebumps, the production is huge and lots of fans will probably love it so what´s wrong then? Nothing really, I give the album 3 stars out of 5 so it´s definitely worth £10 but it´s not one of their best albums either.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Orango - Colonial Militia Vol.2

Orango - Colonial Militia Vol.2 (2013) Division Records
Produced by Kai Christoffersen / Orango
Tracks : 1.Intermezzo Tenerae Caesar Part 2 2.Kick him out 3.Sundown 4.Jade stones 5.Talkin´ `bout you 6.Easy street 7.Ain´t that a lot of love 8.Soulville 9.Shiny fools 10.No one´s on my payroll 11.Sunny side up 12.Finale : Electric clouds across the horizon Part 2
3 out of 5

Now this is a cool band, the Norwegian trio Orango that is a new acquaintance for me. Their new album "Colonial militia Vol.2" is the follow up and 2nd part of the double album "Colonial militia" and Vol.1 that came out last year. The band debuted with "Villa exile" in 2004 and seven years later, the 2nd album "Confessions" was released. This trio love to explore varied genres such as 60´s Britrock, classic rock of the 70´s and psychedelic blues.....if there is such a genre, well there is now. Imagine a mix of The Kinks, The Hellacopters and Lenny Kravitz and we´re close to the sound of Orango. They deliver 3-part harmony vocals, groovy riffs and boogie rhythms like it´s the easiest thing around. This is a good album that grows for each time I listen to it, my favorites are "Sundown" and "Ain´t that a lot of love".

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Benesser - The start of something new

Benesser - The start of something new (2013) Independent
Produced by Christian Cummings / Benesser
Tracks : 1.Where silence prevails 2.Babyface 3.Is it you 4.Colors 5.Where o death 6.Sleepless nights 7.Signs of time 8.For the eyes of the lord 9.The start of something new
4 out of 5

The Swedish trio Benesser has already played on well known festivals like Frizon, Peace and Love and Live at heart so they are slowly creating a buzz in the music industry with their alternative progressive rock. Their debut full length "The start of something new" will be out in April and I must say that this is one of the most promising new bands I´ve heard lately, their music is rich of nuances and also got that nice Swedish melancholic feel. Imagine a mix of Khoma, Muse and Mew and you´ll really close to the soundscape of "The start of something new", the two tracks "Where silence prevails" and "For the eyes of the lord" are also featured on their "Colors" EP from 2010 along with 2 non album tracks. The opening track "Where silence prevails" is one of the heaviest tracks on the new album and a true fave of mine but the real highlight is the 7 minute long "Is it you" that bring thoughts to Dizzy Mizz Lizzy. The first single "Signs of time" is out on iTunes and it´s also really catchy, so what´s next then? Perhaps as a support act to Muse, yeah that´ll be perfect for Benesser.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Northlane - Singularity

Northlane - Singularity (2013) UNFD Records
Produced by Will Putney
Tracks : 1.Genesis 2.Scarab 3.Windbreaker 4.Worldeater 5.Quantum flux 6.Dream awake 7.The calling 8.Masquerade 9.Singularity 10.Aspire
3,5 out of 5

Sydney based Northlane released their debut "Discoveries" in 2011 and has opened for Parkway Drive and Texas In July, this band is most definitely looking at a bright future because their follow up "Singularity" is full of interesting music. We´re talking mammoth heavy metalcore with a touch of hardcore, slightly progressive and also really melodic. We get well crafted songstructures where the guitarwork stands out, this is perfect music to slaughter zombies from inside a tank. That day zombies invade the earth that is. The best tracks are "Quantum flux" and the title track "Singularity", there is only one way to play this - LOUD!
And the artwork is awesome too.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Stryper - Second coming

Stryper - Second Coming (2013) Frontiers Records
Produced by Stryper
Tracks : 1.Loud and clear 2.Loving you 3.Soldiers under command 4.Makes me wanna sing 5.First love 6.The rock that makes me roll 7.Reach out 8.Surrender 9.To hell with the devil 10.Calling on you 11.Free 12.The way 13.Singalong song 14.More than a man 15.Bleeding from inside out 16.Blackened
3,5 out of 5

It has become more and more common for bands to re-record their hits, mostly because they don´t own their rights to the original recordings and sometimes because they feel the songs need a facelift soundwise. Bands like Saxon, Journey, Dokken, E.L.O, Kiss, Twisted Sister and Def Leppard have already done it and now Stryper also join this trend. "Second coming" is a collection of songs taken from their 3 first albums, "The yellow and black attack", "Soldiers under command" and "To hell with the devil" along with 2 new songs. The re-recordings sound good and I´m amazed over how great Michael Sweet sings, their trademark is of course the wall of harmony vocals and fans can be calm because the harmonies are right on spot. Just listen to "Singalong song", oh my oh my! The new songs are ok, both are rockers and I think "Blackened" is a bit stronger than "Bleeding from inside out" but they´re hardly new Stryper classics. However, I enjoyed this re-recorded collection quite a lot.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Billie Myers - Tea and sympathy

Billie Myers - Tea and sympathy (2013) FruitLoop Records
Produced by Dee Adam
Tracks : 1.Lady Jane 2.Wonderful 3.Send me an angel 4.I hope you´re happy now 5.You wear heaven 6.Anonymous 7.Not another love song 8.No regrets allowed 9.You send me flying 10.Painfully happy
3 out of 5

Remember Billie Myers? She had a world wide hit with "Kiss the rain" in 1998, from her debut album "Growing pains". I liked that song a lot but always wondered what happened to this artist. Her follow up "Vertigo" from 2000 flopped and Universal Records dropped her, a managerial dispute and a drawn out lawsuit followed that nearly bankrupted Billie Myers. It got so bad that she ended up getting treatment for depression, but in 2007 she was ready to get back into the music business but moved away from pop/rock and instead released the dance single "Just sex" which became a minor hit. She had now left Los Angeles and returned to her native home in U.K for a fresh start, a few years went by where Myers searched for a new sound and the result can be heard in her first album in 13 years, "Tea and sympathy".
This is a feel-good album and what strikes me is what a lovely singer Billie Myers is, the music truly sounds like it´s coming from an artist that is standing on her own two feet again. Some of these songs bring thoughts to Dido with a blend of electronica, pop and blues in a singer/songwriter style. The new single "Wonderful" is a suitable ambassador for the album so you know what to expect but it´s hardly the best song, I like "Lady Jane", "Send me an angel" and "I hope you´re happy" more. A good album without doubt.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Sebastian Bach - Abachalypse Now

Sebastian Bach - Abachalypse Now (2013) Frontiers Records
Produced by Sebastian Bach
Tracks : CD 1 1.Slave to the grind 2.Kicking and screaming 3.Here I am 4.Big guns 5.Piece of me 6.18 and life 7.American metalhead 8.Monkey business 9.I remember you 10.Youth gone wild
CD 2 1.Big guns 2.Love is a bitch slap 3.Piece of me 4.18 and life 5.American metalhead 6.Monkey business 7.I remember you 8.Tunnel vision 9.Youth gone wild
2,5 out of 5

"Abachalypse now" is a new double live album from former Skid Row singer Sebastian Bach, the first CD was recorded at Hellfest, France last year and the 2nd CD was recorded in Los Angeles, 2012. The DVD also features Bach´s concert at Graspop, Belgium in 2012 plus 3 bonus videos of his singles from the latest studio album "Kicking and screaming". The tracklisting on both CD´s are almost identical where the majority of tracks are taken from the first two Skid Row albums, Bach and his band only perform 4 songs from his latest two solo albums "Angel down" and "Kicking and screaming". Guitarist Nick Sterling who is playing on this live album was later fired by Bach after the tour, the other members are Johnny Chromatic - Guitar, Jason Rappise - Bass and Bobby Jarzombek - Drums. It´s too bad the mix on the live recordings from France ain´t the best because it sounds like a bootleg, but the mix is better on the 2nd disc from Nokia, L.A.
Bach is a great singer and I always enjoy a dose of classic Skid Row music but I would´ve wanted to hear more songs from his solo albums instead, I´m also pleased to say there are no long solos in sight either that most live albums contains. Thumbs up for the live versions of "American metalhead", "Love is a bitch slap" and "Tunnel vision" from the L.A concert.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Mikael Persson - Marks and bleeds

Mikael Persson - Marks and bleeds (2013) Paraply Records
Produced by Peter Holmstedt
Tracks : 1.The room 2.Not a human in sight 3.Roughhouse boys 4.Room of the virgins 5.Some 50 roads 6.Scarf around your neck 7.You must be my eyes 8.Man with hound by his cottage 9.Cottage revisited 10.Only you 11.St.James park 12.Fall into my arms
3 out of 5

The talented singer/songwriter Mikael Persson must be pretty pleased to have such a great team onboard his new album "Marks and bleeds" like keyboard player Klas Qvist (Citizen K), Janni Littlepage on vocals and Greg Copeland that contributed with the unreleased song "Roughhouse boys". Two songs from his previous "Man with hound" EP are featured here, they are "Some 50 roads" and "Man with hound by his cottage". I think the EP is a bit stronger but the new album continues where the EP left off, I dig the warm sound and truly love his beautiful cover of Yazoo´s "Only you". It´s a slow version and a totally new take on this synthpop classic, thumbs up for the nice duet with Janni Littlepage. Another song I´m fond is "Room of the virgins", it´s my personal fave along with the Dire Straits-like "St.James Park". This is a solid album and I think you should check it out if you´re into folkrock.

David Ford - Charge

David Ford - Charge (2013) Razor and Tie Records
Produced by James Brown
Tracks : 1.Pour a little poison 2.The ballad of Miss Lily 3.Isn´t it strange 4.Let it burn 5.Philadelphia boy 6.Moving on 7.What´s not to love 8.Perfect soul 9.Throwaway 10.Everytime
4,5 out of 5

Who is David Ford, where does he come from and why haven´t I heard of him before? Many questions but all I know is that an artist of this calibre should be huge and playing arenas around the world, his songs on the brand new album "Charge" sounds timeless and could be classics from the 60´s and 70´s. What a lovely mix of Memphis soul and New Jersey rock this British singer/songwriter deliver on "Charge", brilliantly produced by James Brown (Dave Grohl/Foo Fighters). Lots of different artists pop up in my head while listening to "Charge" such as Waterboys, The Hooters, Hothouse Flowers, Squeeze and John Cafferty. David´s got an amazing voice and perform the songs like a true storyteller, it´s a crime not to include this album on a Best of 2013 album list so here´s your free ticket on my list David. He´s hardly a newcomer in the business because he released two albums with the band Easyworld between 2001-2004 on Jive Records and "Charge" is his 4th solo album so there´s a lot of music to discover here. Highlights on this album are : "Everytime", "Pour a little poison", "Moving on", Perfect soul" and "Philadelphia boy".

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Jungle Rot - Terror Regime

Jungle Rot - Terror Regime (2013) Victory Records
Produced by Jungle Rot
Tracks : 1.Voice your disgust 2.Terror regime 3.Utter chaos 4.I am hatred 5.Blind devotion 6.Scorn 7.Rage through the wasteland 8.Ruthless omnipotence 9.I don´t need society 10.Carpet bombing 11.Pronounced dead
3 out of 5

Earlier this year, Jungle Rot´s 1996 album "Skin the living" was re-released in a remastered version by Victory Records and in March, their 8th studio album "Terror Regime" is unleashed. The new album is their 2nd for Victory Records and is said to be their most aggressive album to date, the combination of deathmetal and oldschool thrash works really good and my thoughts go directly to bands like Slayer, Def Con One and Shadows Fall. The best tracks are at the beginning of the record with "Voice your disgust", "Utter chaos" and "I am hatred". The tracks at the end of record are shorter and a bit punk-ish, they even do a cover of punk/thrash band D.R.I´s "I don´t need society". Expect no compromises on "Terror regime", this is real metal with razorsharp guitars and furious vocals. They might not beat Slayer at their homefield but Jungle Rot ain´t far behind.

Hardreams - Unbroken Promises

Hardreams - Unbroken Promises (2013) Perris Records
Produced by Tomi Perez
Tracks : 1.Count on me 2.A high mountain to climb 3.It´s only love 4.The war is over 5.Woman in black 6.Now you´re mine 7.The land inside our souls 8.Goin´ fast 9.Unbroken promises 10.Cross the line 11.All and now
3 out of 5

Spain ain´t exactly a big country when it comes to producing AOR bands but there are a few such as 91 Suite, Bad Way, Airless, Niagara and Hardreams. "Unbroken promises" is the first studio album from Hardreams since the 2008 album "The road goes on", we´re talking traditional AOR here with a decent production. The album opens with "Count on me" that sounds a bit like Scorpions goes AOR, it´s a nice song that grows for each spin. The 2nd track "A high mountain to climb" is more average and it doesn´t move me that much but I do put on a big smile when "It´s only love" comes one, what a lovely fresh breath of the 80´s we get with this pink and fluffy AOR chorus. "The war is over" is heavier and although I didn´t like it the first two times, this semi-pompous song gets better every time I hear it. Ok, I must admit that Hardreams is hardly a unique band but their new album is good and the great title track is reason enough for AOR fans to check it out.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Tear Out The Heart - Violence

Tear Out The Heart - Violence (2013) Victory Records
Produced by Caleb Shomo
Tracks : 1.Dead by dawn 2.Infamous last words 3.Crucified 4.Undead anthem 5.Violence 6.Coffin eyes 7.Feed me a stray cat 8.Eternal shadows 9.Closure 10.Only posers die 11.Darker tides
4 out of 5

St Louis based Tear Out The Heart formed in 2011 and scored a deal straight away with Victory Records, I understand why because their debut album "Violence" is pretty damn impressive. This is the kind of metalcore that is melodic, powerful and riffelicious. The choruses are catchy while the verses are the opposite, furious like a wolf in sheep´s clothing ready to take you down. The first two singles "Infamous last words" and "Undead anthem" are both really strong but I´ve got other favorites, the title track is a smash with awesome riffs. The best chorus can be found in "Feed me a stray cat", perhaps a future single? Also pay attention to the mega heavy "Coffin eyes" that features a guest appearance from Dan Marsala of Story of the year, pumping metal at it´s best. Great production work on the distorted bass, love it! In fact, this is the only kind of violence I can deal with.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

The Mongoloids - Mongo Life

The Mongoloids - Mongo Life (2013) Six Feet Under Records
Produced by Will Yip
Tracks : 1.Smoke signals 2.Live this way 3.Did you figure out an anthem 4.Time capsule 5.Room to grow 6.Parallels 7.All I am 8.Life long past 9.Go the same way 10.Nobility 11.Chamber door 12.Mongo life
2,5 out of 5

Mongoloids is a classic song by Devo from 1978 but it´s also a band from New Jersey that debuted with "Time trials" in 2008 and also released one more full length album in 2009 and the "New beginnings" EP in 2010. This band focus on simple and basic punkrock tunes with traces of hardcore, imagine Bad Religion meets Rise Against and you´ll get The Mongoloids. I like their raw, in your face sound but also think several songs soundalike on their new album "Mongo life". They get a bit monotone which is a shame, these songs surely sound a lot better live where I bet it´s easy to get caught in the mosh. They´re tight and heavy which are important ingredients, it wouldn´t hurt with a melody once in a while though. Just to lighten things up.

De La Cruz - Street Level

De La Cruz - Street Level (2013) Frontiers Records
Produced by De La Cruz
Tracks : 1.Street level 2.Girls go wild 3.Turn it up 4.Legions of love 5.Gimme love 6.Cherry bomb 7.Dreaming 8.Invincible 9.Worlds collide 10.S.E.X 11.Set the night 12.Shine
2 out of 5

1987 called and wanted their clothes back, it seems like De La Cruz from down under found their parents 80´s wear in the attic and thought it was a great idea to get the full package of hairspray, tattoos, scarfs and denim. What´s missing then? Songs about women, partying and rocknroll of course. They´ve got one of their songs featured on ClassicRock Magazine´s AOR sampler in early 2012 and are also giving away their 2011 EP for free at their website. I won´t be surprised if we get to see De La Cruz at Rocklahoma Festival soon, they´re a perfect match with the hairmetal soundtrack of "Street level". I´m not that all excited over this 2nd division Motley Crue/Ratt/Dokken sleaze rock, they´re just as unique as snow in Himalaya but if you´re dying to have everything released in this genre - "Street level" is just what you´re looking for.

Tilian - Material Me

Tilian - Material Me (2013) Vital Records
Produced by Matt Malpass
Tracks : 1.Now or never 2.Someday 3.Waste my time 4.Chemicals 5.Up in the air 6.You´ll forget me soon 7.Favor 8.Ghost 9.Flutter 10.Feel it again
4 out of 5

Ever since Owl City conquered the charts, the genre of electro pop has exploded all over the world. But if you ask me, I think the Danes started this way before Owl City with bands like Carpark North, Dune and Marvel Hill. The Danish bands use more guitars and that´s where Tilian´s new solo album "Material Me" comes in, we get the best of both worlds here with the poppy sounds of Owl City to the more rocking electronica with Danish vibes. Tilian Pearson is also the singer in post hardcore band Dance Gavin Dance but this album is on the other side of the planet soundwise compared to DGD. No doubt, these 10 songs are superinfectious and well produced. I just love Tilian´s voice, it´s handmade and perfect for this type of dance rock. Definitely for fans of Hurts and Breathe Carolina. Highly recommendable!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Vanna - The few and the far between

Vanna - The Few and The Far Between (2013) Artery Recordings / Razor and Tie Records
Produced by Jay Maas
Tracks : 1.The far and the few between 2.The lost art of staying alive 3.Year of the rat 4.I said I´m fine 5.Casket rhythm 6.The weekly slap in the face 7.Please stay 8.A thin place 9.The dreamer, the thief, the relic 10.When in roam 11.His heels
3 out of 5

Boston is the most European city in America, the music climate in these parts of the east coast is a bit different than the rest of the states. Like for example, Vanna that gives the listener a fresh breath of the deathmetal scene in Gothenburg as well as a touch of NWOBHM and ofcourse, a huge dose of classic hardcore. The band has released 2 full length albums on Epitaph Records and with "The few and the far between", also 2 full length albums on Artery Recordings.  I´m rather new to this band but I dig what I hear, there´s a lot of energy in this band and I welcome the thing that they doesn´t sound like your average post hardcore band. If Rihanna would do a cover of "Please stay", it would most certainly be a hit. It´s a fab song and I also love the punk-ish "I said I´m fine" with the brilliant chorus in the best alternative metal style. Thumbs up for the cool title "When in roam", yeah. This is good stuff.

Shannon LaBrie - Just Be Honest

Shannon LaBrie - Just Be Honest (2013) Zodlounge Records
Produced by Shannon LaBrie
Tracks : 1.Secret 2.Lion´s cage 3.Heartache of love 4.Just be honest 5.I remember a boy 6.Love somebody 7.How does it feel 8.Gettin´ tired 9.Slow dance 10.Take me 11.Headlines 12.Last to know
3,5 out of 5

Although, I´m not the biggest fan of jazz oriented pop, I can always appreciate a good song and a great singer. That´s just what Nashville based Shannon LaBrie is, she was raised on James Taylor and Lauren Hill and truly show her love for genres like country, R&B and blues on her debut album "Just be honest". And honest is just what her music feels like, these songs are warm and passionate. Her vocal performance stands out here, just listen to beautiful songs like "Secret" and "I remember a boy". Especially the song "Secret" is my personal fave but I also dig other tracks like "Take me" and "Headlines", I think it´s just a matter of time before she will open for huge artists like Eric Clapton or Norah Jones.
For fans of Sade, Katie Melua, Joss Stone

Brave Bird - Maybe you, no one else worth it

Brave Bird - Maybe you, no one else worth it (2013) Count Your Lucky Stars Records
Produced by Brave Bird
Tracks : 1.Too late now 2.Scared enough 3.Healthy 4.Tired enough 5.Thick skin 6.Whittle down the days 7.The worst things happen to me 8.Get over what´s right 9.Maybe you, no one else worth it 10.I´ll see you at the ring of fire
2 out of 5

I can´t make up my mind if I like this album or not, the trio Brave Bird from Michigan really test my patience with their blend of experimental emo and artistic punkrock. The band is influenced by Brand New and Modest Mouse and doesn´t make it easy for themselves with writing songs that are filled with desperation one second and playfulness the next. What I do enjoy about their music is Chris Lieu´s guitarwork, he´s very talented and in some moments also bring thoughts to Tim Christensen in Dizzy Mizz Lizzy. The title track "Maybe you, no one else worth it" is the best track along with "Healthy" that surprised me with an excerpt of a conversation in Swedish, perhaps from a film? Also available is their "Ready or not" EP from 2010. Anyhow, this album is complex, it goes from 1 to 3 out of 5, like a roller coaster ride.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Rika - How to draw a river, step by step

Rika - How to draw a river, step by step (2013) Count Your Lucky Stars Records
Produced by Rika and Big Rok
Tracks : 1.Restless 2.Port Dover 3.Mute 4.See-through 5.Safety points 6.Ultramarine blue 7.October 8.Retrospect 9.Treasure 10.Departure
3 out of 5

The bands I know from Austria can be listed on the fingers on my right hand, Falco, Opus, Ecliptica, Sinetry and now also Rika. However I´m new to the band Rika even though they formed in 2005 but recently released their debut album "How to draw a river, step by step". This quartet makes beautiful autumn-like rock, quite laid back and almost fragile. It takes a few spins to get into the music but it grows on ya, I really do think "How to draw a river, step by step" is a good album where the highlights are "Port Dover", "See-through" and "Ultramarine blue". For fans of As Tall As Lions, Death Cab For Cutie and Copeland.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Dorm Patrol - Big Apple 3 A.M

Dorm Patrol - Big Apple 3 A.M (2013) Independent
Produced by Eric Höjden
Tracks : 1.One nine nine four 2.Hooked for life 3.In front of you 4.Alright 5.Riot 6.Keep it real 7.Dont let this go 8.Get up Can´t stop 9.Straight out 10.Wonderboy 11.After all
3,5 out of 5

Those who remember the 80´s and how the music made you happy, also noticed how depressive the grunge era was in the 90´s. The dark ages of rock if you ask me, but then pop punk came along with Blink 182 starting it all and rock music became fun again. Now, over a decade later, there are still new pop punk bands poppin up in every corner of the world like the Swedish Dorm Patrol. Their debut album "Big Apple 3 A.M" is produced by Erik Höjden of Kid Down and features a guest appearance from Nikola Sarcevic of Millencolin on the single "Hooked for life". The songs on this 11 track album put me in a good mood straight away and I especially dig "Alright" feat Eric Höjden, that one is super catchy. "Riot" is another great upbeat rocker and I bet a band like All Time Low would be proud over the song "Straight out". Let the party begin!
For fans of New Found Glory, Unwritten Law, Blink 182

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

K - Rise

K - Rise (2013) Independent
Produced by Jim Spencer
Tracks : 1.Burn our city 2.Fistful of salt 3.Too young to die 4.Tell it like it is 5.Sally go easy 6.Do it again 7.Witch hunt 8.Broken bones 9.The colour 10.Stand alone 11.Rise 12.Save me
3 out of 5

Don´t you think it´s rather peculiar to name a band with just the letter K? But that´s just what the British band K is called, the band features members of bands like The Treatment, Marner Brown and Larrikin Love. We´re talking classic rock here, quite groovy and bluesy with Hammond organ here and there. This is without doubt a solid album in the same vein as Thunder, The Answer, Little Angels and The Union. The track "Broken bones" can be described as Elvis Costello meets Black Crowes, not one of the best songs on the album but it´s good. My favorite songs are "Burn our city", "Tell it like it is" and "Stand alone", the last song is available as free download at their website. Other bands worth mentioning with just one letter in their name are "C" (Czech prog), "T" (German prog), "Z" (U.S prog), "V" (Valensia/Valentine).

The New Standards - Sunday morning coming down

The New Standards - Sunday morning coming down (2012) Princess Records
Produced by The New Standards / Dan Wilson
Tracks : 1.Sunday morning coming down 2.This must be the place 3.Call your boyfriend 4.I scare myself 5.Essence 6.No cars go 7.After the gold rush 8.The golden age 9.And I love her 10.The book of love 11.One 12.You´re innocent when you dream
2,5 out of 5

The trio The New Standards released a nice covers album back in 2008 called "Rock and roll" where they did jazz versions of old punk and new wave songs, this time with the new record "Sunday morning coming down" they´re re-discovering 60´s songs as well as modern pop hits. TNS ain´t your average jazz band, sure you could label them as lounge music but this is really cool jazz. They like to play songs from different genres such as country, pop, alternative and classic rock. I´m not that fond of the bossanova song "Essence" by Lucinda Williams but I am more pleased to hear great versions of "Call your boyfriend" by Robyn, "No cars go" by Arcade Fire and "After the gold rush" by Neil Young. Thumbs up. We also get ok covers with "The book of love" by Magnetic Fields, "One" by Three Dog Night and "Sunday morning coming down" by Kris Kristofferson. Other artists covered are Beck, Talking Heads, The Beatles, Dan Hicks and Tom Waits.

Count Your Lucky Stars #3

Count Your Lucky Stars 4-way split #3 (2013) Count Your Lucky Stars Records
Produced by Count Your Lucky Stars
Tracks : 1.Dikembe - Donuts in a six speed 2.Hightide Hotel - Built to last 3.Jet Set Sail - Strickland north 4.Monument - Sophisticated liars
2,5 out of 5

Indierock label Count Your Lucky Stars Records continue with their series of 4-way splits, this one being the 3rd installment with artists like Dikembe, Hightide Hotel, Jet Set Sail and Monument. A cool way to discover new bands in the emo genre I must say, all 4 bands doesn´t move me but I did find a couple of decent songs here. Maryland based Monument released their full length "Goes canoeing" in 2010 and has contributed with the new song "Sophisticated liars" which bring thoughts to early Police, a nice song indeed. Florida based Dikembe is more of a traditional emo band and I really like the way the band has built up the songstructure of "Donuts in a six speed", this is the way emo used to sound like a decade ago. If you dig Dikembe´s song here, check out their "Chicago bowls" EP as well. The other two bands are from Philadelphia, first out Hightide Hotel that has released 2 full length albums and a few EP´s but their new track "Built to last" is the song I like the least on this split, we´re talking indie rock with a punk-ish feel but the song doesn´t make me happy at all. Jet Set Sail, also from Philadelphia, released their self titled debut in 2011 and are contributing with the garage rocker "Strickland north". This one´s a grower for sure, especially the ending of the song that I like a lot. This split is a bit uneven but also with a few shining moments.

Falling Up - The Machine De Ella Project

Falling Up - The Machine De Ella Project (2013) Independent
Produced by Falling Up
Midnight on Earthship
Tracks : 1.Sky circles 2.Home 3.Bruise 4.Greying morning 5.Who you are 6.Down here 7.Summer song 8.Rooftops 9.Voices 10.Tomorrows
Tracks : 1.The contract 2.The climb 3.Finn hatches a plan 4.The rest will soon follow 5.Aeva and the waving world 6.On growing things 7.Intro to the radio room 8.The outsider 9.Blue ruins 10.Transmission 11.Prillicians 12.In echoes forever
4 out of 5

It´s become more and more popular to make albums with the help from the fans through funding platforms such as Kickstarter and PledgeMusic, but also by the band´s own website where you get to pre-order an upcoming album and get exclusive offers. Falling Up´s latest audio project "The Machine De Ella Project" contains 2 albums and were released between October 2012 and February 2013, "Midnight on Eartship" features 10 tracks in a more ambient style in the same vein as the previous release "Mnemos". While the 12 track album "Hours" is classic Falling Up rock that goes hand in hand with their first albums soundwise, I´d like to point out Jessy Ribordy´s amazing vocal performance on both albums. He alone, is a reason enough to listen to the music here. From what I know, their former label Bec Recordings wasn´t interested in working with Falling Up on their experimental endeavours. I think that´s a big mistake from the label´s executives because the quality this trio deliver, is pro-made and a guaranteed sonic adventure from start to finish.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Adalene - Atlantic heart

Adalene - Atlantic Heart (2013) Idol Records
Produced by Adalene
Tracks : 1.Atlantic heart 2.Toxic girl 3.Eve´s drop 4.Through the unknown
3,5 out of 5

Nashville based modern rock band Adalene´s debut "Night on fire" was a good EP without doubt, the band showed influences from both classic rock and alternative rock. However, the band goes from strength to strength with their new "Atlantic heart" EP that drops in April. These 4 new tracks are more edgy and not as mainstream as their debut EP, you can add influences from Muse and 30 Seconds To Mars on "Atlantic heart". The title track is excellent, a real stadium rocker. The new single "Toxic girl" is more of a radio ready active rock song that grows for each time I hear it, the third track "Eve´s drop" is a solid rocker too but the weakest song on the EP. The true highlight is "Through the unknown", this one is epic! I can´t stop listening to the huge chorus. Their lead singer Brett Moyer lifts the song with his strong voice, the band also features ex.Faktion drummer Jeremy Moore.