Saturday, June 30, 2012

P.O.D - Murdered love

P.O.D - Murdered love (2012) Razor and Tie Records
Produced by Howard Benson
Tracks : 1.Eyez 2.Murdered love 3.Higher 4.Lost in forever 5.West coast rock steady 6.Beautiful 7.Babylon the murder 8.On fire 9.Bad boy 10.Panic and run 11.I am
4 out of 5

San Diego rockers P.O.D has returned to their roots on their 8th studio album "Murdered love", the sound on the new album is more groovy and raw. After the 2008 album "When angels and serpents dance", the band took a lengthy hiatus and they sure do sound hungry on these 11 new tracks that are produced by Howard Benson who also produced 3 of the band´s biggest records.
The first single "Lost in forever" spends 4 weeks on #1 christian rock radio and it is still climbing on active rock radio, this song is only one of several strong tracks on this explosive rock affair. The fans got an early taste of the album with the free download of "Eyez" but it´s hardly one of the best tracks, I like the song but I prefer to rock out to "Higher" that is given on active rock radio. Or why not the slow "Beautiful" which is one of the best tracks from P.O.D in their career, the title track "Murdered love" kicks ass and reminds a bit of Rage Against The Machine but what about the knockout rocker "On fire", phew! This one will wake up any sleeping crowd on their upcoming tour.
The punkish "Panic and run" is really cool and I also dig the tropico rock of "Babylon the murder", go and get this one when it comes out. The band sounds reborn!

Icarus Witch - Rise

Icarus Witch - Rise (2012) Cleopatra Records
Produced by ?
Tracks : 1.The end 2.We are the new revolution 3.Rise 4.Asylum harbor 5.Coming of the storm 6.Tragedy 7.Say when 8.Break the cycle 9.Nothing is forever 10.Pray 11.In the dark 12.Last call for living
3,5 out of 5

Pittsburgh based Icarus Witch formed in 2003 and has released 5 albums, the only remaining original member since the start is bassist Jason Myers. Guitarist Quinn Lucas joined the band in 2007 but this year they come out strong with 3 new members in Christopher Shaner - Lead Vocals, Dave Watson - Guitar and Tom Wierzbicky - Drums. Icarus Witch has opened for bands like Y&T, Dianno, Winger and Cinderella and on their previous albums we could see guest performances from Joe Lynn Turner (Rainbow) and George Lynch (Dokken).
It´s not every day you get to hear an album in the same vein of hard rock and heavy metal as Crimson Glory and early Queensryche but the new album "Rise" sure do put a smile on my face, I love the strong opener "The end" and the new single "Rise" will do just fine in a live set. Power rock is the word here!
But my favorite tracks are the mighty "Pray" and the catchy "Break the cycle", great stuff. Play it loud folks!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Producers - Made in Basing street

Producers - Made in Basing street (2012) The Last Label
Produced by Chris Braide, Lol Creme, Ash Soan, Stephen Lipson, Trevor Horn
Tracks : 1.Freeway 2.Waiting for the right time 3.Your life 4.Man on the moon 5.Every single night in Jamaica 6.Stay Elaine 7.Barking up the right time 8.Garden of flowers 9.Watching you out there 10.You and I
4,5 out of 5

Oh, I have been waiting for this album for a long time now, and this summer, it´s finally out! I just love the concept of a super producers group of 4 of the greatest producers from U.K, together they have scored over 200 hit singles and albums. Producers are Trevor Horn - Bass/Vocals (Buggles, Yes), the best British producer since George Martin. Then we have Lol Creme - Guitar (10cc, Godley and Creme), Ash Soan - Drums (Del Amitri, Squeeze) and Stephen Lipson - Guitar.
They have also invited a few friends on the album such as Geoff Downes - Keyboards (Asia), Chris Braide - Lead Vocals and Ryan Malloy - Lead Vocals. Trevor Horn is singing lead vocals on 3 tracks, Ryan on 2 tracks and Chris on the remaining 5. I must say that every expectation I had on this album has been fulfilled because the songwriting and the musicianship is just stellar, completely marvelous.
The music bring thoughts to Toy Matinee, Mike and The Mechanix and 10cc. If you dig the first single "Freeway" that was released a few years ago, you´re gonna love the entire album. Songs like "Every single night in Jamaica", "Garden of flowers" and "Man on the moon" are musical diamonds.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Lostprophets - Weapons

Lostprophets - Weapons (2012) Fearless / Epic Records
Produced by Ken Andrews
Tracks : 1.Bring em down 2.We bring an arsenal 3.Another shot 4.Jesus walks 5.A song for where I´m from 6.A little reminder that I´ll never forget 7.Better off dead 8.Heart on loan 9.Somedays 10.Can´t get enough
3 out of 5

Lostprophets is a hard working band and truly do deserve their fame and 3,5 million sold albums, they are struggling to become as big as Biffy Clyro and Muse and sure do deliver anthemic rock songs throughout every album they put out. This Welsh band has worked with some of the best producers around like Eric Valentine on "Start something" from 2004, Bob Rock on "Liberation transmission" from 2006 and Stuart Richardson on "The Betrayed" from 2010. This time ain´t no different where they hooked up with Super Ken Andrews (Failure), the new album "Weapons" reached #1 on the UK rock charts where the single "We bring an arsenal" was written already back in 2007 but not recorded and released until now. This song along with "Jesus walks" and "A little reminder that I´ll never forget" are the best tracks on "Weapons", I think it´s a solid album and fans of Lostprophets will ofcourse be pleased but it doesn´t reach the same heights as "Start something" which is their greatest album.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Asia - XXX

Asia - XXX (2012) Frontiers Records
Produced by Mike Paxman
Tracks : 1.Tomorrow the world 2.Bury me in the willow 3.No religion 4.Faithful 5.I know how you feel 6.Face on the bridge 7.Al Gatto Nero 8.Judas 9.Ghost of a chance
4 out of 5

The brand new album "XXX" from super group Asia marks the 30th anniversary for this band since the release of their successful debut in 1982 that featured the hit "Heat of the moment". Although there has been several releases from Asia, the new album "XXX" is only the 5th studio album with the classic line up of John Wetton, Carl Palmer, Geoff Downes and Steve Howe.
John Payne who replaced John Wetton in 1991 owns a significant portion of the rights to the name Asia and continues as Asia featuring John Payne, a new album called "Americana" is in the works.
Since Wetton and Downes collaborated as Icon in 2005 and released a few albums, it was also the spark that set the fire for the reunion of the classic line up Asia and the comeback album "Phoenix" in 2008 and the follow up "Omega" in 2010.
The new album "XXX" is more upbeat than the previous albums and can be compared to the first two albums, "Asia" and "Alpha" with lots of hookladen AOR-ish progrock songs. How can any Asia fan resist songs like "Face on the bridge", "Bury me in the willow" or "Ghost of a chance"? I can´t!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Ultravox - Brilliant

Ultravox - Brilliant (2012) Chrysalis Records
Produced by Stephen Lipson / Ultravox
Tracks : 1.Live 2.Flow 3.Brilliant 4.Change 5.Rise 6.Remembering 7.Hello 8.One 9.Fall 10.Lie 11.Satellite 12.Contact
4,5 out of 5

Who would´ve thought the classic line up of Ultravox with Midge Ure, Billy Currie, Chris Cross and Warren Cann would release new music again? This amazing band that gave us such great albums like Vienna, Rage in Eden, Quartet and Lament, between 1980-1984. Not many bands succeed in recapturing their old sound with new releases and at the same time write equally great songs but let me tell you, Ultravox has taken me back in a time machine to 1982 with "Brilliant" and the songs are just stunning. I´m glad they did not only reunite for the Return to Eden tour in 2009 to perform the old hits but also to record a brand new album which is fantastic. Perhaps the air in Montreal where they wrote and recorded "Brilliant" had something to do with this masterpiece. Songs like "Live", "Change", "Hello", "Satellite" and "Brilliant" are new classics from this lovely band. Now do yourself a favor and listen to the old albums again, they are sooo good.

Everyone Dies In Utah - +//- Polarities

Everyone Dies In Utah - +//- Polarities (2012) Tragic Hero Records
Produced by David Ludlow
Tracks : 1.Factor X 2.The view from here 3.You´re now manually breathing 4.A glowing core through the glass floor 5.Welcome to the ward 6.Synthia where´s R2 7.Desoto 55 8.Party at the moon tower 9.Simply me 2 10.Polarities
3,5 out of 5

I must confess that I haven´t heard Texas based Everyones Dies In Utah´s debut album "Seeing clearly" fom 2011 so this is actually the first time I listen to this post hardcore band. Their new album +//- Polarities, explore the transitions between positive and negative points of view, how the human heart may exist both in darkness and light. The production is crystal clear and heavy, the songstructures are rich of nuances and the band manage to keep a beautiful aura in the songs even through the most aggressive parts. This is a mighty fine post hardcore album and I am especially impressed by songs like "Synthia where´s R2", "Factor X" and "A glowing core through the glass floor". Highly recommendable!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Memphis May Fire - Challenger

Memphis May Fire - Challenger (2012) Rise Records
Produced by Cameron Mizell / Kemeron McGregor
Tracks : 1.Without walls 2.Alive in the lights 3.Prove me right 4.Red in tooth and claw 5.Vices 6.Legacy 7.Miles away 8.Jezebel 9.Losing sight 10.Generation:Hate 11.Vessels
3,5 out of 5

Dallas based Memphis May Fire follow up with yet another new studio album, only a year after the previous "The hollow" (2011). What a creative band, I like it. Guitarist Ryan Bentley left the band and he´s been replaced by Anthony Sepe (ex.Decoder), the new album "Challenger" is their heaviest one so far but it also contains traces of electronica and more clean vocals. But you still get your share of screamo, don´t worry.
We also get guest performances from Kellin Quinn of Sleeping With Sirens on "Miles away" and Danny Worsnop of Asking Alexandria on "Losing sight" with additional vocals. The new single "Prove me right" is good but hardly one of the best tracks, I think "Alive in the lights", "Legacy" and "Generation:Hate" are all way stronger so I´m glad MMF has done their best album so far.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Sean Renner - Sekhmet

Sean Renner - Sekhmet (2010) Morning Bird Records
Produced by Sean Renner
Tracks : 1.Prelude 2.Iron age 3.Sekhmet 4.Foolproof 5.Facts and figures 6.Messenger 7.The western oak doors 8.Spell 17 9.In the field of rushes 10.The deceiver 11.Prayers 12.Weight
2 out of 5

Earlier this week, this cd with Sean Renner dropped in my mail and at first I had no idea who the artist was but when I read his biography about his debut album "The blossoms of armageddon", I immediately felt I knew I´ve heard it before. So I checked my reviews on and there it was, I gave it 2 stars mainly because the music didn´t move me but the album had a few fine moments. It really ain´t easy to remember all the music I have listened to because there are more than 4750 reviews done by me at but I always listen more than 3 times to a record before writing something about it.
Sean Renner´s 2nd album "Sekhmet" has been spinning in my stereo for 2 days now and I still can´t put my finger on how to describe it. The album does not sound as ambient as the first record but it´s still not upbeat either, he´s been influenced by Egyptian history and mythology but when he performs, it sounds more like it´s seen through the eyes of a folk rock artist from Iceland. The song "Facts and figures" is really nice and I also like "The deceiver" with it´s beautiful chords and harmonies. I wonder if not Nina Persson of The Cardigans would love Sean Renner´s songs, I think so.
Sean recently released the new album "7 days" that was written and recorded in a week only.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Holding Mercury - Love in the information age

Holding Mercury - Love in the information age (2012) Independent
Produced by Holding Mercury
Tracks : 1.I wait for no one 2.My very own personal hell 3.Cancerous 4.Love in the information age 5.Best of times 6.Take a long hard look at yourself 7.Say something 8.Out tonight
4 out of 5

Now this is classy stuff! I would like to thank my friend in France, Philippe for the awesome tip of Holding Mercury´s new album "Love in the information age". I was a fan of their debut album "Downfall of an empire" from 2008 so I was excited to hear their new album. I love, truly love, their blend of new wave and 90´s rock in a modern rock suit. And the new songs impress me, you get strong modern rock in tracks like "Cancerous" and "Best of times" and irresistable new wave a la The Cars in the title track. What a great song. But the The Police-like "My very own personal hell" is outstanding, I just don´t get tired of this song. Another superb song perfect for your mixtape is the opener "I wait for no one", brilliant folks!

Million Dollar Reload - A sinner´s saint

Million Dollar Reload - A Sinner´s Saint (2012) Frontiers Records
Produced by Million Dollar Reload
Tracks : 1.Fight the system 2.Bullets in the sky 3.Blow me away 4.Can´t tie me down 5.Broken 6.I am the rapture 7.Wicked 8.Smoke N Mirrors 9.Headrush 10.Pretty people 11.It ain´t over
3 out of 5

Million Dollar Reload is a fine hard rock band from Northern Ireland, formed in 2005 and released their debut album "Anthems of a degeneration" in 2008. This year, their follow up "A sinner´s saint" is unleashed and it´s a solid party time rocknroll album influenced by AC DC, Aerosmith and Guns N Roses. This band live by the motto "There are only two kinds of music, ROCK and ROLL!".
The first single "Bullets in the sky" is typical for the whole album and you can watch the video on youtube, my next contender for the next single is the more melodic "Broken" which is really nice. The band sounds like Buckcherry meets Hardcore Superstar but with more AOR-ish choruses, my favorite tracks are "Blow me away", "I am the rapture" and "Smoke N Mirrors". I bet they´re a great live band.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Lit - The view from the bottom

Lit - The view from the bottom (2012) Megaforce Records
Produced by Butch Walker
Tracks : 1.C´mon 2.You tonight 3.Same shit, different drink 4.Miss you gone 5.The broken 6.She don´t know 7.Nothing´s free 8.You did it 9.Partner in crime 10.Here´s to us 11.The wall 12.Right this time
3,5 out of 5

The Popoff brothers are back with a brand new album and this time it´s produced by one of the coolest guys in the business, Butch Walker! Alright!
"The view from the bottom" is the 5th album from Lit and it´s not a 100% pop punk album like their early albums "A place in the sun" (1999) and "Atomic" (2001), the new album is more of a modern rock/power pop album with Butch Walker´s spirit all over it.
I must say that this album is way better than the self titled album from 2004 but it doesn´t reach the same heights as the early ones, they are amongst the best pop punk albums ever made in my opinion. But this album is great, the single "You tonight" is a perfect choice to conquer the air waves but there´s more.
"You did it", "C´mon" and "The broken" are all radio friendly and will stick like glue if you let em.
I am happy with this and I bet you will too if you´re a fan of "Atomic" or "A place in the sun".

Wigelius - Reinventions

Wigelius - Reinventions (2012) Frontiers Records
Produced by Daniel Flores
Tracks : 1.Angeline 2.Talking about love 3.Do you really know 4.Next to me 5.My Cassandra 6.Piece of the action 7.Too young to fall in love 8.Right here Right now 9.Love can be that much 10.Hold on to love 11.There is no me without you 12.I reach out
3 out of 5

There is a new wave of AOR artists coming from Sweden such as Eclipse, Houston, Work of Art, H.E.A.T and now you can add Wigelius to that list. A young band built around singer Anders Wigelius who appeared on the Swedish TV show True talent last year where he sang Journey´s "Don´t stop believin". The debut album "Reinventions" is a solid Scandi AOR affair that will please fans of AOR without doubt, who can resist a pink and fluffy song like "Talking about love" and the Toto-esque "Too young to fall in love". The acoustic ballad "Love can be that much" reminds a bit of Mr.Big´s hit "To be with you", the music is very traditional and there are no surpises along the way so the cliche´s are lined up like an army parade but just like I said. It´s good.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Celldweller - Wish upon a blackstar

Celldweller - Wish upon a blackstar (2012) FiXT Music
Produced by Klayton / Grant Mohrman
Tracks : 1.The arrival 2.It makes no difference who we are 3.Blackstar 4.Louder than words 5.The lucky one 6.Unshakeable 7.I can´t wait 8.Eon 9.So long sentiment 10.Gift for you 11.The seven sisters 12.The best it´s gonna get 13.Memories of a girl I haven´t met 14.Birthright 15.Tainted 16.Against the tide 17.The departure
5 out of 5

Back in 2003, Celldweller´s debut album was one of my favorite albums that year and ever since, I have waited for a new album with all new songs. Sure, Klayton has released 2 remix albums "The Beta Cessions" (2004) and "The complete Cellout" (2011) plus 2 instrumental albums "Soundtrack for the voices in my head Vol.1 (2008) and Vol.2 (2010). But I wanted a real album if you know what I mean, and this time he has delivered one helluva masterpiece with "Wish upon a blackstar" that features all songs from the previous chapters Part.1-5 along with a bunch of new songs. Celldweller has a unique sound, it´s progressive, melodic, electronic, heavy, moving and so bloody good.
All killers, no fillers is describes the music just perfect here!
"Eon" and "The best it´s gonna get" are some of the best tracks I´ve heard in a long time.
I don´t wanna wait another 10 years for the next release ok!

Hawthorne Heights - Hope

Hawthorne Heights - Hope (2012) Cardboard Empire Records
Produced by Hawthorne Heights
Tracks : 1.There was a kid (Part 2) 2.New winter 3.Running in place 4.Stranded 5.Nowhere fast 6.Hope 7.Vandemonium 8.Chemicals
2 out of 5

Hawthorne Heights has been around for more than a decade now releasing music on 3 different labels, first a few on Victory Records and then "Skeletons" (2010) on Wind up Records, just to go independent with their own label Cardboard Empire. Their first self release was "Hate" last year and now they follow up with "Hope", gone with the wind are the post hardcore tendencies and instead we get emo flavored pop punk on their new album. HH already turned softer on their Wind up album so I guess it´s a natural step for the band to take but that album contains good music while "Hope" lack of memorable melodies. This is a disappointment I´m afraid.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Chelsea Grin - Evolve

Chelsea Grin - Evolve (2012) Artery Recordings / Razor and Tie
Produced by Buckett
Tracks : 1.The second coming 2.Lilith 3.S.H.O.T 4.Confession 5.Don´t ask, don´t tell 6.The human condition (remix)
3 out of 5

The 6 piece band Chelsea Grin has sold more than 50,000 copies of their first two albums "Desolation of Eden" (2010) and "My damnation" (2011), and on June 19th their new EP "Evolve" is unleashed. Their sound is powerful and influenced by bands like Emmure and Job For A Cowboy, you could say extreme metal meets hardcore with a dark tone over it. The new single "Lilith" is a perfect ambassador for this EP where my personal favorite is "Don´t ask, don´t tell" but I want to recommend the opener "The second coming" for new listeners as well. Me likey!
Catch them on the Warped tour this summer!

Katrin - Frail to fearless

Katrin - Frail to fearless (2012) Independent
Produced by Jerry Marotta
Tracks : 1.Home 2.Enough 3.Far away 4.Breeze 5.More 6.Ivy 7.Cobblestones 8.Dreams 9.Blame 10.That´s the way
2,5 out of 5

Boston based singer/songwriter Katrin Roush recently released her 4th album "Frail to fearless" and this time she teamed up with some major great musicians such as drummer Jerry Marotta (Peter Gabriel), bassist Tony Levin (King Crimson) and guitarist Bill Dixon (Paul McCartney). The music bring thoughts to a mix between Kim Hill and Suzanne Vega, tracks like "Far away" and "Ivy" are really good while some of the other tunes doesn´t move me at all. She does a decent cover of Led Zeppelin´s "That´s the way" which is nice but why did she go for this artwork where she looks like a school teacher? It´s supposed to sell the record and I don´t think this album cover will help.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Restless Streets - In, and of myself

Restless Streets - In, and of myself (2012) InVogue Records
Produced by Landon Tewers
Tracks : 1.The concealer 2.I just want you home 3.Dr.Doctor 4.At the ballet
3 out of 5

Restless Streets is a 6 piece progressive post hardcore band out of Albany, NY. Their new EP "In, and of myself" came out this week and when I saw the title "Dr.Doctor" I thought it might be a cover of the UFO classic but it´s not. It would´ve been cool though. They´re label mates with Before Their Eyes, Famous Last Words and That´s Outrageous etc. You can expect downtuned riffs, samples, loops, aggressive as well as clean vocals and a wall of keyboards from this band and yes, I do like it. The track "I just want you home" has one foot in pop punk territories while the other 3 tracks are more or less modern hardcore. Well, they sound a bit Swedish too. Good stuff though.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Distorted Harmony - Utopia

Distorted Harmony - Utopia (2012) Independent
Produced by Yoav Efron
Tracks : 1.Kono Yume 2.Breathe 3.Obsession 4.Blue 5.Unfair 6.Utopia
4 out of 5

I don´t know much about music and artists from Israel but I´m glad I know about these guys in Distorted Harmony, what a great progressive rock band! Their debut album "Utopia" has been spinning in my stereo like wheels on a F-1 car in a Grand Prix race. And it´s available for free at their website, no shit! It´s produced by keyboardist/songwriter Yoav Efron and what a brilliant production it is, I just love their mix of fusion, classical music, heavy metal and 70´s prog. At times, they remind of Italian fusion band Nova and in other´s, Threshold and I know some of you might even say Dream Theater (their early albums before they became too technical). Because we´re talking songbased progrock here where the melody is the centre of the song, all 6 tracks are awesome but I have two favorites, "Kono Yume" and "Utopia". Thumbs up!

Monday, June 11, 2012

The Bolts - Fall

The Bolts - Fall (2012) Independent
Produced by The Bolts
Tracks : 1.Walk away 2.The truth 3.This can´t be real 4.We may fall
3,5 out of 5

You will find traces of many genres in California based The Bolts sound such as powerpop, classic rock, modern rock and 80´s pop. The new single "Walk away" bring thoughts to The Trews and it´s a good song but the following "The truth" is stronger, I love the harmony vocals with hooks in the same vein as Elliot Minor. My favorite is the AOR-esque "This can´t be real", Robby Valentine would be proud over this song. The band close the EP with the 80´s pop of "We may fall" which is the weakest song here, it´s a band with potential and I can´t wait to hear their next EP called "Winter" which will be out in late 2012.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Dropbunny -IO

Dropbunny - IO (2012) Independent
Produced by Dropbunny
Tracks : 1.Plummet 2.Irredeemebly fucked 3.CDFA 4.Portrait of a young man as a shithead 5.The nightmare from which you cannot awaken 6.Another lost kid 7.Exit sub 8.Hits limbo from a great height 9.This relentless momentum 10.Jumped 11.Gimpman cometh 12.Beat 13.Pentagonal plywood prison 14.Arch 15.Inchoate 16.The architecture is wrong 17.Voices 18.There is nothing here and it screams
2,5 out of 5

Melbourne based Dropbunny formed in 2009 and released their first album "Hypothesis" in 2010, this band does not compromise and my first impression is that you´re not really supposed to like them. And I get the feeling they don´t care either if you don´t, this is as far away from American Idol and The Voice you can get in music. Dropbunny makes dangerous and non commercial music, a bit like when you heard punk rock the first time in 1977. This is so underground and 90´s like a chaotic mix of Suicidal Tendencies, At The Drive In, Strapping Young Lad and early KoRn. Imagine a psychedelic soup of alternative metal, hardcore and funk and you´ll get the idea. I think 18 tracks might be a bit too much but I have listened to their new album "IO" a few times now and it´s not bad. They´re like the metal soundtrack to Clockwork Orange I think, tracks like "This relentless momentum" and "Pentagonal plywood prison" are cool. And if you don´t get the album cover, don´t worry, you might not get the music either.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

22 - Flux

22 - Flux (2012) Best Before Records
Produced by 22
Tracks : 1.Plastik 2.Gotodo 3.Chrysalis 4.I am that I am 5.Disconnecting from the grid 6.Kneel estate 7.Oxygen 8.Loopwhole 9.Flux 10.Perspective Pleiadan 11.Sussurus 12.Abdomental
4,5 out of 5

The Norwegian quartet 22 impress so mega much to the point I am ready to hold their debut full length "Flux" as one of the best albums this year, 3 tracks are taken from their debut EP "Plastik" and 2 tracks are from their latest EP "Kneel estate" along with 7 new tracks.
The music is artsy and progressive, influenced by the 3 big M´s of music : Muse, Mew and MuteMath. We´re talking a whole world of harmonies and wonderful songstructures, just listen to the beautiful "Kneel estate" or the adventurous "I am that I am". Or why not the technical "Oxygen", not to mention the infectious "Gotodo". They´re all bloody good. It´s easy to believe in the future of music with bands like 22.

Chris Thompson - Berlin Live

Chris Thompson - Berlin Live (2012) Gonzo MultiMedia Group
Produced by Ekkehard Stoffregen
Tracks : CD 1 : 1.Father of day 2.Wasting time 3.Spirits in the night 4.Hot summer night 5.Martha´s madman 6.Land of the long white cloud 7.Whole lot to give 8.If you remember me 9.Dont kill it Carol 10.Redemption song 11.The runner 12.Mighty quinn
CD 2: 1.Piece for the wicked 2.You angel you 3.Davy´s on the road again 4.Blinded by the light 5.For you 6.You´re the voice 7.Questions
4 out of 5

The new double live album "Berlin live" from Chris Thompson is actually a real live album recorded for Radio Berlin 88.8 just as it went on air in January 2011, there are no overdubs so that makes this album a bit more special. Chris is backed up the great guitarist Mads Eriksen, keyboardist Gunnar Bjelland, bassist Frank Hovland and drummer Zsolt Meszaros. The band sound really tight and I love how Bjelland´s organ sounds just like Manfred Mann back in the day. There are two good things to say about "Berlin Live" and two, not so good I´m afraid. First I would like to compare Chris Thompson´s voice to wine, it just gets better with age. He sounds terrific through the entire show and secondly, the setlist is built mainly on Manfred Mann songs and that puts a big smile on my face since I truly love most of these classics from the 70´s. On the minus side, I can´t really say the artwork is that exciting, c´mon! A blue t-shirt? Plus one more thing, I can understand why Chris is eager to perform songs from his solo career but "Wasting time", "Land of the long white cloud" and "Whole lot to give" aren´t any good. Fortunately, we get great versions of "Hot summer night" and "If you remember me" from the 1979 Night album.

The Small Cities - With fire

The Small Cities - With Fire (2012) Princess Records
Produced by Brian Moen
Tracks : 1.Abraham 2.Home is where the heart is 3.Wise blood 4.Laughter song 5.Hospitals 6.Last winter 7.Wonder years 8.You get yours 9.Sunday after sunday 10.Icebergs
2 out of 5

I gave Minneapolis based The Small Cities debut EP a 3 star review at and thought their experimental alternative rock was pretty cool, 4 years later their debut full length "With fire" is released and the band doesn´t exactly go the easy way but instead deliver more complex rock on the brand new album. Perhaps they´re even more influenced by Radiohead and R.E.M (their early stuff). I don´t seem to get along that well with these new tracks except for the upbeat "Home is where the heart is" which is a really good song and the following "Wise blood" is also quite ok. Maybe I will understand "With fire" someday but right now? Nope!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Sink Swim - Elements

Sink Swim - Elements (2012) Independent
Produced by Bob Curtin
Tracks : 1.Beneath our sleeves 2.Losing sleep 3.Elements 4.Breeze 5.Last year
2,5 out of 5

"Elements" is the debut EP from Los Angeles trio Sink Swim, a band influenced by artists like Jack´s Mannequin and Mayday Parade. You can tell that they´re pretty young, indeed they´ve got potential but I think the sound says "kids" all over. Sink Swim aren´t bad songwriters, not at all. Especially the first track "Beneath our sleeves" caught my attention, this one reminds a bit of Secondhand Serenade. Sink Swim ain´t your typical pop punk band either, you can hear traces of emo and alternative rock in there too. A decent EP from a band that will probably sound a lot better on the next release.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Neo Geo - Neo Geo

Neo Geo - Neo Geo (2011) Hardline Entertainment
Produced by Cameron Webb
Tracks : 1.Touch me 2.Lies and butterflies 3.Cant catch me 4.Sex robot 5.Leave me behind 6.DT Killer 7.Tonight 8.The metro 9.THS 10.My coma 11.Masquerade
3 out of 5

California based electro rock band Neo Geo took their name from the 90´s Japanese home video game, the band is fronted by the amazing singer Rainy Terrell and she is truly the highlight of this band. Their sound is influenced by bands like Paramore, No Doubt and Evanescence but I would like to describe their music as a mix between The Sounds and Fireflight. We´re talking synth driven new wave rock here with a touch of modern guitar rock, a heavy rocker like "Cant catch me" has more in common with Fireflight but the opener "Touch me" or why not "DT killer" could´ve been unreleased The Sounds songs. This is a solid album worthy checking out if you´re a fan of female fronted rock.

Robert Lamm Songs - The JVE ReMixes

Robert Lamm Songs - The JVE ReMixes (2012) Chicago Records II / Blue Infinity
Produced by John Van Eps
Tracks : 1.Beginnings 2.Saturday in the park 3.25 or 6 to 4 4.Does anybody really know what time it is 5.Questions 67 and 68 6.It´s a groove, this life 7.Another rainy day in New York City 8.You´re my sunshine everyday 9.On the equinox 10.25 or 6 to 4 (latin mix)
3,5 out of 5

I´m not a hug fan of remixes and I won´t exactly run the store to buy dance records either so I truly had my doubts when I received this album with remixes of classic Chicago songs, but producer John Van Eps has surprisingly enough turned these songs into new compositions and still kept the jazz/westcoast feel. At first I thought it was just a waste of time doing this album, but my mind gets in a special kind of mood by hearing John Van Eps remixes. I like what I´m hearing or to quote Robert Lamm "-the weirder Eps got, the more I loved it". Lamm and Eps wanted the album to be a Chicago project but they got no encouragement from that quarter and decided to release it as Robert Lamm Songs. There are not only Chicago songs here but also 3 Lamm solo songs that fits in just perfectly, my favorite remixes are "Saturday in the park" and "Does anybody really know what time it is". Splendid club/westcoast stuff.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Make - Trephine

Make - Trephine (2012) Devouter Records
Produced by Make
Tracks : 1.Ancient tongues 2.After the dust settles 3.Returning to the ruins of my birthplace 4.And time came undone 5.Valhalla 6.Surrounded by silent lies 7.Rotting palace 8.Scorched sky 9.Into the falling grey
2 out of 5

North Carolina based doom metal trio Make features Scott Endres - Vocals/Guitar, Spencer Lee - Bass and Matt Stevenson - Drums. This band has started to get a lot of press lately so the hype is on, I think they´ve got a cool sound like a mix of stoner rock, 60´s psychedelia and doom metal where bands like Trouble, Kyuss and The Doors comes to mind. They blend long instrumental pieces with dark metal, dominated by growls but also tend to brighten up their sound once in a while with open chords and delay effects on the guitar melodies. This album is way too uneven but a track like "Surrounded by silent lies" sure do gets my blood pumping.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Jeff Larson - The world over

Jeff Larson - The world over (2012) Red Bell Recordings
Produced by Jeff Larson / Hank Linderman
Tracks : 1.Your way back home 2.Approaching midnight 3.Midhaven getaway 4.Monday clouds Tuesday rain 5.One good lie 6.This morning in Amsterdam 7.Set it fall 8.Point of rising 9.In time 10.Reason to be near you
3 out of 5

If you´re a sucker for westcoast music such as Steely Dan, Poco and America, then you should definitely check out Jeff Larson´s new album "The world over". This is well performed soft rock in the same school as The Eagles and the other bands mentioned above. Jeff has managed to gather some of the best in this genre to guest perform on his album like Gerry Beckley and Dewey Bunnell of the band America, Jeddrah Schmit, the daughter of The Eagles bassist Timothy B.Schmit and Jeffrey Foskett of Brian Wilson Band. I knew the song "This morning in Amsterdam" from before, the song was featured on the 2010 compilation "I like it better here, Music from Home". It´s one of the highlights along with the beautiful "Midhaven getaway" and the classy "Your way back home". The new album "The world over" is the first set of new songs since "Left of a dream" from 2008 and it´s worth the wait for the fans, Jeff Larson does not disappoint.

John 5 - God told me to

John 5 - God told me to (2012) Ninetone Records
Produced by John 5 / Bob Marlette
Tracks : 1.Welcome to violence 2.Beat it 3.Ashland bump 4.Killafornia 5.The castle 6.The hill of the seven jackals 7.Noche acosador 8.The lust killer 9.The lie you live 10.Creepy crawler
3 out of 5

Guitar hero John 5 got famous through artists like David Lee Roth and Marilyn Manson and he´s currently in Rob Zombie´s Band. He has released 6 solo albums and co-wrote one song on Paul Stanley´s 2006 album "Live to win", plus we mustn´t forget the unreleased modern rock album Loser from 2006 but you might find a leaked copy on the net. His new album "God told me to" is half acoustic and half electric, we get to hear anything from industrial metal to flamenco and a cool cover of Michael Jackson´s "Beat it". The riffs in "Killafornia" are excellent and I love the groove in "Ashland bump", the opener "Welcome to violence" sounds like something Rammstein could´ve recorded but the metal piece "The hill of seven jackals" feels a bit like a home recording. The laid back "The lie you live" bring thoughts to Joe Satriani and it´s also my fave on the album. A good album indeed.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Player - Addiction EP

Player - Addiction EP (2012) Frontiers Records
Produced by Player
Tracks : 1.My addiction 2.Too many reasons 3.Baby come back
2,5 out of 5

The late 70´s westcoast band Player scored a hit with "Baby come back" in 1978 and then bassist Ron Moss went on to pursue an acting career with 25 years on the daytime soap opera "The bold and the beautiful". Singer Peter Beckett had  a major part of the awesome Think Out Loud album in 1988 and also released a good solo album in 1991 before joining Little River Band for 8 years. Now, in 2012 the guys are together again making new music as Player and the first taste is the 3 track "Addiction EP". We get a new recording of their classic hit "Baby come back" and it´s a neat version, the two new songs are co-written with Steve Plunkett (Autograph) and are more or less midtempo AOR songs with pretty average choruses. The opener "My addiction" bring thoughts to Little River Band and their "No Reins" album. A good song and the better one of the two new tracks but I can´t feel any excitement over this comeback. I wonder if any people still remember this band?

Attention - Tattered youth

Attention - Tattered youth (2012) Independent
Produced by Evan Bakke / Attention
Tracks : 1.Never know 2.Tattered youth 3.Something about time 4.A little song 5.Coming in clear 6.Can´t you see me 7.The hardest part 8.Other one 9.Airlie 10.Numb 11.Out of my hands 12.Not giving up
3,5 out of 5

Jeremy Tappero and Co of Attention deliver their 4th release "Tattered youth" as a "pay what you want" option at bandcamp, you can either support the band or simply download it for free. I really like their 90´s modern rock with traces of powerpop and midwest rock, some songs are rootsy while others are more straight ahead rocking. I think of their music as perfect for a long drive in the car, easy to singalong to and lots of variety with ballads, rockers and radio ready songs. Their song "Almost" from the 2007 album "Stand strong" made it onto the American Pie sequel "American reunion", let´s hope one of these songs will make it on another soundtrack. They deserve it. My favorites are "Coming in clear" and "Never know".

Friday, June 1, 2012

Suis La Lune - Riala

Suis La Lune - Riala (2012) Topshelf Records
Produced by Suis La Lune
Tracks : 1.Cornea 2.Stop motion 3.Wishes and hopes 4.Hands are for helping 5.In confidence 6.Remorse 7.All that meant something 8.Riala 9.Sense in a broken dialogue 10.One and all, every bit
2 out of 5

The Swedish screamo band Suis La Lune has been around since 2005 making several albums, the new one "Riala" is the follow up to "Heir" from 2008. Their sound can be described as a clash of indie rock and hardcore or as the band says -we play complex pop songs. I like the production which sounds a bit analog and live, the instrumental piece "Riala" is a real goodie along with the beautiful "In confidence", that song feels like a dark storm cloud over a silent ocean. Very colourful. Too bad the rest of the album doesn´t reach the same heights, the opener "Cornea" is also quite ok but most often the music don´t move me the way I hoped.