Saturday, June 24, 2017

CD Review: Relive The Glory Days Of Punk/Ska With New Albums From Goldfinger & Anti-Nowhere League

American punk/ska band Goldfinger are preparing to release their 7th studio album titled "The Knife" on July 21st through Rise Records. It will be the band's first full length album in almost a decade as Goldfinger almost abandoned releasing albums altogether. This new release also includes Blink-182 drummer Travis Baker on all tracks except one, which features Twenty-One Pilots drummer Josh Dun. The new 13-song album begins with the high energy, punk flow of "A Million Miles" and the ska feel of "Get What I Need," as lead vocalist John Feldmann brings familiarity to the songs. Goldfinger play around with the fact that they've been around for over 20 years with the fun lyrics of "Am I Deaf," then deliver the deep reggae/ska groove of "Tijuana Sunrise." The album's lead single, "Put The Knife Away" showcases the band's energy and they still have fun with their music as in "Orthodontist Girl" and "Liftoff." Goldfinger will be performing on a few west coast shows of the Vans Warped Tour. For a complete list of live dates and to find out more about their new album "The Knife," please visit goldfingermusic.com.


English punk band Anti-Nowhere League are quickly following up their 2016 album "The Cage" with another new album filled with cover songs. The new release titled "League Style!" takes ten reggae classics from the Tojan music catalogue and adds their own spin to the music. Anti-Nowhere League founder and frontman Animal is a fan of this style of music and the band had dedicated years into creating this album. It begins with the thick reggae backbeat of "Johnny Two Bad" as Anti-Nowhere League inject an extra boost of energy into this 1972 classic. They turn "Singer Man" and "Love Of The Common People" into punk anthems with a classic appeal. They fully capture the reggae spirit of "Long Shot Kick De Bucket," before finishing with their cover of The Tremeloes' 1970 single "Me & My Life." To find out more about Anti-Nowhere League and their latest release "League Style," please visit antinowhereleague.com.

Friday, June 23, 2017

CD/DVD Review: New "Purple Rain" Deluxe Edition Collects All It Can From Prince

Finally the vault has opened. Since the death of Prince last year, fans have been patiently waiting to hear what Prince has kept in his musical vault. Rumors have swirled that there are full albums, live concerts and collaborations that have been professionally recorded and scrapped for more impulsive music. On June 23, we will get a new deluxe version of Prince's 80's soundtrack masterpiece "Purple Rain." It will be released through Warner Bros. Records and comes as a 3CD/DVD set, a 2CD set and a rare picture disc vinyl.
 
The first disc features the original 9-song soundtrack, remastered at Paisley Park back in 2015 and approved by Prince himself. The music in these songs sound so crisp and clear that you may even notice things within the songs that you may never have heard before. The chiming of the cymbals in "Take Me With You" and the amazingly forgotten guitar solo in "Computer Blue" stand out on this new remastered version of the album. The classic hits of "Let's Go Crazy" and "I Would Die 4 U" sound better than ever with a new polished feel and "Purple Rain" still burns with its timeless guitar solo.
 
Disc 2 is filled with what fans have been waiting to hear, as we get 11-tracks that were recorded for the album and the movie, but were never released until now. It kicks off with the high energy, 11-plus minute electronic, experimental/jam piece "The Dance Electric," while Prince's backing band, The Revolution lead the way on the funk-fueled "Love And Sex." Prince and the band expand upon "Computer Blue," pushing it past the 12-minute mark as Prince reads his "Hallway Speech" poetry. Prince steps away from the mic on the first half of "Our Destiny / Roadhouse Garden," allowing his keyboardist Lisa Coleman to take the lead, before stepping back in for the second part of the song. The whole second disc is an undiscovered treasure of high-quality finished music that shows how much Prince had to offer early in his career, before this album made him a global sensation.
 
The 3rd disc consists of all of the B-sides and single edits that were released from this album. The popular hits like "When Doves Cry," "Let's Go Crazy" and "Purple Rain" appear here in their shortened, less well-known versions. The highlight of this disc is the inclusion of all of the B-sides that were only released on the original singles and have been sought after by fans ever since there release. Songs that have appeared as B-sides like "17 Days," "Erotic City" and "Another Lonely Christmas" have developed as classics in their own right. While most bands used throwaway tracks as B-sides, Prince's songs that he used for B-sides are just a good as the material he placed on the album.
 
The "Purple Rain" deluxe expanded edition also includes a DVD of Prince live at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, NY on March 30, 1985. The setlist for the show includes tracks from his current release at the time, plus old favorites like "Delirious," "1999" and "Little Red Corvette." To find out more about this new release of Prince's "Purple Rain" soundtrack, please visit officialprincemusic.com.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

CD Review: New Heavy Metal Music Arriving From Conveyer, Carnivore, Crimson Glory, Twilight Force & Soul Remnants

Arriving June 23rd is the sophomore release from hardcore metal band Conveyer. The new album titled "No Future" will be available through Victory Records. It features 11 bone-crushing anthems, beginning with the power attack of "Dust." The screams come reigning down during the swiftness of "The Whetstone" and the power of the music of "New Low" will hit you like a ton of bricks. The energy of "Levity," plus the aggressiveness of "No Future" and "Drift" will have you stand up and take notice of this new rising hardcore metal band. To find out more about Conveyer and their latest release "No Future," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/CONVEYER. 

Earlier this month, Roadrunner Archive label in association with Metalville have released new digitally remastered albums from the band's Carnivore and Crimson Glory. The band Carnivore was the introduction of singer/bassist Pete Steele (Type O Negative) into the metal world. Their original 8-track debut album gets expanded with 3 bonus tracks. In the early 80's, Carnivore were an underground thrash metal band from Brooklyn, NY that never found the popularity of other thrash metal bands like Metallica and fellow New Yorkers, Anthrax. The three bonus tracks contained on this new reissue include "U.S.A. For U.S.A.," "S.M.D." and "Sex And Violence." These songs would appear on the band's second album, but have been added since their history dates back to the studio sessions for Carnivore's debut album.

The sophomore album from Crimson Glory titled "Transcendence" is also get reissued. This was the band's most anticipated album, since their debut album sold so well among the rising hair metal fans of the mid-eighties. This second album from Crimson Glory finds the band adding a more progressive rock feel to their music. Their sound drew similarities to Queensryche, but never achieved the same fame and the band broke up shortly after their third album. Songs like "Lady Of Winter" and "Painted Skies" showcased some of the band's hard rock sound, while "Burning Bridges" and "In Dark Places" showcases the band's stellar songwriting and musicianship as they tested the limits of their fans with these new progressive metal numbers. Both albums were released on June 2nd.

Swedish metal band Twilight Force arrived on May 5th with their new album "Heroes Of Mighty Magic." Their orchestral heavy metal sound feels so epic in the album's opening track "Battle Of Arcane Might" that you feel part of the song's grand story. Strap yourself in for a ride of adventure with the swiftness of "Powerwind" and the "Flight Of The Sapphire Dragon" as this magical journey of heavy metal and mythical tales take you away from the norm. Their musicianship excels during the 10-minute prog-metal feel of "There And Back Again" and "Heroes Of Might Magic" as this music could be the soundtrack to the next season of "Game Of Thrones." To find out more about Twilight Force and their latest release "Heroes Of Might Magic," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/twilightforce.

Finally from Boston, comes the latest release titled "Ouroboros" from death metal band Soul Remnants. It is the band's third album since their 2009 debut and the album revolves around a futuristic, dystopian war among mankind. The new 9-song release comes blasting out of the gate with the intense attack of "Mechanical Synapse Modulations." They continue to deliver an onslaught of aggression with "Regurgitation And Consumed" and "Mental Tourniquet" with their growling vocals and buzzing guitars. Soul Remnants finishes with the progressive death metal energy of "Dissolving Into Obscurity" and the grinding rhythm of "False Kingdom Of Prophecy." To find out more about Soul Remnants and their latest release "Ouroboros," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/SoulRemnants.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

CD Review: New Music From Indie-Artists Marcus Singletary, The Victory Drive, The Shrimps & Highland Kites

The musical chameleon, Marcus Singletary is back again with a new EP titled "Spirit Dialogues." Singletary has delivered everything from rock to country to funk and blues, and now he showcases re-imagined versions of classic songs by Buddy Holly, Wayne Shorter and Genesis. His new 3-song/3-spoken word EP begins with the Holly tune "Not Fade Away," which doesn't stray too far from the original, but does tack on a extended guitar solo that pushes the song to the 7-minute mark. He delivers a rock infused, Hendrix-style guitar to Wayne Shorter's "Footprints" and then closes with the guitar instrumental tribute to Genesis' song "All In A Mouse's Night." To find out more about Marcus Singletary and his latest release "Spirit Dialogues," please visit marcussingletary.com.

From New Jersey comes the latest EP titled "Before I Self Destruct" from indie-rock band The Victory Drive. The new 3-song release begins with a cover of Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance." They slowly build the song up, verse by verse as the electro-pop music continues to intensify up until its grand arena rock finale. The album continues with the strong pop tones of "The Countdown Pt. II," before closing with with the emotions of "Dynamite" as The Victory Drive continue to grow and mature with each new release. To find out more about The Victory Drive and their latest release "Before I Self Destruct," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/thevictorydriveofficial.

Next up is the British-born Benjamin brothers with their new full-length album titled "Abstracts And Keywords." The album is the latest work of The Shrimps that have been making their way from New York City out to the rest of the world. Their new 11-song release showcases the band's iconic folk-rock sound as they use their harmonies in "Life We Live" and "On The Boat" to invoke emotion in their music. The gentle acoustics of "Wings Of An Angel" has a spiritual appeal as the brothers pour their hearts into their music. To find out more about The Shrimps and their latest release "Abstracts And Keywords," please visit reverbnation.com/theshrimps.

Lastly we arrive at the new highly anticipated release from Highland Kites. The trio's new EP titled "I'm Not Weak" features 5 songs, beginning with the alternative folk appeal of "Nothing To Say." Singer Marissa Lamar showcases her mesmerizing vocals in "Monster" as you easily get lost in her words. Their new short release finishes up with the beautiful gentle acoustic guitars and keyboards of "Temporary Life" along with the atmospheric folk/rock of the title song, "I'm Not Weak." To find out more about Highland Kites and their latest release "I'm Not Weak," please visit highlandkites.com.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

CD Review: New Celebratory Live Albums From Kai Hansen And Stiff Little Fingers

Near the end of the month, we have two new live albums arriving. One from heavy metal singer/guitarist Kai Hansen on June 23 and the other is from the classic punk band Stiff Little Fingers on June 30.
 
Kai Hansen has been an iconic figure in the heavy metal community for over thirty years, first as a co-founder of the heavy metal band Helloween, then as a founding member of the band, Gamma Ray. In 2016 he released his first solo album and he is now following that up with his first solo live album "Thank You Wacken." It showcases Kai at the 2016 Wacken Open Air festival with his same band that he recorded his solo album with, along with some friends. He begins his set with "Born Free" from his solo album, before diving back to the Helloween classic "Ride The Sky." Hansen and the band deliver the "Contract Song" as if it was the new heavy metal anthem, then singers Clementine Delauney (Visions Of Atlantis) and Frank Beck (Gamma Ray) help out on the Helloween song "Victim Of Fate." Kai duets with Clementine on the eight-minute epic "Fire And Ice," before quickening the pace with the electrifying "Follow The Sun." Kai invites one more guest on stage, Michael Kiske from Helloween jto join them for "I Want Out" and "Future World," before finishing the show with "Save Us" from Kai's early days. This new live album from Kai Hansen will be released in CD/DVD, CD/Blu-ray and 2LP vinyl format. To find out more about Kai Hansen and his new release "Thank You Wacken," please visit his Facebook page at facebook.com/kaihansenofficial.
 
Irish punk band Stiff Little Fingers is celebrating their 40th anniversary with a new live album titled "Best Served Loud: Live At Barrowlands." It was recorded last year at the Barrowland Ballroom in Glasgow as the band run through their entire career in 20 songs. They begin the night with the bashing of "Wasted Life" from the band's 1977 album "Inflammable Material." They perform all their material, without stopping, keeping the energy flowing through "Roots, Radicals, Rockers, Reggae" and "Nobody's Hero" from the band's second album. They deliver the love song "Barbed Wire Love" with renewed energy and showcase music from their latest album with "Guilty As Sin" and "My Dark Places." They wrap up their new live album with the reckless punk fury of "Suspect Device" and "Alternative Ulster." To find out more about Stiff Little Fingers and their latest release "Best Served Loud: Live At Barrowlands," please visit slf.rocks.