Concert For Ronnie Montrose Is As Good As Any Major Label’s Live Recordings

Courtesy:  RoMoCo

Courtesy: RoMoCo

2013 has seen quite the surplus of live concert recordings.  Bands the likes of Jane’s Addiction, The Rolling Stones, Black Sabbath and so many others have been released to the masses.  Each of those live recordings has proven to be exceptional in its own way.  These recordings will be seen by countless audiences thanks to being released via some of the music industry’s biggest labels. It doesn’t mean that they’re the only live recordings to hit the market this year.  One independently recorded and released live concert event that deserves just as much coverage as those aforementioned recordings is the Concert for Ronnie Montrose.  Recorded April 27th, 2012 at the Regency Ballroom in San Francisco, California, this live concert event will impress anyone that is a fan of true, pure, guitar-driven rock and roll.  This applies to even those that might not be so familiar with the work of Ronnie Montrose.  There is much to like about this new live recording.  The most obvious of factors is the concert’s audio and video mix.  For a show that was independently recorded and released, it looks and sounds surprisingly good.  The show’s set list and guest lineup collectively make up another of the reasons to check out this concert.  And while it is something relatively subtle, those charged with finalizing the concert included names and titles for each artist on each song.  For those that might be unfamiliar with the artists, this inclusion will help to introduce the artists to said new audiences when they look up each name.  In turn, it could open audiences’ eyes and ears to a whole new world of music.  Together with the aforementioned factors, the Concert For Ronnie Montrose proves to be just as enjoyable as any live recording released by the industry’s major labels.

The Concert for Ronnie Montrose is an independently recorded and released live concert event.  The automatic thought that might be raised in some audiences’ minds upon reading this is that it probably doesn’t match up with the live recordings released by the record industry’s major labels.  That belief could not be any more wrong.  The reality of this concert recording is that it looks and sounds just as good as any of the countless other live recordings released on said labels already in 2013. The camera crews charged with capturing the concert expertly carried out their duties.  Home viewers get the best seat in the house.  They are taken right on stage with the musicians and even above the crowd to see the full extent of the audience in attendance.  Seeing how packed the house was on the night of April 27th, 2012 just goes to show that while Ronnie Montrose might never have been one of the biggest names in the industry, he was and still is one of the most respected individuals to pick up a guitar. It is truly a telling statement, and one that any Ronnie Montrose fan will appreciate when they watch this concert for themselves.

The Concert for Ronnie Montrose was captured just as expertly on video as any live recording released via the industry’s major labels.  It is crystal clear.  And the camera work itself is just as impressive.  Having examined the recording’s high-quality video, the next logical step is to examine its audio mix.  Having been recorded in the semi-intimate setting of San Francisco’s Regency Ballroom, it goes without saying that it was extremely important that the audio be perfect.  Those that are more familiar with the science of acoustics will appreciate the painstaking efforts taken to ensure that the concert’s sound was on par with any major live recording.     Not one of the guitarists overpowered the other at any point throughout the evening.  And none of the musicians overpowered their fellow guest vocalists, either.  That set alongside the equally top notch camera work and video editing serve as the foundation for a concert recording that proves in the long run to be just as good as any of the year’s major concert recordings.

The audio and video mixes in the Concert for Ronnie Montrose collectively make for a solid foundation for this recording.  Having examined both, the next logical step in examining the presentation is to look at the collective set list and the guest lineup.  The set list that comprises this tribute concert spans the late guitarist’s rich career before his passing.  From his days with the Edgar Winter Group to his work with the band that bore his name to his solo career, this concert is front loaded with more than its share of great music.  Even audiences that might perhaps be less familiar with Montrose’s work will likely recognize the Edgar Winter Group’s hit songs ‘Frankenstein’ and ‘Free Ride’ and the cover of The Rolling Stones’ ‘Connection.’  What’s more, those that might be fans of Dream Theater will hear quite the similarity between the concert’s opener, ‘Overture’ and certain work by Dream Theater guitarist John Petrucci on the first of Liquid Tension Experiment’s two records.  Petrucci wasn’t one of the artists on hand at the Concert for Ronnie Montrose.  However, some equally big names were in attendance. And their presence is sure to impress audiences just as much as the show’s set list.

The lineup of artists on hand to pay tribute to Ronnie Montrose is just as eye-opening as the show’s set list.  Classic rock fans will recognize former Journey band mates Steve Smith and Neal Schon and Tesla front man Jeff Keith.  Also on hand were two equally big names in the form of Montrose’s former band mate and friend Sammy Hagar (Montrose, Van Halen, Chickenfoot) and world renowned guitarist Joe Satriani (Chickenfoot).  Hagar and Montrose’s fellow former band mates were on hand for the concert, too.  Anyone that was a fan of the band in its heyday will appreciate seeing its members back together if only for a one off show.  If the set list that makes up the show isn’t enough for audiences, then this megastar lineup of artists is certain to convince audiences to check out this recording.

So much has already been noted as to what makes the Concert for Ronnie Montrose such a joy of a live recording, even having been recorded and released independently.  There is still one factor in the recording to examine.  It is a subtle, yet important factor to examine.  It is the inclusion of what is called “supers” (or superimposed images) highlighting the names and titles of each musician to take the stage throughout the concert.  Their inclusion is important for those that might happen to be new to each musician.  The names and titles are placed right in front of each musician.  This allows audiences to directly link a name with a face.  Audiences that are less familiar with said artists can in turn link the names and faces when looking up information on each one online or otherwise.  The latent effect of all of this is the potential introduction of a whole new world of music to new audiences.  For that alone, those charged with making sure the supers matched with each artist deserve their own round of applause.  And together with the camera crews, sound editors, and performers themselves, it all comes together to make the Concert for Ronnie Montrose a concert that any purist rock and roll fan will appreciate no less with each watch.  It is available now and can be ordered online at http://www.ronniemontrose.com/merchandise/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=65&products_id=238.  More information on this and all things Ronnie Montrose is available via the official Ronnie Montrose website, http://www.ronniemontrose.com.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Sullivan’s Star Keeps Rising On His Latest Release

Courtesy:  Superstar Records/merlis for hire

Courtesy: Superstar Records/merlis for hire

Blues guitarist Quinn Sullivan is not even eighteen years old.  But even at roughly the tender age of fourteen, this young musician has achieved things of which other musicians his age can only dream.  The young man was personally tapped by blues legend Buddy Guy as one of the next big names in the world of blues.  And if his new record, Getting There is any indication, the title bestowed on him by Guy might well be deserved.  That is as long as he sticks primarily to playing more blues-related material rather than some of the more poppy material included in this record.  That he is dealing puberty can be forgiven in terms of his vocals.  Once he gets through this stage of his life, his vocals may in fact become just as strong as his guitar playing.  And if that happens, fans of the blues may hear even more from him.

Sullivan hints at his abilities in the first two songs on Getting There.  But it’s in the album’s title track that he really shines both musically and vocally.  The talent that he exhibits here is kind of musicianship not generally expected of someone his age.  So to hear the sounds produced by this young man is impressive to say the least.  Just as impressive is Sullivan’s vocal style and the song’s lyrics.  Instead of being sort of a Johnny Cash tribute, he sings instead that no, he hasn’t been everywhere.  But he is getting there.  He sings about having gone to this place and that, but knowing he hadn’t been everywhere; though he’s working on it.  He sings, “No I ain’t been everywhere/But I’m getting there/No, not yet/But I’m working on it.”  The subtle way that last part is added in gives the song just a little more attitude.  That extra little attitude will have any listener laughing to themselves because while it is noted in a cocky sense, it isn’t an overly cocky tone.  It’s almost as if he’s saying, I know I haven’t gotten there, but I know I will be.  It shows that he’s only a teenager, but he’s already getting the confidence of a seasoned veteran musician.

Another moment on this record in which Sullivan really shines comes in ‘Mr. Gloom.’  This is another solid twelve-bar blues style piece that allowed him to exhibit both his talent on the guitar and with his vocals.  There are some runs that he hits on his guitar that could almost rival the talents of Stevie Ray Vaughan or perhaps Kenny Wayne Shepherd.  Vocally, he is obviously going through puberty.  But there’s a certain quality about his vocals that conjures thoughts of Johnny Lang.  One can only wonder what his vocals will sound like once he passes puberty and gets older.  If this song is any indication, he will definitely have some very strong vocals. 

‘Mr. Gloom’ and ‘Getting There’ are just a couple examples of Sullivan’s abilities on this new record.  There are many more from which listeners will get to choose.  One of those others is ‘Cyclone.’  What makes this song so interesting is yet again he exhibits quite the ability on his instrument in the song’s “A” section.  The somewhat chromatic runs by Sullivan, and the solid timekeeping of his drummer conjure thoughts of Van Halen’s ‘Hot For Teacher’ in the song’s “A” section.  Give it’s not as hard as the aforementioned song.  But there is at least some similarity, interestingly enough.  So not only does Sullivan get to shine on this album, so do his band mates.  And this is just one example of that.  There are other tracks that exhibit his band mates’ talents.  All combined, they make Getting There a record that given the right support the record that breaks out this young musician and in fact proves him to be the face of the next generation of the blues.  Getting There will be available June 18th.  To get the latest news on his new album, live dates, news and more, audiences can “Like” him on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/QuinnSullivanMusic.  They can also follow the latest news and more from Quinn on his official website, http://www.quinnsullivanmusic.com

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Satriani Proves He’s Still Got Plenty Of “Momentum” On New LP

Courtesy:  Epic Records/RED Distribution

Courtesy: Epic Records/RED Distribution

Joe Satriani’s latest release, Unstoppable Momentum is the famed guitarist’s best release since his 2006 album, Super Colossal.  This new record is the album that fans have waited for since the release of Super Colossal.  It is just as bombastic as Super Colossal and more at some points.  It’s also just as gentle as SC, too at different points.  Perhaps a big reason for the success of this record is the Satch opted for a different backing group than he typically uses on his records.  Many of Satriani’s past records were recorded with Jeff Campitelli on drums and Allen Whitman on bass.  This time out, Satch opted instead to have drummer Vinnie Colaiuta man the kit and Chris Chaney add the low end on bass.  Another change to the lineup that could have created such a difference on this record from his other works was the inclusion of Mike Frasier behind the glass once again.  The two are quite familiar with one another, having worked together on no less than six of Satch’s previous records, including his most recent album, Black Swans and Wormhole Wizards (2010) and Super Colossal.  He also helped with the creation of both of Chickenfoot’s current releases on which Joe played guitar.  That familiarity and friendship between the pair—and the inclusion of new musicians–obviously played a role in the record’s sound as it has proven to be not just his best record since Super Colossal, but one of his finest records to date.

Right from the opening number of Unstoppable Momentum, long-time fans of Satriani’s work know they are in for quite a ride.  The album opens fittingly with its title track.  Simply listening to the song, one can’t help but hear that perhaps Satriani is making a statement early on that even fourteen albums in, he still has a lot left to offer audiences.  He still has that “unstoppable momentum.”  The song’s seeming ABA structure starts off easy before really kicking things up in the middle section.  Joe shows without a doubt that he’s still got plenty left in the tank with his “solos” in this section while drummer Vinnie Colaiuta gives an added intensity with his musicianship behind the kit.  He proves to be just as solid as [Jeff] Campitelli, if not more so.  His ability to handle polyrhythmic patters without missing a single beat is impressive to say the least, both here and throughout the record.  This is just one example of what makes this such a solid record.

Another good example of what makes Unstoppable Momentum a success is the almost Beatles-esque, ‘I’ll Put a Stone on Your Cabin.’  The song’s “A” sections have something of a Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club influence.  Somehow, Satriani and his band mates manage to tie in a sound that is quite the counterpoint to this vibe, making the song into a piece unlike anything that Satriani has ever recorded throughout his career.  It is one of those songs that simply must be heard to be appreciated and understood.      

There is at least one more example of what makes this new record one that fans will enjoy.  And it is the album’s absolutely shortest, but most touching piece.  That song is the one minute and forty-three minute long, ‘I’ll Put a Stone on Your Cairn.’  For those that don’t know, one of the traditional uses of a cairn is as a monument to one who has passed on.  Its use roots all the way back to prehistoric Eurasia.  So placing a stone on one’s cairn would be an act of tribute and remembrance to the deceased.  Keeping all of this in mind, the gentle, dulcet tones of this short opus are sure to create thoughts in the minds of listeners of perhaps those that they have lost.  It offers some of the album’s deepest emotions and is sure to generate among listeners some of the deepest emotions, as well.  Without a doubt, this song may end up being a favorite for fans, even as short as it is.  And it is just one more among so many that listeners will enjoy throughout the course of the album’s eleven total tracks.  The album is available now in stores and online.  It can be ordered online via Joe’s website, http://www.satriani.com, where he has links to iTunes, Amazon, and through his own website.  Fans can also order the new album and all sorts of Joe Satriani gear through his official Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/joesatriani.  Fans can keep up with the latest tour updates and news from Joe on his Facebook page, too.

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Real Rock Fans Will “Dig” H&E’s Dig

Courtesy:  Quarto Valley Records

Courtesy: Quarto Valley Records

The latest release from the British blues/rock band, Heaven & Earth, is one of the year’s best rock albums, and potentially one of the year’s best overall albums.  From the album’s artwork to its songs, so much was done right with this album.  Bassist Chuck Wright notes in the album’s bonus DVD about the album’s cover art that it is meant to represent the “unearthing” of rock and roll.  He states that “it [rock and roll] has been buried away for far too long.”  And if that’s the case, then this album has done quite the job of “digging up” rock and roll.  As producer Dave Jenkins states, this album was an attempt to capture the vibe of a live show on record.  He and the band did just that from start to finish.

The album opens fittingly with the anthemic ‘Victorious.’  The opening Middle Eastern influenced strains lead in to front man Joe Retta’s powerhouse vocals.  He sings, “There’ll be a champion/Standing tall for all to see/On their way to be victorious/All for glory.”  Taking into account Jenkins’ statement about crafting an album that sounds like a live performance in studio, it becomes so easy to see Retta standing both before the mic and in front of thousands singing this line, fist raised along with those of thousands in attendance at a major arena as they sing in unison.  Even more interesting to note about this song (and others throughout the album) is that if one were listening to this record without knowing it was Retta and company, one would swear one was listening to either Chickenfoot or to its singer, Sammy Hagar.  Retta’s vocals are so close in style to Hagar’s that the difference is nearly incomparable. 

Joe Retta isn’t the only one that gets the chance to shine on H&E’s new record.  While he might front this veteran band, his band mates—Stuart Smith (guitars), Chuck Wright (Bass), Richie Onori (drums), and Arlan Schierbaum (keyboards)—also get their chance to showcase their talents, too.  Case in point, the album’s second track and lead single, ‘No Money No Love.’  Stuart Smith’s chops are right up there with guest musician Richie Sambora (Bon Jovi) in his solos.  And drummer Richie Onori keeps the band moving with a straight forward with solid time keeping that is just enough to impress any drummer of any level.  Add the keyboards of Arlan Schierbaum and audiences will hear just why this was chosen to lead off this album.  The band has also released a video for the album that can be viewed via YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9WB1iW0thik

Audiences get even more of that full on energy in the song, ‘Man & Machine.’  Again, one has to refer to [Dave] Jenkins’ mention of making a record that sounds like it’s a live experience here.  Everything that could go right with this song went right.  From its choruses to the pure musicianship of each band member, this is just one more of this record’s highest of points.  And it isn’t the last, either.  Fans will also enjoy the slower, bluesy vibe of ‘House of Blues’, the driving guitars and drums of ‘Back in Anger’, and ‘Rock and Roll Does’ as well as the record’s softer, slower moments.  Fans will especially enjoy ‘Rock and Roll Does.’  It would be a surprise if the band doesn’t use this as a show closer at its live shows in support of this record.  All assembled together, this record is a welcome change of pace from the constant drone of so much mainstream rock and the down tuned crunching guitars and cookie monster growls of less mainstream sounds.

Speaking of live shows, no live shows have been announced as of yet.  However, fans can get all the latest tour news and more from the band online at the band’s official Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/officialheavenandearth and its official website, http://heavenandearthband.com/wordpressDig is available now in stores and online.  It can be ordered online via iTunes at http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/dig/id637141654

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Re-Machined More Than Just A Tribute Record

Courtesy:  Eagle Records/Eagle Rock Entertainment

Courtesy: Eagle Records/Eagle Rock Entertainment

Famed British hard rock band Deep Purple is set to drop its new album next month.  The album, titled Now What?! will be released in the United State Tuesday, April 30th.  While fans wait for the release of this highly anticipated album, they have another recent release to tide them over in the form of the tribute album, Re-Machined: A Tribute to Deep Purple’s Machine Head.  It may be a tribute album, but it is still a great album for both new and long-time fans of Deep Purple.

The new honorary compilation hit stores in late 2012 as part of the 40th anniversary of the landmark album’s original release.  It features all seven tracks from Deep Purple’s original iconic album plus a pair of bonuses.  One of those bonuses comes in the form of Metallica’s cover of ‘When A Blind Man Cries.’  As Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich notes in the compilation’s liner notes, “I have a list of songs in my head that Metallica should play before we either break up or die, and Deep Purple’s ‘When A Blind man Cries’ is one of those songs.”  The song in question is a bonus in that it actually never made the record.  Again, the liner notes shed light on this.  The notes, written by Classic Rock Magazine’s Mark Blake note that the song in question was originally a B-side to the song, ‘Never Before’ but has become a fan favorite throughout the years.  So it only made sense to have it included on this tribute record.  And it’s just one of the pieces that make this album a must not just for any Deep Purple fan but for any hard rocker, period.

‘When A Blind Man Cries’ is just one part of what makes Re-Machined such an impressive album of covers.  Going back to Ulrich, he and Metallica constitute just one of the acts brought together to record this album who openly tout Deep Purple as an influence in their own career as musicians.  Blake writes of Iron Maiden’s front man Bruce Dickinson (whose band also covers a track on the disc) that he [Dickinson] was also a “serious Purple aficionado.”  He quotes Dickinson as saying, “I cut my teeth as a kid on Deep Purple.  It’s what I grew up with.  It’s what got me out of bed in the mornings.”  Now if that isn’t a tribute in itself to the importance of Deep Purple in the music world, it’s anyone’s guess what is.  Dickinson and company ended up recording ‘Space Truckin’’ for the record, which is an absolutely outstanding piece both originally and as a cover here.  The way that it drives (no pun intended), it will have fans pumping their fists and singing along loud and proud. 

If Iron Maiden’s ‘Space Truckin’’ isn’t enough to convince fans of this compilation’s importance, then maybe the album’s opener will.  Carlos Santana (yes, that Carlos Santana) joins Papa Roach front man Jacoby Shaddix for a cover of what is arguably the band’s most famous song of all time, ‘Smoke on the Water.’  What’s really interesting about this cover is that while it is a cover, it doesn’t feel or sound like one.  Far too often, bands and artists try to take classic songs and update them.  That’s not the case here.  Shaddix and Santana have taken the classic and made it their own while still paying homage to the original.  It makes perfect sense as to why the album would open with this cover in hearing Santana’s guitar chops and the solid vocals of Shaddix.  It also serves one more purpose that at a passing glance is missed.  But in really thinking about the generational mix presented here, one sees the purer purpose of using it as the compilation’s opener.

On the surface, having a bunch of bands and artists resurrect one of rock’s most important and iconic albums is a great thing.  Having the album resurrected by a collection of rock’s greatest names past and present is even greater.  What this does is it makes it more than just a tribute album.  It makes the album a music history lesson in and of itself.  As evidenced in the opening number, young audiences will be pulled in by the inclusion of Papa Roach’s Jacoby Shaddix.  Older audiences will be pulled in from both the fact that it’s Deep Purple and that fellow veteran musician Carlos Santana is on the track.  Also because of the inclusion of Santana, those same younger audiences will potentially be introduced to the music of not just one great classic act, but two in both Deep Purple and Carlos Santana, thus preserving both acts’ legacies for a whole new generation.  The same could be said of the inclusion of Chickenfoot’s live cover of ‘Highway Star’ and Black Label Society’s cover of ‘Pictures of Home.’ 

It should be clear by everything noted here that Re-Machined is more than just a tribute to a band.  It’s a tribute, yes.  But it’s also a tribute to everything that was and still is right with rock and roll.  It’s a musical love letter to real rock and an excellent way to get a whole new generation of hard rockers and metal heads into what is without a doubt, one of mainstream rock’s greatest bands.  The album is available now in stores and online.  Audiences can get more information on this album, the band’s upcoming new full length studio release and its tour dates online at http://www.deeppurple2013 and http://www.facebook.com/officialdeeppurple

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Steel Panther’s New Live BD A “Solid” Release For Fans

Courtesy:  DC3/Universal Republic/3 dimensions/AGPS Management

Courtesy: DC3/Universal Republic/3 dimensions/AGPS Management

Benjamin Franklin, one of America’s founding fathers, once said that death and taxes were life’s two constants.  If he were alive today, Franklin would change his tune and say that there are in fact three more constants in the twenty-first century.  Those constants are sex, drugs, and rock & roll.  Many bands have tried to live those constants.  Many have succeeded.  But few have truly lived those constants like the glam rockers of Steel Panther.  This California based band actually started in 2009.  Since that time, its members—Lexxi Foxx, Michael Starr, Satchel, and Stix Zadinia—have become the poster boys for everything that was at one point all that rockers lived for.  The band has already released two albums under its current moniker.  And now thanks to Universal Republic Records, audiences get a new chance to experience all the testosterone fueled, alcohol infused bombacity that is Steel Panther live in its new live release, British Invasion.

British Invasion was recorded live at the famed Brixton Academy during its most recent live tour in support of its most recent album, Balls Out.  Brixton Academy has hosted some of rocks biggest names including both Machine Head and Sepultura.  Now Steel Panther can add its name to the list of huge names that have performed there.  Fans of the aforementioned bands got quite the show with each one.  And Steel Panther’s fans get a show that they’ll enjoy in this new release, too.  Not only do fans get a full set from its performance at Brixton, but there’s also the bonus of five extra songs recorded live at the band’s performance at the Download 2012 Festival.  The audio and video mix on both of the main and bonus performance are quite clear.  And whether one has seen SP live before or not, audiences get a show that has all the over the top antics and music that audiences have come to expect from this band.  To sweeten the deal, the band and its label, Universal Republic Records, have included a booklet complete with lyrics to every song performed in the main set.

The booklet included with the Blu-ray is just part of what viewers will appreciate from this performance.  Audiences get out of this performance, a band that actually interacts with the audience in attendance.  And it’s not just your standard back and forth banter, either.  The entire band gets in on the act.  It’s little things like that that make a performance memorable.  Though of course, the band’s interaction with its audience is just half of what will make the band’s fans enjoy this recording.  There’s also enough T & A to make any college frat boy happy for quite some time.  The band even brings in some “adult entertainers” to help with its show in more than one song.  Add in the impressive audio and visual editing and mixing and fans get in this recorded performance a show that fans of Steel Panther will be watching time and again.  The band’s new DVD and Blu-ray are both available online and in stores now.  Regardless of whether or not fans manage to pick it up, they’ll still have the chance to see the band live as it’s currently touring in support of the new live release now.  Fans can get all the latest tour dates and news from the band now online at http://www.steelpantherrocks.com, http://www.facebook.com/steelpantherkicksass, http://twitter.com/#!/Steel_Panther, and http://www.myspace.com/steelpantherkicksass.

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Giant X’s Debut LP Is Giant Fun

Courtesy:  Steamhammer/SPV

Courtesy: Steamhammer/SPV

Giant X, the brainchild of Running Wild band members Rolf Kasparek and Peter J. Jordan brings back all the flare and bombacity of rock’s golden era.  Right from the first moments of the album’s opener, ‘On A Blind Flight’, audiences are instantly transported back to the days of big rock and in many cases, big hair.  ‘Blind Flight’ is a solid mix of Judas Priest and Iron Maiden with its solid driving guitars and soaring vocals.  The duo hardly let up from there as it launches into what is sure to be a fan favorite in ‘Don’t Quit Till Tomorrow.’  At this point, there are no plans for Giant X to tour.  But should the band ever manage to h it the road, there’s no doubt that this song would become an instant arena anthem for the band.  The song opens with the simplest of chants that conjures the image of a massive crowd singing along, fists pumping in the air.  Lyrically, this is an equally empowering song.  Kasparek sings near the song’s end, “When the times are getting crazy…don’t quit till tomorrow.  Raise your hands for rock and roll.”  Simply put, what is being said here is don’t let the tough times get you down.  Don’t give up.  Keep pushing through.  The positive message mixed with a solid rocking musical baking makes this one of the album’s best songs, hands down.  Things don’t let off here though.

As the last tones of ‘Don’t Quit Till Tomorrow’ fade away, listeners are able to catch their breath just enough to get ready for even more solid rock in the form of ‘Badland Blues.’  This blues based southern rock style piece is a rock song, plain and simple.  It’s just a great near five minute musical experience.  The only time that the record slows down any is on the semi-ballad, ‘Nameless Heroes.’  This one seems to be a tribute to the men and women in uniform the world over, as Kasparek and Jordan sing, “This goes out to all the nameless heroes/This goes out to all the ones that paid.”  The band leaves little doubt as to whom they are singing for here.  And it’s a fitting tribute to those individuals, too.  It’s one more that’s bound to be a fan favorite regardless of whether or not Giant X tours in support of this record.

‘Don’t Quit Till Tomorrow’ and ‘Nameless Heroes’ are both bound to be fan favorites from Giant X’s debut.  There is at least one more (if not more) that will be another fan favorite.  That song is the album’s very next track, ‘Go 4 It.’ It makes for a perfect transition from ‘Nameless Heroes.’  The song instantly kick starts its listeners after the more emotional ‘Nameless Heroes.’  The first thing that listeners hear from this song is a rather fast guitar intro that leads into Kasparek singing, “You feel the gasoline in your blood…You reek of gas/And you’re kickin’ ass/You are hell on wheels.”  There’s a certain something about this song that oozes the likes of Poison as an influence.  It’s just one more of so many tracks that any fan of big hair and big guitars will appreciate on this upcoming new album.  And for those wondering, Giant X’s debut album, I is due to be available in stores and online in the U.S. on January 22nd.  To find out if the band will be touring in support of its debut, I, fans need just go online to http://www.running-wild.net, and http://www.facebook.com/pages/Giant-X/176387661550

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Glee Hits Lots Of High Notes Again In Season Three

Courtesy: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment/20th Century Fox Television

Fox’s Glee has been one of television’s big hits since its very first season.  This little show that could has earned the adoration of fans of all ages with every episode.  Now with the show’s third season the show is just as much a hit with fans as ever.  It keeps the standard of crossing musical genres and brings in even more guest stars.  And of course, Jane Lynch is just as entertaining as ever.

Glee has been a fan favorite largely because of its array of musical choices.  From the likes of Journey to Madonna and Britney Spears all the way to Van Halen, Duran Duran and others this season, the show has kept audiences rocking with its selection.  But the song selections are just one part of what makes Glee’s third season worth the watch.  Sure it covers the drama that its younger viewers will continue to appreciate and relate to.  But it also covers some much more important topics such as bullying and the dangers of texting and driving.  Being that this year’s election recently ended, audiences will appreciate the school’s class election episode.  Not only does it somewhat spoof bigger elections, but it also ties in the major problem of bullying among teens.  And it does it in a way that will reach older audiences, too.  And when a couple of the cast are about to get married, audiences are left with a cliffhanger when one of their friends is hit by a truck as a result of her texting and driving.  The episode that follows drives home the message to the show’s intended audience about the dangers.  The show’s writers are to be highly commended for taking the responsibility to help in the movement to drive home this point.

Season Three’s episodes make for an enjoyable watch.  They however are only part of the overall success of this new set.  Just as with the show’s previous seasons, the packaging goes a long way towards its overall success.  The set is placed into a slim case without placing the discs on top of each other.  Rather, each disc has its own spot inside the case.  They are placed back to back on an insert and on the front and back of the box.  Not only does this save space inside the box, but it also helps to save space on DVD and Blu-ray racks.  Add in episode menus on each disc with a short summary to introduce each episode, and audiences get a fully enjoyable viewing experience.  With the holiday shopping season here, it comes together for a good gift idea for any fan of this hit musical show.  It’s available in stores and online now and can be ordered online direct via 20th Century Fox’s store, http://www.foxconnect.com/glee-the-complete-third-season-blu-ray.html.

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The Burning Of Rome’s New LP Is One Of 2012’s Sleeper Hits

Courtesy: Surf Dog Records

The Burning of Rome is a breath of fresh air in the music industry today.  This San Diego, California based band mixes elements of college rock with psychadelia, dance, and something almost impossible to pinpoint for a sound that’s seemingly different from any other band out there today.  On its new album, “With Us”, the band has separated itself from the masses even more with its eclectic mix of sounds.  It starts off sounding like any other college rock band.  But it only gets better from there.  Things really start to pick up on the album’s third song, ‘Cowboys and Cut Cigars.’  This is a solid, straight ahead rock song with great driving guitars and drums.  The song’s chorus sections mixed with the guitars and drums really drive the song.  Together, they’re bound to make this an instant hit for the band.

‘Norman Bates’ is an equally intriguing track.  Some may argue, but the way the song opens, there’s almost a touch of The Mamas and the Papas’ ‘California Dreamin’ in it.  From there though, things pick right back up with another song that’s bound to be a major hit in ‘Wake Up Edamame.’  The chorus sounds like Van Halen’s ‘Janie’s Crying’ while the guitar work has more of a grunge tinge.  The combination of the two makes for quite the interesting listen.  The band keeps the energy moving after ‘Wake Up Edamame’ in the form of the quirky ‘Island.’  The vibe of this song is a prime example of that sound that’s seemingly different from anything out there today.  It’s something that simply can’t be compared to any other band.  Any comparison that could be made would be difficult to find as it is such a unique sound.

The band continues setting itself apart from anything else out there today both in terms of college rock and the mainstream across the remainder of the album.  Songs such as ‘Opus for Sleepwalking’, and the equally bizarrely titled, ‘Why Can’t I Stop Killing My Friends’ make this record stand out amongst the crowds even more.  And then there’s what seems to be a tribute to the classic 1960 Roger Corman cult classic, Little Shop of Horrors in the song, ‘Audrey II.’  It takes audio from the classic movie and sets it against its own semi-eerie carnival-esque musical background for a song that simply cannot be compared to any other act out there today.  And ‘Opus For A Sleepwalker’ maintains that eerie vibe too, mixing electronics and guitars together for something that would conjure thoughts of a very dimly lit carnival funhouse.

It goes without saying that considering all of this, one has to wonder about this band.  But the thing is that as different as the band’s sound is on this record, it’s actually surprisingly catchy.  It won’t be an instant hit.  But it will grow on audiences with each listen.  It may not make most critics’ lists of the year’s best records.  But it definitely can be noted that this record is one of the year’s sleeper hits.  Anyone looking to break away from the musical norm and is open minded enough may actually find themselves enjoying it.  “With Us” is available now.  It can be downloaded via iTunes at http://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/the-burning-of-rome/id215256207.  The band will be performing tomorrow night at the famed Viper Room in Los Angeles in support of the newly released album.  To keep up with any new tour dates and all the latest news from the band, go online to http://www.theburningofrome.com, http://www.facebook.com/theburningofrome, http://twitter.com/theburningofrome, http://www.youtube.com/burningofromemusic.

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Long Live The Foot!

Courtesy: Entertainment One

Nearly a year has passed since rock supergroup Chickenfoot–Sammy Hagar (vocals), Michael Anthony (bass), Joe Satriani (guitar), Chad Smith (drums)–released its second full length studio album.  In the time since the release of “Chickenfoot III”, this band has continued to make as many waves as its album.  “Chickenfoot III” picks right up where the band’s debut album left off.  It wastes no time, kicking right into gear with the album’s opener, ‘Last Temptation.’  [Sammy] Hagar and company show that they’re in prime form on this new release.

There’s no letting up from the band after ‘Last Temptation’ as the band launches right into the equally up-tempo, ‘Alright Alright.’  The band is a fully cohesive unit, not missing a single beat with this album.  Who would have ever thought that the band singing one simple word over and over again would be so much fun.  Go figure.  Somehow though, the band manages to ame doing just that something so fun.  So fun in fact, that it makes this song, one of the album’s best tracks.

As much fun as the band’s new album is, it does have a more serious moment on ‘Three and a Half Letters.’  This track comes across almost as a sort of spoken word piece, with Hagar reading letters about people who have lost their jobs and singing.  While it’s not outright, being that the song is included in this album, and that the album was released when it was, this is a direct reflection of the current job market and economic state of the country.  It is easily the single most powerful piece on the entire album. 

‘Three and a Half Letters’ is a truly powerful song.  It’s one song taht will leave a lasting impression for any listener.  While it makes for a great addition to the overall sequencing, audiences are brought back from the seriousness of the world right after that in another of the album’s best songs in ‘Big Foot.’  It brings listeners back to the fun that opened the album in ‘Last Temptation.’  There’s never an easy way to transition from the serious issue of unemployment to something happier.  That’s even the case here.  But Chickenfoot is deserving of some credit for making the attempt.  That’s because along with ‘Dubai Blues’, ‘Big Foot’ helps to ease lisenters back to a more positive mindset.

“Chickenfoot III” offers fans so much great material.  But the music isn’t the only star of this album.  The inclusion of old school 3-D glasses to check out the pictures and “hidden” information on the included cards makes for a fun little experience in itself.  All said, Chickenfoot III is an excellent album from one of modern rock’s greatest supergroups.  One can only hope that with each members’ main projects, fans will still see another Chickenfoot album sooner rather than later, as great as this album and its predecessor are.

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