Rundgren Re-Invents Himself Again On New LP

Courtesy:  Cherry Red Records/Esoteric Antenna

Courtesy: Cherry Red Records/Esoteric Antenna

If Beatallica’s new album, Abbey Load is the most intriguing album of 2013, then Todd Rundgren’s State is a direct runner-up to the title.  Rundgren continues his tradition of re-inventing himself yet again with this new album.  The album opens with what is best described as an ear-opening mix of Pink Floyd, Devin Townsend, and Office of Strategic Influence (OSI) in ‘Imagination.’  This is a fitting title for the song, especially being that it is the album’s opener.  Its mix of electronica and rock make it a song that will definitely get many listeners’ imaginations running wild with all kinds of images.  Rundgren’s vocals on this song sound like a mix of Devin Townsend and Steven Wilson (Porcupine Tree).  Whether or not it was intentional, the prog influences are there.  And at over eight minutes long, listeners are sure to find their own connections.  Regardless of the connections made, what can be sure of this song is that Rundgren shows just how much ‘imagination’ and creativity he still has.

‘Imagination’ is just the beginning of Rundgren proving that he still has plenty to offer his listeners on this new record.  The album’s second track, ‘Serious’ is just as imaginative and creative as the album’s opener.  It boasts a rather interesting funky electronica/rock hybrid sound.  The backing choruses of the song sound rather familiar, too like a much older funk tune.  And his screams are solid.  They are reminiscent of King’s X front man dUg Pinnick, strangely enough.  That combined with the song’s mix of sounds easily makes this another highlight to this new album.  It’s not just another dance/electronica song.  It’s a bridge between two musical worlds that could potentially bring fans of both electronica and dance together if only for about four minutes.

It’s not until the album reaches just past its halfway point that Rundgren goes full on techno.  ‘Smoke’ is sure to be an instant club hit with fans of the dance/electronica genre.  This is one of those types of songs that will bring down the lights, and bring out the black lights and mirror balls in clubs around the country.  Its keyboard part and solid two-four beat makes it an easily danceable song.  Of course that electronica vibe doesn’t last long as he goes back to a rock/electronica hybrid in ‘Collide-A-Scope’ before eventually making his way back to a full on techno vibe with the album’s penultimate song, ‘Party Liquor.’  This is sure to be another club hit with its keyboard part and up tempo beats and crowd chants.  What’s really interesting about this song is that at times, one can actually hear a hint of a disco influence throughout the song’s bridge section.  Forget the fact that the song is seemingly about alcohol.  It’s the song’s music that fans will really hear.  And it’s that music that audiences will enjoy.  Though there are more songs from which listeners can choose for their favorite.  This is just a sample of what makes the album stand out.  It will be available next Tuesday, April 8th in stores and online.  The physical CD and digital can both be pre-ordered now.  It can be pre-ordered via iTunes at http://smarturl.it/STATEiTunes and at http://smarturl.it/DeluxeCD for the physical CD.

Todd kicks off a tour in support of his new album next month at the Infinity Hall in Norfolk, VA.  It all kicks off May 8th.  He will have eight U.S. tour dates before heading overseas for a European tour through most of June.  And on June 23rd, he will be back stateside for the second leg of U.S. dates beginning at the House of Blues in New Orleans, LA on June 23rd.  Fans can get a full list of tour dates online at Rundgren’s official Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/toddrundgren or on his official website, http://www.tr-i.com.

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“Beneath The Scars” is 12 Stones’ best work yet

New Orleans, Louisiana based 12 Stones is likely one of the most underrated bands in modern mainstream music today.  Frontman Paul McCoy played a role in the debut hit from mega stars, Evanesence.  12 Stones also found a place on the soundtrack to the hit 2002 Dwayne Johnson movie, The Scorpion King.  And with three successful studio albums under its belt, one would think this band would be much more well known than it is.  With the release of its fourth full length studio, 12 Stones may have finally cemented its place in mainstream rock.

12 Stones’ new album, ‘Beneath the Scars’ is currently slated to be released May 29th via Texas-based Executive Music Group.  The band’s new album is the most rock solid (yes bad pun there) album that the band has released to date.  It opens with the hard rocking social commentary of ‘Infected.’  [Paul] McCoy sings on the album’s lead single, “I feel weak/I feel numb/Had enough/of this poison we’ve injected/living in this world infected.”  The song discusses how the state of things in the country and the world has really gone down.  He goes on to sing as part of the chorus, “Time is running out”, hinting that the world needs to change and soon.  It’s a statement that’s bold without being preachy.  Add in the guitar work of Eric Weaver, and the band has a great start to a great album.

The band hardly lets up after ‘Infected.’  From there, the band launches into the uplifting but equally rocking, ‘Bulletproof.’  This is one of those pieces that every listener will appreciate.  McCoy sings on this song, “The fight has made me stronger/I could never turn my back now/Don’t you point the finger/Your words no longer break me down/I’m finally taking over/The truth has surfaced all around/The days of going under/Have risen up and can’t be found.”  From there he breaks into the chorus singing, “love, hate, pride bottled up inside/let it go/gonna let it go!/I’m feeling superhuman/I’m invincible, I’m bulletproof/I’m on a revolution/I’m invincible, I’m bulletproof/Don’t you know I’m bulletproof?”  All said, it’s a great defiant, full throttle, adrenaline pumping anthem that tells would be bullies they won’t hold anyone down.  It’s the sort of anthem to which every listener can relate.

‘Bulletproof’ is only one of many positive songs on “Beneath the Scars.”  Listeners will also enjoy songs such as:  ‘That Changes Everything’, ‘I’m With You’, and ‘Only Human.’  These tracks add that much more enjoyment to the album.  They’re only part of what makes this album so enjoyable.  One of the biggest highlights is the explosive arena anthem, ‘Psycho.’  It’s one of those songs that will undoubtedly become a major hit of the band’s live shows.  Mccoy sings to audiences, “Join me if you dare/’cause we’re gonna leave the rest behind/I’m feelin’ so alive/losin’ all control/I can feel it in my soul/We can finally let it go/Everybody’s going psycho!”  Psycho here isn’t meant in a bad way.  McCoy is just saying he feels great and in turn, has so much positive energy.  It’s just a great positive arena rock anthem that will get any fan moving whether at home, at a party, or in the arena.  It would be no surprise if this song becomes one of the album’s many potential singles.  Any of the songs on this album could potentially be used as singles.  It is that well balanced both musically and lyrically. 

“Beneath The Scars” is 12 Stones’ best work to date.  The only deciding factor in how well this album does is whether or not it gets the support that it deserves from mainstream radio.  And that rests squarely on the shoulders of the programmers at the stations nationwide.  Regardless of whether or not said programmers give the album its deserved airplay, 12 Stones has made the wait worth it for its fans and audiences in general.

The band is currently out on tour, getting audiences pumped for the release of “Beneath The Scars.”  It’ll head through Broussard, Louisiana and Mobile, Alabama this weekend.  Next week sees the band resting up in preparation for its performance May 20th at the famed Rock on The Range Festival.  Fans in Syracuse, New York will get to see the band live on the 27th.  More dates are likely to be announced.  And fans who want to keep up with those potential dates can do so online at http://www.12stones.com, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/12stones and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/12stones.