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Rock and Roll Report

 

Repost of old Rock and Roll Report article. Originally published on December 28, 2010.

As the year runs down, it is time to make our “Best Of” lists. This is the time to review some of the best things we have listened to during the last twelve months. In no particular order, this is my “Best Of” list for 2010.

 

 

Magneta LaneMagneta Lane Gambling With God Even though all-girl bands are few and far between, you will find one that is very impressive every once-in-a-while. One of the most impressive all-girl bands that are in existence right now is the band Magneta Lane. One of the best things about the Gambling With God disc from Magneta Lane is the fact that every song has its own feel. The band lets their influences shine in their music and that adds enough flavor to the style that the album remains fresh from start to finish. Throughout the ten songs that make up Gambling With God, the 2009 release from Magneta Lane, the band shows many sides to their personalities, show many different styles to their playing, and many different influences that make the music from these ladies so full-bodied. You know an album is good when the last note of the release comes way too soon. Before I knew it, the last seconds of the last song of “Queen of Hearts” were drawing to a close and Gambling With God, the latest release from Magneta Lane came to a close. It made me wish that the album were longer.

rusemusicThe Ruse Love S Ex Confusion Love S Ex Confusion is the newest release by the Los Angeles quartet of The Ruse. This follows their previous album releases of Midnight in the City (2008), Live at the Viper Room (2007), Light in Motion (2006) and Invasion (2005). With songs like “I Can’t Stop,” “The Sweetness,” and “Glitter Not Gold,” the entire album of Love S Ex Confusion by The Ruse is very strong and the ten tracks that make up the album work well together to make for one strong release. There isn’t one song that seems out of place. If you are a fan of The Ruse, or if you are like I was and have yet to discover the music of the group, Love S Ex Confusion is an album you should check out.

shouseMichael Shouse Alone On The Sun Michael Shouse is a Kentucky-based guitarist who has been influenced and inspired by the likes of Vai, Satriani and Belew, among other instrumental rock guitarists. After taking notes from the guitarists who preceded him, Shouse now has the knowledge and ability to teach his predecessors a thing or two about guitar playing (when he isn’t actually busy teaching the next wave of guitarists to play). The newest release from Shouse is entitled Alone On the Sun. Like most rock guitarists who spend their time creating rock instrumental albums, Michael Shouse creates his music by incorporating, not only rock, but also other genres into the songs, as well. Together, Mike, three drummers, and eight bassists combined together to create twelve unique trios (containing guitar, bass and drums), one for each track on the album. Having one unique musical outfit for each song ensured that each track would have its own unique sound and personality. This also guaranteed that each song would sound fresh, since no three musicians created more than one song on the album as a group. If rock guitarists make up a large part of your music collection (or even if they don’t), Alone On the Sun by Shouse is definitely worthy to be added into that collection.

Foster McGintyFoster McGinty Peach Red When listening to Peach Red, the debut album from Foster McGinty, the first thing that immediately comes to mind is that McGinty seems to channel musicians like Hendrix, and bands like Cream or any of the other bands that were around at the end of the sixties and beginning of the seventies. In fact, had Foster McGinty had been alive and about 20 years old at the time of Woodstock, he could easily had fit with the rest of the musicians that had taken to the stage at that famous gathering of some of the most popular musical acts of the time. If you like people like Hendrix, Clapton, Cream, or other bands from that time period, Foster McGinty has created a great release of music that you need to hear. Foster McGinty’s Peach Red is the ultimate time machine to the era when people were making the style that has since been called “Classic Rock”.

The OnFiresThe On Fires Betrayer Maxine Harman and Marty Xenoff make up The On Fires and with the people they have chosen to help fill out their sound while in the studio or on stage, they have a sound that people seem to gravitate to. The style of The On Fires seems to simultaneously incorporate the old styles of rock ‘n’ roll and the new styles of today’s bands: At times, they seem to fit in more with today’s bands that can be found on current radio formats. At other times, the band has more of a punk/glam feel to their music. Betrayer by The On Fires is a solid collection made up of fifteen songs. Each song on the album has something different to offer the listener, and this helps make it a joy to listen to. Whether you are a fan of the older music that was part of the late seventies/early eighties, or you are more of a fan of the music of today’s bands, The On Fires have captured a mixture of those styles in their music on their release of Betrayer.

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Rock and Roll Report

Repost of old Rock and Roll Report article. Originally published on December 30, 2009.

As we say goodbye to 2009, it’s time we make our “Best Of” lists for the year. As I like to write about both new albums that were released within the year and albums that slipped through the cracks, I don’t usually have enough current year releases in my catalog of reviews for the year to make a Top 10 list. Therefore, my “Best Of” list for 2009 will only contain 5 entries.

With a “Best Of” list, I think it should reflect all of the types of music covered by the writer that is creating the list. Because of this, my “Best Of” list for 2009 will contain many different styles of rock music. And with that in mind, here is my Top 5 list for 2009 in no particular order:

True Nature- “Feels Like Centuries”

Mambo Sons- “Heavy Days”

Cellbound- “Fallen Angels of Sui Caedere”

Sweet- “Live In America”

Lucky Singh- “7”

 

truenature2True Nature’s Feels Like Centuries was the best modern day rock album I had listened to in 2009. True Nature took a new approach to the sound of today’s rock and improved upon it. If you like modern day rock, check this band out.

 

 

HeavyDays_6panel.qxdMambo Sons’ Heavy Days was the best straight-out rock album from 2009. And with Mambo Sons putting a release that is a double CD, there would definitely be enough good stuff on the release to make purchasing the album worth it.

 

 

Cellbound_-_Fallen_Angels_of_Sui_Caedere_coverCellbound’s Fallen Angels of Sui Caedere is one of the best heavy metal albums in a long time. If you like heavy metal that was around before people started combining the style with rap, Cellbound’s release of Fallen Angels of Sui Caedere should really make you happy.

 

 

the-sweetSweet’s “Live In America” is another entry to my “Best Of” list for 2009. Sweet was around back during the time of glam rock. The band has gone through many line-up changes. In fact, the line-up that appears on the album Live In America consists of only one original member- bassist Steve Priest. But with the musicians that join Steve in the current version of the American line-up of Sweet, the band’s hits sound as good as if they were performed by the original version of the group that existed more than thirty years ago. And any music fan that likes glam rock should hear the band’s new release of Live In America.

 

luckytunes“7” from Lucky Singh is the last album that belongs on my “Best Of” list for the year of 2009. Having released this album along with two other albums in 2009, Singh’s album of “7” proved to be a favorite of mine. The instrumental album released by the British musician has many different feelings and sounds throughout the album’s hour-long playlist. Lucky Singh created one of the most inventive albums for 2009, and he has created one of the best instrumental releases in a long time.

The purpose of a “Best Of” list from any reviewer is to allow the public to know what the writer liked most during a year and to allow readers the chance to discover some music that may have been overlooked by other writers and publications. Take the opportunity to check out these releases. At the very least, you may end up with a larger music library when you are finished.

To check out or purchase any of the albums on this list, click on the album covers above.

Rock and Roll ReportRepost of old Rock and Roll Report article. Originally published on December 29, 2008.

As I listen to a lot of different types of rock music, my list of the best albums from 2008 contains many different styles of rock. The list includes the albums that I consider the best that I have heard this year:

 

1 Lemuria- “Get Better” It is an all-too-rare a treat to find an album that speaks to you so loudly that it makes you instantly fall in love with it. An album that has that type of power contains that special something that makes you want to listen to it over and over again. Usually when you happen to find that kind of album, it moves everything else down the list and immediately becomes your favorite album. The album that just recently shifted every other album down the list for me is Get Better, the current release from the band Lemuria. https://www.facebook.com/Lemuriapop 

2 Backyard Tire Fire- “The Places We Lived” Every once in a while, it is good to find a band that is focused on making straight-out Rock-N-Roll. Bloomington, Illinois band Backyard Tire Fire is one such band that is focused on making that good, old-fashioned rock music. With The Places We Lived, Backyard Tire Fire has produced one of the finest albums released in 2008. In my opinion, you need to check the album out for yourself and see if you agree with me.

3 Winslow- “Crazy Kind of Love” There are several ways of dealing with your past: You can run from it, deny it, accept it and move on, or you can learn from it and let it help shape your future. That is just what Kent, OH band Winslow has done with the time the band spent as a cover band that played soul music. It was this time that helped shape the band’s ability to write original soul music. If you are a fan of soul music, this is one album you must check out. The time spent listening to Winslow’s album of Crazy Kind of Love will be well worth it. https://www.facebook.com/iammauricenow/

4 Red Wanting Blue- “These Magnificent Miles” Red Wanting Blue recently released their eighth release. That album, These Magnificent Miles, is everything their fans were hoping for. With the band’s distinct rock style and singer Scott Terry’s vocal delivery style, this is a release that ended up being worth the wait.You can almost feel the movement of the earth while listening to These Magnificent Miles, like the writing process of the album took place while the band was out on tour. The songs seem to have a recurring theme of ‘traveling’ running through them: “Where You Wanna Go is about needing a change of scenery, “You Are My Las Vegas is a tribute to one of their favorite destinations, “U.S. Bumper Sticker is about having been out on the road for so long, the band begins to feel like they are part of the country, and “Gravity is about not floating off into the cosmos. The packaging for Red Wanting Blue’s These Magnificent Miles album even comes complete with little reminders of places the band has visited while on the road. https://www.facebook.com/redwantingblue/

5 Walk The Moon- “The Anthem EP” In the music industry, trends come and go. 30 years ago or so, from about 1977 to about 1981, there was a trend in music where bands were putting out what I would call “orchestrated rock,” rock music that came complete with string arrangements. Groups as famous as Queen and bands lost in time such as New England released albums that contained “orchestrated rock.” During this time period, there was no shortage of this type of music. Hopefully, in a little while, Walk The Moon will make it big. But right now, the band is making a name for itself with the Anthem EP. https://www.facebook.com/walkthemoon/

6 Stever- “Playground Isolator” There comes a point when you might decide you want to change your direction. Musician Karen Stever had reached that point and decided to change the direction she was heading in. She was ready to do something different. Stever, with a lot of help from Frank Gryner, has made a release in Playground Isolator that could easily end up in your favorite albums of 2008. https://www.facebook.com/SteverMusic

7 Vary Lumar- “Waiting Room” Vary Lumar is a quartet of musicians from Boston, Massachusetts. As the band has said, the most important thing to know about the music is that the band has various influences that show up in their songs, which helps create the varying styles that show up in the band’s rock music. Vary Lumar is a band that needs to be discovered. And the band’s album, Waiting Room, needs to be heard. www.varylumar.com 

8 The Brakes- “Tale of Two Cities” When you go to record an album, you must look at your strengths and decide what would best represent your sound and music. The Philadelphia band The Brakes decided that for their Hyena Records debut, they would take the unusual step of recording the album live in concert. The album that resulted from live recording is entitled Tale of Two Cities. If you are looking for a good rock album by some talented musicians, The Brakes’ Tale of Two Cities is an album you should really check out. https://www.facebook.com/TheBrakes/

9 BMZ- “Live at The Winchester” Cleveland band BMZ came together as a group because the members of the band were all looking to do something musically and had nowhere to turn to fill that desire. With Jim Bacha on bass guitar and vocals, Michael Misiak on drums and vocals, and Jerry Zsigo on guitar and vocals, the musicians have created a solid rock band. The band decided to take their best material and attack the songs in a live setting and record the resulting show for future release. That resulting show took place on March 10th, 2007 at the Cleveland, Ohio concert venue, The Winchester. The band has taken the recorded show and put it out on a double CD album, entitled BMZ Live at The Winchester. If you like power rock, this album from BMZ is a MUST for your music collection. This is not only a great live album, it’s a great album all the way around. https://www.facebook.com/BMZYmusic/

10 American Werewolves- “The Lonely Ones” With most of the punk rock music out there today sounding more like alternative than punk rock, it is always a nice change of pace when you come across a band that has made a vow to stay true to the spirit of bands like The Misfits. One such band that is creating punk rock that sounds like punk rock is Cleveland, Ohio’s American Werewolves. And while the band incorporates some hardcore and doo-wop into their current sound, the feeling and spirit of real punk rock is still more than evident in their music. But with hardcore and doo-wop incorporated in their music, American Werewolves have a sound that is theirs and theirs alone. If you are a fan of real punk rock, American Werewolves’ new release The Lonely Ones is one of album you must experience. Let the band’s combination of punk rock, hardcore, doo-wop, and horror themes make a believer out of you that there is still real punk rock being created by bands in the 21st century. https://www.facebook.com/americanwerewolvesband/