Monday, August 30, 2010

HEART - Red Velvet Car (2010)

The sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson have been queens of rock and roll ever since Dreamboat Annie hit radio waves in 1975, but Red Velvet Car is their first release in six years.
This album manages to capture the classic Heart sound - from the style of "Barracuda" to "Dog and Butterfly" - while adding a new dimension that only age and experience can provide.
From the duo's voices that sound as good as 35 years ago to the guitars, songwriting, and harmonies that only they can create, it's damn good to hear them rocking out again with some new tunes.

Whether you enjoy the fierce energy of electric guitars or the solace of getting lost in acoustic guitars and voices emotionally telling what can only be personal tales, there's something for anybody who enjoys good music on this album.

The opening track "There You Go" tells a cautionary tale about losing control and being burned. With guitar melodies and rhythms sounding barely under control, the band is telling some poor innocent soul to be wary of the whirlwind of fame, to watch out for herself.
"Wheels" is another song that just drives along like a freight train in the dark. Again, the guitars and bass lines makes to tap your toes as it drives on. (Note: don't listen to this song while in the car with a known speed trap).
"Red Velvet Car” is a bluesy-blues hypnotic and sexy tune.
"Queen City" is a combination autobiography and tribute to the band's hometown, Seattle.

"Hey You" is interesting because it employs multiple styles. It starts out with a bit of a country flavor, but then suddenly (but seamlessly) erupts into a '60s rock&pop sound.
My first impression of "Wheels" was that it sounded like it could be part of a movie soundtrack. Then I read an interview with Ann in which she explained that it actually evolved from a song they were 'trying to write' for the movie Midnight Run. This one keeps your attention because it makes you want to know how the story turns out.

The folk influence is much in evidence in "Safronia's Mark", which Nancy describes as a 'gypsy folk urchin song and another Seattle story'
"Death Valley" is about life on the road, and the allegorical 'bad trips' we all take as we stumble through life.
Nancy wrote "Sunflower" for (and about) Ann as a birthday present. Like the back story, the lyrics are touching.
"Sand" is the only song on the album that wasn't written specifically for Red Velvet Car. The Wilsons recorded it in the early '90s with an acoustic group they put together called The Lovemongers. The song is about endings, and makes a great closing track.

It's the intimacy that just floors me each time I listen to the album. I truly felt as though I had somehow slipped into a jam session as a fly on the wall... soaking up the music and the tales.
This album is as good as rock gets, and Heart sounds as good as they ever have.

01 - There You Go
02 - WTF
03 - Red Velvet Car
04 - Queen City
05 - Hey You
06 - Wheels
07 - Safronias Mark
08 - Death Valley
09 - Sunflower
10 - Sand

Ann Wilson: vocals
Nancy Wilson: guitars, vocals
Craig Bartock: guitars
Rick Markmann: bass
Ben Smith: drums
Debbie Shair: keyboards
Ben Mink: additional guitar


Saturday, August 28, 2010

STEVE LUKATHER - All's Well That Ends Well (2010)

Guitarist, vocalist, composer, producer and arranger, Steve Lukather is set to release his new solo album "All's Well That Ends Well" on October 2010 only in Europe. US fans have to wait 'til 2011.

For over 30 years Lukather has been known as one of the founding members of the multi-million selling band TOTO.
He has played on hundreds of albums with the biggest stars and music legends including Van Halen, Whitney Houston, Alice Cooper, George Benson, Rod Stewart and even played guitar on Michael Jackson’s multi-million selling milestone album ‘Thriller’.
Along with several Grammy Awards over the years, in April 2010 he received the international Eddy Christiani Award for 33 years of guitar mastership.

Lukather showcases in this recording his innate feel for rock and guitar music, along with his songwriting talents.
The new album is laden with extraordinary guitar playing performed across some of the best and most emotional songs of Steve’s career.
Fee Waybill of THE TUBES is featured on backing vocals and contributes to some of the co-songwriting with CJ Vanston and Lukather.
Other friends come up contibuting background vocals, like Joseph Williams (TOTO), Bernard Fowler (ROLLING STONES), Phil Collen (DEF LEPPARD).

“I’m very excited because I have some great new music,” says Lukather. - “I am trying for a personal best and working very hard on all aspects of music. It’s a journey, that’s for sure.”

To coincide with the release of the album, Steve will embark on a European tour in November that will take in concerts in Belgium, Holland, Germany, Italy, France, Switzerland and England.
The concerts will showcase classics from his all his solo albums, Toto, plus tracks from his new album.

1. Darkness In My World
2. On My Way Home
3. Can't Look Back
4. Don't Say It's Over
5. Flash In The Pan
6. Watching The World
7. You'll Remember
8. Brodie's
9. Tumescent

Steve Lukather - guitars, vocals
Steve Weingart - keyboards
Carlitos Del Puerto - bass
Eric "Biggie" Valentine - drums
Lenny Castro - percussion
Trev Lukather - guitars
Fee Waybill, Joseph Williams, Bernard Fowler, Phil Collen - background vocals

C.J. Vanston - keyboards, background vocals, programming, mixing
Steve MacMillan - co-producer, engineer

All tracks written by Steve Lukather & CJ Vanston, except:
"Flash In The Pan" (Steve Lukather, Fee Waybill)
"You'll Remember" (S. Lukather, Steve Weingart, F. Waybill)
"Brodie's" (S. Lukather, Randy Goodrum)
"Tumescent" (S. Lukather, S. Weingart, C. Del Puerta, E. Valentine)



Wednesday, August 25, 2010

SMOKIE - Take A Minute (2010)

Smokie is one of the hardest working bands in the world with tireless touring and record sales of more than 30 million copies worldwide, is ready with their first original studio album in seven years.
The whole process has given new life to the band, which this time has recorded the entire album as a group, rather than to program and record the tracks separately.

Recorded in Yorkshire, England, 12 tracks in 12 days, back to the roots featuring organic sounds of wood, with strong songs and good vibes.
The hardest working band in show biz returns to put a smile on your face and a song in your heart.

Produced by danish top notch producer 'Chief 1' (Smokie is a nº1 band in Denmark), this new album sounds fresh and melodic.
Watch out for real and "back to basic" Melodic Rock and Roll in an oldschool 80´s vibe...

1 - Take A Minute
2 - Sally's Song (The Legacy Goes On)
3 - If I Can't Love You
4 - Let's Do It Again
5 - Nothing Hurts (Like A Broken Heart)
6 - Celtic Days
7 - Friends Will Be Friends
8 - The Biggest Lie
9 - I Don't Want To Lose You
10 - Can't Change The Past
11 - This Is What I Did
12 - 'til The Grass Grows Over Me

Mike Craft: Lead Vocals, Rythm Guitar
Mick McConnell: Lead Guitar, Vocals
Terry Uttley: Bass, Vocals
Martin Bullard: Keyboards
Steve Pinnell: Drums

retail 320


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

GOODBYE THRILL - Outrageous (2010)


Having released a couple of phenomenally received albums, GOODBYE THRILL is back with a very good Melodic Rock plate.

The sound has some of Firehouse's FM/radio rock friendliness mixed in with a bit of 90's vibe a la Harem Scarem.
If you want catchy choruses and huge backing vocals, it won’t take you but one listen before you are singing along with the guys.
One of the impressive features of this album is that the songs are so strong and classy, and as we roll from one track to the next, your hunger pangs get worse waiting for the next morsel.

From exciting rockers like "Black Book", "Disposable" and "Outrageous," to mid-pacers blockbusters like "Talk About It" and "Work It Out", the band manages to keep us hooked with their great sense of melody.

Production quality is nothing short of major label and there isn't one song on the album that couldn't be a potential radio single.

01. Black Book
02. Bride To Be
03. Scumbag
04. Talk About It
05. Disposable
06. Don't Want To Miss A Thing
07. Outrageous
08. Case Of Mondays
09. So Unpredictable
10. Work It Out
11. You're My Cure

Marc Ferreira: vocals, guitars, acoustic guitars
Dario Seixas: bass, vocals
Chuck Beckman: guitars, vocals
Alex Ferreira: drums, percussion, vocals
Dave Powers: guitar solo on "Work It Out"



Wednesday, August 18, 2010

STAN BUSH - Dream The Dream (2010)

Stan Bush is more of a living legend, not only for his top class vocal skills, but also for his writing abilities.
Apart from his Emmy Award in 1997, his work that has appear on some major fims, and his singing in bands like Jefferson Starship and Alice Cooper, he has released more than 10 albums of high quality music.
So, this is his latest, the 11th, that shows once more, why this artist has such a successful career so far.

"Dream The Dream" is a solid rock diamond, full of touchy melodies, excellent music, and great vocal lines.
Mostly moving to AOR, there's a lot songs here that could easily gain enough airplay on radio stations and become favorites amongst fans.

Let’s start with opening track ‘Never Hold Back’, which with its exceptionally catchy chorus would be a perfect candidate for a single.
Another highlight is ‘Two Hearts’, that was covered by C.I.T.A. on their ‘Relapse Of Reason’ album, and which is a great rock song with again a fantastic chorus.
‘Dream The Dream’ is in my opinion one of the best songs on the album, in which Stan lyric-wise expresses his well-known “you can achieve the impossible if you only believe” message.
I could go on and mention all songs on the record, because there is not one song to be found which stands out in a negative way.

Everything here is based on keyboard melodies, and the work that has been done by Holger Fath is very close to perfection.
Fath helped Stan create a true melodic rock gem.
An equal good job has also been done in the rhythm section as well;
drummer Matt Laug (ALICE COOPER, RICHARD MARX, EDDIE MONEY) and Matt Bissonette on bass guitar (RICK SPRINGFIELD, DAVID LEE ROTH etc), leading to an album that has almost no weak point at all.

If you are a fan of the artist, or a fan of AOR / Melodic Rock music in general, this is an album that you definitely want to listen to.

01 - Never Hold Back
02 - I'm Still Here
03 - Don't Give Up On Love
04 - Two Hearts
05 - In My Life
06 - Love Is The Road
07 - If This Is All There Is
08 - Dream The Dream
09 - More Than A Miracle
10 - Your Time
11 - All That I Am
12 - Sam's Theme (The Touch)

Stan Bush (vocals)
Holger Fath (guitars, keyboards)
Matt Bissonette (bass)
Matt Laug (drums)


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

MAD MAX - Welcome America (2010)

MAD MAX, the legendary german band, returns with the brand new recording "Welcome America".
The title was chosen, according to the booklet, in order to thank the American fans who received the Munich quartet so heartily on her first, long awaited U.S. visit in 2009 at the Rocklahoma festival.

Michael Voss is somehow an omnipresent person in the melodic rock scene, either as producer or musician.
He has given this album a typical eighties sound, with a modern update, not too far from the band's last album.
It sounds clean and tight all round, a solid work on the cut line of Melodic Rock and Hard Rock.

The disc manage to help you have very good time only with their nice melodies without overacting at all. Simple tracks, sweet harmonies and some rockers for a nice easy listening time.
This is precisely the biggest plus of "Welcome America": MAD MAX gives the listener a good, relaxed feeling. This is much more than most bands can claim.

01 - Welcome America
02 - Big Wheel
03 - Someone Not Me
04 - All I Ever Want
05 - Cherry Moon
06 - Pinky Promise
07 - Shape Of Your Heart
08 - Signs
09 - Awesome
10 - My Heart's Been Waiting
11 - This Means Nothin'

Produced by Michael Voss

Michael Voss - lead vocals, electric & acoustic guitars
Juergen Breforth - electric & acoustic guitars
Roland Bergmann - bass, vocals
Hans In 'T Zandt - drums


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

BAD HABIT - Timeless (2010)

The legendary AOR band BAD HABIT was formed in Lund, Sweden in 1986 by Hal Marabel and now ex-keyboard player Doc Pat Shannon.
They released their first album 'Young & Innocent' in 1987 and were actually the first band to get an independently produced music video aired on Swedish national TV.

Trough the late '80s and the '90s, the Swedish five piece released 5 studio albums of which two where completely re-recorded in 2003 and 2004, "Revolution" and "Adult Orientation".
The tracks that made it on "Timeless" are the re-recorded versions. Thanks to these re-recordings Bad Habit made a second start.
What resulted in the lastest studio album 'Above And Beyond' that hit the stores in 2009.

'Timeless' also features two brand new tracks.
The first one, "Turning Water Into Wine" is an excellent song with a hard rocking 80’s sound.
For the rest, 'Timeless' is filled with the best catchy tunes & power ballads from Bad Habit's catalogue.

For the avid Bad Habit fan, and for those who wish to have the band's best songs in their posession, this collection is a must...

01 - Turning Water Into Wine (new song 2010)
02 - Rock This Town (new song 2010)
03 - Play The Game (from 'After Hours')
04 - Heart Of Mine (from 'Adult Orientation '04')
05 - A Lot To Learn (from 'Above And Beyond')
06 - Rowena (from 'After Hours')
07 - Lost Without You (from 'Adult Orientation '04')
08 - Hunger (from 'Revolution '03')
09 - Winner Takes It All (from 'After Hours')
10 - Everytime I See You (from 'Adult Orientation '04')
11 - Another Night (from 'Revolution '03')
12 - I Don't Want You (from 'Above And Beyond')
13 - Sad But True (from 'Revolution '03')
14 - Living On The Edge (from 'After Hours')
15 - Surrender (from 'Above And Beyond')
16 - Need Somebody (from 'Young & Innocent')

Bax Fehling - Vocals
Hal Marabel - Guitar, Keyboards
Sven Cirnski - Guitar
Patrik Sodergren, Stevie Rose - Bass
Jaime Salazar - Drums
Doc Pat Shannon - Keyboards


STATE COWS - State Cows (2010)

OK, this is a melodic rock / AOR site, but this Westcoast - AOR gem deserved to be here.

Sweden might not be the biggest producer of westcoast-music in the world, but there has been some very fine records, most notably Peter Friestedt, Smooth Reunion or Stefan Gunnarsson.
State Cows joins this gang with a very fine release, a really old school Westcoast at its best, sounding like the great bands from the early 80's.

The group is made up of just 2 members, Stefan Olofsson and Daniel Andersson, the latter released a very good record a couple of years ago called 'Days in L.A.'
They have played some years together in their hometown of Umeå and also been in Los Angeles together were they have met the crop of the westcoast-elite.

The record itself must be dubbed "the Swedish answer to AIRPLAY".
No fillers in sight here.
The initial 'I've changed' is a delicious way start the disc, extremely melodic with a very catchy chorus. Stefan Olofsson takes fully into this track and delivers many beautiful sounds / harmonies on his keyboards solos.
The extremely slick 'New York town' (were Jay Graydon plays the solo), features intricate melodies and a strong wind section.
'Stella by the barlight' is one of the many gems on this album, with a rather distinctive slap bass and brilliant keyboards.
'Mystery Jane' has a CHICAGO vibe, 'Tunisian Nights' shows off a wide range of musical variation, with AIRPLAY influences presented in a rather clear way.
'Lost in a mind game' is STEELY DAN - style tune. This song just contains everything that a really serious westcoast wants.

This record outclasses everything that has come in the genre the latest years.
Beautiful and melodic arrangements, very catchy choruses, top class instrumentation, and a production that should make Mr. David Foster / Mr. Jay Graydon more than willing to cooperate with the gentlemen Andersson / Olofsson in the future.

If you like AIRPLAY, PAGES, MAXUS, PETER BECKETT, CHICAGO, L.A. COWBOYS, lots of vintage Fender Rhodes and Moog keyboards, or simply just good music, don't miss this one.
It will be a classic.

1. I’ve Changed
2. New York Town
3. Come To The Point
4. Stella By The Barlight
5. Mystery Jane
6. Painting A Picture
7. Tunisian Nights
8. Looney Gunman
9. Riding This Highway
10. No Man’s Land - Instrumental
11. Lost In A Mind Game

All songs written and produced
by Stefan Olofsson and Daniel Andersson

Daniel Andersson: vocals, guitar
Stefan Olofsson: keyboards, vocals

Fredrik Lundgren: Guitars
Peter Olofsson: Drums
Peter Fredlander: Drums
Stefan ”Kilju” Lindholm: Bass
Mikael Emsing: Percussion
Pär Wretling, Olle Lindberg, Markus Asplund: Horns
Marcuz Granberg: Backing vocals
Christian Thomsen: Backing vocals

Jay Graydon: Guitar solo (New York town)
Peter Holmqvist: Guitar solo (Come to the point)
Mikael Sandström: Guitar solo (Stella by the barlight)
Petri Kivimäki: Sax solo (Looney gunman)
Göran Turborn: Guitar solo (Lost in a mind game)



Monday, August 9, 2010

SAHARA RAIN - Sand In Your Hands (2010)

Sahara Rain is a Swiss six-piece including two lead guitars: Dave Silhanek and Adi Honegger.
As individuals all the band members (Ricci Domenico on vocals, Bo Rebsamen on keyboards, Boet Dee Haas on bass and Levent Suni on drums, in addition to the two guitarists) have years of experience behind them and they are putting it to extraordinarily good use in this great melodic hard rock debut.
Throw in Michael Bormann (JADED HEART) on backing vocals, production duties and with a hand in the songwriting and you really have an album that can do no wrong.

Ricci has a terrific vocal range and conveys a genuine passion in his singing.
I've seen reviews comparing him to Jon bon Jovi, but also I can hear a bit of a Joe Elliott sound in his voice. Whatever, he's exceptional.
The harmonisation of the backing vocals (Ricci and Bormann) is fabulous, almost choral in places.
Rebsamen's keyboards are ethereal in places, more straightforwardly melodic in others such as carrying the melody line for the intro to the superb track "Black Gold".

"Jungle" opens with heavier sounding guitars but then reverts to the melodic hard rock style. They manage this without it sounding like a screeching about turn.
"Higher Sky" is an emotional ballad, perfectly crafted, sounding a lot like BONFIRE.
"The Dance" makes use of minor chords in the chorus to give it a slightly unsettled edge by not taking the line you would expect of such a catchy track.
The middle eastern flavor on "Feels Like" and "Shadow" shows very clear that you're dealing with something more than the 'run of the mill' melodic hard rock offerings out there.

2nd press due to the public demand, this is one of the best debut albums lately appeared in the european melodic hard rock scene.

01 - Feels Like
02 - Black Gold
03 - Jungle
04 - Higher Sky
05 - The Dance
06 - Shadow
07 - Center Of Pain
08 - Blinded Eyes
09 - Be The Men You Are
10 - With These Hands

Ricci Domenico - vocals, backing vocals
Dave Silhanek - guitars
Adi Honegger - guitars
Bo Rebsamen - keyboards
Boet Dee Haas - bass
Levent Suni - drums
Michael Bormann - backing vocals, producer


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

JANE BOGAERT - 5th Dimension (2010)

"Music is my life" - says Jane Bogaert.
This is already obvious listening one of her songs here : » For breakfast I'll have AC/DC, for dinner I'll have Queen, and in-between so soft and easy with Aerosmith and Cream... «

Being educated at the conservatoire in Biel and the school of musicals in Munich where she took singing lessons, her voice has matured during a couple of first tries as a solo singer and back-up jobs for A-Ha, Thin Lizzy, Al Jarreau, Ochsenknecht.
At the turn of the millennium she represented Switzerland at the Eurovision Song Festival.

For this solo album, "5th Dimension", Jane Bogaert worked with the songwriters Robert Papst and Günther Skitschak, both of DOMINOE fame.
Guesting are such famous artists as Jeff Scott Soto, Joe Lynn Turner, John Edwards (Status Quo), Matt Beck (Rod Stewart) and Charlie Morgan (Elton John).
It surely must help spreading the word, but Jane Bogaert doesn’t need it, because she’s a good vocalist in her own right.

Deeply rooted in the '80s, this is a more than agreeable melodic rock record, featuring really good songs as "Still There For Me", "Give It Up", the ballad "Crazy", "The Lady Needs An Upgrade" and "Open Your Heart".
Great production job by DOMINOE mastermind Robert Papst.

01. Intro
02. Fifth Dimension
03. Keep Us Strong
04. Still There For Me (duet with Jeff Scott Soto)
05. Matters
06. Give It Up (duet with Joe Lynn Turner)
07. Was It The Moonlight
08. I'm A Rockstar
09. Superman Cape
10. Crazy
11. The Lady Needs An Upgrade
12. Locked And Tatooed
13. Spaceship
14. Open Your Heart

Jane Bogaert - vocals, backing vocals
Guenther Skitschak (Dominoe) - guitars
Robert Papst (Dominoe) - guitars, keyboards
Matt Beck (Rod Stewart) - guitars, keyboards
Eddie Daum (Wayward) - keyboards
Henner Malecha - bass
John 'Rhino' Edwards (Status Quo) - bass
Bob Riney - bass
Charlie Morgan (Elton John) - drums
Chris Birawsky - drums, backing vocals
Lesley Bogaert, Jörg Sieber - backing vocals

Jeff Scott Soto (guest vocals - #4)
Joe Lynn Turner (guest vocals - #6)

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