Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Album Spotlight : One Less Reason - The Memories Uninvited

One Less Reason, the Jackson, Tennessee rock band will release its sixth studio album “The Memories Uninvited” this summer via Tattooed Millionaire Records. Recorded in Memphis, TN at legendary Kiva House Of Blues Studios, the album was produced by the band’s frontman and studio owner Cris Brown and mixed by Randy Staub (Metallica, Nickelback, Motley Crue). The album consists of 11 tracks, ranging from songs about survival and balance  (“Where Were You?”, “The Lie”, “Sometimes”) to emotionally charged anthems (“Break Me”, “The Trade”).
One Less Reason has self-released 5 albums: Everydaylife (2005); Getting Back Your Self Esteem (2006), A Lifetime Burning (2008), Faces and Four Letter Words (2010) and A Blueprint For Writhing (2012).  The band has sold over 500,000 digital downloads to date.
Lead singer Cris Brown reveals that there’s a memory behind every riff, chorus, bass groove, and guitar solo. “One Less Reason songs are more lyrically heavy than musically heavy, and there’s always a message. It’s all based around those four letter words – love, hate, pain, hope. I want people to feel the record more so than just hear it.”

THE MEMORIES UNINVITED is released August 19th.

Tracklisting : 1.Break me 2.Something beautiful 3.Sometimes 4.Where were you? 5.Time 6.The trade 7.One day 8.On the way down 9.The lie 10.You didn´t know 11.Rainmaker

Album Spotlight : Christopher Shayne - Turning Stones

What happens when Aerosmith was your first concert, in a state which claims music outlaws like Waylon Jennings, Alice Cooper and Dave Mustaine of Megadeth? Enter a blazing new rock star with both shine and grit named Christopher Shayne. 

Christopher Shayne, well known throughout the American southwest for his former band Whiskey Six, now delivers dusty southern rock on his debut solo album, Turning Stones.  With influences including blues artist R.L. Burnside, the Black Crowes, country rockers Blackberry Smoke and the ultimate in country boogie, ZZ Top, Christopher has written an album which is both an exciting new “desert-country-rock” discovery and familiar ring for classic southern rock fans.

Turning Stones was produced by renowned producer/engineer Chuck Alkazian (Bruce Springsteen, Bob Seger) at Pearl Sound Studios in Detroit. Staying loyal to his band when a Whiskey Six label offer required he leave them behind, Christopher crafted the twelve tracks with his lead guitarist Dave Lansing, also of Arizona. “There are moments in each song for every aspect of your life.” says Christopher. ”Life has ups and downs. The record is its own ride, and expresses itself through anger, joy, love and sadness.  It's an honest album - I hope everyone finds some note of truth that resonates with them.”  

The debut single and video ‘Give A Damn’ is a fierce anthem to Chris’ rebellious side. ‘When I Come Down’, a song that “wrote itself” according to Lansing, brings down-home country harmonies and a whiskey-laden hook. The self-reflective ‘Take Your Time’ and ‘The River Revival’ are modern tributes to  American gospel influences in modern blues music.  Title track ‘Turning Stones’ asks “where is my American dream/ It looks so much better on TV”, with toe-tapping storytelling and Americana twang.

It is rare to find a ‘start-to-finish’ album these days, as it is to find a natural powerhouse like Shayne, who is beloved for his long red locks and bluesy growl. Along with bandmates Dave Lansing, bassist Mark Blades, drummer Trevor Hammer, and Zachary Hughes adding a third guitar, the Christopher Shayne Band is a force to be reckoned with in concert. “We’re coming at it with the straight up rock, then adding country to it.” says Christopher. “We're riding the edge between genres - it feels a little bit dangerous."  The chorus of ‘Give A Damn’ says it all: “Look out world / I’m gonna be a star”.

TURNING STONES is released August 12, 2016.

Tracklisting : 1.Give a damn 2.Rock show 3.When I come down 4.The river revival 5.Take your time 6.Turning stones 7.Rolling bones 8.Find our way 9.Outcha mind 10.Heartache 11.Home 12.Black Mariah

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Interview with Trapt

Alternative rock band Trapt will release their new studio album DNA on August 19th so Palace of Rock had a little chat with bassist Pete Charell about line up changes, their fans and Pokemons.
Hello there, the band is currently on the road and about to kick off the Make America Rock Again tour. How is tour going so far?
Pete-The tour is going great.  We are doing some smaller shows that roll right into the Make America Rock Again tour.

Trapt has been around for 20 years but with record sales going down for most bands, what keeps you going?
Pete-We started playing music because we love to and that's why we continue to do it.

The band has been through many line up changes with at least 3-4 different drummers and guitarplayers, is the job as a drummer and a lead guitarist too touch to handle?
Pete-Sometimes it's a challenge to find the right fit for the band, hopefully that's what we have now.

You have worked with some of the best producers in the music industry like Don Gilmore, Garth Richardson and Johnny K. How much did it affect the band´s sound working with them and were you always happy with the result of each album?
Pete-Working with great producers definitely showed us what it takes to make a great sounding album.  Some producers/mixers put more of their signature sound on the recordings than others.  We were very fortunate to be able to make those records with such great people and are happy with what we did.

The official music video of Headstrong has the impressive 16 million views on Youtube. Is it possible to exclude your biggest hit from the setlist on stage or will the fans go berserk?
Pete-We will never be able to not play Headstrong.  That song blew up bigger than any of us ever expected.  

Your new studio album DNA is coming out this August, I think it´s an album that stays true to the typical Trapt sound but the production feels a bit more organic. Was it hard to produce the album yourselves?
Pete-It was a challenge to self-produce this album in that we had to be artistic and objective, when with a producer, the musicians are generally just being artists.  We wanted the album to have more of an organic feel.  We wanted the album to sound like us playing our instruments.

I think you can call DNA a fan album, they were involved in both a crowd funding campaign in the making of the album and as inspiration for various topics in the lyrics. Is this your way of saying thank you to the fans?
Pete-This is a way of saying thank you to our fans and also keeping them involved in what we do.

The opening track Human (like the rest of us) is a bloody great rocker, one of your best songs so far in my opinion. Was this one of the first songs written for DNA?
Pete-Thank you! It was one of the first songs written for DNA.

You released the band´s first ever acoustic album The Acoustic Collection in 2014 and on the new album, there are 4 acoustic versions of Human, Passenger, Castaway and Tangled Up In You as bonus tracks. Never thought about recording any cover songs?
Pete-We recorded a cover of Policy of Truth by Depeche Mode.

It´s been 8 years since the release of your only live album Trapt Live on Eleven Seven Music, are there any plans of recording a new live album soon?
Pete-We don't have any plans to do another live album right now.  That's not to say we will never do another one though.  We are always filming stuff on the road.  Maybe we will put out a DVD at some point.

Everybody is running around like crazy chasing Pokemon characters in the new game Pokemon Go! Perhaps this should be the new way of releasing songs through an application where people can go out and search for songs with GPS coordinates.
So what do you say, how about launching Trapt Go?
Pete-Haha!!!  People are really into that game.  

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Album Spotlight : Gringo Star - The Sides and In Between

Nevado Music is thrilled to welcome Atlanta, GA psych-rockers Gringo Star to their expanding label roster. Gringo Star will release The Sides And In Between on August 26. 
Gringo Star are insouciant explorers, tossing the paddles overboard and drifting on the currents of their lackadaisical curiosity across a rippling sonic ocean, out to the far edges of rock & roll. Shots pulsing from a vintage Leslie speaker, their guitars, keys and vocals create the psychoactive ingredients of their echo-slathered, doo-wop-indebted indie gems; psychedelic garage bangers, gritty R&B shuffles and spaghetti western weirdness. Taking cues from Santo & Johnny, The Stooges, Ritchie Valens, Marc Bolan, Percy Faith, Sam Cooke, the men working on the chain gang—uh! ah!—they’re all here, their electric ghosts reaching across time, tapping Gringo Star on the shoulder like the crossroads devil to Robert Johnson, bestowing secrets, passing torches.

1.Rotten 2.Magic 3.Get closer 4.Still alive 5.Going home 6.Knee deep 7.Heading south 8.Undone 9.Its you 10.The last trace

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Quick bits : Crobot, Owen Sartori, Alchimy, The Shadow Principle

Crobot - Welcome to fat city (2016) Let there be riffs
As a rock band you don´t always have to be in search for that revolutionary sound that will change the music industry forever or that other thing, I mean the big hitsingles that will put the band on the cover of Rolling Stone Magazine or 5 minutes on the stage at the Grammy Awards.
Sometimes it´s just enough to make a bloody great album, like in this case with Pennsylvania based Crobot´s 2nd album "Welcome to fat city". I dig it so much.
Their first album "Something supernatural" from 2014 managed to slip through my radar but this time around, I´m keeping an eye on this kick ass rock band.
The new album features the single "Not for sale" and it´s a perfect ambassador for the entire album, we´re talking a nice blend of stoner metal, grunge and smoking hard rock here for fans of Wolfmother, Soundgarden and Alter Bridge.
Catch this power rock band on tour with Volbeat. I bet they will make the Danes work really hard every night not to be blown away by their support.
(+) It´s just what the rock doctor ordered.
(-) Can´t think of anything really.

Owen Sartori - Nobody gives a damn (2015) Power pop greatness
Owen Sartori? No, it´s not the guy that works in the local grocery store. He´s the best kept secret on the other side of the Atlantic.
Owen is the kind of person I want to have as a neighbour, well how do I know this? I just have the feeling he´s a wonderful person to have amongst your friends.
It feels like I know him when I´m listening to his heartfelt songs, his lyrics are so smart and cool and the music has so much finesse.
"Dublin sky" is so beautiful I wanna cry and the Jellyfish-like "Cool" just makes me wanna dance naked in the moonlight at night.
Owen´s first album "Another beautiful day in the cube" came out in 2008 and "Nobody gives a damn" was released last year, it´s about time you check it out if you haven´t already.
(+) If you like Bleu, this record will make your day in no time.
(-) I get worried that it will take another 7 years for him to make another record.

AlchiMy - Chercheur d´Or (2015) The Mamas and The Papas meets Mireille Mathieu
One of the privileges of reviewing music is that you get to hear artists you normally wouldn´t listen to because they´re in another genre that might not be your homefield.
Although Palace of Rock is mainly a place for rock music, I decided from the start to be open minded and think outside the box, that´s why artists like the Swiss band AlchiMy comes up on my blog.
They´re hailing from the French speaking region of Switzerland but caught attention from the other side of the Atlantic ocean with their debut album "Chercheur d´Or".
So this summer they are recording a new album of English songs with producers Owen Sartori and Davide Raso in the USA, you never know what to expect of that outcome.
What about the music then? Well, AlchiMy blends contemporary blues and folk stylings with an unmistakable French flair.
The music is sort of timeless and I do prefer them singing in French than the English songs at the end of the album, but that´s just my opinion. You might feel different.
(+) The very happy "Un brin de Passion" takes the listener back to the classic 70´s Eurovision sound.
(-) The bass is a bit low in the mix.

The Shadow Principle - Oblivion (2016) Rock´n´roll ain´t noise pollution, it´s the solution
Progressive hard rock that stands out, the American band The Shadow Principle aren´t interested in a short cut to success on the mainstream highway of rock, They´re like the good ol´ 70´s rock bands that did album music and aim for longevity rather than a 3 minute hit on the airwaves.
I am very fond of their debut "Golden state" from 2012 that is a great album of 70´s prog, 80´s hard rock and 90´s alternative metal.
Dave Tomkins awesome bass work is still an important part of this band´s unique sound but the new album "Oblivion" puts the band on a new location on the map of rocknroll. They have evolved soundwise and instead deliver a blend of NWOBHM, punk and progressive rock.
The new single "When the sun appears" shows the band in their new direction and it´s also one of my favorite songs on "Oblivion" along with the marvelous "Byzantium".
The punk-ish "Dead walking" could´ve been an unreleased song from Iron Maiden´s "Killers".
The sound of their new album bring thoughts to Shiva meets Coheed and Cambria with a touch of Iron Maiden. I la la love it.
(+) Great instrumentation and artistic songstructures.
(-) They could´ve chosen a better opening track, "Minutiae" isn´t strong enough.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Top 20 Albums 2016 (so far)

And here are the 20 best albums released between January and today in July of 2016, with the comeback album from Dizzy Mizz Lizzy peaking at #1.
The only exception is Crobot´s new album that will be out in September, expect a review very soon.

1.Dizzy Mizz Lizzy – Forward in reverse (5)
2.Babymetal – Metal resistance (5)
3.Biffy Clyro - Ellipsis (4,5)
4.Cheap Trick - Bang zoom crazy...hello (4,5)
5.Circus Maximus – Havoc (4,5)
6.Sixx A.M – Prayers for the damned Vol.1 (4,5)
7.The Mute Gods – Do nothing till you hear from me (4)
8.Eliot Sumner – Information (4)
10.Ace Frehley – Origins Vol.1 (4)

11.Otep – Generation doom (4)
12.Blink 182 - California (4)
13.Opia – Eon (4)
14.Asking Alexandria – The black (4)
15.Crobot - Welcome to fat city (4)
16.Hands Like Houses – Dissonants (4)
17.SheLoom – The baron of the fjord (4)
18.Blue October – Home (4)
19.Dan Reed Network – Fight another day (4)
20.The Shadow Principle - Oblivion (4)

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Album Spotlight : Ghost Season - Like stars in a neon sky

Athens-based Alternative Metal band Ghost Season have announced their first full length album titled "Like Stars In A Neon Sky".
Like Stars In A Neon Sky follows the band’s EP "Ghosts Like Her" on 2014 and the single "Break My Chains" of December in 2015.
It also marks the debut album of Ghost Season newly lineup with Helen Nota as the drummer of the band.

The first look at the LP comes with the video for the song “Fade Away”. Though Ghost Season now operate as a four-piece, the physical absence of the second guitarist goes sonically unnoticed — their metal-soaked sound remains firmly intact. The album was mixed and mastered by Nick Christolis (guitarist of the band) along with the vocalist J.Loren Wince of the American-based Alternative Rock band HURT not only co-producing it but showing the band different directions and perspectives and getting involved in every single song.
The same day Ghost Season will release their new video clip for the song "Fade Away". The album will also contain a cover of Savage Garden’s “Break Me Shake Me” in a surprise metal cover version.

LIKE STARS IN A NEON SKY is out Sept 15th.

Tracklisting : 1.Fade Away 2.Sons Of Yesterday 3.Break My Chains 4.The High Way 5.Of Hearts And Shadows 6.The Mirror 7.Just A Lie 8.The Vampire 9.War Of Voices 10.Break Me Shake Me

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Album Spotlight : The Shadow Principle - Oblivion

Four years in the making, "Oblivion" is an unapologetic, full-throttle rock record packed with great songs and commanding performances. Released at a time when many rock acts have either softened considerably or abandoned the genre altogether, "Oblivion" stays true-to-form throughout, dismissing current trends, looking instead to the great rock bands of the 70s, 80s, and 90s for inspiration. 

Writing for this record began shortly after the completion of the band’s 2012 concept album, "Golden State." Seeking an assemblage of compelling stand-alone songs untethered to an overarching theme, bassist/vocalist Dave Tomkins introduced one straight-ahead rocker (“When the Sun Appears”), two mini epics (“Byzantium” and “Rivers”), and one oddity in 6/4 (“So Dark”) to band mates Reza Moosavi (guitar) and Kurt Berens (drums) in Spring 2013. The trio developed innumerable arrangements of each song and, while simultaneously performing live in support of "Golden State," noted the opportunities this new material presented for a bigger vocal presence within the band—one that would undoubtedly have a positive impact on live presentations of the band’s established material as well. And so began the long search for a new lead vocalist that—after a few false starts—finally culminated in the discovery of Nohl Takahashi (formerly of Daijobu) in the Summer of 2015. 


The album’s cover art, created by filmmaker Patrick Lawler, pairs with the album’s title, "Oblivion", in thought-provoking ways. The term “oblivion” can refer to forgetfulness on the one hand, or to having been forgotten on the other—to a state of unconsciousness, or to a condition of alienation or extinction. Does the figure on the album’s cover—perhaps unconsciously, in a daydream—long to scale the hillside at which he stares (to achieve a goal, or to regain something lost), or does he look back at a peak just descended (symbolizing something rejected or dismissed)? Has he been cast out of a civilization (perhaps the one responsible for the luminous glow emerging beyond the hill’s precipice), or does he look on with dread at a lingering past he wishes to escape? Such existential questions inform many of the album’s lyrics, inviting listeners to see reflections of their own experiences, and suitably to draw their own conclusions. 

Equal parts cerebral and visceral, the Shadow Principle’s "Oblivion" holds much in store for fans of bands ranging from Led Zeppelin and The Who to Muse, Queens of the Stone Age, and the Mars Volta.
OBLIVION is out July 15th.
Tracklisting : 1.Minutae 2.When the sun appears 3.Phantom satellite 4.Headstrong 5.Stand down 6.Starless skies 7.Byzantium 8.Dead walking 9.Brutal muse 10.The passenger

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