Thursday, January 24, 2013

Khaled Dajani: Alt-Fusion Guitarist Plays Record Release Show at Pianos on Jan. 30th

Khaled Dajani: Alt-Fusion Guitarist Plays Record Release Show at Pianos on Jan. 30th
Khaled is a groundbreaking artist originally from Saudi Arabia, whose unique brand of Alternative World Fusion music combines Hard Rock, Spanish style guitar and Middle Eastern music elements. Dajani moved to the U.S. over 10 years ago to pursue his dream of playing rock music and is completely self taught. Khaled is playing a record release show at Pianos on January 30 to celebrate the release of his fourth disc, Luci - a concept album that brings together art, poetry and bold musical combinations, including Middle Eastern and Spanish guitar, driving horns, rock guitar and percussion, and passionate strings.

The album opens with the brief ambient guitar intro “Hello”, then tosses the listener immediately into “A Mad World” that features driving electric guitar riffs, frantic trumpets, and foreboding vocals. The theme of temptation weaves throughout the songs (“Trouble”, “Motions of the Dancers” and “All Mine”) as well as the theme of seduction in “Lazy River” which fades into the lush atmospheric strings in “Timeless”. “Motions of the Dancer” and “Falling”, the two instrumental tracks on the album, consists of expressive acoustic guitar with percussion and varying tempos that build to a frenzy. The album comes to a passionate climax with “Luci”, a song about the confrontation with Lucifer, followed by a return to freedom with the final song “Yellow Bird”.

Tickets for the show at Pianos are $10 in advance and $12 DOS and Khaled goes on at 7PM.


Born in Saudi Arabia, Khaled Dajani moved to the US when he was 16 and, against his traditional upbringing, chose to pursue his musical passion with a vengeance. “I was always told, ‘Wise up and get a job and start a family!’ It only made me want to work harder on my craft, so I developed my voice, guitar technique, and unique composition style that I call alternative world fusion.”

Dajani performs regularly throughout New York City, Hoboken, Washington DC, and Pittsburgh. He has already released three albums independently and has toured the US extensively. He also plans to release a series of thematic music videos after Luci’s release. Calling Luci his most ambitious project to date, Dajani says about its creation, "I set out to record one of the most influential albums of all time." He describes, "It’s about being bold and honest and demanding more art, poetry and music. That's what I strive to achieve.

Khaled Dajani

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Pink Cream 69 - 'Ceremonial' CD Review (Frontiers Records)

Pink Cream 69 - 'Ceremonial' CD Review (Frontiers Records)
German melodic hard-rock band Pink Cream 69 is back with their eleventh disc, Ceremonial, which is their first studio disc since 2007’s In10sity. For anyone who isn’t up to speed with PC69’s music - to give a reference point - the band’s original vocalist Andi Deris left in 1994 to join Helloween. This isn’t to say that PC69 is a power metal outfit – rather they play gritty but melodic, guitar-driven arena rock and their sound would fit well sharing a bill with a band like Helloween. For those who are familiar with the band, Ceremonial includes a familiar mix of hard-rock AOR anthems and rock ballads but - this time out - the band adds some heavy, blues-based numbers, which feature thick guitar riffs wrapped into a near-claustrophobic wall of sound.

The disc starts out strong with “Land of Confusion”, which opens with a brief middle-eastern guitar line before the band kicks in with some big, bluesy, groove-oriented riffs. “Wasted Years” and “Special” follow this track and these two songs are a return to PC69’s classic AOR sound. “Find Your Soul” and “Right From Wrong” go back into the bluesy dirge (sort of AIC sounding) of the first track which “Find Your Soul” complements with some psychedelic leanings. The band keeps pushing the borders of the genre with “Let the Thunder Roll”, which shows them almost crossing over into power metal territory. The band slows the tempos and brings in some acoustic guitar for ”Passage of Time” and “King for One Day” (which sounds a bit like Whitesnake) but both of these numbers have more teeth and b*lls than most of the current rock ballads of today. The disc ends on a high note with “Superman”, which is a slow-burning rocker that sounds like late 70’s Bad Company.

While Pink Cream 69 may not (yet) have a lot of name recognition in the US, fans of melodic hard rock would be well served checking out this new disc.

Pink Cream 69

Monday, January 14, 2013

Tim Kasher (Cursive) Announces March Shows at Knitting Factory and Maxwell's

(Photo: Jess Ewald)

Tim Kasher (Cursive) Announces March Shows at Knitting Factory and Maxwell's
Tim Kasher, frontman for Cursive, has announced a new run of solo tour dates in March. The tour will begin on March 12th at The Space in Hamden, CT and will wrap on on March 23rd at Schuba's in Chicago, IL, and includes two New York area shows on the 14th at the Knitting Factory in Brooklyn and the 15th at Maxwell's in Hoboken, NJ. A full itinerary is below.

Kasher is currently getting ready to record the follow-up to his 2010 debut solo LP, The Game Of Monogamy, which earned praise from Alternative Press, The A.V. Club, Ghettoblaster, SPIN, Under The Radar, and USA Today, among others. He'll be performing new songs in addition to tracks from Monogamy throughout the tour, and an array of friends will back him on varying accompaniment in each city.

Kasher's most recent album with Cursive, I Am Gemini, was released last February via Saddle Creek.

Tim Kasher Tour Dates:
MAR. 14 - BROOKLYN, NY - KNITTING FACTORY* (Advance tickets: $12)
MAR. 15 - HOBOKEN, NJ - MAXWELL'S* (Advance tickets: $12)
* Birthmark supports
** Brighton MA supports

Tim Kasher

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Snakecharmer - 'Snakercharmer' CD Review (Frontiers Records)

Snakecharmer - 'Snakercharmer' CD Review (Frontiers Records)
Newcomers, UK rock band Snakecharmer is a super-group comprised of long-time veterans from some very successful British blues/hard-rock band and the band’s self-titled debut album comes out on Frontiers Records on Feb. 5th. The band plays bluesy, guitar-driven arena rock so it shouldn’t come as any surprise that the band was brought together by original Whitesnake members Micky Moody (guitar) and Neil Murray (bass). Other members of the band include Adam Wakeman (Ozzy/Black Sabbath) on keyboards, Laurie Wisefield (x-Wishbone Ash) on guitar, Harry James (x-Thunder, Magnum) on drums and Chris Ousey (x-Virginia Wolf, Heartland). Similar to Moody and Murray’s previous project, Company of Snake, this new band is closer in sound to Bad Company than Whitesnake but you can hear elements of the ‘snake and even early Foreigner in some of the songs.

I met up with Neil Murray a couple of years ago and we spoke about playing a few gigs together for fun and old times' sake," says Micky Moody. "The obvious choice was early Whitesnake material, so when Neil suggested Laurie Wisefield and Harry James, I jumped at it. Chris Ousey was highly recommended and Adam had depped for Company of Snakes some years back. We went out as Monsters of British Rock mostly performing the songs of early Whitesnake, Thunder Heartlands and a Laurie Wisefield original and we caught the attention of Martin Darvill, head of QEDG Management, who suggested we record an album of original material, which we did. The result is Snakecharmer on the Frontiers label."

The disc kicks off with “My Angel” – which clearly takes a page out of the Whitesnake songbook and starts with Chris Ousey singing backed by an acoustic guitar. The rest of the band doesn’t join in until about a minute later to kick the song into high gear, with one of the two guitarists laying down some chunky guitar riffs. Right as the song hits full throttle, the band seamlessly breaks away for a short keyboard and acoustic guitar(s) interlude but Micky Moody joins in to pick up the pace with some killer slide guitar riffs. This song is a good indication of the sound of the rest of the disc as most of the other songs are variations around a similar guitar-driven, hard-rock core.

“To The Rescue”, “A Little Rock and Roll” and “Turn of the Screw” are all bluesy rockers in the style of Bad Company and any of these songs could be a big hit on classic rock radio. “Stand Up” and “Guilty as Charged” showcase Adam Wakeman’s keyboards alongside the duo guitar attack and sound similar to early Foreigner. “Fallen Leaves” is a welcome throwback to when rock ballads still had teeth (maybe Bon Jovi or Poison could learn something from this disc) and the remainder of the tracks are melodic hard rockers.

This disc will have an immediate appeal to fans of Whitesnake and Rainbow. Snakecharmer will also strike a familiar chord with anyone who went to an arena rock show in the 70’s or 80’s as these are the types of songs that you can sing along to after one or two listens and there isn’t bad track on the disc.

Shakecharmer made their live debut just over a year ago as special guests of Uriah Heep. The band played a small number of high-profile festivals over the course of 2012 and more dates are supposed to follow later this year.


The Neighbourhood: California Indie-Pop/Trip-Hop Band Plays Glasslands Gallery on Jan. 14th

The Neighbourhood: California Indie-Pop/Trip-Hop Band Plays Glasslands Gallery on Jan. 14th
Just one year ago California’s The Neighbourhood revealed their music to the public for the first time, and they will be at Glasslands Gallery on Monday (Jan.14th) to tout their newest slew of releases. The core of the band’s sound is an approachable meshing of pop and R&B, but a mischievous production aesthetic that embraces sound manipulation and sampling complicates the mix along with dark lyrical subject matter, making the overall experience as haunting as it is catchy.

Their debut EP "I’m Sorry…" was released in May of 2012 getting a huge response from the blogosphere, including Mostly Junk Food who proclaimed, "While the widespread love is more than great, what impresses me most about The Neighbourhood is that every release leaves the fans asking for more. We have an insatiable appetite for their music.” They followed up in December with the 2-song release 'Thank You', delving further into sampler acrobatics. Their debut full-length is slated for a March release.

For the Glasslands Gallery show, The Neighbourhood is playing alongside the bombastic alt-rock of NYC’s The Doorbells and tickets are $12.

The Neighbourhood

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Everest Cale & Stone Cold Fox - Live Photos from Show at Pianos, Jan. 4, 2013

Last Friday, Brooklyn band Everest Cale premiered the video for their song "Beast" (title track from the band's latest EP) and followed this with a full live set. I reviewed "Beast" last year and compared the band's roots-rock sound to artists like Kevn Kinney and Connor Oberst but the band hits much harder when playing live. While Everest Cale haven't abandoned their core country-blues sound, their live interpretation is closer to Crazy Horse than either of the artists that I mentioned earlier. I was speaking to bassist Aaron Nystrup after the show and he said that the songs on "Beast" date back a number of years and the band is going into the studio early this year to record some of these harder-edged numbers.

My one regret of the evening is that I only brought a still camera and left my video camera at home but there will be other nights - Everest Cale is playing next at Tammany Hall (152 Orchard St) on Saturday, Jan. 19th.

Stone Cold Fox also has a fuller live sound than their new EP, "The Young", would suggest. When reviewing their disc, I compared them to Radiohead and The Walkmen - thinking their sound leaned toward Radiohead - but, live, Stone Cold Fox is closer in sound to The Walkmen and/or later period Replacements.

Check out the indie-pop side of Stone Cold Fox with this stripped-down studio performance of "Give Up The Kids".

Stone Cold Fox is playing next at The Paper Box (in East Williamsburg/Bushwick) on Sat., Jan. 19th. Also on the bill are Nightmare River Band, Watermelon, Rich Mahogany, D. Gookin and Aotearoa. Tickets are $10 and doors are at 7PM.

Everest Cale
Stone Cold Fox

Friday, January 11, 2013

Charlotte Sometimes: 'The Voice' Finalist Hosts Birthday Bash and Free Show at Norwood Club on Tues., Jan.15th

Charlotte Sometimes: 'The Voice' Finalist Hosts Birthday Bash and Free Show at Norwood Club on Tues., Jan.15th
New York alt-rock singer (and Warped Tour veteran) Charlotte Sometimes is hosting a birthday bash for her 25th birthday along with playing a free show on Tuesday, Jan. 15th at Club Norwood (241 West 14th Street). [Note: the email to RSVP is on the show poster]

Before celebrating her 25th birthday, pop songstress Charlotte Sometimes has already found herself praised by critics and superstars alike. As Blake Shelton, her coach on NBC's The Voice recently put it, "She's a true artist and true artists have visions".

This vision is perfectly captured on the new EP, "Circus Head", a 5-song gem showcasing the signature style which "earns her instant attention". (The New York Times) From the infectiously catchy opener, "Brilliant Broke and Beautiful," to the sentimental "Paint The Sky," "Circus Head" puts Charlotte's strong and attention grabbing vocals on display atop perfectly crafted pop hooks.

In addition to making the top 24 on Season 2 of The Voice, Charlotte Sometimes has been named a VH1 "You Oughta Know" artist and one of the "Top 100 Bands You Need To Know" by Alternative Press magazine. She has toured in support of Butch Walker, Gavin Degraw, Pat Monahan and The Hush Sound.

Charlotte Sometimes

Steve Howe Leaves Asia (band) / Newcomer Sam Coulson Named as Replacement

Steve Howe Leaves Asia / Sam Coulson Named as Replacement
Guitarist Steve Howe has announced his departure from Asia and he will be replaced by Sam Coulson (who has the reputation as a shredder, so I'm not sure I see the fit). Remembering back to something that Geoff Downes had posted circa 1999 - 2000, one of the reasons he pulled out of the then Asia reunion was that Steve Howe wasn't invited to participate. I had always heard that Howe didn't get along with John Wetton so Steve's departure doesn't come as a shock but...the Asia lineups with Mandy Meyer and Pat Thrall replacing Howe always seemed to be missing 'something' as Howe's playing is a prominent part of Asia's sound.

Here is Steve Howe's quote: "I have left Asia to concentrate on Yes, my solo work & my Trio. I've enjoyed the 6 years of touring and recording with Asia, but now it's time to focus more on the above mentioned formations. —Steve"

Here is the quote from the remaining members of Asia: "John Wetton, Geoff Downes and Carl Palmer are delighted to announce that not only do they have an incredible talent in place to step into Steve Howe’s shoes, but also that their first international show with newcomer Sam Coulson will be a high profile performance at Sweden Rock 2013. Sam is a wonderful player, world-renowned amongst guitar virtuosos. Additionally, a new studio album, to be entitled ‘Valkyrie’, will be recorded for Frontiers Records during 2013 continuing the band’s relationship with the label.

John Wetton said, “ASIA is ready to take its next steps along this remarkable road. We cannot wait to perform again for the fans and also to unveil some of the new material, of which we are very proud”. Geoff Downes said, “We look forward to writing another chapter in Asia’s history”. Carl Palmer commented, “We’re all looking forward to the next decade of great ASIA music”.

Check out Sam Coulson's playing and see what you think...


Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Mission of Burma Plays Bowery Ballroom on Friday, January 18th

DOWNLOAD: Mission of Burma - "Second Television"

(Photo: John Foster)

Mission of Burma are coming back through town next Friday night, Jan. 18th for a show at Bowery Ballroom. The band is touring behind their gloriously noisy and rumbling disc Unsound, which came out last summer on Fire Records, and the band is bringing along a full horn section for this show.

Opening for Burma is Exclamation Pony (featuring Ryan Jarman from The Cribs and Jen Turner from Here We Go Magic) and the show starts at 9PM. Tickets are $20 in advance and $22 DOS.

Unsound is Mission of Burma’s fifth studio album, continuing their remarkable legacy. It seems redundant now to even call it a comeback because they’re a dynamic, current band, but having disbanded just four years after they formed in 1979, when they reformed eighteen years later and went on to record ONoffON in 2004, no one expected them to keep putting out records; let alone records that were every bit as vital and influential as their seminal early recordings. Their first album, Vs, is down in the annals of music as being one of the most important post-punk records of all time. Their subsequent recordings continue to expand on that and grow in scope, depth and accomplishment with every step.

As part of the manifesto to stretch musical boundaries, Roger wrote two of his songs “Opener” and “ADD in Unison” on the bass rather than guitar, and another ("Dust Devil") was based on an acoustic guitar improvisation. Both Clint and Peter also tweaked their writing just enough to make them feel it was actually worthwhile making another record. They also decided to use trumpet on the record, so Bob pulled out his trumpet playing skills to oblige.

Peter Prescott describes the experience: “We are a four headed hydra trying to create unity without canceling or censoring each head. So we juggle melody, groove, noise, depression, disruption, ecstasy… tension, release. I guess it’s thrilling for us to walk that musical plank.

Clint Conley describes being in the studio: “There were certain technological advances as well, that might have been unthinkable just a few short years ago, in a distant time and century. During the mix at Woolly Mammoth, Peter occasionally opted for a virtual presence. From time to time a hologram of his head would appear, hovering in a darkened corner, issuing directives and encouragement. Not to say there weren't occasional glitches in the system. For a few days the hologram seemed locked in a mystifying loop, calling for more cymbals, regardless of whether the band were working on a mix or ordering Vietnamese food.

Mission of Burma

Wake Owl - 'Wild Country' CD Review (Vagrant) // Show at Rockwood Music Hall on Feb. 22nd

Wake Owl - 'Wild Country' CD Ep Review (Vagrant Records)
Wake Owl began with primary member Colyn Cameron, who started writing songs around age 16. The Vancouver, by way of Southern California, native traversed the world in his late teens and early 20s and his vast travels acted as a songwriting catalyst: after returning home to British Columbia and spending a brief period playing in other bands, Cameron began creating and recording his own songs as Wake Owl. Now also comprised of multi-instrumentalist Aiden Briscall and additional supporting players, Wake Owl has toured Canada supporting Bahamas, Zeus and The Jezabels, and have played a number of their own US shows. The band's debut EP, "Wild Country", comes out January 29th on Vagrant Records.

"Wild Country" is comprised of six tracks and has a distinctly Southern California sound. Cameron's lyrics are introspective but he breaks away from his alt-folk contemporaries by adding rich vocal harmonies and the band's pedal steel, violin, and brushed drums take on a mellow rock sound rather than alt-folk. The end result sounds like something that could have come out of Laurel Canyon in the 70's and has elements of both Crosby, Stills and Nash and the initial albums from the Lindsey Buckingham lineup of Fleetwood Mac.

The music is fairly varied across the disc's six tracks - opener "Wild Country" starts out with a acoustic guitar providing the foundation for a twisting and bending electric guitar line but other instruments kick in shortly thereafter and the song molds itself into a moody SoCal rock number. "You'll Never Go" is an upbeat number that is powered by Cameron's upfront vocals and the song has a repetitive, catchy rhythm that is likely to have a live audience swaying in place. This is followed by "Gold" which has a melancholy aura as the sparse piano and emotive vocals of the song's beginning build up to a sing-along chorus where Wake Owl sounds a sounds a bit like Fleetwood Mac. A demo version of "Gold" closes this disc and this is a nice counterpoint as this demo version is stripped down and rawly emotive. Overall, the six songs on this new EP pass by way too quick leaving me looking forward to a full-length release from the band.

Wake Owl Tour Dates:
Feb 08 - Sunset, Seattle, WA
Feb 09 - Bunk Bar, Portland, OR
Feb 14 - 7th Street Entry, Minneapolis, MN
Feb 17 - Old Town School of Folk / Szold Hall, Chicago, IL
Feb 20 - Cafe 939, Boston, MA

Feb 22 - Rockwood Music Hall (Stage 2), New York, NY
* Tickets are $10 and this is an early show - 6:30PM doors.  Opening band is (probably) Andy Shauf

Feb 23 - First Unitarian Church, Philadelphia, PA
Feb 25 - Jammin Java, Vienna, VA
Feb 26 - Brillobox, Pittsburgh, PA
Feb 28 - Basement, Nashville, TN
Mar 03 - Riot Room, Kansas City, MO
Mar 04 - Hi-Dive, Denver, CO
Mar 07 - Hotel Cafe, Los Angeles, CA
Mar 08 - Hotel Utah, San Francisco, CA
Mar 09 - Crepe Place, Santa Cruz, CA

Wake Owl

Friday, January 04, 2013

Win Tickets to One of 16 Broadway Productions and a Gift Card to Tony's Di Napoli Italian Restaurant from Broadway's Season of Savings Book

Win Tickets to One of 16 Broadway Productions and a Gift Card to Tony's Di Napoli Italian Restaurant from Broadway's Season of Savings Book
Season of Savings and Broadway World present the “You Take The Town” Sweepstakes!

"To ring in the New Year, we’re giving YOU a chance to win dinner and a show on us! Visit our Facebook page each day from January 7 - 23 to enter for your chance to win! One lucky winner will be selected each day to receive two tickets to a different participating Season of Savings show and a gift card to Tony’s Di Napoli. Entries must be posted by midnight each day.  Each winner will be chosen at random and notified via email by 10AM on the day following each drawing."

Entry Process
Anyone who wishes to enter the drawing for any of the prizes will be able to do so on the Season of Savings Facebook page. Multiple entries can be earned by “sharing” the contest with their friends and followers. All winners will be chosen at random.

/ 2 tickets to a participating Season of Savings show
/ A $75 gift card for dinner at Tony’s Di Napoli

Official Website:

Camper Van Beethoven to Release 'La Costa Perdida' - First Studio Album in Nine Years / Show at Stage 48 on Jan. 19th with Cracker

(Photo: Jason Thrasher)

Camper Van Beethoven to Release 'La Costa Perdida' - First Studio Album in Nine Years / Show at Stage 48 on Jan. 19th with Cracker
Camper Van Beethoven – the beloved, genre-mashing musical unit and one of the bands that created the indie rock genre – has confirmed its first album in nine years with La Costa Perdida (January 22 / 429 Records). The release will mark CVB's first album recorded as a unit with the band cutting songs organically with all in attendance and produced entirely by the band's members. La Costa Perdida vividly depicts untamed characters and bizarre experiences on northern California's coastline, where the band began its musical adventures.

On the making of La Costa Perdida, Victor Krummenacher says, "The coolest part was that everything flowed from the fact that these distinctive musicians and personalities sat in the living room. Four people are writing it. The songs have great energy, but we're more relaxed and stately and a lot more confident."

Camper Van Beethoven is: Victor Krummenacher (bass, baritone guitar), Greg Lisher (guitars), David Lowery (guitars and vocals), Chris Pedersen (drums), Jonathan Segel (violin, guitar, mandolin, organ, backing vocals) and new addition Michael Urbano (drums and percussion). [Joining the band for their winter tour dates is longtime CVB and Cracker drummer Frank Funaro.]

Also led by Camper Van Beethoven's frontman David Lowery, Cracker will be joining CVB's run of winter dates. Cracker has been described as a lot of things over the years: alt-rock, Americana, insurgent-country, and have even had the terms punk and classic-rock thrown at them. But more than anything Cracker are survivors. Cofounders Lowery and Johnny Hickman have been at it for 20 years now - amassing nine studio albums (their most recent, 2009's critically acclaimed Sunrise In The Land Of Milk And Honey), multiple gold records, thousands of live performances, hit songs ("Low," "Euro-Trash Girl" and "Get Off This" to name just a few) that are still in current radio rotation around the globe, and a worldwide fan base - that despite the major sea-changes within the music industry - continues to grow each year. Along with longtime drummer Frank Funaro (since 1998's Gentleman's Blues) and bassist Sal Maida (since 2006's Greenland), this uniquely American band has no intentions of slowing down.

Camper Van Beethoven/Cracker Winter Tour Dates
Jan. 18 - World Cafe Live - Philadelphia, PA
Jan. 19 - Stage 48 - New York, NY (Doors are at 6:30PM and tickets are $20)
Jan. 20 - Middle East Downstairs - Cambridge, MA
Jan. 23 - Sky City - Augusta, GA (CVB only)
Jan. 24 - 40-Watt Club - Athens, GA (CVB only)
Jan. 25 - The Grey Eagle - Asheville, NC (CVB only)
Jan. 26 - The Earl - Atlanta, GA (CVB only)
Jan. 27 - Mountain Stage - Charleston, WV (CVB only with Calexico and Bonnie "Prince" Billy)
Feb. 23 - Mississippi Studios - Portland, OR (CVB only)

Camper Van Beethoven