Saturday, May 31, 2014

Mark Burgess (aka ChameleonsVox) To Play 'What Does Anything Mean? Basically' and 'Strange Times' at Dec. '14 Shows in Manchester

Mark Burgess (aka ChameleonsVox) To Play 'What Does Anything Mean? Basically' and 'Strange Times' at Dec. '14 Shows in Manchester
Late last year, former Chameleons' bassist/vocalist released a four song EP under the name ChameleonsVox, which was Burgess' first new material in ten years. In a Facebook post, Burgess said: "The Ep constitutes my first release of fresh material in almost TEN YEARS. I nearly dropped cork leg when that was pointed out to me, because trust me it doesn't feel that long to me, but then it never does, does it?

The four tracks are 'Sycophants' (in the pants) - co-written with my regular guitarist Chris Oliver, 'Heaven' and 'Feel The Need', engineered and co-produced with a long time collaborator Yves Altana who some may remember from past projects 'Invincible' and 'Paradyning'. I'm also collaborating with Yves, along with one or two others, writing and recording a brand new album 'Eden And The End Of The World', which we hope to have completed to coincide with the next manned mission to Mars, or early 2014, whichever comes first. Oh by the way, the title is a coded message to someone but in no way should it be considered as a threat to International security or world peace.

While I take some exception with Burgess calling his solo band "the latest incarnation of the Chameleons", it still sounds pretty cool that Burgess is playing What Does Anything Mean?, Basically and Strange Times in their entirety at shows at the Manchester Academy on Dec. 19th and 20th. Burgess and co. will be playing What Does Anything Mean? Basically on Friday, Dec. 19th and Strange Times on Saturday, Dec. 20th. Tickets are £18 for each night and £34 for both nights. Burgess said "Playing Script of the Bridge in it's entirety on the last tour was a massively enjoyable exercise for everyone, audience and band alike. So, when we were asked if we'd perform the next two albums...we agreed immediately. They differ from the debut album, though, in that they contain songs that have been rarely, if ever performed. It's going to be a challenge to present some of them but it's a challenge we look forward to and hopefully The Chameleons audience will too."


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Ryan Hobler (Americana Noir) Hosts Release Party for New Single "She Came Along" at the Slipper Room Tomorrow Night (May 29th)

STREAM: Ryan Hobler - "Got a Ways to Go"

Ryan Hobler (Americana Noir) Hosts Release Party for New Single "She Came Along" at the Slipper Room Tomorrow Night
Influenced by folk-rock heroes like Paul Simon, Elliott Smith, and Nick Drake,, eclectic folk-pop singer and genre-jumping songwriter Ryan Hobler has been playing music in and around his native New York for nearly two decades. Performing in various bands and working as a professional audio engineer, Hobler developed a refined, lyric-driven style with a sound that combines intertwining layers of natural acoustic tones, transporting vocal harmonies and surprising arrangements. Thematically, his songs range from intimate personal stories to surreal allegorical explorations that have been praised for revealing a "love, defeat, and resilience in each track” (

Ryan Hobler is playing a very special release party tomorrow night at the Slipper Room for his next single, "She Came Along", from his forthcoming album produced by Andrew Baldwin (Bjork, Saint Lucia, Wakey! Wakey!). The show will also feature the first ever live screening of Ryan's video for "See What You're Doing to Me". Tickets for this show are $10 are doors are at 7PM.

Ryan Hobler

Monday, May 26, 2014

Asia Plays B.B. King's (Times Square) on Sept. 20th / 'Gravitas' CD Review (Frontiers Records)

As much as I'm not a fan of going to Times Square for any reason, I might have to break down and go see Asia at B.B. King's Blue Club on September 20th. General admission tickets are $42.50 Advance / $47 Day of Show and VIP Reserved Floor Seating is $75.

Asia Plays B.B. King's (Times Square) on Sept. 20th / 'Gravitas' CD Review (Frontiers Records)
I was a bit nervous when Steve Howe checked out of Asia and was replaced by guitar shredder Sam Coulson (holy shades of Astra, Batman). This concern was without merit though as Asia’s new disc, Gravitas, continues in the spirit of the last few reunion albums with all the tracks written by Wetton/Downes. In comparison to Astra, Gravitas is a better album as there are more stand-out tracks but there are similarities between these two discs as both have tracks that are just ‘ok’ and even a few that don’t stand up well to repeated listening. In comparison to the most recent reunion albums, Gravitas is much more textured and layered and seems like a noticeable attempt to capture past glories from the 80’s. The most relevant point of comparison to would be to compare Gravitas to Alpha.

The disc starts with "Valkyrie" and it is everything that you would expect from the 80’s lineup of Asia. The song is layered and atmospheric, with big vocals and harmonies, strings (from Sam Coulson) and a clean guitar solo. This track sets the tone for the rest of the disc as this is clearly the Wetton/Downes show.  Across the disc, Coulson's presence isn't always noticeable and Carl Palmer’s contributions are minimal.

 The next track, “Gravitas”, clearly highlights the difference between these songs and those from Asia’s first album. This eight minute track starts with a huge synth build before the song kicks into full speed. The pulsing back-beat sets the expectation of the exploding choruses and urgency of the first disc but Wetton and Downes are never able to turn this corner. The songs “Nyctophobia” and “Heaven Help Me” are the highlights of the disc and both of these songs come the closest to capturing the sonic force of the first album. “Nyctophobia” is a mid-tempo rocker with a multi-layered sound and big backing vocals. “Heaven Help Me Now” is a solid rocker with a driving beat and huge Queen-like backing vocals. This later song is also one of the few times that Coulson’s guitar work surfaces.

“The Closer I Get”, “Russian Dolls” and “Joe DiMaggio’s Glove” are the mellow and introspective numbers on the disc and these tracks are in 'soft middle' in what could have been an extremely solid outing. All three songs are tales of lost love and broken hearts but, unfortunately, Wetton’s schmaltzy lyrics get annoying fairly quickly. “The Closer I Get” is a piano ballad that is carried by Wetton’s vocals, “Russian Dolls” is a mellow and melancholy number that meanders a bit before finally picking up the pace and “Joe DiMaggio’s Glove” sounds a bit too much like Bon Jovi in the beginning for me to be comfortable (and lyrics like ”how did my heart become so soft as Joe DiMaggio’s glove” make me queasy).

In an interview with Classic Rock Revisited, Carl Palmer said the following about Gravitas: “We wanted some younger blood in there and we wanted to sound a little bit heavier. It is classic rock and it is more in that Van Halen sort of area, or whatever you want to call it. We have been softer in the recent past, so we wanted to rock it up a bit. “ Check out the video below and see what you think.


Sunday, May 11, 2014

'Jimmy Page' by Jimmy Page (book) Will Be Re-Printed for Oct. '14 Release (Genesis Publications)

'Jimmy Page' by Jimmy Page (book) Will Be Re-Printed for Oct. '14 Release (Genesis Publications)
I like the concept of these Genesis Publications releases but I've never been able to afford one. These are obviously beautifully done objets d'art but the general price point for these books starts at £199.00 and the previous edition of "Jimmy Page" by Jimmy Page recently sold for more than $2,000 on eBay.

Jimmy Page is one of music’s greatest guitarists, innovators and legends. JIMMY PAGE is his official autobiography, a photographic essay he personally created to tell his story for the first time. Jimmy's own words, combined with his handpicked selection of over 600 photographs, make this book the definitive visual and historical record of a remarkable life. JIMMY PAGE will be available in all major bookstores from October 2014.

I’ve been asked on a number of occasions to do a written book and I thought of the other side of the coin. I thought it would be unique to have an autobiography in photographs, charting my whole musical journey. – JIMMY PAGE

The chronicle of a life in music, by one of the world’s most iconic guitar players, JIMMY PAGE is testament to the author’s vision – a work he describes as a photographic autobiography. Jimmy has chosen every one of the 650 photographs, written the accompanying text, arranged the content into its narrative order and overseen the design of his book.

It was important to include every milestone along the way, so people who were fans of the music have got a real testament of the times. – JIMMY PAGE

In the form of captions, the intensely private Jimmy has narrated the story of his legendary career for the first time.  Delving into his personal archives, Jimmy has revealed unseen photographs, memorabilia and every one of his passports, saved throughout his life. Jimmy’s passport stamps were used to verify all tour dates, making JIMMY PAGE an authoritative historical account.

The tour schedules, passport stamps, working visas and memorabilia really make up a complete picture, which just keeps unfolding as you turn each page of the book. – JIMMY PAGE

In addition to Jimmy’s own photos, and those chosen from various sources including fans and magazines, his book showcases a collection of iconic portraits and rare images by over 70 of the greatest names in rock photography, including: Ross Halfin, Kate Simon, Gered Mankowitz, Dominique TarlĂ©, Pennie Smith and Jim Marshall. Jimmy chose one of his favourite portrait shots for the book cover: a 1977 passport photo, shot by Neal Preston on board Led Zeppelin’s private tour plane.  There are many rare finds throughout, such as Led Zeppelin playing an impromptu gig in a nightclub in Jersey, or double-exposure shots of Jimmy and Brian Jones by Ian Stewart.

I wanted to make it as thorough as possible, so that meant trawling through all the thousands of files that photographers had taken, and pulling from my personal collection as well. There’s a photo of me playing the guitar by the fire at Bron-Yr-Aur cottage. It’s the most complete document that there’s ever going to be because of the amount of time that I’ve put into every aspect. – JIMMY PAGE

Over two years in the making, this 512-page volume documents Page’s musical journey, from 13-year-old choirboy to Sixties session musician, through The Yardbirds to Led Zeppelin and beyond.

You see this young man growing, from when I’m a choirboy – and took my guitar along to see if I could tune it up from the organ – right through to almost yesterday. – JIMMY PAGE

Today, Led Zeppelin remain arguably one of the biggest rock bands of all time, with the demand for tickets to their recent 2007 reunion breaking world records and the hugely anticipated re-issues of their entire catalogue coming on Rhino Records later this year.  Jimmy Page continues to make history. He has performed at events including ARMS, Live Aid and the Beijing Olympics closing ceremony; collaborated with artists including The Black Crowes, Leona Lewis, Shirley Bassey and the Foo Fighters; and received awards including an OBE, a Kennedy Center Honor and a place in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. On 10th May 2014 he will receive an honorary doctorate from the prestigious university of Berklee, joining previous honourees The Eagles, B.B. King, Steve Winwood, Dizzy Gillespie, George Martin and David Bowie.

Originally conceived as a limited edition of only 2,500 copies worldwide, the first printing of JIMMY PAGE by Jimmy Page sold out within weeks of release. In the spring of 2010, it became the fastest-selling book in Genesis Publications’ 40-year history. Now Jimmy Page and Genesis Publications announce a more accessible and affordable printing of the book, to be released this October 2014.

I always like to do something different – if you’re inspired by an idea, really make something of that inspiration. That goes for music, as well as anything else – even putting a book together! To have a photographic autobiography is a totally different way of looking at things, but it does the job very well and I think it will bring a lot of pleasure to people. – JIMMY PAGE


As someone who’s always been interested in having a library themselves, I appreciate fine bookbinding and their whole ethic of what they do. – Jimmy Page

Founded in 1974, Genesis Publications is a family-owned independent publishing house true to the arts of printing and bookbinding. Genesis creates signed limited edition books and prints for collectors in over 50 countries. Recent authors include musicians such as Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton and David Bowie; visual artists such as Shepard Fairey, Storm Thorgerson and Sir Peter Blake; and contributing writers such as Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg.

Jimmy Page By Jimmy Page

Don Jamieson - 'Hell Bent for Laughter' CD Review (Metal Blade)

STREAM: Don Jamieson - "That Metal Show, Wedding Songs and Guns N' F@ckin' Roses"

Don Jamierson - 'Hell Bent for Laughter' CD Review (Metal Blade)
Sometime in the early 90’s, I remember being in a bar and hearing a guy trying to impress his date by quoting Andrew “Dice” Clay lines. My guess is that this guy went home alone that night…

Don Jamieson’s comedy styling falls in the same vein as Andrew “Dice” Clay and Sam Kinison – it is a series of one-liners that aren’t for the politically correct or the faint at heart. There are moments that are really funny but Jamieson’s routine is mostly comprised of sophomoric “d*ck jokes”.

That Metal Show host Don Jamieson released his second album of live stand-up, Hell Bent for Laughter, in March (Metal Blade) and this show was recorded at raucous BYOB comedy club Uncle Vinnie’s comedy club in Pleasant Beach, NJ. The title is a parity of Judas Priest’s Hell Bent for Leather (Jamieson’s previous album title was a takeoff on Thin Lizzy’s Live and Dangerous) and this leads into the unfortunate but inevitable Rob Halford gay jokes: (i.e.) the original versions of some Priest songs were “Rock Hard, Ride Me”, “Heading Out to the Hershey Highway” and “You’ve Got Another Thing Coming - Don’t Get It In My Eyes”. Other topics include menstruation, giving up a body part for sex (insert Def Leppard joke here) and rock stars with d*cks so big that they can s*ck themselves off.

The audio clip above is the first track on the CD and it will give you a good indication of what Jamieson’s live show is like. Here is the track list for the rest of the disc:

01. That Metal Show, Wedding Songs and Guns n’ F@ckin’ Roses
02. Diapers, Tattoos and a Missing Thumb
03. Halford, Ozzy & Kiss
04. Motley Crue, AC/DC and My Awful Sideburns
05. A Mexican, Edward Scissorhands and a Missing Arm
06. Lubrication, Menstruation and Masturbation
07. Bad Dates, Dead Cats and Terrorist Ants
08. Guns n’ F@ckin’ Politics, Money Shots and Abortion
09. Things You’ll Never Hear Anyone Say
10. Thank You Louis CK, Trendy Stoners
11. The Liquor Store Bar, Balls and Magical Vaginas

In an interview, Jamieson described his comedy style by saying “I’m like AC/DC; I know three chords and play them over and over again".

For anyone who is into this brand of comedy, Jamieson is back at Uncle Vinnie's this month for five nights: 05/21/14 - 05/25/14.

Don Jamieson

Sunday, May 04, 2014

Below (Swedish Epic Doom) - 'Across the Dark River' CD Review (Metal Blade)

STREAM: Below - "Mare of the Night" (from Across the Dark River)

Below (Swedish Epic Doom) - 'Across the Dark River' CD Review (Metal Blade)
Swedish three-piece epic doom band Below released its debut full-length, Across the Dark River, last month month on Metal Blade and the band has a sound that will be immediate recognizable to fans of Dio and the Tony Martin era of Black Sabbath. There are also hints of King Diamond in the mix and this shouldn’t come as a surprise as the band recorded this album at Andy LaRocque's Sonic Train Studios. Below offered the following comment on recording with LaRocque:"To have the opportunity to work with Andy LaRocque and Olof in Sonic Train Studios is amazing. It will be a truly epic album that will leave its mark in the history of doom."

Below play slow-brooding doom that isn’t as bottom-heavy as the early Sabbath material as these songs add clean NWOBHM-style guitar lines, keyboards/organ and occasional chanted backing vocals to the band’s foundational heavy riffs. Andy LaRocque's production gives the band a clean sound so there is an even balance between the vocals and the instrumentation. Similar to King Diamond, the lyrics of the songs tell tales of ghouls and demons , murder, being buried alive along, etc. Most of the songs clock in over five minutes so vocalist Zeb has both the space and sonic backdrop to use his emotive and operatic vocals to set the song’s mood.

“Mare of the Night” (streaming above) is a good indication of the sound of the disc as most of the songs are stylistically similar. The only exceptions to this are: “Ghost of a Shepherd”, where the band noticeably picks up the tempo of the song, and “Dream of the Night”, which is a short intro (35 seconds) which leads directly into “Mare of the Night”. One of the disc’s strongest tracks is the melancholy title track (which runs eight minute long) that tells a tale of crossing of the river Styx.