Friday, February 15, 2019

Stream It From The Mountain: Jean-Sébastien Côté – Wilderness

Jean-Sébastien Côté is a Canadian composer and sound designer whose experimental electronic music can be heard in the theatre, on TV and in art installations.  He is also one half of the electronic duo crashride.  His most recent work, Wilderness was released late last year and was written for and inspired by SOMETHING ABOUT WILDERNESS AND OTHER ATTEMPTS AT TAMING BEAUTY by Melanie Demers and Laïla Diallo, presented by the Skånes Dansteater in Malmö, Sweden.
Wilderness was composed and performed by Côté using just piano, analog synths and strings, which were performed by Marjolaine Lambert (violin), Heather Schnarr (violin), Emily Westell (violin) and Paul Casey (viola). 
The opening track, “Genesis”, over its eight-minute-and-41 second run time, is a slow burn of long-droning and buzzing strings that are barely audible to begin the song but burst to life in a cacophonous swell to end the song.  The following track, “Beauty and the Beast” sounds like its title implies, with gorgeous ascending melodies but with a sinister undercurrent.  Other standouts include, “Alep” which is evocative of being caught in a swirling snow storm and “Bad Racket” highlighted by its echoing beat and haunting strings.
 Jean-Sébastien Côté’s Wilderness is a beautifully meditative and quiet listen; a headphones-worthy world to get lost in.
For more info:
Stream Wilderness here:

Friday, February 01, 2019

3 Songs: On Repeat

Liz Brasher – “Blood Of The Lamb” (The Memphis-by-way-of-North Carolina singer/songwriter/guitarist’s highly-anticipated debut album, Painted Image was recently released on Fat Possum Records.  Brasher’s powerful voice lights up her anthemic and timeless-sounding torch songs which are set to organ-drenched Gospel, soulful girl group and gritty garage rock grooves that improve upon her promising debut EP released just last year.  Check out her hybridization of Gospel and Motown on the leadoff track heard here.)  

Skinny Girl Diet – “Shed Your Skin” (The London-based duo consisting of, Delilah Holiday & Ursula Holiday, recently released their stunning sophomore album, Ideal Woman, on HHBTM Records.  Their genre-defiant sound is equal parts grunge and punk; with a DIY attitude and a youthful outlook, the duo delivers cathartic anthems for the disenfranchised.  Check out the buzzing Melvins-like riffage of the standout second single from the album here.)

Wild Pink – “There Is A Ledger” (Shy Layers Remix) (The Brooklyn trio led by John Ross return March 1 with a new EP titled, 5 Songs.  Available for pre-order now, the EP follows last year’s excellent sophomore album, Yolk In The Fur - which paired subtle synths with heartland rock.  It features two new songs and three remixes of Yolk tracks including, this one by fellow Tiny Engines label mates Shy Layers, who add effects to the vocals, set it to a skittering beat and make it more atmospheric.)

Monday, January 28, 2019

REISSUE: Green River - Rehab Doll and Dry As A Bone

Forget the muddy banks of the Wishkah, at the banks of Green River was where the grunge era was birthed.  The Seattle band Green River, active from 84-88, featured Mark Arm, later of Mudhoney, Stone Gossard and Jeff Ament of Pearl Jam and Bruce Fairweather and Alex Shumway.  They were the original pioneers of the gritty glam-rock and punk inspired alternative rock sound that became the “grunge” movement of the late 80’s and early 90’s; later ushered into the mainstream by Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden and Alice In Chains.
In celebration, Sub Pop recently reissued Green River’s long-out-of-print lone full-length, Rehab Doll, originally released in 1988 and their 1987 mini-LP, Dry As A Bone.  Each album is pressed onto colored vinyl and expanded to include previously unreleased material such as the demos from the Dry As A Bone sessions that were recorded onto Betamax and the Rehab Doll demos, recorded to 8-track at the legendary Jack Endino’s Reciprocal Recording. 
These new deluxe reissues provide a history lesson for new listeners and pays tribute to the progenitors of a scene.
Stream Rehab Doll (Deluxe Edition) here:

Friday, January 25, 2019

Stream It From The Mountain: High Praise – Forever Ever After

High Praise is the new instrumental post-rock project from Matt Traxler (Brandtson) and artist/illustrator Kevin Fagan (S.S.&C). Together the Cleveland-based duo creates a self-proclaimed “acid casual daydream pop” sound, incorporating elements of ambient dream-pop and shoegaze.  Their debut EP, Forever Ever After is out today on January 25 via Traxler's Steadfast Records.
Led by the first single, “Avalanched” with its smoldering synths and guitars that warble like the lines on an old VCR tape, High Praise creates the soundtrack to a walk through an abandoned shopping mall in outer space.
The debut EP is available on limited edition cassette and CD-r as well as digitally from the Steadfast Records website of Bandcamp page.  For more info:
Stream Forever Ever After here:

Monday, January 14, 2019

Stream It From The Mountain: Radar State – Strays

Out now on Wiretap Records is Strays, the highly-anticipated debut album from Radar State.  Radar State is the Kansas-based punk band comprised of Matt Pryor and Jim Suptic of the Get Up Kids, Josh Berwanger of The Anniversary and Adam Phillips of The Gadjits and The Architects.  The combination of their talents results in an energetic punk-fuelled power-pop sound that feels both nostalgic and modern.  One of the most intriguing aspects of the album is that songwriters Matt, Jim and Josh each take turns at the microphone and lend background melodies to the each other’s songs.
Standout tracks include the sarcastic and speedy Pryor-led “Self Hurt Guru”, the infectiously catchy power-pop of the Berwanger-led “Artificial Love”, the statement-making title track and the first single, “Anywhere” with its anthemic sing-along chorus.
The band members of Radar State bring an impressive punk pedigree, with roots in the late 90’s emo and punk scenes but they don’t consider the band a side project of even a “supergroup”.  They are just having fun and it shows on their impressive debut!
Also, be sure to check them out on tour later this month.
Stream Strays here:

Friday, January 04, 2019

Top 10 Albums of 2018

Better late than never!  Here are my Top 10 Albums of 2018 (in alphabetical order):

Damien JuradoThe Horizon Just Laughed
Walter MartinReminisce Bar & Grill
The 1984 DraftMakes Good Choices
The Rad TradsOn Tap
Wild PinkYolk In The Fur

Tuesday, January 01, 2019

Top 10 Reissues of 2018

As you may have noticed the last couple of years, I have focused more and more on reissues.  It has been fun reliving the music of my childhood and reviewing music that predates my blog.
Below is an alphabetical list of my 10 favorite reissue releases of 2018.
The BandMusic From The Big Pink (5oth Anniversary)
Brandtson Fallen Star Collection (20th Anniversary)
Miles Davis/John ColtraneThe Final Tour: The Bootleg Series Volume 6
Digable PlanetsReachin’ (A New Refutation Of Time And Space) (25th Anniversary)
Guns N’ RosesAppetite For Destruction (30th Anniversary)
The Helio SequenceKeep Your Eyes Ahead (10th Anniversary)
The Jimi Hendrix ExperienceElectric Ladyland (50th Anniversary)

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Top 5 EPs of 2018

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

3 Songs: On Repeat (Extended Edition)

High Praise – “Avalanched” (High Praise is the new instrumental post-rock project from Matt Traxler (Brandtson) and Kevin Fagan (S.S.&C). Together the Cleveland-based duo creates a self-proclaimed “acid casual daydream pop” sound, incorporating elements of dream-pop and shoegaze.  Their debut EP, Forever Ever After will be released early next year via Traxler’s Steadfast Records.  Listen to the first single below with its haunting, smoldering synth-driven atmospherics and reverb-drenched guitars for the perfect introduction.)

Richard Swift – “Sept20” (The late musician/producer’s final album was completed a month before his passing in July of this year.  Out now on Secretly Canadian, is Swift’s swan song, The Hex, on which he faces death – his own and that of his mother and sister – set to a background of 60’s psych-pop, doo-wop and the excellent, trademark production that became his calling card during his musical career.  The album showcases his many sides and is a lasting tribute.)

Foxwarren –“Lost In A Dream” (Foxwarren is the long-gestating project from  Andy Shauf (guitars/keys/vocals), Dallas Bryson (guitar/vocals), and brothers Darryl Kissick (bass) and Avery Kissick (drums & percussion); whose self-titled debut album was recently released via Anti.  As siblings and childhood friends, the culmination of their talents converges on a sound that combines elements of Elliot Smith’s baroque piano-led pop, Beatles-esque melodies and Wilco-like folk-rock experimentation for an album of the year-worthy debut.)

Cold War Kids – “Opium Tea (Nick Cave cover)” (Cold War Kids emerged from the music blog’s golden age in 2005 with an eclectic and percussion-heavy indie rock sound and celebrate their first ten years of existence with the release of the recently released career-spanning anthology, This Will All Blow Over In Time, out now via UMe.  The first disc of the 2-CD or 2-LP set features all of their radio singles from 2005 to 2015 including, “Hospital Beds”, “Hang Me Up To Dry” and “Miracle Mile”.  The second disc is comprised of rare and unreleased tracks including tracks from their long out of print debut EP Mulberry Street and their fan favorite cover of Nick Cave’s “Opium Tea”, heard here.)

Kleenex Girl Wonder – “ The History Of Ice” (NY singer-songwriter Graham Smith and his indie rock band proves prolific yet again with the release of their second album this year.  The recently released White Lacuna follows Vana Mundi, released earlier this year.  While known for his lengthy, verbose lyric sheets and whip-smart observations and wit; Smith blends elements of power-pop and melodies that evoke the British Invasion era alongside lyrical themes that discuss memories and relationships and the divisions between.  Check out the jangly bounce of the infectiously catchy, XTC-esque opening track and single here.)

Friday, December 14, 2018

3 Songs: Neil Young - 2018 Releases

Neil Young released three albums this year.  The first was the soundtrack to his film Paradox, featuring his backing band Promise of The Real and directed by his wife Daryl Hannah.  The second was Roxy – Tonight’s The Night Live, the archival release of the inaugural performance at the legendary Roxy Theatre in Los Angeles, recorded in 1973.  The third release was the archival release, Songs For Judy, that features stripped-down solo acoustic performances recorded in November of 1976. 
This special edition of my 3 Songs: On Repeat column features a track from each release.
“The Losing End” (A less twangy acoustic version taken from Songs For Judy; the original version appeared on the album, Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere.  The album also features extensive liner notes from Cameron Crowe.)

“Mellow My Mind (Live)” (Originally issued as a Record Store Day exclusive, Roxy – Tonight’s The Night Live was given a wide release and the album, featuring the backing band the Santa Monica Flyers,  captures a spirited performance of many songs that would become the album Tonight’s The Night.)

“Peace Trail” (Taken from the Paradox Soundtrack and performed by Neil Young + Promise Of The Real, this rambling, expansive track is classic Neil with a modern touch, thanks to Lukas Nelson and company.  This is their second release together in as many years.)

Monday, December 10, 2018

Chris Cornell – Career Retrospective

Seattle singer/songwriter Chris Cornell passed away last year but left behind an unparalleled musical legacy.   From the grunge-metal pioneers Soundgarden to Temple Of The Dog to his work with Rage Against The Machine members in Audioslave and his dynamic solo music; Cornell possessed a powerful voice and wrote darkly poetic lyrics that made him a voice of a generation.    
In tribute and in celebration of his iconic musical career, UMe recently released a self-titled career-spanning collection of Cornell’s music.  Released as a 2-LP or 1-CD 17-track album, a 64-track 4-CD limited edition box set and as a Super Deluxe box set including 7 LPs, 4 CDs, 1 DVD and a 66-page hardcover book.
The tracklist for the 4-CD set is highlighted by 11 previously unreleased tracks and is chronological, with the first disc tracing the early evolution of Soundgarden from proto-metal punks (“Flower”, Loud Love”) to the psychedelic off-kilter grunge (“Rusty Cage”, “Spoonman”) they helped pioneer.  Also included on the first disc are two tracks from Temple Of The Dog, the super group the presaged Pearl Jam.  The second disc is comprised of Cornell’s early solo work and opens with one of my all-time favorite Cornell-related tracks, “Sunshower”, originally released in 1997 on the Great Expectations soundtrack.  Also included are six Audioslave songs led by the powerful, “Cochise” as well as his yearning cover of Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” and “You Know My Name” from the Casino Royale soundtrack.   The third disc is a mix of modern-era Soundgarden songs and solo tracks including, live acoustic covers of Lennon’s “Imagine”, “Live To Rise” and the previously unreleased solo song, “When Bad Does Good”.  The fourth disc features live recordings from Soundgarden, Temple Of The Dog, Audioslave and solo, including, his rendition of Prince’s “Nothing Compares 2 U” recorded live at Sirius XM and his cover of Bob Marley’s “Redemption Song”, a devastating duet with his daughter Toni Cornell.
The included booklet features many photos and heartfelt and insightful essays in remembrance from former band members and friends such as Kim Thayil, Matt Cameron, Mike McCready, Tom Morello and Brendan O’Brien.  The box set’s artwork complete with die-cut Seattle tree-line graphics was designed by Pearl Jam and Temple Of The Dog bassist Jeff Ament.  
The Chris Cornell career retrospective box set is a lasting tribute to a one of a kind musician.
Watch the video for the previously unreleased solo track, “When Bad Does Good” here:

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

3 Songs: Primus – Vinyl Reissues

Primus has been my favorite band ever since my seventh-grade-self laid ears on Sailing The Sea Of Cheese in 1991.  Their quirky bass guitar-led hybridization of funk and thrash metal (and nearly everything in between) and Les Claypool’s humorous lyrics had me hooked from then on.    
So, I was completely ecstatic to see that Interscope/UMe are releasing the Primus discography on vinyl, each for the first time since their initial pressing.  Previously, 1991’s Sailing The Sea of Cheese was remastered and reissued on vinyl in 2013 so out now are newly-remastered vinyl reissues of Pork Soda (1993), Tales From the Punchbowl (1995), Brown Album (1997) and 1999’s Antipop.  Also, making their vinyl debut are their two excellent cover EP’s, Miscellaneous Debris (1992) and Rhinoplasty (1998).  Rounding out the collection is the 2003 reunion EP, Animals Should Not Try to Act Like People.     
The albums are available on 180-gram black vinyl as well as limited edition color versions for each release (as seen above) and include a download code on an album cover sticker, featuring the remastered audio in WAV format.  Additionally, Rhinoplasty is bolstered by an extra bonus track, the fan favorite cover of “The Devil Went Down To Georgia” and Tales From The Punchbowl is outfitted with new artwork.  
To celebrate, here are 3 of my favorite Primus songs.  Enjoy!
“Tommy The Cat” (From Sailing The Sea Of Cheese and featuring the voice of Tom Waits.)

“My Name Is Mud” (From Pork Soda; Claypool the storyteller at his best, set to a thumping rhythm.)

“Southbound Pachyderm” (From Tales From the Punchbowl; the Pink Floyd-like psych-rock live favorite.)

Monday, November 26, 2018

REISSUE: Jimi Hendrix – Electric Ladyland (50th Anniversary Reissue)

Fifty years ago, Jimi Hendrix released his third and final album, his magnum opus, Electric Ladyland.  Led by the hits, “Crosstown Traffic”, “Voodoo Child (Slight Return)” and his blazing rendition of Bob Dylan’s “All Along The Watchtower”; the expansive double album hit #1 on the Billboard charts and showcased all sides of Hendrix, from his blues-rock roots, to his more experimental and psychedelic side.    
In celebration, Experience Hendrix, L.L.C. along with Sony Music’s Legacy Recordings recently released an expanded deluxe 50th anniversary edition of Electric Ladyland.  Available as a 3CD/1 Blu-ray set or 6LP/1 Blu-ray set, the original album has been remastered by Bernie Grundman from the original analog tapes and has never sounded better.  Likewise, the Blu-ray includes a new 5.1 stereo surround mix from original engineer, Eddie Kramer. 
The deluxe edition is highlighted by a full disc of unreleased demos and alternate takes taken from the original sessions that show how the songs evolved.  Two of the standouts are demos of songs titled, “Angel” and “My Friend” which never made it onto the album. 
Also included is the previously unreleased live album, Jimi Hendrix Experience: Live At the Hollywood Bowl 9/14/68, performed and recorded just a few weeks before Electric Ladyland was released.  In addition to Ladyland tracks, the track list also includes energetic performances of “Fire”, “Hey Joe”, the “Star Spangled Banner” and a cover of Cream’s “Sunshine Of Your Love”.     
The package is housed in a beautiful 12x12 hardcover book loaded with tons of pictures and essays from Rolling Stone’s David Fricke and producer John McDermott, as well as reproductions of Jimi’s handwritten notes about the album and lyrics.  Also, the original photo for the album cover is used, as Jimi had always intended.  Co0mpleting the package is the Blu-ray, which in addition to the album in 5.1, includes the documentary film, At Last… The Beginning: The Making of Electric Ladyland which features an oral history of the making of the album.   
To order or for more info:
Watch an excerpt from the film featuring an interview with Eddie Kramer about the album and the 5.1 mix here:

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

REISSUE: Barenaked Ladies – Stunt (20th Anniversary Edition)

Twenty years ago, the Canadian pop-rock band Barenaked Ladies finally broke through in the United States with their smash, #1 hit, “One Week”, the lead single from their fourth album, Stunt.  With nonsensical, hip-hop inspired lyrics and a sly, satirical sense of humor, “One Week” along with the other standout singles, the dark yet party-starting anthem, “Alcohol”, the power-pop tune “It’s All Been Done” and the ballad-esque “Call And Answer” propelled the band into new heights; showcasing for American audiences what Canadian music fans had known for years. 
To celebrate the album’s 20th anniversary, Rhino/Warner Bros. recently reissued Stunt in a deluxe edition featuring an expanded CD/DVD set and on vinyl for the first time in a long time, in a 2-LP set.
The expanded edition of the album includes two album outtakes, "She's On Time" and "Long Way Back Home," as well as the fan favorite, "Get In Line," which originally appeared on the King Of The Hill Soundtrack.  Additionally, the included DVD features their 1999 documentary titled, Barenaked In America, a film directed by actor and longtime BNL fan, Jason Preistly, that chronicled the band’s 1998-1999 American tour.  The film captures the band’s improvisational live show and showcases their humor in backstage footage.  It also features cameos from John Stewart, Conan O’Brien and Jeff Goldblum along with an oral history of the band. 
Relive the “One Week” video in all of it's late-90's glory here:  

Friday, November 16, 2018

3 Songs: On Repeat

Ryley Walker – “Busted Stuff” (The Chicago-based musician is following up his stellar new album, Deafman Glance, released earlier this year, with a track-by-track cover of Dave Matthews Band’s unreleased, fan-favorite album, The Lillywhite Sessions.  Out today on Dead Oceans – carrying the same title - is Walker’s homage to the music of his youth with a respectful take on the famously file-shared album that eventually was re-recorded for the 2002 release, Busted Stuff.  Walker turns DMB’s songs into noisy, punk-fueled rock-outs and free-jazz freakouts but keeps the well-known melodies intact.  Fans of both bands should artists should be pleased.)   

P.O.D. – “Rockin’ With The Best” (The San Diego band returns today with their tenth album, Circles, and debut for their new label home, Mascot Records.  Inspired by recent touring, the new album is instantly one of the best releases in their career.  With an optimistic message, the band still blends together punk, metal, rap and reggae into a pop-forward mix that should appeal to longtime fans and new fans alike.  Check out the infectiously fun and simple yet effective lead-off track and single here, with its shout-along refrain.)   

Lennon Stella – “La Di Da” (After finding fame singing songs in viral videos with her little sister on YouTube and starring on the ABC drama Nashville, the emerging pop star, Lennon Stella has just released her first solo music in the form of her debut EP, out now on RECORDS/Columbia Records.  Titled, Love, Me the 5-song EP features production from Greg Kurstin and a hip-hop inspired pop sound, a pivot from her country and folk roots.  Check out the melancholic yet fun track, which features the close-knit harmonies from her sister, Maisy, here.)      

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

REISSUE: The Beatles – The Beatles (White Album) - 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition

1968 was a landmark year for music.  Just like the grunge and alternative rock boom of 1991 headed by Nirvana, Soundgarden and Pearl Jam, 1968 saw the release of timeless albums such, The Big Pink by The Band, Jimi Hendrix’s Electric Ladyland, Astral Weeks by Van Morrison and many others, including the self-titled double album from The Beatles, known as the “White Album”.
The White Album was John, Paul, George and Ringo’s ninth album and first release issued on their newly-minted record label, Apple Records.  With complete creative control, it was a sprawling 30-song collection that showcased all sides of the band and their stellar songwriting.  The album eclectically flows from the full, ornamental arrangements of “Dear Prudence” to the surf-rock splendor of “Back in The U.S.S.R.” and the psychedelic strangeness of “Wild Honey Pie” to the simplicity of “Blackbird” and “Julia”; it’s no wonder the album has become their most iconic and beloved releases of their illustrious career.
In celebration of its 50th anniversary, Apple Corps Ltd./Capitol/UMe have just released The Beatles (White Album) in a variety of expanded packages highlighted by a 7-disc Super Deluxe set that has 107 total tracks including 50 mostly previously unreleased alternate takes and session recordings.  Also included, for the first time ever, are the 27 previously unreleased and much sought after Esher Demos, recorded in May of 1968 at George’s house in Esher on a 4-track reel-to-reel tape deck.
Amazingly, this is the first time the original album has been remixed and remastered and it sounds amazing, especially with the inclusion of the Esher Demos which is like listening to the Beatles in the raw.
Additionally, the album is available digitally, in a 2-LP set and as a 3-CD or limited edition 180-gram 4-LP vinyl box set that features the 2018 stereo album mix along with the Esher Demos.
For more info and to order:
Listen to the joyous Esher Demo version of “Back In The U.S.S.R.” complete with Paul’s hummed guitar solo here:

Monday, November 12, 2018

Stream It From The Mountian: Dylan Mondegreen - A Place In The Sun

Dylan Mondegreen - Norway-based indie folk-pop singer-songwriter Borge Sildnes - just released his fifth album, A Place In The Sun.  Issued by Sildnes himself in conjunction with Japan's Fast Cut Records, Mondegreen continues to perfect his soft rock/indie-pop formula which is highlighted by laid back 60's pop melodies and lush, carefully crafted arrangements that compare to Belle And Sebastian and Jens Lekman.

The excellent new album dives into matter both personal (odes to his children) and political (the utopia-dreaming title track) without diverting from his trademark hushed delivery.  On the standout track, Sildnes reflects back the "Golden Days" of his life and his recording career, though he is certainly in his prime right now.  Another standout, "In You" opens with spacey synths before a gentle jangle of guitars and a funky clavinet leads the way before saccharine strings sway the sweetly sentimental  track.

Stream A Place In The Sun here: 

Friday, November 09, 2018

3 Songs: On Repeat (Extended Edition)

Morning Again – “Reinventor” (After twenty years, the metalcore originators return with Survival Instinct, an aptly-tiled new EP, out today on Revelation Records.  Vocalist Kevin Byers, bassist Gerardo Villarroel and guitarists Stephen Looker and John Wylie along with new drummer Joshua Williams reclaim their crown with another killer set of death metal-infused metallic hardcore.  Fellow hardcore lifer, Rick Rodney of Strife lends his vocals and New Found Glory’s Chad Gilbert guests as well.  Watch for the band to appear on festival bills next year!)  

J. Mascis – “See You At the Movies” (The Dinosaur Jr. frontman returns today with Elastic Days, his fourth solo album and first in four years.  Released via Sub Pop, the new album is driven by acoustic guitars and some of his most memorable alt-folk melodies and of course, his signature electric guitar solos steal the spotlight.  J plays everything on the album save for keyboards and some guest vocals from Pall Jenkins of Black Heart Procession and fellow Sub Pop signee, Zoë Randell of Luluc.)    

Coheed And Cambria – “The Gutter” (After taking a break from the Armory Wars saga with their last album, Coheed returned recently with their ninth album, Unheavenly Creatures, via their new label, Roadrunner Records.  With the story in place and their prog-rock tendencies on full display, Claudio and crew continue to blend pop-punk, metal and prog into something otherworldly, especially on the heavy, Queen-esque standout track heard here.)

twenty-one pilots – “Smithereens” (The Columbus duo recently released their highly-anticipated fifth album, Trench, via Fueled By Ramen.  Under pop pressure with the mainstream on high beam, Tyler and Josh have created their most cohesive yet experimental album yet with elements of hip-hop and reggae rhymes and rhythms and more positive messages.  Where the group shines, is on stage so be sure to catch their electric live show when you get the chance!)  

Thursday, November 08, 2018

REISSUE: Anthrax – State Of Euphoria (30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition)

In the metal world and beyond, it is well known that Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth and Anthrax are “The Big Four” of thrash metal.  Each band had an enormous influence in the 80’s and 90’s on the heavy metal music scene.  It is my opinion that the fourth album, State of Euphoria by Anthrax is what solidified their spot on the Mt Rushmore of Metal.       
The album was released in September of 1988 by the New York City band featuring, guitarists Scott Ian and Dan Spitz, drummer Charlie Benante, bassist Frank Bello and vocalist Joey Belladonna.  Though initial critical reception of the album was not as hot as for their previous releases, the album became a cult classic and produced three of their most well-loved hits; the anthemic “Be All, End All”, the fan-favorite “Finale” and their cover of the French rock band Trust’s “Antisocial”.  Another album standout is “Who Cares Wins”, a politically-charged discussion about homelessness that is just as true today as it was then.           
In celebration of its 30th anniversary, Island Records/UMe recently released an expanded 2CD or 2LP edition of State Of Euphoria.  Disc one features the original album fully remastered as well as five bonus tracks including, a French version of “Antisocial” and a live version that was recorded at the legendary Hammersmith Odeon.  The second disc of rarities traces the evolution – from rehearsal to recording - of most of the songs on the album and was provided by Charlie Benante from his personal vaults.
Additionally, the booklet features tons of great photos from the era and liner notes penned by British journalist Alexander Milas, former editor-in-chief of 80’s metal mag Metal Hammer.  As a special added bonus for fans, also included in the booklet are several responses from fans from when Benante invited Anthrax fans on social media to tell him what State of Euphoria had meant to them.  The album is available digitally, on 2CD and as a 2-LP set on standard black vinyl and limited edition red and yellow vinyl.
Watch the video for “Who Cares Wins” here: 

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

Sepultura – Above The Remains Official Bootleg: Live In Germany ‘89

Last year Roadrunner/Rhino Records reissued the first six albums by highly-influential Brazilian metal band, Sepultura - Morbid Visions (1986), Schizophrenia (1987), Beneath The Remains (1989), Arise (1991), Chaos A.D. (1993), and Roots (1996) – on colored vinyl in a box set.  Earlier this year, they reissued expanded newly-remastered 2CD or 2LP versions of Chaos A.D. and Roots, complete with bonus tracks, b-sides and live recordings.    
Now to complete the collection - as part of their annual ROCKTOBER collection of releases - Rhino has recently issued Above The Remains; an Official Bootleg recorded Live in Germany during their 1989 tour in support of Beneath The Remains.  On translucent red 140g vinyl, the previously-unreleased live recording features 8 tracks including, blistering takes on fan favorites such as “Inner Self”, “Lobotomy” and “Troops of Doom”.  Also, included is their metallic cover of Dead Kennedy’s punk classic, “Holiday In Cambodia”, as well as all of Max’s stage banter.  The recordings were captured directly to tape at the soundboard and provided by Monte Conner and Borivoj Krgin, then mastered and cut to vinyl.   
You can find the Above The Remains Official Bootleg: Live In Germany LP in your local retailer.  For more info please visit,
Watch the video for “Inner Self” from Beneath The Remains here:

Monday, November 05, 2018

REISSUE: The Helio Sequence - Keep Your Eyes Ahead (Deluxe Edition)

Portland indie-rock duo, The Helio Sequence - consisting of Brandon Summers and Benjamin Weikel – released their fourth album, Keep Your Eyes Ahead, ten years ago on Sub Pop.  To celebrate its ten year anniversary, they have released an expanded deluxe edition of the album featuring remastered audio and in addition, a full album’s worth of demos, alternate takes and outtakes.  It is available on Loser Edition blue vinyl, CD and digital.         
On Keep Your Eyes Ahead, the duo effortlessly combined atmospheric dream-pop and organic acoustic Dylan-esque folk-pop into their best and most compactly cohesive set of songs for their best album yet.  Led by Summer’s twinkling guitars and Weikel’s inventive percussion, the lead single and opening track, “Lately” was the perfect introduction to the album which includes the standout tracks like the infectiously bouncy “Can’t Say No” and the gauzy, finger-picked ballad, “Shed Your Love”.  Standouts among the eleven newly-included tracks include the bluesy, raucous outtake, “Heart Disease” and the three different versions of the stomping, Gospel-infused closing track, “No Regrets”; one acoustic, the second with keyboards and the third, electrified.        
Stream Keep Your Eyes Ahead (Deluxe Edition) here:

Friday, November 02, 2018

3 Songs: On Repeat (feat. Bob Dylan and two songs from Those Far Out Arrows)

Those Far Out Arrows – “American Trap” (The Nebraska-based band creates a gritty, punk-inspired brand of Heartland rock on their sophomore album, Part Time Lizards, out today on High Dive Records.  With three vocalists, the infectious melodies shine like a beacon through all of the fuzz, especially on the laid back, jangly standout single heard here.)

Those Far Out Arrows – “Be Alright” (Part Time Lizards is available digitally, on CD, cassette and on limited edition green splatter or classic black vinyl. Check out the slightly psychedelic and twangy single here with its ramshackle rhythm and fuzzed-out solo that recalls both Neil Young’s Crazy Horse days and Some Girls-era Rolling Stones.)

Bob Dylan – “You’re A Big Girl Now (Take 2)” (Out today on Columbia/Legacy Recordings, is volume 14 of Bob Dylan’s ongoing Bootleg Series, that highlights one of his most beloved albums, Blood On The Tracks.  The 1CD and 2LP configurations of More Blood, More Tracks feature ten of the alternate takes - one for each of the ten songs on the original album - recorded during the NY sessions, as well as a previously unreleased version of “Up to Me.”  Additionally, the comprehensive limited edition deluxe 6CD set – featuring over 85 songs - compiles all six of the mythic New York and both Minneapolis sessions from 1974 and features a hardcover book with tons of photos and liner notes from Jeff Slate.  Listen below, to Take 2 of “You’re A Big Girl Now, recorded solo at A & R Studios in New York on 9/16/74.)!news180920

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

3 Songs: On Repeat (Extended Relapse Records Catchup)

Since Halloween is today, here is an extended edition of my 3 Songs: On Repeat feature consisting of some of Relapse Records best new recent releases.  Have a HEAVY Halloween!

Windhand – “Grey Garden” (The Richmond, VA-based band’s fourth album, Eternal Return was released on Relapse Records earlier this month.  The album - once again produced by the legendary Jack Endino (Nirvana, Soundgarden) - continues to improve upon their triumphant blend of psych-rock and fuzzed-out alt. rock, highlighted by frontwoman Dorthia Cottrell’s powerful yet poppy vocals which are set to stomping stoner rock rhythms and enormous sludge-encrusted riffs.)

Obscura – “Diluvium” (The German progressive death metal virtuosos released their excellent new album, Diluvium, via Relapse Records back in July.  The album - which completes a story arc that stretched over four albums - continues to showcase their genre-defiant brand of technical metal which is augmented by jazz-informed polyrhythms and liquid fretless bass lines along with cosmic Cynic-like vocal effects and the occasional thrash riff and black metal passage.  Since 2002, rare few have done it better than Obscura!)

Pig Destroyer – “The Torture Fields” (After a six year wait, the Virginia extreme metal purveyors returned recently with their sixth album, Head Cage, via Relapse Records.  For their first album since adding a bassist in John Jarvis, the band, led by the dystopic lyrical view of JR Hayes, creates a caustic sound found at the intersection of noise-addled industrial-assisted grindcore and crusty propulsive punk.  Guest vocals provided by Agoraphobic Nosebleed's Richard Johnson and Kat Katz and Dylan Walker of Full Of Hell.)    

Outer Heaven – “Bloodspire” (The Pennsylvania death metal quintet made their Relapse Records debut with their highly-anticipated debut album, Realms Of Eternal Decay, a couple of weeks ago.   By splitting the difference between the growling grindcore of Cannibal Corpse and the old school-inspired brand of death metal of their label mates, Gatecreeper; their sound is laced with vividly primal lyrics and music that matches in intensity, for a very promising debut.)