Maylene and the Sons of Disaster – II

Maylene and the Sons of Disaster – II / 2007 Ferret / 11 Tracks / http://www.mayleneandthesonsofdisaster.us / http://www.ferretstyle.com /

Maylene and the Sons of Disaster is a band that blends together Corrosion of Conformity (“Deliverance”-era) with Marilyn Manson, and puts it in a way that listeners in the current period can love. “Memories of the Grove” is the first track on “II”, and it shows the band as being very comfortable in their surroundings. Even though the band is one of the harder acts out there, they have one of the best production values. Continue reading “Maylene and the Sons of Disaster – II”

The Academy Is… Tours

THE ACADEMY IS… ANNOUNCES DATES FOR

“SLEEPING WITH GIANTS” FALL HEADLINE TOUR;

Decaydance/Fueled By Ramen recording group The Academy Is… has unveiled details of their eagerly anticipated fall tour. The coast-to-coast headline trek dubbed the “Sleeping With Giants” Tour will take off September 5th in Milwaukee, with dates running non-stop through a Chicago hometown finale on November 24th (full itinerary below).  The pre-sale will begin thru the bands fan club via Myspace (www.myspace.com/theacademyis) on July 10th with the general on sale date following on July 13th.  Joining The Academy Is… on the trip will be special guests The Rocket Summer, Sherwood, and the band’s longtime friends, Armor For Sleep. Continue reading “The Academy Is… Tours”

Scott Cossu Trio – Islands

Scott Cossu Trio – Islands / 2007 MVD / 60 Minutes / http://www.mvdb2b.com /

Scott Cossu has been around in the jazz scene for longer than I have been on this earth. Ey started in 1981, I entered this world in 1983. That’s pretty impressive; this footage is as well. It is impressive not only for the cuts that are present, but rather because it is so sharp and well-recorded. Even now it is hard to get good footage, and Cossu was able to get it all the way back in 1986. This DVD does not have much on it besides the concert, only presenting interested viewers with a biography and a discography of Cossu. Regardless, this footage is a gem and worth the price itself. Continue reading “Scott Cossu Trio – Islands”

Kiss The Gunner – Why Are We So Dead?

Kiss The Gunner – Why Are We So Dead? / 2007 Harvest Earth / 9 Tracks / http://www.myspace.com/kissthegunner / http://www.harvestearth.com /

While Kiss The Gunner does a very hard-hitting brand of hardcore that verges on metal a great deal of the time, “Why Are We So Dead?” does not sound like the same thing that a number of artists in a similar genre try to pander their listeners. There is more than a fair share of a Stabbing Westward meets emo sound that comes forth quite a few times on “Why Are We So Dead?” For example, the track “That’s Some Good Yellin’” brings together these two disparate styles without making the uniting seams that visible. The band creates a wall of sound that will blow listeners away for the entirety of the disc’s near-thirty minute runtime. Continue reading “Kiss The Gunner – Why Are We So Dead?”

Jerry Lee Lewis – Last Man Standing

Jerry Lee Lewis – Last Man Standing / 2006 Shangri-La / 21 Tracks / http://www.jerryleelewis.com /

Jerry Lee Lewis is an individual whose time had came and left by the time that I started listening to music in the middle nineties. This does not mean that ey does not have anything left in the gas tank, but that I had never heard anything more than a few singles from Lewis in my musical existence. This album has the same general concept as the “American” series of albums that Johnny Cash released before ey died. This means that twenty-one tracks are played by Lewis (with guest musicians), ranging from those made famous by B.B. King to Toby Keith to Don Henley and Kid Rock.

The tracks represent some famous tracks “Rock and Roll” as well as songs that are probably pet projects of Lewis eirself (“Honky Tonk Woman”). The most interesting thing about “Last Man Standing” is that Lewis is able to bring these disparate tracks together into some semblance of cohesion. This means that, if individuals did not know that Neil Young was on “You Don’t Have To Go”, that they would think that the song is a solid contribution to the sound that is “Last Man Standing”. Even though the style of rock that Lewis is capable of and shows on this CD is definitely an older style of the genre, there is still a current and vital sound to eir contributions on this album. Despite creeping up in the years, Lewis has not lost a step.

Of particular note during this album have to be tracks like “Before the Night is Over” and “Pink Cadillac”. The sheer amount of tracks on this CD make this even more of a value; Lewis knows how to ensure that this disc will be flying off of the shelves, even if ey has not had an independent hit for quite a few years.  Lewis succeeds in much the same way as Cash did “American”. Lewis has so much charisma and ability that ey is able to keep the nuance of the accompanying artists on the tracks while still coming forth with eir own style and sound.  Lewis could conceivably release these type of albums every few years and end eir career on a strong note. If this sounds like a strong album, pick this up and give it a good few spins.  The duet album is something that is increasing in popularity, and for good reason; the joining in by talented musicians is bound to end well.

Top Tracks: Evening Gown, Twilight

Rating: 6.4/10

Andromeda – Playing Off The Board

Andromeda – Playing Off The Board / 2007 MVD / 205 Minutes / http://www.musicvideodistributors.com /

This Swedish progressive metal act has been around a relatively short time, providing their own take on the prog scene since 1999. The band has been able to cut four albums in that time, and this DVD shows the band touring in support of their last album – 2006’s Chimara. Instead of merely focusing on the tracks from their latest album, Andromeda pick out a selection of tracks from both the past and present, seemingly representing all albums equally well. Out of all of the progressive metal DVDs that have been released in the last few months, Andromeda’s “Playing Off The Board” has to be the one that is most jam-packed with valuable extras.

Taken all together, this DVD ‘s features will keep fans interested for almost three and a half hours. This includes the 12 tracks played during the live show, along with two different interviews, three different mini-documentaries, and older live videos for three of their prior hits (“Arch Angel”, “Extension of the Wish”, and “Crescendo of Thoughts”. Andromeda’s music rips through listener’s ears, while the band comes through with a personality that is sadly lacking in many metal-related acts. Fans both old and new alike will like the progressions each member contribute to what are very intricate and difficult arrangements. This DVD acts more as a capstone for the band, as it is the culmination of all the band had created and worked on for the last seven years (to that point).

By including older tracks at this concert, the members of Andromeda weave together a story about their existence as a band. The added features on this DVD further explicate the story and given individuals the full bit of information about the band. This is an essential purchase for any fan of Andromeda, and will undoubtedly keep individuals sated until 2008 or 2009, whenever it is that Andromeda is able to release their follow-up to “Chimara”. I may not have been familiar with the act before this DVD came across my doorstep, but after focusing in on the band for the entirety of the 205 minute runtime, I feel like I know a lot about this Swedish powerhouse. Andromeda is an act that speaks to the current, even when one considers that they would have succeeded just as well in 1987 as they do in 2007. This timelessness is just one of the many things that makes this band so compelling.

Top Tracks: Eclipse, Two Is One

Rating: 7.0/10

Suburban Pastoral

Suburban Pastoral / $? / 1:00 / 44M / http://www.voicesnewjersey.blogspot.net /

Suburban Pastoral is a collection of poems by Hank Kalet, who spends most of eir time editing newspapers in the New Jersey area, along with writing columns for The Progressive Populist. This is a chapbook containing Kalet’s works over the last few years. Voices of Reason, the imprint under which Kalet released this chapbook, “is an arts collective that seeks to raise money for organizations in central New Jersey working to alleviate hunger and aid the homeless”. So, with a good cause in mind, this chapbook was released. The poetry is strong, with Kalet attempting different things with seemingly every one of the twenty-plus poems here. Continue reading “Suburban Pastoral”