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Reviews in chronological order of publishing top to bottom

The Famous - Come Home To Me
Indie/Alternative Country/Americana
Posted 1/4/11 3:10PM EST
Country music isn't exactly this reviewer's personal taste in music, but I have to admit The Famous is a good start to changing that. This isn't "crying in my beer" country or Garth Brooks style country pop, there is a heavy rock side to the sound offered by The Famous; while remaining decidedly country. Instrumentation is tight with some very tasty grooves. Vocals are a great blend of country and rock, not unlike Lynryd Skynyrd... but of a harder rock vein.
Pacing keeps itself catchy and gets your foot tapping along even on slower numbers like "Every Day". Lyrically many songs do follow the usual country fair of lost love, lovers walking out on relationships, getting over said lovers, and finding happiness again. But The Famous make these themes their own and this reviewer always applauds that.
Track list:
"Off My Mind"
"Moving On"
"Without You"
"Ain't Much Wrong"
"Come Home to Me"
"Mano Negra"
"Every Day"
"Cold Tonight"
"Under the Stars"
Choice cuts are "Moving On", "Ain't Much Wrong", "Every Day", and the instrumental "Under the Stars".
The Famous gets a 3.5 out of 5 for Come Home To Me.
The Famous are Laurence Scott (vocals, acoustic guitar, percussion), Victor Barclay (electric guitar, acoustic guitar, piano, backing vocals, percussion), Chris Fruhauf (drums, percussion), and G.D. Hensley (electric bass, upright bass).
Come Home To Me also features guest musicians Joe Goldmark (pedal steel on "Moving On", "Come Home to Me", "Every Day", and "Under the Stars"), Charlie Wilson (trombone on "Come Home to Me"), and Bart Bishoff (guitar solo on "Cold Tonight" and vibraslap on "Happy").
For more from The Famous check out www.thefamous.net.
- Michael Meade

The Jett Blackk Heart Attack - Needle to the Groove
Posted 1/16/11 5:15PM EST

Needle to the Groove is full of just that... groove. The Jett Blackk Heart Attack has a heavy blues sound infused with hard garage rock and fuzz laden grooves that pound and beg you to jam along with them. An awesome spin on blues rock, on a few songs there's even an underlying country style twang to the instrumentation; jazz as well showing the wide range of influence TJBHA let slip into their compositions.
Pacing is pumped up for anything and fits everything... jamming out while driving, dancing someone into the sheets with you, psyching yourself up for whatever you want to be pumped for; even deep blues number "Without Your Man". Yeah TJBHA has you covered.

Track list:
Side A:
"Needle to the Groove"
"Blackmail for Beginners"
"Hit and Run"
"Hell or High Water"
"All You Want"
"6am Time Again"

Side B:
"Black Orphans"
"Without Your Man"
"Another Pretty Face"
"Heads or Tales"
"Little Miss Untrue"
"Brokendown City"

Choice cuts are the title track, "Blackmail for Beginners", "All You Want", "Without Your Man", and "Brokedown City".
The Jett Blackk Heart Attack get a 4.5 out 5 for Needle to the Groove!
TJBHA is Dave Case (vocals), Jon Cox (guitars), Joe Rubino (bass), and Dave Musser (drums). For more of The Jett Blackk Heart Attack check out the TLR! interview with them and www.thejbha.com.
- Michael Meade

Automatic Loveletter - truth or dare
Alternative/Rock/Pop Punk
Sony BMG
Posted 1/18/11 10:10PM EST

Automatic Loveletter strikes you as pop at a casual listen, but the quartet fronted by Juliet Simms is much deeper than run of the mill pop music. Influences are clearly varied but not dominating in their sound's identity, Automatic Loveletter is clearly Automatic Loveletter. Lyrically truth or dare keeps a lot of pop sensibility in it's subject matter, but that isn't a bad thing as Automatic Loveletter turns away from the preconceived formula used for pop lyrics and takes an alternative rock style to love, lost love, growing and growing up, and tells these old stories with more truth and actual emotion behind it than most pop is capable of.
Instrumentation is tight and is where you hear diverse stylistic influence from pop to emo to punk to alt rock, even some electric. But staying far away from club dance pop... thankfully. Now that I've made it sound like Automatic Loveletter is all pop and no rock, let me correct that notion. There's plenty of rock to be had, yes many of the songs are about love they are by no means slow sappy pop/rock ballads; much more than slow swaying or bad junior high slow dancing can be done with truth or dare! Some of the songs featured on the album truly do make the listener want to get up and dance away the the whole album.
Track list:
"Heart Song"
"Don't Let Me Down"
"Fade Away"
"Story of My Life"
"Day That Saved Us"
"To Die For"
"Let It Ride"
"Eyes On You"
"My Goodbye"
"Back To Life"
Choice cuts are "Heart Song", "Story of My Life", "Day That Saved Us", "Eyes On You", and "My Goodbye". 
Automatic Loveletter gets a solid 4 out of 5 for truth or dare.
Automatic Loveletter is Juliet Simms (vocals, guitar), Tommy Simms (lead guitar), Ryan Metcalf (drums), and Clint Fowler (bass). For more Automatic Loveletter check out www.automaticloveletter.com.
- Michael Meade

Less Than Jake - TV/EP
Sleep It Off
Posted 1/25/11 12:00AM EST

An album of TV cover songs... sure it's been done but not by Less Than Jake! 16 channels and there's plenty on, the Gainesville Rock City rockers take classic and contemporary TV theme songs (and some commercial jingles) and give them a makeover with their own brand of ska and punk rock. Some selections are surprising while others make you want to laugh out loud at the remake.
The only real downside to TV/EP is it's length, it's a great eleven and a half minutes that really make you smile just for hell of it but you want more! Oh well, just hit repeat all on your MP3 and CD players and keep rocking with TV memories from years ago to today.
Track list:
"Channel 1" ("Leave It All To Me" - theme to iCarly)
"Channel 2" (Hungry Hungry Hippos jingle)
"Channel 3" (theme to Animaniacs)
"Channel 4" (McDonald's jingle for the Big Mac)
"Channel 5" (theme to Diff'rent Strokes)
"Channel 6" ("Boss of Me" - theme to Malcolm in The Middle)
"Channel 7" (General Mills' Pacman cereal jingle)
"Channel 8" ("Scooby Doo Where Are You?")
"Channel 9" (Kit Kat candy bar jingle)
"Channel 10" (theme to Spongebob Squarepants)
"Channel 11" ("In The Street" - theme to That 70s Show)
"Channel 12" (Oscar Meyer Weiner jingle)
"Channel 13" ("Love and Marriage" - a Frank Sinatra hit and theme to Married with Children)
"Channel 14" (Toy R Us jingle)
"Channel 15" ("Making Our Dreams Come True" - theme to Laverne & Shirley)
"Channel 16" (Freecreditscore.com pirate themed restaurant jingle)
Choice cuts are "Channel 3", "Channel 6", "Channel 8", "Channel 11", and "Channel 15".
Less Than Jake gets a 4.5 out of 5 for TV/EP.
Less Than Jake is Chris Demakes (guitar, lead vocals), Roger Manganelli (bass, leading vocals, second guitar), Vinnie Fiorello (drums), Buddy "Goldfinger" Schaub (trombone, bass), and Peter "JR" Wasilewski (saxophone, backing vocals). For more Less Than Jake check out www.lessthanjake.com.
- Michael Meade

Bob Marely & The Wailers - Live Forever - The Stanley Theater Pittsburgh PA September 23 1980
Universal Music Group
Posted 2/1/11 8:00PM EST
What can be said about Bob Marley's last recorded concert before he passed from this world? Is there any praise that isn't redundant? The short answer is no, but this reviewer will try not to be over the top. Universal has remastered and re-released the Live Forever - The Stanley Theater Pittsburgh PA September 23 1980 two disc set today February 1, 2011. Truly a must have for anyone that appreciates music regardless of favorite genre, this concert was Marley and The Wailers in one of their finest performances. Listening to Bob engage the crowd between songs and the force and passion in his vocals belay how close to death he was. The Wailers also gave some of their best that night almost 31 years ago.
Once again this is an album that should be in every music collection regardless of musical preference, cultural background, political affilation, or spiritual path. Though based in their personal Rastafarian path, Bob Marley and The Wailers sang of universal experiences; of love, of struggle, of the want of equality, of spirituality. The semantics may differ in all of the above given the multitude of paths there are to walk in life, but in the end it all comes down to One Love.
Track list:
Disc 1:
"Natural Mystic"
"Positive Vibration"
"Burnin' and Lootin'"
"Them Belly Full"
"The Heathen"
"Running Away"
"Crazy Baldhead"
"War-No More Trouble"
"Zion Train"
"No Woman No Cry"
Disc 2:
"Redemption Song"
"Coming In From The Cold"
"Could You Be Loved"
"Is This Love"
"Get Up Stand Up"
Choice cuts couldn't even be considered here, or scoring for that matter. This concert album is beyond both.
Visit www.bobmarley.com for more on Bob Marley and The Wailers as well as ordering your copy of Live Forever - The Stanley Theater September 23 1980.
- Michael Meade

Playing Dead - In Your Head
Saint Elsewhere Records
Posted 2/4/11 6:35PM EST
Mixing alternative themes with some punk structuring and indie sensibility (love that term, even though nobody seems to be able to define it) is a win for Playing Dead. Also in the alt sound is some definite 90s alternative influence, which some reviewers might not like but this one does. These influences don't make Playing Dead's identity but rather enhance their sound's originality. The band is lyrically witty, for more than the sake of being witty, see "Apology Is The New Foreplay". Don't write it off as another indie love/lust song, it shows the flow of the "modern" relationship better than much of what's on mainstream radio.
Regardless of the subject the band is singing about their songs are full of tasty hooks and head bobbing beats backed by seriously good melodies that move the ten tracks along a little too quickly. In Your Head is an album that makes the "repeat all" option on stereos truly appreciated.
Track list:
"Apology Is The New Foreplay"
"Architect of Hell"
"Dead and Gone"
"Don't Wake Up"
"House of Cards"
"Bad Things"
"On A Thursday"
"If You Die"
"Days of the Week"
Choice cuts are "Apology Is The New Foreplay", "Architect of Hell", "House of Cards", and "On A Thursday".

Playing Dead gets a solid 5 out of 5 for In Your Head.
Playing Dead is Sam Hoyos (vocals, guitar), Dave Casale (bass), Stevie D (drums, backing vocals, cheerleader), and Tom Dileo (guitar, vocals). For more Playing Dead check out www.playingdead.bandcamp.com.
- Michael Meade

Walter Prez and The Awesome - Violence, Sex, and Garbage
Rabbit Fever
Posted 2/23/11 5:55PM EST
Walter Prez and The Awesome return again with a personal look at growing up and living in the grit of 1980s Scranton Pennsylvania, a city, at the time, trapped between the sensibilities of it's rural surroundings and the drug, sex, and alcohol scenes of cities like Philadelphia and New York. The songs strike cords in everyone no matter where they live, no matter how they grew up; the frustrations with one's family, neighborhood, friends, addiction, sex partners (or lack thereof), even just wanting to be left alone to masturbate in peace all apply to any one that's ever been a teenager or twenty something... any age bracket really.
Musically speaking, Violence, Sex, and Garbage is some of the best Prez and The Awesome have offered up to date! Instrumentation is strong, vocals come from the core of the songwriter (Walter himself) and takes listeners back to adolescent adventures and misadventures. Remembrances of the times good and bad, victories and failures, that make up the essence of our lives. While not for the easily offended or anyone that actually loves the city of Scranton, Violence, Sex, and Garbage is definitely an album to listened to and appreciated for it's honesty if nothing else.

"1981 Fun"
"Violence, Sex, and Garbage"
"Lackawanna Avenue"
"Pub Charles"
"Adult Books"
"Twenty Dollar Whore"
"I'm An Alcoholic"
"I'm A Fuck-Up"
"Ridin' Around with J.R."
"The Late Show"
"Bar Fight"
"Hustlin' in Scranton"
"Rock N Roll Burnout"
"Shake It Up Saturday Nite"
Bonus Tracks:
"Trapped In The Witch House"
"NYC Tonite"
"Candi Vee"
Choice cuts are "Lackawanna Avenue", "Ridin' Around With J.R.", "The Late Show", "Hustlin' in Scranton", and "Trapped in The Witch House".
Walter Prez and The Awesome get a 3.5 out of 5 for Violence, Sex, and Garbage.
Walter Prez and The Awesome are Walter Prez (lead vocals, lead guitar), Anthony Shiny Montini (drums, percussion, female impersonations), Anthony Turco (lead guitar, bass, keyboards), Candi Vee (bass, backing vocals), Maryann D'Amico (backing vocals), Ed Malaker (acoustic guitar), Frank Baransky (bass), Carl Canedy (drums on "1981 Fun", "Trapped In The Witch House", "NYC Tonite"). For more from Walter Prez and The Awesome check out www.myspace.com/walterprez.

- Michael Meade

Blackwater James - Vol. 1 EP
Blues/Rock/Southern Rock
Blacklist Agency Group
Posted 3/14/11 10:00PM EST
Blackwater James is back with more of their blues and southern rock infused hard rock on their new EP Vol. 1, it may be half the length of their self titled full album but this band doesn't lose any of their badass quotient! Blackwater James has taken their hook and hard rock melody laden style and refined it to pure rock n roll beauty, from instrumentation to vocals to lyrics to pacing and composition the ante has definitely been upped.
Blackwater James has made sure that they keep the party in their sound, regardless of the lyrical content each of the six songs on Vol. 1 is designed to rock out with! Whether it's on the radio, at a raging party, or just to rock out on your own Blackwater James provides from start to end. Definitely a perfect follow up to their self titled album, perhaps even surpassing it.
Track list:
"Blackheart" (Radio Single)
"Burn This City Down"
"Closer To Free"
"Come On"
"Feel Your Way"
"Set It Off"
Choice cuts are "Blackheart", "Burn This City Down", and "Set It Off".
Blackwater James gets a 4.5 out of 5 for Vol. 1.
Blackwater James is Blackwater James is Chris James (vocals, guitar), Deanna Passarella (guitar), Josh Burns (bass), and Todd Schlosser (drums). Check Blackwater James out at www.blackwaterjames.com, www.facebook.com/blackwaterjames, and www.myspace.com/blackwaterjames.
- Michael Meade

Against All Will - A Rhyme & Reason
Posted 3/21/11 7:15PM EST

Against All Will assaults your ears (in the best way) hard and fast with songs that get you up and moving, A Rhyme & Reason keeps it that way too from beginning to end of all seven songs contained in it! Formed by original Puddle of Mudd guitarist Jimmy Allen, Against All Will boasts a well rounded sound and tight lyrics that don't waste a single note of music. Every song has great rock melodies and addictive hooks that get in the listener's head and stays put. Lyrically speaking, many of the songs deal with betrayal by a lover, realizing how bad an ex was where it counted, and moving on; themes we all know but the guys in Against All Will deliver them with honest and raw emotion that alot of rock has been lacking over the past five years.
Instrumentation is just as awesome as the vocals and lyrics, it really sounds like these guys have been playing together for years (again in the best way). Arrangement and placing is well done on A Rhyme & Reason giving a good flow to the songs for anytime you give it a listen.
"Swept Away"
"Discard You"
"All About You"
"The Blue"
"Nothing Good Anymore"
"The Drug I Need"
"Let Go"
Choice cuts are "Swept Away", "The Blue", and "Nothing Good Anymore".
Against All Will gets a well deserved and solid 4 out of 5 for A Rhyme & Reason.
Against All Will is Jeff Current (vocals), Jimmy Allen (guitars), Cello Dias (bass), Steve Wilson (drums). For more from Against All Will check out www.againstallwill.com, www.facebook.com/againstallwill, and www.reverbnation.com/againstallwill.
- Michael Meade

Tigerface - Castlecore Pt. 1
Electronic Rock/Classical/Indie
Posted 4/13/11 4:15PM EST
Tigerface's music is a true amalgam of genres and styles, perfectly unified and engaging both lyrically and musically. Each song on Castlecore Pt. 1 pulls the listener into a mental journey of memory and sound, at once the music sounds familar and yet brand new and unique. The Arizona-based duo of Ari E. and Chris E. pull off a very impressive sound making you swear they have an orchestra backing them up.
Castlecore Pt. 1 truly is an album that you're going to want put on repeat and listen to over and over again!
"Dawn Follows Massacre"
"Silence is a Killer"
"The Funeral"
"Day of the Gnome"
"Number Six Sixty-Four"
Choice cut is "Day of the Gnome".

Tigerface gets a solid 4 out of 5 for Castlecore Pt. 1.
Tigerface is Ari Epstein (keyboard, synthesizer, vocals) Chris Ertz (guitar, bass, drums). For more Tigerface check out www.tigerface.com and www.myspace.com/tigerface.

- Michael Meade

Hellrazor - Soothsayer
Posted 5/13/11 11:45PM EST
Hellrazor effectively and confidently runs the gauntlet of metal in just four songs on their EP Soothsayer. Hitting progressive, heavy, and hardcore notes in each song (some flavors of metal favored more heavily than others) the North Carolina four piece outfit is an aural force striking hard! These guys show that metal can be a science and still maintain all of the power and emotion it should hold without losing itself in technical prowess; which also gets a thumbs up from this reviewer.
As stated above, this band's musicianship across the board is tight and commendable for each member's skill on their instrument and with their vocals. Keeping the listener wrapped around their sound is no problem for Hellrazor.
Track list:
"The Fool"
"High Stakes"
"Closer to The Grave"
Choice cuts are the title track and "Closer to The Grave".
Hellrazor gets 3.5 out of 5 for Soothsayer.
Hellrazor is Jimbo (bass, vocals), Chuck (drums, vocals), Charley (guitar, vocals), Alan (lead vocals). For more Hellrazor check out www.myspace.com/hellrazornc.
- Michael Meade

Don Moore - Breathless
Rock/Instrumental Rock/Blues
Posted 5/16/11 11:10PM EST
Don's playing is fluid and seamless note to note, and song to song. He definitely plays from the heart, packing emotion into his compositions in a very real and unabashed manner; truly wearing his heart on his fretboard. While Don's sound is clearly rock with some blues there's also a strong progressive feeling to his solos, felt particularly strongly on "Blind Sided". Many of the songs on Breathless focus on love in it's many positives and negatives, and this duality is reflected perfectly in the compositions; one moment high ecstasy and the next we are brought low and feel the pain of past losses once more in bittersweet memories.
Poetic sentiment aside (and best left to Don's guitar), in short Mr. Moore has produced an album composed of great skill expressed with great heart.
Track list:
"All My Love"
"This Is Love"
"Look Inside Your Heart"
"I Belong To You"
"Love Don't Lie"
"I'll Be The One"
"Only You"
"Lost In Love"
"You And Me"
"Never Enough"
"One Tomorrow Too Late"
"Blind Sided"
"Spell Bound"
"All That Remains"
"Let It Rain"
Choice cuts are "All My Love", the title track, and "Blind Sided".
For more from Don Moore check out www.don-moore.com.
- Michael Meade

Crushing Blow - Cease Fire
Inferno Records
Posted 5/28/11 12:45AM EST
Melodic heavy metal with progressive undertones (and sometimes overtones) and awesome vocals... yes please! Crushing Blow delivers their namesake with force and drive behind their instruments and Valene's vocals. From the first note you can tell you're in for an album that is at the same time a throwback, in the best ways, to yesterday's progressive metal while still being current and forward moving.
Vocals are powerful and clearly feminine, Valene doesn't try to copy the boy's death grunts but then she doesn't need to; her vocals are emotive and powerful just fine without finding her inner Zuul*.
Crushing Blow delivers on the instrumentation and composition side of the coin as well, with music that fits the lyrics in the symbiotic relationship that makes a great album. Too often in metal of late, music and lyrics just play at the same time, giving the feeling that they weren't written with each other in mind; but this Paca, France based unit has made sure each song is a true partnership of verse and note.
Track list:
"The Wizard's Tale"
"Cease Fire"
"Rise Your Soul"
"Tears of Heart"
"My Venom"
"The Prophecies"
Choice cuts are "The Wizard's Tale", "Dreams", "Rise Your Soul", and "Memories".
Crushing Blow gets a solid 4 out of 5 for Cease Fire.
Crushing Blow is Valene (vocals), Ben (guitars), Guillaume (guitars), Gerald (bass), and Laurent (drums). For more Crushing Blow check out www.myspace.com/crushingblowmusic and www.inferno-records.net.
- Michael Meade

* Finally an opening to reference Ghostbusters that makes sense!

Vains of Jenna - Reverse Tripped
Deadline Cleopatra Records
Posted 6/7/11 5:55PM EST
Vains of Jenna sets aside their regular metal sound to bring their own take on 14 renditions of classics and a few newer songs. Some of the chosen songs you wouldn't expect from a metal band like Vains of Jenna, but they pull them off in a way that rivals several of the bands and artists that did them originally; or at least brought them the most fame. The best part is, the band isn't parodying them, listen to a few notes of "The Sound of Silence", "Smoke on The Water", or "California Dreaming" and you can tell the guys really love these songs as much as so many others out there.
While honoring these songs the band also makes sure you know it's Vains of Jenna performing them this time, making each their own. Even new songs like Cee-lo Green's "Fuck You" (and the track 15 the radio friendly "Forget You") are treated with respectful care, but you know you're listening to Vains of Jenna all the way!
Out of the recent surge of artists doing cover albums, Reverse Tripped is one of the few that gets the TLR! Stamp of Approval*.
Track list:
"Fuck You"
"Electric Avenue"
"Get Back"
"Smoke on The Water"
"She's Not Here"
"California Dreaming"
"Goodbye Yellow Brick Road"
"Mississippi Queen"
"The Letter"
"Blowin' in The Wind"
"I'd Love to Change The World"
"Hey Hey, My My"
"Wish You Were Here"
"The Sound of Silence"
"Forget You" (clean version of "Fuck You")
Choice cuts are "Fuck You", "California Dreaming", "Mississippi Queen", and "The Sound of Silence".
Vains of Jenna is Jesse Forte (lead vocals, piano, guitar, percussion), Nicki Kin (lead guitars, vocals, piano), Jacki Stone (drums, backing vocals, percussion), JP White (bass, backing vocals). For more Vains of Jenna check the TLR! interview with Jacki Stone, and at www.vainsofjenna.com.

- Michael Meade

* Now I have to go and design one...

Sheri Miller - Winning Hand
Posted 6/30/11 4:05PM EST

Sheri Miller's music is a reflection of her soul, showcasing her experiences in love, in life, in music. She boasts a definitive yet fluid sound that speaks to the flexibility of life and it's natural flow, poetic sentiment aside; Sheri is a solid songwriter and a solid musician. Winning Hand is stands out in a realm of music where the deluge of singer/songwriters over the past few years is just starting to recede leaving only the truly gifted standing, Sheri is definitely ready to take her place standing there too.

The many musical influences Miller has been exposed from a young age are detectable in her songwriting, enhancing a natural talent. Standing out the most in the songs on Winning Hand are indie New York attitude and strength with Nashville sensibility and down to Earthness. Seemingly opposite, but Sheri melds them perfectly.
Track list:
"Winning Hand"
"Everybody Feels This Way Sometimes"
"Hungry For The Truth"
Choice cuts are "Spoons", the title song, and "Hungry For The Truth".
For more from Sheri Miller check out www.sherimiller.com and www.facebook.com/sherimillermusic.

- Michael Meade

Truth Corroded - Upon The Warlords Crawl
Truth Inc.
Posted 7/8/11 7:00PM EST

Fast, hard, pissed, and not giving a damn if they're not liked for what they have to say. Australian thrashers Truth Corroded deliver true thrash metal that is unapologetic about what it is, a brutal sonic attack on the listener's sense of sound! Upon The Warlords Crawl slams into your skull turning it into a mosh pit to do with as the band pleases with tight instruments and demonic vocals; this thrash the way it should be. Mixed in the thrash are hints of death metal that add to rather than hinder Truth Corroded's sound.
Even in the nihilistic points, the band still revs up the urge to fight against any and all feelings of oppression or the end, very much a "rage against the dying of the light" feeling. At least by this reviewer's take on Truth Corroded's songs. If you've been craving some thrash that's unpretentious and cut straight without any watering down Upon The Warlords Crawl is the album you've been needing.
Track list:
"Crown The Apocalypse"
"The Immolation Seen"
"Salute The Horrors"
"Buried Alive By Demons"
"We Are Failed"
"When God Is Murder"
"The Waste That Is Their Word"
"The Disfiguring"
"Despair Your Black Earth"
Choice cuts are "Crown The Apocalypse", "Buried Alive By Demons", and "The Waste That Is Their Word".
Truth Corroded is Mark Lennard (guitars), Greg Shaw (bass), Jason North (vocals), Liam Okninski (drums), and Darren Mclennan (guitars). For more Truth Corroded check out www.truthcorroded.com.
- Michael Meade

The Summer Set - Everything's Fine
Pop Punk
Razor & Tie
Posted 7/19/11 3:00PM EST

The Summer Set delivers a little more pop than punk with Everything's Fine, but the kids from Arizona work it just fine. Gears shifted to an almost concept album level of cohesion between the songs, focusing on the many different and sometime subtle levels of love and relationships; from first sight attraction to falling in love to being together and some of the many ways love can end.
Even the break up songs feature an underscore of hope for something new and better next time in them, while some reviewers may look down at this, this reviewer personally likes that. There's more music reflecting hopelessness and perpetual despair out there right now, so respect to The Summer Set for going against the current grain.
Musically the band is wonderfully tight as a unit, drums to vocals and back! Pacing and tempo are spot on for the mood of each song whether completely upbeat or lamenting love's end, while retaining aforementioned underlying note of hope.
Track list:
"About A Girl"
"When We Were Young"
"Someone Like You"
"Back To The Start"
"Must Be The Music"
"Thick as Thieves"
"Mona Lisa"
"Begin Again"
"Love To You"
"Don't Let Me Go"
Choice cuts are "About A Girl", "Must Be The Music", "Thick as Thieves", and "Love To You".
The Summer Set gets a solid 4 out of 5 for Everything's Fine!
The Summer Set is Brian Dales (vocals), Jess Bowen (drums), John Gomez (guitar, piano, back up vocals), Stephen Gomez (bass), and Josh Montgomery (guitar). Everything's Fine out as of today, July 19! For more from The Summer Set check out www.thesummersetband.com.

- Michael Meade

Shiragirl - Warped Tour EP
Hip Hop/Punk/Rock
Posted 7/24/11 2:39PM EST

Track List:
“Blast That Radio”
“Don’t Be Mad”
“R U Down?”
“Stomp It Out”

The feeling of a raging female rocker that is pressing at your back and having you bob your head to the smooth rap-style lyrics while you’re driving is that of Shiragirl. She is a repeated Warped Tour participant that has been around for quite a few years, but every performance on the tour is a new as well as interesting experience. The Super Girl theme behind her recent Warped Tour show fed all of our childhood dreams of being a super hero but kept the girls moving and singing along with her as she be-spelled the boys with her dancing.

“Blast That Radio” speaks to all of us who have had/been to our share of house parties that ended with the cops showing up. The other tracks leave you wanting to get up and dance, not giving a damn who watches while you do it. With the perfect mix of a party style beat and an “I don’t give a shit about what you think” attitude, her songs are the ultimate addition to a chick powered generation playlist. Although two of the songs on the EP she gives to fans at Warped Tour didn’t appeal to me, it does not change the anticipation I feel for her next full album.

Reviewers Choice Tracks: “R U Down” and “Blast That Radio”.

For more from Shiragirl check out www.shiragirl.com and www.facebook.com/shiragirl.

- Pamela Herbert

Steve Bello Band - Go Berzerk!
Posted 7/26/11 12:34AM EST
Metal with depth and versatility is a rare find and exactly what the Steve Bello Band offers on Go Berzerk! The trio delivers on all aspects of musicianship throughout each of the eight songs on this album, never missing a beat both metaphorically and literally. Though an instrumental album, the song writing is tight and well rounded enough to emote a story with every song and what's more elicite actual emotions in the listener. Some songs like "Surfing To Venus" take the listener on an interstellar trip with every shredding lick on the guitar (and yes, this reviewer being a comic geek the above mentioned song did make me think of my favorite cosmic super hero the Silver Surfer), and others make you want to get off your tail and jam along with band. That my friends is a win.
Again versatility is ever present and much appreciated, from straight up metal to acoustic, to a little bit of progressive in the mix; Go Berzerk! packs a lot in with no disappointment to fans of metal, shred metal, and progressive. Add in some rock 'n' roll attitude and this record is that much more golden.
Track list:
"Surfing To Venus"
"To Be Human Again"
"Go Berzerk!"
"Scratch That Itch"
"Sometimes Hidden"
"Throwing Away My Skin"
"Insane Rain"
Choice cuts are the title track, "Scratch That Itch", and "Throwing Away My Skin".
Steve Bello Band gets a 4.5 out of 5 for Go Berzerk!
Steve Bello Band is Steve Bello (7 string electric guitar, 6 string acoustic guitar), Joe DeMott (4 string bass, 5 string bass), and Edward Faust (drums, percussion). For more check out www.myspace.com/stevebello, www.facebook.com/stevebello, and www.purevolume.com/stevebelloband.

- Michael Meade

Dannyjoe Carter Band - Dannyjoe Carter Band EP
Shredguy Records
Posted 8/9/11 2:30PM EST
Dannyjoe Carter serves up four songs of songs of shredding goodness on his self titled EP. "Push It" stands out both for it's musical prowess (instrumentals and vocals) and for it's sociological commentary on the state of medical care in the United States. All four songs showcase Carter's skill on the guitar, and showcase that skill impressively. "Lost" continues giving comment on life and the less than "gung ho" attitude toward it so many have adopted in these apathetic times, but the overall mood of Dannyjoe's songs are never maudlin. Rather, the songs have a very "get up off our asses and do something about it" air to them.
Track list:
"Push It"
"Lil Man"
"Don't Stop"
Choice cuts are "Push It" and "Lost".
For more from Dannyjoe Carter check out www.myspace.com/dannyjoecarterband.
- Michael Meade

Adrian English - Innerplanetarium

Shredguy Records
Posted 8/9/11 6:00PM EST
Adrian English is back with his new album Innerplanetarium and he goes above and beyond his last outing A.D.D.! If it's possible it sounds as though his playing ability has improved and expanded, there a more flowing quality to his guitar playing now; much as this reviewer hates to admit it, I can't find a better word for it. It's almost as though English has achieved a, excuse the hippie-ish phrasing, oneness with his instrument and the music. By no means does that mean English has lost any of his badass metal attitude on any of the thirteen songs on Innerplanetarium, there's just a deeper aspect to his sound than before.
Pacing, feel, and overall mood are just what each aspect should be on an instrumental shred metal album even on the softer songs (that's a relative term here folks). Whether you're a shred-head or not this definitely an album that comes recommended by TLR!
"Awoo's Beach House"
"Ten Ways"
"Velvet Rain"
"Whats Under You're Shred"
"Harmony Creek"
Choice cuts are "Viper", the title track, "Transcendence" (love the funk undertones), "Paranormally", and "G-Theory"
Adrian English handles all guitar duties (lead, rhythm, and harmony), and is joined by Ryan Morrow (bass guitars), Mike McDavid (engineering, keyboards, and sampling), and Chas Cantrell (drums and percussion). With special guests Dannyjoe Carter (1st main solo on "Solidarity"), Mike Abdow (3rd main solo on "Solidarity" and 1st and 3rd main solos on "G-Theory"), Toby Knapp (2nd and 4th main solos on "Whats Under You're Shred"), and Sean Baker (2nd and 4th duet harmony and arpeggio solos on "Paranormally").
For mor Adrian English check out www.myspace.com/adrianenglish.
- Michael Meade

Margin of Error - What You Are About to Witness
Posted 8/22/11 6:05PM EST
Margin of Error ups the ante in deathcore with their 2009 album What You Are About to Witness. A concept album, each song is written from the point of view of a serial killer, the resulting ten songs are every bit as dark, violent, and foreboding as a "sane" mind would expect them to be. The album captures the violence and pain of a killer's mind well, at least from a writer's standpoint. As the listener, you can also feel the sense of fear that accompanies meeting some of the real monsters the world has in it. This album deserves the "Mature Content" warning label, and this writer supposes the controversy it's subject matter brings with it; though this reviewer applauds any band or artist that can make people think outside their self-imposed boxes. Even when that "outside" is uncomfortable.
Combining elements of deathcore, melodic dark metal, and some electronica the music has a depth that unfortunately many non-fans would not expect from a deathcore band.
Pacing is hard, fast, and lethal. Instrumentation is tight, as a unit Margin of Error is exemplary; many deathcore outfits could definitely learn from their approach to the music in both tone and musicianship. Vocals are the right kind of terrifying to fit not only the genre but the subject matter of What You Are About to Witness.
"Time To Suffer"
"We Are the End"
"The Shape of Hate"
"Your Life in Playback"
"The Struggle"
"What You Are About to Witness"
"Cut the Throat"
"The End of Worth"
"Innocent Victim"
"Where I Reside"
Margin of Error is Travis Meyers (vocals), Tyler Daffron (guitar), Joe Estes (bass), and CJ Wilcox (drums). For more on Margin of Error check out www.marginoferrormetal.com.
- Michael Meade


Livan - Off The Grid
Alternative/Post Punk
Pumpkin Music Ltd.
Posted 10/10/11 3:05PM EST
Livan's Off The Grid focuses on issues that aren't embraced enough, both in music and other media; including over-digitizing our lives, distance between governments and their people, and of course stand bys like loneliness and one's place in the world, the affect of lethal drugs on lives. Livan (pronounced Lie-van) however writes all of the above in his own words, influences can be heard of course (this can be said of all writers), but truly Livan is using his own voice in his lyrics. Case in point, one of this reviewer's favorite lyrics from "The Silence": while you're shooting stars, I'm counting fallen angels. The everlasting silence filled with noise."
Vocals and instrumentation are tightly knit in a way that has been lacking in come lately Post Punk outfits for a while now. Livan, as the band and the individual combines the best elements of themselves with the best of their genre in a great amalgamation.
Livan is one of the best British exports that has landed in TLR's mailbox this year! Livan's live performance (see the TLR! Live Review on his performance opening for Alice Cooper) is the only to top his studio work.
"Little White Lies"
"Meet Me On The Other Side"
"The Silence"
"King of The World"
"The Joker"
Choice cuts are "Undead", "The Silence", and "King of The World".
Livan gets a 4.5 for Off The Grid.
Livan is Livan (vocals, keyboards), Will Crewdson (lead guitar), Damon Wilson (drums), and James Bailes (bass guitar). For more from Livan check out www.livan.co.uk.
- Michael Meade

Vastator - Machine Hell
Inferno Records
Posted 11/3/11 1:10AM EST

Chilean metal outfit Vastator is back with their Machine Hell, which surpasses their last album in both intensity and musicianship. The group's sound has a tighter, more practiced feel to it. The instrumentals do bring a Megadeth vibe to the table this outing, but not enough that the songs aren't clearly Vastator's (if you've listened to their material before). The album's theme, though not a concept album, examines the disparate aspects of society... while melting your face with sweet metal riffs and hooks.
The only downside to the album for this reviewer is that unlike their last outing, Machine Hell is partially in Spanish; since I'm not fluent some lyrical content is lost to me in those songs. But the instrumentals are just as kick ass.
"Machine Hell"
"The Gods Give No Reply" (feat. Veronica Freeman on vocals)
"Hawker Hunter" (feat. Metal Mike on lead guitar)
"Combustible En La Sangre"
"Punado De Almas"
"El Ultimo Grito En El Infierno"
Vastator gets a 3.5 out of 5 for Machine Hell.
Vastator is Senor Diaz (vocals), Felipe Hernandez (guitars), Peyote Barrera (bass and piano), and Gerardo Barrenchea (drums). For more Vastator check out www.vastator.cl and www.myspace.com/vastatoronline.

- Michael Meade

Aldo Leopardi - Villains & Heroes
Backslash Records
Posted 11/5/11 4:30PM EST

Aldo Leopardi, indie rock 'n' roll dentist... yes, rock 'n' roll dentist. Don't worry, Doctor Leopardi's music does not reflect his day job in the slightest. Villains & Heroes is largely about love and self identity, now before anyone writes the good doctor off as more of the same when it comes to indie rock; this reviewer says give this EP a chance! Lyrics and instruments are hooky and catching, the songs also don't get caught in themselves like an angsty teenager (like so indie songs), they give their message, reel you in enjoying them, and leave you wanting another trip to the dentist!
Rock elements are strongest in these five compositions, there's definitely indie flavor to the lyrical structure and content, with some pop hooks for extra tastiness. Vocals are sharp and instruments sound seasoned and strong.

"Not Enough"
"My Parade"
"The Villain"
"The Hero"
Choice cuts are "Not Enough" and "The Villain".
Villains & Heroes gets a solid 4 out of 5.
For more from Aldo Leopardi check out http://aldoleopardimusic.com and http://aldotunes.com.

- Michael Meade

Comedy of Terrors - Satellites & Angels
Posted 11/17/11 12:20AM EST

Pure rock goodness is what Comedy of Terrors delivers on Satellites & Angels; the band work elements of rock, hard rock, and metal into the nine track album. Each song keeps you rocking out while pulling you into the song's story, and with most of them you'll soon find yourself in engrossed in the narrative of the lyrics.

Instrumentation and vocals are tight and effective as a unit, the four piece outfit achieves the popular lo-fi sound yet maintain a high quality to their music at the same time. The lo-fi also adds to the grizzled, hard-edge of the vocals.

"Prisoner of Gravity"
"Send Me Back to Germany"
"What I Want"
"She Told Me"
"What Would You Pay"
"Purple Skies"
Choice cuts are "Prisoner of Gravity", "What I Want", and "What Would You Pay".
Comedy of Terrors gets a 3 out of 5 for Satellites & Angels.
Comedy of Terrors is Curt Williams (vocals), Robert Swanson (guitar), Darren Ross (bass), and Ruppi Barnickel (drums). For more on Comedy of Terrors check them out on Facebook at www.face.com/ComedyOfTerrors.
- Michael Meade

Butcher - Welcome to The Night
Inferno Records
Posted 11/26/11 4:30PM EST
Butcher delivers a mix of old school heavy metal with powerful, gravel filled vocals. Instrumentation is gruff but tight, some might be turned off by the radio intros and station bumps between the songs that make up the first half of the album; but this reviewer found them funny enough to not be annoyed at the interruption to the music. The female-fronted quartet styles Welcome To The Night as a horror concept album for the most part, introduction and epilogue tracks reinforce this along with the radio host and news bits.
Tone is heavy and has a healthy chunk of menace to it for most of the album's songs, the others that do not have a melancholic quality to them. These lamentation songs show off the softer side of vocalist Lil Tang's voice, which is impressive when you consider the range needed to go down low and gravely with death grunts and then high to be almost lilting in the sadness of the songs.
Track list:
"Full Moon (Prologue)"
"The Dark"
"King of the Hill"
"Gates of Hell"
"Your Own Enemy"
"Days of Troy"
"Welcome to the Night"
"The Awakening - A Grim Reality (Epilogue)"
Choice cuts are "The Dark", "Gates of Hell", and the title track.
Butcher gets a 3.5 out of 5 for Welcome To The Night.
Butcher is Lil Tang (vocals), Joel Myers (guitars), StoneAge (bass), and Gary Sheehan (drums). For more from Butcher check out www.myspace.com/butcherusa.

- Michael Meade

Iroquois Confederacy - Splitting The Sky
Posted 12/5/11 2:30PM EST

Iroquois Confederacy is back with their Splitting The Sky EP, five songs from Pennsylvania-based quartet doing what they do best... rocking out! This time around the guys have a less across the board feeling with their, this EP showcases their more grunge and blues flavored garage rock influenced writing while throwing in a few shred style guitar solos. They still maintain their deep and engrossing rhythms with some catchy hooks, overall this reviewer enjoyed the genre focusing of the five songs on Splitting The Sky. Not to sound like this is a knock against The Left-Handed Peace Pipe, but it feels like the band has a firmer grip on their sound and what they want it to be this time around.

"Crazy Lady"
"I'm Bitter Also"
"Brass Knuckles"
Choice cuts are "I'm Bitter Also" and "Brass Knuckles".
Splitting The Sky gets a hard 4 out of 5.
Iroquois Confederacy is Jeff Heilman (guitar, vocals), Andy Adams (lead guitar), Chris Underkoffler (drums), and Eric Spotts (bass, vocals). For more from Iroquois Confederacy check out www.iroconfed.com.
- Michael Meade

True Margrit - The Juggler's Progress
Alternative/Piano Art-Pop
Bobo Tunes
Posted 12/5/11 5:00PM EST

True Margrit delivers delivers alt-pop with deeper indie singer/songwriter overtones, think if R.E.M. and Sara Bareilles had children that formed their own band. Poppy and hopeful even when the lyrics of a song are covering painful areas of the human experience, but not in a fake or nauseating way; truly a "trying to be hopeful and look on the brightside" viewpoint is conveyed through the emotional subject matter. And of course there some songs that are just fun to listen to and hum or sing along with, calling The Ready Set to mind in fact... even though True Margrit has been performing and recording longer (indie hipsters start writing to your favorite labels now).
The San Francisco-based trio has a seasoned and comfortable sound, but not comfortable enough to be boring as each member is a multi-instrumentalist. Vocals flow seemlessly and emotionally with the music enhancing them as just as much as the instrumentations enhance the vocals.
"Opposite Man"
"Fly It Like A Flag"
"50,000 Names"
"The Juggler's Progress"
"Casseroles & Thunderstorms"
"Make Them Beg"
"500 Years"
"Opposite Opposite Man"
Choice cuts are "Opposite Man", "Emily", and "500 Years".
True Margrit gets a 3.5 out of 5 for The Juggler's Progress.
True Margrit is Margrit Eichler (vocals, piano, keyboards, guitar, glockenspiel), Gary Hobish (bass, guitar, vocals, flex-a-tone), and Andrew Bacon (drums, percussion). For more from True Margrit check out www.truemargrit.com.

- Michael Meade