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Friday 26 April 2013

Device : David Draiman's still disturbed

After putting his Disturbed day job on hold frontman David Draiman unveils his new industrial metal project, bringing in some big name friends to guarantee interest.

Black Sabbath Brummie Geezer Butler and Serj Tankian guest on Out Of Line; Black Country Communion’s Glenn Hughes duets on Through It All, and Tom Morello adds slippery licks to Opinion.

Avenged Sevenfold’s M Shadows sings on Haze, and Halestorm’s Lzzy Hale duets on Ozzy Osbourne’s Close My Eyes Forever.

Musically, it’s not dissimilar to Disturbed but has built more muscle.

L L Cool J : Authentic review

The hip-hop pioneer perhaps better known these days as federal agent Sam Hanna in television’s NCIS Los Angeles returns with his first album in five years.

And a host of special guests.

Snoop Dogg, Bootsy Collins and Chuck D are among predictable pals.

But highlights include brassy party night floor filler Something About You (with Earth Wind & Fire as backing band) and rock-riffed We’re The Greatest, on which Eddie Van Halen delivers a flamboyant solo.

Best of all is single Whaddup, Tom Morello supplying Rage Against The Machine crunch and slippery guitar licks.

Mix in a few dewy-eyed ballads and it's not cutting edge - but neither it is carpet slippers.

Stone Sour : House Of Gold & Bones Part 2 review

Corey Taylor’s metallers close the circle on the concept album begun last year, ending the Stephen King-like story of The Human’s battle for his soul.

Like Part 1, it’s more easily accessible than Stone Sour’s earlier output, nodding both to Sabbath and Metallica.

Best played back to back with the first part, but working in isolation too, it rocks like a runaway train one moment then offers a radio-friendly embrace the next.

Best are string-strewn The Conflagration and the hook-laden title track.

Wednesday 24 April 2013

Bo Bruce : Voice finalist set to sing in Star Trek Into Darkness movie

She looks the part – and now losing Voice finalist Bo Bruce is set appear in ... Star Trek.

The pop artistocrat hopes to win over a new legion of fans with The Rage That’s In Us All – a collaboration with Snow Patrol’s Gary Lightbody which appears in the new Star Trek movie ‘Star Trek Into Darkness’.

“It’s been a total joy to work with Gary,” says Bo. “Not only has he come up with another genius song but he’s gone and got us a slot in a JJ Abrams movie, who is a true hero of mine.

“I’m totally honoured.”
The film, starring Chris Pine, Benedict Cumberbatch and Simon Pegg, follows the huge success of the Star Trek reboot which redefined the Star Trek universe for a new generation.

Star Trek Into Darkness, out on May 9, promises to be one of the blockbusters of the summer.
It has been a very busy start to the year for Bo, as she not only embarks on her first nationwide tour throughout June and July but also releases debut album Before I Sleep on April 29 on Virgin EMI.

ELO : Live album first new official outing in 12 years

Birmingham pop supergroup ELO release their first new album in 12 years this week – but fans will find familiar faces few and far between.

Electric Light Orchestra Live boasts many of the band’s hallmark hits recorded live during filming of a US TV special in Los Angeles.

But only frontman Jeff Lynne and keyboards player Richard Tandy remain from the group’s heyday, during which they sold more than 50 million albums, played stadia around the world, and notched up 27 hits in the UK and US.

The rest of the band comprises session pals of Lynne, who has chosen to release the album to celebrate ELO’s 40th anniversary.

The 65-year-old guitarist and singer from Shard End now lives in Beverly Hills, where he has carved out a reputation as a top producer, memorably working on Beatles reunion sessions before the death of close friend George Harrison.

And the ELO live album, which was recorded for a 2001 television show and DVD but has never been released as an album before, is one of six band and solo CDs he has released in the past six months.

Rock critic David Wild, a friend of the reclusive rocker, says: “Back in 2001 Jeff had just returned to the studio to create a new ELO album titled Zoom, which brought the classic Electric Light Orchestra sound back to vivid life.

“To support its release our rather reluctant road warrior agreed to return to live performance and put together a line-up of musicians which included Richard Tandy that, thanks to breakthroughs in live production and sound in the intervening years, sounded better than ever.

“After the TV special a further live tour was announced but ultimately cancelled. Instead Jeff returned, no doubt happily, to the comfort of the recording studio.”

Although fans will welcome the release of previously unheard ELO material, they are likely to be divided on its merits. Many hanker for a full reunion tour by the surviving members of the group’s classic line-up.

Drummer Bev Bevan still lives in the Midlands and is currently on tour with his own band as part of a ‘Made In Brum’ package also featuring his lifelong friend, funnyman and Sunday Mercury columnist Jasper Carrott.

Cello player Hugh McDowell still plays sessions, and is involved in dance, film and theatre projects. He has also been instrumental in the development of music composing computer software.

Violinist Mik Kaminski has his own band, Blue Violin, and was most recently heard playing on tracks by acoustic duo Fay & Latta. Keyboardsman Louis Clark has just revived his Hooked On Classics brand.

Cellist Melvyn Gale has become a music teacher after running a CD and vinyl record manufacturing company for 18 years. Bassist Kelly Groucutt sadly died in February 2009 following a sudden heart attack.

But what of the album?

The 11-song setlist includes hallmark hits such as Evil Woman, Mr Blue Sky and Showdown, alongside live favourites Don’t Bring Me Down and Roll Over Beethoven and lesser-known Secret Messages.

The sound is leaner than before, with fewer strings attached, although Lynne's guitar and vocal sound stronger and more confident than ever.

Two new bonus tracks are forgettable, a shortcoming made all the more glaringly obvious by the pop classics in the live set.



Alanis Morissette : Live At Montreux 2012

Love her or loathe her, angsty Alanis is at her best live.

Since early gigs at the Aston Villa Leisure Centre and Stratford’s defunct Phoenix Festival she’s shifted more than 60 million albums, of which only dynamite debut Jagged Little Pill has done her justice.

Cue a live set recorded last year, taking in hallmark hits Hand In My Pocket, All I Really Want and Ironic alongside songs from the recent Havoc And Bright Lights

It says much that the old tracks are head and shoulders above the rest.

It's all they really want...

Popa Chubby : Universal Breakdown Blues review

He cuts an unlikely figure for a guitar hero, his publicity shots suggesting R&B bling.

But Popa Chubby (aka Ted Horowitz) plays down and dirty blues-rock with attitude, his guitar sound as huge as his frame.

Don’t expect anything startlingly original – just rough-hewn riffs and lascivious licks.

I Don’t Want Nobody recalls Alvin Lee, a new take on Somewhere Over The Rainbow channels Roy Buchanan, and the show-stealing Rock Me Baby suggests Chubby has a whole lotta Hendrix in his CD collection.

Lou Doillon : Places review

Well, I’ll be damned.

April’s not done but already there’s a shoo-in for album of the year.

Parisian songbird Lou Doillon  daughter of director Jacques Doillon and Jane Birkin, half-sister of Charlotte Gainsbourg – serves up a moody debut in which her warm, part sung, part spoken vocal caresses sublime songs which owe more than a little to Aimee Mann and Leonard Cohen.

It’s invidious to single out any of the 11 gorgeous songs here but heart-breaking opener ICU is the ideal introduction.

Be warned. Seduction is guaranteed.

Tuesday 23 April 2013

Peter Frampton : rare UK date to celebrate a life in rock

Following his new album Thank You Mr Churchill, and the 35th anniversary tour of his multi-platinum selling live album Frampton Comes Alive!, Grammy-winning guitarist Peter Frampton will play a rare UK concert at the London Camden Roundhouse on Tuesday 5th November.

This special one-off UK concert will see Frampton performing songs from his extensive catalogue.

FCA! 35: An Evening with Peter Frampton, a live 2-DVD, Blu-ray and 3-CD set of the 35th Anniversary of Frampton Comes Alive! was released last November by Eagle Rock Entertainment.

On the DVD, Peter performs the bestselling live album in its entirety, along with a second set including songs from his Grammy®-winning career.

Planet Rock will run an exclusive 48-hour ticket presale from 9am on Wednesday 24th April via Tickets go on sale to the general public on Friday 26th April from, 0844 871 8803 or 0844 482 8008.

Peter Frampton remains one of the most celebrated artists and guitarists in rock history. At 16, he was lead singer and guitarist for British band The Herd.

At 18, he co-founded one of the first supergroups, seminal rock act Humble Pie.

His session work includes such legendary artists as George Harrison, Harry Nilsson, David Bowie, Jerry Lee Lewis, Ringo Starr, John Entwistle and many others. His fifth solo album, the electrifying Frampton Comes Alive!, is one of the top-selling live records of all time.

Mott The Hoople reform for 2013 tour of the UK

Rock legends Mott The Hoople have reunited – for a 2013 tour of the UK.

Gigs will feature original members Ian Hunter (vocals/guitar /piano), Mick Ralphs (guitar/vocals), Verden Allen (keyboards/vocals) and Overend Watts (bass/vocals). Due to ill health, original drummer Dale Griffin will be substituted by Martin Chambers (The Pretenders).

Formed in 1969, Mott The Hoople went on to become one of the best loved and most influential rock  groups of all time.

Their string of hits started with the David Bowie-penned All The Young Dudes, after which the band’s legend was written with original classics such as All The Way From Memphis, Roll Away The Stone, Saturday Gigs and The Golden Age Of Rock N Roll.

The band, whose fame was established initially by their incandescent live shows, reformed to celebrate their legacy in 2009, which saw them play a series of critically and commercially successful live dates to mark their 40th anniversary.

Those gigs, including a five-night, sold-out stint at London’s Hammersmith Apollo, were the first time the original line-up had played together in over 35 years, and brought a tear to many a fan’s eye.

The universally lavish praise for them included a 5/5 Daily Telegraph review that declared “Mott The Hoople storm back to London for a dazzling night at the Hammersmith Apollo.”

The band will be returning to the UK in November 2013 for five dates only:

See them here:

Mon 11th Nov : Birmingham Symphony Hall
Wed 13th Nov : Glasgow Clyde Auditorium
Sat 16th Nov : Newcastle City Hall
Sun 17th Nov : Manchester O2 Apollo
Mon 18th Nov : London The O2

All tickets are priced £40, except London, which is £45, subject to booking fee and available through Tickets go on sale at 9am on Friday 26th April. Be quick!

Wednesday 10 April 2013

Mike Marlin : Grand Reveal review

His revelatory Wolverhampton tour opener was sensational.

Now Mike Marlin – a former child prodigy, physics boffin and city whizzkid – releases a rock and roll album that may well be a contender in those year-end polls.

Lyrically astute but boasting user-friendly rock guitar, the likes of Grand Reveal and Giving It All Away nod to Leonard Cohen, while Skull Beneath The Skin could be a Queens Of The Stone Age out-take.

But it’s David Bowie to whom you’ll turn for the keynote, both War To Begin and Amazing among the best here.

It'll have to be a good album to better this in the coming months.

Madeleine Peyroux : The Blue Room review

American singer-songwriter Madeleine Peyroux likes to confound expectation.

After stealing the show at Montreux she turned her back on fame and went busking in Paris instead.

Happily that proved a temporary diversion and now, five albums later, she re-examines Ray Charles’ classic Modern Sounds Of Country And Western Music.

Cue blues-rooted standards such as Take These Chains, Bye Bye Love and I Can’t Stop Loving You, underpinned by subtle pedal steel.

Best are Billie Holiday nod Born To Lose and a whispered confessional take on Leonard Cohen’s Bird On A Wire.

Sarah Brightman : Dreamchaser review

She fell in love with a starship trooper, made her name in Phantom of the Opera – currently running at Birmingham’s Hippodrome – and plans to be the first singer on the International Space Station.

Now soprano Sarah Brightman returns with her first album in five years, and an eclectic setlist to boot.

Her ethereal vocal whispers through Elbow’s One Day Like This, an English version of Sigur Ros’ Glosoli and Wings’ Venus And Mars, even adding electropop appeal to Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells on album closer, Closer.

Better than you might expect.

Yes, really.

Triggerfinger : All This Dancin' Around review

Specially selected by The Rolling Stones to headline the second stage at their Hyde Park supershows, Belgian power trio Triggerfinger tick the boxes.

They return with huge rock guitar riffs, a dash of funk, and tricksy technique which remains the right side of self-indulgence.

The title track opener is unashamed stadium-filling fodder, all Audioslave-style sonics and presence.

The rumbling Cherry may put you in mind of Muse, and I’m Coming For You blends old school grunge with an unexpected falsetto vocal.

A tad too polished at times but setting out stall for the park.

Big Country : The Journey review

Eleven years after the suicide of singer Stuart Adamson, Big Country return with Alarm frontman Mike Peters at the helm.

It's a clever move because Peters is cut from similar musical cloth and there’s a determined drive to show it’s business as usual.

It's evident from the skirl of pipe-like guitars and tumbling drums on opening brace In A Broken Promise Lane, The Journey and After The Flood.

But too much of the rest is hit and miss, Home Of The Brave a car crash of a song. Still, see them live at the Wolverhampton’s Wulfrun Hall on April 24.

Brad Paisley : Wheelhouse review

Country guitar superstar Brad Paisley stepped out of his comfort zone for this album, eschewing the safety blanket of the usual Nashville session crowd and calling in unlikely guests ranging from LL Cool J to Monty Python’s Eric Idle.

The result isn’t the experimental hotch-potch you might expect, rather an accessible album which both celebrates Skynyrd southlands and addresses redneck racism.

LL Cool J, on a rare break from filming NCIS Los Angeles, softly raps on Accidental Racist and Charlie Daniels takes that devil to Georgia once more in the wry Karate.

The purists will hate it but it’s good to see Paisley’s guitar skills stretched, even on such a radio-friendly album.


Steve Earle & The Dukes (and Duchesses) : The Low Highway review

Don’t be deceived by the title track opener, a dusty recession road trip blues.

Because this is roots rocker Steve Earle’s most upfront and radio-friendly set since 2004’s The Revolution Starts Now.

Back with his band, Calico Road is a Stones-style stomper, That All You Got? a country-rock romp with songbird wife Allison Moorer.

And 21st Century Blues could be an out-take from the Copperhead Road sessions.

Best are mandolin-driven Down The Road Pt II and the rolling piano and startling guitar of Pocket Full Of Rain.

Catch them live at Birmingham’s Symphony Hall on May 20.

Counting Crows : Echoes Of The Outlaw Roadshow review

You've got to hand it to Adam Duritz and his feathered friends – every gig they play is different, a far cry from the formulaic computer-controlled shows served up by their rivals.

This live set, recorded last year and released ahead of a forthcoming April 19 visit to Birmingham’s 02 Academy, is a barnstormer, collecting fan favourites and covers from the recent Underwater Sunshine album.

There’s no Mr Jones, but a reworked Round Here and a mash-up of Rain King and Elbow’s Lippy Kid hit the mark.