“Trenches”, the new single from Grand Rapids, Michigan rockers Pop Evil is up first in this edition of Rock Picks. The top 10 track comes from the band’s album, “Onyx”, which was just released on May 14th. The band is back with another album of kick ass rock ready for the masses, and looking to build on the base they already have after the success of the last album “War Of Angels” and the constant touring behind it.
According to the band, the message of “Trenches” applies to the world of art as well as the world of sports, the military, or anyone struggling with the economic downturn, like Pop Evil’s home state of Michigan.
“It’s about our battles,” Pop Evil frontman Leigh Kakaty says. “Not focusing on the things we can’t control, if we really want to be a band that stands the test of time we have to write the music that connects. We have to dig our way out of the trenches.”
During a slump in the music industry, Pop Evil is living proof that you can still make a living following your dreams. “It’s a matter of time before rock and roll is in the forefront again and we want to be part of that,” Kakaty says.
Pop Evil have dealt with quite a bit of adversity in this cutthroat world of music and record labels, but have come through like champions and truly appreciate their place in the music business today. I appreciate what they do and wish them continued success as they embark on the next phase of their careers.
Joe Satriani is back with another album of guitar mastery called ‘Unstoppable Momentum’ and the first great track from it, ‘A Door Into Summer.’ One of the hardest working guitarists in music, after much of 2012 with Chickenfoot and touring with his G3 entity, Joe has recently released another stellar album full of great music.
Joe assembled a new studio band for the record, with Mike Keneally on keyboards, Chris Chaney on bass and Vinnie Colaiuta on drums, recording 16 tracks with engineer/producer Mike Frasier at Skywalker Sound. Joe will be on the road all summer playing tracks from the record and all of the best of his solo stuff with a touring band consisting of Mike Keneally on keys and guitar, Bryan Beller on bass, and Marco Minnemann on drums. Currently touring in Europe until mid June, the band will start a U.S. tour on August 29th in San Diego, California. Get all the dates here: www.satriani.com/road .
Cinderlla frontman Tom Keifer has released his solo effort ‘The Way Life Goes’, with 14 tracks showing a diversity musically, with organic, acoustic tracks to driving hard rock, blues, and country influences. Tom recently told HuffingtonPost.com, “The idea for a solo record started in the nineties when the band parted ways and we left Universal,” he said. “There was just a changing of the guard in the industry at that time and I started thinking about a solo record. I wrote for it for many years and the songs just kept going on the pile and I never got around to actually making a record…We started cutting tracks for this record in 2003 and I went to the pile of songs that had been building up and picked some that I liked and I’ve just been working on it ever since. It was produced independently of a label, because the idea from the beginning was to just work and record until I was happy with it. I wrote with a lot of different people–my wife, Savannah, who’s a great writer, co-wrote a lot of the songs on the record and also co-produced the record with me, and a good friend of ours, Chuck Turner who’s a great engineer and producer. So from the beginning, the attitude was, ‘Let’s have fun and just make a great record and it’ll be done when it’s done.’ Little did we know it’d be nine years later…it’s done and we went through some crazy stuff and mixed and remixed and reworked things over and over and probably made a lot of mistakes along the way, but finally got it where we were all happy with it, so here it is.”
The solid rocking track ‘Solid Ground’, has a modern Cinderella feel, continuing the evolution and showcasing the talents of an artist thriving and surviving in the world of music today. Tom is currently on the road with his solo band, making their way through the U.S., before wrapping up in Chicago on June 14th. Get all the dates and hear samples from the album on Tom’s site here: www.tomkeifer.com
Australian rockers Airbourne are back and ready to ‘Live It Up’, from their new album ‘Black Dog Barking’, which will be released on May 21st. If you want party rock at its best, with adrenaline and attitude to spare, Airbourne will bring it.
The guys continue to make inroads in America, and that continues with the slot on the Rock Allegiance tour later this summer with Volbeat, HIM, and All That Remains. Before that, Airbourne will be making multiple major festival appearances across Europe and the UK before they return to Australia, including slots at Rock Im Park, Rock Am Ring, Sonisphere, Metalfest, Novarock and Download. The Rock Allegiance Tour kicks off Aug. 24th in Twin Lakes, WI. Get all the dates here: www.rockallegiance.com
Baltimore, Maryland’s Charm City Devils have released another track and video from their fantastic ‘SINS’ album.
‘Devil Is a Woman’ showcases vocalist John Allen’s vocals, along with the stellar work of Vic Karrera and Nick Kay on guitar, Anthony Arambula on bass, and Jason Heiser on Drums.
After touring behind the album for much of 2012 and the early part of 2013, the band have a few live dates coming up this summer before beginning work on their next album. It is going to be interesting to hear the next album from these super talented guys who deserve all the success they have gotten and more!
‘No Money, No Love’ is the new track from the new Heaven & Earth studio album ‘Dig’, which is out now on Quarto Valley Records. Bassist Chuck Wright (Quiet Riot, House of Lords, Giuffria), who has played with many, many illustrious artists over his career, says about the new album: “If you love rock like it used to be, you’ll love this album!” I love it and I think you will too. I am truly excited about the band and their future.
With many comparing the sound to classic Deep Purple, Rainbow and Paul Rodgers, the album surely has a classic 70’s rock feel. Band leader and originator Stuart Smith was mentored by legendary Deep Purple guitarist Ritchie Blackmore, has played in bands with iconic ELP keyboardist Keith Emerson, and, more recently was the guitarist with an American version of 1970s glam-rockers The Sweet. Smith played in the Sweet with Heaven & Earth vocalist Joe Retta, who replaced Joe Lynn Turner in the current incarnation of the band. The band then found industry veteran Chuck Wright on bass, and were joined by Richie Onori on drums (who Smith played with while in a band with Keith Emerson), and Arlan Schierbaum on keyboards. Ed Roth will join the band on keys for their upcoming tour, as Schierbaum was only available for the recording of the album.
The band are currently rehearsing, with hopes to line up an opening slot for a major act this summer. The band had a fantastically produced showcase on April 10th in Los Angeles at the Henry Fonda Theater, with the video recap for your viewing pleasure below.
The CD was produced by Dave Jenkins, who’s worked with everyone from Metallica to Tower Of Power, and features special guests Howard Leese (Heart, Paul Rodgers), Richie Sambora (Bon Jovi), and David Paich (Toto).
Stuart Smith says this about ‘Dig’: “I feel that with the crafting of the songs on this album, the incredible band we’ve put together, especially with powerhouse vocalist Joe Retta and the unwavering support of Quarto Valley Records’ president, Bruce Quarto, we really have a shot at getting Heaven & Earth the attention it deserves. This album is by far, the best thing I have ever done in my life. All the pieces are in place. We’re ready to make this our year.”
I hope it is, as the music is just phenomenal!
‘Dig’ track listing:
2. No Money, No Love
3. I Don’t Know What Love Is
4. Man & Machine
5. House of Blues
6. Back In Anger
7. Waiting For The End Of The World
8. Sexual Insanity
9. Rock & Roll Does
10. A Day Like Today
11. Good Times
12. Live As One
Sweden’s Spritual Beggars wrap up this weeks Rock Picks with ‘Turn The Tide’. The latest lineup of the band features Arch Enemy guitarist Michael Amott and bassist Sharlee D’Angelo, along with vocalist Apollo Papathanasio (ex-Firewind) have released their eighth studio album, ‘Earth Blues’, via InsideOut Music.
In regards to the album cover, Amott said: “I had the idea for this artwork from my time as a child, seeing posters of two young lovers watching a romantic sunset on the beach — just your typical tacky bedroom art in the ’70s, really… Also, growing up in what is now referred to with some nostalgia as the Atomic Age — the threat of nuclear war was always looming over our heads it seemed. I wanted to combine these two images of my youth in one paradoxical image and Per Wiberg of Hippograffix (and Spirtual Beggars keyboardist) really managed to capture the melancholic feeling perfectly. Earth Blues, indeed.”
Regarding the making of “Earth Blues”, Amott said: “We started the recording process of ‘Earth Blues’ with an eight-day-long session at Fat Guitar Studios (Sweden) with knob-twiddler Roberth Ekholm, a truly great dude who really knows how to capture a band jamming live, sadly a rare quality in recording engineers nowadays! We continued with some overdubs at various studios in Sweden, and it’s all come together super easy this time. Sonically, I think this might be our finest hour yet. It’s a raw, heavy and honest record.”
Spiritual Beggars have yet to announce any plans for U.S. dates behind the latest album, but will be playing Mexico City on May 25th, and have a slot on the Hellfest Festival on June 23rd in Clisson, France.
Spiritual Beggars 2013 are:
Michael Amott (Arch Enemy, Carcass) – Guitar
Ludwig Witt (Firebird) – Drums
Per Wiberg (Opeth) – Keyboards
Sharlee D’Angelo (Arch Enemy, Mercyful Fate) – Bass
Apollo Papathanasio (Firewind) – Vocals