Release Radar – J. Roddy Waltson & The Business

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This week it’s really all about only one new release – Converge’s “The Dusk In Us”.  The legendary Massachusetts hardcore/metal/punk/touch of jazz band is not for most people since they are extreme all the way around.  But they feature incredible musicianship, thought-provoking lyrics and innovative song writing.  But vocalist Jacob Bannon is intense, so you will need to absorb those thought-provoking lyrics as they are passionately screamed into your ears.  This is album #10 for them and it’s been over 5 years since their last release.  The 4 members of Converge all also play in other bands, and guitarist Kurt Ballou is one of the most sought-out hardcore/metal producers in the industry. I’m such a fan of his work, I actually have a t-shirt with a photo of his GodCity studio located in Salem, MA.  There are no other notable releases worth pointing out this week, but if you’re curious I’ll be checking out new albums (with low expectations) from Gunn-Truscinski Duo, Blitzen Trapper, Tracy Bonham, 21 Savage, Kid Rock and Ty Dolla $ign.
If you read last week’s email, you may recall a comment I made about Chris Stapleton hypothetically destroying all other contestants on The Voice if he were to go on the show and sing “Either Way”.  Well lo and behold one of The Voice contestants decided to sing “Either Way” this week.  Unfortunately it didn’t work out for him, but he’s not Chris Stapleton (but he did a fine job – Blake just wanted to keep the other guy on his team because he was very unique).
I have written a piece about J. Roddy Walston & The Business before, but they have a new album out titled “Destroyers Of The Soft Life” and you should check it out.  This four-piece Southern rock band originally formed in Tennessee 15 years ago, but quickly relocated to Baltimore.  They initially had a few lineup changes, but have been steady lately with J. Roddy Walston on vocals/guitar/and the hardest rocking piano playing you’ll ever see, Billy Gordon on guitar, Logan Davis on bass and Steve Colmus behind the kit.  These guys have developed a huge live following, because 1) they have some great songs to play live and 2) J. Roddy Walston is a formidable presence on stage.  I’ve never seen anyone headbang playing the piano like he does.  Check out some live performance clips on YouTube to see it for yourself.  Anyway, this is just the band’s 4th proper album, and it appears that they are gunning for more commercial success with this release.  The songs are less raw and are more polished and radio-friendly.  So you lose a little of the rawness/excitement factor, but they could gain an even bigger audience.  J. Roddy Walston moved to Richmond, VA since their previous album was released (his wife is from the area).  He and the band built their own recording studio in Richmond, where they worked on “Destroyers Of The Soft Life”.  This local connection is personally nice for me because the band frequently plays in Richmond.  In fact, Thanksgiving weekend they have a 3 night stand at a local club and I’m dragging my wife, son, sister-in-law and nephew to one of the shows – promising them an entertaining evening.  The band has their own unique sound, but you’ll hear elements of My Morning Jacket, Kings of Leon and The Band.  When trying to select songs to highlight from the album, I realized I had marked 8/10 tracks on the album.  So yeah, to say the least it’s a strong album (I can’t remember ever having that many songs from an album to draw from).  And none of these below are even the initial singles from the album.  At the very least, when they come around to a venue near you, go check them out.  You will be entertained.
You Know Me Better – The lead track on the new album, and this song sounds most like their older material.  Maybe that’s the reason it’s my early favorite song on the album.  Plus I’m sure this is going to be terrific live.
I Called You – The band does have a slower, softer side and this track is one example of that.  This is also an example of a more carefully crafted song that is an attempt to broaden their fan base.  Nice use of a big drum sound to really boost the choruses.   
Bleed Out – And here’s a mid-tempo example, but the chorus is massive.  J. Roddy puts everything he has behind the vocals on this track.
If you can’t be bothered to do a search on YouTube to see a performance video, here are a couple of live clips:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kyd2LfJt2QA – “Take It As It Comes”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3wdv5-TrUhg – “Don’t Break The Needle”

Release Radar – A good week for Pop

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Lots of fun pop releases this week not to mention a new album from UK alt-rockers The Charlatans “Different Days” and there’s a 50th anniversary release for the Beatles “Sgt. Pepper” (remix is pretty good).


All I’ve been listening to lately is Soundgarden, Audioslave, Temple of the Dog, Tool and a little Pixies, Mastodon and Sublime. Never a bad choice to listen to almost anything by those bands.


I did see Tool in concert for the first time this week and it was an both an auditory and visual experience. Great musicians plus a lot of attention and detail to their lighting and projections to complement the music. Plus, they have actual fanatics for fans. Lots of love going on there for those four guys. And the longest merchandise lines I can remember seeing at a concert. And they stayed that way the entire evening.

Image result for tool band

Many people walking around with plastic shopping bags overflowing with merch. It seemed like about 75% of the attendees were wearing Tool shirts. However, I saw a number of Soundgarden shirts walking around as well.

Stop in next Friday for your weekly Release Radar from Noisy Planet.

20 BEST Songs to Get High To!

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Noisy Planet presents the TOP 20 SONGS TO GET HIGH TO:

1. “Because I Got High” Afroman

2. “Good Times (I Get High) Styles P


3. “Marijuana” Kid Cudi

4. “I Got 5 On It” The Luniz

5. “Smoke Two Joints” Sublime

6. “Stay High” Three 6 Mafia feat. 8 Ball & MJG and Young Buck

7. “Purple Haze” Jimi Hendrix

8. “Kaya” Bob Marley


9. “One Toke Over The Line” Brewer & Shiple

10. “Sweet Leaf” Black Sabbath

11. “Reefer Head Woman” Aerosmith

12. ‘(Roll Another Number) For The Road’ Neil Young

13. “Reefer Man” Cab Calloway

14. “How High” Method Man and Redman

15. “Rainy Day Women No. 12 & 35” Bob Dylan

16. “Hits From The Bong” Cypress Hill

17. “You’re Making Me High” Toni Braxton

18. “Mary Jane” Rick James

19. “Jesus of Suburbia” Green Day

20. “Weed Song” Bone Thugs-N-Harmony

10 songs from the last 5 years that need to be in Rock Band

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For those of you who are into gaming and rock music, you are probably familiar with the Rock Band game franchise on Xbox. The last game in the franchise to come out was Rock Band 3 in 2010. It was known for having many content offerings available for download, which stopped being available in late 2013 but then started up again in early 2015. However, fans of the Rock Band franchise had gotten to the point where they weren’t just looking for new downloadable content for Rock Band 3. They were looking for an entirely new sequel all together. The creator of the franchise, Harmonix, is finally going to satisfy these demands.
It was just announced by Harmonix that Rock Band 4 is in the works and will be released five years after the previous game came out. It is also predicted that it will have all new downloadable content available for gamers to purchase. The great thing about downloadable content in Rock Band is that you can request your own songs to be placed into the game, and then you get to play them yourself. Remember, Rock Band is all about creating your own rock band and living the life of a rock star virtually through your gaming console. But this also gives you the chance to play some of your favorite songs as a rock star and to experience the thrill of having an audience cheering you on as you play it.  
The only thing Rock Band needs to have is newer songs in its downloadable content. In fact, there are ten songs in particular created within the last five years that need to find their way to Rock Band 4 as downloadable content.

These songs are “Bucker Buster” by Viet Cong

“BlockBuster Night Part 1” by Run the Jewels

“Under Control” by the Internet

“Reflektor” by Arcade Fire

“II. Shadow” by Childish Gambino

“We Were Rock & Roll” by Janelle Monae

“Graceless” by the National

“Under the Pressure” by The War on Drugs

“King Kunta” by Kendrick Lamar

“New You” by My Bloody Valentine

Chances are newer gamers from the current generation would have probably heard of these songs and bands by now. If you are an older gamer from the 80s generation then you are probably looking for soft or classic rock.

Either way, you’ll still have a good time playing these songs if they do become available for Rock Band 4.

Samson by Regina Spektor

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The first time I heard this song was on The Voice (performance below)

I couldn’t believe it–had I heard this Regina Spektor song before? It turns out this song is older…regardless, I decided to post this song, in the spirit of timeless music; lasting forever.

Until next time…get LOUD AND NOISY!

Music Streaming Service Grooveshark Shuts Down

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The music streaming service known as “Grooveshark” is finally shutting down after ten years of service. A letter on their homepage last month announced the termination of the company. Grooveshark was most famously known for being a music streaming service, but they apparently failed to secure the proper licenses with a number of music producers and record companies that owned the rights to the music. Grooveshark claims their intentions were good because they wanted to help fans discover and share music with each other. But due to these legal issues regarding licenses and a settlement that was made with the recording companies, Grooveshark had no choice but to shut down completely.
Many people have misconceptions about music streaming by thinking it must be illegal or unauthorized by the record companies. The truth is that music streaming is perfectly legal as long as you get authorization from the record companies to stream their music. This entails purchasing a license from the company to legally stream their music. The company ends up getting a percentage of the earnings generated from their music streams and the music service provider ends up getting the rest. Some examples of music streaming services that are legally operating are Spotify, Google Play, Amazon Prime Music, Apple’s Beats Music and Deezer.
Grooveshark gained attention because they allowed people to just upload music files to their website. These music files were not screened for copyrights or anything. Grovoeshark basically became a file sharing website where people could just share their music files with each other. The problem with any kind of file sharing service is that illegal activity runs rampant. If somebody uploads a file that is copyrighted and illegal to reproduce, that person is committing a crime. Also the people who download the music are committing a crime as well. On top of that, the file sharing service provider will get in the most trouble for permitting this behavior. That is why authorized music streaming sites, like Google Play, put new artists that submit their music files under very strict agreements. You are only allowed to upload files to Google Play that you own the rights to. It is not a file sharing site where you can just distribute any random file to other people. Each file you upload is screened and the submitter is forced to contractual agree that they hold the rights to it. Unfortunately, this was not the business model that Grooveshark lived by which is why they were forced out of business.

Milani’s Top 3 for 2015!

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This week I’m highlighting 3 different tracks from 3 different artists that have stood out among the clutter this year…

Tobias Jesso Jr. is a Canadian singer/songwriter who released his debut album earlier this year. He’s got an interesting backstory. He started out in Vancouver in an indie band as a bass player. The band moved to L.A. to back a young pop singer, but that didn’t work out. So Tobias started to work as a songwriter in L.A. He didn’t have much luck as a songwriter and wasn’t finding any work. Then after breaking up with his girlfriend, he got hit by a car while riding his bike (injuring his hand and having his bike stolen in the process). The very next day he found out his mom had cancer. This chain of events helped push him to move back to Vancouver, and he decided songwriting was going to move to hobby status (his music equipment was left in storage in L.A.). He then proceeded to use the family piano to write a song for himself, which he sang (he was never confident in his singing ability). He posted a video on YouTube and Facebook, and started getting really positive feedback from both friends and strangers. As he posted some more material, more buzz followed. This eventually led to some demos and then a record deal. He worked with multiple producers on the album, including Patrick Carney (Black Keys), Ariel Rechtshaid (Usher, Vampire Weekend, Kylie Minogue) and Chet “JR” White (Girls). Adele tweeted a link to his video for “How Could You Babe” which garnered him a lot of attention, and he was booked on The Tonight Show for his TV debut before his album was even released. His album “Goon” came out in March and Jesso Jr. wrote it entirely himself, centering on his piano and vocals. His sound has a very ‘70s era vibe, definitely doesn’t sound contemporary at all. Jesso Jr. continues to gain popularity; I read that he was hanging with Taylor Swift and that he may be collaborating with Adele on a song for her upcoming album. So definitely check him out if you’re looking for something mellow to listen to. I’m including the lead track from his debut album “Can’t Stop Thinking About You”, which is a very stripped-down song with mostly just Tobias and his piano. It reminds me, just a little bit, of the theme from Cheers (part of the piano that is).
“Can’t Stop Thinking About You”

AWOLNATION struck it big with the anthem “Sail” from their debut album “Megalithic Symphony”, which went platinum in the U.S. and double platinum in Canada. This is a solo project from Aaron Bruno, who used it to record music that didn’t fit with his other bands he was playing with. He freely mixed genres, incorporating both live instruments and electronic elements, very slick production and a heavy electro-pop vibe. The sophomore album came out earlier this year, titled “Run”. I’ve heard it’s more of the same, but I have to admit I haven’t yet listened to the album yet. I’ve heard the lead single “Hollow Moon (Bad Wolf)” many times though, and I still haven’t gotten tired of it (granted I don’t listen to the radio a whole lot). So for those of you that are sick of this track, I apologize, but if you’re not familiar with it then check it out. It has all of the key AWOLNATION elements, bombastic production, and a heavily arpeggiated blend of new wave, electro and pop with a powerful chorus. This is one artist that is maybe better to listen to in small doses, becausehe mixes so many elements into his songs it can be fatiguing to take in an entire album in one sitting. My favorite part of “Hollow Moon (Bad Wolf) is the chorus (I like the fast-spoken words). I also like the overly bombastic part about 3 minutes in where the music starts pounding even harder before Bruno starts screaming like a lunatic. Again, the production on this song makes it “pop” when it comes on the radio compared to most other songs.
“Hollow Moon (Bad Wolf)”

The Arcs is the latest collaboration from Dan Auerbach (of the Black Keys). Auerbach keeps busy, in between Black Keys albums he’s recording solo albums and producing records by other artists. When his bandmate, Patrick Carney, injured his shoulder this year and the Black Keys took some time off, Auerbach pulled together a side project which is The Arcs. He partnered with Leon Michaels, a multi-instrumentalist who Auerbach worked with in the studio on albums by Lana Del Ray and Dr. John. They brought in some other friends to play on the album. “Yours, Dreamily” was released in September. The album was recorded hastily, in two weeks across three different studios, and has a spontaneous vibe to it. The music is not unlike the Black Keys, especially their last album. Auerbach does take advantage of being more experimental, there’s more of a psychedelic tone on some tracks and overall the record is a little more soulful and harkens back to classic R&B. The band is pretty tight and there’s a definite groove throughout the album. Unlike AWOLNATION, this is an album that you can easily digest all of the way through. The track I’m highlighting “Put a Flower in Your Pocket” was a favorite right away after my first listen. The song has psychedelic elements and has some cool production techniques on it to make it sound more retro. But I really like the overall vibe of the track, the band plays well together and it has a timeless element to it – not to mention a great chorus.
“Put a Flower in Your Pocket”

The Playlist – New Bands: Vogue Dots, Gold Celeste, Palace Winter and More!

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TheGuardian.com has featured a great playlist on their website. The playlist contains new bands that are bound to make names for themselves. These bands include Palace Winter, Gold Celeste, Vogue Dots and Future Elevators. The duo group “Vogue Dots” features Tynan Dunfield and Babette Hayward. They are both sound technicians from Nova Scotia and have just released their first single “Way with Silence.” Their music has a textured synthwave that is a cross between heavier Goth and airy dream pop. It is both murky and cloudy at the same time. Critics say Hayward’s voice is similar to that of Lana Del Rey’s voice.
Gold Celeste’s “Open Your Eyes” is the second single to be released from the band’s first album called “The Glow.” The band calls themselves Gold Celeste because of the beautiful colors in the sky that you see just before sunset and right after sunrise. Their music is supposed to represent the glow that every human being is carrying around with them, even if they are not aware of it. However, their music doesn’t just focus on the good. It also focuses on the bad as well. Human beings are capable of being extremely loving and extremely hateful. Gold Celeste wants their music to be both of these things because this is what creates the glow.

Palace Winter has fast and loud vocals with a shade of deep sadness to it. The duo band claims to be influenced by Seinfeld and Elliot Smith. Their new song “Menton” lasts for six minutes, but it is an entertaining six minutes. The song comes from the band’s debut EP called “Medication” and will be released in October. Anyone who is a fan of Kurt Vile or the war on drugs and vaccines will love this music. It has a steady rhythm that can be considered thoughtful electronic independent country music.

Future Elevators’ first single “Modern World” comes from the five piece Alabama debut album. It is already scheduled to be released in January of 2016 on the “Communicating Vessels” label. The name is appropriate seeing how the music tends to communicate a sense of wonderment to the listener. This groovy music from the band is just as interesting as the music of Gold Celeste. Future Elevators have also had many influences. They claim Modern World was influenced by the Carl Sagan documentary called “Cosmos: A Personal Voyage,” which is a theme about technology and all of the possibilities it can deliver to the world and universe.

Beyoncé Collaborates with Coldplay

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Superstar and pop icon Beyoncé just finished recording a musical collaboration with the famous British rockers known as “Coldplay.” The beautiful and talented Beyoncé went with Chris Martin and his band to the studio to record a musical track for their new album entitled “A Head Full of Dreams.” Other musicians on the album include Swedish winger Tove Lo, gospel star Merry Clayton and British rocker Noel Gallagher. This album is scheduled to be released on December 15th. Fans on message boards and social media are already hyped up about the release. You can be sure the sales will be through the roof.
It is not unusual for Chris Martin and his band “Coldplay” to collaborate with other musicians and singers. The band has already collaborated with Rihanna on Princess of China, which can be found as a feature on the 2011 Coldplay record “Mylo Xyloto.” But according to Coldplay, recording their most recent track with Beyoncé was the most enjoyable time they had making a record ever. Not only that, but they are very happy with the results as well. Perhaps they are happy to have such a notable singer and musician like Beyoncé to collaborate with them. Just putting her name on the album is enough to gain a lot of notoriety for the album.
On November 6th, 2015, the first single from their album premiered, which was entitled “Adventure Of a Lifetime.” The rockers from Coldplay even appeared on BBC Radio 1, which is a British radio station that is well known throughout the United Kingdom. The rockers only finished their record three weeks ago. They claim they were very close to missing the deadline for completing it, but fortunately the deadline moved gradually to a later date. The leader of the band, Chris Martin, said in an interview that this record will be much more cheerful than their previous record called “2014’s Ghost Stories.” The new record featuring Beyoncé is colorful and joyful. Those who listen to the album will get a sense of the happiness and freedom the band felt while recording it.
Chris was very enthusiastic about the new album and expressed his hope that it would give the band their first headline appearance ever at the Glastonbury festival in Britain next year. He feels this festival is the band’s spiritual home and it is where they belong. With their increasing popularity, Chris might just get his wish.

Happy 100th Les Paul: 5 Classic Albums with a Les Paul on the Cover

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The Gibson Les Paul is a very popular guitar amongst musicians. It has been on the market for over 60 years and used by so many iconic guitar players, such as Jimmy Page, Pete Townshend, Eric Clapton, Slash, Izzy Stradlin, Keith Urban, Muddy Waters and so many more musicians. But what is truly iconic is there have been five album covers with these legendary musicians with a Gibson Les Paul guitar in their hands. These album covers show how much love these legends truly have for this guitar.
If you look at the cover of 1975’s Blow By Blow featuring Jeff Beck, it features him playing on his electric guitar. There is no singing or anything going on there, except from the Gibson Les Paul electric guitar. This cover contained one of the earliest illustrations to feature the Les Paul. You will find plenty of other Les Paul cover examples from albums such as 1975’s Alive by Kiss, 1975’s Bob Marley and the Wailers Live, 1979’s Neil Young and Crazy Horse in Rust Never Sleeps, and 2013’s Skydog the Duane Allman Retrospective.
So why is the Gibson Les Paul popular amongst musicians? Many famous musicians claim they were inspired by the sounds produced from the instrument. Big rock bands, like Pearl Jam and Nirvana, were said to have been inspired by Neil Young’s guitar playing with the Les Paul. The instrument itself is a solid body electric guitar that was first introduced by the Gibson Guitar Corporation back in 1952. The man who created the Gibson Les Paul was actually named Les Paul. He was a songwriter, guitarist and inventor. Les Paul was born in 1915 and died in 2008, so he did live a pretty long life. But even though he is dead, people are still celebrating his 100th birthday by remembering five classic albums that featured the Les Paul guitar on their cover.
The very first Les Paul that was sold contained two P-90 pickups and complete gold finishing. In 1958, sunburst finishes were added with humbucking pickups. Over the next 50 years, the guitar would be redesigned repeatedly to accommodate the look and feel of certain musical genres. Musicians use Les Paul guitars with all kinds of musical genres, including blues, punk, reggae, jazz, soul, rock, heavy metal and more. The craftsmanship of the guitar is topnotch, which means you can expect to pay thousands of dollars if you want to purchase one.