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Friday, July 20, 2007

"Hello everyone - I wanted to personally send out a message to let our fans know that the tour for Human Nature will be Harem Scarem's last.
We will make one more studio record and then after 20 years we have decided to move on to other things. We look forward to seeing you in September/October for our final tour." - Harry Hess.

Annie Lennox will release her first solo material in over four years on October 1 with a new album called 'Songs of Mass Destruction'.

The current trend of covers albums shows no signs of abating with KORN now recording covers by the Psychedelic Furs and Faith No More with a view to releasing a full album of covers possibly next year.

NEIL DANIELS' "Defenders Of The Faith: The True Story Of Judas Priest" will be published via Omnibus Press, 14 September, 2007.

EMI America will release a MEGADETH box set entitled ‘Warchest’ this autumn.

L.A. GUNS vocalist PHIL LEWIS has a compilation of songs gathered over a twenty-year period featuring live and alternative versions of well know "Gems" from five different bands. Including rare hard to find never before released songs. It is now available on a very limited basis and as an added bonus the first hundred will be personally autographed. More at -




Noted West Coast session guitarist Michael Thompson branched out with his own band who released one solitary album in the late 80’s, which became cult listening in AOR circles and now gets a timely re-release.
The original hype passed me by- indeed, my copy went back to the Record and Tape Exchange after one listen- so I listened again with a degree of nervousness. The CD is super smooth and anyone looking for crashing rhythms and powerchords had better search elsewhere. The arrangements are very much designed to place the spotlight on clear, soulful vocals from Moon Calhoun and Thompson’s guitar, tasteful and restrained but occasionally given room to flex out his jazzy style, somewhat like Steve Lukather- check out his extended solo on the seven minute Give Love A Chance.
Songs like opener Secret Information and Wasteland are classic pieces of eighties AOR, balanced by laid back ballads such as Never Stop Falling and the pop-rock of Can’t Miss and Gloria. But the overall feel is of slick west coast music, at times verging on white soul: recommended for fans of the likes of Fahrenheit-era Toto, Chicago and Richard Marx.
I’ve partly been won over by this album now, but the three bonus tracks are almost worth buying the CD for in their own right- Right to be Wrong and Love Goes On (Jeff Paris’s song I can’t Let Go with a different title) rock much harder than the rest of the album, while Wheelchair is Calhoun’s spiritually uplifting tale of his current condition.

Andy Nathan


Concurrent with the re-release of his How Long album, noted session guitarist Michael Thompson makes a return with his new project, joining forces with vocalist/bassist Mark Williamson and much-travelled drummer John Robinson.
While still in the general melodic rock idiom, the feel of the album is surprisingly far removed from Thompson’s West Coast roots. If anything, in feel, songs like Hold On, Indiscretion and Gonna be some Changes lean more to bluesy southern rock, helped by Williamson’s bourbon-soaked vocals, somewhere between the Allman Brothers and Bad Company. The heartfelt Only a Letter is the most AOR sounding track on view, leading into an impressive trio of Hard Time Love, One Good Woman and Love Comes Calling. The closest comparisons I could think of were 38 Special on the albums with Max Carl and the Gregg Rolie sung numbers on the Storm albums.
In short an album that marries classic bluesy rock with a more AOR approach, but quality wins through in the end.

Andy Nathan

TIGER ARMY ‘Music From regions Beyond’ Hellcat Records (2007)

Follow-up to the band’s debut album released back in 2004. Musically it is a collection of alternative rock meets punk – the Dictators and the Misfits come to mind on ‘Hotprowl’ and the opening chant of ‘Prelude: Signal Return’. ‘Ghosts Of Memory’ is a strong tune but being brutally honest unless your under 25 and full of angst this is hardly going to float your boat as it has all been done before and often a lot better!

Jason Ritchie

DARKWATER ‘1920’ (CDS 2007)

Second single by the Glaswegian electro rockers and this time around they have a big name producer in Anthrax’s Scott Ian. Both ‘1920’ (complete with a promo video that will delight gentlemen of a certain age!) and ‘Left Behind’ are catchy rockers, like a more radio friendly NIN! Also on here is a live version of ‘Find What We Take’.
Very enjoyable single from a band on the up and up.

Jason Ritchie

ROBB JOHNSON & THE IRREGULARS ‘All That Way For This’ Irregular Records (2007)

Having been luckily enough to see Robb Johnson perform live at the Stripes Bar at Brentford FC (now sadly defunct) I was looking forward to hearing his new album. He is ably backed by his Irregulars who provide accordion, violin, bass, percussion and backing vocals. Robb Johnson is what you would call a classic singer/songwriter as opposed to a record company’s version of a singer/songwriter like that twat James Blunt. He carries on the fine folk tradition of weaving current events into timeless themes such as love, relationships and urban life.
I urge you all to listen to ‘Moron Land’ which has very funny lyrics but sadly they are so true in that we are a nation of mindless zombies watching ‘Big Brother’, drinking and loving the celebrity. ‘No-One Wants To Look Like You’ takes a shot at people who want us all to look the same and conform. As you may gather he doesn’t hide his political and personal views but then the best folk songs have always been ones like this. There are some very accessible almost pop moments like ‘Pink Shoes’, which could easily make its way onto radio 2 play lists, as could ‘Sunny Afternoon In Limenau’.
Strong and thought provoking lyrics with very catchy melodies thrown in makes for a wonderful album. Robb Johnson is one of the better singer/songwriters out there – up there with Richard Thompson in my book.

Jason Ritchie


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