Black Label Society’s Zakk Wylde is a monster. Well, not literally a monster, but if you listen to his guitar riffs – the way they slither, slide, and strike – they will haunt and enchant your dreams in equal measures. Just like those Universal Monsters and Hammer Horror films. His monstrous riffs make an impact and leave their mark. A dyed-in-the-wool Hard Rock fan, Wylde understands every nuance of what makes rock music a powerful tool. He’s learned from his influences and has added his own stamp to the music that he has been creating on his own for nearly 30 years. While many artists tend to lose their power and focus three decades into their career, Zakk Wylde just keeps knocking those astonishing riffs back like cans of cheap beer at a July 4th barbecue… and he shows absolutely NO signs of stopping.

Zakk Wyle first came to prominence in the late 1980s when he joined Ozzy Osbourne’s band and made his first appearance on 1988’s NO REST FOR THE WICKED album. After several more albums with Ozzy, Wylde released the 1994 self-titled album with his band Pride & Glory. The album was still heavy, but the group’s sound was largely influenced by Southern Rock. In between more albums and tours with Ozzy, he released the solo album BOOK OF SHADOWS in 1996. Wylde stepped things up a notch when he formed the band Black Label Society, who released, SONIC BREW, their debut album, in 1999. The perfect project to display his talents, Black Label Society has been Wylde’s main artistic vehicle since he left Ozzy’s band after the 2007 album BLACK RAIN. While BLS has forged a distinct sound over time, they also move forward with each release. And 22 years after their debut, they remain fresh and invigorating.

With the release of DOOM CREW, INC., Zakk Wylde and Black Label Society return with a monster of an album. While the title of the album my reference the group’s tendency to travel down darker avenues, the album is far from depressing. In some ways, the sound of DOOM CREW, INC. reflects the times we live in – dark, grey, and ominous – yet it also features moments that are quite haunting and beautiful. Wylde’s pounding riffs and bellowing vocals give way to ethereal acoustic guitars that seem to float and swirl around the room. Like Led Zeppelin and other Classic Rock bands, Zack Wylde and Co. know how to balance the heavy riffs, the melodies, and the inner groove of the songs, creating powerful music that sticks with you long after the party has ended. Highlights from DOOM CREW, INC. include “Set You Free”, “Forever And A Day”, “Love Reign Down”, “You Made Me Want To Live”, and “Gather My Sins”. It’s time to give in to the power of Black Label Society!



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Founded in Orange County, California in 2004, alt-rock band Cold War Kids was formed by Nathan Willett (vocals/piano/guitar) and Matt Maust (bass) with Jonnie Russell (guitar) and Matt Aveiro (drums). After several well-received EPs, the group released their debut album, ROBBERS & COWARDS, in 2006. The album was an international hit, entering the Top 40 in the UK, Scotland, and Belgium, but only reached #173 in the U.S. However, the album created a buzz that got louder with each passing month, paving way for the release of LOYALTY TO LOYALTY (2008), which reached #21 in the U.S. and charted high internationally. The group became favorites with critics and music fans alike, moving from strength to strength and building their career bit by bit, piece by piece. And their success didn’t stop there…

MINE IS YOURS (2011) was another international hit, proving that the band – who continued to evolve with each release – had hit on a winning formula. Although they lost original guitarist Jonnie Russell (replaced by former Modest Mouse member Dann Gallucci), the group’s commercial and critical momentum continued with DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS (2013). By the time they released HOLD MY HOME (2014), original drummer Matt Aveiro had been replaced by Joe Plummer, another former member of Modest Mouse. The group had expanded by one member as well with the addition of keyboardist Matthew Schwartz. Guitarist David Quon replaced Dann Gallucci by the time L.A. DIVINE was released in 2017. The band’s obvious funk and soul influences came to the fore on their seventh album, NEW AGE NORMS 1 (2019), the first in a trilogy of releases. The second volume, NEW AGE NORMS 2, was released in 2020.

As 2021 draws to a close, Cold War Kids release their ninth album NEW AGE NORMS 3, the closing chapter of the trilogy. The rough and raw sound of the group’s early EPs and debut album has evolved over time. Still filled with Pop hooks and inventive arrangements, the group has roughened out the edges and upped their songwriting chops. This evolution is not new – the band has been moving in this direction for over a decade – but the ending results are quite impressive. The album’s lead single is “What You Say” but the album is filled with ‘should-be-hits’ including “I Can’t Walk Away”, “Wasted All Night”, and “Always” to name a few. For a band that could easily rest on its laurels, Cold War Kids have decided to sharpen their focus and create an album that will reach a new legion of fans while not alienating their longtime followers. NEW AGE NORMS 3 may be the final word in this trilogy but the group leaves things open for new stories and new musical explorations… so stay tuned!



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Does anyone remember who won the great Britpop war of the 1990s? Was it Oasis or was it Blur? Or maybe Suede? My Life Story? Super Furry Animals? Back then, it seemed like such a big deal but now it is just another thumbtack on the road map of pop culture. In hindsight, you’ll realize that very few of the Britpop bands survived the battle without losing band members or falling apart altogether. While the Britpop bands’ music continues to be played and talked about, only a handful of the musicians involved had any longevity in the music industry. The sparring Oasis brothers (Liam and Noel Gallagher) certainly did since both are still releasing music (separately, of course). Suede, My Life Story, and a few other bands have returned from the shadows after hiding away for a bit. However, only one of the Britpop artists involved has thrived – and evolved – since the wars died down: Damon Albarn.

As leader of Blur, he was the voice of young England in the 1990s and withstood the punches and blows from his main competitors, those cantankerous Gallagher brothers. When the dust settled, he set Blur aside and pursued many different musical avenues including Gorillaz, Mali Music, The Good, The Bad & The Queen, and many other side-projects and collaborations. More importantly, Damon Albarn experimented with many styles of music – from electronica to hip hop, pop to world music. Using his high profile for good, Albarn was also one of the forces behind the Honest Jon’s Records label, helping to release many obscure and eclectic artists. While his musical projects have been successful both artistically and/or commercially, Albarn has continued to follow his muse, creating or supporting music that he feels passionate about.

Now, in 2021, Damon Albarn unleashes THE NEARER THE FOUNTAIN, MORE PURE THE STREAM FLOWS, an album that stands apart from his previous releases yet still retains that classic Albarn songwriting style. Initially, the album was meant to be an orchestral album inspired by Iceland’s landscapes but the pandemic – and ensuing lockdowns – changed the direction of the project. The album evolved and became a proper solo album with Damon’s voice surrounded by a landscape of electronic noises, both modern and vintage. The songs can sometimes feel cold and barren yet, overall, they are wonderous in their honest beauty. Without making too any comparisons, fans of Albarn’s past projects will embrace the album, but it will also interest fans of pioneering rock legends like David Bowie. In fact, Bowie’s presence can be felt between the different atmospheres that Albarn creates on THE NEARER THE FOUNTAIN, MORE PURE THE STREAM FLOWS. This is an album with depth and emotion that is buoyed by wonderful melodies. If you think you know Damon Albarn, then give this album a spin. You will find that he’s still evolving, still experimenting, and still as relevant as ever.



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Founded in 2011, New Albany, Indiana-based alternative blues band Houndmouth was founded by Matt Myers (guitar/vocals), Zak Appleby (bass/vocals), Shane Cody (drums/vocals), and Katie Toupin (keyboards/vocals). The quartet began playing locally and in surrounding areas, building up a cache of self-penned material. As their popularity began to grow, the members of Houndmouth realized that the next logical step was to head into the studio and record the material that they had been working on. In 2012, they released their self-titled EP to great acclaim. In order to build their audience outside their area, the quartet headed to Texas in March 2012 to promote the EP. Their live performance impressed audience member Geoff Travis, the head of Rough Trade Records, who signed the band to his label. There was no looking back for Houndmouth…

The band’s debut album, FROM THE HILLS BELOW THE CITY, was released in 2013. The album was embraced by the Americana crowd, and it earned the band press, television appearances (Letterman, Conan, etc.), high profile live shows and music festivals including Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo, the Americana Music Festival, and more. Houndmouth’s second album, LITTLE NEON LIMELIGHT, earned them even more kudos and the band headed out on the road to promote the album and the #1 single “Sedona”. The album landed in the Top 10 of Billboard’s Folk Albus chart and Indie Albums chart. However, Katie Toupin departed Houndmouth in 2016 and the remaining trio signed to Reprise Records. They released the album GOLDEN AGE in 2018 to more acclaim. Over the course of the next three years, Houndmouth left Reprise Records and signed with respected indie label Dualtone Records and began work on their fourth album.

In 2021, the trio finally release their long-awaited fourth album GOOD FOR YOU. While the classic Houndmouth sound is alive and well on the album, there is more emotional depth and intimacy on songs such as “Cool Jam”, “Miracle Mile”, “Goodbye”, and “Good for You”. The album was recorded with Brad Cook (Waxahatchee, Hiss Golden Messenger) and mixed by Jon Ashley (The War On Drugs, B.J. Barham), both of whom brought that warm and rustic sound out of the band again. In some ways, this is a return to the band’s early sound, yet they sound fresh and invigorated and ready to take on the world. Further GOOD FOR YOU highlights include “Make it To Midnight”, “Ride or Die”, and the single/video “Las Vegas”. In a world that sometimes feels like it is going topsy-turvy, Houndmouth’s GOOD FOR YOU is a reassuring audio hug when you need it most.



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Mixing Country & Western, Folk, Rock ‘n’ Roll, Hayes Carll – born Joshua Hayes Carll on January 9, 1976, in Houston, Texas – is a singer, songwriter and storyteller. Combining truth and honesty with a sarcastic wit, he has become one of Texas’ brightest – and often underrated – talents. Inspired by some of America’s greatest songwriters – Bob Dylan, John Prince, Townes Van Zandt, Kris Kristofferson, and others – he picked up his first guitar at the age of 15 and has never looked back. Spending time in Conway, Arkansas and attending Hendrix College, he graduated with a history degree and headed back to Texas where he began to play gigs in local bars, offering early glimpses of his own self-penned material. After building up a catalog of his own songs, Hayes Carll set his sights on the next logical step: a recording career.

He released his debut album, FLOWERS & LIQUOR, in 2002. The album earned him a Best New Act honor from the Houston Press. His next album, LITTLE ROCK (2004), built upon the excitement that his debut album had generated, which help make it the first self-released album to reach the #1 position on the Americana Albums chart. Since one thing always leads to another, Hayes Carll found himself signing to the Lost Highway label, where he released his third album, TROUBLE IN MIND, in 2008. The album featured the single “She Left Me for Jesus”, which won the Americana Music Association’s Song of the Year in 2008.

He contributed four songs to the soundtrack to the 2010 film COUNTRY STRONG before releasing his next album, KMAG YOYO & OTHER AMERICAN STORIES. The album earned him more acclaim and accolades, but Hayes Carll chose to leave Lost Highway and didn’t release a new album until 2016’s LOVERS AND LEAVERS. In the meantime, Lee Ann Womack’s version of his “Chances Are” earned him a 2015 Grammy Award nomination for Best Country Song. Signing with the esteemed Dualtone Records, Hayes released WHAT IT IS (2019) and ALONE TOGETHER SESSIONS (2020).

With the release of 2021’s YOU GET IT ALL, Hayes Carll continues to bring heartbreak and joy into the same spotlight with another batch of songs that are both brutally and beautifully honest. Produced by Allison Moorer and Kenny Greenberg, the album is the next logical step in a career built by logical steps. The album – which features songs co-written by Brothers Osbourne, Sean McConnell, and Brandy Clark – is about as down-to-earth as you’d expect from Hayes. While intimate and warm, the songs are covered in a layer of grit, spit, and dust – all of which make the listener feel as if they are home, listening to an old friend spin tales about life out in the real world. Songs like “Nice Things”, “Different Boats”, “The Way I Love You”, “Any Other Way” highlight his often humorous but always honest approach to songwriting and performing. Hayes Carll is an artist that won’t sell you an emotion – he’ll rip it out of his heart, clean it up a little, and hand it to you without skipping a beat. For him, music is about the connection between performer and listener and on YOU GET IT ALL, you get it all!



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