For a musician, longevity is always the goal. No musician wants to leave their mundane day job, make a few records, and tour the country several times, only to be back working a day job in two- or three-years’ time. However, even if they do fall into that all-too-common situation, they still create music in their spare time. A true artist never stops creating – it is in their blood. Very few musicians are able to push forward, leap over obstacles, overcome failures, and continue on their quest to take their art to a new level. It takes determination, strength, belief, and passion to accomplish anything in this universe, but you must possess a little magic in order to connect with an audience and, more importantly to maintain that connection. Jeff Rosenstock is one of those artists.

Born in Long Island, he first came to prominence in 1998 as a member of ska-punk band The Arrogant Sons of Bitches. His next high-profile project, Bomb the Music Industry! debuted in 2005. And let’s not forget the other bands he was involved with – Pegasuses-XL, Kudrow, Antartictgo Vespucci, and the Bruce Lee Band. And then there is his production work for The Smith Street Band, Binary Heart, Mikey Erg, Laura Stevenson, and others. And we haven’t even touched on his successful solo career including the albums WE COOL? (2015), WORRY (2016), POST- (2018), and NO DREAM (2020). An artist that is capable of moving between genres with ease – sometimes in the same song – Rosenstock has become a critical favorite and has built a loyal following over the years. With NO DREAM drawing rave reviews, the pandemic brought live shows to a halt. With time on their hands, Rosenstock and his band contemplated their next step. They settled on something very special…

2021’s SKA DREAM is a blending of Rosenstock’s past and present: a complete Ska re-working of NO DREAM. Where the original album was energetic modern Punk, SKA DREAM takes the songs in a more spirited direction. Still packed with that Punk edge, they Ska rhythms add a different layer to the songs, taking removing the angst and replacing it with a more playful style of angst. SKA DREAM does not remove the emotional punch of NO DREAM – it just redirects it in a different direction. There’s no denying that Rosenstock’s career has taken him on many different paths, but this album brings everything full circle without feeling like it is just a trip down Ska Punk nostalgia lane. It is new, fresh, and fun. And as we know, we could all use more fun in our lives!



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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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Metalcore band Every Time I Die was formed in Buffalo, New York in 1998. Founded by Jordan Buckley (lead guitar), Andy Williams (rhythm guitar), Keith Buckley (vocals), Mike Novak (drums), and John McCarthy (bass), the group released their first EP, THE BURIAL PLOT BIDDING WAR, in 1999. By the year 2000, McCarthy had been replaced by Aaron Ratajczak and the band entered the studio to begin work on their debut album, LAST NIGHT IN TOWN (2001). The album was positively received by critics and music fans alike, which fed into the excitement of their next album HOT DAMN! (2003), which featured new bassist Stephen Micciche. The band’s touring schedule was including headlining and co-headlining tours in the U.S. and overseas. And things were only going to get busier…

The year 2005 brought a new album, GUTTER PHENOMENON, and a new bass player (Kevin Falk) and ore accolades from music critics and their growing fanbase around the world. The critically-acclaimed THE BIG DIRTY (2007) raised their commercial profile even higher and featured guitarists Buckley and Williams handling bass duties in the studio. NEW JUNK AESTHETIC (2009) was the last album to feature drummer Novak and the first to include new bassist Josh Newton. 2012’s EX LIVES was another highly acclaimed album in their catalog and their first to feature new drummer Ryan Leger. The album FROM PARTS UNKNOWN (2014) was one of the best reviewed albums in their catalog and featured the return of bassist Stephen Micciche. LOW TEENS (2016) received even more acclaim, making Every Time I Die one of the most critically lauded and successful bands of the Metalcore genre. After more successful touring, the band headed into the studio to work on their next album. And then the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic hit…

Finished right before lockdowns began in the U.S. RADICAL sat in limbo, awaiting a safe time for the band to tour in support of the album. Now that lockdowns have lifted in many parts of the U.S. and the rest of the world, the band realized that the time was right to bring the album to the masses. The album features powerful anthems such as “Post-Boredom,” “Planet Shit,” “A Colossal Wreck,” “Desperate Pleasures,” and “AWOL”. However, don’t expect your average Hardcore onslaught with RADICAL since Every Time I Die is not your average Hardcore band. Songs like “Sly” reveal their unique approach, which has been a big part of what has helped the band build an international audience. While the album was completed before the pandemic, the overall ‘vibe’ of the album feels like the music is dragging the listener out of hopelessness and into a confused world that is drizzled with just a small dollop of hope. And isn’t that the point of Rock ‘n Roll? You’ve got to scream and shout every once in a while. Life isn’t always about lollipops and rainbows and Every Time I Die are here to remind you about it.



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It’s been a while since we’ve heard from Xenia Rubinos. The Hartford, Connecticut-born singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist raised a lot of eyebrows with the release of her full-length debut album, BLACK TERRY CAT, in 2016. Unlike many of her contemporaries, Xenia Rubinos’ album was an unpredictable mix of R&B, Jazz, Pop, and Hip-Hop influences filtered through an artist with a unique voice and a gift for melodies. The album received critical acclaim and introduced Xenia to a larger audience. Listeners were caught off-guard by the emotional depth and power of her music, and she became one of the most talked about artists on the scene. But it didn’t start there…

Born to a Puerto Rican mother and a Cuban father, her musical influences were classical composers such as Prokofiev and Ravel. Growing up, her father introduced Xenia to salsa, merengue, rumba, and other Latin musical styles. On her own, she discovered Hip-Hop, R&B, and, more importantly, Jazz, which inspired her to study the genre at Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. Armed with her love of all genres of music and a deeper knowledge of creating art, she released MAGIC TRIX, her debut album, independently in 2013. The album impressed critics, music lovers, and even record label execs. Signing with Anti- Records, Xenia Rubinos’ next album, the previously mentioned BLACK TERRY CAT (2016) introduced her talents to a larger audience that has been anxiously awaiting her next musical outing…

Xenia Rubinos’ third album, 2021’s UNA ROSA is exactly what you would expect from her: unpredictable and fresh. While still very accessible to Pop audiences, the album embraces her more eclectic side, offering up an album of songs that strip away the formulaic edge of Pop and adds more of her early influences like Latin and Jazz while also experimenting with new rhythms and sound. While a few songs may sound unconventional on first listen, they reveal their charms over repeated spins. Moody, atmospheric, thoughtful, and melodic, the album is filled with songs that seduce you and overpower your senses. Highlights include “Worst Behavior”, “Did My Best”, “Sacude”, “Don’t Put Me in the Red” and “Cógelo Suave”. But those tracks only represent a small part of what Xenia Rubinos offers on this bravely eclectic release.



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Post-Hardcore band Thrice was formed in Irvine, California in 1998 by high schoolers Dustin Kensrue (guitar/vocals) and Teppei Teranishi (lead guitar). The duo quickly recruited Eddie Breckenridge (bass) and his brother Riley (drums), and the band’s line-up was complete. The released their limited edition first EP, FIRST IMPRESSIONS, in 1999. The following year, they issued their debut full-length album IDENTITY CRISIS. The band began to build a buzz, picking up some high-profile support gigs and capturing the attention of record labels. Signing with Sub City/Hopeful, the album was reissued in 2001 and the band toured with several bands, raising their commercial profile even more. Unbeknownst to the band, things were only going to get better and busier for them…

Their next album, ILLUSION OF SAFETY, was released in 2002. They began the year as the opening act for other bands but within a few months, Thrice became headliners. Moving over to Island Records, they released the album THE ARTIST IN THE AMBULANCE in 2003. The following year came the CD/DVD package IF WE COULD ONLY SEE US NOW, which featured audio rarities and a documentary. The band continued to tour and release albums such as VHEISSU (2005), THE ALCHEMY INDEX, VOLUMES I & II (2007), THE ALCHEMY INDEX, VOLUMES III & IV (2008), BEGGARS (2009), and MAJOR/MINOR (2011). After a dozen years of constant activity, Thrice took a five-year hiatus before reconvening and releasing their ninth studio album, TO BE EVERYWHERE IS TO BE NOWHERE, in 2016. Signing with the iconic label Epitaph Records, the band released PALMS in 2018, which proved to be yet another success and solidified the band’s reputation as one of modern Alternative Rock’s most exciting bands.

The band returns in 2021 with HORIZONS/EAST, an album that is just as passionate as anything Thrice has released in their 23-year career. Whatever you think post-Hardcore is, think again. On this platter, Thrice turns the genre on its head and as they create their own little musical universe. The album comes as the global pandemic continues its monthly ebb and flow, and the emotions that it brings are reflected on HORIZONS/EAST. The dynamic musical arrangements mimic everything from hope to desperation, confusion to aggression. This is an album of many layers, some of which only reveal themselves over several listens. Their edge is still intact, but these four musicians have matured together, and their musical chemistry allows more atmosphere and emotion to infiltrate the music. Songs like “The Color of the Sky”, “Summer Set Fire to the Rain”, “Robot Soft Exorcism”, “Dandelion Wine”, and “Scavengers” stand out as songs that bridge the gap between what was, what is, and what will be. However, every listener is going to experience the album differently depending on their own life experience. Music tells our stories, and Thrice is here to make sure we all are heard.



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It has been 40 years since Al Jourgensen founded the band Ministry… and what a long, strange tip it’s been! Originally part of the Chicago alternative/punk scene, he eventually switched his attention to an aggressive synth-based sound. Forming the band Ministry in 1981, the band’s dark synth groove caught the attention of Arista Records, who eventually signed the band. By the time their debut album, WITH SYMPATHY, was released in 1983, the label had ‘encouraged’ the band to go in a more commercial synthpop direction. While the album was successful, Jourgensen’s relationship with Arista was not and Ministry left the label. And that is where things began to change for the band. In a short amount of time, the group went from synthpop hopefuls to industrial music pioneers and never looked back.

Although Jourgensen has remained the sole constant member of Ministry, he’s managed to work with some pretty talented musicians including Paul Raven, Martin Atkins, William Tucker, Bill Rieflin, and many others. Ministry’s darker music began with albums like TWITCH (1986) and THE LAND OF RAPE AND HONEY (1988). The band’s popularity rose with the release of albums like THE MIND IS A TERRIBLE THING TO TASTE (1989) and PSALM 69: THE WAY TO SUCCEED AND THE WAY TO SUCK EGGS (1992). Everything on top of those albums – including FILTH PIG (1996), DARK SIDE OF THE SPOON (1999), AND ANIMOSITISOMINA (2003) – were icing on the cake. However, Jourgensen had a very busy schedule with many side projects including Revolting Cocks, Lard, and Buck Satan and the 666 Shooters and he finally shut down the Ministry machine in 2008. However, he realized that Ministry still had a lot to say so he revived the band name in 2011 and a decade later, he is still going strong.

MORAL HYGIENE is Ministry’s fourth album since they rose from the dead and their 15th studio release overall. The album is the follow-up to 2018’s acclaimed AMERIKKKANT release and features guest appearances from former Dead Kennedys frontman Jello Biafra (“Sabotage is Sex”), singer and rapper Arabian Prince (“Alert Level”), and British singer/guitarist Billy Morrison on a cover of the Stooges’ “Search and Destroy”. Lyrically, the album picks up where AMERIKKANT left off but is less angry and confused and more reflective and emotionally powerful. Every song offers new surprises, taking the listener on musical journeys that criss-cross several genres in just a span of a few minutes. Along with the aforementioned tracks, other standouts include “Good Trouble”, “Broken System”, and “We Shall Resist”. While not an easy listen for those raised on the type of peppy pop ear candy that can be found in the Top 40, MORAL HYGIENE is a reminder that music can sound dangerous and still be good for the soul.



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