AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: BEN RECTOR/MAGIC

It has been three years since the release of his last album BRAND NEW but singer/songwriter Ben Rector hasn’t been resting on his laurels. From writing and recording new material to the birth of his daughter in July of 2017, Ben has been busier than ever. Working with producers John Fields (Goo Goo Dolls, All Time Low) and Tony Hoffer (Beck, Air, M83), Ben has been inspired by all the positive changes in his professional and personal life and is now sharing his thoughts with the world. Although MAGIC is his seventh album, he approaches the material with a fresh, new outlook. In many ways, this album feels like Rector has re-energized and refocused his talents and now it is time to move forward and embrace the future.

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999/The Albums 1977- 80 (4CDs) reviewed by THE CHANCELLOR

When talking about the original late ‘70s UK Punk scene, 999 seem to be one of the most overlooked bands of the era. Sex Pistols, The Clash, The Damned, Buzzcocks, The Jam, and The Stranglers are usually the bands that many folks think of first when praising the virtues of Punk and how it levelled and changed the musical landscape. While those bands grabbed the headlines, there were plenty of equally-worthy bands that deserved fame and fortune. As you would probably guess, 999 was one of those bands. 999 made music fueled by Punk yet firmly rooted in classic Rock ‘n’ Roll. The music they recorded may have been born during the Punk era but 40 years later, it remains timeless and essential.  If you need proof of that statement, Captain Oi/Cherry Red’s four CD box set THE ALBUMS 1977-80 is exactly what you need to make you believe. Again.

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AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: GIN BLOSSOMS/MIXED REALITY

Alt-Rockers Gin Blossoms celebrate their 31st Anniversary this year. While they achieved their commercial breakthrough in 1992, the band originally formed in Tempe, Arizona five years earlier. However, it wasn’t until the following year that the band truly gelled with the addition of guitarist Robin Wilson, who would quickly assume the role of the band’s lead vocalist. The band’s independently-released debut album, DUSTED (1989), brought the band plenty of local attention, which eventually lead to their major label deal with A&M Records. By 1992, the band’s NEW MISERABLE EXPERIENCE album was a smash hit – fueled by the massively successful “Hey Jealousy” single – and their guitarist and main songwriter Doug Hopkins was out of the band (he would eventually take his own life). More successful singles followed – including “Found Out About You” and “Til I Hear It From You” – as well as the critically-acclaimed album CONGRATULATIONS… I’M SORRY (1996). The band ground to a halt in early 1997 but reformed in 2001. They released two additional albums – MAJOR LODGE VICTORY (2006) and NO CHOCOLATE CAKE (2010) – and have toured frequently ever since.

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AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: MORCHEEBA/BLAZE AWAY

One of the most attractive features of the Trip Hop genre was it’s haunting quality. While closely associated with the Downtempo and Chill movements, the best Trip Hop provided beauty with an unsettling edge. Listening to Trip Hop should be like walking into an ancient mansion – you are wrapped in beauty but you can feel the presence of something else. The Chill is replaced by chills. And THAT is what makes Trip Hop special. And Morcheeba continues to be the genre’s most consistent and beloved bands – they put the ‘trip’ in Trip Hop.

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AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: THE MYSTERY OF THE BULGARIAN VOICES/BOOCHEEMISH

While many musicians can wring emotion out of their instrumental weapon of choice, there’s no denying that the most emotional instrument of all is the human voice. The song’s melody and lyrics mean nothing if the voice does not connect with the listener. A notable example would be Gospel Music – the soaring voices of a church choir can melt the heart of the most hardened atheist. However, the best example belongs to The Mystery Of The Bulgarian Voices, a female choir that has mastered the art of the voice… and I don’t use the word ‘art’ lightly here. The sounds these voices make are soul-stirring and heartbreaking in equal measures.

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AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: FATOUMATA DIAWARA/FENFO

Fatoumata Diawara is a highly acclaimed singer, songwriter, guitarist and actress from Mali. Her journey began when she was born in the Ivory Coast and has included stints in her father’s dance troupe, as an actress on stage and screen, as a singer in Paris night clubs and as a show-stealing performer at a star-studded tribute concert at Carnegie Hall. All of these experiences inform her sophomore effort FENFO, an album born from tradition yet entirely modern and unique. The long-awaited follow-up to her 2011 debut full-length, FATOU, FENFO lives up to the promise of that debut… and then some.

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FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH returns with AND JUSTICE FOR NONE!

 

Five Finger Death Punch has unleashed “When The Season’s Change,” marking the most massive, melodic song in their repertoire yet, the new song is off the group’s album AND JUSTICE FOR NONE, due out May 18.  A brash bloodletting of airtight riffs, muscular grooves, and seismic melodies, AND JUSTICE FOR NONE’s 13 tracks see Five Finger Death Punch maintain their signature intensity, all while pushing themselves into new territory.

On AND JUSTICE FOR NONE, the quintet—Ivan Moody [vocals], Zoltan Bathory [guitar], Jeremy Spencer [drums], Jason Hook [guitar], and Chris Kael [bass]—fuel the beating bloody heart of 21st century hard rock. Once again, the group hunkered down in its home base of Las Vegas with longtime producer Kevin Churko [Ozzy Osbourne, Disturbed] behind the board a year after GOT YOUR SIX. In the studio, they collectively stepped up their game as a unit. “We just understand each other so well,” says Jeremy Spencer. “There’s a huge level of respect on both sides. He gets the best out of us.”

Five Finger Death Punch’s current single, “Gone Away” (their own rendition of The Offspring’s 1997 hit single) has received over 27 million streams in the U.S., is currently charting #2 on Active Rock and topped the iTunes rock and metal charts globally. Earlier this month, the group released “Fake” (out 4/6) which generated just under 1 million streams in the U.S. during its first week and made the viral chart on Spotify in multiple countries.

5FDP will be hitting the road for a massive series of co-headlining North American dates with Breaking Benjamin this summer, along with special guests Nothing More and Bad Wolves. The summer amphitheater tour, co-produced by Live Nation and Frank Productions, kicks off on July 16, 2018 in Seattle, WA and will make stops in 32 North American cities.

FIVE FINGERS DEATH PUNCH

AND JUSTICE FOR NONE

5.18.18

 

Catch Five Finger Death Punch on tour in the following cities:

5FDP Spring Festival Dates 

5/5/18 – Carolina Rebellion – Concord, NC

5FDP/Shinedown Spring US Tour Dates

5/6/18 – Bridgestone Arena – Nashville, TN

5/8/18 – Rupp Arena – Lexington, KY

5/10/18 – BOK Center – Tulsa, OK

5/11/18 – Westfair Amphitheatre – Council Bluffs, IA

5/12/18 – Eagles Ballroom – Milwaukee, WI *

5/14/18 – Salem Civic Center – Salem, VA

5/16/18 – Legacy Arena – Birmingham, AL

5/17/18 – Ford Center– Evansville, IN

5/18/18 – Mark of the Quad – Moline, IL

5/20/18 – Alerus Center – Grand Forks, ND

5/30/18 – Casper Events Center – Casper, WY

Five Finger Death Punch

5/29/18 – Red Rocks Amphitheater – Morrison, CO

6/1/18 – Deadwood Mountain Grand Hotel – Deadwood, SD

6/2/18 – KQRC Rockfest – Kansas City, MO

6/14-6/16– Montebello Rockfest – Montebello, SC

Five Finger Death Punch + Breaking Benjamin Summer Tour Dates:

* – 5fdp & Bad Wolves only/ ** – 5fdp, Breaking Benjamin & Bad Wolves only

7/16/18 – White River Amphitheatre – Seattle, WA **

7/18/18 – Spokane Arena – Spokane, WA **

7/20/18 – Taco Bell Arena – Boise, ID

7/21/18 – USANA Amphitheatre – Salt Lake City, UT

7/24/18 – Shoreline Amphitheatre – San Francisco, CA

7/25/18 – Mattress Firm Amphitheatre – San Diego, CA

7/27/18 – FivePoint Amphitheater – Irvine, CA

7/29/18 – Isleta Amphitheater – Albuquerque, NM **

8/1/18 – Austin360 Amphitheater – Austin, TX

8/3/18 – Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion – Houston, TX **

8/4/18 – Starplex Pavilion – Dallas, TX

8/6/18 – BankPlus Amphitheater at Snowden Grove – Southaven, MS

8/7/18 – Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre – St. Louis, MO

8/9/18 – Heritage Park Amphitheatre – Simpsonville, SC

8/11/18 – MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre – Tampa, FL

8/12/18 – Verizon Amphitheatre – Atlanta, GA

8/14/18 – KeyBank Pavilion – Pittsburgh, PA

8/15/18 – BB&T Pavilion – Camden, NJ

8/17/18 – The Pavilion at Montage Mountain – Scranton, PA

8/18/18 – Xfinity Center – Boston, MA

8/20/18 – Budweiser Stage – Toronto, ON

8/22/18 – Lakeview Amphitheater – Syracuse, NY **

8/24/18 – Jiffy Lube Live – Bristow, VA

8/25/18 – PNC Bank Arts Center – Holmdel, NJ **

8/28/18 – Riverbend Music Center – Cincinnati, OH

8/29/18 – Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre – Chicago, IL

8/31/18 – Ruoff Home Mortgage Music Center – Indianapolis, IN **

9/1/18 – DTE Energy Music Theatre – Detroit, MI

9/3/18 – Darien Lake Amphitheater – Darien Center, NY

9/6/18 – Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater – Wantagh, NY **

9/7/18 – XFINITY Theatre – Hartford, CT

9/9/18 – Blossom Music Center – Cleveland, OH **

About Five Finger Death Punch

Confidently leading heavy music in the 21st century, Five Finger Death Punch continue to make the impossible a reality at every turn. Since their emergence in 2007, the hard rock band has achieved six consecutive RIAA Gold-certified albums, three of which have gone Platinum since, as well as a Platinum single culminating in their 2015 #1 album GOT YOUR SIX, while at the same time being one of the top rock streaming acts with over 2 billion global streams to date. In 2016, the band also received the prestigious “Soldier Appreciation Award” from The Association of The United States Army. 5FDP frequently play all major festivals globally from Download to Rock Am Ring to Rock on the Range and sell out arenas around the world to countless screaming “Knuckleheads.” Their 2017 Greatest Hits album A DECADE OF DESTRUCTION, boasts two new singles, amongst them “Gone Away”, a cover of the 1997 song by The Offspring which is currently storming the rock charts. 5fdp’s forthcoming seventh full length album, AND JUSTICE FOR NONE, to be released on May 18, 2018 will undoubtedly raise the bar again. The band will emerge on the biggest North American amphitheater rock tour of 2018 from July through September.

AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: SOFI TUKKER/TREEHOUSE

Although there is a dark side lurking beneath the surface, the music of Electronic duo Sofi Tukker is upbeat, fun and adventurous. While the duo’s music is aimed for the feet, there’s certainly a lot to wrap our head around. But before we get ahead of ourselves, let me introduce you to Sophie Hawley-Weld and Tucker Halpern AKA Sofi Tukker. Their name may evoke the spirit of legendary stage/screen/radio icon Sophie Tucker, but this duo’s music is world’s away from the original Sophie’s bawdy burlesque. Sofi Tukker’s two-year journey to their debut album, TREEHOUSE, has included a Grammy nomination, loads of great press and a coveted iPhone 7 commercial spot. Other artists toil away in obscurity for years, anxiously awaiting their time in the spotlight. However, Sofi Tukker’s combination of Pop smarts and luck have put them on the fast track to the front of the line.

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AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: RITA COOLIDGE/SAFE IN THE ARMS OF TIME

Rita Coolidge has been an important piece of Rock’s tapestry for nearly 50 years. She’s been a muse, a mover and shaker, a songwriter, a performer, a humanitarian, an artist, an author and an icon ever since she was ‘discovered’ by Delaney & Bonnie all those years ago. From backup singer to uncredited songwriter of one of Rock’s greatest songs (she co-wrote the piano coda for Derek & The Dominos’ “Layla,” yet has never received proper credit) and from solo artist to wife of Kris Kristofferson, Rita has been a part of nearly every important musical movement since her arrival on the scene in 1969. She even scored many solo hits including her warm and wonderful interpretation of Boz Scaggs’ “We’re All Alone.” When she stepped away from the solo spotlight, she formed Walela, a Native American trio with her sister Priscilla and her daughter Laura Satterfield.

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THE TOY DOLLS: The Chancellor reviews the 5CD set, THE ALBUMS: 1983-87

Looney tunes, indeed!

The chaps in The Dickies have a wicked sense of humor and The Adicts know how to have fun as well… but The Toy Dolls are the true court jesters of Punk Rock. So, if you are looking for a good time, you can either call one of those phone numbers written on the bathroom wall or you can do the right thing and hustle on down to your local Pop shop and grab THE ALBUMS: 1983-87, a delicious five CD box set that gathers together the first four albums by The Toy Dolls as well as a fifth disc of rarities!

Led by the always excitable Olga (AKA Michael Algar), The Toy Dolls has gone through several line-up changes over the years but they’ve never lost the spunk ‘n’ spittle that made them so fun when they released their debut album DIG THAT GROOVE BABY in 1983. While some may have thought of the band’s music as a parody or a humorous homage to Punk, there’s no doubt that Olga and the boys are true Punk rockers. However, they just chose to take Punk – and everything else for that matter – a lot less seriously than everyone around them. This debut includes classic tracks like “Glenda And The Test Tube Baby,” “Dougie Giro,” “Up The Garden Path,” “Stay Mellow”, the title track and “Nellie The Elephant.” While some may be put off by the over-the-top goofiness of the band’s approach to Punk, their catchy melodies and exceptional musicianship cannot be denied.

Two years later, the band released A FAR OUT DISC, another hook-filled Punk fiesta. Highlights include “My Girlfriend’s Dad’s A Vicar,” “We’re Mad” and so many others.  IDLE GOSSIP was released in 1986 followed a year later by BARE FACED CHEEK. On both albums, Olga leads his crew through some thrilling and entertaining Punk nuggets. No matter what, The Toy Dolls’ music was always refreshing, exciting and inspiring. The first album may be their most popular full-length but the band are always reliable when it comes to making great records and each and every one of these albums needs to be experienced.

The fifth disc here is chock full of non-album tracks including 7” version, songs from compilations and so much more. This final CD includes the ‘hit’ version of “Nellie The Elephant” that received the most airplay over here in the U.S. There’s more fun involved including the smile/dance/sweat-inducing “Everybody Jitterbug.” Crazy, cool and fun, The Toy Dolls may never get the same respect as bands like The Clash, but they certainly deserve your attention!

Look, if you prefer your Punk political and/or pretentious, go elsewhere.  If you want some hook-filled, shout-along Punk anthems with a sense of humor, then THE TOY DOLLS will satisfy all of your cravings. Ten fold. Captain Oi and Cherry Red have given us yet another set that should occupy a very sacred place in your collection!

(NOTE: The first four discs in this set represent the original albums when first released. They do NOT contain bonus tracks. However, all the bonus tracks from previous CD reissues of these albums are gathered on Disc Five).

Keep on truckin’,

Stephen THE CHANCELLOR Schnee