Monthly Archives: April 2012

Roadrunner Records Closes Offices in UK, Germany, and Canada

We here at Musically Diversified are very sad to hear about the closing of the European and Canadian offices of Roadrunner Records. Our thoughts are with all the employes over in the U.K., Germany, and Canada. We also want to say thank you to those employees for brining us bands like SlipknotTriviumKillswitch EngageMachine Head, and many others.

UPDATE 3:30 PM EST: Apparently Warner Music Group as absorbed Roadrunner Records and have let go of many of it’s U.S. employees. A sad day for metal, and also for music.

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Brendan Benson’s Fifth solo record ‘What Kind Of World’

On the same day that fellow Raconteurs’ band mate Jack White put out his solo debut album Blunderbuss, Brendan Benson put out his fifth studio album since 1996.  The album is entitled What Kind of World, and is a collection of 12 tracks that vary from straight up country, to Benson’s early rock roots.

The first track on the album is the title track “What Kind of World” which is a guitar driven song with a very strong backbeat and a soaring chorus. The next track is called “Bad for Me” an obvious ode to a bad relationship. The track features a very bright sounding piano and a nice arrangement of strings. “Light of Day” the albums third track has a very familiar feel with jangling chords ringing out over a steady bass and a steady backbeat. “Happy Most of The Time” follows suite and also features the same jangling guitar chords as well as a very upbeat verses. The next track is entitled “Keep Me” a jazzy track that sounds as if it could be on a Raconteurs record. “Met Your Match” the eighth track on the album is my favorite with its up tempo music and vocals. The next track I took a real liking to is the country meets rock and roll feel of “No One Else but You”. The track which features tremendous horns that are set back in the mix and doubled by the guitar is a great composition. “On The Fence” the final track is a great straight country song featuring a very Rolling Stones-esque arrangement.

I don’t think that What Kind of World will compete with Jack White’s Blunderbuss sales wise, but I’d say musically it is on par with White. Benson is a great musician and you will see that when you listen to What Kind of World. 

-B. Harlow

Check out the track “Bad For Me” below:

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‘Blunderbuss’ Jack White’s Triumphant Solo Debut

Jack White’s first solo record Blunderbuss has been one of the most anticipated albums of the year. It seems everything White touches turns to gold whether it is with The White Stripes, The Raconteurs, or the Dead Weather. Blunderbuss is thankfully no exception to this.  White is a genius and throughout this album you see how he very skillfully melds his many diverse influences into 13 unique tracks.

The album starts with the track “Missing Pieces” which is driven primarily by a fantastic Hammond or Fender Rhodes sounding keyboards mixed with a very shiny sounding electric guitar. The next track is “Sixteen Saltines” which is a very garage rock riff driven song, typical of his material with the White Stripes. The next track is “Freedom at 21” a very dark song with a very reverb laden guitar part. The next track “Love Interruption” which was the album’s first single is a very jazzy ode to lost love. The album’s title track “Blunderbuss” is something a little different for white as it is a song that is dripping in country style pedal steel and old school piano. “Hypocritical Kiss” continues on with the strong presence of the piano throughout the album. The Vocals, guitar, and drums becoming a side note to the beautiful piano accompaniment on both this track and the next track “Weep Themselves to Sleep”.  The next track that really caught my attention is a cover of the Roody Toombs’ song “I’m Shakin” which is a great rock n’ roll song that will get your hips moving. The song “On and On and On” follows this song is a soul filled ballad featuring beautiful slide guitar work and piano. White finishes the album with the very up-tempo track “Take Me With You When you Go” which leaves the listener feeling good after an album with many odd turns.

If you truly love all types of music this album is for you it is heavy in spots, rhythmic in others, and soft in other spots. Blunderbuss is a truly diverse album all sewn together by the wondrous mind of Mr. Jack White.

-B. Harlow

Check Out The Music Videos for “Love Interruption” and “Sixteen Saltines” below:

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Vintage Modern: Singer Johnzo West

Johnzo West is an Indiana native whom has been releasing solo EPs and working with some of the biggest names in the music industry since 2004. West is currently working on his next full length which is due out this summer. West recently has been involved with Amnesty International working on an arrangement of Bob Dylan’s “You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go” which featured Miley Cyrus. Along with Cyrus, the compilation also featured artists including Adele, Elvis Costello, and Sting. West’s most current session work was with Billy Ray Cryus where he played guitars on the country crooner’s next full length due out in November of this year.

When it comes to music it is clear that West is influenced by many musicians from different genres. Mostly you hear the influence of late 60’s and early 70’s Rock and Folk, but you also get hints of Blues, Country, and surprisingly Reggae. If you where to put West next to any artist I would put him next to John Mayer because of the way he mashes all of his influences into a very dynamic sonic tapestry.

Key tracks to listen to from West are his latest digital single “The Good Fight” which reminds me of The Avett Brothers mixed with Mumford and Sons. “I’ll Do My Best” is another great track to check out of West’s if I would compare it to something I’d say it is reminiscent of Neil Young. “Couldn’t Do You Right” is a great track too, and you can truly hear his reggae roots throughout the tracks accompaniment.

You will definitely hear more from Mr. West in the near future, and I can’t wait to hear what he releases this summer.

-B. Harlow

Check Out Johnzo’s Single “The Good Fight” below:

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Quick Artist Profile: Mac Miller

Mac Miller is a 20 year old rapper who has achieved more in the last three years than most people do in a lifetime. Miller got his start at Taylor Allderdice High School where fellow Pittsburgh native Wiz Khalifa also attended. Miller recorded his first songs in 2007 and formed a rap duo. By 2009 Miller was releasing solo material and in 2010 he found himself signed to Rostrum Records where he released his next mixtape K.I.D.S. which was followed by a run of sold out tour dates.

2011 saw a new chapter in Millers career as he released The Best Day Ever mixtape. This new mixtape included the songs “Donald Trump”, “Wear My Hat”, and “Best Day Ever”. The mixtape also featured a guess spot from Wiz Khalifa on the track “Keep Floatin”. Miller also released an EP in 2011 entitled On and On and Beyond.

In November Miller released Blue Side Park named after a section of Pittsburgh’s Frick Park. The album consists of 16 tracks including “Frick Park Market” and “Smile Back”.  The album did very well in terms of album sales, with over 145,000 copies sold in its first week. These amazing sales lead to Blue Side Park landing at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Since its release the album doubled its sales making Miller a close to household name.


Check Out The Music Video For “Smile Back” Below:

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Song Swap: Feist And Mastodon Swap Songs For Special Record Store Day Split 7″ Single

Cover songs are either hit or miss. This was the attitude I took when I approached the the new split 7” by Feist and Mastodon in which they perform covers of each other’s song. I was pleasantly surprised by both tracks especially Feist’s cover of “Black Tongue” off Mastodon’s latest release The Hunter. It is so unique and she definitely made it her own by playing with the arrangement and adding odd instruments, and or sounds throughout.  Mastodon took the track “A Commotion” from Fiest’s latest Metals (Ironic that it’s being covered by a metal band). Mastodon definitely made the song their own by adding their signature sludge driven sound to the track.

-B. Harlow

The 7” will be available tomorrow April 21st and is a special release for the 5th annual Record Store Day.

About Record  Store Day:  The original idea for Record Store Day was conceived by Chris Brown, and was founded in 2007 by Eric Levin, Michael Kurtz, Carrie Colliton, Amy Dorfman, Don Van Cleave and Brian Poehner as a celebration of the unique culture surrounding over 700 independently owned record stores in the USA, and hundreds of similar stores internationally.

 This is the one day that all of the independently owned record stores come together with artists to celebrate the art of music. Special vinyl and CD releases and various promotional products are made exclusively for the day and hundreds of artists in the United States and in various countries across the globe make special appearances and performances. Festivities include performances, cook-outs, body painting, meet & greets with artists, parades, djs spinning records and on and on. Metallica officially kicked off Record Store Day at Rasputin Music in San Francisco on April 19, 2008 and Record Store Day is now celebrated the third Saturday every April.

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Rush Is Back With Prog Tour de Force “Headlong Flight”

Rush will be releasing their 20th studio album to eagerly waiting fans on June 12th . The album is going to be released on Roadrunner Records and was produced by the amazingly talented Nick Raskulinecz (Foo Fighters/Stone Sour/Trivium). Yesterday (via Rush fans got to hear the first single from the album Clockwork Angels entitled “Headlong Flight” which is a  seven and a half minute prog rock opus.

When listening to “Headlong Flight” one will be very impressed with the musicianship and skill that went into making the song. You can also hear the tremendous production skills of Raskulinecz as the track weaves in and out of peaks and valleys. The song is a true journey that starts off with atmospheric noises that lead to a killer riff that is doubled by the bass. You can actually hear the bass in the mix which is one thing I really like about the song and Raskulinecz’s production style in general. Geddy Lee’s screeching vocals come in next. This is when you hear the traditional Rush sound that is so familiar to fans worldwide, yet this time it’s a little heavier and darker. At the 2:10 mark you get an interesting bluesy sounding break that is quickly comes to a close with the massive attack of Mr. Peart and Mr. Lee. The 4:20 mark comes next with an interesting vocal part that is followed by a quick drum solo this then then gets a heavy bass put over it. The final touch to this odd solo midsection is a guitar solo from Alex Lifeson. This is all followed by a giant chorus section, and an outro that leaves fans wanting more.

After listening to the seven and a half minutes of “Headlong Flight” I have to say that I will be excited to hear the rest of the album (which will feature the previously released “Caravan” and “BU2B”). Also fans should be prepared to expand the concept of the album with a book penned by Kevin J. Anderson. Be sure to check out “Headlong Flight” and the album when it is released.

-B. Harlow

Check Out the stream of “Headlong Flight” HERE

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Aaron Lewis’ Summer Anthem “Endless Summer”

Aaron Lewis is a great musician, songwriter, and from his songs you can tell he’s probably a great dude to grab a beer with. It is no surprise that his personality is on his sleeve as we’ve seen in previous songs by his band Staind. This time we see a different side of Mr. Lewis in his song “Endless Summer” off his upcoming solo debut, The Road which is set to be released on June 26th. The album is going to be the follow up to Lewis’ amazing 2011 debut solo EP Town Line which entered the Billboard Country Albums chart at #1.

The track is put together very nicely, and produced by James Stroud. The sound is very up-beat, a real contrast to his other solo material, and his material with Staind. The song starts off strong with a very complex riff, which leads to a verse that features a strummed acoustic with sporadic lead breaks. The chorus like many other country songs features various instruments weaving in and out. The song has a really good chance of being 2012’s summer anthem with it’s catchy chorus.

If you listen to the lyrics you’ll get a kick out of Lewis’ carefully placed jab when he sings “Aldean’s on the radio / Aint it funny how they sing along / Makes you smile just a little bit because it’s not a Miley Cyrus song”. You also get the authentic country feel with lyrical topics including fishing, grilling, and cars.

Aaron Lewis is one of the only artists I can think of besides Darius Rucker who can authentically pull off a crossover country career. Check out this album as I’m sure it will be packed with great tunes, and if you haven’t already you should check out Lewis’ debut EP Townline. 

-B. Harlow

Check Out the Music Video for “Endless Summer” Below:

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Quick Album Preview: Jack White’s Debut Solo Effort ‘Blunderbuss’

Usually we write reviews on songs or albums that are already out. Upon hearing the three songs that Mr. Jack White has put out in the last three months, I can’t help but write about the excitement I feel towards his first solo record. The album is going to be entitled Blunderbuss and will be released by his Columbia imprint Third Man Records.

After dissolving the White Stripes in early 2011 I was curious to see what Mr. White would do, he has come back better than ever. Listening to the track “Sixteen Saltines” you definitely get that familiar White Stripes/Raconteurs garage rock sound. The Song “Freedom at 21” is a more interesting song that I can’t really place, but it reminds me of something that came out of the early 60’s or late 70’s.  The first track released “Love Interruption” became one of our favorite’s early on.

-B. Harlow

Keep tuned next week for a review of the full album!

Check Out the three songs that have been released from Blunderbuss below:

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