Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Mitch Trupia "In Your Head"

Mitchell Trupia
Mitch Tru: In Your Head
Reviewed by: Rob Acocella

Mitch Trupia is a solo artist with some stories to tell. The first thing I noticed with this album is the very strong Classic Rock influence. There are flavors of The Who, The Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, and even some acoustic KISS evident on In Your Head.  When I saw that the first track was titled “No One Like You” I thought I was in for a Scorpions cover, but luckily it was an original tune. Mitch has a pretty good following online for a solo independent artist, and the track “Can’t Change The World” is not only my personal favorite from the album, but it also seems to be the one that gets the most attention from his online fans.  Other standout tracks include “Straight Jacket,” “13 Sundays,” and the bonus track “I Would Do Anything.” Every song on here has it’s own unique groove, but they also all feel very connected by Mitch’s overall style and vibe. This is a quality album by a talented songwriter that definitely is deserving of your attention. Check out his Facebook page for more info and some links to his music: http://www.facebook.com/MitchellTrupia - Also, make sure to hit up CDBaby.com to pick up the album!

Rating: 4/5

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Mike Grosshandler, Blue Skies Black

Mike Grosshandler
Blue Skies Black
Reviewed by: Rob Acocella

Blue Skies Black is the latest solo album from Mike Grosshandler (The Velmas, Above The Flood). We’ve been following Mike’s musical career since we started Paragon. He was not only a featured artist many times, but also a very good friend in the years we’ve known him. Blue Skies Black is different from Mike’s previous solo offerings, as it’s the first to incorporate electric guitars as well as many other layers of instruments not previously heard on his acoustic solo albums. The album leads off the with the title track, which I also feel is the strongest track on here.  “Status Quo” is the track that follows and every time I hear it I can’t help but think of Joe Elliot from Def Leppard’s vocal performance on “Two Steps Behind,” especially with the similar song endings and all. I also hear a little bit of Green Day on the extremely infectious song “Everything’s Fine.” Be careful with this track, it’ll be stuck in your head for days.

Similarities and influences aside, Blue Skies Black is a really strong recording from Mike, which I know took a long time to put together. It was well worth the wait and there are lots of varied styles and sounds on here. All while being true to the feeling we’re used to from Mike.  A few more stand-out tracks are “Florida”, “Too Many Reasons”, and “Nothing Much.” I know this isn’t the last we’ll hear from Mike on the solo front, and I anxiously await new music from him, as he never disappoints. Now if only he could get himself down to our neck of the woods for a show…

Rating: 5/5

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Halestorm, "The Strange Case Of..."

The Strange Case Of...
Reviewed by Rob Acocella
Rating: 4/5
      Until now I've never had my hands on a full album by Halestorm. I have to be honest here and just say that before now I hadn't been all that interested in them. I've seen them live a handful of times as an opening act or direct support to a few great bands, and I did enjoy their live show, but I never had the motivation to buy their music. That changed when I heard a sample of their lead single "Love Bites (So Do I)" and immediately realized what I had been missing out on.
      Overall, the songwriting on A Strange Case Of... is really good, with a few exceptions where I feel they kind of fell short lyrically. Still, for a band I'm technically new to, the album is impressive. First thing's first: this is fun Hard Rock, so if you're looking to find hidden messages or the Fibonacci Sequence in the songs, you've got the wrong band. However, if you're looking for something to crank on a Friday night on your way to a concert or party, this is the album to grab.
      Lzzy and company mix equal amounts of old school female fronted Rock with some more modern influences. "I Miss The Misery" sounds so much like a Three Days Grace song, I was half expecting Adam Gontier to be doing some guest vocals, while "Freak Like Me" and "Daughters of Darkness" are perfect crowd-rallying songs. My only complaints are right in the middle of the album where the songs go a softer route. In my opinion it derailed the flow of the listening experience, and I have to be the bad guy here and just say that I don't really feel Lzzy's softer, more "girly" vocals are all that good, on top of the lyrics being very weak and cliche at times.
      Despite my minor complaints, I still find myself reaching for this album when I want to listen to some fun and aggressive tunes. I do give the band credit for including some softer tunes despite what some people may think of them, as it shows a maturity and willingness to take risks that so many newer bands these days don't have. Aside from the tracks I already mentioned, some other favorites on here are "Mz. Hyde," "You Call Me A Bitch Like It's A Bad Thing," and "Here's To Us."

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Mindless Self Indulgence: Tighter

Mindless Self Indulgence
Reviewed by Tara Salamone
Rating: 5/5
     I've been listening to Mindless Self Indulgence for eight years so, like any long-time fan, I have been coveting their 1999 album Tight. I would see it pop up on places like Amazon.com and Ebay.com but it's usually way too expensive, sometimes up to hundreds of dollars. When Tighter came out, my prayers were answered. It comes together with 15 original re-mastered tracks plus 12 previously unreleased tracks.
     The original tracks did not require re-mastering, considering they're not that old anyhow and they were mostly recorded in mono in the first place. It wasn't needed but I welcome the added bass and they sound slightly more polished, but not by a lot. There is definitely an eclectic mix of different versions of classics like "Bring the Pain," including demos, live tracks, etc. The unreleased tracks took me back to their original raw sound of Electronic/Punk but I was also surprised to hear songs such as "Free As A Birdie," which shows off Jimmy Urine alone with an acoustic guitar. Don't get me wrong, I am not surprised by his total lack of holding a tune, but it was way more organic than what I am used to hearing from them. I like it all the same, though, as their lyrics never take themselves too seriously. MSI's music is meant to make you laugh, gasp, and dance. Perhaps all at the same time.
     Overall, I would recommend Tighter to old time fans. All bands evolve and change but people sometimes have a preference for a certain sound. Some tracks could be considered fillers, such as "Agents," but, again, if you've been listening to them since Tight or at least Frankenstein Girls Seem Strangely Sexy, it's pretty interesting to hear about the beginning of the band. My personal favorites are "Cake" and "I Hate Everyone," given that they stick to the usual formula of their older stuff without sounding the same as everything else. I would have to give the album a 5/5 for keeping their fans from the beginning in mind as well as providing a good range of 27 tracks.