Reviews roundup – Night Demon vs. Sound of the Sirens vs. Chris Antonik vs. Jerry Harmon vs. Hector Anchondo Band
Steamhammer / SPV
Heavy fudging metal. That’s what Night Demon are about. And even better their strain of metal harks back to my youth when the New Wave of Heavy Metal came thundering out of Whitley Bay, Macclesfield and all points North.
Which is a wee bit odd considering they’re a relatively new band from the American colonies but I’ll take what I can get. It’s old school through and through, replete with galloping riffs and bludgeoning rhythms. The splendidly named Jarvis Leatherby summons up the vocal might of the early eighties and while i’m not saying their influences are obvious they do have a song called “Maiden Hell”!
It’s a fine tune and it’s not alone. Fans of the NWOBHM and true metal will find this a real treat as they blaze through numbers like “On Your Own”. Highly recommended. It’s out as a digipak CD and on 180 gram dark green vinyl LP, (with printed inner sleeves and CD in cardboard sleeve.
SOUND OF THE SIRENS
For All Our Sins
Can it really be three years since I reviewed ‘A Long Way To Fall’? Where does the time go. I raved about their impeccable harmonies and an excellent way with a melody and am pleased to report that time has not withered the charms of Abbe Martin and Hannah Wood.
They really do have some of the best harmonies you’re likely to hear and if poppy folk / soft rock gets you in a lather then you can ill afford to miss out on this one. I’m pleased to see they’re sticking to the three minute rule that so many people offend against. If The Temptations can rattle through “Get Ready” in three minutes then there is no reason for any pop record to go further.
A song like “Together Alone” could get them some serious airplay action if a Radio 2 producer got to hear it but they don’t forget the folk base on the Celtic styled “In This Time”. Folk and pop fans should do themselves a favour and give this one a right good hearing to.
To Canada! And to the blues. A funky, souled up blues. But blues just the same.
It’s album number three from the Maple Blues Award nominee and apparently sees him “focused inward on his own deeply personal corners, against the backdrop of a marriage coming to an end”. Or the blues, for short.
He’s a fine singer, songwriter and guitarist so has all the bases covered. Despite the downbeat backdrop to the album the opening ““I’d Burn It All Down For You” is a real delight. He really does let his guard down on the following Mike Bloomfield / Nick Gravenites song “You’re Killing My Love” best known from its appearance on the Otis Rush album ‘Mourning In The Morning’.
There are some tasty keyboard flourishes throughout from Jesse O’Brien, some excellent arrangements and a set of songs that keep you coming back for more. Take a listen to the likes of “The Art Of Letting Go” or “All Our Days” and you’ll be converted to the Chris Antonik cause. A good one.
A classic country single now from Grammy nominated singer/songwriter Jerry Harmon who has a brand new album ‘Walk Softly’, on the way.
Over the years he has performed with Dolly Parton, Ricky Skaggs, Marty Stuart, Earl Scruggs and a host of others as well as travelling across the globe with his old school sound. Which is a good thing, by the way. I like my country to sound country and there is no doubting that this is just that.
He has a gruff, lived in voice that really suits the song and with the Smoky Mountain Gypsy arriving in May for a handful of UK shows what better time to catch up with his country pickings. This does what a single should do and makes you look forward to the album.
HECTOR ANCHONDO BAND
Roll The Dice
It’s back to the blues and we’re off to Omaha, Nebraska to meet up with the finalist in the 2016 International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tennessee, the Hector Anchondo Band.
And they’re good. Although oddly he chooses to start his album with a song that features fellow blues performer Amanda Fish on vocals. It’s a fine start, mind, with “Dig You Baby” a horn enhanced delight. Mr Anchondo has an excellent band along for the ride with drummer Khayman Winfield, bassist Josh Lund, and Justin Shelton on harmonica all putting in a fine shift. But it’s the songs, vocals and guitars of Anchondo that lift this release way up high.
“Masquerade” is probably the best showcase for his still which mixes up blues and rock’n’roll although he can also turn his hand to a slow blues with great effect as he does on “Sometimes Being Alone Feels Right”. The cover of “Black Magic Woman” seems a bit redundant but that aside this is a fabulous rhythm and blues record which blues lovers should be checking out immediately.