Posts Tagged ‘Review’


We brought you our coverage of Asking Alexandria as they made a stop in San Francisco for The Moving On Tour. Now, we can’t wait to tell you about the opening band out on the tour, The Family Ruin. We have been featuring this amazing rock band from the UK all year long. We brought you our review of their kick ass album, Dearly Departed which was released in September and we couldn’t wait to finally catch them perform live.

One thing is for sure, they delivered an amazing kick ass set at the Regency Ballroom. I love it when a band that I really enjoy listening to can match the same intensity of their music as they do live on stage. This is one band that definitely has no problem conquering that battle. They blew me away and had me eagerly wanting to see them again soon! Check out more photos of their set by our Rockin Ryan:

From the moment they hit the stage and until they walked off to greet fans at their merch booth, they captivated the crowd with their high energy rock. To get to see them perform live my favorites from their album like Let’s Go, Let It Burn, and Bring Out Your Dead. The crowd quickly fell in love with them and you know that many concert goers left with The Family Ruin being their new favorite band!

Check the dates below and see if you will be able to catch The Family Ruin out on tour:

  • TUE 12/02 – Seattle, WA @ El Corazon
  • THU 12/04 – Edmonton, AB @ Starlite Room
  • FRI 12/05 – Edmonton, AB @ Starlite Room
  • SAT 12/06 – Saskatoon, SK @ O’Briens
  • SUN 12/07 – Winnipeg, MB @ The Garrick
  • WED 12/10 – Quebec City, QC @ Imperial
  • THU 12/11 – Montreal, QC @ Metropolis
  • FRI 12/12 – Toronto, ON @ Kool Haus
  • SAT 12/13 – London, ON @ London Music Hall
  • SUN 12/14 – Columbus, OH @ Newport Music Hall
  • TUE 12/16 – Watertown, NY @ Exhibition Hall
  • WED 12/17 – Hartford, CT @ Webster Theater
  • FRI 12/19 – Norfold, VA @ The Norva
  • SAT 12/20 – Wilmington, NC @ Ziggy’s

Also be sure to pick up your copy of Dearly Departed  on iTunes here and crank it up loud, your neighborhood needs to get introduced to The Family Ruin. Be sure to visit their social media sites so you can stay up to date on the latest news.

~ Marisol

Information & Links:

Band Members: 

  • Johnny Mennell [Vocals]
  • Craig Robinson [Guitar & Vocals]
  • James Langley [Guitar]
  • Josh Adamson [Bass]
  • Dom White [Drums]


by Guest Contributor Mark Iman,

November 12, 2014 kicked off the final installment of touring for Blue October’s most recent album, SWAY, at The Fillmore in Silver Spring, Maryland. Starting the evening off was Harvard Of The South, a side project created by Blue Octobers Justin Furstenfeld, Matt Noveskey, Jeremy Furstenfeld and longtime collaborator and friend Steve Schiltz of Hurricane Bells and Longwave.  The band recently released a 5 song EP titled Miracle and is currently available at the shows. I made sure to grab my copy and have a hard time switching to anything else. It has a great old school grunge feel only with less teenage angst.  As I heard someone in the crowd state “Imagine if Pearl Jam, Nirvana, and Smashing Pumpkins had an illegitimate love child, this would be it.” Being that all the bands listed are a staple in music history I see no better way to compliment them and look forward to hearing more music in the future.

The show started with a brief video telling everyone about the upcoming LIVE album and documentary that has been in the works for the past several years. The band is working on a pledgemusic campaign to make it possible for the fans to help participate in its creation. Currently they are 82% funded with little over a week left. For more information and to pledge please click the link at the bottom of the page.

Once the band took the stage it was a no holds barred roller coaster of emotion, but with a new dynamic that I had never seen from them before. Rocking through the set with a confidence that was reassuring to the crowd, lead singer Justin Furstenfeld made it clear that the band would be covering a lot of material spanning the length of Blue October’s discography while focusing on the albums Foiled-Sway. At which point the crowd went ballistic. I cannot describe the Jekyl and Hyde way in which Justin can turn on and off his aggression during songs like Say It and Light You Up to bring it back to his softer side with Congratulations. To watch him reign himself in and mentally as well as physically work through the emotions before proceeding, shows the maturity and calmness that he has embraced in life now.


It is no longer the Justin show. This has been my 9th time seeing Blue October but it may as well have been my first. Although the music was the same and the band members have not changed, it felt like I was watching someone new. From the playful interactions between each other to Justin egging on the crowd by asking us to sing along or telling one of his anecdotes to get us laughing, from start to finish it was obvious that everyone is in a better place.

Many Thanks go out to everyone in the band for making the first night special for all of us in attendance. Justin, Ryan, Matt, Ceb and Jeremy your music has touch the lives of so many and we appreciate what you do. We cannot wait to hear what is in store for the future and since Justin said “I’ll be doing this Blue October thing ‘til I am like 90!” we will hold you to it.

by Guest Contributor Mark Iman,


Contributed by Alexandra 

 Arriving a bit later than usual (it was about 30 minutes before show start) most people were already inside. The crowd was pretty mixed age-wise, the average definitely older than 30 I’d say, which in my opinion resides in the main act Lacuna Coil being around for quite some time in the music business and having a fan-base that started to build a while back.

8pm was show start. There’s really not much to say about the first opener Devilment. The music itself wasn’t that bad, but you have to be into the kind of singing their vocalist Dani Filth does which is high pitched screams or low voiced growling. The crowd waited for what was about to come.

Next on were Motionless In White. They already had a fan base and I’m pretty sure they gained some new ones that night. It was a very energetic set. They started out with the first single of their recent, same-titled album, ‘Reincarnate’. Their 10 song set-list consisted of songs like ‘Abigail’, ‘Break the cycle’, ‘Generation lost’ and ‘Puppets 3’, also a song from ‘Reincarnate’ on which Dani Filth does guest vocals on the record.

It was awesome to watch vocalist Chris Motionless interact with the crowd, running around on stage and climbing monitor stacks. One time he suddenly ‘disappeared’ from the stage to stand in the middle of a small gangway under the roof of the club, singing to the audience and encouraging them to clap and sing along, hugging his girlfriend quickly, only to head straight back to the stage like a whirlwind. During the set you felt the people getting closer to the stage with every song, so even the ones that were mainly there for Lacuna Coil enjoyed their music and just adopted the joy that the band obviously had in performing. They finished their set with ‘Devils Night’. I really didn’t know what to expect, but I was absolutely blown away by how awesome the songs sound live and by the performance of the band. Hopefully they’ll come back soon on a headline tour! Many bands that come to Germany as openers, return sooner or later to play as headliners, so I’ll keep my fingers crossed for a tour in 2015!!

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Right after their set, the greater part of the first two rows left. They were only there to see Motionless In White, which makes me all the more confident in hoping for an imminent return! As I wrote earlier, the average age was beyond 30, the greater part of the under 20’s left the club at that point.

Lacuna Coil started their set at around 10 pm. Most of the people knew every lyric to the songs they played. They also did a cover of ‘Enjoy the silence’ by Depeche Mode, encouraging everyone to sing along. It was a 60 minutes set. A bit short and considering peoples talks everyone hoped for a longer show, but nonetheless the atmosphere was great and everyone had a blast!

Contributed by Alexandra 


trunnell happy polkadot

Mallory Trunnell knows  how to party and she threw an heck of one at the Hotel Café Sunday night to release her new album,  Words.  Dramatic in a puffy pink prom dress with a blue silk sash marvelously clashing with her red hair,  brilliant red  lipstick and plastic flower necklace, Mallory was dressed for the part…part music, part fun,  part party.  She started the party with a parade of singing a Capella girls, who wound their way through the audience to stand in front of the stage adding a backup of ooh-ohh –oho and bong, bong, bong” to “Mallory’s  opening number from the new album, “My Turn”.  It was smiles from there.

But despite the celebratory atmosphere, Mallory Trunnell is not a party girl; she is a busy girl, and has been from an early age.  She grew up in Delta Utah and began an acting career at the age of 4 and started writing songs at 9, pretty sizeable accomplishments for a child in a desert town of about 3500 people. She is now  in LA and is thriving in this city of 3 and half  million, at least 10,000 of whom are  aspiring musicians.  Currently on her plate is  promoting  the new album released at  Sunday nights party, The Twilight Music Girls band based on the Twilight book series, an earlier band called The crimson Calamity with Lauren Harding,  a “Walk Through Music” video to help support the Take the Walk charity,  the Hot Topic West Coast Tour  and other gigs including the House of Blues earlier this month.

She brings that busy energy to her performances.  She fills the room with energy as well as music.  Far more than a singer/songwriter, Trunnell is a force of nature on stage, directing the a Capella chorus, the two Bob Bop Girls backup (and sometimes foreground) singers, and her band or playing solo piano –  while all the time keeping us laughing, toe-tapping and occasionally singing along.


The a Capella chorus sauntered back into the audience as Trunnell began the title song from the album, “Words”, happily singing the not so happy words with a big smile:  I’ve been restless and feeling desperate/When I could barely breathe. This is Trunnell’s signature, happy, upbeat melodies with not so happy lyrics. Listen the words.

She continued the upbeat music/downbeat lyrics with “Happy”, starting with a devil-may-care Da da da da da da dum/Da da da da da doo doo doot n doo doo doot,n do yeah and follows it by asking the very sincere why does it hurt her to hate her lover  when it doesn’t hurt her lover to hate her – all  joyfully accented by the Bob Bop Girls whose ooo’s and bob, bop’s make you grin while you wonder at the lyrics.


She lowers the energy but ups the emotion with the querulous “Waiting”,  asking plaintively I am. You Are. Can We be?  and then really lowers it with “Tattooed”, a slowed-walked urgent conversation with a lover. She laments the Tattoos so deep /They sink to my bones….I scrub and scrub/and scrub and scrub and scrub…But your colors have tattooed me.  Her voice is urgent, her soul is stricken and she leaves us thinking how can this vivacious redhead with a silly grin in a 50’s prom dress with a guitar slung awkwardly across her chest make us feel so deeply that our stomachs tighten.

A consummate performer, Trunnell understands emotional breaks and emotional momentum – and when to do both.  She gives us the break by moving to the piano and shooing the band off the sage, lightening the atmosphere. Then, she announces it’s story time and  tells about the woman who set her on the path to music , her grandmother Ruby, the subject of the next song. The simple piano with her personal, talk-directly-to-you  singing made this a high point of the evening.  We laughed before; now we cried. Then we clapped when she gave a shout out to her mom, sitting at a table with friends enjoying her daughter’s talent and love.

But it was time to return to upbeat /downbeat as she stepped back to the microphone and brought the band onstage for “Quit You”, another  paean to an addictive bad-for-you relationship. No,no,no I cannot quit you ….Since you’ve been gone/There’s been a little too much room/ in my bed.  Most singer/songwriters mine their own  lives for material;  if Trunnell’s lyrics come from her life, her memoir will be delicious.

 Trunnell finished with a flourish, singing “Tomorrow’s Coming Fast”,  telling the very substantial Sunday night 7 pm early crowd  I’ve got paper/Got words to rhyme/I’ve got music.

Music is exactly what she has and when she shares it she makes people very, very happy.

Patrick O’Heffernan. Host, Music FridayLive!


Words by Mallory Trunnell

Available on iTunes and other online distributors


loreli black fethers

The pharmacological definition of dopamine is “a neurotransmitter in the central nervous system that acts on the brain to control movement, emotion, pain and pleasure. It  also forces the contraction of the heart in the treatment of shock.”  The musical definition of  dopamine is Lorelei Carlson and her new album named after the chemical. Dopamine arouses movement and intoxicating and sometimes painful emotions while it grips your heart and heats your blood until it steams in your veins.  The effect is mystical, magical, disturbing and addictive.

The child  of a bi-national couple of constantly moving diplomats who had  lived in seven countries by the time she was 15,  she knew she was special as a toddler.  She absorbed the culture and music of each of those countries and a determination to put them to work in her own  art for the audience that she knew would resonate with her.  And they do.  With a million  downloads on,  tens of thousands of followers and  multiple albums, she is standing on the cliff of stardom.  Dopamine  should give her the rush to step off and soar,

loreli salying down head shot

The title song immediately immerses you in Lorelei’s hallucinogenic world of ache, dreams and  lust, coming on with a soft kick drum downbeat and a synth buzz.  Her ethereal voice that combines pain and dreams together traps you in a claustrophobic nether world of sex, abuse, and resignation but holds you aloof, above it all. He  don’t care/He don’t share/So don’t follow/And don’t swallow. The urgency rises with the music, her voice surrounding you with churning images of hurt. It’s not the way you would/Just like  you said you could/He’ll pull the arrow good/ and strike you like he should. The drum  swells and the synth swirls with her voice, as if rising to a climax  and then release.  But she tells us you can escape: What’s a woman to do when she’s not chased/Go slip a blue till he’s erased. No need to slip a blue,  just hit repeat.

From the orgasmic darkness of “Dopamine”, Lorelei caresses you languidly with Nirvana’s classic  “Rape  Me”,  her throaty voice gliding nonchalantly through the disturbing lyrics with muted drum beats and soft, sometimes electric synth tones. As with “Dopamine”, the effect is psychotropic as well as aural, with the synth arrangements coming on and then fading like a drug coursing through your brain. An anti-rape song written by Kurt  Cobain as a warning to rapists that they will suffer the same fate someday,  she puts her spin on it. She updated the lyrics in interviews with context,  pointing out that not only women get raped and that rape is not always sexual. Musically, Lorelei has delivers  a version that is frightening  – she sounds like a passive, smiling former lover  sliding a knife blade under your fingernails. Few woman, or men for that matter,  could pull off  this song as unequivocally and as powerfully as Lorelei has.

“Sandcastles” follows  the musical  and the lyrical landscape, circling gently around death with  her  signature languid treatment  of hard topics. Simple snare hits and synth pssts  carry her while she asks Sandcastles and a glass half full/When I dismantle, will I still be beautiful?. But  she has not totally  resigned herself to death: Grab ahold  of me (I will hold myself in place). “Open Your Eyes ups the tempo a bit with more complex but still muted drumming – kick  and snare –  combined with a horizon-distant synth violin. The hallucinogenic imagery continues: You opened the door and there you stood/My body lay frozen on the bed/I’m tellin’ myself it’s in my head.

The tempo really picks up with “Push the Button (The 8th Floor) ” with fast drumming, Lorelei rapping over a distorted male voice repeating “push the button”.  This  is the perhaps  the most explicit of Lorelei’s lyrics about sexual vulnerability and detachment from loveless, perhaps abusive sex. But realistically I’m prey on top  of your bed/When you  open the door to my own demise/Just sit back and watch as I slip into disguise. As with “Dopamine” the song picks up speed and urgency, moving us to climax while  she tells us she is zoning out.

loreli niteclub640 sq

She leaves us with a commentary on life in her adopted home, Los  Angeles, where she has lived for  the past four  years.  An observation on the difficulty of honest relationships in the City of the Angels,  “Sunset Blvd” moves with a very spare, restrained snare drum,  bass notes and Lorelei’s languorous voice,  enhanced with perfectly placed  echoes and overdubs.  And  everything just flows/Like a mid-summer’s night breeze blows/I  didn’t have to try too hard on the boulevard…but  here we are Found and lost.

The six songs on Dopamine extend her earlier work, especially the album 20 MG, but they also go beyond it into deeper and in many ways more  personal and lonely territory.  They remind me of fresh blood in a test tube:  liquid, hot, steamy –  but passive; the stuff of life, but not of this life. In some ways Lorelei Carlson  and  Dopamine are the stuff of our lives, but not of our world. But whatever world they are from, you want to go there..

Patrick O’Heffernan, Host, Music FridayLive!

Dopamine by Lorelei Carlson

Available  on iTunes and all the usual online outlets


loreli sibw head 300

salmed6_photo-bryce prevatte

Salme Dahlstrom is a marvel  She not only writes, performs and produces dance music that is  irrepressible, but she licenses virtually everything she does to TV or movies, so you have  probably heard her music even  if you don’t know it.  Which means that chances are,  Salme  Dahlstrom is a part of the soundtrack of your life.

And that’s a good thing.  Her music can hum in the background while you go about your day with a little extra energy and bounce, or it can shimmer in the foreground as you notice it’s 4 am and you are still dancing.  Either way Salme’s tunes are is not only the best party music on the air today, they are also the creation of an experienced artist and as such they demand attention on that level as well as on the dance floor.  Salme is a woman so confident in her talent that she long ago transcended pop’s angst to produce music that is intelligent as well as hooky, sophisticated as well as accessible, and always fun to listen to.  And with the release of Pop Propaganda 2: Retro Funk Soul Junction, there is even more Salme to enjoy.

Pop Propaganda 2’s hooks and beats and courageous mixes are non-stop fun for  both your feet  and your  mind. Salme transcends pop and takes us to a new planet of  musical addiction.  Hooked is an understatement.


And there is much to enjoy on PP2, starting at the top with a love song with attitude, Love +Shine, carried with  signature 60’s rock guitar  riffs, steady,  sophisticated  drumming, efx guitars and her  precisely modulated and tuned voice, including a falsetto, which raises the ceiling of  whatever room you are in.  This is Salme at her most glorious:  trippy, precise, confident – even cocky  by her  own admission –  and a bit psychedelic.  You can parse the words, you can analyze the effects, you can  delve into  the inspiration, but one thing you can’t  do  is  sit still.

The next song is the single, “Pop Yr Heart  Out”, but  I am  going to leave that until  the end because of  a courageous experiment she does  with it on the album.  “Superfunky Babes”  a seemingly pure  dance number celebrating summer party time, was written to be the “ultimate summer song”  invoking visions of  rooftop  dancing in the sunshine.  But, as with all things Salme, there is more.  The genesis of the song is convoluted – the title came  first, then the verse melody with the line “Superfunky babes walking the street”, then the chorus,  a lyrical work-around. The result is a song about  women  dancing and walking sensually that is not sexual – a neat trick and one necessary to keep the song a celebration of summer and not a riff on  female  body parts. She pulls it off  with intelligence and fun.

“Bodies in Motion” follows and is exactly what it  claims. High energy funky drums,  tuned  lyrics , Cole Williamson backing vocals;  it  does what is says – keeps  your  body in motion  with pure fun funk. “Rocking the Spot”  upshifts the energy,  downshifts the funk and swirls  in  the 60’s.  Intricate drums, fast-paced lyrics,  a call and answer partying vibe colored with a 60’s na  a na na, nan  na come together expertly. The production is spot on, as is the production every song on the album, very layered, very high gloss,  very professional but  accessible.

The bonus track, “Barcelona  Babe”  comes at us from a seeming  other world, as Salme’s pure, feminine voice beckons us with hey, hey, hey there.  When we come she seduces us with sound effects and a three-layered  drum beat heavy on the lower end kick and toms. Lots of fun, both for her,  as she played with her new Nexus 2 for  the effects, and for us tapping our feet and whirling under the flashing lights.


The heart of the album to me was  “Pop Ur  Heart Out”, done four different ways.  Taking up almost half the album with the same song done in different styles is a risk than  only the supremely confident Salme could or would  take.  But  even riskier was  how  she did it.  She sent  the initial single to three other artists: the San Francisco-based glitchhop  duo Spekr Freks; the wildly prolific music producer DJ Phunkae; and Eugeny Lobanovsky, the dubstep  artist known as Quadrat Beat. What she got back – and put on her album – are  three very different, and very  entertaining versions of “Pop Ur  Heart Out” ranging from the glitch hip hop style of SpekFreks, to a very sexy rendition by DJ Funkae, to a totally unique and wonderful sped up dance take by Quadrat Beat.  An act of courage on her part that paid off in great dividends for her fans.

But that is what you get with Salme – courage, talent, excitement, energy and everything done to  the highest standards possible. She is pure  New York.  Pop Propaganda 2 radiates the city’s  diversity and energy; you can hear the rooftop  parties, the basement raves, the living streets  of New York in every song. It’s no  wonder;  Salme is quintessential  New York energy and work ethic; he plays every instrument, writes and sings every lyric and produces every song herself,  pouring her essence and her ethic  into each line and note  and riff.  Taken individually, each song on Pop Propaganda2  can stand alone as either a  rock-‘till-you drop  dance  number, or a joyfully listenable social commentary.  Taken together, they combine into what should be at very least the dance album of the year.

By Patrick O’Heffernan, host Music Friday Live!


Pop Propaganda 2:  Retro,  Funk, Soul Junction

Salme Dahlstrom

Available on iTunes, Amazon, CD  Baby, The Store


salmed1_photo-bryce prevatte



Concert Review

Escape The Fate w. New Years Day and Glamour Of The Kill at STROM, Munich

Contributed by Alexandra –  Twitter;

Doors opened right on time at 8.30 pm, which is unusually late for a show. The start was announced for 9.30 pm, but already at 9 pm New Years Day started playing. It was their first time in Germany, as singer Ash Costella told, but they were not completely unknown to part of the audience that sang along their songs.

Next up were Glamour Of The Kill from the UK. It’s been their second time in Germany. Last time they came here, they opened up for Papa Roach. Jacoby Shaddix, the singer of Papa Roach, makes an appearance on GOTK’s new single Out of Control which they also played that night, along with well known songs like Second Chance and Freak Like Me. They had to fight with some technical difficulties during their set, but they managed to keep the crowd going, asking for someone to bring 4 Tequilas to the stage, to which two people from the audience happily obliged. They played an energetic set. It was fun watching them and they promised to come back in 2015. Considering how the crowd responded, they’ll sure have no problems to fill small clubs with their own fans.


It was already about 11 pm when Escape The Fate started their set. With every band that evening the crowd got tighter and with the opening tunes of Chose Your Fate you felt the tension rise. It was only a really small club that was filled up, but not sold out. The atmosphere was great. There were circle pits and they even managed a wall of death. The audience knew every word of every single song. They played most of their popular songs like One For the Money, Issues, Ungrateful, Until We Die and also two slower songs Picture Perfect and Something. The set-list was a mix through all of their records, with a focus on Ungrateful though.  It was a fast, well played set. Band and audience obviously had fun, but after about 60 minutes it was over.  By midnight most people were already on their way home, some stayed to talk to the bands that invited the audience to stay and chat.

All in all it was a good show, a bit of a shorter set but nevertheless a fun evening.

Check out a slideshow of photos from the set:

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~ Contributed by Alexandra –  Twitter;

kat ukelele

The thing about Kat McDowell is that she is just plain fun to listen to. And remarkably, she is fun to listen to in two languages, English and Japanese.  And that’s not an easy thing to accomplish, given the difference between the two languages. But  Kat McDowell does it so well that in any language her music can make you sit up and take notice, or just let you happily tap your feet. Either way, she is a musical force on a fast track.


Born in Japan, raised mostly in New Zealand, with many parts of both cultures inside her, she combines pop, J-Pop, calypso, rock and a positive musical attitude in a mixture that is like sunshine to listen to.  She built a successful career in Japan and now is in the USA, Los Angeles to be geographically exact, enjoying its surf (she is avid surfer), its plethora of recording assets and a world  class population of collaborating artists.  The first fruits of that relocation, the album Rise Above,  is due out in two weeks  and it is a winner from the first note.

kate singing up

Rise Above is a substantial work;  10 songs, one in Japanese and English, the others in English, each one  distinctive,  but still well within the upbeat universe that Kat constructs even from the most somber of contests.  The album’s breakout single, “Human” is  her musical follow up to a very nasty argument that moves from Just one of those days when I don’t want to get out of bed to  Surely we can be human. Framed with a ukulele, light guitar  strum and drum brushes, it makes you smile and tap your feet as you think about – why can’t we all just get along and be human.  You know you are in Kat’s World and you love it.

“Still Learning How To Start” picks up the pace with heavier guitars and a  solid pop beat, but it is still Kat McDowell Sunshine,  even as she sings of  promises made  under the stars at night.. The chorus Here we are, you still have my heart” and here we are and we’re still learning how to start  is a first class earworm hook, tailor-made for top  40 radio and a crush of fans singing and  waving their arms and cellphones at a concert (I’ll be there).

“Lovely Day” is exactly what you want to wake up to…bright shiny pop notes and lyrics that tell you no matter how bad you feel, it is  a beautiful day.  There’s always some kind of crises, she reminds us and tells us to put a smile back on our face and be the change we want in our life. And she says she will help you carry on – and she does. Not profound, but it works and is especially welcome in a rock universe with so much music that makes you want to stay in bed.

My favorite song on the Album is “Goodbye”, which introduces a more Caribbean feel, and is little  more serious, although Kat’s trademark cheery voice and the upbeat arrangement is well within sunshine land.  You’ve had to say goodbye so many times, You can’t remember why you even bother sings the woman who played at 1000 gigs on three continents and is now living in her third country. This is not about her, but it is very intriguing…makes you wonder  while you tap your feet.

The remaining 6 songs on the album are all musically addictive and emotionally thoughtful as they venture into shadows as well as sunshine. Standouts include  “Walkaway”, a quiet poetic story performed with a guitar and no happy ending as she walks away from a relationship, “Dianna”  moved along with an EDM-style beat and syncopated keyboards and electric guitar in a classically–assembled pop arrangement with a twist, and the pop ballad  “Final Win”  with a 80’s rock feel in which she reminds you that you have never heard my roar (we will). And finally, the Japanese version of  “Still Learning How to Start” which shows how she elevates her voice to a higher key and enunciates the Japanese lyrics a little faster  than the English.

This is an album you can put on in the background as you go about your day,  or on your earbuds with your eyes closed while you lie on the beach and think about life, hers and yours.  It is a perfect introduction for Kat McDowell into the US market and should carve out a space for  her that she can build on, and she certainly will. Above all, Rise Above  is pure musical sunshine.

Patrick O’Heffernan, Host Music FridayLive! radio


kat guitar trees large


Los Angeles. Ben Jaimen is very, very good  and his US debut EP, Through the Universe, demonstrates that in spades. A native of Germany with family in Israel and Argentina, Jaimen moves easily among those and other countries, picking up musical influences while retaining a certain humble cosmopolitan air. Music training in Israel and London, summers teaching to disabled barrio children in Cordoba, recording in Germany and LA, he has seen and given a lot. He has sung to a million people at the Brandenburg Gate in Germany, written and recorded hundreds of songs, and played gigs from Berlin to Tel Aviv.

A pop rocker who writes and performs with the precision of a seasoned professional, he  knows how to hold a crowd  or  lay down  popular tracks. Most important, he is also determined  to live and sing with integrity and to be his own man. With  Through the Universe he is very much his  own man; he has produced a musical E-ticket ride and trust me, you will love every twist and bump.

Ben Jaimen,  Sylvester 2011

The Ep launches with “Satellites”,  a dance-paced, sophisticated earworm carefully constructed to engage the listener at a visceral as well as a lyrical level. With whirling keyboard notes, racing but modulated drums, perfectly integrated bass and caffeinated guitar riffs, it gets under your skin and into your muscles.  You can feel yourself twirling with the lovers,  leaving this crazy world behind and spinning through this universe tonight.  But  even in a pop dance number, Jaimen and the song’s co-writer Davy Nathan slip in a message, “We won’t  let this world define us”.  And it doesn’t ,  we realize that as we sing oh-ohohoh with him.

The pace downshifts a bit and the message gets more explicit in “Not A Man For Sale”.  Musically reminiscent of Michael Jackson, Jaimen makes it clear who he is in this song, clearly meant to introduce him to the LA and US music industry.  Carefully constructed complex rhythms showcase his superb songwriting chops and command of global musical styles.  Jaimen uses African xylophones, clap drums, bass and guitars to weave an addictive musical message, driven home with an emphatic chorus that stays with you.

As we settle into his very good but recognizable pop rock groove, he goes off the grid and takes us into another musical universe with “Tokyo”.  A 51-second intro in the form of a urgent conversation in Japanese tells us that we aren’t in pop rock Kansas anymore. The lyrics (and the title) tell us that we are in Tokyo and it is a city of dreams and dangers, “There are shadows running on the streets/Everywhere I go they follow me/Am I dreaming or am I awake/Locked up in a place  I can’t escape.  The lyrical dream/nightmare is moved along by an burning, almost painful swirling keyboard that sets the beat,  punctuated with a muted snare and distant clap drum, like we are in a bright, cold overwhelming city with unseen forces bearing down us.  And, as ever in Jaimen songs, the ethical line slips in: I  see the man with the evil eyes/Telling me that he can make me fly/High and high, to the sky/To come around, the price is too high.


We deserve a break after “Tokyo” and Jaimen gives it to us with “Die For You”, and easy pop story of love with mostly predictable rises and hooks.  It moves us in a dance-energy beat with a piano giving direction and drums and keyboards filling in while Jaimen’s flexible and , in this case, highly-pitch voice lets us know he would die for the girl in the small town he is skipping through. No drama, no memos, no mysteries – but a very clear message: I can do radio-ready pop with the best of them.

But being Jaimen, he can’t stay there for long, he takes us back  into darker territory with “The Devil With Dice”, a witchy woman song that evokes pop jazz more than pop rock.  Propelled by a simple snare drum rim-hit beat supported by kick  drum and bass over-rhythms,  Jaimen moves this story with a complex score. That complexity supports a conventional verse and very singable chorus for a radio-ready tune that we should be hearing on FM across the country before long.

Through the Universe closes with “Piece of Me” a  pop-blues ballad in the vein of Piano Man, with Jaimen’s lower register Billy Joel voice beguiling us in the verse, If this is love/Why does it burn?/If this is heaven/Then why does it hurt? . But being his own man, he  is not satisfied  to stay there in a vocal comfort zone. He moves his voice up an octave  for the chorus to color the lines in heartbreak pain,  almost but not quite losing the note.  While we absorb this, he nails us to the wall with a blues back-up singer bridge and a soul-piercing finish worthy of  any blues band out there.

Ben Jaimen has all the puzzle pieces for stardom: welcoming good looks, gracious humility, prodigious talent, superb craftsmanship.  Through The Universe  proves he can put them all together with creativity and a unique personal style when he  has the time and does the work, which he clearly did.  It is an E-Ticket ride for the listener and a neon-bright billboard for the industry.  There is a new talent in town and he is flying through our universe at light speed.


Patrick O’Heffernan, Host Music FridayLive! radio

Through The Universe, Ben Jaimen

Available  on iTunes



Photo Credit: John Oliver

Photo Credit: John Oliver

The time has arrived! The UK bad ass band, The Family Ruin have released their album, Dearly Departed on KBB Records.  In honor of the release, we are pleased to repost our review of this must have album!  This is one album that we have been so excited for you to all hear. It is definitely one killer album filled with high energy tracks and a great display of musicianship by these five guys.  Drummer Dom White had this to say of the release,We’re so excited to finally unleash Dearly Departed to the world! This album is all about living life on the edge, picking yourself up no matter how many times you get knocked down and partying like there’s not a care in the world. We hope you all love it as much as we do – we can’t wait to bring it to the stage later this year! Welcome to the family!” 


The Family Ruin have really been garnering a lot of well deserved attention since singing with KBB Records, the new record label of Asking Alexandria’s Ben Bruce and co-manager Kyle Borman. The Family Ruin have a very fresh new sound complete with hard and heavy riffs blended with infectious harmonies, where they blend their metal and alternative influences with melodic hard rock. There is something for everyone in their sound. Think about a mix of Avenged Sevenfold with Escape the Fate. Dearly Departed is definitely one of our Top Albums of the Year for 2014!

The album starts right off with the fist-in-the-air chant of the rockin track Bring Out Your Dead.Hang on tight, you are about to take an incredible ride fueled with guitar heavy riffs, powerful vocals and get instantly hooked.  Things get kicked up a notch with the Leech which has a Bullet For My Valentine style intro taking you into a M. Shadows vibe and even a hint of raspy vocals like Josh Todd in the chorus. This song just bleeds energy and is definitely one of my favorites. Of course, you will find me saying that about every song because this album features 14 outstanding tracks. It is nice to see a band put out a full album with songs that are varied in their own style and don’t blend together. I am loving this album and it has been a mainstay on my regular playlist for a few weeks now!

Cirque Du Sin has some amazing whirling guitars that grab your attention. Another one of my fave songs is Let’s Go which I can easily see make it’s fast rise on the Active Rock chart and onto the airwaves. Here is the lyric video for Let’s Go:

Us Against the World has a cinematic intro and powerful vocals with emotionally driven lyrics that create such emotion. The song seamlessly blends an alternative edge into the hard rock style, another great stand out track. The ambient ethereal intro of Battle for the Sun transitions you into the face paced frenetic drums that I love. The vocals and battle style lyrics create such an intensity and energy that takes you to the edge.

Haunting highlights the amazing vocals that capture a true rawness and vulnerability and the mysterious backing vocals create such an illusive presence. Broken Hands once again has you appreciating the musicianship of the band, as they blend their hard rock style with an alternative edge and in no way, does it seem forced. They flow easily with melodies and hooks.

Let It Burn was the first single they released and immediately caught everyone’s attention. It is a heavy hard rock track with fierce guitars, powerful vocals, precision drumming and solid bass lines. It was the perfect introduction for people to The Family Ruin. Check out the lyric video for the song here:

The intro on Where We Fall is just purely bad ass as you dance amid adrenaline filled vibe laced with a sweet melody. It is like a rush to your heart and the sigh after, all at once, really great track. Sonder is the crowning finale to the album as it gathers all of your emotions into a cathartic closure. It might be the last act for this album but will have you looking forward to more by The Family Ruin.


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We are very excited to announce that The Family Ruin will be joining Chelsea Grin, Upon a Burning Body and Blessthefall for the Asking Alexandria Moving On Tour. This is one hell of a top notch lineup of bands and you are going to make sure to get there early to not miss any! The dates are listed below:


We are excited to see a San Francisco date of November 30th and will make sure to bring you full coverage of their set and see if we can bring you an interview with this fast rising band. Tickets for the general public go on sale 9/26 at 10 AM with presale available on 9/23 at 10 AM. Get your tickets early so you don’t miss them.

Pick up their new album on iTunes here and let me know which is your favorite track. Be sure to visit their social media sites so you can stay up to date on the latest news by The Family Ruin.

~ Marisol

Information & Links:

Band Members: 

  • Johnny Mennell [Vocals]
  • Craig Robinson [Guitar & Vocals]
  • James Langley [Guitar]
  • Josh Adamson [Bass]
  • Dom White [Drums]