Pat Travers: The Railhead at Boulder Station, Las Vegas, NV, 11/08/12

Pat Travers has been flying just under the music equator for many years now and the big question amongst his peers and his fans, is why? He ranks up there with Steve Marriott and Alvin Lee and Robin Trower, and like them, despite the immeasurable talent they possess and a few big hits in their repertoire, they still have managed to never hit that superstar echelon of contemporaries like Jeff Beck and Joe Perry.

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Black Country Communion: Afterglow

Black Country Communion is a hard rock super group whose sound is far more than the sum of its collective chops and they put the “eyebrows” on every track on Afterglow, their fantastic third album. Whoever it was that said “they don’t make ‘em like they used to” hasn’t heard Black Country Communion. Their pedigree alone qualifies them for some kind of exalted status.

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Old Man Gloom and Isis: No, Temporal

Two years after the break-up of post-metal juggernaut Isis, Aaron Turner once again turned the heavy community on its collective ear in 2012 when he announced that his influential imprint Hydra Head Industries was ceasing to release any more new albums just shy of its 20th anniversary as one of the most adventurous and innovative metal labels America has ever known.

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Soul Monde – Russ Lawton and Ray Paczkowski: Club Antidote, Vergennes, Vermont 12/12/12

Anyone who’s seen drummer Russ Lawton and keyboardist Ray Paczkowski participate in any of their various and sundry projects (TAB, Strangefolk, Vorcza, Grippo Funk Band, Dave Matthews & Friends) knows what stylish musicians they are. Now, however, formally united as the duo Soule Monde, Ray and Russ are bringing their skills to a whole other level and they made this small club seem like it was situated on Bourbon St instead of just off the main street of the smallest city in the US.

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Trust: TRST

The new album from Toronto–based Trust, entitled TRST, is a very solid album from a young band. Labeled as “synthpop” and “dark wave,” it’s a great merger of danceable, poppy tunes and a darker, heavier edgy sound.

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The Mountain Goats: Crescent Ballroom, Phoenix, AZ 12/8/12

Credibility—the main product of Darnielle’s two decade plus year career with an instrument in hand and a song on his tongue, that originally sparked from urgency and was recorded onto cassettes, has now transformed The Mountain Goats into a legitimate musical identity. Their 14th studio album Transcendental Youth was released last October 14th and this Crescent performance witnessed a generous eight tracks from this latest recording, along with many other favorites.

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Aerosmith/Cheap Trick: New Orleans Arena, New Orleans, LA, 12/06/12

“Joe Perry is in the house,” announced wiry frontman Steven Tyler after Aerosmith’s guitar slinger finished up a lead vocal and riff-laden “Combination” from the band’s powerful 1976 classic album Rocks. Perry wasn’t the only one burning down the soon to be Pelicans’ house on a humid Thursday night. Brad Whitford, Tom Hamilton, Joey Kramer and the other half of the infamous Toxic Twins were all ready to rock & roll, bluesy-Boston style.

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Black Swan Runners: An Aside

As the band evolves it will be interesting to see if they take a more standard “rock” road or move into the ether.  Either way An Aside is a firm first step. 

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