Archive for the AOR Category

Albums of the Year 2017

Posted in Albums of the Year, AOR, Folk, Folk rock, hard rock, indie, Melodic rock, metal, pop, Pop rock, Power metal, Power pop, Prog metal, Progressive rock, rock n roll with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 5, 2017 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

1  CATS IN SPACE Scarecrow
Their debut was pretty damn fine, so high expectations and they delivered! A marvellous mix of 70s’ rock, pomp, pop and more melodies than you can shake a stick at.

2  THRESHOLD Legends of the Shires
Returning vocalist Glynn Morgan helps the band to make one of the finest albums to date. A real return to form.

3  LONELY ROBOT The Big Dream
Part two of the trilogy and another fine set of musical adventures. No name guests this time as John Mitchell does it all bar the drums and some backing vocals.

4  BOULEVARD IV
Finally we get a new album from Boulevard. Fantastic tunes and production, deserves a place in every melodic rock/AOR fans collection.

5  THE YOUNG ‘UNS Strangers
Folk acapella from this talented three piece. Each song is based on a true story and the songs are all positive and uplifting.

STEVE WALSH Black Butterfly former Kansas vocalist returns with an album chock full of melodic rock treats.

7 SONS OF APOLLO supergroup featuring Jeff Scott Soto, Mike Portnoy, Derek Sherinan and Billy Sheenhan. Fantastic joining of music talents and the music lives up to expectations.

8 LIONHEART only 20 odd years since their last album…with Lee Small (Shy/Phenomena) on vocals, Lionheart deserve a place in any melodic rock fans collection.

9 IT Home thought provoking and timely progressive rock backed by oodles of melody.

10= H.E.A.T. Into The Great Unknown they have changed their sound a bit which may upset some fans, but for me they are heading onwards and upwards.

10= PUGWASH Silverlake the power pop album of the year. If you like ELO, Duckworth Lewis grab a copy of this.

Honorable mentions…

HAREM SCAREM United they keep on churning out classy melodic hard rock and long may that continue.

THE BITERS plenty of retro on this one, with the T Rex sounding songs

JEFF SCOTT SOTO Retribution not as instant but stick with it

BIGFOOT one of the debuts of the year. Modern hard rock and the singer doesn’t half sound like Tyketto’s Danny Vaughn at times!

THE NIGHTS more classy Scandi melodic rock with hook filled choruses big enough to land a whale.

THE NEW ROSES One More For The Road good time hard rock, no frills and plenty of riffs.

NIGHT RANGER Don’t Let Up they show no sign of letting up quality wise, another ‘must have’ for fans.

DANKO JONES Wild Cat if you like 70’s rock, Thin Lizzy and foot tapping tunes look no further.

THE NIGHT FLIGHT ORCHESTRA Amber Galactic like Brother Firetribe their ‘day bands’ are heavy yet here they show their love of 80’s melodic rock and AOR.

Fellow GRTR! reviewers choices can be found here

If you only by a few albums this month…

Posted in Albums of the Year, AOR, Blues rock, hard rock, Music for 2016, pop, Pop rock, Power pop with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 28, 2016 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

Hard to pick one single ‘must have’ album from the April releases as there are a lot…

Tax The Heat released their debut on Nuclear Blast and it is chock full of catchy blues/hard rocking tunes with a modern edge.

The Dowling Poole return with their second album ‘One Hyde Park’, a delight from start to finish. If you like quirky pop with a message – think XTC, Squeeze, the instant appeal of ELO songs – this is for you.

Left With Pictures new album ‘Afterlife’ took me by surprise, with its sparse, yet melodic arrangements and haunting vocals. Not for everyone but if like me you love  music regardless of its ‘genre’, have a listen.

And finally the new Cheap Trick ‘Bang, Zoom, Crazy…Hello’…the band have continued their fine run of form since 1997’s self-titled album (I still can’t get into their 1992 release ‘Woke Up With A Monster’), with their first new album since 2009. It really does hark back at times to their classic 70’s/early 80’s sound. If you are a fan doubtless you will already have this, if not try this album and then work your way back through their fine back catalogue.

Five bands I would love to see reform…

Posted in AOR, hard rock, Melodic rock, Modern rock, pop, Pop rock, Power pop with tags , , , , , , , on April 23, 2016 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

I was thinking with all these recent big name musicians passing away it must make sense for some of these bands to make-up and do at least one more show.

Top of that list for me has to be Journey reuniting with Steve Perry. Perry has changed his stance to ‘never say never’ and Carlos Santana could prove a unlikely catalyst to this happening.

Slade, one of the few 70’s rock bands with all the original members still with us. Not likely I know and we do have Dave Hill and Don Powell touring as Slade II, but wouldn’t Noddy Holder and Jim Lea fancy just one more gig maybe? I doubt it sadly.

XTC were down just to Andy Partridge and Colin Moulding by the time they called it a day. A falling out between the two seemingly put paid to any more XTC, however with Steven Wilson adding his sonic magic to the XTC back catalogue could the two make-up?

Semisonic – great band on album and live. Made a brief splash in the late 90’s/early 00’s then stopped. Dan Wilson does his solo thing, maybe time for a new Semisonic album/tour? Please 🙂

Skagarack, okay not top of may people’s lists being a relative obscure Danish melodic rock band. But given the interest in 80’s rock and recent reunions the time is right! Frontiers Records make it so 😉

Oh dear Survivor…

Posted in AOR, Get Ready To Rock!, hard rock, Melodic rock, News with tags , , , , , , on March 4, 2016 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

Seems original vocalist Dave Bickler is out of Survivor and he found out via Twitter.

From Dave Bickler’s Facebook page:
“To all my dear fans, Bitter sweet news that I am no longer a member of Survivor. Just wanted to share that with you. There is no longer a place for me in the band. So I’ll be moving on and direct all my energies to my solo project. And thank you for all your support. Peace. Dave……”

Now the band are down to just one original member guitarist Frankie Sullivan (next longest serving member is bassist Billy Ozzello who has been in the band on and off since 1995). Cameron Barton is now the sole vocalist – he replaced Jimi Jamison who sadly passed away. Wish the band would call it a day as no chance of any new material and they just seem to be playing smaller gigs each time. Plus what a dreadful way to treat Dave Bickler, the man who sang on their biggest hit ‘Eye Of The Tiger’.

You could argue Foreigner are in a similar state with one original member, guitarist Mick Jones, who due to ill health has not been appearing at all their shows or playing a full set. However, they have released one new studio album in the past decade and in Kelly Hansen have a livewire vocalist. It is a tough call for these bands I guess as the fans want to hear the classics and sales of new albums are not great, unless you are say Journey. Hence a band like Foreigner release a series of live hits albums, much like REO Speedwagon and Styx did throughout the 90’s. Heck Molly Hatchett tour and they have no original members at all or any from their classic late 70’s/early 80’s period.

I love my classic bands releasing new albums, but I guess I am in the minority and these band’s key market is the US where the audience just want to hear the hits and not much more.

DRIVE, SHE SAID new album

Posted in AOR, Melodic rock, Music for 2016 with tags , , , , , on February 10, 2016 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake
  • Excited about this one as their last album made my annual best of list. Impressive list of backing vocalists too!

Frontiers Music Srl is excited to present the return of DRIVE, SHE SAID with the release of their highly anticipated new album “Pedal to the Metal” on April 15th, 2016.

Mark Mangold’s (one half of the driving force of Drive, She Said) creative rock flame was ignited once again after a performance with the Firefest version of Touch in Nottingham, UK in 2014. That creative desire and destiny intersected when he got an email from his old friend Serafino from Frontiers. Mangold, a renowned keyboardist, and his creative partner in Drive, She said, the amazing singer/multi-instrumentist Al Fritsch, then started talking with the Frontiers label about releasing new music. This was even more special of an event than a regular signing as Drive, She Said was the first proper artist that was signed to the label back when it started.

Mangold and Fritsch got together and they penned a few sensational classic Melodic Rock / AOR numbers, chock full of marvelous and unforgettable vocal harmonies, as well as looking in the archives for two songs that they hadn’t recorded before.

Mangold says: “We tried to write this record as if we were again in the 80’s/90’s, with the benefit of time and modern recording techniques. In those days you needed to write a “hit” to get signed and carve out an original sound. This record was a challenge because we did not want to clone ourselves, or the many bands that have now have mastered this genre, or be generic. And yet we wanted to keep the record in that same world as the first D,SS record. And of course, we wanted to make it totally over the top! Ultimately it’s about the songs and having fun, and last but never least to try to give the fans, or should I say the esteemed melodic “cult”, something to… consider.”

“Pedal to the Metal” is the final result: an absolute gem of a Melodic Rock album, guaranteed to please all fans of the genre. Check out an album trailer here:

DRIVE, SHE SAID is set to appear live at the Frontiers Rock Festival in Trezzo (Milano), Italy on April 23rd, 2016. Those attending are in for a treat!

“Pedal to the Metal” tracklisting includes:
1. Touch

2. Pedal To The Metal

3. In ‘R Blood

4. Said It All

5. Writing On The Wall

6. Rainbows And Hurricanes

7. Love Will Win In The End

8. Rain Of Fire

9. In Your Arms

10. I’m The Nyte

11. Lost In You

12. All I Wanna Do

DRIVE, SHE SAID
– Lead Vocals: Al Fritsch

– Guitars: Al Fritsch with additional guitars by Tommy Denander, Daniel Palmqvist, Jon Bivona, Ray De Tone, Ricky Wheels

– Keyboards: Mark Mangold, Al Fritsch

Bass: Ken Sandin, Al Fritsch, Paul St. James, Alessandro Del Vecchio

– Drums: Peter Yttergren, Pontus Engborg, Francesco Jovino, Kenny Aronoff

– Background Vocals: Goran Edman, Chandler Mogel, Ted Poley, Al Fritsch, Mark Mangold, Kevin Osborne, Randy Jackson, Thomas Vikstrom, Peppy Castro

– Vocal Duet on “In Your Arms”: Al and Fiona

Music for 2016: CUTTING CREW & IAN DANTER

Posted in AOR, Get Ready To Rock!, hard rock, Melodic rock, Music for 2016, Pop rock, Power pop with tags , , , , , on January 21, 2016 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

To be fair a band best known for their 80’s hit, ‘(I Just) Died In Your Arms Tonight’ may not be top of a new music list for 2016 (this album came out towards the end of last year). However Cutting Crew’s rather good new album ‘Add To Favorites’ is highly recommended. A classy mix of melodic songs that take in pop, rock, soul, folk and the music of artists like Jackson Browne.

Ian Danter is a presenter on TalkSport radio and stand-in for Planet Rock, plus he is the drummer in KISS tribute band Dressed To Kill. His second album, the appropriately titled ‘Second Time Around’ is a mix of 80’s hard rock and a couple of ballads. The song below reminded me of 80’s cult act Donnie Iris & the Cruisers

Oh go on then, will add that 80’s classic 🙂

Cambridge Rock Festival 2016 First Band Announcement

Posted in AOR, Blues rock, Classic rock, Folk, Folk rock, hard rock, Heavy metal, Melodic rock, Modern rock, Music for 2016, News, Power metal, Prog metal, Progressive rock with tags , , , , , , , on January 6, 2016 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

Cambridge Rock Festival 2016 First Band Announcement

4th-7th August 2016

70’s Legends Headline This Years Main Stage

The Cambridge Rock Festival is a superb music event featuring Classic Rock, Blues, with Progressive Rock and some young and exciting Metal bands, all stages are covered.  On the Thursday, the festival caters to the locals, with an evening of Tribute bands. This festival offers a stage to some up and coming younger bands and has seen some become successful. The Treatment, Bonafide, Pearl Handled Revolver and Walkway (recently supported the great Status Quo) to name a few. The Festival has some great food stalls, and is renowned for its 70 real ales, ciders, wines and lager!

The first bands announced for the 2016 festival are: One of Progressive Rock’s greatest legends, Carl Palmer’s ELP Legacy Tour.    The extraordinary Dutch band Focus still featuring original members Thijs Van Leer (organ, flute and vocals) and Pierre Van Der Linden (drums). Curved Air with the beautiful Sonja Kristina at the helm. Sonja was one of the stars of the original cast of the musical Hair, in London in 1968. Curved Air rose to fame with their song Back Street Luv.

80’s star Hazel O’Connor, is huge favorite of the festival, and we are thrilled that she playing again in 2016.

Cregan and Co, Jim Cregan is Rod Stewart’s guitarist and co-songwriter. X-Factor finalist Ben Mills is on vocals. Jim was responsible not only for writing many of Stewart’s greatest hits, he also wrote Cockney Rebel’s hit Come Up And See Me.

The Pink Fairies are an English rock band initially active in the London underground and psychedelic scene of the early 1970s.  They have reformed for a series of gigs including the CRF.

Also playing are:  Walkway, a great Cambridge favorite.  HeKz a progressive metal band, who received a huge ovation at Cambridge 2014.  The Mentulls play their own brand of Progressive Blues. Purson,  Yossarian, Malayan Blues, Doris Brendel, and Derecho.

The Blues Stage bands will be announced soon.  Many more bands are still to be confirmed.

Camping and caravaning available over the full festival. Just 2.5 miles from the historic centre of Cambridge and 3.3miles from Cambridge Rail Station. 30 mins from Stansted Airport (150metres from M11 Motorway J12). Cambridge Rocks! as after all Cambridge is the original hometown of Pink Floyd.

Cambridge Rock Festival, Haggis Farm Polo Club, Barton, CB23 7PZ.Just off the M11 Junction 12.

www.cambridgerockfestival.co.uk