Chicano Music has gone through a lot of transformations and highs and lows, in the last half a century, sometimes in a good way, some other time not really up to the standards that the genre's Kingpin, Lalo Guerrero, reached in the late 40's.


It is therefore refreshing that a record that sticks to the traditions and the foundations of Chicano Music, with a little contemporary twist, like Johnny & Jaalene sees the light of the day right now, in 2018.

One of the secrets behind the success of a great album is the ability to keep the sound fresh and vibrant throughout the record, at the same time entertaining the listeners and jiggling different musical layers that magically fits inside one another, like a perfectly shaped sonic Matrioska.

This is something that the Leicester-born and London-based troubadour Jack J Hutchinson and his band of brothers Boom Boom Brotherhood fully manage to achieve in their debut album called Set Your Heart For The Sun.

There are very few artists, currently, on the contemporary musical scene, who greatly gratify music writers, whenever they release a new body of work. The reason is related to the fact that these artists are able to move their musical path forward with effectiveness, intelligence and talent, applying new musical streaks to their sound but always remaining very recognizable, stylistically, in the eyes of their fans, thanks to their talent, either in playing an instrument at very high levels or thanks to a remarkable vocal talent.

And when it comes to incorporating talents of all kinds, vocal and sonic ones, together with constant artistic growth, one of those names that immediately springs to mind is that of the guitarist and singer/songwriter Albert Castiglia.

 

German Industrial Techno-Metal band Rammstein used to be, in the early days of their career, to the eyes of some music fans, like marmite, you either loved them or hated them.

Their 1997 biggest ever hit to date though, called Du Hast, became an authentic game changer for the Teutonic Rock band, with the German collective growing exponentially, from that point on, in popularity year after year and album after album. Their explosive formula of Metal and dark Industrial Rock, slowly moved, through the years, in wider musical territory, from Techno to minimalistic Electronica, culminating in that masterful record called Liebe Ist Für Alle Da in 2009, which was, coincidentally, also their last studio album to date.

Sometimes, some music producers tend to be hyper-cool about the artists they are working with and their records and often, they come out with grand adjectives to define a new body of work and the quality of who makes such records.


As an exception, producer Peter Collins got it absolutely spot on, when describing the time he was working with Rockabilly Heroes Stray Cats, on the making of their new album called 40, due to be released on 24th May, by saying: "There's something very special about Stray Cats; nobody else sounds like them".

In the lifetime of many musicians, it often happens for them to go through personal rites of passage, that translate sooner or later, into an artist’s own body of work.

Universally known as one of the best guitarists on a worldwide scale, Blues/Rock’s King Midas Kenny Wayne Shepherd has not only, through the years, demonstrated that he has an excellent singing voice (sharing, in this way, more vocal responsibilities with that fabulous singer in the KWS Band’s that is Noah Hunt) but he is also greatly skilled as a songwriter.

The fact that a band would choose to name their debut album taking the cue from one of Kurt Vonnegut's science fiction satirical novels, the 1959 book The Sirens Of Titan, is already a very intriguing aspect in itself, even prior to listen to a highly entertaining record like Things I Remember From Earth, from the American quartet Maybird.


Released under Danger Mouse's record label, 30th Century Records, Things I Remember From Earth marries contemporary alt-rock and psychedelia in an irresistible musical combo that take the listeners in a fascinating journey into an imaginary, sonic outer space filled with many great compositional ideas.

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