Archive for the ‘Rock And Roll’ Category

Lunden Reign — Confessions (Vinyl Record Review)

Sunday, April 15th, 2018

Lunden Reign is vocalist Nikki Lunden and Guitarist Laura Espinoza-Lunden (And some awesome studio musicians!).

This album was produced by Luis Maldonado (Train) who added great textured lead guitar work as well as co-writing credits.

Confessions is the follow up to their debut 2015 album American Stranger and it is very strong. What I really appreciate is that this record somehow successfully straddles adult contemporary and straight rock without ever coming off as cheesy. (Harder than it sounds folks)

Nikki is a GREAT singer, seriously talented and has so many shades of cool that touch great voices past like Lita Ford, Pat Benatar and of course the iconic Ann Wilson without ever sounding like a copycat.

Laura Espinoza-Lunden is the perfect match for Nikki in that her guitar playing is both understated and atmospheric without ever losing power. Laura also does heavy lifting in the songwriting department which of course no band wins without well crafted songs.

To that, upon second listen my initial favorite tracks are Coming Home tonight, Little Lost Girl, Never Ending Dream and Faded Memories. Any of which could get commercial radio airplay.

Putting out the initial release (and mastering) of this record on vinyl is brilliant because that is still the best way to listen to rock and roll and for those of us who get it’s like a big ole thank you!

There are no weak tracks on this 2nd Lunden Reign album. Well done ladies… Well done.

Keep on rocking!

(4.5 out of 5)




King Leg — Meet King Leg (Review)

Monday, March 19th, 2018

King Leg — Meet King Leg co produced by Dwight Yoakam is an interesting mix because it doesent stay confined to the easy trappings of country music yet it has an undeniable Nashville production feel which makes it familiar yet somehow fresh. Bryan Joyce is the man behind the leg and he has his influences proudly on the outside! You will hear shades of Roy Orbison, Elvis “The King” Presley, Morrissey, a whisper of Chris Isaac and at his coolest moments you may even hear the late great Jeffrey Lee Pierce  (The Gun Club) floating around. This collection of songs came out Oct of 2017 but I am reviewing it now because of the April 6th Vinyl release! The record starts with a big cool sprawling American slice Great Outdoors which does indeed make me want to take that spring road trip through the flatlands. All the songs are great because the songwriting is super tight, the band is killer, the sound is sparse and the vocals are my kind of warble! Stefano Capobianco’s guitars are understated and never step on the vocals or acoustic guitar while the bass is handled deftly by Daniel Rhine. My current favorite (Should be the next single ;) ) Your Picture starts off with a sick series of drum fills by one of LA’s premier session drummers Kelly King who I understand is in the touring band as well which is fantastic because that means when I see them live there will be no surprises in the rhythm section! (the key to a great live band) Comfy Chair / A Dream That Never Ends is way too epic to be on a country record, it starts out a sorrowful lament and transforms into a strong case for being alone as long as it takes to be in the right place only to end right back where it began, yet somehow more desperate… The strength turns to the anger of the insecure… That’s my take on it anyway but what the heck do I know? It is a GREAT song so there’s that…

Overall this one is no brainer Bryan Joyce understands who he is and is unapologetic about it. He wears his influences but isn’t defined by them because he has his own authentic mojo running throughout.

Can’t wait to see this group live this summer!

4 (out of 4)


Dokken (Live… ish Review) Neptune Blue (Live and CD Review)

Sunday, November 5th, 2017

Neptune Blue is great. (Teaser! More on that later)

So I decided to take my amazing rock drummer 8 year old son Ray to see Dokken at the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills.

It’s an great old theatre with superb acoustics etc. . It holds 1,549 People… That October Saturday night there were 53 in attendance… Ouch.

Dokken had some great pop metal hits in the 1980′s but clearly their nostalgic draw is not enough to bother in L.A. in 2017. Stick to the 80′s nostalgia festivals would be my advice.

All of that is all of that, what is truly sad is that you NEVER MAKE EXCUSES, NEVER! Just give us what we paid for. DIDN’T HAPPEN.

Don Dokken with the original drummer (who is too old to seem so wired ;) …)  made excuses, complained and phoned it in. The only one who played with any gusto was the guitar player who shreds (I think he used to be the bands lawyer).

After their set I asked my son what he thought. “They have some good songs but their lazy”. CORRECT.

(1 out of 5 J.S.L.)


Let’s go back to the opening band Neptune Blue. As I looked around at the empty house and thought to myself I hope this opening band is not too loud and only plays twenty minutes a strange feeling came over me. I turned to my son Ray and said “hey maybe the opening band will be great”.

Lucky Guess?

Neptune Blue took the stage, the singer Chris Hodges looked around, smiled and said “Wow this place is gorgeous, there are not a lot of people but were gonna play like this place is packed!”

PROMISE DELIVERED. –  By the start of the 2nd song I knew I was breathing that rarefied air when you find something you had forgotten… A new band to be a fan of!

Incredibly tight musicianship,  well crafted songs with hooks galore and a charismatic singer with a “live” voice the likes of which I have seen maybe a dozen times in my many years in rock and roll.

For having only 53 people in the house we were all up and rocking, that is something an opening band has to earn in a very short amount of time.

Hugo Hoeksma – Guitar (European Mastermind?)/ Andrew James – Bass /  Zak St. John – Drums / Chris Hodges – Vocals / I think there was/is a fifth member but he’s not in the press kit (That’s on you guys) The reason I put the band members names up is that this is a group. Chris is amazing but the whole package makes sense to me.

Neptune Blue has an EP at least which was available at the show for purchase (Plus they gave out a bunch!) I paid for mine even though I had caught it when thrown from the stage. I paid because they earned my respect. RESPECT! The CD is super produced yet somehow not so slick that it bugs me. Heartbeat is a Neptune Blue video on YouTube so check it out although for my money the song Blue is the single.

I see the band has a show coming up in L.A. with Steel Panther, I plan to see them again but I would rather run into a brick wall then intentionally go to a Steel Panther show.

Speaking to the Owners of The Canyon (The Saban, The Rose Etc.) I see Styx is coming in Jan and that will be sold out so… How about giving Neptune Blue a shot at an actual packed house?

Speaking to the touring bands who read my blog (You know who you are) How about bringing along some healthy competition… it’s good for you and will push you to keep firing! It will also give you the opportunity to help the rock community stay alive.

Thank you Neptune Blue, my son Ray and I are huge fans. Way to show up and show out!

Will hear you in T.V. and Movie Soundtracks and of course I will see you live again when I can.

(5 out of 5 – J.S.L.)








Styx – The Mission (Review)

Saturday, June 17th, 2017


Don’t call it a comeback they’ve been here for years!

Who on Earth would make a classic rock concept record about a manned mission to Mars?

Apparently Styx thought it was worth doing in 2017…. Bold, stupid or just plain nuts? BOLD!

Why not?  They have done everything already and should just do what they want.

The Mission marks Styx’s 16th album and here’s the rub…. The record is WAY better than it should have any right to be!

Possibly their best record since Pieces Of Eight (Yeah I said it) this is a natural progression of their sound –  this record is very 1976/2017 if you know what I mean…

Unlike many concept albums this is not an over indulgent musical project but instead a collection of tight songs each with a purpose that is directed towards the overall project. A Million Miles From Home (Track three) I must have listened to 20 times at least already!

Soaring harmony’s, 70′s style guitar grooves and sick solo’s are all held together by the most obvious update over the past 20 plus years Todd Suchermans drumming. Todd is probably top ten rock drummers in the world at this point… go see them live then try and disagree!

Classic rock is alive and well and Styx is holding the door open for future generations —


” Got my hands in the stars on a mission to Mars, and I’m a hundred million miles from home” Elon Musk’s favorite new record?

I hope so… Let’s do it. Let’s go to Mars!

Buy it (5 out of 5)



Thursday, October 27th, 2016

Wow, wow and wow.

That’s all I can say. I am blown away by these performances!

As a good friend of mine John Cooper said “You can’t mess with Otis” (Ok so he  might have replaced the word mess with something stronger but you get the idea!)

This is prime Otis Redding with such hits as I’ve Been Loving you too long, Respect and one of my all time fav’s Mr. Pitiful. Multiple takes spanning 7 sets in their entirety! Including great moments of banter between the band. If your a die hard fan or just understand what “soul” music is you MUST PURCHASE THIS ASAP!

What I love most of all is that even though there are many repeated songs the feel of the versions often dependent by where they are in the set list and the energy level of the band definitely differ from one another, which really gives the listener a view into the world of the artist.

This kind of captured event is impossible now.

Own a great piece of history. Buy it.

J.S.L. (4 out of 4)

Belinda Carlisle – British Live Performance Series (CD Review)

Friday, March 25th, 2016

Belinda Carlisle is an iconic and sometimes underated singer. Frontwoman of the 1980′s juggarnaught The Gogo’s is captured here during the height of her solo prowess with a great seven piece band. First off like the other records in this series the live sound was catured properly so sonically it actually sounds live a live concert. What I love about this record is it shows Belinda singing solo hits as well as some Gogo’s tracks in a way that most people will be unfamiliar with… sans slick production!

It shows that belinda always had a really good and more importantly for her songs a really cool voice.

I Get Weak, Heaven Is A Place On Earth, Runaway Horses, Our Lips Are Sealed, We Got The Beat and one of my personal favorites World Without You.

No brainer right?

Super enjoyable I look forward to seeing the DVD.

Buy It.

4 (out of 4)




Buzzcocks — British Live Performance Series (Review)

Friday, March 25th, 2016

It took me a while to actually listen to this. I kept looking at it wondering is this going to be as cool as it should be?…

Yeah it is.

Rainman Music is releasing a whole gang of these and I for one cannot be more psyched (more reviews to follow). Super tight performance and “real” live sound (no overdubs) with songs like “Ever Fallen In Love,” “Walking Distance,” 
and “Autonomy,” how can you go wrong?

Recorded in the 80′s what’s so great about this live recording is that this is what The Buzzcocks sounded like then. I know because I saw them back then.

It really will transport you back to a far less complicated musical history, to a very cool Brit power pop band playing with just the right amount of salty authenticity minus the sarcasm that I defy you to find today.

Buy it.


4 (out of 4)




Holy Grail – Time Of Pride And Peril

Saturday, February 13th, 2016

If you like almost perfect production, blazing guitars, sick tight drums and bass topped off with melodic metal vocals then this is the release you have been waiting for!

It’s almost pointless for me to break this record down in that it is the natural evolution of their previous two. The song structures are maturing as are the  melody lines.

After two listens I already love this, every song is great. Buy it… It’s very hard to make a living as a musician!

Go see em live they are on tour now!

Start out with this one:


5 (out of 5) Duh.





Sunday, October 11th, 2015

Van Halen. Eddie is great, Alex is great, Wolfie is ok and David Lee Roth is really weird as usual. David is the ultimate showman but he can’t really sing anymore and refuses to sing in the song instead he just sort of talks and scats out of time and often out of tune. The band does a great job of singing the choruses so you still get that thrill of hearing your favourite songs. No frills stage set, lights and backdrop. Not exactly sure why but is still a very fun show.

The power of the songs I guess.

2 (out of 4) J.S.L.

AC/DC Rock Or Bust Live Dodgers Stadium 9.29.15

Sunday, October 11th, 2015

Wow. ACDC is so much better than they have any right to be at this point. I did miss seeing Malcom on stage but life goes on and so does the rock! Angus may look like the crypt keeper (he has for like 15 years) but he is still the man and seems to never run out of energy. Brian may not sing as strong in the verses anymore but he deleivers when he needs to. The stage set, lights, sound and set list were perfect.

I’m suprised I’m saying this but they were better this time then when I saw them in the 1990′s and I wish I could go all over again.

Great band, great show.

4 (out of 4)