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Whitesnake “Forevermore”

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Whitesnake – Forevermore
Release Date: March 25, 2011
Highlights: Steal Your Heart Away, Love Will Set You Free, Easier Said Than Done, Love Me and Treat Me Right, Fare Thee Well,

David Coverdale has never been one to surround himself with slouches. He has recruited everyone from Bernie Marsden and John Sykes to Steve Vai and most recently Reb Beach and Doug Aldrich. Coverdale knows how to really pick a quality line up of musicians and on their latest album “Forevermore,” Whitesnake shines brighter than they have in more than 20 years.

As a fan of Whitesnake since I first heard them in 1987, I have grown to love that earlier, more bluesy side of Whitesnake more so than the later 80’s hair metal version of Whitesnake. With all due respect, these days i found the 87 self titled album and “Slip of the Tongue” to both sound somewhat dated so you can imagine my reluctance to open up to “Forevermore” but once I opened up I found myself completely enjoying the hell out of this album.

Coverdale and Co. have managed to create a perfect mix of what I loved about the hair metal version of Whitesnake and the earlier bluesy stuff “Slide It In.” “Steal Your Heart Away” opens with an infectious groove that had me nodding my head with a sheepish grin as I was totally loving what I was hearing. The groove was completely driven by drummer Brian Tichey who I honestly have to is probably one of my new favorite drummers because of this album. “Love Will Set You Free” is a shining moment for not just guitarists Doug Aldrich and Reb Beach but a great example of why David Coverdale is one of rocks greatest lead singers. The song is so melodic and has such a nasty groove that it gives you a big ol’ stank face.

While I’m not a huge fan of ballads, “Easier Said Than Done” has to be one of the best Whitesnake ballads ever. Coverdale’s breathy, deep yet emotional voice sounds raw and very natural on this one and it surprisingly doesn’t take much wind out of the albums sails if any. Too band I can’t say the same of the 2nd ballad of the album, “One Of These Days.” This acoustic based country tinged ballad sticks out like a sore thumb and would have been much better suited as either a b-side or just left off completely. Luckily “Love and Treat Me Right” was the perfect song for a quick recovery as it totally cooks and has a really great rocking vibe reminiscent of “Love Ain’t No Stranger” from the “Slide It In” album.

“Fare The Well” is yet another acoustic based ballad but this one actually captivated me and drew me in. Unlike “One of These Days,” it had a real and natural feel to it and it didn’t sound the least bit contrived. The passion and pain in Coverdale’s voice shows a man that has said good-bye more than a few times in his life. This just may be his greatest vocal delivery as it made the hair on my arms stand up. He sounds so connected on this song that it obviously means a lot to him and as a listener, I can feel it as well. “My Evil Ways” once again showcases Brian Tichey as an unstoppable drummer as guitarists Doug Alridrich and Reb Beach play along with each other like they’ve been playing together forever. Its amazing how these two can play with so much restraint and then just throw it all down without stepping on each other’s feet.
The title track “Forevermore” closes out the album which is without a doubt the album’s shining moment. The song opens with a gorgeous acoustic based opening with some really lush harmony vocals only to kick in with a groove possessing a “Kashmir” like quality giving the song an epic quality to it that works really well as a closing track. Its the perfect ending to an already great album.

“Forevermore” is yet another surprise that I was not prepared for. This is a great testament David Coverdale is far from running out of ideas. He has managed to artistically and creatively revive himself by surrounding himself with stellar players and putting out an album of really well written and well executed songs. Both diehard and casual Whitesnake fans will find that this album is a fantastic listening experience. I can guarantee that this album will be getting multiple spins without a doubt.

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Transistor-on Takes “The Way Back Down” on EP

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Transistor-on calls their goods “fuzzed out reverb music,” and in the spirit of post-rock, EP The Way Back Down is full of that melodious texture and sensation. Recorded at The Cottage with Damon Moon, The Way Back Down is a mere four tracks. But those songs make a satisfying sampling of a band with a big future ahead.

Atlanta duo Joey Piersante and Chris Armistead offer up a hazy fugue state that is the blueprint for this coming summer, showing that they can run with the best of the lo-fi crowd with their unique rhythms and finger-picking. The minimalist use of instruments that whip up the dream poppy wall of sound succeeds in taking the listener in a layered, chill journey.

Tracks like “Calling Out” and “Solar Flare” are so catchy (the former with its title refrain; the latter with its main guitar melody), that they etch onto your brain and trick you into thinking these are songs that have been around for maybe 20 years or so already.

Reviewers are throwing out comparisons—and they’ll continue to—of Transistor-on to Explosions in the Sky. The similarities are there for sure; both bands share a genre, after all. But saying only “they remind me of Explosions in the Sky” overlooks the fact that Transistor-on are stepping out in earnest on this EP, sounding comfortable in their skin without being jaded. Plus, having smoky vocals on the tracks adds to the spacey miasma and mystery that serves as the overarching feel of the record. The singing on “Empty Planet,” for example, highlights the track’s slow burn into its rocking guitar-driven crescendo.

Though the last piece on The Way Back Down is called “Exit,” by no means is that a harbinger of the band’s future. Transistor-on closes with a sure-footed tapestry of distortion and crisp rhythm, wrapping up a consistent and skillful release that definitely marks their arrival.

The Way Back Down is available to stream on SoundCloud or for purchase on iTunes. The gorgeous photo cover by Richard Casteel.

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Muse “Drones” Review

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Emily Hearn Saves Time in a Bottle on “Hourglass”

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Emily Hearn’s sonic journey on Hourglass shows that she is a woman coming into her own, figuring out the knots of past heartache, the bliss of newlywed life, and the passage of time.

Time acts as the overarching narrative on the record; Hourglass spans the two years following the Athens, GA native’s debut Red Balloon and 2013 EP Promises. “We fall in or out of love as time moves us,” she explains. “We learn life-changing lessons as time goes on. We figure out how to handle important relationships as time shapes us. We decide who we want to be and what we believe as time reveals our priorities. And ultimately, we grow older as time goes by.”

Hearn sings wistfully “Oh, to be young, and to have time” on the third track “Oak Tree,” longing for the naïve feeling that time would never move forward, or at least not so fast. She frets over seeing her parents age so quickly. The existential worries of a twenty-something come delivered in a package of a catchy, infectious chorus and clap-along-able melody.

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