Wednesday, March 30, 2016

CINEMA - Break The Silence (1986) [CD reissue + bonus]

CINEMA - Break The Silence (1986) [CD reissue + bonus]
Someone asked for material by vocalist Bruce Papa (aka "Dartanyan") previous to his band CINEMA. I think it's better first to present here Cinema's one and only album "Break The Silence", as truly deserves a place in your '80s Melodic Rock / AOR collection.
This NY based 5-piece was strongly influenced by the classic Pompy AOR sounds from the golden era, and despite of being released in 1986 (private vinyl LP), the sound in "Break The Silence" owes more to the early Eighties than anything.

The album is plenty of keyboard/synth driven wonderful tunes like 'So Lost In Love', the Journey-like 'Suburban Lines', title track (some Prophet on it), and the lovely 'Ruby', perhaps the more mid-80s sounding track on the album.
For years "Break The Silence" was impossible to find, a true AOR fan collector's piece. Then some time ago was put on CD for the first time plus 6 juicy previously unreleased tracks.
A worthy addition to your collection.

01 - So Lost In Love
02 - Ruby
03 - I'll Never Go
04 - Suburban Lines
05 - Lifeline
06 - Break The Silence
07 - I'll Be There
08 - On My Way
Previously unreleased bonus tracks;
09 - Take My Hand
10 - So Lost In Love (Demo)
11 - I Still Remember
12 - Wonderland
13 - Shine
14 - One More Song

Bruce "Dartanyan" Papa - Vocals
Louie Ferraro - Guitar, Vocals
John Anthony Ilvento - Keyboards, Synthesizers
Paul Catterson - Bass, Taurus pedals
Ronnie Mini - Percussion

CINEMA Break The Silence CD reissue + bonus]

Tuesday, March 22, 2016


NORTHERN STAR (USA) - I (1985) LP front
Requested in "REQUEST & FILL CORNER" section...

This NORTHERN STAR (there were various band under this name) was based in the Hudson Valley, New York, and was active the early '80s playing all over the East Coast (even Florida) and opened for some major acts. The group recorded Northtern Star "I" in 1985, their only album, released through small record label Dead Pidgeon on vinyl LP.
Influenced by Journey, especially vocalist Joe Cutrera owner of a vocal style similar to Steve Perry, the album includes some Pomp and melodic progressive touches as well.

With a polished production for an indie, "I" rocks with tracks like the spiraling '(When You Die) You're Done', 'I Wanna Take You Home', 'Extreme Pain' and 'When Will It Ever End?', while there's more melodic rock oriented tunes such as 'A Girl Of A Different Kind', the pompy 'Crank' and 'Slow Down'.
The latter was released as single as well (something unusual for indie bands) with 3000 copies sold in two weeks. It made the Top 100 in FM Stations on the East Coast.

Even more proof of Northern Star's quality: opening track 'Back To Earth' - a superb Pompy mysterious composition - was nominated as 'Best Rock Instrumental Performance' in 1985 Grammy Awards alongside Yngwie Malmsteen, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Jeff Beck and Jon Butcher (Beck won the prize).
The album title is interesting too: "I" is not number 1, it's the capital letter 'i' and plays with 'eye' in reference to the eye shown on the LP cover with the Northern Star logo as the pupil.
After the group disbanded all members continued in the business, most notably Cutrera fronting Feed The Rhino.

NORTHERN STAR (USA) - I (1985) LP back

Northern Star "I" is a collectors item with original LP copies being sold at really high prices. It's a truly good album with solid songs, great guitar playing and soaring vocals, all with that '80s atmosphere impossible to replicate nowadays.
Vinyl-rip cleaned by me including artwork - Very Recommended

01 - Back To Earth (a.Tranquillity, b.Re-Entry)
02 - Slow Down
03 - A Girl Of A Different Kind
04 - (When You Die) You're Done
05 - I Wanna Take You Home
06 - Crank
07 - Turn Your Head
08 - Extreme Pain
09 - When Will It Ever End?
10 - Back To Earth (reprise)

Joe Cutrera - lead vocals, percussion
Anton 'Buck' Buckheit - guitars
Tom Moore - bass, keyboards, backing vocals
Bob Mosher - drums


Thursday, March 17, 2016

WITNESS (Philadelphia, US) - Witness [Special Extended Edition 2007] (1983)

WITNESS (Philadelphia, US) - Witness [Special Extended Edition 2007] (1983) front
Requested in "REQUEST & FILL CORNER" section...

Not to be confused with the female-fronted act of the same name, this WITNESS is the Philadelphia-based band who enjoyed considerable popularity in the Pennsylvania / New Jersey area during the first half of the '80s.
Witness is often remembered for their energetic performances, but also for their flamboyant 130,000 watt light show, some kind of a record at the beginning of the decade for an indie band without national management.
In 1980 Witness released a 45rpm single which sold like hot cakes, and continued with a busy show schedule.

In 1983, Witness went into the studio again to record "Witness", a miniLP including 6 wonderful tracks.
The sound & style is first half of the Eighties Pomp / AOR with a Melodic Rock pulse in-between. Just check the melodic bliss of 'One Good Reason' with a Balance feel, the pompy synths of 'Make Me Feel Right' in the best Arc Angel vein, or the Journey influenced anthem 'You Don't Know'.

If you need a pure Pomp number, 'Theresa' fits in that category, a terrific pumping track with all the '80s magic. "Look Around" is a great midtempo ballad again with a Steve Perry & Co atmosphere, and why not, REO Speedwagon.
Then 'You Do It Anyway' adds a bluesy touch to its melodic rock heart, very dynamic as well.

"Witness" was a private release vinyl pressed in limited quantities which become sold-out soon. Never reissued in any form (such a crime), in 2007 the band and former member Mitchell Schecter decided to release by themselves a CD with all Witness recordings.
We have here the '83 miniLP but also the band's impossible to find first single, two unreleased tracks from 1984 showcasing the group with a more poppy AOR sound and electronic drums, plus two live tracks.

WITNESS (Philadelphia, US) - Witness [Special Extended Edition 2007] (1983) back

Obviously the transfer was done from vinyl as the master tapes were lost, and although all was pretty home-made done, the sound is fine. I did a little clean-up & enhance in the Camelblue's way...
This the kind of requests that are a pleasure to fulfill, as this material not only is extremely rare, but at the same time damn good.
A must for collectors, and suckers for timeless '80s Pomp AOR.

01 - One Good Reason
02 - Make Me Feel Right
03 - You Don't Know
04 - Theresa
05 - Look Around
06 - You Do It Anyway
07 - She Gets Down (1980 single) (bonus track)
08 - Finally Fallen In Love (1980 single) (bonus track)
09 - Bleedin' In The Heart (unreleased) (bonus track)
10 - She Made Me Cry (unreleased) (bonus track)
11 - When I'm With Her (live) (bonus track)
12 - One Good Reason (live) (bonus track)

Billy Spence - vocals
Mike Disston - guitars
Steelman Disston - guitars
Mike LaBuono - keyboards, synths
Roy Altemus - bass
Tim Rooney - drums
Kent Warner - bass
Mitchell Schecter - drums

WITNESS [Special Extended Edition 2007] (1983)

Friday, March 04, 2016

RUNNER (USA) - Runner MiniLP (1984)

RUNNER (USA) - Runner MiniLP (1984) front
Requested in "REQUEST & FILL CORNER" section...

Don't confuse this RUNNER with the UK band under the same name. These guys are from USA, and their sound is totally Radio oriented AOR.
This self-released private miniLP features 4 wonderful tracks with strong influences from those years' popes: LOVERBOY, SURVIVOR, PREVIEW, etc. There's lovely harmonies, classy keyboards and melodic vocals.
The four songs are easy on the ears, with some pomp hints here and there, featuring the mandatory ballad as closing track.

"Runner" is a short but catchy first half of the '80s Radio-AOR little record, a vinyl-rip quickly cleaned and de-clicked by me.
A collectors item as well, so a recommended addition to your vaults.

1 - Here It Comes Again
2 - Hold On To Lose
3 - Maybe I'm Right
4 - It Should Be Easier

Kenny Jackson: Lead Vocals, Bass
Tony Rincon: Guitar
Russell Berkley: Keyboards, Backing Vocals
Dean Finmark: Drums

RUNNER (USA) Runner MiniLP (1984)


EDDE MAXX - Hot Paint (1993)

EDDE MAXX - Hot Paint (1993)
Many readers are asking why I don't post music articles more frequently. Simple; I don't have too much time in my hands. It takes a lot time to prepare; the rip, sometimes vinyl restoration, a conscientious re-listen, write a proper review, etc.
So as there's a high amount of requests in the Request & Fill Corner, Chat Box and Comments, I will try to post more 'on the fly': brief reviews, wider music genres, etc.
Tell me what you think about it...

This one was requested in one post comments: Canadian musician EDDE MAXX's album "Hot Paint" from 1993. Co-produced by keyboardist Jimmy Waldo (Alcatrazz, New England), this is a cool mix of uptempo melodic rockers like 'Paint The Town Blue', acoustic ballads ('Me And Silver'), and AOR moments ('Where Is The Love').

EDDE MAXX - Hot Paint (1993) back

This is the rare original Canadian release, the album was reissued one year after in Europe with different artwork.
Nice stuff.

01 - Dr. Good Luv
02 - Me and Silver
03 - Where is The Love
04 - Little Fantasy
05 - Hang On
06 - Listen to Your Heart
07 - Take Me With You Tonight
08 - Together We Stand
09 - Paint the Town Blue

Edde Maxx - Vocals, Guitar, Keyboards
Bruce Noble - Guitar
Billy McCaully - B3 Organ
Danny Parker - Bass
Tom Roach - Drums
Bob Kulick - more Guitars
Christian Peloquin - Acoustic Guitars
Mark Beaulieu - Piano
Jean LeBlanc, Stacey Crawford & others: Backing Vocals

EDDE MAXX - Hot Paint 1993