AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: BRIAN SIMPSON & STEVE OLIVER/UNIFIED

On paper, musical collaborations always seem to work. In the studio or on the stage, not so much. The intentions might be good, but ultimately, the music is uninspired and forgettable. From Rock to Jazz, Hip Hop to Country, collaborations are normally inspired by mutual respect between artists. However, bad chemistry, ego, or record label interference can sink the ship faster than a torpedo from a nuclear submarine. On the other hand, there are some collabs that exceed expectations. When magic happens, we really need to pay attention. Thankfully, UNIFIED, the 2020 release from Brian Simpson and Steve Oliver is a grand success! While this isn’t their first walk in the park together, it is a reminder that two talents can come together as one and create something new and exciting. […]

By | January 17th, 2020|Categories: News|0 Comments

OSCAR Update: “Stand Up” – from the HARRIET soundtrack – receives an Academy Award nomination!

TERENCE BLANCHARD HARRIET (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) NEWSFLASH: “Stand Up” – from the highly-acclaimed HARRIET soundtrack – has received an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song! While not billed as a ‘super hero’ movie, HARRIET most certainly deserves that designation. Based on the life of slave-turned-abolitionist Harriet Tubman, the movie tells the story of a woman whose courage, ingenuity, and tenacity freed hundreds of slaves and changed the course of history. Directed by Kasi Lemmons, who wrote the screenplay with Gregory Allen Howard, HARRIET stars Cynthia Erivo as Tubman alongside Leslie Odom Jr., Joe Alwyn, and Janelle Monáe. A film about Tubman has been rumored in Hollywood for years and has now finally made its way to the big screen. […]

By | January 13th, 2020|Categories: News|0 Comments

AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: FINNEAS/BLOOD HARMONY

You’ve heard Finneas without realizing that you’ve heard Finneas. The L.A.-based singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and producer has performed on Saturday Night Live, topped the Billboard Hot 100, and produced and co-wrote the #1 album WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO. With all that going for him, it’d be OK if you are not quite familiar with his name. You see, his sister is Billie Eilish – you know, the enormously popular Pop singer – and hers is the name linked to all the aforementioned achievements. However, Finneas deserves a nice chunk of the praise being thrown in Billy’s direction because theirs is a truly collaborative relationship. […]

By | December 13th, 2019|Categories: News|Comments Off on AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: FINNEAS/BLOOD HARMONY

NEW ENGLAND/Archives Box, Vol. 1 review!

Nobody can quite figure out why Boston-based rockers New England didn’t become massively successful back in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s. They had it all – the sound, the songs, the looks, the musicianship, the right producers (Mike Stone, Todd Rundgren, Paul Stanley), major label support, etc. For some reason, it just never happened. On the other hand, New England never quite fit comfortably into any genre. With early support from KISS’ Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley, NE wasn’t exactly KISS proteges, musically or visually. Touted as a Hard Rock band, New England was far more melodic than 90% of their Rock contemporaries. Their melodic hooks were tailored made for the Power Pop kids but the band rocked a little too hard to share bills with 20/20 and The Knack. Obviously, New England had EVERYTHING going for them… except a good marketing angle. Sadly, a band that ignored the rules of the game were ultimately doomed to sit on the sidelines while lesser players made it all the way to MTV. The irony is that, 37 years after their split, people are still talking about New England while a majority of the bands that became more successful are long-forgotten. […]

By | December 11th, 2019|Categories: News|Comments Off on NEW ENGLAND/Archives Box, Vol. 1 review!

AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: SUFJAN STEVENS & TIMO ANDRES/THE DECALOGUE!

One of the most critically-acclaimed singer/songwriters of the millennium, Sufjan Stevens is also entirely unpredictable. From lo-fi Folk to shimmering Electronica, Stevens has crafted a series of releases that allow him to continually refine his craft while keeping his audience intrigued and, ultimately, delighted. Regardless of what instrumentation he chooses to use for each album, his unique songwriting and his approach to haunting layered vocals makes each album distinctly his own. Ever since he broke out of ‘cult status’ with albums like SEVEN SWANS and ILLINOIS, Stevens has been able to chart his own musical course without repeating himself. It doesn’t hurt that he’s won plenty of awards along the way as well as being nominated for a Grammy and an Oscar (amongst others). […]

By | December 6th, 2019|Categories: News|Comments Off on AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: SUFJAN STEVENS & TIMO ANDRES/THE DECALOGUE!

AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: MÖTLEY CRÜE/DR. FEELGOOD (30th ANNIVERSARY)

Mötley Crüe began life as just another Hard Rock band playing the dingy clubs in Los Angeles. Now, 38 years after forming, they are Rock ‘n’ Roll icons. What happened between then and now is legendary. From drugs and debauchery to tragedy, triumph and the firing and rehiring of their vocalist, the four members of Mötley Crüe – Nikki Sixx (bass), Tommy Lee (drums), Mick Mars (guitar), and Vince Neil (vocals) – have survived to tell the tale. Anyone that has read their book THE DIRT knows that the band never held back as they enjoyed the splendors of their fame and fortune. They were proof that you shouldn’t really enjoy success without at least a little excess… […]

By | December 2nd, 2019|Categories: News|Comments Off on AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: MÖTLEY CRÜE/DR. FEELGOOD (30th ANNIVERSARY)

AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: JULIANA HATFIELD/SINGS THE POLICE!

Juliana Hatfield has remained an unpredictable artist during her 30+ year career. Since the formation of Blake Babies in the late ‘80s, straight through her most recent solo work, she has surprised critics and fans with her many musical projects. Since Blake Babies’ original demise in 1991, she’s formed her own band Juliana Hatfield Three as well as getting involved in many other projects including Minor Alps (with Matthew Caws of Nada Surf), The I Don’t Cares (with Paul Westerberg), The Lemonheads, and more. Along the way, she’s been involved in a few Blake Babies reunions while continually movie forward as an artist. […]

By | November 15th, 2019|Categories: News, Uncategorized|Comments Off on AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: JULIANA HATFIELD/SINGS THE POLICE!

AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: BAD WOLVES/N.A.T.I.O.N.

Bad Wolves is a supergroup of sorts. Vocalist Tommy Vext spent time in bands like Divine Heresy, Snot, and Westfield Massacre before the formation of Bad Wolves. Drummer John Boecklin was previously a member of DevilDriver, lead guitarist Doc Coyle once rocked with God Forbid, rhythm guitarist Chris Cain treaded the boards with both Bury Your Dead and For the Fallen Dreams, and bassist Kyle Konkiel has laid down the bottom end for In This Moment, Scar the Martyr, and Vimic. If you count their manager as an auxiliary band member, then it must be said that Five Finger Death Punch guitarist Zoltan Bathory – Bad Wolves’ manager – kicks the ‘supergroup’ claim up another notch. […]

By | October 28th, 2019|Categories: News, Uncategorized|Comments Off on AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: BAD WOLVES/N.A.T.I.O.N.

AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: WATERPARKS/FANDOM

Celebrating their 25th Anniversary this year, California-based label Hopeless Records has been at the forefront of the modern Punk movement since their inception in 1994. With a host of Pop Punk, Hardcore, and Post-Punk acts on their roster, the label has been one of the most influential on the scene. With releases by All Time Low, Sum 41, Neck Deep, Avenged Sevenfold, Thrice, Yellowcard, Anarbor, Taking Back Sunday, Silverstein, We Are The In Crowd, Bayside, The Used, The Wonder Years, The Human Abstract and Enter Shikari, Hopeless has always embraced the energy of modern Punk and releasing albums that have helped shape the genre. Through it all, the label has earned the respect of the Punk Pop/Emo kids and that is what is most important. […]

By | October 11th, 2019|Categories: News, Uncategorized|Comments Off on AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: WATERPARKS/FANDOM

AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: BRUCE COCKBURN/CROWING IGNITES

Artists and their art evolve. The youngster that strummed their first chord into a four-track recorder decades ago has matured in so many ways since then – physically, emotionally, and artistically. However, without realizing it, their audience refuses to let the artist grow – they want them to stay the same as when they first connected with them. While we all know better now, there was a time when teens all over the world were dismayed when The Beatles grew facial hair and served up “Strawberry Fields Forever” to the masses in 1967. The kids wanted the same band that Ed Sullivan introduced them to three years earlier. Thankfully, audiences quickly adapted to the Fabs’ growth as a band. The same can’t be said for so many other artists over the years. Audiences can be so fickle sometimes… […]

By | September 20th, 2019|Categories: News, Uncategorized|Comments Off on AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: BRUCE COCKBURN/CROWING IGNITES