BARONESS, Red Album/Blue Record (Relapse Records)
Between hailing from ATL and being produced by Relapse, it’s no surprise that this prog-metal monster has a very Mastodonian influence. In fact, they almost sound identical. But when you have a band that exhibits just as much talent as the band they sound like, it’s not a negative thing. Both albums display the absolute care, technicality, and sheer artfulness of Baroness’ musical ability. Incredible harmonies, lyrics worthy of classical poets, and a heaviness to drive it all home. Do yourself a favor and find a way to expose your ears to this band. – JUSTIN EMERY

BEBE BUELL, Sugar (Of Crown and Raven Studios)
For those of you who have been avid readers of this publication, you’ve been exposed to Ms. Buell before. For those of you who haven’t, consider this your enlightenment. Bebe has got a grand mix of things going on for this album – the best way I can put it – Stevie Nicks singing Patti Smith, who had music produced by Duran Duran and played by Depeche Mode. Essentially, what we have here is soulful-pop-goth with attitude…oh and a little bit of techno. Bebe, you’ve done it again. – JUSTIN EMERY

CHROME DIVISION, Booze, Broads and Beelzebub (Nuclear Blast)
Lemmy incarnate! This band is all about badass rock n’ roll and they don’t hide it at all. I mean, look at the title of this album. It’s Motorhead sound with death metal talent. This classic-sounding band may look the part, but take away the biker jackets and western shirts and trade them in for corpse makeup and bondage gear and you’ll recognize members of Norway’s Dimmu Borgir and Kovenant. This is the album that defines lewd, rude, tattooed and brilliant. – JUSTIN EMERY

CORPUS CHRISTI, A Feast for Crows (Victory Records)
En nomine di Patri, et File, spiritu metal! With Corpus Christi’s sophomore release after a major lineup change, Victory Records has yet again produced a brilliant modern metal band. Not only are they musically talented, but lyrically this band possesses such an uncommon prowess: from the track “Monuments” – “Integrity is sold so cheaply to feed the greedy and rob the poor.” Ready your ears and your hearts. Corpus Christi’s A Feast for Crows is your metallic benediction. – JUSTIN EMERY

DALAI SONIDO, Bleed Into The Past (Indie)
Their website says they’re an Alternative/Indie band, but I hear new wave surf rock. With mellow ‘60s grooves, smooth vocals, and a touch of rockabilly edge, Dalai Sonido is the very best of what you’d expect from the LBC. Let’s put it this way, if Dana Brown makes another Endless Summer and needs a new band with a throwback sound for the soundtrack, I would tell him to call Dalai Sonido. My hands are sore from applause…a job well done. – JUSTIN EMERY

THE DEAR HUNTER, Act III (Triple Crown)
Never, in all my years of listening to music, have I ever encountered liner notes on individual and separate pages. Each contains the lyrics as if they were written on a post card sent during WWI. Pretty neat. Additionally, this album is killer! It’s proggy. It’s nonlinear. It’s different. You could say it sounds like The Mars Volta, My Morning Jacket, or even slightly like Gogol Bordello, but that’s wrong. It sounds like nothing I’ve heard before and I’m glad. The mold of repetitive, overproduced musical bullshit has been broken. – JUSTIN EMERY

INFANTREE, Would Work (Vapor Records)
Sometimes the best description for an amazing band is not always the most in-depth. Rather, it is the simplest that provides the highest praise. Such is the case for Infantree and their CD Would Work. Talented musicians, playing extraordinarily complex and wonderful instrumentation, strengthened by truly sophisticated lyrics. There is no category for their sound. There is no written way of doing them the justice they deserve. I suggest you purchase the album and enjoy it as thoroughly as I have. – JUSTIN EMERY

LAMB OF GOD, Hourglass, Vol. III: The Vault (Epic Records)
It’s been a decade and a half since Lamb of God started inducing facial melting and cranial explosions, and this compilation is a mastered representation of every ounce of shreddable material that Lamb of God is capable of producing. Special editions, rehearsal demos, tour recordings – it doesn’t matter in what setting you find these guys, the result is always professionally brutal and perfect. Such as the lyrics of the song “Dead Seeds” read, “…You may tremble before Hell’s gates/You may watch as the Heaven’s fall…” and this, my friends, is the soundtrack for your witness. – JUSTIN EMERY

THIS MOMENT IN BLACK HISTORY, Public Square (Smog Veil Records)
It’s said that good blues come from Memphis or the Delta, but great punk rock blues comes from Cleveland. This is the punk I wish I’d grown up with but am sure glad that it’s still around. There is talent and meaning that just oozes and streams out of TMIBH. Public Square sounds like doomsday aggression, hot rods, and old-skool radio mics. It feels like an unraveling mess of a pompadour and the first good cigarette of the day. This album is everything that good punk rock should be. This is a band that deserves to go places. – JUSTIN EMERY

THE ORBANS, When We Were Wild (Indie)
There is a newness in indie rock today that, it seems, The Orbans have most assuredly capitalized on with their latest album, When We Were Wild. This previously uncharted sound combines alt-country and folk with the emotionalism and delicacy of singer/songwriters. When We Were Wild sounds like Bright Eyes and The Avett Brothers collaborated to write songs on a cross-country road trip and stopped for a good while in Texas before finally making it to good ol’ California. The Orbans possess a remarkable ability to craft music that touches your every mood and sentiment and thus far, When We Were Wild is the pinnacle of that ability. – JUSTIN EMERY

THE RIOT BEFORE, Rebellion (Paper + Plastick)
As with every generation, today’s youth have a lot to be angry and maybe even angsty about. Like bands before them that blend the aggressive structure of punk with the technical riffing and emotion of grunge, and I dare say “emo”, The Riot Before has created an album that is incredibly expressive and definitely worth listening to if there is angst in your heart…or simply a desire to listen to good music. Rebellion channels the passion and anger of Cursive and Rise Against, the hurt of Alkaline Trio and the sneer and snarl of Social D. What more do you need?  – JUSTIN EMERY

MISERY, Evil is Crowned (Super Metal Records/ Mega Force Records)
Get ready for a kick ass time when you put Misery in your CD player. “Evil is Crowned” which was produced by Joey Z from Life of Agony, is a blend of metal and hardcore. As one of the lyrics in “Hangover in Harlem” go, “Open your ears, don’t close your eyes. Everything that you see will be a surprise.” – VANS DAVEY

HANK 3, Bar Ranch Cattle Callin’ (Hank 3 Records)
Hank 3 rules. Only he could pull off cattle auctioneers and speed metal in one album, combined into one awesome, unique and eclectic sound. He uses famous cattle auctioneers Tim Dowler and Mitch Jordan on the songs including “Branded” and “Tim Dowler – Black Cow.” I give it two bull horns up! – VANS DAVEY


THE RESURRECTION OF JOHNNY CASH – by GRAME THOMSON – Take a look into the world of the Man in Black, Johnny Cash, through his comeback in the music world in the ‘90s after he watched his career dissolve due to re-occurring drug addiction and health problems. The resurgence of his career was primarily led by super-producer Rick Rubin who brought Cash’s music to a new generation of fans everywhere. – VANS DAVEY

RAW HYDE: Jacksonville’s Only Skateboard Zine was devoted entirely to 1980’s skateboarding and includes contest results and write-ups for Kona Skatepark, the Virginia Beach Ramp, Isle of Palms Ramps and more. The zine proceeds go to Cure Duchenne to raise awareness and help Florida Skater Bill Procko’s son who was born with a rare form of Muscular Dystrophy. Check it out and donate if you can.  – VANS DAVEY

SURF BEAT: ROCK N ROLL’S FORGOTTEN REVOLUTION by Kent Crowley. This book tells the story of how surf music found its way to fame in 1960’s So Cal in between the death of Buddy Holly and the birth of the Beatles. Surf Beat explains how surf music first became popular with bands like The Surfaris and then became famous worldwide with artists such as The Beach Boys. This story takes you along a musical journey as surf music became an influence of all electric guitar forms. – VANS DAVEY


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