Jeff Scott Soto-Wide Awake (In My Dreamland) ©2020 Frontiers Records
As I have mentioned many times before, Jeff Scott Soto is a favorite of mine, and he never slows down. His latest solo record was released last month and is a collection of great melodic hard rock sounds. Some of them are a bit heavier, but all of them carry his trademark sound filled with melody. The songs on the release are quite good and continue to get even better as you take subsequent listens. This album also has a bonus disc recorded at the Frontier Records Rockfest in 2019. With this two discs, it makes this package an absolute no-brainer. It's a must have. The live performances are really good and do have some of my favorite material that he has released. The studio album has given me some new favorite tracks including 'Without You'. I have always loved the ballads he creates and this one is top notch once again. A must have record for sure!
Release Date: November 6, 2020
Stan Bush-Dare To Dream ©2020 Cargo Records UK
Is there anybody that embraces the 80's sound more than Stan Bush? As I do know that there are many these days that do, Bush always does an amazing job of helping the listener not only enjoy the record with it's great music, but to also give you a sense of deja vu. I know people love this as people mention it all the time on YouTube. How they just want to go back to the 80's. While you can't really do that, you can simulate it with artists like Stan Bush. The songs carry the classic keyboard sounds, the riffing, the melodies. It's all here. In a lot of ways even the tonal quality of the 80's exists in this songs. A good portion of the songs are radio style rockers with some more melodic songs here as well. This is a very upbeat album. 2020 has been a tough, negative year and it's taken some of the darkness off with albums like this one. Another great melodic record!
Release Date: November 20, 2020
Magic Dance-Remnants ©2020 Frontiers Records
Latest release once again on the Frontiers Records label. This offering is in the same vein as the band's previous work. Melodic hard rock with most of it being radio friendly. The music has rich tones and some good atmosphere throughout. Songs are well crafted and pack some punch. There are definitely 80's elements here, but with todays production standards. You could even make the case that this band would have decent appeal to more modern audiences as well. Worth mentioning as well is the bands short e.p. that was released a couple of months or so ago titled 'From Death To Life'. You can get that on digital platforms. This latest releases show some growth for the band and I feel they are coming across as confident. It's a good bet that if you like what you hear from samples, you'll probably dig the whole album as it is pretty even.
Release Date: December 4, 2020
Cats In Space-Atlantis ©2020 Harmony Factory/Cargo Records UK
Already the fourth album by Cats In Space. For those unaware of this band, they have a killer 70's and maybe earlier 80's type sound. The albums they have released have been consistent in terms of songwriting and sound. They don't write anything overly heavy. The music has a lot of melody to it, but does have that 70's vibe in it that other bands of that era had. The songs on this album are very good with quite a few having a mid tempo sound and a few that are fairly melodic. This band knows what they are good at and they deliver it in spades. It is important to note that the band changed their vocalist with this release. Damien Edwards now handles those duties and for those familiar with Jeff Wayne's 'The War Of The Worlds' may already be familiar with him. This is another stellar release by the pomp rock band. Don't miss this one!
Release Date: November 27, 2020
AshenMoon-Umbra I ©2020 Golden Robot Records
Every now and then we like to take a look at something different. AshenMoon features INXS bassist Garry Beers and Toby Rand who some may remember from his participation in Rockstar: Supernova. 'Umbra I' is a short mini album of new tracks that started appearing while quarantines were in effect. The single 'Dustbowl' has a video recorded showing the streets of Los Angeles as barren as they were. It's fun and worth checking out. That song is also probably my favorite of this album. The music is kind of its own thing. You could say it has some of the same tempos as INXS had and is more mainstream in its approach. There are 7 songs total with 2 of them being acoustic versions of 'Dustbowl' and 'Mosquito'. This is pretty decent stuff and will appeal most to radio type listeners. It has a cool vibe to it and could do well at radio!
Release Date: October 16, 2020