With her mind-blowing mix of heavy metal guitar prowess and bluesy, soulful vocals, Orianthi will draw some justifiably well-earned comparisons to such giants of rock guitar as Jimi Hendrix and her own idol, Carlos Santana, on her 2009 sophomore album, Believe – re-released in 2010 as Believe (II) with four different songs than the original version, including a cover of John Waite's "Missing You." That said, her style hews closer to the more finger-frenetic pyrotechnics of such '70s and '80s icons as Eddie Van Halen and Steve Vai…
Released on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of Alaska's debut single with Pegamoides, this new compilation of quintessential Spanish pop icon Alaska covers her work between 1980 and 2006 with her three bands, Pegamoides, Dinarama, and Fangoria, the latter for the Subterfuge label, but misses their four albums for DRO. The standard edition consists of a single 20-track CD, while the Special Edition Box adds a rarities disc, a remix disc, and a DVD with live performances and video clips.
It’s hard to be ambivalent about Zooey Deschanel. She’s a polarizing personality, one whose deadpan movie roles and big Bambi eyes are either charming or too cute for their own good. The same can be said for She & Him, a soft rock duo that features Deschanel doing what she does best as a film star: acting utterly adorable alongside a quiet, talented male character. Her co-star in this case is M. Ward, who produces the band's second album and frames Deschanel’s voice with a Spector-sized pile of instruments. Those who already take issue with Zooey’s acting will almost surely pick this record apart – it’s too reminiscent of her cutesy turns in movies like (500) Days of Summer to change many minds – but for fans of retro pop (and Deschanel in general), Volume 2 is a gem. Whether they’re copping the Brill Building sound or resurrecting ‘70s beach-pop, She & Him always seem to have nostalgia on the mind.
Foreigner - Foreigner (1977). Blissful feelings arise at the mere mention of 70s arena rock. It gives listeners the permission to have fun, sing along to aircraft-hangar-size choruses, play air guitar solos, forget about any troubles, recall the experience of a first kiss, and quite simply, rock out. Few albums better instill these pleasures than Foreigner’s 1977 self-titled debut album, a five-times platinum blockbuster chock full of salacious riffs, soaring vocals, edgy beats, and lyrics that practically demand to be shouted…
Middle of the Road’s discography is complicated, the end effect of being a Scottish band whose popularity was built on European hits. Their first album was an Italian release, they had records released only on the continent then later repackaged for the U.K. as a premature Hits collection, they barely had anything in the U.S. Cherry Red/7T’s 2010 set The RCA Years performs a useful function of rounding up the released master takes - in other words, the three LPs Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep, Acceleration, and Drive On, plus six cuts only on that Italian debut - presenting the complete recorded works and far too much Middle of the Road for anyone outside of Euro-pop obsessives.
Time Life Music’s Singers & Songwriters: Troubadours offers up 34 rock, folk, and pop cuts from the '60s and '70s. The two-disc set, which is part of Time Life’s Singers & Songwriters series, hits mostly high notes, covering everything from soft rock (Dan Fogelberg's “Longer”) to hippie folk (Scott McKenzie's “San Francisco [Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair]”) to classic rock radio staples (Peter Frampton's "Baby, I Love Your Way").
Time Life Music’s Singers & Songwriters: 1976-1977 collects 24 radio hits over the span of two discs. Despite the title, the compilation doesn’t just favor traditional singer/songwriters like Al Stewart, Linda Ronstadt, and England Dan & John Ford Coley, though they are represented here. Group contributions include Orleans (“Still the One”), Fleetwood Mac (“Say You Love Me”), Chicago (“If You Leave Me Now”), and Bread (“Lost Without Your Love”), but it’s the solo acts that provide the most recognizable hits.