Review This...

CD Review: Hirsh Gardner's "My Brain Needs A Holiday"

Released in August, on the GB Music Label,

BOSTON - Hirsh Gardner is widely known (with good reason) as the thunderous drummer of the melodic-rocking, AOR band New England, who released three dynamic albums from 1978-1983, which included the Top 40-hit “Don’t Ever Wanna Lose Ya.” However, the scope of Gardner’s talents goes far beyond drumming. He is also a strong vocalist and song writer, a guitar player, and is also a renowned producer.


Review by Joe Milliken * Photos courtesy of Hirsh Gardner

Add solo artist to the list as well, as Gardner released his second effort in August, titled My Brain Needs A Holiday. Recorded in his Boston recording studio (as well as his home studio), the new CD features eight original tracks, penned by Gardner, as well as two carefully chosen cover tracks. The songs create a lot of different vibes, some that are similar to that of New England, and some that are not. You hear that classic, melodic rock style, but also a variety of crunching guitars, catchy hooks, instrumental loops and a couple of ballads mixed in.

Concert Review: Legendary British Rockers UFO, Still Deliver The Goods

Live at The Palladium, with Saxon, Worcester, Ma.

WORCESTER, MASSACHUSETTS – When you have waited for nearly 40 years to see one of your all-time favorite bands, the anticipation on “concert day” is sky high! However, such enthusiasm can also create the possibility of disappointment, for if you’ve been following a band for said 40 years, well, let’s just say it could create unrealistic expectation of the upcoming performance. In the words of my long time, concert-going friend, who was also seeing UFO for the first time... “Will the guys have anything left in the gas tank?”


Review and photos by Joe Milliken

Well, I am happy to report that, UFO, the legendary British rock band that has sold over 10 million albums and accumulated a very loyal following four decades strong, surely do have plenty left in the tank, thank you very much!

Album Review: Rhino Records' Expanded Edition of The Cars' "Panorama"

Expanded edition released in July, 2017

This is the third installment in a series of album/CD reviews by SRO contributing writer, Donna Neale, revolving around the re-issuing of The Cars’ classic back-catalog on Rhino Records.


Review by Donna Neale * Album photos by Joe Milliken

With two incredible albums under their belt, the 80s new wave rock band, The Cars, put out their third album in three years, and once again shook up the music world with their cutting-edge originality. Panorama continued the streak of platinum albums for The Cars, and broke the top five on Billboard’s album chart. Released on August 15, 1980, with Roy Thomas Baker back in the producer’s chair, Panorama caused quite a stir.

Album Review: Rhino Records' Expanded Edition of The Cars "Candy-O"

This is the second installment in a series of album/CD reviews by SRO contributing writer, Donna Neale, revolving around the re-issuing of The Cars’ classic back-catalog on Rhino Records.


Review by Donna Neale * Album photos by Joe Milliken

In the rare instances where a band explodes onto the rock scene with a perfect debut album, music critics don’t often hold their breath that the follow-up offering will be able to measure up. In fact, they even have a name for it: the ‘sophomore slump.’ The Cars were one of the exceptions.

CD Review: Looking Back at Rhino Records' Release of "The Cars Deluxe Edition"

This is the first in a series of album/CD reviews by new SRO contributing writer, Donna Neale, revolving around the recent and up-coming, re-issuing of The Cars’ classic back-catalog.


Review by Donna Neale, CD photos by Joe Milliken

The year 2017 is proving to be an exciting one for fans of the 80s new wave rock band, The Cars. After releasing their last studio album, Move Like This, in 2011, the group has been pretty silent in the marketplace (aside from its remaster/reissue project in 2016).

Concert Review: Carl Palmer's "ELP Legacy Tour"

Live at The Bull Run Restaurant, Shirley, Ma. 5/26/17

SHIRLEY, MASSACHUSETTES – In the mid-80's, this fan had the opportunity to see ELP in concert. However, the line-up was Emerson, Lake & Powell, not the original drummer, Carl Palmer. (Cozy Powell was great! R.I.P.) Now, 30-plus years later, I recently had the opportunity to see Mr. Palmer fronting his own power trio, performing versions of the classic ELP catalog and dubbing the project “Carl Palmer's ELP Legacy Tour.”


Review and photos by Joe Milliken

From our front row table, stage-left, at the Bull Run Restaurant, we had a great side view as Palmer and his band-mates, Paul Bielatowicz on guitar, and Simon Fitzpatrick on bass and Chapman Stick, proceeded to absolutely shred apart, and then reconstruct, (in such a great way) classic Emerson, Lake & Palmer songs. In the process, I might add, practically blowing our heads off (with the occasional, quieter ambient flourish, of course) for over two hours!

CD Review: "Max's Kansas City 1976 and Beyond"

NEW YORK CITY - The Max's Kansas City 1976 album was originally released (in 1976, of course) in order to promote all the cool punk music that was happening at Max's and in the clubs of New York City. And now, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of it's release, Peter Crowley, the original booking manager at Max's Kansas City, has teamed up with Jungle Records to re-release an expansive version of this punk-rock treasure.


Review by Joe Milliken * Photos: 1. New 40th Anniversary expanded edition 2. Original "Max's Kansas City 1976" album release.

In it's prime, Max's (along with CBGB's) was the hip place to be in the mid-70's for the best in New York City punk and glam rock, and when the new music director, Crowley, took over the music bookings at Max's in the mid-70's, he collaborated with the club owner to release the 10-track album (a later, CD version featured 14 tracks) to promote the music happenings at Max's.

CD Review: New England Live at The Regent Theatre

It's not everyday one gets to review the live-CD release, of a show that they actually attended. In this case, however, I was lucky enough to be sitting in the second row for a show performed in August of 2014, by the classic AOR band, ("album orientated rock") New England, at the elegant Regent Theatre in the Boston suburb of Arlington, Massachusetts. However, what made this particular show even more special, was that New England was performing on that night, their first full-on concert together since 1983.


Review and photos by Joe Milliken

Featuring front-man John Fannon on guitar and lead vocals, Jimmy Waldo on keyboards and vocals, Hirsh Gardner on drums and vocals, and Gary Shea on bass and vocals, New England originally burst onto the rock music scene in 1978, with a self-titled album and a Top 40 hit, “Don't Ever Wanna Lose Ya.” The sudden success spurred tours all over North America, opening shows for such high-profile bands of the day as Kiss, Rush, Boston and Styx.

CD Review: Johnny Pisano's Punk Rock Pizzeria: Everybody Gets A Slice

Johnny Pisano has spent the past decade and a half being a loyal sideman/band leader to many of the most influential rockers and poets that have emerged from the side walks and back alleys of New York City. Like his fellow Italian American, Silvio Dante, Pisano has always been a good lieutenant.


Review by Gary Borress

However, it’s obvious he has learned how to be the boss, as one listen to his debut solo album with show you. Recorded under the moniker Johnny’s Pisano’s Punk Rock Pizzeria, Everybody Gets A Slice, is chock full of gritty rock with a host of varied and ear pleasing musical toppings.

CD/Blu-Ray Review: King Crimson's "Radical Action to Unseat the Hold of Monkey Mind"

King Crimson’s new live release, Radical Action to Unseat the Hold of Monkey Mind, is more than a concert, it’s an up-close and personal experience. For the first time since King Crimson's early 70's "Mark III" line up, (Robert Fripp, Bill Bruford, John Wetton and David Cross) Sir Robert can finally be seen in full lighting and it’s truly a sight to behold.

Unlike past tours and connected live releases on DVD, where Fripp was only seen in silhouette, we can now finally watch the master's hands as he delivers a powerhouse performance. Along with of course, the newest incarnation of King Crimson featuring Jakko Jakksyk, Tony Levin, Mel Collins and the three-drum attack of Pat Mastellotto, Bill Rieflin (who also plays keyboards) and Gavin Harrison.


Review by Christopher Bergmann

They are a truly impressive orchestra - as Fripp himself said in a recent video from his website - don’t compare this band to other Crimson line ups but instead, focus on the reference it creates within the entire King Crimson live history. This is not the "flying by the seat of your pants" King Crimson of old, but there are also some "golden moments" where you’re just not sure if they’ll come back together after veering off into a classic, free-form jam... but of course, they do!

Syndicate content