Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Kat Robichaud Stakes Claim As Top Dog of Cabaret-Influenced Rock With Debut Album

You may know Kat Robichaud from her successful stint on Season 5 of The Voice.  Or, if you're a die-hard independent music junkie, you may know her as the bodacious frontwoman of the now-defunct North Carolina hard rock band, The Design.

But whatever you thought you knew about Robichaud, forget it.  Forget it all.  Well, except for one thing, which we'll get to in a moment.

A little over a year after walking off The Voice's big sound stage for the last time, Robichaud has released her self-titled debut album, Kat Robichaud & The Darling Misfits.  And it takes all of seven seconds to realize that Robichaud is content to revel in being a musical misfit, fine with breaking from the pack and carving a new identity for herself.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

RaeLynn Serves Up Surprisingly Delicious Country-Pop on Her "Me EP"

We are Helping Hands Rock Reviews.

Not Helping Hands Country Reviews.

Or Helping Hands Pop Reviews.

But every now and then, there is a release in a non-rock genre that is just too good to ignore.  And the new Me EP from country-pop newcomer RaeLynn just won't let us give it the cold shoulder.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Wednesday 13 Goes Deeper & Heavier With "Monsters of the Universe"

Longtime fans will be quick to tell you that they love Wednesday 13's campy, catchy horrorpunk tunes.  Some of them may or may not admit that there may only be so much mileage even their favorite artist can get out of that humor-injected schtick.

But the dilemma of overdoing a good thing is not an issue on Wednesday 13's latest release, Monsters of the Universe:  Come Out And Plague.  This is Wednesday 13's heaviest, darkest, and most serious effort to date.  With regard to the last point, it is a concept album revolving around themes of Orwellian government control and the arrival of aliens.

Monday, December 29, 2014

HHRR's 2014 Album of the Year

We hope you enjoyed our Top 10 Albums of 2014 list.  As promised, we are dedicating an entire post to the #1 album.

So, here it is...Helping Hands Rock Reviews' #1 Album of 2014:

#1.  Black Veil Brides (self-titled)

Despite just releasing the awesome Wretched & Divine last year, Black Veil Brides defied the odds and returned with a self-titled album that met and exceeded the high standards that their previously releases had set. 

With consistently great songs, it is hard to find filler on any of the last few BVB releases, and their latest is no exception.  Of course, there are those songs that stand out as anthems on all of their albums.  Perhaps their most anthemic song of all, "Goodbye Agony," finds its home on track 4 of this album.  Working with Black Album producer extraordinairre, Bob Rock, the Brides have uncorked the bottle of magic that makes heavy music not just great, but iconic.

Whether it is the speed of "Heart of Fire," the sing-along magnetism of "Devil in the Mirror," or the headbanging beat of "Faithless," Black Veil Brides have all the metal bases covered on this phenomenal album.  This is a band that just doesn't lose momentum and, as a result, they are deserving of the top spot on this year's list.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

HHRR's Top 10 Albums of 2014

2014 was a weird year in hard rock. 

While the first half of the year had a few gems among the albums released, there wasn't a whole lot of overwhelmingly good music coming out compared to the last couple of years.  Even some of the albums we were eagerly anticipating from bands we loved were a bit on the disappointing side.

We'll admit...even as the most avid rock fans out there, we were starting to wonder if the whole "rock is dead" thing might be true. 

Fortunately, the 2nd half of 2014 emphatically proved that rock is as alive as ever!  Perhaps it was just hibernating for six months!

We had a nice selection of releases to fight over to form our list of the Helping Hands Rock Reviews Top 10 Albums of 2014.  Don't worry, though...no HHRR contributors were harmed in the making of this list!

So, without further ado, here are the Helping Hands Rock Reviews Top 10 Albums of 2014!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Charity Spotlight: ABOARD Receives Donation From Helping Hands Rock Reviews

Sharon and Chip present a check to ABOARD's Jennifer Salamon
One of our goals at Helping Hands Rock Reviews is to donate every penny of income we generate from our website to deserving charities.  We are delighted to announce that we have made our second donation of 2014!

The recipient of our latest donation is ABOARD - the Advisory Board on Autism and Related Disorders.  ABOARD's mission is to "provide a lifeline to support families and individuals affected by autism."  ABOARD gives "hope and information to families and professionals by connecting them with each other, and to the resources that enable them to navigate their unique challenges."

We personally admire the work that ABOARD does and feel great about our donation going to a wonderful cause.  You can learn more about ABOARD at http://www.autism-support.org.  

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Dead Deads Soar To New, Rocking Heights Thanks To Fateful Plane Ride

Photo source:  sonicbids.com/band/the-dead-deads
When one thinks of Nashville, the last genre one thinks of is grungy punk.  But Nashville is the home base for The Dead Deads and grungy punk is indeed an apt description of their music.  Think a cross between The Misfits and Hole and you won't be far off from imagining what The Dead Deads sound like.

With a national tour and a quickly growing live and social media following, The Dead Deads are one of 2014's emerging rock artists.  Helping Hands Rock Reviews recently had the pleasure of sitting down with vocalist/guitarist Doomy Dead and keyboardist/backing vocalist Hella Dead for an exclusive and revealing interview.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Gear Review: The Limited Edition Gibson Lzzy Hale Explorer

When Lzzy Hale first showed off the custom Explorer that Gibson had built for her in 2012, I immediately contacted Gibson and begged them to manufacture them for the public. I was told at that time that there was "no plan to build a signature model."

Throughout the years since that time, I had been in periodic discussions with Gibson, getting the same answer: no plans for a Lzzy Hale Explorer. But things started to change more recently.

Lzzy posted pictures of a mysterious second Explorer built to her specs. Still, my contact at Gibson stated as recently as August 28, 2014 that "We have not been given any indication that a Lzzy Hale Explorer model [is] being planned."

However, almost immediately thereafter, Gibson reached out to me with information that the release of a Limited Edition Lzzy Hale Explorer was indeed going to become a reality in late-2014 or early-2015. I really wanted to become the first member of the public to buy and own one. Despite reaching out to Gibson, members of Halestorm, dealers, etc., I was finding it difficult to get any help in winning the race to be the first.