LIVE: Jocelyn Arndt @ the Hollow Bar + Kitchen, 5/22/15

June 17th, 2015, 2:00 pm by Greg
Jocelyn Arndt

Jocelyn Arndt

Photographs by Timothy Reidy

WHO: Jocelyn Arndt
WITH Hard Soul, the Holly & Evan Band, Kayla & the Tellers
WHERE: The Hollow Bar + Kitchen, Albany
WHEN: Friday, May 22

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LIVE: The Zombies @ Empire State Plaza, 6/26/13

July 10th, 2013, 2:00 pm by Greg
The Zombies (photo by Timothy Reidy)

The Zombies (photo by Timothy Reidy)

Review by Greg Haymes
Photographs by Timothy Reidy and Stanley Johnson

“The Walking Dead”…
“World War Z”…
“The Night of the Living Dead” at the Sanctuary for Independent Media on Friday…
Yes, it’s the time of the season for zombies.

So with original singer Colin Blunstone and keyboardist Rod Argent leading the charge, ’60s British Invasion hitmakers the Zombies rose from the undead to kick off the 2013 Summer At the Plaza free concert series two weeks ago.

The band broke up just prior to the release of their classic 1968 album, Odessey and Oracle, but Blunstone and Argent patched up their differences a decade ago, reuniting as the Zombies. And they sounded surprisingly strong and vital at their Albany concert.

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This Weekend’s CD Release Parties: Zan Strumfeld, Hard Soul, Terry Gordon Quintet

March 8th, 2013, 2:30 pm by Greg

Zan Strumfield: Someone New

Singer-songwriter Zan Strumfeld moved back to the Local 518 from New Paltz last fall, and it certainly hasn’t taken her much time to establish herself on the Nippertown music scene. She headed into the CRUMBS Cafe Studio with producer Mike Guzzo and emerged with her new album Someone New.

The solo album was basically recorded live with some vocal harmonies thrown into the mix to sweeten up the deal a bit.

But when Strumfeld hits the stage at More Bread & Jam in Cohoes on Saturday (March 9) for her CD release party, she won’t be alone. Instead, she’ll be backed by an all-star band of Local 518 musicians, including August Sagehorn (of Alta Mira), Bob Buckley (of the Kamikaze Hearts and These Are the Hits), M.R. Poulopoulos and Brian Kelley.

Adding to the evening’s festivities, Poulopoulos and Matt Durfee will be reuniting as Palaytpus to open the show at 7pm.


Hard Soul: Seize The Year

Guitarist-frontman Johnny Salka and his rockin’ band are making a bold prediction with the title of their new EP Seize the Year. The follow-up to Hard Soul’s 2012 debut EP Love Eats the Young, the new five-song disc was recorded last year at Four Legs Records in Washingtonville.

You can hear the title track here

Co-produced by Salka and Steven J. Goldman, the new EP was released on CD and digitally last week, but Hard Soul is headed into Valentine’s Music Hall in Albany on Saturday night (March 9) for their official release party. The bash also celebrates the release of Seize the Year on 12-inch vinyl via their successful Kickstarter campaign, which raised more than $5,000.

The festivities kick off at 8pm on Saturday with opening sets from bluegrass-punksters Neversink and Local 518 rockers the Elements. Tickets are $8; under 21 $10.


Terry Gordon Quintet: Tomorrow Calling


Meanwhile, on the jazz tip, the Terry Gordon Quintet is unleashing their new album, Tomorrow Calling, this weekend. The follow-up to 2006’s Homeward Bound, it’s the fourth CD from veteran trumpeter Terry Gordon and his combo.

A deft blend of straight-ahead jazz with blues, ballads, samba and funk, the album showcases nine original compositions from the band – six from the pen of Gordon, as well as one contribution each from saxman Eric Walentowicz, bassist Bill Lawrence and drummer Matthew Maguire. Guitarist Michael-Louis Smith rounds out the quintet’s line-up.

Produced by Gordon and engineered by Jeff Dowd, the album was recorded last year at WEPA Records Studio in Scotia.

The Terry Gordon Quintet celebrates the release of “Tomorrow Calling” with a CD release party on Sunday afternoon (March 10) at Panza’s on Saratoga Lake. Sponsored by the Swingtime Jazz Society, festivities get under at 4pm on Sunday with a performance by TG4. Following the concert, the band will host an open jam session beginning at 6pm. Admission is a minimum donation of $15; students $5.

CD Release Party X 2: Hard Soul & Smittix @ Savannah’s, 3/30/12

March 28th, 2012, 3:00 pm by Greg
Hard Soul: Love Eats the Young and Smittix: Leprenomichaun

Hard Soul: Love Eats the Young and Smittix: Leprenomichaun

That’s right – not one, but two CD release parties at the same place on the same night…

Led by former Amalgama frontman Johnny Salka, the rock trio Hard Soul – which also features drummer Eric Hoehn and bassist Damien Owczarski – describes their music as heart-on-your-sleeve rock n’ roll. The band is celebrating the release of their debut EP, “Love Eats the Young.”

Vocalist Rob O’Donnell leads punk-ska-rap-rock combo Smittix as they make it a double-barrelled CD release party with a celebration for their new full-length recording “Leprenomichaun.”

WHAT: Hard Soul and Smittix Double CD Release Party
WHEN: 9pm on Friday (March 30)
WHERE: Savannah’s/Dublin Underground, Albany

Five Firsts: Johnny Salka of Hard Soul

January 26th, 2012, 2:00 pm by Greg
Johnny Salka

NAME: Johnny Salka
INSTRUMENT: Guitar & vocals

1. THE FIRST ALBUM I EVER BOUGHT WAS … When I was in my early teens I was absolutely hooked on the Beatles. My dad bought me their “One” CD, which was a collection of all their number one hits, and I would lay in bed for hours with headphones on learning all the vocal harmonies and melodies. To this day, whenever I sing there is almost a reflex to sing the harmony rather than the melody vocal line. (Hard Soul does a pretty mean version of the Beatles’ “Can’t Buy Me Love.”) I credit a lot of my singing ability to those nights immersed in that collection of songs.

The first album I ever purchased for myself, however, was Metallica’s self-titled “Black Album.” My friends and I would get together and drive around our hometown listening to classic rock and guitar-oriented music, and “Enter Sandman” became a staple in our mix of tunes. It was one of the main reasons why I decided to pick up the guitar, strike those power chords and play that main riff over and over again. That was the start of my total immersion into heavy metal and the eventual formation of Amalgama from 2005-2011. However, I never lost my connection to those early influences which led me back even further to bands like Thin Lizzy that ended up flavoring what Hard Soul now is.

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Nipper’s News: Eastbound Jesus, Gravity, Insect Posse, Hard Soul…

January 24th, 2012, 2:00 pm by Greg

2011 was a breakthrough year for the Greenwich-based band Eastbound Jesus – including the release of their debut album, “Greatest Hits, Vol. 1,” in January and a high-profile win at the prestigious Saratoga Performing Arts Center Battle of the Bands back in May. And 2012 is shaping up as another great year, beginning with the upcoming release of their sophomore album, “Holy Smokes.”

Mixing up a contagious blend of Americana, bluegrass and a North Country spin on southern rock, Eastbound Jesus will be celebrating the release of “Holy Smokes” with a CD release party at Putnam Den in Saratoga Springs at 9pm on Friday. Joining in the celebration will be the Mallett Brothers Band from Portland, Maine.

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