Sandoval/Araiza: Project Playlist

If I were to have to give a quote about the music Jeff Sandoval and Mike Araiza make, it would be this: “This is music as it should be, no preconceived formula here. These guys write and play what they “feel” and that, my friends, is the true spirit of music.”

I’ve known these two guys for a while now and it had been my great fortune to have been at the birth of most of their work. Of The Earth, Frank Hannon Band and now as Jeff and Mike.

That being said, let’s talk about their latest effort  Project Playlist. I cannot tell you how many times I received a text or an excited phone call from Mike telling me to “check out this riff” or “what do you think about this?” there was passion in those messages and that fervor and passion found its way to the record untarnished. Jeff, on the other hand, is like a Zen Master, calm, cool, and collected. His lyrics and powerful yet smooth vocals carry weight and presence that in my opinion border on legendary. Let’s get into the tracks and stroll around a bit.

Project Playlist opens with “The Good Fight” (which happens to be my go to track on this record). Have you ever heard a song that just stays with you? I mean one that you find yourself hitting repeat over and over again? One that you manage to find something new with each listen? You find yourself absent-mindedly humming or tapping the beat throughout the day? “The Good Fight” just happens to be a song like that. Even cooler is that a couple of my close friends wrote it. I tried to put that aside and came to the conclusion that the fact that they were my friends was irrelevant, this is a damn good song, period. As I continued to listen to “The Good Fight” I compared it side by side with other songs and artists I consider in the same vein. This comparison led me to the conclusion that this track by a couple of guys that live in my town and I know personally can go toe to toe with artists like SIXX A.M., Pop Evil, STP, etc., etc. This track features studio wizard Chris Collier on drums and bass as well as production.

“So Long”, featuring Will Hunt on Drums, has a fresh , yet  familiar feeling and yet stays unique. Powerful and yet not abrasive in away this is a song that one could use to set the pace of their impending day. Feeling good and energetic is what this track brings to me.

“It’s All I need” features Kurt Arft on bass and Chris Collier on drums and really packs a punch. Deep lyrics and Jeff’s powerful vocals give this song some weight. This is a heavy song but not overbearing if you get my meaning. Their craftsmanship shines through here.

“Beggars And Thieves” features Kurt Arft again on bass and Will Hunt on drums. This track is probably the “grooviest” one on the record and will have your head bobbing and foot tapping as soon as you start listening to it. There’s a couple of twin guitar parts that Mike just kills with.

Project Playlist closes out with “No Answer” which features Frank Hannon has that 70’s vibe that just goes so well with this song. I love the guitar wok in this track. Nice way to close out the record with some quality music and friends.

What do we ultimately get with Project Playlist? A Rock and Roll record that stands up in this turbulent time in the music industry. Jeff and Mike said “Damn the norm, we’re gonna make the music that we feel inside” and it works, on so many levels. Music at its purest level is what we have here folks.

I must also give shout outs to Kurt Arft, Will Hunt, and Frank Hannon for stepping up and going toe to toe with Jeff and Mike. Their performances are outstanding on this record. I didn’t forget Chris Collier, not only did he deliver some killer bass and drums, like a mad scientist he grafted it all together to deliver a superior recording. I think that in today’s DIY music industry production quality has suffered at the hands of inexperience in record production. Jeff and Mike know the value of a properly produced record and have developed a relationship with Chris that works.

So, after all of that why should you get a copy of Project Playlist? I could say because they are my friends and it would be cool to help them out, but I’m not. You should get this record because it’s great music, that’s it in a nutshell.

Now, you only have until Friday 08/12/16 to get your order in at https://squareup.com/store/JeffAndMike  after that you will only be able to pick it up at live performances. Good news is new music is already being made so stay tuned.

Thanks Jeff and Mike for keeping music alive. – the Hellion

the Hellion Rocks talks to Jeff Sandoval and Mike Araiza about their new release Project Playlist

If any of you are like me, you constantly crave new music. Not just new music but quality music. Jeff Sandoval and Mike Araiza deliver, in spades, with Project Playlist. Jeff and Mike have taken many musical journeys together and have included me along the way. Check out this heartfelt discussion we had about how they got to where they are today. When you’re done watching I HIGHLY recommend you click on the picture below and order Project Playlist . There will be a detailed song by song review up this Saturday so stay tuned. Project Playlist is currently the front-runner for CD of the year on the Hellion Rocks and that’s no joke.  Order yours today!!!

it’s loud, it’s dirty, it’s ROCK AND ROLL!!!

-the Hellion

YOU KNOW YOU WANT TO WATCH IT!

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     CLICK THE PICTURE TO ORDER NOW!

Project Playlist from Jeff Sandoval and Mike Araiza

Here you go folks! the Hellion Rocks purchased (yes I said purchased) four pre-release autographed copies of the new Jeff Sandoval and Mike Araiza CD “Project Playlist” to give away! If you want to win one before you buy one email me at janaya@thehellionrocks.com and tell me why you want one. Make sure to enter “Project Playlist” in the subject line. There are only four so email quick! In addition, I sat down with Jeff and Mike to discuss their musical journey and we rolled cameras….look for the video later this week.

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Crowned By Fire saves Rock N’ Roll with Space Music For Cave People

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1. Buried Away

2. Light Ov The Voodoo Star

3. Crowned By Fire

4. Something In Her Blood

5. Space Music For Cave People

6. Burnin’ For You

     Crowned By Fire is no mediocre band. They have completely proven that with the release of Space Music For Cave People. The new EP drops July 1st on Chrome Mountain Records. There have been some quality releases as of late but this one is a game changer.

     Like a defibrillator this record send a high voltage charge straight into the heart of Rock N’ Roll.  Crowned By Fire comes on strong with the swagger of gunfighters walking down a street at high noon looking for trouble. Intense riffs powered by the guitar assault of the highly underrated Justin Manning,  the chest crushing bass of Chris Breedlove, the powerful punch on the drums of Rocco F Paolone, combined with the lyrics and the “I just kicked you in the nuts” vocals of John Fitterer fuel the Crowned By Fire machine.

photo by Robert John

photo by Robert John

     Like those famous potato chips in that bright yellow bag, once you start listening, you just can’t stop. On more than one occasion I have found myself waking up with one of the six tracks playing in my head.

     While track for track the entire record is amazing there are some stand out tracks here. “Something In Her Blood” was one of the last tracks put together for the record but it is the first to stand out to me. Justin channels some guitar greats here and yet puts enough of his own spin on it to make it his own style. The title track “Space Music For Cave People” reminds me a little of the Cult on steroids. John completely owns with his vocals on this one. “Crowned By Fire” opens with some dirty from the swamp bass from Chris. Those three tracks are the ones that reach me the most.

    The records on a whole is deep on so many levels. Each listen provides you with something new in its structure. In these days of “fast food music”,  Space Music For Cave People is a sit down full course dinner. This is a record made the right way and with the love of making music behind it.

     Here’s the lyric video for the title track “Space Music For Cave People”:

     Stay up to date with CBF online:

     https://www.facebook.com/CrownedByFire

     http://www.crownedbyfire.com

     https://www.facebook.com/ChromeMountainRecords

     http://chromemountainrecords.com

     it’s loud, it’s dirty, it’s CROWNED BY FIRE!!!!

     -the Hellion

The producer: the unsung (for the most part) hero of the music industry

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You ever listen to some music and think to yourself “Wow, that sounds great!” I’m not talking about the band or the song, I’m talking about the SOUND of it. The drums are huge, the bass is punchy, the guitar tones come through, the vocals have presence, and the entire package is clean and brilliant.

So how did it get that way? Proper production that’s how. A lot of things are necessary to making a recording with great quality:  the band and their songs , recording equipment and place to record, and a producer.

The pre-production process is a necessity for any recording project. This is an opportunity for the band and the producer to put their heads together and come up with a battle plan to record the band and their songs in the best way. Often times during this process the songs are reworked with the assistance of the producer in order to maximize the tracks for recording. I have spoken to producers who have told me that sometimes a band has reworked all of their songs intended for an album based upon the producers’s input.

Over the years some producers have become stars in their own right often sought out by artists for the particular “sound” that is associated with them . Does this change the band? I don’t think so, in fact, I think that a working relationship between a band and a producer over time can become a magical thing. Think of the relationship between Rick Rubin and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, magic, sheer magic.

Sometimes the artist puts on the producer’s hat as well. This can work for some and be too daunting for others. I feel that this can be exhausting both physically and mentally  and takes a superhuman effort to pull off.

Then there is the producer who is also a musician who does double duty, producing AND playing on project he is working on. While this sounds like it would be cool for the producer it makes me wonder if something is lost on either side because of the hard work it takes to play and produce. I know some who have pulled it off successfully, more power to them. Chris Collier  and his double duty work on the Jeff Sandoval and Mike Araiza Project song “It’s All I Need” comes quickly to mind.

Here’s a piece of advice to up and coming bands: Do yourself a favor and make sure you pay attention to the production of your recordings, it will pay off in the end.

I wish to thank the following producers for the body of work they have given to the world of music: George Clinton, Roy Thomas Baker, Jerry Wexler, Jimmy Miller, Trevor Horn, Steve Lillywhite, Jeff Lynne, Jimmy Iovine, Sam Phillips, Berry Gordy, Mutt Lange, Teo Macero, Jim Steinman, Chris Thomas, Daniel Lanois, Todd Rundgren, T Bone Burnett, Arif Mardin, Brian Wilson, Brian Eno, Rick Rubin, Phil Spector, Nile Rodgers, Quincy Jones, Sir George Martin, Chris Collier, Sterling Winfield, Steve Thompson. While in no means complete, these producers quickly come to mind for me.

In conclusion, take out that favorite recording and listen to it, I mean REALLY listen to it. The mix of bass, drums, guitars, and overall presence combined with the talent of the band. Then look at the production credits, seek out the producer and thank them.

 

it’s loud, it’s dirty, it’s ROCK N’ ROLL!!!

-the Hellion

KXM releases video for “Rescue Me”

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Ray  Luzier (KORN), dUG Pinnick (KING’S X), and George Lynch (LYNCH MOB) collectively known as KXM have released the video for “Rescue Me” off of their forthcoming Rat Pak Records release! Enjoy:

PHOTO - KXM General Publicity 1 (Sébastien Paquet) copy

https://www.facebook.com/KXMofficial

http://www.ratpakrecordsamerica.com/kxm

     it’s loud, it’s dirty, it’s KXM!

     the Hellion

RPR set to release KXM featuring members of Korn, King’s X, and Lynch Mob!‏

 RAT PAK RECORDS SET TO RELEASE DEBUT ALBUM FROM THE NEW SUPERGROUP “KXM” FEATURING: GEORGE LYNCH, RAY LUZIER (KORN) AND dUg PINNICK (King’s X)

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A new musical force to be reckoned with is about to turn the rock world upside down with the release of their self-titled debut, KXM. KXM is comprised of dUg Pinnick of King’s X on vocals/bass, George Lynch of Lynch Mob/Dokken on guitars and Korn’s drum maestro, Ray Luzier, rounds out the powerhouse trio. The band takes its name from the combination of the member’s other projects: K from Korn, X from King’s X and M from Lynch Mob.

The self-titled debut of KXM is something truly unique and special. The songs are powerful, precise, and transcend beyond the boundaries of the imagination. In today’s overpopulated music arena, true gems become harder and harder to find, but KXM‘s unified vision rises above the normal and creates its own space. From the opening drum riff of “Stars” to the final chord on “Human Friction,” KXM is an album that is sure to resonate with fans from the band’s original projects, while garnering new ones as well. Songs like “Gun Fight,” “Faith Is A Room” and the first single “Rescue Me” are sure to be instant favorites among fans. The band shows their softer side on the ballad “Never Stop” along with their dark side on the tale of domestic violence, “Sleep.”

KXM formed in early 2013 when dUg, George and Ray spoke about trying to jam together. At the time it wasn’t clear what would come from those jams. The only thing that was clear was that these 3 musicians, at the top of their game, wanted to play together. The self-titled debut, KXM, was born from those jam sessions and is now an important piece in each band member’s musical legacy. In a world that constantly searches for new and unique music, KXM delivers all the power and punch that one would expect from these high level players! Official release date is set for March 11, 2014

CLICK HERE TO PRE-ORDER YOUR EXCLUSIVE KXM FAN BUNDLES!

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KXM “GUN FIGHT” ALBUM TRAILER 

KXM “STARS” ALBUM TRAILER

 CLICK HERE TO PRE-ORDER THE DEBUT ALBUM FROM KXM!

     it’s loud,  it’s dirty, it’s KXM!

     – the Hellion Rocks

 

“It’s All I Need” – Jeff Sandoval and Mike Araiza

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Ok, so I have had this track for a few days now and can’t get enough of it. Jeff and Mike will be releasing the lyric video to the world tonight 01/31/14 at 6pm mst right here: Jeff Sandoval & Mike Araiza on their Facebook page.

Let’s talk a bit about the track and the video. While it is an acoustic track it does not come off that way at all, in fact, it’s pretty damn heavy. Let’s talk about the bass first. Kurt Arft lays down a heavy, dirty bassline that, by itself, does not seem like it belongs in this song but it fits like a puzzle piece into it. Kurt gives it that groove that this song so rightly deserves. Chris Collier, who not played drums on this but produced it as well, put all of those puzzle pieces together into one solid track.

What can I say about Mike Araiza? The guitars on here are clean, and I mean CLEAN. Mike is so full of melody and it truly shows in his playing and style. I keep forgetting that this is an acoustic track.

Ahhh the vocal stylings of Jeff Sandoval. There are not to many vocalists out there that can still give me the chills, Jeff is one of them.  You feel ALL of the emotion that Jeff is imparting into his vocals.

The video for “It’s All I Need” is an incredible piece of work as well. While it is a “lyric”video it leaves you with the images playing over and over in your head. You will find these images replaying in your mind every time you listen to this song.

Don’t miss out on the premier on 01/31/14 at 6pm mst right here: Jeff Sandoval & Mike Araiza on their Facebook page!

the Hellion Rocks presents: Justin Manning of Crowned By Fire

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It’s always great to talk to Justin Manning. We had a great discussion about the new deal Crowned By Fire signed with the newly formed Chrome Mountain Records.1044077_1452670484954224_2072048793_n

 

Make sure you go to Facebook and show Crowned By Fire and Chrome Mountain Records some love:

https://www.facebook.com/CrownedByFire

https://www.facebook.com/ChromeMountainRecords

 

 

This conversation went for about an hour so I’ll keep it short here and let you get to it:

     it’s loud, it’s dirty, it’s CROWNED BY FIRE!

the Hellion

 

A conversation with guitarist Mike Araiza

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I have known Mike Araiza for several years now. In fact I remember sitting in the parking lot of the Owl Cafe with him and Jeff Sandoval listening to the freshly minted tracks from the Of The Earth project they had just completed.

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They moved on in their journey and the next step was an album of songs they had written that turned out to be the frank Hannon Band ‘Six String Soldiers. Which featured appearances by legendary guitarists Dickey Betts, Dave Meniketti, Rick Derringer, and Pat Travers.

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Now, I am excited to say, Mike and Jeff are taking the next step in their musical evolution. They are going to be releasing a series of new tracks as single releases over the next year. The first of which is tentatively called “All I Need” or “It’s All I Need”. This first track features mutual friend Kurt Arft on bass guitar and Chris Collier pulling double duties on drums and production duties.

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bassist Kurt Arft

bassist Kurt Arft

drummer and producer Chris Collier

drummer and producer Chris Collier

 

Mike and I had a nice conversation about all of these events and would love to invite you to listen to it right here:

 

Make sure you got to Mike and Jeff’s Facebook page and give them a like and show your support: https://www.facebook.com/JeffandMikeMusic!!!

 

it’s loud, it’s tonerific, it’s Jeff and Mike!

the Hellion