The Black Keys - El Camino Review

Gone are any and all killer guitar riffs which have always been the backbone of their music. instead we get an overproduced pop album of songs that with the changing of a few lyrics could pass for a katy perry record.

Five Finger Death Punch - American Capitalist Review

Five Finger Death Punch had a big mountain to climb after their last album. How do you improve on such a record? Easy. Heavier music, deeper lyrics, and ruthless aggression. This album is their best work yet. The title track, "American Capitalist" has the energy of a freight train going 900 miles an hour. The first single is the second track, "Under and Over It." is that head smashing jam that really has some meaning in it.

"The Pride" is the next track, and it is something new for FFDP. This is a list song. This really gives the album that "capitalist" feeling, because it list some of the most American things we have. "Coming Down" is one of those medium songs that FFDP has used before (See "The Bleeding"). "Menace" has that "White Knuckles" vibe to it, and still is very unique. "Generation Dead" kicks off with a bass line that will blow you away, as simple as it is, and will get you in a fighting mood. "Back For More" is a tune that just gets you up on your feet and pumps you up. I can see this song being played in NFL stadiums everywhere. "Remember Everything" is that slow song in the vein of "Far From Home." The lyrics are so deep and personal, you wonder what Ivan went through to write this. This is actually one of the stand-out songs, and looks to be a hit single for the band.

"Wicked Ways" is that "Meet The Monster" song that singles out celebrities for their...well, wicked ways. "If I Fall" is a song that just plain will whack you upside your head and give you that "going down swinging" mentality. The last song on the album is the one that will knock you on your ass and beat you senseless. "100 Ways To Hate" is their heaviest song on the album. It may be even heavier than "Ashes" and "War Is The Answer." There is so much anger and hate behind this song, and you will feel it. This is their best album yet, and you need to listen to it, even if you hate FFDP.

A Very She & Him Christmas - She & Him

"A Very She and Him Christmas" contains a timeless collection of Christmas classics that may add a bit of holiday cheer to one's listening pleasure. Indeed, the set of songs are perennial favorites that have been played and sung for decades by a countless number of performers. However, this is She and Him and any cover or rendition that they perform has a quality of their own but with subtle influences that are heard throughout their music that blend an uncanny resemblance to legendary artists of the past five decades, Elvis Presley, The Beatles, The Beach Boys, and everything in between before that. With Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward as the creative duo that comprises She and Him, these holiday classics come to life once again.

All of the songs on the record are memorable and resonate a nostalgic flare. One never grows tired of hearing "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" or "Rocking' Around the Christmas Tree." And with the mention of the Beach Boys, listeners will find "Christmas Day" and "Little Saint Nick" a delight to hear.

It is always a pleasure to see a new generation of musical artists continuing to perform these holiday melodies especially during this day and age. And with the convenience of digital recordings that are released, it is always nice to know that vinyl and CD formats are still available. With the release of "A Very She and Him Christmas" one of the treats of having this CD is that it comes with a few extras that usually does not come with a digital download, brief liner notes that come in the form of a red envelope that looks like a Christmas card.