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Blackmore's Night - Krokus - Ave - Rich Schroder - Skittish - Lamexcuse

Blackmore's Night - Winter Carols

Blackmore's Night, the renaissance influenced project with Richie Blackmore and his significant other Candice Night, just release there new album a few weeks ago. The Village Lanterne is a must have for fans of this type of music. Blackmore and Night are completely passionate about this project, and it shows in the performances. 

It makes perfect sense for Blackmore's Night to release a Christmas album. This group is ready made for the type of romantic, classical sound of so much holiday music. Some of the highlights are some of the most instantly recognizable Christmas songs, including "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" and "We Wish you a Merry Christmas". It will definitely stick around your holiday play list longer than a Clay Aiken Christmas.

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Krokus - Hellraiser

The mid-'80s had its fair share of European hair metal. Krokus was one of those bands to jump on the Aquanet bandwagon for one big record and then struggle to get back on top.

Krokus have always patterned themselves after AC/DC and the Scorpions with big riffs and throaty Bon Scott vocals. Thirty years into their career and the band hasn't changed since their big hair days with their new release, Hellraiser. The album would have been huge in 1986; in 2006 it has to settle for being the perfect record for those guys who still haven't cut their mullets.

The songs are full of images of late nights, parties and the glossy sleaze of Sunset Strip metal. Krokus has been doing this for 20 years now, they should be able to do it right.

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Ave - Follow Your Saint

Odense, Denmark appears to be a thriving indie rock community that is bursting at the seams to reach a wider worldwide audience.

Ave is one of the newer Denmark bands that has begun to make waves. The band and its promo crew make no bones about their love of all things Radiohead. The admiration is immediately recognizable in the songs on Follow Your Saint. 

Apart from aping Radiohead's signature sounds, Ave creates some gorgeous melodies and are slightly more accessible than their British idols. Take that for what it's worth.

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Rich Schroder - Your Kind Words

Rich Schroder writes story songs. His lyrics are the obvious focus while the music is relegated to functional, often pretty, background noise. These story songs are fortunately very engaging and incredibly visual.

Schroder's songs are often the country/pop that would be completely forgettable if not for the lyrical quality. He touches on some heavy subjects with good taste and some lighter subjects with a sense of humor that will appeal to housewives, who seem to be the target audience here.

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Skittish - Tragedy of the Commons

Catchy, upbeat indie rock treads a thin line between genius and annoying. Skittish spend their album, Tragedy of the Commons, alternating across that line, sometimes within the same song.

The overall product remains quirky and acoustically driven. It's great music for a tacky coffeehouse about to be crushed by the Starbucks monster.

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Lamexcuse - All Important Things

Lamexcuse call Graz, Austria home and have fast outgrown their local roots. The band has already survived a tour with rock's resident junkie loser, Pete Doherty and his band Babyshambles.

The band concocts an enjoyable mix of acoustic rock that reaches back to the prime era of college rock, the 1980's. Give them a chance on a tour with a headliner who won't end up in jail after three gigs and Lamexcuse can do some good business.

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