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  • HHRR's Top 10 Albums of 2017

    It must have been a great year for music.Here at Helping Hands Rock Reviews headquarters, we had a hard time narrowing our annual best album list down to just 10. In fact, we had to go to a fourth tie-breaker to fill the last two slots! But we did it!  So, without further ado, here are our top 10 albums of 2017!#10.  Freddie Nelson - Shake The Cage.  With a throwback sound and a captivating voice, this Pittsburgh-bred rocker proved his music was capable of hanging with the industry's heavyweights in 2017.#9.  Santa Cruz - Bad Blood Rising.  Combining modern, bone-crushing power with hair metal sensibilities, Santa Cruz commanded attention with a killer release.#8.  Halestorm - Reanimate 3.0.  In what's become a mid-album cycle tradition, Halestorm again surprises and delights with an eclectic and fun collection of cover tunes.#7.  Falling In Reverse - Coming Home.  As irreverent as ever, Falling In Reverse delivers another screaming record that you want to listen to over and over.#6.  Biters - The Future Ain't What It Used To Be.  Resurrecting power pop, Biters have put out some of the catchiest music of the year...or perhaps even the decade.#5.  Fozzy - Judas.  With a title track worth of song-of-the-year accolades, Fozzy - led by wrestling legend, Chris Jericho - reaches new heights.#4.  Ed Sheeran - Divide.  Regarded as a pop star, the red-haired Brit demonstrated that his appeal could be felt far and wide as he became the undisputed king of the singer/songwriter genre.#3.  Butch Walker - Over The Holidays and Under The Influence.  It's kind of rare for a Christmas album to make a top 10 list.  But, as usual, Butch Walker succeeds where others fall short by sharing a loose, fun and creative take on holiday classics.#2.  Art of Dying - Nevermore (Acoustic).  They rock hard and heavy.  But give Art of Dying acoustic guitars and they can craft an emotive performance that broadens their already strong appeal.#1.  Sleeping With Sirens - Gossip.  Groove-laden pop/rock songs with sugary-sweet hooks is not what you'd expect from a band once associated with the post-hardcore and screamo genres.  But Sleeping With Sirens turned down the guitars and laid down radio-friendly beats on an album that features track after track after track of songs that stick in your brain as if they were coated with thick maple syrup.&nbs […]

  • Meet The SuperSharer: Steve C!

    This last week of Share Pittsburgh Music Month, we've been spotlighting our SuperSharers.  SuperSharers are passionate fans of Pittsburgh music who have diligently planned out the music videos they'd be sharing throughout this incredible month and have gone through great lengths to help us track the impact of videos tagged with #SharePGHMusicMonth.So, we're closing out the month by introducing you to the last - but certainly not least - of the SuperSharers.  Actually, saving this guy for last is like saving the grand finale for the end of a fireworks display.  His untiring support for Pittsburgh music has become somewhat legendary.With that said, we're stoked to introduce you to today's SuperSharer, Steve C!Steve is the mastermind behind the Pittsburgh Punk Rock sites on social media, which he started nearly 10 years ago.  You can find Pittsburgh Punk Rock on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and SnapChat.Why does he love Pittsburgh music and go to such great lengths to promote it?"There is an abundance of talent, venues and bands of all genres right now," Steve says.  "There are very few negative people."Like other SuperSharers, Steve notices the familial vibe in the Pittsburgh music scene.  "The majority of musicians seem to have a mutual respect for their fans and peers," he elaborates.  "There is a great amount of appreciation and admiration for one another.  I want the whole world to know about everything that is happening here!"Here are Steve's three favorite songs that he's shared this month: Thanks Steve! […]

  • Meet The SuperSharer: Don F!

    Today is the next-to-last day of Share Pittsburgh Music Month.  So, this afternoon, we introduce you to our next-to-last SuperSharer.If you've been following along, SuperSharers have made the 2017 edition of #SharePGHMusicMonth that much bigger and better.  They've preplanned the music videos they'd be sharing and provided that list to us.  As a result, we've been able to track the 100,000+ new views that Pittsburgh artists have received in the month!Allow us to introduce you to SuperSharer, Don F.Don is the bass player for Fools Errand and a self-proclaimed lover of all types of music.Why does Don particularly love Pittsburgh music?"Pittsburgh has some great bands that provide many types of music," Don says.  "All the bands that I've come in contact with have some great people involved that are happy to be involved with their fans and friends in other bands."Don's three favorite tunes that he's shared this month are the following: Thanks Don! […]

  • Meet The SuperSharer: Tim D!

    Yes, we have yet ANOTHER SuperSharer to introduce you to!  Isn't that awesome?If you don't know what a SuperSharer is, check on the posts from the last few days to learn how these passionate music fans gave extra fuel to the #SharePGHMusicMonth train!Today's SuperSharer is Tim D!Tim is the drummer for the band, Unbroken Soul.Why does Tim love Pittsburgh music so much?"The bands, musicians, and fans are not only a community, but a family who stop at nothing to help, promote and support each other to always reach the next level," Tim says. "This is what not only makes Pittsburgh music great, but puts it above the rest."Here are Tim's three favorite tunes that he has shared during Share Pittsburgh Music Month: Thanks Tim! […]

  • Meet The SuperSharer: Nicole N!

    Today, it is a pleasure to introduce you to our fourth SuperSharer! In case you're just tuning in, SuperSharers are the most active participants in Share Pittsburgh Music Month (#SharePGHMusicMonth).  Each of them had provided us with an advance list of music videos they'd be sharing during the month.  This enabled us to track and measure the campaign's success.  And, d*rn, it's been successful!Today's SuperSharer is Nicole N!  I met Nicole through the oh-so-excellent Punksburgh blog/site. Here's a little more about her, in her own articulate words...I'm just a square peg and a music nerd.  My parents turned me on to The Rolling Stones, Devo and The Talking Heads when I was an infant and it was straight down the rabbit hole from there.  I'm lucky to have stumbled into writing about music and PR by just doing what I love.Why does Nicole love Pittsburgh music so much?"I love the Pittsburgh music scene because it's where I cut my teeth," she says.  "It welcomed me and gave me things to do in the '90's and a lot of those people are still involved.  I also love that there is a good show to check out nearly every night."Here are Nicole's three favorite songs that she shared this month: Thanks Nicole! […]

  • Meet The SuperSharer: Matt C!

    I hope that you've enjoyed meeting our first two SuperSharers! Once again, our SuperSharers are vital contributors to Share Pittsburgh Music Month.  Not only do they post music videos from Pittsburgh artists using the #SharePGHMusicMonth hashtag, but they also planned out what they would be sharing so we could track the impact.Some of our SuperSharers post a different video every single day.  Today's SuperSharer does just that.  Let me introduce you to SuperSharer, Matt Cavallo!Matt is the lead guitarist for the Western Pennsylvania country/southern rock band, Coal Town.  He previously played with local band Access Denied, now known as Unbroken Soul.Why does Matt love Pittsburgh music?"I love Pittsburgh music because of the level of talent that there is," Matt says.  "Also the support from bands supporting each other, which I believe is the key to a killer local scene.  It's like a huge family, between not only the musicians, but the fans as well."Here are Matt's three favorite videos he has shared this month...Thanks for being a SuperSharer, Matt! […]

  • Meet the SuperSharer: Bill D!

    We have another SuperSharer to introduce you to today as the wildly successful Share Pittsburgh Music Month (#SharePGHMusicMonth) winds down! As I wrote yesterday, our SuperSharers deserve so much credit for the success of the campaign.  These great music fans not only are sharing Pittsburgh artists' music videos every single day, but they also provided us in advance a list of the videos they'd be sharing.  That enabled us to track views on the videos and quantify success.  Awesome people!Today, meet SuperSharer Bill D!Bill has been supporting the music scene since 1996, when he created his first band website.  In 2004, he created and was added in 2017.Why does Bill love the Pittsburgh music scene? "The Pittsburgh music scene is full of a ton of talented musicians who are willing to use their talent to help the less fortunate," Bill explains.  "I love that about our scene!"Bill's been sharing an eclectic array of videos, but here are his three favorites.Thanks Bill! […]

  • Meet The SuperSharer: Jodi K!

     Share Pittsburgh Music Month is nearing its conclusion for 2017, but it remains on absolute fire!Music videos by Pittsburgh artists have been watched well over 100,000 times this month!  And we still have a few days left!This massive and positive impact would not be possible without the many people posting music videos using the #SharePGHMusicMonth hashtag.  And the biggest kudos go to our "SuperSharers" - fans who have planned out their sharing and provided us with advance links to the videos so we could track views.We are thanking our SuperSharers by doing brief "Meet The SuperSharer" posts.  Today, meet SuperSharer Jodi K!Jodi describes herself as a music lover down to her core.  She is a proud supporter of the local scene.  She will tell you that she gets to as many shows as she possibly can (and she actually does!).  She says she loves "the excitement, the feeling, the passion in live music."Why does Jodi love Pittsburgh music? "I love the Pittsburgh music scene because of the great music, of course, but more because the bands are supportive of one another," Jodi says.  "We have such a great mix of all genres in this city as well and that is great for someone like me that has quite the eclectic taste in music."Jodi is awesome, don't you agree?We'll leave you with three of Jodi's favorite music videos she has shared during Share Pittsburgh Music Month. Thanks Jodi! […]

  • Introducing the #SharePGHMusicMonth 2017 SuperSharer 100 Playlist!

    Share Pittsburgh Music Month 2017 is going awesome so far!At the half-way point of the month, Pittsburgh artists' music videos have gotten over 68,000 new views!Today, we are stoked to introduce yet another way we hope to build more visibility for Pittsburgh artists.A team of passionate fans we call the "SuperSharers" have handpicked 100 of their favorite Pittsburgh music videos for our SuperSharer 100 playlist!  It's linked below.What can you do with the SuperSharer 100? Browse through to discover a song or artist you likeBinge watch all five hours of itUse it to organize what videos you'll share in the home stretch of Share Pittsburgh Music Month (and be sure to always include the #SharePGHMusicMonth hashtag in your post).We hope you enjoy the tunes and get addicted to sharing Pittsburgh music!Here's the link to the playlist: […]

  • Share Pittsburgh Music Month Has Begun!

     It's Day #1 of Share Pittsburgh Music Month!Join in the fun by sharing on social media a music video of a Pittsburgh artist each day in September and using the #SharePGHMusicMonth hashtag.  And track the hashtag - you may just discover your new favorite band! We have some "SuperSharers" that we'll be introducing to you later in the month.  These good humans pre-planned the videos they'd share.  This enables us to track the impact that this campaign has on the artists and their videos. We're working on creating a SuperSharer playlist that you can use to discover some expertly-curated, great new music.  Plus, it will serve as a great source of ideas of videos for you to share!In the spirit of #SharePGHMusicMonth, here's a video from Pittsburgh punks, Anti-Flag! […]

  • #SharePGHMusicMonth Returns in September 2017!

    Last year, a lot of buzz was generated for Pittsburgh-area musical artists when I suggested the #SharePGHMusicMonth campaign.  This year, Helping Hands Rock Reviews will be playing a greater role in hopefully making #SharePGHMusicMonth bigger and better this September!Anyone can participate simply by sharing on social media a video of a Pittsburgh band/artist and using the #SharePGHMusicMonth hashtag during the month of September.But, one of the new things we're trying this year is the concept of the "SuperSharer." SuperSharers are people who truly want to build a huge buzz for Pittsburgh music by (a) sharing at least one video every day in September, and (b) following our guidelines for effective sharing. We'd like all three of these backgrounds represented among the SuperSharers:Music fansMusiciansMusic industry pros (e.g., writers, DJ's, promoters, club owners, etc.)At or near the end of September, we will give special recognition to SuperSharers.  It will take a village to take the Pittsburgh music scene to the next level, so we want to recognize the most passionate "villagers!"If you're interested in being a SuperSharer, contact me at chip (at) chipdimonick (dot) com.Otherwise, simply get ready to share Pittsburgh music videos beginning on September 1 using the #SharePGHMusicMonth hashtag!Let's team up to make September rock! […]

  • June 2017 Becomes Historic Month for Pittsburgh Music

    In recent years, Pittsburgh has become a city with slowly increasing musical credibility.  The city has long been a haven for cover bands and tribute acts.  Still, quality singles, EP's and full-length albums from the area's original artists have typically trickled out here and there.However, in June 2017, that trickle instantly became a deluge.  No fewer than a half dozen Pittsburgh acts had exciting releases in the month.  We'll recap the most notable here. Freddie Nelson - "Hey Doll" (single).  The month started with a bang as Freddie Nelson premiered his video for "Hey Doll" on on June 1.  Showcasing Nelson's Freddie Mercury-esque vocal chops and a nostalgia-inducing guitar solo, "Hey Doll" whets the music world's appetite for Nelson's upcoming album, Shake The Cage. Frank Vieira - Right Here (EP).  On June 3, rockin' country artist, Frank Vieira, released a slickly produced record that is competitive with today's top country crooners.  Though Vieira's voice has that timeless baritone country twang, the tracks on Right Here feature the beats and rhythms that has Vieira poised to be considered part of country music's future in 2018 and beyond.  Plus, Vieira's tunes are filled with enough overdriven rock guitar to make Eddie Van Halen proud. The Homeless Gospel Choir - "Normal" (Single).  Music, as entertainment, is more than just the playing of the right notes in the right rhythm.  It is about personality.  And The Homeless Gospel Choir - which is a singer with an acoustic guitar, not a choir - has personality out the proverbial wazoo.  The HGC dropped the personality-infused single, "Normal," on June 9.  The hook, "You're never gonna be normal/You're never gonna be normal/You're never gonna be normal/'Cause you're a punk," has the ingredients to be  an instant classic.  And the accompanying video - a recreation of Alanis Morissette's "Ironic" - has the ingredients to go viral.  If an "X factor" will propel any Pittsburgh artist to superstardom in the next year, our bets are that The Homeless Gospel Choir's supersized personality will be that X factor.Wreck Loose - OK, Wreck Loose (LP).  June 16th saw the release of arguably the most anticipated Pittsburgh release of 2017.  Wreck Loose's name has been approaching ubiquity in Pittsburgh radio and media. And with OK, Wreck Loose, the band justifies the attention in spades.  The style and songwriting rips a page from Elton John's catalog.  And the vibe is as contagious as the Stanley Cup fever that infected the Steel City this month. Willow Hill - Highway One (EP).  The colorfully coiffed singer and rock solid guitarist from local stalwarts Lovebettie have added a new wrinkle to their musical fabric with a project entitled Willow Hill.  Departing from Lovebettie's indie rock confines, the duo released a pure country EP, Highway One, on June 16.  The new style suits vocalist Alexandra Naples' velvetty voice surprisingly well and makes for an extremely interesting offering from these tireless musicians. Cathy Stewart - Definite Maybe (LP).  One of the cool things about Pittsburgh music is its diversity.  There is no "Pittsburgh sound" that all area artists must conform to.  That spirit is embodied in Definite Maybe, the June 20th release from singer-songwriter Cathy Stewart.  Definite Maybe showcases a variety of diverse influences, ranging from classic rock to honky tonk country to indie pop. Yet, Stewart somehow masterfully weaves these myriad influences into a unified collection of short, fun songs - the funnest of which is "The Beer Song," a tune that has to be heard to be fully appreciated.This flood of great Pittsburgh releases is encouraging.  It leaves the music fan wondering if Pittsburgh has exhausted all of its pent up sonic artistry in one solitary torrent. Or if the bar has been set higher for more prolific output from the city with the three rivers. […]

  • Concert Photos: Art of Dying Performing an Acoustic Set at The Lamp Theatre in Irvin, PA on May 19, 2017

    Cale Gontier, Jonny Hetherington, Cody Watkins and Tavis Stanley of Art of Dying performing an acoustic set at The Lamp Theatre in Irwin, PA on May 19, 2017Copyright Helping Hands Rock Reviews 2017 Feel free to share our photos but PLEASE leave our watermark intact! […]

  • Concert Photos: Fozzy Performing Live at Diesel in Pittsburgh, PA on May 16, 2017

    Chris Jericho of Fozzy Performing at Diesel in Pittsburgh, PA on May 16, 2017  Copyright Helping Hands Rock Reviews 2017 Feel free to share our photos but PLEASE leave our watermark intact! […]

  • Concert Photos: Dave Hause and The Mermaid Performing Live at The Club at Stage AE in Pittsburgh on April 23, 2017

    Dave Hause live at Stage AE in Pittsburgh, PA     Copyright Helping Hands Rock Reviews 2017 Feel free to share our photos but PLEASE leave our watermark intact! […]