A regular feature highlighting some of the best album releases each month. I don’t do album “reviews” – this is simply a personal recommendation to check out an album - just a few words about the albums that appeal to me and about the artists releasing them. These will also be albums from which I’ll have been playing tracks on the Friday NI Rocks Shows recently. This month it includes albums from the Kris Barras Band, Junkyard Drive, King Zebra and Kickin Valentina.


KRIS BARRAS BAND – “Halo Effect” – Earache 12th April

“Halo Effect” is the fifth studio album from former MMA fighter Kris Barras, but the band’s first with Earache Records. The tracks “Unbreakable” and “Hourglass” were featured on the Friday NI Rocks Show in November and January; followed by “With You” on 22nd March. A special promo with Kris talking about the new album was included on the Show on 13th April, along with the tracks “With You”, “Apocalypse” and “Unbreakable”.


The band’s debut album, “Lucky 13” was released in 2016, followed by “The Divine and Dirty” in 2018, “Light It Up” in 2019 and “Death Valley Paradise” in 2022. Initially, very blues rock focused, over time the tracks have taken on a heavier sound.


The Kris Barras Band are Kris Barras on guitar and vocals, Josiah J Manning on guitar, Billy Hammett on drums and Frazer Kerslake on bass.


Website - https://www.krisbarrasband.com/



JUNKYARD DRIVE – “Look At Me Now” – Mighty Music 12th April

Danish band Junkyard Drive released their fourth album, “Look At Me Now” through Mighty Music on 12th April. The track “Tearaway” was included on the Friday NI Rocks Show in January and “Shoot From The Hip” featured on22nd March.


Junkyard Drive formed in 2014 and released their first album “Sin & Tonic” in 2017. That was followed by “Black Coffee” in 2018 and “Electric Love” in 2022. All were released through Mighty Music. Tracks from the band have been featured on the Friday NI Rocks Show since 2016.


The band features Kris on lead vocals, Oliver Hartmann and Kristoffer Kristensen on guitars, Claus on drums and Sjus on bass.


Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/junkyarddriveofficial




KING ZEBRA – “Between The Shadows” – Frontiers 12th April

Swiss band King Zebra released their latest album “Between The Shadows” on 12th April. This is their first album with Frontiers. The track “Dina” was featured on the Friday NI Rocks Show in February, followed by “Children of the Night” on 22nd March.


King Zebra started back in 2012 and they released two album, “Greatest Hits” in 2013 and “Wild! Wild! Wild!” in 2015, before going through a change in line-up and the arrival of a new lead singer, Eric St Michaels, formerly of China. They returned with a self-titled EP in 2019 and the album “Survivors” in 2021. Tracks from both those releases have featured on the NI Rocks Show.


The band features St Michaels on vocals, Roman Lauer and Jerry Napitupulu on guitars, Manu Judge on bass and Benjamin Grimm on drums.


Website - https://www.kingzebra.ch/




KICKIN VALENTINA – “Star Spangled Fist Fight” – Mighty Music 19th April

We’ve been featuring tracks from American band Kickin Valentina on the Friday NI Rocks Show for ten years; since shortly after they formed in 2013. The band released their fourth full studio album, “Star Spangled Fist Fight” through Mighty Music on 19th April. The track “Dirty Rhythm” was included on the Friday NI Rocks Show on 29th March, followed by “Getting’ Off” on 26th April.


Kickin Valentina formed in Atlanta in 2013 and released a self titled EP the same year. They then signed to Mighty Music for the release of their debut album “Super Atomic” in 2015, followed by “Imaginary Creatures” in 2017 and “The Revenge of Rock” in 2021. The first two albums featured original vocalist Joe Edwards.


Three members of the original line-up remain – Heber Pampillon on guitar, Chris Taylor on bass and Jimmy Berdine on drums. The vocalist since 2019 is former Jetboy frontman D.K. Revelle.


Website - https://kickinvalentina.com/