Cody Simpson Brings Fans Installment Three Of Summer Video Series

Teen pop sensation Cody Simpson has released the newest video in his Wish You Were Here Summer Series. In the series’ third brand new installment, Cody and company take fans along for the ride for the group’s performance at the OC Fair. Fans get to see Cody on stage, behind the scnees and interacting with fans before and after the show. It’s all set to Simpson’s song, “Wish You Were Here.”  Just click the link right here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IhJJWrkBYPc.  The first two episodes of Cody’s series are also available online now.  Episode 1 can be viewed at http://youtu.be/5TP1Mu5Hu4W.  Episode 2 can be seen at the link here:  http://youtu.be/TmbuGSUhom4.
While fans watch the latest episode from Cody’s Wish You Were Here Summer Series, they can also check out his “Preview to Paradise” EP on iTunes at http://bit.ly/TWSPreviewtoParadise. Fans can also follow all the latest news and tour information from Cody online at http://www.codysimpson.com, http://www.facebook.com/codysimpsonmusic, http://twitter.com/codysimpson, http://www.youtube.com/codysimpsonmusic, and http://www.myspace.com/codysimpsonmusic.

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Reel Big Fish’s New LP Is Real Big Fun

Courtesy: Rock Ridge Music

Reel Big Fish has rolled a lucky seven on its new LP, “Candy Coated Fury.”  This new album is…well…real big fun.  Rather than take an angry tone, the band takes serious concepts, and approaches them in a much more light hearted manner.  That could be the reason for the album’s title.

 “Candy Coated Fury” opens with a song whose title cannot be repeated due to certain language used in the title.  That aside, it’s a good re-introduction for this Orange County, California based ska band.  Front man Aaron Barrett sings on the album’s opener of how selfish people are, and how he tries to not be like everyone else.  But because of how everyone else is, it makes it tough to not be like them.  That song is followed up with a great punk style song in ‘Punisher.’  When the band breaks into the chorus, singing, “You’re a punisher”, there’s even a touch of The Ramones in the way the band sings.

The band keeps that light hearted tone on the album’s third track, ‘She’s Not The End of The World.’  While the title does seem to be from the male standpoint, women could use it too and make it into a female POV about a guy.  Instead of being another standard oh-woe-is-me style song, Barrett takes the listener like an old college buddy, and sings about a breakup, “She’s not the end of the world.”  The up-tempo musical backing really adds to the positive vibe of the song.  It’s one of those songs that as simple as it is, is really uplifting. 

Speaking of an uplifting song, any of the songs on this album could be defined in that sense.  And everyone will have their own favorite.  One that every audience should definitely hear is the song, ‘Hiding in My headphones.’  This is a straight up feel good song about the joy that music brings.  Barrett sings on ‘Hiding in My Headphones’, “I’m hotter than my headphones/Gonna turn them up so loud/Gonna drown this whole world out/and everyone can see/that they won’t bother me.”  This is another great message for listeners.  It’s something to which any listener can relate.  Who doesn’t love to just turn on some good music and tune out the world and its problems once in a while.  Suffice to say this is one of the best tracks on “Candy Coated Fury.”

Reel Big Fish has been making music for a very long time.  And now on its seventh album, the band has proven that it’s as strong as ever, making music that walks that fine line of ska, punk and pop punk, as noted in the songs presented.  Even if it doesn’t finally give the band the mainstream acclaim that it so rightly deserves, it’s one work that will make its long time fans happy and will even potentially garner the band even more fans, given the right coverage.  “Candy Coated Fury is available now both in stores and online.  It can be ordered directly through the band’s Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/ReelBigFish.  Fans can also get all the latest news and more through the band’s Facebook page and its official website, http://www.reel-big-fish.com

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New Stooges Set A Good Starting Point For Any Stooges fan

Courtesy: Passport Video/Entertainment One

The Three Stooges (Larry Fine, Moe Howard, Curly Howard, Shemp Howard, Joe Besser, Curly Joe DeRita) are without a doubt, one of the greatest teams in the extensive history of great comics.  This trio of comedians has earned more fame over the decades than even The Marx Brothers, Abbott & Costello and Laurel & Hardy.  Countless DVD’s have been released with Stooges materials throughout the decades, too.   Many of those DVD’s were obviously released with little thought.  However, the newest Stooges release, “A Three Stooges Celebration” isn’t one of those, despite what some would want to believe.

“A Three Stooges Celebration” isn’t just another of the countless DVD releases put out in recent years that randomly culls bits and pieces for what it calls a tribute.  What this new double disc release does is it takes the material that has been collected on those various releases in one double disc set for what is the most definitive set yet.  The first disc in the set follows the early days of the Stooges in the 1930’s and 40’s.  Included is rarer footage from the Stooges performance on the Ed Wynn Camel Hour, as well as the shorts, “Hollywood on Parade”, “Sing a Song of Six Pants”, “Knife of The Party” and “Henry The Ache.”  Again, these shorts have been included on previous sets.  But few, if any, of those sets has actually compiled all of the shorts in one set.  One of the more interesting features in that list is the short, “Henry The Ache.”  Fans will note here how short Shemp’s role was.  Bert Lahr was the star of this short.  It wouldn’t be until five years later that Lahr would really be a star, when he donned the costume of the Cowardly Lion in the legendary picture, “The wizard of Oz.”  It’s actually rather ironic that Lahr would play King Henry in “Henry The Ache.”  Those who remember “The Wizard of Oz” will recall Lahr singing, “If I were King of the forest.”  Who would ever have imaged how prophetic playing a king would be in 1934?

The tidbit about Lahr is a great bonus.  It is, however, just a tiny part of what makes this newest set so enjoyable.  Getting back to the Stooges’ history, the first disc also boasts a near hour long documentary that tells the history of the Stooges.  It starts in the group’s early Vaudeville days, telling of how the Stooges teamed with Ted Healey to form Ted Healey & His Stooges.  It follows the trio throughout is lineup changes to its ultimate ending after the death of the two original stooges, Larry Fine and Moe Howard.  Though the real end, according to the documentary came before either one had died.  The group’s end really came after Larry suffered his first stroke.  It left him unable to perform.  So Moe had made the decision for the Stooges’ career to come to a close.

The history lesson and rare footage included on the set’s first disc are a joy for any Stooge’s fans, having finally been collected on one single set, rather than being spread out over countless others.  The addition of the Stooges’ 1960’s “New Three Stooges” cartoons on the second disc is an extra jewel for the collection.  Some people would like to whine and moan at how bad the Stooges cartoons are.  Given, they may not be as great as other cartoons from that era.  But the mere fact that the footage still exists and looks as good as it does here shows that it has stood the test of time.  And for any Stooges or television historian, this is very important.  In an era when so many cartoons are based in either CGI or anime, these hand drawn cartoons have their very own stylistic identity, and even comic identity.  Love them or hate them, they are an important part of the Stooges’ history.  And they are an important part of television history.  That being noted, it’s nice to see them included on what fans will hopefully see as one of the better Stooges collections to come along in a long time.  The two-disc set is available in stores beginning today. 

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Everclear Goes Back To its Old Days On new LP

Courtesy: Entertainment One

Everclear is perhaps one of the few remaining major acts that started out in the 90’s that is still around today, save for perhaps Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, and a handful of others.  In the course of its career, frontman Art Alexakis has released albums that fans have loved.  And he has released material of which fans haven’t been so keen.  The band’s newest release, (its eighth) “Invisible Stars” is one of the prior.  “Invisible Stars” takes fans back to the earliest days of Everclear. 

The album’s opener, ‘Tiger in a Burning Tree’ sounds like it could have come right from the band’s 1995 breakout record, “Sparkle and Fade.”  Alexakis sings about three different subjects in the song, each one feeling “like a tiger in a burning tree” or trapped.  He sings as the song closes, “close your reyes and take a big deep breath…then you can tell me what it feels like to be a tiger in a burning tree.”  For a song that doesn’t even break the two-minute mark, it manages to get in a lot, lyrically, that will get audiences’ attention.

‘Tiger in a Burning Tree’ is a somewhat deep song, lyrically.  It isn’t the only song that will get listeners thinking.  Alexakis also delves into race relations on the album.  ‘Jackie Robinson’ tells the story of an African American man named Luther Jackson Greene.  He tells listeners of how Luther recalled his memories of growing up in the civil rights era.  He told of getting to see jackie Robins play baseball, and of a whie woman he was romantically linked to being killed just because people didn’t like them being together.  Luther also tells Art in the song about working with Martin Luther King, Jr. and seeing Barack Obama being elected.  Even through all of the adversity, the music backing the lyrics shows how happy Luther was recalling everything from the past, and where things are now.  It makes for one of the album’s best songs.

The album’s closer, ‘Promenade’ is another of the album’s standout tracks.  Alexakis sings as the song ends, “Remember when it felt like we were walking with God.”  He sings about people recalling good times in their lives.  It was like they were walking with God.  This happy closer is a direct opposite to how the album opened, mood wise.  It’s almost like by the time listeners reach this song, they hear a preson whose view on life and general attitude has changed.  It makes for a wonderful closer and another great song from another great Everclear album.

Everclear is currently touring in support of “Invisible Angels.”  The band will be in Rochester, New York tonight.  Fans can get a full tour lineup and all the latest news from the band online at http://www.facebook.com/everclear, http://www.everclearonline.com,  http://www.myspace.com/everclear, and http://twitter.com/everclearband.

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Weekend band lineup announced for Rock Vegas Festival

Concert organizers with the Rock Vegas Festival in Las Vegas, Nevada have officially announced the band lineup for the upcoming weekend long September Festival. 

On Friday, september 28th, Shinedown will be performing.  They’ll be joined by:  Godsmack, Staind, Papa Roach, P.O.D., Adelitas Way, Deuce, and Redlight King. 

Rob zombie and Marilyn Manson will take to the stage Saturday, September 29th.  They’ll be joined throughout the day by:  Stone Sour, Buckcherry, All That Remains, Art of Dying, New Medicine, and Otherwise. 

Tickets are now onl sale for the Rock Vegas Festival.  They are as affordable as $39 (plus fees.  VIP packagaes are also available.  Concert goers can get discount hotel rates through Mandalay Bay, Luxor and Excalibur.  To get tickets, VIP packages, and hotel reservations, go online to http://www.RockVegasFest.com

Anyone interested in coming to Rock Vegas Fest is being offered a very special opportunity courtesy of the festival and its sponsor, Rockstar Energy Drink.  Rockstar Energy Drink and Rock Vegas are offering two lucky concert goers a trip for two with roundtrip airfare fully covered.  The two lucky guests will also get free hotel accomodations, airport transfers, $500 spending money, and VIP treatment at the festival.  To enter for this contest, go online to http://www.rockvegasfest.com/flyaway.  The contest is currently open, and entries will be accepted until August 26th. 

For more information on the Rock Vegas Fest, go online to http://www.RockVegasFest.com, http://www.facebook.com/RockVegasFest, http://twitter.com/RockVegasFest, http://www.youtube.com/RockVegasFest, and on Instagram at Instagram@RockVegasFest.

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Trioscapes To Tour With Scale The Summit

Trioscapes, the brainchild of Dan Briggs (Between The Buried and Me) has made huge waves since releasing its debut album, “Separate Realities.”  The album went as high as #2 on the iTunes Jazz Chart, and #80 on Billboard’s New Artist Chart.  It has also reached as high as #9 on Billboard’s Traditional Jazz Chart, #12 on the Billboard Current jazz Chart, and #197 on the Billboard Top Independent Albums Chart.

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

Now the band will head out on the road in September for a week-long tour with the metal instrumental act Scale The Summit.  The seven-day tour starts in Dayton, Ohio on September 15th.  It will wrap up September 21st in Greensboro, NC.  Along with the Trioscapes tour, Briggs is also touring with Metal Blade label mates Between The Buried and Me.  Trioscapes’ fans can get the latest news and more from the band online at http://www.facebook.com/trioscapes.  A video for the song ‘Blast Off’ is now available online at http://www.metalblade.com/trioscapes.

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Forget The Franchises, Go See Moonrise Kingdom

Courtesy: American Empirical Pictures/Indian Paintbrush/Focus Features

Moonrise Kingdom is one of the most peculiar yet deepest and most heartfelt movies of 2012.  It is a niche film, meaning it isn’t for everyone.  But it is still a story worth seeing.  Moonrise Kingdom is for all essential purposes, a coming of age story.  The short and simple is that Sam (Jared Gilman) and Suzy (Kara Hayward) are surrounded by dysfunction, and through simple correspondence, they run off together.  In the process, they learn about themselves and each other.

The coming of age story has been done and then some throughout Hollywood’s history.  But this story has completely set itself apart from all the other movies in that sub-genre.  Somehow, it managed to combine themes of love and overcoming adversity in a way that doesn’t bog down the story.  Both Suzy and Sam want love.  One has parents who don’t give her the love that she needs. The other is an orphan, so all he needs is love.  Top it all off by presenting each in a setting that’s rife with dysfunction, and it makes both Suzy and Sam very sympathetic characters.  That being the case, it makes the pair’s idealistic puppy love forgiveable.  For that matter, it actually makes the pair’s “relationship” more believeable and heartwarming, albeit a little bit seemingly dysfunctional in itself.

The story behind Moonrise Kingdom is deep and heartfelt in the long run.  It’s only one part of what makes this one of the year’s most underrated movies.  The cinematography really added to the film’s enjoyment.  There was something about the shooting style in this movie that made it stand out among the masses.  One example of that shooting style comes as Sam and Suzy are attempting to cross a stream.  The shot for this scene is somewhat grainy and imperfect.  Yet that imperfection makes it a wonderful shot.  It helps the surrounding scenery really stand out.  It’s just one of so many that any student of the film art will appreciate throughout the story.

Acting and cinematography are big parts of what make a movie great.  But another part of what makes a movie great is a soundtrack.  Far too often, movies just toss in a bunch of songs here and there that are in reality little more than background noise.  But in the case of Moonrise Kingdom, the story’s soundtrack is a whole part of the movie in itself.  In listening to the soundtrack alone, one doesn’t really catch the impact that the music has on the movie.  But in watching the movie with the soundtrack, it adds so much emotion from one scene to the next.  That even includes the addition of some classic Hank Williams, Sr. songs.  Composer Benjamin Britten’s “Heroic Weather-Conditions Of the Universe” suite is beautiful in itself.  And added to the story, it makes the scenes in which it is used that much more powerful. 

So much work went into making Moonrise Kingdom.  And it shows from every angle.  The story of what brought Sam and Suzy together makes their relationship at least somewhat understandable.  That story itself has so many layers.  Somehow, they manage to interweave without getting to be too much for the story.  The movie’s scenery, cinematography and soundtrack add layers all their own to what is already an interesting story.  Do they combine to make Moonrise Kingdom one of 2012’s best?  That’s debatable.  However, one thing can be said of Moonrise Kingdom.  And that is that at a time when movie studios are churning out nothing but prequels, sequels, and reboots, this movie has turned out to be one of the year’s most original and heartwarming (and slightly twisted) works.  Whether or not it’s among the year’s best is in the eye of the beholder.  But it is a breath of fresh air in a sea of franchises from studios that are too scared to take a chance on something original.

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The Fabric Of The Cosmos A Wild Ride Through Space, Time, More

Courtesy: PBS

“The Fabric of the Cosmos” is one of the most mind blowing and brain twisting episodes of PBS’ NOVA to be broadcast in recent memory.  This four-part special takes viewers into the world of what was thought to be only science fiction for ages.  It proves that maybe, just maybe the science fiction that people have seen on television for decades may not entirely fiction after all.  On the other hand, viewers may also be surprised to discover that some of that science fiction may actually still be just that today.  And thanks to author and host Brian Greene, even the most causal science fan will catch on to at least some of the concepts throughout the four-hour course of this program.

“The Fabric of the Cosmos” opens with the segment, “Quantum Leap.”  This segment is a perfect start for any college level physics class.  It takes audiences through a history of quantum mechanics.  Along the way, many of the theories and standards of quantum mechanics are explained to viewers.  It eventually leads up to a discussion on the possibility of human teleportation.  Now anyone who has seen Star Trek knows of the concept of human teleportation.  But according to quantum mechanics, while it is theoretically possible, it isn’t realistically possible.  That’s because in the process of teleportation, the original person being teleported would actually be destroyed in order to make a copy of that person in another location.  Now imagine doing that multiple times over.  It gets very deep.  This is one of those cases in which audiences might be at least a little surprised to discover that some science fiction is still just that.

Courtesy: PBS

The second hour of “The Fabric of the Cosmos” takes viewers into the equally oft discussed concept of whether or nor our universe is the only one.  In trying to figure out if our universe is the only one, “Universe or Multiverse?” scientists interviewed for the program enter into discussions on string theory and dark energy.  The discussions of these two concepts—and one other—point to the very strong possibility that we may not be alone.  There may, in fact, be other universes out there.  This is all theoretical, of course.  But there seems to be enough evidence to point to the possibility of the multiverse being real.

In the third hour of “The Fabric of the Cosmos”, Greene asks, “What is space?”  This is another segment that students studying physics will really enjoy.  This segment delves greatly into the theories of Albert Einstein.  Greene explains that gravity is space time itself.  He explains it with a demonstration.  He asks how it is that Earth’s moon stays in a constant orbit as if it were held by some invisible rope.  So he uses the demonstration of pool balls on a pool table.  He then proceeds to place a bowling ball on the table.  The theory created here is that something of greater mass causes a “dip” in the fabric of whatever it is sitting on or in.  The theory is that earth actually “bends” space, thus pulling the moon into that dip, and causing it to rotate—or orbit–around the edge of that “bend.”  Pretty wild stuff, right?

The mind bending only continues from here.  From the discussion asking, “What is Space?” viewers are taken even deeper with a discussion on time itself.  Greene ties in the discussion of space into how time works.  Things get really wild here.  He notes through Einstein once more for his explanations of what time is, and its relativity to people and places.  This leads up to another very well known concept.  It leads to the concept of time travel itself.  Viewers learn that while Einstein’s theories prove time travel is theoretically possible, right now, there is no actual way to physically travel backward or forward in time.  It all ties in to the interconnectivity of time and space.  Again, this is some pretty deep material.  But it’s quite interesting to consider, even for the most casual of science lovers. 

Thanks to his efforts, Greene has made “The Fabric of the Cosmos” at least somewhat into layman’s terms.  He has taken the concepts about which he has written in his book and given visual examples of his topics so that even those who don’t have formal training in physics can grasp it at least at a fundamental level.  It’s one more example of what makes PBS’ NOVA the enjoyable program that it is.  So whether being used for a semester long college physics class or for the most casual viewer, “The Fabric of the Cosmos” is one more jewel for any science fiction fan or scientist out there.

“The Fabric of the Cosmos” is available now on DVD and Blu-ray.  It can be ordered online at http://www.shoppbs.org.

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Devin Townsend Project Releases Teaser Trailer, Artwork For New LP

Okay fans, I’ve got one more piece of entertainment news for you before I head out for the weekend.  If you’re a fan of Devin Townsend Project, this one is for you!

The Devin Townsend Project is prepping the release of its next full length, release, “Epicloud.”  In celebration of the upcoming new release, Devin Townsend has posted a teaser trailer for the album’s first track, ‘”Effervescent!.”  It can be viewed here:  http://youtu.be/czLehznovHc.  The interstellar themed video starts with a small group of individuals singing under the direction of a very tiny director.  the director in question turns out to be *gasp* a little alien.  From there, the song really starts to rock.  It also features the cover artwork for the new album.

The new 13-track “Epicloud” is currently slated to be released on September 18th in North America, September 24th in Europe.  DTP will hit the road this September alongside Katatonia, Paradise Lost, and Stolen babies to support “Epicloud.”  The bands will kick off their tour September 4th at Studio 7 in seattle, Washington.  Fans can get a full tour listing and keep up with the latest news on “Epicloud” online at http://www.hevydevy.com and http://www.facebook.com/dvntownsend.  Paradise Lost fans can keep up with the band online at http://www.paradiselost.co.uk, http://www.facebook.com/paradiselostofficial, http://www.myspacecom/paradiselostuk, and http://twitter.com/officialpl.

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Glasscloud Debut Seamlessly Branches Metal, Post-Hardcore Worlds

Courtesy: Equal Vision Records

Hampton, Virginia based Glass Cloud’s debut record, “The Royal Thousand” is one of the most interesting records to be released by a band this year in the screamo-post hardcore genre.  This band is more akin to Chimaira than its peers.  The electronics and heavy, crunching, down-tuned guitars mixed in with the voal prowess of front man Jerry Roush make this a record that really branches the two genres together, and brings together audiences from both sides of the musical spectrum.

The album starts off full force with what is easily one of its best songs in ‘White Flag.’  It’s ironic that the album would start with this track, considering that a white flag stands for surrender.  If anything, this song shows that Glass Cloud has no intention to surrender whether it be to audiences who expect the band to be this or that or to label heads who would treat its members in similar fashion.  The album’s intensity keeps up after ‘White Flag’ in ‘If He Dies.’  It goes back and forth between a mild gentility, with Rousch actually singing a little, and absoluate brutality.  Guitarist Josh Travis’s effects are incredible on this song.  Again, it brings the band up to the level of Chimaira.  Considering this is the band’s debut record, that is saying something.

‘Ivy and Wine’ is another high point to “The Royal Thousand.”  It bears that same intensity as the album’s first two tracks.  Not only do Rousch and Travis shine again here, but drummer Chad Hasty’s precision adds another extra level to the song.  A video for the song is available online now at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tmwcT7pjfKM.  ‘Prelude For A Ghost’ is the only moment on this record in which the band eases up.  The instrumental is placed precisely in the middle of the track listing.  It gives listeners just enough time to gather themselves before the band launches right back into its assault with ‘All Along.’  That vibe gets stepped up even more as the album nears its end on ‘Counting Sheep.’  This speed metal style piece continues to bridge the gap of the post-hardcore and metal worlds seamlessly. 

The band is currently out on tour right now in support of “The Royal Thousand” on the “Scream It Like You Mean It 2012” tour.  The band is scheduled to perform at Soma tonight in San Diego, California.  It will be at the Fremont East District tomorrow in Las Vegas, Nevada.  Fans can get a full tour listing and keep up with all the latest from the band online at http://www.facebook.com/glasscloud, http://twitter.com/glasscloud, and http://youtube.com/glasscloudtv.   

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it or its companion page, http://www.facebook.com/pages/Reel-Reviews/381028148587141.  Fans can always keep up with all the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.