Permanent Ability On The Brink Of The Mainstream On New EP

Courtesy: Permanent Ability

Permanent Ability’s new EP, Bring it on! is a good listen for anyone that is a fan of fellow Los Angeles rockers, Red Hot Chili Peppers.  If a person didn’t know it was Permanent Ability, they would almost swear that this band was the latter.  Even front man Brian Lanese sounds like RHCP front man Anthony Kiedis.  This is especially the case on the EP’s title track.  Lanese sounds eerily like Kiedis here as he sings, “Once you crossed my line/There ain’t no stepping back/I’m a pacifist/But I’ll pass my fist/Right to your face/If I get pissed/Well here’s your big chance Big Shot/Don’t blow it.”  He leaves no guesses about this song.  It’s one of those pieces that will get any listener’s blood flowing.

The band has another adrenaline fueled hit on its hands in its EP’s penultimate song, ‘In Waterbury.’  It comes across as almost a tribute song in the way it was written.  Lanese sings about his brother protecting the peace and about some of the places he remembers such as the country club, the mall, and some of his favorite places to eat and of course one other memory that listeners can find out for themselves when they listen to the EP.  The way that Lanese sings here makes the memories he shares come across as being very fond memories.  And that emotion exuded from both his vocals and the lyrics will easily make this song a fan favorite.

These two tracks are just a small sampling of what Permanent Ability has to offer on its new EP.  There are still four other tracks for audiences to enjoy.  ‘Girls’ and ‘Sex Junkie’ are perfect for any college frat boy.  And ‘Shades of Grey’ is just as much a personal declaration as the EP’s title track.  It makes for a solid opener to this release.  There’s even a slower, more introspective style piece in ‘Last To Know’ in which Lanese sings about a lost love.  It all comes together for a release that will earn more appreciation from its audiences with each listen.  Bring it on! is available now via iTunes at http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/bring-it-on!/id374859523.  

The band is currently working on dates in support of its new release.  To get those dates and all the latest news from the band, fans need just go online to http://www.permanentability.com, http://www.facebook.com/pages/Permanent-Ability/20522581563, http://twitter.com/permanentability, http://www.youtube.com/permanentability, and http://www.myspace.com/permanentability

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Halestorm Holding Special Online Performance Today

Courtesy: Atlantic Records

Happy Halloween, everyone!  Halestorm has a very special treat for all of its fans today.  The band will be taking over the Warner Sound studios today.  The band will be performing live at 3pmEST/12PT for a very special Live Session performance.  Fans can check out the announcement from the band right here, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VfpxXV3HrVg.  And fans can go to The Warner Sound’s YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/TheWarnerSound

The PA based band’s performance is all part of its ongoing promotion for its most recent album, Strange Case Of…  The album was released April 10th via Atlantic Records and was produced by mega producer Howard Benson (P.O.D., Sepultura, Theory of a Deadman, etc.)  Those who don’t get the chance to catch the band this afternoon will still get plenty of opportunities to see the band live as it tours in support of its new album.  The band’s next live performance will be Thursday, November 8th at the Soul Kitchen in Mobile, Alabama.  It will also be making a stop in Asheville, North Carolina on Wednesday, December 12th at the Orange Peel.  Halestorm’s fans can get a full tour rundown and all the latest news from the band online at http://www.halestormrocks.com, http://www.facebook.com/halestormrocks, and http://www.myspace.com/halestorm

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Nancy Kwan Bio A Deep, Moving Piece For Any Film Buff

Courtesy: Virgil Films

To Whom It May Concern: Ka Shen’s Journey is an interesting documentary for anyone that has any interest in film history.  It’s equally interesting for anyone who has any interest in emotionally powerful stories.  This documentary follows the life of actress Nancy Kwan.  It’s a deep, moving, and at times even enlightening story told from the perspective of those closest to Kwan and from Kwan herself.  It’s so deep and moving in that as audiences learn about Kwan’s rise from a simple girl to one of the most famous actresses of her time.  From her time in front of the camera, it moves on to her time away from the silver screen, and what would be one of the most difficult times of her life.  The enlightening moments come through revelations of early Hollywood’s casting practices.  Considering this revelation and where Hollywood is today, these revelations make for a very bold social statement.  There are even some funny moments in the story as Kwan herself reveals how she first came to be a star.  By the documentary’s end, viewers will have a whole new appreciation not just for Nancy Kwan, but how far Hollywood has come since its earliest days.To Whom It May Concern: Ka Shen’s Journey offers extremely moving moments throughout its near two hour run time.  Audiences learn from both those closest to Kwan and from Kwan herself that she grew up in a broken home, and didn’t exactly have the closest of relationship with her birth mother.  It was her relationship with her father that helped her to eventually start her acting career.  The people behind the camera combine this story with images of Kwan in her current age watching a stage production of the movie that brought her to fame to make some of the documentary’s most moving moments.  Viewers see her reactions to what she was seeing and mixed in snippets of that film, The World of Suzie Wong (1960).    It helps to deeply illustrate where Hwan had come from, and the influence that she has had on the acting world.

While her moments enjoying a glimpse of her past make for some of the documentary’s most moving moments, it is the painful story of how she lost her son that is the most emotional.  Viewers can see through her interviews that she had such a deep love for her son.  That is more than likely a result of her lack of relationship with her own mother.  So when she discusses the loss of her son, viewers may even find themselves becoming emotional.  The story that she shares of her son is that powerful.

The emotion shared in this documentary will keep audiences locked throughout its near two hour run time.  It isn’t the only factor that will keep audiences watching, though.  As audiences watch Kwan’s progression into acting, the story begins to tie in some rather enlightening facts.  It’s revealed through the discussion on her early acting days that Hollywood had some rather racist tendencies towards any non-Caucasian actor.  It’s revealed that early in Hollywood’s golden era, many of the roles of Asian characters were typically portrayed by not Asians, but by American or European actors.  One individual interviewed during this segment points out that it was the equivalent to blackface.  That individual makes a valid point.  What makes this segment hit even harder is the revelation that it was essentially because of Kwan that she was the one who really broke ground for every Asian actor and actress after her.  Equally enlightening is the story of her career after The World of Suzie Wong.  She had just as much success with the Rogers & Hammerstein play, The Flower Drum Song.  These two works would be Kwan’s biggest hits.  After them, her career was up and down.  That up and down with her career would eventually lead to the story of her post acting life, and the most powerful moments of the documentary.  Eventually, everything is brought full circle by the story’s end, making for a story that audiences won’t soon forget.

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The Very Beast Of Vol. 2 Another Hard Rocking Tribute To RJD

Courtesy: Niji Entertainment Group

Ronnie James Dio was not a tall man when he was with us.  That was the very first thing that most audiences noticed about him at any live performance.  But while he was not a tall man in terms of stature, he was a giant in the way of his vocal power and prowess.  Perhaps the only vocalist who deserves to be compared at his level of power and talent would be Judas Priest front man Rob Halford.  And as was the case with Halford and his band mates in Judas Priest, the music crafted by RJD and his metal brethren serves to this day as an example of everything right with rock and metal.  Now almost three years after Dio’s untimely passing from stomach cancer, the legendary vocalist is being honored once more with the brand new release of Dio:  The Very Beast of Vol. 2.

Dio:  The Very Beast of Vol. 2 is the follow-up to 2000’s The Very Beast of Dio.  While it isn’t the only career retrospective from this legendary artist, it was a relatively comprehensive compilation at the time of its release.  It covered a large portion of James’ solo career.  This new compilation covers the second half of RJD’s solo career.  As noted in the compilation’s liner notes, the songs on this compilation come from RJD’s time post-Warner Bros.  One of the bonuses included is the song, ‘Electra.’  Ronnie had been working on the song for the second half of the Magica album.  Sadly it would be one of Dio’s final recordings before his death in 2010.  The best way to describe ‘Electra’ is old school rock at its best.  There’s almost a slight Type O Negative tinge to it, musically speaking.  Dio’s vocals are just as powerful as ever on this track.

‘Electra’ is just one of the many songs that will have fans putting their horns high with pride.  ‘Metal Will Never Die’ is another high point to this compilation.  It’s a slower piece.  But the guitar work and RJD’s vocals are a powerhouse together. The production of the song makes his vocals hit even harder, too.  When he hits the song’s high notes, his screams will simply send chills up listeners’ spines.  If ever there was a metal anthem, this one is it.

Whether it’s these two songs, or any of the others included here, every one of the Dio Disciples around the globe will find something enjoyable about this record.  It’s available now in stores and online.  It can be ordered direct through his official website, http://www.ronniejamesdio.com and hit Facebook Fan page, http://www.facebook.com/OfficialRonnieJamesDio.   

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John Mellencamp Shares His Thoughts On Music Piracy In New Huffington Post Piece

Veteran musician and activist John Mellencamp recently wrote an article for the Huffington post about what’s currently happening to artists as a result of music piracy, and the basic lack of drive among people to stop piracy.  He makes an interesting argument concerning the need for regulation among search engines and their relation to music piracy.  He discusses how Safe Harbor is basically allowing piracy to happen, both in terms of music and video.  It’s quite an in depth article.  You can read the entire thing here.  Once you’ve read it, feel free to share your thoughts.  Read on!

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-mellencamp/online-piracy-search-engines_b_2018332.html.

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Green Day Make Tour, Album Release Date Announcement

Courtesy: Reprise Records

It’s good news, bad news for Green Day fans.  The band has cancelled all of its remaining tour dates for the year.  And dates for January and February 2013 have been postponed until further notice.  Anyone who has bought tickets for any of the band’s upcoming club tour shows can get their money refunded from wherever they bought tickets for the shows.  While tour dates for January and February 2013 have been postponed, the hope is that makeup dates will be announced soon.  Tickets purchased for shows in January and February will be honored at the makeup shows. 

Bassist Mike Dirnt commented on the cancellations and postponements.  He noted that they were related to the health and well-being of front man Billie Joe Armstrong.  “Obviously the timing for this isn’t ideal, but Billie Joe’s well-being is our main concern,” he said.  “We are happy to say that Billie Joe is doing well, and we want to thank you all for the outpouring of support and well wishes that we have received, and we can’t wait to see you all again.”

In related news, the band has also moved up the release date for the third album in its new trilogy.  The release date has been moved from its original release date of January 15th, 2013 to December 11th, 2012.  Drummer Tre Cool commented on the pushed up release date, noting that it was an effort to make things right with fans due to the tour date issues.  “We feel bad we have to delay our tour, so to make up for it we want to give our fans the music earlier than we had planned,” he said.  “If we couldn’t be there to play it for you live, the least we could do is give you the next best thing.”

The remainder of the band’s 2012 dates was scheduled to run until December 10th at the Marquee Theatre in Tempe, Arizona.  The current list of postponed tour dates for January and February started January 7th, at the Resch Center in Green Bay, Wisconsin and ran through February and ran through February 8th at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.  Fans can get a full listing of cancelled and postponed tour dates online at http://www.greenday.com, http://www.facebook.com/GreenDay, http://twitter.com/greenday, and http://www.youtube.com/user/grenday

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Pop Evil Release Video For New Single

Courtesy: EOne Music

The men of Pop Evil have officially released the video for the new single, ‘Purple.’  The single comes from the band’s sophomore full length effort, War of Angels.  The video culls footage of the band on tour against the song.  the combination really brings home the lyrical content, with front man Leigh Kakaty singing, “I’ve never been down this road before/As the days go by/I only miss you more/I thought one day/We would touch the sky/Never grow old/Never gonna die/I never realized/What you meant to me/Till I tried drowning out your memory/Like it’s not over/It only hurts when I’m sober.”  It’s a standard song of a lost love.  But the way that Kakaty sings these bittersweet lyrics set to the song’s video makes the song that much harder hitting.  Fans can check out the video now online at http://www.vevo.com/watch/pop-evil/purple/USKO11090220#/watch/pop-evil/purple/USKO11090220.  

The band recently finished up a successful stint on the Trespass America tour alongside Five Finger Death Punch, Killswitch Engage.  It is currently touring across Canada in support of label mate and legendary metallers in Black Label Society.  Pop Evil’s next tour of duty will be aboard the annual Shiprocked tour.  Five Finger Death Punch will be joining Pop evil again, as will P.O.D., Sevendust, and In This Moment.  The shiprocked tour runs from Tuesday, November 27th to Saturday, December 1st.  Full details on the Shiprocked tour are available online at http://www.getshiprocked.com/2012/

Pop Evil’s North Carolina fans will get their chance to see Pop Evil live as the band will be performing at Camp Lejeune—Onslow Beach on Wednesday, December 19th and at Ziggy’s in Winston Salem, North Carolina the following day.

Until the Shiprocked tour, fans can get all the latest news and more from the band online at http://www.facebook.com/popevil, http://twitter.com/popevilmusic, http://www.myspace.com/PopEvil, and http://www.youtube.com/popevilmusic

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online 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 the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

ESPN Winding Down Latest Group Of 30 For 30 Films

Courtesy: ESPN

ESPN is wrapping up its latest group of films in its 30 for 30 series.  The network will air the penultimate episode from this installment of the series tomorrow night, October 30thGhosts of Ole Miss will air tomorrow night at 8pm EST on ESPN/ESPN HD.  The film focuses on the racial tensions on the campus of Ole Miss as James Meredith was set to become the university’s first ever African American student in the fall of 1962.  The impact of Meredith’s acceptance into the university reverberated all the way to the nation’s capital and then president John F. Kennedy.

Along with becoming the university’s first African American student, Meredith also joined the university’s football team.  The team would go on to one of its best seasons in team history.  That success would play directly into the overall racial tensions at the university.  Meredith himself is interviewed for tomorrow night’s feature, along with a number of others.  The interviews culled for this feature put everything into perspective and lead Ghost of Ole Miss to really hit home. 

As with ESPN’s previous 30 for 30 features, this one will also be accompanied by a short in the 30 for 30 Shorts collection.  This time, the bonus short–presented by ESPN and grantland.com—focuses on author Alfred Slote’s book, JakeJake is a children’s book about a young African American boy with the dream of one day being a big league baseball star.  Slote himself is interviewed in the new 30 for 30 short.  A bonus article written by Bill Simmons joins the feature.  Simmons and friend Jonathan Hock worked together for the complete feature.  Audiences can check out that feature now online at http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/8538119/jake

For all updates on ESPN’s 30 for 30 series, audiences can go online to espn.com/30for30, http://www.facebook.com/espn30for30, or http://twitter.com/30for30.  The final installment in this group of films in ESPN’s 30 for 30 series is titled, You Don’t Know Bo.  It will air on ESPN/ESPN HD on Saturday, December 8th at 9pm.

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Motorhead Live More Than Just A Concert, It’s An Experience

Courtesy: UDR/Motorhead Music/EMI

“We are Motorhead.  We play rock and roll!”  Whenever audiences hear those words, they know that they are about to be part of not just a concert, but an experience.  Even if a person can’t be there in person, hearing those words on DVD and CD will make home audiences feel as if they’re experiencing Motorhead first hand with the people who were there when the band recorded the shows for its live release, The World is Ours Vol. 1: Everywhere Further than Everywhere Else

Along with the recent release of The World is Ours Vol. 2:  Anyplace Crazy as Anywhere Else, Motorhead has proven that it has one of the best live shows of any rock band out there.  So many bands out there still rely so much on pyro and other showmanship.  Motorhead on the other hand shows on this release that the old adage of less is more is true.  On this first half of its live release, this group of old dogs continues to show it doesn’t need new tricks to impress its audiences.  Lemmy, Mickey, and Phil rock crowds of thousands with little more than their music.  That is the power of music.  That is the importance of music.  That is the importance of Motorhead. 

The World is Ours Vol. 1: Everywhere Further than Everywhere Else stands out as one of the year’s best live releases first and foremost because of its shooting.  The entire DVD portion of the package was shot in black and white.  There are those who would criticize film makers who present any live concert, movie, etc. in black and white.  They would argue that the style has become overdone among other arguments.  However, in the case of Motorhead live, the black and white adds the band’s minimalist on stage presence.  It gives an equally impressive feeling when viewers are taken out among the fans.  It’s a feeling that can’t be put into words.  Rather, it’s something that has to be experienced for one’s own self.  The crowd’s frenetic energy set against the band’s on stage presence is an amazing dichotomy.  That energy translates quite well on screen and will get any viewer’s energy up, too.

The energy translated through the visual portion of this package is just one part of what makes it one of the year’s best live recordings.  It also comes with a double disc CD set.  The pair of CD’s included in the overall triple-disc set present all three recorded performances from the set’s DVD portion.  To sweeten the deal both discs present the performances in exactly the same order as what is presented on the DVD.  What does this have to do with the price of tea in China one might ask?  This is something important in that so many live recordings presented in similar fashion will either mix up the performance order or will even omit songs here and there on one portion of their presentation or another.  So having the entire set of performances presented in exactly the same order both on CD and DVD maintains the set’s full integrity.  Everyone at UDR, Motorhead Music and EMI are to be commended for this.

The video and audio play a major role in the success of The World is Ours Vol. 1: Everywhere Further than Everywhere Else.  There’s at least one more element that makes it an impressive multi-disc set.  That factor is the set’s packaging.  So often, record labels release live recordings separately on their own audio and video formats.  But as with the second volume of the band’s tour presentation, the packaging here includes both the audio and video presentation in one.  Sure it may be a bit more costly than other sets.  But the price is worth it considering that the full live experience is included in one set.  For that matter, the set is presented in an easily manageable gatefold package.  It would have been easy to just place the set into a standard case with double sided insert.  But that style of case can be problematic.  Trying to get the insert to swing out can lead to it breaking to even the case itself getting cracked.  Using a gatefold presentation allows audiences to simply unfold the case and pick the disc of their own choice.  Vol. 2 is packaged in exactly the same fashion, making the entire seven-disc set that much more impressive.  Again, those involved with making this portion of the set happen are also to be commended.  The packaging combined with the equally enjoyable audio and video make The World is Ours Vol. 1: Everywhere Further than Everywhere Else one of the year’s top two best live recordings.  It’s available in stores and online now.  It can be ordered direct via UDR’s website at http://www.udr-music.com/index.php/en/motorhead-products

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Your Sister’s Sister Not A Typical Romance Story

Courtesy: IFC Films/4 Culture/Seattle Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs/Northwest Film Forum/mpi media group

Your Sister’s Sister is not for everybody.  That needs to be noted right off the top of this new indie flick from IFC Films.  The story’s summary tends to focus largely on the lead character, Jack as it opens with his brother Tom having died.  The story doesn’t explain how Tom died.  But that’s not important as it’s his death that leads to the story’s most basic roots.  At its most basic roots, Your Sister’s Sister is exactly as the story’s title notes, a story about sisters.  At the same time, one can’t help but note the similarities to Seth Rogen’s 2007 hit movie, Knocked Up.Your Sister’s Sister has been marketed largely as a romantic dramedy.  But the reality is that the central story is that of the relationship between sisters Iris (Emily Blunt –The Adjustment Bureau, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen), and Hannah (Rosemarie DeWitt – Mad Men).  The eventual revelation of the story between the pair is that while Hannah is a lesbian, she wants a child of her own.  So she essentially sets up Jack.  How she does that will be left up to viewers who have yet to see this movie.  But when this is revealed, the crux of the story is also revealed, which is the seemingly hidden turmoil between the sisters.  The problem is made worse because of something that Iris reveals to Hannah after Hannah finally admits to Iris what she has done and why.  This is where the similarity to Knocked Up comes into play.

Unlike Seth Rogen’s character in Knocked Up, Jack (Mark Duplass – The League) was in the dark about Hannah’s plan, too.  That is until the sisters return to the house after their alone time.  The whole thing turns almost into an odd Jerry Springer episode as the story’s final moments play out, even leaving the story wide open for interpretation in a near Sopranos style close.  Considering all of this, Your Sister’s Sister won’t appeal to everyone.  But for those who are open minded enough, it’s a story that is worth watching at least once.

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online 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 the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.