Like A Storm Brews Up A Storm With Its New Video

Courtesy:  Another Century/Century Media

Courtesy: Another Century/Century Media

The video for ‘Love The Way You Hate Me,’ the new single from Like A Storm, has officially topped the one million views mark on YouTube. The single is taken from the band’s debut record on Another Century/Century Media. The video is available online to view via YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5xhblqV1CI. The announcement comes just as the band—Chris Brooks (Lead vocals, guitar, didgeridoo, keyboards, programming), Matt Brooks (Vocals, lead guitar, keyboards/programming) and Kent Brooks (bass, vocals, keyboards/programming)—announced even more tour dates. The brothers will hit the road alongside Alter Bridge, Thousand Foot Krutch, and label mates Otherwise beginning today in Ringle, Wisconsin.

Front man Matt Brooks discussed the band’s excitement at the announcement of the band’s new video breaking the one million views mark in a statement released to the media. “We were absolutely blown away when our “Love the Way You Hate Me” video hit one million views!” he said. “For three brothers from New Zealand, it is just insane to think that a song we wrote, recorded and produced ourselves has had over a million hits from rock fans all over the world… especially when that song features a didgeridoo! We want to say a huge thank you to all our friends and fans who have made this incredible milestone possible.” He went on to discuss the band’s upcoming fall tour dates, saying “We can’t wait to rock with everyone on our upcoming tours with Alter Bridge, Drowning Pool, Otherwise and more!”

The band’s current list of tour dates is available below.

Like A Storm Tour Dates

w/ Otherwise

SEPTEMBER

18 Ringle, WI – Q&Z Expo

19 Racine, WI – Rt 20

20 Green Bay, WI – The Watering Hole

21 Battle Creek, MI – The Music Factory

22 South Bend, IN – Cheers Pub

24 Ft Wayne, IN – Piere’s

25 Morgantown, WV – Schmitt’s Saloon

26 Gardners, PA – Fall Jam 2014

27 Parkersburg, WV – West Virginia Polo

29 New York, NY – The Studio @Webster

30 Rochester, NY – Montage Music Hall

OCTOBER
01 Cleveland, OH – Agora Ballroom

w/Alter Bridge

05 Detroit, MI – Fillmore

09 Worchester, MA – The Palladium

10 Sayreville, NJ – Starland Ballroom

12 Huntington, NJ – The Paramount

13 Lancaster, PA – Freedom Hall

w/Thousand Foot Krutch

16 Flint, MI – Machine Shop

17 Fort Wayne, IN – Piere’s

18 Grand Rapids, MI – The Intersection

w/Alter Bridge

25 San Francisco, CA – Warfield Theatre

26 Los Angeles, CA – The Wiltern

w/ Drowning Pool. “Unlucky 13 Tour”

30 Lynchburg, VA – Phase 2

31 Fostoria, OH – The New Nest

NOVEMBER

01 Macomb, IL – The Outskirts

02 Sioux Falls, SD – The District

04 Colorado Springs, CO – The Black Sheep

05 Denver, CO – Marquis Theater

06 Grand Junction, CO – Mesa Theater & Lounge

07 Salt Lake City, UT – Murray Theater

08 Las Vegas, NV – LVCS

13 Seattle, WA – Studio Seven

14 Spokane, WA – Knitting Factory

15 Missoula, MT – Stage 112

16 Billings, MT – Babcock Theater

18 Minot, ND – The ‘O’riginal Bar & Nightclub

19 Spring Lake Park, MN – POV’S

21 Racine, WI – Rt. 20

22 Ringle, WI – Q&Z Expo Center

23 Joliet, IL – Mojoes

26 Joplin, MO – Rock 3405

More information on Like A Storm, its new album and all of the latest news from the band is available online at:

Website: http://www.likeastorm.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/likeastormofficial

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Eagle Rock Debuts New Concert Recording Series This Fall

Courtesy:  Eagle Rock Entertainment

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

Eagle Rock Entertainment will debut a new series of live recordings this fall.

Eagle Rock’s new “From The Vault” series will debut this fall beginning in November with a pair of archived concerts from The Rolling Stones. From The VaultThe Rolling Stones: Hampton Coliseum Live in 1981 and From The VaultThe Rolling Stones: L.A. Forum Live in 1975 will be released Tuesday, November 18th. The first of the pair, From The VaultThe Rolling Stones: Hampton Coliseum Live in 1981, features a complete two-and-a-half-hour concert. The concert was recorded at the Hampton Coliseum in Hampton, Virginia. It was one of two shows that closed out the band’s 1981 tour in support of its then new album Tattoo You. Included in the concert are performances of ‘Let’s Spend The Night Together,’ ‘Shattered,’ ‘Beast of Burden,’ ‘Tumbling Dice,’ ‘Miss You,’ ‘Jumping Jack Flash,’ and ‘(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction’ among many other classic hits. From The VaultThe Rolling Stones: Hampton Coliseum Live in 1981 will be available on SD Blu-ray ($17.98), DVD/2-CD ($29.98), DVD/3-LP ($44.98), and DVD (MSRP TBA).

From The VaultThe Rolling Stones: L.A. Forum Live in 1975, like From The VaultThe Rolling Stones: Hampton Coliseum Live in 1981, features a full two-and-a-half-hour concert. The concert presented in this recording was taken from the band’s July 12th, 1975 performance at the L.A. Forum. It was one of five concerts that the band held at the venue from July 9th, 1975 to July 13th, 1975. Those performances were part of the band’s “Tour of the Americas ’75,” which was the first tour with the band for then new guitarist Ronnie Wood. Audiences will get to hear from this concert even more classic Rolling Stones hits including: ‘Honky Tonk Women,’ ‘Gimme Shelter,’ ‘You Can’t Always Get What You Want,’ ‘Brown Sugar,’ ‘Midnight Rambler,’ and ‘Sympathy for the Devil’ along with plenty of other equally well-known hits. From The VaultThe Rolling Stones: L.A. Forum Live in 1975 will be available on DVD, DVD/2-CD combo pack, and DVD/3-LP combo pack. The DVD/2-CD combo pack will retail for MSRP of $29.98. MSRP for the DVD and DVD/3-LP will be announced at a later date.

Audiences can check out a view of the Stones’ ‘Shattered’ from From The VaultThe Rolling Stones: Hampton Coliseum Live in 1981 online now at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tj96Tau44OA.

Audiences can also check out a performance of ‘Star Star’ from From The VaultThe Rolling Stones: L.A. Forum Live in 1975 online now at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ou90MPHZzXs.

The complete set list for both recordings is available below.

 

                          HAMPTON COLISEUM TRACK LISTING:

1) Under My Thumb

2) When The Whip Comes Down

3) Let’s Spend The Night Together

4) Shattered

5) Neighbours

6) Black Limousine

7) Just My Imagination

8) Twenty Flight Rock

9) Going To A Go Go

10) Let Me Go

11) Time Is On My Side

12) Beast Of Burden

13) Waiting On A Friend

14) Let It Bleed

15) You Can’t Always Get What You Want

16) Band Introductions

17) Happy Birthday Keith

18) Little T & A

19) Tumbling Dice

20) She’s So Cold

21) Hang Fire

22) Miss You

23) Honky Tonk Women

24) Brown Sugar

25) Start Me Up

26) Jumping Jack Flash

27) (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction


L.A. FORUM TRACK LISTING:

1) Introduction*

2) Honky Tonk Women

3) All Down The Line

4) If You Can’t Rock Me / Get Off Of My Cloud

5) Star Star

6) Gimme Shelter

7) Ain’t Too Proud To Beg

8) You Gotta Move

9) You Can’t Always Get What You Want

10) Happy

11) Tumbling Dice

12) It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll

13) Band Intros*

14) Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker)*

15) Fingerprint File

16) Angie

17) Wild Horses*

18) That’s Life*

19) Outta Space*

20) Brown Sugar

21) Midnight Rambler

22) Rip This Joint

23) Street Fighting Man

24) Jumpin’ Jack Flash

25) Sympathy For The Devil

*Not available on LP

 

Audiences can keep up with all of the latest news from the Rolling Stones online at

Website: http://www.rollingstones.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/therollingstones
Twitter: http://twitter.com/rollingstones

More information on these and other releases from Eagle Rock Entertainment is available online at

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/EagleRockEnt
Twitter: http://twitter.com/EagleRockNews

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Peace At All Costs Is Well Worth The Cost

Courtesy:  Century Media Records/Another Century

Courtesy: Century Media Records/Another Century

Las Vegas, NV-based hard rock band Otherwise surprised a lot of people in 2012 when it released its Century Media Records debut album True Love Never Dies. The album was such a surprise among audiences because like label mate Girl On Fire, Fozzy, and Adrenaline Mob, the band’s more mainstream sound wasn’t exactly within the mold of the bands that have made Century Media one of the leading labels in hard rock and metal. That album was met with relatively positive reviews from audiences and critics alike. Now two years later, Century Media has responded to the success of that album by releasing the band’s new release (it’s second for the label and third overall) on its fledgling label Another Century. The new label is the sister label of sorts to Century Media. It serves to focus on the likes of Otherwise and its previously noted label mates. Audiences will agree in hearing Otherwise’s new album Peace at all Costs that the re-assignment of sorts to Century Media’s new label is quite the well-deserved vote of confidence in the band. Peace at all Costs takes the melodic hard rock sound established on the band’s Century Media debut and has built on that sound here, musically speaking. Lyrically, the band covers a range of topics, too. From personal relationships to overcoming one’s own personal demons, and points in between, the album’s lyrical content makes the album just as solid of a listen for fans new and old alike.

Otherwise covers a number of topics throughout the course of its new album. The most prominent topic covered across the album is that of personal relationships. Most of the album’s songs that center on personal relationships deal mainly in the issue of broken relationships as is evident in the album’s first full length song, the aptly titled ‘Love & War.’ The song is a full throttle fist pumper that will have audiences singing along from start to finish. The dual guitar attack from Ryan Patrick and Andrew Pugh set against Corky Gainsford’s drumming provides the song with so much of a punch. The song’s infectious chorus of “Love and war/It’s all the same to me/No use fighting/Lie some more/It’s all I ever need/So why you hiding/Love and war/It’s all the same to me presents a situation to which so many people can relate. The manner in which it was written is especially because it doesn’t necessarily specify if this is being sung from the standpoint of a man or woman. And the sarcasm in front man Adrian Patrick’s voice as he sings, “Lie to me/It’s all I ever need” is perfectly clear. It makes the chorus in whole all the more powerful of a statement. The talent of Patricks’ band mates not only in the song’s chorus but throughout makes the song in whole a solid re-introduction for the band’s older fans and an equally solid first impression for those that might be new to the band’s body of work.

Otherwise could not have possibly opened its new album in a better way than with the aggressive, seemingly relationship based song ‘Love & War.’ Rather than take the standard oh-woe-is-me approach to the issue of a troubled and/or broken relationship, the band takes the polar opposite approach to such a topic, making for a song that deserves consideration as another single to promote the record. The topic of relationships is not the only topic tackled on Peace at all Costs. The band also offers its listeners some music therapy of sorts in the pummeling ‘Wake Up (Coming for the Throne).’ Just as ‘Love & War’ could be used as a single, so could this song. It could be used as a single as both its musical and lyrical content will have audiences singing proudly along, horns high in the air. It comes across as a song promoting self-empowerment. [Adrian] Patrick sings in this song, “Hey kid/Who you fightin’/Fight yourself so you can stand united/With the voices that are screamin’ loud inside your head/Hey kid/Get it together/Every second doesn’t last forever/You could be the president/Or you could end up dead/Take control of the monster inside of you/Focus the rage/All the answers are right there in front of you/Just turn the page/Wake up/When you’re burning inside/And everybody’s gone and lost their faith in you/Wake up/You’d better open your eyes/Look around/’Cause there’s so much love to lose/Heavy is the heart of the one who walks alone/Let ‘em know that you’re comin’ for the throne!” The song’s second verse carries just as much power and is just as infectious. It goes without saying that this song is one of the best additions to this album. Sure, Patrick sings, “Hey, kid” in the song’s versus, seemingly singing to younger listeners. It would make sense. But even older audiences can take something from this song as even adults struggle with feelings of self-loathing, depression, etc. So there is a value even to those audiences. Add in an infectious chorus and some really pummeling guitar riffs and audiences get in this song a work that is one of the highest of highs throughout the album.

‘Love & War’ and ‘Wake Up (Coming for the Throne)’ are both prime examples of what makes Peace at all Costs such an impressive new effort from Otherwise. One song tackles the standard relationship fare that is prevalent on so many records from so many genres. What sets the song apart from those other works is it doesn’t take the standard oh-woe-is-me approach to the topic. It takes that road less traveled. And the empowering, almost anthemic ‘Wake Up (Coming for the Throne)’ is certain to become a fan favorite thanks to its combination of hard rocking music and equally powerful lyrics. Both songs are sure to have audiences talking for both their musical and lyrical content both by themselves and as whole works. There is at least one more song among the album’s fourteen total tracks and forty-five-minute run time that will have audiences talking for a wholly different reason. That song comes late in the album in the form of ‘For The Fallen Ones.’ Patrick and his band mates sing in the song’s chorus, “Raise your glass/For the fallen ones,” leading listeners to think that perhaps the song is a tribute to America’s men and women in uniform. However, the song’s verses paint a somewhat different picture. Patrick sings in the song’s second verse, “Now nothing feels the same/Picking up the pieces/ Color in the secrets/And I don’t feel ashamed/Now that I am older/Another fallen soldier.” It’s tough to figure out if Patrick is using the soldier as a metaphor or if he is directly mentioning a soldier. A look at the song’s opening verse leaves one wondering scratching one’s head, but not in a bad way. Patrick sings in the song’s opening verse, “I don’t need to blame/The scent of my father/The scars of my mother/For the beast that I became/Now I shine the light on my sisters and my brothers/It’s all I needed/To feel alive/We’ll never have to say goodbye.” One could see how this song would be in reference to America’s military personnel. It could be argued that it’s sung from the vantage point of someone that joined the military and became a better person considering his or her past life in turn. It would be interesting to hear from the band itself the exact meaning behind the song. If it is in fact a tribute to the military personnel past and present that made the ultimate sacrifice, it wouldn’t be the first song from the band to have done so. That’s not a bad thing, either. Regardless, the very fact that it could generate so much discussion on its topic all while entertaining audiences with its musical side says plenty of why this is another guaranteed hit, regardless of whether or not it is used as a single. And it is one more example of why audiences will enjoy Peace at all Costs whether they are new to the band’s work or are more seasoned fans.

Peace at all Costs boasts a total of fourteen tracks. Interestingly enough, the album in whole comes in at less than an hour long. To be exact, its total run time (TRT for any media people out there) is roughly forty-five minutes. That’s a shocker to be honest. One would think fourteen tracks would equal out to a much longer run time. That aside, audiences that pick up this latest effort from Otherwise will agree that each of those tracks offers something that every listener will appreciate. The songs noted here are just a few examples of what makes the album work as well as it does. They are this critic’s own personal favorites from the whole thing. Audiences can pick up the album and pick out their own favorites now as the album was officially released yesterday in stores and online. It can be ordered via iTunes at https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/otherwise/id164633854 and via Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Otherwise/e/B001LHTTN0. Audiences can also pick up Peace at all Costs at any of the band’s live shows as the band is currently touring in support of its new album. It is playing a trio of dates in Wisconsin this week today through Friday before making its way to Michigan Sunday and Indiana next Monday and Tuesday, September 22nd and 24th. Audiences can check out the band’s current tour schedule and keep up with all of the latest updates from the band online at

Website: http://www.weareotherwise.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/otherwiseofficial
Twitter: http://twitter.com/wearetherwise

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Eagle Rock Releasing Another New Archived Deep Purple Concert Next Month

Courtesy:  Eagle Rock Entertainment

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

Eagle Rock Entertainment will release another new archived live recording from Deep Purple.

Deep Purple With Orchestra Live in Verona will be released Tuesday, October 21st.  The concert was recorded in 2011 at the Area di Verona.  The Arena di Verona is a Roman amphitheatre that was originally constructed in 30 A.D.  The concert features the lineup of Ian Gillan (vocals), Ian Paice (drums), Roger Glover (bass), Steve Morse (guitar), and Don Airey (keyboards).  The band was joined by the Neue Philharmonie Frankfurt for the concert, which includes performances of some of Deep Purple’s greatest hits.  Those hits include: ‘Smoke on the Water,’ ‘Lazy,’ ‘Strange Kind of Woman,’ Perfect Strangers,’ ‘Highway Star,’ ‘Woman From Tokyo’ and many others.  The concert’s complete set list is included below.

TRACK LISTING

1) Deep Purple Overture

2) Highway Star

3) Hard Lovin’ Man

4) Maybe I’m A Leo

5) Strange Kind Of Woman

6) Rapture Of The Deep

7) Woman From Tokyo

8) Contact Lost

9) When A Blind Man Cries

10) The Well Dressed Guitar

11) Knocking At Your Back Door

12) Lazy

13) No One Came

14) Don Airey Solo

15) Perfect Strangers

16) Space Truckin’

17) Smoke On The Water

 

Along with the concert’s primary set list, two extra tracks—‘Hush’ and ‘Black Night’—are included as bonuses in the concert’s upcoming release.  Both songs were part of the night’s set list.

Deep Purple With Orchestra Live in Verona will be released both on DVD and Blu-ray on Tuesday, October 21st.  The DVD will retail for MSRP of $14.98 and the Blu-ray for $19.98.  More information on this and other releases from Eagle Rock Entertainment is available online at

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/EagleRockEnt
Twitter: http://twitter.com/EagleRockNews

 

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Born To Race Fast Track Keeps Pace With Universal’s Fast And The Furious Franchise

Courtesy:  Anchor Bay Entertainment

Courtesy: Anchor Bay Entertainment

One part The Fast and the Furious, one part Need for Speed and one part Top Gun, the second installment of Anchor Bay Entertainment’s Born to Race franchise is a movie the surprisingly enough holds its own against its bigger-named counterparts.  There’s no getting around the fact that the franchise, which started with Born to Race back in 2011, is not the first of its kind.  Universal beat Anchor Bay to that punch with its massively popular Fast and Furious franchise.  That aside, there is still plenty to enjoy in this latest installment in the Born to Race franchise.  The central point of the movie’s success is its script (I.E. its writing).  Unlike so many other movies backed by major studios out there, the script for this movie rips off neither its predecessor nor its bigger-named brethren.  Another reason that this movie works as well as it does is its pacing.  The movie moves fast.  But it doesn’t move so fast as to leave viewers struggling to keep up with the story.   And last but not least to consider is the movie’s casting.  The movie’s heads wiped the slate clean with this movie, casting a while new list of actors to fill its lead roles.  But those actors still get the job done well enough to keep the movie believable.  These three factors together make Born to Race: Fast Track a movie that despite being an independent release, is a movie that any fan of its genre should see at least once.

The central point of success in Born to Race: Fast Track is its script (I.E. its writing).  There’s no getting around the fact that it is not the first movie of its kind within the race-based action subgenre.  That aside, it actually holds its own surprisingly well against Need for Speed and Universal Studios’ Fast & Furious franchise.  Unlike so many bigger-named movies out there across the genres, Born to Race: Fast Track doesn’t attempt to rip itself off.  Nor does it try to be just another of the aforementioned bigger-named movies in its genre.  The only movie that one could even begin to say it does copy is Tom Cruise’s hit 1986 fighter jet flick Top Gun.  It goes so far as to put lead actor Brett Davern in a pair of aviator sunglasses alongside co-star Beau Mirchoff late in the movie, in a scene that almost directly mirrors one well-known scene from Top Gun.  Even with that blatant lifting, it doesn’t take away from the movie’s overall enjoyment.  As a matter of fact, one could even go so far as to argue that paying such homage to such a classic film without any sense of hamming it up only gives this movie even more credibility.  It would have been so easy for that moment to go overboard.  But it didn’t.  That combined with the fact that the movie’s writers opted to develop a story that didn’t blatantly rip off the Fast & Furious movies makes the movie’s script all the more enjoyable.

The script behind Born to Race’s latest installment is the central point of the movie’s overall enjoyment.  While it obviously does bear quite the semblance to Top Gun in terms of its plot, it doesn’t go so far as to try and be just another Fast & Furious or Need for Speed.  It does at least try to be its own story to a point.  Adding to the movie’s enjoyment is its pacing.  The writing team behind the movie wastes no time setting up the movie’s plot.  And once the plot is established, the writers keep the story moving.  They do so without missing a beat, too.  Most impressive of all is that as fast as the story progresses, it doesn’t move so fast as to leave viewers in its own proverbial dust (bad pun fully intended), wondering what they experienced by the end of the movie’s roughly ninety-minute run time.  It switches gears at all of the right points and never finds itself idling, either.  And yes, both of those bad puns were fully intended, too.  The end result of that smart pacing is a story that movies fast, but not as fast as the cars that take center stage throughout the movie.  Alongside the movie’s solid script, the pacing helps to make Born to Race: Fast Track that much more enjoyable for any fan of all of the racing movies out there.

The pacing of Born to Race: Fast Track’s story and the story itself work together to make the movie one that fans of fast cars will enjoy even with just one watch.  Both elements are important to the movie’s overall success and enjoyment.  There is still one more factor to consider in the movie’s enjoyment.  That factor is the movie’s casting.  The production’s heads wiped the slate clean with this second installment of the franchise.  None of the actors from the franchise’s first movie returned for this installment.  The reason for this happening is anyone’s guess.  It could have been the movie’s heads.  It could have also been that the cast didn’t want to return for a second movie or simply couldn’t due to other commitments.  Regardless, the cast tapped for this movie does its own part to make the movie work.  The new cast members are all quite young.  And most of the cast members are quite well-known in their own right, too.  Lead actor Brett Davern is best known for his time on MTV’s hit series Awkward alongside co-star Beau Mirchoff.  He also has dramatic experience, having acted in bit parts in CSI: Miami, In Plain Sight, and Cold Case.  Mirchoff has also filled roles on CSI: Miami and CBS’ other hit crime drama CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.  Younger viewers might also recognize him from his work on Disney’s Wizards of Waverly Place TV movie The Wizards Return: Alex vs. Alex.  The movie’s other cast members have their own extensive resumes, too.  That collective experience shows through quite well here.  They are actually quite believable in their roles.  That the cast would take its roles with such seriousness even on a flick from an indie studio shows a great deal of respect both for the studio and for audiences.  It also makes suspension of disbelief that much easier for viewers. And in turn, it makes the movie even more worth at least one watch.

The casting of a group of up-and-coming stars for Born to Race: Fast Track and the cast’s seriousness with its roles goes a long way toward making the movie worth at least one watch.  The movie’s script and by connection its pacing add even more value to the overall presentation.  All three factors together make Born to Race: Fast Track a movie that while being an indie release, is one that any fan of movies with fast cars and young stars will enjoy even with just one watch.  It is available now in stores and online.  It can be ordered direct from Anchor Bay Entertainment’s online store at http://www.anchorbayent.com/detail.aspx?ProjectId=d3c94bf6-38e7-e311-877b-d4ae527c3b65.  More information on this and other releases from Anchor Bay Entertainment is available online at

Website: http://www.anchorbayent.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AnchorBay
Twitter: http://twitter.com/Anchor_Bay

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Say Hello To Shalom Sesame Again This Fall

Courtesy:  SISU Home Entertainment

Courtesy: SISU Home Entertainment

SISU Home Entertainment will re-issue the Sesame Street series Shalom Sesame next month.

The twelve-episode series is spread across six discs with two episodes on each disc, all of which chronologically follow the Jewish calendar. It all starts with an introduction to Israel and Hebrew. From there, viewers are taken on a trip through the various important dates on the Jewish calendar with the whole thing culminating in a trip taken by beloved Sesame Street resident Grover and guest star Annelies van der Pol (That’s So Raven, Broadway’s Beauty and the Beast). Throughout the trip, the duo highlights the importance and richness of the Jewish culture and its associated traditions. Each half-hour episode pulls from those traditions and culture in general to teach young American audiences about the Jewish community. The episodes include lessons on Hebrew letters and words, unique sites in Israel, and Jewish values.

It was originally released on DVD October 11th, 2011. The new upcoming re-issue will see the series contained in a thin pack gift box, which will retail for MSRP of $99.95. It will include a free bonus DVD that features two episodes from the classic Shalom Sesame series—“Jerusalem” and “People of Israel.” Also included in this upcoming re-issue is a free 30-day trial of download of the program “Welcome to Israel.” That program is the first episode from the original Shalom Sesame series. It is currently available online at http://www.sisudigital.com.

Along with the main series and its bonus DVD, Shalom Sesame also includes a number of bonus features. There is a trailer for another series titled Grover’s Video Player, sing-alongs and a chance for young viewers to do their own karaoke with songs such as ‘Aleph Bet Song,’ ‘’Rosh Hashanah Hannah (a spoof of Disney’s Hannah Montana), and even the most beloved Sesame Street song of all, ‘Rubber Ducky.’ The catch with that final song is that it is done entirely in Hebrew. And Annelies van der Pol is not the only celebrity to make an appearance throughout the series. Fellow celebrities Jake Gyllenhaal, Debra Messing, Matisyahu, Eva Longoria, Christina Applegate, Greg Kinnear, Debi Mazar also make appearances throughout the series.

Shalom Sesame will be available Tuesday, October 14th on DVD. Parents and children can view trailers for the series online now via YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/shalomesesame. More information on Shalom Sesame is available online at
Website: http://www.shalomsesame.org
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ShalomSesame
Parents can also order separate stand-alone episodes of Shalom Sesame online now at http://www.sisuent.com.

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Dilated Peoples’ Fifth Full Length LP Is The First Great Rap Album Of 2014

Courtesy:  Rhymesayers Entertainment/Expansion Team

Courtesy: Rhymesayers Entertainment/Expansion Team

Seven years.  That is how long fans of hip-hop trio Dilated Peoples waited and wondered if the group would ever release a new album or if the group—DJ Babu, Evidence, and Rakaa—had called it a career after the release of its 2006 album 20/20.  Now after that long wait, Dilated Peoples has triumphantly returned with a record that is a viable candidate to be one of the top new rap and hip-hop albums of 2014 in Directors of Photography.  The album is aptly titled, especially considering the fact that this record is the first for the group with new label Rhymesayers Entertainment.  Before signing with Rhymesayers, Dilated Peoples’ had released its previous four albums through Capitol Records going all the way back to its major label debut the Platform (2000).  The significance of the album’s title is linked to the possibility that while signed with Capitol, Babu, Evidence, and Rakaa likely didn’t have the control that they would have liked over the sound and feel of their work.  So much like the Director of Photography has the final say in the look and feel of a movie, TV show or advertisement, so did the group have that same kind of control upon signing with the indie label Rhymesayers.  The end result is an album that was well worth the wait for any long-time Dilated Peoples fan and just as welcome a first listen for those that might be new to the L.A.-based trio’s music.

Director of Photography’s lead single ‘Good as Gone’ is a fitting opener, especially considering that fans waited for this album for seven years.  The song comes across as a defiant, self-assured piece that lets the critics know that the group is back just as strong as ever.  That argument can be made by looking at the song’s first verse in which Rakaa raps, “I was getting buried alive/Heard the dirt hit the coffin top/I barely survived/But I broke through my grave/Ripped the pine box seal apart/Head first yelling, “maggot brain,funkadelic art/Fear is a dark side/Fair-weather friends flock/Hitchcock/sam birds scatter when the end stop.”  He goes on to make note through so much negativity, he didn’t let those fake friends and other naysayers get him down.  As he notes, “took heavy fire/Survived the crash landing/Smiled to walk away from the wreckage/The last man standing.”  Evidence seems to echo that sentiment as he raps in the song’s second verse, “Devise a plan and I execute it/Till I’m undisputed/If the record never stated/I’ve been showing most improvement/At a time when my peers declined/I used it as a booster/Used the dedication as a plus/I ain’t used to losers.”  It comes across in the grand scheme of things as a defiant statement that shows that Dilated Peoples is anything but Good as Gone.  If anything, this first impression from the veteran hip-hop trio  gives fans hope that the group’s fifth full length album won’t be its last.

Babu, Rakaa, and Evidence followed up the success of ‘Good as Gone’ just recently with the release of the second single from Directors of Photography, ‘Show Me The Way (ft. Aloe Blacc).’  This seemingly introspective song presents yet another positive message to listeners as Evidence and Rakaa go back and forth in a sort of call and response late in the song.  Evidence starts the cycle, rapping, “It’s routine/By the beach I rise/First up/I hit the 8$&%/Then I bleach my eyes/then it’s to the drum machine to speak my mind/Tracks like fitted hats/pick a beat m y size.’  Rakaa responds “Energized/On the darkest streets I shine/Saw the light up on the mountain/To the peak I climb/Breathtaking new perspectives on the life I grind/First tear of joy fell/Looking like I’m crying/For just a moment.”  Evidence’s response to Rakaa’s line, “The feeling of being content/Not needing a dollar or a cent/Smile for my mama/Cause she proud/The studio/My headphones loud.”  Rakaa finishes the cycle, rapping, “Bridge builders will connect these crowds/Dedicated on my honor/You can check these vows/That’s purpose/Power to make the powerful nervous/Hard work ain’t easy/But usually ain’t worth it.”  Evidence and Rakaa work together here to make a song that is a very lyrically uplifting piece, and a piece that illustrates even more what makes Directors of Photography well worth the listen.

Directors of Photography serve is a record that any hip-hop and rap fan should hear.  The two singles that the album has spawned so far solidly back up that argument.  If only one more song could be chosen as an example of what makes this album the worthwhile listen that it is, it would have to be the album’s second track ‘Cut My Teeth.’  This song comes across as a no nonsense piece that pays homage to the days before Dilated Peoples broke through and became a household name.  The song’s very first verse makes that clear, as Evidence raps, “I remember how it all began/I used to switch graffiti tips on cans with both hands/No chance/I knew they couldn’t stop this rush/Our bus bench was a stop/And they ain’t stopping the bus.”  He goes on to rap about when he really got into rap and where it would eventually lead to today.  Rakaa follows suit noting the difficulties that he faced growing up and how he overcame them.  He writes in the verse’s closing lines, “Standing at the crossroads/I saw a different world was mine/It was with me all the time/Appreciative, never satisfied/Inspired to climb/Eyes wide/Mid city lit that fire inside.”  While the stories crafted by Evidence and Rakaa are obviously quite personal, it could be argued that the positive ending to each story could serve as inspiration to so many audiences; inspiration not necessarily that everyone will get into the rap game.  Rather, inspiration to overcome any of life’s difficult situations.  Their stories remind listeners that as difficult as things might be at any time in life, it is always possible to make life better.  Just keep that positive drive.  It is that message of inspiration that makes ‘Cut My Teeth’ one more solid example of what makes Directors of Photography well worth the listen and potentially one of the best new rap and hip-hop albums of the year.

Directors of Photography is available now in stores and online.  It can be downloaded direct from iTunes at https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/directors-of-photography/id888406737.  Audiences can hear these songs and plenty more from the group live as it tours in support of its new album.  Dilated Peoples is scheduled to perform live this Saturday, September 13th at Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union on the campus of San Diego State University.  It will follow up that performance with another live show next Saturday, September 20th at Cervantes’ and The Other Side in Denver, Colorado.  Audiences can check out Dilated Peoples’ current tour schedule online now at http://rhymesayers.com/dilatedpeoples and http://www.facebook.com/dilatedpeoples.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.