Every Record Store Day Shopper Should Check Out The Sugar Free Allstars’ New Special Release

Courtesy:  Wiser Music

Courtesy: Wiser Music

Chris “Boom” Wiser and Rob “Dr. Rock” Martin (a.k.a. The Sugar Free Allstars) will release a special new two-song vinyl in celebration of Record Store Day. Saturday, April 19th the duo will release Vinyl45. Side A consists of the duo’s song ‘My Daddy’s Record Collection.’ The vinyl’s B-side is the song ‘Banana Pudding.’ Both songs are great reasons in themselves for parents to pick up this record for their children. Even more reason for parents to pick up this special new release is the record’s wild artwork. If that’s not enough, the very fact that it is a vinyl is reason enough, too. All things considered, Vinyl45 is a great listen for listeners of all ages. And now it can be owned on Record Store Day, 2014.

The primary song featured on The Sugar Free Allstars’ special new Record Store Day vinyl is the song ‘My Daddy’s Record Collection.’ The song is a fitting feature for the duo. That’s because Record Store Day itself is a celebration of music’s early days. Most records released on Record Store Day are released on vinyl. ‘My Daddy’s Record Collection’ is also a celebration of that format. The lyric video for the song, which can be viewed online now at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5OvW6EEWK1A even presents a turntable playing Vinyl45 right at the center of so much modern technology and vinyl record sleeves. It is a very telling statement in such a small space. The song’s lyrics make that statement all the stronger. Wiser and Martin sing fondly of the golden days of records and the joys of hearing music on vinyl in this song. They sing about pulling out a father’s record collection, dropping the needle on the records, and just taking in the music. They even address the advancements that have been made in terms of ways to listen to music today versus the special joy that comes from hearing music on vinyl. Even the song’s musical side harkens back to the golden days of music. The song’s funky beat set against what sounds like perhaps a classic Wurlitzer organ makes the song sound even more organic like something right out of the days of Booker T, Deep Purple and so many other of The Sugar Free Allstars’ influences. It is a wonderful song that listeners of every age will appreciate.

‘Banana Pudding,’ the vinyl’s B-side is just as funky as ‘My Daddy’s Record Collection.’ Even more interesting, the song is in fact about banana pudding. Yet again, audiences have one more example of the originality that makes children’s records so fun for any critic to review. Who would have ever thought a song about one of the tastiest dessert dishes ever created could be the basis for a song? For that matter, who would have ever thought that it would be as entertaining as it is? Wiser actually sings about making banana pudding and the joy of getting to eat the creation. It’s so upbeat and poppy that it will have listeners salivating like Pavlov’s dogs, wanting to run out and make their own banana pudding. That’s how infectious this song proves to be. It’s one more wonderful reason to check out the Sugar Free Allstars’ new Record Store Day vinyl.

The two songs contained on The Sugar Free Allstars’ new Record Store Day release are two great reasons to check out this record. If they aren’t enough for listeners, the disc’s wild artwork will grab listeners just as much. The disc looks like it’s been tie-dyed. It perfectly reflects the songs on the disc. That throwback design will instantly put listeners in a retro state of mind, thus setting the stage for the musical fun that is to come on the disc. Audiences will be able to see that wild retro disc design and hear the equally fun retro style songs on Vinyl 45 when they get out to their local indie record store April 19th. And fans in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma will even get to see Wiser and Martin performing live at Guestroom Records when the duo performs there in celebration of their new release. Needless to say whether or not one gets to see The Sugar Free Allstars, any parent out there should give this vinyl a chance. It will take them back to a better time. It will also take their children back to a better day, and give them their own joy in listening to music in its purest form. The record will be available in limited quantities. So it will be available on a first come first serve basis. Parents should make sure they pick up their copy early.

More information on the Sugar Free Allstars is available online at http://www.facebook.com/SugarFreeAllStars, http://www.sugarfreeallstars.com and http://twitter.com/sfas. 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.

NBA Playoffs Start This Weekend On ESPN

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

The NBA’s regular season is in the books. Now it’s on to the league’s second season.

Coverage of the 2014 NBA Playoffs begins Saturday, April 19th at 12:30pm ET with four opening round games. All four games are the first in their respective series. The Raptors host the Nets at 12:30pm ET on television on ESPN and online via WatchESPN. Next up is the Hawks/Pacers Game 1 at 7pm ET on ESPN and Watch ESPN. Game One between the Grizzlies and thunder rounds out the night with coverage expected to start at 9:30pm ET. Audiences will be able to catch Game One between the Warriors and Clippers at 3:30pm on television on ABC, on the radio through their local ESPN Radio affiliate, and online via ESPN3 and WatchESPN.

Day Two of the NBA 2014 Playoffs starts at 3pm ET with NBA Countdown on ABC and WatchABC.  Game One between the Heat and Bobcats follows at 3:30pm ET on ABC, ESPN Radio, WatchABC, and ESPN3.  The complete Playoffs coverage schedule is available below.

Early schedule

Date

Time (ET)

Game

Commentators

Network(s)

Sat, Apr. 19

12:30 p.m.

Brooklyn Nets at Toronto Raptors Gm.1

Dave Pasch, Jon Barry,

Chris Broussard

ESPN, WatchESPN

 

3 p.m.

NBA Countdown

Sage Steele, Bill Simmons, Jalen Rose, Doug Collins

ABC, WatchABC

 

3:30 p.m.

Golden State Warriors at Los Angeles Clippers Gm. 1

Mike Breen, Jeff Van Gundy, Lisa Salters

ABC, ESPN Radio, WatchABC, ESPN3

 

7 p.m.

Atlanta Hawks at Indiana Pacers Gm. 1

Mark Jones, Doris Burke, Israel Gutierrez

ESPN, WatchESPN

 

9:30 p.m.

Memphis Grizzlies at Oklahoma City Thunder Gm. 1

Mike Tirico, Hubie Brown, Heather Cox

ESPN, WatchESPN

Sun, Apr. 20

3 p.m.

NBA Countdown

Sage Steele, Bill Simmons, Jalen Rose, Doug Collins

ABC, WatchABC

 

3:30 p.m.

Charlotte Bobcats at Miami Heat Gm. 1

Mike Breen, Jeff Van Gundy, Lisa Salters

ABC, ESPN Radio, WatchABC, ESPN3

Fri, Apr. 25

7 p.m.

Toronto Raptors at Brooklyn Nets Gm. 3

TBD

ESPN2, WatchESPN

 

8 p.m.

Chicago Bulls at Washington Wizards Gm. 3

TBD

ESPN, WatchESPN

 

10:30 p.m.

Houston Rockets at Portland Trail Blazers Gm. 3

TBD

ESPN, WatchESPN

Sat, Apr. 26

7 p.m.

Miami Heat at Charlotte Bobcats Gm. 3

TBD

ESPN, WatchESPN

 

9:30 p.m.

Oklahoma City Thunder at Memphis Grizzlies Gm. 4

TBD

ESPN, WatchESPN, ESPN Radio

Sun, Apr. 27

12:30 p.m.

NBA Countdown

Sage Steele, Bill Simmons, Jalen Rose, Doug Collins

ABC, WatchABC, ESPN

 

1 p.m.

Chicago Bulls at Washington Wizards Gm. 4

TBD

ABC, WatchABC, ESPN3

 

3:30 p.m.

Los Angeles Clippers at Golden State Warriors Gm. 4

TBD

ABC, WatchABC, ESPN Radio, ESPN3

Fri, May 2

TBD

Miami Heat at Charlotte Bobcats Gm. 6 (if necessary)

TBD

ESPN/ESPN2, WatchESPN

 

TBD

Toronto Raptors at Brooklyn Nets Gm. 6 (if necessary)

TBD

ESPN/ESPN2, WatchESPN

 

TBD

San Antonio Spurs at Dallas Mavericks Gm. 6 (if necessary)

TBD

ESPN/ESPN2, WatchESPN

 

TBD

Houston Rockets at Portland Trail Blazers Gm. 6 (if necessary)

TBD

ESPN/ESPN2, WatchESPN

Sun, May 4

1 p.m.

TBD

 

ABC, WatchABC

 

3:30 p.m.

TBD

 

ABC, WatchABC, ESPN3

The 2014 NBA Playoffs will start and end exclusively on the ESPN family of networks, culminating with ABC’s exclusive coverage of The Finals beginning June 5th. More information on the ESPN family of networks’ NBA Playoffs coverage is available online at http://www.facebook.com/NBAonESPN and http://espn.com/nba. 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.

Wicked Blood As Solid As Any Big Name Action Flick

Courtesy:  Entertainment One

Courtesy: Entertainment One

EOne’s new thriller Wicked Blood is worth a watch for anyone that is a fan of AMC’s fan favorite series Breaking Bad. The movie, which runs just over an hour and a half is an action packed thriller that despite being an indie flick, will definitely keep audiences on the edge of their seats from start to finish. The movie, which stars Abigail Breslin (Zombieland, Haunter, Little Miss Sunshine), centers on Breslin’s character of Hannah Lee Baker. Hannah and her sister Amber (Alexa Pena Vega) are living alone after having lost both of their parents at a young age. Their uncle Donny (Lew Temple) is the only member of their family that they can trust, despite being running his own drug business. In her attempt to support herself, she ends up getting caught up in the seedy underworld of drug dealing. It all leads up to a finale that no one would have seen coming. Writer/Director Mark Young has crafted a script for this movie that is the first of the factors that makes it worth at least one watch for any fan of the action/thriller genre. The story’s pacing plays directly into the script. Being that the movie comes in below the standard two-hour mark that most major features reach, the story’s pacing is quite impressive. And the acting on the part of the entire cast makes the story all the richer. All three factors noted here work together to make Wicked Blood an underrated action movie worth at least one watch.

Writer/director Mark Young’s script for Wicked Blood is the central point of the success for this independent action flick. On the surface, the concept of an innocent lead character being wrapped up in the seedy world of drug dealing is not exactly anything new. However, Young breaks from the norm with his script. Instead of following the standard formula for such movies, Young adds in an element that could be argued to be a coming-of-age story of sorts for Hannah. Audiences see Hannah go from this fragile, frustrated young woman in a decidedly broken family structure to a more self-confident and determined woman as the story progresses. This is especially noticeable in her reaction to her sister Amber being beaten and left for dead by an assailant who will not be named here. He shows growth in Hannah, too when she enacts a certain plan early on that becomes the crux of the story. It shows growth in that her plan is quite brilliant and just as brave. Young makes this part of the story even more interesting because he actually leaves viewers to believe one thing about what Hannah is doing, only to reveal surprisingly that the opposite was the reality. It is just one of the secrets that makes Young’s script all the better. For that matter, it’s just one of the many aspects of the script that makes the story work.

The various elements used throughout the course of Young’s script are key to the enjoyment of Wicked Blood. In direct connection, the story’s pacing serves to make the movie better. The movie’s run time just does top the ninety-minute mark. That’s actually just below the standard for most major motion pictures. Though there are some rare majors that somehow manage to beat the two-hour mark. Their problem though, is that in doing so, they tend to cram too much into too short a time. This story is the exact opposite. It actually manages to balance everything together at a solid pace in that span of time. In simple terms, audiences won’t be left feeling mentally or visually winded. Young spends just enough time within each scene to keep the story from feeling rushed. That ultimately helps audiences to keep up with everything going on. In the same vein, the scene transitions help with the story’s pacing, too. Audiences aren’t presented with open transitions from one scene to the next. The story actually begins and ends each scene solidly enough that when one scene transitions to the next, audiences aren’t left questioning what had just happened or what is going to happen in the scene to come. This story element makes watching Wicked Blood even easier for viewers and more enjoyable.

The pacing and scene transitions utilized throughout Wicked Blood are both important parts of the whole that makes this movie work. The acting on the part of the movie’s cast is just as important as the aforementioned aspects to its success. The cast is made up of some relatively well-known figures. So it’s no wonder that each member of the cast is so believable in his or her respective role. Breslin leads the cast as Hannah. Her presentation of Hannah’s personal growth is both powerful and eye opening, especially in seeing what she is willing to do to Bobby. There is a certain fire in Hannah’s eyes and in her voice at that particular moment that really makes her somewhat frightening. It shows that while she may be growing as a person, it shows the depths to which she is willing to sink, too. On the opposite side of the coin, so to speak, audiences have Hannah’s uncle Donny, played by Lew Temple. Temple’s depiction of Donny makes him such a sympathetic character. Here is a man that is a drug user and knows it. Yet he doesn’t want his nieces to get embroiled in what he has been doing for so many years. He shows that he genuinely cares about both of them despite being a drug addict. He’s an imperfect character with a heart of gold. That contradiction of personalities and Temple’s depiction of Donny makes a person believe that there is some good in him. It makes audiences really want to root for Donny. Co-stars James Purefoy and Sean Bean hold their own throughout the story, too. But it is really Breslin and Temple that lead the cast. It is their acting that is the *ahem* glue–audiences that have seen the movie will get that bad pun—that holds everything else together. It is the finishing touch on a movie that proves once more that indie flicks can be just as enjoyable as their major motion picture counterparts regardless of genre. It is the final piece that proves this underrated indie action flick is worth at least one watch.

Wicked Blood is available now on DVD and Blu-ray in stores and online. It can be ordered online via Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00HI9QDKM/ref=s9_simh_gw_p74_d0_i1?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_r=04QPHQ5JBMNES46GMXYX&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=1688200382&pf_rd_i=507846. More information on this and other releases from Entertainment One is available online at http://us.eonefilms.com/home. 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.

Band Schedule, Pre-Party Announced For Welcome To Rockville Festival

Courtesy:  Ashton-Magnuson Media

Courtesy: Ashton-Magnuson Media

The organizers of the annual Welcome to Rockville festival have announced the complete schedule for this year’s festival, including performance times for each act on the bill.

Courtesy:  Ashton-Magnuson Media

Courtesy: Ashton-Magnuson Media

Digital Summer and World Gone kick off this year’s festival. Digital Summer and World Gone are schedule to open the festival at 11:15am on the Monster Energy Fire Museum Stage and Jagermeister Stage respectively. Cathercist, winner of the Ernie Ball Battle of the Bands, is up next at 11:45am ET on the Ernie Ball Stage. Within Reason and Ghost of War will open the festival’s second day at noon on the Monster Energy Fire Museum Stage and Jagermeister Stage respectively. The complete performance schedule for the weekend’s events is included below.

Performance times for Monster Energy’s Welcome To Rockville are as follows (subject to change):

Saturday, April 26

Monster Energy Fire Museum Stage

11:15 AM         Digital Summer

12:30 PM         Rev Theory

2:00 PM           Adelitas Way

3:30 PM           Hellyeah

5:15 PM           Chevelle

7:15 PM           A Day To Remember

9:40 PM           Avenged Sevenfold

Monster Energy Metropolitan Park Stage

11:45 PM         Gemini Syndrome

1:15 PM           Middle Class Rut

2:45 PM           Chiodos

4:15 PM           Alter Bridge

6:15 PM           Volbeat

8:20 PM           The Cult

Jägermeister Stage

11:15 AM         World Gone

12:30 PM         Silvertung (Jägermeister Band)

2:00 PM           Evergreen Terrace

3:30 PM           Smile Empty Soul

5:15 PM           Memphis May Fire

7:15 PM           We Came As Romans

Ernie Ball Stage

11:45 AM         Cathercist (Ernie Ball Battle Of The Bands Winner)

1:15 PM           Monster Truck

2:45 PM           We As Human

4:15 PM           Devour The Day

6:15 PM           Fozzy

Sunday, April 27

Monster Energy Fire Museum Stage

Noon                Within Reason

1:15 PM           Sick Puppies

2:35 PM           Black Label Society

4:15 PM           Seether

6:25 PM           Five Finger Death Punch

8:50 PM           Korn

Monster Energy Metropolitan Park Stage

12:35 PM         The Pretty Reckless

1:55 PM           Black Stone Cherry

3:25 PM           Theory of a Deadman

5:15 PM           Staind

7:35 PM           Rob Zombie

Jägermeister Stage

Noon                Ghost Of War (Jägermeister Band)

1:15 PM           Kyng

2:35 PM           Lacuna Coil

4:15 PM           Emmure

6:25 PM           Motionless In White

Ernie Ball Stage

12:35 PM         Twelve Foot Ninja

1:55 PM           Nothing More

3:25 PM           Butcher Babies

5:15 PM           Trivium

Courtesy:  Ashton-Magnuson Media

Courtesy: Ashton-Magnuson Media

Before the bands take to their respective stages, audiences will be treated to Monster Energy’s Welcome to Rockville Official Pre-Party Friday, April 25th. The Pre-Party is presented by X102.9 and Bud Light and will feature performances by Rev Theory and more. It will be held at 1904 Music Hall (19 N. Ocean Street in downtown Jacksonville, FL). It is free to ticketholders that are 21 and older. Ticketholders that want to attend the Pre-Party must show their festival tickets at 1904 Music Hall to get a Pre-Party wristband in advance. Wristbands are in limited quality. So they will be first come first serve beginning at 12pm ET on Friday, April 25th. Doors open at 8pm. The show will start at 9pm.

More information on the fourth annual Welcome to Rockville Festival is available online at http://www.WelcomeToRockvilleFestival.com, http://www.facebook.com/welcometorockville, and via Twitter at @RockvilleFest. 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.

Timeless Media Group Announces Release Date, Details For I Spy Box Set

Courtesy:  Timeless Media Group

Courtesy: Timeless Media Group

Timeless Media Group will bring audiences yet another long lost piece of television history this Summer.

Timeless Media Group will release the classic series I Spy on Tuesday, June 24th. The classic dramedy series, starring Bill Cosby (The Cosby Show, Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids) and character actor Robert Culp. It could be argued that the show’s witty writing and equally strong acting on the part of Cosby and Culp were the influence behind hit dramedies such as Monk and Psych. The series ran on NBC from 1965 to 1968 and produced a total of eighty-two episodes in that span. It won countless awards over the course of its three-year run including: the Golden Globe® for Best Dramatic Series in 1967, three consecutive Prime Time Emmys® for Outstanding Lead Actor for Bill Cosby, and the Prime Time Emmy ® for Outstanding Musical Composition for Earle Hagen. Cosby’s co-star received his own accolades for his work on the show. He was nominated for a number of Prime Time Emmy® Awards including: three Outstanding Lead Actor nominations and one for Outstanding Writing Achievement in Drama.

Along with its groundbreaking acting and writing, I Spy also featured a number of guest stars that would go on to be some of Hollywood’s biggest names. Those names include the likes of: Gene Hackman (Hoosiers, Enemy of the State, Unforgiven), Jim Backus (Mr. Magoo, Gilligan’s Island), Ron Howard (The Andy Griffith Show, Happy Days), Boris Karloff (Frankenstein, How The Grinch Stole Christmas, The Raven), Martin Landau (Ed Wood, North by Northwest, Mission: Impossible), George Takei (Star Trek), Don Rickles (Toy Story 1 3), and Eartha Kitt (Batman).

The upcoming release will have all eighty-two episodes of I Spy contained on eighteen discs. More information on this and other releases, including pricing and how to order the box set, is available online at http://www.timelessvideo.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.

This Is Your Life Is Not Just Another Throw-Away Tribute Album

Courtesy:  Rhino Records

Courtesy: Rhino Records

Tribute albums are a dime a dozen. So many tribute albums are released each year that one can’t help but feel that the labels that release them care more about their bottom line than about actually celebrating said artists being given tribute. That being the case, one can’t help but wonder why This Is Your Life, the new tribute album to iconic rock front man Ronnie James Dio, would be any different from those records. The answer to that is not a simple one. One reason that this tribute album stands out is the list of performers and bands that recorded songs for the compilation. It’s a who’s who of hard rock from the past, present, and even future of the genre. Another reason that this compilation stands out is its track listing. This record boasts some of the most beloved songs of RJD’s career. And last but definitely not least important to consider in this record is the fact that it isn’t just a means for the label distributing it to make money. It actually doubles as a fundraiser for RJD’s Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund. So it’s actually a record crafted to essentially help give back. How many bands, artists, groups, etc. can say that they have crafted an entire album simply to raise funds for charity? That–along with the list of songs and performers, bands, etc. on this album–makes This Is Your Life an album that stands well above the rest of the otherwise throw-away albums claiming to be tribute albums.

Courtesy:  Rhino Records

Courtesy: Rhino Records

The primary aspect of This Is Your Life that makes it stand out against all of the other tribute albums out there is the list of performers drafted to record songs for the record. The list of performers drafted for this record is a who’s who of hard rock’s past, present, and even future. It wasn’t just a mish-mash of bands, artists and groups tossed together. Everybody tapped to record for this tribute record is either a counterpart to RJD or someone that grew up idolizing him and his talents. Veterans such as Anthrax, Motorhead, Scorpions, Biff Byford, and Rob Halford perform alongside younger acts such as Adrenaline Mob, Killswitch Engage, and Halestorm over the course of the record’s fourteen total tracks. That collection of bands and artists singing Dio’s hits is in itself a musical history lesson. It introduces younger audiences that might be more familiar with the latter grouping of bands and artists to the veterans and to the music of Dio. To that extent, This Is Your Life quickly earns major points. Even more points come from the sampling of Dio’s music in question chosen for this compilation.

The list of bands, artists, and groups tapped to record RJD’s music for This Is Your Life is in itself a major boon for the record. As noted, it isn’t just a mish-mash of bands, artists, and groups. It is a collection of bands, group, and artists that played alongside Dio during his career, and those that have come since, growing up with the music of Ronnie James Dio. In short, it’s a collection of individuals that have the utmost respect for Dio and his music. Speaking of that music, the songs chosen to be included on this record are another part of the whole that makes it so enjoyable for listeners. Every song on this record is a classic in its own way. From the more well-known pieces such as ‘The Mob Rules’, ‘Neon Knights’ and ‘Holy Diver’ to slightly lesser known songs such as ‘Straight Through The Heart’, Egypt (The Chains Are On’, and ‘Temple of the King’ This Is Your Life does quite the job of chronicling the career of a man that was and is still even in death, one of the greatest vocalists and performers in the history of hard rock.

The music and performers chosen for This Is Your Life are both key components of the success of the album. As important as they are to the success of the record, there is still one central aspect of the recording that makes it so worth picking up. That aspect is the fact that a certain portion of the sales of the album will go to benefit Dio’s Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund, which was established by Dio’s wife Wendy Dio. Bands, groups and artists go out on tour every year or they take part in fundraising concerts. How many artists can say they were part of a recording project that was also meant as a way to pay tribute to one of their own, too? It’s just like bringing home a hard rock festival without having to pay the exorbitant prices for tickets, souvenirs, sodas and more. And at the same time, audiences that purchase the album will actually be helping to fund an organization that works to research and promote awareness of cancer, as well as educate people about early detection in hopes of one day stopping it.

This Is Your Life is available now in stores and online. It can be ordered online via Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Ronnie-James-Dio-This-Your/dp/B00IACUO8S/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1396440364&sr=1-1&keywords=dio+this+is+your+life and can be downloaded via iTunes at https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/ronnie-james-dio-this-is-your/id829325064.

More information on Ronnie James Dio, This Is Your Life and other RJD releases is available online at http://www.facebook.com/OfficialRonnieJamesDio and http://www.ronniejamesdio.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 reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

PBS, LPB Chronicle Famed Latino Journalist’s Life And Death In New Documentary

Courtesy:  PBS

Courtesy: PBS

PBS will release on April 29th, a new documentary for those with any interest in the history of journalism.

Ruben Salazar: Man in the Middle will be released on DVD Tuesday, April 29th. The documentary follows the life and mysterious death of pioneering journalist Ruben Salazar. It follows Salazar’s eventual transition from a mainstream reporter to key figure in and supporter of the Chicano movement of the late 1960s. After being killed by a police officer in 1970, Salazar instantly became a martyr for those in the Latino community. Ironically enough, many in the Latino community had lambasted Salazar for his reporting during his life. Even more intriguing is that the full details of his death have been very murky even roughly four decades later.

This new documentary presents Salazar’s life in an objective, unbiased manner through interviews with Salazar’s friends, former co-workers, and family members as well as through his own words collected through personal writings. It is presented in partnership with Latino Public Broadcasting (LPB).

Latino Public Broadcasting Executive Director Sandie Viquez Pedlow discussed the release of this new documentary in a recent interview. Pedlow noted of Salazar that so little was known of him or his life until the release of this feature. She went on to note that it was through this story that audiences finally see just how important Salazar remains today as his is more than just one man’s story. It she stated in her interview, Salazar’s is a “very American story about the struggle between ethnic identity and assimilation.”

Joseph Tovares is the Senior VP for Diversity and Innovation at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB). He also shared his thoughts on the Salazar’s cultural importance and the release of the new documentary. “Ruben Salazar’s importance in our nation’s history is underscored by the number of schools, scholarship programs and parks across the west and southwest that bear his name,” he said. “CPB support for this program, through our Diversity and Innovation Fund, reflects our commitment to giving voice to storytellers from all across the country and from a wide range of perspectives.”

Ruben Salazar: Man in the Middle was directed by filmmaker Phillip Rodriquez, whose most documentary was Race 2012. That documentary aired on PBS on October 16th, 2012. It examined the 2012 presidential election through the angle of a quickly changing racial landscape. He also received the first annual United States Artists Broad Fellow Award in 2006. The award is made by United States Artists (USA) and honors the nation’s finest living artists. Along with all of his other accomplishments and awards, Rodriguez is also a visiting fellow at the USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism.
Ruben Salazar: Man in the Middle will be available Tuesday, April 29th on DVD for an SRP of $24.99. It can be pre-ordered now via PBS’ online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=32759016&cp=&kw=ruben+salazar&origkw=Ruben+Salazar&sr=1.

More information on this and other programs from PBS is available online at http://www.pbs.org and http://www.facebook.com/pbs. 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.

Generation Like Examines The Impact, Consequences Of Corporate Marketing In Social Media

Courtesy:  PBS

Courtesy: PBS

PBS has announced that it will release the latest episode of its hugely acclaimed series Frontline on April 29th.

Frontline: Generation Like investigates the ever growing link between social media and corporate marketing. It is the follow-up to Frontline’s 2001 documentary, The Merchants of Cool. Author Douglas Rushkoff takes the reins once again on this latest documentary from PBS’ hugely lauded series. Rushkoff examines in this feature, how major companies are increasingly taking advantage of teens social media usage to push their products. Rushkoff said of how the corporations in question are exploting teens in their social usage, “Today’s teens don’t need to be chased down by corporations. They’re putting themselves online for anyone to see. They tell the world what they think is cool—starting with their own online profiles. Likes, follows, retweets, and favorites are the social currency of this generation.”

One marketer explained in an interview how said companies are in fact exploiting teens, rather than trying to sell products to them. The anonymous marketer noted in an interview that “Companies know how to take that data and turn it into money. The people who are handing over the data—because they’re hitting ‘I like this’ or ‘I like that’ or they’re telling all their friends, ‘Will you please come like me?—they have no idea what the value of that is.”
Generation Like takes an in-depth at how America’s youth is increasingly becoming an unwitting tool of the country’s biggest companies in its marketing efforts, and how those behind those marketing efforts manage to grab teens among other topics. It will be available on DVD for an SRP of $24.99 and will also be available for download. It can be pre-ordered now via PBS’ online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=32224926&cp=&sr=1&kw=generation+like&origkw=Generation+Like&parentPage=search.

More information on this and other episodes of Frontline is available online at http://www.facebook.com/frontline, http://www.pbs.org/frontline/view, http://twitter.com/frontlinepbs, and http://ow.ly/lXRQM. 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.

NCAA Div. I Women’s Basketball Championship Brackets To Be Revealed On ESPN

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

Women’s college basketball fans will find out which teams will make this year’s NCAA Women’s Basketball Division I tournament next week.

ESPN will reveal the complete field for this year’s tournament next Monday, March 17th on the NCAA Women’s Basketball Selection Special Presented by Capital One.  The special presentation will air live on ESPN and online via WatchESPN.  Kevin Negandhi will anchor the broadcast.  He will be joined by veteran analysts Kara Lawson and Rebecca Lobo in studio for in-depth analysis of the team selections.  The trio will interview Baylor’s Kim Mulkey and Notre Dame’s Muffet McGraw as part of the evening’s broadcast.

Also joining the discussion will be espnW.com writer Mechelle Voepel.  She will offer extra insight on ESPNU’s NCAA Women’s Basketball Selection Special Extended Coverage Presented by Capital One.  That special will air on ESPNU at 8pm ET.  ESPNU’s extended coverage special will feature an exclusive interview with Carolayne Henry, chair of the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Committee among a number of interviews included in the broadcast.

ESPNU will follow up its special Monday night broadcast with a special two hour-long edition of College Basketball Live Tuesday, March 18th at 1pm ET.  College Basketball Live: NCAA Women’s Special will follow up Monday night’s bracket announcement with an in-depth analysis of the tournament.  It will also feature live interviews with some of the top names in women’s college basketball.  Beth Mowins and Cara Capuano will co-host the special extended edition of College Basketball Live.  They will be joined by analysts Debbie Antonelli, Maria Taylor and Brooke Weisbrod.

Both ESPN and ESPNU will offer much more for audiences in their respective broadcasts.  More information on each is available online at http://espn.go.com/womens-basketball/ and http://espn.go.com/espnw/.  Along with the extensive coverage offered by ESPN and espnW, cast members from ABC’s hit drama Nashville will add their own touch to the broadcast, too.  Connie Britton and Hayden Panettiere will open ESPN’s NCAA Women’s Basketball Selection Special Presented by Capital One live from the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, TN.  In addition to their opening segment, ESPN will feature Britton’s take on Jason Aldean’s hit song ‘The Only Way I Know’ throughout the selection special’s broadcast.  The song, which featured Luke Bryant and Eric Church, will also be used throughout ESPN’s NCAA Women’s Division I tournament coverage.  Nashville airs Wednesday nights at 10pm ET on ABC.

ESPN and the ESPN family of networks will have full coverage of the 2014 NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship beginning March 22nd.  The networks’ full broadcast schedule is expected to be released soon.  More information on this year’s tournament and coverage is available online at http://espn.go.com/espnW, http://espn.go.com/womens-basketball, and http://www.facebook.com/espnW.  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, go online to http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Ume’s Latest LP Is One Of 2014′s Most Intriguing New Records

Courtesy:  Dangerbird Records

Courtesy: Dangerbird Records

Monuments, the new album from Ume, is one of the more intriguing records that has been released so far in 2014.  The Austin, TX-based band’s third full length studio release is such an interesting listen because at no point over the course of its dozen total songs does it ever allow itself to be fully pigeonholed into one specific subset of the rock world or another.  At one point, it bears something of a semi-stoner rock influence, while at others its sound is more indie-rock.  Add in the hybrid Joan Jett/Courtney Love style vocals of singer Lauren LL throughout the album, and listeners get in Monuments a record that is well worth at least one listen.

The album’s aforementioned semi-stoner rock influence is obvious right off the top in the album’s opener, ‘Black Stone.’  Langner Larson and her band mates—Rachel Fuhrer (drums) and Eric Larson (bass)—waste no time getting into listeners’ heads with their collective talent in this song.  Lauren LL’s song-opening guitar line is a standard mid-tempo rock riff that is certain to get any listener playing along on their own air guitar both in their bedrooms and cars.  Fuhrer and Eric Larson add just enough of their own heaviness to the song to have said listeners proudly putting their horns in the air at the same time.  Lyrically speaking, Langner Larson’s words are somewhat cryptic.  She sings in the song’s final verse, You never see/The cries of another/Never did see/The wars till the rubble/Crumbled on/You and me/The damage done/Battles are not/Ever won/Never won.”  Is it bad that Larson leaves her lyrics up to interpretation?  No.  That openness to interpretation set alongside the song’s equally engaging musical side makes ‘Black Stone’ a fitting feeling for what fans can expect throughout the rest of this record.

The energy and power established by the members of Ume in ‘Black Stone’ doesn’t stop with that song.  If anything, it’s stepped up even more as the album progresses.  This is evidenced in the song ‘Chase It Down.’  Again, the song’s seemingly metaphorical lyrics are left widely to interpretation.  The most common sense interpretation is that this is a song of self-empowerment of sorts.  Langner Larson asks her subject in the song’s chorus, “Are you the one they forget/Are you the one they love to neglect/Are you the one alone at last/Are you the one who won’t beg for it?”  She follows that up by telling said subject, “Chase it down/In this skin.”  One can’t help but wonder whom she is addressing here.  That is irrelevant here though.  She could be addressing anyone.  That being understood, it makes the frantic energy exuded by the band in this piece all the harder hitting, especially in the buildup to the song’s climactic finale.  It will all leave listeners breathless by the time that energy explodes in those final moments.

For all of the frenetic energy exuded throughout the course of Monuments, it does actually have its softer moments.  ‘Gleam’ is one of those moments.  Langner Larson shows real control over her vocals throughout the song even when it picks up about a minute and a half in.  That gentility in her vocals is wonderfully complimented by the almost poppy guitar line and reserved drumming on the part of Rachel Fuhrer.  If one listens very closely, one will even note what sounds like a mandolin playing ever so softly alongside Langner Larson’s vocals early on.  As subtle as the pairing is and as short as it is, it adds so much depth to the song.  It makes this one more part of an album that has earned the title of one of this year’s most intriguing new albums.

Audiences can hear any of the songs noted here and many more live as the band tours in support of Monuments.  The band is performing today alongside Blondie and Gary Numan in Austin, Texas at Brazos Hall.  The band has a number of other dates scheduled straight through May.  Fans can check out the band’s latest tour schedule online now at http://www.facebook.com/umemusic and http://www.umemusic.com.  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.