Live Returns With New Album, Singer, Label This Fall

Courtesy:  Think Loud Recordings

Courtesy: Think Loud Recordings

Veteran rock band Live will release its new album this fall.

Live will release The Turn on Tuesday, October 28th on Think Loud Recordings. The album, the band’s–eighth full-length studio release–is the first with new front man Chris Shinn. It also features the band’s original lineup of Chad Taylor (guitar/backing vocals), Patrick Dalheimer (bass/percussion), and Chad Gracey (drums/percussion). It also reunites the band with producer Jerry Harrison. Harrison previously worked with Live on three of the band’s previous releases—Mental Jewelry (1991), Throwing Copper (1995), and The Distance To Here (1999).

The band launched a Pledge Music campaign yesterday to kick off the promotional efforts for the album’s release. A portion of the proceeds from that campaign will go to the charity Musicians on Call. Musicians on Call is a charity program that brings both live musicians and recorded music in to hospitals around the country as a means of therapy for patients. More information on Musicians on Call and its efforts is available online at http://www.musiciansoncall.org. Fans can help make The Turn a reality and help donate to Musicians on Call all at the same time online at http://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/live. Details on the album’s lead single, tour dates and more will be announced soon. They will be announced both through the band’s Pledge Music page and via its various social media platforms. The track listing for The Turn is listed below.

The Turn Track Listing:
1.    Sirens Call
2.    Don’t Run to Wait
3.    Natural Born Killers
4.    6310 Rodgerton Dr.
5.    By Design
6.    The Way Around is Through
7.    Need Tonight
8.    The Strength to Hold On
9.    We Open The Door
10.   He Could Teach the Devil Tricks
11.   Till You Came Around

More information on Live, its upcoming album and tour dates and all of the latest updates from the band is available online at http://freaks4live.com, http://www.facebook.com/THEBANDLIVE, and http://twitter.com/freaks4live. 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.

Tantric To Release New Compilation Record Next Month

Courtesy:  Pavement Entertainment

Courtesy: Pavement Entertainment

Tantric will release another new record this fall.

Blue Room Archives is a collection of previously unreleased and acoustic material that the band has recorded over the years. The new compilation record will be released Tuesday, September 30th via Pavement Entertainment. It comes on the heels of Tantric’s most recent full-length studio effort 37 Channels, which was released on September 17th, 2013. Among the material included on this upcoming compilation are acoustic takes of ‘Breakdown’ and ‘Mourning’ and the new single ‘Cynical.’ Fans can stream ‘Cynical’ now online here.

The band opted for Blue Room Archives as it makes reference to the band’s home studio, “The Blue Room.” Front man Hugo Ferreira commented on the album, noting that it was a largely organic album and that it shows a side of the band not typically seen. ” This isn’t so much a premeditated album, but a collection of music I have done that I always loved extremely but never found a place for,” he said. It’s songs in their purest form, no flashy production or elaborate theme. Imagine it as a mix tape of songs I wrote or co-wrote that stand alone uniquely. A inside view of the other side of a tantric state of mind.”

The track listing for Blue Room Archives is noted below.

“Blue Room Archives” track listing:

  1. Cynical
  2. Breakdown (Acoustic)
  3. Abuse Me
  4. Don’t Let It Win
  5. Fall To The Ground (Remix)
  6. Mind Control (Remix)
  7. Mourning (Acoustic)
  8. Nothing At All
  9. Mourning After
  10. Indiscretion
  11. Flip A Coin

Tantric’s most recent full length release 37 Channels is available now in stores and online. The band is currently touring in support of that album. It will be in Steger, Illinois today and New Albany, Indiana tomorrow. After that, the band will take some time off before hitting the road again beginning September 20th in Beckley, West Virginia. Fans can find out when the band will be in their town and keep up with the latest updates from the band online now at http://www.facebook.com/Tantric and http://www.tantricrockband.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.

Royal Blood Is One Of This Year’s Most Surprising Rock Records

Courtesy:  Warner Brothers Records

Courtesy: Warner Brothers Records

British Rock duo Royal Blood made big waves earlier this year when it released its debut EP Out of the Black.  That release was but a mere sampling of what the duo—Michael Kerr (bass/vocals) and Ben Thatcher (drums)—had to offer on its now available self-titled major label debut.  Royal Blood is now available in store and online via Warner Brothers Records.  And anyone that has yet to hear any of the band’s music will be impressed by the record’s sound.  The ten tracks contained on this disc boast sounds influenced from the likes of Clutch, The Black Keys, The White Stripes, Queens of the Stone Age and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club just to name a handful.  That mix of influences has led to an album that is arguably one of the best new rock albums of the year and potentially one of the best new albums of the year overall, too.  The proof is obvious right off the top in the album’s opener and title track from its previously released EP ‘Out of the Black.’  Kerr and Thatcher step things up right after that on the forward-driving ‘Come On Over.’  If those songs aren’t enough for listeners, ‘Little Monster’ is sure to impress with its mix of equally driving music and rather thought provoking lyrics.  All three of these songs are equally impressive examples of what makes Royal Blood one of the surprise records of the year.  That is not to discount any of the album’s any other songs.  The album’s bluesy album closer ‘Better Strangers’ and the infectious ‘Figure It Out’ are just as enjoyable as the previously mentioned pieces.  And the album’s remaining five tracks each play their own part in this album’s enjoyment.  Whether for those tracks or the ones noted here, the end result is an album that is again one of the biggest surprises of the year.

Royal Blood’s new self-titled major label debut album is without a doubt one of the best new rock albums of 2014. It is also potentially one of the year’s best new albums overall. The duo makes its case for that title right from the album’s outset. The album’s opener is a bombastic first impression from Kerr and Thatcher. The massive wall of sound generated by the pair instantly conjures thoughts of Clutch, Queens of the Stone Age, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, and others of that ilk. Kerr’s vocals are just as much a powerhouse as the music crafted by himself and Thatcher as he sings in the song’s chorus, “You made a fool out of me/You took the skin off my back running/So don’t breath when I talk/Cause you have been spoken to/I got a gun for a mouth/And a bullet with your name on it/But a trigger full of heartbeat/I’m pulling from an empty pocket.” The video for this song is actually available now online at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-_3mNCaJgNM. So audiences can check out the song’s pure immensity in the combination of its music and vocals.

As if the seemingly untamed energy generated by ‘Out of the Black’ wasn’t enough for audiences, Kerr and Thatcher keep things moving on the album’s second song ‘Come on Over.’ This song is another full on piece that is sure to impress listeners.  Kerr sings on this song, “Let’s run away/Get out of here/I got no money/And I don’t care/This ain’t my house/This ain’t your home/Not when I’m feeling this alone.” This is an interesting chorus, lyrically speaking. It seems to reflect a certain negative energy felt by perhaps a broken home of sorts. One wonders even more about this as Kerr sings later in the song, “I’m on a train going nowhere/I ran away to make you care/This ain’t my house/This ain’t your home/Not when I’m feeling this alone.” If this is one of those standard songs of self-denial and doubt, the musical side of the song doesn’t reflect that vibe. Hearing lyrics like those noted here, one would expect a musical side from the likes of Breaking Benjamin, Staind or others. But instead , the song’s musical side presents more of a self-determined vibe. It makes for quite the contradiction. And that contradiction makes the song all the more interesting. Audiences can check out an in-studio performance of this song online now at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vlSAjp-XaTo. So as with the previously noted songs, audiences can hear this song for themselves and heard that musical contradiction of moods that makes it yet another welcome addition to Royal Blood.

Both ‘Out of the Black’ and ‘Come On Over’ more than make for their own positive impression for Royal Blood.   But Kerr and Thatcher don’t rest easily on their laurels as is evident in ‘Little Monster.’ This song comes a little past the album’s halfway mark.  It is another impressive addition to Royal Blood not just because of the song’s power and energy, but also because it has a certain swagger mixed into the song’s overall feel. That swagger works just as well with the song’s overall sludge rock feel as it does with the song’s lyrics. Audiences will be able to hear that as Kerr sings, “I got love on my fingers/Lust on my tongue/You say you got nothing/So come out and get some/Heartache to heartache/I’m your wolf/I’m your man/I say run little monster/Before you know who I am.” Even more interesting in this song is the New Jack Swing beat of sorts played by Thatcher against the harder edged sound of Kerr’s playing. Somehow, the two parts meld together although one wouldn’t generally think that they would. As with the EP’s opener, this song also has a companion video that can be viewed online now. So audiences can hear the song and hear that massive sound for themselves when they check it out at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ere2Mstl8ww.

‘Little Monster,’ ‘Come On Over,’ and ‘Out of the Black’ are all impressive additions to Royal Blood’s self-titled major label debut record.  Together, they make the band’s new album one of the biggest surprises of the year.  That is not to discount the album’s other songs.  Kerr and Thatcher keep audiences fully engaged right to the album’s end from the infectious ‘Figure It Out’ to the album’s bluesy closer ‘Better Strangers.’ Every track on this record plays its own part in the album’s overall success.  Altogether, each of the album’s ten tracks proves why this album is sure to be one of the year’s most talked about records by the time ticks to midnight on New Year’s Eve.  Royal Blood is available now online and in stores.  It is also available at the band’s live shows as Royal Blood is currently on tour in support of its new album.  It is currently wrapping up the European leg of its tour and will be coming back to the United States beginning September 19th in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  Fans can check out when Royal Blood will come to their town online now at http://www.facebook.com/RoyalBloodUK, http://www.royalbloodband.com, http://twitter.com/royalblooduk.  Fans can also keep up with the latest updates from the band via each site.  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.

PBS To Release New Al Capone Documentary

Courtesy:  PBS

Courtesy: PBS

PBS Distribution will release a brand new documentary entered on one of the most infamous criminal figures in American history this fall.

Al Capone: Icon will be released Tuesday, September 30th. The program examines Capone, his life, and why Americans remain so captivated by him to this day. It does so by examining his rise and fall from his early days in New York’s gangs to his days as one of the biggest crime bosses in America to his eventual downfall following the events of the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. He is analyzed both in terms of how the public viewed him and how he was viewed by others in the country’s various criminal circles.

Capone was a polarizing figure both in his own life and in today’s America. Through this program, audiences will see his impact on the world of organized crime as well as on law enforcement. Audiences will also see how his legend has kept him such a big name in the world of pop culture and in everyday life in Chicago.

Al Capone: Icon will be available Tuesday, September 30th on DVD. It will retail for SRP of $24.99. It can be ordered direct from PBS’ online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=43506236&cp=&kw=al+capone+icon&origkw=Al+Capone+Icon&sr=1. More information on this and other PBS programs is available online at http://www.facebook.com/pbs and http://www.pbs.org. 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.

Lights! Camera! Menace! Is Another Must Have For Any Classic Cartoon Fan

Courtesy:  Mill Creek Entertainment

Courtesy: Mill Creek Entertainment

Dennis The Menace is one of the most beloved icons in the history of American pop culture.  What started out as a comic strip crafted by Hank Ketcham in March of 1951 went from there to become what is today a cultural phenomenon.  That comic strip spawned a live action series starring Jay North, which ran for nearly four years from October 1959 to July 1963.  It would later go on to spawn an animated series that while it ran only two seasons, remains one a favorite among audiences of all ages even today.  Earlier this year, Mill Creek Entertainment finally rewarded the patience of that series’ fans with the first half of the series’ first season on DVD.  The multi-disc set’s release marked the first time ever that the series had received a proper release.  And it proved to be a box set well worth the wait, too.  The same can be said of the new box set Lights! Camera! Menace!  Lights! Camera! Menace! is essentially Dennis The Menace Volume 2.  Why Mill Creek chose to give it a different title is anyone’s guess. Regardless, anyone that grew up with this standout cartoon series will appreciate and enjoy this latest collection of episodes just as much as its predecessor. The primary reason for that is that this set properly finishes off the series’ first season, despite what its title might lead one to think. Also, the continued family friendly writing makes this one of those rare gems that families can and should watch together. And last but not least is the series’ original hand-drawn animation. In an age when anime and CG-based children’s shows dominate the airwaves, this original true animation style serves as a reminder of the value of such animation. All three factors are important in their own right. Together, they make Lights! Camera! Menace! another must-have collection for any kid and kid at heart. They also collectively make this set another valid contender for a spot on this critic’s list of the year’s best new box sets for children and families.

Typically, the most obvious starting point for examination of any box set would be the episodes’ scripts (I.E. the writing).  However, being that this box set and its predecessor mark the first time that this installment of the Dennis The Menace franchise has ever been released, the smarter starting point is the set’s episode listing.  Audiences will note that Lights! Camera! Menace! finishes off the first season of this classic kids’ cartoon series.  Every episode from the second half of Season One is here. The episodes are for the most part presented in the same order as they were presented in their original broadcasts.  There are some slight variances in the episode listing.  But those variances are so few that they can easily be brushed aside, making even more valuable the fact that every one of the episodes from the second half of Season One is present here.  Again, knowing this, it is anyone’s guess why this box set wasn’t simply titled Dennis The Menace Volume 2.  That’s anyone’s guess.  Regardless, the fact that it is the first time that these episodes have received a proper release and that they have all been included is the central point of this set’s success.  And it’s a solid central point at that.

That Lights! Camera! Menace! fully finishes off the first season of Dennis The Menace is a solid starting point for the newly released triple-disc box set.  Rising from that solid foundation is the writing incorporated into each of the scripts.  Dennis more than lives up to his moniker in the episodes included in this compilation.  He gets both Mr. Wilson and his own dad arrested in the set’s opening short “Sounds of the Night.”  They get arrested after being suspected of being a couple of robbers.  Of course Mr. Wilson’s argument that it was Dennis’ fault doesn’t help at all.  When Dennis’ dog Ruff accidentally runs amok on one of Mr. Wilson’s paintings, a famed art critic sees the painting and mistakes Mr. Wilson’s work for the work of someone else.  Of course, Mr. Wilson can’t convince the critic in question that the painting was his. That leads to plenty of laughs. He creates plenty of laughs as he causes trouble for Mr. Wilson and others throughout these episodes. There are also just as many laughs as he goes on various adventures with his friends and even gets them into some tight situations that ultimately come out alright, too. Whether it be his troublemaking ways with Mr. Wilson, his wildly fun adventures with his friends or even stopping spies (yes, he even stops a bad guy or two in this volume), Dennis’ adventures in Lights! Camera! Menace! will take the show’s original audiences back on a wonderful trip down memory lane. They will also show today’s young audiences what real cartoons are all about.

The fact that the episodes culled for Lights! Camera! Menace! completely finish off the first season of the classic series is a solid base for this collection. It’s great to see that the first season was finished off in full instead of just having this collection be a compilation of random episodes. Its title is a wholly different issue in itself. The writing that went into each of the episodes presented here makes this collection all the more enjoyable for viewers. The writing proves that it is possible to write good, solid cartoons without relying on crass humor. It proves that among all of the teeny-bopper and tweeny-bopper live action series out there on the networks of Nickelodeon and Disney, true worthwhile children’s programming such as Dennis The Menace still has a very relevant place in today’s television spectrum. It’s still just as entertaining today as it was in its original broadcast. The last factor that makes Lights! Camera! Menace! so enjoyable is its animation. The animation style used in this series was entirely done by hand. Just as the episodes’ writing proved to be fully original, so does that hand-drawn animation style. The only shows that came close to Dennis The Menace at the time were perhaps Heathcliff and The Real Ghostbusters.   Even as close as those shows might have been to Dennis The Menace in their animation, there were obvious stylistic differences between them, too. The key difference was the sharpness of detail. This series didn’t have that certain definition of the art in the other noted series. It was more raw for lack of better wording. A side-by-side comparison of the shows makes this much clearer. And in seeing that difference, as subtle as it is, audiences will see once more just why these classic episodes are so valuable. If audiences don’t appreciate the episodes’ writing or the fact that Mill Creek paid true tribute to the series by finishing off Season One in full, then this is sure to generate a certain appreciation for the series and the set among audiences.

Lights! Camera! Menace! is a wonderful presentation for audiences of all ages, as one should be able to tell by now. The episodes are literally family friendly in every sense. That’s thanks to solid writing that boasts so much heart. The full complement of Season One’s second half episodes makes the set even better. And the use of real hand-drawn animation finishes off this set. All three factors by themselves are important to the set’s success. Together, they make Lights! Camera! Menace! another impressive release from Mill Creek Entertainment, the packaging aside. They combine to make this set a valid contender at least for this critic’s list of the year’s best new box sets for children and family. Lights! Camera! Menace! is available now in stores and online. It can be ordered direct from Mill Creek Entertainment online at http://www.millcreekdirect.com/dennis-the-menace-lights-camera-menace-32-episodes.html. More information on this and other releases from Mill Creek Entertainment is available online at http://www.millcreekent.com, http://www.facebook.com/MillCreekEnt, and http://twitter.com/millcreekent. 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 in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Shout! Factory Resurrecting Sgt. Bilko And The Phil Silvers Show

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory

Courtesy: Shout! Factory

The classic comedy series Sgt. Bilko/The Phil Silvers Show will finally see the light of day on DVD this fall.

Shout! Factory will release the series in a full twenty-disc collection DVD box set on Tuesday, November 4th. The series, which was created by Nat Hiken, features a hilarious cast including: Harvey Lembeck, Allan Melvin, Joe E. Ross, and Paul Ford. It also featured some of the biggest names in television and movies as guest stars. That stars include the likes of: Dick Van Dyke, Alan Alda, Dean Martin and Lucille Ball.

The comedy served up by Silvers, his cast mates and guest stars is just the tip of the iceberg in the enjoyment of this upcoming release from Shout! Factory. The box also boasts a bevy of bonus material including the show’s original opening from its broadcast days, various audio commentaries, and even a bonus episode of The Lucy Show among much more. The complete list of bonus materials included on Sgt. Bilko/The Phil Silvers Show is noted below.

Sgt. Bilko/The Phil Silvers Show – The Complete Series Bonus Features:

  • Lost Audition Show
  • Original Network Opening
  • Original Cast Commercials
  • Photo Gallery
  • Audio commentaries with Allan Melvin, George Kennedy, Mickey Freeman, Larry Storch and Dick Van Dyke
  • “Lucy and the Efficiency Expert” (from The Lucy Show season 5)
  • Allan Melvin (Cpl. Henshaw) Episode Introductions
  • Promo for The New Phil Silvers Show
  • “Harry, the Good Neighbor” from The New Phil Silvers Show
  • Interviews with Phil Silvers (includes rare interview from The Paul Ryan Show)
  • Phil Silvers and Jack Benny on The Dick Cavett Show
  • Footage from the 1959 TV Special Keep In Step
  • The Cast of Phil Silvers On Broadway
  • New interviews with daughters Cathy, Tracey and Nancey Silvers

 

Sgt. Bilko/The Phil Silvers Show will be available in stores and online Tuesday, November 4th. It can be pre-ordered now via the Shout! Factory online store at https://sneakpeek.shoutfactory.com/tv/comedy/sgt-bilko-the-phil-silvers-show-the-complete-series. Audiences that pre-order the box set now will get free shipping and will have their copy shipped out on October 7th, a full four weeks before the box set hits store shelves. More information on this and other titles available from Shout! Factory is available online now at http://www.shoutfactory.com and http://www.facebook.com/shoutfactoryofficial. 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.

ESPN, Verizon Sign New Deal For SEC Network Broadcasts

Courtesy:  ESPN/SEC Network

Courtesy: ESPN/SEC Network

ESPN and Verizon have signed a new television deal.

The deal between ESPN and Verizon will allow Verizon to carry its brand new SEC Network on Verizon’s FiOS platform.  The terms of the deal will allow the SEC Network to air on Verizon FiOS beginning before August 28th.  Verizon customers in Florida and Texas that already receive ESPN as aprt of their FiOS TV package will be able to get the SEC Network on channels 75 and 575.  FiOS subscribers in all other markets who already receive FiOS Extreme and Ultimate will be able to pick up the SEC network on Channnel 75 upon the network’s launch through FiOS.

Terry Denson, Verizon’s VP for content acquisition and strategy, was optimistic about the new deal between Verizon and ESPN.  He noted the predictions for SEC teams in a number of preseason polls and ratings for SEC football games as reasons for Verizon’s deal with ESPN.  “We welcome the SEC Network to FiOS TV and look forward to carrying the studio content and athletic events it will offer, including the season-opening football doubleheader on Aug. 28,” he said.  “The preseason college poll lists eight SEC teams in the top 25; SEC football ratings are head and shoulders above other conferences; and SEC fans are extraordinarily and uniquely passionate about not only those teams but the entire conference as well. This deal with Disney-ESPN reinforces our already strong partnership with them which involves much more than this great new network.”

Sean Breen, Senior VP of affiliate sales for Disney and ESPN Media Networks also discussed the deal, noting that the deal means an even broader swatch of audiences will be able to receive the SEC Network.  “With the addition of Verizon FiOS, SEC Network is now available on nine of the top 10 multichannel video distributors in the country,” he said.  We look forward to serving their customers in time for college football season.”

Exact terms of the deal were not disclosed.  Thought, it is known that included in the deal is the rights to the FiOS Mobile app as well as live-viewing rights and additional live and on-demand content scheduled for both the SEC Network and various mobile platforms via WatchESPN and SECNetwork.com.  The FiOS mobile app will be available to FiOS customers in the near future.

More information on the SEC Network, its broadcast schedule and more is available online at http://www.facebook.com/SECNetwork and http://getsecnetwork.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.