Steve Aoki Releases Details Of New Album, Single, Tour

Courtesy:  MSO PR

Courtesy: MSO PR

Famed producer and DJ Steve Aoki announced this week that he will release a new album this Summer.

Aoki will release Neon Future I on Tuesday, August 12th via Dim Mak/Ultra Music. The double-disc album is the first in a pair of albums that will culminate in early 2015 with the release of Neon Future II. Aoki leads off Neon Future I with the lead single ‘Rage The Night Away,’ which features rapper Wocka Flocka Flame. Audiences can hear the single now online at http://www.soundcloud.com/steveaoki. Aoki explained the concept behind his upcoming album in a recent interview, noting that he views the future of society as being utopian through proper use of technology, music and color. He went on to explain that it was that view that served as the basis for the album’s sound. “When I think of the dance world, I think of how it’s a colorful world. That, along with my fascination with futurism defined the concept of my new album, Neon Future,” he said. “I see the future in a more of a utopian sense, built through technology, music and color. These concepts became the driving force for the creation of my first double album.”

Aoki’s collaboration with rapper Wocka Flocka Flame on the album’s lead single ‘Rage The Night Away,’ which is available now, is not the only collaboration on the album. He also worked with: Fall Out Boy, Empire of the Sun, will.i.am, Flux Pavilion, Bonnie Mckee, and Machine Gun Kelly.

The release of Neon Future I will be celebrated with a headlining performance at New York’s Madison Square Garden on Saturday, August 16th. From there, Aoki will hit the road for a select handful of dates across the country. His performance at Madison Square Garden will feature a number of special guests and much more. Audiences can check out a trailer now for the performance online at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1b4WZtfkFZQ&feature=youtu.be. Tickets for the concert go on sale at 12pm ET on May 9th. They can be purchased online via Steve Aoki’s website, http://www.steveaoki.com.

Along with the announcement of his upcoming album and headlining show, Steve Aoki also has announced this week that he and Bud Light Platinum have come to terms on a one-year partnership. The company’s first thirty second TV spot featuring Aoki will air next week. He will be featured in the company’s “Turn up your night” campaign, which is aimed primarily at fans of electronica and dance music in general. In discussing the new partnership, Rob McCarthy, VP of Bud Light brands at Anheuser-Busch told reporters, “The brand looks forward to expanding its range of content through its partnership with Aoki and continuing to build its credibility as the drink of choice for EDM and nightlife lovers.” Aoki shared McCarthy’s sentiment, releasing a statement saying, “I’m always looking for new ways to take things to the next level…so when Bud Light Platinum came to me with the Turn up the Night campaign, it seemed like the perfect fit.”

More information on Neon Future I, Neon Future II, Steve Aoki’s upcoming live performance at Madison Square Garden, future tour dates and more is available online at http://www.steveaoki.com, http://ww.facebook.com/Steve.Aoki, http://twitter.com/steveaoki, and http://dimmakrecs.com. More information on Bud Light Platinum is available online at http://www.BudLightPlatinum.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.

ESPN Releases Full Season Monday Night Football Schedule

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

ESPN has released its broadcast schedule for the 2014 NFL season.

ESPN opened the 2013 season with a double header and will do so again for the 2014 season. ESPN will open its Monday Night Football regular season broadcast schedule with a double header on September 8th. The first game on the night will see the New York Giants on the road against the Detroit Lions. The game will be the first MNF game to be broadcast from Detroit since September 1971. Mike Tirico will anchor the broadcast and will have play-by-play duties. He will be joined by analyst Jon Gruden in the booth and Lisa Salters on the sidelines. The trio will also handle all MNF games, which will begin at 8:15pm ET. Kickoff for all of ESPN’s MNF games is scheduled for 8:30pm ET.

The second game on ESPN’s double header slate for Monday, September 8th will see the Arizona Cardinals hosting the San Diego Chargers at 10:15pm ET. It will come live from the University of Phoenix Stadium, which will also play host to the 2015 Pro Bowl and Super Bowl XLIX. The 2015 Pro Bowl will be broadcast on ESPN.

Now in its 45th season, Monday Night Football’s 2014 season will feature all twelve teams from the 2013 NFL Playoffs. This includes the 2013 NFL Champion Seattle Seahawks and AFC Champion Denver Broncos. The Seahawks will take on the Washington Redskins on ESPN’s MNF broadcast October 6th while the Broncos will face off against the Cincinnati Bengals in Cincinnati on December 22nd.

Eight NFL organizations will each have two games broadcast nationally on ESPN’s MNF. Those teams are the Chicago Bears, Indianapolis Colts, New York Giants, New York Jets, New Orleans Saints, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Washington Redskins. Speaking of the Redskins, Washington will renew its long held rivalry with the Dallas Cowboys once again in the 2014 NFL regular season. Washington and Dallas will meet on October 27th at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. The meeting will be the 16th between the two teams; second only to the rivalry between the Raiders and Broncos, who have met seventeen times.

All of ESPN’s MNF games can be seen both on television on ESPN and ESPN Deportes, and online via WatchESPN. Additional MNF “game around the game” content will be available daily across ESPN’s various platforms including Monday Night Countdown and SportsCenter before and after each game. ESPN’s complete Monday Night Football broadcast schedule is listed below.

ESPN’s 2014 Monday Night Football Schedule

Preseason
Date Time (ET) Teams
Aug. 14 8 p.m. Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Chicago Bears
Aug. 18 8 p.m. Cleveland Browns vs. Washington Redskins
Regular Season
Sept. 8 7 p.m. New York Giants vs. Detroit Lions
10:15 p.m. San Diego Chargers vs. Arizona Cardinals
Sept. 15 8:15 p.m. Philadelphia Eagles vs. Indianapolis Colts
Sept. 22 8:15 p.m. Chicago Bears vs. New York Jets
Sept. 29 8:15 p.m. New England Patriots vs. Kansas City Chiefs
Oct. 6 8:15 p.m. Seattle Seahawks vs. Washington Redskins
Oct. 13 8:15 p.m. San Francisco 49ers vs. St. Louis Rams
Oct. 20 8:15 p.m. Houston Texans vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
Oct. 27 8:15 p.m. Washington Redskins vs. Dallas Cowboys
Nov. 3 8:15 p.m. Indianapolis Colts vs. New York Giants
Nov. 10 8:15 p.m. Carolina Panthers vs. Philadelphia Eagles
Nov. 17 8:15 p.m. Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Tennessee Titans
Nov. 24 8:15 p.m. Baltimore Ravens vs. New Orleans Saints
Dec. 1 8:15 p.m. Miami Dolphins vs. New York Jets
Dec. 8 8:15 p.m. Atlanta Falcons vs. Green Bay Packers
Dec. 15 8:15 p.m. New Orleans Saints vs. Chicago Bears
Dec. 22 8:15 p.m. Denver Broncos vs. Cincinnati Bengals
TBD TBD NFL Wild Card Game
Jan. 25, 2015 8 p.m. NFL Pro Bowl (Glendale, Arizona)

 

 

More information on the ESPN family of networks’ coverage of the 2014 NFL season is available online at http://www.facebook.com/NFLonESPN. 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.

Little Feat’s New Live Record One Big Feat

Courtesy:  Eagle Rock Entertainment/Eagle Vision/Eagle Records

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment/Eagle Vision/Eagle Records

Eagle Rock Entertainment is the leader in live releases.  The London based company has proven time and again in its near two decades in operation why it is more than deserving of that title.  Most recently, live recordings from the likes of The Rolling Stones, Dream Theater, and Sir Paul McCartney have shown just why Eagle Rock is the leader in live recordings.  Now with the release of Little Feat Live in Holland 1976, it continues to maintain that mantle.  This latest release, which hit stores and online outlets this week, is another success from Eagle Rock for a number of reasons.  One of those reasons is the performance itself.  It serves a number of ends in itself.  In direct relation, that Eagle Rock has provided the concert in an economic and ergonomic double-disc CD/DVD bundle makes this an even better release for audiences.  The quality of the sound and video in the presentation rounds out the whole package.  Considering that nearly four decades have passed since this performance was originally recorded, it sounds just as it did in the band’s performance back in 1976.  The efforts of those charged with transferring the recording from its original masters to CD and DVD along with the packaging and the show itself together make this record a definite candidate to be one of the first releases of 2014 to make this critic’s list of the year’s best new live recordings.

Nearly four decades have passed since Little Feat’s 1976 performance at the famed Pink Pop Festival in Holland.  That festival is still going strong today almost forty-five years after it started.  Countless bands and acts have performed at Pink Pop over the course of that time.  However, it would seem that very few performances from the festival’s storied history have ever been released in their entirety. That being the case, it makes this release all the more important for lovers of music with substance.   It becomes a piece of music history, so to speak. It will take older listeners back to their younger days and the joys of going to a concert truly worth one’s time and money. And for those that have become all too comfortable with today’s constant barrage of flash-in-the-pan artists, bands, and groups, it serves as an example of what was once right with not just rock music, but music in general. It shows that real music could (and still can) be made without down-tuned guitars and indecipherable vocals or any amount of foul language and references to drugs and sex. All it needs is heart as is evident throughout every song on this outstanding concert.

It’s been noted that one of the key impacts of this recording is that it will take more experienced audiences happily back to a day when concerts were nowhere near as expensive as they are today, and were far more worth the time, too. On the other side of the coin, it shows younger audiences what once made music and concerts great and still does today especially in a live setting. Eagle Rock has presented the performance in an affordable and ergonomic package including both the audio and video portion of the band’s performance that anyone can afford. On average, the double-disc set retails for about $20. Such a price for a concert that can be enjoyed time and again instead of just once is quite the bonus. That the concert can be enjoyed both on CD and DVD is even better. And that both are presented in a space saving case makes this so much more worth one’s time and money. This is especially the case being that this concert likely isn’t currently available on vinyl. Maybe the good people at Eagle Rock should look into putting it to vinyl for those that really want the full old school concert experience. Yes, that is a hint for anyone at Eagle Rock that might read this. Getting back on topic, audiences should see quite clearly by now what makes Little Feat Live in Holland yet another example of why Eagle Rock Entertainment is the leader in live releases.

Those that have yet to still see what makes Little Feat Live in Holland another example of why Eagle Rock Entertainment is the leader in live releases, will be convinced after hearing and seeing the quality of the recording’s audio and video. Nearly four decades have passed since this concert was originally recorded. Both the audio and video from this recording have stood the test of time quite well. And those charged with transferring both from their original masters onto CD and DVD have obviously taken quite painstaking efforts to present the concert as it should be presented. For that, those individuals are to be highly commended. It’s thanks to their efforts that the ever-growing generation gap in this country will be closed a little more after audiences take the time to take in this latest live release from Eagle Rock Entertainment. The efforts of those charged with bringing this classic concert back to life sits alongside the recording’s packaging and its collective historical and cultural value to make it effectively one of the year’s definitive best new live recordings.

Little Feat Live in Holland 1976 is available now in stores and online. It can be ordered online via Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Live-Holland-1976-Little-Feat/dp/B00IPL2BCQ/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1398299812&sr=1-1&keywords=little+feat. More information on Little Feat and its new release is available online at http://www.facebook.com/LittleFeat, http://www.littlefeat.net and http://www.featbase.net. 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.

Satriani Releases New Career-Spanning Box Set

Courtesy:  Epic Records

Courtesy: Epic Records

Joe Satriani released today a brand new box set.

Joe Satriani: The Complete Studio Recordings is a 15-disc box set containing each of Satriani’s records to date. It can be ordered online via Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00HZ2M5KE/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B00HZ2M5KE&linkCode=as2&tag=legacy_recordings-20. It is also available as a collectible limited edition USB drive that can be purchased via Satriani’s official website, http://www.satriani.com. The USB drive is available in a 24-bit/96kHz “High Resolution Audio.” The HRA USB drive audio is as close as fans will ever come to the early ½” analog masters and later high sample rate digital masters. That’s because the HRA has higher bandwidth, wider dynamic range, greater detail, and more depth than a conventional CD.

Satriani will be on The Arsenio Hall Show tonight as part of his promotional tour. He will sit in with Hall’s house band. And tomorrow, April 23rd, he will be the featured guest on Rockline with host Bob Coburn, promoting both his new box set and his new book, Strange Beautiful Music. Audiences can find when and on which station they can catch Satch’s interview at http://www.rocklineradio.com/affiliates.php. Fans can also check out his appearance on the season finale of VH1 Classic’s That Metal Show. Fans can check out that episode online now at http://www.vh1.com/video/that-metal-show/full-episodes/joe-satriani/1725085/playlist.jhtml.

Along with his on-air presence, Joe is featured in the “Life” section of today’s edition of USA Today. Fans can check out the article online at http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/music/2014/04/21/joe-satriani-box-set-autobiography/7476617/. He is also featured on the cover of Guitar World magazine alongside fellow guitar god and Black Label Society front man Zakk Wylde. Fans can check that out at http://www.guitarworld.com/may-2014-guitar-world-zakk-wylde-joe-satriani-how-build-pedal-board-john-frusciante-death-angel-tabs-lessons-and-more.

The complete album listing for Satch’s new box set is noted below:

Joe Satriani: The Complete Studio Recordings includes:

1986  Not of This Earth

1987  Surfing with the Alien

1989  Flying in a Blue Dream

1992  The Extremist

1993  Time Machine

1995  Joe Satriani

1998  Crystal Planet

2000  Engines of Creation

2002  Strange Beautiful Music

2004  Is There Love in Space?

2006  Super Colossal

2008  Professor Satchafunkilus and the Musterion of Rock

2010  Black Swans and Wormhole Wizards

2013  Unstoppable Momentum

2014 Additional Creations and Bonus Tracks

More information on Satriani’s new box set, book, tour news and more is available online at http://www.satriani.com and http://www.facebook.com/joesatriani. 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.

ABKCO Announces New Trio Of “Clearly Classic” Re-Issues

Courtesy:  ABKCO

Courtesy: ABKCO

ABKCO has announced that it will release three more classic Rolling Stones records to its “Clearly Classic” vinyl series this year.

ABKCO’s “Clearly Classic” started in 2013.It has added to that series of releases Get Yer Ya-Yas Out!: The Rolling Stones in Concert, 12X5, and Through The Past, Darkly (Big Hits Volume 2).The new re-issues join ABKCO’s previously released Rolling Stones “Clearly Classic” re-issues Beggars Banquet, Let it Bleed, and Hot Rocks:1964 1971.
 
Get Yer Ya-Yas Out!The Rolling Stones in Concert has the honor of being the first live album by any artist to have reached #1 on the UK charts.The concert on this re-issue was recorded at New York’s Madison Square Garden over the course of November 27thand 28th, 1969 and was the first to feature guitarist Mick Taylor.It is considered the best of the Rolling Stones’ live releases to date.The most notable performance on this recording is the band’s nine-plus minute rendition of ‘Midnight Rambler.’This record can be pre-ordered now online at http://smarturl.it/YaYasLP.
 
12X5 was the Stones’ second full length U.S. release.This album, released in October 1964, combines the band’s EP Five By Five and its singles ‘It’s All Over Now’ and ‘Time Is On My Side’ as well as their B-sides.The record also features three more tracks that would go on to be included in the Stones’second UK full length album The Rolling Stones No. 2.The upcoming “Clearly Classic” re-issue of this album is based on the original mono mix of the album.It can be pre-ordered now online at http://smarturl.it/12x5LP.
 
Through The Past, Darkly (Big Hits Volume 2) is the second of The Rolling Stones’ compilation albums.It was originally released in September 1969.The first of the Stones’compilations was titled Big Hits (High Tide and Green Grass).Through The Past, Darkly (Big Hits Volume 2) reached #2 both in the U.S. and UK upon its original release.It includes a number of the Rolling Stones’greatest and most beloved songs including: ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash’,Let’s Spend the Night Together’ and ‘Honky Tonk Woman.’Fans will appreciate that even in its re-issue, ABKCO has maintained the original album’s octagonal packaging.Inside the packaging, audiences will find a poem penned by Brian Jones who would pass away only two months before the original release of this album.Jones’ poem is below.This re-issue can be pre-ordered now online at http://smarturl.it/TTPDVinyl.
When this you see, remember me,
and bear me in your mind.
Let all the world say what they may,
speak of me as you find.
 
The track listing for each of the three upcoming “Clearly Classic” Rolling Stones re-issues is listed below.
 
Track Listings:
Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out! The Rolling Stones in Concert
Side 1
Jumpin’ Jack Flash
Carol
Stray Cat Blues
Love in Vain
Midnight Rambler
Side 2
Sympathy For the Devil
Live With Me
Little Queenie
Honky Tonk Women
Street Fighting Man
12 X 5
Side 1
Around and Around
Confessin’ the Blues
Empty Heart
Time Is on My Side
Good Times, Bad Times
It’s All Over Now
Side 2
2120 South Michigan Avenue
Under the Boardwalk
Congratulations
Grown Up Wrong
If You Need Me
Susie Q
Through the Past, Darkly (Big Hits Vol. 2)
Side 1
Ruby Tuesday
She’s A Rainbow
Jumpin’ Jack Flash
Mother’s Little Helper
Let’s Spend the Night Together
Side 2
Honky Tonk Women
Dandelion
2000 Light Years from Home
Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing In The Shadow?
Street Fighting Man

More information on The Rolling Stones is available online at http://www.facebook.com/therollingstones,http://www.rollingstones.com and http://twitte.com/rollingstones.To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicksand “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.

NHRA Heads To Texas This Weekend

Courtesy:  NHRA

Courtesy: NHRA

The Mello Yellow Drag Racing Series heads to the Lone Star State this weekend.

The Mello Yellow NHRA Drag Racing Series heads from the famed four-wide lanes of Z-Max Dragway to the Royal Purple Raceway in Houston, Texas this weekend for the annual O’Reilly Auto Parts Spring National presented by Super Start Batteries. ESPN3 will carry qualifying live Friday, April 15th at 7:30pm and Final Eliminations Sunday, April 27th at Noon. ESPN2 will rebroadcast qualifying Saturday, April 26th at 6pm and Final Eliminations Sunday, April 27th at 7pm.

Doug Kalitta (Top Fuel), Robert Hight (Funny Car), Erica Enders-Stevens (Pro-Stock), and Andrew Hines all look to extend their leads in their respective division. Dave Rieff will have the call from the booth for this weekend’s races. He will be joined by Make Dunn for more insight on each matchup.

More information on the ESPN family of networks’ coverage of the NHRA is available online at espn.go.comracing. 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.

NNS Back Under The Lights This Weekend At RIR

Courtesy:  NASCAR/ESPN/ESPN2/ABC

Courtesy: NASCAR/ESPN/ESPN2/ABC

The NASCAR Nationwide Series is back under the lights again this weekend.

The NASCAR Nationwide Series will hit the track Friday night at Richmond International for the Toyotacare 250. JR Motorsports driver Chase Elliot currently leads teammate Regan Smith by thirteen points. He will look to extend that lead when he and the rest of the field take the green flag at 7:14pm ET on ESPNNEWS. NASCAR Countdown opens the night’s broadcast at 6:30pm ET on ESPNNEWS.  ESPN2 will carry live qualifying for Friday night’s race at 3:30pm ET.

Nicole Briscoe will anchor Saturday evening’s broadcast of NASCAR Countdown. Allen Bestwick will have lap-by-lap coverage of the race. He will be joined by analysts Rusty Wallace and Andy Petree for all of the action.

More information on the ESPN family of networks’ coverage of the NASCAR Nationwide Series is available online at http://espn.go.com/racing/nascar. 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 Ready To Break Out In America On Its New EP

British rock two-piece Royal Blood has on its hands what is now one of this critic’s favorite new EPs of 2014 and potentially the best new EP of the year. The four-track disc is the duo’s—Michael Kerr (bass/vocals) and Ben Thatcher (drums)—first ever EP and second overall release. Most American audiences likely haven’t heard this duo’s work yet. Although, it has broken out in a big way on MTV Europe thanks to its new EP. And it’s about to break out here stateside, too thanks to the record in question. The EP opens in grand fashion with its bombastic title track. From there, the duo ups the ante on ‘Little Monster.’ As if the EP’s first two tracks weren’t enough, Kerr and Thatcher amp things up even more on the EP’s third song, ‘Come on Over’ before pulling back a little bit at best on ‘Hole,’ the EP’s closer. Listeners that are new to Royal Blood will agree in hearing this new EP that Kerr and Thatcher have hit on something special. The duo has crafted in Out of the Black an EP that is one of the best new EPs of 2014 if not the best of the year. It leaves listeners wanting more in the best possible way. And with any lucky, Royal Blood will in fact release its next full length album this year after having released such an impressive work on this record. Regardless, it is one more of those records that any rock purist should hear at least once before 2014 winds down.

Royal Blood’s new EP Out of the Black is without a doubt one of the best new EPs of 2014 if not the single best new EP of the year. The duo makes its case for that title right from the EP’s outset. The EP’s opener/title track 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.

The title track to Out of the Black makes quite the first impression for Royal Blood on this release. But Kerr and Thatcher don’t rest easily on their laurels. The pair steps things up even more as it transitions into the EP’s second song, ‘Little Monster.’ This song is another impressive addition to OOTB 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.

As if the seemingly untamed energy generated by ‘Out of the Black’ and ‘Little Monster’ wasn’t enough for audiences, Kerr and Thatcher keep things moving on the EP’s third 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 OOTB.

‘Hole’ the final piece on Royal Blood’s new EP bears much the same contradiction as ‘Come on Over.’ Yet what’s truly interesting about this piece is not so much the contradiction of the music and lyrics, but the musicianship of Kerr and Thatcher. Kerr’s ability to take a bass guitar and make it sound just like a standard guitar is incredible. Typically when one thinks of a bass player, one thinks of a figure slightly out of the limelight that essentially keeps time with the drummer. Kerr has broken that mold here. The things that he does with his instrument are simply incredible. Thatcher adds even more power to the song with his ability to mix some tough polyrhythmic patterns with straight forward time keeping all while balancing the two makes the song even better. Listeners can hear this musicianship for themselves when they check out an in-studio performance of this one online at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gkhQmzJ_qnk.

Whether it be for ‘Hole’, ‘Come On Over’ ‘Little Monster’ or Out of the Black’s title track, or even for all four of the songs, this EP is far more than deserving of being called one of the year’s best new EPs if not the best new EP of 2014. Audiences will agree with that sentiment when they order the duo’s new EP for themselves and after hearing the songs online. Out of the Black can be downloaded now via iTunes at https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/out-of-the-black-ep/id834515548?wmgref=http%3A%2F%2Fl.facebook.com%2Fl.php%3Fu%3Dhttp%253A%252F%252Fsmarturl.it%252FiRoyalBlood%26h%3D2AQHetLsO%26s%3D1&ign-mpt=uo%3D4. Fans in Bourges, France will be able to hear Royal Blood’s new music live when it performs at Printemps this Thursday, April 24th. From there, the duo will play a handful of dates before coming to the U.S. for three dates before heading back to Europe to finish off its Summer tour. Fans can keep up with Royal Blood’s most current tour dates and news online at http://www.facebook.com/RoyalBloodUK.

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.

Mr. Selfridge Is Even Better Than Before In Its Second Season

Courtesy: PBS/ITV Studios

Courtesy: PBS/ITV Studios

PBS’ British import Mr. Selfridge came as quite the surprise hit in its first season. There were those that expressed some uncertainty about the show, arguing that it was just PBS and it capitalizing on the success of Downton Abbey. The reality is that Mr. Selfridge is absolutely nothing like that program. As a matter of fact, Mr. Selfridge showed throughout its first season that it actually surpasses Downton Abbey. That’s thanks to a combination of solid writing and acting along with equally impressive production values in front of and behind the cameras. Season Two has already wrapped overseas and work on Season Three is underway. In the meantime, PBS will release Season Two of Mr. Selfridge on DVD and Blu-ray April 29th. It goes without saying that the second season of Mr. Selfridge continues that high standard established in the series’ first season. The show’s writers step things up in Season Two, incorporating more drama and even a certain amount of comedy that audiences are certain to appreciate. The acting on the part of the show’s cast is just as solid as ever, too. This includes the new additions to the cast this season. And the period attire and settings are right on par with the changed times, too. Each factor alone is important to the success of this season of Mr. Selfridge. Together though, they make the series’ second season even more impressive than the first.

The writing behind the second season of Mr. Selfridge is the most important factor in this season’s success. The series’ first season was centered primarily on establishing the series’ cast and their relationships. This season offers far more in terms of story lines. Selfridge’s and Mr. Selfridge himself have been caught up in World War I. The result is scandal that takes viewers right up to the season’s finale. The result of the scandal is a much more focused figure in Henry. Henry’s relationship with his wife Rose seems to be better. In fact, she even takes a more active role in the operations of Selfridge’s. That increased role leads to some wonderfully entertaining moments that are certain to have audiences laughing. Some of those moments are linked to the ongoing battle of the sexes. They are both still quite relevant to viewers today, just in a different way. Things in the store have changed a bit, too. One romance blooms while another takes a dramatic turn. Some employees leave while another returns. The store has a new weasel by the name of Mr. Thackery (Cal Macaninch). He looks and acts the part, too. His was an excellent addition as his almost childish behavior will lead to just as much laughter as anger. That’s because everyone knows someone or has known someone in their daily lives just like Mr. Thackery. Lord Loxley (Aidan McArdle) creates his own havoc for Harry along the way, too. And a surprise health diagnosis for Rose makes things even more interesting. These are just some of the many storylines that take place in Season Two. There are far more that viewers will enjoy when they purchase Season Two for themselves. With all of this going on, one would think it would be easy for the writing to get caught up in itself and get muddied. But somehow, the series’ writers managed to balance everything and even make each storyline play into the other to create one whole. That balance creates a whole that will keep audiences watching with as much fervor as any drama out there today British or American.

Those charged with crafting the scripts for each episode of Mr. Selfridge’s second season handled their duties quite well. Their ability to interweave this season’s various storylines with so much ease is the primary reason that this season is even better than the show’s first. Just as important as the series’ writing is the acting on the part of the cast. This is a direct link to the writing. The cast from the series’ first season is back. And only minimal additions have been made to the show’s cast lineup. Whether new or more experienced, the show’s entire cast does an outstanding job of interpreting each script. The cast together manages to pull in audiences and make them feel like they are actually part of the story unlike certain other dramas wherein audiences know they are watching a story unfold. And because Harry has to take a business trip at one point in the season, it allows the rest of the cast to shine. They do that and more. The cast doesn’t present that stereotypical image that so many people have of characters in British dramas. Rather, they actually present an image of being everyday people just trying to make it through another day. So kudos are in high order for the cast this season. Having examined the writing and acting undertaken for the second season of Mr. Selfridge, the only remaining logical point to examine in this season is the collective attire and settings.

The attire and settings are right on par with the times in Season Two. Season Two takes place at the start of World War I. The women’s attire especially shows the coordination with the times. There are some flappers starting to show up among some women. Even the British military uniform matches the times. And there is even a discussion between certain characters regarding the boots used by the British troops. Audiences see one of those boots, rather than hear about them. It’s nice to see the painstaking efforts of those behind the scenes to make even such minutia work in conjunction with the changing times in the story. It’s one more element that makes this season so enjoyable. On the side of the settings, audiences will appreciate how the writers incorporated Selfridge’s and the war into each other. Audiences see the British union jack throughout the store as Britain enters the war. And while audiences never really see any of it, the writers include the removal of all German goods from the store shelves. Indirectly speaking, this is part of the setting, too. It’s just an indirect part of the setting. But it still counts. And because of that, it makes this aspect of Season Two even richer.

Whether one admires mostly the settings and attire, the acting, the writing, or all three together, every bit of what went into the second season of Mr. Selfridge made this season work. It all came together to make this season even better than the first. Even more so, it all went a long way toward making Mr. Selfridge even better than Downtown Abbey. And that is saying something. Anyone that has seen the series’ first season but not yet this season will agree that this season is an important turning point for this series and a must see for anyone wanting to see how a drama is done right. It will be available in stores and online on DVD and Blu-ray Tuesday, April 29th. It can be ordered direct via the PBS online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=32224976&cp=3529703.20384186&ab=Aspot_Selfridge2&parentPage=family.

More information on Mr. Selfridge is available online at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Mr-Selfridge/303888089680606. To keep up with the latest 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.

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.