Battlecross Announces New Tour Dates, Starts Working On New Album

Courtesy:  Metal Blade Records

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

The members of Battlecross have confirmed that the band will hit the road this summer for a headlining tour.

The band will kick off its upcoming headlining summer tour on Thursday, July 24th at The Basement in Columbus, Ohio. A pair of dates in North Carolina is also planned as part of the band’s tour. That pair of dates will see the band perform at the Greene Street Club in Greensboro, North Carolina on Friday, July 25th and The Casbah at Tremont Music Hall on Sunday, July 27th. The band will be joined by Crimson Shadows at both performances. Crimson Shadows, from Canada, was the winner of the most recent Wacken Metal Battle. New York-based band IKILLYA will also be on hand for support.

The first leg of the band’s summer tour runs through Thursday August 7th. Battlecross will join Killswitch Engage on Friday, August 8th and Sunday, August 10th at Expo 5 in Louisville, KY and at Austin’s in Libertyville, IL respectively. The band also has a performance scheduled for Saturday, August 9th at the DIRT Fest in Birch Run, MI. After finishing its U.S. run, Battlecross will head south for the South American leg of its tour. That leg of the band’s tour currently runs from Friday, August 22nd to Sunday, August 24th. Also on board for that leg of the tour will be Memphis May Fire and Killswitch Engage. Currently, the band is on tour in Europe in support of its latest release, War of Wills. The band is touring alongside Huntress and will be in Milano today. The band’s current tour schedule is listed below.

BATTLECROSS Summer 2014 European tour dates:
19/06/14 IT – Milano – Club Legend w/ Huntress
20/06/14 SI – Ljubljana – Orto Bar w/ Huntress
21/06/14 HR – Zagreb – Mochvara Club w/ Huntress
27/06/14 BE – Dessel – Graspop Festival

BATTLECROSS
Tour w/ Crimson Shadows
Thu/Jul-24 Columbus, OH @ The Basement
Fri/Jul-25 Greensboro, NC @ Greene Street Club
Sat/Jul-26 Elizabethton, TN @ The Bonnie Kate
Sun/Jul-27 Charlotte, NC @ The Casbah at Tremont Music Hall
Mon/Jul-28 Jacksonville, FL @ 1904 Music Hall
Wed/Jul-30 Reading, PA @ Reverb
Thu/Jul-31 Buffalo, NY @ Waiting Room
Fri/Aug-01 Hartford, CT @ Webster Underground
Sat/Aug-02 Albany, NY @ Bogies
Sun/Aug-03 Ottawa, ON @ Mavericks
Mon/Aug-04 Quebec City, QC @ L’Agitee
Tue/Aug-05 London, ON @ Rum Runners*
Wed/Aug-06 Syracuse, NY @ Lost Horizon
Thu/Aug-07 Pittsburgh, PA @ Smiling Moose
End tour
Fri/Aug-08 Louisville, KY** @ Expo 5
Sat/Aug-09 Birch Run, MI @ DIRT Fest
Sun/Aug-10 Libertyville, IL** @Austin’s
*co-headline w/ Macabre
** w/ Killswitch Engage

BATTLECROSS South American tour dates
w/ Killswitch Engage, Memphis May Fire
Fri/Aug-22 Curitiba, Brazil @ Music Hall
Sat/Aug-23 Sao Paulo, Brazil @ Carioca Club
Sun/Aug-24 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil @ Circo Voador

Along with its upcoming tour dates, the members of Battlecross have also announced that the band has started work on its third full length album. Guitarist Hiran Deraniyagala shared his thoughts regarding the connection between the short headlining tour and the album. He said of the band’s expectations for both, “We’re excited to announce our first headline run in quite a while. It’s short but sweet, and this gives us time to write the new record this summer.” Fellow guitarist Tony Asta added his thoughts, too. “The past year has been very inspiring for the band and our attitude towards the writing process this time around is more confident and driven,” he said. “I expect our next album to kick you in the ass harder than the last. Album #3 will be a serious contender in 2015 and a defining Battlecross record.”

More information on Battlecross’ upcoming tour, album and more is available online now at http://battlecrossmetal.com, http://www.facebook.com/battlecrossmetal, and http://twitter.com/battlecross. 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.

Weinkauf’s Children’s Debut Is One Of 2014′s Top 10 Best New Children’s Albums

Courtesy:  Megaforce Records/Idlewild Recordings

Courtesy: Megaforce Records/Idlewild Recordings

Bassist Danny Weinkauf is best known for his work with the quirky cult favorite band They Might Be Giants. He will be known for much more when he releases his debut children’s album No School Today next month. No School Today is just as enjoyable for parents that know Weinkauf for his work with TMBG as it is for the children at whom it is aimed. That’s because the songs aside, its sound is at times similar to that of TMBG’s catalogue. Weinkauf even openly admitted in an interview to promote his new album that the album’s opener, ‘Archaeology’ was written in response to fans of TMBG confusing the song ‘Paleontologist’, calling it his [Weinkauf’s] “Archeology”song. He said, “Several times after a Giants show, people would come up and tell me how much they liked my“Archaeology” song. They were confusing the title of ‘Paleontologist,’ but I decided to honor them by writing another song.” It is a wonderful way for grown up fans of MTBG to introduce their own children to their favorite band. Another of this album’s songs that the whole family will enjoy is the mid-tempo rocker ‘Champion of the Spelling Bee.’ This song features Weinkauf’s son Kai on vocals. And the vocal talents of the younger Weinkauf are surprisingly impressive. These two songs are both great examples of what makes No School Today such a fun record. They are collectively only a portion of what makes this album so enjoyable. Just as fun for the whole family is ‘The Moon is Made of Cheese.’ The song’s title is self-explanatory. At the same time that it uses the old joke of the moon’s composition, it also teaches a short musical history lesson and even pokes fun at the conspiracy theorists out there. All these elements combined together make this one more of this album’s highest points. When set alongside the rest of the album’s songs, it becomes one more part of a whole album that every family should add to their child’s music library.
No School Today is a wonderful album for the whole family. That’s because Danny Weinkauf incorporates elements of They Might Be Giants throughout the course of the album’s sixteen songs. Right from the album’s outset, he pays tribute to fans of TMBG with a semi-companion piece to the song ‘Paleontology,’titled ‘Archaeology.’ Weinkauf noted in an interview promoting his new album that ‘Archaeology’ is a tribute to fans of TMBG who constantly called ‘Paleontology’ by the wrong name. At the same time that it’s a companion to the noted TMBG song, it’s just as enjoyable in its own shoes because it teaches a fun, musical science lesson for young listeners. Weinkauf sings in the song, “We’ll survey around the grounds/Seeking data that abounds/Then postulate on what we’ve found/Will our reasoning be sound?” Listeners can actually see scientists probing an excavation site, gathering items and studying them as he sings. That ease of visualization, the simple lyrics, and the song’s seemingly Beatles influenced sound collectively make the song even more fun for listeners of all ages. And it’s only the beginning of the fun for Weinkauf’s fans. Another one of the many high points shared throughout the course of this album is the grammatically-themed song, ‘Champion of the Spelling Bee.’
Danny Weinkauf’s debut children’s album is loaded with more high points than can be noted in one sitting. One of those many high points has already been raised in the album’s opener. Another high point worth mentioning is the grammatically-themed light rocker, ‘Champion of the Spelling Bee.’ Weinkauf’s son Kai takes center stage in this song. And he does so in surprisingly impressive fashion, singing, “Is it French/Is it Latin/Does it come from the Greek/Tell me of its derivation/Is it ooh/Is it oh that you speak/Do I have correct pronunciation/I’ve been readin’ every night from the dictionary/Memorizin’every word/My teacher says that I could be extraordinary/If I just would put in the work.” The young man’s vocals are quite sharp as is the song’s driving guitar line. The song gains even more footing in the fact that directly or not, it serves as a starting point in promoting literacy among young listeners. It’s an added bonus to a song that thanks to its catchy hooks and choruses is already a joy to begin with. That added to the mix makes it all the more enjoyable of a listen whether in the classroom, the living room or even in the car.
Both ‘Champion of the Spelling Bee’ and ‘Archaeology’ are great additions to No School Today. There is at least one more song from this standout debut from Danny Weinkauf worth noting in just one sitting. That song is the science-themed song, ‘The Moon is Made of Cheese.’ The title itself makes one want to listen to the song. And in listening to the song, audiences will not be disappointed. Weinkauf playfully pokes fun at all the conspiracy theorists who believe the moon landing never happened all while teaching a history lesson about the moon landing. He even incorporates the old joke of the moon being made of cheese. The song’s punk style musical backing makes the song as a whole even more enjoyable for listeners of all ages. As enjoyable as the song is, it’s only one more of so many wonderful examples of why No School Today is without a doubt, one of the top ten best new children’s albums of 2014. No School Today can be pre-ordered online now via Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/No-School-Today-Danny-Weinkauf/dp/B00IQFBZPA/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1395837036&sr=1-1&keywords=Danny+Weinkauf.
Parents and kids can check out the lyrics to every song on No School Today on Danny Weinkauf’s official website, http://www.dannyweinkauf.com. While there, fans can also learn more about who played on the album, keep up with the latest news from Danny, and even check out music videos for some of Danny’s songs. Fans can also keep up with all of the latest from Danny Weinkauf on his official Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/Danny.Weinkauf. 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.

Former Pantera Front Man Releasing Solo Debut This Summer

Courtesy:  Housecore Records

Courtesy: Housecore Records

Former Pantera front man Philip Anselmo is set to release his first ever solo album this Summer.  Walk Through Exits Only will be released Tuesday, July 16th through his own record label, Housecore Records (MRI/Megaforce).  It will be available on CD, digitally, and on vinyl.  The eight-track album was co-produced by Anselmo and Michael Thompson.  It was recorded at Anselmo’s own Nodferatu’s Lair with his band, The Illegals. 

Anselmo explained in his own words just what the album means to him and what audiences can expect from this upcoming release.  “It wasn’t about doing a paint-by-numbers thrash or heavy metal record,” he said.  “It’s an angry album that only I could do.  I don’t see anybody else out there screaming about the same shit I’m screaming about.  On this album, there isn’t any wordplay, there isn’t any hidden message, it’s all right there in front of you.” 

A tour to support the album is already being planned.  Anselmo is currently up for an award in the “Best Vocalist” category at this year’s Revolver “Golden Gods” awards.  He is expected to make an appearance at the awards show.  To find out when Philip Anselmo will be heading out on the road and where, fans can follow him on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/philipanselmo, on MySpace at http://www.myspace.com/philipanselmo, and his official website, http://www.philanselmo.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.

Anthrax EP One Of 2013′s Best Rock Records

Anthrax has proven once again with its new EP, Anthems, why it is still one of rock’s elite bands.  This veteran rock act has crafted in its new release a work that is perfect in every way.  From the sequencing to the sound to the very packaging, everything that could have been done right was done right.  Sure, it probably is essentially a space filler between albums, but even if that is the case, it is one heck of a space filler.  It’s a musical history lesson for rockers of all ages.  Here, audiences get a band that by comparison to the bands it covers is relatively young.  Yet it shows that it knows the classics through some expert renditions of said classics.

Anthems opens with a cover of Rush’s ‘Anthem.’  This song originally appeared on Rush’s album, Fly By Night.  That Anthrax would cover Rush is a mind blower in and of itself.  Considering the style of music for which Anthrax is known, one would not instantly consider such a polar opposite sound to be any kind of influence on the band.  So that in itself is an eye opener.  That the band so expertly covered the song is even more of an eye opener.  The band paid homage to Rush and the song with its cover, but still added its own touch to the song, too.  Front man Joey Belladonna makes the song even more solid of an opener when he sings the line, “Welcome to the world.”  When Geddy Lee first sang those words, they obviously had their own meaning.  But having Belladonna sing those same words, they somehow take on a whole new meaning.  Since this is the EP’s opener, it could be argued that those words take on an introductory fashion for new listeners and a whole new introduction even for those more seasoned audiences.  Given, that probably wasn’t the intended function of that line.  But it does seem to have that impact.

The band’s new EP only gets better from the opening cover.  The EP’s second track is a cover of another legendary band’s song.  The band’s cover of AC/DC’s ‘TNT’ is without a doubt, one of this disc’s major high points.  One can’t help but focus yet again on front man Joey Belladonna. Maybe it is just this critic’s own take on the song, but Belladonna sounds eerily like the late great Bon Scott in every sense in this song.  Had one not known it was him, one might actually have thought it was the original song.  This is also thanks in part to guitarist Rob Caggiano, who earlier this year announced his departure from the band.  His take on Angus Young’s guitar work on this rock classic pays Young full honor.  And drummer Charlie Benante’s drumming is just as solid as that of Phil Rudd.  This is one that one could easily see the band performing live as it tours the country on the Metal Alliance Tour this Spring.

If Anthrax’s covers of ‘TNT’ and ‘Anthem’ aren’t enough for fans, then the cover of Boston’s ‘Smokin’’ will impress audiences.  This is yet another spot on cover that keeps the energy flowing from the EP’s first two tracks.  Older, more experienced rockers will love how the band handles this track.  And that such a young band by comparison could so expertly handle this classic will make older audiences smile, too.  Younger audiences will love it too simply because the band shines here even more.  It’s as if the band just keeps getting better and better on every track.  This is the case with the remaining trio of covers included here, too.  Those covers lead into the inclusion of two more bonuses in the form of ‘Crawl’ and its remix of sorts.

‘Crawl’ was taken from the band’s 2011 album, Worship Music.  Including both this track and its remix was actually quite smart.  Whereas so many bands in a case such as this would only include the redone track or live track, Anthrax and Megaforce Records have included both tracks, thus offering audiences the chance to compare and decide for themselves which version of the song they like better.  Regardless of which song becomes one fan’s favorite or another’s these last two tracks help the EP close just as solidly as it opened.  It goes without saying that if any one negative that could be said about Anthems, it is that the band chose to make this an EP, instead of a full length album.  Here’s to hoping one day, fans will see that happen.  Until then, fans can listen to his EP to their hearts’ content as the EP is available now both in stores and online.  It can be ordered online direct from the official Anthrax website here:  http://anthrax.com/2013/03/19/anthems-is-here/Worship Music can be ordered directly via the band’s official website also at  http://shop.anthrax.com/shop.cfm/pk/category/ac/detail/cid/409267/prodid/412162.

Fans can get a chance to win a copy of Anthems for free right now and the chance to see the band live at its stop in Charlotte, North Carolina next month from the Phil’s Picks blog and Facebook page when they “Like” the Phil’s Picks Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/philspicks.  Just “Like” the Phil’s Picks Facebook page and say you want to be entered for the chance to win an EP and to see the band live.

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.

Black Crowes Announce New Tour, Live Release

Photo Credit:  Rod Snyder

Photo Credit: Rod Snyder

Chris Robinson and his band mates in the Black Crowes will be hitting the road again in 2013.  In connection to the upcoming tour, the band has announced that it will also offer a vinyl and digital release of its live release, Wiser for the Time.  The band will release the live recording via Silver Arrow/Megaforce Records on March 19th.  The band’s tour, labeled the “Lay Down With Number 13” tour, will kick off March 24th in Manchester, U.K.  It will take the band through the U.K. through March 30th before coming back to the U.S. April 2nd – May 4th

Tickets for the first leg of the band’s tour will go on sale Friday, January 11th at 10:13 local time.  Ticket information will be available tomorrow, January 1st on the band’s website, http://www.blackcrowes.com.  Fans can also go to the band’s website and its Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Black-Crowes/8333596474 to get the band’s current tour lineup and all of its latest upcoming tour dates.

The band’s upcoming vinyl release of its live recording, Wiser for the Time, will be on a four-disc, eight side set.  It will contain a total of twenty-six songs.  Fifteen of those songs will be acoustic.  The remaining eleven songs will be electric.  The collection of songs comes from the band’s sold out five-night stand in New York City from 2010.  The set will also be released as a double album digital download.

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it or its companion page, http://www.facebook.com/pages/Reel-Reviews/381028148587141.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.