The Spirit Of Satch Is Anything But Another Covers Album

Courtesy:  Concord Records

Courtesy: Concord Records

Covers albums, like greatest hits albums, are among the most overly used records in the music industry.  Regardless of genre, there are almost as many covers and hits albums in stores and online every year as there are albums of new music from artists across the genres.  The problem with these albums is that it’s obvious that they are nothing more than fillers used for the purpose of contractual obligations.  One listen through their track listings proves this. For all of the forgettable covers and hits albums that pollute store shelves and online outlets each year, there are thankfully those diamonds in the rough that actually stand out among the masses.  Those hidden gems show that for all of the space fillers that are out there, there are those artists that take covers albums, hits albums and tribute records with at least a certain amount of seriousness.  One of those hidden gems that has been revealed in 2014 comes from veteran performer Dr. John in the form of his Louis Armstrong covers/tribute album Ske-Dat-De-Dat: The Spirit of Satch.  This thirteen-track record is more than just a collection of covers from one of the greatest names in the industry.  The covers included on this record exhibit not only the spirit of Satchmo, but also the very creative spirit of music itself.  While the songs on this record are largely full-blown re-imaginings of Armstrong’s original works, the creativity used in each song will lead this record to grow on even the most hardline of Louis Armstrong fans.  And it all starts right off the top with Dr. John’s re-imagining of Armstrong’s greatest hit, ‘What A Wonderful World.’  Dr. John’s jazzy cover of ‘I’ve Got The World on a String’ will most certainly impress audiences as it’s one of the few songs on this record that stays close to the original work.  The addition of blues great Bonnie Raitt doesn’t hurt the song, either.  And his collaboration with the famed Dirty Dozen Brass Band on ‘When You’re Smiling (The Whole World Smiles With You’ is the perfect closer for this record.  As impressive as these songs prove to be in the long run, they’re only part of what makes Ske-Dat-De-Dat: The Spirit of Satch such a rare release.  The album’s other ten tracks are worth their own listen, too.  And in hearing all thirteen tracks on this disc, any listener will agree that this record definitely stands out as one of this year’s truly rare covers/tribute albums worth hearing.

Dr. John’s new Louis Armstrong covers/tribute album Ske-Dat-De-Dat: The Spirit of Satch is one of 2014’s rare covers/tribute albums that is actually worth audiences’ attention.  And it isn’t just because it is from one of the most respected names in the music industry today.  That is proven right off the top with his cover of Armstrong’s most beloved of songs, ‘What A Wonderful World.’  Dr. John collaborated on this cover with gospel greats The Blind Boys of Alabama and fellow New Orleans native Nicholas Paton.  At first listen, the song will most certainly leave some audiences scratching their heads.  That is because it is a completely re-imagined take on the classic tune.  Rather than taking the safe route here, Dr. John and company give the song a decidedly upbeat almost gospel-style turn, making it into more of a celebratory song than the more reserved piece which audiences have come to know.  Of course that is thanks to the inclusion of The Blind Boys of Alabama on this take.  It may not grab some audiences at first.   But that’s not necessarily a bad thing.  That’s because it will grow on said audiences that give the song more than one chance.  Those audiences will realize that the more celebratory tone, as different as it may be, actually works when one takes into consideration the song’s lyrics.  Armstrong once sang on this song of all of the things that make the world so, well, wonderful.   Audiences that take that into consideration will in turn appreciate this rendition for the surprisingly positive re-working that it proves to be in the long run.  And in doing so, it will lead audiences to give this album’s other songs just as much of a chance, too.

If the re-imagining of ‘What A Wonderful World’ doesn’t win over listeners, then perhaps his duet with fellow blues legend Bonnie Raitt on ‘I’ve Got The World on a String’ will.  This hybrid jazzy/bluesy cover comes as close to the original as possible without actual mirroring said song.  Raitt and John both pay proper tribute to Armstrong in this take.  Audiences that are familiar with both artists’ style will be pleasantly surprised by their ability to balance the song’s jazz roots with their own bluesy addition to the composition.  Audiences that have heard Tony Bennett and k.d. Lang’s Armstrong covers album won’t be able to ignore the comparison to their covers here.  That’s because both Raitt and John exhibit a true reverence for Armstrong’s work here more than anywhere else on the album.  That reverence will most certainly have purist Armstrong fans dancing arm in arm and *ahem* cheek to cheek (bad pun fully intended here).

Dr. John’s duet with Bonnie Raitt on his cover of ‘I’ve Got The World on a String’ is without a doubt this record’s peak moment.  Coming in a close second is the cover of ‘When You’re Smiling (The Whole World Smiles With You).’  The song, which features Dr. John’s fellow New Orleans musicians in The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, closes out the album.  And such a song proves to be the perfect way to close out such an imaginative collection of covers.  The song’s run time comes in at just under three minutes.  To be exact, it clocks in at two minutes and forty-two seconds.  Dr. John takes a back seat throughout most of the song, letting the members of the Dirty Dozen Brass Band have the spotlight instead.  For those audiences that are less familiar with the work of the band, this song is a wonderful first impression from its members.  Those that are more familiar with the band’s body of work will be just as impressed with the ability of the band members to mix its trademark Dixieland sound with a more Latin-tinged sound.  The end result is one more truly creative and original cover of one more of Armstrong’s most beloved works.

The collaboration with the Dirty Dozen Brass Band as the final number for Ske-Dat-De-Dat: The Spirit of Satch proves to be the perfect way to close this record.  That is because it once more exhibits Dr. John’s respect for Louis Armstrong’s legacy and Armstrong himself.  Just as with all of the songs that come before it, it pays homage to Armstrong’s legacy by balancing the song’s original sound with something of a more original arrangement.  In this case, it doesn’t stray too far from the original tune.  Because it doesn’t, it is sure to leave listeners with that warm, happy feeling of nostalgia.  And what better way to go out after such an intriguing musical ride than with that warm, happy feeling?  By the song’s end, audiences will agree that having heard it and the album’s other songs, Ske-Dat-De-Dat is anything but another run-of-the-mill covers album.  It is one of the most creative covers/tribute albums released by any artist to date.

Ske-Dat-De-Dat­: The Spirit of Satch is available now online and in stores everywhere.  Fans can order it online now direct from Dr. John’s official Facebook page and website at http://www.facebook.com/DrJohn and http://www.nitetripper.com.  Audiences can also purchase Dr. John’s new album at any of his upcoming live performances.  Fans can check out Dr. John’s tour itinerary now on both sites as well.  They can also keep up with all of the latest news and updates from the man himself on both sites.  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.

Dragonforce’s New LP More Than Lives Up To Its Title

Courtesy:  Metal Blade Records

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

Euro-metal band Dragonforce released its latest album to American audiences this week.  Maximum Overload, the band’s sixth full length studio effort, is an aptly titled record.  That is because the album pushes the envelope of power metal from start to finish on this album.  From the album’s pummeling opening number ‘The Game’ to the full throttle ‘Defenders’ to the album’s equally nonstop pounding instrumental closer ‘Galactic Astro Domination,’ the members of Dragonforce leave listeners breathless by the album’s end.’  Listeners will agree that by the time the album finally ends—it runs a total of fifteen tracks and just over an hour—they have on their hands some of the best work that the band has crafted to date.

Dragonforce wastes no time getting things moving on its new album.  The band opens the album at breakneck speed in ‘The Game.’  The song initially comes across as being rather nihilistic.  But the reality of the song is that it is in fact a song that presents hope through all of the negativity in the world.  New front man Marc Hudson starts out singing of life’s difficulties, “Messed up once again/Told me it’s okay/But this path that I’m taking/I’m lost in the deep end…I tried/So hard/To reach for the stars/But I failed you all/Tried to keep standing tall/Never had a real chance at all/But I’m still searching.  That final line in which Hudson states “But I’m still searching” is a hint at the ability of the song’s subject to keep pushing on somehow despite so many negative thoughts.  That mix of emotions and strained thoughts continues late in the song as Hudson sings, “Ten thousand ways to say sorry/But life writes its own tragic story/Time marches onwards and nothing can ever be the same/But we’ll pray for a brighter tomorrow/Break free from this lifetime of sorrow/Years pass us by/But we’re all just a part of the game.”  In its own way, the song is presenting an image of someone pushing on through everything despite what seems like a battle with his or her own personal emotional demons.  Said figure won’t let those negative emotions take over no matter how many years pass.  This is just one critic’s own take on this song.  So it could very well be wrong.  If it is in fact incorrect, then apologies go out to the members of Dragonforce for the misinterpretation.  But it certainly seems to present that message of determination through the toughest of emotional odds.  That seeming positive lyrical message set alongside the pummeling dual guitar attack from Herman Li and Sam Totman, and drummer Gee Anzalone’s machine gun-like drumming makes even clearer why this song was chosen to open Maximum Overload.  The band doesn’t stop here, either.  Rather, it keeps the energy flowing well into the red and beyond right into the album’s midpoint, ‘Defenders.’

The seeming positive lyrical message presented by Dragonforce in Maximum Overload’s opener is echoed even more clearly as the album reaches its midpoint, ‘Defenders.’  Hudson sings in this song that there are those in this world that will try to bring others down.  But one can’t let those people win.  He sings of those people, “Life’s uncertain/A rat race of pain/Endlessly searching for more/Hopeless and aimless/Held back by the chains/Until we can’t take anymore.”  For all of the obstacles in life—both physical and emotional—Hudson reminds listeners that they should not give in or give up.  He goes on to sing, “Hold on/Stay strong/Breaking out from a past life fading/No more/What for/All we got is to keep on praying/Wait for their downfall/Their lives in dismay/Witness the final decay/Suffering in silence/For years we were blind/But now we got something to say.”  It’s almost as if Hudson is saying to the band’s audiences to let life’s obstacles destroy themselves whether they be other people or some other obstacle.  As with the album’s opener, the band keeps the energy going full throttle in this song.  That energy serves to make the song even more hard hitting and even more of a valuable addition to the album in whole.

The members of Dragonforce show time and again throughout the course of Maximum Overload their high level of talent. That is clearly evident in the songs already noted here. The album’s closer, ‘Galactic Astro Domination,’ more than exhibits that talent, though. Anyone that is familiar with the work of Dragonforce’s American counterparts in Powerglove will agree that Dragonforce takes the similar sound crafted by that band and ups it by a factor of at least one hundred in this full-on instrumental attack. And considering the nonstop adrenaline rush experienced throughout the songs that precede this one, it makes for a fitting final statement from Dragonforce on its new album. Whether it be for this full throttle finale, the other pieces noted or those equally driving pieces not noted here, fans of Dragonforce will find plenty of positives throughout this latest release from start to finish. Those fans will likely also find this album playing in their CD players and MP3 players quite a bit as a result.

Maximum Overload is available in stores and online now. It can also be purchased at any of the concerts on the band’s upcoming European tour. That tour will kick off Wednesday, September 17th at the Liquid Room in Edinburgh, United Kingdom. It runs through February 1st, 2015 in Brussels, Belgium. The band’s current tour schedule, news, and latest updates are all available online now at http://www.metalblade.com/dragonforce, http://www.facebook.com/dragonforce, and http://twitter.com/dragonforcehq. 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.

Grammer’s Sophomore Album Is One Of The Best New Pop Albums Of 2014

Courtesy:  S-Curve Records

Courtesy: S-Curve Records

Andy Grammer’s second full length album Magazines or Novels is one of this year’s best new pop albums.  Grammer shows on his new album that the past two years on the road haven’t left him any worse for wear.  He has picked up on Magazines or Novels right where he left off with his 2011 self-titled debut record as is evidenced by the album’s lead single ‘Back Home.’  The celebratory tune shows that Grammer has actually stepped things up with this album.  And the album’s opener ‘Honey, I’m Good’ is sure to impress Grammer’s female fans out there.  It takes a road far less traveled in the world of pop music.  And the equally poppy love song ‘Holding Out’ is a piece that both Grammer’s male and female fans will appreciate.  While it is a song of love found, it’s not the sappy song that so many songs of its ilk prove to be in the long run.  These three songs are just a few of the pieces that make Magazines or Novels another hit for Andy Grammer.  The album’s remaining six songs each present their own enjoyment, too.  Audiences will agree that whether it be for the songs noted here, or the remaining unnoted pieces, there is plenty of reason to call Magazines or Novels one of the best new pop albums of 2014.

Andy Grammer surprised a lot of people in 2011 when he released his self-titled debut record on S-Curve Records.  Now three years later, Grammer has shown that he isn’t just another flash-in-the-pan act on his sophomore album.  He has proven that right off the bat with the album’s celebratory single ‘Back Home.’  The infectious chorus of “It don’t matter where we go/We always find our way back home” will instantly get stuck in listeners’ heads.  And the equally positive vibe of the song’s verses set against its musical backing makes it even clearer why Grammer has a bright future.  He sings in the song’s opening verse, “I’m gonna need you to raise your glass/I don’t care what you put in it/Here’s to nights that you can’t take back/We live hard/But we love to laugh/We all thought that we’d get rich fast…See we won’t forget where we came from/This city won’t change us/We beat to the same drum/No we won’t forget where we came from/This city can’t change us/We beat to the same drum.”  From here, the song kicks into that celebratory chorus before going on to paying tribute to all the little things that make life so great in the song’s second and third verse.  The song’s upbeat musical backing throughout is certain to put a smile on any listener’s face as they sing happily along. From start to finish.  All of the elements combined here show why this song was chosen as the first representative work from Grammer’s new album.  For that matter, they combine to show why just as the album in whole is one of the year’s best, so is this single by itself one of the year’s best new songs.  The video for the song can be viewed online now at Grammer’s official website here.

‘Back Home’ is a wonderful first impression from Andy Grammer on his second full length studio effort.  It’s only one song on this record that makes the work in whole such a joy for listeners.  Another example of what makes Magazines or Novels such a joy is the album’s opener, ‘Honey, I’m Good.’  In an age when so many pop and R&B songs are centered on breakups and unfaithful significant others, Grammer has proven that it is actually possible to make a song that is about a faithful individual overcoming the temptation of cheating.  He sings in this song, “Naw, naw honey I’m good/I could have another/But I probably shouldn’t/I got somebody at home/It’s been a long night here/And a long night there/And these long, long legs have been damn near everywhere/Hold up now/You look good/I will not lie/But if you ask where I’m stayin’ tonight/I gotta be like/Awww, baby/Naw, baby/You got me all wrong, baby/My baby’s already got all of my love/So naw, naw honey, I’m good/I could probably have another/But I probably shouldn’t/I got somebody at home/And if I stay/I might not leave alone/Naw honey, I’m good/I could probably have another/But I probably shouldn’t/I gotta bid you adieu to another/I will stay true.”  It’s not the first time that Grammer has paid tribute to women, either.   He paid tribute to the memory or his mother and to women in general more than once on his self-titled debut.  So that he would pay tribute to women everywhere again is sure to impress quite a few listeners to say the least.  Audiences can check out this song on Grammer’s official website along with the video for ‘Back Home’ now here.

It’s a great thing to hear on the opener to Andy Grammer’s new LP that he takes the road far less traveled in the world of pop music.  The equally upbeat lead single ‘Back Home’ only adds to the enjoyment that is this album.  They obviously aren’t the only songs on this record that make it a standout collection of songs.  There is neither enough time nor space to point out every single song that makes Magazines or Novels work as well as it does.  There is time and space though, for at least one more example of what makes this album such a joy.  That song is the poppy love song ‘Holding Out.’  Grammer sings here about the revelation that past relationships not working out was a good thing.  In his words, it was a good thing because he realized that he was just “holding out” for a certain woman.  He sings in the song’s opening verse, “When I met you love/I hadn’t done the dirty yet/You called me a unicorn/You said that I didn’t exist/Truth is my heart was torn/The V had a couple of rips/But I was still holding on/To the edges with my fingertips.”  He goes on to sing in the song’s chorus that that all changed when his subject met the woman in question, though.  He sings of the change, “With a little bit of prayer/With a little bit of porn star (sorry)/Couple long nights of sleeping on my own/Waiting or the right one to come along/Waiting for the right one and now I know that I was holding out for you.”  Just as Grammer takes the road less traveled in the album’s opener, so does he take that same road with this piece, too.  Rather than take the standard, sappy, overly emotional R&B-style route, he opts for a more upbeat musical backing that still manages to reflect the cautious optimism felt in the blooming romance portrayed in the song’s lyrical side.  It’s a wonderful mix of musical and lyrical sensibility that is just as certain to have audiences singing along happily.  This is especially the case for Grammer’s female audiences.  And heck, even the guys out there could use it with the women they are dating to help put into words how they feel.  It’s one more way that this piece makes Magazines or Novels in whole an album that is just as welcome among audiences whether or not they are hearing his music for the first time.

Magazines or Novels is available now in stores and online.  It can be downloaded via iTunes and Amazon direct via Grammer’s official website here.  Audiences can also pick up his new album at any of the shows on his upcoming tour which kicks off Tuesday, September 9th.  The tour includes a performance at The Orange Peel in Asheville, North Carolina on Thursday, September 11th alongside O.A.R.  As with the album, tickets for this and all of Andy Grammer’s shows can be purchased direct via Grammer’s website.  Along with the latest tour updates, audiences can get the latest news on Andy Grammer online at http://www.facebook.com/andygrammer.  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.

The Whizpops Make A Splash On Sea Blue Sea

Courtesy:  Stretch McCoy Records

Courtesy: Stretch McCoy Records

The Whizpops get *ahem* two fins up for the band’s latest full length album Sea Blue Sea.  The third full length release from the band, it follows much the same trend as the band’s previous releases in presenting one clear and specific theme.  The band’s 2012 debut was science themed.  Its 2013 follow-up Adventures of Stretch Mc Coy took listeners on a camping trip into the woods.  And now on its third album in as many years, the band—Kevin Cashman (guitar/vocals), Casey Schaefer (guitar/vocals/ukulele), Steve Kalling (upright bass), Margie Cates (vocals), Daniel Kiely (drums/timbales), and Keaton Wilson (piano/keyboards)—takes listeners on a journey into the deep blue sea, as inferred by the album’s title.  This collection of songs is a joy for listeners of all ages.  And it is so for a number of reasons.  It isn’t just an album with songs about undersea life.  It’s more than that.  It teaches marine science at the most basic of levels through each song.  It also teaches the importance of the preservation of the world’s oceans.  Rounding out the entire presentation is its various musical stylings.  From start to finish, each song presents to listeners a different style of music which also expertly complements the songs in question.  Case in point is the album’s opener ‘Coral Reef.’  Its easygoing, poppy vibe, makes one fee like one is taking a trip, cruising around just beneath the waves as the band’s members sing about the different life that lives on a coral reef.  And then there is the even more laid back, Jack Johnson style ‘Manatee’ that makes visualizing the cows of the sea gently swimming along.  And the album’s closer ‘Octopus’ has almost as many movements and musical styles as there are arms on an octopus itself.  It’s the perfect way to close out an album that is a sleeper hit in the race for the year’s best new children’s albums.

Sea Blue Sea’s opener ‘Coral Reef’ is a great way for the band to re-introduce itself to audiences. The song’s easygoing, poppy vibe leaves audiences feeling like they are taking a trip just beneath the waves. All the while, they are learning about the ecosystem of the coral reef and why they should take care of the world’s reefs. Cashman raps (yes, raps) on this track, “Yo/The coral/They got/These creatures/Inside ‘em/Growin’ in clear water/So the sunlight can find ‘em/They help change color/And turn sunlight into food/So to say the least/They’re incredible dudes/Please don’t stress ‘em out/With pollution and heat…Without the coral reef/The ocean ain’t complete.” There are mentions throughout the song of how coral reefs interact with the animals around them and vice versa. Those mentioned interactions between the reefs and ocean life in general paint a clear picture of the importance of coral reefs. And that picture is painted in a manner that avoids any preaching. The ability of Cashman and company to avoid that preaching set alongside the song’s catchy yet relaxing musical vibe makes even clearer the reason that this song was chosen as the opener for Sea Blue Sea. It makes the song even more fun for audiences of all ages, too. Altogether it makes ‘Coral Reef’ not just a great way to open this album but a great addition to the album in whole.

‘Coral Reef’ is both a great song and a great way to open Sea Blue Sea. It is just one of so many songs that make this album so fun for audiences. That fun, easygoing vibe continues in the album’s second song ‘Manatee.’ Any older audiences that are familiar with Jack Johnson will appreciate this piece in which Cashman sings about the life of a manatee. The gentle, flowing waves set against Steve Kalling’s upright bass in the song’s opener instantly establish the song’s positive vibe. Cashman’s Jack Johnson style vocals and Casey Schaefer’s ukulele fill out the song and complete it. The picture painted by the band is so vivid as Cashman outs himself in the vantage point of the manatees, singing, “Well this warm/Water’s just right/For me/For me/Beneath the mangrove trees/Swain’ side to side/For me/For me/Down here/Swimmin’ with my friend/We kinda look like cows/With no legs/The shallow sea/Only place to be/A manatee.” Audiences can so easily close their eyes and see manatees slowly swimming along in their aquatic habitats. Anyone that has ever seen footage of them or even seem them in the flesh know how pleasant a sight this is. Just as with the album’s opener, such a sight drives home the importance of protecting such sea life and its habitat. And it does so yet again without even the slightest hint of preaching. It’s just one more reason that audiences of all ages will appreciate Sea Blue Sea.

‘Coral Reef’ and ‘Manatee’ are both wonderful examples of what makes Sea Blue Sea a wonderful new release from The Whizpops. The band shows both a certain pop sensibility and the ability to reach audiences without preaching to them unlike so many other acts with this album. The band expertly balances that pop sensibility and sense of environmental awareness throughout the course of its new album right up to the album’s closer. That song, ‘Octopus,’ finishes off the album just as well as ‘Coral Reef’ opens the album. It is a three-movement piece that outlines the daily life of an octopus. The song features an ABA format that opens and closes with a reggae sound and is centered with an upbeat, Latin-tinged bridge of sorts. Not only does the band exhibit a pop sensibility here, but it also exhibits a full knowledge of and appreciation for basic musicianship, too. The band blends the two completely different sounds seamlessly. The end result is a song that while it may not have as many arms as an octopus, is still a great closer for an album that will make a *ahem* splash (pun fully intended) with any listener and critic that (here’s another one) dives in.

Sea Blue Sea will be available tomorrow, Tuesday, August 19th in stores and online. The Whizpops will hit the road beginning this Saturday, August 23rd in support of its new album. Audiences can pick up the band’s new album at those shows, as well as online and in stores. The band’s current tour schedule is available online now at http://www.thewhizpops.com. More information on The Whizpops’ new album, tour, and more is available online via both the band’s official website and its Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/thewhizpops. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Eagle Rock Entertainment To Release New Eric Clapton Tour Documentary

Courtesy:  Eagle Rock Entertainment

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

Eagle Rock Entertainment will release Eric Clapton’s new tour documentary this fall.

Planes, Trains, And Eric will be released on DVD and Blu-ray on Tuesday, November 4th.  The film documents Clapton’s 2014 tour through the Middle East and Japan.  It features both documentation of his tour and thirteen full-length performances.  There are also interviews with Clapton and his band mates during rehearsal, soundcheck and even in the course of travelling from venue to venue.  On board for the ride on Clapton’s 2014 tour were: Paul Carrack (Hammond organ & vocals), Nathan East (bass/vocals), Chris Stainton (keyboards), Michelle Jordan (backing vocals), Shar White (backing vocals), and legendary drummer Steve Gadd (drums).  The complete listing of songs performed in this documentary is noted below.

TRACK LISTING:

1) Tell The Truth

2) Pretending

3) Crossroads

4) Driftin’

5) I Shot The Sherriff

6) Little Queen Of Spades

7) Layla

8) Wonderful Tonight

9) Key To The Highway

10) Before You Accuse Me

11) Tears In Heaven

12) Cocaine

13) Hoochie Coochie Man

14) High Time (Credits – Audio Only)

 

The documentary will retail for SRP of $19.98 on Blu-ray and $14.98 on DVD.  More information on this and other titles from Eagle Rock Entertainment is available online at http://www.eagle-rock.com and http://www.facebook.com/EagleRockEnt.  More news and updates from Eric Clapton is available online at http://ericclapton.com, http://www.myspace.com/ericclapton, and http://www.facebook.com/ericclapton.  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.

Eyes Set To Kill Announces Fall Tour Schedule

Courtesy:  Century Media Records

Courtesy: Century Media Records

The members of Eyes Set To Kill announced the details of a new upcoming tour this week.

Eyes Set To Kill will launch the “Little Liar” tour this fall. The tour begins Saturday, October 4th in Beckly, West Virginia.  The band’s current tour sees it performing eleven dates from October 4th to Wednesday, October 15th.  Two of those dates are in North Carolina.  The first of the band’s North Carolina dates is Tuesday, October 7th at Ziggy’s in Wilmington.  The second of the band’s dates in North Carolina is the next night, Wednesday, October8th at Amos Southend in Charlotte.

Along with its schedule, the members of Eyes Set To Kill also announced that it would not be alone on this tour.  The band will be joined by Providence, Rhode Island’s Scare Don’t Fear for the length of the tour as a support act.  The band is currently touring alongside Nonpoint, which is currently touring in support of its upcoming album The Return, which is due in stores Tuesday, September 30th in North America.  Eyes Set To Kill’s current tour schedule is listed below.

AUGUST

15 – Hartford, CT @ The Webster

16 – Worcester, MA @ The Palladium

17 – Portland, ME @ The Asylum

18 – Trenton, NJ @ The Backstage at Championship Bar

19 – New York, Ny @ Webster Hall

21 – Lansing, MI @ The Loft

22 – Des Moines, IA @ Wooly’s

23 – Denver, CO @ Marquis

24 – Grand Junction, CO @ Mesa Theater

SEPTEMBER

13 – Sacramento, CA @ Discovery Park (Aftershock Festival)

16 – Waterloo, IA @ Spicoli’s (w/ Nonpoint)

18 – Grand Rapids, MI @ The Intersection (w/ Nonpoint)

19 – Cherry Valley, IL @ Take 20 (headline with Righteous Vendetta)

20 – Dayton, OH @ Oddbody’s Music Room (w/ Nonpoint)

21 – Erie, PA @ BT Theater (w/ Nonpoint)

23 – Fostoria, OH @ The New West (w/ Nonpoint)

24 – Pontiac, IL @ Freksters Roadhouse (w/ Nonpoint)

25 – Chesterfield, MI @ Diesel Concert Lounge (w/ Nonpoint)

26 – Libertyville, IL @ Austins (w/ Nonpoint)

27 – Ringle, WI @ Q And Z Expo Center (w/ Nonpoint)

28 – Milwaukee, WI @ Eagles Hall (w/ Nonpoint)

30 – LaCrosse, WI @ The Cavalier Theater (w/ Nonpoint)

OCTOBER

01 – Mishawaka, IN @ Smith’s Downtown (w/ Nonpoint)

02 – Macomb, IL @ The Forum Live (w/ Nonpoint)

03 – Battle Creek, MI @ Planet Rock (w/ Nonpoint)

OCTOBER – LITTLE LIAR TOUR:

04 – Beckly, WV @ Muncheez (with Scare Don’t Fear)

06 – Virginia Beach, VA @ Shakas (with Scare Don’t Fear)

07 – Wilmington, NC @ Ziggy’s (with Scare Don’t Fear)

08 – Charlotte, NC @ Amos Southend (with Scare Don’t Fear)

09 – Atlanta, GA @ The Masquerade (with Scare Don’t Fear)

10 – Orlando, FL @ Bombshells (with Scare Don’t Fear)

11 – St. Petersburg, FL @ State Theatre (with Scare Don’t Fear)

12 – Tallahassee, FL @ Atmosphere (with Scare Don’t Fear)

13 – Jacksonville, FL @ Jack Rabbits (with Scare Don’t Fear)

14 – Destin, FL @ Club LA (with Scare Don’t Fear)

15 – Bossier City, LA @ Back to Back (with Scare Don’t Fear)

 

All of the latest tour updates and news from Eyes Set To Kill is available online at http://www.facebook.com/eyessettokill and htp://twitter.com/eyessettokill.  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.

Set It Off Announces Release Date, Track Listing For New Album

Courtesy:  Equal Vision Records

Courtesy: Equal Vision Records

Set It Off will release its new album this fall.

Duality, the latest full length studio release from Tampa, Florida’s own Set it Off will be released Tuesday, October 14th via Equal Vision Records.  Front man Cody Carson explained in a recent interview the root of the album’s title noting that it has to do with the two sides that each person possesses.  “I’ve always been borderline obsessed with the notion of duality. Something about the juxtaposition of two polar opposites seems so vulnerable and blatantly human to me,” he said.  Everyone has two sides, the side they let people see and the side they hide. In this record I decided to bare exactly who I am and what I go through in my day to day life. Love, heartbreak, sex, alcohol, happiness, sadness, anger, the human experience. I want you to hear this record and experience every human emotion you’re capable of feeling,”

Carson expanded on that train of thoughts, explaining how that thought pattern played a role in hwo the songs on this album came to life.  “It’s not just the lyrical content that represents duality,” he said. “The instrumentals portray it as well. You’ll hear dark, minor verses that transition to bright, happy choruses. Just like our lives, the great involuntary, impulsive non-stop roller coaster ride. I’m sick of fake people and watching them skate by with the idea that it’s okay to put on an act to gain confidence and trust in their peers. Allow me to be the first to tell you this about myself: I am good, I am evil. I am solace, I am chaos. I am human, and that’s all I’ve ever wanted to be. Be human with us and show us your true duality.”  Duality’s track listing is noted below.

TRACKLISTING
Duality
1. The Haunting
2. N.M.E.
3. Forever Stuck in Our Youth
4. Why Worry
5. Ancient History
6. Bleak December
7. Duality
8. Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing ft. William Beckett
9. Tomorrow ft. Jason Lancaster
10. Bad Guy
11. Miss Mysterious

In anticipation of Duality’s release, Set It Off teased the album with the premiere of a clip from the video for the single ‘Why Worry,’ which is one of the songs included on the upcoming LP.  That clip can be viewed now here. The band is also currently touring in support of Duality ahead of its release.  It is currently touring alongside Heartist, Our Last Night, and Stages & Stereos.  It will hit the road with Black Veil Brides, and Falling in Reverse beginning October 21st on the “Black Mass 2014 Tour” presented by Hot Topic.  That tour includes a stop at the Fillmore in Charlotte, North Carolina on December 5th.  The band’s current tour schedule is listed below.

TOUR DATES:
Set It Off and Our Last Night w/Heartist and Stages & Stereos
Aug 13 Houston, TX @ Bronze Peacock at House of Blues
Aug 14 Fort Worth, TX @ Tomcats West
Aug 15 Oklahoma City, OK @ Conservatory
Aug 16 St. Louis, MO @ Fubar
Aug 17 Nashville, TN @ Rocketown
Aug 22 Boston, MA @ Brighton Music Hall+

+ OLN 10 Year Anniversary Show: Our Last Night and Set It Off w/Class of 92 (Matt Arsenault of A Loss For Words), Heartist and Stages & Stereos

Black Veil Brides w/Falling In Reverse and Set It Off
Oct 21 Niagara Falls, NY @ Rapids Theatre
Oct 22 Columbus, OH @ The LC Pavilion
Oct 24 St. Paul, MN @ Myth
Oct 25 Chicago, IL @ Riviera Theatre
Oct 27 Denver, CO @ The Fillmore Auditorium
Oct 30 Las Vegas, NV @ House of Blues
Oct 31 Tempe, AZ @ The Marquee Theatre
Nov 01 Los Angeles, CA @ Wiltern Theatre
Nov 03 San Francisco, CA @ The Warfield
Nov 05 Portland, OR @ Roseland Theater
Nov 07 Seattle, WA @ Showbox SODO
Nov 08 Spokane, WA @ Knitting Factory Concert House
Nov 09 Boise, ID @ Knitting Factory Concert House
Nov 10 Salt Lake City, UT @ The Complex
Nov 12 Kansas City, MO @ Uptown Theater
Nov 14 Indianapolis, IN @ Egyptian Room at Old National Centre
Nov 15 Royal Oak, MI @ Royal Oak Music Theatre
Nov 16 Cleveland, OH @ Agora Theatre
Nov 17 Pittsburgh, PA @ Stage AE
Nov 19 Philadelphia, PA @ Electric Factory
Nov 21 Stroudsburg, PA @ Sherman Theater
Nov 22 Worcester, MA @ The Palladium
Nov 23 New York, NY @ Best Buy Theater
Nov 26 Portland, ME @ State Theatre
Nov 28 Clifton Park, NY @ Upstate Concert Hall
Nov 29 Silver Spring, MD @ The Fillmore Silver Spring
Dec 02 Louisville, KY @ Expo Five
Dec 03 Atlanta, GA @ The Tabernacle
Dec 04 Orlando, FL @ House Of Blues
Dec 05 Charlotte, NC @ The Fillmore Charlotte
Dec 06 Norfolk, VA @ The NorVa
Dec 08 Grand Rapids, MI @ The Orbit Room
Dec 09 St Louis, MO @ The Pageant
Dec 11 Houston, TX @ Bayou Music Center
Dec 12 Dallas, TX @ South Side Ballroom
Dec 13 San Antonio, TX @ Backstage Live
Dec 15 Albuquerque, NM @ Sunshine Theater

Fans can keep up with the latest tour updates and news from Set It Off online at http://www.facebook.com/setitoffband, http://www.myspace.com/setitoff, and http://twitter.com/setitoff.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at 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.

Wovenwar Impressive In Its First Week

Courtesy:  Metal Blade Records

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

Good news for Wovenwar.

Wovenwar’s self-titled debut for Metal Blade Records has debuted at #36 on Billboard’s Top 200. The news is just as good for the album’s debut online and overseas. It peaked online in the #2 spot on iTunes’ rock chart and the top spot on the online music service’s metal chart in the album’s first week of release. Overseas, Wovenwar debuted at #41 on the German Top 100 Media Control album charts. These numbers come on the heels of the debut of the video for the band’s new single ‘All Rise.’ That video can be viewed now online at Wovenwar’s Metal Blade Records website, http://www.metalblade.com/wovenwar.

Wovenwar is currently in the midst of a European tour in support of its debut record. The band will be at the Pukkelpop Festival in Hasselt, Belgium this Friday. That show will be followed by a performance at the ELB Riot in Hamburg, DE Saturday and the X Rockfest in Herford, DE Sunday. The band’s current tour schedule is listed below.

WOVENWAR on tour:
European Tour
08/15 Hasselt, BE Pukkelpop Festival
08/16 Hamburg, DE ELB Riot
08/17 Herford, DE X RockFest
08/19 Berlin, DE Lido w/ Of Mice & Men
08/21 London, UK Barfly headliner
08/23 Reading, UK Reading Festival
08/24 Leeds, UK Leeds Festival
Tour w/ In Flames, and While She Sleeps
09/27 Krakow, PL Studio Club
09/28 Budapest, HU Barba Negra
09/29 Prague, CZ The Roxy
09/30 Hamburg, DE Grosse Freiheit
10/01 Esch-sur-Alzette, LU Rockhall
10/02 Milano, IT Live Club
10/03 Zürich, CH Komplex
10/04 Lausanne, CH Les Docks
10/05 Trezzo Sull’Adda, IT Live Club
10/07 Madrid, ES LA Rivierea
10/08 Barcelona, ES Sala Razzamatazz
10/09 Zaragoza, ES Zaragoza
10/10 Cenon, FR Le Rocher de Palmer
10/11 Clermont-Ferrand, FR La Cooperative De Mai
10/12 Paris, FR Le Bataclan
10/14 Strasbourg, FR La Laiterie
10/15 Brussels, BE AB H all
10/16 Manchester, UK The Ritz
10/17 Glasgow, UK 02 ABC
10/18 London, UK O2 Shepherds Bush Empire
10/20 Tilburg, NL 013
10/24 Frankfurt, DE Jahrhunderthalle
10/25 Kempten, DE Bix Box
10/26 Leipzig, DE Haus Auensee
10/27 Wien, AT Gasometer
10/29 Berlin, DE Columbiahalle
10/30 Ludwigsburg, DE Arena
10/31 Köln, DE Palladium
11/01 Bochum, DE Ruhr Congress
11/02 Copenhagen, DK Store Vega
11/04 Helsinki, FI Helsingin Jäähalli
11/06 Stockholm, SE Hovet
11/07 Oslo, NO Spektrum Arena Ans
11/08 Gothenburg, SE Scandinavium

More information on Wovenwar’s tour and all of the latest news and updates from the band is available online at http://www.wovenwar.com and http://www.facebook.com/wovenwar. 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.

Downset’s First Album In A Decade Shows A Band As Strong As Ever

Courtesy:  Adrenaline PR

Courtesy: Adrenaline PR

L.A.-based hardcore rap-rock band Downset returned to the stage last year after breaking up in 2009.  And now only a year after reuniting and hitting the stage again, the band has released its first album in a decade.  And it is quite the return for the band.  Right off the top, the band proves it is as strong as ever. The album’s opener and title track is a blatant declaration that Downset is back.  And it’s not the only powerful statement from the band, either. ‘Champion’ is just as strong of a statement from the band early on in the album.  If that isn’t enough for audiences, the social statement that is ‘Who’s Tripp’n’ is a doubly hard-hitting piece both for its musical side and for the statement made through its lyrics.  These songs are but a fraction of what Downset offers audiences on its return.  There are nine other tracks on this disc from which audiences can choose their favorite(s).  Those tracks alongside the pieces noted here make One Blood a solid return for Downset.

Downset makes one heck of a statement right off the bat on its new album.  Being that roughly ten years have passed since the band released its last full length studio effort, the band made certain with this album’s title track and opener to let audiences know that it is back with a vengeance.  Front man Rey Oropeza writes of the band’s return in the song, “The dream will never fold up/Rebirth of the vision/That awoke us/Uprising side by side again/Building ain’t lost that feeling/Believing the new dawn/True bonds add on/Chain of strength/Tribal solid steel stand strong/Score it like the same team/The same scene/Lock and link deep/You know what I mean?”  That declaration set against the song’s pounding musical backing makes for quite the powerful reintroduction for one of the bigger names in the underground hard rock realm.

‘One Blood’ is a powerful reintroduction for Downset after what can supposedly now be called the band’s extended hiatus.  It isn’t the album’s only high point, either.  The equally hard edged ‘Champion’ is certain to impress the band’s long-time fans.  Drummer Chris Hamilton’s drum fill is the driving force behind this song.  And the positive message contained in the song’s chorus will have fans screaming along proudly.  The band screams in the song’s chorus, “When we reach the corner/We emerge to astonished eyes/If you can’t touch the sky/Then why should I/You wait for the perfect moment/To turn the tide/Break through the pressure and pain…Champion.”  It proves to be one of those songs centered on the power of self-determination.  Yet again, it serves as more proof of the value of hard rock.  Any song that can help to empower a listener to be strong is a positive at least in the eyes on this critic.  That being the case, it makes ‘Champion’ one of the highest of highs on this record.

Downset has come back with quite a bit of power and substance on its reintroduction to the world.  That has already been evidenced through the songs noted above.  There is at least one more example of that power in substance late in the album in the form of the song ‘Who’s Tripp’n.’  The song is a social commentary in which Oropeza writes about the state of certain communities across America.  He seems to be writing in this song about what has happened to said communities in terms of the growth of gang populations, racial profiling and more.  The song clocks in at just under three and a half minutes in length.  But it hardly feels that long when one really takes in the song for both its thought provoking lyrics and equally pounding musical accompaniment.  That is meant in the most complimentary of manners. It shows how easily the song engages audiences and keeps their ears and minds throughout the course of the song. Yet again here audiences have proof that Downset means business on its new album. It is one more reason that any of the band’s audiences new and old alike will want to check out this album. And along with the remaining songs not noted here, One Blood proves to be quite the solid listen for both fans of Downset and of the hardcore and rap-rock scenes alike.

Downset is currently touring in support of One Blood. Audiences can keep up with the band’s latest updates and news from the road online now via Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/DownsetLA and via Twitter at http://twitter.com/@DownsetLA. 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.

Adage Could Be North Carolina’s Next Big Name In Music

Courtesy:  Pavement Entertainment

Courtesy: Pavement Entertainment

Austin, Texas.  Seattle, Washington.  Los Angeles, California. Atlanta, Georgia.  New York, New York.  Most people reading this right now are likely scratching their heads where this is going.  The answer is simple.  The cities noted here are some of America’s biggest hotbeds in the music industry.  They aren’t the industry’s only major hotbeds, though. Most people might not know it, but North Carolina as a whole state is a music hotbed within itself.  As a matter of fact, North Carolina could be argued to be one of the biggest musical hotbeds in America.  That’s because of the variety of major name acts that have called North Carolina home throughout the ages.  Jazz pioneers such as Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane, and Max Roach all called North Carolina home as did fellow jazz great Billy Taylor. Taylor hailed from Greenville, North Carolina while Monk and Coletrane came from Rocky Mount and High Point respectively.  The Fabulous Corsairs, which featured famed singer-songwriter James Taylor called Chapel Hill home.  In terms of the world of rock, the world renowned Corrosion of Conformity is still performing and recording today.  As a matter of fact, COC released its latest album earlier this year.  The band calls The Old North State’s capital city Raleigh home.  Delta Rae, which is one of the biggest of North Carolina’s biggest acts today calls Durham home as does indie band Bombadil.  Of course one can’t forget the likes of The Avett Brothers, Parmalee, Between The Buried and Me, or Trioscapes among so many others.  Now another young up and coming band has added its name to that list of bands and artists that have made North Carolina the rich musical hotbed that it is for so many decades thanks to its new EP Defined.  The band’s debut for Pavement Entertainment presents great potential for the Winston-Salem based band even with only a total of five songs.  The songs included on this record exhibit influence from bands such as Breaking Benjamin, Three Days Grace, and to a lesser extent Trapt.  What’s more any of the songs included on this disc could easily be used as a single to promote the band.  That is obvious right off the top in the EP’s opening number ‘Anymore.’  It is just as obvious on the EP’s third and final songs, ‘Hold On’ and ‘By Myself’ respectively.’  ‘Best Of’ and ‘Growing Colder’ are also excellent examples of what audiences can expect from Adage’s new EP.  Collectively, the songs included on this record show Adage as a band that is on the brink of adding its name to the list of North Carolina’s biggest bands and artists.

The members of Adage show why the band is close to becoming another of North Carolina’s most well-known and talked about acts right from the outset of its new EP in the song ‘Anymore’  The song’s agro-rock stlye sound hints at influences both from the likes of Trapt and even Taproot to a slightly lesser extent.  Drummer Alex Hough’s timekeeping in this piece is exception especially considering the polyrhythmic patterns that he handles while keeping time for the band.  And the 1-2 punch of guitarist Luke and vocalist Justin Doyle heightens the song’s energy and emotion as well.  There is a certain furiousness in Doyle’s voice as he sings over the equally driving guitar line, “Everytime you look in my eyes you lie/And tell me everything’s alright/I know you don’t feel it anymore…I hate you/For all you’ve done to me/Some things you never see/And I don’t care.”  Songs about breakups are nothing new to the music industry.  They go back as far as the industry’s own beginnings it would seem.  But those songs that take the high road instead of the depression oh-woe-is-me angle are rather few and far between.  So when angrier, more aggressive pieces such as this one come along, they are a welcome change of pace.  That more aggressive lyrical and musical style that collectively make up this song makes it an instant radio ready song and a good representation of the band’s work on Defined.

As with ‘Anymore,’ ‘Hold On’ is also centered in the standard lyrical theme of relationships.  It also boasts the same agro-rock style that made so many bands in the late 90s and early 2000s fan favorites.  This song absolutely cries “LIVE” because of that sound.  Doyle sings Sorry that I’m not perfect/One day I will be worth it/To you/So hold on/I can’t ever find the right words/For saying nothing is so much worse to you/Hold on/All of this will come together/And I promise you/I promise you/Say goodbye for you.”  This song comes across as the polar opposite to the EP’s opener in that it seems more like his subject here is pleading for a woman to stay around versus the self-assured figure in ‘Anymore.’  He is trying his hardest to convince her to stay.  The musical comparison to the band’s bigger named counterparts only serves to make the song even more entertaining for audiences.  It goes to show the caliber of material the band is presenting here.  And that caliber is high, needless to say.  Together with ‘Anymore’ it makes for even more reason for fans to check out this EP when it drops August 19th.

Both ‘Anymore’ and ‘Hold On’ are good examples of what makes Defined an impressive new release from Adage.  Of the EP’s five songs, though there is still one more example of what makes this release the work that could potentially make Adage North Carolina’s next big name.  That song is the EP’s closer ‘By Myself.’  This song is a good way for the band to have closed out Defined.  It was such a good choice for a closer in that it shows the band’s softer side.  It’s a more melodic piece.  And among the EP’s five songs, it is perhaps the strongest candidate of all for the song that really breaks out the band.  Doyle sings in this song, “I’m crying out/Out for help/I just can’t be by myself/Remember how/How I felt/I just can’t see/By myself/I hear it from all sides/On how I should love you/I can’t make up my mind/On anything I do/Why am I here/Why won’t you just take me home/Why am I here/Why won’t you just leave me alone.”  The guitar breaks that follow the chorus are right up there with the likes of Mark Tremonti (Alter Bridge) and other top named guitarists.  That along with the power in Doyle’s vocals make this song just as fitting a closer as ‘Anymore’ is the opener for the record.  Such a powerful final statement along with the EP’s other noted songs (and the pair not mentioned) seals the deal for Adage and for Defined.  It is the final piece of musical evidence proving why Adage is on the verge of becoming North Carolina’s next big name.

Defined will be available in stores and online Tuesday, August 19th via Pavement Entertainment.  Audiences can check out the songs from Defined online now via Adage’s ReverbNation website at http://www.reverbnation.com/adageband while they wait for the EP to drop.  They can also keep up with the band’s latest tour dates through that website and the band’s official Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/adageband1.  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.