Ruining Lives Is Prong’s Best Album Yet

Courtesy:  Steamhammer/SPV Records

Courtesy: Steamhammer/SPV Records

This is our best album yet. THIS is our best album yet. Who hasn’t heard these words uttered time and again by any number of artists, groups and bands? That phrase is tossed around far too much today. It seems like every artist, band and group feels their latest album is their best album yet. Yet it seems like so many albums from said artists, groups, and bands sound like their previous releases. However, in the case of Ruining Lives, the latest album from Prong, that line is more than proper. Prong founding member Tommy Victor has worked hard to get his band to where it is today, all the while staying just under the mainstream radar. Ruining Lives could potentially be the album that finally breaks Prong through that barrier. One of the reasons for this could be that Victor manned the boards himself on this album and invited Steve Evetts (Skinlab, Sepultura, The Dillinger Escape Plan) to lend his talents, too. The end result of their work is an album the more than deserves to be on any metal purist’s list of the year’s top ten best new hard rock and metal albums by year’s end.

Ruining Lives is an album that more than deserves to be called the best album by far from Prong. The main reason for that is that long-time fans will be able to pick out elements of so many of Prong’s previous records throughout the course of its eleven total tracks. Right from the album’s outset, long-time fans will be transported back to 1994 and Prong’s hit album Rude Awakening. The driving guitar line has obvious elements from that album. But there is also an obvious growth from that point, too. Victor’s vocals sound as strong as ever as he sings, “Great power/Great rage/So deafening/Turning it over/It’s oppressing/More power/More gain/There’s more for me.” The point of Victor’s guitar chops are just as strong. That’s especially evident as he breaks into the song’s old school style guitar solo. The speed and accuracy of Victor’s playing and his vocal power show that he is at the top of his game here. Alexei Rodriguez’s drumming and Tony Campos’ bass work are just as solid. They add their own touch to this song, making it all the more pummeling.

The energy exuded by ‘Turnover’ is just the beginning for Victor and his band mates on this album. That applies in every sense of the word. The trio barely gives listeners time to catch their breath before launching into the album’s second song ‘The Barriers.’ This speed/thrash metal style song is a full throttle song that is the purest of fodder for any mosh pit in a live setting. As with the album’s opener, Victor and company have never sounded better. This song makes Prong sound like a band reborn and Victor specifically a man reborn. Victor sings in this song, “This must be a dream/Can’t believe this is happening/This can’t be real/Now at their feet/Gonna have to kneel/Reach out for a remedy/Searching for transparency/Barriers of fear/All built up right through the years.” He sounds as strong as he did in his younger years. And this song is not the only one exhibiting this, either.

Fans of Prong’s older material will be just as impressed by the work of Victor and his current band mates on the likes of the album’s title track. Victor himself noted in an interview of this song that it has a feel and sound similar to that of Force Fed. The controlled chaos of Victor’s shredding combined with Campos’ full on low end and Rodriguez’s equally solid timekeeping will definitely make this song a favorite of both long-time fans and those that are less familiar with the band’s body of work. It serves as one more example of how much Victor has grown over the course of his career. Because of its link to Prong’s early days and its “cleaner” more focused sound, it shows just how much Prong has yet to offer. And with any luck, Tommy Victor and his current band mates will hear that too and release even more Prong albums in the years to come.

Ruining Lives will be available April 28th via Steamhammer/SPV Records. The band is currently in the midst of a European tour in support of the album. Its current schedule keeps it overseas through August. Audiences can find the band’s most current tour schedule online at http://www.facebook.com/prongmusic and http://prongmusic.com. Audiences can check out both website s to keep up with the latest updates from the band, too. And the album itself can be ordered via Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Ruining-Lives-incl-bonus-poster/dp/B00INXSIG4/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1397036396&sr=1-1&keywords=prong+ruining+lives. 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 news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Fozzy Announces New Tour, Single, Album, Book

Fozzy will return with a new album this Summer. In celebration, the band has announced that it will hit the road in support of its upcoming album this Spring and Summer beginning with a performance at the annual 98 Rockfest in Tampa, Florida. The band’s current tour schedule is listed below.

FOZZY – 2014 SPRING TOUR

98 ROCKFEST (with AVENGED SEVENFOLD, VOLBEAT, LACUNA COIL and more) 
APRIL
25: Tampa, FL – Tampa Bay Times Forum

WELCOME TO ROCKVILLE (with AX7, THE CULT, VOLBEAT and more)
APRIL
26: Jacksonville, FL – Metropolitan Park

CAROLINA REBELLION (with A7X, ROB ZOMBIE, VOLBEAT, SEETHER and more)
MAY
03: Charlotte, NC – Charlotte Motor Speedway

MAY
05: Springfield, VA – Empire

06: Pittsburgh, PA – Altar *

07: Lancaster, PA – Chameleon Club **

08: Rochester, NY – Main Street Armory *

09: Poughkeepsie, NY – The Loft at the Chance ***

10: Hampton Beach, NH - Hampton Beach Casino *

15: Arlington Heights, IL – Home Bar ****

16: Pontiac, IL – Freakster’s Roadhouse

* with BUCKCHERRY
** with REV THEORY, GEMINI SYNDROME & EYES SET TO KILL
*** with KYNG
**** with HEAVEN’S BASEMENT

ROCK ON THE RANGE (with A7X, SLAYER, CHEVELLE, FUEL and more) 
MAY
17: Columbus, OH – Columbus Crew Stadium

More dates to be announced soon…

 

Also in anticipation of the band’s new as-yet untitled album, Fozzy—Chris Jericho (vocals), Rich Ward (guitar), Billy Grey (guitar), Paul DiLeo (bass), and Frank Fontsere (drums)—will release ‘Lights Out’, the album’s lead single April 29th.

Courtesy:  Century Media Records

Courtesy: Century Media Records

Jericho discussed ‘Lights Out’ in a recent interview, noting that it “represents a brand new color in the FOZZY spectrum.” He went on to say of the song that it is “Dark, sexy, sleek, dirty, heavy and catchy as f*ck, this song turns a whole new page in hard rock history – it doesn’t matter if you dance to it in a club or mosh to it in a pit, ‘Lights Out’ will make you move!”

Along with the debut of the band’s new single and album, it has also been announced that Chris Jericho’s latest autobiography, The Best In The World: At What I Have No Idea will be released this fall. The sequel to his New York Times best sellers A Lion’s Tale and Undisputed, his latest book is scheduled to be released October 13th, 2014. It can be pre-ordered now via Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Best-World-What-Have-Idea/dp/1592407528/ref=la_B001JSHII4_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1396335691&sr=1-1.

If all of this isn’t enough, fans also have Jericho’s podcast, “Talk is Jericho.” His podcast airs every Wednesday and Friday. Jericho interviews guests from across the entertainment world. Those that have already appeared on “Talk is Jericho” are: Howie Mondel (America’s Got Talent, Deal or No Deal, Bobby’s World), ghost hunter Jeff Belanger, Dave Mustaine (Megadeth), Ace Frehley (KISS), and M.Shadows (Avenged Sevenfold). “Talk is Jericho” has already reached the top spot in seven nations around the world and is one of PodcastOne Network’s leading programs. Audiences can listen to his show and download episodes at http://podcastone.com/Talk-Is-Jericho.

Fans can follow the latest developments on Fozzy’s upcoming record, its tour, and more online at http://www.facebook.com/FozzyRock, http://www.fozzyrock.com, http://myspace.com/fozzytour, and https://twitter.com/FOZZYROCK. 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.

Excision To Perform At Charlotte, NC’s Fillmore This Saturday

Courtesy:  MSO PR

Courtesy: MSO PR

Canadian-based dubstep artist Excision is coming to North Carolina as part of his current tour.

Excision will perform this Saturday, March 8th at The Fillmore in Charlotte, North Carolina.  He will be supported by French drum and bass duo Dirtyphonics and fellow Canadian Ill Gates.  Excision has released a series of singles in conjunction with his current tour, including the songs ‘Get Stupid’, ‘Rock You.’  ‘Get Stupid’ is a collaboration with Louisville, KY-based producer Space Lanes.  It is available now online at Destriod Music.  ‘Rock You’ is an update of Queen’s classic hit, ‘We Will Rock You.’

Excision’s current tour marks the return of his immense twenty-eight foot wide, fifteen-foot tall video and lighting wall called “The Executioner.”  The video wall was originally built for Excision’s 3D video mapped visual sequences.  This time out, “The Executioner” has brand new 3D visual animations that will run across its four hundred and twenty square feet of space.  Audiences can see just how massive “The Executioner” really is when they see Excision live this Saturday in Charlotte.  Tickets are available online now at http://www.flavorus.com/excision.  Audiences can check out a trailer for Excision’s tour is available online now at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l_Y3UW4V0t4.

More information on Excision is available online at http://www.excision.ca, http://www.facebook.com/Excision, http://twitter.com/excision and http://www.myspace.com/excision.  Fans can hear more of Excision’s music online via Soundcloud and YouTube at http://www.soundcloud.com/excision and http://www.youtube.com/excisionofficial.  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.

You Me At Six Set To Make Its U.S. Debut

Courtesy:  Fresh Tracks Marketing

Courtesy: Fresh Tracks Marketing

You Me at Six is set to make its U.S. debut this year with the American release of its latest album, Cavalier Youth.  The UK based band released its latest album only a few weeks ago on January 26th.  And now it will be able to release the album domestically thanks to a new deal with U.S. label, Prospect Records.

Prospect Records head Jeremy Summers discussed the band’s signing in an interview.  He discussed his pleasure at getting the band signed and the outlook for the band’s future here in the United States.  “We’re pumped to have You Me At Six join our Prospect Park family,” he said.  “They’ve built an intense connection with their US fans by being on the ground here, recording the album here, and selling out just about every rock club in the country.  There are a lot of rock music fans in here that have never heard of You Me At Six, and together, we’ll change that this year.”

Along with the domestic release of its new album, the band has already released two singles from that album.  Those singles are the songs ‘Lived a Lie’ and ‘Fresh Start Fever.’  The videos for the songs are available to watch now on YouTube.  Audiences can check them out now at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VxldtR106Sg&feature=youtu.be and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4tYucGxToC4&feature=youtu.be.  Audiences can also check out a special behind-the-scenes featurette outlining the creation of the video for ‘Fresh Start Fever’ online at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8CMVs3OuRAw&feature=youtu.be.

Audiences can order Cavalier Youth now online via Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Cavalier-Youth-You-Me-Six/dp/B00GVBNI1A/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1389380517&sr=1-1&keywords=you+me+at+six&tag=smarturl-20.  More information on You Me At Six is available online at http://www.facebook.com/youmeatsix, http://www.youmeatsix.co.uk, http://twitter.com/youmeatsix, and http://www.myspace.com/youmeatsix.  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.

The Power Of Three Has Potential Staying “Power”

Courtesy:  Metal Blade Records

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

2014 is only a week or so old.  Despite the infancy of the year, things are already picking up within the music industry.  If the many lists of the year’s most anticipated albums are any indication, there is a lot to look forward to this year.  That’s especially the case in the world of rock and metal.  Albums from Slipknot, Tool, Earth Crisis, Corrosion of Conformity, Foo Fighters, Mastadon, Black Label Society, and so many others are already making purist rockers and metal heads the world over excited about the months to come.  Now, yet another performer has added his name that already extensive list of bands and artists whose albums are highly anticipated this year.  The performer in question is Monte Pittman.  Pittman will release his new album The Power of Three.

The Power of Three is quite the interesting listen for those that might be unfamiliar with his body of work.  While Pittman has had the honor of recording and touring with veteran New York based metal band Prong, he is most well-known for his work with none other than Madonna and former American Idol contestant Adam Lambert.  He has also recorded with former Spice Girl Melanie C. on her 2003 album Reason.  Considering that he has spent more time recording and touring with pop artists, Pittman’s new record, which will be released via Metal Blade Records on January 21st, will shock audiences.  That’s because it is anything but a pop record.  Rather, he and his band mates—Kane Richotte (drums) and Max Whipple (bass)—have crafted a ten-track record that is an early contender for a slot on this critic’s list of the year’s best hard rock records.  The album’s second song, ‘Delusions of Grandeur’ is a pummeling song that hints at influences from the likes of thrash pioneers Pantera.  This is the case at least in terms of the song’s musical side.  Pittman’s guitar work, alongside Kane Richotte’s solid drumming, make this an excellent first impression from Pittman and company.  Pittman shreds with the best of them.  And his vocal style may even lead some to compare it to that of Fireball Ministry front man James A. Rota III.  Whipple adds just enough low-end to bring everything together in this song.

Just as interesting to take in on this record is the album’s opener and lead single, ‘A Dark Horse.’  What makes the song so interesting is that there almost seems to be an old school Black Sabbath influence mixed into the song’s more prominent modern metal sound throughout its bridge and verses.  One wouldn’t think the two sounds would gel.  Low and behold, they work quite well together.  As a matter of fact, there’s no doubt that Pittman and company will have listeners putting their horns high with pride.  Yet again, all three members of the band work together here to make a song that will leave listeners breathless by the end of its near five-and-a-half-minute run time. And as with the album’s other songs, the production is just as solid as the music itself.  Not one member of the three-man organization overpowers the other at any one point throughout the song.

For all of the heavier material that comprises this record’s body, Pittman also proves that he can hold back even if only a little bit.  That’s evident in the almost Alice in Chains style ‘Everything’s Undone.’  Even more intriguing about the song is that the setup in the song’s opening moments may even conjure thoughts of Aerosmith’s ‘Back in The Saddle Again.’  It’s only momentary.  But it’s there.  On its lyrical side, it comes across as being rooted in the standard relationship issues that make up so many songs.  He sings, “Driving faster/getting closer/But I feel farther from you/Here we go again/Who’s to blame/Am I gonna get closure from you/Now you’re gone/Is there something I’ve done wrong…Now everything’s undone.”  It’s pretty obvious that Pittman is delving into a personal realm here.  The catch is that unlike so many songs that are rooted in relationship issues, this one takes that lesser travelled road, opting for a less “oh, woe is me” vibe and more for something with energy about it.  This is the case even in the song’s chorus. The song as a whole is just one more that makes this upcoming album well worth the listen and a definite early contender for a spot on this critic’s list of the year’s best new hard rock/metal albums.  Fans will get to hear even more music from Pittman and his band mates when they perform February 22nd at Los Angeles’ famed Whisky A Go Go.  Tickets for that show can be purchased via Pittman’s official website, http://montepittman.com. Fans can keep up with the latest addition to Pittman’s tour schedule and all of his latest news online at http://montepittman.com, http://www.facebook.com/MontePittman, http://www.myspace.com/montepittman, and http://twitter.com/montepittman.  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.

Pixies Announce New EP, Prep For Next Leg Of Tour

Courtesy:  Herfitz PR

Courtesy: Herfitz PR

Another new Pixies release is on the way.  The band has announced that its new EP, EP-2 is available now for fans via the band’s official website, http://pixiesmusic.com.  The new EP-contains four new songs – ‘Blue-Eyed Hexe’, ‘Magdalena’, ‘Greens and Blues’, and ‘Snakes.’  It also includes a music video for ‘Blue-Eyed Hexe.’

The band recorded the songs last October at Rockfield Studios in Wales, UK.  All four of the songs on the new EP were written by the band members.  EP-2 also includes special artwork by Vaughan Oliverat v23.  It is available as an MP3, lossless DDL, limited edition ten-inch vinyl, and as part of special bundles.  The video for ‘Blue-Eyed Hexe’ can be viewed via YouTube now at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bEBpvpomwG4.  The band recently discussed the songs included in its new EP.  Their thoughts on each song are shared below.

Pixies talk about the four new songs on “EP-2″

“Blue-Eyed Hexe”

About this track, Pixies’ Black Francis explained, “It’s a tale from the northwestern part of the UK, and it’s a witch-woman kind of a song. That’s what a ‘hexe’ is, and ours is a blue-eyed hexe.” Guitarist Joey Santiago added, “Gil wanted a swagger, he wanted the guitar solo to sound like you’re going to have sex with this blue-eyed hexe.”

 

“Magdalena”

“This song is so atmospheric,” remembered Santiago. “We had these weird Moog pedals that sounded like water. It was a very mood-based, atmospheric sound, not based on any lyrics or anything.” Added drummer David Lovering, “One of my favorites, maybe tied with ‘Indie Cindy.’ It’s cool the way it flows, and it’s a very simplistic song, very pretty, cool and moving.”

 

“Greens and Blues”

Said Black Francis, “As with all my songs, I would prefer people add their own interpretation to it. But, in this case, let’s just say that we had done ‘Gigantic’ as the closer for many years at our reunion shows and it worked really well. But I could see that we were going to grow weary of that and I felt like we basically needed a better ‘Gigantic.’ It was my attempt to come up with another song that would – musically, emotionally and psychologically – sit in the same place that ‘Gigantic’ has sat. Not that I could ever replace that song: you write songs and they come out the way they come out. So perhaps it can be said that this song fills the emotional niche that ‘Gigantic’ occupied, another show-closer. I think the lyric alludes to that, the fact that it’s the end of the night, the end of something. And a separation if you will, between the band and the audience. So I guess it’s kind of a goodbye song, or really more of a ‘good night’ song.

 

“Snakes”

“I’m not a jammer,” said Santiago, “but Black Francis and I started jamming it out. I had this little idea and I did that sliding guitar just to emulate a snake.” Black Francis adds, “This one was totally written in the studio session. It proved to be a little bit difficult to play and a little bit difficult to record, sonically, but we stuck with it and I like the result.”

 

The new EP comes as the band continues its tour in support of EP-1.  The next leg of the band’s tour begins January 15th in Toronto.  Pixies fans in North Carolina will get the chance to see the band live on this leg of its tour when it makes a stop in Durham on January 31st at the Durham Performing Arts Center (DPAC).  The most up-to-date list of the band’s tour dates is available below.  More dates will be announced at later dates.

JANUARY

15 Massey Hall, Toronto, ON CANADA (Fidlar)

16 Metropolis, Montreal, QC CANADA (Fidlar)

18 Orpheum Theatre, Boston, MA (Fidlar)

19 Capitol Theatre, Port Chester, NY (Fidlar)

21 New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Newark, NJ (Fidlar)

22 Shubert Theatre, New Haven, CT (Fidlar)

24 Electric Factory, Philadelphia, PA (Fidlar)

25 Carnegie Music Hall, Pittsburgh, PA (Fidlar)

26 Strathmore, Washington, DC (Fidlar)

29 National Theatre, Richmond, VA (Fidlar)

31 Durham PAC, Durham, NC (Cults)

FEBRUARY

1 Thomas Wolfe Auditorium, Asheville, NC (Cults)

2 Ryman Auditorium, Nashville, TN (Cults)

4 Tabernacle, Atlanta, GA (Cults)

6 Peabody Opera House, St. Louis, MO (Cults)

7 LC Pavilion, Columbus, OH (Cults)

8 The Fillmore, Detroit, MI (Cults)

9 Rivera Theatre, Chicago, IL (Cults)

11 Midland Theatre, Kansas City, MO (Cults)

13 Fillmore Auditorium, Denver, CO (Best Coast)

14 Belly Up, Aspen, CO (Best Coast)

15 The Great Salt Air, Salt Lake City, UT (Best Coast)

17 Orpheum Theatre, Vancouver, BC CANADA (Best Coast)

18 Paramount Theatre, Seattle, WA (Best Coast)

19 Schnitzer Auditorium, Portland, OR (Best Coast)

21 Fox Theatre, Oakland, CA (Best Coast)

22 San Jose Civic, San Jose, CA

23 The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas, NV (Best Coast)

24 Comercia Theatre, Phoenix, AZ (Best Coast)

25 Kiva Auditorium, Albuquerque, NM (Best Coast)

27 Bayou Music Center, Houston, TX (Best Coast)

28 South Side Ballroom, Dallas, TX (Best Coast)

MARCH

1 Austin Music Hall, Austin, TX (Best Coast)

APRIL

1 Rock’n’Fall, Montevideo, Uruguay

1/3 Lollapalooza Argentina, Buenos Aires, Argentina

3/5 Festival Estereo Picnic, Bogota Colombia

5/6 Lollapalooza Brazil, Sao Paulo, Brazil

MAY

29/30 Primavera Sound, Barcelona, Spain

JUNE

6/7 Primavera Sound, Porto, Portugal

8 Field Day, Victoria Park, London, UK

15 Northside, Arhus, Denmark

20 Best Kept Secret, Hilvarenbeek, Holland

20/22 Hurricane, Schessel, Germany

20/22 Southside, Neuhausen, Germany

25 Inmusic, Zagreb, Croatia

29 Marley Park, Dublin, Ireland (with Arcade Fire)

30 Live at the Marquee, Cork, Ireland

JULY

5 Rock Werchter, Werchter, Belgium

6 Beauregard, Herouville-St. Clair, France

 

More information on the band’s tour, its new EP, and more is available online at http://pixiesmusic.com, http://www.facebook.com/pixiesofficial, http://twitter.com/pixies, and http://www.myspace.com/pixies. 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.

 

Chasing Twisters A Sweet Taste Of What May Be To Come From Delta Rae

Delta Rae Chasing Twisters

Courtesy: Sire Records

Delta Rae has been quite busy since the release of its full length debut record, Carry The Fire.  The Durham, North Carolina based band has toured the country and made countless TV and radio appearances along the way.  All the while, the band’s fans have waited with baited breath for its next new release.  Those that have followed the band even before it signed on with Warner Brothers Records have been rewarded with a new EP titled Chasing Twisters.  The band’s new digital-only release is a very strong statement of the band.  If it is a statement of what’s to come from Delta Rae, then audiences have plenty to look forward to whenever the band releases its sophomore album.

Chasing Twisters opens with the EP’s up-tempo title track.  The song is led by drummer Mike McKee’s driving four-on-the-floor rhythm.  It partners with singer Brittany Holljes’ vocals to make the song come across as being more pop influenced than the songs on the band’s debut.  At the same time, it still maintains a certain vibe established by the band on its debut record.  This blending of the old and new makes the song even more enjoyable.  What makes this song especially interesting is that among some listeners, it will conjure thoughts of the theme from The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.  What sets the two apart though, is that ‘Chasing Twisters’ is that ‘Chasing Twisters’ is not a western.  The emotion in Holljes’ voice crescendos as she sings, “So kiss/me now/This whiskey on my breath/Feel the lies/That I have taken/What little soul that I have left/And oh/My God/I’ll take you to the grave/The only love I’ve ever known/The only soul I ever saved.”  It adds so much to the song’s overall impact.  This is especially the case when she reaches the peak of that emotion, only to pull back and crescendo again in the next verse before the song eventually reaches its end.  It would be a surprise if this song isn’t an instant fan favorite by those final fading moments of this track.

Chasing Twisters’ lead track was most definitely the right choice to open the EP.  Just as enjoyable is the EP’s second track, ‘Run.’  This song is such an interesting addition to the release first and foremost because it’s one more example of the band’s growth.  It boasts something of a 1980s vibe with its keyboards.  What’s ironic about this is that even those that aren’t fans of 80s music will appreciate this song.  Maybe that’s because it doesn’t go all out with that seeming 80s influence.  It could also be because of the song’s energy.  Again, drummer Mike McKee serves largely as the song’s driving force alongside the equally driving keyboard part.  Holljes gets to exhibit her vocals even more this time, too.  And she takes full advantage of that.  The song comes in at barely more than three minutes in length.  Over that short time, her vocals soar as she sings, “I wanna run/To feel again/To be no one/To lay/Under the stars of Orion/And all my life/I’ve been burdened by the dreams/I’ll hide/Now I want to run.”  She shows yet again why she is one of the best female pop vocalists in the industry today, even if the big names don’t recognize that.  Those amazing vocals coupled with the work of her equally talented band mates make this one more wise addition to this new EP.

‘Chasing Twisters’ and ‘Run’ aren’t the only new material included on Delta Rae’s new EP.  The closing number, ‘I will Never Die’ is just as impressive.  This song throws back to the band’s debut, stylistically speaking.  It bears a sound and style very similar to that of ‘Bottom of the River’ yet it somehow manages to maintain its own identity.  The song develops a certain eeriness to the song thanks to the song’s slower bass drum beat set against Holljes singing, “You can bury my body/But I’ll never die.”  It’s but one part of what makes this song as a whole one of the EPs best songs.  Together with the acoustic takes on ‘Dance in the Graveyards’ and ‘If I Loved You’, it is the finishing touch to an EP that sets the bar pretty high for this Durham, NC based band for its second album.  If this EP is any indication though, the band will more than likely live up to those expectations.  The band is currently touring in support of its new EP and its debut album.  It will be at Bimbo’s 365 Club in San Francisco, CA this Thursday.  That performance is followed up next Tuesday, December 10th at Mechanics Hall in Worchester, MA.  The band will take a short break after that show in order to recharge its batteries and get ready to hit the road again in 2014.  An extensive list of the band’s 2014 dates is already listed on the band’s Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/deltarea.  Fans can go there or the band’s official website, http://www.deltarae.com to check out the list and get the latest news from the band.  Fans can also follow the band via Twitter and MySpace at http://twitter.com/deltrae  and http://www.myspace.com/deltaraemusic.  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.

Girl On Fire’s Debut Album Is One Of 2013′s Best New Rock, Indie Records

Courtesy:  Century Media Records

Courtesy: Century Media Records

If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.  That timeless adage obviously wasn’t what Seattle, Washington’s own Girl on Fire had in mind when it came up with the title to its debut record, Not Broken.  Regardless, it is still a fitting title for the band’s debut record.  That’s because there is nothing broken about this record.  As a matter of fact, for a first outing, Not Broken is a solid record from beginning to end.  And with the proper support from mainstream radio programmers, the band could very well be the next band to add its name to the already long list of famed bands from the city.

Not Broken is a fitting title for Girl on Fire’s debut full length album.  This is despite the fact that while the band obviously didn’t have a certain timeless adage in mind when its members were coming up with a title for the album.  Not Broken will grab listeners right from the album’s opener and lead single, ‘The Takedown.’  This song is an instant fan hit with its catchy guitar riffs and equally infectious defiant chorus of “We are not afraid to bleed/Awake the strength inside/Shadows come to life.”  It’s instantly easy to see the band playing this song to a packed arena, the crowd pumping its fists and singing in unison.  Any mainstream radio programmer that doesn’t give this single a chance is missing out.  Period.  Making the song even more radio friendly is the fact that front man Austin Held and his band mates—Nick Mahan (guitar), Nicholas Wiggins (guitar), Josh Mouser (bass), and Harry MacDonald (drums)—have crafted a song that could easily lead listeners to mistake it for Linkin Park.  The song’s official music video is available online now at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kLCWhKV5avc&feature=youtu.be.    Held even sounds just like LP/STP front man Chester Bennington.  It’s eerie how closely similar the two singers sound.

The positive message and equally enjoyable musical side of ‘The Takedown’ doesn’t stop after the song ends.  The band keeps its energy and positivity flowing throughout the album.  This is evident in the song ‘Believe.’  The song starts off at a slow tempo with Held singing, ‘These scars/Have to be covered/Never discovered/From outside eyes/I’ve been running in circles/While losing my purpose/It’s hard to breath.”  The reason for the slower, more moody opener (and its corresponding moments) is to highlight the more uplifting sections of the song and make them more influential.  Held sings in those more uplifting moments, “And I will be strong/And I won’t hold on/To the darker side of me/When you fall/No one sings/Hide your pain/Underneath/Like the scars/They never fade/Something in you/No one can take/I believe/I believe/Let’s just believe.”  This is only a portion of the song.  But that same contrast of positivity winning out over the most negative of thoughts runs throughout the song.  It makes this one more song that every listener will both enjoy and appreciate.

‘The Takedown’ and ‘Believe’ are both excellent examples of the positive lyrical themes that populate Not Broken.  Those themes don’t end with these or other songs, either.  The album’s title track is just as powerful both musically and lyrically.  Held sings about having overcome the worst that life could handle as difficult as times might have been at one time or another.  He sings, ‘I’m not broken/I’m alive/I’ve been kicked down/But I’ll surive/Never give up/Never hide/I won’t go down without a fight/You can drag me down to the mat/You can rip my heart/Right out of my chest/I’m not broken/I’m not broken.  This kind of uplifting content is something that every listener can use at one time or another regardless of age.  That’s because even as adults, we all have people that will try to kick us down and then kick us again when we’re down.  Even through all of that, Held and company are telling listeners it is possible to have the inner strength and determination to not let such situations get us down.  This isn’t the type of thing that would only apply to younger listeners.  The gentle piano run that opens the verses set against the harder rocking chorus parts makes once again make for an excellent juxtaposition of emotions.  They expertly illustrate the two different emotions and especially highlight the possibility of  hope and personal determination.  This song, along with the previously mentioned songs (and those not mentioned) make Girl on Fire’s debut a contender to be both one of the year’s best rock records and one of the year’s best new independent albums, too.  Not Broken is available now.  It can be ordered online direct from the Century Media Records website at http://www.centurymedia.com/artist.aspx?IdArtist=512.  More information on this release, the band’s current tour in support of Not Broken and more from the band is available online at http://www.facebook.com/girlonfiremusic, http://www.girlonfiremusic.com, http://twitter.com/girlonfiremusic, http://www.myspace.com/girlonfiremusic, and http://www.purevolume.com/girlonfire.  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.

Pixies Announce New Tour Dates, Music Video

Photo Credit:  Michael Halsband

Photo Credit: Michael Halsband

The road rolls on for veteran rock group, The Pixies.  The Boston based quartet has announced that it has added a new North American leg to its current worldwide tour.  The thirty-three date tour will kick off on January 15th in Toronto, Ontario Canada.  From there, the band will hit a number of dates in the Northeast before heading south to finish off the month of January.  It will close out January with a performance at the famed Durham Performing Arts Center (DPAC) in Durham, North Carolina on January 31st.  It will kick off the month of February by heading west to the mountains of North Carolina and a performance in Asheville, NC on February 1st.  That performance will be at Asheville’s Thomas Wolfe Auditorium.  Cults will provide support for both performances.

The remainder of February will see the Pixies perform at dates in the Midwest, West Coast, and Southwest.  It all wraps up on March 1st with a performance at the Austin Music Hall in Austin, TX.  Tickets for this and other shows are available online at http://www.pixiesmusic.com.

Along with the upcoming U.S. tour, Pixies fans have a new video from the band to check out, too.  The band has debuted the video for ‘Andro Queen’, the opening track from the band’s new EP, EP-1.  The video was created and directed by filmmaker Ondi Timoner through her Interloper Films production company.  Timoner’s resume is quite extensive.  She has won the Grand Jury prize for documentaries at the Sundance Film Festival twice and has work permanently displayed at New York’s Museum of Modern Art.  She was also the creative force behind VH-1’s series, Sound Effects.  These aren’t her only credentials.  She also crafted the opening film for President Clinton’s 2011 birthday/fundraiser at the Hollywood Bowl.  That even featured celebrities such as: Steven Spielberg, Barbara Streisand, Jay-Z, and President Clinton himself.  She even has her hands in the online world.  She is the founder and director of the web-channel, “A Total Disruption.”  This channel features the works of other ingenious individuals and business people that use technology to transform lives, the economy, and the path of mankind.

More information on the band’s upcoming U.S. tour and its new EP, EP-1, is available online at http://www.pixiesmusic.com, http://www.facebook.com/pixiesofficial, http://www.myspace.com/pixies, and http://twitter.com/pixies.  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.

Korn Debuts Video For ‘Never Never’

Courtesy:  Prospect Park

Courtesy: Prospect Park

Veteran rock band Korn has released the video for the lead single from its new album, The Paradigm Shift.  The video for the song ‘Never Never’ can be viewed online now at http://www.vevo.com/watch/korn/never-never/US5Z51300396?syndicationid=bb8a16ab-1279-4f17-969b-1dba5eb60eda&shortlink=UaDV41&country=US.  For those that have yet to hear the band’s new single, it boasts an interesting mixed influence of Type O Negative throughout most of the song.  However, there is a slight Nine Inch Nails homage late in the song, too.  The Type O Negative influence can be credited to the work of returning guitarist David “Head” Welch and James Schaffer.  The video sees the band performing atop a CG clock that is turning and exploding all at once.  All the while a woman clad in an entirely black outfit that defies explanation sits in the center of the clock.

In celebration of the band’s tenth full length studio release, Jonathan Davis and company have announced the return of the “Family Values Festival.”  The festival kicks off Thursday, September 26th at the Electric Factory in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  Currently, ten total dates are listed.  The most current tour schedule is listed below.

DATE

CITY

VENUE

Thu

9/26

Philadelphia,   PA

Electric   Factory

Fri

9/27

New   York, NY

Roseland   Ballroom

Sat

9/28

Worcester,   MA

The   Palladium

Mon

9/30

Toronto,   ON

Sound   Academy

Tue

10/1

Detroit,   MI

The   Fillmore

Wed

10/2

Chicago,   IL

Riv

Thu

10/3

Minneapolis,   MN

The   Myth

Sat

10/5

Denver,   CO

1st   Bank Center – Family Values

Thu

10/10

Los   Angeles, CA

The   Wiltern

Sat

10/12

Las   Vegas, NV

Pearl

 

The Paradigm Shift will be released Tuesday, October 8th, just as the band is wrapping up the “Family Values Festival.”  For more information on the release and the band’s upcoming tour, audiences can go online to http://www.korn.com, http://www.facebook.com/korn, http://twitter.com/korn, and http://www.myspace.com/korn.  And for all 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://phispicks.wordpress.com.