Tempt’s Debut EP Is A Guilty Pleasure For Any Fan Of Big Hair And Even Bigger Rock

Courtesy:  Chipster PR

Courtesy: Chipster PR

Indie rock band Tempt recently released its debut EP Under My Skin.  The New York based band’s debut record is something special, especially for fans of bands such as Def Leppard, Journey, Poison and others of that ilk.  The band’s members—Zach Allen (vocals), Harrison Marcello (guitar, keyboards, vocals), Jimmi Kane (drums), and Zak Gross (bass, vocals)—are way too young to have grown up in the 80s.  But the sound that the band’s members collectively craft is one that displays such respect for the music of the era.  It truly makes Tempt quite the rarity in the current era of rock music.  The band transports audiences back to that era of big hair and equally big rock songs right off the top in the EP’s title track.  That pomp and bombast doesn’t let up even in the slightest as the band moves into the EP’s second song.  The song exhibits something of a Queensryche influence circa Rage for Order.  And on the EP’s penultimate track, the 8-s big hair influence keeps rolling before the band closes things with a standard 80s ballad-style song.  All things considered, anyone that is a fan of big rock and big hair will agree after hearing this EP that Under My Skin is one of the best of the year’s new EPs.

The members of Tempt look to be far too young to have grown up in the 80s.  That hasn’t stopped the band from crafting an EP loaded with music that sounds like it has been kept in a time capsule for ages and pulled right from that era of big rock and big hair.  This is obvious right off the top in the EP’s opener and title track.  If one didn’t know any better, one would think this was Def Leppard, Journey, Poison, or another major name act that had its heyday in that era.  Lyrically speaking, the song centers on the standard subject of a broken relationship.  What’s most interesting about it here is not just the standard over-the-top nature of the song, but [Zach] Allen’s vocals on the song.  He sings much in the same style as other big name vocalists from the day as he sings, “Stop and start many years ago/You was a looker that I/Got to know/Now I’m sitting here/The pain won’t die/With the letter saying you’ve left my side.”  There is just a certain quality to his vocal style.  And the song’s chorus brings about even more of that classic song style with the rest of the band joining in almost the same style as the aforementioned bands.  It is pure retro rock joy for fans of that sound.

The first impression that the band makes on its brand new EP is just the beginning of the retro rock joy for fans of hair metal.  ‘Use It Or Lose It’ comes second on the disc.  Those that are more familiar with bands from the era of hair metal will hear influences from the likes of Queensryche right from the song’s opening riff and the chorus style vocals.  The song is just as good a follow-up to ‘Under My Skin’ lyrically as it is musically.  That’s because it follows a similar lyrical theme.  Allen sings here about a woman that is bad news for all intents and purposes.  He sings in the song’s opening verse, “She’ll steal your soul/Drag your mind through pouring rain/Take you down into the dark/She don’t feel no pain/But if I turn my back/Would you turn your eyes on them/Are you ready/Let the games begin.”  He goes on to sing of the woman in question in the song’s second verse, “She’s a one-of-a-kind/A storm within a name/A natural disaster/But I want her just the same.”  As with the EP’s opener, the style of Allen’s vocals and the song’s musical side together make this song sound like something right out of the 80s.  And again, that taken into consideration fans of that sound will welcome this song in with arms and ears wide open.

Both ‘Under My Skin’ and ‘Use It Or Lose It’ are impressive additions to the debut EP from Tempt. The third of the EP’s tracks, ‘The Fight’ instantly conjures thoughts of Journey and other more melodic rock bands of their time. Its forward-driving sound and infectious chorus of “It’s the fight that makes us stronger, baby/We both know you can see” will have audiences singing along in no time whether it be in their vehicle on the road or in their own living room/bedroom. Along with the previously noted songs, this song is just as much an arena anthem as them and the EP’s closing number. Allen and his band mates are seemingly singing about the fight that we have within ourselves to not give up. In this case, it seems to be the fight to not give up on a relationship. If that be the case, then the song takes quite the upbeat turn from so many songs rooted in relationship issues. It actually argues that there is hope for a relationship that would otherwise be broken. That and the song’s musical side together make this one of the EP’s best numbers. And together with the EP’s previously noted tracks, it makes the EP even more worth the listen especially by anyone that grew up a fan of the era of big hair and big rock. Audiences can listen to the title track from Under My Skin now via Tempt’s official website at http://www.temptband.com/#!listen/c1x9v.

Under My Skin can be purchased online via iTunes and Amazon.com or at the band’s next live performance. The band is next scheduled to perform live Friday, July 18th at the Knitting Factory in Brooklyn, New York. Audiences can keep up with the band’s tour schedule and all of the band’s latest news online both through its official website, http://www.temptband.com and its official Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/TemptBand. Audiences can also keep up with the latest from the band through its Twitter page, http://twitter.com/temptband and its Reverb Nation website, http://www.reverbnation.com/temptband. 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.

Queensryche Starts Writing Process For New Album

Courtesy:  Century Media Records

Courtesy: Century Media Records

The battle between former Queensryche front man Geoff Tate and his former band mates is finally over. A judge recently made the decision that Tate’s former band mates would henceforth be the only ones legally permitted to use the Queensryche name. With that battle finally over, the members of Queensryche have announced that the band has started work on its next album.

Queensryche’s next as yet untitled album is expected to be released early next Summer via Century Media Records. Founding guitarist Michael Wilton discussed the different vibe within the band now that its legal battle is behind it. “The Queensrÿche internal dynamic has certainly changed in terms of musicianship. It’s more of a cohesive team and the chemistry we have now is making what we can do creatively limitless. For Queensrÿche, it was always about being able to write together as a band. We didn’t have that for a long time but now that it’s back, we feel extremely liberated,” he said. “We’ve already begun the writing process for the next album and have a few songs demoed that we feel really good about. We’re taking the songs in the classic Queensrÿche direction but maybe a little more progressive and heavier at times. The thing is, you never know what you really have until it’s complete. We can’t wait for the final outcome. Writing with such a dynamic group of individuals has been nothing short of amazing.”

Queensryche is slated to hit the road later this month for the next leg of its tour. The band’s upcoming tour schedule kicks off Friday, May 23rd in Tucson, AZ at the KLPX Desert Rocks Beach Bash. The complete tour schedule is listed below with more to be announced at later dates.

Confirmed 2014 Tour Dates:

05/23 Tucson, AZ KLPX Desert Rocks Beach Bash

05/24 El Paso, TX Speaking Rock Casino

06/04 Solvesborg, SWE Sweden Rock Festival

06/06 Mt. Pleasant, MI Soaring Eagle Casino

06/07 Salt Lake City, UT Salt Lake City Harley Davidson

06/13 Rothbury, MI JJ Resort

06/21 Idaho Falls, ID Rock The Falls

07/19 Waukesha, WI Waukesha County Fair

08/08 Three Forks, MT Rockin’ The Rivers

08/31 Wauconda, IL Farm Rock 2014

10/11 Las Vegas, NV Eastside Cannery Casino

 

More information on the band’s upcoming album, tour and more is available online now at http://www.queensrycheofficial.com, http://www.facebook.com/queensrycheofficial, and http://twitter.com/queensryche. 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.

Sound Of Contact Announces New Tour Dates

Courtesy:  InsideOut Music

Courtesy: InsideOut Music

Sound of Contact is coming to the United States this Spring and Summer.

The band has confirmed that it will take part in the Moody Blues Cruise and the Cruise to the Edge this Spring before embarking on a handful of dates late next month.  The Moody Blues Cruise sets sail Wednesday, April 8th from Miami, Florida.  It will take guests through the Bahamas and to Grand Turk Island, Turks & Caicos before returning to Miami on Monday, April 7th.  Sound of Contact will join The Moody Blues, Starship, Little River Band, and special guest Roger Daltry of The Who among a number of other artists and bands.  More information on the Moody Blues Cruise is available online at http://moodiescruise.com and http://www.facebook.com/moodiescruise.

Band founder Simon Collins and his band mates will have a quick turnaround once they return to port from the Moody Blues Cruise.  That is because they head right back out to sea Wednesday, April 8th for the Cruise to the Edge.  That cruise will take guests Cozumel by way of Miami and Honduras.  It will leave port Wednesday, April 8th and return to Miami Saturday, April 12th.  Sound of Contact will join YES, Marillion, Queensryche, Scale the Summit, and a number of other acts that are scheduled to perform during the cruise.  More information on the Cruise to the Edge is available online at http://cruisetotheedge.com, http://www.facebook.com/cruisetotheedge, and http://twitter.com/cruisetotheedge.

Once Sound of Contact returns from its marathon cruise run, the band will take some much needed down time before kicking off its North American tour April 26th.  The band will kick off its North American tour at SIR Studios in Los Angeles, California.  The band’s complete cruise and tour schedule is listed below.

Wednesday – April 2, 2014 Moody Blues Cruise
Thursday – April 3, 2014 Moody Blues Cruise
Friday – April 4, 2014 Moody Blues Cruise
Saturday April 5, 2014 Moody Blues Cruise
Sunday – April 6, 2014 Moody Blues Cruise
Monday – April 7, 2014 Moody Blues Cruise / Cruise To The Edge
Tuesday – April 8, 2014 Cruise To The Edge
Wednesday – April 9, 2014 Cruise To The Edge
Thursday – April 10, 2014 Cruise To The Edge
Friday – April 11, 2014 Cruise To The Edge
Saturday – April 12, 2014 Cruise To The Edge

Saturday – April 26, 2014 Los Angeles, CA, America – SIR Studios
Wednesday – April 30, 2014 Quebec City, QC, Canada – Le Cabaret du Capitole
Thursday – May 1, 2014 Toronto, ON, Canada – Rock Pile East
Friday – May 2, 2014 Chicago, IL, America – Reggies Rock Club
Saturday – May 3, 2014 Gettysburg, PA, America – RoSFest

Ticket information for the band’s upcoming performances will be announced soon.  More information on tickets and Sound of Contact is available online at http://www.facebook.com/soundofcontact.  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.

Queensryche Releases New Video, Tour Dates

Courtesy:  Century Media Records

Courtesy: Century Media Records

Legendary Seattle based prog rock band Queensryche and its new front man Todd La Torre are heading overseas this Winter for a European tour in support of the band’s new self-titled record.  It has a pair of U.S. dates in November before it heads overseas in December.  In anticipation of the upcoming tour, the band has released a video for its new single, ‘Redemption.’  The video mixes elements of the band performing live and working in the studio against the song.  It is being premiered through the UK’s PROG Magazine, and can be viewed online right here: http://www.progrockmag.com/video/queensryche-premiere-redemption/.

Along with the new music video, the band has also filmed a “mini-movie” set to the band’s own music.  The band used the songs ‘Spore’, ‘Midnight Lullaby’, A World Without’ and ‘X2’ as the score to the ten-plus minute feature titled, Queensryche: Ad Lucem.  The film was created by Veva Entertainment Company.  It was directed by Daniel Andres Gomez Bagby and produced by Marco De Molina.  It was filmed in September at Central City Stages in Los Angeles, CA and will be released later this year.

The most current listing of the band’s tour dates is available below.

The upcoming European tour dates are as follows:

12.10.2013 O2 Academy – London, United Kingdom

13.10.2013 Wulfrum Hall – Wolverhampton, United Kingdom

15.10.2013 The Garage – Glasgow, United Kingdom

16.10.2013 HMV Ritz – Manchester, United Kingdom

17.10.2013 Rock City – Nottingham, United Kingdom

18.10.2013 Button Factory – Dublin, Ireland

20.10.2013 Turbohalle – Bucharest, Romania

21.10.2013 Retro Music Hall – Prague, Czech Republic

22.10.2013 Orpheum – Graz, Austria

23.10.2013 Club 202 – Budapest, Hungary

25.10.2013 Theaterfabrik – Munich, Germany

26.10.2013 Burgerhaus – Quadrath-Itchendorf Bergheim, Germany

27.10.2013 Rockfabrik – Ludwigsburg, Germany

29.10.2013 Moonwalker – Aarburg, Switzerland

30.10.2013 Stadthalle – Langen, Germany

31.10.2013 Brielpoort – Deinze, Belgium

01.11.2013 Effennaar – Eindhoven, Netherlands

 

The upcoming American tour dates:

11/15/2013 Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom Hampton Beach NH
11/16/2013 The Asylum Portland ME
1/3/2014 Snoqualmie Casino Snoqualmie WA
4/17/2014 Bergen Performing Arts Center Englewood NJ
4/19/2014 Mohegan Sun Casino Uncasville CT
 

 

 

     

 

Tickets for the band’s upcoming shows are available online at http://www.queensrycheofficial.com/tour.  More information on the band’s upcoming tour and more is available online at http://www.queensrycheofficial.com and http://www.facebook.com/QueensrycheOfficial.  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 Winery Dogs’ Debut A Super Record From A True Supergroup

Courtesy:  Loud & Proud Records

Courtesy: Loud & Proud Records

2013 has been quite a year for new rock records.  The list of new records vying to make critics’ lists of the year’s best is already cluttered.  And the year’s not even out yet.  That list already includes releases from the likes of:  Pop Evil, Queensryche, Buckcherry, Filter and Joe Satriani just to name a handful of releases.  Now with the release of its self-titled release, rock trio The Winery Dogs has added its name to that already massively cluttered landscape.  The band—Mike Portnoy (ex-Dream Theater, Adrenaline Mob), Billy Sheehan (Mr. Big), and Richie Kotzen (Mr. Big, Poison)—instantly draws comparisons to Chickenfoot from early on with its brand of rock.  If one were to listen to this and not know it was another band, one would instantly think one was listening to the latter of the two.  Even vocalist Richie Kotzen sounds at times like Chickenfoot front man Sammy Hagar.  At others, he sounds like Soundgarden/former Audioslave front man Chris Cornell.  The similarity in the singers’ voices is eerie.

The band’s new self-titled album is a solid mix of sounds, opening with a trio of heavier, energy-laden songs in: ‘Elevate’, ‘Desire’ and ‘We Are One.’  From there, things slow down a little bit in ‘I’m No Angel’ ‘The Other Side’ and ‘You Saved Me.’  What’s interesting here is that while this trio of songs is a little more subdued, there is still a certain controlled energy throughout all three.  The guitar solos in ‘We Are One’ along with Portnoy’s expert drumming in this song is just one of so many of the album’s highlights.  ‘You Saved Me’ is impressive not just because of its musical content, but also for its uplifting lyrical content.  Kotzen sings, “You saved me in my darkest hour/You stood by me and stayed/You gave me all my strength and power/And when sunshine turned to grey/In my darkest hour/You stood by me and stayed/You stood with me/My guiding angel.”  This could be interpreted in a religious sense.  It could just as easily be considered more in the sense of a relationship.  Regardless of which angle one takes here, the ballad with its moving music and equally uplifting lyrics is sure to impress any listener. 

‘You Saved Me’ is a fitting midpoint for The Winery Dogs’ debut record.  That is because it is after this point that things pick back up beginning with what is one of the best of the best from this record in ‘Not Hopeless.’  This song is a standout thanks to the contradiction of the heavier, slower sludge rock style verses to the more standard rock style choruses.  Kotzen shows throughout both sections (and his solos) that he can easily hold his own alongside fellow guitar great Zakk Wylde here.  And if this isn’t enough to get listeners excited, the album’s next track, ‘One More Time’ definitely will.  Bass virtuoso Billy Sheehan gets his chance to shine in this up-tempo prog rock piece alongside Portnoy.  Sheehan gets his own solo alongside Portnoy in the song’s bridge.  Kotzen eventually joins in to add in his own spice, too.  By the time the song ends, it will have left listeners in awe of the trio’s talent once more.  Forget the lyrics.  This song is entirely about the talent of these three musicians.  And it definitely doesn’t disappoint.

After the high energy of ‘One More Time’ and ‘Not Hopeless’, the band slows things down only momentarily in ‘Damaged’ and ‘Six Feet Deeper.’  This gives listeners just enough time to catch their collective breath before diving back in the deep end again on the album’s final trio of songs.  ‘Time Machine’, ‘The Dying’, and ‘Regret’ finish off the album.  And they do so in expert form.  The energy in these three songs is just enough to keep listeners engaged right to the final notes without skipping even one song.  Suffice it to say that listeners that are familiar with the musicianship of Sheehan, Portnoy and Kotzen will be just as impressed with this record as anything else that the trio has recorded throughout its career.  For those that are new to the trio’s talents, these final three songs are certain to seal the deal and make new fans of three of the most talented individuals in the music industry today. 

Winery Dogs’ debut record is slated to be released Tuesday, July 23rd via Loud & Proud Records.  Fans can pre-order it now via the Loud & Proud Records website at http://loudandproudrecords.com/releases/winery-dogs/.  In the meantime, fans can check out the band’s new album live on its tour.  It will be touring through Japan and South America during the month of July before coming back to the United States on August 3rd.  Fans can get a full list of the band’s tour dates online at http://www.facebook.com/TheWineryDogs.  Fans can also “Like” the Winery Dogs’ Facebook page for all of the latest news and updates from the band.

To keep up with all of the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com

Tate’s New QR LP Unlike Anything Fans Have Ever Heard

Courtesy:  Deadline Music

Courtesy: Deadline Music

Geoff Tate is one of the most talented and iconic singers in the world of rock music today.  Tate has made a career of fronting the equally iconic hard rock band, Queensryche.  In his most recent album, Tate has shown once again why he is still a vocal powerhouse.  Call it a Queensryche album.  Call it a Geoff Tate album.  Regardless of which side one takes in the ongoing dispute between Tate and his former band mates, one has to admit that even this Queensryche album has its share of positives.  The first of those positives is the album’s opener, ‘Crush.’

‘Cold’ is one of those songs that will take listeners back to the days of Hear in the Now Frontier.  While it is heavier than anything on the aforementioned album, it definitely bears at least some slight semblance to the material from that record.  What makes this song interesting is that for all of its heaviness, lyrically, it doesn’t come across as something that should be quite so heavy.  Tate sings in the song’s chorus, “Would you stay here/If I begged you to/What more can I do/You’re so cold.”  This is a song rooted in relationship matters.  It is that imbalanced juxtaposition of the song’s lyrics to its music that makes it quite the opener for this album.  Rather than being just another moping emo-style piece, Tate and his mostly new band mates have opted for something that instead grabs listeners and engages them right off the bat.

Things get even more interesting after ‘Cold’ as Tate and company launch into the even heavier Dare.  This song (save for its single f-bomb early on) is this album’s most radio ready single.  It is as far from the older days of Queensryche as Tate could get.  That’s evident in the much heavier, more mainstream guitar riffs and electronics.  It’s even unlike what fans have come to expect from Tate’s own previous solo records.  This stark contrast from other songs penned by Tate makes it one more point for listeners to note.  One has to wonder as to whom exactly Tate’s target was here, what with the song’s lyrical content.  He sings in the song’s first verse, “What have you got/What have you got to show/You can’t look it in the eye/That’s how I know/You wouldn’t dare/You wouldn’t dare/You wouldn’t dare hurt me/Cause you just might get hurt yourself.”  On one hand, it could be argued that this is another song based in relationship issues.  But on the other hand, it could just as easily be argued that this is a direct response by Tate to his former band mates considering the two sides’ less than pleasant split in 2012.

Frequency Unknown is an interesting effort from Geoff Tate, needless to say as is evidenced by the songs noted here.  This is not a record for classic Queensryche fans as it breaks completely from the classic Queensryche sound.  That aside, it still bears its own sound that shows Geoff Tate and his band of hired hands has still crafted a record that is worth at least one listen.  It’s just too bad that the band wasn’t able to put its differences aside as it would have been interesting to hear the songs from this album mixed in with those of the music from Tate’s former band mates on their new album.  Until or unless that happens, audiences do have quite the interesting listen in this record.  It is available now in stores and online.  Fans can check out the music from Tate’s Queensryche as the band is touring in support of Frequency Unknown now.  The band will perform today at Club Fever in South Bend, Indiana.  A full listing of tour dates for Tate’s Queensryche can be found online at http://www.queensryche.com/tour/.

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.

Queensryche’s Upcoming LP A Welcome Return To Form

Courtesy:  Century Media Records

Courtesy: Century Media Records

Queensryche is one of the most well known bands in the history of rock.  This Seattle based band survived the hair metal movement and the nu-wave movement of the 80s.  It also survived the grunge movement of the 90s and even the musical gold rush of 2000.  Throughout all of these different phases that the music industry has seen come and go, Queensryche has had its share of highs with iconic albums such as Empire, Operation: Mindcrime, Rage for Order, and to a slightly lesser degree, Hear in the Now Frontier and Promised Land.  While it did survive the musical gold rush of 2000, the release of its 2003 album, Tribe and its predecessor, Q2K (1999) were met with lukewarm reviews at best.  And 2011’s Dedicated to Chaos was perhaps its least warmly received album in its thirty year plus long career.  Things didn’t get much better after the less than pleasant split between the band and its now former front man Geoff Tate.  But it looks like the band is well back on track with a new front man and a self-titled album that takes long-time fans back to the days of Empire, Rage For Order, and even HITNF and Promised Land.

The very first thing that audiences should note with this new release is not much its musical side but its cover art and title.  Most people don’t pay much attention to any album’s title or even the cover art for its liner notes/booklet.  But in the case of Queensryche, both are of equal significance with this new release.  They are so significant because of the recent history between the band and its former front man.  The artwork for the standard edition of the album is simplistic, unlike that of many of the band’s previous releases.  It is simply the band’s logo set against a solid metallic background.  In its own way, one could argue that this is its own statement of the band redeveloping its identity through this fashion.  Just as the artwork is simple, so is the album’s title.  The band’s very first release way back in 1983 was a self-titled release.  Now three decades later, the band has offered fans another self-titled release.  Again, it seems insignificant on a small scale.  But considering everything that has happened with the band since 2012, making the album self-titled is another statement of rebirth for the band.  Just as Tate was delivering a statement with the title and artwork of his Queensryche album, Frequency Unknown, so is this Queensryche’s album title.  And it’s a statement that is as solid as the album’s musical content.

Musically speaking, this album is a rebirth for this Queensryche band in every way.  The ten songs that comprise the record are classic Queensryche, hands down.  Even with new front man Todd LaTorre manning vocal duties, listeners will be taken back.  If one were to listen to this record without knowing about the band’s rather acrimonious split with Geoff Tate, one would swear they were indeed hearing Tate.  That perhaps is the most intriguing fact of all about this record.  Forget the fact that the classic bombastic guitar work of Michael Wilton and the equally impressive drumming of Scott Rockenfield are back.  LaTorre’s vocal style and sound are near mirror images so to speak of that of the band’s previous singer.  It’s incredible how similar the two sound.  And it is because of this and the album’s overall old school sound (not to mention the statement of the album’s artwork and title), that fans that grew up with Queensryche will cheer happily once more.  It is everything that those fans have awaited for so many years.

Queensryche is currently wrapping up the U.S. leg of its tour in support of its new album.  It will kick off the European leg of its tour beginning October 2nd at the O2 Academy Islington.  Fans can get a complete tour listing and all of the latest tour updates and general news from the band on its Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/QueensrycheOfficial and its official website, http://www.queensrycheofficial.com

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.