Danny Weinkauf Announces Release Date For Solo Family Debut

Courtesy:  Idewild Records/Red Distribution

Courtesy: Idewild Records/Red Distribution

They Might Be Giants bassist Danny Weinkauf will release his debut solo family album this Spring.

No School Today will be released Tuesday, April 29th via Idewild Records.  The sixteen-song album includes songs that cover a number of topics.  From topics as simple as spelling bees and the four food groups to more in-depth topics such as voting rights and a song about fellow musician Ben Folds, this album runs the gamut.  Weinkauf even follows up his hit song ‘I Am A Paleontologist’ (from They Might Be Giants Grammy-nominated album Here Comes Science) with a new song simply titled ‘Archaeology.’  Says Weinkauf of the song’s birth, “Several times after a Giants show, people would come up and tell me how much they liked my “Archaeology” song.They were confusing the title of ‘Paleontologist,’ but I decided to honor them by writing another song.”

Just as interesting an addition to Weinkauf’s new solo family album is a bonus track titled ‘The Kidney That Lived in Four People.’  The song is based on a true story.  It was written and recorded with guest Hank Green of the Vlog Brothers.

Green is just one of a handful of guests on No School Today.  He also included his own son Kai, daughter Lena, wife Michelle, and fellow family music star Laurie Berkner.  She joins Weinkauff on the song ‘Our Love Fits.’

No School Today was an entirely fan-funded album.  Weinkauff funded production of his album via Kickstarter.  There was such support for No School Today that Weinkauf had reached his support goal in only five days.  He ended the campaign with the album being 160% funded.  The albums’ release will be preceded with the release of a video for the song ‘Marsupial’ in early April.  More videos will be released around the album’s release date.

More information on No School Today is available online now at http://www.dannyweinkauf.com.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Eve To Adam Scores Another Hit With Its Fourth Full Length Record

The fourth full length release from New York’s own Eve To Adam is everything of which purist rock and roll fans dream.  The almost dozen songs written for this record will keep listeners’ horns in the air from start to finish.  The band grabs its listeners right from the album’s opener, ‘Locked & Loaded’ and only lets go once through the entire course of the album.  Considering that this is the band’s fourth album, it’s a surprise that mainstream radio hasn’t picked up on this band, with its mix of catchy hooks and equally infectious choruses.  Maybe this album will finally be the one to prove to programmers what they have been missing all along.

The album’s opener and title track is a solid first impression on this new record.  It’s one of those defiant anthems that is certain to be just as much of a hit both on record and in a live setting.  Front man Taki Sassaris sings to listeners, “Show respect/Looks like you’ve forgotten/Just who I am/Turn the cheek/That’s for someone else/No, not on my time.”  The song’s raw musical energy elevates this line, as well as the song’s equally infectious chorus in which the band sings, “Locked and loaded/I don’t apologize/And I can keep it goin’ all night/All night/You’re outgunned baby/You should have realized/You brought a knife to a gunfight/Gunfight.”  That pure vibe of “you can’t mess with me” exuded here is certain to make this song a fan favorite.  That’s because of its ability to reach so many listeners.  Who out there has not tried to step up to another person in one form or another and try to cause problems?  Thanks to the society in which we live, retribution for such behavior is considered a crime.  Luckily, this song serves as a way to release the angry energy built up by those people without being arrested.  So kudos are in order to the men of Eve to Adam for that.

The energy established in the band’s opener doesn’t let up once that song is over.  It pulls back only slightly at best as the band launches into the album’s second song, ‘Immortal.’  It’s one more that flips the proverbial middle finger at all of the naysayers that would try to kick a person when he or she is down.  This is evident as Sassaris sings, “I’m never gonna need your sympathy/Cause you’ll never have a chance to miss me/You can try to shake me/I don’t care/I’m permanently everywhere/They never misspell my name/How about yours/Cause things I’ve done/are what they’re living for.”  This can apply in the music industry.  It can also apply in everyday life.  There are those that will do whatever it takes to hold down others in either setting.  It reaches so many different audiences of all ages.  That ability to reach such a wide audience group makes it another song sure to be a fan favorite.  And in turn, it makes this album that much more of a must hear for any fan of pure guitar driven rock and roll.

Eve to Adam offers plenty of thundering music and infectious choruses throughout the course of its new album.  Surprisingly, there is actually one moment when the band pulls back on this record.  That point comes in the album’s penultimate song, ‘Shut Out The World.’  The subtle guitars set against the song’s lyrics here make for an interesting juxtaposition to one another.  It would have been so easy for this song to be just as high energy as the album’s other tracks, despite its lyrics.  But the band collectively agreed to make this song more emotional, opting for a softer sound as Sassaris sings “Lock me in this place forever/Throw away the key/Cause all that matters/Is you and me/Lock me in this place forever/It’s where I wanna be/Cause all that matters/Is you and me.”  The band was able to take a breakup song in ‘With The Truth’ and make it a high energy piece.  So the natural question here is why make this song so much more subdued?  The answer might lay in one of the song’s later verses in which Sassaris sings, “Inside this room/You’re safe from all/The pressures you’ve been fighting off/I’ll lift the weight/I’ll light the dark/I’ll let you be just who you are/So open up/And let me see/What you’ve been hiding underneath/You can’t deny/You can’t escape/A bond that holds and never breaks/So lay here with me/And shut out the world/Shut out the world.”  This is more of a tender sentiment.  The subject in question is singing to someone to whom he or she feels that emotionally connected.  It’s clearer through this moment why the band opted t go softer on this song.  And considering that the energy built through the album picks right back up on the album’s closer, it makes for one more interesting addition to the overall presentation.  That addition and the album’s more high energy songs collectively make this record one more that any purist rock and roll fan will want to check out.  Locked & Loaded is available now in stores and online.  Fans can also pick it up at the band’s live shows as it tours in support of the album.  The band has a handful of performances in North Carolina during its touring schedule.  The first of those dates is a performance at Greensboro’s “Chili  & Wing Fling” presented by 100.3 The Buzz.  That performance is in two weeks on Saturday, November 16th.  The band returns to North Carolina two days later on Monday, November 18th at Fayetteville’s Drunk  Horse Pub.  And that date is followed two days later on Wednesday, November 20th at Jacksonville’s famed Hooligans night club.  Fans in other states can get a full list of the band’s current tour dates and all the latest news from the band online at http://www.facebook.com/evetoadam and http://www.evetoadam.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.

Satriani Proves He’s Still Got Plenty Of “Momentum” On New LP

Courtesy:  Epic Records/RED Distribution

Courtesy: Epic Records/RED Distribution

Joe Satriani’s latest release, Unstoppable Momentum is the famed guitarist’s best release since his 2006 album, Super Colossal.  This new record is the album that fans have waited for since the release of Super Colossal.  It is just as bombastic as Super Colossal and more at some points.  It’s also just as gentle as SC, too at different points.  Perhaps a big reason for the success of this record is the Satch opted for a different backing group than he typically uses on his records.  Many of Satriani’s past records were recorded with Jeff Campitelli on drums and Allen Whitman on bass.  This time out, Satch opted instead to have drummer Vinnie Colaiuta man the kit and Chris Chaney add the low end on bass.  Another change to the lineup that could have created such a difference on this record from his other works was the inclusion of Mike Frasier behind the glass once again.  The two are quite familiar with one another, having worked together on no less than six of Satch’s previous records, including his most recent album, Black Swans and Wormhole Wizards (2010) and Super Colossal.  He also helped with the creation of both of Chickenfoot’s current releases on which Joe played guitar.  That familiarity and friendship between the pair—and the inclusion of new musicians–obviously played a role in the record’s sound as it has proven to be not just his best record since Super Colossal, but one of his finest records to date.

Right from the opening number of Unstoppable Momentum, long-time fans of Satriani’s work know they are in for quite a ride.  The album opens fittingly with its title track.  Simply listening to the song, one can’t help but hear that perhaps Satriani is making a statement early on that even fourteen albums in, he still has a lot left to offer audiences.  He still has that “unstoppable momentum.”  The song’s seeming ABA structure starts off easy before really kicking things up in the middle section.  Joe shows without a doubt that he’s still got plenty left in the tank with his “solos” in this section while drummer Vinnie Colaiuta gives an added intensity with his musicianship behind the kit.  He proves to be just as solid as [Jeff] Campitelli, if not more so.  His ability to handle polyrhythmic patters without missing a single beat is impressive to say the least, both here and throughout the record.  This is just one example of what makes this such a solid record.

Another good example of what makes Unstoppable Momentum a success is the almost Beatles-esque, ‘I’ll Put a Stone on Your Cabin.’  The song’s “A” sections have something of a Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club influence.  Somehow, Satriani and his band mates manage to tie in a sound that is quite the counterpoint to this vibe, making the song into a piece unlike anything that Satriani has ever recorded throughout his career.  It is one of those songs that simply must be heard to be appreciated and understood.      

There is at least one more example of what makes this new record one that fans will enjoy.  And it is the album’s absolutely shortest, but most touching piece.  That song is the one minute and forty-three minute long, ‘I’ll Put a Stone on Your Cairn.’  For those that don’t know, one of the traditional uses of a cairn is as a monument to one who has passed on.  Its use roots all the way back to prehistoric Eurasia.  So placing a stone on one’s cairn would be an act of tribute and remembrance to the deceased.  Keeping all of this in mind, the gentle, dulcet tones of this short opus are sure to create thoughts in the minds of listeners of perhaps those that they have lost.  It offers some of the album’s deepest emotions and is sure to generate among listeners some of the deepest emotions, as well.  Without a doubt, this song may end up being a favorite for fans, even as short as it is.  And it is just one more among so many that listeners will enjoy throughout the course of the album’s eleven total tracks.  The album is available now in stores and online.  It can be ordered online via Joe’s website, http://www.satriani.com, where he has links to iTunes, Amazon, and through his own website.  Fans can also order the new album and all sorts of Joe Satriani gear through his official Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/joesatriani.  Fans can keep up with the latest tour updates and news from Joe on his Facebook page, too.

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks.  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.

Collide & Conquer A Solid Second Effort From Hunter Valentine

Courtesy:  Red Distribution

Courtesy: Red Distribution

Hunter Valentine’s second full length studio release, Collide & Conquer, is a solid follow-up to the band’s 2007 debut record, Impatient Romantic.  What the band started on that record, it has built up even more with this new release.  That is evident right from the album’s opener, ‘Liar Liar.’  This is an interesting opener as singer/guitarist Kyomi M’s vocals come across as a mix of so many past great female rock vocalists.  The song’s driving guitars and drums serve to enhance the song even more making it a very good first impression for this record.  Whereas ‘Liar Liar’ is a solid opener for this new record, equally interesting is the ease with which the band is able to change moods and sounds with the album’s very next song, ‘Lonely Crusade.’  While this song has a noticeably different vibe about it all the way around, it’s still a nice follow-up as it doesn’t lose any of the energy built up from ‘Liar Liar.’

As much as Hunter Valentine offers listeners some nice up-tempo punk rock pieces on its new album, it has also offered fans the more poppy sound from its debut record in the new song, ‘Crying.’  What really makes this song interesting is that considering the song’s chorus of “I feel like crying tonight”, and the gentle tones from the piano backing the song, the band still hasn’t lost any of the energy built through the album’s first three songs.  It makes for an interesting juxtaposition of emotions and sounds.  Even more interesting is the transition of the band from this song to the album’s halfway point with the song, ‘Little Curse (S*** Happens).’  This song kicks the album’s energy right back to ten, even with its lyrical side that seems to touch yet again on personal relationships. 

The first half of Hunter Valentine’s new album, Collide & Conquer is a solid new effort from these young Canadian rockers.  And even for those who might be new to the band’s music, it makes for just as much of an impressive introduction.  The band does a good job of balancing its mix of punk, pop punk and rock throughout the course of the album’s eleven songs.  Considering this, it would be no surprise if this band’s name makes its way across mainstream radio stations nationwide given the opportunity.  The band already has a number of performances slated for the New Year in support of its new album.  It will be touring up and down the West Coast and into the Midwest during the early part of 2013.  Audiences who want to check the band out live can see the band’s tour dates online at http://www.facebook.com/huntervalentine and http://www.huntervalentine.com.  Fans can also go to both sites to get all the latest news from the band.

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