Destrage Staying Busy This Fall And Winter

Courtesy:  Metal Blade Records

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

Destrage will hit the road next Friday, November 14th in support of its latest full length studio effort Are You Kidding Me? No.  The fifteen-date tour will take the band across Europe and winds up Saturday, December 13th.  The band’s members announced that they will document their travels and performances as the tour progresses.  The band has partnered with Bode Music Gear to produce the tour videos, which will run on the company’s YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/bodesrl.  The band’s videos will feature the band taking part in various fun and pointless challenges including: who can put the most of something in their mouth, who can do the most push-ups, who can do the most shots, jumping over cars, who can break the most guitar strings, and more.  Destrage will joined by Protest The Hero, The Faceless, and The Contortionist for its upcoming tour.  The complete schedule for the bands’ tour is listed below.

DESTRAGE

Tour w/ Protest The Hero, The Faceless, The Contortionist

11/14 Leipzig, DE Conne Island

11/15 Pilsen, CZ Pod Lampou

11/16 Berlin, DE Bi Nuu

11/21 Enschede, NL Atak

11/22 Köln, DE Essigfabrik

11/24 Antwerpen, BE Trix

12/04 Paris, FR Trabendo

12/05 Karlsruhe, DE Substage

12/06 Milano, IT Live Forum

12/07 Rome, IT Traffic Club

12/08 München, DE Backstage

12/09 Wien, AT Arena

12/10 Geneve, CH L’Usine

12/12 Winterthur, CH Gaswerk

12/13 Lyon, FR Warmaudio

Along with the upcoming tour videos, Destrage has also announced the release of its new guitar transcription book Are You Kidding Me? No: The Complete Guitar Transcription.  The book is expected to be released this month while the band is touring.  The book will be released in partnership with Sheet Happens Publishing.  Fans can pick up the book at the band’s merchandise booth at its live shows and online via the Sheet Happens Publishing website at http://www.sheethappenspublishing.com.  Those wanting the physical book can order it online at http://www.sheethappenspublishing.com/product-499/destrage-are-you-kidding-me?-no-%7C-printed-guitarbook.

If the band’s new guitar transcription book isn’t enough for fans, guitarists Matteo Di Gioia and Ralph Salati have released a brand new in-depth guitar tutorial for the song ‘My Green Neighbor,’ which is taken from the band’s Metal Blade Records’ debut record.  The tutorial is available online now at YouTube.  The official video for the song is also available now on YouTube.

Audiences can keep track of the band’s tour and keep up with all of the latest updates from the band online at:

Website: http://www.destrage.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/destrage

Twitter: http://twitter.com/destrage

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.

Rise Against Opening New Year With New Tour Dates

Courtesy:  Interscope Records

Courtesy: Interscope Records

Rise Against announced two big pieces of news this week.

The band announced this week that it will kick off the New Year with a whole new slate of tour dates. It also announced the debut of the video for its new single ‘Tragedy + Time.’ Rise Against will join Linkin Park for the North American leg of its “Hunting Party Tour,” which kicks off Thursday, January 15th in Orlando, Florida. Both bands are currently touring in support of their respective new albums The Hunting Party and The Black Market. Of Mice and Men will serve as support act. It is touring in support of its latest full length studio effort Restoring Force. That album was released on January 28th of this year. Rise Against front man/guitarist Tim Mcllrath discussed the bands’ pairing in an interview. He noted that he is looking forward to the tour both for the bands and for their fans. “After crossing paths with these guys at festivals around the world over the past decade, we’re excited to finally share the road with Linkin Park,” he said. “We think this will be a great experience for all our collective fans.” Tickets can be purchased now for the tour via Ticketmaster. The full schedule for the tour is listed below. It includes a performance at the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, NC on January 28th.

Rise Against-Linkin Park Hunting Party Tour Schedule

Courtesy: Reybee, Inc.

Along with the announcement of its tour with Linkin Park, Rise Against also announced this week the premiere of the video for its new single ‘Tragedy + Time.’ The video, which can be viewed online now via Vimeo, was co-directed by Wed Kandel and Casey Hupke. The concept behind the video was meant to illustrate the song’s lyrical message of a person moving from a difficult and dark emotional place to a much brighter place; a journey from dark to light so to speak.

Fans can keep up with all of the latest news and more from Rise Against online at

Website: http://www.riseagainst.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/riseagainst

MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/riseagainst

Twitter: http://twitter.com/riseagainst

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.

PBS Announces Release Date For “Finding Your Roots Season 2″

Courtesy:  PBS

Courtesy: PBS

PBS will release the second season of its hit celebrity-based historical series Finding Your Roots With Henry Louis Gates, Jr. this fall.

Officials with PBS announced this week that Finding Your Roots With Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Season 2 will be released on Tuesday, December 16th.  Gates meets some of the country’s biggest names in the series and examines their ancestry in each hour-long episode.  In the series’ second season, Gates studies the ancestry of big names such as: Derek Jeter, Ben Affleck, Jessica Alba, Sting, Tina Fey, Sally Field, Stephen King, Nas, and many others.  In all, twenty-nine celebrities are featured throughout the course of Season Two.

Gates goes into even more depth with his guests in Season Two than was possible in the show’s premiere season. He studies his guests’ specific ethnic roots, cultural traditions, and the inner works of his guests’ families. New advancements in DNA testing even allows for study of genetic genealogy. The advancements allowed for revelations linked to questions of paternity, geographic origins of his guests’ ancestors, and even tribal Native America ancestry in other cases. It is all revealed over ten episodes spread across three discs.

Finding Your Roots With Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Season Two will be available only on DVD Tuesday, December 16th. It will retail for MSRP of $39.99 and can be ordered online direct from PBS’ online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=46207086&cp=&sr=1&kw=finding+your+roots&origkw=Finding+your+roots&parentPage=search#Details. Audiences can access more information on the series, and watch videos from the show online now at:

Website: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/finding-your-roots

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/FindingYourRootsPBS

Twitter: http://twitter.com/henrylouisgates

 

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.

Wovenwar Announces New Slate Of Live Dates

Courtesy;  Metal Blade Records

Courtesy; Metal Blade Records

Wovenwar will return to the road in 2015.

Metal Blade Records and the members of Wovenwar announced this week that the band will kick off 2015 alongside Nothing More and Thank You Scientists! on the Juggernaut tour. The bands will serve as support acts for headlining act Periphery. The tour kicks off Saturday, January 10th and will run for five weeks, ending February 14th in Philadelphia, PA. Tickets for the tour go on sale tomorrow, Friday, November 7th.   VIP packages will be available online via Soundrink.com.

Wovenwar is currently wrapping up the European leg of its tour in support of its self-titled debut record. That record is available now in stores and online. The last date for the European leg of the band’s tour will be this Saturday, November 8th in Goteborg, Sweden. After that, the band will take some much needed time off for the holidays, recharging and getting ready for the upcoming Juggernaut Tour. The complete schedule for the Juggernaut Tour is listed below.

WOVENWAR
Tour w/ Periphery, Nothing More, Thank You Scientist
January 10 Carrboro, NC Cat’s Cradle
January 11 Charlotte, NC The Fillmore
January 12 Atlanta, GA Masquerade
January 13 Tampa, FL Orpheum
January 14 Ft. Lauderdale, FL Revolution Live
January 16 New Orleans, LA House of Blues
January 17 Houston, TX House of Blues
January 18 Dallas, TX House of Blues
January 20 Albuquerque, NM Sunshine Theatre
January 21 Phoenix, AZ Club Red
January 22 Los Angeles, CA House of Blues
January 23 Anaheim, CA Yost Theater
January 26 San Francisco, CA The Fillmore
January 27 Portland, OR Hawthorne Theater
January 28 Seattle, WA El Corazon
January 31 Denver, CO Summit Music Hall
February 2 Minneapolis, MN Varsity Theater
February 3 Chicago, IL House of Blues
February 4 Detroit, MI St. Andrew’s Hall
February 6 Toronto, ON Opera House
February 7 Montreal, QC Corona Theatre
February 8 Albany, NY Upstate Concert Hall
February 9 Rochester, NY Water Street Music Hall
February 11 Boston, MA Paradise Rock Club
February 12 New York, NY Irving Plaza
February 13 Silver Spring, MD The Fillmore
February 14 Philadelphia, PA District N9ne

More information on Wovenwar, its new album and all of the latest updates from the band is available online at:

Website: http://www.wovenwar.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/wovenwar

Twitter: http://twitter.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.

The Secret’s Out: Nikki Yanofsky Proves She’s Ready To Break Out On Her Latest LP

Courtesy:  Caroline Records

Courtesy: Caroline Records

At only 19 years old, Canadian-born singer Nikki Yanofsky has already recorded and released three full length albums and gained a fan base from around the world.  So it goes without saying that by and large Yanofsky, who has worked with big names including: will.i.am, Herbie Hancock, Phil Ramone, and Elton John just to name a few, is anything but a secret to audiences.   This summer, Yanofsky released her aptly titled fourth full-length studio effort Little Secret.  The little secret revealed in this record is that Yanofsky isn’t just a jazz singer.  Just as Norah Jones eventually branched out, so has Yanofsky.  And just as Jones’ fans became divided when she started branching out, so have Yanofsky’s, too.  Fans have either gotten totally on board with this record or they have completely disavowed it.  Those fans that disavowed Little Secret have obviously failed to see…er…hear that she has not abandoned her jazz roots on this record.  Rather, she has taken those roots and shown her ability to grow as an artist while maintaining them.  That is evident more than once throughout the course of this album’s dozen tracks.  One of the songs that proves this is her take on David Houston’s 1967 hit single ‘You Mean The World To Me.’   There is also a retooled version of the jazz standard ‘Jeepers Creepers’ simply titled ‘Jeepers Creepers 2.0′ that audiences should take into account.  Whether for the re-tooled take on ‘Jeepers Creepers’ or her take of ‘You Mean The World To Me,’ audiences that give this record a chance will hear and agree that Yanofsky hasn’t lost her jazz roots.  At the same time, they will also agree that she has grown and branched out.  That is evidenced both in the album’s fittingly titled opener ‘Something New’ and its closer ‘Kaboom Pow.’  These songs by themselves prove that Yanofsky has not forgotten her roots but rather taken them and grown with them.  And together with the album’s remaining songs not noted here, audiences new and old alike will agree that Little Secret is deserving of far more credit than some have given it.

Little Secret has proven to be quite the divisive record among Nikki Yanofsky’s fan base.  There has been no gray area with this record.  Audiences have either hated it, claiming that Yanofsky has essentially sold out and forgotten her jazz roots or they have loved it noting her growth.  This critic chooses to take the side of those noting her positive growth.  Yanofsky shows on this record that she hasn’t forgotten her jazz roots.  She has merely taken them and grown with them.  One example of that display comes in her rendition of the jazz classic ‘You Mean The World To Me.’  This song is a  wonderful and beautiful break from the album’s more pop-centered songs.  It is a slow, gentle song perfect for a romantic moment with yanofsky singing, “I think about you all the time/I think about how you’re all mine/How only I can hold your hand/And you’re the one I call my man/And you mean the world to me/Everytime I feel your touch/Boy it gives me such a rush/And every time you stroke my hair/It sends shivers everywhere/I think about you and your smile/I think about the longest smile/Then I would run to get to you/I know that you would do that, too/Cause you mean the world to me.”  The gentle strains of the piano and laid back beats make the song even more enjoyable.  Regardless of the occasion, this is a great song for that special, romantic moment.  And it is one piece of evidence in the argument that Yanofsky hasn’t lost her jazz roots on this album.

Yanofsky’s take one ‘You Mean The World To Me’ is solid evidence that she has not lost her jazz roots on this, her latest full-length studio effort.  Those perhaps not yet convinced need look no farther than her updated take on the jazz standard ‘Jeepers Creepers’ for even more proof that she has not lost her roots, but used them to grow as a performer.  ‘Jeepers Creepers 2.0′ takes the jazz standard and brings it into the 21st century with her take of the song here.  She sings alongside jazz legend Louis Armstrong who popularized the original Harry Warren/Johnny Mercer tune in this rendition.  The pairing of the old and new is enhanced even more with the placement of some decidedly poppy beats over the whole thing.  The end result is one more song proving how much Nikki Yanofsky has grown on this record.  It’s also one more of the album’s songs that proves why Little Secret is a great candidate for a spot on any critic’s list of the year’s best new pop albums.

Despite what so many would like to believe, Nikki Yanofsky proves more than once on her latest full-length studio release that she has not lost her jazz roots. Rather she has shown how much she has grown on this album.  That is evident in both of the already noted songs.  While she proves that she has not forgotten her jazz roots, she also proves just how much she has grown as an artist and branched out as she has gotten older and more experienced with her craft.  She proves this just as much as she proves her continued connection to her jazz roots.  One of the best examples of that growth comes in the form of the album’s aptly titled opener ‘Something New.’  This song is right up there with songs from so many of Yanofsky’s bigger name counterparts that currently run on the nation’s biggest radio stations.  Audiences that give this song a chance will recognize a very familiar sample used as the song’s backbone.  It is the same sample used as a music bed in actor Mike Meyers’ hit Austin Powers movies.  The album’s closer ‘Kaboom Pow’ is just as aptly titled.  That’s because it closes out this surprisingly impressive album with a bang.  As with the album’s opener, it is catchy enough that it could easily hold its own against any major song playing across America’s major Top 40 station’s today.  Yanofsky’s vocal abilities are incredible to say the least, especially when she hits the high notes in this song.  It is truly something that must be heard to be fully appreciated.  Those talents, the talent exhibited in the album’s opener, and that of her jazz renditions show collectively a solid balance of Yanofsky’s past, present and future.  They prove together that she has not lost her roots nor has she forgotten them.  She has simply taken those roots and grown with them and released an album that is far more worthy of praise than some would seem to believe.

Nikki Yanofsky proves with Little Secret that she is more than just a jazz singer.  She is a multi-talented vocalist that could go any direction that she wants in her future releases. Regardless of the direction that she chooses or the support (or lack thereof) that she gets from America’s Top 40 stations, this record has proven that the secret is out.  Nikki Yanofsky is one of the best young vocalists in American music today.  Audiences that give Little Secret a chance will agree with that sentiment, too.  Yanofsky is currently touring in support of Little Secret.  Audiences can check out her latest tour schedule online now and keep up with her latest news updates online at:

Website: http://www.NikkiYanofsky.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/nikkiyanofsky

Twitter: http://twitter.com/NikkiYanofsky

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.

Lionsgate’s Latest Family Friendly CG Centerpiece Will Entertain The Whole Family

Courtesy:  Lionsgate

Courtesy: Lionsgate

Lionsgate’s latest CG animated feature Jungle Master is one of the year’s more welcome family features to come along so far in 2014.  Unlike so many of the movies released in recent years by Dreamworks and Disney/Pixar, Jungle Master actually takes the road less travelled.  The movie’s animation is the most obvious way in which it takes that road less travelled.  Despite being a CG presentation, it doesn’t bare that cookie cutter appearance of the movies released by Dreamworks and Disney/Pixar.  Another reason that it stands out is its run time.  The movie’s run time comes in at just under the ninety-minute mark.  That’s a very good thing and will be discussed later.  Last but not least of all that makes this movie stand out is its script.  The story lifts lightly from The Wizard of Oz believe it or not and adds in a touch of Avatar for good measure as well as other sci-fi flicks.  The end result is a story that the while it may never be as big as anything from Dreamworks or Disney/Pixar, is still enjoyable in its own right.  It proves to be a movie that the whole family should watch together and will enjoy together when they do watch it together.

Jungle Master is not one of the most well-known family flicks to be released by any of Hollywood’s major studios this year.  That aside, it still proves in the long run to be one of the year’s more welcome family friendly flicks.  One reason for that is the movie’s “animation.”  Lionsgate’s CG features are completely unlike those of Dreamworks and Disney/Pixar in the realm of animation.  It’s almost impossible to tell Dreamworks’ CG movies from Disney/Pixar’s because they all look alike.  The only way to really differentiate the two studios’ works is by the studio names.  That speaks volumes.  Lionsgate on the other hand has strived to keep itself separate from the mold used by those studios in terms of its animation.  The look of Lionsgate’s CG movies is rawer for lack of better wording.  But it isn’t raw to the point of looking like some pieces from perhaps independent studio Engine 15 Media Group and others.  There is actually some attention paid to detail with Lionsgate’s CG movies, including this one.  That attention to detail helps Jungle Master maintain its own identity separate from its bigger name counterparts from Dreamworks and Disney/Pixar.  It even helps the movie to maintain its own identity from Lionsgate’s previously released CG features.  That mostly original look is just one of a number of positives that surround Jungle Master and make it stand out among this year’s crop of CG movies.

The largely original look of Jungle Master plays a key role in the movie’s ability to keep audiences engaged through its entire eighty-two minute run time.  That run time is another reason that families will enjoy this movie.  It doesn’t even reach the ninety-minute mark.  That relatively short run time drastically increases the chances of keeping audiences engaged from start to finish.  This is especially the case with the movie’s target younger audiences.  Most of the CG movies released since 1995—which is when Pixar broke the mold and released Toy Story—have averaged about ninety minutes.  There have been a small number of movies that have come in just under that time.  But most either reach the ninety-minute mark or go well over it as was the case with Toy Story 3.  That movie came in at almost forty-five minutes.  Luckily its story worked well enough that it still succeeded and quite well at that.  Speaking of story Jungle Master’s story works wonderfully with its run time.  Its story combines elements of a number of other movies to make a story that somehow actually works.  It’s one more way in which Jungle Master works and makes itself one of this year’s more welcome family films.

Both the look of Jungle Master and its run time are important to the movie’s overall success.  They each play their own important role to the overall presentation as they both have an impact on whether or not audiences are kept engaged.  Luckily, both factors succeed by themselves and together.  As much as they succeeded, the look of Jungle Master and its run time are not all that made this direct-to-DVD feature work.  One would be remiss to ignore the movie’s script as an equally important part of the whole.  The movie’s script centers on a twelve year-old girl named Rainie (pronounced rainy) who runs away from home ater her mother forgot about her birthday.  It is assumed by the fact that Rainie was upset enough to run away that her mother (who remains nameless throughout the movie) has probably left Rainie alone more than once.  Her decision to run away ends up taking her to al alien planet  and a much biger adventure that is directly linked to the company for which her mother works.  It’s thanks to her adventure that Rainie realizes her mom hasn’t intentionally ignored her, obviously leading to an eventual reconciliation between mother and daughter.  The central story of the parent/child relationship is obviously anything but new.  It’s been done more times than a person can count on his or her own two hands.  However, the story’s execution is what makes this plot work.  Screen writer Steve Kramer lifted liberally from the likes of The Wizard of Oz and Avatar to make this story.  While he obviously lifted from the noted movies, Kramer didn’t try to just remake them and mix them together.  He used them more as influences for his story about family.  What’s more he balanced said elements quite well; well enough in fact that audiences will be moved to overlook the references to said movies and enjoy the presented story.

Kramer’s re-telling of original writer/director Xu Kerr’s story is one of the most important of this movie’s aspects in considering its level of success.  He obviously used at least a couple of rather well-known movies that have come before as both influences and elements of this movie.  But he also didn’t try to just rip off either work.  He balanced them together to make a largely original story that centers on family.  That creativity and homage still is not all that makes this movie work.  One should also take into account the movie’s cast and even its bonus shorts.  Victoria Justice (Victorious, Victoria Justice, iCarly), Jane Lynch (Glee, Hollywood Game Night, Wreck-It-Ralph), David Spade (Just Shoot Me, The Benchwarmers, Tommy Boy), Josh Peck (Drake & Josh, Ultimate Spiderman, Ice Age: Continental Drift), Christopher Lloyd (Cyberchase, Back to the Future 1 - 3), and John Lovitz (Saturday Night Live, The Critic, Gorwn-Ups 1 & 2) make up the movie’s cast.  Lovitz proves to be the real star of the story with his comical antics voicing Mulla.  The fact that so many well-known names overall would feel confident enough about such a movie makes it even more worth the watch.  And the bonus shorts included with the movie will entertain children for a little while after the movie ends.  These extra positives combined with the positivews already noted make Jungle Master a movie well worth at least one watch together by any family.  It is available now in stores and online.  More information on this and other releases from Lionsgate is available online at:

Website: http://www.lionsgate.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/lionsgate

Twitter: http://twitter.com/lionsgatemovies

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.

Brad Paisley To Serve As Guest Picker On ESPN’s CGD Broadcast This Week

College GameDay Logo

Courtesy: ESPN

Country music superstar Brad Paisley is set to appear on ESPN’s College GameDay this weekend.

Paisley will be a guest picker on this Saturday’s broadcast of College GameDay presented by Home Depot when host Chris Fowler and the rest of the CGD crew rolls into Morgantown, West Virginia on the campus of West Virginia University. Chris Fowler will anchor Saturday’s live broadcast of the Emmy Award-winning show. He will be joined by analysts Lee Corso , Kirk Herbstreit, and Desmond Howard at the desk. The group will offer more picks and insight for this weekend’s slate of college football matchups. The show will broadcast live from the patio of the Mountainlair Student Union on the campus of WVU. Saturday’s broadcast marks only the second time that ESPN’s College GameDay presented by Home Depot has been broadcast live from WVU. The Mountaineers’ matchup against the Horned Frogs of TCU will be broadcast live on ABC at 3:30pm ET.

Brad Paisley Promo Pic

Photo Credit: Jim Shea

In regards to the announcement of Paisley’s appearance, ESPN coordinating producer Lee Fitting discussed the network’s excitement at having Paisley, who is himself from West Virginia, appear live ahead of WVU’s matchup later Saturday afternoon. Anytime we can get a star of Brad Paisley’s stature on the show it is a huge win,” said Fitting. “On top of that, Brad is a West Virginia native and huge Mountaineers fan. GameDay’s been on a great run this season with celebrity guest pickers and Saturday morning in Morgantown with Brad on our set should be very entertaining.” Paisley released his latest full-length studio album Moonshine in the Trunk on August 25th.

More information on this weekend’s edition of ESPN’s College GameDay is available online at:

Website: http://espn.go.com/college-football

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/collegegameday

Twitter: http://twitter.com/CollegeGameDay

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.