The Heavy Goes Heavy On The Old School Funk, R&B Again On ‘Sons’

Courtesy: ADA

Over the course of now more than a dozen years, funk-rock group The Heavy has made quite the name for itself with its music being used on television, in video games, in advertisements and even in the realm of politics.  Along the way, the band has released four full-length studio recordings, building its name as one of the most well-known and respected acts in the music community.  The band continued that success this spring when it released its fifth full-length studio recording, Sons.  The band’s latest recording does not necessarily break any new ground for the band, but at the same time does not necessarily just repeat the sound of the band’s previous albums.  To that end, the album deserves at least one list.  The album’s largely positive lyrical themes make it even more deserving of that listen.  ‘Better As One,’ which comes early in the album’s run is just one of the songs that serves to support the noted statements.  It will be discussed shortly.  ‘Burn Bright,’ the album’s closer, also supports the noted statements and will be addressed a little later.  ‘Simple Things’ is another of the album’s entries that serves to illustrate what makes the album wroth hearing, both for its lyrical and musical content.  When it is considered alongside the other two songs noted here and the rest of the album’s additions, the whole of the album proves to be a positive new offering from The Heavy.

The Heavy’s latest full-length studio recording Sons is a positive new offering from the funk-rock outfit that solidifies the group’s place even more as a viable musical organization.  That is proven both through the album’s musical and lyrical content, as is evidenced in part through the song ‘Better As One.’  The song’s musical arrangement wastes no time taking listeners back to the 1960s and conjuring thoughts of the late, great James Brown with its horns, drumming and vocal delivery of front man Kelvin Swaby.  The combination of those elements makes the song’s arrangement a work that despite coming in at just under three minutes, a work that is instantly infectious and one of the record’s best moments.  The addition of the clear social commentary featured in the song adds even more interest to the song.

Swaby sings in the song’s chorus, “I know that we can do better/I know we’re better as one/I know that we could do better without evil on our tongue.”  He continues in the chorus, “Can we take the head from the beast/That insisted we’re all different.”  Swaby is just as direct in the song’s second verse, as he sings, “If I was ignorant, I’d roll the dice/I’d roll with the evil eyes/I’d roll with the idiot/That lays the shame and plays dangerous/I’d forget all about it all/I’d forget all about a wall/I’d forget all about the mean/Of a human being/Nothing good at all.”  That verse, along with the clearly socially conscious verse, leaves little doubt as to the topic being addressed here.  The song is making note of the divisiveness within the nation today.  The note of “the wall” comes across as an indictment of Donald Trump and his comments about building a wall at the U.S./Mexico border.  Simply put, the song’s lyrical content is a commentary that will reach plenty of listeners.  When it is considered along with the infectious groove of the song’s musical content, the whole of the song makes it a clear example of just why this album is a positive new effort from the group.  It is just one of the songs that illustrates so well what makes the album well worth hearing.  ‘Burn Bright,’ which closes out the record, is another example of the album’s strength.

‘Burn Bright’ is a distinct change of pace from ‘Better As One’ both musically and lyrically.  Where ‘Better As One’ presents an upbeat, infectious groove in its arrangement and a socially conscious statement in its lyrical theme, the musical side of ‘Burn Bright’ is far more reserved.  This song’s arrangement is a much more soulful work that will appeal to fans of acts, such as Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats, J.D. McPherson and other similar acts.  That is thanks to the use of the chorus and the song’s overall instrumentation with its guitars, drums, bass and drums.  That slower, more reserved nature of the song’s arrangement plays well into the seeming personal story told through the song’s lyrical theme.

In regards to the song’s seemingly personal story, it comes across as the subject telling another person of the positive effect that said person has had on the subject.  Whether that is on a romantic or general personal level is left for discussion, but regardless, still works.  The seeming story is inferred as Swaby sings in the song’s lead verse, “I was walking in the wrong direction/I was walking like a man on a wire/Couldn’t keep it for my own protection/Couldn’t keep it from the fire/Stayed dead through my heart/Can’t be dead/Stayed dead ‘cause my heart won’t lie/Just waiting for the one salvation/The same one to make it alright.”  He continues in the song’s second verse, “And even when I was building with impatience/Never made it to the mile long mile/Kept busy on the worst locations/And stopped following my ride/’Cause the desk ‘gon work with the devil/That desk ‘gon  take you for a ride/Be ready for the ramifications/of being crippled inside.”  From there, he sings in the song’s chorus, “You make this life burn brighter/You take away my pain/Break me from the chains/To keep us burning brighter.”  Again, it can be inferred from this, that the song, lyrically, focuses on a personal relationship and how one person has made another better by simply being in that first person’s life.  What is truly interesting here, going back to the song’s musical content, that slower tempo and the song’s grinding feel serves well to help illustrate the emotions of the song’s lyrical content.  The two elements together make the song a strong finish to the record, and the song in general one more example of what makes the album stand out.  It is not the last of the album’s most notable moments.  ‘Simple Things’ is one more example of the album’s strength.

‘Simple Things’ stands out just as starkly from the songs noted here – and the rest of the album’s songs – as they do from one another in part because of its arrangement.  This song’s arrangement is another work that wastes no time grabbing listeners’ attention.  The bass and keyboard-driven arrangement immediately lends itself to comparisons to some of the best works from Parliament Funkadelic.  What is really interesting here is Swaby’s vocal delivery here.  Where the song’s instrumentation conjures thoughts of the noted group, Swaby’s vocal delivery here conjures thoughts of Wild Cherry singer Rob Parissi.  That is especially the case in the song’s verses.  The choruses show Swaby leaning more in a funk/R&B direction in his delivery.  It sounds like quite the odd combination, but it is in fact quite enjoyable to hear, especially coupled with the song’s fun, mid-tempo old school funk arrangement.  The song’s arrangement is just one part of what makes it stand out.  Its lyrical content adds its own share of interest to the whole of the work.

The lyrical theme presented in ‘Simple Things’ comes across as a love song.  This is inferred as Swaby sings in the song’s lead verse, “Caught up in a daydream/Caught up in the heat of your love/There ain’ no misbehavin’/Ain’t no sense in f****** s*** up/’Cause time after time/I tell myself I’m better/Time after time/Evil tests my every pressure/Time after time/I’ll make it like you want me/’Cause my heart can’t bring it if my heart ain’t in it.”  Swaby continues in the song’s second verse, “Don’t ever run/Come save me/I ain’t never gonna give you the call/’Cause trust come necessary/And we ain’t standin’ here ready to fall/’Cause time after time/Expect love to be better/Thyme after rhyme/Temptation’s always out to get ya/Time after time if I can turn you on/because my heart don’t sing it if my heart ain’t in it.”  He and his band mates note additionally in the song’s chorus, “Make it all about the simple things/Break it down for the simple things.”  The simple things are what make relationships grow and thrive.  The note of a heart being in it adds to the inference that the song is a love song of sorts about someone being loyal to another.  This is just this critic’s own take on the song.  It could be a completely incorrect interpretation, but hopefully is somewhere in the proverbial ballpark.  When this possibly positive lyrical theme is coupled with the song’s – again – infectious musical arrangement, the whole of the song makes it yet another key addition to the album.  When the song in whole is considered along side the other two songs noted here and the rest of the album’s entries, the whole of Sons becomes a positive work that in whole, will appeal to plenty of listeners, and is another positive offering from The Heavy.

The Heavy’s latest full-length studio recording Sons is a positive new effort from the funk-rock band.  That is due both to its musical arrangements and its positive lyrical themes from start to finish.  Given, none of the material – musical or lyrical – breaks any new ground so to speak for the band, the album doesn’t just straight up rehash the band’s previous albums.  The three songs noted here clearly support that statement.  When they are considered along with the rest of the record’s entries, the whole album proves to be another successful offering from The Heavy.  More information on Sons is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://theheavy.co.uk

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/theheavy73

Twitter: http://twitter.com/theheavy

 

 

 

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Atreyu Announces Release Date, Specs For ‘In Our Wake’ Re-Issue

Courtesy: Spinefarm Records

Atreyu will re-issue its album In Our Wake next month.

The album’s re-issue is scheduled for Aug. 16 through Spinefarm Records.  It will feature previously unreleased songs that were recorded during the sessions for the band’s 2015 album Long Live and its 2018 album.

Among the extras featured among the seven extra tracks are an alternate, acoustic take of the title track from In Our Wake and an alternate take of the song ‘Our Time Is Now.’

Atreyu drummer Brandon Saller said in a recent interview, he is looking forward to the album’s re-issue.

“I’ve excited for these songs to see the light of day,” Saller said.  “To us, these are songs that we loved, but didn’t find a space within the album as a unit.  To further that, we’re excited to have some older material that only saw limited release be fully available for our fans.  As for the re-imagined tracks from In Our Wake, this is something brand new to us and it was a really fun moment for us to re-think these songs.  They turned into something special that we feel stands on its own.”

Saller’s band mate, bassist Porter McKnight, expanded on Saller’s thoughts.

“When the topic for the deluxe edition was introduced, my brain instantly exploded with fun avenues and ideas for re-developed imagery,” McKnight said.  “I wanted something that flirted with my original ideas for IOW, but took them down a new and darker path.  I chose to invoke a classic punk/black metal feel with this one, and even ended up drawing the [album’s] cover by hand.  It’s always an honor and a pleasure to create something for this band.”

The  full 19-song track listing for the upcoming re-issue of In Our Wake is noted below. Pre-orders are open now.

IN OUR WAKE DELUXE EDITION TRACK LISTING:
“In Our Wake”
“House of Gold”
“The Time Is Now”
“Nothing Will Ever Change”
“Blind Deaf & Dumb”
“Terrified”
“Safety Pin”
“Into the Open”
“Paper Castle”
“No Control”
“Anger Left Behind”
“Super Hero”
“In Our Wake” (Acoustic)
“The Time Is Now” (Alternate)
“Generation”
“Straight To Hell”
“So Others May Live”
“Stronger Than Me”
“When the Day Is Done”

Atreyu is in the midst of a tour in support of In Our Wake.  The band’s current schedule is noted below.

ATREYU ON TOUR:
7/23: Auburn, WA @ White River Amphitheatre
7/24: Boise, ID @ Ford Idaho Center Amphitheatre
7/26: Chula Vista, CA @ North Island Credit Union Amphitheatre
7/28: Montreal, QC @ HVY MTL*
*Non-Disrupt date

More information on Atreyu’s upcoming re-issue of In Our Wake is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:

 

Website: http://www.atreyofficial.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/atreyuofficial

 

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Eagle Rock Entertainment To Release New Live Recording From Slash Ft. Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

Slash Ft. Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators have a new live recording on the way.

The group will release its new recording Living The Dream Tour Sept. 20.  The concert, recorded at the band’s performance at the Hammersmith Apollo (London) during its 2019 “Living The Dream Tour,” it is scheduled for release on DVD/2CD; Blu-ray/2CD; 3LP Black vinyl; limited edition 3LP Red vinyl digital video and digital audio.

The concert featured in the recording is a two-hour set.  It features songs from  Slash’s solo records and from his work with Kennedy and The Conspirators.  A full clip of the band performing the song ‘Anastasia‘ is streaming now.  The trailer for the recording is streaming here.

The full track listing for Living The Dream Tour is noted below. Pre-orders are open now.

LIVING THE DREAM TOUR–TRACKLISTING:

The Call Of The Wild
Halo
Standing In The Sun
Ghost
Back From Cali
My Antidote
Serve You Right
Boulevard Of Broken Hearts
Shadow Life
We’re All Gonna Die
Doctor Alibi
Lost Inside The Girl
Wicked Stone
Mind Your Manners
Driving Rain
By The Sword
Nightrain
Starlight
You’re A Lie
World On Fire
Avalon
Anastasia

Slash and company are in the midst of the latest leg of its “Living The Dream Tour.”  The group’s current tour schedule is noted below.

U.S. TOUR
Sun-Jul-21-19 Calgary, AB Grey Eagle Entertainment Centre
Tue-Jul-23-19 Winnipeg, MB Burton Cummings Theatre for the Performing Arts
Thu-Jul-25-19 Milwaukee, WI Pabst Theatre
Fri-Jul-26-19 Windsor, ON The Colosseum at Caesars Windsor
Sun-Jul-28-19 Montreal, QC Heavy Montreal
Mon-Jul-29-19 Toronto, ON Rebel Complex
Wed-Jul-31-19 Port Chester, NY Capitol Theatre
Thu-Aug-01-19 Northfield, OH Hard Rock Rocksino
Sat-Aug-03-19 Prior Lake, MN Mystic Lake Casino
Sun-Aug-4-19 Chicago, IL LOLLAPALOOZA
Tue-Aug-06-19 Nashville, TN Ryman Auditorium
Wed-Aug-07-19 Fort Wayne, IN Sweetwater Performance Pavilion
Fri-Aug-09-19 Council Bluffs, IA Harrah’s Council Bluffs – Stir Cove
Sat-Aug-10-19 Maryland Heights, MO KSHE Pig Roast
Mon-Aug-12-19 Atlanta, GA Tabernacle
Tue-Aug-13-19 Orlando, FL Hard Rock Live

More information on Living The Dream Tour is available online now along with all of Slash ft. Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators’ latest news at:

 

Website:  http://www.slashonline.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/Slash

 

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Vyces Premieres New Single, ‘Paralyzed’

Courtesy: Imagen/Warner ADA

Vyces debuted its new single this week.

The band debuted its new single ‘Paralyzed’ Tuesday.  The song was released through Imagen Records/Warner ADA.  The song comes more than a year after the band debuted the video for its last single ‘Thin Luck,’ which was released May 9, 2018.

‘Paralyzed’ is streaming online now via Apple Music and Spotify.  Musically, the song’s choruses boast a very aggro-rock vibe while the choruses are the exact opposite, tense, but still lighter than the feel of the song’s choruses.

Vyces front man Dave Naruszewicz talked about the song in a recent interview.

“I’m extremely excited to share ‘Paralyzed’ with everyone,” he said.  “It’s a song we’ve been playing live over the past two years and has definitely made its mark as a core song in our set. Producer Augustus Cryn’s vision for the song caught my attention the first time I heard the riffs.  Infectious and undeniable, this one is a head banger from start to finish.”

More information on Vyces’ new single, tour schedule and more is available online now at:

 

Websitehttp://vycesofficial.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/vycesofficial

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/vycesofficial

 

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Say Never Debuts ‘Do It Again’ Video

Independent hard rock band Say Never debuted the music video for its latest single this week.

The band debuted the video for its song ‘Do It Again’ on Thursday.  Billy Grey (Fozzy, Tattoo The Scars) provides his talents as a guest musician to the song. The video for ‘Do It Again crosses footage of the band performing its new single in a warehouse setting with footage of a young woman driving fast in a classic muscle car on a nearly deserted highway.  Audiences never find out the woman’s destination, but that is beside the point.

The band explained in a collective news release explains the song’s lyrical theme is meant to evoke happy emotions in listeners.

“‘Do It Again’ is a positive, upbeat blue collar tune with a head-bobbing tempo about letting loose and having fun with friends after a long, hard week at work,” the band notes in the release.  “All of us can easily relate to this song and we all know that feeling of happiness when the weekend rolls around.  ‘Do It again’ soars with its driving bass guitar, heavy drums, guitar tones that are dialed in just right and that feeling that it’s party time, so let’s “blow off some steam.”

The song’s musical arrangement will appeal to fans of bands, such as Black Stone Cherry, Brand New Sin and Black Label Society with the noted guitar tones, drums and bass line.

Say Never’s video for ‘Do It Again’ comes more than four months after the band debuted the video for its most recent single ‘Giving Up.’

More information on Say Never’s new single and video is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:

 

Website: http://www.sayneverband.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/sayneveratl

Twitter: http://twitter.com/saynevermusic

 

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Shout! Factory, Sesame Workshop To Celebrate 50th Anniversary Of ‘Sesame Street’ With New Collection

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/Sesame Workshop

Shout! Factory and Sesame Workshop are celebrating Sesame Street‘s 50th anniversary with a new collection of episodes.

Sesame Street50 Years and Counting is scheduled for release Oct. 1 on DVD.  The two-disc set features some of the series’ most beloved and memorable moments from its half-century of programming in its first disc.  Segments, such as “Ladybug Picnic,” “Pinball Number Count” and Kermit The Frog’s beloved performance of ‘It’s Not Easy Being Green’ are among those moments.

The set’s second disc features a variety of the series’ most beloved “live action” segments.  Among those multiple moments are the heartbreaking “Goodbye to Mr. Hooper,” the debut of Julia, the first member of the Sesame Street gang with autism and the introduction of the one and only Snuffleupagus.

As if all of that is not, viewers of all ages get to enjoy Super Grover’s many crash landings, Bert and Ernie’s best moments and more than five-and-a-half hours of other content from the series’ half-century run.

The collection’s release in stores will feature the inclusion of a 2X3 picture that features the series’ most notable figures.  The collection can be pre-ordered online now via Shout! Factory’s store.  More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online now at:

 

Website: http://www.shoutfactory.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ShoutFactory

 

More information on this and other titles from Sesame Workshop is available online now at:

 

Website: http://www.sesameworkshop.org

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/sesameworkshop

 

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‘Space: 1999 — The Complete Series’ Is A “Universal” Hit For Science Fiction Fans Everywhere

Courtesy: Shout! Factory

Shout! Factory is resurrecting the cult classic sci-fi series Space: 1999.  Due out July 16 on DVD and Blu-ray, the upcoming re-issue marks the first time that the series has received a full domestic release.  It was released most recently released in a full set overseas via Network in 2017.  Spread across 13 discs on DVD and Blu-ray, the collection is a must have for the most devout fans of the short-lived British import.  That is due in part to the set’s packaging, which will be addressed shortly.  The bonus content, which is expansive to say the least, is another key addition to the collection.  The companion booklet that is also featured with the set, rounds out the set’s most important elements.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of Space: 1999The Complete Series.  All things considered, they make this first-ever domestic home release of the series one that will be difficult to top for any future re-issues domestic or otherwise.

Shout! Factory’s upcoming domestic release of Space: 1999The Complete Series is a collection that the cult classic series’ most devoted fans will appreciate.  That is due in part to the set’s packaging.  The series’ 48-episode run is spread across 13 discs in two separate Blu-ray boxes.  The discs are placed on either side of a series of plates inside each box.  While the series’ two seasons are separated out into boxes, the packaging manner for the discs actually minimizes the bulk of each box.  Even with the main bonus features being placed on their own disc inside its own third case, the set’s overall Blu-ray box size is conservative on its size because of how the discs are packaged within the cases and because Blbu-ray boxes are themselves smaller than DVD boxes.

The actual packaging of the discs is just one key item to note in examining the overall packaging of Space: 1999’s Blu-ray set.  Audiences will note that on the back of each of the collection’s main two cases is an episode listing for that season.  The episodes are specifically aligned with their respective discs.  This might not seem overly important on the surface, but in reality it is very important.  Having the episodes listed specifically on their discs saves time for viewers in deciding which disc and episode to watch.  Of course, this is nothing new for Shout! Factory’s home releases, but it is still worth noting since it is another example of that continued effort by the people at Shout! Factory to give viewers the best experience possible with each of its multi-disc sets.  While the episode summaries are not included inside or outside the cases, Shout! Factory’s people did not forget those, either.  They will be discussed a little later.  Moving on, the packaging of Space: 1999The Complete Series is just one part of what makes the collection stand out for the series’ fans.  The bonus content featured throughout the set adds even more to the set’s presentation.

The bonus content featured in this first-ever domestic release of Space: 1999The Complete Series is spread across the set’s 13-discs with the main discs featuring picture galleries from each episode.  The main bonus content is a series of featurettes and a mix of old and new interview segments.  Star Barbara Bain’s interview features her talking about her draw to the series despite not being a science fiction fan at the time that she tried out for a role on the series, but coming to enjoy her time on the show.  Bain also mentions in her interview, her interest in the show’s premise and its set.  There is also an entertaining anecdote shared by Bain here, about working with Christopher Lee in one episode of Season One.  She joked about his height and how the show’s creative heads wanted to make him even taller than his natural 6-foot 4-inch height.  That is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg here.  The discussions on the series’ concept and creation features discussions with the series’ creator Gerry Anderson – who also created other classic series, such as Thunderbirds, Stingray and Joe 90 – as well as other members of the series’ creative team discussion the series’ creation.  Anderson discusses the role that ITC had in the importing of the series to the United States while others discuss the things that went on behind the scenes.  Perhaps one of the most intriguing discussions is that of show runner Fred Freiberger, who came into the show near the end of its first season.  Anderson’s wife Sylvia speaks one way of Freiberger – essentially saying he did not understand the difference between British television and American – while cast member Nick Tate spoke a little more warmly of Freiberger.  As if all of that is not enough for viewers, there is also a look into the models that were used   That look is key because it reminds people about how groundbreaking Anderson’s series were then and are now in hindsight.  As another interviewee noted in another segment, shows of this series’ caliber can only be made in this era using CG.  Between these discussions, so many others featured in the bonus content, the bonus picture galleries and the audio commentaries also featured throughout the set, audiences get here a full and fully immersive viewing experience.  It takes the foundation formed by the set’s packaging and strengthens it even more than one could even imagine.  That foundation is strengthened more still through the companion booklet that is also featured as part of the collection’s whole.

The companion booklet that is featured with Space: 1999The Complete Series opens with a brief but concise look at the history of Space: 1999 by pop culture historian and Shout! Factory Associate Producer Russell Dyball.  The history is also an appreciation for the series, with Dyball discussing the series’ theme music, its stylistic approach, which was far different from that of Star Trek – but common for Gerry and Sylvia Anderson’s series – and the expansive merchandising associated with the show.  From there, the booklet features a full rundown of the series’ episodes with brief, but concise summaries of each episode.  There is even a note ahead of the episode summaries stating that the lineup is based on the series’ episode production order, the most commonly accepted episode order.  Considering that there was not enough space inside and outside the series’ cases for episode summaries, the people at Shout! Factory are to be commended for taking the time to make sure even that element was still included in one way or another with the set.  Audiences will likely end up using this episode guide even more than the episode guides printed on the backs of the cases.  It’s just one more positive to an already positive presentation that the most devoted fans of this classic series will appreciate.  When it is considered along with the previously noted positives – the packaging and the bonus content – the set in whole becomes a presentation that every Space: 1999 fan will want to add to their home library.

Shout! Factory and itv’s upcoming domestic release of Space: 1999The Complete Series is a presentation that the most devoted fans of the series and the most devoted science fiction fans will appreciate.  That is due in part to the set’s packaging.  Once again, Shout! Factory has set the bar for multi-disc packaging with this Blu-ray set.  The bonus content featured with the set adds even more interest to its whole, as it includes audio commentaries, interviews, retrospectives and picture galleries throughout the set’s 13 discs.  The companion booklet that is also featured with the set rounds out its most important elements.  Each item noted is key in its own way to the whole of the set.  All things considered, they make this collection a “universal” hit among science fiction audiences, not just fans of this series.  More information on this and other titles is available online now at:

 

 

Website: http://www.shoutfactory.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ShoutFactory

 

 

 

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 https://philspicks.wordpress.com.