Turner Sports Announces NBA Pre-season, Regular Season Opener Schedules

Courtesy: TNT/Turner Sports/NBA

TNT will launch its NBA preseason coverage next week.

The network made the announcement through a press release distributed Tuesday. The document states the networks’ preseason coverage is scheduled to start at 8 p.m. Oct. 5 with a showdown between the 2020-21 NBA Champion Milwaukee Bucks on the road against the Memphis Grizzlies.

Kevin Harlan will have the call for the game. Stan Van Gundy will provide additional commentary along with fellow analyst and NBA legend Reggie Miller. Reporters Allie LaForce and Stephanie Ready will have all of the game’s latest headlines and interviews.

Matt Winer, Isiah Thomas, and Channing Frye will be live in studio at half-time with all of the game’s first half highlights and headlines from around the league.

In other news, TNT will open its coverage of the NBA’s regular season Oct. 19 with not one but two double headers. The first double header will go down as follows: The first game will see the Bucks take the court against the Nets. The Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Lakers will tip off in the evening’s second game.

The second season-opening double header from TNT will air Oct. 21 with the Mavericks and Hawks opening the night. The Warriors and Clippers will round out the night’s coverage.

The Emmy Award-winning studio team of Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley, Shaquille O’Neal, and Kenny Smith will provide pre-game coverage ahead of each evening’s schedule on Inside The NBA.

All games broadcast through TNT will also simulcast online the through the Watch TNT app and at http://www.tntdrama.com/watchtnt.

More information on TNT’s NBA coverage is available online now along with all of the latest NBA headlines at:

Websitehttps://www.nba.com/tntovertime

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/NBAONTNT

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The Corps Debuts New Single, ‘Hazardous,’ Companion Video

Courtesy: Thousand Islands Records

Independent punk rock band The Corps debuts its latest single and video this week.

The band premiered its new single, ‘Hazardous‘ and its companion video Tuesday. The intense, tow minute, 42 second song is everything that punk purists will appreciate, from the gritty vocals to the frenetic work on the guitar, drums, and bass, and even the layered vocal effect in the choruses. The whole lends itself to comparison to works from the likes of NOFX, Propagandi, and Lagwagon.

According to a statement from the band, the song’s lyrical theme is a social commentary of sorts that is presented in a semi-allegorical fashion.

“This song is about a woman who has spent her entire life ignoring personal responsibilities and the capacity for empathy, which in turn forces her to create a fictional reality and narrative for the life around her,” the statement reads. “A self made victim, she is very dangerous.”

The song’s video was shot, directed, and edited by City Zero Films. It features the band going around a city, “fixing” others’ problems. It is its own story that is meant to artistically help translate the noted message in the song’s lyrical theme.

More information on The Corps’ new single and video is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Website: https://www.thecorps2814.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thecorps2814

Twitter: https://twitter.com/thecorps2814

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

The Maguas Debuts New Single, Video; Announces New Live Dates

Courtesy: Earshot Media

Independent rock band The Maguas premiered its new single and video this week.

The band premiered its new single, ‘Shapeless‘ and its video Tuesday. The song is taken from the band’s next record, on which the band is working.

The musical arrangement featured in The Maguas’ new single is a catchy, infectious composition. It is grounded in its guitars and vocals. The overall sound and stylistic approach will appeal to fans of bands, such as The Story So Far, The Wonder Years, and The Menzingers.

No information was provided about the song’s lyrical theme in the press release announcing the single’s debut. However, the lyrics provided with the song’s video infers that the theme in question centers on a broken relationship. It is unclear whether that relationship is romantic or familial, but the emotional depth in the lyrics and their accessibility will resonate with audiences.

The video for ‘Shapeless’ is a simple presentation. Directed, shot, and edited by Alex Zarek, it features the band on stage in an aged auditorium setting as it performs its new single.

In other news, The Maguas is scheduled to launch a brief tour next month beginning Oct. 14 in Boston, MA. The short run is scheduled to wind down Oct. 23 in Oneonta, NY. The tour’s schedule is noted below.

UPCOMING 2021 TOUR Dear Youth & Outatime!

10/14 – Boston, MA @ Sammy’s Patio

10/15 – Scranton, PA @ Stage West

10/16 – Washington, DC @ DC9

10/17 – Amityville, NY @ Amityville Music Hall

10/20 – Akron, OH @ Musica

10/21 – Youngstown, OH @ Westside Bowl

10/23 – Oneonta, NY @ Black Oak Tavern

More information on The Maguas’ new single, video, and tour schedule is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Website: https://themaguas.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/THEMAGUAS

Twitter: https://twitter.com/themaguas

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

Jeremiah Moon Premieres Lead Single, Video From Hus Debut EP

Courtesy: ENCI Records

Jeremiah Moon is giving audiences their first preview of his forthcoming debut EP.

The preview came Tuesday in the form of his new single, ‘Kinds of Light‘ and its companion video. The video made its premiere Monday through Week in Pop. The release date for Moon’s new EP was not announced in the press release announcing the premiere of the record’s new single and video.

The musical arrangement featured in Moon’s new single puts his talents on the cello front and center. His performance on the cello pairs with the equally subtle time keeping, guitar, and vocals to make the song appealing for fans of similar acts, such as Elliot Smith, Father John Misty, and Sufjan Stevens.

According to statements from Moon, the lyrical theme that accompanies the song’s musical arrangement is a deeply introspective existential type statement.

“‘Kinds of Light’ is about opposing selves, the way relationships with other people compel us to reckon with our own identity, the way our stories gradually become histories, and the things we choose – or don’t choose – to carry with us,” he said. “The underlying thread, like all 5 songs on the EP, is connection between people – the ways that we try to understand each other, and the ways we change each others’ orbits.”

The video for Moon’s new single features Moon inside a vacant building as the green of nature stands outside. He slowly makes his way to the building’s exit until finally he sits outside that door at the song’s finale.

More information on Jeremiah Moon’s new single, video, and EP is available along with all of this latest news at:

Website: https://www.jmmoon.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jmmoon

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

Joe Farnsowrth’s ‘City Of Sounds’ Is A Unique, Enjoyable Addition To This Year’s Field Of New Live Music Offerings

Courtesy: Smoke Sessions Records

Veteran jazz drummer Joe Farnsworth is scheduled to release his latest record, City of Sounds, Friday through Smoke Sessions Records.  The eight-song record – his second with the label and third as a band leader (he has worked with a variety of other acts on other albums throughout his career) — is a fully successful new offering from Farnsworth.  If one did not know otherwise, one would not even realize that this recording is in fact a live set that, according to information provided to the media, was recorded over the weekend of Farnsworth’s birthday, Feb. 19-21 2021.  The liner notes, penned by George Cables, do not even point out this bit of information even as rich as they are.  Those rich liner notes will be addressed shortly, as they are their own key to the presentation’s success.  The set list featured in this unique live recording is the most notable of the presentation’s items.  It will be discussed shortly.    By connection, the concert’s production is also important to examined, so it will be addressed a little later.  All three noted items are important in their own way to the whole of this presentation.  All things considered, they make the recording a work that is among the best of this year’s new live CDs.

Joe Farnsworth’s forthcoming record, City of Sounds is a unique live recording that will appeal just as much to citizens of the city to which it pays tribute (New York) as to jazz fans in general.  The record’s success comes in part through its featured set list.  The 54-minute set list features a mix of covers and originals performed by Farnsworth and his fellow musicians, Kenny Barron and Peter Washington.  The set opens with a catchy, upbeat original composed by Barron in the form of ‘New York Attitude.’  The nearly six-minute composition expertly captures the energy of people making their way up and down the city’s streets.  This is evidenced just as much through the light way in which Barron makes his way across the piano’s keys and in which Farnsworth keeps time, adding just enough flare here and there with subtle cymbal crashes and solos.  Speaking of the solos, his is not the only one featured here.  As Cables’ notes point out about the song, “Everyone has solo space here as they get their feet wet for what promises to be a fun set.”  Fun is an understatement about the set, too.  From here the trio takes on what is one of only two covers featured in the set in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s ‘The Surrey with the Fridge on Top.’  The song is one of only three covers featured in the set.  The next cover comes much later in the set in the form of Carl Suessdorf and John Blackburn’s ‘Moonlight in Vermont.’  Sigmund Romberg and Oscar Hammerstein’s ‘Softly As In A Morning Sunrise’ rounds out the covers and the album.  The trio’s performance of each work pays full tribute to its source material, too.  Barron’s relaxed performance on piano in ‘Moonlight in Vermont’ paints a picture that is just as rich as that painted by any other act’s take on the song.  Many other acts have taken on the song, too, including the duo of Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong.  Washington’s equally relaxed bass line pair serves as a wonderful counterpoint to Barron’s performance and an equally welcome companion to Farnsworth’s own subtle, subdued time keeping.  Taking into account the mix of originals and covers featured here, and the performances thereof, the whole makes this aspect of City of Sounds its own success.  It is just one part of what makes the recording overall a success.  The production thereof builds on the success of the set list and its performance to enhance the presentation even more.

The production that went into City of Sounds is so important to note because of its impact on the general effect.  Keeping in mind that this recording is apparently a live recording, the production belies that element.  If an audience was in fact present for the recording over the course of the noted three-day span, then the production does not make any of that crowd noise audible.  That is not necessarily a bad thing, though.  There is a certain airy sense about the sound that does in fact hint at the performance being live or even semi-live (as in a live in-studio recording).  To that end, the subtlety in the production expertly balances each musician’s performance within the confines of the room to create a sound that even being live sounds like it was recorded in a studio.  It is that impressive.  Keeping that in mind, the production and the content together give audiences so much to appreciate here.  All of this is still just a portion of what makes the recording unique and enjoyable.  The information in the liner notes rounds out the recording’s most important elements.


As pointed out already here, George Cables’ notes do not make outright clear that this recording is in fact a live presentation.  That was information provided to media outlets.  That aside the liner notes still offer plenty to appreciate in their own right.  Case in point is Cables’ note that Farnsworth’s playing “is a testament to the vibrancy, diversity and musical history of New York City.”  That brief statement speaks volumes in setting the scene for the trio’s performance contained herein.  From there, Cables pays tribute to all three musicians, pointing out what makes each figure great.  He even goes so far as to compare Barron to Duke Ellington, calling him “Duke Elegant.”  As to Farnsworth, Cables writes that from the vantage point of a pianist (Cables is a pianist), “hooking up” with the drums “tightens the music” and that doing so with Farnsworth is “easy, because he’s always listening.”  That is a shining tribute to Farnsworth as a person and musician.  In writing about Washington, he speaks just as highly, stating, “He’s always present, always lyrical, always creative, and always in the groove.”  Everything that Cables writes of Washington is true, as audiences will hear for themselves in every one of his performances here.  After spending plenty of time praising Farnsworth and company, Cables changes gears and offers a brief, concise setup for each song featured in the set.  The whole of all of this content does so much to help set the stage (no pun intended) for the concert featured in this recording.  To that end, audiences would do well to take in Cables’ notes before even sitting down to take in the featured performance.  They will be glad they did.    When the notes that set up the featured concert are considered along with the content featured in the concert and the concert’s production, the whole comes together to make this presentation a complete success for Joe Farnsworth and company.

Joe Farnsworth’s new live recording, City of Sounds is a positive new offering from the veteran jazz drummer and his fellow musicians.  That is due in part to its featured set list.  The set list is composed primarily of original arrangements crafted by Farnsworth and his fellow musicians.  Only three of the set’s eight total songs are covers.  Even in the case of the covers, they are relatively well-known works.  All eight songs are well-performed, too.  The production that went into the recording works with the set list to enhance the presentation even more.  That is because of the positive impact that it has on the recording’s general effect.  The liner notes that accompany the recording do well to set up the performance featured in the recording.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the recording.  All things considered, they make the recording one of the best of this year’s new live CDs.

City of Sounds is scheduled for release Friday through Smoke Sessions Records.  More information on the recording is available along with all of Joe Farnsworth’s latest news at:

Website: https://joefarnsworthdrums.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/joefarnsworthdrums

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

ESPN Networks’ Broadcast Schedule Announced For Week 5 Of The 2021-22 College Football Season

Courtesy: ESPN

The SEC will get a lot of attention from the ESPN networks this weekend.

ESPN will host three games between SEC teams Saturday beginning with a matchup of No. 1 Arkansas and No. 2 Georgia at noon ET on ESPN. Fellow SEC foes, No. 10 Florida and the University of Kentucky are scheduled to take the field at 6 p.m. ET. The day’s SEC showcase is headlined by a matchup of No. 22 Auburn on the road against LSU, again on ESPN, this time at 9 p.m. ET.

In other news, ABC’s Saturday Night Football Presented By Capitol One will feature a Big 10 battle between No. 4 Penn State and Indiana at 7:30 p.m. ET.

Speaking of ABC, No. 3 Oregon and Stanford in Pac-12 will face off in conference play on ABC. That game is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. ET. Prior to that, Texas and TCU are set to kick off at noon ET on the alphabet network.

Over on ESPN2, the No. 21 Baylor Bears are scheduled to face off against Big 12 conference opponent No. 19 Oklahoma State at 7 p.m. ET. The game is the 4K Game of the Week on ESPN2.

The SEC Network will see No. 15 Texas A&M hosting Mississippi State at 7 p.m. ET. Boston College will look to remain unbeaten Saturday evening as it takes on No. 25 Clemson at 7:30 p.m. ET on the ACC Network’s ACC Primetime Football.

Saturday’s schedule winds down at 10:30 p.m. ET on ESPN with a showdown between two undefeated Big Sky Conference opponents, Montana (3-0) and Eastern Washington (4-0).

The games noted here are just a portion of Saturday’s extensive college football broadcast schedule. Additional games are noted below.

Additional ESPN Networks – Week 5 Highlights

  • UL Monroe at No. 16 Coastal Carolina: Saturday at 2:30 p.m., ESPN+
  • Louisiana Tech at No. 23 NC State: Saturday at 6 p.m., ACCNX/ESPN+
    • Talent: John Schriffen, Rene Ingoglia, Tori Petry  
  • Louisville at No. 24 Wake Forest : Saturday at 12:30 p.m., ESPN3
  • Houston at Tulsa: Friday at 7:30 p.m., ESPN
    • Talent: Roy Philpott, Andre Ware, Paul Carcaterra
  • Duke at North Carolina: Saturday at noon, ESPN2
    • Talent: Mike Morgan, Kirk Morrison, Dawn Davenport

More information on the ESPN networks’ college football coverage is available along with all of the latest college football headlines at:

Websitehttps://espn.com/college-football

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/CFBonESPN

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/espncfb

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

G’Raph’s Debut Album Will Leave Audiences Mostly Happy

Courtesy: Waldmania PR

Family music entertainer G’Raph (a.k.a. Raphael Groten) is scheduled to release his debut album, Happily Ever Now Friday.  The independent,13-song record is unquestionably among the most unique entries so far among this year’s field of new family music albums.  That is due in large part to its featured musical arrangements, which will be discussed shortly.  The lyrical themes that accompany the record’s musical content make for their own share of interest and intrigue.  They will be addressed a little later.  The record’s production rounds out its most important elements and will also be discussed later.  Each noted item is important in its own way to the whole of this presentation.  All things considered, they make the album worth hearing at least once.

Raphael Groten’s debut family music album is an interesting start to his career within the noted genre.  Its interest comes in large part through its featured musical arrangements.  The arrangements are important because of their variety and their general presentation.  From one song to the next, audiences get something different in terms of sound and stylistic approach.  At the same time, each composition is so subtle.  This actually becomes a little bit problematic for the record’s presentation.  ‘I Love You, Baby’ for instance, conjures thoughts of works from famed composer/singer Randy Newman.  That is due to the use of the Dixieland style instrumentation and approach taken here and Groten’s own subtle, playful vocal delivery.  There is a certain sense about the whole that immediately brings about such comparison.   ‘The Minor ABCs’ changes things up quite dramatically.   Instead of the familiar, happy ABC song that everyone learns and knows from childhood, this rendition puts the song in a semi-flamenco style presentation and in minor chord fashion at that.  The decidedly percussive nature of the delivery puts the song into quite new terrirory.  On yet another note, ‘Baby Blues’ offers up a song about…well…the trials of being a baby against the musical backdrop of a 12-bar blues arrangement.  That blues arrangement works, and even though it clearly won’t connect with babies, it will put a smile on many listeners’ faces.  The very brief Sesame Street lick that opens the song adds even more interest to the arrangement and shows that much more the variety in the record’s musical arrangements.  Taking these arrangements and all of the others featured throughout the album into account, the result is a clear picture of the diversity in the album’s musical arrangements.  That diversity is reason enough for audiences to hear this record at least once.

Now for all the good that the diversity in the arrangements does for the album’s presentation, there is one issue that arises in listening to each composition.  That issue is that so much of the record’s musical content is overly relaxed.  Not every song is like that, but by and large, much of the record’s musical content does follow that approach.  The result is that it causes the album to drag a bit, feeling longer than its 52 minute run time.  As a matter of fact, 52 minutes is in itself an exceptionally long run time for a family music album.  Most albums within the genre run between 30 and 40 minutes in length with either multiple short songs or a handful of three- to four minute songs that are themselves energetic enough to keep listeners engaged and entertained.  To that end, the overarching approach that Groten has taken to the arrangements does detract from the presentation.  It is not enough to make the album a failure, but at the same time cannot be ignored.

Getting back on a more positive topic, the lyrical content that accompanies the record’s musical arrangements adds to the presentation’s appeal.  ‘Hands in the Water,’ which opens the record, and ‘Don’t Pick Your Nose’ each present themes of personal hygiene.  Whether that was a reaction to everything going on in the world is anyone’s guess.  Regardless, getting an early start to teaching good personal hygiene is always a good thing.  ‘Monster Truck,’ which serves as part of the album’s midpoint along with ‘The Minor ABCs,’ is about just that.  It is a fun little song about a monster truck that in this case actually is a monster and a truck in one.  It is a silly song that will leave any young listener laughing.  As a matter of fact, it might even be a good choice for any Halloween party for said listeners since it is so family and kid friendly while also bringing up a “monster” theme.  On yet another note, ‘I’m Not Perfect’ takes on the all too familiar theme of self confidence and acceptance.  It is a theme that is always needed and welcome for young audiences.  It is just another example of the diversity in the album’s lyrical content.  Between this theme, the others noted here, and the rest of the album’s lyrical content, the whole makes fully clear why the record’s lyrical themes are so important to the album’s presentation.  They offer just as much variety as the record’s musical arrangements.  The result is that it makes the album that much more engaging and entertaining.


Taking into account the impact of the diversity in the album’s lyrical and musical content, there is obviously much for audiences to appreciate in Happily Ever Now.  For all of the positive that this collective content makes for the album, it is only a part of what makes the album work.  The production thereof rounds out the album’s most important elements.  As noted already, much of the album’s arrangements are very subtle and laid back in their presentations.  That extra relaxed approach that Groten took to so much of this record meant that close attention had to be paid to every single arrangement.  That is so that the few items presented in each arrangement was balanced with its counterparts.  Luckily, such attention was paid to each song.  As a result, the arrangements each do their best to keep listeners engaged and entertained even as subdued as they remain.  Keeping that impact in mind along with the impact of the record’s overall content, the whole makes the album a work that will make audiences mostly happy.

Raphael Groten’s (a.k.a. G’Raph) debut family music album, Happily Ever Now, is an interesting first offering from the veteran musician/singer/songwriter.  It is a mostly successful effort due in part to its musical arrangements.  The arrangements stand out because of their diversity.  They take listeners on journeys into a variety of different musical genres from one to the next.  That in itself will keep listeners engaged and entertained.  At the same time, the approach that Groten took to the songs is somewhat problematic.  The problem arises in the stylistic approach that he took to the arrangements.  By and large, the arrangements are overly relaxed.  This is not enough to make the record a failure, but it will definitely hinder the ability of the arrangements to fully engage and entertain listeners.  It shows that even with relaxation, there is such thing as too much of a good thing.  Moving on, the lyrical content that accompanies the album’s musical arrangements are also diverse.  They cover a wide range of topics, giving audiences even more reason to give the album a chance.  The record’s production brings everything together and gives the record a mostly positive general effect.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the album’s presentation.  All things considered, they make Happily Ever Now a work that will leave audiences mostly happy.

Happily Ever Now is scheduled for release Friday.  More information on the album is available along with all of Groten’s latest news at https://www.raphaelgroten.com.  

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

Fear Factory’s Latest LP Is A Mostly Successful New Offering

Courtesy: Nuclear Blast Records

Fear Factory has been in the news quite a bit this year.  Early last month, it was announced that founding member and guitarist Dino Cazares had joined Soulfly for its latest tour in place of Marc Rizzo.  That announcement was followed up with the release of the new companion piece to the band’s latest album, Aggression Continuum.  The companion piece in question is the isolated instrumental tracks from that album. Why the band would go that route is a headscratcher when audiences can hear the instrumentals just as clearly in the original album.  Speaking of the album, the 10-song record was released June 18 through Nuclear Blast Records.  The 48-minute collection is an interesting addition to the band’s extensive catalog.  That is due in large part to the album’s featured lyrical content, which will be discussed shortly.  The musical arrangements that feature alongside the album’s lyrical content make for more interest and will be discussed a little later.  The production that went into this record rounds out its most important elements.  When it is considered along with the album’s content, the collective items make the album maybe not the band’s best work, but still worth hearing at least once.

Fear Factory’s most recent album, Aggression Continuum, is a mostly successful offering from the band.  Not knowing whether the band will continue now that former front man Burton C. Bell (whose vocals are featured in the record) and founding member Dino Cazares was recently announced as part of Soulfly’s current lineup, it is a positive potential final offering from the band.  The album’s success comes in this record, primarily through its lyrical themes.  The lyrical content in this case is actually quite different from that featured in the band’s existing catalog.  While so much of the band’s catalog focuses largely on the issue of technology taking over the planet, this album seems less focused on that matter.  Right from the album’s opener, ‘Recode,’ the album seems more focused on general defiance and belief in self than on technology’s role in mankind’s fate.  Bell – again he recently parted ways with the band – goes so far as to sing in the song’s chorus, “Why deny life you dream about/Why deny your dream?”  Considering comments that Bell shared in recent interviews about his time with Fear Factory, audiences are left to wonder if these statements are somewhat autobiographical.  The mention of a generation being “left behind” and the encouragement to “open your eyes” serves even more, to bring about that sense of defiance.  It is a statement about taking control of one’s life.  That overarching theme continues through the album’s first few tracks just as clearly, too. 

On a separate note, ‘Manufactured Hope’ takes the band in another direction, though one that is still familiar within the hard rock and metal community.  In this case, Bell seems to take on the issue of religious hypocrisy.  This is inferred he Bell directly sings in the song’s chorus, “I am hypocrisy of faith/I will not believe/My mind will never be enslaved/I will not believe.”  His call of “ignore the facts in front of you/Deny the logic and the truth/Conform to mediocrity/You know it’s manufactured hope” in the song’s second verse serves just as much to infer the noted message.  He goes on to go so far as to note, “Faith is a weapon and a tool/Creating manufactured hope” makes the noted message seem even more the case.  Again, this is slightly new territory for Fear Factory, but not for the hard rock and metal communities.  That Bell and company would again, show that willingness to try something new at least for itself as a group, is welcome even in its larger familiarity.

‘End of Line’ meanwhile takes the band back to more familiar ground while also taking it in a slightly different direction again.  In this case, the song comes across lyrically as a sociopolitical statement about the state of the world today.  This is inferred right from the song’s lead verse and chorus as Bell sings, “Avoid the bloody streets/We’re living in domestic war/Gunmen in uniform/Murdering innocents at your door/This can’t be real/Assault on my senses/Depriving me of sanity/Fractured/Damned images/Praying for the final reckoning/End of life/End of time/End of line.”  The seeming message continues in the song’s second verse in which Bell sings, “Beaten to crush my soul/To silence me in shackled chains/Your lies like gasoline/Living every day in tragedy.”  All of this comes across as a commentary of sorts on police brutality.  That is just this critic’s interpretation.  It is inferred through the mention of armed gunmen at the door.  It conjures thoughts of what law enforcement officers did to Brianna Taylor.  The images being seen are in fact still damning.  It and so much more leaves many praying for the final reckoning.  The matter of being “beaten to crush my soul/To silence me in shackled chains” points even more toward the matter of police brutality, especially considering this year’s headlines.  Again, this is all this critic’s interpretation.  If in fact that is the case, then it is another example of how Fear Factory on this album, really strayed from its own norm and opted instead for something more widely accessible, lyrically speaking.  When it is considered along with the other lyrical themes noted here and the rest of the album’s lyrical themes, the whole makes clear why the album’s lyrical themes are so important to its presentation.  They are just a part of what makes the album interesting.  The musical arrangements that accompany the record’s lyrical themes are more familiar from the band and add to the record’s success.

While the lyrical content featured throughout Fear Factory’s new album finds the band seemingly move into new territory, the record’s musical arrangements keep the band in familiar territory.  From beginning to end, audiences will find that the arrangements pull from various points in the band’s catalog.  Right from the record’s outset, the band take audiences back to the sounds crafted for its 1998 album, Obsolete.  As the album progresses, the arrangements are more akin to works from The Industrialist, Genexus, and Archetype.  Simply put, the arrangements that are featured throughout the album are everything that audiences have come to expect from Fear Factory from one song to the next.  To that end, they will appeal easily to the band’s established audience base, and to more casual fans of the industrial metal realm.  Keeping that appeal in mind along with the interest that the album’s lyrical themes are sure to generate, the collective content goes a long way toward making the album successful.  Even with that in mind, there is still one more item to examine, that last being the record’s production.

The production that went into Aggression Continuum is important to examine because of how much is going on in each song.  The guitars and bass, each of which were recorded by Cazares, are so heavy and rich.  Bell’s vocals are just as powerful here as ever, too, as are the drums, which were handled by current drummer Mike Heller.  Considering the energy in each composition and the richness of each line, it would have been so easy for the songs to get bogged down in themselves, but thankfully that did not happen.  Rather, each line complimented the others.  The result is a record whose presentation succeeds just as much for its aesthetic value as for its content.  To that end, all things considered here make the album overall that much more certain of a success.

Fear Factory’s latest album, Aggression Continuum is a record that is certain to appeal mostly to the band’s established audiences, and just as much to casual industrial metal fans.  That is proven in part through the record’s lyrical themes.  The themes in question find the band seeming to go in a different direction at least for itself, than that for which it has been known.  By contrast, the musical arrangements featured throughout the record are more familiar from one to the next.  That familiarity, paired with the new direction taken in the song’s lyrical content, makes for plenty of interest here.  When the record’s production is taken into consideration, it puts the finishing touch to the presentation, ensuring the noted engagement and entertainment for the mentioned audiences even more.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the album’s presentation.  All things considered, they make the album a work that regardless of the band’s fate from here, is mostly a success.

Aggression Continuum is available now. More information on Fear Factory’s new record is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Websitehttps://www.fearfactory.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/fearfactory

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/fearfactory

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

Reckless Kelly’s Latest LP Is A Rich Musical Retrospective Of Sorts

Courtesy: Thirty Tigers

Two decades ago on Sept. 11, 2001, Reckless Kelly was in the studio working on new material when the world stopped and watched a a group of evil, sick, twisted individuals took control of a group of planes and took the lives of almost 3,000 innocent Americans. While the world stopped, the band did what it does best, make music, all while watching in shock and sadness at what was happening at that moment.  The decision to keep recording that music was itself a statement of defiance against those who would try to destroy America, that they and others like them would not win. Now 20 years later, the band marked the anniversary by releasing the music it was recording on that somber day in the form of “The 9/11 Demos.” The band’s new 16-song record was released on Sept. 11.  It is an impressive new offering whose musical arrangements will appeal widely to audiences in themselves.  This aspect will be discussed shortly.  The lyrical themes that accompany the record’s musical arrangements are appealing in their own way and will be examined a little later.  The record’s sequencing brings everything together and completes the picture painted through this record.  It will also be discussed later.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the record’s presentation.  All things considered, they make the album another must have for any Reckless Kelly fan and any casual fan of country music, folk, Americana, and even bluegrass.

Reckless Kelly’s recently released record, The 9/11 Demos is an impressive new offering from the veteran band.  The 61-minute record will appeal equally to the band’s established audience base and to casual fans of country music, bluegrass, folk, and Americana.  That is proven in part through the album’s musical arrangements.  The arrangements are, for the most part, familiar territory for the band.  That is because they so expertly balance the elements of the noted genres into one whole from one song to the next.  Co-founder Willy Braun even said of the arrangements during a recent interview, “For the average listener, they’ll hear some familiar RK songs, albeit, different in structure and in their infant stage, as well as several previously unreleased songs that never found a home, but maybe should have.”  Whether it be the somber, collected vibes of ‘May Peace Find You Tonight,’ the more energetic sense of ‘Me & My Baby’ or even something more middle ground (for lack of better wording), such as ‘I Saw It Coming,’ the arrangements each do an impressive job of presenting that familiar blend of musical influences for which the band has come to be known throughout its life.  For all of the familiarity and enjoyment that the arrangements offer, there is one arrangement that is enjoyable even being less familiar in its stylistic approach.  It comes late in the record’s run in the form of ‘I Hate That Guy,’ the album’s penultimate entry.  While the band’s familiar country and bluegrass leanings are just as much on exhibit here as anywhere else in the album, the song’s arrangement also presents some distinct rock leanings.  More specifically, Braun’s vocals alongside the song’s instrumentation immediately lend themselves collectively to comparisons to early works from Nirvana.  It’s an odd comparison, yes, but it is there and it works so well.  It really stands out as one of the album’s best works.  Between that arrangement and so many others featured in this record, the overall musical picture painted in this album is rich and immersive.  It gives audiences plenty to appreciate in itself and is just one of the items that makes the album successful.  The lyrical themes that accompany the album’s musical arrangements  add even more to that success.

The lyrical themes that accompany The 9/11 Demos’ musical content are important to address because they are just as accessible as that noted content.  For instance, ‘Snowfall,’ the album’s opener presents a lyrical theme that comes across as being about being out on the road.  In this case, it proves different from so many similar style songs because it is not just about missing being home.  Yes, there is there in the song’s lead verse, but the second verse turns the tables a bit, with Braun singing about the pleasure in getting back out on the road and finding a certain freedom.  It is a unique take on a familiar topic that is certain to connect with audiences through that original approach.

On a separate note, a song, such as ‘Me & My Baby’ is just as familiar in its lyrical theme.  In this case, the song is a celebratory work in which the subject is head over heels for a woman.  Again, it is another familiar topic across the musical universe.  The way in which the topic is approached here makes just as certain that it will appeal to audiences.

On yet another note, ‘Wicked Twisted Road,’ the album’s contemplative finale, is yet another example of the importance of the record’s lyrical themes.  In this case, the song finds its subject looking back at his life, not so much with regret, but with that deeply noted contemplation.  It is simply a rich rumination on where the subject was and where he is today.  There is no real oh woe is me here, but rather, just deep thought.  It is another familiar lyrical theme that is once again used across the musical universe, and is just as accessible in this presentation as in any other case.  When the accessibility of this theme is considered along with the other themes examined here and the rest of the record’s themes, the whole joins with the album’s equally accessible and enjoyable musical arrangements to make the overall content more than enough reason for audiences to hear The 9/11 Demos.  Taking this into account, the overall content is just a part of what makes the album work.  The sequencing of that content rounds out the album’s most important items.

The 9/11 Demos’ sequencing is important because of its role in the album’s general effect.  The sequencing takes into full account, the musical and lyrical content that makes up the album’s body.  In taking this into account, the energies exhibited in each arrangement keep the record progressing fluidly from one song to the next.  The lyrical themes change just enough from one song to the next, too, through the sequencing.  The result is that the lyrical themes ensure listeners’ engagement and entertainment just as certainly as its musical arrangements.  Taking all of this into mind, the sequencing shows that plenty of time and thought went into this album’s sequencing.  Those behind the record’s creation showed that they did not just toss the songs together in random fashion.  There was deliberate direction in the sequencing, and it paid off fully from one song to the next.  The positive impact of the expert sequencing works with the equally positive impact of the record’s content to make the record in whole another successful entry from Reckless Kelly.

Reckless Kelly’s recently released album, The 9/11 Demos is a strong new offering from the veteran country/rock band.  Its success comes in part through its featured musical arrangements.  The arrangements prove successful in their own right because they are familiar in their sounds and stylistic approaches.  At the same time they still boast their own identities separate from the band’s existing catalog.  The lyrical themes that accompany the noted musical content make for their own appeal.  They prove important because they are just as familiar and accessible as the noted musical content.  The sequencing of that collective content puts the finishing touch to the album’s presentation.  That is because it takes the noted content into full account in attempting to keep listeners engaged and entertained.  It succeeds in this avenue, too.  Each item examined is important in its own way to the whole of the album’s presentation.  All things considered, they make the overall album one of the best of this year’s new country/bluegrass/folk/Americana albums.

In related news, Reckless Kelly is in the midst of a tour in support of its new album. The band’s upcoming tour dates are noted below.

Tour Dates:

10/1: San Antonio, TX – Sam’s Burger Joint

10/8: Omaha, NE – Barnato

10/9: Mills, WY – Beacon Club

10/10: Missoula, MT – The Wilma

10/12: Bend, OR – Tower Theatre

10/13: Stanley, ID – Mountain Village Resort

10/14: Stanley, ID – Mountain Village Resort

10/15: Garden City, ID – Revolution Concert House

10/16: Pocatello, ID – Stephens Performing Art Center

10/17: Salt Lake City, UT – The Depot

10/18: Fort Collins, CO – Washington’s

10/21: Oklahoma City, OK – Tower Theatre

10/22: Fort Smith, AR – Temple Live

10/29: Fredericksburg, TX – The Backyard Amphitheater 

11/10: Newport Beach, CA – Campus Jax

11/11: San Luis Obispo, CA – Fremont Theater

11/12: Felton, CA – Felton Music Hall

11/13: Berkeley, CA – Cornerstone Craft Beer & Live Music

11/14: Petaluma, CA – Mystic Theatre

11/16: Reno, NV – Virginia Street Brewhouse11/18: Amarillo, TX – Hoot’s Pub

11/20: Hawkins, TX – Red Rooster Icehouse

4/2/2022: Houston, TX – 713 Music Hall

The 9/11 Demos is available now. More information on the album is available along with all of Reckless Kelly’s latest news at:

Websitehttp://www.recklesskelly.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/recklesskelly96

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/recklesskelly

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

BBC’s ‘The Watch’ Is A Success In Hopefully The First Of Many Seasons To Come

Courtesy: BBC Studios/BBC America

More than six years ago when the British television network itv premiered its short-lived action series, Jekyll & Hyde, that series proved a big hit among many audiences.  Even with its popularity, the series ended up getting canceled after just one season.  The decision by the network’s heads to cancel the series due to pressure from certain group was a terrible decision.  That is because the series really could have been something great had it been given more of a chance.  Now years later, fans of BBC’s The Watch are hoping executives at that network do not make the same mistake with that series.  The show, which is an adaptation of Sir Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novels, ran for eight episodes from January to February of this year and was released to Blu-ray and DVD over the summer.  For those who have yet to watch this hopefully inaugural (and not only) season, it is a surprisingly enjoyable presentation.  That is even with the deviations from Pratchett’s original novels.  Speaking of which, the story at the heart of the show forms a strong foundation for the show.  It will be discussed shortly.  The cast’s work on camera adds to the show’s appeal and will be discussed a little later.  The bonus content that accompanies the show’s home release rounds out its most important elements and will also be examined later.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the show’s home release.  All things considered, they make the hopefully first of many seasons to come a success from beginning to end.

BBC’s The Watch is a surprisingly enjoyable presentation from which so many American network executives could take a hint.  That is because of how bland and boring so much American television programming is today in comparison to this and so many other shows from “the old country.”  The show’s success comes in large part through its story.  The story centers on a group of misfit law enforcement officers in an alternate dimension who for years had done little to nothing in the way of law enforcement.  That is because crime in the city that they “watch” has become largely legal.  The Watch’s officers – Capt. Sam Vimes (Richard Dormer – Fortitude), Cpl. Cherry (Jo Eaton-Kent – Lessons, Don’t Forget The Driver), Cpl. Angua von Uberwald (Marama Corlett – Guardians of the Galaxy, Blood Drive, Sick Note) and Sgt. Detritus (Craig Macrae – Avengers: Age of Ultron, Mad Max: Fury Road, Resident Evil: The Final Chapter) spend most of their time just sitting in their office until one day when the young, naïve Constable Carrot Ironfoundersson (Adam Hugill – 1917, The Banishing, Sherwodd) comes along and shakes things up.  He and the re-emergence of Vimes’ former friend turned villain – Carcer Dunn (Samuel Adewunmi – Angela Black, You Don’t Know Me, Prime Suspect: Tennison) lead the officers to start returning to what The Watch once did.  It also leads the outcasts to grow personally and as a family of sorts as they work to try and prevent Carcer from achieving his evil goal.

Speaking of Carcer and his goal, he and his plan actually are just part of a bigger plot.  Not to give away too much here, but as the series continues, it turns out that Carcer is really just a pawn in a bigger plan by a group of unseen beings.  Many viewers might have missed this, but those beings really are a sort of updated take on the Gods in The Odyssey.  Just like they caused so much trouble for Odysseus in that timeless epic tale, these “gods” have their own plan for Vimes and company.  Keeping that in mind, that link between this show and such classical literature makes for its own appeal within the story.

As the story progresses, the character development that takes place within each of The Watch’s officers also plays into the story’s appeal.  Audiences will enjoy watching the growing relationship between Carrot and Angua in its subtleties, as well as Vimes’ own development.  Seeing him go from a “bottomed out” alcoholic police officer back to his former confidence is engaging and entertaining in its own right.  In the same vein, watching Cherry come into his/her own identity makes for its own interest, too. 

Getting back to the story itself, another big part of the story’s success comes in its overall execution.  Yes, it is a serialized show here.  However, the show’s writers somehow managed to make it feel episodic within the bigger picture of the serialized nature of the overall series.  The stories all connect but are their own from one to the next.  Now full discretion (and again, not to give away too much), the last episode does feel like it runs longer than it should have.  It seems like it could have wrapped itself up at many points, but then keeps going.  It makes one wonder how many hands were in the proverbial pot, considering this problem.  Thankfully it does finally end, and when it does, it leaves the door wide open for a second season that again BBC’s officials will hopefully provide.  That is because that second seasons is not only needed but deserved.

While the story featured in the hopefully inaugural season of The Watch does a lot to make it so enjoyable (even with the deviations from the source material in mind), it is just one part of what makes the show so enjoyable.  The cast’s work on camera does its own part to make the presentation engaging and entertaining.  Right from the top is Dormer’s work.  His take of Vimes throughout the show is the most notable.  The subtle way in which Dormer takes Vimes from a hopeless, alcoholic bum to a more self-assured, confident leader makes for so much appeal in itself.  That character development alongside his comedic timing throughout the show adds to the appeal in his acting, too.  Similarly, Eaton-Kent’s almost deadpan persona against the edgier presence of Corlett and the naivety of Ironfoundersson presented by Hugill makes for such a welcome contrast among the cast.  The cast members each make their characters’ personalities so rich yet controlled at the same time.  It shows such professionalism and in turn engagement and entertainment from each cast member.  Of course, one cannot ignore the work of Lara Rossi opposite Dormer.  Her matter of fact, “straight woman” persona opposite Dormer’s Vimes crates its own interesting character contrast that entertains and engages in its own right, too.

On yet another note, Wendell Pierce’s performance as Death is just as worth noting as the other cast members’ work.  The same can be said of Adewunmi’s work as Carcer.  Pierce’s performance, his very persona is so laugh-inspiring in the best way possible.  Instead of being this dark, evil character, he is just laid back, wishing he could be like any human whose soul he has to take upon their dying.  He even complains about it so often, stating, “No one ever listens, no one ever pays attention.”  He declarations and general presence makes Pierce’s work such a wonderful addition even being a supporting role.

Adewunmi does everything right that so many American actors get wrong in the way of playing an overly obsessed megalomaniac.  The subtle control in his anger is so gripping thanks to Adewunmi’s work.  The way in which he emotes, gives him an almost scary calm as he talks about bringing down the dragon to destroy the city and the whole world.  Even as he faces Wonse (Bianca Simone Mannie – Homeland, Vagrant Queen, Our Girl) in the final episode (again not too much will be given away here), accepting his fate, audiences cannot help but be gripped by that reaction.  It is just one more example of the importance of the cast’s work.  Keeping the cast’s overall work in mind here along with the impact of the story, the presentation becomes that much more engaging and entertaining.  Those items are just a part of what makes the show so appealing.  The bonus content that accompanies the show in its home release rounds out its most important items.

The bonus content that accompanies the show runs in a range of directions.  The lead, “Making of” feature takes audiences behind the scenes and shows how some of the program’s key scenes and characters were handled.  The discussion, for instance, on the determination of the show’s creative heads to avoid using CG at all costs really instills more respect for those efforts and the show.  The discussion in question comes as the costume and makeup officials talk about how they created the costume for Sgt. Detritus.  Watching the amount of work that went into the costume’s creation is awe-inspiring.  On another note, there is also a separate discussion in another feature that acknowledges the difficulty in staying true to Pratchett’s novels in creating this show.  The respect that is shown by all involved will hopefully encourage the show’s critics to change their minds about the program.  As if that is not enough, the character profiles do their own share to also show the importance of the cast’s work.  It compliments the other bonuses noted here and the rest of the bonus content to make the overall bonus content just as important to the presentation here as the cast’s work and the story.  When all three items are considered together, they make the overall presentation that is The Watch well worth the watch.

BBC’s The Watch is a surprisingly engaging and entertaining presentation.  Despite what many of its critics would have people believe, it is engaging and entertaining.  That is due in part to the show’s central story.  Yes, there are deviations from the source material, but few TV shows and/or movies based on books have ever been 100 percent true to its source material.  That is just sadly how it is.  Even with that in mind, the story here is still its own entertaining presentation.  From its ability to solidly balance episodic and serialized writing, to its very presentation, the story offers plenty for audiences to appreciate in itself.  The cast’s work joins with the story to make the presentation even more engaging and entertaining.  That is because each cast member’s work is so believable.  From one to the next, each performance is unique and bounces off the others just as well.  The bonus content that accompanies the show in its recent home release puts the finishing touch to the presentation.  It adds just enough background to enhance the viewing experience even more enjoyable.  Each item examined is important in its own way to The Watch.  All things considered, they make this show one of the best of this year’s new home DVD/BD releases for grown-up audiences.  One can only hope at this point that it will get a second season and that the BBC will not make the same mistake that itv made with Jekyll & Hyde.

The Watch is available now.  More information on The Watch is available along with all of the show’s latest news at:

Website: https://bbcstudios.com/case-studies/the-watch

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheWatchTV

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