Neither Its Best Nor its Worst Album, Machine Head’s New Album ‘Catharsis’ Deserves At Least One Listen

Courtesy: Nuclear Blast Records

The day is finally here and the long wait is finally over. Machine Head’s new album Catharsis is finally here. The band’s ninth new album, it has faced a lot of scrutiny from audiences leading up to its release, with many comparing it to the band’s 1999 album The Burning Red and its follow-up, 2001’s Supercharger, and others even calling it worse than those efforts. Given, this may not be another master work from Machine Head — unlike The Blackening and Bloodstone & Diamonds — but it still deserves at least more of a chance than so many have given it. That is due in part to the very musical arrangements that have come under fire from audiences and critics alike. They will be discussed shortly. The album’s lyrical themes, which in many cases are not so dissimilar from those of the band’s past albums, will be discussed later, as they are just as important to discuss in examining this album. Last but definitely not least of note is the bonus concert recording included in the album’s deluxe expanded edition. It could be argued to be the album’s crown jewel. When it is set alongside (or in this case atop) the album’s musical arrangements and its relatively familiar lyrical themes, the end result is an album that while again not the band’s best work is still deserving of more respect than it has received.

Catharsis is one of the most interesting and important albums that Machine Head has put out in the course of its now 20-year life span. Not since the days of The Burning Red and Supercharger has the veteran San Francisco, California-based heavy metal band come under so much scrutiny from audiences and critics alike, splitting them almost down the middle. Many have even compared this record to those albums, unjustifiably no less. That is due in part to the album’s musical arrangements. As has been noted by so many critics — both professional and independent — the album’s musical arrangements run the gamut over the course of the album’s 15-song, 74-minute run time. The album’s opener, ‘Volatile,’ which was also the album’s most recent single, boasts an arrangement that can easily be compared to that of ‘Game Over,’ which was included in the band’s most recent album, 2014’s Bloodstone & Diamonds. The album’s title track, which was one of its earliest singles, boasts an equally solid arrangement that harkens back to the band’s earliest days while also hinting a little at its more recent albums, too. ‘Beyond the Pale’ meanwhile takes listeners back to the chugging sound that the band crafted on Supercharger, again presenting yet another piece of the band’s body of work. One could even argue that there’s a hint of Pantera in this arrangement. ‘California Bleeding’ goes back to the days of The Burning Red with its up-tempo arrangement. To an end, it could even fit in Supercharger’s body as could that of ‘Triple Beam,’ the clearly anti-drug anthem, and ‘Kaleidoscope.’ The much softer socio-politically-charged ‘Bastards’ could easily fit into any of the band’s albums stylistically speaking, despite what people would like to believe of the song. ‘Hope Begets Hope’ meanwhile reaches all the way back to Burn My Eyes (one of the band’s masterpieces)with its arrangement while ‘Screaming at the Sun’ sounds like it could just as easily fit into the body of The More Things Change. Considering how soft and contemplative ‘Descend The Shades of Night’ (from From The Ashes of Empires) was, ‘Behind A Mask’ could just as easily be argued to be a work that would fit alongside that song with its semi-acoustic arrangement. is it as good as ‘Descend the Shades of Night’ in regards to its arrangement? No, but it is still an interesting work nonetheless. The album’s final handful of songs also reaches back to the band’s early days. All in all, what audiences get in this album’s collective arrangements is in reality a tapestry of the band’s body of work up until now. Given, much of that body is the band’s earlier work, but it is still an interesting picture that is painted. It makes the album worth at least one listen if no more.

Staying on the note of the arrangements’ importance here, the album’s lyrical themes are just as important to discuss in examining this record as are its musical arrangements. The album’s lyrical themes are even more diverse than its musical arrangements. ‘Volatile’ is a statement addressing the events of last year’s events in Charlottesville, VA that resulted in one person’s death. ‘California Bleeding’ takes on the elitist cultures that exist in that state, even going so far as to use the band’s 2007 row with Disney over the company’s refusal to let the band perform at the House of Blues in Anaheim (since apparently it was property at the time owned by Disney) as part of its argument. ‘Triple Beam’ meanwhile is clearly a statement about the dangers of drug use and the illegal drug trade. ‘Hope Begets Hope’ changes things up with a strong message of…well…hope in dark times as is the album’s closer. There’s even a musing about the person that so many of us have just below the surface in ‘Behind A Mask’ as well as plenty of other themes throughout the record’s other songs. All in all, the themes that this record tackles in its lyrical content adds even more reason to listen at least once. Are the lyrics themselves that deep? Sadly, no. To that end, the critics are right. There is a lot of simplicity in the album’s lyrical content for lack of better wording, but despite this, it does at least leave little room for interpretation. In other words, that simplicity makes understanding the songs’ themes that much easier. The band can’t be faulted for that. As a matter of fact, when one compares the lyrics in this album’s songs to those of the band’s previous works, one could argue that those previous works are simple in their own right. Flynn screaming “I hope you burn in hell” to a journalist who wrote about Dimebag Darrell’s death in ‘Aesthetics of Hate’ is simple. That cannot be ignored. Nor can Flynn yelling “Let freedom ring with a shotgun blast’ in the band’s timeless classic ‘Davidian.’ Keeping that in mind, though the lyrics in this album are simple, they are not the first time the band has presented something simple, and that simplicity does prove important at least in part to this record’s presentation, believe it or not. When the songs’ lyrical themes and general content are joined with the album’s musical arrangements, the whole of those elements gives plenty of reason for audiences to give this record at least one chance. They are not its only important elements. The record’s deluxe edition boasts an expansive 21-song live recording from the band’s 2015 tour that anchors the whole thing.

The bonus live recording that comes with Catharsis‘ deluxe edition gives more reason than anything else for Machine Head fans to give this record a chance. Originally recorded Feb. 21, 2015 at the Regency Center’s Grand Ballroom, the concert presents a set list that lifts from what was at the time every one of the band’s albums to date. The band’s more recent albums — Bloodstone & Diamonds, The Blackening, Unto The Locusts and Through The Ashes of Empires — are the most heavily represented of the band’s albums. Bloodstone & Diamonds and The Blackening each got four nods while the other two records each got three. Burn My Eyes, The More Things Change and The Burning Red were each represented with two songs while Supercharger got just one nod. That aside, the fact that the band pulled from every one of its albums up to that date gives the concert plenty of depth. The concert’s audio and video editing are deserving of their own credit as is the concert’s cinematography. That is especially the case considering that the fact that the Grand Ballroom was clearly not the largest venue. That seemingly relatively tight space had to have posed its own challenges in recording the concert, and those efforts paid off in the end. They paid off because they give home audiences the best seat in the house regardless of whether or not they were there at the concert’s taping. Keeping in mind the work put in by everyone behind the scenes to make this recording a reality, and of course the work put in by the band itself, this recording proves to be one that every Machine Head fan will appreciate. That being the case, it proves to be the anchor for the deluxe edition of Machine Head’s new album. If for no other reason than this recording, true Machine Head fans will give this record a chance. In doing so, hopefully those fans will also agree that the album’s musical arrangements and its lyrical themes make it worth at least one chance.

Machine Head’s brand new ninth full-length studio recording Catharsis is one of the most controversial records that the veteran metal outfit has released to date. The sad reality is that in going through this record, much of that controversy that has split audiences so clearly is unjustified. True, the album’s musical arrangements don’t fully live up to muster. That is only because they take audiences back through the band’s catalog, stylistically speaking. The album’s lyrical themes and general content are simple, yes. However, this album is not the first time that the band has crafted such simple lyrical material. That is not to talk down about the band, either. It is meant, instead to point out to the haters that their criticism of this album’s lyrical material is unjustified. Considering that much of the band’s previous work presents its own lyrical simplicity (including even some of its more recent albums), this album is just a little more simple. That being the case the album, again, still deserves at least one chance if no more. the bonus live DVD that accompanies the album’s deluxe edition gives more reason than anything for audiences to give this record a chance. The concert’s expansive 21-song set, joins with its equally laudable audio and video editing, the band’s own performance and the concert’s cinematography to make the experience one that every Machine Head fan will agree is enjoyable. Keeping this in mind, when this recording is joined with the album’s new studio material, Catharsis proves to be an effort that deserves more credit than it has gotten. That is the case even despite it clearly not being one of the band’s best albums. It still does not deserve as much hate as it has gotten and is getting. Catharsis is available now in stores and online in both standard and deluxe edition. More information on Catharsis is available online now along with the band’s tour in support of the album and more at:




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Razor & Tie’s New Family Music Compilation Will Appeal To Grown-Ups And Children Alike

Courtesy: Razor & Tie

Getting infants and toddlers to sleep, whether for a nap or for the night, is not always the easiest task. Anyone who has/had a child or even who works/worked with children will attest to this. From mobiles that play gentle music to playing to so many other means, parents and childcare workers alike have used so many methods to get little ones to sleep. Some work better than others and vice versa. This past Friday, January 26, Razor & Tie Records released a new tool to get infants and even toddlers down for a nap in the form of the new compilation record Lullapop Lullabies. This 21-song collection pulls some of the biggest pop hits from the past couple of years and presents them in harp-centered arrangements that will not only ensure children’s sleep, but also a certain interest from older listeners. The songs and the arrangements thereof are two of this record’s most important elements and will be discussed over the course of this examination. The record’s sequencing rounds out its most important elements and will be discussed, too. Each element is important in its own way to the whole of this collection. All things considered, they make Lullapop Lullabies a record that new parents and childcare workers alike will appreciate.

Razor & Tie Records’ new lullaby collection Lullapop Lullabies is one of the most intriguing new children’s offerings to come along so far in this still young year. It can be said in listening through the record that it is a presentation that new parents will appreciate just as much as childcare workers. That is due in part to the record’s chosen songs. The record opens with the gentle, harp-centered take of Luis Fonsi’s hit song ‘Despacito.’ The song’s steamy lyrics are voiced here by a gentle, flowing harp arrangement that will instantly put listeners of any age at ease while still staying true to the song’s source material. Ed Sheeran, who just won a Grammy on Sunday for his hit song ‘Shape of You’ comes next and is then followed by lots more harp-centered takes on Justin Timberlake’s hit ‘Can’t Stop The Feeling!,’ Bruno Mars’ ‘That’s What I Like’, Drake’s ‘Hotline Bling’ and so many others. Simply put, the songs that make up the body of this record are works that will be familiar to any number of grown-up listeners, giving plenty of interest to the record for said listeners. Being that the record’s younger listeners will have no clue as to the songs’ identities, their arrangements will appeal just as much to them as to older listeners. That being the case, it becomes clear why the songs featured in this record are so important to its overall presentation. The noted arrangements are just as important to discuss as the featured songs.

It has already been noted that the arrangements featured in each of the record’s songs is built around a harp. From one song to the next, additional string arrangements are added at various points as are keyboard lines. The whole of those elements combine to make the record in whole sound like so many compilations released via Vitamin Records except better. The arrangements put the songs into a format that listeners maybe might have never heard, in turn making them potentially more appealing. At the same time, hearing harp-centered arrangement after harp-centered arrangement for nearly an hour can get tedious for older listeners, even despite the songs being so familiar. Of course younger listeners won’t mind since those continued arrangements are certain to keep little ones calm as long as they sleep, insuring plenty of pleasant dreams. To that end, the arrangements presented in the featured songs prove to be critical in their own way to this collection. They will insure younger listeners’ sleep soundly while in small doses, they are certain to entertain older listeners familiar with the songs. The arrangements are not the last of the album’s most important elements. The record’s sequencing rounds out its most important elements.

From beginning to end, Lullapop Lullabies maintains a very constant gentile energy in each song. Given, some of the arrangements are minutely more upbeat than others. By and large though, the songs’ energies remain relatively stable throughout the course of the record’s run. This is important to note because it means parents and child care workers could easily put this record on at naptime or bedtime and just let it run without worry of the child being surprised (or parents either for that matter). That stable energy is certain to keep young minds calm even in r.e.m. sleep. This in turn insures a longer, richer sleep for little ones, again proving the importance of the album’s sequence. When the stability of the songs’ energies is set alongside the record’s familiar songs and their unique arrangements, the whole of those elements makes the record overall a presentation that is certain to earn its own place in homes with young children and in child care centers alike.

Razor & Tie’s new family music record Lullapop Lullabies is a work that is certain to appeal just as much to new parents and child care workers as it will to its infant and toddler audiences. That is proven in part through an expansive 21-song set that the noted older audiences will recognize. Those same audiences will find the songs’ gentle arrangements interesting new takes on the songs while little ones will find the arrangements soothing, leading easily to their lengthy and deep sleep. That insurance of rest is strengthened even more due to the record’s sequencing. When it is joined with the songs and their arrangements, the whole of said elements makes Lullapop Lullabies a record that is certain to find its place in any new family’s home just as much as any child care center. It is available now in stores and online, and can be streamed and downloaded here. More information on this and other titles from Razor & Tie is available online now at:




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‘Attack Of The Killer Tomatoes’ Re-Issue Proves Again The Importance Of Re-Issues In the Movie Industry

Courtesy: Four Square Productions/MVD Entertainment/MVD Visual

“The worst movie of all time.” That is the wording that has often been used to describe Four Square Productions’ 1978 camp cult classic Attack of the Killer Tomatoes. Yes, the movie is bad, but the fact of the matter is that it is meant to be that bad. It’s too bad that so many people have missed that point over the years. Early this week, MVD Entertainment Group’s movie branch MVD Visual re-issued the so bad it’s great flick on a new DVD/Blu-ray combo pack with brand new bonuses, giving those who still hate the movie another chance to change their minds and see the light while also giving true fans (such as this critic), a brand new opportunity to finally add the movie to their home libraries. There is so much to like about this movie beginning with its story. This will be discussed shortly. While there is a lot to like about this brand new re-issue, there is one minor qualm that must addressed — the sound mixing between the movie’s main menu and the rest of the presentation. It’s minor, but cannot be ignored, and thus, will be discussed later. While the problems with the sound mixing cannot be ignored, they are luckily the movie’s only negative in its brand new re-issue. The bonus material included in this re-issue rounds out its most important elements. Each element is, in itself an important part of this reissue’s overall presentation. All things considered, this cult classic still proves once more why re-issues can be — and often are — just as important annually as the new theatrical releases that fill theaters.

MVD Entertainment/Visual’s brand new re-issue of Four Square Productions’ 1978 camp cult classic (say that five times fast) Attack of the Killer Tomatoes is one of the best movie re-issues that will be released this year. That statement is supported easily in no small part through the movie’s story. The story, in a nutshell, follows the events of an attack by a bunch of…well…killer tomatoes on an unidentified town and the attempts by a rag-tag group of people to stop the fruity (remember, tomatoes are fruits, not vegetables) attack. The only explanation of how the tomatoes came to be was an opening scene showing an experimental garden. Audiences are left to assume that it’s a government establishment. Even as little as it is, it’s still funny, considering that they decided to change the tomatoes’ origin in the movie’s sequel. If that isn’t enough proof of how wonderfully silly this movie’s story is, then the random musical numbers, tickers at the bottom of various scenes with nonsensical phrasing and completely outrageous, over the top acting definitely show why this movie is just a fun, turn-off-your brain ride. Ironically enough, as random and outrageous as this story is, one can say to its benefit even more that the story actually manages somehow to stay on track through it all. It never allows itself to get so sidetracked with its zany material that it gets bogged down. Those behind the story’s creation are to be commended for that, especially as much as is thrown into the mix. Keeping all of this in mind, it should be clear why the movie’s story is so important to its presentation. It’s just a dumb, fun movie that is a laugh riot because it is so dumb. Hopefully those who missed that in the movie’s previous release (and those who have never seen the movie) will see it this time around now that the story is seeing the light of day again. While it is obviously important, it is only one of the reissue’s key elements. One cannot ignore the one glaring issue presented in the movie, its sound mixing.

The sound mixing involved in the movie’s new home re-issue is problematic to say the very least, for the movie’s presentation. As soon as the movie’s main menu comes up, audiences are presented with a decidedly ear-piercing whistle that opens the movie’s main theme. The whole thing is so loud that it forces audiences to push down the volume on their televisions. From there, audiences are then forced to turn the volume back up once the movie starts in order to be able to hear. the same discrepancy happens when going back and forth between the main menu and the bonus material included in the new re-issue. The bonus material is presented at a very low volume while that main menu music was obviously recorded at a very high level. The only option that this critic has found to work is to keep the movie and bonus material at one level and then mute the TV while choosing either so as to not have to endure that overpowering sound of the music on the main menu. It should be noted that this critic has nothing against the movie’s theme. The problem here is the seeming lack of attention that was paid to the audio balance between the movie, menu music and bonus content. If more attention had been paid to balancing each piece’s audio, this new presentation of Attack of the Killer Tomatoes would be perfect. If the movie should ever get another re-issue, hopefully this will serve as a reminder to those re-issuing it next. Now, having discussed this one issue, it should be noted that it is the movie’s only negative. The bonus material is its other positive.

The bonus material included in the movie’s re-issue adds so much to its overall presentation. Audiences are treated to the original 8 mm take of the movie that would serve as the basis for the big screen feature that has gone on to become a cult favorite. They are also treated to the very first movie made by those behind this movie, called Gone With The Babusuland, which is supposed to be a spy movie, and is almost as outrageous as the original take of Attack of the Killer Tomatoes. There’s even mention in the included commentary that it could be seen in watching this “movie” how the latter movie could be made. That speaks volumes about each movie’s entertainment value. The audio commentary included in the main feature adds its own depth to the movie’s presentation, too. Right off the top, audiences learn through the commentary that the tomatoes splat so well on the opening credits because they were boiled ahead of time. There’s even note of the meeting scene with the military officials being stolen from a Marx Brothers film. If that doesn’t add some appreciation to this movie, nothing will. Viewers also learn as Mason Dixon is first introduced that the cast did its own stunts and that for some of the shoots, the crew didn’t even get permits, but shot guerilla style. That was brave, and clearly paid off. This is all within the movie’s first 20 minutes or so. The insight and entertainment continue nonstop throughout the movie. As if all of the entertainment and insight offered through the already noted bonuses wasn’t enough, audiences are also treated in the bonus es to a faux doc following where the movie’s cast went after the movie was made including a hilarious short pseudo-conspiracy piece, a sing-a-long feature, in which audiences discover from Director John DeBello that it even gained fame on Dr. Demento’s radio show. Between this and all of the other bonus material included in the movie’s re-issue audiences get so much extra enjoyment, and the movie gets so much more depth to its presentation. It really is the finishing touch to the movie’s presentation in this case. When it is joined with the simply outrageous story at the center of the movie, the whole of those elements makes this presentation more than worth the watch and easily one of the year’s best DVD/BD re-issues. That is the case even despite the issue of the sound editing and mixing here.

MVD Entertainment/Visual’s brand new re-issue of Four Square Productions’ 1978 cult classic Attack of the Killer Tomatoes is one of this year’s top new DVD/BD re-issues hands down. Between its laugh riot story and its expansive list of bonuses, the entertainment factor is high here. There is also plenty of insight offered through the commentaries included with the movie and its bonuses. Even with the problems clearly raised through the movie’s lack of audio balance, those noted elements are more than enough to make the movie’s new re-issue worth the watch. It is available now in stores and online. More information on this and other titles from MVD Entertainment Group is available online now at:




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Machine Head Unveils ‘Volatile’ Lyric Video

Machine Head is stirring up the masses again with yet another single from the band’s upcoming album Catharsis and its lyric video.

The band unveiled today the album’s opener, ‘Volatile,’ which was written as a tribute to Heather Heyer, who was killed by a racist neo-nazi in last year’s Charlottesville, Virginia protests.  It is just one of the socio-politically charged songs included in the album.  The equally controversial ‘Bastards,’ which was also just recently released, is also included in the band’s new album.

Courtesy: Nuclear Blast Records

Also already released ahead of Friday’s release of Catharsis are the singles and videos for: ‘Kaleidoscope,’ ‘Bastards,’ ‘Beyond The Pale,’ and the album’s title track.’  As an added bonus, the band has already released full live clips of ‘Ten Ton Hammer‘ and ‘Now We Die,’ which are included in the full bonus live concert recording included in the album’s deluxe extended edition.

The full track listing both the album’s standard and expanded edition is noted below.

1. Volatile
2. Catharsis
3. Beyond the Pale
4. California Bleeding
5. Triple Beam
6. Kaleidoscope
7. Bastards
8. Hope Begets Hope
9. Screaming At the Sun
10. Behind a Mask
11. Heavy Lies the Crown
12. Psychotic
13. Grind You Down
14. Razorblade Smile
15. Eulogy

1. Imperium
2. Beautiful Mourning
3. Now We Die
4. Bite The Bullet
5. Locust
6. From This Day
7. Ten Ton Hammer
8. This Is The End
9. Beneath The Silt
10. The Blood, The Sweat, The Tears
11. Darkness Within
12. Bulldozer
13. Killers & Kings
14. Davidian
15. Descend The Shades Of Night
16. Now I Lay Thee Down
17. Take My Scars
18. Aesthetics Of Hate
19. Game Over
20. Old
21. Halo

Machine Head launches its tour in support of Catharsis today in Phoenix, Arizona.  The nearly six-week tour runs through March 7 in Seattle, Washington, and includes performances in Madison, Wisconsin; Oakland, California; Boston, Massachusetts and a number of other cities nationwide.  More information on the band’s tour, its new album and more is available online now at:






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Rodriguez, Vasgersian To Replace Shulman, Boone On ESPN’s ‘SNB’ Broadcasts

Courtesy: ESPN

ESPN will have some new, but well-known new faces this spring when its Sunday Night Baseball broadcasts return.

The worldwide leader in sports announced this week that Yankee great Alex Rodriguez and Matt Vasgersian will join the program’s broadcast team.  Jessica Mendoza will return, too.  Vasgersian will be the program’s new play-by-play announcer, taking the place of Dan Shulman while Rodriguez will serve as analyst, taking over from Aaron Boone.

ESPN announced last summer that Shulman would be leaving the program after last season.  While he stepped away from ESPN’s flagship MLB program, he is still working with ESPN covering Major League Baseball on its ESPN Radio broadcasts.  He is also busy covering college basketball for ESPN.

Boone meanwhile will go from the broadcast booth to the dugout after being named the Yankees new manager during the off-season. Both Rodriguez and Vasgersian said in interviews that they were looking forward to joining ESPN’s MLB broadcast team.

“I’m looking forward to this new chapter in my broadcasting career,” Rodriguez said.  “It’s an exciting time in baseball, and now I get that front row seat to tell that story every Sunday night on ESPN as well as calling my fourth post season on Fox where I started this journey.”

Vasgersian agreed.

“Jon and Dan set the bar super high for Sunday Night Baseball play-by-play, so it’s a real thrill for someone who still remembers his first Minor League bus trip in 1991 to have a chair like this one,” he said. “I know firsthand how passionate both Alex and Jessica are about baseball, and I can’t wait to get started with them.”

Mendoza said she was looking forward to working with her new broadcast partners.

“I am incredibly excited to work with both Alex and Matt,” Mendoza said.  “Matt has been a friend for a long time and someone whose work I’ve long admired. Alex’s achievements as a player speak for themselves, and I’ve been greatly impressed by the passion and dedication he has put into his broadcasting career. We’re going to have a lot of fun.”

Stephanie Druley, ESPN Senior Vice President of events and studio production said the new broadcast team was the right fit for ESPN because of its collective experience.

“Alex is one of the most recognizable personalities in all of sports, and he’s made a well-documented impact on the sports media landscape. His dynamic personality and incredible baseball knowledge, combined with Matt Vasgersian’s expertise, enthusiasm and poise, make for terrific additions to Sunday Night Baseball, with existing commentators Jessica Mendoza and Buster Olney,” Druley said.  “We’re excited about the potential for this team and we’re appreciative to our MLB Network and Fox Sports counterparts, as all parties were more than willing to collaborate in order to serve Major League Baseball fans.”

ESPN’s current Sunday Night Baseball presented by Taco Bell schedule is noted below.


Date Telecast
Apr. 1 San Francisco Giants at Los Angeles Dodgers
Apr. 8 New York Mets at Washington Nationals
Apr. 15 Texas Rangers at Houston Astros
Apr. 22 Washington Nationals at Los Angeles Dodgers
Apr. 29 New York Yankees at Los Angeles Angels** – Olney’s Pick!
May 6 Chicago Cubs at St. Louis Cardinals
May 13 Washington Nationals at Arizona Diamondbacks
May 20 Cleveland Indians at Houston Astros
May 27* San Francisco Giants at Chicago Cubs
July 1 Boston Red Sox at New York Yankees
July 22 New York Mets at New York Yankees
July 29 Chicago Cubs at St. Louis Cardinals
Aug. 19 MLB Little League Classic

*Telecast to air on ESPN2.

Additional Sunday Night Baseball selections for June through September will be made up to two weeks prior to the dates.

This year marks the 29th year of Sunday Night Baseball on ESPN.  Each game will be preceded at 7 p.m. on ESPN by Baseball TonightSunday Night Countdown presented by Chevrolet.

More information on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball presented by Taco Bell schedule is available online now along with all of the latest MLB headlines at

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Warriors, Celtics Face Off Saturday In “Battle Of The Best” Live On ABC

Courtesy: ESPN

ESPN’s NBA Saturday Primetime on ABC presented by YouTube TV continues its 2018 broadcast season this Saturday night with another cross-conference matchup.

The Boston Celtics will be on the road Saturday night against the Golden State Warriors in a “Battle of the Best.”  Each team leads its respective conference and has an equal chance of taking the win in Saturday’s game, going by the numbers.

Both teams will come into Saturday’s matchup well-rested, having last played Tuesday, January 23.  Each won its respective game, too.  The Celtics have been almost as good on the road so far this season as they have been at home, going 17 – 6 on the road so far versus going 18 – 8 at home.  The team is 6 – 4 in its last 10 games, again with its most recent game ending in a win for the team.

Golden State meanwhile has proven to be slightly better on the road so far this season than at home, going 21 – 4 on the road and 17 – 6 at home.  The team has gone 8 – 2 in its last 10 games, with its most recent game also resulting in a win.

Again, looking at the numbers, Saturday’s match is sure to be a hard-fought battle that will be well worth the watch by any NBA fan.  Coverage is currently scheduled to start at 830 p.m. ET on ABC with Mike Breen on the call.  Analysts Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson will also be on hand for additional commentary alongside officiating analyst Steve Javie and sideline reporter Israel Gutierrez.

Saturday night’s broadcast will be preceded by NBA Countdown presented by Straight Talk beginning at 8 p.m. ET.  Michelle Beadle will anchor the broadcast, and will be joined by analysts Jalen Rose, Chauncey Billups and Paul Pierce for additional commentary.

More information on Saturday night’s broadcast is available online now along with all of the latest NBA headlines at:






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ESPN Announces NFL Pro Bowl Coverage Broadcast Schedule

Courtesy: ESPN

The stage is officially set for this year’s Super Bowl, but before the big game, there will be one more game for NFL fans — the NFL’s annual Pro Bowl, and ESPN will carry full coverage of the annual NFL superstar showcase game.

This year’s NFL Pro Bowl will be played this Sunday, January 28 live from Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida.  ESPN’s coverage of the game is scheduled to start at 2:50 p.m. ET, with coverage being simulcast on television on ABC and ESPN Deportes.  It will also stream online via the ESPN app.

ESPN Deportes’ coverage is scheduled to start at 1 p.m. ET with a special edition of SportsCenter.  Eduardo Varela and analyst Pablo Viruega will have the call for the network.

ESPN and ABC’s pre-game coverage is also scheduled to start at 1 p.m. with a special Postseason NFL Countdown pregame show.  The program will air live from Camping World Stadium.  Analysts Randy Moss and Charles Woodson will join host Suzy Kolber for additional commentary alongside ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter and reporter Michele Steele.

ESPN Monday Night Football voice Sean McDonough will anchor the ESPN/ABC broadcast of the NFL Pro Bowl. He will be joined in the booth by analyst Matt Hasselbeck for a special one-time appearance.  Field analyst Louis Riddick and reporter Lisa Salters will also be on hand for additional commentary.

Among the stars expected to play in Sunday’s game are Drew Brees (New Orleans Saints), Todd Gurley (Los Angeles Rams), Derek Carr (Oakland Raiders), Jarvis Landry (Miami Dolphins) and others.

Before Brees and the rest of the NFL’s elite take to the field for the Pro Bowl, they will take part tonight, in the Pro Bowl Skills Showdown.  Coverage is scheduled to start at 9 p.m. ET.  McDonough and the rest of the MNF team will call the competition, which will be held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.

The competition sees the stars competing in events such as the Drone Drop, Precision passing drill (for quarterbacks), Gridiron Gauntlet (relay race) and Pro Bowl Dodgeball (exactly what it sounds like) as well as other events.

Those who miss tonight’s broadcast will get more chances to see it as it will re-air on ESPN, ABC and even Disney XD.  the current schedule of events leading up to the ESPN networks’ Pro Bowl broadcast is noted below.

ESPN Programs at 2018 NFL Pro Bowl:

Jan 25
7 a.m. – 3 p.m. SportsCenter and NFL Live *

(Pro Bowl practices – ESPN Wide World of Sports)
Wendi Nix, Darren Woodson, Jac Collinsworth and Steele
9 p.m. Pro Bowl Skills Showdown

(ESPN’s Wide World of Sports)
Sean McDonough, Matt Hasselbeck and Lisa Salters

Jan 26
7 a.m. – 3 p.m. SportsCenter and NFL Live *

(Pro Bowl practices – ESPN Wide World of Sports)
Nix, Woodson, Collinsworth and Steele

Jan 27
7-11 a.m. SportsCenter *

(Pro Bowl practices – ESPN Wide World of Sports)


Jan 28
6:30 a.m. –

12 p.m.
SportsCenter *

(Pro Bowl – Camping World Stadium)
1-2:50 p.m. Postseason NFL Countdown

(Camping World Stadium)
Suzy Kolber, Randy Moss, Charles Woodson, Adam Schefter and Steele

2:50 p.m. NFL Pro Bowl

(Camping World Stadium)
McDonough, Hasselbeck, Riddick and Salters

ESPN Deportes
* show segments

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






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Ellefson Coffee Company Debuting New Lines At Winter NAMM

Courtesy: O’Donnell Media Group/Ellefson Coffee Company

Ellefson Coffee Company is appearing at this year’s annual Winter NAMM.

The company is exhibiting at Anaheim Convention Center in Hall D, Booth 3905.  It will be there along with company head Dave Ellefson’s EMP Label Group and its imprints, EMP Underground, EMP Outlaw, THC Music and the recently re-launched Combat Records.

ECC is debuting new signature coffee lines during its appearance at Winter NAMM including the Skid Row line, “Slave to the Grind,” Autograph’s “Get Off Your Ass” and “Whip’s Pacific Blend” from Michael Wilton (Queensryche, Skid Row).  Ellefson himself will be on hand to help promote the new coffee lines as well the bands on the EMP Label Group family.  Those acts include Doyle, Metal Allegiance, Marc Rizzo (Soulfly, Cavalera Conspiracy) and many others.

EMP Label Group/ECC’s schedule for this year’s conference is noted below.



2 PM – CO-OP



More information on Ellefson Coffee Company’s appearance at this year’s conference is available online now along with all of the company’s latest news at:




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Dead Horse Trauma Launches Its Annual “South For The Win-Tour” Run

Courtesy: O’Donnell Media Group

Dead Horse Trauma has hit the road for one last North American live for the year.

The band launched on Wednesday, its fourth annual “South For The Win-Tour” tour.  The tour launched in Pekin, IL and is currently scheduled to run through Feb. 10 in Burlington, IA.  It includes performances in South Carolina, Florida, West Virginia and Tennessee.  The current schedule is noted below.

1/24 – Twisted Spoke Saloon – Pekin, IL
1/25 – The Warehouse – Clarksville, TN
1/26 – Muncheez – Beckley, WV
1/27 – TBD
1/30 – Groundzero – Spartanburg, SC
1/31 – Jacksonville, FL
2/1 – The Brass Mug – Tampa, FL
2/2 – Bombshells – Orlando, FL
2/3 – Wynfields – Satellite Beach, FL
2/7 – Naked Turtle – Jackson, TN
2/9 – The Forge – Joliet, IL
2/10 – The Washington – Burlington, IA

Tickets and VIP packages are available online here.  More information on the band’s upcoming tour, which is in support of its latest album Life, is available online now at

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The Outfit Makes A Respectable Start On Its Self-Titled LP

Courtesy: Pavement Entertainment

The city of Chicago has what is one of the richest and most diverse musical histories of any American city. From rock band Smashing Pumpkins to blues legend Muddy Waters to jazz master Benny Goodman to R&B/funk great Earth, Wind & Fire and far beyond, the “Windy City” has produced (and continues to produce) so much great music. Now, yet another band by the name of The Outfit is hoping to one day add its name to that expansive list. Next week, The Outfit will have the chance to make a positive start in that effort when it releases its self-titled debut album via Pavement Entertainment. The nine-song record is a work that will appeal to any fan of the music that bridged the late 1980s and early 1990s. That sound is one of the album’s key items, and will be discussed shortly. The album’s production also plays into its presentation. It will be discussed later. Last but certainly not least of note is its sequencing. It rounds out the album’s most important elements. Each element is important in its own right, as will be pointed out through this review. All things considered, they make The Outfit a respectable first effort from its namesake.

The Outfit’s self-titled debut full-length studio recording is a respectable first effort from the Chicago, IL-based band. Over the course of the nine-song album’s 28-minute run time, this band takes listeners back to a great age of music — that of the late 1980s and early 1990s. Of course, it is more prominently filled out by arrangements that were more fitting from the latter time frame than the prior. Right off the top in the album’s opener, ‘Wire,’ listeners get an arrangement that is closely similar to music from Foo Fighters’ early days. ‘Lucky One,’ the album’s second entry, boasts an arrangement that instantly leaves listeners making comparisons to Collective Soul’s early offerings. It is not the only time that listeners will find themselves making comparisons to Collective Soul or Foo Fighters. ‘TKO’ actually seems to combine elements of both for its whole while ‘Soldier Boy,’ with its welcome pro-military message, boasts an arrangement that again likens itself to early works from Foo Fighters as does ‘Just As One,’ which comes later in the album’s run. The Collective Soul comparisons continue, too as the album makes its way into ‘Miracle’ and ‘No Lights On.’

For all of the comparisons that can be and are made to Foo Fighters and Collective Soul, they are not the only comparisons that can be made here. As has been noted, there is at least one comparison that can be made to music from that very short time between the late 80s and early 90s. It comes in the form of the album’s closer, ‘Hot Love.’ The instant comparison that comes to mind in hearing this song is to Motley Crue. That is due in part to guitarist Matt Nawara’s driving riffs, which form the song’s foundation. Front man Andy Mitchell echoes Vince Neil in his vocal dlivery here while even hinting slightly at former Aerosmith front man Steven Tyler. It’s an interesting combination to say the very least. Drummer Mark Nawara keeps the song moving solidly through his time keeping while Mike Gorman puts the finishing touch to the song with his low-end. Considering that the band saved this song for last, it makes a lasting statement for the album, leaving listeners feeling wholly fulfilled by the time it ends. Considering the fulfillment that the album offers through its arrangements, it suffices to say that they do plenty to prove why this album is a respectable start for The Outfit. Of course, they collectively are only a part of what helps this album prove to be that good start for the band. Its production is also key to supporting that statement.

The production of The Outfit’s self-titled debut album is key to discuss because this is the band’s first effort and because of the names that were brought in to handle its creation. Matt Mercado (Emperors and Elephants, Mindbomb, SOiL) engineered the record while Ulrich Wild (Slipknot, SOiL, Deftones) handled mixing duties.  These two men are highly respected names in the music industry. It goes without saying that by and large, the pair’s work paid off throughout the album. However, one cannot deny that there were some minor issues at points, too. Case in point, ‘Unfolds.’ Listening though this song, it sounds as if there is a slight balance issue between Mitchell’s vocals and the work of his band mates. Listening to the song both on CD and in its MP3 format, it seems like both elements are on the same level, making the song feel like the two sides are competing with each other constantly. The end result is a song that while catchy, does lose something along the way. ‘Just As One’ also seems to slightly suffer from this balance issue, too. Luckily though, this issue — in both songs — is not enough to completely ruin the album. Again, by and large, the album’s production is impressive, with each band member shining in his own right. Keeping this in mind, the album’s overall sound impresses in its own right, too. That’s even with the couple of minor misses that are there. Now, having noted the album’s songs and their appeal to the band’s key audience, and the song’s overall production, it cane be said with ease that this record is a respectable start for The Outfit. There is still one more element to note that supports that statement. That last element is the album’s sequencing.

The album’s sequencing is so important to note because listeners will note how much time and thought was put into this element. From beginning to end, the album’s sequencing solidly maintains its energy. The only point at which the album ever really pulls back in its energy comes late in its run in ‘Miracle.’ Of course, the song is a song about a break-up. So naturally, it’s going to be more reserved than its counterparts. Other than that one single moment, the rest of the album solidly maintains its energy throughout. Add in some expected lyrical themes to compliment the production and the songs themselves, and audiences get in this record a work that is, once more, a respectable start for The Outfit. It shows that the band’s future is in its own hands,and that the sky is the limit for the band’s future. All of this being noted, The Outfit’s debut album is a work that deserves at least one listen. It will be available next Friday, Feb. 2 in stores and online via Pavement Entertainment. More information on The Outfit is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:




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