‘Tearing At The Seams’ Is A Positive Sign For Rateliff & Co.’s Future

Courtesy: Stax Records

Three years ago when Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats released its self-titled debut album, that opening effort – released via Stax/Concord – from the Denver-based outfit was received to rather positive reaction.  It reached the top spot on Billboard’s folk charts and peaked at number four on Billboard’s Top Rock Albums chart. Critics likened the group’s sound to legends the likes of Otis Redding, Van Morrison and others while having plenty of positives to write of the album.  It wasn’t the band’s full-on proverbial A-game.  Even this critic will agree to that, but in the same breath, it was still a strong first effort from the group.  That means expectations were high for the group’s sophomore album.  Enter that album, Tearing at the Seams.  Released early just this past March, Tearing at the Seams lives up to those expectations.  It takes the positives of the group’s debut and builds on them even more to create the end result presented here.  That is evident in part through the songs’ arrangements and the album’s production, which will be discussed shortly.  The songs’ lyrical themes do just as much to make that evident.  They will be discussed a little bit later.  The album’s sequencing also serves to make that evident.  Each element is obviously important in its own right to the whole of this record.  All things considered, they make Tearing at the Seams a solid follow-up to Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats that shows even more promise for this group’s future.

Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats’ sophomore album Tearing at the Seams is an impressive new effort that is anything but a sophomore slump.  Released March 9 via Stax Records, this 12-song, 47-minute album shows notable growth from the band’s self-titled debut in so many ways, not the least of which is its collective arrangements and production thereof.  The arrangements presented here are works that take listeners back in time once again like opening a musical time capsule left long untouched.  What’s more, they don’t stick to just one influence in their presentation.  Right from the album’s outset, listeners are treated to an arrangement in ‘Shoe Boot’ that are reminiscent of so many great classic soul tunes.  That is thanks to the use of the horns, keyboards and percussion.  They keyboards, guitar and percussion at the center of ‘A Little Honey’ instantly conjures thoughts of Elton John’s classic ‘Benny & The Jets.’  That is meant in the most complimentary fashion possible.  The Otis Redding comparison is there again, too late in the album’s run in ‘Still Out There Running.’  One could even liken the arrangement at the center of ‘Intro’ to great works from James Brown and other similar acts.  At this point, it should be clear how this album’s collective arrangements make evident how this album builds on its predecessor and impresses even more than that record.  In the same vein, the production of the album’s songs does so much to help generate that sound of a musical time capsule being opened for the first time in decades.

The production work behind this album is so notable because of its role in the album’s general effect.  Producer Richard Swift (The Shins, Foxygen) – who also worked with the band on its 2015 self-titled debut – is to be applauded for his work behind the glass once again.  Thanks to his efforts, and those of the band, the arrangements get a sound that is just like something right out of the 1960s and ‘70s.  That is evident in the static/fuzz style touch on so many of the arrangements.  Even in the album’s more rock-oriented arrangements, such as that of ‘A Little Honey,’ ‘Hey Mama’ and the album’s lead single, ‘You Worry Me,’ there’s still a certain sound and feel that makes such works sound like they were lifted from days long gone.  It’s a nice touch to the album’s general effect, and ensures even more listeners’ engagement from start to end.  It’s just one more element that shows how much this album has built on its predecessor, and in turn made it that much more enjoyable than that album.  The songs’ lyrical themes are important to note in their own right, too.

The lyrical themes presented throughout TATS show growth from the band this time out just as much as the album’s arrangements and production because of the topics that are presented and the fashion in which they are presented.  Obviously the standard theme of romantic relationships is there and tackled in various different lyrical fashions.  It is not the only theme presented here, though.  ‘Hey Mama’ seems to delve into personal experiences from one of the band members as it notes, “Hey mama/Why it’s me/Say you better wait, child/Said you’ve been a long time running/Saving a long time money/Hey mama/Answer me/baby boy, you better sit down/Can’t listen when the sun’s out/My only son, this’ll be so hard to hear.”  From here, the song’s subject – seeming to be a parent talking to a child – seems to be telling the other that there is a lot more to learn in life and a lot more to experience than already has been.  This is inferred as the primary subject sings, “You ain’t gone far enough to say/At least I tried/You ain’t worked hard enough to say/Well I’ve done mine/You ain’t run far enough to say/My legs have failed.”  This is a strong statement, especially considering the song’s main subject before launching into this lecture, “She said son, let me reason with you/You think you carry such a weight/I know I never beat you, boy/Better start acting like this here’s a race.”  Simply put, this song comes across lyrically as a parent trying to talk some sense into a child.  It’s a nice change of pace from the more overly familiar material presented here.

The lyrical theme of the album’s title track is another one that seems to break from that standard mold of personal relationships.  What’s interesting here is the manner in which Rateliff has laid out the song, lyrically speaking.  It obviously is not about a romantic relationship.  At the same time, one could argue it comes across as a social commentary of sorts.  This is the case as Rateliff sings, “Wait/Is this a game or am I walking into a snare/Now these lies will spread until we are choking on the innocent/They have half of us tied and half of us in chains/We’re all covering our eyes/And covering our mouths just the same.”  He even notes in the song’s lead verse, “There’s a liar/A liar on the stage with a young child’s eyes/And it happens all wrong/And only half of it’s seen from here.”  He asks in the song’s chorus, “Where’s all the time gone/In separate ways it runs long/A hundred miles built upon us/It’s tearing at the seams of all that’s been/They’re gonna have to drag us away.”  One could argue the mention of the “liar…with a young child’s eyes” could easily be likened a mention of America’s current top politician.  The note of something “tearing at the seams of all that’s been” and “half of us” being “tied and half of us in chains” could just as easily be considered a social commentary of sorts.  This is, of course, only this critic’s take on the song.  It could be entirely incorrect.  Hopefully it is close to being correct.  Either way, the execution of the song’s lyrics itself is certain to have plenty of people talking.  Keeping this in mind, it is just one more way in which the song’s lyrical themes show this album’s growth from the band’s debut.  When it – and the other noted songs – are considered along with the rest of the album’s songs, they show even more how much this album shows the band’s continued growth.  It still is not the last way in which this album shows the band’s growth.  The album’s sequencing also serves to exhibit that growth.

From start to finish, TATS’ sequencing exhibits growth from the band because of its ability to keep listeners engaged and entertained.  The album’s first trio of songs is a group of solid, mid-tempo soulful opuses that vary little in their musical energies.  Even as the album progresses into ‘Say It Louder’ and slows, that pull back is minute at best, ensuring just as much, listeners’ engagement and entertainment.  It isn’t until the album nears its midway point in ‘Hey Mama’ that it really noticeably slows.  That reserved energy couples quite well with its lyrical content, too, ensuring even more that maintained engagement.  Listeners get one more reserved arrangement in ‘Babe I Know’ at the album’s midway point before things finally start to pick back up.  What’s really interesting in this arrangement is that to a point, it easily lends itself to comparisons to works from Bob Dylan thanks to the vocal delivery.  Musically, it sounds like a piece from the late 1950s/early 1960s, which is another change of pace for the band here, and a welcome one at that.  The album’s energy gradually grows again over the course of its next four songs before starting to pull back again to finish off in its last two compositions.  The bigger picture here is that of a record that rises and falls in all of the right places, musically.  That shows great time and thought was put into the album’s sequencing.  That time and thought paid off just as much as the work put into the songs and their arrangements, and of course their lyrical themes.  Keeping that in mind, all three elements show in their own way how much this record has built on the success of the group’s debut to make this one its own success.  All things considered, they make Tearing at the Scenes yet more promise for the future of Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats.

Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats’ sophomore album Tearing at the Scenes, is another successful offering from the Denver-based group.  That is because over the course of its 12-song, 47-minute run, it shows in so many ways that the band has taken the success of its self-titled debut and built on it so much in this presentation.  This is evident immediately through the album’s songs and their production.  Collectively, these two elements make this album sound like a musical time capsule that has miraculously been delivered to the present from one of music’s greatest eras without ever having been touched.  The lyrical themes presented throughout the record show growth, too, as the band is once again not afraid to stretch its creative wings beyond the standard songs of love gained and lost.  The time and though put into the album’s sequencing shows plenty of growth, too.  That’s because from start to end, the album ensures listeners’ engagement and entertainment without worry of listeners skipping any tracks.  Keeping all of this in mind, it is clear that Rateliff and company have grown a lot since releasing the group’s debut three years ago.  The result of that growth is a record that, once again, shows plenty of promise for the band’s future.  Tearing at the Seams is available now in stores and online.  More information on Tearing at the Seams is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:

 

 

Website: http://www.nathanielrateliff.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/NRateliff

 

 

 

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Devin Townsend Project To Release New Live Recording This Summer

Courtesy: InsideOut Music

Devin Townsend has a new live recording on the way.

The Devin Townsend Project founder announced Friday that the band will release Ocean Machine — Live at the Ancient Roman Theatre Plovdiv on July 6 via InsideOut Music.  Originally recorded September 22, 2017 at the noted venue, the concert was a celebration of the 20th anniversary of DTP’s landmark album Ocean Machine.

The special performance featured the band accompanied by the Orchestra of Plovdiv State Opera and features the band performing the noted album in its entirety.  As an added bonus, the concert also included a handful of fan-requested songs.

Townsend said in an interview that he was glad the concert will finally see the light of day.

“Plovdiv and this live package represents a lot to me,” Townsend said.  “It signifies the end of one era and the celebration of another.  Amidst a grueling tour year, this show came together with much blood, sweat and tears, and the result is the culmination of many aspects of my work on one stage.”

He added he was impressed by the concert, looking back on it in hindsight.

“Ocean machine was released 20 years ago, and though Marty (drums) is no longer with us, I was able to finally perform the album in its entirety with the original bassist John ‘Squid’ Harder on this night,” Townsend said. “On a cold evening in an old city in the ancient theatre, many lifelong milestones came to a conclusion on this night and I’m exceptionally proud of it. This is a very special live recording of a very special night, and I hope you enjoy it as a monument to the things that inspired it all in the first place.”

Ocean Machine — Live at the Ancient Roman Theatre Plovdiv will be available as a limited edition deluxe 3CD/2DVD/Blu-ray artbook, special edition 3CD/DVD digipack and standalone Blu-ray as well as digital audio download. Pre-orders are open now.

The recording’s full track listing is noted below.

The full track-listing is as follows:
By Request with Orchestra

1.Truth
2.Stormbending
3.Om
4.Failure
5.By Your Command
6.Gaia
7.Deadhead
8.Canada
9.Bad Devil
10.Higher
11.A Simple Lullaby
12.Deep Peace

Ocean Machine
1.Seventh Wave
2.Life
3.Night
4.Hide Nowhere
5.Sister
6. 3 A.M.
7.Voices in the Fan
8.Greetings
9.Regulator
10.Funeral
11.Bastard
12.The Death of Music
13.Things Beyond Things

More information on Ocean Machine — Live at the Ancient Roman Theatre Plovdiv is available online now along with all of Devin Townsend’s latest news and more at:

 

Website: http://www.hevydevy.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/dvntownsend

 

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Symbolic Debuts ‘Devil Be Me’ Video

Courtesy: EMP Label Group

San Diego, CA-based metal outfit Symbolic will release its latest album next month, and in anticipation of its release, the band has debuted the video for the album’s lead single.

The band debuted this week, the video for ‘Devil Be Me.’  The song is taken from the band’s forthcoming album 5ive, which is currently scheduled to be released May 11 via EMP Label Group.  Directed by Vinny Marvaso, the video opens with one of the band’s members finding a VHS tape of the video and popping it into a VHS player, at which point, the video launches, showing the band performing the melodic hard rock opus.

The video is streaming online now via EMP Label Group’s official YouTube channel.  5ive is Symbolic’s fifth full-length studio recording.  More information on 5ive is available online now along with Symbolic’s latest news and more at:

 

Website: http://www.symbolicband.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/Symbolic5ive

 

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The Dead Daisies’ Success Continues Again On ‘Burn It Down’

Courtesy: Spitfire/SPV

Rock super group The Dead Daises has made quite the impression on the rock community since its formation roughly eight years ago.  In the time since its formation, the band has crafted one EP, a live recording and four full-length studio recordings – each album boasting pure, guitar-driven rock and roll compositions.  Each of those albums has also seen the band change its approach each time, both musically and lyrically.  That change is what has kept the band a favorite among its fans around the world, and is just as welcome in its latest album, Burn It Down, as it is in the band’s first three albums.  While Burn It Down does boast some of the bombast of The Dead Daisies’ previous LPs (and its EP), it also adds in some more reserved moments to round out its 41-minute run time.  The most notable of those more reserved moments comes late in the album’s run in the form of ‘Set Me Free.’  This moving, southern/blues rock opus will be discussed shortly.  Those who enjoy the band’s more familiar rock and roll works will especially enjoy ‘Bitch.’  This piece will be discussed a little later on.  ‘Burn It Down,’ which comes early in the album’s run mixes those noted bluesy elements with the band’s more familiar rock elements for yet another of the album’s key entries and is sure to be a favorite among audiences on either side of the proverbial fence this time out.  Between this song, the others noted, and those note directly discussed, the whole of Burn It Down proves to be another overall successful offering from The Dead Daisies.

Burn It Down, the fourth full-length studio recording from The Dead Daisies,’ is a recording that proves over the course of its 10-song, 41-minute run time, to be another successful offering from the rock super group.  That is because as with the album’s predecessors, the band proved that it didn’t rest easy on the laurels of those albums.  Instead, the band opted this time to take another risk and change things up again.  That risk involved the inclusion of some material that is more reserved in comparison to the band’s previous compositions.  ‘Set Me Free’ is one of the most notable of those more reserved compositions.  This applies both to the song’s musical arrangement and its lyrical content.  In regards to its musical arrangement, Doug Aldrich’s guitar line conjures thoughts of old school Aerosmith.  To a lesser degree, one could just as easily make comparisons to softer songs from Lynyrd Skynyrd and Jimi Hendrix.  Yes, that’s quite the juxtaposition, but it works, at least to this critic.  The Hendrix comparison comes as the song enters its bridge, about three minutes into the song’s run.  That breakdown lends itself to a comparison to Hendrix’s ‘Manic Depression.’  Whether or not that was intended is anyone’s guess, but it is there.  It’s not a bad thing, either.  Rather, that comparison, along with the comparison to Skynyrd and Aerosmith, adds even more interest to the song’s musical arrangement.  When the song’s musical arrangement is set against its familiar lyrical theme – that of a broken relationship — the two together give the song even more interest.  Front man John Corabi sings here about someone who would not emotionally let go of that former love interest, “Sometimes we just hold on/A bit longer than we should/And we both knew this time would come/I would change it if I could.”  That’s pretty straight forward.  He goes on to sing later, “Set me free/Love won’t be easy/If I don’t leave/Set me free/Woman/Let me be/I know in time/You’ll be fine.” This is someone telling another person to let go of a relationship that has ended, and who is doing so in a rather gentle fashion.  Considering the song’s subject sings at one point, “Woman/Let me be,” one would think that this would be more of a pure blues/rock arrangement.  Instead, it is more of a soft-spoken, emotional piece that shows the band’s softer side.  It’s not the first time that the band has shown something of a softer side, but it is also not overly common for the band to do so.  Keeping that in mind, this is an interesting change of pace for the band, and in turn, just one of the album’s key entries.  For those who yearn for the band’s harder edged sound, the band still offers plenty of that throughout this album, with the most notable of those songs being ‘Bitch.’

‘Bitch’ is a straight forward, guitar-driven, adrenaline-fueled rock and roll song that is just as certain to be a fan favorite in a live setting as it will be on record.  Corabi’s vocal delivery, the dual guitar attack of David Lowy and Doug Aldrich, and Deen Castronovo’s solid time keeping join bassist Marco Mendoza’s low-end to form a musical foundation that is instantly infectious.  Its pure rock and roll roots will have every rock and roll purist putting his and her horns in the air as they sing and dance along.  It’s just one part of what makes this song stand out.  The song’s lyrical content is just as infectious as its lyrical content.  Lyrically, it’s more familiarity, as it tackles the subject of relationships, but in a more light-hearted manner.  That is inferred as Corabi sings in the song’s chorus, “You can’t fix it/Love, it’s a bitch.”  He adds in, “Yeah, when you call my name/I salivate like a Pavlov dog/Yeah, when you lay me out/My heart is beating louder than a big bass drum/Alright.”  In other words, this is someone who can’t seem to control himself around a certain woman, but really wishes he could because “love/it’s a bitch.”  That mentality could so easily be interpreted in a way too overly emotional manner here.  Luckily though, the band didn’t go that route.  Rather, the band went more of the almost sarcastic, cynical route instead.  That route, coupled with the song’s high energy heightens the song’s impact even more, and in the end, showing in full why the song is another strong entry from Burn It Down and why that song proves the album’s strength overall.  Even as much as it does to prove the album’s strength, it still is not the last of the album’s standout entries.  The album’s title track also serves to show why this record is another strong effort from The Dead Daisies.

‘Burn It Down’ is notable because it offers its own balance of slower, blues-based rock with the band’s signature harder-edged sound for a composition overall that is easily one of the album’s highest points.  What’s really interesting here is that musically, one can’t help comparing this opus to Audioslave’s hit single ‘Gasoline.’  That’s not just because of the chorus of ‘Burn it down” either.  The song’s overall arrangement bears at least some similarity to the prior noted song.  That’s not a bad thing, either.  Lyrically, it boasts its own share power, too.  Corabi sings here about what would seem to be those people who are the living embodiment of misery loving company.  This is inferred as he sings, “You’re choking on the words you want to say/In this prison/So you stay/You lean on me to free you of your chains/While you’re living in that house of pain/Oh, you are/You’re living in that house of pain.”  He goes on to sing in the song’s second verse, “You’ve always had a plan to try and change/But the outcome always stays the same/You’ll always wear the thorns that make your crown/until you strike that match and burn it down.”  From there, Corabi proceeds to refrain the song’s chorus, singing, “Burn/Burn it down/Watch that mother burn to the ground.”  The song leaves little to no room for doubt here about its subject matter.  It comes across as an indictment of those people who would rather be real life eeyores than make their lives better.  Again, it’s not the first time that a band has taken that route, but still just as impacting as any other.  The power in the song’s musical arrangement adds to that power with its sort of no-nonsense approach to make the song stand out that much more.  When this is considered alongside the musical and lyrical content in the previously discussed songs, the whole of the songs discussed here shows clearly why each is so important to Burn It Down’s whole.  When they are considered alongside the songs not noted here, the whole of the album goes on to prove that it is another successful entry from The Dead Daisies.

The Dead Daisies’ latest full-length studio recording Burn It Down – the band’s fourth full-length studio recording – is another strong new effort from the rock super group.  That is proven through a 10-song set that while it offers some familiarity, also takes some new risks.  ‘Set Me Free’ is one of those risks.  It is very much a gentle ballad centered on the all too familiar topic of love lost.  It’s a step out of the band’s comfort zone at least musically.  Its lyrical approach to the topic is somewhat new for the band, too.  Less of a risk was ‘Bitch,’ which while also tackling the theme of relationships, was more of a rocking, sarcastic and cynical look at the matter.  The album’s title track was a little bit of a risk while also not being one.  It crossed those familiar harder-edged sounds with a slightly slower blues rock sound in its arrangement for a work that conjures thoughts of ZZ Top and so many other bands.  Lyrically, its take on the matter of people who live to bring others down is not a stretch and neither is the manner in which those people are addressed.  The thing is the combination of those elements gives the song plenty of punch.  When these songs are noted alongside the album’s other offerings, the end result is an album that is not only another successful entry from The Dead Daisies, but one more that shows The Dead Daisies is alive and well.  Burn It Down is available now in stores and online.  More information on Burn It Down is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://thedeaddaisies.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/TheDeadDaisies

 

 

 

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‘Days Of Future Passed Live’ Is A Welcome Addition To Any Moody Blues Fan’s Collection

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment/Eagle Vision

The wait for new live material from The Moody Blues is finally over.  After a long eight-year wait, the band finally released a new live recording for its fans in the form of Days of Future Passed Live.  Originally recorded during the veteran band’s two-night stint at the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts in Toronto, Canada on July 6 and 7, 2017, this recording is one that is certain to appeal easily to the band’s most devoted fans.  That is due in no small part to the history behind the tour from which this recording was taken.  It will be discussed shortly.  The concert’s overall set list is important in its own right to the recording’s overall presentation, and in turn, will be discussed a little bit later.  The band’s performance rounds out the most important of the recording’s whole.  When it is considered along with the recording’s set list and the tour’s back story, the whole of the elements makes this recording one that is certain to appeal in one way or another to any fan of The Moody Blues.

The Moody Blues’ new live recording – its first in eight years – Days of Future Passed Live is a presentation that is certain to appeal one way or another to any fan of The Moody Blues.  That applies both in the case of its CD and Blu-ray presentation.  The recordings appeal is due at least in part to the back story behind the tour from which the recording was taken.  The tour, which ran from June 3, 2017 to July 23, 2017 marked the first time ever that the band had ever performed its seminal album Days of Future Passed in its entirety in a live setting.  The decision to do that happened as the tour was a celebration of the album’s 50th anniversary.  One should keep in mind that DOFP was not the band’s debut album.  Rather, it was the band’s sophomore album, originally released in 1967.  Add in the clearly overwhelmingly positive reaction from the band’s fans, and the album’s longevity of sorts, its relevance and that of the band in general all these years later becomes quite clear.  In other words, it shows that the album and the band both have a clear place in the musical universe to this day.  In keeping this in mind, the story behind the concert’s recording proves a solid starting point for the recording.  That is thanks to the interest and discussion that it is certain to generate.  Even with this in mind, the recording’s back story is only one of its key elements.  The concert’s set list plays its own part in the recording’s overall appeal.

As has just been noted of this recording, it was one of many first time performances of Days of Future Passed live included in the band’s bigger tour celebrating the album’s 50th anniversary.  Audiences get to take in the album in whole and in its original sequence no less.  That’s not all that audiences get to enjoy, either.  Also included in the recording is an extensive look through the band’s career with nine songs from the band’s past.  As a little bit of history for those who might be less familiar than others with The Moody Blues’ body of work, the band has a total of 16 (yes, 16) full-length studio recordings.  This is important to note in that there’s no way – in celebrating Days of Future Passed – and the band’s overall body of work that its whole catalog could be represented here.  To the band’s defense, those tracks – plus the two bonus songs – make up representation of more than half of the band’s albums.  To be more precise, they represent a total of nine of the band’s albums.  That the whole of Days of Future Passed is here, too brings that count to 10.  While Days of Future Passed is the farthest back that the band reaches in this set list, it does go as far forward as 1991’s Keys of the Kingdom with the inclusion of ‘Say It With Love.’  All things considered, the whole of the recording’s set list gives audiences new and old alike a relatively vivid picture of the band’s body of work.  When this is considered along with the importance of the story behind the concert(s), both elements join to make even more clear why this recording will appeal to fans of The Moody Blues.  They are not the only items that make the recording stand out.  The band’s performance plays its own key part, too.

The band’s performance, as with any act’s performance, is critical to the recording because of its part in the recording’s general effects department so to speak.  Fans new and old alike will appreciate the ease in each song’s performance.  It’s obvious through those performances that no one member of the band is phoning it in, but that he is giving his best.  That’s the case even as the band seems so relaxed.  Front man/guitarist Justin Hayward exemplifies that relaxation as he works through each song and even occasionally interacts with the audience.  Bassist John Lodge and drummer Graeme Edge are just as enjoyable to hear as they breeze through their parts, too.  Each musician does his own part to make the concert enjoyable.  That is especially noted in the recording’s DVD and BD presentation.  All things considered, the band’s performance here does just as much to impress audiences as the show’s set list and the story behind the tour’s creation.  Each element is obviously important in its own right.  All things considered, they make Days of Future Passed Live a recording that – again – is certain to appeal to any truly devout Moody Blues fan.

The Moody Blues’ latest live recording Days of Future Passed Live is a recording that both on CD and DVD/BD is certain to appeal to the veteran rock band’s most devout fan base.  It may even impress audiences that might be less familiar with the band’s body of work.  That is due in part to the story behind the recording’s birth.  Obviously this is not the first time that a band has ever hit the road to mark the anniversary of an album’s release.  As a matter of fact, it seems like it’s becoming somewhat commonplace nowadays across the musical universe.  That aside, for the band to present the record in whole, in its original order and to couple it with a healthy does of its other albums strengthens its presentation even more.  Add in performances by the band’s members throughout and audiences get a recording that will appeal to Moody Blues fans of all ages.  It is available now in stores and online.  More information on Days of Future Passed Live is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.moodybluestoday.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/moodybluestoday

 

 

 

More information on this and other titles from Eagle Rock Entertainment is available online now at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.eagle-rock.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/EagleRockNews

 

 

 

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TesseracT’s New LP ‘Sonder’ Is A Powerhouse Prog-Metal Album

Courtesy: Kscope records

British prog-metal outfit TesseracT has, ever since its inception some 15 years ago, made quite the name for itself in the rock and metal community.  That is thanks to the music that the band has crafted and presented over the course of three albums and one live recording.  That music has stood completely apart from its contemporaries both musically and stylistically.  Its fourth album, Sonder – which was released this past Friday, April 20 – is no exception to that rule.  The eight-song, 36-minue album takes the best elements of TesseracT’s own past works and crosses that with the best elements of Tool and Leprous for an album that is just as certain as its early records to impress listeners.  This is proven right from the album’s outset in the album’s opener ‘Luminary.’  It will be discussed shortly.  ‘King,’ the albums second single (and the album’s second song in its sequence), also serves to show why this record is another impressive offering from TesseracT.  It will be discussed later.  ‘Mirror Image,’ with its deep, emotional musical and lyrical content is yet another example of what makes this record another solid effort from TesseracT.  It is hardly the last example of what makes the album so strong, too.  Each of the album’s other tracks not directly discussed here shows in its own way why the album stands out.  Between those songs and the ones more directly noted, the album in whole proves to be one more of this year’s top new hard rock and metal albums.

Prog-metal TesseracT has been making music and touring together for the better part of 15 years.  On the surface that might seem like a long time, but the fact that the band has released only three albums and one live recording over the course of that time sys that the band is still very young.  The release of its fourth album this past Friday, however, gives great hope for the band’s future.  It is an album that proves (just as with the band’s previous trio of albums) that this band is one of the biggest names in prog-metal’s (and metal’s in general) next generation.  This is proven right from the album’s outset in its lead single and opener, ‘Luminary.’  Musically speaking, the song conjures thoughts of Leprous, Tool and Tesseract’s own, more familiar material.  That is evidenced through the controlled chaos in the song’s dual guitar arrangement, its low-end (courtesy of Amos Williams) and front man Daniel Tompkins’ own vocal delivery.  Drummer Jay Postones’ work behind the kit is reminiscent of Mike Portnoy with its polyrhythmic patterns.  The whole of those items combined makes this song’s arrangement a powerful composition to say the very least.  At the most, it is more proof of why TesseracT is one of the elite names in prog-metal.

In regards to its lyrical theme, it is just as powerful a song.  Tompkins explained in a recent interview that the song “conceptually explores a deep and devouring sense of insignificance, which ties into the overall theme behind Sonder.”  It does just that and quite well at that as Tompkins sings, “You could raise the dead/With those terribly troublesome eyes/Maybe you’ll always be bad/Maybe you’ll always be the same/Are you alone/Locked inside/That prison in your head/You walk through the crowd/Lost in the sound/Invisible to every passing eye.”  That lead verse and chorus paints quite the vivid picture to illustrate exactly what Tompkins said.  The same can be said of the song’s second verse in which Tompkins sings, “This waking life is not what it seems to be/No time to talk/No air to breathe/Reminisce the scent of a single flower/What butchers cleave/The wolves devour/But if you consume it/You will surely die/When you’re buried with your tenderness/You’ll drag it to your solitary grave.”  This collectively shows the impact of what that sense of insignificance can and often does do to a person, emotionally and psychologically.  The coupling of that powerful statement with the song’s equally powerful musical arrangement makes this work both a strong start for Sonder and a clear example of why the album is such a strong new effort from the band.  It is just one of the songs that serves to show why this record is such a strong offering from TesseracT.  The album’s second single (and second song) ‘King’ is another example of what makes this record stand out.

‘King,’ much like ‘Luminary’ proves so powerful in part because of its musical arrangement.  The heaviness for which TesseracT has come to be known is here once again.  As has been noted by others, it is another work here that joins elements of the arrangements from the band’s debut album One (2011) and Polaris (2017).  The dual-guitar attack of Acle Kahney and James Monteith forms a solid foundation for the song.  Both in the full-on heavy moments and the softer moments (which are heavy in their own right thanks to the guitarists’ control) their work stands out so distinctly.  Tompkins’ vocal delivery here can so easily be compared to that of tool front man Maynard James Keenan.  This includes even his screams.  Williams’ low-end and Postones’ work behind the kit puts the finishing touch to the arrangement, joining forces with the other lines to make this arrangement so powerful both in its heavy and more reserved moments.  The power of those moments together joins with the song’s equally powerful lyrical theme to make the song even more hard-hitting.

As Tompkins noted in an interview about the song, “Far too often, we find ourselves lead into conflict and inner turmoil.  Life is surely a battle.  History has a bad habit of repeating itself, and when living with the constraints of an onerous life, it’s easy to overlook the greatest gift we’ve ever received: life itself.”  This message is highlighted as Tompkins sings, “You died within me/The boatmen came to sail me down the river/Bind me up with visions of a blind man/I operate this way/Turn nothing into gold/Death on such an ugly day/You dine like a king on top of the world.”  This lead verse hints at Tompkins’ statement of “ourselves” being “lead into conflict and inner turmoil” and the ease of overlooking “life itself.”  It is illustrated even more distinctly as he sings in the song’s second verse, “You show us all/That forgiveness is the weakest call/And now revenge against that grudge inside your tiny head/Remove the crown of absolution/Let the retribution fly/The king has all/The king has all/But words can kill and main and take their toll/And you massacre my dreams at night/And eat away at every thought/Until we take control/The king has all/Totalitarian and carnivore.”  That final statement, “you massacre my dreams at night/and eat away at every thought/until we take control” is critical because it would seem that is Tompkins stressing that the history repeating itself will continue until we do something to keep it from continuing.  As he noted in the song’s chorus that it is possible to take that control and say to those forces, “They’re taking away the freedom/To be just you/But the sun always shines for you/They’re taking away the freedom to be just you/You’d kill to find me/But the crown above my head is deadly.”  That is someone finally taking control and realizing the ultimate gift, which leads ultimately to stopping that proverbial cycle of violence.  The manner in which Tompkins’ presented the overall message is so powerful in its own right.  When it is coupled with the equally powerful impact of the song’s musical arrangement, the two elements together make perfectly clear why this single is one more example of Sonder’s overall strength.  It still is not the last of the album’s most integral compositions, either. ‘Mirror Image’ is one more of the album’s most notable entries.

‘Mirror Image,’ is so notable in part because of its own musical arrangement, just as with the previously discussed songs.  Unlike those songs, this song’s arrangement is heavy because it is not heavy.  Rather, it is a very reserved, contemplative arrangement.  The coupling of the piano, guitars, drums and bass give this song a distinctly ethereal feel, especially in the song’s opening moments.  Even in the arrangement’s more powerful moments, there is still a noticeable reservation that creates its own power here.  The contrast of that feeling to that of the song’s softer moments creates a powerful whole that makes it easily comparable to works from Leprous.  That stark contrast from ‘King’ and ‘Luminary’ yet powerful musical statement in itself does plenty to make this song so strong.  The song’s lyrical content adds to its power.  That is because it presents what seems like a rather familiar topic in the issue of relationships.

The seeming topic of a relationship is inferred as Tompkins sings here, “I’m half crazy/Searching for the sight of you/Hoping that you’d pull me through/The hand of God/you forced me to/I’m half crazy/Longing for the love of you/Begging on my knees to you/Weeping for the honest truth.”  This is only a glimpse into the song’s lyrical content that leads one to believe this song centers on the familiar topic of relationships.  The song’s final verse finds Tompkins singing, “I’ve been dreaming/Love is not an endless thing/Anxious to ignore our feelings/Love is not an endless thing.”  Taking these lines into consideration with the previously noted lines, one has to think that there is little chance this song could, lyrically, be centered on anything but the matter of relationships.  That doubt is lessened even more as Tompkins sings, “Lightning struck into a mirror image of the truth/It keeps me awake/the stars begin to fall/A meditation to absolve/It keeps me awake.  Even in the song’s opening verse, Tompkins sings of seeing “an image of it all” as if to say he sees the bigger picture of his thoughts.  It all comes together.  Keeping this in mind, Tompkins has again found a powerful (and original) way to take on an all too familiar topic.  Considering this along with the power and originality expressed in the other songs noted here, the whole of these songs does plenty to show why Sonder is another strong effort from TesseracTThat is not to discount the other songs not noted here, either.  Each of the album’s other songs does its own part in supporting the noted statement, too.  Keeping this in mind, not only does Sonder prove to be another strong effort from TesseracT, but an other album that is fully deserving of being called another of this year’s top new hard rock and metal albums.

TesseracT’s latest full-length studio recording Sonder may only boast eight songs and run for a total run time of 36 minutes, but over the course of that time, it proves to be another recording proving that TesseracT is one of the elite acts in metal’s next generation.  On that same note, it is a n album that proves both musically and lyrically to be, without doubt, one of this year’s top new hard rock and metal albums.  It is available now in stores and online.  More information on Sonder is available online now along with all of TesseracT’s latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.tesseractband.co.uk

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/tesseractband

 

 

 

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Moms (And Families) Everywhere Are Sure To Enjoy Cheri Magill’s Latest LP

Courtesy: Red Shoe Records

Being a mother is a special experience for so many women.  From the most stressful moments to the most heartfelt, the lowest of lows and the highest of highs, mothers are there for their children and families.  So in return for all that mothers do and all that they are, singer-songwriter Cheri Magill will release a new tribute to mothers everywhere next week in the form of her new album Tour Guide.  It goes without saying that this 10-song record is a tribute that mothers everywhere will appreciate.  That is thanks in part to the accessibility of its lyrical themes.  This will be discussed shortly.  The varied musical arrangements presented in the songs play their own collectively important part to the record’s whole, and will be discussed later.  The record’s sequencing plays into its appeal by its target audiences, too.  That is because it is just as certain as the record’s musical and lyrical content to keep those audiences engaged and entertained.  When it is joined with that musical and lyrical content, the whole of those elements makes Tour Guide in whole, a work that will appeal not only to mothers, but to grandmothers as well.  Keeping this in mind, it goes without saying that Tour Guide is easily one of this year’s top new family albums.

Cheri Magill’s forthcoming album Tour Guide is a work that, in whole, is certain to appeal not only to mothers, but also to their mothers.  That is due in no small part to the accessibility of its varied lyrical themes.  From start to end, Magill touches on topics to which every mother can relate in the noted themes.  From the stresses of dealing with picky eaters and cleaning up after those adorable little ones in ‘Crazy’ to the emotional growth that a mother experiences as her child/children grow in ‘Brave’ to the love that a mother shows by trying to balance schedules and keep up with her kids in general in ‘Don’t Forget,’ and beyond, the themes presented throughout the album are wholly relatable to any mom.  For those who hope for that standard over-the-top emotional ballad, Magill has included that here in the form of ‘Unconditional,’ in which she sings about…well…a mother’s unconditional undying love for her children.  No doubt this one, with its overly saccharine sweet lyrics and musical arrangement, will leave not a dry eye in the house.  That and other arrangements included in the album will be discussed shortly.  Staying on the topic of those relatable lyrical themes, the reality of said themes and their ability to connect to mothers everywhere in itself forms a solid foundation for this record, making for a great starting point for its presentation.  The arrangements strengthen that foundation through their variety and through their impact on the songs themselves.

As noted already, the arrangement at the center of ‘Unconditionally’ is a gentle, saccharine sweet, piano-driven arrangement that makes the song quite the powerful composition.  Making a comparison here, it’s the kind of composition that will appeal to fans of Paula Cole and other similar singers.  It’s just one example of why the album’s arrangements are so important to the whole of Tour Guide.  For those wanting something a little more light-hearted, Magill offers the decidedly “poppy” ‘Lasso The Moon,’ which is certain to appeal to fans of Michelle Branch and other similar acts.  The arrangement that forms the foundation of ‘Crazy’ is a fun, light-hearted indie-pop style composition that is certain to put a smile on any listener’s face just through that arrangement.  Anyone that’s a fan of Maroon 5 and Andy Grammar will enjoy the equally light, airy arrangement at the center of ‘Better.’  As if all of that isn’t enough, the gentle, flowing piano-driven arrangement at the center of ‘Tour Guide’ conjures thoughts of a certain song from the soundtrack of Disney/Pixar’s Up.  Given, it’s not exactly the same, but there’s something in the two arrangements that invariably connects them.  That is meant in the best way possible.  The arrangement at the center of ‘Brave’ is one that will appeal just as easily to any mainstream pop fan, too, with its brooding keyboard and strings.  Between these arrangements and the others not directly noted here, it should be clear at this point just how important the album’s musical arrangements are to its whole.  They offer just as much variety and entertainment as the songs’ lyrical themes.  Keeping this in mind, the lyrical and musical elements of this album collectively go a long way toward making it a truly enjoyable musical gift for moms everywhere.  Even as much as they do for the album’s whole, they are not its only key elements.  The album’s sequence rounds out its most important elements.

The album’s sequencing is so critical to its enjoyment because without the thought and time put into the sequencing, the songs would still be enjoyable, but not as engaging.  Right from the album’s outset, listeners get an up-tempo arrangement in its title song.  The energy of that song continues on into ‘Lasso the Moon’ (on a side note, one can’t help but wonder if Magill was watching the classic James Stewart movie It’s A Wonderful Life when she developed that song’s title.  Getting back on the topic at hand, Magill pulls back, but only minimally as the album progresses into its third song, ‘You Are Here.’  This song, by the way, is certain to generate plenty of smiles, laughs and tears of joy through its flowing musical arrangement and vivid lyrical picture.  Things pick right back up after ‘You Are Here’ with the previously discussed arrangement in ‘Crazy.’  This light-hearted, bouncy arrangement is infectious to say the very least, and is certain in itself to keep listeners engaged.  As the album moves into ‘Brave,’ its mid-point, it moves into a much more dramatic sound and feel, which definitely changes things up and keeps the album interesting.  The energy gradually builds back from here over the course of the album’s next few entries – ‘Still,’ ‘Don’t You Forget’ and ‘Better.’  As the album moves through its last two songs, ‘Unconditionally’ and ‘Chopsticks Lulllaby,’ its energy again becomes reserved, finish off in very gentle fashion.  That gentle, flowing finale is a direct contrast to the energy in the album’s opening and first half in general.  Obviously, this was done intentionally.  It shows, once more, the time and thought put into the album’s sequencing for the utmost impact.  Taking this into consideration along with the time and thought put into the rest of the album’s sequencing, the whole of that element proves to do just as much for the album as the songs themselves.  When all three elements are joined together, they make Tour Guide a record a wonderful, moving musical trip for moms (and even families) everywhere.

Cheri Magill’s latest album Tour Guide is a wonderful musical trip for moms (and families) everywhere that is also without doubt one of this year’s top new family albums.  That is proven in part through its completely accessible lyrical themes.  Those themes are topics to which every mom (and even dad, believe it or not) can relate.  The diverse range of musical arrangements presented throughout the album do plenty to make this record enjoyable, too.  The obvious time and thought put into the album’s sequencing puts the finishing touch to the album’s overall presentation.  Each element is, again, clearly important in its own way, as has been pointed out here.  All things considered, they make Tour Guide not only fun for the whole family, but in turn, one of this year’s top new family albums.  It will be available May 4 via Red Shoe Records.  More information on Tour Guide is available online now along with Magill’s latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://cherimagillmusic.com

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

 

 

 

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