Shout! Factory To Re-Issue ‘City Slickers’ This Fall

Courtesy: Shout! Factory

Castle Rock Entertainment’s classic 1991 buddy comedy City Slickers is getting the re-issue treatment again.

The classic comedy will be re-issued on Blu-ray October 16 via Shout! Factory as part of the company’s ongoing Shout! Select series.  The latest re-issue of the movie is presented in a never-before-released 4K HD scan and also includes a handful of bonus materials. Pre-orders are open now.

The bonus material includes retrospective Back in the SaddleCity Slickers RevisitedBringing in the ScriptWriting City SlickersA Star is BornAn Ode To Norman and The Real City Slickers.  A handful of deleted scenes are also included as extra bonus material.

The movie’s story follows Mitch Robbins (Billy Crystal — Parental GuidanceMonsters Inc., Monsters University) as he heads out west on a mid-life crisis of sorts.  He doesn’t go alone though.  Also along for the ride, which turns into a heartfelt but funny journey of self discovery, are Phil Berquist (Daniel Stern — Home Alone 1 & 2Bushwacked) and Ed (Bruno Kirby — When Harry Met SallySleepersGood Morning, Vietnam). The late great Jack Palance (Sudden Fear, BatmanShane) leads the way on the journey.

More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online now at:

 

Website: http://www.shoutfactory.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ShoutFactory

 

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Slayer Announces Dates For European Leg Of Its Farewell Tour

Courtesy: Nuclear Blast Records

Slayer is preparing to say goodbye to its European fans.

The band has announced the dates for the next leg of its worldwide farewell tour, which will take the band across Europe.  The tour is currently scheduled to launch November ` in Dublin, Ireland before heading to the UK for a handful of dates and then on to Germany, The Netherlands, Spain and a number of other locations across Europe.

Longtime guitarist Kerry King said the decision to take the tour to Europe had been planned for a long time, and that the reaction to the tour in the U.S. has been motivating for the upcoming European run.

“We always knew this tour would take us into 2019, and we’ve been blown away by the response we’ve been getting here in North America,” King said.  “We’ve heard about fans who have driven five, six hours or flown in from other cities or countries to see us, so we want to assure our fans that we’ll be on the road through 2019 and will get to as many places around the world as possible to make it easier for everyone to come and see us one last time.”

Front man Tom Araya shared King’s appreciation for the fans and their reaction.

“I just want to take the time out to say thank you to all our fans who have made this first part of this tour phenomenal,” Araya said.  “You really are loyal dedicated fans and we appreciate that so much from you.  We still have quite a few places to play, so next year, keep your eyes and ears open so you can catch us live one last and final time.  Again, thank you!”

Before the band heads to Europe, it will perform for audiences at Mexico at the ForceFest in Tijuana, Mexico on October 7.  Plans are also in the works for live performances in South America, Australia and Japan as part of its continued farewell tour.

The current schedule for the European leg of Slayer’s farewell tour is noted below.

OCTOBER
7         ForceFest @ Campo De Golf Teotihucan, San Juan Teotihuacan, Mexico  (headline)

NOVEMBER
1         Dublin 3Arena, Dublin, Ireland
3         Wembley Arena, London, UK
5         Cardiff Arena, Cardiff, UK
7         Birmingham BCA, Birmingham, UK
9         Manchester Arena, Manchester, UK
10        Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK
12        Glasgow Hydro SSE, Glasgow, UK
14        Westfalenhalle 1, Dortmund, Germany
15        IJsselHal, Zwolle, Netherlands
17        Palacio Vistalegre, Madrid, Spain
18        St. Jordi, Barcelona, Spain
20        Mediolanum Forum, Milan, Italy
21        Halle 622, Zurich, Switzerland
23        Stadthalle, Vienne, Austria
24        Freiburg, SICK ARENA, Freiburg, Germany
26        Barclaycard Arena Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
27        Atlas Arena, Lodz, Poland
29        Olympiahalle, Munich, Germany
30        Messchalle, Erfurt, Germany

DECEMBER
2         Mercedes-Benz Arena, Berlin, Germany
3         Royal Arena, Kobenhavn S, Denmark
5         Hovert, Stockholm, Sweden
6         Oslo Spektrum Arena, Oslo, Norway
8         Helsinki Ice Hall, Helsinki, Finland

2019
JUNE
23        Hellfest Open Air, Clisson, France  (headline)

More information on Slayer’s upcoming live dates is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:

 

Website: http://www.slayer.net

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/slayer

 

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‘College GameDay’ Opens Its 2018 Season At Notre Dame

Courtesy: ESPN

ESPN’s flagship college football program is coming home…sort of.

College GameDay Built by The Home Depot returns to South Bend, Indiana and the campus of Notre Dame for its season premiere this Saturday, September 1.  The 10-time Emmy Award-winning program will air live from Libery Quad starting at 9 a.m., preceding the Fighting Irish’s annual showdown with rivals, the Michigan Wolverines.

The program will be simulcast Saturday (and each week) on ESPNU.  Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly will appear on the special broadcast, which comes 25 years after the very first College GameDay broadcast.  marty Smith will interview Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh as he enters his fourth season coaching at his alma mater.

Other topics slated for Saturday’s broadcast include who will be Alabama’s new quarterback and the wake of Washington State quarterback Tyler Hilinski’s death.

More information on College GameDay’s schedule is available online along with all of the latest college football headlines at:

 

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

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/CollegeGameDay

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ESPN Announces Final Two ‘SNB’ Broadcasts For MLB’s 2018 Season

Courtesy: ESPN

ESPN has added two more matchups to its broadcast schedule for the 2018 Major League Baseball season, including the network’s season finale broadcast of Sunday Night Baseball presented by Taco Bell.

Up first on that schedule is an inter-divisional National League matchup between the Dodgers and Cardinals on September 16.  The game is certain to have major playoff implications for both teams as Los Angeles (70-61) currently sits on the cut-off line for the National League’s post season picture and as St. Louis (73-58) is also playing hard for its own spot in the post season.

ESPN closes out the 2018 season of Sunday Night Baseball presented by Taco Bell September 23 as the American League and Major League Baseball leading Boston Red Sox (90-42) visit the Cleveland Indians (74-56) in an equally important matchup looking to the post season.  For the Red Sox, the game (and series) will be a chance for the team to continue widening its lead over the league and conference while Cleveland will be looking to stay just inside the post season picture in the American League.

The Indians currently sits 5th in the American League and atop the American League Central Division, 13 games ahead of second place Minnesota.  The rotations and pitchers will be announced closer to each game’s broadcast.

Matt Vasgersian will anchor both broadcasts.  He will be joined in the booth by analysts Alex Rodriguez and Jessica Mendoza for additional commentary.  Reporter Buster Olney will also be hon hand for all of the games’ latest news and interviews.

The season finale episode of Sunday Night Baseball presented by Taco Bell will have a special start time of 7 p.m. ET.  The September 16 episode will still start at 8 p.m. ET.  As is the case each week, both games will be preceded by an hour-long episode of Baseball TonightSunday Night Countdown presented by Chevrolet.

Those who won’t be close to a television during each game can still catch the broadcasts online via the ESPN App and on the radio via ESPN Radio.  The games will also be simulcast in Spanish on ESPN Deportes and ESPN Deportes Radio.

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Saliva Announces ’10 Lives’ Release Date

Courtesy: Megaforce Records

Veteran rock band Saliva will reach a milestone this fall with the release of its 10th album.

The band announced today that it is currently scheduled to release 10 Lives October 19 via Megaforce Records.  Pre-orders for the 14-song record are open now via Amazon.

The band said in a collective statement that 10 Lives, co-produced by Saliva front man Bobby Amaru and Steve Perreira, holds a special meaning to the group.

“The title represents where we are at in the band’s career,” the band said.  “We feel stronger than ever…10 Lives is about never giving up and grinding daily.  We love making new records for the fans who continue to support the band through it all.  This will not be the last!”

Currently, the band is on tour in support of its most recent album, 2016’s Love, Lies & Therapy.  Its current tour schedule will bring it to Newberry, South Carolina and Greenville, South Carolina on August 30 and 31 respectively.

The tour’s schedule takes the band through September 9 in Denver, Colorado.  The remaining dates on the band’s current schedule are noted below.

SALIVA Tour Dates:
8/30 – Newberry, SC @ Newberry Opera Hous
8/31 – Greenville, SC @ The Firmament
9/1 – Concord, VA @ Devault Vineyards – Blue Ridge Rock Festival
9/2 – Daytona Beach, FL @ Main Street Station Live
9/3 – Sebastian, FL @ Captain Hiram’s Sand Bar
9/6 – Altus, OK @ Red River Music Hall
9/7 – Salina, KS @ Tony’s Pizza and Events Center
9/8 – Kansas City, MO @ Crossroads
9/9 – Denver CO @ Herman’s Hideaway

More information on the band’s current tour schedule, its new album and more is available online now at:

 

Website: http://www.saliva.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/saliva

 

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Kill Devil Hill Guitarist Inks Deal With EMP Label Group; To Release Debut Solo Album This Fall

Courtesy: O’Donnell Media Group

Megadeth bassit Dave Ellefson’s EMP Label Group has added another big name to its artist roster.

Kill Devil Hill guitarist Kevin Zavon recently inked a deal with the label that will see his debut solo album.  The as yet untitled album is currently scheduled to be released November 23 via EMP Label Group and features Brian Tichy (The Dead Daisies, Foreigner, Ozzy Osbourne) on drums and guest appearances by Vinny Appice (Black Sabbath, Dio, Heaven & Hell) and Mike Duda (W.A.S.P., Hotel Diablo, Frost). Along with handling guitar and vocals, Zavon also handled bass and keyboards on the album.

Zavon offered praise for all involved in the record’s creation.

“I was really fortunate to have the opportunity to work with such talented people on this project,” Zavon said.  “They really brought this record to life.

The album — mixd by Josh Newell (Intronaut, Black veil Brides) and mastered by Paul Logus (Stone Sour, Winery Dogs) — consists of 10 songs that Zavon said had gone unpublished ever since Kill Devil Hill went on hiatus following the release of the band’s 2013 album Revolution Rise.  He said that played a key role in creating his own album.

“I had a bunch of tunes that needed finishing or had just never seen the light of day, so I decided to put them together and see where it took me,” Zavon said.

The album’s track listing is noted below.

Tracklist:
1. Message at the Tone
2. Back In The Day
3. Three Days Grace
4. Big Shot
5. South of the Border
6. Color of Blood
7. Whiskey Tango
8. Seven Stitches
9. Remember
10. Brick By Brick

More information on Mark Zavon’s new record is available online along with all of Kill Devil Hill’s latest news and more at:

 

Website: http://killdevilhillmusic.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/klldvlhll

 

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DC, WB’s ‘Scooby-Doo,’ ‘Batman’ Crossover Is A Largely Forgettable Addition To Each Franchise’s History

DC/Warner Brothers/Warner Brothers Animation

Almost five decades have passed since Warner Brothers first teamed the Dynamic Duo with Mystery Inc. for the Scooby Doo Movie, Scooby Doo Meets Batman.  The movie also went by the title The Dynamic Scooby-Doo Affair.  That “movie” saw Mystery Inc. partner with Batman and Robin to stop a counterfitting ring set up by the Joker and the Pengin.  September 16 will mark 46 years since that “movie” first debuted.  Now all those years later, Scooby, Shaggy and the gang have teamed up with the Caped Crusader again, this time to face another of Gotham’s bad guys in Scooby-Doo and Batman: The Brave and the Bold.  While the 75-minute “movie” does present an interesting story at its core, the writing therein proves ultimately to be the movie’s downfall.  While the writing ruins any chance of this “movie” being one of the more memorable of WB’s so many Scooby Doo movies, it can at least be said that the voice cast deserves its own share of credit in the final presentation.  When that work is considered along with the movie’s central story, the two elements together worth at least one watch, but sadly no more than that.

Scoob-Doo and Batman: The Brave and the Bold marks the first time in almost 46 years that Warner Brothers and Hanna Barbera have partnered Batman with Mystery Inc.  The story at the center of the “movie,” which is essentially an extended episode of Cartoon Network’s short-lived series (it lasted only three seasons from 2008-2011) is one of the only saving graces for a presentation that is otherwise a sadly forgettable addition to both franchises.  That is because of its simplicity.  The story follows Mystery Inc. as “the gang” joins an “elite mystery solving group” made up of other well-known DC characters – Black Canary, The Question, Jon Jonzz (The Martian Manhunter) and Plastic Man – after being tested by Batman and Martian Manhunter.  The catch is that the meddling kids didn’t know they were being tested until after the fact.  This is one of the problems with the movie’s writing that will be discussed a little later.  When the group decides on a case for the organization to solve, that quest turns into a journey to solve what is Batman’s only unsolved case.  Making things difficult for everyone along the way is none other than one Det. Harvey Bullock, who fans of Batman The Animated Series will recognize.  What audiences will appreciate about this story is that it shows that more human side of Batman even as he wears his “uniform.”  It shows he can be (and does get) affected by trying to solve cases.  It’s a rarely seen side of Batman that is nice to see.  Obviously the case does get solved, with a surprise twist, which audiences will appreciate, too.  While that twist is something that audiences will appreciate, it leads into a deeper discussion on the writing at the center of the story.  The writing proves problematic throughout the “movie.”

The story’s writing proves so problematic because of the plot holes and pacing issues that arise throughout the movie.  Right from the movie’s outset, one of those many plot holes appears as the gang is investigating a crime (or so they think) at an abandoned theater.  Obviously things are not quite as they seem.  This is only revealed after Batman just randomly appears on the theater’s rooftop to “help” the gang.  Freddy asks Batman what he’s doing there, and in an attempt to explain things away, Batman simply responds that he goes where crime is.  There’s no back story on how the gang came to investigate the “crime,” which obviously was just a test for the gang.  It would have been nice to have had some back story there, considering the outcome.  Had this been any other case, opening so abruptly might have worked, but not here.  As the story progresses, Batman’s super detective friends side with Bullock, just agreeing that Batman appeared guilty in the original case, not even questioning him.  Considering the connection between the group, one would have thought the group would have sided with Batman, not Bullock.  This becomes problematic, too since they just outright believe Bullock.  In the final act, audiences get a resolution as the real villain is revealed.  That is perhaps one of the few positives of the writing because the writing team behind the “movie” does admittedly at least do a good job keeping viewers guessing about the identity of The Crimson Cloak.”  The problem is that it would have made so much more sense to just wrap up the story where it was.  Sadly though, the 13-member writing team couldn’t let go.  They instead lead the story to go on well past where it should have ended, leaving viewers asking when it is going to end and why it didn’t end when it should have.  In the same breath, that final scene that should have been the final scene leads to yet another pot hole involving The Question.  Why did he disappear for such a long time after the bank heist, despite the explanation?  Why did he not rejoin the group and tell them what happened?  That was never explained.  If he had just re-appeared earlier and that point been explained away, it would have created the standard evil twin plot, given.  At the same time, though maybe it would have shortened up the movie, too, but the writers didn’t want to go that route.  Instead they take a route that even in the end leaves more questions than answered.  Even with all of the references to all of the classic Batman franchises (including the beloved series starring the late great Adam West thanks to the gang hanging out in the original Batcave and even an appearance by King Tut) these plot holes and the pacing problems leave so much to be desired here.  To that end, the writing in this story does more damage to Scooby-Doo and Batman: The Brave and the Bold than any good.  The damage is, in fact, so intense that it leaves this story largely forgettable among the endless stream of Scooby-Doo movies.

While the writing at the center of Scooby-Doo and Batman: The Brave and the Bold does significant damage to its presentation, the “movie” does have at least one more saving grace other than just its story.  That other factor is the work of the voice cast.  Matthew Lillard, who played Shaggy in every Scooby-Doo presentation since 2002’s live action/CG hybrid movie, once again returns to voice Shaggy this time out, and he shines again in his role, offering plenty of laughs, even as he don’s Nightwing’s old costume.  Freddy, voiced once more by none other than Frank Welker could have phoned it in, having voiced Freddy for so many decades, yet he gave it his all once again throughout.  The way he handled Freddy’s infatuation with Black Canary makes for plenty of laughs.  His act as he dons Batman’s “Year One” costume makes for one of the best moments as Freddy really does try to take on the strong persona that is Batman.  Freddy obviously fails to have that persona, yet is so endearing because of his effort to be so heroic.  Again, this is an example of a voice actor who fully understands and appreciates his character.  That makes his performance all the more entertaining.  Kate Micuci (Lego Batman: The Movie, Big Bang Theory, Steven Universe) is entertaining in her own right, too as the voice of Velma.  This is not her first time taking on the role, either.  She voiced Velma in the short-lived Scooby-Doo series Be Cool, Scooby-Doo and in the Scooby-Doo movies Scooby-Doo! Shaggy’s Showdown, Scooby-Doo! And WWE: Curse of the Speed Demon and other Scooby-Doo properties.  The way that Micucci handled Velma’s starstruck behavior toward Batman adds even more entertainment to the presentation.  Her reaction to working with Batman is like a child getting to meet his or her favorite celebrity.  That especially comes through as Velma learns that the gang is joining Batman at the Batcave.  Her interactions with Detective Chimp (played by Kevin Michael Richardson – Lilo & Stitch, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, The Batman) make for even more entertainment as the two clearly talented sleuths try to outdo one another in their investigations.  Those are some subtle yet fun moments that audiences will remember, too.  Between those moments, the moments presented by Welker, Lillard and the rest of the main voice cast, that work offers its own collective enjoyment for audiences.  When the voice cast’s otherwise memorable collective work is coupled with the story at the center of the “movie” the two elements do just enough to save the movie, but not enough to make it more than just one watch.

Scooby-Doo and Batman: The Brave and the Bold is a fun watch for the whole family, whether for everyone’s favorite K-9 case solver and his friends, for Batman and company or for both.  That is thanks to the story at the center of the “movie” and the work of the voice cast.  While those elements do plenty to make the movie an interesting watch, its writing creates its own share of problems thanks to its pacing problems and plot holes.  When this is all considered together, the end result is a presentation that while maybe fun, is regrettably an otherwise forgettable addition to the ongoing Scooby-Doo movies series.  It is available now in stores and online.

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In A Crowded Sea Of Pop Music, Ettinger’s New EP Is Sure To Float

Courtesy: Kayos Productions

This past June, independent up-and-coming singer songwriter Sevi Ettinger released her debut EP Salty Water to the masses.  The four-song EP has already started garnering attention for Ettinger with its pop sensibilities and lyrics to which listeners can easily relate.  Speaking more specifically, the record’s musical arrangements will especially appeal to fans of 90s pop stars Vanessa Carlton, Michelle Branch and other similar acts.  One could even argue that there is a hint of Selena Gomez among other current pop stars.  The combination of those elements makes this record a work that any pop fan will agree deserves at least one listen.  The EP’s closer, ‘Eyes’ is one of the songs that serves to support that statement.  ‘Live,’ the record’s second entry, supports that statement just as much as ‘Eyes.’  It will be discussed a little later.  ‘Don’t Fall Behind’ is perhaps the strongest example of what makes the record as strong as it is for a first effort from Ettinger.  When they are considered along with the EP’s opener and title track, all four songs together make Salty Water a record that shows promise for Ettinger’s chances in a very crowded pop music field.

Sevi Ettinger’s debut EP Salty Water is a work that exhibits some promise for her future in what is one of the most crowded arms of the musical universe.  That is thanks to musical arrangements that will appeal to a wide range of pop music fans and lyrical themes that will reach just as many listeners.  The EP’s finale, ‘Eyes’ is just one of the songs included in the EP that serves to support that statement.  Tim Pierce’s simple guitar melody forms the foundation for the song.  Ettinger’s flowing vocal delivery alongside  Pierce’s work and Jeff Bova’s work with the song’s electronics strengthen that foundation even more to create an arrangement that is certain to become stuck in listeners’ ears and heads because of that simplicity all around.  The song’s heartfelt lyrical content, which seems to center on the beginnings of a romantic relationship (yes, there’s that topic again) couple with the song’s musical approach to make the song even more appealing for pop fans.

The seeming all-too-familiar romantic relationship topic is presented as Ettinger sings, “Sometimes’ it’s hard to find someone like you/I never knew that people like you existed/Pull me in, pull me out, pull me back in the circle/I never knew/That as dark as we are/There is light for us Somewhere/So open up your eyes/And tell me there’s meaning inside/Open up my eyes/And color outside the lines.”  She goes on to sing, “Sometimes it’s hard to find a light in this world/But with you by my side/nothing can stop us from sharing it.  From here, she reprises the song’s chorus to make up the remainder of the song.  It would seem pretty straight forward here, that Ettinger is writing of a relationship.  Given, it could center on something else, and if so, so be it.  Either way, the song’s simple melody and the heartfelt (and equally simple and heartfelt lyrics) work together to make the song in whole proof that this record is a solid start for Ettinger.  It is just one of the songs that supports that statement, in examining its music and lyrics.  ‘Live’ supports that statement just as much as ‘Eyes.’

‘Live’ presents a far purer pop arrangement than that of ‘Eyes’ with its combined electronics, acoustic/electric guitar and Ettinger’s vocal delivery.  The use of the keyboards and electronics harkens back to the likes of Ace of Base while also throwing out hints of more current acts.  It’s an interesting balancing act that somehow manages to work here.  That collective of musical elements is just one part of what makes the song stand out.  The song’s lyrical content helps it to stand out just as much as its musical content.  In terms of its lyrical content, this song comes across as reminding listeners to make the most of life.  That is inferred as she sings, “Live while you can with those open eyes/’Cause you don’t know when you’ll stop/Live while you can/With those glowing eyes/’Cause you don’t know when you’ll drop/Daydream, daydream the things no one’s dreamt before/So others can daydream, too.”  The song continues in this same positive fashion.  That optimistic outlook crafted in the song’s overall lyrical presentation couples with the song’s upbeat musical arrangement to make it a work that will definitely put a smile on any listener’s face.  It’s a nice change of pace from so much pop music, considering the central theme of so many mainstream pop songs out there today.  Everyone knows what is being referenced there, so it will be left at that.  Keeping this in mind, that positive lyrical theme couples with the song’s musical arrangement to be another of the EP’s most standout offerings if not its best.  Even with that in mind, it is not the last of the EP’s most notable songs.  ‘Don’t Fall Behind’ is one more of the EP’s additions worth noting.

Musically speaking, ‘Don’t Fall Behind’ is another throwback to the pop sounds of the 90s, with its keyboard line and its hip-hop style beat and funk style guitar line.  That mid-tempo arrangement is sure to appeal to anyone who grew up in what was really the last great era of mainstream Top 40 bubblegum pop.  While it is certain to appeal to the noted audience by itself, it is only one part of what makes the song another standout addition to Ettinger’s new EP.  The song’s socially conscious lyrical content makes it stand out just as much as its musical arrangement.  Lyrically, it sounds like Ettinger is addressing the rift that has developed among Americans since the 2016 election.  That is inferred as she sings, “This world’s changing more than I/We have to step aside with open eyes/Go too far into the core/You’ll find yourself lost with fright/I’m not trying to hide/I’m just as tired/I’m just as patient/But I’m not waiting to burst/I’m just as hurt as anyone/The world is changing/Don’t fall behind.”  That mention of her being “just as tired” and “just as patient” really seems to point to a reaction to everything going on, as if she is saying she is tired of everything that’s happened, but patient for something positive.  That seeming statement gains even more traction in the song’s second verse as Ettinger sings, “Climb before it is too late/The spots are being filled by those who knew/Take the challenge to escape/That goal’s so common now/That it’s now okay.”  It’s as if Ettinger is encouraging listeners to climb from the hole that has been created by everything that has happened and to get out before it’s too late.  As always, this is just this critic’s own take on the song and should not be taken as gospel.  Ettinger could have been saying something entirely opposite of this interpretation.  Keeping that in mind, the discussions certain to be generated through these lyrics because of the depth of said content more than makes the song stand out even more.  To that end, the combination of the song’s lyrical content and its throwback 90s hybrid hip-hop/pop musical arrangement is sure to garner this song its own share of attention among listeners.  When it is considered along with ‘Eyes’ and ‘Live’ (and the EP’s title track), those songs in whole prove Salty Water a record that will float instead of sink.

Sevi Ettinger’s new EP Salty Water is an interesting new effort from the up-and-coming teen singer-songwriter.  That is due to musical arrangements that will certainly appeal to fans of 90’s mainstream pop sounds.  The record’s socially conscious lyrical themes are, collectively, something that will appeal to not only those noted fans, but pop fans in general.  That is especially the case considering the theme of so many mainstream pop songs.  This is exhibited in all three of the songs noted here, and even in the EP’s title track/opener.  Between those noted arrangements and the depth of the songs’ lyrical themes, the EP gives listeners plenty to appreciate.  Keeping that in mind, this 4-song, 16-minute record proves to be a record that will float instead of sink.  More information on Salty Water is available online now along with all of Ettinger’s latest news and more at:

 

 

Website: http://www.seviettinger.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/sevi.ettinger.3

 

 

 

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.

Fozzy Reaches Its Peak With ‘Judas’

Courtesy: Century Media Century Media Records

Veteran hard rock band Fozzy launched the latest leg of its “Judas Rising” tour on Friday.  The tour, which currently runs through September 29 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, includes performances in Charlotte and Jacksonville, North Carolina on September 19 and 20 respectively.  The tour’s launch also follows the release of the band’s latest single, ‘Burn Me Out,’ which is taken from the band’s most recent album, Judas (2017).  Judas is an interesting change of pace for Fozzy at least stylistically speaking.  That is not a bad thing, either.  In fact, the change in the band’s sound exhibited in this record is a big part of what makes the record such an interesting new offering.  ‘Painless,’ which comes a little early in the record’s run, is just one example of that welcome change.  It will be discussed shortly.  ‘Elevator,’ which comes late in the album’s run, is another example of the change exhibited in the record this time out, and another of the most notable of those examples, too.  It will be discussed a little later.  The full-throttle ‘Wolves at Bay,’ which closes out the album is one more example of the change that is evident in this record that makes it another interesting new effort.  Of course it is not the last of the songs that shows the change from the band this time out.  Keeping that in mind, there are also some more familiar works early on in the record.  When those songs are considered along with the songs noted here and those not noted, the whole of Judas proves to be a record that presents Fozzy at the top of its game.

Veteran hard rock band Fozzy’s most recent full-length studio recording, 2017’s Judas is one of the best albums that this band has released to date.  Simply put, it presents Fozzy at the top of its game.  That is thanks to the growth and change exhibited by the band throughout the album.  The first real sign of that change comes early in the album’s run in the form of ‘Painless.’  Musically speaking, this song is one of the most radio friendly songs that the band has composed to date.  At the same time, it doesn’t sacrifice the hard rock edge for which the band has come to be known in its previous albums in order to achieve that accessibility.  It shows similarities to works from the likes of Breaking Benjamin, Five Finger Death Punch and other similar hard rock acts, showing again, that accessibility.

The song’s lyrical content shows a certain growth, too, as it presents a subject in a distinctly difficult place emotionally and psychologically.  What’s interesting here is that it doesn’t just come right out and give away the situation, perhaps intentionally leaving interpretation to apply to any difficult situation.  This is inferred as front man Chris Jericho sings in the song’s lead verse, “My life trapped in between/A whisper and a scream/A suicide machine of my own making/You medicate my brain/Like needles in my veins/Consumed in your embrace/There’s no escaping/My fix I the misery/Won’t stop till the end of me/I can’t feel anything.”  This alone comes across as perhaps someone dealing with the impacts of drug abuse.  That is just this critic’s own take on this verse, though.  He goes on to sing in the song’s chorus, “Killing me one breath at a time/Caught in your web/I’m paralyzed/So go on and lay me down to rest/You make it painless, painless.”  What’s even more interesting is that later in the song’s third verse, Jericho switches things up even more, singing, “Do you know what it’s like/To be hollow inside my life, my grave/Do you love me enough to finish me off/Don’t leave me here this way?” before reprising the song’s chorus.  At this point, it’s as if Jericho is hinting at a relationship issue making things even more difficult.  Simply put, this song is just as deep lyrically as it is musically.  Keeping that in mind along with the song’s musical arrangement, the song in whole shows quite a bit of positive and welcome growth and change from the band.  That growth makes this song just one example of what makes Judas another strong effort from Fozzy.  It is of course just one of the songs that serves to show that welcome change.  ‘Elevator,’ which comes later in the record’s run, is another example of the change that makes Judas an interesting new offering from the band.

The growth exhibited in ‘Elevator’ comes instantly in its musical arrangement, as it opens with the driving guitar and keyboard lines that open the song.  That combination, which runs through the course of the song, gives the song a little bit of an industrial sound.  It’s a sound that Fozzy has used very rarely, if at all in its past records.  The expert balance of the elements along with the solid time keeping (and Jericho’s vocal delivery) makes for an overall musical arrangement that itself shows even more the change in the band’s musical direction this time out.  When that change is coupled with the song’s lyrical content, the two elements make the song in whole another notable addition to Judas.

Where ‘Painless’ presented someone in a very low place, ‘Elevator’ is the polar opposite so to speak.  Jericho sings here, “Step in/We’re gonna take a ride/To the promised land/Heaven is in our hands/We’ve all been down/There’s only one way out/’Cause when you’re feeling low/There’s only one way to go/I’m your elevator.”  He goes on to sing in the song’s second verse, “We crawl through dirt/You know we’ve been hurt/Put your faith in me/’Cause I’ve got the golden key/So wave goodbye/I’m gonna get you high/High above the crowd/Nothing can stop us now/I’m your elevator.”  It goes without saying that unlike ‘Painless,’ this song is quite the uplifting piece.  Now whether the song was intentionally supposed to be religious in its wording or if that was purely metaphorical language is left for the band to explain.  That aside, the positive, uplifting message here, coupled with the song’s equally empowering musical arrangement shows even more the change in Fozzy in this record.  That exhibited change shows even more why the record in whole is some of the band’s best work to date.  It still is not the last of the songs to show that noted change and how that change is a positive for the album in whole.  ‘Wolves at Bay,’ the album’s closer, is one more strong example of that change and its positive impact on the album.

‘Wolves at Bay’ stands out – as with the previously discussed songs – in part because of its musical arrangement.  Its opening bars present a thrash metal style approach before switching over to the band’s more familiar melodic hard rock sound a la Sevendust, etc. in the verses.  That thrash metal approach, which again the band has rarely if ever, used returns in the chorus.  The driving energy in the song’s musical arrangement is echoed in its equally powerful and aggressive lyrics.  Jericho sings here, “You like to hunt/Your game is fear/I was the one, your souvenir/This is a fight/The one that you’ve been fighting for/You did incite the call for us to go to war.”  He goes on to sing in the song’s chorus, “Pushing and pushing/Giving me no choice/Humiliate/Intimidate/Until I hit the breaking point/Back to the wall/Keeping the wolves at bay/Fight my way out/’Cause it’s the only way.”  The song continues on lyrically in similar fashion from here.  Simply put, there’s a certain level of aggression and confidence here.  This is someone saying, “back off, you’ve caused me to be this way, and I won’t hesitate to attack if I have to,”  It’s a strong song and an interesting contrast to the album’s opener.  Those powerful lyrics and the song’s equally powerful musical arrangement shows again the change evident from the band in this album.  That welcome change also again shows what makes Judas such a strong new offering from Fozzy.  When it is considered along with the previously discussed songs and the rest of this record, the whole of the album proves to be not just a strong new album, but some of the band’s best work to date.

Fozzy’s new album Judas is some of the band’s best work to date.  That’s because while it does present some familiarity to listeners, it also exhibits continued positive growth and change from the band.  That is exhibited in the song’s discussed here clearly.  When they are considered along with the songs not discussed here, that change becomes even more evident and appreciated.  When it is considered in whole, the result is a record that every Fozzy fan will enjoy.  It is available now in stores and online.  More information on Judas, Fozzy’s new tour, its latest news and more is available online now at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.fozzyrock.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/fozzyrock

 

 

 

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ESPN Moving ‘NBA Countdown’ Back To L.A.; Announces Programming Changes For ‘SportsCenter,’ Other Shows

Courtesy: ESPN

ESPN’s NBA Countdown is headed back to the West Coast.

The network’s flagship NBA studio show is returning to ESPN’s Los Angeles Production Center for its upcoming season.  The change is in line with ESPN’s new NBA post-game show NBA After The Buzzer, which will feature the NBA Countdown broadcast team.

The return of NBA Countdown to its Los Angeles studio marks the first time since the 2010-2011 season that it has aired from the West Coast.  It moved to the East Coast in the 2011-’12 season and has been there ever since.

Along with the announcement of the show’s move back to Los Angeles, ESPN also announced that Michelle Beadle will leave her job as host of ESPN’s weekday morning show Get Up! and will expand her role in ESPN’s NBA coverage.  Her last appearance on Get Up! will be August 29.

Connor Schell, ESPN Executive Vice President of Content, said he was optimistic about the changes coming to ESPN’s NBA coverage, including the extension of Beadle’s contract and the expansion of her role in the network’s NBA coverage.

“We are extremely excited to launch ESPN’s first ever NBA post-game show,” Schell said.  “We’re doubling down on our NBA studio content at a time when the NBA is red hot and fan interest continues to surge, and we are doing it with Michelle, as she is so important to our coverage.  As the basketball world looks to L.A. with renewed interest, we’ll be right there to cover it.”

As an added bonus for audiences, the increased interest in the NBA noted by Schell has also led ESPN officials to expand The Jump, ESPN’s daily Los Angeles-based NBA studio show hosted by Rachel Nichols, to a full one-hour format.

Other changes that are being made at ESPN, partly due to the network’s changes in its NBA coverage include the expansion of Get Up! to a two-hour show starting Sept. 3.  Starting on that day, it will air from 8 a.m. – 10 a.m. ET.  Mike Greenberg will still host the show and Jalen  Rose will also stay on as co-host on days when he does not have to appear on NBA Countdown.

Maria Taylor, Laura Rutledge, Diana Russini and Jen Lada — each of whom has served as guest host on Get Up! — will all continue to serve as contributors to the program.

During football season, ESPN’s NFL and college football commentators will appear on Get Up! in its expanded time slot.  That list of talent includes: Ryan Clark, Victor Cruz, Paul Finebaum, Dan Orlovsky, Jesse Palmer, Louis Riddick, Rex Ryan, Adam Schefter, Marcus Spears, Jonathan Vilma and Damien Woody.

One more change coming to the ESPN networks involves ESPN Radio’s Golic & Wingo.  Along with continuing on ESPN Radio, it will be simulcast on ESPN2 and ESPNEWS from 6 a.m. – 8 a.m. before moving solely to ESPNEWS from 8 a.m. – 10 a.m.  This move is also set to happen on Sept. 3.

By connection, SportsCenter will continue to air on ESPN2 from 8 a.m. – 10 a.m.

More information on these changes is available online now along with all of ESPN’s latest news at:

 

Website: http://www.espn.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/espn

 

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