‘Poor Until Payday’ Is A Rich New Release From Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band

Courtesy: Family Owned Records/Thirty Tigers

Veteran blues outfit Rev. Peyton’s Big Damn Band has and its fans have a lot of reason to be happy today.  The band announced recently that its new album Poor Until Payday, which was released last October via its own Family Owned Records and Thirty Tigers, has been nominated for Best Blues Rock Album of 2019 at the annual Blues Music Awards.  The ceremony is scheduled for May 9 at the Cook Convention Center in Memphis, TN.  The awards ceremony is just one part of the band’s upcoming tour in support of Poor Until Payday.  The band’s upcoming tour is scheduled to launch Feb. 16 in St. Augustine, FL and to run through March 10 in Minden, WV.  Two additional dates – May 31 and September 1 in Cookeville, TN – are also currently scheduled.  The band’s upcoming tour includes a performance on Feb. 28 at Local 506 in Chapel Hill, NC. Tickets for that show are available online now at https://www.local506.com/event/1803420-reverend-peytons-big-damn-chapel-hill/.

Plenty of the band’s new material will be performed at the show, and copies of Poor Until Payday will be available at the show.  Audiences will agree after hearing the band perform and after hearing its new album that Poor Until Payday is more than deserving of its nomination, as well as a win, should it take home that top prize at the upcoming awards ceremony.  That is proven right from the album’s outset in the blues/gospel hybrid song ‘You Can’t Steal My Shine.’  This song will be discussed shortly.  ‘Me and the Devil,’ which comes much later in the album’s run, is another example of the album’s strength.  It will be addressed a little later.  The same can be said of ‘I Suffer, I Get Tougher.’  It will also be addressed later.  Each of the songs noted here shows in its own way why Poor Until Payday is a positive new effort from Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band.  When they are considered alongside the likes of ‘So Good,’ ‘Frenchmen Street’ and the album’s title track (and the rest of the album’s songs not noted here), the whole of Poor Until Payday proves to be a rich new record from one of the best names in the blues music industry today.

Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band’s new album Poor Until Payday is a rich (yes, that awful pun was fully intended) new offering from a group that is one of the leaders in the blues music community today.  It is a record that is fully deserving of its nomination by the Blues Music Foundation for the Best Blues Rock Album of 2019.  What’s more, it is just as deserving of a win in that category, should it receive that award.  That is proven right from the album’s outset in the form of ‘You Can’t Steal My Shine.’  The song’s musical arrangement is an infectious, percussion-driven work that boasts not just a blues vibe, but also a certain southern gospel element mixed in that builds on the song’s blues base for a sound overall that makes the song an easy fan favorite.  The arrangement alone is not all that makes the song such a favorite and strong point for the record.  Its equally emotionally upbeat lyrical content makes the song even more of a strong point.

The Rev. sings in this song, “You can’t steal/You can’t steal my shine/Oh, I shine too bright/Oh, I shine too bright/You can’t steal my light/Light a thief in the night/Oh, you come/Like a thief in the night/Oh, you come/But no darkness in Hell/Could dim my light/You can’t steal my shine.”  He goes on to sing, “Like a star in the sky/Oh, I shine/Like a star in the sky/Oh, I shine/The darker the night/The brighter the light.”  This is a simple message that leaves absolutely zero doubt as to the song’s message.  It is a positive work that states nothing is going to let a person get one down.  On another level, it is an homage of sorts to the timeless spiritual, ‘This Little Light of Mine.’  That adds even more to the song’s gospel-tinged sound, and in turn to the appreciation for the song and album in whole.  It is just one of the songs featured in this record that serves to show the album’s strength.  ‘Me and the Devil’ is another work that shows what makes Poor Until Payday a rich new offering from Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band.

Just as ‘You Can’t Steal My Shine’ stands out in part due to its musical arrangement, so does ‘Me and the Devil.’  Unlike the prior song, the latter is more of a pure blues arrangement that shows some direct influence from Muddy Waters, Johnny Lee Hooker and other similar artists with its electric, mid-tempo arrangement.  The simplicity in the arrangement – Peyton’s vocals and guitar work set alongside drummer Maxwell Senteney and Peyton’s wife Breezy Peyton – adds to the song’s appeal.  The whole of the trio’s work makes the song sound so raw, throwing back to the golden age of the blues.  That simplicity and homage to a bygone era of blues creates a solid foundation for the song, on which the song’s lyrical content rests.

The lyrics at the center of ‘Me and the Devil’ (and Rev. Peyton’s delivery thereof) are simple yet so powerful in their own right.  Peyton sings here, “Me and the devil both coming for you/Nothing that you can do/Me and the devil both coming for you/Nothing that you can do/If I get you first/It will be worse.”  He goes on to sing in the song’s second verse, “Me and the Devil hunting side-by-side/Nowhere for you to hide/Me and the Devil hunting side-by-side/Nowhere for you to hide/If I get you first/It will be worse.”  The song continues using largely the same words from here on out, changing things very minimally.  The result is a very clear message.  The speaker is someone who is making it clear that he/she is coming after someone who has wronged the speaker and the speaker means business.  Again, it is a simple, clear-cut message that leaves nothing to doubt.  When that clear, simple message is coupled with the song’s equally clear, simple musical arrangement, the whole becomes yet another one of Poor Until Payday’s strongest points, but also hardly its last strong point.  ‘I Suffer, I Get Tougher’ is yet another of the album’s most notable entries.

‘I Suffer I get Tougher’ stands out, just as with the previously discussed songs, in part because of its musical arrangement.  This song’s arrangement is another pure blues arrangement that once again displays an influence of Muddy Waters and Johnny Lee Hooker through its simple, accessible guitar work and timekeeping from Maxwell Senteney.  Breezy Peyton’s washboard adds just enough flare to that mix to make the arrangement that much more enjoyable.  The whole of the trio’s work does so much to make the song enjoyable and entertaining, yet still manages to keep the song simple in the long run.  That alone makes this song stand out quite well.  Of course the song’s lyrical content does its own part to make the song stand out, too.

As with the other songs discussed here, this song’s lyrical content does just as much to make it stand out as its musical arrangement.  Peyton sings in this song, “Try to stop us/We ain’t slowin’/Try to kill us/We just growin’/All this wrong/We’re getting stronger/All this pain/We just obtain.”  He continues in similar fashion in the song’s second verse, singing, “Try to break us/We ain’t broken/Try to bend us/We ain’t foldin’.”  From there he sings in the song’s chorus again, “All this wrong/We’re getting stronger/All this pain/We just obtain/I suffer through/I get tougher, too.”  Peyton’s confident delivery of these lyrics couples with the song’s equally driving arrangement to make the song a no-nonsense song that is just as motivating and entertaining as any of the album’s other entries, showing once more why the album in whole is such a positive effort from Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band.

One could easily stop at this point and say that this song and the others directly discussed here are without a doubt, clear examples of why Poor Until Payday is deserving of its new nomination (and its win if it indeed wins the award).  That just would not do the album justice, though.  ‘So Good,’ with its equally entertaining old school blues arrangement and uplifting anti-drug lyrical message, ‘Frenchmen Street,’ with its infectious tribute to classic Dixieland and Delta Blues (and of course to New Orleans itself through its lyrical content) and the album’s title track, which pays tribute to all of the people who work paycheck to paycheck across America can just as easily be used to show Poor Until Payday’s strengths.  When they are considered along with the three songs noted here and the remaining four not directly noted, the album in whole proves itself more than deserving of any nomination and award that it receives.  Simply put, from start to end, this 10-song record proves that it is a rich new offering from one of the best names in the blues community today.  Poor Until Payday is available now.  More information on Poor Until Payday is available online now along with all of Rev. Peyton’s Big Damn Band’s news is available online now at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.bigdamnband.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/bigdamnband

 

 

 

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Corroded Will Leave Listeners Feeling Anything But Bitter On Its Latest LP

Courtesy: Despotz Records

Hard rock outfit Corroded released its latest full-length studio recording this week, and the album, Bitter, is another strong new offering from the veteran Swedish band.  Front man Jens Westlin explained the album’s title “comes from observing how the social climate is around the world right now…Everyone’s so dissatisfied and thinks that everyone else’s life is so much better than theirs, and if something goes wrong, it’s always someone else’s fault.  As a result of this, all power hungry leaders in this world thrive on the dissatisfaction of the people and gain power that way.”  He added that these views are what inspired the band’s new album both musically, and lyrically.  The band’s reaction to that situation is on full display early on in the form of the song ‘Cross,’ which will be discussed shortly.  ‘Scream,’ which comes later in the album’s run is another standout addition to Bitter, that shows quite well, the band’s response to everything going on.  It will be discussed a little later.  ‘Drown,’ which comes even later in the album’s run is another notable addition to the album’s overall statement about the world’s current social and political climate.  It will also be discussed later.  Each of the three songs noted here are key in their own way to the whole of Bitter.  When considered along with the other nine songs featured in the album not directly noted here, the end result is a powerful new offering from Corroded that will light a new fire within listeners and leave them feeling anything but bitter.

Corroded’s fifth full-length studio recording Bitter is another strong new offering from the Swedish hard rock outfit.  The new, 12-song record, which is the band’s second for Sweden-based Despotz Records, shows from start to finish, that the quartet can easily hold its own against its more well-known hard rock and metal counterparts.  This is proven early on in the form of ‘Cross.’  The song’s up-tempo, guitar-driven musical arrangement helps to support that statement.  The arrangement conjures thoughts of Five Finger Death Punch, Soil, Dry Kill Logic and other similar acts.  The fiery energy exuded through the arrangement, coupled with Westlin’s growling vocals does a commendable job of illustrating the anger and frustration that Westlin attempts to present in the song’s lyrical content.

That seeming mix of strong emotions is inferred as he sings, “Our mistakes…they have never ever been this clear/All the pain/And the misery/Every word that was said out of fear/Every thorn/In the side/The suffering we had to endure/We never stopped/It isn’t easy/There will never ever be a cure/Every breath that we take/Is a waste of the air we possess/All the s*** that we give….I won’t be nailed upon your cross/I will not take the pain for you/It’s time to own your mistakes/It’s time for you to fall.”  Westlin’s fire hardly dies in the song’s second verse as he sings of having to carry someone else’s agony and misery, and refusing to do so any longer before returning to the chorus’ powerful message pointing the finger back at the proverbial stone casters and finger pointers.  Guitarist Thomas Andersson, bassist Bjarne Elvsgard and drummer Per Solang are to be commended in their own right for their work throughout the song, and especially in its bridge as they work together to help illustrate that feeling of emotional strain that one goes through when one is blamed for something that happened to someone else.  Instead of being the fiery work that is exhibited through the rest of the song, it presents a certain vibe of someone trying to get over those feelings of self-guilt and realizing people cause their own problems in many cases.  It is a brief moment in the bigger picture of the song, but powerful in its own right.  When it considered along with Westlin’s unapologetic lyrical content and the rest of the song’s unflinching arrangement, the whole proves to be an unquestionably forceful response to that bitterness of which Westlin spoke, which led to much of the album’s creation.  It is just one of the album’s most standout entries.  ‘Scream,’ which comes later in the album’s run, is another notable addition to the album.

In regards to its musical arrangement, ‘Scream’ is a work that is certain to appeal to thrash metal purists out there.  Again, the similarities to Dry Kill Logic are front and center here.  At the same time, one can also argue influences from the likes of Overkill, Exodus, Anthrax and other similar acts, thanks again to the collective work of Andersson, Elvsgard and Solang.

The energy exuded through this thrash-style work does its own commendable job of illustrating the urgency in the song’s lyrics; an urgency that seems to center on the issue of self-determination and not letting the currently bitter state of the world bring one down.  This is inferred as Westlin sings with his band mates in the song’s chorus, “Scream/Until your lungs give out/Don’t roll over and die/Shout/Until everything is said/Don’t give up…”  This positive message is coupled with an equally positive vibe in the song’s verses.  Westlin sings in the song’s lead verse, “Inhale/Let everything around go down/Find a moment of peace/React/The perfect storm is here right now/You are the center of its eye.”  Westlin’s message is relatively clear in this verse, especially considering the song’s chorus.  He is saying that we create the storm that surrounds us, and the way to survive that storm is to find our inner peace, to jet let everything out, not hold it in.  he even comes right out in the song’s second verse and states, “Exhale/Let matters fall right into place/Find a calm inside yourself.”  He goes on to say, “you are the center of the mass.”  Yet again, here we have a relatively clear statement of how we are the source and solution to all of our problems.  This is a positive message, from which plenty of listeners can and hopefully will take some enlightenment.  When it is coupled with that previously discussed musical arrangement, the whole is a song that is therapeutic in the best way possible, and yet another wonderful response to the negativity that is polluting the world right now.  It is far from the last example of the album’s clear ability to respond to the world’s current climate.  ‘Drown’ is yet another example of how well the band has responded to everything going on around the globe.

‘Drown’ is the penultimate addition to Bitter.  Musically, this song is another interesting composition.  The verses are once again up-tempo, guitar-drive, adrenaline-fueled sections.  The choruses however, are far more melodic.  What is interesting is that the song does not lose any of its energy in the choruses.  It just changes style, in turn, keeping the work moving forward.  The song’s bridge hints at some 80s influences through Andersson’s guitar work, which is not an entirely bad thing.  Of course, the song’s musical arrangement is just one part of what makes it stand out.  Its lyrical content leads it to stand out just as much as its musical content.

Westlin sings in the song’s lead verse, “Wish I could break the spell that binds us here/You know to each his own…Just go and do/As you please…It must be done my way/It must be done your way.  Some of his wording is difficult to decipher without a lyrics sheet to reference, but the seeming message becomes partially clear.  Later in the song’s nearly five-minute song, he goes on to sing, of looking back on a chain that has been broken and will not leave any marks.  This is just this critic’s own take, but it would seem that Westlin is speaking metaphorically here to address social control, with the chain being that control, broken.  That would explain Westlin’s earlier statement of “It must be done my way/It must be done your way.”  There is that problem of everyone wanting things in life their way, but we as a people do not have to let it be one person’s way or another, but rather our own way, regardless of what everyone else says.  We can respect others’ ways, but we do not have to live by those ways.  That goes back to the initial statement of “Wish I could break that spell that binds us here/You know to each his own.” It all seems to come together in a statement of not giving in to what everyone says one should do and be.  Again, this should not be taken as the only interpretation, but merely that of this critic.  Hopefully this critic is at least somewhere in the ballpark with that interpretation, as it would seem to be another response to the world’s negativity, as addressed by Westlin about the album’s overall theme.  When it is considered along with the seeming messages presented in ‘Scream,’ Cross’ and the rest of the album’s offerings, the whole of Bitter becomes a work in whole that will leave listeners anything but bitter.

Corroded’s latest full-length studio recording Bitter is a record that is certain to leave listeners feeling anything but bitter about the world after they listen from start to finish, to the 12-song record.  That is because of the messages presented in the songs, which come across as various responses to the world’s bitterness – responses that are in fact not overly bitter themselves.  That is evidenced early on in ‘Cross,’ which points the finger back at the finger pointers, and again later in the album’s run in ‘Scream,’ which seems to encourage people to get their negativity out (of course in a positive way), and even later seems to encourage people to embrace their personal identity, rather than give in to social control in ‘Drown.’  These are just some of the songs featured in this record that clearly address everything going on in the world.  The Type O Negative-esque ‘Black’ seems to address’ people’s self-imposed misery while the In Flames-styled ‘Breathing’ comes across as sending a message of not giving up even in the most dire situations.  The old-school metal style work that is ‘Testament’ is a defiant anthem that comes across as encouraging people to stand up for themselves against all odds.  Again, this is all this critic’s own interpretation.  Hopefully it is somewhere in the ballpark in each case, including that of the songs more directly discussed.  If indeed this critic’s interpretations are right, then again, this record proves that much more to be quite the successful offering from Corroded, and easily one of the year’s first great hard rock/metal records.  It is available now.  More information on Bitter is available online now along with all of Corroded’s latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://despotz.se

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/corrodedsweden

 

 

 

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Shout! Factory’s ‘Dirty Rotten Scoundrels’ Re-Issue Is Anything But Rotten

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/MGM

Later this spring, MGM Studios is going to release a not-so-new movie to theaters titled The Hustle.  The movie, which stars the trio of Rebel Wilson, Anne Hathaway and Alex Sharp, is nothing more than a re-imagining of the same studio’s timeless 1988 comedy Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, which saw the great Michael Caine and Steve Martin joined by Glenne Headly in the lead roles.  The Hustle just puts women in the lead in place of the two male leads in the previous movie, and modernizes the story.  Ironically, Hollywood’s latest re-imagining will come only months after Shout! Factory re-issued Dirty Rotten Scoundrels on Blu-ray.  The movie was re-issued this week as part of Shout! Factory’s Shout! Select series.  In an age when the problem of scammers and con artists seems to be at an all-time high around the world, this movie, which pokes fun at those hated criminal types is a welcome presentation.  That is proven in part collectively through the movie’s story, and the work of its cast.  The movie’s bonus content adds to its appeal in its new re-issue.  This will be discussed a little later.  The movie’s average price point plays into its appeal just as much as its overall content, and will also be discussed later.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels’ new re-issue.  All things considered, they make the movie’s re-issue one that fans of the movie will agree is anything but rotten.

Shout! Factory’s new re-issue of MGM’s timeless 1988 comedy Dirty Rotten Scoundrels is another welcome entry to the company’s Shout! Select movie series, which already boasts dozens of titles.  That statement is supported in part through the movie’s central story, which is for all intents and purposes, a buddy comedy that centers on the buddies – played by Steve Martin (Roxanne, The Jerk, L.A. Story) and Michael Caine (Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises) – spending most of the movie as competitors, trying to extract $50,000 from a woman they think is an unsuspecting victim.  While it is not ultimately until the end that the competitors become cohorts of sorts – not to give away too much story info – it can be easily argued that the pair in fact are “buddies” of sorts throughout.  Director Frank Oz even makes an allusion to this element in the movie’s bonus feature-length commentary, which will be discussed later.  The constant back and forth between Freddy (Martin) and Lawrence (Caine) in their competition creates plenty of comedy, and a type of comedy at that, which is rarely seen even in today’s buddy comedies.  The twist in the story’s finale adds to the story’s comedy even more, giving audiences one last laugh.  The one problem with the story’s final act is that it drags on maybe longer than it really needed to, and writer Dale Launer (who was just one member of the movie’s three-member writing) discusses the movie’s finale in the movie’s new bonus interview.  His discussion, which will be discussed at more length later, explains why the finale was so long.  Even with that pacing issue (and some other minor pacing issues throughout) in mind, the story still manages to keep audiences engaged and entertained throughout.

In direct connection to the story, the work of Martin, Caine and fellow co-star Glenne Headly does plenty to keep audiences entertained and engaged in the story.  The constant back and forth between Caine and Martin creates a sense that the men must have gotten along well off-camera as well as in front of the lens.  The friendly competition between the men is that believable.  That is especially the case considering the certain reserved nature of each character as he responds to the other.  It leaves audiences wondering in the best way possible how each man will react to the other.  The simplest comparison that can perhaps be made is to the back and forth between Foghorn Leghorn and his canine companion in those famous Looney Tunes shorts.  Headley’s work as Janet is just as impressive, as she is fully believable as the standard love interest.  It leaves that ultimate revelation in the final act that much more enjoyable, again not to give away too much.  This is another item that Oz discusses in his commentary and will also be addressed later.  Between Headley’s performance and that of Martin and Caine, the trio puts on a performance in this movie that is something rarely seen in any buddy comedy before or after.  When it is coupled with the movie’s story, the result is a presentation whose primary content is more than enough reason for audiences to take in this movie.  It is just part of the proof of the movie’s success.  The bonus content featured in the movie’s new re-issue makes the re-issue in whole even more of a success.

The bonus content presented in Shout! Factory’s new re-issue of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels adds even more enjoyment to the movie because of the background information and extra tidbits that are offered through said content.  As previously noted, Dale Launer, one member of the movie’s three-person writing team — that also included Stanley Shapiro (who also wrote Bedtime Story, the inspiration for Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and apparently The Hustle) and Paul Henning – is featured in an interview that is new to this re-issue.  He talks about a variety of topics related to the movie, not the least of which being the movie’s previously noted finale.  He mentions that a variety of ideas were developed for the story’s final act, including one that he notes raised concerns about potential racist portrayals by the cast.  Thankfully, that idea ended up on the proverbial cutting room floor.  He also discusses how issues of copyrights played into the movie’s birth, as well as its tie to the 1964 movie Bedtime Story.  Launer openly admits that Dirty Rotten Scoundrels is a re-imagining of Bedtime Story, adding that the latter movie was birthed because there was a belief that there was room for improvement on the prior.  Interestingly enough, he makes no mention of the forthcoming movie The Hustle, showing that he likely conducted the interview before The Hustle (which is just a female fronted re-imagining of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels) had been proposed.  Other interesting topics that he raises involve revelations of certain well-known figures who were considered for the movie before Caine and Martin.  Hint, two of those stars are famed rock stars.  Another is a very highly revered actor, who has starred in some of Hollywood’s biggest movies.  He also reveals that while Frank Oz helmed the movie, he was in fact not the first choice for its director.  Another figure was chosen first, and circumstances led to him helming the movie.  How he came to helm the movie will be left for audiences to discover for themselves.

Speaking of Frank Oz, the movie’s new re-issue features a full audio-commentary from Oz as another of the movie’s bonuses.  Oz discusses just as many items throughout the commentary as Launer in his interview.  One of the most interesting notes that Oz shares in his commentary is the revelation that Steve Martin did a bit of ad libbing throughout the movie, including in the jail cell scene.  He additionally notes that the scene in which Martin, playing Lawrence’s “brother” Ruprecht, ass to go to the bathroom was not originally part of the script.  He notes that this moment was part of Martin’s early comedy bits, and that it was added to the script after Martin suggested its inclusion in said scene.  In a similar note, Oz, who notes his joy at watching the movie again, also talks about the joy of creating the scene in which “Ruprecht” was first introduced.  He laughs as he recalls the riotously comedic scene and how it came to be.  On a side note, Launer also addresses the scene in his interview, adding even more insight into that moment.  As if these discussions are not enough, Oz also highlights the now famous scene in which Lawrence “whips” Freddy, stating prosthetic shins were used for Martin, so that he would not get hurt.  He adds Martin’s tears in that sequence’s finale were actually fake, and that the rest of the crew was actually laughing so hard behind the scenes, that they were crying.  He goes on to note in the final act, to note the ability of all involved to keep many audiences from realizing the reality about Janet, and how proud he and the rest of the cast and crew were for that.  It is another testament to the time and effort put into the movie’s story and even the acting.  Between these discussions and plenty of others presented by Oz throughout his commentary, audiences get plenty of insight and entertainment.  The same can be said of the commentary from Launer.  Between the two commentaries, the two bonuses more than prove themselves just as important to the movie’s presentation in its new re-issue as the movie’s primary content, proving even more, why this re-issue is another welcome addition to Shout! Factory’s Shout! Select series.  Keeping in mind the overall content and its proven value, it becomes clear that they collectively do plenty to the positive for this movie in its new re-issue.  They are just some of the movie’s positives.  The movie’s average price point in its new re-issue is another positive to note.

The average price point of Shout! Factory’s new Dirty Rotten Scoundrels re-issue – using prices from Shout! Factory’s store, Amazon, Walmart and Barnes & Noble Booksellers – the re-issue’s average price point comes to $27.48.  It was not listed at Target, Books-A-Million, Target or Best Buy.  Considering that the various outlets list the movie at roughly $26 to $27 (the prices are separated by a matter of just cents), that average price point is right about on par with the listed prices.  Add in the noted primary and secondary content presented throughout the Blu-ray and the equally unnoted content that is also there, the movie’s price is a little high, yes, but it is money well-spent.  Audiences are paying for roughly two-and-a-half hours of entertainment, if not more than that, between the movie’s primary content and its bonus material.  Audiences should take into account that the movie’s previous re-issues lack the new interview with Launer, and some do not even have the feature-length commentary with Frank Oz.  Keeping that in mind, while they might be less expensive than this release, but they also lack that noted entertaining and enlightening bonus content.  To that end, the price is – again – a little high, but it is money well-spent considering all of the content, and its comparison to the prices from stores where listed puts it right on par with those prices.  Keeping all of this in mind, Shout! Factory’s new re-issue of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels proves to be another successful entry to the company’s Shout! Select series.

Shout! Factory’s new re-issue of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels is a successful new addition to the company’s ever-growing Shout! Select series.  That is proven in part through the movie’s story, and by relation, the work of its lead cast.  The bonus content included with the movie’s presentation gives audiences even more to appreciate, as it adds plenty of entertainment value and insight into the movie.  The movie’s average price point, while not inexpensive, is still money well-spent considering everything noted here.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels’ new re-issue.  All things considered, they make this movie anything but rotten in its re-issue.  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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Disney’s ‘Nutcracker’ Adaptation Fails To Live Up To The Legacy Of Its Source Material

Courtesy: Walt Disney Studios

More than two centuries ago, famed composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky first premiered his now beloved musical work, “The Nutcracker.” In the almost 220 years since it first premiered, it has been adapted into the famed ballet “The Nutcracker Suite” and countless other adaptations on the big and small screen.  Some have been okay while others, not quite so.  Walt Disney Studios’ latest adaptation — The Nutcracker and the Four Realms ­— premiered in theaters nationwide late last year and will be released on DVD and Blu-ray on Tuesday.  The roughly 90-minute update, which also incorporates elements of author E.T.A. Hoffman’s short story The Nutcracker and the Mouse King is one of the more forgettable takes on the timeless tale of The Nutcracker, even in its home release.  The one real positive to this movie is the pacing in its story.  This will be discussed shortly.  While the movie’s pacing makes it at least bearable, the positives end there.  The movie’s story and its look collectively do a lot to detract from the movie’s presentation.  They will be discussed a little bit later.  The bonus content included in the movie’s upcoming home release can be considered a positive, but it is also a negative to a certain point in itself.  It will also be addressed later.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of The Nutcracker and the Four Realms.  All things considered, they make this presentation worth at least one watch, but sadly not much more than that.

Walt Disney Studios’ adaptation of author E.T.A. Hoffman’s short story The Nutcracker and the Mouse King and composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s beloved composition that is The Nutcracker is one of the least memorable takes on the noted works.  It is worth at least one watch, but sadly not much more than that.  One of the movie’s saving graces is its pacing.  Not counting end credits, the movie clocks in at approximately 90 minutes, and from start to finish, that run time moves along at a relatively stable speed.  Audiences are never left behind nor are they ever left feeling at any point like the movie is dragging.  That is a boon for the movie’s presentation, as it does a lot to ensure viewers’ maintained engagement from start to finish.  The movie’s creative heads should be thankful for that insurance, considering that audiences will, sadly, be able to get out of the movie faster than slower, especially considering how little the story has to offer them.

Speaking of the movie’s story, this is where The Nutcracker and the Four Realms ultimately fails.  This adaptation of Hoffman’s classic tale is a pale shadow of Hoffman’s work, and is formulaic to say the absolute least.  It attempts to make up for that approach by incorporating classic Disney elements – throwbacks to Fantasia and the equally disappointing Babes in Toyland are thrown in – in an effort to play to older audiences’ nostalgic tendencies.  Adding to the problems, it doesn’t take long for audiences to realize who is the realms’ real villain.  One key scene reveals the truth very quickly and blatantly.  As if all of this is not enough, the schmaltzy message of finding one’s strength within one’s own self and the whole coming-of-age theme at the very heart of it all, creates a story that is anything but original or even memorable for that matter.

While the story exhibits plenty of problems, it would be unfair to ignore the positives that it exhibits alongside those problematic elements.  The presentation of a young female lead who is quite smart, and is driven towards S.T.E.M.-related items is something which audiences (specifically female audiences) will appreciate considering the country’s current gender climate.  Having a strong African-American male as the co-lead opposite the intelligent, driven white female will do just as much to make the story appealing to audiences.  The use of these elements goes a long way toward making the movie bearable along with its pacing, even considering all of the other problems presented by the story.  This is just one more way in which the movie makes itself worth at least one watch.  The work of the movie’s costume department – at least in regards to star Keira Knightley – is another positive worth noting.

Knightley is nearly unrecognizable, thanks to the work of the movie’s costume and makeup department.  Comparing her look as the Sugar Plum Fairy here to her turn as Elizabeth in Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, one would not even realize it was her playing the fairy if one did not know it was her playing the role.  That is a credit, again, to the noted departments’ work.

While the work of the noted departments on Knightley’s look in this movie is to be highly commended, the rest of the movie’s look is another problem.  Those who are familiar with Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, its Alice in Wonderland adaptations and its take on Oz The Great and Powerful will find quite a striking similarity in the look of this movie to those works.  As a matter of fact, the costumes – which are part of the look – could just as easily be likened to those of Disney’s take on A Wrinkle in Time.  On a side note, that movie was quite a disappointment, too, for many reasons.  This is important to note because that close similarity creates a feel that little effort was taken to try to give Clara her own world.  Clara’s dress and hairstyle strengthen that argument even more.  A close look reveals  Clara’s blu-ish dress to look quite similar to that worn in Disney’s recent update on Cinderella and even the look of Alice’s dress in Disney’s take of Alice in Wonderland.  The blatant near mirror-image of this look to so many of Disney’s other movies – save for Knightley’s look – does little to nothing to enhance the movie’s presentation.

Staying on the item of the movie’s look, the bonus featurette “Unwrapping The Nutcracker and the Four Realms” will generate at least a little bit of appreciation for the time and effort put into the live action/CG world that is that of the Four Realms.  The thing is, considering all of that time and effort, the only real standout element other than that of Knightley’s look is the set used for famed ballerina Misty Copeland’s presentation.  This featurette will at least create appreciation for the work put into that element.  Other than that, it does little else to the positive.

Adding to the problems for the movie’s bonus content is that it is featured only on the Blu-ray disc of the DVD/BD/Digital combo pack.  One cannot help but wonder why exactly Disney would go this route if the movie is presented the same way on all three platforms.  Why not just feature the same bonus material on all three platforms instead of just the one?  This leaves one scratching one’s head.

When one takes into consideration the positives presented by The Nutcracker and the Four Realms and its negatives, the end result proves to be a presentation that leaves audiences wanting so much more, and not in a good way, either.  The story is anything but original or memorable.  The movie’s look lifts liberally from that of so many previous Disney live action/CG hybrid flicks, presenting the image of a severe lack in original and effort in creating the movie’s world.  The largely lacking bonus content, which for whatever reason is presented only on the combo pack’s Blu-ray detracts from the movie’s home presentation even more.  Ultimately, these negatives, along with its very limited positives, make The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, the movie in whole proves to be a movie that is worth at least one watch, but likely will not prove to be among the pantheon of the most memorable Christmas movies.  The Nutcracker and the Four Realms will be available in stores Tuesday.  More information on this and other titles from Walt Disney Studios is available online now at:

 

 

 

Website: http://movies.disney.com/the-nutcracker-and-the-four-realms

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/thenutcracker

 

 

 

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‘NOVA: Last B-24’ Succeeds In Its Mission To Entertain, Engage Audiences

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Distribution

American audiences love drama.  A single run through any TV carrier’s lineup provides solid proof of that statement.  From Scandal to New Amsterdam to Criminal Minds to Empire to Black Mirror and more, drama is big business.  The thing is that none of the dramas noted here nor their unmentioned counterparts are real.  They are fiction.  The drama that has come from World War II however, is real, and none of the scripted garbage that is churned out by the TV (including streaming TV) companies can or ever will compare to the very real drama in the stories of World War II.  Early next month, PBS Distribution will present a trio of WWII-era stories full of drama on DVD in another new episode of its hit science-based series NOVA in the form of NOVA: Last B-24.  Set for release on Feb. 5, the episode follows the efforts of the U.S. Department of Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency to locate and return the remains of servicemen lost during the Earth’s most horrible conflict.  That story creates more than enough drama to keep any viewer engaged and entertained, and will be discussed shortly.  Keeping in mind the bigger picture of the DVD’s story, its title is its only downside.  This will be discussed a little later.  The DVD’s average price point is another positive worth noting, and rounds out its most important elements.  It will be addressed later, too.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of NOVA: Last B-24.  All things considered, they make the DVD a presentation that will appeal to history and military history buffs just as much as students and lovers of forensic science and even anthropology and marine archaeology.  Simply put, it is a program that will appeal to a wide range of audiences.

PBS Distribution’s forthcoming home release of NOVA: Last B-24 is a strong new offering from the long-running series that is certain to appeal to a wide range of audiences.  That statement is supported in no small part through the story at the center of the episode.  The story itself follows that U.S. Department of Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency as it efforts to find, identify and return the remains of American airmen lost during the WWII from points around the globe.  The main search is for the remains of three airmen killed in the crash of a B-24 in the Adriatic Sea.  The plane, which was the last to roll off the line at a plant in Alabama – and was owned by the factory’s workers – crashed just shy of a runway for which its 10-man crew was aiming.  Seven of the crew survived, but those three died in the crash.  The story ties in the search for remains of one of the famed “Red Tail” pilots and for the remains of another airman believed to be entombed in a B-17 that crashed near the site of the Tulsamerican in order to present the bigger story of the DOD POW/MIA Accounting Agency’s efforts to honor the military’s mantra of “no man left behind.”  That is really the bigger story here, not just that of the search for the remains of the lost Tulsamerican crew members, but of the military’s unending efforts to find every American service member, and return said service members home.  To that end, that overarching story of the military’s attempts to not leave even one person behind makes for a story that will appeal to plenty of viewers.  Staying on that train of thought that leads to the realization that the episode’s title is its only real negative.

The episode’s title is a con because considering the episode’s overarching story, the story is not necessarily about the research at the Tulsamerica’s crash site.  Rather, the story is – again – about the unending efforts by the U.S. government and military to bring home the remains of every single possible service member who has been lost overseas in America’s many military conflicts.  Maybe it could have been titled after the military’s mantra, No One Left Behind or something along those lines, but a close watch of the episode shows that Last B-24 is somewhat misleading and not necessarily accurate in relation to the episode’s overall content.  No one is perfect and mistakes happen.  What’s more, it is rare for PBS’ programs to be improperly titled.  That is not to say that it does not happen, but such an instance is not common enough to justify any major criticism.  To that end, the program’s title is a con, but it is hardly enough to ruin the presentation.  Now, keeping this in mind, there is at least one more positive to note in the overall presentation of NOVA: Last B-24, its average price point.

The average price point of NOVA: Last B-24 is $18.94.  That price point is reached by averaging prices from PBS’ store, Target, Best Buy, Walmart, Books-A-Million, Barnes & Noble Booksellers and Amazon.  The most expensive listing is at Books-A-Million, which lists the DVD at $24.99.  Given, PBS also lists it at normal price of $24.99, but currently, it can be pre-ordered from PBS’ online store at a reduced price of $19.99.  To that end, that still makes Books-A-Million’s price the most expensive listing.  An average price of less than $20 set against a standard price listing of $24.99 is a price that audiences will agree is relatively affordable.   What’s more, the in-depth explanations of how scientists determine the identity of those lost through research of the discovered remains makes that price even more worth paying.  The same can be said of the very exhibited efforts of the military to bring home its service members.  Between that and the efforts to undeniably identify each set of remains, audiences get a presentation here that is more engaging and entertaining than any of the forensic crime dramas that currently pollute America’s airwaves.  In turn, it once again makes that average price point of less than $20 money well-spent.

NOVA: Last B-24 is just one of a handful of new episodes of NOVA to be scheduled for release early next month.  It is also one of this year’s first great new documentaries, even despite being slightly mis-titled.  The story at the center of this episode shows the U.S. military’s unending efforts to make sure no one is left behind, while also showing the extensive processes that are undertaken to ensure that no one is ever left behind.  The DVD’s average price point is hardly a bank-breaker, and considering the depth and breadth of the program’s story, that price is such that audiences will agree it is money well-spent.  Keeping all of this in mind, NOVA: Last B-24 proves to be a presentation that a wide variety of viewers will welcome in their home DVD libraries.  It will be available on DVD on Feb. 5.  More information on this and other episodes of NOVA is available online now at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/novapbs

 

 

 

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Overkill Continues “Welcome To The Garden State” Docu-Series With New Video

Courtesy: Nuclear Blast Records

Overkill has released another video in its ongoing “Welcome to the Garden State” docu-series.

The latest video in the series, which is being used to promote the band’s forthcoming album The Wings of War, finds the band this time, discussing the difference between the West Coast sound and the East Coast sound.

Front man Bobby Blitz explained in a recent interview.

“This healthy competition, it wasn’t something that had roots,” Blitz said.  “It was pretty f****** new.  That was the beauty of it.  You couldn’t even steal something from someone else.  It was still being created simultaneous while it was being created in Germany, UK and South America.   As time has gone by, it has become a formula, but back then, it was just, ‘this sounds good’ and it was the same recipe that made it sound good.  So that was the cool camaraderie that we all kinda knew where the other one came from by looking them in the eyes.  They didn’t need to say anything.  You just knew.”

Overkill’s new discussion is just the latest from the band in the series.  The series’ first video, streaming here, features Overkill’s members talking about the band’s name and how it came together.  Its second video features the band members their own early influences and Overkill’s place in the industry.

The band debuted the video for the song ‘Head of a Pin‘ on Friday.  The song is taken from the band’s forthcoming album The Wings of War.  Front man Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth said in an interview, that this song took some time to go from concept to creation.

“‘Head of a Pin’ took a long time to come together,” Ellsworth said.  “It is probably the tune that went through the most changes, and the last one I finished.  Looking back on its development, the time invested was well worth it.  the tonality of the guitar shines on it, and the song goes “other places,” traditional with a touch of the down-low-dirty riff, and a sing-along chorus…personally one of my favorites of The Wings of War.”

The video’s premiere comes more than a month after the band debuted the album’s lead single ‘Last Man Standing‘ and less than a month after the band debuted the first two videos in its new ‘Welcome To The Garden State’ documentary series.

The Wings of War will be available on a variety of platforms, all of which are noted below.  Pre-orders for The Wings of War are open now.

The Wings Of War will be available for purchase in the following formats:

  • CD Digipak
  • CD Digi + T-Shirt + Poster Bundle
  • Green Cassette
  • Grey Vinyl (limited to 1,500)
  • Green with Yellow Splatter vinyl (limited to 500)
Please note that imported items will ship

The full track listing for The Wings of War is noted below.

Below is the track listing for The Wings Of War
1              Last Man Standing
2              Believe In The Fight
3              Head Of A Pin
4              Bat Shit Crazy
5              Distortion
6              A Mother’s Prayer
7              Welcome To The Garden State
8              Where Few Dare To Walk
9              Out On The Road-Kill
10           Hole In My Soul

More information on The Wings of War is available online now along with all of Overkill’s latest news and more at:

 

Websitehttp://www.wreckingcrew.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/OverkilLWreckingCrew

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/OverkillBand

 

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Bravo Delta Unveils Debut EP’s Lead Single; Announces Live Dates

Courtesy: Bravo Delta Music/O’Donnell Music Group

Hard rock band Bravo Delta will release its debut album next month, and in anticipation, has debuted the video for the album’s lead single.

The band debuted the video for its new single ‘Unbreakable‘ on Jan. 13. The song is the title song from the upcoming record, which is due out Feb. 1.  The album’s track listing is noted below.

Track Listing:
1. Unbreakable
2. Fire
3. Numbers
4. Dark Room
5. Sleepless Dream
6. Karma
7. Virus
8. Modus Operandi
9. Lost at Sea V.1
10. Lost as Sea V.2
11. Insignificant
12. Dreamless Sleep
13. Knights of Desire

The video presents the band performing its single in a dimly lit warehouse setting through a variety of fast-paced camera shots.  The song is streaming by itself now via Spotify.

Front man Brandon Davis explained the lyrical concept behind ‘Unbreakable,’ saying it centers on self-determination.

“This new album and single is three years in the making, and features the best material that we’ve ever created,” Davis said.  “Being broken, disconnect, kicked to the ground…and still having the will to get up, fight and learn from it is the spirit of ‘Unbreakable,’  And I think you can feel that in the music, the artwork and everything about this new album.”

Unbreakable is Bravo Delta’s third overall studio recording.  The band released its debut EP Sunset Wasteland in 2012.  That record was followed up the next year by Shutdown Sequence.

Bravo Delta has a handful of live performances scheduled in support of Unbreakable that features appearances at the National Association of Music Merchants’ annual winter conference on Jan. 25, Feb. 9 in Las Vegas, NV and Happens Rock Radio Convention on Feb. 20-22.  The band’s tour schedule is noted below.

Upcoming Bravo Delta Appearances/Shows:

NAMM – Jan 25th-27th

Vegas Music Summit Showcase – Jan 31st

92.3 KOMP Radio In-Studio Appearance – Feb 3rd

Album Release Party in Las Vegas @ Vamp’d Rock Bar – Feb 9th

Happens Rock Radio Convention – Feb 20th-22nd

More information on Bravo Delta is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:

 

Website: http://www.bravodeltamusic.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/bravodeltamusic

 

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