Dark Station Debuts ‘Heroes’ Video

Courtesy: O’Donnell Media Group

Independent emo outfit Dark Station debuted the video for its new single Friday.

The band debuted the video for the song ‘Heroes,’ which is featured on the band’s debut album Down in the Dark.  Directed by Ezra Bader, the video finds the band’s members — Nathan Spades (vocals), Kyle Ort (guitar), David Bruno (guitar), Eric Sinful (bass) and Dylan Roy (drums) — performing for an audience like a group of puppets connected to strings.

Throughout the performance a large, demonic figure laughs, pointing at people in the audience who raise their fingers as if they are bidding on the band.

Ort talked about working with Bader in a statement featured in a news release about the video’s debut.

“This was our first time working with Ezra Bader for the ‘Heroes’ video,” Ort said.  “We weren’t sure how it would turn out, but he was able to bring our vision to life and create something that all of us are extremely proud of.”

Ort added ‘Heroes’ was among the first songs that the band crafted for Down in the Dark.

“I was really happy with how the instrumentals turned out, and once the vocals were laid down, I knew we had something special,” Ort said.

More information on Dark Station’s new video and more is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:

 

Website: http://www.darkstationband.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/darkstationband

 

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.

 

Colt 48 Signs Co-Management Deal With FM Management, Hard Impact Artist Management

Courtesy: Colt 48

FM Management and Hard Impact Artist Management have added another act to their rosters.

The companies announced through a news release sent Wednesday that they have come to terms with hard rock band Colt48.  The London-based duo originally formed in 2017 and released its third EP Negatives on March 29.  The record, which was co-produced by Colin Richardson (Machine Head, Slipknot, Trivium) and Chris Clancy (Mutiny Within, Wearing Scars), was preceded by two other EPs, I and II.

Hard Impact Artist Management Co-Founder Maurizio Iacono (who is also a former member of famed hard rock band Kataklysm) talked about hearing Negatives in a brief statement, noting the EP had an immediate impact on him.

“Colt48 landed on my desk via newnowned UK producers Chris Clancy and Colin Richardson,” Iacono said.  “the moment i listened to their music, I was immediately hooked by the catchy riffs and vocal harmonies.  I’m excited to begin work with Colt48 alongside our partners at FM Management. Good vibes all around.”

The band debuted the the latest single from Negatives, ‘Out Of Habit‘ on March 22.  Its debut came a little more than a month after the band debuted the video for the EP’s lead single, ‘Disconnected.’  Both songs’ arrangements will appeal to fans of Breaking Benjamin, while the songs’ lyrical themes will have a wider appeal.

The act’s members — Adam Jerome (vocals, guitar) and Matt Savini (programming, drums) — were upbeat as they talked in the news release, about joining both companies’ rosters.

“Colt48 are super excited to be working alongside FMM and Hard Impact!,” the pair said in the statement.  “We’re a fan of how they work and the artists on their rosters, and are looking forward to taking Colt48 to a truly worldwide audience.”

FM Management Manager/Partner Dino Kourelis was just as upbeat as the members of Colt48 in talking about the band’s addition to the company’s artist roster in a statement released through a separate statement.

“We are excited to partner with good friends Hard Impact again to help Colt48 continue to grow and become an international force,” Kourelis said.  “At first listen, we knew there was something special about Colt48.  Their unique, contemporary, melodic sound will be a breath of fresh air in the rock world.”

More information on Colt48 is available online now at:

Website: http://www.colt48.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/colt48rock

Twitter: http://twitter.com/colt48rock

 

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STAH’s Fifth Full-Length LP Will Appeal To The Band’s Most Devoted Fans

Courtesy: Despotz Records

Satan Takes A Holiday returned this spring with its fifth full-length studio recording.  The album, A New Sensation is an interesting new effort from the Swedish rock band.  Once again the band has produced a record with very distinct neo-classic rock sounds that can easily be likened to music from the likes of Royal Blood, Queens of the Stone Age and Horisont just to name a few similar acts.  The album’s lyrical content presents just as much to interest listeners.  As a news release stated of the album’s lyrical themes, “A New Sensation deals primarily with the shock of the new.  Old and new power structures, old and new angers, old and new fears, old and new men – all being challenged, questioned and made fun of.”  The combination of those elements is certain to appeal to the band’s most devoted fan base.  ‘Unicorn,’ which comes early in the album’s run, is one of sings featured in the record that serves to support that statement. It will be discussed shortly.  ‘Kingslayer,’ which comes later in the album’s sequencing, is another of the album’s featured songs that serves to support the noted statements.  It will be discussed a little later.  ‘Blow,’ which closes out the album, is one more example of what makes the album appealing for the band’s most devoted fans.  When it is considered along with the previously noted songs and the rest of the album’s entries, the whole of A New Sensation becomes a work that the band’s fans will welcome as much as the band’s previous works.

Satan Takes A Holiday’s latest full-length studio recording is a work that will appeal to the band’s most devoted fans just as much as the trio’s past albums.  It presents a familiar sound and a little bit of something new for listeners in its musical arrangements along with lyrical themes that are sure to get people talking.  ‘Unicorn,’ which comes early in the album’s run, is just one of the song’s that illustrates those statements.  The song’s arrangement is very much akin to the songs composed by the members of Royal Blood, with its fuzzed, garage rock sound.  Honestly, if listeners were to hear this arrangement without knowing it was Satan Takes A Holiday, said audiences would think this was Royal Blood.  Whether that is good or bad is left to one’s own decision.  That aside, it is certain to keep listeners engaged.  The song’s lyrical content is just as certain to keep listeners engaged as its musical content.

Front man Fred Burman sings in the song’s lead verse, “I got in trouble/Turned 17/Inside my bubble/I want to be/You had a stern tone of voice/Making so much noise/I feel still/The breaking of will/Now 25/Oh can’t you see/So full of answers/So full of dreams/You got to give ‘fore you get/While I’m hedging all my bets/Maybe a writer/Maybe a unicorn/They gonna give it to ya/Hey, Mr. Bossman can’t you see/A shining diamond from the day I was born/You need to be real good to me.”  He continues in the song’s second verse, “Now old and seasoned/Indie vampire/All sense of reason/Into the fire/Your win is my kind of loss/So nail me to the cross.” This is an interesting statement from Burman.  On the one hand, it comes across as a coming-of-age tale of sorts, telling a story of someone who has changed from one age to another.  As a result of those changes, that person has had a changed view of life.  On another hand, it could easily be something completely different, and the earlier interpretation could very well be incorrect.  Hopefully it is somewhere in the proverbial ballpark.  Regardless of right or wrong, such writing style is certain to generate its own share of interest and discussion.  When this is considered along with the song’s familiar musical styling, the song in whole becomes a work that is just one example of why the band’s most devoted fans will enjoy this record.  It is just one example of what makes the album appealing to that noted fan base.  ‘Kingslayer,’ which comes late in the album’s run is another addition to the album that is certain to appeal to the band’s fans.

The steady, keyboard and heavy bass-driven arrangement at the heart of the song instantly makes the arrangement infectious.  Again, the Royal Blood likeness is there, but it’s not the only influence that is evident.  Listeners could also make a comparison here to songs from Muse just as much as Royal Blood.  To that end, the song’s brooding sound and steady time keeping builds a strong foundation for its overall presentation.  It is just one part of what makes the song appealing.  The song’s lyrical content adds its own share of interest to the song.

Burman sings in the song’s lead verse, “Take care/I’m a wanted man/Cold sare/An open hand/Follow me/Follow me/I know you can/Don’t sleep/It’s a devil’s night/Keep it simple/Keep it tight/Follow me/Follow me tonight.”  He continues in the song’s second verse, “Felt something/Felt it right/Blood running/Pink lights/Follow it/Follow it/All your might/Deep colors/A siren sound/Hold it harder/Hold it down/Swallow me/Swallow me/Alright.”  Again, the story behind this song is certain to generate its own share of discussion among listeners.  Even this critic is left curious to know the story here.  The metaphorical language in this case is that cryptic.  Considering the discussion that this song is sure to generate through this lyrical content and the song’s infectious musical arrangement, the end result is yet another example of why A New Sensation will appeal to STAH’s fans.  It still is not the last of the album’s most notable entries.  ‘Blow,’ the album’s finale, is one more example of what makes the album so appealing to the band’s most devoted fans.

‘Blow’ stands out in part because of its musical arrangement.  Whereas so many of the arrangements presented throughout A New Sensation can so easily be likened to works from the likes of Royal Blood, Queens of the Stone Age, etc. this song’s musical arrangement is more of a full-on punk arrangement that harkens back to the grungy stylings of The Sex Pistols.  That alone gives listeners plenty of reason to listen to this song.  It is just one part of what makes the song interesting.  The song’s lyrical content is even more certain to get listeners talking.

Burman sings in the song’s lead verse, “Think you s*** smells sweeter than most?/A real cold fish on the wrong damn coast/I locate things from time to time/Pharmaceutical west coast grime/All worked up and I’m ready to go/Make you kings of the rock ‘n’ roll show/All worked up/Are you ready to go/Medicate away your low/You want blow?/Here we go/One, two, three, four.”  He continues in the song’s second verse, “Me and my friends will sort you out/Rocks, bump, snow, dust, give us a shout/Make you queen/I’ll make you king/Make you feel every single thing/All worked up and I’m ready to go/C*** in hand and a sharp elbow/All worked up/Are you ready to go/Medicate away your low.”  The immediate assumption here is that this is addressing the issues of drug abuse.  Of course that is just from looking at the lyrics on the surface.  In trying to decipher what these lyrics may or may not mean on a deeper level, the song’s real interpretation is left for the band to discuss.  Again, the fact that it is certain to generate plenty of discussion and interpretation in itself makes for plenty of interest.  That, along with the song’s enjoyable old school punk rock arrangement, creates a presentation in the song that makes this song stand out even more.  When the interest generated by this song is considered along with the interest generated by ‘Unicorn,’ ‘Kingslayer’ and the rest of the album’s entries, the album in whole shows without doubt why fans of Satan Takes A Holiday will appreciate this latest offering from the band.

Satan Takes A Holiday’s latest full-length studio recording is another offering from the band that its most devoted fans will appreciate.  That is due to the record’s collective musical arrangements and its lyrical themes, which themselves are certain to generate plenty of discussion among the noted audiences.  That is proven through all three of the songs featured in this review.  When they are considered along with the overall content of the rest of the album’s songs, the whole of A New Sensation proves to maybe not be so new, but still a sensation for fans nonetheless.  A New Sensation is available now.  More information on the album is available online now along with all of Satan Takes A Holiday’s latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.satantakesaholiday.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/SatanTAHoliday

 

 

 

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‘Empath’ Is Another Solid Display Of Townsend’s Musical Genius

Courtesy: InsideOut Music

Devin Townsend is a mad musical scientist in the best possible way. Next to Nine Inch Nails founder and front man Trent Reznor, Townsend is one of the most innovative and creative minds in the musical industry today, and his new album Empath proves that once again without a doubt. It is a record whose depth crosses musical and lyrical bounds from beginning to end. Each song is completely unlike the others, at some points sounding like something that belongs on a grand movie soundtrack, such as in ‘Requiem’ and at others like something that belongs in a stage musical, such as with ‘Why.’  At yet another point, it presents a sound that it just uniquely Devin Townsend, as with ‘Castaway/Genesis’.  These three songs are just a few examples of the genius that is on display once again from Devin Townsend on his latest album.  When they are considrered alongside the rest of the album’s works, the album in whole becomes a work that is without doubt, one of this year’s top new hard rock albums and best albums overall.

Devin Townsend’s latest solo recording Empath is one of this year’s most powerful – both musically and lyrically – albums.  It is a work that clearly displays Townsend’s musical genius from beginning to end, with works that are as diverse from one another as they are from anything that Townsend has ever crafted.  One of the most notable of this record’s works is the soaring instrumental work ‘Requiem.’  By definition, a requiem is a musical work performed for the dead.  In many cases, such works are vey somber and melancholy.  Yet here, the arrangement comes across as something filled more with wonder and awe.  The combined choral element and orchestral instrumentation makes the song sound more like it belongs on a science fiction movie, such as E.T. or Star Trek than maybe the full on drama that is Amadeus.  At the same time, knowing the overarching vibe of Empath both musically and lyrically, one can assume that maybe, what Townsend was trying to present here was a song that was more celebratory of a person’s life than something more morose.  All of the songs featured in this record present a theme of an empath, someone who experiences the emotions of others.  Listening to the choral element, there is a certain positive feeling.  That coupled with the more playful, orchestral element leaves one considering that maybe, just maybe this is what Townsend was trying to present – a remembrance, but not in negative fashion, but in positive fashion; people celebrating someone instead of mourning that individual.  This is of course all speculative and could be completely off the mark.  It is just this critic’s own take on the arrangement.  That aside, what Townsend has crafted in this two-minute, 47-second song is a work that once again puts on display a level of talent in terms of composing, that is above and beyond so many of today’s mainstream composers.  Listening to this work, it honestly makes one wonder what a partnership between Townsend and famed composer John Williams would produce. Moving on, ‘Requiem’ is just one of the songs that shows what makes Empath another powerful addition to Devin Townsend’s catalog.  ‘Why’ is another example of what makes this record so impressive.

‘Why’ stands out in part because of its arrangement.  The song’s arrangement this time, comes across as a composition that sounds and feels as if it belongs on a major Broadway stage score.  That sense is established right from the song’s outset, which features a strongly accented string arrangement alongside Townsend’s wonderfully controlled operatic style singing.  The addition of the castanets and cymbals adds even more to that sense. One can almost see the various camera angles, fog machines and lighting that would go along with this moment.  That is how much this song feels like it belongs as part of a major Broadway musical.  The song’s lyrical content adds even more to that sense.

Townsend sings in the song’s lead verse, “Darling, are you feeling alright?/And all our friends are/All our friends are watching us/I wanna go home/But why run away/Why?, Why? Why?”  He continues in the song’s second verse, “Darling, are you seeing inside?/The wolves are alive/And all our faith is/All our faith is wrong.”  The second subject responds, screaming, “LET ME GO HOME!” before the lead asks again, “But why run away/Why? Why? Why?”  This call and response, with the seemingly existential discussion, makes for quite the interesting presentation.  That is, again, especially interesting considering how it adds to that feel of a scene from a stage play.  Taking such a musical and lyrical approach is original and creative to say the very least.  That creativity makes the song stand out quite strongly.  In turn, it serves to show even more why this album stands out as one of this year’s top new albums.  It is not the last of the songs that serves that purpose, either.  The combination that is ‘Castaway’/ ‘Genesis’ does just as much to make the album stand out as the other songs noted here and the rest of the record’s works.

‘Castaway’/ ‘Genesis’ stands out collectively in part because of its arrangement.  This song’s overall arrangement shows great time and thought was put into its completion.  The arrangement’s heavier moments are expertly balanced with its lighter moments, ensuring listeners’ engagement and entertainment throughout the song.  There are heavy, death metal style moments contrasted by much lighter, more ethereal moments.  Those moments are, at times, contrasted by more progressive moments and even some far deeper moments.  The whole becomes an arrangement that shows Townsend’s ability to break the bounds and expectations set by critics and listeners alike, and succeed very well in the process.  It makes the arrangement in itself its own success and just one part of what makes the song stand out.  The song’s lyrical content creates its own interest.

Townsend reminds listeners at one point in the song, “All the world is in this together/Feel no fear/We’re fearless together…because you’re so in love with this island of the mind/know that this island is home/You’ve got to get on your feet again (Genesis)/Get on your feet again.”  He adds later, “When we’re apart, we fall/Together, we feed the world.”  This works directly with the song’s chorus in which Townsend sings, “Let us being to live again.”  Simply put he is telling listeners that we as a people need to start over and come together.  It would make sense, as he sings, “From the top to the bottom/Genesis.”  That is saying, start over completely and live together.  Such statement, together with the song’s musical arrangement makes the song in whole another powerful work in its own right and one more example of what makes Empath another equally powerful success in whole from Devin Townsend.

Devin Townsend’s latest full-length studio recording Empath is one of the most important rock records to be released so far this year.  That is because it shows that whether with his Devin Townsend Project cohorts or on his own (as in this record), he is one of the greatest minds in the music industry today.  His creativity and originality is on full display from beginning to end.  The songs noted here are just a sampling of that creativity and originality.  The remainder of the record’s body does just as much to exhibit that talent.  All things considered, Empath proves to be one of this year’s best new hard rock & metal albums and just as easily, one of the year’s best new albums overall.  Empath is available now.  More information on Empath is available online along with all of Devin Townsend’s latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.devintownsend.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/dvntownsend

 

 

 

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‘The Change’ Could Change The Course Of Awake At Last’s Life

Courtesy: Outerloop Records

Hard rock band Awake At Last has made a name for itself throughout the course of its life for presenting songs that promote positivity, spirituality and self-confidence.  That trend, which the band has held over the course of two EPs, continues on the band’s full-length debut album The Change.  The 12-song record presents those themes in various ways throughout the course of its 39-minute run time, complete with musical arrangements that will appeal to a wide range of listeners.  From one song to the next, the record’s musical arrangements and lyrical themes that make up its body ensure listeners’ continued engagement.  The album’s lead single ‘Dead Generation’ is just one of the songs that supports that statement.  It will be discussed shortly.  ‘Bigger Picture,’ which comes later in the album’s run continues to support that statement in a similar fashion.  It will be discussed a little later.  ‘Fallen Stars,’ the album’s closer is yet another of the album’s entries that exhibits the band’s continued themes of positivity and self-confidence. It serves just as much as ‘Dead Generation’ and ‘Bigger Picture’ to maintain listeners’ engagement.  When these songs are considered along with the nine songs that make up the remainder of the record, the whole of The Change becomes a work that may well “change” the course of Awake At Last’s career to the positive.

Awake At Last’s debut full-length studio recording The Change is a strong new effort from the Delaware-based hard rock outfit.  It is a nearly 40-minute presentation whose themes of positivity, self-confidence and spirituality are certain to keep listeners engaged while at the same time, offering those same audiences plenty of musical entertainment and lyrical inspiration.  One of the songs featured in the record’s 12-song body that serves to support those statements comes early in the record’s run in the form of ‘Dead Generation.’  The album’s lead single, it presents a musical arrangement that will appeal to fans of bands, such as Three Days Grace, Shinedown and to a lesser extent, Set It Off.  That combination of influences makes the song’s musical arrangement a strong foundation for the song’s presentation.  That foundation is strengthened through the social commentary presented in the song’s lyrical content.

The song’s lyrical content presents a theme of…well…making a change.  It approaches the subject in this case, by forcing listeners to contemplate whether the current generation that has inherited the planet is in fact as bad off as it has been made to seem.  Front man Vincent Torres delivers that message, singing in the song’s lead verse, “With every moment/We’re drifting into defeat/We keep on living a lie/Like it’s what we need/When conversation is avoided to keep the peace/The silence pulling us under will never cease.”  He is saying here, that people need to stand up and speak up, rather than be passive and just let things happen.  That is because if we continue to remain silent, nothing will get better in the world, rather it will do the opposite and get worse.  This statement is heightened through the song’s chorus in which Torres and his band mates – Eric Blackway (guitar), Imran Xhelili (guitar) and John Finney (drums) – sing, “We beg the world to change/But fail to face it/Are we alive or a dead generation?”  He is saying, we keep calling for change, but are we doing anything to back up our calls to action?  As if that is not proof enough, Torres goes on in the song’s second verse, to sing, “Trapped in a moment/Perpetual hell/This life’s a coffin and we are the nails/Cut out the answers and disarm the scars/We always take, take, take/And forget who we are.”  Again, here is a statement of looking at the bigger picture.  We are the cause, not the effect, is essentially what Torres is saying here.  We are the “nails,” the cause.  We always take, take, take/And forget who we are.  It’s all about us.  We need to act for the bigger picture.  Torres speaks in metaphors here, but it is relatively clear what he is saying.  Keeping that in mind, along with the fire in the song’s musical arrangement, this first statement from the band this time out shows without doubt that noted positivity for which the band has come to be known during its life.  Given it is hardly the first time that any musical act has ever presented a call to action so to speak, but it still works even in this case.  In the process, it helps to establish the band’s identity and that of the album.  It is just one of the album’s most standout additions.  Speaking of bigger pictures, the song ‘Bigger Picture’ is another of those key additions to the record.

‘Bigger Picture’ comes late in the album’s 39-minute run time.  It stands out quite starkly from its counterparts included in the album, through its musical arrangement.  This song’s arrangement boasts a sound more akin to Set It Off and Fall Out Boy than the previously noted bands.  What is nice is that even with those influences, the song still maintains its own identity separate from those bands’ works.  That goes a long way toward making the song stand out.  The song’s lyrical content, which focuses on the importance of unity and seeing the forest for the trees, adds to the foundation formed through the song’s arrangement.

The message in question is delivered as Torres sings in the song’s lead verse, “Spent some time inside my mind/And found a way to re-align/My thoughts betray me, but it’s all in my head/Life is just a tapestry and I’m just a thread.”  Now this line in and of itself directly sends that message.  The song’s subject looked inside, and realized he/she needed to think differently because he/she was just one part of a much bigger whole.  The message continues as Torres sings, “People used to tell me ‘cause I doubted myself/Spent so much time tryin’ to be someone else/I know it’s not about me, but it’s plain to see/We’re losing ourselves to these selfish machines/Get into our bodies and out of our screens/If we’re all part of something bigger/Then I know who I am/If we’re all fragments of a picture/Then why can’t we see we’re all the same/Ignite the flame…You’re the same as you and I.”  Again, here we have a message that we need to see we are all part of something much bigger and we need to think of one another instead of ourselves.  Once again, this is not the first time that any band or act has ever presented such a message, but it is another message that can not be expressed enough.  Rather, it is a message that sadly, must continued to be presented to a public that needs constant reminders of this issue.  Keeping this in mind, this uplifting message couples with the song’s equally engaging musical arrangement to make the whole another song that shows how The Change in whole can potentially change the course of Awake At Last’s career.  It is not the last of the songs that serves to support that statement, either.  The song’s powerhouse finale, ‘ Fallen Stars’ is yet another way in which the album exhibits its strength.

‘Fallen Stars’ changes things up from Awake At Last in terms of its musical arrangement once again, this time moving from the emo-core sound of Fall Out Boy and Set It Off to a more aggro-rock style sound that takes listeners back to the late 90s, right down to the screaming climaxes of the verses.  That sound alone serves to help the song stand out, but is just one part of what makes the song so notable.  The song’s lyrical theme once again is that continued uplifting positive theme that reminds listeners to not give up even in life’s most difficult moments.

Torres reminds listeners to note give up in the song’s chorus, singing, “Sometimes we hurt/Sometimes we break/But it’s times like these/We learn to create/Everyone fails/It’s part of the plan/We have to fall/To get up again.”  This is a powerful statement that is certain to inspire plenty of listeners.  It is just one of the statements that will inspire listeners.  He sings in the song’s lead verse, “I’ve seen the vision/As lightning cracks the sky/I’m gonna chase this dream/But something worth having will never come easy/So I’ll take the long road/Even if I pave it on my own/’Cause when the sky falls down/the sky is quiet with the silence/We stand together united by fallen stars/We’re stronger together.”  He goes on to sing in the song’s second verse, “Burning image/On the canvas of our lives/We’re gonna change this scene/It’s something worth having, so it won’t be easy/But they’ll remember/How the artists took a stand/As we live and breathe/The world is quiet with our silence.”  In the song’s finale, he adds, “We stand together united by fallen stars/So let the darkness divide us/Remember who we are/Brave the weather/We’re stronger together/Everything comes crashing down around us/Like a phoenix we’re reborn from the ashes.”  Once again, here is that message of perseverance and positivity coupled with the continued theme of unity, much as is presented in so many of the album’s other songs.  It is just another way in which the album’s lyrical content continues the themes presented in the band’s currently available two EPs.  Those themes are continued throughout the rest of the album’s entries, too, in even more diverse fashion.  That diversity in the delivery of the band’s positive messages and the power in the album’s musical arrangements makes the album in whole a positive debut for Awake At Last; a debut that could create a positive change for the band itself.

Awake At Last’s debut full-length studio recording The Change is a strong offering from the up-and-coming hard rock outfit.  As has been noted in this review, the positive lyrical themes presented in the band’s currently available EPs are continued throughout this record in various ways.  The musical arrangements that accompany those positive messages do just as much to make the album a success.  When they are coupled together and considered from the album’s opening to its end, the album in whole proves to be a record that could change the course of Awake At Last’s life in a good way.  It is scheduled for release June 21 through Outerloop Records.  More information on the album is available online now along with all of Awake At Last’s latest news and more at:

 

 

Website: http://www.awakeatlastrock.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/awakeatlastrock

 

 

 

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.

Johnson’s Sophomore LP Is Everything That Is Good And Right With Rock And Roll

Courtesy: Big Johnson Records

American Idol winner Caleb Johnson is scheduled to release his new album Born From Southern Ground next month.  The rocker and his backing band, The Ramblin’ Saints will release the 10-song record June 14 through Big Johnson Records.  Listening through this latest offering from the singer and his fellow musicians – which is actually Johnson’s sophomore album – it goes without saying that this new record could be the record that breaks Johnson into the mainstream and makes him more than just another alum from that TV karaoke contest.  That is due both to the record’s musical arrangements and its lyrical themes.  ‘Sugar,’ which comes early in the record’s run is just one of the songs that serves to support those statements.  It will be discussed shortly.  ‘Hanging With The Band’ does just as much to support those statements, both with its full electric and acoustic takes.  It will be discussed a little later.  ‘It’s Not The End’ also supports the noted statements.  When it is considered along with ‘Sugar,’ ‘Hanging With The Band’ and the rest of the record, the whole of BFSG becomes a work that makes Johnson more than just another one-off winner of one of TV’s many karaoke contests, but a truly viable rock star.

Caleb Johnson & The Ramblin’ Saints’ new album Born From Southern Ground is one of the most surprising records to be released so far this year.  It is a work that proves Caleb is the real deal and not just another forgettable member of one of the show’s season lineups.  These statements are supported early on in the album in the form of ‘Sugar.’  The song’s musical arrangement almost immediately conjures thoughts of Lenny Kravitz’s hit song ‘Are You Gonna Go My Way’ thanks to the guitar riff.  That same riff is echoed in the song’s chorus, adding even more to that comparison.  The inclusion of the keyboard line in the verses leads to a slight comparison to Peter Gabriel’s equally famed song ‘Sledgehammer.’  The two comparisons don’t seem to work in concept, but the way in which Johnson and his fellow musicians have used those influences makes the song in general work quite surprisingly well.  In fact they make this arrangement one of the song’s best compositions.  While the composition in itself makes for plenty of enjoyment for listeners, it is just one part of what makes the song such a strong addition to the record.  The song’s accessible lyrical content adds to its appeal.

Johnson sings in the song’s lead verse, “It’s late in the evening/And my fever’s getting high/You know I got a sweet tooth that can last all night/You go the power/’Cause your love is so divine/Well just gimme some of that sweet sugar/Make me feel satisfied/Gimme some of that sugar.”  He continues in the song’s second verse, “Now, someone call the doctor/’Cause my love is fading fast/I think I broke my fever/But this hunger will not pass/Somebody help me/Please my appetite/Just gimme some of that sweet sugar/Make me feel satisfied/Gimme some of your sugar/Little kiss on the cheek.”  There’s pretty much no doubt about this song.  This is one of those come hither, randy type of songs that is certain to get people moving in more ways than one.  That is the case both in terms of these lyrics and the song’s upbeat musical arrangement.  When the two elements are considered together, the end result is a work that shows with ease just what makes BFSG a success.  It is just one of the album’s most notable offerings.  ‘Hanging With The Band’ is another easily accessible addition to BFSG, and shows in its own way what makes the album such a strong new offering from Johnson and company.

‘Hanging With The Band’ stands out, just as with ‘Sugar,’ in part because of its musical arrangement.  This applies both to the song’s full electric take and its acoustic version.  The electric arrangement conjures thoughts of Bob Seger and Zac Brown Band (fitting, considering that BFSG was recorded at Brown’s Southern Ground Studios).  The song’s acoustic take stands very well on its own merits in terms of its arrangement.  In gives the song a whole new identity, as a matter of fact; an identity that is just as enjoyable as the song’s electric take.  It’s not the first time any act has ever crafted such an arrangement, but it is no less enjoyable here than in the case of other acts.  To that end, it does plenty to keep listeners engaged and entertained.  It is just one part of what makes the song stand out.  The song’s lyrical theme does just as much to make the song appealing.

The song, lyrically, is another relatively simple work, on the surface.  It is a song that finds Johnson celebrating the simpler times in his life.  On a deeper level though, that celebration becomes a statement that will resonate with listeners as they think about the joys of the simple aspects of their own lives.  He sings in the song’s lead verse, “Sometimes on hot nights like this/I can’t help but reminisce/About the wild-eyed, getting’ high, reckless innocence/Teenage girls and hometown boys/Just making out and making noise/Never knew fear/Just cheap beer and cigarettes/Dive bars, guitars, singing Turn the Page/Said one day, we’ll make it/Hit the big stage/Good times when life was easy/Wild nights and whiskey dreamin’/Rock and roll queens and kings every single summer/Live loud and it didn’t matter/Drove fast and loved even faster/Memories comin’ rushin’ back like the spell I’m under/Makes me close my eyes, get high and drink a cup of gin/Tonight’s alright with you/I’m hanging with the band.”  He continues in the song’s second verse, “Who says all those days are gone/When everybody sings along/I’m still pissin’ off every single neighbor in the neighborhood/I hope this party never ends/Love my family, I love my friend/I would take a trip back if I could/Dive bars, guitars, singing Walk This Way/Said one day, we’ll make it/Hit the big stage/ Good times when life was easy/Wild nights and whiskey dreamin’/Rock and roll queens and kings every single summer/Live loud and it didn’t matter/Drove fast and loved even faster/Memories comin’ rushin’ back like the spell I’m under/Makes me close my eyes, get high and drink a cup of gin/Tonight’s alright with you/I’m hanging with the band.”  There is no doubt from this, that again, this song is a celebration of Johnson’s life pre-celebrity.  While most of us may never know the celebrity life, it still is a story to which so many listeners can relate.  That is because it will lead listeners to appreciate the simplicity of their own lives; those friends and family, and just being able to live life.  That accessibility through the song’s lyrical content couples with the accessibility of the song’s musical arrangement and creates a whole that is yet another clear example of what makes BFSG a strong new offering from Caleb Johnson.  It still is hardly the last of the songs that can be cited in supporting that statement.  The even more powerful song that is ‘It’s Not The End’ is yet another example of what makes the album so strong.

‘It’s Not The End’ presents in its musical arrangement an old school, piano-driven ballad that is certain to appeal to a wide range of listeners.  The song starts off simply with that piano and Johnson’s vocals in the opening measures before gradually building to its climactic, almost gospel style finale.  What is truly interesting here is that Johnson’s vocal delivery this time actually echoes that of former Journey front man Steve Perry.  The whole of the arrangement is a work that exhibits great power that will certainly create great emotion in listeners’ minds and hearts.  That power and emotion grow even more through the song’s uplifting lyrical message of believing in one’s self.

Johnson sings in the song’s lead verse, “When you’re/Feeling/Like there’s nothing to believe in/It’s not the end/You’re fighting…battling your demons/It’s not the end/The angel beside you/Is waiting to show you the way/It’s not the end/It’s just the beginning/Let go of yourselves/While you’re holding on/If you’re lost in the dark/No matter where you are/The sun will shine again/No, it’s not the end.”  He continues in the song’s second verse, “When your hope and faith is wearing thin/It’s not the end/there’s a new day/Blowing out the candle in the wind/Let it begin/So right here and now/The pain and the doubt/Let it all out/It’s not the end/It’s just the beginning/Let go of yourselves/While you’re holding on/If you’re lost in the dark/No matter where you are/The sun will shine again/No, it’s not the end.”  This is hardly the first time that any artist or act across the musical universe has ever presented such a message, but that does not make it any less powerful and welcome in Johnson’s case.  If anything, this message, coupled with the song’s equally powerful musical arrangements is just as welcome as any similar song from any other performer or act past and present.  It even brought tears to this big tough guy critic’s eyes.  Yes, that was just admitted to here.  The joining of the song’s arrangement and lyrical content is certain to make this song a fan favorite both on record and in person at Johnson’s shows.  It could just as easily be used for so many movie soundtracks and commercials.  That is how much the song stands out in whole.  When it is considered along with the equally accessible songs noted here and the rest of the album’s works, the whole of the album becomes a record that not only certifies Caleb Johnson as a bona fide rock star, but in itself “births” new hope for the future of rock and roll.

Caleb Johnson started out his career in the music industry as a contestant on a TV karaoke contest show.  Now years after he won the 13th season of that competition show, he has released in his sophomore album Born From Southern Ground, a work that exhibits everything that is good and right with rock and roll.  It also certifies Johnson’s place in the music community.  That is made clear through the songs discussed in this review, as well as the rest of the album’s songs.  When they are considered together, they make Born From Southern Ground one of the year’s most welcome surprises and one more of the year’s top new rock records.  Born From Southern Ground is scheduled for release June 14 through Big Johnson Records.  More information on the album is available online now along with all of Caleb Johnson’s latest news at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.calebjohnsonofficial.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/CalebJohnson

 

 

 

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Shout! Factory, Eleven Arts Studios Partnering To Release Another Anime Flick

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/Eleven Arts Studios

Shout! Factory and Eleven Arts Studios are teaming up to bring anime fans another new release this summer.

Penguin Highway is scheduled for release on Aug. 6.  It will be released on DVD/BD combo pack and digital download. Winner of a 42nd Japan Award for Excellent Animation of the Year, the movie made its theatrical debut in April.

The movie is presented with the option to watch it in Japanese with English subtitles and separately with English dub.  The movie’s home release will also feature an interview with its director, Hiroyasu Ishida and Penguin Highway author Tomihiko Morimi as bonus content.

The movie’s story follows 4th grader Aoyama as he tries to figure out why masses of penguins have suddenly started appearing in his town.  The penguins are hundreds of miles from their natural habitat, adding to the mystery.  As he investigates the penguins’ arrival, he eventually figures out why they are there, but that revelation only leads to more questions for Aoyama and a summer-long adventure.

More information on Penguin Highway 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

 

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.