Weiss’ Debut EP Is One Of 2020’s Most Surprising New Records

Courtesy; Induced Records

Independent musician Justin Weiss is scheduled to release his debut EP Vast Caldera 1 Tuesday.  The five-song record, the first under Weiss’ moniker of Vast Caldera, is one of the most intriguing offerings independent or otherwise to see the light of day so far this year.  That is because this 16-minnute instrumental opus takes the musical road less traveled throughout its presentation.  The musical journey on which it takes listeners will be discussed shortly.  It is just one of the EP’s most important elements.  By connection, the set’s sequencing is just as important to examine as its songs.  This item will be addressed a little later.  The record’s production rounds out its most important elements.  When it is considered along with the songs and the record’s sequencing, the whole makes Vast Caldera 1 one of this year’s most surprising new EPs.

Justin Weiss’ debut release under the moniker of Vast Caldera is proof that big things can and often do come in small packages.  That is proven in part through the EP’s featured songs.  The songs themselves present sounds and styles whose elements are easy to compare, but are collectively very difficult to pin down.  That is evident right from the record’s outset.  The gentle, flowing piano line that opens the record in ‘Romance’ does anything but conjure thoughts of romance.  Rather, it presents a decidedly brooding tone.  That tone is enhanced even more as the equally subtle guitar line is introduced alongside the piano line.  Even as the guitar begins to take the lead, it is still controlled and subdued.  By the time the song reaches its final seconds and the guitar fades out, audiences are left feeling so moved with that final piano “solo.”  The arrangement in whole is difficult to liken to anything past or present out there.

Much the same can be said of ‘Nightfall’ as was noted of ‘Romance.’  This song is just as subdued as that composition.  Even more interesting is that it opens with a riff that sounds like the main bars of the ‘Battle of the Fates’ theme from the Star Wars: Episode 1The Phantom Menace.  Odds are that similarity was unintentional, but it is there regardless.  It is refrained at points throughout the course of the song which barely tops the 2:30 mark.  The rest of the song again exhibits such control from Weiss and all involved here.  From the steady beat from the bass drum to the subtle addition of the electronics alongside to the subdued final bars, these is so much going on and it is all so powerful in its presentation.  It is just one more way in which the record’s musical content proves its value to the overall presentation.  Glory’ is yet another way in which the record’s musical works prove so pivotal to Vast Caldera 1.

‘Glory’ opens with a subdued, but still groove-based guitar line that is immediately infectious.  It couples with the song’s equally electronic drum line, synthesized strings and electronics to make this song stand strong on its own merits.  There is even a horn line (likely also synthesized) that adds its own subtle touch to the arrangement.  This song is completely unlike the EP’s other works just as they are from this work and one another.  What’s more, it is near impossible to tie it down to a comparison to any other work out there.  Between this song, the other two noted here and the EP’s two remaining tracks, the whole of the EP’s arrangements leaves zero doubt as to the engagement and entertainment that they generate for listeners.  They are just one part of what makes the EP such a strong offering from Weiss, too.  The record’s sequencing plays alongside the songs themselves to strengthen the EP’s presentation even more.

Vast Caldera 1’s sequencing is so important to note because it ensures the EP’s subtle, yet rich arrangements maintain the record’s mood throughout.  As already noted, the EP’s opener boasts a certain energy, yet is still so controlled and subtle in its own right, even with the addition of the guitar.  That sense of controlled tension continues nicely in the EP’s second song, ‘Adamant.’  The guitar line forms the song’s foundation, but still maintains that sense of mystery established in ‘Romance.’  The record changes pace again in ‘Glory’ in terms of its stylistic approach.  Even with the stylistic change, the controlled tension remains here just as much as in the EP’s first two tracks.  ‘Nightfall’ with its guitar line continues the emotional depth established in the EP’s first three songs and ensures audiences remain engaged just as much as those noted songs.  ‘Dawn’ puts the final touch to the EP, sending out with just the slightest bit of edge.  The piano line that finishes off the song in its final bars closes out the EP just as softly as the record’s opener if not more so.  Looking back at all of the EP’s songs, the result of the sequencing is an effect that will move listeners in a most surprising fashion and ensure their appreciation for this record even more.  Even with this in mind, the EP’s sequencing is just one more of its most important elements.  Its production rounds out its most important elements.

As has already been mentioned multiple times here, there is so much going on in each of the EP’s songs, even in the simplest of moments.  Whether it is the duality in the instrumentation in the EP’s opener, the more advanced work in ‘Glory’ or the depth of ‘Nightfall,’ Each song has its own share happening.  Within each song, the instrumentation is well-balanced so that whether it be those noted simpler moments or those with a little more going on, the impact is the same.  The fades between the lines in each song are so smooth, and they play so much into the overall work in the best way.  That element and the richness of each instrumentation just leaves listeners feeling so connected with each song in a different way.  When this is taken into consideration along with the songs’ arrangements and their sequencing, the whole of this EP becomes a presentation that shows in its own unique way why independent artists and acts deserve just as much attention as their more well-known counterparts.

Justin Weiss’ debut EP under the moniker of Vast Caldera is a work that stands out so well in this year’s field of new EPs.  It take influences from rock and from electronic yet sounds little to nothing like songs from the most well-known acts in said genres.  It really holds its own against other releases in this year’s field of new EPs.  That is proven in the arrangements featured in this record.  The sequencing of those arrangements adds even more appeal to the record’s presentation.  The EP’s production puts the final touch to its presentation.  All the elements noted here are important in their own way to the whole of the record.  All things considered, they make Vast Caldera 1 unquestionably deserving of its own spot on any critic’s list of the year’s top new EPs.  More information on the record is available along with all of Weiss’ latest news is available at:




Website: http://www.justwinweissdesign.com/vast-caldera-1

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/justin.weiss.33

Twitter: http://twitter.com/Justinweiss3




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‘Gunsmoke’ 65th Anniversary Set Is A Lackluster Celebration Of A Classic Series

Courtesy: CBS DVD/PAramount

CBS’ classic western series Gunsmoke is unquestionably one of the most respected and revered series of any genre in the modern history of television.  The series ran approximately 20 seasons on CBS, and went on to be nominated for 15 prime time Emmy awards, six of which it won.  That is almost half of its nominations, which is not bad, to say the very least.  The series has also never been off of television since it ended its historic run in 1975.  In fact, it still runs on Me-TV to this day.  The wife of a former CBS executive – Babe Paley – is really even to blame for the series’ survival past its 12th season and the demise of fellow CBS series Gilligan’s Island in its place.  Additionally, Gunsmoke has seen each of its 20 seasons released by themselves between 2007 and this year.  All of those standalone season sets’ releases culminated in May with what is seemingly its first-ever full-series set courtesy of CBS DVD and Paramount in the new 65th Anniversary edition box set.  Spread across a total of 143 discs, this extensive box set will appeal mainly to the most devoted of the series’ fans.  That is due in pat to the presentation of the set’s episodes.  This will be addressed shortly.  While the presentation of the set’s episodes proves a positive for its presentation, the set’s packaging proves to be a negative that cannot be ignored.  It will be addressed a little later.  The bonus content that accompanies the episode’s primary content – its episodes – is at least slightly positive even though it still leaves audiences wanting for more.  Together with the presentation of the episodes, these two elements and the negative of the packaging make the set a presentation that only the most devoted Gunsmoke fans will appreciate.

CBS DVD and Paramount’s recently released Gunsmoke collection is a mixed bag of a presentation.  It is a presentation that while it does have its positives, it also has its negatives.  The most notable of the set’s positives is the presentation of its episodes.  Considering that the series was released in standalone sets leading up to this full series presentation, it should come as no surprise that the episodes look and sound just as good if not better as they do on television.  Sure, that grainy look is there, but even after being upscaled on a Blu-ray player, they still maintain their integrity, which is certain play well into viewers’ nostalgia.  The sound is impressive in its own right from one episode to the next.  Of course that is again little to no surprise.  That is because likely those behind the set’s assembly essentially just took the already released season sets and put them together into one large box.  That eliminated the need to go back and remaster either element.  So to that end, audiences get the same audio and video presentation here as they would have in the series’ previously released standalone season sets.  Now taking into mind the sets, this is where the set takes a turn for the worse.

Courtesy: CBS DVD/Paramount

The one clear negative to this set is its packaging.  All six of the cases that contain the series’ 635 total episodes are placed into the back of their larger box, which boasts its own artwork on the front and sides.  This is where the problem comes into play.  Audiences who fork over the $200-$300 for this set (depending on the retailer and time of year) will have the set on their DVD/BD racks for storage, or even on another shelf.  Having no backing on the box, it is so easy for the cases to fall out and break, and/or discs to fall out and get damaged in the process.  The bigger box’s artwork is great.  That should not be misunderstood.  The problem is that lack of backing.  It would have made much more sense for the cases to be placed into a box that has a bottom and full box around them.  That guarantees the safety of the separate cases and the boxes therein.  The primary artwork could have been used as a box topper that could have been lifted and replaced.  Sadly that was not the packaging decision made here.

Making things even more difficult in terms of the packaging is the way in which the series’ discs were placed.  Again, the standalone sets used for this full series set are just the previously released standalone season sets.  The discs, in many of the cases, are stacked on top of one another inside the plastic cases.  The old style of multi-disc packaging is used once again here, just as with CBS DVD/Paramount’s full series DVD sets of shows, such as I Love Lucy, The Andy Griffith Show, and even The Twilight Zone.  This packaging method greatly increases the chances that the discs will get damaged by scratching one another or even being scratched by the boxes as they are removed and replaced.  Yes, by using a more “modern” packaging method might have made the box even larger, but audiences likely would forgive that if it meant the safety of the discs.  Keeping all of this in mind, Gunsmoke: The Complete Series 65th Anniversary’s packaging detracts from the set’s presentation, but does not make the set a total failure.  Its bonus content works with the episodes’ presentation to make the set at least somewhat worth the money.

Courtesy: CBS DVD/Paramount

The bonus content that accompanies the Gunsmoke: The Complete Series 65th Anniversary set is sadly limited mostly to commercials in which the series’ starts took part and episode promos.  The positive doesn’t really come until Season 15.  It is in this season and each season that follows, that audiences get treated to some history of the show in a feature titled “Ben And Beckey Discuss…”  The low-budget segments are co-hosted by authors Ben Costello and Beckey Burgoine.  The duo sits in front of a drop screen that looks like one of those screens used by Olan Mills for its photos.  The backdrop is anchored by a pair of red curtains on either side, while the duo sits at a table and talks about Seasons 15-20.  Given, some of the content that the pair reveals is at least somewhat interesting, such as the lack of ego among the cast.  Burgoine points out in one of the latter season’s segments that the cast would often offer lines to one another during table reads and that the cast members cared just as much for one another’s safety on set.  The pair also talks briefly during its Season 16 segment, about how the show’s directors would just as often run shoots on single takes.  That is enlightening, and could just as easily serve as a starting point for audiences about directorial styles for directors past and present in television and movies.  During the pair’s discussion in Season 17, it is revealed that there is a direct connection between the Apollo 8 space mission and the series’ cast.  That anecdote will be left for audiences to discover on their own. Additionally, the duo discusses in the Season 20 segment, why Amanda Blake (who played Miss Kitty) did not return to the series in its final season and how that was handled in the writing.  Between all of this and more, the pair’s discussions between Season 15 and 20 will engage and entertain audiences in their own right.  The issue that all of this raises is the question of why there were no discussions in the sets for Seasons 1-14.  Up until that point, the bonus content was relegated to the noted vintage ads and episode promos.  Keeping all of this in mind, the bonus content is positive in its own right, but only to a point.  Even with this in mind, that limited content together with the episodes’ presentations comes together to make the set at least somewhat appealing to the noted Gunsmoke devotees.

Paramount and DBS DVD’s recently released Gunsmoke 65th anniversary DVD box set is an intriguing presentation.  The audio and video presentation in the episodes is positive.  Again, that is understood just because the content is in fact just the previously released standalone sets released together in one larger box for the first time ever.  The set’s packaging detracts greatly from its presentation, but does not make it a total failure.  The bonus content that accompanies the series’ set is positive in its own right because of the “background” information that is provided to audiences in Seasons 15-20.  The problem is that said bonus content is the set’s only positive bonus content.  One is left wondering why there were no season discussions on Seasons 1-14.  Taking all of this into mind collectively, this new full series presentation of Gunsmoke is sadly a lackluster presentation that will appeal mainly to the series’ most devoted fans, especially considering its price.

More information on this and other title from CBS DVD is available at:


Website: http://cbshomeentertainment.com

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


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Petrucci’s New Solo LP Was Worth The 15-Plus-Year Wait

Courtesy: Sound Mind Music/The Orchard

Prog-metal band Dream Theater’s members are some of the hardest working musicians in the music community today.  Front man James LaBrie has kept himself busy in the past with his Mullmuzzler project.  Keyboardist Jordan Rudess has released any number of solo albums throughout his professional career.  Bassist John Myung has recorded with the likes of Platypus, Gordian Knot, and Explorer’s Club.  Even famed former Dream Theater drummer and founder Mike Portnoy has kept himself constantly busy during and after his extensive tenure with the band, recording and performing with Winery Dogs, Yellow Matter Custard, Transatlantic, and countless other projects. Fellow former members Derek Sherinian and Kevin Shirley also have kept themselves constantly busy.  This weekend, longtime guitarist John Petrucci, who has kept himself busy in his own right, released his latest solo recording in the form of Terminal Velocity.  The nine-song instrumental record is a positive new offering from Petrucci whose last solo record Suspended Animation was released 15 years ago.  Its success comes from the fact that just as with that record, it shows the depth and breadth of his talents.  ‘Happy Song,’ the album’s third track is one of the songs that serves to support the noted statements.  It will be discussed shortly.  ‘Out of the Blue,’ which comes a little later in the record’s 55-minute run time does the same in its own fashion.  It will be addressed a little later.  Much the same can be said of ‘Snake in My Boot,’ the album’s penultimate track, as the other two songs noted here and many of the album’s other songs.  When those songs and the compositions addressed here are considered together, they make Terminal Velocity a welcome solo return for John Petrucci that is certain to find wide appeal.

John Petrucci’s sophomore solo album Terminal Velocity is a presentation from the famed guitarist that proves it was well worth the wait.  That is proven from the start to end of the nearly hour-long instrumental presentation.  One of the songs featured in this record that serves well to support the noted statements comes early in its run in the form of ‘Happy Song.’  ‘Happy Song’ is one of the most mainstream accessible works that Petrucci has ever crafted in his extensive career.  The six-minute opus opens with a driving, upbeat composition that is reminiscent of his work as a member of Liquid Tension Experiment, but then quickly shifts gears, transitioning into a more poppy punk rock vibe in its lead verse section.  The riff there is the kind of style that one would expect more from Sum 41, Blink-182 and other similar bands.  From there, the arrangement just as quickly shifts to a more ballad type work that is still catchy in its own right.  One could even argue that there is a touch of 80s hair metal infused into the sound in the chorus sections.  What is interesting about the whole of the song is that as much as these two stylistic approaches are unalike one another, they still blend so well here.  That is a testament to Petrucci’s talents as a musician and producer.  By the time the song ends, audiences will feel wholly fulfilled even despite the song’s length.  That in itself says a lot about the song and about Petrucci.  That he can take two sounds that are so starkly unalike one another and manage to make them work so solidly in one work and do so for six minutes is worthy of applause.  It definitely lives up to its title, as it will make any listener happy. To that end it is just one of the ways in which this album proves so impressive.  ‘Out of the Blue’ is another of the album’s strong points.

‘Out Of The Blue’ is a well-placed addition to Terminal Velocity.  It breaks up the high energy exhibited in the rest of the album’s songs.  It starts off with a nice bluesy approach akin to something one might expect from Joe Satriani, but then eases its way into an equally introspective work that is more along the lines of something that fits into Dream Theater’s 1997 album Falling Into Infinity.  Again, here is quite an interesting juxtaposition of styles, yet even with such a notable difference in sounds, the two styles manage to work so well alongside one another.  The end result is a work that is so unlike anything else featured on Terminal Velocity and that because of that difference shows even more why this album is well worth hearing.  It is just one more of the album’s most notable works.  ‘Snake in My Boot’ is yet another interesting addition to the album.

‘Snake in My Boot’ is distinct from so much of the material on Terminal Velocity just as much as ‘Out Of The Blue’ and ‘Happy Song.’  This time out, Petrucci offers audiences a song that is more deeply rooted in the hair metal of the 80s than anything progressive.  The opening bars, with their foot stomping, clapping and infectious guitar riff immediately conjure the noted thoughts.  That whole creates a fun vibe for listeners that will keep audiences fully engaged and entertained right to the song’s end.  The steady, solid time keeping, with its nonstop eighth note patterns and occasional flare from the cymbals enriches the song even more, as does the companion bass line.  The whole of all those elements paints so many pictures.  It goes without saying that this composition is one that will become a live favorite for audiences.  In fact, listening to the claps and foot stomping, one can immediately see an audience doing just that in person while Petrucci plays his riffs for the masses.  Keeping that in mind, that ability to pain such a rich musical picture and the ability to get stuck so easily in listeners’ minds while standing on its own merits makes clear why it is another important addition to Petrucci’s new album.  When it is considered along with the other songs addressed here and the rest of the album’s songs, the whole of the album becomes a work that though 15 years in the making, was well worth the wait.

More than 15 years passed between the release of John Petrucci’s new solo album Terminal Velocity Friday and its predecessor Suspended Animation.  Considering how busy Petrucci had kept himself in that time in his work with his band mates in Dream Theater, it comes as no surprise that so much time had passed.  Even with so much time having passed, this record shows that Petrucci had not lost his creative side by any means.  All three of the songs addressed here clearly support the noted statement.  Each song proves that Petrucci is more than just a talented prog-metal guitarist.  Rather, it shows the true depth and breadth of his talent.  From 80s hair metal to the blues to even pop punk and things in-between, the album shows Petrucci has quite the talent.  All things considered, this album shows once more why John Petrucci remains one of the elite guitarists in the music community in whole and why the this album was worth the wait.  It is available now.  More information on Terminal Velocity is available along with all of John Petrucci’s latest news at:




Website: http://www.johnpetrucci.com

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




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Brand New Day Guitarist Debuts New Solo Single

Courtesy: O’Donnell Media Group

Brand New Day guitarist Austin Ingerman debuted the the video for his debut solo single this week.

Ingerman debuted the video for his single ‘Diesel Fuel‘ Friday.  The video features Ingerman and drummer James Renshaw in a smoky, red-lit backdrop as they perform the single.

The song itself, which is available to stream and download here, boasts a sound that incorporates power metal, pure metal and prog-metal elements together for a sound and style that will appeal to a wide range of listeners.

‘Diesel Fuel’ was recorded at Steakhouse Recording Studios in North Hollywood, California with producer Chris Collier (Korn, Fear Factory, George Lynch).

More information on Austin Ingerman’s new single and video is available along with all of his latest news at:


Website: http://www.austiningerman.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/austin.ingerman

Twitter: http://twitter.com/AustinIngerman


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Cultus Black Debuts Video For ‘Negative Creep’ Cover

Courtesy: O’Donnell Media Group

Cultus Black returned this week with the video for its latest single.

The band debuted the video for its cover of Nirvana’s ‘Negative Creep‘ Friday.  While the North Carolina-based band’s take on the song stays stylistically true to its source material, it takes Nirvana’s approach and intensifies it with its own metal touch.

The band said of its cover of the song, “There have been lots of Nirvana covers recently, but we felt like we could do it heavier and better.”

The band’s cover of Nirvana’s song is just the latest work from the band.  The group, which features ex-members of Motograter, debuted the video for its own song ‘Witch Hunt‘ May 28.

Front man “L” (a.k.a. James Legion — ex Motograter) explained in a recent interview.

“This track is for anyone who has ever felt persecuted, anyone who has ever felt like a victim, anyone who was ever made to feel stupid or less than,” he said. This song is here to show the world that we don’t give a f***.”

In other news, Cultus Black is in the studio working on its debut album with producer James Paul Wisner (Underoath, Hands Like Houses, Paramore).  The album’s release date is under consideration.

More information on Cultus Black’s new single and video is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:





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The Dead Centuries Debuts ‘Crystal Summer’ Video

Courtesy: Asher Media Relations

The Dead Centuries debuted the video for its latest single this week.

The band debuted the video for its new song ‘Crystal Summer‘ Friday.  The instrumental song features a guest appearance by Intervals guitarist Jacob Umansky.  The video’s premiere comes more than two months after the band debuted the video for its then most recent single ‘Pop A Soda.’

The video for ‘Crystal Summer’ finds the members of The Dead Centuries alongside Umansky in various outdoor settings as they perform the new single.  There are shots at waterfronts, along cityscapes, and even a sunset.

As with the arrangement featured in ‘Pop A Soda,’ the arrangement at the center of ‘Crystal Summer’ features an approach and sound that will appeal to fans of bands, such as Animals As Leaders, Periphery, and Scale The Summit.

The band discussed the song and its video in a collective statement.

“The idea behind ‘Crystal Summer’ was to release a track that has an upbeat, summer vibe (hence the name) that is in line with what we’ve done with our previous single “Pop A Soda,” the statement reads. “We also shot a guitar playthrough video to add a visual element to the song, and our goal was to invoke feelings of fun, relaxation, and summertime.”

More information on the band’s new single and video is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:






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Devin Townsend Debuts ‘Genesis’ Live Clip From New Live Recording; Announces Information For Upcoming Live Streaming Concert

Courtey: InsideOut Music

Devin Townsend is giving audiences their first taste of his new live recording.

Townsend debuted the live clip for his performance of ‘Genesis‘ Friday.  The performance is featured in his forthcoming live recording Order of MagnitudeEmpath Live Volume 1.  The recording is scheduled for release Oct. 23 through InsideOut Music.

Townsend talked about the video and song in a recent interview.

“This song, ‘Genesis’ from my latest album Empath seemed an appropriate way to introduce this concert to the audience,” he said. “It’s kind of an example of ‘musical anarchy’ in some ways- as the song is all over the place structurally to begin with.  But to have a chaotic piece of music, played by these extraordinary musicians I had the honour of being with, in a no-holds-barred production, was really cathartic. It was about being free to do whatever we wanted in a time where rigid ideas of what is acceptable or not are stronger than ever.”

The concert featured in Order of MagnitudeEmpath Live Volume 1 was recorded in December 2019 in London, UK.  The concert was the penultimate show in Townsend’s tour in support of Empath.  Empath was re-issued June 5 through InsideOut Music with a bonus disc and two Blu-ray discs.

The first Blu-ray features a 5.1 Surround Sound mix of Empath crafted by Townsend himself, with visuals for the entire album, plus a stereo visualizer.  The second Blu-ray contains a bonus live performance titled Acoustically Inclined — Live in Leeds.  the concert, captured during Townsend’s April 2019 acoustic tour, features performances of some of Townsend’s most beloved songs, such as ‘Love?,’ ‘Deadhead,’ and ‘Things Beyond Things.’

Order of MagnitudeEmpath Live Volume 1 will release on a limited deluxe 2CD/Blu-ray/DVD artbook; Limited edition 2CD/DVD package; Blu-ray; gatefold 3LP/2CD vinyl box, and digital album.  The Blu-ray features a behind-the-scenes documentary and 5.1 surround sound mix.  The DVD features a 5.1 surround sound mix.  Pre-orders are open now.

The recording’s track listing is noted below.

The track-listing is as follows:
5.Gigpig Jam
8.Heavens End
9.Ain’t Never Gonna Win
12.Lucky Animals
14.Spirits Will Collide
15.Disco Inferno

Courtesy: InsideOut Music

In related news, Devin Townsend will hold a live, streaming by request set at 4 p.m. ET on Sept. 5.  Tickets are available here.  Fans can pre-order a shirt that celebrates the concert event here.  A trailer for the streaming show is itself streaming here.

More information on Devin Townsend’s upcoming streaming concert and his new live recording is available online along with all of his latest news at:




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Retro Champ Debuts ‘Confidence’ Video

Courtesy: Midwest Original, LLC

Independent rapper Retro Champ debuted the video for his latest single this week.

Retro Champ debuted the video for his new single ‘Confidence‘ Thursday.  The song is the latest single from his new EP F.Y.I., which was released last month through Midwest Originals, LLC.  The EP is streaming through Spotify.

The video features the rapper against a variety of backdrops, dropping his rhymes, showing his talent on the flute, lifting weights and more as he performs his new single.

The use of his own flute performance couples with the beats and electronics to make the song’s arrangement a presentation that rap and hip-hop purists will appreciate.  The mood set through the arrangement works well with the song’s lyrical theme, which according to Retro Champ, is meant to encourage others to love and appreciate themselves.

“Confidence is about me finally being confident with myself again,” he said. “I struggled a lot with my confidence growing up, this song shows that I have grown and that I’m happy with who I am. I also want other people to love themselves for who they are and have the confidence in themselves to be them.”

‘Confidence’ is streaming by itself through Spotify.

More information on Retro Champ’s new single and EP is available along with all of his latest news at http://www.facebook.com/theretrochamp.

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Christina Munsey Debuts New Single, ‘Habits’

Courtesy: 37-Media

Independent singer-songwriter Christina Munsey debuted her new single this week.

Munsey debuted her new single ‘Habits‘ Friday.  The song comes more than a year after Munsey debuted her then latest single, ‘Rose Gold.’  Its  debut was followed by the release of Munsey’s debut EP for meor for you in March.  The EP spawned the single ‘Crystal Skies.’

‘Habits’ presents a musical arrangement that is grounded in its electronics.  They join with the song’s keyboard line and Munsey’s own vocal delivery style to make the song in whole, a work that will appeal to most pop music fans.

The song’s lyrical theme seems to come across as touching on the all too familiar topic of personal and romantic relationships.  This is inferred from what can be deciphered sans lyrics sheet to reference.

In talking about how she develops her songs’ lyrical content, Munsey had the following to say:

“I’ve had many instances where I can’t figure out how I’m feeling about a situation and with no intention to write about it, it inevitably makes its way onto paper. That’s also why it’s so addicting, so cathartic. When feelings are all you have at first, it’s important to lay things out and get comfortable with saying them out loud.  But when you craft them into actual sound, it’s a whole other level of contentment.”

In discussing how her songs’ musical arrangements are developed, Munsey said, “Sometimes I’ll be walking outside and listening to the sound of my shoes hitting the concrete, and I’ll hear a melody in my head and quickly reach for my phone to record it.”

More information on Christina Munsey’s new single is available along with all of her latest news at:


Website: http://www.christinamunsey.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/christinamleigh


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

Michael Schenker Reveals ‘Immortal’ Cover Art

Courtesy: Nuclear Blast Records

Audiences are getting to see the artwork for this week for the next Michael Schenker Group record.

Schenker (UFO, Scorpions, Michael Schenker Fest) revealed the cover art for MSG’s forthcoming album Immortal Friday.  The artwork, created by Zsofia Dankova (Powerwolf) shows Schenker atop what looks like a mountain, guitar in hand atop the mountain and amps just below and a flag flying behind him in the wind.  The artwork seems to hint at Schenker being that proverbial “king of the mountain.”

The debut of Immortal‘s cover art comes less than a month after the announcement of the album’s release date an general specifications were made.  According to that announcement, Immortal is scheduled for release Jan. 8, 2021 through Nuclear Blast Records.  Its release will come more than a year after Schenker released his latest Michael Schenker Fest album Revelation.

The most recent information available states that as of Friday, Schenker has finished recording Immortal.

“We have a lot of guest musicians, who will undoubtedly help to make it an exceptional success. First of all I want to say that I am very grateful to any musicians that have helped to create a fitting tribute to my long career on this special release. I want to thank all of them for their incredible contribution.”

Nuclear Blast Records Founder Markus Staiger said in his own comments, he was looking forward to Schenker’s forthcoming MSG album.

“I am really looking forward to releasing this brand new MSG album, after the two excellent Michael Schenker Fest records,” he said. “At the age of 14, the self-titled MSG debut completely blew me away and helped to shape my taste, since then I’ve followed and loved his music and unique compositions. Those ten new tracks are pure magic!”

Immortal was recorded primarily at Kidroom Studio in Germany with Schenker’s longtime partner Michael Voss.  Voss co-produced the album with Schenker and provided vocals for two of the album’s songs.

Schenker praised Voss for his work.

“It is always a pleasure to work with Michael Voss, who works around the clock and is a phenomenal musician and producer,” he said. “He was composing the melody and lyrics for a power ballad I had written the music for, and he ended up singing along. It turned out so amazing, I did not think anyone else could have done a better job for this song. Truly great.“

Voss is just one of the individuals who will provide vocals for Schenker’s new MSG album.  Ronnie Romero (Rainbow) will provide vocals along with Voss, Ralf Scheepers (Primal Fear), and Joe Lynn Turner (ex-Deep Purple).  Joining the group for the album are musicians Steve Mann on keyboards, Barry Sparks (Dokken) on bass, and Bodo Schopf, Simon Phillips (ex-Toto), and Brian Tichy (Phill Rocker, ex-Godsmack, ex-Whitesnake) sharing drumming duties.

Schenker spoke highly of Tichy as he talked about the album’s lineup of musicians.

“Brian was thrilled to be part of it,” he said of Tichy’s involvement in the album. “He is a master of groove and ended up playing on six songs. I could not believe it: This man is something else. He is a true natural and very original. With his input, it made the album very solid and complete. So guess what – I am very happy.”

Also joining the collective for Schenker’s new MSG record is famed keyboardist Derek Sherinian (ex-Dream Theater, Sons of Apollo, Alice Cooper).  Schenker said of Sherinian’s performance on the album’s opener,”Derek and myself trading solos, it sounds unexpected and beyond my expectation. Absolutely fantastic!“

Immortal will feature 10 songs, including one composition that Schenker created when he was a child, titled ‘In Search of the Peace of Mind.’

Schenker spoke at length about the song during his recent interview.

“I wrote this song when I was 15 years old, it was my first ever written piece of music which I recorded with Scorpions on our first studio album Lonesome Crow in 1970, getting released in 1972 – when I had already left Scorpions to join the British rock band UFO in June of 1972 – when I was 17,” he said. “We re-recorded this song for my 50th anniversary as a celebration and it turned out to be an epic; with an extra extension at the end of the song, which turned out absolutely fantastic with Simon Phillips on drums, doing his usual amazing stuff.“ The result is a true highlight and features even more surprises: “Gary Barden sings the first verse,  continued by Ronnie Romero – and in the end we have Ronnie, Doogie White, and Robin McAuley screaming their heads off, as a tribute to my 50th anniversary. Absolutely amazing. Thanks to the guys for doing this!“

Immortal will release as a standard CD and a limited edition expanded edition complete with the Michael Schenker Fest live recording Bang Your Head.  Schenker said of the recording, which was recorded two years ago in Balingen/Germany, “Unfixed, raw, pure and great! There’s a couple of small mistakes, but because the show and recording went so well, I decided to keep it the way it went on the night. It’s live, magic and pure.“

More information on Immortal is available now along with all of Michael Schenker Fest’s latest news and more at:






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