The Sounds, Statements, Sequencing Of Superbloom’s New Album Will Appeal To Fans Of 90s Alt, Grunge Music

Courtesy: Earshot Media

For many people out there, the era that was the 80s is neither dead nor gone (sadly).  Ironically, the 80s is not the only era in which many people choose to live, even though it has passed.  There are also those who choose to remain in the 90s, even though that age is gone, too.  Among those individuals who apparently choose to live in the 90s, even now in the 21st century are the members of the independent alt-rock band Superbloom.  That is evidenced in the band’s album, Pollen.  The 12-song record, scheduled for release Tuesday, is a full-on musical trip back to the 90s, but one that is welcome.  Those musical arrangements that make up the body of this record will be discussed shortly.  The lyrical themes that accompany the songs, while difficult to decipher at points without a lyrics sheet, also play into the album’s presentation.  They will be discussed a little later.  The sequencing of that collective content rounds out the most important of the album’s elements and will also be discussed later.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the album’s presentation.  All things considered, they make Pollen a surprisingly enjoyable nostalgic trip back to the 90s that any fan of that era’s sounds will enjoy.

 Superbloom’s forthcoming album Pollen is a surprisingly enjoyable musical trip back to the 90s.  More specifically, it is a welcome trip for those who were and still are fans of the grunge and alt-rock movement that was so prevalent during that era.  That is proven primarily through the record’s featured musical arrangements.  Right from the 42-minute record’s opening, audiences are treated to an arrangement that is comparable to works from Foo Fighters in ‘1994.’  Ironically, it was only a year later – 1995 – when Foo Fighters released its self-titled debut album.  Nirvana had released its finale album, In Utero only a year prior in 1993.  It sounded nothing like Foo Fighters’ album, which would of course come later, either.  To that end, maybe the arrangement is meant to sort of highlight the bridge between the two bands.  That is of course just this critic’s interpretation. 

Moving on from ‘1994,’ the alt-rock and grunge sounds and styles continue from there.  ‘Mary on a Chain’ bears a stylistic approach and sound that is just as comparable to works from Silverchair and Nirvana as to some of the alt-rocks bands that rose to fame during the 1990s.  That is evidenced through the sound and style of the vocal delivery, guitars and bass here.  Even the sound of the drums, thanks to the production, gives them the sound of drums used in so many records during that era.  It makes for an interesting presentation in its own right.

Much the same can be said of ‘Hey Old Man,’ ‘Leash,’ and honestly every other arrangement featured throughout the album.  Audiences are even treated to a Smashing Pumpkins style composition in the album’s latest single, ‘Pollen.’  As if that is not enough, listeners could just as easily argue that the band takes influence from (of all bands) in ‘Glass Candy Wrapper.’  The similarity between this song and Lifehouse’s hit single ‘Hanging By A Moment’ is uncanny.  Whether that similarity was intended is known only to Superbloom’s members.  Regardless, it is an unavoidable comparison.  Taking that into account along with the other arrangements examined here and the rest of the record’s compositions, the whole makes this album appealing for any alt-rock and grunge rock fan if only for its musical content.  Of course the musical content is only a portion of what is deserving of attention.  The lyrical content that accompanies the songs’ musical content is also of note.

The lyrical content featured throughout Pollen is difficult to fully decipher at points without a lyrics sheet to reference.  Though, there are some points at which the lyrics can at least be understood partially.  One of the songs that allows for at least some understanding is the early Nirvana-esque ‘Spill.’  Front man Dave Hoon sings in the song’s lead verse, “I want to buy/A crow of thorns/try it on/And poison my…” The final words here are difficult to decipher.  That aside, the very mention of the crown of thorns makes the song here perhaps about someone putting the weight of the world on their own shoulders.  At another point, Hoon can be understood to sing, “I wish I was someone else/So I redeem myself.”  He later adds, “I wanna buy your sympathy.”  This comes across as the same kind of angsty lyrical content that was so commonplace in music from the 90s in itself.  To that end, that seeming “oh woe is me” lyrical theme here couples perfectly with the sound of the age to take listeners back to the 90s even more.

Interestingly enough, Hoon and company do not just stick to the 90s in terms of the album’s lyrical themes.  Hoon explained in reference to the album’s single, ‘Muzzle, that it is in fact a commentary on the current state of the world.  He said of this song’s theme, “The lyrics for Muzzle were written at the end of summer I think of 2020 when everything was hyper crazy, and I’d always have the news on or be on Twitter or Reddit. So that was the environment Muzzle was written in. I think the song is about having something to say but choosing not to — for better or for worse.”  Those statements are illustrated well as Hoon sings in the song’s lead verse, “Save me from myself/Put me back on the shelf/I thought we understood/If I could turn back time, I would.”  There is even a mention in the second verse about the TV being constantly on.  What is really interesting here is not so much the lyrical theme, but the calm in how Hoon delivers the song’s words.  It’s kind of that hindsight being 20/20 sense, considering the calm in his delivery.  That ads even more to the impact in the song’s lyrical theme, making clear why it is just one more example of the importance of the album’s lyrical content. 

‘Whatever,’ the album’s penultimate entry, is yet another example of the album’s lyrical themes.  As with that featured in ‘Spill,’ this song’s lyrical theme comes across as echoing the angsty emotions so common in music from the 90s.  The song’s subject here seems to be addressing someone else, basically saying he/she is indifferent to being away from others.  That is inferred as Hoon sings, “Wish I was gone/When I come back/I feel a million miles away/Whatever.”  He even says in the song’s opening, “You ever been alone/You just enjoy the way/You like the way it sounds.”  This comes across as being one of those anthemic type of songs that angsty, grunge fans would like.  That is because it seems to present that desire of those young teen audiences to just be away and by themselves, brooding over everything because they like being that way.  This is certain to take listeners right back to that age as it repeats time and again throughout the song’s three minute-plus run time.  It makes the song just one more example of what makes the album’s lyrical content so important to its presentation.  It shows the clear intent of Superbloom’s members to connect with listeners through the album’s lyrical content just as much as through its musical content.

While the musical and lyrical content featured in Superbloom’s new album goes a long way toward making the album appealing for fans of 90s alt and grunge rock, it is just part of what makes the album appealing for those audiences.  The sequencing of that content puts the finishing touch to the album’s presentation.  The sequencing shows a clear direction for the album’s songs.  It starts out with a certain fire in its musical content, but gradually pulls back in the pairing of ‘Leash’ and ‘Muzzle.’  From that point on, the energies (and by connection the styles and sounds) in the album vary from song to song and even within the songs.  This ensures listeners’ engagement in its own right.  It ensures that the album does not become monotonous.  Rather, it will keep listeners’ own emotions varying with those in the arrangements.  Keeping that in mind, the sequencing serves as its own strong point for the album.  When it is considered along with the album’s overall content, the whole makes this record a presentation that fans of 90s alt and grunge rock will agree is a welcome musical blast from the past.

Superbloom’s new album, Pollen is an interesting new offering from the independent rock act.  That is due in part to its musical arrangements.  The arrangements harken back to the alt and grunge rock sounds of the 90s, taking influence from the likes of Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, and Foo Fighters to name just a few similar acts.  That in itself is reason enough for the noted audiences to take in this record.  The lyrical themes seem at least to some extent, to harken back to the angsty lyrical themes featured in music from acts that were popular at the time, too.  The sequencing of that content puts the finishing touch to the album’s presentation, ensuring listeners’ engagement even more.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the album’s presentation.  All things considered, they make Pollen one of the best of this year’s new independent albums.  Pollen is scheduled for release Tuesday.

More information on Superbloom’s new single, video and album is available along with all of the band’s latest news at https://www.facebook.com/superbloomnyc.

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to https://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.

Andre Ferreri’s New LP Is Not This Year’s Best New Jazz Album, But Is Still An Enjoyable Offering

Courtesy: Laser Records

Jazz guitarist Andre Ferreri has built quite the name and reputation for himself over the course of his career.  Having composed works that have ended up on television, and recorded songs with some of the jazz community’s most well-known names, he has more than made his own place in the industry.  His new album, Numero Uno will only serve to continue cementing his place in the music (and especially jazz) community, too.  The 11-song record is scheduled for release Monday through Laser Records.  Its musical arrangements offer audiences much to appreciate.  They will be discussed shortly.  While the record’s musical arrangements offer their own share of engagement and entertainment, the record is not perfect.  The lack of background information on the songs in the liner notes detracts from the album’s presentation, though not enough to make the album a failure.  The songs’ sequencing rounds out the most important of the album’s elements.  It works with the songs themselves to make for more engagement and entertainment and will be discussed later, too.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the album’s presentation.  All things considered, they make Numero Uno a record that number one or not, jazz fans will still enjoy.

Andre Ferreri’s new album, Numero Uno is not the top entry in this year’s field of new jazz records or even jazz guitar records.  It is still an enjoyable record that is well worth hearing, though.  That is due in part to the record’s featured arrangements.  The arrangements in question are fun, original works that range from bebop influence (the album’s opener, ‘Mighty Fine’) to more bluesy jazz (‘Uptown Swing’) to fusion (‘Avia Pervia’) and even to modal jazz (‘Making Major Changes,’ ‘Making Minor Changes’).  In other words, the album really runs the gamut so to speak here, offering audiences a wide range of styles from one song to the next.  Ferreri’s performances and those of his fellow musicians – Ziad Rabie (tenor saxophone), Kobie Watkins (drums), Anna Stadlman (acoustic bass), Brad Wilcox (trumpet), and pianists Mark Stallings, Phillip Howe, and Sean Higgins (each performed on separate tracks) – are to credit for the enjoyment in each song.  That is exhibited through the control that each musician shows in each performance.  From the subtleties of Rabie’s performance throughout, to Watkins’ control in his solo in the album’s opener and controlled swing in ‘Uptown Swing,’ to Stadlman’s rich sound in ‘Good Bones’ and so much more, the performances throughout offer their own enjoyment.  At the same time, that enjoyment leads to enjoyment of the varied styles and sounds presented here.

While the musical content and related performances thereof offer audiences much to appreciate, the record is not perfect.  The album is lacking in any background information on any of the songs in the liner notes.  As a result, audiences are left to make their own inferences as to the songs’ meanings.  Case in point is ‘We Were All Children.’  The song’s title infers perhaps a certain introspection.  The gentle piano line from Stallings here alongside the equally subtle performances from Ferreri and Rabie does in fact conjure thoughts of a person thinking back to those days of innocence.  The thing is, one cannot help but wonder if that was what Ferreri was intending to do here.  Again, not having any background information on the song leaves it completely open to interpretation.  Stallings’ flourishes against Watkins’ cymbals in the bridge here really conjures those thoughts of maybe children at play while Rabie’s gentle, subtle performance on saxophone leads to thoughts of children perhaps just being with their loved ones.  It would have been nice to have known if in fact all of that is what Ferreri and company were intending to make listeners contemplate.

‘Seasons,’ which comes early in the album’s run, is another example of why it would have been nice to have had some background information on the songs.  The first thing that comes to mind here is maybe a musical interpretation of the feelings that are associated with each of the four seasons.  However, without that background information, that cannot be assured.  Add in the fact that the energy exuded throughout the song could just as easily be associated with any of the seasons.  That full-on ambiguity here can easily lead to incorrect interpretations.  So again, here is another example of why background information in the liner notes would have benefited the album’s presentation. 

‘On the Move’ is yet another example of why background on the songs would have benefited the album’s presentation.  This upbeat, six minute-plus composition presents such energy from start to end.  Ferreri, Rabie, and Watkins join with Higgins here to really move listeners.  The thing is that again, one cannot help but wonder what the background was here.  The song’s tone is positive and optimistic, like someone looking forward to the future, thus “On the Move.”  That is just this critic’s own interpretation.  The reality could in fact be something completely different, but sadly having nothing to go on, that just detracts from the experience, if only minimally.  Here is the thing.  When that detraction is considered with the impact of having no liner notes for any of the album’s other songs (including those noted here) it detracts noticeably from the album’s overall presentation.  The impact is not enough to make the album a failure by any means, but it certainly would have been nice to have had that background on the songs.  That would have greatly enhanced the listening experience.

Since the lack of background information on the songs in Ferreri’s new album does not doom the record (thankfully), that means that it is still well worth hearing, regardless.  Building on that, the sequencing of the album’s content works with that content to put the finishing touch to the album’s presentation.  The sequencing is especially important here because the album exceeds the one hour mark, clocking in at one hour, six minutes and roughly 36 seconds (to be totally precise).  That means this record is not short by any means.  The album’s shortest song clocks in at five minutes and its longest at seven minutes, 48 seconds.  In other words, this record is not one for audiences with short attention spans.  Thankfully, the energy exuded by each performer ensures that regardless of the songs’ run times, audiences will remain engaged and entertained.  As a result, their focus will be on the music rather than the songs’ run times.  When this is considered along with the diversity in the songs’ sounds and styles, that pairing makes this record well worth hearing among those in the jazz community.

Andre Ferreri’s new album Numero Uno is an applause-worthy new offering from the veteran jazz guitarist/composer.  It is a presentation that will appeal to anyone within the jazz community.  That is proven in part through the album’s featured arrangements.  The arrangements are diverse in their sounds and styles.  While the arrangements form a solid foundation for its presentation, the lack of any background information on the songs does detract from the listening experience to a point.  The negative impact caused by that lack is not enough to doom the album, though.  Keeping that in mind, when the album’s sequencing is considered along with the songs, that pairing puts the finishing touch to the album’s presentation and ultimately makes the album enjoyable for any jazz fan.  Numero Uno is scheduled for release Monday through Laser Records.  More information on this and other titles from Laser Records is available at:

Website: https://www.laserrecords.com/home

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/laserrecordsllc

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LaserRecordsLLC

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

Jenn Cleary’s Debut Family Album Is A Positive First Family Outing

Courtesy: Waldmania PR

Singer/songwriter/activist Jenn Cleary has spent the better part of her adult life making music and working to improve life for families in places around the world.  Now this year, she is bringing those two sides of her career together with her debut family music album, All Together Now.  Scheduled for release Friday, the self-released record blends Cleary’s socially conscious leanings with a diverse range of musical arrangements to make the general presentation appealing for her target audiences.  The sequencing of the noted content brings everything together and completes the record’s presentation.  All three noted items are important in their own way to the whole of this presentation to make the album a presentation that holds its own against the many other family music albums that have been released so far this year.

Jenn Cleary’s debut family music album (and fourth overall album) is a presentation that holds its own against this year’s current field of new family music albums.  That is proven in part through its featured lyrical themes.  From start to end, the 31-minute record’s themes range from the silly to the serious.  The more serious themes come early on in the record’s first four songs.  From understanding and appreciating the role of bees to the environment, to keeping the world’s waterways clean, to simply understanding and appreciating the diversity in the world’s ecosystems, and the need to protect them, Cleary makes the messages clear in these songs.  She also closes the album with a more serious topic in the matter of the non-nuclear family in ‘Families of All Kinds.’  This song continues the normalization of the reality that families are not just two parents and a certain number of children.  Considering that there are still those in the 21st century who stick to that stereotype, a song such as this is just as relevant and welcome as ever.  In-between all of that, Cleary inserts the more silly works, one of which is a simple work that celebrates the joy of something as simple as blowing bubbles.  There is also a celebration of using one’s imagination in ‘Dinosaur Friend.’  Between this topic, the others noted here, and those featured in the rest of the album’s works, the whole paints Cleary’s new album as an interesting lyrically diverse presentation.  That diversity in itself will help the album connect with a wide range of audiences.  It is just one of the aspects that will connect with audiences.  The album’s musical content is just as diverse as its lyrical content.

All Together Now opens with a semi-country style work in ‘Our Wild Family.’  The combination of the piano, harmonica, vocals, and drums works well to present that subtle sound and approach.  Cleary moves in a more bluesy direction in ‘Scar’s the Word For That,’ showing that diversity a little more.  ‘Clean Water’ changes things up again, taking the record is amore pop direction.  On an even more interesting note, Cleary offers up some zydeco in ‘Backyard Farm.’  ‘Dinosaur Friend’ keeps the musical diversity moving by using a bit of a folk/country hybrid approach in its musical arrangement.  ‘Less Gravity’ keeps the changes coming, this time taking listeners back to the 1960s in its danceable arrangement. Looking through all of this and the musical arrangements in the album’s other songs, the diversity in the record’s musical content becomes clearer.  Hearing that diversity will lead to full appreciation for that aspect of the album, too.

While the general content featured throughout this record does plenty to keep listeners engaged and entertained, they are only a portion of what makes the record interesting for audiences.  The sequencing of said content brings everything together and completes the album’s presentation.  A close listen to the record reveals a very deliberate approach to the sequencing.  For the most part, the sequencing keeps the album’s energy at a relatively stable mid-tempo rate.  However, there is a clear break point in the record in ‘Love Right Now.’  This song features a distinctly subdued sound and approach that is completely unlike the album’s other arrangements.  It serves as a good way for Cleary to keep listeners engaged.  From there, the record returns to its noted, more up-tempo feel that makes up the record’s first half.    In the process, the sequencing ensures the lyrical themes and musical styles and sounds change just enough to keep things interesting.  Keeping this in mind, no doubt is left as to the importance of the album’s sequencing.  When it is considered along with the album’s musical and lyrical content, the whole makes this album a successful first family outing for Cleary.

Jenn Cleary’s debut family album, All Together Now is a positive offering from the singer/songwriter/activist.  That is proven in part through the album’s musical arrangements.  The arrangements in question are somewhat diverse, offering audiences a touch of country, folk, and even some pop.  The lyrical content that accompanies the album’s musical content adds its own touch to the presentation.  That is because it is also diverse.  There are environmentally aware messages alongside messages making clear, the importance of family and familial love.  There are also lighter messages that push the importance of having simple fun.  The record’s sequencing ensures that musical and lyrical diversity is itself kept diverse throughout the album.  It changes up all of that content throughout while also keeping the album’s energy stable throughout.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the album, clearly.  All things considered, they make All Together Now a positive first family outing for Cleary.

All Together Now is scheduled for release Friday.  More information on the album is available along with all of Cleary’s latest news at:

Website: https://jenncleary.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JennClearyMusic

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jenncleary

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

Dobet Gnahore’ Offers Audiences One Of 2021’s Most Unique World Music Offerings With Her Latest LP

Courtesy: Cumbancha

World Music artist Dobet Gnahore’ has seen quite a number of highs in her professional career.  From her pre-teen years through her adult life, she has entertained people around the world, had her own group – Ano Neko – and released five albums of her own.  She has even worked with famed superstar India.Arie on her Grammy® Award-winning song ‘Pearls.’  Along with all of that, she has also seen the downside of the music industry in recent years, losing her record label, management, music publisher, and booking agent.  Add in the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and this still very young singer/performer has seen just as much negative in her life as positive.  Yet even with all of the negative that has impacted her career and life, Gnahore’ has not allowed any of it to stop her.  Instead she has persevered and pushed on with a new album that is scheduled for release next week.  Couleur, which is French for “Color,” is scheduled for release Friday through Cumbancha.  The 12-song record is certain to generate plenty of interest in part because of its featured musical arrangements.  They will be discussed shortly.  The lyrical content that accompanies the album’s musical arrangements do their own share to generate interest and engagement among listeners.  This will be discussed a little later.  The sequencing of that content rounds out the most important of the record’s elements.  It will also be discussed later.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of album’s presentation.  All things considered, they make the album a work that is certain to be one of the most talked about records among this year’s new World Music offerings.

Dobet Gnahore’s forthcoming album Couleur is a presentation that is certain to generate a lot of interest among World Music fans this year.  That is due in part to its featured musical arrangements.  The arrangements in question are anything but what audiences might expect when they hear or read the term “World Music.”  From beginning to end, Gnahore’ offers audiences arrangements that would fit in with any mainstream Top 40 pop radio programmer’s play list here in the United States and elsewhere.  There are steady, 2/4 dance-encouraging works throughout, such as in the album’s closer, ‘Mi Pradjo,’ ‘’Woman,’ and ‘Vis Ta Vie’ (which roughly translates to ‘Live Your Life’) featured here.  There are also more general pop style works in songs, such as ‘Jalouse,’ (which translates to ‘Jealous’), ‘Wazii’ (translated, it means ‘Think’), and ‘Ma Maison’ (‘My House’).  The album also features songs that mix Gnahore’s own influences with some more Western influence for works in whole are unique in and of themselves.  Keeping all of this in mind along with the presentations in the album’s other musical arrangements, the whole of that content makes for plenty of reason in itself for audiences to hear this record at least once.  It is just a portion of what makes this record stand out among this year’s new World Music offerings.  The album’s lyrical content proves just as important to its presentation.

The lyrical content featured throughout the album’s 40-minute presentation is important to address because of its socially conscious nature.  The topics that Gnahore’ addresses are relevant to audiences around the world.  The matter of gender equality shows up at least twice in the album in ‘Yakane,’ ‘Woman,’ and ‘Mon Epoque’ (‘My Era’).  In the case of ‘Woman,’ Gnahore works to encourage women everywhere to take pride in themselves as well as their bodies.  This in itself is key for every woman around the world.  In the case of ‘Yakane,’ she proudly sings about the growth of women’s place in the world, noting, “The time when the man was in charge of the woman has passed/Today the world is changing in favor of women/The independence of women is today.”  There is no ambiguity here.  This is a message that will resonate with any woman.  ‘Mon Epoque’ is very similar in its message.  The message here is essentially that “I am woman, hear me roar” message, as she openly says “I live in my era/Now free/In charge/A woman of today/I see a man that I like/I tell him/I want to know him/and then that’s it/And I cry out/Man, I love you, man/And I cry out/Man, I want to know you/I want to know you only one night.”  Now that final comment is pretty strong.  This is a woman who is saying she is her own individual.  That is a pretty bold statement that is sure to put a smile on any woman’s face.  That is because it is a woman who is confident in herself, including in her own sexuality. 

Of course, Gnahore’’s feminist views are not the only commentary that she offers up.  She also offers a message of encouragement and hope in ‘Leve-Toi.’  This song finds her telling listeners, “Please don’t give up/Please, live a good life” after also telling listeners that “God is strong/You will make it/Get up.”  The song in general follows this central approach and theme.  It is certain to resonate, again, with any listener. On a similar note, Gnahore’ encourages people to be careful as to who they trust in life in ‘Vis Ta Vie.’  She sings here, “Don’t talk/Don’t brag about your life/Not all ears are clean/Beware of the congassa/Beware of the kpakpato/They will want to take advantage of you/They will tell you stories/Beware of the kpakpato/Beware of the jealous.”  This message is as straight forward as any of the album’s other messages.  It is yet another message that will resonate with any listener.

As if all of the items noted are not enough, Gnahore’ also pays tribute to families in this record.  That tribute comes in the form ‘Ma Maison.’  She sings here about the joy that family brings, the importance of one’s roots, and the importance of one’s connection to one’s family in general.  It is just one more example of how the lyrical content featured in this record proves so important to the album’s presentation.  When this accessible message, the others examined here and the rest of the album’s content is considered in whole along with the album’s musical arrangements, the whole makes the album that much stronger in its presentation. 

There is no question that the collective content featured in this record is hugely important to its engagement and enjoyment.  While it is unquestionably important to the record’s presentation, it is just a portion of what makes the album worth hearing.  The sequencing of that content brings everything together and completes the album’s presentation.  The sequencing keeps the record’s energy stable from start to end, ensuring it remains relatively mid-tempo, just up-tempo enough.  At the same time, it also ensures the stylistic approaches and sounds change from one song to the next, keeping things interesting for listeners in that aspect, too.  The same applies to the record’s lyrical content.  The sequencing keeps that changing throughout, too.  Taking that into account, the album’s sequencing shows clear thought into that aspect, too.  When the impact of the album’s sequencing is considered along with that of the album’s overall content, the whole makes the album in whole a unique addition to this year’s field of new World Music offerings.

Dobet Gnahore’s forthcoming new album, Couleur is a presentation that despite being a World Music offering, is a presentation that is clearly not limited to audiences of said genre.  It is in fact an interesting record that is just as much pop as it is World Music.  It just happens to be from an artist from another nation.  That is proven in part through its musical arrangements.  The arrangements in question are just as accessible as anything that American Top 40 pop stations play daily.  They are that accessible.  The lyrical content that accompanies the record’s musical arrangements add to the album’s appeal.  That is because it touches on topics that are accessible to any listener, regardless of their nationality.  It does this by touching on socially aware topics, such as gender equality, family, and simply living life among so much more.  What’s more, the fashion in which the messages are delivered is just as accessible as the themes themselves.  This adds even more to the record’s appeal.  The sequencing of all of that content rounds out the album’s most important elements.  It ensures the content in question changes constantly even as the songs’ energy remains relatively stable throughout.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the album’s presentation.  All things considered, they make Couleur the most unique of this year’s new World Music offerings so far.

Couleur is scheduled for release Friday through Cumbancha.  More information on Couleur is available along with all of Dobet Gnahore’’s latest news at:

Website: https://www.cumbancha.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dobetgnahore

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

Billy F. Gibbons’ New LP Is Certain To Earn Its Own Share Of “Hardware”

Courtesy: Concord Records

ZZ Top front man Billy F. Gibbons is set to release his third solo album, Hardware Friday through Concord Records. Coming less than two years after the release of his sophomore solo record, The Big Bad Blues, this 12-song record stands out in part because of its featured songs. This will be discussed shortly. The arrangements featured throughout the album are just as important to address as the songs themselves. This will be addressed a little later.  The songs’ sequencing rounds out the album’s most important elements. It will be discussed later, too. All three items noted here are important in their own right to the whole of the record’s presentation. All things considered, they make Hardware another successful new offering from Gibbons that his audiences and those of his band, ZZ Top will equally enjoy.

Hardware, the third solo record from Billy F. Gibbons, is another enjoyable offering from the longtime ZZ Top front man. That is due in no small part to its featured songs. The songs in question are original compositions, save for just one song, ‘Hey Baby, Que Paso,’ originally originally made famous by Augie Meyers, and later by The Texas Tornados. By comparison, Gibbons’ previous solo records, Perfectamundo and The Big Bad Blues were composed primarily of cover tunes, and far less of original works.  For Gibbons to take such a risk and rely more on original music this time around is a nice change of pace.  It shows Gibbons’ willingness to take more of a chance.  That in itself gives audiences reason enough to give this album a chance.

Building on the appeal established through the album’s general presentation is the actual sound and stylistic approach to the songs featured throughout this album. While Gibbons (and ZZ Top’s) established audiences will find much of the album’s arrangements familiar in terms of sound and style, they will also find that Gibbons does branch out a little bit here.  The most noticeable change of pace comes in the contemplative ballad, ‘Vagabond Man.’ It is in this song that Gibbons takes on the all-too-familiar topic of being out on the road and away from family and friends.  So many acts across the musical universe have taken on that topic throughout the years.  In the case of the song’s arrangement though, Gibbons’ subdued approach tugs at listeners’ heart strings so much without trying.  He also tries something slightly different in ‘Spanish Fly.’  The song presents a distinct modern blues rock sound instead of the more typical southern rock sound for which Gibbons has been known for crafting during his career.  It is another welcome change of pace from Gibbons.  The steady tambourine beat and thick, rich bass drum beat against the backing choral vocals here collectively makes for so much interest.  ‘Desert High,’ which closes out the 37-minute record, is another example of the importance of the arrangements featured in the record’s songs.  The subdued arrangement here conjures thoughts of a specific song from The Doors at times.  As the song progresses and really gets heavier, it still maintains its blues rock identity, but still has a touch of hard rock about it.  It is really another change of style for Gibbons in this outing.  When it and the other songs examined here are considered alongside the more familiar southern/blues-based rock for which Gibbons has come to be known, the whole makes the album’s overall musical content just as important as the approach that Gibbons took to this record.

On a side note, the lyrical content that accompanies the album’s musical content is largely familiar.  As noted, there is that one contemplative piece in ‘Vagabond Man.’ Much of the record’s other lyrical content though, has to do with a woman in a variety of situations.  ‘She’s on Fire’ is clearly about a man who’s wild for a woman.  ‘My Lucky Card’ is also about a woman.  In this case, Gibbons compares the woman to…well…a lucky poker card.  ‘Spanish Fly’ makes reference to drugs and alcohol.  This should be noted.  But a woman is involved here, too.  ‘Hey Baby, Que Paso’ is a cover, but also has to do with a woman.  On another note, ‘Stackin’ Bones’ is its own unique song that is slightly familiar, lyrically, to ‘Spanish Fly’ just without the mention of the woman.  That is putting it lightly.  So considering all of this and the rest of the record’s lyrical themes, much of this record is lyrically just as familiar for audiences of Gibbons and ZZ Top as that in each side’s existing works.  That makes the record even more accessible. 

As much as Gibbons’ approach to the album and the album’s songs (and their
lyrical counterparts) does for the record’s appeal, they are only a part of what makes the album so appealing.  The sequencing of all of that content brings everything together, completing the record’s presentation.   A full listen to Hardware reveals the album to be a mostly up-tempo record.  There are a couple of moments that are laid back, but still manage to keep the album’s energy moving.  At the album’s center though, audiences get a nice break point in the pairing of ‘Vagabond Man’ and ‘Spanish Fly.’  The two songs collectively pull the record back significantly and then gradually build things back up before the record really gets back up to speed in its energy and emotion in ‘West Coast Junkie.’ From there on to the album’s end, Gibbons keeps things moving solidly.  This ensures listeners’ engagement and entertainment in its own right, too.  When this is considered along with Gibbons’ approach to the album and the album’s content, the whole makes Hardware another great record from one of the greatest names in rock and the blues.

Billy F. Gibbons’ third solo album, Hardware, is a successful new offering from the veteran singer/guitarist.  It is a step up from his first time albums.  That is thanks in part to the approach that Gibbons took to the record. Instead of relying mainly on covers this time, he instead opted to make his original compositions the star.  Only one of the record’s dozen total songs is a cover in this case.  The musical (and lyrical) content featured within the songs shows that the risk that Gibbons took this time out paid off, too.  It offered audiences something familiar and something slightly less so throughout.  The sequencing of that total content brought everything together here, completing the album’s presentation.  That mid-album break that was intentionally used here ensured that the record did not get monotonous and kept listeners’ attention and enjoyment.  Keeping all of this in mind, the whole of these elements makes Hardware a presentation that is sure to earn just as much hardware as its predecessors. 

Hardware is scheduled for release Friday through Concord Records.  More
information on the album is available along with all of Billy F. Gibbons’ latest
news at:

Websitehttps://www.billygibbons.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/BillyFGibbonsOfficial

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/billyfgibbons

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to https://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.

Amon Amarth Celebrates Album’s Release Anniversary With Re-Worked Take Of One Of Its Songs

Courtesy: Cosa Nostra PR/Metal Blade Records

Amon Amarth is celebrating the 20th anniversary of its third album, The Crusher this year.

In celebration of the anniversary, the band has released a re-worked take on one of the album’s key songs, ‘Masters of War‘ along with a new visualizer to boot. As an added bonus, the band has also released a new T-shirt to mark the occasion exclusively through Victorious Merch.

Front man Johan Hegg had the following to say of the song’s new take: “Celebrating the 20th anniversary of The Crusher album, we felt we wanted to re-record one of the main songs from the album and put a bit of a modern Amon Amarth touch on it. Enjoy!”

The band’s re-recorded take of ‘Masters of War’ is the band’s first “new” music since the release of its then new album, Berserker in 2019.

More information on Amon Amarth’s re-worked take of ‘Masters of War’ is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Websitehttps://www.amonamarth.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/amonamarth

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/amonamarthband

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to https://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.

Peach Records Announces Release Date, Specs For ABB Tribute Concert

Courtesy: Peach Records

Fans of The Allman Brothers Band are getting another live recording from members of the band this summer.

The Brothers — Duane Trucks, Derek Trucks, Chuck Leavell, Jaimoe, Marc Quinones, Oteil Burbridge, Warren Haynes, and Reese Wynans — are scheduled to release its sold out March 10, 2020 Madison Square Garden concert July 23 through Peach Records. The concert is scheduled for release on CD, DVD, digital, and Blu-ray.

A portion of proceeds from sales of the recording will go to benefit The Allman Brothers Band Museum. The concert is the second recording this year from members of The Allman Brothers Band. Down in Texas ’71 was released March 26.

The track listing for the recording is noted below.

First Set:

Don’t Want You No More

It’s Not My Cross To Bear

Statesboro Blues

Revival

Trouble No More

Don’t Keep Me Wonderin’

Black Hearted Woman

Dreams

Hot ‘Lanta

Come And Go Blues

Soulshine

Stand Back

Jessica

Second Set

Mountain Jam

Blue Sky

Desdemona

Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More

Every Hungry Woman

Melissa

In Memory Of Elizabeth Reed

No One To Run With

One Way Out

Jaimoe & Warren Greetings

Midnight Rider

Whipping Post

More information on the Allman Brothers Band’s upcoming Madison Square Garden concert is available online at:

Websitehttps://allmanbrothersband.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/allmanbrothersband

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/allmanbrothers

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to https://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.

Twizted Partners With INK Front Man, Fozzy Guitarist Spencer Charnas For New Single, Video

Courtesy: Majik Ninja Entertainment

Horror/theatrical rock band Twizted premiered its latest single and video this week.

The band kicked off the long holiday weekend by premiering its new single, ‘Envy‘ and the song’s video. The band was joined by Ice Nine Kills front man Spencer Charnas for both presentations. The song premiered through Loudwire.

Along with Charnas’ vocals, Fozzy/Stuck Mojo guitarist Rich Ward adds his talents to this song.

The song is the fourth single from Twizted’s forthcoming album, Unlikely Prescription, which is scheduled for release Sept. 10 through Majik Ninja Entertainment. The premiere of the song and its video follows that of the album’s first two singles, ‘Corkscrew,’ ‘Perfect Problem,’ and ‘Rose Petal.’

The musical arrangement featured in the new single bears clear stylistic similarities to Marilyn Manson’s ‘Beautiful People’ what with the use of the electronics and other elements. At the same time, the rapping that is incorporated into the mix alongside the heavier, melodic rock approach later in the song lends itself to comparison to works from Pop Evil. The contrast of those two sounds and stylistic approaches is stark, but also manages somehow to work here.

As the song’s title infers, the lyrical theme featured in this song is a direct commentary about people’s jealousy of others. It addresses the mental impact of that green-eyed monster.

The song’s video, which features Charnas as a news anchor, uses a briefcase that traps people when they see whatever is inside to help translate the message in the song’s lyrical theme.

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

Website: https://majikninjaentertainment.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Twizted

Twitter: https://twitter.com/tweetmesohard

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to https://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.

Fozzy Debuts New Single, ‘Sane,’ Companion Video

Courtesy: Another Century

Fozzy kicked off the long holiday weekend with a new single and video.

The band debuted its new single, ‘Sane‘ and its companion video Friday. The song is the band’s first new music since the debut of its then latest single, ‘Nowhere to Run‘ in September 2019.

The musical arrangement featured in ‘Sane’ is a familiar work from Fozzy, in terms of its sound and stylistic approach. It exhibits the same kind of melodic hard rock approach and sound used in its existing works yet still ensures the song maintains its own unique identity separate from those songs.

Front man Chris Jericho had the following to say about the song’s musical arrangement.

“‘Sane’ is the perfect first single for Fozzy to unleash on the world, as it’s heavy, hooky, catchy and RIFF-TASTIC!!,” said Jericho. “I can’t think of a better way to remind everybody of the feeling you get when u hear a great rock n roll tune, one that makes u wanna put the top down on your car and put your foot down on the gas….and ‘SANE’ is that tune! It’s been such a tough year in so many ways, but now as the world is slowly getting better, FOZZY is here to vaccinate you with a proverbial phonograph needle and make you wanna ROCK again,” 

No information was provided about the lyrical theme in the press release distributed about the song’s debut. Listeners can infer through listening to the song that the theme in question centers on the matter of mental health to a point. The use of the roller coaster ride in the song’s companion video alongside the song’s lyrical content points to the inferred theme even more.

Asan aside, the video for ‘Sane’ was recorded aboard the ride, The Voyage’ at Holiday World in Santa Claus, IN. The video was shot on a closed set.

In other news, Fozzy is scheduled to return to the road this summer starting July 14 in Iowa City, IA. The band’s upcoming tour schedule features performances in cities, such as Jacksonville, NC; Cleveland, OH, and Savannah, GA. The tour’s schedule is noted below.

FOZZY Tour Dates:

July 14 – Iowa City, IA – Wildwood 

July 15 – Cadott, WI – Rockfest*

July 17 – Jacksonville, FL – Taco Festival*

August 7 – Sheboygan, WI – Brat Days *

September 2 – Columbus, OH – Newport Music Hall 

September 3 – Joliet, IL – Apollo Theater 

September 4 – Belvidere, IL – Apollo Theater

September 6 – Kansasville, WI – 1175 

September 9 – Harrisburg, PA – HMAC 

September 10 – Appomattox, VA – Blue Ridge Rockfest *

September 11 – Baltimore, MD – Soundstage 

September 12 – Pittsburgh, PA – Jergel’s 

September 13 – Buffalo, NY – Iron Works 

September 16 – Angola, IN – Eclectic Room 

September 17 – Elevation – The Intersection 

September 18 – Flint. MI – Machine Shop 

September 19 – Cleveland, OH – The Winchester 

September 26 – Louisville, KY – Louder Than Life*

September 27 – Indianapolis, IN – Hi Fi 

September 28 – Harrison, OH – Blue Note 

September 30 – Nashville, TN – Basement East 

October 1 – Canton, GA – Action Building 

October 2 – Tampa, FL – 98ROCKFEST*

October 3 – Charlotte, NC – Underground 

October 4 – Jacksonville, NC – Hooligans 

October 7 – Johnson City, TN – Capone’s 

October 8 – Savannah, GA – Victory North

October 9 – Orlando, FL – WJRR’s Earthday Birthday*

October 21-October 25 – Chris Jericho’s Rock ‘N’ Wrestling Rager at Sea

October 29 – November 3 – The KISS Kruise X

*festival dates

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

Website: https://fozzyrock.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/fozzyrock

Twitter: https://twitter.com/fozzyrock

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to https://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.

Audiences In Georgia, Beyond Will Enjoy Hearing Blackberry Smoke’s New Album

Courtesy: 3 Legged Records/Thirty Tigers

More than four years after releasing its hit album Find a Light, southern rock band Blackberry Smoke returned this week with an equally strong new record in Georgia You Hear.  The band’s seventh album, this record is everything that audiences have come to expect from the band, which has been called one of the best of the genre by many audiences and critics.  That is due in part to its featured musical arrangements.  They will be discussed shortly.  The lyrical themes that are featured throughout the album add a second layer of appeal to the record.  They will be discussed a little later.  The record’s sequencing rounds out its most important elements and will be addressed later, too.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the album’s presentation.  All things considered, they make the album a successful presentation from beginning to end.

Blackberry Smoke’s seventh full-length studio recording, Georgia You Hear is a record that every listener will want to hear.  Yes, that awful pun was intended.  That is due in no small part to its featured musical arrangements.  The arrangements in question largely boast the band’s familiar southern rock tones and stylistic approaches.  At the same time though, they also present a subtle variety from one to the next.  The band even goes full-on country at one point – ‘Lonesome for a Livin’ (ft. Jamey Johnson).’  On a side note, rumblings are that Johnson, who is an outstanding artist in his own right, is finally mapping out his possible first new album in years.  One can only hope and pray that it happens.  Getting back on topic, the arrangements here take audiences in a variety of directions, even as they remain within the southern rock genre from one to the next.  Case in point is the arrangement featured in the album’s opener, ‘Live It Down.’  There is something about the arrangement here (including the vocal delivery style of front man Charlie Starr) that makes the composition comparable to works from the likes of The Black Crowes.  That should come as no surprise to the band’s established audiences.  Those audiences know that the band has shown such similarities in its past records, too.  Luckily though, Blackberry Smoke’s members did not just rehash the sounds of those songs here.  Rather, it is its own original work. 

As the album progresses, the noted diversity is just as evident in ‘Old Enough To Know.’  The twang of the steel pedal and the simple percussion against Starr’s bittersweet vocal delivery and guitar performance lends itself to comparison to works from the likes of James Taylor, Bob Dylan, and even Hank Williams, Sr.  This subdued, simple song is a wonderful break point for the record that keeps things just interesting enough to keep audiences engaged.

On yet another note, ‘All Over The Road,’ the album’s penultimate entry, the band mixes its familiar southern rock sounds with a bit of Americana to make for even more evidence of the diversity in the album’s musical content.  The classic Americana element is most evident in the use of the upbeat piano line.  The more southern rock sound at times conjures thoughts of Tom Petty, ZZ Top and even, again, The Black Crowes. The whole makes the song yet another work that audiences will enjoy while also showing even more, the diversity in the album’s musical arrangements, even though the arrangements stay within the confines of the southern rock genre.  The positive impact of the musical arrangements featured in this record is only a part of what makes the record successful.  The lyrical themes featured in the record are just as diverse (and accessible) as the record’s musical arrangements.

The lyrical themes will connect with audiences just as easily as their musical counterparts.  Case in point is the theme featured in ‘Old Scarecrow,’ the album’s closer.  This song’s lyrical theme presents a message of self-assurance and personal identity.  Starr sings here about not caring about “the year’s new model” and states “I might be a little ragged around the edges…I look at these two hands/And I know there’s someone watching over me.”  He adds, “I ain’t never gonna change my ways.”  This is that defiant message noted.  It is that proverbial middle finger to the status quo, telling people that the subject is going to be who he is, trends be damned.  Again, it is a familiar theme that is used across the musical universe.  It is presented in a familiar fashion that will resonate with audiences just as much as in any other case.

‘Hey Delilah’ presents another familiar lyrical theme.  The theme in question is that of a man who is head over heels for a woman.  Apparently in this case, the woman’s name is Delilah.  Starr recalls here how the woman influenced him (or the song’s subject), even describing how she looked and how it drove him crazy.  That against the song’s musical arrangement, whose southern rock style and sound conjures thoughts of Lynyrd Skynyrd, makes for even more enjoyment here.  It makes the song’s lyrical theme that much more accessible, in turn, showing even more why the album’s lyrical themes are so important to its presentation. 

‘Morningside’ is yet another example of the variety and impact of the album’s lyrical content.  In this case, the band presents in very unique fashion, what comes across as a message about making it through life’s difficult times.  That is inferred as Starr sings in the song’s chorus about “waiting for the morningside” and that “nothing’s ever over…the light is shining on somebody all the time/I’m not stumbling in the darkness/I’m just waiting for the morningside.”  If in fact that is what Starr and company are trying to translate, then they are to be commended for this, again, unique translation.  To that end, it proves one more example of what makes the album’s lyrical content overall just as important as the record’s musical arrangements.  When all of this and the rest of the album’s lyrical content is considered along with all of the album’s musical content, that whole gives listeners every reason to take in this new offering from Blackberry Smoke.  Even with that in mind, it is just a portion of what makes the album worth hearing.  The record’s sequencing rounds out its most important elements.

The sequencing presented in You Hear Goergia is important to note because a close listen reveals a clear, intentional approach to this aspect.  The album starts off in up-tempo fashion in ‘Live It Down.’  From there, the album’s energy gradually pulls back in each song until it reaches its most subdued point in ‘Lonesome for a Livin’ (ft. Jamey Johnson).’  From there, the record’s second half changes things up a little more to keep things interesting.  ‘All Rise again (ft. Warren Haynes)’ immediately picks things back up to start off the record’s second half.  ‘Old Enough to Know’ then just as starkly changes things again as it pulls way back before giving way to the gritty ‘Morningside.’  That arrangement gives way to even more energy as it transitions to ‘All Over The Road,’ giving audiences one more dose of high energy.  From there, the band closes out the album on a relaxed but still confident note in ‘Old Scarecrow.’  Looking back through all of this, it should be clear that the band and all involved had a clear plan in sequencing the songs.  That plan paid off as it ensures listeners’ engagement and entertainment just as much as the album’s content by itself.  When this is considered along with the album’s content, the whole makes this record just as successful as any of the band’s existing albums.

Blackberry Smoke’s brand new album You Hear Georgia is a successful new offering from the band that has become known as one of the leaders of the southern rock realm over its life.  That is proven in part through its musical arrangements.  The arrangements are mostly southern rock songs that still show subtle variations from one to the next in their influences, sounds and styles.  A close listen to the album proves that true.  As if that is not enough, the band even goes full country in at least one song.  The lyrical content featured alongside the album’s musical arrangements is important to the record’s appeal, too.  That is because it is familiar in terms of the presented themes.  The manner in which the familiar themes are presented makes them just as accessible as the album’s musical arrangements.  The sequencing of all of that content rounds out the album’s most important elements.  It brings everything together and ensures in itself, audiences’ engagement and entertainment.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the album.  All things considered, they make You Hear Georgia a record that audiences in Georgia and beyond will enjoy hearing.  You Hear Georgia is available now through 3 Legged Records/Thirty Tigers.

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

Websitehttps://www.blackberrysmoke.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/BlackberrySmoke

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/blackberrysmoke

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to https://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.