Artifas Debuts ‘Leave Me For Dead’ Video

Courtesy: Imagen Records/Warner Music Group

Artifas debuted the video for its latest single last week.

The band premiered the video for its new single, ‘Leave Me For Dead‘ Sept. 23. The debut came less than a week after the band premiered the song by itself. The song is featured in the band’s forthcoming album, Reflections, which is scheduled for release Nov. 19 through Imagen Records. The band premiered the album’s lead single, ‘Cut Me Out‘ and its companion video last month.

The video is an intriguing presentation. It features the band performing its new single in an open field and crosses that with the band digging graves, into each member is buried. It is meant to artistically translate the message in the song’s lyrical theme.

The band addressed the song’s lyrical theme in a recently released statement.

“‘Leave Me For Dead’ is a song about abandonment and the struggle to overcome the emotions associated with it,” the statement reads. “We’ve all had that person in our lives that we trusted, just to find out that they would leave us for dead when things got tough. This song is about just being in disbelief over something like that and the internal battle that follows when you’re left in doubt…”

The musical arrangement featured in Artifas’ new single is a blend of emo- and metalcore. That is evidenced in the heavy guitar breakdowns and balance of screams and clean vocals.

In other news, Artifas announced this month, it has signed a new endorsement deal with Monster Pro Audio Products.

The band talked about the new endorsement deal in a prepared statement.

“Since we began our journey in the music world, Monster Products has been a leader in the world of instrument/audio cables,” the statement reads. “Now we’re excited to announce that we’re beginning a new relationship with them as an official Brand Ambassador!!! We’re super grateful for this opportunity and can’t wait to represent the Monster Audio name with pride.”

Vanco International, LLC is the official global licensee Monster Pro Audio Products. Monster Pro Audio Products has been in operation for 40 years, making high-performance guitar, instrument, and speaker cables, as well as other audio equipment. It is known globally for its products, too.

More information on Artifas’ new endorsement deal, single, and album is available along with all of the band’s latest information at:

Websitehttps://www.artifas.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/artifas

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/artifasofficial

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.

ESPN Announces Details For New NHL Studio Show

Courtesy: ESPN/NHL

With the NHL’s new TV deal bringing the league back to ESPN, the network has announced new related programming.

The Point is scheduled to premiere at 5 p.m. ET Oct. 7 on ESPN2. The show will air on ESPN during the opening week of the league’s 2021-22 regular season, Oct. 12-15. From there, it will move to an afternoon time slot on ESPN2 — 3 p.m. ET on Thursdays.

Additionally, it will simulcast on ESPN+ and on-demand replay, as well as through the ESPN App.

John Buccigross will anchor The Point. He will also serve as play-by-play commentator for ESPN’s NHL games this season. Currently, Buccigross co-hosts the 11p.m. ET edition of SportsCenter.

Executive Producer Andy Tennant talked about the launch of The Point in a prepared statement.

“Our goal is to make The Point essential viewing for hockey fans”, said Tennant. “Our approach is informed by our experience as sports storytellers.  The features will go deep – telling the story of the NHL as only our team can.  And in John Buccigross, we have the perfect host.  He has credibility with every hockey fan—and his knowledge and passion for the sport, along with his skills in this role, give us the foundation for everything we’re doing.” 

Buccigross added, “If NHL 2Night had a child it would be The Point. Like any good parent, our goal is to make this hockey kid even better than its parents. Stoked to get going!”

The ESPN networks’ coverage of the NHL was reached in March. The deal is for seven years and includes streaming and media rights, as well as TV broadcast rights. The deal starts with the 2021-22 season.

More information on the ESPN networks’ NHL coverage is available along with all of the latest NHL headlines at https://www.espn.com/nhl.

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

Wage War’s Latest LP Continues To Cement The Band’s Place In the Metalcore, Metal, And Hard Rock Communities

Courtesy: Fearless Records

When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade.  Everybody knows that old adage about making the best of a bad situation.  It is an adage that the members of Wage War followed (like so many other musical acts) last year when the COVID-19 pandemic forced the band off the road.  The band made the most of the situation and crafted its latest album (its fourth), Manic.  Scheduled for release Friday through Fearless Records, the 57-minute album is a powerful presentation from beginning to end.  That is thanks to its musical and lyrical content alike, as its current singles – Teeth,’ ‘Circle The Drain,’ and ‘High Horse’ – have shown.  They are just a sampling of what makes the album successful.  Also of note in this record is the late entry, ‘Never Said Goodbye.’  This song will be examined shortly.  ‘Death Roll,’ another track that comes in the record’s second half, is also of note.  It will be examined a little later.  ‘Manic,’ the album’s title track, is yet another interesting addition to the presentation and will also be discussed later.  All three songs do just as much as the album’s current singles to show why Manic is such a strong new offering from Wage War.  When all of these songs are considered along with the album’s other songs, the overall presentation makes Manic one more of the best of this year’s top new hard rock and metal albums.

Wage War’s forthcoming album, Manic, is another strong new offering from the metalcore band, which continues to cement its place within that community and the bigger hard rock and metal community.  The album proves successful through its combined musical and lyrical content.  Its current singles have done well to support the noted statements, and they are just a snapshot of what makes the record engaging and entertaining.  ‘Never Said Goodbye’ is another song that shows the album’s strength.  The song is the album’s only reserved composition in terms of its musical arrangement.  The subdued, contemplative stylistic approach and sound in the song’s verses alongside the more fiery choruses makes for a juxtaposition and contrast that stands out starkly from the rest of the record’s works.  That is not a bad thing, either.  Though, in the bigger picture of the record’s sequencing, it might have done better if it had been made the record’s midpoint, so as to break up the record’s overall mood.  That is a matter for another time, though.  The control in the vocals and instrumentation, and the production therein gives this arrangement a distinct emocore type presentation that still manages to immerse listeners in its body and keep them engaged.

The musical side of ‘Never Said Goodbye’ goes a long way to ward making the song stand out in the album’s bigger picture.  When it pairs with the song’s lyrical theme its own strength increases even more.  That is because of the matter addressed in the lyrical content here.  The lyrical content in question focuses on someone mourning an individual who is close to him/her.  This is made relatively clear right from the song’s lead verse and chorus, which state, “Nothing could prepare me for that call/Dropped to my knees/Threw my phone against the wall/Said you were gone/And I didn’t believe it/This isn’t real/I just gotta be dreaming/It’s never fair/You were taken away too soon/Feels like a knife in the heart/An open wound/Won’t ever heal/’Cause I’m tryin’ to…/I’m in a world where you’re not in existence/I know you/I know we never know it’s time/But I don’t understand what’s on the other side/I know you/I know it’s just part of life/But I’m still askin’ why/Why I never say what I meant to/All those things I wanted to tell you/I know you’re home now/In a better place/But I’m still searching for the words to say/Iwsh it wasn’t the last time/’Cause I never said goodbye.”  The eulogy of sorts continues in the song’s second verse, which states, “Hard to think that you’re never coming home/Now you rest in a field beneath this stone/I find peace in the silence around me/And in the calm I can feel you surround me/I don’t think that I’ll ever understand/One day we’re here/Then we fall like grains of sand/Do we wade in the pain that we live in/Or make the most of the time that we’re given?”  This is a pretty clear statement.  It is not necessarily anything new to the musical universe.  Lots of songs such as this have been crafted through the modern history of music, but it is still just as welcome in this case as any other.  Whether this is something autobiographical from any of the band members, the fact stands that this is still a song that will prove therapeutic for so many listeners just as much for the lyrical content as for the musical arrangement.  The whole of that content makes the song overall such a unique addition to the album and just one example of what makes the record successful.  ‘Death Roll,’ another entry in the album’s second half, is another example of the album’s strength.

‘Death Roll’ is the polar opposite of ‘Never Said Goodbye’ in terms of its musical arrangement.  This three-minute-plus song’s arrangement is more akin to works from Slipknot (just like ‘High Horse’) than maybe more emotional emocore bands.  At the same time that it can be compared to works from Slipknot, it can also be compared to works from the likes of Unearth.  The intensity in its sound and stylistic approach is enough in itself to keep listeners engaged and entertained.  What’s more, the screams of vocalist Briton Bond here are just as powerful in this case as those of Corey Taylor and any other similar vocalist.  His work and that of his band mates makes the overall arrangement that much stronger.  The fire in the song’s musical arrangement pairs with the song’s equally intense lyrical content to make the overall song even more powerful.

The lyrical content featured in this song comes across as a defiant stand against those who seem to live just to make others miserable.  This is inferred as Bond screams in the song’s lead verse and chorus, “Terrified/In darkness/Another victim in its sight/So cold/So heartless/A hunger never satisfied/Eyes of death/Mouth of hell/This wretched swamp/The hate that we hide/Comes up from the depths/We gave you an inch/But you went for the neck/Take what you want/Prey on the weak/We are the broken/We are the beast/Hunters of all/Swallow you whole/Taking you down in a death roll.”  Some of the lyrics here are difficult to decipher sans lyrics to reference.  The song’s second verse adds even more to the noted inference as Bond screams, “Condemned from birth/Underneath the dying sun/There can be no future here/When your instinct’s eat the young/Hand in hand through the wasteland/We wave our final goodbye/Kill ’em all til there’s nothing left/Cold blooded ‘til the last breath.”  From there the band returns to the chorus, which makes the statement about taking down that not so good person.  Considering the anger and fire in these lyrics, they will connect with listeners in their own way.  When these lyrics are considered in whole, the overall message and fire in the song’s musical energy collectively makes this song stand out even more as another important addition to the album.  It is just one more of the most notable of the album’s entries, too.  ‘Manic,’ the album’s title track, is another notable addition to the album.

In the case of ‘Manic,’ it stands out in part because its musical arrangement is so much unlike that of the rest of the album’s entries.  In this case, the use of the electronics alongside the rapping and metal immediately lends itself to comparison to works from Hed (p.e.).  Guitarist Cody Quistad was even cited as saying the song is “my favorite Wage War song ever…It lends itself to a manic headspace, summing up the album.”  Quistad is right.  The energy and stylistic approach here is manic in its own right, and it does just as well to help translate the emotion in the song’s lyrical theme.  The theme in question in fact does take on the topic of what a person going through so many emotions feels. 

The noted, familiar theme is expressed well here right from the song’s lead verse, which states, “Fear hits like a drug in the veins/Hard to stop like a runaway train/Look around but there’s nobody to blame/Oh, what a shame/Spent nights just staring at the wall/Pay no mind to the demons in the hall/Yeah I’m numb/I don’t feel nothing at all/Braced for the fall/Try to calm myself down/But I feel the panic/Is it all up in my head/Am I going manic?”  Again, some of the lyrics are tough to decipher sans lyrics to reference, but enough can be understood to the end that the noted message is clear.  The song’s second verse builds on the message, stating, “It’s a war/But I’m never on attack/Holding on, but I’m slipping through the crack/Don’t wanna be another body on the stack/I’m never coming back/Spending nights just staring at the wall/Pay no mind to the demons in the hall”  Again here we have that theme of mental health, which deserves the fullest seriousness.  That is especially in the current era as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.  The statement later in the song that, “I don’t wanna die” shows just how serious someone going through mania (or any major mental health concern) feels and thinks.  Hopefully this familiar and fully accessible presentation will help anyone who is battling a mental health concern fight that battle and win every day.  Such lyrical and musical content collectively shows once more, the power of Wage War’s latest album.  That is even more the case when the song is considered with the other songs examined here, the album’s current singles, and the rest of the record’s songs.  The whole comes together to make the album in whole a powerful new offering from Wage War that is among the best of this year’s new hard rock and metal albums.

Wage War’s forthcoming album, Manic, is a successful new offering from the metalcore band.  It continues to cement the band’s place in the metal core and bigger metal and hard rock communities.  That is proven through the album’s musical and lyrical content.  The musical content shows a certain range of diversity.  That alone is sure to engage and entertain audiences.  The lyrical themes that accompany the record’s musical arrangements is just as accessible as the musical arrangements.  All three of the songs examined here make that clear, as do the singles that the album has already produced.  When all of this content is considered along with the rest of the album’s songs, the whole makes Manic one of the best of this year’s new hard rock and metal albums. 

Manic is scheduled for release Friday through Fearless Records.  More information on the album is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Websitehttps://wagewarband.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/wagewar

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/wagewar

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.

Society 1 Tapped As Support For Upcoming Static-X Tour

Courtesy: Carcosa PR

Industrial rock band Society 1 will join Static-X on the road in the new year.

The band has been tapped as one of many well-known bands that will serve as support on Static-X’s upcoming “Rise of the Machine North American Tour 2022.” The announcement was made in a press release distributed Wednesday.

The band’s time on the tour is scheduled to run from the tour’s launch, Feb. 21 in Portland, OR to Feb. 27 in Sacramento, CA. The group’s scheduled run on the tour is noted below.

Tour Dates:

02/21 – Portland, OR @ Hawthorne Theater
02/22 – Seattle, WA @ Showbox
02/23 – Vancouver, BC @ Rickshaw Theater
02/24 – Spokane, WA @ Knitting Factory
02/25 – Boise, ID @ Revolution Concert Hall
02/26 – Reno, NV @ Virginia Street Brewhouse
02/27 – Sacramento, CA @ Ace Of Spades

Also on the bill for the tour are the likes of Dope, Fear Factory, and Mushroomhead. Twizted is also scheduled to join the tour on specific dates.

The “Rise of the Machine North American Tour 2022” is to mark the 20th anniversary of the release of Static-X’s Gold-certified album, Machine. The band is expected to re-issue that album soon after the tour’s launch as part of that anniversary celebration.

Society 1 front man Matt Zane said in a prepared statement, he is looking forward to joining the tour.

“I’ve known and toured with most of these guys in these amazing bands for 20-plus years,” said Zane. “It’s unreal we’re all getting together in 2022 and still doing it. Really looking forward to getting back out there in support of the new album that [late bassist] DV [Karloff] and I wrote together.”

Speaking of Karloff, he passed in May of this year. He was 48 years old. Karloff joined the band in 2003 and left in 2018, just after the release of Society 1’s then latest album, Rise From The Dead (2017). No cause of death has been announced since that time.

According to comments from Zane, Society 1’s current lineup will pay tribute to Karloff throughout the band’s upcoming tour. It is just part of the way in which the band plans to pay tribute to Karloff, too. The band has released a tribute to Karloff through its official YouTube channel.

The tribute, which runs just over an hour, features interviews with the likes of Dave Navarro (Jane’s Addiction, Red Hot Chili Peppers), Raymond Herrera (ex-Fear Factory), and Skum Love among many others.

More information on Society 1’s upcoming run on the “Rise of the Machine North American Tour 2022” and the band’s upcoming album is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Website: https://society1band.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/society1

Twitter: https://twitter.com/society1music

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.

Ovtlier Debuts ‘All I Need’ Video

Courtesy: Zoid Entertainment

Ovtlier premiered the video for its latest single this week.

The band debuted the video for its new single, ‘All I Need‘ Wednesday. The video’s premiere comes less than a week after the band premiered the song by itself.

The video features the band performing its new single in what looks like a darkened warehouse setting. That footage is paired with what is assumed to be a semi-autobiographical presentation of front man Joey Arena’s childhood.

That is assumed considering comments made by Arena in a prepared statement in a press release announcing the song’s premiere over the weekend.

“I was raised on unstable grounds,” the statement reads. “Therapy taught me to stop making excuses for those that have abused and abandoned me. A man that distantly titled himself as a “father” but neglected every simple duty of being one. A stepfather who looked for excuses to beat on me or throw me out for years. I accept that this is the hand that I am dealt. I respect and appreciate the journey I have been shaped and designed to travel. I am all I need”

It should be noted that some viewers may find some of the content in that main story unsettling. In other words, viewer discretion is advised. That imagery in question involves scenes of domestic disputes and one of the main characters flogging himself.

The musical arrangement featured in ‘All I need’ is of some interest. That is because the primary guitar line featured in this arrangement lends itself easily to comparison to that featured in Deftones’ hit song’ My Own Summer (Shove It).’ A close listen to each song reveals the similarity in sound. It is not precise, but is there.

As the arrangement progresses though, that guitar line gradually evolves and offers a heavy, dark sound that is complimented just as well by the song’s bass line and vocals from Arena.

In other news, Ovtlier is scheduled to serve as support for Gemini Syndrome on its upcoming headlining tour. Ovtlier’s dates with Gemini Syndrome are noted below.

GEMINI SYNDROME ‘Initiation’ USA Fall 2021 tour dates:
10/28 – Chippewa Falls, WI – Joel’s 4Corners #
10/29 – Green Bay, WI – EPIC Event Center #
10/30 – Racine, WI – Rt 20 (WIIL Rock Halloween Bash) #
10/31 – Battle Creek, MI – The Music Factory #
11/02 – Lakewood, OH – The Winchester Music Tavern #
11/04 – Flint, MI – The Machine Shop #
11/05 – Buffalo, NY – Buffalo Iron Works #
11/06 – Liverpool, NY – Sharkey’s #
11/07 – Poughkeepsie, NY – The Chance #
11/08 – New York City, NY – Mercury Lounge ####
11/09 – Albany, NY – Empire Underground #
11/10 – Reading, PA – Reverb #
11/12 – Johnson City, TN – Capones #
11/13 – Greensboro, NC – The Blind Tiger #
11/14 – Huntsville, AL – Sidetracks ###

Direct support is Ovtlier #
Smile Empty Soul, Ovtlier, Sunflower Dead, Pushing V, Tommy Gibbons ###
GEMINI SYNDROME and Ovtlier only ####

‘All I Need’ is just the latest single from Ovtlier. The band most recently premiered its single, ‘Bulletproof‘ and a companion video. The band has also released the singles, ‘Who We Are‘ and ‘Buried Me Alive.’

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

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/ovtlier

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/OvtlierBand

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.

Peter Welker’s ‘Sidemen’ Project Is Among The Best Of 2021’s New Overall Albums

Courtesy: Summit Records

Musician-composer Peter Welker has had quite the career over the course of his adult life.  His resume includes work with the likes of Al Jarreau, The Pointer Sisters, Buddy Miles, and even Bob Dylan and Jerry Garcia.  His work with those famed musicians makes up only a portion of the noted expansive resume. He added even more to that resume last month with the release of his latest project, Sidemen.  Released Aug. 6 through Summit Records, the 11-song record features guest appearances from Tony Levin, Pete Levin, Tom Scott, Bill Champlin, and Steve Morse and features an interesting mix of originals and covers.  Among the most notable of the record’s featured originals is the record’s only work with vocals, ‘You’re Gonna Let It Happen.’  This song will be discussed shortly.  ‘Creepin’ Up’ is another of the record’s notable originals and will be examined a little later.  The cover of Jimi Hendrix’s ‘Third Stone From The Sun’ is the most notable of the record’s covers.  It will also be discussed later.  All three songs show in their own way how much the record has to offer.  When they are considered along with the rest of the featured compositions, the whole makes the record another successful offering from Welker.

Peter Welker’s latest studio recording as a band leader, Sidemen, is a presentation that will appeal to a wide range of audiences; this despite it being released through a label that is largely known for handling jazz records.  The record succeeds through its blend of originals and covers.  Among the most notable of the record’s originals is its only track that features vocals, ‘You’re Gonna Let It Happen.’  Co-written by Welker and Bill Champlin, the song’s lyrical content features a relatively familiar topic that is accessible in its own right.  It is a song sung by a man who is determined to get a woman to emotionally let him in and accept him in general, no matter how long it takes and what it takes.  He is determined to find out what will appeal to her so that she will like him.  It makes the song one of those works that would be a good fit in any relationship’s formative days.  It is just one part of what makes the song work, too.  The composition’s musical arrangement builds on the appeal formed by the song’s fully accessible lyrical theme to make the song that much more engaging and entertaining.

The musical arrangement featured in this song, is a relaxed but funky composition.  The use of the horns — including saxophonist Tom Scott’s solo – alongside the steady, solid time keeping from Todd Tribble and musical spice from organist Bill Champlin makes the arrangement so fun.  Not only does Champlin handle the B-3 organ here, but he also handles vocal duties.  His dirty, gritty vocals are so rich in their presentation, adding even more to the presentation, especially when he hits those high notes.  The collective of all involved along with them makes this song’s musical arrangement fully immersive and entertaining.  It is just one of the songs that makes the album so fun, too.  ‘Creepin’ Up’ is another notable original featured in this album.

‘Creepin’ Up’ stands out because its arrangement, is an interesting balance of old and new.  The song’s opening bars come across as a sort of throw back to the fusion sounds of Weather Report.  That sound lasts only a brief moment, though.  From there, Greg Johnson’s work on saxophone and the work of his fellow horn players conjures thoughts of the jazz sounds that were so popular in the 80s.  Meanwhile, David K. Matthews’ work on piano gives the song a lighter touch, making it a little more widely accessible as he breaks through the jazz subgenre boundaries.  His work along with that of Tribble on the drums and that of the rest of the collective makes this song so unique against its counterparts.  The whole becomes a surprisingly infectious work that is so smooth and light at the same time.  It is just a wonderful addition to the album that further exhibits what makes the album so engaging and entertaining.  It is yet another example of the album’s strengths.  The cover of Jimi Hendrix’s ‘Third Stone From The Sun’ is the most notable of the record’s featured covers.

Steve Morse’s work on guitar in ‘Third Stone From The Sun’ would make Jimi himself just as proud (if he were still with us today) as it will certainly his legions of fans worldwide.  That includes both his solo and his work alongside his fellow musicians in this case.  The light, bluesy sound and the production therein makes his work so rich.  Tribble’s work on the drums is just as impressive as that of Billy Cox and Mitch Mitchell.  He remains solid throughout the song as he adds little fills and flares at all of the right points.  Meanwhile Cliff Hugo’s work on bass works just as well in coordination with that of his fellow musicians.  When the horns come into play and join the trio, the group in whole creates a take on this classic Hendrix composition that is just as enjoyable as its source material if not better.  When this composition is considered along with the other songs examined here and with the rest of the album’s works, the entirety of that material makes Sidemen a fully immersive musical experience that audiences across the musical universe will enjoy.

Peter Welker’s new project, Sidemen is an impressive new offering from the veteran musician/composer.  That is evidenced from beginning to end of the hour-long presentation.  The arrangements that make up the record’s body make that clear.  They span musical genres and fully immerse audiences in each case.  The songs examined here do well to support the noted statements.  When they are considered with the rest of the album’s works, the whole makes Sidemen one of the best of this year’s new overall albums, at least in the ears and mind of this critic.

Sidemen is available now through Summit Records. More information on this and other titles from Summit Records is available online at:

Websitehttps://summitrecords.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/SummitRecords

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/SummitRecords

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.

Gemini Syndrome Front Man Aaron Nordstrom Discusses The Band’s New Album, Upcoming Tour, More In New Interview

Courtesy: Century Media Records

Gemini Syndrome has been in the news a lot lately.

The band has released a handful of singles in recent months, from its forthcoming album, 3rd DegreeThe Raising. The guys are also prepping to head back out on the road in support of the album, which is scheduled for release Oct. 15 through Century Media Records. Before all that happens though, front man Aaron Nordstrom took some time to talk with Phil’s Picks about the group’s new record, its upcoming tour, and one of Nordstrom’s side projects in a new interview.

Sometimes Nordstrom is clearly serious and contemplative, and at others he gets a bit lighthearted with his comments. The interview is available to read in whole below.

PP: Congratulations on the upcoming release of your new album, 3rd Degree – The Raising.  If I recall correctly, you’ve mentioned that this album is the culmination of a trilogy of records from Gemini Syndrome.  So, talk to me if you will about how this new album connects, musically and lyrically, to its predecessors.

AN: The trilogy covers the aspects of birth, maturity, and death, through the realization of the self, the realization of death, and the realization of rebirth and awakening; A cycle that can be seen in all things in existence.  

PP: Staying on that note, did you all as a band have the intent to create a trilogy of albums right from the release of your debut album, Lux back or did things just sort of evolve from there?

AN: The plan evolved from the beginning. Yes  

PP: Gemini Syndrome released 3rd Degree – The Raising’s lead single, ‘Reintegration’ almost a year ago, well ahead of the album’s release. That’s a pretty big span of time.  Can you offer some insight into the decision to release the song so far from the album’s release?  Were you all just still working on the album at the time or was it something else?

AN: We decided to release music in the way we did mainly due to the pandemic. We had been ready to release in early 2020 but due to the worldwide shut downs we decided to wait. However releasing singles allowed us to get music out there while people were stuck at home without giving away the full album yet.  

PP: Staying on that matter of the album’s songs, you all have released five singles since the release of ‘Reintegration.’  That is almost half of the album.  Do you see the release of anymore singles as the album’s release date nears?

AN: We will definitely doing a couple more singles and videos from this album  

PP: The singles that the album has produced have been met with pretty good response nation wide from what I’ve seen and heard.  What does that support from radio and from audiences alike mean to you all?

AN: Support means everything  Support is the means by which we are allowed to carry on doing what we love  

PP: You all are resting up and prepping to head back out on the road again next month for the next leg of your tour in support of your new album, after already spending July and August on the road.  Is everyone ready to go for this next leg, or does it get easy to get kind of settled in and too relaxed, considering how taxing tours can be? 

AN: I can speak for myself that I am 100 percent ready to get out and keep touring.  We had a really long break anyway and this is what I was made to do  

PP: The upcoming leg of your tour is scheduled to launch Oct. 28 in Chippewa Falls, WI and to run through Nov. 27 in Reno, NV.  It even includes a stop in my home state on Nov.13 in Greensboro, NC.  When did planning for this latest leg start and how long did it take to finalize everything?  What factors played into the final schedule?

AN: Oh not long.  We just made sacrifices to the goat of Mendes and it all just kinda worked out  

PP: Staying on that matter, with all three of your albums being connected, what can audiences expect from the shows’ set lists?  Will there be a mix of music from all three records or will the attention be more on this latest release?

AN: Balance is key in all things.  

PP: Changing gears for a moment, Gemini Syndrome is not the only project that you have been involved in over the past year or so, Aaron.  You’ve also done some work as vocalist for Woyote.  What can you tell me and my readers about where things stand with that band right now?

AN: Woyote is a young project that Mikey Doling asked me to sing for about a year ago   Based in Belgium, We are almost done with a full length and have played a couple shows in Belgium in September. As the timing allows you will be seeing and hearing much more from us! 

PP: Getting back on the matter of your upcoming tour, you all are bringing Ovtlier and Pushing Veronica along for the ride again.  Ovtlier is a personal favorite of mine as well as Gemini Syndrome.  For those who maybe haven’t heard either band’s music, what is it about those two bands that impressed you all so much?

AN: We work closely with PV.  We love what they’re doing, their attitude, their drive, and their music!  They’re like family.  Ovtlier was great to have on the last run and they offer a great show and great music  They’re a really fun group of people to have on the road also  Making the family bigger  We’re also bringing out Them Damn Kings this run as well   

PP: Staying on the matter of touring, live music has had a bumpy road this year.  No pun intended.  Things started out hopeful as the year opened, but as the year has progressed, it seems like more and more tours have gotten postponed or canceled altogether because of concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic.  So can you offer a first hand glimpse into what it’s been like being out on the road?  Are people wearing masks?  Have there been concerns among officials and audiences or even bands about the pandemic’s impact?  What do you personally see happening with live music as we wind down 2021 and head into 2022?

AN: Everywhere is different  I’ll say this, the thing I noticed the most is that people were and are grateful to be back out and experiencing live music and people again  It’s refreshing to see  

PP: Getting back to 3rd Degree – The Raising, it will be the band’s second album with Century Media, what with Another Century being essentially a division of Century Media.  What is it about Century Media that initially led you to sign with the label?

AN: A tarot reading I did in the Carlsbad caves  

PP: One last question before I close things out.  Thank you again for your time.  I appreciate you taking the time.  I know it’s probably way too soon to say at this point, but with the trilogy being completed with the pending release of 3rd Degree – The Raising, where does Gemini Syndrome go from there?  Are you already looking at your next album(s)?  Do you think this trio of albums will be the band’s only trilogy?

AN: We are already writing music for the future. I am collecting ideas from the astral plane to write about. I don’t know if we will do another trilogy. Maybe a double album to complete the 23 symbolism. Who knows?  

Thanks again for your time and best of luck to you all once you head out on the road. I for one am also looking forward to the album’s release.

More information on Gemini Syndrome’s new album and live appearances is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Websitehttps://geminisyndrome.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/GeminiSyndrome

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/GeminiSyndrome

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.

Laurie Berkner Announces Details For Family Friendly Halloween Concerts

Photo Credit: Jayne Thornton

Family music entertainer Laurie Berkner is offering audiences a safe, family friendly way to celebrate Halloween this year.

Berkner is scheduled to hold two separate, virtual concerts on Halloween. The first is scheduled to take place at noon ET and the second at 5 p.m. ET.

Berkner said in a prepared statement that concerns about the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic led to the decision to return to livestream concerts.

“Out of an abundance of caution to protect my fans and their families, I have made the difficult decision to cancel the rest of my 2021 in-person concerts, so, I am bringing my livestreams back!,” said Berkner. “I’m so excited to be able to have a Halloween Concert this year that anyone can attend – and that keeps all of my fans safe.  It will be filled with extra on-screen Halloween magic and even a brand new Halloween song. I can’t wait to get back to joining families in their homes to sing and celebrate together!”

The new song in question is ‘I Picked a Little Pumpkin.’ Along with that song, audiences will enjoy other songs, such as ‘The Cat Came Back,’ ‘Monster Boogie,’ and ‘What Am I Gonna Be (For Halloween)?’

Tickets and virtual meet-and-greets are available here. Regular admission virtual tickets include access to one of both performances on one device and an exclusive “welcome” video from Berkner.

The meet-and-greet packages feature a group of extras noted below.

– Two-Minute Virtual 1-on-1 Private Meet & Greet with Laurie Berkner after the show. Participants will be called directly when it is their turn.
– Virtual Photo Opportunity with Laurie Berkner.
– Recording of video session emailed to ticket holder 3 days post-event.
– Opportunity for parents to chat with fellow families in the Virtual Waiting Room while awaiting their turn in line.
– Live tech support.

“Doors open” an hour prior to showtime. A pre-show will run for audiences’ entertainment and to test connections.

More information on Berkner’s new concerts are available along with all of her latest news at:

Websitehttps://www.laurieberkner.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/LaurieBerknerBand

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/LaurieBerkner

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.

The Harmonica Pocket Debuts ‘Sand Song’ Video

Courtesy: Waldmania PR

Award-winning family music act The Harmonica Pocket will release its latest album, Sing Your Song, next month.

In anticipation of the record’s release, the act debuted the video for the album’s lead single, ‘Sand Song’ over the weekend. The video, which premiered Sept. 24, features front man Keeth Monta Apgar going for a swim in a lake while a pair of young ladies decide to pull a prank on him and fill all his stuff with sand, including a thermos, sandwich, and even a pair of briefs.

While Apgar falls for the prank, the young ladies get theirs in the end before the whole group ends up enjoying some time together in an inflatable pool.

The musical arrangement featured in the song is a light, laid back folksy style composition. This despite the fact that the song is about sand getting in all of the crevices of our bodies as we go to the beach and/or lake. Interestingly enough, the use of the horns at various points even adds the most subtle touch of ska. It’s an odd pairing, but it works here.

Sing Your Song is The Harmonica Pocket’s fifth album. The act’s most recent album, Sundrops, was released in 2015. The band’s catalog also features the albums, Apple Apple (2012), Ladybug One (2008), and Mary Macaroni (2005).

Along with family music albums, the group has also released four albums for grown-up audiences. They are: Birds Falling From The Sky (2005), Underneath Your Umbrella (2002), Lemonbomb (1997), and The Humans and The Robins (1995).

More information on The Harmonica Pocket’s forthcoming album is available along with all of the group’s latest news at:

Website: https://harmonicapocket.com

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/HarmonicaPocket

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.

NBA TV Announces NBA 2021 Pre-Season Broadcast Schedule

Courtesy: Turner Sports

NBA TV will launch its coverage of the NBA’s upcoming pre-season calendar this weekend.

The league announced Wednesday through a news release, it will broadcast its first NBA pre-season game at 3:30 p.m. ET Sunday. The Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Lakers will hit the court in the scheduled game.

According to the provided information, the game is one of 15 total pre-season games that NBA TV is scheduled to cover this year. The network’s pre-season schedule features appearances by the defending NBA Champion Milwaukee Bucks, Los Angeles Lakers, Brooklyn Nets, Golden State Warriors, Philadelphia 76ers, and Los Angeles Clippers.

The network’s full 15-game pre-season broadcast schedule is noted below.

 Date Time Matchup  
 Sunday, Oct. 3 3:30 p.m. Brooklyn Nets vs. Los Angeles Lakers   
 Monday, Oct. 4 7:30 p.m. Atlanta Hawks vs. Miami Heat    
  10 p.m. Golden State Warriors vs. Portland Trail Blazers   
 Wednesday, Oct. 6 7:30 p.m. Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Atlanta Hawks    
  10 p.m. Los Angeles Lakers vs. Phoenix Suns   
 Thursday, Oct. 7 7 p.m. Toronto Raptors vs. Philadelphia 76ers    
 Friday, Oct. 8 7:30 p.m. Milwaukee Bucks vs. Brooklyn Nets   
  10 p.m. Los Angeles Lakers vs. Golden State Warriors   
 Saturday Oct. 9  8 p.m. Atlanta Hawks vs. Memphis Grizzlies   
 Monday, Oct. 11 10:30 p.m. Minnesota Timberwolves vs. LA Clippers   
 Tuesday, Oct. 12 7 p.m. Toronto Raptors vs. Washington Wizards   
 Wednesday, Oct. 13 10 p.m. Portland Trail Blazers vs. Phoenix Suns   
 Thursday, Oct. 14 7:30 p.m. Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Brooklyn Nets   
  10 p.m. Los Angeles Lakers vs. Sacramento Kings   
 Friday, Oct. 15 10 p.m. Portland Trail Blazers vs. Golden State Warriors  

In related news, NBA TV will preview all 30 NBA teams this season starting at 8 p.m. ET Friday on back-to-back episodes of NBA GameTime. Additionally, NBA TV is scheduled to air a special tribute to USA Basketball Women’s Team at noon Sunday in A Team for the Ages: The Story of the USA Basketball Women’s National Team presented by Nike. The hour-long documentary follows the team’s road to a record seventh gold medal in this year’s Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

In other news, NBA TV is scheduled to air approximately 107 games in the NBA’s 2021-22 regular season. This season is marks the league’s 75th anniversary.

The network is scheduled to launch its regular season coverage of the league’s 2021-22 season at 7 p.m. Oct. 23, with a double header slate. The Indiana Pacers will host the Miami Heat in the evening’s first game. The Portland Trail Blazers will host the Phoenix Suns in the evening’s second game.

More information on NBA TV’s upcoming NBA pre-season broadcast schedule is available online along with all of the latest NBA headlines at:

Websitehttps://www.nba.com/tv

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/nbatv

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/NBATV

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