Sea Of Storms’ New Album Is Anything But Dead Weight

Courtesy:  Self Aware Records/Tor Johnson

Courtesy: Self Aware Records/Tor Johnson

“These songs won’t ever be on the radio, but they could’ve been.” Those are the words of the publicist for the underground rock act Sea of Storms. What the band’s publicist meant in saying this was that thanks to its multitude of influences, it might have fit on most mainstream radio stations in the heyday of said acts. But because the mainstream radio landscape has changed so much over the years, the sound that the band has built from those influences doesn’t fit nicely into any of the molds that mainstream programmers have established for their respective radio stations. Rather the Richmond, VA-based band has mixed the sounds of those influences for a sound that is all its own. It is a sound that makes the band’s new album Dead Weight a record that is deserving of at least one listen. The album’s title track is one example of how that sound makes the record worth the listen. The album’s closer ‘Cedar Run’ The post-90s grunge vibe of ‘Exit Strategy’ is one more example of what makes Dead Weight worth the listen. The combination of its sound and its personal lyrics once again exemplify what SOS’ publicist meant in saying that the band’s music at one time could have been on the radio. It stands out from the likes of ‘Cedar Run’ and the album’s title track both lyrically and musically. Together with the those tracks and the remainder of the record’s nine total tracks, the record in whole shows without a doubt that Sea of Storms’ music at one time could have been on the radio. Even though they might not be on the radio today, the songs that make up the body of this record are works that any child of the 90s will fully appreciate when they give this record at least one listen.

Sea of Storms’ new album Dead Weight is a good listen for any child of the 90s looking for the multitude of sounds that came from that era specifically in the rock community. The sounds that come from the album embrace the likes of Smashing Pumpkins, The Get Up Kids, and so many others all without sounding like a carbon copy of any of those acts. The fact that the band could balance its influences with its own music on this album in itself makes the record well worth the listen. That argument is supported clearly by the album’s title track. Examining the song’s musical content, there is a hint of old school Smashing Pumpkins in the song’s verses while the choruses have more of an indie rock vibe a la Jimmy Eat World. Again, what makes this so interesting is the fact that the band was able to take both influences and meld them together into a sound that is all the band’s own. In terms of its lyrical content, the song offers just as much to talk about. Front man Brandon Peck sings in this song, “I’ve grown tired of waking up/With the sinking feeling you’ve had enough/You’re so cold/I’m alone in this house/This façade that we call home/So get lost in the sound/It’s the same old story of dead weight in this town/It’s the same as it ever was.” He goes on to sing, “So we go our own ways/We are the sum of our parts divided unequally/And each step that we take puts us further and further away/So don’t wait up/I’ll be back soon enough/I’ll be back when the morning comes/Don’t waste your time/And I won’t waste all of mine.” He closes out the song looking back at the past saying maybe looking back, it would be possible to figure out what led things to be how they are. The verses examined, it would seem that Peck is singing about a divorce or a broken relationship in general. Regardless of which topic is being discussed, the story presented in the song’s lyrical content is relatively clear. That alone makes the song’s lyrical content that much more of a boon to the composition in whole. Combined with its thankfully non-emo musical content that one would otherwise expect from the song considering its lyrics, the two elements together make ‘Dead Weight’ a clear example of why SOS’ new album is so worth the listen especially among the now grown up children of the 90s.

Dead Weight’s title track comes early in SOS’ new album. It is the third of the record’s nine tracks. Coming so early in the record it is easy to ask if the band maintains its separation from its influences throughout being that ‘Dead Weight’ is just one song. Luckily it can be said that the band does indeed maintain that separation as is evident in the album’s closer ‘Cedar Run.’ ‘Cedar Run’ boasts a clearly indie rock influence throughout its nearly five and a half-minute run time. More specifically, it runs five minutes and twenty-two seconds. But that’s irrelevant here. That indie rock vibe partnered with the song’s somewhat introspective yet optimistic lyrical content makes this song one of the record’s best moments. Peck sings here, “Let the secrets that I’ve kept/Meet the whiskey on my breath/I let my youthful pride/Make suicidal pacts/With my regret/In the time it used to take/Sometimes I can’t survive the weight/But not this time/I know I’ve made mistakes/But those mistakes made me/So make a bath in the wounds we make/We’ll make the best of our worst mistakes.” This is just one part of the whole of the song’s lyrical content, obviously. But the message is clear. It is a hopeful, optimistic outlook on life that coupled with the song’s earlier introspection, will have any listener thinking and maybe even smiling. The picture painted by the combination of the song’s music and lyrics is so rich and vivid. It plays out like something right out of a movie. Such overall depth shows clearly why ‘Cedar Run’ is another impressive addition to the whole of Dead Weight and why in turn Dead Weight proves yet again to be well worth the listen.

‘Dead Weight’ and ‘Cedar Run’ are both clear examples of what makes Dead Weight an indie album that is well worth the listen. Their lyrical content and musical content both stand apart from each other and even from other indie and mainstream acts. This is even with its variety of influences. They are only a small example of what makes the record worth the listen. The post-grunge sound of ‘Exit Strategy’ is yet another example of what makes this record as interesting as it is. John Martin’s bass line drives this song while Peck’s guitars are more of an additional element of sorts. Their parts and that of drummer Chris Brown come together to make a sound that clearly echoes that of so many well-known mainstream 90s rock acts. Yet at the same time it still manages to maintain that same separation from the noted influences as the previously noted songs. In terms of its lyrical content, the song becomes even more interesting with Peck singing, “Take the set down and redress/When the groundwork has all been set/We’ll make the call/And what you call romance is a cyclical dance made for one and played for two/And off you go/It’s unending/So stop pretending it’s alright/The lies you’ve been spreading all your life/Just like it was the best that you could give.” This comes across as coming from a rather personal point. Such personal lyrics coupled with the song’s rather mainstream, almost pop punk sound leads the song to show itself as yet another clear example of what makes Dead Weight so well worth the listen. It is another work that despite its influences still maintains its separation from those sounds, leading to a song that is patently SOS’ own. Together with ‘Cedar Run’ and ‘Dead Weight’ all three songs show clearly why Dead Weight is a surprisingly enjoyable indie release. All things considered, it could be argued that all three tracks along with those not noted show Dead Weight to be one of the best new independent albums of 2015.

In listening to each of its nine tracks, Dead Weight proves in the end to be one of this year’s best new independent albums. The songs noted here are just small samplings of what makes it such a surprisingly entertaining work from the Richmond, VA-based band. It would be unfair to not make mention of its other songs. Each of the album’s remaining six songs each offer their own enjoyment. The album taken wholly into consideration, it proves the band’s publicist completely right. Audiences likely won’t hear SOS’ songs on the radio today. But that doesn’t mean that audiences today shouldn’t hear them. Rather audiences—especially the now grown up children of the 90s—should hear this record if only once. In doing so, they will agree with the sentiment that Dead Weight is indeed one of the best new independent releases of 2015. It is available now online via the band’s Bandcamp page at http://seaofstormsrva.bandcamp.com. More information on Dead Weight is available along with the latest tour updates and news from Sea of Storms at:

Website: http://www.seaofstormsrva.bandcamp.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/SeaofStormsRVA

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Bonz Announces New Slate Of Tour Date

Courtesy:  Pavement Entertainment

Courtesy: Pavement Entertainment

Pavement Entertainment artist and Stuck Mojo front man Bonz has announced a new slate of live dates.

Bonz has announed that he will head back out on the road beginning July 17th in Hickory, North Carolina. The twenty-two-date tour is in support of Bonz’s Pavement Entertainment debut record Broken Silence. Bonz will be joined by Divided We Stand and A.M.M. on select dates along with label mate A.D.D. The tour currently runs through October 10th in Jacksonville, Fla. The current tour schedule is listed below.

BONZ TOUR DATES

7/17 Hickory, Nc- The Wizard Saloon

7/18 Winston Salem, Nc- Ziggy’s

7/30 Muskegon, Mi- Deano’s w/ ADD

7/31 Lansing, Mi- The Loft w/ ADD

8/01 Griffith, In- Sopranos

8/02 South Bend, In- Cheers w/ ADD

8/05 Akron, Oh- Empire

8/06 Mansfield, Oh- Planet Rock

8/07 Dayton, Oh- Oddbodies w/ ADD

8/08 Indianapolis, In- Emerson Theatre w/ ADD

8/09 Cape Giradeau, Mo- Pitter’s

8/10 Jackson, Tn- The Empourium

8/11 Clarksville, Tn- The Warehouse

8/12 Nashville, Tn- Daisy Dukes w/ Divided We Stand

8/13 Knoxville, Tn- The Long Branch w/ Divided We Stand

8/14 Chattanooga, Tn- Ziggy’s Underground w/ Divided We Stand

8/15 Beckley, Wv- Muncheez w/ Divided We Stand

9/11 Slidell, La- The Corner Pub

9/12 Dallas, Tx- Torch

9/13 Lubbock, Tx- Depot Obar Live

10/9 Sanford, Fl- West End Trading Co. w/ A.M.M.

10/10 Jacksonville, Fl- Jack Rabbits w/ A.M.M.

Audiences can download Broken Silence now via iTunes at https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/broken-silence/id953289268 and ordered direct from Best Buy at http://www.bestbuy.com/site/broken-silence-cd/26480148.p?id=3335826&skuId=26480148. Fans can keep up with the latest news and more from Bonz online at:

Website: http://bonzband.com

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

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.

Nation Beat Announces Carnival Caravan Release Date, Tour Schedule

Courtesy:  Nation Beat Music

Courtesy: Nation Beat Music

Brooklyn, NY-based quintet Nation Beat announced this week that it will release its latest recording late this month.

Carnival Caravan will be released Friday, July 31st under the new global release date system. The five-track EP will feature performances by not only Nation Beat but also from the Mardi Gras Indian/funk group Cha Wa. throughout. It is most evident in the Dixieland style sound of the record’s closer ‘Liza Jane.’ For those wanting something a little different there is the Latin-tinged sound of ‘Cantar Esse Coco (ft. Silverio Pessoa)’ and the disc’s opener ‘Casa Diamante /Sew Sew Sew,’ which also features the music of Cha Wa. Carnival Caravan’s complete track listing is noted below.

Carnival Caravan Track Listing

1. Casa Diamante / Sew Sew Sew (feat. Cha Wa)

2. Vou Cantar Esse Coco (feat. Silverio Pessoa)

3. Golden Crown (feat. Cha Wa)

4. Canto da Ema / All On a Mardi Gras Day (feat. Cha Wa)

5. Liza Jane (feat. Cha Wa)

Courtesy:  Nation Beat Music

Courtesy: Nation Beat Music

Nation Beat is currently touring in support of Carnival Caravan ahead of its release later this month. The group will be at Carl Schurz Park in New York City next Wednesday, July 8th. Its current schedule takes it through September 17th in Hartford, CT.  The group’s current tour schedule is listed below.

DATE                                               CITY                                          VENUE

July 8                                           New York, NY                             Carl Schurz Park

July 11                                          London, Canada                              Sun Fest

July 12                                          London, Canada                              Sun Fest

July 14                                          Toronto, Canada                          Pan Am Games

July 30                                          Huntington, NY             Huntington Summer Arts Festival

July 31                                          Brooklyn, NY                                    Littlefield

August 1                                       Queens, NY                                  Queens Library

August 2                                       New York, NY                    Central Park Summer Stage

August 8                                       Bethlehem, PA                                  Musikfest

Sept. 17                                        Hartford, CT                                  Real Art Ways

Audiences can keep up with the latest updates on Carnival Caravan and Nation Beat’s tour schedule online now along with all of the group’s latest news at:

Website: http://www.nationbeat.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Nation-Beat/10175932771

Twitter: http://twitter.com/nationbeat

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.

TMG Scores Big With The Debut Release Of The Saint: The Complete Series

Courtesy:  Timeless Media Group/itv

Courtesy: Timeless Media Group/itv

Late this past May, Timeless Media Group, which is now officially part of the Shout! Factory corporate family, released the classic television series The Saint on DVD. The series’ release is significant because it marked the first time ever that the series had ever been released in its entirety in one complete set. It is safe to say of the recently released complete series set that with its release TMG has yet again lived up to its name and ever-growing reputation. Whether seeing the series and its new box set for the first time or seeing the series for the first time again, audiences will agree in purchasing it that it is a successful first time-release and potentially one of this year’s best new box sets for grown-ups. The center point of the set’s success and enjoyment is the series’ writing. This includes both the stories penned for each of the series’ one hundred eighteen episodes and the deeper elements of the stories (E.g. the minimal amount of violence and overt sexual content). The packaging of this first-time release is also of note in regards to its success and enjoyment. On the surface the packaging seems bulky. But considering the fact that TMG was able to fit all one hundred-eighteen of the series’ episodes on thirty-three discs actually minimizes the set’s packaging to a point. That will be discussed later. Last but not least worth noting of the series in its recent re-issue is its overall look and sound (its production values). Both the series’ black-and-white episodes and its colorized episodes look and sound just as good as in their original broadcasts and their previous DVD releases. They sound just as good, too. Such positive production values make every single episode fully worth the watch. Being so worth the watch, audiences will in turn see for themselves the positives of the episodes’ writing and that of the set’s packaging. In appreciating all noted elements, viewers that pick up the set will agree that it is in fact a candidate for a spot on any critic’s list of the year’s best new box sets for grown-ups.

The Saint: The Complete Series is an easy candidate for a spot on any critic’s list of the year’s best new box sets for grown-ups. This is especially telling considering the fact that its release this past May marked the first time that the series had ever been released in its entirety in one complete box. The main way in which it proves itself such an enjoyable set is the writing behind each of the series’ one hundred eighteen episodes. The writing behind The Saint is so impressive in that it is completely unlike that of its fellow UK-based action/drama Danger Man or even the likes of I Spy, which would come to American audiences only three years after the debut of The Saint. One of the best examples of what makes this series’ writing so entertaining comes in the form of the Season Two episode “The Benevolent Burglary.” Originally airing on December 26th, 1963, this episode sees Simon Templar having to defend his reputation and at the same time, stop the burglary of a museum. Simon makes a bet with an old acquaintance that the museum would be burglarized within forty-eight hours but that it wouldn’t be himself that burglarizes the museum. He has the police on his heels every step of the way because they don’t believe he has changed. Those that have any knowledge of film history will especially appreciate the writing in this episode because it actually throws back to Cary Grant’s 1955 hit big screen thriller To Catch A Thief. It’s a fitting inclusion to the series considering that star Roger Moore would go on to star in equally similar adventures in the role of the famed spy James Bond after this series’ end. Later in the series’ run the writers set Simon in some more serious scenarios such as having to handle human traffickers in Season Six’s “The People Importers.” For those wanting something more familiar, there is a classic style story in Season Five’s “The Escape Route.” It is in that episode that Simon gets himself arrested so as to infiltrate a group of inmates and find out who is heading up a series of recent escapes from Princetown Prison. Very similar plots have been developed for other TV series both before and after. It has even been used as a plot element in a number of action and drama flicks on the big screen. It’s just one more example of why the writing behind The Saint is so important to its enjoyment and success here in its full series set. Simply put, the writing behind The Saint is so pivotal to its enjoyment and success because it didn’t stick to one style of story. It presented both fun, action packed stories as well as more serious story lines, too. That the writers would present such a variety of stories from the series premiere to its finale will keep audiences watching nonstop.

Thanks to the work of the writers behind The Saint, audiences are presented in the series’ first-ever full series set nonstop action and adventure from one episode to the next. The series’ writers show from one episode to the next that they never stick to just one style of story. There are timeless, classic storylines and more serious ones, too. The combination of so many different story styles will keep audiences watching from the series’ premiere to its finale. As important as the writing proves to be to the set’s enjoyment and success, it is just one element of the set that makes it so enjoyable. Examining the set on another level, its packaging should be noted, too. On the surface, the packaging of The Saint: The Complete Series looks rather bulky. However one must consider that the series ran for a total of six seasons and one hundred eighteen episodes. Considering this, TMG has taken it fully into account and given audiences the best possible packaging. Rather than just tossing in a bunch of standalone season sets, TMG has made the set as ergonomic as possible, combining together the series’ first and second seasons into one box, its third and fourth into another, and then its fifth and sixth season into their own standalone sets. Here is where things get just a little dicey. It is understandable that TMG’s people wanted to minimize the amount of space taken up within each set. But because of the set’s packaging, no fewer than seven spindles are left empty over three of the set’s boxes. One of those empty spindles is in the Season 3/4 box. Two more are in Season 5’s standalone set and four more are in Season Six’s box. Considering this, it would have seemed more logical to either eliminate those empty spindles or utilize them by combining part of Season Five into the Season 3/4 set and part of Season Six into the Season Five set. That would have ultimately reduced the size of Season Six’s box and cut down at least a little bit more. But as is, there is empty, unused space in three of the series’ four boxes. That aside, TMG’s people are still to be commended for having made the efforts that they did to maximize the use of the set’s space so as to minimize its space taken up on consumers’ DVD racks.

TMG and its employees are to be commended by and large for the packaging of The Saint: The Complete Series. Even though it looks bulky on the surface, it is actually a relatively wise manner of packaging. It actually saves a certain amount of space on consumers’ DVD racks. On another note, the work of the series’ writers makes this collection enjoyable in its own right. The writers behind this series crafted over its six seasons one hundred eighteen episodes that ran the gamut from classic action fare to more serious episodes throughout. As enjoyable as every episode proves to be, they would not be worth mentioning if not for the work of those charged with restoring the series’ footage for its presentation here. Thanks to the efforts of those individuals every episode looks and sounds just as good as it did in its original broadcast. Each episode maintains its original look complete with that grainy feel. Yet it is obvious that the footage has been meticulously handled so that the grainy feel in question didn’t become overpowering at the same time. On a related note, the sound is just as impressive, too. The audio in each episode has been tweaked just enough to the point that any volume adjustments made from episode to episode and from scene to scene are minimal at best. Yet again, those charged with restoring the footage even in this arena are to be commended for their efforts. The end result of their efforts is one hundred eighteen episodes that look and sound just as wonderful as they did in their original broadcast. because they look and sound so good, audiences will in turn be able to appreciate the work of the series’ writers throughout. Both of these elements set alongside the series’ smart packaging prove together once and for all clearly why The Saint: The Complete Series is yet another hit from Timeless Media Group and why it is also a clear candidate for a spot on any critic’s list of the year’s best new box sets for grown-ups.

The Saint: The Complete Series is yet another hit from Timeless Media Group. The recently released box set presents solid, entertaining writing from the series’ premiere to its finale. The packaging minimizes the amount of space used up on consumers’ DVD racks to the best of its ability. Those charged with handling its packaging are to be commended for their efforts here especially considering the fact that the series ran for six seasons and one hundred eighteen episodes. The work of those charged with restoring the footage for its presentation here are to be just as highly commended. It is thanks to their efforts that every one of those one hundred eighteen episodes looks and sounds just as good as they did in their original broadcasts, if not better. All things considered, The Saint: The Complete Series proves in the end to be yet another hit for Timeless Media Group and one more candidate for a spot on any critic’s list of the year’s best new box sets for grown-ups. It is available now in stores and online. It can be ordered online direct from Shout! Factory’s online store at https://www.shoutfactory.com/tv/tv-action-adventure/the-saint-the-complete-series. More information on this and other titles from Timeless Media Group is available online now at:

Website: http://www.shoutfactory.com/tentpoles/timeless-media-group

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Timeless-Media-Group/358391474233364

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

Everything Old Is Truly New Again On Set It Off’s New EP

Courtesy:  Equal Vision Records

Courtesy: Equal Vision Records

Set It Off has only been around for about seven years.  That is not very long in terms of a band’s life span.  Yet in that short time, the band has been quite busy to say the least, releasing three EPs and two full-length albums since its formation back in 2008.  Now only a year after the release of its sophomore album Duality, Set It Off is back again with its fourth EP and sixth overall release.  The EP, Duality: Stories Unplugged is a selection of songs lifted from the band’s second album (released just last year) and stripped down.  Bands recording stripped down, acoustic takes on their own songs (and those of other acts) is nothing new in the music industry.  Considering this it is sometimes difficult to find an acoustic album that really stands out among the crowd in question.  It is safe to say that Duality: Stories Unplugged definitely stands out in this year’s crop of acoustic albums and EPs.  That is because the six tracks that make up the body of the disc actually achieve the goal explained by front man Cody Carson in a recent interview regarding the EP.  It actually presents five tracks that hold their own identity separate from the band’s original compositions.  The sixth track is a never-before-released acoustic composition that boasts an identity all its own.  Because of that it proves to be one of the best examples of what makes Duality: Stories Unplugged stand out both from its “sister” album and from other acoustic albums and EPs released so far this year and in turn proves to be one of the best new EPs of the year.

Duality: Stories Unplugged is one of this year’s best new EPs, hands down.  It is also one of the best new works that Set It Off has released so far into its life.  The six-track disc is such an impressive release in that each of the re-worked tunes featured on this record establishes its own identity apart from the original songs from which they were lifted.  That is most clear in the stripped down, full-on acoustic take of ‘Bleak December.’  In comparison to the original song included in the band’s 2014 album Duality, this song is the polar opposite of that piece.  The guitar line in the song’s original take presents an almost pop punk-oriented sound.  For lack of better wording, that sound gives the original take an almost sarcastic feel.  That is especially the case when that line is set against Carson’s own vocal delivery.  The new, acoustic take, on the other hand, presents a much darker, moodier vibe.  The gentle tones of the piano set against Cody’s own reserved vocal style and drummer Maxx Danziger’s use of a cajon adds even more of a different vibe to the song.  All things considered here, ‘Bleak December’ really becomes a whole new song apart from its original take.  Truth be told it actually sounds better and more fitting with the song’s lyrics in which Carson sings, “Gimme, gimme, gimme the truth now/I promise I can handle it, if you can/Cause you’ve been running from yourself for way too long/So gimme any reason not to cut you out/You’re far too gone/Watch you pretend you know it all/Shift any blame aside/Vending the victim when it sells/How do you even sleep at night as I drive and drive/In that bleak December/You’re just too cold/But I need the answer/Before you’d fold/You would hold your cards inside your chest/I think I drove too far/For that bleak December/And how full of s*** you are.”  The combination of the noted elements makes this take of ‘Bleak December’ a whole new work and makes it just one example of why Duality: Stories Unplugged is one of Set It Off’s best works to date as well as one of this year’s best new EPs.  Audiences can hear the new take on the song for themselves online now at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eCdqjeFT3P8.

Set It Off’s re-working of ‘Bleak December’ anchors the band’s new EP.  Thanks to the thought and work put into the song, it stands out as a song almost entirely separate from the song’s original take.  It is just one piece that makes the record stand out.  The band’s re-working of ‘Why Worry’ stands out in its own right, too. While it maintains the same sound as the original take, this full-on acoustic take driven largely by guitarist Dan Clermont’s piano work and drummer Maxx Danziger’s time keeping. Carson’s own delivery style even boasts its own power as he sings, “Have you noticed that you’re breathing/Look around and count your blessings/So when you’re sick of all this stressin’and guessin’ I’m suggestin’ you turn this up and let them hear you sing it/Chin up/Quit acting like you’re half dead/Tears can only half fill how you’re feelin’/Don’t worry be happy baby/Stand up life is too damn short/That clock is ticking/Man up/If ya feel me everybody sing it/.” When the rest of the band joins in on the song’s chorus, there’s still a certain power there, even with the band members’ vocals being pulled back in comparison to what is there in the song’s original take. The end result of the song’s stylistic re-work is a song that is in this case just as good as the original. The musical re-working coupled with the song’s lyrical content makes the song just as powerful and impressive. Both the musical and lyrical content taken into consideration, they make this take of ‘Why Worry’ even more reason that Duality: Stories Unplugged stands out as one of Set It Off’s best recordings to date and one of this year’s best new EPs.

The newly re-worked versions of ‘Bleak December’ and ‘Why Worry’ are two clear examples of why Duality: Stories Unplugged is one of Set It Off’s best recordings and one of this year’s best new EPs. The re-working of ‘Tomorrow’ is one more example of what makes this record such a standout collection of songs. Much like the re-working of ‘Bleak December,’ this composition gives the song an identity almost entirely separate from that of the band’s original composition. Both takes offer a wonderfully positive vibe in their own right both musically and lyrically. But the stylistic approach of the acoustic take makes the song even harder-hitting than the full version presented in Duality. Clermont shines again here on piano. The combination of his talents set against the song’s string arrangements and Danziger’s timekeeping on the cajon give this take of the song an even more emotional punch than the one presented in the song’s original take. That is saying something, too considering that the song’s original take offered its own emotional punch. This take makes the song a full-on tearjerker that will still put a smile on audiences faces because of that punch coupled with its lyrical content. The lyrical content in question goes almost hand-in-hand with that of ‘Why Worry.’ That is because it says to listeners that no matter how bad things might seem in the moment, things will be better tomorrow, thus the song’s title. That is pointed out as Carson sings, “They’re gonna try to clip your wings/Lock you up and make you sing/But they’ll never cage your dreams/So fly away/Cause we’ve got tomorrow/We’re the pages in the wind/We’ve got tomorrow/We’re the tale that lies within/There’s always another day/Another night/A bittersweet blessing in disguise.” He goes on to sing in the song’s closing verse, “Sometimes you’re the spider/Sometimes you’re the fly/Flying towards the sky/Our starting line.” It’s a message of positivity and optimism. That message of hope set alongside the song’s new take makes it one of the record’s best moments. Together with the likes of ‘Bleak December’ and ‘Why Worry’ it makes that much stronger the argument in favor of this record. That is not to discount the other trio of songs included on this record, either. All three of those songs each offer their own share of enjoyment, too. All six songs together make Duality: Stories Unplugged a record that is again, one of Set It Off’s best to date and one that is one of this year’s best new EPs overall.

Duality: Stories Unplugged only runs six songs deep. But that does not take away in the least from the record at all. That is because the re-worked arrangements of the band’s previously released songs give each of the songs in question their own identities separate from the originals. Some of the songs are as good as the originals. Some are better than the originals. Regardless of whether they are as good as or better than the originals, the whole thing together proves to be some of the best material that Set It Off has crafted so far and in comparison to the other EPs out there, one of this year’s best new EPs. Duality: Stories Unplugged is available now in stores and online. It can be downloaded online via iTunes at https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/duality-stories-unplugged-ep/id988237301?mt=1&app=itunes&ign-mpt=uo%3D4 and ordered via Amazon at http://radial.custom.geni.us/StoriesUnpluggedAmazon. More information on Duality: Stories Unplugged is available online along with Set It Off’s latest tour schedule and news at:

Website: http://www.setitoffband.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/setitoff

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

Lamb of God Debuts Video For Upcoming Album’s New Single

Courtesy:  Epic Records

Courtesy: Epic Records

Lamb of God has officially premiered the video for its latest single ‘Overlord.’

The second single from the band’s upcoming album Sturm Und Drang (roughly translated means storm and penetrate),’Overlord’ is considered one of the biggest departures for the band on its upcoming album. It can be viewed online now at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RNRsvFsY9qk. Front man Randy Blythe explains of the song, “I wrote the song about the dangers of self-obsession in our distressingly myopic and increasingly entitled “me-now/now-me” culture; just like the couple in the video, many people can’t seem to look past their own relatively small problems to see the bigger picture: the world is in serious trouble. Having a bad day at work, or a fight with your significant other, or getting a crappy haircut or table service does not in any way shape or form constitute an emergency. Sometimes things just don’t work out the way we want them to- deal with it. People who only see their own problems eventually wind up alone because no one wants to hear their crap anymore- we all know someone like that, always whining and complaining about some inconsequential setback as if it were the apocalypse. This song is for those people.” The new video is the second for the band helmed by director Jorge Torres-Torres. His last time working with the band behind the lens was on the video for the song ‘512.’

In anticipation of Sturm Und Drang’s release on July 24th, Lamb of God has announced a series of live dates with Slipknot, Bullet For My Valentine, and Motionless in White. The tour kicks off in West Palm Beach, Florida on the same day as the album’s release and currently runs through Saturday, September 5th in Dallas, Texas. The current schedule for LOG’s upcoming tour is listed below.

NORTH AMERICAN TOUR:

LAMB OF GOD W/ Slipknot, Bullet For My Valentine & Motionless In White

7/24 – West Palm Beach, FL @ Cruzan Amphitheatre

7/25 – Tampa, FL @ MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre

7/26 – Atlanta, GA @ Aaron’s Amphitheatre at Lakewood

7/28 – Detroit, MI @ DTE Energy MusicTheatre

7/29 – Darien Center, NY @ Darien Lake Performing Arts Center

7/31 – Saratoga Springs, NY @ Saratoga Performing Arts Center

8/1 – Wantagh, NY @ Nikon at Jones Beach Theater

8/2 – Hartford, CT @ XFINITY Theatre

8/4 – Boston, MA @ XFINITY Center

8/5 – Holmdel, NJ @ PNC Bank Arts Center

8/6 – Pittsburgh, PA @ First Niagara Pavilion

8/8 – Toronto, ON @ Molson Canadian Amphitheatre

8/9 – Montreal, QC @ Parc Jean-Drapeau – Heavy Montreal

8/11 – Washington, DC @ Jiffy Lube Live

8/12 – Virginia Beach, VA @ Farm Bureau Live at Virginia Beach

8/14 – Indianapolis, IN @ Klipsch Music Center

8/15 – Chicago, IL @ First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre

8/16 – St. Louis, MO @ Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre

8/19 – Denver, CO @ Red Rocks Amphitheatre

8/21 – Salt Lake City, UT @ USANA Amphitheatre

8/22 – Garden City, ID @ Revolution Center – NO SLIPKNOT *New Show*

8/23 – Auburn, WA @ White River Amphitheater

8/24 – Vancouver, BC @ Rogers Arena

8/26 – Concord, CA @ Concord Pavilion

8/28 – Las Vegas, NV @ MGM Resort Festival Grounds

8/29 – Phoenix, AZ @ AK-Chin Pavilion

8/30 – Albuquerque, NM @ Isleta Amphitheater

9/2 – Austin, TX @ Austin360 Amphitheater

9/4 – Houston, TX @ The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion

9/5 – Dallas, TX @ Gexa Energy Pavilion

Sturm Und Drang can be pre-ordered online now via iTunes at https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/vii-sturm-und-drang-deluxe/id1000708954 and via Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/VII-Sturm-Drang-LAMB-GOD/dp/B00YH4Y7U4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1433367861&sr=8-1&keywords=lamb+of+god&tag=smarturl-20. Fans can also pre-order the album now direct from Lamb of God’s online store in a variety of bundle packs at http://lambofgod.shop.musictoday.com/page/preorder.

More information on Lamb of God’s tour is available online along with all of the latest updates on its new album and all of the latest news from the band at:

Website: http://www.lamb-of-god.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/lambofgod

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.

The Dead Rise Again This Summer

Courtesy:  AMC/Anchor Bay Entertainment

Courtesy: AMC/Anchor Bay Entertainment

The Walking Dead rises again this summer!

Anchor Bay Entertainment has just announced that the fifth season of AMC’s hit zombie drama will be released on DVD and Blu-ray + Digital HD combo pack on Tuesday, August 25th. Season Five opens with Rick and company having to make their way out of Terminus after it is revealed that its inhabitants are murderous cannibals. Of course the zombie hordes are there, too. Gareth is hot on the group’s trail, too. Along the way, loyalties are once again tested as are the wills of the survivors in a number of situations. Season Five will come complete with roughly three hours of bonus material for true diehard fans. Those bonuses are listed below.

Bonus Features on the Blu-ray™ + Digital HD and DVD include:

Audio commentaries featuring Showrunner/Executive Producer/Writer Scott M. Gimple, Executive Producer Gale Anne Hurd, Executive Producer Tom Luse, Executive Producer/Special Effects Make-Up Supervisor /Director Greg Nicotero, Director Julius Ramsay; Actors Lauren Cohan, Chad L. Coleman, Michael Cudlitz, Sonequa Martin-Green, Danai Gurira, Alana Masterson, Melissa McBride, Josh McDermitt, Norman Reedus, Christian Serratos and Steven Yuen.

Deleted Scenes
Inside “The Walking Dead”
The Making of “The Walking Dead”
The Making of Alexandria
Beth’s Journey
Bob’s Journey
Noah’s Journey
Tyreese’s Journey
A Day in the Life of Michael Cudlitz
A Day in the Life of Josh McDermitt
Rotters in the Flesh

The Walking Dead: The Complete Fifth Season will retail for MSRP of $79.99 on Blu-ray + Digital HD combo pack and $69.98 on DVD. More information on The Walking Dead: The Complete Fifth Season as well as the series’ upcoming sixth season is available online now at:

Website: http://www.amc.com/shows/the-walking/dead

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

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.