The Reverend Shawn Amos Premieres New Video; Announces New Live Dates

The Reverend Shawn Amos unveiled a new music video last week.  He also announced a new handful of live dates in support of his latest album The Reverend Shawn Amos Loves You.

The Reverend Shawn Amos debuted the video for his song ‘You’re Gonna Miss Me (When I Get Home)’ last week.  The song is taken from his latest full-length studio recording The Reverend Shawn Amos Loves You, which was released late last year.  Audiences can see the video online now via Amos’ official YouTube channel.  The video uses some interesting imagery to drive home song’s lyrical theme.  This should be kept in mind in watching the video.

 

Courtesy:  Put Together Records

Courtesy: Put Together Records

 

‘You’re Gonna Miss Me (When I Get Home)’ and its companion video are just the latest from Amos, who is in fact a fully ordained minister.  ‘Bright Lights, Big City,’ the album’s lead single, was premiered via Yahoo Music.  ‘Days of Depression,’ which features backing vocals from the world famous Blind Boys of Alabama, premiered online at Relix.  And ‘Brand New Man’ made its debut online at PureVolume.

Along with the release of his latest single, Amos also announced a new group of select live dates.  The performances are specifically in California.  They include performances in Los Angeles, Costa Mesa, Santa Rosa, and Petaluma, California.  The full schedule of dates is noted below.

Tour Dates:
4/29 – Costa Mesa, CA – The Boathouse Collective
5/06 – Los Angeles, CA – Herb Alpert’s Vibrato Jazz Grill
5/14 – Los Angeles, CA – TEDxEchoPark
5/20 –  Costa Mesa, CA – The Boathouse Collective
6/03 – Los Angeles, CA – Mr. C Beverly Hills
6/04 – Los Angeles, CA – Mr. C Beverly Hills
6/09 – Las Vegas, NV – Palazzo / Venetian
6/10 – Los Angeles, CA – Mr. C Beverly Hills
6/11 – Los Angeles, CA – Mr. C Beverly Hills

6/17 – Costa Mesa, CA – The Boathouse Collective

8/11 – Santa Rosa, CA – Krush Backyard Concert
8/12 – Petaluma, CA – The Big Easy

 

Amos, who is the son of Famous Amos Cookies’ magnate Wally “Famous” Amos (of Famous Amos cookies) and nightclub singer Shirl-ee May Ellis, has been very busy making the media rounds in publicizing his album along with his live dates and single releases.  He was a guest on NPR’s Weekend Edition recently.  During his interview with host Karen Grisby, Amos discussed his upbringing and its impact on his music.  That interview can be heard here now.  He was also recently a musical guest on Good Day New York, ABC News, and Classicalite.  More information on Amos’ upcoming appearances, live dates, music, and more is available online now at:

 

 

Website: http://www.shawnamos.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ShawnAmos

 

 

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Paul Knakk Premieres Debut EP’s Lead Single

There’s a new rising star in the country music world.  His name is Paul Knackk.  And this summer Knakk will make his first impact with his debut EP Rebel With A Cause.  In anticipation of its release Knakk has premiered the EP’s lead single online.

Paul Knakk debuted ‘Boots,’ the lead single from his debut EP Rebel With A Cause this week.  The song premiered online via National Country Review.

 

Courtesy: National Country Review

Courtesy: National Country Review

 

Along with the premiere of his new single, Knakk also has an extensive live schedule that takes him throughout his home state of Pennsylvania and other parts of New England including performances this weekend, next week and well beyond.  Audiences can check out Knakk’s full live schedule now, and keep up with all of his latest news and updates on Rebel With A Cause at:

 

 

Website: http://paulknakk.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/paulknakk

 

 

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Robinson’s ‘Through A Crooked Sun’ Is A Straight Hit

Courtesy:  Eagle Rock Entertainment

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

Veteran musician/performer Rich Robinson will release his latest album this summer.  The album, Flux, will be his fourth full length studio recording and eighth overall recording.  It will be released Friday, June 24th in stores and online.  While audiences wait for its release, Robinson has given them more than a little something to pass the time in the form of four re-issues.  Robinson teamed up with Eagle Rock Entertainment this year to re-issue four of his previous recordings.  Two of those recordings—Paper and Llama Blues—were released this past February.  The other two—Woodstock Sessions Vol. 3 and Through a Crooked Sun—were released earlier this month.  Each of the recordings stands out in its own special way and in turn serves as its own welcome introduction to Robinson the solo artist versus Robinson the former Black Crowes member.  This is just as evident in Robinson’s 2011 album Through A Crooked Sun as in his other recent re-issues.  Robinson even notes in the liner notes of the album’s new re-issue that it shows a completely different side of him than what he was able to show as a member of Black Crowes.  That is clear right from the album’s opener ‘Gone Away.’  The song, driven largely by drummer Joe Magistro’s four-on-the-floor, exhibits a number of influences.  That will be discussed shortly.  ‘Hey Fear’ is another of the album’s offerings that stands out in this album.  Its reserved sound and equally introspective lyrics team up to make it one of the album’s most poignant and powerful moments.  The southern ground sound of ‘Falling Again’ makes that song stand out in its own way, too.  What listeners will note about each of these songs is just how much each song stands out from the other in terms of Robinson and company’s stylistic approach to each composition.  That applies just as much in the album’s other compositions as with the pieces noted here.  All things considered Eagle Rock Entertainment’s re-issue of Rich Robinson’s Through A Crooked Sun is not only a great listen for Robinson’s fans and fans of Black Crowes but also another good addition to any critic’s list of the year’s top new CD re-issues.

Eagle Rock Entertainment’s re-issue of Rich Robinson’s 2011 album Through A Crooked Sun is not the only of his records to be re-issued lately.  As a matter of fact it is the fourth of his recordings to be re-issued in recent months.  It is just as welcome as those other re-issues in any of his fans’ music libraries.  Not only that but it is also yet another of this year’s top new CD re-issues.  The reason being that the album in whole does in fact reflect a side of Robinson that was rarely ever heard in his work with Black Crowes.  That is evident right off the top in the album’s opener ‘Gone Away.’  This song is a clear example of what makes Through A Crooked Sun stand out in large part due to its musical arrangement.  It could just be this critic’s own take but at least to this critic it hints at a Beatles influence circa Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band with its guitar line and solid, driving four-on-the-floor drum line.  At the same time one could also argue that that same sound hints at an influence from the likes of Phish and Widespread Panic.  Its lyrical content makes it just as intriguing.  Robinson sings here, “I fell the distance of the deepest canyon/It took me years to climb back to the top/And now I see the plains right in front of me/I hope to take it all the way to the sea.”  He goes on to sing in the song’s chorus, “It seems like everything’s gone away now.”  This statement seems to be in regards to what the song’s subject sees as he traverses the once familiar landscape.  He goes on to sing in the song’s second verse, “ I feel the comet coming/To take us to a new world/Like a child/Walk a cliff at noon/With new ways unlike this world’s never seen/I hope to last to see it viewed pristine.”  Now, if that is indeed the proper interpretation of the verse without lyrics to go by, then it is just as thought-provoking as the song’s opening verse.  And again he proceeds to repeat the song’s chorus again, noting that everything familiar has gone away.  Again that response to the song’s verse comes across as a commentary of how much things have changed in the world.  Except in this case the reference comes across as being more of a social commentary than just in general.  That is, again, just this critic’s own take on Robinson’s lyrical content here.  The song’s final verse is just as likely to catch listeners’ ears and get them thinking.  Together with the song’s other lyrical content and its musical content, the whole of the composition shows why it is one of the album’s most notable offerings.  It is not the only piece that stands out on this record.  ‘Hey Fear’ stands out just as much.

‘Gone Away’ is an interesting addition to Rich Robinson’s first full-length solo studio recording.  It is not the only notable offering. ‘Hey Fear’ is another of the album’s most notable inclusions.  As with ‘Gone Away’ this song is worth noting because of its own musical and lyrical content.  In regards to its musical content, said content is so notable because it is the polar opposite of that in the album’s opener.  Whereas that song had a more classic rock-oriented sound, this piece boasts more of a folksy, Americana sort of sound.  That’s just the tip of the song’s proverbial musical iceberg.  A close listen reveals elements within the song’s instrumentation that stand out in each part.  For instance, the drums here don’t sound nearly as open as in ‘Gone Away.’  That is the case even as the song builds into its final minutes.  They cut through in those final minutes.  But they never have that more airy sound that is evident in the album’s opener.  Just as interesting to note here is the prominence of the song’s bass line.  There are sections within the song in which Robinson’s bass line (Robinson covers both the guitar and bass line in this song)presents its own surprise melody.  It’s subtle, too;  so subtle in fact that it will take listeners a few times to fully realize what they are hearing.  When they do, they will most assuredly appreciate its balance with the rest of the song’s instrumentation.  Even the manner in which the song gradually builds from its acoustic to its more bombastic electric side stands out.  Whether through these elements or any of the others within the song’s musical content, it can be said of the song’s musical content in whole that it does more than its part in making this song stand out.  The song’s musical arrangement and instrumentation is just one part of what makes the song stand out.  Its lyrical content is just as notable.  In regards to its lyrical content Robinson sings here of overcoming the fear that so easily cripples so many people, possibly including himself.  That is clear as he sings, “Hey there, fear/You’re always in tow/Never too far behind/Your presence is always known/Will you live to carry on/Living underneath my wing/Will you finally move along/Watch the distance come between/Hey fear/Hey fear/Time to finally move along/Watching distance grow between.”  This is the song’s subject (or Robinson himself) addressing the fears that have crippled himself (or herself) and saying in no uncertain terms that he/she will not let it control him/her anymore.  The victory over that fear is illustrated especially well as Robinson, [Joe] Magistro, and [Steve] Molitz build the song to the wide open, bombastic sound presented in its ending minutes.  It’s one more way in which this song stands out.  Together with the song’s musical content, both elements combine to make it one more of the album’s most notable inclusions because it is also one of the album’s most emotionally powerful and engaging opuses.  It still is not the last of the album’s most notable tracks.  ‘Falling Again’ is another piece that proves the overall importance of this album.

‘Gone Away’ and ‘Hey Fear’ are both important inclusions to Through A Crooked Sun in their own right.  One mixes elements of rock’s golden era with a more modern classic sound and crosses it with some rather insightful lyrics.  The other offers its own insightful lyrics and matches said lyrics with some notably powerful musical content.  The two songs together form their own solid foundation for the re-issue of Rich Robinson’s debut solo record.  As important as they are to this record they are not its only notable compositions.  ‘Falling Again’ is just as important to the album as the noted songs and those not noted here.  It stands out because once again it presents Robinson’s broad musical talents and influences.  This song is pure southern rock with elements of Lynyrd Skynyrd, Molly Hatchet, and others of that ilk in terms of its musical content.  That sound, which differs from anything else on this record is only pat of what makes the song stand out.  Its lyrical content is just as important to note as its music.  Robinson sings in the song’s lead verse, “I hear you falling again/And you’re brining me down/But that’s not where I’m going/There’s no one around you this time/But you haven’t noticed yet/When you do/Will you speak softly/It’s time that I’m rollin’/No bringin’ me down/The news I’ve been hearin’/It’s all over town/Tales of a sad man/Who doesn’t know he’s out/Spend his time a’ reelin’/In a world of doubt.”  This, again, is only this critic’s interpretation of this song.  But it comes across as if Robinson is commenting on all of the world’s negativity both in the things people say every day to one another and to the news in today’s 24/7 news cycle.  He comes across as saying he’s so tired of it and doesn’t want to fall down with all of that negativity.  If indeed that is the case then it’s a deep statement made in a very small amount of space.  To that extent, Richardson deserves a round of applause.  He goes on to sing in the song’s second verse, “Back when you told me a lie/Do you realize/You were lookin’ straight in the mirror/Far be it from me to explain/What you’re doing now/Go on and on forever.”  From here he returns to the song’s chorus.   That second verse seems rather self explanatory.  It is a commentary about people lying to themselves when they attempt to lie to others.  An again, the song’s chorus drives home the message of the song’s subject trying to get away from all of that because it is only serving to make a person’s world fall down around him/her.  It is yet another topic to which any listener can relate.  And Robinson’s gentle delivery of these lines—believe it or not—actually heightens the impact of the song’s lyrical subject matter that much more.  Keeping this in mind the combination of that vocal delivery, the song’s thoughtful lyrics, and its equally enjoyable musical foundation makes clear why this song stands out as one more of the album’s most notable compositions.  When the song is set against the other pieces noted here, and the pieces not noted, the record in whole shows with full clarity just why it is another welcome addition to the personal music libraries of Robinson’s fans and also why it is one more of this year’s top new CD re-issues.

Eagle Rock Entertainment’s new re-issue of Rich Robinson’s debut solo album Through A Crooked Sun is not the only one of his records to be re-issued this year.  It is however, one of the year’s top new CD re-issues along with the other three records that have been re-issued from his catalogue.  From its wide variety of musical styles to its equally broad spectrum of lyrical themes, it offers plenty for audiences to appreciate regardless of their familiarity with Robinson’s solo work.  Altogether, the mix of the album’s musical and lyrical content makes this record one more great addition to the home music library of any of Robinson’s fans and an equally enjoyable listen for fans while they wait for his next new album, which is, again due out this summer.  Richardson will hit the road in May in support of all of these albums.  His upcoming tour begins May 12th in Dallas, TX and also includes a performance in North Carolina on June 30th.  That performance will be at the PNC Music Pavilion in Charlotte, NC alongside Bad Company and Joe Walsh.  Robinson’s complete, current tour schedule is available online now along with more information on his new re-issues, his upcoming album Flux and all of his latest news at:

 

 

Website: http://www.richrobinson.net

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/richsrobinson

 

 

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Whitechapel Reveals New LP Specs; Unveils Video For Album’s Lead Single

Courtesy:  Metal Blade Records

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

Whitechapel has a new album on the way.

The Tennessee-based death metal band announced this week that it will release its sixth full-length studio recording this summer.  Mark of the Blade will be released in stores and online on Friday, June 24th.  The album will be released worldwide via Metal Blade Records.  In anticipation of its release, the band has unveiled the lyric video for the album’s lead single, which is also its title track.  The video is currently streaming online via the band’s page at Metal Blade Records’ website.

 

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

 

 

Mark Lewis (The Black Dahlia Murder, Cannibal Corpse) manned the boards for the 11-song record.  It is not the first time that he has worked with the band.  He also helmed the band’s self-titled 2012 album and its follow-up, 2014’s This Endless War.  Guitarist Alex Wade discussed the changes that listeners can expect from the band this time out with the press, noting the dynamic contrast of the songs and the role of the band members’ personal growth in the album’s sound.  “It’s the most dynamic record we’ve done, in the sense that one song can be very aggressive while the next one will be softer and sentimental,”  he said.  “At this point in our career and as we grow older, we are taking a more open-minded approach to creating our music, allowing what we think sounds good to evolve naturally, rather than to just write what is expected of us.”   The album’s complete track list is noted below.

Mark of the Blade track-listing
1. The Void
2. Mark of the Blade
3. Elitist Ones
4. Bring Me Home
5. Tremors
6. A Killing Industry
7. Tormented
8. Brotherhood
9. Dwell in the Shadows
10. Venomous
11. Decennium

Whitechapel will hit the road this summer in support of Mark of the Blade beginning May 4th in Fayetteville, AR and currently ends on May 22nd.  Fit For A King, The Plot in You, and Enterprise Earth.  After it wraps that tour, it will take some time off before joining up on the annual Van’s Warped Tour beginning June 24th in Dallas, TX.  The band’s run on the Warped Tour goes through August 13th in Portland, Oregon.  Both tour schedules are noted below.

 

 Whitechapel tour dates
w/ Fit for a King, The Plot In You, Enterprise Earth

May 4 – Fayetteville, AR – Georfe’s Majestic Lounge
May 5 – Springfield, MO – The Outland Ballroom
May 6 – Oklahoma City, OK – 89th Street Collective
May 7 – Lubbock, TX – Jakes Sports Cafe
May 8 – Wichita, KS – Rock Island
May 10 – Des Moines, IA – Lefty’s Live Music
May 11 – Iowa City, IA – Gabe’s
May 12 – Grand Rapids, MI – The Stache
May 13 – Erie, PA – Basement Transmissions
May 14 – Reading, PA – Reverb Concerts
May 15 – Frederick, MD – Cafe 611
May 17 – South Burlington, VT – Higher Ground
May 18 – Clifton Park, NY – Upstate Concert Hall
May 19 – Richmond, VA – The Canal Club
May 20 – Greensboro, NC – The Blind Tiger
May 21 – Columbia, SC – New Brookland Tavern
May 22 – Wilmington, NC – Ziggy’s by the Sea

Whitechapel Warped Tour dates
June 24 – Dallas, TX – Gexa Energy Pavilion
June 25 – San Antonio, TX – AT&T Center
June 26 – Houston, TX – NRG Park Main Street Lot
June 27 – New Orleans, LA – Port of New Orleans (Mardi Gras World)
June 29 – Nashville, TN – The Fairgrounds Nashville
June 30 – Atlanta, GA – Aaron’s Amphitheater at Lakewood
July 1 – St. Petersburg, FL – Vinoy Park
July 2 – Orlando, FL – Tinker Field
July 3 – West Palm Beach, FL – Perfect Vodka Amphitheatre
July 5 – Charlotte, NC – PNC Music Pavilion Charlotte
July 6 – Virginia Beach, VA – Veterans United Home Loans Amphitheatre
July 7 – Syracuse, NY – Lakeview Amphitheater
July 8 – Camden, NJ – BB&T Pavilion
July 9 – Wantagh, NY – Nikon at Jones Beach Amphitheatre
July 10 – Hartford, CT – Xfinity Theatre
July 11 – Scranton, PA – The Pavilion at Montage Mountain
July 13 – Mansfield, MA – Xfinity Center
July 14 – Darien Center, NY – Darien Lake PAC
July 15 – Pittsburgh, PA – First Niagara Pavilion
July 16 – Columbia, MD – Merriweather Post Pavilion
July 17 – Holmdel, NJ – PNC Bank Arts Center
July 19 – Indianapolis, IN – Klipsch Music Center
July 20 – Cuyahoga Falls, OH – Blossom Music Center
July 21 – Cincinnati, OH – Riverbend Music Center
July 22 – Detroit, MI – The Palace of Auburn Hills
July 23 – Chicago, IL – Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre
July 24 – Shakopee, MN – Canterbury Park
July 26 – Milwaukee, WI – Marcus Amphitheatre
July 27 – St. Louis, MO – Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre
July 28 – Bonners Spring, KS – Providence Medical Center Amphitheater
July 30 – Salt Lake City, UT – Utah State Fairpark
July 31 – Denver, CO – Pepsi Center Arena Lot
Aug. 1 – Albuquerque, NM – Balloon Fiesta Park
Aug. 2 – Phoenix, AZ – Salt River Fields
Aug. 5 – San Diego, CA – Qualcomm Stadium Lot
Aug. 6 – San Francisco, CA – Shoreline Amphitheatre
Aug. 7 – Pomona, CA – Pomona Fairplex
Aug. 9 – Las Vegas, NV – Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
Aug. 11 – Boise, ID – Ford Idaho Center Amphitheater
Aug. 12 – Auburn, WA – White River
Aug. 13 – Portland, OR – Portland Expo Center

 

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

 

Website: http://www.whitechapelband.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/whitechapelband

 

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.

Frehley, Stanley Team Up For Frehley’s ‘Fire And Water’ Video

Photo Credit: Jay Gilbert

Photo Credit: Jay Gilbert

Paul Stanley and Ace Frehley are back together.

The former KISS band mates teamed up recently to film the video for the song ‘Fire and Water.’  The song, which is a cover of Free’s hit 1970 song, is taken from Frehley’s new covers album Origins Vol. 1.  The video was premiered this week exclusively via VEVO.  It marks the first time in 18 years that Frehley and Stanley worked together on a music video.  The last time that the pair worked together on a music video was for the title track from KISS’ 1998 album Psycho Circus.  It also marks the first time in 14 years have even performed together on stage.  The last time that they shared the stage was in 2002 at the Olympic Winter Games.  What’s more, it marks Frehley’s first music video since releasing the video for his cover of ‘Do Ya.’  That song was also covered by The Move and ELO.  Considering Frehley’s comments on working with Stanley on his new video, one must assume that the differences between the musicians are now water under the bridge.  It was great working with Paul again and all the years we’ve spent apart doing other projects seemed to vanish once we hit the stage!, he said.

 

Courtesy:  Entertainment One

Courtesy: Entertainment One

 

 

Origins Vol. 1 is the follow-up to Frehley’s 2014 album Space InvaderThat album debuted at #9 on Billboard’s Top 200 upon it’s relase.  Origins Vol. 1 has made a big splash both with audiences and on the charts since its release earlier this month.  It sold more than 16,000 copies nationwide in its first week in stores.  Earlier this week it reached the #1 spot on Billboard’s Hard Music Chart, #3 on the magazine’s Rock Chart, and #6 on its Current Chart.  Its numbers internationally were just as big.  It reached #2 on Sweden’s Hard Rock Chart and #05 on the England Indie Album Breakers Chart.

Along with the new video for the song, it is also streaming online via SoundCloudOrigins Vol. 1 is available now in stores and online.  More information on the album is available online now along with all of Frehley’s latest news at:

 

Website: http://www.acefrehley.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/Ace_Frehley

 

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.

Hearing Bubble Wrap Is Just As Fun As Popping Bubble Wrap

Courtesy:  Butter-Dog Records

Courtesy: Butter-Dog Records

Eric Herman and the Thunder Puppies will release their debut album Bubble Wrap this summer.  The twelve-song album is quite the first impression from the West Richland, Washington-based band.  That is due in part to the mix of musical styles that make up the record’s body.  That will be discussed shortly.  The variety of lyrical themes that is presented across the record is just as important to note as its musical variety.  The album’s packaging rounds out the album’s presentation.  It is something that is far too often taken for granted.  It shows its overlooked importance clearly in the case of this album.  Keeping this in mind, it partners with the album’s other positives to make the album in whole a presentation that is one more of 2016’s top new musical offerings for children and families.

Bubble Wrap, the debut album from Eric Herman and the Thunder Puppies, is quite the first impression for the musicians.  Taking into consideration each of its positives, each is equally important to the album’s presentation.  Collectively, they make Bubble Wrap one more of 2016’s top new musical offerings for children and families alike.  This is proven in part by the album’s variety of musical styles.  Over the course of the album’s twelve total tracks, Herman and his fellow musicians craft a handful of indie rock compositions that parents will likely enjoy.  Those compositions make up mainly the front end of the album’s body.  ‘Where’s Saturday’ changes things up with an infectious blues groove that the whole family will enjoy.  Its lyrical content, which will be discussed shortly, is just as important to the song as its musical content.  Front man Eric Herman not only handles the song’s vocals but also its guitar line.  Herman’s blue licks are impeccable to say the very least.  Ben Macy adds his own touch to the song, too with his work on the organ.  There’s no note inside the album as to whether the organ used here is a Hammond, Wurlitzer, or another line.  To this critic’s ears, it sounds like a Hammond.  It would be interesting to find out which organ was used.  But that’s beside the point.  Getting back on track, drummer Javier Ruiz puts the final touch on the song’s musical foundation with his solid timing.  There are no notes in the songs’ specs about who handled the lead vocals in this song.  So one is left to assume that front man Eric Herman handled the song’s primary vocal duties in this song.  Keeping this in mind, Herman uses a certain Johnny Lee Hooker style growl a couple times in the song that will put a smile on any blues purist’s face.  It sounds just like that of the late great blues man.  All things considered here the song instantly conjures thoughts of a smoky, dimly lit nightclub much like those that helped form the foundation of the blues community.  It’s just one example of the importance of the album’s musical content to its overall presentation.  The overall musical makeup of ‘Phone’ is another example of the importance of the album’s musical content to its presentation.

‘Where’s Saturday’ is a prime example of what makes Bubble Wrap’s musical content so important to the album’s presentation.  It takes older listeners back to the early days of the blues.  And for younger listeners it serves as an equally enjoyable introduction to the blues.  What’s more, it also serves as a break from the indie rock sound that is so much more pervasive in this record.  It’s just one example of the importance of the album’s musical content.  ‘Phone’ stands out just as much of ‘Where’s Saturday’ with its musical content.  It is just this critic’s own interpretation but the combination of Herman’s vocal delivery and guitar sounds similar to Cake’s ‘The Distance’ and ‘Short Skirt / Long Jacket.’  Again this is just this critic’s own take on the song’s musical foundation.  That doesn’t mean that others won’t interpret it in other ways.  Regardless of how that content is interpreted it can be said that it stands out just as much as the bluesy sound of ‘Where’s Saturday’ and in turn offers even more of a break from that indie rock sound that makes up most of the album’s musical body.  It is still not the last example of what makes the album’s musical content so important to its presentation.  Late in the album’s run Herman and company present a deeply touching, piano-driven ballad simply titled ‘Okay’ that stands out just as much as the previously noted compositions, if not more.

‘Where’s Saturday’ and ‘Phone’ are prime examples in their own way of what makes Bubble Wrap’s musical content so important to its overall presentation.  They are not the only songs that exemplify the importance of the album’s musical content.  ‘Okay’ stands out just as much as those songs.  That is because of its approach.  It is a gentle, flowing, piano-driven piece that will tug at every listener’s heart as it hits all of the right notes.  Its dynamics are just as important to note here.  The song’s main line rises and falls at all of the right places with the end result being an emotional impact that will bring tears of happiness to any parent’s eyes.  It is just as sure to move younger listeners.  Its impact on said listeners might not be as powerful.  But it will still be noticeable nonetheless.  It is just one more way in which the album’s musical content proves to be so important to its overall presentation.  It is hardly the last song that could be cited in showing the importance of the album’s musical content to its presentation.  The folksy sound of ‘I Wanna Be That Guy,’ the old school funk influenced ‘Take A Bath,’ and the playful, almost Dixieland style piano of ‘Fun Times’ are each just as notable as the compositions that are more thoroughly noted here.  Whether through those songs or the pieces that are more directly discussed, it can be said of each that it plays a very important part in the album’s presentation.  Collectively, they make Bubble Wrap an album that is just as fun to hear as it is to pop real bubble wrap.

The musical makeup of Bubble Wrap plays an integral part to the album’s presentation.  It is not the only important part of the album’s presentation.  The lyrical themes that are presented throughout the album are just as important as the songs’ musical arrangements.  The themes presented throughout each of the songs vary from one song to the next but will appeal to audiences of all ages.  The album’s opener and title track is a prime example of this.  It is in fact about the joys of popping bubble wrap.  As much as adults will want to deny it, no one of any age can resist popping bubble wrap.  It is just a great stress reliever.  Why is anyone’s guess.  But it is.  That in itself will keep adults just as entertained here as their younger counterparts.  The same can be said of the lyrical theme presented in ‘Where’s Saturday.’  This song is sung from the vantage point of a child having to get up and go to school on a Monday morning, and all of the negatives that come with it.  The irony is that a few minor tweaks to the song’s lyrics would make it just as relatable to adults as to children.  That is because it is just as miserable having to get up and go to work on a Monday morning as it is for a child to have to big adieu to the weekend and head back to school on a Monday.  As a matter of fact, there is indeed a blues tune called ‘Monday Morning Blues’ that was made famous decades ago by legendary blues man Mississippi John Hurt.  It is still a favorite among music lovers of all ages and types to this day.  If all of that isn’t enough, the theme of parents’ love for their children and vice versa presented in ‘Okay’ is another deeply emotional theme.  While the song is sung from the vantage point of a child, it is a song that is more likely to reach older audiences than younger ones.  It is about a child’s appreciation for his or her parents’ comfort in a difficult situation.  The situation in question is a thunderstorm.  And while it is just a thunderstorm, a thunderstorm can just as easily be equated to other difficult situations.  To that extent, the pure love that the parents exhibit and the child’s appreciation for that love and comfort proves to be a concept that will move any parent.  Keeping that in mind, it is yet another example of the importance of the album’s lyrical content.  It is not the last song that could cited, either.  The playful yet biting commentary of ‘Phone’ could just as easily be cited as it tackles people’s addiction to their smart phones.  ‘I Wanna Be That Guy’ presents its own important lyrical theme.  It is an existential coming of age story of sorts that follows a man from boyhood to adulthood.  As a boy he says he wants to be a certain type of man when he gets older.  Then as he gets older he begins to look back on what he has done and where is he headed in life.  It closes with the then grown man looking at his sons hoping that they will continue the cycle and want to be like him.  Presenting the song in such fashion makes it a great concept.  Presenting such an existential topic is just as creative especially for a children’s album.  All things considered there the song could be said to be one of the album’s best in regards to its lyrical theme.  Together with the rest of the album’s lyrical themes each of the themes combines with the others to show in whole just how important the album’s lyrical themes are to the album’s presentation.  Speaking of the lyrics, they are printed in full inside the album’s gatefold packaging, which is the last of the album’s most notable elements.

Both the musical and lyrical content presented within Bubbble Wrap are equally important in their own way when considering what makes this record stand out among its fellow family and children’s albums this year.  While both are equally important they are not the album’s only important elements.  The album’s packaging is just as important to its presentation as its overall content.  The packaging is so important to note because it features the full lyrics to each of its dozen tracks.  This makes following the songs all the easier.  Thanks to that ease of following the songs, so many discussions can be raised.  There are no detailed specs within each song about who handled which part.  Considering that Pettey’s duties are listed as not just playing guitar but also handling main and backing vocals, this can be somewhat problematic in giving credit where it is due.  That aside, audiences at least are given a face to go with each name and role within the band.  This is not something that audiences always get, especially with new acts.  To that end, it is another good addition to the album’s packaging.  All of that, in conjunction with the album’s overall content, shows why the album in whole is one more of 2016’s top new family albums.

Eric Herman and the Thunder Puppies’ debut album Bubble Wrap is one more of 2016’s top new family and children’s albums.  That is thanks in part to the variety of musical styles presented throughout the album’s dozen total tracks.  There is a touch of the blues in ‘Where’s Saturday,’ which is in its own right a tribute of sorts to the classic blues tune ‘Monday Morning Blues.’  Whether or not that tribute was intentional is anyone’s guess.  Regardless it is there.  The socially conscious ‘Phone’ boasts a sound that at least to this critic is similar to the likes of mainstream rock act Cake.  And the beautiful, moving piano-driven melody of ‘Okay’ presents a wonderful ballad style sound that listeners will love just as much as the other presented styles.  There’s even a fun almost Dixieland style sound in ‘Fun Times’ alongside the indie rock sound that populates the rest of the album’s songs.  The lyrical themes presented throughout the record are just as varied as its musical styles.  ‘Phone’ is a sarcastic commentary about people’s addictions to their smart phones.  It’s a message that adults should hear just as much as children.  ‘I Wanna Be That Guy’ is a deep, thought-provoking existential coming-of-age story that is just as inspirational as it is thought-provoking.  ‘Okay’ is just as impressive thanks to its story of parents’ love for and dedication to protecting their children.  It is a message that along with the song’s musical side, won’t leave a single eye dry.  And while the album is at least somewhat lacking in certain notes, the inclusion of full lyrics to each song helps to keep listeners engaged from beginning to end.  As should be clear now, each element noted here plays its own important part to the overall presentation of Bubble Wrap.  All things considered this album proves in the end to be one more of 2016’s top new family and children’s albums.  It will be available June 10th and can be ordered online direct via Eric Herman and the Thunder Puppies’ online store at http://www.erichermanmusic.com/bubble.html.  More information on Bubble Wrap—including guitar tabs for each song and the album’s liner notes—is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:

 

 

Website: http://www.EricHermanMusic.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/erichermanmusic

 

 

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.

Armored Saint, Metal Church Teaming Up For Upcoming Tour

Courtesy:  Metal Blade Records

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

Veteran rockers Armored Saint and Metal Church are teaming up for a series of live dates this summer.

The bands announced recently that they will share the stage this summer for a handful of west coast dates beginning June 3rd in Corona, California.  The dates, which currently run through June 11th in Portland, Oregon, are just some of the dates that the band has on tap this year.  The band will take some time off to rest and recharge following its west coast dates before heading overseas for a European tour that launches July 14th in London.  The band’s current tour schedule is noted below.

 

Armored Saint tour dates
w/ Metal Church

June 3 – Corona, CA – M15

June 4 – Hollywood, CA – Whisky-A-Go-Go

June 5 – San Diego, CA – Brick by Brick

June 6 – Las Vegas, NV – Brooklyn Bowl

June 8 – San Francisco, CA – DNA Lounge

June 10 – Seattle, WA – Studio Seven

June 11 – Portland, OR – Hawthorne Theater

Armored Saint tour dates

July 14 – London, UK – Underworld

July 16 – Barcelona, Spain – Rock Fest Barcelona @ Parc de Can

July 28 – Brande-Hornerkirchen, Germany – Headbangers Open Air

July 29 – Saarbrucken, Germany – Saarmageddon @ Messegelande

July 30 – Essen, Germany – Nord Open Air

Oct. 8 – Tokyo, Japan – Loud Park Festival

 

The band’s upcoming tour dates are all in support of Armored Saint’s most recent full-length studio recording Win Hands Down (2015).  The album debuted at #7 on the Billboard Top 200 Albums chart in its first week out and entered the German Top 100 Albums chart at #33.  Win Hands Down is available in stores and online now.  It can be ordered online direct via Armored Saint’s official Metal Blade Records page.  More information on Armored Saint’s upcoming tour schedule is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:

 

Website: http://www.armoredsaint.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/thearmoredsaint

 

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.