Lamb Of God Takes No Prisoners As It Storms This Year’s Hard Rock And Metal Field

Courtesy:  Epic Records

Courtesy: Epic Records

It’s official. Lamb of God is back. The veteran metal band, which was once tapped as part of the so-called New Wave of American Heavy Metal, released its latest full-length studio effort on July 24th. The album, the band’s seventh, is one that almost didn’t happen. That is because of front man Randy Blythe’s 2012 court case stemming from the death of one of the band’s fans in 2010 at one of the band’s live shows in Prague. Blythe faced the possibility of spending quite a bit of time behind bars as a result of the fan’s death as he was implicated in sad fan’s death. Thankfully that didn’t happen. And because it didn’t fans now have an album in VII: Sturm Und Drang that is both one of the band’s best albums to date and that is one of the best of this year’s hard rock and metal albums. The record is anchored by the trademark musical and lyrical intensity that the band’s fans have come to know so well over the years as is evident in ‘#512′ and ‘Engage The Fear Machine.’ Though, for its familiar sound and feel, the band does throw a proverbial wrench in the works, branching out slightly in regards to its musical content in ‘Overlord.’ All three songs show in their own way that Lamb of God is indeed back. They are hardly the only songs that could be cited in making that argument. The standard edition features seven other songs that could just as easily be used for that argument. The deluxe extended edition no fewer than nine other tracks as fodder for that argument as it includes a pair of bonus recordings. All things considered, VII: Sturm Und Drang (storm and penetrated, roughly translated) proves both in its standard and deluxe editions to be an album that is, again, one of Lamb of God’s best recordings yet and one of this year’s best new hard rock and metal recordings.

Lamb of God’s latest full-length album VII: Sturm Und Drang is one of the band’s best recordings to date and one of the best of this year’s crop of new hard rock and metal albums. It is an especially welcome recording from one of the members of the so-called New Wave of American Heavy Metal considering that it almost didn’t happen. From beginning to end, fans will note the band’s trademark musical and lyrical intensity in every song including one of its highest moments, ‘#512.’ Considering the song’s lyrical content, one can’t help but think that it must be one of the two songs included in this record that were centered on the case in question. He writes in the song, “Six bars laid across the sky/Four empty walls to fill the time/One careless word, you lose your life/A grave new world awaits inside.” He goes on to write in the song’s chorus, “My hands are painted red/My future’s painted black/I can’t recognize myself/I’ve become someone else/My hands are painted red” The content contained in the song’s second and third verse strengthens the argument even more that this song is referencing the events of Blythe’s case. Both verses, when coupled with the intensity of the song’s musical content, illustrates the emotion that Blythe must have felt when he originally wrote this song. That is, again, if the song is indeed making reference to the case.

Regardless of whether or not #512 is indeed making reference to Randy Blythe’s case stemming from the death of one of LOG’s fans some five years ago, it is still one of the best moments of this already outstanding return for one of metal’s top acts. It is hardly the only positive that can be taken from the band’s new album. ‘Engage The Fear Machine’ is yet another positive from this outstanding work. Coming from a musical vantage point, ‘Engage The Fear Machine’ shows another familiar sound. The band’s technical expertise in this death metal style song. Drummer Chris Adler’s time keeping is without flaw. Mark Morton and Will Adler are just as tight together in the song’s dual-part approach to the songs. And the fire in Blythe’s voice as he screams will remind long-time fans just as much of the band’s previous works. Speaking in terms of the song’s lyrical content, the song hits just as hard as Blythe comments on the steady stream of fear, death, and destruction being fed to Americans from the media and other sources. He screams, “Here we go again/The world is coming to an end/Engage the fear machine and collect the dividends/That’s it, you filthy monkeys/Keep your eyes on the bright and shiny/Just for you/A brand new-and-improved catastrophe/Pure-bred Pavlov/Prime time apocalypse/Hit the panic button and reap the bloody benefits.” This is made even clearer as he screams in the song’s closing verse, “Stream the latest threat from the limelight economists/Fabricated peri from contagion to communists/Fear delivered to your door by racketeers and strategists/Another advertisement war sold by the media terrorists.” If there was any doubt before, then that doubt is completely eliminated here. The fear machine is the media. It is politicians. It is everybody in any sense of power that willingly drives people into submission through the use of fear. That reminder to not give in to the fear machine set alongside the song’s familiar powerhouse musical content makes even clearer why this song is one of the best of the band’s new album. While it is another of the album’s best moments, it is not the last of said moments. ‘Overlord’ is one of the album’s representative singles and justifiably so. It is yet another of the album’s most notable works.

‘#512′ and ‘Engage The Fear Machine’ are both key additions to Lamb of God’s new album. Both songs harken back to the band’s previous albums with their musical content. The songs’ lyrical content will impress just as much with their hard-hitting and thought-provoking lyrical content. While both songs show in their own way to be key additions to VII: Sturm Und Drang they are just a small collective glimpse into what makes this record such a welcome return for Lamb of God. The album’s latest single ‘Overlord’ is one more example of what makes this record a welcome return. It is perhaps the single most notable of the album’s songs because it is such a drastic departure for the band. The band’s signature speed and ferocity are both there. However, listeners are treated to more than just that familiar sound. The song starts out with a much slower hybrid Crowbar/Alice in Chains sort of sound that runs nearly three and a half minutes into the song’s six and a half-minute run time. Throughout that initial run, audiences actually get to hear for themselves that the band’s members can in fact do more than just play really fast and really loud. All five men show that they can play in a slow, controlled fashion just as much as they can fast and loud. Even Blythe’s vocals have a different sound in that run. It’s an interesting change of pace overall. It is just part of what makes this song such an interesting addition to the record, too. The song’s lyrical content, written by Blythe add even more interest. Blythe noted in an interview that lyrically speaking, the song is a commentary about how the world’s people have become completely self-obsessed and that the end result of that obsession can only be bad. He notes of the song that, “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.” That statement is made clear as he screams, “A new time of declaration of distress/Strife, misery, and the pursuit of unhappiness/Endless complaining/No accountability/No reek of privilege and weightless tragedy.” It is made even clearer as he screams later in the song, “All the world’s a stage/But you are the only player/A black hole in the center of the universe/A dark cloud of despair/Caught in an endless rut/A Crisis without solution/Someone should stitch your mouth shut/And solve your f***ing problem.” This is a rather sharp indictment of those people. But again, everybody knows someone like the individual(s) noted here. That being the case, the fire in these words along with Blythe’s delivery style and the musical approach of his band mates combine to make ‘Overlord’ one of the album’s strongest songs if not the single strongest songs. Audiences can check out the song for themselves now along with its companion video via YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RNRsvFsY9qk. Together with the likes of ‘#512′ and ‘Engage The Fear Machine’ all three songs show together clearly why VII: Sturm Und Drang is a welcome return for Lamb of God. Those songs combined with the remaining tracks not noted here result in an album that is justifiably one of the best of this year’s hard rock and metal crop.

VII: Sturm Und Drang shows from beginning to end to be a welcome return for Lamb of God. Audiences will agree that regardless of whether they pick up the deluxe twelve-track edition or the standard ten-track record, it proves to be one of the best of this year’s crop of new hard rock and metal albums. This is thanks both to the musical talent displayed time and again throughout the body of the record and the commentary contained within each of the album’s songs. Whether for one of the tracks noted here or for any of the many others that could just as easily be noted, fans will agree that this applies in every one of the album’s songs. VII: Sturm Und Drang is available now in stores and online. The band is currently touring in support of the new record. It will be in Boston, MA tomorrow, August 4th and then in Holmdel, New Jersey on Wednesday. The band’s current tour schedule is listed below.

NORTH AMERICAN TOUR:

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

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

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.

Saxon Debuts New Single; Announces Details For New Album, Tour

Saxon Battering Ram Cover Art

Courtesy: UDR Music

This fall, legendary metal act Saxon returns with its twenty-first full-length studio album. Battering Ram will be released in stores and online on Friday, October 16th via UDR Music. In anticipation of the album’s release, the band has debuted the video for the album’s lead single and announced a handful of North American tour dates that kick off Wednesday, August 19th in Riverside, California. The band will join fellow veteran metal acts Motorhead and Armored Saint for the twenty-three-date tour. Audiences can check out the video for ‘Battering Ram’ online now via YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2oLC0nOfWGc&feature=youtu.be. The video splices together footage of the band recording the song at Backstage Studios in Derbyshire, UK and vintage footage of crash test dummies in action, a place crashing, a boxing match, a football game and more.  The current schedule for the band’s upcoming tour is listed below.

SAXON US Tour Dates:

August 19 – Riverside, CA @ Riverside Municipal Auditorium w/ Motörhead

August 20 – San Diego, CA @ Brick By Brick w/ Armored Saint

August 21 – Las Vegas, NV @ House Of Blues w/ Motörhead

August 22 – Los Angeles, CA @ Shrine w/ Motörhead

August 23 – Sacramento, CA @ Ace Of Spades

August 24 – San Francisco, CA @ Warfield Theatre w/ Motörhead

August 27 – Salt Lake City, UT @ The Complex w/ Motörhead

August 28 – Boise, ID @ Knitting Factory

September 1 – Austin, TX @ Cedar Park Center w/ Motörhead

September 2 – San Antonio, TX @ Aztec Theatre w/ Motörhead

September 3 – El Paso, TX @ Speaking Rock Entertainment Center

September 4 – Dallas, TX @ Bomb Factory w/ Motörhead

September 5 – Houston, TX @ House Of Blues w/ Motörhead

September 6 – St. Louis, MO @ Pageant Theater w/ Motörhead

September 9 – Indianapolis, IN @ Murat Theater w/ Motörhead

September 10 – Atlanta, GA @ Center Stage – Prog Power

September 12 – Stafford, CT @ Palace Theater w/ Armored Saint

September 13 – Portland, ME @ Asylum w/ Armored Saint

September 15 – Washington, DC @ Howard Theater w/ Armored Saint

September 16 – Westland, MI @ Token Lounge w/ Armored Saint

September 17 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Altar Bar w/ Armored Saint

September 18 – Cleveland, OH @ Agora Ballroom w/ Armored Saint

September 20 – St. Charles, IL @ Arcada Theater w/ Armored Saint

Battering Ram will be available Friday, October 16th in stores and online. It is currently available for pre-orders online via iTunes at https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/battering-ram-deluxe-edition/id1023693104?app=itunes. Those that pre-order Battering Ram now via iTunes will get the album’s title track as an Instant Grat track. Pre-orders via Amazon and other outlets will be available soon. They will include the CD in Ecolbook, 180 gram Vinyl, Limited Edition Boxset (containing CD, Vinyl and a Bonus CD with the band performance of their Denim & Leather Tour “Saxon Over Sweden 2011” – 18 tracks). More information on Battering Ram is available online now along with all of the latest news and updates from Saxon at:

Website: http://www.saxon747.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/SaxonOfficial

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.

Rubikon’s Third Album Was Well Worth The Rather Long Wait

Courtesy:  Round Hill Records

Courtesy: Round Hill Records

Roughly eleven years have passed since the up-and-coming blues/rock band Rubikon released its debut album The Hollow Men. Being that so much time has passed since that album was released fans couldn’t help but figure that the band would just be another that tried its hand only to fold soon after. However recently announced that it has in fact not gone away. As a matter of fact, it will release its third full-length studio recording Delta next month. The album, which will be released via independent record label Round Hill Records, boasts nine tracks of blues-based rock that will impress fans of Clutch, Deep Purple, COC, and even Zodiac to a slightly lesser degree. While the album boasts only nine tracks and comes in at a grand total of thirty-seven minutes, that does not take away anything from the whole of the record. Speaking of the whole of the record, the record is anchored by the full-on blues rock opus ‘Sermon.’ The song starts out slowly in its first few bars before really launching full force into a rather heavy piece that fans of both Clutch and COC will enjoy. The album’s opener ‘Live That Lie’ is another solid addition to this record. As is noted of the song, it is a work that is centered on the personal journey of the band’s members. Its heavy, blues-infused musical backing adds even more enjoyment to the song in whole. For all of the heaviness displayed throughout this record it isn’t without its softer side as is evident in the more reserved sound of ‘Wasting Time.’ This song starts off softly enough. But it doesn’t take long for the song to pick up even if only slightly in comparison to the album’s other songs. It’s just one more example of how worth the wait Delta proves itself to be . That is not to ignore the album’s other tracks. All nine of the tracks that make up Delta’s body each show in their own respective way what made the wait for this record worth it. All things considered Delta proves in the end to be a piece that any blues/rock aficionado will appreciate regardless of their familiarity with the band’s body of work.

Rubikon’s upcoming album Delta is only the third full-length recording that the band has crafted since forming in its nearly fourteen years together. Roughly eleven years have passed since the band released its debut album The Hollow Men. This new record proves quite well over the course of its nine tracks and thirty-seven total minutes that the decade-plus wait for this album was well worth it. That is most clearly evident in the album’s anchor ‘Sermon.’ The song’s bluesy/southern sludge rock sound instantly grabs listeners by the ear and refuses to let go. That is especially thanks to the transition of its slow, bluesy opening bars to the much harder, heavier riffs that make up the body of the song. The overall content presented in the body of this song in itself makes for plenty of enjoyment. The lyrical content incorporated into the song gives it even more enjoyment. Drummer/vocalist Diggs sings in this song, “I’m already dead/So long gone away/Lay my body down/Old-fashioned way/Old heart won’t last a day/Tryin’ to get back home/Sit here in them clouds/Watch over me.” Listening to this single opening verse, listeners would swear that they were hearing Clutch front man Neil Fallon singing instead of Rubikon’s drummer/vocalist Diggs. The similarity in the pair’s vocal delivery styles is striking. The similarity is just as striking as the song progresses through its near six-minute run time. That powerhouse delivery coupled with the song’s outstanding guitar work makes this song a solid anchor on which Delta can rest and a work that every listener will enjoy.

‘Sermon’ is a solid anchor for Rubikon’s new album. Drummer/vocalist Diggs’ delivery style partnered with the song’s musical content makes it a song that rivals anything ever crafted by the likes of Clutch or COC. It is just one example of what has made the decade-plus wait for Delta worth it. The album’s lead track ‘Live That Lie’ is just as solid an example of what makes the record so impressive. This mid-tempo rocker wastes no time grabbing listeners by the ear and holding tight. According to the band, the song is meant to be a commentary on the personal journey of the band’s members from who they were before to who they have become now. The song’s musical makeup does an impressive job of expressing that message. The contrast of the fiery energy exuded through most of the song to the more reserved sound of the song’s bridge, which comes nearly three minutes in, exemplifies that. That is of course not to ignore the song’s lyrical content. Diggs sings, “Well I’ve been knocked down in chains and lied to/That’s what you get when you don’t play the game/When I step out of line/You’ll follow.” These few lines in themselves paint a clear picture in regards to the comments of the song’s basis. The same can be said of the rest of the song’s lyrical content. What is present here is just a glimpse into the lyrical content’s ability to translate the song’s message. That content set alongside the song’s musical content makes this song an even more solid addition to this record and even more proof of why Delta was worth the wait both for the band’s long-time fans and for those that are less familiar with Rubikon’s body of work.

‘Sermon’ and ‘Live That Lie’ are both clear examples in their own right of why Delta was well worth the wait regardless of listeners’ familiarity with Rubikon’s body of work. While both songs exhibit in their own right plenty of enjoyment, they are hardly the only examples of what makes it so enjoyable. The band shows that for all of the heaviness and power exhibited, it also has a softer side of sorts, too. That is exhibited in the form of the slightly more reserved ‘Wasting Time.’ The song starts off as a fully acoustic piece that is just as certain to hold listeners’ ears as the album’s heavier material. Even at its highest points it still doesn’t get anywhere near as heavy as any of the record’s other songs. That is only one part of what makes this song so enjoyable, too. The manner in which the song’s lyrical content was handled adds even more enjoyment to the song. Because the vocal delivery style here is just as reserved as the music itself, it requires just as close of a listen. What can be deciphered from such an examination is that there is a lot of introspection here. The delivery style is a perfect match for that introspection, too just as with the song’s musical content. All three of the song’s elements connected, they show clearly why this song is just as key to Delta’s enjoyment as ‘Sermon,’ ‘Live That Lie’ and the rest of the album’s songs. All things considered Delta proves that while it was more than ten years in the works, it is an album that was well worth the wait whether or not fans are familiar with the band’s body of work.

Rubikon’s third full-length LP has been more than ten years in the making. Considering how long the wait has been for this record, it has proven with its nine tracks and thirty-seven minutes that the wait was well worth it. Whether for ‘Sermon,’ ‘Live That Lie,’ ‘Wasting Time,’ or any of the remaining half-dozen tracks that make up the body of the album, every element–both musical and lyrical–of this record proves itself important to the whole of the album. All things considered, Delta proves in the end to be an album that is a potential candidate for this year’s list of the best new independent recordings and best new rock records. It will be available Friday, August 21st via Round Hill Records. More information on Delta is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Website: http://www.rubikonmusic.com

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

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.

Nation Beat Releases Carnival Caravan Today

Courtesy:  Nation Beat Music

Courtesy: Nation Beat Music

Multi-cultural music group Nation Beat releases its new EP today. Carnival Caravan will be released today in stores and online. The Brooklyn, NY-based collective’s five-track EP feature performances by not only Nation Beat but also from the Mardi Gras Indian/funk group 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)

‘Cantar Esse Coco (ft. Silverio Pessoa)’ and the disc’s opener ‘Casa Diamante /Sew Sew Sew,’ which also features the music of Cha Wa, are both Latin-tinged works that will have listeners instantly on their feet. There is also a Dixieland-style piece included in the record that comes in the form of the group’s cover of ‘Liza Jane (ft. Cha Wa).’ Nation Beat is currently touring in support of Carnival Caravan. Its current schedule takes it through September 17th in Hartford, CT.  The group’s current tour schedule is listed below.

Courtesy:  Nation Beat Music

Courtesy: Nation Beat Music

DATE                                               CITY                                          VENUE

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.

Blanchard’s New Album Will Leave Listeners Breathless

Courtesy:  Blue Note Records

Courtesy: Blue Note Records

Famed trumpet player Terence Blanchard has seemingly done it all since first becoming a household name some thirty-five years ago with the Lionel Hampton Orchestra. He has remained one of the most influential musicians in the music industry throughout that time. He has also composed and arranged some of the most beloved songs that music lovers and moviegoers have ever heard. He has also become a well-respected educator. Considering this, one would think that Blanchard would be happy doing everything that he does. Apparently he is not one to rest easily on his laurels, having released countless studio recordings and movie soundtracks throughout his career. This past May, Blanchard added to his already extensive catalogue of recordings when he released his latest studio effort Breathless. Released May 26th via Blue Note Records, Breathless is an aptly titled record. That is because it will in fact leave listeners breathless with awe with its thirteen total tracks. The songs that make up the body of the record will leave audiences so in awe primarily because of their diversity. Blanchard doesn’t stick solely to the realm of jazz in this album. Rather he expands out into other musical avenues throughout the course of the record, presenting pieces that audiences of all tastes will appreciate. The structure of the songs is also of note. That is especially the case in regards to the more jazz and fusion oriented pieces. The attention to detail in regards to those songs’ structures will keep listeners entirely engaged even despite the length of some of said compositions. Last but not least worth noting of Breathless that makes it an aptly titled album is the sequencing of the album’s songs. Just as much attention was paid to the general effect of the album in its sequencing as to the creation of the songs themselves. That element, when set alongside the structure of the songs, and their diverse nature, completes the album and shows in full why Breathless will indeed leave listeners breathless in the best possible way.

Terence Blanchard’s latest full-length studio release Breathless is an aptly titled album. As noted already, that is because it will in fact leave listeners breathless in the best possible way. The main way in which it leaves audiences so in awe is in its selection of songs. Throughout the course of the album’s thirteen tracks, Blanchard and his fellow musicians–Oscar Seaton (drums), Donald Ramsey (bass), Charles Altura (guitar), Fabian Almazan (keyboards, electronics), and P.J. Morton (vocals)–do not stick solely to one style of music. Blanchard’s jazz roots are there in the form of the Miles Davis-esque ‘See Me As I Am’ and the more smooth jazz style ‘Everglades.’ ‘Shutting Down’ exhibits blatant R&B sounds, and ‘Compared to What,’ the album’s opener, exhibits a clear funk style vibe. There is even a song in ‘Cosmic Warrior’ that could be argued to have something of a rock influence. That obviously doesn’t even cover all of the songs featured throughout the course of the album’s seventy-eight minute run time. Along with everything else already noted, Blanchard and company have also included a pair of semi-spoken word pieces of sorts in the form of ‘Samadhi’ and the album’s title track. Those wanting something with a little more energy will enjoy the fusion style of ‘Confident Selflessness.’ If all of that isn’t enough, the funk/hip hop hybrid sound of ‘Soldiers’ will impress listeners. That sound combines with that of the other noted songs and that of the compositions not noted to display a variety of sounds that will impress listeners of all ages and in turn keep said listeners engaged from start to finish. That variety is within itself plenty of reason for listeners of all ages to take in Breathless. In giving it a chance, those listeners that do will agree that such a swath of sounds in itself will leave them breathless and in awe. It is just the tip of the iceberg in what makes Breathless such an aptly titled record, too. The structure of many of the songs is just as certain to leave listeners breathless.

The diverse range of sounds displayed throughout the course of Breathless’ thirteen tracks is within itself certain to leave listeners breathless and in awe by the time the record ends. Of course as key as this is to the record’s enjoyment, the structure of the songs is just as important to note. ‘Everglades,’ the album’s third track is proof positive of the importance of the songs’ structures. ‘Everglades’ runs a total of fourteen minutes and thirty-four seconds. For many listeners, that may seem like a rather long run time. However those that allow themselves to be immersed in the song will hear for themselves just why the song’s structure is so important in relation to its run time. The song is split clearly into a definitive ABC pattern over the course of its run time. Throughout the course of those three sections, the song doesn’t just switch from one section to the next. Rather it evolves as it progresses, starting softly and growing until it reaches its climax roughly halfway through. From there, it switches very quickly, gradually descending in intensity straight through to the song’s closing seconds. The song’s balance as it rises and falls makes its fourteen-minute plus run time feel much less. Simply put, it makes that run time feel like little more than a background note for lack of better wording.

The well thought out structure of ‘Everglades’ is within itself solid proof of the importance of the overall structure of Breathless’ songs in its enjoyment. It’s just one example of the importance of the songs’ structure in the record’s overall impact. ‘See Me As I Am,’ the album’s second song is another example of the importance of song structure to the album’s enjoyment. This song is in part a direct throwback to Miles Davis’ legendary album Kind of Blue thanks to Blanchard’s smooth work on the trumpet alongside the talents of his band mates. The song comes in at nearly nine minutes (8:53 to be exact). Yet its structure (its arrangement) makes that run time just as inconsequential as that of ‘Everglades.’ Its arrangement encourages listeners to close their eyes and take in the music. Those listeners that do take it in will note how time seems to simply slip by as the song progresses. That is again thanks to the attention paid to the song’s structure as it was being composed and performed. Understanding this, audiences will once again agree why the structure (arrangement) of the songs is just as pivotal to leaving listeners breathless and in awe by the album’s end as the diversity of the songs themselves.

‘Everglades’ and ‘See Me As I Am’ are both solid examples of why the arrangements, or structures, of Breathless’ songs are so important to the album’s enjoyment overall. ‘Compared To What’ is one more example of the importance of the structure of the songs in the bigger picture of the album’s enjoyment. At five minutes and forty-nine seconds, it is not the album’s shortest song. Nor is it the album’s longest. But it does exceed the standard three to five-minute run time of most mainstream songs. Audiences will note in regards to this song’s arrangement that it keeps the energy flowing from start to finish. At no one point from start to finish does it let up. Its sustained energy makes it a perfect choice to open the album and an equally solid lead-in to the more reserved sound of ‘See Me As I Am’ before the rest of the album progresses. Speaking of the rest of the album, this composition is just one more of so many included in Breathless that could be used to exemplify the importance of the songs’ structure in the enjoyment of the record in whole. The structure of those other songs together with that of the pieces noted here shows in whole why together with the choice of songs, Breathless will leave listeners breathless and in total awe of the talents of Blanchard and his band mates.

The structure, or arrangement, of each of Breathless’ songs taken into consideration along with the choice of songs featured throughout the record show clearly why this record will leave listeners breathless in the best way possible. While both elements together play an important, collective role in the success and enjoyment of Breathless, they are not all that should be noted in that success and enjoyment. The sequencing of the songs is noteworthy, too. Listeners will note that from its high-energy opener to the laid back grooves of its title track to the deeper, and at times heavier sound of ‘Cosmic Warrior’ to the gentle tones of the album’s closer ‘Midnight,’ the sequencing of each of the album’s songs proves quite important in its own right to the enjoyment and success of this standout album. The energy level of each song in relation to the other makes the album’s near eighty-minute run time pass by in the best way possible, leaving. By the end, listeners will feel completely satisfied knowing that they have just heard an album that once again will leave them breathless in the best way possible.

Terence Blanchard’s latest full-length LP is a surprisingly enjoyable new release. From start to finish, the thirteen-track record shows in a number of ways just what makes it such an enjoyable collection of songs. The ways in which it does so include: its diverse selection of songs, the structure, or arrangement of said songs, and the overall sequencing of those songs. All three elements prove to be of equal importance in the enjoyment of this album. Collectively, they prove with the fullest clarity why Breathless will leave listeners breathless in the best way possible. Breathless is available now in stores and online and can be ordered direct from Blue Note Records’ online store at http://bluenote.shop.bravadousa.com/Product.aspx?cp=60921&pc=BGCDBU37. More information on Breathless is available now online along with all of the latest news and more from Terence Blanchard at:

Website: http://www.terenceblanchard.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/T_Blanchard

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.

Devil City Angels Debuts New Single

Courtesy:  Century Media Records

Courtesy: Century Media Records

Rock and roll super group Devil City Angels will release its self-titled debut album this fall. In anticipation of its release, the collective of veteran talents—Rikki Rocket (Poison), Tracii Guns (L.A. Guns), Rudy Sarzo (Quiet Riot, Ozzy Osbourne, Whitesnake), and Brandon Gibbs (Cheap Thrill)—has debuted the latest single from its upcoming album.

Devil City Angels debuted its latest single ‘All I Need’ this week and is currently streaming the single online via Revolver Magazine. Audiences can hear the song now at Revolver’s website at http://www.revolvermag.com/news/devil-city-angels-premiere-new-song-all-i-need.html. Audiences that are fans of the rock sound of the late 80s and early 90s will enjoy this song with its lighthearted sound. Its debut follows the premiere of the video for the album’s lead single ‘Boneyard,’ which can be seen online now via YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UjrB0N6aBvY&feature=youtu.be. The video is a direct throwback to the classic rock videos of the 80s complete with footage of the band performing and of course the mandatory female dancer.

Devil City Angels will be available in stores and online on Friday, September 18th via Century Media Records in a variety of bundle packages as well as by itself. Pre-orders for the album begin tomorrow via iTunes and Century Media’s online store. Those choosing to pre-order the album via Century Media’s online store can do so online at http://www.indiemerch.com/cmrecords/brand/devil-city-angels. Those that pre-order the album via iTunes will get both ‘All I Need’ and ‘Boneyard’ as instant grat racks. It can also be pre-ordered via Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Devil-City-Angels/dp/B01169B5NY.

More information on Devil City Angels is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news and more at http://www.facebook.com/DevilCityAngels. 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.

BSO To Release Its First Holiday Album In A Decade This Fall

Courtesy:  Surfdog Records

Courtesy: Surfdog Records

It may be summer. But that doesn’t mean that some people’s minds are already on the holidays.

Brian Setzer announced this week that his band The Brian Setzer Orchestra will release its new holiday album Rockin’ Rudolph on Friday, October 16th. The album, which will be released via Surfdog Records, will be the first holiday record to have been released by the band in ten years. The twelve-track record will feature updated renditions of timeless classics including: ‘Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree,’ ‘Carol of the Bells,’ ‘Hark! The Herald Angels Sing,’ ‘O Little Town of Bethlehem,’ and others alongside new pieces such as: ‘Yabba-Dabba-Yuletide,’ ‘ Rockabilly Rudolph,’ ‘Little Jack Frost,’ and ‘Swingin’ Joy.’ The complete track listing for Rockin’ Rudolph is noted below.

Standard ROCKIN’ RUDOLPH track listing:

 

  1. “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree”
  2. “Yabba-Dabba Yuletide”
  3. “Most Wonderful Time of the Year”
  4. “Rockabilly Rudolph”
  5. “Here Comes Santa Claus”
  6. “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”
  7. “Swingin’ Joy”
  8. “Carol of the Bells”
  9. “Little Jack Frost”
  10. “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing”
  11. “O Little Town of Bethlehem”
  12. “Yabba-Dabba Yuletide” (extended)

 

Rockin’ Rudolph was produced by Peter Collins (Rush, Bon Jovi, Alice Cooper, etc.). Along with its standard presentation, fans can also get their hands on a special Limited Edition numbered Deluxe presentation can be purchased online at http://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/thebriansetzerorchestra. The special edition includes everything noted below.

 

The ROCKIN’ RUDOLPH DELUXE BOX SET includes:

  1. Brand New Rockin’ Rudolph album on CD
  2. Commemorative Sheet Music / Guitar Chart to “Nutcracker Suite” (just as Brian reads on stage!)
  3. Custom Brian Setzer Die-cut Christmas Tree Ornament (3″ tall, alloy metal)
  4. Brian Setzer’s Own Murray’s Pomade (Hair Product)
  5. Commemorative BSO “Martini Logo” Stainless Steel Guitar Pick
  6. BSO Christmas Album Cover Drink Coasters
  7. Six Polaroid-style BSO Concert Photos
  8. “Live in Nashville” 10×10 print
  9. Reusable 8GB USB Credit Card w/ Extras, including:
  • Hi-definition .wav files of full 12-track ROCKIN’ RUDOLPH album
  • 2 New Bonus Instrumental Tracks Not Included on Album:  “Deck The Halls” & “Little Drummer Boy”
  • Album Cover Rough Sketches by Artist Derek Yaniger
  • Brief Behind-the-scenes video footage of BSO’s Rockin’ Rudolph recording session (House of Blues studio in Nashville, TN.)
  • “Jingle Bells” – Live Performance by BSO (previously released)
  • “Nutcracker Suite” – Live Performance by BSO (previously released)
  • Behind-the-scenes look at Brian writing entire big band arrangement from scratch (previously released)
Photo Credit: Russ Harrington

Photo Credit: Russ Harrington

When asked why he waited so long to make his new holiday album, Setzer noted primarily the span of time between its upcoming release and that of his last holiday album. “It’s been about 10 years since I made a Christmas record,” he said. In regards to the track listing chosen for the record, Setzer noted the popularity of the genre and all of the songs that he hadn’t yet touched on saying, “It [Christmas music] just seems to get more popular every year. They’re classic songs and you wonder after a couple records how many of them are left. Once you dig in you find, wow! I’ve haven’t done ‘Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,’ you know. I’ve never done ‘Here Comes Santa Claus!’ Ones that everyone knows and are still out there. These songs are great songs. It doesn’t matter if they’re holiday songs or when they were written, they’re just great songs.” He added that in working up the new renditions, he paid attention to their style, making sure that they would be appealing to audiences of all ages saying, “The trick is to make them sound hip. Some of them are eternally hip, you know, so you don’t have to do too much.”

Rockin’ Rudolph will be released in stores and online on Friday, October 16th via Surfdog Records. More information on the upcoming compilation is available online now along with all of Setzer’s latest news and updates at:

Website: http://www.briansetzer.com

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

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.