Leprous Debuts Lyric Video For Its Latest Single

Courtesy:  InsideOut Music

Courtesy: InsideOut Music

Norwegian prog-metal act Leprous has debuted the lyric video for its latest single ‘Slave.’

The video presents the lyrics to the band’s new single over a changing image of chain link. Created by Twilight 13 Media’s Costin Chioreanu, the video can be viewed online now via YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2GWPzBXNY2g&feature=youtu.be.

Courtesy:  InsideOut Music

Courtesy: InsideOut Music

‘Slave’ is the follow-up to ‘Rewind,’ the lead single from the band’s latest full-length studio release The Congregation. Audiences can see the video for that song online now via YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0G9Qd_84YZs&feature=youtu.be. The Congregation entered the charts at #78 in Germany, #66 in The Netherlands, #167 in 167 in Belgium, and #39 in Finland. North American fans can order the CD in bundle packs with t-shirts online at http://www.manicmusiconline.com/.

More information on The Congregation is available online now along with all of the latest news from Leprous at:

Website: http://www.leprous.net

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

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.

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

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.

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.


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.

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.


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.

Maestro Classics’ Latest Recording Is A Welcome Addition To Any Middle, High School Music Class

Courtesy:  Maestro Classics

Courtesy: Maestro Classics

Children’s music label Maestro Classics has been introducing young listeners to the joys of classical music for no less than ten year. The award-winning organization has introduced young listeners to a number of classical hits throughout its life including but not limited to: Sergei Prokofiev’s famed “Peter and The Wolf,” Paul Dukas’ “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice,” and Camille Saint-Saens’ “Carnival of the Animals” just to name a few.  Now with its latest release Merry Pranks of Master Till, Maestro Classics has released yet another composition that is certain to catch audiences’ ears.  Before getting into the record, it should be noted that unlike Maestro Classics’ previous releases, this latest work is not one that is meant for younger audiences, especially considering the story’s outcome.  It is meant more for older audiences; perhaps those between the ages of 10 – 12 if not a little older.  Staying on that topic, the composition itself makes for plenty of reason for older listeners to give this record a chance.  It teaches a rather invaluable lesson for said listeners, especially at their given age(s).  On a directly related note, young listeners will be just as interested to learn the back story behind Merry Pranks of Master Till.  Learning its back story can easily lead to a discussion on the back story of so many other classical hits.  It’s one more reason that this record proves to be so interesting for older youths.  Having learned the back story of Merry Pranks of Master Till, audiences will be interested to hear the same composition a second time on the record.  Only this time the composition is featured without narration, thus allowing listeners to hear the story for themselves and hopefully in turn gain a new appreciation for at least this piece of classical music if not even more appreciation for classical music in whole.  All three factors taken into consideration, they make Merry Pranks of Master Till a work that belongs in any middle school music class if not any home with pre-teens in the house.

Maestro Classics’ latest release Merry Pranks of Master Till is an interesting addition to the company’s rich history of classical releases for children.  That is because in comparison to those releases, this one is not as universal per se.  Its content proves it to be more fitting for older youths than for younger ones.  Keeping that in mind, the story that comes with this latest composition, crafted by composer Richard (pronounced ree-kard strowss) is itself just one reason for its target audience to give it a chance.  The story itself centers on the young character Master Till Eulenspiegel (pronounced oi-len-shpee-gel) and his series of pranks.  His pranks in question are aimed at pointing out to certain groups that they are not as smart as they would like to make themselves believe.  The problem is that because Master Till is a child (it is believed that he is around 12 years old or so), he doesn’t exactly make the wisest choices in regards to his targets or his actions.  The end result of this lack of foresight leads to some very negative consequences for Master Till, which will not be revealed here for the sake of those that have not yet been exposed to the story, or as it is more properly know, tone poem.  The story teaches a very valuable lesson about knowing one’s limits both in terms of one’s actions and whom one targets when it comes to pranks such as those pulled by Master Till.  Not everybody takes pranks such as Till’s the same way.  In the same vein, not everybody today appreciates others’ similar actions.  It is definitely an invaluable part of the whole that makes Merry Pranks of Master Till a worthwhile listen by its older target audiences.

The story that serves as the basis for Merry Pranks of Master Till is in itself invaluable because it teaches a very important lesson that young listeners will hopefully take to heart.  On a related note, it also serves as a starting point for a discussion on the back story of not only this work but of other timeless classical hits, too.  Audiences will learn that this composition is itself actually based on a series of stories centered on Master Till.  This story in particular is just one of a number of stories.  In the same vein, other classical compositions can be discussed in regards to their use in either the church and/or the world at large.  This is a discussion that proves especially useful in middle school (and in some cases even high school) classical music classes.  That is because an understanding of a composition in relation to its potential back story helps in its own way to gain a new or even renewed appreciation for said composition.  To that extent, the back story behind Merry Pranks of Master Till proves even more why this newly released recording is a good fit in any middle school and high school classroom as well as any home with pre-teen musicians in it.

The story that accompanies Merry Pranks of Master Till is an important element to Maestro Classics’ latest release. That is because it both teaches an important lesson to its target listener base and because it serves as a starting point for a discussion for the role of music and culture on one another. Both of these elements are key in what makes Merry Pranks of Master Till an interesting listen for its target audiences. For all of their importance, they are just part of what makes it so worth the listen. Maestro Classics has included in its new record both a take of Merry Pranks of Maser Till with narration and without. The take that comes sans narration is just as important a part of whole as that with narration. That is because having listened to the narration in the previous take, listeners can experience the complete composition as it was meant to be heard. Having no narration, listeners can better hear the different moments that make up each moment of the story. It actually makes the experience of listening to the composition that much fuller. On a related note, hearing the composition in full serves as the starting point for a discussion on personal interpretations of not only the presented work but of other compositions, too. That within itself is a major positive. It is a positive in that it teaches students and listeners in general about musical interpretation. It can lead to discussions on deeper musical concepts such as the use of dynamics, tempos and other musical elements to interpret music and in its creation. Being that one song can create that much discussion whether in the classroom or the living room shows clearly the importance of this new release from Maestro Classics in any young person’s musical education. The addition of the composition’s story doubles and even triples its importance. All things considered Merry Pranks of Master Till shows in the end with its overall composition and its story to be yet another hit from Maestro Classics even if it is aimed more at older children.

Maestro Classics’ recently released recording of Richard Strauss’ Merry Pranks of Master Till is a greatly welcome addition to any middle and high school level band and/or orchestra class. That is thanks to the inclusion of both the composition with and without narration. Whether with or without narration, this latest recording offers its own value for teachers, parents, and children alike. It teaches basic music theory concepts all while entertaining listeners at the same time. Keeping that in mind, it proves again to be a fully welcome addition to any classroom or living room setting. It can be ordered online now via Maestro Classics’ online store at http://www.maestroclassics.com/merry-pranks-of-master-till.html. More information on this and other titles from Maestro Classics is available online now at:


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