Bobby Watson’s New LP Is Another Mostly Successful Addition To 2022’s Field Of New Jazz Albums

Courtesy: Smoke Sessions Records

Jazz saxophonist Bobby Watson released his latest album, Back Home in Kansas City Friday through Smoke Sessions Records.  The 11-song record is his 21st as a band leader and fourth to be released through Smoke Sessions Records and comes two years after the release of his then latest album, Keepin’ It Real.  The 65-minute record is a wonderful introduction to Watson and his work for new audiences and just as welcome among his established audiences.  That is proven through each of the record’s diverse compositions beginning with the record’s opener, ‘Back Home in Kansas City.’  This song will be discussed shortly.  The relaxed vibes of ‘Celestial’ make it just as notable as ‘Back Home in Kansas City’.  It will be discussed a little later.  ‘Blues For Alto,’ the record’s closer, is yet another enjoyable addition to Watson’s new LP and will also be discussed later.  Each song examined here is important in its own way to the whole of Back Home in Kansas City.  When they are considered along with the rest of the album’s equally engaging and entertaining works, the whole makes the album overall not only one of the best of this year’s new jazz albums field, but also one of the year’s best new albums overall.

Back Home in Kansas City, the latest album from Bobby Watson, is a wonderfully enjoyable new offering from the veteran jazz saxophonist that is appealing on so many levels and will appeal to so many audiences.  Its appeal is made clear right from its outset in the record’s opener/title track.  Right from the song’s outset, the light bouncy vibe that Watson and his fellow musicians – Jeremy Pelt (trumpet), Cyrus Chestnut (piano), Curtis Lundy (bass), Victor Jones (drums) – create immediately lends itself to comparison to ‘Lester Leaps In.’  That song was crafted by another saxophonist many decades ago, Lester Young.  Given the two songs sound different, but the overall stylistic approach taken in the title track here is really that close in style and sound.  That this song still maintains its own identity even with that in mind makes the composition all the more enjoyable.  Sadly, the liner notes featured in this album, which were penned by Academy Award®-winning film director and screenwriter Kevin Willmott does not offer any background on the song (or any of the album’s songs for that matter), but thankfully at least the media received some background in a press release announcing the album’s release.  The release notes of the song that apparently uses the melody from the old Dixieland take of ‘Back Home in Indiana’ and Charlie Parker’s ‘Donna Lee’ for its structure.  That is a unique background to consider, again, considering the noted stylistic similarity to ‘Lester Leaps In.’  It really makes for so much more interest in this song while perhaps renewing interest in the other songs and makes this just one of the songs that stands out in Watson’s new record.

Another song that stands out in this record comes in the form of Celestial.’  As noted already, the liner notes featured with the album sadly offer no background on any of the album’s songs.  The information provided to the media about the album also has no background on this song.  It is quite the polar opposite of ‘Back Home In Kansas City.’  Where that song is so upbeat and energetic, this song is so relaxed and subdued.  It is really one of those Make-Believe Ballroom type works that is so danceable.  The subtle use of the drums against the horns and piano leads to visions of the old upscale jazz clubs from the 1940s, the big band orchestra in its seats as people dressed in their finest dance hand in hand.  Watson’s solo here is so rich in its controlled approach, too.  There is so much warmth in his performance that audiences cannot help but remain engaged.  Much the same can be said of Pelt’s performance during his solo.  Going back to the fact that there is no background available about this song at all, the first thought that comes to mind in listening to this song and reading its title, is that of someone sitting outside on a warm night, looking up at the stars as they come out.  That likely is not the backstory here, but to that end, it shows the importance of liner notes.  Smoke Sessions Records is typically much better about presenting background about songs in albums released by its artists.  It is disappointing that such background is not here.

Getting back on the subject at hand, there is at least one more song here to note.  That song is the album’s closer, ‘Blues For Alto.’  The information provided to the media about this song is quite limited.  The news release states only that the song is “self-explanatory.”  There is nothing else.  Listening to the six minute-plus song, it does have a nice, bluesy touch thanks to Watson’s work as he leads the way.  Jones’ gentle brush strokes on the snare and time keeping on the hi-hat add just the right touch to the whole, as does Lundy’s work on the bass solo.  Yes, even he gets his moment to shine in this record.    Once again, it certainly would have been nice to have had some more background on the song (and the rest of the album’s entries), but either way, the song is enjoyable in its own right what with its bluesy jazz approach and sound.  It makes the song a welcome finale for Watson’s new record that will leave audiences smiling, wanting more in the best way possible.  When it is considered alongside the other songs examined here and with the rest of the album’s entries, the whole makes the album in general one more welcome addition to this year’s field of new jazz albums.

Back Home In Kansas City, the new album from Bobby Watson, is a mostly successful new offering from the veteran jazz saxophonist.  That is proven from one song to the next.  The diversity in the arrangements and the sequencing thereof is certain to make the album a favorite among jazz fans.  The songs examined here do well to make that clear, even sans any background on the songs.  When these songs and the rest of the record’s entries, the whole makes the LP one more of the year’s top new jazz albums and potentially one of the year’s top new albums overall.

Back Home in Kansas City is available through Smoke Sessions Records.  More information on the album is available along with all of Bobby Watson’s latest news at:

Website: https://bobbywatson.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bobbywatson251

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

Empiires Debuts New Single, ‘Invincible,’ Companion Video

Courtesy: Yvonne’s World PR

Independent hard rock band Empiires premiered its latest single and video this week.

The band debuted its new single, ‘Invincible‘ and its lyric video Wednesday. The premieres come on the heels of the premiere of the band’s then latest single, ‘In This Moment’ and its companion video in April.

Prior to the premiere of ‘In This Moment,’ the band premiered another single, ‘Stronger‘ and its companion lyric video in November. The band’s latest single is very similar in its sound and stylistic approach to its predecessors what with its modern melodic hard rock approach. The driving tempo and overall instrumentation immediately grabs audiences and ensures their engagement and entertainment through to the song’s end.

The energy in the song’s musical arrangement pairs well with the song’s lyrical theme, which is a statement of proud defiance against the obstacles that we all face in life. It is a theme that permeates the band’s other singles, too, making it just as welcome here as in the case of those songs.

The video for ‘Invincible’ is also very much in the vein of the videos that accompany the band’s other singles. That is evidenced through the futuristic backdrop that is used throughout the song.

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

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/empiiresofficial

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/empiiresofcl

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

Keith Jarrett’s ‘Bordeaux Concert’ Is A Unique Addition To 2022’s Field Of New Live Recordings

Courtesy: ECM Records

This past Friday, pianist Keith Jarrett released his new live recording, Bordeaux Concert through ECM Records.  The 13-song recording is an intriguing presentation that audiences will agree is worth hearing at least once.  That is due in large part to its featured set list, which will be discussed shortly.  While the set list makes the recording worth hearing at least once, the lack of any liner notes detracts from the recording’s appeal to a point.  This will be addressed a little later.  The recording’s production works with its set list to make for slightly more interest.  It will also be addressed later.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of Bordeaux Concert.  All things considered they make the overall presentation a peculiar work that the most devoted of Jarrett’s established audiences will find appealing.

Bordeaux Concert, the new live recording from pianist Keith Jarrett, is a unique addition to this year’s field of new live recordings that will appeal to the most devoted of Jarrett’s established audiences.  That is due in large part to the recording’s featured set list.  The term set list used very loosely here.  That is because they 13 songs that make up the concert’s body are in fact apparently part of one whole work that Jarrett performs here.  The first half of the concert’s songs are very energetic, modernist type compositions that find Jarrett making his way up and down the piano’s keyboard, playing in very staccato style notes that just feel and sound like a complete cacophony.  The concert’s set half is the exact opposite, with more thoughtful compositions that sound like they belong on the soundtrack of some romantic drama.  The songs allegedly were, at the time, all new and improvised works, according to information provided about the recording.  Sadly, that information and more was not provided in the recording’s booklet.  This will be addressed shortly.  Getting back on the subject at hand, that the concert’s body was seemingly all original makes for its own interest.  It meant that Jarrett did not want to just rehash works with which audiences were already familiar.  If that truly is the case, the songs were all improvised and new, then that in itself makes them worth hearing.

As noted already, the booklet that accompanies Jarrett’s new live recording does not include any background on the concert.  The information was provided to the media in news releases distributed to media outlets only.  The information outlines that the concert featured herein was Jarrett’s last concert in France.  It was performed in 2016 at the Auditorium de l’Opera National de Bordeaux on July 6, 2016.  That information, the date and location of the concert is actually printed on the back of the recording’s exterior case.  Other than that, there is no background information at all about the concert featured herein.  This is important because there are audiences out there who may be less familiar with Jarrett and his work than others.  Those fans who are less familiar with Jarrett and his work are in turn left to have to do so much research into him before even considering whether to buy this presentation.  So again, not having any of that information available makes for a notable negative to the overall presentation.  It is not enough to doom the recording but is still important to address.

Knowing that the lack of any background information on Bordeaux Concert is not enough to doom the recording, there is still one more item to address.  That item is the record’s production, but also circles back around to the importance of having liner notes.  The information provided to the media notes that more than 100 people were in attendance for the concert featured herein.  Even with that many people there, one would not know that the concert was in fact that until the audience’s applause is heard at the end of the first performance.  The sound is that rich from beginning to end.  If not for that applause, the sound otherwise comes across as sharply as a studio recording.  That is a true testament to the work of those responsible for the recording’s production.  It makes for a mostly positive general effect for the recording.  When that positive general effect is considered alongside the recording’s content, the two items collectively make Bordeaux Concert worth hearing at least once.

Bordeaux Concert, the latest live recording from pianist Keith Jarrett, is an intriguing presentation that will appeal primarily to the most devoted of Jarrett’s audiences.  That is due in large part to the material that makes up the concert’s body.  That material is, seemingly new content that apparently is improvised from the concert’s beginning to its end.  Even more interesting is that it seems to be clearly divided up into two distinct halves.  The first half of the concert is composed of very peculiar, modernist compositions while the second half is far more widely accessible by comparison.  While the recording’s “set list” makes for reason enough to hear the presentation at least once, the lack of any background on the concert in the recording’s booklet detracts notably from the whole.  The recording’s production works with the content to make for at least some more reason to hear the whole.  That is because of the clarity of sound that results from the production.  When it and the concert’s primary content are considered together, they make Bordeaux Concert worth hearing at least once.

Bordeaux Concert is available through ECM Records. More information on this and other titles from ECM Records is available at:

Websitehttps://ecmrecords.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/ecmrecords

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Saxon Announces New Live Dates; Premieres New Single, Video

Courtesy: Silver Linings Music

Saxon is gearing up to hit the road next month for a trip across Europe.

The band recently announced it will launch the European leg of its “Seize The Day World Tour” Sunday in Paris, France. The tour is scheduled to run through Nov. 26 in London, England, and is in support of Saxon’s latest album, Carpe Diem, which was released in February through Silver Linings Music.

The tour’s schedule is noted below. Tickets for the tour’s EU dates are available here. Tickets for the UK leg are available here.

SEIZE THE DAY WORLD TOUR:

EUROPE:

2 October – FRANCE – Paris, Trianon
3 October – NETHERLANDS – Tilburg, 013
4 October – GERMANY – Hannover, Capitol
6 October – GERMANY – Berlin, Admiralspalast
7 October – GERMANY – Munich, Muffathalle
8 October – GERMANY – Offenbach, Capitol
10 October – ITALY – Milan, Alcatraz
11 October – SWITZERLAND – Pratteln Z7
12 October – BELGIUM – Antwerp, Trix
13 October – NETHERLANDS – Haarlem, Patronaat
15 October – DENMARK – Aarhus, Train
17 October – SWEDEN – Gothenburg, Pustervik
18 October – NORWAY – Oslo, Rockefeller
19 October – DENMARK – Copenhagen, Amager Bio
21 October – NETHERLANDS – Zwolle, Hedon
22 October – FRANCE – Metz, La Bam
23 October – SWITZERLAND – Lausanne, Les Docks

UK:

11 November – Ipswich, Regent Theatre
12 November – Southampton O2 Guildhall
13 November – Bexhill, De La Warr Pavilion
14 November – Cardiff, St. David’s Hall
15 November – Bath, Forum
16 November – Cambridge, Corn Exchange
18 November – Newcastle, O2 City Hall

19 November – Blackburn, King George’s Hall
20 November – Aberdeen, Music Hall
21 November – Glasgow, Barrowland
22 November – Hull, City Hall
23 November – York, Barbican
25 November – Leicester, De Montfort Hall
26 November – London, Roundhouse

In related news, Saxon debuted the video for its latest single from Carpe Diem, ‘Black is the Night’ Sept. 21. Its debut follows that of the video for another single from the album, ‘Remember The Fallen.’ That video and single premiered Jan. 11.

The video for ‘Black is the Night’ blends footage of the band performing its new single with the story of a man in a forest, having to fend for himself against the elements. The musical arrangement in the song blends elements of the band’s power metal leanings with a bluesy guitar solo to make the whole a powerful presentation in its own right.

No information was provided about the song’s lyrical theme.

 More information on Saxon’s new tour schedule, its new video, single, and album is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:

Websitehttp://www.saxon747.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/saxon

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/SaxonOfficial

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Howdytoons’ Latest LP Is A Blast About Creatures From The Past

Courtesy: Howdytoons Productions, Inc.

Family music act Howdytoons is scheduled to release its latest album, Dinosaurs & Monsters Friday through its own label, Howdytoons Productions, Inc.  The band’s fourth album in its ongoing “dinosaur rock” series of releases, the nine-song album is a fun new offering for the entire family.  That is due in part to its featured musical arrangements.  They will be examined shortly.  The lyrical content that accompanies the album’s musical arrangements makes for its own interest and will be examined a little later.  The record’s sequencing rounds out its most important elements and will also be examined later.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the record’s presentation.  All things considered they make the album just one more enjoyable addition to this year’s field of family music albums.

Dinosaurs & Monsters, the latest new album from family music act Howdytoons, only runs nine songs deep, but in that spread, it offers plenty for audiences to appreciate, beginning with the album’s musical content.  The musical content comes largely in the form of some hard rocking compositions that are still mostly family friendly.  There is a touch of some ska and reggae to mix things up a bit, too.  The whole thing opens with a Soundgarden-esque composition in ‘Allosuarus.’  That comparison is most evident in the song’s verses.  More specifically, the comparison is to Soundgarden’s hit song, ‘Spoonman.’  At the same time though, the chromatic scale used in the guitar line in the verses is also comparable to Filter’s hit single, ‘Hey Man, Nice Shot.’  ‘Dimetrodon,’ which immediately follows immediately conjures thoughts of works from System of a Down.  ‘Brachiosaurus’ is just as easily comparable to Marilyn Manson’s cover of the Eurhythmics’ single, ‘Sweet Dreams.’  So right here in this first trio of songs, grown-ups get songs that will appeal to them while also introducing young listeners to some fun rocking compositions.  ‘Brontosaurs is Back’ changes things up with its ska approach and gives way to the even easier moving reggae style composition, ‘Diplodocus.’  From there, things pull back even more with the folk style Stegosaurus.’  Things gradually pick back up after that song, carrying listeners through to the album’s end with three more rocking songs in the kindie-rock of ‘I’m a Pterodactyl,’ and the much heavier ‘The Kraken’ and ‘Kronosaurus.’  The short and simple of these arrangements is this:  From one to the next, the styles and sounds of the arrangements offer a certain level of variety.  The songs will appeal just as much to grown-ups as to their younger counterparts.  To that end, they form a strong foundation for the record.

Building on the strength thereof is the lyrical content that accompanies that musical content.  The lyrical content featured here is, as the album’s title suggests, about dinosaurs and at least one monster, the kraken.  From the Stegosaurus to the Dimetrodon to the perhaps lesser-known Kronosaurus (which was a real, sea-going dinosaur) and more, the album teaches listeners of all ages about a variety of dinosaurs.  Believe it or not, there are plenty of adults who remember very little about different dinosaurs (and other topics), so to that end, this content serves as a great review for those grown-ups and an equally welcome introduction for young listeners.  What’s more, kids love dinosaurs in general.  So, adding fun rocking songs to lessons about dinosaurs will just get kids enjoying learning about them even more.  Keeping that in mind, this simple, straight forward lyrical content from one song to the next, as it follows one, central theme makes the lyrical side of this record just as appealing as the album’s musical content.

While the content featured in Dinosaurs & Monsters clearly does plenty to make the album enjoyable, their sequencing puts the finishing touch to the presentation.  As noted already, the sounds and styles featured in the arrangements changes ever so much from one to the next, at least in regards to the heavier content.  The placement of the more pop-oriented songs in the middle of the album shows even more the time and thought that went into the album’s sequencing.  It shows the band did not want audiences to grow tired of the album.  That effort paid off, too.  That is because it ensures the stability of the album’s energy even as the sounds and styles of the songs change from one to the next.  Keeping that in mind, the album’s sequencing puts the finishing touch to the presentation.  When the positive general effect ensured by the sequencing is considered along with the album’s content, the whole makes the album an enjoyable presentation for audiences of all ages.

Dinosaurs & Monsters, the latest album from family music act Howdytoons, is a presentation that the entire family will find enjoyable.  That is due in part to its musical content, which provides some fun rocking tunes that grown-ups will find familiar and that younger audiences will find a great introduction to the rock realm.  The lyrical content that accompanies the album’s musical arrangements is straight forward.  It centers on…well…dinosaurs, as with its three predecessors.  That straight forward, accessible presentation ensures audiences’ engagement throughout the album in its own right.  The sequencing of that content brings everything full circle and completes the album’s presentation.  That is because it ensures the album’s energy remains stable even as the sounds and styles of the arrangements changes ever so much throughout the album.  Each item examined here is important in its own way to the whole of the album.  All things considered they make Dinosaurs & Monsters a blast about the past for future generations of audiences.

Dinosaurs & Monsters is scheduled for release Friday through Howdytoons’ own label, Howdytoons Productions, Inc.  More information on the album is available along with all of the band’s latest news at https://www.facebook.com/howdytoons.

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

The Guitar & Whiskey Club Announces Debut EP Release Date

Courtesy: The Orchard/Sony Music

Independent rock band The Guitar & Whiskey Club will release its debut EP this fall.

The band is scheduled to release the record Nov. 7 through The Orchard/Sony Music. The band has been working on the EP since 2019. From beginning to end, the EP features elements of southern rock, “sleaze rock” and even a touch of 80s rock, according to information provided about the EP.

The record’s lyrical themes vary just as much, focusing on life on the road (touring), the impact of the decisions we make in life, and the all too familiar topic of a broken relationship.

Founding member/guitarist Jeffrey Donovan talked about the record’s creation amid the pandemic during a recent interview.

“The pandemic was hell,” Donovan said. “Gigs were cancelled, studios closed, everyone was locked in their houses. Some of the members suffered from what I call ‘pandecitis’, a lack of inspiration and the will to continue.”

The Guitar & Whiskey Club is available to pre-order through Amazon.

More information on the record is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Website: https://guitarandwhiskeyclub.com

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

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

BMG’s Re-Issue Of Motorhead’s ‘Iron Fist’ Is A Mostly Successful Offering

Courtesy: BMG

Motorhead’s 1982 album, Iron Fist, is among the more important entries in the band’s expansive catalog of studio recordings.  The band’s fifth album, it was the last that featured the band’s original lineup of front man Lemmy Kilmister, drummer Phil “Philthy Animal” and guitarist Eddie Clarke.  It was also a presentation that has come to be known as one of the band’s more controversial records.  That is because of the back story of its production.  Originally produced by Vic Maile, its production would eventually be completed by Clarke.  The discussions on the changeup have shown different thoughts and explanations on what happened, but even Kilmister himself said in 2000 of the record, that it was among his least favorite albums because of the production.  Now four decades after the album’s release, it has received another re-issue, its second following one re-issue in 1996 through Castle Communications and a second in 2005 through Sanctuary Records.  This latest re-issue comes through BMG.  It is accented by two discs of bonus content and new liner notes.  This will all be addressed shortly.  While the bonus content featured in this new re-issue anchors its presentation, the production of the original album really does prove somewhat problematic, proving Kilmister right.  It will be addressed a little later.  The various platforms on which the record has been made available are of their own note and will also be discussed later. Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of this re-issue.  All things considered they make the 40th Anniversary re-issue of Motorhead’s Iron Fist an interesting presentation that most of the band’s fans will find worth adding to their libraries.

BMG’s new 40th anniversary re-issue of Motorhead’s Iron Fist is a presentation that casual fans and the band’s most devoted fans will find worth adding to their libraries.  The presentation here is anchored by the bonus content featured with the re-issue.  The bonus content is being marketed as being previously unreleased, but that is not entirely the case.  Some of the bonus content featured here was previously released in the album’s 1996 Castle Communications re-issue of the album.  Among the bonus content carried over from that re-issue are ‘(Don’t Let ‘Em) Grind You Down’ (Alternative Edition) and ‘Young and Crazy’ (Alternative take of ‘Sex & Outrage’).  ‘Lemmy Goes to the Pub’ (Alternative take of ‘Heart of Stone’) is also included here, carried over from the Castle Recordings re-issue.  ‘Same Old Song, I’m Gone’ (Alternate take of ‘Remember Me, I’m Gone’) is also here along with ‘Remember Me, I’m Gone,’ which was also a Castle Recordings bonus track.  The previously unreleased content comes primarily in the form of the instrumental tracks, ‘Spongecake,’ ‘Ripsaw Teardown’ and the ‘Peter Gunn’ theme song.  That track is quite interesting in itself.  The amped up take on the popular song is a fun, rocking composition that stands out strongly on its own positives.  The same can be said of ‘Spongecake.’  The gritty sound of the bass and guitar together alongside the drums gives the song such a great garage punk sound and style that anyone will appreciate.  When it, ‘Peter Gunn’ and ‘Ripsaw Teardown’ are considered together, the trio of instrumentals make for plenty of engagement and entertainment in their own right.  When they are considered along with the other previously released bonus tracks, that collective makes the bonus content all the more a positive for this presentation.

Another bonus that comes with the album’s new re-issue is a “media booklet” that comes with plenty of liner notes and pictures.  Sadly the booklet was not included with media copies of the re-issue so that item cannot be examined.

While the bonus content that accompanies the album’s latest re-issue is important to its presentation, being the likely difficulty in finding the previous re-issues, the overall presentation is not perfect.  As noted earlier, Kilmister noted in an older interview that he was not overly happy with the final product that was Iron Fist because of the production.  In listening to the original album that is part of the overall presentation, the production is questionable.  Klimister’s vocals are washed out in comparison to the instrumentation.  It honestly sounds like his vocals were recorded at a distance while the instruments were quite airy in their own right.  Simply put, the production here is less than perfect.  The thing is though, as questionable as the album’s production is, it serves, to a point, as a historical point for the band.  It shows the band’s growth in terms of that aspect of its records.  So again, while the production is hardly perfect, hearing the problems with this item makes for more appreciation for how far the band came over time following that record’s release.  It is clear that the band learned an important lesson from the album’s production, and in turn improved from one record to the next in this aspect.

Knowing that the production of the album itself does not doom the record, there is still one more item to examine here.  That item is the overall availability of the re-issue.  According to information on the band’s official web store, it is available as part of eight separate packages.  Among those packages is the presentation of the re-issue in a 2-CD set with media book, a 3-disc vinyl set with media book, 2-CD/media book set with t-shirts, and even a complete deluxe set that includes the re-issue on both vinyl and CD, as well as the t-shirts and media book.  The deluxe set is listed at $253 while the simplest package (the 2-CD set) is listed at $20.  The vinyl set is listed at $60.  The 2-CD set with media book and t-shirts is listed at $79.  This is all important to note in that even with shipping and handling, that means most audiences who are likely to buy one of these sets, will pay less than $100 for the complete set.  What’s more, the 2-CD set without the tour t-shirts averages at $22.23 through Target, Walmart, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble Booksellers.  Amazon and Target each list the 2-CD set below that average at $19.79, so even with shipping and handling, the final price will still be just over $20.  By comparison, shipping and handling for the 2-CD set with tour shirts will average slightly more, closer to $30.  The bigger picture is this:  Most audiences are likely to purchase the 2-CD or 2-disc vinyl set.  That set comes with the media book, so audiences will not break the bank on the most basic presentation whether through Amazon or Target.  Meanwhile, audiences who are maybe more devoted will be just as open to paying higher prices.  So again, in the end, the wide variety of packages through which the re-issue is available doe prove to be just as positive as the re-issue’s bonus content.  Keeping that in mind, those two items and even the historical importance of the album’s production make this re-issue a presentation that plenty of Motorhead (and rock fans in general) will find worth owning.

BMG’s brand new re-issue of Motorhead’s Iron Fist is an interesting presentation from the company, which has also re-issued records from the likes of Sepultura, Saxon, and Overkill in the past year or so.  Its interest comes in part through its bonus content.  Most of the bonus content was previously released, unlike how it is being marketed.  There is also some previously unreleased content.  Having all of that content in one place makes for its own appeal.  The production of the album itself is questionable, just as Kilmister had said so many years ago before his passing.  At the same time, that production does serve an important historical purpose, so it is still important in its own right.  The widespread availability of the re-issue in terms of various packages (and the outlets through which it is available) rounds out the most important of the re-issue’s elements.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the re-issue’s presentation.  All things considered they make BMG’s re-issue of Iron Fist a work that most Motorhead fans and rock fans in general will find appealing.

Iron Fist is available now. More information on BMG’s latest Motorhead re-issue is available along with all of the latest Motorhead news at:

Websitehttps://www.motorhead.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/OfficialMotorhead

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/myMotorhead

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

‘Curse Of Existence’ Is A Musically, Lyrically Powerful New Offering From Miss May I

Courtesy: SharpTone Records

Early this month, veteran metalcore band Miss May I unveiled its latest album through SharpTone Records.  The band’s seventh album, Curse of Existence is an interesting new presentation from the band that is likely to find the majority of its appeal among the band’s most devoted audiences.  That is proven in part through its musical content, which will be discussed shortly.  The lyrical themes that accompany the album’s musical content will also appeal to that targeted audience.  It will be discussed a little later.  The record’s production puts the final touch to its presentation and will also be examined later.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the album’s presentation.  Collectively, they make Curse of Existence a record that metalcore fans and Miss May I’s established audiences will agree is worth hearing at least once.

Curse of Existence, the latest album from Miss May I, is a presentation that will appeal largely to the most devoted metalcore masses and of the band’s established audiences.   That targeted appeal comes in part through the album’s featured musical content.  The content in question is the band’s familiar blend of metalcore and death metal influences is just as present here as in the band’s existing albums.  From one song to the next, audiences can clearly once again make comparisons to works from the likes of As I Lay Dying, Killswitch Engage, and to a slightly lesser degree, the band’s label mates, Of Mice & Men.  The heavy, crunching down-tuned guitars that rip through each song with the sharpness of a chainsaw pair with the equally tight drums and low-end from the bass to make each song powerful in its own right.  Given, the overall musical content does not necessarily break any new ground for the band, but it is still such that it will appeal to said audiences what with its wall of sound effect from one song to the next.  The addition of front man Levi Benton’s powerhouse screams makes that even clearer.  To that end, the record’s musical arrangements are, again, a safe choice for the band this time out but still play well into the album’s overall presentation.

The musical arrangements featured throughout the course of Curse of Existence are collectively, just one part of what makes Curse of Existence worth hearing at least once.  The record’s overall lyrical body does its own share to make the album engaging.  That is because said content largely presents themes of facing and overcoming adversity in life.  That includes facing it internally and externally. 

As Benton stated in an interview about the album, “Curse of Existence is exactly what it reads, the curse we have in our existence. This doesn’t mean anything strictly negative, but it covers all existence that is the good and the bad, the highs and the lows; the sorrow and the joy. Everything that comes with life comes with a lesson and a price that is what we have put into this album.”

Those highs and lows are present throughout the album’s lyrical content.  The album’s single, ‘Unconquered’ is a prime example of this.  Benton sings/screams in this song of that personal/inner strength.  He states right from the song’s introductory lines, “If it’s us versus the world/Then I will remain/The last man standing/SO bring on the pain” before continuing in the song’s lead verse and chorus, “I walk alone through a crowd of eyes/I see a vision of red/terrified/It goes from bad to worse/If every blessing is a curse/Then how will I survive/The walls are closing in/What’s on the other side/It’s been so long/Since I’ve felt alive/Maybe I’m the only one who can save me/From the monster I’ve become lately/All these ghosts still chase me/And there’s nowhere left to run.”  This is that message of realization of one’s self, that realization that a person is at a certain breaking point and it is up to that person to change himself/herself.  Again, it centers on that inner strength to overcome that personal adversity.  The message continues in the chorus tied to the second verse, which states, “So heavy/The world around me/Can’t let it crush me…The only way out is through/And the sun that stops the flood is still inside you.”  He is saying that said inner strength is there and that people must remember they have that power to stop the bad.  It is a message that is certain to resonate with so many audiences.

‘A Smile That Does Not Exist,’ the album’s opener, is another song that is certain to resonate with audiences, what with what comes across as a message of overcoming one’s own mental health struggles.  This is inferred as Benton screams in the song’s lead verse and chorus, “The world has kept the chosen ones free/Safe from the storms that rain down on me/The coming winds of catastrophe/Face the beast or find no peace/Descend into madness/Shattering glass into fragments/Locked eyes watch me writhe across the floor/Pick up the pieces/Come back for more/In the mirror/A blank stare/No one’s there/No one cares/I pretend that we share/A smile that does not exist/My obsession with the darkness in my reflections/I always see the worst in me/Breathe in, Breathe out/Drown in self-doubt/It’s always in your head/But it’s only in your head.”  That final statement that “It’s only in your head” is so important.  It is a reminder that all of those negative thoughts that so many of us fight daily are just that.  They are in our head.  That self-doubt is there, but it can be overcome.  This reminder is so simple, but so important. Benton adds a statement in the song’s second verse of memories fading away, “devouring brighter days.”  Again, this is that emotional darkness that countless millions the world over feel every day.   The reminder that follows once again, that it is all in one’s head is sure to motivate so many listeners.  Once again, it shows the importance of the lyrical content featured in this album. 

‘Bleed Together’ is yet another example of that importance.  In the case of this song, it comes across as a commentary about someone coming to terms with a troubled childhood.  This is inferred most clearly in the song’s second verse, which states, “I only sang a silent lullaby/You let a part of me die/A broken God through a child’s eyes/I’ve walked these hells before/But now I’m re-writing history/Please let the apple fall far from the tree.”  That mention of the apple falling far from the tree is typically used to talk about connections between children and their parents, so to that end, this really does point toward some emotional conflict and disconnect between a child and parent.  Later in the song, he adds, “I will not stand in the shadow of your demons/No/Bury the past in the dirt/I refuse to relive the hurt/There’s only one thing in this short life/I won’t give to you, my dear/The key to all the pain I’ve locked inside.”  Again, this comes across as a discussion from someone facing a past that involved a troubled childhood relationship with a parent.  If in fact this is the case, then it is certain to resonate with audiences in its own right, too.  That is because there are so many people who had those stormy relationships with their parents.  It is another topic that is all too familiar in the rock realm, but one that is still just as relevant today as it has ever been.  To that end, it is yet another clear example of the importance of this album’s lyrical content.  When it and the other themes addressed here are considered alongside the rest of the album’s lyrical themes and with the album’s musical content, the whole creates a solid foundation for the album.

As much as the content featured in Curse of Existence does to make the album worth hearing, there is still one more item to address here.  That item is the album’s production.  The production is important because of its role in the album’s general effect.  Each song featured in this record is so intense, musically.  Thanks to the attention paid to each musician’s part in each song results in each work having so much impact.  No one part overpowers its counterparts at any point in the record.  The result is that the album’s general effect is positive in its own right, too.  Keeping that in mind, the production that went into this record does just as much to make the album worth hearing as the album’s content.  The whole makes Curse of Existence worth hearing at least once.

Curse of Existence, the latest album from veteran metalcore outfit Miss May I, is another work that the most devoted of the band’s audiences and the most devoted metalcore fans will find engaging and entertaining.  This is proven in part through the record’s musical content, which is fully familiar to those audiences.  The lyrical content that accompanies the record’s musical arrangements is important, too.  That is because of its accessibility.  The record’s production puts the finishing touch to its presentation, creating a positive general effect that does its own share to keep audiences engaged.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the album’s presentation.  All things considered they make Curse of Existence anything but a cursed record.

Curse of Existence is available now through SharpTone Records.  More information on the album is available along with all of Miss May I’s latest news at:

Website: https://missmayimusic.com

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/missmayiband

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

Hearing Jesse Jukebox’s New Album Is Worth Every Second

Courtesy: Waldmania PR

Family music entertainer Jesse Friedberg (a.k.a. Jesse Jukebox) released his latest album, Just a Minute early this month.  His fourth album, it is a fun new offering for the whole family regardless of audiences’ familiarity with Friedberg and his work.  That is due in part to the album’s musical content, which will be discussed shortly.  The lyrical themes that accompany the album’s musical material is just as important to the album’s presentation as that primary content.  It will be discussed a little later.  The record’s sequencing rounds out its most important elements and finishes the album’s presentation.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the record.  All things considered they make Just a Minute a presentation whose 28-minute run time is worth every second.

Just a Minute, Jesse Friedberg’s fourth album, is a fun album for the whole family, regardless of audiences’ familiarity with him and his work.  The record’s enjoyment comes in part through its musical arrangements.  Right from the album’s outset, audiences get an intriguing work in ‘One Minute Song.’  The instrumentation is a garage punk style work that throws back to the sounds of the late 80s and early 90s.  Meanwhile, Friedberg’s vocals are akin to those of the late great Tom Petty.  It is an intriguing mix that somehow works. Right after that, audiences get a work in the vein of Sugar Ray in ‘How Long?’  ‘Groovy Kangaroo’ meanwhile gives audiences a touch of funk.  Throughout the course of the album’s remaining songs (there are 28 songs in all), the diversity in the sounds and styles continues solidly from one to the next.  There’s literally a polka at the center of ‘Pierogi Polka,’ a touch of hip-hop in ‘The Beat is Back’ and some rockabilly a la Rev. Horton Heat in ‘(Swindled By a) Possum.’  Again, what audiences get in this record’s musical content is so much diversity in the album’s musical side.  To that end, that diversity makes for more than enough reason for families to take in this record.

As much as the musical content does for Just a Minute, it is just one part of what makes the album so enjoyable.  The lyrical themes that accompany the album’s musical content make for their own interest.  That is due to their own diversity.  Throughout the course of the album’s nearly 30-minute run time, Friedberg presents audiences with so many themes.  ‘It’s OK to Not Be Ok’ is exactly what the song’s title infers.  It addresses the ongoing mental health concerns plaguing the world.  What’s more he does it in a way that makes it fully accessible to young audiences and does so in barely more than a minute.  On another note, Friedberg encourages his young audiences to embrace themselves in terms of their personalities.  In short he presents a song here that focuses on the all too familiar topic of self-confidence.  This as he tells young listeners that “it’s okay to be weird.”  This, interestingly enough, ties directly into the noted topic of mental health among children.  On yet another note, Friedberg tackles the topic of childhood literacy in ‘Library.’  On the surface, the song finds Friedberg singing about the joy of going to a library and picking out a book, reading it in one’s little nook there at the building.  He sings about the different kinds of books from which readers can choose.  It is just one more example of the diversity in the album’s lyrical themes.  When these themes are considered alongside the rest of the album’s themes, the whole strengthens the album’s presentation that much more.

Keeping in mind all that the album’s primary and secondary content does for the record’s presentation, there is still one more item to examine.  That item is the sequencing of that content.  The sequencing is important to note because of its role in the album’s general effect.  It takes into account, the diversity of the overall content and ensures that as the album progresses, the energy in the album’s musical content remains stable even as the sounds and styles change.  At the same time, it also ensures that the lyrical themes change up from one to the next throughout.  The end result is a presentation that succeeds just as much for the presentation of its content as for its content.  To that end, the album in whole proves to be yet another welcome addition to this year’s field of new family music albums.

Just a Minute, the latest album from Jesse Jukebox (a.k.a. Jesse Friedberg), is an enjoyable new offering from Friedberg that the whole family will appreciate.  That is due in part to the diversity featured in the album’s musical arrangements.  The lyrical themes that accompany the album’s musical content are just as diverse as said material.  It makes for its own interest.  The sequencing of that content brings everything together and completes the album’s presentation.  When it and the content are all considered together, the whole makes the album overall another welcome addition to this year’s field of new family music albums that the entire family will enjoy and appreciate.

Just a Minute is available now.  More information on the album is available along with all of Jesse Jukebox’s latest news at:

Website: https://jessejukebox.com

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jjkidsongs

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

Steve Turre, Smoke Sessions Records Succeed Through Release Of ‘Generations’

Courtesy: Smoke Sessions Records

Trombonist Steve Turre is, next to Leon Pendarvis, one of the longest-serving members of Saturday Night Live’s current house band lineup, having served with the band since 1985.  It is just one of his claims to fame, though.  He has also released more than 20 records as a band leader himself since the release of his 1987 album, Viewpoint, which was released through Stash Records.  He released his latest album as a band leader Sept. 16 in the form of Generations through Smoke Sessions Records.  The 10-song record, which runs an hour and 10-minutes, is such an enjoyable presentation what with its varied musical arrangements.  That diversity in the record’s musical content will be addressed shortly.  The background on the album and its songs provided in the record’s packaging adds its own share of appeal to the record.  It will be discussed a little later.  The record’s production rounds out its most important elements and will also be examined later.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of this album.  All things considered they make Generations yet another welcome addition to this year’s field of new jazz albums.

Generations, the latest album from Steve Turre, is an enjoyable new offering from the veteran trombonist that will appeal widely among jazz audiences.  The record’s appeal comes in large part through its musical content.  From beginning to end of the hour-plus album, the record’s musical content is quite diverse.  Early in the album’s run, audiences get some big band ballroom vibes through the gentle, flowing, ‘Dinner With Duke.’  The richness of Turre’s trombone leads the way here while drummer Orion Turre’s gentle work with the brushes on the snare pairs with Isaiah J. Thompson to create such a rich musical picture.  Audiences can see the lights on the floor, the big band on the side, performing the song as couples slow dance on the fully waxed floor that reflects the light from above. 

The swinging blues approach of ‘Blue Smoke,’ which immediately follows takes audiences in a completely different direction, picking up the album’s energy.  It is such a fun, infectious composition that is led, once again, by Turre on trombone. 

As the album progresses, Turre and company keep the changes coming, turning to the reggae realm in ‘Don D.’  The familiar staccato style work on the guitar and the use of the horns is a toss to so much reggae.  It is sure to appeal to so many audiences in its own right while continuing to show the diversity in the album’s musical content.

Even later in the album’s run, listeners get a touch of some Afro-Latin sound and style in ‘Good People.’  The use of the drums and the horns will take audiences to the streets of Havana on those warm summer nights from the 1960s.  It is its own infectious work whose instrumentation puts the talents of the whole group on full display here.  It is just one more example of the diversity exhibited throughout Generations.  When it and the other songs examined here are considered along with the rest of the album’s compositions, the whole shows even more clearly, the diversity in the album’s primary content.  The result is that said content forms a solid foundation for the album.

The foundation formed through the album’s musical content is strengthened even more through the information provided through the album.  Penned by A. Scott Galloway, the information in question is an in-depth examination of the songs’ backgrounds and how the album came about.  Galloway writes in the liner notes that Turre’s original intent was to craft this record in 2020, but the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic delayed its creation.  It was not until February of this year that Turre and a group of musicians finally managed to record the album in a single day.  If that really is the case, then the rush of getting things done in a single day still resulted in a fully enjoyable presentation.

In regards to the background on the songs, listeners will be interested to learn that ‘Dinner With Duke,’ for instance, was in fact named and created in tribute of sorts to legendary jazz front man Duke Ellington.  Galloway writes here that Ellington played a big role in Turre’s development and that of Galloway.  Galloway even notes Turre’s use of a plunger on the trombone opposite Wallace Roney, Jr.’s work on the trumpet makes for a certain sort of musical conversation.  Audiences really can hear that conversation, too.  It makes for even more interest here.  What’s more, understanding the influence that Ellington had on Galloway, Turre, and his fellow musicians makes for even more appreciation of the song.  That is because audiences can really hear that Ellington influence throughout the song.

Another interesting note that Galloway makes in the liner notes is that of ‘Pharaoh’s Dance.  The name itself conjures thoughts of ancient Egypt, but that could not be farther from the truth.  As Galloway points out, the song is a tribute of sorts to the influence of famed saxophonist Pharaoh Sanders.  It is also an homage to equally respected and revered pianist McCoy Tyner.  Audiences who are familiar with each musician’s work will really hear clearly, their influence.  What’s more, it shows that importance of having background information for any instrumental music.  Song titles can clearly be misleading, and having that background really offers full understanding and appreciation for said work.

Galloway’s discussion on ‘Resistance’ is another interesting way in which the liner notes prove their importance to the album’s presentation.  He cites Turre as saying that the song is a statement piece.  “I wrote ‘Resistance’ around the time of the 2016 election,” he cites Turre as saying. “I’m tired of the negativity, the division, and the lack of compassion…the greed and the selfishness, and the willful ignorance of facts, truth and science.  I don’t resist by hating.  I resist by putting positive energy out there.”  Once more, audiences get more proof of the importance of liner notes here.  Understanding Turre’s comments, the juxtaposition of the tension early in the song against the more positive vibes that are presented through the rest of the song really does well to illustrate his comments.  When this information, the other information noted and the rest of the liner notes, the whole shows without question, the importance of the liner notes featured in this album.

The liner notes that accompany the album’s primary content do plenty to strengthen the album’s presentation.  They are still not all that the album has going for it.  The record’s production rounds out the album’s most important elements.  From one song to the next, the production brings out the best of each ensemble’s work.  The horns and percussion each compliment each other so well, as do the bass lines along with everything else.  The piano line adds its own welcome touch to given songs, too.  Each musician gets a moment in the spotlight in each song and throughout by connection.  The result is that the production creates such a positive general effect throughout the album, ensuring even more, listeners’ engagement and entertainment.  When this aspect is considered along with the album’s primary and secondary content, the whole makes Generations a fully enjoyable new offering from Steve Turre and another welcome addition to this year’s field of new jazz albums.

Generations, the new album from Steve Turre, is a successful new offering from the veteran musician.  The record succeeds for a variety of reasons, not the least of which being the record’s primary content.  The musical arrangements that make up the album’s body are diverse and so fun from one to the next.  The background on the songs (and the album’s creation) make for even more engagement and entertainment.  The record’s production rounds out its most important elements and puts the finishing touch to the presentation.  Each item examined is important in its own way to the whole of the album.  All things considered, they make the album another welcome addition to this year’s field of new jazz albums.

Generations is available now through Smoke Sessions Records.  More information on the album is available along with all of Steve Turre’s latest news at:

Website: https://steveturre.com

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

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