Arrow Video’s ‘Flash Gordon’ Re-Issue Is The Movie’s Best Presentation Yet

Courtesy: Arrow Video/MVD Entertainment Group

Arrow Video’s recently released Blu-ray re-issue of Universal’s classic sci-fi flick Flash Gordon is the new gold standard for the movie’s home release.  Released Aug. 18 on Blu-ray and 4KUHD, this latest re-issue of the 1980 comic strip adaptation is the movie’s first domestic re-issue since 2012, when it was re-issued alongside The Last Starfighter, Dune, and the pilot for the original Battlestar Galactica series in a four-disc DVD set.  The movie’s audio and video form the foundation for its latest re-issue, and will be discussed shortly.  The extensive bonus content that accompanies the movie’s home release builds so much on the foundation formed by the movie’s production values.  It will be discussed a little later.  Flash Gordon’s story rounds out its most important elements and will also be discussed later.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the movie’s presentation.  All things considered, they make the movie’s latest re-issue a presentation that is without question one of this year’s top new DVD/BD re-issues.

Arrow Video’s new Flash Gordon re-issue is a presentation that will appeal to a wide range of audiences.  From sci-fi fans to fans of comics to action movie aficionados to classic cinema connoisseurs, this movie’s appeal will find plenty of appreciative audiences.  That is proven in part through the production values presented in this re-issue.  The colors in the sets and the costumes are so rich, especially the reds (red was allegedly the favorite color of the movie’s famed Producer Dino De Laurentiis according to information provided in the movie’s bonus content) of Ming’s palace.  In comparison to footage from the movie in its original presentation (which is shown in the noted bonus content), it is clear that painstaking efforts were taken in order bring forth the true, rich color.  If De Laurentiis were alive today, he would be just as impressed by this aspect.  In the same vein, every laser blast and every note of rock band Queen’s feature-length soundtrack is expertly balanced, enhancing the viewing experience for audiences even more.  Even a minor touch, such as the ambient sounds of Planet Mongol and its moons get their own attention.  From that production aspect to the noted deep, rich colors and the balance in the music and sound effects, it is clear that painstaking efforts were made in order to offer viewers the best possible presentation once again.  It’s another way in which Arrow Video continues to prove itself one of the leading names in the home media world.  Those efforts also go a long way toward making this presentation so enjoyable for viewers.  It is just one of the most notable aspects of the movie’s new home re-issue, too.  Its bonus content adds even more enjoyment to its presentation.

The bonus content that is featured in Flash Gordon’s latest re-issue is extensive to say the absolute least.  Audiences get two separate feature length audio commentaries, — one from director Mike Hodges and the other from star Brian Blessed (who played Prince Vultan) – a series of interviews with the movie’s cast and crew, two episodes of the Flash Gordon cartoon series, and a vintage “making of” featurette as well as photo galleries from the movie’s creation.  The bonus content alone makes for literally hours of entertainment and engagement.  The vintage making of featurette reveals that creation of the set for Ming’s palace alone took four months.  That and the other sets were so extensive that production had to take place primarily in a six-million cubic foot aircraft hangar.  It was just one of the facilities that was used for the movie’s production.  As director Mike Hodges reveals (off the cuff) during his audio commentary, Elstree Studio was also used.  That is the same studio in which Star Wars was created by George Lucas.  This is especially important to note because it is also revealed in one of the bonus discussions, that George Lucas apparently wanted to make Flash Gordon before Star Wars, but could not afford the rights, so he ended up making Star Wars.  How is that for a little six-degrees of separation?

As if everything already noted here is not enough reason to check out the bonus content, viewers will learn that there apparently was quite a bit of tension behind the scenes during the movie’s creation.  Hodges points out during his commentary that De Laurentiis viewed the movie’s creation in a very serious fashion, even though Allin was extremely displeased with the final product.  The vintage making of featureette does point out that De Laurentiis was himself very much a Flash Gordon “fan boy” prior to producing the movie.  To that point, his “seriousness” was perhaps chalked up to that fandom, even though he might not have thought he was going to such extreme.  There is nothing wrong with his approach, either, since he wanted to pay proper tribute to the original, timeless Flash Gordon comic strip.

Allin, on the other hand, said during the new bonus featurette “Lost in Space: Nic Roeg’s Flash Gordon,” that he and Roeg wanted to make a serious film in Flash Gordon complete with sociopolitical commentary, but that De Laurentiis wanted to stay true to the original Flash Gordon comic strip, which ran daily from 1934 to ’92.  Its Sunday edition continued until 2003.  The movie does just that with its special effects and its overall look (what with its costumes and sets).  The short and simple here is that Allin and Roeg’s story would have been a good fit among today’s comics based movies (since dark, brooding stories are about all that audiences get nowadays in comics-based movies).  De Laurentiis’ version has remained a cult favorite for four decades meanwhile maybe because of his dedication to its source material.  Regardless of which side viewers take, all of the noted discussions are sure to engage audiences thoroughly and generate plenty of discussion among audiences.  All things considered here (along with the bonus content not directly noted – again the bonus content here in fully immersive) the bonus content featured with Arrow Video’s recent Flash Gordon re-issue more than makes the movie worth owning.  When it is considered with the outstanding production values presented in this re-issue, the two elements together make for so much enjoyment for audiences.  They are still not all of the positives provided in the movie.  The movie’s central story adds even more to that enjoyment.

The story at the center of Flash Gordon is relatively easy to understand.  It starts with Flash and Dale Arden taking a flight somewhere (it’s never pointed out where the pair is going interestingly enough) and ending up crashing in the lab of the mad scientist Dr. Hans Zarkov.  Zarov basically kidnaps the duo and the trio ends up flying into space where they end up rocketing to another galaxy that is ruled by the evil emperor Ming The Merciless.  Along the way Flash unites the peoples of the worlds ruled by Ming, befriending them in the process.  The story has a happy ending, but also leaves the door open for a sequel (which going back to the bonus content, could have happened, but never did).  It has to be assumed in the movie’s story that as the clock reaches zero near the movie’s end, Ming does stop his attack on Earth before his alleged death, though that is never made 100 percent certain.  The only way audiences can assume the Earth is safe comes in the final scene in which Dale tells Flash that she is a New York girl and would rather go home than stay on the planet Mongol.  Next to that note, the only other odd note from the story is centered on all of star Sam J. Jones’ constant costume changes.  It just so happens that everything he wears is Flash Gordon-themed.  It is never fully explained where he gets all of his attire, but oh well.  That aside, the story’s simple approach is very much in line with the original Flash Gordon comic strip.  Yes, comics often do have deep philosophical language, but they are also meant to entertain the masses, and that is what this story does.  It entertains while also presenting at least some philosophy.  To that end, the story succeeds just as much as the movie’s bonus content and its production values.  When all three elements are considered together, they make the movie in whole the best presentation yet of this cult classic flick.

Arrow Video’s recent Blu-ray re-issue of Flash Gordon is an applause-worthy presentation that will appeal to a wide ranger of viewers.  That is proven in part through the movie’s production, which fully brings out the deep, rich colors in the sets and costumes.  The same can be said of the movie’s sound, which is so well-balanced in terms of the soundtrack and special effects noises.  The bonus content featured with the movie’s new re-issue will immerse audiences even more in the movie.  From everything noted here to other items, such as the realization that Queen was not the first choice for the movie’s soundtrack, and the note that the movie never got the merchandising push that other movies have gotten over the years, the bonus content adds so much of its own appeal to the movie.  The movie’s simple story does its own part to appeal to audiences with its simple presentation.  All three items noted here are important in their own way to the whole of the movie’s latest re-issue.  All things considered, they make this presentation, the best yet for the movie.

More information on Arrow Video’s Flash Gordon re-issue is available along with all of the company’s latest news at:

 

Websitehttp://www.arrowfilms.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/ArrowVideo

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/ArrowFilmsVideo

 

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The Rolling Stones’ Latest Live Recording Is As Solid As Steel

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

The true greatest rock band in the world returned this week with another new archived live recording.  The band in question is The Rolling Stones and the recording in question is one of its three December 1989 concerts in Atlantic City, NJ in support of its then new album Steel Wheels.  The performance was part of the band’s “Steel Wheels/Urban Jungle” tour, which was the band’s first American tour since 1981.  The recording is another presentation that will appeal to The Rolling Stones’ fans just as much as rock fans in general just as much as the multitude of previous live recordings.  That count is almost at 20 counting (not counting this recording) if not right at said figure.  The main reason that audiences will appreciate the recording so much is its extensive set list. The list, which runs approximately two-and-a-half hours in length, will be discussed shortly.  The band’s performance thereof adds to the enjoyment in its own way.  This will be addressed a little later.  The recording’s production values round put the finishing touch to its presentation.  When it is considered along with the set list and the band’s performance, the elements collectively make the recording another welcome way to beat the live music blues this and any year.

The Rolling Stones’ latest live recording is another fully immersive, enjoyable presentation for the band’s most devoted fans and rock fans in general.  In an age when live music has been relegated to watching concerts online, this offering from the greatest rock band in the world is its own welcome offering and alternative to being glued to a computer or phone screen.  That is proven in part through the recording’s extensive set list.  The 28-song set list spans a run time of approximately two-and-a-half hours.  It takes audiences all the way back to 1965 and the band’s fourth album Out Of Our Heads and all the way up to its then most recent album, 1989’s Steel Wheels.  Given, not every album in-between is represented in the set list, but in comparison to the set lists featured in the band’s past live recordings, audiences do get some songs not featured in those presentations.  The band’s five nods to Steel Wheels are themselves works that have rarely if ever been featured in the noted previous live presentations.  The band’s cover of Bob & Earl’s ‘Harlem Shuffle’ and its performance of its own single ‘Undercover of the Night’ (from 1983) are in themselves live rarities.  So audiences have all of that to enjoy.  Along with the noted songs, audiences also get more familiar songs, such as ‘Honky Tonk Women,’ ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash,’ and ‘Tumblin’ Dice’ among others.  As if all of that is not enough, the band also pulls ‘2,000 Light Years From Home,’ ‘Happy,’ and ‘Salt of the Earth’ as some semi-rare works from its catalog.  Also making this set list so enjoyable are guest appearances from blues legend John Lee Hooker, who joins the band for a performance of his own hit song ‘Boogie Chillen’ and a guest appearance by fellow blues legend Eric Clapton on that song and ‘Little Red Rooster.’

The set list in itself does a lot to make Steel Wheels Live appealing to audiences.  The set list proves itself even more critical to the recording’s presentation in that it is the exact same in the recording’s DVD, CD, digital and vinyl platforms.  In other words, audiences get the same presentation from one platform to the next.  This is important to note because even today, there are some acts out there whose live recordings vary across platforms.  So to have the same thing from one platform to the next makes the set list that much more important to the recording.

Additionally, the set list’s sequencing plays its own part to the recording’s presentation.  From the show’s opening up until the band takes on ‘Terrifying,’ the show’s energy remains relatively high.  It is not until the noted point that the band pulls things back.  The noted relaxation lasts only momentarily.  After that song and ‘Salt of the Earth,’ which features a guest appearance by Guns N’ Roses members Axl Rose and Izzy Stradlin, the show’s energy picks back up.  Their performance alongside Mick Jagger and company will be addressed a little later.  ‘Honky Tonk Women’ slows things down again, but still manages to keep the concert’s energy flowing solidly thanks to its swagger.  The same can be said of ‘Midnight Rambler,’ too.  That song comes immediately after ‘Honky Tonk Women.’  From that point on, the show’s energy rises and falls in all of the right points and ways, showing without question the amount of time and thought that went into assembling the set list.  That effort paid off, too.  When this aspect is considered along with the set list’s presentation across the recording’s platforms and its breadth and depth, those elements collectively make the set list the most important aspect of this recording.  It builds a solid foundation for the recording’s presentation on which the band’s performance rests easily.

The Rolling Stones’ performance of Steel Wheels Live’s set list is important to note because it does its own part to keep audiences engaged and entertained.  Those audiences who are familiar with the band’s live show style already has an expected standard from the band.  Those audiences will be glad to know that the band lives up to that expectation here just as much as in the band’s past performances.  Front man Mick Jagger is just as confident as ever as he struts his way across the stage and sings.  That swagger is on full display just as much.  Guitarists Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood keep the energy moving along with drummer Charlie Watts, the trio’s work just as engaging as ever in its own right.  Wood and Richards’ prowess on their instruments makes one forget the woes of the world, especially as they make their way through the blues classic ‘Little Red Rooster’ alongside Eric Clapton.  The group’s performance is just as solid as it supports Rose and Stradlin in the collective’s performance of ‘Salt of the Earth.’  On a similar note, viewers will be pleased to see that Rose shares the stage with Jagger and company in that performance rather than trying to steal the spotlight.  It shows that he knows he and Stradlin are the guests here, not the stars.  Even when he gets the spotlight in ‘Cant’ Be Seen,’ Richards shows once again, his talent as a performer and not just a guitarist.  He and the band’s longtime backing vocalists make for so much enjoyment and engagement in their own way.  Between that aspect and the rest of the presentation in the concert, the band’s performance in whole makes for a wonderful experience.  It builds on the foundation formed by the show’s set list to make the recording even more enjoyable.  When the two elements are considered together, they give audiences even more reason to take in this concert.  They are still only a portion of what makes the recording so impressive.  Its production puts the finishing touch to its presentation.

Just as with all of The Rolling Stones’ past live recordings released through Eagle Rock Entertainment, the production here gives home viewers the best seat in the house.  When the cameras go out beyond the sea of people, audiences get a full picture of just how many people attended the concert, and the sheer immensity of the band’s stage setup.  The on-stage footage immerses audiences into the performance even more as it takes viewers along for the ride up close with the band.  The transitions from shot to shot throughout and the sound enrich the experience even more.  From a more relaxed moment, such as in ‘Sympathy for the Devil to the more fiery cover of ‘Harlem Shuffle’ and everywhere else, the guitars and vocals are so well-balanced with Watts’ time keeping and the work of the band’s fellow musicians.  Each performer gets an equal share of time in the limelight.  Considering that and the smooth camera transitions, no doubt is left about the impact of the concert’s production.  When this is considered along with the band’s performance and the concert’s set list, the whole of these elements makes Steel Wheels Live a presentation that is another welcome addition to The Rolling Stones and Eagle Rock Entertainment’s ongoing series of live recordings from the band.

Eagle Rock Entertainment and The Rolling Stones’ latest live recording Steel Wheels Live is yet another welcome addition to the two sides’ ongoing series of live recordings.  That is proven in part through the recording’s expansive set list.  The set list runs 26 songs deep and spans a run time of two-and-a-half hours.  Given, it is not a career-spanning set even for its time, but does still present a relatively clear cross section of the band’s catalog up to that point.  The band’s performance of the featured set list is everything that audiences have come to expect from The Rolling Stones.  The swagger and the energy is there from beginning to end.  The concert’s production values play their own part to the recording’s presentation.  Each noted item is important in its own way to the whole of this presentation.  All things considered, they make the recording as solid as steel.  Steel Wheels Live is available now.

More information on Steel Wheels Live is available along with all of its latest news at:

 

Websitehttp://www.rollingstones.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/therollingstones

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/RollingStones

 

Eagle Rock Entertainment’s latest news is available online at:

 

Websitehttp://www.eagle-rock.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/EagleRockEnt

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/EagleRockNews

 

To keep up with the latest news and reviews, go online to http://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.

‘Sobering Times’ Succeeds Through Its Musical Diversity, Lyrical Duality

Courtesy: Kayos Records

Veteran singer-songwriter Ricky Byrd has made quite the name for himself throughout his professional life.  He has worked with some of the most well-known and respected artists and acts in the music industry, not the least of which being Joan Jett and the Blackhearts.  He also has worked with Bruce Springsteen, Mavis Staples, Ian Hunter (Deep Purple), Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Elvis Costello, and so many other well-respected figures in the music industry.  During his extensive stint as a member of The Blackhearts, Byrd battled drug and alcohol addiction, eventually leading to him getting clean in sober in 1987.  That battle and recovery led him to take on the topic in 2017 in his third album Clean Getaway.  Now more than three years after its release, Byrd is addressing the issue again in his latest album Sobering Times.  Scheduled for release Friday, the 12-song record is a strong companion piece and follow-up to Sobering Times.  That is due to its musical and lyrical content, which clearly build on the foundation formed in Clean Getaway.  ‘I Come Back Stronger,’ which comes just ahead of the album’s midpoint, is one way in which the album shows how that musical and lyrical content makes this record such a strong presentation.  It will be discussed shortly.  ‘Ain’t Gonna Live Like That’ is another way in which the album’s combined musical and lyrical content come together to engage and entertain audiences.  It will be discussed a little later.  ‘Together’ is one more way in which the album’s overall content shines.  When it is considered along with the other songs noted here and the rest of this record, the album in whole becomes one of those rare records that is worth hearing start to end without stopping.

Ricky Byrd’s fourth full-length studio recording Sobering Times is a positive new offering from the veteran singer-songwriter-guitarist.  That is proven through the record’s musical and lyrical content.  ‘I Come Back Stronger’ is one of the songs that serves to support the noted statements.  That is proven in part through the song’s musical arrangement.  The arrangement is a gentle, acoustic work that lends itself partially to thoughts of works from Bruce Springsteen.  At the same time, there is also a touch of country music incorporated into the song.  The way that the song slowly builds from its early bars through the first half to its climax and progresses to its confident second half serves well to translate the message and emotion in the song’s lyrical content.  Speaking of that lyrical content, it is engaging in its own right.

As noted, the songs featured in Byrd’s new album focus on the topic of addition, just as with the album’s predecessor.  While the song’s lyrical theme centers on the matter of overcoming addiction, it is also about taking on the issues that come with overcoming addiction.  Interestingly enough in this case, this song’s lyrical content could just as easily be about facing life’s difficulties, not just because of the battle to overcome addiction.  To that end, the song’s lyrical content adds to its impact.  The manner in which Byrd delivers his message here also adds to the impact.  Byrd sings in the song’s lead verse, “Life is a lesson we all live and learn/All the ups and the downs/And the roadblocks that get in the way/Trying to find myself/I got bruised and hurt/But I survived it all/And it made me the person I am today/Every time I fall/I come back stronger/I was broken once/But not any longer.”  The energy in the arrangement as the song reaches that climax in the chorus and the intensity with which Byrd states, “I come back stronger” is a defining moment for the song.  The impact in the message remains as strong as ever from there as Byrd enters the song’s second verse.  He sings in this verse, “When life hands you keys/That just won’t open up any doors/And you’re stuck in a rut/Feeling desperate/Down to the core/It’s the faith you find along the way/That always gets you through/I face my fears a thousand times/Every time I do/I come back stronger.”  Looking back at all of this, the message and story presented in this song is a powerful presentation of why the song is such an important addition to Byrd’s new album.  It is just one of the songs that shows what makes Byrd’s new album such a success.  ‘Ain’t’ Gonna Live Like That’ is another notable way in which the album shows its strength.

‘Ain’t Gonna Live Like That’ adds to the presentation of Sobering Times because its musical arrangement stands apart from those of the album’s other works.  This time Byrd offers audiences a powerful 12-bar blues work in the style of John Lee Hooker, B.B. King, and Stevie Ray Vaughan.  The addition of the gospel style choral accompaniment to the arrangement adds eve more to the song’s impact, as does the light, subtle addition of the piano line at points.  The whole is a presentation that any true music lover will appreciate and that shows in its own way, the diversity in the album’s musical presentation.  The song’s lyrical content, will appeal to blues fans just as much as the musical arrangement.  That is especially the case considering that much blues lyrical content in fact centers on the matter of dealing with a matter such as addiction and the negative influences in life, just like this song.

The lyrical content featured in this song comes from the vantage point of someone who has been down the troubled road and has learned from the experiences of that journey.  He sings in the song’s lead verse, “lady or the tiger/What’s behind the door/I know one just might kill me/But I just got to get some more/The Devil’s dealin’ aces/’Cause he knows just what you need/To keep you in the alley/Beggin’ bargains on your knees/But I ain’t gonna live that/No more, no more/Hell is living for the need and the score”  He continues in the song’s second verse, “Workin’ hard ain’t nothin’/Just fixin’ for a hit/Crawlin’ from the consequences/Swearin’ this is it/Lie beges a lie/And truth is layin’ low/My bull****’s thick with every trick/To get me where I got to go/But I ain’t gonna live like that/No more, no more/Hell is living for the need and the score/But I ain’t gonna live like that no more.”  He adds in the song’s third and final verse, “Comin’ to it’s 5 p.m./I woke up three times today…Cold, tired and need some strength to get me off the ground/I pray you help me turn this down/And turn ths life around/’Cause I ain’t gonna live like that/No more, no more/Hell is livin’ for the need and the score/And I ain’t gonna live like that/No more, no more.”  Again, the topic of fighting drug addiction is nothing new to the blues, so to have such a familiar topic coupled with an equally familiar musical style makes for even more enjoyment.  Taking that into consideration, the song becomes that much clearer an example of what makes Sobering Times an enjoyable record.  It is just one more of the songs that shows why this record deserves attention.  ‘Together’ does its own share to show the album’s appeal, too.

‘Together’ takes audiences back to the 1960s with its Beatles-esque arrangement, complete with scratchy vocals, steady floor tom beat and snare, and vocal melodies.  At the same time, the song features its own bluesy influence alongside that classic rock sound.  The whole is a unique musical presentation that once again, shows the diversity in this album’s musical content.  It is just one part of what makes the song stand out.  The song’s lyrical positive lyrical content adds even more interest to the song.

The lyrical theme featured in ‘Together’ is clear.  It delivers and promotes a message of unity for audiences. That is made clear right from the song’s outset as Byrd sings, “Have you ever found yourself  desperate for salvation/Prayin’ in the dark/For the light to guide you away/Searchin’ for answers/That just lead to more questions/You might need a little help…I used to keep my pain well-hidden/As far as you know/I’m fine as fine can be/I never let the world know/I was hurtin’/That kind of thinking was almost the death of me/We’re in this together/No need to go it alone/A helping hand when you can’t get there on your own/A body needs somebody/We can always use a friend/A little bit of loving/When the ice is getting’ thin.”  The message is made just as clear in the song’s second verse as Byrd sings, “You might think you’re the only one feeling what you’re feeling/There’s a whole lot of people out there hitting that same wall/Crawling from the wreckage/But going back for seconds/You run that…til you just can’t run anymore/I learned the hard way/ There’s strength in numbers/’Cause I tried to win a war all by myself/Side-by-sde and shoulder to shoulder/We’ll beat that devil right back to hell/We’re in this together/ No need to go it alone/A helping hand when you can’t get there on your own/A body needs somebody/We can always use a friend/A little bit of loving/When the ice is getting’ thin.”  This is a message that America and the world needs right now more than ever.  Sure it applies, again, with the matter of fighting addiction, but it also works in addressing the current state of the nation and world.  To that end, that duality in this message strengthens the song’s lyrical presentation even more.  When this is considered along with the strength created through the duality in the other songs noted here and the rest of the album’s songs, the whole of the album’s lyrical content proves that much more critical to its presentation.  When the lyrical content is considered with the diverse musical content featured throughout the album, that whole makes completely clear why Sobering Times is a record that every music lover will appreciate.  In turn, it becomes one more of this year’s top new overall albums.

Ricky Byrd’s latest album Sobering Times is a powerful new presentation from the veteran singer-songwriter-musician.  That is proven in part through the record’s diverse musical content.  That content will appeal to fans of the blues, classic rock and rock in general.  The album’s lyrical themes present their own importance through their duality.  On one hand, they address battles with addiction and the recovered from said concern.  On the other hand, they can just as easily be related to life in general.  All of the songs addressed here serve to support the noted statements.  When they are considered along with all of the album’s other songs, the whole of that content unites to make the album in whole a strong new offering from Byrd that is also one more of this year’s top new albums overall and top new rock albums.  Sobering Times is scheduled for release Friday through Kayos Records.  More information on the album is available along with all of Byrd’s latest news at:

 

Websitehttp://www.RickyByrd.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/ricky.byrd1

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/Byrdman20

 

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://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.

Stoner Rock Fans Will Agree Places Around The Sun’s New LP Deserves It’s Own Moment In The Sun

Courtesy: Dewar PR

Independent rock band Places Around The Sun is scheduled to release its third album Friday.  The self-titled, 10-song record is a presentation that will appeal to a very specific target audience.  That is due in pat to the record’s musical arrangements.  They will be discussed shortly.  The album’s lyrical content proves even more widely appealing than its musical compositions.  The 33-minute presentation’s sequencing rounds out its most important elements and will also be discussed later.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the album.  All things considered, they make Places Around The Sun a record that audiences will find worth hearing at least once.

Places Around The Sun’s forthcoming self-titled album is a record that stoner rock fans will find worth hearing at least once.  That is due in part to its musical arrangements.  The arrangements in question exhibit a clear stoner rock sound from beginning to end.  The sound in question is easily comparable to works from the likes of Royal Blood, Fugazi, and Queens of the Stone Age.  This is a good and bad thing.  It is good because the stylistic approach to each song exhibits influences of each noted band.  It is bad in that while the arrangements do change from one to the next, the general sound and stylistic approach still remains the same.  In other words, even with variations in the songs’ arrangements, audiences get little more than the same sort of garage/stoner style work and sound from one song to the next.  Yes, there is that old adage that a person should write what he/she knows, but in the case of this record, the whole album is very much the same from one song to the next.  It makes it feel as if the band is playing it safe here.  Considering that Places Around the Sun is the band’s third album, the band should not worry about playing it safe.  Again though, fans of the stoner rock genre will appreciate this more than anyone.  While the album’s musical content is limiting in its appeal, the music’s companion lyrical content will likely find a wider appeal.

The album’s lyrical content will provide wider appeal than the album’s musical content in that it is not as limited in its spread.  ‘Bury It’ is just one of the ways in which the record’s lyrical content proves so important.  This song comes across as someone who wants to keep someone else from thinking for himself and rocking that proverbial boat.  This is inferred in the song’s lead verse, which finds front man Antonio Santos singing, “Say no more/I don’t wanna hear about it!/Keep your questions to yourself boy!/That’s not how we do things around here/Cover your eyes, mouth and ears!/Hear them come for you boy!/Lay down, close your eyes/Think twice or they’ll come!/And if you dare to wonder out I’ll keep you down!.”  The song’s chorus hints even more at that as Santos’ subject sings, “Keep your questions to yourself boy/Lay down, close your eyes/Think twice or they’ll come!/And if you dare to wonder out I’ll keep you down!/Down.”  This is a familiar topic more so to literary works than songs.  It’s someone telling another person don’t stir those proverbial waters and cause any trouble, and that if need be, the first will stop the other to prevent the problems.  It makes for an interesting presentation in its own right that will engage listeners.  ‘Down The Road’ is another key example of the importance of PATS’ lyrical content.

The lyrical content featured in ‘Down The Road’ comes across as a man looking back on his life and contemplating things.  That is inferred with relative clarity as Santos sings in the song’s lead verse, “I felt like yesterday/Those days were mine/Now that today has come/I gave it all away/Gave it all away!”  As Santos sings in the song’s second verse, “Those days are gone/And I’m in doubt/The wheel is yours and you should go/And you should go!/Turn away!/Don’t you know?,” that message seems as strong as ever.  The song’s chorus cements that message as Santos sings, “Down, down the road/Past the open bar/I’ve tried it once before/Wound up broke/There’re stories of a man/But no one heard from him/Down, down the road/Down, down the road/Maybe we’ll find our way/Somewhere down the road!”  The concept of someone looking back on what they consider a wasted life is nothing new to the music world.  The fashion in which that story was crafted here is unique, and makes that story fresh and engaging in its own right.  It makes the song one more clear example of the importance of the album’s lyrical content, and not the last.  ‘Lost I Am Found’ is one more example of why the album’s lyrical content makes the record worth hearing.

‘Lost I Am Found’ comes across as a presentation that finds its subject perhaps saying he/she is finding clarity of mind in reaching that proverbial lowest point in life.  This is inferred as Santos sings in the song’s lead verse and chorus, “I’ve been out wondering if I’d see you again/My mind/Oh did I lose my mind?/I’ve lost it/I don’t know how many times/It needs to get away from me/Left me out in the dark/And I need to think before I even begin to feel.”  The seeming message is illustrated even more as he sings in the song’s second verse, “I don’t wanna get stuck falling/But there ain’t much to do but fall/Let the fall lead the way.”  The refrain to the song’s chorus, which reads, “When at last I meet the ground/I meet the ground/I’ll meet the ground/Lost I am Found” heightens the sense that this is someone who has reached that noted point of enlightenment and clarity of mind.  It comes across as an uplifting message delivered to listeners that once you hit rock bottom, there is no lower that you can go but up.  To that end, this seeming message proves that much more important to the bigger picture of Places Around The Sun.  When it is considered with the other lyrical themes noted here and the rest of the album’s lyrical content, the whole of that content leaves no doubt as to the importance of the album’s lyrics.  When this is considered along with the record’s very targeted musical content, the two elements give the noted audiences that much more reason to hear this record along with rock fans in general.   Even with all of this in mind, the album still has one more item worth noting that makes it worth at least one listen.  That item is the album’s sequencing.

As noted already here, the musical content featured in Places Around The Sun maintains a largely stoner rock sense from one song to the next.  The approach to each song does change even with that constant sense in each arrangement.  While the vibe stays the same from start to end, the energy in the album stays relatively stable thanks to the record’s sequencing.  The energy in the songs’ arrangements stays high from one work to the next.  Even in the brief 43-second ‘Interlude,’ the energy refuses to let up.  It keeps the album moving nonstop throughout its run.  To that end, that full-on sequencing will keep listeners engaged and entertained in its own right, too.  When it is coupled with the noted lyrical themes, those elements together ensure a wide appeal for this album.  The song’s musical arrangements join with the noted content to bring those casual audiences in with the targeted stoner rock audiences.  Collectively the audiences in whole will agree that this record is worth hearing at least once.

Places Around The Sun’s forthcoming self-titled album – the band’s third album – is an interesting presentation that will garner at least some attention.  That is due in part to its musical arrangements.  The arrangements in question stick stylistically to the stoner rock realm even as they change their precise arrangements from one to the next.  That approach will appeal specifically to stoner rock fans, but the lyrical content that accompanies the record’s arrangements will broaden its appeal.  That is because it presents some familiar and unique lyrical themes that are presented in their own notable fashion.  The record’s sequencing does its own part to ensure audiences are engaged and entertained from beginning to end.  The sequencing keeps the album’s energy high from start to end.  Each noted is item is important in its own right to the whole of the album.  All things considered, they make Places Around The Sun a work that stoner rock fans and rock fans in general will find at least somewhat appealing.  The album is scheduled for release Friday.  More information on the album is available along with all of Places Around The Sun’s latest news at http://www.facebook.com/placesaroundthesun.

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The Verve Pipe Announces Details For Next Livestream Concert

Photo Credit: Anthony Norkus

The Verve Pipe announced the details this week for its next livestream performance.

The band is scheduled to hold its next concert Oct. 10 at The Listening Room in Grand Rapids, MI.  The band and staff at The Listening Room have partnered with staff at The Ark in Ann Arbor, MI to promote the upcoming concert.

The ticketed event will feature the band performing may of its classic hits, and according to front man Brian Vander Ark, some new music, too.

“This will be a live stream like no other; an inside look at the band’s creative process,” said Vander Ark. “In addition to playing the favorites and telling some of the stories behind them, I’ll be introducing two new songs to the band for the first time, and we’ll work them out live in front of the virtual audience.”

The Ark Program Director Anya Siglin expressed enthusiasm at working with The Listening Room staff and with The Verve Pipe on the upcoming concert.

“In this time when we can’t present artists in person the way we are used to doing,” said Siglin. “The Ark is working to find ways to keep the music going and support artists, like The Verve Pipe, who mean so much to us and have been part of our musical family for so many years. It’s exciting to be able to work collaboratively and in partnership with The Listening Room in a new and creative way that supports both our venues and brings a truly special experience to our audiences.”

Tickets for The Verve Pipe’s Oct. 10 concert are available here.

In related news, The Verve Pipe recently announced another streaming concert scheduled to take place Oct. 17 live from the Orpheum Theater in Omaha, NE.  Tickets are available here.

More information on The Verve Pipe’s upcoming concerts is available along with the band’s latest news at:

Websitehttp://www.thevervepipe.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/thevervepipe

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/thevervepipe

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Handsome Pants Debuts New Single, ‘The Rut’

Photo Credit: Zac Sanford

Independent rock band Handsome Pants debuted its latest single this week.

The band debuted its new single ‘The Rut’ Wednesday through TheObelisk.net.  The song’s musical arrangement is a heavy, plodding composition that will appeal to fans of bands, such as Clutch, Arctic Monkeys, and ‘Royal Blood.’  Its lyrical content comes across as a story about someone dealing with some very heavy introspection about things that have been happening in his life.

The band discussed the song in a recent interview.

“Rut is the second release in our early existence as a band,” the statement reads. “This song is something Andrew has been sitting on for a long time and rewriting lyrics. Finally finding the right content and lyrics putting it together at this time seems perfect. It seems to relate to a lot of people right now and what they are going through with the pandemic and everything else happening right now.”

More information on Handsome Pants’ new single is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:

 

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Handsomepants4

Twitter: http://twitter.com/PantsHandsome

 

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://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 http://philspics.wordpress.com.

The Reticent Streaming New Album, ‘The Oubliette’

Courtesy: Asher Media Relations

Independent prog-metal band The Reticent is streaming its new album for free.

The North Carolina-based act, which is the brainchild of Chris Hathcock, is streaming the album, The Oubliette through The Prog Space.  The band is scheduled to release its new album Sept. 25 through Heaven & Hell Records.  Produced by Jamie King (Between The Buried & Me, The Contortionist, Scale The Summit), is a concept record that addresses the topic of Alzheimers Disease.

The track listing for The Oubliette is noted below.

Track Listing:
1. Stage 1 – His Name Is Henry (9:46)
2. Stage 2 – The Captive (6:00)
3. Stage 3 – The Palliative Breath (7:13)
4. Stage 4 – The Dream (11:47)
5. Stage 5 – The Nightmare (12:14)
6. Stage 6 – The Oubliette (10:38)
7. Stage 7 – ________ (6:10)
Album Length: 1:03:50

The Reticent debuted the video for the album’s lead single ‘Stage 2: The Captive‘ last month.

The album’s will release next month will come more than four years after the release of its most recent album, 2016’s On The Eve of a Goodbye.  That record chronicled the day before, of, and after the suicide of Hathcock’s friend Eve.

The musical content featured in The Oubliette exhibits influences from Tool and fellow North Carolina-based band Between The Buried and Me.

Hathcock discussed the album’s lyrical theme in a recent interview.

“As with my previous album, I hope that ‘The Oubliette’ will provide listeners with a rich and emotionally challenging audio experience,” he said. “This is undoubtedly the most ambitious record The Reticent has attempted to date.  The hope is that listeners will be personally affected by the music on a deep level and that it may draw some attention to a disease that is frighteningly prominent but frequently poorly understood.  There will be moments that are soothing and there will be moments that are overwhelming.  The story I have to tell is not a happy one but it is an important one – and it is often through the pain that we find the most profound reflection and calls to action.”

More information on The Reticent’s new album is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:

 

Website: http://thereticent.net

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/thereticentband

 

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://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.

 

Steep Canyon Rangers Debuts New Single, ‘Sunny Days’

Courtesy: Yep Roc Records

Steep Canyon Rangers debuted its latest single this week.

The band debuted its new single ‘Sunny Days’ Tuesday through The Boot.  The song is the fourth single from the band’s forthcoming album Arm in Arm, which is scheduled for release Oct. 16 through Yep Roc Records.

The band premiered the album’s lead single ‘In the Next Life‘ June 15. The video for the album’s next single ‘Every River‘ followed July 21 and ‘Honey on my Tongue‘ was next in August.

The musical arrangement featured in ‘Sunny Days’ is an upbeat work that is led by the banjo work of Graham Sharp.  Michael Guggino’s mandolin playing builds on the foundation formed by Sharp’s performance.  Nicky Sanders’ fiddle playing enriches the song even more while the subtle brushes on the snare drum put the finishing touch to the upbeat whole.

Guggino talked about the arrangement and its companion lyrical content in a recent interview.

“It’s got a driving pulse at the top of it, like a rock anthem, but it changes at the line, “What I wouldn’t give to be with you in the sunshine,” said Guggino. “We knew the song had to change there, so we bring it down, and there’s a group solo with the banjo, fiddle, and mandolin all playing at once with each instrument occupying a different space. The music releases as the speaker releases that wish to be in the sunshine.”

Audiences who purchase Steep Canyon Rangers’ new album will not only support the band, but the homeless community in the band’s hometown of Asheville, NC.  Steep Canyon Rangers has partnered with Asheville, NC-based brewery Wicked Weed Brewing to use sales of its new album to help the city’s homeless population.  The company will donate $10 per album (up to 2,000 albums) sold through Yep Roc Records’ store to Haywood Street’s Downtown Welcome Table to feed the city’s homeless population.

Arm in Arm‘s track listing is noted below.

  1. One Drop of Rain
  2. Sunny Days
  3. Everything You Know
  4. Every River
  5. Honey on my Tongue
  6. In The Next Life
  7. Bullet in the Fire
  8. Take My Mind (ft. Oliver Wood and Michael Bearden)
  9. A Body Like Yours
  10. Afterglow
  11. Crystal Ship

More information on Steep Canyon Rangers’ new album and live dates is available along with the band’s latest news at:

 

Websitehttp://www.steepcanyon.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/SteepCanyonRangers

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/SteepCanyon

 

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://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.

 

 

Zero Theorem Debuts ‘Translucent’ Video

Courtesy: Shim Sham, LLP

Independent hard rock band Zero Theorem debuted the video for its latest single this week.

The band debuted the video for its new single ‘Translucent‘ Tuesday.  The song is the second single from the band’s forthcoming EP The Killing II. It follows the debut of the EP’s lead single ‘Swarm,’ whose video debuted July 13.  ‘Transluscent’ is available to stream and download here.

The Killing II is scheduled for release in early 2021.  Its exact release date is under consideration.

The animated ‘Translucent’ video features an extraterrestrial fighting against another being for control of a planet.  Meanwhile, the band’s song plays over the CGI presentation.  The song’s arrangement will appeal to fans of Disturbed, much like ‘Swarm’ and the songs featured on the band’s most recent studio recording The Killing I.  The Killing I i available here.

According to Zero Theorem front man “Caesar” the song’s lyrical content centers on the topic of self-realization and empowerment.

“Translucent” represents the act of seeing through one’s outward or public persona to identify the authentic self within,” he said. “As with other songs throughout The Killing recordings, “Translucent” depicts a scathing character portrait while questioning the validity and usefulness of the artificial trappings of our daily lives”.

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

 

 

 

Websitehttp://zerotheoremband.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/zerotheoremband

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/ztheoremband

 

 

 

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Goo Goo Dolls Debuts ‘Autumn Leaves’ Official Video

Courtesy: Warner Records

Goo Goo Dolls debuted the video for one of its previously released singles this week.

The band debuted the video for its single ‘Autumn Leaves‘ Tuesday.  The video’s debut comes more than a year after the band debuted the single by itself.  The band premiered a live performance of ‘Autumn Leaves’ in February.

The official ‘Autumn Leaves’ video is the latest to come from Miracle Pill.  Its premiere follows the debut of the videos for the the album’s title track in July 2019, the official ‘Fearless’ lyric video this past May and its companion live performance video in June.

The band premiered the album’s title track by itself in June 2019.  The debuts of two more singles — ‘Indestructible‘ and ‘Step in Line‘ — followed in August and September 2019 respectively.

Goo Goo Dolls re-issued Miracle Pill July 10.  ‘Just A Man’ is one of three bonus tracks featured in the re-issue.  It is accompanied by the other bonus tracks, ‘Tonight, Together’ and ‘The Right Track.’

The track listing for the Miracle Pill re-issue is noted below.

MIRACLE PILL DELUXE EDITION TRACKLISTING
1. Indestructible
2. Fearless
3. Miracle Pill
4. Money, Fame & Fortune
5. Step In Line
6. Over You
7. Lights
8. Lost
9. Life’s A Message
10. Autumn Leaves
11. Think It Over
12. Tonight, Together *
13. The Right Track *
14. Just A Man *
*Bonus, previously unreleased track on the deluxe version

Courtesy: Warner Records

In other Goo Goo Dolls news, the band is scheduled to release its first-ever holiday music album Oct. 30 through Warner Records.  The band revealed the compilation’s track listing Sept. 14.  It will feature eight classic holiday tunes and a pair of original songs from Goo Goo Dolls.
The compilation’s track listing is noted below.

IT’S CHRISTMAS ALL OVER TRACK-LISTING
1. Christmas All Over Again
2. Shake Hands With Santa Claus
3. This Is Christmas
4. Christmas Don’t Be Late
5. Better Days
6. You Ain’t Getting Nothin’
7. Let It Snow
8. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
9. Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
10. The Christmas Party (Feat. The Union Square 5)

The band will debut the compilation’s lead single ‘Christmas All Over Again’ on Oct. 2.  Album pre-orders will open the same day.

Goo Goo Dolls is scheduled to launch a new string of live North American dates July 22, 2021 in Nampa, ID support of Miracle Pill‘s re-issue.  The tour is scheduled to run through Aug. 18 in Boston, MA and to feature performances in cities, such as Holmdel, NJ; Morrison, CO and Huber Heights, OH.  The full tour schedule, which takes the band throughout the Midwest, is available at the band’s official website.

More information on Goo Goo Dolls’ new single, album, tour and more is available online now at:

 

Websitehttp://www.googoodolls.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/googoodolls

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/googoodolls

 

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.