Yellowjackets Offers Audiences Another Mostly Successful Album In ‘Parallel Motion’

Courtesy: Mack Avenue Music Group

Late this past August, legendary jazz outfit Yellowjackets released its latest album, Parallel Motion through Mack Avenue Music Group.  The band’s 23rd (yes, 23rd) studio recording, it was released Aug. 26, less than two years after the release of the band’s then latest album, Jackets XL.  That record was itself quite the appealing presentation, being well-deserving of all of its accolades.  This record is just as deserving of praise in its own right, as its featured musical arrangements make clear.  They will be discussed shortly.  For all that the album’s musical content does to make it appealing, the lack of any background information on the songs does detract from the album’s engagement and entertainment to a point.  That detraction is not enough to doom the album but is still of some concern.  This will be addressed a little later.  The record’s production works with its content to put the finishing touch to its presentation and make the album all the more appealing.  When it is considered alongside the musical content, the whole therein makes the album overall yet another mostly successful offering from Yellowjackets.

Parallel Motion, the latest album from veteran jazz collective Yellowjackets, is another mostly successful offering from the group.  Its success comes in large part through its featured musical arrangements.  The nine total songs that make up the record’s body are diverse throughout.  The album’s title track, for instance, is an enjoyable modern jazz work that also shows some influence from the likes of Weather Report.  That influence is especially evidenced through the pairing of Russell Ferrante’s work on piano and Bob Mintzer’s work on saxophone.  There is something about the sound and style that the duo exudes that points right back to Weather Report’s music.  Drummer Will Kennedy’s very tight, short beats point even more to that influence, making for even more interest.

‘Onyx Manor,’ which immediately follows, changes things up quite noticeably, this time offering audiences something of a more hip-hop infused approach and sound.  Kennedy and Ferrante lead the way in this nearly nine-minute opus.  The fun, mid-tempo edge that the pair gives the song even throws in some vintage funk and R&B influence along the way to make for even more interest.  It is completely unlike ‘Parallel Motion’ and the album’s other entries, and no less entertaining and engaging, too.  It is just one more example of the diversity in the album’s musical arrangements and the enjoyment that said diversity brings.

‘Resilience,’ which comes late in the album’s run, is yet another example of the noted diversity in the album’s musical content.  This five-minute-plus opus lends itself to comparison to works from the band’s 1997 album, Blue Hats.  That is evidenced through the collective of the group’s performance.  Mintzer’s work on the saxophone and Ferrante’s light performance on piano joins with Kennedy’s steady time keeping to make the song such a fun, light composition.  Even with its stylistic similarity to works from Blue Hats, it still boasts its own unique identity that makes for its own engagement and entertainment.  When it is considered along with the other songs examined here and with the rest of the album’s entries, the whole makes clear, the diversity in the album’s musical content.  That diversity and the general effect therein forms a strong foundation for the album’s presentation.

As much as the album’s musical content does to make it so enjoyable, the lack of any background on the songs weakens that foundation to a point.  Some brief discussions on the songs’ histories are provided in information provided to the media, but even in that case, it is limited.  To that end, audiences will be able to enjoy each of the album’s songs, regardless, but only to a point.  This critic has pointed out countless times that with any instrumental music (jazz and otherwise) there is always an influence and a story.  Having that story, even in the album’s liner notes, adds so much to the engagement and entertainment. Not having that information allows enjoyment only on a surface level.  To that end, the lack thereof does not doom the album, but it certainly does not do any favors for the overall engagement and entertainment.  Keeping that in mind, there is still at least one more positive to note in the album’s presentation, that positive being the album’s production.

The production that went into the album’s is important to examine because of its role in the album’s general effect.  As noted, the songs featured throughout the album are diverse from one another.  Their sounds and styles are all unique.  That means that plenty of attention had to be paid to each song to ensure the best is brought out in each unique work.  Whether in a quiet, relaxed work, such as ‘Early’ (which closes the album), a slightly more up-tempo but still relaxed work, such as ‘Samaritan’ or even something slightly livelier, such as ‘Challenging Times,’ the best is brought out in each work.  The band, which self-produced the album, ensured each musician got his own moments in the proverbial spotlight in each song.  The result is that each musician’s work expertly compliments that of his counterparts from beginning to end.  In turn, the emotional impact of each song is fully felt.  When the resulting positive general effect herein is considered along with the effect of the songs’ diversity, the whole results in the album being a mostly successful and enjoyable Yellowjackets offering.

Parallel Motion, the latest album from the veteran jazz outfit Yellowjackets, is a mostly positive offering from the group.  Its appeal comes largely from its musical content, which offers plenty of diversity for audiences to enjoy.  While the musical content that makes up the record’s main body forms a strong foundation for the album, the lack of any background on that content weakens that foundation to a certain point.  That detraction is not enough to doom the album, but certainly does not help it any.  The production of the album’s musical content works with said material to round out the album’s most important elements.  Their pairing of the content and its production creates a largely positive general effect that will ensure even more, listeners’ engagement and entertainment.  When this is kept in mind, the result is that the album becomes another largely successful offering from the group and another welcome addition to this year’s field of new jazz offerings.

Parallel Motion is available now through Mack Avenue Music Group. More information on Parallel Motion is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Websitehttp://www.yellowjackets.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/yellowjacketsmusic

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‘The Next Door’ Is Another Welcome Addition To 2022’s Field Of New Jazz Albums

Courtesy: ECM Records

Late last month, the Julia Hulsmann Quartet released its latest album, The Next Door through ECM Records.  The quartet’s second record, it was released August 26, roughly three years after the quartet released its debut album, Not Far From Here.  The record offers plenty to appreciate in terms of its musical side.  For all that the record’s musical content does to make it appealing, the lack of any background on the songs in the booklet detracts from the enjoyment.  This will be discussed a little later.  The record’s production rounds out its most important elements and will also be discussed later.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the record’s presentation.  All things considered they make The Next Door a mostly enjoyable addition to this year’s field of new jazz albums.

The Next Door, the recently released sophomore album from the Julia Hulsmann Quartet, is an enjoyable presentation that jazz fans will find is worth hearing at least once.  That is due in large part to its featured musical content.  The arrangements that make up the album’s hour-long run time are all subdued in their sound and stylistic approach.  From one song to the next, each member of the group gets their own moment in the spotlight.  Hulsmann leads the way in the album’s opener, ‘Empty Hands’ while Uli Kempendorff accompanies her expertly on the tenor saxophone.  Drummer Heinrich Kobberling’s even more subtle use of the brushes on his snare makes for its own welcome touch.  Kempendorff takes the lead in the record’s next track, ‘Made of Wood,’ after Hulsmann establishes the mood through the song’s opening bars.  His performance and that of Hulsmann creates a welcome harmony that will fully engage listeners without even trying.  Marc Muelbauer takes the lead on the double bass later in the record in ‘Wasp at the Window,’ showing yet again that each member of the quartet does indeed get that moment in the spotlight.  Muelbauer’s subtle picking really does make one think of that ominous feeling one gets when one sees a wasp knocking at a window, trying to get inside a building.  That sense of dread is unmistakable, and he does well echoing that sense.  The energy in Kempendorff’s performance on the saxophone even conjures thoughts of the erratic flying that wasps do in such situations.  The arrangement stands out so well from the album’s other songs just as much as they do from one another.  Collectively, the songs noted here and the rest of the album’s entries not only show that the record’s songs give each member of the quartet but also the diversity in the arrangements and enjoyment.

As much as the arrangements featured in this record do to make the album interesting, the songs do have certain stories behind them.  The pictures painted here are not necessarily those meant by Hulsmann and company.  Of course, the fact that there is no information about the songs in the album’s booklet prevents audiences from knowing the full background on the story.  Information was provided to the media about some of the songs.  For instance, Hulsmann is cited in the press release announcing the album’s release, ‘Empty Hands’ is about the positive feeling that one gets when one is not having to juggle multiple things at once in life.  ‘Valdemossa,’ which closes the album, is said to be influenced in part by classical composer Frederic Chopin’s ‘Prelude No. 4 in E Minor’ in its sound and style.  That little tidbit is quite interesting.  That is because in understanding this, audiences can actually hear a little bit of that song here, just made less melancholy in the group’s more positive approach.  Simply put, there is plenty of background information offered to the media about the songs in terms of their background, but there is none for the general public in the album’s booklet.  To that end, it does detract from the overall enjoyment and engagement for audiences.  Sadly, this seems to be the case with so much instrumental jazz.  It is not enough to make the album a failure, but it certainly would have been nice to have had as part of the album’s presentation.

Knowing that the lack of any background on the songs in the album’s booklet is not enough to doom the album, there is one more positive to note.  That positive is the album’s production.  Knowing that the album presents so much quiet, controlled music, the utmost attention had to be paid to each composition to make sure each musician’s performance complimented the others.  That work paid off in each song.  Whether it be the subtle touches on the drums or the stronger performances on the saxophone or even the careful addition of the bass line, each song’s production expertly balances each musician’s performance.  The result is that it creates a positive general effect for the album.  When that positive general effect is considered along with the album’s musical content, that pairing makes for all the more reason to hear The Next Door

The Next Door, the new album from the Julia Hulsmann Quartet, is an interesting new offering from the group that is worth hearing at least once.  The record’s appeal comes primarily through its musical content.  The arrangements featured in the record are diverse in their sounds and styles while also maintaining a certain control from one to the next.  As much as the album’s musical content does to make it engaging and entertaining, the lack of any background on the songs in the album’s booklet detracts from that appeal to a point.  It is not enough to make the album a failure.  Knowing that, the album’s production works with the album’s musical content to make for a positive overall general effect.  With that in mind, the production and songs together make the album worth hearing at least once.

The Next Door is available now 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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ECM Records Offers Audiences Yet Another Unique Record In Marcin Wasilewski Trio’s ‘En attendant’

Courtesy: ECM Records

Jazz artist Marcin Wasilewski released his latest record this week under the moniker of the Marcin Wasilewski Trio.  The record, En attendant, is a presentation that will appeal to a very targeted audience what with its blend of originals and covers.  The most notable of its originals is its three-part opus, ‘In Motion.’  It will be discussed shortly.  The cover of legendary classical composer J.S. Bach’s ‘Goldberg Variation 25.’  It will be examined a little later.  ‘Glimmer of Hope,’ which comes late in the record’s 43-minute run time, is yet another intriguing original featured in the album’s body.  It will also be examined later.  When it and the other songs noted here are considered along with the album’s remaining works, the whole makes En attendant a presentation that is worth hearing at least once.

En attendant, the new album from Marcin Wasilewski Trio, is an intriguing new offering from ECM Records.  One listen through the nearly 45-minute album reveals it to be in its sound and style, so much like so many records released through the label by other acts.  That is to say that each of its featured works is very quiet and subdued.  To that end, the album, whose title allegedly translates roughly from Danish to Waiting, will find a very targeted audience through its featured songs.  The three-part original composition, ‘In Motion’ serves well to support those statements.  Spread out across the album, its three movements clock in between five-and-a-half minutes and nearly seven minutes.  The first movement pays a very subtle, brief tribute to Miles Davis’ timeless record, Kind of Blue at one point as Marcilewski gently makes his way across the piano.  His work, alongside that of bassist Slawomir Kurkiewicz, gives the first movement overall something of a rather melancholy mood at points while at others, changes the mood somewhat.  Michael Miskiewicz’s work on the drums adds just enough controlled flare to make things interesting in that movement.

The song’s second movement, which serves as part of the record’s midpoint alongside the original, ‘Vashkar,’ changes things up notably.  Kurkiewicz and Miskiewicz take the lead this time in this decidedly rhythmically based work.  The subtleties in the duo’s performance here really demands audiences fully engage themselves in the composition in order to fully appreciate it.  There are light taps on the cymbals, equally subtle rim knocks on the snare, and notes played on the double bass that when paired with the percussion, gives the song in general something of an expressionist sound and style.  Wasilewski’s occasional strains on the piano add even more to that sense.

The third and final movement, which also serves as the album’s finale, changes things up yet again.  Wasilewski takes the lead here again, but also allows his fellow musicians their own moments to shine throughout the gentle, flowing composition.  Wasilewski’s performance on the piano pairs with those of his fellow performers to paint a picture (at least in this critic’s mind) of a quiet forest scene or a lea. A creek gently flows through the forest scene while in the other, the sun is coming up slowly and everything is waking up from the night.  It is such a stark contrast to the song’s other two movements but when considered alongside them, makes the overall song that much more interesting.  The three movements collectively make the song overall the album’s highest point.

‘In Motion’ is just one of the works that makes En attendant a unique new offering from Marcin Wasilewski trio.  The trio’s take of J.S. Bach’s Goldberg Variation 25’ is of its own interest.  In the case of this song’s performance, Wasilewski works well to stay true to the source material.  The gentle, reserved nature that Bach intended in his work is on full display here.  Wasilewski does a very good job of echoing the emotional depth of Bach’s original thanks to that dedication.  Miskiewicz’s very controlled cymbal rolls add even more to that emotional depth while Wasilewski’s pairing with Kurkiewicz also adds its own unique touch to the whole through the subtle harmony that the pair create.  Overall, this update of a timeless classical composition is a unique presentation that definitely is well worth hearing in this case.

‘Glimmer of Hope,’ another of the album’s featured originals, is just as intriguing as the other songs examined here and the rest of the album’s entries.  While original, clearly, it conjures thoughts of prog-rock trio Liquid Tension Experiment’s song, ‘State of Grace.’  That is because the two songs two have such a similar style and sound in their bodies.  Given there’s no guitar in this song, but the use of the piano and bass together really put forward so much of that similarity.  It comes across just as much as a saccharine, romantic ballad type work as ‘State of Grace.’  To that end, it is another unique addition to En attendant that further makes this record worth hearing.  When it is considered alongside the other songs examined here and with the album’s other entries, the whole makes the album overall worth hearing at least once.

En attendant, the brand-new album from Marcin Wasilewski Trio, is an intriguing record that will find itself a very targeted audience.  That is evidenced through each of its featured works.  The songs examined here make that clear in their diversity.  Each boasts its own unique identity from its counterparts, and they are just as different from the album’s other works as from one another.  That uniqueness in each composition makes the album worth hearing at least once and another intriguing new offering from ECM Records.

En attendant is available now through ECM Records.  More information on this and other titles from ECM Records is available at:

Websitehttps://ecmrecords.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/ecmrecords

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.  

Rava, Hersch Offer An Interesting Record In ‘The Song Is You’

Courtesy: ECM Records

Flugelhorn player Enrico Rava has been producing recordings for ECM Records since 1970.  His catalog with the label totals 15 records and reaches as far back as 1975 and as recent as 2021.  On Friday, Rava released his 16th record with the label in the form of The Song is You.  His 48th overall album as a band leader, it sees him joined this time by pianist Fred Hersch for a group of covers and originals that is worth hearing at least once.  Among the most notable of the covers is that of George Bassman and Ned Washington’s ‘I’m Getting Sentimental Over You.’  This song will be discussed shortly.  Among the most notable of the originals is ‘The Trial.’  It will be examined a little later.  The duo’s cover of ‘Round Midnight’ is another interesting update featured as part of the record’s 42-minute body and will also be examined later.  All three songs noted do their own respective part to make The Song Is You an interesting presentation.  When they are considered along with the record’s other entries, the whole makes the record a presentation that most jazz fans will find worth hearing at least once.

The Song is You, the new album from the pairing of Enrico Rava and Fred Hersch, is a presentation that many jazz fans will find intriguing.  That is proven through its originals and covers alike.  Among the most notable of its covers is that of George Bassman and Ned Washington’s timeless classic ‘I’m Getting Sentimental Over You.’  While Bassman and Washington were the song’s craftsmen, the composition was made most famous by Tommy Dorsey and his orchestra way back in 1935.  That composition, led by Dorsey’s work on trombone, was (and is) a very subdued, romantic work.  The use of the piano in support of Dorsey’s work and the eventual introduction of the clarinet line to the mix makes the song even more schmaltzy, but in the best way possible.  It really is one of those true Make-Believe Ballroom type songs (R.I.P. Jim Kelso – for any Public Radio East fans out there who go way back).  Rava and Hersch change things up slightly here, giving the song a slightly more up-tempo approach.  The clarinets and other elements incorporated into the original are gone, replaced by just the duo’s own work.  The result is a song that is longer than the original at almost six minutes (five minutes 55 seconds to be exact) but is still enjoyable in its updated take that balances nicely the source material with updated content.

While Rava and Hersch do quite well taking on that classic big band era tune, the duo does just as well with its original content here.  That is evidenced through the performance of ‘The Trial.’  Clocking in at six minutes, 47 seconds, the gentle, flowing composition is presented largely in a minor key and uses chromatic scales to create an interesting sense of tension throughout.  However, it does gradually progress more into a major key and more into a semi-bluesy approach as Rava joins Hersch.  Hersch leads the way here through his performance, which is more modern classical in its approach than jazz.  That is not to say that there is not a jazz leaning here.  In fact, there is the most subtle jazz touch balanced with the more classical leaning side to make for even more engagement and entertainment.  Sadly, there are no liner notes included with the album to explain the back story behind the song.  That background would have added even more interest here.  Throughout it all, the duo keeps the composition so subdued.  It forces audiences to engage themselves in the song in order to fully appreciate the work.  That could be a good or bad thing depending on the listener.  Regardless, the song holds its own alongside the record’s other works, showing just how much the record’s original content does for the album’s presentation.

One more notable addition to this record is another of its covers.  In this case, the cover is that of ‘‘Round Midnight.’  Crafted collectively by pianist Thelonious Monk, trumpet player Cootie Williams and conductor Bernie Hanighen, the original song clocks in at three minutes, 48 seconds.  The simple composition features Monk on piano, pairing a steady bass line on one hand with a light almost bop type melody on the other.  Hersch meanwhile takes the song in a much more subdued direction.  His approach to the song gives it an almost entirely new identity separate from its source material that really does require audiences to engage themselves in the work in order to appreciate Hersch’s work.  That could prove divisive for certain, but the song is still interesting regardless.  It is one more cover worth taking in, and when considered along with the other covers and originals, shows even more why this collection of songs is worth hearing at least once.

The Song Is You, the latest new studio offering from flugelhorn player Enrico Rava and pianist Fred Hersch, is an intriguing presentation.  That is proven through its blend of originals and covers.  The songs examined here do well to make that clear.  When they are considered along with the record’s other entries, the whole makes the presentation overall worth hearing at least once.

The Song Is You is available now through ECM Records.  More information on this and other titles from ECM Records is available at:

Websitehttps://ecmrecords.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/ecmrecords

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.  

Katie Dwyer Succeeds Again On Her Latest LP

Courtesy: West Side Rose

A little more than two years after the release of her debut album, Music Makes Me Happy, family music entertainer Katie Dwyer followed up its release with her sophomore album, Let’s Move Friday.  Released through West Side Rose, the 24-song record is a successful new offering from the up-and-coming songwriter/musician.  That is due in no small part to the musical content featured throughout the record’s body.  This will be discussed shortly.  The lyrical themes that accompany the record’s musical content make for their own interest and will be discussed a little later.  The sequencing of that collective content brings everything together and completes the album’s presentation.  It will also be discussed later.  Each item addressed is important in its own way to the whole of the album’s presentation.  All things considered they make the record another enjoyable addition to this year’s field of new family music albums.

Let’s Move, the new, sophomore album from Katie Dwyer, is an interesting presentation that the whole family will find appealing.  That is due in no small part to its featured collective musical arrangements.  The arrangements are diverse from the record’s beginning to its end in their sounds and styles.  Right from the record’s outset, audiences get an up-tempo pop rock arrangement akin to something from the 1980s in ‘Dance, Dance, Dance.’  That is evident through the pairing of the keyboard line and the electronically created claps and the steady beat on the hi-hat.  That overall instrumentation immediately throws back to the sounds and styles of the age, and thankfully does so without being as overly poppy as so many of the works from that age.  ‘Ahoy There, Matey,’ which comes a little later, changes things up with its obvious sea shanty style sound and approach, complete with penny whistle and what sounds like an accordion.  On yet another note, a song, such as ‘Big Bear Poe’ gives listeners a little bluesy approach very much in the vein of the timeless song, ‘The Cat Came Back.’  There’s even a little tropical vibe a la Jimmy Buffet in ‘Tooper, The Turtle.’  So again, what audiences get throughout the album in terms of its musical content is plenty of variety and in turn, reason enough to hear the album at least once.

For all that the diverse musical content does to make Let’s Move appealing, it is just part of what makes the album engaging and entertaining.  The lyrical themes that accompany the album’s musical arrangements add to that appeal even more.  That is because they are just as diverse.  The album’s title track, for instance, is a song that promotes healthy, active living.  What’s interesting here is that the arrangement that pairs with that theme is a relaxed, reggae-style composition (showing yet again, the diversity in the record’s musical content).  Considering that the song’s lyrical theme promotes active, healthy living one might have expected the arrangement to be more energetic, but who knows, with this pairing, maybe Dwyer was working the song as a sort of yoga type work.  Regardless, that theme is just one of so many presented throughout the album.  ‘Got A New Canoe,’ what with its semi-New Orleans jazz style a la Dr. John (once again, more diversity in the arrangements), is a straightforward song about taking a trip down a river in a canoe.  ‘Let’s Rock,’ which comes even later in the record’s 55-minute run time, further shows the diversity in the album’s lyrical themes (and musical content).  The song is a simple celebration of music and the joy that it brings.  This as Dwyer sings that “it’s good for my soul…come on everybody/Let’s rock.”  The happy, celebratory rockabilly approach to the song’s musical arrangement further illustrates that message and does so in such welcome fashion, too.  This is just one more example of the diversity in the album’s lyrical themes.  When it and the other songs examined here are considered along with the rest of the album’s entries, the diversity in said content becomes all the clearer.  In turn, it also makes clearer, the importance of that diversity.

The diversity in the record’s musical and lyrical content is taken fully into account in examining the album’s sequencing, which rounds out the most important of its elements.  From beginning to end, the sequencing ensures that the energy in the album’s overall body remains stable even as the styles and sounds change from one song to the next.  At the same time, the lyrical themes change up just enough from one song to the next to keep things interesting, too.  The result here is that the sequencing ensures the record’s appeal just as much as the album’s content.  That is because of the role that it takes in making the overall content present a positive general effect for the record.  To that end, the whole of all of this makes Let’s Move a successful new offering from Katie Dwyer and another welcome addition to this year’s field of new family music albums.

Let’s Move, the sophomore album from Katie Dwyer, is a positive new offering from the up-and-coming family music entertainer.  That is due in part to its musical arrangements.  The arrangements are divers in their sounds and styles and offer reason enough for audiences to hear the record.  The lyrical themes that accompany the album’s musical arrangements are just as diverse, covering just as much ground if not more than the musical arrangements.  The sequencing of that collective content takes all of the content into account and keeps things interesting for listeners throughout.  The result is a positive general effect that puts the finishing touch to the album’s presentation.  Each item examined is important in its own way to the whole of the album.  All things considered they make Let’s Move a successful new outing for Katie Dwyer.

Let’s Move is available now through West Side Rose.  More information on the album is available along with all of Katie Dwyer’s latest music at:

Website: https://katiedwyermusic.com

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

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

‘Three Sides Of One’ Is An Intriguing Addition To The Catalog Of King’s X

Courtesy: InsideOut Music

For the first time in more than a dozen years, King’s X is scheduled to release a new album Friday.  Three Sides of One is scheduled for release Friday through InsideOut Music and will be the band’s first new album since 2008’s XV, and with the recent announcement of guitarist Ty Tabor’s health concerns causing the band to cancel its planned upcoming European tour, audiences cannot help but wonder if this album could end up being the band’s last.  That is because this is just the latest in an ongoing series of health concerns for the band’s members.  Drummer Jerry Gaskill has a serious health scare in 2019 due to heart concerns, including a pair of near-fatal heart attacks, which also caused tour cancellations.  Front man/bassist Doug Pinnick dealt with a hernia in 2013.  Considering all of these health issues and that so many years passed between the release of XV and this record, again, it is easy to wonder about the band’s future.  If that does end up being the case, the album will end up being at least a somewhat successful final statement from the band.  That is proven through the record’s musical and lyrical content collectively.  One of the most notable of the songs that serves to support that statement comes almost halfway through the record’s 46-minute run time in the form of ‘All God’s Children.’  This song will be discussed shortly.  ‘Festival,’ which comes past the album’s midpoint, is another way in which the record’s musical and lyrical content makes it worth hearing.  It will be examined a little later.  ‘Flood Pt. 1,’ which comes early in the album’s body, is also of note and will be discussed later.  Each song noted is important in its own way to the whole of the album’s body.  When they are considered alongside the album’s other works, the whole makes the album overall an interesting addition to King’s X’s catalog.

Three Sides of One, the latest addition to King’s X’s already extensive catalog, is not the band’s best album but is also not the band’s worst, either.  The record is worth hearing at least once.  That is proven in part through the album’s entry, ‘All God’s Children.’  This song stands out because of its brooding musical and lyrical content.  The brooding nature of the song’s musical arrangement immediately sets a certain tone for this composition.  It starts off quietly, gradually growing as it progresses through its opening bars.  Almost 40 seconds in, the guitars kick in heavily, but slowly.  The brooding, contemplative mood set at this point continues on through the rest of the song and definitely keeps listeners engaged in unique fashion.  It pairs with the song’s equally engaging lyrical theme to make for even more interest.

In the case of the song’s lyrical theme, this element is rather contemplative in its own right, seemingly questioning the religious establishment.  This is inferred in the song’s lead verse, which finds Tabor singing, “It came in the water/It came in with the flood/It seeped into everything/That we couldn’t be rid of/We bathed in the fountains, and we played in the mud/We breathed as it rotted/It got into our blood/And all God’s children kept believing/All God’s children believed anyway.”  That discussion of something seemingly bad happening and no one questioning it (all God’s children) comes across as that questioning of how people seem to just blindly follow and believe, not questioning what they are taught.  That is of course just this critic’s interpretation.  Tabor continues in the song’s second verse, “It was down in the basement/You were up on your throne/And while vegetation wasted/We were left picking the bones/But nobody complained/Fact they said it was right/So they all lit up torches/And marched into the night.”  This adds a little more to the seeming contemplation.  It points at someone bad sitting up on high, not caring about others, yet no one questions it, accepting it.  Again, this points to that seeming message of people just blindly following, going about their lives, not questioning things (including what they are taught to believe).  It definitely makes for an interesting concept that will certainly generate plenty of discussion among listeners.  That is especially the case when this content is set alongside the song’s equally brooding musical arrangement.

‘All God’s Children’ is just one of the songs that makes King’s X’s new album worth hearing.  ‘Festival’ is another notable addition to the record.  The musical arrangement featured in ‘Festival’ is the polar opposite of that featured in ‘All God’s Children.’  This composition’s arrangement presents something of a neo-classic rock vibe right from its opening bars.  That is exhibited through the unique layered vocal approach used as Tabor sings, “Let’s throw a festival.”  The guitar riff that leads the way here adds even more to that neo-classic rock sense and makes the song just as engaging and entertaining.  Pinnick’s work on the bass and Gaskill’s work on the drums put the finishing touch to the whole, making the song complete.

The musical arrangement featured in ‘Festival’ is interesting because of the seeming message of making the most of life in the song’s lyrical theme.  That seeming theme is inferred as Tabor continues singing in the song’s lead verse and chorus, “Let’s make it so the rest of us can go/I’m thinking of something/I’m thinking of something that we can do/But I’m thinking it might be up to you/It’s gonna be a big thing/Big enough to call everybody you know/Yeah, you better get ready to go/Let’s throw a festival/Let’s make it so the rest of us can go/It’s just an idea/But I think it’s one that we should try.”  This celebratory discussion could potentially be the second of those three sides of one; one life.  The comment by Tabor in the song’s second verse that “What’s the worst/Maybe somebody dies” adds a sort of sense of cynicism, yet the added note in the second verse that “I think it will all work out” despite the possibility that something bad could happen adds to that seeming sense of just making the best of a potentially bad situation.  Again, this is just this critic’s own interpretation.  If in fact it is anywhere in the proverbial ballpark, then it is that second of three sides of the whole of life.  It is another notable addition not the album that makes the record all the more interesting to hear.

‘Flood Pt. 1,’ which comes very early in the album’s run, is notable in its own right in part because of its arrangement.  The song once again opens gradually, using a tense string arrangement before launching into a heavy, hard rock arrangement, led once again by the pairing of Tabor and Pinnick.  From there, the song moves into a more notably contemplative mood as Pinnick sings quite cynically once again here, this time contemplating all the negative in the world.

He sings in the song’s lead verse, “Maybe the time has come, they say/Waters rising/Gonna drown us all away/I used to say that all we needed was love/Now I’m thinking that what we need is a flood.”  This is a thought pattern from someone who is just very upset at the world.  The anger in those words leads to a sense of confusion and depression in the song’s second verse as Pinnick sings, “Feeling temporary/’Cause it’s necessary/On a binge/No beginning without an ending/Where to begin” before returning to the song’s early statement.  Again, this is not the happiest song by any means, but shows yet another side of that whole.  The anger and depression is there and is complimented through the duality in the song’s musical arrangement.  It adds even more to the song’s impact.  When the whole here is considered alongside the other songs examined here and with the rest of the album’s entries, the whole makes Three Sides of One another interesting addition to the catalog of King’s X.  It becomes a record that while maybe not the best of the band’s works is also not the band’s worst.  In turn it is a record that is worth hearing at least once.

Three Sides of One, the latest album from King’s X, is an interesting addition to the band’s catalog.  It is a presentation that is worth hearing at least once.  That is evidenced through the album’s musical and lyrical content alike, as the songs examined here show.  When these songs are considered alongside the rest of the album’s entries, the whole makes the album worth hearing at least once.

Three Sides of One is available now through InsideOut Music.  More information on the album is available along with all of King’s X’s latest news at:

Website: https://kingsxrocks.com

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/kingsx


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Audiences Will Reflect Fondly On Foster’s Latest LP

Courtesy: Smoke Sessions Records

Early this year, renowned jazz drummer Al Foster celebrated a big milestone when he celebrated his 79th birthday.  That was back in January.  Now as the year slowly inches toward its end, Foster has another reason to celebrate.  That reason is his brand-new album, Reflections.  His second for Smoke Sessions Records and his seventh as a bandleader, the 11-song record is an enjoyable collection of originals and covers.  The covers pay tribute to the likes of Miles Davis, Sonny Rollins, and Joe Henderson (all of whom he has worked with during his expansive career) while the originals offer their own share of engagement and entertainment.  Among the most notable of the covers is that of Rollins’ ‘Pent-up House,’ which comes early in the album’s hour-plus run.  To be precise, the album clocks in at one hour, seven minutes.  Among the most notable of the album’s originals is ‘Six,’ which comes just at the album’s midpoint.  It will be examined a little later.  Another notable addition to the album is its finale, ‘Monk’s Bossa,’ which obviously pays tribute to another legendary jazz artist, Thelonius Monk.  All three songs noted here are key in their own way to the album’s presentation.  When they are considered alongside the rest of the album’s entries, the whole becomes a thoroughly enjoyable offering that every jazz fan will find enjoyable.

Reflections, the latest album from famed drummer Al Foster, is an enjoyable presentation that any jazz aficionado will find enjoyable.  That is proven throughout its blend of originals and covers.  Among the most notable of the record’s covers is that of Sonny Rollins’ ‘Pent-Up House.’  Rollins’ original was featured as part of his 1956 album, Sonny Rollins Plus 4.  Foster and his fellow musicians – Nicholas Payton (trumpet), Chris Potter (saxophone), Kevin Hays (piano), and Vicente Archer (bass) – stay true to the source material here.  Right from the song’s outset, Payton leads the way with his light but still energetic performance.  Given, Rollins’ original tops the eight-minute mark while Foster and company’s take on the song is much shorter at five minutes, five seconds, but it still pays the fullest possible tribute to the work of Rollins and his then band mates.  Potter’s work on saxophone takes the place of the solos from the original and does so quite well at that.  There are also some solos in the original performed by Foster’s fellow famed drummer Max Roach that are omitted in the updated rendition, but that is beside the point.  This group’s take will still leave listeners fulfilled by its finale.  It is just as enjoyable in its own right as the original song.

Among the most notable of the album’s originals is ‘Six,’ which serves as part of the record’s midpoint.  Composed by Payton, the eight-minute-plus composition starts out in a very subtle, contemplative fashion before giving way to a more vintage funk style approach.  That throwback style is evident through the use of the horns and keyboards.  Foster’s equally funky time keeping pairs with those instruments to really give the song the sense of a work from the likes of Stevie Wonder.  Considering the amount of information in the album’s expansive liner notes, it is difficult to know for certain if there is any discussion on the song, though many of the other songs are discussed.  That aside, the song is still such an enjoyable work.  The pairing of Payton and Potter alongside Hays (whose work on the keyboards really adds even more to that feeling) really makes the composition all the richer.  It stands out so starkly from any of the album’s other works, original and otherwise and it just one more of the notable additions to the album.  ‘Monk’s Bossa,’ which serves as the album’s finale, is one more interesting original featured as part of the album’s body.

‘Monk’s Bossa’ is an interesting work what with its sort of lounge style presentation.  Hays leads the way with his work on the keys here while Foster’s light touches on the toms expertly compliments that work.  That is because his playing is so gentle.  He adds just enough, making sure to let Hays have his moment here.  Potter and Payton each get their own moments to shine, too, making the most of their performances, too.  The whole of the performances makes this song just as enjoyable as any other in the record.  When it is considered along with the other songs examined here and with the rest of the album’s entries, the whole makes Foster’s latest album engaging and entertaining and another welcome addition to this year’s field of new jazz albums.

Al Foster’s newly released album, Reflections, is an aptly titled record that so many jazz fans will find enjoyable.  That is proven throughout its hour-plus body through its originals and covers alike.  The songs examined here do well in their own right to make that clear.  When they are considered with the rest of the album’s entries, the whole makes Reflections another welcome addition to this year’s field of new jazz albums.

Reflections is available now through Smoke Sessions Records. More information on this and other titles from Smoke Sessions Records is available at:

Websitehttps://www.smokesessionsrecords.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/SmokeSessionsRecords   

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/smokejazzclub

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.  

Again, Again’s New LP Shows Promise For Duo’s Future

Courtesy: Waldmania PR

Family music act Again, Again released its sophomore album, Your Voice is Magic Friday independently.  The 10-song record is a presentation that is worth hearing at least once.  Its appeal comes in part through its featured musical content which will be examined shortly.  The lyrical content that accompanies the record’s musical content adds to the album’s appeal and will be discussed a little later.  The sequencing of that content brings everything together and rounds out the record’s overall presentation.  It will also be examined later.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the album’s presentation.  All things considered, they make Your Voice is Magic an appealing new offering from Again, Again that is worth hearing again and again.

Your Voice is Magic, the new album from Again, Again, is an interesting new presentation from the up-and-coming family music duo Anne Montone and Jennifer Cook.  The record’s musical arrangements form its foundation.  For the most part, the musical content featured throughout the body is decidedly pop in its sound and approach.  However, there are some variances throughout.  One of the songs that breaks from the norm here comes late in the album’s run in ‘Captain Bubble Beard.’  The arrangement hear actually is a sea shanty style work, complete with something similar to an accordian and steady drum beat that is meant to sound like feet on a ship’s deck.  The vocal delivery here is even sung in similar fashion as that of a shanty, making for even more engagement and entertainment.  ‘Chosen,’ the album’s penultimate entry, boasts a sort of sound and style that is somewhat neo-folk in its sound and approach.  That is evidenced through the simple, subtle use of the vocals and guitars.  The seeming keyboard and synthesized strings also add to that sense, making for even more interest.  It is a change of pace that audiences will find welcome from the rest of the album’s content in its own right.  The lullaby approach of the album’s finale, ‘Monsters Aren’t Real’ is welcome in its own right, what with its gentle approach.  Rather than just being another run-of-the-mill overly saccharine sweet style work that it could have been, it instead has the most subtle playfulness in that gentle approach, giving it a unique identity from other lullabies out there and from the rest of the album’s entries.  As if all of this is not, the album’s opener, ‘Signs Up High,’ is a subtle pop rock style composition that has its own appeal, too.  When it and the other songs examined here are considered along with the arrangements in the rest of the record, the whole makes clear why the album’s musical content is so important to its presentation. 

While the musical content featured throughout Your Voice is Magic is clearly an important part of the album in its own right, it is just one of the important items to note.  The lyrical themes that accompany the album’s musical content are just as worth examining.  That is because of their diversity.  As the album opens, the pair tackles the familiar topic of peaceful protest in ‘Signs Up High.’  The theme is made clear as Cook and Montone sing about marching for change and reminding listeners about knowing the difference between right and wrong.  The mention of the signs is literally a reference to holding signs declaring that message of belief in certain topics.  The promotion of standing up for one’s beliefs is key especially in the current age when so many people want to shout down those who peacefully protest.

‘Pronoun Party,’ which immediately follows, takes on the equally familiar topic of inclusion.  In this case, it does so by “inviting” everyone to the “Pronoun Party.”  In this case, the pronouns are the words that people in the LGBTQ+ community use to identify themselves.  That topic is sure to cause its own share of discussion among listeners, considering how divisive the topic is among both liberals and conservatives both between the two sides and even among the parties.  The inclusion theme continues in a different fashion in ‘Girl Included,’ which is a work that promotes gender equality among males and females.  The accessible way in which the duo tackles the topic is certain to appeal to the act’s targeted audiences.  As if all of this is not enough, Cook and Montone also take on the topic of adoption in ‘Chosen’ and that of personal hygiene in ‘Wash Your Hands March.’  Again, here is more example of the diversity in the album’s lyrical themes.  All things considered here, the lyrical themes featured throughout Your Voice is Magic give audiences just as much to appreciate as the album’s musical content if not more.  To that end, those themes prove to be just as important as the album’s musical content.

While all of the content that makes up the body of Your Voice is Magic is clearly important on its own and collectively, the sequencing of that content is just as important as the content.  That is because it plays into the album’s general effect.  Throughout the album’s run, which barely tops the 30-minute mark (30 minutes, 43 seconds to be exact), Cook and Montone keep the record’s energy flowing even as the styles and sounds of the arrangements change so subtly from one to the next.  In the same vein, the more notable changes in the songs’ lyrical themes change enough to keep audiences engaged and entertained, too.  The result thereof is that the general effect will ensure listeners’ maintained engagement and entertainment just as much as the album’s content.  All things considered the record proves to be a mostly enjoyable addition to this year’s field of new family music albums.

Your Voice is Magic, the new album from up-and-coming family music act Again, Again, is a mostly enjoyable presentation from the duo.  The record’s appeal comes in part through its musical arrangements.  The arrangements are important because of their accessibility even being mostly poppy in their presentation.  Each one boasts its own subtle difference from its counterparts throughout.  The lyrical themes that accompany the musical arrangements are even more diverse, making for even more engagement.  The sequencing of all of that content completes the picture painted by this album and brings everything full circle.  Each item examined is important in its own way to the whole of the album’s presentation.  All things considered they make Your Voice is Magic a welcome addition to this year’s field of new family music albums.

Your Voice is Magic is available now.  More information on the album is available along with all of Again, Again’s latest news at:

Website: https://againagain.net

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

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

‘Of Kingdom And Crown’ Is One Of Machine Head’s Best Albums To Date

Courtesy: Nuclear Blast Records

Machine Head is back.  More than four years after the release of the band’s then latest album, Catharsis, the band released its 10th album, Of Kingdom and Crown Friday through Nuclear Blast Records.  The 13-song album is a solid return to form for front man and founder Robb Flynn, who is now the band’s only original member.  Over the course of the record’s 39-minute run time, its arrangements lift from all of the best of the band’s catalog, musically speaking, while also offering lyrical content that is engaging in its own right.  Flynn and his new band mates – Waclaw Kieltkya (guitar, vocals), Jared MacEachern (bass, vocals), and Matt Alston (drums) – released roughly half of the album’s body in the months leading up to the record’s release, with a total of six of its song debuting between November 2020 and June of this year.  One of the most powerful of those singles is ‘My Hands Are Empty.’  This song will be discussed shortly.   ‘Rotten,’ which comes late in the album, is another notable addition to the record and will be discussed a little later.  ‘Choke On The Ashes Of Your Hate,’ which comes early in the record’s run, is yet another notable addition to the album and will also be examined later.  All three songs noted are key in their own way to the whole of this album’s presentation.  When they are considered along with the album’s other entries, the whole makes this record one of the year’s top new hard rock and metal albums and potentially one of the year’s top new albums.

Of Kingdom and Crown, the latest album from Machine Head, is easily among the best of this year’s new hard rock and metal albums.  There is no question about that.  That is made clear from the record’s beginning to its end in its musical and lyrical content alike.  One of the songs that does so well to make that clear is ‘My Hands Are Empty.’  While not recently considered the album’s lead single, it was, in hindsight, the first of the new songs that would end up on the album in its release way back in November 2020.  It should be noted here that while Matt Alston is currently handling drumming duties for the band, the drums in this song’s arrangement were handled by Navene Koperweis (Animals As Leaders, Whitechapel, Entheos).  The arrangement overall features a sound and stylistic approach that, as Flynn noted at the time of the single’s release, is comparable to works from the band’s 2003 album, Through The Ashes of Empires.  That is evidenced through Flynn’s distinct growling vocals and the richness created through the pairing of the guitar and bass alongside those pummeling drums.  The addition of the choral effect to the mix adds even more to that sense.

Lyrically speaking, Flynn explained that the song tackles the issue of opioid abuse.

“I have some family members who have beaten their opioid addiction, and have some still in the throes of addition,” Flynn said. “it is painful to watch, and I deal with it with great difficulty.  It is a song of sadness, but there is hope as well.  I have beaten my own drug addictions and we can fight through this together and share our pain with the world.”  The mention in the song’s chorus that “My hands are empty/Lies so pretty/Kill me gently” points directly to the emotional struggle.  It is an allusion to someone feeling left with nothing as a result of so many struggles.  In this case the struggles are with addiction, being at the bottom of that proverbial barrel.  The mention of powders and pills in the song’s second verse, along with watching someone slowly die is that direct reference to watching people Flynn knows struggling with addiction.  Seeing them “Disintegrate/You/Right before my eyes” and the emptiness haunting him makes that painful picture all the fuller.  That overall lyrical picture, along with the power and emotion in the song’s musical arrangement makes fully clear why this song stands out among the album’s singles.

‘My Hands Are Empty’ is just one of the songs that stands out in Machine Head’s new album.  ‘Rotten’ is another notable addition to the record.  Its musical arrangement immediately takes audiences back to the band’s debut 1994 album, Burn My Eyes.  The crunch of the guitars, and the pairing of the bass and drums really leads even more to that comparison.  Flynn himself is even quoted through Apple Music as saying the arrangement came about during the band’s recent tour in celebration of Burn My Eyes’ 25th anniversary while also making his own comparison to works from Exodus’ 1989 album, Fabulous Disaster.

Considering the fire in the song’s arrangement, it makes the song’s lyrical content all the more interesting.  That is because Flynn left interpretation of the song’s lyrical content to audiences.  The mention of sitting, holding the “gun in hand/Barrel to the temple” leads to the sense that this song is lyrically taking on the blend of anger and desperation that comes with such suicidal thoughts.  The anger comes as Flynn screams, “Everything is rotten to the core” in the song’s chorus.  His further mention of feeling such anxiety, “heart racing/My throat’s constricting” even more seems to hint at those mixed feelings.  If in fact, this is the picture that Flynn is trying to paint here, that of someone sitting there, feeling so much anger and sadness, anxiety and confusion all at once, then he has done quite well.  That is because mental health is such a prevalent matter, and that constantly deserves attention.  To that end, the overall picture painted through the song’s musical and lyrical content makes the whole here stand out just as much as ‘Empty Hands’ and the rest of the album’s offerings.

As much as ‘Rotten’ does to make Of Kingdom and Crown a powerful new offering from Machine Head, it is hardly the last of the record’s most notable works.  ‘Choke on the Ashes of Your Hate’ is yet another example of how much this record has to offer.  The musical arrangement featured in this song is, again, influenced by Exodus according to Flynn.  He compared the intensity of the song’s arrangement to that of works from Exodus’ debut 1985 album, Bonded by Blood.  Interestingly enough, that album’s title track (and much of the album) actually sounds more akin to early Metallica than Machine Head.  To that end one could argue that this song is just as much akin to early Metallica as early Exodus.  That is meant in the most complimentary fashion, too.

Lyrically, this song goes in a completely different direction from those of the other songs examined here.  Flynn said in an interview about the song, that it was influenced by the Japanese anime series, Attack on Titan.  He said the song is part of what is apparently a bigger semi-conceptual approach to this album that is based on that series and that the lead song focuses on two characters who both start out good but turn bad because of the bad things that happened personally to them.  It is an interesting concept of there really being that there is no real “good” or “bad” guy in stories or in life.  That concept, together with the song’s powerful musical arrangement, makes it stand on its own unique merits.  When it is considered along with the other songs examined here and with the rest of the album’s entries, the whole makes the album overall an unforgettable new offering from Machine Head that is among the best of the band’s albums to date.

Of Kingdom and Crown, the latest album from Machine Head, is an impressive return for the band, considering the stark departure that the band took on its predecessor, 2018’s Catharsis.  The album is a full-on return to form for Flynn and his current band mates.  That is evidenced through its musical and lyrical content alike.  The songs examined here each make that clear.  When they are considered along with the album’s other songs, the entirety of that body makes Of Kingdom and Crown one of Machine Head’s best albums to date and one of the year’s top new hard rock and metal albums.

Of Kingdom and Crown is available now through Nuclear Blast Records. The band is scheduled to join Amon Amarth on the road this fall in Europe, with each band promoting its own new album.

The tour’s schedule is noted below.

SEPTEMBER
Thursday 8 – NOTTINGHAM, UK, Motorpoint Arena
Friday 9 – CARDIFF, UK, Motorpoint Arena
Saturday 10 – LONDON, UK, The SSE Arena, Wembley
Monday 12 – MANCHESTER, Uk AO Arena
Tuesday 13 – DUBLIN, Ireland, 3Arena
Friday 16 – ZURICH, Switzerland, Hallenstadion
Saturday 17 – VIENNA, Austria, Stadthalle
Sunday 18 – KRAKOW, Poland, Tauron Arena
Tuesday 20 – TALLINN, Estonia, Saku Arena
Wednesday 21 – HELSINKI, Finland, Ice Hall
Friday 23 – OSLO, Norway, Spektrum
Saturday 24 – STOCKHOLM, Sweden, Hovet
Monday 26 – COPENHAGEN, Denmark, Forum Black Box
Tuesday 27 – HAMBURG, Germany, Barclays Arena
Wednesday 28 – FRANKFURT, Germany, Festhalle
Friday 30 – OBERHAUSEN, Germany, König Pilsener Arena

OCTOBER
Saturday 01 – BERLIN, Germany Velodrome
Sunday 02 – AMSTERDAM, The Netherlands, Afas Live
Tuesday 04 – MILAN, Italy, Lorenzini District
Thursday 06 – BARCELONA, Spain, Sant Jordi
Friday 07 – MADRID, Spain, Vistalegre
Saturday 08 – LA CORUNA, Spain, Coliseum
Sunday 09 – LISBON, Portugal, Campo Pequeno
Wednesday 12 – PARIS, France, Zenith
Friday 14 – MUNICH, Germany, Olympiahalle
Saturday 15 – LEIPZIG, Germany, Arena
Sunday 16 – PRAGUE, Czech Republic, Tipsport Arena
Tuesday 18 – BUDAPEST, Hungary, Barba Negra
Thursday 20 – ESCH SUR ALZETTE, Luxembourg, Rockhal
Friday 21 – BRUSSELS, Belgium, Forest National
Saturday 22 – STUTTGART, Germant, Schleyerhalle

More information on Machine Head’s new album and tour is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Websitehttps://www.machinehead1.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/MachineHead

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/MfnH

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.

‘Adults These Days’ Will Get Play Plenty Of Days Among Families

Courtesy: Greg Lato Music

Award-winning family music entertainer Greg Lato is scheduled to release his latest album, Adults These Days Friday through his own company, Greg Lato Music.  The 9-song record will come roughly three years after the release of his then latest album, Create My Won World (2020).  It will appeal equally to children and parents, thanks in large part to its featured musical arrangements.  This will be discussed shortly.  The lyrical content that accompanies the record’s music arrangements is also important to that widespread appeal and will be discussed a little later.  The sequencing of that content rounds out the most important of the record’s items, bringing everything full circle, completing the record’s presentation.  It will also be examined later.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the album’s presentation.  All things considered they make Adults These Days yet another of the year’s top new family music albums.

Adults These Days, the latest album from Greg Lato, is another successful offering from the veteran family music entertainer.  Its success comes in part through its featured musical arrangements.  The arrangements in question are a blend of sounds and styles that bridge the 80s and early 90s.  Right from the record’s outset, audiences get a clearly pop rock style arrangement in ‘New Lunchbox.’  The guitar and the use of the keyboards and electronics immediately lend the arrangement to comparison to Chumbawumba’s hit single ‘Tub Thumper’ to a point.  On another level, it also takes audiences a little bit farther back to another hit single from the late 80s from another well-known act.  On a completely different note, ‘Everybody Needs Someone’ takes audiences in a completely different direction, instead offering more of a pop style approach a la Fountains of Wayne.  Yes, it’s true.  As if that variance is not enough, Lato’s semi-spoken word approach in the verses of ‘What Kind of Animal Would You Be?’ can just as easily be compared to David Byrne’s vocal delivery style in Talking Heads’ timeless song, ‘Once In A Lifetime.’  Whether Lato actually set out to come across in such fashion is anyone’s guess, but the comparison is there, regardless, and it is a really cool comparison.  It is just one more example of the diversity in the musical content featured in Adults These Days.  When all of the diversity shown here is considered along with the rest of the album’s musical content, the whole of that content makes for reason enough for audiences to hear the album.

Of course, the musical content that is featured throughout this record is just part of what makes it appealing.  The lyrical content that accompanies the record’s musical body makes for its own interest.  That is because it is diverse in its own right.  Case in point for instance is the noted song, ‘Everybody Needs Someone.’  While Lato is obviously addressing his younger audiences, his reminder here that it is OK to ask for and to accept help will resonate with grown-ups just as much as with children.  To that end, this theme is one that will resonate with so many audiences, regardless of age. 

The album’s title track is another interesting example of the importance of its lyrical content.  The very title, ‘Adults These Days’ immediately leads one to think that the song is going to be sung, perhaps, from the vantage point of a child who is frustrated about adults’ behavior.  That is the case to a point, but not entirely.  The child here wonders why adults are so serious about everything and why it seems so hard for them to get along.  The child sings that he/she doesn’t “want to be an adult these days.”  Therein is the message.  It is a child who is appreciating his/her youth and related innocence.  Children will hear this and remember that they are better off to a point as kids.  Adults meanwhile will perhaps remember that maybe they need to take a look in the mirror and recall how they became who and what they are.  Again, here is a very deep message presented on a level that is accessible to everyone and just as certain to generate plenty of discussion.

On yet another note, Lato gets philosophical in ‘What Kind of Animal Would You Be?’  The song sounds intriguing just from its title (yet again) and becomes even more intriguing through its lyrical content.  In the case here, Lato asks listeners what kind of animals they would be while also comparing them to humans.  He asks his young listeners for instance if they would be like a giraffe and stretch their necks out high or use them to look down on the world.  That in itself is pretty clear what he is saying.   He also asks whether listeners would be like deer, looking dead into headlights or look the other way, making their own paths.  That is another interesting discussion point.  Now the one questionable comparison that he makes is that to a parrot swooping down to steal someone’s food or just eating pellets as told in a cage.  That one is sure to lead to its own share of discussion considering there is no real right answer there.  Considering this, the song’s overall theme here is another unique presentation in its own right now just here but in the bigger picture of family music.  To that end, it is yet another solid example of what makes the album’s overall lyrical content so important to its presentation.  When the overall lyrical content is considered along with the album’s musical arrangements, the whole of that content forms a solid foundation for Lato’s new album.

The foundation in question is strengthened even more when the sequencing thereof is considered along with that material.  The sequencing keeps the sounds and styles in the album’s musical arrangements changing just enough from one song to the next throughout the album.  In the process, the album’s energy remains just stable enough.  The result is that this aspect ensures listeners’ engagement and entertainment in itself.  When the sequencing is considered alongside the content, the whole completes the album’s presentation, showing once more why the album is so appealing and even more why the album is another of the year’s best new family music albums.

Adults These Days, the latest album from Greg Lato, is an impressive new offering from the veteran family music entertainer.  The record’s success is due in no small part to its musical content.  The content will take grown-ups back to the mid to late 80s and even early 90s, with the styles and sounds changing from one song to the next.  The lyrical themes that accompany the album’s musical content vary just enough yet are just as accessible as the album’s musical content.  The sequencing of that content rounds out the record’s most important items as it brings everything full circle.  Each item examined is important in its own way to the whole of the album’s body.  All things considered they make the album one more of the year’s top new family music offerings.

Adults These Days is scheduled for release Friday.  More information on the record is available along with all of Greg Lato’s latest news at:

Website: https://greglato.com

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/greglatomusic

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