RATM’s Second Coming Will Hopefully Continue In The Coming Years

Courtesy: Fantasy Records

The end is near!  The end of the year that is.  The end of 2017 is only 48 hours away at the time of this post.  With time quickly ticking away, there is still a lot of work for this critic to do with year-ender lists.  Considering this, we’ll get right into it with one last list for the year’s new albums in the form of the year’s top new albums overall.  This list was perhaps the most difficult of all for this critic to assemble.  That is because of the amount of top quality material released across the musical universe this year.  From punk to pop to jazz, world, rock and more, there were a lot of great records released over the past year.  Keeping this in mind, coming up with this was no easy chore, to say the least.  It was finally accomplished, though, and includes titles from the worlds of rocks, jazz, country and even world music.

Leading off this year’s best new album — in this critic’s ears and mind — is Ala.Ni’s debut album You & I.  This record is a beautiful work that despite being marketed as jazz, could just as easily fit into any adult contemporary pop radio station’s rotation.  Also included in this year’s finale are new releases from country music superstar Chris Stapleton, New Orleans-based singer/songwriter Marc Broussard, emo-punk band Young Fox’s new album and much more.

As with every previous list, this list features this critic’s Top 10 choices as well as five additional honorable mention titles for a total of 15 titles.  Without any further ado, here for you is Phil’s Picks 2017 Top 10 New Albums.

PHIL’S PICKS 2017 TOP 10 NEW ALBUMS

  1. Prophets of Rage — Prophets of Rage
  2. Ala.Ni — You & I
  3. Jazzmeia Horn — A Social Call
  4. Diana Panton — Solstice/Equinox
  5. Fer Isella — Art of the Possible
  6. Nova Collective — The Further Side
  7. Scale The Summit — In A World of Fear
  8. Mike Mangioni & The Kin — But I’ve Seen The Stars
  9. John 5 & The Creatures — Season of the Witch
  10. Dishwalla — Juniper Road
  11. Project 86 — Sheep Among Wolves
  12. Chris Stapleton — From A Room Vol. 2
  13. Young Fox — Sky Beats Gold
  14. Gary Numan — Savage (Songs From A Broken World)
  15. Marc Broussard — Easy To Love

That’s it, folks.  As noted, this was not an easy list to assemble by any means.  Trying to determine which albums likely would have a certain amount of longevity through through musical and lyrical messages was a tough task.  One cannot ignore the fact that what with the nation’s current political climate, the second coming of Rage Against The Machine was one of this year’s most important and standout efforts.  In the same breath, the gentility and beauty offered by Ala.Ni, Jazzmeia Horn and Diana Panton makes their albums certain to stay in peoples’ minds and ears.  Fer Isella’s new album, while instrumental is like the soundtrack to any major Hollywood drama such as Bridges of Madison County and other similar movies.

The jazz fusion feel of Nova Collective’s debut record and the prog rock of Scale The Summit’s latest record stand out just as much.  Mike Mangioni & The Kin may stay under the radar, but that’s just fine with this critic.  The group’s new album is a great independent offering.  Dishwalla’s new album is a wonderful return for the band while John 5 & the Creatures’ new album is yet another example of how truly talented the guitarist truly is and that he made the right decision leaving Marilyn Manson’s band.

It is easy to go on and on about every album noted here.  Regardless of the band’s fame, the fact of the matter stands that each album listed here is one that this critic feels is impacting and important for the given act and for the music community in whole.  That being the case, this list stands as this critic’s best new albums of 2017.  Now with all of the music stuff out of the way, it’s on to a handful of DVD/BD titles including best new box sets for families and for grown-ups, best new DVDs/BDs for families, and even best new documentaries.  So stay tuned for all of that!

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Ala.Ni’s Debut LP Proves To Be A Solid Offering On Phil’s Picks’ 2017 Top 10 New Jazz & Blues Albums List

Courtesy: Missing Piece Records

2017 has been a good year fans of jazz and the blues.  From more established acts such as Diana Krall, Charlie Watts, Trombone Shorty and Diana Panton to new yet equally promising acts such as Ala.Ni, Nova Collective and others, both genres, which despite their musical differences are still related to one another, have turned out a mass of enjoyable (and in some cases surprisingly) impressive albums.  Ala.Ni’s debut album You & I is one of those surprising releases.  It also tops this critic’s list of the year’s top new Jazz & Blues albums.  Also on this year’s list is Argentine musician Fer Isella’s latest LP The Art of The Possible, new offerings from Putumayo and Music Action Ensemble’s new album Foundation among others.

This year was not an easy one to choose top records.  Charlie Watts, who is known just as much for his jazz work as for his work with his band mates in The Rolling Stones, released quite the impressive new offering this year in Charlie Watts Meets The Danish Radio Big Band. Taj Mahal and Keb Mo partnered for the simply titled TajMo.  Even veteran blues man John Mayall is still going strong.  He released his new album Talk About That this year, too.  Back on the jazz side, Charles Lloyd and his new group of fellow musicians released their own standout offering in the form of Passin’ Thru.  Even here, there is so much to say.  Simply put, coming up with a final list for this year’s new jazz and blues albums was not easy because of the level of talent exhibited across the board.  So no dishonor was meant to any act on this year’s list.   

As is the case with each Phil’s Picks list, this list features the Top 10 Albums on the list and five additional honorable mention titles.  Enough rambling.  Without any further ado, here for you is Phil’s Picks’ 2017 Top 10 New Jazz & Blues Albums.

PHIL’S PICKS 2017 TOP 10 NEW JAZZ & BLUES ALBUMS

  1. Ala.Ni — You & I
  2. Jazzmeia Horn — A Social Call
  3. Diana Panton — Solstice/Equinox
  4. Charlie Watts — Charlie Watts Meets The Danish Radio Big Band
  5. Taj Mahal & Keb Mo — TajMo
  6. Charles Lloyd New Quartet — Passin’ Thru
  7. Diana Krall — Turn Up The Quiet
  8. Charnett Moffett — Music From Our Soul
  9. Fer Isella — The Art of the Possible
  10. Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band — Lay It On Down
  11. Courtney Pine — Black Notes From The Deep
  12. Trombone Shorty — Parking Lot Symphony
  13. Music Action Ensemble — Foundation
  14. John Mayall — Talk About That
  15. Jimmy Greene — FlowersBeautiful Life, Vol. 2

Again, this was NOT an easy list to assemble.  This critic still feels rough coming to terms with the list.  That is because so many great jazz and blues records were released this year including new material from Elvin Bishop and so many others.  Even with that in mind, the list noted here is this critic’s final choice for this year’s top new jazz and blues albums.  Now with this list completed, there is still plenty more to go including the year’s top new Rap/Hip-hop albums, reggae albums, rock and hard rock albums as well as the year’s top albums overall.  There are also a bunch of categories for DVDs and Blu-rays including box sets for families and for older audiences, new live DVDs and Blu-rays, etc.  So stay tuned!

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V Magazine Premieres Ala.Ni’s New ‘Circle’ Video

Courtesy: Missing Piece Records

Ala.Ni is giving audiences yet another taste of her debut album You & I.

V Magazine unveiled the brand new video for her latest single ‘Circle,’ Wednesday.  The song is take from her new album.  The video, shot partly in black and white, takes audiences into the serenity of a quiet forest setting as Ala.Ni performs her new equally calming single.

Along with the video, an interview with Ala.Ni is also presented at V Magazine’s website.  She discusses a variety of subjects during the interview including the inspiration for ‘Circle,’ its companion video, her dream collaborations, what interested her in music and more.

‘Circle’ is just the latest taste of You & I that has been presented to Ala.Ni’s fans. The album premiered in its entirety on National Public Radio’s First Listen series ahead of its release this summer.  The organization premiered her intimate Tiny Desk concert last week, which featured guitarist Marvin Dolly accompanying her on his birthday no less. 

The organization also recently featured on its World Café program, a live performance from Ala.Ni recorded at the 2017 NonCOMM Convention at WXPN in Philadelphia. That performance was also accompanied by its own interview with Ala.Ni by World Café host David Dyer.

As if all of that is not enough, Ala.Ni also recently appeared on BBC Two’s Later…with Jools Holland to perform ‘Cherry Blossom,’ yet another song included in You & I.

Ala.Ni will embark on her first North American tour in October alongside Son Little beginning Oct. 18 in Asbury Park, N.J. in support of You & I.  The tour is currently scheduled to run through Oct. 27 and includes dates in Asheville, North Carolina; Cambridge, Massachusetts; Pawling, New York and a handful of other cities.  The tour’s current schedule is noted below.

Tour Dates with Son Little:
 
10/18: Asbury Park, NJ – Wonder Bar
10/19: Brooklyn, NY – Music Hall of Williamsburg
10/20: Woodstock, NY – Bearsville Theater
10/21: Cambridge, MA – The Sinclair
10/22: Pawling, NY – Daryl’s House Club
10/24: Annapolis, MD – Rams Head on Stage
10/25: Vienna, VA – The Barn at Wolf Trap
10/26: Asheville, NC – The Mothlight
10/27: Atlanta, GA – Smith’s Olde Bar

You & I is available now in stores and online.  More information on You & I is available online now along with all of Ala.Ni’s latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://ala.ni

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/alaniofficial

 

 

 

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.

NPR Streaming Ala.Ni’s ‘Tiny Desk’ Concert Now

Courtesy: Missing Piece Records

National Public Radio is giving audiences another chance to experience up-and-coming jazz artist Ala.Ni live and for free.

Ala.Ni recently stopped by NPR’s studios to perform in house as part of the network’s Tiny Desk concert series. She was joined by guitarist Marvin Dolly for the intimate performance. The concert was in support of her new album You & I, which NPR recently made available to stream in full on its First Listen.  

Ala.Ni’s new performance comes not long after she sat down for an interview on NPR’s World Café.  That interview included a live performance by Ala.Ni at the 2017 NonCommvention at WXPN in Philadelphia.

Host David Dye discussed Ala.Ni’s new album during the program along with the influence of her life on the album’s songs.  That interview is streaming online here.

Ala.Ni will hit the road this fall in support of her new album beginning Oct. 18 in Asbury Park, NJ.  The tour’s current schedule includes performances Asheville, NC; Annapolis, MD; Cambridge, Massachusetts and other cities nationwide.  The tour’s current schedule is noted below.

10/18: Asbury Park, NJ – Wonder Bar
10/19: Brooklyn, NY – Music Hall of Williamsburg
10/20: Woodstock, NY – Bearsville Theater
10/21: Cambridge, MA – The Sinclair
10/22: Pawling, NY – Daryl’s House Club
10/24: Annapolis, MD – Rams Head on Stage
10/25: Vienna, VA – The Barn at Wolf Trap
10/26: Asheville, NC – The Mothlight
10/27: Atlanta, GA – Smith’s Olde Bar

More information on Ala.Ni’s upcoming tour, new album and more is available online now along with her latest news at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.ala.ni

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/alaniofficial

 

 

 

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.

Ala.Ni Announces New Live Dates

Courtesy: Missing Piece Records

Ala.Ni will make her North American tour debut this fall.

The British-born, French-based singer announced this week she will join Son Little for a short string of live North American dates beginning Oct. 18 in Asbury Park, NJ.  The schedule, which is in support of her debut album You & I, runs a little more than a week, includes performances in Asheville, North Carolina; Pawling, New York; Annapolis, Maryland and a handful of other dates. It ends Oct. 27 in Atlanta, Georgia.

The full tour schedule is noted below.

Tour Dates with Son Little:
 
10/18: Asbury Park, NJ – Wonder Bar
10/19: Brooklyn, NY – Music Hall of Williamsburg
10/20: Woodstock, NY – Bearsville Theater
10/21: Cambridge, MA – The Sinclair
10/22: Pawling, NY – Daryl’s House Club
10/24: Annapolis, MD – Rams Head on Stage
10/25: Vienna, VA – The Barn at Wolf Trap
10/26: Asheville, NC – The Mothlight
10/27: Atlanta, GA – Smith’s Olde Bar

Also in support of her new album, National Public Radio presented an interview featuring Ala.Ni on its World Café program that can be heard here now.  The up-and-coming singer discussed with host David Dye the inspiration behind the songs featured on her new album, her life in music and more.

If that is not enough, audiences can also view one of Ala.Ni’s live performances of her song ‘Cherry Blossom’ taken from BBC2’s hit program Later…with Jools Holland now.

You & I is available in stores and online now.  More information on the album is available online now along with all of Ala.Ni’s latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.ala.ni

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/alaniofficial

 

 

 

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.

‘You & I’ Domestic Release Is A Must Have For Any Purist Jazz Fan

Courtesy: Missing Piece Records

Jazz artist Ala.Ni’s debut album You & I is one of this year’s best new offerings in the Jazz & Blues community and overall.  Originally released overseas last June, it was released domestically June 9 via Missing Piece Records.  The 12-song record wastes no time taking audiences back to the golden age of jazz thanks to the pairing of its musical arrangements and lyrical themes.  That is proven in part right off the top in the album’s opener ‘Cherry Blossom.’  It will be discussed shortly.  ‘Old Fashioned Kiss’ supports that statement just as much as ‘Cherry Blossom.’  It will be discussed later.  ‘I’ll Remember’ is yet another of the album’s offerings that takes listeners back to that shining age.  When those compositions are joined with the songs not noted here, the whole of the record proves to be, again one of the year’s top new Jazz & Blues albums and one of the year’s top new albums overall.

Ala.Ni’s debut album You & I is one of this year’s top new Jazz & Blues records, and one of the year’s best new albums overall.  That is proven right from the album’s outset in the gentle, flowing opener ‘Cherry Blossom.’  This gentle, flowing song, which is highlighted by Ala.Ni’s beautifully angelic vocal delivery and an expertly placed guitar, is a wonderful way to start the album.  The combination of those elements together creates a dreamy musical environment that is truly powerful in its own right because of its gentility.  Considering this, it is only one part of what makes this song stand out in the album’s overall presentation.  Its lyrical theme is just as important to note as its musical arrangement.

The lyrical theme presented in ‘Cherry Blossom’ is that of romance.  The song’s subject sings here to her love interest to stay with her.  She sings to her love interest in the song’s lead verse, “If you see me somewhere down the river/Come and stand beside me/It’s alright.”  She goes on to sing, “Come to me/Stay with me/Say you’ll be a friend to me/Love/An everlasting love/Is forever and a day/Catch some cherry blossoms by the river/Flowing through the flowing of my heart/I will meet you somewhere down that river/Come and stand beside me/It’s alright.”  There is no pleading here.  One could almost argue that it is a gentle, almost coy flirting the way in which these lines are delivered.  The song’s production adds to that feeling, making Ala.Ni’s vocal delivery sound like it came right out of the 1930s or 40s.  Considering this, the clearly romantic theme and the arrangement, this song is a solid starting point for You & I, and a clear example of what makes the album stand out among its counterparts this year.  ‘Old Fashioned Kiss’ serves to make the album stand out just as much as its opener.

‘Cherry Blossom,’ with its gentle flowing arrangement, which includes Ala.Ni’s vocal delivery, and its classic romantic theme, is a solid start for You & I and a clear example of what makes this record stand out among its counterparts.  It is not the record’s only notable songs.  ‘Old Fashioned Kiss’ is just as notable as ‘Cherry Blossom.’  As with ‘Cherry Blossom,’ that is due in part to its musical arrangement.  Yet again, the song’s arrangement is centered on Ala.Ni’s gentle vocal delivery and the soft, simple guitar line that accompanies her singing.  Speaking of her delivery, listeners familiar with their music history will instantly make a comparison between her singing style to that of a young Aretha Franklin.  The simplicity in that delivery and of the song’s guitar line couples with the finger snapping to make the song’s overall arrangement infectious in its own right, proving true the old adage that sometimes big things really do come in small packages.  It is, of course, just one of the song’s key elements.  Its lyrical theme is just as important to note as its musical arrangement.

The lyrical theme presented in this song is, like that of ‘Cherry Blossom,’ centered on romance.  What is interesting about the theme here is the way in which Ala.Ni delivers the lines.  She is gentle yet somewhat playful in her delivery, going so far as to start off with some scat a la Mrs. Fitzgerald.  She sings here, “Just an old-fashioned kiss…How can I resist/Oh how you tease me/Simple kiss upon the cheek/Makes my knees a little weak/Your lips are like spring/Morning dew on a red rose.”  The playful vibe doesn’t stop here.  The song’s subject goes on singing just as happily about being kissed by her love interest with plenty of positive vibes along the way.  That upbeat vibe and equally upbeat lyrics couple with the song’s happy-go-lucky arrangement to create yet another distinct emotion and moment in this rich musical experience.  Considering this, the song proves in the end to be yet another example of what makes You & I a standout offering from Ala.Ni.  It is not the last of the songs that shows what makes the album stand out.  ‘I’ll Remember’ serves to make the album stand out just as much as the previously discussed works.

‘Cherry Blossom’ and ‘Old Fashioned Kiss’ are both key examples of what makes You & I stand out in this year’s field of new Jazz & Blues records as well as overall records. They are just two of the songs that show what makes this record stand out, too.  ‘I’ll Remember’ serves to show how much this album stands out in a way completely unlike the other noted works.  That is due in no small part to the record’s deeply moving musical arrangement.  Unlike the arrangements presented in ‘Cherry Blossom’ and ‘Old Fashioned Kiss,’ this song’s musical arrangement is a very subdued composition.  It evokes a bittersweet emotion that is sure to move any listener with its genuine approach.  That is again thanks to the pairing of Ala.Ni’s vocal delivery and the song’s companion guitar line.  The very real mix of sadness and hopefulness creates an emotional impact that cannot be ignored or denied.  Keeping that in mind, it is only one part of what makes the song stand out.  It couples with the song’s lyrical content to add even more emotional depth to the work.

The musical arrangement presented in ‘I’ll Remember’ tugs hard at listeners’ heart strings.  That is because of the genuine emotion exhibited in the song, including Ala.Ni’s own vocal delivery.  The lyrics that the song’s subject sings add even more to that emotional impact.  That is because the subject’s words come across as genuine as the emotion in the song’s arrangement.  She sings here, “And if we never ever meet again/I’ll remember kissing you/Will you remember kisses, too/If we never ever meet again/Then the memory of love will see us through/When you left/My heart was drowning tears/So much I cried/But then a little voice spoke to my heart and told me I will be just fine/For if we never ever meet again/I’ll remember kissing you/Will you remember kisses, too/And if we never ever meet again/Then I’ll remember/Will you remember/Oh, I’ll remember loving you.”  It’s a short statement, with the song clocking in at only two minutes, 23 seconds.  Even in that short time, the subject’s bittersweet adieu is such a powerful statement that could bring tears to anyone’s eyes.  That is especially the case when this heartfelt statement is set alongside the song’s equally moving musical arrangement.  When both elements are paired, the emotion exhibited in the song (and its story) sets it completely apart from the record’s other offerings, showing once more the diversity presented throughout the record in terms of its musical arrangements and moods.  When this is considered in the bigger picture of the album, the end result is a work that audiences will agree is one of the year’s top new domestic albums and one of the year’s top new domestic Jazz & Blues albums.

Missing Piece Records’ new domestic release of Ala.Ni’s 2016 album You & I is one of this year’s top new domestic albums and one of the year’s top new domestic Jazz & Blues albums.  That is due to the wide array of musical arrangements and moods exhibited throughout the course of the record.  From the coy, flirtatiousness of the album’s opener to the more playful, happiness of ‘Old Fashioned Kiss’ to the bittersweet, heart string-tugging emotion exhibited in ‘I’ll Remember’ to emotions and arrangements in-between, this record offers plenty for any purist jazz fan.  That is especially the case for fans of music from the golden age of Jazz.  The production of this record’s original tunes makes them sound like they were lifted right from the brightly lit ballrooms of the 1930s and 40s.  Considering this and the previously noted items, it should be fully evident why this record is such a surprise release. All things considered, this record is a work that this critic believes is one of the year’s top new domestic albums and top new domestic Jazz & Blues albums.  It is available now in store and online.  More information on You & I is available online now along with all of Ala.Ni’s latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.ala.ni

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/alaniofficial

 

 

 

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